Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hey WoW.com People

Hey everybody from WoW.com.  Welcome to my little corner of the internet.  There's no new content post for today, but I did respond to everyone who commented on my previous post.  Feel free to hop over there and continue the conversation(s), if you'd like.  ;D

Despite the fact that I'm currently vacationing away from home, I'll do my best to write up some fresh new content for you folks for later this week, or perhaps early next week (Tuesday at the latest).  If you like what you see, feel free to stop by again when you get the chance.  =)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holy Paladin Healing Needs More Interactivity

I think I'm beginning to get a bit of Shaman envy.  Some friends were discussing Shaman Totems (the relics, not the spells) in-game, and the conversation slowly evolved into pointing out the differences between Shaman and Paladin healing.  If you look at the tools both classes have, they're surprisingly similar at first glance—to the point where you can list off the various heals each class uses and find an analogous spell for the other class.

However, despite the similarities on the surface, the deeper mechanisms of the classes are two completely different beasts.  The Shaman's entire healing system seems to be based off of creating intuitive rhythms and flows, and adapting to the situation at hand—it works extremely well with the water theme of the Shamans' Restoration tree.  The Paladin healing system, on the other hand, is an extremely forward min/maxing system.  All of the "interesting" parts are designed to maximize the strengths of each individual spell while mostly ignoring the weaknesses.  Take Infusion of Light for example—it currently makes our fast heal, Flash of Light, even faster, and our big heal, Holy Light, even bigger.  In Patch 3.3, it will also make our damage stabilization spell, Sacred Shield, provide more stability via Flash of Light HoT (technically, the base spell is being nerfed and Infusion of Light is being updated to un-nerf it for Holy, but that's besides the point).

There's very little in the Paladin Holy tree that encourages making use of the entire toolkit.  Sure, Holy Shock (with Infusion of Light) encourages using Flash of Light or Holy Light, but that's not really much of a choice due to Holy Shock's cooldown.  Flash of Light does nothing to encourage use of Holy Light, and vice versa, which has resulted in the current Paladin strategy of just picking one spell between the two primary heals, gearing to maximize it's potency, and then spamming it as long as possible.  Holy Light builds are generally built around the idea of being able to cast as many Holy Lights as possible—the occasional Flash of Lights mixed in is simply a necessary evil required to not empty one's mana reserves too quickly.  Flash of Light builds are designed to make Flash of Lights hit as hard as Paladinly possible, and the occasional Holy Lights are simply a necessary evil when Flash of Light simply does not have sufficient throughput (which is pretty much all the time nowadays).  Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield add very little to the equation (in terms of interactivity/fun)—in practice they're just abilities that require maintenance every 30-90 seconds, depending on talent specs and glyphs.

What I'd really like to see in Cataclysm is a series of changes to the Paladin Holy tree that is designed to make Paladin heals synergize with each other rather than compete with each other (hopefully in amusing off-the-wall ways).  The Flash of Light portion of Infusion of Light is definitely good in this respect, but so much more can be done to encourage the Paladin to use the entire healing arsenal available.  For example:
  • Update the Holy Light portion of Infusion of Light into something more fun.  While crits are usually fun, a slightly higher chance to crit is completely lackluster—how can you tell if even helped you on any individual cast?  Instead, make it something that's not only useful, but also noticiable.  Perhaps a chance for your next Holy Light cast to trigger a bonus Illumination effect.  Heck, even an uninspired and boring "makes your next Holy Light spell heal for 5% more" has a tangible impact on healing, as compared to the current effect.
  • Make Flash of Light do something beneficial for Holy Shock and/or Holy Light.  Perhaps give it a chance to trigger a buff that adds a HoT/shield/increased heal effect to the next Holy Shock or Holy Light cast.  Maybe the buff could be stackable and the number of stacks determines the strength of the effect (say, for sake of example 3/6/10% of a Holy Light or 10/20/30% of a Holy Shock).
  • Give Sacred Shield some interaction with Holy Light.  One idea would be to allow a Holy Light crit on a target with Sacred Shield splash mini-bubbles on nearby targets, thereby encouraging the Paladin to Flash of Light those targets to leave behind lots of HoTs.  Another idea would be to give a Holy Light cast on a target that has Sacred Shield to energize the next bubble, allowing it to absorb more damage than it would be able to normally.
  • Similarly, allow Sacred Shield and Holy Shock to interact.  For example, allow Holy Shock to "pop the bubble" causing the current or next Sacred Shield proc to instantly heal the target for its absorption amount, rather than (or in addition to) its normal effect.  Or maybe let it bounce a copy of a Sacred Shield bubble onto the lowest health party or raid member within 40 yards.
  • Finally, allow Holy Light to help out Holy Shock and/or Flash of Light.  One possibility would be to let a Holy Light crit finish the current (or prevent the next) Holy Shock cooldown, and/or to increase the spell power coefficient of the next Flash of Light cast but with a corresponding increase in mana cost.
Any (or all) of the above would help create a sense of synergy that's currently very lacking in the Paladin Holy tree.  Additionally, it helps make Paladin healing more than a one- or two-dimensional affair by adding complexity and depth in a way that makes intelligent healing decisions matter (unlike the current healing "spam") while still keeping things fun instead of mind-bendingly confusing.  The flavor of the Paladin Holy tree could be enhanced further by keeping in mind the strengths of each spell when designing the interactions with others (for example, Holy Shock interactions would all have something to do with burst healing, Flash of Light with efficiency, Holy Light with raw and overwhelming power, and Sacred Shield with stability—I'd have done a better job of portraying this in the examples above, but I'm just too tired to think straight).

Ultimately, the goal would be to create a dynamic system that has a great deal of complexity, but is relatively simple to just jump into and play around and experiment with.  In other words, the idea is to make healing on a World of Warcraft Paladin akin to fighting on a Diablo 3 Monk.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Pilgrim on a Chopper

Just for you, Teu.  =P

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

See title.  Can't blog anymore...turkey coma...zzz...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beep Beep!

It's most definitely not a Jeep.  =P

Cathedral Cruisin'

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holy is Where the (Gryphon)Heart Is

Yes, I know that's a terrible title, but too bad!  It's my blog and I'm going with it.  =P

Recently, Bell of 4 Haelz and Big Bear Butt of, well, Big Bear Butt posted their experiences of playing Retribution Paladins who have effectively been forced to go Holy or Protection in order to get groups (see: Bell's Locked Into Healing post & BBB's Tales from the LFG Tavern post).  While this post is only tangentially related to theirs', their posts in addition to a PuG experience a few nights ago did inspire me to write this one.

Now, Gryph has been a Holy Paladin for as long as I can remember.  Even before the 3 Paladin talent trees were first announced, I knew I wanted Gryph to be a more spiritually-, and less physically-, centric Paladin.  In my mind he's always been an individual defined more by his strength of will rather than his physical prowess, and when the Paladin talent trees were announced, Holy fit the bill quite perfectly.  For the first 4 or so years after WoW's launch, Gryph has been Holy, through and through (minus brief periods of time after the talent resets when he was unspecced).  In fact, I've never even spent so much as a copper to respec Gryph.

