The King is Dead…

September 7, 2010 at 1:41 am (Uncategorized)

…Long live the Kingslayer.

Apparently merging with the soul of an undead Orc shaman is better than HGH.

After that, the fact that we one-shot Halion (another new kill) and that I finally got my black drake just felt like piling on.  Though I’m not giving back the dragon.  It’s so pretty.

My inner RPer is in a bit of a conundrum, though.  For the most part, the nature of raiding (the repetitious nature of attempts to take down new bosses, the frequent dying) tends to take away from story immersion.  In part because of this (and in part because I’ve downed relatively few lore-heavy bosses) I tend to think of the bosses we down as tactical objectives first, characters second.

This time, not so much.  See, my dirty little secret is that I come up with backstories for my characters.  Not elaborate novels or anything, but a summary history in my head that helps motivate me.  And if there was a figure who loomed large in Kahleena’s backstory, it was Arthas.  Sent by her parents, with her two siblings (also characters of mine) to Northshire Abbey, to escape the plague (Kahleena’s mother having been a mage of the Kirin Tor, she had a better idea than most of the danger of the plague, and yes, I am the biggest nerd on the planet, why do you ask?), Kahleena’s entire purpose in pursuing the warlock’s path (as opposed to the path of the mage, followed by her mother and her sister) was to acquire power and pursue revenge.  Upon the Scourge and its leader.  This has been in the back of my head since roughly level 10 or so (which I would have hit sometime in late December 2006).

And now he’s dead.  At the hands of her and nine of her allies.

Which leaves me with a big ol’ heaping helping of ‘now what?’

What I will actually do, of course, is keep farming ICC, and probably down him over and over again.  Because that’s how raiding works.  And in that context, the sharp division I keep in my head between my characters and me helps, because I, the player, will be taking Arthas out with my guild.  That will be me, though.  For Kahleena, the story, is over.

At least until I can cobble together some vendetta against Deathwing.  Perhaps she bought some beachfront property in Auberdine…


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July 7, 2010 at 7:20 am (Uncategorized)

Some time ago, my roommate had his credit card information stolen – he believed (credibly) that it was somebody he knew, who stayed with us for a couple of days.  The thief used the card info with a number of vendors, one of which was Blizzard.  My roommate, over the course of investigating the matter (little-known fact:  cops, at least in large cities, will not bother investigating low-level credit card fraud or identity theft unless the victim (from their point of view, the credit card company) begins pressing the matter, which they won’t, because it’s not worth their time) spoke to Blizzard, and attempted to procure the real identification (ha!) of the person associated with the account to which the fraudulent charges were applied.

He was rejected out of hand.  Blizzard’s reason was that, for the protection of account security and customer privacy, they would not release that information to anybody but the account holder or the police.  My roommate pointed out that, whether he was the account owner of record, he had nonetheless been called upon to pay fees associated with the account, and should therefore be able to find out whose fees he paid.  No dice.  He found this appalling.  I defended it, and in fact appreciate it in a sense, because while I wished that “just this once” they would bend so the bastard who stole from my roommate could get caught, I appreciated that Blizzard would not bend on protecting their customers’ privacy.

To my roommate, I apologize.  I was clearly wrong.

As I mentioned over at RighteousOrbs, I have an unusual name in real life, and am a member of a profession (law) that requires that I keep a public-record address, either business or professional.  While I was unemployed, my home address and phone number were posted on the internet, and there was nothing I could do about that, save letting my bar membership lapse.  While unemployed.  In the job market from hell.  I will not deal with the chance that I’ll get stalked by some maladjusted adolescent – I will simply not post.

As Blizzard’s major bug-report, tech-support, and customer support venues are on the forums, apparently I’m cut off from those as well – indeed, from any customer support that doesn’t involve putting in a ticket.  This is completely unacceptable.

I’m not walking now because I have faith this idiocy will be reversed.  If it’s not reversed by Cataclysm, I’m gone.

EDITED TO ADD:  Chas’s post at Righteous Orbs is must-read.

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The stupid, it burnsss….

July 27, 2009 at 9:19 am (Navel-Gazing, Uncategorized)

Every so often, something happens that makes me wish Mighty Ponygirl were still blogging.  Apparently EA is….well, best to just go look at the story (hat tip: Tamarind).  Long and the short of it, as part of their promotion of their game “Inferno”, EA apparently encouraged men attending Comicon to molest the women who work the EA booth.

