Thursday, December 17, 2009

Forum Madness.

Forum madness. Not to be confused with that most awesome of games for the Nintendo entertainment system circa 1984, Marble Madness. Any of you remember that game? I watched a video not too long ago of some guy beating the game in six minutes using controller-based moves I can't even imagine, and this is coming from a guy that's well-versed in 3-D chess. That's right, 3-D chess. You ever watch Star Trek: The Next Generation? Go hang around Ten-Forward, go talk to Guinan. She'll point you over to the tables. You'll find me there. Bring your game face because I've got moves even Data can't compute. I'm that good.

I digress, I was terrible at Marble Madness. Forum madness, though, I can hold my own. And that's exactly what happened this week.

Second week of ICC, nothing too special, right? Most decent guilds have seen the content, slogged through the new low-player dungeons on their alts, and are now turning their eyes to the achievements. I mean, it's what we're doing this week, and I consider us to be decent, though there are a few that don't, namely our favorite forum troll.

When we first made jump to Bladefist from The Scryers, it wasn't without a bit of...braying from the local masses. When we jumped ship we took who we wanted to, and we left a good number behind. While most within that good number managed to move on, there were a few...malcontents. These malcontents made themselves known on Bladefist stating that we were a grand old bunch of douchebags out to ruin it for everyone else. Now, I might be paraphrasing a bit, but that's essentially the message. We're bad players and bad people, stay away from us. While I can't jump right out and say who these malcontents are and/or were since they want to play the "I'm posting from a level two alt" game, I have my assumptions, and my gut is usually right.

Regardless, the trolls were laughed at by all and we moved on. Things were generally pretty quiet, a small flare-up when we moved Horde-side, but nothing major. At least, until earlier this week.

Oh lawd.

I honestly wish I could post a link to the thread here, but it has since been deleted and the original poster reported by a great many people. Once again, the bottom line of this thread was that we in Parabola are bad people that have no right to tell bad people that they are bad. This issue was then compounded by the fact that we simply can cut it in 25 man raiding, which is why we slum about in the 10 man scene exclusively.

These points were all refuted by a number of different respondents, both within Parabola, and outside of the guild. It was nice to see a few outsiders taking our side in the matter, though it didn't really matter. We all posted on our mains, the trolls didn't. It was your typical trolling war, except we used logic and a good deal of wit. It's a shame the thread got burned.

Some of the most important points that were made from our end defended our stance with 10 man raiding and why we do it, both our resident priest and Swiss Army knife shaman had responses here.

We raid 10 mans because we don't want to put up with 15 other people possibly screwing the pooch. We've all done 25 man raids before. We still do them in a non-serious manner, that's to say it's not required on our end, we just do/did it for the extra gear. We've been there, we've done the Dew, and we feel no real obligation or want to do it again.

For those of you that remember The Burning Crusade, specifically some of the Black Temple fights, you'll understand the point I'm trying to illustrate. There were two bosses in particular that were the epitome of why I can't stand 25 man raiding. They were Teron Gorefiend and Mother Shahraz. Now, I was a healer back in those days, and both bosses hit like trucks of the Mack variety. For the most part, both were a straight burn, but with a special mechanic involved: Gorefiend had the ghosts and Shahraz had the beams. These two fights still make my blood boil because people just don't get it.

Like I was saying, for those of you that remember these fights, you might have some sympathy. I approached these fights with trepidation, not because they were hard, but because I knew there were at least five or six people in the raid that if they got marked for a ghost on Teron, or three of them got beam-linked together on Shahraz, we were proper-boned. You know those people. Bets are made about them. No matter how many times they see the fight, they just fail at it. No matter how many times the ghost rotation is spammed in /raid, they fail at it. No matter how many times our raid leader would call out their name on ventrilo saying that they had the Mark of Death, they'd die in the raid and utterly wipe us with a ghost apocalypse. No matter how many times we'd say, "OMFG RUN TO THE FOUNTAIN" on vetrilo, they'd always run right into the raid group and kill us all. There were just those people that you pray they don't get beamed together, or marked for death early in the fight. Everyone in the raid knew it, and they knew who those people were, but they were tolerated; probability was in the raid's favor.

I don't do probability. I do culpability.

In the everlasting words of Nightystar, the Night Elf priest that was playing from Singapore on a DVD player and two pieces of tinfoil, after getting beam-linked with me on Mother Shahraz and literally putting me on follow for thirty seconds thus killing the both of us, "lOl i dont kno how to runn sry:("

Those words have been forever emblazoned upon my raiding experience as both a reminder of the past and hope for the future.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's a sad day.

A sad, sad day indeed. Apparently someone wasn't too amused with my character name. As is the case, it got reported and I was forced to change it. Now, I know, I was rolling the dice each time I logged on as it was. Hell, I had even gotten a three day suspension from our realm forums for bumping our recruiting thread under my name a few months ago. But you know...there are just times when you'd hope that people would laugh and keep moving--this wasn't one of those times.

While I could have tried to fight the name change, I doubt that a GM would take my sense of humor favorably and would instead just give me some terrible /random name. I've had to move on. Wombcrusher is still here in spirit. It's one of those things you just can't get away from once it's there. She's just...crushing wombs in a different dimension.

Live on, Reaganomics.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We Are World Bank: Part II

Well hello there. Nice of you to drop by. It's not often that I see your type around these parts, but hey, I'm not one to complain...much. It's been a good long while since I've come back to this with the holiday and all, but I think the break was worth it. I ended up spending a few days with our tank and got him hooked on Dragon Age. Sue me, but that's in the past, let us look to the future. It would seem as if 3.3 is right on the horizon, some saying later today while others saying next week. I'm going to say next week, but I could be wrong, lord knows we need some new content now. We nine man regular ten man ToC just because we don't feel like filling spots from the LFG channel, and it makes things a little more interesting for us.

Regardless, not all that long ago I made a post comparing our guild to that of the World Bank. While the 25 man ToC last week ended up being a success with only two of us from Parabola, the comparison still fits in my eyes. So, let's look at some of the criticisms leveled against the World Bank and see how they match up to the criticisms leveled against my own guild.

