Friday, May 29, 2009

Things to Come

New things are on the horizon again from the Blizzard, as they prepare to launch their next patch, 3.2. Some of them are good things and some of them rather depressing. I have always been an enthusiast for the Argent Tournament and for me, the news is exciting; they are finally completing the coliseum at the tournament grounds:

"In order to prepare for a siege on Icecrown Citadel, players will be called by the Argent Crusade to test their mettle in the Coliseum. 5-player, 10-player, and 25-player challenges await inside."
What are the "challenges" that they are talking about, it is hard to say. It could be a new instance or a ring of blood type of battle. Personally I hope it is a new raid instance because we still lack a good middle ground for raids. Ulduar was a great addition but lets face it, startup raiders will not be able to do it for some time and you cannot really call VoA and OS as raids - at least with a straight face. In the end we only have Naxxramas that is actually a real dungeon and many people, me included, would hope for more variety.

One might also make the case that we should soon also see a benefit to our reputation with the Silver Covenant faction. As for the moment, it is neigh useless but yet we still receive a health amount of reputation with them from various quests, including specifically the Argent Tournament dailies.

Another most welcome upgrade will be for the druids who are, finally, getting new skins to both their cat and bear forms. The skin will vary between races, so night elves and taurens for example, will look distinctively different. I am willing to wager half the druid population are extatic about this changes, as it is a rare player who isn't tired of watching the same, giant bear ass day after damn day.

One update that the world of player is in an uproar is the nerf that is being targetted at the jewelcrafters; as of 3.2, the dragon's eye gems will no longer be considered prismatic. This is a pretty major set back because that is one of the main benefits of using those gems. The main reason for the uproar is that so many gear sets in the game seem poorly designed when considering colored sockets.

As a personal example, my current dps gear set has literally 5-6 blue sockets, with one yellow and two red sockets. Anyone is free to explain to me in what world it makes any sense to have blue sockets in dps gear, because it bewilders me. The good news is, the patch has not even hit PTR yet so a lot of things are subject to change. So, if the gems are being nerfed, hopefully they can find a way around the socket issue.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's just a Game

World of Warcraft is best when played in teams, with other people, there is no denying that. However, the longer you play the game the more it seems that there are a lot of variables that, in fact, play against that notion. I have experienced it time, and time again, and reading on other blogs and news sites, it seems evident that I am not the only one who feels this.

It is easy enough, if you have a close friend who you do lots of things together, to fit a schedule between the two of you and get on to play WoW. Questing is best and most fun in pairs, preferrably over voice chat or even better, between family members when you can actually play in the same room with someone. Then again, if you try to exceed that number, you run into trouble.

Who has not tried to put together a regular dungeon group? To go off and play regular dungeons and get the best gear as you level your characters. I can tell you, it's awesome fun, when it works but most of the time it does not. Fitting 3-5 people into one schedule seems like an impossible task, even for a shorter period of time and for myself, it seems puzzling; why is it so hard?

After all, we can easily schedule a movie night, with 4+ people meet downtown, no matter on what walks of life we come from. Or go out to a pub for a drink or whatever we call outdoor social activities. But in WoW, no. Just no. It seems anything and everything can come before a game of WoW and while it is easy to dismiss that by saying "well hell, it's just a game."

But is it just a game? I like to think of it more like a hobby. Like going to karate, playing tennis or football, or collecting stamps or butterflies. When you make that transition of attitude, everything changes. As long as it is just a "stupid game" it is easy to dismiss. When you think of it as a hobby where other people depend on your keeping your word on showing up, it is suddenly a whole different story and I believe this is the biggest problem in the warcraft sphere at the moment.

I dare anyone to step into the boots of a raid leader, even if it's inside your own local, casual guild, and try put together raids, or heroic dungeons runs, or any dungeon runs. Look people up, talk to them, invite and set schedules. It is such a drag it feels like hips deep in a stinky marshland. Not only will you begin to stumble just trying to get all five people on a same time of day, 1-2 will easily later come and tell you how sorry they are but they have to brush their cats or go do something or other - and that's if you're lucky. Some will just simply blow you off and later boldfacely lie why they weren't there.

