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Category Archives: Musings

Kinless no more.


I’d ask “Horde or Alliance?” but this little baby boy could be most any player in Wintergrasp.

And, yes, I’ve said goodbye to sleep apparently.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2010 in Musings

 

Pass the fire ants please.

(Ah.  Authenticators in place we’re back in business.)

I was thinking last night as I traversed the dock in Menethil that things weren’t always so tranquil.  That is to say, things weren’t so tranquil on the PvP server I was on when I really got into the game from a social aspect.  Now I ride out on the pier and wait for the boat.  Back then, on the PvP server, you did not know if there was a stealthed rogue waiting for you, and your back to turn.  Or, worse, they were on the boat. Waiting for you, flagged because you’re in the Wetlands, to board.  This was like a luxury liner with botulism on the menu.  This was grounds for panic.  This was where the adrenal glands kicked in.  Senses heightened, blood flowing, you were alive, and wanted to stay alive.

Now, on my RPPvE servers, I know I’m safe until I do something like steal a flame, invade a city, or join a battleground.

See, back on my *first* server, before I’d gone over to the PvP server, they were talking about picnics in the forums.  Between Horde and Alliance.  Out in the barrens.  Or wherever.  In the community forums.  And I was thinking “They just don’t get it.  We’re at War!  This is World of Warcraft for crying out loud.”  Picnics?  PICNICS?  You should be chasing them down, driving their soldiers to destruction, hearing the lamentations of their womenfolk.  Conan got it right!

And things improved in that department when I got over to the PvP server.  And then to the next PvP server where I enjoyed the game to it’s fullest.  The stress of the PvP environment and being with a kick ass group of over 60 players to progression raid the 40-man content.  There were no picnics.  We raided Menethil until the Dishonor rule kicked in.  That was too risky a move to someone interested in gaining rank. One idiot in the raid kills a civilian and those working on ranks were totally screwed.  That killed the organized enmasse city raids for us.  But, lordy, wasn’t it fun to get a 5-man party together and go knock on Aldrasil’s door.  Silly level 2 Night Elves actually attack and get instagibbed.

I eventually left the PvP servers, being 8 hours out of synch with them and playing more with the wife and certainly not wanting or willing to watch the wife ridden down by some level 34 Dwarf in Ashenvale while we’re just trying to play this game.

And, heck, I know I’d not want to be on the receiving end of an endless gankfest.  (Of course I’d also be guilded and have friends to rely on in that case.)

But the concept of some pacifists wanting to have picnics with the Horde still irks me.  That’s not the concept of this game.  It’s about conflict.  Not picnics.  This isn’t a sandbox where you write all your own stories.  There’s a story around us.  Let’s abide.  (And, okay, I admit, Thrall would probably have a picnic with Taretha Foxton, if he still could, poor guy, and with Jaina, since the story there is these two are such friends.  But you and I, we’re soldiers in the ranks.)

That takes us to Shattrath and Dalaran.  These are picnics forced on us.  And the same clowns I mowed down, or who blasted my soul, in Wintergrasp five minutes earlier, are there with me in Dalaran picking mustard flowers, or sitting on mounts outside of our community banks.

I think it’s good news to hear that there won’t be any mamby pamby “neutral” places in Cataclysm.  (No more than already.  And consider Gadgetzan, Everlook, and Booty Bay aren’t neutral in the same sense as Shat and Dal.   You are still flagged and vulnerable on PvP servers.  That edge and sense of conflict still remains in the Goblin towns.)

No more picnics.  Pass the fire ants please.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Musings

 

Big World, Few Options

My Belf Paladin is leveling via 2 quests.  The Jewelcrafting Daily and the Kalu’ak’s Preparing for the Worst.  Because there’s so much more I need/can do.  (When my wife wants to play her Paladin I return and do quests with her.  We’re heading towards Shadowmoon Valley, the Blood Knight shield quest reward, then Northrend.)

