Archive for February 2008

AFKing in RL

February 26, 2008

This is the entry I knew I’d have to write eventually when I started this blog just over two months ago, I just wasn’t quite sure when I’d have to write it. I really hate to mix real life and my WoW life, but the situation calls for it, so here goes.

Tomorrow, I’ll be closing on a condominium, which, by the way, is totally a real life “Ding!” moment, along with getting your driver’s license, high school and college graduations, getting married and what not. (Alternately, maybe buying property is the equivalent of getting your epic flyer. If your 5,000 gold mount came with mortgage payments.)

For multiple reasons, mostly financial, this is the temporary end of my World of Warcraft career. Completely unnecessary details follow.

WoW went from interesting curiosity (I’d only been playing a few weeks) to all-consuming entity (rolled Doofy and got him to 60) two summers ago when I lived out of a hotel room for four months because of my job. It was with my trusty and then only two-year-old laptop. Kudos to Blizzard for letting WoW run on average to below-average computer specs. It ran, barely. Graphic settings were turned way down and peak nights in Ironforge were not very fun. If I wanted to Thottbot something, I’d minimize, get up and stretch for a couple minutes, and maybe I’d be able to open Firefox when I got back.

Upon finishing my work on location, plans to return to my previous living arrangement fell through and I moved back in with the ‘rents. WoW immediately got installed on the house desktop, and it was like discovering the game all over again. Lots of little things I never noticed before. And hey, I can Alt-Tab out in seconds! I couldn’t run the uninstaller on the laptop fast enough.

So, now that I’m being thrown out striking out on my own, I’m back to the old, now really crappy, three-and-a-half year old laptop. It’s still good for web surfing, iTunes and writing (in fact, I’m writing this on it right now), but I can’t go back to playing WoW on it. I think putting the Burning Crusade install disc in the CD drive would make the thing cry itself to sleep mode (note: joke totally stolen from those “Get a Mac” ads.)

So yeah, I’m just a little bit spoiled in having a decent computer available to play WoW on. And since I’m about to complete a major purchase and am so completely convinced I won’t be able to afford things like food anymore, a new computer just isn’t in the cards at the moment. Sometime early next month, my account will expire and that will be that for the time being.

Keep in mind I never said anything about not blogging anymore, though. I’ll still be here and there commenting when I see fit and seeing if I can ever come close to duplicating my two most popular entries. While I previously mentioned that I was a little bored and had nothing much to accomplish right now, as patch 2.4 gets closer I know I’ll miss WoW more and more and am aiming to be back as soon as I can.

So that’s all there is for now. AFKing in real life. It’s the thing that’s got me the most sad about this major life moment, but I know Doofy will be bringing the heals again in the not too distant future.

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Welfare epics exist

February 19, 2008

WoW Insider’s Forum Post of the Day dealt with a General Boards post that the idea that the term “welfare epics” is elitist and that there is no such thing.

This is wrong, there are certainly such a thing as welfare epics.

I’m sorry, those shiny purples that you got from playing matches in the arena are, indeed, welfare epics. My reasoning?

The arena system rewards failure.

Pay for an arena charter. Sit through interminably long queues long enough to play 10 games. Even if you get savagely eviscerated in those 10 games and lose them all without even killing a single opponent (or to the furthest extreme, do a single point of damage or healing), within a few weeks, you will be able to get a piece of gear that is the equivalent of Tier 5 or beyond.

Unless I’m mistaken, Kael’thas Sunstrider, Lady Vashj, and hell, even good ol’ Attumen the Huntsman aren’t going to go “well, gee, you made some good attempts there, here, have some epics” if you can’t kill them.

The arena system ignore skill and rewards failure. Something for nothing, I would argue, is welfare. You’re given epics. Thus, welfare epics. (Aside: It would totally be amusing if arena gear was blue, because “welfare rares” rhymes.)

My extra frustration from this is the old adage “gear does not equal skill.” More than once, I’ve raided with a DPS class decked out in S2 and S3 arena gear. They outgeared everyone in the raid easily. And then rocked an embarassing ~500 DPS, coming in 4th-5th in damage. But they sure had plenty of hit points.

The welfare epics worn by this player did not lead them to believe that there was any sort of problem, especially when they gladly passed on some drops designed for their class, though it had some badly needed hit rating in exchange for some stamina and a couple of points in other stats.

Sure, skilled players decked out in S2 and S3 arena gear should be able to absolutely clobber all the 25 mans through Kael’thas. But many people seem to forget that once you have eventually saved up those arena points to purchase epics play skill is still not included.

This isn’t QQing that such-and-such player is better geared for me. Sherm does not have a single PVP/arena item and has lead dps meters in both Karazhan and ZA. The problem comes from those who believe that they’re the ultimate PVE endgame pieces and that they make up for bad play. It’s happening more than you think.

Becoming Patch Guy

February 15, 2008

I’m pretty sure this happened before patch 2.3 hit and before patch 2.1 as well. I don’t think it happened so much with 2.2 since that was really just voice chat (ewww) and some assorted class changes (aka ZOMG 30 minute greater blessings thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!!!!!)

