Extinguishing the Inferno

Oh boy. By the looks of the calendar I’ve come awfully close to not updating my blog for two months. TWO MONTHS! That’s absolute madness. It wasn’t for a lack of potentially having something to blog about as I’ve been up to plenty of things. All the things? Some of the things? Who knows? Definitely not me.

Anyhoo, what could have possibly kept me away from jotting down words for all of prosperity … or at least for my own sanity? I’ve been in somewhat of a funk for the past two months from the lack of being allowed to work resulting in my coping with several bouts of insomnia and a general feeling of aimlessness. I just felt like I was spinning my wheels and getting no where. Fortunately my daughter started 2nd grade (although that was weeks ago) which enforced some structure in my daily routine and my bouts with insomnia have been curbed.

So what have I been up to?

As I initially alluded, I’ve been up to lots of things. Well okay, maybe not a ton of things, but interesting things nonetheless. Probably the most interesting thing that has developed in the past week and a half is the fact that I’m filling in on my good friend Rioriel’s blog, Postcards From Azeroth, while he’s taking a much-needed hiatus from the game to recharge his batteries. I’ve always admired Rioriel and his blog so being able to contribute in my own way has been electrifying. Having an outlet for my artistic juices has revitalized my drive to get back to what I do best: art and design.

Wait. Is that what I truly do best? Well, perhaps procrastination is what I do best, but art and design would be a close second … maybe. Gaming, blogging, podcasting and living definitely wouldn’t be up there. Oh heck, who am I kidding? Getting under Rilandune’s skin deserves mentioning — I’m exceptional at that — but I digress.

So other than scouring through my screenshots and transforming them into pretty postcards for everyone to enjoy I’ve been playing a lot of Diablo 3. A. LOT.

I knew going in to D3 that I was going to become addicted to it, I just didn’t realize that I would invest over 500 hours to it in only four months. Granted there were a few occasions where I burned out a smidge on grinding and farming for little benefit, but there’s just something about the Diablo formula that GETS ME as a gamer. I’m always chasing after the “something amazing could drop from the next demon” and with patch 1.0.4 at least I can channel that into grinding Paragon XP. As of this moment my main wizard, Malnevicent, is sitting halfway through paragon level 18 and my newly minted wizard, Aiom, is paragon level 2.

Yes, folks. I do indeed have TWO level 60 wizards. Why? Why not? Everything little thing she does is magic.

My reasoning behind the madness it is actually quite simple, I want to enjoy more than just one playstyle with the wizard. Malnevicent is my tanky melee wizard whereas Aiom is my shits n’ giggles wizard where I’m not afraid to experiment with wacky builds. I could elaborate on that a bit more, but I think I’ll save blogging about Aiom for another day. I’m still honing a REDONKULOUS wizard build — which I’m sure will get nerfed come 1.0.5 — so I’d rather blog about it separately.

As for my main wizard-squeeze, Malnevicent, I recently completed all of Diablo 3 with her. Yup, that’s right. Malnevicent slayed Diablo in Inferno last week with the help of a few friends of the Shattered Soulstone podcast: Swaying Mango and MDB3. It wasn’t quite the walk-in-the-park that a lot of D3 elitist have made it out to be, but in the end we stood there victorious … err, well at least Swaying Mango and I did since sadly MDB3 had to drop immediately preceding our victory. Perhaps MDB3 was dragging us down? I kid, I kid.

If you’re familiar with the Diablo encounter, the sticking point in our multiple failures was always the Realm of Terror. Diablo isn’t too much of a threat, but man those shadow clones of ourselves … THEY HURT. BADLY. No I don’t think you quite understand the depth of which they hurt you. Getting gibbed from two simultaneous wizard’s meteors is … depressing. There was also this little issue that since both Swaying Mango and I were more tanky wizards, our DPS was rather low.

After two failed attempts I swapped out Wave of Force for Archon – Arcane Destruction for slightly better DPS burns. I lost my stacks of Nephalem Valor but getting phat loots from Diablo wasn’t my goal. My goal was to complete Inferno in its entirety, preferably before any further nerfs to its difficulty happened. Needless to say when Diablo finally toppled over for us to kick his/her limp body I jumped out of my chair and fist-pumped, repeatedly.

I know many, many, many people have long since had this accomplishment under their belts but it in no way diminished my feeling of accomplishment. Inferno is HARD without amazing gear and to finally clear it out with my moderately decent gear felt amazing. I did it, ME, and it felt great.

Now with Inferno completed I can go back to farming … and fighting the urge to switch Malnevicent over to Aiom’s build. How’s that for a tease?

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Eating Crow

Remember how one of the points of blogging about my experiences with leveling rogues was to debunk the difficulty of trying to solo with the class? Well, I should have added the caveat that it’s easy with good gear. Until you start getting some decent daggers from quests or the auction house, leveling is oh so painful. I almost lost count of how many boneheaded deaths I suffered if I accidentally pulled more than one mob, especially if one of them is a ranged or spell-casting mob.

So yah, I have to eat my own words … a little.

Anyhoo, things were going really slowly with my dwarf rogue since he was wielding really underpowered daggers. So slow that I even picked up blacksmithing to just create two copper daggers until I realized the materials required to make them were horrifically not worth it. But there was a glint of hope on the far eastern side of Dun Morogh with a decent dagger upgrade from an easily completed quest.

That’s when things turned around.

I felt like a god again even though I barely had many of the tools that my main rogue has. It became worth it to stealth up to mobs and stab them in the back, especially on a crit. Then once I got sap, slice n’ dice, and sprint the heavens parted and the great Titan Aman’Thul reached down and blessed my little rogue. Okay, that’s just a slight exaggeration, but it was as if the game had completely changed from one of painful drudgery into one of great joy.

I guess I had blocked those painful memories of my first few days on Azeroth and I can’t imagine how I got through it stabbing things with ONE dagger from level 1 to 10. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see what leveling like a rogue will be like post-cataclysm with each spec’s mainstay ability; having mutilate at level 10 just seems downright overpowered. But for now, I’m having plenty of fun now that my dwarf has escaped the cold lonely landscape of Dun Morogh and into the loving arms of Loch Modan.

Sure I’ve passed through Loch Modan before, but never have I truly appreciated its beauty. Other than a brief stint with my draenei mage, my exposure to the zone has been limited to my horde toons running/riding through on their way to the Badlands to pick up the flight point at Kargath. This is exactly why I decided to start this project now, I want to experience as much of Azeroth as possible before everything is changed forever.

Sure I could have rolled a class that I haven’t played before or gotten far with, but then I’d be distracted from the experience by the learning of how to play the class. Going with rogues frees me to enjoy the experience as I already know how to play a rogue, well at that even. So even though my overconfidence has led to a few embarrassing deaths, I’m having a blast in the Eastern Kingdoms running ale to and fro.

As for the logistics of where my dwarf rogue is at level and talent-wise, he’s sitting at level 12 with all 3 points into malice for an extra 3% to crit. I could have gone with points into opportunity for an extra 20% backstab damage, but at this level an extra 20% isn’t going to mean much. Besides it would also delay when I’d be able to pick up mutilate and that’s not something I want to delay any longer than need be.

I’m really looking forward to hitting level 18 when I’ll be able to pick up ambush and open proper on enemies. Garrote becomes available at level 14, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth using over backstab considering how long the average fight is lasting. I suppose I’ll have to run the numbers, but not tonight. I’m just glad I finally got sap and slice n’ dice as they’re invaluable for the leveling process.

Things are looking great for my dwarf, now I just need to get my baby troll rogue some daggers and repeat the process over on Jub Jub. Until next time, for the stabby stab!