Monday, March 31, 2008

Is MagT's Kael'thas Too Easy?

When I first heard that Kael'thas Sunstrider, the Lord of the Blood Elves, was going to make an appearance in a heroic 5-man in 2.4, I nearly wet myself. At the time, I had never ventured into Tempest Keep and only heard epic stories and lore about one of the fiercest personalities in all of WoW. I was very eager to get into Heroic MagT asap to witness the grandeur of Kael'thas first-hand... that is, until I heard that the encounter doesn't do him any justice whatsoever, is incredibly easy, and to some, even tarnishes the image of the once-great Blood Elf.

At first, I thought the complaints were coming from a few overly-passionate RPers who were disappointed that Kael'thas was tweaked down into 5-man form. However, after talking with a good number of players, who definitely don't RP, btw, I'm beginning to think that there may be some truth to this story after all.

This YouTube video shows a Holy Priest solo'ing the once-mighty raid boss from about 40% down to nothing -- definitely not something I would expect a single player could do against a character of Kael'thas's caliber:

Gimmicky slogans and music aside, the video is a great example of Kael'thas's level of ease that people are describing.

Looking at it myself, I can't help but believe that there is definitely something worth complaining about.

Today's LOL: YouTube's Rollin'

Tomorrow is April 1, "April Fool's Day," and YouTube's celebration of the ultimate practical joker's holiday is total W. I. N. Since the moment the clock struck midnight in the U.K., every single European visitor to the YouTube website has been "Rick Rolled," being redirected to Rick Astley's music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up." And why not? The song has become a pop phenomenon (again), and especially in the gaming community, including WoW. It's fitting, then, that the largest video website in the world would play on it's popularity, and especially on April 1!

Here's the vid, in case you've somehow missed it and don't plan on visiting YouTube tomorrow:

It's amazing, isn't it? Just, amazing. I think an old guildie of mine put it best:

"They dance like gods." - High Music and Dancelord Boneybologna, of Ghostlands

I couldn't have said it better myself, Boney. ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Patch 2.4: Undocumented Devour Magic Nerf?

Word on the Warlock Forum is that our Felhunters' Devour Magic ability has been nerfed, returning less health to the pet upon the removal of a magic effect. Such a change was not documented in the official Patch Notes, so either this change was a ninja nerf, unintended, or ill-observed. Hopefully, it's one of the latter.

More info to come.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fear the Chef

At last year's Blizzcon, the WoW class discussion panel stated that Warlocks are the "best dueling class" in the game. Having enthusiastically played a Warlock for over 2 years, I can honestly say that there were very few duels that I should have lost. The ones I did lose were those where I either messed up (which happened plenty of times, especially against certain Rogues I know...), or didn't take all too seriously -- a side-effect of playing a very dominant 1v1 class. But when I did take things seriously, to say that those duels were a walk in the park would be a gross understatement.

I know that sounds kinda egotistical, but it totally isn't. It has just been a part of the class is all. And not much has changed in Patch 2.4.

Warlocks in general have an uncanny ability to rock opposing players to their core. The pressure of facing a class that can do immense damage over time is indeed overwhelming to some. DoT, run, burn. This can cause hesitation, and at the same time, a debilitating, hurried effect that can easily press the enemy into errors of approach. The fact that Warlocks are built in such a way makes them very difficult to overcome, and watching a Warlock that has mastered the art of exploiting his abilities is definitely something to appreciate. Kinda like a chef in a kitchen of terrible ingredients, and who can kick your butt all over the place without ruining the soufflé he's got cooking in the oven.

To me, that's what Warlock PvP is all about. It's about controlling the battle via finesse and forcing that 1v1 scenario we dominate so readily. Being able to do so lets everyone watching know that you're in control. And, that if needs be, they're next.

Changes are incoming, however, as Blizzard has already stated that the Warlock-Mage relationship will be undergoing a transformation in the WotLK, which will make Mages much more competitive against the Warlock class. Other classes have already seen buffs based upon Warlock dominance, and many more changes are probably still to come. But the fact remains, even with all of these changes, that 'Locks have quite the trickery up their sleeves and are indeed the best 1v1 class.

With the proper gear and class-knowledge, we will always be extremely competitive, as long as we take ourselves and the things we do seriously.

Bon Appétit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Warlock, version 2.4

Patch 2.4 is finally live, and after a few days to take it all in, I think the general consensus is an immensely positive one. The new content is gorgeous, and WOW Insider is even calling the Magisters' Terrace one of if not the best instance ever made. Even class changes seem surprisingly palatable, with only minor dissent cropping up here and there over relatively minute changes. And what is perhaps best of all, at least in my mind, is what the Warlock class saw in terms of functional change: next to nothing. There was no Life Tap nerf, and all the other changes were relatively minor in application, which isn't a bad thing for an already very powerful (and dare I say "balanced?") class.

So, where exactly does this leave us?

In many ways, the work of a Warlock is fairly straightforward. We show up, spec either 41/0/20 or 0/21/40, and spam Shadow Bolt DPS like a scorching case of herpes (trust me, it pwns the meters), and maybe CC a bit when we need to. Post-2.4, not much will change, even when considering the cast-time buff to Incinerate. The buff, while welcomed, is just not enough to off-set the huge advantage the Improved Shadow Bolt talent gives to our shadow damage, and therefore is not raid ideal.

