Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Patch Day!

So it's been a month. Yeah.

Last Poll: Death Knights. Yay or Nay?
Yay! (44%)
Nay! (22%)
Meh, don't care. (33%)

I wasn't terribly fond of DK's either, and I'm still not enthused about them, but I will say they have undeniably the coolest starting area in the history of EVER.

There will be a new poll up when I can get it to work. For some reason, Blogger won't let me change my layout right now. Very weird.

So Blogspot ate some of my blog and I had no idea. Fixed.

So as a side note, I was at Blizzcon this past weekend. If you saw the crazy girl with the "I <3 Eyonix" sign, well, that was me. I'll have a more detailed update on Blizzcon probably tomorrow. But for today, I'd like to talk about the new patch.

So while I'm relatively upset that I was not specced Retribution for raiding for patch day (and, indeed, have been Protection for a few weeks now due to our regular Prot Pally being MIA), it was nice that tanking was actually fun again. Especially when I'm running around pulling threat off the T6 warrior. There's something incredibly satisfying about that. I'm a lot more excited, however, to get a chance to raid as Retribution with all the new changes. I greatly wish I could do so tomorrow, but with our guild looking at Illidan and me being one of the few with tank gear AND FR gear... well, I'm not really going to get the chance.

A guildmate has already leveled his Inscription up to about 300 (or at least close to that before I logged off), and my own level 15 Rogue alt already has 90-some Inscription herself. I'm liking the flow of the new profession. Even as you level up through it, old herbs and low level things are still useful to you. I think that's kinda cool.

After our raid this evening, a group of us decided to pay good old Onyxia a visit, so those of us who never raided pre-TBC could get the achievement. It was fun tanking her - I'd personally never seen the encounter (since I never hit 60 before TBC), so it was really cool. The 20g reward just for killing her was nice too.

Too bad the Pally T2 didn't drop. I would've liked to say I had some of it. =P Though I'm sure we'll go and kill her for loot weekly now... It takes all of ten minutes. Tomorrow, we plan on getting the Leeeeeeeroooooy! Achievement. Should be fun. =D

Admittedly, I was very apprehensive about how we'd operate tonight with the new patch. Everyone was scrambling at raid time to put together their talents, figure out their new rotations, and generally organize themselves. I thought the Holy Paladins would trip up on their healing since they operate so differently now. I found myself giving advice on how to use Beacon of Light, simply due to the fact I've been more informed of the patch notes and changes than my guildies have been (I never realized how much more dedicated a fan I am to this game than the typical player is). It was kind of nice being a go-to person for information tonight; possibly because it's all too often that I'm just "that girl who plays" and not really considered an informed or important figure. Not being an officer in the new guild has a lot to do with that, though I suppose if our usual pally tank keeps being MIA, I may find myself upgraded sooner rather than later.

While I'm sad we didn't down Council legitimately (I.E. before the 30% nerf and the ridiculous DPS people are putting out now), it was rather awe-inspiring to just plow through BT while barely batting an eye. It took us 49 seconds to down Shade of Akama - I only had two adds on me in the center by the time they moved in on him. I think we only got three people killed on Gorefiend, simply from them getting the debuff (and the last guy's timer was nowhere near up by the time Gorefiend hit the ground).

This patch and the upcoming expansion are amazing leaps and bounds for the game, especially for Paladins. If you've lost interest in your class, Patch 3.0 brings a ton of new stuff to the table that makes you excited about the game again. And really, as a devoted fan, I could hardly ask for more.

Friday, September 12, 2008

4 Types of Beta Testers

Last Poll Results:
What role do you want to play in Wrath?
DPS - 50%
Tank - 20%
Healer - 10%
Haven't Decided - 20%

More people seem to want to be DPSers in Wrath. This doesn't particularly surprise me, since the ratio of DPS to other types of playstyles is roughly 4-1. >> I should write about that sometime...

This was posted over at the IGN boards. Ironically, I'm trying to win a beta key with it. >>


I think I'll take the opportunity to talk about beta hostility. There seems to generally be four kinds of people involved with the beta: Those who are part of it and do good work reporting bugs, those who are part of it if only for bragging rights, those who are not part of it and instead just glue themselves to MMO-Champion (or another similar site), and those who are not part of it and whine about the fact they are not part of it. There's probably people who don't care as well, but that means they're not really involved with the Beta in any way.

First off, let me start with the positive note: I love you people who are part of the beta and enjoy it, as well as do good work in making the game better. It means I will have fewer frustrations when I finally get to experience the final content. It means that maybe Paladins won't be a horrible class and even more horrible DPS option for the third round in a row. For that, I thank and salute you. You guys are awesome.

To the people who are part of the beta for bragging rights only - while I wish someone else had your beta key, you are still playing the beta and still doing things with it and contributing, whether you like it or not. So I laugh at you - HAH, YOU'RE HELPING! YOU CAN'T NOT HELP UNLESS YOU STOP BETA-ING! Even if you personally are not reporting bugs, by playing the beta, you're still providing information for Blizzard to parse, examples for others in beta to follow or not follow based on your actions, and spreading the word about how good or bad something is because in your need to show off, you have to have content to talk about. So, in a very backhanded kind of way, I thank you too.

