Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A License to Warlock

Like driving heavy machinery or working in a specialized profession, sometimes I think that playing WoW should require a license to operate. Not that I think the game is difficult to play or anything like that, but so few people actually take the time to learn the intricacies of their class, that it'd be nice to have a simple and clean way to separate those that do from those that don't.

Achievements are a step in the right direction, but won't help in picking out the Warlock in Kara gear that can out-perform T6-level 'locks in Black Temple content (*cough* more on that later this week)... even though the system totally should.

But because we will never see licensing of that kind implemented in-game, I guess we'll just have to turn to our good friend novelty to get our licensing fix. =)

Inspired by Mike Schramm's post over at WoW Insider, I threw together these Warlock "licenses" for the sheer heck of it. They're pretty fun, if I do say so myself, and best of all, they are totally unspoken for in the State of California! I'm actually thinking about picking one of them up myself. =D

So here ya go, friends in curses, and be sure to let us know if you got some of your own novelty statements to share, or if you are sporting an auto-based tribute yourself!

See you guys soon... even on the road, maybe. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

20 Silver, 91 Copper

That's how much money I have across all of my characters this morning, down from about 8000 gold or so. I'm also out 8 Primal Mights, 32 Primal Fires, and just about any other Primal or item of worth that I had in my bags when I logged out late last night. In all, it amounts to well over 10k gold worth of materials lost.

So this is what it feels like... for the second time.

This is really getting old.

I logged into my Warlock expecting to be in Dire Maul, where I usually plant him upon logging out for hopes of finding a rare spawn upon my return. But when I logged in this morning, I noticed immediately on the Character Select screen that he was in Shattrath and felt incredibly uneasy about it. I loaded him up, and indeed found his bags empty. I checked my other toons--theirs were empty too.

The uneasy, eerie feeling I experienced during those first moments were not unlike those that I felt when I logged into my blog and found a vacant, empty space those many weeks ago. It's not so much an "OMG MY STUFF IS GONE!" kind of emotion as it is a "How on earth did this happen?" kind of thing.

Now before you go on thinking about all of the irresponsible actions and behaviors that could result in having an account compromised, hear me out.

I don't visit weird sites. I don't download weird programs.

I scan my HD regularly, and am very cautious and concerned about my internet security. I have set up Firewalls, both software and hardware, and felt pretty secure about all of the extra precautions I have taken.

Obviously, none of this was enough, and even after scanning my drive with two different programs, nothing turned up. I am totally baffled, but will be taking more time to figure out how things went wrong. Hopefully it'll be something to learn from.

In the meantime, I really have to ask myself if this game is really worth all of the trouble it has been lately. And sadly, I don't have an answer for that just yet. Ironically enough, the thief left all of my TOONS intact, allowing me to play just as I have been over the past many weeks. No gear was vendored. All gear is accounted for.

And if this is some sort of twisted joke, it's totally not funny. Not at all.

If any of you could offer up some advice on what to check, where to check, etc, after an account has been compromised, please let me know. And thanks if you do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Warlock vs. Melee Conundrum

Some of you may be wondering why I have a picture of a little Farm boy on my blog this morning, waiting by the fireside by the buff. Indeed a valid question, especially when considering my one-month hiatus from blogging. But whatever you pervs are thinking, stop. It is simply to illustrate a Warlock/WoW-related point, which we'll come back to it in just a second.

But first, one of the issues, if not THE issue PvP Warlocks are facing these days is the lack of balanced survivability against melee classes. Rogues and Warriors are currently the bane of our existence, with an array of tools and abilities that can keep them close in proximity and preventing us from doing anything substantial. I'm sure you've all had the pleasure of experiencing what seems like hours worth of spell push-back due to fast melee attacks, all while getting intercepted, gouged, cheap-shotted, and kidney-shotted all the way to death, and with no real means of escape.

Fear? Please. If it hadn't been nerfed to death with immunities, trinkets, and diminishing returns, maybe. But in it's current form, it is a VERY weak defensive spell, and sadly, it is our class-defining ability. What does that say about Warlocks as a whole?

Deathcoil, while a great stand-alone defensive spell, only delays the inevitable. Warriors can intercept right back to the Warlock and continue smashing their faces in, and Rogues can, well, do about 10 different things that will keep them in control of the encounter--thinking about all of them makes my head spin, actually.

NO class should have absolutely NO chance to win when engaged with another, but in the case of Warlocks and melee, we are pretty close to that point. Even Soul Link, with the lack of Pet Scaling and the 5% nerf it will be receiving soon, isn't enough to handle the obscene amounts of white damage melee can produce. Such unbalanced encounters can make for very frustrating, one-sided experiences akin to the "Warlocks are Mushrooms" days of early WoW PvP. Add to that the multi-crippling effect that Resilience has on our abilities and the availability of Ignore Armor stats to melee and you can understand the up-hill-balance-battle that we Warlocks are now facing.

Things have got to change, and as we approach the beta phase of WotLK production, our question becomes this: what changes would help create balanced survivability for Warlocks against heavy, fast-hitting melee?

We've all heard of the new self-teleporting Demonic Circle ability Warlocks will be receiving in Wrath of the Lich King, and indeed it's sole purpose is to help the Warlock escape from within melee range. But in thinking critically about the spell, you should also be asking yourself a multitude of questions about it. For example, in it's final form, what will it's range limit be? Will it be affected by line of sight? What will be it's cooldown? Will it be enough?

Since the ability, as with all new WotLK abilities, is still under development, it's tough to say. But the short answer is "no," and here's why:

Each combat stat is designed to have a single counter-stat in the World of Warcraft. Or, at least, this is the ideal blueprint that Blizzard used to apply. Spell Resistance was countered by Spell Penetration. Percent chance to Dodge was countered by Hit Rating, etc. It was simple, and for the most part, successful... until the Arena came along and the concept of Resilience was introduced.

Resilience, from the start, was a terrible idea--to minimize Critical strikes in the PvP equation completely gimped Mages, Destruction Warlocks, and a multitude of other classes and specs that are only successful when they are allowed to crit with no penalty. But, it was what it was, and at least it ONLY severly gimped one Warlock talent tree. That is, until Blizzard strayed from their original blueprints and allowed Resilience to counter a SECOND variable, Damage over Time spells, and therefore indirectly affecting Spell Damage at the same time.

At this point, two Warlock staples, Spell Damage via DoTS and Spell Crit Chance, are countered by a single PvP stat. And it didn't stop there.

Soon, Channeled spells were thrown into the mix, becoming the THIRD variable affected by Resilience. This was only done to minimize the effect of drain teams, but a change to the approach Warlock PvP should be played nonetheless.

Lets put everything together now to put this problem into perspective.

The Warlock class has had its defensive spells nullified by buffs to melee. What offense we did have left is nullified by the effects of Resilience on our spells and abilities. What on earth do we have left? An SL/SL build that requires us to ride the coattails of our Rogue or Priest or Druid or whatever other cookie-cutter combo we can team up with?

Things have got to change, and it is up to the Warlock and general player communities to place pressure onto Blizzard and it's backward-stepping e-Sport fetish to refocus the game and help make things right again.

Now, consider the picture of the child at the top of this post again. Notice what he's wearing? Chain mail armor. In a system where Resilience exists in it's current form, THAT KID HAS MORE LASTING POWER AGAINST MELEE THAN A WARLOCK DOES.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Tay Zonday Does "Pork and Beans"

Hey all!

I hope that everyone had a fantastic weekend. Mine was AMAZING.

I experienced my first Father's Day ever, which was truly an awesome time! I'll write more about it later, when I'm not totally exhausted and drained of energy, cause the day really deserves my utmost attention to convey just how adorable it was.

