Raided M

Only You Can Stop Zombie Plagues

So, it has come to my attention, through a guildmate speaking with a GM, that the Scourge invasion/zombie plague stuff is not actually on a timeline, but that the duration is based upon how many Scourge necropoli are killed by players during the Scourge invasion. What this means is, for those of you out there who are so vehemently against this whole zombie plague(I’m not, I think it’s fun and awesome), the power to end it is in your hands. Go out, and murder the minions of the Scourge. Lay waste to Shadows of Doom. Massacre oceans of undead., The faster you take out the invasion, the less you will have to deal with zombies.

This public service announcement has been brought to you by the letter Z and the number BRAAAAAAINS.


On Warhammer and Distractions…

So, it’s been quite a while since I last posted, and there have been a couple major contributing factors to this.

One, I gave Warhammer a whirl. It was pretty cool for PvP, and having read over the highlights from Blizzcon, I’m happy to see that Blizz will be incorporating some of the features into WoW, notably queueing for battlegrounds anywhere. Unfortunately, Warhammer’s PvE was sorely lacking, and a game whose only major merits are PvP-based can’t hold my attention for very long.

Two, must…level…alts. Trying desperately to get alts up to 70 before the xpack hits. I should easily have my shaman up to 70 by the time xpack hits, and my mage should be well along the way. This makes me happy. Options are always a good thing, although I very likely will be rolling a Death Knight on launch day. I’m about 90% on that. Which leads me to thing the third…

Beta! Got into the beta a while back, and really enjoyed messing around with stuff. Actually spent very little time on my druid(never even hit 71), however I did tank a bit of Naxx on a premade druid, and that was fun. Most of what I did, however, was play around with DKs. I wanted to get a good feel for how the class plays, and decide whether or not I would play one, and where in the roster it would go. I am sorely tempted to make my Death Knight my new main, and make it the first thing I do on launch day. They’re extremely fun, with quite a few cool abilities.

So, the main reason I’m making this post is to break the radio silence. I plan on posting in the next day or so regarding Death Knights, so if you’re interested but don’t have access yet, I’ll be breaking down some of the cooler/more fun abilities and aspects of being a former servant of the Lich King.


Vote, Damnit!

Video Game Voters Network

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all political on you here. This post is for two purposes. One, I want to apologize for slacking off so bad and failing to blog. This will hopefully be rectified in the next week or so.

Secondly, on the politics front…I don’t care if you’re left or right, if there’s one basic tenet of our system of government that we can agree on, it’s that one of the most important aspects of the system is that everyone have a voice and be heard. I’ll be keeping a link to the Video Game Voters Network on the sidebar at least until the election is over, possibly permanently. With the internet and video games becoming more and more political issues as well as entertainment, we are actually seeing legal issues and laws surfacing surrounding the world of video games, and especially MMOs. Check it out.


My Enthusiasm is Still in Beta

It’s been a while since we posted. Whew! Where to start?

Malfean discovered that it was possible for us to get a beta key through WowInterface‘s mod author beta key program. He wrote a little mod that simply announces when you’re rezzing and, bang! We waited a week and the beta key was ours. Amusingly enough, a few days before we recieved the WowInterface key, Malfean’s opt-in key showed up. We tacked the opt-in beta onto my WoW account and, deciding we didn’t really need TWO beta keys, gave another to a friend and guildmate of ours so that she could test out hunter modifications in Beta. Maybe we’ll have her write something up about her thoughts once she’s had a chance to look around some. I’ll try to keep spoilers, if there are any, to a minimum.

I say maybe because, well, the servers are so frickin’ unstable. Now, I understand completely that it’s a beta and I honestly haven’t done any complaining or griping about the server stability, but it really has reached a ridiculous extreme. They inserted a new patch on Friday during maintenance and after that the servers weren’t fit for anything. At first they traced the crashes to two new level 80 areas they had just put in, but it quickly became apparent that, oddly enough, a rank 2 DeathKnight spell, Unholy Blight, was crashing the servers. Not rank 1 and not rank 3, only rank 2. Seems people would log on and either unknowingly use it and crash everything or be told that it was a problem and feel that they needed to test it out for themselves. For 24 hours it was pretty much unplayable. This morning it seemed that there was some semblance of stability again, so I got together with the above-mentioned friend and we headed over to the first Northrend area and started her questing around. About twenty minutes later, though, repeated crashes start up again. We eventually gave up.