To the people who are part of beta and browse forums and theorycraft and otherwise pretend we were in the beta without actually being a part of it (yes, I'm part of this group) - you guys are great too. We are the bridge between the privileged beta players and the regular live players. We can compare and contrast what works and doesn't work on live to what seems to work and not work in beta. We are the ones who keep playing what's out now so that there's still something to compare the new with. While not directly involved with the beta, we are still helping in a sort of ambiguous kind of way. So thanks to you too - keep up all the interesting topics and writing. It's how I keep myself from being bored at work. ;)

Finally, to those of you who did not receive a beta invite and desire to have the world know you didn't - seriously, there's lots of other productive stuff you could be doing. You could be enjoying things in live you may have not yet - level an alt, try a different spec, try to progress where you haven't, or deck yourself out in Season 4. Done all that? Then follow suit of the 3rd type of person I mentioned earlier. Keep your reading up on the stuff that's coming out and form constructive discussions on what's going on in Beta, and use your extensive knowledge of the things you already know to help those discussions remain useful to devs and other players alike. The point is, take that energy you have from quintessentially whining and apply it positively. You'll make the game you want to play so badly so much better by doing that - even if you don't directly get to play the beta yourself.

I understand the frustration in not getting a beta key - I'm in the same boat, after all. =) But I still do what I can to help the community, and I still raid on live (even transferring servers to a more active one in my time zone to do so) because I have a love of the game. I've always believed that in anything, be it a hobby or a job, the people who make the most progress in making that hobby or job better are the ones who are most passionate about it. It's about channeling your passion into something positive and constructive. If it means a better game, I'm more than happy to keep it up.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Moving On - Changing Servers

So my regular updating schedule of Tuesdays and Saturdays has pretty much been thrown out the window at this point. I'm still going to try to post twice a week, but I can't say when exactly that'll be. Hopefully separate enough that you guys don't get too much of my blathering all at once. ;)


I only bring this topic up because it's something I'm going through at the moment. As of this morning, I officially changed servers with Prettyboi. Therefore, he technically no longer exists (as the name wasn't available on my new server). So I just want to talk about all the issues I had with my guild folding and how I dealt with it, since I feel it's a very prominent subject lately with the coming of Wrath of the Lich King.

When I first started playing, I was but a lowly level 30-something Warrior, guilded only because my friends knew me and were hoping to make a tank out of me one day. I never managed to level to 60 before Burning Crusade, but it ended up being just as well - my guild fell apart and stopped raiding shortly before the expansion hit. It seems that a similar trend is happening at the moment. Many guilds are folding and disbanding, giving up their progression or finding further progressed guilds to hop on for the ride before Wrath hits the shelves. Some people say they're quitting so they can have some of their lives back before they devote it all over again with Wrath (and there's something intrinsically wrong with that statement to begin with, but I won't get into that). Others say they don't like the new changes and are going to go play another MMO instead. Either way, right now, a lot of devoted raiders are disappearing, and it's making it very difficult for those of us who still want to play and still haven't gotten to see everything get our chance.

Ever since I moved across the country, I had been unable to raid with my guild any longer. Having a two-hour time zone difference with my guild meant a lot, especially when I got a job that took later hours. The only times I could raid were Sundays, and even then, it was at such an inconvenient time for me that it would eat up my entire Sunday, rather than just the afternoon like it used to. I had eventually come to terms that, rather than finding a new job relatively soon (which I realized wasn't going to happen), I'd be better off finding new guild that raided at my new availability.

I wanted to stay on Mug'Thol, but since the server itself didn't match my times, I couldn't find anyone who would raid late. Can't say I didn't try. So I started looking around on other servers. Initially, I was willing to take anything. But finally, a group of friends talked me out of transferring to any PvE servers. I may have had an easier time finding a guild that way, but it would devaluate all the work I had done on my PvP server. It's really more of a mentality thing than anything else, though. That, and if I screwed up and wanted to come back, I wouldn't be able to.

So the months pass and I still hadn't found anything, and I find out that the guild I'm still a part of is falling apart. I can't say I didn't see it coming - there were certain officers of our guild who had a tendency to instigate arguments, or at the very least, not quell them when they started, which should be a primary function of an officer. In addition, we had a group of raiders who all lived together and when one of them didn't show up, none of them did - so we basically lost 3-4 core raiders every time someone was gone or had an event (it didn't help that most of them were healers or tanks). So between the animosity that was building and the attendence issues, we fell apart.

A couple of guys from my guild whom I am very good friends with approached me and asked me if I'd found a new guild yet. I hadn't, so they asked if they could tag along to find one. I figured there wasn't much harm in it, and I do enjoy raiding with them, so why not? It ended up being a group of four of us looking - which in all honesty was much harder than simply being a lone Prot/Ret pally looking for a guild.

Eventually, between a mix of posting on the WoW forums, posting on Guild Recruitment websites, and making level 1 BEs to run to Silvermoon and spam in Trade channel, we found a guild (just this week, actually). We finalized things in the last couple of nights, and two of us have made the transfer so far. It was really a stroke of luck - we found a newly formed guild whose progression was only slightly beyond our previous progression, and looking for our exact make-up of classes/specs. The only one of us four they didn't "need" was our best geared guy with SWP experience... who I don't think they're really going to turn away. =P

It's a tough decision. Even through I have some friends transferring with me, it will never be the same. I won't be Prettyboi anymore (the name was taken, so I've been forced to rename - and no similar names were available either), and I have to make friends all over again. I had to say goodbye to a lot of people. And there are many I will miss.

But if I wanted to raid and see end-game before the release of Wrath (which I do), I needed to move somewhere new. I don't want to be in the same place I was before with WoW - missing out on the whole end of the game. It was rough, and it took a while, and I don't know yet how it'll turn out in the end.

But I have a good feeling about it. =)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King - The New Holy

Hi guys! Missed me? Before I get into this with my usual grovelling about how I'm always late *coughs* I just want to say thank you to the people who do stick around, and even more so to those who comment. You guys are what make me come back to write more, and I really need the inspiration!

