Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TNB Episode 123 Is Up

In which Fuu rambles drunkenly and I have cultivated a deep, warlockerly voice (by way of a cold). If you weren't there live, hit up this link and give it a download. Or iTunes, whatever corrupts your soul. Or something. We had a good time, and hopefully we weren't too unpleasant on your ears :-).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Name Calling

There are some things in life that I just don't "get." Now, I know it may be presumptuous of me to say only "some," but I completed a minor in psychology. What that taught me is that most of us are just people. I'm not saying I have all the answers or have it all nailed down, just that, at our very core, most of us are driving by very basic human needs. The need to be loved. The need to feel appreciated. The need to eat and use a toilet every now and then. Insert your own favorite basic need here.

Those needs are what drive most behaviors. For instance, if I see someone speeding on the highway, cutting other individuals off, I don't get totally irate and think they're obviously a bad person. Usually, I think that perhaps they just broke up with a significant other and are in a bad way. Or maybe they just got fired or skipped over for that raise. Or perhaps they just really need to use the toilet. Generally speaking, people aren't just in a hurry to be in a hurry. In their minds, they probably think they have a damn good reason to be in a hurry. I may not agree with that reason, but that's what we call an opinion, and one of both of us could be wrong on the great, mythical Scale of Global Wrongness.

The point is, I can generally come up with a reasonable argument for the "other side." I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I'll often play devils advocate. Some might say I relish the opportunity for debate. (Or, as my mother would say: he just likes argue.)

Name calling in WoW is something that I really don't get. I can't attribute a whole lot of logical reasoning to it. I mean, I guess if I really wanted to nail it down, I could go with the simple explanation that people are just passing the buck. That is, most name calling is probably done because at some time in the not-so-distant past, that person was also called a name. To me, name calling, in and of itself, says much more about the name caller than it does about the callee. After all, aren't you just blatantly admitting that someone calls you names sometimes and it bothers you?

Pewter has a great article up today about "basement-dwellers." It provides a sort of case study for what I'm trying to convey above. Namely, that people often have very logical reasons behind their choices and situations. We just can't always understand or empathize until we've been there.

I was in a BG the other day when some name-calling broke out (as often happens in BGs, especially on weekends). It wasn't so much that this name-calling was at all unique or even very relevant, but I was in an ornery mood. Basically, someone was degrading someone else based on the fact that, as a team, we losing. They were distancing themselves from the inherent pain of failure by displacement, blaming it on everyone else. It's a common enough trend.

So I piped up, "You know, the fighting in the middle strat and calling names isn't apparently working. What do you guys say we go after the flag?"

Such rationality could not go unpunished when the accuser replied something along the lines of, "WTF? I'm the only one worth a damn. Look at the charts, I'm top damage."

Mind you, this individual was quite a bit above me in damage, but I had several flag returns that he did not. So, I pointed out that, "In case you didn't notice, the object of this BG is not to top the damage charts, but to capture the flag."

Again, such logic must be dealt with swiftly, "STFU noobsauce, you're probably just some 14 year old boy anyway."

I'm not sure what about me screamed 14 year old boy as I was being both logical and loquacious, taking care not even to stray into the popular realm of "text" shortenings. I also do not know what is wrong with being a 14 year old boy, as I was once one myself. If anything, I figured I was displaying more the mentality of a cranky old man.

In my disbelief, I countered with, "And what if I am 14 years old? Does that make my point any less valid?"

His response, "It means a part of your anatomy hasn't dropped yet."

Apparently that would make me incapable of logic. "But what if I'm a girl?"

"You're not, you're just a 14 year old loser boy."

"Oh really? And how came you by this knowledge?"

"You're an idiot, I would know," was his reply.

I might have respected a well-placed "your mom" at the point, but the payoff was not there.

I promise you, dear readers, I was being just as well-spoken (well-typed?) as I'm relating. I did not pretty this up for posting (though I did on the name-caller's end with some a bit).

Like I said... I just don't get it. Or perhaps I get it, but just don't want to admit it. You pick.

(In addition: I think it's quite hilarious to debate with trolls sometimes.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Musings

I have several random things this fine Monday. The first thing I'd like to touch on revolves around continuing content here. It seems like we're going through another wave of folks closing up shop and moving on to other things. I think after you've been around the blogosphere long enough, you begin to learn to take these things in stride. Blogging, after all, is a bit transitory. Especially on the casual, non-paid end of the spectrum.

And yet, there's always a little bit of emptiness when someone you used to invite into your head and space chooses to move on. Some part of me always can't help but feel like I've been left standing at the bus stop in the rain. Such is the nature of loss.

Anyway, before I delve too deeply into that, I just wanted to write about my plans in particular for the coming months. Currently, I'm in a self-imposed holding pattern, waiting for 4.1 to drop. Long time readers will know that I shy away from PTR notes, preferring to save the bulk of my words for when the changes go live. In addition, I've hit a point with my toons where I only feel the urge to raid, which means I'm only logging on about once a week. Now, there are still other things I'm interested in doing - maxing archaeology, leveling my Worgen, finishing off my PvP gear set - but these are long term goals that I like to stretch out. In a big way, I avoid burnout by allowing myself to back off and let the goals come to me (like I mentioned about Short Naps last week).

Such is the mode I'm in now. The downside to that is perhaps that I rely a bit on in-game time for writing ideas. When you're not playing, it's hard to write about that game. And I'm not going to force it. Thus, like I did during the summer lull last year, I will probably go down to about three posts a week. You can expect more when patches drop, and maybe if things start to pick up in the other blogs that I read enough to spawn side ideas. I just wanted to be clear: I'm not going anywhere. This is not the "slow trickle of death" that we've seen around. There are still things that I want to do in game. There's just no reason to hurry, and I've got a lot of other projects coming along (one which I'm really excited to share with you guys, but not until it's ready. I did mention it in passing on TNB last Saturday, fwiw).

Which brings me to topic two: The Twisted Nether Blogcast. Fuu and I had a blast on Saturday with Fimlys and Hydra. I was a little sick and Fuu might have been a little drunk, but hopefully we weren't too droll. As long time listeners of TNB, it was great to finally be invited on. Thanks to everyone who showed up live. I'll throw a post up whenever I find out that they've gotten the recording up for download. Feel free to comment with any additional questions after you've listened to it.

And finally, to topic three: Larisa has closed up the inn. Like I said above, I can't help but feel a bit sad by the departure of a cornerstone, and the Pink Pigtail Inn has certainly been a cornerstone. Like everything else she's done, Larisa departs with the grace and style that we've come to expect from her. We'll miss the toasts, the tales, and the piggies, but such is the way of things. We here at KeS wish Larisa only the best wherever the winds may take her, and hope that some day our paths cross again.

(On a personal note, I feel like now is the time to admit that I did feel a splash of pride when Larisa first commented on my blog. I was like: "she reads me!" in typical blogger "we're-all-fans-of-each-other-but-we-forget-it-might-be-reciprocal" fashion. Lame, I know, but there it is.)

/sad piano interlude
/glances at cloudy sky
/puts up hood to ward off rain
/trudges away

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Heat is On

Into the bustling nightclub struts an officious looking man, dressed in the sand-colored uniform of the local police force. He sports a thin mustache on his upper lip and his dark eyes sweep the room with purpose from the entryway. Alighting on Harrison behind the bar, he smiles and begins to wade through the clientele, eyes fixated on its owner.

"Good evening, Harrison," he says with a hint of an elven accent.

