Tuesday, June 30, 2009

upcoming vacation and random thoughts. . .

Vacation from work means more wow, which for me is a good thing. I've been recently consumed with leveling my mage and druid, mage is safe and sound (relatively) in outlands, druid is level 54 and should get there within the next couple of days. My only remaining character that I have any desire to level is my Shammy, who is currently level 20. Not counting the Shammy, that will bring my tally of horde characters at outlands or beyond to 6 (paladin, warrior, warlock, deathknight, mage, druid). I am reasonably sure the druid will consume my time while he's rested, although dailies and heroics on paladin will still more than likely be at least a part of my time.

I'm seriously considering dropping mining on my paladin for blacksmithing. The horrible pain that is leveling blacksmithing is keeping me from doing it. Also, the only other miner I have is my level 70 deathknight. And although death knights are easy to level, the appeal just isn't there. I also don't think 2 sockets and some BS only ret gear is currently worth it. Also, it would make my warrior obsolete (not that I play him much anyways).

I've dropped tailoring completely (for now). Probably until mage is mid-upper 60's, I'll pick it back up, but until that time, having him an herbalist seems more prudent. I did it so I could have an enchanter again, and with my lock at 60, he can max out, and I have TONS of mats sitting around (both my warlock and paladin were at times enchanters). And a ton of worthless northrend gear waiting to be disenchanted (who really buys items of the boar or of the gorilla or wolf?)

I am making my spiked titansteel helm tonight, putting the ebon blade head enchant on it, slapping an attackpower meta gem in it, and breaking some faces (or spider parts, as it were). I was looking at the boots from exalted ebon blade thinking "why is there a blue gem slot in these?" Green gems and purple gems seem to all have stam or Mp5 as their secondary stat. Stam is great. . .when I'm tanking. I really think I have enough on my ret set as is. Orange gems, well I'm probably going to be using etched (STR and Hit), I only have huge citrine, hopefully I get a few perfects. That should be enough to hit cap me, or nearly hit cap me.

Lastly, I am going to desecrate all the fires I can on my pally. If my numbers are right, its an easy 300 gold or thereabouts. Not too bad for some random flying around.

Random thoughts:
Inscription is really mat intensive and never knowing which minor inscriptions I'm going to get really sucks!

I hate jousting in the argent tournament. So much so, I've gotten valiant marks ONLY by killing icrecrown scourge.

I never get tired of the Ebon Blade daily where you shoot down the dragons. Best quest ever.

I really have no use for achievements, at least they don't incovenience me in any way.

I hate pvp. Even with the new video card, I despise it.

I hate most gnomes. . .unless they blog. It seems like I get constantly ganked by gnome mages and death knights.

I don't see the point of allowing people to transfer factions. My human pally is never coming over to my horde server. Leveling a horde pally 70-80, why would I want to do it again? Plus, I still prefer the look of human pallies (now if they let me make leshif human, but keep him horde. . .best not think about that).

Why is there blue tanking gear, and blue healing gear, but no blue DPS gear made by blacksmithing at upper levels?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lesson learned. . .

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about my role in our guild, and the game in general. At times I have been a little moody, maybe a little whiny, sometimes even slightly negative. Yesterday night, was the pendulum swinging back in the other direction. Reports of the demise of Leshif, paladin tank, may have been slightly premature.

I learned a few valuable lessons, but before I get to that, the achievement. I tanked Heroic Nexus. The full run, all bosses! Of course, the tanking helm and cape dropped, neither were upgrades for me. I had the exact same gear as our failed H UK run, and same healer (I did change my spec from a 10/51/10 to 0/54/17, more threat oriented). Speaking of heals, big shout outs to Eus, my paladin partner in crime for keeping me up the whole run. Anyways, the difference between the two runs was our DPS. Our UK run was a rogue (who was good), a ret paladin (I think our GM in his off-spec), and a hunter (who managed 700 DPS on the run). On our Nexus run we had a warlock (raid level), Shaman (also raid level), and a ret paladin (yes, also raid level, see the trend?). I only had to use my emergency button ONCE, on the final boss, and I'm not even convinced it was necessary as Eusy was doing a great job keeping me up. I did have a few issues holding aggro, but I held it pretty well and was able to taunt the mobs back to me without any group wipes.