Also, if anyone is going to Blizzcon in October (for those lucky people who got tickets), I will be there if you'd like to discuss anything or just hang out and be merry. Look for a short haired, glasses wearing, petite girl with the name Prettyboi on her badge. I'll probably be accompanied by a guildmate of mine, possibly another if he manages to get a ticket from the opt-in. *crossing my fingers for you, Darn!*

Also, the last poll I posted was the preference of people on Servers. The final response was 25% liked PvP servers, 50% like PvE, and 25% liked both. There were small numbers this time around on the actual people who voted, so all I can conclude is that there are more people who play on PvE servers than PvP servers who read my blog. Interesting, considering I only play on a PvP server.

With that out of the way, let me jump into the WotLK stuff (finally!).


I don't pretend to know anything about Holy, really. It is, admittedly, my weakest spec, and people who outgear Kara DIE when I'm a healer (partially because my gear sucks so bad, but mostly because I'm just that terrible). About the only time I've done well as a healer is as a 2v2 Arena healer with an MS Warrior partner. But being good at Holy is not something that has ever really interested me, since *most* of the time, a Holy Pally gets to hit one to three buttons repeatedly and very few people ever thank the healers. Why would I subjugate myself to a thankless, boring role? (Note: Take my opinion with a grain of salt, please! I mean no offense to any healers, I personally admire you guys for sticking with it - it's clearly something I could never do.)

Anyway, I am reasonably intrigued with some of the direction they are taking with the Holy spec in particular with the upcoming expansion. However, certain aspects of what they tweaked just don't sound right to me. First off, we'll start with the knowledge of the spec I DO have.

When I frequent the WoW forums, there's a list of things that I hear Holy Paladins complain about. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of these:

-Holy Shock is more or less a joke, and the cooldown prevents us from being able to heal on the run like every other healer can
-Lack of HoTs is debilitating
-No AOE heal, on top of lack of HoTs and a weak instant cast make us the least versatile healer
-We rely on downranking for mana conservation, rather than having spells that actually support mana conservation or an active way to regenerate mana (Seal/Judgement of Wisdom requires melee, something a healer should never be doing)

Now, these are some of the fixes seen so far to alleviate these issues:
-Holy Shock's damage ratio has been adjusted multiple times, its cooldown has been lowered. In addition, it's usefulness has increased from being an unreliable clutch heal to a supplemental heal that assists Holy Light.
-We have an AOE HoT as our 51 point talent.
-If specc'd into Retribution, our critical heals also provide a HoT
-We have an Evocation-like ability now.
-We have a shield somewhat similar to Power Word: Shield, only not as strong

Now there's a few problems with these fixes. First off, while we gained one new spell to alleviate some of the problems we have (Beacon of Light), it's very situational and very expensive to cast. Since it turns a specific target into the source of the healing, you have to make sure it's someone who isn't going anywhere and someone who will be affecting the most amount of people to make the spell cast worth its while (casting on the tank to heal all the melee is probably the best bet I can think of, but I'm hardly an expert). Right now, it's more advisable to spec deep enough into Retribution to get Sheath of Light for the HoT on Critical effect, which is much needed by Holy and not really needed at all by Retribution.

I appreciate what they were trying to do with that (make Retribution a somewhat viable back-up healer), but Retribution never asked for that while Holy did. In addition, many of the gimmicks that they want to give Holy, such as Judging to get benefits to their healing, is something that should have been intrinsic to the class design from day one. While I personally like the concept, I don't know how it will mechanically work out. I also doubt other people will go for it simply based on precedence - meaning that they're so used to being Priests in Plate and not being anywhere near the fight that many won't take the initiative to change their play style. After all, with an option much simpler by, ironically, speccing into Retribution, why would they have to?

I don't think the Evocation-like ability is all that helpful either, especially since the main reason you'd need it is if you were spamming AOE heals. You can only spam the AOE heal 3 times in a row before you're out of mana, and all that means is now you can do it 6 times before you're out of mana.

These are really just some basic observations from someone who knows very little of the matter at hand. I do not have a beta account, so I haven't experienced any of these changes, and my understanding of Holy as a spec is quite limited. But for what it's worth, I don't think the Holy Paladin has been "ruined." I just think it's different now. Sufficient? Well, that I can't say without experience. I do think that they're likely lacking in certain areas, perhaps even to the point where they won't be one of the best single-target tank healers anymore. That doesn't leave much for them to be, or give them much use. I also dislike the idea that you have to have so many points in Retribution for the current optimal build. That's ridiculous.

Something needs to be changed. I don't really know what, and I don't know the fix, but I will concede that Holy Paladins had the worst "upgrade" in the Paladin class, and likely the worst upgrade as a healer, overall. I respectfully request that Blizzard take a look at what they did, and find out what works and what doesn't, and quickly. I understand it's a beta and there's time to fix things... but with their focus being spread all over the board, some things *will* be missed. And I wouldn't be surprised if Holy Paladins are one of the ones getting the shaft this time around.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is Season 4 Fair? - Part 2 of "Welfare Epics"

Yeaaaah, this is late. I'm just not going to make an excuse and jump right into things. XD

Admittedly, my article on welfare epics was outdated long before I posted it. So think of this as a bit of a continuation of that article so I can update the argument to include the newest content.

Last time, my argument was that there was some relative truth to the "welfare epics" theory. Generally speaking, the PvP gear is interchangeable with PvE gear despite stressing different functions (longevity versus instantaneous results) and the same is not true vice versa due to the resilience stat. So the new question is, if Seasons one through three were comparable to Tier four through six, what does that make Season 4? Is it unfair that there's a Season 4 available and not a Tier 7?

Now, my first instinct is to say the PvEr's got first advantage with the release of Sunwell in patch 2.4. However, before I form a real opinion, I need to compare the available gear to one another to see which, if either, is superior. I will once again compare Paladin Holy gear for simplicity's sake.

