Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Self vs. Whole - What WoW Means to Me

Edit: Now that the poll is complete, I'm editing in the results and posting the next one.

Question: Who are you for?
FOR THE HORDE! (4 votes, 33%)
FOR THE ALLIANCE! (3 votes, 25%)
Can't I stay on the fence like Thrall & Jaina? (5 votes, 41%)
Neither! DEATH TO ALL! FOR THE SCOURGE! (0 votes, 0%)

Good to know there's no active traitors in the midst. D= But really, what's with all you peace mongers? Don't you know this is World of WARcraft? ;)

I was originally going to post the next segment of my story here - and in novella form, as that seems to be the general consensus. However, I couldn't find the time to convert my script to story form, and another topic's been clawing at my mind lately, so I thought I'd share.

I'm always surprised with what people do and don't know about me. I generally try to keep my personal life separate from my forum life, and only the guildmates that I talk to on a regular basis know the kinds of things that really go on with me. But to put this topic in full perspective, I have to share a few things about who the person really is behind Eseten.

Eseten is played by a, at the time of this writing, 22 year old female who lives in Hollywood. I graduated college about a year ago, and decided to pursue my then-dream of being a voice actor by moving out here from the midwest. I made some progress, but ultimately decided that my passions did not lie in being an actor of any sort. The only things that thrill me these days are writing and, well, raiding. I play WoW as much as I do because there is little else I do with my life at the moment. I more or less lost my job a few weeks ago, my hours scaled down to such a miniscule amount that I cannot afford to live off of it. I have been spending nearly every day of the last two weeks searching for interviews, revising my resumes, doing everything I can to find something to put food on the table.

I live in a hell hole. My apartment is disgusting - I rent a room from a somewhat dubious middle aged man who works as a paparazzi. The rent is cheap and I really only have to share the shower, but when you feel arguably dirtier from using it than when you stepped in... well, there's something wrong. I would never dream of cooking in that kitchen, as whatever grossness is lurking in there would probably kill me. So I stay holed up in a 13x13 foot room in the dim glow of my computer, just trying to lose myself in the virtual world I know and love.

I have lived here for one year, almost to the day now, and in all that time, I have remained mostly alone. While I have some distant relatives in the area, I'm somewhat of the black sheep. I don't really get along with anyone, and I'm not terribly sociable. I've made few friends - in fact, of the ones I've made, the only ones I've really kept in touch with I actually know because of WoW. I rather fit the "socially awkward" stereotype of most WoW players. All I'm missing is the stack of Hot Pockets boxes, uncontrollable acne, and about 200 lbs worth of weight.

The summary of my sob story is that I'm essentially a single, lonely female with little to no social life, no job, and a lot of things that should really only depress me. But instead, I tend to make silly forum posts, write creatively, and, above all, play WoW in as helpful a way as possible. That is, I'm the schmuck who goes and fishes for the Fish Feasts we plop down every boss pull. I'm the sickeningly sweet weirdo who says, "Guys, that may have been a wipe, but we're progressing! Keep it up!" I'm the nerd who finishes the Noblegarden event early, then starts setting out spare eggs for others for no reason than to know I made someone's day.

Lately, I've had some issues with my guild. We have had poor attendence, and this week was particularly bad (due to one unforeseen sickness and a previously planned vacation that just happened to be ill-timed). However, due to a lack of communication, this has projected poorly on the organizers of our raids, and our morale has been low. There's a lot of upset people, and I worry that our attendence is only going to drop further. It's difficult to recruit new, good, geared people when you have no evidence to show them that being part of your guild is worth it.

It doesn't matter if certain, logical decisions were made - unless those kinds of things are explained to the rest of the guild, they won't know any better and will only be led to believe the situation is getting worse. When people make assumptions, that's when things go downhill. And there's been a whole lot of assuming going around.

