Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday The Lion Guard!

Happy 2nd birthday, you neglected blog you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's the End of the Raid as We Know It

So this past Friday marked the final official TRI raid of this expansion. We wrapped up with one last Lich King kill. It's a fitting finale, I guess. To say I'm sad about TRI no longer officially raiding 25s is a bit of an understatement. I think the worst part about this at the moment is not knowing what TRI is going to do in Cataclysm. Will we stay together as a 25-man raid, or will we break up into a group of 10-mans? As it stands right now, the future is more than a little uncertain, at least to us non-officers—I have no idea about whether the officers have discussed things or started planning or if they're just waiting for Cataclysm to drop before figuring things out.

Officers have talked about how there will likely be unofficial 10s and 25s continuing to run raids up until the next expansion (or at least patch 4.0) drops, but to be totally and completely honest, I doubt anything much is going to happen. I'm not saying that to disrespect the officers or anything—I'm just being realistic. Between burnout, summer plans, and StarCraft II, people just don't seem to have the time to put things together anymore. For example, the Icecrown Citadel 10-man group I ran with ended up disbanding. It was supposed to combine with another 10-man group to keep going, but I haven't heard a thing about it running or not running for months now. Another 10-man specializing in achievements and hardmodes was under construction, but that either fizzled out or went underground. I'd pick up the mantle and try to put something together myself, but I can almost never get a full raid rostered unless it's an ad-hoc weekly raid quest run, and I simply can't justify either the time investment or the inevitable frustration I will be left with if I try to put together anything else. =(

On top of that, the forums that were the essential out-of-game hub for TRI folks to plan things have pretty much died out. Part of it is due the fact that raid signups were moved to an EQdkp site, and part of it is the result of the snowball effect in reverse (in other words, the forums just couldn't maintain the critical mass necessary to remain active). This makes it exponentially more difficult to actually generate interest in any event that requires some degree of forethought and planning. Events such as raiding. =\

Honestly, I just don't know what to do now. Raiding is one of the major factors that keeps me playing WoW. On weeks when I don't raid (either because there is no raid or because I know I won't be able to attend), I find myself logging on less often. Additionally, when I do log on during such weeks, I end up aimlessly wasting time just logged in and running around Dalaran wondering what to do. Comparatively, weeks when I know I'm raiding are far more fulfilling: I log in with clear-set goals, I waste less time running laps through Dalaran, and I'm better able to focus on the tasks I set for myself (such as hunting achievements or getting recent upgrades gemmed and enchanted).

I guess I'll just mess around with PvP for a while. Battles in Lake Wintergrasp are usually a good time, though Arenas and Battlegrounds are far less fun for me. In hopes of making the lattermost a bit less stressful, I've invested some Badges of Triumph and Honor Points into a pseudo-set of PvP gear to get me to 799 resilience (which is 799 more than I used to have =P ), though the loss of nearly 15,000 mana is very noticeable. I'm still horrible at PvP, and the chance of me heading into Arenas is hovering roughly between fat and none whatsoever, but a quick trial run by random queue has shown me that Eye of the Storm is at least tolerable with some PvP gear.

Perhaps it's time to try my hand at leveling an alt again. All previous attempts have been futile, but it's worth a shot, I guess...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New RSS Logo!

So, I've been working on some updates to this place to hopefully make it a bit nicer to visit. The first update? A new RSS icon for the side menu. For those of you who already subscribe via RSS, take a gander:

Whaddaya think?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Last Stop: Victory!

I nabbed the above this past Saturday while doing Wintergrasp with some friends. It just so happened to also net me the below, too. =)

Now I shall never have to do Wintergrasp again! By which I, of course, mean I will continue to do Wintergrasp at every reasonable opportunity. =P

I'm really looking forward to see how Blizzard plans on making Tol Barad more awesome than Wintergrasp, though I'm somewhat apprehensive about the upcoming queuing changes that will make it more difficult for Alliance on Feathermoon to be able to participate.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Think I Can

...I think I can.
Just gotta keep on chuggin'. /train

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm Not Dead!

...I'm just dealing with an avalanche of stuff in real life. I'm going to try to return to a more regular posting schedule, but it's quite possible that things are going to get hectic again in a hurry and cause things to get worse before they get better.

I'll let you all three of you readers know if I ever decide to close up shop. =P

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cataclysm's Shared 10/25 Raid Lockouts

This is a copy/paste of a post I made in the World of WarCraft Cataclysm forums.  It's my argument against the shared raid lockout system Blizzard is planning on implementing in Cataclysm.  Feel free to head on over and post in that thread, or post your thoughts here as comments.