Sunwell |||| Season 4
------- |||| -----------
Armor..............8104 |||| Armor..............8055
Stamina...........207 |||| Stamina...........313
Intelligence.....194 |||| Intelligence.....192
Spell Crit.........93 (100) |||| Spell Crit.........185 (189)
+ Healing........550 |||| + Healing........397
+ Mp5.............65 (70) |||| + Mp5.............0
Resilience.......0 |||| Resilience.......136 (143)
Spell Haste.....64 |||| Spell Haste.....0
5x Red Socket |||| 4x Red Socket
3x Yellow Socket |||| 2x Yellow Socket
3x Blue socket |||| 0x Blue Socket
1x Meta Socket |||| 1x Meta Socket

It is also worth noting that there is no set bonus for having the Sunwell pieces - they aren't part of a set, I'm just comparing the two sets. The lack of slots in comparison on the S4 gear is made up by the two miscellaneous bonuses: The Glove equip which gives a +2% crit chance to Flash of Light spells, and the 4 pc bonus which gives +30% healing to Holy Shock spells.

What we see here is a relative change, but not because of the direct scale in between the gear. Only because we have, at this point, reached the highest tiers and it's gear expectation that scales terribly, not the gear itself. While you could gem for a decent amount of Mp5 to make up for the deficiency, it wouldn't be *enough* for Sunwell standards. To be honest, that could also be true for the S3 to T6 comparison. However, wearing S4 would make you pretty much set on T5 content and under - and it's arguably quite easy to get at least a couple pieces of S4.

The problem of welfare epics, therefore, is not that they're interchangeable at the same level, but that they are easier to obtain to blast through lower level content. Basically, you can skip T4 content, jump straight into T5 and early T6, and get to late T6 to Sunwell content without half the effort other players put into the work. That is the ethical issue that I, and many others, have the problem with.

Even badge gear can't be considered "welfare" as you really do have to work to get the amount of badges it takes to get similar gear. Heroics aren't easy unless you have people way outgearing it, and it's simply a lot easier to grind honor or arena points than it is to farm badges. Perhaps that's a personal opinion, but anyone can jump into a BG or make a 2's team for points - gathering a tank, a healer, and two others to do a Heroic (or gathering a 10-man raid for Kara) is a little more difficult.

What I think I'm most annoyed with is that Blizzard keeps saying they try to make PvP and PvE interchangeable, yet they failed miserably at it by introducing the Resilience stat. There really wasn't a reason to introduce it in the first place - all it really accomplished is screwing over all crit-based damage classes, such as Rogues, Mages, Retribution Paladins, and Boomkins. They all *rely* on their ability to do burst damage, especially when fighting healers. All Resilience did was tip the scales in the healer's favor for survivability - it doesn't really help any of the other classes or specs.

To answer my self-imposed question, Season 4 is not fair - at the very least, it provides near-equivalent T6 (or superior in some cases) Gloves to every class except Tanks for practically no effort. As to the answer for Welfare Epics, while I don't like the concept, I can't say I don't use them. Granted, Blizzard didn't provide me in particular much of a choice - let me know when you see some actual Retribution Paladin gear drop in PvE content. I'll start looking for the flying pigs. =P

Tomorrow, I'll start the delve into the new Paladin talents. That will be the next three posts - distinct analysis on each of the trees for paladins. Unfortunately, I won't be doing this for other classes, since I simply don't possess the knowledge for high-end talents for any other class. Though I may be persuaded to do some rough one-day analysis of particular classes and my thoughts if people really have a demand for it. Simply comment in the next few days and I'll be happy to comply!

Friday, July 18, 2008

90% of All Statistics are Made Up - "Welfare Epics"

Sorry for the tardiness on this one - this week's been rough. Rest assured there will still be another post tomorrow. Expect a continuation; this article is a bit old and written before Patch 2.4, so I don't take into account Sunwell or S4 gear. I will focus on that in particular tomorrow. Think of this as a primer. =)
Every time I find myself browsing the WoW forums, the biggest "problem" I see peoiple complaining about is the amount of people who never get to see end game content. It's a different percentage every time I see a new thread (though the average seems to be about 6% actually seeing end-game). I can sympathize to an extent. After all, I want to see end game as much as anyone else does. But I feel there's a point that most people are overlooking.
I feel because of the ease of obtaining PvP gear, everyone seems to feel that the game is obligated to hand everything to them. The only class functions who do not benefit from this "welfare epics" system are the tanks - after all, PvP gear has no useful PvE stats for defense and avoidance. Back to my point, people don't have to progress entirely through early PvE content to see later PvE content anymore. This is only true because of the removal of all attunement requirements, from SSC/TK to Hyjal and Black Temple.
What happened when the Hyjal attunement requirement got removed? We saw an influx of PvPers wasting their way through Archimonde after having spent months at the top of Arenas. We saw all the BG farmers use their easily gained PvP items to plow through PvE content.
Allow me to take a step back again. Neither PvE or PvP is easy. At least, not at the furthest tiers. Black Temple isn't a cake walk, and neither is 2k rated Arena. At the very least, Blizzard did a good job of scaling gear requirements for both sides of the game. Running battlegrounds over and over again is much akin to running 5-mans or Heroics repeatedly. Low rated Arenas are kind of like T4 content, mid rated is like T5, and high ratings are like T6. The gear represents these comparisons.
What I have an issue with is the effectiveness of low season PvP in PvE content when the low tier gear for PvE content is practically useless in PvP. Yes, resilience doesn't matter in PvE. But often times, the other stats more than compensate for these wasted points.
Let's make a direct comparison, from the T4 gear to the Season 1. I'm going to use the Paladin Holy gear as it's the easiest to compare between and the best for my own personal knowledge to make educated statements about.

