Profoundly Romantic?

As I sit here stewing over the fact that this blog has barely been a thought that has crossed my mind I’ve come to realize part of the problem. My problem is that over the past few years I’ve shifted away from just blogging whatever to blogging about something important, or at least to say something profound. That wasn’t how this blog started, but as time passed that drive to immortalize what I did became more of a drive to say something that was interesting. It became less of a gaming diary and more of a soapbox.

I remember back when I started this blog, almost nine years ago now, I would just give a recap of what I did in Final Fantasy XI. Sure it may not have been interesting to everyone and I certainly did not intend my posts to make profound statements yet as time by and I saw what other bloggers were doing and saying I became intrigued with trying to be that blog that people would turn to and say to themselves “whoa, he’s made some really great points.” 

Blame it on my natural tendencies on wanting to fit in and yet at the same time stand out among the crowd. This idea of my blog becoming a beacon in the community became a romantic fantasy, something that came to cripple my stream-of-consciousness style that it originated from. Sure, there were times where I didn’t try to say anything profound and just let the words flow from my fingers and those times would be where I think my blog worked best.

Just me being me. A big silly gaming geek.

So folks, that’s what I’m going to try to get back to. Not going to try to continually refine my thoughts into overly idealized and profound statements. I’m not quite that … *ahem* smart. Well okay, I’m not a dummy either, but I’m not going to try to be a genius.

Occasionally I might accidentally say something really profound, but it will just be a matter of happenstance when the mood strikes me. I am definitely capable of doing so, but like I said earlier, that’s not how this blog started nearly nine years ago.

Wait. Let’s let that soak in. This blog has been around for nearly a decade! And what do I have to show for it? A mere 260’sh posts? Yup. Definitely been a bit too … up-tight about what I’ve been blogging. I certainly don’t act up-tight on the Shattered Soulstone, so why should I do so here?

Right. So what does this mean going forward? It means you’re going to be getting a lot more of me and what I’ve been up to with my life, in-game and out. Are you excited? I am, I think. I just hope I actually take the time to immortalize what I’ve been doing in Diablo 3 ^^; Oh don’t worry, I still play WoW as well as other games … sorta.

Wait. I got it! By blogging about what I’ve been up to in Diablo 3 I can turn that around and use it for the Shattered Soulstone! YESH. PERFECT. It all comes back to how good I look in stillettos. Mrowr!

Okay, yah … that was a lot funnier in my head ^^;

What a Penske …

Before you ask the title of today’s quickie is a play on what a pain. Why? Well as I’m laboring to type these words for you I’m sitting on at a plastic picnic table which is filling in for Penske’s customer lounge in lieu of the real thing being utilized for a meeting. Not terrible on its own since it is a beautiful day out, but I’m unable to enjoy it on account of possibly having a sinus infection. Oids.

Whoa, that’s a lot of QQ there.

I’m allowed to vent from time to time right? Sure I may have already done so on Twitter, but I figured I would share here as well since I’m trying to make the most of it by blogging from my phone. It’s coo right?

Alright, I suppose we can allow it this time, but I’m hoping there’s a little more substance to this “quickie.”

Thank you for being so understanding but you’re right, I do have more to say than just bitching about Murphy’s Law. So let me get on with it …

I am relieved to see that Blizzard is letting loose with a good amount of 4.2 information. With the numerous “delays” of 4.1 I was beginning to worry that in typical Blizzard-fashion it would be weeks before anything would surface. Had this been the case I would have cried foul on their plans to release smaller content patches more frequently.

Sure, it could still be awhile before 4.2 hits the PTR and could languish there as 4.1 did, but by releasing this information so soon after Rise of the Zandalari Blizzard has successfully allayed my worries … for now. Should 4.2 hit the PTR next week, we could possibly see the Firelands go live by June which is pretty close to a 6 month release cycle for major raid content patches.

But you’re not a raider and never will be so why do you care?

This much is true as I’ve said it multiple times before, but I do care because I like to live vicariously through my friends who do raid. That and with the introduction of t12 armor we will be able to purchase t11 with JP.