I realize that in Wrath, raiding became a bit too much and caused people to feel forced to run both formats of current tier content (10 and 25) in order to feel competetive.  However, while I can certainly appreciate the other changes made to promote more balanced play habits, I don't think that shared lockouts for 10s and 25s is the proper solution.  Here are some of the reasons why I think shared lockouts are unfair, and why I think alternative proposals should be considered:

  • The conversion of the badge/emblem system into a points system that caps the higher tier of points means that players will no longer be so compelled to run every current-tier raid possible to maximize emblem gain.  Since there's no guarantee that any given raid will cause players to reach the maximum weekly point cap, the shared lockout system unfairly prevents people who would rather raid for their points by forcing them to run random heroics.  Why not allow people to cap their points via 10s + 25s in addition to the 10s + random heroics, 25s + random heroics, and 100% random heroics methods that Cataclysm will offer?
  • PvPers are not locked out of one version of content because they participate in another, so why should PvEers be forced to choose only one avenue of progression?  Since regular BGs and rated BGs are the same content that players might get sick of, shouldn't doing one lock players out of the other so they don't burn out?  Or since arenas and rated BGs both offer the same rewards, shouldn't players be forced to pick their poison and only be allowed to progress via one format in any given week?  No, of course not.  So why should raiders be unfairly limited so?  There are alternative options, such as preventing raiders from double-dipping on drops by limiting them to only be able to receive loot from the first incarnation of any given boss they see that week, whether it be the 10-man version or the 25-man version.  Reputation can be similarly limited, and point gain is already capped as mentioned above.
  • Shared lockouts unfairly punish players who like raiding both formats but dislike playing alts.  How is the argument of "if you want to run both formats, run one with an alt" acceptable to Blizzard when changes have been consistantly made to make other similar arguments invalid?  Arguments such as:

    • "if you want to tank, roll a Warrior tank alt"; or
    • "if you want to DPS, roll a pure DPS class alt because hybrids are only for healing"; or
    • "if you don't like your character, reroll a new character"; or
    • "if you don't like your server, reroll on a different server"; or
    • "if you don't like your faction, reroll on the opposite faction"; or
    • "your complaints about your class are all irrelevant because you have the option to roll a new character of a different class", etc.
Alts have not been arbitrarily used to deny characters access to the content their players enjoy before, nor have they been used as an excuse to dismiss players' complaints before (at least not by Blizzard), so why is "just roll an alt" an acceptable response now?  Dual specs, character recustomization, server transfer, and faction change are all geared at breathing new life into players' characters so that no one feels forced to reroll or create an alt if they don't want to, so why should raiding formats be an exception?

Equalizing loot across both formats, capping point gain, and instituting a "no double-dipping on boss drops" mechanic more than adequately fixes the problem of players feeling forced to run both raid formats without unfairly punishing players who enjoy raiding both formats on a single character.  Please reconsider the shared lockout decision.

Monday, March 29, 2010

BlizzCon 2010 Goodie Bag Product Ideas

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Blizzard has finally announced their plans for BlizzCon 2010.  I'm not going to bother with delving into any of the details since there are plenty of other sites that are doing just that, including the official BlizzCon site.  What I am going to do is make some suggestions for what kind of things Blizzard should put into the highly sought-after BlizzCon Goodie Bag for 2010.

Anyone who's been to BlizzCon has surely reveled in the sights and sounds Blizzard and its affiliates and partners present for our amusement.  One decidedly less entertaining aspect however, is the smells.  Lets face it, jamming thousands of gamers into a giant convention hall built in a place known for hot weather isn't necessarily going to smell like a bouquet of roses.  Additionally, some gamers don't necessarily have a great handle on the concept of "personal hygiene"—I should know...I'm one of them.  =P

With this in mind, Blizzard has an amazing opportunity to satisfy the olfactory elite and fanboys alike by launching their own line of hygiene products—and what better place to test it out than giving it away as free swag at BlizzCon?  Here are some potential candidates:

Diablo III Deodorant: For those who want to look like Patrick Stewart but smell like Sean Connery!
Barbarian Breath Mints: Shout fresh!
Pumice Stone of Jordan: The new gold standard of foot care!
King Leoric's Lotion: For royally soft skin—brought to you by the Skeleton King.

StarCraft II Soap and Shampoo Shower Set: Hell, it's about rubber ducky time!
Baneling Bubble Bath: Now with 30% more Baneling bile!
'Tossian Toothpase: Smile like a Protoss!
Jim Raynor's Razor: A gift from the Queen.

World of WarCraft Wet Wipes: You are prepared! / For the MMOer on the
Eau d'Eck: Smell ferocious! / A fragrance for ferocious femme fatales.
Gnomish Gnail Cutter 5700: For Toe-meragon! | Requires 4 DD batteries (not included).
Holy Light Hand Sanitizer: Cleanliness is next to Pwnliness!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Secret World of Warcraft Wallpaper—Stormwind: Human Stronghold

I don't know about anyone else, but I am a big fan of Blizzard wallpapers.  I collect them like some people collect the WoW trading cards.  Currently I use Windows 7's built-in desktop slideshow function to randomly alternate my wallpaper choice on a regular basis, and even back before I had an OS capable of doing such a thing natively I used to utilize 3rd party software to enable such a feat.

