Friday, December 21, 2012

Affliction Warlock Glyphs

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I promised a quick break down of my glyphs this week, so here we go. There's not nearly as much to say about this section as there was about the rotation, but feel free to chime in with any tips/corrections. I'll plop this draft into my on-going primer (with links!) sometime over the holiday break.

For major glyphs, I'm going with:
Soul Shard is the only "required" glyph on that list. Having the extra shard makes a huge difference. Siphon Life is perhaps the second most common choice, as the extra health is good juju. Dark Soul, however, is probably pretty questionable. Currently, I'm taking it because I don't do a good job of using my DaS buff whenever it is off cooldown. At some point in the future, if I improve, I will likely replace this with Soul Swap. Rumor has it that the DaS glyph results in a DPS loss, but I need to look into the conditions of that statement. Obviously, if you never use DaS, it would no longer represent a loss. I imagine there must be some tipping point between "constantly" and "never" where the DPS loss kicks in. 

I'm pretty ambivalent about Soul Swap. I wish we had another good major glyph. With SB+SS, I just generally don't see the need for the glyph. As long as you judiciously throw in your Drain Soul prior to the death of things, shards don't seem to be a problem. And when you're not dealing with quick dying adds, you're not swapping a whole lot. Still, there is some use for allowing you to essentially DPS more than one sustained target, when such a situation arises.

Down in the minors, we have:
The first two are simple cosmetic effects. If I were doing a lot of underwater stuff, I'd plop Unending Breath in Soulwell's place. It seems as if every underwater questing area gives you a convenient buff these days, though, so I never ended up using it. The spheres are just because I wanted to look like a sparkly vampire.

The Eye glyph is pretty useful, especially prior to obtaining my MoP flight license. It can allow you to teleport to places where you wouldn't otherwise have been able to reach. It's not really an in-combat thing, but fun and useful when exploring which is more than I can say for those other glyphs. 

Does anyone else feel like Warlocks always get the most boring glyphs?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

MoP Affliction Warlock Primer Started

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I published the rough draft of my rotation post last week and got some great feedback. I've taken that, updated things as needed, and plugged it into what will become my MoP Affliction Warlock Primer Page. It is linked up there on the top left of the page where my old guides used to be.

The eventual goal is to have everything in there I need to be a competent Affliction Warlock. Right now, we just have the rotational discussion. I'm planning to publish a rough draft about glyphs before this week ends. Stats and spec will be covered eventually as well. If there are any other key topics I've missed, I'm definitely open to adding a section.

Again, the goal of these articles is not to be a hardcore raider, but simply to get Affliction Warlocks started. You may want to do things differently, and I encourage anyone and everyone to share these alternate methods along with the rationale behind them. As my old gaffer used to say: "There's more than one way to afflict an orc." He might have been a bit hordist.

In any case, thanks to everyone that commented. Hopefully the primer helps some of the other Warlocks out there that are looking for a simple discussion of (what I consider) the basics. If nothing else, it has helped me hone my own playing. I slapped on the shard glyph last night and, hoo boy, what a difference an extra shard makes. I ran a quick scenario and felt like I was slinging shadow errrrverywhere. It was glorious.

I have to say, I really enjoy where they've taken the class in MoP. Traditionally, I've always viewed changes from Blizz with a healthy skepticism, but I really feel they nailed it in this expansion. They updated and removed a lot of the unpleasant sides of Affliction Warlockery without sacrificing (what I feel to be) the identity of the class. Bravo!

Now I just need to work on those "Coming Soon" areas.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Slinging Shadow in Mists

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Okay. So here is my attempt at organizing my somewhat disparate thoughts about the current method of Affliction Warlock Spellslinging. Eventually, I'm going to organize this information into a primer to replace the outdated articles that I have on the left. At that point, I'm sure it'll be too late to be of help to anyone. Still, I'm doing this as much for myself as any of the rest of you. Now that I'm level 90 and starting to gear up, I need to know how to play proper-like, if only so as not to embarrass myself in group settings.

Let me set one expectation straight here: My goal with this is not to become a top raider or anything like that. The idea is to capture a basic foundation of what I believe to be a respectable way to play the class I love. There are always things one could do better, but let's agree to discuss what we believe every "core" Aff'lock should do. With that being said, here we go...

A lot has changed in MoP. The Warlock class has been redesigned. I think they did a great job of keeping the old flavor that I loved about the class, and mixing it with some new niceties that fix long-endured issues.

Buffing was simplified. Dark Intent has become a buff that should always be up, and much simpler than the days where we used to need to choose which class to link with. When you've got an active pet, you should keep your Soul Link up as well. Outside of that, you have your normal choices of food and flask that generally aim to buff our major stats, and that will be important when raiding, but outside of competitive group environments, these are optional. A good Warlock will always keep goodies on hand that buff one of our top three stats. (I'll do a dive into stats later. For now, Int, Haste, and Mastery are all good choices.)

Once we're buffed, we should look to the spells we're going to keep up during a fight. There are two major phases of any combat situation for Affliction Warlocks. One is above 25% health, the second is under 25% health. There's a third option, and that is AoE fights. I'll cover all three.

Above 25% Health, Single Target
Haunt > Curse of the Elements > Soulburn+Soul Swap > Maelific Grasp Filler > Fel Fire Refresh

We want to lead off with our "buff" spells that improve DoT damage. I don't always do this (because of laziness), but this makes sure that every tick benefits from their application. I would advocate leading off with Haunt since it has a "fly time," applying only after it has traveled from your hand and hit the target. Thus, after the Global Cool Down, CotE and H can hit almost simultaneously.

I like to use SB+SS to pop all my DoTs once, but if you're shard starved, you can put them up manually. And when I say "DoTs," I'm talking about what I like to call the Big Three: Corruption, Unstable Affliction, and Agony. The primary goal of Affliction DPS is going to be to keep those Big Three rolling as much as possible. Our DoT up time on any given fight should exceed 90%. If you're learning Affliction, focus your efforts here first.

I will use Fel Fire to refresh Corr and UA. It adds a direct damage component, and the GCD's wash out when you consider you only get half of the time you would get with a manual refresh (but would have to manually refresh two spells, so you get two for the price of one). The only caveat to FF usage is if there is a fight where we're mana starved, as it is not the most mana-efficient path. Manual refreshing would be better then. Agony is a manual refresh all the way, and try to keep it at 10 stacks (by not letting it fall off).

Goal number 1 is maximizing Big Three up time. Goal number 2, then, would be to maximize the up time of our filler and thus minimize "non-damaging" down time. We will want to try to keep Haunt up as much as possible, but will likely be shard-limited to some extent, so we should simply do our best. More important, maybe, is weaving in as much MG as possible. MG is the spell that replaced our old Shadowbolt filler. MG is tied much more strongly to DoTs, increasing its importance as filler. The more we can keep MG rolling (without letting other things drop off), the better our DPS numbers are going to look.

And that's pretty much it for >25%. It's a lot simpler than in years past. If you feel like you are doing sub-par DPS, my first advice would be to check your up times. I've had a few discussions about that here, and I think we're looking at average up times of >90% on the Big Three, ~50% for Haunt (generally less), and ~40% for MG (fight/situation dependent, and 40 is probably a lofty goal). These are just rules of thumb, and your mileage may vary, but can provide you with a frame of reference and basis for improvement.

Below 25% Health, Single Target
We're pretty much doing the same stuff here. Keeping the Big Three rolling. Keeping Haunt up. The big switch is that instead of MG filler, we'll switch to using Drain Soul. DrS can have some pretty massive ticks under 25%, so it is totally worth using. Simply replace MG with DrS. Since DrS ticks a lot slower, this is where an addon that shows ticks (like Quartz) can be helpful. Try to weave your various refreshers right after ticks have occurred. (You could do the same with MG, but it does not have as much of an impact since the ticks are faster and the overall spell is shorter).

I try to make use of our Dark Soul buff just prior to entering this phase. I do not believe that DaS stacks with effects like Heroism, so you may want to use the buff differently depending on when the group buffs come out. For most fights, I could use DaS at the beginning, and probably somewhere in the middle as well. I believe it has a 2 min cooldown, so a studious 'lock would be able to get ~3 uses out of it per fight. I am not a studious 'lock. I routinely forget about it, so I just try to make sure I use it at least once per fight, and I want to make sure that when I want to use it, it is ready to go. This is a personal preference. No doubt many of you do much better than me.

Finally, I have my Doomguard macro'ed to my DaS key, so whenever I pop the buff, I also bring out my bonus pet. Make sure you use this guy once per fight. It has a longer cooldown, so you're not going to be able to generally weave him in any more. I save my punches for the end, but there may be circumstance where you want to blow this stuff earlier. Maybe a tricky part where some bonus DPS is needed. Your call.

Area of Effect, Multiple Targets
Previously, we've always tried to define a certain number of units where utilizing AoE spells becomes preferable to simply trying to keep up DoTs on multiple targets. I think it may fall between 3 and 4 mobs. With 3 or fewer, you want to do single target stuff (perhaps using SS to run your Big Three on multiple targets). With 4 or more, you'll want to switch to AoE spells. For the Affliction Warlock, this means a SB+CotE (so that Elements gets put on all of the enemies), then following with a SS+Seed of Corruption (this will apply Corruption to all targets hit by the exploding seed). Plant your seed on the target with the most health, and push it toward explosion (it has a damage done trigger). I like to throw out a Drain Life here (with the AoE talent). It's probably better (when health is of no concern), to channel RoF or just do direct damage to the target to get your seed to explode. An alternate method would be to spread more seeds around while waiting for the explosion to get a chain of explosions. While this is great fun, I don't think you should do it if you've spread Corruption out, as SoC and Corr don't mix. That is, one replaces the other (still, right?).