It makes me sad, for more than one reason. One, because I love this game, and this guild. There's a lot of really awesome people in it that I have fun raiding with. There are people who make me smile and laugh, people I've had the honor of hanging out in person with, people that I consider not just my guildmates, but my friends. Two, it's because... well, this is kind of all I have. It may be sad in one way, but in another, it gives me hope.

WoW means a lot to me. I can't afford to go out and meet new people. I can't afford to pay the gas to go to the local game store every weekend and hang out and spend money. So I spend fifteen bucks a month to have access to 13 million other players who often share my enthusiasm and my interests. I personally think that's a pretty good investment, or at least a good bang for my buck. So when things go sour, and I watch 10-14 people sit around and be left in the dust due to unfortunate circumstances and misunderstandings... My heart actually hurts. It aches because it's not fair. Maybe I'm just still naive, but I feel like something can be done, and if no one else is going to do it, I'll do it myself.

I want everyone to have fun. I want us to be together as a guild. I want us to grow as a guild. I want us to progress as a guild. I want the best for the people who I consider friends. I often shoot myself in the foot, putting others before what I want or need. I know it's not the best quality to have because, more often than not, I suffer more than anything else. But I've always been that way, and really, at this point, even if I wanted to change, I don't think I could. Not fully, anyhow.

Just the same... if people don't share my sentiments, I can't stand by and let myself waste away. To use a cliche, there is no "I" in team - and there's really two meanings to that. While a single person can't outshine the rest to stand on their own, it also means you can't wait for a single person to pull everyone along. I can give, and give, and give some more... but if others aren't willing to use what I give to its full potential, then it's really all a waste of everyone's time.

I don't think of myself as the end-all-be-all anything. I'm good at DPS, I used to be a very good tank... And I'm more than willing to admit I'm terribly rusty (or perhaps just re-learning everything after the entire mechanics of my class have changed and I now have easily twice as many, if not more, buttons to push). The only things I am confident in saying about myself is that I care about the guild and that I work hard to improve myself whenever I can. Tonight, I unbound my A and D keys, because I know I'll be a better player in the end by doing so. I tried to PuG some 25 man heroics to get better tank gear, because I know there's a need for it. I want to make myself available to others, and I want to be good at my hobby. I want to be known as one of the best guilds on the server, and I want to show people that I rock at this - that I love it and work hard at it.

It might be silly to everyone else. But to me, well, I guess it's a way to keep me going. I might not have a job, and I might not have a boyfriend or even a group to go out drinking with. But I have a guild full of pretty cool people that I care about very much. I have fun when I'm with them... and I want to make sure they have fun too.

P.S. Rabble Rabble Rabble. This is now an official rant. /salute Dim

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Updated Ret Guide


This is actually for a friend of mine. He wrote this, I didn't, but I'm posting my corrected version of it as he asked me to edit it for him. I didn't get a chance to read over it faster, and for that I apologize. Raiding Ulduar comes first, sorry buddy. =P

The normal Retribution raiding spec is 0/5/54. Note that this does not spend all your talent points. The reason is because we have more than we really need to get all our mandatory DPS talents since they unbloated our tree a bit. The rest can either be spent on PvP talents or Utility talents. I highly suggest Utility talents as if you actually know how to use your utility, you'll be a much more valuable Ret paladin in your raid. I'll note which ones are useful below.

I also added in the Glyphs I use to that spec. Consecration frees up your GCDs so they don't conflict as much (and technically saves mana, not that you need it), Exorcism does craploads of damage now, and Judgement is your primary ability. Sense Undead is great for Naxx and there's no reason to not have it.




Seals of the Pure: Useless. You use none of these seals. You should be using Blood/Martyr, never anything else.



Divinity: Good utility for your healing, including instant cast Flash of Light and Divine Storm. Nice to be healed for a bit extra too, since you'll take quite a bit from SoM/SoB procs.

Divine Strength: Strength is your version of the Holy Paladin's Intellect. Obviously, stack this!


Stoicism: This is a PvP talent. You won't be stunned and your spells won't be dispelled.

