Friday, October 30, 2009

UI Blueprint

What better way to pass the time during a boring meeting? So I sketched up what I'm thinking of doing for my fresh UI which I will setup this weekend.

Yeah I know I'm a talented artist innit! Why on earth do I work in IT? Who can say.

And there it is. Only took me a few minutes too! Amazing, I know.

I'm aware that all this probably only makes sense to me at this point, so here is a bit of a description of each UI element, starting top left and working my way clockwise around the screen.

Naturally posts shall be forthcoming with actual screen shots of the actual UI when I actually set it up.... Maybe I'll even include links to each addon, but tbh that sounds like hard work right now.

OK top left. Iz map. iz good. I totally dont need a map front and center as it is in spartanUI, and that space can be used for useful information instead. As for a map mod, Sexymap is win. Especially the ability to hide all your minimap icons until you mouse over the minimap.

Top center - some kind of cooldown timers will go here. Undecided as to which mod to use for this so far.

Top center also will be the spot for stealable buffs. There is a groovy mod called mage nuggets that does a bunch of useful mage things including tell you when and what buffs you can steal from your target. I like this.

Top right is Satrina Buff Frames. Stick with what you know imo.

Below that on the right is where I'll configure DBM to put it's little timer gizmos.

Bottom right will have omen and recount for PVE, and gladius for arena, and probably nothing much for battlegrounds.

Bottom bottom right is sort of up for grabs, but I think a small chat box dedicated to the combat log would go alright here. Thanks to Tunas for giving me the idea of multiple chat boxes with different content years ago. Definitely going to find a link to that post of his and put it here, sorry Tuan I'm just being lazy today. (ok maybe not so lazy, that was actually really simple)

Moving across to the center bottom, here I will have a couple of rows of buttons courtesy of bartender 4, and I think I'll get fancy with button facade to make it all look fancypants.

Above the action bars I will have some unit frames and cast bars. Pitbull and Quartz are used here, once you get used to them playing without them is just annoying.

Player and pet on the left side, target and target's target on the right side. I will have a big dirty target's castbar above my own, as seeing what your enemy is doing when you can't see your enemy is totally helpful and necessary if you are going to counterspell at the right time.

Finally between my feet and my target castbar seems like a good spot for those scrolling combat text notifications. (which I really need to filter, at the moment its just a stream of spam that I mostly ignore)

Ok... bottom left, standard chat window. Chatmod and WIM are essential once you get used to having them around.

Above that, against the left side of the screen is where party and raid frames traditionally live, and I think I'll probably stick with grid here. I have to say that since last patch grid has been a bit buggy and as a mage in arena I think I need something that shows me who everybody in the party is targeting.

Ok so now in the middle of my screen there will be scrolling combat texts. I like to get the numbers out of the way so I have the heals left and damage right, and I use the spam protection feature so there isn't tooo much going on. Maybe I'll use the blizzard damage numbers above the enemy's head, mainly because it't fun to see all that going on when you AoE... but further testing will tell.

In the middle at the top I will put Doom's Cooldown Pulse thingo. It basically flashes an icon of a spell when that spell comes off cooldown. Easier than looking at your action bars all the time or your cooldown counters.

Finally above my head and around my avatar will go various power auras so I know when I have umm powerful auras active. Good for arcane power and stuff like that.

Oh yes, titan bar at the bottom as well, although I'm considering alternative ways to display this info (gold, system performance, lag, location, bagspace, time, blablabla)

And then.... Then I'm going to redo all my bindings... and then learn them again O.o I just did a quick count and I have about 14 keys I can hit without thinking or using a modifier like shift or alt. That is plenty for a DK but just doesn't cut it as a mage.

Going to have to either use modifiers or get used to stretching my fingers a bit further to access more keys, but I don't really like that idea, as i'm more likely to hit the wrong thing, or worse still, put my fingers back on the keyboard in the wrong spot, and then ill hit all the wrong things until I figure that out.

Something to keep me busy I guess.

edit: Just had an idea. Perhaps I switch the location of the action bars with the player / target unit frames and cast bars?

Oh and I forgot to mention OmniCC is totally worth having, and as such I will be havening it!

Two's company

I've never had an arena team hold together for more than a few weeks, and never had any kind of success in arena, ever.

There was this one warrior I played some games with back in season 4 or something, but neither of us were particularly adept at the whole arena-ing thing, which is almost another game altogether when compared to battlegrounds, and has nothing whatsoever in common with the raiding thing, let alone the kill ten rats kthx thing. I do remember having fun on those rare occasions when we won matches, and always intended to get back into it 'one day'...

I've also never been in a pvp guild, and basically never got around to making it happen. (arena that is) Procrastination is an art, and one I feel I have mastered by this stage in my life.... added to that, being undergeared in arenas is no fun, so I've always planned to grind out a bunch of honor before even attempting them in previous seasons...

Generally that coincides with my semi regular but unscheduled absences from Azeroth. I finish gearing up, get bored, find another game to play, then come back after the next expansion...

So what im really saying here, is that I dunno what the hell im doing in arena. As a general rule. Sometimes.

For example when it's mage shaman vs priest priest. How am I even supposed to attempt to kill one of these pillar humping priests? I spend half my time defending myself, half my time attempting to counterspell, spellsteal and polymorph something useful, and the other half of my time cracking off the odd fireblast and trying to spam some frostbolts or whatever.

Clearly I don't have time to do all that. I'm over here in a dress, basically holding a sign that says over here, melt my face, I dare ya! Lookout or I'll sheep ya! and again! and now ill counter spell ya! and then what? buggered if I know... Do a little twirl?

Some improvement required. So I should practice right?

Last night I spent who knows how long doing 2v2 skirmish. Damn that is fun! Matches take approximately 7 seconds to pop, sometimes you get the same partner, sometimes you get to fight your previous partner, every matchup is different, so I keep getting killed in new an interesting ways...

It really gave me a lot of exposure to different tactics being used both for and against me, and I think I started to get better as the night went on.

There were times when things worked properly, and my initial MI / IV / We / frostbolt + freeze + deepfreeze + frostbolt + icelance + icelance combo** landed just as a warrior teamate did something nasty involving several large axes and some poor guy on the other side got assploded in the space of... (let me count) about 4 global cooldowns, so 6 seconds, but it seems like less because during the first GCD im casting, so from the time when he gets hit by the first frostbolt to the time when he becomes pink mist is more like 4.5 seconds.

That's a quick kill in anyone's book, and a good way to start an arena match on the right foot.

Of course I'm sure it's going to get harder when (if) I start playing rated matches, but you need a team for that.

Experienced people want to play with experienced people. Noobs also want to play with experienced people.

Unfortunately noobs are going to end up playing with other noobs more often than not, so the future here looks a bit bleak. Unless I find some random team that wants to give me a run... and then I turn around and don't suck, I am not really sure how best to get into an arena team.

Oh wells. I guess I'll just keep gearing up and practicing skirmishes for a while. And watching arena videos at work.

<3 youtube at work. ... and arenajunkies live steam is pretty awesome too when it works, but not enough mages stream. HOOK IT UP PEOPLE! Enough with the pally PoV - I wanna see how the pro mages do it. Anyhoo... in other news... it's still good to be a mage again. I can finally do respectable DPS and would back myself to take on almost any encounter in the game as it stands, with the exception of some of the hard modes that simply require the uber DPS that a set of mostly ilvl 200 gear can't deliver.

I also want to get into a gold pug, as they are starting on my server. Ideally I want to get into two. One where I tank it and don't bid on any items, and then another on my mage where I spend the cash I earn't on something useful, like a trinket or summat. HMMMM but raiding is like meh. small raids like OS and VOA are fun, but ulduar? what a snoozefest. Like the extreme opposite of 2v2 skirmish. You throw a few fire standing peanuts into the mix with a sprinkling of fail tank, and suddenly there are a million things I would rather be doing.

