Archive for November, 2010

EPIC fail2 AM, Violet Hold, normal. A group of four spawns in front of Voidy boss. There is no point asking where is the tank, he’s as far away from the action as possible, again! Mage takes the initiative, well you have to when it’s clear you’re the only one who knows his arse from his elbow…

[Amtty-Bloodhoof] lol you ran in
[Juta] Got all the mobs and organised them, marshaling them into a group. Watch and fucking learn.

Whoah…it’s OK, the meds are kickin’ in now.

The latest patch has been out for five days now. As Ruta was standing goggle eyed in The Barrens staring at the chasm of lava and scratching her ass wondering how she was going to get into Mulgore without a flying mount, others were occupied differently. As my chars galloped around Azeroth discovering new flight points and marvelling at the changes in the scenery other people were working on an agenda of their own. Eschewing the joys of exploring the transformed regions of the world and wandering around Orgrimmar completely lost, they single-mindedly sought out the Bilgewater (no really) Quartermaster, bought a Tabard and began rep grinding.

For those of you that don’t know the Bilgewater Cartel are selling a new mount: a motorised trike. To purchase this three wheeled, single seat vehicle you must be Exalted with the Cartel.

The new trikes seem to be everywhere, every other retard is parked up in one on every corner. Of course, these people are conspicuous by their nature and they hang around seemingly with no other purpose than to show off their latest accoutrement. Whether it’s Shadowmourne, the Kingslayer title or That Retarded Horse itself, a certain class of WoW player is only happy when they have been grinding twenty four hours, without breaking for food or sleep, for the rep to gain a new item. I only found the Quartermaster yesterday!

In game screenshot of the Goblin Trike

I’m bound to be accused of simple jealousy for my boredom and disdain of this flagrant penis waving. However, I have a Quel’Delar (OK, it’s not Shadowmourne but…) Ruta is also a Kingslayer. To sum up my attitude, I loved downing the Lich King and gaining the title Kingslayer and I sported that title all evening. The next day when I logged on Ruta went back to being Brewmaster Ruta and life went on.

I’ve always liked that motorbike, with sidecar, I don’t even know how to get the Engineering recipe, but now that it’s so last expansion I might go and find out. At least it’s got a side car so you can have fun with a friend, it’s the antithesis of That Retarded Trike.

I’m genuinely taken aback by what I’ve heard and read of people being upset about the imminent changes. People seem genuinely dismayed that Blizzard could ‘break’ their gaming world. Yes, I am sad that my beloved Stranglethorn Vale (the coast of a thousand fishes and floating wreckage) is forever changed. However, seeing The Barrens ripped in two is a joy and it will be a bonus if Dustwallow Marsh collapses into the sea.

I’ve always hated Dustwallow from the earliest days of my WoW adventure, when Fleetfoot was terrified of everything and used to try in vain to find a safe place to charge/pull to only pull an unseen wandering mob that seemed to have half the zone linked to it, I have always hated Dustwallow. I find WoW so immersive that the genuinely creepy places ingame have always given me the fear. Irrationally, Tirisfal is my spiritual, ingame home and I love The Undercity but I have no love for Silverpine Forest, Duskwood, Deadwind Pass or Swamp of Sorrows. Dustwallow Marsh I hate so much none of my other chars have visited for longer than it takes to grab two flight paths and maybe a Seaforium Device for some feckin’ goblin.

I haven’t seen any screenshots or read anything of the impending Cataclysm that suggests that any change may take place in Dustwallow, but I’m hoping that The Barrens, Desolace and Tanaris grabbed all the attention due to the extreme nature of their changes. I send up a silent prayer in text to the great creator of Azeroth, Blizzard developers, that Dustwallow does not survive unscathed. Actually, I pray Dustwallow does not survive period.

It’s no remarkable insight to observe that people hate change. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that this extends into our virtual world too. Just consider the uproar caused by removing a small spell, even when conflating some of its effects into another. Life Siphon for example, I myself bewailed the simplifying of the Affliction Warlock‘s rotation, dropping from seven spells to a mere six! The changing of a game mechanic has people /ragequit the game. Anger and nerd rage is de rigueur but sadness and distress that the whole of Azeroth is being ripped up and redesigned, forever changed and shattered? Yes, that is odd.

I’m really looking forward to it and not just because of the slim possibility that Dustwallow might disappear forever or become a happy, sunny, cheerful zone. Azeroth, and World of Warcraft is being destroyed and a very similar game world is emerging from it’s ashes. The king is dead, long live the king!

WTF LOLIs there anyone who uses no addons? I mean no addons at all.

