Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't You Know You are a Shooting Star?

Yep, that's Balth on his Headless Horseman's steed. And yes, that is him keeping up with a Violet Protodrake. No, I didn't pay 5k for the pleasure.

And, well, mounts and achievements have been a nice little distraction lately:

A wee bit grindy? Um, yeah. Especially the Wintersaber. Kattastrophe & I have been working on it since we found the trainer 16 months ago while levelling (16 months or there abouts)

Next up?

I'm 23/25 on my Exhalted achievement, with 3 different factions well into the Revered level. (Honor Hold, Shattered Sun and maybe lower City) I'm not sure which I'll finish. If I can get Honor Hold rep in regular Ramparts, that will likely be one.

Also, I've been helping Kattastrophe get her Rivendare mount (she now knows her way around there well enough, so I may not go much more). We have also been farming for the Zul Gurub Tiger (I got the lizard already) and we've also been working on the Ravenlord (so I may get Lower City Exalted in the process as well)

As far as RAIDING goes, I'm still a temp player on our main (only) raiding team, and we are now 3/12 in heroics (we gave Saurfang one attempt before calling it a night last night). There is talk about somehow helping other guildies (like me) get to see and hopefully kill the Lich King. Possibly an alt group or something. But we shall see. The last couple times a second raid group formed we ended up losing those players to new guilds. Also, since it would likely be alts of the main raiding group, I may STILL have problems getting in.

As far as the new ret stuff...

  • I reforged about 100 Expertise points into Haste, and that seems to be helping a bit (I went from 580 or so, up to 680 or so) I'm still expertise capped, so it was "free" Haste.

  • Rotation? I am getting better at it, but that's about the best I can say. I still dumb-thumb the hell out of it, and it is STILL super clunky.

  • Output? On Test Dummies, I am get ~6,300 DPS. In ICC last night, I managed to be 1st overall in Damage (and waffled between 2nd & 4th in DPS) We have a Fury Warrior (wow-heroes GS of 3224, compared to my 3188) that is sligtly better than me single target, but KILLS me on the small groups, small single target, "target switching" stuff. Single target I can pull a solid 10-11k. Taqrget switching, small mobs gets me down to 3-4k range (remember, this is with the ICC buff!) My Ret survival abilities and some reasonably head's up playing is what enabled me to be top damage dealer, but my actual fight by fight throughput still has me bugged.

  • Gear? I now have enough Justice points to buy my 4th piece of T-10(i251). The bummer is that I already HAVE an i251 chest with slightly better stats/etc: Blade-Scored Carapace Do I want to "waste" those justice points for a slight (and completely theoretical) DPS bump? Do I want to buy 2 new gems PLUS an enchant? I don't know. Especially with level 81 looming in 6 weeks or less.

  • Tanking: I haven't even talented my Prots spec yet. I could use those Justice points here as well, but my tepid interest in tanking right now, as well as the "free" level 81/82,etc greens on the horizon make it a difficult choice as well. Though, if I ever intend to get back into tanking, getting in the swing of things sooner rather than later would be a good thing.

We shall see...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Geek Is (By Chris Metzen)

I made mention of this in my earlier post, and realized most folks have no clue what I'm talking about. During the opening ceremonies, Chris Metzen spent a few minutes talking about a word. A word filled with lots of connotations.


And so, his presentation is a slide show of a bunch of cool things that to Chris, exemplify what "Geek Is"

(I haven't watched this to see how well the pictures are visible, but the camera does pan over)

OH! I forgot to mention, Kattastrophe Frap-sed a number of opints in the Blizzcon presentation, so if you want tosee some of it head on over. LINK

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I am Geek

Kattastrophe & I watched Blizzcon on TV on Friday and Saturday, and I have a few thoughts...

Honestly, I debated posting this because, as any readers may have noticed, I've already been rather negative as of late, and some of my strongest feelings after watching Blizzcon are somewhat in the same vein.

But, on another bend: I really enjoyed listening to Chris Metzen. He seems to me to be one of the more personable folks I've seen and heard from Blizzcon. His "Geek" commentary was interesting and definitely got a number of warm fuzzy memories flowing. His opening presentation, along with the occasional comments I have heard him make just seem to say that he's a really neat/nice guy.

Some of the graphics for Diablo 3 are looking fantastic. (though I have to be honest, how can they maintain a fanbase when their installments are 5-10+ years between releases?) I don't think I would buy the game (not my cuppa), but it sure is purty...

