Monday, January 28, 2008

On the Warlock Forums: Nerf Lifetap?

Another day, another Level 12 alt trolling the Warlock Forums with a "QQ NERF" thread. Except that this particular thread is currently at 8 pages long and involves some pretty interesting discussion. The OP suggests that adding a cast time to Lifetap would be a good way to help balance the Warlock for PvP play. However, many 'locks point out that it would also gimp PvE DPS, and would have varying effects on each talent tree and what not. Definitely a read worth looking into. And yes, even if it entails sifting through some standard "gtfo noob" spam.

Have fun. =)

Shelbi's Latest

Shelbi of The Bronze Kettle has turned out another excellent Warlock-related piece using that tablet skill of hers. This latest Voidwalker is much truer to it's in-game form, and looks absolutely fantastic.

Great job, Shelbi!

If you haven't already, head over to TBK and take a look at her other work. Pretty sweet stuff. =)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Favorite 5-Mans

Those of you looking for a post about mansex, look elsewhere. This is a post about a recent poll posted by Blizzard Blue Bornakk that asks WoW Players, "What is your favorite 5 person dungeon from The Burning Crusade?"

A great question. There are many fantastically designed instances in TBC that look amazing offer some extremely fun and original content for players to enjoy. My personal favorite is the Shadow Labyrinth in Auchindoun, which is always fun and just a bit awe-inspiring, especially in Heroic Mode. There's just something sinisterly exciting about having your entire party Mind-Controlled during a boss encounter and wailing on one another, hoping to see someone, anyone take a fall. >=) Also, having to down a Warlock boss amidst an army of Voidwalkers is definitely something awful and fantastic to see and experience. And lets not forget about seeing that last doorway open for the first time, and seeing the Ragnaros-esque Murmur standing at the end of the hall. Epic for sure.

But to my surprise, the Shadow Lab isn't even in the top 3 picks of favorite 5-mans. And while the poll is still on-going, SL is only in 5th place, so things look bleak for my pick for sure. Here are the results so far:

The Caverns of Time are kicking butt, gathering over 55% of the votes so far! I can totally understand Old Hillsbrad getting the most votes. It's like an RPer's wet dream, freeing Thrall and fighting alongside of him in the Tarren Mill of old. It's pretty sweet to say the least, and well deserves a spot at the top.

But what the hell is Black Morass doing up there?!

BM, I thought, was one of the most hated instances in TBC. When it was first introduced, it was bugged as hell and multiple portals would spring up at a time, making it exceptionally and unintendedly difficult (this was before the instance got nerfed too). Even after it was fixed, all it entailed was the repetitive and almost redundant clearing of spiders, gators, and whatever else outlines the actual event site, then running from portal to portal downing adds until a boss shows up every 6th portal. How can such repetition be anyone's favorite instance?

Now, I must admit, while I do not like the actual gameplay of the instance, the story behind Black Morass is pretty sweet. But unless we have almost 25% of the WoW playing populace actively role playing, I don't see how that many people could choose BM as the best TBC 5-man. Because really, it's not even close.

My two cents. ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Battleground Head Starts

Have you ever noticed the frequency with which you enter a battleground and find that the opposing team has already assaulted contested flags? It happens to me very regularly, and I hadn't really thought about why until recently, after reactivating my account (to show a friend around Azeroth) and partaking in a little bit of PvP.

Upon zoning into either Arathi Basin or Eye of the Storm a few times this week, the same story would unfold time and time again. Many teammates were still spawning at the starting point, slowly trickling out onto the field of play while the other team was busy capping just about every banner in sight. Snarls and QQs of "wtf Bliz!" would ring out in the BG channel as half of the team would decide to give up and HK farm while the other half would spend the rest of the match yelling at those farmers, while doing next to nothing goal-oriented themselves.

I had become very used to these experiences, as they have been a regular occurrence since the implementation of cross-server battlegrounds, and hence, the luxury of shorter queue times and more casual play. But what got me thinking was a question that was asked in BG chat earlier today by a disgruntled Orc Warrior. He asked, "Why has't Blizzard fixed this nonsense yet? Can it really be all that difficult?" Indeed, the problem has been brought up many, many times and to no avail. But can Blizzard fix the head start issue? Should they? What could they do?

