Wednesday, August 29, 2007

DPS Doesn't Matter in AB?

I recently had the pleasure of playing a game of AB, my favorite battleground, alongside an Illidan Rogue by the name of Nfcompton. And when I say "pleasure," I mean the type of joy one could only experience while falling ass-first onto a giant man-eating homosexual cactus of some sort. Yeah, they exist, and it was that good.

Having only one base defended, zero bases assaulted, 2 kills, and 10 deaths, the Rogue decided to take his frustration out on his team (which was winning, btw). "DON'T LEAVE BASES UNDEFENDED! YOU GUYS ARE THE WORST TEAM I'VE EVER SEEN!" he exploded.

"Says the Rogue with less DPS than my left nut." a Shaman responds.

It was true too. If the Shaman's DPS was broken down into a DPS:Body Part ratio, his left nut WOULD have had more DPS than the Rogue.

"If you're looking at DPS in AB, please leave the game now kthx." the nut-owned Rogue replied. "AB is about team work, and I'm defending."

Now, as unfortunate as it may be, I have to agree with the last part of this wannabe-gangsta Rogue's comment. AB is all about teamwork, but more than that, it's all about coordination, planning, and execution. Teamwork is nothing if it's all zerging and no meat behind the sauce, if you know what I mean.

But what it isn't is immune from taking DPS into consideration when measuring one's usefulness, especially if you're a DPS class. I mean, think about it. If you're defending, your stats would show. If you're assaulting, your stats would show. If you're not directly doing either, as a Rogue, you should have a good amount of DPS. Otherwise, you're just stalking around, sapping people all day long. And when it comes down to it, that's not doing much.

So yeah, DPS is very much an important stat in AB, and in any BG, really. If you're ignoring it, then, well, you must be distracted by the homosexual cactus with it's thorns up your ass.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Slowing Down a Bit

The Tichondrius re-roll is looking okay. We've got a decent number of members in the 40's bracket, and Zy just broke 50 a short while ago. However, because there are still core members leveling in lower brackets, and the whole point of our re-roll was to roll together, I've been taking some time away from that 'lock to get in some good old fashioned PvP with the original.

Zomg, noob alert.

For the first time in almost 8 months, I've respecced into the Destruction talent tree, and oh my, I'm a bit rusty. It's taking me a little while to get the mechanics down again - especially given the fact that it's a purely PvP spec, but I lack the Resilience to back it up. Burst damage is amazing, but if I get two or three DPS melee classes slamming on me, I'm toast. Hell, I even lost to a Hunter in a duel on the first day of my respec, thrice! So, yeah, I have a long way to go, and while I've been tempted to eventually respec back into an Affliction build, I think I'll be keeping this one for a while. It's so much fun. =)

But even with the fun I'm having with PvP and doing well balancing time on both servers, the time I invest will definitely be taking a hit. I'm back at work, which has just completely drained me of the energy I used to keep awake late at night. And the Alex drama is rearing it's ugly head in the form of Raeka-esque relationship nonsense that I definitely have an opinion about. But since I should probably just keep to myself, a little extra time away wouldn't hurt. Just because other people don't have self-control doesn't mean I shouldn't either.

So after this post, I'm gonna focus a bit more on the Warlock and related issues as the majority of topics you'll see. This personal stuff is boring, especially if you don't know me that well, and I apologize. But, since I'm re-learning Destro and everything 'lock-related, do expect that the content will improve.

I'm not a narcissist after all. I swear.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Perfect Fucking Sweater

You know those days where you sit around lazily at your computer - the one that doesn't have WoW installed on it - browsing the net for anything worthwhile, and find a most mundane item that gives you a laugh greater than you ever expected? Well my friends, today is that day! I found an article on The Onion's website that totally set my metroness ablaze. I'm giddy. Totally.

"Talk about a perfect goddamn sweater. I may have been 20 feet away from the display, but I was already thinking about how I would wear that fucker. Would I go classic Garrett Alford and wear a white T-shirt underneath, or would I maybe get a little crazy, wait for the perfect fall day, and bust out my plaid shorts? Sweater with shorts. Pretty awesome, right? Most people would balk at such a combination, but I wasn't fucking around. And with its unbelievably versatile wool polyblend, dry-clean-only material, the sweater wasn't fucking around, either—especially not at $39.95."

Having read through that piece, I totally want to sue that guy for copyright infringment because I swear I have had thoughts like those only about a million times this summer! But it's good to see that I'm not totally alone in my quest for hawt outerwear, even if it results in a nude mannequin. And OMG, I nearly shit myself when I read...

"See, even though I am in no way gay, I knew the sweater had the potential to make me look handsome: By tucking in the shirt and adding a tie, I become this suave gentleman who your parents are going to lose their shit over."

I so did that during my school interviews and got compliments left and right! I wore my hawt little black sweater with a silver tie and dark bluish-grey button-up shirt. It was pure hawtness, lemme tell ya.

Geezus, I swear I had a connection to make here. Hmm, sweater, Warlock. OH! That's right!

Nope. Nothing.


Oh wait, yes. If you play a Warlock, you MUST own a hoodie. It's like a pre-req. After all, Warlocks are emo, and emo kids love hoodies. =)

Off to the GAP after work. Laters.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rerolling Stones

Trust me, I wish this were a post about the rock band doing something else for a change instead of rockin' out on stage. The last thing I want to read about is one of them falling and breaking a hip and getting electrocuted at the same time. Not a pretty picture.

This post is about Tichondrius and the state of the reroll. And quite honestly, there's not much to say about the whole thing. It's been both fun and disappointing, and the guild has taken a few hits lately, but otherwise things are going okay. The rate of leveling has tapered off a bit, as expected, but for the most part, people are still working at it.

"For the most part." Maybe that was a lie.

The truth is, the whole experience isn't turning out to be anything I was hoping for. I'm leveling a soon-to-be badass toon with some badass friends, which is great and all, but the lack of dedication and commitment is really screwing things over big time. Frustration has set in at the lack of activity amongst the leadership, and at the people who openly gave their support and time in the beginning, only to back away from that commitment now. How does one plan in an environment like that? It makes it damn near impossible, lemme tell ya.

