Monday, May 18, 2015


It's been three months. I'm still here. I didn't disappear off the face of the Internet. I just didn't have anything to report. WoW got really boring for me really fast. I wasn't raiding with the raiding guild I'd joined on Loihi, and my attempts to resurrect my horde guild failed. Hard. My subscription ended March 13, and I was content not to spend any more of my hard-earned money on a Garrison Subscription. Then came the token. I had just enough gold to buy one, and I figured, "Why not?" I figured if I leveled up at least one more character and got a level 3 garrison and then stayed on top of my garrisons, I could accumulate enough gold to keep my subscription going. And I was right. A few days before my month was up, I purchased another token and watched my pile of gold drop to practically nothing.

And then last Wednesday I got banned.

I've hinted at it here, but now that everything is out in the open, I'm making a confession: I was one of those hundreds of thousands of botters.

There seems to be a huge misconception about who botters are and what exactly bots do, and I would like to attempt to clear some of that up.

I want to preface this by saying that I understand that what I did was wrong. I was aware of that from day one, and I was always aware of the risk that I was taking. I absolutely deserved my ban, and I am in no way trying to justify my actions. When I explain why I did certain things, it's not because I think my excuse makes them okay. There's no excuse that makes them okay. I'm just telling you exactly what I did.

So let's start with some terminology.
Bot Base: The bot base is the type of bot you're using. All of the bots are in one bot program called Honorbuddy, but different bots do different things. I can't open HB anymore, but off the top of my head the bot bases that I can think of are: Questing, Dungeonbuddy, Battlegrounds, Garrisonbuddy, Combat Bot, and Gatherer.
Profile: The profile is the code that tells your bot where to go and what to do. Of the bot bases that I listed, the only ones that used custom profiles were Questing and Gatherer. There was a really great questing profile pack that would level you straight from 1 to 100. There were also questing profiles for dailies or other questing objectives. The gathering profiles determined where and what you were gathering.
Combat Routine: This is exactly what it sounds like - it's how your bot plays in combat. A rotation. Honorbuddy comes with a default combat routine for each class, but there are lots of user developed routines that tend to be much better. The default one tends to go with the most basic rotation, while the custom ones are generally developed by people who really know how to play their class and some of them are really good. The really good ones also cost money - sometimes a lot of money. I had honestly never heard the term "kickbotter" until after the ban, but they are most certainly using paid routines. I never had a routine anywhere near that good.

Honorbuddy isn't the first bot I've used, but this has already gotten long, and I haven't even started yet. If you're curious about how I got into botting, I'll be happy to tell you. But for now, I'm going to leave my botting background out. I will say that when Josh started messing around with his first bot, I was vehemently opposed to it.

Now the first question is: why? I've seen a lot of people say, "If you're so bored with the game that you have to bot, maybe you should find a new game." Have I ever used the bot to combat boredom? Absolutely. But when I started botting, I was not bored with the game. I just wanted to try something new. Botting adds a whole new aspect to the game that you can't understand unless you've done it. I honestly can't even begin to try to explain it, but I will tell you that I probably spent more hours tweaking my bot and/or watching it play than I would have spent playing. I know how ridiculous it sounds to watch a bot, but I have yet to meet a person who couldn't get sucked into watching it. We had our bots running during a party once, and all of the guests, at some point or another, sat there watching with fascination.

How much gold did you make? Honestly, not much. People have this idea in their heads that all botters are gold sellers and we're all sitting on goldcapped accounts. Do those people exist? Yes, of course. But they are the small minority. The majority of botters are casuals like me. When my account got banned on Wednesday, I had 50k gold on my horde server and 25k on my alliance server. I think 60k is the most I ever had one one server at one time. I know lots of non-botters who have way more gold than that.

What was your arena rating? I don't have one. I haven't used the bot for arenas since Cataclysm, and even then, our rating was shit. Our win:loss ratio was probably about 50:50. We never paid for combat routines, and the free ones weren't going to get you far in an arena.

