Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The pursuit of goals. . .

Any meaningful activity must at some point include the pursuit of goals. If progress is being met, these goals will change over time. This is true of any activity in life, but in MMO's it is quite easily to quantify.

The reason why I started this post with generalities is that everyone's goals are different. There are many who measure their success by their level, gear level, amount of purple gear they have, their completion of the endgame content or amount of achievements they've completed. Greedy Goblin, seems to measure success by his ever increasing bankroll. I don't know how I would quantify my "success" at the game, or even failure if looking at it in those terms. I do know it is not the same measures most seem to attach.

I look at my characters as a community. They provide for each other, they craft for each other, store for each other. I occasionally craft things for guildmates, run others through instances and the like, but really I do things to further my alts. I don't really have a "main". That assumes I favor one character above the others which is more a factor of my mood or needs at the time than any real major preferrence. It's an almost perfect communism, each character performing as best they can for the good of the whole. I guess my end "goal" is a community of alts that is more than the sum of it's parts, able to fill whatever role I require at the time.

My pursuit of this goal has been very different than any other I have read about or known anyone to experience. I did not blaze through content to the level cap and then use my max leveled character to fund alts. I do have a highest level character, but I hit level 71 only yesterday (although at that rate I should get to WotLK's cap a bit faster than TBC's). I want to progress my whole stable of alts almost as one so that everyone is fairly even and I can best assess everyone's strengths and weaknesses. I want to grand master every profession (except maybe engineering, I am back and forth on that, although I may level it on the warrior for the sake of completion). I only have 2 epic speed mounts (one was the free DK one) and only one flying mount, not the epic variety. I have less than 1000 gold, not because I don't make gold, but I see it more as a means to an end, so I spend it rather liberally.

I used to think I wanted to see everything. After some consideration about Kara, I found that to not be the case. Kara was all in all not really relevant to me. Although Karazhan itself has a place in the Wow mythos, it's current inhabitants don't really. So the whole run to me seemed like nothing but the pursuit of gear. My goal now is to run only those elements that are inspiring. I want to experience Mount Hyjal and kill Illidan. I want to (maybe) kill Arthas. Maybe I will still be playing when we get to fight Deathwing. (As a side note, wouldn't it be cool to do a CoT instance with a pre and post metal plating deathwing?).

So I have goals, just like everyone else. However, my goals are both easier and harder to acheive. One of these days, I will have a goal which is not possible to attain. Maybe at that point I will be done with World of Warcraft.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bdays, vacations, and holding grudges. . .

So I had four days off from work, which means lots of relaxing/playing of Wow and no blogging. I considered a few blog topics, but its hard to pull the trigger on that when I could be actually playing the game instead. Christmas was fairly uneventful, my birthday was yesterday, that went pretty well in spite of the hour we spent waiting for a table at BW3's (I wanted to watch the UFC fight, it did not disappoint, awesome PPV). I turned 29 and yes, I definately feel almost 30. My little brother who is 18 goes to the gym for an hour and runs 4 miles on a bowl of cereal and is fine, I go to the gym for 40 mins, eat tons of protein and today I am pretty darn sore. Oh well.

Over the vacation, I got a chance to do something I had as of yet never done. I ran Karazhan with my guild. The main tank in our guild was pretty disgruntled to see just about every piece of tank gear drop. I was slightly disgruntled to see the level 69 death knight rolling on all of it. Why the hell does a death knight need gear with shield block rating? THEY CANT EVEN USE SHIELDS!! But the other part of me said it's just gear and its not like I'm hurting in that area. Also since I really have no desire to run instances in the expansion and we have multiple blacksmiths, I can get plenty of crafted gear. It was pretty fun, I used my badges to buy the tanking ring, it was a pretty nice upgrade. I will probably add the enchanter only stam buff to it and have a nice tanking ring. Well, nice for low-mid 70's.

I did make a decision though based on how Kara went. Paladins are great as main tanks, UTTERLY WORTHLESS as off-tanks. As most of my abilities are mana driven and my mana regeneration is driven by being attacked, if I'm not being attacked, I can't do anything. I'm not going to drop my paladin, but I doubt he will be my first character to 80. That distinction will probably go to my death knight. Speaking of death knights, I am thinking of re-speccing at 70 as a hybrid blood/unholy. Just enough blood to get rune tap (an ability I currently lean on heavily when soloing. Vampiric blood then rune tap is a pretty powerful instant heal), then down the unholy tree to get a little bit better AOE damage and the zombie pet full time. Yes, it loses out on some of the better unholy abilities, but I find the health regen from blood to of more use to me. I think the best thing for me if I were to ever raid would be a caster with AOE, either a warlock (which I have now at 58 just doing tailoring, soon to add alchemy), or a Mage, or maybe my baby shadow priest. I'm still debating between priest and druid for my designated healer character.

The last major thing that came up this weekend: I saw someone walking around in the Robes of Arugal and it brought up some old memories. A LOOOONG time ago, I was on a Shadowfang Keep run with some guildies. This was on my warlock who was the 2nd character I ever made. We got through it and the robes dropped, I was ecstatic! I was the only cloth wearer in the group and for their level, they are the best robes in the game. Then the warrior in our group rolls need on them. A FUCKING WARRIOR NEEDED ON THE ROBES OF ARUGAL!!!!! Ever since then, my opinion of this player has been somewhere between hatred and severe distaste. He is in our guild, I believe he has raided, but he is on a three hour time difference from me and most of us in the guild so I rarely see him on. To him it may have been a minor thing, but to me it was a major slight that he never apologized for. It was a selfish, douchebag move, if it was merely a mistake, he would have said something when it happened. I admit, I have held a grudge and probably will continue to even if he apologizes. Anybody else have a long standing grudge over something like this?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We'll call this "miscellaneous". . .

A few things that bug me about Wow, but first a shout out. . .

Notice it for the name, read it for the content, WTFSpaghetti is a great blog, lots of content, not all of it is for everyone, but its a great read, check them out!

A couple things that have been bugging me recently:

Druid travel form - I have rolled 4 druids, all feral. With other characters having access to mounts at 30, I had assumed blizz would give it some kind of buff. I assumed wrong. The most reasonable would be to apply the +20% move from feral swiftness to travel form as well. 40% base, +20% = 60%, wouldn't you know it, thats the same speed as the basic mount. These calculations are tricky, arent they? Now why didnt blizz think of this.

Rin'ji - not quite sure on the spelling and I can't check any sites at work to provide specifics but does it bother anyone else that rinji is level X and the Axe of Rin'ji requires level X+1 to use? While that does make sense why he got captured by the alliance ("AHHH I have a superior quality weapon, if only I could use it to defend myself!!") This is a surprising lack of continuity for a company known for it.

Horde on Horde violence - Maybe its the quests I select, maybe it's the zones I am questing in. Other than Hillsbrad, I find myself primarily killing Hordies. I rarely if ever find myself killing Alliance. That I can recall, I have killed tons of trolls, and quite a few orcs (mostly in outlands). The only Humans I can recall killing in any number are Defias. I know by playing Horde, I am essentially playing the "bad guy" but come on!

Those are just a few of my little warcraft pet peeves. . .

Monday, December 22, 2008

no incentive for tanking less than 10 mans?

I tanked my first instance in the expansion over the weekend. This happened for a multitude of reasons, mostly I just havent had the desire to play my paladin. I like him just fine, I've just been more concerned with other things, and its pretty difficult to level 2 crafting skills without accompanying gathering (my miners are still in outlands). I've also taken a shine to my death knight who is incredibly fun to play and visually appealing. Anyways, I got about 3/4 of the way to 71, strapped on my defense gear and ran utgarde keep.

I definately have thoughts on that, among them the 3 second cast spell I'm supposed to avoid which either I was too tired to see coming or have no idea what to look for, I kept getting hammered, dying and the group wiping shortly thereafter. Up till that point, I thought the instance was almost too easy.

Another issue I had with the instance was with loot drops. Although I did manage to pick up a set of BOE blue cloth shoulders and a leather "of the bandit" helm, none of the boss drops were usable. I went to thottbot to check and see what kind of tanking equipment we can expect to get from instancing to find something peculiar. There is almost none. Most of the plate seems to be for DPS, there isnt even much with spellpower. Now, as a prot pally I generally prefer AOE grinding to instancing, better XP and the ONLY benefit from instances used to be improved loot. Take that away and why would I instance? Another wrinkle in the equation is the fact that the "best" pre-raid tank gear in the game is crafted - the tempered saronite set. This is not really giving me the desire to run out, grab pugs and instance.

As far as tanking skill goes, I have a touch over 10k HP, my def is about 501. Up until the final boss, I had no problems holding aggro, we had no wipes (we did lose a lot of the group on the 2 bosses in the middle but I doubt that was aggro related). I definately CAN tank, the skills are virtually identical to how I AOE grind and I'm pretty good at that. Any decent pally with a concept of a tank rotation should be able to hold aggro (holy shield, consecrate, hammer, repeat). What I'm really wondering is why I should bother. I could very easily go back and see the content with my guild once I've hit 80. So I am going to AOE till 80, quest, grind on mobs, enjoy the new tabard goodies and leave the tanking to DK's who can get a gear upgrade out of it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Balance isnt just a druid spec. . .

I've been thinking about balance a lot lately. Not in the sense of being able to stay on my feet in less than ideal condition, and not even in the druid spec sense. The balance I'm talking about is balancing leisure time activities.

I am fairly blessed in that my job consumes a pretty set amount of time, allows me to pay my bills and have a fair amount of disposable income (I hate that term, sounds like I'm just throwing it away, which I guess I am, but still) for hobbies and such. However, the one thing I have a very finite amount of (like everyone else), is time.

