Monday, 21 November 2011

The Silmarillion Chapter 3

If you are not sure what this is all about, reference to this post, please, which hopefully explains why the following sounds familiar.


The third chapter is a rather lengthy one. Which is interesting (pronounced in a very GladOS way), because I'm going to shorten it considerably. It has a lot of elvish history ... which seems rather pointless to me at this time.

Anyway, the gods lived happily in their newly built god-city on the edge of the world (not literally, it's a round world, but on the edge of the part that matters). In the north, Melkor built his army inside an underground fortress (made from creepy black stone, with creepy designs on the corridor walls, I am sure). And because the humans and elves were not really running around yet, and the dwarves were told to go back to sleep, and Melkor had a lot of imagination, he invented lots of monsters and sent them out to play in the forest.

A monster playground, that forest was. Complete with swings and see-saws and everything.

And he also invented his most fearsome monster of them all. The balrogs. Now those are like a being made from shadow, with a heart of fire and a whip made of flame. Very scary. And dangerous. And really really big, too.

He also built a second fortress (possibly underground, it's not really stated) and gave it to one of his commanders. I am loath to use names - as you may have noticed - but this is one that'll actually be around for a while. The commander of Angband fortress was called Sauron.

The gods decided to not actually decide anything and instead went on watching what was going on and sitting in their city. There were different voices among them, ranging from "Oh no, we'll wait and see" (Lady of Starlight) to "Lets hit him in the face - repeatedly - hard!" (Lord Fisticuffs, obviously). In the end they decided that it would only be fair towards the elves and humans if they didn't have to enter into a world full of monsters.

So they made some new stars [*] (Lady of Starlight) and put them where the elves could use them to navigate and actually see something (remember: sun and moon have not been made yet - although this technically is only explained later) and then went to war with Melkor.

The elves woke up and found a ginormous war raging in the north, except that they had just been born and had no idea what a war was. They just saw lightning and earthquakes and decided not to go there on their first holidays.

After the war was over (and Melkor bound in chains for three ages [which is a long time, seeing as the age of the elves counts as one and the humans as another and they are not gone yet in the later stories]) the gods wanted to bring the elves to safety. So they invited them to their city.

But the elves mostly wanted to run away from the gods, not knowing them from monsters (which doesn't say too much about the beauty of the gods messengers, really). In the end, the gods only managed to talk the three elvish kings into visiting and when those came back to their people, they said "Ah yup. It's nice there. We should all go".

Most of the elves actually went to see the gods. They are given about a zillion names in the Silmarillion, but in the end they all leave Middle Earth and go sit in the city of the gods. Except for a few. Some get captured by Melkor (probably before he is chained for three ages, to be fair) and turned into orcs. Some run off into the forest and become masters of healing herbs (and possibly smokable herbs, too). Some live near the water, because they want to play, not sit nicely at the table with the gods at a formal dinner (seriously. I'm not making this up!).


[*] Just so you can appreciate what I'm skipping here, let me quote one of the star-naming sentences:
"She took the silver dews from the vats of Telperion, and therewith she made new stars and brighter against the coming of the Firstborn; wherefor she whose name out of the deeps of time and the labours of Eä was Tintalle, the Kindler, was called after by the Elves Elentári, Queen of the Stars. Carnil and Luinil, Nénar and Lumbar, Alcarinque and Elemmíre she wrought in that time, and many other of the ancient stars she gathered together and set as signs in the heavens of Arda: Wilwarin, Telumendil, Soronúme, and Anarríma; and Menelmacar with his shining belt, that forbodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days."


Taken from: J.R.R Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Harper Collins Publishers, 1994, p. 55f.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Silmarillion Chapter 2

If you are not sure what this is all about, reference to this post, please, which hopefully explains why the following sounds familiar.


Now you might remember that so far we always waited for humans and elves to appear. Those were the two races created by the One, and the elves were supposed to be immortal and "first-born", the humans were supposed to be around.

The god of dirt - living under the earth - didn't get much involved in fighting and thus had extra time. He got bored waiting for the others to finish their playing and secretly made a new race. Molded seven dwarves from stone, gave them life and beards and bad social skills - the whole package. Of course the One, being the One and all, noticed and asked what that was all about. The two of them eventually agreed to leave the dwarves alive (and not smite them for being made without request or permission) - but they had to go back to sleep, so the elves could still claim to be the firstborn.

I'm not making this up, you know ... the dwarves were there first!

All those stories about humans and elves and dwarves running around got the goddess of fields and farming a little bit down. She didn't like all her pretty creatures and plants to be under the thumb of those two-legged freaks. So she ran off crying to the One and he granted her the power to make one of her creations able to fend for themselves. And then another one, because the god of air was also a bit grumpy. Both the eagles and the trees were given the power to talk. Limited time offer, though - only good while the firstborn (the elves, he means, even though technically ... ah you know) were in power and the secondborn (that's the humans, I think, although with all of his going back on birth-orders it does get a bit confusing) were young. Like babies. Although he doesn't mean like babies, but while they have only recently moved in.

And the chapter concludes with fruity goddess saying "Mwahahahahahaha... now the humans and elves and dwarves can't go into the forest to annoy my precious trees! Because there are other trees that walk and talk and will pounce on them if they dare! Muhahaha!" and her husband smithy-god going: "Oh ... but they'll still need wood" and crafting a few axes.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Silmarillion Chapter 1

If you are not sure what this is all about, reference to this post, please, which hopefully explains why the following sounds familiar.


Now that all the preliminaries are out of the way, it's time to start with the real story. The history of the world! (you should imagine trumpets playing here and a loud cheer, because this was an important line).

It (that's the history) starts with the first sand-pit fight. Melkor was stomping around on everyones sand-castles and they were all just about to cry and give up, because he was really mean and strong and they couldn't quite win. On that day, though, the fisticuffs god had his first day in kindergarten (I mean.. on Earth) and he decided that he had to help the others, and he scared Melkor away.

So Melkor really really didn't like fisticuffs god after that any more.

The gods and goddesses started building a proper world in their sand-pit when Melkor was gone. They made stars and mountains and rivers and trees and animals and all sorts. And when they had enough of all the building, they went for lunch. Probably all hungry. Fisticuffs god was a little tired from all the excitement and actually fell asleep on a bench nearby.

Now Melkor thought this would be a good time to get his revenge (or rewenge when I'm reading it with a german accent)! So he snuck into the playground and dug a fort under one of the stars. When everyone suddenly noticed that he was back again, he jumped on the picknick table and started kicking stuff over. When the other gods noticed and chased him off again, he hid in his little fort under the star and kicked over two stars, which fell on the earth and caused volcanoes to erupt where they struck. Everything was falling apart and all the gods were busy saving the day, so they didn't have enough time and energy left to assault Melkors fort.

They also didn't want to dig a secret tunnel to Melkors fort, because the elves and humans were still asleep under the sand of their sand-pit. They didn't know where, so they had to be extra careful where they used their shovels.