Addons are great. The ones I’ve used pretty much fall into three categories: Essential; Useful and Pretty. I love them but they eat precious game resources and will slowly erode the performance of the game. I recently reduced my addon usage from over 125 to 87. However, running WoW through Wine in Linux Ubuntu I’ve had to scale my addons right back to the real essentials. So here they are, all 15 that I currently have installed and just have to have.

Bartender4 – replacement action bar. There are others, but this is the one I’ve got used to. It handles paging (where a new set of action buttons, for spells etc, is loaded when changing stances/specs) as well as the Blizzard bars and takes up far less screen real estate.

AmpereAmpere – a tekkub addon designed to ease addon management. You can load, enable and disable addons without logging out. Perfect for none essential addons you may only need occasionally. See Altoholic below.

Healbot – I can’t Priest heal without this addon. Healbot offers a grid that shows raid/part member’s health. the clever part is that you can then configure how the grid responds to clicks. Left, middle and right click are configurable and so are key modifiers: Alt; Ctrl and Shift.

Auctioneer – I cannot sell on the auction house without this addon. If nothing else it lets you compare market prices (compiled and averaged over time) and set the bid and buy out prices for you goods.

Deadly Boss Modsmuch improved event indicator, invaluable in raids and some instances. Better warnings of what is about to happen and what the boss is currently/next casting. Serious kit.

Decursive – perfect accompaniment for Healbot (or Grid) tiny boxes that change colour if a party member is cursed or diseased. Right click to de-curse, left click to cure diseases…or is that the other way around?

FishingAce – what do you mean you don’t fish! I love teh fishin’! This is the little brother of the excellent FishingBuddy. If you want to save resources or you just don’t need FishingBuddy’s all singing all dancing approach FishingAce is the replacement for you. Detects if you have a rod equipped, enhanced sound and enables the double right click cast. Double right click cast is the business, seriously. Try it you’ll love it.

Gatherer – remembers and marks on the map/minimap where you found those herb and mineral nodes. That’s it. Makes it easy to plan a farming route around a zone. Simple and invaluable.

Outfitter – some argue that this addon is redundant as it just does what the built in Equipment Manager does. This, however, is not correct. You can create several different armour/equipment sets and easily switch between them, right clicking the Outfitter minimap icon. Where Outfitter shines is in automation: it will, for example, switch to your PvP set as you port into a battleground or equip your Carrot On A Stick when you you mount up. Open up the cooking pane and your Chef’s Hat is auto-equiped. If you have a fishing set equip all your fishing gear and even bring out you fishing pet – well fancy that.

DoTimerDoTimer – Times DoTs on mobs, it’s that simple. It gives you clear information about when a DoT is about to expire so you can decide what you had better cast next. The genius is that it re-orders the timers so the first to expire appears at the bottom before, like the  DoT itself, it drops off.Quartz – improved cast timers. With a red section at the end to illustrates the effect of lag and helps you begin casting before your last spell is away. Essential for squeezing out maximum DPS in all situations. Has others function, but this is it’s core.

Recount – probably the best DPS metre (see Skada also). Will show everything (pretty much) from DPS and Damage Done or the healing and Over Healing during a instance or individual boss/mob encounter. Not for penis waving but for evaluating and improving your performance and rotations.

WIM – This addon becomes essential when more than one person starts whispering you or you are trying to chat in guild/party/raid and get a whisper. It opens up an Instant Messenger like window in the game a isolates the whisper. Great if you go for coffee, the new box on screen is the first thing you’ll see when you come back and the whisper doesn’t scroll out of sight.

I also use the following addons. I’m not sure I’d actually put them into the ‘essential’ category, but I find WoW too awkward without them.

FriendsWithBenefits – synchronises friends list between characters. I find this very useful with 8 alts.

Tourguide – quite simply an in game, event responsive, power-leveling guide. Beats addons like QuestHelper by recommending quests to take/leave and when to actually do them and it will not zig-zag you across a zone map or into other zones. It groups your grind sites and recommends things like: Kill Stuff and gives you a list of mobs to kill and items to collect for later as you travel around the zone.

Altoholic – this is the most controversial inclusion in essentials. Actually I have it installed and use Ampere to enable/disable it, so I only commit resources to it when I really need it. It’s a convenience app really and I mainly use it to search through my chars to find who actually has the item I need and know I have on one of them. Also list know recipes by all your chars so you can search those too. Cuts out allt he time you waste logging multiple alts to find single items and link profession to people. Invaluable? Perhaps not. A real time saver? Oh, no question.

