What do you want to read?

image by Andrew Mager

It's no secret we're in a bit of a slump here. (I say "we" like there's more than one person writing this. Hah.) I can't do any death knight beta testing for you, or any other class, plus there's already loads of people who beat me to it anyhow. :) It's a little depressing, to be honest.

So what do you want to read here? We've probably got another two or three Cataclysmless months to go - at a minimum - so I'm putting the call out there. What do you want to read on this blog?

What is it with warriors?


Yeah, I'm going to pick on warriors. I've been running instances from the teens up through the high 20s on Rhododendron and Brynhild, and while occasionally you'll get something like Softi's hunter with a growling, aggressive pet, or someone DPSing in Ragefire Chasm in bearform (because they don't have cat yet, and evidently missed that part of the pesky tooltip for Maul (Rank 1) that says it causes high amounts of threat), the biggest issue I've had has been with warriors. Absolutely. Idiotic. Warriors.

Our latest shining winner, Darca of Drak'thul, ended up in a Stockades run with us after one of our DPS unexpectedly had to go, shortly before fighting Bazil. No, not Basil, Bazil. (Side note: Stocks sucks as Horde. The only thing I get out of it? Lots of wool.) Shoulda known something was up when as soon as she zoned in, she ran directly to the first mob in front of her, hit it with her sword, and Thunderstomped. Pardon me... what? Feral Faerie Fire, Growl, quit stealin' mah mobs.

So we got to the three-way room before Bazil, and I couldn't remember if it was him or Dextren Ward that has the fear (spoiler: it's Dextren), so we went to clear the side rooms. I had no more than turned my fat furry bear ass to face the room before Darca ... once again pulled. The entire room. My only response was "you know you're not the tank, right?" No response. Once again, I grabbed threat back, we beat up all the inmates, we beat up Bazil Thredd, and we got our goodie bag. Our mage goes, "Requeue?" To which I have no objections; I figure if Darca keeps misbehaving, we can always boot her.

Unrelated: I wonder if the Alliance are ever confused about why their prison riot started? One minute they're having a prison riot, next thing you know, a bunch of Horde warriors teleport in, smack down all the prisoners, and teleport out.

Also unrelated: I have to give credit to the Defias Convicts, for having the balls to backhand a bear.

We requeue, and huzzah, Stockades! Because the RNG has a horrible sense of humor. Darca immediately pulls; we finish and I say politely, "Darca, please let me pull."

Darca promptly runs into the room to our left, aggros everything in the room, and dies.

Then spirit rezzes outside.

And hearths to Tarren Mill.

So we four-man the rest of Stocks, with me periodically checking if we can boot Darca (I could've sworn they got rid of the minimum time to kick; if it was in the patch notes, it's a lie), and manage to finish before the cooldown because this time we just went straight to Bazil Thredd. Beat him down, requeued, and... Darca picks no role.

Requeue. Darca picks no role. Requeue. Darca picks no role.

Vote to Kick Darca? You can't kick people after the instance is over. What kind of idiocy is that?

So you might be asking, "what's so unique about this story?" Nothing. If I had 50g for every arms or fury warrior wielding sword-and-board and trying to tank an instance when they queued as DPS, I'd have two damned mammoths. Does anyone have any idea why this happens? What is it about this particular class that seems to be attracting all the derp derp derp members of WoW society?

Let's play money making game.

Oh, <em>let's.</em>It's no secret that for the finer things in WoW, cash is involved. Nothing puts a strain on your pocket like raiding repair bills, trying to gem and enchant the upgrades you do get, trying to buy things to buff up sets (why the hell are most of the good plate tanking pieces in three slots only craftable?), and trying to complete time-and-money-sink achievements that you can't afford to put money into anymore... argh!

A while ago, in a post on my new UI, I posted this screenshot, which includes a little peek into my wallet. See 353 gold shown in that bar in Fortress? That's basically what I have on my toon at all times.

Let that sink in, because as far as I can tell, no one really understands that. "Oh, well you can just pick up blahblahblah for cheap." No I fucking can't, pardon my French.

I'm in a near-permanent state where single epic gems are expensive, some enchants are unbuyable, the craftables from Crusader's Orbs are out of reach even after getting emblems to get the orbs (and even one piece of Primal Saronite is way beyond my budget). Darkmoon Cards are unpurchasable. Essentially I manage to keep enough to repair after raids or astoundingly bad heroics, stock up on consumables again, and then that's it.