Because they couldn't dig and couldn't get rid of Melkor, the other gods decided to be the wise ones who'd stop fighting first. They walked away (probably looking regal, not like they were running scared) and built a new city (on a mountain). They put all the things they had saved into there. All sorts of cool toys and all the starlight they could find. Magical!

The goddess of gardening grew two trees in their new city. The trees had flowers and leaves at different times and the gods used them like a clock. Much like the two arms on a watch, really, just with more magic and less engineering.

Now it was almost time for the humans and elves to wake up. The One had given them some powers, so they would have fun when they woke up. The elves were supposed to be beautiful and enjoy beautiful things: they liked to dance and draw and make things from Play-Doh. The humans were a little bit different: they had fantasy and could think about things they had never seen before - which made them much better story tellers and movie directors.

He also made the elves immortal (which means they don't die from old age, they can only manage to get themselves killed in silly accidents) and the humans could die. Which seems slightly unfair, really, but the One probably had a plan. Oh ... to further confuse everyone, he said the humans would be important in the second part of his song - which even though the gods already played it hasn't happened yet.

Yep. That doesn't make much sense. It's a bit like saying "I made a movie and although it's already finished, you haven't seen it yet. It'll be on _after_ the show that's currently on, so you have to wait a bit. And the humans will be important in it!"

Friday, 18 November 2011

Valaquenta

If you are not sure what this is all about, reference to this post, please, which hopefully explains why the following sounds familiar.


Remember the little gods that had walked around on Earth when they had their big sand-pit fight with Melkor? Well, turns out there was 7 boys and 7 girls among them. They had names, too, but we'll only use those when we really really need to, because Tolkien used weird spelling and made them particularily hard to pronounce if you're not an elf. And I'm not. Honest!

There is a long long chapter here that introduces the gods. To make it quick: The god of winds lives with the goddess of the stars. She's a real pretty goddess. The god of the water lives along. He doesn't like walking around on land (probably because he's a squid-thing), but he likes humans and elves and occasionally sings to them while pretending to be a waterfall. Most humans and elves are scared of him, though. The god of dirt is married to the goddess of farming. They are both powerful and good looking. Probably tanned, too, from all the working outside.

There are a few more non-fun ones, like the god of dead things and ghosties and the goddess of time (and probably watches, time-keeping and alarms in the morning). One of the cool ones is listed near the end. He's the god of fighting in a fair fight with his bare hands and of sports and running and swimming and blonde hair (which is a bit long, so we'll call him the god of fisticuffs instead). He is apparently not very good at giving good advice. I have to wonder if he got bashed on the head a lot. I mean.. he's one of those guys who likes to fight with gods.

There's also a god of hunting, who is married to the goddess of spring. While one would assume she's the prettiest (you know: spring, short dresses, flowers and so on) she's actually not as cute as the goddess of the stars. Her hubby apparently is a bit of a hot-head - and I'm not sure that's because he didn't get the best looking wife. He likes to shoot things with a bow.

Remember Melkor? He was the bad guy, stomping around on the sandcastles of the other gods when he was in a bit of a huff. Now apparently the elves bear are a bit of a grudge, so they don't actually call him by his real name. They instead call him Morgoth. Which is still the only name with M, so they didn't have to change their secret code: "M is coming - hide the children". As elvish runes are a bit of a pain (and they didn't have crayons and had to do all their writing by pouring molten metal on stone slabs in the beginning), this may have been quite a wise move of the elfish ones.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ainulindale (or: the Beginning)

If you are not sure what this is all about, reference to this post, please, which hopefully explains why the following sounds familiar.


In the beginning, the One created little gods from his thoughts - probably because he was lonely, or possibly because he had a cunning plan. Because they were little gods they already knew quite a lot, so the first thing he had to properly teach them was how to make music.

And he taught them a song and all the little gods sat together and made music and the One leaned back and enjoyed the show. One of the little ones, a guy called Melkor, wanted to show off and started playing a solo. Some of the other little gods got confused and didn't quite stay in tune, some others didn't like it and stuck to the original song. The One laughed and made them start a new song and again Melkor went to show off. And this repeated for a bit with the One inventing new songs and Melkor going on to show off.

After a while, the One had had enough and told everyone to stop. He showed them that their music had created a whole planet to live on - with elves and humans and all sorts of things on it. Some of the little gods wanted to create their own things, but they all found that Melkor had somehow fiddled with their part of the song (one of them singing of water, the next of air and so on) and made it more scary than they thought it should be.

The One started the world and some of the little gods went down onto it. They found it was not as beautiful as it had been described - they sort of fell for the IKEA model of a world. It still needed assembly.

Even though it was still a lot of work, Melkor (like a member of management) wanted the world for himself. And he said "I did something to create this, I wanna keep it!". The other little gods said "No way! We sung as well, we'll share it!" and Melkor stalked off into the void of space and sulked.

As soon as he was gone, the others decided to start working properly. They started building all sorts of things, like mountains and lakes and rivers and grass (because they were gods, obviously, not just working people). Melkor got a bit fed up when he saw them having fun and returned from his sulking spot to stomp on everything they had built. A bit like a naughty kid in the sandpit when everyone else is building sand-castles.

So they had a big fight scene, but because there was no elves or humans around yet, no one noticed.

The Silmarillion for four year olds

So our little one is very interested nowadays in Lord of the Rings online. He loves the map and that he can tell where the little arrow is pointing - and that there is water where he sees blue. He also has a character, that is progressing very very ... very ... slowly. This might be due to his total disregard for safety ("Ooh.. a cliff.. can I jump off it?") or his (ir-)rational fear of caves ("I don't like it - there's no sun in here - I'll go back to the river").

Of course we considered reading him the proper story, so he could appreciate it. And then we considered that maybe the Hobbit (being a childrens book and all) might be more appropriate. However, I argued (successfully) that things need to be read in proper chronological order to make sense, so we'll have to start with the Silmarillion.

It's been a while since I read it. Quite a long while, in fact. The main facts I remember were sentences that rambled on for several page - some of them spanning more than one page solely for the introduction of a characters name. You know... suchandsuch, who was known as slightlydifferent in the region of over there, who was widely considered wise in the valleys of overyonder where he was called this.

And ... erm... if it's not too much of a spoiler... when I opened the book, the first sentence I read was "There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the off-spring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made." [1]

And somehow, that does not seem appropriate for a four year old. I want him to listen to a whole chapter before falling asleep - not get annoyed and bounce around the bed after 30 seconds. So .. in the following chapters, I'll summarize the Silmarillion (until I loose interest, realistically speaking). For a four year old. Who loves monsters, and sharks, and dinosaurs, and who needs to grow up and beat up a caveclaw, so we can level in the Shire!

[1] Taken from: J.R.R Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Harper Collins Publishers, 1994, p. 15

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Prediction Sunday!