Critics argue that the so-called free market reform policies—which the Bank advocates in many cases—in practice are often harmful to economic development if implemented badly, too quickly, in the wrong sequence, or in very weak, uncompetitive economies.

To answer this, one has to look at exactly what sort of reforms my guild advocates while stepping in to help others. Quite honestly, if we're stepping in to help, it's our show. We run the raid: use our strategies, we dole out the loot, don't talk on ventrilo unless you need to. We also advocate for the use of all possible consumables, and for the right to kick people from a raid if they are either a) annoying or b) dying repeatedly for no good reason. There's no real simple way about it, if we step in, you come into our world. Has this been detrimental to the development of certain guilds? Yes, I think it has. The guild that we run all of these 25 man shenanigans with is...casual at best, with a few people that really want to raid. When this all started a number of them hopped on board to the raid scene not knowing who we were and how we did things. I can honestly say that a number of those people never came back after the first raid. Probably because we're dicks. We ask people to do everything that they can, but sometimes that just means that you have to show up on time. The guild we run with has lost two GMs over this whole raiding thing. They are a casual guild, but they want to raid with us. For some, this is problematic because their casual mentality just doesn't meet up to our standards. No, we won't summon you. You fly like everyone else. Why are you wearing Flask of the North? Why don't you have a food buff when I just dropped a fish feast? You need to repair when I dropped a Jeeves on the last attempt. I know for a fact that a number of people in that guild really don't like us for what we've done to their guild. We've turned a number of the semi-hardcore people over there into real raiders, or at least, people that really want to raid, and they've become a bit...estranged from their former friends and family. It's like...once you go raider, you don't really go back. Have we hurt the guild? Yes, probably, but we've made them more competitive for it. I honestly don't think they would have seen any of ToC without us there leading the show.

A number of intellectuals in developing countries have argued that the World Bank is deeply implicated in contemporary modes of donor and NGO-driven imperialism and that its intellectual contribution functions, primarily, to seek to blame the poor for their condition.

We do blame the poor raiders for their condition. We do this all the time. Usually we do it on ventrilo while they're listening. Probably because we are dicks. Bladefist as a server has a very low population of decent Horde-side raiding guilds. As this content has all but dried up as of late, we are finding ourselves in need of decent raiders or PUGs to fill one or two spots here and there (which was the case last night). It is in our best interest to try and craft what talent there is into a viable raiding form, in the hopes that someday, they will be of use to us again. It's sort of like an investment. We put time into helping people along, and usually they want to run with us again when we need them, if we do. Everyone is happy. We pick and choose who we do, and do not want to take, sowing our seeds of raiding as we go, passing off tips here and there, blowing minds elsewhere. But honestly, when it comes right down to it, sometimes guilds are just bad. Players are just bad. When put in that situation, there's not a lot we can do. Say for example, there's this shaman in the 25 man raids that has, and will forever die in phase two Anub'arak because he doesn't run from the spiky underground pain of ugly death (it's a technical term). It's people like him that we point out every week and just say, "You know...this happens every time. We're done with you." They laugh it off and continue to do 2.2k DPS, but at the end of the night when the GM asks us how they did overall, some of us are quite quick to point out just who their terribad players are, and how we never want to see or hear from them again. Poor raiding guilds are poor because of their raiders, or the lack thereof. I make it a weekly habit to congratulate people with Legion Flames on their valorous, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to beat out the flames by standing in them for the duration of the debuff. Similarly, I also lavish undue amounts of praise on melee that refuse to break off to kill snobolds on the first boss. They are bad because they are bad. They are bad because they don't care, or don't want to listen. No we will not pop heroism/bloodlust during phase two Anub'arak. We will do it like we always do it. Deal with it.

While the World Bank represents 186 countries, it is run by a small number of economically powerful countries. These countries choose the leadership and senior management of the World Bank and as such, their interests are dominant within the bank.

We represent just about the only dedicated ten man presence Horde-side on Bladefist. We are a ten man guild. We've all got some of the best gear you can get aside from stepping into 25 man heroic ToC. What we say goes. Bottom line. If you don't like it, well, go raid someplace else. Good luck finding it on this server. Enough said.

Despite claiming goals of good governance and anti-corruption the World Bank requires sovereign immunity out of countries it deals with. Sovereign immunity waives a holder from all legal liability for their actions.

This sort of goes with the territory if you run with us. You do things our way, or you don't do them at all. While we're all about furthering other guilds, we only really look to take it as far as it will be of value to us. We're running the 25 man raids because we want gear that we wouldn't be able to get otherwise. There -is- something tangible in it for us. Usually though, there's something else that we can get out of it eventually, mostly reliable PUGs that we can call on in a pinch that are more than happy to jump on board with us for a night. But honestly, though, do we really care if what we do breaks up your guild? Probably not. The guild we run these with has turned over two GMs. Do we notice? Sure. Do we really care? Not really. It's not our fault. If people want to raid then they can raid. We don't force anyone to sign up. They do that all of their own free will. If by running with us you get your feelings hurt, well...too bad. Don't sign up again and wallow in your ilvl 200 BoE's. If you run with us, you waive your right to complain, bitch, whine, moan, whatever, because honestly, unless you've been there before, you'll probably end up lying face-down on the ground watching all of the pretty effects go off because you stood in the Legion Flames for too long while contributing absolutely nothing to the raid. Telling us that you're dead at this point will only get you laughed at on ventrilo. Probably because we are dicks.

Probably because we are dicks. Yeah, that just about sums us up.

Here's hoping for 3.3 before I grind my teeth down into bloody nubs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winding down. Gearing up.

Well, World Bank Part II is going to have to wait for a bit. As is stands right now a number of graduate-level issues have come up and they are impeding my ability to do a real analysis of the situation. Of course, that's not to say that I've no time for anything else.

On the contrary, time is exactly what I have right now. At least, in terms of what I do with World of Warcraft. I consider myself a raider as opposed to a PvP'er or a quester. Sure, I do a fair bit of both, come ask me sometime, I'll flash up my Seeker title and then PvP tank you to death in a duel. But you know, those aren't my real draws. Like I said, I come here to raid, to see the new content and push through it.