In the end you cannot take it anymore and you cancel what could have been so much fun and beneficial for everyone. Worse, soon some genius from your guild will come nag on you why won't the officer's setup regular heroic runs, "it would be so much fun, wouldn't it?"

Aye, as much fun as sticking needles into your eyes...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Role vs Class

There is always a lot of talk in warcraft about the pros and cons of the various classes. Naturally divisions form, where one prefer certain classes while another enjoys going for others. This is one of the things that makes world of warcraft so great, its diversity and ability to provide everyone with something. You can specialize even further inside a single class; to perhaps go either fire or frost spec with a mage, or heal as a holy or discipline priest.

However, I often feel people put too much emphazise on these elements. Of course you should enjoy what you play but the problem is, many take this too far, bordering on hatemongering when they encounter someone who plays a class that does not enjoy their favor. Nothing is more infamous, in this aspect, than the death knight. The sad reality is that there are just too many of us around, because although the other classes are played with equal ferver, everyone usually has at least one death knight character.

When I made mine and began to level him up, I was shocked by the fact that in Outlands, Helfire Penensula, I could not get a simple dungeon group together because 80% of all players in the zone at any one time, were bloody death knights. This has now advanced to a point where it is hard, even for someone who knows the class, is well geared, to find themselves a spot in a raiding guild. Many guilds do not even bother to recruite them, simply brushing you off when you approuch them.

I have to admit, this has been a big frustration for me personally, because I know how to play my death knight and I know I do it well enough to not deserve this kind of treatment. And really, in the end, is it truly up to the class you play? I have wondered and the more I think about it, the more I believe it plays a very small part in the scheme of things.

Let me explain, often you come across people who are trashing their frustration out from whatever recent (or long gone) patch that nerfed their class. Priests got the cane in 3.1 and mages are one that many veteran players, from back of the day, talk about. For a holy priest for example, the last nerf was quite a blow because we (yes I play one) rely heavily on mana regeneration. pre-3.1 it was often literally impossible for us to run out of mana in a dungeon, but now, it has come down by 40%.

But so what? Does not mean that the holy priest is dead. If it bothers you so much, move to discipline priest and throw your care for mana regeneration into the wind. In the end, it all comes down to how well you fill the role that you chose; dps, tank, or healer. Some situations are more challenging, like e.g. tanking Anub'rekhan vs tanking Loatheb or healing a death knight vs paladin tanks. I have always felt that too many look for the ideal circumstances as the only way to get it done.

But sadly things are rarely ideal in life and we must simply triumphant against the odds sometimes. And here is the real core of matters for me. When people tell me it cannot be done, or should not be done, with whatever circumstances, I want slap them and first chance I get, proove them wrong. Winning when the odds are in your favor is easy. Being victorious before adversity takes character.

And this is what I tell people who try to convince me; it is not about the class or spec you play, it is how and the skill you play it with.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Theory of Dual Speccing

Most Europeans probably agree that, although it brought us many great things, the euro was very predictable. Of course it was the talk of the day for a long time, but as the day of voting approached, seemed the only ones laboring under the pretense that prices would not change and life would go on as it had before, were the politicians. Any layman with half a brain knew that would not be the case, and it wasn't. A simple example if I may; back during the days when we used marks, an average bus ticket would cost round about two marks plus some pennies. Now, the same trip costs two euros. Quite an upgrade, considering one euro is the equivalent of six old Finnish marks.

When I first read about dual spec, I felt excited, along with everyone else. After all, in my old guild especially, people were not respeccing to the roles that our raids would have demanded, simply because of the cost; 100g per change and they might have to change back and forth nearly every day. However, now you wouldn’t have that problem.

However, now looking back, it all seemed to be a really big hype. To justify that claim, lets examine who actually benefits from this, rather expensive skill. You can buy it as early as 40th level but it really only come handy when you reach max level. First is the sheer cost, most level 40s will not want to pay 1000 gold pieces for a skill like that, since they have many other expenses, like upgrading professions, purchasing mounts, and updating gear pieces they cannot get from dungeons.

