Archive for October, 2009

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Guest Post: Gaming With Your S.O.

October 29, 2009

Howdy.

I was reading my excessive list of blogs I check daily at work and noticed they were looking for guest posters during the vaca. (I really do hate that word, but it’s so easy to use.) I thought I’d drop my hat into the ring as it were so here I am!

I guess I should introduce myself a bit prior to getting to the meat of what I’d like to discuss with you fine readers today. I’ve been playing WoW since the early days, November 26th, 2004 is when I created my account and my very first character was a Night Elf Warrior. Rawr. I dabbled through vanilla, and managed to get myself to around level 43 and quit cold turkey for a good year. I would have had a nifty zergling or panda pet as well but I really despise a certain gaming establishment that sold my copy of the original CE I had paid for, but that’s a story for another time. No hard feelings. Really. No, really.

Anyway.

Way back when I started to play my significant other started to play with me. We both bought the game, made some Night Elves because they were cool looking and went on our way. She took a break about half a year before I did, and then I took my good long break.

We picked the game back up when BC was released and I created a hunter at that point. She a druid and we went along our ways and played through BC to Wrath. Long story slightly less long, today I am an official alt-a-holic. I have four 80’s and turned out to be a raid leader in the guild I’m currently in. She’s also amassed a number of 80’s under her belt and we both have a good selection of people to choose from to play.

That said, I read a lot of WoW related blogs as I stated above. Some of the ones I read often have posts about their spouse who plays with them and it got me wondering. Are she and I alone here, are we one of the only couples I’m aware of that when they play a game together, such as WoW, we don’t actually play together? We sit three feet apart from each other, and we talk and we even raid and instance on occasion.

But during the entire 1-80 process for our multiple characters we never actually grouped. Is that odd? Seems normal to us and fits us I guess since we do it without a problem but I always wonder, are we just the weird people, and every single other person out there does that?

I guess it’s enough that we raid and run heroics together. I mean, I see her a lot. We both work for the same company, more or less the same hours and same days off. She’s not remotely a bad player, not someone I wouldn’t want to bring on a raid. Are we doing something wrong here? Is it chaos? Cats and dogs sleeping together sort of chaos and end of the world…ness?

I personally feel it works out. We live together, spend a lot of time with each other and our friends but in game we get our “alone” time as it were. We get a nice little MMO-Break from each other. I think that’s a good thing in a way. We don’t really fight, or argue we still get our work done and our house clean and the dogs and cat fed. So it must be good, right?

What do all of you think?

Those of who play with your significant other. How do you do it, do you two constantly group/party up and does it work out? I wonder.

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Guest Post: EZ WoW– Solutions for the E-Peen Generation

October 27, 2009

This rebuttal is brought to you by Morrigahn of Caer Morrighan

There’s been some discussion about WoW being too easy recently.  It started with a discussion of how the change in the difficulty has affected social relations on World of Matticus.  This was followed by an excellent post at the Pink Pigtail Inn which I must say I agree with 100%.  Then it spread across the blogosphere like wildfire and was picked up by the likes of Casual Hardcore and  Tobold.

This is my contribution to the debate.  Instead of talking about the problem I’m suggesting a solution.  Its not a practical solution.  Its more a ranting, slightly insane type of solution.

Let me tell you whats really behind the ‘too easy’ and ‘welfare epics’ complaints.

Once upon a time, only a very few people had epic gear because only a very few people could raid.  This allowed them to feel better than everyone else.  Their gear was the visible evidence of their success.  They could walk around their relevant city, confident that no one looked better than them.  This rewarded them for their lack of social life.  They were the ‘elites’.  Everyone else was a ‘pleb’.

Fact 1: players who whine normally weren’t a part of this elite.  They resent the fact that they won’t ever get the chance to lord it over their fellow players based on having cool looking gear.

Solution 1: make gear more user definable.  Then elites can prance around in ridiculous looking gear and think they are better while plebs get a good laugh instead of having to listen to them whine.

Fact 2: players who think that raids and gear should be limited to a select few are quite happy to be gaining whilst others pay for them to do so.