Sadly though, I do believe ToC is reaching the end of its raid cycle. Granted, that's not to say there isn't still much to do there, but I don't think we'll ever get all of the Faction Champions dead within one minute of each other. Regardless of what the achievement says, resilience will not fix it. Believe me, we've tried. As a guild we're always hoping for that flawless instance with nobody dying, know...I just don't see it happening anytime soon. We've got a few issues with people randomly dying for no reason in ToC. Now I'm not pointing fingers, I'm not blameless myself. Go ahead and come to an Ulduar 10 man with us some time. I think I spend more time on the floor there than just about anyone else, and it's usually for no good reason. Yogg's Faceless Horrors love me. I swear, I can't help it. It's gotten to the point on One Light in the Darkness where I take Divine Storm and Consecrate off of my bar and pray I don't get gibbed. But I digress, we've got some random deaths here and there, but they don't break the raid. We recover without a hitch and move on, but they still occur.

We've done all of the big content by now in terms of 10 man raiding, which is just about all we do: Algalon, Tribute to Insanity, One Light in the Darkness, Firefighter (never again will I get duped into doing this achievement without plenty of cash to back it up). Our ToC runs, both regular and heroic combine for night of raiding at best. Probably somewhere in the realm of three hours when we throw in a trip to Onyxia for her free badges and cash.

This has created something of a problem for us. Well, not really a problem, but moreso a malaise within our ranks. We are a raiding guild. That's what we consider ourselves to be, but we aren't raiding. We originally planned to raid three nights a week, three hours per night, but it's hard to keep up those standards when we blow through all of the instances in one of those nights. Sure, we still find things to keep us entertained, or at least keep us from falling off of our rockers completely. We've started to sell the 10 man Ulduar protodrake achievement, and it at least gives us something to do. We used to speed farm Naxxramas, but you know...the love is gone. It's almost too much work to get out there anymore. A number of us PvP just to blow off some steam, and another subset of us do a fair number of arenas...for better, for worse. Hell, one of our main tanks has started going through all of the Icecrown quests because he spent all of his time leveling in dungeons. Way to go, JP. Yes, Mal'Ganis is still alive, but he decided to take a break for a bit.

Regardless, we're really just filling time. We've tried to work on the Earth, Wind, and Fire achievement, but it's really hard to coordinate when the Horde on our server have about a one in ten chance of actually controlling Wintergrasp at any one time. It's insanely difficult to schedule a raid only to have the instance be closed for two hours. It's just not bloody convenient. Either way, we still log on every Tuesday and blow through our content for cash and badges, and maybe even that elusive piece of gear from the heroic mode. I think our moonkin has been looking for a belt for the past...thirteen weeks or so? Will it ever drop? I'm betting on the day that Icecrown Citadel opens, you know, just out of spite.

As a raiding guild we thrive on content. Without new content we stagnate and just get cranky. And for us, that's a really bad thing, seeing as that a number of us are already cranky enough. Well, maybe cranky isn't the word...try ateachother'sthroatsbecauseyouclearlydon'tknowhowtostickononetargetifyourlifedependedonitbecauseyouareasaboteurandyouaresabotagingourarenateamrating.

Yeah, I think that'll do nicely.

We'll get through it though, simply because the hint of Icecrown Citadel is right around the corner, or at least all of the PTR goodness is pointing that way. I've watched a few of the streams and I'm pretty excited about it. At least it'll give me something to do besides standing in the northern bank in Dalaran for hours at a time while I play Dragon Age: Origins on my other monitor.

Oh, and before I forget!

Crush of the Week: Our friggin' arena team. You know, we were doing pretty decently for our non-competitive comp, but then we just tanked it into the ground for a few matches and we all got a bit disappointed in ourselves, and each other. We'll give it another shot next week and see what we come up with. If that doesn't meet your personal standards, well, try this one on for size. While it's not WoW-related, it pretty much sums up how I feel about WoW from time to time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Are World Bank: Part I

This will be something of a two-part post regarding my current thoughts on PUG raiding. This first part is more of an introductory exploration of the topic while the second part will delve deeper into the criticisms leveled against our type of PUG raiding.

While I enjoy the guild tag of Parabola, since setting up shop here on the Horde side of this server, I feel more and more as if we should just disband and rename ourselves as . Now, this witty bit of humor might pass over the head of more than a few people on our server, but I think the title is fitting, especially in light of just what we've been doing every Saturday for the past few weeks in these 25 man raids.

For those of you that follow this blog, you know where I stand on 25 man raids. For those of you that don't, well, let's just say that they make me cry like a baby...a hungry, angry baby. We're only ten people, and we can only carry another fifteen so far, but it's getting better. Oh thank god, it's getting better.

So, where does the World Bank come in? Let's take a look at the institution via a straight copy/paste from because...well...I'm incredibly lazy and I'm sure I'll have students coming in to harass me during my office hours here:

The World Bank is an international institution that provides leveraged loans to poorer countries for capital programs. The World Bank has a stated goal of reducing poverty.

Alright, let's see if we can break this down, do a little bit of comparative analysis, and see what we come up with. The suspense is killing me. I hope it lasts.

The World Bank is an international institution.

Is Parabola international as a guild? Sure enough. While we aren't pushing anywhere near the 186 members that make up the World Bank, we do have a few members that are, for all intents and purposes, international. One of our shaman is Canadian for sure. He buys his milk in plastic bags and he probably bathes in maple syrup. Not only that, he utilizes the typical Canadian "oo" and "eh" phonemic structures in just about every instance that they can be used. Our raid leader, while still a citizen of the United States, lives in Alaska, and that might as well be another country. Any place where it's light or dark for 22 hours at a time just isn't American. Also, he braves those terrible Alaskan traffic jams consisting of four dogsled pile-ups. We're international enough for a US-based server. Check.

The World Bank provides leveraged loans.