My Human Paladin is now in full Furious PvP gear, having replaced a full set of Deadly PvP gear.  (He’s still a noob in PvP though.) He’s collected some random Ret gear in the harder Heroic 5-mans, but is still carrying the +hit happy Titansteel Destroyer.  He’s in 4/5 of the Tier 9 Prot gear, including Rimefang’s Claw.  He’s got 60 more Badges of Triumph.  Get the helm and complete the set, or collect 15 more and get the higher iLevel version.  That’s my 2 options.  Or I raid.  Then I get Tier 10.  In Tier 10, with access to Tier 11, then I get Tier 11.  Then I await the next expansion and I get Tier 12.  And all people at my level will be in the same two sets of gear.  (All casuals catching up to the next lower tier.  All the crafters in their gear.  The levelers in their heirlooms.)  (And all Tier gear replaced by quest reward greens this fall.)

Is that a lot of options?  No.  It’s very linear.  My blacksmithing armor stopped at iLevel 200 since I don’t raid.  (And there are no plans for weapons with a higher iLevel than 200.)  All the crafting amounted to 2 sets of iLevel 178, for PvP, and a couple of pieces of iLevel 200 epics for PvE.  5-6k gold is nothing for an AH playa, but that’s not me.  I’m lucky to have a few on epic flyers, but I’m not here to finagle cash from the machine to buy gear off the AH crafted by raiders.

While gear seems limited, so too is the progression path.

To get to Northrend, you will go to the Outlands.  Oh, yes, you will.  You will enter the portal or no Level 80 for you.  (Okay, you can PvP in the non-existant 61-70 band to go from 63-68.  Bring bandaids for your eyes though.  And I guess you could do the … wait, there are no dailies in Azeroth.  And you need to be 65 to start the Dalaran crafting dailies.  I suppose you could skip Dalaran if you stayed in Azeroth until 65, and then got ported to Dalaran to do the dailies.)  But, heck, that’s a lot of effort to simply skip a chapter in WoW’s story.

Otherwise, since I’ve been leveling numerous characters with the wife, and wishing to keep the game fresh for her, I’m trying not to repeat paths too often.  We took our Belf Paladins through the Plaguelands to get to 58.  But we had to make a few detours to pick up the last of the xp elsewhere.  We took our Night Elves through Winterspring.  But we wound up in Un’Goro and Silithus anyway, since we had to to get the last of xp, and the Plaguelands too.  It was unavoidable.

I guess it’s my fault in that I want numerous characters, but don’t wish to repeat all this content over and over.

I’m hoping with the remake of Azeroth after the Cataclysm hits, that maybe we’ll see some new leveling paths made available.  That Outlands could be skipped with some alternative questing tracks newly created.

I sincerely hope we aren’t shown the tracks from which we can’t diverge.  Ever.  Level 1 (for the Worgen and Goblins) until Deathwing’s death, one step directly in front of the other.  The World (of Warcraft) is big.  Bring on the options.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2010 in Musings

 

Three Plus Years

Has it been that long?  Since the Burning Crusade’s release?

Our two Draenei characters are in their 40′s right now.  (Have we been trapped in some mad wizard’s dream, unable to progress?)  Our Blood Elf Paladins are in their 60s and 70s.  Granted we’ve both got a couple of 80s as well.  (Maybe the cryogenic sleep on the flight of the Exodar has left some residual effect on them making them more lethargic than the revenge seeking Blood Elves.)

Three plus years.

As the two of us, our awaken Draenei, swam between the islands off Feralas I remembered it wasn’t forever ago that our two Druids did the same swim.  (The Druids are 80 now.)  (And the screenshot was posted as the header of my old blog on Blogspot, which I left two and half years ago for WordPress. )

And this evening I collected some Thorium and remembered the search for arcane crystals, when having them meant something.  Now they’re effectively vendor trash.

