Saturday, May 30, 2009

Computer probs. . .WTF!?!?!?

So my main computer is almost completely inoperable. It won't even stay up without freezing for long enough to back up my data. The ironic thing is I JUST found a reasonably priced graphics card which should allow me to run wow at a reasonable stable rate without it locking up the system or dying. (Nvidia geforce 9500GT if you're curious. Microcenter has them on sale for $35 after $20 mail in rebate).

I had every intention of getting some gear and potentially even being able to tank the big boy instances. Apparently my computer has other ideas and I remain Jr Pally tank. . .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What it means to be level capped. . .

I've never spent an extended period of time at the level cap. I did reach level 70 before wrath hit, but due to the difficulties of gearing, I wasn't anywhere near able to even tank heroics, it was frustrating, and probably contributed to my taking a break from wow. That is not the case currently.

Things in Wotlk are different, and much more convenient for the casual player (as a side note, even though I probably spend as much time in game as many "hardcore" players, I consider myself casual because my goal has never been to tackle difficult content). Obviously a "fresh" 80 is not going to be able to immediately tank worthwhile heroics (I consider the worthwhile heroics as Utgarde Pinnacle and Culling of Stratholme, you know, the ones with multiple pieces of gear I actually want).

Upon reaching the level cap, I noticed I had a few options (I bought dual spec when it came out, so I have a retribution spec and set of retribution gear). First, I could continue questing, both the dailies and my uncompleted world quests for some easy gold. I could try to get into heroic instances as DPS and potentially get some tanking gear enabling me to later tank heroics. Lastly, I could level one of my many alts. Sadly, my options currently are about the same.

I'm not saying that I dislike "the game at 80". I finally got an epic flying mount (I can't believe I've spent seven THOUSAND gold since wrath on three items, how people justify those retarded motorcycles are beyond me). Usually my game time consists of "Hey, anyone feel like running a heroic? OK, guess I'll do my dailies, then go level an alt."

On the good note, I am about one heroic instance run away from honored with Wyrmrest Accord (yay easy tanking loot), I already have the pattern for the craften necklace and I have the crafted ring, boots and helm made already. I really am just a few pieces of gear away from being able to actually tank heroics (I'm looking at you sword and belt from UP and shield from CoS).

Also, spending more time with my alts has made me appreciate one of my lesser played alts. I have come to the conclusion that I really extremely enjoy my druid. My mage will probably hit outlands first, but it wouldn't surprise me if my druid beats him to 70(my deathknight will beat them both, but he started with a 23 level head start. He's been 69 for about as long as I can remember lol). While I had originally intended my pally to be a tank/healer combo, druids just seem better equipped for it (and I hear our GM complain about how handicapped pally healing is). Also, with blizzard's announcement of new druid skins, here's hoping they get rid of the ridiculous horns on the tauren cat form (how come night elf cat form looks so cool, and tauren cat form looks like a lion with some horns glued to his head like a cheap halloween costume - a Bull-lion).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tanking gear dilemma

So, I am having a little bit of a dilemma gearing wise. I will preface this statement by saying Wotlk is a TON better about gearing up for heroics/raids than TBC. Looking at my list of things I want/need for heroic/raid tanking, 4 of the pieces are craftable by me (JC or BS) and they are all not that far removed from best in slot pre-25 man raid gear. As a side note, HUGE shout out to Honorshammer for his excellent spreadsheet which can be found on the maintankadin forums.

This is my current dilemma. To put things into perspective, my guild has two tanks who can run heroics and are active. We have a third who has a tank, but took the tank out of the guild and caused some bad feelings. We have a druid who should be able to tank heroics, but is more used to ranged DPS so is not as effective in the role. I had been hoping to run through a couple heroics in my retribution build (my ENTIRE reason for dual speccing to begin with), pick up enough gear that I would be viable for other heroics, then tank when needed and DPS when not. However, recently, our geared tanks havent been on much. This brings me to my dilemma. I am currently wearing the tanking belt from Kara. I added an eternal belt buckle, and I have it socketed with +18 stam gems. As a jewelcrafter, I could replace the +18's with +41's, giving me an extra 46 stam. The more efficient alternative is to wait, hopefully get enough runs through heroic UP that I get the belt from there (and hopefully the sword), which I could also buckle and socket and would be a huge improvement.

The reason this is a tough decision is that both the tanking ring and necklace both require both jewelcrafters marks (6 each) and dragon eyes (4 each I believe). Cutting dragon eyes will mean it takes me longer to make the other tanking pieces, slowing my gearing up more. I bought the ring pattern last night, I'm wearing either a Kara or ZA ring so I could use the upgrade.