Harrison nods a reply. "Captain Renault, so nice to see you. What'll it be? The usual?"

"That, and then some," the Captain replies cryptically.

Harrison turns his back on the policeman and begins mixing a drink. Pouring several liquids deftly together, he shakes the entire concoction vigorously before pouring it into a delicate glass. With a smooth and practiced hand, he spins and slides the glowing green beverage beneath the long nose of Renault.

The man takes a deep drought and closes his eyes. A contented sigh escapes his lips. With one hand, he reaches up and removes his starred cap, placing it on the bar before him. His dark hair beneath is slightly damp, evidence of the heat outside.

Harrison glides away to serve several other of the bars patrons, favoring them with a smile and a bit of witty conversation. Renault is content to sit alone at the end of the bar, drinking in peace and letting the cool notes of the piano wash over him. Several of the patrons regard him warily, obviously cognizant of his station, but their worry is unnecessary. There are bigger games afoot.

Eventually, the bartender returns to the Captain's end of the bar. Carl, the waiter, has turned up with another empty tray. As Harrison is refilling and replenishing, Renault decides it time to get down to business.

"Harrison, we need to speak of... official matters," he mutters, loud enough for only his intended recipient to hear.

Carl, being in the same vicinity, raises an eyebrow and quickly departs. In contrast, Harrison seems unhurried. He finishes a few last drinks, sliding them deftly down to his customers, before finally paying his attentions to the policeman.

"What is it Captain? Another scoundrel on the loose?" Harrison asks casually.

"This is in regards to some papers," Renault responds, fixing the barkeep with a stare. "Two Schnottz officers were murdered, their papers stolen."

Harrison shrugs, "And what has this to do with me?"

"Harrison, there are many papers sold in this cafe, but we know you've never sold one." The Captain holds his nearly empty glass before him. "That is the reason we permit you to remain open." With a smile, he slowly brings the glass to his lips for a slow sip.

"Oh," Harrison responds smoothly, "I thought it was because I never make you pay for your drinks."

The Captain pauses with the glass in his mouth, and then downs the remaining contents. "That is another reason."

Harrison takes the empty glass and swiftly refills it. "I stick my need out for nobody," he says firmly, returning the glass. He stares openly at the policeman with clear, blue eyes.

The Captain runs two fingers along his thin mustache, hiding his smile. He always did enjoy dealing with Harrison, who was so much more than he seemed. It was a challenge, and he respected the man.

"What in heaven's name brought you to Uldum?" he asks.

"My health," Harrison replies. "I came to Uldum for the waters."

The other man's eyebrow ticks upward. "The waters? What waters? We're in the desert."

Harrison smiles. "I was misinformed."

"The rogue is dead," Renault throws out.

Harrison doesn't miss a beat. "Captain, patrons of mine sometimes wind up dead. These are dangerous times, you know this. Why the interest? Does Schnottz really worry you that much all the way up here?"

Renault takes a drink and smiles warmly. "My dear Harrison, you overestimate the influence of Schnottz. I don't interfere with him and he doesn't interfere with us. In Uldum I am master of my fate! I am..."

A uniformed officer bustles up to the bar, eyes on the Captain. "Major Strasser is here, sir!"

It was Harrison's turn to grin. "You were saying?"

Renault puts down the drink and snatches up his hat. Shoving it back on his head, he straightens and brushes off his uniform. "Excuse me," he says, and then marches away.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Twist It Up

Good news, everybody! I've fixed the... no, wait. That's not it. I'm all twisted.

Must be this:

Tune in this Saturday at 8 PM PST (11PM my time) as Fuu and I make a guest appearance on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. There's a live chat and everything! Plus, voice acting. I'll play the part of Fuu and she'll play the... wait, that's not right. Ah well, we'll get it figured out.

Bring your green hat!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

QotD: Weekly Caps, Perfect?

There's a planned change in 4.1 that I feel is safe enough to talk about. It is the change to the daily dungeon rewards. Basically, instead of having a daily cap of one, they're changing to a weekly cap of seven. For a casual guild like mine, this is all the difference in the world. We don't always get five people online, but when we do, we like to run. And, being a fine tuned raiding machine (or at least attempting to be), we're getting to the point where we can actually knock these out quickly.

Obviously, our mileage varies based on the random draw, but assuming we get a few of the quicker ones, this change is most welcome. A big part of the casual raiding scene is maximizing the time you can spend. What we lack in time, we make up for in preparation and planning. If your casual, two hour a week guild is going to be successful in raids, that means you're going to have to do a lot of gearing on your own. We're not farming things. That's one of the raid steps that we cut out in order to be more efficient.

Thus, this change is great for us. Life tends to ebb and flow and so we can't always squeeze in a daily dip in the VP pool. With the simple change in mechanics from a daily cap to a weekly cap, we can now organize a second, "optional" day where the main goal is to spend a couple hours running 5-mans. Maybe we'll get in the occasional BH, but the point is to collect VP (and have a chance at epic drops in the new five mans). We're all pretty much JP'ed out, but the trickle of VP has been abysmally slow. We're only just learning the first few bosses, we don't farm, and we can't consistently do dailies. We'll probably still not hit the weekly limit, but our VP intake should see a definite uptick.

As things stand, I can't see a downside to this change. Is there one? How do you guys feel about it? Is it just me, or would you like to see more of this type of capping (as opposed to daily capping)?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Short Naps Do Wonders

We took a break from RL this weekend and binged on Civ V. To be honest, I don't know how else to play the game beside in epic marathon installments. It's just not a game we can sit down and play for an hour at a time. An hour inevitably becomes four and then... whoops... the sun is coming up. Fuu and I approach these sorts of gaming sessions as breaks from the real world. Every so often, I think it's healthy to just put your responsibilities on hold, turn off the phone, and lose yourself in some good, old fashioned global conquest.

Unless you have kids. In that case, don't buy Civ V. It'll cause mass starvation that no amount of water tiles can cure. Or researching fertilizer.

Civilization is an odd game for me. Generally, we get it for the "LAN party" capability. It's sort of like having board gaming night and playing Risk, except digital. Sometimes my brothers will be over and we'll involve them. Almost always, we drink.

Civ V gave me quite a scare upon first purchase because they "encourage" you to buy two copies in order to play LAN style. This is, quite frankly, bollocks. I own all of the computers in my house and feel like I should be able to install the game on each of them and it should be playable. That's the whole reason we buy the game. It's not like WoW or any other online game where we're using their servers. We're perfectly content to do it ourselves.

Let me say, I can totally understand requiring two copies for online play. I don't really take issue with that. Especially if the online play is free. That's sort of how you'll make your money. But to include and advertise a LAN option and then not let you play with your wife and brothers? Ludicrous. (Fortunately, there is a semi-hack way around it, which salvaged the game for us. Unfortunately, they won't let us play the Azeroth map without even more hacking, which I'm disinclined to do. And yes, there is an Azeroth map.)

There's not really a point to this post other than that it's Monday, and we spent the weekend taking a break from WoW. We didn't log in. Didn't do dailies. Didn't "keep up." We take these "short naps" from time to time, and I've found that they go a long way to staving off any sort of burn out. (YMMV, of course.) It's not a bad thing to power nap. It's better than just complaining, IMO. Take a break, gain a fresh perspective.

I think a lot of folks have been doing this recently with the whole Rift thing. Maybe it'll turn into more than a break, but I don't feel threatened by that. After all, the point was made that even if Rift pulls a couple million players away (which would be a huge success), we'll still have a good chunk (to the tune of 9 million?) left. It just reinforces my belief that WoW can and will only be dismantled by WoW. That is, Blizzard will say when it's over by stopping to produce content.