Really? You’re excited about welfare epics?

Yes, yes I am and I’m not ashamed to say that. Getting great gear and putting it to use is fun for me and it makes running heriocs a lot less stressful and enjoyable to run with strangers. Well, okay that might overstating things a bit, but I have encountered some fantastic people in the dungeon finder before. At the very least the proliferation of older raid gear makes PuGs a lot more bearable.

Besides, I can’t wait to deck my mage out in t11 since they clearly won the armor set competition this round. Hopefully rogue t12 won’t be terribad … it’s been awhile since there was a rogue set that I really liked.

Anyhoo, this quickie has ended up not so quick. Time for me to close this out so that my thumbs don’t fall off since I’m sure there will be auto-correct fixes that I will need to go back and fix.

Ciao!

My First Podcast Appearance

Considering the meta nature of my WoW-related entries recently I decided that I would once again get meta on all of you. I’ve come a long ways from my first days of owning an iPod Touch and discovering the joys of podcasts, from listener to contributor and now co-host, so I decided to take a look back to the very first time I made that jump from listener to contributor.

Ooooooh! Was it the Instance? I bet it was the Instance.

While the Instance was one of the first podcasts I listened to, I’ve never submitted anything to that show. No, my very first appearance was on Ctrl Alt Wow episode 134. Unsurprisingly my email was rogue-related and I can still recall the nervousness and excitement over hearing it read on air. It seems so silly now to have felt that way back then, but alas we’re all noobs at some point, right?

Anyhoo, here’s the email I sent …

 

Hello Aprillian, Ashayo and Glanthur,

I’m writing in because I’m one of those dreaded rogue mains and I might be able to help Turbos with his DPS issue. I’m not an end-all source on all things rogues, but I can definitely give some advice to point Turbos in the right direction.

When I got home to check his armory, I noticed that he’s in a lot of PVP gear. He mentioned that he’s obtained a lot of gear through pvp, but this kind of gear is really only good for pvp.

The major stat he’s missing that is hurting his DPS is his +hit. In his pvp gear he’s sitting at +102 hit and should be aiming for at least +237 if he’s hitting mobs with debuffed with Imp FF or Misery, otherwise he needs to get up to +315. Hitting +315 will ensure his poisons do not miss if they proc.

He’s also running with a very low expertise, sitting at 13, (10 from talents, and only an additional +3 from gear). Ideally he wants to get this up to 26 to remove boss parries and make life easier on the tank. This isn’t as important, but should be kept in mind.

Then there’s also the issue of him not having gems socketed into his gear. For where his gear is currently, he should be gemming for +hit first, then +agi and maybe +expertise if he doesn’t get more pve oriented gear. He needn’t worry too much about matching socket colors, but should pay attention to it if it offers a decent return.

He just needs to make sure he picks up a good meta-gem to toss into his head-piece and make sure he has the right colors to activate the meta. Which leads me to enchants in general. He absolutely needs to immediately grind out Sons of Hodir and the Knight of the Ebon Blade for the shoulder and head enchants respectively.

His weapons are decent welfares from the Argent Tournament and he’s rocking the best combat talent build for what he has (although he might entertain replacing the glyph of eviscerate with killing spree), but his weapon enchants need to be changed immediately. With the drop in prices on abyss crystals, he really should be rocking dual beserker enchants on his weapons. Or at the very least beserker/mongoose even though mongoose is still pretty pricey especially after the cost of beserker dropped dramatically.

But when it’s all said n’ done, a rogue lives and dies by his weapons. Upgrading your weapons will upgrade your DPS more than pretty much any other min/max’ng. While raiding may be out of the question, Coren Direbrew drops an awesome dagger for a mutilate build and an awesome BoE mace for a combat rogue (both are rare drops).

If he can’t manage a Naxx pug, his best bet is to hope for the best and slowly upgrade his other slots with gear from heroic Trial of the Champion and emblems from running heroics.

