Archive | July, 2009

Blizzard, Make Me Eat My Words

I’m guessing that 99.99% of you reading this post already know of the Worgen/Goblin speculation going around. In case you’re a part of that 0.01% minority that doesn’t, here’s a quick recap:

PTR data-miners found fairly-detailed Worgen and Goblin male and female masks for the Hallow’s End holiday, leading many to believe that these two will become playable races.

That’s certainly not ALL there is to it, but it has become what I believe to be where the debate got its wings and took flight. Personally, I think Blizzard removing the Worgen pets from those lucky hunters that got them might be a bit of foreshadowing as well, but that could be stretching it.

I decided to take a step back and examine these races and debate whether it’s likely that we’d see them in game, and in what forms.

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WORGEN

So the kingdom of Gilneas has closed shop for quite some time and never joined the Alliance. They threw up the Greymane Wall in southern Silverpine Forest and have never come out (at least, as far as we know). However, Silverpine is where Arugal’s crib is located, so naturally the entire zone is oozing with Worgen. Much speculation revolves around Gilneas and the possiblity that its inhabitants have been transformed into Worgen.

I have a few bones to pick with this theory. First of all, it’s interesting that directly in front of the wall there are refugee humans, not worgen. You’d think if the Gilneans were turned into Worgen (and Worgen were a playable race), they’d have enough combined intelligence to operate the lever that would let them out of their kingdom-sized cage. The fact that the door remains shut refutes this. And, as I mentioned, the presence of humans outside of the Greymane Wall suggests that there are no Worgen inside the wall. If the gate to the wall has been closed this whole time, it can be assumed that these humans are trying to get in, not out. Or maybe they’re just chillin’ there, like the cool kids chillin’ by the dumpster at recess. Yeah guys, the dumpster is a GREAT place to hang out.

However, the Worgen could be much more intelligent than I am assuming, and may be plotting a scheme/building ships/generally biding their time behind the wall.

Where did the humans come from, you may ask? Well, let me make this more clear in an ‘order of events’ kind of thing.

1. King Greymane, or whatever his name is, flips off Varian and builds the wall, sealing away his kingdom. Since the whole purpose of the wall is to keep people out (and in, presumably), the gate is closed and sealed.
2. Arugal comes along, doo dee doo, takes over Shadowfang Keep with his worgen pals, and terrorizes nearby Pyrewood Village because he’s pissed that he got kicked out of the Kirin Tor for being a dumbass.
3. The non-werewolvy people of Pyrewood Village flee, and claw at the gate of the Greymane Wall, desperate to get away from the psycho turning their friends and family into puppies.
4. Umm… that’s it, the gate is still up, there are still Pyrewood refugees outside the wall, and Arugal is still a dick.

If Worgen really were to join the Alliance, then they couldn’t be the same Worgen that Arugal summons and unleashes upon innocent people. In order to be allies, the playable Worgen shouldn’t rip their friends to bits and pieces. In fact, the Monster Guide, a WoW RPG book, has this to say of the Worgen:

“These creatures are thoroughly evil, delighting in torturing and devouring intelligent creatures. They enjoy hearing the screams of their victims as they tear them apart piece by piece. Worgen never show mercy or remorse. They may seem savage, but they are fairly intelligent and possess a cruel bestial cunning that can come as a surprise to the unprepared.”

So then how can Blizzard make the Worgen work? Well, that has to do with where they come from.

Velinde’s Journal recounts Velinde Starsong’s encounter with the Scythe of Elune, which is basically an instrument used to summon Worgen to Azeroth from their homeworld. In her journal, Velinde details her use of the Scythe and how it allowed her to see the Worgen fighting a war against an enemy called the Lords of the Emerald Flame.

So if emerald = green, flame = fire, and places like Shadowmoon Valley that are filled with green fire have TONS of Burning Legion baddies running around, then maybe they’re connected? Yeah, a lot of people think so too.

So perhaps the Worgen, on their homeworld, are fighting the Burning Legion. Not a huge stretch, they are a universally-evil force, much like the Ginyu Force…

*Shudders*

Certainly, battling against a foe like the Burning Legion is noble. However, from my understanding, the Burning Legion wants to kill EVERYTHING, even slightly-less evil entities that won’t bow down to them. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

Following this scenario, the Worgen that Arugal summons, the Worgen that like killing and ripping things apart and stuff, could be Worgen that have succumbed to the Legion’s power and are an attempt by the Legion to invade Azeroth yet again. Therefore, there still remains a faction of Worgen on their homeworld that are fighting the big baddies and NOT owning level 14′s in Silverpine Forest.

How and why did they come here? They were losing the battle with the Legion and opened a rift to Azeroth themselves. I know it sounds kinda like the introduction of the the draenei:

“Hi, we’re running away from the Legion and we decided Azeroth would be a good hideout, so we’re just going to crash at your place for a while. Do you have dip for these chips? This sofa is really uncomfortable. Can you close that window?”