I've also been working on a few Warlock-centric pieces that I promise I'll put up soon.

But in the meantime, enjoy this clip of YouTube's own Tay Zonday of "Chocolate Rain" fame doing Weezer's "Pork and Beans." It's epic, and for now, it's all you get, so enjoy it! =P

Sunday, June 8, 2008

For Temerity Jane, the Marshmallow Queen

After yesterday's marshmallow-stuffing goodness, a little video just for you!

Next time you invite us all into your web cam space, I hope you use this as motivation. =)

This Week's LOL: New Destruction Spell

This video is W.I.N. for so many reasons, that I shouldn't even have to explain any more about it. Just watch and if you're an old-school gamer, you'll see what I mean. =)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

GH3: Through the Fire and Flames, 100% on Expert

Seriously. I never thought I'd see the day.

The hardest song of any Guitar Hero or GH-like game ever released met it's master yesterday, when some dude named Chris hit every one of the song's 3,722 notes in stride. His reaction at the end of the video says it all... he definitely didn't expect it could be done either.

Grats on an epic gaming moment, Chris. You better not have been cheating! ;)

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Very Good Warlock Gear Guide

Canadianpimp, aka Kobekid of Kilrogg, is a seasoned poster over at the very constructively destructive Warlocks Den forums. Taking his helpfulness to another, almost deifying level, he has put together an incredibly valuable gearing guide for the Warlock class. In it, he uses an objective rating system he came up with called DP (short for "DPS Points"), which rates gear based upon all of their DPS-friendly stats.

The guide will lead you from your early cloth-wearing days to end-game Sunwell gear, and with a concise clarity that you will appreciate. New and seasoned warlocks alike should definitely take a look, and often, because he updates the guide fairly regularly.

Follow the link below, and if you can, be sure to thank him (on his blog) for a job well done!

Canadianpimp's Warlock Gear Guide

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

10 Ways Gamers Can Save Money

While the stereotype of your average modern gamer is an individual that lacks adequate hygiene and lives in his parent's basement, there are actually many of us that are making our own way. We are independent, have families to support, and bills to pay, and in this economic crunch that we all currently find ourselves in, what could be more responsible than searching for ways to lighten our financial load?

Beyond the standard gas-consumption-related advice that you see and hear almost everywhere, here are 10 things that we, as gamers, can do to help our wallets stay just a little bit more chunky during these tough economic times:

1) Rent games with low replay value. How many of you have games in your library that you haven't played in, say, the last week? What about the previous month? Year??? I'm sure there are PLENTY of games on your shelf that fit any one of those categories, and that's just not financially smart, my friend. $50 doesn't go far these days, and especially not when it's collecting dust. Get the most out of your money set aside for gaming and only buy games with high replay value. Rent others that you know you want to play, but will only play a few times at best (i.e., many single-player RPGs).

2) Unplug cathode case lights. Cathode lights, while considered "cool" by some and included in many big-name PC gaming rig designs, are really just an unnecessary accessory we can do without. Their cost can readily add up as well, considering that many will run you between $8-10 and need to be replaced upon extinction. In flipping the switch and turning them off, you will not only start saving money immediately, but you won't have to spend money replacing them when they burn out either - a win on both fronts.

3) Unplug your gaming consoles when not in use. It's well-known that modern electronics, including gaming consoles, can be quite the energy hogs. This is partly due to the fact that many items simply do not turn off when told to do so! Instead, they beam a little red light back at you, stating that they have entered a "standby" mode that continues to drain energy at an alarming rate. For example, leaving a PS3 on standby uses 5x more energy than running your refrigerator for the same amount of time! I'm sure the Xbox 360 and even the Nintendo Wii are guilty of a little post-use drainage as well. So, instead of just flipping the power switch off and sending those trickster consoles into standby, unplug the little leeches until you're ready to get your game on again. Heck, while you're at it, unplug EVERYTHING that can go on standby, like your flat screen TV, sound system, and DVD player, and save even more money! GG, electricity bill. GG.

4) Downgrade your home phone service. Many of us connect to the net via DSL over our home phone line. If you're one of those gamers, you know that in most cases, DSL requires an active, working phone line to function. In this age of cellphones, free minutes and long distance, however, that phone service contract is a waste of money. All you need a line for is DSL, so instead of paying a premium for a bunch of features you will never use, call up your home service provider and drop your service contract down to the bare minimum. No Caller I.D., Call Waiting, nothing. Ask about "per-minute" contracts and pick one up if you can, as their monthly fees are among the cheapest you will find. When that's done, simply unplug your phone, and you're off to saving several hundred dollars a year.

5) Downgrade your broadband to a speed you need. Most internet users are overpaying for their services. Why? Because they sign a contract for a speed that is either much faster than what they actually need or that their computer can even handle. The problem is that, as gamers, we approach this pitfall far too often. We want the fastest graphics, refresh rate, response time, and latency, and will pay more for it even if we don't need it. And trust me, you don't need it. Downgrade to a speed that is around 1500/768 Kbps, and not only will you continue to enjoy reasonably fast online gaming, but you'll also save yourself a large chuck of change too.

6) Make your computer energy efficient. Rising energy costs are nothing to balk at. The price has increased about 50% in the past ten years and continues to rise sharply today. To save you as much money as possible, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you turn your computer completely off (and unplug it) in situations when it will not be used within the next 2 hours. That way, the cost of the energy surge needed to power the system up again is offset by the down-time. And this doesn't just apply to computers, but to all of their peripherals as well. Monitors, speakers, printers, you name it, should all be shut down and unplugged when not in use. If you want to streamline the process, have a smart surge protector do it all for you.

7) Turn off the lights. We all know that it's appropriate and energy-efficient to always turn off the lights before leaving a room. We've been drilled by this way of thinking for quite some time, and indeed, it's a great way to lower energy costs. But what about the other way around? What about turning the lights off while remaining inside a room? While gaming, we need no other light source than the tube, plasma, or LCD sitting directly in front of us. So turning off every other light source, and lowering your energy bill in the process, is definitely not a bad way to go. Just be careful not to trip on your way out!

8) Purchase gear only when you have to, and like you're saving money. "Frugal" is the word here, folks. If you can borrow a game, don't buy it. If your friend has a replacement computer part he doesn't need, ask for it. Don't be shy. Be smart. Approach every new or replacement purchase as if it is an opportunity to save money. Want to buy a new title for your gaming library? Buy it USED off of eBay or Need a sound card to replace the one that just crapped out on you? Buy it OEM, and don't empty your wallet for newer technology; only buy exactly what you need! Nothing more.

9) Ditch carbonated, expensive energy drinks for tap water. We gamers need energy to get us through those all-night frag fests, and sodas and energy drinks happen to be our method of choice, as they are for the rest of the nation. It's no surprise, then, that they cost consumers hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year, which is pretty fail considering how TERRIBLE they are for our health. Caffeine is a diuretic, which dehydrates the body, and as a carbonated beverage is considered by many to compete with calcium absorption (biochemistry anyone?). Tap water, while not as tasty, requires a fraction of the cost of other beverages, and is much better for you because it hydrates the body and helps with mineral absorption. So kicking the soda can will not only mean that you will save a lot of cash now, but also that you will be healthier, saving countless dollars on potential doctor visits later.