One final piece of advice that ties all of this together is to pay attention to his rotation. It’s not overly complicated as a combat rogue, just keep SnD (Slice n’ Dice) up 100% and you’ll keep your DPS up. (The majority of rogue DPS comes from their white damage) After ensuring SnD uptime he should try to keep rupture up as much as possible and weave in eviscerates when SnD and rupture still have a decent amount of time left in them.

BTW, the default UI is awful for keeping track of these, so I’d suggest an addon such as Rogue Power Bars that can help him keep an eye on his SnD and Rupture uptime. He might also want to practice his rotation on a targetting dummy in Org or wherever to learn how to pull that little bit of extra DPS out of his rotation.

Hope my advice is useful to him, he can venture into the Elitist Jerk’s forums if he’s patient enough to read through the looooonnnnngggg threads. (He’ll often see references to plugging stuff into spreadsheets, but I don’t think he needs to min/max to /that/ level, especially since Cataclysm will change everything anyways).

Okay, I’ve rambled on long enough and I’m sure Ashayo and Glanthur are either fast asleep or are experiencing uncontrollable seizures from this wall of rogue-text. Sorry about that and in ammends, don’t include this letter in the drawing. Helping out a fellow rogue is reward enough.

Nevik, lv80 Troll Rogue (Main!)
Kroven, lv80 Orc Deathknight
Schmelzen, lv72 UD Priest
… on Cenarius.

 

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane because I may just repurpose all/some of my podcast submissions to give me some easy blog entries for the next couple of weeks. ^^; I kid, I kid. Though now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if Turbos found my advice useful as I don’t recall him writing in afterwards my email aired.

Burnout Lag

It’s almost as if everywhere you turn you run into WoW players that either on the verge of burning out or have burnt out and moved on. I’m battling with my own “burnout” but we all know that that is an annual occurrence for me. I’ll be back, we all know that, but I have to admit that this time my “break” from WoW this time around feels different. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but there’s definitely something that has me looking at my commitment to WoW differently than before.

Wait. No! You can’t leave the game!

Whoa. Whoa. Hold on there. You might be thinking that I was insinuating the possibilities of putting my WoW days behind me and someday I certainly will, but that day isn’t even on the horizon yet. So fret not, I will be back in-game … soon … at least until Diablo III comes out ^^;

Phew. Wait, you’d leave WoW for Diablo III?

Yes, and no. Long before my MMO days I was insatiably addicted to Diablo II, so once III drops I will assuredly be taking a couple of months off from WoW to focus on slaying Diablo over and over and over and … (you get the idea) … again. Words cannot express how much I love the Diablo universe, and collecting lots and lots of loot. I yearn to return to Sanctuary and see what repercussions there have been after Tyrael damaged the Worldstone.

But, let’s get back to talking about WoW. There’ll be plenty of time to talk about Diablo later.

As I was saying before straying on a tangent (as I tend to do), there seems to be a massive amount of WoW burnout around the net. Maybe it’s the fact that for many of us, we’ve been playing this game for a really, really long time and are looking for something new. It could also be the fact that there was a massive amount of time between the release of Icecrown Citadel and Cataclysm that has tainted some player’s reverence (and patience) for the game.

While I enjoyed being able to gear my rogue to the teeth with awesome gear by the end of Wrath I can only help but feel like I’ve beaten WoW. As many of you already know, I’m a casual player (much more so now with a newborn) that doesn’t have the time to raid. So in a way, I feel like I’ve hit that pinnacle with WoW and am now on the downward slope of my WoW-career … at least with my main and at least until the next firesale before we return to Outlands and bring the fight to the Burning Legion ( … or go to the Emerald Dream … meh)

Man you sure do like to use italics … a lot!

I do! But let’s stay on topic, shall we?

So why is this burnout seemingly worse now than it was before Cata dropped? We’re only 4 months into Cataclysm and it’s already stale? Surely that couldn’t be, right? Could the Rift-factor really be the cause? Or could it be that the next raid tier is now 2 patches out?

That’s a lot of questions! Do you have the answers?

No, I definitely do not … but I do have a theory.