Back in the days of WarCraft 3, when WoW was barely more than a public announcement, Blizzard started releasing information, screenshots, movies, and you guessed it: wallpapers in a slow drizzle.  In those days, I obsessively checked for any hint of new content—I was hooked on WoW before I even got a chance to play it.  I'd download the available media look through it time and time again.  I couldn't wait to find out more information about my favorite Azerothian Kingdom (back then it itself was known as Azeroth, although it's since been retconned into the Kingdom of Stormwind), and one day Blizzard released what was quite nearly the Holy Grail of Stormwind wallpapers—a map of the city.

You can bet I downloaded that sucker.  Hell, I downloaded it in every resolution they had available because the very thought of having to view such an awesome thing in a non-native resolution was scoff-worthy.  Months went by: the MMO was eventually released, it's original site fading into obscurity (and eventually deletion).  Several hard drive formats and a new computer later, I found myself browsing through the WoW wallpaper archives to re-download them all.  But one was missing.  My beloved map of Stormwind City was gone from the archives, and remains missing from the official wallpaper pages to this day.  Feel free to look at the World of Warcraft Wallpapers 2 page yourself—you'll find no map of Stormwind wallpaper there.  In truth, the map is craftily hidden, waiting for someone with sufficient drive to stumble upon it.  The clues are there, they just need to be followed.  Can you find them?

So where (and what) the heck is "wallpaper11"?  I'm sure you've guessed it by now.  It's the Map of Stormwind City wallpaper!  Hooray!  =)

Now the only question that remains is why is the map hidden so?  Is it a mistake?  Was the wallpaper intentionally removed?  Did someone at Blizzard just decide to hide it as an easter egg for little lion guards to find?  The world may never know.  =P

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Most Hilarious Heroic Old Kingdom Experience

...And quite possibly the most hilarious Heroic Old Kingdom run ever.  This is my story (and I'm sticking to it).

So, last Wednesday I had just finished my usual round of Icecrown dailies (Argent Tournament, Shadow Vault, and the bombing runs) and figured I may as well queue up for a random heroic group and get a couple frosties.  Of course, the Dungeon Finder tool—as it is wont to do—decides that my queuing choice of tank/healer is just a result of me being unable to choose tank/tank, and it chucks me into Heroic Old Kingdom as a tank.  As it turns out, the group consists of:
  • myself tanking,
  • a freshly 80 Druid healer,
  • a Death Knight,
  • a Hunter,
  • and the unluckiest Warlock ever.
We get inside and start working our way through the place, and for a while everything is going pretty normally (with the exception of a Frost Presence mishap, but that was quickly resolved).  We defeat Elder Nadox with relative ease and continue on down the steps to start on Prince Taldaram trash only to find that the Warlock isn't with us—she'd gone AFK after the first boss and was still upstairs.

'Eh,' I think to myself,  'it's just Heroic Old Kingdom trash right?  We don't need a 5th for this.'  Heck, there's an achievement for defeating Taldaram with only 4, and it doesn't seem like anyone else is too worried about it, so we press on and clear the 3-4 trash packs up to the first platform.  As we engage the platform mobs, the Warlock comes back from AFK and starts making her way to us...only she goes up the wrong platform.  Oops.  Sadly, the rest of us are just a bit too late to save her (although if I'd had another second, I probably would have been in Lay on Hands range).  =\

We clear the trash and start looking to resurrect her only to find that she's released and we can't seem to find her corpse.  Well, waiting for someone to make that run is just a fantastic waste of time (if only we'd had a Warlock to summon her to us...  >.> ), so we decide to press onward, and since the trash has all been cleared, that meant engaging the boss.  We pull, Taldaram knocks over one person who is immediately freed, then a second with the same effect...and then he disappears.  The four of us just kinda look around in confusion for a few moments.  What happened?  The boss shouldn't have been dead yet, so where did he g—Oh.  That's where.  "Warlock has died."  /facepalm

Apparently, Taldaram doesn't have a range on his blood sucking ability, Embrace of the Vampyr.  Any player in the entire instance is a valid target and the Warlock, unfortunately, was running past Nadox's room—close enough to be on our minimaps, but far enough to be effectively out of range of any timely help. Sadly, as it turns out, while Taldaram's Embrace of the Vampyr may have infinite range, the rest of his abilities do not, so rather than run back and resuming the fight, the coward despawns.  He may or may not have said something about it not being his time, the rest of us were too busy laughing to take notice.  >.>

Oh well, it's a PuG, things of this nature are to be expected, right?  So we start running back to the Warlock to go resurrect her before she dies again.  At least, I thought that's what we were doing.  However, "we" did not include the Hunter, who had run to Taldaram's spawn point when he vanished, and hadn't moved.  At all.  I'd managed to take three steps or so on the way back towards the Warlock when the boss respawned.  Ding!  Round 2!