Tier 4 |||| Season 1
------- |||| -----------
Armor..............6136 |||| Armor..............6284
Stamina...........163 (169) |||| Stamina...........209
Intelligence.....164 (167) |||| Intelligence.....141
Spell Crit.........67 |||| Spell Crit.........130 (134)
+ Healing........396 |||| + Healing........257
+ Mp5.............22 (24) |||| + Mp5.............0
Resilience.......0 |||| Resilience.......124 (131)
1x Red Socket |||| 4x Red Socket
2x Yellow Socket |||| 2x Yellow Socket
3x Blue socket |||| 0x Yellow Socket
1x Meta Socket |||| 1x Meta Socket

So, basically, as expected, the S1 gear is made for survivability while the T4 gear supports longevity. While you could easily socket for MP5 and get only slightly lower amount in the S1 than the T4, the same cannot be said for the lack of resilience on the T4 (not that anyone really sockets for resilience as it is). While Blizzard has supposedly supported the interchangeability between PvP and PvE, it seems the PvP items are generally itemized better for this swap than the PvE gear is. This only becomes slightly less true at higher tiers.

Tier 6 |||| Season 2
------- |||| -----------
Armor..............7415 |||| Armor..............7415
Stamina...........193 |||| Stamina...........268
Intelligence.....173 |||| Intelligence.....166
Spell Crit.........116 (118) |||| Spell Crit.........158 (162)
+ Healing........522 (542) |||| + Healing........341
+ Mp5.............42 (44) |||| + Mp5.............0
Resilience.......0 |||| Resilience.......136 (143)
0x Red Socket |||| 4x Red Socket
4x Yellow Socket |||| 2x Yellow Socket
4x Blue socket |||| 0x Yellow Socket
1x Meta Socket |||| 1x Meta Socket

While you have more gem slots in the T6 gear, you still can't make up the deficiency in resilience. And though meeting Mp5 standards in S3 is difficult and won't be on the same par, it's still do-able. On top of this, there is much more availability in other slots (trinkets, rings, misc armor) for Mp5 than there is for resilience.

I do not claim this is an absolute truth for all specs and class combinations, but I do believe I'm onto something. Perhaps there is a truth in the Welfare Epics theory after all.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about Season 4 and the fairness of giving PvPer's the option to higher end gear than is available to PvE'ers - or whether that theory is debunkable.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Alliance Vs. Horde - An Interesting Dichotomy

Before I get started with today's topic, I'd like to point out the nifty little polls I've started using over there on the right. Last week I asked if people played the same gender as they actually are - here are the results:
4 said Yes (80%)
1 said No (20%)

While this is a very small number for ratios, I didn't expect a huge response as I have no way of knowing how many readers I have to begin with. But! I hope that these become another draw for people to be active and participate in discussions in my blog - what I write is just a beginning, it's up to the readers to really flesh it out. I hope my humble little blog becomes an interest as far as a place to have discussions, just as much as its a place to read interesting articles.

As for an update from me personally, I'm much more settled into my new life, though my WoW life is still suffering. A three hour time difference has me unable to raid with my guild anymore, so I've taken a more active interest in PvP. Sitting in 2/5 Brutal already, I'm hoping that in the coming weeks I'll improve my arena rating with my Frost Mage buddy and get somewhere good... Provided I'm not forced to switch servers in the mean time. =(

Now, for the actual topic you guys came to read:

Something I've always thought about is whether or not the violence the two factions perpetuate is right or not. Naturally, that behavior is allowed, no, encouraged on PvP servers, and I'm sure the animosity between the two is just as thick on the RP servers. Even people walking on the street in real life will see my Horde button on my bag and send me a glare, or even shout "For the Alliance!" in my direction. And trust me, I respond in kind (I'm sure some of you will find the image of a 5'3" petite girl shouting "For the Horde!" in public Los Angeles highly entertaining).

Yet, the base story for all conflict currently within the World of Warcraft does not explicitly pit Horde versus Alliance. Neither is more good or evil than the other, when it comes to current events of lore (except maybe the Blood Elves. Those guys are pretty *$#$ed up). The bad guys are always a third party, as early as the Scarlet Crusade and as late as Illidan or Kil'Jaeden themselves.

I understand that the current situation is special. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that jazz, right? And yet, for all the "working together" we have in the current storyline, we still kill each other on sight, regularly wage war on each other in battlegrounds, and generally harbor a sense of hatred that is, essentially, racially oriented.

Now, I'm hardly accusing Blizzard of promoting racism. Inciting such against a non-existent race isn't grounds for much of anything. This is merely an observation that I find particularly interesting. Above all, I recognize this is a game and nothing more. I just enjoy social commentary (though if you've been keeping up with my blog for a while, I'm sure you've figured this out by now).

I would like to see more instances of forcing the Alliance and Horde to begrudgingly work together, and not just indirectly as we have been (via the Shattered Sun Offensive, for instance). Scryers versus Aldor content would be entertaining - but it would be counter-productive lore-wise. A'Dal certainly wouldn't stand for it. We do have Wrath of the Lich King around the corner, of course, and it leaves lots of room for creativity. We have to fight off the Scourge once more. Jaina Proudmore has more than a beef with former Prince Arthas. Lady Sylvanas Windrunner is leading the Forsaken against the threat, likely to settle her own personal score. Will one get to the Lich King before the other?