I think between the worst gap in content releases since vanilla and drastic change of design mentality with end-game progression we’re experiencing the burnout lag from the end of WotLK. We were all so ravenous for the new shiny content of Cataclysm that we (well some of us at least) burned through that content very, very quickly. It took absolutely no time to get from 80-85 and offers little variation in the process. Even the 1-60 experience is effortless now (possibly too fast?) and is quickly burned through as well. Add in the fact that this content preceded Cata by a month and it’s actually quite easy to already be burned out.

But, but, but there’s still tons of content for budding altoholics!

Sure there is, but I’m having a hard time finding the motivation to play lots of alts right now. I could blame the design decision to FORCE players to hop through the Dark Portal at 60, but I honestly think it has more to do with the 80-85 content than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the 80-85 content (save Uldum and its many, many broken cut-scenes) but there’s a lack of variety in your progression to 85 … “Oooooh, do I go to Hyjal or Vashj’ir?!”

Then there’s the whole issue of the dangling carrot on a stick simply not being worth it right now. I hate to admit it, but a large reason I play WoW is for the loot and when it’s frustrating to keep said loot, my motivation to put forth the effort dwindles, especially now that I’m far behind the curve of gear to run heroics. While I’m sure I could easily “catch up” and run heroics to my heart’s content I’m still finding it hard to stomach the increased time commitment to run a heroic.

Oh, you’re one of THOSE players eh? Fan of the 15 minute heroic?

Honestly, yes I did prefer the 15 minute heroic blitz at the end of Wrath. It’s not like I don’t appreciate a good challenge as exhibited by my profound love for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, but to me WoW is not something I play to be challenged and/or frustrated with. I’m not a fan of bashing my head in repeatedly because of other people’s mistakes or refusal to L2P. No, I play WoW to kick back, unwind and enjoy the game with friends. If I want to be challenged in WoW I’ll jump into PVP or attempt to solo stuff that usually requires a group to accomplish. (Sidenote: I cannot wait until I can try soloing Kael’thas for the Ashes of A’lar)

Again, I’m not a raider. Never have been, never will be.

Okay, fair enough. At least 4.1 will bring some “wellfare epics” into play.

Admittedly the new tier of heroics has me excited to obtain purples and make the existing heroics easier to run, but do we need to call them welfare epics? ZG and ZA are being tuned a notch up from the existing heroics so it isn’t like everyone will be able faceroll their way into having epics, at least not until 4.2 when t11 gear starts becoming the norm.

… And is there anything wrong with that?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a larger portion of the player-base having decent gear, it makes pugging a lot more tolerable (and sometimes quite enjoyable!). You could argue that the pug-factor is a non-factor if you stick to running with guildies and friends, but there will always be times where doing so doesn’t line up with the time you have available. My situation is a perfect example of that,  so often pugging is my best option to chasing the carrot.

I know I’ll be back, there’s no doubting that. It’s just an interesting coincidence that my annual break lined up with some personal burnout that I’m feeling. Once we get some new content and quality of life changes in 4.1 I’ll more than likely be 100% back into WoW. I should be finished with Castlevania by then anyways and I won’t be as concerned about WoW dominating my Raptr account anymore.

So that’s my story, what’s yours?

Blogging on the Go

I’ve always been limited to updating my blog from the comfort of my home, but with the recent acquisition of a true smart phone (HTC Evo 4) I now have the ability to blog on the go. I’m not quite certain if this will actually increase the frequency of my posts (dealing with the virtual keyboard and auto-correct might be dicey) or provide myself with an adequate outlet to share shorter, more focused thoughts, but it’s at least a possibility now. An exciting possibility for certain yet we’ll have to see if it is even worthwhile.

So what can we expect to see you post from your phone?

To be honest, I’m not sure yet. I wouldn’t expect a ton of random real life entries such as how much I’m enjoying whatever I’m eating or drinking, that’s what I have Twitter for. I do know, however, that whatever I feel the need to blog from my phone will have to be very much to the point. I simply cannot see myself typing via virtual keyboard for anything much more than a few paragraphs. So when/if I do decide to use this outlet brevity will be my friend.

