Friday, April 30, 2010

Traveller's Guide to Molten Core

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Considering Cataclysm will change everything I thought it might be worth it to revisit good old Azeroth again, to snapshot some of the more memorable places. I'm hoping this will give anyone who's never seen the places a chance to experience them as well as give those who've been there a billion times to feel a nostalgic tingly feeling. So bench down while I show you my vacation photos like an annoying relative ;)

We'll start off in Molten Core. I am not sure if Blizzard will change/remove the old instances, in fact I think they won't. But I still think Molten Core is a good place to start out. A lot of people have spent alot of time here. It was the first raid ever implemented in WoW and so it has a special place here. Blizzard managed to design some extremely annoying and difficult boss fights, with mechanics that still make some people wake in the middle of the night screaming.
Huge rooms, filled with horrible mobs is a trademark for Molten CoreGulp, get ready for Gehennas. He uses a lovely curse which reduces healing done by 75%. Good thing we brought a druid! Two actually.
Just killed Garr. Time to kill Baron Geddon and Shazzrah. I remember in the old days you usually pulled Geddon with a hunter pet into the room where Garr was.
Golemagg down! He didn't have a chance.Sulfuron needs a wooping too. His adds heal constantly, but their heals didn't help them much here.We just convinced Majordomo Executus to turn to the good side. It will be his doom.Majordomo is summoning Ragnaros for us.And here he is! Ragnaros himself. He will now reign destruction upon our faces. This fight is actually quite epic, even at level 80.Ragnaros is no more! We cheered and then we got back to our daily business.

I don't know yet where I'll go for next time. If you have some special place you'd like to see documented this way, just say so!
EDIT (1/5): I'm going away over the weekend so won't have time to write anything until next week. See ya then!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What makes culture so important?

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Ouch, this is going to be a tough one to talk through. What do I mean by that anyway? I'm not sure actually. I thought I'd just rant on and see where it leads me. So bare with me while I twist around my own shoulder, and arguments, with this trail of thought. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to imply that culture isn't important. I'd even say it's crucial to human society. Would we be humans without culture? I don't think so.

It all started when I simply asked Love "what is culture good for anyway?". Why are famous people famous and what makes them "better" than anyone else? The reason for it was that we're going to a party this weekend and we bought Patti Smiths biography as a gift. I had heard her name before, but I can't say I knew anything about her. I didn't know if she wrote, or sang or whatever she was famous for. But apparently Patti Smith is very famous however, or at least she used to be. She is seen as a "very important culture figure". She has been a "great source of influence" for alot of people, according to wikipedia.com. But why does that make her so good?

I thought; "what makes someone an important culture figure anyway?". What have they contributed to society and the lives of people that make them deserve that fame and acknowledgement? As I asked about it I got to think about the painting someone had that turned out to be a Da Vinci painting. That meant that that painting was suddenly worth like a thousand times more, over night. But had the painting actually changed? No. It was the exact... same... painting. The quality didn't change, the motive didn't change. Nothing had changed. But someone else had painted it and suddenly it was... better.

Why is that? Why would the painting be better because Da Vinci had painted it? Why would someone pay more for a scribble by Patti Smith or any other famous person, than mine? Is this "fanboyism" that everyone, anyone, seems to show about objects originating from famous people, something that humans simply do? Just like little girls screaming when they find a poster of Backstreet Boys in some magazine, others scream when they find a painting made by some semi-famous person at an auction. We -all- have some item we'd find extremely cool to own, just because some famous person has done something to it.

This phenomena, and I admit I am speculating now, has to be exclusive for mankind. Or do apes, or any other animal, collect items from other famous apes? Do gorillas keep the itching-stick of some prominent silver back as a keep sake? Who knows, maybe. Although my guess would be no, only humans are that interested in something as abstract as "fame".

But what did fame have to do with culture? Well, science people rarely get famous, and yet they are the ones contributing with something "actual" to society. When they create something, or write about something, it's to change things, make us understand the world better and even maybe make it a better place (although I think that is quite secondary to most scientists, they're just curious people). But what do culture figures, the ones who become the really famous ones, actually contribute to society? Do they make the world a better place? Do they make us understand ourselves better? I must say that I suppose they do, but in a way that is very hard to measure. But why else would we take so much time with culture? Why else would it be so incredibly important to us that a painting can become a thousand times more valuable just because someone else painted it?

And not anyone gets famous. I suppose out of all the people trying, it's only those who really do something special, something we other people acknowledge as important enough, who become famous. Maybe they're not all groundbreaking, but groundbreaking enough for us to want to become a part of it. Maybe we hope their geniouses and innovation will rub off on us? "I was there". "I am special too". "I own a painting by Da Vinci so I am also important".

It doesn't really make any sense, and trying to figure it out here and now would be impossible. I am sure it has something to do with the fact that humans are incredibly social. Everything we do is affected by and affects people around us at all times. For some reason one bi-product of our extreme sociability has become the need for famous people. Or the need to be noticed and maybe we feel noticed through famous people. By being a small part of them we are famous too. But I have really no idea. It is quite an interesting phenomena though.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Intensity vs Dreamstate

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One of the few classes I haven't played very much is Boomkin (also sometimes known as Oomkin and even more rarely as Moonkin). I had to remedy that situation of course, so I respecced my 80 druid boomkin and also rerolled a little boomkin alt on another server. I usually think you need to do something properly to actually know something about it, and doing a class properly means leveling as one.

One of the first issues when becoming a boomkin is of course, what talents should I choose? My usual solution is to check out the talents of boomkins all around me. But this quickly turned out to be problematic, as they hadn't specced alike. And I figure that some talents might be better for heroics and some be better for raids. But then I noticed some had specced Dreamstate and some had specced Intensity (in the resto tree). So I thought I had to find out which one is better.

Fully talented they do the following;
Intensity - Allows 50% of your Mana regeneration to continue while casting and causes your Enrage ability to instantly generate 10 rage.
Dreamstate -
Regenerate mana equal to 10% of your Intellect every 5 sec, even while casting.

The following calculations are based on being fully talented into either talent for simplicity, although it is more common that one takes one or two into either.

First of all, Intensity and Dreamstate are affected by two different stats. Intensity is indirectly affected by spirit and Dreamstate is directly affected by intellect. I say indirectly since spirit gives "Mana regeneration" (intellect does affect this too however). According to wowwiki a thumbrule is that 1 spirit approximately (very roughly though) gives 1 mp5. That means 50% of your spirit will turn into mp5 while casting with intensity.

Just looking at it one would say that 50% of something does sound alot better than 10% of something. But we of course have to look at how big that "something" is in a boomkin. Considering Boomkins want alot of intellect anyway for +crit (which is good for Moonkin Form and Eclipse), the Lunar Guidance talent, and big manapools most boomkins actually run around with alot of intellect. But five times more than spirit? Let's see.