When dual specs came out, I finally took the plunge and grabbed him a tanking spec for pretty much the same reason that Bell and BBB probably picked up their second specs: easier group finding.  On Feathermoon Alliance, it turned out, it's significantly easier to find a group as a tank than a healer.  (Plus, I just like helping people, and being able to fill the two most desired roles in a group felt like it would be immensely helpful.)  Big mistake.  I don't think I've healed a PuG 5-man since.  =\  I'm pretty sure I've tanked more WotLK 5-mans than I've healed by now, both with PuGs and with all-friend groups.  Perhaps in Cataclysm I'll try Retribution as my second spec instead.

Anyway, as it turns out, I don't really think I enjoy tanking that much.  I say this because every time I'm tanking and someone does something silly (like not watch their own aggro), I go into a frothy-mouthed rage.  On the other hand, I'm much more calm when healing, and usually enjoy the same shenanigans that piss me off when I'm tanking.  Maybe Holy is just more fun because I have a lot more experience with it, or perhaps I'm just feeling inadequate as a tank because I'm not used to fitting emergency buttons into my tanking rotation (whereas emergency buttons feel much easier to integrate into my healing playstyle because they keep people alive—which is the primary purpose of healing).  One thing I do know, though: I'm never going to tank a 25-man raid in WotLK.  This is partly because I'm just not good enough of a tank, and partly because half the people in TRI have Protection Paladins (and the other half have some other tank).  =P

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy 15th Birthday WarCraft!

Happy 15th Birthday WarCraft!

"15th?!" you might be asking, "But World of Warcraft only came out 5 years ago!"

It's true.  The World (of WarCraft) that we all know and love only premiered 5 years ago.  However, gentle readers, there was indeed a world before the World of Warcraft, and 10 years prior to the MMO's launch Blizzard Entertainment was celebrating another birth: the launch of their first real-time strategy game—WarCraft: Orcs & Humans.  Back then, I'm sure none of the people working on the humble little competitor to the Dune games imagined what would become of Azeroth, but I'm sure we can all appreciate how the franchise has grown in the 15 years since it's premiere.

So, happy 5th birthday World of Warcraft, and happy 15th birthday WarCraft.  Here's to many, many more!  =)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1 Year Anniversary!

Happy birthday, The Lion Guard!  This blog is now 1 year old!

Let's look back on the goals I set for myself and see what I've actually managed to accomplish.
My Goals for The Lion Guard:

  • 5 posts per week, on average, with at least 1 "meaty" post per week.
  • Provide myself an inspiring means to exercise and develop my writing skills.
  • Practice public expression. I tend to be one of those quiet, shy people in public. Perhaps this blog will help me become a more confident individual.
  • Express myself. Most of the people I interact with regularly in real life are uninterested in WarCraft. I hope that here I can create a place to freely converse with folks who are genuinely interested in at least some of what I have to say.
Wow...I didn't get anywhere close.  =\  Oh well, if at first you don't succeed...

Let's see what I can manage to accomplish for year 2.  ;D

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Glory of the Hero, part 2

Last night, my Glory of the Hero group was on what can only be described as an epic roll.  Six achievements knocked completely out of the park!  Collectively, we nabbed:
Of all the above, Make It Count and A Void Dance had to have been the most frustrating.  Every prior Make It Count run would be spoiled by some relatively minor difficulty, such as dismounting too early, accidentally aggroing an extra dragon, forgetting to take Evasive Maneuvers...(yeah, that last one was all me  >.>).  As for A Void Dance, well, that was just a complete RNG crapshoot.  The Azure invaders seem to hate that voidwalker almost as much as I do now...they were quite contented to let him rot in his cell for ages.

As for Less-rabi, believe me, it's not nearly as hard as various sources try to make it seem.  The best strategy seems to be to just beat him down as fast as possible while having a few interrupts on hand.  In our case, we used a 1 tank 4 DPS strategy and managed to down him before he even attempted to transform a 3rd time.  And all of this without a Rogue of Shaman with 5/5 Reverberation to act as a dedicated interrupter.  I've spent more time worrying about this achievement than any other, and we managed it in one shot in less than a minute.  o.O

And, of course, a screenshot of the drake:

Huzzah for nerdpoints!  =P

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And They Just Keep Rolling In

Achievement-wise, this has probably been my most productive week since the system initially launched.  =P

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


So Close....

...Yet so far away.  ='(

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Paladin Changes in PTR Patch 3.3.0

The following is a summary of all the Paladin-specific changes in the current PTR version of the 3.3.0 patch (notes can be found here):

That's right.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  A whole lotta nuthin'.

And to be honest, I kinda like it.  It sure beats the roller coaster ride that Paladins have been on since Wrath of the Lich King launched.  I wonder how long it'll last...  =P

Saturday, September 19, 2009

'Til Next YARR, TLAPD!

May yar chests be filled with booty and the wind be at yar back!  Yo ho!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

10 Changes That Will Make The Stockade More Heroic

Wow!  It seems that my last post about 10 Changes That Will Make Deadmines More Heroic has become the most popular post on my blog by far (nearly twice as popular as the main page, in fact  o.O)!  On top of that, my 10 Changes That Will Make ___ More Heroic (where ___ is any single old-world dungeon) suggestion has been accepted as this week's Blog Azeroth shared topic!  I highly encourage you all to check out Relevart's suggestions for Ragefire Chasm, as well as Darkpurple's suggestions for Scarlet Monestary and Xeoneo's suggestions for Maraudon (all of which are more serious than my Deadmines post, as well as much better thought out and would seem like genuinely cool instances).

Anyway, to celebrate the above (and because it's been nearly 2 weeks since my last post  >.>), I bring you volume 2: 10 Changes That Will Make The Stockade More Heroic!
  1. The Stockade has been renamed "The Stock-Cade", and is now a fully stocked arcade!
  2. All bosses must be beaten via minigame challenges.
  3. New limited resource system—quarters!
  4. For added realism, it will cost 1 gold to continue in the instance after a wipe.
  5. A brand new randomized miniboss encounter has been added to the instance.  Alternates daily between Whack-A-Gnome, Pin the Tail on the Tauren, and Skee-Ballistae!
  6. The left wing of the instance is now a Space Invaders-like gauntlet involving Gnomish flying machines and harpoon guns!
  7. Loot is no longer randomized!  Instead, it can be chosen by players...via the Claw game.
  8. The Stock-Cade is open from 2pm to 4am on weekdays, and 10am to 6am on weekends.  However, private after-hours parties can be scheduled for a small fee.  No food, drinks, or pets allowed.
  9. Fierce gaming tournaments will be held in The Stock-Cade daily, including Bejewelcrafted, Gold-Peggling, Mega Mash Siblings, Road Brawler Theta, and Dance Dance WaaauughhASpiderIsEatingMyFace...olution.
  10. Oh, and as for the prisoners...they're in another castle.  ;)