From what I’ve seen, however, between crashes, I’m really going to enjoy WotLK. It feels so much more connected, somehow. You get zepped over from Orgrimmar or Undercity, giving it much more of a connection to old Azeroth. The terrain, too, is less otherwordly and odd. I have to say that I LOVE the vrykul as a race. Tall and nordic with booming voices and a regal bearing, they seem like worthy adversaries. Admittedly I haven’t quested too far in either area, a dozen or so in Howling Fjord and a handful in Borean Tundra, but I think I prefer the former for now. I prefer the terrain and you spend a lot of time interacting with they vrykul, including one highly entertaining quest that requires you to go insult their leader in a strange language. The quests are engaging and a few of them are downright fun. If it weren’t for the server crashes I’d probably be looking at it more as a pleasure-game than a beta test.

For now rogue poisons are insanely screwed up, applying at a 100% rate and ticking off way too hard, causing mobs to go down before they’re done with Cheap Shot for extremely well geared rogues. A few more hits for me, in my Kara/badge epics. There’s a bug that affects all classes that causes energy/mana/rage not to regenerate at all. I notice it right away because, well, it shows up as my having 0/100 energy. Mana classes, from what I saw playing with my hunter friend, don’t notice it until their mana bar goes empty and they’re not getting any back. Relogging will usually solve the problem, but not always and sometimes you spend your entire 5-10 minutes of time between crashes relogging trying to get your energy/mana/rage to catch up with you.

I haven’t spent much time playing around with Deathknights yet. I only played one through the first level and, according to what I’ve heard, they’ve nerfed their DPS since then, but oh my god I was practically one-shotting everything around me. I never seemed to run out of power. The most awesome thing so far is seeing a small army of ghouls ranged out behind you, swinging their arms and galumphing along. I’ll leave the rest for Malfean to fill you in on, as he managed to get one up to Outland and, I believe, went back to start the quest to make the guards in Orgrimmar stop spitting and throwing fruit at people.


Buff/Debuff Changes

So, there’s been a pretty huge post on the beta forums that I would like to address. Here’s a link to the original, as I’ll be cutting it up and only including the stuff I’m commenting on. I highly recommend checking it out.

There are thirty or so different categories buffs and debuffs fit into, and I will list each category and which spells/talents are in that category.

Armor Debuff (Major): Acid Spit (exotic Hunter pet), Expose Armor, Sunder Armor
Armor Debuff (Minor): Faerie Fire, Sting (Hunter pet), Curse of Recklessness
Physical Vulnerability Debuff: Blood Frenzy, (2nd Talent Spec TBA)
Melee Haste Buff: Improved Icy Talons, Windfury Totem
Melee Critical Strike Chance Buff: Leader of the Pack, Rampage
Attack Power Buff (Flat Add): Battle Shout, Blessing of Might
Attack Power Buff (Multiplier): Abomination’s Might, Trueshot Aura, Unleashed Rage
Ranged Attack Power Buff: Hunter’s Mark (only Hunters benefit, so no need to exclude against other class abilities)
Bleed Damage Increase Debuff: Mangle, Trauma
Spell Haste Buff: Wrath of Air Totem
Spell Critical Strike Chance Buff: Moonkin Aura, Elemental Oath
Spell Critical Strike Chance Debuff: Improved Scorch, Winter’s Chill
Increased Spell Damage Taken Debuff: Ebon Plaguebringer, Earth and Moon, Curse of the Elements
Increased Spell Power Buff: Focus Magic, Improved Divine Spirit, Flametongue Totem, Totem of Wrath, Demonic Pact
Increased Spell Hit Chance Taken Debuff: Improved Faerie Fire, Misery
Percentage Haste Increase (All Types): Improved Moonkin Aura, Swift Retribution
Percentage Damage Increase: Ferocious Inspiration, Sanctified Retribution
Critical Strike Chance Taken Debuff (All types): Heart of the Crusader, Totem of Wrath
Melee Attack Speed Slow Debuff: Icy Touch, Infected Wounds, Judgements of the Just, Thunderclap
Melee Hit Chance Reduction Debuff: Insect Swarm, Scorpid Sting
Healing Debuff: Wound Poison, Aimed Shot, Mortal Strike, Furious Attacks
Attack Power Debuff: Demoralizing Roar, Curse of Weakness, Demoralizing Shout
Stat Multiplier Buff: Blessing of Kings
Stat Add Buff: Mark of the Wild
Agility and Strength Buff: Strength of Earth Totem, Horn of Winter
Stamina Buff: Power Word: Fortitude
Health Buff: Commanding Shout, Blood Pact
Intellect Buff: Arcane Intellect, Fel Intelligence
Spirit Buff: Divine Spirit, Fel Intelligence
Damage Reduction Percentage Buff: Grace, Blessing of Sanctuary
Percentage Increase Healing Received Buff: Tree of Life, Improved Devotion Aura
Armor Increase Percentage Buff: Inspiration, Ancestral Healing
Cast Speed Slow: Curse of Tongues, Slow, Mind-numbing Poison.

