Mar 9, 2008

Some Updates

So. Since I last wrote the most important happenings to me and raiding:

The beginning of January was pretty slow. However by the end of January we had killed both Lurker and Void Reaver, which was great. Then things started falling apart. We had a lot of trouble handling a new influx of recruits of varying gear levels, and had to deal with quite a few people who would raid for one week, decide it wasnt for them, but still make off with decent loot. kind we also had a lot of drama. The kind that causes people to /gquit. There were 2 weeks where basically we could barely do Gruul and Magtheridon. Some initiates we were trying to gear up stopped raiding entirely, and some initiates we had geared up left to other guilds.

Though regrettably we lost quite a few good raiders in the process, we also lost pretty much every single raider that I felt was holding us back because they couldn't think or react fast enough when something wrong happened during an encounter, or took a month to figure out simple new boss mechanics. As a testament to this fact, we downed Hydross on our first night of attempts on him. Our attempt when we downed him wasnt perfect, I almost wiped the raid due to one of my dots being up, and the final transition we were dangerously close to having Hydross do a double transition, spawning an additional set of 4 adds. But the fact that we were ahead of the enrage timer and only had 3 deaths the entire attempt shows we have what it takes.

As far as 2.4, I can't wait for it. It has a lot of good changes that remove some of the "annoying chore" barriers it has. Hopefully the new gear options and removal of attunements, and in zone boss kill requirements will make it possible for my guild to get through all of the TBC raid content before WotLK drops (hahahahaha. I can dream cant I?)

Feb 3, 2008


I'm going to pretend people actually read this blog for a moment.

This past week there have been no raid posts because 1) I haven't been raiding ("real life" stuff has been taking priority over WoW.) and 2) my work filter blocks blogger/blogspot domains now.

The first issue is really a culmination of things. Mostly I just moved to a new state after graduating college and still haven't gotten used to keeping a clean apartment and meeting new people and all this other crap. I'm employed at a decent job that I like and pays well, however. So it's not like I'm totally suffering and need to cut off WoW entirely.

Normally the 2nd shouldn't be that big of a deal, but I don't get enough work to do at work and have now resolved to reading and rather than my normal collection of WoW blogs.

I'll try to keep this blog updated, but probably only on the weekends now.

Jan 25, 2008

fashion spec

I'm getting really tired of my current epic quality gear look. Part of the problem is that I'm not using T4, as being a tailor the Frozen Shaddowweave set is much better than Warlock T4, and arguably T5. However, the point is that I'm starting to look like a replica of every other raiding shadow priest, warlock, or frost mage.

It's kind of distressing that as you play the game from early game to midgame, everyone looks different, as there are plenty of viable gear options. As you progress into the final endgame, though, there are fewer options for gear choices, and they are coveted by multiple classes and multiple specs. The end result is you have a largely homogenous mob of players.

Its kind of a shame that when creating a character we get all of these hair/face/skin color choices and that by the time we reach the end of the game we are totally encased in armor that hides those features away, with no option to customize our armor other than choosing whether or not we want to see our cape or hat. Hopefully when WotLK rolls out, Blizzard will have listened to players cries of "let us customize our armor".

I mean, those new hairstyles (its kind of sad that was even a selling point for the next expansion @ blizzcon) still wont mean crap when they're all hidden underneath the same engame helmet.

In the meantime, if I'm just waiting around for a raid to start or a PuG to form, I swap out my DPS gear and put on a few more interesting items that are seldom worn by other players. Right now I mix and match various peices of the cloth dungeon sets I have collected (I'm trying to get every TBC cloth dungeon set possible). Nothing like seeing a warlock with +healing gear and a mage set item on to inspire PuG confidence, am I right?

raid report: progression content

And after last night we now have Loot Reaver, Lurker, and Magtheridon down. This leaves the only 25-man content left for us to do on sunday being Gruul (which takes us an hour tops on a bad day) and new content.

When we finally nailed lurker it was a very short encounter. Thanks to the fact that we had a shadow priest in the raid and the 3 other warlocks all respecced to destruction for maximum pewpew, he was only allowed to submerge 3 times, in the end the damage meters was a boomkin at the top (he was getting power infusions). One of the attempts had 4 of the top 5 DPS slots being occupied by warlocks, while the final attempt I had fallen off to 7th place.

The spec the other warlocks are using is the 0/21/40 Demonic Sacrifice/Shadowflame spec. It's a very good spec, though the DPS cycle is a little boring, as you just mash the Shadowbolt key over and over. Personally I'm not going to spec off of affliction because it still has some very nice raid tools that are useful into BT: Blood pact, shadow embrace, and malediction.

Its a tradeoff between having me do an extra 200 DPS or extending the tanks life by +1000 HP and reducing all incoming physical damage he receives by 5%. The malediction also allows either the mages or warlocks/moonkins to have a slight edge over what they would normally have by 3%. Additionally, Destruction spec is highly life/mana inefficient, and puts a strain on healers.

The new boss we ended up trying was Morogrim Tidewalker. It was progression raiding at its finest:

"All right team! Move in!"
*raid gets turned into fine red mist*
"Good attempt team! Lets rez and try again!"