Does Parabola provide leveraged loans? We loan our ten players over to a casual-style family guild every Saturday for about three hours or so. While, yes, this does benefit us as well, it is a loan in every sense of the word. We carry the weight of the raid on both healing and DPS fronts. Hell, we even carry the tanking, too. We fill a good majority of the "required" spots for a raid, and let the other guild fill in as need be. As a guild, we have no intention of joining this other guild. We know exactly where we stand and where we want to be. We get used for a few hours and then are paid in kind via badges, patterns, and drops.

The World Bank provides said leveraged loans to poorer countries for capital programs.

If one accepts the fact that we a loaning our services out for these 25 man runs, I would also put forth that we are providing our services to individuals that are, for lack of a better term, quite poor. The Horde on Bladefist aren't exactly anything to write home about. I've seen plenty worse in my day, but then I've also seen a lot better. We're a middle of the road sort of server to begin with, but our Horde side doesn't exactly shine. That being the case, our crack 10 man group is something of one of the bright spots. We know what we're doing, and we know how to do it. We are the big fish, as it were. We lend our services to the poorer guilds. Now, while yes, I know we couldn't get access to the content on our own, but the point still stands: we're dragging a good number of lesser-geared individuals through these raids.

So, based on the goals set by the institution of the World Bank itself, I think the similarities are too hilarious to ignore. Stay tuned for the second installment where I will be looking into the criticisms leveled against the World Bank on an international scale and how those same criticisms have been leveled against Parabola as a guild in World of Warcraft.

Keep on crushin'.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Apologies, it's been a few days since my last post. Actually, it's been more like a week or so, but I've been distracted with real life things. I teach college English in my free time..."free time", and I find it more to be like 25 man raiding than actual teaching. You know, I hold their hand, tell them to show up to class on time, watch them not come prepared with the proper materials, have them stare blankly at me as I try to describe how an assignment is going to work...Yeah, just like those 25 man raids.

But I digress, my raid week has been over since oh...Thursday night or so. I don't count those Saturday 25 man things as raids because, well, I don't really try anymore. I just sort of show up and spin in a circle a few times while waving an axe around. I'm like that fifth-year senior in high school that you knew as a sophomore. I'm cool because I can buy cigarettes, but you dare not talk to me for fear of not being cool enough.

So, with the raid week over, or at least with it having been over, it gives me plenty of time to dink around with various aspects of PvP...namely finding new ways to completely demoralize people in Arathi Basin.

Crush of the week goes to Jax of the server Cenarius. Pro tip: if you're going to jump off of the road down to try and capture the mine in Arathi Basin, make sure you have a parachute cloak, or at least some way to heal yourself once you land in a rather quick fashion. While I don't know how much health you had when you did land, my Boba Fett wrist rockets + Berserking + Avenging Wrath were clearly enough to do you in with an 8.3k shot. Bottom line: it was my mine. You jumping off the cliff just saved me from having to close to melee range to finish the job. Make sure you always bring a gun to a Mexican knife fight.


Arathi Basin aside, I've been dabbling with the whole arena thing. Now, my teams aren't amazing, our comps are pretty much terrible. Retribution/Holy/Feral isn't exactly a game-breaking comp, but we're getting better. This last week we decided to switch it up a little bit so I delved deep into the protection tree while wearing full retribution PvP arena gear. Suffice it to say, I don't die all that often, but I just don't hit as hard as I used to...which is expected. I think it might work out in the long run, but we just need to work better at getting our communication down. Having that ranged silence in the form of Avenger's Shield is a really neat trick, and I get to scream "CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!" on ventrilo and have it mean something for once. The SoC stack ticks are pretty sweet in terms of stopping rogues and mages from scampering off. I think so far I've killed at least four things while they're stealthed because of it. I call it my holy bleed effect. The Hand of Reckoning is decent, nice for popping multiple melee teams that try to clump us all together and Bladestorm us down. Remember kids, Bladestorm takes skill, no matter what everyone else tells you. I'll admit, though, I've had the most fun with Shield of Righteousness. Nothing makes me giggle more than hammering off a 5k shield slam on some bouncing rogue just to put them in their place.

I'll see how it pans out after some more matches tonight, see if I can give you a full run down on it. My sources say that at 2k+ this is the way to go, but at the moment, I don't think our comp has the necessary Mortal Strike effect to force healers dry. Damnable double healer teams.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Flask of the North killed raiding.

Well, on second thought, I suppose it could be worse. A Flask of the North is better than a flask on the nothing, isn't it? Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just my own mentality toward this game. Maybe it's the fact that a good number of other individuals don't share my mentality toward this game. Or you know, maybe it's the fact that I carry flasks on me at all times. The real flasks. The expensive ones.

While the Flask of the North isn't the end all be all to raiding, I think it summarizes quite well my issue with most raids (read: 25 mans) that I end up doing in my free time. It went down something like this: We've been pulling this rag tag group of casuals that call themselves a guild through 25 man ToC. Hard stuff I know. There are some individuals in the raid that take it all quite seriously. I mean, they do their research, they eat some buff food, and they wear real flasks, but then...there are those like this guy. We had been wiping on Anub'arak for a good hour or so because the raid DPS was just so terrible that even if I could Titan Grip as a retribution paladin, there was just no way we could catch up. We were hitting Anub'arak's enrage timer over and over again, and things were starting to get a little strained. Our raid leader, out of spite, or maybe just to make a point ran his Big Brother buff mod through our guild chat. What was the result? At least half of the raid had neglected to flask up for the fight and at least another third had no buff food on. When this was brought to the attention of the raid over ventrilo, one man responded by saying, "That's shit, I've got my Flask of the North on."

Oh lord. Flask of the North. You go.

It's responses like that that just...completely blow my mind. For starters, Flask of the North doesn't even begin to match up against some of the standard raid-viable flasks, and then after that, you're going to argue about it? Now I understand that we're running some kind of charity bake sale by hauling most of this guild through ToC, but come on, welfare only does so much. At least help pay your taxes or something by bringing a real flask of you own.

