Monday, November 29, 2010

Gah! Warrior nerf!

There's been a lot of talk recently about the sweeping nerfs the warrior class has received.
A lot of warriors are riled up, and fightin' mad about it.

In fact, I found a video demonstration of what would happen if the warrior class were to receive a further nerf, such as the removal of heroic leap.

Warning:  Brutal fight scene

On second thought, we're still doing just fine.

The Rise Of The Mage...RAWR!

The latest patch, 4.0.3a, we mages have seen a resurgence of "WTB port to..." This can be good or bad, depending on your goals in the game. Sure, I'm an entrepreneur like the next Joe, but receiving request after request for ports not only gets old, it makes me postal. I don't have a lot of time in the game, so what time I do spend I want to get things done and go. To stop and port someone here and there occasionally is fine, but not constantly as I've had to experience the last week or so. Yes, I'm grousing, because like you I'd prefer the portal hubs. I'm all about self-efficacy. But there's another side to this that people don't consider...

This ain't Kansas anymore, Dorothy!

With the Shattering, our World of Warcraft has changed and porting back and forth won't afford you the opportunity to see all the nuances that have been altered forever. Its not about worshiping the developer gods, as much as understanding what the new points of interests are, as well as experiencing what the Shattering really means to each class. So I bare the nudge here and nudge there for ports for now, because some people won't be willing to pay the 25 gold I'll charge. Instead, they'll hoof it around and maybe, just maybe find something really special to enjoy and appreciate.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quick Thoughts on The Shattering

Yeah, I couldn't sleep.

Having checked out both sides of the coin, here's a bunch of quick thoughts on the Post Apocalypse:
  • Orgrimmar is completely unrecognizable.  Even The Drag is brightly lit.
  • Camp Taurajo is still burning.  Between that and Fort Triumph, that just stuck in my craw.
  • Desolace is... well... 'desolate' is not a good descriptor anymore.
  • Hillsbrad is like the Western Plaguelands, Forsaken style.
  • Ashenvale is like Southern Barrens to the Alliance.  'Nuff said.
  • The gigantic 'Ode to Me' statue in front of Stormwind Keep  --complete with top knot-- makes me dislike Wrynn even more.
  • There was a toon standing next to me, taking in the giant Wrynn statue, and said out loud "Tax payer money..."  I think he won the Internets last night.
  • Sylvanas is making Hellscream look normal.  Or as Vosskah put it when I was discussing the changes with him, "I'm starting to like Jaina more.  And that's saying something."
  • The old Barracks in Stormwind look like Deathwing took a gigantic bite out of it.
  • You can't go into an opposite faction's city solo anymore.  As a guildie put it, "You walk in, and instant death."
  • I got on Tomakan, mounted, and....  Dear Lord, Elekks ain't pretty.
  • You won't find the word Defias anywhere.  Not even in the Stocks.
  • There are so many flight points around I expected Ricky Ricardo to pop out from behind a tree and say "It's just so ridiculous!!"
  • For those of you who waited, the price on Master Flight dropped to 4k.
  • Magatha Grimtotem's tent is empty.  Good riddance.
  • Those Plagueborn Horrors?  You'll find L20 versions of them in Hillsbrad.
  • For Elune's sake, lose those bird arms, Malfurion Stormrage.
  • One last thing:  Dalaran at 8 PM looked like Dal at 5 AM.  Shattrath-style empty, here we come.
EtA:  Plants vs. Zombies!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Shattering is nigh.

There's quite a bit of anticipation out there, coupled with a "just get it over with already!" undercurrent on the servers I'm on.  The chatter on some of the Arathi Basin runs I was on emphasized that.

Maybe it's just me, or maybe it's the season (Late Fall, heading to Winter), but I'm finding myself wistful about the upending of the current order.

I'm going to miss Cairne and his rumbling voice.  Sure, he never was at the forefront of things like Thrall and Sylvanas were, but he was dependable.  He was the killjoy who grumbled about the true meaning of Winter Veil, but he cared about keeping the Tauren traditions alive.  I always considered him the "Old Grandfather" of the Horde, who you'd go meet for coffee and listen to him spin tales of the good old days.

