Archive for Commentary

The Main Change

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , on April 20, 2010 by Randul the Dwarf

Question:  At what point do I officially call it a main change?

Almost from the moment I started playing WoW my main has been Randul the Dwarf, Protection Warrior extraordinaire.  I’ve tanked my way through the game since about level 45, as Arms until 60 and then making the switch to Prot.

I literally tanked my way through Burning Crusade, leveling by instancing.  I took a small break for Wrath leveling to play Arms, but as soon as I hit 80 Protection became my main spec once again.  Up until now, there has been no doubt that Randul was my “main character.”

I’ve taken a moment to step back and reflect upon the last couple months of my WOW playtime.  Randul has been getting a little dusty.  Oh sure, I bust him out for the weekly each week, and I’ve tanked our secondary ICC run once, but for the most part he’s sitting around drinking.

Last month, Kered was front and center.  I was running in our progression raids as dps.  I was running randoms on Kered to get MOAR GEARZ.  For a few weeks, I had made the transition from primarily tank to primarily dps.

Then this month hit.  If your main is measured in time-played, my main for the past month has been Daenaran.  Anything I’m allowed to take him to, I do so.  I’ll still run the progression raid tonight on Kered, but any randoms or lower level raids will be done on Dae.

Has my main changed?  If someone came up and asked me what my main character was, I would answer Warrior without thinking.  If my guild runs an old school raid that Randul doesn’t have, he will be the first in line to go.  Should that go into consideration?

Bottom line:  If I had my choice of who to play tonight, it would be Daenaran, the Restoration Shaman.

Speaking of Dae, WOW did I have a stellar night last night!  I and four guildmates ran four Heroics last night.  Old Kingdom, Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection.  The HoR run was hilarious.  Three of us got the achievement for the instance, the achievement for the heroic version of the instance and the achievement for beating the gauntlet within the time limit all at the same time.  Not bad for a bunch of alts.

I managed to snag four upgrades (including an emblem item) to iLevel 200 stuff I was packing.

Blackened Ghoul Skin Leggings from Pit of Saron

Oath of Empress Zoe from Halls of Reflection

Surgeon’s Needle from Pit of Saron

Talisman of Resurgence from Emblems of Triumph

Definitely a good night.  Pushed the ol’ Gearscore to over 4700.

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I miss that wonder

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , on March 29, 2010 by Randul the Dwarf

Do you remember when you first started playing the game?  Did you have that sense of wonder, newness and excitement?  I think that wonder comes with the start of any new game.  It’s basically the excitement of being a newb.  I miss that.

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of ways to get that wonder back.

  • Start a new character.  This is tricky because if you’ve made enough alts, (I have 9 who are level 20 or higher.) you aren’t really going to see much in the way of new content, especially if you stay within your faction.  Which brings us to the second way;
  • Start a new character on the opposite faction.  This would actually be a viable option for me, as I have only leveled one Horde character.  I would have to level in the Eastern Kingdoms to get new content, but that’s doable.  The problem with this is I would be separated from my friends and only the content is new…not the mechanics.
  • Start a new game.  Not really an option for me, but this is the most surefire way to get that sense of wonder I’m looking for.  Start out as a true newb in a new game.  I’ve played four games in my online gaming life.  Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, Ultima Online and World of Warcraft.  Each of these games had that sense of wonder and exploration that I love as a newb.  Unfortunately, I can’t afford to do this, nor do I want to abandon my current online friends.

So where does that leave me?  I have no idea.  Any thoughts on how I can recapture some of that wonder?

On a side note, the Shaman

Daenaran is coming along nicely for an alt of a player with limited time to play.  I believe his current gearscore is around 3300.  His wow-heroes score is 1499, which places him right in the “do Naxx10 and OS10” territory.  I’ve managed to get my hands on two pieces of T9 Resto gear and some iLevel 200 gear from Heroics & Normal ToC.

The next thing I’m going to shoot for with Emblems is a new totem, apparently a totem that decreases the mana cost of lightning bolt isn’t doing much for my healing.  I think I’m ready to dive into Heroic ToC and maybe the normal ICC 5-mans.