One of the major reason I like to use the Drain Life approach is that spamming your AoE abilities will drain your mana ridiculously fast. Drain Life is a lot more mana efficient, though it doesn't pack the wallop of the others. Just something to consider. This is how I like to AoE and I think it is a solid approach. I wouldn't worry too much about being the master of AoE. Aff'locks are kings of sustained, single target damage. Let the mages deal with pesky groups.

So this summarizes my approach to Affliction Warlockery. See any major goofs? How do you do things differently and why? Consider this my first draft, so I'd love to fix any errors you notice. Like I said, this is more for me than all of you, since you're all pros already, right?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Up Time Follow Up

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A little follow-up from yesterday's post. There was some great discussion in the comments section, but K-bear followed up with some more information for me. She slid a pair of logs across my metaphorical desk. One from her again, and one from another Aff'lock raider in a group she really respects as being "good."

She's been holding down the 3/4 slot on the meters in her raids with ~38k DPS. Solid middle-of-the-pack performance, but because we like to conjecture about all things warlockery, we're going to analyze things.

The other Warlock was also in the 3 spot in his/her raid. In both raids, the top two characters perform over 60k DPS. In Warlock 2's (W2) raid, though, our Warlock is giving chase with ~62k DPS.

Now, first things first. This is not a scientific study we're talking about here. For instance, I'm totally ignoring the gear component here. From our conversations, I'm pretty sure W2 out gears dear K-bear. I'm also ignoring important things like group composition, fight mechanics, etc, etc. There are plenty of important things that I'm just blissfully ignoring, so take this with a grain of fel salt.

The reason this is worth mentioning is because I believe we're comparing two pretty competent Warlock players. One is still sort of getting the feel of Affliction (because she bounces around specs), and the other is probably more comfortable. Here's what I saw.

The Big Three up time was pretty much the same. This is as expected. If we were handing out a "ready to raid" badge for Warlocks, mastery of the Big Three would probably be the primary criteria. As I scrolled down, though, I found some tentative proof of my suspicions. MG up time for W2 was around 40%. K-bear was only hitting around 20% up time for MG. That's a huge difference. Does it account for 24k DPS? Probably not, but I would bet as K-bear gains comfort and increases that MG up time, her DPS shoots up accordingly.

It was interesting that the Haunt up time for both was around 50%. No change, despite the increased MG up time. K admitted that she was a little Haunt happy during the fight, so her 50% may not have been efficiently obtained. Perhaps she would have been served better letting that drop a bit and focusing more on MG.

Like I said, this is just conjecture, but I think it's interesting if you're a raiding Warlock. Hopefully, you can consult your own logs and try to identify places where you can improve. I'd love to get more numbers so that maybe some day we could make a statement like: "Yeah, in typical fights you should have around 40% up time for MG." Or something like that. I don't have enough info yet, and there are a ton of variables that I'm not considering, but I think it provides a good place to focus.

MG is new and integrated even more into our DoTs than Shadowbolts ever were, and figuring out ways to squeeze in more s-bolts used to be a valuable pursuit as far as DPS increase was concerned. The way MG supports our DoTs, it's not simply a matter of added damage from the spell itself, but of the buff to all of our DoTs as well. It's all tied together. Doubling your MG up time should definitely provide a significant DPS increase.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Aff'lock Performance Indicators

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I was gchatting with a fellow 'lock blogger yesterday (I'll let her identify herself in the comments, should she desire to be known as my Evil Accomplice), and we were primarily conjecturing on the nature of Affliction Warlock DPS. One of the common questions you'll get as a long time class blogger (and I'm sure I'm not alone in this) is from folks wondering "what am I doing wrong?" Generally, this question is centered around raid performance.

I've never had a rote answer, preferring instead to feel out the individual and try to see where they might be struggling. Then, I can usually offer some tailored tips. Not always, but sometimes. This approach has served me well, and--let's face it--I'm not exactly the hub of all things warlockerly. That is to say, my inbox isn't exactly overflowing with these sorts of requests, they just sometimes happen.

Now that I'm 90, I've turned my thoughts toward group performance. While you're leveling, I don't much see the need to min/max. Gear will be replaced a lot, and quests don't generally provide you a long DPS burn period with which to accurately gauge performance. Sure, you could point to your numbers in dungeons, but even then I do not think all classes level up equally, so the balance at 89 is likely different than 90.

An alternative way of saying the same thing is that we know Blizz balances at max level. Those are the numbers they're likely most concerned with. Thus, everything below that can be viewed with a level of healthy skepticism.

So, I'm now 90, I have no more excuses (manufactured or not) for disregarding my performance. But how to gauge? Whereas in Cataclysm we had about -5 changes (yes, that's a negative), MoP has revamped the class in almost all areas. The essentials like "using DoTs" are still there, but everything from the method of application to the method of refreshment has changed greatly.

The problem I've always had with simple looking at a meter and saying "well, I came in third so I have work to do" is that such an approach doesn't explain very well where you might be failing. Affliction Warlocks have always been a bastion of spell slinging complexity. Our spells are designed to weave together and provide a very level state of sustained damage. This is both blessing and curse (HA! CURSE!).

The blessing is that even when I don't have the highest DPS, I generally put out the most overall damage. The curse is that if you aren't weaving quite right, your damage can plummet pretty quickly. I always envision Warlock damage as sort of a ski-slope with damage on the "y" and execution ability on the "x." Good Warlock execution has always been rewarded by solid numbers. (Unlike, say, my old Frost DK where I felt sometimes that I could faceroll my way to solid numbers.)

Typically, my current rotation functions something like this:
  1. SB+SS to get the Big Three up.
  2. CotE
  3. Haunt
  4. MG filler
  5. Maintain DoTs
  6. Maintain Haunt
I realize folks would suggest putting CotE and Haunt up first. If you're using SB+SS to initiate, by the time that both CotE and Haunt get up, everything has ticked maybe once. Over the course of a >30s fight, one missed tick is a total wash. Do the napkin math if you don't believe me. Let me be clear: the order you initiate is NOT your biggest area of concern if you're playing at my level (read: not super hardcore, but just want to do well).

What is then? Well, quite simply: Up time. This has always been the case with Aff'locks. The closer you can get to 100% up time on your various buffs/debuffs is going to be the biggest and clearest marker of DPS performance. Feel like your DPS is low? The very first place I would check is my up time.

To facilitate discussion, Evil Accomplice and I viewed one of her logs from a very early raid where she'd just started running Affliction. Immediately, two things came to mind to look out for:
  1. She was probably not super comfortable with the rotation.
  2. She was probably not super comfortable with the fight mechanics.
In my opinion, those are the two biggest things that commonly cause a problem with up time. Impressively, her Big Three were all over 90% up time. I think (because I've not done extensive play testing yet) that this is pretty good. It used to be where I could only reliably keep Corr up over the 90% mark, and the others were generally close. On good days, keeping all the DoTs over 90% was generally a good indication of stellar performance.

With the new rotation, I think the Big Three should be easier to keep up, even when uncomfortable (it's a little easier to focus on them now, I think). The lack of comfort is going to shake it's way down to inefficient shard management and interrupted channeling. Or, more specifically, look for poor up time on MG and Haunt.

Evil Accomplice's Haunt was sub 50% and MG was something like 15%. I'm not sure what to bench mark for those. What would "good" up time look like for them? After all, they're not going to be 90%, no way. Haunt maybe, but we're definitely not going to be constantly channeling. And there's the whole sub 25% health DS thing to consider.

This has already gotten a bit long-winded, so I'm going to wrap it up with some generic advice. Should Evil Accomplice want to improve her DPS performance, I'd tell her to try to find ways to increase Haunt and MG up time. Especially Haunt.

This is where weaving comes in. If Haunt is not being kept up and you say "yeah, well, I just don't have enough shards." We have the chance to get shards refunded from MG, right? In a way, Haunt and MG are inextricably tied together as filler. Do poorly with one and you'll likely hurt the other. And Haunt has been buffed so that it's damage is pretty significant I think.

When we're uncomfortable, we can probably keep our Big Three up, but our filler is going to suffer. Back in the day, we used to pay attention to how many shadowbolts we squeezed in. This was a fairly decent approximation of Aff'lock performance (at least when you live somewhere between "newb" and "hardcore"). Now, I would advise aspiring 'locks to check out their MG/Haunt statistics. Improve those and see if your DPS doesn't respond accordingly.

This is all just conjecture. I'd really like to put my shadow where my mouth is (or something) and test the theory. Unfortunately, I've got quite a bit of gearing to do before I'll be invited to raids (even the LFR!). Some of you raiding 'locks out there... check this out. Let me know what you think. I may be completely wrong here, but it seems logical, right?

Monday, December 3, 2012

90!

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Okay, so Ful is getting his groove back. At least a little. I put in a pretty solid session Saturday that I think lasted about twelve hours. I've not done one of those in a long time (read: since last expansion probably). It wasn't really planned, just sort of worked out that way. Basically did all of level 90 in one sitting.

It was one of those things where you start playing, knock out some quests, and then go clean something. Then sit back down, knock out some more quests, go get some food. Then more questing and... maybe I should do something else. But wait! 50%! At this point I can totally get to 60%, just to be over halfway. Two hours later... 80%! Might as well finish it off now. So I did. Dinged for the final time this expansion sometime around 1AM Saturday night, server time.

