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.