Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I am not a rogue. I am a machine gun.

Or at least I was, a long time ago. Cue dramatic sigh.

It's been about a week now since that big old expansion thing. Blizzard calls it Cataclysm, I call it TOR:40K Waitlist. For the uninitiated that's The Old Republic and Dark Millennium Online combined, both games that I am looking forward to, regardless of their overall suck when they finally go live.

Now, I wasn't around when the talents went live prior to Cataclysm and all that jazz, so I've had a little bit less time to get used to all of these changes, but I think I'm catching up pretty quickly. There are some things I want to say first, though, before I get into my big issue with Retribution paladins as they are now. So, here we go.

Son, I am disappoint.

When I heard about Cataclysm and the grind from 80 to 85 I was led to believe that it would take just as long to go those five levels as it did to go 70-80, if not longer. For those of you that have leveled accordingly, you know full well that that just isn't the case. Personally, I cleared out Loremaster of Cataclysm in less than a week. I think it was something like four days total, getting to 85 even quicker than that. Granted, I made a boat ton of money doing it, but it really never felt like much of a grind. I coasted up to 85. God forbid had I done some of those dungeon quests when I was leveling, I'd have to trade the 36 gold I'm getting for the 100k experience, and we all know I'm far too greedy for that.

Secondly, and this is pretty minor, but it's my thing to point out the little stuff, even out the fucking flight ceilings. Listen, I know how hard it was for you to go back and actually render the tops of some of those trees, I know. Thank you for giving us flying in the old world, it makes doing your crappy archaeology profession that much easier, so easy in fact that as soon as I find Jinrohk I'll promptly shoot my face off in front of Tirion in his Hearthglen mansion. Seriously though, flying is awesome, but when I hit imaginary walls every turn I make, it gets really annoying. I know my drake likes to fly high up in the jet stream, that's his thing, he gets better gas mileage up there. I'm doing this for you, Lifebinder. You hear me? I'm trying to go green for you, but your lazy developers won't let me. Maybe I'll just have to go back to my SUV mammoth, I bet you'd like that, huh? Eatin' up all your grass, grazing wherever he damn well feels like it, leaving a steaming pile right in the middle of Orgrimmar's drag for all those guards to slip on. We'll play your way, fine.

Anyway, moving on, goblins aren't goblins. They're Ferengi. This isn't World of Warcraft, this is Dungeons and Dragons Star Trek. Need proof? May I present exhibit A:


This is a goblin. He is a sound businessman. Don't argue with his business portfolio, it will end you.

Now then, onto a more serious nature now that I've gotten the initial bit of venting out of the way. I honestly can't say I like the paladin mechanics. In fact, I downright hate them. Don't get me wrong, I know why the developers did it, but come on, Holy Power? I am not a rogue. If I wanted to play a rogue, I'd go back to my level 70 rogue in Shattrath and dick around with him. Quite frankly, that's the very reason why I stopped playing my rogue. I hate combo points. Oh I know, Holy Power only has three stacks, not five like most combo point generating classes! Clever, Blizzard, but I see through your thinly veiled trap.

That's not to say that I can't live with it, though. Holy Power and I could come to some sort of agreement. Like I said, I know why the change was made. The developers didn't want Retribution paladins to be the AK-47s they were in late-stage ICC. For those of you that might not know what a DPS rotation looked like for a 264 ilevel Retribution with full T10, it was something like this: 222222222222222222222222262222222222222222222222226 AVENGING WRATH 622222222222222222 Trash dead. Boss dead. Raid dead. If you played a Retribution paladin at that time, I don't think I need to explain what the 2 and 6 keybinds I use are. If you didn't, here's a hint: Divine Storm and Hammer of Wrath. It honestly took little to no skill chugging through just about anything like that. This is what trash and most bosses in ICC were for me:


I swear, the "2" on my keyboard rubbed off so long ago from mashing that guy over and over again. I honestly could have played ICC with a Super Nintendo controller as long as it had the Turbo buttons.

So, yeah, I know where they're coming from, the developers that is, but as it stands Holy Power is just too slow. While I could get technical about it, one of my early gripes about the paladin class as a whole was our ramp up time for single target bosses. This expansion has only compounded that problem unless we get amazingly lucky with the RNG and get a mastery proc. Once we get into the groove we can really start hitting things, but it just takes way too long in comparison to the other DPS classes out there. By the time I'm ready to rock the girl has already tugged her skirt back on and is heading out the door.

And there I am, alone, surrounded by a pack of dead trash mobs, with nothing to do but blow my fully Holy Power load on a three-stack Inquisition that'll be spent by the time the next set of trash comes into view.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it fix it. Fix it.

Blah blah blah, 4.0.1 is live, blah blah. New talents are here, old ones are gone. New stats are here, old ones are gone. New graphical interfaces, new point systems, new new new new!

IT'S FUCKING NEW AND IMPROVED!

Not really. I know this music. I've heard it before. I heard it two years ago, and another few years again before that.

Maybe I'm just getting old, well, wait, I know I am getting old. Maybe I'm just getting crankier over the fact that they're cutting my Social Security again, but I'm starting to get really tired of this part of every expansion. Some of you might know what I'm talking about when I say "this part", and if you do, well, you've probably seen it just as many times as I have. If you don't know what I'm talking about, if your expansion cherry hasn't been popped yet, well, welcome aboard and then get off my golf course.

Now, here's a little tidbit in case any of my information is wrong: my account is currently inactive. It's been inactive for a few months now, as noted by my inactivity here. Do I plan on reactivating it anytime soon? No. I'll jump back on when the expansion hits, but until that time, I'm thoroughly enjoying making Texa$-sized holes in the sides of buildings in Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Of course, that's not to say that I haven't been paying attention to the World...of Warcraft. I know all too well the changes that have been made, I spend a good chunk of my day flittering about on MMO Champion, eying the blue posts and what have you. What can I say? Old habits die hard. So, on paper I am quite well-informed, don't get that wrong. I just haven't had the chance to see it first hand. Not like it really matters, though, from what I've heard people that are ICC 277+ are having issues getting through the old school heroics. Threat is everywhere, and tanks are getting holes punched in them like a pre-Wrath paladin mana bar. In short, I don't think I'm missing much, and I don't really want to be diddering about with a bunch of priests with 30k HP that think they are fucking boss hoss just because their stats got worked around. That, and the fact that I really don't feel like relearning how to play my class for the third time.

Right, so where was I? I know what's going on in the world, I'm not deaf. I still do my reading, I just don't want to bother with it right now, but I will when the expansion hits, you know...when it actually means something. Coincidentally, after hearing how badly things are going with people relearning how to play their characters, I can see why Blizzard got rid of the Chill of the Throne debuff in ICC. For some reason in my head I just hear the announcer from Smash TV saying, "GOOD LUCK! YOU'LL NEED IT!" while this ten main raid is running around trying to bag big money, big prizes.

If that little reference doesn't make sense, go here, it might help, or at least it'll make you feel nostalgic for some old school classic arcade action.