Solution 2: make raids ridiculously hard but make players pay extra to access them, whilst us plebs pay less since we can’t access them since we have jobs/lives/our sanity.  So if for every 10 players, 9 are plebs then those 9 players can pay say $10/£6 a month.  Raiding is about 1/3 of the game content so plebs pay 1/3 less.  That means that the $45/£27 a month that the plebs were paying should all now be paid by the elite.  The elite can be elite, but they have to pay $60/£36 a month to do so.  Of course since the elites have no jobs they can’t afford to do this.  Which means even less elites.  Which means, to cover the cost of raid development, the fee would have to be higher.  It also means you brought your epics.  But you can strut around and look cool if that’s what you really want.

Fact 3: players who complain that content is not worth doing because world top 5 guilds have already completed it need a quicker way to get the hell out of my WoW.

Solution 3: implement software that recognises these key phrases so that when someone makes a statement like this an option box pops up in WoW allowing them to choose to end their subscription immediately.  In fact, give them a $50 bonus for leaving.  That money will easily be made back by the saved time on the forums not answering their posts.  Plebs would be happy to increase their subscription by the 0.50c/30p it would cost to cover this for the reward of not having to listen to this complaint ever again.

Fact 4: players who like to be judged based on their gear don’t like it when new gear comes along to replace it.  This makes them feel that all their work has been a complete waste of time.

Solution 4: allow gear to scale with epeen.  Then the plebs will be able to spot the enormous d***** a mile off and avoid them.  This would be an addition to Solution 1.

Fact 5: players who want to be better than everyone else don’t want to play in a cooperative environment.

Solution 5: make a whole new version of WoW that doesn’t involve cooperative play but can be played competitively only.  Call it … Starcraft?  In order to make up for the lost revenue from Solution 3, players could be directed to this game instead.

I am a pleb and proud of it.  I call upon plebs everywhere to rise up and defend their right to have epic gear and participate in raids they are paying for the development of.  Yes, entry level raid content is easier than it was, but this is our right as paying players!  No the game is not easier because most players still have never even seen Algalon yet, and hes the end boss of the previous tier!  No they are not welfare epics because every player who has an epic item has to suffer through the complaints of the epeen brigade and that is payment enough!

Disclaimer: This was a political broadcast brought to you by Morrighan, head of the Plebs for Epix party.  Morrighan accepts that not all vanilla raiders are epeens.  Not all people who complain about the game being easy or welfare epics are epeens.  Morrighan has a lot of friends who were both vanilla raiders and don’t like how easy epics are to get and is not calling them epeens.  She’s just fed up with listening to complaints about WoW being too easy from people who can’t even manage Heroic Azjol Nerub!

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Guest Post: Wistful Thinking

October 22, 2009

Special thanks to our guildie Prathi, from over at Piercing Shots for this post.  This was written in the middle of his move when he was going through massive withdrawals.  Happily, he has since been able to reactivate his account, and is happily pewpew’ing for us again.

At the end of August I had to move.  I won’t go in to any great length about why I had to move, but one of the results was that I had to give up playing WoW until I’d settled some things.  Some things have now settled, so I renewed my sub last night.  I didn’t do a whole lot – I said hi to the guildies that were on and did a quick heroic ToC-5.  WoW looked a lot prettier than it used to, but I’m not sure if that’s innacurate memory or what.  It was mostly just nice to play a little again.

In a sad confirmation of stereotype, one of the things I’ve been missing has been upgrading my gear.  We all know and love that warm, internal glow from finally getting a shiny new purple.  It’s a little bit like the glow a chronic gambling addict gets from their infrequent payouts, I think.  Especially because the longer you go without it, the warmer it is when you finally get another taste.  And man if it hasn’t been a while since I had a taste, you know?  I’ve replaced two things since before the first time I killed Yogg-Saron in the middle of the Summer, both the rings, neither of which came from a 25-person raid.

I’m not sure exactly when I’m going to be able to return to raiding, but it’s going to taste pretty sweet when I do.  Especially since I’m sure the rest of the guild is swimming in 245 gear at this point.  Imagine the situation like this: it’s a kid’s birthday, and he’s in the back yard with all his friends.  There’s a pinata full of his favorite candy – maybe some kit-kats – and all of his friends are stuffed full of hotdogs, chips, cake, and soda.  They’re lying on the ground in a disordered, groaning semi-circle.  You hear the whoosh sound of him swinging the stick a few times, then a sharp crack followed by an avalanche of crinkling wrappers.  Giggling quietly, he scoops up the candy and runs upstairs to stash it in his room.