In the crazy world of PuGs we’re used to new stereotypes appearing.

We’ve had the Go Guy: half the party is dead, but if the tank doesn’t pull the next pack he will. Even if he’s the healer. GET BACK HERE AND REZ!

The slow tank. “OK, is everyone ready?” Well, we are standing right with you sometimes in front, but still far back from the next group, so what do you think? “I’ll just do a ready check?”

The knock-back guy. It’s funny but he always seems to be a nerd raging, twelve year old, or is it just me?
[Tank] “Hey, please don’t do the knockback thing man.”
[Shaman] “stfu”
[Shaman] “nab tank”
[Tank] Look please don’t do it you knock the mobs out of melee range, usually in arc and I just gathered them up to tank them all together. My silencing ability is cooldown now, so I cannot collect in the two caster mobs again…”

[Shaman] “The caster is attacking me n00b!

[Shaman] “TANK!”

[Shaman] “u lost aggro. l2p n00b!”

One of the worst is the DPS who got sick of having to wait fifteen minutes for a group and bought a green shield and one hander on the AH. The “Didn’t want to wait in queue as DPS” tank. “I have a shield, how difficult can tanking be?” You are about to find out…and so is your party, god help them, the ‘green shield tank’ is leading your group.

Which reminds me of the other melee DPS tank guy. The one who always has aggro. I’m guessing the truth is they are very bad at tanking and this is their revenge.
[Tank] Can you come out of Frost pres pls.

[Tank] Pls stop taunting.

[Tank] Do you want to tank?
[Death Knight] I can. I’d do a better job that you you keep losing aggro.
[Tank] Stop Death Gripping mobs and I wouldn’t!

[Tank] Why did you queue as DPS?!

There is a new stereotype, the guy who has turned up at the end of the expansion. Love him or loathe him, we’ll have to tolerate this ass until Cataclysm comes out. The chain-pulling tank, the ‘speed tank’. When he’s your guildy and all of you are wearing ICC gear (you’re on a Triumph farming mission, I don’t know? To buy epic gems, heirloom gear…whatever, or just doing a quickie to get two Frost Emblems) he’s a godsend. In a PuG he could be your worst nightmare.

No ready check, no quick look around at the group. Only 4 people have ported in but the chain-puller has already collected the first three packs and is tanking them half way through the instance, caster DPS has been unable to damage because the mobs aren’t in range, melee is wishing they had longer two handers (say twenty five feet long). The tank dies then all 15 mobs carve through the DPS. Wipe.
[Tank] “WTF!”
The tank quits…the healer ports in and dies instantly.

[Healer] “Er..what happened guys.”
“The tank pulled three groups before you arrived.”

I’ve just levelled my Death Knight I have two lvl 80 tanks already so I collected no tank gear for the DK deliberately. I often find myself in frost presence half the run. Regardless of the DPS, maybe we’re all newly dinged on our play alts and cranking out 1 – 1.5K in our bad greens and poor blues, the tank leaves me tanking the last couple of mobs as he rushes on to the next pack…or maybe the boss.
[Healer] “Damn you’re a squishy tank mate.”
[Tank] “LOL Wot?”
[Healer] “No, not you…the DK.”

I’ve worked out what the problem with these speed tanks is: they’re either bored or arrogant, or more likely, both.

They’re bored of all the content. Their approach to heroics is: I need to get through this chore as quickly as possible, like a day at work. OK, when I burn through a random DTK with guild mates we don’t chain pull (all the time), but we do rock through in a good, and often very careless, pace. However, we still enjoy our game, we often bring alts and try to remember the rotations and laugh at each others alt-noobisherness.

“Dude, fear ward *someone* here. ;D”
“Fear ward? Oh yeah, I’m a priest! LOL on it.”

[Tank] “Mate I need *some* healz. :D”
[Druid] “What? Who’s healing this one? I r chicken LMAO”
[Tank] “Get in tree form! The hunter, ‘lock and DK can’t do it! C’uh can’t get the staff. ;D”
[Hunter] “I’ve got bandages.”

The problems become manifest in two situations. The speed tank simply ignores the whole party, deliberately or…I think it may just be deliberately.

[Tank] “speed run”
“Actually can we do the other two bosses, I can get upgrades and I really need the Emblems?”
“Me too.”
“I can get gear too.”
[Tank] “speed run dont like it leave”

You simply can’t do anything about tank arrogance. I can wait up to half an hour for a PuG and no tank ever waits more than three seconds…there’s a reason for that.