In other news, still accumulating funds for my epic flyer. Its slow and tedious. I have been selling ore and Brilliant Autumn's glows and isolated crafted or dropped gear for a few hundred gold a week. I'll get there eventually. I also FINALLY completed the aspirants challenge, so I'm now a valiant with the Argent Tournament, giving me a few more easy dailies for $. Also, started leveling my mage again with an eye on outlands. Currently level 46 in Tanaris.

Anyways, thought I would get everyone's opinion. . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

UFC 2009 Undisputed: Fish's review

So I went down to gamestop last night and purchased my copy of UFC 2009 Undisputed. I got a chance to play before work and I have a few impressions, mostly good, about the game.

First of all, the character models look great. Some games make their characters a little too ripped and chiseled and some make theirs overly thin, some look cartoony. UFC did a great job at making the characters look realistic (with the exception of Dana White, who looks nothing at all like himself). Sweat, cuts, and body hair are also done really well in the game. Visually it is the best fighting game I have played to date.

From a game mechanic standpoint, I have a few observations. First of all, there are no sliders that I can find in the game to adjust various difficulties. Every other sports type game has them and this is a glaring omission. The reason this is such a glaring omission is submissions are almost impossible to pull off in the game. I thought it was a function of the characters I was using, but Demian Maia should be able to submit almost any middleweight from most any position. Hopefully they will address this in next year's edition. I had a few other complaints about the submission system besides the difficulty but they may have been left out for balance purposes. In real life, Brazilian Jujitsu fighters will attempt to pull a fighter close to their body when they have them in guard and from that position will frequently execute a triangle choke. I was either unable to execute that maneuver, or it's not in the game.

On the good side, striking is easy and fun, and responds pretty well. Punches and kicks to the legs, body, and head are all available (although boxers will not be able to execute head kicks, as it should be), and look about as they should. Also, the tuning between offense and defense is about where it should be, as compared to the real thing. It is a very viable tactic to just throw punches and kicks where your opponent is not defending. The "specialty attacks" (i.e. superman punch, thai clinch knees, spinning backfist, etc) are all extremely satisfying. I have yet to try to recreate the sick flying knee thrust Michael Bisping used to win one of his fights in The Ultimate Fighter.

Career mode is a little bland, but is a good first attempt. To use a food analogy its a really well cooked meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Maybe a little bland and not for everyone, but solid and enough to keep you going. You create your fighter and then train him up in hopes of competing for a title shot in your weight class. I created myself in the lightweight division (in Judo, I competed at 132lbs, but that was at 18-19, I have put on a bit of muscle since then), and made a Kickboxing and Judo fighter. So far I have been able to basically run through my competition with stiff head kicks.

Overall, great game, I would give it 8.5/10. With a few minor improvements, next years' version could easily be 10/10.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In memory of One among many. . .

I know there are a lot of bloggers out there closing up shop, it only takes one to hit home. Big Red Kitty? Heard of it, not a regular reader. Big Bear Butt? Again, read it on occasion, not on my regular list. Then I read that One among many is retiring (I prefer that word to quitting, it implies distinguished time put in) from Wow. A blogger from Ohio who plays a lot of alts? Hit home because of the similarities and the fact I regularly read her blog.

Warcraft is like any other hobby, there is a time to quit for everyone. Sometimes, the decision is not ours. I had to retire from Judo competition after a bad concussion. Sometimes we just know its time to hang it up (Unless you're Brett Favre, Wow has seen plenty of those, yours truly included).

So, from your neighbor in cincy, I will miss reading your blog, but I'm sure you've thought long and hard and are at peace with your decision. Perhaps with the release of the upcoming Star Wars MMO you'll be moved to blog again.

Fare thee well. . .

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ding 80, a look back. . .

I'm not one of those people who blows through content. I've always had multiple characters that I've leveled at once, multiple goals that I was attempting to accomplish in the game, and playing on a PvP server frequently employed the "One gank and I switch characters" mentality. Sometimes the ganking even caused me to play PvE for extended periods. However, after a long, laborious, drawn out process, I finally hit the level cap on my main character.