Oh, one other interesting tidbit: The Diablo guys have stated over & over, much to the dismay of one guy asking them about it: Diablo 3 will NEVER have the core game play adjusted such that ANY PvP aspect will be allowed to affect how the PvE game is played. Hallelujah!

The full preview of the Cataclysm cinematic was very cool. I don't care for Darkwing's jaw (an admittedly minor knitpick), but other than that, he's one baddass cool looking dragon!


During the last couple years since I've become interested enough in WoW to know who Ghostcrawler is, I've realized I don't care for his online persona. I don't remember seeing him at last year's Blizzcon or really recall seeing him in interviews before, so I was hoping that my online interpretation of the guy was wrong.

Well, it wasn't.

The guy is a self important prick. If you were to take a couple of his comments out of context, it might seem like he's just goofing around "My name is Greg Street, and I nerf Paladins."

But, if you remember his "to the ground" quote from last year, followed by the implementation of exactly that, and his often snide off handed comments (not just about pallies, but just stuff in general), I've just come to realize, he really is like that. You know, the kind pf person that when you meet them, you have the nearly uncontrollable urge to introduce their jaw to your knee, in a rapid fashion?


Then again, I thought much of the "professionalism" as seen on a couple of blizzard panels (the WoW class and WoW open Q&A sections in particular) were just painful and had me shaking my head.

One woman asked (paraphrased) "When can we have a strong female character that doesn't look like she came out of a Victoria Secrets catalogue?"

The answer? "What catalogue would you like her to come out of?" with a lot of chuffing and guffawing by the all male panel. I was half surprised there wasn't any fist bumping after that reply.

I guess the boys club is alive & well down in Irvine... I wonder why more women don't work there... *facepalm*

And then there is the generic pally hating/disparaging (first highlighted by GC, as I mentioned above) It even permeated Priest discussion. In one case, a guy was bitching about pallies getting some damage from Holy (ie, it's impossible to resist). The reply was "if you're losing to a paladin, it's not the Holy aspect that is the problem." (ie, if you lose to a paladin, you suck)

And there was another guy talking about paladins, and he basically had to apologize for playing a paladin before he actually asked his question. (the crowd was rather nasty, and the panel just laughed) He questioned the "fun" aspect of the new Holy Power mechanic, and was told that it's working the way they (Blizz) want it to.

I have noticed a slight schism in regards to who (overall) likes the new Holy Power mechanic, and who does not. In general, it's the better (or fucking great) players that like it. And, it's generally the average (and worse) players that do not. This kind of falls into my concern I brought up where I mention that the difference between average and good Paladins has the possibility of making a large chasm in in-game-effectiveness between average and good players. (ie, if you're good, you can perform reasonably or even well, but if you're average or worse, you will absolutely suck)

The sad thing is that it must be intentional. How do I come to that conclusion? Because for TANKS, the Blizzard panel actually said that they want to make it so that an average/so-so player could still be effective, even when compared to a good player. For DPS/Ret Paldins? No comment. Sucks to be you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

London Calling, Now with Questions!

Last night I was able to join an ICC guild run.

We had started it last week (Wednesday), with the intent of downing Marrowgar in Heroic, and seeing if we had gotten our toons/specs/etc semi-organized.

During the pre-Marrow trash (where they stack on top of each other) I was top DPS at ~7,800-8k.

"Looks like Bal has things worked out" was one comment made. It was nice, but felt empty since I would get 10-12k on the same trash pre-patch.

I don't remember any specifics about Marrow (we wiped several times before backing down from Heroic to regular) but I was still near the top.

Fast forward to last night, where it was the regular ICC team, plus 3 alt guildies (I am one of the replacements)

We tried Lady Deathwhisper (LDW) 7 or 8 times on heroic before (again) giving up and swatting her on regular. (we could probably do it on Heroic, but with the DCs, and a lack of familiarity, as well as getting late, we just wanted it done) On DW (and her trash adds), I was struggling to get 4k DPS. The tanks were doing more DPS than I was.

We then moved towards Heroic Lootship. On the way there, we dropped that dragon (no clue what the name is...)

I was late getting into that fight (connection issues) and participated for the last ~10 seconds or so.

And pulled down 11k single target DPS. With a 32k Templar's Verdict crit.