Anyway, I keep getting distracted. As I was saying, I've seen this all before, most people that are fanatics of this MMO have seen it as well. The last big patch comes out of the current expansion: Naxx, Sunwell, Ruby Sanctum (lolzrite?), and then we get hints from the blues, an actual release date for the next expansion, and finally...the new talents. Whammo. I'll admit, I was pretty excited when this happened the first two times, because each time I was coming at it from a different angle. Vanilla going into BC I was a holy paladin, and I really enjoyed seeing some of the new toys to play with. BC going into Wrath I was swinging the retribution stick, and it was cool, sure, but some of the flair had gone. This time, though? It's just kinda...meh. I don't care, I want an iPhone 4.

Sure you can play with the new stuff for a bit, but there's no guarantee any of it is going to stick until you get that copy of the expansion in your hands. Maybe I'm just a bit more cranky about this because this would be the third playstyle I've had to learn in as many expansions, but I'm sure there are other classes out there that are starting to feel the strain as well. I just don't see why people get so fixated on any of this junk just yet. None of it is really in stone, and it could all go out the window next Tuesday for all we know. Yes, the chances of that happening aren't very big, but as long as the guys are still working on the coefficients and all that jargon, why bother with trying to number crunch and theorycraft just yet?

There's a reason that one of the options for canceling your World of Warcraft account is "Waiting for expansion", and I'm glad for it. It says "Waiting for expansion", not "Waiting for the big patch to show off the new shit just before the expansion". It's two months away still, and that's plenty of time to play redecorator with my Carl Gustav special.

Friday, June 11, 2010

OT: Death of a Salesman.

Sell: to cause to be accepted or persuade; the goal of professional wrestling.

Salesman: a man who sells goods, services, etc; a professional wrestler.

***

Wrestling, since its earliest form, has always been about entertainment. Ancient Greco-Roman coliseum types aside, let’s just look at the past fifty years: people like Gorgeous George, Jimmy Hart, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Hulk Hogan, and Andy Kaufman have all been entertainers at heart (Andy Kaufman more than the rest, though). The hardest part about wrestling, current-day wrestling, isn’t being physically bigger, stronger, or smarter than your opponent as it was centuries ago when wrestling was still a pure sport, or as it is found in its common high school derivative, but rather being the better salesman.

It should be common knowledge to most of American society by now that professional wrestling is in fact, a farce—a grand soap opera that just happens to involve two or more brutes pummeling each other senseless. While it is true that it is quite the physical soap opera, and that the actors do in fact sometimes get hurt, it is never the goal of the production to actually injure any of its actors. It is the goal of the production to present the image of such injuries, though. In wrestling terminology, such a goal is commonly referred to as “selling”. Just like with good stage acting, professional wrestlers have to make their acting appear as real as possible. They have to sell their moves to the audience. Because honestly, who really likes bad acting unless one is mocking it? It takes the audience out of the experience and makes the whole production extremely laughable. That’s not to say that professional wrestling isn’t laughable by its own accord, but at least it looks real a good majority of the time.

A sale can encompass any number of elements within professional wrestling. A wrestler has to sell the action of receiving a hard boot to the groin or the aftermath of a vicious chair to the lower back. Similarly, a wrestler has to sell his character to the audience, because if the audience doesn’t buy into the character, they’re far less likely to believe the actor to begin with. In this respect, professional wrestling is nothing but a series of negotiations between a salesman (the wrestler) and a client (the audience). Just like in our everyday capitalistic society, some salesmen are better than others and are rightfully rewarded for it, moving up the corporate ladder to middle management, possibly even CEO, before retiring.

Professional wrestling is no different. What we commonly see on television are the middle management fellows duking it out for their metaphorical promotions, with the hope of one day being promoted to the position of Heavyweight Champion of the World. If that doesn’t fit into your five-year plan though, we in the wrestling world offer many other options for promotion: one could apply for the Tag Team Champions of the World, or perhaps a more regional title such as North American or Intercontinental Champion. But of course we are an offer and equal opportunity chance for promotion so we also have positions for a Cruiserweight Champion of the World (under 215 pounds only, please), and even a Women’s Championship title (Andy Kaufman’s need not apply). Not only do these positions come with a considerable pay increase, but franchising options are available for those interested (see Hasbro’s newest line in action figure realism at Hasbro.com).

There is another similarity between the capitalistic salesman and the wrestling salesman though, and it’s not of the good variety either. Think of a really stereotypical car salesman, or a pushy telemarketer, or even better a life insurance agent—you know, the type that is always trying to get you to look out for your family even though you are twenty-two, unmarried, and have no existing or hereditary medical problems, that type. With the everyday salesman it is quite possible to oversell your product to a potential customer. In doing so, one runs the risk of turning away a prospective client because you either: A) scared them away or B) presented them with more information about the product than they wanted to know. I always run into these types of salesmen, and I think I know why. It’s because I don’t shop at the high-end stores or agencies. I’m cheap, and I don’t want to spend an extra three thousand dollars for somebody to shut up and let me decide what I want.

Honestly, if you ever step foot into one of the Richie Rich stores, you’ll see what I mean. You’ll quickly realize that every item that you can purchase within the establishment carries no price tag. That’s because for the people that shop there, money isn’t a concern, and the prices are already so over-inflated a salesman can make a hefty commission by just selling one item per workday. In light of these over-inflated prices, the sales staff will generally leave a shopper alone, letting the purchaser do most of the work, only in the end swooping in to swipe a credit card as some sort of polite, customary action. Then again, the people that work in these types of places are usually good salesmen/women in their own right, they’ve earned their positions. They are the champions of their league, able to pick and choose their customers just as professional fighters pick and choose their opponents to some extent.

But you know what? For a three thousand dollar discount, I’ll let some moron talk my ear off about some feature I don’t really need or want; it’s a minor inconvenience, really. I play the role of the dutiful and gullible customer, taking every last sales pitch the seller has to offer before finally replying with a “No thanks” and walking out with whatever item I just purchased. Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly frugal, I’ll do a little overselling of my own. You’d be surprised just how many companies are willing to cut you some slack on APRs or payment plans if you’re willing to listen to one of their gimmicks or take part in one of their customer satisfaction surveys. On more than one occasion I recall asking for every last gimmick, trick, and deal to be presented before me just so that I could see how low I could work the final sale price. And well, if the gimmicks aren’t particularly too painful, I’ll take’em, and other times, I’ll turn’em away. Sometimes we (myself and the salesman) get what we want out of the deal, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we make a big scene out of it (those usually work pretty well). Sometimes we oversell our roles to each other to the point where we can only laugh at how silly we both look. But getting back to my point, really bad professional wrestlers are like really bad salesmen: they oversell everything that they do, and how can you not love them for it?

Back in the 1990’s, all the way up to the turn of the century there were two major wrestling groups that were commonly televised: the WCW and the WWF, World Championship Wrestling and World Wresting Federation respectively. Between the two they had wrestling televised at least four or five nights a week. Monday and Thursday were the big nights for the WCW and Monday and Sunday were the big nights for the WWF. These shows were primetime, 7:00PM to 10:00PM and they brought in quite the televised and live crowds. But I didn’t care about the big-name nights where you saw the Hulk Hogan’s and the Bill Goldberg’s, what I loved watching were the Saturday afternoon shows. These shows usually ran from about 4:00PM to 6:30PM, well out of the limelight of the casual watcher. And let me tell you, these shows were nothing but a montage of really bad salesmen. Granted, these were the venues by which young, raw, aspiring talent got a shot at the big time, or where aging heroes were casually cast aside into mediocrity, but they were still terribly lacking in subtlety. I loved watching those time slots, I loved watching a man take a punch to the stomach and roll around on the mat for five minutes as if he had been hit by a swinging sequoia trunk while his opponent openly flirted with the nearest female ring assistant, I loved the flamboyant costumes, I loved the way wrestlers would change their characters every week in order to find a new angle on something that had been done by their predecessors decades before, I loved the tongue-in-cheek announcers, I loved trashy low-grade professional wrestling, and I loved it for all the wrong reasons.

