Things You Can Not Un-See

Don’t you hate it when something catches your eye and you immediately regret seeing it? It’s like squeezing too much toothpaste onto your toothbrush and realizing that you’re not a great white shark. You’ve just wasted a couple of cents and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. So you just grin and brush vigorously to get the most out every ounce of toothpaste that doesn’t immediately fall into the sink.

Okay, well maybe not like that … but what I am referring to is the knowledge of the “big bad” of Mists of Pandaria. Those of you that listen to The Overlores and/or possibly follow me on Twitter know that I’m a pretty big fan of Garrosh Hellscream. Sure he has his rough edges, but he’s an amazing character despite the fact that he’s pretty much a one-track mind kind-of-orc.

How would you feel and act if you grew up thinking your Dad was the worst thing ever only to be oversold on his redemption and handed over the reigns of the Horde after successfully championing the Horde’s campaign in Northrend? Garrosh came back from Northrend a HERO in the eyes of his fellow orcs. Of course he was the favorite to take the lead of the Horde upon Thrall’s departure.

Garrosh is an orc of ACTION that yields RESULTS.

So what if he’s a tad of a warmonger? So what if he’s almost a tad too arrogant? He DID things in Northrend. He proved himself to be a tactful and resourceful overlord (even if a tad reckless) during the Northrend campaign. Sure he may have ruffled the feathers of the more politically-inclined leaders of the Horde, but lest we forget that he didn’t willingly take the mantle of warchief.

He would have preferred to be out on the battlefieldHe is an orc of honor, seeking it always on the battlefield. He wants nothing more than to restore the glory of the Horde; to spread its dominance. His horde is one of action, one of results. Have you seen Orgrimmar since he took the mantle? Or how about the Horde outposts and settlements on Kalimdor?

Garrosh is BAD ASS.

And yet his brash nature has caused problems by seeking resolution through combat rather than diplomacy. Let us not forget that the confrontations between Thrall and Cairne weren’t blindly instigated by Garrosh. Thrall provoked Garrosh into challenging him and Cairne out-right challenged Garrosh to a Mok’gora. You might argue that in both cases Garrosh acted hastily and his actions — at least in the case of the Mok’gora with Cairne — have had long lasting ramifications, but diplomacy is not Garrosh’s strong suit.

Garrosh is FLAWED.

As flawed as Garrosh might be, he has held true to his ideal of honor. Whether you quest through Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms you’ll experience this. When Krom’gar committed an atrocity in Stonetalon Garrosh dismissed the general by dropping him off a lift. There is no honor in the slaughtering of those that cannot defend themselves; that is not how the Horde displays its glory.

Garrosh forbade the Banshee Queen from using the plague to take Gilneas. Should Sylvanas have used the plague she too would have been dismissed. There is no honor in avoiding the glory of battle and proving yourself superior.

Winning by DIRTY means is not WINNING.

This is why I find it really difficult to believe that over the course of Mists that Garrosh is going to commit a war-crime so HEINOUS that even his Horde turns on him. This is why I really think Blizzard screwed up by spoiling the end-game of Mists. Are we supposed to make that jump to believe that Garrosh will turn his back on honor and glory? Or are we to believe that he has been corrupted by and outside influence?

Either way I just don’t buy it. That’s not MY Garrosh.

My Garrosh is HONORABLE.

I want to believe that he has been corrupted. No, strike that. I NEED him to be externally corrupted, otherwise everything that he was, was all for naught.

Even if that is the truth behind this sad turn-of-events I’m still severely disappointed that Blizzard has already told us what is going to happen. How much more profound would it have been to keep this twist secret until we organically discover it?

We should have WITNESSED his corruption.

Blizzard has proven that they can turn a beloved character into a hated one; Sylvanas is proof enough of that. I would have rather thought “what the fuck Garrosh?” as he started down this dark path. Knowing where this path will take Garrosh isn’t very compelling and I’m upset that I’ve been robbed of all that could have been.

Imagine how much more emotional it could have been when faced with the necessity of taking Garrosh down? Imagine that prior to playing Warcraft 3 that you knew that Arthas would turn on his father and ultimately become the Lich King?

Yah, I just went there.

Instead of wondering what will be going on, we will know. When the time comes to dethrone Garrosh, it will feel empty. Just a means to an end to tie in the next expansion where we’ll likely be facing the Burning Legion again … or whatever actually corrupted Garrosh.

