Archive for September, 2012


The Wheel Turns

Cataclysm has been widely accepted as having been a failure on several levels. It’s reasonable to speculate that Blizzard took on too much for one expansion.

The talent system was reworked; the levelling from 1-60 was streamlined; Azeroth was retooled breaking the problematic Barrens and Stranglethorn Vale into two; flying mounts were enabled and many inter-zone regions were re-textured and landscaped (to allow for flying over them).

However, the talent system rework was flawed; the new high level zones were thematically disjointed and scattered across the map; one of the zones was widely despised (Vash’jir) and another dismissed as one long cut-scene (Uldum); the final raid encounter left the entire raiding community cold and the earlier content was more regurgitated classic content (Ragnaros, Nefarian and Onxyia, Zul’Aman, Zul’Gurub, Shadowfang Keep, Deadmines).

From my own point of view I grew weary of propping up the bottom of the damage metre with my warlocks. The situation was so bad that players abandoned raiding with ‘locks en masse. Blizzard tinkered with the Cata’s release with the result that the lowest DPS class also feature the most complex play-style. The Affliction ‘rotation’ was ridiculous and wasn’t rewarded with the kind of numbers the hard work deserved. Blizzard changed things again and offered ‘locks Soul Swap the they then had to glyph to make useful. The class was a mess and lacked reasonable Area of Effect spells for the entire expansion.

I was very happy when 5.0.4 arrived. Things couldn’t get any worse for warlocks and Blizzard had trailed a complete overhaul for the class. The only question was would the class emerge in a recognizable shape and would Affliction still be Affliction.

After some use in Dragon Soul I can say that currently Affliction is in good shape. Demon Soul | Soul Swap slaps Corruption, Agony and Unstable Affliction instantly so we can start rolling our filler and give us a much need burst, while keeping our DoTting flavour. My only complaint is that our filler spell is no longer Shadow Bolt and a channelled spell, Malefic Grasp. Frustrating since Blizzard changed things to make Life Drain an ineffective filler as they didn’t want us to channel when the heart of Affliction was always multi-DoTs and Shadow Bolt

Topping the metre in Dragon Soul is a pleasant reverse. It indicates to anyone harbouring a doubt that I can actually play the only thing in question is my commitment to Affliction Warlocks in Cataclysm. Bring on Pandaria and some new raids.

Technical Issues

The blog has been up and down like a whore’s drawers the last few weeks. I blame myself because…it’s my fault. That’s the trouble with hosting your own server: there’s no one else to blame. If you’re not into computers or find it too complicated skip down the page to Long Story Short. Otherwise, it’s your own fault.

[Long Story Long] My first mistake was deciding there were some advantages in upgrading. There probably are and I’m sure they’ll come down the pipe in the near future, but the grief…has been fantastic! If everything worked out of the box it would be no fun at all. I wiped my server and installed Canonical’s Ubuntu and then redeployed the Amahi Home Server components on top of it.

Now if you run Windows let me try and help, Ubuntu and Fedora are operating systems, Microsoft Windows is too. Fedora and Ubuntu are Linux distributions (like flavours) and do for me what what Windows does for you and your computer: provide a way for you to make your hardware do exciting stuff or indeed anything.

The rationale behind me switching from Fedora to Ubuntu was my love of the APT package management system: software packages, or source, I wanted to install, or build, on the server (that Amahi didn’t deliver as a one click install) would be easy to pull out of Ubuntu‘s huge software repository.

After I week of struggling to maintain any performance and keep the RAID5 array up and available I decided to scrap the array and give up on Linux Software Raid altogether, as simply not fit for (this) purpose. Every time I needed to reboot the server, I would diligently (try) to unmount the array and stop it. Every time Ubuntu restarted it wanted me to hit ‘Enter’ to scan disk or ‘S‘ to skip at the console. Not ideal for a headless, remote server. Every time I restarted the RAID5 array it would be unavailable for 8 -12 hours while it repaired! This is clearly not right.

Before I set off I decided to reinstall the base operating system and instead of giving Ubuntu another, third try I would rollback to, Red Hat’s community distro, Fedora. I would deploy a less radical upgrade to Fedora 14 up from the 12 I’d run very happily for almost two years previously. As I built back the server components I decided I couldn’t put off the RAID5 array any longer. If it was still going to be useful with Fedora I needed to see how stable it was and how long it took to repair. My first surprise was that the Linux Software Raid components shipped with the distro out-of-the-box. My second surprise was that I mounted the array and then started it…and it did not even offer to repair. All my 3 TB of data was present and assessable. That is why you have a server Canonical…

[Long Story Short] I upgraded my server and a lot of things simply didn’t work, my data was unavailable for most of the time. I eventually kicked the Ubuntu distro into touch and went back to rock solid Fedora. The blog and everything else should just be up and available now (again). Good old Fedora.

Well, I have some issue to address shortly. Then the lag-fest of the Pandarian starter zones will need reporting on. Until them I am having a little sleep.

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