Thursday, September 30, 2010

Americanized Entitlement

Entitlement is a term we hear thrown around a lot these days.  It's such a bad word isn't it?  Entitlement.  Like Newb.  Or Casual.  Or Elitist.  Or Moron and Slacker.  Or Huntard.   Or Mage.  They're all of the same ilk, aren't they?  It's all about labeling, negatively, other players.  It's about how the attitudes of others are obviously disillusioned or wrong.

We hear all the time about how this overblown sense of entitlement is ruining the game.  About how Blizzard has cultivated a crop of gamers in Wrath who feel entitled to things.  Every time I read it, I can help but think we're misusing the term a bit.  It has such a pejorative cast to it right now, that calling someone "entitled" is like calling someone an asshat.

Yet, entitlement is what America was founded on.  Americans, after all, are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It's right there, written on aged, yellowy paper.  I can't speak for the other countries that make up the WoW-iverse, but I would assume they have similar statements of entitlement somewhere in their government documentation.  Entitlement is essentially synonymous with "rights", though usually a bit more personal and perceived rather than a global truth.  In that regard, we have a whole Bill of Entitlements.  Right or wrong, that's how the government I'm most familiar with (and live in) started: with a sense of entitlement.

Now, I'm not saying entitlement can't be overblown.  In fact, an exaggerated sense of entitlement is one of the key characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Entitlement, when taken to extremes, can certainly be bad. However, I can't help but want to ameliorate the term.  There can be such a thing as a healthy sense of entitlement.

So I ask you, dear reader, to think about the things in WoW that it is appropriate to feel entitled to.  If we were to make a Declaration of Co-dependence to send to Blizzard, what would our inalienable rights be?  If we were writing an Azerothian Bill of Rights, what would be contained within?  Or, if you're more comfortable in a Constitutional Monarchy: if you were writing An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown, what might be writ therein?  Or, if you're living in Soviet Russia: what would Bill of Rights write about you?  (I'm being facetious, of course.  Current-day Russia is no longer a Soviet Union, it is a Semi-presidential Republic.)

Here, I'll get the party started first:

We, the denizens of Azeroth, in order to form a less arbitrarily insulting society do ordain and establish these points of entitlement:
  1. We shall be provided with a playable game, without having to put up with an unreasonable amount of downtime.  We get Tuesday maintenance, but if your shit crashes on a Saturday night... it's on.
  2. Taxation by subscription only.  If you start nickle and diming us for content, there will be hell to pay.  Sparkly ponies are, apparently, okay.  Be careful though, we wouldn't want to have to go all Tea Party on your ass.  Alternatively, we're not completely opposed to other business models, it would just be tough to switch horses in midstream, if you will.  We could always pull a Prohibition on this one if you come up with something wickedly cool that we've never even heard of.  Then we could go back when it doesn't work.
  3. There shall be varied raids.  Facelifts on old raids are okay so long as they play well at the current maximum level.  Complete reuse is only permissible in the case of Onyxia, because she was an awful awful bitch.  And maybe Ragnaros, you can do him too.  I like his yelling.
  4. There shall be levels, and we shall be able to gain them.  Leveling is important too, mmkay?
  5. PvP is optional, but you already got our hopes up, so you'd better make it good.
  6. Trees and abilities shall be roughly balanced.  One class shall not be exorbitantly greater in prowess than another by design.  We shall term this being "OP" and it shall be unacceptable.  We reserve the right to complain, loudly, when we perceive imbalance, however we acknowledge that we may not be right, and/or it was not done intentionally.  In that case, it shall be fixed... pronto.
  7. The environment shall be poly-climatic.  We want to be able to explore and see different things.  Don't George Lucas us and give us entire planets of only one ecosystem.  Though, if you give us multiple planets, we may not complain in that case either.  Just mix it up, ffs.
  8. Communication shall be enabled and convenient. This could fall under article 1, since communication is key for an MMO, but we made another one just to be sure you "got it".  In addition, we shall have the right to "block" certain unsavory characters from "spamming" our chat fields.  You should probably ban those gold sellers too.  They're bad juju.
  9. There shall be some degree of challenge to the game.  If a one celled organic player, we'll call him Parameciumlol, can clear all the content, then you haven't lived up to your charter.  Similar to the "OP" clause, we reserve the right to submit varied opinions as to the current and future potential levels of "challenge".  We will probably submit them in the form of vitriol and ragequitting, but we might surprise you and be loquacious too.  In either case, you need only make sure there is something challenging in the game to satisfy this article.  
  10. Our personal information shall not be shared with "creepy" collectives or individuals.  Creepy shall be defined on a person by person basis as "anyone who we strongly do not wish to have show up at our front f-in door or send crap in mail, both electronic and snail."   Investigative committees may be formed to help define key terms "personal" and "information" and "shared" and "be", but just be careful because this one is impeachment worthy for a lot of folks.  
What's on your list?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dark Lord Approves

Finally picked up my top tier helm last night. I haven't really needed to upgrade my gear since, for a ten man group, I'm mostly decked out in the best you can get (for reasonable effort). The helm, however, was a minor upgrade, and I finally had amassed enough frost emblems to nab it. It was sort of a side-goal. Anyways, I think it looks suitably evil.

I feel like a Death Eater. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

QotD: DPS... wtf is wrong with you?

Hey Gang!

Since there is almost nothing else to do in the game, many people are going back and finishing up a few things while they have the time.

Since Fuubaar is my "Achievement Whore", she's been going back and grinding reputation with a few random factions and FINALLY finished up the Argent Tournament Cities last night. THANK THE LORD! The only other reason to return now is for grinding out the Champion Seals for rewards. I would like to pick up the Squire Pony so that I'm able to access by bank or what ever he allows me to do. I think that this might be helpful for the 80-85 leveling grind coming here shortly. Also, with the interesting news that has just hit the fan "aka" regarding the Portal Replacement Operation: Make Travel Inconvenient, I might have to go ahead & get the Travel Tabard as well that teleports you to the Argent Tournament grounds. It's either that or pay a mage every time I want to go to Dalaran, or buy that rediculous Teleport Ring. Come to think of it though, how often did I go back to Shatt after Wrath came out? Not all that often. I did hear that they are keeping the portal to the Tenaris instances though so, that might actually come in handy if you need to get down there quickly. We shall see I guess :-/

Many people are also trying to get their mid to high level alts to level cap for what ever reason. I have been slowly working on my level 70 Hunter because might as well have 3 level 80s when Cata hits. I've been leveling her professions while queuing up for random dungeons.

Now, queuing up as DPS is always slow. I've finally witnessed this first hand. That specific topic has been hit on many times and I'm not intending to discuss it in great detail. What I did find interesting though was that there was no jump in queue times from lower levels to Northrend LFG. It all seemed roughly 30-45 minutes each time as DPS. If I'm on a toon that can help not queue up as DPS, I'll do it in a heartbeat. My Priest will queue up as a healer even though I rarely ever PvE on her so she wears her PvP DPS gear to heal in. Fuu obviously only queues up as Tank. Yes, I'm quite spoiled with wait times on healers & Tanks.

So, here's what I'm curious about. If DPS have to wait for 30+ minutes to get into a dungeon, why do tanks only see them as drooling idiots that wipe groups because of their impatience or randomly drop group because it's taking more than 10 minutes? WHY?! I just don't get it!