What this comes down to for me is a sense of casual versus raider mentality. When I raid with my 10's guild, I expect everyone to be flasked and have buff food. I don't check, because I know we are all on the same page. We don't like wiping on the same thing over and over, and we sure as hell don't like to wipe on the same thing due to enrage timers or a general lack of DPS. We all know what to expect from each other--we expect each other to give a damn. Some of these people in the 25 man runs just aren't there mentally. It blows my mind, and I am constantly reminded of how much skill this game doesn't take to play and still be considered "decent" at it.

The 25 man runs are fun in the sense that I get to really open the floodgates and blow some mediocre DPS away with my 12k showings on Twin Valkyr or what have you, but's no fun to blow people away wipe after wipe because we can't break a shield. Two weeks ago the Twin Valkyr healed four times before enraging and destroying us all. It's just...terribly frustrating to me.

It's like herding cats.

If you want to play with the big boys, play like a big boy. We know your gear isn't the best. We know you might not know all the intricacies of the fights. We know you might die early on for no real reason. But please, at least look the part and make sure that when I mouse over you I see a real end-game flask on your character pane followed by a delicious well-fed buff.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This gem showed up on our server forums. I was going to write about something regarding my utter distaste for everything 25 man, but this was just too delicious to pass up.

"So now we have 2 Guilds with 25 Algalon kills (alliance of course) and Horde hasn't done one... or even a 10 man for that matter. Whats the dealio? We need some Starcallers/Astral Walkers" - Dragok, Level 19 Warrior, Eldre'Thalas.

Now then, I'm not one to brag, but if you're going to make some sort of comment like that, you might want to get your facts straight before you jump the gun and start to bash on the Horde community. A Horde guild has killed Algalon, in fact, I wear my Starcaller title just about everywhere I go because in the battlegrounds it tells people, "hey, I'm leet, back off or heal me". This fact was quickly brought up by a member of the guild Steel which we used to run with back in the day when we were Alliance side. Yeah, the Horde have killed Algalon, check out the guild Parabola.

Simple fact-checking aside, it was Dragok's response to the fact that a Horde guild has killed Algalon that probably pissed me off the most, "
Those are faction changes. They're still alliance".


While I'll admit that, yes, I did faction change, how can I still be Alliance? One of our hunters jumped on the comment with a real gem: "
If I'm Alliance then why do they get so mad when I go to Ironforge?" It's true. Those dwarves do get awful mad when I try to show up at the old stomping grounds.

My point here is, well, what makes a player Horde and what makes a player Alliance? Sure when I started the game I rolled an Alliance toon, but that was just because the blood elves didn't exist yet, and the people that I knew played Alliance as well. Had my friends been playing Horde, I could have just as easily joined them there. There was a 50-50 shot, and I ended up as Alliance for a good long while. What does it matter? While I understand that on some servers there is a certain mentality that goes along with playing either Horde or Alliance (see the Malygos server), did I miss something in the faction change? I look like a blood elf, I taste like a blood elf, and I sure as hell dance like one, but am I not part of the Horde? Did I miss some important meeting or memo to christen myself as a member of the Horde? Maybe this guy is just angry because I didn't go through that whole issue of leveling through the Barrens or Silverpine Forest, and for that, my apologies, we'll still have Stranglethorn Vale together to reminisce about.

I view myself as a member of the Horde, but apparently there are those out there that don't. If that's the case, please tell me what I'm missing here. Is there some sort of secret Horde handshake?

Point of fact: we killed Algalon after the faction change, but apparently we were just Alliance in disguise. Furthermore, if you're going to try and not to be a complete troll, at least post on a toon that's on the same server we are.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I have no creativity.

It's been leveled as something of a criticism against me that I have absolutely no creativity when it comes to World of Warcraft user interfaces. As to that criticism, I say it's absolutely true. The way I see it, the more bland my UI is, the more outlandish I can be as a person...namely on ventrilo...all the time. Snazzy UI's are all well and good, though, in fact I used to have a pretty slick one, but those were times long ago back when I was Alliance...and a dude...and only half as delicious as I am today.

My buddy Adgamorix posted his UI on his blog across the way, and it's a pretty slick setup. It's got everything that he needs for tanking and managing the raids. He is something of our de facto leader just because he actually has time to watch timers and the like given the fact that his screen usually consists of nothing but the crotch of whatever boss we're fighting. Ask him, he loves Anub'arak's crotch, it's all he sees. Me on the other hand, I'm sort of an ass man, it's all I after raid of ??-quality ass. As something of a side note, bring back those chick bosses. I'd much rather stare at the rear end of High Astromancer Solarian for five minutes than Gormok the Impaler.

Regardless, Adgamorix's UI works for him, and he's still tweaking it--a work in progress. I suppose that's the sign of a good player: the ability to continually tweak your setup to get it just right. Now, that's not saying that if you don't, you're a terrible player. The standard Warcraft UI has come a long way since release, and more and more I'm finding myself relying on what it offers as opposed to those packaged UI's. Maybe this is just because I'm not too fond of my Warcraft client utterly disemboweling itself after every minor patch because XYZ mod decided to not work given the new bit of LUA code.

Anyone else remember those days? Like I said, I used to have a slick little UI. It was clean, minimalist, and definitely not made for raiding. I liked it, but the only problem was that at every minor patch 45 of the 79 required add-ons would break, causing my Warcraft client to look like Enron's pension plan. Now, the breaking I could put up with; it was the waiting for the mod authors to update which was the real killer for me. Granted, it would only take maybe a week or so at the worst, but still, sometimes the mods they authored could make or break a UI i.e. PitBull. PitBull was the main reason I got rid of my slick old UI. I just got sick of having to micromanage LUA errors to the point where I made a one-button macro to reload my UI.

So, I dumped just about everything in terms of UI and went back to mostly old school Blizzard UI, and it it's worked out pretty well so far. I'll give you something of a run down of what I use and why I use it. Now, I'm sure there are plenty of other mods out there that would make my life easier, but this is what works for me, I do do 18k DPS. I think if I got a slick new add-on to up that number our rogue would have an aneurysm.

There it is, freshly-pulled out of a Wintergrasp this evening. I've attached numbers to the most important items of my UI, there are only five. You might have to click on this sucker to fully expand it out and see my utter deliciousness because I play on a monitor that dwarfs some IMAX theater screens.