I suppose that is why I find the older professional wrestling so appealing, the stuff you can’t find on television anymore, except for when the Fox Sports Network is having a special. I love the clich├ęs, the Gorgeous George’s and the Ric Flair’s. They wrestled when there was no “big time” there was simply the time, and they were in it. Sure there might have been a Heavyweight Champion of the World, but they just got some flimsy plastic belt to show for it, not an action figure and their face on a cereal box. Don’t get me wrong, wrestling back then was still as scripted as it was today, still as fake, but the sell wasn’t nearly as important.

Maybe people back in the 1950’s and 60’s were more gullible, or maybe they were just eager to be entertained, not as jaded as the children of the 80’s were. I think that television had a lot to do with it though. Back in the 50’s and 60’s matches were hardly televised as they often are today, and even if they were televised, it was with your typical 1950’s RCA low quality camera by today’s comparison. That being said, most of the audience was actually present at the event, hundreds, if not thousands of people packed into an auditorium to see two men face off in a twenty foot square. Like actors of the Greco-Roman period in the coliseum, the wrestlers had to be sure that their actions were accurately portrayed to all of the spectators, even those occupying the two dollar nosebleed seats. Punches had to knock men off their feet, send them across the ring, and even sometimes through the ropes spilling onto the apron below. These men were larger than life, as were their actions. Everything was taken to the extreme for the sake of the audience. Wrestlers of old had to project themselves, and their characters much further than today’s wrestlers have to. Think of the wrestlers of yore as actors in a melodrama. Today’s wrestlers, through the addition of technological advances in camerawork, merely have to project themselves as far as the nearest camera, which is usually only five or six feet away. From there, their image is then plastered onto a big screen within the arena for all to see, even those in the two dollar nosebleed sections, as if they were only six feet away from the action. The wrestlers of today can be a lot more subtle in their actions. Punches that would in the past be made to look like they had the force to send a man through the ropes now lean more towards believability—professional wrestlers aren’t gods, nor do they hit like ones. Today’s wrestlers take part in a well-scripted soap opera where the standard melodramatic character types have blurred to the point where characters today can change on a week to week basis dependent on audience approval or disapproval.

By today’s wrestling standards, wrestling of old is nothing but a collection of overselling. Though I don’t think it’s a bad thing, they were merely conscious of their audience, as most good actors are. I still enjoy it though, much more than I ever enjoyed the current popular professional wrestling (not the Saturday afternoon stuff, that was just too good to miss), regardless of how real or fake it was. The Saturday afternoon scrubs, like their historic predecessors, were both entertaining in their own right. Sure the scrubs would never make it into the big time because they lacked subtlety, but that’s okay, that’s not what they were selling. I guess that’s why I still find myself buying items I don’t need from really bad salesmen; not because their pitch was amazing, but because they tried, overzealous and misguided as they might be.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Min/max and you. Mac and me.

Mac and Me, anyone remember that gem from the 80's? No? Probably not. It's a lesser-known movie about a family of aliens that crash lands on Earth, the youngest of which is named Mac. Over the course of the movie, the diminutive Mac befriends your run of the mill wheelchair-bound nerd, of which whose name I simply cannot remember. Regardless, the paraplegic's name is unimportant. What is important is this picture:


Now then, let us examine the picture. We have Mac, the alien, riding on the shoulders of said crippled child, utterly obscuring his view of the world. Is this a metaphor for how we are to live life? That we are forever-blinded without the help of our dearest alien friends, and that only through their assistance are we able to see life completely? To be completely honest, I doubt it. If you ask me, Mac looks something like a sex toy just waiting to be used, but that's beside the point.

Metaphor aside, what is really important here is the child's ability to accessorize effectively. Yes, the child could have chosen a simple yet stylish hat to round out his wheelchair ensemble, or a snappy pair of sunglasses. Yet he has chosen an alien to wear atop his head. This in itself sets him apart from his peers. Well, it does. How many people do you know that wear BJ-giving aliens upon their heads? My sources would say not many. Does this make him better than your average twelve year old? Probably, yes.

And herein lies the point I wish to make: What you wear says something about how you play down to the smallest detail. What you wear on your head says something about how you play. What hairstyle you use says something about how you play.

It sounds odd, but there is some bit of logic to it. We are all given the choice as to how we wish to present ourselves in the game, or at least we're able to alter a broad number of variables to our liking. Within those variables that we change (this is assuming that you didn't just /random your toon's appearance), there are some that we like, and some that we dislike. By way of this, you essentially profile your character down to a few key traits that ultimately get at the real essence of your toon and your play style.

But then, of course, what do I know? You're right. I know next to nothing, but admitting such is the first step to true enlightenment. So, let's take a look at a few of the usual suspects. Granted, I play exclusively Horde, and my main is a Blood Elf paladin of the female variety. As is such, I've limited myself to the female hairstyles for the moment. If you want to complain about it, leave a note, we'll chat.


The bun. Simple. Classic. A dyed in the wool killer, cold-blooded, methodical, and thorough. This is the style that I use, and I feel it best encapsulates my outlook on Warcraft on the whole. My toon is a bitch to the core. I don't want to make puppy kisses with you, nor do I want to help your level 73 alt clear the amphitheater of anguish. I work hard every morning to make sure that not one single strand of this hair is out of place, and by god if it is, you'd best stay out of the battlegrounds. If you're a DPS class, I would suggest this style for optimal DPS. The bun allows for proper airflow over the curve of the head while still allowing you to negotiate with extreme prejudice. For healers, well, this hairstyle is a bit hit and miss. As a healer wearing the bun, know that you probably will only be healing a select few in the raid. It's not a friendly hairstyle, and you won't play well with others. Coincidentally, it's great for eliminating bad raiders.


The boar tails. What are you, six? This hairstyle is one borrowed from the gnomes, as is such, it shouldn't even be considered. If you're going for the cute look, try elsewhere. This one ultimately pulls off being annoying and flippant, if not outright childish, more than cute nine times out of ten. Remember, you're out slaying dragons and undead, not trying to compete in the local Miss Pre-teen USA pageant. What fun is slaying dragons, burning legions of undead, and stabbing things if you've got a curfew of 8PM? Grow up a little. Furthermore, the balancing of this style is completely off. Those pom-poms are almost as big as the girl's head! She'd be in danger of listing terribly, if not completely fall over, every time she turned her head. From a logistics standpoint, this hairstyle just isn't feasible. You want to do the raping, not get raped.


The rooster. What is this I don't even. I really don't know what else to call it other than that. This has to be one of the lesser-known styles for females out there simply because even though only 3% of Blood Elf females are actually females in real life, clearly men know something about style. This just looks idiotic. It's like a failed sorority prank in motion. This rates even worse than the boar tails. If you're sporting this look, you're simply out to make an ass of yourself, and possibly others. You're probably one of those level 1 people that stand outside of the bank in Silvermoon and tell people how you'll give them a naked dance for one gold. You're wasting your own time, and the time of others. Nobody will take you seriously, and you don't take yourself seriously either. If anything, this toon probably isn't even your main. Any toon wearing this hairstyle is probably the alt of someone that plays on the Alliance, and they only use this Horde-side toon to spy on trade chat and figure out where the next For The Horde raid will be striking. You're clever, but you've got a lot of leveling to do to play with the big boys and girls.