Here's a list of my initial post-ding thoughts (keep in mind I was pretty tired):
  • I have never been so glad to fly in my life. The zones seem to get progressively rockier (?), encouraging flying over riding. I suppose that makes sense.
  • I finally got to turn in a lot of quests that had been cluttering my bags, waiting for me to have access to places like the Seat of Knowledge. That felt wonderful.
  • The stream of refugees into the Vale was pretty neat. It nearly coincided with my final ding (I was two quest turn-ins away), so I almost felt a be emotional. Not that a Warlock would cop to having anything resembling emotions.
  • I'm still going to finish the quests to get Pandarian Loremaster. It's nice that these give you the same rep you're going to need from dailies.
  • Moving without interrupting casting is pretty neat. There are a whole bunch of habits I need to overcome now to make the most of things. Having grown used to being a damage turret for the last five-ish years, it's amazing now my thought I hadn't realized I give to where I stand when I pull. Now I can readjust without ruining my rotation. Totally an odd feeling, but not in a bad way. It's sort of like, oh yeah, I wasn't just interrupted by the stupid yank... the spell went off!
  • I'm doing a few dailies, but I've not developed a cohesive plan yet. I'd like to cap out my profs first, I think, and focus on raid gearing last. With my current status as "last sub off the bench," I'm not too worried about it. I should probably try to get LFR ilevel just to preclude any complaints should I be brought in.
Anyway, that's all for today. I'm excited about being at the level needed to help out. I missed some of the more social aspects of MMO gaming. Hopefully I can derp my way to some adequate gear and help out somewhere. I wouldn't consider myself back on the horse completely, but I'm partially in the saddle.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

89!

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The holiday weekend was a productive one for me, gaming-wise. I was actually able to sit down and put in some quality time on both WoW and LoL.

In Azeroth, I made a strong push and am now 89! I know, the title gave it away. I've been able to knock out almost a quarter of a level this week as well. I'll be 90 before Christmas. Wild and crazy times, I tell ya.

For a change of pace, I swapped over to League of Legends for a few matches. My skills have deteriorated somewhat, but not as bad as one might expect. I'd left off just before level 23, it seems, because after only a couple matches, I leveled up there as well. In seven short levels, I'll be a max level summoner. Maybe I can make that by Christmas too. We'll see.

And I have yet to purchase Assassin's Creed III. I'm horribly behind on my gaming. (Also on my writing. These few paltry paragraphs took me four days to write. Such is life, I suppose.)

Ah well. All's well that ends well, right? Hope you had a productive and happy holiday as well!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Anniversaries Etc

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I logged in and was rewarded with WoW's 8th Anniversary celebration. Because of that, I became curious and went to look for my first WoW Anniversary achievement. For me, it was year 4. How about you?

That's pretty much all I have to report this week. In the interest of not writing the Shortest Post Ever, I'll pad it with some rambling.

I'm halfway through 88. Still chugging along.

I really want to place Assassin's Creed III, but I'm holding off on buying it until I hit 90. Then I figure I can split my time between "group activities" and ACIII. For now, my solo time should go to WoW (and I'm enjoying it).

LoL has gotten no love as of late. I know. I shall return at some point.

I watched Wizard of Oz this weekend. I never realized that Glenda was a disc priest.

I want a flying monkey minion.

Those last two were related.

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm hearthing it tomorrow IRL. Here's to a wonderful celebration!

*Cheers*

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can't I Just Make My Pet Do It?

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I realized I hadn't checked in this week. Work has been super-busy, and after work hasn't been dull. I've been pretty drained and just not had the energy to log in much. Ever have those nights where you want to keep working on your character, but you know if you log in you just won't enjoy the playtime because you're exhausted? In the past, I'd probably have pushed through.

I suppose it would seem obvious to some... don't play when you don't feel like it, right? The problem is that it's two different forms of satisfaction. The completionist in me wants to get to 90. It knows if I put in an hour or so each night, that I'll get there. When I miss a night, that part is unsatisfied. I have not chipped away at the goal. The other part is the immediate enjoyment. Most nights you can satisfy both, but on the nights where you know the immediate enjoyment just won't be there... what do you do? It's sort of a catch 22.

Anyway, I did get some done this week, just not enough for a "real" update. I'm planting and cooking carrots. I've knocked out a couple more quest hubs. I'm still having fun, but kind wish I'd get back to the point where I could do group stuff. I know I'm way behind the gear curve, but I'd be more than happy to be the "better-than-no-one" sub. And, honestly, I can overplay my gear, so I'm not that much of a drag. Gotta be 90 before I can even voice that opinion though.

Oh well. I'll get there. Just in time to play with everyone else's alts, amirite?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

88!

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I hit 88 last night. At this rate I'll hit 90 just in time for Thanksgiving. Then... ??? I'll probably do some casual gearing so that I could maybe sub for my guild's raid team. I do not plan to level an alt. I don't really have enough time. It's been tough enough to scrape by with my main (and there's plenty still to do.)

I did notice for the first time yesterday, when I was doing the quest that is sort of a scenario with three boss fights, that my practice of using Fel Fire really did drain my mana. It felt like I was OOM almost immediately. Apparently I'm going to have to modify my behavior for boss fights.

I keep running out of bag space because I'm holding on to so many cooking materials. I should probably just stow them away in the bank for later, but I suppose I'm being lazy. If you're a lowbie like me, is there a way to know what you should be farming? I've just been planting and harvesting random stuff each day, really for no reason other than it's there.

Is it just me, or are there a lot of items with like, fun effects? All kinds of weird stuff! And if you'd like me, you feel like you have to hold on to those items because, well, they're neat. I wish I could just transmog all of the clever effects into one super wand of doom. It would do all kinds of dumb things depending on where you're using it (since most effects seem location specific).

I've never really cared for the location-specific thing. It sort of makes it so you have to hang out in that area to get joy out of the item. I suppose that's the point, but it makes my holding onto the items especially silly.

Anyway, that's the update for now. I'm over the leveling "hump!" (Through, from what I hear, the later levels are much, much slower...)

Monday, October 29, 2012

87... and Cooking.

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These are really inspiring post titles, I know. The generic nature of the content seems to merit a numeric title in my mind. That, and it's a not-so-subtle reminder that I'm totally behind. It's by choice, so I'm not totally angsty about it. In fact, it's been a nice flip-side for me. Instead of rushing to try to understand everything and then provide good information here... I'm sort of learning from y'all. I definitely appreciate all the commentors who have been stopping by.

So as the title indicates, I hit 87 over the weekend. I was actually able to do a good amount of leveling, and I'm almost halfway to 88. I'm doing a lot of work with the farm folk right now, and some young Pandarian girl is following me around exclaiming about all of the neat things. The Warlock in me wants to shard her.

Or is it "orb" her now that I'm a vampire warlock?

Joking aside, the leveling process continues to be fun. They've done a good job. Even going as slowly as I've been going has been engaging. Seems like the right amount of story to me.

Here's another question perhaps you guys can help me with. What's up with cooking leveling? Do you only run into the trainer later? I have all these cooking ingredients but can't find any recipes. I generally like to simply level my stuff as I go, making use of drops and what-have-you. I have all these items marked "cooking ingredients" filling up my bag... but no recipes to utilize them. Without doing a whole bunch of research, I simply looked up a trainer and he/she/it seemed to be someplace I'd not discovered yet. Anyone else have this issue during their initial leveling journey?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

86.75: A Balancing Act

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Yep, crawling along. Do you ever experience the phenomenon where you have an hour or so "blocked off" in your mind for gaming. I tell myself, "Okay, I'm going to give task X until 11, then I'm going to play some WoW." The problem isn't with task X, it's Y and Z that pop up and interrupt X. Then, all of a sudden it's 11 and X hasn't even gotten started.

This keeps happening to me. Football is over for me, so a bunch of time has been freed up. However, all the other crap I put off during the season is also vying for the same time. And, with the last couple of months I've had, stuff isn't exactly organized. Generally, I'm great with lists. Right now, I have lists of lists. It's ridiculous.

Gaming, at best, is a balancing act as far as hobbies go. You could always play more. And right now my sense of balance is all topsy-turvy, but not in a horrible way. It's not all been bad things. There have been a lot of good interruptions. Like unexpected family visits. Friends stopping by to say "hi." That sort of thing.

Inevitably, in the above situation, I end up actually logging on at 11:30 with the intention to play for a half hour. As soon as the pixels load, I notice that like three or four friends are on, and I have to say hello. Generally at least one of them has a proper topic of conversation (the others are all raiding), so I end up chatting. And circling Dalaran Stormwind.

And then my time is up. I needs mah beauty sleep.

Last night I completed three quests (I'd picked them up where I logged off, so they were locked and loaded so-to-speak), one pet battle, a bag cleaning run, a repair, five tailoring levels, five enchanting levels, trained those both up, and finished with the cooking and fishing dailies (they were right there). I was chatting the whole time.

Now, that's pretty productive, but if you notice, the actual amount of straight experience gained is not massive. Such has been my problem. I like to do all the things and a half hour just isn't enough. Or maybe it is, if you're okay with achieving the "server last to 90" achievement. (I wonder how they could implement such a thing).

I've decided I'm okay with it. Before, I've always been one of the first to be ready to raid. This time, I'm just going to saunter on in several months from now. I'll probably catch up in boss kills to the rest of y'all in like a week (You know, with the nerfs and all. Because there will be nerfs). Then you are all going to be super-indignant. But only Paladins are allowed to relish in the righteous fury. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

86.5 Now

8 comments
I'm really burning through these levels, aren't I? Side benefit: I'm in that awkward space where I'm behind everyone, but everyone isn't far enough ahead that there are a bunch of alts in my areas. The leveling experience is quite pleasant, even if slow.

The last time I asked a question (about pet addons), I got great replies. I've installed pretty much all of the suggestions and am well on my way to becoming an expert pet battler. Except... well, how do you level? The intro quest guides you through the zones nicely. When you get to the continent quests, the first guy it pointed me to was sporting level 17 pets. Mine are just this side of 10. How do I get from 10 to 17? What zones should I be in?

