Archive for wow.com

A tribute to good writing

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , on April 9, 2010 by Randul the Dwarf

There are a lot of things going on right now in the world of World of Warcraft.  Class changes for Cataclysm are being previewed and information is flowing freely.  Part of me wants to write about some of those changes.

Another part of me wants to write about an article I saw on wow.com that is done RIGHT.  I have been critical of wow.com in the past, but Chase Christian did one little thing in his Combat 101 article that made me stop, take notice and pay tribute.

You can find the full article here.  It’s an introductory article on Combat Rogues.  Nothing really spectacular or groundbreaking about all that.  What I do love, however, is his intro.  I’ll quote it for you.

The assassination rogue sees the diplomat enter the dimly lit pub. He silently spikes a cup of wine with a toxic poison and hands it to the barkeep to send across the room. Upon receiving the drink, the diplomat quickly puts it down and decides to relieve himself before consuming his beverage. As he enters the bathroom, the subtlety rogue who has been waiting in the shadows for him begins to make his approach. Garrote wire in hand, the master of stealth is ready to end this man’s life quietly. Unfortunately, a bystander walks in at this very moment, forcing the shade back into stealth. The diplomat dries his hands on a soft towel and exits the room.

The combat rogue is standing in front of the diplomat. He grabs the noble’s fine silk shirt by the collar and throws him into a table surrounded by rough-looking men. Their drinks and food and dishes fill the otherwise silent bar with a raucous noise as they hit the ground. As the rogue approaches the table, the men rise from their seats and reach for their weapons.

Unfortunately for them, the agile rogue draws his tools faster. He then unleashes a barrage of stored adrenaline into his blood stream and begins smashing the bar’s patrons and the unconscious diplomat with a flurry of blows from two very heavy-looking maces. Moments later, he is the only one left standing amidst a pile of bodies. He kicks the door of the bar open and walks down the street into the night. He does not close the door.

Some wow.come authors try to be witty and clever in their intros.  Some just give a quick “who I am and what this article is about”, but in this article I feel like Mr. Christian went above and beyond.

First of all, this introduction is different.  You don’t see this style very much, especially in these types are articles.

Secondly, it really does convey the differences between the three specs of Rogues.  Assassination Rogues work with poisons, although in wow they are on weapons more often than in drinks.  Subtlety is all about being sneaky and attacking from the shadows.  Combat is all about being up in ya face.

I loved this intro and wanted to give this writer props.  Well done Chase Christian.  Keep up the good work.

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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.

Death Knight Tanking in Cataclysm

Posted in Death Knight with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

A bit of a depature from the norm today, rather than talk about the normal Warrior stuff, I’m going to talk a little about Death Knights.

My primary alt, who is quickly becoming more of a secondary main is Kered, a Death Knight.  He is dual-specced, DW Frost and Unholy Tank.  After reading an article over at wow.com entitled Lichborne: What Cataclysm might mean for Death Knights, I decided to throw my opinion into the ring.

The author talks about each of the upcoming changes individually, but the one I really want to talk about is his take on Defense going the way of the dodo.  The devs stated that tanks will receive their crit reduction in the way of talents, much like Bear Druids do.  He has a problem with what this could mean for DKs, in that it could mean DKs have to pick one talent tree for tanking.

My question is, why is this a bad thing?  Every other tanking class in the game has to pick one tree to tank, why shouldn’t DKs?  Originally the developers wanted to try this new heroic class that could do any of the class roles from any talent tree, but I think they probably found this wasn’t the best situation.

I suggest picking a tree and making it the tanking tree.  This would actually be unfortunate for me, as my preferred dps tree is Frost, which would likely be the tanking tree.

The other option available is to make the crit reduction talent on the first tier of one of the trees.  I think that makes it too easy for any tree to get it for pvp though, which would be kind of a big deal.

One of the commenters suggested changing Stoneskin Gargoyle from +25 Defense & some Stamina to -6% Critical Strike chance.  I think, if they want to continue with any tree for any role, this is probably the best solution.  It severely limits what enchants a Death Knight can have on their weapon, but it does what folks want it to do.

Additionally, a note on Dual Wield Frost

A few people have been getting to my site by searching the terms, Reaper of Dark Souls for Dual Wield Frost.  To answer your question, yes…get those weapons if you don’t want to buy the Titansteel Bonecrusher.  As far as purchasable weapons, they are really good.  They are pretty well itemized and they aren’t too expensive.

If you can get your hands on the Titansteel Bonecrusher, it’s quite a bit better as a mainhand.  The Bonecrusher is Main Hand only, so you’ll need something for your offhand even if you get it.  The Reaper of Dark Souls is good for this at least.

When I first went DW Frost I went with dual wielding two Reapers.  After that I did Heroic Trial of the Champion until I managed to get my grubby hands on Aledar’s Battlestar.  I probably would have got a Bonecrusher, but my guild was using Titansteel to make epic gems.