Remember Kargath?  That’s where we Horde amassed on our PvP server before we struck out for Upper Black Rock Spire. And later into Molten Core.  Multiple groups of 40-some people.  What a riot.  That scene will never be repeated again, will it?  I remember the whack-a-mole healing my Shaman did.  I remember the honor grind to maintain my reputation and rank in the battle grounds.  That’s what I did after I wasn’t raiding MC anymore.

I remember way back to my first character, my Night Elf Hunter.  How that cave with the spiders was kind of difficult (it seemed).  The next cave with the Satyr, and all where the Dreamers slept.  Wow, that’s going on five plus years ago.

And here we are, again.  The summer before the expansion hits.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2010 in Musings

 

Lore Dispelled

This is what the Blizzard poster Zarhym said about the changes coming to dispels in Cataclysm:


–Druids will be able to dispel defensive magic, curses, and poison.
–Paladins will be able to dispel defensive magic, diseases, and poison.
–Priests will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and disease.
–Shaman will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and curses.

That’s just dumb.  Has lore left the house?  It’s a Cataclysm and they’ve stopped caring what we think?  Or what they themselves once thought?

Druids are all about nature magic.  Obviously.

And Shamans are into the elements, elements are part of nature.  So they’re about nature magic too.

Consider that between poisons, curses, and disease, which is the least nature related?  Curses.  So why are the two proponents of nature magic the ones who can cure curses???  Makes no sense.

Curses are like “dark magic.”  “Dark magic” would naturally be cured by “Light.”  That’s kind of “Holy magic” then, no?

Paladins and Priests both have Holy specs.  Dur.  That’s because they’re practitioners of Holy magic.  They’re the light that fixes ills caused by “dark magics.”  They are the natural classes to be dispelling Curses.  But neither does.

Diseases.  They’re kind of in the middle.  They’re the “dark side” of nature, and cured by the “light.”  I’d fine with any of the four curing diseases.

And poisons are naturally of nature and so curable by nature.  What’s light got to do with it?

And the magics.  Magics are not the realm of nature.  Look at the Quel’dorei versus Kaldorei debate for lore here.  Magic is man made, not natural.  Magic is the realm of men, Paladins and Priests.  Nature is the realm of Druids and Shamans.

–Let the Druids and Shamans fix the poisons and diseases.

–Let the Paladins and Priests fix the curses and magics.

But if you got to mix it up a little.

–Let the Druids fix poisons and diseases.

–Let Shamans fix poisons and curses.  (Hexing folks ain’t natural, ya know?)

–Let Paladins fix diseases and magics.  (Cleansing disease by the power of light’s goodness.)

–Let Priests fix curses and magics.  (They’re the most like to be wearing pointy hats.)

Well, that’s what I’d be doing if this were my game.  But, it isn’t.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2010 in Musings

 

Lights! Camera! Ac…. wait.

Got the lights?  Mmm, maybe a few more.  Okay, enough?  Okay.  Lights!  Camera!  Uh, can we refocus a little here.  What?  The camera’s not quite right yet.  Oh.  Okay.  Tell me when you are ready.

That’s pretty much how I feel taking on the role of a tank with my Alliance Paladin.  I’m kind of a perfectionist and if I’m in charge of an instance run, and tanking it I would be, I want that run to be flawless.  I feel I need to know every instance, inside out, and every fight from every perspective.

Now I’ve tanked with him in the past.  I’ve geared up properly and tanked Utgarde Keep and the group even remarked “Yay, not a fail tank this time.”

And that was before I’d acquired 4 pieces of T9.

I’m getting good gear by running PUGs via LFD as Retribution.  I’ve got 4 pieces of the tier 9, so both set bonuses, I’ve got 540+ Defense, I even picked up the tanking sword from Heroic Pit of Saron last night.  But my health is a little low still, 31k, and I’m not sure how to correct that.   I can tweak some of the gems a bit, and then go from there.