I learned two valuable lessons as a result of this. Heroics are a group activity. It is not just the healer, tank, and any 3 DPS you can throw together. With an amazingly overgeared group, maybe you can carry 3 sub-standard DPS. I hate referring to other players that way, but it is what it is. That leads me to my next lesson. DPS is not "easy" and you don't just ding 80 and have the ability to move directly into heroics. It took me almost a month after dinging 80 to be "ready" to tank heroics. Maybe there is a little more gear out there for DPS, but there are more DPS characters too. DPS, like any other role, requires effort, research, and a lot of trial and error to get things right.

I meant what I said about focusing on ret. I need a LOT more work before I'm ready to off-tank a raid, but I will do whatever our guild needs. I also need a lot of work on my ret set making it more suited to raiding ret. I'm not hit capped yet, I will be fixing that with some gems. I need a lil less stamina and more strength (yay attack power). It's a work in progress, but I'm actually looking forward to tuesday night. Not because I'll get some emblems or gear (which I prolly will and might respectively. . .I want the sword from naxx-10. . .badly), but because I've set a goal, 1500 DPS, not unreachable as I was between 1000 and 1200 before. Between now and then, I'm making myself a trinket (the emerald boar, yay c/d and attack power), the spiked titansteel helm (besides looking awesome, it should last for a while and shows I'm serious about my ret set), and getting some leg armor and enchants. Before any of this, I'm around 1800 AP, I am looking to get hit capped and raise that number to around 2200-2300.

Self-improvement is a really tricky subject. First of all, its hard to be realistic with yourself, most people will either be too harsh, or overstate their abilities (I've been guilty of both). Secondly, improvement, by definition, requires that you admit that you are weak in some area. Be as frank with yourself as you can, put the work in, and you'll be better for it in the long run, not just in gaming, but at everything in life.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Once upon a time: the end is the beginning?

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Fish. His coworkers played this game called "world of warcraft" and were encouraging him to play too. He bought the game, installed it on his system, but was undecided as to what to play. His friend Ruhtra stepped in and said "retribution paladins are awesome, you should play one", so he did. He named his paladin Leshif and set off to conquer Azeroth. Fish eventually became dissatisfied with Leshif and sent him off to the corner while he played with new characters of different classes, specs, and even affiliations (while Fish would make many alts, and re-uses many of the same names on Horde and Alliance servers, Leshif, as the first is special to him and will never be re-used).

After much experience in the game, Fish decided to change Leshif to a Holy paladin, a change Leshif did not entirely embrace. This was clearly not a path to power. One day, whilest browsing the internet, Fish stumbled on a concept called AoE grinding where one character could take on swarms of enemies at a time. This seemed like a grand idea so Leshif was called to action yet again, his talents changed for the third time.

Leshif finally felt powerful! Not against other players, who were strangely immune and unphased by his new powers, but that weakness only fueled his desire to kill more and more mobs. This seemed to be what he was meant for, fighting 3-8 mobs at a time, leaving trails of corpses in his wake, his health and mana barely taxed at all. Before he knew it, Leshif had reached the level cap, and killing mobs no longer served to increase his power.

Fish was at a loss. He didn't know what to do. He tried using Leshif as a tank in instances. Leshif did not care for this activity at all. Mobs in heroic instances hit much harder than outside (good thing they're stuck there, otherwise players might have some real problems on their hands!) and 5 of them at a time made quick work of the poor paladin. Fish's friend Ruhtra proposed a solution yet again. "Try retribution" he said.

So Fish re-trained Leshif back to his old path to find a new source of power and found it not the retribution he remembered at all. It also was nothing like protection, his trained reactions were useless, it required much more thought and consideration and all the time spent on acquiring sturdy tanking gear was for nought.

Fish was tempted to send Leshif back to the corner, retired except for his skills as a jewelcrafter. A provider for his other characters. However, in consideration, this was not a worthy end for Leshif, his first character, on whom he had spent hundreds of hours. Leshif deserved a second chance to prove that he could become powerful and bring Fish a joy like he had when he had first embraced the art of protection. That day, Fish dedicated Leshif fully to the discipline of Retribution, his Protection duties and abilities would be put on hold until Leshif was able to fulfill his new role: Bringer of Pain. Not just regular amounts of non-elite mob pain. Serious, prolonged, extended, crit fueled, chest pumping, Boss slaying PAIN.

As is often the case, the end turned out to be the beginning.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My first raid. . .

