Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Interview with a Warlock (and a Paladin)

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Great news everyone! We got featured on Zam!  I'm pretty sure I mentioned it several weeks ago, but the article finally went up.  They did a wonderful job with it, actually reproducing the email interview in its entirety (surprising, since we were a bit mouthy).  There's a nice little blurb as well.  So I'd like to direct you over there today (especially if you are BBB, Saresa, or Nibuca... all of whom I note as early influences.  They didn't give you links, but I will, and I figure it's nice to know when you've inspired someone and see your name in unexpected e-print.  Maybe not, too). 

Link blocked for you?  Don't worry, it is for me too.  However, if you just subscribe to their feed by plopping this website in your feed reader (you can always unsubscribe later, should you wish), our article is currently the second one down.  If your reader is blocked, well then I can't help you.  Apologies for your terrible work tyrants.

(Side note: I got Patricelli right, but misspelled Chicanery.  On the fly, in email.  Go figure.  Editing and Spellcheck apparently didn't catch it either.  Apologies to Nibs.  I got the Mystic part right.  I think.) 

Feel free to leave any comments here if you've checked out the interview and want to know more.  Or if you just want to make fun of my spelling.  That's cool too.  And anyone coming for the first time via Zam: Welcome!  Watch your heads for falling fireballs. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pink Box... Giggity?

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If that doesn't get me some nefarious Google searches, I don't know what will. Unfortunately for them, I have neither naked Succubus pics nor Thrall in a thong.  (I mean, he just met that girl and she's trying to get his clothes off, amirite?  Also... /shudder).  Nay, what I'm going talk about is much more mundane.  Well, maybe not if you're a prolific PvP'er like Cynwise.  

If you're a diligent 'lock follower, you may have already see this over there, but the short story is that Isle of Conquest is borked as shit.  And this is not like, "oh it's broken because we always lose, QQ."  No, this is legit breaking.  Like embarrassing pink box breaking.  That's like climbing out of a car wearing a skirt and no panties, embarrassing... at least in software terms.  Or something.

The omnipresent hangar issue was there, that's not what this is about either.  If you've played on the Isle in the last, oh, three months or so, you've probably been told very sternly not to go to the hangar.  It's been worthlessly broken for quite a while.  I remember my first time experiencing it.  Folks said "Avast ye! Go not to the hangar lest ye place thine soul in peril!"  Being a bad sailor, I just had to clicky.  What can I say?  I'm not a trusting sort.  I want to see it for myself.  Several moments later, and I found myself dead in some water area that wasn't near any sort of flying apparatus.  Yes, apparently the mages screwed up the portal.   Seemed like sabotage to me. 

The latest bug takes the lying cake though.  As far as mage shenanigans go, it's akin to moving the entire city of Dalaran and no even having the goddamn common courtesy to leave rubble or any sort of textured skin behind.  Not only does it suck, but it only affects the Alliance side of thing.  So it's Horde mages.  The worst kind of the worst.

(As far as tactics go, I'm rather jealous.  If our mages had come up with the "replace the gates with indestructible pink box" strat first, man we'd be sitting pretty.)

"A bug!" sayeth you?  "Working as intended," comes the reply.  At least until Cat and the resources free up to fix it, I suppose.  Until then, destroying a gate in order to gain entry to the Horde stronghold is only a farce of a strategy.  The pink herring, if you will.

I feel like I'm just not adequately describing how duped one feels when, upon finally battering the last batter that the gate can hold, a giant pink box appears.  Screenshot or it didn't happen... My first view was quite astonishing.  Imagine my surprise when the cry "the side gate hath fallen!" went up, and I hustle around the corner only to be confronted with this:

Umm, nice box?
I wanted to get an idea of the scope of this blockage, so I found a convenient nearby catapult and launched myself over it.  Quick thinking had me snapping a few pics in flight.  If you'll notice, my trajectory lands me outside the front gate... bad aim, but good pics!

This pink box needs a waxing.  That's no bush, it's whole tree!
Clever mages!  Not to be deterred (and because the BG was sort of degenerating at that point, as borked things have a tendency to do), we hustled down to the workshop.  We took that over, and grabbed a bunch of Demolishers, intent to destroy the front gate.  Maybe that would prove the avenue of our salvation.  But it was not to be.  The pink box trap was sprung there as well!

A pair of pink boxes.  You usually have to pay double for that action.
At this point, people are bemoaning all number of things in the battleground chat.  Mages are blamed.  Developers are blamed.  Blame is Chuck Norrised.  Hell hath no fury like a bunch of PvP'ers scorned. 

"TURTLE!" the cry went up.  We were, at this point, up about 100 reinforcements to 70ish.  Sounds good to me.  It's never a bad time to hop in the old mini-van and shoot pizzas at people.  Turtle power!  Splinter would have been proud.

Making haste our non-pink boxed gates, I found a maelstrom of activity.  Apparently the Horde had sensed their window of fun swiftly closing.  They decided to storm the keep.  They'd already captured our graveyard and the rallying cries went up.  However, it seemed like we'd be too late; they were already inside.  I ran as fast as I could, hoping against hope that I could get up into the keep to assist our commander. 

Sadly, as I sprinted into the keep courtyard, a scoresheet popped up.  Only 50 or so reinforcements short of victory, we must have been overwhelmed.  BUT WAIT!  It says Alliance victory!  What is this about?  I thought we were all back at the keep, eating pizza and practicing our skateboarding moves.  How did we achieve victory? 

If I had to guess, I'd say that a task force of airborne shock troops stormed their keep simultaneously and that somehow we downed the big guy first.  Considering the pains it took us to gain entry to their fort, I'd say it was only fair justice, but really I was more puzzled that we'd apparently catapulted that many people in.  (Catapulting being, naturally, our only way in).  More likely, though, the win/loss counter is borked as well and it actually meant to say we'd lost.  (Maybe our mages held the ultimate trump card). 

That may be pessimistic, but I was inexplicably 3-0 in Isle of the Conquest this weekend.  The pink box strat was only used in one of those attempts, the others were straight turtles to the max.  Which is where I must contradict poor Cynwise.  Apparently on Lothar in whatever battlegroup we're in now (is it still Ruin?), queuing up for IotC as Horde is a distinctly bad idea.  At least when I'm in the fray, that is.  I've yet to lose despite the odds being stacked against us. 

Really, I think the Horde just get distracted by the sheer effectiveness of the Pink Block Strat, and they forget that they still have to, you know, win.  That, or maybe it provides a unique rallying cry for the Alliance, plus some much needed direction.  It's a well known fact that in BG's, the more organized force usually wins.  That is, if you can work together, you stand a much better shot at a victory.  As far as the Alliance in IotC, we're being forced to work together.  It's not like we have options, as Cyn points out.  Docks and Turtle, that's it.  See what happens when Alliance actually plays together?  We're invincible! (/twirls pen)

At least until those crafty mages come up with another crazy strat.  Maybe the Blue Exploding Boat At the Docks Strat.  Then we'll be really pissed, and no amount of Blaming The Dude That Capped Hangar will save us.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not Tricky Enough, Apparently

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"Head for the Chopper!" the Demon yelled, pointing at one of the busted engineering mounts among the wreckage of the Mage Quarter in Stormwind.

"They just keep coming," Decedereful panted beside him, twin blades caked with blood and a frosty aura surrounding her.

The Demon hurled a large ball of fire passed the Death Knight's head, striking a whirling air elemental that had been stalking up behind her.  It exploded in a maelstrom of cuffs and gusts.  A slightly smaller water element streaked by, heading for a much larger copy of itself.  Minerva ran close behind her elemental, flinging spells as she went.  Abigora ran up and plopped down a Lightwell.  She then reached into her bag and pulled out a different tome.  Opening it, it almost seemed like she only noticed them there as an afterthought.

"Help yourselves," she said, before wreathing herself in shadow and jogging off after the Undead Mage.

The Demon dipped a clawed hand into the Lightwell after tapping some of his health to restore his magical ability.  He watched as the Death Knight gripped another elemental and pulled it towards her.  Soon enough, her flashing blades were lost in a whirl of shaved ice as she attacked the invader.  Flapping big purple wings, the Demon leaped into the melee.

Lifeless manacles littered the ground, evidence of the obscene scope of the invasion.  Stormwind was being overrun, and their efforts didn't even seem to be making a dent.  They could only hope they had bought enough time to evacuate all of the citizenry.

Decedereful spun in a circle, finishing low to the ground, blades spread out before her.  The Demon next to her burned hotly, a poignant counterpoint to her ice.  Together, they ran towards the wrecked bike.  Minerva and Abigora joined them.  They'd lost Mr. Wow in the crowd long ago.  Hopefully he was still alive.

A shadow danced in an alleyway to the left.  The Demon spun to hurl fire in the direction of the movement, but held himself in check.  Captain Melvin Brightrune walked calmly out of the darkness, leaving what appeared to be a small pile of manacles behind.  The Warrior looked... well, about the same as always: jaw hanging at an obscure angle, but otherwise at the same level of decomposition.

"Har hiss Hay?" the Captain asked.

"What?" the Demon growled.

"Where is Faith?" Minerva translated.  "Honey, fix your jaw before you speak.  You're embarrassing me."

Brightrune snapped his jaw in place, then used it to frown.  He opened it to say something else, but snapped it shut when a Stormwind guard ran up to them.  The guard nearly attacked the Undead from of force of habit, but the Demon stepped in the way, blocking the young man's path.

"Where are you coming from Lieutenant?" it questioned.