I didn't pay much attention to the meter on Gunship since it's such a unique mechanic, that DPS is almost irrelevant (I am on the away team and canon operator)

A couple observations here, with questions nearer the end:

  • During ALL the Lady Deathwhisper fights, I had Art of War (AoW) proc MAYBE 3 times.

  • Lots of small, fairly quick dying, INDIVIDUAL targets means lots of movement with little ramp up, or AoE opportunities.

  • I hate running that fight (LDW) with a DK tank. (I have troubles distinguishing the various ground effects and who cast D&D, etc)

  • I would lose Holy Power (HP) stacks between some mobs, at least occasionally.

  • Having guildies use large AoE abilities on a boss that has melee DPS that is MCed is a bad thing.

  • I have no clue how to really deal with groups of trash, let alone single trash mobs.

  • I don't use wings on most (single mob especially) trash since over half of it is wasted while I run from mob to mob.

  • If I'm lucky and the stars align, Ret *can* do some crazy stupid DPS, but aside from that rare occurrence, we (or at least *I*) am struggling.

  • It's nearly impossible to get into any kind of rhythm. Either you sit there spamming 1 or 2 keys, or you are overwhelmed with multiple procs, totally limited due to GCDs.

Overall, I was using CS and Judge, followed by DS or TV when it came up and Holy Wrath for good measure. If there were other mobs near, I would drop consecrate. I had Seal of Righteous active.

I switched to Seal of Truth for LDW herself (or any boss) and would do the sme, except I would swap exclusively to Templar's Verdict in place of DS. I would keep Consecrate up as long as mana wasn't a concern.

Oh, I would pop wings at the start of the boss, and occasionally hit zealotry. In my brief stints at the test dummy, I just haven't seen it help that much, and it can really complicate our rotation with little or no benefit.

So here are the questions for anyone (Ret) that might read this...

  • What is a good seal & HP combo and basic strategy to use against multiple, separate, "easy" mobs?

    How do you have your bars set up?

    Do you bother with Zealotry?

    How can I save 15% on car insurance?


I've been readin a couple of Ret Paladin threads on various sites, and it's really disheartening. (this relates to Tam's post from yesterday, and my reply to it HERE)

Generally, the "top" type players are really enjoying the new sensory overloaded, complicated aspects of the new Ret system. (they aren't fans of its over-dependance on randmomness, but that's minor) They love the fact that to be half way competant, you need to spend lots of time practicing this & that (hours & hours on a test dummy) and then be really great at having raid awareness, Proc awareness, etc.

I would guess that a REALLY good player would beat my DPS by 20-30% right now. (assuming same gear) Pre- patch I think it would be 5, 10, or MAYBE 15% better.

Don't get me wrong, I realize that good players DESERVE a return on their abilities, time spent, etc. BUT, that type of disparity between good & average** could easily mean that a VERY large portion of players won't have the option to play new content. They'll be relegated to running content 2+ tiers (or levels) after it's "current".

Either that or Blizzard would need to nerf the content so much that those very same top players will bitch & moan that everything is (legitimately) too easy for them.

Which then leads me back to what is (IMHO) the best option: reduce the skill/benefit curve.

Oh yeah, and fix Ret. I despise the holy power crap. I don't want stacking combo points. PERIOD. That's fine & dandy for rogues and kitty droods, but (beating the dead horse) if I wanted that I would have rolled one of them.

There's a reason that paladins have remained so popular, despite being (often) underpowered: they are (or were) a fun and relatively easy class to pick up and play. There was an awful lot to gain by going from "mediocre" to "average", and still more to gain by getting "good" at the class, but still, it was a straight forward, sword & "sorcery" class. Now it feels a bit like "Street Fighter" with this combo BS.

If I am unable to "get over it" or if Blizz doesn't relent (basicaly a given) I don't know what class I would play. I like melee, but hate the whole rage thing (again, like HP, you start with zilch) I have a fundamental distaste for DKs and I obviously don't want a rogue.

Ranged (casters or Hunters) don't really interest me either.

And somehow, I don't see me healing...

**(yeah, I conisder myself average, though current issues may be lowering my self esteem a bit)

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's a Mad, MogWorld...

The subtitle for it should be:

(Un)Dead and hating it

Some (Many? Most?) of you may recognize the author, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, and know him as the sardonic, ascerbic, witty reviewer of games from his “Zero Punctuation” game reviews. (I’ve embedded his review of Fable as a point of reference)

Recently, his first novel, Mogworld, has been published, and a bit more recently, I finished reading it. In a word; VERY enjoyable. OK, that’s two words, but still.