That’s going to be me in the Coliseum.

Distinctly second in the list of stuff I’ve been missing is the people.  Ha-ha!  Just kidding!  As an emotionally healthy human adult, of course I value interpersonal relationships far more than I value pixels named with purple text.

Hm.

Has anyone else ever heard a saying that goes something like “if you tell a lie to yourself enough times, you might begin to believe it”?

I’m not sure if that’s true.  But, moving on!

I really have missed my guildies, seriously.  Reading Snarkcraft has been the cause of some occasional wistfulness, because it reminds me that I haven’t been able to hang out with Seri and Jov, both of whom are pretty excellent ladies.  Axiom is just in general a really fun environment to raid with.  Making fun of the raid leader, making fun of Crutches (can I just say that the Hammer of Ancient Kings is apropos for him), misdirecting bombs onto the druid co-GM, pulling off the tank and wiping the raid in the first 5 seconds of an attempt (my specialty!), imagining the female Orc warrior Kerp speaking with the male Polack voice of her player, just on and on.  It has really been a drag missing out on all of that for a month.

On the other hand, there have been compensations.  This has been a really great way to get out of doing dailies and otherwise farming consumables.  Dragonfin Angelfish, for example, is pretty much never available for sale anywhere ever.  Saving myself the outrage over the prices for alchemy mats has also probably done wonders for my blood pressure.  And can I just say that I could happily live the tortured, immortal existence of an Anne Rice vampire just so long as I never, ever had to encounter the trade channel. Sadly, that boat has sailed, so no lace and black velvet for me.

For real though, everyone: none of it is funny any more.  None of it.  Any joke you were going to make in trade?  It isn’t funny.  Every time you say “anal”  and then link an ability or item, it actually creates a hole in the universe.  These holes – and there are, by now, trillions of them – vacuum up and destroy the elementary particle of human joy, known as the “fabulon”*.  Relentlessly and forever.  They don’t go away, people.  Now that we’ve made them, they’re going to be here until the heat-death of the Universe.  And while it’s true that kittens and puppies generate fabulons at a steady rate, we are rapidly approaching the point at which the holes will be depleting them faster than they can be replaced.  Please, think of the children.

*Entirely different from the god worshipped by the shadowy cult of Naga known only as “The Bravo Demographic”.
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Guest Post: On Race Changes…

October 20, 2009

Greetings all! This is Derevka from Tales of a Priest. Yes I did close the doors at Tales, (mainly due to work being much more demanding of my time during the day, and our firewall at work now blocking blogger access) but I mentioned that I do miss blogging a bit, so Seri asked me to do a guest post here at Snarkcraft.

In the spirit of Snarkcraft, I really should try to make this post as snarky as possible. So I am going to discuss the in game feature that I am looking forward to the most. No, it is not killing Arthas and slapping that rather constipated expression right off his face… its Inter-Faction Race Changes.

This has been something I have been looking forward to for a long time. I know some people are rather upset by it because of the lore involved. How can you change your character’s RACE when you’ve been living and experiencing that race’s lore for 4+ years? To those I reply with, quite easily… you stare at the back of a female dwarf for 4 years and tell me that again. (I know I’ll be hated by the dorf lovers in this post… but I am shallow and like pretty things, so I’m looking forward to my visit to the plastic surgeon… a little snip here, a tuck there, an ‘augmentation’ over here…

I rolled a Female Dwarf Priest back in Vanilla for the sole reason of Fear Ward. The priest class back then, was the only class that had not only Racial Abilities but Race Based spells (Desperate Prayer, Fear Ward, Devouring Plague, LOLFeedback) Back in Vanilla you actually NEEDED Fear Ward on the Alliance side. You didn’t have Tremor Totems on Ally, and you needed fear protection for Ony, BWL, and MC.

Then enter Burning Crusade, and Space Goats were also given Fear Ward… but there weren’t many fights that had the opportunity to cast it. (Nightbane and Maulgar are the only 2 I can think of). Then Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom, decided to dole out Fear Ward to every priest. At that point, Vanilla WoW Dorf Priests looked around and /boggled.