The guard's eyes widened to saucers at it took in the imposing Demon.  Fulguralis let the form expire, returning to his usual visage.  That seemed to calm the guard. 

"Well, sir, the Park has fallen," he reported.  "There's not much we can do.  These blasted elementals are everywhere and the Captain has ordered my group to retreat."  He stopped, looking as if he had more to say but was unsure of how to proceed.

"Out with it, boy," Brightrune ordered.

The guard's instinct to obey authority won out.  "Well, sir, there's a lone Paladin - she seems to have lost her mind - but she's all alone.  She refuses to leave.  I thought perhaps since you lot were obviously not, um, conscripts, that perhaps you could..." he trailed off, looking back toward his abandoned post.

Fulguralis and Brightrune looked at each other.

Fuubaar," said Fulguralis

"Faith," said the Captain, simultaneously.

The Warlock turned toward the rest of the group.  "Minerva, get everyone else out of here.  If the Park is truly lost, it doesn't make sense for all of us to risk getting killed.  I've got a few tricks up my sleeve still.  I'll get her out and meet you guys back at the manor."

The Captain stepped forward, "I'm going too.  She's my bloody daughter."

Fulguralis eyed his father-in-law and nodded.  "Fine.  The rest of you, get out of here.  Now!"

To his surprise, they all obeyed.  Perhaps it was the overwhelming hopelessness of their plight, or simply the crazy look in the Warlock's eyes, but they obeyed.  Had Fulguralis been a Light-fearing man, he might have said a prayer of thanks.  After all, it was the season for it.  As it was, he simply jogged over to the entrance to the Park.  Sure enough, standing in the middle of the green, completely surrounded by elementals, was his wife.  She was beautiful in her holy wrath, surrounded by the Light, laying waste around her with a vengeance.  Still, it was obvious she was fighting a losing battle.  She'd always been a protector, not an avenger.

Fulguralis cast a spell that left a glowing green circle under his feet and a spinning green orb above his head.  He turned and looked at the decaying old man next to him.  The Captain raised his eyebrows and hefted his sword.

"Seems like an odd time for a disco," he commented wryly.

"Just keep them off me so I can get to her and get back here, then we're gone," the Warlock said.

"Aye, I can do that," Brightrune said, then, after a thought, added, "Don't get yourself killed in there, son.  I'd hate to have to hate another husband." 

Fulguralis smiled, then released the Demon inside of him.  In a flash, he sprouted wings and claws, glowing a dark purple.  The Demon was still smiling.

They both charged in.  One moment they'd been standing outside, the next they were being buffeted by the attacks of at least a dozen elementals.  Fuubaar saw them, a large Demon and an Undead Warrior.  She didn't react immediately.  Then they worked their way to her side, slaying several unnatural cyclones in the process.  The Demon reached out and grabbed her by the wrist with one clawed hand, nabbing the Warrior with the other.

Then they were out of the battle, back in the entryway of the Park.  The Warrior patted the Demon on the back.  Fuubaar turned on them, eyes ablaze.

"What do you think you're doing?" she yelled in a righteous rage.

"Rescuing you," the Demon growled back.

"Did I ask to be rescued?" she retorted.  "Especially not by a demon and his pet Forsaken!  The Light will exact It's revenge!"

Righteous hammer in hand, she attacked them.  The Demon dodged away and Brightrune almost didn't get his sword up in time to block her furious blow.  He staggered backwards beneath her onslaught.  Fulguralis forced the Demon out.  It was obvious she didn't recognize them.  He needed to calm her before she killed her father.  She was pushing him steadily back onto the Park green with maddened attacks.  The elementals still swarmed nearby, just waiting for them to get close enough before reengaging. 

"Fuubaar!  No!" he yelled, but his voice was lost as a horrific screech sounded overhead.

Everything stopped.  Brightrune, Fuubaar, and Fulguralis all looked up.  Even the elementals seemed to pause in their writhing.  A giant dragon, wings aflame, hovered above.  It wasn't from a brood that Fulguralis recognized, and it was pissed.  Its wings dripped liquid fire, and magma flowed off of it's talons.  Coals glowed deep within its belly, and beady orange eyes fixated on them.  Once more, it let out a horrible screech, widening it's gigantic metal jaw line.  To Fulguralis, it looked like it was about to take a bite out of the Park.

"Deathwing," the Captain hissed.  "Faith.  Take your husband and leave," he said, stepping between her and the dragon aspect.

Fuubaar dropped her hammer to the ground, finally seeing the Warrior for the first time.  "Father?" she asked, wonder coloring her voice. 

"Now is not the time," he said.  "Go."

Fulguralis shrugged his shoulders and a shadowy glass orb rolled down out of his sleeve and into his palm.  They didn't have time.  Not even ten more seconds.  Deathwing was upon them, and he apparently didn't care for the Park much.  Even as the Warlock watched, the dragon raised a clawed foot and prepared to rain death down upon them.  Fulguralis played his last trick: he threw the soulstone at his wife's feet.  It shattered, the dark smoke it had contained swirling up around her quickly before dissipating.

Fuubaar's head snapped around to fix him with an angry gaze, "What are you doing to me?"

"I already told you," the Warlock answered, "rescuing you."

Then, the world exploded.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

As Promised

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Fuu was all like "What are you doing?" Me: "Just a second..."
Because if you can't Slaughtered Lamb...
Bonus: We convinced Fuu to see if the random STV swirl was lethal.  We gave her slowfall.  See the small spec that is her? 
For reference: Swirl = death.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Warlocks, Now With 12% More Nerf

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Okay, it's probably not all that bad.  Besides, someone told me not to panic.  I'll try to respect that, though I did have a sinking feeling of a 2% net loss of fun.  (As a side note: I don't think I'm the only one that is extremely happy that the Warlock presence continues over at the TNB.  Fim's a great guy, but it wouldn't be the same without a 'lock.  Just sayin': I've grown used to a certain evility over there.)

BUT WUT ABOUT DA NERFZ????!

Yeah, I know.  Sorry.  I'm trying not to panic remember?  Well, here are some good things.  Looking over the list on Hydra's site, I do not see Haunt or Unstable Affliction on there.  I guess those are two spells that escaped the nerf bat.  Maybe it won't be as bad as I think when I get the chance to test it in a raid next Monday.

I think what really almost-very-nearly-closely-potentially-maybe sends me spiraling into a panic (but doesn't quite!) is that Mages didn't have the same treatment.  At least as far as I know.  I mean, have you seen a Mage in a BG or raid?  Tell me they do not reek of OP!  I guess I had been under the impression that all magic classes had been a bit beefy.  Hence why hunters had been the lone suck.  Why, then, were we the only ones to receive the hard nerf bat.

And make no mistake, this is a hard bat.  Normally, you see small tweaks and certain spells disabused because they just weren't tuned right.  This was across the felling board.  Flat rate reductions.  Like the USPS flat rate shipping box, only way less useful for the holiday season.

On the other hand, at 85, I'm sure it'll all balance out.  It usually does.  I suppose I'm going to have to rework all my guides to take Soul Firing into account when we're able to pick up that Improved Soul Fire talent which gives us a hefty haste boost when damaging with a Soul Fire.  This also means we'll have to weave our instant cast SF's evenly through a fight to try to get the most out of the buff and not waste it.  Like Nibs, I'm a wee bit miffed that we're being shoehorned into a very narrow-minded "cookie cutter" spec.  After all, if you don't take that talent, you just won't be competitive due to nerfing.   Or maybe that's all supposition and poppycock.  I could be... shhh... panicking.  Who knows at 85?  And we'll pick up a couple more spells along the way, and probably some mastery.  Maybe we'll scale a lot better than everyone else. 

The world has not been shattered for us.  Wait, yes it has... just not that way.  Well, there's a lot of scarring in either case.

In other news, I was supremely disappointed when I couldn't find a way to set my hearth at The Slaughtered Lamb.  Thus, the Golden Keg will have to do.  If I can't kill Lambs, at least I can kill Cows now.  (You: Huh?)  I'll put that screenshot up tomorrow, because I really want some DHETA hate mail.

As for the less important shattering of all of Azeroth, well, I remember again why I don't run around in the old world.  Not that it isn't pretty or cool or fun, I just can't wait until we are able to fly.  Also, if you go to the busted dam and plummet to your death because of the rock that is not a rock... you're in good company.  It's raining men out there.  And women too.  And space goats, coast to coast.  Hallelujah.

For the rest of the week, my goal is to get you guys some IC fun for Friday.  Since, like a lot of folks here in the States, I'll be traveling for our Thanksgiving holiday, that means the magic has to happen today.  Thus, expect only a dead cow screenie tomorrow, and, hopefully, a bit of narrative on Friday.  Then we'll be back on Monday.  Travel safe and have a wonderful holiday.  Even if you're a Mage.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steamboat Blizzie

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I'm sure you're tired of hearing that the Shattering is supposed to happen today. Tribute posts seem a dime a dozen right now. Not saying that there aren't some great ones out there, just that it's the obvious way to go.  I'm going to take an abrupt right and talk about something else entirely.  Well, sort of.

Ever since I was a little tyke, my family has made journeys to Disney World almost every two years.  I'm not sure if that sounds crazy or like we were crazy-rich.  I feel the need to clarify.  Both my parents were teachers, and so we only had one "vacation" a year, during the summer for a week or two.  I grew up surrounded by a lot of wealthy folks, so they were all going skiing in Colorado for New Years, going to Atlantis during the summer, hitting cruises and Paris and crap like that.  For us, we did a state park on "off years" and our big splurge was Disney World.  The Happiest Place On Earth.