Here's my story from last night:

My hunter was running around mining waiting for a queue and 28 minutes later, it pops, so I accept. It's Utgard Keep and everyone seems ready to go. I throw my hunters mark on one of the targets, we kill the two mobs at the front door & one of the DPS drops. A few seconds later, the tank drops. It's just me, the healer & the lonely warlock left behind completely confused and unsatisfied. We wait next to the front door for probably 10 minutes with nothing. Finally, the other two drop group & I leave. It was by far the most depressing thing I've ever seen. I just wasted 45 minutes for two mobs worth of XP.

This is how my hunter felt when everyone left ...

You would think that having to wait that long, DPS would beg the tanks & healers for forgiveness & grovel at their feet to stay around for another dungeon or two. I would never dream of acting up in a Dungeon as a DPS for fear I'll be kicked out and have to sit in the queue again for 30 more minutes. I just don't understand it...

Perhaps you could help me out?

Question: Why do DPS act up in Dungeons when they must wait so long to get in in the first place?

Bonus Question: Do you believe that this is what makes DPS bitter towards Healers & Tanks because they don't have to wait as long?

Just curious...

<3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cashing In

"So, where are we going?" Mr. Wow asked.  Decedereful cast a sideways glance at the young man walking next to her.  She suppressed a smile.  With all the packs strapped to his body, he looked like a squire.  Her squire.

"We've got to go find my brother," she answered.

He shifted the bags uncomfortably on his shoulders.  "And he is where?"

"You know, I really can carry my own stuff," Decederful pointed out.

Mr. Wow gritted his teeth, "I told you, I've got it.  I insist."

"You know people are going to think you're my servant or something," she observed.

"I've been called worse.  Where is your brother?"

Decedereful shook her head.  Sometimes the man was hopeless.  "Icecrown Citadel."

Mr. Wow whistled appreciatively.  Decedereful could see him fight down some nervousness.  She had to admit, she wasn't too thrilled about it either.  She was confident she could handle herself, but Mr. Wow didn't exactly have the look of a battle-hardened soldier.  Sure he had some scars on his body, but who didn't in this age of war?  If he was more scarred then usual, it was probably because he got in a fight with a rosebush.  The last thing she wanted to have when following her brother into Icecrown was a liability.  Decedereful wasn't sure she could bear responsibility for the death of another friend.  Those days were supposed to be behind her.

"How about I leave you in Dalaran?" Decedereful suggested.  "I can go it alone from there."

As predicted, the young man favored her with an angry, if still attractive, glare.  "No way.  You're not ditching me that easily.  Besides, you'll probably get yourself flattened by a meteor without me."

The Death Knight scowled, "That was one time.  Come off it."

"Maybe, but it's not like I'm real busy either.  I left my post, remember?  For you.  To heal you." he explained.

"Fine, but we're going to need to get you some new armor," Decedereful observed, eying him up and down.  "That stuff they give you as a recruit is complete crap."

Mr. Wow looked down self-consciously.  "Is it really that bad?"

"Yes, but don't worry.  My brother has an account in Dalaran, and we know a few people with the Argent Crusade.  Plus, I got a buddy I fought some Horde with who tells me he's sitting on a nice cache of stuff out in Wintergrasp," Decedereful said, mentally forming a list.  "You're good with leather, right?"

"Sure, why?"

"Well you didn't much strike me as a plate guy, and lord knows we don't need another clothie in the manor," the Death Knight admitted.

"Fine, fine," Mr. Wow waved an arm, "but you have to let me get some of it on my own.  I'm not a charity case."

Decedereful shot him a skeptical glance.  "With the number of shirts you go through, ripping 'em up like a feral tiger, it's a wonder you have any armor at all."

Mr. Wow blushed, but did not respond to the jibe.  Decedereful still wasn't sure what he was, but she was leaning towards Druid, and the response seemed in line with that.  However, she'd know a few Druids in her day, and they rarely left themselves scarred.  After all, they had far to much control of their shapeshifting for that.  The young man next to her must really be a loose cannon.  Or, worse... new.  She didn't have the time or the patience to break in a new adventurer, even if he was strikingly hansom.

The sun was settling on the horizon, casting an orange glow across the landscape.  They were nearly to Stormwind, where they would board the boat headed for Northrend.  Decedereful felt invigorated to be out on an adventure again.  Even though she'd only been shut up in the manor for a few days, she just liked the feeling of having a goal, of being able to do something.  There was too many bad thoughts in her past to dwell on during quiet times.

Suddenly, Mr. Wow stopped dead in the road.  He seemed to be staring vacantly at the moon rising in the sky.  A bead of sweat broke out on his brow before he broke his gaze away and scrutinized the surrounding landscape.

"We should set up camp," he said, starting off the path to to side.  "I'll get the tents up."

"What?" Decedereful questioned.  "We're almost there, why stop now?"

"It's almost night," he explained simply with shrug.  "You don't want to have to set up tents in the dark.  Trust me."

"But, in the city, they have beds," Decedereful stated.  "And good food.  And ale."

"Sure, but they don't have the stars," Mr. Wow countered, "or the sound of crickets.  And it's not free."

"Crickets are overrated.  So are stars.  They can fall on your head," Decedereful pouted. 

Mr. Wow frowned, "Well, I'll find you in the morning then, if you insist on paying for your lodgings when there's a perfectly peaceful wood nearby."

Decedereful crossed her arms, "Good luck with that, tree humper."

"Enjoy your beverage, tavern wench," he shot back testily.

The fact that he'd dredged up a retort stunned her more than offended her.  It seemed so unlike him.  Still, she couldn't allow that sort of behavior to stand.  Putting on an air of offense, she walked over to him, looking him straight in the eye.  When she came within striking distance, she was disappointed when he didn't flinch.

Snatching her pack, she stomped off down the road.  She refused to look back.  If he wanted to camp out, then more power to him.  Besides, this might be her opportunity to lose the leech.  Even as she thought it, though, her stomach twisted in a weird feeling she wasn't used to.  She realized with a start that she didn't want the young man to let her leave.  What she wanted was some company.  Warm arms.  Soft lips.

Decedereful shook her head.  It was a silly thought, she should have more control of herself than that.  The last thing she needed right now was to get entangled with this unseasoned ruffian.  She had just turned a bend in the road, losing sight of Mr. Wow and his things, when she heard a howl behind her.  The sound of wolves sent a chill down her spine, and for a moment she wished she had not wandered off alone.  She loosened her sword in its loop at her waist.  She wasn't afraid.  There was nothing in these woods that could cause a problem for a warrior of her talents.  That sounded like a big wolf though, her brain interjected.  She ignored it and walked on, refusing to pay attention to the shadows growing around her.

The moon had risen high into the night by the time Stormwind's gates came into view.  Torches burned out front, illuminating the entrance to the grand city, and the guards stood their constant vigil.  For the first time since leaving her companion, Decedereful paused for a moment, taking a second to gather herself.  The faint scratchings of paws coming from the shadows off of the path almost made her scream in frustration.  The sound had been following her for some time now, but she refused to acknowledge it.  Whatever it was would be sorry if it decided to come out on the path and challenge her.  She was in a bad mood, and ready to hack away at something, even a simple forest wolf.

