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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Hunka hunka burning sameness

If Elvis were talking about burning love, you’d be thinking “Wow, he’s talking about something remarkable. Something worth singing about. Something he thinks we’d all be interested in knowing about.”

Ooh-hoo-hoo, I feel my temp’rature rising
Help me I’m flamin’, I must be a hundred and nine
Burnin’, burnin’, burnin’ and nothing can cool me, yeh
I just might turn to smoke but I feel fine

Wow, Dude. Something’s rocking his world.

But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about something remarkably average. That’s to say, something with utter sameness, just the paper mask over the face is all there is to set folks apart.

I’m taking about the races in World of Warcraft.

This thought occured to me as I, Honorus, Human Paladin, astride a charger, facing off against this gigantic Tauren astride his massive, armor plated, kodo. And I was thinking “Who are we kidding. In ‘real life’ he’d squash me like a bug.” Comparing mass, he and his mount were like six of me and mine.

But in World of Warcraft, sparring in the tournament, we are 100% identical, this Tauren and I, and our disparate mounts. We have identical health, identical abilities, identical response times. If I were a Gnome, it would be no different. If he were some 30′ tall Titan, riding on two M1A1 Abrams strapped to his feet, it would be no different. Our differences amount to nothing more than a paper mask we wear for Halloween.

If I was going to picture fantasy battles, I’d picture a group of Humans surrounding one Tauren and he’d be swinging a tree trunk side to side blowing them all away. That’s just the level 1 noobs mind you. Because a Tauren is like four times the mass of a human. Give them some advantage due to their stature.

But in World of Warcraft Tauren = Orc = Human = Gnome. I.e. 10 = 8 = 6 = 4.

So it doesn’t matter whatsoever what race you play, they’re all pretty much identical except for certain “flavor style” racial abilities. (Have you noticed how they seriously toned down racials so we’re all the same? Fear Ward anyone?) In the end it’s just a mask you wear.

If I rolled a Tauren, it’s because I wanted to be a Juggernaut. A powerhouse. A force of Nature. But noooo. In effect I’m just a Gnome that can’t squeeze into unusually small hidey holes.

And with the Worgen and Goblins able to become Death Knights (RETCON MOR!) I mean, c’mon. The Worgen are humans who escaped the Scourge behind the Graymane wall, no? Yes, yes, they succumbed to the disease that turned them into werewolf like creatures, but they were never minions of the Lich King. They were in Gilneas, and the Goblins we’ll get to play soon were on some jungle island, and yet, all of a sudden, the Lich King had actually made some of them Death Knights already, once upon a time, too?

So, pretty much, everyone is identical except for class. It is, pretty much (Tauren Paladin anyone??) irrelevant what race you want to play. It’s nothing more than a paper mask you wear. Only the classes are differentiated.

And what a shame. That’s something I think Warhammer got right. And with the introduction of the Slayer, they too have started down the road of everyone can be anything. (The Slayer is the Dwarf equivalent of an Orc unit.)

You know what I’d like? I’d like for Race to matter as much as Class.

Is that too tough to balance for Blizzard? I think the game would be better if they could make the effort and make it work so that race mattered. Instead they’re going the other direction towards homogeneous sameness in everyone and everthing. (Stat consolidation on future gear is only part of the symptoms of this.)

Are we headed to a Hello Kitty Island Adventure kind of game? Suitable for all ages, sexes, cultures, and pulse rates?

Butters: I don’t play World of Warcraft.
Cartman: Butters you said you’re on your computer all the time.
Butters: Ya, but I’m playing “Hello Kitty Island Adventure”
(All stare at Butters)
Cartman: (calmly) Butters go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you.
Butters: (nervously) Oh alright then.

Or not.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2009 in Musings

 

Paladin Flexibility

So there I was.

To catch you up briefly, Msaker, by Orc Warrior, used up a lot of good crafting mats to equip my Human Paladin in some decent (non-raider, non-instancing) gear.  Tempered Saronite Helm and Boots for tanking, and Spiked Saronite Helm and Boots for DPSing.  (I.e. the iLevel 200 stuff.)  My hunter used up the last 4 Arctic Furs in all of existence (Dear World, Please forgive me.) to make the Nerubhide and Icestriker cloaks for him.  And the Orc also made the Human his Titansteel Destroyer and Titansteel Shieldwall.  And working on the tournament I picked up the Teldrassil Defender.  (Spiffy graphics, and even though the moon already glowed, it was enhanced with a quick and cheap Crusader enchant.)  So Honorus has been the greatest benefactor of a huge portion of my hardwork in materials gathering.  (That and the wife and I have 9 characters between us with Artisan Flying.  The tournament has been beddy beddy good to us.  It’s not “casual” gameplay at all!!!)