The basics of the problem itself are fairly simplistic. A new battleground is created and a number of invites (based on the capacity of the BG) are sent out to the players highest in that BG's queue. They are given a specific amount of time to respond to that invitation, and if they do not choose to enter the battleground within that period of time, the invitation is revoked and sent to the next highest players in the queue.

Where it gets a bit more complicated is the fact that while those first invites are sent, a countdown to the BG's start begins ticking and extinguishes just about when those first invitations expire. As a result, if players don't enter a BG in a timely fashion or allow their invite timers to expire, the BG can actually start while the second wave of invites are being sent. Hence all of the "Omg it's 5 vs 15" and "It's already a 5-cap" that goes down.

What it basically boils down to is this: players are not entering battlegrounds fast enough, or are ignoring their invitations (via "Hide," perhaps) completely. Maybe it's because they are actively engaged in a quest. Maybe they are in combat. Maybe they are checking the progress of another BG. Whatever be the case, their actions are creating a problem for those in the queue behind them. So, what could be done to help remedy these behaviors and the ill situations they cause? And as the Orc asked, why hasn't Blizzard done anything about this issue yet?

The worry is that changing the current system will revert it back to an era of insanely long queue times, which was the bane of PvPers back in the day. One suggestion I have heard that would do just that is limiting each player to only one BG queue at a time. While it would solve the BG-hopping issue that nurtures BG Head Starts, it would lengthen the queue times for each individual BG overall. Bliz understands that this is not acceptable, as it would be reintroducing the original issue in satisfying the current one.

So how about this.

Keep everything the same except the length of time a player has to accept a BG invite. Give players only 20-25 secomds to decide whether to take an invitation or not, instead of the current 60+ seconds they have to hit the "Enter" button. That would help secondary and tertiary invites to go out promptly and ensure a sizable team to be present for the start of the battle, while not lengthening queue times whatsoever and possibly even shortening them.

It would probably take a few tweaks to make it work, but I'm sure it would all be worth it.

Less BG head starts ftw. =)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SNES Emulator for the iPhone

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is one of the greatest gaming consoles ever released. No bones about it. Those of you lucky enough to own one or to have grown up in the SNES gaming era know exactly what I mean. It was leaps and bounds above the competition in terms of it's hardware technology, and it's software title library offered a variety of amazing titles, some of which are considered the best of all-time even today. And some even call the SNES the greatest console ever created.

So what would that make an Apple iPhone that emulates the SNES natively?

The best phone ever made, that's what. ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Okay, Today's REAL LOL

Omg you guys just have to watch this. It's freaking hilarious! And it's especially enjoyable if you've seen some of Tom Cruise's films, and think he's an absolute "douche." =)


Oh, and I swear, I'll get back to this Warlock thing soon. But for now, just enjoy the random video nonsense I post, kthx. =P

Today's LOL

Stumbled upon this video over at 1up about a few guys that put together a "Top 10" list for SNES game intros. Decently funny, but it's more interesting to see what they chose in their list. Super Metroid ftw imho. =)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Song of the Week

With so little going on in the World of WoW, at least with regards to all things Warlock, I'm grateful that we have our songs to keep us entertained. =)

This week's SotW isn't new. It isn't a hardcore PvP anthem (not for me, anyway). Nor is it raid-worthy (it's too short imho). What it is, is a damn good song from a band that's just a little metro, if not a bit weird as well. Here's the ground-breaking band Orgy with a "live" performance of their song Opticon. Enjoy. ;)

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Answer to Every Question...

Saw this the other day, and fell out of my chair.

The story is that this student's teacher plays a 'lock, and the kid decided to have a little bit of fun with that fact, but unfortunately, at his test score's expense. Pretty funny, but even more impressive is the level of effect an image like this depicts of the gaming culture. How cool is it that students and teachers can interact and be passionate about video games?