I guess technically Onyxia was my first raid, but 6 man-ing vanilla 40 man content doesn't count. Our guild ran the Spider wing of Naxx-10 on tuesday, which we actually completed and it was a full guild run. It was an eye opening experience for a lot of reasons.

Loot drama - We'll get this one out of the way right off the bat. I am not a retribution paladin. I have not leveled retribution since I believe the mid 40's which was over a year ago. My knowledge of retribution is crusader strike, divine storm, and fill in the time in between with whatever. However, that being said, I bought dual spec and went retribution because I figured if I wasn't tanking, I would be able to do something and it was a way to get gear. However, I have very minimal interest in ret gear. I want tank gear. Well, I figured as I leveled prot, run most instances prot, am defense capped prot, prot is my "main" spec. So when I rolled on the prot ring, one of the tanks complained. If I can't get gear, there are easier faster ways to get emblems.

Vent - Never previously used it, wasn't even really sure what it was except a way for people to talk to each other. It was odd hearing peoples' voices that I hadn't heard before. And I guess talking is easier than typing, but apart from raiding, I have no use for it, but I'll leave it installed.

General Impressions - I don't like melee DPS. I LOOOOVE playing my mage, and I love everything about my Dr00d (post about the awesomeness of mangle forthcoming), but I had always seen my paladin as an AoE grinding machine. And maybe thats the problem. I don't feel responsive having to run over to mobs rather than just shift targets. Weapon swings feel slow. I died a few times (not my healers fault, I ascribe to the "If DPS dies, it's their own damn fault" rule). I didn't have a bad time per se, it just wasnt as fun as a lot of other in game activities. I guess I was expecting it to be more grand, not just a harder version of an instance that took more people.

Outlook - I'm severely doubting my paladin is a character to raid with. I am going to give it a few more tries before abandoning it completely, but thats where I'm at now. I honestly don't see the appeal. I think it would be more fun for me on my mage or druid, and I think gearing would be easier on mage or druid. I also think elemental shammy might be fun. I guess I have come to the conclusion I am not a tank, I am an AoE grinder that's level capped in better gear. That still leaves DPS and/or healing and who knows, I might really take to Druid tanking.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the AAAA player. . .

For those of you not familiar with the way baseball works, before a player is deemed "ready" for the majors, they go through a progression of minor leagues. These are graded in quality from A being the lowest level to AAA, the highest level of the minors. However, there are sometimes players who, while being successful in AAA, are not successful at the major league level. These players are often referred to as AAAA (quadruple A) players. I am starting to get the impression I am a quadruple A player in Wow.

I have no problems leveling, farming, running instances at lower levels, all the way up to heroic. Not just as a paladin, deathknight, mage, druid, I've run with them all, and in level appropriate groups, no problems. Once things go heroic, I wilt like a featherweight in the ring with 80's Tyson.

I think part of it may be my mindset. I don't want to kite. I want an instance version of AoE grinding. The boss should be beating on me, the healer healing me, with me generating aggro and DPS burning him down. That might get boring to some others, I like it just fine.

My guild is running Naxx 10 tonight. I am going to participate in the fail. . .er. . .attempt. I say fail because we tried a different 10 man (one of the "easy" ones) and were just crushed. We have some players in the guild who are really good and know their class. We just don't have 10 of them who can run at once and fill every role that needs filled.

This leads me to a curious question. What do I do? My current combination of skills and gear will not carry me. If I can barely get through the first boss of H UK (with 2 wipes on "trash") heroic tanking is not presently a job I can handle. A naxx 10 drop might help, the AC head enchant will help, but these are small improvements. Do I focus on the Druid, get through outlands as fast as I can, and start the process over again? Wow itself is still fun for me. The "progression" game is not.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My weekend. . .

First of all, Happy Father's Day to any and all that it applies to (One of my kitties coughed up a hairball for me, not the Father's Day gift I was expecting, but as I have no human children, I guess thats what I get). I had dinner with my Dad, stepmom and little brother last night, it was a fun time, but I ate way too much and consequently didn't feel that well last night.

Had a hockey game sunday where we absolutely destroyed the other team. It felt particularly good since them not being able to play last week is what screwed us into a double header back to back (the guy who runs the league plays goalie for them). I moved up from defense and played center the 3rd period and most of our better players said I really seemed to click there. When playing defense, I'm a little more tentative because if a guy gets by me, he's alone with the goalie. When I play on offense, I can chase down their defensemen, harass them in the corners and really make them work to bring it up. If they get by me, oh well, there are at least 2 defensemen behind me. I pretty much single-handedly tied up 2 of the other team's better players behind the net a few minutes apiece.