Anyway, so I’m interested in getting a Horseman’s Helm.  (And just getting the achievement to kill him.)  Msaker has the old (level 70) one and loves it.  I wanted to get an updated version for my Paladin.

I spec Retribution and travel to the Scarlet Monastery.  There’s a crowd, but not a lot of talk.  Then folks start talking.  Deathknight /s “DPS lfg.”  Warlock “DPS lfg.”  Umm.  I see where this is going.  DPS folks all gathered around waiting for 1) someone to tank for them, and 2) someone else to heal for them.  (Then off they go to their happy DPS lives while the healer and tank respec to DPS as well and carry on with their lives.)

Well, hell.  I appeared to be part of the problem.  There I was.  Ret Pally, LFG.  Good grief.  (See, tanking is a responsibility.  Healing is a responsibility.  DPS fails to kill a boss?  “Tank better” or “Your healing sucks.”  Hey, sign me up for the acid eye wash.  Bring it!)

Well, the Deathknight says “I’ll start a group.”  Warlock says “Invite me.”  Deathknight says “LFM.”

Well, heck with it.  I’ve actually spent more than a couple Titansteel bars to let them sit unused in my bags.  “Invite me.”

Invited I linger a bit in Ret spec.  “So, what are you?  Tank, healer, or DPS.”  The Warlock lol’s “I’m DPS.”  I tell them I’m Ret.  But: I can spec Prot, if your good DPS can make up for my bad tanking.  (I haven’t tanked an instance, for reals, in … forever.  Not on a Paladin.)  I respec, equip my tanking stuff and we wait.  Two more Paladins join the party.  The first is actually geared with a Titansteel Shieldwall as well.  And he’s got 27k health to my 22k.  I guess he’ll be tanking.  Except all of a sudden his health drops to 12k.  Huh??  I hover over him and it says he’s Holy now.  Okay, so we’ve got a healer.  The other Paladin stays Retribution.  (He’s wearing an Explorer’s tabard.  I don’t even care what his gear is.  Later, after a fight, while we waited for his mana to recover on his own … That takes FOREVER by the way, I offer him some mana replenshing tea.  “No, thanks.  I have potions for that.”  And so we wait a while longer.  And we wait.  DIVINE PLEA YOU MORON! (I quietly say inside.  Having only discovered this wonderful ability a short hour earlier myself while perusing Paladin Tanking over on ElitistJerks or Maintankidin website.)

Anyway, long story short, I tank five summons of the Horseman.  No deaths.  And none of us were geared in anything exceptional.  Horseman ain’t so tough.  Or my tanking wasn’t so terrible.  (And no helm, or mount, either.  Sigh.)

Then it was back to the Tournament as Retribution.  (The best 2,000 gold (after cold weather flying) that I’ve spent was to dual spec my Warrior Arms/Prot and my Paladin Prot/Ret.)

I am loving the flexibility of the Paladin. 

And, yes, I have LOTS to learn yet to play him effectively in any role beyond smashing weak non-raid single targets.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 20, 2009 in Paladins

 

A Fool and his Durability…

I don’t know why this thought occurred to me, but it did, and it was “A fool and his durability are soon parted.”

I was thinking that when I got invited to a Chillmaw/Commanders group.  I was the 3rd person to the group.  And with me they were ready to go.  “They” being a Ret Pally and a Priest.  And the Ret Pally wasn’t putting a shield on and switching specs to Prot.  Meaning I wasn’t going to cat this one, but bear it.

And I’d just, moments before accepting the invite, been fooling around with my action bars.  And while Chillmaw was hammering me I was wondering where my Maul button was.  (“Why do I have a blank space there where a button should be?  Like a Maul button?”)  But I had my Swipe button.  And I had my Growl button.  And we all three lived to walk away from the fight.  Yay.

So my action bars were a mess, kind of, they looked orderly, because, on the recommendation of pwnwear.com (great site) I switched from Bartender 4 to Dominos.