And even at level 80 you have to question the necessity of it. Not only is it generally a big shock to completely change your role that you have grown so accustomed to, it takes a lot of effort to gear up again to the level at which you can start raiding with it. Harder in fact, since when you were leveling your character, you had the benefit of picking up nice instant blues from quests and good drops non-heroic dungeons. Next you have to learn the nuances of that role; something that is not as easy as one would think. I have seen paladins go into stupor when they moved from tanking to healing and death knights screw up big time when they moved to tanking.

Learning the classes, setting and getting comfortable with your new action buttons, the delicate details of what’s stupid and smart, all play into the difficulty curve of dual speccing and I have personally started to dislike that I spent 1000 gold on, somewhat useless talent. Some classes are actually incapable of getting much benefit at all from dual speccing. Just consider rogues and mages. They are both single role classes. Yes, they can dual spec to pvp but I personally know a lot of players who don’t care for pvp.

Of course, now that I’ve completely destroyed dual spec, let me close by saying that it is not completely without merit. There are situations when it is extremely useful, just that they are a lot fewer than we were originally led to believe. For a guild like ours, relatively small, I believe, benefits more from people who specialize into one role. Dual spec becomes an option once you have exhausted that role, when you believe you can do no more with it and next loot upgrade is far ahead in raids that the guild is not currently equipped to take on.

Heavier guilds, geared for the tougher challenges and many more raiding members, they are the true winners when it comes to dual talent specialization. The rest of us, I believe are better off waiting and spending our coins to more beneficial expenses.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lockdown Ends

Another lockdown is behind us and as a guild, we continue to progress through Naxxramas, at a phenomenal speed. We are now 9/15 through the infamous raid dungeon and this is where it is beginning to be most rewarding for me, as a raid leader; the satisfaction of seeing new raiders bring down the bosses, succeed so well in our tactics and the smiles when they win the rolls for cool new gear. To be honest, there is no better feeling for me.

So far it has been a healer boulevard on gear, with other caster and few tank pieces. Congrats to all roll winners and to everyone, for a superb job on defeating the challenges of Naxxramas so far. We are also continuing to bring new people in and the group is growing. For Drennai (paladin healer), Driz (hunter dps), and Scorpion (warrior tank) welcome to the crew.

Soon we'll also have a fresh druid healer and our runs should become even smoother. Everyone feel free to check our web site for screenshots, as soon as our guild leader gets them uploaded. See you all for the next lock down :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009


One of the things I find most sad about the game is guild divisions. I cannot hold myself to the spot of a veteran player. I only started to play soon after the last expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, was published but believe I have played long enough to see my share of events. Often, I find myself listening to other people tell their stories and realize, hey, that happened to me as well.

This includes guild drama. I often try to ward myself against them and since my initial duties in leadership positions, I simply chose not to accept those anymore. I am happier as just a grunt and there is a lot less of aggrevation. But then, life tends to kick the gear in and once more, I am in a position of guild leadership.

As always, inevidebly, drama has followed suite. It seemed to me, at first, that it all started when I took office but on reflecting the truth is, Retribution has had its share of drama for quite sometime. Why? Simple, few select individuals are unhappy with certain changes and events, and have thus voiced their discontent.

Personally, this is fine. If you are unhappy with something the leaders are doing, you should voice it. However, it is another thing when it happens behind your back or worse, when it is the leaders themselves that are arguing. Even worse, it seems for us, some are not even willing to settle matters and this is what I have the most problem with.

If you do not like a person, that is currently me, by the way, that's fine. I don't generally care if I am not popular and my life is blissfully unaffected by the social acceptance of others. Odds are I do not like you either. However, this does not prevent me from fulfilling my duty and talking with the same people who might dislike, hate, or even dispise me. This is how a mature human being acts. If I went to work one day and told my boss that I refuse to have anything to do with another person, with whom I sadly shared an office with, I'd be fired.

Sometimes, and quite often in fact, you just have to work with dislikable people. Life tends to suck; get over it. Afterwards you are free to go rant and slander all you want. But for the good of the guild, you should at least compose yourself and act responsibly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mysteries of Fishing

It is hard to fully pin point what makes fishing so successful. When you think about it, you have 
to wonder about the people who have it up to 450, or 400, or even 300. How do they find the will to sit by splash of water and time and time again, throw the rod in and wait for the blobber to perk? I have no idea, but it is oddly satisfying to practice it.