We have Disney World down to a science, mind you.  Not only were we large Disney consumers as kids, since who doesn't love Disney movies, but we became Disney World pros.  We were probably the first to master the art of the Fast Pass.  We understand the intricacies of the dining plan, and utilize it to perfection.  We've got the perfect balance of relaxing and gogogo-ness that makes it a vacation, hitting the parks at opportune hours and also netting some clutch pool time.  We're really a fine tuned machine when we're there.  We know what we want to see, what we want to do, and we get it done and have a blast as a family.

Those trips are something I've always cherished as I've grown up, especially when we lost our father far too early in life.  The crazy amounts of life insurance he had stored up (because that's what the gov't used to compensate people for not being able to pay them enough) sent us back to Disney World.  We were probably the only ones crying while waiting in line for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, since that was something we'd always shared with our father.  I know, weird shit right?  But that's what we did.  Loss can either tear a family apart or bring it together.  I'm lucky we went with the latter.

I bring all this up now because I was struck last night at how much Blizzard is like Disney.  They started small with a passion for a type of entertainment.  They built their successes into a veritable empire.  Then they opened a theme park: World of Warcraft.  Sure they can still produce great games like Starcraft and Diablo, but WoW is really the Disney World of Blizzard Entertainment.  I think the comparison of WoW to a theme park is really an apt one.  To me, it's almost the next logical evolution of the theme park.  You don't have to travel a bunch to get there, it's not nearly as expensive, yet it shows the same sort of attention to detail in order to provide an escapism that Disney World is famous for.

Besides, WoW has become somewhat of a popular vacation spot for a lot of families.  They get to spend quality time together there.  They get to recharge and it helps them through rough patches in their lives.  Sometimes we get to bring friends too.  You know how you always wanted to bring your best friend on those long, boring family vacations.  Now you can.

Like Disney, we see Blizzard starting to dip it's fingers into other arenas as well.  They may make movies.  They might get some music going.  Maybe we'll even see a Blizzard Channel on the television.  That's not completely crazy, right?  They're planning to open up another theme park.  They'll continue making the quality products that put them on the map.  And, oh my, the merchandising.  The MERCH!

Is Blizzard the Disney of the 21st century?  Only time can tell, but to me it seems like they're well on their way.  I see sometimes people refer to the "WoW theme park" as a bad thing.  Well, I loved Disney World growing up: the lines, the heat, the bustle, the commercialism.  That's all part of it.  And I love Azeroth now, too.  There will always be downsides to being big and popular.  You just have to ask yourself if it's worth it to you.  After all, Disney World isn't for everyone.  Paris, Colorado, Atlantis... those are all really cool places that I've never been.  I think I'd like to go someday, but I wouldn't trade my time spent in Disney World for anything.

Theme parks go through renovations every now and then in order to stay relevant.  WoW is on the cusp of a major amount of construction.  We've been gazing at that special pardon-our-dust wall with the label "magic at work", wondering what will be created this time.  A new coaster?  A new show?  A new eatery?  A whole new park?  Obviously we've peeked a bit, so we know, but we're still excited.

I see the player community to be a lot like my family with Disney World right now.  We've been there a lot.  We know what we like and what we don't like.  We are in our element in this theme park.  Yet, I remember my excitement when they added The Animal Kingdom to Disney World.  A whole new park that was unexplored, uncharted.  We had to learn to be efficient all over again.  We might have stood in some extra lines that first year, but we figured it out just like the others.

A lot of folks are talking about where to set their hearth.  In Disney, we always stay in one of the main resorts.  Next time we might go back to the Contemporary, having stayed at both the Floridian and the Polynesian now.  I've had a hearth in Shattrath and Dalaran for a while now.  Time to get back to The Slaughtered Lamb.

Monday, November 22, 2010

/crosses fingers: The Shattering This week!

6 comments
Hey Gang!

First off! Happy Monday! For us in the United States, this will be a short week because of Thanksgiving on Thursday. Many of us will be gorging ourselves on our festive bird and then taking our turkey coma while watching Football and being with our friends and family.

This is such a fun time of year not only in RL, but in game. The World of Warcraft will be celebrating, not only Pilgrims Bounty this week, but its sixth birthday tomorrow! How cool is that?! Six years ago, people got to experience Azeroth for the very first time. Sadly, I was not one of them. Fulguralis and I were very late to the party but we did come with a keg and a pie in 2008. In 2004, the world was new and end game was at level 60. Many got to experience the original game and fell in love with it.

During this time, we knew that dragons, good and bad, made up this world. Some were there to assist our kind and lead us into greatness.

Alexstrasza - The Lifebinder

Others were corrupt with magic and would seek to destroy all who used it!

Malygos - The Aspect of Magic
 Then there were entire dragonflights that sought to understand past events and assist us with being a part of it.


Chronormu aka"Chromie"- Ambassador of the Bronze Dragonflight
Tomorrow, a new fear will sweep across Azeroth. One that many never knew lay in wait beneath our very feet. One that seeks death & destruction of all living things. To avenge his fallen kin, this Dragon will not show us mercy.
Deathwing - Aspect of Death... he's so vicious!
 PS: I found this graphic from BRK's site before he took it down. He is too adorable to ignore!

Happy Birthday Azeroth! I hope you enjoy your new facial reconstruction surgery via gift from Deathwing :-)

<3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crashing the Mage Party

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Fulguralis shifted uncomfortably in his seat and looked around the table. They were in the back room of a tavern in Dalaran, seated in a circle, staring blankly across a table at one another. Decedereful was to his left.  Thank the Light for his sister!  If she weren't here, Fulguralis was pretty sure he might have run screaming the second he entered the room.  Next to his Death Knight sister was the curious Mr. Wow.  He was human now, and that baffled Fulguralis.  The Warlock could see shallow scars crisscrossing the boy's - he was rather youthful - skin.  When his sister had introduced him, Fulguralis had almost spit his ale all over the tavern wall.  He was expecting big teeth and a muzzle, but what he got was a rather handsome young man.  Despite the scarring, of course.

Fulguralis had wanted to speak up right then, but something in the boy's eyes made him stop.  There was no mistaking those eyes as the same ones that Fulguralis had looked into upon waking from his injured coma.  Those eyes had been pleading with him not to say anything.  Normally, a simple plea would not have stopped the Warlock from raining on someone's parade, but something gave him pause all the same.  Decedereful obviously cared for him.  Fulguralis could tell by the way his sister acted around him, but how fond was she?  Were they lovers already?  It would be a shame to have to kill the boy, especially after he'd been so helpful.  No, it was best to figure out this whole situation first before doing anything rash.  So Fulguralis held his tongue.

Abigora, his wife's cousin, sat on the other side of the table.  Her appearance had been a surprise to Fulguralis.  He had expected to find his sister, but not his cousin-in-law.  On her own, she wasn't a bad girl, just a bit odd.  However, the guests she had bought scared the living fel right out of the Warlock.

Melvin and Minerva Brightrune, parents of Faith Uthera Brightrune.  His wife.  His Fuubaar.  That had been quite a shock.  Abigora had been reluctant to spill the full story, but from what Fulguralis could gather, these two decaying Undead were his in-laws.  On one hand, it was a relief when his sister had told him that M Brightrune was not the signature of a lover, but of a father.  On the other hand, facing the father and his grotesquely hanging prominent jaw was quite another adventure.  One Fulguralis now found himself woefully unprepared to deal with.

He just wanted his wife back.  How did he explain losing her to her flipping parents?  This was just bloody amazing.  They already didn't like him - who likes a man with demonic minions who enjoys torturing small animals? - but lump on top of that that he obviously hadn't taken good care of their daughter - she was the Protector in the relationship! - and, well, you had one angry set of in-laws. 

So they sat.  Uncomfortably.  Staring.  Judging.  Making the Warlock sweat.

Fulguralis saw the bar maid approach from the other room.  Good, another ale wouldn't hurt.  The maid got two steps in the room before the aura of awkward hit her.  Her eyes widened, and she turned and hurried away.  Apparently the sense of an impending flame war amongst family discouraged even those who work for tips.  That, or the paltry coin wasn't worth the possibility of becoming a casualty.  Fulguralis frowned.  He was usually a good tipper.  Especially when drinking.

The warlock sighed and looked back across the table. "I told you, I don't remember what happened after getting sucked into that stupid sword," he repeated tiredly.

"Frostmourne," Melvin grated out through partially clenched teeth.  "You expect me to believe that you were instrumental in an assault on the Frozen Throne that resulted in the death of Arthas Menethil?  Boy, what have you been smoking?  My daughter, a Paladin, maybe.  A whole host of Paladins.  But a Warlock?  Warlocks don't do things like that."

"Actually, my brother's been involved in many of the recent successes here in Icecrown," Decedereful chimed in.  "Tirion has voiced praise for him several occasions."

"This from a Death Knight?" Melvin continued, eyes flashing.  "Like we can trust and of you guys."  He stood up.  "Come, Minnie, let's leave these scourge stooges."

"Like you're all that much better, Forsaken," Mr. Wow spoke up unexpectedly.  "Who do you believe was responsible for the tragedy of Bolivar Fordragon?"

"You dare accuse me, b-boy!" Melvin roared, spittle flying from his jowls.  His jaw dislodged itself, though the man continued to gurgle on unintelligibly.