Friday, August 28, 2009

10 Changes That Will Make Deadmines More Heroic

  1. The Defias Traitor now offers a new daily heroic quest: The Big Pay. It sends you into Heroic Deadmines to acquire the Head of VanCleef, and pays double the normal daily quest reward amount.
  2. Rhahk'Zor is now a two-headed ogre. Both heads have to be killed simultaneously, else the living head will resurrect the dead one. Aggro speech changed to "VanCleef pay bigger for your heads!"
  3. Miner Johnson promoted to Majer Johnson (yes, the misspelling is intentional). He now dual wields mining picks.
  4. The Sneed's Shredder encounter is now a vehicle fight for which players have to use catapults, motorcycles, ballistae, siege vehicles, and/or gnomish flying machines to succeed. However, the shredder itself is still susceptible to the Gnomish Universal Remote.
  5. Sneed himself must now be fought by all 5 players jumping into his Shredder (now a 5-person vehicle) and using it to stop him. Two players stand on the shoulders and attack via the newly built-in turrets, one pilots and repairs the shredder, one manages the saw blade and fuel supplies, and the last uses the grappling arm to grab planks of lumber for repairing and barrels of pyrite for fuel. Combat pets can sit in front of the primary screen and play StarCraft: Brood War*.
  6. Gilnid is now known as The Smelterer, and now smeltinates the foundryside with cool new abilities like Molten Ore and Melt Metal.
  7. Mr. Smite has fallen in love and started a family. Players now face not Mr. Smite alone, but the bovines he commands (namely Mrs. Smite and the Smite-ettes). The Smite family now improvises with interpretive dance. Your party will have to /dance for supremacy. To facilitate this, the Dance Battle System will finally make it into the game!
  8. Cookie has hired an apprentice...an ooze named Cream. Additionally, the pair now have a chance to drop main and off-hand fist weapons with brand new models—salt and pepper shakers! Hooray! Be warned, though, defeating one will cause the other to kick it up a notch. BAM!
  9. In an effort to become more politically correct, Captain Greenskin has been renamed Captain Jadepidermis. Also, he can now summon sharks. With friggin' laser beams. On their heads.
  10. Regular Deadmines was merely a setback! The Defias Kingpin has returned...with a vengeance! Edwin VanCleef has upgraded his Madcap's Outfit to a complete set of Totally Triumphant VanCleef's Battlegear, and now dual wields pirates who dual wield cutlasses. Also, those cutlasses have a chance on strike to summon ninjas. Ninjas with turtles. Teenage ninjas with turtles. Mutant turtles. And also a giant sewer rat. Plus, he's now 34.33% (repeating, of course) Cleefier than ever before.
*: For those of you who don't get the reference, see this.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's Here! It's Here! BlizzCon is Finally Here!

I wasn't able to snag BlizzCon tickets this year. It's the first BlizzCon that I won't be able to attend in person. =(

However, I thank the powers that be for the live internet stream (which can ordered and viewed at http://blizzcon.rayv.com), so at least I won't miss out on absolutely everything. Got friends coming over, and furniture to rearrange, so I'm out for the rest of the weekend.

Happy BlizzCon everybody!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Lion Guard is Now on Twitter!

The Lion Guard is now on Twitter! Follow me via the side bar or at http://twitter.com/TheLionGuard!

On the Difficulty (or Lack Thereof) of Trial of the Crusader

Since Call of the Crusade, the 3.2.0 patch for World of Warcraft, went live two weeks ago, I've been hearing a lot of grumblings expressing disappointment in regards to the difficulty level of the new raid instance. It seems that no matter where I turn, people are commenting on how the content is just too easy and not at all challenging. To this, my response has consistently been, 'Well, duh!' Now, I don't mean that in a rude way, but it surprises me that people were expecting the normal mode of the raid instance to require a level of coordination and skill above and beyond that required for, say, the Keepers in Ulduar. There are several reasons why this was almost certainly never going to be the case in the first place:

First of all, over the course of Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard has worked to integrate their new view on raiding into the game. This view is that everyone who plays the game should at least have the ability to experience raid content. Now, this doesn't mean that people are going to be able to faceroll their way to beating Arthas (despite some peoples' complaints to the contrary), but it does mean that with some degree of effort, anyone who is willing to face raid content and improve their own play to overcome its challenges should be able to see the inside of Icecrown Citadel. However, with this philosophy, Blizzard was almost certain to run into the problem that if they made raid content too easy in order to accommodate the people who want to experience raid content but didn't really want to challenge themselves by raiding, then whatever raid content was introduced would just bore those who did seek to test their own raiding muscles. Thus, various hardmodes were introduced as a compromise so that those who sought a challenge would find one, and those who only sought to see content would not be hindered in their own quests for progression. So, why am I bringing this up? Because the people who complain about the ease thus far in the Trial of the Crusader raid are forgetting the fact that normal mode content is not supposed to be particularly difficult—it's supposed to give people a taste of what raiding is about while allowing them to see the storyline unfold first-hand. If Trial of the Grand Crusader, the heroic version of Trial of the Crusader, is too easy when it finally becomes available, then would be the time to complain about it.

First-and-a-half-ly, (since this point is ancillary to the one above, but still important enough to merit its own paragraph), I think that many of the people who have tried Trial of the Crusader and found it easier than expected are not the people the instance was designed for. In my mind, if you've defeated Algalon, Yogg-Saron, or even all four of the Keepers in Ulduar, then you've already surpassed the level for which the first few bosses in the instance were tuned. As such, my opinion of the complaints from this group of people is little better than my opinion of, for example, a group of people in full Naxxramas gear complaining that regular level 80 instances (i.e. non-heroics) are too easy.

I say this because it leads me very nicely into my second point, which is that I believe that the instance was most likely tuned for players who are still about halfway through Ulduar's difficulty curve. If you were to graph the difficulty level of each tier of raid content in comparison to each other tier of raid content within the same expansion, you'd probably find that the easiest bosses in each tier tend to fall somewhere in the middle of the difficulty levels of the previous tier. In other words, the easiest bosses in tier X are usually harder than the easiest bosses of tier X-1, yet are still not as challenging as the final bosses of tier X-1. Anecdotally, take the example of Magtheridon's Lair in the Burning Crusade's raid path. Magtheridon was designed to be the final boss of tier 4 content, however, he was perceived by much of the raiding community to be "too difficult". As a result, many raiding groups passed over him and went on to Hydross the Unstable, the first boss of tier 5. Similarly, there were many raid groups that skipped over Lady Vashj and Kael'thas Sunstrider in order to pursue Rage Winterchill and High Warlord Naj'entus. Now, this doesn't mean that Hydross the Unstable, Rage Winterchill, or High Warlord Naj'entus weren't designed to be challenging, only that they probably weren't very challenging to those who actually managed to best the final bosses of the previous tier(s), yet were likely challenging to those who were still working on Gruul's Lair or Fathom-Lord Karathress. Since I doubt Blizzard has dropped this design philosophy in favor of a more linear difficulty curve, this means that the Northrend Beasts encounter, the first encounter of Trial of the Crusader, is likely designed to be roughly on-par with the Antechamber or Keeper bosses. Thus, the people who the encounter was designed to be challenging for are likely those who have just recently beaten the Assembly of Iron or thereabouts.