In each category, you can only benefit from the most powerful spell granting that effect. For example, Fel Intelligence grants Spirit and Intellect, both weaker than Arcane Intellect and Divine Spirit. If a player has Fel Intelligence and receives a stronger Arcane Intellect buff, he will gain the intellect value from Arcane Intellect and the Spirit value from Fel Intelligence.

In most cases, fully-talented players will have exactly equal power on the strength of these buffs and debuffs. Fel Intelligence is an example of where one ability is weaker than others. The buffs in the “Increased Spell Power Buff” category are also not all the same potency, as they scale in grow in radically different ways. In virtually every other case, however, the buffs are equal. This means, for example, that fully-talented Battle Shout and Blessing of Might now grant the exact same amount of Attack Power.

So, in effect, buffs and debuffs are being normalized across the board, to create parity between them, so that one class isn’t being brought to raids because their debuff is better than another class’ similar debuff. I see this as definitely being a good thing. My guild right now is in the awkward position of being a bit too big for it’s britches, but not big enough to move up a size. We can field 10 man raids no problem, and in fact usually have more people that want to go than we can bring, by a fair number. Unfortunately, we don’t really have the consistent numbers to steadily run two 10 man groups a week. So, most times I try to roster a Kara run on our popular on nights, we end up leaving 3-5 people sitting on the bench. Now, because of how our guild is(a casual guild that raids, not a casual raiding guild), we don’t bring people based on class beyond the bare minimums required for roles. Two tanks, 2-3 healers, rest dps. We’ve had nights with 3 hunters in Kara, and nights with zero priests(aka Heroic Moroes mode). What these changes bring to the plate for me is, I can continue rostering based on who hasn’t had a chance to go lately and things of that nature, and not take as big a hit in the performance department, at least as far as the view from game design is concerned.
It also makes it a bit easier rostering raids in general, and lessens the need to be a walking encyclopedia of the raid performance and quirks and whatnot of every single class in the game for a raid leader, and lets us get back to the more simple x tanks, x healers, x melee, x ranged formula. Easier to roster the raid, less time spent worrying about/balancing buffs/debuffs, more time raiding, less time yanking your own hair out. This change is full of win.



In addition to this change, we also needed to address the “mana battery” roles in a raid. The mana regeneration effect they grant is no longer limited to their own party, and it no longer depends on the amount of damage they deal. Each time they trigger the mana regeneration effect, 10 people in their raid group will receive a buff which causes them to regenerate 0.5% of their maximum mana each second. This buff, Replenishment, will be given preferentially to raid members with the lowest mana, but will re-evaluate which raid members receive it each time it is fired. Replenishment is provided by Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins.

This, on the other hand, has a lot less win. Now, granted, it’s better than it was, affecting 10 people instead of 5, however being mana efficient is now going to be penalized. If you have a solid casting rotation and have done the research to understand how to be mana efficient, you will most likely be passed over by the game mechanics to feed mana to people who recklessly burn through their mana pool with no thought given to mana efficiency. This change promotes mana inefficiency, because the more inefficient you are, the more likely you are to receive replenishment.

All in all, I have to say, I like the direction that the Blizzard dev team is taking the game in. I think the new philosophies of making raiding more accessible to smaller guilds, and creating parity between the classes both in the buff/debuff department as well as the tanking and healing departments is going to be great for the game. Some people, I’m sure, will complain that the classes are being diluted, that everyone is being given the same abilities and playing a druid tank will be just like playing a warrior tank will be just like playing a DK tank. To this, I say bullshit. It’s very much possible to level the playing field without putting everyone on the same team. From everything I have read, the classes will retain their unique flavors, however they’ll be given tools suited to their flavor to get the job done. I can’t wait.


Gamer Girls

Who cares if you’re a female or a male, right? It’s a moot topic nowadays when so many girls play that we just go unnoticed. It’s actually a topic I never really think about anymore, until I happened across this post on Big Bear Butt Blogger .

Now, I’m not a “serious gamer” and I never have been and most likely won’t be. I have dug into WoW with a serious enthusiasm, sometimes bothering Malfean to play more than he’d like to. I don’t know if it’s the game itself or a Pandora’s box it unlocked in me, but I really have embraced it. Prior to WoW, though, I didn’t play video games, but I did play an online version of the tabletop games of White Wolf. Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocolypse, Mage: the Ascension. You name that dorky stuff, I did it. It was chat-based, with Storytellers to hold the reigns and game mechanics mostly followed through. It also had its share of skeezbags always on the lookout for a girl playing the game and ready to glom onto her with all of their greasy “charm”. It was annoying, yes, when all you wanted to do was play the game and all they wanted to do was get into your virtual-panties, but you also got used to it and became adept at turning them away. (We won’t mention that this game is how I met Malfean. His charm, thankfully, isn’t all that greasy.)

Understandably, then, when Malfean wanted me to try WoW out for the first time, I was apprehensive. He had jokingly told me that being a girl in the game could be profitable and that didn’t really allay my fears any. Once the game got hold of me, though, the thought came and went. I didn’t notice any real problems with boys or men pestering me, except for the somewhat annoying, though easily ignored, comment regarding my real-life gender behind my character. What do I care if they think I’m sporting extra jiggly bits?

I think, too, that I got really, really lucky in my guild. My guild has a large number of female players, usually wives or girlfriends of the male players, but some aren’t. Some are just single girls that like the game and like that our guild offers a very female-friendly area to play it in. Sometimes I think the estrogen in Vent actually gets too thick for the male players and you can hear them making choking noises as they starve for testosterone fueled conversation. Of course, it takes a special kind of woman to enjoy gaming and our ladies hold their own, dishing out scathing or ribald commentary when they feel the need and taking it themselves with aplomb. I have never felt uncomfortable or nervous around our players in Vent and, in fact, am probably one of the most talkative people on during raids.

Getting back to the BBBB topic at hand, I don’t know if the gamer girls (women! but that’s not as cutely alliterative) that came before me blazed a trail to open up the gaming world to women so that they could be free of male harrassment, or if things have remained entirely unchanged and I am just one lucky woman. Obviously this particular blog bears no title stating the gender of either author, or even alluding to our relationship status, but one of us is a woman and, I dare to assert, a gamer and I find the topic intriguing. I would be interested to hear about other women and their experiences. Are they still having problems with their male counterparts in gaming that would indicate that I, and those that claim gender is moot, are simply lucky or has the tide has turned?

Also, on a side note, being a girl in WoW totally didn’t turn out to be profitable. But I think that has something to do with my lack of willingness to strip naked and dance. The only time the rest of the players see me strip naked is when I’m preparing to do a death-jump of some kind. And then there’s just not much time to throw money at me. Darnit.


Release of the Cash King

I’ve been giving some thought to Wrath lately, and when it will be coming out, and I’m fairly certain we will see Wrath come out shortly before Thanksgiving. I have a couple reasons supporting that theory, and I’m gonna lay them out below.

Black Friday. Biggest retail day of the year. I really, honestly can’t see Blizzivision missing out on the opportunity to have Wrath on the shelves for Black Friday. It’s like a license to print money, and with all the fervor over Wrath, it’s like a license to print really, really large bills. Anyone have change for a million?

We’ve also already seen a press release(or whatever it was) that said Wrath was coming in Q4 2008. Now, a lot of people have said that Blizzard gave us a November date for TBC and blew it, and that is patently false. A placeholder date of November 3rd was posted on, and many people took this to mean that that date was the announced release date for the expansion. Blizzard never announced a date prior to the March date, and purposefully played their cards close on that. It’s how Blizzard rolls. However, now what we have is a date not given to players, but given to investors. That’s srs bzns right there. When you give a period like that to your fanbase, it’s fluid. When you give it to your investors, especially in the middle of the sort of merger that is going on with Vivendi and Activision, you might as well have had your hand on the bible, because disappointing the fanbase builds greater anticipation, disappointing the investors builds loss of capital.

Recruit-A-Friend. This new program debuted on August 6th, 2008. The triple XP period lasts for 90 days, taking us up to around November 6th, 2008. That’s 90 days of people furiously leveling alts while they have their triple xp burning. That’s 90 days of people focused on the game without having to raid, depending on far fewer people than you would be if you were doing 25 mans. That’s 90 days of time bought to help prevent unsubscriptions. That’s 90 days of stall.

So, yeah, I definitely think we’ll be seeing Wrath at some point in mid to late November. It’s where the money is, and the money rarely lies. Thoughts? Counterpoints?