Didn't you feel bad about ruining BGs for everyone? Okay, yes. I used the pvp bot for maybe an hour per month, and I almost always monitored it. If I saw that I was in a bg that had a lot of bots, I would stop the bot and take over. But what people don't seem to understand is that for all those bots that you see who are running the same path, sitting in the same places, etc, there are just as many people who are using bots for combat but controlling where they go and what they do. Much like the gold sellers, the people who let their bots sit in BGs completely unmonitored all day are in the small minority.

So what did you use it for? I would say I probably used quest bot the most. In each expansion, I leveled at least one horde and one alliance character by hand, and then I let the bot handle the rest. In WoD, I did a lot of back-and-forth between hand leveling and bot leveling.
Prior to WoD, I used dungeon buddy quite a bit to get alts geared up. I geared up my mains by hand, but I just didn't have the time or the patience to gear up my alts. Dungeon buddy is hit or miss, though. Sometimes it's awesome, and sometimes it runs your character into a wall. Or leaves a fresh instance, giving you deserter. Or pulls mobs when it's not tanking. (Yes, it can tank a dungeon surprisingly well.)
I also used combat bot (or variations of it - LazyRaider, Enyo) a lot. We all have off days where we just aren't performing the way we should be, and in those cases, it was always best to let the bot play for me in a raid. I will say that all of the raiding I did in WoD was 100% me. There was no good warlock routine, and even though my numbers were low, I could play way better than the bot could. It was always changing when they made changes to classes. Sometimes the bot could play better than I could, and sometimes it couldn't. Sometimes I was just feeling lazy and I would let it play for me, while still controlling movement myself.
Prior to WoD, I used it to gather. There were gathering profiles for the entirety of EK and Kalimdor where your bot would just fly all over the continent gathering everything it saw. I used a lot of what I gathered, but I also sold a lot. So you could say I had an effect on the economy, I guess, but like I said - I never even had 100k gold. Not even close.
Garrisons. Garrisonbuddy was released shortly after the token was, and it was an absolute Godsend. I spent the last month exclusively using Garrisonbuddy. I would get up in the morning and turn it on. It would do all of my garrison chores - gathering, missions, work orders. And in the afternoon I would come home and collect my missions and send new ones (by hand). I wasn't selling anything that my garrison produced.

I was just living in my own little world when I got banned.

I say that, again, not to justify it. No matter how I was using it, it was cheating. I say it to show you that for every person you could identify as a bot, there were countless others that you couldn't. They may have been living in their garrisons. They may have been questing. They may have been using combat bot and controlling their character's movement. The zombies in the BGs, the kickbotters, and the people running the AH are not the majority of botters.

Do I regret what I did? Not for a second. Like I said, I was fully aware of the risks from day one. I was cautious in the beginning - everyone thought it we monitored our bots all the time, we'd be fine. We thought we just needed to be there if a GM talked to us. In many cases, that was true. But not anymore. I wasn't even online when I got banned. Many botters chose to bot on a second account. I used my main account. I thought I would be sad if it got banned since I've had it forever, but since it isn't a permaban, I'm really not. I lost a bunch of pixels that I never owned in the first place. That's how I look at it. I freed up 26 gigs on my SSD. I suddenly found myself with a whole lot more free time. If anything, Blizz did me a favor.

I've had a lot of people tell me that I disgust them, that if I'm willing to do this, who knows what kinds of horrible things I do in real life. I'm probably a liar, a cheat, and a thief.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion. Everyone I know and care about - both in-game and in real life - knows I bot. No one has disowned me over it, or even told me I should stop. So if strangers want to pass judgment because I cheated in a video game, by all means. But like I tell people who rage in LFG or LFR, it's just a game.

Will I be back when my ban is up? Who knows. Would I bot again if the opportunity presented itself? Absolutely.

(After the banwave, Honorbuddy was taken offline. So even if I had an active account, I could not bot.)