While Thrall isn't really going anyplace, he will definitely be missed as Warchief.  He had that clarity of vision that you only rarely get in a leader, and he was able to keep lines of communication open with the opposite faction when most everyone else wanted blood.  He understood sacrifice and the need to work together.  At the same time, these qualities will drive him to lay down his leadership in the Horde to try to save Azeroth.

From what I'm reading, I think I'm going to miss the old Sylvanas too.  She had an opportunity to really change things, but she seems incapable of pushing beyond her hatred.  Her time spent as a helpless minion of Arthas and the Lich King seems to have ruined her.

And lastly, I'm going to miss the old Barrens.  Camp Taurajo aside, the Barrens was this vast expanse that you could spend a ton of time questing in and just relaxing.  It was there that I learned:
  • Don't attack a Yellow character in a PVP server.  ("You see that yellow guy?"  "Yeaaah."  "Okay, we're going to back out.  Really slowly.")
  • Running through a bunch of gazelles and using Arcane Explosion can be fun.
  • You will see both factions in a Neutral City.
  • Just finding the entrance to an instance can be a real pain in the ass.
  • You can go up mountains and run around the tops of them, but if you fall off at the wrong time, you're screwed.
  • In WoW, Centaurs really are the bad guys.
  • Chuck Norris really is a demi-god.
Okay, enough of that.  What are your thoughts?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Over Here, Jeeves!

In Mel Brooks' History of the World: Part I, there's a garden scene with the Court of Louis XVI at Versailles.  Count de Monet (played by Harvey Korman) has ridden from Paris to warn the King of impending revolution, but before he can seek an audience with His Majesty, he needs to relieve himself.  Therefore, he summons one of the roving piss-boys --and his bucket-- for this purpose.

The other day, in Blackrock Depths, I was the piss-boy.  (Er, piss-girl.)

I was on Neve, getting a lunchtime run in.  Nothing unusual about that, since I've been trying to get both her and Tomakan to Outland before Cat dropped.  The destination of this run was Blackrock Depths, and I was pretty sure I'd progressed beyond a simple prison run.  A quick scan of the levels of my compatriots told me that Neve at L53 was the lowest of the bunch, so I was prepared for a longer run than normal.

The Warrior tank started the first pull, then quickly progressed to a second in the initial cavern area.  Finishing up that pull, he started in on a third.

"Wait!" cried the Druid healer.

The tank kept on going until the pull ended.  "What?" he demanded.

"I was out of mana!"

"Well, you didn't say anything."

"I am now!"

"Well, drink, you dumb ass!"

"I don't have anything to drink."  He paused, then shouted, "MAGE!!!"

Oh, for the love of...  I was tempted to tell him to do something explicit, which would have carried a bit more weight being the only female toon in the crew.

The healer ran over and immediately opened a trade window, then selected the 'Trade' button.  At that point I hadn't even conjured anything yet, but I gritted my teeth and did it, hoping that would shut these two jerks up.

Silly me.

"Does anyone have the key?" the tank asked.


"Not me."


"I do," I replied.

"Well," the tank said, "I guess we're not going very far then."

What the hell!!  I said I had the key!!  I fumed through the next couple of pulls, while the Warrior dispensed his wisdom concerning Paladins.  "They should shut up and go back to being glorified buff-bots.  I'm sick and tired of their whining."

"Yep," replied the healer.  "They're a bunch of asses who can't do s#!&."

The Interrogator dropped quickly, and the tank took the lack of an 'instance over' sign personally.  "This sucks.  You're all stupid anyway."

And then he dropped.

So did everyone else.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  At least I wasn't the one with the debuff, and I was grateful that I didn't have to put up with any of that combo for the next hour.

Compared to this, most any run would be an improvement.  At the same time, both of those clowns completely blew the three DPS off, and even when I said something worthwhile, it was completely ignored.  We were reduced to being piss-boys for the tank and healer, unworthy of taking a leak in the same area they were soiling.  Talk about treating your fellow player with respect.

I was tempted to think that I was ignored because I was the only female toon, and one with a name that a player had obviously put some thought into, which in some camps that means I'm a female player.  However, I chalked this one up to just pure asshatery; if I had Tomakan or Quintalan along, I'd have gotten the same treatment.  Now that I think about it, I'd have probably been treated worse, given their opinions on Paladins.

The pugging scene is what it is; there are jerks, and there are great puggers.  I try to be the latter, and by doing so encourage others to be a better pugger.