In wow, my weekend was productive and yet not. I did run a few things on my mage. Ran blackrock depths a few times (got shoulders and staff) and sunken temple which was horribly frustrating. I had pretty much all the quests for ST and the group that I was in COMPLETELY BIPASSED THE AREA WITH THE QUESTS!!! Yeah, I got the pants off the prophet and the quest for his head, but I would have been better off grinding on furbolgs. Still, I am right up on level 55, so outlands is just a hop, skip and a jump away. My druid hit level 50, so I picked up mangle and due to a slight miscalculation with the talent tree, I won't get tree form till 51 (yay feral/resto dual spec). I love my druid, I havent gotten a chance to use mangle yet (I pretty much dinged, then had other things to do), but that should be fun. I tried to re-spec w/o thick hide, but I couldn't really make the numbers work, and since I intend this guy to be mostly a bear tank/tree at 80 anyways, figured I may as well keep it.

I say not productive because my paladin did almost nothing over the weekend. I went to bed super early on friday (I guess I was worn out) so I missed my dailies. I didn't do any instances either as DPS or tanking. I basically did my dailies and leveled alts. Not a bad weekend, just not very productive. I am wondering what to do with my jewelcrafting tokens. I have already bought the tanking ring, tanking neck, stam dragon eye, green tanking gem (stam & +def), and a gem for my druid (AGI and stam). There are a few diff caster gems, but my mage won't really benefit from them for some time (I refuse to use blue gems on a non 80, waste of $$), so I'm a little stuck.

Not a very action packed weekend (not necessarily a bad thing), hope everyone else had a nice one as well!

Friday, June 19, 2009

on 5 man teams

I was talking to our GM last night about a post he wrote here. I suggest you read it because it's highly informative and echoes a sentiment a lot of people have had recently. There are just too many people being carried through content, getting cheap easy gear, and then using that gear as a crutch to carry them further. It is almost a self perpetuating cycle.

It got me to thinking about hockey again. I think Wow and hockey have a lot in common. They are both team based activities (I'm talking 5 mans here, I guess the analogy holds true to raiding, its just a bigger team), where the team functioning together as a whole is more important than the individual parts and weaknesses in key positions cause defeat to the team. If an instance run can't do enough damage before the tank dies, that group loses. If a team doesn't score enough to support their goalie, they lose. In hockey, I know what level I can play up to. When I play at this level, the games are challenging, but I make the saves more often than not and my team still has a good chance to win. When I skate out, I play in a lower division because frankly, I'm just not as good skating out as I am in goal, I don't shoot very well, so I am weak in a key area that can be exposed at higher difficulty levels. Imagine if one day, for participating in a game, I was rewarded with an amazing stick that was better than most everyone else's on my team and allowed me to shoot on par with the better players in the division.

Suddenly I can shoot (even though it's the stick, and not me learning proper technique), and since I got this awesome stick, maybe I'll play up a division and try for some skates that make me skate faster. Now, I've just gotten the ability to skate and shoot purely from new gear, why would I bother practicing technique? I can play well above the level I would normally be able to play at with these items alone.

Obviously, that example is preposterous. I play at the level that my skills allow me to. Occasionally I will play in a level I consider "easy" either because I enjoy hockey or a team needs a fill in. I practice to get better, but even with the best gear out there, I would never be able to keep up with a pro player in crappy 2nd hand gear. In Wow, this is not the case. Put me in Ulduar purples and an elite tank in white gear, and I will completely outclass them. Why does Wow encourage gear hoarding over skill developement?

Part of me says "don't worry about it, it doesn't really affect you. People who want to play that way pay their $15 the same as you do." I guess they're not really hurting me, but it bugs me. I felt the anguish in TBC when I hit the level cap and realized it was like being level 1 again. I ground reputation to get keyed for the heroics and even with a well geared group, upper level instances were HARD, there were wipes and CC was mandatory. I feel like I've developed skill an experience and people who get carried through a couple naxx runs for some gear and then think their l33t because of it just feels wrong. I guess I want to respect people who are more "progressed" than me, but more often than not, I just can't.