"Melvin, honey," Minerva said soothingly, "calm down.  The boy has a point.  We're all a bit of a motley crew now, aren't we?  Besides, how is this helping our Faith?"  She handed him his jaw back.

The Captain sat back down, snapped his jaw into place, and glared daggers across the table.  Abigora watched with wide eyes, speechless.  She looked faintly green.  Decedereful flashed a thankful look to Mr. Wow, who returned a winning grin.  His sister blushed.  Well, as much as a Death Knight could anyways.  Fulguralis scowled.  This was not getting them anywhere.

He groaned inwardly when he saw the two shadows pop in across the room.  They were expected, yet unexpected.  The Felguard and the Succubus strode up to the table.  His bond with his minions warned Fulguralis of their approach, but he didn't know exactly why they were here.   There were limits to what could be shared across distances.

"Tim, Midnight," Fulguralis nodded.  "I don't believe I sent for you.  Why are you here?"

Melvin and Mr. Wow both gazed at the Succubus, their eyes unwittingly held by her demonic beauty.  She had that effect on men, Fulguralis had noticed, though his own bond apparently made him somewhat immune to her charms.  That, or she'd given up trying.  The boy gawked openly before Decedereful punched him in the arm, eliciting a grunt.  Minerva scowled at her husband who seemed stuck somewhere between arousal and revulsion.  Drool dripped down his cleft chin.  These were, apparently, not folks who were used to consorting with demons.

"Melvin, please," Minerva crowed.  "We've already eaten today."

"Did you try the Partially Decayed Roach Roast at Cantrips and Crows?" Decedereful offered.

Minerva looked a bit surprised, "Why yes, child, we did.  It was delectable.  Though... I could have done better.  It's all in the gravy, my dear."  Her husbands nose turned suddenly blue as she froze it with a quick spell, breaking the Midnight's hold on him.

"Erhm, thanks," The Captain muttered, scratching his nose and taking a deep swig of the brown liquid before him.

Tim the Felguard stepped up to his master.  "Sir, this is regarding the mission you sent me on. You see, I've found something."

Fulguralis waved a hand, "All right, out with it then."

"Is it wise, sir, to, um, share?"  Tim asked, looking pointedly at the other members of the table.

Midnight slapped him on the backside, "You heard the master, Timmy-boy.  Let 'em have it!"  She smiled mischievously.

Tim shrugged, "Well, sir, it appears I've found your wife."

"Where is she?" demanded The Captain.

"How?" prodded the sister-in-law.

"When did you see her last?" inquired the cousin.

"What did he say?" the partially decaying mother asked.

Each utterance was on top of the last.  Tim ignored them all, looking to his master for guidance.

"Is she all right?" the husband wanted to know. 

"Well, that depends on the manner in which you define all right," Tim replied cryptically.  "I suppose I should explain.  I was trouncing through the alleyways of Stormwind, when I cam across your lovely wife, sir.  I tailed her for a while to see what she was about.  She started proclaiming strange things before the guards of the fine city, and I felt I'd need photographic evidence for my story to be believed.  Fortunately, a Gnome was nearby, and you know how they always carry those tiny cameras at all times in case an elf with a short skirt walks by so as to be able to snap a...."

"Yes, yes, we know," Fulguralis interrupted.  "So you have a picture then?"

"I do indeed," Tim responded.  He gestured to Midnight, who gleefully tossed the picture into the middle of the table.  Everyone leaned in for a look:
Midnight cackled.  "Poor bugger's completely lost her marbles!"

Gasps were heard around the table.  Midnight continued her laughter until Fulguralis dismissed her with a wave of his hand.  Melvin's jaw was clenched shut, the remaining muscles looking as if they might pop off.  Abigora's eyes widened even further.  Fulguralis stood up. 

"Where do you think you're going, son?" the Captain asked.

"To get my wife," Fulguralis responded stoically.

Melvin nodded.  "Minerva, a portal!  Now!"

The old housewife slapped the table with her hand, and a shimmering circle appeared above it in the middle.  Fulguralis didn't wait to see if anyone else was following, he jumped on the table and ran through portal.  He was momentarily blinded as the light swallowed him, and then...

The Warlock popped out the other side and looked around.  The scene was chaotic.  Giant elementals raged on every street corner in sight.  The clash of steel and explosions of casting nearly drowned out the screaming.  Citizens were running around haphazardly, and the guards were too busy fighting to give any kind of direction.  Stormwind was under some sort of assault, but from who?

"Oh, how nice," Minerva said, being the last of the entire group to step through the portal.  "A mage party."

"I don't think this is a party, dear," Melvin said, stepping in front of his wife.  He pulled out his mace.  "Warlock, give me some cover."  He looked over at Fulguralis and stopped.

There was only a large purple demon in place of the man, and demon was on fire. "I've got this," it growled.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2000 and Some Odd Words

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Going to have to be a quick post today. Work is killing me... quickly. Also, the new Harry Potter movie is coming out tonight, and true to form, Fuu and I will be in line with all the youngin's at midnight tonight catching a 12:01 showing. Tomorrow I'll be totally dragging ass, but I'm hoping that doesn't affect the IC quality too much :-). With the speed of the in-game events coming faster and faster now, I realize I only have three more Fridays to get my characters Cataclysmically prepared.  Also, I need to assassinate more people.  No, not in my narratives.  In ACB, of course!  My countesssa is waiting for me (mmm, countessas).

/Shakes head


Right, down to business.  With the aim of being brief, I wanted to share a few screenshots today from my recent bouts with the the elementals in Stormwind.  Grimm wrote a nice little article and shared a few shots of his own, plus there have been several Hordies giving us a look from that side of the pond.  I wanted to jump on board with a few shots of my own.  I tend to agree with Grimm's optimistic outlook on the events. 

I don't mind the easy quests, especially when running them with alts.  The story is interesting without being overwhelming.  Getting to see a bit of Thrall (when I'm not out for his blood) was pretty neat too.  It really seems to be building to a head nicely, and all done without causing undue amounts of grief.  I mean, you only need avoid the capital cities (which, you know, you've been doing the whole expansion) for a short period of time if you don't want to take part.  But if you do, it does have a pretty neat feel to it, and I'm glad that it seems like many people are taking advantage despite the "lack of shinies".  It's just a fun thing to be a part of.  Well tuned, well timed, and well executed, IMO.  A perfect balance of "you'll be able to stumble into it" without "being trapped having to do it". 

In any case, it is heartening to see the throngs of Alliance faithful sweeping out the city like a Dirty Thirties dust storm.  It also makes me feel very dumb when I am one of the first ones on the scene.  Death tends to follow swiftly.  Especially if I'm on my DK, using my Icy Dick Punch.  At least on my 'lock I can banish and run.  Yep, banishing elementals.  Dust off those old macros for Cataclysm. 

Quick post is quick... here are 2,000 more words before I go:

Storming the docks always comes last, it seems. The steep stairways provide sweeping vistas of the oncoming onslaught.

The Perfect Storm.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One of the Brotherhood

3 comments
Time for a short commercial break from your normal WoW broadcasting.  Every now and then I like to mention the other games I'm playing, especially if they're noteworthy.  Yesterday marked the release of a game I'd been eagerly anticipating for some time: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.  Dutifully, I meandered into Best Buy yesterday and picked it up.  We had a rather busy evening, what with a domestic dinner out with friends and finishing off the newest elemental mini-bosses/quests (I wanted to get those done quickly lest they go away), so I didn't get to spend as much time familiarizing myself with ACB as I would have liked.

I did, however, get to try out the multiplayer.  I have to say, that it could easily become more addicting for me (and perhaps others) than any sort of Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Goldeneye...  Not that it's necessarily better, just that it's right up my alley.  But before I get into that, let me give you a brief overview of the game/series for those that might not be as familiar with it.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is most accurately described, in my opinion, as an expansion of Assassin's Creed II.  Each numbered version of Assassin's Creed usually represents a leap forward through history of Desmond Miles, the game's main protagonist.  Through Desmond's eyes, and time spent in the Animus (the technologically advanced vehicle that drives the game and is the basis of our interaction), we see his genetic memories from past lives.  The original Assassin's Creed found us in the era of the Crusades, in the middle east.  ACII jumped ahead to the Italian Renaissance.  ACB, not being the next "numerical" sequel, is still set in the same time period as ACII.  It basically continues the story from that era, adding new cities to explore, and, most importantly, a multiplayer mode.  Hence why I call it more of an expansion than a successor.  It really is expanding the game we had in ACII, reutilizing main characters, plot hooks, and the like.  It is important to note, though, that the game is standalone.  You do not need ACII to appreciate ACB.  In fact, they have a nice little "recap" at the start of the story mode if you're just coming on board.  Be warned, the overarching plot can seem quite convoluted however, what with giant evil corporations and a strange, perhaps alien race leading us by the nose.  Great stuff, if you ask me.

In any case, the short story is that ACB picks up where ACII left off.  We're still Desmond as Ezio Auditore.  We're still an assassin.  We're still tasked with exploring renaissance cities. Good stuff.  I haven't done very much more than start the story mode, but I'm excited to see where it leads.

I did get to try the multiplayer mode, as mentioned.  I only really got through the introduction and a couple matches, but man am I hooked.  The AC series has always been about the single player story, and I think Ubisoft has done a stellar job with it.  The addition of a multiplayer mode may almost seem an afterthought, but so far it appears to have been done extremely well.  So well, that I could see this becoming a major time sink for a lot of gamers.  It really offers something different from a lot of the PvP, third person action that we see on the market.  After all, aren't almost all of them shooters?