Pretty fantastic, if you ask me. =)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sharp Mouse, Hawt Deal

This post is a little late in coming, so there isn't much time to act on it, but if you're one of those looking to improve your RL gaming gear and are in desperate need of a new mouse, take heed. WooT is offering a Razer Copperhead gaming mouse for only $33, plus $5 shipping. It's a slick mouse with 7-buttons of binding goodness that usually retails for $60ish or more, so this is quite the decent deal. The sale ends at 10:00 PM PST, so if you're thinking about it, don't sit on the fence too long. ;)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Song of the Week + Today's LOL

Have you ever heard a song by a band you've never seen, and imagined what the group members might look like? Well, in the case of the band The Darkness, upon seeing them for the first time via their video for "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," all I can say is "LOL." Definitely unexpected, but funny as well. Great song too. =)


Friday, January 11, 2008

McDonald's, Obesity, and Video Games

Ask anybody what the pinnacle of fast-food enterprises is, and they will likely answer McDonald's restaurants. That's a pretty impressive position to have amongst the social perception, but unfortunately for the golden arches, serving billions and billions (especially to low-income households) of their fatty meals has led to another conception. Ask those same people what factors have influenced the epidemic of childhood obesity, and many will cite "McDonald's" and their "Happy Meals" as a regular answer once again.

Bic Mac is definitely not happy with this common perception.

In an interview with the Times UK, McDonald's executive Steve Easterbrook takes a general approach in explaining the obesity problem. He states that a variety of things support a sedentary lifestyle, and that eating habits is only one of multiple variables involved with a child's overall well-being. All very true and well thought-out, but while Easterbrook remained seemingly professional throughout the interview, his frustration did express itself just a bit.

In an effort to displace some of the blame on his own industry, he calls out urbanization and video gaming slyishly, stating that:

...there’s a lifestyle element: there’s fewer green spaces and kids are sat home playing computer games on the TV when in the past they’d have been burning off energy outside.

In effect, Easterbrook is saying that kids are exercising less due to other activities, specifically video games, and that fast-food is only one part of the entire picture that is obesity. Some may find this reasoning to be completely saturated with hypocrisy, given that it stems from an executive whose company's products promote unhealthy weight-gain, therefore making exercise more taxing and difficult.

I'm pretty sure video games don't do that.

I know many gamers who eat healthy and are in great physical shape. I also know of many who don't eat healthy and are a little overweight as a result. The point is, it's not the gaming itself that requires complete changes in lifestyle in order to fulfill a healthful physique. It's one's diet that does.

"You are what you eat," as the saying goes.

The focus on the fast-food industry as an active, main player in the grandeur of obesity was further strengthened in a movie released a few years back. Some of you may remember the film Super Size Me, which displayed a healthy, young male partaking in a fast-food only diet, and the health effects he experienced as a result. The low-budget film had big-budget success, and gained a very wide range of appeal, even among health professionals. In reaction to the film and the public outrage that ensued, McDonald's added "healthy" items to their offering, changed many ingredients in their products, and removed "Super Size" as a menu option, hoping to show that the company does make an effort to support healthful living habits.

However, given that their unhealthy offerings remain the huge majority of their sales, and the defensive tone Easterbrook seems to take with regards to the issue, one has to wonder if McDonald's has done enough. Obesity is still on the rise, and McDonald's is still the #1 fast-food source in our culture. Perhaps Easterbrook and his fellow execs should eat only their company's food for a month. Maybe then, they'll eat their words too.

There's probably more nutrients in those letters anyway. =)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How to Discourage Players from Asking for Gold

Via WoWBash:


Warlock Therapy - This Week

Preparing for a baby encompasses so much more than I thought it would. I mean, I knew it would be eventful and all, but when you actually think about the details, the grandeur is just amazing. There is the standard gift registry, which is a staple of baby-prep, but is also just the tip of the iceberg. For example, my wife signed us up for this "birthing" class where we will be practicing breathing techniques she will be applying during labor. Fun fun. Then, there's the baby shower, and making sure the house is ready for the huge influx of estrogen that'll be here that day. And of course, there's baby-proofing every single square-inch of the house, and going over it again just to make sure everything is fail-safe. Yeah, tons of work.

I am a little excited though, because I have been making good progress with all that needs to be done. Today, I finished painting the nursery two shades of pink; light on the top, purple-pink on the bottom. If one shade of pink wasn't enough to strip away my dignity, two definitely was... just walking into that room is a blow to my manhood, but it's all for the little one, so I'll gladly deal with it, and it's one major thing marked off on my to-do list. =)

So with that project done comes free time to actually post decent content on this blog thing I've been semi-neglecting. But this week is going to be pretty sweet; here's what to expect:

- Open letter to Blizzard: How to fix Affliction Warlocks.