When nothing materialized, Decedereful hefted her pack and headed for the gates.  A large mug of ale was in order.  Perhaps several large mugs of ale.  By the time she passed the guards, she already had a tavern in mind and was preoccupied with thoughts of a delicious, frothy beverage.  She didn't notice two shiny orbs, glinting from the shadows to the side of the gates, but they were there.  Watching her.  Waiting.  It would be dawn soon enough.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Concern Is Now

Many bloggers have posted their various concerns about Cataclysm over the last several months.  They run the gamut from gloom and doom to unbridled excitement.  Sadly, I think the quantity favors the gloom and doomers, but you'll have that.  Change, after all, is scary.  I'm a Catholic, I know.

My concern, however, is not so much with what Cataclysm is going to do to me when it drops.  I suppose I should preface that statement by admitting that I'm not beta-ing and I'm not someone who dives into all the Cata information.  This isn't due to lack of excitement, it's due to the fact that when I was little, my parents never actively prevented us from sneaking peeks at our Christmas gifts.  They would sort of hide them, sure, but as a kid you know all the hiding places in the house.  Or at least you think you do.  Either way, I found them.  I looked, and I ruined the surprise.  To me, it made the wait until Christmas worse.  After all, now I knew what I was getting, but I couldn't have it yet.  Talk about torture.  Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather be surprised and not know.

This isn't to say I don't like to have some idea of what I'm getting.  I mean, I did make the list.  Didn't your parents have you circle crap in catalogs too?  Or at least walk you around a store so that when you said "I want this" they answered with the ubiquitous "we'll put it on you Christmas list".  (Do they have Hanukkah lists? Or Eid ul-Fitr lists?  Probably not as prevalent, but I'm sure it's not a completely unfamiliar concept to most).

So that is the attitude that I bring into Cataclysm and blogging about it.  I don't mind having some general ideas, but I'm not going out of my way to see the specifics.  Not only would it probably torture me, but, unlike those hidden gifts, the Cataclysm information can change in the blink of an eye (or maybe like them, what with all the threats to "take that back").

My concern, then is what happens now.  Or, soon.  As in, when the next major patch drops.  We know, in general, that there are going to be some major changes to begin paving the way for the expansion.  How is this going to affect current raiding?  If you're not familiar with where I stand with my guild: we're fighting the Lich King on normal mode in ICC.  We're still truckin'. 

A lot of people are afraid that all these changes are going to "break the game" in the long run.  That they're going to ruin it for everyone.  I'm not so sure about that.  I've read the admittedly compelling rationales behind their apocalyptic musings, but I just don't see it.  Blizz has gotten so much right over the years.  That's why we're all here.  Sure they're going to screw some things up, that's human, but I don't how you can think they won't get a whole hell of a lot of stuff right along the way.  Maybe it won't be right for you, but you have to have a little faith in a company that has a pretty solid track record. 

I don't think there should be any debate that Blizz will work things out in the long term.  Given enough time, they can balance, tweak, redesign, and do all those things that they've shown they can do well over the years.  They'll listen to some stuff we say, ignore others, but in general trend towards a good product.  Not for everyone, but good in the grand scheme of things. 

Therefore, I think we should be more concerned with the short term.  Change has to start somewhere.  What happens until they have time to fix it?  What happens when we get completely new trees that maybe aren't balanced for current raiding?  I mean, they have to be more concerned with how these things are going to preform down the road than how they'll do right now.  We can put up with a few months of awkwardness if it works out in the long run.  After all, half the player base is probably on a break right now.  You're not going to anger too many people, and rest assured, it's always been a game of numbers.  That's business. 

I can hope that it's going to be a seamless transition, but we all know better.  There will be kinks.  There are always kinks.  And Blizzard will work out the kinks.  They always do.  It'll just take time.  Time I may not have if I want to see the Lich King downed.  But I'm the minority.  Most people have their Kingslayer title already.  And I can always watch the videos on YouTube. 

Still, that is my main concern at the moment: how the will the very next patch perform when dropped.  It seems almost counter-cultural with the intense focus being thrown on November, but that's where I am.  I'm confident it'll all work out in the long run.  I just hope our group can finish what we started.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not just complaining here.  I don't want this to seem like just another "the sky is falling post".  It's more of a "batten down the hatches" post.  It's a "grab a hold of something, 'cuz it's going to be a wild ride" post.  I see it as a challenge. 

Change is hard.  Change is scary.  But Change can also be fun.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Worgen Druid Starter Kit

One of my concrete plans for Cataclysm is to roll a new toon. I mentioned it in passing yesterday, but I wanted to talk about it more in-depth today.  The decision is simple, obviously, and certainly not unique.  They're going back and redoing all of the early areas, so of course a lot of folks are going to want to experience that.  I'm no exception.  I've never been a big alt guy (I only have two max level toons in 3+ years of playing), but give me fresh content and I'll give it a shot.

As an aside: I do have several low level toons of each different race just to get a feel for the starting areas, but I never stuck with it once I hit the spot where I was revisiting areas.

In any case, I was easily convinced by the promises of Cataclysm to roll and alt.  The question then becomes: what class?  I could debate over race too, but with new races being added, it made that easy.  If you're Alliance, of course you want to at least try a Worgen. 

Back to class.  At first, I really thought I wanted to play a Shaman, but that isn't an option for Worgen.  One of the keys for my future alt was that it have the option to heal.  I have a straight DPS toon in my 'lock and a tank option in my DK; a healer option would round out my corps.  My current toons also represent a clothie and a plate wearer.  Really, in the absence of a Shammy option, leather seemed the way to go, which obviously meant Druid.  Simply, it was the class that met all my criteria. 

So, once I'd decided on rolling a Druid, it only made sense to investigate what sort of heirloom gear I could deck it out with in order to expedite the leveling process.  Not that I don't want to see the sights, just that I don't want to have to worry about experience gains.  I should get more than enough with a 20% boost.  Plus, I'm not doing this for the challenge of leveling or anything.  Being a bit OP isn't a big deal.