Guardian's Favor: Good for utility. Hand of Freedom won't come up as much, but you'll make quick friends with an overzealous healer or ranged DPS if you know when to Hand of Protection.

Anticipation: Prot talent. Skip it.


Divine Sacrifice: Awesome utility if you plan ahead with healers or a prot paladin. Takes some planning though. Wonderful for large AE damage fights since you can pop your bubble with it and take damage away from everyone without dying. If you do it a second time, make sure you get a damage reducing buff from a healer AND pop Divine Protection with it if you want to live.

Improved Righteous Fury: Prot talent. Skip it.

Toughness: Prot talent. I'd suggest taking Divinity over this, it's more useful.


Improved Divine Sacrifice: Just the improved form of Divine Sacrifice. Also lets your Sacred Shield do more, and you should be throwing it up on the offtanks or even the tank. Sacred Shields STACK, so it's pretty darn useful.



Deflection: Tank talent. Skip it.

Benediction: Reduces the cost of all your attacks by 10%. Part of the reason we don't have mana issues. Take it.


Improved Judgments: More Judgments meanings more damage. Mandatory.

Heart of the Crusader: 3% chance to crit on the enemy? Yum yum.

Improved Blessing of Might: Your primary buff. Take it. Incidentally, Might > Kings.


Vindication: PvP talent, primarily, but some trash isn't immune to it. Can speed up clears. Not *totally* useless, but not very helpful either.

Conviction: 5% crit for everything? Take it.

Seal of Command: Useless for everything, including PvP. /sigh Skip it.

Pursuit of Justice: You run faster, get in position faster, get back to the mob faster. Take it.


Eye for an Eye: PvP talent, but can be fun in AoE damage fights. I've KO'd stuff from being crit by random spells. Just the same, unless you're going PvP in your spare time, skip it.

Sanctity of Battle: More crit chance and more damage? Take it.

Crusade: 3% damage on all mobs and 3% more on a lot of others? Take it.


Two-Handed Weapon Specialization: Since your entire life will be wielding two handed weapons, you should take this. Trust me on this.

Sanctified Retribution: 3% extra damage. Since 3.1, it no longer matters what aura you have up for the % damage bonus, but it may as well be Ret aura.


Vengeance: You should be critting a lot, and so that refreshes Vengeance's stack. 9% more damage nearly constantly is wonderful.

Divine Purpose: PvP talent. Skip it.


The Art of War: Ah, Sun Tzu reference. More damage and a free Flash of Light? Take it!

Repentance: Finally, Paladin CC. It leads to a great talent, so take it.

Judgments of the Wise: Your best regen talent. Everyone will adore you for it, especially your healers. Take it.


Fanaticism: Lots more crits for your Judgments and less threat. Take it, and love it.

Sanctified Wrath: Decreased the cooldown of Avenging Wrath, a spell you should use every time it's up (or with trinket/bloodlust, as appropriate for the fight), as well as the critical strike chance of Hammer of Wrath, something you should use whenever you can, by a hell of a lot. Take it.


Swift Retribution: Haste. 3%. Take it. :p

Crusader Strike: One of your three main attacks, alongside Judgments and Divine Storm. Take it, it's an instant smack.

Sheath of Light: Entirely the reason Ret Paladins don't need Spell Power on their gear anymore. Take it, love it.


Righteous Vengeance: Your only DoT, really. Take it, it'll improve your DPs nicely.


Divine Storm: Ah, your third and last damaging spell that I know of right now. Love this to pieces, as it does nice AoE damage.


The meta gem you want to use is going to be a Chaotic Skyflare Diamond. To match the colors if you haven't already, use two Sovereign Shadow Crystals. Unless you can find two Sovereign Twilight Opals, which should be floating around soon enough. Unless of course they already are. And if you're a Jewelcrafter, just use three Bold Dragon Eyes.

Even before you reach the Hit/Expertise caps (but matched the meta colors) just gem for strength using lots of Bold Scarlet Rubies. Strength is amazing for you, stack it.