The book keeps a reasonable pace throughout, with a couple slower portions (me and my ADHD will often skim parts that get a wee bit slow, so this is a small bugaboo for me) Regardless, Croshaw’s odd viewpoint and pretty darned eloquent (though oft blunt) dialogue and prose makes for a really damned good book. In one of his Q&A vids Croshaw mentions that one of his sources of inspiration is/was Douglas Adams. I think he did admirably in that pursuit, as even Adams has his occasional slow bits.

So what’s it about?

Jim is a second year student at St. Gordon’s Magical College. His stay there is interrupted due to his untimely death.

Now, this could make for an extremely short novel except for one small thing…

“I had passed from life, from the world of struggles and hardship and big fat
women with annoying laughs, and entered a glorious new existence of utter peace,
and joy and love.

And then some git brought me back to life”

Jim had been brought back (mostly) from the dead and was a tad irked and wanted to get back to all the peace, warmth and love. Twas not to be…

During a brief stint as an undead minion for a great evil master, (in between attempting to die permanently) and especially towards the end of his employ, Jim discovered that all was not right with the world; nobody was dying (at least not permanently) and other strange things were happening. Something was rotten in Denmark. (or whatever the name of the place was)

Once out of the employ of the great evil, Jim (along with the "de rigour" small group of ragtag hangers on) went to find out the source of the immortality, and things get even more bizarre, complicated and utterly weird.

And that’s where I’ll stop my description. If you have not read any other reviews of the book, I would ask that you tread carefully. Most of them contain a MASSIVE spoiler.

Annoyingly, the spoiler is even on the back cover of the book. Fortunately, I didn’t read the spoiler until nearly the time I discovered the plot point for myself.

Does the spoiler ruin the book? No, because there’s still half+ of the book remaining, but still, (for me) avoiding spoilers is a big deal.

1 - don’t read any other reviews

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sitting in the Morning Sun...

I was able to log on last night with the patch installed and messed around with Balth in his Ret spec. (I didn't bother with prot, since I am still new to it, and I had heard some NASTY stories about Prot Pallies having some massive threat issues)

Anyhow, here are my thoughts and observations from the perspective of a Ret pally.

Talent Tree

Um, well, this is rather odd, since the talent tree is designed around a level 85 toon. You really need to pick & chose your talents. Here's my current talent tree: LINK (and strange, it shows I don't have the top tier Ret talent, which I do. Weird)

Since I'm 80, I don't have to deal with the "wait until level X before you can use talents from other trees" but that kind of bugs me. But eh, it is what it is. I may tinker around myself, or I may just wait until EJ or others get it figured out.

Spells/Abilities and Rotation

Hmmmm.... This will require some getting used to. Art of War now has this bizarre on-screen signal thing, and took me a bit to figure out what it was.

The basic rotation is boring.

Judge, CS, Exorcism CS, CS TV (Templar's Verdict) and keep going while watching for HP procs and AoW procs. Oh, and throw in the occasional Hammer of Wrath (when you hit Avenging Wrath) and an occasional Holy Wrath.

If you are fighting multiples, replace TV with Divine Storm.

It's still pretty much an FCFS rotation. Just that Art of War now procs a lot less, AND you need to monitor your Holy Power.

Watching Holy power so that you can use it only when you have 3 stacks is a pain. Having to watch for that, as well as the rare AoW procs and yet still run an FCFS makes it difficult to maintain raid awareness. Do-able, but tedious.

I know I will miss the AoW proc for Flash Heal, but maybe the HP use for the new heal (can't remember what it's called) will be an adequate replacement. We shall see.

The good news is that there's no longer blessing of Wisdom AND blessing of might. Both are now one in the same. And it lasts 60 minutes. That's nice, but our seals still only last 30.

The seals seem (from a practical standpoint) unchanged.


You now have three levels of glyphs, instead of two:

Minor, major and Prime. Eh, kinda cool, and a bit more customization, but minor seems to be completely useless, and major is slightly less useful. So, it seems like same as before, but with more trash-glyph options. A wait and see is in order for ay final verdict.


Well, the idea of reforging is cool, and Mastery could be neat as well. The only problem is that you are very limited in what stat you can give up, in order to gain something else.