I’m sorry Blizzard, but you’ve done fucked up this time.

Magery Improve!

As I sit here waiting for my car to receive its Christmas present I decided that I’d make the most of the down time and update everyone on the continuing adventures of de-stinkifying my mage’s DPS.

It’s amazing just how quickly the gear portion of the problem can be changed. So much so that my mage is now virtually broke after gemming, enchanting and reforging the deluge of upgrades received in just a few hours of running the HoT 5 mans and one lucky LFR run. As of right now my mage only has 2 pieces of PVP gear to replace and is sporting two pieces of ilvl 384 raid finder tier pieces. Each upgrade has been met with excitement and animosity with the amount of juggling I’ve had to do with reforging to stay as close to 17% hit as possible.

Reforging is a boon and a bane.

Anyhoo, needless to say gear is no longer drastically holding my mage back. Nope. Now it’s just my inexperience which is doing that. Sure my DEEPS is substantially better now and there’s still some pieces holding me back (trinkets come to mind) but there’s still something that I’m doing wrong.

I’ve fully embraced fire as my main DPS spec and have done some scouring of the forums to have a better grasp of how to play as a fire mage. Knowing how to is still not the same as doing and as I learn the fights from a ranged perspective I’m sure my DEEPS will get higher.

Movement is the main thing that I’m struggling with since, as a rogue, I’m not used to the necessity of being stationary to cast. One thing that I do love about fire is that I can cast scorch on the run, but the mere act of movement usually causes me to let living bomb fall off and forget to reapply it.

As I get more comfortable with movement as a mage things will get better, especially if I can work blink into the equation more. I just need to subdue my perfectionist’s tendacies so that I don’t get down on myself for not being where I feel like a should be in terms of performance. I’ll get there … eventually. I just need to keep telling myself that.

Sadly, however, there’s been a side-effect of gearing as a fire mage that I can’t do much about: my frost DPS is now really, really lacking. Fire favors haste and crit, not mastery. Whereas frost loves mastery so unless I want to spend tons of gold juggling secondary stats I’ll just have to cope.

Anyhoo, I think I’ve droned on long enough, and my car is ready, so I will leave it at that. Ciao!

Inadequate Performance

I’m a rogue through and through. When it comes to group play I just feel a lot more comfortable with being in the thick of things. To be fair that probably has more to do with my inexperience with being ranged DPS, but needless to say when I hopped into an Hour of Twilight 5man my mage stunk up the place. And by stunk, I mean barely pulling 11k dps on average.

Again, my mage isn’t quite as geared for PvE as my rogue is but the difference in performance is downright embarrassing. I have had an arcane build, but I’m not a fan even though it was barely edging out my frost dps build. Considering my distaste of arcane I decided to give fire another go for PvE but that hasn’t been met with the results that I was hoping for.

It can’t just be my gear alone that is causing me to stink. It isn’t terrible despite being under the hit-cap (something which is probably hurting me greatly) yet there’s something about mage DPS that I’m not getting. Perhaps I haven’t set up my UI to communicate everything I need to know to maximize my performance, but it can’t be that. Sure I”ve jerry-rigged an add-on designed for rogues while I probably should be using something more like MageNuggets for timers and cool-downs but my stink goes beyond that.

Maybe there’s just something about ranged-dps that I just haven’t figured out. Or maybe it’s the priority system. Or maybe that most of my damaging abilities all have cast times, something that is somewhat foreign to a rogue. Needless to say I’m going to have to spend some time thumbing through the Elitist Jerks and MMO Champion mage forums. Hopefully I can glean something that will clue me into what I’m doing backwards.

Oh well, back to the HoT 5mans and to hope that I always get groups willing to put up with my low DEEPS ;_;

Looking For Reality

I know what you’re thinking and it just isn’t true. I haven’t abandoned my blog. I just haven’t had much free time for the past 2 months. Between work and the holidays it just hasn’t been possible. If you’ve been following my newest endeavor, the Shattered Soulstone, you’ll be at least somewhat privy to the hellacious hours I’ve been working and given the density of said hours it takes me two’sh days to recover. Sure the paychecks have been more than nice, but it’s almost not worth the toll that has been taken upon my sanity. But it’s a new year, all new promises to hope for … let’s put twenty-eleven behind us.

When I have had enough time to do something other than work I have managed to sneak in a little bit of time for podcasting, spending time with my family and WoW. Prior to patch 4.3 I felt like I would never achieve  the same level of gear with my rogue as I did in WotLK but I don’t think I was prepared to feel like I had surpassed it. Enter the Raid Finder, the single greatest addition to WoW since the Dungeon Finder.