Let me just point out, that, I am not a lawyer…..oh, wait, actually, I am.  This is a deeply, deeply stupid thing for EA to do on that basis alone, totally forgetting what this stupid promotion says to women (and non-douchebag men) who might be interested in buying an EA product

They’re apparently apologizing, and indicating they just meant people should take their picture with the booth workers.  Because, of course, when I think of acts of lust, the first thing that comes to mind is a bit of tasteful photography.

And not that it needs pointing out, but one gathers from the description of the event that they didn’t have strapping young men (say, from marketing) for the women and gay men attending Comicon to molest take pictures with.  Go figure.

Just from a self-interested perspective, you would think that the jackasses who constantly lament that not enough women play video games might begin to consider the effect of this kind of behavior on women’s interest in gaming (and gamers).  And one wonders why those of us on the geekier end of the spectrum don’t exactly have the world’s best reputation.  Anyone else remember the whole GroperGate thing at WorldCon from a year or two back?

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July 21, 2009 at 9:10 am (Uncategorized)

….and in a somewhat better mood.  Mainly because my camping trip is over and done with.  Why did I think camping was a good idea?  Me, urban computer geek lawyer from Cambridge, Massachusetts?  Camping?  Really?  Complete with leaky tent, bugs, and the complete inability to wash my hands (I’m borderline OCD about washing my hands, though that, alas, doesn’t translate to cleaning my apartment).  Yeah, that was a well-thought-out plan.

Huh.  How did I get 2300 page views in one day last week?  Wow, the power of a Sylly link (or five) is amazing.

Anyway, to ease back into this blogging thing, two images demonstrating that Blizzard really does love the Horde best.

T9 Alliance Warlock


T9 Horde Warlock


They at least get to, y’know, look like warlocks.  Instead of Faberge eggs.

Just saying.

Wonder how Kahleena would look with green skin….

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RIP Legio Vici

July 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm (Uncategorized)

Sorry for the lack of updates here – I’ve been busy with real life stuff for a bit.  I still am, actually.  Plus, I haven’t had a whole lot to say until now.

I did just learn that, due to some upcoming real life commitments on the part of our guildmaster and one of the officers, my guild will be retiring as a raiding guild.  I certainly don’t begrudge that – I’ve been away from the game for a bit myself.  Still, it is sad – I’ve never been a guild hopper, and LV has been my WoW home for a while (and my only WoW home that wasn’t an insane drama fest, as I’ve  written before).  They’re a great bunch of people, and I’ll miss them.   They’ll be continuing as a social guild, so I’ll probably keep an alt or two there.  But it won’t be the same.

However, as to my main toon, Kahleena, I have to figure out what I’m going to do.  Eventually, the raiding bug will bite again.  I will probably stay on Duskwood, but no guarantees.  If the faction transfer happens, I could always indulge my occasional wistful regret that I didn’t roll Horde (Kahleena would look smashing in rotted finery, I have to say).  Finding the optimal level of asshattery (namely, as little as possible) is going to be tricky, though.

For today, though, I’ll probably just raise a glass to a great group of raiders, and enjoy a little respite away from WoW.  Off on a camping trip for the weekend – have a good one, everybody, and I’ll see you guys when I have something to say again.

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Warlock Q&A: Just noticed

July 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm (Uncategorized)

Nothing in there about curses.  Why does our key debuffing utility either not get used (because it overlaps everybody else’s debuffs), or gimp our DPS if we do use it?  Other classes don’t gimp themselves applying their debuffs.  Why is the debuffing class the worst debuffers?

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Q&A Feedback – Part 1

July 2, 2009 at 3:02 pm (Uncategorized)

Okay, further review suggests it’s a bit better than I thought.  Gotta say, not much “there” there.

I am passing on PvP discussion, because as I’ve mentioned, I don’t PvP, so others will be able to evaluate the answers there far better than I can.

Lich King made the warlock pets more interesting but we think there is still a lot of opportunity here. Some of the pets have abilities that just don’t get much use (Imp Fire Shield anyone?) while other pets could benefit from a couple more abilities. The voidwalker for example does all of his damage through just a simple autoattack. While we are slightly positioning the imp as a Destruction pet and the felhound as an Affliction pet, we think we can make the choice of what demon to use at a particular time more interesting. The succubus has too narrow a niche, and the voidwalker is still used mostly as a level-up pet.