I love Wow, if you're reading this blog, chances are you love Wow too. However, Wow is not the only thing in life I like to do, how do I balance my Wow time with my other activities. Well, scheduling is the first thing. I don't sit down to play Wow unless I have nothing else to do. I'm a realist, I can't restrict myself to just a half hour, the game doesn't work that way, I don't stick to it. My scheduled activities come first: if I have a hockey game at 9pm, I have to get to the rink by 8:30, I have to leave the house by 8, no ifs ands or buts. I can be replaced in an instance run, my team can't play without a goalie. And for those of you that follow hockey, teams like PuG goalies even less than groups like PuG tanks.

What it really comes down to is priorities. As I said before, I love Wow, you love Wow. The thing is each person has to decide what place Wow occupies in your life. I have very little desire to raid, I would NEVER characterize myself as a "hardcore" player, even though I play 20+ hours a week (I thought about that the other day, I do spend a lot of time playing). The difference, to me, for a "casual" player, Wow is fun, you enjoy it, but other things take preferrence. If I have to choose between Wow and hockey, I usually play hockey. I take time to practice guitar. I go to the gym. I occasionally spend time with my soon to be wife (she usually watches reality TV while I'm playing Wow).

For me, Wow is a hobby, one of many. Yes I spend plenty of time thinking about it, writing about it, and playing it, but I have other interests as well. My point to all this is that balance is good. Remember, even blizzard says: "Bring your friends to Azeroth, but remember to spend time with them outside it as well".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We're wearing the same tabard, who are you again?

I had intended to post a little more about death knight tanking, but something else came up. Our guild has been growing, and I find the changes interesting.

When we first formed the guild (ok, our GM did most of the work, but my name was on the charter), it was entirely people from work. Thats the mass affluent in Mass Affluent Slayers (we all worked in the mass affluent services dept of a major US financial institution). We all knew each other and it was like hanging out after work. I can't quite place exactly when it happened, but earlier this year, we expanded to include a group of players from Mississippi. Like any group that includes new members, it took a while to get used to everyone, but they fit in really well with our "core" group of players. They're all smart, knowledgable, helpful people.

Recently, our guild has expanded again. I have mixed feelings about this. It has nothing to do with newer people we gained. The ones I have talked to/run with are great. There are just a couple things seeming to happen that I have reservations about. Our guild has always been about the players because we pretty much all have multiple alts (I'm going to be running 5-6, thats cutting back for me). However, I feel like I just don't know a lot of the newer players. I don't know anything about them, I've never really talked to them. I'm sure they're nice people, they're still in the guild, but I like our guild to be like a neighborhood bar, everyone knows everyone. Another thing that is starting to happen is that the people with higher level characters are starting to be like a seperate group from those that don't. I wasnt around pre-expansion, so I don't know how things were with people powerleveling to 70 (I just had to deal with the bored ones ganking me while I tried to level). Hopefully, once people catch up, it will clear itself up and we will be back to "normal".

My other "issue" with the guild expansion is that I don't really know where we're headed. I know our GM wants to raid. I know we have a number of members who have raided in the past and probably will in the future with us or someone else. A lot of our "core" members ran Kara repeatedly. I looked at our registration and we have well over 25 players. We have enough tanks and heals that at 80, we could conceivably run 25 man content. I don't know how many people feel like me, I never intended to participate in 25 man raids. I was really happy when blizz said they were releasing 10 man versions of all the 25 man raids. I saw this as an opportunity to see all the content without the hassle of a 25 man raid. I had a ton of fun when we 6 manned Onyxia. There are players who want to be challenged, I am not one of those people. I pretty much just want to make alts, see everything and have the game on "easy mode". For me, it is supposed to be relaxing. In all honesty, I wouldn't even be playing horde OR PvP but thats where my friends are.

So to summarize, I don't really know where our guild is going. 25 mans? 10 mans? I guess we'll see. Part of my rationalization for having 5-6 alts: no matter what we do, I want to be able to contribute in some way. I have ZERO desire to tank or heal a big raid, too much chaos. But I can throw down with some caster or melee DPS. So I'll have Pally for tanking, Priest for healing, Warlock for caster DPS, Death knight for melee DPS, and a Warrior and maybe Druid because I rolled them and can't figure out what to do with them (I have always been feral as a druid, all 4 I've rolled, I accept that boomkin and tree are highly effective, but I have always been about style over substance, maybe I'll change my mind at some point).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This is me admitting I'm wrong. . .

So, I have been doing some deep thinking of late. I kind of feel like a hypocrite. On one hand, I talk/think about player skill and enjoyment of the game and doing what you want. On the other hand I pretty blatantly hand out judgement on various classes, specs and play styles. I think I owe the collected Wow blogsphere an apology.

In thinking about things, I missed the single most important attribute of Wow, the reason why it has 27 bajillion players and why it appeals to so many. There are multiple ways to do anything. I feel extra bad having missed this, me who experimented with almost every class and spec there is.

I would like to thank "anonymous" for the DK tanking comment that really sort of started this train of thought in motion. I still believe prot Paladins make the best tanks (I have to represent!), but I think what blizz has done recently is level the playing field a lot more. You don't have to min/max to have fun at the game. Hell, you don't have to do ANYTHING that isn't fun in the game.

I think one thing that is really easy to lose sight of is that all players' goals are not the same. I have no desire to progress past 10 man raids. They're the same content as the 25 mans, they're just easier and require less people. I just want to see everything. Blizz almost blatantly catered to me with this new expansion. I hate PvP but I tolerate it to play on a server with my friends. For some people, open world PvP, arena and BG's are why they play. Some people want to be really challenged with REALLY hard 25 man raid content.

To those of you who play hunters and enjoy it, have at it, enjoy your class, I will try to keep the "Huntard" comments to a minimum

I will try to stick to complaints about behavior and not generalize about classes.

I should know better than a lot of people, tanking is about organization and ability (ok, and a large part gear), and its results that matter, not the path.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Four death knights and a healer walk into a bar. . .

It sounds like the start of a bad joke. It is instead the composition of a group I ran with in a hellfire ramparts run (and a fairly common composition I'm sure). I thought I would share a few interesting notes from the run and behaviors I noticed.

First of all, despite what blizzard says, death knights are not ideal tanks. Their attacks by their nature generate aggro, and their frosta aura I believe has some built in mitigation and threat increasing components but even in a full frost build (which I admittedly am not), they are clearly a 4th option and may even be worse than an off-spec version of a "true" tanking class. Death and decay works much like consecration, but it's extremely high cost in runes (1 of each) makes it less than ideal for tanking. I ended up "tanking" our run by virtue of being in frost aura and using the same pattern I use for AOE griding. I generated the most threat so mobs attacked me and since I was taking the bulk of the damage, the healer healed me. This was COMPLETELY unintentional.

Death knights are admittedly over powered. Our group was 2 level 62's, a couple 59's and our healer was a level 65 resto shaman (who was amazing, I wish I could remember his name). We had no wipes even on an over-pull (which I will discuss in a bit). This being over-powered is great for solo grinding or a DPS capacity, but the mindset will be a drawback in a difficult instance. The group leader refused to mark, random people were pulling, there was no discipline at all. We didn't wipe, not because of anyone's skills (one guy wanted to AFK in the middle of the instance to "hit his bong") but because. It looks like we can safely name DK's "Children of Huntards" because they take even less skill to play and it seems like most people playing DK's now not only have no idea how to play the DK, but don't know the game in general.

I never want to run a multiple deathknight instance (unless it's all guild) again. There are multiple reasons for this. A) we all use the same gear, so everyone is basically rolling on the same thing so the only thing I have a good chance of getting is XP, no thanks, I can quest for that. B) No CC, no discipline, and most people who play them I think just hit random buttons, yeah ramps is about as easy as it gets, I see multiple wipes and frustration if too many were included. C) last, but not least, it seems like the only people who play them are annoying and/or don't know the game. Maybe its the level, maybe it's the fact I very rarely PuG anymore, but I see tons of them running around, chatting in general chat with no idea whats going on. You know whats worse than a n00b? An OP n00b.

I love my death knight. I will continue playing him. I will probably level him to 80 and keep him around in case my guild happens to want melee DPS and my tanking and/or healing services aren't wanted. I LOVE questing and solo grinding with him. However, thats what they're best for, questing/grinding and not instances.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Death knight AOE grinding

Most of the guides I have seen focus on Unholy, which I semi-understand as a lot of the DK's damage is disease oriented. I chose blood for both my deathknights, although I may re-spec my human either frost or unholy for experimentation purposes. Since I have a passion for AOE grinding, I would like to compare the DK to my first love and the class their grinding most compares to, the Paladin.

When I said their AOE compares most to the paladin, that is true to a point. They have an ability VERY similar to consecration which does DoT to a radius. Whoever they bring a warlock-type feel to the game with the application of multiple DoTs. My method of doing this is probably different than others' but it has worked for me (albeit in small sample size).

First step is gather up mobs. I try to stick to groups of 3-5, paladins and frost mages can do larger groups, but the DK can't kite like the mage or block and regen like the paladin, so smaller pulls are more advisable. I use my 2 DoT diseases to open, then use contagion to spread it to the surrounding mobs. I hit death and decay to give me a radius DoT so we're up to 3 DoTs. Once those are applied, I alternate between Heart Strike, Death Coil, and using my blood talents to regen health.

What this ends up looking like is pretty similar to soloing, just you are taking a lot more damage, the mobs actually get a chance to hit you and although you are wearing plate, you lack the evasion and block abilities of someone using a shield. Rather than the more traditional prot AOE, this is very similar to how Ret deals with multiple mobs, complete with burst damage, just the DoT's are ticking them down in between bursts. You're even getting healing in the form of small regen from damage caused and use of blood talents.

As far as enjoyability, I find them to be less than prot paladins and mages, but more than Ret paladins, warriors and probably warlocks (I have yet to try an AOE with seed of corruption). Survivability I would give it about the same ranking.

In summary, think Ret Paladin with some DoT's, more range, and some cooler abilities, sacrificing on demand healing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Make love not warcraft. . .And my thoughts on the state of Wow

So I was aware that south park had made an episode that was quite well received about warcraft. I had never seen it, south park isn't a show that is in my regular rotation of things I watch (I don't have a DVR in the room I play Wow in and Wow consumes a large percentage of my free time).