My planning consisted of two parts.  First, I asked Fuu to generate me a shopping list of heirloom spellpower leather gear.  She'd already done the heirloom thing, so it was familiar territory for her.  Plus, she's a gear list champ.  (Tanks... amirite?).  Second, I threw up a few questions I had yesterday to you, dear readers.  I got some great responses, so thanks for all that. Based on feedback, here's what I see to be the popular wisdom out there right now, and/or some tips that could help you if you're thinking of going a similar route.
  • I'm going to level with as much of a balance spec as I can muster with the new tree system.  I will give priority to healing, but look to enhance my spell DPS as well.  Conventional wisdom is that Feral is probably the easiest leveling spec, but balance isn't bad either.  It's important to remember that my leveling is predominantly in a duo with Fuu; I rarely solo.  Thus, it won't be as bad for me to level a healer as if I were trying to do go it alone.  I think eventually I'd like to dual spec feral/resto, but that's not going to be for many moons.
  • If you're going to the spellpower route, it may make more sense for you to pick up the cloth heirloom gear.  It's still got great SP stats and can be reused for a lot of the other caster toons.  I'm going leather because cloth bores me.  I've done the cloth thing, and like I said, I'm not really an alt guy anyways.  I doubt I will be rolling more toons with the intention of taking them to max level.
  • I'm still not sure what happens to heirloom gear after they consolidate our currencies.  From what I've heard, heirlooms will clearly still exists, and probably be available for the new "Justice Points" or whatever they end up being called.  The issue I have here is what about things like Crusader's Seals vs. Emblems?  Right now you can get the same gear for different prices.  They're roughly equivalent in effort, but how does that get reconciled when the currency fix gets implemented.  How are Stone Keepers Shards taken into effect?  I'm worried that I'll get a bunch of gold from these things, but then have none of the currency needed to heirloom my baby Druid.  Thus, I'm trying to buy now, at least insofar as what I already have in the bank.  
  • If you fish or PvP a lot: don't forget there is gear available through those routes.  I'm focusing primarily on PvE (though I imagine there will be some BG runs).  I will get a piece of BG gear just because I have the Stone Keeper's Shards, but otherwise I'm not too concerned about it.  I'm not a max level fisherman anywhere either (my 'lock is somewhere around 400), but if you are you can net yourself a nice heirloom ring.
  • Don't forget the enchants!  I haven't gotten there yet, as I'm just now shopping for the gear, but you can get some solid enchants on any and all of your heirloom pieces.  
  • Rumor has it that there will be a couple new heirloom pieces as part of the guild leveling system in Cataclysm.  Keep your eye open for those when it drops.  I believe my entire guild intends to re-roll, but we're smaller too, so who knows what this will make available to me.  I'm certainly not switching guilds, but I'm sure there will be a lot of pure leveling guilds popping up or reviving in the early days of Cataclysm.  Look for one of those if you're interested. 
Some good tips, and pretty much all thanks to some great comments left here yesterday (I did go back and try to look a few things up as well, but I think everyone was pretty much spot on).  I'd like to leave you with the shopping list that Fuu provided me.  I've split it up based on current currency and have bolded what I intend to purchase.  My budget is 900 Stone Keeper shards, 120 Emblems of X, and 40 Champion's Seals.  That's just what I happen to have on me, and I don't really want to farm for a complete set of heirlooms.  Just wanted to use what I have.  Because of how it worked out, I will be farming up 20 more Champion's Seals, just so I can make good on those and use the other currency elsewhere.  I think you'll see it makes sense, and will give a solid leather spellpower starting kit.

Shopping List provided by Fuu:

Stone Keeper's Sharded Gear
Emblematic Gear
Champion of Clubbin' Baby Seal Form Gear

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Few Random Points

If you were going to roll a Druid in Cataclysm, what heirloom gear would you get?  What are the most important pieces, assuming you can't afford them all?  Fuu is going to help me sift through what's available tonight (she's already done the heirloom thing a few times, while I have not).  I plan to post my shopping list later.

I guess as sort of a precursor to what gear you would get: what spec would you run?  I don't have (nor have I ever had) a healer in WoW, so I'm going to try to level Resto.  Sounds crazy, I know, but I'll at least always have Fuu with me, and probably the rest of my guild as many of us plan to do the whole Worgen thing (why not?).  Anyways, my plan, then, is to try to get gear that is good for both Resto and Boomkin type specs.  I think I'd eventually like to try a Feral spec, but it probably makes sense right away that if you're going Resto, you should look to increase your SP damage as well for leveling.

With the impending currency change, what happens to heirloom gear?  I'm assuming you won't be able to get it?  Does it change to be able to be bought for gold?  What about other emblem items?  I guess I'm just assuming all that stuff goes away, though I've not really seen anything concrete on the matter.  If you have, shoot me a link!  Part of my desire to go heirloom shopping now, tonight, is that I want to make sure I'm not left out of the rain come Cataclysm.

If, like me, you were struggling with Starcraft ladder matches, I'd like to pass on another tip: Work on the "guide" achievements.  Yeah, there are guide achievements!  I don't know about you, but I didn't really even look at these at first.  After working through some of them, however, I think they provide a good framework for working on your game.  The challenges are fun and helpful.  Also, playing solo against the AI helps.  From what I've done, it seems like "hard" AI is a good approximation of a player, at least in the early stages of the game.  It seems like if you weather the initial AI charge, it slacks off later and becomes a lot easier to beat.  Maybe I'm just a late-stage kinda guy, but that's my take on it.  I believe it's really helped me to sharpen my beginning build order, and I'll generally do one quick custom game vs. the AI as a warm-up.  Just make sure you create the game from the Custom Game area in the Multi-Player tab, otherwise you don't get credit towards the achievements.  Not that the points are worth anything, it's just nice to have a visual representation of progress.

Fuu and I actually hit up the RL movies this week.  I have one thought for this: an extra, mandatory $3.50 for "3D" features is a bunch of bologna.  It's not like it was optional.  (There was no 2D offered).

We wanted to see the new Resident Evil cinematic adventure.  We're fans of the series.  Not "opening night" fans, but folks who wouldn't mind shelling out the... holy hell, $10 for a single ticket?  When did that happen?  I know, I'm totally being an old foagie here, but it was $13.50 per person to see this movie. Good thing we had just eaten at a local Mexican resataraunt - a huge, delicious meal complete with a giant bowl-like glass of frozen margarita - for approximately the same price.  Thus, we didn't have to venture near the snack bar.  They might have charged us a buck for looking.

I know, I know, the theaters aren't evil in and of themselves.  It's things like the big production companies et al.  W/e.  I'm just whining here.  And dating myself.  Wait... not dating dating myself.  You know what I mean.

The movie wasn't terrible.  It was a fun flick for fans.  There were some snicker-worthy plot points (where did this huge ugly guy with the big axe come from?).  They had fun with the 3D too, though both of us can't wait until you get actual, immersive 3D, instead of just shit popping out at you from a flat screen.  Still, for a couple who mostly spends our time holed up in front of the LCD screen at home, I would call the night out a success even with my internal price cringing.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Stuff That Only Prince [Arthas] Would Sing About

Decedereful shoveled another scoop of Flesh Flakes into her mouth, crunching down on them loudly.  A poorly snuffed snicker from across the table brought her burning blue eyes up from the bowl to sear into the more natural baby blues across the table from her.  Mr. Wow sat calmly in the fire, weathering her gaze with an unreadable face.

"Whu-?" Decedereful grunted through her full mouth.  "Ain neva see someowa ee befo?"

Mr. Wow chuckled more openly this time.  It was not an altogether unpleasant sound, Decedereful admitted.  In fact, she might have found it cute had it not been directed at her.  Instead, she found his characteristically unkempt hair, roguish smile, and twinkling eyes mocking.  She shoveled another spoonful into her mouth without taking her eyes off of him.

An awkward silence settled over the wooden table in the middle of the manor's living area.

"Anything jog your memory yet?" Mr. Wow asked eventually.

Decedereful crunched down hard on another bite, "Nogh.  Can't fink off noffin.  Proggly haff go Icecrown.  Talgh to broffer."

Mr. Wow shook his head, "That's not very lady like."

Burning blue eyes narrowed, "Whussit to yough?"  When he didn't answer, she swallowed before continuing.  "Why do you care?"

"Well, for starters, I can't understand a word you're saying," the young man pointed out.

"So?" Decedereful shot back vehemently.

She was behaving like a child and she knew it.  The man just frustrated the fel out of her.  They'd been here for three days now, and he hadn't tried to sleep inside once.  He had spent every night out in that cursed tent of his, emerging half-dressed every morning, taunting her.  She had even contemplated offering join him in the tent, but she had standards.  Guys came on to her, not the other way around.  They usually found her boyish ways an attractive invitation, and Decedereful liked it that way.  It was a simple trick she'd learned early: act like one of the boys and let the hormones do the rest.  Then she could have her pick of the barracks.