If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them. If you want to express your contempt for me and the rest of the bot community, I certainly can't stop you, but I won't engage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Story of a Rock and a Hard Place

I made the decision to stop raiding with Loihi due to real life as well as not feeling like I fit in with my guild. I decided to focus on starting up a horde guild and starting to raid with them.

I am very honest with people when I try to recruit them. We only have a handful of 100s right now. We aren't ready to raid right this minute. We are trying to recruit more 100s so that we can start raiding as soon as possible. However, I'm not looking people who are already experts and are just gearing up an alt. I'm looking for people who want to learn together and become a team. A family even. I want everyone to have a fresh start. We did it before, and it worked so beautifully.

The problem is that everyone is pretty much done with Highmaul now and ready to jump into BRF. There aren't enough people in our server group who haven't stepped into the raiding scene but still want to get into it. I've recruited a lot of people who aren't 100 yet, but we've got this epidemic going on where people hit 100 and immediately leave the guild. I try to explain to them that if they could just have a little patience, we would get this thing going. You can't expect everything to happen immediately and on your time; we're trying to build a team and that takes a little bit of effort.

There was a guy that I talked to on Saturday who was absolutely perfect. Our raid times fit for him, he shares our raid mentality, and he had a few friends who he wanted to bring with him. I must have talked to him for half an hour. I never pushed him to join; all I did was answer his questions honestly. He finally decided to join and brought one friend with him. He said he'd invite the others as they came online. Then on Tuesday - just 3 days later, he left the guild with no explanation.

We keep getting super close, and then people leave. It's really frustrating.

I've even considered leaving my guild - whether it be on horde or alliance - and joining another guild. The problem is that Loihi, despite having done several weeks of Highmaul, still has no gear. And Amayaa has never done Highmaul, so she has no gear. Everyone is recruiting 650+ at this point to go into BRF. Nobody is recruiting people that aren't even Highmaul geared.

I shot myself in the foot, I guess. I mean, I had no way of knowing that Loihi's guild wouldn't work out. It seemed so perfect. And I'm just not going to raid in a guild where I'm unhappy. I'd rather not play the game at all. I'm trying really hard to get things going for Amayaa, but people aren't committed, and I can't control other people.

I'm trying to get my followers leveled up on both characters so I can get some decent gear from missions, but even if I do, nobody wants tanks, and I'm not going to dps on Amayaa.

I'm on the verge of canceling my subscription, and that's not a place I want to be.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I've decided that, for now, I have to stop raiding with Loihi. It was a tough decision because I made a commitment to these people, but real life comes first. I wasn't necessarily falling behind in my classes, but I was in a place that made me feel uncomfortable. I think that if we raided on different nights, it might be different. The problem is that I have class on Tuesday and Thursday. We are usually assigned about 4 hours of reading between Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday is raid night. It just doesn't work.

I raided both days last week. Wednesday night is pretty much farm night at this point; we can kill the first five bosses easily. In my guild, we don't do DKP and we don't have any real loot rules or rules regarding gearing alts or anything like that. Most of them have been raiding together for years, so they are fine with just using group loot and rolling when you need something. You're expected not to roll again if you win something and someone else needs something. That's the only rule. So on the very first week we went into Highmaul, Kargath dropped the cloth helm. I rolled on it, but it went to the other warlock in the group. After that raid, we switched to personal loot. This past week, they decided to switch back to group loot. The warlock who had won that helm had decided he didn't like the major warlock suckage going on right now, so he switched to his shadow priest. So on Wednesday, Kargath dropped the cloth helm again. I still need it, so I rolled on it again. So did the shadow priest who had previously won it on his warlock. Guess who won? Yeah, not me. I've never been in a raiding guild before where that sort of thing was acceptable. But I'm still new and they're all old friends, so I felt like I didn't have a place to say anything.