I did some searching, but I didn't find a good resource that will tell me which zones contain certain levels of pets. Oh, I found plenty that will tell me where the rares spawn, or a list of what is available. But what about the naturally occurring levels? I'm 98% sure I'm just being a derp and missing it somewhere simple. So I figured I'd ask. Any of you pet battlers out there know what I'm looking for?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ding! 86!

13 comments
I know, I know. Everyone else is posting their level 90 screenies. I'm cackling at my title because I just hit 86 last nighit. Like I said, slooooowlock.

This isn't to say I'm not completely enjoying myself, because I am. I've added the SB+SS move to my playbook now, and pretty much use that as my opener everywhere fine DoTs are flung. I pop Elements and then hit MG and the life just leeches away. I always imagine the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. "He chose... poorly."

Here's a question you can help me with, dear readers. What is the best way you've found so far to capture pets in pet battles? BBB was writing the other day about a pet whose attack leaves the baddy at 1HP. Good stuff there. Are there any other clever ways?

Here's the thing. I like pet battles. I want to capture more pets. Sometimes, I also just want to kill things. Killing things is fun. Capturing is sort of a pain. I feel like I have to do it right now, when the pets are the right level, or later when I come back I'll just be one-shotting everything (or, if I put a lower pet out, it will get one-shotted).

In addition, do you guys know of an addon that will highlight pets on your mini-map that you do NOT have. I have a hard time remembering which ones I've captured. When I'm flying over them, I mouse over and try to think, but would love an addon that does this for me.

Anyway, that's all for now. Thanks in advance for the advice!

Monday, October 8, 2012

SB + SS is Pretty Awesome

0 comments
One of the biggest complaints for Aff'locks everywhere has been the perpetual lack of burst damage. Trash was the bane of our existence for so long. To some extent, I think many of us old 'locks have simple grown used to the deficiency over the years.

In MoP, it is very apparent that Blizz has attempted to address the issue, and I think they've done a felling good job. I continue to be impressed with a vast majority of the design decisions. Doubly so because my faith had taken a pretty solid shot with Cataclysm. MoP is almost a complete 180. Where before I feel like every decision fell flat, now I feel like they're knocking 'em out of the park.

The title pretty much says it all. Thanks to a comment from my article last week, I remembered the new Soulburn + Soul Swap combo. Pretty awesome. Gets DoTs up right away and you can get straight to bursting. I may even dump my SS glyph, since I'm more likely to use SS this way now.

If you're looking for higher level, hard hitting journalism, check out Amijade  I liked today's article on Kil'jaeden's Cunning. Good stuff. I'm SO not there. Still 85. Shameful, I know, but I'm having fun. That's what counts.

Also, still addicted to PokeWoW, but I have forced myself to intersperse some leveling. Both are fun. What's a 'lock to do?!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Slowlock

12 comments
I told you things might be wonky around here for a bit. It's been a little over a week since my "Day One" in MoP post. You'd think I might be 90 by now, have some good advice, yadda yadda. Nope, still 85. Alllllmost 86. Just last night I finally found the last of the trainers I needed to unlock levelling with all secondary professions. I also discovered pet battles. So, yeah, guess what I did last night.

Like everyone else, I find the pet battles supremely addictive. It doesn't help that I've not had any long stretches of time to play yet. The good news is that there's plenty to do, even on a hop-on/hop-off type of play schedule. Pet battles are perfect for that niche.

I will try to impart some Warlocky wisdom. Y'all have probably figured all of this out already, but I'm starting to settle into my "rotation." Obviously, leveling is going to be a different animal than raiding, so keep in mind I'm only leveling right now. Here's what I'm hitting:

Corr > UA > Haunt > Elements > MG > Fel Fire > Drain Soul.

MG is my filler. I use FF to get out of channeling and swap quickly to DS. It seems pretty effective, and refreshes those two main DoTs. I don't have to repeat a lot, because things are dead. I'm sure that will change as I level.

The big omission to this rotation is Agony. I'm not using it on this quick-dying stuff. I think that makes sense. When something lives longer, I tend to squeeze it in just before MG. Generally that's because I'm like "Oh crap, this is going to take longer to die... let's us Agony."

We used to always lead off with Shadow Bolts to set up the debuff before dotting. With no bolts, this is no longer a concern. I always liked leading with my instants anyway, so I'd throw Agony/Corr first, I think. For longer fights, I've not decided if I'll use FF for all refreshes, or just to swap at the DS 25% health point. Anyone have data for that?

So, yeah. Slow Aff'lock is slow. I'm hoping this weekend is a bit more mundane and I can get some good time in. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

MoP Night One

2 comments
Completely unoriginal title, I know. Everyone else is likely recounting how they did The Dew all night and blitzed to levels uncounted. SO MANY LEVELS. Like a fighter jet made of biceps.

I derped around for about an hour. Went something like this...

First time logging into a new server? Oh yeah, all my local macros are gone. Exit, copy paste, reload. Ah, there they are. Hmm... things still look like crap.

Logout, check "out of date" box (WHY WON'T YOU JUST STAY CHECKED), reload.

Forgot this. Reload.

Forgot that. Reload.

Why is the bar not moving? Alt-F4. Alt-F4. Alt-F4 MOTHA.... screw it, Ctrl-Alt-Del. Task manager, Click-click-click.

Re-login. Hmm, let's uncheck this, and that. Nope, still not loading.

Task manager, Click-click-click.

Re-login. Don't need that or this. Uncheck, uncheck.

Ah, there we go. This doesn't look half bad. What am I again? Right, Warlock. Let's make these bars pretty. Ooh! A quest... Anduin?! Noooooo!

Crap, it's midnight. I gotta work tomorrow. *sigh* Exit game...

So yeah, my first night was a typical first night with a patch. More time spent getting things set up than actual playing. Maybe tonight I'll actually kill things.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Realm Transfer

5 comments
What did I do last night in preparation for MoP? Realm transfer. That's right. I got my butt off of Lothar and onto Alexstrasza. Stuff happened, and I decided to leave before things got awkward, and try my luck with a new guild. It helps that I have family in this other guy (and I'd been wanting to try to raid with them for a while now). We'll see how it goes.

Originally, I was planning to take today off and spend time with the game. Unfortunately, my life took an abrupt right turn in the last month. One of the contributing factors is that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's having surgery this Thursday, so that's where my day off went. Gotta have priorities, right?

This is the time of year when I'm busy coaching high school football, so even without the added complication of a serious family illness, my playing time is limited. Thus, I'm probably going to be way, way behind the rest of you when it comes to experiencing the expansion. I'm just going to pretend that everyone else is equally slow (some undoubtedly are), so if you are reading, feeling like, "that is so last month," be kind, rewind, and re-enjoy the moment with me.

Incidentally, October is breast cancer awareness month in the US. Consider me aware.

Here's your tidbit if you're a woman. They caught my mom's cancer as part of that whole "cold smush" (as we sometimes call it) routine procedure. It's "stage 0" which is as early as you can get. It's also very slow growing, so we're in great shape. The point here is DO NOT NEGLECT REGULAR HEALTH CHECK UPS. That's your service message of the day. Cuz, like, seriously... cancer sucks.

Happy Panda-ing. Sorry to be Buzz Killington today with the srs bzns, but it explains why I'm sort of out to lunch when it comes to keeping up with an informative and entertaining blog. Also, I thought it would be helpful to know that the realm transfer went smoothly, so if you're on my new realm, feel free to say "hi."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ZOMG Theramore

10 comments
I have to say, I wasn't as disappointed with the Theramore scenarios as some others. Probably had to do with keeping my expectations low. There were things to do. It didn't take long, and that was nice. A good preview of scenarios, from what I hear. And when that bomb... Like, I can't believe they could even go so far as to. And Jaina, what a mage! She was totally and completely a mage. She needs to embrace her inner Warlock. I mean, I know, read the grimoire or whatever, but if she'd just summon a horde of demons, I'll be she could just slay the Warcheif.

Wait, what's that you say? I've not even played the scenario yet! I'm just stringing together meaningless phrases that represent a regurgitation of the deluge of recaps I've read? No way! It totally and completely feels like I've experienced it first hand. Like that time when I binge-watched Pearl Harbor and really thought I'd been a cook that had to step up and man an AA gun on a docked destroyer. Then, I thought... no way could we have had an entire fleet of combatants chilling in Hawaii and let a whole bunch of enemies get so close. That's totally unrealistic. (And you thought I was going to pick on the Ben Affleck character, didn't you? Affleck, Aff'lock. Get it? There.)

I wish blogging let me do Family Guy-esque cut-scenes. I look nothing like Cuba. It'd be hilarious.

Also, who doesn't have a crush on Kate Beckinsale?

Also, BAYSPLOSION.