In the tradition of "Superhero Sunday!" (tm)(r) - a tradition formed by me, last week, of watching superhero movies on sunday afternoon - I present my prediction sunday!

And, because it's a prediction, I'll already do it on Saturday! (tm)(r) - that's how good I am these days.


Now you'll probably have heard by now that another WoW expansion is on the market soon. New races, new level cap, new class, all new stuff. The official trailer video (where the above picture is taken from) can be found here.

And even though I am no longer quite as excited about new expansions as I used to be, I'm not completely bitter about it either. This actually looks quite fun. Punching and kicking in best Kung-Fu Panda style? Sure!

It's not the first time a running MMO has run out of classical medieval content and chosen to incorporate some eastern elements, after all.

Ultima Online did it first (my count - I might be wrong) with The Samurai Empire in 2004.

Age of Conan did it with Rise of the Godslayer in 2010.

So now WoW gets some oriental theme? Fine with me.

Back to predictions, though!

Firstly, I predict cunningly that the new monk healing, tanking and DPSing will be very very strong compared to _all_ other classes. Overpowered, some would say. It's a requirement of the system, because the new class will need fans that go raiding with their little bouncing buddies. To get into raids, they'll need to perform well even though the theorycrafting is new and not as developed as it is for the other classes (even with talent revamps). They will steadily get nerfed in the content patches that follow (5.1 to 5.3), until they perform about equally to the other classes near the end of the expansion.

Source: Deathknights. Exactly the same mechanics. Buffed to high heaven to introduce them, then steadily nerfed until only those who liked them remained with the class. Oh yes, and Blizzard said they wouldn't do it again. I don't believe it.

Secondly, I predict that the Pet Combat will be the new archaeology. Fun for a while at the beginning, something to do while bimbling about, only enjoyed by a small minority of players in the long run. Like fishing. And archaeology (oh wait - we already had that).

Thirdly, I predict that the new expansion will once again overhaul combat completely for almost all classes. This will make the game in general more streamlined and better to play (as it has for each and every single expansion) - but some old die-hards will be resistant to change and will grumble and quit. This won't matter, really, because it'll cause more people to play for longer.

Fourthly (does that word exist?), I predict that raiding will change in difficulty again. Blizzard seems to be interested in making more different difficulty levels available (see: Challenge Mode Dungeons). Entry level raiding will be easier, there will be two seperate harder modes available (possibly three, if we count the LFR difficulty as 1, grouped raiding as 2, hard mode as 3 and challenge mode as 4).

There.. predictions done. I bet they are better than the End of the World predictions.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Glitch: A game where pushing drugs seems to be ideal!

Tobold posted a while ago about Glitch. And because my wife played it and said it was cute, and I had nothing better to do - I gave it a go.


And Glitch is rather cute. You can do all sorts of vanity things with your avatar (like buy clothes and eyebrows and noses - much like Hollywood, really). You can also pursue all sorts of skills and careers.

I spent my first few skill points in Animal Husbandry (for reasons unknown) - which allowed me to pet pigs more efficiently and sing to butterflies (no matter how stupid this sounds at the moment - give it a go. It's actually quite cool). Eventually I figured out how to travel, found my first mines and have been going a more "high tech" career path since.

Miner, Tinker, Engineer, Alchemist and Chemist.

And - much like in real life or the movies - I eventually found out that there are things to make that are possibly less than ideal for your own health. In this case: No-No Powder.


It said not to do it on the pack. It said it was a bad idea. So - for science and against the protests of my wife - I obviously had to take a dose.

Now No-No Powder is actually quite powerful. As long as you are on your No-No-High, you'll not loose mood or energy. You can mine a thousand mines, smelt a thousand ores, repair all your tools and fry a sammich to boot!

Obviously ... there is a drawback. Once you crash, the game gives you limited time to aquire a second (or third or ... a new!) dose of No-No or you will die. Let me bold that for emphasis: You Will DIE!


And this is where the problem begins, because see... there is also an auction house. And there is a certain quest:


So let me get this right. I am supposed to give something - ANYTHING! - to a new player between the levels of 3 and 5. I will actually get rewarded for doing so. And they all have a thousand currants to start with.

So ... what exactly is going to stop me from giving them a satchet of drugs and posting more on the auction house. Cheap. They will eventually get the message that they have mere seconds to live...

Issy does not condone this course of action (approximately 18 seconds in). I don't agree: As they said in McHale's Navy (Paradise Hotel): We'll be rich, we'll be famous.

...

We'll be arrested. Ooops.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

What about raiding is hard?

It's a weekend, and I finally had time to catch up on some of the blogs I read. One of the main topics at the moment seems to be raiding difficulty in WoW (again).

Tobold and Gevlon have formed an unlikely alliance and moan about the current gameplay. Now me, being old and wise (yeah well .. and humble, too), I would like to point out that there always always always were problems with raiding. It's just that apparently people remember the highlights more? Odd, I always thought it was the downsides that were more memorable. Maybe I'm a realist, though.


Anyway. Back to the bad old times. Some of the information I'll present will be plain wrong (because I wasn't there and have to rely on the interwebz for information), but hey ... you might not notice.

Vanilla WoW:

Raiding was done by 40 people. At the same time. Druids, Paladins and Priests healed the tank in the same cloth gear. The tank was a warrior. Doing a healing rotation, so when three ran out of mana, the next three stepped up and took over. The others moved back and sat down to drink. DPS classes didn't get healed, but then again - you could drink more than one potion per fight, so it was just a matter of money. Using class abilities was important, but there were only about half as many as there are today.

The Burning Crusade:

Raiding got better (for me, at least) with the reduction down to 10 (or 25 people). Content was either/or, though, so small guilds only saw some. Fights that were based on stacking one type of class were common (yep, we're going to sunwell now. We want three rogues with both Warglaives and twelvety shamans), as were fights that had nothing whatsoever to do with skill and depended on luck. Can't remember that? Were did the infernals fall during the prince fight in Kara? You know.. the instance everyone loved - this was a fight that actually brought fourth rampant "cheating": 'Let's all stand on the broken pillar next to the door, except for the tank, who wedges into the little crack on the right'.

Wrath of the Lich King:

I raided most in this area, so I probably noticed most of the bad things here. Initially we had complaints about just reusing old fights and adding two one single-boss raids. Then there was Ulduar (and I can't remember any complaints - this was just ace). Then there was the "no trash" room. Then there was ICC, with the stacking buff (added random link with complaint. There were plenty).

Raiding was allegedly too easy. Or too hard (especially the heroic modes). I'm personally with the "too hard" group. But maybe I play too many single player games. I want a smooth progression in my heroic difficulty, not "doable" on Marrow-thingy, then "un-frickin'-believable" on Lady Deathwhisper, then "we need one more Kingslayer to do heroic loot-ship", then "ouch ouch ouch" on 'Jaina is such a wuss for crying like a girly-girl'.