Those issues may seem relatively small since they do not affect the guild's ability to function and all, but I think they are important none-the-less. We need dedicated individuals at the core of this guild to make it work. We need it to be a bigger priority to some of the leadership. We need people to take it a bit more seriously, because this is what happens when there is no structure, no plan, and no execution.

Casual is all good, but we're dealing with neglect here. And neglect is worse than a broken hip.

/rested xp ftw. Use it.

Screenshots Statistics

While looking to free up some space on my HD earlier today, I came across my WoW Screenshots folder. /right-click /properties

Number: 895 Files
Size: 3.68 GB

Geez. I knew I had taken a good amount back in the day, but this was way more than I had realized.

I started to click through the images, having to drag most of them into Photoshop since they used to be saved in this weird-ass format that the normal picture viewer couldn't recognize. What did I find? SS after SS after SS of PvP scoreboards, damage meters, and whatever else could be used to stroke one's e-peen. Man, I must have been such an ass, and I wasn't even that good!

There were also a few other snapshots of UBRS runs with War Lords, Onyx PvP, Demo and I raping Ssyn in Org somewhere, Onyx HWL's getting head from Lanna, etc. Memories of good times for sure, but 3.68 gigs worth? I don't think so. Sad thing is, I've already deleted all of my SS's once before, so this stuff doesn't nearly account for all of it.

Good thing too. Those early days of cluelessness are ones I care not to remember. Hell, even some of these images pay tribute to lesser times, when I once strolled around the UC in a Mooncloth Robe. Hmm, I guess that leaves me no option.


Hey, I need the space. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Today's LOL

Gotta love The Onion. =)

Friday, August 24, 2007

World of Widows

After playing this game for so long, it's easy to see that everything WoW is all about balance. Character balance. Hit/DPS balance. Class balance. Etc. But that balance doesn't just involve things internal to the game. On the outside, you need to have symmetry as well. Play time vs. responsibilities, and everything that comes with it, for example, should be attuned to one another well. For some more than others, this harmony is easy to find, making for a very wonderful and healthy gaming experience. For those that have difficulty, however, the gaming affair can often fall ill, and the effects are usually very negative.

We've all heard about the extreme cases of "illness" that has accompanied MMORPG gaming over the years. The kid in Korea who stayed online for several days straight and succumbing to sickness and eventually death. The guy who was beat badly after hitting on a player's wife in-game, and antagonizing a fight by giving out his home address. The self-esteem that is artificially exaggerated or reduced, based on the drama of players each gamer faces or gets to know. And of course, the relationships that suffer due to excessive gaming, and the break-ups and divorces that result. To me, that seems like it would be the worst kind of pain -- not when you neglect yourself, but when those that "love" you give up that connection as well.

We know it happens, and all too often, actually. We hear stories about relationships gone sour and even experience first-hand the guild member who skips out on a movie with his wife for SSC, or ditches spending time with his kids in order to down Gruul. We meet people online at odd hours of the night and question why they aren't in bed with their spouse (I've been guilty of that a many nights), or find them eating dinner alone at their computer and wondering where their other half is eating.

Even on a small scale, on a single server and in a single guild, that kinda thing happens all too often. Imagine how grand the problem must be on a scale of 9 million people.

Some individuals deal with it and end up living a ridiculously unsatisfying existence with their partner. Others (like me) try to involve their spouse or significant other in their hobby, hoping for the best of both worlds. Then there are the more entrepreneurial types take what they're dealing with, recognize the widespread reality of it, and turn it into something productive.

How's that, you ask?

I received an email from one of my best friends this morning, pointing me to an MSNBC article about the significant others of gamers who are completely immersed in their digital lifestyle, and as a result, make their counterpart live a "widowed" existence of sorts. Very sad indeed, but embedded between the QQ stories of spouses were two women who took their "grief" and used it to create a website to connect with others experiencing the same thing. The results were two popular sites, Gamerwidow and GamingSucks, complete with their own logos, clothing, blogs, forums, comics, etc, all of which that seem resonate well within the neglected, anti-MMORPG (especially WoW) community.

The two sites are definitely geared towards chicks who have an RPG-addicted male in their life, but I found the material kinda funny even, so you may want to give them and even the MSNBC article a look.

If you have a WoW-related relationship issue or know someone that does, and we all do, hopefully this will help with the awareness of it all and get everyone moving in the right direction. Take some time and think about it, and I'm sure you can understand what it would be like in the shoes of the ignored. Once you get it, it won't take much effort to change things up a bit to make them better.

Me, I should stop writing and get my WoW on now before the wife gets home so that I'm inclined to spend time with her when she does. So, I'm off!

It's all about balance, afterall. =)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Answer

A while back, about a month after I finished the Rank 14 PvP grind, a close, concerned friend of mine asked me what the fuss about this game was all about, and why I was spending so much time logged in. My answer wasn't short and to the point.

"Well, it's strange. I haven't played video games in quite a long time, but this one is good. It's like Castlevania meets Final Fantasy meets Zelda, all at their peak. Best game I've ever played."

He wasn't content with that answer. "Well, what is it exactly? What's the point?" he asked.

"Well, you level your character in dungeons and fulfilling quest objectives and what have you. Then when you are all leveled up, you beat the last bosses." I didn't really have a good answer, and my friend sensed the bullshit in that statement almost immediately. He's a lawyer, after all.

"You've played a while. Why haven't you beat the game yet?"

"Well, you can't really beat the game." I could feel the puzzled, almost embarrased look on my face. "It's just really fun to experience the content is all. It's a really well designed game." Cop out ftl.

"That doesn't really tell me what it is. What it's all about."