Wait. Wait. Did you just call the Raid Finder the greatest addition to the game since the Dungeon Finder?!?

Yes, that’s right. I did, deal with it.

Oh right, you’re one of those “casuals” that Blizzard is catering to nowadays. Have fun with your Pandas and PokeWoW.

What’s with the hostility? Is there something inherently wrong with allowing a much larger portion of the player base an opportunity to SEE the content that the developers worked hard on creating? I certainly don’t think so. If more players are doing raid content, regardless of what difficulty level, then more time and resources will likely be allocated to creating raid content. Imagine what the Molten Front could have been with the Raid Finder in place.

Anyhoo, I’m straying from the focus that I intended with this entry. It’s not supposed to be an elitist v casual debate; rather I intended to share my experiences with raiding the Dragon Soul with the raid finder.

For the first time in my WoW career I have seen an entire tier of raid content while it is still relevant. In fact my rogue has been involved with the slaying of the World Breaker three times. Could have been four, but let’s not bring up my double-fail of sprinting off of Alexstraza’s platform and then releasing the other night. So far my experiences with the raid finder have been mixed, but mostly very positive. Sure things can get dicey when half of the DPS in the raid clearly shouldn’t be there and are pulling less than 15k dps on Ultraxion (was in one the other night with TWO mages barely managing 11k dps) but so far these occurrences don’t seem to be the norm … at least not yet.

Oh don’t worry, there are tons of terribads out there that will make fail-boating a far greater occurrence. Just you wait. 

Again with the hostility? Does the raid finder really irritate you that much? Can you not handle the “terribads” getting gear? Everyone should be afforded the same opportunity to enjoy the game to the fullest, even if they aren’t of the same caliber as an elite/hardcore raider. Do I really need to bring up the fact that us “casuals” also help keep this game going?

Yah, let that soak in for a moment. Blizzard has never been only about the 1%, they care about making fun games for everyone. Was it not Jay Wilson that stated that their goal was to bring the casual gamer into the fold and transform them into a hardcore gamer? By giving more players accessible raid content Blizzard is hoping that more of those players will then venture into raiding normal modes and maybe even heroic content. Is there something wrong with that?

But Jay Wilson isn’t even on the WoW development team! And I don’t want terribads taking MY raid slot!

Let’s just move on shall we. Clearly someone is intimidated by more players seeing their content.

As I stated earlier the raid finder is, in my opinion, a huge boon to the game. From here on out I will always be able to see all the content that Blizzard puts into WoW and that excites me greatly. I can not wait until Mists of Pandaria. How awesome is it that I’ll be in the mix and get to see the Sha in a raid setting? That if I want to wear tier gear, I’ll be able to? I only hope that rogue tier 14 isn’t hideous ^^;

Now to get my mage geared enough for the raid finder …

Broken Records but not Promises

Here we are again as we have been sooo many times before … another lengthy lapse in posting to my blog. Should we go through the usual half-apology, half-explanation?

Naaaah, we understand. Really we do. Really. /eyeroll

No? Okay. Let’s get back in to the swing of things and type out some words for you, my dear oft-neglected readers (which number in the tens? ^^; )

It would pretty fantastic if there were some awesome news to report on why I haven’t blogged since the middle of July, but there isn’t. Between conditions at work becoming increasingly stressful and my free-time disappearing to tending to my almost eleven month old son I just haven’t been able to get in to the proper mindset to sit down and type. Often instead of trying to push my brain into semi-functional half-coherent rambling-mode I’d opt to log into WoW and do dailies. Something mindless, something to take my mind off the stresses of the day.

Wait, I thought you weren’t going to explain your lapse. What are you doing?

Good point. I can’t break bad habits, so you’re just going to have to deal with that. Errr, well I mean it has been almost FOUR months since I last posted something, I feel like the least that I could do is give a little bit of an explanation.

Fair enough. Carry on, carry on.

As I was stating what I’ve mainly been up to isn’t much of anything, just the usual boring stuff. Well, that isn’t to imply that watching my son grow has been boring, which it hasn’t … quite to the contrary … just that mostly everything else (that I would blog about) hasn’t been outside of the norm. I completed the arduous task of completing the Molten Front dailies on both of my 85s (mage/rogue) and got both my DK on Nevikhoof and shadow priest on Cenarius into Cata-content.