- McDonald's on Obesity: Guess what they partially blame?

- On the Couch: Interview with Clinkz of Nihilum.

I'm very excited to say the least. =)

But for now, I'm off to pick up the wifey. In the meantime, here's to the week ahead. A little more pink, but way hotter. =)


Monday, January 7, 2008

DDR Madness

After becoming addicted to Guitar Hero III this past holiday season, I began wondering why I had not taken notice of this gaming genre before. The fast, coordinated button-smashing music titles like Dance Dance Revolution have been around for a while, but they just never seemed appealing to me, especially in the presence of games like Counter-Strike, which I was totally into. However, with this new-found appreciation for music-based titles, I decided to check out a few DDR clips on YouTube to see what I've been missing, if anything at all.

What I found was absolutely amazing!

This clip is of an apparently well-known DDR gamer by the name of Adam Cohen, aka Admstyles. In it, he completely rocks one of the hardest songs in the version of DDR he is playing (In the Groove 2), only misstepping twice throughout the entire sequence on expert level, and shirtless even!

The guy is definitely a character, with a flavor-full vocabulary and all, but his steps are fantastic so the video is definitely worth a look. Watching it definitely takes me back to the good old arcade days of old. Man, those were good times. =)


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Banned: The Final Review

Getting banned stinks. There's no way around it. But what's worse is getting banned for something you didn't do; that's like a whole new level of odor I wouldn't wish upon anyone. But it happened to me, and I've been spending the past many weeks bathing in tomato juice trying to make things right. Recently, that has involved a thread on the WoW Customer Support forums. But when my post received no love from Blue even after several thousand views and over 100 replies, I decided to change things up a bit and make one last effort with Account Administration before giving up completely.

With that last effort, I wanted to make it clear how seriously I was taking the issue at hand. I told the Account Admins that I frequently visit Irvine, CA, and asked if it was possible to make an appointment with a Bliz rep to further discuss my case.

The email got their attention.

I received a response, entitled "Final Review," earlier today from an Account Administrator. Here's what it had to say:


Thank you for again contacting us in regard the suspension place on the World of Warcraft account, [x]. I have reviewed all information pertaining to this action, and I have confirmed that the account was found to have been in violation of the World of Warcraft Terms of Use and our Exploitation Policy.

That said, the actual issue does not reflect the original action taken. As such, I have removed the penalties placed upon this account and reduced the action to a warning. In addition, I do wish to clear up any confusion and perhaps illuminate the issue somewhat. Please disregard the prior notice of Third-Party Exploitation, as I was able to verify the issue was not related to such exploitation, and no evidence of any compromise was found during the course of my investigation. I do again apologize for the miscommunication.

In order to protect the integrity of our investigation process, I do hope you understand I must be a little vague in my explanations. The action placed upon the account was done as a result of verified abuse of Game Mechanics, which took place within the dungeon of Dire Maul. While there is a mechanic in place that attempts to prevent such exploitation, the creative use of geometry performed by the character Jagoex is what drew the initial account action.

While we do understand your point of view, please be aware that such a performance is in violation of both the World of Warcraft Terms of Use (, as well as the Exploitation Policy ( Please review the relevant selections, which I have included below:

From the Abuse of Game Mechanics policy:

The distinction between exploiting bugs and abusing game mechanics is a fine one. While bug exploitation involves the abuse of what is essentially a programming mistake, the abuse of game mechanics is the act of taking advantage of the limitations of the World of Warcraft game systems. Since the line between the sanctioned use and the abuse of game mechanics is sometimes unclear, we prefer to educate players before taking any action against the account being used.

This category includes using/distributing game mechanics in a manner unintended by their design that:
* Damages another character, their gameplay, the service itself and/or its economy

If a player is found to have abused/distributed such game mechanics, he/she may:
* Be given a verbal warning
* Subsequent related offenses will result in temporary suspension from the game

In addition to this policy, please also review the World of Warcraft Terms of Use in particular the following selection:

Section 5: Rules of Conduct.