Well, a few more days/weeks running PUGs as Ret and I’ll get the tokens needed for the proper trinkets, cloak, etc..  But then it might not still be 40k, and doesn’t every PUG demand their Tank have 40k or else he’s a failtank?  And who wants to be *that* failtank?

My Horde Paladin is level 69 now.  I tanked some of the early TBC instances, and did well.  But I didn’t want to get into Shadow Labs and worry about instructing an “AOE RULEZ” PUG on how to CC the classroom in SLabs.  I’m not sure how patient folks will be with me being careful.  So I stopped tanking in TBC at that point and just leveled up some.

So now at level 69 I could start tanking instances in WotLK.

“Wait,” you’re asking.  Don’t I already have a Heroics+ equipped Paladin tank?  Yeah, I’ve got the gear.  Just not the experience using it.  So my Horde Paladin is my training bike where I learn the ropes.  Once he’s running Heroics then I have an instance runner of each faction.

And at 69 I *could* start running instances like Utgarde Keep.  Except I’m not.  I have a full set of the crafted cobalt level 70 tanking gear, plus shield, in the bank.  Just a bit more xp and I can wear it.  I just feel wrong coming to a WotLK instance in TBC gear.  So I level up a bit more to 70 so I can wear that gear.  Except I won’t out-level the instance, there might be deaths, and that’s on me.

There was this movie where this one character practiced his entire life with a bow.  It took place in Japan (maybe The Last Samurai) and this bowman simply practiced.  His entire life.  And never shot the bow.  Simply trained to shoot it perfectly.  Something like loosing the arrow would be like losing his soul.  Finally, after a lifetime of practicing it, he did finally have an absolute need to shoot it and he did so and it flew true.  (Maybe it was Karate Kid.)  I guess I feel like that now with my Paladins facing the tanking role.  At some point it’s going to be good enough, and off to the races we go.  (15 second wait times for tanks will mean it’ll be non-stop action.)

I’d like to say “Perfection be damned, it’s just a game.”  But in a world of “end-game content” perfection is an expectation.  And the weeks spent learning a single boss in Molten Core has segued into todays kids needing absolute victory/perfection their first visit into the latest most bleeding edge content, or you failed.  Heroics is certainly not that.  But who brings “second best, good enough” to a match?

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2010 in Musings

 

Scaling

Many years ago I picked up and played The Elder Scrolls.  I don’t recall it having Arena appended so maybe I started the series with Daggerfall.  Then came Morrowind, which I tried.  When I met my wife she had played some Morrowind already as well.  When Oblivion came out I created a character and that was it.  The wife likes it but it seems there’s no computer good enough to play it in it’s fullest capacity with all bells and whistles engaged.

The thing with these games is the rats.  Not that you have to kill ten of them, of course you know you do, but that when you’re level 1, they’re level 1.  When you’re level 2, they’re level 2.  When you’re 10, they’re 10.  You never graduate from rats.  They go to the same kindergarten, junior high, prep school, and college that you do.  From what I’ve heard you can “beat” Oblivion at a very low level.  Because the entire world’s content levels up as you do.  Avoid leveling up and you can go beat the snot out of the final bosses who are still wearing diapers.

I don’t like that.  WoW’s got a bit of that.  You’ve got level 1, 2, and 3 boars in Shadowglen.  Then you’ve got boars in Westfall that are higher level.  Then you’ve got boars in the Blasted lands.  Then in Outlands.  Then in Northrend.  (Okay, they equipped them with horns finally.)  You think the boars in our reality are inherently more dangerous in Kazakhstan than they are in Kansas?

But the worst is Blizzard thinking of introducing Heroic versions of the Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep.

What is the point of that?

If you want a challenge then run those instances with a character of the appropriate level.  And in the appropriate gear for crying out loud.  Leave your heirlooms at home if you want a challenge.  Don’t have a character at the appropriate level anymore?  Create one.  It’s free and easy.

If you just want to get your revenge on Arugal for the crap all his son’s have pulled, then level up a bit more and go kick his butt personally.

