Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mana while tanking - it shouldn't be a problem

A day or so ago, Ambrosine over at I Like Bubbles posted about a PUG Paladin tank who asked her to stop putting her PW:S on him. Khraden over at Illumination touched on the same subject, and did a great job of explaining how you can keep your mana up even through some bubbles. I'm going to expand on that just a little, and toss in some math for you egg heads that keep coming around.

Spiritual Attunement

This is the biggest criminal in the existing mindset that Paladin tanks shouldn't be hit with a PW:S. The short version is that SA will return 5/10% of the amount healed as mana - so if they are healed for 10,000 in one shot, they'll pick up 1,000 mana. When an ICC geared Pally tank has around 5,500 mana (unbuffed), this is a sizable chunk of their mana pool. Because of the incredible amounts of damage that get dished out in the end game (heck, the trash in some heroics for at level geared tanks), most Protadins only take 1/2 in SA - meaning they only get 5% of the amount healed as mana.

Normally, this isn't an issue. When a tank is constantly being bombarded with heals to counteract the 20k shot they just took, they will accumulate mana regen very quickly. In the lower dungeons, especially where you might have an ICC geared Disc Priest healing a blue/green geared Protadin - this can become more of an issue.

A fully buffed ICC Priest will probably be sporting around 5k SP (probably less - but this number works for now). A Disc Priest with 5k SP will drop a PW:S that absorbs just over 10k - and they can do this every 15 seconds. Since this spell is one of their most efficient heals (you don't have to heal anything if there's no damage), getting them to not cast this on you will be nigh on to impossible. Heck, some of them will probably break down into fits if they even try.

So, if you're not taking any damage - how are you going to keep your tanking mana bar up, without stopping and having the "gogogogogo" DPS yelling in your ear?

Blessing of Sanctuary

Your first line of defense against the dreaded OOM, this blessing now bestows 10% Str and Stam (so you don't miss Kings), and will return 2% of your maximum mana - every time you block, parry, or dodge. Just popping Holy Shield on CD should push your block up high enough to keep this baby providing mana non-stop. If you can generate the threat (because obviously your healer is powerful enough to handle it), grab two sets of mobs to keep this going non stop.

Just make sure they're actually awake, and that your DPS isn't raining AoE on the area the new mobs will be running.

Don't be afraid to pick up trinkets that modify either of those stats. Not only is it adding avoidance, you're also adding mana regen!

Seal of Wisdom

While I know it's tough to use anything besides SoComm or SoC(V), given that all the DPS are yelling "gogogo" or pulling for you, remember that SoW will restore (chance) 4% of your max mana on each hit. Now, while this can take a while if you're autoattacking with a 2.6 mace, don't forget three important facts.

1) HotR can proc your current seal on each hit. This means that even un-glyphed, you'll have 3 chances every 9 seconds or so, to generate a ton of mana.

2) SoR can also proc your current seal now. That's both of your 6 abilities in the 969 being able to proc this mana regenerating star.

3) Your judgement can also proc your current seal - so now you have (assuming you use HotR, Judge, SoR) 5 chances of mana return in just 3 GCDs. Not too shabby.

Divine Plea

Forgetting for the moment that a glyphed DP will reduce your total damage intake by 3%, DP is one of those buffs that you should never let fall off. Returning 25% of your total mana every 15 seconds, just keeping this buff active should be more than enough to cover your currently bubbled butt. Properly talented, this effect will have a 100% uptime during a fight - and there's no reason to let it fall off. As mentioned above, if your healer's SP is high enough that their bubbles aren't being broken by trash, it's probably safe to assume that you can chain pull with abandon.

A note about Chain Pulling

Real quick - there's Chain Pulling, and then there's Idiotic Pulling. In short, Chain Pulling means you're moving from one group to the next, generally without ever dropping combat. It's generally fine to move to the next group when the last mob of the previous one is getting low on health. Just remember to check your healer's mana - or they may just let you die.

Idiotic Pulling is when you grab the entire hallway in UK - when you're a lvl 70 tank with a lvl 70 healer. Don't do it.

Judgement of Wisdom

This staple should probably be up with BoSan, but it's not really important. What is important is that you're judging this bad boy every 9 seconds. First, it can proc your seal, so if you're running SoW, that's another big chunk of mana back. Second, hitting any target that has been affected with JoW has a chance to return 2% of your base mana. While it's not a 100% proc, it is fairly high.


In short, asking your healer to NOT use their most mana efficient heal, is like asking a DPSer to not use their max ranked spells. With all the tools available to Protadins today, there's no reason that you can't find a happy mix between DP uptime, speed, and DPS. Even if you have to stop and drink now and again - this shouldn't be a problem. Twist your SoW and SoComm as necessary, always use JoW, and keep DP up.

And as the other bloggers mentioned, you can always tank without pants.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SC - Different types of attacks - mix it up a little

First 0ff - the SC2 game is amazing. I haven't done any games yet, but the storyline is really great. I like the changes they made to the briefing room, but I will concede that it's just another RTS. If you liked the original, you'll probably like SC2. If you hate RTS games, this isn't going to suddenly make you a convert.

Oh, and there ARE Firebats in the single person, which made me a happy panda. I don't mind them not being in the multi-player since that isn't my focus. It's almost like an ability is available for PvE but not in PvP. What a twist!

On to the real issue - combat tactics

Now, I'm no master of Starcraft tactics - especially when placed against another human opponent. Much like all video game to RL conversions, certain things just don't mix. For example, I've cleared rooms and rescued hostages in real life scenarios (training mind you) - but I suck at Counter Strike.

Regardless, in combat scenarios there are a few generally accepted methods of winning any battle.

Surgical strikes

This is a tactic that is widely used by the US military, that unfortunately isn't as effective as it could be. What I'm talking about here is the sniper kill, or in Starcraft - the surgical nuclear strike. Now while I've never been overly successful with a nuke strike in SC, it is a great tactic. In the game it's extremely expensive, and it takes so long to land that an alert opponent can usually flush your Ghost out.

If you can pull it off though, a surgical strike can be a devastating, or even crippling move. It's not even necessary to kill off troops or even important building structures. Somtimes it's enough to just conduct...

The spoiling attack

This is the strike that will be most likely to drive your opponent to hair pulling frustration. Spoiling attacks aren't designed for a high level of destruction, or even actual destruction. What you're looking to accomplish is to simply throw off your opponents timing or momentum. Take out all of an opponents worker bees, and suddenly he can't afford to build troops. Resources that would be spent arming his forces are instead spent trying to get back to his original level of production.

These attacks can also stall your opponent, as they have to adjust mentally to the change in their plans. While this won't throw off a master strategist (they're already four moves ahead of you), it will work wonders against that one-trick pony player who's been beating you.