C. Rules Related to Game Play

Nonetheless, certain acts go beyond what is "fair" and are considered serious violations of these Terms of Use. Those acts include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

1. Using or exploiting errors in design, features which have not been documented, and/or "program bugs" to gain access that is otherwise not available, or to obtain a competitive advantage over other players;
2. Conduct prohibited by the EULA or these Terms of Use, including without limitation that conduct prohibited by Section 2(C); and
3. Anything that Blizzard considers contrary to the "essence" of the Program.

As the prior action has been reduced to a warning, please be aware that per the Game Abuse policy, any further infractions of this nature may result in further account actions and suspensions. Please note that these actions are taken to maintain integrity within the World of Warcraft, and are not taken lightly.

I do hope I have been able to clarify the issue somewhat and relieve any concerns. Thank you for your time and understanding of our position in this matter.


Account Administration Supervisor
Blizzard Entertainment

Wow. Talk about an unexpected turn of events! Not only did Blizzard admit that they were wrong about the ban and apologize for their mistake, but they also retroactively altered the punishment level as well. Pretty nice of them. I guess they really didn't want me paying them a visit. =)

A few things still get me, though. For one thing, the email fails to address the multiple times my ban was CONFIRMED, and simply glosses over the mistake as if it were no big deal. "Sorry we messed up, Jagoex, several, several times." would have been a good start.

Also, if I read their email correctly, it pretty much states that kiting in a particular path in the DM Arena (creative geometry was the email's wording), specifically, running to the opposing wall after each teleport, is indeed an exploit. Seems strange to classify it as such.

But anyway, I'm done with this issue. The case is closed and I can finally move on from this tiny little mess that was weighing far too heavily on my mind. I definitely learned something; hopefully Blizzard did too. And thanks to those of you who posted your support -- it was much appreciated. =)

/tomato bath

Today's LOL... Kinda

This will be either the best or worst thing you will see all day. Maybe even all week. Month, even. Ah hell, lets just say all year. It's the trailer for Athene: The Movie, which showcases the "best Paladin in the world" making a complete ass of himself in public... a great way for a no-name nobody to become famous (see: Borat). =)


Fan Art: Warlock in T5

Shelbi over at The Bronze Kettle is quite the artist! To go along with all the stuff she has already done, she has recently completed another two of her amazing works, and it just so happens that one of them is a Warlock. Excellent work Shelbi, do keep them coming. And grats on your new gear IRL. =)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Changes to AV AFK-Reporting

Ah, the goodness that is Alterac Valley. Extremely long queues. AFKers. And even premades! What's not to love? Well apparently, all of it, as many players on the Customer Service forum have been complaining about everything AV. Some have even suggested boycotting the battleground completely, they are so unhappy with it. And while much of us would be inclined to think these individuals nonsensical, Blizzard has indeed taken notice, and is already making changes.

Yesterday, Bliz Blue Bornakk posted about an already-applied hotfix that reduces the number of reports needed to tag a player as inactive. A relatively minor change, but a step in the right direction nonetheless. Still, players are angry that the change doesn't necessarily "fix" the core issue at hand, and note that the exploits people are using to feign activity will still be in play. Valid points for sure, but big-man Drysc explains the reasoning behind this specific change and hints at what to expect in the future, he says:

We want to fix the main issue.

The main issue is not that people AFK, it's why they AFK.
The main issue is not that some no longer queue, it's why they no longer queue.

Asking to make the AFK or queuing system more robust (read: punishing) is really just band-aiding a band-aid and on and on. It will never stop, and we'll only reach a point of total agreement when no one is allowed to play.

We're attempting to put in good, balanced, fun changes that fix these issues at their root.

I'm being a bit hypocritical because the hotfix today did none of this, but it's certainly a positive change in the interim.

In essence, Bliz is working with what they can, when they can. And until greater changes can be applied (via a patch maybe?), they'll tweak whatever they can with hotfixes accordingly, when they see it fit.

I think that's pretty fair, don't you?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

On the Warlock Forums

Here's a look at a few noteworthy threads on the official Warlock forums, and the important lessons you should learn from them.