With the release of the 2.4 patch on the PTR and WoW Insider and MMO Champion covering all the details of it and the sexy new hotness it brings, I’ve barely played much WoW in the last two weeks or so. I’ve pretty much only logged on when someone has told me that a Karazhan or ZA raid is being put together. I just can’t get into my shaman enough to get him to 70 yet and the urge to roll something new hasn’t struck me lately.

My two primary characters need a combined one thing from Karazhan, and about three or four things total from ZA (of what is available from the bear, eagle and lynx bosses. We’re still slamming our heads at the wall against dragonhawk). Any further upgrades for gear require 25 man raids, of which Shuffle is currently stuck recruiting enough solid members to even take on Gruul on a regular basis. (Though we’re joking that we’re going straight to Hyjal as soon as the patch is released.)

The old daily grind is boring now. I look wistfully at the PTR changes and more info on the Shattered Sun Offensive dailies and how they need to be done in order for the top end guilds to waltz in and say hello to Kil’jaden and think it’s awesome. More purples, more patterns, it’s all new and exciting and…sigh.

So yeah, I’ve become Patch Guy. More interested in the shiny, new upcoming content than the old, busted WoW we’ve got now. It’s better this way anyway, as (spoiler alert!) there’s a major life change coming soon that is going to savagely limit my WoW access anyway.

Until then, watch me tank the Moroes trash with a well placed Holy Wrath.

I called it!

February 8, 2008

In my earlier patch notes entry, I noted the following regarding the increased tier token drops and outdoor raid boss drops going BoE.

I call these the “Hurry Up And Get Into Black Temple Because There Is A Whole Mess of Content We’ve Put Out That Nobody Is Going To Touch When Lich King Is Released” changes.

And now in the new, complete patch notes for Patch 2.4 that have been released, we have the following:

# Players will no longer require an attunement quest to enter Hyjal.
# Players will no longer require an attunement quest to enter the Black Temple.

I called it!

Seriously, there are currently five 25-man raids in the game, with Sunwell being the 6th when the patch is released. Included are (so I’m told) some of the most amazingly fun and complicated fights ever put into World of Warcraft.

And nobody is going to see a single lick of it when Wrath of the Lich King is released.

So of course the restrictions for entry into some were lifted, and the nerf bat liberally applied (hi, Mr. Magtheridon!) to other places. Blizzard wants us to see this content before the next expansion (which in my humble opinion is still eleven months away, releasing two years to the day of Burning Crusade’s release).

The hardcore raider out there who slogged for weeks and months on Lady Vashj or Kael’thas is of course going to QQ heavily that so many noobs will be let into these places, but you know what? I bet Blizzard doesn’t want a repeat of what happened with the Legacy content. I believe I once heard that the percentage of players who saw Blackwing Lair, AQ40 and Naxxramas is in the single digits. According to WoWJutsu, less than 10% of players have seen Hyjal and Black Temple. Do you think Blizzard really wants to waste the man-hours it took developing all of these raids to sit unseen by what would still be a vast majority of the player base because we’re all focusing on the new shiny things in WotLK? My guess is no.

And while none seem to be named as such right now, based on the fun (yes, you’re sick of it, but admit it, it’s really a lot of fun) and popularity of Karazhan, I think 10-man content is really what Blizzard should be focusing on to further avoid things like this in future expansions. Give us at least two 10-mans that are back to back in progression before sending us to the level 80, 25-man Naxxramas or whichever is first. 10-mans are fun and accessible (notice the Karazhan attunement never got dropped?) and while your guilds that are going to have Arthas on farm status a week after Wrath of the Lich King’s release will complain about it, that’s a small price to pay to be able to bring the joy of raiding to the masses.

Transmutation Ethics

February 5, 2008

So I’m on my Shaman, whom I leveled to 68 a couple weeks ago and then pretty much stopped. Upon hitting 68, I promptly hiked it to The Stormspire and picked up Transmutation Mastery. I’m not sure why, he’s probably most useful as a Potion Master since he keeps Doofy in Super Mana Potions. I think I may have been influenced by my guild leader getting five Primal Mights in a single transmute.

Anyway, I have no idea why I’m on him at that particular moment, when someone in the trade channel asks for an Earthstorm Diamond transmute.

Since 1) I’m so lazy that I don’t farm the primals needed to make my own Primal Might, 2) I’m too cheap to buy the primals off the Auction House and 3) I’d feel guilty about borrowing the primals out of the guild bank (most of the time, anyway), my cooldown is available so I send a tell saying I can do it.

He asks what I’m charging. Five gold is fine, I say. He asks where I can meet him. The easiest place for me to sell any Jewelcrafting, Tailoring or Alchemy when in Shattrath is under A’dal, so that’s where I go. At no point does he ask if I’m a Transmutation Master. He also does not send an invite to a group, as some people like to do to make locating easier.

He trades me the mats, and I perform the transmutes. On the longer casts/crafts, there should be some type of music playing. I suggest the Final Jeopardy theme.

Anyway, when it’s complete, I see on my screen.

You receive: Earthstorm Diamond x4

I separate one from the stack, complete the trade, get the pre-arranged 5g tip.

