Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The one where magic and technology finally mix

Right. Ancient story time. When I started getting interested in fantasy and science fiction literature and gaming I was about 10 years old. According to myself that must have been approximately 12 years ago, but the commonly used calendar seems to disagree. Silly thing.

So anyway… back in those days fantasy meant a setting that was remotely similar to medieval. There were usually swords, the barbarians had not grown used to the value of a balanced weapon and were using battlehammers and axes. Sometimes there were horses – although surprisingly few of them were important. Sometimes there was just a bow, but occasionally people used a crossbow as a point of high technology. Magic was present more often than not – usually in both the healing and the fireballing variety.

There were probably one or two books that included guns and blackpowder - and civil engineering was usually strange at best (in hindsight, that is. It all made perfect sense to me). “People” (and that includes elves and such, obviously) used to use a chamberpot, but there never seemed to be much muck in the streets. They used to have no doctors as such, instead usually relying on a heroically applied bandage (possibly applied by a charming wench) yet were all drinking water. Running water had at the very least roman levels of technology and books were plentiful, whereas the technology for killing people was sometimes remarkably primitive (all that star iron? Yeah those books).

Now see… I was young and needed the money entertainment. I don’t think I ever spent much thought on that. It did work like any properly applied propaganda, though, and when I now think about good fantasy it still includes magic and swords and axes and absolutely no technology. See how well it works? I mean... of course they have wheels and yes, obviously they know what a proper pulley system is and how a three-mast sailboat works but that’s not really technology, is it?


Okay, so let’s go a step further and define unsuitable technology for “proper” fantasy. Guns are obviously right out. So are any other sort of explosives (unless - and this is important – the explosives are brought in by a foreign race and are based on … say… rare yellow crystals. Possibly red crystals). If people can fly, they do so by magic or magical chariot, not by helicopter or aeroplane. While we are on that – steel is worked by sweating dwarves and possibly by stinking barbarians and the occasional master swordsmith. The rest of the population uses iron. This only rusts in miniscule amounts – so as to require constant sharpening of swords – but does not fail as a construction material. Mostly because proper construction works is made from stone! Dragged on in blocks, not poured from a concrete factory.

And this always, always, always left me with a bit of a weird feeling when playing Warcraft – even worse in World of Warcraft. I mean, the gnomes were using bombs and there are dwarves with guns. And helicopters. And a bloody airfield just outside of ironforge. And steamtanks. And a golf-caddy, if you want to be really surprised by technology, complete with blimmin’ orbital defence systems! Wait… what?

The good thing, obviously, is that after five years of WoW propaganda I sort of got used to it. The guns don’t even bother me any more, and to be fair the bombs leave me a giggling maniac – especially when I’m playing a new alt and can equip the poor little newbie with too much materials for his own good and use bombs several technology levels too high. KABOOOM! (and stuns the target for four seconds to boot!)

I am still not quite sure why people would actually invest into the development of explosive technology as long as they have magic. I mean… yes… magic is not available to anyone (disclaimer: unless you are a player – then you can just roll a mage. Really. This game is not only warriors, unlike what my login screen tells you. And if you can see my login screen I have a security problem as well), but neither is engineering. To even begin training you need to be a level 5. Take that little farmer from Elwynn/Durotar. You are not allowed to throw bombs because you are a little nooblet!

And once you got magic, it does everything engineering does – just better. You can polymorph with a trinket  – but only once every 5 minutes. Mages do it all night long and it lasts twice as long, too.

You can throw a flaming ball of fire, but mages can do it more often, more fiery, and with scaling spellpower, too.

Oh yes... and of course there is the teleporting. Engineers can travel to a few more places than mages – but none of them are terribly useful (Blades Edge mountains? How quaint!), and they are likely to arrive on fire, falling to their death and replaced by an evil chicken! Mages can even bring friends to the Exodar at the end of a raid – almost against their wishes!

So yeah… I didn’t like technology much. Except for the sheer giggles, of course. But… it has all changed (and here we get to the part where I just blatantly want to show off). I am now a serious fan of engineering. I mean… the best thing magic users can have for continuous transport is this. Those with money and/or influence, however, can get this.

And boy is it great.

I mean.. it has a numberplate that says PWN.

It has the coolest “jump” animation ever.

And … there is a map for the passenger. Completely wasted on someone like my wife, but at least it is there!