Cataclysm:

And now we're in the stage where player health and healing numbers have grown to a state where normal damage will not kill people any more. So game design had to change to include more "instant death" types of fights. Which are, certainly, based on knowing what'll happen.

I'm not entirely happy about it. Some of them also use mechanics that I cannot track to improve my performance (like Sound on Atramedes). However for the casual blokes like me, there are now nerfs. Last week I've seen Nefarian for the first time. In three attempts we had him at a stage that I'd call "stable" - we got into phase three consistently and it was an overall enjoyable learning experience. One or two more tried and we'd have had him.

Now I'll compare those to 93 attempts on the first Lich King (normal) kill and I'd say "thank you". For someone who only raids very occasionally now, this is perfect. I'm lookiug forward to actually seeing some of firelands. Even if I have to learn not to stand in the bad.

Which challenges my muscle memory.

And is not so different from Baron Geddon in the original Vanilla WoW.

Stop complaining. :p

Sunday, 11 September 2011

I blame Syl - Nostalgia strikes!

Right. This is all totally Syl's fault. She started it. She dug out ancient games, from the days when programming was limited to 612k of memory (well.. almost at least. Age of Conan is a tad more advanced, I think).

So ... I sort of caved and downloaded my very first MMO again. I thought I'd just play the two week free trial (linked here for your convenience). It turns out I was having so much fun in the trial that I reactivated my old account.

A really old account, apparently. If we believe the account management, it was created in 1998 (almost a year after UO started - but hey.. it was incredibly expensive in Germany back then. Mostly due to the phone bills. We used 56k modems back then.. and there was no cheap "flatrate" for phones back then).

Quite a few things changed. There have been several expansions that I missed - new skills were introduced (Ninjitsu and Bushido, Chivalry and Necromancy, Focus (mana regeneration for warriors), Imbuing (sort of like reforging) and possibly more), new champions added, new monsters, new lands, new housing styles. Oh yes.. and players can now choose to be one of three races: Humans (old), Elves (new and strange - my Ultima never had elves) and Gargoyles (very new yet a lot more sensible in an Ultima context).

Skill gain is different these days. Gone are the days of the bone knight wall - as I painfully found out when I recalled there. All alone in the middle of a dungeon is not good - especially when I can hardly remember what which spell does and how to run.

Dying is still the same, though. You loose pretty much everything. When you are ressurected (and none of this fancy "teleport you to the nearest healer" stuff - you run as a ghost until you find a shrine or a wandering healer) you have about 3 health and stand there in your white ghost robe. Surprisingly, the robe does not offer protection (or privacy, really, but that is another problem entirely). There are now "blessed" items that stay with you - and you can insure things - if you remember.

Anyway.. skill gain: Some things are still best done in a boat in 8x8 tiles large resource squares. Some are best done fighting something immortal (like a friend on the "you cannot attack friends" side).

Time for exhibit a, I suppose. Me, sparring with Jessica. Jessica is not actually a player (it's an old game - so far I have met four other players), but a little bunny-rabbit I managed to buy cheaply at the stable masters.


This is what the screen actually looks like. The large screen, that is. The game area is available in two sizes: 640x480 pixels and 800x600 pixels (displayed here). On my 1920x1440 pixel screen thats... not large. Leaves room for additional information, though.

Oh yes... the armour? Weeeeell... it's like this. There are matching sets around. Armour can also be dyed to actually look nice. This is more like a clown suit - admitted - but it has high mana regeneration. And if that means I need to wear an orc's chopped-off face - so be it!

But not all my time is spent leveling a new character. While good fun, it seems I was not very careful when I last logged off (back in 2004 or so). I left all my money in my house - and my house has since collapsed, been paved over and replaced.

So, the other half of my game time is spent with good, old-fashioned farming. With a dragon. On my side, that is.


The dead white wyrms have treasure. The live brown dragon and black-horse-of-firebreathing-and-spellcasting are my good buddies. They just love to pounce on anything that is held in place - inactive and unable to defend itself for 9 seconds - by my beautiful music *nodnod*.

I like fair fights... sometimes. Just not when I'm trying to earn money.

Good old times ...

Monday, 5 September 2011

Naming is seriouz business!

I'm annoyed. I should probably have expected something like this, but I'm still annoyed.

Today, while playing (and slaying level 10 brigands) my name suddenly changed. Without me paying for a name-change, obviously, and without any notification. The lovely Virginity is no more .. she is now called something else (something I cannot pronounce, that is composed of around 231 syllables and will be pure hell to invite to a kinship or fellowship).


Now, the rules in Lord of the Rings don't allow very much. In fact, it's so restrictive, that I just have to link the rules here.

Let me sum it up as well, because I can:

  • Proper names and places or close facsimiles thereof, from the story characters or non-player characters (NPCs) introduced in the fiction of Lord of the Rings Online.
  • Fantasy or non-fantasy names from popular culture or media.
  • Sexually explicit, defamatory, obscene, racially or ethnically offensive names or slang.
  • Names of historical or religious significance.
  • Trademarked names of products, goods, materials or services.
  • Common names, slang or references to drug related substances, culture or paraphernalia.
  • Names containing ranks, titles or denotation of power.
  • Names causing harm, mockery or imitation of Lord of the Rings Online players or NPCs, in addition to Turbine, Inc. employees, past or present.
  • Misspelled variations or homonyms of any of the above rules
The ones marked in red are listed as having a "zero tolerance" policy attached to them. Characters in violation of those will not only be renamed, they will also be banned for three days. Now interestingly enough - I wasn't. 

This leaves a few open questions:

1) I'm not allowed to call a character Fred or Andrew. That's what a common name is, isn't it? 
2) Which of the rules specifically affected Virginity? 
3) Who THE FUCK (double emphasis there) reported the name? Really? Is someone that petty? 

Gah. Way to ruin my gaming night. I'll probably reroll the hunter and name her something less ... I don't know... common? 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Break from 3 to 9, back after Dinner?

That's what it looks like on the blog anyway. I would like those work hours, I have to admit. Bit of a break in the afternoon, going for a cup of coffee, some cake, a little rest in the garden, some starter with a dry sherry, a soup, maybe, now that it's getting colder outside, a sorbet - vodka sorbet, server in a half coconut for instance - a main course with a nice glass of red wine, a bit of fruit salad with a generous helping of brown sugar and rum. And then back to work. Yeah... I'm sure reports would look better in the evening.

Erm.

Anyway. WoW got boring. I stopped. I tried quite a few different games. New on the list were single player games that were woefully neglected during my raiding days. Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 were good. At the time of play I would have called them great, but they do suffer from "Bioware required party interaction syndrome" (that's a true medical term. Look it up!). You need to talk to your party at every single rest period to get to all the subplots. If you are a completionist, you also need to have sex with at least one of them (although I have to admit: Bioware is flexible and usually allows more creative approaches there).