For me, it's always been about the people. Where my friends are. As long as they're in WoW, I'll be there. It'll be tough to get us all to move away too. We have a good thing going. Not saying it can't happen, but it's just unlikely. That's the challenge any WoW-killer really faces... how to entice whole groups away. Maybe "free trials" for guilds. Maybe interfacing with WoW in such a way that you can still "stay in touch" (meaning it would have to be a Blizzard endeavor probably... their secret project?) . I don't know. It's a huge task. Until then, short naps do wonders for your energy. Don't be afraid to take them.

Just some random Monday thoughts from someone hellbent on world domination.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Welcome To Harrison's

The mixed clientele mingles in the swanky nightclub. The gaudy neon sign out front proclaims it simply as Harrison's Cafe Alliacain. A deluge of voices all but drowns out the placid notes plucked from the piano set high near the bar. Partons giggle and guzzle, ignoring for a moment the plight of the world outside.

"Come, sit down. Have a brandy with us," one of the patrons calls out to Carl, the passing waiter.

The man is portly with round glasses and a very fake looking mustache. He is, quite obviously, Undead, though it appears he tried to cover some of the worst patches of decay in an attempt to blend in. Two empty glasses sit on the table between him and his wife. She wears a large, floral hat, looking as if she's stepped straight out of an oasis in the surrounding desert. Though her eyeballs are clouded by a milky film, she appears to be a bit better off than her husband. Female Undead did tend to have an easier time of it.

"To celebrate our leaving for Stormwind tomorrow," the woman adds.

"Oh, thank you very much," Carl replies. "I thought you would ask me, so I brought the good brandy. And - a third glass!"

Setting the glass on the table, Carl joins the two patrons and pours them each a small amount of the amber liquid. They each take a sip and sigh contentedly. Around them, the general din of the nightclub continues to swirl, kept in tune by the talented pianist.

"At last, the day is came," the woman notes.

"My wife and I are speaking nothing but Common now," the man indicates to Carl.

His wife nods. "So we should feel at home when we get to Stormwind."

Carl raises his glass amicably and takes another sip. "Very nice idea, mm-hmm."

"To Stormwind!" The portly man raises his glass in toast.

"To Stormwind!" His wife joins in.

"To Stormwind," Carl adds.

"Zug nuk - sweetnessheart, what watch?" the man asks his wife.

She replies, "Ten watch."

The man asks further, "Such watch?"

Carl, with a bemused look on his face stands up to take his leave, "Hm. You will get along beautifully in Stormwind, mm-hmm."

Passing the departing waiter and generally staying beneath the din, a sneaky Rogue approaches the bar. There Harrison Jones himself is tending, chatting up the seated patrons and moving smoothly from one conversation to the next. Upon noticing the Rogue, he frowns distastefully and meanders to the end of the bar where a bit of privacy is afforded.

"Good evening," the Rogue whispers conspiratorially.

He gets only a polite nod in return.

The rogue then continues, "You know, Harrison, I have many a friend in Ramkahen, but somehow, just because you despise me, you are the only one I trust."

He then reaches into his pocket and removes what appears to be a set of documents. Glancing around, he slides them across the bar to Harrison, who quickly makes them disappear. A bit of money then exchanges hands.

"Are those what I think they are?" Harrison asks.

The Rogue nods. "I just need you to hang on to them in case something happens to me. My buyer should be here soon."

Harrison frowns, "I'm only doing this because you're paying well. I'm strictly neutral, remember? If anyone comes looking for me, well, let's just say I'm not risking my skin for the likes of you."

"Of course, of course," the Rogue nods.

Business complete, the nefarious character slides back into the din, once more donning it as a cloak. Harrison stares after him for a moment before shaking his head and returning to his patrons. Pouring a drink, he slides it down the bar to a thirsty Orc. After all, he is strictly neutral.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dungeon Quick Strats Part 2

Part two of Dungeon Quick Strats today, courtesy of Finwe. (For Part 1 see this post.) Here they are in no particular order (he did the strats, I did the formatting):

Halls of Origination
  • Temple Guardian Anhuur: Run out of blue circles, healer dispel Divine Reckoning. Boss goes immune at 66% and 33%. Drop down on the right side of the platform and one dps will hit the lever. Move around to the left side, hit the lever, go back up and interrupt boss.
  • Earthrager Ptah: Camel boss. Watch out for the cleave. Move out of ground spikes. Move away from quicksand and tornadoes. At 50%, adds will spawn. Tank and dps them, then back on the boss.
  • Anraphet: Run out of the Alpha Beam void zones. Dispel Nemesis Strike on tank. Group up for aoe healing during Omega Stance. Periodically move boss to a new section of the room for easier movement.
  • Isiset (W): Run away from beam. Turn to face away from boss during Supernova. Dispel Veil of Sky shield. Boss will split into three at 66% and 33%. First, dps down Astral Rain (starfall). 2nd time, dps down Celestial Call (summon adds).
  • Ammunae (S): Ranged kill seedling pods. Kill Bloodpetal Blossom if it spawns. Kill spores; don't stand in spore clouds (can be used to damage mobs, though). DPS boss.
  • Setesh (E): Run out of purple bubbles on floor. DPS void portals when they spawn. Tank adds. Kill or be ready to interrupt Void Seekers anti-magic prison (reduces healing by 100%). DPS ignore Sentinels.
  • Rajh (N): Interrupt the Summon Sun Orb. Avoid fiery tornadoes; don't stand in fire. Run away from (or interrupt) Inferno Leap (flame pool on ground). Stack up for aoe healing during Blessing of the Sun (channeled).
Grim Batol
  • General Umbriss: Run away from his charge. Heal tank above 90% for Bleeding Wound. Tank and melee run away from Ground Siege. Kite/burn trogg adds. Enrage at 30%.
  • Dragon Ride: Spam 1 (attack) and target the mobs along the left side of the path. Do as much damage as possible to make the rest of the instance easier. Same mobs on the right side for the return trip.
  • Forgemaster Throngus: Boss does weapon swaps. Swords, use tanking cooldowns. Mace, kite the boss. Shield, dps from behind. Stay out of the cave-in.
  • Drahga Shadowburner: 2-phases. Drahga (phase 1,3) - DPS burn Invoked Flaming Spirit, run if he get's too close to you. Valiona (phase 2) - frontal cone attack and void zones.
  • Erudax: On Shadow Gale, run into the eye of the storm and stay there. On tank knockback, let him come to you. DPS burn down adds. If someone is rooted, stay back 8 yards from them.
  • Glubtok: Phase 1: Tank and spank, occasional aggro reset. Phase 2: At 50%, stand in front or behind boss to avoid Arcane Power. Stay away from rotating fire wall and fire/frost bombs on the floor. AOE adds. Arcane Power again near death.
  • Helix Gearbreaker: Avoid bombs. If you get Chest Bomb, move away from the group. (Stand under the net to avoid fall damage.) Don't stand near the woodpile.
  • Foe Reaper 5000: 1 DPS controls the Reaper. Use 1-1-2 rotation to keep the adds stunned at the bottom of the ramp. Tank boss partway up the ramp. Run away during Harvest (charge). Stay out of the whirlwind. Enrage at 40%.
  • Admiral Ripsnarl: Charges random players and has a swipe attack. Boss disappears at 75%, 50%, 25% and spawns Vapors. If not killed, Vapors grow. Large Vapors cast a massive AOE. Near death, ignore vapors and burn the boss.
  • "Captain" Cookie: Stack up near the boss. Tank eats all the food. If you're standing on some food, take a step to the side.
  • Vanessa VanCleef: Glubtok: Avoid fire/ice, kill boss. Helix: Ignore spiders, dps boss. Reaper: Avoid sparks. Ripsnarl: Kill worgen, heal humans. VanCleef: Kill adds before boss. At 50%, 25%, 1%, click on ropes to avoid explosives.
Shadowfang Keep
  • Baron Ashbury: Interrupt Pain and Suffering. Watch out for Wracking Pain debuff - increases shadow damage. Interrupt Stay of Execution (heal) after about 1 tick (and heal party above ~20k hp). He chains AoE below 20% - burn him down.
  • Baron Silverlaine: When adds pop, focus DPS on them. Dispel the Cursed Veil debuff.
  • Commander Springvale: Always kill adds first, and interrupt their Unholy Empowerment heal, if possible. The ghost has a short range aoe silence, so stay back. Move out of Desecration. Make sure boss faces away from the group.
  • Lord Walden: Spread out, and run away from potions he throws at you. Move out of Ice Shards. For Mystery Toxin, green = go (keep moving), red = stop (don't move).
  • Lord Godfrey: Pull boss down into the room and face him away from the group. During Pistol Barrage, all move behind boss and aoe ghouls. Decurse Cursed Bullets, if possible.
And that should cover the rest. See any errors? Let us know if you get some good use out of these. If they continue to be helpful, I may put them on a page at the left to make finding them easier. Also, if you have suggestions for alternates, feel free to submit them in comments. I'll include any of those when/if I get around to putting it on a page. Just make sure they're "paste-able."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dungeon Quick Strats Part 1