I don't know what everyone else's experiences were. Mine was rather unexpected. I am coming off a stretch of four days off in a row with really nothing planned. I was level 77 at the beginning of that stretch, but levels take a while when it's 1.6 million XP a piece. At first, I figured I would hit 78, maybe 79 and have to come back to work today leaving the last level unfinished. Luckily for me, that was not the case. One thing I think Blizz has done really well (at least from a tanking perspective) was space the gear out so I always had an easy goal in mind. Level 74 was shield and sword, 75 breastplate, 76 pants etc. I was super excited to hit 78 and get the last pieces of the blue BoE tanking set. At 78, my guildies ran with me through culling of stratholme (they may not have realized this as many of them have limited alliance experience, but stratholme felt to me like a kind of copy of stormwind). I got the tanking boots from that run (yay!) and I think I may have hit 79 on that run. The next day a group PM'd me asking if I was tank or DPS. I responded both (although I rarely use my ret dual spec, I think I'd have been better off not buying it, but oh well). The guy said they were running CoS and looking for a tank. I ran with them, it was pretty awesome, no wipes, easy run. Then everyone pretty much decided they wanted to run Utgarde Pinnacle as well which I'd never ran. After a small embarassment involving going to the wrong side of the continent (Having played both factions in northrend, I get utgarde keep and Nexus confused in my mind, yeah one too many concussions for fishy), we grouped up and ran UP. I will admit, not as smooth, we did wipe once on Ymirion (his guards feared me right into his lap, I was like "hey man how ya doin, oh come on, dont aggro on me bro!"). Again, I received more tanking goodness (bracers dropped and got the quest breastplate). This put me so close to 80, I pretty much dinged in the middle of running my argent tournament dailies (which I hadn't been doing that long given that I just hit 77 the other day). A slightly anti-climactic way to hit 80, but I felt accomplishment none the less.

So looking back(from 1-80):
Favorite piece of gear - This is cheating a little bit, but Tempered Saronite helm. Made it myself with a cooldown donated from a guildie (thanks to ed from the blog Code Red). Looks sweet, is just all around awesome and I crafted it and cut the gems for it myself. The dragon wings on the helm even protect my delicate blood elf ears lol.

Least favorite piece of gear - the SUNEATER. Its like having a class with an amazingly hot girl that won't go out with you. Maybe you ask her out and she declines or it never works out, but you think "man, if I just had a shot, it'd be awesome". Oh how I hate you heroic mechanar.

Favorite moment - This may shock my guildies. Its a PvP moment. Ever see Universal Soldier where Dolph Lundgren's character snaps and starts killing everyone? Ya, I did a wow version of that. Someone ganked me in hellsbrad (yes Hellsbrad, although its not as bad as it used to be). Something inside me snapped, I kindly asked for assistance in guild chat (ok, I was a little frustrated and pissed). Grabbed my paladin and I think the entire guild came along. We completely took over south shore, killed every allie there and I ran around killing all the quest givers. Then, because it was close, we went to the town in Wetlands, and I killed all the quest givers there too. It made me feel better lol.

Least favorite moment - Most of the rest of the time spent in Hellsbrad or gankthorn vale. At one point in TBC, level 70s were so bored they would just troll around looking for 30's to 1 hit. It was so bad, I didn't even know how good a place to level it was until I went PvE. I leveled in Desolace instead. . .without a mount. . .back when you had to be level 40 to get a mount.

Best crafting decision - Picking up Jewelcrafting. Only one time (mercurial adamantite, BLECH!) was it especially painful and the benefits have been awesome. I always have plenty of upgrades for my alts and I would argue based on the trinket and JC only gems (yay +41 stam), that it is a better option for tanks than blacksmithing (if you're only going to have one or the other, need mining for titanium and to smelt my titansteel).

Worst crafting decision - Picking up enchanting on my Paladin and dropping it on my Warlock. I have a level 61 warlock. Now, thats not super high, but it is high enough level to master any crafting skill. Warlocks used to be my favorite caster (a title now held by mages, AoE and teleport FTW!). At the time, I thought soloing instances for drops to DE was a great way to level enchanting. It is to a point however, the sheer amount of resources I wasted doing it, damn. I have since dropped enchanting on my pally for mining meaning I'm left without an enchanter, till my mage hits outland when I will drop my warlock's tailoring for enchanting (He's currently Tailoring and Alchemy, yeah, I know it doesn't exactly go together).

So its been a great run, and I'm looking forward to everything to come!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Almost there, almost there!!

And not in an "I'm in the death star trench about to be vaporized by Darth vader" kinda way. . .I hope. The almost there I'm referring to is level 80 (which I'd be at long past if I hadn't taken the journey into alliance territory, which I don't really regret, but yeah). I hit 77 last after being carried. . .er helped through the ring of blood or whatever they call the northrend version in Zuldrak.

We're running DTK tonight and I have 4 days off in a row so apart from some gym time and guitar time (as a side note, I am looking forward to playing LIT my own worst enemy, it looks super easy. . .yes, thats the level I'm at with real guitar :-P), I'm free and clear. I told our GM (who I work with and see frequently IRL), I should be able to hit 79 in that time.