I did have a good voa 25 last night however, The RL checks me out before we start and says "if you dps is too low im going to kick you ok" and I'm like yeah OK, I will pull at least 4k, and he goes I hope so ur gear is pretty low... and I'm like Cheeeeel Winstun... Iz ok. Just see what happens. Well, what happened is I burnt mana like it was going out of style and was pulled some good numbers on trash, and then finished about 4th or 5th on dmg on Koravon.

Totally didn't get kicked.

It's good to be able to finally not feel weak in a 25 man raid. Of course, if I had better gear, I think I could really do something nuts in a raid like that... Especially if I hang in there until I get a few more triumph badges, get that +hit trinket, and go fire spec.

Hmm what else. I was too busy skirmishing and I missed my stoopid wintergrasps, and I bought the furious cloak instead of replacing my level 70 pvp neck!

It turns out clever doesn't happen at 3am... "Oh look a shiny!" *click* *buy* is far more like it. I didn't even realise my mistake until I started writing this post!

Lastly, my interface needs a rebuild. Spartan UI is out, minimalist functionality is in, and keybinds are due for a major rethink, as having to press 8 for my iceblock and F1 for my arcane power + icy veins doesn't really make sense. Stuff is all over the shop. One extra second finding the right key is one global cooldown wasted. (This post will be updated with a screen shot of my current UI in about 2 or 3 hours, depending on how early I can sneak away from the office)

** Am I doing this right by the way? (translation = cast mirror image, icy veins, water elemental, frostbolt, freeze, deep freeze, frostbolt, icelance, icelance) I am so used to doing shatter combos with the standard frostbolt + freeze + ice lance that I have to force myself to mix in the deep freeze.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Zupa still doesn't quest...

It's been a long time since I played my mage with any kind of conviction. However, in the past week or so that has changed, and I am definitely back in mage town!

It had been a while, it's true.... and there was some housekeeping to do. So I dusted off my gear, fixed my specs, and got stuck into some serious battle ground farming. After all, since 3.2 had saved me from the quest monster, I was free to PvP my way through those last 8 levels to 80... right? After all I still can't bring myself to quest.

At first it was a little bit annoying, seeing my frostbolts sail past my target, heading over yonder, where perhaps they go to to the great big frostbolt place in the sky, I dunno, but one way or another don't do as they're told...

A little frustrating, to begin with, helplessly watching the seething masses of confusion that your average BG turns into after a few minutes...

At times infuriating, steam rolling an entire AV only to find that we can't actually kill the boss... (What the hell is going on there by the way? A PvE boss ruining a PvP battleground by being too tank, making it so the only way to win is by way of a drawn out and boring war of attrition... )


But despite all this, it has been awesome, and it just keeps getting better as I level!

I hit level 79 just now, and there's no more spells missing all the time... none of this not being able to do anything useful... In fact, this frost mage in PvP business is different to how I remember.

Back in the day I was always able to stay up under fire for a little while in the right conditions, but now I just seem to live forever. I'm never short of a shield or a snare or a nuke or a poly, not to mention the pet and the double iceblock (lol) if things turn sketchy... and did I mention I love brain freeze?

So, I've started to notice something about living forever in a battleground.... You get heals!

Big fat juicy heals. Life saving heals.

It's nuts! It's like the healers actually have the time to see my frozen bony ass running into the alliance, causing some good natured havoc of the mage variety, typically getting in too deep and having to high tail it outta there, frost novas and ice barriers akimbo... and this invokes some sense of, I dunno, healeriness? that then causes them to... heal me!?!

Even though as a mage I occupy a space on the healing table somewhere below anyone -not- wearing a dress, but (hopefully) above a hunter's pet, they heal me.

Astonishing. I know.

Heals in battlegrounds. Lots of them. On my mage. I swear to you this has been happening, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Anyway I guess the moral of the story is... errrm... perhaps there isn't one, but I'm level 79, I'm frost and... Oh yeah. The moral of the story is that frost PvP is awesome, the survivability makes it super fun, being able to dominate everybody (cept druids of course) is wicked and I honestly have no idea what the hell all these arcane mages running around think they're doing. I mean really.

They see me rollin' They know I'm frost, I have a great big ice barrier happening over here. They see me stayin' alive don't they? What the hell are you lot doing with your arcane missles and such malarky in PvP? It's crazy! I know, because I got stuck in my arcane spec for one BG tonight and it was gruesome. Really nasty stuff. You need ice barrier kidlets!

So I guess one thing I do know, is that the arcane mages are dying a lot out there, because by the time a healer notices that they exist, a hunter's pet is eating their face while a rogue stunlocks them into submission, only to have a keyboard turning death knight clicker lolgrip them for the kill steal, typically a swift process from start to finish.

Oh and another thing, this idea Blizzard have finally got around to stealing from Warhammer? The bit where you get XP for PvP?

I like it!

From Blue to Bad to Red...

This is a mage blog, with a side of DK to be sure, but that was just a passing fad, and so I never blogged that much about it.

In fact, playing the DK is one of the major reasons this blog has been so... stagnant lately. It's a mage blog and if I'm not playing a mage, I don't have a hell of a lot of mage stuff to blog about!

However, some interesting shit has gone down recently, and I guess there's a story in it so here it comes.

So I had a mini-holiday over the weekend, actually spent the time on a boat

...which was awesome and a first time for me. Came home and decided to get my nerd on for a bit, and logged in to my banker. Business was ok, but lots and lots of unsold gems. I bought a bunch of uncuts and sent them over to my DK for processing, as I tend to do. It's my no-brainer money maker, which is about all I can be bothered with these days, and which is also beside the point.

I then logged onto Nikitar, and noticed I was no longer guilded.

edit: My old guild was called Blue Spark. This is relevant!

What the hell! As chance would have it the old guild leader, Anaujiram (yes i'm naming and shaming you bastard) chose that moment to log in. I sent him a tell saying "what the hell happened?" and I get back "ROFLMAO I AM SO DRUNK RIGHT NOW!!!! LOL" (I am making his speech pink for a reason here)

I see. So perhaps now isn't the greatest time to ask for an explanation, but I would kinda like to know. I was an officer and stuff. We had a guild bank full of lootz, a guild full of hard-mode-capable raiders (well this isn't entirely accurate but we did ok) and a well respected name and rank on the server in terms of progression. We were on the map. We had finally got there. We were wiping on 25 man heroic TOTC with the big boys. Now, suddenly, out of nowhere, we were nothing.

Next thing I get the following:
"Anaujiram has invited you to join the guild "faeries" "

What. The. Fuck. ? How about no?

How about I had enough trouble dealing with the fact that the old guild tabard was a poofy blue colour with a heart symbol, now you want me to run around with "faeries" over my head? Bite me you stupid bastard, and while ur at it what the fuck happened to the guild bank?

"oh it got pwned. I lost it when I gdisbanded and the GMs won't give it back"

"you fucken retard"

(I don't feel the need to ensure I don't offend my GL, after all I'm his main tank and longest serving officer. Someone has to be honest around here innit? Anyways...)

I wasn't especially impressed at this point. Now I have been getting towards the end of my tanking rope for some time already, and it looked to me like this was the end of the road. Yet somehow, against my better judgement, the GL convinced me to join his ill-conceived new guild and a-raiding we went.

What a circus! We went to ten man ulduar. There were about 4 of the orginal hard-mode players and 6 randoms. Aspiring raider randoms. Randoms who convinced the GL they had what it takes without having any experience having said 'it'. Randoms who don't use DBM. Randoms who stand in the fire. In short, randoms who are not ready for hard modes.