A friend of mine, Finwe, has been keeping a collection of copy-and-paste-able strats. He'd been using these in his random dungeon groups pretty successfully when someone asked what the "addon" was. Sadly, only a clever collector, but he wanted to guest post the one-liners in case others may get some use of them. I'm splitting them into two parts, one today and one tomorrow, so here they are in no particular order (he did the strats, I did the formatting):

Blackrock Caverns
  • Rom'ogg Bonecrusher: When he casts Quake, move out of the dust clouds and tank picks up the adds. Kill the adds. At 66% and 33%, he casts Chains of Woe. Burn down the chains, then everyone run out 20 yds before he casts Skullcracker.
  • Corla: 3 people stand in purple beams. At 80 stacks, step out, wait for debuff to expire, then step back in and repeat. Boss casts Dark Command (fear), which must be interrupted.
  • Karsh Steelbender: Tank pulls boss through the fire ~every 10 sec to keep flame debuff on boss. Fire causes AOE to group. If boss debuff gets above 15, let the stacks drop, causing adds, which must be kited by DPS. Adds leave flame puddles on death.
  • Beauty: CC or kill the pups, then focus on boss. Stay behind them to avoid fire breath. Beauty has a random charge (doesn't drop aggro). Also be ready for aoe knockback and aoe fear.
  • Ascendant Lord Obsidius: One DPS needs to kite the 3 adds around the room. (They cause a -healing debuff.) Other DPS should focus on the boss. At 66% and 33%, boss trades places with an add. Aggro is maintained, so just regroup and continue kiting.
Throne of Tides
  • Lady Naz'jar: Don't stand in bad stuff (green and blue circles). Interrupt Shock Blast. Waterspout at 66% and 33%: Avoid cyclones. Kill caster adds first (CC one, if possible). Interrupt Chain Lightning. After adds die, move back to the boss.
  • Commander Ulthok: Move boss slowly around the room. Don't stand in void zones. Dispel enrage, if possible. Decurse Fatigue, if possible. Tank can avoid Dark Fissure if you move out fast enough. Heal through Squeeze.
  • Erunak Stonespeaker & Mindbender Ghur'sha: Phase 1 (Erunak): Move out of Earth Shards. Dispel Emberstrike debuff. Interrupt Lava Bolt. Phase 2 (Mindbender): Burn MC player to 50% (no DOTs!) Don't use magic DPS during Absorb Magic (heals boss). Move out of green fog.
  • Ozumat: Phase 1: AOE murlocs. DPS and interrupt faceless ones. Tank kites behemoths. Phase 2: DPS sappers. Tank kites blight beasts. Don't stand in black stuff. Phase 3: Kill remaining adds during transition, then burn Ozumat (NE side of room).
  • Corborus: Healer dispel Dampening Wave on tank. Move out of Crystal Barrage and ranged aoe the adds that spawn from it. When he goes underground, run away from the dust clouds and aoe the adds.
  • Slabhide: Don't stand in front of him. He does NOT have a tail swipe. Don't stand in bad stuff. During Crystal Storm, use the rock slabs to break line-of-sight.
  • Ozruk: Tank strafe to the side for Ground Slam. Everyone attack during Shield Spike and Bulwark to DOT yourself and prevent Paralyze (do not dispel this). Run away when he casts Paralyze to avoid Shatter (8 yd range). Enrage at 25%.
  • High Priestess Azil: Interrupt Force Grip. Dispel Curse of Blood. Avoid Gravity Wells and rock shards (dust on the ground). Pull the adds through the gravity wells to damage them and aoe to finish them off.
Vortex Pinnacle
  • Grand Vizier Ertan: Stack up close to the boss. Run out when he pulls the whirlwinds in. Healer face the tempest when he spawns.
  • Altairus: Spread out and avoid the tornadoes. Try to stand with the wind at your back, if possible. Tank faces the boss downwind to help.
  • Asaad: Spread out to minimize Chain Lightning. Jump when he casts Static Cling (if you get rooted, it must be dispelled). Everyone move inside the lightning triangle (Unstable Grounding Field).
Lost City of Tol'Vir
  • General Husam: Don't stand in the yellow circles. Don't stand on an activated mine (middle glows yellow). Don't stand in the shockwave (big X on the ground). Move boss away from mines.
  • High Prophet Barim: Phase 1 - Ranged kite/kill the phoenix. Ignore the egg. Don't stand in the fire. Don't stand in the beam. Tanking cooldowns during Fifty Lashes. Phase 2 - Kill the dark phoenix. Slow and kill the Soul Fragments.
  • Lockmaw & Augh: Lockmaw - Stay away from tail. Spread out. Ranged attack Augh until he leaves. Nuke croc adds. Enrage at 30%. Augh - Kite during whirlwind. Use tanking cooldowns during Frenzy.
  • Siamat: Phase 1 - Ignore boss. Tank big adds (Servants). Burn little adds (Minions). Use interrupts. Stay away from winds. Transition after 3 servants die. Phase 2 - Don't be near the edge of the platform. Ignore adds and kill boss.
That's it for today. See any errors? Let us know if you get some good use out of these. If they continue to be helpful, I may put them on a page at the left to make finding them easier.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reforging and Stats With Mr. Robot

You may or may not have been following the comments on my previous reforging post, but basically you'd see that I'd been having a bit of back and forth with Mr. Robot himself. I actually am rather impressed with how he/she/it has integrated within the community. Rarely do we see such a level of feedback from a resource site. At least, I don't, and it's nice to see a site that not only apparently trolls the Warlock blogs, but also takes our comments to heart and works to make the tool better for us. Kudos for that.