Don't focus on full destruction though. These attacks are the bread and butter of the guerrilla warrior. In, out, gone. You don't want to get your own troops caught in the firefight, so fast moving troops are generally better suited (or an airdrop). Remember, this attack isn't intended to dislodge them completely from an area. Instead you want to force them to spend more resources on a secondary target. Of course, this is all in an effort to set them up for

The 2x4 between the eyes

This isn't a zerg swarm, a marine rush, or any other type of fast attack. This is the sound of a dozen siege tanks opening up at once, eight Yamoto-guns (are these in SC:2?), or a full swarm of Valks on your air force. This attack makes Pearl Harbor look like a field trip to the petting zoo. It is the culmination of your forces, bearing down on that weakest point.

Forget Waterloo, Troy, or the Battle of the Bulge - this is Hiroshima and Nagasaki rolled into one giant attack. This single assault can be conducted by an overwhelming force or a significantly powerful one, will push your opponent to the wall. Where you hopefully have someone hiding to whack him in the kneecaps.

Personally, I like to use a two or three pronged assault if I can - especially if I have a partner I can coordinate them with. When your opponent is responding to an assault on multiple fronts, you can split them open like a ripe melon. WWII would have turned out a lot different if Hitler hadn't opened up a third front (Africa, Europe, Asia) with Russia, as he would have been able to throw a significantly larger force of troops against the Allies in Europe.

In the end

You just need to mix up your attacks. Stay fluid. I personally like to reference a jellyfish here. You need to be mobile enough to respond to any change in pressure from your opponent, while still fielding attacks of your own. Never let the enemy work unhindered. Even sending small units in to harass and confuse will take his attention away from the main task - obliterating you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I can't wait to get home. I'm sorry, but SC:2 is sitting on my computer RIGHT NOW, just waiting for me to get home. Yeah, my priest hit 77, but she's sitting right there until Jim Raynor and I can spend some quality time together.

How I know my fiancee loves me

I may have forced her to watch the SC:2 trailers 100 times with me. While she apprecitates the graphics and the quality - she's not a gamer. Here's the thing though. She knows it is released today. She saw me download it yesterday, and set everything up for tonight. So what does she do? She puts together a dinner for me in the fridge (this is actually normal for raid nights), and then she makes plans to go over to her friend's house. For about five hours.

That's right. The starting night of SC:2 will be me, Jim, and Tychus - with a little Kerrigan thrown in so it's not a complete man fest. While there's no Firebats (damn you Blizzard), I'm really looking forward to the updated graphics offered. I still like playing the original game, and I'm pretty sure my Droid phone has more than enough processing power to run it. I've purposefully stayed away from any actual gameplay footage, just because I want the first night to be special.

I was called old

Talking with W-Crusher the other day, he made a comment that he's not really excited about seeing Raynor is a Marine outfit. He's "old" he said. So I did some math, checked with a timeline, and concluded that Raynor is probably around 36 or so. Since I'll be 34 in a few weeks, I don't consider anything South of 40 to be old. I also mentioned that playing SC on the wasn't anything I ever really got into. I always enjoyed the single player campaigns, or just doing co-op against the AI. And yes, it's because I hate getting stomped by the good players - and/or the Korean Zerg rush.

W-Crusher: That sounds like something an old man would do. Raynor.

I cried a little. On the inside.

What I'd love to see

I really wanted a 24 style clock, the one that makes the loud noise in the show as it counts the seconds, to do my countdown for me in game. I'd also like to see Jack Bauer running from a bunker yelling "ZERG!". Or maybe instead of the "Nuclear launch detected" you get to see Jack run out of the Command Center throttling a Ghost "Where's the bomb!".

Maybe I just have an unhealthy love for 24.

If it fails to deliver

I really don't think it will, but if SC:2 fails to deliver, I'm looking at Bad Company 2. Several of the folks are playing it now as they wait for Cata. That might work out well. I haven't played a real FPS in a while. I suppose you could consider Mass Effect a FPS, but it's more of a FPS-RPG. I'm talking a no holds barred, log in and shoot someone in the face with a machine gun, type FPS.

I hear it helps with stress.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Starcraft II: Heaven's Devils - Book Review

John over at the BBB sent me a copy of Heaven's Devils a few weeks (months?) ago, and after reading through it (and seeing him review it), I thought I'd share my own thoughts. It doesn't hurt that I'm also struggling with an RP post and some Priest musings. I've shipped the book off to my Battle Buddy in Iraq, and I'll update this with his thoughts once he gets through it. Of course this means I don't have the book in front of me to reference for the review, but that's why we have the internet.

A one sentence review

It's worth reading, but it's not Warhammer 40k.

What it is

Heaven's Devils is a great military sci-fi book. It fits into the Starcraft universe nicely, and I can certainly picture the characters in my mind. Of course it helps that Blizzard has provided us with an image for Tychus and Raynor already in some of their video footage, but I think the book can certainly stand on its own. The Starcraft universe is certainly large enough (and actually much larger than I thought) to support a book without having to add in a ton of history and backstory.

A smooth plotline, and a clear direction, lends to a fairly simple read. It was a lot like Arthas or any of the other Blizzard IP books - fairly clear to read, without being over the top.

Unfortunately, this was my main problem with the book.

What it isn't

It isn't gritty, dark, or even remotely leaning in those directions. Without giving the book away, let's just say that there are some moments where our merry band of heroes find themselves in trouble. At no time do you expect someone to die, and even the climatic battle was predictable. I never felt like I was there, and I certainly never had to put the book down because it was getting intense.

Granted, I'm holding this book to the standards that I've come to expect from 40k novels. I'm sure that part of this is due to the fact that I'm busy catching up on the Horus Heresy series, and alternating between praying for SW:TOR and the 40k MMO. Space Marines and Starcraft Marines just look alike in my book (the armor is great), and don't tell me there isn't a correlation between the Zerg/Tyranids and the Protoss/Eldar. Of course there's no chainswords, but you can't have everything.

In the end

The book was a good read, and helps set the stage for SC:2 by giving me a little teaser into Jim Raynor's life before we meet him in the original Starcraft game. It sticks to the "Rated T for Teen" type of setting we see with Blizzard's games, where I was hoping for more of an "M for Mature" - or maybe higher. More details, less fluff - and don't go light on the combat scenes either.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Addons and you - picking the right path

A few months ago I had a problem with my truck that took some diagnosing. I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on, but I lost the power-steering. It wasn't a belt, the pump, or fluid - something just wasn't working right. While I was troubleshooting it, I wound up losing the power-brakes as well. Again, not a problem with the lines or the master cylinder.

While I was troubleshooting all this, I still had to get to work, so I just drove it like it was. I grew up learning to drive an old farm truck that didn't have power steering or brakes, so it was kind of just like going home again. I had to anticipate turns and stops a little more for sure, and I certainly couldn't turn by just palming the wheel any more. I felt like this made me a better driver though, so I've kept with it like this.