Why’d they join the Alliance? They’re new to the neighborhood and showed up at Stormwind with a plate of wolf-cookies and friendly smiles. Seriously though? I’m not exactly sure. You’d think a race of wolf-people would feel at home in the freakish Horde (green guys, cow guys, dead guys…). Then again, orcs do RIDE wolves, so maybe they’d take offense at that.

OR (an alternative method of introducing Worgen as playable):

The humans of the kingdom of Gilneas WERE transformed into Worgen/human hybrids by Arugal (while he was still alive) using the same curse he used on Pyrewood. Attempting to deal with the curse themselves, the Gilneans tasked their mages with a way to stabilize the transformation and preserve the human consciousness throughout. They were successful, and could control their actions, unlike the ravenous Worgen in Shadowfang. Unfortunately, they were already Worgen in a physical sense, and the Gilneans couldn’t figure out how to become human again.

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They’re rough, I’ll admit, but kinda plausible. The first scenario doesn’t give a location where the Worgen enter Azeroth, while the second ignores the whole Burning Legion side of things, which I think robs the Worgen of a significant backstory.

What about classes? What could Worgen be? Depends which scenario is more correct.

SCENARIO ONE: WORGEN AS REFUGEES FROM THEIR HOMEWORLD

Warrior, hunter, and rogue seem likely, given their ‘primitive nature,’ as described by Velinde. One could stretch their intelligence a bit farther and say perhaps shaman, as a sort of archaic, elemental seer (how else would they open a dimensional rift?).

Seeing a Worgen shapeshift into a Druid would be awkward, seeing as their “caster form” would look more like their “kitty form.”

Mages seem to be the really nerdy, smart guys, so yeah… They might not have enough IQ for that job.

They were basically fighting AGAINST warlocks, so it’s doubtful that many Worgen would aspire to become warlocks themselves.

Paladins and priests? These just don’t seem to fit the grizzly nature of the Worgen, although they could have been using the Light to fight the Burning Legion, who knows.

And death knights? The current generation of death knights were paladins that fought against the Scourge and were re-animated to serve the Lich King. Again, the Worgen currently on Azeroth wouldn’t have fit the bill.

So if I were to assemble a list of likely classes for Worgen, I’d have to go with Warriors, Hunters, Rogues, Shaman, and MAYBE Priests and/or Paladins, Priests being the more likely of the two, in my opinion.

SCENARIO TWO: WORGEN AS TRANSFORMED GILNEANS

This seems fairly simple: any class that humans could be, except for Death Knights, assuming of course that the Gilnean-Worgen transformation occured after the whole creation-of-vast-armies-of-Death Knights-by-the-Lich King bit. So that leaves us with the following:

Warriors, Rogues, Mages, Warlocks, Paladins, and Priests.

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So yeah, that’s my take on the Worgen. Next post, Goblins.

Philosophizing

I get into work this fine morning, energy drink in hand, boot up my computer and start trolling my blog list.

Yeah, my job is hard.

Anyway, I see this interesting post over at WoW Insider that gets me thinking: what does it mean to be addicted to WoW? Does it entail playing WoW everyday, browsing EJ religiously, or writing a WoW-related blog? Uh oh.

But seriously, the article that the WoW Insider post is referring to states that “[a] recent report by Sweden’s Youth Care Foundation described World of Warcraft as “more addictive than crack cocaine.” Really? Crack cocaine? Give me a break; they only threw that in there to demonize the game and make it easier for news media sources to pick it up and make some blown-out-of-proportion story that seems to be way too stereotypical these days.

Connotations aside, I think everyone who has played WoW long enough can agree that it can be addicting. The game is built to be addicting, with Blizzard adding new content so fast that novice players always have things to do, while veterans burn through new content and eagerly wait for more. Rep grinds and dailies are two brilliant, money-making ideas that Blizzard has implemented in WoW that force people to play the game for protracted periods of time to accomplish a goal. Hell, shortcuts are punished; if you want those shiny epics, you have to work for them, and spend a lot of time in Blizzard’s virtual environment.

“Recruit-a-Friend? Get another person into this game and we’ll award you with a zebra-unicorn thing!!”

I love WoW; I love playing it, writing about it, joking about it with friends, reading about it. But I have had my fair share of too much WoW. I’ve taken entire semesters off of playing WoW to catch up with schoolwork and my social life. However, being a college student and trying to do something as disciplined as quitting WoW don’t go well together.

Are the actions, or proposed actions, of these addiction therapists morally permissible? Assuming that they are trained to spot addictive behavior (which I sincerely hope that they are, being addiction therapists and all), would you appreciate a tell from ‘Drfreudiscool’ saying ‘Hello, I’ve noticed you’ve been farming Sholazar for the past 3 days, would you like some help with your addiction?’