I have neither the patience nor the intelligence to play the Auction House. I've tried it - I've followed the advice of Arthas-damned Auctioneer geniuses and I lose money, every single time. I don't know what to farm because I have no idea what I should be farming. I can't fund myself entirely through dailies like I used to in TBC (this is not a new problem, in case it wasn't obvious - I had to borrow 500g to even get epic flying for my DK, and that was the most gold I'd ever had, at any one point, ever.)

Essentially, readers, despite how good I am at everything else, I am an abysmal failure at making money in WoW and I don't know how to improve that.

I need your help. Badly. Leave comments below.

Ask a reasonable question … get a stupid answer.

question-mark I decided to take a page from Saresa's Hermia's playbook and ask Twitter to do all the work for me. Little did I know Twitter wanted to find out about things other than WoW, so now it's time to pretend to be an authority on things. Wheee!

TheMightyGresh:* _do you really want to huuuurt me? Do you really want to make me cryyyy?_*

Yes. Warlocks are some of my favorite PvP targets, mostly because I still remember how warlocks work. Other classes might have tricks up their sleeves, but I know your arsenal pretty well. Plus affliction warlocks are a pretty good challenge, since unlike many casters - who I can lock out with my eight billion interrupts - affliction has a ton of instant casts, so I have to settle for a general silence and a beating with a sack of quarters.

Oh, and Fear? So underpowered. Hello, diminishing returns; hello, Every Man for Himself.

Trizophenie: Cloud or Squall? And why?

Neither. I haven't actually liked a Square-Enix hero since the days of FF6. Cloud's a doofus who's too wrapped up in himself to see the bigger picture of "hey dummy save the world," while Squall is a whiny emo boy-- wait a sec, I'm seeing a trend here. To contrast, I did kind of like Tidus, I just wish his dialogue writer hadn't made a concerted effort to make him sound like an idiot. Then again, Tidus kind of was an idiot, wasn't he? "Durrrr what do you mean Zanarkand's destroyed? Why is Auron sparkling? Durrrrrrrr."

Sabiba:_ here's a question for you: Why does blizzard hate hunters in PVP?_

I'm going to assume this is an arena question, because hunters seem to be doing fine in Battlegrounds. Here's your answer: they hate everyone, at different times, in arenas. Reason being, as they stated in an interview a while ago, arenas were basically shoved clumsily into the game and it's been hell for balance ever since. Frankly, I'd be just as happy if Cataclysm brought with it the removal of arenas.

Llanion: What toppings go on a correct pizza?

Anything except anchovies. The last pizza I had was the Socrates' Revenge from Dewey's Pizza: olive oil, minced garlic, Mozzarella-Fontina blend, spinach, black olives, green olives, Feta cheese, red Onions, tomatoes. Fantastic!

Krizzlybear: I have excellent rhythm, but I can't get the crossfader to work properly. Any suggestions? Oh right, WoW questions only...

Heck if I know, man, you're a full two difficulties above me. It would help if the crossfader locked a little more solidly into the 'center' position; as it is I tend to swing too far back when I hit a crossfade spike (I spike left, then accidentally go all the way right instead of back to center). I found that rather than trying to use it the way the tutorial shows, I positioned it between two of my fingers with my hand laying flat on the turntable controller - I tend to get better control that way.

Sleepyrabite: As I have nothing to ask about for WoW... What's your current favourite offline game?

Funny you should ask - I just recently moved the rather clumsy "Hey Phil Whatcha Playin'" feature to a site I recently found that is designed for exactly this kind of thing - here's my Backloggery! I'm currently dividing my attention between Half-Minute Hero, the Persona PSP remake, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, and (as you may have surmised from my answer to Krizz) DJ Hero. When my girlfriend is in town, we also play some co-op Dynasty Warriors 6 Empires. I also admit curiosity about Dragon Age: Origins; however, I may be the only gamer alive who didn't really like Torchlight.

Ladygypsy: how is mana pronounced? MAN-a or MAHHHN-a? (srsly, I can't pronounce squat in WoW.)

Well, I know how I pronounce it, but I wasn't sure it's correct, so I asked an authority. Apparently "mah-nah" - your second pronunciation - not "man-uh" is the correct pronunciation. It's apparently a Maori word! I've learned something new today.

Lightning Round! Nibuca asks 12 million questions!

  • _If you were trapped on a "Lost" isle.. and had access to only one game/console/pc which would you choose? _WoW. Surely no one expected that, but look at it this way: I can try and get my guildies to send a helicopter to get me off this stupid island!

  • If a boss falls in the game.. and the last of the raid members dies at the same time.. is it a wipe? Nope. Sure, you have to get back up and repair and heal, but you still get phat lewtz, making it not-a-wipe.

  • _What pie is best for T-day? _Pumpkin.

  • Should all pie be topped with whipped cream? No - apple pies, or other warm fruit pies, deserve ice cream. Any pie with a meringue doesn't need whipped cream - it brought its own topping to the table.

  • Is ice cream optional? For most pies, yes. I really only prefer it with fruit pies. It'll do for whipped cream in a pinch. Again, though, not really necessary for meringue pies at all.

  • Boxers briefs or commando.. which do you think @brigwyn_ chooses... {evil grin}_ I refuse to consider Brigwyn's undies or lack thereof; the fact that he showed up in my dreams on tour with Daft Punk was bad enough (at least he was fully clothed).

  • Harvest festival overview.. Grinding reputation with the "running circles in Dalaran" faction... RP for the uninitiated... _That's not a question, but lucky for you, I'm nice. I know as much about the Harvest Festival as you, I'm not sure what the second one is, and I'm not on an RP server anymore and never RP'd when I _was on one. NEXT!

  • How is the "Mr T hand grenade" better/worse than the zombie infestation from last year?

    • Better, for people who didn't enjoy the zombie infestation: you can click off the Mohawked buff instead of hoping for a healer to pass by, or waiting to zombify then exploding.

    • Worse, for people who did enjoy the zombie infestation: sorry, you don't get to fight your own faction and infect them with zombiedom.

    • Better, for everyone all around: the Mohawked buff isn't going to stop you from going about your business.

    • Worse, period: it doesn't really lead up to anything. Unless... Mr. T is the final boss of Cataclysm?! So now we know where Deathwing's been hiding all these long years: the A-Team van.

There, I think I won! Now if only there was a prize.

Scourge fashion

Headbags: now in fashion. (Rogue T10 pic courtesy of MMO Champion.)

Anybody else find it a little weird that some of the tier 10 armor kind of looks like you took a random Scourge into a back alley and beat the crap out of them for their gear? Blizzard is definitely getting pretty wild with some of the armor designs, and they're hit-or-miss - there's a lot of people who love one or two classes, but hate another (and rarely does anyone love their own). Here's my thoughts (starting with the classes I consider my "mains" at the moment):

Scourgelord's Battlegear/Plate (Death Knight): Before the preview I was finished, I was pretty unimpressed with this set. It had the same old "put a few spikes here, put a glowing skull there, voila, Death Knight tier gear." However, the helmet kind of ties it all together. I love the appearance of this faceplate, and feel it's a natural revolution from the T8 helm (we're ignoring T9 here, since its design was wildly divergent - and I loved the fact that, on Alliance side at least, it looked like a darker paladin set).

Frost Witch's Garb/Regalia/Battlegear (Shaman): Phantom shoveltusks! As Jezriyah pointed out, they're clearly wearing an entire shoveltusk head on their head, and those are definitely phantom shoveltusks sticking out of the side. Also, it doesn't appear to be quite done yet - the icicles on the horns are untextured, mostly. Was it worth the wait? In my opinion, yes. This really makes me want to push to get my shaman up to 80 so I can start working on this awesome set. (No offense to Nobundo, of course, but my elemental shaman is not a ninja. He is a pew pew lightning master.) Oh - and those phantom shoveltusks better pop out of the shoulders occasionally; rogues and warlocks can't have all the fun.

Shadowblade's Battlegear (Rogue): Ah, the rogue T10. I would say it's divisive except that it's pretty much all the rogues on one side, and me on the other. No, it's not the most attractive set of armor in the world (frankly, I still like the face-on-your-head of the rogue T8. However, this does have an obvious awesome side to it: the Shadowblade's Battlegear is very obviously a geist outfit. Compare it to our old friend The Leaper:


Sewn together bag-of-rags look? Check. One-eyed helmet? Check. Noose around the neck? Check. Strappy gloves? Check. Rogues, it's time to start bounding around like it was going out of style, pushing gargoyles off of ledges with wild abandon.

Now, on to the others...

Lasherweave Garb/Regalia/Battlegear (Druid): Okay, so, I really don't recall ever seeing any lashers that looked like a combination of a moose, a piece of wood, and the segmented eyeball of a bee. Frankly, the face scares the crap out of me. I guess the only comfort is that I'm rarely if ever going to see it.

Ahn'kahar Blood Hunter's Battlegear (Hunter): What? Just to refresh everyone's memories, this is what the Ahn'kahar look like. Spiders. Big ugly spiders. The hunter armor? Again with the wood. In fact, they kind of look like wooden moose (mooses? meese?).