So after a handful of wipes on hardmode iron council, we go into the officer channel in vent to discuss the future, both of that night's raid and the guild as a whole. After coming to the consensus that we are both over it and would rather PvP than try to organise shit and educate nubs, we go back to tell the raid the bad news.

Somehow they convince us to give it another shot on normal mode. Someone speaks eloquently on the behalf of the randoms about how they aren't old school raiders like some of us and need a chance to learn fights etc. Ok fine. We zone back in and line up IC again, this time taking down steelbreaker first. Once again I'm not 100% sure what I'm meant to be tanking but it's not a huge problem as between me and the other tank we have it covered. Thing start off OK. Steelbreaker goes down and we still have an entire raid up.

Next thing I know, the little guy does his aoe thing and 3 people die. Right. Fine. See, this is why I don't want to do this anymore. I can play perfectly all night and still have nothing to show for it except a repair bill. As the wipe is in progress I notice someone hearthing down the back of the room... Hmm who could that be I wonder? And what could he possibly be doing?

"dont forget to clean out the gbank this time you noob"

"already doing it, relax"

I keep my mouth shut and watch the drama unfold. Vent erupts as people start clamoring for another chance, saying how it wasn't their fault, that someone dc, that someone else lagged, and someone else set their cat on fire. Meanwhile, silence from the guild leader, and silence from me. (I do an excellent impression of the strong and silent type in raids... )

More silence, panic starts happening. The randoms are sending me tells left and right wanting to know what's happening. Then this.

"Ok everyone, thanks for your time, all the best in the future"

"your guild has been disbanded"


I never should have accepted an invite to a guild called "faeries" in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I have no issues with rampant homosexuality, but I don't want to be directly involved. Call me old fashioned if you want.

Finally. It's over and I can PvP on my mage in peace. So I hop on my mage and I'm wandering around orgrimmar waiting for either AV or an instance group to pop. Disenchanting some random greens and generally minding my own business, when a guild charter pops up. Sure enough our illustrious leader managed to last all of 20 minutes before deciding that he wants to be an illustrious leader once again. At least this time he listened to me when it came to the guild name.

Now we are called "Red Spark"

But I only joined on my mage... ;)

Look out DPS meters, coz Zupa's back baby, Zupa's back!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hardmode VoA - PuG Stylez

You know how sometimes you pull off something amazing, and there is nobody there to say 'well done?' Nobody to at least verify that what you just did was, in fact, awesome? Poor little ego starving for attention, but no dice?

Well last night, I was of the awesome. All by myself. Nobody saw.

What's the bloody point of being awesome when there's nobody around to even notice?! Thanks for coming ego, but you could have stayed home, nothing to see here. Move along.

So... what is this awesomeness of which I speak?

Well, once upon a time, on a server far far away, It had been a dark and stormy night of wipes in 10 man ulduar. We killed Ignis and we killed the Iron Bitches but we just got drilled by Thorim.

Well, we would have got drilled by Thorim - if we managed to kill all his friends fast enough for him to actually bother with us! He just stood on his balcony and watched us die over and over to waves of his little bastard mates.

Raid called early, WG happened, we won and it was VoA time. I managed to score a spot as tank in a one-of-each-class ten man, which soon became one-of-each-class (unless you are a dk or a priest then suck it up and learn to share)... ten man.

Oh well. It was getting late and any VoA is a good VoA the day before reset... so. We gather. We buff up and we readycheck.

I pull the first trash, no problems. DPS looks good. Heals look good. Excellent. Moving on...

As we work our way to Emalon I notice I'm tanking everything. Like all of it. I can handle it sure, but where's the other stupid DK who is meant to be helping? Surely he must be here somewhere, why isn't he taunting the extra mobs off me? Lazy bastid DKs! No matter...

All trash cleared. We are staring down at Emalon, checking buffs, and then the raid leader says

RL: "Ok Nikitar - you can single tank it lol!"
Nikitar: "wtf"

*I notice we only have 9 people in the group*

Nikitar: "OIC is that what happened to the other tank... ?"
RL: "go go single tank it you can do it"
Nikitar: "ur fucken mad, but OK then"

Is he seriously serious? He wants me to tank the whole lot of em? The big ugly boss with his nasty aoe, the 4 adds that get killed and respawn and need to be picked up, not to mention enraging and doing wtfbbq dmg? He wants me to just run in there, aggro the whole room, and stay alive, not to mention hold aggro?


*.... at least I'm the only DK.*

So I ran in, and I threw down my death and decay, and I tossed up my diseases, and I taunted and I death gripped and I summoned my soon-to-be-sacrified ghoul. I blew one cooldown every 30 seconds and somehow, managed to stay alive.

No doubt being the soul beneficiary of 3 healers worth of heals had a lot to do with it, but we one shot that boss, walked down the hall and spanked his buddy Archavon as well.

Throughout the whole ordeal I think we only had 2 deaths, and it was the rogue both times.
Funny thing about rogues, they die a lot. Then again they dodge wipe repair bills all the time with their OP vanishing skills so excuse me if I don't feel sorry for them.

And that, dear readers, is the story... the story of how Nikitar the DK soloed tanked the whole of VoA with an extra serve of awesome, in a group of 9, and only PuGs saw it happen.

Now wheres my goddamn achievement Blizz you buggers!

le sigh.

There wasn't even so much as a guildy online for me to bragg about it to...

Oh well ego, better luck next time....

PS: no lootz >.<

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to spot a bad tank?

In direct response to a comment from ByStander on my last post, here are some of my thoughts around tanking, being bad at it, and being caught being bad at it.

A bit of background, I played a mage in vanila and in BC. Tanking was someone elses problem, and healing was nice and all but couldn't really be relied upon. Mages were then, and are now, close to the bottom of the priority list when it comes to heals.

It wasn't until I reactivated and upgraded to WotLK that I even played a melee class in WoW. I was uninspired by my mage. Sure he has great lv 70 raiding gear, but I still almost died on the first random mob I encountered in northrend. I may have had my action bars in a mess. I might not have been able to find blink or frost nova. I might have neglected to spend any talent points post-patch.

In short, I spent 7 months playing Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, and of course my beloved DotA. In AoC I don't even remember what class I played, it was a pretty bad game. Warhammer had much more potential and in warhammer I played a tank. A chosen. A badass, plate wearing, proper tank.

And it was FUN.

None of this getting one shot by mobs. None of this oh shit please dont hit me please dont hit me snare kite run nuke snare kite run nuke fiasco that mages go through all the time.
Oh no... It's more like GET OVER HERE AND HIT ME YOU BIG WIMPY BOSS! Leave my squishies alone! Cmon hit me like you mean it ya big girly monster, etc etc.

Totally more fun than wearing a dress.

So at risk of having already rambled on too long, lets talk about tanks. Bad ones.
I know about bad tanks, I've been one, and I dare say it takes one to know one. I definitely had no idea if the tanks in my vanilla and BC raids were any good. They must have been because my guilds progressed, but all I know is that they didn't die a lot.

The thing is, a well geared poorly played tank can still be kept up by a skilled healer, let alone a bunch of them sprouting the latest healing epics.

So the people most likely to notice that the tank isn't much chop, are likely to be the healers, or the other tank, if he is paying attention.

So, for the rest of us, heres my list of ways to spot a bad tank. Some of these things could be caused by the encounter or supporting players not doing their job, but not all. I'm saying dont write your tank off if you see one or two of these things on occasion, but if you see lots of them all the time... something isn't right.