The best place to start looking is the boomkin tier 10 set, since that would be itemized with exactly the stats that Blizzard think a good boomkin should collect (this could be discussed however, it is widely known that Blizzard and number crunchers don't always agree). When looking at that set we quickly see that it holds no spirit. Zero, zip, nada. It does however hold a bunchload of intellect. Does this mean boomkins don't get any spirit in their gear? Hah, if only (I can hear some boomkins say). "Unfortunately" boomkins have to share alot of their gear with resto druids which usually has alot of spirit on it, which of course means in the end even boomkins get some amounts of spirit. As I wrote some months ago however, boomkins do tend to avoid spirit gear, because spirit doesn't actually bring anything for a boomkin (unless they spec Intensity). They even avoid it so much they look longingly at the way better itemized cloth gear and claim those items to be Best in Slot. Back then one of my theories was that they didn't want leather gear because it had spirit. Even resto druids happen to avoid spirit gear. Spirit has simply, after a alot of nerfing from Blizzard, turned into a not so good stat. Not for any class. And certainly not for a boomkin. EDIT: Well that's not completely true. With improved moonkin form, boomkins actually get 30% of their spirit turned into spellpower. Yet most boomkin gear has no spirit? So it seems that even with a talent like this boomkins are supposed to avoid spirit, and simply have some benefit from the spirit they no doubt will acquire.

But, since boomkins now do get spirit in their gear, whether they like it or not, they might as well take the bull by the horns and grab intensity, right? Well maybe. If you happen to have alot of spirit gear on you right now, it might be the wizer course of action. As long as you have less than three times the amount of intellect over spirit, Intensity might be the better choice. But speccing to use a stat that you're trying to avoid doesn't seem like a great solution in the long run. Boomkins do want alot of intellect and that means you should make that stat as profitable as possible. Unless you happen to be a resto druid just hobbying as boomkin (like me for the moment) I recommend against talenting Intensity and definitely go for Dreamstate. But best solution would be to keep an eye out and switch between these two to whichever is best with your current gear.
EDIT: Something I didn't think about at first, but as a raiding boomkin you'd also want to take replenish into consideration, which is based on manapool (aka intellect). The bigger the mana pool the better the replenish = the more intellect the more regen. But that's just a sidenote as that doesn't affect the talents. It just makes Intellect an even better stat.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Needing on lowbie gems

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I play alot of lowbie characters, which means I play alot of lowbie instances. Playing a lowbie instance pug is a very special thing. It's like russian roulette really. You can end up with a whole group of people who not only don't know anything about the game, but act like douches too. Love actually did SM GY with a player who thought he was extremely cool because he needed on everything. And sometimes you end up with people who not only try to do their best, but are really nice people at the same time! Happens rarely but it happens.

And that is one of the issues about pugging, some play by some rules and some play by others. Are there a set of rules that work better or seem more logical? This time I'd like to talk about lowbie gems such as Tigerseye, Malachite, Shadowgem, Lesser Moonstone and so on. All the gems that drop in vanilla instances. Because fact is that some people need on them and some people don't. And I don't mean need as in plain ninjaing, but for the excuse of being Jewelcrafters.

I did WC the other day and we had a player who needed on all the gems claiming this very thing - since he was an aspiring jewelcrafter (and he had even skilled some) he actually needed the gems. Some people in the group agreed with him and some people didn't. So I thought, was he right or wrong to need the gems for that reason?

These gems where around since before jewelcrafting came around as a profession. That means that in the old days, there was no actual profession to use gems much, and so people generally agreed that since no one really used them properly, or more than anyone else, no one should need on them. This has lived on until today, but now we have jewelcrafting, a profession Blizzard put in to make use of all those gems... right?

That was what I initially thought anyway. On later skill levels you don't do much else than cut gems as jewelcrafter, but is that really so on the low skill levels? Gems don't actually drop anymore at level 60+, so above that level this issue vanishes anyway. I started to investigate.

It turns out that when searching on what you can craft with lowbie gems, you won't get an overabundance of jewelcrafting crafts. You'll actually find about as many, and sometimes more, engineering and blacksmithing crafts (and some leatherworkers and tailorers too). Doesn't that mean that blacksmithers and engineers should need on those gems? Aren't we like back to square pre-jewelcrafting then?

By the glance of it I'd say yes, but when looking more closely, that doesn't really have to be so. The bs, lw, tailoring and engi crafts that need gems (of any level) are generally tiresome and worthless. They take way more time and money to do than they're good for. This is not the fact with JC, which actually can craft some really nice items with gems. This means that any other crafter could use, but wouldn't use gems to actually craft something. But the question is if that really matters? The other crafters -can- use the gems, just as much as JC's. So shouldn't they have equal right to need on the gems? And with that many needers, can't we all just greed on them like we've been doing all this time? And besides, JC's can get their resource just like any other crafter, by gathering. Mining and prospecting in their case.

One last aspect comes into this calculation - how much do the professions have to use the gems to skill? Because of the fact that you can only craft expensive and mostly worthless items with gems if you're a bs, lw, tailor or engi, they usually actually avoid these crafts when skilling. Is this true for JC's as well? Well actually, JC's use gems quite alot to skill, which yet again probably has to do with that they don't only craft shiny crap from the gems, like the other professions. Note that they don't have to use alot of gems to skill, but it definitely helps. And they craft such pretty things which they later on can overprize on the AH for you to be devastated about when trying to find a decent neck on your lowbie alt...

In any case, to wrap it up. Do I think that JC's should be able to need on the lowbie gems that drop? Yes, up to a certain level it's definitely ok. The low leveled gems such as Tigerseyes, Malachites and the like are worth so little money that leaving them to up and coming jewelcrafters isn't too much to ask for (and skilling JC is really quite expensive). Later on the gems will be so much worth (about 10g a piece for Jades and such) that I'm not so sure that I think it's ok anymore. Like I said they don't really need the gems to skill, not much anyway, and there is no way to control the fact that they actually use them and not only sell them on AH themselves. Not much of a conclusion perhaps, "it's ok a little but not too much". But that is still the answer I have to give. JC's use gems more than any other crafter, but not exclusively. Considering the fact that they can gather gems for themselves, just as any other crafter has to do, I don't really feel they deserve or need any special cosseting. I'll give them a little niceness, but not much more than that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Good Bad Items - Tank trinkets

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We're looking at some trinkets yet again for this post about gear that are rough diamonds. Items that look bad on the outside, but really are quite decent and even awesome on the inside.

Just as with other classes, finding good trinkets as a tank can prove to be a challenge. Fear not, there are some out there waiting for ya that aren't too shabby and just the perfect trinkets to start out with. I was thinking about saving this post for my tanking guide but it deserves some extra space.

The trinkets I've got in mind are two stamina trinkets. And we all know stamina is like the most important stat a tank can get their hands on at level 80. This is especially true for a newly dinged tank since you need to gather enough stamina to be able to do some heroics (the only thing more important would be getting crit capped, which is 535 defense by the way). The trouble is that alot of really nice trinkets are only available through raiding. Something you won't be able to do with at least some decent trinkets already on you. It could easily turn into a moment 22, if it weren't for these two trinkets - Essence of Gossamer and The Black Heart. There are some trinkets to obtain through emblems, but they aren't all that unfortunately. The emblem of triumph trinket Glyph of Indomitability gives dodge and armor, and usually people prefer stamina over avoidance, at least up to a certain point. A point you most certainly won't have reached as newly dinged or even way into ICC gear. The same goes with the emblem of heroism trinket Valor Medal of the First War. Just alot of avoidance and no stamina. The reason people prefer stamina over avoidance is that it protects against any type of damage, not just physical. Furthermore, the dodge is on use on both trinkets (and a little on equip on the Valor Medal) which means to get the most out of it you should macro it to some skill. Some people say the Glyph is better than the Essence of Gossamer, but I'd say it depends on your overall hp. If you already have huge amounts of hp, and one rarely does, the Glyph might be better. Until then, stack stamina.

