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.