On a more positive note, I am doing some skills work myself this weekend. I'm going to be tanking some guild runs through the easier heroics, not so much for gear (for me at least, the only instance that has much of anything for me is heroic Utgarde Pinnacle), more to get experience running heroics with our team. I'm looking forward to it. Even if we wipe and things don't go that smoothly, I know why I play. I enjoy spending time with my guildies and contributing to the group.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The level cap: Beginning of the game or Retirement?

This is my first extended experience with the Wow "endgame". Although I was level 70 before WotLK hit, it was only by a few months, and I didn't even really have enough time to get geared to tank heroics. This time is different as I'm at the defense cap and have reasonable beginning levels of HP and Armor, tanking heroics is actually an option. What I have been considering is whether or not its an option worth pursuing?

My normal routine goes something like this: Go to JC trainer, get JC daily; Fly to Argent Tournament, mine anything along the way, get lumberjack and kill scourge dailies; Fly to Shadow Hold, get 3 Ebon Blade dailies (the one where you shoot down the dragons is about my fav daily EVER!!); complete dailies; turn in; log into an alt. I do 6 dailies which take about a half hour and go level my alts. I just dont have any desire to run heroics, I've been trying to consider why.

A guildie last night was looking for a tank to run heroic Violet Hold (which I despise, but I'll get into that in a minute). I decided "hey, there are pants for me potentially in there, I can at least get some badges and help out a guildie." I'd run it before on reg, just seemed like a lot of running around between portals a la black morass, no biggie. But two things remove my desire to ever run it again: A) if you die, you have to re-do everything up to that point, and B) there is a boss in there that requires pulling around the room. I don't want to run anyone around the room. Turn him away from the group, fine. Dodge out of the way of the knockout blow that deadly boss tells me is coming, fine. Hit space bar repeatedly while tanking, annoying but acceptable. Run him around the room? Nuh uh. I've heard there's a raid boss that requires a wow equivalent of the thriller dance, I don't want to do that either. Since I'm unwilling to jump through blizz's hoops, should I be doing endgame content in the first place?

I was super motivated to get to 80, I thought it would open all these doors for me. Really I'm finding it is more like retirement. Sure my pally comes out to do some consulting, does some jewelcrafting for himself and others, but really he flies around, collects his social security and sits around, mostly unused. Its kind of sad, me original character is in retirement and doesn't even know it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Best PUG ever and other weekend errata. . .

Well, I had some vacation from work last week and after getting over my rather serious virus issue, I could think of nothing better to do than spend the majority of the week playing Wow (yes, thats a vacation for me, no work, and a lot less expensive than the beach vacation I'd origingally planned). The time was well spent and even a fun random gankings in the Hinterlands couldn't spoil my fun (Mage getting hit with a Titansteel destroyer, I couldn't even catch the name of the guy who killed me, bang, I'm dead).

First of all, I can't recall the day (they kind of merged together) but I was a part of the best PuG possibly in the history of Wow. OK, I'm embellishing a little bit there, but this was so much fun I can't remember enjoying playing my mage this much (and I enjoy my mage quite a bit). It started with me leveling my druid in the Swamp of Sorrows. I got a whisper from someone asking if I wanted to DPS for Zul'Farrak. Although I know how to kitty DPS, I really see my druid as tank (and heals once I dual spec) for instances, kitty for leveling. However, I am leveling my mage specifically to run instances (all that AoE goodness shouldn't go to waste). I asked if theyd be ok taking my mage instead (who granted was a lil high to run ZF, but I wanted the staff from there pretty badly). They added me and it was awesome!!! The group averaged about level 50, heals were good, tank was good, and they basically gathered up mobs for me to AoE. It was such a good run, it went faster than I can solo it on my pally. The highlight of the run was when the tank decided to see if he could run to the bottom of the stairs with all the mobs and we could kill them all there. He gathered, I blizzarded, lots of numbers, mobs dead. I also got the mask and staff from the runs (we did it over a couple times because it was fast and fun).

In other non-Wow related news, I was happy to see the Lakers win the NBA championship (I became a Lakers fan living in San Diego in the late 80's), and not-Detroit win the Stanley Cup. I'm not really a Penguins fan, but I HATE Detroit so given a choice between Detroit and virtually anyone else (Detroit vs NJ would be tough, I have hatred for both).