"I can't really say, to be honest. It's just fun." But that was a lie. The game wasn't all fun at that point. Spending 22 hours online, hitting the spacebar in AV half the time in order to out-Honor the AFKers was hardly a good time. Nor was half the time I spent raiding, in which drama seemed to be the main focus and not the game's content itself. Nope, "fun" was only half the matter, and so really, all I could truly give was a half-assed answer.

Until now.

What I realized today after a moment of crystal-clear epiphany isn't a good thing. Well, it isn't really a bad thing either, but it's definitely not positive. Infact, the whole idea of it all makes me a little more sad than it does happy, and a little more frustrated than content. Sure, it responds to the question my friend had asked, but it definitely doesn't provide a better answer to his question. One that he had asked almost one year ago.

So what is it that has taken me about 356 days to figure out? What is it that comprises the other half of the answer ass? What else is this game truly all about?


This game is half fun, half disappointment. There's no arguing it. The fun aspect is obvious. The questing, the PvP, the items, the skills. Like I had said to my friend, the game is comprised of all of the best qualities of all of the best games before it.

The disappointing aspect, imho, is even more apparent and readily available to everyone that plays the game. It's in the drama, the unfulfilled expectations of your co-gamers, the loot you don't get, the boss you don't kill, the progress and content you don't see, the rating you can't achieve, and all the rest of the stuff that has lead to many temper tantrums, QQ posts, and /gamequits that we've seen over and over, time and time again. And there's one terrible aspect to the disappointments that make this game incredibly frustrating. They naturally happen.

The fun stuff, you have to work for, put time into, etc. The disappointing stuff, well, it's just there. Innate. Natural to the game's environment. If you stand around long enough, it'll slap you in the face. Yeah, even if you're active in all kinds of things, eventually, you'll have your moment. We're that engrossed in it. We are it's bitch.

So there it is. There is your answer, friend. WoW is fun and disappointment. That all makes sense now, right? Why people keep playing even when they seem incredibly miserable? The fun reinforces, so we keep coming back. The disappointing punishes, so we act like asses and kids. It all makes perfect sense.

What a game this is.

Two Man Group

I have a very hard time dealing with PuG groups lately. It's not that I've had some recent bad experiences with them or anything of that sort. On the contrary, actually. Most of been wonderful gaming experiences and getting to know new people on the new server has been quite a treat. However, PuGs are never ideal. Mostly, that is because there is much more risk involved in them, since the participants are relatively unknown to one another. We don't know the way each other plays, behaves, perceives, and reacts to thinks, so it can potentially make for a very messy (and not in a good way) experience.

So when presented with the issue of having enough people on to run an instance, but not enough to fill a group, Nadala and I improvised.

In a group that usually would take 5 at our levels, we did it with just the two of us - a prime example of what one can do when "unknowns" aren't involved and you're completely in tune with the people you're playing with. We cleared the place relatively quickly, and took down the relatively hard-hitting Herod in one shot.

Lesson of the day? Less is better than more, especially when that more is a PuG. =)

Wii Win!

In non-WoW-related gaming news, the Nintendo Wii has overtaken the Microsoft Xbox 360 is the best-selling video game console in the world. Yup. Even with it's 2 titles, the Wii is Number 1.

Pretty sweet news for Nintendo, especially considering that after the N64 and Gamecube catastrophes, many were wondering if they were going to go the way of the once-mighty SEGA and stop hardware production altogether. I'm one of the 10 and a half million people that are sure glad they didn't!

Keep up the wars boys, and keep those prices a fallin' please. Kthx.

On the Warlock Forum

Have you visited the Warlock Forum lately? I haven't. At least not in a short while, anyway. With the upcoming nerfs and all, people have just become so irritable lately! The forum has just become so saturated with pre-pubescent crycheering (a word I just made up) about the class that it became very un-enjoyable to read. It was the same old, stale serving of bleh, maybe smothered in a differently-colored sauce. And in the end, all that variety and distaste would give you and anyone with half a stomach some nasty diarrhea. Not a pleasant experience one would wish upon themselves, ever. So, I delayed stopping by. But imagine my surprise when I visited the forums this morning and found some Pepto Bismol.

Yup. The pink stuff you drink when you have diarrhea, but in a sexy, vernacular form. It was hidden between the "Nerf THIS!" and "Warlocks are OP!" and "HAHA NERFED!" threads, and had taken the form of surprisingly good discussion! Reading through the threads definitely helped with the nausea I experienced after taking in the rest of the garbage on the forum. Hopefully, you can get some enjoyment and relief out of them too.

The Silent Spellstone: A quick and easy clarification on the Spellstone's application towards Silence and Counter-spell.

A 0/21/40 Shadow Destro Guide
: An in-depth break-down of the pros and cons of this very popular heavy Destro build.

Broken UA and Cloak of Shadows: Not really well presented, but the idea and argument still holds some weight.

Seduce Macro Goodness: One of the best Seduce macros you will ever find. Every Warlock should implement this, period.

Seduce as CC: Not really useful material on the subject itself, but is instead a good representation of how incredibly dumb many Warlocks are. I love the response about using your Felguard to off-tank ONLY if you're Demo specced. Useful knowledge imho. Actually, this thread probably doesn't belong here, since we already know enough about the wet paper bag.

The Epic Face Roll: Not anything Warlock-related, but a good change from the norm. I Lol'd, anyway, and humor ftw! =P

100 'Locking Tips: A thread with some helpful tips and reminders for Warlocks, young and old. Even if you're not a Warlock, take a peek. You'll definitely find something useful here.

Hit Rating and the Cloak: A discussion on the mechanics of +Hit and the Cloak of Shadows. Good to know for those moments you find yourself verbally cursing the Rogue that just jumped you.

That's it for now. If you have a thread you'd like to highlight as a noteworthy read, link it up in the comments.