Quite frankly, I think it’s a bit of an invasion of privacy. Gallivanting around on level 1′s or whatever their plan is, seeking out people that play a lot, whispering them and telling them to stop playing and seek professional help seems to fall into the ‘rude’ category on my chart. In the following section, I’ll look at each ‘crowd’ of potential WoW players and show how these groups are responsible for their addictions and what each can and should do to prevent or combat it.

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1. Adults. A lot of people over the age of 25 play WoW, believe it or not. Being an adult carries with it the years of life experience that a person has… experienced. Little lessons learned along the way to maturity, things of that nature. Now, any adult within reason would, nay, should be able to recognize an addiction, whether it be WoW or otherwise.

Outside of reason? Well, any adult living outside of reason should already be seeking professional help, honestly. I mean, this is common sense stuff here. An alcoholic, a person who consumes so much alcohol on a daily basis to be in a seemingly permanent state of drunkenness, should recognize that their chosen lifestyle is not healthy and should seek help. In much the same way, an adult addicted to WoW should come to the same realization.

2. Young adults. I’m going to include 15-24 year olds in this category. While these individuals (myself being one of them at the ripe old age of 21) may not have all of the life experiences that adults have, it is reasonable to assume that they have some. However, even if they do not, there should be some authority figure overseeing these individuals, whether they be parents, legal guardians, roommates, etc. If the addictee cannot recognize their problem, a neutral third party such as the aforementioned authority figures definitely should.

What if young adults do not have such a figure? Well, if the individual is toward the upper end of the age bracket, they should be mature enough to be considered an adult and act accordingly (i.e. see previous section).

What if a young adult at the lower end of the bracket has no authority figure either? They shouldn’t be playing the game, period. If a young person is growing up without parents, without older siblings, without legal guardians, they have enough on their plate already. Such an individual would probably be working full-time to pay for living expenses, perhaps going to school as well. These individuals are at a clear disadvantage compared to the rest of society and should not be wasting their time and money playing this game.

3. Children. Yes, I consider anyone under the age of 15 a child. Hey, I’m being lenient; the state says anyone under 18 is a child, so buck up kiddo. These individuals usually have little to no life experiences to base suspicions of an addiction off of.

Damnit, I ended that sentence with a preposition. Whatever.

Anyway, being so inexperienced, it falls to their guardians (parents, legal guardians, siblings) to recognize symptoms and confront the child accordingly. Hell, if you are in authority over the child, take their computer privileges away, or just uninstall the game. There may be some crying, but they’ll get over it.

Again, if a child does not have such a guardian to perform this action, follow the motif of the previous section.

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Therefore, given the above to be true, addiction therapists in-game serve only to harm the player’s dignity and, potentially, drive players away. I mean, would you want to play a game where people are telling you to stop playing it, and to believe them because they’re professionals? I don’t care what degree you may have, I’m playing this game because I find it an enjoyable allocation of my free time.

TL;DR version: Addiction therapists in-game are a terrible idea and Blizzard should not endorse or condone this type of behavior, as it could be considered harassment.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment. Just make it coherent.

Ten Gold Says I Bank My Shield Within a Week

Damn you, Thorim! You are one tricky son of a bitch. Even though you’re a completely disillusioned fool, you still command enough baddies to kill 25 dedicated raiders. Multiple times. So we went and killed Freya instead.

It strikes me as odd that our raids start at 10pm server and usually end at 12:30-1am server. I have been in raids before that last at least twice as long as that. It IS nice being able to go to bed earlier, don’t get me wrong, but it sometimes feels like we’re spinning our tires on bosses we’ve already downed and not really progressing at all. Maybe this is intentional, an attempt to gear up those who need it so that we may forge ahead into content we’ve barely touched (Vezax/Yogg). Maybe I’ll feel better when I actually get T8/8.5 outside of the Wintergrasp Welfare? Only time and my razor-thin patience will tell…

In other news, I have actually used my prot offspec… to tank something!

Don’t give me that look, Thorim.

I tanked a heroic Halls of Lightning (it was both the Daily Dungeon and Heroic Daily) and, lo and behold, no wipes! I ran out of mana a lot, but I got better at managing it towards the end of the run.

Maybe someday I’ll step up to raid tanking, but that seems too important of a job for a ret paladin who’s used to HULK SMASH BUTTONS!!!!

No, not that Hulk…

Not… you know what, that’s close enough. Good job, here’s your cookie.

Heroics, Redux

By the way, the picture in that last post was Sting in Dune (1984). I’ve never seen it, but I was listening to The Police at the time and found that picture in Google Images. Good shit.

Anyway, having been sufficiently bored at work yesterday, I pondered over my collection of random tank drops in a 10 man Ulduar I ran with the guild a while back and decided that I wanted to piss things off and get them to hit me really hard. Ok, well I do that a lot already, but even MORE so.