Or will they take him down together? I'm curious to find out. And I eagerly await the answer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To Gank or Not To Gank - PvP Servers

Sorry for the lack of a Saturday update - I was away at Anime Expo this past weekend and unable to post. This Saturday will be a normal update day though.
Since I went over RP servers, I figured I should do a similar topic for the PvP side of things. As PvP is hardly dead (and indeed, more encouraged than any other part of the game in my opinion), I thought I'd touch on the habits and ethics of this nature of gaming instead.

Every action on a PvP server is always automatically justified by the fact that you rolled on a PvP server. End of story. Anything that happens to your character is intrinsically *your fault*. To an extent, I agree. But it brings up the question of what is typical behavior and when does it cross the line into malicious?

I don't gank others much myself. Granted, a good part of that is because the nature of my character is usually defensive and not offensive. Most of the time, though, it's because I consider how irritating it is for me to get ganked, so I don't bother. And even when I do get provoked or killed, I just go about my business. It's difficult to seek Retribution if you're not specc'd it, after all.

I also play on the theory I grew up with: if you stop being fun to pick on, the bullies will leave you alone. As most gankers are just looking for a fight, usually if you either prove too much a thorn in their side or if you don't put up a fight at all, they'll lose interest with you and leave you alone. If it's not worth their time, they'll not waste it.

Conversely, you have the 70's who hound STV ganking people because it makes them feel superior. There's not a lot you *can* do about them, unless you have your own 70 or there are others on your faction who are roaming around combating the ganking themselves. You can either run or die, and those are usually your only choices.

However, if you can find a creative way to hold them off, I wholeheartedly endorse it. Once, my female Orc Warrior was being chased down by three 70 Allies. I knew there were a group of Horde 70's fighting off gankers in the area and they had been looking for this particular group, so I managed to alert them in the LocalDefense channel. They invited me to group and tracked me down. Luckily enough for me, they weren't too far away, but I still needed to keep the Allies busy. They'd surrounded me at this point, so I dismounted my slow mount. Without really thinking about it, I targeted the gnome warlock and... started dancing.

Obviously, they thought this was hilarious and all dismounted to dance with me. Some emoted laughs, clapped for me, one flirted... and right in the middle of this, a group of five Horde 70's mow them over out of nowhere.

While the PvP environment can incite some pretty ugly behavior, it's for the moments like the one I just described which makes it often worth the risks. It's fun and exciting, and sometimes downright hilarious. The jerks aside, it's a fun place to play. So, despite it all, I'll grin and bear the anguish inherent with the hostile environment and never regret the nature of the server I rolled on.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

RP Servers - Are They Dead?

What a wonderful topic for me to come back on. I'm not dead yet, I swear! =) I've just been settling into a new life in glamourous Hollywood *cough* and been enjoying the limited amount of freedom being an adult endows. It's not really all that much. In fact, it may be more restricting than being a student. But I'm here to blog about games, not life. So I'd like to talk a little about one of my long-lost loves: Roleplaying.

I like roleplaying. Anyone who knows me outside of my guild will know this about me. In Dungeons & Dragons and in chat rooms, I greatly enjoy taking on an alternate persona. After all, by training and trade, I'm an actor. Mostly for fun now, but it's still a passion of mine. So naturally, I have on at least one occasion attempted the RP experience offered by World of Warcraft.

My first experience with an RP server was when I created my human rogue on the ever-infamous Feathermoon server (if you don't know why it's infamous, well, do a search and I'm sure you'll find an interesting tale concerning the Deeprun Tram). This was before I really understood the mechanics of WoW, and had my own aspirations for what I wanted my rogue to become (regardless of whether or not that was possible for said rogue). This was, I believe, my first Alliance character (at the very least, my first human), so I was rather enjoying my exploration of a "new" area. Around level 15 or so, I found a rogue-only guild called the Cutthroat Crew, named for a particular alleyway in Stormwind City, and was quickly accepted as something akin to the guild princess. This was mostly due to the fact I was, at the time, the only female among us. I had fun bantering with some of the more flirtatious vagabonds (nearly all of whom were also human), but this rogue borrowed from my D&D incarnation of her: she only appreciated the company of those with an elven heritage.

Yet there was one time she was almost swayed from her typical predjudice of other races (including her own). However, I'd like to do that little excerpt justice, and I'd be digressing a bit too far from my point.

My point is, I had a rich history of fun interactions on my RP server. After I effectively left the server to level on Mug'thol with the majority of my friends, anytime I returned, I could never quite experience the same magic. Gone were the days of seeing "Rogue LF RP, pst" in trade, and in came the same trite Barrens-esque chat about Chuck Norris and your mama. I would never run into another kind hearted player who would practically sacrifice themselves for my benefit, all in the name of character-driven chivalry. I would never find another kind gentleman to address me as "M'lady" while I tried to hide my true, shadowy nature.

So my question is this: Is the RP element of the game dead everywhere, or just on Feathermoon? Are there better servers out there where I could take or re-roll my rogue for this purpose?

I rather enjoy RP servers, or at least their intent. I'm sure I'm not the only one. If anyone could direct me accordingly, I'd be most appreciative.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Impending Return

Hello again, faithful readers. (All, what, three of you? hehe)

I just wanted to let those who are actually interested and concerned with this blog know that it is, in fact, *not dead.* I have successfully graduated from college, made my move to Los Angeles, and am in the midst of a job search. So right now, my schedule is very tentative and ever-changing.

I have many articles written in a notebook, and plan on posting these as soon as I can. Part of the problem is they're still packed away. =P But once I find them and settle in a bit more, which will hopefully be in the next week or so, I'll be able to start a regular posting schedule again. I have much to talk about, and rest assured I've not given up on writing exciting and insightful articles about my favorite game.

Sit tight! I'll be back soon.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unnannounced Hiatus

Hello everyone.