Finally, if you look at the way Blizzard has designed raids in the past, you'll notice that raid bosses can usually be broken down into three categories: regular bosses, final bosses, and gatekeeper bosses. Regular bosses are, of course, the bread 'n' butter of raid instances. They basically exist to reward players for getting through their portion of the instance, and not to pose any particularly difficult challenge. I've heard them described as both "loot piñatas" and "glorified trash" (usually depending on whether the person describing them needs any of the loot they drop or not =P ). Final bosses are fairly self-explanatory—they're the bosses at the end of each tier of content that drop the most desirable items and are usually the hardest in the entire tier. Gatekeeper bosses, however, are the ones most pertinent to this discussion, and generally some of the more interesting ones to encounter in each instance. These bosses come in a variety of flavors, but their purpose is basically to act as a yardstick against which raids can measure their readiness for final bosses. Now, gatekeeper bosses can be actual gatekeepers, such as Sapphiron who blocks the entrance to Kel'Thuzad as well as drops the item necessary to access the Eye of Eternity, or they can be bosses such as Mimiron who essentially act as skill checks for progression, or they can be bosses like Thaddius, who somehow manages to wreck some raid groups for whatever reason. The most famous of these gatekeeper bosses are probably the Twin Emperors from the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, and M'uru from Sunwell Plateau.

I bring up the subject of these gatekeeper bosses because when one thinks of the fun and challenging encounters in each raid tier, one usually thinks of final bosses and gatekeeper bosses. However, with a few exceptions (Blackwing Lair comes poignantly to mind), gatekeeper bosses tend to be found near the end of each content tier. Since this has been the overwhelming trend for the raid zones of World of Warcraft's expansions, it was highly doubtful that the earliest bosses of patch 3.2.0's new raid would be such gatekeepers. And since there was even less chance that the first encounter of the 5-encounter instance would be the "final boss", this meant that the Northrend Beasts and Lord Jaraxxus would most likely fall into the glorified trash/loot piñata category of regular bosses.

So, why was anyone expecting these bosses to be any challenge whatsoever for raid groups that had finished (or mostly finished) Ulduar? Now, I could see the point that the raid is "too easy" if groups that had never set foot in Ulduar managed to walk in and defeat the first few encounters of Trial of the Crusader with ease, but any group beyond that level of progression managing to down the content handily should hardly come as a shock.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Semi-Sensical Explanation of Warsong Gulch

There have been countless jokes about the dichotomy between the premise and implementation of the Warsong Gulch battleground since it was first introduced to World of Warcraft back in the 1.5.0 patch of June, 2005. For those of you who are not in the know—or have just plain forgotten—the premise of Warsong Gulch revolves around two factions vying for control over the southern portions of Ashenvale forest. On the Horde side, the Warsong Outriders seek to obtain valuable resources by making lumber out of the forest's trees. On the Alliance side, the Silverwing Sentinels seek to keep the land pristine by halting the Warsong Outriders' lumber operation. So, how was this premise actually implemented into World of Warcraft?

As a game of capture the flag, of course!

I'll let that sink in for a moment, shall I? For those of you who have known about this for a long time, feel free to take this moment to let the headache from slamming your forehead into the desk subside.

Feeling better? Good. Now I'll bet you're wondering how a game of capture the flag can possibly make sense in the above context. Well, the truth is that no explanation that makes sense in terms of game lore can actually explain Warsong Gulch completely without requiring some degree of creative interpretation (hence the "Semi-Sensical" in this post's title). Back when the debates about how the implementation of Warsong Gulch makes sense lore-wise were still common, one of the rationales was that the flags were symbolic of actual trees. Thus, by capturing flags, you were, in effect, raiding the enemy's lumber reserves.

Personally, I disagree. Why? Because I think I've come to a conclusion that I feel better explains the relationship between the premise of Warsong Gulch and its capture-the-flag implementation—capturing the flag is not a symbolic gesture that represents capturing the enemy's lumber supplies...it's a literal one! We're not really after the enemy's flag so much as we're all trying to capture the enemy's flagPOLE. After all, those flagpoles are the only movable lumber in the entire battleground. Suddenly, it all makes sense! =P

Wait, why are you all looking at me like I'm crazy?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Five - First War Lore

This week, I contributed some prompts regarding the First War—the original war between the Orcish Horde and the Human Kingdom of Stormwind portrayed in the first WarCraft game WarCraft: Orcs & Humans—for Anna's Friday Five feature. Since I'm the one that asked the questions in the first place, it's only fair that I answer them for my own character, right? So, here goes. ;)

Be sure to check out the prompt before reading on, else this may not make much sense. :P

  1. Gryphonheart knows a great deal about the First War. He spent the better part of his childhood listening to the other refugees of Stormwind tell tales of their lost homeland, and the experience has caused him to seek out more knowledge of these events—from both first-hand and third-hand sources—whenever he has the opportunity.
  2. Born the day Stormwind finally fell to the Orcish onslaught, Gryphonheart has no recollection of the actual events of the war. His father managed to secure passage to Lordaeron for himself, his wife, and his newly born son on one of the many ships that carried the nation's refugees to the southern shores of Hillsbrad Foothills. Gryphonheart's grandfather (on his mother's side), however, was one of the city defenders that fell to enable their safe escape from the invading army. Prior to that final day, though, Gryphonheart's parents resided in Northshire Valley and fled to the city as the Horde pressed further and further into Stormwind territory.
  3. Despite its ultimate defeat by the Orcish Horde, Gryphonheart views Stormwind's actions with pride. It was King Llane's valiant defense of his lands that stalled the Orcish Horde long enough to obtain the valuable information on Orcs and their combat strategies that helped the Alliance defeat the Horde in the Second War. It was Anduin Lothar, Knight-Champion of Stormwind, who ensured the participation of the Wildhammer Dwarves and the High Elves and who led the Alliance armies against Doomhammer's Horde. It was the clerics of Northshire Abbey who passed to their northern brethren knowledge of the extent of the Orcish threat, and thus helped inspire the creation of the Paladins. Of course, Gryphonheart knows that Stormwind's actions weren't perfect—there were many things that could have been done to prevent the nation's destruction, such as calling on the northern kingdoms for aid, or taking a more aggressive stance towards Orcish incursions, or not blindly trusting the actions of Medivh and Garona. Yet ultimately, it's his belief that the seeds of Alliance victory were sown by Stormwind hands.
  4. Indeed. Not having known a stable home for much of his childhood, Gryphonheart knows how valuable one can be. Having found that home in the reconstructed walls of Stormwind, he is determined to keep it safe and prevent history from repeating itself.
  5. Gryphonheart still doesn't really know how he feels about Medivh's actions. He's read the first-hand accounts of the soldiers who participated in the final showdown at Karazhan, as well as what the official (and some unofficial) histories tell of Khadgar's tale, so he knows of Sargeras' possession of Medivh. Even then, he has an incredibly difficult time forgiving Medivh for what he did, even after the former Guardian's actions saved Azeroth from the Burning Legion's return in the Third War. Perhaps someday he'll forgive Medivh. Until then, though, Gryphonheart is perfectly content to hate Medivh's failures and appreciate his successes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Beast Mastery "X Shot" Idea

I know this isn't usually a blog about Hunters. However, after reading the recent Hunter Q&A as well as some of the conversations that spawned from it, I figured I'd share one of the thoughts that have crossed my mind. ;D

According to the Q&A, one of the problems with how to buff Beast Mastery damage that Ghostcrawler has talked about is that the Beast Mastery tree doesn't have a signature shot, like Marksman has Chimera Shot and Survival has Explosive Shot. Additionally, Blizzard is reluctant to add a special shot to Beast Mastery since that would essentially make Arcane Shot obsolete, and buffing Arcane Shot would require adding such buffs deep into Beast Mastery in order to prevent it from being too powerful in the hands of Marksman and Survival Hunters.