Did I do something wrong by not saying “hey, I got four of them!” Should I have refused the tip? (If we hadn’t agreed on a price beforehand, I would have definitely said it was free after the transmute.)

If we were in a group and he saw that I had gotten four gems, would I be obligated to hand them all over? I am the one that invested 4 Primal Mights in getting the mastery. (And while I’ve been very lax about doing it on a daily basis, I’ve only gotten one multiple Might transmute, and that was 30 seconds after completing the mastery quest.)

I’m kind of at a loss over what I should have done. Opinions?

Completely unsolicited and Paladin-biased 2.4 patch notes opinions.

February 3, 2008

In what will hopefully be a recurring feature here, I’d like to go over some of the 2.4 patch notes that leaked out this week, but I’m going to focus on how they affect paladins. More specifically, how they affect holy paladins. Even more specifically, how they affect me.

The limit of daily quests is being raised from 10 to 25.

Because spending three hours doing the Netherwing dailies wasn’t long enough. Are there even close to 25 dailies in the game at this point? Let’s see, there are four in Ogri’la. Netherwing has up to nine when you get revered and provided you have a gathering profession. There’s a heroic and non-heroic instance quests, the cooking daily quest and the battleground quest available in Shattrath. We’re up to 17 that I can think of. Am I forgetting any?

Also included in the notes is that a fishing daily will be added, in addition to what the new area holds, but I don’t think that will total 8 quests.

On the bright side, it will become a very masochistic goal of mine to one day do every single daily quest possible. It will take the entire freaking day, that’s for damn sure.

A new faction called the Shattered Sun Offensive is being brought in with the introduction of the Sunwell Plateau.

I like the name, and more faction grinds are always something to do. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t one associated with Zul’Aman.

Spell Haste: Spell haste now reduces the global cooldown on spells, down to a minimum of 1 second. This change does not apply to melee and ranged abilities.

Oooooh. This is big. It obviously helps Druids and their instant cast HoTs the most, but this would definitely make me value spell haste items when looking at healing upgrades. Not only does Flash of Light cast in 1.5 seconds (the same as the GCD), but it would make Holy Shock more valuable to use as a healing spell for when your target needs a quick 1-2 punch. It wasn’t itemized on any of the Paladin drops in ZA or badge items made available in patch 2.3, so it’s doubtful I’ll ever hit Black Temple to see these things, but who knows.

Items intended for Retribution Paladins have had their stats adjusted. Retribution Paladins should see an increase in dps as a result.

They’ve been trying for multiple patches now to make Ret DPS viable in raids, and clearly it’s not happening unless you’re completely welfare-epicced out. I think what this will entail is a removal of spell damage on Ret items in exchange for more strength and agility, which is a mistake. They should be DPSing based on Holy spell damage getting tacked onto their weapon damage. Isn’t that why Sanctity Aura is so deep in that tree? Re-tuning instance and raid drops away from spell damage will only make more the items more attractive to warriors, which kind of defeats the purpose. This is just one paladin’s opinion, of course.

Patch 2.4 will remove the restriction for Ritual of Summoning that prevents players from summoning players into instances. Provided the player meets the instance requirements, you’ll be able to summon them in from anywhere in the world. The summoning restriction has also been lifted from Netherstorm.

Great. Way to make the lazy even lazier. I can see it now. “Oh, go ahead and summon me in once you’re ready to pull the boss, kthx.”

Endless Rage will provide significantly more rage.

Funniest line in the current notes! It’s ENDLESS Rage, it better provide significant amounts of it! I mean, duh!

New recipes will be added so that one doesn’t have to catch fish to be able to advance up to maximum skill level.

As I’ve been trying to level the Cooking skills of both Sherm and Doffy, both hit a big wall at around 270 or so. Considering I don’t have a toon with fishing skill higher than 225, I have no earthly idea how I ever got my skill to 300 on Doofy. This hopefully fixes that.

All 25-player raid bosses that drop set tokens will now drop an additional token!
All 25-player raid bosses will now drop more gold.
Loot dropped by Doom Lord Kazzak and Doomwalker has been changed to Bind on Equip. In addition, the cash dropped by these bosses has been significantly increased.

I call these the “Hurry Up And Get Into Black Temple Because There Is A Whole Mess of Content We’ve Put Out That Nobody Is Going To Touch When Lich King Is Released” changes. Gear up people slightly faster to move them through Gruul’s to Mag and SSC and beyond.

I know of one Horde guild and one Alliance guild on Thrall licking their chops at the thought of getting people to pay upwards of 2,000 gold for some of the Doomwalker and Kazzak drops now that they’re going BoE.

Gems obtained through Heroic difficulty instances are no longer Unique-equipped.

Nice! Reasons to farm heroics to stock up on these things now. I hope they tweak the drop rate, though. Would be nice to see a random one from each heroic boss, instead of a small chance at it. Ever notice that the same gem will drop each time if you’re lucky enough to get more than one from the instance? Please fix that.

Add in the new Magister’s Terrace 5-man, which we are ready to farm the heck out of, and this is going to be a very interesting patch, and I hope there’s a lot more to come.