I mean, let's face it. Power steering and power brakes really just make you lazy. You don't have to react as quickly, because the vehicle will do part of the work for you. This is even worse if you use the anti-collision/proximity warning devices that you find on some SUVs and minivans. Same thing can be said for the blind-spot mirrors I added onto my truck. If I can't merge in traffic without hitting someone with my trailer, I probably shouldn't be driving.

As a way to help other drivers around me, I've also disabled my blinkers and brake lights on my truck. Part of being a heads up driver is paying attention to what everyone around you is doing, and to anticipate their next move by watching their body language, your surroundings, and what their vehicle is doing. I guarantee when you don't use brake lights and turn signals, folks follow that two second rule and stay the heck out of your blind spot.

Of course I don't see everyone around me following this type of driving thought process, but maybe by being out there, I can influence others to follow my lead. When I get a ticket, I just chalk it up to me being a better driver than others, and this is the cross I have to bear in order to show others what they're missing.

Sound idiotic?

It really kind of is. While it's true I don't need any of those things to be a good driver, and folks probably would pay more attention if suddenly there were no brake lights or turn signals, they do make life easier and safer for others. While you can't draw a direct corrolation (simply because there's that added "law" factor) between this story and the one Codi told here, I think the abstract point should be pretty clear.

Tam and Chass over at Righteous Orbs already had their own spin on this type of nonsense, but I think it bears further investigation here. I certainly don't begrudge Codi her choice in running addon free - after all, play the way that makes you happy. Just don't expect me to be happy when your play-style impacts mine.

Are addons cheating?

First, let's knock this silly theory right out of the discussion. Addons are available for one reason, and one reason only - Blizzard intentionally opened up the gaming interface to allow them. They have specifically stated (on more than one occasion) that they WANT people to be using and writing addons. Anyone who has played the game for more than a few major patch cycles has seen addon after addon rolled into the base UI.

Remember Wardrobe-AI and the other gear swapping mods we used to have? Notice those pretty map shading areas in your quest log now? How about something as simple as a boss emote?

All of these things have been rolled into the base design of WoW. While you can certainly argue that they aren't as good as an independent addon, obviously someone at Blizzard recognized that these features were in such high demand that they should be part of the standard game package. Blizzard also recognizes that their tools aren't as good in all areas, which is why they opened up more of the code for threat - allowing tools like Omen to work more accurately. Guessed absorbs in Skada and Recount don't work just because they're well designed, they work because Blizzard recognized that their combat log wasn't getting it done - and that the need was out there.

They play the game for you

If this was true, every guild on the planet would have cleared H-ICC 25m in a PUG by now. Even AVR (which was broken by Blizzard) couldn't make your toon move out of the "Giant Big" in time. DBM can't fire your cooldown when you're about to eat an Soul Reaper, and Vuhdo/Grid can't cleanse your targets for you.

All these addons do is give you the information you need, in a way that you can most easily process it.

Let's go back to my truck examples above. Look at the dash/steering of a car that is 15 or 20 years old. What do you see? On the steering wheel you'll probably see a button for the horn, and that's about it. On the column you'll have your wipers, turn signals, cruise control, and maybe your hazard lights. Your dash has your environmental controls, your radio, and your various dials and warning lights.

Now look on a modern car, especially one that isn't a stripped down model. Environmental controls? On the wheel. Radio controls? On the wheel. Hazzard lights? Big button on the dash. Depending on the model you might even have a computer readout to tell you your tire pressure, radiator coolant levels, and how far you can expect to get on your current fuel level.

Do these things make you a better or a worse driver? It's hard to say really, because we have so many other things that can influance our driving. The thought behind them though, is that the more time you spend with your hands on the wheel and watching the road, the less time you'll spend fiddling with the radio and running into someone.

Of course if you're watching the in dash DVD player or playing Bejeweled while raiding - you're pretty much doomed to failure regardless.

My point

In the end, the addons and tools that are available are just that - tools. They can help you do your job better, and let you focus on more than one thing at a time. Just like a carpenter who uses power tools and a nail gun can build a great house (or a bad one), so too can the Amish guy who cuts everything by hand and drives every nail. Neither one is necessarily right or wrong, it's just a different style.

It's certainly smart to keep your skills honed to the point where you can perform without addons, but it's not the end of the world. I've had to heal with the standard frames before, and while I can do it, it's not much fun. Sure, it's important for me to know that someone has a curse or effect on them (like Mortal Strike) that I can't cleanse - just so I know they might need extra attention - but it's not something that should detract from what I'm doing.

It's also smart to check your addons before a raid starts. You know that on Tuesdays there is a greater than even money chance that something has been broken - especially when you download a new patch. Most addon developers have their respective tools updated within a few hours on patch day. Sometimes there's several releases in the span of a single day. It's your responsibility to keep up with that though.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put the fuses back in my truck.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time for a Grid revamp

Grid has been my mainstay raid frame addon since, well since I first started healing on a little baby shaman. I like the clean nature of it, and that it's pretty customizable and easy view. I don't have a problem with little indicator lights to show me things like agro, curses, bubbles, etc., but I do have one thing I'd like to change.

The size

I have not seen another Grid setup that looks like mine. Part of this may be that I have some bastardized German version leftover from the time I let Unbearabull take me on a UI ride (I really did like that UI though). So when you die now, it just says TOT, and something different for FD (I just notice that the box isn't grayed out). Ghost is still ghost though, so go figure.

My biggest challenge will be cleaning every scrap of Grid out of my UI folders. It was a mess when I realm transferred, and as I mentioned in my Carbonite post - my UI is in need of an overhaul. While it may be akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (with Cataclysm sure to break and change everything), I figure that this is the best time to start playing with a new UI. The worst I have to fear is screwing up in a PUG raid (I do a GDKP to pay the bills for my alts), and given that most GDKPs don't go more than 8/12 - I can do those in my sleep.

The alternatives

I'm really not keen on Vuhdo, though I did give it a spin for a while when we first started working on LK. I like using mouse-over macros, not clique(esque) type setups, which Vuhdo seemed to use right out of the box. Sometimes I just want to target someone, and the last time I used click style macros I wiped the raid on the Four Horseman (Sorry Hanora).

Healbot got a bad name from way back when, and I've never really looked at it seriously. Part of my reasoning is I use Grid as my healing/raid frame package - I don't have separate frames out for anything else. I used to do this when I was raid leading in BC, but I've found that I can get all the info I need from Grid.