I also picked up an add-on called OptionHouse which reports to me what add-ons are loaded, and what resources they’re gobbling up.

Because I’ve been having issues.  Memory issues.  What?  See, I crash a lot lately.  Icecrown has become Lagcrown.  I herk and jerk across the landscape, I actually lose visibility of my entire interface (without ctrl-z-ing for it) in places when I fly too close to the ground.  (Like a Druid herbalist does a lot.)

Anyway, my fix last night, while the wife played LotRO, was threefold, and based on recommendations from pwnwear. 

OptionHouse, Dominos, TweakWoW.

I loaded OptionHouse.  I saw that Autobar consumed the most memory at 5%+ or so.  That’s a chunk of memory.  But I can’t live without it.  Gathermate took another 5% or so.  I can’t live without that either.  Healbot came in around 3%.  Huh?  So I dropped Healbot since I’ve always had Grid loaded as well.  (Clique + Grid2 should do me for what I’m doing now.  I’m not a healer type at the moment.)

(I’ll have to work an alternative to using AutoBar.)

I noted that Bartender4 was pulling 2.5%.  And after I loaded Dominos I saw it was only pulling about .5%.  Not a bad improvement.  And I’m sure I could do this with Bartender4, but being new to Dominos, and doing some initial playing around with things, I actually managed to very easily configure my bars for my Druid forms.  And not just my usual Bar #1.  I can now have multiple bars shift when I shift.  Kind of a nifty thing.  (I’m a by the numbers keyboard user, I like to push 1-2-3-4 in something like a “rotation,” so having less-often used spells on the bar above, that’s still form specific, is nice, and keeps my fingers from having to move all over the place.)

(Hmm.  Maybe I’ve found my alternative to AutoBar afterall.  If I can swap bars as I go in and out of combat I may be on to something.)

Anyway, the third add-on is TweakWoW.

Now the thing that sparked my interest was pwnwear.com’s mention about how TweakWoW was updated recently to take into account multiple cores.  Say what?  The number of cores in the processor on my motherboard.  Hmm.  I’m always thinking “modern = two core processor”.  And doesn’t my box say “Core 2?”  Yeah.  But it also says “Core 2 Quad.”  I’ve got 4 cores.  And I knew that since I run a Widget that shows me 4 cores working as I work on my machine.  But I never thought much of it.  I assumed the WoW client would take advantage of what I had and use it to it’s fullest if I told to give me the Cadillac version of the game experience.  Oh?  No.  No, it does not.  I was shocked.  So, using TweakWoW I told WoW that I had 4 cores, not 2.  Four.  And, for some reason, my texture memory was at the minimum setting.  Hmm?  I’ve got a Gateway FX computer.  One of the negatives given in a review of it was that it had a ridiculous amount of memory on it.  6 Gigs.  That’s right, somebody thought “That’s just too much.”  And, TweakWoW advised that I should up the texture memory level (if my machine could handle it) to improve performance in places like Dalaran.  Oh, yeah?  So I upped it from 8MB to 320MB if memory servers.

And so with all these changes I loaded up and into Dalaran.  Hmm.  Was I imagining things, or did everything look … better?  The real test was to go scour Icecrown for ore with my Paladin.  Sweet.  It was smooth as butter.  And that’s with a lot of settings already maxed, or bumped up some from what I already had.

So, thanks to the advice I found over at pwnwear.com, things are running a little smoother again.

Oh, yeah, pwnwear also has a lot of Deathknight analysis.  I respecced Cenotaph into his Blood + Pale Horse leveling spec so that might be amusing.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 15, 2009 in Addons

 

It’s me, not you. Not really. It’s you.

I was doing quests in Storm Peaks.  Again.  The intro to the Sons of Hodir quests and I was doing some running around for Thorim.

Once upon a time, that is to say the first three times I did these quests for him, Thorim was an icier Vrykul.

Now, the fourth time running into him, he’s a Titan just like his brother Loken always was.

It’s funny, and good, how often and how much Blizzard subtly messes around with the world improving it, adjusting it, fixing it.  The guards around towns usually always sport something different in their gear sets.

Anyway, Thorim used to look mad, or sullen.

Now he just looks bored and petulant.  Drumming his fingers is a nice touch.

Oh.  Troll on a helicopter.  Been there, done that.  Boring.