Fast Forward to today, I’ve changed Gender to Male Dwarf because I simply couldn’t stand staring at “my humps my humps my humps….” anymore. I’ve been checking my Blue Tracker and even logging into the Account Management screen daily hoping to see the “Paid Race Change” to lose that taunting “Coming Soon” tag that is branded next to it. Hell, I’ve even clicked it a few times hoping it would somehow let me go through.

Some people view this as just another way for Blizzard to make money off of the player base. Just keep milking that dying cash cow. While I do tend to agree with them, I will happily spend that money in a heartbeat. It’ll be a change of pace… visually making the game look newer. No more having to rush to the front of a Guild Screenshot so I’m not completely blotted out by a Night Elf. No more twirling braids, or big bushy beards. No more oven mitt sized gloves. No more blow up doll facial expression when doing an Omni Cast. (look at a Female Dwarf spamming Inner Fire, and you’ll see it)  Soon I will have a Female Draenei ‘stretching magic’ casting animation… and not to mention a rather hoofed-yet-sexy physique to go along with it.

Why Draenei? Why not Human? Yes, for PVE Healing, Human is generally the Alliance best bet for Every Man For Himself, Faction Bonuses, and Human Spirit 3% spirit bonus. Mine is purely aesthetic, and the fact that my toon’s name is Derevka. (Which is a spin on the villainess family from the TV Series ALIAS – so having the Eastern European accent on my toon only seems fitting.) Now, if only the /dance animation was to “Single Ladies”…

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Seri sez: Cross-realm random LFG… wave of the future or business as usual?

October 15, 2009

Trust the computer, citizen, it knows what's best.One of the changes announced at BlizzCon 2009 was the introduction of cross-realm instances. Yesterday, World of Raids posted a preview of the new LFG tool coming in patch 3.3. I logged into the PTR to check it out, but it had apparently been disabled so I wasn’t able to experience it for myself. However, I’m very intrigued by the prospect of being able to queue for a random instance and be partnered with players not only from my server but other servers in my battlegroup.

There are certainly times when I am up for something but have no real opinion what… throwing myself in the queue for something sure sounds better than sitting around twiddling my thumbs. But, then again, I am apparently one of the few people in the world that doesn’t hate Oculus with a burning passion.

I can’t help but wonder if the interface will allow you to queue for raids as well… the current one does, doesn’t it? I’m too lazy to look, and pretty sure no one really uses it to look for raid groups anyway. Heck, in my experience very few people actually use the LFG tool anymore… which is a whole other rant for another time. (Really, it’s an awesome freaking tool… why do people insist on using Trade chat to look for groups?)

There is a part of me that cringes at the thought of joining a PUG raid this way, that doesn’t want to believe that non-heroic raid content has been dumbed down so much that you could actually get tossed into a group with X number of random strangers and actually be successful even in a 10-man. But I have to admit.. I think that day is coming no matter how much I might want to cling to the good ol’ days when those who could raided and those who couldn’t didn’t. (Call me elitist, but… the current evolution of endgame just isn’t satisfying to me. Also a whole other rant.)

What do you think about random instances & cross-realm instancing? 5-man or otherwise.

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Jov sez: My Armor Sucks (redux) and Final Goodbyes

October 13, 2009

My posts lately have been so multi-faceted  and stream of consiousnessy lately, haven’t they?  Well, have some more!

Priest T10 Bonuses and Why They Suck

  • 2 piece bonus – Your Flash Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over 9 sec.
  • 4 piece bonus – Your Circle of Healing and Penance spells have a 20% chance to cause your next Flash Heal cast within 6 sec to reset the cooldown on your Circle of Healing and Penance spells.

(They’ve been updated since they were first announced)

I know some people are pretty enthusiastic about the bonuses.  But this is my blog, and I think they suck.  So nyeh.

The 2-piece: Per WoL, my average Flash Heal hits for approx 2600.  The HoT would heal another 650, broken up into however many pieces, over the next 9 seconds.  That total heal is 1/3 of my average Renew tick.  Let me repeat 1/3 of my average Renew tick.   But wait!  What about a Discipline Priest?  Well ours is geared to the hilt and her average flash is approx 2200.  Her total healing from the 2-piece would be 550.  Also, it’s somewhat unlikely the HoT would self-stack, meaning the Discipline Priest would only get ticks if their Penance is off cooldown and they take the time to Penance/re-shield.  Otherwise, it would exist in the no-man’s land of constant overwriting.