The sorority. Now then, not he failed sorority prank as seen in the rooster, this is more subtle. For those of you that have spent some time in college, or at least around the college scene, this sorority is one where...well, you know the type of girl that clearly cares about her appearance, but doesn't make it a priority. You'd most commonly run into this type of girl, well, running, or at least out for a jog. They're usually the smarter ones in the sorority scene, as is such, they're well-balanced for raiders and casuals alike. The style is simple, and yes, still a classic, but has something lively to it. The nonchalance with which the ponytail settles allows one a certain breath of life that isn't seen in the bun. You enjoy raiding, yes, but only when you're not buried in a mountain of tells discussing the guild drama of the day. You're everyone's friend, and this is both a blessing and a curse. You've got your finger on the metaphorical pulse of the guild and all information runs through, or by you at some point. You're able to bridge the raider and the casual scene effectively, and because of this you are a great mediator, even if you are looked down upon by the bun from time to time.

Are there others? Yes, there are nineteen total hairstyles for female Blood Elves, of which I've only touched on a brief few. Should there be interest, maybe I'll delve deeper, but this is, as they say, a good start. So, getting back to the title of this post, where does min/max come into Mac and Me? Where does min/max come into hairstyles? Well, in order to mix/max properly, you have to ask yourself what your goals in the game are. What's the best way to find out what those goals are? Just look at your toon's hairstyle, it'll tell you plenty about all those little subconscious things that are going on in your head all the time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Success.

It'll have to be short since I'm currently in the office waiting for students to show up so that I can fail them, but this last week was a triumph. I'm making a note here: huge success. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. 10 man drakes plus rounding out our team for (what I hope to be) good makes me quite pleased.

Now to wait and see if the 25 man raid makes tonight. Heroic Blood Queen and Lich King left. Given the turnout we normally have for non-farm content, I'm thinking tonight will be a fine night to go farm Naxx for the weekly and some much needed abyss crystals. It should take something like fifteen minutes, twenty tops. After that? Why, I'll be the complete douche that I am and AFK over the well in Dalaran with my bloody skeleton drake.

So very much to do.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Butthurt players.

If I didn't mention it last time, I'll say it now: as a guild we've moved on (as a whole guild, mind you) to join with another guild to permanently raid stuff on the 25 man scene. Previously the guild we joined with had something along the lines of maybe 23 actual players that would show up to raid. Now, this might not be all too much of a problem, in its own right, but they were quickly hemorrhaging raiders to the dreaded "OMG IT'S NOT FARM NIGHT I GOTTA GO EAT MY DOG BBL". Granted, there are plenty of other similar excuses, but if you've been in this situation before, you should know all too well what I mean.

So, we hopped on board and quickly got the big train moving again. Something like two resets after we joined we ended up taking down Lich King and there was much celebration. Hooray, tea, presents, the whole thing. Success all around.

The problem, though, is that a good majority of us that joined simply can't put up with repeated stupidity. It's part of the whole reason we were doing 10's exclusively to begin with. Don't get me wrong, learning an encounter is fine, I'm all for progressive learning, but it's the little things over and over again. Like...not running away from Sindragosa on the pull in, or eating 1351351351541001 malleable goos on heroic Festergut. What the hell are you doing? Are you seriously that bad? Do you not watch the world around you?

While I could continue to spout off rhetorical questions, I don't think it would serve much of a purpose. If you know what I'm talking about, then you feel my frustration. If you don't, well, you're probably bad. Or blind. Possibly both.

To deal with said repeated stupidity, I seem to have taken on a role within this new guild. I am the guy that calls out other people as being bad. Now, I didn't necessarily ask for this position, it's not nearly as glamorous as being a raid leader, but I'd like to think I'm something of a mouthpiece for the other competent players in the raid. I say the things that everyone else is thinking, but doesn't. I also say such things over vent. I am that guy. I'd like to think that I'm filling an important role in the raid, much like an off tank, yet I am more for the people mechanics than the raid mechanics. I try to keep the good raiders in the raid, and make sure the bad raiders know who they are. Am I a complete and utter douche?

Yeah, but I'm okay with that.

There are plenty of people in the guild that recognize my skills, and realize that nobody is safe from my scrutiny. Like the Inquisition, NOBODY EXPECTS IT.

For the most part, I think it's healthy for a guild to have someone like me that notices the little details. The guy that scours logs to find out just how often and how badly people screw up. My goal is to get people to recognize their mistakes. That's the first step to being a better raider. You have to know what you're doing wrong in order to fix it. If you ignore it, well, then you might as well go live in San Angeles with Sandra Bullock because it's all rainbows and puppy kisses for you now isn't it?

It's also healthy for another reason: it removes the bads. There are always those people in the guild. The ones that show up to raid, but are really mediocre. They perform, but never stand out. Usually these people are some of the best-geared people you have just because that's how most DKP systems work out. For whatever reason, people think that having good gear equals having some massive amount of skill. Just go troll trade chat for gear score stuff and you'll see what I mean. There's some odd sense of entitlement that is brought along with having good gear.

Put down your loot and prepare to be judged. At least, once every eight seconds.

Har. Paladin humor.

Good gear will not save you from me. If you are bad, I will search you out and tell you as such.

That being the case, I've already run across a number of people within this guild that don't like me. Probably because they fit the description of being butthurt.

Butthurt is that special feeling in your ass after it's been kicked/and or pounded in. It is a common ailment of losers on the internet. It is usually characterized by noisy whining and complaining after being pwnt or otherwise outdone in any minute and insignificant way.

Butthurt players only make things easier for me. The more you want to complain about it, the more I'll rail on you. If you say that you couldn't see the 243 malleable goos that hit you over the course of the night, come get some. If you want to say that lag caused you to not hit the falling discoball on Blood Princes, even though you were standing right under it, go for it. Being butthurt won't fix anything. Raiding isn't about puppy kisses and rainbows. It's about raiding.

YOU MUST RAID LIKE VIKING.

Take your axe, sword, dagger, whatever, and put it between your teeth. Grit them very hard, and go burn down some villages. Take slaves. Produce skulls for the skull throne.

We don't raid in Candyland. We raid in Icecrown.

But, before I get too far away from my initial topic, butthurt players make me laugh. I just keep riding them, and eventually they ragequit. My stance on the issue? Come get some.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rule of thumb.

It's been a good long while since I last posted anything, apologies for that. Being a PhD candidate as well as a full time delicious raider sort of sucks away a good chunk of my life.

In short, as a guild we moved on to the 25 man scene and promptly killed the LK in something like two nights of attempts. It may or may not have been the ugliest kill ever, but a kill is a kill and now we have more time to work on our 10 man achievements again.

Looking over the logs of our kill, I saw something that made me smile, being the classic utility player that I am: I wasn't on top of the DPS charts.