Oh. Troll on a helicopter. Been there, done that. Boring.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 11, 2009 in Musings

 

Forty.

been there

A page from the nostalgia file.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 8, 2009 in Screenshots

 

Here there be dragons.

dragons

We decided to stop in a cafe along the beach for a wine and beer and some shrimp.  Somebody at another table said “It looks like the Loch Ness Monster,” referring to the post-sunset scene.  (I had photographed the sun setting already.)

I got the camera out again, zoomed in to the wash of color on the horizon, and sure enough it did look like Nessie.

Actually, with the right point of reference, it looks a lot like Deathwing coming up in a fire of Cataclysm from the waters of the Maelstrom.

Otherwise it’s the sunset as seen from the beach in Bradenton, FL.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 5, 2009 in Musings

 

No. No! NOOOOO!!!!!

Here I am.  On vacation down in Florida.  West Coast.  Nice place.  Pool.  Across the street from the Gulf.  Weather started out a little cloudy and wound up being cloudless and warmer than usual for this time of year.

The place also has  Wi-Fi.  So I did what any sane person does, prepare for the rainy day and bring along a laptop.  Loaded with World of Warcraft, of course.

Now I made sure I had the latest patch of Warcraft loaded before we drove down.  I put the laptop in a room by itself and it patched via the home wi-fi connection.  I only run a few add-ons on the laptop, but I grabbed the Curse Client on-line, and once loaded I took it’s recommendations and upgraded the few add-ons I had.

Now Arcarius has been sitting in the Storm Peaks, in a certain, particular, location probably well known to every Hunter capable of taming a Spirit Beast.  There are 5 or so spots where Skoll can be found.  I always park him in the spot where I last saw Skoll.  (When Skoll was otherwise engaged pounding on a Druid who was waiting for a Guildie to come tame him.)

Whatever add-ons I did have loaded on the laptop, they weren’t configured for Arcarius.  (He’s been a not-so-often played character.)  I got him to 80 from 74 with Heirlooms purchased for a 60 Rogue.

So, Wi-Fi connection, I logged into World of Warcraft.  Disconnect.  I didn’t even take a breath before getting disconnected.  This doesn’t look promising.  So I try again.  Success.  I like checking in on Arcarius, first thing, last thing, and at random times, hoping that some day I’ll log on and he’ll be seeing Skoll in a tameable condition.

Log in. Silver Dragon throws a portrait up on my screen.  SKOLL!  (SKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLL to borrow from the Brazilian sportscasters.  Grats to Rio btw for winning the Olympics.)

There he is!  ZOMG!  But, wait!  What’s this crap all over my screen.  Bartender has barfed like 6+ bars all over the center of my screen.  (Dang!  I never set it up for Arcarius.)  Oh, no.  No, no, no.  (Wife is relaxing on bed watching the panicked expression on my face.)

I scan the buttons, forward and backward.  I’m on a Griffin.  I dismount and my pet appears.  The white wolf I also like.  So I do a quick pet summon (I found that button.)  I pick the moth, which I’ll abandon, and then see I’ve still got my wolf out.  Great.  Okay, so dismiss.  Dismiss.   Argh, no, Abandon!  Right click the pet bar … to target him.  Okay, targeted, I abandon him.  Tame, tame, tame.  Where is tame?  Okay, so I normally want to drop a trap.  Rare 80 beast, probably hits for a bit.  Trap, trap, trap.  Damn, no trap.  No tame either.  Open Spell Book.  Don’t get too close and aggro before I’m ready.  Tame, tame.  A beastmaster.  Tame, tame, got it.  Tame.  No trap.  No time to worry about it.  There’s 1,000 Hunters after this guy, and it’s in the flight line for popular tourist destinations.  I’ve got to get this done, and now!  Let’s hope for the best.  Through the buttons on the screen I see I’m close enough.  I target Skoll with the Silver Dragon portrait.  I start my tame.  The thing moonfires, prowls, and jumps me.  Ouch.  The taming continues.  Dang he hits hard.   Really hard.  So, which bar is going to win?  The cast bar and the tame, or the health bar and my life?

Bang.

skoll

It was win-win.  I lived, Skoll was tamed.

Now I need to find a good name.

(And some aloe for my sunburned face.  I hit the pool and beach after the taming.)

Woot.  Skoll’s mine.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2009 in Musings

 
 
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