Off to lvl the PvP 'lock. See yas. ;)

Monday, August 20, 2007

'Locks in Motion

There's so much Warlock goodness to be had, it's tough to ignore. Here's a look at one of the more famous, if not infamous 'locks out there. Some call him the best Destruction 'lock to have ever played the game. Some call him the most self-glorified, over-hyped, and over-rated Warlock to have graced the pages of YouTube. Most just call him Drakedog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


"The Felsteed is the 'free mount' that Warlocks receive at level 40. Other than Paladins, all other classes must pay 10Gold for a mount and 90Gold for training to ride it (these prices can be lowered by being Honored with the mount's city (and pre 2.0 by obtaining the Sergeant rank)). This is a great help since Warlocks must purchase spells for their summoned minions as well. You also gain riding skill 75."

You learn to summon your mount AND the riding skill to use it. Just wanted to clear that up for those who were wondering, after changes were made to the riding skill mechanics a while back (including myself).

Superficial Racists!

Everyone seems to be rolling a Warlock these days. I can't blame them. It's a fantastic and very fun class to play solo or in a group setting. So I understand the influx, really, and when I get asked questions about the Warlock class, I'm usually very quick to answer, even when they are quite simplistic.

One such question I get asked repeatedly is "Which is better? An Undead or Blood Elf Warlock?" Personally, I believe the answer is simple. Undead. No question about it. The Blood Elf racials are nice and all, and can be somewhat useful in many situations, but the Undead racials are so much more complimentary to the Warlock class. To see why that's the case, consider each racial trait as if it were a trinket (easier for some to understand the concept this way), and how useful that trinket would be to 'locks in general.

First, lets consider the Undead and their Cannibalize and Will of the Forsaken abilities. Cannibalize can be used on humanoids and undead targets, and regens 7% of your total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds, with a reasonably short two minute cooldown. Will of the Forsaken breaks and makes the you immune to Fear, Sleep, and Charm effects for 5 seconds. Would these abilities make for a good Warlock trinket? Very much so! Cannibalize compliments the Warlock-defining Life Tap spell VERY well, and minimizes downtime and increases efficiency in many different situations. And WotF, well, any trinket effect that restores control to your character is an immeasurably great trinket, for obvious reasons. =)

Now lets consider Blood Elves and their Mana Tap and Arcane Torrent. Mana Tap reduces your targets mana by a set amount, stacking 3 times, and scaling with level. Arcane Torrent silences nearby (read "very nearby") enemies for 2 secs and increases your mana by a set amount based on level and the number of Mana Taps you have stacked. Now, if all this mana goodness came on a trinket, do you think it would be considered a 'lock trinket? Warlocks stack Stamina which indirectly affects their mana regen through Life Tap. They need not worry about buffing mana regen directly. The answer is no.

Sorry, Blood Elves. At least you look good though. ;)

Hmm, but aren't we forgetting something? Orcs can roll Warlocks as well, and a much better question, although asked much less often, is whether an Orc Warlock should be considered.

Orcs have Blood Fury, which increases spell damage by an amount that scales with level (up to +150 @ Lvl 60, for example) for 15 seconds, with a 2 minute cooldown. Hardiness increases resistance to stun effects by 15%, and Command increases pet melee damage by 5%. Good qualities for a Warlock? You betcha. Warlocks stack Spell Damage. Stun resistance would come in handy against Rogues, Warriors, and other stunning classes. Extra pet melee damage, while probably not all that important for a Warlock (maybe for Demonology?), is still kinda nice, but it's more of a passive thing than something that's too be depended on (kinda like the Shadow Resistance of the Forsaken and +5 global resists of Blood Elves, which I didn't even mention before).

So which would be better? A trinket that increases spell damage for a short time and stun resists, or one that restores control to your character and offers quick health regen? Which would you pick up as a Warlock?

For me, the extra spell damage would definitely be enticing, and the stun resists would be nice. But when it comes down to it, both of those aren't as concrete as the Forsaken racial abilities. Neither Will of the Forsaken or Cannibalize are limited by chance or an "up to" mechanism. They will always perform at a specific level, and can always be depended on. And being able to break another Fear, Sleep, or Charm spell means that I can go back to doing damage and CC'ing myself. An extra amount of spell damage is useless if you can't use it, after all. Forsaken ftw, imho.

That being said, Orcs still make very good Warlocks and better 'locks than Blood Elves for sure. However, we're seeing huge numbers of BE 'locks being rolled, and at the same time, very few Orc 'locks. For example, even though Tichondrius has been around since the dawn of WoW, there are more than twice as many Blood Elf Warlocks on the server than there are Orc Warlocks. On Alex, the numbers are even more pronounced, with almost 3x as many BE 'locks as there are Orc 'locks.

Obviously, for many, it comes down to the way their character looks over how it will perform. I must admit though, there is something inherently awkward about a bestial Orc wearing fine cloth. And yes, they are ugly as hell. Given that's the case, I guess their superior stats just can't compete with the sexy, and no matter how much I think they should, I'd probably roll a BE over an Orc too.

Hmm, not taking my own advice. That doesn't really bode well for my character. Whatever. At least I look good. =P

Superficial ftw.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Twinkie Twinkie Little 'Lock...

...Oh how much you truly suck!

Ever wonder what the draw to twinking is? I do. Everytime I run into one in the battlegrounds, actually. I think to myself "Why in the hell would anyone do this?" There's no progression involved. Rarely are they a matter of skill, being that their their stats and gear are several levels above the norm. I mean, they're like a high schooler flexing his peen on the elementary school dodgeball lot. Nothing to be proud about, imho.

Take for example this Warlock I saw in AB last night. Lvl 39, and totally twinked out with +dmg greens, blue and purple BoEs and very high-lvl enchants. Here's the stat sheet:

- Green Lens of Shadow Wrath (+36 Shadow Dmg), Enchanted with +100 HP
- Necklace of Calisea
- Lunar Mantle of Shadow Wrath (+20 Shadow Dmg)
- Royal Cape of Shadow Wrath (+14 Shadow Dmg), Enchanted with +20 Spell Penetration
- Robe of the Magi, Enchanted with +150 Health
- Royal Bands of Shadow Wrath (+14 Shadow Dmg), Enchanted with +15 Spell Dmg
- Black Mageweave Gloves, Enchanted with +20 Spell Dmg
- Defiler's Cloth Girdle
- Shadoweave Pants, Enchanted with +35 Spell Dmg and +20 Stamina
- Defiler's Cloth Boots, Enchanted with +12 Stamina
- Underworld Band x 2
- Defiler's Talisman
- Insignia of the Horde
- Staff of Jordan, Enchanted with Soulfrost
- Jaina's Firestarter

All of that oozing twinkage results in a very impressive 171 Bonus Spell Damage and almost 2300 HP and Mana. Pretty great, I must say. But how satisfying can all of that goodness be when you're rolling around, beating people who are, for the most part, not even half as geared as you are? I mean, really, what's the point?