I’m really enjoying playing on him, although I tend to queue as dps when doing pug randoms more often than not.  Maybe now that I’ve got some t9 pieces I’ll feel more confident about healing.  Other than normal gearing, my biggest challenge with him now is going to be getting a UI that suits my needs and desires.  Something about the default UI is lacking to me, but I have trouble getting a custom UI to work.  I’m very picky.

Tips?

Randul’s take on wow.com

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , on November 18, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

“www.wow.com.  You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

Yes, you heard correctly, wow.com is a terrible website.  Is it the writing?  No, some of the writers are pretty good.  In fact, when folks like Matt Rossi contribute something, I’ll read it regardless of topic.  Is it the topics?  Nah, it talks about WOW, which is something near and dear to all of our hearts.

What is it then?  What makes wow.com such a pitiful excuse for a wow site?  Two things that go hand in hand with each other.

  1. The commenting system.
  2. The people who are doing the commenting.

You see, you can rate each person’s comment.  You can rate it up with a thumbs up or down with a thumbs down.  When something gets rated up high enough it gets put on a nice pretty blue background so everyone’s eyes can be drawn to it.  However, when something gets rated far enough down, it gets blacked out to the point where you can’t even read it.

That’s a problem folks.  It wouldn’t be a problem if the people rating were mature, but let’s face it…they are wow players.  If the downrankings were used to get rid of profane comments, that would be fine.  However, most of the stuff that gets blacked out is stuff that the majority of the wow.com readership just plain don’t agree with.

I want to make everyone aware, I did not get downranked on this website.  I barely even comment there.  My comments are typically ignored rather than downranked.  I just think it’s a big ol’ load of crap that people have the ability to practically erase what someone has written just because enough people don’t agree with it.

Check this link about Icecrown raid progression out.  Short version:  Icecrown is going to be gated access, much like ToC.  We’ll only have access to a few bosses when it first comes out and after a period of time we’ll get more.

My opinion?  This sucks.  It’s obviously an attempt to prolong this expansion when they should have prolonged it by putting actual content in 3.2.  They didn’t do that, however, and we end up with artificial barriers to raiding progress.  Yes, I believe this is all because Blizzard seriously mistimed their Cataclysm release projections.

Anyway, people who say things like me are getting completely blacked out, while people who are calling those folks basement dwellers are being praised.  Really?  You don’t have to agree with me, but any system that gives you and your multitude of ignorant cohorts the ability to wipe my comment off the site is flawed.

Here’s an example of a blacked out comment:

This is infuriating and downright shameful on Blizzard’s behalf. They’re trying to drag out this raid over a longer period because they got lazy with 3.2. They released an incredibly undersized raid (with bosses who have enormous loot tables) WAY TOO early (killing off Ulduar that soon was a mistake. Even the best guilds only had it completed for 3 weeks or so).

I don’t want to hear some justification about us needing this extra time to progressively gear ourselves for the harder fights at the end of the raid; that’s [expletive deleted]. Between the Emblems of Frost gear and the carry-over gear from ToC, many active raiders should have no gear concerns. Even on the PTR, where most players are in 245-level gear, the bosses tested aren’t providing any extreme challenge limited by the players’ gear.

They’re trying to drag WotLK out because they got lazy with this expansion pack. This is the final nail in the coffin encasing all of Blizzard’s mistakes from WotLK.

If they’re going to put limited attempts, why aren’t there any rewards associated with them? This is another device they’re employing in order to drag out the content for the casuals.

This is a slap on an already severely-bruised face.

While I agree that the expletive this person used didn’t need to be there, I highly doubt that’s why he got downranked so badly.  Here’s a reply that was actually upranked so high they were in the nifty blue background:

Yes, its simply to just insult us. Stop revolving your life around this game, and stop assuming how you think Blizzard works things. You don’t know how this works, you’re not running the game, stop bitching. Bitch.

The bottom line, wow.com is a hub of “entitled casuals”.  The folks that are casual but think they should have everything that the people who actually try to play the game get.  If you say anything that doesn’t fall in line with the entitled casual philosophy, you will get ostracized.

A Departure from the Norm

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

This is a WOW blog.  I am the writer, I think I understand that.  People coming here to read this blog are, undoubtedly, interested in WOW.  That’s cool too.  However, there are just some things that need to be said, and this is my particular medium.  So,behind the break I’ll give you my Stargate: Universe rant.