So I logged on last night and ran about a half dozen heroics to build a prot set. It wasn’t until the very last heroic we did, however, that something occurred to me: your level of happiness in a heroic is directly proportional to your quality of gear.

Let me explain. I remember, way way back when snow blanketed this landlocked hellhole, I was but a young ret paladin with nothing to lose. My ‘preparing’ for heroics and raids consisted of loading up a movie on my laptop because the white and yellow numbers I was producing weren’t enough to keep and hold my attention quite yet.

Get in Vent for a 25 man Naxx PuG? You have to be joking.

Get in Vent or you’ll kick me from the raid? I’ll be right in, my cat just caught on fire and I have to go put him out.

Flee, kitty, flee.

Nowadays, I got flasks in my bags, WAY more Symbols of Kings than I’ll ever need, multiple drinks at my disposal, headset on, Vent loaded, and some ambient music in the background to add a soundtrack to that particular raid (I love raiding to 80s music, not sure why but it’s frickin’ awesome).

Thus, last night’s heroic grind wasn’t as much of a grind as it was a steamroll. My DPS was through the roof and we decimated all in our path. Our group varied a bit after the first three heroics, and by the time we got to the last heroic we were going to do for the night, Azjol-Nerub, this was the group composition:

- Warrior Tank (RL friend)
- OMGZ Amazing, Dope, Sick-Ass Ret Pally (that’d be me)
- Healy Priest (is there any other kind? oh, and RL friend)

and our two PuGs:

- Warlock with 27k Health fully buffed (lawl Life Tap? I dunno what you warlocks do with so much health other than eat it)
- Your typical Undead Rogue

First boss? Downed, easy mode, no problem.

Second boss? Spider gets upstairs, both the ‘lock and the rogue think it’s bugged and figure ‘we can take it’ and pull. Rogue dies after his Gay-vasion goes bye-bye, ‘lock dies at some point, warrior dies, priest and I run out and lulz over Skype. Rezzed, retry, retribution. ‘Nuff said, moving on.

Third boss? Oh boy. Prepare for laughter. Warrior says “I bet you any amount of money that the rogue is going to get one shot by Pound.” We pull.

First of all, the warlock gets LOCKED OUT OF THE RING. He seriously didn’t know that if you don’t get in the stupid thing, you can’t do jack shit. So I told him to /dance and he did, thankfully, so we had something to amuse us.

Anyway, the rogue and I are DPSing Anub’arak when I notice the rogue bottom-humping the stupid beetle. If Anub’arak could be said to have a ‘center,’ the rogue was standing directly beneath it. And much to our shocking, sarcastic surprise, Pound followed closely by death followed closely by ‘wtf i wasnt in front of him.’

After an additional 5 minutes or so, we down Anub’arak 3-man style. Oh baby, sweet victory.

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Ok, srs for a second. I am ALL FOR playing the game how you want to play it. If you want to kill murlocs all day in Borean Tundra while wearing grey and white items you bought from some unknown and pointless vendor, that’s perfectly fine. But something has to be said for grouping up.

WARNING: OPINION INC!!!

When someone invites you to a group, even if it’s a heroic, there’s an expectation that you know how to play the character that you have (supposedly) been playing for 80 levels. In the warlock’s defense, the ‘getting locked out of the ring’ scenario is an instance mechanic that perhaps he had never encountered, and if this is indeed the case, then lesson learned.

However, doing under 1000 dps in a heroic doesn’t just make you look bad, it hurts your group. Engaging a boss before the tank and causing a wipe also hurts your group (literally, ouchies).

Alright, I think that’s enough ranting about that. All in all, I laughed more than I nerd-raged. I mean, come on, it was PERFECT, having a warlock jammin’ out to the sound of the other people in his group killing a giant beetle, the latter of which sits on our rogue and squeezes all the un-life out of him with a smoosh; sounds like a sitcom to me.

Snazzing Up That Pre-Raid Gear

I love putting random pictures into every post and trying to tie it into the subject of that particular work. Today, however, I think I’m just going to throw something at you. Why? No reason. Mainly because I CAN. Enjoy!

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So I promised you guys some sick enchants to throw on that pre-raid gear of yours. Well, let’s see if I meet the requirements to write this up:

- Am I extremely bored? Check.
- Do I have a lot of free time at the moment? Check.
- Have I read every blog on my blog list over and over? Check.

Alrighty then, let’s get started.

HEAD:
The best head enchant (which are called Arcanums, by the way) that is available for melee dps is Arcanum of Torment, available from the Knights of the Ebon Blade at Revered standing. That’s right, boys and girls, even after you put Yoggy through a meat grinder, you still won’t find a better arcanum. Hoorah!

If rep grinds aren’t your thing, you can grab Arcanum of Triumph from the Wintergrasp vendors.