Booyah for the dwarven motorcycle gang.
Where can I buy a leather jacket with “Fel Angel” on?

And you know... with a waterwalking potion you can even use it to go flowerpicking - American style - from the safety of your vehicle.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Halls of Stone - and all random, too!

I think it's time for a PUG story again. Haven't had one in ages. See... today I logged in my little druid tank and thought I'd work on my 4-piece tier10 bonus. Which will take another 120 days, but that is beside the point.

I got the Halls of Stone loading screen (always a bad sign), but at least the group said Hello and such. About a normal start for my battlegroup, I think. We then started on pulling the trash and I kept loosing aggro to the Shaman in the group - who had a tendency to open with chain lightning.

I thought about saying something. I thought I could up my threat a bit. In the end I have to admit that I just thought "Ah well - if I have a spare taunt I'll get them back, if I don't he can handle them". I was in a bit of a grumpy mood because of computer problems on the side - but hey... I didn't shout and scream. Anger management in the Arms tree seems to be working (for the record: yes, I am aware that's not a druid talent. Don't shout, please).

We moved all the way to the crossroads when the mage group-leader said "Can I go afk for a moment to make brunch". Another down-point, I thought. How were we supposed to do this properly if people weren't even taking Halls of Stone seriously. Our healer asked him to go and wait till after the instance, though.

I did, however, check recount. Just wondering if loosing the mage would make a big difference. What greeted me was something like this:

Not exactly this - I forgot to take a screenshot in the middle of it. But close enough. Somehow our shaman was putting out nearly 6k dps in a 5-man instance. I didn't even think that was possible.

All pulling of trash-aggro was forgiven - but I decided I needed better gear, so I dragged the whole bunch all the way to Krystallus and the Maiden.

We got a new speed record on the maiden - 19 seconds - which I thought was rather impressive, but once again I completely failed to check recount at that point.

Moved on to the Brann things and took a whole 5 minutes for the Tribunal of Ages encounter. I'm sure they were slacking! *serious look*

Err.. and then we got to the last boss. I was saying something like "sorry to drag you to all bosses" because they had obviously better gear than me - and they were really nice about it. Which in itself is amazing, but even more so considering I had spoilt someones brunch.

Erm yes... Sjonnir. It was quick. It was simple. But I didn't pay attention to recount again. Until I heard the shaman say "You sick bastard". It did sound like a compliment. Really did. So I did the /recount toggle.

The mage said "Bossfights are fun" and sort of explained he had been sleepwalking the rest of the instance. Err.. okay. What I said earlier about not taking instances seriously! But... wow. No really. Wow.

I think I'm a complete fanboy now. Some gnome complained about there not being enough good PUG stories. I have to say - this one is not nearly as entertaining as some of the failpugs I've read. But I'm still all wow about it.

And as special feature. Dear Gnome: it was a mage wud did it!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The one who was imba

Now this was supposed to become an epic post - a post that generations of bloggers would look back to and say "Oh my - how witty this post is. How brilliant he provided a counterpoint to the person in chat. How he cunningly managed to draw forth the utter hilarity of the single sentence in chat and still let the person saying it keep their good graces."

However... it was not to be. See... Tamarind started a post about raiding again - basically after he had decided to cut down on it all. And he made a few rather interesting points about people putting "imba group" or the likes into their adverts.

I agree with him, obviously. Mentioning an "imba" group before the start of said group seems strange. Even more strange are the groups saying something like "Looking for 3 more ICC: three healers. First boss down - imba group". When three healers leave after one boss the group may not be as ...


Now that I think about it. What does "imba" stand for anyway?

Intriguing. According to Wikipedia it is short for the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Austria. They even have a logo up on their site.

That makes a lot more sense actually. So an "Imba" group basically means a group of people from the institute of molecular biotechnology forming in their spare time. As with any big company the employees are probably spread out over a number of guilds. This is their way of forming a cross-guild group to chat about on their next lunchbreak.

And this specimen...

well.. he was just the only one online that evening. Poor guy. Probably hoped to draw some secret alts of his collegues out of the woodwork.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

What a long, long, long (and sometimes annoying) trip it has been


That's all I can say.

I really enjoy hunting achievements - usually. In this last case I was getting a bit upset however. You see.. last year I had been participating in the Love Fool events, obviously. I was handing candy to the guards and kissing innkeepers and whatnot. However - I never once got my hands on a bag of sugar.

