I like my goggles

| Wednesday, April 30, 2008
My engineering ones are great, but they are nothing compared to my rose ones.

Now that I've admitted that I have no credibility and I'm completely biased, I accuse you of the same. Yes, you. You're a biased, lying, fact-distorting sack of stuff from kodos. Double that if you're from Blizzard. Admit it.

Arenas were a great idea. Competitive PvP with low time requirements and a system which would give more to the best, less to the worst, but no one is left behind. Sign me up. Then someone decided that there should be rating requirements. This is the downhill. You need gear to win, but you need to win to get gear. This is a perfect setup not only for a rich get richer scenario, but also hell for newcomers.

Do arenas even add anything to WoW? They add nothing to the story. They add no interesting new mechanics to figure out. We had a place for competitive PvP: the front of Orgrimmar. If you want groups, make a pre-made for AB. But it didn't work. I blame cross-realm BGs. Of course those were actually a great idea since unbalanced servers had gigantic queue times. That stemmed from an unwillingness to restrict server balances. Getting back to my point, before cross-realm BGs, especially on PvP servers, I remember serious PvP guilds. These guys were there to PvP. They'd dominate BGs, they'd burn down towns, they'd rise to defend their cities. We had competitive PvP before arenas. We knew who they were, who was the best and worst and all the in between.

What did arenas add? They threw people in a box and then gave everyone a number. It's the old competitive PvP, but stripped of all the interesting elements.

Oh, Blackrock Mountain, I miss thee. You were inevitable, but still spontaneous and surprising PvP. That's how to do world PvP. It's not about rewards, it's about getting us all in one space and letting the red text take over.

Unfortunately Blizzard now has over a year, tons of money, a lot of hype, and more than a few egos invested in arenas. Maybe someday they will dramatically alter arenas to make them less bad, but I doubt it will be soon. I hope they don't remove it entirely. The boxes have their uses, distributing gear is not a good one.

Tanks, don't forget to repair

| Thursday, April 24, 2008
We downed Lurker tonight, my first time ever. It was really fun. Nothing I cared about dropped unless you count the warrior tanking mace. Since I'm not even prot and it's not much use for paladins anyway, I let the warriors fight over it. They gave no entertainment, passing it to one guy. Lame.

Hydross died after two attempts, also my first time ever fighting him. Our frost tank's weapon broke on our second to last transition. Since I already have to hold back to keep from pulling, the sudden drop to zero aggro generation took me by surprise. I got some nice footage of the last few percent and the floor. The tanking trinket dropped, a holy paladin and fury warrior rolled. They get laughed at and it went to a prot paladin.

All in all it was a fun night. I got four badges. My repair bill was only 10g, so coin drops might have compensated. I am irritated with one of our enhancement shamans. First he refused to drop totems, then he refused to drop WF (with a tankadin, fury warrior, me, and a hunter), and he blamed it on RL stuff. That's a really shitty excuse to play badly, for reasons which I'm sure I'll rant about later.

I feel like I should repeat the fun night part since I kinda went downhill after the first time.

Oh yea, I also got Ravager from Herod in SM Armory. That should be fun on AoE pulls.

Stop yanking the carrot, it frustrates the mule

| Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Blizzard has found a very successful model with WoW: convince us that gear is fun, then dole it out in steady increments to keep us playing.

First it was the huge jump to Outland gear, replacing half a set in only a few hours. We were high out of our minds on stats, especially stamina.
Then we got to 70 and Blizzard started paying out with 5-mans and Karazhan. It was great. We got into heroics and got cool stuff from that. Badge gear 1.0 was good times. But it started to wear out. We had our Kara gear, we had our instance gear, and a lot of people weren't having a ton of luck getting past Karam either due to lack of skill (I think this is the least significant), lack of guild size, or an inability to get a schedule that fits. This is bad.

This is the mule reaching the carrot on a stick, biting it, and finding that it was nowhere near as satisfying as expected. Blizzard had to do something. I'd have preferred more content. More instances, raids, BGs, hell, even a couple more arenas. Maybe give engineers some cool new gadgets that look need and burn off their eyebrows.

Instead we got badges 2.0. This was the serious stuff. T6 equivalent. OMG! WOW! AMAZING! And we all got sold on it, convinced that this was great. It was a cure-all. BT guilds could fill the slots left empty by a shitty loot system. Guilds that couldn't quite get there could get a leg up with some quick new gear. Casuals could get awesome gear without having to leave their friends or schedule or whatever. I've complained about this before...