The rest of the UI

I'll be putting my whole UI up for others to look at, and I'm busy scouring the blogs for UIs to steal from. At this point anything is on the table, though I have gotten used to having things like a HUD, scrolling combat text, and my Razer. I definately need to move my map though. Trying to keep an eye on it while farming, leveling, and watching for Alliance is getting a bit much.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Replacement for Carbonite Punks

One of the things I'm still adapting to on the PvP server is keeping my eyes peeled all the time for Alliance folks in the area. I've been lucky in that I haven't been camped yet, though I have gotten ganked a few times in my leveling. Usually it's just someone running by who sees a lowbie in the area. Depending on what I'm doing, I've even dropped one or two. I'm certainly not afraid to engage in PvP when it's 'fair' footing.

What I need though, is a replacement for Carbonite's "Punks" feature. For those that don't use Carbonite, it basically will detect when someone of the opposite faction is near you, and you can target them via the frame. It won't prevent someone from getting that Pom Pyroblast off on you, but you might have time for a defensive move. I think it it along the lines of a proximity alert in Star Trek.

That's actually the scene that plays in my head. I may, or may not, call for shields as if I was Kirk getting ready to face off against the Klingons. Especially if I see I Pyroblast incoming. Penance is my torpedoes, and I am pretty quick to get the DoTs off.

Unfortunately, playing a Priest (especially at this level), my survivability is a touch limited if I don't have a chance to get a PW:S up first. If the first shots land, I usually am playing catchup instead of dishing out my own offense. This is also true on the Pally, where I'm limited to melee attacks. I need to know that someone is in my immediate area.

Carbonite is heavy

Unfortunately Carbonite is extremely memory intensive in the addon department. While it's great for questing (especially when coupled with LightHeaded), the total package is weighing in around 20 or 30 MB of addon memory. That's just ridiculous. I know entire UI setups that don't push past 10, and on a bad day (when I forget to reset recount) my addon setup can push 100MB.

Obviously I need to do more than just replace Carbonite. This is a step though.

So - does anyone know of an addon that will replace the 'Punks' portion of Carbonite? If I can get that all alone, I should be able to drop Carbonite and LightHeaded all together. The in game quest helper has come a long ways, and now that I'm pretty much just leveling through dungeons, I don't need the additional help. That, and once you've put two or three toons up to 80, you pretty much know where all the quests are.

So - anyone have an addon that will handle that?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Almost too many options

As a Holy Paladin, I'm used to working with the limited, albiet powerful, toolbox available. Yes, we have more "I just saved your life" buttons than any other healer, and our raw HPS is at the top of the healing charts. Tanking with a Paladin behind you means that you don't worry until you're sitting at 50% HP - where as a Druid healer will have you concerned (unless you see HoTs ticking). Sure, they can pull Swiftmend/Nourish/Living Seed out - but the Healadin is going to keep you bathed in Holy Light until you start to glow.

Even though our healing toolkit is technically limited to three (five if you count SS and BOL) spells, we have several CDs to help ourselves out. Mana conservation, 100% crit, damage reduction, and Aura Mastery - just to name the talented ones. These are a lot of situational cooldowns to manage, but you can start to tell the average Paladins from the great ones, just by looking at CD usage.

Now the Priest

Holy bouncing heals Batman! At 65 I've got more heals than I know what to do with, and I'm not even sure that I'm prioritizing them right. I've got my PW:S, Penance, Flash Heal, Renew, Binding Heal, Greater Heal, Holy Nova, and Circle of Healing. As a Disc Priest I obviously tend to lean towards PW:S and Pennance, though I've noticed that I use a lot of Renew and Flash Heal as well. Greater Heal is second only to Prayer of Healing for least cast spells - even Holy Nova ranks higher simply because it's an instant cast.

My typical instance involves me keeping shields on the tank (and the over eager DPS who pull agro), and using renew as a buffer between shields. Penance and Flash Heal fill in the rest. If there's a dire AoE heal need, I use Holy Nova if I think they'll die before PoH goes off. I'm not 100% sure, but I'm fairly certain that given the cost of the GCD, even putting a shield out to proc Borrowed Time isn't a smarter move. 1.5 sec GCD > 25% haste on a 3 second cast.

Once I pick up PoM that will go into my instant heal rotation. I need to read up on how it works though, as I'm not 100% up on the mechanics.

Back to the point

My point here, is that as a Disc Priest (Holy is just as bad I'm sure) I've got a veritable ton of heals to choose from. Fast vs. slow, AoE vs Single, HoT vs Direct. So many choices. I think this really adds to the power of the priest, but I can see why so many priests can't get a full grip on their class. As a Paladin, every target is a nail - you just choose which hammer to hit it with. With a full box of tools, I'm loving the choices. Finding the right heal for the job adds something to the class for sure.

Of course, for a new player this might be overwhelming. One of my office mates is trying out a new priest, and I'll see what she has to say about it later this week.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Profession examination

Cataclsym is around the corner (or three) and it's time to start taking that good hard look at my chosen professions. OK, it's not really a long look, but more of a "well this is going to suck" type of thought process.

I have a stable full of alts, and now that I'm leveling my priest (seriously, the priest is so sexytime I can't believe it) as a miner/JC - I should have all the professions covered come Cataclysm time. Of course my Blacksmith and LW are still on my old server, but I suppose I could pay to xfer them over when I'm ready to play them.

We don't know for sure what the bonuses to each profession will be come Cata, and I'm certainly torn as to which way I want to go. Some of this will depend on Mongrr (my healing partner and the inspiration behind my own priest) returning to WoW and solidifying our little 10m group (we're splintered far and wide at the moment), and the rest on what I'm doing. I love raiding, and I'm sure that will be my focus again come Cata - the only question is where.

So who to level

I generally prefer (obviously) to level whichever toon I plan on making my "main" raider first. Right now the Paladin and Priest are looking about equal, though my Pally will certainly have an easier time of things since she's decked out in 264 gear. To be fair though, the ICC gear can only take you so far. While I expect we'll see the world firsts pushing raid zones in their ICC gear (Similar to Nihlum with Naxx/Maly/Sarth in early WotLK) - I don't know how much of that we'll see. I recall a post saying that 277 gear probably won't be replaced until late in the leveling process or the first raids, and to be honest, that's probably how it should be.

I'm getting off topic though.

So back to who I'm going to level, and their professions. My current stable of professions looks like this. Assume any class that can tank, I tank with - and healing goes the same way. You'll notice a sever lack of DPSers in my stable of players.