Aaaaand lunch time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rapid Cast Expansion

4 comments
Fulguralis: Well, this is nice.
Spaz: Nice...like.... candy?!
Felspaz: Did-someone-say-candy?
Spaz: Whoareyou?Whoareyou?Whoareyou?
*Two voices, unintelligible arguing.*
Spaz: Felspaz. That-is-your-name.
Felspaz: Call-me-imp.Call-me-fire.Call-me-maybe, I-do-not-care! I. WANT. CANDY.
Fulguralis: You're kidding, right?
*Big Crash*
Fulguralis: Aaaand there go the lights.
Midnight: Awwww, big strong man is afraid of the dark. You know, some of the yummiest happen in the dark.
Spaz: ca-Ca-CA-CANDY?
Felspaz: Candy-candy!
Candi: Who keeps yelling for me?
Midnight: Mmmmm, speak of the devil.
Candi: Horny, baby?
Fulguralis: No. Affliction. I'm not into Demonality... Hey! Hands to yourself!
Candi: All six of them?
Midnight: C'mon, Mr. Warlock, nothing wrong with a little...
Spaz: SUGAR!
Felspaz: Sugar-sugar!
Berry Blue: No, they mean looooove.
Spaz: PIE?
Berry Blue: Long, slow, easy...
Spaz: Licorice?
Felspaze: Black-licorice. It's-bigger.
Spaz: No-no, it-just-looks...
Lord of V: I got this one, Berry.
Berry Blue: How about a duet?
Lord of V: Ooooh, good idea my brotha.
Fulguralis: Honestly, where is that music coming from? We don't own a saxophone.
Candi: We're going to...
Midnight: ....sax you up...
Candi: ...play you like an instrument...
Midnight: ...with whipped cream on my...
Spaz: ICE-CREAM
Felspaz: You-scream?
Spaz: No-you-idiot. Ice...
Felspaz: You-are-the-idiot. It'sa-joke. You-are-supposed-to...
Berry Blue: This is a song about looooove.
LoV: *High Pitch* Listen as we sing about looove.
Midnight: ... and then we'll take your...
Candi: ...with the reverse...
Berry Blue: ...when the night is young...
LoV: *High Pitch* Night is yoooooung.
Spaz: I-said-ice-cream-and-you-said...
Felspaz: I-know-what-I-said-you-little...
Spaz: You're-little-too! HAhAHAHAHa...
*Sparkie starts barking wildly in the background*
Fulguralis: Faaaantastic.
*Sounds of Imp arguing, smooth singing, and sexy purring form an incoherent deluge of noise.*
Fulguralis: Guys... does anyone else see that floating... what is that? Guys? GUYS! What is it doing?!
*Silence*
Fulguralis: Evil I, is that you?
Evil I: Yes.
Fulguralis: What...ah... what are you doing?
Evil I: Observing.
...
Spaz and Felspaz, simultaneously: Creepy.
Midnight: Creepy.
Candi: Creepy.
Berry Blue: Creepy.
LoV: Creepy.
Fulguralis: Yeah, creepy.
Evil I: It's what I do.
...
Spaz: First!
*Things devolve back into screeching, barking, singing, and moaning.*
Fulguralis: Supremecy, huh? Bah! Shoulda went with Sacrifice...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Random Aside

1 comments
Life has gotten "Holy Crap" crazy and complicated for me lately. As such, my gaming focus may be somewhat blurred. Don't expect big things from this corner of the blogosphere, and you won't be disappointed. I still plan to write about random things (hopefully gaming related), but I guess I just wanted to say: Beware Incoming Erratic Posting Behavior. No ETA yet on when the skies might clear.

Today's post is brought to you by anyone who has ever said "Well, X number of people can't be wrong."

I saw that today, in relation to a game. I forget exactly where (see aforementioned crazy/complicated disclaimer). Might have been about GW2 or TSW or WTFBBQ. All equally likely.

Whatever the case, it went something like, "Well 60,000 people can't be wrong, so obviously this game must be great." Maybe I'm completely making up this sentence, since I'm not sure where the 60k number comes from. Maybe it was a commercial on the radio. What can I say, mentally disheveled blogger is... you know the rest.

In any case, it got me thinking. There's like 311,591,917 people in America (according to the US Census in July 2011, anyway). That means that what such a claim is really saying is that 0.01% of the population can't be wrong. And that's just for America (I may be mistakenly assuming that the 60k figure was referring to people in America. It doesn't really specify. Global would be much, much smaller).

I'm pretty sure 0.01% of people very much CAN be wrong. In fact, it's probably very likely that, given any decision ever, at least 0.01% of the decisions makers choose poorly. Even if it's something simple like, "Is murdering someone wrong?" I'm pretty sure I could round up 60k people in America that would totally agree with murder.

Just because a lot of people do something doesn't mean absolutely Jack or Squat about the inherent value of the product or event. Upon reflection, the whole "a bunch of people are doing it" marketing like maybe the stupidest since adding "50 Shades of..." in front of everything known to man.

Couldn't we just flip that on its head and say, well if only 60k are doing something then the other 311,531,917ish people are NOT doing that same thing. That's a lot of people not doing something. When you put it that way, it probably sucks, right?

It just doesn't make any sense.

I suppose I shouldn't search for some sort of deep truth in marketing statements, should I? It's pretty transparent what the point of the line is. It just struck me this morning is all, and I wanted to rant about it. Probably the ultimate lesson is this:

Don't ever do something solely because a whole bunch of other people are doing something.

Unless we're talking like running from a rampaging pack of bears riding jumping sharks and wielding sniper rifles. Then, yeah, probably a good idea to follow the crowd and get the F away. Especially if you see little red dots on everyone's foreheads. Just make sure you're not around a bunch of folks with bindis before jumping to an incorrect conclusion.

(Yeah, I didn't know that was what it was called, either.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

LoL - A Close Second

6 comments
If Morgana is my favorite champion, then Caitlyn has swiftly risen to a close second. She is completely win in almost every way. I even dig that she's not completely over-the-top sexy like most of the other female characters. In a League dominated by impressive cleavage, she's very sheriff-next-door.

The sound of her crazy steam-punk sniper rifle is completely satisfying. I feel like a badass killing minions. Boom, headshot. Perfect.

As I approach 30, it seems to me that the way to go, at least for a newbie summoner (and I consider anyone still trying to hit 30 for the firs time a "newbie"), is to find two playstyles you're comfortable with and the build accordingly. For instance, I've tried many champions at this point, and have decided that melee life is just not for me. I'm terrible on it. I become a feeder. It doesn't matter if it's AP, AD, or tank. I need range.

Are there any true ranged tanks in LoL? If so, I've not found them yet. Morgana seems to come pretty close. I can build her so that she's a good instigator and can take a beating. The higher I get, the more important it is to have at least one tanky character. Late team play gets really tough without them.

With my proclivity toward ranged, this pretty much leaves me with AP carry, AD carry, or adopting a support role. I wanted, then, to become proficient with both an AP and AD champion. I like to think I'm generally carry, but the truth is I probably play support most of the time. There's always That Guy on your random team that thinks he's the greatest. I've found that it's far more productive to support him, bail his ass out, and make sure he becomes the true Power Overwhelming that he is in his mind. (I'm using the male pronoun, but it could be a she or it as well. Just roll with the stereotype, please.)

I should mention that That Guy isn't always wrong. I'm not saying that it's always a made up awesomeness. I've run into some players that really knew how to carry a team, and I'm happy to tack on assists to their kill count. Needless to say, I don't much subscribe to the complaining about "KS" magazine. I'm just find with having 20+ assists and less than five deaths.

My AP "slot" has been inhabited by Morgana for some time now. She's my "go-to," especially when no one steps up to take mid. I can provide a solid mid player. In an effort to improve my flexibility, I wanted to learn a solid AD ranged champion, and be able to support a tank in a lane (or another carry). It had been open tryouts for some time.

Miss Fortune filled the slot first. However, her skill set leaves something to be desired as far as I'm concerned. She seems to have very little in terms of escape. I die a lot more than I'd like to on her, and end up feeling like a glorified turret. There's just not a whole lot of nuance to be had, at least as far as my newbie opinion is concerned.

Caitlyn was free this week, so I decided to give her a go. I'd certainly been killed enough by the sniper shot of doom that I was curious. She did not disappoint. In her skill set, I find everything that I'd lacked with MF. Traps to help others escape and annoy. A blow back to take me quickly out of range. And a deadly finishing move to finish off the runners. I have to say, playing Cait feels glorious.

I'm not great yet, not nearly as smooth as I am with Morgana, but I think I'm swiftly improving. I'm using both of my mastery pages to support these two champions. One AD carry build, one AP carry build. I've only really got the runes for my AP carry page (and even that is a work in progress), but using that isn't completely awful for Caitlyn. I still feel effective (and, perhaps more important, am a real bitch to kill).

I've developed what I think is the "key" to LoL victory. Nothing groundbreaking, I assure you, but I've found that most teams can weather a bad or learning player, so long as that player keeps their deaths low. I don't always have to play stellar to contribute. I just have to not feed. Feeding is really the cardinal sin, even if you balance it with an equal number of kills. You need to strive to be positive, or at least keep the numbers low in order to not hurt your teammates. I'm very good at keeping the numbers low.

Once I get a better feel for the nuances of Cait, I could see where she could be a very frustrating opponent. I'm learning to use traps better, to use the blowback to leap hedges (in a single bound), and trying to improve on gauging the strength of my ultimate so that I can get enemies low enough before they try to run away (there's an art there). In the mean time, I'm keeping my numbers low (and contributing to victories).

Oh, and did I mention the sniper sounds? Yeah, the Sheriff of Piltover is just plain fun.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Baby Locksteps

2 comments
One small step for Warlocks, one giant leap for Warlock kind? The ODB-Butt posted the other day about a baby warlock he rolled. The article is noteworthy not (only) for its interesting wordiness, but for the first-hand experience of leveling a Warlock since they've changed things on us. If you're a Warlock keeping up with anything Cynwise has written, you're probably aware of his deep-dive into the unpopularity of the Warlock class. One of the most-substantiated (and agreed-upon) reasons for a lack of 'locks was the unpleasantness of early leveling. It sounds to me that Blizz may have improved upon it. And not only improved, but perhaps... shattered the soul of the problem?

Awful, I know. Oh well. That's all I've got for you today.

(Also, since I used a bit of parody: RIP Mr. Armstrong.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Hack at New Rotation

11 comments
I dug into my revamped spellbook this weekend. I amused myself by listing the items that jumped out to me as changes. Then I took inventory of my bars, tweaked a few things, and practiced what I came up with on a dummy. I was on a level 80 dummy and recount said I was doing like 20k DPS. I'm not sure how that compares to what I was doing before the patch. I think it seems about the same, but I was hardly employing the scientific method.