Awww, I love it when you ramble on!

Awww, that’s sweet. Don’t worry, the majority of my blogging will still be from the comfort of my computer at home. I’ve had to make numerous corrections already in this entry, so there’s no way that phone blogging will become the norm on my blog. It’s just a new outlet and I wanted to see what it would feel like.

So I bid you adieu, I have this urge to look into getting a netbook … or a laptop ^^;

What’s in a Name?

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about this, so I figured now is as good of a time as any to explain my online namesake: Nevik.

I’ve been meaning to ask that! How fortuitous of you to read my mind!

I know, I’m special like that but let’s get back on topic. However, before I answer where Nevik came from, I figured I might go over the history of my online handles dating all the way back to my BBS days.

Bee Bee Ess?

If you’re bordering on the verge of becoming ancient you’ll know the reference, but back in the days before Al Gore invented the internet we used modems to connect our computers to other computers and interact with other peoples on a local basis. My very first experience with this phenomenon was actually over at a friend’s house who had TSN, The Sierra Network. I never had a TSN account of my own, but it was the COOLEST thing ever. Not only could you talk to people around the country, but you could participate in little games with them. Needless to say, I got the itch to buy a modem and install it into my Dad’s computer so I could connect to BBSes or start my own.

Well starting my own BBS never paned out, but that couldn’t have had anything to do with the fact that tying up the only phone line in the house would have angered my parents. No, instead I started dialing into a local BBS by the name of Thunder Mountain. It was there that I started playing games such as Trade Wars and Legend of the Red Dragon. At this time I went by the handle KingArthur (spaces weren’t allowed back then). What can I say? I loved the King Arthur mythos and figured that it would be a perfect representation of my own interests.

Anyhoo, back in these days it was also common for BBSes to hold meet-ups for their users to meet and greet in person and put a face to a name.  It was at one of these meet-ups at a local Round Table Pizza that I met a few folks from another BBS called Synerchat and I defected to their darker side. It was at this time that I started feeling a little self-conscious about being King Arthur and decided to ditch the handle for sexvampire.

SEX. Vampire?! Good grief.

Yup, I was a teen at the time and I thought I was being edgy with that name. Fret not, for it only felt right for a year or two and I decided to go with ninvampire since Trent Reznor was (and still is) my favorite person in the world (other than my wife and kids of course!). Ninvampire (or ninvamp on EFnet #ff7) ended up being my online identity once the internet was everywhere and it wasn’t only fairly recently that I decided to retire the name.

Wait. Why did you decide to retire it?

Twilight happened and I was getting tired of being pegged as a sparkly vampire lover when the origination of my vampire love came from the fantastic Interview with a Vampire. As far as I’m concerned Twilight is garbage (sorry Tar, but it’s true) and every time I’d get asked about that horrific series another piece of me died inside. It was at this point that I decided to fully adopt Nevik as my online identity. My use of the name Nevik actually predates the creation of this blog (Duh! It wasn’t ninvampire’s notebook afterall) as it was my character’s name in Final Fantasy XI and was what I’d name the main hero of all the RPGs I played.

Okay, but why Nevik? You were going to tell us that, right?

Oh you’re right. That was the main focus of this entry so I’ll get onto it.

I used to be really into industrial/goth music (well, still am to a certain extent) and loved this band called Skinny Puppy. Skinny Puppy’s front man’s name was Nivek Ogre and I really thought the name Nivek was interesting, but decided to reverse the E and I to change the pronunciation and to (fruitlessly) distance it from being Kevin backwards.

So there you have it. The genesis of the moniker Nevik as told in the only way I know how, round-about and tangental!

Well that explains Nevik, but what about Nevik James?

Ahhh yes, while I go by Nevik in-game (and in general) it hasn’t always been available in every capacity so it only makes sense that I had to add something to Nevik in order to keep my namesake (mostly) intact. The origination of Nevik James actually came from my Xbox Live account when I couldn’t retrieve my old username of ninvampire when I finally made the jump from Xbox (one) to the 360.