Barry Bonds complex ftl, imho.

Rareness Confirmed?

A few days ago, the FAIL gang was running through the SM Graveyard, grabbing some much needed XP, the sexy spell damage off-hand (Orb of the Forgotten Seer), and hoping for a shot at one of the rare spawns the instance has to offer. Luckily for us, we got just that! There stood the Fallen Champion (haha, get it?), a rare I had searched for over and over on my previous Warlock way back in the early days of 2006 (decades in WoW time) but never once found.

After downing him and picking up an Embalmed Shroud for my 'lock (the thing I was after for so long before), we got to talking about how many "rare" spawns we've been seeing in instances lately. Zy has come across a few in the SM GY on a relatively few number of runs, and out of 5 runs through SFK, I've come across the "rare" guard twice!

If chance would have it, we are having some amazing luck. But since chance rarely (haha... /sigh) plays games this way, we figure that Bliz must have made some changes to rare mechanics. However, after doing a quick search on the WoW forums to see if there is any info. on potentially updated spawn rates, I couldn't find a thing.

Strange, right? Or should I say "rare?" Hmm??

Bah, I FAIL at jokes this early in the morning.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I login to Alexstrasza for a bit to try and track down a few peeps when I see World Defense going CRAZY with "Orgrimmar is under attack!" Now that I play on a PvP server, it was second nature -- I mounted up and hit the Shat portal to Org without even really thinking twice about it.

When I got there, I basically ran right into the group attacking the city. They had come in through the back entrance, running right by the Hall of Legends, and making their way to Thrall's room in haste. I looked and looked for some recognizable names, found Dolph, and a few others, but no one I really knew.

When I arrived outside of Thrall's quarters, there was already a large group forming and some PvP going on. Well, actually, I wasn't sure what was going on. The lag had gotten so bad that I was beginning to see frames of events instead of events themselves.


I flagged up, hit the group with Seed of Corruption a few times (I think), then ran inside where a huge orgy of AoE was going on. There was so much happening on my screen, and it was all so incredibly choppy, that I didn't know what to do with it! I casted some more AoE spells and DoT'd all I could with Siphon Life to keep me alive, and somehow, some way, I lasted through the madness to see the Horde actually defend Thrall in his own chamber.

Then, as I'm taking in the scene around me, trying to figure out what the hell I'm gonna do next, I get jumped. Not once, but TWICE!

I was so happy to finally see someone I recognized! But, that quickly turned to sadness, as she got owned by all of Thrall's guards as soon as she tapped me with her love stick. /cry

AND THEN, after I make a quick round and return to her corpse to mourn, SHE TRIED TO KILL ME AGAIN!

Why, Ary? Why?!


Friday, August 10, 2007

Anatomy of a Cast Sequence

If you visit the Warlock forums, Warlock's Den, or any Warlock resource for that matter, you will likely come across a conversation involving DoT cast sequences. Indeed, visiting the Warlock forums earlier today, there were 3 threads involving cast sequence on the first page alone! So why is the order in which DoTS are applied such a hawt topic? Why is it such a big deal?

Cause Warlocks are DPS whores! That's why. And cast sequences are directly related to DPS, via the juggling of global cooldowns, DoT refreshes, and everything in-between. Right?

Being a DPS whore myself, I've fiddled with the numbers many times in the past. I would put together a little chart outlining new cast sequences and potential DPS of a set of spells. Yeah, I am a total math nerd like that, but it has worked out well enough... kinda. =P

Unfortunately, the charts are very specific to the point in time when they were created, taking into account the spell damage, talent points, spec, etc, that I had at the time. In order for me, or anyone for that matter, to best understand what cast sequence would work best for them, updated stats would have to be considered. Of course, there are some universal truths, mostly involving global cooldowns, but hey, better to know for sure, right?

Here's an example of the charts, using my own, up-to-date stats.

Based on +1001 global spell dmg, 40/0/21 spec, 60 secs, and excluding all potential crits and no mana issues whatsoever.

Sequence #1:

1 - Immolate - 15 secs
2 - Corruption - 18 secs
3 - Agony - 24 secs
4 - Siphon Life - 30 secs
5 - Shadow Bolt spam (2.5 sec cast)

Rinse and refresh DoTS as needed.

0.0 s - cast Immolate (532 dmg + 1266 DoT)
1.5 s - cast Corruption (after 1.5 s Immol cast) (2500 DoT)
3.0 s - cast Agony (3197 DoT)
4.5 s - cast Siphon Life (1794 DoT)
6.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt (1577 avg dmg)
8.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
11.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
13.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
16.0 s - cast Immolate
17.5 s - cast Corruption (previous Corruption will miss it's last tick)
19.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
21.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
24.0 s - cast Agony (previous Agony will miss it's last tick)
25.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
28.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
30.5 s - cast Immolate (previous Immolate will miss it's last tick)
32.0 s - cast Siphon Life (partial)
33.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
36.0 s - cast Corruption
37.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
40.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
42.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
45.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
47.5 s - cast Immolate (partial)
49.0 s - cast Agony (partial)
50.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
53.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
55.5 s - cast Corruption (partial)
57.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
59.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt

Total Dmg: 51463
DPS: 880 (again, excluding crits; otherwise it'd be around 1250 or so with Ruin)

The chart offers a pretty decent accounting of where the Warlock would be at any given time, if that cast sequence was to be followed, and DoTS refreshed near their the end of their cycles. Sure, it's pretty scripted, but that's PvE for ya, and it makes it fairly easy to compare different cast sequences to one another visually and mathematically, even if this isn't exactly how it would play out in the field. And, given the length and randomness of events, Improved Shadow Bolt procs, and even gear-based buffs, you can probably imagine how quickly one should deviate from the given "order" as soon as benefits are laid down elsewhere (spamming Shadow Bolts when an Improved SB procs, for example).

