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.