10) Keep playing video games. Gaming, if approached responsibly, can be one of the cheapest forms of entertainment you can find. Yes, it's reasonably expensive to get things started, with what, having to buy either a console or computer to pwn noobs on. But once received and the gamer settled into a minimalist approach, think about how little that will cost him one, six, and twelve months later. And compare that to how much other hobbies or activities would cost in that same amount of time. And hey, it's much more enjoyable too! So ditch the movie, the bar, and the expensive restaurant, and roll some Alliance head with a pizza instead. Poetry to live by, my friends. Game on. ;)

Got any of your own money-saving methodologies to share? Post them in the comments now! =)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex, Shadowform, and the Spectral Tiger

I have lost all faith in humanity.

According to The Numbers, a website that compiles box office data including daily profits, The Sex and the City movie took in almost 27 million dollars on it's opening day yesterday.

Yes, THAT movie. And yes, it seriously did THAT well -- 3rd in 1st-day profits this year, even when people should have known better.

The movie has been receiving scathingly terri-bad reviews since previewed by Hollywood's elite weeks ago. Rotten Tomatoes, a liberal movie site, even gave it a 5.8/10. That's an "F" people! FAIL! And yet somehow, it performs, and I can't even begin to tell you how.

I mean, I know there are some crazy people out there that are fans of the show, but this is definitely beyond "some." If you break down ticket sales and costs, the opening day statistics amount to almost 3.9 MILLION crazy people that forked out hard-earned cash to see this heap of feces on film!

That's way too many crazies enjoying way too many feces!!!

But in all seriousness, what on earth can this movie possibly offer? Thought-provoking adult situations? Seriously smart dialogue? Aging, clucking, borderline-whores, one of which whose face looks like it grew a foot where it's nose used to be, and all of which probably have a raging case of genital herpes?

Well, the latter two, yes, but that's it.

And if you enjoy garbage like that, may you be cursed with the foot-face and STDs you seem to so admire.

/sigh... some people...

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. I'll point my sleep-deprived foul mood towards a WoW moment I had yesterday instead. =)

While running alongside a Shadow Priest from the UC to the Zeppelin tower just outside, I noticed something fairly peculiar about her ride. It was a tiger mount that seemed fragmented, like a broken graphic or something of that sort. At first, I thought it was a glitch of some kind. But as I got closer and started talking with her, I realized that it wasn't a glitch after all:

Turns out that it was a Spectral Tiger in Shadowform, looking both very cool and very odd as it stretched it's limbs out in front and back behind itself, invisibly moving it's armor as if they were supernaturally elevated pieces of plate.

I'm not sure if this graphic is as it was intended to be, and thinking about it now, I've never heard much of a complaint from proud priestly owners of the spectral mount. But I have to wonder if that is because they enjoy the way it looks, or if they simply aren't the types to complain about a mount they surely are happy to display, given it's rarity and worth.

In any case, it's a cool thing to see in motion. So if you happen to know a Priest who owns one, ask them to go dark and whip it out.

Hopefully, they'll know what you mean. ;)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Song of the Week: Pork and Beans

One of my favorite music videos of all time is what Blink 182 put together for their song "All the Small Things." It is basically a spoof of music videos put out by every trendy girl and boy band of that era, and was hilariously perfect in every way.

This week's SotW, "Pork and Beans" by Weezer, is similar in that it's video is a spoof of the current major trend: YouTubing fame! If you Tube (ha!) often, you'll definitely recognize the cameos you're about to see. The video rocks 'em, and the song is great too! For PvE, PvP, whatevah.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mages Can Be So Wrong Sometimes...

Here we have his mage-ness, Jean-Claude van Damme, performing "Conjure Biscuit" on a balcony somewhere I don't ever want to be.

I mean who does this? Seriously? And with cameras around?


If you can think of a better line to go with the image than what I have written, let me know. I was too mesmerized to come up with anything good...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Warlock Talents, Abilities: Wrath of the Lich King

Since WoW Insider and MMO Champion have opened the flood gates and direct players to once highly-guarded info, I figure I will do the same. Besides, Blizzard wants you to see this information anyway. With Age of Conan out there stealing a bit of their thunder, they're definitely okay with a healthy bit of Wrath leaking. ;) Keep in mind, these are early talent designs, and can (read: will) change.

New Warlock Talents, Wrath of the Lich King (Alpha)


Eradication: 3 pts; requires 25 pts; Your Corruption, Siphon Life, and Curse of Agony ticks have a x% chance to increase your spell casting speed by 1% for 8 sec. This effect has a 10 second cooldown.

Death's Embrace: 3 pts; requires 40 pts; Increases the amount drained by your Drain Life by 30% while your health is at or below 20% health, and increases the critical strike chance of your Shadowbolt and Haunt spells by 15% when your target is at or below 20% health.

Soul Depletion: 3 pts; requires 40 pts; Your Corruption spell ticks have a 15% chance of consuming w% mana, x energy, y Rage or a z Runic Power on affected targets.

Everlasting Affliction: 5 pts; requires 45 pts: Your Corruption, Siphon Life and Seed of Corruption spells gain 20% more of your bonus spell damage effects, and your Drain Life and Shadow Bolt spells have a x% chance to reset the duration of your Corruption spell on the target.

Atrocity: 1 pt; requires 50 pts; You devastate the area, causing Corruption (Rank 8) to all targets within 15 yards. In addition, your Corruption spell will do 434 Shadow damage to the target when it finishes its duration.


Demonic Empowerment: 1 pt; requires 30 pts; Grants the Warlock's summoned demon Empowerment.
Succubus: instantly vanishes, turning the Succubus invisible and restoring it's health to 100%. The vanish effect removes all stuns, snares and movement impairing effects from the Succubus.

Voidwalker: Increases the Voidwalker's health by 20%, and it's threat generated from spells and attacks by 20%.

Imp: Increases the Imp's damage by 20% and chance to critically hit with spells by 20%.

Felguard: Increases the Felguard's attack speed by 20% and breaks all stun, snare and movement impairing effects and makes your Felguard immune to them.

Felhunter: Resets all the Felhunter's cooldowns.

Empowered Imp: 3 pts; requires 35 pts; Increases the damage done by your Imp by 15%, and all critical hits done by your Imp have a x% chance to increase your spell critical hit chance by 100%. This effect lasts 8 sec.

Fel Synergy: 2 pts; requires 35 pts; Your Summoned Demons share an additional 10% of your Armor, Intellect and Stamina, and you have a 100% chance to heal your pet for 15% of the amount of damage done by you.

Love Struck: 3 pts; requires 40 pts; While the Succubus is active, physical attacks done to you or your Succubus have a 15% chance to heal you or your Succubus instead of doing damage. The healing caused by Love Struck will not exceed 50% of the Warlock or Succubus' total health. This effect has a 6 second cooldown.

Demonic Empathy: 3 pts; requires 40 pts; When you or your pet is critically hit, the other has a x% chance to have their casting or attack speed increased by y% for z seconds.

Demonic Pact: 5 pts; requires 45 pts; Increases your Spirit by w% while your Demon is active. In addition, your pet attacks have a x% chance to increase your party's total Health and Damage by y%. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts z seconds.

Metamorphosis: 1 pt; requires 50 pts; You transform into a Demon, with full health and mana. While in Demon Form, you gain Demonic abilities and your armor is increased to 360%, but your pet no longer is summoned. When leaving Demon Form, your health and mana is returned back to normal and your pet is re-summoned. Lasts x seconds.


Molten Core: 3 pts; requires 5 pts; Your Shadow spells and damage over time effects have a x% chance to increase the damage of your Fire spells by 10% for 6 sec.

Kindling Soul: 2 pts; requires 35 pts; Your spell damage is increased by 10% of your Spirit, and your spell criticals increase your Spirit by x% for 10 sec.