I think Cynwise would agree here, as I've been roughly following the same conversations on his blogs and some of the tweets floating around. The exciting news is that Cyn basically made a comment along the lines of how it would be nice if we could get the same service for PvP gearing, and Mr. Robot said "we'll get right on it." Awesome stuff, and I look forward to seeing that functionality.

The other good news is that when I'd originally written my spotlight on the resource here at the blog, we got several comments where players basically advised to "take it with a grain of salt." Mr. Robot apparently does not approve of salt usage, for they immediately got to work in tweaking their Simulator values to get as accurate of a weighting as possible. There is a great write up that runs through what they did here. For a math-heavy article, it's very accessible and worth a look if you're curious. It is interesting to note that they're using Drain Life as a filler in their Sim. We discussed this a little in comments, and the basic point is that between DL and SB, the DPS is going to be nearly the same. The question then should be do you use use the Shadow and Flame buff that SB's provide, or would you be better off with the healing from DL? I predominantly use SB's (we use my S&F in my ten man), but will use DL if my health ever becomes an issue or I sense that the healers are struggling.

For my part, this sort of attention to detail has gone a long way toward assuaging any fears I may have had with trusting the weightings. Now, I was probably more trusting to begin with, since I tend to the more casual side of things and, after taking the plunge and following the advice, seeing my DPS shoot up almost 2k. There is no substitute for a great personal experience.

Currently, I've utilized the suggestions of Mr. Robot to optimize my raid gear on my 'lock. I recently attained the tier pants through a BH raid (was the only 'lock in a 25-man, huzzah!), and was extremely happy with how I was able to rework things to make use of the upgrade. Before the addition of reforging, the pants might not have been an upgrade (since I was hit capped already and they come with a healthy chunk of the stuff). Now, hit gear is great even when capped, allowing you to optimize other places with more freedom.

There are a few minor things where I'm running sub-optimally. You see, prior to finding Mr. Robot, I had been following the old, pre-Cata method of gemming and enchanting for hit. I suppose you could say that I simply found the concept of reforging everything a little daunting. I'm not a spreadsheet jockey when I game. I didn't want to be spending a bunch of time on calculations. Having been alleviated of that responsibility, I'm now trying to get rid of all those hit gems I had. For the most part, I've just redone everything and been fine, but there are a few pieces that I know I'm going to replace that I hesitate to redo just because it can be so darned expensive. My old crafted epic pants were one such item, so replacing them was doubly good as it forced me to re-gem appropriately. So, while I'm not a perfectly optimal player, I've certainly gotten a lot closer thanks to the site.

I've even started using it to help me shore up my DK for PvP. Now, I know they're still working out a true PvP stat Sim/weighting, but I've figured out a few things you can do in the mean time. Unfortunately, you can't really add resilience and it's a hard stat to weight anyway. Also, stat capping is a lot different when you're only dealing with other players that are at your level. All of the default caps they have built in assume raiding. So what I do is drop the weight of those stats to the same level as my top stat. Thus, I can still optimize and it won't have me reforge to hit a cap I don't need. That is to say, on my DK, I keep all my Mastery, Hit, and Expertise pretty much as-is. Then I look to see what haste I can dump into one of those stats as needed. Crit is decent, but not as good as Mastery right now, so I may reforge some of that too. At the same time, I like to keep a healthy chunk of crit, since I find it pretty useful in PvP for killing blows. Crit makes it hard for healers to anticipate.

Needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting the proper PvP solution, though as Cyn has noted, PvP weighting is not nearly as simple as PvE. With the attention that Mr. Robot has given to detail, though, I have high hopes. Any solution promises to be useful, even if it does require me to dust off the old salt shaker. There really aren't many PvP number-crunchers out there that I'm aware of.

(Side Note: There are ways for you, the reader, to be able to help Mr. Robot with their projects. They have a great forum where feedback is strongly encouraged. Think something is off? Give 'em a post. Like I mentioned, they're great with feedback and could especially use some help on the PvP front if you're a number-cruncher in that area.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Warm Out Today

The wood of the chair creaked loudly behind Fulguralis. Ignoring it, he reached back over his right shoulder with his fishing pole, and then flung it forward. The line buzzed at it went out, splashing into the water several spans from where he stood. He watched the bobber intently for any signs of a bite. The chair behind him creaked again.

He turned back to regard his wife. She had insisted on joining him on this fishing trip, after having spent almost a week running around with the girls, doing whatever it was that girls did when they weren't slaying dragons. Knowing her, they probably had about twenty more pets hidden away somewhere in the house.

Something tugged on the line. Fulguralis pulled hard to set the hook, then began fighting his catch back toward the shore. By the time it was about halfway in, he knew it was no fish. It didn't fight like one. Sure enough, when he pulled the hook out of the water, the only thing wriggling at the end of the line was a circle of rubber.

"Felling Gnomes been testin' them newfangled flyin' machines over mah pond again", the Warlock accused.

Fuubaar simply grunted in response and continued knitting.

Where did I get that weird accent? Fulguralis shook it off and cast again. There was just something about fishing that was relaxing. He wasn't sure whether it was his kind of relaxing or not, though. He still didn't see what was wrong with torching a few critters, but the therapist had suggested fishing. The chair behind him creaked again.

The Warlock's grip on his pole tightened. What the fel is she even making? He tried to puzzle out why his wife was even here. She never knit before. Didn't she have better things to do? Like polish her armor and deal with her parents. And what were they up to? He'd tried to get the Captain to go fishing with him. Seemed like the thing to do, but his wife wasn't having any of it. They were gardening in the backyard of the manor. Gardening! Like the dead, twisted shrubbery back there wasn't good enough. Not for the first time, Fulguralis wondered how long they'd be staying.

"Ma said dinner'll be ready 'round sundown," Fuubaar noted.

Fulguralis grunted in response, and cast again. Nothing on the line that time. Probably would have helped had he stocked the pond.

The chair creaked again.

Fulguralis was about to throw his pole and Hellfire something, but fortunately a Dwarven woman huffed up behind them. She came from the direction of the manor and her face was flushed. Her previously white robes were a bit travel-stained and she quite out of breath. She bent over, gulping air, and held up one finger. Warlock and Paladin simply stared.

"Jessabelle, what are you doing out here?" Fuubaar broke the silence.

"I... looking for... you," she managed.

"You know, you could have borrowed a mount," Fulguralis pointed out.

Her face got redder, "You! You just zip it, Warlock! You're lucky I like you're wife otherwise I'd bubble you to death right here and now!"

Fulguralis grinned, "Isn't that sort of against Priestly code or something?"

"I'll make an exception." Jessabelle stood up straight and faced Fuubaar. "I hadn't heard from you in a while and just wanted to-"

"I'm fine," Fuubaar interrupted.

Silence settled back over the three adventurers. Jessabelle looked from the half finished knitting project to the shouldered fishing pole. She raised two delicate, Dwarven eyebrows. The chair creaked.

Jessabelle shrugged. "Well, we were going to get the team back together, but if you're fine here..."

Fuubaar jumped up, tossing her knitted articles aside. Then, her face reddened and she attempted to play it off. "I, uh, I don't know. I mean, if you need us..."

"Of course they need us," Fulguralis spat, already putting his pole away. "When do we start?"

"You didn't ask me," Fuubaar said through clenched teeth. Then she added as if her husband had not just said it, "When do we start?"

"Tonight," the Dwarf grinned. "I have to warn you though, there'll be a lot more travel this time. Deathwing's really done a number on things and it's sort of muddled our points of attack."