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Random Thoughts

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

The Tankard O’ Terror

Do I really want my Human Death Knight dual wielding a couple of beer steins?

No.

Will he if I can get them?

Yes.

I get that Blizzard loves their holidays.  I love the holidays.  They are a lot of fun and actually give people something to do other than dailies.  Having said that, who thought it would be fun to have people running around fighting with mugs?

Kered is a powerful war veteran who became a Death Knight and developed an attitude problem.  What part of that screams “Mugs of Death!”?  It’s one thing to put these items in the game.  It’s quite another to make them the best possible item for Mace Dual Wielders outside of raids.  This item is just too powerful for how easy Coren Direbrew is.  End of story. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go farm Direbrew to get my hands on two Tankards O’ Terror.

Okay I’m back…moving on.

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Why Death Knights are Heroic

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Part 2 of Who Am I will be postponed until tomorrow, as this post came into my head last night and must be let out.

I was listening to an archived recording of the WoW Radio podcast Casually Hardcore when they started talking about how the Death Knight class is no longer a “Heroic” class.  In their opinion, a Heroic class should be more powerful than the rest of the classes.  I can’t say that I know Blizzards intent from the beginning, but I imagine this was not it.

According to the Casually Hardcore crew, DKs started out as a Heroic class because they were overpowered, but now that they are pretty well balanced, they are no longer heroic.  I disagree.  I think the Death Knight is still a Heroic class and I will tell you why.

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A Naxxramas Oddity

Posted in Raiding with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

This weekend, our primary raid team was only going to be able to get together for one of our regularly scheduled raid nights, which meant only one night of Ulduar.  On the scheduled nights that we couldn’t get our Ulduar team together, we journeyed into Naxxramas for an “alt run”.

The Team

These runs weren’t a true alt run, in that some of our members only have one level 80 character so they had to go on their mains.  On our final night, we killed Gothik, 4-Horsemen, Sapph & Kel’Thuzad with the following team.

The mains:

  • Paladin Tank
  • Disc. Priest
  • Holy Priest
  • Rogue (left & was replaced by a shadow priest on KT)
  • Frost DPS Death Knight

The alts/undergeared:

  • Kered, my Death Knight in his tanking offspec
  • Holy Paladin
  • Rogue
  • Warlock
  • Warlock

The Oddity

This was easily our most successful Naxxramas run ever.  Half of this group was either on an undergeared alt or an undergeared main and we owned Naxxramas like we’ve never done with our primary raid group.  We got new records for time on nearly half of the fights.  Two of these folks had never even been through over half of the raid!

To what do I attribute this insanity?

A few of things.

  • Our Ulduar  DPSers more than offsetting our lower dpers. When we were last in Naxxramas with our main group of raiders, all of our DPS were between 2k & 2.5k damage per second.  With this group, while we brought three dps that were lower, our Ulduar raiders were pushing 3k DPS.
  • Kered’s tanking dps versus Randul’s tanking dps. Randul is a strong tank and I love playing him, but Kered consistently puts out two to four hundred more dps than Randul does when tanking.  That adds up.  (I have no intention of sidelining Randul for Kered.  I only tank on him because our guild has a grand total of two players who tank, so when we raid with alts I still have to tank.  Kered is my DPS character, not a tanking character)
  • Familiarity and strong raid leading. Yes, two of our raiders didn’t know most most of the fights, but those that did know the fights knew them backwards and forward.  Our Raid Leader also did a superb job of explaining the fights to the newer folks.

The Lesson

I have to admit, I was shocked at what was happening on this run.  We were knocking out bosses faster than ever before.  We one-shot Sapphiron and Kel’Thuzad’s second phase (we had a small hiccup with the add phase) with people who had never been there before.  Not only that, but our two newbies (I mean that affectionately as the folks who were new to the fights) stayed alive through both fights.

The lesson here, in my opinion, is that skill, paying attention and doing your job goes a long way toward balancing lack of gear and experience.  These alts aren’t quite ready for Ulduar yet, but they are getting there and I’m looking forward to taking them.

Congrats to Katrit and Rolanda on their first Naxxramas clear!