I’ve Got the No Wrath Blues

So, I’m hungrily devouring all of this cool Wrath info floating around the WoW blogs lately, and as I’m reading all of it, behind the excitement, behind the lust for secret, unattainable knowledge from the beta, something is gnawing at me. I am missing out.

Now, it’s not a getting to play Wrath before it comes out thing. I mean, that would be totally cool and I’d love it, but that’s really not what it’s about. It’s just a game, and it’s still in beta, so things are still changing and I wouldn’t necessarily be getting a taste of what it will be like on that magical November morning(post coming on that topic soon). It’s not even that I’d be able to stick my toes in the DK water and decide if I really want to play one when the expansion goes live.

It’s the scoop. I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on awesome blogging material. I see all of these posts with hot little tidbits of Wrath info, and think “Damn, if only I could have been there.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t begrudge those who’ve gotten into the beta. It’s awesome that you have gotten this awesome chance. However, I can’t help but feel a bit like one of those people who didn’t get in to the hot new club, standing around in the velvet ropes hoping.

I think part of it is that I’m currently struggling to find my voice, and, to be perfectly honest, I seem to be running out of things to say. My posting has been sadly infrequent, and it has nothing to do with lack fo desire. It has to do with lack of anything I could think of to post about. Maybe it’s all just sour grapes, I dunno. Anyone else feeling this way?


If I Could Have A Class Flying Mount…

This is a response to the Blog Azeroth shared topic posted by Rakhman. Check it out here.

Well, my main is a druid, so I’ve already got a cool as hell flying mount that’s all mine and you can’t have it! Actually, to be perfectly honest, the function of swift flight form is pretty awesome, but the form…meh. Particularly for tauren, we’re an ugly brown bird with some armor. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to have our own special flying mount type, but I’m not really enamored of it. Warlock epic land mounts and Blood Elf pally epic land mounts are a bajillion times cooler than swift flight form, though. Sadly, I can’t think of anything particularly cooler. So I will be looking at this from the POV of my latest alt, the shaman.

Shaman are masters of the elements, sage elders and wild warriors who channel the powers and spirits of the raw elements. So, it would be only fitting for the shaman to call upon the spirits of air to carry him through use of the spell Windwalking. I envision two possible graphical effects for this. One would be swirling gusts of air whirling around the feet of the shaman as he ran around if the air. The other, possibly cooler one, would be like the whirlwind proc, having the shaman tearing across the sky as a whirling cyclone.

I’ve also, in the past, had a warlock, and I definitely think they should get their own flying mounts. A winged dreadsteed would be pretty cool, but you know what would be even cooler? Saddling up one of those massive tentacled beholders and riding it all over creation, raining beams of death, decay and destruction down upon all of the unwitting peons below! Muahaha! …er. Sorry, I’m better now.

And one last idea. This isn’t so much a class-specific flying mount as another profession flying mount. Blacksmithing. Zeppelin. That is all.

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So, I had been going to write a brief post about how playing a shaman was really, really fun, but it got me to thinking about one of the best benefits of the whole triple XP deal. Yes, it enables leveling alts really, really fast(dinged 40 tonight with 28 hours played), and being able to grant levels is cool, and the summon thing is great for handling going to train and such.

Where it really shines, however, is in letting you get a feel for how a class that you’re unfamiliar with actually plays. All classes take some time to develop into their own. Enhancement shaman really blossom at level 30, same goes for warriors. Hunters completely change their playstyle at 10, and blossom at 20ish. The whole triple xp deal lets you get there really fast, and get a solid idea of whether or not you want to continue leveling the character without putting in a solid amount of time getting over the hump, so to speak. And, in my opinion, that’s just full of win.

Now for the shameless self-promotion of how awesome the leveling is going. As I said, dinged 40 tonight and picked up Dual Wield. Oh. My. God. I am a critting, dpsing, whirlwinding beast, and I love it. It’s extraordinarily fun, even moreso, I would say, than a DW warrior. Obligatory screenshots!

/played at 30

This is a quick screenshot of my /played right after hitting level 30 in Thousand Needles

And here's us showing of our newly purchased raptors. Sharon picked violet because it matches her hair.

And here's us showing of our newly purchased raptors. Sharon picked violet because it matches her hair.

And here we have the screenshot of my /played a little bit after hitting 40. Also, you can see my awesome dual wielding bad assedness. It's a word now.

And here we have the screenshot of my /played a little bit after hitting 40. Also, you can see my awesome dual wielding bad assedness. It's a word now.


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