These two trinkets are definitely worth getting, considering how easy they are to get (unless you're extremely unlucky with droprates of course). Essence of Gossamer drops from heroic Hadronox in Azjol-Nerub, which of course means you've only got one try per day (well with the new lfg system you could be lucky enough to get it several times). The Black Heart drops in normal mode ToC from the Black Knight, which means you can run it as many times as needed till you get it (and pray no doofys dps needs on it).

I see tanks in ICC raids with these trinkets alot of times, especially the Black Heart (both my protadin and prot warrior still has it for instance, and they've both tanked until Putricide. Our MT when we killed Lich King had it too!). Both my protadin and prot warrior has switched Essence of the Gossamer to Corroded Skeleton Key (moar stamina!), and you should too once you get enough frost emblems. But until then these two trinkets are two easy-to-get and great trinkets to start a tanking career with, and actually the only stamina trinkets to get before the frost emblem one, outside a raid setting.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to become the bestest dpser

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About half a year ago me and Love wrote a little guide as to how to become a better dpser. This is because we constantly come into contact with people who are good players, but just don't get their dps all the way. They asked themselves "what am I doing wrong?". And when they couldn't think of an answer they turned to people around them. The answer, from me and Love anyway, was this guide. Some things might sounds obvious, and if you are a good dpser they are obvious. These tips are meant for anyone who's thinking "why isn't my dps as good as it should be?".

Know your skills
As soon as someone tells you that your class needs a certain stat or has to use a certain rotation you have to find out why (and there are alot of sites out there telling you how to play your class the best way, google it and look them up!). Why are those stats the best and why is that rotation the best? Why should you use some skills and not others? In what way are your skills interacting with eachother? The more you know about your skills, the more you'll be able to adapt them to new situations and come up with new solutions by yourself. One of the biggest mistakes I see people do is using the same rotation and same skills no matter what situation they come into. That is rarely the best thing to do (remember all this depends on your class of course). Or gemming "just because internets said it was the best". Know your skills like the back of your hand and now why some stats are better than others.
Remember that a rotation should be seen as a starting point, which needs to be adapted depending on the situatuon.
Think about - Why do I start with this skill? And why this next? Which skills work best with this and that debuff and why? What skills have the highest sustained vs highest burst dps? How much extra damage do I gain from placing this debuff first and is it worth the time it takes? And so on...

Plan ahead
I use the word "plan" very lightly here. Optimally any "planning" should really come naturally. Sort of like when driving a car or anything like it. When doing a turn you "plan" to slow down, switch gears and so on (I don't have a drivers license so I don't really know :P). The same goes with dps, you must know what the next step should be at all times, preferably without having to think about it at all of course. The more time you spend thinking about your moves, the more time you waste not doing dps!

Look at your surroundings. Chances are big you've already fought the mob you're fighting a hundred times before. You should know exactly how much damage it can take before it dies and if it has any nasty skills you need to keep in mind.
When the tank has engaged the mobs you should've already evaluated the following;
- How many mobs are there? Aoe or single target dps?
- How much damage can the mobs take? Take the mobs time to live into calculation. This is crucial for good dps, since a mob that dies very fast won't be worth casting long term spells on.
- What kind of skill do the mobs have? If you have several targets and one of them lowers your dps by skills such as spell reflect or high avoidance, it might be worth switching to another target.

Tempo Tempo!
Nothing annoys me so much as seeing people take breaks between their attacking. I'm not sure if they have to go ask mum if it's ok to attack the second mob too or what they're doing, but it sure as heck aint helping their damage. As soon as the first mob is down, preferably even before that, you should know what to do to the second target, and do it!
If you're uncertain what the next best move is, do something while you're thinking. Even if what you're doing isn't the best choice, it certainly is better than doing nothing. This is especially true if you're a caster since you don't do any damage while not casting (unless you're an affliction lock). Melee classes can at least auto swing some while thinking, as long as they target something.

Don't forget to start the next skill in the row as soon as the first one has ended. As melee this means button mashing, just keep pressing those skills, no need to pause. As a caster this means you have to let your spells go seamlessly from one to the other. You don't have to wait for you first cast to end to start the next one, you can chain casts by starting the next one when the first is nearly ended. The best moment to move around when you're a caster is after (or during) using an instant cast, when you're waiting for your gcd to complete. Using your skills efficiently without pulling aggro is what being a good dps is all about.

Keybindings/Macros
When you know your skills fluently and know when and how to use them it's time to keybind everything. I'll give you suggestions, and they're only suggestions. It must suit your playstyle of course. The point is to "click" as few skills as possible while fighting. No one wants to play with a clicker, for a reason. Having to move your cursor to a skill takes way longer than just simply pressing the button on the keyboard. Imagine walking around by clicking and you'll understand why people don't like clickers for skills either. But that also means that skills that are normally only used out of combat or very rarely don't have to be keybound. Such as different resurrection spells or buffs like PWF, motw, blessings etc.

Look down on your hands. Think about where you'd be able to put a keybinding. As it is there are alot of keys on the keyboard not being used for much important. It will feel a little iffy at first, but I promise, you will get used to it as long as you pick the keybindings yourself.
Don't forget about combination keybinds! Such as ctrl+x, alt+x or shift+x. The function buttons are great for keybinds too.

Addons
Yepp I've told you before. Use addons! Here are some types of addons that you should consider using;
- The ones that help you keep track of your skills. That show you when something procs that needs you to use a special skill or tells you that something is off cooldown so you can use it again. Such as Scrolling Combat Texts, OmniCC, DoTimers, SexyCooldown.
- The ones that help you keep track of your character. How much threat are you doing? How much rage do you have? What debuffs and buffs are you gaining? Such as Scrolling Combat Texts, Omen, MyThreat, EasyRage.
- The ones that help you keep track of your surroundings. What are the mobs doing to you? What will they do to you in 3 seconds if you don't move asap? Such as Deadly Boss Mobs, DeusVox, WitchHunt.
- The ones that help you get whatever you need as fast as possible. If you need a health potion while fighting something you hardly want to dig for it in the bags. Such as Autobar, Geist.

These are some pointers that I hope might make you a better dpser, if you think you lack something.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How to! Warrior Tank - Level 73-74

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<--(Yeah, I got rid of that ugly helmet...)

Here we are, yet another step toward the big 80! You should look pretty neat in your Cobalt Set but there are some other tank items to be had now, I'll get to that in a moment. If you like me play on a server without a main or friends to help you out, you're stuck with a regular ground mount until level 77. Boo. You probably have your hearthstone set to Dalaran already (if you don't you should asap! It is a great place to have your hearthstone from level 20 and up) but unfortunately you need a lot of flightpaths between Vengeance Landing/Warsong Hold before you can fly between those places and Dalaran. If you start out in Vengeance Landing you have to run all the way to Wyrmrest Temple, grabbing all the flight paths on the way. If you start out in Warsong Hold you'll have to run to Agmars Hammer (and I always think about "by Grabthars Hammer!" when I hear that). Oh and I'm sorry, but I don't know what the alliance holds are named in Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra :S But you probably need to run to Dragonblight too, to be able to fly between those places and Dalaran.

Level 74 is also the first level to improve the old Cobalt Set by switching to the Tempered Saronite Set. At level 74 you can use the Legplates and Belt. Beware though, most people take alot of money for these on the AH, although they're worth about 15-20g each in mats (some want up to 70g each for them!). As with the Cobalt Set, the best choice is to have someone craft them for you.