SHOULDERS:
Oh how ironic it is that I am instructing you, the reader, to grind rep when I’m too lazy to grind out the necessary rep for this bad boy: Greater Inscription of the Axe. I take solace in the fact that I at least have this inscription’s little brother, Lesser Inscription of the Axe. I hope it’s painfully obvious that the GREATER inscription is better, but if it isn’t… well, here’s a simple math equation:

Greater Inscription of the Axe >> Lesser Inscription of the Axe

(The “>>” means “much greater,” by the way. Neat, eh?)

Again, if you’re allergic to rep grinds, Inscription of Triumph from Wintergrasp is a worthy substitute, except for that pesky resil.

CHEST:
Yay, an actual enchant this time! If you followed my previous post on pre-raid gear and got one of those chestpieces, or maybe something at the same level, there is really no reason to waste Abyss Crystals on enchanting it. I mean, the whole reason behind getting that gear is to replace it with better gear from your raiding escapades (with the possible exception of the BoE epics I highlighted). Therefore, I recommend you slap a Super Stats on that chestpiece. ‘Nuff said.

WRIST:
While Greater Assault doesn’t require Abyss Crystals, it does require a LOT of Infinite Dust and Greater Cosmics. Go with Striking instead.

Unless you opted into the Wristbands of the Sentinel Huntress that I recommended, that is. In your case, I’d throw Greater Assault on them, since you PROBABLY won’t replace them very soon.

HANDS:
If you were lucky/rich enough to pick up Zeliek’s Gauntlets, throw Crusher on those things.

No purples? Stick Greater Assault on ‘em. Odd how the better Wrath enchant for bracers is the same name as the lesser Wrath enchant for gloves. Thanks, Blizzard.

*A quick sidenote: in these choices, I am making the assumption (which I feel is fairly justified) that if you have any of the BoE epics I suggested in my previous post, you must have some deep pockets. If this assumption, as it applies to you, is incorrect, please feel free to ignore the higher level enchants and go with the cheaper versions.

WAIST:
Eternal Belt Buckle, obviously. Throw a Bold in there too. Or whatever gem you need to fulfill your meta.

While we’re on the topic of belts, Amber over at I Like Bubbles discusses belt design (or rather, the lack thereof) and makes one wonder why Blizzard ever made them visible in the first place. Good post though, got some ‘lulz’ out of me.

LEGS:
Two options here, depending on how much of a cheap bastard you are. Icescale Leg Armor for the average Joesph (around 150-200g for all the mats, I know Arctic Furs and Frozen Orbs fluctuate on my server), Nerubian Leg Armor for the Tiny Tim (I have no idea, maybe 15-20g total?).

FEET:
A decision that doesn’t involve how much money you want to throw around, yes! Icewalker is good if you need hit, otherwise get Assault.

Ok ok, if you went for the BoE epics (ESPECIALLY the Battlelord’s Plate Boots) don’t skimp; get Greater Assault.

RINGS:
If you’re an Enchanter, you have this option. Seriously though, you have THREE options: AP, SP, or Stam. Assault. All I have to say on that.

**Another quick sidenote: I am getting sick of seeing Assault on everything having to do with AP. Seriously, Blizzard, buy a thesaurus.

WEAPON:
I would say any 2h weapon (is there any other kind of weapon?) with under 200 dps should get a Greater Savagery with purchase. Some cupholders would be nice, and a tapedeck. But let’s focus on one thing at a time.

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Comments, compliments, suggestions? Hope it was good for you.

No fat, rocky chicks

Ever since I limited my scope (not the mouthwash), I have had some downtime in game to fill. Let’s see what I’ve been doing to kill time between raids:

- I started doing Netherwing dailies because I always wanted one of those drakes, but after kicking Captain Skyshatter’s face in, I got bored with them.

- What about Sons of Hodir dailies, you say? Don’t go there. Polishing some nutjob’s helmet with green ooze isn’t my idea of ‘fun.’

- ZG mount runs. Always come out empty-handed, but the tiger boss is good practice for fights like Mimiron.

- Heroic MGT runs for the white chicken; funny story, by the way. First run of that instance I ever did on my paladin (had to go through on Normal to get keyed for Heroic), just me and a disc priest, THE MOUNT DROPS… and I lose the roll. Got it a couple days later though, so it’s all gravy baby.

- Fishing daily. The chance to get a Stormjewel is my one and only motivation for this.

- Running old school dungeons. Had some illegitimate love children with Princess Theradras in Maraudon (don’t ask me the details, I was drunk and it was a dark and scary cave).

Damn you, Jack Daniels, damn you.