Personally? Those are work mates. They are here to help me save the universe. Some of them are members of my military unit. Some of them are aliens with thought processes completely unlike my own (well - not very, but they might as well be). If they have a problem: Come to me. My door is always open! Honestly. Get off your ass, walk up to your commanding officer and say "Shepard? There is a research lab where I was tortured. I have just found the location in the ships computer. When we next pass by - could we have a look inside? The doctor said it would be good for me."

Was that hard? Seriously? But nooooo... instead we hide in the darkest, dingiest corner we could find on the whole ship and won't even mention any sort of personal problems until I tried to talk to you (that's not you, the reader, that is you, the NPC) at least three times. And apparently took you on 12 missions, at least 8 of which needed to be story relevant. No wonder I never got you into bed! (Yes, I am still bitter that I didn't get Miranda to shag Jack and Shepard at the same time.)

This probably deserved a followup on how scared I am about Star Wars: The Old Republic to do the same - but it's going to be an online game, so maybe there will be a "chatting up before sex: required 255 times" nerf in patch 1.7.2d.

Wow that was rambely... the other single player game was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. Now this game is just what I occasionally need. It's for those times when I took my level 85 warrior to Westfall to do the old quests. Those times when "kill an enemy with one blow" is what you need. Except ... in this case ... it's even better. The protagonist of the story is so ridiculously overpowered that normal NPCs are proper Mooks. Killing them is not only easy - it's so easy the character is allowed to get creative now and then: don't want to chop them in half with a lightsaber? No worries.. we have something for you.

How about:

1) Fry them with lightning (relatively tame, I agree) or choke them to death (not much better, but hey, it's a different button on the mouse).
2) Grab them by the throat (err.. not in person) and fling them over the side of a really really high up ledge and watch them fall to their deaths? (Getting better, I thought).
3) Pick up something large and heavy (like a statue), lift it off the ground, fire a lightning bolt at it to "charge" it, then throw it at the person to make the lightning ground through them just as they are squashed by a metric ton of rock?
4) Lift someone up, dangle them around and then throw a lightsaber through their chest? Good thing you got two, so you can still defend .. I think.

and last, but certainly not least:

5) Grab an approaching TIE fighter in midair, crush it into a sphere of twisted metal and then throw the wreckage (leaking toxic fuel, I'm sure) into someone.

Yay!

It didn't even bother me any more that the protagonist rammed his spaceship into another one, jumped through the roof into space, dropped towards the planet at reentry speeds (with no spacesuit? who cares, we have the force!) while shoving other broken ships out of the way, turning into a bizarro human-reentry-fireball-meteority to land in the courtyard of the enemy station. On one knee (as is required in those situations), leaving a crater in the concrete. Unharmed, obviously, I mean .. hello?

Oh yes. Sometimes that's just what I need. And I don't care that it sounds silly. It has me cackling like a maniac.

On the multiplayer front there were a few old favourites. DDO (now free to play) and LotRO (also free to play). Both of them were not really free. I did spend quite a bit of money in the DDO shop, using it to unlock new race and class options, buying "veteran character" status (all characters start at 4/20 instead of 1/20) and buying a permanent stat increase tome for my main. All good choices that actually make play nicer. They fall completely out of the "purely cosmetic" range - and smack dab into the middle of "you buy this to make your character more powerful" range. And it's good. Those options actually are the only ones I want to spend money on in DDO - purely cosmetic would not work there.

In LotRO the situation is slightly different. I (or rather we - Issy is the same) bought a lifetime membership a while ago. When we come back it's usually with a sense of "this is something we don't take seriously - we can just bimble about". I think my highest character to date is level 35 and I've been to a grand total of one dungeon (whatever they are called there). With the lifetime account come points. Lots of points. So many, in fact, that my little hobbit warden got a pony with a black/red shoulderpatch. Which is apparently rare (and possibly slightly faster than another horse).


Would I spend several tens of euros on something like that? Well no. Sorry. The item shop would sort of fail there. However, as the points are free, I don't mind. And I really really want to wait until the day before LotRO shuts down (hopefully late.. in 20 years would be nice) and then log in one last time, go to the item shop and buy "One of each, please - on second thought - make it two".

And then there was Rift. As Tobold was just asking about a verdict, I might as well post it here. It was quite fun. It suffered a bit from "Early Age of Conan" syndrome, though. The beginning areas were well done and well designed, end-game was possibly not expansive enough. There were not many options at the very start, with more being patched in rapidly though. For me, it was just more of the same. Progression and gameplay were the same as in World of Warcraft (and I really really do not care that there were lots of soultrees and that it all was named differently). Quests consisted of "go there, kill 10 of x, come back". I'm not complaining - because it was new and shiny it was a great change from WoW. Dwarf females were incredibly cute (much better even than pink ponytailed gnomes), but in the end it came down to "press button 1, press button 2 after event x, hit button 3 to finish".

Again, I'm not trying to pull down Rift because of the programming. This is basically the same as in World of Warcraft. I did come back there, however, as many of our friends are still playing. Left the old (raiding) guild and rejoined my original place. Hey.. I even got my name back.

Koch (Aszune) now is sort of active again - except that I don't want to be stressed any more. Raiding? Nah .. thanks. Maybe if someone desperately needs a spotfiller (because the fights were fun, usually), but I'm also wasting time on Archaeology, the auction house (sometimes), achievements (quite a bit) and running alts through content. Hey.. I even got a warlock to 85 - and found out that I am apparently incapable of playing casters. My damage sucketh.

The gameplay in WoW is smoother though. There are not "too many" abilities (as in Rift - try paladin tanking without macroes, please: You have .. what... four reactive abilities in addition to your four attack and 6 protective options? My fingers are not long enough for that. Or rogue tanking: Why do I need 6 different teleports instead of one with a cooldown of 1/6th of the time?), there are more parallel leveling paths (one gets really really painful after the third alt in relatively short time) and the combat "feels" smoother. Maybe that's because of the aforementioned "I need 139741 buttons" problem, but the quality of WoW only shows when you compare it to some of the other options.

Actually that makes a good finish: Go and try something else if you can't appreciate the quality. And hey.. if you find you like something else better: No reason to stick around except for your friends.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Are you not entertained?

I can't help it. I need to rip open an old wound (in a painful manner, obviously). There have been a plethora of posts about the state of female armour. Like Spinks, who was unhappy. Or KiaSA who picked apart a post by the developers of Guildwars 2.

And yet...

and yet...

I still feel like it's too much serious thought wasted on the decorative aspect of a game.

WoW even has an achievement for those people.

Personally I am sticking with "I want to be entertained, not debate the realistic aspects". If this means skimpier armour on female characters - that's fine with me. I don't look at the male models anyway, if I'm fair.

It's good old-fashioned tradition as well... in more than one medium.

Let's have a look at images number one and two:


Seven of Nine. With a uniform made for... err .. practicality? By a collective of robots with no concept of male or female (err.. or Starfleet .. or something).