He has some interesting abilities. The worst of them is when he summons a dozen murlocs on the raid. Not just because theres a lot of adds that have to be managed and AOEd, but because they're murlocs. I was glad when I thought we left those buggers back on Azeroth where they belonged, but somehow Blizzard just had to find a way to put them in Outland.

Jan 24, 2008

my introduction to world of warcraft

I was in a college dorm when the World of Warcraft open-beta started up. It was an interesting experience since about half the people on my floor and the one below had all decided to roll up on the same server and it looked kind of interesting. I didn't really feel like signing up as my laptop could barely handle Warcraft 3, and the game looked like it needed a bit more horsepower.

My roommate was hooked. From what I remember looking over his shoulder at, he was in one of the first endgame raiding groups. Playing the game through headphones on a laptop crappier than mine (how you tank with only 4 fps I'll never know). Regardless he seemed to enjoy himself.

A little too much.

As finals approached, he spent one of his last days up all night playing WoW and "studying" at the same time. His final was at 8am, and I think he eventually fell asleep at 7am for a "quick nap". I eventually woke up at 9am, and remember distinctly saying out lout "*yawn* it is 9 o clock". Prompting an "oh shit" moment from him, where he had an hour left to get to and do his final.

I didn't really have anything urgent to do that day, so I left the dorm room for a while, and when I came back at 10:30, he was right back on there, playing WoW, talking to his mom on the phone explaining how missing half his final wasnt a big deal at all and everything was fine. It was like he had no remorse for his actions at ALL. The following semester he was still playing WoW, but I didnt notice as that semester was a huge blur for me as I was basically staying up every night til 1-4 am working on various math homework in a study room. Theres a huge gap in my memory of anything happening then between midterms and finals.

This basically killed any desire I had for playing the game. Any time I saw a picture of it, heard of anyone playing it, my mind instantly conjured up that scene. However, eventually I stumbled onto the lore behind origin of Azeroth and the Burning Legion, and became fixated on it. This eventually led up to the discovery of things like the Old Gods and C'Thun, and then other raids entirely. Finally I decided it was worthwhile to

Originally I was only interested in playing only a Blood Elf, as they had the coolest lore backstory. So by the time the expansion pack was announced, with Blood Elves as one of the new races, I decided to take a plunge and see what the game was all about. Thats when I borrowed a friends laptop with the game and tried it out a bit, and got instantly hooked after killing a few kobolds.

Why I play a Human on Alliance is a different story for another time.

why bind on pickup is a great game mechanic

If you've ever played Diablo 2 -- and as a devoted Blizzard fan you've killed Baal at least on Nightmare difficulty -- you'll quickly realize that getting into Hell difficulty requires you to do boss runs or cow level runs over and over again. Even afterwards you will then spend the rest of the game avoiding monsters because they are too difficult (Extra Strong Multishot Lightning Enchanted Physical Immune? More like "fuck you, player") and not worth the ensuing repair bill.

The game shifts from steadily progressing to being stronger and taking on swathes of enemies to avoiding those monsters so you can go kill the boss that has a much better chance at dropping something worthwhile. Part of this has to do with the fact that if Boss monsters ALWAYS dropped Unique level items, everyone and their pet dog would have them -- rather than just the botters or the devoted grinders. Suddenly the game no longer is challenging once you have a single high level character because they can just farm all the overpowered gear a new character would ever need, and hand it off to them. They could even create a looping progression cycle of hand-me-downs that they never get rid of when they want to reroll a new character.

World of Warcraft's avoids this by binding equipment. By having equipment bind, you can no longer have an overinflated item economy due to people just shoving off their hand-me-down equipment when they are done with it, or farming the same boss over and over and trading it out.

Bind on Equip items force a choice of either using said item for yourself, or getting trade value from somone else who wants it. There is an opportunity cost with equipping it, so you either have to choose to use it or get rid of it entirely, rather than trading it away the moment it loses its usefulness.

Bind on Pickup forces you to actually be present in an attempt for the item. Usually contributing towards getting it. It's still quite possible to take a higher level character in and trivialize the encounter, however its not possible anymore for you to bring in your own high level character, gather all the items, and then hand them over to one of your lower level characters. You need somone else to help you to twink out, and they are often busy grinding something else in the game.

With this, Blizzard no longer has to agonize over drop rates of the best equipment like they did in Diablo 2. The economy doesnt become oversaturated with powerful items because once they are placed on an owner, they cannot be put back on the market again. So now when you get through the effort of killing a "really hard guy" you dont have to sigh as it again drops a bunch of items that are useless for everyone. (Instead you sigh because once again, they didnt drop item X for you).

Overall the improvement is noticeable, when killing a boss you have a 10-33% chance of getting an item you want to drop, drop, rather than having a droprate below 1%.

everything i needed to know, i learned from 25 mans

Maulgar taught me first impressions are important.
Gruul taught me to always show up prepared.
Lurker taught me that slow & steady wins the race.
Void Reaver taught me that he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.
Magtheridon taught us that its better to show up early than to show up late.

see also: