Dear EH, please DIAF

| Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Dear tanks in PUGs,

I realize that heroics are serious business. Honestly for me they are, I've been to Naxx only once, for once boss and some trash. Where was I?

Oh yes, heroics are serious business. However if you're uncrittable, nothing (except maybe that damn dinosaur in DK) will hit so hard that your effective health is an issue. You will survive the next hit, and the next, and the next. I could not heal a decent tank for probably ten seconds, on a boss, before it was a serious issue.

What I'm trying to say is that gemming for stamina is not the greatest idea. Get some damn avoidance. I don't care if I can not heal you for 20 seconds, but then you need constant heals after that because you have 20% combined avoidance.

Avoidance is unreliable, but it averages out well over time. It reduces the heals you need. Get more avoidance!

A Formerly Holy Paladin

P.S. Okay fine, I'm almost never holy, but I enjoyed it for a while, until I got sick of tanks that needed way too much healing.

The Little Things

| Sunday, December 28, 2008
I really like how after Witnergrasp people don't all vanish. When a BG ends, it empties out in seconds. After capturing or defending, people tend to stick around for a few minutes to turn in quests, buy new loot, or start raids. Sometimes people celebrate a little. It makes it feel like we actually captured something. I suppose it helps that we do, at least for the next few hours.

Dalaran is compact, so it seems like a busy city. Shattrath was huge and the player population couldn't really fill it, so we ended up with tons of NPCs. Dalaran has no shouting Draenei.

NPCs fly in and out of Dalaran, again making it feel like a busy place, but without adding a ton of useless NPCs everywhere.

Holy shock lists friendly and enemy cast ranges.

I Hate Oculus

It's a cool place. I like the drake idea. It just doesn't work.

The last boss doesn't seem especially hard to me, but there's no way to compensate for noobs through either gear, CC, or picking up slack. This means that either everyone plays properly (good luck with a PUG) or you fail over and over until the trash repops and everyone leaves.

Maybe people can offer some advice and check if my general strategy makes sense.

Red: Tank. Keep up martyr, giving it favor on the GCD. Focus on whelps since the flame jumps and multiplies.
Green: Healer. Transfer health to the tank (red) and regen with the leeching poison.
Amber: DPS. Use the channeled spell to stack charged, then burn them. Use time stop during the enrage, indicated by the shout.

When orbs, come, everyone scatters and then when they're about to end, regroup on top of the boss so martyr can hit everyone again. Maybe a better method would be to have everyone follow the leader in a circle, but the general idea is that people avoid orbs and are close together when that phase ends.

Is there something else I should know? It just seems like Oculus means a slightly challenging run to the last boss, then an hour of wiping before the trash respawns.

In unrelated news, I get annoyed when I see tanks skip stamina bonuses to stack... stamina gems. It's a waste of a free stat just to gimp their avoidance in order to boost a single number.

Ever more unrelated, I'm really having fun figuring things out with my DK. Now it's looking like I should be using my converted blood->death runes as blood runes for Blood Strike rather than always using the converted runes for Scourge Strike. The damage per strike is lower, but it costs half as much and it ensures that the blood stay converted, so I always have free frost or unholy for refreshing diseases or corpse explosion.

Epic drops from Teldrassil

| Thursday, December 25, 2008
I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Mine was fun. My brother and his wife gave me the War of Ancients trilogy. My parents gave me an ice cream maker. I suspect they are trying to kill me by tricking me into freezing myself to death. I received other presents as well, but I've decided that my present for you: people that pretend to read my posts; will be a post that can be read before you forget the point, and I can also write it before then.

If you're a Christian, congratulations on the arbitrary birthday of your Savior. If you're not, have a good day anyway. Why not join in the fun a bit?

If you hate the commercialization of Christmas, good for you. If you hate Santa, die in a fi... snow bank.

And on that happy, hateful note, Merry Christmas!

Apparently there's deflation

| Wednesday, December 24, 2008
There are more than a few people posting about this. For starters there the Greedy Goblin. He's clearly a heartless jerk and also wrong. There are others on Blessing of Kings, but this is my place to tell you what to think, so stop clicking links for a minute. Or ten. I'm wordy.

So deflation, why? I see two general causes: Less money and more products. I'll start with products.

BoE rares are dropping from the sky. The blues aren't half-bad and they're all over the place. I've even gotten a decent pair of pants from fishing. Also a set of utensils with no spoon. What happens when the supply goes up? The price goes down. Early on I imagine people expected BoEs to be about like they were in BC: somewhat rare and worth a bit of gold if you're not getting run through Kara. This would drive a high price early on, until people noticed the huge supply and prices dropped.

Gathered materials are more common. Why? It's because of how quest hubs are laid out. How many nodes did you hit doing the SSC dailies? Maybe two or three if you're lucky. How many nodes do you hit flying from Dalaran to Dun Niffelem (Sons of Hodir) to Dragonblight (Wyrmrest and Tuskarr) to Borean Tundra (Tuskarr and Wyrmrest) to Icecrown (Horde/Alliance, Argent Crusade, and Ebon Blade)? A lot more than two or three.

People realized that heroics are a joke and that there are a ton of miners. Initially people were just hitting 80 and heroics were still slightly intimidating. Now people run them like they're regulars. The result is a flood of frozen orbs. For miners, their titansteel cooldowns are worth something, but when there are so many competing for business, prices drop. If they don't sell the cooldown directly,t hey use it to convert their own mats. Either way, lots of miners made the arcanite of WotLK into a comparatively cheap material. Why so many miners? Mining has always been profitable, but gathering professions came at the cost of stats from crafted gear. Now gathering professions have innate bonuses, like additional health.

As far as gold goes, the supply went up, but the used supply went down. What? I'll use myself as an example. I made the engineering mount, handing 12.5k gold to a vendor. While getting gold for this I effectively had a 12.5k debt to pay off since I wasn't going to be buying anything except repairs until I had my mount. So while leveling filled my pockets, the mount emptied them far more. Comparing another gem to a mechano-hog, I went with the hog, and the result was a lot less money being moved around. Other people have similar 'debts' like the traveler's mammoth, or even the smaller ~1k gold mounts. This should not be treated the same as normal money sinks like repairs. Those come incrementally and do not give a perception of a massive cost to be saved up for. However something big creates a focus on the goal, and people will radically change their behavior when they accept a goal, including refusing to spend dozens or hundreds of gold on AH items.

Leveling also threw a ton of gold at people, which would have resulted in inflation, except that it allowed for more epic fliers (and the relatively cheap cold-weather flying) which lead to much faster farming. In this case, the leveling gold increased the supply of gold, but it also increased the supply of materials, so the result is no real change in prices. However there is always a price spike at the start of new content before people adjust to the shiny new items.

Getting back to the spread out dailies, being spread out like that discourages doing them. People don't do them and gain no gold and gather no mats, or they do do them and they bring in gold and mats. Either way, they're not going to push inflation much. Another discouragement is championing. Why run around trying to do the Argent Crusade timer when you can just throw on a tabard and get faster rep in a heroic? The major rep grinds, except for Sons of Hodir, can all be done inside instances. I'm counting the Tuskarr as minor since they don't offer much which I see as 'needed.' Besides, they give barely any gold anyway. Stingy bastards.

So, there's deflation. I've explained why. So what? Well, if you like making profits by contributing absolutely nothing, go play the market. Buy the cheap mats now with the gold you have and resell them when prices go up (new raids will push mat costs, though BoEs will probably just drop even more). Congratulations, you're a leech.

Death Knights: a class done right, except for tanking

| Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This post is not intended to compare DKs to paladins. That's overdone and usually pretty stupid. I instead want to compare DKs to every other class, and show that in some ways they are far better. It's not about class strength (I make no claims on balance or lack thereof), it's about how well the class works with itself.

I've heard runes compared to energy. Runes are far better than energy. They're flexible. Abilities have costs, but they aren't always at the cost of each other. Rogues almost work in opposition to themselves. You need combo points for finishers and to get those you need to use special attacks, but they all use the same energy source. The result is that to be able to use a finisher you have to burn the resource you use for that finisher. Sure it regenerates quickly, but it still feels counter-productive.

No class fits together as well as DKs. Their abilities complement each other. If a talent replaces a baseline ability, it truly replaces it, without ambiguity of one spell being better here and the other there and I guess I can find another hotkey somewhere... (I'm looking at you, seal of command) Did I just say they complement each other and then say they replace each other? Oops. Back to compliments: I am a fantastic person.

I play unholy, so this may be a spec-specific thing. Frost looked weird and Blood felt too much like a ret paladin. But some of this is general. The disease-strike combination works very well. It's almost like combo points, except not so limited. You can use strikes any time, they'll just be noticeably weaker and using a different strike isn't going to ruin the diseases you built up. What other class builds up like this? Oh sure, there are things like curse of shadows (elements? What is it these days?) or the old judgement of the crusader, but they're so simple that they feel less like a synergy and more like just an opener that does no damage.

Now there is a bit that may seem confusing. The diseases generally require frost or unholy runes. My biggest strike for unholy uses both and works off diseases. This is counter-productive, right? Sort of. I have a talent which converts my blood runes into death runes (universal runes) when I use a weaker strike. Every two times I use the weaker blood-based one, I convert enough runes to use my frost/unholy-based strike. The weaker one uses different runes, so it's able to be used while I'm waiting for frost and unholy runes to come up. It's actually a great combination, while my strongest ability is down, I can use a slightly weaker one at effectively no cost and it converts new runes needed for my strong attack.

I did not emphasize that the death runes work universally and can be used as unholy. What does this mean? It means more corpse explosions!

The rune conversion reminds me a bit of the old mojo system that someone suggested for shamans. You do one sort of activity in order to fuel another and they complement each other. In the case of shamans it was healing and damage each reducing the cost of the other. For unholy it is blood attacks increasing resources for frost/unholy attacks. It also works for additional blood attacks, but if you're only using blood runes for blood attacks, why bother with the talent? It's a flexible system and quite a bit of fun.

These get a heading because of TL;DR.
There doesn't seem to be a 'correct' spec, yet. This is great because it allows people to play what they want to play, how they want. There's only one way of being ret DPS or a prot tank. There's only one shadow tree and one rest tree (okay two, but you can only pick one). DPS classes have had this for a while, this variability of choice for how to play within the same role. But they obviously have had higher and lower trees. Some specs were for PvP and others for PvE. DKs don't appear to have this problem. You play what you want and it's the best spec you could have.

I'm sure part of this is ignorance. DKs are still new. Their resource system is very complex. There are not the clear specs of other classes which have been developed for four years and simply updated each patch. Maybe there is a best DPS spec and a best tanking spec. But, we don't know and I doubt we will for a while.

Spec freedom, truly choosing how to play, that is a great thing. No other class has that. Above the synergy and lore and cool animations, this is what makes the class work better than any other.

I don't like the feel of DK tanking very much. Hopefully this is due to inexperience and being only 63. It feels too much like when I'd tank as ret. I didn't feel like I had tank abilities, I just held aggro. DKs hold aggro. They have all sorts of activated mitigation, but I'm too used to warrior and more recently paladin activated abilities: you save them for really bad times. I constantly forget bone armor. I should be using icebound fortitude every other pull, maybe. I don't really know. The lack of a shield, or turning into a near, is what throws me off. I know that I have increased armor in frost presence. I know that I have increased health. I know that I parry more than normal. But still, where is my damn SHIELD!? Maybe I'll get used to it eventually, but in the meantime it feels weird to me.

I guess that's karma?

| Sunday, December 21, 2008
My crime:
My DK is in ramparts to get the quest done. The first boss dies and someone in the group says "that's mine" and tells us to give it to him. Now I'm normally the sort that let's people get stuff if it's not much of an upgrade to me. If he had said "mind if I need that?" I'd have definitely passed. But no, he didnb't say that. So, I needed. It was an upgrade, just not a major one. I won and he went apeshit, calling me all sorts of names, some more offensive than others. Supposedly he'd been running ramparts for a month for the sword. That didn't make much sense.

My punishment:
Heroic Azjol'Nerub.
I decided to try the achievement and mentioned it to the group. Now I can't remember the order, but near the pull, either directly before or after, I said to not kill the watchers. Then I said it some more during the fight since the mage was nuking a watcher down hard and kills it. We eventually reset it and I try to figure out what was wrong with the mage. He says I didn't say it ahead of time and he doesn't read chat during fights. So, I kicked him for being an idiot, both for not paying attention and for arguing when clearly I am right (isn't that a given?).

He pulls the watchers again and tries to wipe us. I had partially anticipated this and was out of combat and quickly ran away, so all that happened was a perfectly innocent group member got killed.

Right, the punishment. We get a new mage and killed the boss with little difficulty. We then wipe during the event for the next boss. He leaves for a guild run. But the punishment part...

We get another mage and kill the boss. In the process he barely does any damage due to being perpetually OOM. The warrior dies because he stood in a poison cloud. I did not see him even turn on auto-attack. The boss died and the stam trinket drops. As far as I know, this is the highest stam trinket in the game. Tank trinket, right? The mage rolls need, He doesn't ask before or even say anything until we call him out on it. Apparently it's a mage PvP trinket. I lost the roll, kicked him, called him something mean but not offensive, and then ignored him.

I set master looter for the last boss. The plate healing wrists dropped, which would have been a huge upgrade for me. Holy will probably be my second spec. I gave them to the holy paladin after asking to make sure he wanted them.

So, my paranoia is all set. I probably won't stop pugging, since my guild isn't exactly huge and constantly ready for heroics. But I will have ML on set to blue. It pisses me off that I'm doing that again. I just want to run instances and see what I can get, have some fun, not deal with inconsiderate noobs that can't see past their own screens to see that they aren't in a single-player game where they get to grab everything.

On a related subject, they need to fix mob movement. It's really messed up and it's getting people killed. During one of our failed attempts at the last boss he popped up, looked at me, and then, targeting no one, ran to the other side and pounded the warlock and holy paladin. We wiped. This isn't an isolated incident. Mobs in general have been moving strangely. When I tried heroic HoL, Loken took forever, partially because it was almost impossible to get him to stand in the right spot. So, he'd end up sometimes slightly too close or too far and in general I was distracted by the annoyance of fixing his location. Eventually he died, but it took longer than it should have because of that. Oh, and mobs are still chasing pets across the map, which almost got my DK killed today if not for a prot paladin that happened to wander by.

What can we solo?

Yesterday I found myself a bit short of gold due to my new mount. I was sick of dailies, since those were what paid for that elementium-plated exhaust pipe. So, I went soloing... in raids.

-My first stop was the easy one: panther boss in ZG. This was an easy fight at 70, with the only potential danger involving me forgetting to bring enough shields. Now it's even easier and much faster thanks to unlimited mana and controlled damage.
-Tiger was next, which failed because I got sick of killing one, maybe two axe throwers, and then dying due to a long chain-stun. Later I killed tiger with some guildies who I noticed farming for the mount and weren't saved yet.
-The fishing boss was a challenge, and also an achievement. Fitting with my random luck (yes, random luck, would you like any more redundancy? Perhaps a short gnome?), the turtle tome dropped. I tried 5000g (the deposit is about 50s, so it's worth trying), then noticed that the going rate is around 1500g. Oh well, it's still a lot.
-Broodlord was a challenge, a very fun one. It was also a slow fight, sustained with divine plea and based mostly on auto-attack and shield of the righteous. Both of those spells are really transformational for soloing, I could not have anticipated the power of them. He dropped nothing too great except a paladin token that I can't use yet because of rep.
-Spider was a joke. The adds are weak. The health drain that used to seem like such a problem (OMG ROGUES, KICK!) is cleansable. Her health isn't even all that high.
-Venoxis (snake, but for some reason I actually know his name) was very slow. First phase he heals. And heals. And heals. Eventually he went OOM and I was able to hit him into snake phase. Then it was a merry-go-round of getting out of poison clouds. He died much faster (thanks to enraged attack speed and no heals). Then I died from a poison cloud.

What failed?
-Bat did more damage than I could heal through due to the long fight. If I had a shorter interrupt cooldown I could solo her with only a bit of difficulty, but the long cooldown means that I would have to outlast her mana, which could take a very long time. I easily killed her with the help of a guild shaman and warlock.
-Tiger I already explained with axe throwers. Did I mention that the tiger cubs flee and the stun causes the throwers to run to ranged and aggro nearby groups?
-Hakkar I didn't even bother to try and my guildies weren't eager to help, I was lucky to even convince them to do bat.

Onward to Karazhan.
Pre-Attumen trash was easy, but drops very little gold or even expensive greys. Attumen was a bit tricky since he hits harder than I block and the stun hurts. However sacred shield is a huge help since this can absorb a surprising amount of damage. That's another spell that I did not anticipate being such a huge help for soloing. He failed to drop the mount or scope schematic (I saw it only once, lost it to a really low-skill engineer, got very pissed). Now that I know I can solo him, I will be going back.

Pre-Moroes trash might be worth farming. It's like 100 mobs which drop 30-70 silver and die very easily. I didn't bother to pull anything on the way to Opera/Maiden, but that also could be fairly profitable. Moroes himself was too much of a challenge. I gave him two tries, got to 30-40% before dying. This seems very possible with better gear since at a certain point I can eliminate just about everything except the garrote which SoL/JoL can probably heal through or at least buy enough time. Also better gear means adds dead sooner. In the future I might also leave the prot warrior alive to feed reckoning charges.

After that I headed to Onyxia. She was faster than at 70 when I was ret, but still seemed slow, I suppose because 25 minutes it a fairly long time. The whelps were an annoyance as ret, as prot they were a chance to use sanctuary for regen and more targets for HotR to trigger SoL. I really should remember to farm her regularly. 200g for half an hour, not including DEing the BoEs, isn't too bad, and it's sure more interesting than most farming.

I wonder what the full limits are for a level 80 paladin. I can easily solo Garr in MC. Baron seems possible as holy with FR gear; as prot I lack the regen since I still need to actually heal. Shazzrah doesn't sound too hard. I expect that Gehennas would be easy if not for the stun. With a ret spec that might be survivable due to the short stun break on BoF and the reduced duration from prot. The rest are all mysteries to me, except Magmadar who I got down maybe 20% before hearthing out. Easily duoable, but I'm not sure how much gear could help since so much damage is fire, but FR means lost avoidance so then physical hurts more.

I find a sort of excitement in finding strange ways to farm that take advantage of our unique combination of durability, AoE damage, and varying levels of healing. Why be like everyone else killing mobs for motes and the same daily over and over? A profitable challenge with some bragging rights attached, how can you possibly refuse that?

Paladins in a Time Machine

Every now and then I see a spell damage non-armor item, such as a ring with spell power and crit, and think, what would a paladin three years ago think of this? I remember Judgement being so awesome, and part of it was because of the spell damage (yes, I did just totally ignore that it is the best-looking set in the game). It gave some burst, helped with heals, and due to the DRs on stacking stats, it made sense to ave a tiny bit instead of strength (well, after hit and crit, which weren't present in large amounts, so I guess overall the spell damage ended up being weaker than hoped).

They'd be so giddy. Ooh, BoEs with lots of crit and hit and stamina and strength, intellect too! I can see the old-school paladins jumping all over each other for the stuff while current paladins stood there amazed. What, our heroes are being noobs?

It's funny how that has happened. You look at say hunters or rogues, and they're fairly consistent. Oh sure, relative values of AP, crit, and agility change, but overall, they still like crit, AP, and agi. Then look at paladins. Spirit was bad, but it was the only regen we had except for chain-potting (anyone remember Illegal Danish with the druid tier 0?). Now spirit is so amazingly bad that it's a convenient noob check. Spell damage used to be somewhat useful and now it's another noob check for ret and prot, partially because they both get it for free. It seems like shamans have that too, but only recently. It used to be that strength was a big stat for us because we got 2AP per str. Now it's only one, and agility gives one too, plues crit, dodge, and armor. We used to wear hunter gear because it was all we now, now it's the best we have.

Perhaps that's a way to measure change: how noobish people in the past would look today. Most DPS would be alright, just different stat balances, and of course confusion at the lack of weapon skill (Rogues: "but what about glancing blows!?") Shamans and paladins would look pretty dumb. Casters from way way back might look dumb since for a long while the philosophy was to focus on base stats, not spell damage. That's back when 23 spell damage was a 4-piece set bonus and often that was all you had besides maybe a dozen on a weapon. MC brought more spell power, but still people were badasses with 200.

Imagine everyone running around specced prot for PvP and ret for raiding, since kings was badass and you barely needed any points in holy anyway; paladin healing really meant cleanse spam. I still remember arguing in favor of whatever the holy talent was that increased judgement duration. Kinda funny now that holy has multiple decent judgement-affecting talents.


| Friday, December 19, 2008
I has one.

Ads on the WoW forums

| Thursday, December 18, 2008
They look really awful.

Fail Fleet Song

Some people have a fail boat. But that's not enough for me. To carry the fail of this bloke, you need an entire fleet.

Yarr thar goes my health bar, I went out of light of sight. But why not anticipate, I do this every fight.

They say pull two so I pull three. I show up PvPed. Fix my gear it's a parachute cloak, but then I'd fit a boat.

Started a captain, sailing the failing sea, worked my way up high. To be an admiral takes perseverance and inventive ways to wipe.

Death Knight and more

I think my death knight may be finished. It's not the class or spec. Unholy has been fun. I really like corpse explosion. It fills me with a joy that I've not felt since I first AoE tanked SH and watched the pop pop pop of seed of corruption.

The problem is Outland. I'm sick of it. I want to punch Hellfire Peninsula in the face. Or better, kick it, because I'm not very good at punching. If I could at least get to Nagrand or try some instances it might be okay. I'll probably push my way up through the levels eventually, but I don't anticipate a quick process. Once we have Wintergrasp back I'll get the heirloom shoulders. Those will help my warrior and DK, so the investment isn't too bad. Besides, what else would I spend the tokens on?

Recently I got an answer to my question: "What happens if two people are grouped up and in different phases?" It turns out they can't see each other. This made for an interesting challenge when trying to guide a friend to a quest mob in Icecrown. This also explains why Icecrown felt so empty, lots of the people were in other phases. I wonder how this affects mobs and skinning. For mining I've actually run into nodes being mined by someone else. At first I thought it was just lag, but repeated "already in use" and nodes with a single tap on them seem like pretty convincing evidence.

Championing hasn't turned out like I expected. I thought it would be a flexible way to gain rep with whoever I wanted. I was wrong. See, I didn't think it through fully. I never thought of all the times I did an instance and got no rep because I was already exalted. I didn't realize the speed of rep gain caused by concentrating the gains, instead of three instances going to three factions, or maybe none, instead three instances go to one faction. Rep overall might also be slightly buffed, since I seem to be getting 1.5-2k per heroic, which feels high. I will be surprised if championing doesn't turn out to be one of the biggest and best changes in WotLK, though obviously beaten by phasing.

Back to my DK and unholy, I finally see the point of Reaping: More unholy runes mean more corpse explosions. This maybe be the second greatest talent ever, second only to corpse explosion.

My Death Knight and more

I think my death knight may be finished. It's not the class or spec. Unholy has been fun. I really like corpse explosion. It fills me with a joy that I've not felt since I first AoE tanked SH and watched the pop pop pop of seed of corruption.

The problem is Outland. I'm sick of it. I want to punch Hellfire Peninsula in the face. Or better, kick it, because I'm not very good at punching. If I could at least get to Nagrand or try some instances it might be okay. I'll probably push my way up through the levels eventually, but I don't anticipate a quick process. Once we have Wintergrasp back I'll get the heirloom shoulders. Those will help my warrior and DK, so the investment isn't too bad. Besides, what else would I spend the tokens on?

Recently I got an answer to my question: "What happens if two people are grouped up and in different phases?" It turns out they can't see each other. This made for an interesting challenge when trying to guide a friend to a quest mob in Icecrown. This also explains why Icecrown felt so empty, lots of the people were in other phases. I wonder how this affects mobs and skinning. For mining I've actually run into nodes being mined by someone else. At first I thought it was just lag, but repeated "already in use" and nodes with a single tap on them seem like pretty convincing evidence.

Championing hasn't turned out like I expected. I thought it would be a flexible way to gain rep with whoever I wanted. I was wrong. See, I didn't think it through fully. I never thought of all the times I did an instance and got no rep because I was already exalted. I didn't realize the speed of rep gain caused by concentrating the gains, instead of three instances going to three factions, or maybe none, instead three instances go to one faction. Rep overall might also be slightly buffed, since I seem to be getting 1.5-2k per heroic, which feels high. I will be surprised if championing doesn't turn out to be one of the biggest and best changes in WotLK, though obviously beaten by phasing.

Back to my DK and unholy, I finally see the point of Reaping: More unholy runes mean more corpse explosions. This maybe be the second greatest talent ever, second only to corpse explosion.

What is a casual?

| Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Apparently people actually did read this. Wow. Now I have to make a new post for my death knight. Jerks.

This was triggered by a recent post by Coriel:
Not mocking casuals is listed as a requirement for an ideal guild. Based on the heading I said "well great, I'm all for that." Then I read more and the example was a paladin with spirit gems. That's not a casual. That's someone that lacks basic understanding of their class.

So what is a casual?

So far I've seen many ways of rating people on the casual-hardcore continuum.
Time played, either per day or week or longest time at once. Whatever it is, a hardcore would play a lot.
Skill/Progression: Highest raid completed, highest arena rating. A hardcore would be higher.
Posting on the forums is for hardcores, even if they claim to be casual.
Game knowledge: casuals don't know anything while hardcores know everything.
Priorities: casuals play WoW for fun when they have some spare time while hardcores play WoW for everything (including, but not limited to: fun, ego, social interaction). This ties into the time played a bit.

None of these really work for me. For one, I don't fit any of them properly. In the past I played constantly, 8-12 hours a day, probably more on weekends, every day. And yet, I was wiping on Razorgore, low-ranked in PvP (under the old system which mostly rewarded time and connections), and generally ignorant of everything. I didn't fit the previously mentioned measures for casual or hardcore.

Now I still don't fit. I play less, in the past few weeks a lot less. I played pretty much every day, but sometimes it was just to do the cooking daily and maybe smelt titansteel. Before that I played more, but my schedule did not fit my guild, so I didn't raid much at all and didn't really care. However I think I knew a lot more and was not only better geared than in the past, but also more intelligently geared, a difference which I hope you understand.

Ideally we'd just not label people. What does it accomplish? Not much. But we do label people and make assumptions based off those labels, so at the least we can use more accurate labels.

Let's go back and look at the measurements.
Time: At first glance this seems obvious, more = hardcore-er. But what about someone with nothing else to do? A better measure might be a percentage of free time wich could be used for non-WoW activities. If you have one hour of free time a day and it's always used for WoW, the absolute time is low, but the relative time is 100%. Expanding it, taking away non-free time is even more hardcore, or probably just irresponsible since I am counting things like a minimum amount of sleep and work/school. Taking time away from important things is hardcore, but also stupid.

Skill: Worthless as a measure. A person can be good without being hardcore, or can be bad without being casual. See: me a couple years ago. Hardcore and bad. Practice helps, but that's a matter of time and should be measured as time, not skill.

Forums: Crappy measure too.

Game knowledge: This is a weak measure. It does take some amount of effort to learn details like uncrushable (RIP) or uncrittable (540 for raids, 535 heroics), but it's not a huge amount. Or it could even just be learned by someone telling you or asking for advice, no need to run over to Elitist Jerks for info. However I'd say that deep theorycrafting is somewhat hardcore, unless you're just a very bored math geek. Finally, there are some very hardcore people that know nothing.

Priorities: This seems pretty good. Don't ask how important is WoW, but how important is it relative to other things. Is work/school more important? I'd hope so. Family interaction? Ideally none of these are totally neglected for WoW, but obviously there are some tradeoffs. If givena choice between hanging out with friends and playing WoW, wich do you pick? WoW would be hardcore, friends would be casual, however I'd like to add that taking a bit of time from either isn't hardcore or casual since it's understandable to not want to hang out every night or raid every night (though if you did, that would be a bump on the hardcore measure).

There aren't really good definitions for casual and hardcore. Time helps, but may be just a measure of the rest of life, not the importance of WoW. Game knowledge is a little (tiny tiny tiny) bit hardcore, but it's a weak measure. Priorities seem to come out on top. What and how much will you give up for WoW? How much of your self-worth and mood are affected by in-game events; I mean things like losing 10 straight games in arena, not social things like difficulty in an online relationship.

Labels suck.

Of the Day's Annoyances

That Jabba the Hutt still lives. Oh, sorry, wrong universe.

Heroic Oculus: The whelps at the start are a pain to tank. They're spread out casters with no useful LoS. I have to start the pull by running around whacking them to get aggro. It's dumb.

I want to be able to kick people from heroics and have them OUT. Warlocks should not be rolling against resto druids for mana/5 trinkets.

I want dual-specs already. In fact, I want specs equal to the number of class roles plus one. Warlocks, magi, rogues, and hunters get two. Warriors, DKs, and shamans get three. Paladins and druids get four. This way everyone can fill their PvE roles and have a PvP spec. Also I want a free respec when this happens because my prot spec is messed up.

Give an option to disable DK emotes. I dislike the male belf laugh. It's even worse as a death knight.

Make druids be cool again. I used to like them. They were fun people. Now I despise them. I blame arenas and flight form not acting like a mount. It's ridiculous that druids can hit PvP objectives without dismounting and flee at the slightest sign of trouble.

Fix the judgement bug. Increase the durations too.

Let me use SotR while silenced.

Remove the cast time on LoH. I mean fix the server lag.

It all makes sense now

| Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Arena requirements on honor gear confused me for so long. But now, now it has all come together.

Arenas are for noobs. Yep, that's it. Arenas are for noobs and battlegrounds are for the real badasses.

Follow this.

You want to raid Naxx. Or go back in time and do MC or Karazhan. What do you need? Those quest greens aren't going to cut it. Instances. You need regular 5-man instances, maybe some heroics. These are clearly intended to be the noob places where people gear up for the serious business of raiding and the associated gear.

So what are arenas? They're the noob places where you get points and ratings so you can go to BGs and get the real stuff: honor for honor gear.

Or my logic is completely flawed and arena ratings on honor gear actually make no sense at all.

On the plus side, my new death knight is pretty fun. I tried blood and didn't like it. It felt like it worked against itself with stealing runes from other types, but then needing those runes. Frost just doesn't make sense to me. Unholy just looks awesome.

Overall it feels like some sort of rogue-warlock mix, which is mixed for me since I don't like the rogue style much, but I love warlocks. Onward to Outland...

War with the Titans? [Possible Spoilers]

| Friday, December 12, 2008
It seems possible that if the Titans return, they might feel included to start killing us all. Why?

Well first off there's the Curse of the Flesh. At the least it appears that dwarves and definitely gnomes are corruptions from the Old Gods. Reversing the curse could be fatal. Or we'd fight against it, triggering a war. However I must admit to not fully understanding this. It appears that Loken and his minions are waging a war against the squishies (us) and are trying to convert the gnomes back into mechanical beings. However he's been corrupted by an Old God, and it's the Old Gods which created the curse in the first place. Maybe I misread the lore or I'm making a false assumption somewhere.

Humans may also be a part of this corruption. From quests that I've not done, but heard about, it seems that they may be deformed Vrykul. Again, this is a problem possibly caused by the old god whose name I can't spell but whose blood I make into arrows.

Elves? Trolls? They seem linked to each other, with trolls being first. So what are the origins of the trolls? Based on their extremely savage nature and tendency to summon big and evil things (Hakkar) or just do generally destructive things (killing their own gods), they may be in some way linked to the Old Gods.

The presence of Draenei and Orcs might not sit so well. Let's be honest: they're aliens.

Moving on, let's try to step back from our perspectives. The dragonflights are here to protect Azeroth, to maintain it. We have repeatedly gotten into fights with them. The black dragons are the obvious one. Despite their leader being insane and evil due to corruption by the Old Gods, the Titans might not see things so much in our favor. Then there are stories of heard of killing Malygos, the leader of the Blue flight. That's a big no no. Throw into the mix the many lesser minions of the dragonflights we've killed. Oh, and I have an important green dragon's essence in my bank.

On the other hand though, maybe the Titans will see our value. Despite the corruption, we are the ones fighting back the Old Gods. We are maintaining balance far better than might be expected. Sure we brought the Legion, but we also beat them off. Repeatedly. We're hardly perfect, but for a lot of untrained, cursed beings, we've done a decent job. Compare proto-drakes and dragons. Could that be the next step for the sentient races? I wonder if the mages of Dalaran would replace the Blue flight. Perhaps shamans could take over for the negligent Black flight.

I suppose we'll see as more content comes. Or it never happens and two years from now we invade upside-down Azeroth and we're all back in Karazhan.

People who don't get it

| Thursday, December 11, 2008
It's about 1am here. I have two finals tomorrow. All of finals week quiet hours are 12-8.

The person in the next room over was playing some poppish 90s music. Loudly. And singing along. Badly.

So I put on a shirt and ask him to quiet down. He says he'll put on headphones. Fine, that works.

He's still singing. Badly.

I'd go over there again, but I hate being the person always asking people to lower music. Also his room smells amazingly bad and when he opens his door it makes me want to throw up.

I had my first time in new Naxx today. My guild needed a tank, so I hopped in for Loatheb and was the off-tank, and unnecessary. I'd have stayed for the death knight wing at least, but my friend needed help with a presentation. So I watched season 2 of Red vs. Blue with him and from that he derived all the needed inspiration to talk about artistic creativity and cognition with regards to a painting machine/computer (robot?).

I might not go ret any time soon. Prot and holy might be my specs, since it's so easy to get groups and prot is okay at soloing, at least it's not holy.

Beacon of Light Ruined Holy

| Tuesday, December 9, 2008
It all made sense.

Paladins were not AoE healers. They were single-target healers. More specifically they make a /cast [target=nameoftank] Flash of Light macro and then poke that button for a few hours. It was amazingly boring. It was amazingly bad at anything else. It was amazing like a terrible movie that you somehow can't stop watching.

Then Blizzard ruined it all.

Paladins are sort of AoE healers. But they are still single-target healers. I blame Beacon of Light. It made everything backwards. Now the best way to heal is to heal everyone except the tank.

What's next, they turn into a melee spec and heal through melee attacks? Will they punch people to life? If you're confused on the concept, watch episode 15 of Red vs. Blue for a demonstration of the proper technique and effectiveness.

Nerf paladins

| Sunday, December 7, 2008
See the address name of this blog? Troll shaman. That's the original WoW me. I've not seriously played said shaman in at least a year. This is the shaman that I lost after my original account was locked. No questions. I remade it. Everything, almost, was the same. I think the hair ended up slightly different. Also I leveled better. But the intention was the recreation of what I lost.

I lost my shaman again, to something called a paladin.

What happened? The current answer would involve flexibility and the joys of tanking. I can do anything. Tanking, DPS, healing. My shaman can't tank. DPS are a dime a dozen. I find healing stressful or boring, with very little middle ground. In other words my shaman is either unwanted by me or by groups. My paladin is always wanted.

Tanking, it is a joy that cannot be described. They call sheep CC, crowd control. Ha. I am crowd control. I go into a crowd and I control it. No silly AoE or heartbeat resists will interfere. I control my group. I decide if they live. Oh, you think the healer does? Let me introduce you to a joy specific to paladins: bubble-hearthing. Oh, I rarely do it, but the knowledge is there: I can cause their deaths with no reciprocation. Or they can do it to themselves. Ever seen what happens to a clothy that pulls and I suddenly become a pacifist? Never again will you see such death and violence caused by pacifism.

So, my paladin killed my shaman. I want to play my shaman again, but he's crap. Nerf paladins, save the shaman.

Battle for Dalaran?

| Saturday, December 6, 2008
On the general forum it was pointed out that Dalaran has a grey tower. This is the same symbol used for towers in EPL and the Bone Wastes. Does this mean that Dalaran could be a potential capturable city?

Probably not. It's probably just a way to mark the location of the city and it is grey because that is neutral. But... what if it could be captured?

I can see it now.

Epic battles in the streets. Mages and warlocks from both sides throwing spells at each other from the tops of the towers. A rogue sneaks up and pushes one off. The city itself shakes from the noise.

It looks to be almost even. Then the Horde gains a slight advantage. But no, it was only a trap. The Alliance manages to capture the tower through which the levitating magic of the city is controlled. Now they effectively control the city since they can also selectively levitate anything within it. Once they figure it out, they can start throwing the entire Horde army over the edge and remove all competition.

In the confusion a lone male runs forward to guide the city/fortress. He grabs the controls and...

There is a flash. A roar. A crash. Screaming fills the air, then goes silent. Only a few moaning voices remain.

Old hatreds are forgotten as all races work together to pull each other from the rubble.

Then there is an uproar. A draenei woman shouts at her husband: "What have I told you about flying? DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!"

Prot PvP

| Friday, December 5, 2008

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

So how is prot doing in PvP? Well, like any class/spec, it depends on who you fight.
So far I've found that I tear apart melee, even more than before.
Casters are not so good. I can't effectively interrupt or reflect, but I do have a decent bit of health, so I can survive some damage. It's an uphill (cliff) battle, but I can still hurt them a decent amount.

So what changed? What are these great new spells that saved the day?

Instant Avenger's Shield is a big help. It's a ranged attack, something which paladins lack. It's a snare, another thing we lack. The damage isn't amazing, but I've seen over 2k on crits, so it's not insignificant. All in all, it's pretty powerful. Unfortunately the mana cost is pretty high.

Shield of the Righteous makes a defensive stat, block value, into a quickly scaling offensive stat. It's also very cheap, less than 200 mana without benediction. The result is an attack that scales well (I want to come back to this), ignores armor, is inexpensive, and has only a 6 second cooldown. Attacks range from 1.3k to 4k, depending on various buffs, but no, there was no berserking or wings involved.

Hammer of the Righteous is another attack which is on a short cooldown and is fairly cheap, though not quite as cheap as SotR. This works nicely because it triggers both seals and judgements, rapidly stacking corruption or healing a bit with SoL. Also it hits three people, which is nice when you end up in a pile of melee.

Blessing of Sanctuary makes for some pretty decent regen against melee. Previously mana was a terrible problem for prot. It's still tough, but it's nowhere near as awful as before. Also 3% less damage is nice to have.

Surprise: People just do not expect someone who is practically invulnerable to melee to start throwing around 2-3k damage per crit.

In terms of successes and failures: I've torn apart a few melee, rogues, warriors, ret, death knights, no enhancement yet. Or, they tore themselves apart and I helped out with a couple smashes with my shield. I had very little luck against a moonkin, though it was likely that he had tenacity and was more powerful than normal. I somehow managed to kill an elemental shaman tonight, though I think that said more about him than me or protection. It would have gone better in my favor if not for some well-timed lag spikes.

Overall prot PvP is pretty much a win-lose, either you slaughter the melee or the casters slaughter you, but the caster-prot gap seems smaller than the melee-prot gap, so overall we might actually be decent. This clearly does not apply much to arenas where there's little incentive to not just let us wander around hitting people, taking the place of someone else with interrupts or MS or more damage. The addition of new attacks makes it feel a lot more controlled, like you're not at the mercy of the RNG and your enemy being nice enough to hit you so you can hit them back. Shield of the Righteous is just plain fun.

Getting back to the scaling on SotR, I wonder if it might scale with strength better than Crusader Strike. That would be strange, to say the least.
2 str = 1 BV = 1 damage
2 str = 4 AP = .286 DPS which at 3.5 normalization is 1 damage
So... there we go, Shield of the Righteous scales with strength as well as Crusader Strike, before considering other talents. I guess it should be easy to throw on the various multipliers, if I could remember if they add or multiply with each other and if shield spec is working with strength yet. Either way, it's pretty strange to think that a tanking talent scales for DPS as fast as a DPS talent.
Oh wait, SotR ignores armor, so that would push it over. Except I managed to forget that CS is 110%, not 100%. Either way, the scaling is similar to be surprising. I won't complain too much, this means that prot aggro will scale very well with DPS increases.

450 Engineer and other goodies

| Sunday, November 30, 2008
So yea, finally got 450. It only took a couple dozen gnomish army knives and a second pair of ret goggles to get the last two skills. Advice for other engineers: Do not make your goggles until they will max your skill. It's not a total waste since I can use the second pair with PvP-specific gems and enchants.

I noticed that I, and many other people, have jumped into heroics a lot faster this time around. It helps not having rep requirements. They're tough when not fully geared, but what's the sense in waiting around to overgear them? I'm still 19 defense away from uncrittable, which means more fun for the healer. :P

I got a bunch of new gear from heroics today. VH gave new pants. Nexus gave ret boots, a hit/ap trinket, and crit healing shoulders. Utgarde Keep gave a new tanking sword.

The whole process gave a ton of rep, Ebon Blade to be specific. After I do dailies tomorrow I'll be exalted, which means new boots which will make the ones I got today obsolete. When I got them I'd not expected to get so much rep in one day.

My next tabard will probably be Wyrmcrest since they seem to have the tanking goodies and I appear to be staying prot for the foreseeable future. There's something satisfying about 3.5k crits with a shield.

I'm very happy with the championing system. It's far better than the old way of gaining rep by having to do specific instances for each faction. There are only so many times that a person can run Shadow Labyrinth before they decide to just go kill the Lower City and take their stuff. Now people can do instances that give gear and get rep as more of a side-effect. Or once we have the gear we need, if we still need rep, we can just do whichever instance we like the most. That almost sounds fun. Crazy, isn't it?

Happy Thanksgiving

| Thursday, November 27, 2008
A couple days ago I jokingly said we should give thanks for Ghostcrawler. Now I'm wondering, is that appropriate? Is it appropriate to give thanks for people? For people who affect us through a video game?

I see little reason why we cannot be thankful for people. There are some theories of human history which suggest that individuals don't matter as much as situations, so there comes a time for something to happen and someone ends up with that job. From what I remember, this was fairly popular with Marxists. It's something of a reaction to the old Great Man theory, which was basically that now and then someone pops up that changes the world, without them nothing would happen. These are both right and wrong. Personally I think that history has a generic movement due to the collective actions of humanity and natural events, but Great Men are pushed up and will give a specific flavor to history. So, we can be thankful for the people who have influenced history.

Can we be thankful for video games? Again, I don't see why not. Entertainment is important.

I suppose we can be thankful for Ghostcrawler. It's a bit trivial, but why not be thankful for trivial things? In some ways, the trivial things are the most important. They are what make daily life better. Freedom and rights are what make overall life worth living, but it's the trivial things that make the next hour worth it.

Let's give thanks for GC. Let's give thanks for Blizzard. Let's give thanks for the economic system that allows such companies to exist and innovate. Let's give thanks for the political and social systems that allow our economic system to exist. So thank yourself because the way you vote and act, what you expect from the world, shapes the world into something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Siege PvP and Icecrown

| Saturday, November 22, 2008
I did Wintergrasp and Strand of the Ancients for my first time today. Early today I had also started quests in Icecrown.

First the bad: SotA is too fast. It seems strange that a siege would be the fastest BG around. I'd have expected something a bit closer to AV, though obviously the old style of multi-day battles wouldn't go well now.

Wintergrasp seemed better. I didn't get to see much of it though since I flew over right after an instance and only got to catch the last 10-15 minutes of a Horde defense. What I did catch was a few battles between ground troops and a couple vehicles along with some shooting with the defense guns and one of the plague catapults. Apparently the cannons can be swiveled all the way around and fired through the doorway, which came in handy when the Alliance ran to the other side of the wall. I was able to still hit them with the AoE when they were fighting out of line of sight.

There looks to be a lot of potential for fun in that zone, especially since there are a few benefits to control, so it should attract more people. Afterward a ride around showed a ton of sardonite, especially rich nodes, and lots of elementals.

Moving on to PvE...
Icecrown is great. Phasing makes everything so much more real, having actions actually change the world. Flying fortresses are cool. The Knights of the Ebon Blade seem to be one of the most intelligent groups around. They just get the job done. Also they gave me new tanking boots. Jumpbots are fun.

On to something completely different: I want dual specs now, and I want my second to be holy. Healing is more fun than I remember and sacred shield is turning out to be really useful in 5-mans. I'm just frustrated with the lack of bacon, making AoE a huge pain.

Recent PUGs have been pretty annoying. Yesterday was one in Violet Hold with a tankadin that couldn't pick up adds at all and didn't even respond when I asked for BoM. The warlock was an all around moron, who I'd actually run into before and I guess my ignore list was full then or something, so I'd forgotten who he was. The shaman had a habit of eating between the boss and the tank. Guess who gets initial aggro? I eventually left, they flamed me in trade, I ignored them. Today the PUG had rogues in it, which seem to have turned into melee hunters in terms of average level of intelligence. They died from retaliation, managed to get lost, managed to get an add on their way back to the group. I'm not sure how that happens when you have stealth.

The good news was that I did manage to get a good PUG, but it was the type of PUG that is really not a PUG as much as four people from top guilds who somehow ended up with me in their group. I don't know how it happens. Somehow I manage to attract either complete idiots or the absolute top people, at least in terms of progression.

So, SotA bad, Wintergrasp good, Icecrown better. Better than better. Best zone ever.


| Friday, November 21, 2008
I turned in Polishing the Helm and dinged 80.

The first thing I did was fly to Dalaran to port and train. I somehow got stuck on an invisible wall around it and got dismounted. The parachute buff wore off before the ground and due to misclicking, I failed to use my flexweave underlay.

Dying seems like an inauspicious start to level 80.

I recovered my mount and fly back over. Failing to learn my lesson, I got stuck again. And died again. This time my body was actually in the zone of Dalaran, but outside the walls, so I couldn't get to it.

So, first few actions at 80:
Spirit Res.

The Little Big Improvements

| Saturday, November 15, 2008
WotLK look likes Blizzard took every complaint they had ever gotten and figured out how to address them, without caving in to whining.

Server stability seems to have been ruined and then fixed with the release and week or two after 3.0. That week or two was terrible, but I'm glad to have had the problems worked out then instead of now. My only complain with the servers is the queues, but that's partially due to players, both returning people and those who are on anyway playing a lot more. I imagine this will level out a bit as the numbers of 80s go up and the leveling rush slows.

Hellfire Peninsula was terrible early on. It was incredibly crowded and mobs were a pain to get. Variable respawns helped, except then you could have a mob instantly respawn on top of you. Or ten. Dead you. Now there are two starting zones. This cuts the zerg in half. To make it even better, there are scattered quest hubs, so people are spread out more. If one area is full, move somewhere else. The final big fix was with many quest mobs being summoned, eliminating the rush to tag mobs.

Questing is set up better as well. In the past quest stacking was unnatural. It required waiting around for all quests to become available for an area, often running to different quest hubs to get them all, and sometimes having to finish long chains first. Now there seems to be a short chain to introduce an area, and them up pop 4-5 quest markers for a single area.

Zones are more contained, so you can finish one and move on to the next in an orderly manner. This is great for completionists. This is also great for reducing the irritating travel times of the past. But the zones aren't totally separate. When you're done with an area, you get quests that send you to the next. It's organized, but if you're not looking for it you don't see it, you just see that you're having fun and not getting lost and constantly back-tracking.

The instances aren't so hallway-like. Azjol'nerub was really cool, which made it unfortunate that it's so short. Apparently there's another wing, which I'm looking forward to.

Banned for Blizzard's Words

So yea, I got a 24 hour forum ban. This does not make me happy. I supposed I did get what was coming to me, after all, I did say that my Future Self had apparently gotten date-raped. That's probably not appropriate for the forums. Still, it's one of those things, of all the people out there, I have the luck to have my post read by a GM. It's not as if I was making things up. Let's see what I said and what my future self said.

Me on the forums:
"Mine called me a noob that turned her into an alcoholic. Also I got the disturbing sense that I get date-ra ped."
Oh right, evading the censors. Oops?

Future You (me):
Future You whispers: Look at you fight; no wonder I turned to drinking.
Future You whispers: Listen. I'm not supposed to tell you this, but there's going to be this party that you're invited to. Whatever you do, DO NOT DRINK THE PUNCH!

I said nothing that my future self didn't hint at. Why am I being punished for things that I have not yet done? This is not Minority Report.

So, justified forum bans aside, WotLK is really great.

WtoLK: Second Impressions

| Friday, November 14, 2008
The expansion continues to be great. My second run through the Nexus revealed that it's more complex than I saw at first. It's not a maze, but there are multiple paths to take.

Zul'jin needs shorter queues.

WotLK: First Impressions

| Thursday, November 13, 2008
The zeppelins are junk. No second level? Cheap goblins.

Warsong Hold is tall.

The Horde and Alliance should communicate better. The Warsong orcs could have learned an important lesson from the dwarves: Do not dig quarries unless you want to get invaded. Dig quarry, wait a few minutes, something invades. It never fails.

The Mist seems to have be blown way out of proportion.

The anti- and pro-Nestingwary groups are funny.

I once said Blizzard is good at dead, or more accurately, undead content. I am forced to add "Cold Stuff" to that list. Blizzard is good at making Cold Stuff.

Zul'jin hasn't cashed yet. I guess they did all the server instability the last couple days to get it out of the way. Excellent timing.

Seven Dwarves Event and WotLK

| Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I can't explain what it was, but it felt different. I haven't been there in a while since I usually take the shortcut to the Emperor. There was a strange feeling to it, a good one. What was it? Perhaps it was going back there after ret was buffed. Perhaps it was the undead. Perhaps it was simply the low NPCs which died so easily. But it seemed like more than just adding those up.

It felt like a paladin should feel.

I went from undead dwarf to undead dwarf, tearing them apart in seconds. When the rogue one used evasion, holy wrath made him stay still. When one tried to heal, hammer of wrath finished the job. The final one paid dearly for his demonic companions. Holy wrath kept them in place and divine storm took full advantage, tearing them apart.

Then I went to go kill the awe-inspiring Emperor.

I feel obligated to say something about WotLK, seeing as it is hitting servers tonight. Earlier today people were doing group quests, trying to stack completions to turn in for a leveling boost. They wanted to get ahead of the pack and avoid the noobs. I am torn. On one hand I hope their exploit fails and they end up with a few gold and wasted time turning them in. But it would be nice to get the exploiting idiots out of the way, let them run ahead and burn out sooner. They sicken me. These are the type of people that ruin WoW.

Maybe I'll gquit tomorrow. It seems rather pointless anyway. Raiding is suspended until people get to 80 and I can't make raids anyway. The last one I did was BT a few weeks ago and it was boring. Yes, BT, boring. Groups shouldn't be an issue since so many people will be leveling. I imagine I'd just get annoyed by the constant "ding!" and people ruining every surprise. Who am I kidding? I'll stick around because a couple friends are there.

My copy is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I guess I'll check for it after my morning class. Hopefully the Zul'jin will have crashed so I can get some work done.

I'm getting a weird feeling. It's a bit like what I get sometimes on Christmas Eve. I rationally know it's tomorrow, but somehow I just can't feel it. It's as if my mind refuses to believe it, like it's in denial. I suppose it fits, since WotLK is practically Christmas for WoW, bringing presents and toys for everyone. Also snow. And just like when I was a little kid, I'll probably be sent to collect ice boar livers and maybe a few troll tusks and my mom's stolen recipe book. Ah, the memories.

Forums locked

I'm not sure when they flipped the switch, but the official WoW forums are currently read-only.
This may be the best decision they have ever made.

We are approaching a time when communication from Blizzard will be especially important. We are also approaching a time when spam will be at an all-time high.

Big deals:
WotLK is almost here.
The servers were down almost all of yesterday and a lot of today.
The mail system is screwed up.

It's good to see that Blizzard has taken decisive action to ensure that they can communicate with the community. Sure, it's one-way, but it will be a lot more effective than two-way with a billion spam posts getting in the way.

I wonder where all the trolls will go.

[edit] 6:00 local time (no clue how that relates to listed time here, it's always off), the forums are unlocked. This confuses me. Why would they unlock them so soon? There doesn't appear to be a new Blue post about it. Maybe it was an accidental unlock?

2 is to prot as 3 is to _____. Hint: ret

| Tuesday, November 11, 2008
2.0 was the patch of protection. Looking at talents it wasn't a gigantic buff. A few percent mitigation here, some stam there, a minor mechanical fix to a few talents. The real magic is more subtle. You won't notice it immediately. It's really a bit dull. It has no flashy graphics and won't give OMG HUGE NUMBERZ!

Spiritual attunement transformed paladin tanking. This was the ability that made prot a real tanking tree.
Tanking gear without class: Warrior was the second big change that isn't really all that amazing looking back. Two years later, it's hard to imagine a time when if you were not a warrior you did not have tanking gear.

This is the time of less-than-amazing changes for ret. Divine Storm was the eye candy, but in the end, it's not the thing that makes it all work.

Judgements of the Wise transformed ret paladins. Oh sure, it's been nerfed heavily, but it is regen. Mana regen is serious business, just ask any caster. This is what will allow ret to DPS for more than a few minutes and what will ease the burden of needing intellect and mana/5 on gear.
Sheathe of Light should be renamed "You are a hybrid." This is the talent that makes ret heals worth a damn. This is also the talent that makes their heals worth more than a damn.

Nerfs hurt, but it's the few changes such as gaining regen or SP that remake a spec. This is the time for retribution to gain even more acceptance, and acceptance beyond a 3% crit debuff.

BoE epics?

Today I heard something about BoE epics from raid bosses being srs bns. I'll just assume that this is true and that they are in fact srs bns and not like current BoE epics. By that I mean upgrades from blues which you shouldn't be wearing for long anyway. So, as with all srs bns, these would need to be distributed. I normally would encourage my "Klepsacovic distributes everything however he feels like it" system, but apparently people read this and the popularity of this system could lead to a lot of extra work for me.

In unrelated news, hot chocolate with a shot of espresso in it is one of the best hot drinks ever, unless it's made by whoever made the one I just finished. Moving on.

Useful BoEs mean that lots of people want them and everyone can get them. Clearly this requires a more nuanced system than the current one for handling drops that few people want and only 10-25 people even have a shot at.

To start off, I think it's pretty standard that people who are in the raid have higher priority than people who are not there. Of course special circumstances could be created: we need X for this boss but long-time loyal raider could really use this piece, but he's stepping out for you, if there are no objections we'll give it to him. I probably wouldn't go for an exception like that, but there is one universal rule: Anything is okay as long as everyone involved agrees to it.

So, let's look at who is in the raid, all the possible combinations of priorities.
The highest is clearly a main character getting an upgrade for a main spec. After that comes, in no particular order, alts, mains going for off-spec gear, and alts going for off-spec gear. The first two I'd put as a tie since they're approximately equal in usefulness to the guild (wrong character ~= wrong spec). The last is last since it's the least likely to be of any help to anyone, including the person getting the gear.

Now let's go outside the raid. There are again mains with main spec upgrades. Alts with main spec, mains with off-spec, and alts with off-spec. I'd say a similar order could be used.

This system isn't at all perfect. On one hand, it rewards attendance by prioritizing those who show up. On the other hand, it would potentially give gear to alts or off-specs over non-present mains of main spec. However if the supposed main with the main spec isn't showing up, is he actually more useful than the alt or off-spec? Maybe overall he is more useful, if it's like my earlier situation where he's only not present in order to free up a much-needed spot. However if he's taking up a needed spot and isn't missed, perhaps he's not the most useful class/spec and would be better off somewhere else instead of dropping raids and still getting gear.

What is loyalty worth? He's loyal, but is his loyalty of any benefit? Everyone might benefit more if he was loyal to a guild that actually needs him. But I've gotten off-topic.

Perhaps an entirely separate system is needed for BoEs. Maybe there could be an auction once a week to raise funds. There could be a separate DKP system, mirroring the system used for BoPs, but with its own pool. Officers could give out gear as it is requested and proven to be an upgrade, similar to BoE gems currently.

It's pretty simple to treat the BoEs as BoPs when they're in the raid, but not everyone will want them and sharding them isn't a very smart option. How they are handled once they leave the zone is going to be an issue that all guilds will have to figure out on their own.

Is leveling as a healer bad for healing?

Holy, holy, resto, resto; they're the four healing specs. They're also the worst leveling specs. Even worse than slow leveling, they might create bad healers.

While leveling up, any instance can be healed by any spec, assuming decent gear. It's not always easy, but it's possible. Being a healing spec would make the healer more effective, so how can that be bad? It teaches a false sense of security and power.

When someone makes a bad pull in a lowbie instance and have a shadow priest healing, they might die. Do the same with a holy priest and they're more likely to live. The more effective healer shelters people from the consequences of their actions. No deaths, no learning.

On the healer's side, it's about as bad. They are more efficient and heal for more. There is very little challenge. What will happen when they get to heroics or raids where being specced for healing isn't just an advantage that trivializes the content, but a requirement to even stand a chance? Healing while leveling is easy enough already, doing it with a healing spec is overkill.

Finally there's just the fact that healing specs kill slower, so they're inferior for soloing. This makes leveling take longer and it can become frustrating. That results in more alts stuck at low levels with the player turned off to the class.

My new scapegoat for ret: double-dipping

| Monday, November 10, 2008
With the exception of SoC and an insignificant AP benefit on SoR, paladin abilities used to be single-coefficient. They either benefited from SP or from AP. This was pretty bad for ret since it only had AP. Then two things happened. The first (not in chronological order, just order of me thinking them up), was awesome and was called Sheathe of Light. The second has no name and it ruined everything, it is the addition of AP benefits to just about every paladin offensive ability.

Back when ret had no SP the second thing made sense. But now ret has SP, from AP, so adding AP bonuses just means that ret gets to double-dip. Sheathe of Light is great, keep it. But...

What if abilities benefited only from AP or SP? The problem isn't sheathe, the problem is that everything was changed to allow ret to double-dip. If SoR was only SP, it could have a much higher SP coefficient. Judgements can be pure SP (as they used to be), since all specs have SP from somewhere.

Anyone that needs SP either wears SP gear (holy) or gets SP from other stats that they wear (prot and ret). Anyone that needs AP either wears str gear (ret and prot) or they don't need it (holy).

Weapon-based attacks: AP (from strength)
Shield-based attacks: BV (from strength)
Spells (including heals): SP

There, everything is fixed. Now Blizzard can buff back up SP coefficients while removing AP bonuses on most spells; leaving ret unchanged and the other specs stronger.

I'm sorry moonkin, but...

| Sunday, November 9, 2008
With one, only one exception, every single moonkin I meet in game is either bad at his class, rude, or both. I do not know what causes this. It's not a pre-existing anti-moonkin bias which causes me to negatively interpret neutral phrases. No, that is (actually by now, was) reserved for arms warriors and all classes of hunters. That list has since changed, with no hatred for arms, less dislike of hunters, and the addition of rogues. My point is that moonkin are jerks and/or noobs.

The first one I met was a jerk. But, I decided to go against my instinct and not make a fuss about him. He rode the epic train in my guild until we got to the slightest challenge, then ran. In retrospect I should have recommended that he be gkicked and blacklisted months back.

Then there was a general assortment of jerks in PUGs. There weren't a ton, since fortunately moonkin weren't and still aren't very common. Still, even with a small sample of only a dozen or so, a 100% occurrence of jerks seems to indicate something.

The exception continues to confuse me. He's a moonkin, but he's neither a jerk nor a noob. Fascinating. He's in my guild, but as the first example shows, that's not always a guarantee of positive ratings.

Most recently is was the jerk in a PUG with my priest. The situation was a bad tank who didn't talk much, which put him squarly in the middle of the group. The other people were a mage that didn't talk much, but could reliably sheep and eventually found her iceblock key, a shaman that started off the run by whining about a harmless fear (which saved the mage), and a moonkin that had no concept of aggro, off-healing, off-tanking, or shutting up.

So the tank pulls a bunch of mobs, or a pack and a pat, either way, there were too many mobs for him and I ended up with one on me due to aggro*. Seeing as no one except me was dying especially fast, I MCed one and set it on the other. Not a normal technique, but all the mobs died and all of us lived. As any good player knows, there are only two types of healing: enough and not enough. Seeing as I did the first, clearly I'd done my job. But no, the moonkin and shaman still didn't understand the concept of shutting up.

So, I suppose that's that. In my entire experience (that I remember, so I suppose that narrows it a tiny bit, but seeing how rare they are, you'd expect me to remember them), I've met one that wasn't in some way awful to be grouped with.

I have tried to be careful to speak only of my experiences and not moonkin overall, but maybe I slipped here or there. I have met non-terrible moonkin, just not in-game. So clearly there are some out there. Maybe I just attract terrible moonkin. I wonder if I will ever solve the Mystery of the Mean Moonkin. If you are a moonkin and not terrible, screenshots or you don't exist. :P


Role forums killed class forums, at least paladin

| Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The class forums, as long as I can remember, have been pretty crappy. But there were still good posts here and there. The 500000 rate my gear, can I tank X, rate my spec, etc. are not what I refer to. Those may be annoying after you're posting for three years, but let's be honest, in the absence of stickies and having a weak search function, they are necessary. Hell, they're productive. Thanks to those threads someone out there is a little bit better.

Everything seems to have gone downhill.

The serious helpful people seem to be leaving. I can understand. Why stay in the nearly unmoderated forum, full of trolls and spam, when you can go to the role forums with a Blue, no, a DEVELOPER apparently hovering over them 20 hours a day?

The DPS forum is shit. Really, it's awful. But it's still better than the paladin forum now. The tank forum is great. Not perfect, but still, not much trolling, no spam, helpfulness out the wazoo, and a surprising amount of tank unity. Healing is a bit whiny, but I can understand it. If you're going to end up with the least well-designed role in the game, the least you could ask for is that your class be excellent at it.

The paladin forum seems to have collapsed. The trolls don't have the sort of urgency, flavor of the week, this is important, sense of a week or two ago. It's not as if they jumped on a bandwagon. That left. Now they're just sort of there. There were trolls before, but they were rarer and just seemed different.

There's nothing much productive anymore. The annoying, but useful "rate my X can I tank X help me with X" is fading or gone. There isn't even elaborate theorycrafted complaining. Instead there's a general sprinkling of whining and exaggerated claims of doom.

It's almost like a ghost town, except instead of normal ghosts they are from 12 years-old who died from lead poisoning. There an aura of trolling, desperation, and stupid. The sheriff seems to have left, but there's nothing worth looting. Instead people are wandering around in a drunken stupor, looking for cheap whores, but not even having enough money for them. There's no life anymore. I almost wonder if it is worth keeping open or if it should just be put out of its misery.

Well timed.. starfire (?) stun, bro

The old combination of mace spec, stormherald, and the stun meta was incredibly annoying. I hated it. I thought it needed nerfs for a long time. Lo and behold, mace spec is now much different. My warrior is pretty noobish, but it seems like a decent talent. It's not flashy now, but I like it. The rogue mace spec was changed in the same way, or at least similar enough for me to not notice.

Enter starfire.

Obviously I can't say that we'd have won the matches, but at least twice I saw starfire stuns completely ruining the match for us. The one I remember best was in Ruins of Lordaeron with a balance-arcane team. The burst was pretty ridiculous, but that's a rant for another day. I was trying to keep myself up without having to burn a five minute cooldown, and I was doing okay. Holy Light was about to finish, and then the stun lands. It was bubble or die. Later I had to wander around, sheeped, as my partner got pounded. His bubble was down due to the previously mentioned burst. Sheep wore off, I attempted to help, and woosh: cyclone.

If not for that stun, I'd have had my bubble. I'd have been able to bubble out and save my partner. By then the other team wasn't doing the greatest on mana, so we had a good shot at beating them.

I'd like to get back to that displaced burst rant though. Ret burst is being nerfed and has been nerfed. Over and over. Balance and arcane are currently doing what feel like comparable damage, at range, with ranged CC and tools for kiting. Compare this to ret that bursts, but has no tools to close gaps. Their burst can be consistently applied, ours cannot.

Yet we get nerfed? Even more, hotfix nerfed. This isn't the old old old reckoning we're talking about. World bosses aren't getting one-shotted. Oh no, someone e-peen shrunk because he lost to a ret paladin, now he's going to lose his... oh wait no, they froze titles before 3.0. There was nothing that should not have waited for a patch and the ability to update tooltips. I'd guess at least half of my spell descriptions are wrong because Blizzard had to nerf ret NOW. And yet resto druids for three seasons, where were the nerfs to knock out half their spirit regen or to disable travel form? Where were their crippling nerfs? NOWHERE. Bullshit. It's not a matter of balance, ret needed adjustments, it's about showing the slightest bit of consistency. Two days and we get nerfed, two, no three seconds, and they aren't touched. If there was the slightest bit of fairness, Blizzard would go back and strip titles from every team with a resto druid, take any gear they got, and send them a warning for exploiting game mechanics.

Put holy in ret gear

| Sunday, November 2, 2008
This could actually be done with only small changes to the spec and a single change to the class overall.

First, move AP->SP to a baseline ability.
If holy heals end up too weak, buff Holy Guidance.
Make Divine Intellect a AP->int talent.
Buff Illumination back to 100% to compensate for the loss of regen on gear.

Currently holy is the only class/spec that uses spell power plate. This goes against the push to unify gear, to make it wanted for multiple specs and classes. Clothies all want SP cloth. The two classes that use leather also use AP/crit. Balance and resto can share gear, at least partially. Mail classes either use AP/crit or they are resto and elemental and can share partially. Plate classes all use AP/crit or similar tanking stats.

When holy gear drops, only holy wants it. When ret/prot gear drops, holy doesn't want it. No other spec has such poor sharing with others. Even the second worst, druids and shamans who would want much different amounts of hit, are still not so wasteful. They can make up hit elsewhere or for the healers, have a slight stat loss, but not a near-total waste as with holy.

Switching holy to strength gear benefits everyone. Holy can draw from a larger gear pool. Other plate classes don't have to groan when they see holy plate drop. Blizzard doesn't have to design as much armor, saving them time after the initial investment of converting holy.

Removing class forums will kill classes

| Thursday, October 30, 2008
[edit] This whole post isn't much use anymore. Blizzard is keeping the class forums.

This was on the general forums for about a minute before it was either deleted or somehow lost to the currently screwed up forums. Looking a bit further, now that I can see posts again, sort of, it appears that Blues are trying to consolidate the protest threads. So, deleted, but not an excuse to scream about fascism. :P

Is a shaman a pair of DPS classes and a healing class? Of course not. It's all three mixed together. To try to separate out each role is a waste of time. They're not 100% separate. They overlap and interact.

Can you imagine paladins as three classes: a tank, a healer, and a DPS? But that's apparently how Blizzard wants us to see ourselves. From my own personal experience on the paladin forums for almost three years, this is one of our biggest problems: division within the class. We don't need Blizzard encouraging people to see only their own spec. We're all stuck together. The recent and upcoming nerfs to ret are hitting all three specs.

Are druids supposed to be all separate now? If anything, they are probably the worst class to divide up. Is feral supposed to split in half, one side bears and the other side kittens?

If classes are not meant to be viewed as an entity to themselves, why have them? If there are only rets and holys and protections, why have paladins? Why have priests if holy and disc go over here and shadow is over there, entirely separate? Should warriors split up too?

Having DPS, healing, and tanking forums is a good idea. It's great to bring classes together. I'd love to see paladins, warriors, druids, and soon, death knights, all working together to figure everything out. But why must this come at the cost of the classes? Something is lost when classes stop being classes, when we start putting spec ahead of class, when we all get split apart, and when respeccing means a total change of conversation.

The Problem with the Invasion

| Sunday, October 26, 2008
The number and frequency of mob spawns encourages and rewards those who act the worst. For an example, I'll use myself.

The infrequent attacks, combined with the limited number of mobs per attack, creates a need for intense competition. If you don't go out of your way to grab everything you can, you're likely to end up with nothing.

The invasion sites encourage people to tag as many mobs as possible with no regard for others. Normal farming isn't like this. Even if spawns are limited, they're not so limited that it's worth being an ass. But the invasion goes a step further. Enter the Shadows of Doom. These are summoned by spending 8 runes and will drop 30 and one of the BoP anti-undead pieces. This means them profitable, if you can get the one you summon.

There are two practices which make it hard to get the shadows. One is AoE spam by others, tagging the shadow first. I think this was fixed last night, but I'm not certain. The other problem is leashing. They won't go more than a certain distance from the center; they'll evade and reset. This can be forced by people trying to steal shadows from those who spent runes to summon them.

In my case, I've learned to never expect to get the shadow I summoned. It always gets taken. So I steal from others. That's right, I do exactly what I just said was an ass thing to do. What else am I to do, spend my time racing from site to site getting nothing? I use turn undead, over and over, until a shadow resets, then I grab it.

While waiting for shadows I've learned how to tag well. First off, if I get there early, I pull as much as I can survive. Once the zerg comes, then I move off tot he edge. Let people fight in the center for scraps. I have exorcism ready, in a convenient hotkey (I actually switch it with CS just for this). I see a spawn, bam, instant tag. I have to do this or else I get nothing.

This is wrong. People should be able to participate in this event without being forced to fight over every single mob, lest they end up with nothing.

[edit] One idea I came up with was to combine the invasion and zombie events. Allow zombie players to get runes from randomly spawned necromatic crystals near or in cities. These would increase their health significantly and run speed slightly as well as slowing the rate at which they decay and die. Killing a zombie with one of these would allow players to then loot the rune, similar to the looting of gold from corpses in BGs. Remove the gear from rare spawns at put it on the vendors for significantly higher prices. The goal is to make the gear possibly take the same time to acquire, but remove the current winners and losers system.

We don't need a bait and switch

I'll indulge the conspiracies for a few minutes. We're being buffed to get the class popular again and then nerfed back down. It doesn't work though.