Now Blizzard is making a mistake. They're cutting off the supply, intentionally. Honor gear was the badge gear of PvP. Call it welfare, call it free epics, call it undeserved; but Blizzard set people up to want gear and we liked it when we got it. Putting ratings on it screws that up. Now there are people that literally cannot get it and they know it. They are the 1300 teams, they are the 1500 teams that bob up and down and get nowhere. I'm one of those. They are the people that might not even be that bad, but someone has to lose. They are the opposite side of the distribution that makes 2200 teams. Is it any surprise that there is an outrage when Blizzard convinces us all that gear is fun and then intentionally blocks gear? This isn't like failing to kill Illidan, an absolute test of skill. This is relative and someone has to be relatively bad.

Even worse though, Blizzard screwed with the people to whom they couldn't just sell gear. These are the jackasses that want fun. They're the jerks that enjoy BGs and for some reason insist on doing what they enjoy in a game. They get their half-set from BGs and they accept it because they aren't gear-addicted and they enjoy BGs. Now that half-set is denied unless they do arenas, something which they do not enjoy. Skill, scrub, yadda yadda yadda, Blizzard is pushing people into arenas and they don't want to go.

They should not be surprised if people are unhappy when the game radically changes away from what they bought 3 years ago.

What Happened in Naxxramas?

| Sunday, April 20, 2008
The removal of Naxxramas from EPL forces Blizzard into a serious problem. Somehow it must cause a contradiction and Blizzard must either pick one or leave Naxx where it is and make a second one.

From what quests indicate, players and NPCs were gathering resources for an assault. Perhaps it is better called a counter-attack, since the fortress was seen floating in many places dropping troops. Either way, the stage was set for an attack. Did it happen?

It did. Even more, Kel'thuzad and the many horrors in his fortress were defeated. Perhaps they can come back, but nevertheless, they were attacked and beaten closer to a proper death. This clearly happened before the citadel moved, implying that time has passed.

As we've seen with Kael'thas, people do not exist in the same places at once, instead our characters are moving through time as we change location. Whether or not we have defeated him in TK, by going to MgT we are moving to a time where he was defeated. This means that Naxxramas must be above the Plaguelands even if it has later moved to Northrend.

But what if it didn't? I hope you've read 1984, because we'll have some double-think coming up. Is that what Blizzard plans? Naxxramas was never above the Plaguelands, it was never invaded, no one has defeated Kel'thuzad. Is Blizzard going to act as if the past never happened?

There must either be two Naxxramasi or Blizzard must pretend that the events of a year and a half ago were just an illusion, that Naxxramas was never attacked and that Kel'thuzad was never defeated. It's one thing to recon a story, quite another to retcon our experiences.


| Wednesday, April 16, 2008
All my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they're here to stay...

Yesterday was like a loot fiesta. I started the day by flying up to Area 52 and getting the S3 chest. I stuck the +20 ap gem from killing Kael'thas in there along with a pair of blue str/crit gems. After Gruul died I had 150 badges and got a shiny new badge axe.
Both still need enchants; I'm thinking of +6 stats and mongoose.

This morning I got a Red Belt of Battle crafted. Now I'm a little over the hit cap, but not enough that it's in the realm of wasted stats. I put a regen/AP gem in it and will be putting str/crit in the other socket. I'm very obsessive about getting socket bonuses but didn't want to get a str/stam gem. Some regen is nice since I have none on my gear.

My next goal is to get the AP PvP trinket. I'm at just under 14k, so I have a ways to go. 30k is a lot, but it's a nice trinket.

Aggro seems to be a problem for me now. I'm not totally used to DPS and the need to watch aggro. I've been prot for a long time. I died on Gruul either from passing the second tank or because he was out of position. That was not fun. Then on Mag I was creeping up and up to the MT. My aggro problems were fixed by getting knocked into a cleave. Getting back up with no buffs was not so good for my DPS. Still, I finished pretty well and it's not as if my personal DPS is all that matters. I might get to stay ret, or be forced, if I keep doing well.

Good times.

Madness begins...

| Saturday, April 12, 2008
I realized today that my paladin has the weapon token from AQ20. I don't think it will be too hard to get the other pieces to go with it. All I need is exalted and I can get a really, really bad sword.