Here's that list, in no particular order:
  • They made Dark Intent into a raid-wide buff. No more decisions. Darn. I rather liked being able to exclude people. Felt very warlocky. This is still probably a good thing, though.
  • CotE - Soulburn for AoE. Whatever.
  • Dark Soul - This looks new. Basically a trinket pop, short term buff.
  • Fel Fire - Changed to refresh two spells now, Corr and UA. Does this make it worth it? Seems to be a lot closer now... the button presses (GCDs) appear to equal out now.
  • Life Tap - Now absorbs healing? So, you can't hurt yourself. Another thing that is somewhat less warlocky, but oh well. 
  • Unending Resolve - This is new. Something it would be nice to have on hand, it seems. Situational.
  • Soul Shatter now uses health instead of a shard.
  • Our shards are basically just for Haunt. Meh.
I pulled out Shivarra, buffed up, and hit on the dummy. No, not her. The stuffed dude. On the stick.

My rotation ended up like this:
  1. Corruption
  2. Agony
  3. Unstable Affliction
  4. Haunt
  5. Malefic Grasp as filler.
I tried to keep Haunt going as much as my shards would allow. I was much less than 100% up time. Didn't get shards as fast as I needed. That's pretty annoying.

I would switch to Drain Soul (instead of MG), but the dummy's health didn't get low. They don't really do that.

Otherwise, it was pretty much that simple. Unlike Cynwise, I really didn't feel the need to blow away all of my buttons and start fresh. In fact, most of them still worked just fine (they transferred well). My basic UI strategy involves double using numeric keys with macros. That is, I don't do a whole lot of complicated stuff. I simply set things up so that holding "alt" brings up a second set of spells. That was, all the important parts of my spellbook are right there. I think the simple approach worked in my favor with the changes.

Overall, it wasn't too bad. It felt fast, and I was a bit clumsy. I used FF to refresh Corr and UA. Not sure if that's the best way, but I'm not sure why it wouldn't be. If the GCDs are indeed equal now, you're just adding a direct damage component to your refreshing, right?

I'm sure there were things I'm missing, but I think I caught the basics. I know that Demo and Destro seemed to have gotten a lot of the "cool new" stuff. I'm anxious to try them as well, but Affliction had to be the first cut. I should have queued up for some things, but didn't really get the chance. I'm hoping to sneak back into a raid group as a sub or something. We'll see how that goes. Until then, it's just me and the dummy. Oh, and that guy on the stick.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Real Observation

8 comments
I was able to log in last night. Happy day. Of course, as expected, my UI was a mess. I also didn't really have a lot of time, so my goal wasn't to actually do anything. Instead, I was just logging in to spend some talent points, get a brief glimpse of the new game, and ogle spell effects.

I took a screenshot of what I did with my spec, then promptly forgot I did it. It's strange in that I find myself echoing the sentiment I've seen expressed elsewhere. Namely, the choices don't really matter... but they do. They do but they don't. It's hard to explain.

Since you only have 5 choices these days, I suppose a list will suffice. Shiny pictures are more interesting, to be sure, but I forgot mine at home. Also, the felhunter ate. He was pissed when I summoned a big eyeball in his place. Here's what I did, with some thoughts:
  • Harvest Life - Because AoE is cool. I may not use this in PvE, and end up switching. Not sure yet. Just couldn't resist the shiny.
  • Shadowfury - I've always wanted a stun on my aff'lock. I've gotten used to not having Howl of Terror, so I don't really feel like I'm giving anything up.
  • Soul Link - I want to share my misery with my pet, not take it all out on him. Some misery keeps me on my toes.
  • Burning Rush - Because it's fun and feels Warlocky.
  • Grimoire of Supremecy - This is the only that gives you the big floating eyeball pet, right? If I plan to use my demon, it made sense to buff it. It might be statistically wrong.
That's all. I'm not sure how much these choices matter yet, but it's what I'm starting with.

I glyphed, too. Just did it with what I had. There may be some new glyphs I need to get. I think I ended up like this:
  • Major: Soul Swap - I like swapping dots, so I kept this one.
  • Major: Life Tap - I was curious to see how this works. Haven't really tried it yet.
  • Major: Siphon Life - Gotta have the self heal component, or it's just not Warlocky.
  • Minor: Verdant Spheres - Green balls > Purple Shards. Plus I like vampires.
  • Minor: Soulwell - Green glowing? What's not to like (well maybe a useful effect, but w/e)
  • Minor: Eye of Kilrogg - Coolest change ever! More on this in a second.
Okay, I did most of this from memory (and can't check resources sites at work), so forgive me if I wrote something dumb. It's probably a mistake. Comment and I'll fix it when I get a chance. Also, at some point I'll make a proper guide (updating the old ones), but it'll probably be old hat by then. I always do the guides for myself (that is, I like having things to refer to, and typing it out helps me learn it). If you find your awesomeness elsewhere, I'm not offended. I realize slow blogger is slow.

I wanted to highlight the Eye of Kilrogg change today because it just may be the coolest change ever. In my super in depth skimming, I did not see this change pointed out very clearly. Maybe others have missed it like I did. It's also not all that useful for damage... but oh, the possibilities.

The change is the very last sentence of the tooltip. It lets you know that you can now use your Eye of Kilrogg to drop your demonic circle. I felt the urge to immediately test this. My character was standing next to one of the castle turrets in Stormwind. I summoned the eye (which can fly, thanks to the glyph), and sent it up on the level above. Then I dropped my circle, returned to my body, and ZAP... ported up to the turret.

There have got to be like a bajillion ways to take advantage of this new (admittedly minor) change. If nothing else, it's going to be fun to play around with. Now, I know, it has limitations, so you probably won't be able to actually do anything that "matters," but the concept of sending my eye into a bedroom in an inn, standing on the other side, and then porting through the felling wall... that appeals to me.

Sure, I could have just walked around. But it's the principle of the thing! I'm sure cleverer folks than I will come up with some completely awesome uses. We'll see. I just thought it was worth pointing out.

(Side note - I really would like to use this to sneak up on someone. "Oh, look, there's an eye--BAM Warlock. Oh noes!" /cackle. I probably need to macro so that I teleport away. /strokeschin.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WoW Patch Report - TL;DP

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That stands for "Too Long; Didn't Play," and is an accurate representation of how my patch day went. Not only that, but the massive download drove my League of Legends ping through the roof. Even on a separate computer. Apparently the download is a bandwidth hog.

So I turned off the updater when I was at the computer playing LoL. I brought it back up on both computers before I went to bed, and let 'em work through the night. Everything appears to have downloaded properly, so tonight I'm hoping I can jump on for a bit. We'll see because I also have a fantasy football draft tonight.

Aside: Here's a different between gamers and fantasy sports folks. When logging into our live draft, apparently the live draft servers were all down. The error that pops up (our league is hosted by Yahoo), claims that you may have a firewall issue. But as a gamer, I know better. We develop a second sense for server weakness, am I right?

Sure enough, the forums explode with traffic. "I don't use a firewall, what's the dillio?" Etc, etc. Fantasy sports folks immediately get defensive. I.E. - "I swear, I didn't do anything. Just tell me what buttons to press and I'll do it." It's like a masked bandit is holding their loved ones ransom. Or maybe they're the lone civilian trying to disarm a bomb over the phone.

Gamers immediately get offensive. Like we think we're John Rambo or something I.E. - "Wtf, devs. Get your shit together. It's launch day motha-" And then we dress up in our best Call of Duty cosplay and take angry pictures with giant images of the devs photoshopped in.

(Okay, I've never done that, but I'll bet someone has.)

Stupid live draft servers. It ended up auto-drafting for everyone, which pissed everyone off. So we blew up the league, formed a new one, and rescheduled our draft for tonight. Here's hoping the servers will work this time.

So yeah, we'll see how tonight goes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LoL - Almost Twenty

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Ima write about League of Legends today. Because, you know, there's nothing big happening in WoW or anything. It's not like there's some giant patch of doom dropping today that will completely change the way I play my class. Not at all. I'm completely not going to talk about that.

"Talk about what?" you might ask. "Exactly," I reply.

(In all fairness, I imagine we'll all be sick of WoW stuff by the end of the week. Once I get some game time, I'll be jumping on that bandwagon... but I'm already behind.)

It's been a bit since I've talked about LoL. I'm approaching level 20 right now. I'm not sure if that's a milestone, other than being another 10 levels closer to 30. 30, of course, being max and when you can play ranked stuffs.

I actually streamed some of the professional circuit games over the weekend. It was pretty interesting. I thought they did a good job with the coverage. It was nerdy, but not silly. To me, that means "good." I think there's always a danger of pro-gaming coverage jumping the shark, so to speak. It can get pretty crazy, and every game has special lingo. The coverage for LoL was layman enough that a newb like me could understand. Plus, as a player, the discussion and strategy was interesting. I didn't watch for a long time (I had games of my own to play, mind you), but the bit I did consume was pleasant. I suppose you could say this is unexpected. I don't have a whole lot of experience watching pro-gaming.

The coverage whetted my appetite for ranked matches. All of a sudden, I wanted to be 30 and playing "real" games. Then the game corrected my over-eagerness. My random team was steamrolled by the opposition. One of those crushing games where you contemplate returning to the safer AI pastures (only for a moment, though).

I think that I've become pretty deadly with Morgana. Also, I feel pretty competent in the solo-mid slot. There are a few champs that counter my play well, but otherwise I feel in control. I've been trying, then, to branch out. I've been attempting to play more on Miss Fortune, getting used to the AD play style. Sometimes I'm still sent mid, but generally I end up in a lane with someone. This is good for me to learn as well.

On any given night, my rotation sort of works like this. Morgana first. If we get a win, I queue up as MF next. I get a win on her, I try one of the free champs. Lately, that has been Twisted Fate. TF has a completely fun play style, but I don't feel very effective on him. Great if you consider me support. Poor if you're looking for me to carry.