One other wow note, whomever thought it would be cute to roll a pink pigtailed gnome warrior on the server I play alliance on with the same name as my main, its not. I can't really claim identity theft as wow characters don't have social security numbers, and most of my other alts' names are duplicated repeatedly. That's all there is to say about that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gear: the means or the end?

We lost another 80 in the guild yesterday, and I cant say Im sorry to see him go. His comment on leaving (Im paraphrasing) "I met some dude in barrens, he said his guild could one shot all the bosses in naxx and theyd farm it for me, I want to get my t8 set, peace". Ive read a lot about "charity purples" but this is taking it to a whole new level, and it bothered me.

It has nothing to do with a dead-weight douchebag leaving the guild. He was a mage, and not that good of one, we have 2-3 others who are better, and I would say could take his place, but really, they are what he would be aspiring to anyways. I view our guild as a group of mostly friends who get together for a common goal. The overwelming majority, I think of as friends, and I help out in any way that I can. Lately, I have been crafting gear for people as I have a high level jewelcrafter and blacksmith. Sure, I want to upgrade my gear, but lets be honest, its not like there is a ton of new content coming out soon and Im not exactly a hardcore progression player.

I see gear as something that happens, yeah there are a few pieces I want, but if I wasnt trying to get geared up to tank heroics and raids, it would be irrelevant. I would never try to tell someone how to play their class, and admittedly, DPS is something Im not super knowledgable about, but Im not aware of any "gear checks" for DPS. There isnt the equivalent of the defense cap (maybe hit cap for casters, but it doesnt seem super hard to get there). How much new content is going to be released in the near future? How many times do you really want to run through ulduar? And if a guild is good enough to one shot the bosses in naxx, what do they need a random mage for?

To me, gear is a means, it is a tool. Obviously, Im not naked tanking any dungeons in the near future. I wonder how many people really see it that way. . .

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My vacation in Azeroth. . .

Well, this is going to be a decidedly HAPPY fishy blog post. First of all, I talked to my dad last night, the last of the virus has been cleansed from my system (no pun intended). I am picking it up after work today. As an added bonus, as I had already installed the new video card before this mess, I will be rocking my new 512mb NVIDIA card when I log in! (I know that is far from top of the line, but playing a 4yo game on a 5yo computer, it should be more than sufficient and way better than onboard graphics). I'm back and forth on whether to drop another 2mb of Ram into my system. I'm running XP so with the new video card 2mb should be fine, but there is a little voice in my head screaming "MORE POWER!!!" so we'll see. If that wasn't enough to make me positively giddy, today is my last day of work till monday. Thats right boys and girls, its time for a vacation. . .IN AZEROTH!!!

Ever gone a while without eating (either accidently or on purpose) and you eventually get so hungry you feel like you could eat the entire store? Thats where I'm at with Wow. Sure, there will be breaks for sleeping, eating, going to the gym, tasty adult beverages with friends, but my vacation will be spent mostly in Azeroth (and Outlands). As usual, I have a list of goals for my characters:

Leshif - Run heroics, get l00tz! Become more epic! I believe I am one JC token from the epic necklace, already have the ring, could use the sword and belt from H UP and shield from H CoS (although I'm tempted to make the titansteel shield because it looks cooler and has more defense).

Bullfish - My new fav alt. I have been reading everything druid I can get my hands on(thanks druid wiki, big bear butt, unbearably HoT, and thinktank), and I will admit, even thought I think a bear with horns is kind of dumb looking (and don't get me started on a cat with horns), the ability to Tank, Heal, and DPS with the same character is mighty appealing. I'm hoping to hit 50+ get my LW to 300, and pick up dual spec. Feral/Resto anyone?

Zefish - Outlands or bust man! I think when I left him I was pretty darn close to 50, that means 8 levels to Outlands. If only he weren't so squishy! I <3 mages, frost especially. I love leveling with him, and when I hit outlands I'm switching out his herbalism for tailoring and I can switch my lock's tailoring for enchanting (he used to be an enchanter, and currently I don't have an enchanter).

Dreadfish - Northrend bound! He has been level 69 for literally months. I have used him to skin, or hunt down people who gank my alts and thats about it. Plus with him running around Northrend, I can start stocking up on leather prepping for my druid. And deathknights are kind of fun.