Sorry to have been MIA for so long, but my blog has had to sit on the bottom of the pile lately. I have only three weeks until I graduate, a convention this weekend, and an impending move in April that I still need to plan for. While I have a few articles written out in my notebooks, it has been difficult to find the time to transcribe them.

In addition, these posts will no longer be cross-posted from Gathering Gamers. As I've had to take this hiatus, it didn't make much sense for me to keep taking up their time working for them. However, I do still encourage everyone to check out their site. It's a nifty little gaming community, and it would be really cool to see it grow into something much grander.

In the news of what I've been doing in WoW, I have respecced and started raiding as well as PvPing as Retribution. This is mostly due to the demands of raiding and having little place for multiple tanks, so I volunteered to step down and play another role for a while. However, I haven't given up on tanking and it's still my knowledge forte (if I do say so myself), as well as what makes me really love the game. I hope to respec back relatively soon. =)

Just as a taste, here's a few of the topic titles I have coming up:

Alliance vs. Horde - The upcoming struggle
RP Servers - Are they dead?
PvP Servers - To gank or not to gank?
90% of all statistics are made up - "Welfare Epics"

I hope that gives everyone something to look forward to!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Death Knight - Speculation

Cross-posted from: Gathering Gamers

I'm a pretty frequent troll on the WoW forums. While I'm not online all that much outside of work and raids, I've picked up on a lot of rumors and tidbits on the upcoming WoW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. By no means, however, should anyone consider my words the full truth. What lies herein is mostly pure speculation, sprinkled with Blizzard-based specks of information. Short version? Don't quote me on this.

When Blizzard first announced Hero classes, I got really excited. My initial understanding of the concept was similar to prestige classes in 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons. I liked the idea of specializing my character. I was even looking forward to it.

When Blizzard clarified that Hero classes were going to be an unlockable class which allowed you to roll a pre-leveled, separate character... Well, needless to say, it was an understatement to say I was disappointed.

Why call it a Hero Class and make it stand above all the rest when the only difference is that you get a 50+ level head start? Why give up a character you've played, leveled, and progressed with so you can play this new one? And while it supposedly fits the theme of the new Northrend area, why give the subjective "good guys" an inherently evil class?

Now, I know you all are just bursting with rebuttals, but give me a moment and I'm sure I'll get to your point.

Why, for instance, do they call it a Hero Class? The only thing that makes it different is that you put less work into it. Let me clarify- you put less work into the actual class. The reason I could never buy an account (other than terms of use violation, of course), or roll a non-paladin pre-made onto the PTR is because I *like* learning the ins and outs of my class from one to seventy. And to be honest, I prefer people making that slog of a journey because it weeds out a lot of bad players. Sure, not all of them. But a good amount.

Both Alliance and Horde experienced the influx of dumb players rolling a new race/class. I'm willing to bet both sides aren't eager to see that again.

Onto my next question, why give up a previous character for this? While in reality you keep your previous character, this kind of doesn't make any sense. The RPers are ticked because it ruins lore and confuses their storylines (Why, Sir Hunter, however did you seek the light and forsake it so quickly to attain this new form?) and the casual players like me are aggrivated that all the dumb players are going to go repopulate a class that could potentially be amazing, unique and cool, bitch and whine when it doesn't "work as intended" and redirect Blizzard's attention to a new class rather than fix the old ones! While I can't speak for the company, I highly doubt all the quirks of the current classes will be worked out at the rate and style of balancing things that's going on (*coughARENAScough*).

Finally, why give the good guys a "bad guy" class? I've heard all the arguments for this one. "We already have Warlocks, so it's okay." "The Forsaken turned away from the Scourge, so why can't Death Knights?" "They're cool, STFU!" I've got one answer for you.

It's repetitive.

If there is one thing I hate as a gamer, a writer, and an actor, it's repetition. When a story or theme repeats itself, it screams unoriginality. And all that does is disappoint me. When one abuses the "it worked before, it'll work again" formula, it doesn't come off as credible.

While I will remain excited and continue to anticipate the coming of WotLK, I'll remain tentative of Death Knights. Blizzard's going to have to pull some pretty amazing strings to change this paladin's mind.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Feelan Thehealin - To Those We've Lost

Cross-Posted from Gathering Gamers.

There are some things in the world that when I see them happening, I find myself crying out of the joy from knowing there are good, amazing people in the world.

On Sunday evening, as I was browsing the WoW Suggestion forums, I stumbled upon a very interesting thread. A very old guild called lost an incredibly powerful, kind, and good-hearted individual named Feelan back in December. I didn't know Feelan. I don't even know the guild, or play on their server. But the passionate and loving way the guild spoke out about their fallen comrade was so genuine I couldn't help but be touched.

Feelan died of a very rare cancer of the heart, so rare it gets little funding and there's not a lot of knowledge about it out there. He had been fighting it for years, and even so, did nothing more but bring smiles and laughter to his guild mates. That's an amazing individual, and the world is a slightly bleaker place without his presences. In the same right, the world is a better place for having had Feelan among us, whether or not we knew he was there.

I'd like everyone who sees this that has a World of Warcraft account to go to this thread and support his memory. You don't have to say anything more than /sign. Do this not just for Feelan or his guild mates, but for that loved one that *you* have lost, or for that guild mate who disappeared and you'll never know what happened to them.

What this is about is supporting in-game memorials. My personal suggestion is to have an instanced graveyard or memoriam. And hey, why not have Feelan standing there to greet those who come and thank them for taking the time to visit. Allow guilds to purchase lots for their lost companions. And make it just enough of a pain in the ass that it will keep the jerks from abusing it for stupid inappropriate commentary, but just easy enough for a guild to work together to complete it.