I've thought about it, and I think that ultimately, adding a special shot to Beast Mastery would be the best option, despite Blizzard's current misgivings. In truth, a perfect candidate for such a shot is already decently well known by the community at large, and only requires proper implementation into the game. And so, I propose adding the following new shot deep into Beast Mastery:

The Chuck-Shot
Calls forth a crazed Dwarven Warrior to load a boomstick with 2 charges of heavy blasting powder and one juvenile woodchuck (angry) and fire it at your target. Deals X damage and disorients the target for Y seconds as the woodchuck scrambles about its britches.

A demonstration of this ancient technique—as ancient as 2005, anyway—can be found in episode 7 of Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth.

Happy hunting. Oh, and don't forget to loot the chuck. ;)

PS: I fully mean this post in good-natured fun. It is not my intent to troll—I just thought we could use a laugh. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why the Argent Tournament Makes Sense

I've seen it expressed in various blogs and in-game, and I'm sure you have, too. "The Argent Tournament makes no sense! What the hell is the Argent Crusade thinking?! Highlord Fordring really needs to lay off the ale for a bit."

This post is to express my disagreement with that particular sentiment, as well as to explain exactly why the Argent Tournament makes absolutely perfect sense, both logically and lore-wise. Let's begin, shall we.

Thus far in World of Warcraft, we've seen our fair share of badass bosses. From Ragnaros' molten fury to Illidan's demonic paranoia to the corrupting machinations of the Old Gods. However, of all the badasses we've run into, the Lich King is by far the badassiest. Why? Because like Bloodlord Mandokir, his enemies' failures feed into his own strength. Let me repeat that for you. In bold, underlined letters, no less. His enemies' failures feed into his strength.

Is it making sense yet? No? So let's break it down some more. I don't know how many folks remember Bloodlord Mandokir, but when he is pulled an army of ghost-like NPCs surround the room. Now, these ghosts don't attack anyone, they just kind of sit there and wait. When Bloodlord Mandokir manages to kill someone, two things happen. First, he grows in strength, the the point where he even gets to experience the delicious golden glowiness that is the leveling up animation. Secondly, a ghost detaches itself from the peripheries of the room and slowly floats towards the dead player. Once the ghost gets there, the player is allowed the option of being resurrected.

"He rezzes us? But that sounds awesome!" you might find yourself saying. "That should make the boss much easier, since we can basically just zerg him for epics!"

Unfortunately, if you find yourself thinking that, you missed the bold, underlined letters above. Every time one of his opponents dies, Bloodlord Mandokir grows stronger. Essentially, there was a threshold of performance required to beat him back before the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King released. If members of the raid were being stupid, or not paying attention, or having an off day, or for whatever other reason were unable to perform to the level of play necessary to down him, Bloodlord Mandokir would simply offer the raid group an extremely nasty repair bill. Again. And again. And again. And each time he'd kill someone, he'd grow even stronger still. Zerging as a strategy would leave both you and your wallet in beaten, bloody tatters.

"Okay, so zerging Bloodlord Mandokir is bad. But what does this have to do with the Lich King?"

Well, think about it. The Lich King is the ruler of the Undead Scourge. And what is the Scourge comprised of? The rotting corpses of those who fought against him, mostly. So what do you think would happen if the Argent Crusade just put together a huge army and zerged Icecrown Citadel? I'll tell you what: complete and total failure. Each fallen soldier would simply add to the Lich King's strength. Slowly, inevitably, attrition would lose the day.

Ultimately, the Argent Crusade has to figure out a more elegant strategy. Something with a higher success rate than simply zerg the Frozen Throne and hope for the best. Something like pick only the strongest and most able warriors Azeroth has to offer, train them up to become even stronger still, build their relationships with each other so they'll at least work together long enough to accomplish their task, and trust that they will be powerful enough to survive not only taking the battle to the Lich King's doorstep, but vanquishing the Lich King himself.

So let's do this step by step. How does one pick only the strongest forces available to the cause? Well, a competition of some kind should allow them to be compared to each other fairly easily, as well as allow the strongest to quickly rise to the top. But the competition has to be one that's not particularly lethal (at least not at first). It can't really be a direct gladiatorial competition because the Alliance participants and Horde participants may be a bit too likely to "accidentally" kill each other. It has to be a competition that's close enough to real combat, but enough of a sporting event that people will keep themselves in check. It also has to be one that will teach skills that can actually be used in battle. In addition, since the Argent forces would have to move fairly quickly to get behind Scourge lines and have a chance at facing off against the Lich King himself, they'd have to move pretty fast. Perhaps on mounts. Now, what kind of combat-like mounted sporting event that teaches actual combat skills can we think of that would fit into a medieval-themed competition?

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, a jousting tournament. A jousting tournament like the one being held right now at the Argent Tournament grounds.

Does it make sense yet? Are lightbulbs lighting up? Are you considering starting your next sentence with "Well, when you put it that way..."? No? Still not convinced that jousting will be a necessary skill once we're actually inside Icecrown Citadel? Well, the truth of the matter is that once we're inside, jousting will probably not be applicable in the slightest. However, getting people inside the citadel without suffering casualties is extremely important, and even if a few individuals here and there suck at jousting, the tournament ensures that an elite vanguard of jousting champions will at least be there to lead the charge and get everyone into the citadel safely (as well as keep the Scourge distracted once the strike force is inside).

This is where the updated Argent Tournament of patch 3.2 comes into play. We're not going to be jousting inside the coliseum that's being built. Sure, there may be some places where we joust (I haven't read up on all the fights yet, so I don't know for sure), but the vast majority of the combat seems to be of the hand-to-hand variety. Defeating extremely powerful beasts and some of the Lich King's own elite forces.

Where Argent Tournament v1.0 taught us what we need to get inside Icecrown Citadel, Argent Tournament v2.0 will train us to fight more effectively once we're there. I suspect that Argent Tournament v3.0 will help us to discover a weakness of the Lich King, so that we're not all slaughtered horribly as soon as we scale the steps to the Frozen Throne. Argent Tournament v4.0? Totally gonna teach us how to throw the after-victory ice-cream party. ;D

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Glory of the Hero

For the longest time now I've been wanting to try to get the Glory of the Hero meta-achievement for completing various achievements in the heroic dungeons of Wrath of the Lich King, as well as the Reins of the Red Proto-Drake it awards. In truth, I've been after any proto-drake mount ever since I first found out they were obtainable, but they've all managed to elude my grasp thus far. The Mysterious Eggs the Oracles sell me always seem to hatch into White Tickbird Hatchlings or Cobra Hatchlings rather than Reins of the Green Proto-Drake, Skadi the Ruthless in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle never seems to drop his Reins of the Blue Proto-Drake when I'm around, and the Time-Lost Proto Drake rare spawn that drops the bronze Reins of the Time-Lost Proto-Drake seems to be camped 24/7 by other players after the mount. Plus, since I doubt I'll ever have the stable free time necessary to earn any of the raiding or PvP achievement mounts, the Red Proto-Drake from Glory of the Hero is essentially the only option that does not leave me at the mercy of the RNG gods.