  • Warrior - Herbalism/Blacksmithing. WTF!??! Back when I first made Tarde in early Vanilla, he was an Herb/Alch so I could make my own tank pots. This was back when you could easily use 3 or 4 elixirs, a flask, and chains of pots in a single boss pull. Do not miss. I picked up Blacksmithing when I was going through some burnout in BC, and switched to doing arenas with W-Crusher and Frog (quite possibly one of the best players I've ever known). I needed a smoking 2H, and in S2, the mace was the hottest thing out there.
  • DK - Skinning/LW. No real story here.
  • Mage - Tailor/Chanter. Seems pretty vanilla. Don't ask me why I picked enchanting up when my shaman already has it.
  • Shaman - Inscription/Enchanting. Min/Max for raiding, the ring enchants and the shoulder enchants were pretty hot. They were beat out by JC/BS, but I already had Enchanting leveled from BC. This was my first raiding toon in Wrath, but she's since been collecting dust.
  • Paladin - Alch/Eng. Again, WTF!?! I picked up Engineering becuase W-Crusher was my Paladin idol, and it was something he'd stuck with from the beginning. In Wrath it actually became fairly decent, and having a permenant parachute cloak has been worth every dime spent leveling this. With a mailbox and Jeeves, I don't see me dropping this come Cata. Alch I picked up for the double flask durations and increased elixir/potion effects. Mmmm.
  • Druid (72) - Herb/Skin. Picking flowers while flying. Nuff said. Oh, and I don't like druid healing much at all.
  • Priest (65) - Mining/JC - Expensive. I picked these two for this alt simply because I didn't have them anywhere else.
So, with the Paladin and Priest being my front runners for raiding mains, only the Priest has the gathering profession to support her crafting one. It's a tough choice to be sure though. I suppose the advantage to leveling the Priest first is that her mining can support the Paladin's Engineering later. Leveling the Druid will supplement the Alchemy and the Inscription on the shaman, and the skinning will support the Leatherworker (my lowest of the low priorities).

In the end

None of this really matters to be honest. If Mongrr returns and the Punchout Gang comes back to ride again, I'll be on my Paladin. The only real question is, should I then drop my Alchemy now to level mining before the xpac?

OT Rant - In which I would laugh you out of the court

During the whole RealID debacle last week, I kept seeing a comment pop up in the arguments against the whole "Your Name" display. Namely, that someone would use your name and other personal information gleaned from previous conversations to find out where you live, and then hurt you (or kill you). Now, while I can find this scenario plausible (if unlikely), it could certainly happen. From what I understand this happens (the showing up, not the hurting) in Season One of "The Guild" (sorry, never watched it) - where a guild mate shows up on the doorstep of Codex (Felicia Day) unannounced and uninvited.

Here's a scenario as presented by Cleric over at Paladin Schmaladin.

Young Jennifer Jones, an unassuming co-ed of 21 years of age, is an avid WoW player. She loves her ret pally and pwns noobs regularly. She makes friends here and there, and from time to time, adds them to RealID as she grows to trust them. One of her RealID friends, John Smith, develops a crush on her. He reveals the crush, only to find that the love is unrequited from Jennifer. John is heartbroken, but he is also angry. John also has a history of emotional problems, including psychotic breakdowns which have sometimes turned violent. At times, John has a hard time telling the difference legally between right and wrong. Turning his anger towards Jennifer into something productive, and thanks to RealID's providing of both first and last name, plus personal details Jennifer has revealed over time, he performs a Google search. Within 10 minutes, he has datamined plenty of personal information about her, including her phone number and address. John decides to take a little drive over to Jennifer's apartment, and give her whatfor. He violently and sexually assaults her, and leaves her for dead.
In his post, Cleric goes on to state that regardless of if she survives the attack or not, she (and her family) would likely sue Blizzard for damages. Cleric goes into some more talk about the Eula/ToS (it's a decent read, even if you don't like the site or Ferrarro's antics). This isn't about the legality of such a suit though, or if it would succeed or not. Instead, I'm looking at the fact that someone would even consider suing Blizzard in the first place.

Welcome to Crazy Town

I'm sorry. I must have missed the bus to the town of illogical conclusions. While I recognize that our society and legal system have degraded to a point where you can sue McDonalds for serving a hot cup of coffee (the only crime there was ordering McDonalds coffee), I fail to follow the logic in suing Blizzard if such an event occurred. In my opinion this is as idiotic as someone suing a gun manufacturer, because little Timmy got his hands on dad's .45 and put a hollow point through the neighbor kid.

Now, I can see where you might have a potential leg to stand on if Blizzard retroactively changed the forums to show this information. You might even have some wiggle room if the whole "Some addon shows your RealID to everyone" story is true (I haven't seen definitive proof of this yet, but it could be out there), since that is a security coding flaw on Blizzard's part. However, the game in and of itself - without any additional addons - is still secure. That's pretty much Blizzard's defense right there, and (though I'm not a lawyer) seems pretty solid. You modified the game environment, you got burned. Sry:(

Get to the point already

Where I'm going with this is intent of use, and personal accountability. While these things don't seem to be as popular today as they used to be, they should still hold true.

  • Burn yourself on hot coffee? It's coffee. Unless you ordered a frappachino which turned out to be lava instead, you're on your own here. Except for the beating you should get for ordering a frappachino. Go get a slushy.
  • Timmy shot the neighbor kid? Honestly, I don't even know where to start with this one, except it isn't the fault of the gun manufacturer for not coming to your house and personally teaching you about firearm safety.
  • CrazyDKXXX (aka, Tim the crazy head from WoW) gets a name off the forums, which someone had to explicitly agree to them using, and then shows up at your sister's house, commits the oldest sins in the newest ways, and then kills himself on her doorstep? Maybe you can go after his estate, but Blizzard didn't force anyone to post on the forums with their real names - the poster CHOSE to do so.
  • Same scenario, but Tim gets your name from a addon he wrote that abuses Blizzard's code? I'll give you a 50/50 toss on this one, it'll have to be a good argument, but I'll at least hear you out.
  • Same scenario, but Blizzard retroactively changes the forums to show your name? 75/25 or better.

Take responsibility for your own actions. We've become sue happy, and all too willing to point the finger at someone else, even in a video game. Read the EULA and the TOS for once instead of blindly clicking OK, and hell - go back and read the EULA and TOS for all your software. You'd be amazed at what's in there. Finally, realize that your security and your safety are your responsibility. While I think many of the actions taken by folks during this debacle were really just them over-reacting, I can at least empathize with their viewpoint.

Stay vigilant, stay safe, and remember. A Blizzard employee will never ask you for your password.

Something we've missed

Maybe I'm not the only one, and someone else picked up on this - but I haven't seen mention of it in the blogs I read. I certainly didn't read every post in either the protest or the removal thread, so it could have landed there for all I know.

RealID changes have been removed For Now.

Now, I don't want to frighten anyone, but let's look at the proposed rollout of RealID - specifically what was changing and the limitations of the changes.

  • Your Name would be used on all upcoming forum posts on the new Cataclsym/SC2 forms.
  • This change was not retroactive, meaning older posts on the WoW forums would be unaffected, due to a technical reason (and probably some legal as well).
These are the facts, and they are uncontested. Now, here's the wriggly fish that it seems has slipped through the cracks.