1. The Bad Pull.

Everyone knows this one. You see the pat incoming but the tank pulls anyway. Complete failure to control and / position the casters. Pulling more than one pack and causing a wipe, pulling when people aren't ready, pulling when people are dead, pulling when people are out of range, pulling when healers are out of mana...

2. The Bad Gears.

Harder to spot but with a little investigation anyone can come to know how tanks should be gemmed / enchanted / geared. Is your DK tank packing parry gems and agility enchants? Is your pally under the defense cap? Does your warrior think he can tank with a two hander?

3. The Bad Threat.

This can be hard to spot if the DPS isn't enough to make it an issue, or the DPS classes are skilled enough that they watch threat and adjust their output accordingly. Essentially a tank who threat caps a DPS is generally doing it wrong. Tanks have some abilities which have a +threat modifier and as a rule of thumb they should spam these when possible. Lots of them are only available after a block or a parry or something, so the tank needs to be on top of his game to get full use out of them. If used correctly threat capping will only happen when the DPS significantly outgears the tank.

4. The Bad use of Cooldowns.

Once again hard to spot, how are you supposed to know if the tank is popping his anti magic shield at the right time to mitigate sarths next fire breath? A tricky one. I know when I'm doing it right, my health stays higher, and takes less scary spikes than when I do it wrong. If your tank's health is like a yoyo on crack, this might be an issue.

5. The Bad... dealing with multiple mobs.

The thing about lots of mobs is that there are lots of them, and the buggers rarely stand where you want them to. Some adjustment is usually required to make it so that the whole pack is standing in your aoe, and not hitting you in the back. Tanks turning their back on mobs often die a sudden death. Sometimes you simply have no choice, say your taunts are all on CD and a mob is beating on your healer. You may have to run over there and save the day, and hope you dont take too much damage from the mobs chasing you. Protip: use strafe at every opportunity to keep your back safe.

6. The Bad pace setter

It is up to the tank to set the pace of any instance or raid. Is he taking waaay too long? Is it moving too fast for the rest of the team to keep up?

That's what I got for now.

What other ways can you spot a fail tank?

PS: A DK who pulls when in unholy or blood presence, or any tank who pulls in his DPS gear without realising... may not be a fail tank, as such, but they may be having a fail moment. Give them a second chance, its not the kind of mistake you make twice in one night...

Yes... I've done it plenty of times!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where nothing really changes...

O hai!

I just wrote a comment over at clearcasting about these badge changes that have got everyone's knickers in a twist. Then I thought hell, if I'm going to go around posting long-winded comments that are basically posts in themselves on other people's blogs, why aren't I posting here?

So, inspired by this, here's my take on the upcoming badge changes. I realise this topic has been done to death, but I haven't heard anyone make this particular point before.

First of all, what other people are saying...

Lots of folks are sore that their gear won't be special anymore. Even more people are upset that there will be noobs running northrend in awesome gear, "taking your raid spot, stealing your lootz" all while standing in the fire because they are -still- crappy raiders, just like they always were.

On the other side of the virtual fence, we see the people who love the change, are looking forward to gearing up their alts, realise they will have all the best gear first anyway because they are successful progression raiders, and are generally in favor.

I obviously lean over to that side. I won't be fooled into thinking someone is awesome because they have great gear. I'm not fooled by gear now, and I don't plan to start anytime soon.

Introducing noobX

A perfect example springs to mind here. There is a rogue who we shall call noobX on my server. I first grouped with this guy when tanking outland dungeons. He was chatty, obviously friended me and was always wanting to run dungeons with me. He was nice enough and I really paid him no mind to begin with.

Then I started noticing his dps was poor. Really poor. Like, you are doing something wrong or you are doing nothing at all poor. Like my pet is doing more dps than you poor. Like is your weapon broken or something poor. Like... anyway you get the picture. It was terribad.

So I mention this to him. Friendly like, because I'm all friendly and stuff. It went something like this:

Zupa: "So mate, your dps is pretty bad. Whats going on? "

noobX: "Oh lol I need some upgrades for my gears. "

Zupa: "Ok link me your weapons." *links 2 blue daggers*

Zupa: "Well, they look fine to me. What items do you need upgraded? I can have a look at my atlasloot mod and help find which dungeon we should run next. "

noobX: "Oh that would be great I need a helm and gloves."

Zupa: "I see, we should be able to find something. Link me what you are using now."

noobX: "I don't have any lol"

Zupa: "Why the fuck not? What the hell man?"

noobX: "I had to solds them to get repair money."

Zupa: "OMFG are you serious? so you have NOTHING? no helm? no gloves?"

noobX: "Yeah lols I need upgrades but dont know which dungeons to get blues from."

Ok thats it. Friendly Zupa has left the building. You-just-wasted-more-than-your-quota-of-my-free-time Zupa will be your host for the rest of this conversation...

Pissed Off Zupa: "Dude that is ridiculous. You have no business in any 5 man group without a full set of gear. Go buy some greens from the AH to use until you get the drops you need."

noobX: "Oh I don't have any money"

Pissed Off Zupa: "Go do some quests or farm until you do then."

noobX: "Id rather do dungeons with you, we never wipe!"

Pissed Off Zupa: "Ok how about this. I'm not doing ANYTHING with you until you at least have a full set of gear. It's just retarded."

*fast forward about 2 months*

Scene: Random group for random heroic with random pugs. I see this rogue (noobX) is in the group. He goes "oh hi remember me?"

LongTermMemory Zupa: "Have you got a helm yet?"

noobX: "Lol you still remember that?"

Like I was going to forget the single most incompetent player I have seen with in WotLK?

Not likely little rogue. Not a chance.

Naturally I check out his gear, and cut off me legs and call me shorty, but this guy is decked. Proper decked. All tier gear and naxx 25 epics and valor badge gear, not a blue item in sight.

WTF?Zupa: "Holy crap man you geared up nice."

noobX: "oh what? yeah I got a naxx run on wednesdays... blah blah." *not listening...*

We start the instance. Things go OK.

So how much DPS does this rogue with the OMG hectic gear manage to pull off? 2k. not 2.1 mind you. not 2050. 2k flat.


So... he might have talked his way into a guild and a naxx run. He may have kitted up his toon with all manner of sweet gear. But a shit player is still a shit player until such time as they make an effort to not be shit anymore.

Sadly, making an effort was never on this guys agenda. He always wanted someone else to make him not shit anymore, either by me running him in dungeons so he can get loot without pulling his weight to earn it, or by talking his way into whatever raid he is now a part of, regardless of his blatantly poor skills when it comes to playing his own class.

Well, noobX got his gear, but he never got his skills.

Gear means nothing. If you are shit, you are shit.

If you are good then gear is much less of an issue.

The same applies to healers, but that's for another post. There are plenty of healers in full epics who struggle to keep my tank alive in heroic dungeon X, but a healer who knows what they are doing can keep me above 80% all the way through a heroic wearing nothing but the blues they dinged 80 in.

So hows this all actually about the upcoming badge changes in 3.2???

Well, I guess this rogue, noobX, is an example of what the doomsayers are predicting will happen a lot.

Poor player gets good gear and still fails. (omg?)

It's already happening. It may happen more after the patch, but essentially the number of poor players vs good players is a static number, and no amount of welfare epics will change that.

So for me, nothing changes.

Anyway here's my comment from the post over at clearcasting...

I have made it purple because purple is awesome.

How do you feel about people who are unable to obtain tier gear in the current state of play?

There could be any number of reasons for that to be the case. It could be anything from a physical disability that means they simply can’t raid properly or constraints on their game time. Perhaps they cant afford a PC that is stable in a 25 man group. Maybe they don’t speak the native language on their server.