Sadly, until recently my progress towards actually obtaining the meta-achievement was extremely limited, especially considering that I only ran about 1-2 heroics per week, and that about half of those were pick up groups put together from the LFG system. Even the ones I would run with friends, raiding associates, and acquaintances all seemed to be focused on getting through the instance as quickly and painlessly as possible, to the point where many times one or more players in the group would just outright refuse to even attempt any of the achievements.

Thankfully, it seems I'm not the only one who's run into similar experiences. I've managed to get a group of folks together who are also interested in completing Glory of the Hero, and now we're really tearing through the various achievements that seemed fairly impossible not even a month ago. The group's first run was this past Wednesday, and since then I've managed to lead several groups, nabbing On The Rocks, Watch Him Die, Gotta Go!, The Party's Over, Volazj's Quick Demise, Respect Your Elders, Volunteer Work, Consumption Junction, Better Off Dred, Oh Novos!, and Zombiefest! along the way. We also would have managed to get Hadronox Denied if the boss hadn't bugged out on us. Plus, some folks in the group have also managed to get Less-rabi, Make It Count, Ruby Void, Emerald Void, and Amber Void (with myself amongst those who managed to get Ruby Void and Emerald Void).

It's nice to have a goal to look forward to again. Since raiding is nearly impossible due to my erratic schedule, and earning Champion's Seals/Dalaran Cooking Awards can only amuse me for so long, I was really beginning to lose all interest in even logging on when I had the chance. Hopefully, these new Glory of the Hero runs will keep me occupied and engaged until I can get my schedule stabilized and start raiding again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Lack of Posts

As I'm sure you know, I haven't been posting on this blog particularly frequently for the past few months, and part of the purpose of this post is that I figure I owe everyone who's bothered to take the time to subscribe to this blog an explanation of sorts. Since I'm sure you all probably have better things to do, I'll try to keep this post short and sweet.

There are three primary reasons for the lack of posts:
  1. I moved, and in the process of moving I got lazy. Getting lazy resulted in not bothering to stay particularly organized, which led to misplacing the sheet of paper on which I had written down several sessions of brainstorming blog topics. Don't worry, I'll find it eventually. I know it's around here somewhere...
  2. I became busy with non-WarCraft related things for a significant enough chunk of time to cause me to fall way behind on everything that has anything to do with WarCraft. Over the past few months, I've been trying to work my way through a massive backlog of news, blogs, forums, novels, short stories, comics, etc. etc. However, in the process of trying to play catch up, I neglected to keep moving forward with blog posts myself.
  3. I haven't really been raiding progression content. Raiding is my muse—it's what motivates me to theorycraft and examine min/maxing strategies; it inspires me to read the WarCraft novels and play through the prior games; it pushes me to lurk forums and browse blogs; and ultimately it's what enables me to come up with things to write about and focus my thoughts and opinions into something resembling coherency. Lack of raiding, quite simply, led to lack of content.
As I mentioned earlier, part of the reason for this post is to provide the people who have deemed this blog worthy enough of subscribing to an explanation as to what's been going on. The other part is to remind myself that none of the above is acceptable, and to tell myself to do better. Now let's see if I can browbeat some actual content of myself. ;D

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On MP5 and Intellect—My Hopes for the Holy Paladin's Future

So, anyone who has been keeping track of Paladin news should probably know that Blizzard isn't too happy with how Holy Paladins have turned out in terms of stat wants. The sheer emphasis on Intellect since the introduction of Divine Plea and Repenishment has gotten to somewhat absurd levels, and I agree with Blizzard in that there do need to be some changes in the near future to keep everything in from getting out of hand.

As many Paladins have stated, the emphasis on stacking Intellect is the cumulative result of several issues:
  1. Intellect as a stat provides Paladins with almost everything needed to function in a healing capacity. It increases total mana, mana regeneration, spell critical strike chance, and spell power (via the Holy Guidance talent. The only other stat Paladins might desire for healing purposes is haste, but a lot of the gear that allows the stacking of Intellect also provides some degree of haste, which combined with that granted by Judgements of the Pure is ample enough.
  2. Unlike stats such as Intellect and crit, mp5 has no synergy whatsoever with Paladin spells and talents. Haste is in a similar situation, but unlike mp5 haste is considered to have one or more "soft caps" that players tend to shoot for, such as reducing the global cooldown to 1 second or reducing the casting time of a frequently cast spell to 1 second. For mp5, there really isn't an easily definable goal.
  3. MP5 is a flat-out boring stat. Unlike the other valuable stats for Holy Paladins, mp5 does nothing to make itself exciting. Intellect contribues to a plethora of additional stats, as mentioned in #1 above, but also visibly increases the total mana available to the Paladin. Crit causes big numbers and the occasional mana restoration from Illumination to scroll across the screen. Spell power helps to make the numbers that scroll across the screen even bigger, and the effect of haste is felt in the rhythm of casting more than it's seen, but even then its effect shows up in the tooltips of various spells. MP5 requires one to dig into the character window to be able to see any meaningful numbers. One cannot easily feel the impact mp5 has on the game. It's simply something that's there, in the background, doing its own thing and not bothering to stand out. In other words, it settles for the bare minimum number of pieces of flair.
  4. MP5 is a significantly more expensive stat in terms of itemization budget than other stats. Why would anyone bother with gems that give a measly 6 mp5 when they can instead invest in gems that give 16 Intellect or 18 spell power instead? The latter two values just feel much more meaningful than the former.
At the very least, at least Blizzard recognizes issue number 4. In a recent post, Ghostcrawler stated:
Regardless of any other changes we might make, mp5 just doesn't seem to provide enough point for point on gear. It's possible (likely?) we'll just increase all of the mp5 on gear.
Personally, I think this is an excellent first step. However, it's only that—a first step. By itself, I doubt it will fix the Intellect stacking issue, but Ghostcrawler seems to be implying that there are additional changes in the works and I'm hoping some of them will address issues 1, 2, and 3 above. So how should these issues be addressed?

In my opinion, the best way to address the remaining issues is to reevaluate Divine Plea. The unfortunate truth is that Divine Plea is the primary culprit for the current state of Holy Paladin itemization problems. Repenishment also contributes to some degree, but changing Divine Plea is the easiest way to tweak Paladins without messing with other classes.

Now, when I say "reevaluate" and "tweak", I do not mean "nerf". I think it's absolutely possible to adjust Divine Plea to remain as powerful as it is today, but scale from a stat other than total mana. A stat such as mp5. This would make mp5 more synergistic with Paladin spells, thereby increasing the value of mp5, as well as reducing the value of Intellect all in one elegant swoop. Additionally, if things are done carefully, it can be adjusted to scale for Holy Paladins without destroying its worth for Protection and Retribution Paladins. For example, Divine Plea could be changed to something more like:
Divine Plea
1 minute cooldown
You gain X% of your base mana and Y% of your casting mana regeneration over 15 sec, but the amount healed by your Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Holy Shock spells is reduced by 50%.
Since Protection and Retribution Paladins don't bother to get Intellect or mp5 on their gear, the X percentage could be set so that Divine Plea returns the same amount of mana to them as it does currently, while the Y percentage could be adjusted to whatever amount of regeneration Blizzard wants Holy Paladins to have at various itemization levels. It's a fairly simple change on the surface that will solve issues 1, 2, and 3. Intellect will become slightly less valuable (1), mp5 will become more synergistic with Paladin spells (2), and the numbers that will scroll across the screen when a Holy Paladin uses Divine Plea will help to directly show the impact mp5 has on gameplay (3). In my mind, it's a win-win-win scenario.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Argent Tournament?