And then, of course, we have Storm. Her armour does more to enhance the shapely figure than provide protection - especially considering that it should be yellow spandex.


So what we basically have up here is Rift armour. It looks nice and sexy - and a tad impractical and "unrealistic" as far as proper armour goes.


Then again, we are willing to accept this flying magical spell about to impact a poor hapless goblin.


And this flying gate in the middle of the sky, spewing flaming death onto the ground below.

And we are complaining about the realism of the armour?

Friday, 25 February 2011

Now what is a girl supposed to think here?

I was wandering around the countryside... and ended up watching this:


What is a girl supposed to think there?


I think Harrison actually nailed it there. Best not to tread there ... and then, this happened:

video

Those pygmies really like to party... Somehow I think this music (NSFW) is appropriate.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

WoW Blogging Challenge: Day 02 – Why you decided to start a blog

Spite!

That's honestly all there was to it. I needed a place to rant, far away from the guild boards. You see.. back then I was in a great guild (and this is not meant sarcastically!). We had a wide variety of players, doing whatever they liked. Most had met up in real life as well. However, some of them were a little less deeply involved in researching their optimum dps rotations (or in other words: were driving me barmy with low dps).

Mostly my wife had to suffer through my shouting and screaming. Occasionally someone else would get a few annoyed whispers about certain mages (*waves to Lam*).

So... I started a blog. To write about stuff that annoyed me. None of this "I felt like I wanted to try writing" or "I saw this really cool blog and wanted to try and be like them". I mostly started because I didn't like people.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Legacy Crafted Belt warning!

Patch 4.0.6 or some such. Lots of changes. One of the more interesting ones is that all Blacksmithing Crafted Epics lost +40 secondary stats. Instead they gained a socket and a +10 socket bonus. Overall most likely a stat gain (especially for jewelcrafters).

There was one nasty side effect, though. If you previously had a crafted belt and it had a belt buckle attached - the gem from the prismatic belt-buckle-socket moved into the newly created socket. And probably does not match colour.


You'll probably need to fixxit for extra power! Raar and all that!

Monday, 7 February 2011

20 Days of WoW: Day 1 - Introduce yourself

Now we shall ignore - just for a moment - that I never managed to finish the last one. However, this time round, I'll only start about a week late. Might work in my favour.

Saga over at Spellbound started a new list of things. So I shall cheat on day 1, and we'll see how it goes from here.

My favourite introduction ever is this one:

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.


I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
 
Stolen from here.
 
And in the same vein of things...
 

Taken from here, this is also not me. It's also, apparently, not Paladin Schmaladin who was once famous for pretending to be that person.

In real life I probably weigh about twice that, am decidedly not a girl and married to this lovely person. I am currently guilded in Vengeance on Alonsus (EU) and we are recruiting for our raids. If you are not a druid and amazing, please join us. If you are a druid ... err ... I don't know. I think we have too many of those. Enough to fill a raid. With druids. Much like these people.
 
Sensible posting will commence soon - when I don't have to reveal too much information about myself.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

20 Days of WoW - Day 17: What do you do when the server’s down?!

Sleep, most likely.

Our server downs are on Wednesdays at 5 in the morning. I don't work the night-shift.

However, if - for some unfathomable reason - the servers were down during my intended playtime, I'd probably do something else. The likelyhood of finding me in a corner, shivering and shaking is slim (although there has been a flu going round lately).

Lord of the Rings, possibly. Or Raving Rabbids. Or even just read a book. I'm old fashioned like that.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Playing a Deadly Damage Dealer in Cataclysm

I'm not sure I am qualified to post about playing a DPS, but then again - that never stopped my opinion before, so why start now. I did notice a few interesting aspects about DPSing ... partly while playing one myself and partly while tanking heroics and raids.

I think Blizzard did a surprisingly good job of making the DPS job more challenging and more important. I'm also surprised at how well very different philosophies predicted this. Examples? Greedy Goblin stated in April 2010 that DPS would be the new critical role, Righteous Orbs (Chastity, in this case) predicted it to be the new "cool" role in July 2010.

And they were all right (especially those I didn't link - and I'm sure there are many more posts like this). Of course they were, because all bloggers are secretly part of an illuminated society and do know about everything in advance.

Back to the topic at hand, though...

There were a few subtle (and not so subtle) hints that DPS nowadays have to take a more active role in their own survival. The odds of getting killed outright have been reduced somewhat (in appropriate content), but at the same time you're not guaranteed healer attention any more. In the words of my wife: "If you draw aggro with your Bladestorm, you're on your own, buddy. I've no mana to waste on sponges like you!"

Do you know where all your heal buttons are? I still forget about them - healthstones, potions, victory rush procs, enraged regeneration, bandages ... are there more for warriors? Probably....

On the other hand are the DPS checks. There are quite a few in raiding content. We have so far run into two - one being Argaloth in Baradin Hold, the other being Maloriak in Blackwing Descent. One of them is a single target DPS check (70k damage required for the whole raid (10) over 5 minutes), the other an AoE damage check (kill 315k health abominations within 15 seconds - damage is doubled, though). And occasionally, my groups fail.

This is something that can partially be improved with gear, of course. More shiny stats will improve general damage output and survivability at the same time. But the general issue remains - DPS have to be good this expansion.

I like it.


This is not enough. The old "DPS really needs to be above tanks" is still true. Possibly even more so now than it was before. In hard content, the speed of the kill matters.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Immersion breaking by name and profession

Just thought about something while popping out of a dwarven hut in the Twilight Hinterlands (or whatever they are called) - there are clearly not enough timed quests in the game any more.

In fact, are there any left?

See the problem was, my poor innocent questgiver said: "My daughter has been kidnapped by ogres - go and rescue her now!" and when I walked out of the hut I saw a flower. And then some ore. And another flower. And one thing lead to another and ... no, not that! I spent a while flying about, picking up whatever was not nailed down.

And then proceeded to rescue the bride to be. Daughter. Whatever.

There is just not enough pressure in game to do things in a timely manner sometimes. In fact.. nothing would have stopped me from wandering off to Uldum for a bit and solving the riddle of a pyramid.

Breaks immersion a bit.

On the other hand... maybe the name of my Deathknight was not ideally chosen either. It does completely ruin most NPC dialogue.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

20 Days of WoW - Day 16: Favourite quest/quest chain?

I was wondering what to put here. I was thinking about a lot of quests I had done, and especially about all the new ones in the 80 to 85 regions.

There were quite a few there that I liked - the wedding preparation and celebration was nice and different, I had to laugh at the Death Star reference in the King of the Mountain questline.

However, for a truly "favourite" quest or questline it would have to be something I'd like to do again. And even hacking the mainframe - and the followup - is not something I'm really looking forward to doing again.

Note: You are given the 'hacking' tool.