Backdraft: 3 pts; requires 40 pts; Increases the critical chance of your Conflagrate, Immolate and Shadowflame spells by 10%.

Torture: 3 pts; requires 40 pts; After you critically strike with a Shadow spell, your next Searing Pain or Immolate spells have a x% chance to become instant cast. This ability has a 20 second cooldown.

Eternal Flames: 5 pts; requires 45 pts; Your Searing Pain and Incinerate spells have a x% chance to refresh the duration of your Immolate spell on the target, and increases the critical strike damage of your Destruction spells by an additional 10%.

Decimate: 1 pt; requires 50 pts; Your next Shadow or Fire spell is instant cast, and does damage in the form of Chaos damage, ignoring all resistances, absorption, and immunity mechanics. After the end of the Decimated cast, you become exhausted, disabling you from casting a spell of the same school for 3 sec.

New Warlock Abilities; Wrath of the Lich King (Alpha)

Shadowflame: Rank 1; Level 75; 745 mana; instant cast; 15 second cooldown; Targets in a cone in front of the caster take 934-1020 Shadow damage and an additional 492 Fire damage over 8 sec.

Haunt: Rank 1; Level 80; 650 mana; 30 second cooldown; You send a corrupted soul into the target, doing 800 damage over 2 sec. Haunt will continue to travel between targets who suffer from your Corruption spell. After traveling from up to three targets, the corrupted soul will return to you, healing you for 50% of the total damage done.

Sift through the material -- we'll talk more when I post more details about each spell (and others not made public just yet) later on. Have fun. ;)

Monday, May 19, 2008

"All Gladiators Are Not Created Equally"

There is a hierarchy in all that we do. No matter how successful we may be, there is always a perception that it can be done better. The following is a portion of a conversation that I had weeks ago, with one of the world's most competitive Warlocks. He is a Season 2 Gladiator, tournament winner, Blizzard insider, and all around stellar guy. Here, he offers great insight as we discussed class balance in the outside context of WotLK development.

Jagoex: Changing PvP or PvE is one thing. But merging the two is impossible, especially when they require totally different elements that are a part of the game's design. If they want to make it work, EVERYTHING needs to be reworked.

SN: I'm not sure you are seeing it as I do. What do you think the motivation is behind what changes are made?

Jagoex: I compare it to taking reactive prescription drugs. Your first set has side-effects, so you take a second set to take care of them. But that second set also has side effects, so you take a third set, and so and on. You're simply plugging holes that will eventually affect your first set of drugs, which now need to be tweaked because of the other drug side-effects. That leads to a constant circle of change and never any stability.

SN: The game isn't as sensitive as you think it is.

Jagoex: The Affliction tree.

SN: ?

Jagoex: DoT coefficients were nerfed to balance out changes that were made before it. Together with other changes, it rendered Affliction useless in high-end-game raiding. And we know what's happening in WotLK.

SN: Okay.

Jagoex: You can't keep chipping away at something without eventually having an impact on what you just changed. Kaplan fails to understand this, apparently.

SN: He understands it. It just isn't a part of the Warcraft formula.

Jagoex: WoW + Kaplan = WTF?

SN: Lol. Kaplan, Chilton, all those guys aim to keep the game changing. They are smart. Always remember that. And they want to keep as many people paying their 15 a month as possible. You're a psych guy. Figure it out.

Jagoex: Reinforce everyone.

SN: But not at the same time.

Jagoex: So you end up with imbalanced classes and a cycling of class power. They're the same exact things that the devs are advertising they are trying to fix.

SN: But they "can't." Not because it's impossible, but because it wouldn't be a good business decision. It's a very effective business. Frustrating, but effective. It has been the same way since release.

Jagoex: So how can you create a serious and competitive environment around it?

SN: You can't. Especially not in Player vs. Player.

Jagoex: It doesn't seem like it. That pretty much dooms this whole e-sport thing then, being pigeon-holed into whatever class or compositions are at the top of the power cycle.

SN: From the player's perspective, sure. But not from a business perspective. The power cycle, as you call it, keeps players and their money coming back. E-sport brings in big money advertising. The company wins on both fronts.

Jagoex: Makes sense, but that still takes away from the game I think -- especially PvP accomplishments.

SN: Very much so. All Gladiators are not created equally, my friend.

Jagoex: Lol, you're such a battlegroup whore.

SN: It's true, I am, but that's beside the point.

Jagoex: Oh I know. I get what you're saying -- it was the same with Rank 14ers back in the day.

SN: Getting to the top of the PvP ladder is based on so many things that have nothing to do with the easily accessible ability to play one's particular class or roll correctly. The server. Battlegroup. Arena maps. Opposing composition randomness. They all matter just as much, collectively, as a player's gaming ability.

Jagoex: Hmm.

SN: They are what create the top tier players, not the players themselves.

Jagoex: I'd be so inclined to disagree with you if I haven't seen just those variables come into play myself. Grinding to HWL, my biggest challenge had nothing to do with skill, but was more a factor of how much spare time I had.

SN: And more importantly, how much free time OTHERS ON YOUR SERVER had.

Jagoex: Exactly. And also how ass-hatted they were when pitched an honor cap to save everyone some time. I've also seen entire PvP guilds up and leave a server and move to an "easier" Battlegroup and do exceptionally well.

SN: It happens all the time. Like I said, all Gladiators aren't created equally.

Jagoex: It's still pretty impressive, though. All skill being equal at that level, Glads usually have more dedication.

SN: All skill isn't equal at that level. That's the point. And it's not that impressive. Any stable, dependable team can rank Gladiator in time. Rank 14 was much harder to get. I'd trade my title for yours any day, Jag.

Jagoex: Only if I get your Merciless Drake.

SN: Small price to pay.

Jagoex: Lol. So what of skill then? Where does it come to play?

SN: In Bloodlust.

Jagoex: Lol...

SN: I'm serious.

Jagoex: I know you are. That's why it's funny.

SN: Lol. It's true. Every real Arena junkie knows that unless they rank Gladiator in Bloodlust, they aren't really Gladiators. The best play here, and the best elsewhere aren't good enough.

Jagoex: "All Gladiators are not created equally."

SN: Exactly.

Jagoex: What about tournament play?

SN: It's too concentrated. In a system plagued with imbalance, it is impossible to gauge skill in only a few games.

Jagoex: Understood.

Interesting perspective. What do you guys think? Agree? Disagree?

Thanks for the convo, SN. ;)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Story of Arthas

The original to the image below is a work by Paul Kwon, a regular contributor to the Blizzard Fan Art Program and who has created some spectacular images. Go to the Screenshots Page to see more of his work, on display now!

The World of Warcraft is the first and only game in the Warcraft series that I have played. So it is no surprise then that when I first began playing, I was very unaware of the vastly developed storylines embedded within the game. And, to be honest and quite sadly, I'm still a total lore noob even today.

With the Wrath of the Lich King in the Alpha stage and the ruckus being made about Arthas falling victim to only ten men, I figured it would be a good idea to learn a bit about the Death Knight, his sword, and his history; to help me appreciate the game more, I guess. After a quick Google search, I found a series of 12.5 videos on YouTube, called "The Story of Arthas."

The clips are compiled by user Glyndis08 who used in-game footage from various Warcraft titles to follow Arthas from his days as a lowly Prince studying the ways of the Paladin to the moment he takes his seat atop of the Frozen Throne as the Lich King.

The videos are quite lengthy, running at about 10 minutes a piece, but they contain a lot of vital information about Warcraft's history that I was simply unaware of before! The story does not stick to just Arthas either, but implements the storyline of many others as well, including Illidan, Sylvanas, and Kael'thas.