Right now I’m main-handing the Battlestar and offhanding the Reaper.  I have in my possession Maexxna’s Femur and Hatestrike which, according to Rawr, are very slightly better than the Reaper, but I’m digging the Reaper’s hit.  I’ll probably keep the Reaper until I can get my hands on Razorscale Talon or another Battlestar.

Oh and btw, Dual Wield Frost is VERY fun.  Love it.

WOW Podcasts

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

For something a little different, I thought I’d talk about some WOW Podcasts I listen to, why I like them & where you can find them.

I drive 45 minutes one way to work.  That means I have about an hour and a half each day to fill.  How do I fill this time?  Podcasts!  I download all of these podcasts from iTunes and listen to them on my iPod in the car.  I think most of these can also be listened to live on the internet, but I never do so.

WOW Radio

I’m going to bunch a few podcasts together under the WOW Radio title since they are all on the WOW Radio website.  You can find Casually Hardcore, Blue Plz! and Octale and Hordak Versus the World on the www.wcradio.com website.

Casually Hardcore

I really love this podcast.  I think it is probably my favorite podcast, although it’s in a tight race with The Instance, which I’ll be talking about later.  What I like most about this podcast is that the hosts are fun and funny.  Gnomewise, Iolite, Gwennora, Grail and sometimes Daksa are a delight to listen to and I really enjoy their commaraderie.

They look at things from a perspective I can relate to, the time challenged WOW player.  They raid 10-man content, which is right up my alley.  The only critique I would have for this crew is that their information is sometimes not accurate.  Granted, no one is right all the time, but they do throw some innacurate stuff out there from time to time.

Casually Hardcore airs live on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. CEST

Blue Plz!

This is a podcast hosted by Total Biscuit.  TB is something of an elitist hardcore raider.  My critique would come in right there, he often looks at folks like me as if they are scrubs when they are really just time-challenged.  (I’m fairly certain that if my guild raided more than 4 – 5 hours a week we’d be a LOT farther into Ulduar right now)  I do agree with much that he says though, especially when he talks about “entitled casuals”.

I find the raiding insight on this podcast to be top notch.  I enjoy how opinionated TB is, even if I don’t always agree with him 100%.  I do tend to agree with him more than I disagree though.

Blue Plz! airs life on Fridays at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Octale and Hordak Versus the World

I’m very sorry to say that I just learned this Podcast has been canceled.  It was a very funny podcast about general gaming and not just WOW.  You can still find archives of this podcast at www.wcradio.com

That’s it for the WOW Radio podcasts I listen to.  I used to listen to WOW Things Considered, which is hosted by Cadwallion and Duncor, but I kind of lost track of it.  I may check it out again since Octale and Hordak have called it quits.

The Instance

This podcast is probably my second favorite.  It is hosted by Scott Johnson and Randy Jordan (AKA Randy Deluxe).  These two guys are very funny and provide some interesting perspective into World of Warcraft.

Scott is what I would call the primary host, but lacks the knowledge that Randy has about WOW.  Together I think they make a great team.  As with Casually Hardcore, these guys do tend to get things wrong on occasion, but it’s not so often that I tune them out or anything.

They also have interesting guests on the show from time to time, such as Felicia Day from The Guild, Veronica Belmont from Tekzilla and Curt Schilling from the Boston Red Sox and 38 Studios.

The Instance airs live, but I’m honestly not sure that they follow a tight schedule.

The WOW Insider Podcast

This podcast is hosted by Mike Schramm, Senior Editor of wow.com and is often co-hosted by Turpster, an English guy who is absolutely hilarious.  They typically have one or two other bloggers from wow.com on the show and present a multitude of opinions and perspectives.  They give incorrect information quite a bit as well, but overall they do a good job.

My primary critique of these guys would be for Mike.  He tries to talk over his co-hosts (especially Turpster) sometimes and to be quite honest Mike, Turpster makes the show.  Turpster could go off on a raunchy tirade for the entire show and I would still listen.  I don’t have a man crush (sorry T) or anything, but the guy is very funny.

Some of the other hosts on this show that I find interesting are Michael Sacco, Matt Rossi and BRK.  Unfortunately, BRK doesn’t do the WOW thing anymore, so he probably won’t be appearing too often.  Sacco and Rossi, however, are always a welcome addition in my book.  BRK does have a non-wow blog that I read over at Brain Needed Space.

The WOW Insider Show airs live on Saturdays at 3:30 on Ustream.tv.

Conclusion

That’s it for the podcasts I listen to.  I’d recommend checking all of these podcasts out at least once.  They also present quite a bit of the spectrum of the WOW playerbase.  Casuals and hardcores alike are represented in my listening collection.

Host Twitters

Gnomewise

Total Biscuit

Scott Johnson

Randy Deluxe

Mike Schramm

Turpster