1. Omen Threat Meter. As a DPS class, this is the most important add-on for me. While you can't necessarily see how it all works, that gray box will fill up with fancy-colored lines. As long as the colored line with my name on it isn't at the very top, I know that I'm okay to put it on cruise control for cool. Though, sadly, this isn't always the case, especially when our feral druid is tanking and ends up with his first three attacks being: parry, parry, dodge. To that end, Omen is more than happy to tell me that I am, or will soon be tanking and to mash my bubble macro ASAP. This warning usually comes in the form of a rampant screen flash that blurs out my surroundings in a bloody red haze, but I've had a few issues with this simply because I've begun to associate the bloody red haze with me popping my wings while under the effect of bloodlust. To combat this, I've opted for an aural (that's sound) warning in the form of a blaring horn reminiscent of a DIVE DIVE DIVE command the likes of which even The Hunt for Red October has never seen. Coincidentally, this aural warning matches up nicely when our rogue's phone can be heard over his open ventrilo client giving off a single ping in response to a text message. Remember. one ping, Vasily. One ping.

2. Grid. This is one of the few mods that I've brought with me since my old healing days. For healing, Grid was simply amazing at showing the raid at a glance. While I don't really have much of a need for it anymore being a DPS class, I figure it's something good to kick around if the need comes around to actually buff a resurrected raid member or BOP some idiot. Oh, and it's also nice to see if you're in range of healers, and see who does, or does not have aggro from a mob. The ability to check poisons/cleanse options at a glance is nice, too. Healers should live by this mod, I just use it out of habit so that I am forced to remember that yes, there are other people in the raid and it's not just me pulling the weight of the raid.

3. PallyPower. All good paladins are OCD. If you want to see if you should play a paladin, download this mod. If the row of green classes on the right pleases you, congratulations, you're playing the correct class. I sort of have to live by this mod simply because it tells me who is, who isn't, who should, and shouldn't be buffed. It has some fancy timers and counts everything down in a nicely organized fashion. The way I see it, it's like a NASA space launch in the 1960's, as long as everything's green, we're good to go. It only really makes my OCD flare up when that one mage or shaman continually dies and throws a critical red warning light into my go for launch countdown.

4. Focus. It's not really and add-on, but I use it. It's standard Warcraft UI. It's kind of ugly, but it works. I usually set my focus target as the main tank so I can LoH him in a pinch. Basically, it's another way of watching the raid and reminding myself that there are other people in the raid. Here's a note from me: if you're my focus target, you're slightly more important than all those other scrubs in my Grid setup. Congratulations, Aggravation, you're the man.

5. Stopwatch. Once again, not really an add-on, but it's a standard part of the Warcraft UI and I know it won't ever randomly break after a patch. I've got this stopwatch set with a macro tied to my sacred shield. Check my buffs on the right against the stopwatch timer, like Einstein's watch in the DeLorean compared to Doc Brown's watch in the parking lot, the times are offset so I know that I have either gone back in time, or that I need to put sacred shield back on myself.

It's not shown, but I also run Deadly Boss Mods, so that I've got something to tell me when I'm standing in fire, or when I should be standing in fire, or whatever else I can do with fire. Furthermore, it should also be noted that I don't have any DPS meters. Like I said in a previous post, I don't run recount because it chews up my system memory, and I don't need to know how much DPS I do. I already know that I do 18k. Besides, my current package runs me about 350k of memory, which is a drop in the bucket compared to some of those out there I've seen that are pushing 65 megs...and are entirely in German.

So, do you need mods to raid seriously? Probably not. Do they help and make you not look like a complete tool? Yes. I run the bare minimum out there and I manage pretty well, but there are still some days when I wish I could post my UI and have others marvel over it.

Sigh. Those were the days...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How does he do it?

This is something of a response to my last post, or at least, it's something of a continuation of the conversation that "what kind of DPS do you do" brings up. As my last post stated, I've pretty much turned to my standard answer as being "I do 18k DPS", and it's left at that. Sometimes people laugh, sometimes they just ignore me, either way, I don't particularly mind, I'm usually too busy trying to run down Alliance players in Wintergrasp.

Though, there are those exceptions. There are those people that just want to know more. Which, given a bit of time on my part, I'm fine with sharing. What do I know? So, after the "what's your DPS" question and my template response, there's usually something akin to "how do you do it?" Well, I won't lie, sometimes I don't even know. If you don't know the basics of how to play retribution, I'd suggest you pop over to or one of those other high class compendiums of retribution knowledge. Hell, you might even find something on the Warcraft class forums. You'd be surprised just how much people are willing to help each other if it makes them seem smarter.

Once you've got the basics of playing retribution covered, i.e. being hit-capped and knowing the basic rotation, the best thing you can do is just to practice. The First Come First Serve (FCFS) rotation that is key to retribution paladin DPS is one of the, in my opinion, most forgiving rotations there is. Now, I haven't really played a number of different classes, so it may just be my own personal biases speaking, but you know, if you screw up on the FCFS rotation, just wait for a GCD and you're usually back on board.

I seriously use 1-5 on my keyboard, and that's about it unless I'm hitting divine plea or something weird for a specific fight. I've got my buttons ranked in order of importance, 1 being the most important, and 5 being the least, and then I just faceroll on the keyboard making sure to mash the buttons when their timers light up. As long as there are no buttons lit up to the left of the current button that I'm mashing, things usually work out pretty well.

So, practice...practice...practice. It's the best thing you can do, it's all about muscle memory, or at least, that's how you get the rotation down. I've been playing the rotation long enough now where I don't even have to look and see which buttons are lit up and are ready to fly, it's just sort of second nature to me. I have found, by way of, a neat little add-on that is sure to help those of you out there struggling with the paladin rotation, or at least those of you trying to figure out when to press what.