Ironically enough, the night before this pug, I'd had one of those runs that you never really want to end.  It didn't start off very good, as the Druid tank pulled the entire first chamber of Blackrock Depths, then complained when we wiped.  He and a DPS immediately dropped, while three of us ran back.

One of the three got into the open area for Blackrock Mountain and had no idea where to turn.  Having found the entrance to BRD the hard way while grinding for Loremaster, I talked him through it.  When he finally made it through that opening, he was effusive in his praise.  "I'd never been able to find the entrance before," he admitted.  "I think I should call you Saint Nevelanthana, although that's a pretty long name."

"Neve for short," I said.

The queue eventually gave us back a new tank and DPS, and we started over.  The warrior tank said he'd like to go as far as we could, even though he admitted he couldn't go all the way to the end at L52.  He did everything right, from LoS pulls to waiting for people to drink.  The Fireguard pairs at each entrance?  He asked the warrior DPS to off tank the one so he could take the other.  When someone asked a question about what was up ahead, he gave a precise and detailed answer.

"You're damn sight better than the Druid tank we first had," I said.

He chuckled.  "You had a Druid tank?  Say no more."

I never reached the end of BRD on that run, because I got paged and had to login to work.  We said our goodbyes, and the lost puggee again thanked me profusely.


In comparing the two runs, the first thing that stands out is the quality of the tank.  Technical skill isn't always what's needed, you need leadership.  Whether they like it or not, tanks are the leaders:  they have to know the way around, they have to know the boss fights up ahead, and they have to monitor the status of the group.  That's not an easy task, and people who queue to tank just to skip the wait for DPS often don't succeed.

Another difference between the two runs was the attitude.  You know how when a group bonds you can actually feel it?  That happened with the latter group.  In the former group, the overall attitude of the tank and healer was that we were there to make them happy.  Make no mistake; this was their run, the DPS was just along for the ride.  When you have that sort of attitude, unscrupulous puggees won't hesitate to sabotage a run.  Much better for everyone that you have a tolerant attitude and can handle some foibles.

I also think that the time of day has something to do with the success of a pug.  Distractions count, especially when people might be raiding that evening on another toon.  I've had people say "I want this run done in 10 minutes because I've got VoA tonight," and that doesn't exactly give a player warm fuzzies to know that someone you're pugging with has their eye on something else.

Maybe the best thing that you can say about pugs is that each one is different, but it's up to you to hold to your end of the bargain.  Don't let the bastards get you down.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Character Theme Song

Recently, over at Blessing of Kings, Rohan posted what the ideal warrior theme song would be.  While the song picked is pretty good, I prefer music with out words when choosing a theme song.

When I think of my warrior, sure he's there in the front lines taking the blows and controlling the battle, but as a tank, I see him as more of the brooding / calculating pissed off guy.  He's angry, and he's got a plan on how he's going to fix the problem, and you'd best not be in his way.

And for that mental image, I believe the following song captures the overall feeling I get while playing my warrior.

In fact I'll narrate what I see in my head while listening to this.

1-34th second - Camera pans in on the Lich King's platform with my tank proudly out front standing in defiance of the Lich King's power.
Camera fades out briefly
35th second - Camera flashes back into the fight already in progress at the last phase of the LK fight featuring my warrior running the LK around the platform and the rest of the guild successfuly dealing with the spirits and defiles.
1:19 into the song, Arthas drops dead
1:22 into the song, the camera slowly fades in and pans into an extreme close up of a bearded, bloody, wickedly content smile spread across Deftig's face.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Bit Underwhelming

I've finally had a chance to watch the event from both factions, and let's just say I'm a bit... underwhelmed... at this point.

Sure, I know what's coming, but I'm very disappointed in how the Alliance is reacting.  Their council looked like a staff meeting.  All that was missing were the coffee and donuts, and someone going over the TPS reports.  I even said out loud "Where's the PowerPoint stack, guys?  You can't have a staff meeting without one!"  The result of the meeting was just like you'd expect in a corporate staff meeting:  a whole lot of "wait and see" and "we need more data".

By contrast, the Horde meeting was like halftime in a basketball game when your team is losing.  You've got the one who's saying "Look at me and all the good I'm doing!" (Hellscream) and the "Listen to the coach instead of freelancing!" (Vol'jin).  Garrosh and Vol'jin nearly come to blows over who's doing the more important thing, but Thrall breaks that up in a hurry. 