But do we really need a Heroic version of these instances?  Are we missing them that much?  What, multiply health of the mobs by 100,000 and damage done by 1,000 and we’re good to go?

And, here’s the trend, you’re going to have to be in iLevel 355 gear to consider doing this.

It’s freaking Shadowfang Keep.  Everything else is left behind.  Leave these old instances alone and behind and move on.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2010 in Musings

 

Something new under the sun…

At least under the sewer grates.

The wife and I got our town outfits on and took a ride on the love boat.

I’m impressed by how much new they added to this yearly event.  And a new way of showing your affection for your leaders.  A new boss fight, aka “DPS looking for summons, you must have summons.”  And I picked up the picnic basket.

However, this boat ride through the Undercity tops it.  You can’t do much.  You can’t /kiss for example.  And if you /dance, you’re going to come to pieces.

And I love how the love boats here are modeled on Greek triremes complete with with back swept wings at the prow.

We haven’t seen Stormwind City yet.  They must have something similar.

Nice.  And definitely a reason for getting the finest out of mothballs and showing it off some.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2010 in Musings

 

Fell out of our chair laughing

Demetri Martin is back with a new season on Comedy Central.  Last night’s “Bruce the Funny Dog” skit had us howling.

It’s dumb, the mustache is dumb, it’s all meant to be dumb, and absolutely hilarious.

“Soccer Clown King?”  Lol.

Comic genius.

P.S. It’s the same kind of humor as when I use my “Jenkins” title sometimes in an instance when it’s going particularly poorly (I expect to die) or we’re doing particularly well (“Let’s do this!”).

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2010 in Musings

 

Tanking with phasers. What? Set to “Block?”

Over on Massively, STO for WoW Players, I find this gem.

Itemization and Class Balance

Right now the itemization looks okay. We haven’t seen much of the endgame, so we don’t know how well things are going to compare against one another – but at the lower levels it looks to be promising. Tanks behave like tanks, DPS behaves like DPS, and the support roles behave like they should.

Huh?  Blink blink.  Tanks behave like tanks?  DPS like DPS?  Support like they should?  I suppose that’s Healers?

Are they kidding?  Is that the best game paradigm they could come up with for Star Trek Online?  (Yes, they ALSO have 5-man instances to learn and farm.)

Destined to fail.  I’m sorry.  I like Star Trek better than most.  I thought the idea of Star Trek Online fairly interesting.  It’s a sci-fantasy world in which to virtually entertain ourselves.  Even better that it’s online and we can engage with other real people doing so.  (People can be as much fun as they are anethema’s to all that’s good.)

But that’s the best Cryptic came up with?  The “Holy Trio” of fantasy MMO’s?  Tank-DPS-Heals?

I’m going to tank with phasers?

… Okay, okay.  I’m calming down a little bit.  Obviously I’m thinking MMORPG; and the “RPG” in MMORPG is not for Rocket Propelled Grenade, but rather Role-Playing Game.  So they think I’ll be taking on a “Role” and since I’m human I’d naturally associate assuming a “role” as then playing something human, humanoid, or at least some living being anthropomorphized.  So, naturally, I’m wondering “How do I tank with a phaser?”  And does the Star Trek Universe even include shields ala Dune (which required blades to defeat, i.e. high-fantasy in a sci-fi setting).

So, no.  The primary, and as I understand it, the best, “fighting” in STO occurs when you assume the “role” of a starship.  Your capital ships, I guess, being the tanks, the frigates the DPS, and the support ships the “healers.”

I don’t know.  How many will find assuming the role of a “capital ship” (or whatever their “Tank” class will be) and flying around the universe, “On a five year mission,” fun?

I may download a free test version, if they ever offer one, to check it out.  But a purchase, probably not.  I wish them luck though.  It was an interesting concept to try to bring out.

After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting.  It is not logical, but it is often true.
Spock

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in Musings

 
 
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