Later, Tectus dropped his staff. I rolled on it. This time it was won by an alt mage who already has it on his main. This guy gave it some thought, decided it was unfair because he was an alt, and decided to give it away. But rather than looking at the rolls to see who came in second, he said, "did anyone else need this?" and our GM shouted, "I do! I need it! Give it to me!" She had already won something; I hadn't. He gave it to her, no questions asked. These two incidents were pretty much the proverbial straw for me. I know it's a game, and I know it's only loot, and I know my dps sucks because Blizz did my class dirty. But my dps isn't going to get better if I never get any loot, and no one gives me a second thought because I'm just the new girl. It hit me right in the gut, and I couldn't focus for the rest of the raid. My dps was garbage, I was standing in was bad. And I just told Josh right then and there, "This is my last night of this. I'm not going to make real life sacrifices for this." I had just bought a new headset, too. It came in the mail the day of that raid.

It's been a week, and I'm still pretty upset about all of it. At this point, I don't know what I'm going to do. I really really want a casual raid atmosphere. I don't want to pay to server transfer, but the server Loihi is on sucks. Finding a dps raid spot now in the type of guild I'm looking for... ugh. I really thought this guild was going to be perfect for me. I got in before WOD came out so I'd be in a good position, and it just isn't what I was hoping for at all.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday

So my post the other day got me feeling a little nostalgic, and I thought I'd share some other old screenshots with you.

There was that time we convinced a noob level 17 to come into Shadow Labs with us...

And that time Vare and Loihi stood on the steps of the Cathedral...

The time we attempted to raid Crossroads...

And had guild meetings under Stormwind...

There was the time my cat tried to eat all of the candy...

And the day Loihi got her dreadsteed...

And the time we visited the happy face under Kara...

Sadly, I've lost most of the screenshots I've taken over the years. I never remember to back them up, and I've gone through quite a few new computers/operating system changes/reformats. But these are some of my favorites that I did manage to backup.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Level 100 Hordies!

We did it!!

As you can see, I hit level 100 picking up a piece of treasure. Josh was burned out on questing, so I suggested we go on a treasure hunt instead. From 98 through 100, all we did was pick up treasures. No quests. Just treasures (and rares, but they hardly give any xp). I was both surprised and not surprised that we were able to do it. And I think we only got maybe half the treasures in Nagrand. 22200xp per treasure...pretty sweet. It was different and fun, too. Using all of the gliders to try to get to the ones in otherwise-impossible-to-reach places. I'm not necessarily saying I would do it again, but it was a fun way to finish out the grind.

What a nice family portrait! haha. I didn't have time to turn the names off. Zelu never sits still long enough for that. I had to snap the pic the moment I saw the opportunity!

But I did turn them off after that in case the opportunity presented itself again. And it did. Sort of. We went to visit Khadgar to get our rings, and Zelu was standing there looking all badass. Funny story, Amayaa started out with that blue/purple hair. But it made them look like brother and sister. We couldn't have that. She went platinum when the barber shop came out and never looked back.

Oh, you want to see? Here she is looking scandalous at level 29.
The date on this picture is 3/19/2008!

Oh, and here's one of the twins.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding a Balance

Yikes, it has been three weeks again.

I'm having a lot of trouble juggling everything in my life, and everything is suffering for it. The last time Josh and I were part of a raid group, we were working dinner shift at a restaurant. We were in a west coast guild (we live on the east coast) and it worked out perfectly. We would come home from work around 10 and jump into our raids. We didn't have to be up early in the morning and we had our days off.

Now we both have grown-up jobs. Josh has to be at work at 6:30am, so long gone are the days of raiding until 1:30am. Our guild raids Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 to 11, which is pretty perfect for us. Our first raid was on January 7th. I've been blessed with the opportunity to go back to school this semester and finally finish up my degree. My class started on January 8th. It's Tuesdays and Thursdays from right after work until 6:30. I think I bit off more than I could chew, getting on a new raiding schedule and starting classes at exactly the same time. Both my contributions to the raids and to my class have been suffering. It's been a long time since I really had to manage my time - 6 years since I was last in school. I've already had to sit out two raids because of it. I'm determined to find the balance, though. I can make it work.