Not that she was promiscuous.  No way, not her.  Her brother would kill the guys now, if he knew.  I mean, there were her younger, foolish years before the Death Knights had been redeemed, of course, but that phase passed quickly.  She didn't pretend to be a saint, but nor was she cheap.  She wouldn't go very far with it, she just enjoyed a kiss and a cuddle now and then.  It reminded her of her human side, and she couldn't completely forget that. 

Actually, since she had found her brother, she'd been really focused on finding her place and hadn't thought much about boys.  Sure there was the dude in Alterac, and that cute Champion of Darnassus up at the Argent Tournament, but otherwise, she'd kept to herself lately.  Strangely, Mr. Wow seemed to bring out the vixen in her.  She couldn't quite suppress the desire to hold his attention.  She'd tried to ignore it at first, but the more he pretended like there wasn't anything between them, the more Decedereful wanted there to be.  It was a game she wasn't used to playing.  What's more, she felt like Nighty, and that distressed her.  She was not a succubus.

Could it be that he really just wanted to help her, and not gain the affections of a pretty young girl?  Such pure intentions were unheard of, especially directed toward a former servant of Arthas.  After all, Death Knights were widely viewed as Azerothian trash, to be used and discarded.  For a young soldier to not expect... that... was odd.  At least for someone who wasn't a Paladin or Priest.  Come to think of it, she wasn't sure what he was, though he didn't seem like the Light worshiping type.  She'd first guessed Rogue, but he didn't really fit the part.  He wasn't really sneaky enough.  Maybe a Shaman or a Druid, there was something decidedly natural about him.

If he were of one of those two persuasions, that would make it even more confusing.  Weren't Shamans all "free love" and junk?  And we all know about Druids.  Decedereful had seen clips from the Discovery Dream.  She knew.  Besides, there was that song she'd heard in the tavern, by some group called the Bloodknight Gang or something?  You know: You and me, baby, ain't nothin' but Kitties, so let's do it like they do in Silvermoon City.  Isn't that how it goes?

Ugh!  She really was being foolish.  It was bad enough the man had her chasing shadows, now she was humming pop music in her head.  She was a classic rock girl!  Bring on the TC/GC, Silenced Catform, Van Cleavin, and Gob Zepplin!  It's never a bad time to get the Gob out!

She shoved another mouthful of flakes into her maw.  Then, as the awkward paused stretched on, began to feel the depth of her childishness.  So she chewed, swallowed, and counted to ten.

"No, I have not found a clue yet," she said calmly.

The young man snickered again.

Decedereful stood up and threw her bowl of Flesh Flakes at the wall.  It shattered, leaving the soggy flakes to slide slowly down towards the mess on the floor.  The Death Knight found it somewhat satisfying when Mr. Wow's eyes widened in surprise at her ridiculously theatrical response.  Still, she'd made a fool of herself, so she stood up and stalked back to her room, slamming the door.  Inside, she turned around, folding her arms under her breasts and leaning with her back against the door.  After a few moments, she heard his voice at the door.

"C'mon, Dece," the man cooed.  "I was just teasing.  I'm sorry?"

"You're always teasing!" Decedereful huffed. 

She stood up from the door.  Walking over to the pile of armor in the corner of the room, she eyed one of her bracers and kicked it.  Immediately, she regretted the action, as pain shot up her leg from toe connecting with plate.  Hopping around on one foot, she fought to suppress her random cursing.

"What's going on in there?" Mr. Wow asked with obvious concern.

"I'm fine!" Decedereful hollered back. 

She went over and picked up the bracer she'd just kicked.  Cursing it a few more times for good measure, she wandered back over to her pile of gear and tossed it on top.  A glint in the light on the ground caught her eye.  Near the pile, uncovered by her kick, there was a pretty locket on the floor.  Decedereful bent down and scooped it up.  She turned the trinket over in her hands a few times.

Going to the door of the room, she threw it open.  The young man was sitting across the hallway against the wall.  He looked up expectantly.  Oh, now he wants my attention, Decedereful mused. 

"Get up," she ordered.  "I found my clue!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

PTR 4.0 Paladin levels 1-10

Hey Gang!
So, on Sunday Morning, I saw that the PTR was up for 4.0. I figured since I wasn't in the beta, this would give me a great opportunity to dig into some of the Protection Paladin changes that are soon to come.   I attempted to copy over Fuubaar but the wait time was 4 days o.0 I highly doubt that it will be quite that long but I knew that it wasn't going to be anytime soon. The only other option I had was to create a level 1 Female Human Paladin and off I went.

First thing that I noticed was the new resource bar underneath our mana bar. From the default UI, it looks like the bar is hanging under it by chains. Overall, I think it looks nice and isn't an eye sour which is good. The starting area is really informative to a new player. There are many windows that pop up letting you know what's going on and how to do some of the very basic things in game such as "This is a quest giver, he wants you to become his bitch. In exchange, he'll give you some useless gear & possibly give you another mindless task to go & kill the exact same thing again for another item." *Cough* I really enjoyed this feature when Aion first came out. I believe Blizzard took a few of these ideas & ran with it. Two thumbs up! :-)

Fresh Paladins start off with your basic white shirt, pants, and a two handed mace. You get one spell right off the bat & that is Crusader Strike. Crusader Strike is going to be a large part of your rotation and I'm going to guess that it will stay there even up to 85. The reason why Crusader Strike is so important is because it builds up your new Paladin Resource Holy Power. You only get three stacks of it so it doesn't seem to be too terribly hard to keep track of. It's also a pretty short cooldown so you will be able to use it on low level mobs 1-2 times before they die. At level 3 you get Seal of Righteousness & your Judgement. Now remember, all of our Judgements are rolled into one now. We no longer get three (mana, health, slow) so at this level, it just does damage to your foe. So from level 3-7, you have your Seal of Righteousness, judge when off cooldown, and Crusader Strike until dead. At level 5, you get Devotion Aura which gives you quite a bit of Armor (53 or something around there) for such a low level. Trade chat was discussing how the lower level gear actually has quite a bit of armor on it from what we remember. So the scaling is going to be quite a bit different from what we are used to in regards to health & survivability.

At level 8, you get your Hammer of Justice stun. Which is SO handy at this level. If you get linked adds, you can now learn to control them a lot better and are rewarded for it too. I'm glad that they kept this ability at such a low level.

Now, before level 9, your Holy Power is pretty worthless other than colors under your name. It's Disco Paladin. It's like all of Azeroth is Celebrating for me when I blow my enemies into tiny bits. LOOK AT THE BONES!


This level was HUGE for my little paladin girl. Since she had no way to heal herself, she would die quickly if a pull went aerie. Word Of Glory is an extremely overpowered ability that converts your Holy Power into a manaless Heal.

A few notes:
1) There is no cooldown for it. So once you have at least 1 Holy Power, you can use it. It only takes 1 Crusader Strike to gain more Holy Power so the only thing that is holding you back from having a constant heal at this level is the Cooldown on Crusader Strike.
2) Healing Power of it. I didn't need all three stacks of Holy Power to heal myself to full. 1-2 should do it. It takes no time to get a Crusader Strike in and gain Holy Power to heal yourself up to full again. I hear the QQ seeping out of woodworks because of this already.