This episode is HILARIOUS! I just laughed the whole time, all the way through it, I pretty much completely stopped questing a couple times the scenes were so hilarious.

I would say more, but I just couldn't do it justice.

On the state of wow, I was thinking about this today and lately I have had a much more enjoyable time than I have had in a LONG time. I have been sticking to basically my warlock, deathknight and priest (I love my paladin, just havent been motivated to quest much in the expansion, I think I am about 1/4 of the way into 70). I picked up death and decay, so I think my DK will be able to AOE more effectively. My priest got a HOST of new abilities at level 20 (I dunno if they're new, I never used them before, or I just ignored them). My lock is fun and efficient. I barely ever have to stop to eat/drink. I can take single mobs even higher than my level and an occasional elite (after the elites, I DO have to stop and eat/drink). I don't normally fear being ganked because I can take most players my level and the others, its over before I can do anything. Plus its fun to go to a different screen and come back occasionally to see if they are trying to camp me waiting on the soul stone. Granted its a complete waste of time and I'd rather not do it, but such is the trade off of a PvP realm.

Speaking of PvP, I'm not an expert on it by any means, but I have an observation on Death knights in PvP. Reminds me of a quote from the movie firebirds, "The person who sees the other first is the winner, the one who gets seen first is toast". Death knights are the new kings of melee burst damage. Obviously I haven't extensively tested this, but it seems to be the case.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Buying gold is supporting terrorism. . .

For once, I'm not making an analogy, I'm not trying to make a play on words. For every one of you that bought gold, thank you for ruining at least the day of someone that is part of the reason why I came back to warcraft, if not driving her from the game completely. Last night someone hacked one of our guildmaster's accounts, cleaned out our guild bank and sold all the equipment on the characters.

For all of you who see "farming" as a chore, something to be avoided, you had a hand in this. Maybe you didn't pay the people who did this directly, but you made this viable. If people didn't buy gold there would be no reason for people to do this.

In game, this action didn't affect me at all. I had nothing of value in the guild bank, I probably didn't withdraw more than 50g in over a year. This action hurt me more deeply than all the times I've been defenselessly ganked in any zone put together. I feel like I may be losing a friend over someone's pathetic action.

As I write now I have resolved to do anything and everything to restore the posessions that were taken. I will gather, run instances, take as long as is needed, do whatever it takes to get her back to where she was. Her happiness at seening me return was a large part in why I came back, I will do whatever I can to return the favor.

Nothing I say or do will prevent people from buying gold. There will always be someone willing to do anything to get ahead, no matter who it hurts or what it costs. To anyone who reads this who ever bought gold I hope you feel shame. Your actions and those of people like you caused this. I hope this time the damage can be repaired.

Carrying a shield does not make you a tank. . .

So lately I have been leveling a few characters besides my paladin. I figure once people get bored with the new content, the "old world" will become PvP hell again, so may as well level my "project" characters while I can.

One of the ones that I have been focusing on is my level 52 Warlock. I do enjoy drain tanking with my lock. I have heard destro locks do a lot more burst damage and I will admit I have been tempted to go back to demonology to try out the felguard (always a goal of mine), for now, I am sticking with affliction. Well, to the point of this post. As anyone who has played a warlock knows, there is a short quest line where you go to felwood and speak with an imp. It seems the imp wants to make a minion for himself and needs materials. (This is truly hilarious if you think about it). The final part of the quest involves going to the temple of Atal Hakkar, otherwise known as sunken temple. Now, I have run this instance MULTIPLE times on MULTIPLE characters. I had considered soloing it with my paladin (oh the dragon room would be fun!), but it is kind of a pain in the ass to navigate, and I get lost easily (ok, granted, black rock depths is not much better, but I had only been there a few times when I soloed it).

So, I joined the LFG channel and I get auto-added to a group with a character named "paladinsrock". I'm thinking "Well hell ya they do!", first problem though, he's level 45, a little low for ST. So I'm thinking, well, ok, decent tank, decent heals, I am probably over-powered for the instance, we can do this. So we get a couple other characters, 49 warrior and a Shaman (I'm guessing elemental, I never really asked, I know he was NOT resto). So I ask in party chat if the warrior is tanking. Paladinsrock (who will henceforth be referred to as PR) says "no, I'm tanking". For his part, the warrior said he's protection, but he'll do whatever. So I decided "well, maybe PR is in all blues I'll go check the armory." He is in lower level greens and specc'd straight retribution! So I asked in group chat if he'd tanked anything ever "yeah, I tanked scarlet monastery at 30 and mara". I suggested he let the warrior tank and was greeted with more of the same. So I did the most sensible thing in this situation. I left the group.

After leaving the group he whispered me "you're a dick". I attempted to reply "my main is a prot paladin and you trying to tank something you're not only completely not qualified for but when there is someone in the group better equipped to do so is insulting". I found out he had placed me on ignore. Very mature.

So if you ever find yourself on the Horde side of Daggerspine and you happen to run with "paladinsrock" or you are in a guild with him, you have my pity, I share the frustration that you feel, will feel, or have already felt.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why I think Wow has a lot in common with MMA. . .

In earlier times in my life I was a rather serious practitioner of the martial arts. Much like I am with Wow characters, I practiced a number of arts, I definately have preferrences, but I wanted to try a little bit of everything, just to make sure I wasnt missing anything. The thing I found out is that there are many different paths to get to the same end result and there is no one "best" path. The "best" path for an individual is the one that emphasizes an individual's strengths and minimizes their weaknesses.

I was watching the show the Ultimate Fighter last night. One of the featured matches was a pure wrestler with minimal stand up ability versus a black belt in Brazillian Jujitsu who was a polished stand up fighter. Both fighters want to achieve the same goal: win the fight. How they intend to get there is COMPLETELY different. The wrestler wants to take down the other fighter, avoid his strikes and grapples and strike him on the ground. The BJJ fighter wants to use his stand up skills to create space and when the fight goes to the ground use his grappling skills to go for a submission. How does this relate to Wow?

In solo content all classes are effectively looking to do the same thing: complete a quest, kill 10 of whatever, escort billy-bob from point A to point B, etc. It is how you get there that is the heart of the game. Casters like doing this in a flashy way, sometimes multiple mobs at a time, nuking things, hopefully from a distance. Melee DPS like to get right up close and trade shots, relying on their damage to be superior to the mobs' damage. Huntards mindlessly hit buttons and brag about their awsum skilz. OK, just kidding about that last one, mostly.

The point I am trying to make with all this is that the methodology of how you achieve goals is what sets each class apart. This "flavor" is what makes each class/spec unique. There is no one "best" way to do things. If I had to give advice to a new player, I would say try the one you gravitate towards the most first, but TRY EVERYTHING. You never know what may unexpectedly be enjoyable for you.

And in case any of you were wondering, the wrestler won the fight. He basically took the Jujitsu fighter down repeatedly, and then when on the mat sat in the other fighter's guard doing nothing. It was one of the most boring fights I've seen, but he won.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A post about my guild. . .

Its something I've been thinking about a lot lately, and it occured to me I have never really posted anything in depth about my (our) guild.

When I first started playing Wow, I was told in no uncertain terms I should roll horde on the server Daggerspine. I was working at a rather well known financial institution which shall remain nameless in the Mass Affluent Services department. After a while, we had a pretty sizable amount of the department playing Wow, enough to justify starting our own guild. One of our coworkers who had been playing Wow the longest suggest we name it Mass Affluent Slayers. Ruhtra, our fearless (most of the time) leader got the petition signed and got tabards together and Mass Affluent Slayers was born.

At first it was pretty much just people from work, but as with any group, it expanded to select people that guild members met in the game. I can honestly say some of my favorite guildies are people I have never actually met in real life. I make the sports analogy all the time, but our guild really does remind me of my hockey team. It also reminds me of a family, which I guess it is (Junior pally tank for the win!).

The guild has come a long way since inception. We have a few members who very well could have left and run mid to upper tier raid content pre-expansion, but they stayed. I think the reason I enjoy the guild so much is how close knit we are and how everyone cares about everyone else and genuinely try to help each other out. We are getting more organized and I really think 10 mans in the expansion are a reasonable goal.

I can genuinely say that without our guild, my gaming experience would not be the same. I may get frustrated by PvP (ok, HORRIBLY frustrated), and there are things that just make my blood boil, but our guild is really one of the parts of Wow that I enjoy the most.

Shameless recruiting plug: If you play Horde on the Daggerspine server, Mass Affluent Slayers may want YOU!! You can search for us and contact anyone about guild membership.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Now, more all over the place. . .

As a warning, I'm going to be all over the place with this post, it's fitting with the weekend I had.

After a long exhausting trek, I got my death knight's mining and skinning up to 300. Skinning was ridiculously easy, mining wasnt bad up till thorium, then it got to be a pain. I did most of it in Ungoro crater, then the last few point in silithus. I went to Outlands late last night and did a couple quests to hit 59. Death knights are REALLY over powered. I fell into the chasm in hellfire with the level 63 Orcs, one aggro'd on me almost instantly, I proceeded to beat him down and leach his health till I killed him with a death coil when he ran away. I was level 58 at the time, ridiculous.

I leveled a shadow priest a little bit that I had sitting around. I am going to try to give this class a fair shake for a few reasons. I doubt dual specs will be coming before march of '09. With all the newbie death knights running around, heals have been at a premium. On the guild front we have 2 really strong healers, but scheduling conflicts do occur and it would be good to have the option of running a healer if the need arises. Plus I've heard shadow priests have some utility in 10 man groups.

I leveled my warlock a bit and I am really torn. Drain tanking is ridiculously easy. I can get a good amount of XP, I'm rarely in danger of dying, and any gnome warriors in my path I can burn down with ease (I used that last one with great glee in feralas). I just don't get the same enjoyment from it that I do from AOE grinding. But leveling mages is a pain. . .and I die. . .A LOT. And I have one on the alliance server and don't really have a great desire to level another one. So its looking like pally, DK, lock and maybe shadow priest.