Bloodmage's Regalia (Mage): Well, the teeth kind of make me giggle, but I have to admit I like the look of this set. It has a very generic look to it, though. I don't know if I could tell the mage T7-10 apart, to be honest with you. It's also more obvious Scourge fashion: the mage gear is definitely an upgraded (fancier and less faded) version of the outfits worn by the San'layn.

Lightsworn Garb/Regalia/Battlegear* *(Paladin): Hey look, the paladins are cribbing from the Death Knights for ideas. And the shamans & warriors from a few tiers back. And - wuh oh, a plate skirt. Let the QQ begin... again.

Crimson Acolyte's Raiment/Regalia (Priest): Not sure what Crimson Acolyte they're talking about. Pretty generic, though. These (at least, the versions other than the white ones) kind of remind me of collarless Scourge necromancer duds. If only priests had gotten the dead-cow-skull helmet that seems to be a feature among the Scourge. Speaking of dead cow skulls...

Dark Coven's Regalia (Warlock): Also nice! But unfortunately I don't think anything will top the pseudo-Putress look of T8, at least in my mind. I'm pretty sure I've seen this look on a Cult of the Damned member somewhere, but it escapes me at the moment.

And last but not least, Ymirjar Lord's Battlegear/Plate (Warrior): A pretty awesome-looking tribute to all those ymirjar who're now dead in our wake. Probably the closest anyone will get to looking like the king. I anticipate several screenshots of warriors in their T10 sitting on his throne just because they can.

And no, ladies, I haven't forgotten about you. The T10 on females: death knight, rogue, druid, hunter, mage, paladin, priest, warlock, and warrior. As for the shaman T10... well, we only have a
picture of it on a male human, so we don't even have pictures of it on races that can actually be shamans yet, much less women. (An orc would totally rock the hell out of a shoveltusk helmet, and you know it.)

Vanity pets are ruining the game (too)

lilkt For what it's worth, I originally had a video of Lil' K.T. zapping Big K.T.'s cat into a block of ice then cackling about it. But guess what scrub left that on his home computer and forgot to edit it and put it on Youtube to make it into a post today? Yep, that'd be me.

So instead, I'll just quote Palehoof from a post on the forums (via MMO-Champion's Bluetracker):

Wow has been "ruined" according to people unhappy with one or two aspects of the game since its inception. Since it began, it's been ruined by rooftop camping, the removal of rooftop camping, the lack of honor, the implementation of honor, the lack of dishonor, the implementation of dishonor, the removal of dishonor, the removal of wall walking, rank rewards, decaying rank, the removal of rank decay, the removal of PVP titles, Ahn'Qiraj, Scourge Invasion, Zul'Gurub, the cost of mounts, the lack of information about TBC, all information released about TBC, playable Blood Elves, playable Draenei, Horde Paladins, Alliance Shamans, flying mounts, the timing of the release of TBC, the cost of flight, Jewelcrafting, the LFG channel, holding people accountable to the Terms of Use, meeting stones, arenas, the number of arena teams one player can have, arena-based gear rewards, the lack of battlegrounds, the addition of battlegrounds, everything about battlegrounds, Illidan being killable, Daily quests, instance-based reputations, the Darkmoon Faire, /pizza, playable wisps, Tinfoil Hat, the Armory, Warden, the lack of information about Wrath, all information about Wrath, a failure to revamp old world areas, the inability to transfer from PVE to PVP servers, hero classes, siege engines, cold weather flying, Wintergrasp being a PVP zone, death knights, the inability to start a new character of any class at 55 or higher, the lack of a dance studio, character recustomization, the inability to change race or faction, the cost of mammoths and motorcycles, the fall damage negation of mammoths and motorcycles, the removal of fall damage negation from mammoths and motorcycles, the ability to transfer from PVE to PVP servers, dual specs, Achievements, holiday events, Mountain Dew Game Fuel, streaming Blizzcon '09 on pay per view, the revamping of Onyxia's Lair, Worgen for the Alliance, Goblins for the Horde, revamped old world areas, the ability to change faction, the ability to change race, new race/class combinations, purchasable vanity pets, as well as weekly maintenance and patches 1.1 through the current one inclusive.

In that time, while WoW was being ruined by all of the above, WoW has quintupled its subscriber base. So don' t be disappointed if Blizzard doesn't leap to change whatever you say is killing the game.

That pretty much sums up most of my thoughts on the "ZOMG UR RUININ THE GAEM" mindset. My only other reactions to the whole minipets-for-money fiasco can be summed up as follows.

  1. This is basically the same as paying money for a loot card, only it cuts out the middleman, so it's kind of got a weird feeling to it - but deep down, I know it's really not that different. It's just who I'm buying it from.