Yeah, yeah. I know. I'm a horrible blogger. But I've been going through what Ila would call "writer's blah" (WARNING: link contains profanity).

Regardless, if you've been paying attention to recent World of Warcraft news, you know that Blizzard has been announcing a flurry of information on Patch 3.1, including a new world event called "The Argent Tournament". Here's what Blizzard has to say about it:

In patch 3.1, a new world event titled “The Argent Tournament” will be coming to Northrend! This tournament will be live on the 3.1 PTR and open for testing, though certain aspects are still in development. Players will find a host of new features here, including:

  • The ability to prove your worth to a capital city of your choosing through our new mounted combat system (still in development)
  • New daily quests to construct the great Argent Crusade coliseum for glorious battles to come
  • All new rewards - new items, titles, banners, tabards, pets, mounts, and more
  • All new achievements
  • Many more festivities, and more to come in future content updates!

Players will find the Argent Tournament in Icecrown. Speaking to any Northrend flight master will get you on track to prove your worth to the Argent Crusade, your faction’s leaders, and all denizens of Azeroth!

Now, personally, this event sounds incredibly exciting to me. I've always been a fan of all Paladin-related WarCraft lore, and this event seems like it's really going to bring the Argent Crusade's struggle against the Lich King to the foreground (more so than previous content in Wrath of the Lich King, since a hefty chunk of lore was dedicated to the Nexus War). Hopefully, it will also set the stage (or have its stage set by) Christie Golden's upcoming WarCraft novel, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, which is due out in April of this year.

So, let's go through the tournament details point by point.

Gaining reputation with capital cities currently requires reputation spillover from quests, holiday events, or repeated turning in of Runecloth. Since Blizzard hasn't seen fit to continue with the ability to turn in high level cloth such as Netherweave Cloth from the Burning Crusade nor Frostweave Cloth from Wrath of the Lich King for reputation, giving some way to increase one's standing with the cities without having to farm ancient content is long overdue.

Mounted combat is something I've been looking forward to since the game first launched—after spending so much time playing the WarCraft real-time strategy games, not being able to participate in mounted combat just feels wrong. Idiosyncrasies such as cavalry units in the Alterac Valley battleground dismounting to attack nearby enemies and remounting when combat had concluded always seemed extremely strange, especially for a game that hailed from the WarCraft lineage. However, now that it's being added to World of Warcraft, I truly hope that Blizzard takes their time to make mounted combat something more than the current vehicle combat, or, at the very least, improve the way the user interface deals with vehicles.

New daily quests are always a good thing. At present, the only decent clustering of daily quests is in Dun Niffelem for gaining reputation with the Sons of Hodir. The rest of the Northrend dailies tend to be spread out across the entire continent, and the only other clustering I can convince myself to do on a daily (or close to) basis are the Frenzyheart/Oracle quests in Sholazar Basin. Also, while phasing is nice and truly does give the impression of your character having a great impact on the world, the truth is that the real notion that drew me towards World of Warcraft when I first heard of it (back when WarCraft 3 launched) was the idea that I would be able to play a regular unit—someone who could certainly have an impact on the Azeroth, but not necessarily someone whom the world would revolve around. Slow progression such as that which occurred on the Isle of Quel'Danas just feels as if you're participating in something much, much greater than yourself, and really helps to keep one's ego in check.

Last of all is the addition of new awards and achievements. Naturally, new items and such are certainly expected, but I'm incredibly glad Blizzard went out of their way to mention the addition of things such as new titles, pets, and tabards. While there may be some people out there who aren't particularly enthused by new items that aren't gear upgrades, I, for one, really do appreciate the little things in life in World of Warcraft. However, I really hope that Blizzard doesn't decide to make the Argent Tournament a real tournament, and thereby limit the rewards available to people. I'm of the opinion that while it's perfectly fine to reserve some things for the elite crowd, such as gear upgrades, the "fun" objects should be available to everyone. After all, they're what add such a rich flavor to the game.

Oh, and by the way, one word in the announcement really caught my eye, and is probably the thing I am most excited about seeing on the Public Test Realms...that word is banners.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

3.1 Paladin Change Highlights

From the Upcoming Class Change Highlights (Part 3) thread:


My thoughts on the changes:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Explanation of Haste

When haste was first introduced into World of Warcraft as an item stat, it seemed there was a great deal of confusion on how it actually worked. Even now that haste has become an extremely common stat that can be found on a significant portion of caster gear, it seems that there are still questions on how exactly each percentage point of haste affects spell casts and global cooldowns.

Well, nowadays there are a great many resources (such as WoWWiki's Casting speed page) available that explain how exactly haste rating and haste percentages modify spell casting speed and the global cooldown, as well as formulas that allow you to calculate how much haste you need to reach a target goal—such as reducing the 1.5 second default global cooldown to the 1 second minimum. Unfortunately, it seems that what many of these resources don't provide is an explanation of why haste behaves the way it does, and so the purpose of this post is to explain exactly that on a conceptual level.

If we think about it, there are two ways to view the meaning of the word "haste". The first way is to interpret it something along the lines of "take less time to do a set task", and the second way is more akin to "do more in a set amount of time". Generally speaking, when we think of haste, we're likely to think about the first interpretation. For example, "Max hastily made his bed" most likely means that although it normally takes Max 3 minutes to make his bed, in this case he managed to make it in 2 minutes because he rushed. However, World of Warcraft uses the second interpretation instead of the first. An example of this interpretation would be "If I work with great haste, I should be able to paint 3 walls before dinner instead of 2."

So, you're probably thinking "Well, what's the difference? Taking less time to do something is basically the same thing as doing more things in a certain amount of time!" It turns out, there's a significant difference, mathematically speaking. Let's say Al and Bob are cutting carrots, and it takes both of them about 1 minute (60 seconds) to cut 10 carrots. After a while, Al and Bob get bored, and so Al decides to cut his carrots in 50% less time while Bob decides to cut 50% more carrots each minute. If there was no difference between the two, then Al and Bob should still be cutting carrots at the same rate, right? Well, Al begins cutting 10 carrots in 60 - 50% = 60 - 30 = 30 seconds, and Bob begins cutting 10 + 50% = 10 + 5 = 15 carrots in 60 seconds. After 1 minute, Al ends up having cut 20 carrots while Bob has only managed 15.

Now, how does this apply to World of Warcraft? Well, if you think about haste using the first interpretation—making each cast/global cooldown take less time—then the numbers are going to seem counterintuitive. Thinking about it this way would lead to the conclusion that you would only require 33% haste in order to reduce 1.5 seconds to 1 second, since
1.5 seconds - 33% = 1.5 seconds - 0.5 seconds = 1 second.
It would also lead to the conclusion that 100% haste would make all of your spell casts instant, since
1.5 seconds - 100% = 1.5 seconds - 1.5 seconds = 0 seconds.
Yet this is not how haste behaves in the game.