But what of the other changes? Not significant enough to worry about, imho. I know that some will argue that the Demonology 3% damage nerf is a big deal, but really, it isn't. Missing the equivalent of one Shadow Bolt in about 100k worth of damage won't make much of a DPS difference, and Demo-specs will still be doing quite a bit of damage without changing a thing from their pre-2.3 raiding approach. Not such a bad deal, am I right?

Anyway, I know it's a rarity to be happy with getting absolutely "nothing," especially after the application of a content patch that, like a birthday or Christmas, is full of so much goodness. But I think us Warlocks should be thrilled. We dodged a bullet with that potential Life Tap nerf, and can go about our business as usual. So, here's to getting out there, and doing what we've always done, and still being able to do it well.

Here's to herpes.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

World of Warcraft, the Movie

Forget Patch 2.4. Here's a clip from the upcoming WoW movie, and it's totally WIN:

I can't wait.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WoW Warlock Commercial

My good friend Star sent me a link to the "official" WoW Warlock commerical that's been making rounds on YouTube. It stars Vic Mignogna, a popular anime voice actor that is well known for his work as Edward Elric, the Full Metal Alchemist. He is definitely an interesting choice for this series of commercials, considering the wide-spread recognition of the others that Bliz chose for their previous ads. This struck me as quite odd, and as I watched the commercial unfold, I couldn't shake the strangeness that set in. Turns out, there's a good reason I felt that way. Check out the video and see if you can catch what I'm talking about. ;)

Thanks again for the link, Star!

Tip of the Week: Multi-Draining Goodness

We Warlocks have very many sexy spells and abilities we'd all like to use. But unfortunately, we also have a very limited place to put them. I always ran into trouble with my action bars, running out of space and having to constantly ditch an ability or two (mostly due to macros -- oh the irony to come). I was always looking out for ways to lighten the load, per say, and this week's TotW aims to do just that by linking your three drain abilities to one, super sexy button.

The process is simple: 1) Type /macro, and choose an icon and name for your new hot button. 2) Copy the code below and paste it into the macro text box. 3) Replace the 3 drains on your action bars with this one macro ability.

Here's the code:

/stopmacro [noharm]
/cast [nomodifier,nochanneling:Drain Soul(Rank 1)] Drain Soul(Rank 1)
/cast [modifier:ctrl,nochanneling:Drain Mana] Drain Mana
/cast [modifier:alt,nochanneling:Drain Life] Drain Life

Now you might be asking yourself, "How the heck do I choose between three drains if I'm only using one button?" Well, if you take a look at the last two lines of code, you'll notice two modifiers: ctrl, and alt. Pressing one of those two buttons while pressing the macro hot button will dictate which drain is used. Pressing the macro + alt will cast Drain Life, the macro + ctrl will cast Drain Mana, and just the macro will cast Drain Soul (Rank 1).

And hey, if you don't like them in that order or want to use different modifying buttons, just adjust the code as necessary.

So there you have it. Three drains, one button, two spaces saved. I hope this comes in handy for ya. ;)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Orc Warlock Shoulders

So, the size of these Warlock shoulders on an Orc...

...maybe they're a little much?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Signs Your Guild is Breaking Up... Soon

This week, many of my fellow guild members posted "goodbye" threads on our guild forums, and walked away from the game for good. It has resulted in a sad collection of moments indeed, especially since these guys were great people and a pleasure to enjoy the game with. But what makes things even worse is that many of them were officers or top tier players, which has really hit the guild hard.

The whole situation got me thinking about the warning signs of guild doom-hood (is that even a word?), and after talking with a few good buddies of mine from the EU, we've come up with a list of characteristics that seem universal... to me, anyway. =P

Check them out (they're in no particular order), and let me know what you think!

- You spend more time outside an instance in an evening than actually raiding it.

- You have to wait an extra 60 mins for "backups" to sign in to fill your raid party.

- You're on your 3rd newly recruited "MT" in as many weeks.

- You only have one player filling a "main" tanking role.

- The guild transferred servers.

- Summoned raiders always arrive flagged for PvP.

- Ventrillo is silent... or way loud... after a wipe.

- "Farm" encounters are farming you.

- You have more canceled raids than raid sign ups.

- Officers disband a raid when everyone else wants to try new content.

- Many guildies quit the game, only to be found playing an alt on another server.

- No one signs on for so-called "Wipe Nights."

- The guild's "best" attend raids less and less.

- You have more "farm" content scheduled than new content.

- Guild chat is all about the new PvP epics.

- Farming honor or doing daily quests take greater priority than prepping guild members for raids.

- Your GM takes an extended leave... twice...

- Everyone jumps into different vent channels after a raid.

Got anything else to add? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware of Links in Blogger Comments

After doing a bit of blog hopping earlier today, I noticed many links being posted in the comments section of many different blogger sites. They seemed very shady to me, since the commenters don't provide any information about their hyperlink destinations and what not. After a bit of research, I found that these links are indeed malicious, and will attempt to install a trojan on your hard drive.