Here is Durithim on one of his latest expeditions to the Barrens. Why the Barrens, so far away from known civilization? Simple; I finally, after long search and haggling, managed to get my hands on a recipe, for Deviate Savory Delights. Anyone who does fishing knowns how hard it is to get. Firstly, it only drops mainly for horde because it drops most in the Barren, which is horde territory all the way through.

Secondly, when you do see one for sale on the trade channel or the auction house, it goes for notorious prices. Usually in the many hundreds and though I could have afforded it, something in me just says it is not worth to spend 400-500g on a single recipe that will not benefit me in anyway, in-game.

Sometimes, I have even seen it for a thousand gold pieces, but that was just laughable. The whole trade channel, in fact, had a huge laugh over it. I mean, c'mon guys, it's a piece that people will be money for but a thousand gold? Nah ah...

Mine I bought for a 200g and felt it was a lot more reasonable, just considering how much entertainment it was. I was under the impression that the cooked deviate fish would have been somehow extraordinary in sense of buffs or other benefits, but more it was just a lot of fun watching your character turn into leather wearing rogue or a pirate.

Ever seen a human rogue, in matrix black leather, tank Patchwork? I intend to see it with my own eye :P

Monday, May 11, 2009


I am writing this one on extempore, for while doing my daily research, came across a hilarious youtube video and I cannot not show it to you guys. Myself, I believe I am a different kind of breed when it comes to raid leading. By no means unique but a rare breed I think. The simple piece of sad fact is that too many play this game like it is a second job and take it way too seriously.

I understand a harsh attitude in a progression setting, in hard core raiding guilds who compete for the first server kills, or even world kills. Or just the right to be able to be among the first. This was more true in previous versions of the game because the raid scene was a lot less forgiving. But we are now getting there also in WotLK, after the coming of Ulduar and we will move further in as Icecrown Citadel is released in a future patch.

However, I am not that kind of a leader and I find myself explaining this surprisingly often. Especially when taking new members, with less gear than what the norm is, they often warn me several times that they might not be ready and fully understand if I remove them from the raid. This is ridiculous. If I extend an invitation to someone, to join a raid I am leading, it is then my responsibility, not yours. If anyone is to be then blamed for a poor success of the raid, it is me.

And here is the type of leader I blame for the fact that new and casual players are, in fact, frightened to join raids anymore. Who wants to take this kind of abuse?

Although, rather than cry or whimper, I imagine the raid having to actually turn their mics off 'cause they are all laughing so hard.

Remember people, there are no bad crews, only bad leaders.

Return of the Blogger

Hello Readers

I apologize to all my readers for not having had the time to write lately. Almost a week has passed, I believe, without a single new post and I feel guilty for neglecting you guys. Turmoil beset our guild as our raid leader had to part us for personal reason and, at the request of our guild leader; I attempted to pick up his heavy mantle.

I never envied him for that responsibility, for our guild, the raid leader is not only responsible for training and helping the new members, or in experienced members, gear and understand their classes well enough to become ready for Naxxramas. However, we succeeded very well, and I do mean We. I give full credit to Tatiiana and Linz, without them I could not have succeeded.

Thank you guys, we make a damn good team :)

Now the rain has fallen and we are back on our feet. We pulled all our members together and within couple of days, we had a Naxx run scheduled. Was our first run as a guild, with only half of the group having had any experience within the dreaded walls.

We succeeded the first night with another and I admit, I am impressed. During two night, we only wiped twice. One was a gargoyle at plague wing that caught us by surprise. Second was a bad first pull on Patchwork.

To demonstrate our well found resolve, here are some of my gathered statistics:

Anub'rekhan: 5:42.
Grand Widow Faerlina: 3:44.
Maexxna: 3:48.
Patchwork: 4:48.
Noth the Plaguebringer: 6:34.

I would actualy stress that we brought Patchwork down on the second day, when some of our top dps players could not join, and still we killed him under five minutes. This is a very good start for a simple social guild that is moving to raiding.

For this, everyone has my congrats. Hope to see you all again tonight and we will continue to plow success against the armies of evil.