In the other situation you have an averagely geared tank or well gear tank who cannot play. Or worse the “Didn’t want to wait in queue as DPS” Tank. Now proto/failed/n00b tanks see ‘awesome tanks’ chain pulling through heroics in their T10 Sanctification Token upgraded gear and think that is how a good tank plays.

Once upon a time good tanking involved picking up one group, or a second, if god forbid they were pulled or we got a patrol, maintaining aggro on all (or most) of them, turning them away from the party and soaking up damage until the DPS could burn them all down. If you became practised at doing this and managing to pop a skull up on the mob you were focusing on, so the DPS to focus damage without pulling aggro, you were immense. Party survival, or at the very least progress, with at least some of the mobs dead before the wipe, was guaranteed.

Demonstrating your tank prowess now requires you to chain-pull through the instance, which also seems to involve showing a total disregard for the other party members. So now they all do it. Can’t chain pull – can’t tank. Now if there’s a wipe people leave the group and if it’s not the tank he will start flaming the n00b healer. The healer who said:

“I just dinged 80 so please take it easy.”
[Tank] “np i don’t need healz”

God help you if your healing set is coming together but you need more tier items and other drops to round out your set and mana regen is still a big issue.

“mb after the next group.”

This usually falls on deaf ears so you end up screaming “MANA FFS MANA!” to which the tank finally replies: “i dont use mana noob!”

Of all the PuG players you meet the speed tank is the one I’m starting to dislike the most. Whether good or abysmal they simply suck the joy out of doing heroics. Low level instances are even worse. People will regularly get so bored that when they stop for mana, the tank chain-pulls on, they lose the group, so they go for a coffee while tank and healer get their experience and Sack of Unhelpful Goods for them.

In normal high level instance dungeons you can still see the ancient art of tanking done well. The parties are quick and efficient and everyone feels they have a role and plays it well. Groups are friendly, any mistakes are followed by apologies and reassurances that it doesn’t matter and that ‘we’ve all done it’. Smilies, emotes and laughter are common.

With the speed tank don’t be surprised if all you get is a stony silence, recrimination, flaming and occasionally a Death Knight sighing a lot.

[A lot of the existing stereotypes are derived from an hilarious video at YouTube, by Eric (Wowcrendor), check his work out.]

I still don’t like them all.

OK, don’t get me wrong there is a lot of good stuff. The UI changes generally and the functional and appearance changes in the Talent UI and the new fewer talent trees are well thought out. The fact that you no longer need to scroll up and down the talent trees to see where all you points are is superb. Maybe all the other class changes will make more sense and work better when we’re all 85. However…

…QQ, Affliction Warlocks got burned again. I always thought that Affli ‘locks represented what defined our class: a bag full of DoTs that slowed, weakened and corrupted. So I don’t understand why Destro has had so much love since Wrath was released and Affliction has been the poor relation. OK, we had a brief renaissance post 3.3 when I applauded Blizzard for balancing the three specs perfectly, normalising their damage output. OK, Affliction did have the edge (in longer fights, of course) but the difference in real world play was more than disguised by minor differences in gear and play-style. Warlocks in raids did pretty much equal damage in pretty much equal gear.

When 4.0.1 hit all that was reversed again. Affliction ‘locks were back at the bottom on simulations and out in the real world a raiding ‘lock could expect remarks that the spec was not viable again. It’s no surprise that most just skipped happily back to Destro again. I don’t like Destro, it just isn’t for me, the burst damage Warlock spec just feels like a mage with pet spec. Evil, corrupting, shadowy DoTs are what make a Warlock, not gouts of coruscating fire; that’s a fire mage! Worse still I feel duty bound with my Warlock to use my Guardian as a damage cooldown, the first one we’ve ever had, so I have to have two pets up as often as I can to maximise my DPS. Two pets, c’mon!

It isn’t just my Warlock, Wrath main, either. Throw in new talents and often new rotations to learn and I feel like most of alts are unplayable. I just don’t feel motivated to sit down and learn how to play all my chars again.

So all in all after many of the purely equalising gains of Wrath, personally, I feel like I am back to square one. Affliction is nerfed and the poor relative of Warlock classes again. Warrior tanking is back in it’s ugly sister of tanking role, at the bottom, struggling to generate TPS and hold any aggro. The Arcane Mage has one spell: Arcane Blast. That ‘s hardly a rotation is it Blizzard? My Restro Druid has been robbed of Tree Form and my Priest has a chakra I do not even begin to understand.

I’m simply looking forward to Cataclysm and rolling my Undead Hunter and Goblin Shaman. They’re two classes I have never played so do not need to re-learn since I currently know nothing, and never did.

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