Well, guess there goes that plan.  The Warlock can just hang tight for a couple minutes while we kill off the boss and run back to resurrect her, right?  It's not like we had much of a choice at that point, so I turn around, grab aggro on the boss, and we begin to repeat the fight.  Bite 1, no biggie.  Bite 2, hey that tickles.  Bite 3...guys where'd he g—Oh hell.  "Warlock has died."  Yes, when I said we repeated the fight, I meant it literally.  The only difference was where she died—this time it was at the bottom of the initial ramp.  You know, where the Ahn'kahar Watchers spawn for the All Things in Good Time daily?  There.

It would have been a complete waste of time it it weren't so damn funny.  We run back, safely escort the Warlock back (and even past, if you can imagine it) the second boss, and we're still laughing when we start pulling the trash at the Amanitar/Jedoga/Volazj split.

Feeling a bit bad for the Warlock now, we went straight for the Herald.  The trash was cleared without incident, no one stood in the Shadow Crashes, and we pulled the boss.  Insanity 1 passes without too much incident, so things are going pretty good, right?  Insanity 2 starts up and things are going well.  I clear my adds, others are clearing their adds, the Warlock is dead.  Wait, what?  Yep.  Old Kingdom really, really hated that Warlock.  Not just normal abhoration, but complete and utter "with passion rivaling the heat of a thousand suns"-level of pure hatred.  Or perhaps it was karmic retribution.  She was a Warlock, after all.  XD

Needless to say, once Volazj was down she didn't stick around for the optional bosses.  Sadly, neither did the Hunter nor Death Knight, but the Druid healer was up for them, so we just duo'd the rest of the instance.

The End.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Identity Crisis

Note: The following post is somewhat rambly and meaningless.  You've been warned.

When I first set up my second spec, I chose to pick a tanking spec as opposed to a damage dealing or alternate healing spec.  I had several reasons for my decision, including wanting to be more helpful to my friends, being more intrigued by the mechanics of Paladin tanking than damage dealing, and because Protection felt like the right choice from an in-character point of view.  Since then, I've ended up tanking significantly more dungeons than I've healed (although I still heal more often than tank in raids), and my tanking set has slowly grown from the initial Blacksmith-crafted set I started off with.  I'm somewhat saddened by the fact that the day has finally come where it's now better than the set of gear I use for healing.

Now, don't get me wrong, tanking as a Paladin is certainly as amusing as I thought it would be, but there's part of me that will always be a healer at heart.  I'm definitely a better healer than tank, still, but that's partly because I've found that I don't really enjoy tanking as much as I enjoy healing.  When I heal, I tend to not mind people's shenanigans (such as pulling extra groups or standing in front of a mob when meleeing), but as a tank those same behaviors drive me insane.  It's especially annoying when my friends are the ones pulling such stunts, as I have no doubt that they know better and are either being silly or have just gotten so used to steamrolling content that they've stopped bothering trying to play their best.

Unfortunately for me, raid invites have become few and far between (due to a massive supply of healers and a relatively stable healing core, which I'm not a part of), and the new Dungeon Finder system makes running 5-mans with friends a bit tedious, since a friends group requires sitting around and waiting for folks to swap characters, finish whatever they're doing, and/or organizing the group and figuring out where we want to go, which just begins to feel like wasting time considering I have access to instantaneous Dungeon Finder PuGs.  Plus, it's just plain easier to be mad at a random stranger who decides to slack off than a friend who's not giving it his all.  Besides, even prior to the new system my experience was that bad PuGs were a rarity, with the vast majority of PuG groups falling on the "would run with again" side of the scale, so I don't really have the same fear of random groups that so many others seem to have.  Who knows, maybe my standards are just low?

So, if you're wondering what the above post means for you, me, and/or the blog, the answer is pretty much "absolutely nothing".  I just felt I needed to get the above onto paper (even if it is the virtual kind) so I can get a better view of it and figure out what I want to do.  I don't really want to keep tanking (especially if it means that I'm denied the opportunity to heal instead), but I'm also not sure if hanging up my tanking set and picking up a big two-handed hammer in Cataclysm is the right way to go, either.  Perhaps this will help me sort it out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year Resolutions for 2010

I have a pretty simple resolution for this year: post more.  That's it.  I know it's something I've been struggling with, and like most New Year Resolutions, probably one I won't keep, but one can dream, right?  =P

Time to get to work, I guess.  *Cracks knuckles*...