I've also noticed a few other things in addition to levels. First of all, money (which used to be a complete lack thereof) is in ready supply with me concentrating on one main character. I dunno if it is just the quests giving more $$ or what but I have around 3k on my account (thats a lot for me!). I am sure the crafted items actually selling helps and the fact that I'm not buying to level any crafting skills at the moment. The next thing I noticed, my mining is around 440 and I have yet to touch any saronite. It should be a very brief time before I hit 450 and can start cranking out titansteel bars.

My plans for 80 (since I'm close enough to make them). I want to do argent tournament dailies for money and marks, badges, tokens, whatever they're called. I want to make enough titansteel for the helm, the legs, the boots, the necklace, and the ring. I want to do the JC dailies so that A) I can get the solid dragoneye cut, and B) I can get some dragoneyes to socket (go go gadget stamina!). As soon as I get 5k gold I am picking up epic flying and doing the netherwing dailies to get a drake (I don't care what color it is, I want a dragon damnit!). I want to run enough heroics to get the BoA shoulders (cloth and leather).

Thats not too much to ask right? And I should beat my old level cap record, I don't think Blizz is releasing a new expansion in the next couple months :P

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Which profession to choose? (cost vs benefit)

Something I've been thinking about recently is juggling around crafting skills on my alts on my horde server. On my alliance server, I had better knowledge of the game, so I was able to plan which alts would take which skills in what order so that I could get the best benefit. On my horde server, I have picked them, dropped them, juggled them around, and in the process wasted a LOT of time and resources. For example, my main (a prot paladin) has been a miner, blacksmith, jewelcrafter, enchanter, and miner again.

I hopes of sparing people those problems, I have decided to give a short overview of the professions from a cost benefit perspective with which classes gain most from the profession.

Alchemy - Alchemy takes herbs and turns them into various potions and elixirs. It also has the ability at higher level to transmute materials. It is most effective paired with it's gathering skill Herbalism or Inscription, another crafting profession that also makes use of herbs. Any class can benefit from alchemy.
Cost - 3: herbs have become slightly inflated recently, but it doesnt take many per item
Benefit - 4: anyone can use the potions and many have uses in other crafted items

Blacksmithing - Blacksmithing takes materials gained from mining and turns them into weapons, armor, other useful items. It can be extremely painful to level through vanilla content with expensive materials and a lot of them required. However, this pain eases in TBC and Wrath, making blacksmithing a lot more useful. It is most effective paired with mining (it's gathering skill) or jewelcrafting. Plate wearing tanking classes gain the most from blacksmithing (paladins, warriors, and death knights).
Cost - 4: Thorium is the most expensive/rare crafting material and BS' need a lot of it
Benefit - 2/4: If you wear plate, its pretty darn useful, if not, don't bother

Enchanting - Enchanting is a unique profession. It has no gathering profession associated with it, it gathers it's own materials by breaking down green or better items. It is therefor VERY expensive from a cost perspective, but the benefits it grants are permanent. It is most often paired with tailoring another profession without an associated gathering profession. Any class can benefit from enchanting, it is easiest for classes that can solo instances to gather low level materials.
Cost - 5: Most expensive profession in the game at any given level
Benefit - 3: small boost to stats, can be used on most item types and permanent

Engineering - Engineering creates ammunition and random gizmos. It can give an increased utility to most any class (lockpicking, resurrection, invisibility and teleportation) that mimics abilities from other classes. It is most often paired with mining (it's gathering profession). Hunters gain the biggest benefit from engineering as they can make use of all of the gadgets and great benefit from scopes.
Cost - 4: see blacksmithing
Benefit - 2: lots of gizmos anyone can use, but marginal actual utility

Inscription - Inscription gives the ability to make glyphs scrolls and a small selection of items. The glyphs benefit all classes as do the lower level shoulders from card decks. They can also create off-hand items for casters. It is most effective paired with it's gathering skill Herbalism or Alchemy, another crafting profession that also makes use of herbs. As most items from inscription are BoE, most classes will benefit from it equally.
Cost - 4: Uses LOTS of herbs, but not quite as expensive as enchanting
Benefit - 3: glyphs improve performance of abilities, sometimes greatly

Jewelcrafting - Jewelcrafting gives the ability to make rings, necklaces and at higher level cut gems for use in sockets. The gems are a great way to customize socketable gear and the jewelry is a great boost for leveling in older content. It is most effective paired with mining (it's gathering skill) or blacksmithing. As most items from inscription are BoE, most classes will benefit from it equally.
Cost - 4: Uses less metal than blacksmithing or engineering, but gems can be pricey
Benefit - 3: Not all equipment is socketable, but great benefit when applicable.

