Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Worst Quest In World of Warcraft

Are you the kind of person who looks up quests on Wowhead or Thottbot before attempting to complete them? I am not. If I had been, however, I might have saved myself ten dollars worth of quarters in the swear jar attempting to complete the Shadowmoon Valley quest called I Was A Lot Of Things... Seriously, you should really reconsider pursuing a quest if you see comments like this at the fansites:

  • Here's how to complete this quest: 1) Press L to open your quest log. 2) Select the quest named "I Was A Lot Of Things..." 3) Click Abandon Quest. You are welcome.
  • I am about to commit crimes against Man and Nature because I'd rather spend a lifetime in prison than spend another hour working on this quest.
  • I was given a choice between rubbing poison ivy on my genitals and completing this quest. My testicles now itch so much I have to sit on a belt sander for any semblance of comfort. I made the right decision.
The premise of the quest is simple enough: A yam-farming orc named Oronok is afraid to leave his farm because of the roving flayers that are decimating his felboar herd. He wants you to harvest some Shadowmoon tubers for him with the aid of his surviving felboars, who dig the tubers out of the ground when summoned. He hands you a whistle that the boars are trained to acknowledge and sends you off into the wild. Sounds fun, right? This is what I thought too, at first.

"No amount of gold or XP could compensate you for the suffering you're about to endure."

For one thing, the quest giver, Oronok, is damn difficult to locate; it is very likely that most players would never even find him if they weren't sent looking for him as part of a quest chain. Even with QuestHelper installed it is easy to waste 10-15 minutes trying to find a rideable path up to Oronok's farm. He's on top of a mountain in the top-middle area of Shadowmoon Valley. Your only hint that you're getting close will be a trail of half-eaten felboar carcases along the mountain side. (Seriously, Blizzard, breadcrumbs would have sufficed.)

Be prepared to get very familiar with this sight.

The problems with this quest become apparent pretty quickly. For one thing, the tubers are scattered across very hilly, uneven terrain. You will rarely see more than one on-screen at a time, and they do not sparkle like most quest nodes do. This wouldn't be so much of an issue of the quest were to gather a single tuber, but you need to collect 10 to satisfy Oronok, which means that you will be traversing the same bumpy, steep terrain over and over for quite some time. Oh and if you happen to be an herbalist, the tubers do NOT show up as nodes on your minimap.

I swear, Oronok has got to be the worst goddamned farmer in all of Outland.

Another issue is that flayers appear to get it on like rabbits, because the area is just lousy with them. It is not uncommon to see three or four flayers tearing the guts out of a felboar at a time (and then to have them chase after you once they're finished with the boar).

This is just so not fucking worth it.

Not only are they plentiful, but they respawn like crazy which is a significant issue for the following reason: Unlike most summoning quests in World of Warcraft, when you blow Oronok's whistle, the game does not create a new felboar especially to respond to your call. Instead, an existing felboar has to be within the (very-short) listening range of the whistle, and cannot be in combat at the time the whistle blows. Another little bit of awesomeness Blizzard threw in is that if you blow the whistle when no available felboars are within listening distance, THE TUBER FUCKING DISAPPEARS. That's right, you get one chance to summon boars to your tuber, and if the boar is out of listening range (and there are no visual indicators to help you judge this), or is in combat, you forever lose your chance to harvest that node.

Also, dead boars don't count.

So why even bother? Well, unfortunately, this quest is part six of the single-largest quest chain in Shadowmoon Valley. The end-of-chain quest rewards are rather good, and you'll be missing out if you skip this quest. On second thought, I have a better idea:

Seriously, it's not like anyone will ever find the body.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Preggo Shuffle

My wife takes an active interest in her health, and when she was pregnant with our first child she bought a bunch of books and videos to help her get through pregnancy. One of them was the Kathy Smith Pregnancy Workout. I can think of few things hotter than a room full of pregnant women doing deep knee bends in unitards, so I was surprised by her reaction when I asked how the video was. She said something like, "It was kind of... retarded."

Well it turns out she was mainly thinking about one specific segment of the tape, called the Preggo Shuffle, where Kathy and her poppin' posse don Ray Bans and shuffle around to a stock music drum beat, dropping rhymes like the following:
You'll get much more
from your pelvic floor
when you pass on the bagel
and do one more kegel.
This tape was produced in 1989, just before congress passed legislation making "white people rapping" a capital offense. I was totally going to upload this clip to YouTube, but somebody beat me to it. Shield your eyes now...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Making Garfield Funny

I used to love Garfield. I had all the books, calendars, a buncha toys- it was awesome. And then I turned 9. Since then I've been kind of shocked by how Jim Davis continues to keep shitting out strip after strip, using the exact same gags for, what, 30 years now? I mean, Marmaduke, Cathy, and Hi and Lois manage to keep things fresh, amirite? Oh, wait...

Anyway, I do not appear to be the only one bothered by Garfield's relentless, embarrassing marathon of suck, as several folks have lately been re-working the strip in an attempt to divine laughs from this comedic well-run-dry. For example:

What if Garfield were a real cat?

Garfield After Hours
This is pretty much how every single Garfield strip would go if I were Jim Davis.

This strip explores what would happen if Jon owned Luigi from Super Mario World instead of that fat fucking cat.

Garfield The Movie
Scientists once proved that Garfield The Movie and Comedy could not occupy the same space at the same time. It was a cinematic black hole where even such stellar talents as Bill Murray and Joel Cohen were swallowed up never to be seen again. It took an intrepid gigglenaut, name of Zach Galifianakis, to prove that one could at least chuckle in the vicinity of that film.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why Boingo needs to suck my nuts.

Boingo is a wireless roaming provider. The idea is that you can have a single Boingo account that you can use to connect to for-pay WiFi hotspots around the globe, freeing you the hassle of having to sign up to a different wireless service provider every time you wish to connect to the internet while you're traveling. Earlier this year during a layover at some shitty airport, I signed up for Boingo, as it was the preferred Internet access method in their terminals. Rather than sign up for Boingo's monthly service, I purchased a $7.95 'day pass' to just cover the period when I'd be traveling. The only time I ever needed to use Boingo was that day, however over the past few months, at various free hotspots, I've gotten GoBoingo pop-ups saying that Boingo service was available, and prompting me to log on.

Sometimes I'd hit Cancel and continue surfing, while other times I'd hit Login, figuring "well it's a free connection, anyway, who cares." Well, I should have cared, because I just discovered last week that each time I had blindly clicked the Login button while I was at hotspots that were already free and operational, Boingo silently charged me $7.95. To use a free hotspot.

Why the hell is this? Well the way that Boingo gets existing hotspots and partner service providers to become Boingo hotspots is to pay daily commissions to the operators of active hotspots, and special commissions each time a new subscriber signs up for the Boingo service. I reckon that these various hotspots where I got dinged didn't really understand what the service was; they just heard about the daily commissions and said "Hellz yes, sign me up!"

At least one time in my travels I also got charged for allowing GoBoingo to connect while I was already using a for-pay hotspot that I had already paid for.

So, do heed my warning: If you've got GoBoingo installed, only click the login button if it's not a free hotspot and you haven't already paid someone else for the connection. If you log in to Boingo after you're already connected, you will be charged but you will not get even a teeny amount of extra connectivity or functionality. Of course this only applies to day-pass people like me. If you've already got a monthly Boingo account, log in all you want. It won't do anything for you, but at least you won't get charged any extra... I think.