Regardless of ICC being a playground for retribution DPS from that mobs being mostly undead to the fact that Seal of Command + trash = Texa$-sized numbers, retribution paladins really shouldn't top the charts on boss fights.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is just a holdover from my days of playing retribution through the end of the Sunwell debacle (Ledge boss and on), but I really don't think paladins should ever top the charts. We are ultimately a hybrid class. We can excel at all three trees, and I really think that ICC and Wrath of the Lich King has shown that. As a class we're good at all three classes, but in terms of DPS, I really don't think we can be great.

Sure there are great players that pull some crazy numbers and all that jazz, but I don't think that's as much the result of good playing by the retribution paladin as it is a failure of performance by the rest of the DPS.

This all leads to my rule of thumb for raiding as a retribution paladin:

If a retribution paladin is topping the charts on a single target boss fight, the rest of your DPS need to stop being so bad.

I don't think a retribution paladin should ever out-DPS an arcane mage, or a fury warrior for that matter. We just don't have the tools to do so. Granted, spamming Divine Storm is a lot like spamming Arcane Blast, but the numbers just aren't as big.

That should do it, keep things nice and sweet for now. Catch you kids in the heroics.

Keep on crushin'.

Friday, March 19, 2010

You can't spit shine velcro sneakers.

While this isn't a real post in terms of quality, I think it's been long overdue. I don't want to call myself any sort of great creator, but this took a good deal of time and effort, and I couldn't have done it without my barkskin-popping wife. This chart has been floating around in my head, and it probably will only make sense to those from Bladefist, or in my guild, but I wanted to show it off. I'll provide a key below, but this guy more or less describes how I've seen my guild for the past month or so. The names haven't been changed to protect the innocent and I pull no punches here. Oh, and you'll probably have to click the picture. It's a big chart.


Now then, the key, so that you might better understand how this all goes together. Most of it should be pretty explanatory: green arrows for yes decisions, red arrows for no decisions, and black arrows for process movement. Those are typical of any flowchart that I've seen. Some of the other stuff will take some explaining, but I'm okay with that, it's part of the fun.

Parabola, and the joining of said guild: is the guild I am a part of. We are a ten man guild. We like it that way. We have ten people, therefore we aren't recruiting...ever. As soon as we killed the Lich King on our server (we were the first ones by a good long while), we were almost immediately swamped with people that wanted to join. Not good people either. There was also a lot of guild shake up going down on the server, Alliance and Horde, we didn't much care for it.

Recruiting and realm forums: On the off chance that we ever were recruiting, we'd be sure to put some sort of post on the realm forums...in which case the post would be up for about two days before it got deleted. As part of a social experiment of ours, we seriously put up a recruiting thread on the realm forums, looking for 25 man raiding. We didn't ask for much, though we did require all serious applications to leave their current guild in order to be considered. We knew nobody would do it, but given the general fragility of guilds on Bladefist, we were trying to crash the market. Our social experiment would have worked out well, had the trolls not gotten hold of the thread and had it deleted in less than 48 hours. Some of us went to the CSM forums to complain, they laughed at us. Apparently Blizzard moderators want to keep us down--they won't even let us recruit. Coincidentally, every post on the realm forums that pertains to Parabola gets deleted. No joke.

Raiding and snack time: This is probably one of my biggest annoyances since coming into the raiding scene back during the MC/BWL days. Well, aside from the five minute paladin blessings. We never set our raids to go longer than three hours. We're inherently lazy. Three hours or so is a good amount of time, and we can usually clear through what we need to do in that span. This doesn't so much happen on ten man stuff, but I see it plenty in 25 man content, especially in the ones that we aren't running. In our joint 25 man runs we would blow through the first four bosses of ICC in 45 minutes or so, maybe an hour at most, and then people would be calling for a break either before, or directly after Saurfang. A FIVE MINUTE BREAK. Are you kidding me? You can't sit in a chair for more than an hour without getting up to pee or move around? Is your bladder that small? This couldn't be more true than in some random 25 man PUG I somehow got roped into. We pulled Marrowgar once, and died. Yeah, I know, let's just say that I ended up doing 14% of the total damage for that fight once all was said and done. Immediately after dying the raid leader gave us a five minute break because "the smokers in the group really needed to go smoke". LOLWUT? This isn't kindergarten. Handle your own snacks.

Vicarious: The guild that we had originally planned to run 25 man ICC with. It worked well, actually. Granted, most of them were terrible, okay, all of them, but we needed bodies, and they needed people to lead. It was something of a mutual benefit at the time, but hey, things can't last forever. It was the GM of Vicarious that ended the relationship, Everkill. A lot of it came from internal guild strife from his end because he thought he was big and bad, and told his guild as much. Some of them didn't like it, and consequentially left. Some of those that left were also part of our 25 man joint runs. He gave us the ultimatum that if we were to take those that left on the 25 man run, he'd pull all of his people out. Fine by me, because there was a catch. Long before any of this was set up, a number of rules were in place to keep attendance high, namely: should you not have a member show up to the raid and you can't supply a sufficiently-geared raider as a replacement, then you owe the other guild 2K gold. We had to pay it to them at one point because one of our healers couldn't make it, so we figured okay, if he's going to pull some 11 people out, we'll take our 22K gold and be happy. As was part of the agreement and all. To this day we haven't seen our money and Vicarious as a guild has harbored nothing but ill will toward us because we're jerks. Well, at least my playtime doesn't automatically cut off at 10:30PM server, kiddos.

Dalaran and the fountain: Parabola was the first guild to kill the Lich King on Bladefist. Granted, it was only in ten man, but hey, it still threw up the fountain. It's our fountain. We hang out there when we're bored and blow kisses to the level 77 people that spend hours watching the ending cinematic.

Texa$: While originally this was part of a Saturday Night Live skit, this has, for us, become one of the general measurements for "a whole crap ton". In this case, it refers to a whole crap ton of money that Everkill and Vicarious owe us for their sudden departure and breech of contract. We'll go to Judge Judy if we have to.

Keybinds and bads: I honestly don't know people can raid without keybinds, though I am continually amazed by just how bad some people are. How one could ever play WoW by clicking on every item/spell/ability and actually think to raid seriously makes my head want to explode. Coincidentally, we happened to pick one of said individuals up to fill a raid spot (without us knowing) and it's been nothing but headaches. Use both hands. Move with your WASD. Move with your mouse. Figure it out. Stop dying on Sindragosa because you can't run out when she sucks everyone in.

Breaking my balls, Mario: While I could explain it, sometimes a video is better.


Beasteater: See the section related to keybinds and bads for more information.

Ducktales, Tailspin, and age: This came about during one of the 25 man raids with Vicarious wherein I tried to explain how the hunter should range tank the shadowbolt-tossing Blood Prince. The hunter in question was Everkill, the GM of vicarious, and my analogy went as follows: "Alright, you see all those little shadow orbs floating around? Well, you want to be like Scrooge McDuck and those shadow orbs are coins that belong in your money pit. You want to be swimming in them, got it?" The response from Everkill was, "Who's Scrooge McDuck?" This then led to half of the raid over the age of twenty to have their eyes fall out. Long story short, it turned out that Everkill didn't even know what Ducktales was, even while half of the raid was singing the theme song over vent. This then shifted into a discussion of Tailspin, another Disney show, while we got my barkskin-popping wife to tank the shadowbolt boss instead. My conclusion? If you don't know what Ducktales or Tailspin are, you have to be, honestly, thirteen years or younger. Funny story, I hear Everkill is 15. I was close.