The add-on is called CLCRet and it's by Abija. It's essentially a graphic organizer for what actions you should be doing and when. While I could try to explain it here, has a nice YouTube video of how it all works here:

Now, this add-on might not be the end all be all to learning the retribution rotation, but it's a definite help. It might not be the optimum in terms of DPS, and it might miss a few things here and there, but it's better than nothing. Think of it like training wheels for your retribution bicycle: you might not go the fastest, and things might be a bit wobbly, but once you figure it all out, you too can win the Tour de France.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I do 18k DPS.

Okay, I get it. I've got some pretty good gear for our small pond server. Big deal. Since snagging that Starcaller title from Algalon I've had more and more people whisper me in game asking me about gear and rotations and what have you. Fine. Whatever. I'm more than willing to trade war stories and/or explain my gear selection choices to you. I mean, what's a good retribution paladin without some good discussion to back him/her up? But there's one question that I just can't stand: what's your DPS?

Though, more often than not this question takes the form of "wuts ur dps?" or "how much dps you do?" Either way, the question is the same, and utterly meaningless. To be perfectly honest, I don't run meters at all. I let my girlfriend run them, and if I'm curious, I'll lean over and ask her what I did on a particular fight. In guild runs, DPS shouldn't be a competition. I mean, there are benchmarks that I want to make every fight. For example if I'm not doing over 5k, I get a little frustrated with myself, but I'm only competing with myself and nobody else.

The DPS question is really a moot one because every fight is different by way of some mechanic. Some fights see melee doing awesome DPS (see Kologarn for retribution paladins), where some fights see casters running the table (Onyxia phase two, anyone?). Ultimately your individual DPS doesn't matter as long as you're towing your end of the rope. If I do 6k DPS...hell, if I do 10k DPS, what does it really matter if the rest of the raid is doing 2k a shot? The individual cannot carry the group, or if he/she does, there are limits to it. We've started to see those limits in a 25 man ToC pick up group we've been more or less herding through the instance. Our guild manages to bring six people or so, then another guild brings the rest. If your DPS spread for the raid looks like this: 6.5k, 6k, 5,9k, 3k, 2.9k....chances are you probably won't do so hot on those later fights. But you know, the three DPS from our guild that we take, we tow the line, and we do our jobs, and that's the best we can do sometimes.

Fail 25 man raids aside, the DPS question is one I've begun to answer with the title of this post: "I do 18k DPS". Alright, maybe it's something of an exaggeration, but I'm getting there. The point is, individual DPS doesn't really matter. Stop being so self-centered. If you focus solely on your individual DPS, you're more likely to tunnel-vision and end up getting smoked by a burrowing Anub'arak. There's an old adage I like to stick to as something of my big guns, as it were: "dead DPS do zero DPS". Now, that's not to say you won't get screwed over every now and then, just be cognizant of your surroundings. Bleeding onto the keyboard isn't worth it.

That being said, I've done a little math to back up my original statement. You'll have to slog through it, though, I'm not much of a math major.

So, for any integer where n > 0, we have (this will be my retribution DPS for the night):
By applying the binomial theorem to the above we get:
Since the 2n over n is the largest term in the sum, we have:
as desired. So now let's apply that little lemma to our next computation by way of induction where n > 2, for example let's say n = 2m+1 where m > 0. By way of binomial expansion we have:
Each prime p with m+1 < p <= 2m+1 divides 2m+1 over m, which gives us:
By induction, (m+1) for any variable of DPS < 4 to the m+1, so:
Therefore, I clearly do 18k DPS. QED

I kick sand at people.

You know, it wasn't all too long ago that I was a member of the Alliance. I had long flowing blond hair and a wicked goatee. I looked like a paladin. I was...rather dashing. Stereotypes aside, though, I was something of a coward.

I remember fearing every time the Alliance emblem would pop up next to my character's portrait indicating that I was PvP-flag enabled. Oh lord, my first trip to Scarlet Monastery was a real white-knuckled pony ride to be sure. Whether the threat of get ganked was imagined or not, it was very much real in my head. For whatever reason whenever I was...fair game, as it were, I really became paranoid. There was an undead rogue hiding behind that next tree, and his name was Mido.

World PvP scared the crap out of me, even though it shouldn't have. I played Alliance on a pretty Alliance-heavy server, normally we would have the advantage of numbers anywhere we went. Maybe it was an irrational fear, but for whatever stuck. Looking back on it, though, I'm thinking it was because I was a holy paladin with nothing to save myself but holy shock and whatever damage retribution aura could put out...which, against an arms warrior wielding the original Obsidian Edged Blade, didn't add up to much.

Granted, this sort of run into the closet and hide fear softened a bit once retribution paladins got a little bit of bite in the expansions since the original vanilla WoW, but it was one of those things that I just couldn't easily shake. It was...ingrained into how I played the game--one eye looking over my shoulder whenever the shield of Lordaeron came over my head.

Wrath of the Lich King put me at odds with my own apprehensions via Wintergrasp. Sure, we had had PvP dailies and quests before, but never an entire zone enabled for just that one thing where you could essentially come and go as you pleased. Or at least, for me, it was something new. Maybe not so much the actual PvP that was going on, I'd done plenty of that before in the old standby encounters of WSG, AB, AV, and Eye, but more of what happened after the encounter was over. The fighting was done, but the two sides could, and usually would still go at it just because they could.

For me, this sort of post-Wintergrasp interaction would come up during one particular event: the PvE Wintergrasp daily/weekly quest. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones to go kill the water elementals, the shadow elementals, the fire guys, the flowers, those ones. Kill some PvE mobs in a PvP zone. Brilliant. Though, as a side note, the fishing daily quest also fits into this category.

I recall blowing into the zone just after a fight to knock out the daily, and still that paranoid mentality hung with me. I was always on the lookout for red-colored names. I'd pick and choose my PvE mobs close to the edges of the zone if possible so I could quickly dust off on my mount and bug out if need be.

Regardless, doing the quests was meant to take as little time a possible. I'd hop in, do the quest, and zip out. Hopefully before any PvP-flagged Horde saw me. Every now and then I'd run by a few Horde on their mounts, but I'd try to keep my distance, maybe even toss them a /wave if I thought I could skirt their humanitarian side. After all, weren't they just in there to do the daily/weekly quests, too?