They really should buff the rep from combat quests. Killing 120 bugs gives 150 rep. A 5 minute run back and forth to do field duty gives 50 rep. That does not make sense. Though now that I think of it, it was 150 rep per quest, so 600 total. I suppose that's not as bad. That's basically 5 rep per bug plus the tokens. It might just be faster to stick to tactical quests and grinding cultists.

Too bad the AH doesn't have many rep items for sale. A fool and his gold are easily parted.

SSO Exalted

| Friday, April 11, 2008
I just hit exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive. Fortunately turning in the nether residue gives 250 and not 150 like I expected.

Not one to refuse trading gold for epics, I took the portal to Quel'Danas and ran to the rep vendor. First they ruined all my hard work of emptying my bags by giving me a box filled with scryer rep items, potions, water, and bread. Finally I started checking gear. The healing neck was a big upgrade and less than 19g, no-brainer. There's not really a pure tanking neck; though there is an hit, expertise, stam neck. It's a lot like the badge neck I got, which is giving me some buyer's remorse. http://www.wowhead.com/?item=33296

I'm over the hit cap, so I can afford to lose some with the SSO rep neck. It's a bit less expertise and the Aldor proc isn't very useful for DPS. But even though it's worse, at least it's much cheaper. If I'd planned ahead I'd have saved my badges for the badge axe and worn the inferior neck until I could get more badges or maybe gotten a better neck from raiding.

In unrelated news, it's very hard to find a MC PUG. People seem to only care about gear and badges. I suppose I'll have to wait for the next expansion when I can solo MC if I want to get the other Thunderfury binding and the Force Reactive Disk schematic.

Let us not be wasteful

| Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Look at all that health and mana that our enemies have! Why be wasteful? Defenders of the Light should know how to use evil things for better purposes, to purify them, to turn the materials of the enemy to a better cause. Where do you think the Ashbringer came from?

I am of course suggesting that seals and judgements be changed into drains. JoL would obviously need a massive nerf, it would be a gigantic DPS boost if it kept the same value but was a drain. Either way, this would be a pretty significant damage buff.

In PvP JoW would finally give paladins a way to even the tables a bit against things like mana burn, viper sting, and mana drain. We'd still lose mana, but we could at least retaliate. It could be the MS for ret, except it wouldn't be a carbon copy of MS like that silly buff to flametongue.

While we're on the subject of Awesome, thanks to the gimping of other DPS due to cube-clicking on Mag, I ended up second next to a rogue. I can only imagine the incredible destruction that would result by me having WF totem and unleashed rage. Sadly, my guild seems to have no shamans. We had literally zero shamans in the raid. I also got a Glaive of the Pit. I can't decide if I want to use it over Gorehowl, especially given the cost of gemming and enchating it, but it definitely looks cool.

On the subject of waste and DPS, what's with the new badge gear? I'm not a crit-addict and I do like to have some extra health, but wow, who itemized that... poop? Strength and haste are great, but I'd end up crit-starved with that stuff. There is a ton of stam on it, which explains the lack of other stats like crit, or even hit. Also someone seems to have gotten confused and thought prot paladins needed large amounts of spell hit. Sure it scales, but the point at which it out-threats spell damage is something absurd, like ten million spell damage.

I'm split on getting the badge axe. The DPS is significantly higher than my Gorehowl. The AP would end up about the same, slightly lower with kings, but nowhere near enough to offset the weapon DPS. I'd gain crit. Haste would be nice to have since SoB scales so well and it is indirectly more regen. But I don't like the total lack of stam. I don't like the thought of losing 51 stam in PvP.

Shamans are being stupid... again

| Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Saying fuck you to Kalgan isn't productive. Dot shock isn't productive.

If you hate your class so much, demand free rerolls. That seems to be what people want. They want another class but without having to relevel and regear. So many ret paladins want to be MS warriors. I have no clue what shamans want to be. We have identity issues.

In unrelated news I have read nearly 800 pages of Questionable Content.

Sorry about the politics and religion

But I feel obligated to remind everyone that Obama is the Antichrist.

I Hate Night Elves

| Monday, April 7, 2008
Their casting animations annoy me. Their attack animations annoy me. Their ready stance annoys me.

They are often hunters or rogues, both of which I hate. They are also druids, especially resto, which I hate even more. And to top it off, they are even warriors.