Amath tell me invite you k?: This gem of a line came from a shaman in Vicarious. Said shaman also has a really bad time with English. Said shaman also can't follow instructions. Said shaman also took the healing trinket from 25 man Saurfang for his resto set and then the next week announced to the world that he was going to be going enhancement from there on out. I'm fairly certain that our resident priest still grinds his teeth over losing that roll.

Lopsirio: The name of said bad shaman mentioned above.

Drakes and Algalon: We sell these, by the way. It's become something of a running joke with our guild. Somehow we always find ourselves getting people titles and drakes without even trying. The most recent drake and Algalon kill went to Beasteater. She's a hunter. We took her from Vicarious. She says she's learning to use keybinds. She keeps dying on Sindragosa. She fills a raid spot. She also helps us to piss Vicarious and Everkill off because she's seeing content they will never see. I think it works out in the end, even if it does cause me to grind my teeth.

I think that should just about do it. If any of it doesn't make sense, feel free to drop a comment and I'll see what I can do to better explain things. Saurfang hard mode went down last night. Good times for all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Divine Sacrifice is my L-pill.

Dear Divine Sacrifice,

I'm writing this to you because I feel that there's something that's been bugging me. It's nothing big, but it's just an annoyance, and I worry that if I don't get this off my chest soon, it'll just fester and become one of those terrible things that we get in fights about all the time. You know those fights. The ones where we are mad at each other, but won't tell each other why we're mad? Yeah, so...I'm trying avoid that from happening. Now, I'm going to say some painful things here, and I'm pretty sure you'll have plenty to say back, but hear me out. This can really be therapeutic...for the both of us. So, here I go...

I remember back when I was looking over my three talent trees for the first time. Hell, the very first time you weren't even there, but they added you in, and I'm happy for it--for the both of us. But we both know that's not where we started. It took some time, I had to get all of my points in the retribution tree squared away, and we both know how picky I can be about those sort of things. A few patches came out and I had to shuffle some stuff around, and looking back on it, I feel bad for what I did. I shuffled five points around and slotted them into some first tier holy talents. Was I selfish in doing so? Probably, but you know me, right? 15% more damage on my raiding seal, hon. I really couldn't pass that up, not by a long shot.

You knew. You knew all along. In fact, I bet you were smiling there, in your third tier spot. I had passed you over a few times, but you knew it was coming. Don't try to hide that smirk, believe me, I've seen it too many times for you to hide it from me. With all of my talent points set: five holy, ten protection, fifty-five retribution you had to have known what was coming. Hell, I bet you were looking pretty smug, I would have. If anything, I bet you were pushing out your chest just a little, tugging that plunging neckline down that tiny bit, trying to entice me. Babe, you didn't need to. Not in the slightest. I had one talent point left to spend and my OCD had me filling you out like a single mother signing a freshly-minted welfare check.

Others out there said you were a steal at just one talent point. Others said that Aura Mastery was the new hotness, and that you were old and busted. I didn't much listen to what they all had to say. Sure Aura Mastery was pretty slick with a nice set of lips, but babe, you had it going for miles, or at least my OCD compelled me to believe as such. I'm happy so say that I was right.

The whole time you must have known I'd end up picking you, but I want you to know it's not because you're the fat kid getting picked last for the kickball team. I know that's what some people say, but they're wrong. It's just that you're...well...situational. Christ, that sounds terrible, but I don't know how else to explain it, and I think that if you sit down and give it some thought, you'll agree with me.

And well, that's sort of why I'm writing this. Being as situational as you are, babe, it's like playing Russian roulette when I use you, except all of the chambers but one are loaded. You know I like to gamble, but honey, those aren't my kind of odds.

I know you've had some bodywork since when you first came out, and that's fine. Hell, I learned to live with you then, now is no different. But honestly, you're getting me gibbed when I use you. Now I'm not talking minor gibs here, I'm talking Solider of Fortune ludicrous gibs here. When I click your glowy fisty halo thing I'm not even getting a chance. It's been so bad sometimes that I've begun to wonder if I'm hitting Divine Intervention instead, but I know I'm not, so please don't bring your sister into this we both know how you two act around one another.

Really, though, remember Festergut two weeks ago? And then the week before that? You're supposed to break the damage reduction if it drops me below 20% health, babe. Remember that? If you don't, that's okay, we can work on it, but if that's not the case...stop being such a vindictive bitch. Don't you go giving me that "l2bubble" crap either. We both know that I don't like using it. It's like wearing a condom...it just doesn't feel right. So just forget about that bit, alright?

Okay, I'm just going to stop there, this is starting to get into venting/ranting territory. Hopefully you can work through what I've written here and respond accordingly. If not, well, just read it and hopefully some of it will make sense. I'm not trying to push you away or anything, but if you keep gibbing me like you have been, I'll just have to go see what Aura Mastery is doing on Tuesday night.

Love and kisses,

W-Crusher

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Christmas Tree Effect

I'd like to start this entry out with something of a disclaimer: I love movies. I live by them. Really, I do. I've been told I'm little more than a series of movie reels looped together. That being said, the real humor of this post relies on knowledge of the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic The Running Man. So, if you have absolutely no idea what the movie is, first go cane yourself in a dark corner for a few hours and then go download it, or whatever else you lawless hooligans do to get movies these days. If you need more of a reason to watch it, it's based on a story by Stephen King, AND EVERYONE LOVES HIM, RIGHT?!? Well, minus that guy that ran Stephen over with a car...he was probably a right-out malcontent. Oh, it was also Richard Dawson's last real acting role. Some of you older types might know him as the host of the original Family Feud. Just go see it, it's good stuff.

Now then, if you have seen the movie: sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Right, so the random cross-realm LFG dungeon thinger has been, by most people, lauded as a great success. I'd agree with that statement, with the implementation of frost emblems as part of the reward, plus extra emblems and cold hard cash for continued instances there on, it's really put some life back into the game. I recall running certain heroic instances back during the BC days over and over again for one drop, say for example...a set of plate shoulders...YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. Once said piece would drop, there would be much rejoicing, but save for any attunements or other pieces of gear that were dropped in the instance, the dungeon could and would be effectively crossed off the list of "cool places that I spend my time". I mean, honestly, did anyone out there ever really want to go back to the heroic versions on Durnholde Keep? I'm fairly certain only masochists with a death wish greater than the aggregate sum of all of Charles Bronson's popular movies spent their time in that dungeon, and nobody really likes those people, they're weird.

The random cross-realm LFG dungeon thinger has even gotten me back into instances. Christ, I know, it's terrible. I don't even remember half of these places anymore since I spend every waking moment in ICC as it is, but you know, Daddy needs his frost emblems, and I'll take them anyway I can get them. So, I toss my name into the hat, juggle said hat about for a good 15 to 20 minutes, and then pop out on the other side of an instance with some trash to vendor and a few emblems in my pocket. It's not such a bad trade.

This, of course, assumes that everyone has decent gear, or at least cares about their gear.

This, of course, is not always the case.

I made a post about it a few weeks ago, maybe even a month by now, about my Halls of Stone escapade. I often forget that most people these day that run the dungeons are in i-level 232 gear, with maybe some 245's at best. I am not one of those individuals. Now, I've come to realize this, and I've also come to the realization that more often than not I will end up tanking at some point during most runs. I'm fine with this. It's one of those inevitable sort of things. I've moved on. Though, that's not to say that I don't like to know when it might be happening, be it midway through a trash pack of AoE mobs where my Divine Storm with Seal of Command spam just becomes too awesome, or on a single target when the tank goes AFK at about 56% because he's suffered some sort of massive aneurysm and is drowning in a puddle of his own saliva while the "R" and "T" keys of his keyboard imprint themselves on his forehead. I like to know. While it might be inevitable, I can still prepare for it: clench jaw, grind teeth, flex throat muscles, and emit loud "HNNGGGGGGGGG" sound while watching Omen literally disembowel itself across my screen in a cascade of crimson flashes and Red October-esque collision alarms...or squeaky rubber duckies if I'm in the mood for that.


I am Johnny Rico. This is my TANKING FACE. Yes, I know it's in German. When I tank, I tank in German. It makes me angrier.

Since most tanks these days just won't come out and say "Hey, I just started tanking on this toon, give me some threat before you blow stuff up", I've begun to let their gear do the talking for them. I inspect tanks and healers liberally, and I've come to the following conclusion: if the tank looks like a patchwork pinata, he'll probably get broken open like one, except instead of delicious candy pouring from his internal cavities it'll be his liver, and in turn, my hard-earned gold. It's that whole Occam's razor idea that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. If the tank you're running with looks like he's being held together by two pieces of duct tape and some bubblegum scraped off of the healer's shoe, chances are he's worth about as much as that gum and the roll of duct tape, and that's being generous.

Now, this is all getting rather long-winded, but I think it's important for you to get into the mindset I carry. It's like being a defensive driver, except being a defensive DPS'er. Everything is out to kill me. EVERYTHING. Does this make me a tad paranoid? Sure does. But I also scrutinize things a good deal more than most because of this, and that leads to what I have dubbed "The Christmas Tree Effect".

As of late I've seen this happening more and more, but there are people that are going out of their way to meet socket bonuses on their gear. Now I'm not talking about meaningful socket bonuses here, I'm talking about +4 stamina or +12 critical strike chance on a pair of plate pants with sockets that require two blues and a yellow. Maybe I'm just not OCD enough for some people, but I'm pretty old school when it comes to gemming. I do what's required to meet the meta-socket, and then any bonuses that come after that, well, they're just that. A bonus.

Maybe people just aren't understanding the semantic difference between a requirement and a bonus. Meta-sockets have requirements. You NEED to have certain color gems in place in order to make it work. Your standard socket bonuses, though, aren't nearly as game-breaking as meta-socket bonuses, and you usually spend more time trying to jam the correct gems in there than actually hitting things.

I might just be wrong here, but I'd like to think that I know how retribution paladins work, as well as a few other classes work in terms of gemming. For melee, or DPS, anyway, every class or spec seems to have some major attribute that they rely heavily on. Retribution paladins rely heavily on strength, warriors seem to rely heavily on armor penetration, and hunters to some extent seem to be stacking agility or armor penetration. Regardless, there seems to be some sort of dominant stat for most classes. What I don't understand is why people aren't trying to maximize said preferred stat? After you meet the hit cap/expertise/haste/whatever cap and your meta-socket requirements, why bother trying to pick up +4 critical strike? Just force whatever gem will best maximize your preferred stat into that socket. Now, I know it might hurt some of you OCD types out there, BUT CRAM THAT SQUARE PEG INTO THE ROUND HOLE. YOUR DPS WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT.

If this outrageous socket bonus meeting sounds familiar to you, get up, go look at yourself in the mirror. You may discover that you look something like this:


That's right. You're a Christmas tree.

Let's look at a fairly typical ICC-level 10 man piece of plate DPS gear: the Blade-Scored Carapace. Alright, strength, critical strike, haste, and three delicious sockets. One blue socket, two yellow sockets, +8 strength socket match bonus. Assuming that hit and expertise caps are already met, what does the breakdown look like?

The Christmas tree approach is trying to meet the socket bonus at all costs, but we'll play it nice and still try to get strength in there. One blue and two yellow sockets? Alright, so a 10 strength 15 stamina purple gem and two 10 strength 10 critical strike orange gems. What's that math add up to? 15 stamina, 20 critical strike, and 30 strength plus 8 from the socket bonus, 38 total strength. Baseline we're looking at 76 attack power, some extra critical strike, and 150 or so health. Great.

The opposite to the Christmas tree approach is what I like to refer to as the BEN RICHARDS B.A. STOMP gemming strategy. I'll pass on the 8 strength socket bonus and instead jam three of the 20 strength gems into the sockets. Baseline I'm looking at 120 attack power, no critical strike, and no extra health.

While some might argue that critical strike is an important stat, I'll just say you're probably wrong there. Given the crazy modifiers on most abilities combined with raid buffs, a raiding retribution only needs about 25% critical strike unbuffed just to keep up the three stacks of OMG I DO MORE DAMAGE NOW, K? I think when I'm fully raid-buffed I have something stupid like 47% crit. Honestly, I'm writing off critical strike as a worthy stat there. 150 extra health? Probably not going to break the bank there. Maybe if you're trying to meet a meta-socket requirement, but otherwise no thanks.

Right then, so...

120 attack power versus 78 attack power.

BEN RICHARDS B.A. STOMP versus The Christmas Tree.

I don't want to spell it out for everyone, so I'll leave it in the capable hands of The Running Man:


P.S. You don't want to be ^. Gemming for every socket bonus gets you killed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My love affair with Old Painless, the Horde gunship cannon.

First, let me apologize for the lack of continual updates. While I don't mean to be so lax, sometimes the muse just isn't there, or insert your own cliche excuse here. I'll admit, I honestly didn't have much to write about, things were keeping at the status quo. I get bored easily. I think when faced with repetition, especially in World of Warcraft, that type of boredom breeds laxity. Don't believe me? Ask one of my main tanks. He's famous for, being THE FAMOUS UNBEARABULL™, mysteriously disappearing mid-fight. Well, not so much disappearing, as much as he just floats. You know those kind of people? They're there, but they might be just a little slow in clicking the ready check, or they might seem like they're constantly working against a wall of lag...but really? They're watching the Winter Olympics, and I'm not even talking about the good events here. They're watching the 30k cross-country skiing marathon. If you're going to watch a skiing event, at least watch the one where they're shooting at stuff.

Anyway, we all float from time to time. That's why its called putting bosses on farm. Nothing out of the ordinary happens, it's all wrote. This is my life, Mario. I press five buttons until the mob's head explodes and then proceed to collect their precious epics. That's fine. It happens. Granted, there are some classes that are allowed to float more than others given the constraints of the fight. Say for example the Dreamwalker fight? As a melee DPS I can do whatever I want and nobody would have any idea if I was doing the right thing. The same goes for Saurfang. As long as the boss dies, nobody's the wiser. Then again, if I were a healer on these fights, it would be a tad bit different. Though, having played a healer up through BC, I know there are fights where I can spend more time getting Seal of Wisdom procs off of a boss than actually healing a tank.

We get bored. We float. We stop posting. My apologies.