On a non Wow related note, I got a pretty good deal on a digitech the weapon multi effect pedal. I have been learning to play the guitar and I came to the conclusion that the amp I have just does not have sufficient distortion to sound right to me. I was just looking for a regular run of the mill distortion pedal but this was a demo model, originally 129.00 for 39.00. And its endorsed by Dan donnegan, the guitar player for Disturbed, my favorite band. So I hooked it up and I got a lot of fuzz from the amp when I'm using it. I am going to try adjusting the gain to get it to sound right, I think I need to have the amp set super clean to get it to sound right. It has 3 different distortion models and some other effects, I'm pretty happy with it. Now I just need to get that whole playing thing down pat.

Friday, November 28, 2008


OK, I don't have much in the way of impressions on death knights because I've spent the last 2 days trying to raise my mining up to 300 so I can get to outlands. I will outline my strategy on that in a later post (I will do alliance and horde so as not to choose sides). However, my main reason for this post is to outline my limited thoughts on death knights play wise.

I chose to spec blood for both my death knights. I have heard unholy allows slightly higher damage and AOE capabilities, but I chose blood for a few reasons. First of all, I think vampiric regeneration is the best ability from RPG's. Stealing health to replenish your own is efficient, fun and is way better than using potions or band-aids (both of which DK's still have the option of. Secondly, if I wanted to AOE, I would play my paladin or level my mage. I'm sorry, for as OP as people say they are (and they do massive amounts of single target DPS), nothing a death knight can do will touch either of those classes so why try to make them something they're not? A Corvette is not a family car no matter how much you might want it to be, let it be a corvette. Lastly, I was just more drawn to the blood tree. Although Frost and Unholy both have cool abilities, more of the abilities from the blood tree looked like abilities I wanted to pick up.

As far as playability goes, I have a few observations. First of all, DK's have MASSIVE single target DPS. They are crit machines and they do it FAST. It is completely routine for me to drop thousand point hits it seems like every other attack. Even my human pally specc'd completely retribution and 6 levels higher doesnt throw out burst damage like this. Another observation I have is the reason for the title of this post. Death grip is AMAZING. I am not a fan of PvP. I hate it. However, whether it is a guild that our guild has conflicts with or certain classes (Sorry, although I am against PvP, if you are a rogue or a warlock, you're getting ganked, if I see you, I will death grip you and take you down. If you run, I will chase you down on my epic speed mount, death grip you and take you down), it is AMAZING in PvP. I don't know if it's just me, but I seem to cit more often after pulling them over too. Its like "GET OVER HERE!!!", Bam!!, plaguestrike crit, they drop.

One last thing about death knights. Tell me the rune sword they get at the end of the starter quests is not one of the coolest looking weapons in the game. I know orcs have a natural afinity for axes, but the axe looks so dumb and the sword looks so cool. I have reservations about even replacing it with the hellreaver (even though the hellreaver is a superior weapon stat wise). It looks that cool. . .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My impressions on the Death Knight quests

They kind of remind me of Star Wars episode 3. In the movie it was "OK Anaking, everyone knows you are going to turn evil, we have a half hour of the movie left, be evil now. . .Yes, my master". The death knight quests are the same except reversed. I spent almost the entire time slaughtering Scarlet Crusaders (and peasants and anything random that happened to get in the way). There was ONE quest where an NPC pulled the old Luke Skywalker "There is good in you, I have felt it. . ." and it got my hopes up. But nothing till the end of the line, then its like "OK, you rampaging champions of EVIL, you're good now, we're allies against your former master". Are death knights little more than attack dogs with runeweapons? "Just point me at something to kill, boss!"

One gripe of mine on the quest line is a quest where you fly around on a dragon and dive bomb things. I was a HUGE fan of the bombing runs in Hellfire, they were a lot of fun, no damage, you just ride on the flyer and drop bombs on things. This new quest is HORRIBLE and FRUSTRATING. I play wow because I want to see a guy put on armor and hit things with swords or occasionally blow things up with spells. This felt to me like the car chase missions in Grand Theft Auto: something frustrating that takes a few try and I want to be over so I can get back to the reason I'm playing the game.

Also, is it just me, or do you prefer the look of the initial death knight gear to the blues? That hood you start with is super awesome looking, but the helm looks a little goofy. I disabled it on both of mine and they look ok without, but I hope there is a hood I can find. Also, I wish we could runeforge plate armor to make it black and more deathknight looking. Once I start replacing the starting gear, my DK is going to look like an Arms warrior with glowing eyes (and black skin, the undeadish orcs look AWESOME).

One thing I find both tedious and hilarious at the same time is being level 58 with no gathering skills. I decided both my Orc and Human DK's are going to be Mining/Skinning, so after completing the line with my Human, I flew to Ironforge and decided to get started. Thousand point hits on level 5 wolves are less than satisfying and it will be quite a few of them before I can move to more satisfying prey. I was able to powerlevel my mining by smelting copper, took about 3 stacks to get me to level 55. I think I will head to the Draenei area to do some further mining/skinning (lots of tin there and skinnable animals). I have a TON of silver ore stashed away to smelt to raise my mining past the bronze zone. After that it is onto iron which can be done pretty easily in the yeti caves in Hillsbrad/Alterac (while also raising my skinning). Mithril can be done in the same area. It is thorium that is the pain in the ass. I was able to get a decent amount making loops of Ungoro (Apes and dinos should give me some decent skinning too), but it will take weeks to get enough to get to a decent level.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm not an addict, I can quit whenever I want to!

Well obviously I couldn't stay away from Wow for long. I reactivated my account this weekend. I just realized this is pretty much the game I want to be playing. There are aspects of it that frustrate me to no end, and I can't find a "perfect" situation, but I still enjoy playing and its a really good value ($15 a month for as much as I play works out to about $0.19/hr).

My month (or thereabouts) hiatus did give me some time to come up with a number of solutions to my Wow dilemma. First of all, I'm not going to restrict myself to one realm. I can get the full Wow experience, it just doesnt have to be an either or type thing. I will focus on Leshif (and maybe my DK) on Daggerspine, and do all my crafting and the majority of my questing on Azuremyst. Plus, leveling only 1 (maybe 2) characters to 80 in the beginning I can quest on only rested XP and if I get ganked and/or frustrated, I can just switch over.

On a non Wow related note, I stayed home from work sick today. I tried to take care of my fiance this weekend and I think I managed to get myself sick in the process, go me!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm coming back and why I prefer Alliance over Horde. . .

I guess it was inevitable. I couldn't stay away for long. There are certain things that I look for in games. I want to kill things in an entertaining fashion, I want to improve a character and probably most important, I want this character to look cool. Not only do I want the character to look cool, I want him to look MORE cool as he advances. I just wasnt getting this from Guild Wars or GTA. I have been checking server populations and after the queuing and population spike in the week or so after WotLK released things look to be back to relatively normal. So, to make a long story short, I will be returning to Azeroth, probably sooner rather than later.

This all got me to thinking. I have always preferred the Alliance side, but why? Well, its extremely superficial but the answer is window dressing. I like the way the alliance side looks better. There are 3 Alliance races that I like the character models for: Human, Night Elf and Draenai. I think a fantasy character should have some respectable facial hair (yes, I am shallow enough that I obsess over my characters' facial hair, I can't help it, I have some in real life, I think I should have some in the game too). The Horde has 2 races, only one of whom has decent options (It is ironic that my friends who complain about the alliance being populated by teens play characters who look like teenagers, you know kind of skinny and with weak little beards). The main Horde cities are Oggrimar and Undercity. They are ok looking and although the design of Oggrimar sort of angers me (I get lost looking for things), UC is pretty well designed and easy to find things in. However, when I started playing Alliance and first set foot in Stormwind, I thought "this is what a fantasy city is supposed to be." Stormwind is amazing, Ironforge is more convenient to some things, but my heart will always be in Stormwind.

This has nothing to do with which server I prefer or PvE vs PvP. Pretty much everyone I know plays Horde. This may not affect where I ultimately end up. But I prefer Alliance, and I probably always will.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guild wars vs Warcraft

So I have been playing guild wars for a while and I thought I would do a comparison between it and Warcraft. I won't be reviewing the PvP aspect because I havent participated in it, nor do I intend to. The areas I will focus on will be presentation, system, PvE content, crafting, lasting appeal, and polish. I'll rate each and give an overall rating at the end.


Warcraft - You either love Wow's graphics or hate them. The character models are slightly cartoony, shoulders are huge and there are some crazy looking weapons. There is enough variety that even a given 2 starting type characters won't look the same. There are a ton of different "looks" of item sets. I personally love the presentation, my only gripe is a personal one (*cough* Blood Elf facial hair *cough*). I personally prefer the Wow style to a more realistic looking game, but again, thats a personal preferrence, but the quality is definately there.

Guild Wars - Guild wars is an example of a more realistic game. The graphics are executed well, the character models are defined and the environments are good. Where guild wars falls short is in variety. There are different facial models, they all generally look the same. No real racial choices and no facial hair. Also the armor models are extrememely limited. The ones they have are done well (although I prefer the big shoulder pieces), I would just like a bigger variety and more mixing and matching besides just the ability to dye pieces (which is cool, but of limited utility).

Advantage: Warcraft - Variety takes the crown here. Warcraft just has a lot more options and ways to make your character look unique.


Warcraft - Despite numberous changes for "balance" the basic system remains the same. You pick your class, and you have talent trees which determine the abilities your class has in addition to basic class abilities. It gives you some room for customization and proper talent selection is basically a requirement for endgame content.

Guild Wars - This is the area that Guild wars really shines in. Each character has a primary class which determines armor and has a unique ability, and a secondary profession to select from. This gives a total of about 90 different combinations, and almost infinite variation when you take into account skills actually equipped on the character. It allows a surprising amount of variation, and from a role playing perspective you just have to think outside the box a little. My character is a warrior/monk. The monk skills that I took are smiting (holy damage) and protection, so I really think of him as a prot paladin. I could have gone straight warrior, or warrior/necromancer and gotten more of a deathknight type character.

Advantage: Guild Wars - Variety for the win. Seriously, this is the area where guild wars really shines. If you can't figure out a character to play, give up RPG's. You could make a Ranger/Necromancer combo if you wanted to. How does that go together? I have no idea, but it's possible.

PvE content:

Warcraft - The bulk of Warcraft's PvE content are Quests and Instances/Raids. I have mixed feelings about Warcraft's PvE content. Raids are going to be inaccessible for most casual players and most of the quests are of the "kill 10 rats" variety and difficult and/or very frustrating to do with other people around. On the other hand, the instances are very well designed and fun. From old content through expansion, there are a lot of them, and they are enjoyable and provide a healthy dose of lore.

Guild Wars - Guild Wars has a feature that I LOVE. All the content outside of cities is instanced. If I am solo questing, it is only me killing mobs. I don't have to worry about ganking, I can quest at my own pace, its just amazing.

Advantage: Guild Wars - Purely on the strength of the instanced solo content. While I think Warcraft has excellent instances, the solo content in Guild Wars is perfect for a player like me who wants to solo and be left alone.


Warcraft - Warcraft has an extremely deep and varied crafting system. Call it a money sink, time sink, not efficient, whatever you want, its there. I will be the first to admit its not perfect, but again, it offers a lot of options, and players can skip it completely by double gathering.

Guild Wars - Well, to be honest, I am underwelmed with Guild wars' crafting. It has promise, but the execution is rather lackluster. All "crafting" is done by NPC's. You get materials (either raw materials or item enhancements), pay them a fee, and they give you back an item. Its a useful system, but it just doesnt feel like crafting. And breaking items down into component parts with the use of salvage kits, while a good idea, just isnt that enjoyable.

Advantage: Warcraft - For all the faults of the wow crafting system (which is mainly just gear takes a long time to make, is expensive and not as good as drop gear), its leaps and bounds better than guild wars.

Lasting Appeal:

Warcraft - Well, I played it for a year and a half and didnt see everything. Although expansions are infrequent, they do always provide interesting new content.

Guild wars - undecided, probably low. The expansions don't raise the level cap, and although they provide new classes and campaigns there's nothing that jumps out at me and makes me want to pick them up.

Advantage - Undecided - I'm giving Guild Wars the benefit of the doubt here. I am anticipating it will hold my interest for about a month, so the advantage would seem to rest strongly on Warcraft, but I can't say that for sure.


Warcract - Warcraft has had continual improvements and polish is one of the areas where it shines compared to any game. They have really made attempts to make sure the everything functions at a high level and there are tons of features there for player convenience.

Guild Wars - Not so much. Its not that the game is rough per se. Its just the equivalent to comparing a high end diamond to one you bought at Walmart. Yeah they're both diamonds, but its the little things that make the difference.

Advantage - Warcraft - End of discussion.

Overall: Warcraft 3-2 - While Guild Wars has a lot going for it, and I think it will be a good way to occupy my time for a month or so, it isnt on the same level as Warcraft. It is definately a worthwhile game, and for $20 with no monthly fee, I would encourage anyone to pick it up. However, as is usually the case, you get what you pay for, the options and polish of Warcraft are lacking in Guild Wars in every area except class selection.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Guild wars to tide me over. . .

I still don't know if/when I am coming back to Wow. I havent really gotten that far. I did put out feelers to my friends that I know play to see who plays where. What I was really looking for was an Alliance PvE server. Nobody that I know plays on one currently. Wow isnt my ideal game, but in looking around, it appears to be the best of what's out there. I don't know if that justifies coming back, I'm still working on that decision.

When I sent out messages to my friends to see who plays where, I got a reply back that one of my friends from college started playing Guild Wars. I had written this game off previously because I'd heard it was heavily centered around PvP. Well, its $20.00, no monthly fee, and I have a friend who plays. I figured at worst, I play it a couple hours, get bored with it, and quit. I'd be out $20.00, no big loss.

I have a few observations about that game both good and bad. First of all on the good side: I really like the ability to pick primary and secondary classes. Primary gives you a "special" class only ability and controls armor you wear, but you can select skills and abilities from either class. As an example, I picked warrior as my primary. I had an option of going straight warrior, picking monk as secondary to go more paladin, necromancer to be more of a deathknight, or some other combo. It really gives you a lot of variety. The other feature that I think is AMAZING is that the world outside of towns is all instanced for your party. I can go kill 10 rats and not have to worry about someone else having come by and having to wait for the rats to respawn. I can solo at my leisure and don't even have to interact with other players unless I want to.

On the negative side there are a few things that take away my enjoyment from the game. First of all, where the hell is the bank? For that matter, can I get a little better marking of who does what and where? In wow there are these enormous signs or other features that mark things like the inn, AH, flightmaster, whatever. It took me almost an hour to find a vendor to sell my excess crap to and I STILL CANT FIND THE STUPID BANK. Also the crafting system shows promise, you get items, use a salvage kit to break them down into component parts and you can give those parts to an NPC to make things for you. Great in theory, but A) the salvage kits are expensive and B) I'm tired of carrying around wood planks and iron ingots. Also, I'm not getting much in the way of story or flavor from the quests, I'm just kind of running around doing things. And the text is pretty small and hard to read. And I'm allegedly almost 1/4 way to the level cap and wearing the same armor. In wow, I would have changed armor 2-3 times by level 20. I also am not crazy about the armor models. Maybe I got too used to wow with the over the top shoulder pieces and more manga-esque designs, but I like them. Also, where's my facial hair? I like the abililty to vary my height, face and haircut, but is it that hard to program a beard on someone?

All in all, I like system, quests are pretty tedious, graphics are not what I prefer, the items have promise (life stealing is my favorite feature in games). Overall I'd give it a B- so far, enjoyable enough but with plenty of room for improvement.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brock Lesnar pwns in PvP. . .

OK, this post has absolutely nothing to do about Wow or any other MMO. I have a background in martial arts having taken many different styles for about 4 years. I had to quit practicing due my concussion issues and a general lack of desire to be beat up all the time (bruised and sore as a permanent condition isnt a fun way to go through life). There are times I miss it, but then I think about the crazy diet, constant working out, and re-allocation of priorities in my life, and it just doesnt make sense to get back into it. However, I enjoy watching mixed martial arts because I understand whats going on and I like analyzing the different tactical approaches.

I watched UFC 91 last night and DAMN. First of all, they said 54% of people thought Randy Couture was going to win. Those 54% obviously have ZERO knowledge about MMA, the combatants, or both. Brock Lesnar is a MONSTER, I saw him in person when he was a WWE wrestler, he is 6'3 about 285, they said he weighed in at 265, I would assume he cut water weight for the weigh in and was back to about 270-280 for the fight. His main weakness right now is his lack of submission defense, this resulted in his lone UFC loss (a disappointing submission loss by heel hook, its a version of a leg lock). His fighting background is as an amateur wrestler, he won the 2000 NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship. He is pretty much the epitome of "ground and pound". Randy Couture also has a background as a wrestler and he is around 6'1 220. At this point, his stand up boxing is superior to Lesnar's, and he is one of the best conditioned MMA heavyweights. His main weakness is lack of a submission game. What stands out here? Two fighters with the same general style, one of whom is younger and outweighs the other one by at least 50 lbs. I thought Couture's only way to win the fight was to turn it into a stand-up boxing match. Use his superior boxing skills to counter-punch Lesnar, keep from being taken down and control the pacing of the fight.

Here is a picture from the weigh in (Lesnar is the huge scary looking one)

What happened? First round was back and forth, in the second round, Lesnar took down Couture and proceeded to rain down punches on Couture's head for the TKO.

Lesnar will face a stronger test in the winner of the Nogueira vs Mir fight at UFC 92 (Mir was the one who defeated Lesnar by submission). Both have excellent submission skills and are closer in weight to Lesnar.

On a non Lesnar note, Dustin Hazelett had one of the sickest submissions I've ever seen. He got his opponent into a crossface figure 4 keylock, rolled him up onto his shoulders, and then straightened his arm into an armbar that looked like this. OUCH!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In a perfect world. . .

I'm so conflicted about returning to Wow. I would love to say "I'm over it", but I cant. I still blog about it, read blogs about it and talk to our guildmaster about it. In a perfect world, I would never have quit.

In a perfect world, my guildies would have rolled alliance on a PvE server.
In a perfect world, I would have a competant dual gatherer to generate $$.
In a perfect world my main would be my buff blonde bearded human pally, not a blood elf with the build of a 15yo and facial hair roughly as impressive.
In a perfect world, I wouldnt have to choose between people I like interacting with and enjoyment of the game.
(I would say in a perfect world, my tank would do reasonable DPS, but they fixed that)

Alas, it is not a perfect world. I am presented with 4 options: Go back to daggerspine, deal with the inevitable gankings, go back to Azuremyst deal with having to PuG anything I want to run, try to find a new PvE server with a group of people I can enjoy as much as my guildies, or stay in Wow exile. . .

PvP ruined the game for me. . .Lack of enjoyable guildies ruined the game for me. . .ARG!!!

Things blizzard did right and things that make me go WTF!?!?

So with a new expansion being released today, and probably the majority of people who would read blogs playing the game anyways, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the game before the expansion and look at things I think Blizzard did right, and things that make me go WTF!?!?!

Things Blizzard did right:

Old world content: Say what you will about this, although most people dont use it anymore, it was brilliantly designed and has stood the test of time. Even though players' power level has increased, the old world content can still be fun. Soloing BRD was one of the best times I've had, and our guild taking down Onyxia still felt good.

Character and Item models: I gripe about little things (I can't find a troll face I like and the blood elf facial hair options look ridiculous) but by and large it is excellent. The variety of different item models is very good. The inner accesorizer in me rejoices that my character can look cool.