If you really want to pimp yourself, I recommend the Borean Armor kits that increase stamina by 12 on your head, chest, shoulder, legs and hands (that's a total of 60 extra stamina), or if you really wanna pimp it the Heavy Borean Armor kits that increase stamina by 18 on the same items (that's 90 extra stamina, so pretty dang nice!). These can be really expensive, but if you happen to know a skinner and/or leatherworker or just feel like spending, this is a good place to do it.

No new interesting skills or glyphs for these levels.

Talents
Not much to say here, just go along with what you had planned. I've kept on placing points in Toughness and will do so the next two levels as well. But we'll get there.

Instances
There are two new instances to be pugged into for these levels, Azjol-Nerub and Old Kingdom. As usual there are some quests for the instances that give some nice loot, two for AN and one for OK. You can get them just outside the instance entrances without having to do any prequests.

(No this picture has nothing to do with Azjol Nerub)

Azjol-Nerub (level 72-74)
One of my favorite instances because it is so short and simple. Well ok, it isn't simple actually. It has some rather difficult pulls, especially if you don't know how the mobs work yet. Well that is why you've got me so don't worry! I remember the very first time I did this instance and I was really stunned by it's beauty. Its not something you think about the 100th time you do it but you should. AN is a really special instance that has gotten some extra love and care from the Blizzard designers. Maybe that is why I like it so. Here are some things to think about;
- The first room, with Krik'this and his packs, you can pull one pack at a time. Once you've pulled one however, the others will come by themselves after a while, so just wait for them to come or you might pull too many. Krik'this will not attack on his own though, like he does in heroic mode, so you can take the moment for a little mana break if your party needs it.
- The Skirmishers will randomly attack one party member after a while, and they hit quite hard. You can not taunt them when they are doing this so better kill them first of all.
- Although the Shadowcasters are casters, they will run all the way to you before starting to cast. This was not always so and that made this instance extremely annoying to tank as a lowbie warrior. Guess Blizzard decided to change that!- When fighting Hadronox, remember not to stand in her poison :P
- Anub'arak does a rather evil Pound. It works sort of like the Smash that Ingvar in UK does, so run through Anub'arak to avoid it. This is a little more evil since it not only deals alot of damage (about 10k), it also stuns you for 6 seconds making you unable to do any threat or avoid attacks. This skill can be iffy at times, so you've gotta learn the "flow" of it to avoid it properly. But like I said, running through the boss is the best and simplest solution.

And in this instance we'll finally get some tank loot to hope for! Anub'arak drops a really nice ring - Signet of Arachnid Command, which you should try to get your hands on.
Old Kingdom (level 73-75)
This used to be the hardest instance in the game, before the implementation of the ICC instances (and maybe the ToC one too). And then they nerfed it too... so yeah it's not very difficult anymore. Except for the first few packs;
- The Spellflingers are probably the most horrible mobs in a heroic at the moment. Ok there are some really annoying mobs in PoS too... But anyway the Spellflingers. They are quite easy to handle, but you have to do so because they cast some really evil spells. They do a Shadow Blast which does 50% of your max hp in damage. It has a really long cast time so there should be no trouble to silence it with Shield Bash, or Concussion Blow if you miss SB. It also does a Shadow Sickle which does a lot of damage to a random party member. Also easily interruptable. Tell people in your party to help you with that too! And mark it for death with a pretty skull.- Most of the bosses are skipable, but some like to do them for exp of course. I personally really dislike the first boss in the row, Elder Nadox, because of his annoying immunity bubble. When he goes immune you have to kill the Guardian that spawns.
- The Eye of Taldaram mobs often put a silence on the healer. If you have a priest/paladin healer this shouldn't be a problem this shouldn't be a problem since it is dispellable. But if you have a druid/shaman healer you might want to be ready to pop some cooldowns.
- After Prince Taldaram you come to an area in which it easy to overpull. There used to be more mobs there than now so this was quite the wipe place before! It's not too hard now. Just pull back, and watch the flamestrikes.

There is tank loot to be had in OK as well - Battlechest of the Twilight Cult which drops from Jedoga Shadowseeker.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What's wrong with the WoW UI?

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(Can you see what is going on behind those frames? Neither can I.)

I've talked about addons before and I usually note that people who play with absolutely no addons are either Terminator-like geniouses or not very good players (unfortunately, most likely the latter). People do look down on these non-addon users, that's a fact. And I concluded last time that the beauty about addons is that they allow you to costumizes information display and skill execution so that it suits your way of playing. I also stated that a vast majority of the WoW players would gain alot from using at least some addons for some areas of the game (depending on the way you play of course) and that the standard WoW UI simply doesn't cut it. So what is wrong with the standard ui anyway?

Once you give it a closer look, and compare the standard UI to what it could've been (like what addons can do) you quickly notice there is quite much lacking here. On the defense side, and I talked about this last time too, Blizzard has had to create a UI which must suit any player in any class playing any spec and etc... It has to be able to do it all for anyone. And this very thing is probably what the problem is all about really. Because even though this is a fact, I don't agree about most of the solutions with the UI being the best one or only one. Here are some of the things that annoy me the very most about the standard UI;

First of all you wonder if the UI is designed to work with the game at all. Just open any panel and you'll see that it blocks a huge chunk of your screen. Can you move it? No. Can you resize it? Definitely not. The bags, the quest log, the calendar (oh holy Spaghettimonster is that thing bulky or what?) and actually any screen you want to look at means you will have to pause your game play because you can't actually see what you're doing. Does this make sense? Many other mmorpgs have customizable UI's as a standard, Guild Wars and Fallen Earth just to mention two. I can't think of a very good reason that Blizzard hasn't gotten around to throwing in some code to make the UI less bulky and in the frickin way (I realize it's not that simple, but on the other hand it's a rather big issue that deserves some attention). And if the reason is about not forcing people with bad computer to play an overloaded game, then just make the UI optional through an option panel like the graphics are now.

Other things that annoy me is the "all or nothing" think of the UI. You can't close down a portion of it (to see something!), but gotta keep it all up or close it all down. Yet again I come to think of the Calendar. You can't just see the tab with the event info to the right, no you've gotta keep the entire calendar monster up to see it. Another theme on this is the fact that you can't craft something without the craft window up. Say you've got a 100 saronite ores to smelt, you've got to keep that mining profession window up at all times. Can you move it so that it doesn't block the entire left part of your screen? No. Oh wait, isn't that where Blizzard also have chosen to place the party frame? Which you also can not move in the standard UI? Yes of course. Great planning there.

And because you can't resize them, you'll only be able to browse a set number of frames at the same time, usually around three depending on what frames you wish to look at. But if you're looking at something really big, like the Auction House, you can forget that you can look at a profession frame or character frame at the same time. No, you have to close the AH down to do that. Not very efficient if you want to check what mats you need for a certain craft or if you've already got that gem in your gear.

And changing stuff takes such time! If I want to keybind something using an addon it takes 3 seconds. If I want to do it using Blizzard UI I have to go into "Esc", "interface", find the proper button in the list and then choose the keybind. That takes at least ten times longer than with the addon and might turn out wrong in the end anyway. This is the fact with most of Blizzards UI when compared to addons.