In ACB, you take the role of an Abstergo (evil corporation representing modern day Templar) trainee, thrown into the Animus to learn assassination technique via the "bleeding effect" of the simulation.  Sound crazy?  It is.  There's a nice little intro that sort of ties it into lore, but at the end of the day what we're setting the stage for is a cutthroat, multiplayer assassination environment.  I absolutely love it.

You're dropped into a city as one of several choices of playable characters.  Then you're given a "contract", or a target to go kill in the form of a portrait on the screen.  You have to wander around the city with the aid of your radar and find this person to kill.  The radar sort of works as a "hot or cold" reading, telling you when you're close.  Once you get close, it's up to you to identify your target, which is not as easy as it sounds since the city is populated by look alikes.  You have judge based on behavior, which is no easy task, let me assure you.  Good players will find extremely clever ways to blend in.

At the same time, you may be the target of a contract as well.  The hunter can also be hunted, so you have to watch your back.  What you end up with is a delicious, gigantic, pakour running, free city exploring, face remembering, game of cat and mouse.  Different kills net you different amounts of points, with a true stealth kill getting you the most.  Killing an innocent civilian nets you a loss of contract, so choose wisely.  Escaping someone who's after you nets you points too.  It's great.

There is a levelling path as well, unlocking nifty little perks along the way.  The first one you get, Disguise, is immediately useful.  Recall everything is based on matching you to your portrait, and then imagine your pursuer has you pegged.  He breaks from cover to come kill you, alerting you with a blinking red arrow that's he's coming (shoulda been more calm and stayed incognito, thus not giving you the chance to run, but it happens).  You take off across a rooftop, drop down, breaking his line of sight, and then pop on your disguise and stand with a crowd.  You see your would-be assassin behind you, confused, and in his confusion, he kills a civilian that looks exactly like you used to look before you popped your disguise trinket.  He loses the contract and the points, freeing you, and after your disguise wears off a short 10 seconds later, you're back on the prowl.  Totally an adrenaline rush in a way that's completely different from any shooter I've played.

The gameplay is just addictive.  The stalking.  The hiding.  The eluding.  The escaping.  It seems that leading the game makes you more likely to be targeted, sometimes by multiple people.  Just awesome.  The hunter literally becoming the hunted.  What a great idea for a game, and I haven't even touched the story which is usually top notch.

All in all, well worth the money spent.  This game will definitely tide me over until Cataclysm and then some.  I love this franchise, and my respect for Ubisoft continues to grow.  They really have had what I opine as some truly revolutionary ideas.  In a world dominated by third person shooters, I really think this game brings something fresh to the table.  Highly reccomended.

Now back to your normally scheduled WoW coverage.  :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Email Check Fail

5 comments
So I logged into the blog email yesterday morning and: Holy Fel! I haz emailz.  I'm sure there are many other bloggers that can sympathize with how you can go two years, getting not much more than one email every month or two, and then all of a sudden you apparently get a Nightfall proc of email.  It tends to totally jazz one up.  At least it does to me.  Who doesn't like feedback and opportunities?

The downside is that you tend to fall into the rut of not checking the blog email because you don't want to be presented with the ubiquitous "no messages in the inbox" message.  I mean that's depressing, right?  What happens then, is that you log on, steeling yourself for a depressive loneliness, only to find you've been missing overtures for the last 10+ days.  My apologies, surfers of the internet.  I have been lax.

Okay, so what did I have in my inbox?

First, an invitation to a Warlock round table with the Raid Warning Podcast.  Any time a coven of 'locks get together for some chat and chit, you can color me interested.  Luckily they still had a spot for me when I got back to them, you know, ten days later.  Either way, count me in and excited.  Head over to their website and submit some questions, especially if you want to hear from me :-).  Looks like we'll be recording sometime after Thanksgiving, so stay tuned for details.

Second, a representative of the Zam Network (owner-operators of Allakhazam, Wowhead, Thotbot and other well-know resource sites), contacted me wanting to write a "feature" piece about the blog.  They gave me a nifty example here, and explained that I'd need to answer a few questions.  Well, lucky for them, I'm a question-answerin kinda guy.  Fuu's gonna get in on this too.  Should be a neat little article if we succeed at being answerful. I guess I didn't realize they were the wizards behind the curtains of all these sites; what a huge collective!

Fuu also had a nice email in there, a little feedback from her tanking podcast she did several weeks ago.  She loves getting email, though she usually ends up sending replies through her personal email.  Hopefully the individual doesn't think some crazy girl has hijacked our blog and is pretending to be a Protection Paladin.  I mean, who would do that?

Finally, I got an email from a new Affliction Warlock blogger.  Vasburg is the author of a little blog called The Daily Dot.  It looks like he just started blogging a little over a week ago, but I already like what I'm seeing.  First of all, gotta give love to my aff'locks out there.  /Affliction Warlock Power.  Second, this cat looks to be a smooth hand with photoshop and other visual tools.  I love clever visuals!  Check out his post today.  I'm pretty sure my fellow raider, Miss Jessabelle, would completely sympathize with the little video.  I would so totally rather buff myself with cool shades than give out soulstones and healthstones.  Although, I admit, I am a bit better about it now that it doesn't cost a precious shard.  She still had to give me a testy reminder last night on Halion though.  In any case, I recommend the site and will pop it up on my Warlocky blogroll over there on the left side. 

So, hope I wasn't too late on my email perusal.  Good stuff in there.  I've actually set it up to forward to Fuu and my personal emails now, so we shouldn't miss stuff anymore.  Good times.  Catch any of the new event stuff yet?  Fuu and I got to do a little bit prior to our NO LONGER ICC RAID last night.  (Sorry, still dragasming a bit).  It was pretty crazy.  Lots of mammoths.  What's up with that?  Pics to come!

Monday, November 15, 2010

With sheer boredom comes Inspiration!

3 comments
Hey Gang!

Happy Monday!

So I heard over at MMO-Champion that 4.0.3 is going to go live this week (perhaps tomorrow?). They state that 4.0.3 is not the landscape changer but 4.0.3a is. WTF? Is anyone else as confused as I am? It's sorta ridiculous. When I think about an expansion and patch numbers, I always thought that when you change the first number, that was the BIG set up for the expansion to come. Yes, 4.0.1 brought on some of the largest changes in the game that sets up the base stuff for Cataclysm. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that they gave us some time to adjust before feeding us to the proverbial worgen but then we were all told that 4.0.3 was the WHOLE CRAP EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BURN TO THE GROUND AND DEATHWING WILL EAT YOU patch. Now, what has 4.0.3 turned into? Oh yeah, bug fixes and an additional set up for the world breaking.
/facepalm

So, let me get this straight. 4.0.3a is the actual Shattering and that makes 4.0.3 the prep for the Shattering... so, what does that make 4.0.1? A preparation for the preparation of the Shattering? Ummm K? Now I've heard that Zul'Garrub and it's lovely Mountable contents are going away in 4.0.3. Does this mean 4.0.3 or 4.0.3a? Color me confused.

Well, whatever. I guess it will happen when it happens :-/

Regardless of the patch confusion, I'm really enjoying the flow of the Events. I heard that the next phase went live on Friday. Normally I know everything (HA) and I would be more aware of this stuff but I completely missed that boat. I'll have to log on before our raid tonight and take a peek at it. I'm going to guess that it's just more forward progress of the story. Mainly, adding a few more quests. I'm totally ok with that. I've got the achievement "Tripping the Rifts" on two of my toons and I'm up to date on the quests on two of them except for the latest Friday additions which I will correct this evening :)

Since Fuubaar and her Posse downed the Lame King last Monday, my brain has switched from Raiding to preparation for Cataclysm. I've been messing with soloing/ questing specs for Fuu and that's pretty much it for her. When Zul'Gurub was announced to be gone along with the mounts and Reputation, I freaked out and wanted to go in there and farm every lock out. I did this a few times and then I came to the realization that I just don't really care. I mean, the mounts are pretty cool but I have horrible luck so I'll probably not get them. Then I looked at the faction reputation and that really sealed the deal. The recipes from the vender aren't useful and after I learned them, I would completely forget about them. Yes, I could have those "useful" 10 achievement points for becoming exalted with them and 1 more exalted faction to tack up to my 40 but that's about it. Call me pessimistic, but I've got a billion other things to do in the game than become annoyed by the stupid spinny trolls. They can go DIAFF for all I care.

Ok, I think I just need more coffee cause I totally sound like a grouch pants today...

On a more, exciting note, I got my Third 80 last night. Tamedfuu has now joined the ranks. Let me tell you how slow I leveled... it was so slow that some of my guildies stayed online to watch it occur. I believe that a few died of starvation.  Funny story, I could have pushed it on Saturday but I wanted to play Civilization 5 instead. Shhhh don't tell my guildies >.<

Anyways, my main goal with this toon wasn't really to hit 80. It was to max out her two professions. She has Mining and Engineering on her and I felt that they would both come in handy for Cataclysm. Mining is a no brainer since I already had a max Jewelcrafter and I had to buy all of my ore or raw gems to cut & sell. It really cut into my profit. I also wanted an engineer because who doesn't LOVE engineering? I mean, it's an odd mix of all of the other professions combined with a touch of flare. You can make gear, you can enchant your gear, and come Cataclysm, you can gem your gear... with a GEAR! (or cog if you're going to get technical). I wasn't really pushing for 80 but I ended up getting it through Battlegrounds when I was mindlessly circling Zul'Derek looking for Cobalt nodes. I did the occasional Instance to break that up but I pretty much only did one or two of those a day because the queue times were too long and I just didn't really care for the time investment. The moment I dinged 80 last night, I had maxed out mining and my Engineering had just hit 425. That's good enough to pick up the next level of Engineering whatever crazy name they call it. My guess is something like Ultra Uber God of Engineering. You can't get any more epic than that! I believe that I ran enough battle grounds to get a few Wrathful pieces and perhaps enough points from my PvE dungeons that I might have a few pieces from there as well.