There are a few issues I experienced with audio, when it would just disappear and reappear quite annoyingly. But other than that,I found the clips to be well made, easy to follow, and very helpful in leading me to understand the story behind the game.

I highly recommend giving them a peak when you have the time -- definitely worthwhile if you have some catching up to do on your lore, like I do. ;)

New "Low-Cost" Alienware Gaming Rig

UPDATE: Looks like Dell has come out of the woodwork to say that the XPS brand will coexist with the Alienware brand. That doesn't mean they won't share components at the low-end, however. It'll be interesting to see exactly how this pans out.

When Dell, makers of the under-whelming and over-priced Warcraft laptop, picked up Alienware, hardcore, rich gamers freaked. Buyouts like this usually only mean one thing: the degradation of quality of the superior product line -- in this case, Alienware and it's powerful computing lineup.

Dell, very aware of the reaction the acquisition received, promised that they wouldn't meddle in Alienware's affairs. But unfortunately, promises in the business world are about as dependable as Blizzard's oceanic servers -- not very.

After yesterday's announcement that they will be dropping the XPS gaming line (which includes their WoW laptops) and shifting focus onto Alienware, Dell (yes, Dell, not Alienware) just announced a new, "low-cost," AMD-based gaming rig for release later this month. It will be branded with the face of a bug-eyed space invader, and target a chunk of the market that Alienware has ignored in the past: people who won't spend $4000 for a machine to play games on.

If that isn't a tell-tale sign of Dell applying what it learned in Business school, I don't know what is.

GG, suits. GG. And for anyone that is suckered into buying one of these systems, "Dude, you're getting a PoS." Grats. ;)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

M'uru World First Kill Video by SK Gaming

Hey all. I wanted to drop in and offer a quick apology for the lack of activity on the blog over the past week or so. The baby is on her way and quite frankly, WoW takes a back seat to a baby seat. Things will start picking up again once she arrives and we are all settled in.

And trust me, on the development front, there is a lot to talk about -- there will be no shortage of posts for sure.

For now, however, let me help you pass the time with a great vid of SK's world first kill of M'uru in the Sunwell Plateau. It's an amazing and complicated encounter with very little room for error -- probably the hardest in the game. Grats to the SK Gaming crew for a fantastic job well done. Watch the video carefully. There is a lot of goodness to be had, and more we'll be talking about later. ;)

Oh, and if you want to see the details more clearly in a much higher quality copy, head over to SK Gaming's site for the full download.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

"The Running of Da Bulls"

A week ago, I wrote about the amazing plans made by Big Red Kitty and his friend Ratshag to honor their lost friend and member of their WoW family. Today, those plans came to be, as seemingly hundreds of Taurens trekked from their starting area in Mulgore to the Horde city of Hammerfall in the Arathi Highlands -- all in the name of fun and Sharvan.

If you missed the incredibly epic event and the raid on Ironforge and Stormwind that ensued, or if you just want to relive it, check out the video below, posted by Wincefish of Stonemaul (kudos for getting it online so quickly!).

Props to all who planned and participated in this very worthy event. For Sharvan, and anyone that has ever lost a friend.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

World of Warcraft Music is FTL?

Something occurred to me the other day while I sat in my office, scouring the pages of YouTube. I search long and hard diligently through my library of music trying to find a good audio/video combo for the blog's Song of the Week, but not once have I ever wondered "why."

I don't mean that in an existential "damn it Jago, you should be spending more time with your family instead of being on the interwebs!" kind of way or anything like that. I'm not a troll, afterall, and nor am I that philosophical (well, at least not right now). I don't spend enough time browsing to have to worry about it.

This moment of clarity was more along the lines of asking "why are you searching for music for a SotW when there is plenty of music in WoW to begin with!"

"Why" haven't I ever considered the music of the WoW OSTs before?

"Why" do we tend to play our own music instead of listening to the in-game ear orgy of tunes?

I asked the most elite of jerks, the chatters of the Elite Jerks forum, just these questions, and omg did it end up in an amazing conversation. We started with the basics of WoW music, and then got into the topics of the game's overall design, emphasis, and direction since it's conception to the present.

During these exchanges, I found that people were incredibly passionate about the MMO experience, and that a huge majority felt that the World of Warcraft falls incredibly short in terms of it's immersive properties when compared with other MMOs. The game's music, many who felt this way stated, is a part of the problem. It is "repetitive" and is extremely lacking in variety, almost to the point where it lacks any real identity.

It's no wonder that most of the players I was chatting with don't even have music enabled... and haven't since pre-TBC!

Here's how a part of the epic conversation played out, after I asked how they would describe WoW's musical experience:

[01:37] Jagoex: ah, assumed it was a typo, and very few wow music pieces are good for more then a listen or two
[01:37] oh, the word you're looking for is "in-game ear infection"
[01:37] Jagoex: but orgrimar music is kinda nice for a few run throughs
[01:38] I disabled the sound back in uhhh, MC or BWL
[01:38] Molten Core theme is written in 17/8
[01:38] or polymeter
[01:38] err, music
[01:38] I haven't had music enabled since, it was more of an annoyance than anything else
[01:39] falk|hiding: so they wrote music in polymeter the only place they cant polymorph anything?
[01:39] evil
[01:39] Especially when I got an external player pumping them beatz!

That pretty much sums it up, in my honest opinion. I guess there is a legit reason why no WoW track has been a SotW afterall.

So what do you guys think? Do you enjoy listening to the original WoW OSTs while you play or is it just not enough auditory goodness for ya? Let your thoughts be known!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday's Poll

Check back every Sunday for a new poll question posted by Warlocks, for Warlocks. And if you've got an idea for a question, send it my way!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For the WoW Family

Big Red Kitty posted this picture on his blog the other day, and for a reason you might not expect. Read on to find out more, and how you can help.

Playing in the World of Warcraft, we are all accustomed to the entrance and exit of others. Whether it be in a PuG group, a guild, or even the servers we play on, people are always coming and going -- so much so, in fact, that it's sometimes hard to get to know those that we play with. To some, this act of nameless-passing in a fantasy world doesn't matter; it's simply a part of the MMO experience.

But to others who do value the individuals beyond the toons that they play, a real social experience is a very big deal. It is an important part of their gaming that they cherish greatly, and it is because of these players that WoW is more than just a hunt for epics. It is a family, of sorts, that creates a sense of belonging, and therefore, keeps us coming back for more.

This past week, the guild Aetherial Circle of Drenden lost one such member. Her toon's name was Sharvan, and her passing has hit her WoW family in a fierce kind of way. Her guildmate, Bigredkitty, describes the pain as only one close to her possibly can, stating that he and the AC are "reeling from the shock and loss" of one of the "sweetest and kindest" people they have ever known.

It says a lot that internet acquaintances can feel so strongly about a loss like this. I can't even imagine what her family and RL friends are going through. It must be immeasurably tough.

BRK has set up a donation system on his website to help the family deal with the most horrible of expenses during this tragic time. If you wish to help, head over to Big Red Kitty and click the "Donate" button on the right-hand side of the page. Go over there and check it out. Help out if you can.

And for those interested in paying your respects or simply respecting the grandeur of the experience, check out BRK's Running of Da Bulls for Sharvan, which is coming up in about a week or so.

In the meantime, remember your guildies, your friends, and your family, and don't forget to tell them how much they mean to you.

Do it now. Do it often.

For Sharvan. "/moo."