Speaking of my poor, poor shadow priest when I dusted her off I was having a heck of a time trying to kill things out in Storm Peaks. Killing a single mob took a healthy chunk of her mana and if there was an add … forget about it. It was like I had forgotten how to play a shadow priest and I was having horrific flash-backs to when I tried going OOMkin with my druid in Outland. Then, I noticed something … something incredible … something HORRIFYING …

What? What’s in the box?

Points for the Seven reference, that is a fantastic movie. I think I’ll have to watch that again here in the near future.

*Cough* Ahem *Cough*

Oh right, what’s in the box. Got it.

What I noticed was that somehow I had leveled my priest up to level 78 (where I left her long before Cataclysm launched) without GLYPHS!

Oh … my … words are failing me … woooooooooow ….

I know, right? Crazy.

After rectifying that little issue my priest went back to melting faces without issue, until she hit the speed-bump named Vashj’ir. One does not simply walk into Mordor … errr I mean Vashj’ir decked out in Wrath leveling greens and blues. You’ll get your face smashed in by the tremendous iLvl leap when jumping into Cata-content as a fresh level 80. If you recall, that was one of my worries prior to Cata’s launch but after visiting the auction house and dumping 800g to replace a good chunk of her gear she was back in action.

Quick aside, my DK on Nevikhoof didn’t experience a similar issue when questing through Hyjal … then again she is a blood DK and was able to over-power everything tossed at her in Wrath, therefore having slightly better gear when making the jump.

Anyhoo, once my priest hit 81 and trained mind spike her play-style changed dramatically. Instead of having a compelling and fun rotation, all she needed to do was toss mind spike three times and then mind blast. Essentially she went from being a warlock to an arcane mage, only without having to worry about her mana pool to deal ALL THE DAMAGE.

Booooo hissssss!

I tried going back to using the old rotation but it couldn’t keep up with the damage output of the new two button gameplay. Well … there is occasionally the need to toss in a shadow word: death when the mob didn’t fall over from boredom. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my priest. I’ve tried playing as an arcane mage and quickly grew so bored of it that I went back to frost but there isn’t another DPS option for me to fall back onto.

Wait. Did you just try to state that FROST is a viable DPS option for Mage? Are you mad?

Yes, and yes. However let’s not side-track this post into debunking the myth that frost mages can’t dish out the DPS … they can.

Fine. I’ll let you live in your little fantasy bizarro world where frost mages deal damage.

Thank you, I think.

Other than preferring the mindlessness of what I’ve been doing in-game I have spent a smidgen of time on my other neglected alts. My dwarf rogue and tauren paladin have seen some playtime, but not really enough to warrant writing about. My mage has gone back on PVP-hiatus potentially until 4.3 when fire mages finally get some love so there’s nothing there to write about unless you want to hear about how I’ve taken her back to the Argent Tournament to become a Crusader.

Naaah, that’s so last expansion. Sounds like you’re wrapping things up?

Indeed I am, but before I do there is news on the podcasting front. Awhile back I was approached by Medros, the mad-man behind Dawnforge Productions, to start a Diablo podcast for his network. Considering my love of the Diablo franchise how could I not say yes? I mean, Diablo was my first true gaming addiction before World of Warcraft came around. Alas the Shattered Soulstone was born, a podcast for all of the loot-crazy deviants like myself, Breja and Jen.

Wait. What about The Overlores?

Don’t fret, The Overlores is still happening, just not as frequently as it once was. As you might deduce from the lack of activity on my blog, things have been hairy for getting together and making the magic of the Overlores happening. Rilandune, Kharendos and myself are still committed to putting out shows for you to consume so do not lose hope. Never lose hope … I haven’t.

With that I think I’ll call this a wrap. There’s still plenty of things that I would like to write about, especially about Mists of Pandaria and how excited I am about the prospect of being a troll monk. And then there’s the little thing called DC Universe Online going free-to-play, but that’s better suited for a post of its own … eventually.

I’m Batman!

A Passion Re-Ignited

Let me preface this entry by stating that I began writing this before patch 4.2 dropped but between a trip to Disneyland with my wife and all of the hullabaloo over 4.2 my blog became a distant concern. I’m not apologizing for the neglect over the past month, but I did want to explain to a small degree why there has been yet another lapse in my long career of lapses. You won’t hold it against me, right?