I know it's a lot to ask. But it would be a beautiful gesture on Blizzard's part, and with 9 million players, there are bound to be a lot of them who would appreciate this. I, for one, hope they hear us out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How is *that* Plate? - Gender in Armor Styles

Cross-posted from Gathering Gamers

Many people have joked and poked fun at it, so it was inevitable that I'd bring it up: Why the hell does one piece of armor look less effective on a woman than it does a man?

I'm not going to lie; this is just another reason I rolled a male character over a female. If I'm going to play a paladin, and uphold the light (or at least my race's moral code and protect others), I don't want to look like a skank while doing it! Some armor is passable. Some can look sexy and mold to a woman's curves while still looking badass.

But no self-respecting warrior is going to charge into combat with large vulnerable areas of the body out in the open just because "Tee hee, don't I look cute?"

I understand that because WoW is a male dominated game that it's likely just designed that way to get their attention and give them something to look at. In the same right, what do women have to look at? Big clunky armor, and in the case of Paladins, big PINK AND PURPLE clunky armor.

Granted, culturally speaking, a knight in shining armor is supposed to be attractive. And sure, I can buy into that. However, dressing my sexy male Blood Elf in a power ranger-esque suit isn't going to do it.

I'm all for cosmetic armor and making things look *good,* and maybe sometimes sexy. But for crying out loud, why can't women enjoy the perks too without walking around Orgrimmar or Stormwind naked?

I'm looking forward to seeing more customization with my character. The coming of dances and haircuts that have been rumoured about for Wrath of the Lich King really makes me excited. I hope that with the new choices, it brings a little more diversity to everyone's characters. I'll leave the wish of practicality as just that, though; a wish. After all, since when has anything in World of Warcraft ever been practical?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Battleground's Holy Warriors

Cross-Posted from Gathering Gamers.

So naturally, as soon as I say I'm going to do something, I get sick and don't touch a computer for a few days. Naturally. Now that I'm feeling better though, I'll put up what I intended to have on Tuesday. So here we go.

You've heard everyone else say it before: Protection is not a PvP spec. And to an extent, I agree. In arenas, we have no competitive place. But in Battlegrounds, a whole other beast, there's a time to take up your shield and laugh in the face of your enemies.

Let's start with Warsong Gulch. There are three roles any player can take: Offense, Defense, and Flag Running. As a Protection Paladin, you can fulfill two of these three roles.

As Defense, while your damage is sub-par, you have a few good tools to keep a flag runner slowed down enough to have your teammates clean up. Avenger's Shield will slow their movement speed, Judgement of Justice will halt their speed boosts, and of course Hammer of Justice will stop them in their tracks. In addition, standing atop the flag and keeping a Rank 1 Consecration down will alert you to any stealthers trying to snag the flag without wasting much mana.

As a flag-runner, while you're not going to have a speed boost from your class (unless you've taken Pursuit of Justice in the Retribution tree), your Cleanse and Blessing of Freedom will almost guarantee you won't be stopped or slowed down. Even if you're being chased down by half of the opposing team, if you have a competent healer following you, you'll be fine. Sheer hit points and a high amount of armor means they have a lot to plow through before you go down.

Next, we have Arathi Basin. Admittedly, this is my least favorite battleground (when once upon a time, it was my favorite), mostly because it seems to be the most frequently pre-rolled. There are only two roles for an individual to fulfill here: Offense and Defense. A tankadin really can only act on one of these.

Naturally, this would be defense. Down-ranking Consecration again proves useful to keep people from snatching nodes, and even if you have 4 or 5 people on you, you'll have enough survivability to hold them off until reinforcements arrive.

As for the other role, the best you'll likely provide in offense is a huge annoyance or a good distraction. Toss some heals around; if the enemy's on you and not on the actual healers or damage dealers, then you're being effective. Just never expect a lot of killing blows when all is said and done.

Next is everyone's old favorite, Alterac Valley. For a long time, I had no experience with this battleground, as I never had a character of level. And yet, once Prettyboi could participate, leveling up to seventy was so much more important. Once the battleground dailies came about, I finally had a reason to explore it. I found that this is, hands down, the best place for a Protection Paladin.

While you could play the defense card like in the other battlegrounds (and be just as effective as in those places), there are other things you could be doing on the offensive where you will prove the most useful. Whether it's consecrating points and holding off the guards while someone else captures it, or tanking the commander NPC's, you are *needed* on the front lines. And it's wonderfully refreshing! AV, dare I say, has the most situations for a Paladin tank to shine. Not just any tank, either; having many patrols of 3-4 NPCs roaming around should be hint enough.

Finally, we have Eye of the Storm. As a hybrid of Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin, you'll find all the same jobs here. Flag carrying, node guarding, flag guarding... Though by far, the most unique (and personally satisfying) experience is sniping with Avenger's Shield at the Blood Elf Tower. No, really. Try it sometime. It's hilarious.

While people will argue (and generally accurately) that Protection is not a PvP spec, that does not mean we lack a place within the PvP realms. As I said when I talked about Arenas, no, you're not going to be some PvP all-star, and don't expect that. However, don't let people tell you that you're useless, either.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Return Post Tomorrow

Hey guys!

Sorry for the long hiatus, but it's my last quarter in college and I needed to get things settled in and organized for my upcoming graduation. I still don't have things fully fleshed out for school, so things will be rough and I'll probably be having relatively short posts, but I'll try to keep up.

I have some stuff fleshed out and will begin my usual Tues/Sat posting schedule again starting tomorrow.

I apologize again for the lengthy delay, but please know I'm not giving up; I've just had life slap me around a little lately.

Thanks again, I know you're all very understanding people. =)