Of both groups, Thrall is the only one going out and doing something --going to Nagrand to commune with the Elements-- which of course leaves us with Junior Nutcase Garrosh in charge.  Also notable by their absence in the Horde deliberations were Lor'themar, Sylvanas, and Carne.  Sylvanas is probably in the doghouse already, but the other two?  Those puzzle me.

As they say at the end of a lot of old television episodes, "Stay Tuned...."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gone With the Wind

When I got on at lunchtime today for an instance run, I was surprised at the server names of my compatriots.


I did a double take, and yes, I was on Neve, and by extension I was on A-52.

"Did the battlegroups change?" I asked out loud.

"No, Blizz is doing away with them entirely."

Cue Handel's Messiah.

You know what this means, don't you?  If I'm not careful, the next time I run a battleground as Quintalan I could be staring Ehna or Deftig in the face.  (Which probably explains the dramatic improvement of the Alliance in BGs lately.)

Or have Tam, Rhii, or Linedan as puggees in a 5-man.  And if some random toon tries to /lick me, I'll know who did it.  ("Tam?  Is that you?")

The possibilities are endless.

It could also make for an awkward moment in a BG, if I'm a member of more than one guild.  "Guild One, meet Guild Two.  Ouch, that had to hurt."


I have a confession to make:  I haven't pugged 5-mans much lately.  I'm not sure why, but I've found myself checking out a variety of different things on some of my toons.  Q is grinding Netherwing rep for the Nether Drake mount, and he's also getting in on some BGs when he can.  I've also been playing around with Q's rotation, and while I still don't like it much, I can live with it.  In a 5-man, Zealotry is almost guaranteed to draw aggro, so you don't get much of a chance to use it.  In a boss fight in a raid it'd come in handy, but for the non-raider I now see its utility limited to BGs for a big fat 20-second burst of damage.  Just proc Zealotry, then spam Crusader Strike and Templar's Verdict as soon as each one is off CD.

With Tomakan, I've been doing the Explorer routine so I can get used to where things are from an Ally point of view before the Cataclysm changes everything.

Now Neve...  I'm still trying to work out the Frost Mage routine, since I lost Blizzard as a low level AoE spell, but gained Ice Lance and the Water Elemental.  I wasn't planning on learning how to handle a pet until later, but now it's been kind of foisted on me.  Given the way that we're all kind of overpowered for the lower level instances, I don't get much of a chance to learn how to work a pet in a 5-man, because once I've set the elemental up to go do what I want it to I discover the mob fight is already finished.  And if there's one thing I've learned in pugs, everyone hates a pet that causes problems, so I've tried keeping the elemental pretty tame.  After a couple of instances of this, I said to hell with it and simply dismissed the elemental.

Right now, working out an acceptable rotation for a Frost mage is more important right now than dealing with a pet.  And from what I've experienced so far, it's a big juggling act.

Ice Lance:  Instant, hits for about the same (per second) as Frostbolt, but jacks up your threat very quickly.
Frostbolt:  Old standby, still on a regular casting time, but because of that not much of a threat multiplier.
Arcane Missiles:  Procs off of other spells, doesn't hit as hard as before, either.  Kind of a so-so spell right now.
Blizzard:  Gone until L52 (sob!), but given the increase in threat potential, have to be very careful in application.
Frost Nova:  Still good for freezing people in place in a run to the tank.  (Hey, Neve's got to get her exercise in, and pulling aggro is as good an excuse as any.)
Arcane Explosion:  Good for those "Oh $%#^!" moments and you're in the middle of all hell breaking loose.  Also good for finishing off weakened mobs.  The drawback is that you get within interrupt range.
Cone of Cold:  It's an okay spell, but I'm not convinced being within interrupt range is worth it.

Now, I have been able to put the crowd control aspect of the Mage to good use, keeping the ranged casters sheeped while we deal with the rest of the mob, for example.  (Works like a charm in the Jammalan the Prophet portion of Sunken Temple.)  But I can't help but get the feeling that something is missing in the Frost Mage setup, and don't exactly know why.

What do you think of your routine?  Is there something missing, but you can't figure out exactly what it is?