Anyhoo, let’s move on into the meat of this post …

It amazes me how with each expansion my approach and focus to my long-time gaming addiction changes. In The Burning Crusade most PvE content was out of my reach, not only because of the painful rep-grinds but also because I was having to balance time against the birth of my daughter. These restrictions led me back to an aspect of the game that I once spent a good chunk of time in, PvP.

Granted back then I did most of my PvP on my priest, not my rogue. It was something that I could jump in and out of without adversely affecting the gameplay of my friends or whomever I was grouping with at the time. Even though it started off exceptionally frustrating until I got my rogue enough gear to survive long enough to provide any kind of threat. Once the gear was mostly not an issue my enjoyment of the competitive nature of PvP soared.

Then Wrath of the Lich King arrived and my focus shifted back to running PvE content. My daughter was older and my ability to commit longer chunks of game-time increased to where I could run heroic dungeons. With my PvP-focused priest lagging far, far behind in levels I decided that I didn’t want to once again subject my rogue to the grueling gear-grind to become viable in PvP once more. Death Knights were the bane of my rogue’s existence when I did foolishly venture into PvP as they were EVERYWHERE and would death grip me away to my demise. So I hung up my PvP boots and embraced trivialized heroics as WotLK matured.

Yet there was a apart of me that yearned to return to the PvP scene; watching PvP videos certainly didn’t satiate my hunger. Unfortunately the barrier to entry was so painful that when I did decide to jump back in, it was already far too late in Wrath’s life for me to get my priest caught up. Besides, most of my time was already occupied running lots of PvE content with my rogue and death knight tank, finding time to fit in PvP would have been impossibly difficult.

That’s where the great world sundering of the Cataclysm strode in to save the day; that and the birth of my son. Back are the days of spontaneously needing to jump up and tend to my son at the drop of the hat and my inability to dedicate chunks of time to run PvE content, especially since Cata brought back lengthier dungeons. Once again I’ve returned to clashing with the opposing faction, this time from the opposite faction than before. Instead of jumping into the fray from any of my horde toons I am spilling the blood of my “former” comrades with my Draenei mage.

Fret not, however, I haven’t completely forsaken my horde toons and still have grand plans to get my Undead priest caught up and in the middle of the action … as soon as I find the time to do so. Until that fateful day I’ve been spending the majority of my time working on my mage as well as watching mage PvP videos to keep my motivation and drive going. I still have a lonnnnnng way to go considering that I still need to drop herbalism from my mage and pick up engineering for all of the fun toys tinkers get to play with in BGs.

At first I tried running with frost my mage and was getting my ass handed to me on a regular basis. Sure I wasn’t properly spec’d for PvP but there was something about frost that didn’t sit right with the mentality I was taking. I like to be mobile in PvP and in order to deal my best damage I had to be a stationary glass cannon. I was also running into issues with my water elemental running off and/or not following me when it came time to retreat. I knew I needed to try something else and to make sure that whatever it was that I picked the right talents for PvP. That’s where this video CHANGED MY LIFE …

Well, okay. Maybe it didn’t actually change my life but it definitely did change my mage’s life. Fire is just an absolute blast to play! Pun-intended. While I’m still far from a high-level of play I’m learning the in and outs of playing as a fire-battle mage and enjoying the hell out of it. That’s the most important thing, right? Once I get my mage’s gear together and her engineering up I know she’ll be a wrecking ball out on the battlefield and I can not wait, but for now she’ll just have to be satisfied with occasionally wrecking people.

Unexpected Generosity

A couple weeks back I put together some artwork for Skolnick of the incredible mini-podcast Warcraft Less Traveled out of sheer love for the show [Note: As of this post the work I did has yet to go live].  I told him as such and that I didn’t expect anything in return other than a small nod for my work simply because him and his show deserved a fitting facelift to take his show to the next level  (his words, not mine as I feel he’s already done that).

It was another project that I could add to my portfolio (if I ever finish that site) and to me that alone is payment enough for my efforts. Needless to say I was floored when I received an email from Blizzard alerting me that I had been gifted Mr. SnufflesMcMeowMeow (Hi Shade!) aka the Winged Guardian. I was flabbergasted and extremely happy since I had planned on buying the mount eventually when the finances allowed.

I promptly thanked Skolnick for his incredible generosity and planned on putting something together to do the gift justice to adequately express my gratitude. This is where this blog entry comes into play … another art-filled post showing off the majesty of the flyion. (Once again you can click on the images to see the full-size version)