Warfish - I have a love/hate relationship with my warrior. I love love love Titan's Grip. Its awesome. I would love to get ahold of a couple crystal forged war axes mmmmmmm goodness. The hate side - NO STAYING POWER!! I'm used to my paladin who kills slowly but can outlast anything. No self heals? (which isn't completely true, warrior is herbalist, but thats a c/d and not super powerful). Every other class I play (except the mage) has self heals. I'm just not digging not having them. With that being said, would be awefully nice to hit 66-67 to get to wear the adamantite set.

I am looking forward to the most enjoyable, cost-effective vacation I've taken so far. I won't come back to worth with a tan, but thats not exactly a bad thing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

If college was like Wow. . .

Krizzlybear got me to thinking with his most recent post. He graduated from college (which is an awesome accomplishment, grats again!) and made some Wow analogies, which got me to thinking: What if college was like Wow? And then, What if Wow was like college?

If college was like Wow. . .
You would be able to spec into a certain major and EVERY employer would want you.
Needing on all the loots (use your imagination here) would get you swiftly G-kicked.
You could /ignore anyone blatantly being an ass and enjoy the soothing silence.
It would be completely acceptable for higher level friends to run you through difficult things.
Anyone who needed an answer on anything could swiftly be directed to any one of multiple thorough online sources.
Whenever a professor used a curve, 10% of the class would complain it turned into "easy mode" and the other 90% of the class didn't deserve to be taking it in the first place.
Anytime a major became too valuable, there would be an outrage that it was over-powered, and the deans would be forced to nerf it "to preserve balance".

If Wow was like college. . .
Attendance would be mandatory, but DKP points would be given out at a later indeterminate period at the RL's discretion.
Almost everyone would have multiple "alts" and even after choosing a "main" would flip flop between.

Anyone else have any more? I got a chuckle coming up with a few of these. . .

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Are you m*therf*ckers ready, for the new sh*t?

I swear, I am not a Bioware employee. It just seems like recently every time I see a game I'm excited about, it happens to be one of theirs. I'm currently playing Mass Effect while my computer is being repaired, and I'm quite happy with it. However, that is not what this post is about. I've also recently written a few posts about how geeked out I am over a Star Wars mmo. Also, not what this blog is about.

This blog is about yet ANOTHER amazing looking offering from Bioware: Dragon Age. Bioware doing medieval fantasy RPG with swords and magic? And it has sex too? And the trailer has the best Marilyn F-ing Manson song to date!?!?!? Well, the title of the blog says it best. . .

Friday, June 5, 2009

Why Star Wars: the Old Republic will succeed

I believe Star Wars: the Old Republic will be the greatest MMO yet produced. I have this belief based on both my experiences with Bioware games and the similarities to Blizzard and disimilarities to both Mythic and Funcom.

Biowares resume:
You may be familiar with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a couple games which in my opinion are not only the best Star Wars games to date, but tell a better story than Episodes I-III. Bioware came out with another title Jade Empire, which although overlooked is an AMAZING game. I thoroughly enjoyed it and played it through a couple times. The last title in their resume is Mass Effect, a game which I have not yet played, but heard excellent things about.
Thats three franchises which are completely disimilar to each other, none of which are mmos. The similarities are rich, character driven storylines, and fairly customizable character growth. All three were fairly critically acclaimed (8/10 or better by most media outlets), with two out of the three arguably being the best in their areas (I will admit, although I LOVED Jade Empire, it was somewhat of a niche game and was not as popular as the other two).

Mythics Resume:
They have produced one game prior to Warhammer, that being Dark Age of Camelot, a game which from what I can tell, looks like a prequel to Warhammer. System looks very similar, it seems to be basically what I've heard about warhammer in a different setting.

Funcoms Resume:
Funcom has two franchises released prior to the release of Age of Conan: Dreamfall, a more traditional platform RPG, and Anarchy online, an MMO. Both games received reviews generally between 7-8/10 although Anarchy online was plagued with problems on launch, one review said it was "promising with big technical flaws".

Blizzards Resume:
Blizzard released a number of smaller games in the early to mid 90's, they are most well known for three franchises: Warcraft and Starcraft (real time strategy), and Diablo (adventure RPG). All three were critically acclaimed and spawned sequels (Starcraft 2 has yet to be released).