I think these people should be able to get at least some of the best gear around. They pay as much as anybody else to play. I remember very clearly not being able to play properly for a week due to an injury i received. I could still log in and run around but couldn’t do anything that involved pressing two keys at one time.

I’m lucky as it was temporary. Not so for some others.

Lets fast forward to the point where these unlucky players have some tier 9 gear, obtained slowly and painfully over a long period of time.

They still can’t raid for the original reasons, my gaming experience is entirely unaffected, but perhaps they are a little bit happier playing the game in whatever capacity they are able?

Nobody would assume they are more skilled than they are because of their gear. They still wont have a heroic sarth + 3D achievement, but perhaps they won’t feel like second class players anymore?

So while Tier gear is your holy grail, and very important to you, can’t my buddy with the disability get some too one day without it affecting you, your game play, your raid, or your personal sense of achievement?

I think he can. You probably wouldn’t even notice =)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Zupa on the PTR

... almost ...

At first I thought "Oh how clever, it just downloads the changes and copies the rest of the content from your normal WoW install location"

Now I think it's a good thing I never put a dent in my download allowance for the month...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Hello hello,

quick FYI coz you need to know style post today,


Magecraft is to mages what plusheals is to healers. A forum that isn't the official wow forums (of suck) and is just for us mages!

Once upon a time I started thinking about doing this myself, only I had plans for a forum for all DPS classes. I went as far as registering the domain name, had a think about the kind of work that would be required to make it successful and manage it, and then thought better of it.

Good thing that Dan and the guys over at magecraft aren't slackers like me, and this has finally happened.

Go on then, what are you waiting for? Go register, introduce yourself and become part of the web's newest mage community.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let's get trivial

A bit late, but better late than never, these are my answers to Justamom's sunday warcraft trivia

1. Razor Fen Downs (I'm sure I've done this but it was a long long time ago)
2. Ahn' Quiriajilia 40 man. Not the ruins but the other one. (I don't think I've ever attempted to refer to this as anything BUT AQ40 before, so the spelling is beyond me.)
3. rolling on the floor laughing my ass off (really who doesn't know this by now?)
4. Shadow Fang Keep (reminds me of being a little itty bitty zombie back in vanilla)
5. mana per 5 WTF? I got nothing!
6. end user licence agreement (hands up who hasn't read it? me neither)
7. Line of Sight (more people need to understand this concept IMO)
8. Black Rock Spire, home of upper and lower blackrock spire, which was what you did before you managed to get into a MC raiding guild.
9. looking for group. (cmon thats toooo easy!)
10. Black Fathom Deep. First instance I ever ran on my first toon who is a hunter (still level 42) I recall the pally asking me if I had ever done an instance before after I tried to run away from some mobs and pulled half the instance (ran wrong direction)

did I win?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Krizzlybear's Raidroll

Sometimes someone does something so awesome I have to link to it, on the off chance one of my readers hasn't seen it yet.

Krizzlybear's Raidroll is one of those things, go read it immediately!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Leeroy... and what to do about him?

Continued from Zupa doesn't quest

... Now me and this particular tank have known each other for a long time. We know each other well, both on a personal level and in game. We are both quite adequate tanks and both do respectable DPS. We tend to take it in turns or otherwise whoever has had the shittiest day gets to kick back and DPS while the other worries about tanking.

It was my turn to tank. There was a eager beaver pally tank in the group but he was only level 74 so we shut him down. Hush noob - this is man's work style.

Two speed runs of VH later, everyone is over it, I'm done tanking, the pally tank has dinged 75 and we decide to head to Gundrak. (Also giving me an excuse to go flying finally since I dinged 77 in the first VH run. Was fun up until the point where it was slow and tedious, so I got a good 30 seconds of happies out of it. I ended up being summoned by people with epic flying before I even got there... )

Along the way our healer decided to bail and we picked up another from my friends list. Imagine his dismay when we tell him that no, the 77 DK with almost 560 defense isn't going to be tanking. Neither is the 78 prot warrior with all the BC epics.

No, please heal our little pally friend here, as we will be on DPS duty this run.

I can tell he isn't happy but he's at least willing to give it a crack on my say so. (In hindsight this was a mistake. In future I will try to keep my pocket healers happy and not ask them to heal people who are going to take at least double the damage that I would... OOPS!)

So, Gundrak begins, First pull the pally manages to get 2 packs. I'm half afk trying to sneak in a smoke out the window so not overly helpful. Everybody dies. Healer not happy. I tell him I'll take over if there are any more problems...

We try that again, pally successfully pulls the first pack of 3 snakes and nobody dies. I notice the pally's health is bouncing up and down like a yoyo, I guess he is getting critted and stuff, but honestly im far too busy trying to out-dps my warrior buddy.

We tend to end up about neck and neck over all by the end of a run, but while I consistently pump out 1.5k these days, he can only pull about 1 or 1.2 at best until bladestorm is off cooldown, but then he spikes up well past 2k. All of my magerly* cooldown and trinket management skills are serving me well, and I can pretty much ensure I have at least one damage increasing trick up my sleeve for each fight.

I use hysteria, my ghoul and two AP trinkets, one per pull, and it seems to work out fine. I just make sure I dont use any for the pull or two before each boss so I can really drop the hammer when the time comes.

Anyway the poor healer has to drink up after that first pull, and my genius warrior buddy (genius as in "Duh! Me smash now!") gets a bit of a Rambo complex going on, you know coz he's so tough and everything? and decides he can actually solo the two pack in the room. In reality what he -really- wants is to bladestorm the entire room because it's full of little yellow snakes and he knows he is going to have a hard time coming out on top of the meter so essentially is cheating....

So he yells out LEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOY charges in, and pops bladestorm, expecting, no doubt, that the mobs would all drop like flies and not leave a scratch on him.

Naturally it doesn't go down like that.

So, now he's making me look bad coz he's acting noob and he's my buddy. My healer is already miffed because the lowest guy in the group is the tank. I fully intend to let him die this time, he can act the fool on his own instance runs if he wants but I'm not here to screw around.

Unfortunately the darn do-gooder healer throws him a heal, then immediately pulls aggro and I have to quickly bust out frost presence and death and decay to save the day.

Except the day isn't exactly saved, in that the warrior dies (well that's ok) the warlock dies (he saw a pack of mobs fighting someone so he aoed them all, fair enough, poor guy) then I die! NOOOOOOOOO! Only the pally and the priest are left.

Somehow, in all the confusion, this wipe is getting pinned on the pally tank. I think I may be the only one who saw what actually happened or something, either way the healer now asks me to please tank from now on, and I figure it's best to do so.

To his credit the pally doesn't complain about being relegated to DPS again, or that the warrior caused the almost wipe, or anything, he just says OK.

NOT to his credit, the warrior sets up a leeroy MACRO and uses it on 3 or 4 more occasions throughout the run. The damn healer keeps saving his life too, while im diligently attempting to let him die, and on skype he's yelling at me


meanwhile I say back to him "oh I don't think these mobs are tauntable or something... here let me hit him. I'm hitting him REALLY hard I dunno what the problem is..."

Suddenly, the mobs go for the healer, and I miraculously figure out how to use taunt again! Letting rambo over here die is one thing, letting my pocket healer die is quite another...

Anyway, it was all in good fun, but I suspect some of the others in that pug might not have seen it that way. In the end we completed 2 relatively hassle free runs of gundrak with me tanking and bid each other farewell... Leaving me with just one question, what to do about Leeroy?

I know he's gonna be back on wednesay night, and I know he now has a Leeroy macro.

Perhaps its about time he did some tanking?