Sequence #2:

1 - Agony - 24 secs
2 - Siphon Life - 30 secs
3 - Immolate - 15 secs
4 - Corruption - 18 secs
5 - Shadow Bolt spam

0.0 s - cast Agony (3197 DoT)
1.5 s - cast Siphon Life (1794 DoT)
3.0 s - cast Immolate (532 dmg + 1266 DoT)
4.5 s - cast Corruption (2500 DoT)
6.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt (1577 dmg)
8.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
11.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
13.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
16.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
18.5 s - cast Immolate
20.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
22.5 s - cast Corruption
24.0 s - cast Agony
25.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
28.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
30.5 s - cast Siphon Life
32.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
34.5 s - cast Immolate
36.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
38.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
41.0 s - cast Corruption
42.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
45.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
47.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
50.0 s - cast Immolate (partial)
51.5 s - cast Agony (partial)
53.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt
56.0 s - cast Shadow Bolt
58.5 s - cast Shadow Bolt

Total Dmg: 51360
DPS: 878

Egad?! Almost identical numbers? How can that be?

If you're an astute Warlock and/or player, you probably already know how to explain the numbers you just saw. I realized very quickly after making these charts that the cast sequence of a set grouping of spells doesn't matter in many if not most situations. In other words, no matter how you begin your casting, you will end up casting the same number of specific spells in a given period of time. The charts are useful in expressing just that, but really, that's about all they were good for (and why "in the past" was italicized before =P).

So if cast sequence truly doesn't matter nearly as much as some make it out to, why does it receive so much attention?

Well, misinformation, for one. In a popular thread on the Warlock forums, a Lvl 70 'lock says:

The order of the initial dot outlay for a boss fight only seems important to me in terms of setting up the NEXT round of dots.

Many people will read this and hold it to be true, even though it is 100% false, as we've already shown.

Confusion is another reason cast sequence gets so much attention. For different mobs of unequal health and in different situations (5-man vs. raid, etc.), cast sequence DOES matter. Why? Well think about it. If a mob has 20k health, and there are 4 other Lvl 70's hammering away on it, a Warlock wouldn't even be able to cast all of his DoTS before the mob would flop down on the floor infront of him. You're gonna have to remove and add spells from your sequence to make the most of your DPS (remove a DoT and add a Shadowburn, for example), and start with heavy-hitting DoTS to get the most damage out of your spells (Corruption, for example). Some may transfer this into a raid, assuming cast sequences still matter there when in reality, they're not as important in that environment.

So really, when it comes down to it, what should we take away from this nonsense?

Cliff's Notes FTW: Cast sequence only matters when the duration of an encounter (be it trash, or what have you) is relatively short, which limits the effectiveness of DoTS as a whole. At such an occasion, one should consider the TYPE of spell used (DoT vs. Direct Damage), not just their ORDER of application in an effort to maximize effective DPS.

Heh, glad we got that settled.

Spell Damage

Here's a LINK to a fairly decent Warlock damage calculator over at It sports a very nice UI and outputs a good amount of useful information. Unfortunately, the info. it generates isn't 100% accurate, but no dmg calculator is, so it's not that big a deal, and really, the numbers are close enough.

Check it out, 'locks, and lemme know what you think.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Proton Packs FTW

Zy and I (sounds like an after-school special) were in the Arathi Highlands the other day, shadow-pwning mobs between AB games when Zy says to "Hey, we look like the Ghostbusters!"

Well what do ya know. We kinda do. Just don't ask me to show you my slimer.

Best Gameshow Ever!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Week in Review

It's maintenance time. Server down time. A time to reflect on the past week, think about the present, and plan for the future... between habitual login attempts, that is. =P Me, I ruminated over my experiences on my new server, the differences between leveling on a PvE vs. PvP server, and what it takes for a guild to be successful but fun at the same time. Serious business for sure!

So it's been about a week now that I've been playing on a PvP server, and all I can say is, wow. It is so much more fun and dynamic than playing on a Normal realm, obviously due to the fact that you can get jumped at any time while in a contested area. That variable alone adds a major edge to the experience, I think, which makes it so much more intense and immersing. It's such a rush seeing flagged players appear over a horizon or from behind a building and landing that first curse that gets the party started. Such a good time!

The people seem much more realm/community oriented as well. Now, that may have nothing to do with the classification of the server, but I'm sure as hell noticing a whole lot more buffing coming from complete strangers while running through contested areas. In my mind, we're looking out for each other - it's a very conscious thing, and I dig it.

Guildwise, we're busy running old-school instances and setting up or app, charter, website, etc. We're trying to strike a good balance between progress and fun, since, well, on our old server, we were so used to one or the other.

In terms of organized PvP, Zy and I are about to get our first bits of PvP gear from Arathi Basin. We spent a good portion of today getting honor and tokens, and pretty much destroying the place. We figure we will continue to PvP for a bit so that people can catch up Level-wise. Hopefully (unlike today), they will take the opportunity to do so!

All in all, it's been a tremendous week. Can't wait to see another one on this server. =)

Sunday, August 5, 2007


This doesn't really have anything to do with WoW or Blizzcon or anything related... unless of course, you clump all nerd-related mumbo jumbo into one giant super-mega-colossally geeky uber nerd category. But however you approach your dorkesque way of life, you will truly appreciate this!