No, my favourite is an old world quest - newly designed with the Cataclysmic overhaul of the world. This one is available for Alliance in Northwatch hold (and there is a daily in Tol Barad). Blowing up boats just does not get old. I could do that all day!


Favourite quest: Run out the Guns!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

20 Days of WoW - Day 15: Favourite Battleground and Why?

Interesting question - and not one I can even evaluate properly at the moment, as I have not yet gotten around to doing Twin Peaks and the Battle for Gilneas.

I like the concept of Flagrunning more than Node Capture and Hold, so Warsong Gulch should be pretty high on the list. It is, however, a Battleground plagued by stupidity on my realms so far. I find it thoroughly enjoyable in the lower level brackets, and it declines steeply at maximum level.

I thought I'd like Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm - they looked like mostly symmetrical maps, they appeared to be sensibly complex, so you couldn't just be overrun by overwhelming force (I have bad flashbacks to Warsong Gulch in the Burning Crusade. Seeing a tauren warrior with the door riding up to the entrance, followed by a rogue with the twin blades of trade-chat-linkage, followed by 8 of their guildmates does not inspire confidence. However, I rarely have seen a victory in those games. I'm sure it's not the layout, I'm reasonably sure it's not me - but we loose an excessive amount of games there.

I don't like battlegrounds with vehicles. Fullstop. They are fiddly, stupid, encourage stupid behaviour and make it even less obvious what a good course of action is. They also occasionally make me sea-sick. So Wintergrasp, SotA and Isle of Conquest are right out.

I want some semblance of success in a battleground occasionally. After too many losses I just get frustrated and can't even treat it like a learning experience any more. Shouts like "let's loose fast" etc. don't help with the mood.

Possibly, just possibly, playing a protection warrior has something to do with the enjoyment, too. I have much more fun on my rogue or warlocks. But that is not part of this post, really.

So ... possibly unsurprisingly, my favourite battleground:

Alterac Valley.

There is a large PvE element in here, a tank is actually useful, the tactics need adjusting, but the area is large enough that adjusting mid-fight is not entirely futile. There are caves to explore, quests to complete and rams to tame.

They also have a trinket ... and back in the day, the battles in here used to take hours - possibly days. A strong defence on the bridge could lead to thousands of honourable kills. Good times.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

20 Days of WoW - Day 14: Healer, tank or dps?

Hmm. This used to be easy, but it actually depends on the situation (and on the game). The quick and easy (and in most cases right) answer is "Tank".

However, there are a few conditions.

One: This only applies to World of Warcraft (and to a lesser extend Star Wars Galaxies). I tried tanking in Everquest 2, Asherons Call, Asherons Call 2, Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragon Online. The only game I really "got" it was in WoW. Star Wars Galaxies is different, because Jedi was the only tank class and melee DPS class at the same time - and it was brought on late and rubbish as well.

Two: There are days when I enjoy something mindless. Now I do not want to look down on DPS, because performing at the top of the game is obviously easily as challenging as tanking. However, if you want to do okay, you can just play around with DPS and blow some crap up. It's fun, it's quick and for me it's a lot like a one-night stand. Nothing serious, but good fun now and then.

That said... I think I enjoy melee classes vastly over ranged. I appreciate the better view from the back, but I cannot really enjoy myself there.

Oh and healing? It terrifies me. I can't do it. I mean.. that's not entirely true. I can heal, as long as nothing goes wrong (or could in Nexus at level 72 - the last time I tried). As soon as the shitteth hath hitteth the fanneth, I flounder and fail. Not going to do that again.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Why Archaeology ROCKS!


That is all. Nothing more to say. And I need to get back to "surveying" anyway.

20 Days of WoW - Day 13: Which faction are you “for”?

Hmm. The obvious question here seems to be "Alliance" or "Horde", and I don't think I can answer that. Sure ... I play Alliance now. The whole war seems to be forced and unnatural, though, and I just don't get the justification of it all. Especially with larger threats looming everywhere.

The progressions changes from expansion to expansion as well - while Burning Crusade seemed to focus a bit on making Horde and Alliance cooperate, Wrath of the Lich King downplayed the whole thing a little - only dragging it out kicking and screaming when it was needed for the story. Now, with all the good deeds of Icecrown forgotten again by a dragon sitting on the clocktower, we have a hearty rivalry between Horde and Alliance again. Oh yes.

So yes, I can't decide. In fact, I don't want to decide. I think someone should brutally murder the leaders of the Alliance and Horde in their sleep and force the rest to work together in a malevolent benevolent dictatorship.

Someone who has a sense of priorities. Dragon first, then Barrens/Stranglethorn trade routes.

"That's the only way that we'll be able to beat the Lich King. Tirion has limits, the Horde and Alliance bicker amongst one another. The Ebon Blade has no such restraints."

I'll go with Darion - The Ebon Watcher and the Knights of the Ebon Blade.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Pet Tree Bug

A-ha! I bet that title caught you by surprise! It'll be content - and it will be about hunters and their beloved animal companions tonight. I shall rival Pike and Big Red Kitty themselves!

Right. To business.

I do play not one, but two hunters. Leveling slowly. Sometimes. Some of them. Okay, I'll admit it, it was just an experiment. But I enjoy it muchly. Especially now that there are Worgen and I can have one and I could tame a fox and name it Samantha (and the pictures are pathetic. Here, have a better one (NSFW)).

Aaaanyway.

So I trundled about, with my fox and my pig, using one in instances (with cower turned on) and the other outside (with growl turned on) unless I forgot.

And then I got to level 42 and got the third call pet. So it was finally time to grab a Monkey! Because monkeys clearly rock. And apparently fling poo - but wether that is a bonus or a problem will be decided later.

And because I am a good hunter, I actually fed my pet and named it (*) and decided to spend its talent points.

And then I found this:


Yes, Monkey obviously rocks. Monkey can also Dash! A monkey on speed - oh yeah!

However, Monkey can not learn the subsequent ability of Mobility, because that apparently requires one point spent in Dive. Which is a bit of a problem, because my Monkey does not have bloody wings!

So obviously I did a GM ticket and got the interesting reply: "This is not a known problem. Don't worry about it. Do you want to bother us further or just delete this ticket? Hmm? HMM?" (Not a literal copy of the actual ticket text, but surprisingly close).

Which puzzled me a little bit, so I actually went on and pestered them further and got a much nicer reply.



So, err, this is in fact an issue. And several players reported it already (I don't feel quite so amazing at bug-spotting any more) - but he's passed it on to the people who fix bugs. Yay.

Just in case you are still wondering: Bat, Bird of Prey, Chimera, Dragonhawk, Nether Ray, Sporebat, and Windserpent are fine. It's only Monkey, Ravager, Serpent, Silithid, and Spider that are bugged. If you've got one of those, you'll either have to invest into stick on wings (NentirelySFW), or wait for a bugfix.