*PS: magerly (c) I stole your word, <3>

Monday, June 1, 2009

Zupa doesn't quest

So there's this thing with me and quests. We aren't friends.

We ceased to be friends when Zupa was in his 50's back in the olden days. The good old days when the only quest helper was a magnifying glass and a copy of the map that showed where the various towns were. The final straw went something like this:

"Alright you sissy skeletal dress wearing pansy, go fetch ol' Stinky Guts a dozen of them thar widgets fings wot them murloc fellas took when I was in a drunken stupor last night... well it was this morning but whatever... It was night time someplace"

... "No, I don't know where they took them, where they live, or how many you are likely to have to slaughter in order to collect a dozen widgets. Your problem lady boy... err.. thing"

..."No, I don't care that my vague directions aren't sufficient, doesn't you fellas in the dresses meant to have all them smarts an that?"

"Look here, you go get widgets, and I give you this fancy green pair o' duds wot makes your spirit get plussed by 5 and your strength by 2! and 35 silver pieces to boot fershizzle!"

"Eh? Whaddya mean thats no good? LOOK at them! They got them fancy brown swirly bits on the bumcheeks and everyfink! "

"No more talk! Zombies don't talk! Didn't your ma teach you nuttin? You fetch Stinky Guts' widgets and don't be coming around here again until you has them!"

Oh yeah? You know what you stupid little green bastard? You can go get your own bloody widgets after you find the retarded murlocs and then you can shove your green pants of OMFG I'M A NOOB right where the sun don't shine!

And that, my dear readers, was that. Me and questing - finished.

Sure, maybe it takes me longer than it should to level, but you can bet your ass if there is an item in an instance that is an upgrade, I'll be havin' that item by hook or by crook, or more frequently by endlessly running the instance in question until such time as I can a) do it in my sleep with one hand and b) have all the gear I could possibly want from it, and c) so does everyone I know and d) umm I'm well sick of it.

So it is understandable then, that I may have run Violet Hold, for example, more times than is strictly speaking healthy. Same goes for Gundrak. And DTK. And old kingdom and and.. yeah. No surprise then to find me in Violet Hold last night with one of my tank buddies...


Friday, May 29, 2009

When is enough DPS enough?

When you can't do any more without pulling aggro!

Tanking an instance the... old fashioned way, is one thing. You know what I mean, DPS wait for 3 sunders etc etc.

Tanking an instance when the 3 DPS are having a DPS race... is quite another experience!

So, last night I did 3 runs of Violet Hold and 2 of Gun'Drak. Total repair cost for the night? Approximately 3 gold! That's right I didn't die once!

On the second VH run, the DPS shaman, the DPS pally and the DPS mage started to get a bit over confident. They had really being going at it hammer and tong on the previous run with no problems, and had started talking themselves up.

"Oh I did more damage", "Yeah but look at my DPS", "Oh but you have better aoe", "But I did top damage on the final boss" etc etc. You get the picture.

The holy priest and I were watching this happen, slightly concerned about how it could end.

The priest knew what was up and had no trouble healing an uncrittable tank who knows how to use his defensive cooldowns, (lv 75 with 521 defense? Somebody say mitigation?)... so we figured we should be ok, even if all the excitable DPSers managed to get themselves killed...

Or if we let them die ;)

The stage was set.

The race was on!

For once it was a race I was content -not- to win. That's right, people are starting to out-DPS me when I'm tanking. About damn time too! Something isn't quite right when the tank is also top DPS... (but that's another story about death knights being OP)

Right from the get go the guys were employing underhanded tactics to pump up their numbers... Like jumping right into the trash at the start and blasting the heck out of everything while we are buffing, afking, and generally getting ready to start the instance.

This was going to be interesting.

Mage vs shaman vs retadin. All of these have the potential for monster DPS. Each of them was a skilled player. They were all 2 levels higher than the tank. We had just completed a flawless run of this instance and everyone was on top of their game.

We all run in, and the guys are spanking all of that inconsequential trash at the start trying to get some numbers up before they all get zapped.

(FYI, violet hold is similar to the black morass. Portals, spawns, blah blah. When the event starts giant pink LAZERS zap all the trash in the room, so there is really no need to kill it all first.)

Then the portal spawns a mob and it is ON for young and old. I'm in there throwing down a death and decay and over my left shoulder shoots a fireball, while over my right shoulder the shaman launches a chain lighting. or something. Something that pissed the mob off bigtime is what it was!

A quick taunt and that mob back under control , then I hardly had time to get my diseases up before the mob died.

These shenannigans continued until the portals start spawning packs of mobs. Now my work was really cut out for me maintaining aggro, thankfully these guys had no issues selecting my target and focusing it, but AoE was the order of the day so I had to start tabbing spamming to build as much threat on all mobs as possible, in amongst a hail of blizzards, lightings, and whatever it is that pallys do. Frequently mobs would get loose, and my taunt and death grip keys really got a work out.

Bosses came and went, but the DPS race was the main attraction here.

After 2 bosses, the pally and shaman were neck and neck, but the mage was falling behind.

For shame! Mages gotta be resprazentin'! gnome sain?

Trash talking between trash pulls was friendly, however, it was clear nobody was going to let up until it was all said and done, and the ground was littered with an array of bloodied corpses.

Now my little intellectually-superior, dress-wearing, fireball-sligning mage had to do something drastic if he was going to stay in the race, so he started taking some... risks.

The kind of risks you don't take unless you have faith that your tank WON'T let you die...
Lucky for him I was treating this run as a challenge, and keeping the excitable DPS kids safe from harm was my duty.

So... a portal spawns a pack of 4 mobs. I am going through my pre-pull ritual, where I blow my horn of winter, blood tap to get a death rune up, pop bone shield, then lay down a death and decay...

I get as far as blood tap when my skinny friend blinks past me! What the HELL is he doing?

Snap! he blasts the pack with a well placed Cone of Cold.

Crackle! arcane explosion while staying JUST out of reach of the hapless mobs.

Pop! a frost nova roots them all neatly in place, right where I am just about to cast my death and decay.

Next thing I know my screen is a mess of blizzards, chain lightings, consecrations, the works. By the time the mobs are free they are all more interested in me than the mage, who has escaped completely unscathed and is happily burning down the pack with the other DPSers.

Violet hold has a tendency to get a little boring at times, as there is so much waiting between pulls and after bosses. Not this time! I was on my toes the whole run with my new found tanking skills being put to the test on each pull, the DPSers were clearly giving it everything the had, only the priest complained about it being boring as there wasn't much work for him to do!

... and in the end?

The shaman just edged out the pally, tipping over 1600 DPS overall with the most damage. Closely followed by the retadin on 1550ish, and the ballsy mage coming in third with a lowly 1480 DPS.

My 1310 looked weak by comparison!

Afterwards we all added each other to friends, and headed over to smash our way through Gun'Drak a couple of times. Thankfully I got a bit of a rest there as the guys weren't being quite so excessively competitive anymore. Once again no troubles, no wipes, no deaths even, no arguments, no stupidity, just solid teamwork, understanding and reliability from all sides.

I remarked to the healer that he hadn't even scared me once in all the runs, which was true, I don't think I dipped under 10k HP at all. Naturally I spoke too soon causing the lag monster to hit and the healer nearly disconnected a few times.

To his credit he managed to keep me up even though he could hardly see what was happening, I spammed a few cooldowns and death strikes as required to make up the additional healing, and all was well.

So why was I happy to taunt mobs off frenzied damage dealers who weren't giving me a chance to build aggro? Why, exactly, didn't I let anyone die?

Well, I had to think about this one for a bit, and ask myself the question, and I think I have the answer.