However, if you try thinking about it with the other interpretation—that it allows you to cast more spells in a set amount of time—it begins to make much more sense. The way I conceptualize it is that haste increases your casting rate. So, if you have 100% haste, then you can cast twice as many spells in the same amount of time it would take you to cast a single spell with no haste. If we use a 3-second spell as an example, then
1 spell per 3 seconds + 100% = 1 spell per 3 seconds + 1 spell per 3 seconds = 2 spells per 3 seconds.
So, if it doesn't take 33% haste to reduce a 1.5 second spell cast or the 1.5 second global cooldown to 1 second, then how much haste does it take? If you conceptualize it with the formula just above this, you can math it out:
1 spell per 1.5 seconds + ? = 1 spell per 1 second
1 spell per 1.5 seconds + ? = 1.5 spells per 1.5 seconds
? = 1.5 spells per 1.5 seconds - 1 spell per 1.5 seconds
? = 0.5 spells per 1.5 seconds

0.5 spells per 1.5 seconds is what % of 1 spell per 1.5 seconds?
(0.5 spells per 1.5 seconds) / (1 spell per 1.5 seconds) = 1/2 = 0.5 = 50%
So, you need 50% haste to reduce a 1.5 second spell cast or global cooldown to a 1 second cast or global cooldown.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

4 Unconventional Uses for Divine Intervention

By reading this post, you hereby agree that neither Gryphonheart nor The Lion Guard will be held responsible for any repercussions resulting from taking this blog post seriously, including but not limited to ostracization from the Paladin community, permanent removal from a raid group, addition to the opposing faction's "kill on sight" list, and repeated queries of "OMG wut just hapend?!?!?!"

And so, without further adieu, 4 Unconventional Uses for Divine Intervention:
  1. Are you tired of your Pallyfriends giving your class a bad name by repeatedly bubble-hearthing after raids? Did some Nubadin just ninja-loot your item, run face first into the closest group of mobs, pull them back onto you, and then begin bubble-hearthing to add insult to injury? Put an end to the bubble-hearthing shenanigans with Divine Intervention! Nothing stops a bubble-hearth more effectively! That Hearthadin will never know what hit him!
  2. Is another healer constantly sniping your heals? Does she refuse to stop, no matter how many times you've asked? Is she gloating over your lack of haste? Well, here's how to teach her not to mess with you: just Divine Intervention her as she tries to snipe your next heal, and watch the hilarity ensue. As a bonus, you'll even be able to taunt her by taking an AFK to go grab some cookies while she's forced to sit around and resurrect the entire raid group due to being the last person left alive.
  3. Does your pre-made team repeatedly get steamrolled in battlegrounds because of that guy? Do you sometimes wish that guy were played by a headless chicken, so that he'd be more effective? Ever find yourself wishing you could just use that guy as bait? Well Divine Intervention can help! Simply cast it on that guy while he's being ganked and not only will your opponents be thoroughly confounded (leaving them open to a coordinated counter-attack), but the incessant "Immune" messages will rile them up into a frothy that guy-hating frenzy! It's a win-win scenario!
  4. Are you exhausted of running all the way back to the beginning of an instance just so you can turn in your completed quest to the NPC standing right outside the instance gate? Does the prospect of taking a portal to a nearby city and then traveling back to the instance you just left leave a sour taste in your mouth. Well, once the final boss is downed, just Divine Intervention a nearby ally and you'll find yourself just a short corpse run back to the instance entrance! No longer will you have to put up with potential respawns or portals that inconveniently leave you half a continent away! Just take a quick short cut through the spirit world and BOOM!—you're just a loading screen or two away from your destination!

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Foray into the New Naxxramas

I am one of those people who holds the opinion that one should not enter the raiding environment until one has had the opportunity to properly prepare oneself. By this I mean taking the time to run some heroics, replace at least a few of the leveling greens and blues one's acquired on the trek to level 80, and started earning reputation with the appropriate factions to ensure access to good items and item enhancements. Additionally, I also feel that one should take the time to do some research about the items available from various reputations, dungeons, raids, and vendors, and then properly gem and enhance those items that seem as if they'll have decent enough staying power to remain worthwhile, as well as learn about the encounters one will inevitably come across in the raid.

So, knowing those beliefs, I probably look like a big fat hypocrite for going to Naxxramas less than 24 hours after reaching level 80, still wearing gear primarily consisting of Tier 5 quality items, and without knowing any of the encounters in the particular wing we entered (Military). Well, I sure feel like one, too. That's probably the biggest contributing factor to why I'm inclined to say my first post-Patch 3.0.2 Naxxramas experience was not as fun as I think it should have (or at least would have otherwise) been. Spending several hours feeling like you're just letting 9 other people down has a way of sucking all the enjoyment out of things, and even though I dearly love the group I went with, I don't think I'll be joining them for their future expeditions...at least not for now.

Although, to be fair, I do think that I managed to perform at least decently well, especially considering I wasn't the only undergeared person there. Also, it wasn't as if I sought out a Naxxramas run to go to—I was...uh...I guess the best term would be "aggressively recruited" by a group of friends who I've ran with for various raids since back before the Burning Crusade launched.

Still, I don't think I'll be doing that again. At least, not until I've had a chance to properly prepare myself for round 2.

Achievement Earned: Level 80

Yes, yes, I know. I'm horrible at keeping New Year Resolutions. But isn't just about everybody?

Regardless, I finally hit level 80 late last night (or this morning, if you want to be technical), which is great because now I can hopefully begin working on some higher-quality content for this blog. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing posts with more—oh shall we say "substance"—prior to now, it's because I find it very difficult to begin wrapping my mind around end-game concepts when I'm still leveling. I think it's probably because I'm one of those people who enjoys the journey more than the destination, and so eyeing end-game gear lists and stat weight scales and such just takes the fun away from the present.

Anyway, at the time I hit level 80, I had completed nearly every quest available to me in Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, and Grizzly Hills, as well as gotten just under halfway through Zul'Drak. (If you're wondering why I said "nearly", it's because I skipped the torture sequence in Borean Tundra.) I have to say, the early quest zones in Northrend are incredibly interesting to me, as both a gamer and a lore fanatic. Learning about the ancestry of the human and gnome races, as well as the battles within the various dragonflight, giant, dwarf, and troll factions was/is absolutely fascinating. Also, it's pretty much impossible to dislike a quest titled "Kickin' Nass and Takin' Manes", even if it is from a group Gryphonheart doesn't completely trust...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

2009 is finally here, and with it comes a batch of New Year resolutions. My resolutions for The Lion Guard are (in no particular order):

  • Post more often — the internet problems I still continue to face really put a damper on my posting habit. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon and I can meet the goal I originally set for myself back in early November.
  • Update site graphics — I'm currently experimenting with a few graphics design programs, and hopefully I'll be able to spruce up the site a bit and possibly even add some original artwork.
  • Add additional pages/features (such as blogrolls, helpful links, character profiles, etc.) — I've been planning to get this done for quite some time now. May as well add it to the resolution/to-do list, right? :P
  • Be more positive — it feels like I'm doing (or at least wanting to do) a disproportionate amount of ranting on this blog, and that wasn't my original intent. Time to get back to the basics and find something more constructive/useful to say.
Happy 2009, everyone! Warmest wishes of health, happiness, and prosperity in the year to come!