What I take away from this: First of all, Blizzard and Bioware are more similar to each other than the other two companies for two reasons. First, before relweasing their MMO's, neither company had ventured into that market. The other similarity they have with each other is a larger body of work with higher acclaim. The way I see it is this: good companies produce good games, period. It doesn't matter if those companies are producing MMO's, real time strategy, Adventure RPG, or first person shooters. Mythic and Funcom seemed to have followed their "model" exactly when it comes to their MMO offerings. It could be argued Blizzard did the same. Looking at past trends, I believe the Old Republic will follow Bioware's model of other games. It will be story based and more than likely offer a large number of cutscenes/cinematics.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dr00ds. . . .

I had hoped to have my computer back up and running last night, but my dad was tired after work and as he's the one helping me out, I told him it would be fine to do it tonight. My hope is that I will be able to recover some data before re-loading windows and starting over. At this point I am pessimistic about the ability to repair the damage.

Onto brighter thoughts. I have been doing a lot of thinking about druids of late. Druid is probably my second favorite class in the game (Paladin is #1, every fantasy game I always go for plate wearing melee fighting self-healers). My biggest problem with playing them on a Horde server (I have 3 alliance druids) was the animal forms. Why do all the tauren versions have horns stapled to their heads for no reason? Enter new druid form art.

I am conflicted about the new druid form art. On one hand, I think it looks fairly cool. More detail, and the forms actually look like a tauren shapeshifted into something rather than just stapling horns on an existing animal. However, I still don't like horns on my cat form! (I'm ok with it on bear form, even though the broker in me sees a Bull/Bear as the ULTIMATE oxymoron).

I have always liked druids for their versitility, I personally believe (that US americans. . .jk inside joke, look here if you don't recall that one for a cheap laugh) that dual spec makes druids hands down the most powerful class in the game. By dual speccing druids can be endgame tanks, healers, and DPS. The kicker is that their DPS and Tank specs share talent tree AND gear. Since feral druids can be uncrushable with talents and get a massive armor buff in dire bear, their armor is mostly stamina, agility and crit stacking. If it sounds like the same thing a melee DPS character would wear, thats because it is. Since druids can wear leather OR cloth and their is no lack of caster cloth in the game, it makes assembling passable endgame sets easy to acquire.

Right now (ok, not RIGHT now, I have to get my comp up and running first), I'm leveling a mage and a druid. Both mid-upper 40's. I will probably have the mage to outlands first, but it wouldn't surprise me if the druid is my next 80.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To be the man, you have to beat the man. . .WOOOOO!

Ric Flair was an insightful individual. For quite some time, people have been predicting a "Wow Killer". But, as the quote says, to be the man, you have to beat the man. Age of Conan tried and failed. Warhammer tried and failed. Star Wars will succeed.

It is not in doubt that Star Wars is a mega-franchise and slapping that name on anything will bring in revenue. It is also not in doubt that Knights of the Old Republic was one of the greatest RPG franchises in recent history. Having just seen the trailer (which I've linked below). I have no doubt this is the game many have been waiting for.

Monday, June 1, 2009

5k views and day 5 of my Wow exile. . .

I reached a milestone of sorts recently. My views counter ticked over 5000. I know thats not a very large number compared to some of the more established blogs, but it still made me feel a sense of accomplishment. I have a friend who is a professional writer who kept a blog for some time for a community newspaper. I think he said he had less than 100 views total. I guess it's an example of consistancy and sticking with it.

On a not so happy note, computer is still unresponsive. I ran a full disk scan (approx 4 hours) revealed no problems with my hard-disk, no memory issues. I attempted to repair my windows and was unable to really do so (it reloaded some but not all the files and the issues remain). I still can't even manage to run MSCONFIG in safe mode. I am starting to think my only solution might be to re-load windows and accept the loss of all my data as a casualty of war. My last ditch effort will be to see if my dad can do anything with it (he does IT for the university here).

Honestly, although I have desperately missed Wow (voluntarily quitting was tough and I couldn't stick with it, this involuntary stuff SUCKS!), I have been able to occupy my time with a few other things. Been playing the UFC game, I <3 head kicks. There is something satisfying about kicking the computer in the head, seeing the eyes roll into the head, mouthguard go flying, and opponent hit the mat. Game over man. I have gotten some more time in with my guitar. I am beginning to play things which almost sound like the songs they're supposed to. Currently my two favs I can play are Killing in the name and Bad Girlfriend (well the part that doesnt need a slide, I don't have one of those).

Anyways, to those of you enjoying wow, I'm jealous and I will be back hopefully sooner rather than later. . .