For those two reasons, this makes low level paladins completely unstoppable. I soloed Hogger at level 10 easily with this ability. I could also take on multiple mobs at once with out much fuss. I mean, don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to have this spell be this useful for all levels of Paladins, but I fear that it will become but a shell of what it is now & I'm not getting my hopes up. For right now though... it's sexy :-) Once I hit 10, I threw my talent point into the Prot Tree and already got Avengers Shield & a mana regen pro (Passive) I believe that comes from Judgements.

This is my look at Low Level Paladins this far. Overall, I'm nervous and excited for old & new paladins to explore all of the large changes instore for our class.

<3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where is Matt Foley When I Need Him?

Played a lot more SCII over the weekend.  I still suck at 1v1.  I swear, I've watched countless video strats, etc (Samodean, I'm looking at you, kid), and I'm doing all those things.  Doing them well actually.  At least in my opinion.  And I keep losing.  It's like the Bronze league I'm in is secretly the Diamond league.  I can't imagine what it's like up there.  I mean I'm macro'ing things, I'm scouting, I'm doing all those things you do to win... and I still lose.  What are your records/points for some of you folks in the higher leagues?  

On the complete flip side, I'm on a 7 game hot streak in 2v2 with my brother.  Neither of us can win solo, but as a team we're pretty solid.  Especially after killing all the beer in the fridge.  Perhaps I should play my 1v1 matches drunk.  We usually go dual protoss and stagger our rushing, so our opponents always have something to deal with.  It could be that we're just both awful at multi-tasking, so 2v2 suits us better.  Maybe he's carrying me too, though I seem to deliver the killing blow more often than not. 

In any case, I'm going back to the drawing board and playing the AI.  I figure I might as well work on the achievements.  Still, it's not nearly as fun.  I pretty much destroy the AI easily on both Medium and Hard (I haven't gone higher yet because I'm really just tweaking strats and build orders). 

Maybe what I need is some good motivation.  You know, a hearty pre-game speech.  "You may kill our probes, but you'll never kill our mothership!"  Or something like that.  I googled for motivational posters (love those), here's what I found:

Who doesn't like a good mommaship joke?
Maybe this is the photo of my Bronze League?
Ah ha! It is my lack of FarmVille skills...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Trust A Father's Love

Abigora fidgeted at the wooden table in the center of the run down home. Her chair wobbled unevenly as she stared unbelieving at the man across from her.  She had come looking for proof, but had never dreamed she would find this.

"Um, Mr. Brightrune," Abigora began.  She trailed off under the unsettling gaze of the walking corpse across from her.  Even in life, the Captain had had that effect on her.

Captain Brightrune was the rightful owner of the house she'd come to search.  At least in life he was.  Obviously, he had seen better days.  Clothes hung in tatters from a body that was little more than partially decayed fleshing hanging on exposed white bone.  What had been a strong jaw and a proud face was now a bony protrusion with sunken, haunted eyes.  Despite the new existence, the man still carried with him an air of confidence and command.

"What are you doing here?" the Captain asked with a slight slur.  He reached a hand up and wiggled his jaw as if it to tighten it.

"Well, um, sir," Abigora muttered.  "It's, um.  I just.  You.  Bookcase."

"Stop muttering, girl!" he said forcefully without raising his voice.  "Why. Are. You. Here?"

"It's your daughter, sir," Abigora admitted.

A look of pain crossed his broken face.  "What about Faith?"

"Well, I think she's going to do something stupid in the name of vengeance," Abigora explained.


"Yes, she blames Arthas for your... death?" She said uncertainly.

The Captain growled at the mention of Arthas.  "Yes, I could see that.  Get in line, I would say."

"Sir, she's out fighting him now."

"Well, there are plenty of scourge to fight, my dear," the Captain said, dismissing the concern.

Abigora shook her head, "No, I don't think you understand me.  She is fighting him right now.  With Tirion Fordring.  In the Citadel.  Before the Frozen Throne."

The Captain's eyes widened, "Fordring you say.  What's he doing mixing Faith up in all this?  She's such a nice girl."

"Well, she is quite a formidable Paladin now, sir," Abigora shrugged.

"A Paladin, huh?" A look of pride crossed the old man's face, then it drooped into a grotesque frown.  "Not the life I would have chosen for her, but there you have it."

Abigora frowned, "If I may ask, sir, where have you been?"

The Captain paused, surveying the room around him as if lost in a memory.  "Let's just say that I've been through hell and back.  One does not shake off the will of the Lich King so easily, even with others showing you the way."  He clenched and unclenched his fists on the table.  "There was time when I was just angry.  So angry.  I mean, the Light abandoned me to become... this."  He looked down at his hands.  "What daughter would want to see a father like this?"

"I think it would mean something to her anyways, sir," Abigora offerred.

The Captain reached up and stroked a decaying chin.  Small bits of flesh fell to the table.  He pulled the hand away and studied it for a moment before putting it back on the table.  His frown hardened.

Abigora felt that she wasn't making any headway.  She needed to get this man to come back with her.  Her best friend needed to know that her father still lived.  In a way, that is.  If she could accept a Death Knight for a sister, she could accept an Undead for a father.  There was no question in her mind what needed to be done.

"She has a husband now, sir," Abigora said quietly.  "A Warlock.  They got married a year ago."

The Captain's eyes narrowed.  "A Warlock?  My baby girl?  Why didn't you say so before?  Fighting Arthas is one thing, marrying a Warlock, quite another."  He stood up.  "Let's go meet this... Warlock."

Abigora smiled.  Count on a Father's love... she thought.  "Sir, what about your wife?  What happened to her?"

The Captain grunted, "Oh yeah, her.  She's outside tendin' to those ugly bone ponies."  He waved a hand towards the front door.  "What I would give for a good charger again," he mused.

The Captain walked back to the door in the hallway, locking it resolutely behind him.  Then, he led Abigora out the front door.  Two skeletal horses stood off to one side, where a sweet-looking, small women patted their long snouts and murmured reassurances.

"Minerva!  We gotta go!  Faith married a Warlock!" Brightrune yelled.

"Eh?" his wife yelled back.  "The case was solved by Sherlock?  Of course it was, dear."

"No, Minnie.  A Warrrrlock," he said, enunciating.

"What about Spore Rock?  I don't care for the music." She sauntered over.  Minerva Brightrune hardly even looked dead.  Except for the bluish-green hue to her decaying skin, one could hardly tell.  She barely blinked as she took in Abigora.  "Ah, Abigora, dear child, what brings you to the Plaguelands?"

"Hi Minnie!" Abigora said fondly.  "It's Faith.  She's fighti- she got married to a Warlock."

Minnie's eyes widened, "A Warlock!  Melvin!  Why didn't you tell me?"  She slapped her husband on the back.  Hard.  "We need to go!  She'll need all kinds of holy relics... and curtains!"

The Captain rolled his eyes.  "That's what I said, honey."

Minnie smiled fondly at her husband, "Of course you did, dear."  The Undead housewife looked around the clearing.  "Abi, child, I'm afraid we only have two mounts.  You'll have to ride with me."

Abigora grinned and then whistled.  A large cat bounded out of the woods, skidding to a halt at her side.  She lithely hopped on it's back.