Is is odd that I enjoy playing the support role? I'm more than happy to let someone else carry and rack up the assists. Don't know why, just find it more fun. I'm getting pretty good at initiating a battle and letting others clean up.

I still fail at melee, have no idea how to jungle, and think the Dominion map gives me the shakes (it's so much faster!). In short, I'm definitely still a newb.

I was reminded of that last night, when some fellow who claimed to be smurfing (playing an alternate, low level summoner in order to "wreck noobs," as he put it), proceeded to rant at all of us for how awful we were. He (I'm assuming male, consider me biased) was actually playing TF, so from experience I knew that he wasn't exactly exhibiting all-pro game play. In fact, the only thing he seemed to be excelling at was feeding the opposing team.

I do this thing in PvP; it's very "zen" of me. Basically, when someone calls me a newb, I completely cop to it. I say something along the lines of, "Yes, I am new to this game. What would you rather I do?" Generally, I get the exceedingly helpful, "Not suck" back. Or some variation thereof. It doesn't really bother me. Sort of like when they move to the next line of verbal sparring... calling me a "fag."

Now, I'm not gay, but I have some good friends who are. They rank among the best folk I've had the fortune to meet in this life. Several of them, y'all could probably meet and have no idea they are gay. I know that's shocking... you can't always count on a lisp or assless rainbow chaps. Darn. Point being, when someone calls me gay, I don't really see it as a bad thing. Or, rather, I've certainly be called worse (or maybe, more accurately for me, I'm not always called better). I have a wife. I don't need to prove my sexuality to anyone else, and trust me, she's well aware of how I roll. In fact, she'd probably prefer I "roll" a little less often.

So, generally I just accept the gay remark. I may even go along with it. Why not? Anyone that truly cares to know about me already does. I'm not exactly hiding here on my very public blog(s). I don't care what Nerdrage Smurf thinks in his infinite wisdom.  So, usually, I shoot for measured and rational responses to the rage. I know it's pointless, but it amuses me.

Like last night, when I said, "Well, if you're going to go slumming, you shouldn't be surprised to catch the clap."

He didn't get it, high ELO rating be damned.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pre Patch Shout Out

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I'm going to talk some more about the impending patch today. I know I'm being a bit of a hypocrite, seeing as how I so recently indicated my intention to wait until after the patch. Still, I feel a bit of a responsibility to all the single warlocks (all the single warlocks) out there. Also, if you like it then you should have put a shard on it. Just sayin'.

I've just got two quick links for you today from 'locks who are more proactive than I. Good articles, worth at least a skim. Nothing I think ruins the post-patch day exploration novelty.

First is from Saga again at Spellbound. This is a great visual post, detailing the spell effects that have been changed. I'm still going to "ooh" and "aah" when I first see these in-game. Seeing them in a screenshot just whetted my appetite.

I can't help but be a bit disappointed that the Demo and Destro resource effects are so cool, and all Affliction gets is some floaties over our heads? Am I reading that wrong? I want glowy hands or to be felling set on fire. Hopefully, in-game our balls will be more impressive on display. I mean, shards. Shards.

The second post is from Amijade at Warlockery. Here you can find a few great tips to surviving patch day. Like Amijade, I've been through several expansions now (starting of in TBC as well), so I can vouch for the tips. I think the most important thing to remember is that things will change. We've yet to see an expansion that hasn't produced a myriad of hotfixes and post-patches to re-balance some things. Despite extensive testing, there is nothing like running software through the ringer of live gameplay. Don't fall in love with any one item right away.

Otherwise, have fun. Change can be fun, and things will stabilize soon enough. Enjoy the flux while it happens.

(Hopefully we'll get a few days of being OP. Then again, avoiding the nerf bat is an equally laudable goal, methinks.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Big Patch

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It's Friday, thank the Light. This week has been arduous to say the least. I'm sure, like me, you're anxious to kick off your weekend. I won't keep you long, just a few quick thoughts to throw in that empty lunch pail.

There's a big patch coming. I've done zero preparation for it. None. Exactly like the amount of sex allowed in the Champagne Room. So I really have no advice to offer.

That's not true. Here's something. Wanna do something crazy? Go into a giant patch blind.

It could be beneficial. You'll have to figure stuff out on your own. You will form your own, unbiased opinions. THEN take to the webz. See what you got wrong, what you nailed. That's what I plan to do next week.

That's also why I tagged a recent 'locky post by Saga. It appears, via quick surface skim, that this is a great summary of the Warlock changes. I'm tagging it here with plans to revisit it once I've had my own experiences. If you simply can't wait (maybe you need to be ready for a raid or something), I'd recommend checking it out.

In other, unrelated news, I've still been playing a lot of LoL. I'm pretty deadly on Morgana, and I've been working on Miss Fortune to round out my skills. My mindset is better suited for ranged champions (I'll work on melee at some point), so I wanted to have a solid AP and AD champion that I was comfortable with. The higher you get in level, the more important a balanced team seems to be.

I also got the chance to play a bit on Twisted Fate. I'll be honest, his similarity to Gambit drew me in. I was not disappointed. He doesn't have the same creole accident, but he is a lot of fun. Pretty challenging, too. I'm tempted to buy him, but really I should be saving my IP. At least, I think I should.

Friday is almost over! Here's hoping to a fun, lazy weekend before the Big Patch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Will Be Left?

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Short post today. I have a few ill-formed thoughts to get off my chest. They're responses to recent reading, in general. That is to say, this stuff is everywhere. No one particular article is causing this reaction. In fact, I suspect it is in the deluge itself that we will find my spark of motivation.

I can't help but read yet another article about what to expect in MoP without asking: "What will be left?" I've been doing this blogging thing for a good handful of years now. I started in TBC. This will be my, what, third expansion? Yeah, that sounds about right. And I swear that I've never seen such extensive pre-expansion coverage.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I'm not saying it's a particularly good thing, either. I've always refused to blog about things that might happen, preferring instead to apply my brain only when something makes it live. Again, I'm not saying this is the right way to be, it's just how I've been. It's hard for me to get amped about "maybes." My heart has been broken by devs too often in the past. I'm a cautious lover.

Again, I ask, "What will be left?" When I break my self-imposed silence? When I'm ready to dig in? When I find the familiar comfort of commitment?

The answer, staring back at me in each of these pre-x-pac articles, is nothing. It will all have been covered. No stone unturned, as they say.

Especially warlocks. There are some wonderful new bloggers. The coverage is much, much better than when I showed up in TBC (or at least it seems that way... maybe I've just learned where to look). What's more, warlocks have been so starved for changes to discuss over the last expansion, they can't help but devour all of the new information. We've had nothing to talk about for so long. Is it any wonder there will only be rehashing left when the changes go live?

I don't think it'll stop me from rehashing. In fact, I'll probably pretend like it's all new to me because, honestly, it is. Not only do I not write about potential changes, I don't really read about them as well. I skim. I get the general idea, but I don't let it close to my heart. If I seem clueless when this stuff drops, it's probably because I am.

In other, semi-related news, I liked the cinematic. There has been a lot of criticism leveled at it, but I think it was perfect. Very "Orcs and Humans," which I think is a promising direction in which to head. Oh yeah, and toss in a panda.

Sure, I wouldn't have minded a dragon-elf-in-metal-bikini tease. Or maybe even some Jaina Proudmoore tears face time. Perhaps it's misogynistic of me (or maybe I've been reading too much Rivs), but women generally make things more fun. Take that as you will.

I find myself a bit glad they didn't try to go with some big baddy. I know it makes for a more focused expansion when you have a meanie to fix in your sights. Personally, I thought Deathwing fell flat because the Lich King was such a great villain. Sure, I mean, Deathwing was cool... but how do you top Arthas? If you're a fan of Warcraft (in general, not just WoW), the LK was the ultimate bad guy. Blizz can pull old gods out of hat, spawn a flight of evil dragons, take us to a cosmic alternate realm of demons... it won't top the LK. Arthas was one of us. Anything else is just impersonal.

Maybe if Jaina went evil now and we could kill her...

Monday, August 20, 2012

GenCon 2012 Report

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The end of last week was gloriously busy. I say glorious because it was not due to work, or any other lame time sink. Nay, this was-eth GenCon! We had a blast submersing ourselves in nerd culture for four days. (At what other point will you witness Batman chasing Bane through a local eatery and no one bats an eye?(HA BAT, GET IT?!))

I don't have a lot of time today, as I'm catching up on all the work I missed (I wouldn't say I missed it, Bob), so I just wanted to pass along a quick list of the games I tried for the first time this weekend, and my thoughts on each. I know, I know... these are board games or card games, not video games. Sue me. (Some of you will probably be like: "How have you never played that?!)