Josh and I are also struggling to find a balance because it has recently become abundantly clear that my heart lies with the horde, and his lies with the alliance. He has humored me, and we've been working on Zelu and Amayaa. Slowly but surely. We are making sure that we only play when we have an abundance of rest. We've made it to level 97 so far. But any time we aren't playing together, he is playing alliance and I'm playing horde.

And maybe it's not even so much a horde/alliance thing as a warlock thing. Being at the bottom of the meter in every raid because your class is just plain awful is not a good feeling. I'm good at my class; I know I am. But my performance looks bad because warlocks are bad right now. It's extremely frustrating and disheartening. The horde has always been my refuge, and maybe that's what it is right now.

I'm also getting some iffy vibes from the guild Loihi and Popkorn are in. At first I thought it was a perfect match. Even after my first raid night with them, I thought it was a perfect match. But lately I'm not so sure.

I have been indiscriminately recruiting for Diabolical, Zelu and Amayaa's guild. We've gotten quite a few people, and we have another tank and a healer who seem pretty serious and reliable. They may end up leaving because Josh and I aren't leveling fast enough, but if they stick around, I'd really like to get a raid group together. But when am I going to have time for that?! I can barely manage what I've got going on. I have my weekends, but I have always been pretty adamantly opposed to raiding on the weekends. So I guess we'll see what happens.

Here. Have some screenshots of my pretty ladies.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Disappearing Act

Has it really been that long?! 3 weeks?! I've definitely fallen into the "I've been too busy playing to blog about playing" thing that I've heard from some other people.

My gut instinct was to level all of my characters straight to 100, and I've seen a lot of people doing that. But I'm taking my time. Loihi and Adelaide are still my only level 100s. I've got my new (boost character) druid, Stitch, to 98. I've got my priest, Bisous to 94. It's unlikely that either of those will ever be "serious" characters, though. L & A have always been my only serious alliance characters, and I don't see that changing now. And Todd & Co. bailed on us with the guild they formed (and we joined) so I've somewhat abandoned A.

I did finally convince Josh to start playing horde with me. I have been maintaining Amayaa's garrison this entire time. I've made sure to send my followers on missions at least once a day since I got my garrison (November 20) and it has put me way ahead of the game. Amayaa is only level 93, but she has four level 100 followers and over 4000 resources. I'm pretty dang excited about it. Since Josh didn't get Zelu's garrison until about a week ago when he started playing him, he's not so far ahead. But with these characters we've decided to really take our time, think things out, and do things right. We're learning from the mistakes we've made with Loihi and Popkorn (and Adelaide and Vare) and we won't make them this time around. There's no rush to 100. Amayaa and Zelu probably won't see Highmaul, or if they do, they'll be on the tail end of it. Loihi and Popkorn are our "main"s and they'll teach us everything we need to know.

I'm a little unsure what to do about Amayaa's professions, though. She is an enchanter/jewelcrafter, and it has always worked out really well for us. But now that gems are sort of a non-thing, I hate that I have a jewelcrafting building taking up space in my garrison. I guess when they designed garrisons, they assumed one of your professions would be a gathering one so they didn't make those take up space, and then you'd have a space for a building of your choice. Unfortunately, Loihi is a tailor/enchanter, so that didn't work out for her either. I'm hesitant to drop jewelcrafting for fear that gems will once again be a thing (that they'll start putting definite gem slots on items) but I guess it doesn't matter that much. Somehow Amayaa is always rolling in gold, so I can easily buy gems when I need them. But leveling a new profession. Ugh. And what would I choose? I could go blacksmithing, but by the time I need that gear, it will probably be obsolete. I could pick up a gathering profession and then just get a building to do the work for me (like alchemy, maybe). I could go engineering because that's always fun but super expensive to level. Oh, the decisions!