When good raiding goes well

When last week’s 25m Ulduar rolled around, 34 people were signed up to go, and wouldn’t you know it, 34 people were online in time for invites. Having just joined the guild less than a month ago, I fully expected to be passed over for a spot. To my surprise, I was invited to fill the 3rd to last DPS spot. Shortly after I joined, the GM whispered me and said they were trying to include everyone in the 25m runs so everyone could experience content and whatnot. I graciously thanked her for the invite and proceeded to prove that I could swing my mace with the best of ‘em. And wouldn’t you know, I finished 5th in overall damage when we called the raid after Auriaya (raid started at 10pm, called it at 1:30 because it was a Sunday).

When this week’s 25m Ulduar invites went out last night, I was suprised to be invited back so soon (although my invite filled the final spot in the raid, but it’s the thought that counts). Again after downing Auriaya and calling the raid a whole hour earlier than last week (progress FTW), WWS reported that I was tied for top DPS with the only rogue in the raid and 2nd in overall damage.

… Ok, to be fair, the four people above me on the previous week were on alts or didn’t come to the raid. Still, don’t burst my Divine Shield.

Picked up some Decimator’s Armguards from Kolo’s treasure chest; don’t get me wrong, these were an upgrade, but I am now over the hit cap and have some unused ArP. There weren’t any DPS warriors this time around, so I rolled on these relatively guilt-free.

Anywho, looking forward to continuing the 25man on Sunday and the 10man on Monday.

I’m a little burnt out from the gear post, and from my lack of a good night’s sleep last night. My next post will be filled with epicness and hilarity, don’t worry, so stay tuned.

A Retribution Paladin’s Guide to Gearing for Raids


In the spirit of the last post, I decided to throw together a list of gear for the fledging retribution paladin that has his or her sights set on raiding. So come, padawan learners, let’s go on a journey together. It’ll be magical, I promise.



HELM:

If you are willing to spend some gold or spend some time farming the mats, you can’t go wrong with Spiked Titansteel Helm. However, if you can’t afford this, go with Faceguard of Punishment, a quest reward from regular UP. The Spiked Titansteel Helm is the clear winner here, though, as you’re unlikely to see a better upgrade until you start running 25 man raids.



NECK:

Again, a number of options here for a number of different playstyles. Enjoy grinding honor? Get either Deadly Gladiator’s Pendant of Triumph or Deadly Gladiator’s Pendant of Victory, depending on where your hit rating is at. Rather throw gold at it? Get Titanium Impact Choker. Have a lot of Emblems of Heroism for some strange reason? Buy Pendant of the Outcast Hero.



Out of these choices, my recommendation is the PvP neck, with either crit or hit. The craftable neck is slightly less desirable because ArP isn’t our greatest stat choice. And in my ever-so-humble opinion, the badge necklace is a waste of Emblems that could be spent elsewhere (cough T7 cough).



SHOULDERS:

You’ll have to wait till you get enough Emblems of Valor or for a lucky drop in a 25 man Naxx run to look like a Power Ranger. Until then, a few choices abound. Hateful Gladiator’s Scaled Shoulders, if you don’t mind PvPing, are a solid choice. If not, Pauldrons of the Lightning Revenant from regular Halls of Lightning are competitors if you throw in a Bold gem of some kind (+12 or +16 Strength). The HoL shoulders have Hit too, so take that into consideration as well.



CHEST:

As the pattern might suggest so far, I will give you two options: PvP and PvE. In my defense, I am not just falling back on Hateful gear out of laziness; it is actually pretty good gear and is relatively easy to get if you are willing to spend some time in BGs. That being said, Hateful Gladiator’s Scaled Chestpiece is a solid choice if gemmed properly (either both +Str gems or +Str and +Hit, if you’re lacking in Hit, the socket bonus is worthless for raiding). Otherwise, Breastplate of Undeath from heroic Drak’tharon Keep is a good choice as well.



If you get the Breastplate of Undeath, save it in your bank when you end up replacing it, if only to look at it and chortle (real word, look it up) to yourself every once in a while; it is the highest iLevel plate chestpieces that has Agility on it.



SHIRT:

I have to leave some decisions up to you. I’d go with Martin Fury to be honest, just be hush hush about it.



TABARD:

Really? You want me to… really? No, you pick. Although I will say that if you’re doing a guild run of Naxxramas, there’s nothing that you can do more to represent your guild than by donning your Guild Tabard whilst galavanting around, smiting your foes… or being smiten (smote? smited?) by them. Hey, whether your pink kitty tabard is the last thing they see before they die or only thing they see when your lifeless body lies before them, your guild will get noticed.



WRIST:

For the love of all that is holy and sacred, get Wristbands of the Sentinel Huntress. If you can shell out the coin, these are great. Usually raiders going through Ulduar who have no use for Emblems of Valor will bank them and then sell these BoE bracers. I’ve seen them go for as low as 600g, so keep an eye out.



If gold farming ain’t your thing, there are always Deadly Gladiator’s Bracers of Triumph from PvP, Vengeance Bindings from blacksmithing (that mats are pretty damn cheap, don’t wuss out), or if you DO wuss out, Golden Limb Bands from heroic Azjol-Nerub.