Friday, April 25, 2008

On the Matter of Arena Ratings

Read this comment over on WoW Insider, and thought it does a pretty good job of summing up one angle of the anti-Arena perspective:

Terrible changes. This is what I posted to my raid's forums (and yes, we're high-end raiders working on Sunwell):

I think comparing PvP rewards to PvE rewards is ridiculous. You don't fight other players in the Sunwell, so it doesn't matter how strong your gear is compared to what other people are wearing. It does, very much so, in PvP and according to this system the "rich get richer". Those who already have the perfect spec and the perfect class and the good gear and the perfect team setup (which means being unable to play with friends more often than not) now gain even more of an advantage over the people who lack these things. If the gear was only usable in the arena and people were in the brackets were they were supposed to be it wouldn't be that much of an issue, but when 30% (or more) of the arena games you fight at 1600 rating are against people in full s3 who are supposed to be at 2100, it suddenly matters a -lot-. And that's not getting into the effect on battlegrounds, which is pretty ridiculous already. My ret paladin, who is in mixed S1/S3 gear with very few of the honor rewards, -destroys- many people in the battlegrounds. It can't be much fun to be a fresh 70 and unable to do much of anything.

The point of the arena system was to limit the gear gap in pvp by letting everyone have a chance at the good gear. The reward for being good was getting it much, much faster, and having a shot at the end-of-season rewards. The mistake Blizzard made was making the gear so ridiculously good it upset raiders who based their enjoyment of the game on comparing the arena gear to the gear they get from PvE encounters (yes, an over-simplification, I know). Now people are focused on ilevels and trying to prevent people from having the same quality gear they do because of pride without ever really considering the impact restricting the arena gear has on the game.

Blizzard really destroyed any semblance of PvE/PvP reward balancing by their insane item inflation. That's fairly well established. Trying to balance it at the end of the Burning Crusade serves what purpose, exactly? People already have ilevel 141 epics, what's the point in restricting ilevel 151? All it does is upset the people who are into pvp and have relied on it for personal character progression, but are unable to make it to the higher ratings for some reason or another. And what many skilled pvpers fail to understand is if you take away the incentive for lower rated players to participate, the entire arena ladder shifts down. If 1,000 players who were previously at 1400 rating quit the arena because there is no reason for them to play, then 1,000 players who were ranked above them will shift down to 1400, making the higher ratings that much harder to obtain. If the players who are NOW at 1400 quit playing, then another 1,000 will shift down. And so on, and so on.

All in all it's a terrible decision. Blizzard messed up so badly with the arena for Burning Crusade, that they're trying to "balance" the rewards now when it's already way too late for BC is nothing more than a bad joke.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Song of the Week: Knights of Cydonia

I know, I know... SotW posts are total content cop-outs and require absolutely no effort to post whatsoever. But in my defense, it has been an incredibly busy day, and imho, there's no better way to wind things down than with a great, kick-a__ song. ;)

This week's SotW is Knights of Cydonia by Muse. If you've never heard of them or this song before, try to imagine a more modern and alternative (read: better) and less flamboyant version of Queen and you'll have a pretty accurate idea of what you're about to see and hear. If that sounds absolutely awful to you (hey, I'm not a fan of Queen myself), don't worry! The song is truly fantastic, and the video is totally zomg epic in it's own right. It's like an old western, complete with a hero, heroine, horses, villian... and robots, and laser beams!

Yeah, definitely awesome.

So without further ado, here's the vid. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PvP Isn't Dead... It's Just Being Tortured

Things have been ridiculously hectic around here lately, and I apologize for the lack of posts that I've completed over the last few days. But as busy as I've been, I feel like I just have to say something about a post Drysc made on the official WoW PvP Forums today, where he announced that some "honor" items would have an Arena point requirement during Season 4.

It's garbage. Absolute garbage.

In a time when they are supposedly cracking down on point selling and other illegal activities, they are willing to saturate the system with unmotivated, low-ranked, farm-able players? That makes no sense whatsoever!

For some reason, perhaps e-sport motivated, Blizzard is making everything about Warcraft PvP centered around Arena play. With this S4 change, it is essentially forcing all PvP'ers to engage in the Arena, even if we've never had the desire to and for goals we have never had to enter the Arena for, ever. Total B.S, if you ask me.

Way to pigeon-hole players into doing your bidding.

Just stop already, for the love of the game.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

War Tools, for the Theory-crafter in All of Us

While doing my daily creeping on the official Warlock Forums, I stumbled upon something totally sexy. It is a link to War Tools, a slick new(ish) website that offers customizable talent trees for your inner tweaker. And yes, it's addicting as it sounds.

I've already wasted way too much time putting together an "improved" Affliction Tree for Warlocks, just for the heck of it! Thankfully, the work is save-and-sharable, so all the theory-crafting anyone does is easily retrievable and review-able. Pretty sweet!

Happy crafting. ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Immolate Effect and Rotation Down-time

For Affliction Warlocks, Immolate is a giant, raging, burning pain in the rear. Since the release of The Burning Crusade, it has been one of the most uncertain of spells in the Warlock's DoT arsenal. Questions abound about where in a spell rotation it should be used, and like a hemorrhoid that just won't go away, those questions remain. Sure, we 'locks have got ideas about when the spell is most useful, but unlike the Corruption/UA issue, nothing has ever been burned in stone. The data just isn't out there, and as a result, the spell still displays an aura of mystery that has many still scratching their heads. Just check the Warlock Forums and see for yourself.

But if you've ever specced Affliction, where Immolate is considered viable at certain gear levels, you already know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm sure you've asked yourself when you should cast the spell, and if it's poor damage-to-mana ratio is even worth casting it in the first place. And I'm also sure you've noticed that you must refresh it every 13.5 seconds, faster than any other 'lock DoT, which regularly cuts into Shadow Bolt spam.

And perhaps worst of all is the fact that Immolate is responsible for a majority of lost GCDs in a DoT rotation. This is usually because the spell ends up competing for refreshment with another DoT. Again, this is an after-effect of it's short 15-second duration, but it can result in some major issues with DPS maximization. Not a good thing.

Unfortunately, even given all of this poor design and it's interrupting character, the fact still remains that for some (mostly those who have just hit 70), Immolate is a DPS boost that should still be used in their spell rotation. And luckily, I'm beginning to understand what it'll take to figure out where exactly it should be.

While compiling some numbers regarding Affliction raid specs, I noticed something. The MaxDPS spell rotation, which puts Immolate at the end of the DoT application cycle, results in two lost GCDs just 12 spells in! What happens is that both UA and Imol end up requiring a refresh at the same time, the exact kind of situation we do not want to find ourselves in:

1) Agony* -> Corr -> UA -> SL -> Immol -> SB spam (41/0/20)
2) Agony* -> Corr -> SL -> Immol -> SB spam (40/0/21)
3) CoS -> SB spam (0/21/40)

Stats: +1000 Spell Damage, 202 Spell Hit, 17% Spell Crit**

*Avg damage will be used.
**Random number generator used to calculate critical hits


1) 0.00... Agony… 24 secs… 234 dmg every 2 secs… 2805
2) 1.50... Corr… 18 secs… 421 dmg every 3 secs… 2525
3) 3.00… UA… 18 secs… 412 dmg every 3 secs… 2475
4) 4.50… SL… 30 secs… 179 every 3 secs… 1793
5) 6.00… Immol… 15 secs… 531 DD, 253 every 3 secs… 1265
6) 7.50… SB… 2.5 secs… 1574
7) 10.00… SB… 2.5 secs… 1574
8) 12.50… SB… 2.5 secs… 1574
9) 15.00… SB… 2.5 secs…1574
10) 17.50… SB… 2.5 secs… 2361 (Crit)
11) 20.00… Corr…18 secs… 3030 (ISB)
12) 21.50… UA… 18 secs… 2970 (ISB) >UA and Immolate Compete for Reapplication