Crafting: Its not perfect, but its the best of any game I've played. There is variety and depth. When I first started the game, my goals were to kill things and craft stuff, I was able to do both.

Things that make me go WTF?!?!?:

Gnome warriors: I will never give this up. Blizzard, this makes no sense, why blizzard, why?

Certain boss drops: One of the bosses in Tempest Keep is a giant plant. How would a plant drop anything? I understand a giant dragon, either it ate something, or it was laying around from an unsuccessful attempt, but a giant plant?

those are very minor gripes about the game in general, my more specific ones (*cough* PVP *cough*) are more of a personal dislike of mine, and not a true weakness of the game.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For those about to rock, we salute you. . .

OK, I admit it, I just wanted an excuse to use an AC/DC song as a blog title. But I think the message is appropriate. I will not be among the first wave of people to brave Northrend, but I salute those of you who are. I look forward to reading your accounts of the content and how things end up in the "live" version.

Things of particular interest to me:
How do Prot and Ret play at 80? From what I've read Holy remains about the same and although I've played holy and healed instances, its not my favorite thing. I love prot. No matter what anyone will say about the "nerf stick" I love the way it plays, I think it is pretty much perfect for me. . .at 70, how does it play at 80?

Frost Mages. . .in an ice based area? I've heard about frostfire bolt, interesting concept, how does it work in action? And will Frost damage immunity destroy the ability to AOE grind? Although I'm sure you could use frost nova to root and one of the many fire AOE's to do damage, but will that work?

For players on PvP servers: Is Northrend the PvP hell that I envisioned? I remember in the very near past 70's in arena gear landing near and ganking my defenseless character (really, what good is prot if they're not actively attacking you in melee?). The only defense is bubble/hearth. . .if both arent on cooldown. Is this a common occurance in the expansion?

Deathknights: I know the starting quests are epic. The gear looks sweet. How do they play? I've read reports from the beta, but thats beta, how are they live? Is blood predominantly a solo grinding build and Frost predominantly for tanking? How is tanking with no shield?

And one last question on a related note. How many gnome deathknights are there? WTF Blizzard? Gnome warriors are bad enough, but gnome deathknights, SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Disallow gnomes and Tauren, it makes PERFECT sense. Tauren because they're too big of tree hugging hippies to ever be death knights, gnomes because THEY'RE GNOMES, THEY'RE THREE FEET TALL!! Whats next? goblin deathknights? SMURF DEATHKNIGHTS!?!?!?

OK rant over. . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The benefit of seeing both sides. . .

First of all, even though my account ended yesterday, I intend to continue blogging. Lets be honest, I started blogging well before reaching level 70, and I don't magically stop thinking about something I've been doing for 2 years overnight. I've never been a theorycrafter, I've never been a technical specialist on how to run instances or how to play each class. So I intend to continue reading blogs and blogging myself in my self imposed Wow exile, and who knows, I may come back. I quit hockey for 7 years and got back into it, and Wow isnt something you can be out of shape for.

Anyways, on to the topic I intended to post about. I got to thinking about the game as a whole. I haven't seen all the content in the game. There are a lot of Outlands instances I never went to, a lot of "old world" raids I never tried. One thing that I was able to do is level every class to 40 (save priest, I got to 20 and just lost interest), most of them Horde AND Alliance.

I think every player should take a few hours and roll up an alt on an opposing faction just to see what its like. I think one of the things I enjoy the most is taking a brand new character through the newbie zones and running low level content with them. I admit, I have never done Troll, Undead, or Gnome areas (I had a dwarf warrior, but deleted him in favor of a human, I'm short in real life, I don't need to be in the game). There are a ton of players in my guild who had/have never experienced the deadmines or the Stockades, and I'm sure there are a ton of alliance players who never ran Shadowfang Keep (well, non paladins), or Ragefire Chasm.

This content is well thought out and fun. It doesnt take very long to level a character to 20 or so (maybe mid 20's if you're doing stockades). Not to mention, if it sucks and you hate it, what else would you be doing? I know my guild was running maybe one instance a night, maybe doing some farming, there wasnt too much going on.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why I quit warcraft. . . .

I made the decision some time ago, shortly after reaching level 70 actually. I cancelled my account, but decided as it didnt end till today, I would play out my remaining time to see A) did I make the right decision, and B) can I explain my decision to quit the game. Now, the answer to both questions is yes.

I want to start out by saying I love my guild. They are pretty much entirely the reason I stuck with the game in the first place. Previously in playing I got stuck at level 40 saying "now what?", and normally the answer was to just roll up another alt. Everyone in our guild is helpful and knowledgable, it is a great environment. I also feel like the guild membership helped me get better in my own skills. I learned marking and kill order from watching people in our guild do it. Our guild was definately NOT a reason for me leaving.

I've been thinking about it some time, and I basically have 2 reasons for leaving: PvP and grinding. I despise PvP. I don't like battegrounds, I don't like arena, and I definately don't like some douchebag ganking me while I'm going about my own business. I dislike this to a degree where I had considered quitting the game months ago, and it is the reason why I left for Azuremyst in the first place. I don't see this improving in WOTLK, in fact I see it getting worse. As my main character is a protection paladin, I simply don't have the tools to defend myself. Not that it really matters. Even if I was a PvP god and could kill any person who took up arms against me, it would still be time wasted when I could otherwise be doing something else.

How do you take the slaughter of hundreds of enemies using massively powerful and cool to look at abilities and make it not only not fun, but tedious and boring? You make it a means and not an end. I'll give you an example. One of my goals before I quit the game was to solo Black Rock Depths. Tons of mobs, I figured it would be fun. I got lost a lot and it took a long time, but I did it. I ended up getting about 200 runecloth and as I had a tailor, I figured it would be a good way to get runecloth to make runcloth belts to disenchant to get dream dust to level enchanting (this is how I think, characters provide for my other characters, cut out the middle man, cheap and efficient). When it changed from "I want to kill all these guys because I am powerful and I can" to "I need to kill these guys to harvest runecloth", it became tedious and not fun. The act was the same, the goal was not. Basically, from what I've seen, the game after you hit level 70 is a grind. You get to pick what you grind, instances for gear, mobs to get reputation to get gear, or gold to raise professions to get gear, but its still a grind, and grinds aren't fun. I LOVE AOE killing. But I like it because its an option, not because I have to do it.

So in summary I know why I quit, and I don't see either situation improving. WotLK will still have an endgame, and this endgame will still require grinding. It may extend the time between grinding, but it will still be an issue. Secondly, my entire guild is not going to pick up and move to a PvE server, and blizzard is not going to say "you know, prot paladins should be able to reflect ranged and spell damage too, so they can just stand there and pwn n00bz in Pvp". As I don't see either of these conditions changing, whether I quit the game now or quit later, the end result is the same. Doing it now just saves me the money on the monthly fee and buying the expansion.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Class: It's not the clothes I wear, it's who I am. . .

I will be the first to admit, I have a LOT of alts. I think it helps me understand the game better. However, I always go back to the paladin. To me, combat is straightforward, we put on heavy armor, I beat on you, you beat on me, you fall over first, I win. I think it is what drew me to tanking. I also think its why I had a big problem playing priests and mages (oh crap, the monster has gotten to me, AHHHHH!!!). Like my class I am straightforward, long term. My goal is not to do the most damage, be able to take the most damage. I want survivability. Do your worst, I can take it.

Paladins suit me. Other classes may have cool abilities, and/or be able to engage in activities that are fun (AOE grinding for the win!!!), paladin is what I always come back to. Its not to say I don't appreciate other classes: Druids with their utility are the true swiss army knives of the game, warlocks with their drain tanking and selection of pets, mages with their AOE damage (oh the AOE!!), warriors. . .which I would be really attracted to if they could heal themselves. . .but then they would be paladins that do more damage lol.

ok, rant time. If you rolled a Rogue on a PvE server and you don't BG or Arena, this probably does not apply to you. Oh, and I apologize in advance for the language, but it loses the effect if the offending language is removed.

What the hell kind of douchebag does it take to roll Rogue on a PvP server? I know you didnt roll it because you wanted to stand toe to toe and slug with someone, if you did, you'd be a warrior. No, you made a character to ruin other players' time. What kind of person goes "I want to make a character to kill people who can't fight back". Thats what stun-locking is. You don't have "epic skillz", you're an asshole who only wants to pick on people without retribution (no paladin pun intended). You are a large reason I am quitting warcraft, you and the fact that blizzard enabled you in the first place. Yes, I'm bitter.

My GM has a blog now. . .

This whole blogging thing is sort of like a communicable disease. Except a good disease. . .so its really not as much like a disease at all, but the analogy I was going for is that it is contagious. I've added his blog to my "blogs I read" category but the link is http://holyshockbyruhtra.blogspot.com/ his character's name, coincidently enough, is ruhtra. Whenever I talk about "epic heals" thats him. I used to work with him, after a few weeks of "convincing" I bought the game and rolled up a character on the server he was on. Leshif was born. I've been back and forth from the server a few times since, after some more "convincing", I came back and leveled my original character from level 47 where he had been sitting to 70.

We ran heroic Mechanar last night, me because I want the sun eater. . .badly. Its the coolest looking 1h sword in the game. Our group makeup was rather interesting. I don't have the gold to throw around re-speccing, and I was in the middle of soloing Black Rock Depths when we decided to run (I don't have a flyer so I needed summoned anyways). I'd never run the instance before (regular or heroic), so we got one of our better tanks in the guild to tank it. We ended up with me, the warrior tank, ret pally, holy pally, and a rogue (who is the Kenny of our guild, he dies on every run, although I gave him a run for the money on this one).

The run went pretty smooth. I died A LOT, but only 1 group wipe. I did find out a few things: a) if I'm not tanking, I'm basically worthless - no mana recovery, weak heals, no DPS, b) some range is probably better than no range at all in an instance (I think this is the first time I've run all melee), and c) quality of heals and quality of tank is the biggest indicator of how a run will go. Our heals were great, our tank was great, and we basically 4 manned a heroic (ok, they 4 manned a heroic, I got killed so many times, my gear went red at which point I tossed around weak heals). No sun eater, but I may have almost enough gear to tank it myself.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Things I will always remember. . .