"Well lookie dere!" Minnie exclaimed.  "One of them Elven cat mounts.  Melvin?  Why don't we have one of those?"

"Because they don't like the decay," the Captain mumbled.

"Eh?" Minnie grunted questioningly.

"I said: we'll talk about it on the way!"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Don't Ladder On Drugs

I've been sick for about three weeks now.  It's that time of the year for me: fall.  I'm allergic to fall.  There's no other way to describe it better.  It has nothing to do with pollen count, easterlies, or hayfever.  It has everything to do with fall, the season my body hates. 

So, fall turned and I promptly got bronchitis with a side of sinus infection.  You know, pretty standard stuff.  Other than my fall allergies, I pretty much don't get sick.  It seems this fall is worse than others too.  I don't know why.  All I know is that I haven't been able to sleep due to fits of coughing, which enticed me to finally go see a doctor in order to "get the good stuff."

Yeah, drugs.  The good stuff.  Not the illegal kind.  The prescription kind.  The kind that knock normally clean me on my ass.  Or, at least, slow me down.

Which brings me to my pro-tip of the day: Don't play Starcraft ladder matches on drugs.  It may seem like a wonderful idea, but resist.  If you're at all like me, you'll screw up your strategy every time and just feel completely incompetent.  You'll watch as all your troops get killed by some backwards strategy that should never have worked.  Then, you'll realize, you're just slow.  Slow at everything.  Even moving your mouse feels like it's slow, because you're doing everything through the haze of drugs.  Prescription drugs.  Or not, if that's your thing.  I'm not judging here.

Or maybe I'm just completely terribad at the game.  I can't say I feel very good about the direction of my ranking.  I mean, I'm in the freaking Bronze league and I don't feel like I can gain any ground.  It makes me think, what the hell are they doing in the Gold league?  I mean, you can only build so fast, and when I'm not on drugs, I'd like to think I'm pretty solid.  I know the hot keys.  I'm a good multi-tasker.

There are two things I think that are killing me.  First, I don't play nearly enough to climb.  Since ranking is based on point accumulation, there are people far above me that have lost probably 2/3rds of their games.  I mean, I'm pretty much a .500 player here.  I win as many as I lose.  It sucks to be stuck behind the people that take the shotgun approach to ladder rankings.  That is to say, they apparently just play as many games as possible and win some by sheer luck.  Or something.  Again, trying not to judge here.  Games are about fun, and if that floats your boat... I'm not going to berate you as a newb, I'm just going to expect myself to win against you. 

The second thing I think we're seeing is that people get ranked based on five initial matches, then they start to learn what the popular strategies are, so some people vastly improve out of the gate.  I'm not sure at this point in the life of the game that the rankings actually mean anything.  I guess I just don't think there is enough of a spread.  I'm not sure when/how they're going to work themselves out either, but it just seems like now being "favored" or not has absolutely no bearing over whether I should win or not.  I've played people who are "clearly favored" who seem to be pretty poor players (though maybe they were on drugs), and I've been roflstomped by players that I'm supposed to be favored over (though maybe I was on drugs). 

So I guess my consternation lies in the seeming randomness of the ladder rankings.  What do they even mean?  So intense...

Anyone else experiencing this in SCII?  What's your ranking?  How's it working for you?  Do you have to play ten matches a day to get anywhere?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

About Blogrolls

There were some rumblings about blogrolls and stuff.  The short summary is that there are all kinds of different ideas about what should go into a blogroll, who should be on it, things of that nature.  Is good to put friends on?  Should you have quality control?  You know, fundamental questions of life here.

Well, I wanted to take the opportunity to touch briefly on my philosophy of  both blogroll and community.

First, my blogroll is pretty lax.  Not that the writers therein aren't quality, just that I'm more of the "this is what I read" blogroll than the "this passes some random writing litmus test" or "these are my pals".  I guess that's somewhat between two extremes, right?  After all, I'm not qualified to be a writing critic, and what I enjoy may ultimately be crap or gold.  I'm confident you guys can decide for yourself. 

It is also lax because I rarely update it.  I do most of my reading in my google reader.  Combine that with the fact that I can't view my blog proper (only the background sites that allow me to post) from work, and you have something I just don't see a whole lot.  Out of sight, out of mind... as they say. 

I knew early on that I would have a lax blogroll, so one of the things I do that I guess is unique (maybe?) is have it only display the most recent 5 for the "warlock" section and 10 for the "misc" section.  They are sorted by when the last post was made.  Thus, inactive blogs will naturally fall off the list, and it gives the illusion of an active index.  I don't think I'm really fooling anyone (since the same folks tend to stay on top, as they're also active posters), but it does mean that if someone mysteriously makes a "come back", they'll probably pop up over there before I even realize it.  In that way, I don't really have to do the "cleaning" that some other folks do.  Then again, I don't have a huge roll to begin with.  (Also, the size is malleable, but I just don't have time to read as much as most, so 15 is a good size for a "best of today" for me).

Which brings me to the whole bit about the "community" and involvement.  I guess I sort of view the community as this giant ballroom party.  There's a huge buffet in one corner, a cozy bar in another, a dance floor front and center, and a DJ spinning both classics and pop hits.  Naturally, the disco ball spins above our heads and some of us periodically get up for a twirl on the hardwood, while others of us frequent the food and drink. 

I'm the dude at the table near the bar.  I'm probably drunk, I don't make it to the dance floor too often, but I'm having a good time.  It's not that I think dancing is uncool or un-fun, it's just that... I'm right next to the bar.  Being so close to the bar keeps me supplied with beverage, and I've got good people at my table to talk to.  Sometimes other folks stop by and we have a nice chat.  Sometimes (more rarely), I motivate myself to get up and take a walk around the room, maybe poking into a conversation here or there.  Mostly, I keep to my table and ride out the night. 

This is to say, I appreciate the community.  Sometimes I wish I were more involved.  Mostly, though, I accept where my lot falls and enjoy this little corner I've carved out.  I'm not a social butterfly.  I don't have the time or energy to be one of the "Jones's".  I'm a people watcher, a snarky commenter, and a sharp dresser.  Also, the bartender loves me because I tip well and am generally in good humor.

In any case, do not despair if I've not blogrolled you.  Chances are I'm just drunk.  Also, I really appreciate the folks who stop by to say hello.  It makes it more of a party when that happens.

And, like my favorite she-male 'lock Flora, you're not going to find me announcing things about my blogroll any time soon.  It's just not how I curse.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Scene of The Crime

Abigora picked through the burned out husk that was once a home.  The Plaguelands had all but swallowed the residence that she knew well from her childhood.  She could remember late nights spent with her foreign friend. She could remember when the trees around here weren't yellowed and sickly.  That was before the scourge had taken hold.  That was before Arthas had betrayed them.

The Priest nudged open the half rotted wooden door that hung at an odd angle across the entryway.  She wasn't exactly sure she was going to find what she was looking for, but she had a hunch.  A thick layer of grime covered everything.  Orange, evening light glinted off the broken windows and cast a jaundiced glow around the room.  The furniture was overturned, rotted, or broken.  The place had the look of one that had been ransacked and still found wanting.  Cobwebs dominated the high corners, and dust mites swam through the air. 

There was nothing particularly special about this house.  It was one of many evidences of loss that could be found throughout the Plaguelands.  Yet Abigora remembered who had lived here, the family that made the abode into something more than just a collection of assembled timber.  The family that had taken her in when she was so far from home.