HANDS:

Again with the BoE gear. Zeliek’s Gauntlets are excellent, if expensive. After that, I would recommend either Hateful Gladiator’s Scaled Gauntlets or Fists of Loken, that latter of which drops in normal Halls of Lightning.



WAIST:

Oddly enough, it has taken this long to throw an epic drop from a heroic in here. I recommend Flame-Bathed Steel Girdle over any other belt short of raid drops. If you are extremely unlucky, you could shoot for either Deadly Gladiator’s Girdle of Triumph from none other than Player vs. Player combat, or The General’s Steel Girdle from heroic Halls of Lightning.



LEGS:

If you refuse to farm heroics for Emblems of Heroism for your Tier 7 gear, I am COMMANDING you to at least run heroic Utgarde Keep to get these bad boys: Staggering Legplates. The 80 Hit rating is incredibly sexy, and the two sockets are quite attractive as well. As a matter of fact, I’m not even going to give you an alternative. If you’re thinking, “Hey Antigen, if I get exalted with the Wyrmrest Accord I can get these: Legplates of Bloody Reprisal,” then we’re no longer friends. You’d rather have 90 ArP than 80 Hit? You poor, misguided fool. Just make Daddy proud and get the Utgarde Keep leggings and let your Tabard of the Wyrmrest Accord rot in the bank.



FEET:

Maximum coinage awards you with maximum epic lootz. Battlelord’s Plate Boots and Iron-Spring Jumpers are both BoE, the former being made by blacksmithing and the latter a drop out of Naxx. If you can’t afford these (and I wouldn’t blame you), grind some HKs for Deadly Gladiator’s Greaves of Triumph or run heroic Nexus to get Rift Striders.



RINGS:

For this section, and probably with the next as well, I’ll just place a few rings in a best-to-worst order, and you can decide which you can get and which you can’t:

  1. Inscribed Ring of the Kirin Tor
  2. Surge Needle Ring
  3. Deadly Gladiator’s Band of Victory
  4. Titanium Impact Band

  5. Hemorrhaging Circle
  6. Mobius Band





TRINKETS:

We’re almost there, guys and gals. I think for this section, since trinkets have many different on-use or equip effects, I’ll just list a bunch and you can pick and choose which stats you need and whatnot:



Those last three are not the greatest, so tread carefully. If you come across a trinket that I didn’t list and you think it’d be a good fit with the rest of your gear, go right ahead and try it out.



LIBRAM:

Easy. Libram of Reciprocation is quite possibly the biggest waste of 15 Emblems of Heroism. I mean, seriously, you’re not going to use it. You won’t be using Seal of Command when you’re raiding , I hope (ok, with the advent of patch 3.2, the removal of Seal of Blood/Martyr and the emergence of Seal of Vengeance as “the new PvE seal,” you COULD use Seal of Command for some trash pulls, but for single target DPS it’s Seal of Vengeance or GTFO).



Get either Venture Co. Libram of Retribution or Libram of Furious Blows, the first available by doing about 20 minutes of Venture Co. dailies in Grizzly Hills, and the second available from a quest in Borean Tundra. I’ve read some sources that say one provides more DPS than the other, and then that the other provides more DPS than the first. The difference is minimal, go with whatever if more convenient.



WEAPON:

Finally, probably the most important piece of gear you can lug around with you. I’m going to go with only one of each type:



Polearm: Saliva Corroded Pike from heroic Violet Hold

Two-handed axe: Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver from heroic Halls of Lightning

Two-handed mace: Titansteel Destroyer from blacksmithing (BoE)

Two-handed sword: Greatsword of the Sin’dorei from the Argent Tournament



Yes, you SHOULD work for your weapon, although even the word “work” is exaggerating the effort required for these weapons. Heroics are cake these days, Titansteel Destroyers usually go for 1000g or so, less if you farm the mats yourself, and the Argent Tournament just takes time (9 days, I believe). Suck it up and get your hands dirty.



I will probably get to work on what enchants you should put on your shiny new gear tomorrow, with the uncertainty implied in the word “probably” being the operative sentiment here. Since this took me a few days to write because of a lack of free time, expect another post after a few more days too.

P.S. Sorry to anyone with OCD that noticed the font used in this post is different from the others, copy-and-paste FTL.

A good scope isn’t just for hunters anymore

I’m going to take a different direction today and attempt to write something actually useful. I suppose it’s usefulness is entirely up to you, but hey, I’m givin’ it a shot. You should be grateful.

I was lucky enough to be raised in a household where my parents encouraged me to do whatever I wanted; within reason, of course (‘No, you can’t quit school and wander around the country aimlessly’), but they generally let me decide for myself what I wanted to do with my life. For those with the drive and ambition, this is the PERFECT atmosphere to achieve your goals. For someone like myself, however, who lacks direction given such a care-free environment, it has become my bane.