There are certain moments from the game I will always remember. In no particular order:

My First epic (that I used): The Krol blade. I bought it from the auction house for 300g. At the time, I thought "hey, this is great, it will last me for 10 levels, and I'll make the money back." Now I think "man, I'd have a flyer now if it wasnt for buying that sword! However, at the time, I thought it was the best thing ever. It even came enchanted with the icy chill enchantment so it looked cool.

My discovery of AOE grinding (both Mage method and Prot pally method): First of all, although they both fall into the category of "AOE grinding" the methods are COMPLETELY different. The first character I tried this with was a Draenei mage on azuremyst. I actually got to the point where I did 10 green mobs at one time. It was awesome. Later I heard prot paladins could do something similar, so I re-specced my first character prot to try it. I was addicted from there. Although the mage method allows you to kill faster, to me the paladin method is more satisfying. There is just something about mobs killing themselves from beating on your shield. It is my single favorite thing in Wow.

My first time in outlands: I started playing Wow in 2006. I didnt make it to outlands till 2007. I started with a paladin on Daggerspine, decided I didnt like the server so I went to join a friend from college on Dentarg (who I never ran anything with ironically), made a bunch of alts on Dentarg, decided I didnt like that server, so I came back to Daggerspine, rolled up a brand new warrior who I leveled to 58 and brought to outlands (I then left daggerspine again for a PvE realm, but thats another story). It was amazing.

My first time main tanking an instance: That was just recently with my paladin, after understanding things a little bit better. I had "tanked" before with my warrior, but that was always with other people marking and with people in the group that I knew that knew the instance. Recently I actually started "main tanking" marking and directing who did what.

Soloing Scarlet Monastery: I did it last night, it was everything I hoped it would be. Actually the part I will remember is not the whole instance, but really just the cathedral. SOOOOO MANY MOBS, SO MANY FLASHING YELLOW NUMBERS. It was awesome.

Its a pretty short list. I guess a lot of the other things I've done in the game arent really that significant. I also still have the game till monday, I may be adding a few things to the list.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If you only had 5 days of Wow left. . .

I cancelled my Wow subscription last night. After the bit about the crying peon, they were nice enough to inform me I could continue to play until nov 10th, when my paid time expires. Now, inside of me, I have an older jewish man, his name is Ira Goldman. Ira yells at me if I waste money or make "frivolous" purchases. Ira will not allow me to "waste" the 5 days of Wow I have remaining.

So, I have a level 70 prot paladin, some blues, some auctionable items, an assload of alts, and about 400g. What do I want to do with my remaining wow time?

1. Off tank Karazan - I know I cant main tank it, but I would like to at least see it.

2. See how high of instances I can solo. I am definately going to solo scarlet monastery, I may try black rock depths for fun, we'll see from there.

3. Master enchanting. 300, thats it, not 375, I should have enough mats and such to do this, and I have money to burn.

4. Heroic Mechanar till the sun eater drops. If I can do heroic underbog, I can do heroic mechanar. Provided we have a warlock to summon me (no flier).

5. Complete my gear set. Right now my shield (although allegedly being an upper level item) looks like something you'd get from a level 1 quest. I'm also wearing pretty basic boots and my chest came from ramps.

I dont think those are very major. No grinding, no having to get 900 gold for a flyer, should be done fairly easily. I'll get to what I get to. . .

Wow, I think its time we see other people. . .

It feels like breaking up, it really does. I posted before that I wasnt done with the game, I still had things to do. I said I would know when I was "done" with the game. I'm there. A weird thing happened when I hit 70, the game changed completely.

I'd read about it on others' blogs, I thought I was mentally prepared for it, but I guess it's one of those things you can never appreciate fully till it happens to you. As a lvl 68-69 I was great, mostly in blues, I tanked Shattered Halls, I was running upper level content, everything was great. I would AOE grind on the orcs in the bone wastes for their marks, everything was great. When I hit 70, everything changed. There was no more experience, the only thing till the expansion was the pursuit of gear.

This left me in a curious position. I could grind mobs for reputation (25 rep per mark of sargeras, which doesnt necessarily drop from every mob, 12,000 rep to get the breastplate I want, blech!). I could grind battlegrounds for reputation (I DESPISE Pvp, this option would probably consist of me AFKing while playing guitar hero till I got enough points). I could grind instances (lets see, how many times do I need to run to get the piece of gear I want, so I can run something higher to get some other piece of gear I want, how many times can I run before 11/14?). There is also the small matter of being about 500g short of a flying mount with no real money making abilities, so I'd have to find some way to grind for gold too.

An additional issue that has been weighing heavily on my mind is how things will operate when the expansion hits. Daggerspine is a medium to high population Pvp server. I would guess a good percentage of them have either high end Pvp or high end Pve gear, or both. I have neither. The visions I have dancing through my head are of highly geared players (take your pick, rogue, druid, mage, warlock, basically anybody NOT a warrior) ganking me repeatedly while I'm trying to level. The only alternative would be to move to a PvE server and leave all my friends on the Pvp server (something I tried, and why I have characters on azuremyst, it was not satisfying to me for different reasons).

Basically I feel like I'm stuck, more stuck than I was when I came back. Stuck past a point where time and effort will fix it. So, sorry Wow, I think its time we see other people. I may see ya around, but for now I think this is best for both of us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Whats the opposite of heroic?

So the daily heroic yesterday was Underbog. Not only was it my first heroic, it was my first time in underbog at all (I had run slavepens before and got the 2 confused). Yeah, the only thing heroic about the run was the difficulty, where to start.

I am decidedly undergeared for heroics, a big part of that is although I am all gemmed out, I basically have no enchants at all (havent had the $$ to raise enchanting). I am sitting currently at around 10k health, 11k armor and 440 defense. I rarely get crit (according to a calculator, I will get crit around 1% of the time), my bigger problem seems to be mitigation, health, and armor. I get hit a lot, the hits hurt, and I take them too fast to be healed effectively. Another problem with my tanking at the heroic level is the way that I play in general. When I level, or rep grind or whatever, I AOE grind almost exclusively. I take between 3-8 mobs at a time, no problems. 3 mobs at a time on heroics is overload for the healer. Another issue is consecration. I need it to hold aggro, it has a tendency to break CC.

So moving on from my personal problems I'll outline the run. Basically, we'd do 2 pulls, overpull, wipe, repeat. The reasons for the wipes was a combination of my relative squishiness and the healer not being able to keep up with the mobs damage. I will say, when he switched to exclusively chain healing me, I was pretty much the only one who died. Our epic healer switched in about 3/4 way through the run and things went much smoother after that, no wipes.

I ended up spending more in repairs than I got from the daily quest + loot, and I got 5 badges.

If I cant run heroics and none of the regular lvl 70 instances have real upgrades for me, I am stuck. I refuse to waste my time in battlegrounds, I've honestly considered AFK'ing and just playing guitar hero. Yes, I've also considered quitting Wow altogether and its a very real possibility.

I guess I have gotten to the "time sink" portion of the game, and I'm starting to think I have more enjoyable "time sinks".

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ding 70. . . .Now what?

I dont know what I was expecting. I thought level 70 would be some kind of momentous occasion that would see a drastic jump in power and make me instantly able to do things I couldnt at 69. I thought wrong. What it really made me was frustrated and slightly confused.

Right after dinging 70, I went to do some quests to get some gold (I'm broke from crafting and buying some gear for leveling, I have like 300g on my main), I got ganked a few times. I went to go try to grind Aldor reputation because the breastplate from revered with them is a major upgrade (12,000 freaking rep!!!), I got ganked. As a matter of fact, the only activity I can engage in which doesnt cause me to get ganked is run instances. Since I no longer get experience, I'm spending an hour running through something for one piece of gear (maybe 2 if I'm lucky), which generally won't drop, to repeat the cycle to get better gear. An alternative to this cycle is to engage in Pvp (either arena or battleground), neither of which I have any interest in.

I've always seen this as a weakness of Wow. Not really a weakness per se, but an area of concern for me. I've never been interested in 25 man raids. I like instances, but not really in and of themselves, more as an avenue to improve my character. I really like crafting. However, crafting requires gathering or an insane amount of money.

So, Nov 13th I have 10 more levels to look forward to. I can get ganked by deathknights, in addition to the other classes that see my inability to hit from range or do high amounts of burst damage (in effect everyone but warriors) and think "target".

I thought at 70 my gaming experience would be different. It is. . . .but not in a good way.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Again, real life intrudes into my Wow time. . .

We're having a halloween party tonight which means plenty of tasty adult beverages, people in costumes, and sugary treats, but no Wow. I have a pretty awesome Captain Morgan costume and I'm stoked, this will however delay my attainment of level 70.

Megan at Out of Mana has a hilarious post on Halloween. As a warm blooded male, I enjoy the hell out of *ahem* scandalous female costumes. My fiance is dressed up as a pirate too, just her costume has about 1/8 the fabric of mine. . .HUZZAH!!!

Yeah, halloween is like the best holiday ever. . .I just resent it a little for coming at a time when I have important things to accomplish. . .

Onyxia is our bitch!!

I was deciding what to do last night when one of my guildies mentioned in guild chat that they wanted to try Onyxia. Now, I run dustwallow marsh with every character I make from lvl 36 to 42, so I know exactly where her lair is, I've just never been inside. I also know from reading that it was an old school lvl 60 40 man raid.

A few of our more epic'd out members decided they wanted to run it. We had a prot paladin, a holy paladin, a couple of rogues, a hunter and me (a regular geared 69 prot pally).

The dragon-kin leading up to the actual lair part were ridiculously easy, probably could have solo'd them.