Not only were these guys skilled players, pro even, but they were clearly having a DPS race, which is something I can relate to. Also, they weren't pulling aggro by doing stupid shit, just by doing insane damage from the word go... even from the words "ready.. set..." without the go!

Even when the mage went overboard, he still managed to present me with a pack of snared mobs right at my feet and then get away to safety. He knew I could pick them up, and he knew I wouldn't let him die.

In the end I think it was all about understanding. We knew each other's limits and were content to push them. It was fun, it was challenging, and contrary to my last post, I will NOT let you die if you aren't being stupid.

Provided I'm in a good mood.

Did I mention I picked up all the tank gear from Violet Hold?

Yeah, I was totally in a good mood :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I WILL let you die!

I will let you die.

You will have deserved it.

The healer will probably be on my side and let you die also.

It will be your own fault.

I think I will have to take a summary of this post & comments and make a start-of-instance macro, including;

1. do not pull. anything. ever. (I -will- let you die)
2. wait 2 seconds to dps (I -will- let you die)
3. kill order (I -will- let you die)
4. stand behind mob (rogues at least tend to get this one)
5. get the hell out of frost presence you twit (watch how many DKs try to argue that they like being in frost... its unbelievable)
6. I only wait for healer mana. Deal with it. Your dps is probably shit anyway, why should i wait for u to mana up? Don't give me that shit, my main is a mage. There should be no reason to wait for dps to regain mana ever. Drink when the healer is drinking or drink on the run.
7. LOS means DONT HIT ANYTHING UNTIL I SAY. That' actually what it stand for ok? shhh.

The difficulty, of course, is maintaining control of a pug, giving instructions, and not having people think you are a complete jerk.

Sometimes a player will see what you are trying to do, understand that it's not all about them, relax, fulfill their role, and invite me back again and again to tank stuff.

Other times, people won't see it that way. Sometimes, I'm too slow (I have a reason, they may not see it, ill be waiting for healer mana, a cooldown, someone who isn't in the room yet...)

Often someone doesn't know what the hold up is and just goes and pulls then runs to me. Mages in particular seem to think its oh-so-pro to pull a pack and frost nova it when its near me then blink away.

So most of the time things go well. Sometimes people get really upset with me.

When this happens it bothers me more than it should. It's a lot easier to be everyone's friend when you are just a ranged DPS doing your job properly.

At least people who know what they are doing don't get upset, quite the opposite. I guess that means something, but I just don't like it people argue, either with me, or around me, or in my pug.

PS: ran gundrak about 4 times last night. Pro group, 15 - 20 minute runs, lots of XP, lots of lootz, lots of fun. Will be doing that instance again :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Do you see what I see?

Without further ado, here are some screenies from my latest install / rebuild.

The guts of this UI is SpartanUI which I haven't used before, but it's a nice change from Xperl or Pitbull if you ask me. I had to do a bit of customization because even though SpartanUI is designed for widescreens, the buttons and text was far too tiny on my 24 inch 1920x1200 screen.....

... so I changed some scaling, made some big spam buttons on the left, and installed all my other favourite addons like omen and recount, quest helper and scrolling combat text...

This is little Zupa the gnome DK with Speedy...

And this is just pretty ! Should be pretty easy to guess where this was taken, it was also the first place in WotlK where I decided to stop and take a picture :)

OMG I found it!

Hi all,

Just wrote about a video that inspired me to become a mage in a comment over at

Well check it out I found the video!

From back in the olden days... go check out why I rolled a mage!

Friday, May 22, 2009

spread the word!

Remember when there were hardly any mage blogs?

Seems not that long ago that you had to search high and low to find more than a couple...

Well times are changing and while we have seem some of our favourite big name bloggers throw in the towel in the past couple of months, mage blogging is alive and well!

Check out this forum post for a comprehensive list, then why not add your 2c and help out all these worthy mage blogs with a bit of free publicity?

Go on do it! clicky here

Somebody say screen shots?

Yah that was me.

Ummm... Might have had some technical alarm clock difficulties this morning.

Possibly needed extended sleep maintenance. This may have interfered with my screen shot delivery forcast.

Fear not! Screenies will be forthcoming, and until then I can share with you all a story from last night.

I will make it brief!

So... a long time ago, in a land, far far away, lived a litool death knight called Nikitar...

oh yeah I said brief. oops my bad.

... So a few days ago I bought a stack of 24 stam gems off someone who was spamming trade. I bought them all and got them for cheep cheep (like a budgie!). We are talking like 17 gems for 14 gold each or thereabouts. (I bargained him down from 15! Zomg leet haggling skillz! I has them... ) He sent them COD. They arrived for correct price.

All was well.

Now I only actually needed a couple. I just figured that over a long enough timeline, I would need them all, and whatever was surplus I could probably sell for a few gold profit. This is where I stopped doing clever things, and started doing silly things.

Everyone knows bag space is a scarce and precious commodity. I wasn't about to go running around with 17 gems in my bag. When i picked them up I was no where near the bank... So in my misguided wisdom how did I solve this dilemma?

I left them in the mailbox! Great thinking 99, you can pick them up from wherever, they dont take any space, and you have 30 days to figure out what you are going to do with them all! Just like when I send items between my alts! Right?

Hang on I thought, what about the seller? He needs his money! So what do I do? I take ONE gem from each mail and pay the COD money and leave the rest sitting there... This is a great idea right?



Once you do that, none of this 30 days timeout. It becomes 5 days... or is it 3? Not bloody enough is what it becomes!

Of course ignorance is bliss, and I was blissfully ignorant of these events happening in my very own mailbox. Far too busy smashing yet another pug group through normal Utgarde Keep...

Until I get this mail out of the blue

"why did you send the gems back?"

errr wot? WOT?

*quickly check inbox searching for gems*


*(I totally didnt say bugger. I said several things none of them quite as nice as the quaint aussie 'bugger')

So I send a nice polite mail back explaining what happened and asking if I could pretty please have my gems back, but expecting the worst. Naturally I got no reply... So I looked him up and sent a tell. No reply. He was fighting some boss somewhere but even when the fight was over, no reply.

I basically gave up on the gems at this point and decided I had learnt an expensive lesson.

The very next day I gave it one last try, this time managed to talk to the guy, explained what had happened, and he sent me my money back!

See people aren't all bad!

Even in WoW!

Who you gonna call?

I <3 Machinima.

The good ones that is, some I find plain boring and dumb, but the good ones bring much joy to my heart, cold and rotten though it may be.

The first one I ever saw i think was Red vs Blue. This made me laugh my ass off an is most probably the most successful machinima ever, with innumerable episodes, all of them hilarious.

Sometimes I find a machinima that makes me go PHWOAAAR how they do that ay? An example of this one can be found here at WoWFailBlog. It's not funny, it's just awesome. I would like to know how this was done.

edit: the original has been taken down but it can be found here on youtube.

The one I discovered most recently is totally funny. At least totally funny if you are old enough to remember watching ghostbusters as a kid. Check out this post at Hardcore Casual for my newest, favouritest machinima!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How many DKs does it take to change a lightbulb?

3 in my case.

One on the same server as my mage...

One on the same server as my buddy from work who is a hardcore raider...

And one on the same server as everyone's favourite Gnomey... just so I can say Hi and stuff.

As you can see this gives rise to some minor issues, as one has to go to work and spend quality time with the Missus and do all those other things that make it impractical to play three separate toons on three separate servers.

A decision had to be made. I hate decisions. I am not a decisive person. This is not going to change anytime soon, I accept this about myself. Sometimes I wish other people would too... but that's another story.

So I tested the waters. I played my female Dranei frost DK for a while on Gnomey's server. Imaginatively named Zupette. In hindsight I think I prefer the name Zupalina, but there is no way im starting again, so Zupette is here to stay.