  • In the public letter announcing the reversal of policy, Mike still stated that there are plans for RealID in the future.
  • The new forums are still going in, this means the technology that would have allowed them to use your Real Name (dun dun duuunnnnn), will be in place.
  • In place of "Your Name", you'll now have a unique handle with a game ID. Something I think most folks agreed was an acceptable compromise.
  • The EULA/ToC still state that they can share your personal information.
Now, while I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, I just want to point out the one little thing that I think folks are overlooking. It is a single database field to switch from displaying your Handle/GameID to your RealID. That's it, just toggle from displaying field A to field B, and presto-changeo. Your name is out there.


I'd love to say that I can't see Blizzard doing this, but who knows any more? It's not that I don't trust Blizzard, it's that I don't trust anyone. It's not personal, it's just business baby.

Friday, July 9, 2010

31pt talent trees - getting back on track

Way back in my early days of WoW, before I knew what raiding was, who Ciderhelm was, or even before I knew what I was doing at all - I leveled a little warrior. Now, while this warrior would grow up to be big and strong and have little itty bitty warrior babies of his own - at the time he was just a representation of my new self.

The talent trees were something that were completely alien to me, for more than one reason. First, this was my third toon - so the trees looked nothing like the ones for my rogue or paladin. The only thing I 'knew' was that protection was supposed to be for tanking. Outside of that base knowledge, I didn't know anything.

Given that, and given the way that skills/talents were learned back in early Vanilla, you might forgive me for what was the first of many "noob" mistakes I made as a warrior.

My first talent points went to rend.

Yeah, I'll sit back and let you think about that. Now this wasn't points in rend in a day when Arms warriors were given a talent that proc'd overpower off of bleed ticks. No, this was a day and age where mobs could only have eight (yes - that's eight) debuffs. Putting rend (or, heaven forbid, mortal strike) on a raid mob was a grievous sin. Rend didn't scale, or well - do much of anything, even while leveling. It was generally mocked and considered to be a useless skill/talent. The only real use was in PvP, and that was only on a rogue to prevent them from vanishing. After all, despite my screenshot to the contrary, nobody ever died to rend.

How was I supposed to know any different? The talent increased the damage of rend by x%, and as any Vanilla leveling warrior could attest - any damage done was good damage.

Fast forward to Wrath

Since I'm not raiding any more, I'm pretty much just playing alts and enjoying some of the social aspects of WoW. The toon that holds my attention currently is an itty bitty Discipline Priest. The play-style is great, and I thoroughly enjoy the class. Here's my current problem though. I'm sitting at level 55, dying to get my hands on Penance (just five more levels!), one of the truly defining spells of a Disc priest. Sure, my bubbles are a signature spell, but right now I just look like a priest. I'm fairly certain the only difference between me and a Holy Priest right now is that I don't have CoH.

My other issue is that I'm doing something completely awesome with my talent points. I got to spend my first five talent points increasing the damage/healing of my instant spells. Whooptie Doo! Yeah baby, I'm feeling like a healer now alright. It's even worse as a Paladin leveling as Holy. Less pushback baby! Heck, it's generally quite a ways up the tree before any healing class truly needs to spec into a healing tree in order to get through some dungeons.

Uh - so what's the point here?

My point is, it takes too long to feel like a beautiful snowflake - and knowing that your next four talent points are going to something that increases your intellect by x% just sucks. Look, I just hit lvl 55, no new spells (or even levels of spells) to train, and my talent point is going into 2/3 Divine Aegis. Look at my snowflakey self go.

Fortunately, it seems like I'm not the only one who feels this way, so Greg and the gang have revamped the talent trees quite a lot. Cutting your overall points from the expected 76 to 41 (just as a start) is in and of itself fairly drastic. The second step in this nefarious plan is to force you to spend 31 points (note you don't have to get the 31pt talent) in a single tree before you can branch out. This means common builds will probably be 31/10, 31/3/7, etc. They want us to branch out into other trees, which means the lower tiered talents will have to be enticing without being over powered - but we won't be seeing any 21/20 builds running around.

Supposedly there will also be more instruction as to what each of the talent trees do. This is great for the new player coming into the game, especially for classes like Warlocks, Rogues, and Hunters.

While this may reduce some of the specialized one off specs that we've encountered over the years, let's be honest. Most high end raiding is done in a few select specs. While it would be nice to have every spec/build be viable in the end game/PvP, that is just unrealistic. There will still be cookie cutter builds, and there will be some (if reduced) playing with alternate specs.

Vanilla rehash?

There is some argument that this is a rehash of Vanilla WoW, especially given our return to Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms (plus Ragnaros coming back, and the final boss being a dragon, BWL style). I suppose there could be some merit in this line of thinking, but I'm fairly certain that unless you've got on some Coke bottle sized rose colored glasses, you'll have to agree that the WoW of today is miles above where we were in Vanilla. More specs are actually viable (i.e. Paladin tanks and DPS, Feral tanks, warrior DPS, etc), many features have been introduced, and (dare I say it) the raiding environment is certainly better.

Of course there is still Gearscore, but that's a different animal.


Personally I love the proposed changes, but I'll have to see some revised talent trees before I get overly giddy. I think this will make things easier on new players, and should reduce confusion in veteran players as well. I'm sure there will still be enough math and theorycrafting available to keep EJ's doors open as well.

I'm truly looking forward to the expansion (SC2 first though - and I'll always love the Firebat), and I have some high hopes for what it will bring. Unfortunately I don't see it shipping until November at this rate, though I could be wrong about that as well.

Your hysteria can stop now - RealID changed

Stop the presses - Blizzard listened and you will now have a unique identifier used on the forums instead of your real name.

Let the QQing about the OPness of ret pallies continue.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time to fish or cut bait

I don't care what you think or don't think about RealID, your privacy, or pretty much anything else regarding Blizzard's actions. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and without a doubt the recent changes will impact folks differently. Some will continue to play/post as normal, some will stop posting, and some are quitting (or at least threatening to). Quite a few bloggers, and many posters in the now Over 9000! count thread are doing just that.

Saying they'll quit.

Now, don't get me wrong. I fully support your decision to quit over something like this, or even just because you woke up and didn't have any clean underwear. It's your subscription fee, and if this change means you won't be buying another Blizzard/Activision product ever again - good on ya mate. Voting with your wallet is one of the most powerful tools you have in a capitalist world. Don't buy the product. Don't support them, stop talking about them, just pretend they never existed (after all, even bad press is free press).

Don't limit yourself to just Blizzard games, since you can bet this wouldn't have happened without Activision's support/approval. It won't be long before your Call of Duty and Guitar Hero profiles will be linked to your real name as well.

Go big or go home

Here's the final thing though. Saying you're canceling your account and then logging in to put a few more levels on your alt, or get in on another guild run, is just you talking loud. You're still putting forth effort into toons and enjoying the game. Your quitting is probably about as likely to stick as me swearing off coffee. It's just not gonna happen.

No, if you want to really drive your point home, you need to do the following.