Last I checked, the succubus was the highest DPS pet (post 3.2) for an affliction lock.  Felhunter’s only use that I can think of is eating the bone shields in Military Quarter.  And I’m not really sure Wrath made our pets more interesting.  More essential, yes, and a bit more likely to live through a boss fight, but not more interesting.

As we have hinted on occasion, we have a revamp of the entire system in the works. This is a big change, beyond the scope of the 3.2 patch, but we are confident — CONFIDENT — that the new system will be something warlocks finally enjoy. (I’m sure I will never, ever regret saying that.) We hope to be able to talk more about it at BlizzCon, but the basic idea is that shards provide a combat boost when needed without becoming a resource that needs to be farmed. Currently too many of the shard abilities are maintenance-like things such as demons and stones. Blowing a shard should be a big deal — an exciting moment. We want to make shards fun and remove the hassle, but we want to make them a core part of the warlock experience and not a marginalized feature.

I’m intrigued, but again, there’s no actual information here.  And the band-aid changes they have made are (unless you’re Affliction) steps in exactly the wrong direction (as I’ve said before, farming them is not really easier, it’s just impossible to prepare ahead of raid time to the extent we used to).

Q. As a follow-up to the last question, would we consider giving warlocks a better “aggro dump” ability? Currently, their one “aggro dump,” Soulshatter, has a long cooldown and costs a reagent.
A.We are going to lower the cooldown of Soulshatter to three minutes. We don’t think the shard cost is a big expense in PvE situations. Threat-dump abilities are tricky to balance. We don’t want these spells to feel rotational — you aren’t supposed to do say Curse of Agony, Immolate, Soulshatter, Curse of Agony, Immolate, Soulshatter. They are there for emergencies.

This is crap.  Cooldowns accomplish the emergency-only thing (and three minutes will more than suffice for that).  The shard cost is a big expense, because (particularly after a long night of wipes on a progression boss) you’re stuck between having to either provide your utility to the raid (healthstones, soulstones, summons), or using Soulshatter to avoid dying.  Or, in the alternative,  you can gimp your DPS (something no DPSer in their right mind should be doing on progression content) to farm shards off the boss mid-raid (which appears to be what Blizzard thinks we should be doing).  Yeah, yeah, I know, big changes coming, whatever – this is a problem right now, and the fix is trivial – remove the reagent cost from soulshatter (and drop it to three minutes, which is already being done).  Problem solved.  No game balance issues (particularly since this much-vaunted soul shard revamp is going to make the whole thing irrelevant “soon”, right?  Because this will happen soon, and isn’t Blizzard just jerking our chain – right?  Bueller?)

Two related questions:

A.There are a couple of situations like this in the warlock tree. The essential problem is we want locks to be able to go down their different trees. When you have something important like threat-reduction or range, it either needs to go very high in the trees where everyone can reach it, or you need to have duplicate talents that essentially accomplish the same thing. The problem with the latter approach is that confusing things can happen when you get both talents — either they stack (which is too powerful) or they don’t stack (which can be confusing or make talent builds difficult). The way we have tried to solve the latter problem is having some talents affect Fire / Destro and some affect Shadow / Affliction. Of course the problem with that approach is that warlocks use both kinds of damage spells. We recognize that we need to solve this problem, but sliding a lot of talents around is not the right way to do it, and also beyond the scope of 3.2. See below for a partial solution for the threat problem though.

A.This is the same problem I mentioned above. Moving the talent up higher is one solution, but it would have to be very high and whatever talents are there now would have to come down. This then becomes a pretty significant re-architecture of the talent tree. It is something we want to address, but probably isn’t a 3.2 change.