Overall, leveling, even if you go slow, is obtainable regardless of what you enjoy. This is awesome! I very rarely did quests on Tamed. I would have to say that 85% of the Exp that I gained was through pvp.

So, this brings me to my last ADD thought of this post. When I rolled Fuubaar back in 2008, there weren't many options when it came to leveling. You pretty much just flowed with the questing hubs and sneaked in a Dungeon or two to finish off quests that took you there. It was slow and monotonous. If you enjoyed pvp, too bad. You couldn't gain XP so it would hinder your ability to level.

Today, we have so many options for leveling that you can level a large handful of your toons in completely different ways.
- Questing
- Dungeons (once past level 15)
- Grinding (not really doing quests but just killing mobs for experience. Think Asian MMOs /shiver)
- Gathering herbs and/or Mining (this is going to be extremely slow but HOLY CRAP Profitable)
- Player verse Player
- Holiday Quests

Now, I said Holiday Quests as being a little bit different than regular questing. You only have a specific amount of time to do them but these usually give excellent XP and really fun trinkets and things to collect.

So, with all of these different ways of leveling, how do you choose which way you want to level your new toon in Cataclysm? Do you just do what you've always done? Will you pick a completely different way?

Just lots of things to think about when December 7th rolls around :-)

<3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar

Friday, November 12, 2010

Screenshot or it Didn't Happen

3 comments
Sparkie sits on the counter, nuzzling a turned over box of Flesh Flakes, and picking one up with his long tongue.  He looks over at the other minions sitting around the table, playing some sort of game.  There are colorful pieces on a cardboard square, and the sound of dice being thrown fills the room.
Midnight: Blast! I've acquired another spawn.  What if I've got no more holes in this large, plastic replica of a horseless carriage?
Berry Blue: Normally, they're referred to as children, Nighty.
Midnight: Spawn, children, same thing.  Why can't I have another of the big blue pegs again?
Berry Blue: You're only allowed one spouse in this game.  It's the rules, kid.
Midnight: Well, that's bollocks.  What sort of game is this anyways?
Pablo the Infernal reaches a boulder out to turn the box, singeing the corner.
Midnight: Pablo, you bloody idiot, you're burned the thing!
Pablo: Lee-fay.  The game de Lee-fay.
Berry Blue: That's life, brother.  Life.
Pablo: Lo siento.  Lifay.
Berry Blue: Close enough.
Midnight: More like Death-ay.  These bloody spawn are killing me.
Berry Blue: Yeah, you are broke as a joke.  Too bad you drew street musician as a profession instead of a chill doctor like me.  Six figures, baby.  Eaaaasy street.
Midnight: Can it, Blue.
Berry Blue: I'm just sayin'.  I've spent some time playin' on the street.  You do it for the music, not the money.  The looooove of the music.
Spaz, who was over at the window, suddenly bursts into an energized sprint.  He streaks across the room and leaps up onto the table, scattering the pieces everywhere.
Midnight: Bloody hell, what is it this time?
Berry Blue: Light almighty!  You done scattered the pieces errrvrywhere.
Spaz: Iknow-iknow-iknow! ButbutBUT, they're-back! MoremoreMORE!
Sparkie jumps off the counter and wanders over to the front door excitedly, tail wagging.
Berry Blue: Aw damn, more of them elementals?  Don't know what's worse, them or the earfquakes.
Midnight: Hey Blue, aren't these elementals your cousins? Why can't you simply call up your auntie and get them off our lawn?
Berry Blue: Man, shut up, Nighty.  Damn things are givin' a blue brother a bad name.  Spaz, make yourself useful and let the dog out.
Sparkie barks excitedly as Spaz zips over to the door and opens it, letting the felhound out.  Spaz follows the dog out the door, slamming it behind him.  Outside, a din of barking and frenzied yelling starts up as the two minions give chase.
Berry Blue: There, he'll tire himself out too.  Two cute pigeons, one smooth move.
Midnight: What in Kil'jaedan's name does that mean?
Berry Blue is about to answer as the door bursts open and a bulky Felguard struts in.
Pablo: Hola! Como estan?
Berry Blue: Who the fel are you?
Midnight: Hey there, big guy.
Deegee (yelling from a back room): Is that the pizza guy?  Can someone else pay him, I dunno where my wallet is!
Tim the Felguard blinks twice, then walks over to the table.
Tim: Hey, I'm the new guy.  Fulguralis mighta mentioned me? 
Berry Blue: Oh yeah, the Demonology cat.  Said you only come around on off days and such.  Cool, bro, pull up a chair.
Midnight: I'm Nighty, and you are?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim?
Midnight: Tim the Felguard.  Sounds... mundane.
Tim: Sorry?
Pablo: Lo siento! Haha!
Berry Blue: Yes, yes Pablo, lo siento.  Tim, what's shakin'?
Tim: Well, Fulguralis sent me to look that wife of his.  He's heading to Dalaran now, said something about finding his sister.
Midnight: Right, right, the wife.  Forgot about her.
Berry Blue: You would.
Tim: Aaaanyways, I found her.  And you won't believe what she's up to.
Tim flops a picture out on the table.  The minions all look down and gasp.
Midnight: No. Way.
Berry Blue: Well, chief's not gonna like this.
Pablo: Lo siento, Jefe...
Berry Blue: Nighty, you'd better take this to him in Dalaran.
Midnight: Why me?
Berry Blue: He's been calling on you the most lately.
Midnight: Right, right.  Be back later, boys.
Tim: I'll go with her.  You know, just in case.
Berry Blue raises an eyebrow and watches as they both walk out the front door, leaving him behind with Pablo.
Berry Blue: Just me and you, eh Pabs?
Pablo: Si. Kiero tequila?
Berry Blue: Why not?
There's a loud thump at the door, followed by a shrill scream.
Berry Blue: Open it first, Spaz!
Spaz (muffled): Oh-yeahhhh.
Pablo: No bueno.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Essence of Pure 10

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One of the unexpected side effects of our rather unique raiding schedule is that we really never get into 25 mans. I mentioned the term "pure 10" the other day, and one of our raiders actually asked "what does that even mean?" Totally a good question.

Basically, Jessabelle, Queen of Esoteric Statistical Musings, Keeper of the Spreadsheets, Protector of Random Self-Searching, alerted me a while back that our guild, The Lothar Swinger's Club, happens to be ranked as the number 1 pure 10 guild for our realm on a site called Guild Ox.  Check it out.  How she stumbled across that little tidbit is beyond me, but she does tend to keep her finger on the pulse of Azeroth, even when she's insanely busy and has no time to write (sadly).

In any case, you can see they've defined quite rigorously on that site what a "pure 10" guild is.  It really is an artifact of Wrath, and I think we've maintained our status by pure luck.  It's not like we forbid the running of 25 mans or anything.  Most of us just didn't have time, and our guild is more of an ad hoc collection of friends than anything with rules and regulations.  I mean, we're all officers (provided you have an authenticator).

Finding out we were the top pure 10 man guild on our server was sort of like winning a competition you, and most other groups, didn't know was happening.  Yet there we are.  It's a little something to be proud of.

It's not like we were gaming the system either. None of us geared really via 25s, though a few may have  popped in once or twice. To me, that still makes you pure 10. Experiencing different parts of the game is fine, the point is we never really benefited from the lopsided gearing of Wrath.  Considering how little we ran and how much we just had to gear on our own (via daily heroics and the like), I think it's completely fair to say we maintained pure 10 status.

Obviously, this sort of ranking will likely become a relic of Wrath. The way it's figured will have to change come Cat. I mean, since gear levels won't be different, it shouldn't matter as much. Winning will be winning.  Additionally, locks don't double up so you can't run both 25 and 10 bosses in the same week. Ergo, there really isn't a "gearing" benefit to running the larger raids like there was in Wrath.  No double emblem (or justice points now) earnings. With that in mind, it'll be interesting to see how we stack up against full time "raiding guilds" when we're on it from the start. I know we won't be "top tier" anymore - probably won't even make top 25 - but I'll bet we'll still surprise ourselves. .

I wonder if they'll keep a "pure 10" list. I think the stat I would love to see is one where they calculate your time spent in PvE raid groups, and divide that by progression somehow. Sort of like an "efficiency per hour" stat or something. I'd bet we'd stack up pretty well on that.  How crazy would it be if something like that became the new "hardcore" focus?  Where the top guilds weren't judged merely by how quickly they get through the face bashing in RL time, but by how quickly they learn and adapt; how well they plan and prepare.

Boy, wouldn't that be a whole new ballgame.  I'm not sure it would make anything more positive though.  If anything, it might make raiding more stressful, since people would inevitably be screaming "gogogo" more loudly.  Perhaps the best competition among WoW players is one in which the true criteria of judgment is unknown.  I suppose that could lead to it's own frustrations, but as gamers, aren't we just going to try to game any known system?  Is there honor enough amongst thieves and MMO-ers for a "fair fight"?  Or does it defeat the very foundation of gamer culture to be held to a standard where you're not expected to think outside the box?