Ok I admit, I haven't used the standard UI for so long that I'm not completely sure about what Blizzard have implemented along the way. Because another issue with the WoW UI is that it simply lacks some very needed options. Think about all the addon solutions we had to work with that eventually became part of the standard UI because Blizzard realized that it was needed for efficient (and thus fun) game play. Some of these include;
- Quest Helper
- Wardrobe to switch between two (or more) gears, which should have been implemented the second Blizzard wanted people to collect special resist gears and the like.
- A way to plan how you'd like to place your talents without actually having to place them.
- Scrolling Combat Text, so you don't have to look in the combat log to know what the heck is going on around you (which is what I did in the early days of my WoW play).
- A slightly better AH although still a long way from something like Auctioneer.
- A threatmeter, which still isn't very clear but at least something.

And here are some areas that still need a lot of polishing;
- The bags. Everything is wrong about the bags. You can't sort items or search items in them which is just plain horribad. You don't have any way to check what lies in your bank or on an alt without having to relog or go there (which is such a waste of time).
- Well the fact that you can't actually move or resize anything, like I've said some times now. Please please do something about that. And while we're on it, the fact that you're barely able to customize anything about the frames, like what buffs/debuffs you'd like to see and etc. Things that actually matter alot when fighting tough raid encounters.

So to conclude; the problem with the Blizzard UI is that it is extremely rigid, bulky and uncostumizable. Trying to play efficiently with it is like trying to thread a needle with boxing gloves.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

C'thun down!

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No I have never really killed C'thun before. Actually I had never gotten beyond the Twin Emperors. And to be honest, the feat in killing C'thun lies in successfully killing the twins, they're probably the toughest vanilla raid encounter there is out there.

It all started yesterday, when me and Love decided to go farm some rep in AQ40. Well I don't care much about that, but Love does so I thought I could tag along. We found two DK's in our guild who wanted to tag along as well and off we went. We hadn't really planned to clear the instance, but we ran through it pretty easily. Most of the bosses can be cleared with quite few people, as long as you have some kind of healer with you. We had some problems at Skeram since he mind controls people. And that means you have to control a level 80 player instead of a lowbie skull boss, which actually makes quite a difference. But still, the problems are slight if you have someone ready to do some cc-ing.

Our next hold up turned out to be Viscidus. I new there was something about him that had to do with frost spells being used to kill him. I thought "well that won't be an issue, we have dk's with icy touch!". Apparently that didn't work at all. We got him to 0,1% hp and there he was, refusing to die. I know you have to shatter him, but since we had no frost attack that actually worked, we couldn't do it, and that meant he was unkillable. He had 2 million hp, which took a while to get down with only two proper dpsers, and then in the end we had to reset him anyway... Lame. I read a comment on wowhead stating you had to hit him with a frost attack 200 times before he shattered, and that would've been a whole lot of icy touches. So we thought, screw that.

Some mobs in AQ have a really evil attack. They knock you up in the roof so that you fall really far and take alot of fall damage. The evil about it is that it isn't affected by level or gear in any way. Fall damage is equal to everyone as it only affects percentual hp. I actually died from those silly knocks once... The key is of course to stand underneath some part that makes you not fly so high up in the air. Well we were a little too cocky to think about that at the moment. But there is no way to fight fall damage (except a really fast levitate/slow fall)
And then we eventually got to the Twin Emperors. I had fought them once before on an alt in a haphazardly brought together pug. We didn't make it of course, since the Twins actually require some sort of coordination and tactic. They need to stand at least 60 yards apart at all times as they heal eachother for 30k hp each second if they stand closer than that. That means you basically need two groups split up to fight each boss. The on, Vek'lor, is immune to physical damage and the other, Vek'nilash, is immune to magical damage, so you have to split the raid accordingly. Not only that, but the Twins switch places about once every minute which means the raid have to counter this effect too. That was the old times, so what were us 4 people going to do?

Our initial try was a good one albeit slightly off in the tactic. We did consider their teleporting, but failed to recognize the fact that a physical tank like me (prot warrior) would have absolutely no way to handle Vek'lor aggro (EDIT: They recently changed thunder clap to ranged physical damage instead of magical). That meant each time the teleported Vek'lor would run somewhere else, most likely within reach of his brother and heal to full hp again. We realized that a warrior tank wasn't going to cut it. The best solution would be to have a caster/phys tank at each boss, that could handle both the physical immunity and the magical immunity. Enter the DK tank. We also decided we needed more than one healer, partly because of all the adds (which were easy to handle, but annoyed the poor healer and prevented him from running between tanks efficiently) and partly to avoid him having to run between tanks. We asked yet another guildie who accepted to help us. With her we also got her boyfriend, which was nice since that provided a little extra dps.

Our tactics turned out as follows, and it provided for a very smooth kill. DK + healer in left corner. DK + healer + dps in right corner. Nuke Vek'nilash until teleport, let the tanks handle the switches while dps wait for the teleportation back. We had no casters, otherwise they'd have to nuke on Vek'lor of course. We realized that there was no need to hurry, and therefore no need to run between the bosses for dps. So we killed the adds while we waited for the right boss to teleport back to us so we could commence the nuking again. With this tactic they died quite easily.

And then we got to C'thun. Like I said, I've never seen him in his... polygon flesh before. He wasn't really as impressive as I thought he'd be, the fight was also not as fun as I always thought it be. I had often compared it in my head to the Yogg-Saron encounter, but I know now that Yogg-Saron is more fun. I won't say more difficult, because that matters on your level of course. Being level 80 instead of 60 makes a hell of alot of difference when fighting C'thun after all. And I know people have said that the C'thun fight used to be really hard back then. There are still some things you need to think about if you don't want to wipe, even at level 80.

First of all, the über eyebeam he does in phase 1 still seems to oneshot people. It did to me anyway, with about 25k hp. So don't get caught in that. Secondly, in phase 2, make sure there aren't too many people inside of C'thun at the same time. In fact, if you're all inside at once you'll instantly die. Happened to us too (with the lovely corpse run that follows). Just kill the tentacles as soon as possible (really easy) and stand on the X to be thrown out again. One really annoying thing happens when you're swallowed by C'thun as a warrior though. You're taken out of your stance. It took me a while to realize why my action bars weren't showing any skills. I thought maybe I had accidentally scrolled them away, which happens, but rarely. So I started scrolling, trying to find my skills, which were nowhere to be found of course because I was stanceless. Something which is basically impossible to obtain on your own (I don't actually know of any way, maybe by script). Everytime I was swallowed by C'thun I had to switch back to Battle Stance again. Easy sure, but still annoying.

But it was a really fun run, and with 5-6 level 80's you could easily run through the entire raid without much trouble. To be able to do all the bosses you need someone with some sort of frost attack for Viscidus (shaman is the best option), and two healers for Twins (could manage on one probably, but it makes it alot easier with two).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Paperinik

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It's time for me to share something with you that lies very close to my heart. Well come to think of it I do that everytime I write something. Ok, let's say this has a even more special place in my heart. I am talking about Paperinik. "Pape-who?" you'll probably say, and I don't blame you. Not many people know what this Paperinik thing is all about.