This year, all is different, luckily.

Luck is no longer required. All the "rewards" used for the achievements are bought from a seasonal vendor. The Love Tokens used to buy them are rewarded from daily quests - and the set of quests to give a love bracelet to your faction leaders is incredibly easy.

The "Lovely Charms" drop off (apparently) any enemies that give experience. I found the Crown Sprayers just under Dalaran to work exceptionally well - mostly because the area is on extra-super-fast-respawn due to all the questers in the area. Drop rate was not 100%, but certainly quick enough to grab some of the Charms in no time.

Once I had given my Bracelet to Magni and Varian I had 10 Love Tokens. And it was time to go shopping.

Well.. and without much ado the rest of the story as a picture book:

Be mine - as pointed out above - was the last one missing.

The letter of introduction from Alexstrasza is not quite as impressive as the one for the red proto-drake, but it is neat nontheless.

And now tell me ... does this thing look like it can go faster than all my other mounts? No. Does it look as hard to come by as the red proto drake? No. Will I still be using solely this one from now on? Well yes... but you can tell I don't give much about looks from my fabulous haistyle.

Semi-useful warrior macroes

I just moments ago met someone in need of warrior macroes. And - of course - I was not on a warrior myself and usually make mistakes when typing macroes. So I couldn't copy and paste and it's all horrible.

Cunning plan! If I post my own macroes here - I can access and copy them. Huzzah!

So ... useful macroes for warriors. Part 1 (just in case I ever feel like posting a part 2):

1: Advanced Mobility

/castsequence reset=15 Charge, Intercept

/cast [help] Intervene; [target=targettarget, help] Intervene;

What does it do?

This macro assumes you have Warbringer in the Protection tree - and your charge has a 15 second cooldown. If you have a hostile target targetted it'll try to charge. If you used your charge in the last 15 seconds it'll try and intercept instead.

If you have a friendly target targetted it'll intervene - and even if your current target has a friendly target targetted it'll try and intervene. With the usual range issues, of course, but this'll make moving around easier. Click something, hit the macro and watch your little warrior zoom off.

2. Interrupt Focus Target


/cast [button:1] Pummel [button:2,target=focus] Pummel;



/cast [button:1] Shield Bash [button:2,target=focus] Shield Bash;

or at range:


/cast [button:1] Heroic Throw [button:2,target=focus] Heroic Throw;
What does it do?

If you click the icon with your left mouse button, it'll hit your normal target. Click the button with your right mouse button and it'll hit your focus target. You'll need to set a focus target first, obviously - there is space in the keybindings for just this action.

Extra note: This same macro also works nicely for Revenge, Shield Slam and Devastate. Especially handy if some friendly DPS is laying into your second target on a two-boss fight (like Skarvald and Dalronn in Utgarde Keep). Make one your focus, the other your main target and you can occasionally slam a shield into your secondary targets face.

3. Extra threat on a fast-hitting boss?

#show Retaliation

/script UIErrorsFrame:Hide();
/cast [stance:1] Retaliation; Battle Stance
/cast Defensive Stance
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();
/script UIErrorsFrame:Show();
What does it do?
Well.. if you are not in Battle Stance the first press of the button will take you there. If you are already in battle stance (or on the second click) it'll cast Retaliation. A third press will cast Defensive Stance. If you have the time for three keyclicks you can use this during a boss-fight to get some extra threat in on the next few hits. I'd recommend using it when the boss is casting something lengthy (like, say, Slimespray on Rotface).
Note: the /script commands are supposed to supress error messages when you hit the macro repeatedly.
4. Triggering a trinket with your main damage ability
#showtooltip Shockwave

/script UIErrorsFrame:Hide();
/use Sphere of Red Dragon's Blood
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();
/script UIErrorsFrame:Show();
/cast Shockwave

What does it do?

I tended to forget using my "on use" trinket abilities whenever they came off cooldown. The "Sphere of Red Dragon's Blood" was such a thing. With the above macro the trinket will be used every time you use Shockwave. Of course - it won't always be off cooldown, but as this is an ability used very early in a fight (usually) this means you'll try and get your extra attack power running every time.

Note: again - the /script commands suppress error messages. In this case the "this trinket cannot be used yet, you silly dwarf".