  • Cancel your account - give the specific reason of RealID as to why you're quitting.
  • Never log in again - even to say goodbye.
  • Delete your toons. Don't give your stuff away - delete them. Giving your stuff away only supports those that are sticking around.
  • Email and ask them to remove all personal information about yourself from their database.
  • Mail your authenticator back to Blizzard (if you have a keychain one) in little pieces - with the Serial Number scraped off, otherwise completely remove your authenticator from your phone. If you don't have one, even better - get one, attach it to your account, and THEN remove it.
  • Destroy your disks, lose your game codes, and change your password to something completely random. For added strength, create a dummy email, change your account email to THAT address, and THEN change your password. You want to completely remove any hope of getting the account back.
There can be zero indication that you're ever planning on returning to Azeroth again. Anything less than this is just one more "Give me what I want or I'm quitting" voice.

A less dramatic path

Don't take this the wrong way though. I'm all for speaking out against something if you don't like it. Post constructively on either the US or EU thread about RealID. Send emails to Blizzard expressing your concerns, or pick up the phone and call them (enjoy that hold music). Open tickets in game, participate in rational discussion, and remember that this is a game.

***Edit - as Failadin mentioned, disable RealID in the parental controls. That will get their attention more than anything if suddenly a million subscribers do that.

I agree that we don't know where this is going. First it was your name with RealID for some friends, then required to post on the forums. To me this is neither a reason to quit, or a reason to boycott all things Blizzard/Activision. Now, if I'm suddenly required to have my real name tagged to my Armory, and required to have it linked to a Facebook page - different story. For now I'll keep a weather eye on what's happening, and I'll continue to enjoy this for what it is - a game.


Protest any way you want, it's your subscription fee. Just don't get all high and mighty about canceling your account, and then come back when either a) this is changed, or b) you decide you really can live with not posting on the forums while you get your Cata fix on. I can't stand people that go half way in something.

OT - Time zones, sports, and international events

I live in Alaska (there, it's out now), which isn't really private information. It is however one of the reasons I do object to sharing my RealID name with just anyone/everyone. It'd be pretty easy to figure out who I am when you can narrow it down by where I live.

This however, is not a RealID post though, and I don't want to derail it before it starts.

No, this is a post about timezones and sports.

Now, I'm not a sports nut exactly, but I do enjoy pretty much any sport they put on TV. I might not think curling is the most amazing thing ever, but I appreciate that it does take a skill set I don't have to accomplish. I also don't have a firm handle on cricket, despite having lived in Scotland for a few summers. Even rugby rules kind of elude me. Regardless, I can still appreciate the sports for what they are, and admire those that compete at international levels.

Where the Time Zone comes in

Now, living in Alaska, I'm subjected to some brutal start times for most sporting events that take place in the US. Playoff game starts at 7:30 EST? That's 3:30 for me. Monday Night Football kickoff happens to be at 6PM EST? It's tape delayed and I know the scores before I leave the office.

Of course what this means is I've become adept at either a) avoiding all news about the game I'm interested in prior to getting home or b) watching/tracking it online like some sort of rabid dog. I could probably give the MMO Champion blue tracker a run for its money when I'm looking for sports info.

But not today my friends

Fortunately, I am actually in a perfect position for one of my favorite events. The Tour de France. Now, say what you want about cycling or the French, but I love the event. It's not just being able to ride 100+ miles every day for 3 weeks, it's all the strategy and planning that goes with it. I won't try and sell you on it - either you like it or you don't, but that's not the relevant point here.

What is relevant is that due to my time zone, I actually get to watch the Tour first thing in the morning. When I get up the event has already started, and the stage generally finishes around the time I'm hopping in the shower. For once, the time zone works in my favor, and I'm not catching the event in tape delay. For one glorious event, I get to catch it live, without getting up at 2 AM (Damn you World Cup), watching the tape delay (Looking at you MNF), or missing it entirely (most playoff games).

Now, if only I could get a condensed rule set on cricket that didn't leave out something super important. Maybe I can find a cricket for dummies book.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An alternative to RealID tagging on the forums

I have about a dozen (so it seems) posts rolling around concerning the RealID implementation on the official forums. While I'd love to string them together into one long post, I don't think it would make for good reading. Just in my handwritten notes I have about eight pages of thoughts, and they're a little jumbled. So let me just start with this one.

Meeting a goal - reducing the Trolls

One of Blizzard's stated goals is to reduce the level of anonymity and trollish behavior that is currently seen on the official forums. From hiding on a level one alt, to someone posting repeatedly under different account names, the signal to noise ratio on the official forums can get out of control fairly quickly. There is currently nothing in place to prevent this type of behavior, and the only way that they get caught is if a GM looks into the posting (or if they leave their signature on).

Assigning someone's Real Name (RN) to these posts will help cut down on the number of posts like this, as you'll see the same name trying to post in a single thread. Unfortunately it will have severe negative repercussions as well. I'm fairly certain that in attempting to meet the goal of Troll reduction, they will fail to meet the goal of an improved social community.

Establishing the you

Some posters (Ciderhelm is the first that comes to mind) have worked long and hard over the years to establish a reputation on the forums as serious and legitimate contributors. Some of my first tanking instruction came from a sticky by Ciderhelm back when I was first learning Molten Core. I'm fairly certain Tseric was the blue who stickied it (and later melted down), and I've kept an eye on anything Ciderhelm has to say since.

The same goes for bloggers. Big Bear Butt, Larisa, Gevlon - the list is almost endless. Each of these people have worked long and hard to carve out a place for themselves in the internet WoW, and we don't need to know who they are IRL. It is my fear that by forcing Larisa to post her real name, we will lose her voice. She's not as open about her life as BBB or Matticus are.

So how can we meet both goals?

Let's take a lesson from Smokey.

I'd have made one for forum Trolls, but I don't have that level of talent. My point here is that the systems are already in place for the WoW forum community to be a self policing agency. Unfortunately, posts are rarely reported simply for being out of line. I imagine that if the WoW forums were administered as closely as the EJ forums, most of this wouldn't be happening. Of course, there's a few drawbacks to that system as well - mostly along the lines of who determines what a valid post is.

Another drawback, at least from the EJ standpoint, is that there does need to be a section for questions like "What is the hitcap for moonkins" without a backlash of "Search first NOOB!". New players need a safe haven where they are encouraged to ask questions. These areas can still be policed by the community though.

Using an alternate ID

Alternately, or perhaps in addition to, forum users policing themselves much more vigorously, Blizzard could instead allow everyone to adopt an alternate ID that would then be permanently tied to that account. While this would lead to a dearth of xxxStabsYouDeadxxx type names, there are 10 million+ subscribers that would need to create a forum name. You could perhaps just require a forum name to be created if you wanted to post (like EJ), thus knocking that number down to say, 500,000.