I am talking about Super-Donald (Stål-Kalle in swedish). You know, Donald Ducks alter ego, where he turns into a super hero? I am sure you've seen him somewhere. And although most people have read some story about Super-Donald, and he is quite widely known, few people know that he has a very serious side too. The Super-Donald you read about usually is quite goofy, just as everything else in Duckburg. But the Super-Donald known as Paperinik (which is Super-Donalds name in Italy) isn't goofy at all. The reason I call him Paperinik and not Super-Donald is because he was originally an Italian invention (in the late 60's), and has thus it has become his official name (although not many actually know him by that name).
(Above: Picture of the regular Super-Donald)

So there is the Super-Donald you read about in the Donal Duck magazine from time to time, and there is the Paperinik that's even got its own magazine, called PKNA (Paperinik New Adventures). The Super-Donald in the PKNA magazine is something completely different from the regular Donald-stories. Although it retains the goofy cartoon style, it deals with the same subjects that more "serious" superhero cartoons do, cartoons like Spiderman, Batman and the like. Stuff like love, time travel (wooyay), envy, death and hate. Really deep stuff like what is the difference between man and robot? How do you know what is right and what is wrong? You know the stuff that any cool super hero would have to deal with. The magazine was published between 1996 and 2000 in Italy, and between 1997 and 2005 in sweden.

I got my first hands on it the summer of 1997. I was 13 years old and was going out on a boat trip. My mom bought me the fourth issue of a magazine she thought looked interesting, called "Stål-Kalle". I immediately loved it. The story is quite a complex one, but eventhough there is a red line through the entire series (except the last years issues) you could easily read any issue separately. The story is one of Paperinik having to deal with the Evronians, an alien race that flies through the galaxy just to conquer new worlds and reducing the inhabitants to mindless slaves (sort of like Borgs in Star Trek). To aid him he's got the super-computer Uno, invented by the super genious Odin Eidolon (or are they the same?!) who provides him with an arsenal of items that would make Inspector Gadget green from envy. He also befriends the alien Xadhoom, one of my all time favorite characters. She's from the planet Xerba who's been completely destroyed by the Evronians. Through a series of freak experiments she turned herself into a thermonuclear being to be able to kick som Evronian ass (and she does that quite well). She is awesomely cool, but unfortunately it is quite tricky to find any good pictures of her. (Picture shows front cover of an PKNA issue).

Paperinik fights alot of villians along the way, mostly Evronians of course, but other notable characters are Due, Unos evil and disturbed twin and Razziatore (Plundraren in swedish, and something like "Raider" in english), a time bandit who travels through time to pirate valuables. All these are reoccuring characters in the stories who develop greatly over time. There are also plenty of good guys of course, like the robot from the future Lyla Lay, who like most other robots in stories like these tries to understand what it means to be human. Angus Fangus, a pain in the ass journalist who tries to bust Paperinik as an evil guy, a theme also common in super hero stories (Spiderman and Batman again).

I was so enchanted by the story of Paperinik and his adventures (I especially loved the Evronian overlord who quoted The Little Prince) that I bought every issue published in sweden. I also got the ones I lacked (the first three issues) through bidding sites on the internet. I remember a very common theme of my dreams was me finding a rare and very strange issue of the Paperinik magazine in some backwater place. I still, five years later, have those dreams at times. And as soon as I open one of the magazines in my great pile of Paperinik issues I instantly get this really happy feeling. Like being part of something extremely entertaining and thrilling. (Picture shows Razziatore).

Unfortunately the quality of the magazine dwindled in the later years, especially as the main story had ended and the subsequent stories were short stories without any red line. But the first issues, with the stories about the Evronians, Xadhoom, Lyla, time travel and all inbetween make Paperinik an extremely well narrated comic. Getting a hold of it nowadays is probably quite difficult, but if you ever find an issue anywhere I hope you give it a chance, if you're lucky and it's one of the older ones, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

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That's all I'm gonna say folks, as this is my 25th birthday. And well, I could mention we downed Blood Prince Council on heroic some hours ago too.

Tomorrow I will have marängsviss (ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, bananas and meringues mixed in a bowl) and smörgåstårta. Yay!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mystery Files - What happened to Plainsrunning?

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Mention "Plainsrunning" and every tauren will get a nostalgic twinkle in their eyes. Most taurens have some sort of relationship to this mystery skill although very few have ever tried it. So what's the deal with Plainsrunning? What's it all about and why isn't it in the game?

Blizzard originally intended for Taurens to be a mountless race. Since Taurens are big boned, Blizzard thought it would be more correct lore wise to have them handle the running around by themselves instead of using any of the puny mounts that were in the game then (we're talking beta here). Although Taurens can use most mounts nowadays, it still looks pretty hilarious to see them on such mounts as the Blood Elf chocobo or the Undead horse. They're so big and the mount is so tiny.

Blizzards solution to this lore problem was initially the invention of Plainsrunning. It meant that when the Tauren was running around it would eventually get up to mount speed by themselves. This took 10 seconds of running to accomplish and would be in the same speed as the regular mounts. There are some rumours going that the now semi-meaningless npc Samantha Swifthoof in STV would've been the one who was going to teach tauren to Plainsrun. She currently does nothing and her name would suit such a role. Over at wowwiki.com however, they claim that a Saern Priderunner in Thunder Bluff was going to teach the taurens to Plainsrun. Perhaps both the rumors and wowwiki are correct as the one might teach the 60% speed and the other the 100% speed. In any case, we will probably never know.

Plainsrunning was never implemented in the final release of the game. After some beta-testing Blizzard found the solution to be a bad one and invented the Kodo mounts instead. So what was the problem with Plainsrunning?

Well, like mentioned it would take ten seconds for the extra speed to kick in. This wasn't really equal to the other mounts that only took 3 seconds to engage (and now they take 1,5 seconds). That means it would take Taurens more than three times the time to get into mount speed than any other class. Imagine that in Bgs.
Secondly, because this wouldn't get overpowered in pvp, the tauren would stop the Plainsrunning as soon as they were hit. This wasn't really equal to regular mounts either, as you don't have a 100% chance to be dazed when hit when mounted (although sometimes it certainly feels like it). That meant "dismounting" a tauren was extremely easy, just throw a rock at him. Imagine that in Bgs (again).
Thirdly, as soon as the tauren stopped running, the buff would be gone and the tauren would have to run another 10 seconds to reapply it. Yet again this wasn't equal to regular mounts, since you can stand still while mounted without having to dismount and remount. I won't even tell you to imagine that in Bgs.
Fourthly, and this is quite funny, sometimes the Plainsrunning would kick in when people least wanted or expected it, like in say a boss fight where there would be a lot of running around. Imagine running around like crazy and suddenly you accelerate 100%. Apparently this caused alot of ninja pulls in the Beta. But seriously, that's really funny.
Another issue, not thought of then, would be how to explain the flying mounts. Surely no one would suggest flying taurens... would they?

So alot of adjustments had to be done to make sure this wouldn't be to good in pvp, and eventually that turned out too hard to do. One issue was probably that a Plainsrunning tauren could still hit stuff, and you can't do that when mounted. All the tweaking made Plainsrunning virtually worthless in any other setting however, or at least at lot less good than having a regular mount. So Blizzard decided to drop the hazzle and simply remove it alltogether. Which is sad, because it didn't have to be that way.

One solution would've been to make Plainsrunning work like a mount, but look like a running Tauren. Make it have a 1,5 second cast where the tauren would go from zero to 60/100% runspeed, just like with any other mount. When hit they would have a chance to be dazed, reducing their speed from 60/100% to regular runspeed. They would have the extra runspeed buff until cancelled, even when standing still. And maybe the runspeed buff would prevent you from being able to swing your weapon. Why couldn't it have cast time? Maybe Blizzard thought of this idea but thought that if it was going to have cast time it might as well be a regular mount. The immersion would be lost anyway. Why would you need to cast something to start to run? Why can't you swing your weapon with the buff on, even if you're standing still? Well I could think of some rp reasons for that, like having to prepare yourself mentally or whatnot. Perhaps tauren are too stupid to run fast and swing weapons at the same time. Even when standing still the thought of running fast so absorbs them that swinging a weapon would be too difficult. Or maybe you have to be in a certain stance to run fast and you couldn't use your weapons in that stance. And it really isn't about immersion anyway. It's about being able to run like Speedy Gonzales with your Tauren!