They are ugly. Their skin is strange colors. They have fangs for no good reason. Their men always have ugly expressions.

Their quests irritate me. They are often emo, often boring, and often have bad rewards. I can understand the Forsaken having emo quests. Let's see you be cheerful after dying and then coming back as an absolute slave in all aspects except your ability to be horrified at what you are forced to do.

They are arrogant and constantly telling other races what to do. They have no honor, nor do they even have capitalistic greed. Instead they are motivated by their arrogance, pretending they are the ones that will save the world. A thread that pops up now and then shows how it was nelfs that pretty much ruined everything. It was nelfs that made guilds have to do that god-awful quest to rebuild the AQ scepter because a nelf broke it. They brought the Burning Legion here. Illidan is a nelf. It was other nelfs that released him. And it was more nelfs that interrupted him when he was destroying the Lich King.

Humans? A little boring, but cool. I don't like dwarves too much, but I have to admit they are pretty cool. Gnomes are annoying, but definitely cool, though they did nuke their own city. Draenei need a bit more understanding of races that haven't been indoctrinated by Naaru for thousands of years, but they're generally decent. Of course the Horde is awesome, especially trolls, orcs, and tauren. Forsaken are pretty cool if you take into account the trauma they've been through. Belfs are a bit too much like nelfs, but at least they had the decency to not turn into snakes.

Drop rates, respawns, and obnoxious abilities

| Sunday, April 6, 2008
I like the new zone. The quests are pretty neat. I especially like the quest to burn the sails and then land on the deck and start killing reservists. That just feels badass. The scroll to port to Shattrath is great too.

Ignore that the complaint section is longer than the happy part. It's about quality, not quantity, the complaints aren't major enough to overcome the cool parts of the zone.

I don't like a few other aspects of the zone though. Naga need to drop keys more often. Much, much more often. There are dozens of people trying to get the quest done to make the anvil, but it's really hard when the drop rate is so bad. The slow respawns don't help either, they make us into jerks, rushing around for tags. Devourers are a pain in the ass. Who thought their mana tap should drain almost 1.5k? That's not a challenge or an interesting ability, it's just a irritation for casters. The distraction at the dead scar is annoying too. The flight is pretty long and competition is heavy. Making some mobs take multiple hits causes a lot of frustration.

I really like how the sparks for the hellfire quest are able to gain from other players' kills. That reduces the obsession with tagging everything the second it spawns and helps get the spark charged faster.

Jumping back a year... Karazhan still has way too much trash. Why is there so much trash? Does Blizzard not understand how annoying it is to spend the majority of time killing trash instead of bosses? Why did they not learn their lesson in MC?


| Tuesday, April 1, 2008
We had 4-6 tanks for Gruul, so I offered to go ret. HKM went pretty well, though in retrospect I should have taken Hammer of the Naaru. Gruul was terrible for me. Someone pulled by accident while I was relogging, so I missed about 20%. I logged in stuck in stone, eventually bubbled out of it. Later I died to shatter, got battle rezed, and died to the next next shatter. I don't know if WoW even realized that I did any damage because it was so low.

Since we were done early we decided to go kill Mag. I've never killed him before.

I think he was overnerfed. The fight was a joke. We had tons of time to kill channelers, infernals were rare, and I don't think blast wave even kills people anymore. We had a mistake on the first run that caused dead clicker issues. The second run was very smooth.

I got one of the holy paladins to judge wisdom on the second run. Before that I'd been chaining PvP mana pots and still going OOM. With JoW I think I used one, maybe two. At the end I was 4th for damage, though there were disputes over the accuracy of the meters.

I got lucky later on and got into a MgT group on the third boss. It took a few wipes, but we downed her. The warrior and rogue had the trinket, I think the hunter passed, so I got a Shard of Contempt. The proc is great and combined with my new neck (I forgot to mention buying Brooch of Deftness) I'm now at -4% dodge/parry. I still need more hit since I'm at 4% before precision. I think switching my violet eye ring should do the trick. I'll get surefooted too.

So all in all it was a pretty good night for smashing. Since my guild apparently has too many tanks, I might stay ret.

[edit] I forgot to mention that on the third obss of MgT our priest died so I pulled out a healing mace and shield and kept the remaining warrior and hunter alive. That made me fell all paladin inside.
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