Huzzah! Canceled but recently returning cartoons ftw!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Feelings of Good

Re-rolling on a PvP realm from a PvE realm, I always heard about the negatives that would plague me from day to day. "You're gonna get ganked a million times. It's gonna take forever for you to level." And all that. Is it all true? Seemingly so, yeah. I've been ganked about half a million times already, mostly in Hillsbrad, and I'm not even Level 30 yet! So, why do I keep going back? What makes it all worth it?

Because I can kill as well...

There's little that's more satisfying, from a low-lvl PvP perspective, then killing a corpse-camping, a-hole, bubbling Paladin that's 5 levels higher than yourself, only to watch him immediately give you the biggest compliment he can by taking Resurrection Sickness. Good feelings for sure.

Makes all the gankings worth it imho. Can't wait to 70!

Blizzcon, My Boring First Day, and Today

Liz and I are currently standing in the middle of the Apple Store in South Coast Plaza, fresh off of taking our leave from Blizzcon 2007, which is still going down just 20 or so minutes away. After two days of missing the meat of the show, there's really not much to update you guys about, but here are my experiences just in case you're interested.

Yesterday, after closing out casual Friday at the University and rushing away from a bunch of eager students that knew where I would be heading, I got into my car and made the trek out to Anaheim for Blizzcon '07.

I arrived at the Convention Center just minutes after 3:00 p.m. (traffic was bad), at which point the show was very well under way and I had already missed a good portion of the day's festivities. Walking through the atrium to pick-up my passes, I noticed two things. One, the main theme of the setup screamed Wrath of the Lich King. Even with Starcraft II on the horizon, the WoW Expansion seemed to be the main attraction. Odd, but understandable. Second, there were hardly any cosplayers walking the floor! I thought for sure I would be surrounded by poorly-made costumes and the like, but alas, there were only a few. Although, those few did live up to my expectations... nothing like an extremely heavy-set female BE wearing skimpy clothing. So hawt.

I waited in one of the incredibly packed lines for a good half hour or so, with other people who were apparently uber late getting to the center. I sat quiet, mostly listening to the many conversations that were going on all around me (apparently no one talks to almost-30-somethings at parties like this!). There was this one guy in a Wrath of the Lich King shirt talking with a few people just up the line from me, discussing the Mage as a primary AoE class vs. a primary DPS class. I wonder if that's Blizzard's official position on the Mage class these days. Definitely interesting.

Another conversation taking place just one line over and a few people down was about the newly introduced Death Knights, of which the participants seemed about as confused as I was about the class. I had only just heard about them for the first time ever, being that I never played WC2 (or any other WC for that matter). After hearing what others had to say, I'm thinking that the confusion is definitely widespread. So, instead of "WTF DEATH KNIGHT," Zy, maybe a "WTH? DEATH KNIGHTS?" would be more appropriate? =P

Being surrounded by so many WoW players in itself was kinda surreal. I usually find myself only interacting with players in-game, not IRL, so yeah, kinda strange to have people introduce themselves IRL as their WoW toon. But, I must say that having something in common with everyone in that hall of which we were all so passionate about made for a very positive and reinforcing feeling. I'm not sure what it was, exactly, but it was kinda grand. It just felt like being in a very familiar element, I guess.

Anyway, after what seemed like a very long time, I finally got to the front of the line and picked up my pass and goodies, but was not allowed to pick up the gear for my wife (some B.S. about her needing to be there with I.D.). I rummaged through it all, finding a t-shirt, lots of ads, soap (wtf?) and the Murloc key, among other things. There was actually a lot more in the bag than I had expected there to be, and the bag itself, which was adorned with Blizzard artwork, seemed like it'd make for a good collectors item. And I wasn't the only person to think so either.

Not even 5 minutes after I received my bag and still standing in the atrium, I was approached by a young gentlemen that was probably not much younger than myself, who offered me cash for my bag and it's schwag. Four hundred dollars. On the spot.


He walked away with the stuff and approached someone else, probably making a similar offer. I stood there, kinda in shock, but with a smile on my face. I had planned on selling the stuff on eBay when I got home later that evening, so this offer, well, it was just a very pleasant surprise. No worry about payment methods, mailing the stuff out, and I wouldn't worry about being tempted to use the card on one of my own toons once home and at my desk, WoW open, and Murloc card in-hand.

Bagless but happy, I walked around the show floor for a bit. There was a line stretching off endlessly in almost every direction. The show was PACKED with people walking, talking, living WoW. I even heard there was a beer vendor somewhere, but I didn't go looking for it. Beer ftl. Now if there was a martini vendor somewhere...

Walking around, there really wasn't much for me to do, especially being all by myself. That theory I had about shows sucking when going solo? It totally and unfortunately held very true. I would have rather been leveling my Warlock, I realized. So, after a quick walk around, I ended up leaving only about an hour and a half after first showing up. After getting home, I realized I should have stayed a tad longer!!!

So upset I missed that!!! Oh, and holy hell, BE Female FTW!

Anyways, today was more of the same nonsense. The wife and I arrived early, got her stuff early (we somehow managed to get a bag of goodies after hearing there weren't any left to give out, damn liars), and left early after a fairly quick and painless $300 sale of the schwag. Good enough imo.

And now we're here, enjoying the weather and about ready to head to Houston's for a late lunch. Good times.

I honestly wish I had more to offer you guys. Next time, maybe we should get the locals to meet up and roll the floor together? It'd make it so much more worthwhile and enjoyable! And indeed, rarely did I see anyone by themselves. WoW is a social game, afterall, so going at it or this show alone is just not ideal.

Anyways, I'm off to lunch. If you guys have questions, you know where to find me. ;)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Blizzcon Blues

To attend Blizzcon, or not to attend Blizzcon. That is the question.

A while ago, I bought two tickets to the event that starts today at the Anaheim Convention Center. Unfortunately, after some time, my wife decided that she didn't want to attend (I can't really blame her -- a bunch of sweaty gamers packed into an arena doesn't make for a good visual or olfactory experience), and so, I am left with one unused ticket, and at this point, no one that's willing to buy it.

I may as well have flushed a Benjamin down the toilet...