I think Ret Paladins are the only DPS spec that has a stat over Hit and Expertise prior to the caps.

Strength gives a hell of a lot of AP and spell power and damage for you. Just stack that, and get Hit and Expertise from gear and random enchants. Don't ever gem for anything else.

Hit and Expertise are big, since you won't be meeting the cap at all times. Look for Expertise over Hit, since you'll be munching on Hit food.

Crit's your next big one. Get it on gear if you find it.

The rest of the stats, AP (comes from Strength), Haste, Stamina, and Agility are just on gear.


Strength > Expertise > Hit > Crit > AP > Haste

For T7 and T7.5, get the 4 piece set bonus. 1 second off your Judgement, your hardest hitting attack, is freaking huge. Unless you have a whole bunch of >213 gear to replace it, it's hard to beat.

For T8 and T8.5, aim for the 4 set bonus. More critical strikes from your big hitters is wonderful.


From Elitist Jerks, because they explain it way better than I ever could:

3.1 clash resolution is as follows: CS > HoW > Judgement > DS > Consecration > Exorcism > Holy Wrath

During the beta it was agreed upon that because of vastly changed mechanics, our rotations should be thrown out and thus came to be known as FCFS (First Come First Serve) - and this is still true in 3.1. Not much to explain about it, just use whatever is off cooldown, whenever you can (watch your mana bar). See below for clash resolution (when 2 skills are off cooldown, which one do you use?). Be sure to use AW and Divine Plea as much as you can, as both provide a nice boost in damage/mana. In a situation with AoE, say trash for example, Consecration and DS should be prioritized. Yes, even with the exorcism changes, it still ranks behind all of our strikes and consecrate due to a longer cooldown and higher miss rate. You can often open on bosses with an exorcism or judgement while running into melee range, and then once you are in melee range FCFS takes over.

Quick two bits: Use Seal of the Martyr at all times, and Judgement of Light. Your Judgement of Light > other pally's JoL, and it does not generate extra threat (like it used to). Only use Judgement of Wisdom if there are no other paladins in the group.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And So It Begins...

The response I received on my short story on the General Forums was OVERWHELMING. Thank you all so much for your support and your kind words. There are about five or so more days left in the time they said they would announce winners. Wish me luck. =)

Poll time! I asked you all who your favorite CM was! And the winner is...

1. Zarhym! (16 votes, 50%)
2. Nethaera! (5 votes, 15%)
3. Bornakk! (3 votes, 9%)
3. Eyonix! (3 votes, 9%)
5. Crygil! (2 votes, 6%)
6. Mine's not listed... (2 votes, 6%)
7. Drysc/Bashiok! (1 vote, 3%)

Shenanigans, I say! I am foiled once more by my arch nemesis! Curse, you Zarhym, and your inexplicable popularity! One day and one day soon you shall have your come-uppins, and I shall be the one to deliver them unto you! /Cue Mandark Laugh

Alright, that's enough of that. A lot of people were asking me on the forums whether or not I would post more of my story. Well, here's the thing: There is no more beyond what you read last week. See, Keeves' story was meant to be a prequel. To what, you ask?

Well, that's what you'll find out today. Today, I present to you a snippet from the script I've been working on for ages. Now that people seem to have quite the interest in it, though, I may actually finish it. Truth be told, I don't know if it will work so well as a script anymore. The original intention was to write this as a spec script and submit it to Legendary Pictures, as they are still (last I heard, anyway) looking for a screenwriter for the WoW feature film. Having a project like that would be a dream come true for someone like me, so this is what I began work on. However, the more I wrote, the more the story became its own entity. I fear that what I have to write will far exceed 90 pages of script, and I don't want another epic on my hands.