Every Tauren I know who's heard of Plainsrunning loves the idea and longs for the day it would be implemented. I am sorry to say, don't hold your breath for it. But it truly would be totally rad. (And use the Engineering Rocket Boots or Nitro Boosts to live the possibility for a short moment).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

People are bass turd ninjas

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Ok I vented some hate yesterday, but now I am at it again. This time I promise there won't be as much nerdrage however, as I just want to quitely contemplate over a relatively new phenomena we've been experiencing in WoW recently - the hobby ninja.

Now I'm not talking about regular ninjas. They've been around forever. Either it's a stupid person ninjaing something because he's not really sure of anything about the game, or either it's a spiteful person who does it just because he can, and only cares about himself. Generally, people either are ninjas or they're not. People either have a sense of decency and moral, even over the internets, or they don't. People don't generally jump from being nice to being ass wipes and back again.

This very thing is however what we've been seeing an increase of as of late. I am talking about the ones who need on items at the end of an instance and then leave, for the sole reason of being able to vendor or shard it for personal profit. Why do I think that these are hobby ninjas, and not just regular ninjas? Well they're just so god dang many of them! I seem to have one in every pug I do as of late. And I just don't want to believe that one fifth of the WoW population are douche bags (maybe I am being stupid again). I want to believe that ninjas used to be rare, and that something about the system make people go evil on eachother.

With the old system everyone could need on everything. That was both good and bad. That meant people who didn't really need an item could need on it, like say the warrior needing on the cloth shoes. Now the new system has changed that, but for good and bad as well. That means if some plate stuff drops only plate users can need on them. And if they do there is nothing you can do about it. Maybe it is this "nothing you can do about it" that seduces people into doing it. I'm no expert on the human mind so I don't know (wait a sec, that's not true. I have a degree in psychology!). But one other factor probably comes into play, namely the fact that so many people do it. It makes gentle, loving, caring (ok easy now) people like me want to be a ninja too.

Remember about the frost orbs? Some servers had the rule to need for them and some hadn't. My server hadn't. That meant I had to learn the hard way that some people simply did. And to not be left without any orbs I started needing on them as well, even when there where people in the party who still didn't. Hey I wasn't gonna be left out of the cake.

And now, when we're stuck with items that only some can need, and some do, I get that feeling of being left out again. And I want to punish those who take what's not rightfully theirs. But there is no real way of doing it. If I were to start needing on items, I wouldn't punish the douche bags, but the innocent by standers. Who then might turn into douche bags themselves. The douche baggeriness would spread like Corrupted Blood plague around the world!

My only comfort is that since most of the needers leave before the item is rolled for, they won't recieve it. I've tested this myself and that is how it works. It also seems like if you stay in the instance for the roll you have a higher chance of winning the roll than someone who's left (and who no longer can recieve the item anyway). But that is probably just my imagination.

Maybe one could think that there really isn't any point in whining about this. That whatever you're loosing is worth 25g at most, and you would just have a 20% chance of winning it the normal way anyway (assuming everyone could need on it, which rarely is the case). Well, it's a matter of money of course. Some people, like me, have pug runs as their main source of income (and that isn't much mind you)! Especially when Abyss Crystals are involved. And 20% chance is still infinite times better than 0% chance. But it is mostly a matter of common decency. We just did an instance together dude! We just cooperated to make something happen, to have a little fun and then you go and ruin it all like this? Don't you have any sense of ethics? Are we like computer players to you? Probably.

So what's the solution? I can really just see one as it is right now. Everyone should need on everything that drops. Some classes, like us cloth users, would have more competiton. On the other hand one could think that since that is so, Blizzard has designed for cloth items to have a higher drop chance. One could hope that the chance for certain items to drop is at least roughly correlated to the amount of cloth/leather/mail /plate users in the game. So if everyone just needed on everything they can in an instance, it would theorietically in the long run even out. It would basically revert back to the old, old days when the only roll options were need or pass. Another solution might be to be able to report the player, and if he gets enough votes he recieves a lfg-tool lockout of 48 hours or so, which would make him lose a frost emblem. That would be like the Vote to Kick system, but Vote for Ninja instead.

There are issues with these "solutions" of course. Plate items are for example generally worth more than cloth items. Some classes can use more weapons than others and so on. And if someone actually needs an item it would be hell to make sure no one else needs on it. Just like in the old days. And a vote system could be abused. Maybe people dislike someone for some other (bad) reason than being a ninja and decide to punish him by voting him as a ninja. Blizzard will most surely not look into every case to make sure there really was some ninjaing going on. But what else is there to do when the douche bags are becoming so common? When being a ninja has become something anyone could do. The possibility is there and there are no repercussions to their actions whatsoever. No wonder people get so tempted. It's like walking into a store and no one else is there. You quickly check for cameras and think "should I...?). I know you do. WoW has become lawless. Drastic situations require drastic measures!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

People are ungrateful bass turds

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This will be a post filled with whine. People are such ungrateful bass turds sometimes. I have written about it several times before. But it seems I have to go at it again.

It just amazes me how some people handle tanks. When I am healing or dpsing, I don't mind much about what people say or do. They can overpull or go slow, play bad (not so bad so that we can't go on though of course) or be undergeared. It is ok. Because whatever people do, my job will generally me really easy. And this is especially true when healing. Healing a heroic at level 80 is the opposite of action. Most of the time it is so easy I could afk for a minute without anyone noticing. Only time people die, even during big and crazy pulls, are when someone stands in oneshot effects (which in heroics usually means you're oneshot because you have 14k).

Dpsing is also extremely easy. You don't have to do much at all. The only one you're having to compete with is your own will to perform at your best (boast some leet dps).

When I am tanking I usually don't mind much either. But I mind more than when I dps or heal. It annoys me when people don't let me do the pulling (things get so messy then and tanks don't like messy). I find it ok if the one doing the extra pulling is geared to handle it themselves. I definitely don't like it when they overpull and then scream for me to handle the situation. I don't mind people being badly geared at all, everyone is at some point. I do dislike people playing badly however. Especially when their bad playing goes out on my tanking. It is because no matter how easy an instance is (and I am sure I have said this before), and if the dpsing is extremely easy and the healing even more easy, it won't be easy for the tank. In fact, the better the gear of the rest of the group (aka easier for them) the tougher it is for the tank to do a good job. Especially if these good geared but numb nutted people don't do anything to ease the tanking. People who never go for skull. Who never choose my target. People who don't use any other skills than the dps skills. Let me give you an example.

When I tank instances I check everyones gear. Gearscore usually gives me a general idea about what to expect from the group and so I know how to set the pace. If the healer is undergeared I go easier, if the healer is well geared I go faster. If the dps are well geared I expect them to perform beyond dps. I actually (oh how naïve of me, I know) expect them to dispel nasty debuffs, silence nasty casts, to actually help me tank so that it will go faster. In heroics there aren't many things you need to think about, but there are some. In Nexus you would like to dispel the ice block on the tank for instance. In HoR you actually might wanna silence the healer or caster. In PoS you could sheep one of those nasty off standing casters. It takes a second of your time and makes tanking way easier. Yet I actually get confused, happy, shocked, whenever I see a dps do something like this. Did the rogue just kick that Phantom Blast? Did the hunter just missdirect that extra add to me? Omgomg. Praise teh lordah.