This idea not only links a single name to an account - so you'd remove the multiple posts from a single poster type issue - it would also allow players like Ciderhelm to keep their established online identities without giving away a real name.

Link the alts

Another option would be to make everyone's alts visible through the game/Armory. I'm not a huge fan of this idea, but it would meet the established goals I think. Personally I like being able to just run around without everyone knowing where all my alts are - though I'm sure there's more than one GM/Raid Leader who would love to know where their raiders are hiding on progression night.


Let me be very clear - I don't think linking real names in the forums is a good idea. I'm not a fan of it, and I probably won't ever post on the official forums if this goes live. I do think there are other ways that Blizzard could go about solving this problem however, and I think most of it starts with the community policing itself. I'm also not going to be canceling my account over this. I'm sure I'll stop playing WoW some day, but today is not that day.

To everyone freaking out about RealID on the forums

Serious post to come later.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Where I lose the RP feeling

I've never really spent a lot of time RPing in WoW. I did a lot of D&D gaming when I was in the Army, and spent a good portion of my youth playing games like Shadowrun, GURPS, Cyberpunk, etc. While the rules systems varied, the basics were always the same - for a time period, you were that character. People reacted to you differently, NPCs (and PC's) responded based on stimulus, and your world was immersive. Especially with a good GM. Heck, I even tried my hand at a few LARP games just to see what it was like.

I discovered that I was never as good with the RP side of the games as I was with the nuts and bolts. I could min/max a character in a game system I just picked up in nothing flat. I was the guy you turned to for memorized rules, or questions about how a certain feat/spell worked. I just couldn't get into the acting out of the part. I always thought this was odd though, especially since I love improv, and have zero fear of winging a presentation in front of 10,000 people (though admittedly only 1,000 were in the room - let's hear it for webcasting).

Telling my story

I've always been able to picture a story or tale in my head. I can imagine the fear of actually fighting the Lich King, the splendor of TKE, or the horrors of fighting Yogg-Saron. I can't put them to words though, and I often wonder why that is. I assume, in part, that it is because as a healer (especially a Paladin) I'm standing in the back mashing my HL button, tossing out the occasional Judgement or Hand of X. If you read any of the WoW (or 40k as I've been doing recently), the scenes never play out like they do in a game.

Of course, that's precisely because it's a game, that this works. It doesn't make sense, from a story point of view, to read about someone channeling the Light into healing spells for 30 pages. It might get a line or two of mention, but then you're on to the more interesting parts of the encounter. In a game we heal the tanks to full as quickly as possible, but in a book the hero takes real damage that generally isn't instantly mitigated. How boring would that be to read otherwise?

Of course the villians and monsters in books aren't as scripted as a game boss. I don't see Ragnaros actually tolerating a bunch of healers in the back. He'd toss a mountain of fire on them and ignore the pesky tanks. Think of fighting a dragon (because we all know that's possible, at least on Fridays), do you really think a powerful being would stand there and irrationally attack one person? Probably not.

I can work through these things though, and still picture the story. Here though, was the single most RP killing moment that I've ever had.

Be vewy vewy quiet. I'm hunting humans.

Anyone who's leveled a Horde toon through Taren Mill is familiar with the Hillsbrad farmer quests. You have to go back and forth between a farm and a mine, killing off various soldiers, farmers, miners, etc. At one point you're even tasked with bringing back 30 skulls (and no, I'm not going to challenge the logistics of getting 30 heads, much less 30 skulls in a world where I can use magic). No, instead I'm thinking about that human farmer, and his reactions.

Now Hillsbrad is obviously no stranger to the various creatures that Azeroth has to offer. Dalaran is just north of this particular farm, and Archimonde himself leveled that city. There's Orc internment camps nearby, and Southshore itself was founded when refugees fled from the First War. It's one of the only surviving human communities of Lordaeron, and they do their best to keep the Scourge and the Syndicate at bay.

Suffice it to say, the humans that make up the Hillsbrad area obviously have to be made of the sterner stuff. They spend their days toiling the fields, with the occasional raid from the Scourge/Horde/Ogres, etc (plus all the murlocs and naga - /shudder). All of this though leads me up to the following moment.

The RP moment

Suppose I'm one of these farmers, working on my apple tree (or whatever that grove is there). I hear the galloping of a horse approaching, and probably don't pay much attention to it. After all, there are couriers, Alliance adventurers, and we have guards to watch our backs. Suddenly a wave of heat rolls over me, and I turn to see the guy working next to me - someone I've known all my life most likely - become bathed in HOLY FIRE. There's a Forsaken (or is it Scourge? How fast can my brain work?) female standing there chanting something, moments before an arc of blinding light slashes across him, rending a terrible wound.

Charging blindly, body still in flames, Jim rushes his attacker wielding just the farm implement he was working with. Lesions and boils are already starting to show on his body as a plague begins to eat at his flesh. Swinging with the desperation granted to a doomed man, Jim's strike merely glances off his attacker, as a final lash of light slashes through him. Jim falls, succumbing to the fire and disease, having failed to even disrupt his attacker.

At the same time, I see a giant cat materialize out nothing and begin to rake little Johnny. Blood is flying as the catlike creature shreds Johnny's skin and clothing with his giant claws. John's attacks are easily dodged and batted aside as he's finished off with a ferocious bite to the throat.

Sorry guys - I gotta go

Now in the game, this farmer would rush me or the druid, in what is obviously a vain attempt to thwart our attacks on his little community. Like his friends, he would be quickly dispatched, with nary a missed step. Personally, I say the hell with that. If I'm that farmer I'm running as fast as I can to the guards - they don't pay me enough for this nonsense. I mean, I just saw Jim bathed in FIRE, plus some magical cat thing just ATE Johnny. You can have the homestead, I'm moving back to Goldshire.


I respect the RPers who can separate the game from the RP. I just have problems with the aspects like this, or when you're in say a dungeon and the mobs don't come running over while you're having a bar fight just out of agro range. I mean, really, Gruul doesn't come running down to kick the raid's collective tail when you engage his cronies?

This all works wonderfully for the game, and it doesn't ruin the play in any way. It just becomes difficult to make a story out of it, partly because there's no fear. Of course, the books aren't nearly as dark either. Maybe that's why I really have gotten into the 40k books. Nothing like a Tyranid assault to really drive the fear home.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I fail at Combat Logs

In an attempt to garner some data about the BoL lag last night, I ran a /combatlog for a Halion and ICC 10m raid. I figured that would give me plenty of data to work with. Of course when the night was over, I promptly logged out and shut off my computer.

So much for gathering data.

Unfortunately this has been something of a repetitive problem. Mongrr spoiled us all by keeping the logs fairly regularly - to the point where we all stopped worrying about it. Why bother? Mongrr has it. Now it takes a few more seconds to remember.

I'll grab a log next time I'm on and give it a look. I too want some hard numbers.