"Great, we'll see you tonight," Fuubaar promised.

The Dwarf smiled, turned on her heels, and pulled a shroud out of one of her bags. She flung it out and it began to glitter. It seemed as if a replica of Stormwind had been stitched into it beneath the crest of their adventurer's guild. With a girlish giggle, she stepped through the cloak and disappeared in a flash. Fulguralis stared at where the cheery little Dwarf had been.

"Guild perk," Fuubaar explained.

The chair creaked.

Fulguralis spun and flung a ball of fire at the rocking chair. It exploded into a million flaming shards, scattering embers on the two of them. Fuubaar stamped one out on the ground and then brushed at a few of the burn marks on her clothing. Her little knitting project burned nearby, but the Paladin just looked at it and shrugged. Then, she turned back to her husband and raised a questioning brow.

He smiled, "Warlock perk."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Non-WoW Nerdout

So I may or may not have mentioned it's been rather hectic around here. Work, a side project, and family issues have conspired to try and corrupt me. Or something equally warlocky. (Side note: I wanted to mention that I was talking about Warlocks way before Mr. Sheen, though I guess it's good to see us finally getting some credo or something). In any case, I suppose I have been fortunate that there's a bit of a lull going on in the game right now. Surely you've noticed the general malaise around? Nothing we haven't weathered before, though it is probably extra evident this time with the Rift crowd picking up some steam.

A small byline of my busy-ness is that Fuu's computer died last week. Oh noes! Fortunately, we set up the laptop to perform as a stopgap until we could get our grubby little hands on the parts we needed. This is where the nerdout comes in.

I thought perhaps the computer tinkering crowd out there might like to hear of our upgrade adventures. As any good tinkerer knows, when something dies, that's just another way of saying: time for an upgrade. In this case, we had been running an Intel dual core CPU on a suitable Foxconn mobo for about the last four years. Dual cores were all the rage back then, and we've been quite happy with our set up. 4GB of DDR2 RAM. An nVidia 9k series card (a 9800 GT from Asus). Nothing mind blowing now, but respectable and still quite capable of rendering Azeroth on "ultra" settings, even today.

Well the mobo died. And the CPU. One probably caused the other, but we have no way of knowing how or why (at least easily). The power supply was more than adequate and I have fans out the wazoo (with a temp sensor on the proc, of course). Like I said earlier, failure is just another way of saying upgrade.

Originally, I was noodling going after a new(ish) nVidia card. Perhaps in the realm of the G4 series (I believe this years model is the G5, right? So I'm talking like a year old GPU, but they're pretty cost effective that way, I've found). Since the mobo took a dump on me, I figured I'd fix what was broken instead. We'd looked at getting a new mobo and trying to salvage our 775 socket Intel dual core, but a quick test showed that it was dead, plus we weren't real excited about the manufacturers on Newegg that we still making the mobo we'd need.

So, after looking around, we actually jumped ship to an AMD phenom II six-core processor and an ASRock mobo. Seemed to be a good deal for a good price after only a moderate amount of shopping around. Also, with WoW being a notoriously more CPU intensive game, we'll probably get good returns on a proc upgrade. The whole kit-n-kaboodle cost us about $250, and allowed us to keep using our current RAM sticks. (Important to note that I'm affiliated with none of the above linked anythings. This is simply me relating what I did. YMMV).

When our parts came in, we were rather concerned about replacing the mobo/proc and how it would behave with our previous Windows 7 install. After all, we weren't replacing anything else. Past experience with OS'es such as XP have proven a small bit tricky.

So we had a friend who is a veteran of such tricks help us out. Turned out to be unnecessary. He slapped the mobo and proc in and everything booted just fine. Took about five minutes for Windows to go out and nab some default drivers, and then we were off. Of course, we updated the drivers with the better ones on the disk, but the concern was that the thing wouldn't even boot, not recognizing the drastically different set of HW. All in all, we were all suitably impressed with Windows 7 and how it handled the repair process. We didn't lose anything and now we have a more powerful machine. I can still upgrade my Vid card whenever (maybe for Fuu's birthday, she doesn't like jewelry anyway). It was a relatively painless batch of troubleshooting, which is a nice change from the norm. No keyboards were destroyed by foreheads.

The real test will be when we raid tonight. She'd better be super tank! Or something.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

At What Point Do You Give Up?

Here's a question for you PvPers. At what point, in your opinion, is it "okay" to say: F-it, there is no way we're going to win this BG, might as well fight in the middle? Is it ever okay to park your toon at a flag and turn your attention to the television program that had been running in the background, essentially "waiting it out" until the pain ends? When do you throw in the towel?

Obviously, this is going to vary from BG to BG, but an easy one to look at is probably WSG. For me, there is a point where we get down by two flags and the opposition is quite clearly toying with us, that I alter my strategy. Where before I had been trying to actually play the BG, now I retreat to the area of highest Allied concentration in order to score a few HK's. If that doesn't work, if we're still getting our butts kicked, I'll play a little game of keep-away.

You see, normally when you're getting thoroughly trounced (and we've all been there), four rogues, a DK, and a really badass healer will camp your graveyard. Maybe they'll throw in a Mage for flavor, just constantly AoE'ing your spawn point. Good times.

In that case, I'll figure out a way to rez away from the GY, perhaps by a body run, and then play hide and seek. At that point, the game becomes denying these farming bastards of as many HK's as possible. I find that I derive intrinsic amounts out of such a cat and mouse game.

I guess I should point out that I rarely, if ever, desert. It's not that the buff bothers me, it's just that I feel it's the cowards way out or something. I mean, I know sometimes it's not even worth the measly honor you gain by sticking it out through a loss. It's the principle of the thing.

Generally, the breaking point for me is when you've been beaten down to a point that it is extremely unlikely you'll stage a comeback. And, in any case, the rest of the group has already degenerated to such strategy "fighting in the middle" and "blaming others" and "de-identifying with their faction while advocating re-rolls." I guess I find I'm generally one of the last ones to throw in the towel. Usually this means I've tried to get to the objective on my own, and utterly failed. Probably because the opposing team just happens to be really good, or at the very least, operating cohesively. Or in the case of most of my Alliance trouncings: they had several healers and we have none.

What is your breaking point? What do you do to pass the time and get to that next BG? Is it ever acceptable to desert?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Elder Statesman

Larisa wrote a rather emotional article on Friday that just happened to coincide with something I'd been noodling around for a while. She's previously written a couple bits about her age, but if you missed it, suffice it to say she feels she would fall on the upper end of the WoW-age curve (were it mapped out somewhere). However, I would not term her an outlier. That is to say, I do not think her being a bit... wizened and playing a video game is all that odd. Perhaps my own experience is biased, but I suspect there is a significant portion of the playerbase that is comprised of folks over 40 years of age.

Now, that's an arbitrary number, but that's when we tend to say someone is "over the hill," so I believe it makes sense to draw the line there. What line? Well, on our ten man raid team we have two gentlemen who I believe to be post 40. It's not really something we've ever asked or discussed, but we've known them long enough to know that they've been around the block a few times (so to speak). We lovingly refer to them as the "Elder Statesmen" of the guild. Thus, for the purposes of this post, I shall refer to people over 40 as Elder Statesman/woman.

To give the large picture of our raid age break down, most of us are in our mid to late twenties. We have a few that have slid over into their 30's, but they won't admit it yet. Our Elder Statesmen most certainly trump most of us in terms of life experience. Life experience that they're will to share ad nauseum.