As was habit for the priestly scholar, Abigora immediately headed for the bookcase.  Miraculously, it was still mostly in tact, though the wood had seen better days.  It stood against the wall beside a chair that had become little more than a mass of mold.  Her big eyes scanned the shelves.  Any books that had been there had long since been looted and sold, but there were a few places where Abigora remembered photographs had been displayed.  Curiously, there was no sign of these.

She examined the shelf more closely.  It was hard to tell in the fading light, but she thought the dust looked thinner where the pictures would have been, as if someone had returned years later to retrieve them.  She stepped back and headed for one of the back rooms, kicking up dust along the way and causing the wood to creak mournfully.

Opening the door to what she remembered as the elder's room, she found it in my the same state of decay as the rest of the house.  There was a broken bed, a shattered mirror, and a rotten dresser.  Hardly a surprise.  The wall, however, evidenced discoloring where things had once been hung.  Abigora couldn't imagine a looter being interested in family photos.

She shut the door quietly and cross the hall to her childhood friend's room.  Of all the doors in the house, this one seemed to be of best repair.  It was also shut and locked.  Abigora muttered a spell and a faint light shone from the cracks between the door.  The mechanism clicked open.

The Light can open many doors, Abigora, she recalled the line from one of her teachers at the academy.  Most priests didn't learn the spell she'd just used on the lock, but Abigora had found this one buried deep in an ancient tome.  When asked, her teacher hadn't disproved of her intent to learn the spell.  Then again, the rumor had been that said teacher was bedding a Rogue.  Abigora had never seen the draw, herself.  Rogues were so... creepy.

She was surprised when the door opened quietly with none of the expected creaking from aging hinges.  Even more surprising was the interior of the room.  Unlike the rest of the house, it seemed that decay had not found purchase here yet.  The bed, the dresser, even the drapes were just as Abigora recalled from many a sleepover.  How could this be?

Abigora spun in wonder, drinking in the room.  For a moment, she forgot she was standing in a ruined house, and thought she could almost hear her friend's bubbly laughter as they told scary stories before bed.  It seemed that the Light had kept this room.

Her spin stopped abruptly when she noticed the silhouette in the doorway.  She froze, hand reflexively going for her knife.  The large figure was backlit by the slanting rays of the sun.  What was more, some of the light seemed to filter through... holes... in the otherwise solid shadow.  Tattered rags hung from from the frame of the individual, shifting menacingly in the mostly still air.

"Who are you?" a voice rasped.

Abigora took a hesitant step forward.  There was something familiar about that voice, distorted though it was.

"Stay way you are," the shadow ordered.  "Come no closer.  What are you doing in here?"

Abigora held one of her hands up to try and shield light, hoping to get a better view.  It didn't help much.  Her mind skittered away, so she uttered the first that that popped in, an answer to his question.  "The bookcase..." she trailed off, pointing back toward the living area.  It wasn't a good answer.

The figure shifted uncertainly for a moment, then took a step into the room.  "Abigora?" he tried.

Abigora gasped.  It was exactly who she thought it was, but how could that be?

"Mr. Brightrune?" she asked.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fuubaar's UI

Hey Gang!
I've been meaning to make a UI post for a while now. Funny enough, it's so late that most of us aren't even fussing with our UIs because Cataclysm is going to do to our UIs as Deathwing did to the Barrens.

This screen shot of my UI was taken pretty early on in our Ice Crown raid. This might actually have been the first time that we saw Gunship. So perhaps May? Meh, what ever. My UI hasn't changed much at all other than the guild tag in the top left hand corner and the gold amount in the top right :-)

Without Further ado:

I figured if you didn't care about the UI, at least you can stare at a dancing rocket bear.
The first thing that you will notice is that there are things EVERYWHERE! But overall, the center is free of junk and unneeded clutter. Now, Deadly Boss Mods does pop up crucial notifications over the top of Fuubaar's head.

Major Addons:
- Pallypower~ THE most important addon for every paladin! Even if you don't raid, this is still highly suggested. It allows for you (the paladin) or a Raid leader who isn't a paladin to assign Paladin Blessings for each class in a very easy to use grid. You can see it along the right hand side. Your assigned Aura is on the top, if your Righteous Fury is on, what time the next buff will expire (also if you click on it, it will rebuff that lowest time left person which in this case is our Priest with only 2 minutes and 31 seconds remaining), and each class and when their buff will expire. There are SO many other neat things that this baby can do. Again, I highly suggest this addon for all paladins and raid leaders.
- Grid~ A Raid UI replacement located on the bottom left hand side
- Tao UI~ A Total UI organizer. Can download different skin types with both girlie and masculine types.
- Fuubaars *cough* I mean Fubars~ Great organizer of all the Fu- Addons (Gold-Fu, Guild-Fu, Location-Fu, etc) Plus, it's named after me :-) (not really but I named Fuubaar before I knew what a Fubar addon was) Can be found all the way to the top
- Sexy Map~ Map replacement with more Sexy. Tao UI's work really nicely with this addon and blend seamlessly. Mainly gives you more customization for your Map.
- ElkBuffBars~ It creates a nice list of all buffs that are currently on your Toon at the time and Timers for each. Great for raids when you have MANY BUFFS! ElkBuffBars HANDLES IT! :-)
- Bartender4~ A perfect and easy to use Bar replacement. It allows for you to customize the size, location, transparency, and number of buttons that the row has. I highly recommend this to someone looking for a bar replacement but has a hard time understanding how to customize & use addons. My bars are scattered everywhere for different purposes.
- Deadly Boss Mods~ I have the timers up on the middle right hand side and boss abilities that are on me chime on top of my toon.
- Omen~ For keeping an eye on Threat from those pesky DPS who wants to steal the precious from us. THEY NO CAN HAZ PRECIOUS! (that was my lolcat rendition of Gollum and The 1 Ring)
- Recount~ Damage Meter that actually shows a bit more than just damage but what ever. I rarely use this on my tank because who gives two Kudos what my DPS or Damage Done is. Even IF you are topping the DPS charts in the Lich King fight ;-)
- Button Timers~ This places a large number over top of you button letting you know when it will be up again. Pretty self explanatory.

Other addons that I find hard to live without that are not found on my UI are:
- Auctioneer~ An Auction House assistant to make your gold making life much easier. It adds a lot of customization for searching and viewing all things Auction House.
- Postal~ Auto-Opens everything in your Mailbox and throws it into your bag be it items from the Auction House, Items from other locations (other alts or friends mailing you huge piles of mats for 10 days worth of raiding flasks), or Gold from successful actions or Friends just sending you gold because they love you dearly ;-) Saves TONS of time.
- Overachiever~ Great addon for those of you who love achievements. For example the: "All the Creatures that I've ever loved", Achievement where you have to /love critters all over the world. If you happen to hover your mouse over top of a critter, it will tell you if you've loved it or if you need to love it. Does this for multiple achievements.
- Chatter~ This addon alerts you when someone says your name. It pops up on your screen with the sentence that contained your name. Great for people who have blazing guild chats or just have far too many friends to be able to track who wants to contact you.

So that's pretty much it as far as addons go. If you have any questions or suggestions to help me improve my UI, PLEASE comment on this post because I would love to hear 'em!

<3 Your Friendly Neighboorhood Fuubaar