Here's the list:
  • Puerto Rico - This is a resource game. Lots of little pieces. It also employs, ahem, "brown colonists" to staff your plantations. The game is apparently translated from German and strives for some semblance of historical accuracy. It was a blast to play, even if not exactly PC. (Really, who cares? There are certainly worse games out there.)
  • Cards Against Humanity - (... like this one. Nothing PC here.) In case you couldn't tell by the title, this is a card game. It's great party game, and I was doubly interested in trying it out once I learned it was indie-published using Kickstarter to raise the seed money. An awesome idea, rendered beautifully into an extremely playable card game. Grab a beer and some close friends (and probably play this one in a dungeon, because boy did we get some weird looks out in public.)
  • Settlers of Catan - Can you believe I've never played this game? Yeah, I couldn't, either. It's always been described to me as sort of the gateway drug to more complex board gaming. For you Catan virgins (like I used to be), this is another resource/building game. Pretty basic. You get resources based on rolls, use them to build things to get more resources, and shoot for victory points in order to end the game.
  • True Dungeon (the Lich one) - This isn't a card or board game. Rather, this is D&D brought to life. A life-sized dungeon. (Don't worry, there's no larping here, just regular D&D style gameplay with props and actors.) I really wish there was a year-round True Dungeon. This is a great idea... I just wish I could go regularly with a gaming group, and maybe be less rushed. Maybe I should start a Kickstarter for seed money to buy an old house in the Indy area and turn it into a permanent True Dungeon...
  • Dominion - Okay, so I've played this card game before. A lot. We typically play it twice a week during lunch. Still, it bears mentioning because our local card-owner picked up the next expansion. I forget what it was called. We played today with the pretty new base set, though. I love this game. A great deck-building style game... without all of the deck building. That is, you don't need to buy mini-packs to make this game work. You simply pick ten stacks of cards from the sets you own, and off you go! Great, great game.
That was about it. I know, and inauspicious number when listed out like that. We spent a whole bunch of time doing things like eating, walking the vendor hall, eating, attending Brandon Sanderson events, eating, checking out costumes, and eating. Also, we spent some time eating. (Also, drinking was involved.) I'm sure I tried a whole bunch of other games that I don't remember. We looked in on a lot of games, too. Watching other people play is more fun than you'd think.

Anyway, gotta run. Back to the real world and all that. Any other GenConners find a new game they'd like to mention?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GenCon 2012!

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I don't get to go to many cons. When my money tree finally bears fruit and I no longer have to uphold this farce I refer to as the Day Job, I would like to attend more cons. I think I've mentioned before my shame at not ever being able to attend Blizzcon. It would be really awesome to attend one of the WoW-blogger meetups and put faces to names that I've long admired and read. Sadly, Blizzcon falls right in the middle of football season, and as a coach, I simply cannot get away.

Fortunately, there is one con close to home for me: GenCon Indy. And it is this weekend! Fuu and I live just north of Indy, and many of our RL friends congregate in Indy to celebrate and attend the con. For those who might not know, GenCon Indy is a gamer's convention. Tabletop gamers. Think many-sided die and evil DM's lurking behind that large cardstock divider (the one that has all the DM rules written on the side you cannot see, and hides all of the evil minion rolls).

It's a pretty awesome weekend. It has all the staples you might expect at a nerdy con. People dress up. There are vendor booths and special guests. Events spring up all over, and local eateries are swarmed by basement-dwelling masses, getting their only taste of sunlight for the year. (Okay, that last is a bit of a stereotype joke. Still, if my house had a basement, I would call it the dungeon and dwell appropriately. Also, the crowd is unique, especially if you're a local. It is, quite literally, a downtown Revenge of the Nerds. It's awesome how much the con has grown over the last several years alone.)

I mention this, obviously, because I figured some of you guys might be planning on attending. If you are, rest assured in the knowledge that I, too, will be there. I like to wear things with "Fulguralis" on them (I have a nice red Warcraft hat with my toon name on the back), so if you see me, don't hesitate to say hello. Also, feel free to DM me through Twitter (@Fulguralis or @MattHofferth - the second is my author/personal Twitter that I try to use more, but I lurk on both, and DMs will alert me) if you'd really like to find me. I'll be a bit all over the place, what with friends, events, and coaching. (I still have to go to practice in the afternoon, but I've taken some vacation time from the Day Job to attend stuff outside of practice.)

If you're hoping for random good fortune, we generally end up at the RAM around meal times. That place is nuts, though, so good luck. We also are likely to be playing some Dominion at some point, as well as any other games we can squeeze in. I'll try to tweet what's going on if anyone is interested. Likely it'll be on my @MattHofferth account, but I may try to do both. We'll see how it goes. (I know, I'm terrible at Twitter.)

Anyway, I just wanted to make this announcement. We're really excited about GenCon. It's a blast every year. I'm looking forward to attending all of Brandon Sanderson's events (he's the guest of honor this year!), participating in True Dungeon for the first time (previous years I couldn't get away from work during the day), and simply taking in the sights. It would icing on the cake if I got to meet fellow gamers (readers or bloggers, both are equally exciting).

Oh, another thing that might give us away. Fuu will probably be wearing her new brain-wave cat ears constantly. So, tall blond guy in a red hat with a short girl with moving cat ears. The funny part? We won't stick out. Not one bit.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What If: User Generated Content

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A while back, I was playing a D&D Facebook game. Something of the something... I forget what it was called. It was a neat game, free to play, and pretty true to the feel of a tabletop game (as far as that can go). My character hit max level after a couple months of faithful playing, and eventually I moved on to other games. Such is the way of things.

Today, one of the great ideas from the game sidled up a slapped me upside the head. The game featured a text-based story, little snippets popping up as you proceed from one room to the next in gridded dungeons. Each dungeon was basically an instance, and it had the typical Facebook Game convention of limited daily energy.

It wasn't to hard to progress through the main story, and you could increase the difficulty on subsequent runs. The mechanics were pretty simple, the stats well explained, and the itemization easy for any respectably RPG gamer to understand. In short, it was a fun little game. Well produced and presented.

Now, maybe I'm overselling this idea by calling it great. After all, I didn't personally partake much in it. To be honest, I don't really remember why I got out of the habit of playing every day. I just did.

The idea was "user created dungeons." Once you reached a certain level, a dungeon creator was open to you. You could access your own dungeon through a cute little trap door in your house. What's more, you could invite others to visit your dungeon as well.

What struck me today is why haven't we seen such a thing in an MMORPG? It was just a map creator, and map creators have been around forever. Heck, one could make the argument that the map creator was the true shining star in some of Blizzard's old Warcraft and Starcraft games. User created maps have spawned entire games for Fel's sake! (League of Legends anyone?)

Can you imagine if WoW came with a map creator? We complain all the time about lack of content, lack of challenge of content, or lack of novelty of the content. Well, Blizz could say, shut up and make your own!

I'm sure, at least for WoW, there's a huge amount of technical risk involved here. There are probably all kinds of things you could do to break the carefully balanced system or overload their servers. But what about for a game like Diablo or Guild Wars, where most of the dungeons are instanced? If Blizz can make custom maps play on Battle.net, surely they could make some kind of WoW portal that sent you to Crazy User Generated Dream Realm. Like the Emerald Dream, only not tied to reality.

In fact, they could make the entire thing a dream for you character. Loot, gold, experience gained in the dream could simply not travel with you when you wake up. No need to worry about someone creating a crazy overpowered gear dispensing machine. Or whatever the worry might be.

How much less would we complain between patches and expansions if we could mess around with our own content? There are a lot of really clever, really dedicated gamers out there. Sheer numbers alone says that someone would come up with something awesome that Blizz had never even considered. And if it took off? So what? More subs for you!

Several recent smash hit games have grown out of mods. Day Z and League of Legends are probably two of the more popular examples. Both ideas were born as user-generated content in other games. Sure, they've grown from there in something more or less unique (we could debate about derivative works here, but that's not really the point). More importantly, though, they're popular. People enjoy them. They are entertaining. And that's the whole point of making games: to entertain. It's also really the secret to retaining subscriptions or convincing people to pay in a F2P. We're obviously willing to pay for entertainment... so long as we're kept entertained.

Like I said, just an idea that hit me. I would enjoy tinkering around with dungeons in some of my favorite games. What's more, I would love to see what others come up with. I think a company that figures out how to do this may prove the next evolutionary step for the MMORPG. I've known some good DMs that could really knock a customized WoW dungeon out of the park. I mean, think about it. World of Warcraft PTQ!!

Blizz? Pencil this in for Titan? I've got more ideas. Hire me and they're all yours. Kthxbye.

Monday, August 6, 2012

LoL - Different Goals

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I've existed as one happy half of a functional gaming pair for some time now. That is to say, the wife and I are fortunate enough that "together time" can also equal "gaming time." We generally work well together, and have (hopefully) been a boon to every gaming group we've joined. She's the more social of the pair, I'm the planner/organizer. When we were guild officers, I like to think we proved and effective tandem.

But, as any gaming couple can attest, it isn't always double rainbows and Russian unicorns. Sometimes there are threats of couch sleeping. And pillow throwing. And copious swearing.

Such is the case with League of Legends. It has come to my attention that we likely play better when we are in separate lanes. If that, even. It may be best that we play separate games.

What's the problem? Well, after much, ahem, discussion, it seems that we have completely different goals for the game.

I'm competitive. It's probably borderline psychotic. Winning is a serious thing for me. I don't rage quit or throw a fit if I lose, but I do get a bit surly. I try to keep it in, but wives know. What I don't type in is written plainly on my face... and probably in the grumbles, too.

My wife is social. She plays to enjoy the company of fellow gamers. Winning or losing doesn't matter much to her. Winning is nice, but losing is not a big deal. And any insinuations that she should "try harder" or be more serious are basically personal insults.

So we come to blows. I've been digging into builds and gearing strategies. She's texting friends to join her. I'm trying to explain dynamic group battles. She's commenting on how pretty her character looks. We're on completely different pages.

LoL is a competitive game. As Vince Lombardi once said: "If winning wasn't everything, why do they keep score?" The main point of the game is to beat the opposing team.

Larger than LoL, though, is the fact that the game is online. Any online game has a social component. That is simply truth. The component may vary greatly from game to game, community to community, but it exists.

So what is the solution for us? Can we play LoL in harmony? We're coming from completely different sides of the equation. She views LoL as a fun distraction until the next game drops. I see it as a mountain to conquer.

We've not exactly figured it out yet. Maybe we shouldn't play together on this one. Our temporary fix is where I play some competitive games on my own, and then take a new champion for a test run with her, fully expecting to lose. It is imperfect, but I'm not sure there's a better solution, short of simply going our own way. And where's the fun in that?