Leatherworking - Leatherworking gives the ability to make leather/mail armor and specialty bags. It is of unparralleled benefit to classes that can wear the armor it can create. In a lot of cases, the crafted armor is the best at a given level. It is most effective paired with skinning (it's gathering skill). Shamen, druids, hunters, and rogues benefit most from leatherworking.
Cost - 2: most leather and hides are terribly deflated and this assumes
Benefit - 1/4: very minimal if you can't use the armor, one of the best if you can.

Tailoring - What is one thing everyone in the game needs? Bags. Tailors make bags and an assortment of cloth armor useful for casters. It is most often paired with enchanting another profession without an associated gathering profession. Casters benefit most from tailoring.
Cost - 2: most leather and hides are terribly deflated and this assumes
Benefit - 3/5: Everyone needs bags and for casters this is hands down the best profession.

The winners? Leatherworking and tailoring for sure if you can make use of the crafted gear for sure. Alchemy also has a clear cost benefit. Blacksmithing brings up the rear if you are a plate wearer, but I can definately understand if you want to skip out on the painful leveling process. I personally wish I had never dropped it on my paladin (although jewelcrafting has been useful).

The losers? Enchanting and engineering. One provides a small benefit but will kill you in the wallet, the other provides questionable benefit and is only slightly less painful cost-wise.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wolverine: A review (with spoilers). . .

So I'm going to get this out of the way from the start. I am probably one of the biggest Deadpool fans out there. I probably would have waited for some time to see the movie had I not heard Deadpool would be in it. I will address the many issues with that particular aspect of the movie later

Wolverine was pretty entertaining. Sadly, I thought the credits (beginning, not end) were some of the most visually appealing, inspiring parts of the whole movie. Now, I really like Wolverine as a character. He's gruff, he's a bad ass, he doesn't take shit from anyone. I really liked how they showed what made him. Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson made me get all hyper and almost jump up and down in the seat. I can't imagine anyone more suited to play Deadpool.

Ok, things I didn't like. First of all, Cyclops was in the movie. Him being disintegrated was the low point of x-men 3, his appearance in Wolverine was entirely a waste. Um, like most people, Deadpool as Weapon XI with swords in his arms, teleportation, and laser vision? WTF!?!? BTW, a fight between wolverine and deadpool would be cool to watch for about 5 mins, but after they cut the crap out of each other and regenerated the bits, it would get a little boring. I didn't like the multiple "secret" endings. I have heard two so far: Wolverine in a bar in japan saying he drinks to remember, and Deadpool's decapitated head saying shhhhhhhhh. There may be others, I think they should save extras for the DVD and give everyone in the theatre the same ending.

OK, so most fans of Deadpool seem to think the way he was portrayed in Wolverine would ruin the possibility of a Deadpool movie. I disagree. You have to look at the origin of the deadpool character. He had wolverine's healing factor grafted into him to fight his terminal cancer. It initially failed. It was only after he was sent to the facility for failed experiments and experimented on that his healing factor activated.

How I would start a deadpool movie.

A figure is seen carrying the body of deadpool off from 3 mile island. He is taken to a lab where he is tortured and experimented on which drives him slightly insane. His "death" seems to have stripped him of the powers that stryker gave him (and removed the swords from his arms, you don't want a captive having implanted blades, do you?). However, the experimentation activates his healing factor and he breaks out. Although some things have been changed, thats pretty close to the deadpool origin from the comics. Close enough for a movie at least.

Monday, May 4, 2009

After a short break. . .

I havent had too much to really blog about recently. I was trying to push hard for 80, but with ulduar dropping, most peoples' energy has been re-focused to raiding, and the monotony of questing has been a little much. Its not so much questing itself, but 5 hours + per level.

I have more fully moved back to the PvP server, and I've noticed it's not as bad as it used to be. I did have a druid one-shot my warrior in hellfire, and an 80 rogue ganked my mage in STV, but those were more isolated occurances. It seems with the new content, people are actually doing the new content rather than hunting for lowbies to pick on. This was my biggest problem with PvP in the first place.

So, I'm back on the "path to 80", which will be followed shortly by the "path to gearing for raiding". Thankfully we have quite a few miners in the guild and I have a BS so I can blow through titansteel cooldowns to get some respectable tanking gear made. I'm super thankful that this is a viable route for tanks as opposed to the TBC method (i.e. grind rep and then run heroics and die a lot, earn those epics with BLOOD!!!).

I'm still on pace to hit 80 before the next expansion!! (my guildies will get the joke there)