Surprised by this result, I moved Immolate to the very front of my DoT rotation, hoping that would minimize lost GCDs. This sequence resulted in the equivalent loss of two GCDs after 17 spells or about 30 seconds:

1) 0.00… Immol… 15 secs…
2) 1.50… Agony… 24 secs…
3) 3.00… Corr… 18 secs…
4) 4.50… UA… 18 secs…
5) 6.00… SL… 30 secs…
6) 7.50… SB… 2.5 secs
7) 10.00… SB… 2.5 secs
8) 12.50… SB… 2.5 secs
9) 15.00… Immol… 15 secs
10) 16.50… SB… 2.5 secs
11) 19.00… SB… 2.5 secs
12) 21.50… Corr… 18 secs… -0.5
13) 23.00… UA… 18 secs…
14) 24.50… SB… 2.5 secs
15) 27.00… Agony… 24 secs -1.5
16) 28.50… SB… 2.5 secs
17) 31.00… Immol… 15 secs -1.0
18) 32.50… SB… 2.5 secs
19) 35.00… SB… 2.5 secs
20) 37.50… SB… 2.5 secs

Pretty interesting stuff for sure. And the most important part about these observations is that I'm beginning to think that all of these lost GCDs eventually even out in time, no matter where you place Immolate in your initial sequence. Of course, I can't be absolutely sure without actually testing that hypothesis, but the data seems to hint that is the case.

Be careful though! If this idea pans out to be true, it still doesn't mean that you should cast Immolate anywhere in your rotation.

You want to settle down with a sequence that minimizes early losses of GCDs
. That way, you are more likely to see the mob you are working on go down before ever having to deal with a lost GCD! Keep that in mind the next time you're clearing your way through trash mobs. ;)

Anyway, I'll work more on these rotation calcs this weekend. Hopefully they'll help us find something more conclusive about these effects on rotation downtime. In the meantime, however, use Immolate wisely. It can burn you too. ;)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On the Warlock Forums: Is Demonic Sacrifice a Problem?

Draele of Thunderhorn started what is perhaps one of the best discussions that is currently receiving a good amount of attention on the official Warlock Forums. In it, he questions the current talent tree designs, and more specifically and significantly, the synergy between Demonic Sacrifice and Destruction.

Draele argues that because Destruction and DS go together so well and form the standard of Warlock raiding, Blizzard will have a very hard time creating a raid-worthy 51-point Destruction talent that players will choose instead of Demonic Sacrifice. He sees DS, therefore, as a limiting agent in the progression of the Destruction tree, and Warlock design in general. He attacks the issue from many different angles, relating DS's power to the poor status of Warlock pets in a raiding environment, for example.

Truly, this is one thought-provoking discussion that is a fantastic and definite must-read. It is full of great ideas and theory-crafting, and touches upon the basic nature of Warlock design. We can only hope the boys over at Blizzard are paying close attention to this one.

Kudos, Draele. Job well done. ;)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Warlock Poetry is FTW

I never would have imagined that a post of mine would have a picture like this start things off. I mean, it doesn't set a great precedent for the rest of the post, does it? It's just so dark and depressing... even for a Warlock!

But the fact remains, and as the title says, there's some poetry out there that is just excellent, and while I am not a poetry connoisseur, I know a good rhyme when I read one.

And this, my friends, is a good rhyme.

Onibrak of Laughing Skull posted an epicly poetic piece of anti-QQ on the Official Warlock Forums back in September of 2007. I missed it back then, but thankfully, the thread was bumped earlier today for no apparent reason other than it's pure awesomeness, and by a Mage no less!

Here's the piece if you happened to have missed it too:

Twas the night before WotLK, and all through the game
Not a creature was stirring, or acting quite lame.
Warlocks in the forums, talking about gear
I had just settled down for a nice post on fear

When out on the forums arose such a crying
I clicked from my peace to see what insults were flying
And what to my wondering eyes would appear
But a QQ post titled "Warlocks and Fear"

They ranted and cursed up and down the page
A mindless QQ by a rogue, druid, or mage.
I began to read, knowing as I got started
That the OP of this post must be #*@!ing retarded

On Skill coil! On Stamina! On Soul link and Drains
The bad grammar and logic gave my tired mind pains.
More rapid than epics these QQers they posted
Thinking their jeers cause my class to be roasted

But at the end of the day, we were still throwing Dots
And the criers still crying posted more of their thoughts
And the Warlocks continued to melt faces quite free
So please stop the QQ and bend over for me.

Lol, it's good and you know it. It definitely put a smile on my face, and the last line is so appropriately inappropriate, that it actually works!

Kudos to Onibrak for the excellent piece. Keep the works coming!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Warlocking 201: Timing Your Trinkets, Part 1

So you've done it! You've got the gear, the spell damage, and finally found a great DoT rotation and cast sequence to work with. You're ready to take your Warlocking to the next level! But before you can graduate to the almighty 0/21/40 raiding spec, you've got some growing to do, and those trinkets sitting in your inventory are a great place to start.

Let me just start by saying that trinkets, while awesome and completely necessary, are really quite a deceptive bunch. They let on to be much more simplistic than they actually are, advertising that they increase your spell damage for a duration of time, but saying nothing about where in your DoT rotation you should use them, if anywhere at all.

When I first started raiding with an Affliction spec (first as UA, then Ruin), I wasn't really worried about buffing my DoTS with added damage. I popped my trinkets AFTER applying them, hoping to have the added damage affect as many Shadow Bolts as possible. I assumed that was where the most DPS was, and I never questioned it because the approach performed extremely well.

However, I recently began to question that long-standing assumption, and after chatting with fellow 'lock and blogger Psychonia, actually crunched the numbers to see exactly what is going on behind those sexy trinket animations, and what damage I was or wasn't missing.

Assuming that the Warlock is level 70, has 1000 bonus damage, no talents (simplifies things greatly), and is using the Icon of the Silver Crescent, here's what I calculated:

Popping a trinket AFTER applying DoTS and BEFORE Shadow Bolt spamming would result in 155 x 0.8571 (trinket's added dmg multiplied by SB dmg coefficient) x 8 (number of SB casts within 20 seconds) = 1062.8 overall bonus damage. Pretty straightforward and simple enough, right?

Well, the math involving the DoTS is a little more complicated and difficult to keep track of, so I calculated them the long way just to keep myself from missing something important down the line. Sorry for the number-orgy in advance. =P

With the same assumptions as before, except this time popping the trinket BEFORE DoTS have been applied, the numbers looked like this:

DoT - Coefficient - Base Damage - Damage After Bonus - Damage After Trinket

CoA -- 120% -- 1356 -- 2556 -- 2742
Cor -- 93.6% -- 900 -- 1836 -- 1981
UA -- 180% -- 1050 -- 2850 -- 3129
SL -- 100% -- 630 -- 1630 -- 1785
Imo -- 20%DD,65%DoT -- 327, 615 -- 1792 -- 1924

DoT damage difference totals PLUS Shadow Bolt x 5 (number that can be cast in the remaining time the trinket is active) = 1561 overall bonus damage.

Hmm, interesting.

So the result is that you get about 30% GREATER damage production trinketing before going through a DoT sequence than when using trinketed Shadow Bolts alone.

But wait! There's a pretty serious problem with our data! The base numbers do not take into account critical strikes and Improved Shadow Bolt procs, which have a significant impact on our would-be conclusions.