  2. I sincerely believe Blizzard knows the line between selling vanity items like minipets and mounts, and selling actual content like impactful loot.

  3. I love Lil' K.T. to death, and his ability to frostbolt critters to death is fantastic. The Pandaren monk, however, never fails to make me jump like a shot when he starts abruptly making his kung-fu noises in an otherwise-quiet zone.

Keep the comments civil, because I know a lot of people have very strong opinions on this, or I'll shut them right the heck off.

(pic of Lil' K.T. courtesy of MMO-Champion, because I forgot to take a screenshot, too. Sighhhhh.)

Two things your DK tank wants to tell you


1) Hold off on that AOE for just a second if you would. Death and Decay is less like a Thunder Clap and more like a Consecration: a pulsing mass of energy on the ground that steadily builds threat. It is not a huge spike of threat, and it will not build threat if an enemy dashes into it and you immediately shoot them, causing them to run back out. Sure, its puny-looking damage is amplified by our talents and AP and whatnot (plus diseases, for Unholy DKs with Ebon Plaguebringer), and it has an enormous threat component when combined with Frost Presence (something ludicrous like 250 Threat per point of damage), but here's the part a lot of AOE happy boomkeks and volley launchers don't seem to get: it isn't going to build any threat if you don't for Heaven's sake let me hit it first. Let me put down my D&D and spread my diseases - my other quick method of building constantly ticking threat, and you'll know when it's down because you'll see black lines briefly connect through all the trash - and look at Omen, and then go ahead and unleash your great thundercloud of lightning-y doom.

One thing a lot of people are not aware of is that most of the DK specs are relying entirely on D&D for AOE threat. Unholy tanks used to be able to count on Unholy Blight as well, but our giant cloud of buzzy fleas is now simply a DOT applied when we cast Death Coil. Frost tanks can use Howling Blast, but that's got its own cooldown on top of our normal rune cooldown; they've probably got it easiest. Blood tanks are a lot like warriors using Cleave, only they can't add an extra target via glyphs - Blood AOE consists of tab, Heart Strike, tab, Heart Strike, tab, Heart Strike. It's kind of hectic.

In short: if I see one more hunter target an enemy on the other side of D&D and expect a simple run through the red glowy circle to out-threat their shots, or a druid who pops a thundercloud before Death and Decay has ticked once, and then bitches at me because they're getting their face beaten in, I am going to scream. No lie.

2) If we are silenced, please dispel it. This is something a lot of DKs are not aware of, as well as a lot of people around them - hell, I didn't figure it out until I started tanking. If we are fighting a mob who is capable of silencing us, and you notice we're silenced, please do something to get rid of it if we can't do it ourselves. When silenced, we lose access to:

The list goes on and on. Essentially any spell-like ability is affected by silence. In short, if a DK is silenced, our list of threat and survivability tools is reduced to Plague Strike, Scourge Strike (unholy only), Blood Strike, Frost Strike (frost only), Obliterate, Death Strike, and Heart Strike (blood only). We lose the ability to lay down an AOE (any of them at all), we lose the ability to taunt, and we lose our biggest source of magical protection and free runic power.

So please, if you see your DK tank get silenced, and it's a kind of silence you can dispel, please do!

(P.S. Casters with silence and hunters with silencing shot, if you really want to shut a death knight down in PvP, I guess now you know what to do.)

Places to be, versus places to die

There seems to be a new trend in instances these days: more, quicker, faster, get in - get the loot and badges - get out. Take the money and run, as it were. Now, I like the loot from ToC and Ulduar as much as anyone else, but I can't help but shake the feeling that the instances and raids are losing their, for lack of a better term, place-ness. It's a hard concept to explain; the best I can do is contrast instances that feel like places to exist or be, versus straight lines full of target dummies and loot.

Not Terribly Final

Obviously, the only logical thing to do now that I've been linked to by WoW.com is to, of course, blog about something that's not WoW. (Of course, to be fair, they linked to the bacon sandwich post. So we're already off to a rockin' start.)


Vaguely spurred on by Faulsey, boredom, and nostalgia, and not finding the inspiration to rejoin WoW (seriously, I've been following all the news about WoW closely... and still have no urge to re-up my account, in case someone was hoping), I decided to head back to my first MMO love: Final Fantasy XI. I'm playing at a casual (some would say ‘glacial') pace, and a number of things have changed since I last played (two years ago!), but here we are.

Let's take a little retrospective into my history with this game, along with a list of things it does very, very right, and a list of things it does very, very wrong (that hopefully they'll fix up in Final Fantasy XIV). Just as a warning, this post turned out a lot more enormous than I anticipated.