In reading Larisa's post, I felt a bit of anger rising within my youthful chest. (We youngins do tend to be more driven by emotions, do we not?). Reflecting on losing our Elder Statesmen in such a manner woke the retired, cranky raid leader in me. It is important to note that Larisa chose, on her own, to leave the guild after her performance was called into question. Since she is both humble and realistic, she realized that, despite her best efforts (and she would never give anything but her best), she just couldn't keep up with some of the other raiders. I dropped the term "age discrimination" yesterday, but I do not mean to say that her guild discriminated against her, but rather she may have discriminated against herself. Or, more accurately, I think a lot of times our Elder Statespersons of the world fail to give themselves the credit they deserve. You could even go so far as to say that performance based judgment in WoW is inherently biased against older gamers.

You see, I feel it's important to note that I would take either of our Statesmen any day over younger, faster fingers. Like Ben Franklin in his guidance of Thomas Jefferson, our elders provide a calming influence and a point of focus for the scattered musings of us younglings. Being prone to passion, we benefit a great deal from the firm grounding provided by the more experienced personas around us.

I feel that at this juncture it is important to note that our Elder Statesmen are hardly basement dwelling slouches. They both have very colorful lives outside of the game. One is a prolific trombone player, while the other is accustomed to spending time on a race track. Point is, they're both sharp guys, with a variety of experience under their collective belts that have nothing to do with gaming. They know their way around computers as well. Much like we could say about Larisa if you've read anything from her. Being old most certainly does not equal slow or simple of mind.

Why, then, do the old folks get discriminated against? Why does the stereotype exist? Especially when there seems to be some truth behind it, were one to look only at numbers.

After all, our Statesmen would readily admit, as did Larisa, to not being as quick on the uptake as the rest of us young guns. They pay more attention to things like gear and stats, preparing harder pre-raid, in an effort to make up for some of their self-perceived slower learning curve. Yet, I do not believe that they lack the mental acuity or vitality necessary to preform well in Azeroth. It's certainly not that they don't put in the same energy, either. What is it then?

In my opinion, what we see in the case of Elder Statesmen is just the basic psychology of learning. Studies have shown that it tends to be easier for people to learn new things while they are young. This is especially true in the case of languages. A child raised in a bilingual household will pick up nuances of both languages that can serve them well in a quest to fluency. An adult attempting to pick up a new language later in life will almost certainly struggle a bit more. Not that that they cannot master a second (or third, etc) language as well, just that it is more challenging. The learning curve is forced a bit steeper.

I would argue that familiarity with computer gaming is in the same vein. If there is a marked difference between folks over 40, and folks under 40, we could look no further that the advent of the computer. In the early 90's, home computers were just starting to catch on and ramp up. That is the time that the majority of my mid-twenty year old brethren could call our "formative" years. People who are now 40 would have been in early adulthood.

So my theory, very simply put is that we grew up with it and they did not. Computers and gaming hit us in stride.

While many of them were contemplating things like mortgages and kids for the first time, we were trying to figure out how to properly jump get that blasted last piece of heart. Or the proper combination of buttons for a Shōryūken. Fact is, we've been playing games our whole life, having been inundated with electronics. Where they can still probably tell me stories about their first scientific calculator in high school, I was playing pong on my calculator in middle school (and getting kicked out of class for it). Is it any wonder that pressing buttons correctly comes more natural to the younger crowd? It's like a second language to us.

Still, raiding is not all about pressing buttons, a concept which seems to elude some people, especially on the hardcore end of things. In football, you can have an extremely athletic bunch of kids, an all-star team if you will, and you can still struggle. In basketball, you can assemble a group of extremely talented players in, say, Miami, yet still lose to the old guys in the Boston. Why? You hear about it all the time in the sports media: intangibles . Teams, to be successful, need to work well together on many levels, and in WoW there is more to that than simple button presses.

In baseball, teams will often keep an aging pitcher in their lineup, even though he's not nearly as effective as he might once have been. They do this to nurture the younger pitchers. The new guys can learn things from the experiences of the old guys. How they approach the game. How they prepare. How they deal with adversity. How to take joy in the small things. How to brush off unwarranted criticism. All of this comes from experience.

In the same way, I feel that our Elder Statesmen are an integral part of our raid team. We would not be as successful without them. They provide the team with a terrific balance. They bring numerous intangibles to the table that most people (including and especially themselves) would not give them credit for. Recount does not have an intangible pie graph.

In the same way, I felt like Larisa had failed to give herself credit for what she brought to the table. Fortunately, she was not deaf to the pleas of her guild. How she tells it, there were many people that recognized losing Larisa would equate an overall loss to the team. To them, it wasn't just about button presses. Perhaps, though she may be a few "k" short on DPS, she brings more than that "k" in intangibles to the table. (The trouble with intangibles, of course, being quantification).

Yet, she fell into the trap that the rest of us do at times and listened purely to the numbers. To forget the human side, to reduce this game to simple charts and graphs, is to do it a disservice. Team play, in any fashion, is so much more than that. The best players aren't necessarily dictated by the stat line. One should instead look for the person that makes everyone around them a better players. The person that brings the intangibles. DPS are, after all, a dime a dozen, right?

As a long time reader of the PPI, Larisa most certainly leaves the minds of the people she touches a bit better than when she found them. In the same way, the beloved Elder Statesmen of our guild provide a healthy share levity and help us to keep the game squarely in the proper context. They also tend to come up with some of the best tips, looking at the game in ways that only a non-native "speaker" of gaming might, and provide some of the funniest moments. Similar to Larisa's guild, ours would be worse off without them.

If us young folk are supposed to be learning from our elders, what, then can we learn from Larisa's tale? Don't underestimate the power of intangibles, obviously. And, also, though pride may have caused you to leave in the first place, don't be too proud to turn around when you hear their cries and run back into the arms of those you love and who truly love you in return. You may be doing them a disservice. Teams and humans are much too complicated to be analyzed by a line graph or bar chart.

But most of all, don't ever doubt the impact you can have on those around by simply being big of heart.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fake Post -or- As the PvP Turns

I'm working on a "real" post for tomorrow. Wanted to get it done this morning, but alas, time continues to be uncooperative. The preview is that it's a response of sorts to Larisa's post on Friday where she basically talked about being "forced out" of her guild for being older. Lot of emotions, and that's probably a poor paraphrase, because no one really forced her out except for herself. In particular, I want to lay down my views on age discrimination in WoW and how I feel like we over-simplify things sometimes. Heavy stuff, I know, but it needs to be said.

Unfortunately, it needs to be said tomorrow since I can't do it properly until tonight (and I don't like putting posts up at night since I think most of us read at work or right after work). As such, I'll leave you with one completely unconnected thought:

Is it just me or has Alliance gotten significantly worse at PvP since I posted that article last week? Seriously, I can't get a win. Period. When I wrote that article, we were still sort of competitive. Sure maybe we only won 1 in 4, but we still won that one. In the last week or so, I can't come up with a win to save my life. Weekends, early nights, late nights... it doesn't seem to matter. TB or BGs. Ugh. Either I've just hit the worst slump of my PvP career, or something is going on that I don't quite understand. How can we be so bad? Why do there seem to be so many afk's and bots? How is it that the Horde seems so well coordinated while we're going the opposite direction?

And don't tell me: "shoulda rolled Horde." I get it, Alliance is notoriously worse at PvP. This goes beyond that though, and I'm not willing to re-roll. I maintain that it isn't fun for ANYONE if there is ZERO competition. It can't be as simple as "Alliance sux," because we've always "sucked" and this is markedly worse.