Also, the above numbers are best-case.  If you get a crit on overheal, the phrasing seems to state that only the amount healed gets the HoT value.  Double plus-plus useless.

People have also been commenting that the 2-piece is the old FoL HoT v 2.0.  I counter that the pally FoL hot was a copy of the Priest 8-piece T2 bonus (yes, 8-piece, I’m going back to the golden age of raiding before tier tokens when you had to WORK for your set bonuses).  Back in my day, that was the only stacking-hot in the game.  And it still kinda sucked.

The 4-piece: I’ll be the first to admit I kinda miss the days of no-cooldown CoH.  (You miss them too, you know it!)  I also have no qualms with admitting that the spell was totally OP at its height.  Smart, not party-limited…  no cooldown.  mmm…  Tasty, tasty OP’ness.  The problem with messing with the cooldown length on cooldown-based spells is always going to be rhythm and muscle memory.

Muscle memory may be something you can train yourself out of pretty easily, but only if the changes made are consistent.  The 4-piece is not a consistent change, it’s a chance on proc.

1.  Jov hates procs.  Murphy’s Law of Procs = shit never procs when you need it, only when you don’t.

2.  Jov hates procs.

3.  Did I mention Jov hates procs?

Best definition I’ve heard of the 4-piece bonus was “Has 20% chance of screwing up your rotation.”  Yes, it has a strong potential for burst healing, but at the same time, most people have a feeling for when they can hit their Penance or CoH, and missing this proc is MUCH worse than missing out on a SoL.

Final Goodbyes

It was great knowing you all, but I’m leaving…

HA!  Fooled you!  Y’all are stuck with me for the next while at least.

The past few weeks have seen the official closings of two of the best and brightest lights in the Priest Blogging community.  While Ego’s final goodbye was expected, as her departure had been announced quite a bit earlier, the finality of the doors closing did drive the point home.  Seri and I are still friends with the player behind the horns, and have a promise from Hannelore that we’re her first stop if she ever feels the urge to post in the future, but it’s always difficult to see something important to you move on.

And speaking of important and moving on, Dwarf Priest has also closed her doors.  While Ego’s departure was expected, Dwarf’s was a sudden blog silence, leading many to have concerns about her health (and even some rumors of her death).  While quick to dispel rumors of her death (vastly overrated), the health concerns proved to be true, and she has moved on, both from the responsibilities of the game and of the blog.

To you both, whether or not you see this:  Goodbye and Good Luck.

goodbye_sad_bear

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Seri sez: I am Henri(etta) the tank, I am.

October 8, 2009

I'm just big boned!This week, I embark on a grand adventure. I’ve faction transferred my old warrior and, in the immortal words of Malcolm Reynolds, “I aim to misbehave.” Why should you care? Well, there are insights to be learned about tanks that can only be learned by walking a mile in their steel-toed boots. Or hooves, depending.

Anyhow, it’s been a really long time since I played this character. She’s 70, but it’s been eons since I touched her. (A year, if not more.) When I logged her in, she had no spec and I wasn’t reasonably certain I remembered what even a quarter of her buttons did. Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me. But, with some help from Tarsus and the Panzercow, I have a nice fresh spec and am reasonably certain I will know which buttons to push when I venture out of Warsong Hold. Eventually.

What? Don’t look at me like that… there’s a lot to do when you pick up an old character! So, maybe I’ve spent about 90% of my time on her shuffling her between the bank, the mailbox and her trainer. It’s been productive! She has heirloom shoulders, breastplate and trinket. She has a spec, her bank is… partly sorted… and I actually gained a point of Blacksmithing from mats I had in my alt bank. Also, Cold Weather Flying! See? Productive.

Don’t judge me.

What may make this exercise all the more entertaining is that I’ve decided to level as Protection. I’ve heard Northrend is a lot of fun for Prot Warriors, so I’m going to give it a whirl even though some might think me crazy. The way I figure… I haven’t tanked anything for so long that the more practice I can get between instance runs the less likely I am to make an ass of myself (or more of one than usual) while grouping. I wouldn’t bet on it but… that’s the theory.

I’ll check in periodically to share my insights with you. In the meantime, do you have any anecdotes to share about standing in the front instead of the back? I’d love to hear them.

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