It turns out that if you average one critical strike every four Shadow Bolt casts, or a crit rate of 25% (the magical Ruin > UA threshold), popping a trinket AFTER applying your DoTS equates to more DPS. This was exactly the situation I found myself in, which helps explain why spamming trinketed Shadow Bolts worked for me. However, if this is not the case you find yourself in and you are also very lacking in the Spell Hit department, than you should definitely trinket BEFORE applying your DoTS.

Make sense? I hope so! But if not, let me know, and especially do so if I made a mistake somewhere. ;)

Next week, when Warlocking 201: Part 2 lands, we'll take a look at WHERE in your DoT sequence is the best place to pop a trinket, if that's where it needs to be. In the meantime, however, go grind your Hit and Crit gear buy some high-end gems if you need to. Because the sooner you have the stats to go 0/21/40, the sooner you won't have to worry about these DoT sequences anymore.

And the sooner that is, the better. ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's a Conspiracy

With statements like this, it's no wonder we are the bane of the WoW community!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Vision of Fire-Lock Raiding

SK Gaming, known for their ground-breaking encounters and incredibly drawn-out video introductions, has taken down the Eredar Twins in fiery fashion. Fiery Warlock fashion, that is.

In this video of their Sunwell encounter, the raid is comprised of 3 Warlocks, all of which are specced for Fire DPS. It's a little surprising and out of the ordinary to have zero Shadow Warlocks in a raid, but as you will see via the performance of the Fire 'locks, it actually works out very well!

What it must come down to is raid composition in this case. I see a few Mages on the field, but I don't believe there are any Shadow Priests (no Shadow Weaving?). Such a composition would definitely tilt the scale into Fire 'locking's favor, and boy does it ever.

But still, I wonder how Shadow Warlocks could perform in a situation such as this... but that's a topic for a different time.

Here's more fuel for the Fire vs. Shadow debate. Enjoy. ;)

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Time for a Warlock Flying Mount

Original image taken from an ad for "Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire" for the Nintendo Wii.

When I first decided to roll a Warlock more than two years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I had no clue that we would become the most hated (read: best) class in PvP, generally dominate range DPS in PvE, and, perhaps best of all, received ridiculously awesome land mounts for very little cost at all, and with no training required!

I first laid eyes on our wonderfully-free Dreadsteed while being proudly displayed by it's rider in the Undercity, and gasped IRL when he told me that it was "free." The idea of a summon-able mount transcended everything I knew about the game at that time (but hey, I was stacking intellect back then, so wth did I know?), but I quickly learned that they were a staple of the Warlock class, and even help to define it.

So, where are our fiery summon-able flying mounts, then?

I was surprised and disappointed when The Burning Crusade turned up nothing for us (that makes sense on so many levels, doesn't it?). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if summonable flying mounts were in our future, they wouldn't be at level 70.

Here's why:

Giving Warlocks a summon-able flying mount at level 70 would mean that we would receive "free" mounts in back-to-back brackets. And considering the cost of obtaining the training for a flying mount, I don't think that Blizzard could justify the inevitable fallout that would occur. I mean, we get enough heat as it is already.

That being said, I believe there is a good chance that we may be seeing summonable flying mounts soon, and even in the next leveling bracket to be introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King. By that time, most players will already have experienced the trials of obtaining the upper ranks of Riding Skill, and with everyone on an even level, they will be much less likely to perceive a new Warlock mount as a freebie of sorts, and therefore, an unfair advantage.

Another reason I believe a summon-able flying mount is not too far off is that we didn't see a new summon in our current bracket. That is the first time that has happened in WoW's history, and I can't see Blizzard doing that to the class two brackets in a row. So, we are due for something good for sure.

And lets not forget the theory that Warlocks will be receiving a summonable mount every 20 levels. I'm all for that one!

But even with all of the signs that point to a new mount very soon, I personally don't see why Blizzard couldn't have just added a Riding Skill requirement to a potential Warlock flying mount at level 70. I know the social outpouring of hate would have been overwhelming and all, but it really would not have been a big deal.

And considering all of the nerfs we have taken since the expansion's release, I think we already deserve it. ;)

Anyway, here's to our new mount - as unpredictable it's appearance may be.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cast Sequence Corruption

There's a Warlock on the Official 'lock Forums that is a frequent poster of all things Affliction. He is Fallenman of Mal'ganis, and he believes himself to be quite the authority on DoT cast sequences. So much so, infact, that he can often be found arguing with other posters about the most unimaginative of issues. In his most recent squabble, for example, he argues that Corruption should "ALWAYS" be cast after UA in a DoT cast sequence.

Fallenman, I don't mean to sound (or read) like a pompous prick, but that's just plain wrong!

I'll try to explain why, but be warned... it's late, and I tend to banter on and on when I'm tired. Proceed with caution, and caffeine.

Casting UA before Corruption is a bad idea from a logistics standpoint. It totally limits what you can cast AFTER Corruption, because you start dealing with global cooldowns and potential DoT down-time at that point. For example, if Immolate happens to require a refresh right after the UA/Corr cast somewhere down the line, you'll eventually have 3 DoTS to reapply and all at the same time! Since it is our ideal to have DoTS expire one GC away from each other, this is definitely not a good thing.

Fallenman recognizes this, and even states that you should "NEVER" cast Immolate after a UA/Corr sequence. But using his approach, you'll eventually find yourself in just that situation.

So what can you do to help prevent that experience and keep your DPS as high as possible?

Ignore Fallenman's faulty logic and cast Corruption right before Unstable Affliction... always.

Consider these two points.

1) Casting UA and Corruption back-to-back in any order results in the same amount of damage spread out over the same amount of time. Both DoTS are ticking for 18 seconds within a 21-second window. When switched, the two spells will also fall into the same portion of your cast sequence as before. The only difference created by changing their order of application is when they tick in relation to one another -- that's it.

2) Cast sequence theories such as Fallenman's are strictly based on a mathematical approach. More specifically, they hope to solve a temporal problem, looking to minimize DoT down-time based on the synergy of each individual DoT's duration and global cooldowns. The goal is to make sure that DoTS don't all expire at the same time, because if they do, global cooldowns will eventually delay their timely reapplication and ultimately lower DPS.

Casting Corruption and then UA ensures that you can cast ANY spell after that particular sequence and with minimal potential ill-effects. The two DoTS will not expire at the same time, do not introduce any GC conflicts, and this, therefore, is the most logical sequence.

And, incase you need another reason to switch your corrupted cast sequence, here's what the boys over at MaxDPS think is the ideal (sans Immolate):

At this point, it should be an easy switch. Corruption before UA, always.

Sorry, Fallenman. Maybe next time. ;)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Just for LoLs

I'm not quick to admit it, but I'm a big fan of all of those Chuck Norris jokes floating around the internets. After dealing with Trade chat chaos and flying through The Barrens about a million times, I should be sick of them, I know. But there's just something about them that keep me coming back for more.

Here are some of my favorites:

Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Macgyver can build a plane out of gum and paper clips, but Chuck Norris can kill him and take it.

Chuck Norris lost his virginity before his dad did.

Chuck Norris is suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

Chuck Norris does not wear a condom. Because there is no such thing as protection from Chuck Norris.

Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.

If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you.

Apple pays Chuck Norris 99 cents every time he listens to a song.

Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.

Chuck Norris CAN believe it's not butter.

Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

Chuck Norris grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage.

Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.

It takes Chuck Norris 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.

If at first you don't succeed, you're not Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris does not play the lottery. It doesn't have nearly enough balls.

When chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.

Chuck Norris doesn't fear Warlocks. Warlocks Fear Chuck Norris. (HA!)