For me anyways, I'm still experiencing a bit dragasmic from our Monday night kill.  I guess it takes a few days for the glow to wear off.  At least, that's what she said.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Plenty of Time To Spare - or - Internet Dragasm

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I try not to toot my "we cleared this" horn too much. Partially that's because we're normally far behind everyone else, and the other part is that it's not something that is usually generally entertaining. Sometimes, it's completely called for though.  This is one of those times.

If you've been reading here for a while, you probably know that the raid group I belong to is rather unique.  First of all, we're a straight up 10 man group.  Not one of us has a lick of any 25 man gear.  Right about when ToC first came out, our 25-man raiding alliance was dying, and we struck out on our own.  A ragtag group of probably 8 friends to start that grew to a perfect and healthy 12.  All with what most might call "subpar" gear.

We also only raid for 2 hours each week.  That's it.  We're lucky to get that some times with summer travel and the like.  We've definitely had to miss a few days.  Never more than 2 hours a week though.  We do all our strat work outside of the game, via emails, and then get together on Monday nights to preform.  It's diet raiding.  It's raiding lite.  It's perhaps the very definition of super casual, 10-man raiding.

And last night, the goal we set out to hit 12 months ago was finally achieved: We downed the Lich King.  When we started ICC, I think most of us had our doubts that we'd ever get there.  It's hard enough to keep a steady group together for 12 months (especially in a casual environment), much less maintain a focus and learning enough to make progress.  But we steadily did.  The phrase "against all odds" comes to mind.

Maybe I'm over-glorifying a rather simple event.  After all, we're probably the among the last groups to down the LK.  A kingslayer title is no longer particularly special or unique.  Still, we all popped on our new titles, put down a keg, and danced proudly in front of the Dalaran fountain.  It was special to us, and that's all that matters. On our sever, I don't think there is another "true 10" group that's downed the LK.  Sure 10 man groups have done it, but without a shred of the higher, 25-man gear?  Without raiding PuGs or anything more than 2 hours a week?  It can be done.  To call our feat unique is merely a victory of probability, but a victory nonetheless.

I know a lot of folks have a lot of different opinions on the accessibility of the game and the "dumbing it down" and stuff like that.  I can't really argue... as long as you're running 25 mans and spending more than 2 hours a week raiding.  For us, it was a challenge.  It was a well designed, perfectly challenging fight, and the presentation and pacing from Blizzard was spot on for group like us.  Buff and all, it was perfect.  It was dangled just far enough that we could grasp the final prize a month before it becomes completely obsolete.  Nothing anyone can claim will take that feeling of accomplishment from our group.  To us, it was epic.

So I guess I wanted to go on record saying: Kudos to Blizzard for a well designed fight, raid, instance, and expansion.  It had it's ups and downs, but really represents the pinnacle of the MMO experience for players like us.  Perhaps we don't belong in MMOs with our time commitments and lack of putting priority on killing internet dragons, but I appreciate the fact that we can.

And finally, thanks to my guild mates, for sticking it out through the good times and bad.  It hasn't been a smooth ride, but we did it.  We did it.  I look forward to Cataclysm in my new home, with the group that has grown to be expected housemates on Monday nights.  The game is still alive for this TBC-kid.  Deathwing, we're coming for you.

As they say: Screenshot or it didn't happen...

We gave the LK a swirly.
Then got the ubiquitous kill shot.
And, of course, danced on the the Frozen Throne with the "new" LK.  Check out that ass, that ass tanked the LK.

(Aside: As I told my wife... of course we all feel drained today, we had an internet dragasm last night.  I had to make a dragasm post.  stfu XD less three).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thoughts on the Current Events in Azeroth

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Hey Gang!

For those of you whose clocks are all a mess from daylight savings time, I'm right there with you. Fulguralis and I have been lucky (/end sarcasm) enough to be sharing the common cold and I got a nice head start this morning when I was awoken by coughing and persistent throat clearing at 4:30am. Needless to say, I was out of bed & on the road within 30 minutes. It's rather nice beating everyone to work, though. The traffic was minimal, even for a city, and I got a sweet parking spot.

Well, you haven't come here to read about my Monday morning woes. You've come to learn from my incredible insight (/end sarcasm again.... this might be a trend) into the World of Warcraft.

If you've been lucky enough to log on to the game recently, you would have noticed the increased tremors throughout Azeroth and some very irate Elementals. The quest chain that starts in your Main Capital City (either Stormwind or Orgrimmar) is definitely a MUST DO NOW sorta thing. It really brings the pre-Cataclysmic events into perspective for your hero even if you aren't really into any Roleplaying. You really get the sense of urgency within your city. Citizens panicking and not knowing where to turn and people taking advantage of them during these trying times. Your job is to inform the city that there is no need to panic but that we need to stay focused on our TRUE ENEMY! The (insert Horde or Alliance here)!

If you haven't finished the in game quests yet and do not want to be spoiled, I suggest just skipping the post today. We'll see you tomorrow :-D

Since I haven't, personally, done the Horde side events, I'll only reflect on the Alliance thoughts. I'm going to assume that most of this will work both sides though. If you've done the horde side, let me know what differences there are in the events. I would greatly appreciate the insight. Also, I'm only going to reflect on what my character understands and sees currently in the game. She does not know about Deathwing nor does she understand what changes are going to happen to the world. Fuu only understands that the world that she holds dear to her heart is in grave danger.

So, we have all Fel breaking loose upon Azeroth. Family members have gone missing, the ground is quaking violently, elementals are ripping holes into the world and wrecking havoc on the locals. It's madness I say! MADNESS! One thing that's true about disastrous events throughout the world; If there's confusion, someone's going to monopolize upon that. Who better to do so? Kool-aid drinking CULTISTS that's who! Well, actually, it's not them specifically, it's the one who leads them. We don't find this out until later on in the event who's been giving the cultists ammunition. Cho'gall, the two headed Ogre, shows up in a Hologram to project orders and provide false hope to all who find themselves lost in the confusion. If you're unfamiliar with the lore of who Cho'gall is, he was Gul'dan's right hand man. Gul'dan (for you warlocks out there) was a seedy orc warlock who used to be the old Horde Warchief before Doomhammer overthrew him because he was found to be deceiving the horde for his own gains. Both Gul'dan and Cho'gall have cost the Horde greatly. To find that his "boss" is leading the cultists actions has me extremely concerned for the well being of Azeroth. I mean, our heroes don't know that Deathwing is the one stirring up the trouble below our very feet but our great leaders sure know something is up.

In the Throne Room of Stormwind, all of our faction leaders, including a few well known faces, are discussing a course of action to keep their citizens from jumping off the deep-end. Magni Bronzebeard mentions the Tablets that Brann found in Ulduar. Now, if you've read or are currently reading The Shattering, (highly suggest this book btw!) you know that Magni has his top Explorers League translators on the tablet trying to figure out what it means. The key phrase that they can decipher is, "Become one with the earth". From this fractured translation, Magni suggests that there might be a way to communicate with the earth and find out what pains it perhaps even find a way to fix it.  Varian states that nothing that came out of Ulduar has brought any good upon the land and these tablets shouldn't be taken lightly but Magni is adamant to help his kingdom regardless of the danger that he could be in. These earthquakes have caused so many casualties throughout the world, he is willing to risk his life for his people.

We also know that all of the elements are misbehaving and in pain. They all have stopped listening to the Shaman and are opening rifts throughout Azeroth, Northrend, and even Outlands to take out their frustrations on the world. If you're unaware, you can receive a really neat achievement for destroying all four of the different elemental types of rifts. Each of them give you a buff of 2% more damage & healing. I'm not sure if they stack because I've been too lazy to track them all down. These rifts spawn once an hour throughout each zone. Now, if you want to know more specifics regarding this Achievement, go to wowhead.com and search for "Tripping the Rifts". Many have come and shared exactly where the rifts spawn and what element it is. Great stuff! Go do it!

I have a feeling that the next phase of the Elemental Invasion should move forward some time this week. I don't know if the current quest chain will change, expand, or disappear. I highly suggest that you get out there and get your lore on. Because this only happens once.

What have you enjoyed thus far from the event? Do you believe this to be better, worse, or the same as the zombie evasion?

<3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar

Friday, November 5, 2010

We Don't Need Roads

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"What are you?" Fulguralis asked the wolf-like creature that hulked before him.  He had seen Worgen before, but never one so tame.  This creature seemed in control of his faculties, which was new in Fulguralis's experience.  Then again, he was hardly an expert on the matter.  He left details like that to the scholarly Mages.  All he needed to know was: can it die?

 "I am," Mr. Wow began, seeming to struggle with the words, "the future."

"What does that mean?" Fulguralis asked.

The Worgen clenched his jaw, "I... can't."

"Can't what?" the Warlock asked.

"The... Nightmare," Mr. Wow growled, long claws raising to cradle his head.  "It is... worse.  Many things, I can't reveal, yet."  The thing seemed about to lose itself.  "Want... your sister."

Fulguralis bolted to his feet,  "What did you say about my sister, beast?"  He fixed the Worgen with a stare, shadow glowing in his hands.

"Not, what I mean... Decedereful," Mr. Wow said, his eyes snapping back into focus and taking a step back from the enraged Warlock.  "She is well, in Dalaran.  Nearby.  That is... enough."

"And my wife?" Fulguralis pressed.  "I suppose you know where she is too?"

The wolf regarded him with a confused look.  "No.  She was... with you?"

The Warlock sighed, "Yes, she was.  She's not any more."