So today, I'm going to show you the basic outline from just the first two shots. If people like it, I'll post more of the script next week. If people don't, then I'll move on to other things, and perhaps write another short story instead. If people like the idea but dislike the screenplay format, perhaps I'll do what I should have done in the first place, and just begin writing as if it were a novel rather than a screenplay. I know screenplays aren't nearly as interesting to read as other forms of creative writing, so this may be what happens in the end.

PLEASE! It is imperitive that you let me know your preference! I want to share my stories with people! But there's no point in sharing them if no one enjoys them.

Anyway, I've been long-winded enough. I have no title for this... Its code-title is "Kael."

(NOTE: My formatting from my word document would not copy/paste over properly, as I use CRAPTONS of macros when writing. So below is a special format I had to develop for blog purposes. Trust me; I know it's not typical screenplay format.)




NETHERSTORM is a blasted, ethereal land, teeming with arcane and shadow energy. Upon the broken fields of this magically sundered terrain, we see a BLOOD ELF in full plate scrambling for his life. He is being chased by two ARCANE PATROLLERS, and the only real identifier he is wearing is a black tabard with a red Sin’dorei symbol emblazoned on the front. The view and sounds of him panting as he flees is intermingled back and forth with the next shot.

Arcane Patroller #1

"Halt in the name of Kael’Thas!"

Arcane Patroller #2

"Surrender or be terminated!"

The ARCANE PATROLLERS spew other such nonsense as they chase the BLOOD ELF.


ZOOM IN on an image of Azeroth from space. Over time, it focuses on the continent of Eastern Kingdoms, further to the kingdom of Quel’thalas, and even more so to the City of Silvermoon in the Eversong Woods. The camera zooms through the city until it settles on a great statue of Kael’thas Sunstrider in the Sunstrider Palace. There is narration throughout.


"The Sin’dorei have suffered greatly since the Third War. The Scourge have ravaged our people more than any other. We were once children of the arcane, living in tune with the magnificent powers bestowed upon us by the Sunwell. With its destruction, we faced death, no, extinction itself. I returned from my studies to lead my people not simply to their futures, but to their very survival. But it was not enough. I left my people, my home in Quel’Thalas, for the sake of my kin. I seek power to restore us to the glory we so rightly deserve."


The visage of Kael’thas’ statue fades into the real thing – he is overseeing Tempest Keep from the helm of the great floating fortress. We see his view as the camera rotates around him – he is staring off into the Twisting Nether. He reaches up and closes his hand into a fist.


"Nothing will ever be enough."


A group of shadowy figures are watching Kael in a sort of table-like looking glass. A large heavily armored Orc, fearsome and intimidating, slams his hands down on the scrying, shaking the image away.


"He’s gone mad! First he assists Illidan, and now he’s devoted himself and is misleading his people as part of the Burning Legion! We cannot stand for this!"

A smooth, though eerily echoed voice answers him. It’s half calming and half entirely alarming. A feminine figure with her hood pulled low over her eyes answers him, her long ears providing the only clue to her identity.


"You cannot blame him for wanting to help his people. I remember a time when the Orcs were similarly misled…"


"None recall as acutely as I. We cannot let history repeat itself."

Another woman’s voice answers. She stands at the table, her shining plate armour and glowing green eyes much more obvious with her identity, and a tabard not unlike the one we saw earlier adorns her chest.


"We already know our Prince has failed us. There is little we can do but retaliate. The Sin’Dorei do not have the resources to recover from a second ravaging of our meagre forces."

A deep, calm, rumbling voice answers. It’s akin to the sound of distant rolling thunder, though not at all threatening. His bovine frame is huge and easily towers over everyone else present.


"You will not be working alone, Lady Liadrin. Your people will be assisted by the whole of the Horde, and if this plan works accordingly, perhaps the Alliance will assist us as well."

A snort and bitter laughter breaks in from Cairne’s right, and the camera turns to a pair of two-toed feet propped up on the table. The feet lower to the ground and a troll leans forward into the light, his grin showing clear scepticism.


"Da humans can’t be trusted, mon. All dey gonna do is stab you in da back. They dun it before, they do it again."