There is a way to counter this boredom, Blizzard has done a lot for it already. Blizzard has given us achievements to shoot for, little challenges that usually mean you have to pay attention to get the job done. They've also given us heroic modes, which, so far in ICC, are pretty heroic (minus the Gunship Battle, I'm pretty sure this one was easier). Though, sometimes achievements and heroic modes just won't cut it. Sometimes it takes a personal touch. In my guild it's been said that we make our own hard modes.

My hard mode was a gunship cannon named Old Painless.

It started out innocent enough. If you've been following this blog at all, one of my earlier posts involved a mathematical formula to prove that I do, in fact, do 18k DPS. While there have been doubters to said fact, the math speaks for itself, and if you don't believe the math, come check out the first few trash pulls of our 25 man ICC run. I mash Divine Storm with Seal of Cleave up like a pro while slapping out saronite bombs like some sort of funky priest. Yeah, it's boat times for sure, I spend most of the trash drinking Bailey's from a shoe.

But...those are 25 mans, and we only really spend one night a week on those at best. I wanted something more of a challenge. I needed my own hard mode. I wanted it to be...personal, and I didn't want any sort of quantifiable achievement tied to it, because those are the best kinds of challenges--the ones that nobody else gives a damn about.

Now, I'm just going to assume that most people that read this have a general idea about how the Gunship Battle plays out, if you don't...well...here's the five cent version: Two giant skyboats nearly ram into each other, big guns start firing, I jump across to the other skyboat while pretending to be Captain Jack Sparrow and that the channeling mage is the chest containing Davy Jones' heart and Muradin Bronzebeard is Davy Jones himself. At least, that's how I understood the fight at first, until I saw her.

She was quiet, and just a little bit coy. I probably wouldn't have even noticed her had it not been for her sizable showing on the WMO/WOL report. I'll admit, even I was impressed. She might not have been flashy with it, but man, her DPS output made me look like a scrub™ (that's for you, Dawnkykawng), not to be confused with your typical scrubs mind you. And isn't that when you know you're dealing with a real raider? I think those of us that actually raid seriously, or hell, even those of you that have done a random recently with one of those geared players. You know that type? The ones you know that are just in there for their frost emblems and nothing else. Regardless, she knew what she was doing, and I had to do something about it.

At first I was a bit wary of trying to match up to her DPS, the Gunship Battle isn't exactly a melee-friendly fight, and with her being ranged and having only two abilities, it'd definitely be a challenge, but it'd be my challenge.

The stage was set. The challenge was made.

It took a few weeks, a few upgrades, and even a heroic mode or two, but it finally paid off.

Reaganomics: 7485.9
Horde Gunship Cannon: 7198.2

Old Painless, if you're reading this, babe, I think we need to start seeing other people. It's not you, it's me. I'm not ready to settle down just yet, but don't worry...I'll always remember the boat times.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The HoS that beat them all.

There was a time not too long ago that I got a bit...disenfranchised with the whole Frost Emblem gig. Sure, I put my time in and picked up that libram, but what else from there? 95 emblems is a long way to save, especially when there are only a few bosses open in ICC. It all just seems like such the drop in the bucket, except the bucket is as big as Jesse Ventura's chin dimple. We didn't exactly have access to 25 man ICC for more badges, so I just sort of let things slide for a bit. I won't lie, the sometimes 20-30 minute wait times for a random dungeon were a bit much, too. Sometimes when I did get the gung ho urge to get those two emblems for the day taken care of and in the bag, I'd end up literally just waiting around in Dalaran with nothing to do except watch that little icon twist about assembling my group. Sadly, though, many times it just never worked out.

For those DPS out there, or rather, anyone else that suffers long wait times for the random dungeon finder, how awesome is it to have everyone ready to go when the alert comes up, only to have that one single person AFK out of it and push your group back into the waitlist? Well, that's how this HoS started.

Actually, to be quite honest, it started with three of those, not just the one. I could have handled the one, the waistlist cycle usually goes pretty fast. But this time, not so much. Two out of the three times it was the healer that AFK'ed out. Sure, probably not an issue for them, they get pulled in all the time, great. But for the rest of us? More of a growing annoyance. Lord knows that all DPS are trigger-happy to begin with. You know as soon as we hear that alert we're mashing that ENTER DUNGEON button faster than Bill Cosby guzzling pudding pops. So, a growing annoyance. Nothing major, but I'm sure it didn't start us off in the best of moods.

Right, ENTER DUNGEON -> Blue Bar -> HoS Zoned -> Tank quit. Yeah, that's pretty much how it went. Now, I don't know if there's some sort of stigma against HoS or anything, I mean, I've done it with the random group before and it was a piece of cake. Come to think of it, what of the old world Lich King dungeons aren't cake? We've only been doing them for a few months now, well, now probably more than a year come to think of it. Yes yes, the newest dungeons excluded of course, but the others, the standby's, those should be cake. This Halls of Stone should have been cake. Though apparently, the tank thought otherwise.

HoS: 1 Us: 0

We wait around for a new tank, another five minute debacle. I don't know, maybe because it was four in the morning, the tanks just weren't up yet. Those tanks need their beauty sleep whereas all of us DPS are meth-addicts that compulsively troll the internets late at night searching for that next big score. Nightly habits aside, we get the new tank, and things get rolling, whatever. Trash falls over before the tank can even target it. I think the enhancement shaman and I were doing 14k DPS combined. It was retarded. Blah blah blah, let's go get Brann, pulling the constructs leading to Brann, priest lags through the room and disconnects, wipe, Bran puts up a valiant showing of self defense for a total of five seconds before falling over.

HoS: 2 Us: 0

The priest returns in a hail of apologies--Brann was having none of it. We try to start the encounter again, Brann is stuck in tighter than the Alliance's grip on Wintergrasp for the past few weeks. Okay, maybe he's got some sort of internal cooldown, plenty of other bosses to kill, let's check them out. Druid tank ends up tanking the maiden chick in a shadow pool from 75% on down, the boss dies, I prove I can still do 4k DPS as a ranged retribution paladin.

HoS: 2 Us: 1

Druid tank splutters out something in broken English about computer troubles, leaves the party.

HoS: 3 Us: 1

Apparently the hunter was in league with the druid tank and mysteriously leaves the party as well.

HoS: 4 Us: 1

Well, it can't be all that bad, right? After another few minutes we pick up a new tank and a mage to fill the spots. We've cleared most of the junk in there, so it should be cake, right? I think I said that earlier, too. Brann's still stuck, kill the giant rock dude? Sure thing. Rock dude falls over with little issue. Tank immediately leaves the group.

HoS: 5 Us: 2

So boys and girls, this is what we like to call negative math. Once again we throw ourselves into the random dungeon finder, desperate to fill those two last spots and finally get out of the dreaded HoS. By some sort of crazy blind luck we fill yet another tank and DPS. All of the trash is cleared. All we have to do is go to Brann and start the archive encounter to open the last bit up. But you know...Brann was having none of it. Four tanks later, Brann was still bugged out and those original few left from when we started the run promptly kicked our towers over.

Honestly, I don't know what it was about that place, but Christ...I've seen Brutallus be more lenient on groups. Here's hoping your random LFG's go a bit better than mine have.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Awesome.

ICC second wing last night. It was brutal. It was awesome. It was brutally awesome. We got our taints kicked in for a good hour and a half. I can't wait to get back in there and do it again tomorrow. Thank you, Blizzard, for giving me the ability to raid on more than just one night a week. The heroic modes are going to be bad ass.