Fulguralis looked down, trying to sort out his memories in his mind.  He remembered snippets from their battle with the Lich King.  His wife had been so driven, so erratic, so irresponsible.  So beautiful.  She'd been the tip of the spear of the Light.  The front line.  A whirlwind of judgment and holy wrath.  While it wasn't the Warlock's cup of tea, he could certainly appreciate power.

However, she'd also been haunted.  Fractured.  Different than he'd ever seen.  Something was wrong, and she'd left him after the fight.  What wife would do that?  Had defeating Arthas, a goal for so long, changed something in her.  Changed something with them?  Fulguralis needed to find her.  He needed to know what had happened.

A sharp howl from the wolf broke Fulguralis from his musings.  He brought his eyes back to the beast in front of him that was again cradling a furry head in clawed hands.  The creature looked unstable.  It cast one last look at him before turning to run away.

"Wait," Fulguralis called.  The beast paused.  "How did I get here?" the Warlock asked.

The Worgen pointed one long, clawed finger off to one side, and then disappeared into the surrounding crystalline forest.  Another howl tore through the still night air.  Fulguralis walked over to where the creature had pointed, looking down.  There on the ground lay his magic carpet.  Unfurled, it had a big bloody stain in the middle.

Apparently, in his delirium, he'd summoned his rug to use as a blanket, wrapping himself up in it and bleeding all over it.  Great, Fulguralis thought, no wife and laundry to do.  With a thought, he summoned Midnight to his side.  The succubus shot him a seductive smile as she materialized from the nether.

"Have this cleaned," Fulguralis ordered.  He eyed the slim demon for a moment as she began to pout, then added, "Please."  He was a married man, and married men did not do laundry.  Right?  That's what minions were for.  Or wives.  Not to confuse the two.  Oh no, he'd never hear the end of that

"Want me to collect your knickers while I'm at it?" Midnight asked sarcastically with a wicked smile.  "I'm sure they're just filthy."

Fulguralis fixed her with a level stare and sealed the command with his mind.  Just do it, he sent.

"Mmmm, I love it when you play master," she cooed, then disappeared with the rug.

Fulguralis smiled at her departure.  At least he could count on his minions, to some extent anyways.  Brought back by demons and a Worgen, Fulguralis thought.  The world must be coming to an end.

A massive tremor shook the earth beneath the Warlock's feet.  He grabbed hold of a nearby tree to steady himself.  As the shaking subsided, Fulguralis looked around.  Several trees had toppled, and he swore there were large boulders that hadn't been there before.  What the fel is going on, he thought.  Randomly, he summoned one of his many mounts.  He usually stuck with the carpet, but since it was out of commission, he'd have to dig deeper in his stable.  He was a bit surprised when a broom appeared in his hands.

"When did I get this?" he asked no one in particular.  There was an engraving on the side that seemed to be magically counting down.  To what, the Warlock had no idea.  He just needed to get to Dalaran, perhaps there would be answers there. 

"Yee haw," the Warlock said sardonically as he shot into the sky.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

4.0.1 Death Knight Frost DW DPS Primer

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Everything you want to know about ("casual") Death Knight Frost DW DPS, right here, in one article.  Or something like that.  Hopefully it'll at least get you started.  My goal is a bit different from the standard end-game raiding scene.  Mostly I run BG's with this toon, but it is also my alternate raider when needed.  Thus, my DK is designed to be respectable and fun, not the top dog.  If I want to /flex, I'll go on my 'lock, but that doesn't mean I want to look like noobsauce on this toon.

The Spec
With that in mind, I went with a 2/32/2 spec.

It's important to note that my aim is to be able to do two things well with this spec. The first, I'd like to be able to DPS in a PvE environment competitively. The second, I'd like to feel useful in PvP Battlegrounds. Thus, some points are chosen for that sort of utility, even though I know it makes my spec not "the best" raiding spec or "the best" PvP spec. It's a hybrid spec. For instance, my PvP needs are what entice me to spec into Chillblains and use the Glyph of Hungering Cold.  You may want to go another route if you're wanting a pure raiding spec.

If you checked out my preliminary spec right after the patch dropped, you may notice that I changed up my plans a bit.  Originally, I had taken Improved Icy Talons and Bladed Armor at the expense of the blood and frost talents that cause you to generate more runic power.  My thought had been that I never had a problem generating RP before, how much would these really help?

After mucking around on a dummy for a while, it quickly became apparent to me that without those talents, RP generation is just too slow.  I wasn't firing off nearly as many Frost Strikes as I'd like, and my DPS wasn't where I wanted it to be.  So I respecced, dropping IIT and Bladed armor in favor of RP generation talents.  I plan to get some points back into those talents soon, but for now this is what I believe makes the spec playable. 

The Glyphs
You can see from the link above that I'm going with:
  • Prime: Howling Blast - To spread Frost Fever and, thereby, Chillblains. Awesome for keeping melee away from demolishers, etc.  Also great to spread out the deeps.
  • Prime: Frost Strike - Less cost = More Strikes = Moar Deeps.
  • Prime: Obliterate - OB tends to be my big finishing move in BG's.  Great idea to buff it.
  • Major Glyphs - Pestilence, Strangulate, Hungering Cold- Pest will help in AoE situations to hit more folks.  Strangulate should be good against casters.  Hungering Cold for free is good stuff in a BG.  It works as both an interrupt and a freeze.  I find it incredibly useful.
  • Minor Glyphs - Horn of Winter, Path of Frost, Resilient Grip - Minor's are decently useful for DK's.  First, there's nothing like extending your horn. Second, we make our water walking spell a bit more hardy.  Third, we more chances with our MK-Scorpion-like talent.  Not all that exciting, but could be useful. 
The Rotation
As most specs change from less of a rotation to more of a priority system, I want to break down what I do into two ideas: an Intro sequence and then Ongoing Priorities.  To me, DK DPS works best when you think of it as setting up, and then moving into a "maintain" phase, so that's how I'm going to approach it.  I'll start off as if we're just worried about a single target, and then note the changes for multiple targets later.

Intro: Howling Blast > Plague Strike > Blood Strike > Obliterate > Frost Strike

Ongoing Priorities:
  1. Keep Diseases Up - With Rime procs and the glyphed HB, you should never have a problem with Frost Fever.  Keep an eye on when you might need to toss in a Plague Strike.
  2. When the side auras for Killing Machine show up try to use an Obliterate or Frost Strike.  Obliterate is the better choice, but don't miss a proc waiting for it to show up.
  3. When Rime procs, throw a Howling Blast (frost aura above your head)
  4. Use FrS to dump your Runic Power whenever it caps or as filler when your runes are on cooldown.
  5. Weave in Blood Strikes when your other stuff is on cooldown in order to convert some blood runes to Death Runes.  I like to try to keep one Blood rune as a Death rune at all times.  Just try not to have it where both of one type of rune are sitting unused.    
  6. If everything else is good, then you should just be popping OB's every time they're up and dumping RP in between, watching for procs and the priorities above.  That should keep you busy enough.
Since HB costs simply a single Frost Rune now, it basically replaces IT (hence why I dropped the glyph).  You may want to keep IT handy for any situations where some AoE splash is a bad thing, but otherwise HB is the way to go.  If you're Dual Wielding like I am, you want to run in Frost Presence.  Otherwise, I've read where 2H benefit more from being in Unholy, but that's not what I'm doing here.  Check it out on EJ if you're curious, they have a pretty solid article that helped me out a lot. 

I know that in the course of my research, it was tough to figure out what DW weapons to use. So here's the easy answer: you want a slower weapon in each hand in order to maximize the damage of your special spells.  Since they're calculated with respect to your base damage, and your base damage is directly relational to the weapon speed, you want two slow weapons.  Why?  Let's say you have two weapons, each with the same "DPS" but one is fast and the other is slow.  In order to equalize the DPS, the slow weapons has to have more damage per hit.  Since specials are calculated on damage per hit, I think you can see why we say "go slow".

I don't really change up the rotation for AoE situations except to try to use more HBs when I can to maximize my damage.  You still will want to put up and spread your diseases, though with the Pestilence nerf and HB being glyphed, you only want to use Pest for this if you have more than a handful of targets.  Otherwise, you'll just want to PS and then weave HBs and use your normal RP dump (still FrS).  Also, you'll want to use Death and Decay when it's off cooldown, though watch your threat.  Utilize BS to keep Death Runes coming.  More Death Runes means more HB's and that's really the key here.

The Stats
Hit (until melee cap) > Expertise (until cap) > Str > Mastery > Haste > Crit > Agility > Hit (to spell cap)

Ewww numbers: Melee hit cap is 8%.  This governs almost all of our special abilities that are melee in nature (though not "white noise" attacks).  More hit will still help, as our spells can go all the way up to 17% before cap.  Our spells include HB and IT, so after melee cap this stat weight only falls slightly for us, probably being in between Crit and Haste until Spell Capped.  Expertise cap is 23 (Thanks, Stop!). 

It's also good to rune you weapon with Fallen Crusader (MH) and Razorice (OH).

Wrap Up
That's it for my DPS DK.  Pretty short and simple, which is how I do my lone max-level alt.  She's a great change of pace and I love to PvP on her.  I only raid on her if I run into save issues on my 'lock or just to knock out old content with newer raiders. 

I'm sure a lot of you could come up with better pure raid specs, feel free to leave 'em in comments to help others out who stop by.  Also, if you're a frosty DK like me, do you roll with the same rotation?  Same basic set up?  This is one toon where I know I still have stuff to learn.