"While I share in your distaste for the Alliance, as we all do for our own reasons, I think you understand the importance of their assistance. Your favour of the situation is of no consequence."

VOL’JIN snorts at LIADRIN, but THRALL interrupts before they can openly begin arguing with one another.


"I’m not exactly thrilled about it myself. But this is greater than Horde and Alliance. And this is only the beginning."


In a much more well-lit room than the previous, six figures are surrounding a similar table, though their imagery is projected in the air, shimmering unclearly as they watch the discussion in Orgrimmar unfold. There are five different races – two Humans, a Night Elf, a Dwarf, a Gnome, and a Draenei. It is clear that one of the Humans, a pretty young female, is channeling the scrying.


"With permission from Thrall himself, I was allowed to break some of their wards to show you this discussion. Though, admittedly, the other Horde leaders do not yet know of this… covert communication."


"(Laughing) So we’re spying on them and they have no idea?! Brilliant!"


"Let this be known this is not to be taken advantage of."

JAINA abruptly ends the scrying, casting a look at each and every other member of the room, as if silently levelling with them that she’s the one in charge.


"All due respect, my Lady Proudmoore, what reason precisely do we have to get involved with the affairs of traitors and our most vicious enemies?"


"If I may answer the question… Prince Kael’Thas Sunstrider is a major threat to us all, especially with your expansion and assistance to my people in Outland. If he is not stopped, he will only grow in power and stand as a major opposition, and regardless of his allegiances, this only works in Illidan’s favour…"


"Aye, ye be havin’ a point. But I cannae see a reason ta send me strongest troops only ta have ‘em backstabbed by them untrustworthy Horde louts."


"Sending our best and brightest may only prove to hurt us in the end, should treachery take place."


"Aww, that’s an easy solution then!"

The GNOME pauses and everyone looks at him expectantly. He seems to enjoy the recognition.


"That just means we don’t send our best and brightest."

Everyone in the room looks at one another unsurely, but it’s clear most of them already have someone in mind.


"Then I ask of you, as I will ask of Thrall and his companions – each of you pick a… champion and have them leave immediately for the city of Shattrath, in Outlands. We will begin our assault there."

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Writing Contest

First things first, last poll!

How Many Level 80's Do You Have?

Just one, baby (14 - 45%)
Only a couple (2-3) (13 - 41%)
I'm an alt-aholic! (4-8) (2 - 6%)
You don't want to know... (8+) (2 - 6%)

Total Votes: 31

So I guess the demographic for my blog gets focused a bit more. Not very many alt-aholics that read this I take it. I left this one up for quite some time, but I have a good reason!

I've been writing. And today, my dear readers, I am going to share with you what I have been writing.

Some of you may know about a little Writing Contest that Blizzard put up about a month ago. Some of you that know me a bit better than just an anonymous blogger know I have a big, uber WoW script hovering in limbo. This writing contest allowed me to expand on one of the characters I created for my script and delve a bit deeper into her character. Now that the submissions are closed off, I thought it would be fun for me to post what I wrote and let you all take a look at what I've been working on.

It's not too terribly long (in fact, I only barely scraped over the minimum word count), but I think it rounds off nicely. Please, post constructive criticism! As someone who would like to develop her writing skills into a livlihood, I'll take everything I can get. And if people like it, perhaps I'll write another background story for another of the characters, or maybe even begin sharing bits of the script itself. If you're interested in this, let me know via comments!

**EDIT** Unfortunately, I had to pull this off of my blog since I found out TODAY (when they announced the winners) that it's against the terms I agreed to when I submitted the story. Whoops. That's what I get for not reading closely enough. I do wish a CM would have commented/deleted my post on the WoW forums informing me of this when I first did it, since I probably got disqualified for it.

I shot myself in the foot on this one. I'll be able to continue posting my other, original story (since while it's related to this one, as long as I don't use any of the text from this particular short story, I should be fine - especially since this is all non-profit and in good fun).