Onyxia herself has LOTS of health. I will say, the part I enjoyed the most is when she sent out her lil whelps. I dunno how many there were, but there were a LOT, which made for a lot of AOE goodness. I wish we'd had a mage to blizzard them. OK, I'm an AOE whore, I just like to see lots of mobs ticking down damage.

It took a while, I ended up switching to sort of off healing (my beating on her while completely ineffectual from a damage standpoint was regaining me mana). 400 points a hit when you're looking at a million HP is a drop in the bucket but even our holy pally's phat epic healz (lol) could be helped with a flash of light every now and then.

Anyways, end result, nobody died, I ended up with the head and a few shards from the useless epics. We got the achievement, and it was pretty fun. Maybe next time when we go back, I will main tank it. . .

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I rolled a _______ because. . . .

Gnomeaggedon posted a blog quiz entitled "I rolled a fire mage because. . ." I think it is an interesting thing to think about. Why did we choose our first characters, did we stick with it? Were we correct in our assumptions?

My first character was a paladin named Leshif. I was going to name him Lefish, but a friend/coworker who had been playing Wow for a while convinced me if I reversed the last name, I would have a better shot of not having the name be taken. It seems to have worked, according to the armory, there is only 1 Leshif on US realms.

I picked a paladin because I wanted to be able to wear heavy armor, fight with weapons and heal myself. I pretty much have always played some variation of that in every game, even back to the original Elder Scrolls (I'm talking Arena here, one of my favorite RPG's EVER). I originally specc'd retribution, again because my friend who was playing at the time told me that was the way to go. Apparently unbeknown to me on Pvp servers Paladin = target. This was actually a motivation for switching to a PvE server (I want to play what I want to play, I don't want to have to play something else to keep people from killing me).

I've since rolled every class in the game, I've even rolled a few other paladins. I must admit, I prefer the look of Humans, I even stopped playing my paladin for a while (my warrior hit outlands first on that server). I always come back to paladins. Lately with the changes that were made, protection is pretty much the paladin I always saw myself playing. I can fight multiple groups at a time, they may not die fast, but they die. I can heal myself, and I wear heavy armor. Honestly, I was fine with protection before the changes, it is just a lot more fun now.

So yeah, I think I made a pretty good choice. Thats not to say I dont enjoy playing other classes, I just enjoy paladins most of all. . .

Everyone needs goals. . .

So I've decided on goals for my characters. I basically figured I wanted to select one attainable goal for each character before Wrath releases.

Paladin: Sun Eater - I want it, I've wanted it since the first time I saw it. There may be other weapons with better stats but this is seriously the best looking weapon I've ever seen. This means running heroic mechanar at least once (yeah, I'm sure it won't drop on the first run).

Warrior: Blacksmithing - I had my blacksmithing up to about 280 on the paladin. I dropped it for enchanting. I won't really go into the reasoning, but I think it was a solid decision. That having been said I think a warrior is a good choice for blacksmithing. Although a decision to make is do I go armorcrafting or Axesmithing? I went away from protection on this character to Arms, so Axecrafting may be a more solid choice.

Warlock - Level 58 - I checked at home last night, this char is currently at lvl 48, with presumably max rested XP. I would like to hit lvl 58 so I can push through my tailoring and enchanting. I have stacks of netherweave waiting. We'll see how that goes.

Mage - Lvl 35 and work on Inscription - I leveled inscription to 120ish on the first night with herbs I'd banked. I have some more waiting, but not much in the way of mid level herbs, so I'll have to gather those. I like inscription, I think it provides a minor functional boost and I'm a crafting whore so what else can I do?

I have a number of other characters of course (and I'm not even counting the 20 or so alliance alts I have floating around). I've ignored any leather wearers for a few reasons. A) I have been less motivated to play them, B) I dont have a high level skinner, so I havent been able to make any crafted leather goodies, and C) similar to A, I've found my efforts are best left to leveling a smaller group of alts. I dont care for rogues, so I don't have a horde one anymore. I love druids, but I dont like Tauren, so I just never play my horde druid. Shamans are cool, but never really had the burning desire to play one.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wandering around aimlessly. . .

It boggles my mind. I thought I might never get to 70. Too many alts spread over too many servers. I figured the Pvp would eventually get to me and I would go back to my Alliance PvE characters. It looks like I may have been wrong.

Unless something unforeseen happens, I should ding 70 this weekend.

I figured it would be a momentous achievement. Again I may have been wrong.

I don't know what to do. Do I try to get an uncrushable tanking set knowing in two weeks it will be obsolete? Do I grind dailies for gold? Do I try to level trade skills? Do I level my alts? I've currently got 4 alts I actually play: 69 Blood Elf Pally, 62 Orc Warrior, 40 something Blood Elf Warlock, and a 30 something Blood Elf Mage. I have a spot for a Deathknight saved, and I'm pretty excited to play one, although he'll probably look pretty similar to my Warrior.

So what do I do?

When Wow intrudes into real life. . .

Much like everyone else who plays Wow, I have a real life outside the game. It involves normal every day type stuff: going to work, taking care of our cats, going to the gym, chores around the house, etc.

I do most of the cooking at our house. I became kind of addicted to Food Network while in college, and I enjoy doing it. My fiance cleans up, it works for us. A few nights ago, she wanted me to make chili for dinner. I texted her "I can do that, leave the mats on the counter."


"Mats? WTF" was her reply

It's subtle things like this that make me realize how much this game is seaping into my "real life" not that I mind. . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blizzard, I want my $1.53 back!!

Dear Blizzard,

For as long as I have been playing your game "World of Warcraft", it has given me a generally enjoyable experience. For this reason, it makes the events of the past week that much more shocking. Blizzard, I want a refund of $1.53, which amounts to three days worth of game time. Three days which were completely wasted due to your implementation of the "zombie invasion mechanic". Although I despise PvP, I put up with it, and you have made it possible to enjoy the game in certain areas without fear of random attack and instant death. Until now. I spent over an hour getting ganked, dying, and running back to my body with NO DEFENSE. I was rendered completely unable to accomplish anything in any large cities due to this inconvenience.
I have accepted the fact that games, MMO's in particular have "time sink" mechanics designed to waste a player's time. Never has it been this overt. Since apparently you saw fit to make me completely unable to accomplish anything worthwhile in the game, I want my $1.53 that I spent for this period of time refunded.
I have enjoyed your game for the past 2 years. If something like this happens ever again, I'm canceling my account. There are other things I can spend my money on that don't involve warcraft. As a matter of fact, writing this has made me wonder why I continue your game in the first place.

A disgruntled user

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dr. Phil's credentials should come on a cocktail napkin. . .

Phil deserves to be a doctor about as much as I deserve to be Dr. Fish. I actually may deserve to be a doctor more, I am not under sanctions by any states against practicing pscychology due to inappropriate conduct (check out this link for details). This guy is seriously the John Madden of psychology (minus the "boom").

I am, of course, referring to this post on his website.

Wow phil, trying to say it may be an addictive behavior but want to sound official? I have no doubts that there are people who are "addicted" to Wow. But seriously man, get a life. I have 6 cats, I am allergic to cats, but me and my fiance love our babies. I wouldn't give them up for anything, I just need to take Xyrtec-D twice a day to function. Might interfere with my productiveness at work, I guess I'm addicted to cats. I've played sports in some form or another most of my adult life. I've had 6 concussions, torn my rotator cuff, torn my hamstring, and thats only major injuries. It has caused me to lose horrible amounts of productivity over the years, both in my college years and now in the "real world". I guess I must be addicted to sports. There is also his referrence to "community". Which community are you referring to phil? I don't like my neighbors. The house to the left has yappy dogs who poop in our yard, the house to the right blocks my car in routinely. I don't think my Wow habits are affecting our interactions. On the other hand my guildmates always say hi when I log in, they are happy to see me, and despite the fact that I have yet to do anything productive at all, besides run their lowbie alts through low level stuff for gear, they are encouraging and motivate me to improve.

I am of course being horribly sarcastic. Phil obviously thinks gaming as a whole is unhealthy or he wouldn't have brought this up. Sports is on his list of acceptable "goals" that gaming may interfere with. Gaming is a LEISURE ACTIVITY. It is no different than playing sports, learning the guitar, or engaging in arts and crafts. When was the last time you heard of someone having an intervention because their scrapbooking was interferring with their life.

Apart from my guild, about 1/4 of whom I know in "real life" and a few people I know who play Wow, I don't know what the Wow population looks like, but I'm assuming it is pretty varied. Yes, there are people truly addicted to it. But why not focus on something that is actually a problem in society? Oh yes, I forgot, you're not really a doctor, phil, you can't do anything that would actually be of benefit to anyone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Something I've been thinking about a lot lately is my "role" within my guild. I've healed before, tanked and done very limited DPS. The thing I always come back to is tanking with my paladin.

So I'm going to be a tank, now and through the expansion. That seems like an easy decision and there are definately resources out there to help (which I will need to make use of, if I knew everything, I'd be level 70 and there would be no ? after the title).

As I see it, there are three main parts to tanking: Threat generation, Gearing, and Marking the instance. Threat generation is no problem. Even with higher level characters, between consecrate, the 90% bonus from righteous fury, holy shield, and the hammer, I should generate more than enough threat to hold the mobs. Gearing also isnt too difficult. Grind rep, grind instances, become uncrushable, improve character from there. There is a degree of randomness to it, but I think I have a handle on what needs to be done. That brings me to marking the instance.

My first experience with marking came this year. I know HOW to do it, tank, DPS, diff CC get different markings, etc. I just lack the knowledge of which mobs are the most important to take out and who I should be giving what marking to. Do I CC casters and tank the melee, leaving casters for later? Who's immune to what? Are there special mechanics from the instance I'm unaware of? Solo I know I can play any class, and understand how they work. I know the diff types of CC's each class has. I DO NOT, on the other hand, have any knowledge of any instance higher level than Slave Pens, and that kind of bothers me.

I don't want to be a crappy tank because I don't know what I'm doing. I guess that is what it comes down to.

So until I get up to speed, I will be Leshif, 66% Maintankadin. . .