Most of my items allow me to give up Crit or Haste, and replace them with a boatload of semi-useless stuff. (Mastery may very well be great) The only problem is that I desperately need crit (to keep/improve my AoW procs) and now that Haste affects Crusader strike, I can't really afford to lose that either.

I do have one item that allowed me to convert 20 points of Hit. The only problem was that I was then a tad below hit cap. (I had a 0.01% miss on level 83 bosses) I reverted it without testing.

BIG NOTE Librams (for paladins) now can accept gems!

Also, the T-10 bonus (2 pc) is no longer that annoying Divine storm CD reset, it's a flat 5% damage buff. I just hate wearing an effing skirt.

Look and Feel of the interface, etc

There are some nice changes. The mouse over and slide out info on the Character Sheet are very nice, and the tips and info there is pretty helpful.

It will take a while to get used to the new party/raid group thing. I am really used to the old style. This new one looks like an improperly locked frame from Vuhdo and will definitely take getting used to.

Overall, it's probably fine.


So, what's my DPS? Against a dummy I used to be able to get 5,900 or so, with only self buffs. (no food, etc) Last night I was struggling to stay above 5k, with the occasional nibble at 5,100.

There's some ok and interesting stuff here, but overall, I'm just not happy.

I have talked with a couple others, notably a rogue and a warlock, and they seem fairly happy with things. Per the Rogue:

I'm enjoying all of the changes. Though, the only thing that actually
changed for my rogue was my DPS. I went from averaging 4.5k to now averaging
5.5k. Rotation and all that other mumbo jumbo stayed the same.

How are things in your Baileywick?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crying... crying... What else is there?


Today (Tuesday, October 12, 2010) is the day I've been dreading since the first mention of Holy Power. From everything I read and see, it seems about as bad as I expected/guessed. (well, PvP is actually worse, if that's possible, but hey, nobody's guesses are perfect...)

Folks have bitched at how "boring" Ret rotation was. If you watch the video above, with the "new & improved" rotation, it seems focking horrid. It's unbelievably reliant on random procs, and you spam the same spell over & over & over again (crusader strike).

Wow.... color me impressed. (yes, you cast other spells, but egad, what a clunky, random POS rotation it is)

And the news from the Beta and the PTR (public test realms) is that Ret Pallies are having problems getting into Raid PUGs because of piss-poor DPS. (I've read numbers between 30% and 50% reduced DPS)

To top it off, Rets are getting sodomized in PvP because we can't dispel dots (or anything else), we can't close gaps, and we just get kited to death. Oh, and because we get kited, we can't get any attacks, which means NO Holy Power, which then translates into long cast heals and BLAMMO: deal pally.

Happy Fucking Birthday.

Wait, what's that painful thrusting sensation I'm feeling? Ewww, it's Ghostcrawler... and his T-shirt; "nerf them to the ground".

If you didn't get your Lich King kill before tonight, I guess you will have to wait until you hit level 83 or so.

Um, Blizzard? Pulling crap like this is NOT the way to get people out of the end of expansion blues.

It's very true that Paladins aren't the only ones getting cornholed here, but it doesn't change the fact that the one toon I enjoy playing has been made essentially ineffective. Not to mention the fact that I've spent the last 18+ months learning to play my class effectively, and you decide you want to completely change the way it plays, rendering my previous time & effort just about worthless.

Believe me, I had no interest in learning to play a new MMO (a major reason I never looked into LoTR Online). Now it looks like I have no choice. (not if I want to play with Kattastrophe)

The idea of Cataclysm sounded really cool. The reinvention of the geography and "political" scene seemed EXTREMELY neat. However,the reinvention of huge parts of the game mechanics is just painful. I want to play to relax and enjoy myself, not struggle to re-learn to play the same game I've been playing for nearly 2 years, let alone feel that my favorite in-game character is now sub-par, regardless of gear or skill.

I think I see HALO Reach and Forza 3 in my future.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's More Than a Feeling: She's dead, Jim!

So, I made it back into the "main" guild run a week ago Monday, and we slew the fel beast.

The "regulars" were back, but since we had helped the previous week, and hadn't done it yet (and the regulars already had a Sindy kill) the formerly missing regulars had to sit out until the ragged wings lay dormant, NAY, DEAD! on the icy edifice.

I then dropped group, but the raid leader invited me back for a little sight seeing.

I said it before, but I'll say it again here: I don't know if I'll ever have the chance between now & the end of WotLK to see Arthas again (let alone have a chance to kill him) but it's nice.