@shadowborne: Kalthakubal of Rexxar asks arena junkie Shadowborne why he has been stacking Spell Penetration at the expense of other important stats. Shadowborne's response? A little bit of Resil, Stam, and Spell Dmg lost isn't game-breaking, but lot of Spell Penetration is. Apparently, the arena Warlock was sick of seeing his DoTS ticking for 50-60 per tick, and stacking Spell Pen was a remedy he could work with.

Current S3 Warlock Arena Statistics: A breakdown of current Warlock specs being played in each Arena bracket. The lesson? Even with all of the passive changes applied to our self-healing ability, SL/SL, for the most part, is still king.

Malefic Wings Biologically Impossible: Miranniel of Quel'dorei argues that because of the tears in the Malefic Helm's wing animation, those structures are biologically impossible. Welcome to the Warlock slogan for 2008. Seriously, read the thread. You'll see what I mean. :)

Soul Bag Idea! [Keyring]: Helba of Cenarius wants to put Soul Shards on her Keyring, kinda. She wants SS storage to be similar to the key storage -- expandable. This would require Warlocks to make use of a new UI mechanism that I'm certain Bliz will not design for just that purpose. A more likely scenario would be a shard bag that could be carried inside a standard bag... an idea that resonates throughout many replies to Helba's post.

List of Nerfs in 2007, Happy New Year!: Keelon of Frostmane put together a nice lift of nerfs the Warlock class saw in 2007. What gets me isn't the content of the post (which is taken from WoW Insider), but the reaction the OP receives. Many become seemingly defensive and rude, which I find feeds the Warlock stereotype quite well.

More to come. =)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

There Goes My Retirement...

INC Warlock. Cute. Adorable. And, of course...'s a girl! =)

There's definitely a lot more to come later, but after countless hours of running around town while getting our baby's gift registry together, it's time for bed. Sweet sleep... I should enjoy it while I can!


Ban Update: Still Chasing Answers

It has been a few weeks since I was given a 48 hour suspension, but I am just as confused about the matter now as I was back then. After several emails to Blizzard's Account Admins that turned up nothing, I currently find myself awaiting a response to a thread I created in the official Customer Service forum. I know that very little is likely to be solved this way (as the CS community as a whole has reminded me several times already), but even if a Community Manager offers me very little help, it would be more than I have already received. So really, I've got nothing to lose.

Unfortunately, after some promising amounts of activity, the thread has fallen through the cracks, and a Blizzard Blue has yet to respond in it. It's still early and just after holiday, however, so there is still hope.

I'll update as things happen, and thanks to all who have already offered their support!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The New Year, WoW Style?

Girl Meets WoW is definitely a girl that knows how to party. In celebrating the close of 2007 and the grand opening of 2008, her Alliance guild hosted a gathering of epic proportions. They invited their Horde friends over for a little Fel Reaver fun, racing to see which faction could kite one to Shatt first. A brilliant idea if you ask me, and incredibly alien being that I played on a realm that had no sense of server pride. But hey, all of us need something to aim towards, and Girl Meets WoW's server definitely seems to be at the social pinnacle of it's game. Kudos. =)

As for me, I celebrated a little bit differently. Every year, for the past 15 years or so, I would ring in the New Year in about the same way. I'd sit in front of my television set, alone or with family or friends, and pop in a copy of Capcom's Street Fighter II, playing for hours until the clock struck midnight. It was a totally uber-nerd thing to do on a night that's supposed to be a total party, but it had become a tradition of mine, of sorts. Playing videogames has always been my escape of choice, and indeed my New Year's SFII habit began as a way for me to forget about a girl that had just broken my heart. Fate has a sense of humor, though. I'm now married to her, we're expecting our first child, and we find out the gender tomorrow afternoon. Funny stuff, but I digress.

This year, I wanted to try something a little bit different to celebrate the New Year. So, we stayed in, but instead of a gaming-fest, we cooked dinner, lounged about with our 3 puppies, and talked about our hopes for the year to come. It was an amazing time, especially considering the grandeur of what it will be like next year. Good times for sure.

I hope you all got to enjoy the transition to 2008 in a very enjoyable way. Here is to an amazing year ahead. Happy New Year, everyone. =)