Okaaaaay, but why James?

Brace yourself, here comes another tangent.

I used to work at a small time video game/anime store close to my house and one day the store I worked at got a new manager. This new manager for some reason could never get my name straight and would call me James and since all of my friends would hang out at the store the name ended up sticking.

That’s the main reason I decided to go with Nevik James, but as Cypher alluded to on The Addicted #82 (where I guest-hosted) I did think of “I’m Nevik James, bitch!” It just happened to be a happy coincidence and cemented the usage when Nevik wasn’t available.

And, that is why I went with Nevik, in an enormous nut-shell.

Crossroads

It’s no surprise that it’s been almost a month since my last update on the blog. It’s not for a lack of trying, but every single time that I’ve sat down to write something I’ve immediately lost my motivation. I’ll get this great idea for my blog, then just as I’m about to start typing everything goes blank. After a few minutes of blankly staring at the screen I just decide to do something else.

Is it writer’s block? I’m not sure. Usually I’ll rationalize my decisions to not update my blog with the notion that whatever I would have written would have been tripe and uninspired. That might be the root cause for the lack of updates over the past month. I just haven’t been inspired enough to sit down and share my thoughts.

Now before either of us goes into a panic, this thing happens to me a lot and at some point I just get over it. It has happened many, many times in the past and I’m positive it’ll continue to be a problem that plagues this blog for the years to come. Oh noes! Not to worry, I always get over it and suddenly my blog springs to life once more.

It’s just the natural ebb and flow of my blogging that is frighteningly  similar to that of my gaming habits. For instance, this hiatus has been caused from the lack of gaming that I’ve felt inspired to write about. What have I been playing this past month? Mostly Torchlight, a couple of PS3 demos and I’ve recently decided to try LOTRO, (free trial of course).

As great as Torchlight is, it isn’t a great game to blog about. I mean, it’s Diablo, what more need be said about it? Sure I could blog about the trials and tribulations of my melee alchemist, but would any of you care? It’s solely a single player game and the end-game is a randomized dungeon-crawler. At some point I may decide to post an entry or two about the unusual builds that I’m playing, but right now I’m not feeling it as a necessary blog update.

Anyhoo, I have also decided to give Lord of the Rings Online a try since I am a fan of the Tolkien world, but the game hasn’t struck a chord with me and there’s little hope that it will. My lack of interest in LOTRO is cemented in the fact that I’ve dedicated 5 years of my gaming life to WoW and every single time I play LOTRO, I’d rather just reactivate my WoW account. Everything just feels clunky in LOTRO where as everything in WoW feels just right. That isn’t to say that LOTRO doesn’t do anything well as it is most certainly a very competent game, it’s just that WoW has spoiled me as an MMO gamer.

Has WoW ruined every other MMO for me? That is my biggest worry about going into Final Fantasy XIV later this year. I’m hopeful that FFXIV will rekindle that love I had for Final Fantasy XI, but after playing WoW for so long, I’m worried I’ll fall into the same trap of rather-be-playing-WoW.

At this point I think the only way I could conceivably give any other MMO a fair shot is if I find myself in a strong community. If it hadn’t of been for the fact that Star Trek Online was released way too early, I might actually still be playing it. Cryptic failed to deliver on a true Star Trek experience and the community has fled from the game.

Many of the STO podcasts I was listening to have disappeared, or are having issues with feeling inspired to keep podcasting about STO. I’ve stopped following news regarding STO and at this point I could care less about it. Between my forth-coming inner-turmoil between WoW and FFXIV, there’s just no room for a poor MMO. I would say shame on Cryptic for STO, but after City of Heroes and Champions Online, it’s shame on me for putting my faith in them one more time.

Well, I think I’ve rambled on long enough about the MMO crossroads that I’m at. I’ll try to keep my inspiration and motivation going for slightly more frequent updates, but I think I’m going to have to go with smaller updates. More stream-of-consciousness stuff without so much emphasis on trying to write something great. I might even share a couple thoughts on what’s going on with WoW, but no promises. ^^;