Today I tanked Nexus. I saw that the shaman had more than 5800gs. That means he has to raid. That means he might actually have something between his long ears (he was a troll). That means when I was tanking Stoutbeard I didn't pull back because I was certain (yes, I'm stupid) the shaman would drop a tremor totem. I was certain that if I said "tremor please" he'd say something like "don't tell me how to play my class". Now, I am not so stupid as to be annoyed when I found out he didn't, by being feared into a group of extra mobs. I was extremely annoyed however when the group blamed me for the extra pull (which went fine by the way). Am I a bad player when I expect my fellow puggers to be able to play their class? Apparently. It was a lose/lose situation. Expect people to do what they should and get the blame when they don't. Or tell them to their job and get flamed for it.

What amazes me even further however is that someone, after waiting for 15 minutes plus in the lfg queue, has the insolence of being rude to the very person who's making the instance happen? A tank would have to be very, very, extremely bad for me to complain about their tanking. Because 98% of the time they're still getting the job done. If you're not currently tanking, and I don't care how many tank chars you might own, don't complain. What you're currently doing is easy, what the tank is currently doing isn't. And I don't mean to imply that tanking is particularly hard, it really isn't. But compared to what a dps or healer has to do in heroics, it definitely is. To a tank, raiding is the "easy" tanking. Doing heroics usually means busting your ass off compared to healer/dps. It's usually why I enjoy it, but not if I'm a in group who's working against me, and holding me responsible for it. Although they should be grateful to the tank that they're getting anywhere at all. Like I said, I don't mind people going their own race if they can handle it. But don't fail at something and blame me for it.

If you want the tanking to go smoothly, do something about it! Tanking is not a one man job!

Friday, April 16, 2010

My first video game

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I wouldn't call my self a "gamer" really. Maybe it's relative, I mean I am quite the gamer compared to my grandpa. But if I define "gamer" as someone "interested in playing new games, and not just the same old or remakes of the same old" then no, I am definitely not a gamer. I am interested in reading about most games (except sports games) but I am most of the time not interested in playing them. I tire easily from games that don't entertain me alot. Now a real gamer would find entertainment in most games within a certain, or several genres. A good friend of mine, the one who introduced me to my all time favorite game Final Fantasy VII, is definitely a real gamer. He seems to seriously enjoy like every game in the world. He can find something interesting in even the most horrible games. I would also call Love a gamer. He constantly looks for new games to try out and doesn't just treadmill the oldies but goldies, like me.

Maybe this has something to do with the way I was introduced to video gaming. I wasn't one of those kids who owned an atari/commodore/nintendo. I knew some people who did, but we never played it. The first memory I have of a video game is my uncle, 12 years older than me, playing Railroad Tycoon on his Amiga (which I later got from him, but was never able to make it work. See my Profile for another anecdote about it!). I must've been around 5 years old then.
The first time I ever played some sort of video game was on the "computer" (not sure what you should call such an old machine really) of a friend of dads. He had Lemmings and I loved it. I must've been around 7 years old or so.

But other than that I had very limited contacts with video games. We didn't buy a computer until I was like 12 and then it was a Macintosh. There were no games for Macintosh at that time (no fun games anyway).
It all changed that glorious summer day. I was around 11 or 12 and out shopping with a friend of mine (we mostly shopped ice cream). We walked into a store called Thorns, who rented TV's, video games and such and they had one TV on display, hooked up to a N64. The playable game was Yoshi's Story.
I kid you not, I fell in love at first sight. Like mentioned I had never really played a video game before this Yoshi's Story, and it was all so cool! I decided that I just simply must have it. Only problem was I had to buy for my own money (well all money comes from your parents at that age, but anyway). My allowance at that time was probably something around 400 kr a month and a N64 with Yoshi's Story would cost more than 1500kr. So I started saving. To me that was alot of money (and it still is, I barely make more money now than I did then <.<) so I had constant thoughts about whether I really should buy it or not. But as soon as doubt struck me I would walk into that store and play some Yoshi's Story and I would be certain again. During the time of saving money I can swear I saw the number 64 everywhere. Which of course made me even more certain that I was making the right choice.

Alot of people complain about Yoshi's Story being too cute or too easy. First of all, there is no such thing as too cute. And secondly, Yoshi's Story isn't easy at all! Well it can be if you decide to just run it through. But if you want to get a little challenge I say try to get only honey melons on each course, get all hearts and find the two secret yoshis! Getting only honey melons is actually extremely difficult. So it's all about how you like to play it.

Then the day came, I had finally saved enough money (my parents surely provided me with some extra too) to buy the console and game! I walked to a video game store (which isn't there anymore come to think of it) and asked for the console. Apparently the console came with either Mario 64 or Golden Eye already in the package but I told them I didn't want any of those silly games, I wanted Yosh's Story! That meant I had to pay a little extra, but it was definitely worth it. And then I walked home with it and that's the story about my very first own video game.

It doesn't really end there however. One might like to know how I got to WoW from Yoshi's Story, as it is quite a leap. Well, when I was in the 8th grade (in sweden you're around 14 then) I ended up in the same class as my above mentioned gamer friend. To impress him (because I soon found out he really liked video games) I told him I owned a N64, which he at the time didn't. By then I had also acquired way more games to it than just Yoshi's Story, games such as Mario Kart (one of the best games ever), Super Smash Bros. and the like. We ended up playing the N64 alot and as a return favor he invited me over to play on his Playstation. He especially wanted me to play Final Fantasy VII, a role playing game which I had seen some commercials on but didn't think much about. I thought the main characters humongous sword looked ridiculous!

I changed my mind quite drastically once I started playing however and like I said, it is probably one of my favorite games ever. Thanks P-A! That was my first introduction to roleplaying games. So how did I come to play computer games?

Like mentioned, we only had a Macintosh for a very long time and there wasn't much fun to play on that. Mom played games like Myst, Safecracker and Rama, but those were way too advanced for me. Then my brother got the game Settlers as a christmas/birthday gift (my brother has his birthday almost at christmas, so I don't remember which it was) by my grandma. Actually it was in german and called "Die Siedler". My brother, who probably was a little too young for it then, didn't enjoy it much, but I did. At first I didn't like the idea of being fighting others (namely the computer villages) and played completely solo. Eventually I tried the warring and found that it wasn't that bad (actually now I can't understand how I ever liked to play solo, what's the point of a strategy game then?). So that was my first computer game.

I eventually tried combining these two - roleplaying and computer games - by trying such games as Fallout, Harvest Moon (on emulator) and Ultima Online. But since we still only had a Macintosh that never became true. Maybe I could've bought the games, but I never tried. My constant setbacks on this area when I was young is why I hate Macintosh so much though, although getting games for it has become much easier since. But never being able to play the games all my friends did was just too traumatic!

But then we finally got a PC, and I had a decent chance of trying a roleplaying computer game. I still mainly played video games until my brother started playing WoW. I got interested. It looked just like what I've always wanted to try. And the rest is history!

Looking back I can see that my interest in video/computer games has introduced me to some of my best friends (not to mention Love). It is fun to see how each step has brought me to where I am now (which might sound obvious, but isn't really something you think about). This is probably true for any kind of hobby, but I have some really fond memories of all the video games I've played over the years, and it is kinda fun to think that it all started with Yoshi's Story.