Since making the jump over to the Horde side, I have to answer than with an emphatic, "No". Those Horde aren't just in there to do the daily/weekly quest. If anything, they are out to get you in any way that they can. And damn it, they like it.

Honestly, I can't really say what's caused the change in my mindset toward world PvP, but now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I live for it. Regardless of whether or not the Horde take Wintergrasp, I find myself cruising about the zone, dropping in on the Alliance/quest hot spots in the hopes of finding a red-colored name. Maybe it's because I currently out gear a good number of Alliance players on this server, but the fear just isn't there anymore. The other night I flew my rusted proto-drake directly into the Alliance-controlled outpost to the east of the fortress just so that I could burn an AFK'ing rogue.

It's not just me either. It's my entire guild. We flag PvP outside of instances and even go as far as to bait Alliance players into attacking us only to have a feral druid and rogue waiting in the wings to bring down the hammer.

We're Horde.

We're angry.

And damn, don't we look delicious?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dr. Seuss hates retribution paladins.

I've given it some thought, and it seems to make more sense than GC hating retribution paladins. Of course by GC I don't mean Ghostcrawler, but the more recognized Gaheeeeezus Christ, though Ghostcrawler isn't far behind, he just wants to nerf us into the ground. Dr. Seuss is the one that is really out to get us retribution types, and I think it was foretold in one of his stories entitled "The Lorax".

Now, for those of you that aren't fans of Dr. Seuss books (how could you not be? It should be required reading for all first grade children), "The Lorax" is essentially Ted Geisel's (that's the real Dr. Seuss) take on capitalism, expansion, and how those impact our environment. For lack of a better term, it's Geisel's "green" story.

The narrative centers on the interaction of two characters: the Lorax and the Great Once-ler. The Once-ler is your typical American kind of guy: clever, good with his hands, and more than willing to cut another man's legs out from under him to make a buck. The Lorax, on the other hand, is more of a tree-hugging Wilford Brimley that has the interests of the local flora and fauna foremost in his mind.

These two characters come into direct opposition when the Once-ler finds that the local truffula trees are the most amazing things, indeed for making his precious thneeds. Why...what's a thneed you say? Well, everyone needs a thneed. It's a sock. It's a hat. It's a box for your cat. Why yes, a thneed is a most amazing thing. And what a market there is for this thneed, everyone does need a thneed.

Regardless of the details within, there is one speech that resonates with me as a retribution paladin. In the story the Lorax confronts the Once-ler and states that he, "speaks for the trees--the truffula trees, and the brown barbaloots in their barbaloot suits, and the swammi swans, and the singing fish."

Now then, if one looks a bit at each of the items that the Lorax speaks for...the trees, the brown barbaloots, the swammi swans, and the singing fish, something becomes eerily apparent. The Lorax speaks for the druids. He speaks for the trees (tree form), the brown barbaloots (bear form), the swammi swans (flight form), and the singing fish (aquatic form is a stretch, but the fish have cat whiskers, check it out sometime).

The Lorax speaks for the that leaves me, the retribution paladin, as none other than the Great Once-ler. Now then, this doesn't pose much of an issue at first, I love making money, and I love cutting the legs out from another man more than just about anything else, that's just the way I am.

Let me try to bring together the narrative of "The Lorax" with my own experiences as a retribution paladin, or at least those experiences that pertain mostly to cases where I am dealing with druids: PvP.

I hate druids.

I hate restoration druids most of all.

Given the cleaving power that is SoC, I usually have no problems bursting down most classes, save for discipline priests (ABSORB ABSORB ABSORB) and restoration druids. Now, discipline priests I can at least respect, they look serious as they're eating my two-handed axe, but tree druids,'s just a slap in the face.

Last night we were working through our arena games for the week, and we did fairly well for not having a competitive team make up. I won't lie, holy paladin, retribution paladin, and a feral druid/rogue won't usually break any banks. There was this one match that we had, though, where I was literally on this one tree druid for at least two minutes straight. And nothing happened. If anything, I think he was mocking me. His hunter pal dumped a slowing freeze trap at my feet and the druid proceeded to bobble and weave his way through the trap back and forth as I dumped at least 300,000 points of damage into him. Now, did his mana bar move at all? I couldn't even get him below eighty percent.

Okay, so maybe he was in full PvP gear and was a really good player and all that jazz. I can put up with that. But come on, the hand waggle as he walked around? The druid looked like he was listening to the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" and throwing his hands into the air like he indeed, just didn't care, as opposed to getting his face cleaved in the likes of which even Paul Bunyan couldn't produce.

If anything, it was more insult than anything else. We still won. After we killed everything else and the druid AFK'ed out.

With my inability to utterly dismantle the restoration druid, and druids in general in mind, let's look back at the narrative of the Seuss story. The story ends with the Great Once-ler having chewed through all of the natural resources of the truffula trees, therein causing the brown barbaloots, the swammi swans, and the singing fish all to leave for...greener pastures as it were. The thneed economy dries up, and the Once-ler becomes a recluse, living in a darkened tower at the top of an all too abandoned hill, only coming out when called upon to retell his story to the young at heart and warn them of his failures.

I am that Great Once-ler.

I've spent my time chewing through healers, through the natural resources of the battlegrounds, and I'm left with what? The tree druid. I am left with something I can do nothing with. I waggle my axe, and he waggles his hands, and we deadlock for a good three minutes. Sometimes we win, but more often than not, we don't, and that damned tree is still there, shaking his roots in an all too mocking gesture.

So I retreat to the top of the Kirin Tor tower to brood, and like the Great Once-ler, I only come out when called upon to share the errors of my ways--or to get that summon to ToC.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A haiku of violence.

Fishing daily quest
Alliance in Wintergrasp
Bloodied snow prints

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Shhhh. It's a secret.


You're likely to not know how you got here, and that's okay. In fact, it's probably better that way. For now, we'll just both agree that you probably play World of Warcraft. If you don't, probably not much to see here. If you do, sit down, relax, and I'll see about giving you a good laugh while you're here.