The real paladins are the ones that stay around, through some up and down. Sure they'd leave if the class was nerfed *ahem* "to the ground," but they'll stick around through a lot. They want to be paladins and will be, even at the cost of some weakness. We don't need a bait and switch. All it does is frustrate us.

FotMs will love the buff phase though. They're the same people that rerolled warriors and druids. They were warlocks before that. They're whatever is strong this month. But they're a fickle group. By that I mean they have zero loyalty to any class, no interest in any particular role or play style. The second paladins start going down, they leave. Bait and switch gets them in for a few weeks.

Min-maxers are really little more than a variation of FotM, but they like to feel important, so I'll give them their own paragraph. They only care about the current use of a class. They'll throw aside anyone if they don't fit their formulas. Up and down just means an invite and a kick the next day.

Find our place and put us there. Roller coasters aren't good game balance.

I think they are actually trying, but...

Latest info shows a few buffs to ret. Apparently Blizzard noticed that PvE damage got hit hard by the nerfs, so they want to balance that out. I really do think they're trying to balance us, but they're still using the old ways of thinking, the ones that failed for the past few years.

To be fair they have changed their views on the utility penalty. We used to lose 25-30% damage because of our utility. If I remember correctly, now it's intended to be something like 5-10%. Combine that with utility and you're going to want a hybrid over a pure DPS for the first spot but the second spot is going to a pure. That's a nice balance idea, if they can pull it off.

We're still based on supposed durability and burst damage. This is a strange combination. One favors short fights, the other long fights. It's a contradiction of design. In practice it doesn't work out that way, since our durability is... plate, heals, and bubble.

The plate does nothing against casters. They happen to be our toughest enemies since they kite us. We do zero damage outside of 10 yards, excluding HoW (but how are you going to get them to 20%?), avenger's shield, and 30 yard judgements. Maybe you've noticed that this is about ret and not prot or holy? But back to plate. It helps us against melee, most of which will be wearing plate or thick skin in WotLK (DK, bears, warriors, paladins vs. rogues and shamans). But Blizzard intends for warriors and DKs to stand up to us in melee, so DS got nerfed. So much for holy damage bypassing plate and giving us at least one area in which we're strong. Rock-paper-mushrooms?

Heals are an area in which ret has gained a lot. Sheath makes them worth something and Art of War and the change to pushback means we can actually cast them. But with the nerf to JotW, we're going to be lacking mana just for damage, let alone mana-intensive heals. I fully admit that I think we were starting to show signs of the warlock problem (lifetap for mana, drain for health, last forever), but this is excessive.

Bubbles are nice, but against whom are they truly effective? Ranged should be staying at range and a few seconds at 115% runspeed aren't going to close that gap. Melee are hurt a bit more. But rogues can vanish to get out. Druids and shamans have speed boosts, though JoJ does nullify those. Warriors and Death Knights have the armor and health to take some hits. Warriors can intervene teammates if they really want out. This is group PvP, right? Even if we do catch up to ranged, mages can use their own impostor bubble and priests... don't make me say those words.

So people are outliving our bursts and bubbles, now what? Currently we can keep going thanks to JotW allowing us to cast some heals. That's going to go away. What do we do after the fight goes past 12 seconds? As fun as it can be to tear someone apart in five seconds, I've played a warlock, affliction, before BC and the many changes. I know exactly how fun it is to know that you won because you took control and kept control. Proper management of fear, seduce, deathcoil, my own trinket, and perhaps a nifty stopwatch... that was a sort of tactical fun that a 10k burst can never top.

The good, the bad, and the zombie

| Saturday, October 25, 2008
The zombie is the good, so I suppose my title is fail. The zombie thing is the best event ever. Nothing, absolutely nothing, comes anywhere close. I'd say this is a great time to be a paladin, except for: the bad.

Oh look, nerfs. Are these burst damage nerfs which I'd expect and not find entire;ly unjustified? Yes? No you say? Well that's strange. Oh they nerfed our regen. That makes sense. I mean, it's not as if paladins need to keep up a full, mana-intensive DPS rotation just to stay anywhere near the output of other classes. So much for not nerfing our DPS.

What's that, HoW only works at 20% now? Well I suppose that tones down our burst, but... HoW is also our highest DPS move against bosses under 35%. Taking out 15% from that means that we're losing a lot of PvE damage.

Oh hey, nerfed judgements as well. There goes more of our holy damage.

I wonder what they'll nerf next. At least they didn't nerf arcane mages. That would be terrible if they did anything about 2k non-crit instant ranged damage.

Choices, choices

| Thursday, October 23, 2008
Am I feeling mean today? I think I'll be Bloodsail Admiral Kelpsacovic.
But maybe I'm feeling nice and helpful, at least for other Horde. I'll be Ambassador Kelpsacovic.
Or if I'm really feeling nice: Kelpsacovic the Diplomat.
To show off my bling? Kelpsacovic of the Shattered Sun.

Indeed, titles are great. I got the diplomat one just today. With the rep buff for Timbermaw faction it took 8-10 hours. It could have been a little bit faster if the areas were farmed less.

Fix Zul'jin or give us free transfers

| Monday, October 20, 2008
ZJ has been running like shit this week. There are never enough instances, which screws with PvE and achievements. But even worse, it affects arenas. I queue, try to enter, it says instance not found, and about a minute later it adds another loss. That's really fucking stupid. Why am I losing because of the server being shit? Or sometimes it goes halfway and only lets in one member. Seven fucking games were lost this week either because both or one of my 2v2 couldn't get in.

Is this some sort of fucking anti-me conspiracy? First they freeze S4 when my class gets buffed, then they fuck my server so I can barely even get points. We were almost at 1600 and ready to go for 1650 when we started getting half teams and then lost 3-4 games almost non-stop.

Last night, Sundays, are the only night I can make raids. I get back from dinner and ZJ is down. For the entire fucking night. Honestly I'd not mind that too much, I realize shit happens, except that even when the server is up it runs like shit and steals my points.

If there were free transfers, I'd be gone. Hopefully my guild would go too, but between my bad schedule and server shit, I can barely play with them anyway.

So I gave holy a try

| Sunday, October 19, 2008
I apologize in advance for the length of this, but this is what happens when I try something totally new and it turns out to be awesome.

Some guildies needed a healer for heroic SL, so I thought I'd give it a try. I have no healed an instance in months, and that was on my shaman. My paladin hasn't healed anything in almost two years and that was Karazhan. I wasn't even holy then. In other words, I am a healing noob.

It actually went well. Well, it was messy. There were a lot of pulls of two groups, or groups and demon pats, or three demons and a group. I think I learned a lot, for example, I'm not as bad at healing as I used to think. Also now that I've actually played holy, I can have slightly less ignorant opinions.

Bacon: I love this spell. This is a game changer. I had to learn a new way of healing, which I'm still getting used to. Stick it on the tank and then don't heal the tank, heal everyone else as they take damage. The efficiency and output from it is impressive, as would be expected from an ability that effectively doubles heals. Healing the slightest bit of AoE used to be a pain. Now I honestly look forward to it so I can take advantage of bacon. Also I like the green pop up numbers. First it hits my target, then a second later there's a pop over the tank. It sounds silly, but it's strangely fun.

It's not perfect though. For one the duration is pretty short. I think two minutes would be a lot better. Five might be too long, ten is definitely too long. Still, it seems like the sort of thing that you almost always want up. If it was a blessing it would be more toward the blessing side rather than the now hand side.

It's expensive. I know the efficiency balances out, but it feels like a lot to be dropping 1k mana every minute. 400-600 would feel better.

Holy shock: this is not the crap that I remember. This actually heals! Crits get pretty big, and then allow for a fast holy light, so overall it can put out some major burst healing. The pew pew isn't too bad either, and I was surprised to see that offensive crits trigger infusion.

I can only imagine that sacred shield will make holy even more enjoyable and efficient.

After the run I tried out some AoE grinding for the sporeggar quest to kill Naga. It was a lot more effective than I expected. It was not even comparable to ret, but really, that's a high bar that I wonder if any class or spec could reach.

After that while flying back to Shattrath I noticed that Halaa had some action. My first move was to heal up a warrior getting beaten up by a ret paladin. My second move was stupid: I chased down the ret paladin. In retrospect, I'd have done better with a PvP trinket equipped since without HoJ I was able to survive his burst. Plate and heals seem to be the best counter to ret overpoweredness. P

I met a frost mage and eventually lured him to the ground. I think we was trying to kill the newb that I had just rezed. He popped his elemental, threw out a frost nova, and started trying to hurt me. Apparently he had very low health, because a pair of judgements a couple shocks, and a HoW were more than enough. My memory is blurring already, but one of those shocks might have been self-healing.

I dueled a guildy prot warrior after we capped. They have a lot of interrupts: shockwave and concussive blow, shield bash, which silenced me too. They hurt a surprising amount as well. And he kept knocking off my seal. I won, but I forced myself to bubble after shocking during spell reflect.

I noticed my G.N.E.R.D.S were going to run out by the time I woke up tomorrow, so I hopped into AV. I know I can get more with alts, but I was afraid I'd forget and then never get the achievement. The start of the battle was greeted with strategy spam from another self-declared master of BGs. Once seems fine, but it was at last 10 lines and he hit it at least three times, in between flaming people for being bad. We lost, but I got my gnerd rage. It was a surprising amount of fun, throwing around huge heals that turned fights around completely. 30 yard range on JoJ is great. Long range damage and neutralizing speed buffs? Wonderful. Holy shock did some decent pew pew as well. Hammer of wrath barely crit (after all, as ret I was running with over 80% on it), but it was still doing around 1-1.5k non-crit, a decent amount for being instant.

The high point was fearing a demon form warlock. I think he then died from DoTs from someone else. The irony made me giggle and clap my hands like a kid presented with cake and a carton of ice cream, with a bag of candy for dessert.

I'm going to stick with holy for a little while. If my schedule does ever fit raiding better, I'd probably have a guaranteed spot since everyone seems to be going ret.

As my final note, on the subject of ret, I tanked the headless horseman as ret. Aggro was extremely easy. Baseline 90% RF is great.
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