(*) which is a lie - I'll do this later, when I can think of a name. The fox (Samantha) and pig (Excaliboar) were easy. The monkey is hard (and I wonder how many google hits I'll get from that comment).

Update to 20 Days of WoW - Day 12

Ha! So I did have an idea that Blizzard needs to implement. Or some addon author. Or something.

Have you ever been in this lovely position, per chance?


When you need roughly 140 volatile water to craft something and there are - yes - 140 of them on the auction house. In singles.

What I want is the ability to mark multiple purchase items in the auction house. Much the same as I would in my operating system. You know... Shift+Click or drag a box around them.

Something!

Anything!

P.S. And yes, I know I can buy one, set the price in Snatch to the same price I got the first one from, run a search and then click through them reasonably rapidly. It's still clumsy and horrible! I want a dragbox.

Warrior past 4.0.3a: Cataclysmic DPS - Fury or Arms?

I tend to assume many warriors were wondering about which spec would be "better" for their style of play in Cataclysm. Fury or Arms is the first (major) question - the spec and specific glyphs then are the second.

For the history: I leveled using a dual spec of Protection and Fury. Well... just Fury, really, because Protection is nice, but during leveling I want to kill things fast. I started leveling on the 8th of December 2010 and there was not very much information available yet. While leveling I heard time and time again that the new Arms tree was fun and competitive DPS.

I did play my first few instances at maximum level as Fury - with a spec pretty much identical to this (First post, headed - surprisingly - Fury). And I have to say I was happy with my DPS. It was certainly comparable to what other specs put out, sometimes even slightly ahead. Fury also has the enormous advantage of having a rotation built around Bloodthirst - and thus a self-heal. This means as long as you only rarely take damage, you'll eventually be topped up again. Even if the healers have to conserve their mana and ignore DPS in no imminent danger of death.

Luckily, I began reading the arms dps thread on Elitist Jerks. Somewhere (post 99, basically) is a compilation of damage results for arms - with a link to a simulator.

Now, if you can get the simulator to import your profile from the armoury (and by default it's set to the US version - some fiddling required) will provide damage results for an imaginary boss fight of 5 minutes length. And more importantly - it works for a large variety of specs (and classes).

My first results (and that is not in the gear I wear now - at the time of "decision making") were quite surprising. Apparently Arms seriously outperformed Fury with my gear. The theoretical DPS jumped from approximately 8500dps to 10300dps (let's not discuss how theoretical dps coincides with my results).


And much like the Battlemaiden of this questline, arms has the advantage of bringing Charge, Rend, Sweeping Strikes and Whirly Twirly Bladestorm with the spec.

So .. to finish with the prattling .. according to my theorycrafting (well, someone elses - my use of the simulator) Arms currently outperforms Fury for DPS. This will likely change over time and with better gear, unless the specs are better balanced than they were in the past.

What spec to use, then?

My suggestion deviates slightly from Our Girl Friday and the Elitist Jerks suggestions. I'd go for something like this for instances and heroic instances. There are several options really. The improved damage for Slam (Improved Slam, Arms tier 4) is a bit pointless and you can relocate those to Second Wind, Blitz or even Improved Hamstring. The points in Rude Interruption (Fury, tier 2) could go into Executioner instead - but I found most bosses in heroics do not live long enough to get the speed bonus more than twice. Incite (Protection, tier 1) is also negotiable and could easily turn into Blood and Thunder if you wanted more AoE damage.

And the rotation?

Well, get as much rage as you can before the pull (Battleshout, Glyphed Bloodrage, beating up a lurking tempest) and wait for your tank to position the enemy where he wants to fight them. Charge and apply rend to your primary target. After that, hit your abilities in the priority order of:

Colossus Smash, Mortal Strike, Overpower.

Make sure Rend gets reapplied as soon as it drops off (try not to clip at - I still fail at this) and use any excess rage for Heroic Strikes or Cleaves.

The amount of damage (and threat) is quite impressive.

One additional note: Heroic Leap (while good fun) is not a good ability to initiate combat with. It generates no rage and will leave your dps falling behind at the beginning - which is not made up for by the paltry damage the landing does. It is, however, an amazing ability to get away from bad stuff. Especially as it's targetted (and allows you to get away from Asaads Supremacy of the Storm at the last second for instance). Just keep in mind it requires a global cooldown.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

No more escort quests, says Spinks!

A while ago Spinks posted that the questing certainly had changed in Cataclysm. Now I agree with most of that post, but the first point "No more annoying escort quests" is something I heartily disagree with.

Let's just say there are still a few escort quests in the game. Let me focus my ire on two examples:

Exhibit A: Beer Run!


The Alliance in Twilight Highlands will be doing this. A lot. It starts innocently enough, with making sure the beer for a wedding ceremony arrives safely at the festivities. I was a little surprised when I first got there to see so many people on the same quest, but stupidly thought nothing of it. As long as you got the two beer-keg buffs, you're fine. Just take them through a canyon.


The second image shows why this can turn into a major annoyance. Part 1: You're not able to do the quest as a group. Everyone has to escort their own beer. Part 2: The escort help you get (in the form of a Wildhammer lookout) has selective targetting. He'll fight most of the Dragonmaw he sees. Except sometimes that means the ones of the person in front of you - and sometimes he just completely ignores threats and trundles on. So do your beer carriers, by the way. And not neccesarily both of them. I had days when one barrel of beer with an escort dwarf reached the finish line, while the second barrel of beer with my lowly self was still held up in the middle of the canyon.

Annoyance factor? Quite high - but mostly due to the bugs in the quest design. And the fact that I need at least another 10 days of it before I'm exalted with the Griffon Riders.

Exhibit the B: Walk a Mile in their Shoes!

Another daily. Accessible from Tol Barad Peninsula (the harmless part - the one where the portal leads). You can get up to 6 daily quests there, randomly chosen from a relatively large selection. So far, I was lucky - and only got this one twice.

What to do? Glad you asked. See.. there is a gnome. He's imprisoned in a keep. A standard alliance keep - layout wise. So you ride up the entrance, kill the guards, walk down into the cellar from the courtyard and find the (open - but let's not go there) cell.

You talk to your gnome (and again - ever member of the party has to do this separately) and he's up for a quick prison break.

And then you walk up the stairs and end up in the courtyard. Did I mention that you just came through here, killing the guards? Yep? Okay. He then wonders which way to go... and instead of asking the one who came in (that would be me) or refering to the standard bloody layout of bloody alliance bloody keeps (which is the same since Borean Tundra. You know.. where you got your second Northrend quest!) he decides that he must lead the way - and that he knows best.


So you are forced to escort him into the left side wing (the one labeled "NOT HERE!"), then into the library, then halfway up the tower on the opposite side before he comes back to the EXACT SAME SPOT and tells you that NOW this looks familiar.

You then take him to a horse and he rides off into the sunset.

Annoyance factor? In-bloody-credibly high. I am tempted to skip this one in the future.

No more annoying escort quests? HA!