Anyone else out there notice anything like this?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meanwhile, Back at the Manor...

"We have got to get them to stop running off!" All eyes turned toward Decedereful. She fidgeted. "I mean, it's just not right, letting them run around and create havoc."

Fuubaar nodded. "How much time has been wasted by them not simply checking with us first?"

"They don't respect our intellect, I tell you," Minerva added.

The Death Knight and Paladin bobbed their heads vigorously from across the table.

"I'm not sure I understand," Abigora spoke up. She quickly found herself the center of attention and blushed deeply. "I s-suppose inquiring after your collective wishes is polite, but doesn't it make for an inefficient system?"

"Wait until you have a boyfriend," Decederful scoffed.

"Or a husband," added Fuubaar.

"Or a double husband."

The room was silent for a moment.

"What's a double husband, Mom?" Fuubaar asked.

Minerva chuckled. "Well, you know how they say: 'Til death do you part?' In our case, death wasn't the final stop. So I had your father swear new some new vows on top of the old ones."

Fuubaar and Decedereful nodded comprehension.

"You mean you didn't want your freedom?" Abigora prodded.

The undead Mage snorted. "You live with someone long enough, freedom just doesn't mean what you think it does."

"I'm not sure I understand."

"You will someday, dear."

Fuubaar sighed loudly. "What a mess. Those men had us all running around like trolls with our heads cut off. They're probably having a good laugh at our expense over a mug of ale right now."

"They just sort of fall over," Decedereful noted, sipping the bright red drink in her hand.


"The trolls. They don't run if you cut their heads off."

Eyes returned to the Death Knight. She was apparently more comfortable on this topic, returning an even look to the Paladin and using the glass to mimic decapitation. Fuubaar giggled after a moment. Abigora paled.

"I'll take freezing to beheading any day," Minerva pointed out.

"Why does everything have to end in violence?" Abigora wanted to know.

"Men," the three other women announced in unison.

"I'm not sure I see h-"

"Just trust us, Abi. They're the deeproot of all evil," Fuubaar advised.

"Then why don't you all just stay away?"

The other three women all sighed. Faraway looks glazed over each of their eyes. Abigora looked from one to the other in confusion.

Finally, with a grunt, Fuubaar reached down and snatched the set of die in front of her. She gave them a shake and then a roll. The polished bone cubes clicked across the table to land face up. Three threes.

"What round were we on?" she asked.

Abigora answered immediately, "The third."

"Ha! Put me down for twenty-one then."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shout Out Thursday

Life has been uncooperative lately in terms of both providing WoW blog fodder and affording me time to write. I suppose you'll have that. Thus, today you're only gonna get a few quick links and blurbs from me.

Larisa mentions the general slow down today, attributing some of it to folks off playing Rift. I've seen scores of Rift articles, and pretty much every one of them says at some point "it's sort of different but not really." I don't really have any friends that were pulled away by Rift, so I'm not planning to hop in at all. Pleasant rifting to those of you that are.

THEN, she goes and drops a cute "piggie" on us all. Granted, B cubed coined the term with regards to Larisa's annual awards, but then Tesh took it to the next level. Check 'em out here. Yep, I totally want one now. Gonna have to stick around for another year it seems and turn last years nom into a win :-). I could use the non-award one, sure, but where's the fun in that. I'm a competitor!

Speaking of B cubed, he talks a bit about his creative process today with regards to his PBeM series. I've enjoyed the stories since he's started, and creating readable fiction from a game/rolling perspective fascinates me. It's really neat to figure out how the choices and rolls were woven in, and he hits it spot on when he talks about how sometimes the fiction just won't come out. You can read it for yourself here.

My solution has always been to write within the realm of one of my other projects for a bit, letting the other stew. I've read where a lot of authors have this experience, where the subconscious needs to chew on the idea a bit before it comes out right. Realizing that, it makes a bit more sense how someone could be writing two books at once, for instance. That was something I'd always wondered about and understood better once I embarked on my own endeavors. It's really odd to realize even when you aren't actively doing something, your mind is still chomping away.

And apparently, as far as blogging goes, my brain needs to chew a bit more. Wouldn't want to choke!

Finally, saw a post about a neat little idea for a Community Map. Post is here, and there's apparently a poll at a later post I'll need to check out. (Blocked from work).

We swapped raid nights to tonight, so we've had over a week off. I'm anxious to get back into it because we're way behind. We've had a lot of organizational issues getting this thing going, but I think we've finally been work out a good time. /crosses fingers.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wherein I Refrain from PTR Excitement

If you've been reading around here for a bit, you probably know I have a long standing tradition of trying very hard to completely ignore the PTR. Well, maybe not completely, but I certainly try not to waste a whole lot of e-ink on analyzing what is most certainly going to go through umpteen revisions before hitting live. Not that analyzing the PTR is "bad" or "wrong," just that I don't always see the value in it. At best, you can only get a general idea for where the devs want to go, and sometimes not even that.

Still, there has been a lot of PTR buzz in the last couple of days, and a lot of it is directed at the classes I write about. Thus, I wanted to touch on a few of them and conjecture about where we might end up.

For DK's, the news is simple: we're going to get a b-rez. I'm sure they'll have to hotfix cooldowns and play around with stuff like that before it goes live. There's not really a whole lot to a b-rez as far as scaling though, mostly how long before you can use it again and what other classes it shares a cooldown with. Like the growing family of Heroisms, expect the devs to follow the patterns already set by the Druid b-rez.

For Warlocks, we get a bit more involved, especially for Aff'locks. Rumor still has it that our soulstone is going to join the b-rez family as well. I'm not sure whether or not it's going to happen in the next patch, but it seems to loom ever closer. Expect it to follow the same pattern as the proposed DK rez and druidric rebirthing.

The other scosche of news seems to reaffirm my initial misgivings during the last patching. Namely, I felt nerfed. Now they're talking about giving a substantial buff to Haunt. In addition, our Felpup's Shadowbite might get a boost. Theses are more Affliction oriented changes that should bump our DPS as well as entice us away from the Succubus.

For Warlocks at large, the Doomguard is likely going to get a buff as well. We all knew that they wanted Infernal to be for AoE and DG to be for single target, but they'd fubbed the design along the way. They'll fix that in the next patch I think, and we should see a re-emergence of big red.

It seems to me that they're struggling to make mana an issue for 'locks. They're talking about increasing the effects of Mana Feed, the low hanging fruit of the Demo tree, presumably to entice us to take it for free mana returns. I still don't see where the tipping point is going to be that I'd rather choose a mana talent over a stamina talent. Theoretically, it would mean we'd have to Life Tap less, but I'm not tapping a whole lot as it is. Unless the redesign of Mana Feed eliminates the need to tap altogether, I will likely continue to pass on it.

It's worth noting that the redesign is only planned to include the Felpup and Felguard for now. Thus, Destro 'locks really only have the DG change to look forward to. I think the take home here is that they want each tree to use different pets and are trying to tweak things to keep them even in terms of damage but slightly ahead for each tree... no easy task when you consider it. The DG and Haunt buffs are a lot more straightforward and are likely just a matter of "what percent goes live."

Stay tuned, it seems, as they continue to muck around with stuff. It's been quite some time since we've received so much attention. I supposed I'd grown used to seeing only one or two relatively minor Warlock patch notes. Now I'm starting to feel like a Pally.