So if you happen to see one of these in my blog comments or any other blogger site, ignore it, and report it if you have that option.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kael'thas is a Pervert

So I was in Tempest Keep the other day, clearing some trash on my guild's way to Void Reaver, when something hit me about the place. All of that amazing Blood Elf Naaru architecture - the giant purple crystals and intricately designed doorways - they're all a little dirty, aren't they? And when I say dirty, I don't just mean "dirty," I mean Christina Aguilera "Dirrty," if you know what I mean. Just look at this picture for goodness sakes:

Now just try and tell me that those giant throbbing crystals aren't phalluses and that the doorway in the distance doesn't look like a vagina.

I'm not sure who designed TK or all of these erotic structures, but one thing is for certain: Blizzard needs to provide much more lore on the floating instance's apparently perverted taskmaster, Kael'thas. We all know he's addicted to magic and that the Blood Elves are really into themselves and what not, but how does all of that tie into Kael'thas's brothel-inspired Keep as his dungeon of choice (all current lore aside, that is)?

A bit creepy if you ask me. :)

I am obviously totally joking, by the way, but the above picture does offer up some interesting-looking objects, doesn't it?

I wonder what those designers over at Bliz were thinking...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mean People

We've all come across people in the WoW Universe that aren't "nice." Trolls, anti-socialites, etc, they all fit into that category. But have you truly met someone that is downright mean and nasty? Today, over two years after activating my WoW account, I can say that I finally have. And, as per usual, my psychology background moved me to completely waste my time in over-analyzing the details of the experience.

I will not bore you with the complete details of what happened, but I will give you a quick recap.

I was put in touch with a crafter on my realm that can make a specific item that I have been after for quite some time. He said he would get it made for me as soon as he gained enough Nether Vortexes to do so. Today, he was in SSC and I shot him a quick whisper to get an update on his progress.

"How's it going in there?" I asked.

"Don't you ever whisper me while I am on a raid ever again or you will never get your item. Do you understand?!" he shot back.

Raiding is apparently such serious business that a little purple text ruins it completely. LEWL.

"Sorry," I responded. "I didn't see a DND tag." Hint hint.

He continued on with his attitude and, for fear that he would become too angry with me to continue on with our little agreement, I let him do so without interference.

People who have this kind of behavioral issue NEED interactions of this sort to make themselves feel worthwhile. But as soon as anyone gives them any kind of heat, they withdraw, unable to take any kind of criticism, and find a new place to express their desire for control -- a strong ingredient for building self-esteem. Responding to this guy in an effort to defend myself would have only pushed him and my crafted gear away.

For me, this wasn't a matter of being insulted. It was simply a matter of an individual with a social personality issue trying desperately to regain a sense of control in an environment where he feels un-threatened and free to do so. This game creates a perfect environment for that kind of thing, doesn't it? It's surprising there aren't more like him out there.

Anyway, I never did find out if I'll be getting my item this weekend or not. But, whatever. I got to do some old school psycho-babbling, so all wasn't a total loss. =)

/sigh... I should have majored in Biology.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Zomg? Kalgan Reverses Warlock Life Tap Nerf

Ladies and Gentlemen, hell has indeed frozen over. Kalgan, the great Warrior and Mage-loving lead developer for Blizzard Entertainment officially declared the Life Tap nerf null and void. The nerf has been totally reversed, and better still is the fact that Kalgan also stated that there are no further plans to nerf Warlocks in Patch 2.4, period. Awesome news, for sure.

Sadly, however, the motivation to reverse the change did not come via the fact that the nerf was totally class-breaking (stat-wise) and required a complete and utter PvE-revamp. In fact, it wasn't PvE-motivated at all, which is odd because the chief legitimate complaints came from that angle. The change was reversed because of a fluctuation in PvP/Arena demographics, which show Warlocks comprising a lower percentage of high-rated teams than what Blizzard expects them to. As a result, our class's performance in both PvP AND PvE is being left alone... for now.

As you're probably understanding (and probably have understood for a long time now), this change isn't a good thing overall. While this change is great for us Warlocks, it completely emphasizes the fact that Blizzard is 100% arena-oriented. This is an incredibly unfortunate reality for the raiding enthusiast out there, and I'd imagine it's not so hot for PvE devs as well. It means that PvP numbers will change your PvE experience, as Kalgan implied in his comment today:

Locks are doing pretty well overall, but what had us worried was that it appeared to us a month ago or so as though warlocks were on an uptrend. However, the evidence is strong that that trend is reversing, which means significant nerfs aren't really what we want right now (we really don't know where those numbers will settle down).

So, basically, if one class becomes overly represented in the arena, it will get nerfed. When a class is under represented, it will get buffed (as we saw with Druids back in the day). THAT, my friends, is Blizzard's master plan.

Given the outrage of the populace over the PvP/PvE issue, you'd think Blizzard would take note, actually listen to their paying customers, and change their approach to implementing game "balance." Given these recent changes, their motivation, and Kalgan's comments, I guess that's simply not the case.

Maybe hell would have to freeze over again for that to happen.