This unintentionally-fostered indecision has carried over into my WoW experience, as one might have guessed. I have gone through countless characters (if you read my history… that’s just the tip of the iceberg), never really ‘settling down’ with any single class. I love my ret paladin, don’t get me wrong, but she’s only been 80 for about 2 months now, so we’ll have to wait and see where that goes. Speaking of my paladin, let me show you what I mean by ‘indecision.’

I leveled my ret paladin when I became bored with my resto shaman. 1-80 was not much of a problem, stayed retribution for the entirety of my grind and never regretted it. Once I hit 80, however, I was at a loss of what to do. Run heroics for the somewhat lackluster upgrades they afforded? PuG a Naxx or two in the hopes of getting better upgrades? Farm BGs until my eyes bled and fingers eroded? More importantly, where did I want to go with this character? I was torn between PvE and PvP, as I wanted to do 2v2s and have a consistent partner in an effort to improve my PvP skills, but I also wanted to explore Ulduar and see all this end-game content that was all the hub-bub Jello puddin’ pops.

Just a little Bill Cosby humor there, back on topic.

So, unable to decide, I attempted to do both. I farmed BGs to build up my Hateful set, then did some 2v2s with an RL disc priest friend (yes, he’s a disc priest IRL, ALL HAIL THE FRISBEE), and we eventually got 1850, which allowed me to purchase my bread and buttah. However, this grind proved to be fairly taxing, mainly due to the fact that I was brand new at ret paladin PvP and he has PvPed as some form of priest since vanilla. “What’s BoP? Oh, that thing.” All the while I was PuGing 25m Naxx, collecting some Tier 7.5 in preparation to applying to a raiding guild.

For some of you, this may not seem like a lot. Certainly, for a lot of people I know, they do this regularly, and then some. However, I have a full-time job (for the summer, at least) and I work out at least three times a week. Add the lack of sleep from raiding and grinding out a 2v2 rating and welcome to pain. I have to admit that I’ve called in sick to work multiple times because I was too worn out from this schedule to do anything productive. It became so overwhelming that I had to do something.

Finally, I arrive at the entire point of this post. If you made it this far, I applaud you.

If you are so blessed as to have been granted amazing situational awareness skills and cat-like, Lightning Reflexes, I congratulate the genetic lottery that has afforded you these talents, and strongly encourage you to use them to your advantage in whatever field you so desire, WoW or otherwise.

If you are more like me, whose situational awareness SOMETIMES includes ‘Oh noes I’m in teh fire!’ and have reflexes so quick that you let your touch-screen cell phone plummet to its death rather than letting your cheeseburger move an inch (perhaps this is a better example of prioritizing, but I digress), then I beg of you, LIMIT YOUR SCOPE.

After much ‘ponderation,’ I realized that I could not be a Furious Gladiator. Nor did I care to try. Why? Because the competitive, cut-throat, winner-takes-all spirit of PvP was not something I enjoyed. If it is something you enjoy, then by all means. However, given this, I decided to opt out of PvP.

With that decision, things started falling into place:

- I got into a raiding guild and have been fairly active (just ran my first 25m Ulduar with them last night and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it).
- I have been leveling a priest alt simply because I want to, not because it’s OP or teh new hawtness or something. I will admit it’s a Blood Elf, and I have no intention of re-rolling an Undead for WotF.
- I have been spending some more time with my family, which is always a plus.
- Also, the added sleep and reduced stress, which really are cause and effect most of the time, are VERY welcome additions.

Simply put, you can enjoy this game and do other things. It’s possible, trust me. My parting advice? Take some time to get the rested XP bonus both in-game and real-life. Your unfried brain will thank you for it later.

Long mornings are long

It seems that if you want the day to go by fast, it doesn’t; what the hell, Father Time? You bastard.

Guild run of Naxx 25 went well last night, wiped on a trash pull before 4 Horsemen (lawl?) and three times to KT. However, KT does 2s with one of our hunters, so they teamed up and massacred the whole raid, mainly because KT hacks and got 3.2 before anyone else so his Frostbolts threw an MS on half the raid AND he was gingerly sprinkling Living Bombs on everyone. After that wipe, the hunter claimed he was ‘mind controlled’, but we ALL know better than that. I mean, we all died except for the hunter, and then KT despawns. That’s awful suspicious.

Also picked up a Grim Toll and bathed in the tears of our only dps warrior. Hey, I still had some Nexus garbage trinket, so OF COURSE it’s an upgrade. I mean, my old one was blue, and this one is all purple and shit.

I’m not even halfway through my imported Monster from the Netherlands (the Kwik-E-Mart is goin’ high class these days), so I’ll finish up the origins of teh retlawlbution paladin later.