Of course, I could still attend the show myself, but really, how fun would the event be if I were to walk through the isles all by myself? I tried that once at E3 in Los Angeles, and ONLY once at E3. Call me a social bug or whatever, but it was so unsatisfying to see all of those wonderful games without someone to turn to and enjoy them with. It felt like a novelty. A gimmick. Totally not worth the time.

And so, I find myself in class now, dressed up for a casual Friday, and wondering if I should just head over to the show that's now happening just 40 mins from where I'm standing. I could go, sell one of the tickets, make up the cost for both, and attend with my one remaining ticket. Or, I could go, sell BOTH tickets, and make a killing, minus gas expenses, of course. Or I could just go home and be out $200.

Hmm. Choices.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Game Master, I Despise Thee

Imagine a world with no punishment. No system of checks and balances. No law enforcement. No rules dictating behavior.

That'd be a little scary, wouldn't it? I mean, it'd be cool speed down the highway at 120 while sipping a martini and holding a cellphone up to your ear, but really, think about what else it'd be like. Theft, death, rape, and chaos on every street corner, ignored and going completely unpunished. Not all that ideal, is it?

And then there's the REALLY important stuff. You know, like console launches. Envision yourself waiting in line all night in front of a worn-down Best Buy or Wal-Mart for an Xbox 720 (because you're honorable like that), only to have some douche bag walk right up to the front of the line, take one of the few available systems, push you off the curb, losing your place in line, and leave without so much as a glance from the two fat security guards standing nearby.

You yell and scream at the officer, "Hey! That guy just took off with the loot and totally screwed me of my place in line! Do something!" You try and make your way after the culprit, but are held in place by a seemingly invisible force. Then, the officer throws a look your way and responds, "He didn't do anything wrong. Be more careful with whom you come to stand in line with next time. Is there anything else I can help you with? No? Please let me know what you thought of my service." The officer points to a blank sheet of parchment, curled and worn and lying on the floor, untouched and empty.

"What?!" You ask yourself. "As if I have any control or knowledge of the people who show up at the same venue I do?" If your reaction is along the lines of "What in the living hell is this utter bullshit?!" then you are a totally right, and you fully understand what it is like, dealing with a World of Warcraft Game Master.

Moments after having the loot ninja'd while on a PuG run in Shadowfang Keep, I messaged a GM about my complaint. His responses were as passive as a prunified bowel movement. I was told that the ninja looting behavior and booting me from the party without explanation was not against the rules, so the guilty party wasn't really guilty of anything, and my complaint was null and void. Fantastic.

The Ninja knew nothing would come out of my complaint, as was probably the case in many previous complaints against his name. He laughed when I told him I would report his behavior and replied with "Like that will amount to anything." Indeed, it hasn't, and it won't, and that's why he'll do it again, and again, and again. Seriously Bliz, wtf...

Way to look out for the good guys.

Disappointed, I close the ticket and move along with my questing. And then I noticed something. ZOMG. I didn't complete "Arugal Must Die!" I couldn't loot the Arugal's Head! His behavior disallowed quest completion, AND THAT IS AGAINST THE RULES!!!!

I'm telling ya, I was giddy as I opened up another ticket, detailing the facts of the matter and envisioning a triumphant response from the answering GM. When one finally came a calling, I was bombarded with questions, as if I were the one that had done something wrong. GM: "Did you even TRY to loot the body?" he asked?

Me: "Of course. Many times (you dip shit)."

GM: "Were you the only one that couldn't loot?"

Me: "(WTF?) No, others in the Party were complaining."

GM: "Was it converted to a raid group?"

Me: "I'm assuming so, since it was on Master Looter. But that was changed only near the very end." I was starting to realize that this would be going no where.

GM: "You still should have been able to loot a quest item if it was on Master Looter."

Me: "I couldn't."

GM: "I'm sorry to hear that."

Me: "So, about the player's behavior. He prevented the completion of my quest. Anything gonna be done about it or will he be free to do this again later today or tomorrow?"

GM: "You should have been able to loot the quest item. Master Looter does not affect that ability."

Me: "So why don't I have it? And why do I have a screen shot with repeated 'You don't have permission to loot that corpse' messages on it?"

GM: "Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: "No (useless PoS)"

GM: "Please fill out our survey..."

It was unbelievable. A GM has every resource he can possibly have at his disposal. He can check Instance logs, the player's actions and conversations, and with a flick of a wrist and a click of a button, can figure out that I was indeed unable to loot the corpse of Arugal and that the ninja really did break one of Blizzard's rules dictating behavior.

So, why was there no punishment? Why no enforcement? Why no action? Why is all of this "dishonorable" (as a GM put it) nonsense allowed to continue on?

Zy thinks my complaints were brushed off because I am a Warlock, and apparently, the Warlock is WoW's equivalent of reality's black man. Umm... maybe...? But I think the issue goes beyond race. Why else would almost every complaint that I hear is taken to a GM come back rejected? Why else would people be so frustrated and let down by the quality of service Bliz provides to it's customers? Why are we fed all of this bullshit while those who do wrong get off scotch free???

I can't figure it out. If someone else can, please, enlighten me.

And to the ninja: I can't wait to see you again.


Well, that didn't take long...

During the SFK Arugal encounter on my first PuG run since my re-roll, I fell victim to the classic loot ninja. Just before Arugal fell, I noticed that the looting method had been changed to Master Looter. The guy was after Arugal's Robes, and since there were 3 other casters in the group, he and his accomplice (who invited the ninja into the group just before we entered Arugal's chamber) didn't want to chance it. Thankfully, karma conspired against him and Arugal dropped his Belt instead.

Anyhow, it's not surprising that there's a selfish douchebag out there that resorts to childish means to get what he wants. What is sickeningly shocking, however, is how the Game Masters respond to such "dishonorable" behaviors.

Later today, I'll write about what two GMs had to say, and why Blizzard is terribly wrong in their lack of policing b.s. For now, sleep. I was ganked way too many times tonight -- makes me tired. =)


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tabard FTW

So, which background color should it be?