Okay, they’re acknowledging the problem exists.  The problem is fundamental to the class, though – frost mages don’t do half their DPS with fire spells.  Shadow preists don’t do half their DPS with holy spells.  Why the frack are affliction locks doing half their DPS with destruction spells (and vice versa, though less so)?  They seem to grasp the size of the issue, but at some point, we have to acknowledge that, as with the soul shard issue, all the “big plans” that are twelve patches out don’t fix things now (things that have been broken for some time, and soul shards have been a crap mechanic since the game launched).  They’ve been talking about the “big changes” to come in soul shards since Wrath launched.  It wasn’t fixed in 3.1.  It’s not going to be fixed in 3.2.  Why not?  Ditto the threat/range talent issue.  These are not new issues.  I get that they take time to fix, but WoW isn’t exactly a spring chicken.  At this rate the game will be at the end of its life cycle (it’s already well into middle age as it is).  And Blizzard’s we’re-going-to-find-a-neat-way-to-fix-this plans so often end up as nothing – anybody remember how they were going to spare us from having to equip our riding crops in our trinket slots?  They wanted to fix it the right way.  Instead, they threw up their hands and completely ditched letting us increase our mount speed at all (unless you’re an unholy DK or Paladin.)  Which meant a lot of vendored riding crops.  Having faith the Blizzard will fix this, given how long they’ve allegedly been working on it, is to have considerably more confidence in Blizzard’s competence than they have, I think, earned.

No discussion of Metamorphosis, a neat-but-useless 51-point talent, particularly compared to Haunt and Chaos Bolt, which are staples of their respective rotations.  I use it when solo-farming instances to kill a bunch of low level mobs.  That’s it.  That’s inadequate for a 51-point talent.

On a cosmetic level – green fire and a warlock-specific flying mount.  First, green fire would be nice, but I’d rather have a reasonable soul shard system than a cosmetic tweak.  However, it sounds like they want to do that wrong too:

A.We wouldn’t do it through a minor glyph. Originally, we were going to make the minor glyphs mostly cosmetic like this, but as we evolved the glyph feature we found that some spells just didn’t make sense to have a major glyph, so these became minors. We definitely understand some (many? all?) warlocks would love to have green fire and we’ll try and find a cool way to deliver on this. At this point, we’d probably rather do it with a flashy new spell rather than just change up an existing one, but we’ll have to see. As with the new druid forms, after waiting so long, we’d want to do it right.

So, Chaos Bolt, basically (which is green fire).  Great.  I think they’re missing the point – the green fire fetishists don’t want a green fire spell, they want all our fire spells to be green, so we don’t look like freaking mages.  Aesthetic distinction is the point.  As to the mount:

A.I think it fits the warlock kit pretty well to have some kind of crazy flying demon. We don’t have any art for such a creature yet, but we’ll keep it in mind. You’d have to go back to Dire Maul to get it. Okay, not really…

Cute opportunity for a joke, but “We’ll keep it in mind” means “Not going to happen”.  Can you really imagine any patch coming along where they don’t have something bigger or better to focus their attention on?  Yeah, me either.

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Warlock Q&A

July 2, 2009 at 2:14 pm (Uncategorized)

…is up.  I’ll have detailed thoughts later today, but for now, the phrase “uninformative crap” is what leaps to mind.

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Fallenman retires from raiding

June 25, 2009 at 1:31 pm (Uncategorized)

Warlock blogger, forum denizen, and all-around DPS guru Fallenman has announced his retirement (at least for now) from raiding.  He indicates he will continue to blog and post guides, which is great, but I’m sure that he won’t be quite the presence he was when he was raiding (real life, however, takes precedence every time).  Fallenman has long been a great asset to raiding warlocks seeking to maximize their DPS, and his withdrawal from raiding leaves a void – he will be missed.

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Oh my.

June 18, 2009 at 8:05 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s worse than I thought.  The comments at MMO-Champion are even more anguished than I expected.  This one (language is probably not safe for work) is probably my favorite, but frankly, it’s all good.

Part of me wants to tell these people, “Guys, take a breath.  It’s pixels.  You got the gear first, be glad for that.  You’ll still have it, even once everybody else does too (and, you’ll have those pieces you can’t actually buy for badges).  And you know what?  Since you’re so damned leet, by the time everybody’s running around in their T8 headpieces, you’ll actually have replaced all that Ulduar gear you’re currently begrudging the rest of the player base.  Because you’ll be ahead of everybody on whatever the next tier of loot is.  Congratulations, have a cookie.  Now, this game, and the Great Casual Peril, is not worth losing your $#!@ over, in what would be deeply embarassing fashion if adolescents were capable of feeling embarassment.  So Chill.  The.  Hell.  Out.”

And part of me wants to pop some popcorn.

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