Now this Gnome(aggeddon), like the truly benevolent statesman that he is, immediately set me up with a bunch of helpful friends, some bags, and a stack of gold. A big stack. He had a hard time convincing me to 'borrow' this much gold, but did in the end...

What a champ! Gnicest-Gnome-Ever!

A few days later I got chatting to my networking geek friend who sits down the hall from me at work. He is a hardcore raider with a bunch of level 80s on a different server. Different to my main and different to Gnomey. Turns out he got benched by his end game raiding guild and wasn't happy about it. Figured he would start playing his alt warlock who was sitting at level 71...

...Convinced me to roll a DK on that server and play with him.

Righto then - so I did. Started again and went unholy, smashed through the DK starting quest line, got this particular DK up to level 71 in record time. This one was a gnome and he enjoyed a successful, if shortlived, PvP career, and was even more imaginatively named this time around... Zupa... I just didn't want there to be any confusion about who was driving... you know?

He is also a member of the totally awesome guild "vertically challenged" Comprised entirely of gnomes and dwarves, and has already has a Kara run under his belt, complete with epic lootz and everything!

So what happened at level 71? Well turns out my raiding friend had only been benched temporarily, and is now raiding ulduar 4 or 5 nights a week. I know nobody else on that server, and if my mate is playing he is either raiding, or farming for raiding, or resting... for raiding.

At some point I found myself asking "why am I here?" This was after I bought my flying skill and discovered that the cool looking ebon flying chicken thing isn't cool looking at all, on account of its BRIGHT RED ASS!

What the hell! (I'm new to alliance ppl)

And THEN... Most recently, another RL friend, who is also my team leader at work, reactivated his account and started playing his original toon, a lv 70 warrior... back on my original server.

At last he convinced me to go back to that server, but I really had developed quite a thing for the DK playstyle, and was honestly sick of wearing a dress. So Zupa, Hand of A'wesome, sits at orgrimmar, keeping the home fires burning, while the newest kid on the block takes up all my wow time.

Introducing Nikitar, dual specced blood dps / unholy tank level 71 death knight of awesomeness.

I bought dual spec instead of flying skill this week as it seemed like I would get more use out of it, and I have to say it's awesome having this much flexibility. Particularly when half the time im tanking instances, and the other half im soloing quests.

I have a lot of fun playing this toon I must admit. Plate-wearing, Self-healing, Giant-Axe-Weilding... How do they fit so much awesome into just one class?

Are my ranged DPS days over?

Are these the first steps on a journey that will eventually lead to me main tanking in 25 mans?

And what of my other DKs? The benchwarmers?

Well Zupette... Zupette is going to have to pay off her debt to Gnomey soon. This shouldn't be too hard on account of her not actually spending any of it, since DKs don't really need any money to start with.

Zupa the gnome may become PvP focused and maybe join some arena team by the time he gets to level 80. I really like him. I enjoy playing a gnome. I like being small. Tiny even.

And Nikitar. Well Nikitar might be a cutesy little blood elf chick, but DAMN she is tough! (and hawt) and so much fun to play! She will definitely become my first lv 80.

Screenshots tonight guys! (no really, i promise)

till then...

WTB Spirit Guide

Something has been troubling me of late...
Something I can't quite put my finger on, but nevertheless it is there, in the back of my head, bothering me.
I expect this is due to an unfortunate sequence of events that has occurred lately, RL styles, that has stripped me of my inspiration to blog, and to a lesser extent to comment on all my favourite blogs, and even to play Wow. (cue world's smallest violin thx)

I don't feel good about it, but I don't really know what to do about it.

Now I feel like im over dramatizing. I mean, I still lead a charmed life. My 'problems' are really nothing to stress about. I still have food and shelter, I still have an education. I still have a great job working for a solid company. I love my apartment, my suburb and my city. I love my family and friends.

As a good mate of mine used to say "it's worse in the trenches" This can roughly be translated to "quit your bitching" or "wake up and smell the roses" or even... "suck it up princess"

True enough.

So what's the damn problem?

Maybe it's coz this is a self proclaimed frost mage blog, and all i've been playing is a death knight?

Maybe its coz my mage is actually a fire mage these days?

Maybe I just feel like I don't have anything worthwhile to put in a blog post anymore. (surely not!)

I just don't know.

Perhaps the reason I haven't felt like blogging is simply because I haven't been blogging?

Maybe all I have to do is click this here button that says "post" and then come back tomorrow and share some other randomness with my blogging buddies.

Can't hurt to try.

Actually you know what, I'm going to come back later tonight and introduce my 3 death knights. Yes I know there isn't much point having 3 of them... but I guess I'll explain that bit later as well.
Well, whadyaknow.
I feel better already!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Too much time?

I had an interesting conversation with my better half last night about the sheer amount of work people put into WoW. I don't mean the Blizz devs either, but the wider community. The bloggers, the guide writers, the theory crafters, the mod writers... The people who do it for love, not money.

I, of course, think all that stuff is wonderful and the game wouldn't be nearly so engaging without it, but her take on things was that all that effort could be put towards something more... useful. Perhaps, but that isn't going to happen unless the "something more useful" is at least as much fun, if not more.

I look forward to showing her this video soon, just to see what she thinks!

Big thanks to Blessing of Kings for digging this vid up, I found it on today's post "Ulduar"

PS: There is another version with subtitles that can be found here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jack the Skeleton

Just a quick post to say I found something awesome, thanks to Typhoon Andrew!

Skeleton Jack's DK blog is choc full of the tech info you love, and here is just the post-patch "oh noes! whatever will I do with my talents nao?" post!

I am very impressed by Jack's blog in general, as you will notice by its addition to my blogroll.

That way people >>

The Green Eyed Monster

Patch day! What a kefuffle! DKs just got nerfed 48 times in one patch! New dungeons have the raiding community falling over themselves now that there is something to do again. Today is certainly an exciting day for a lot of people.

Not so much for me though. A new end-game dungeon doesn't mean much when your highest level toon is still 8 levels from the cap, and a whole raft of DK nerfs doesn't worry me too much either, I never really got used to them enough that all these sweeping changes will upset me. (I would like to take on that badass undead blue-fire-breathing dragon thing you see here though!)

If anything they will encourage some of the 18 million Death Knights to go back to their mains, which is a plus from where I'm standing as there are just too many DKs out there at the moment, and it's kinda nice to have some other classes in the battlegrounds.

I have to say, I am super jealous of the raiders who are going to be getting a first look at some fresh content tonight. Starting to wish I got back into wow a month sooner so I might have a level 80 by now, and maybe even have schmoozed my way into a raid spot.

Oh well, that will come in time. At the moment I'm loving hanging with my ghoul and being a plate-wearing, massive-sword-weilding, melee class of uberness.

In other news, I have decided that the Arcane spec is great inside a dungeon, and not so great otherwise. I just miss my DoTs, snares, pets, Ice Barriers, Pyroblasts, Blastwaves and Combustions too much to be happy about seeing them all go. Mainly an issue for soloing and questing. I also feel that no matter how many changes happen, or how many times I respec, there is a whole lotta -this- going on with my mage, and always has been.

max range. nuke. nuke again while getting belted (maybe). nova. run back or blink. nuke, instant cast till dead. Repeat x 6 gazillion.

This has been going on since the early days, and playing a DK has made me realise that I'm sick of it. Sure there are other ways to kill mobs, sure there is AoE. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, or a mage, but for whatever reason, and in whatever spec, at whatever level, when a mage is sent over yonder to kill ten rats, unless they are in a nice aoeable pack, I bet you a stack of conjured strudel that mage will approach the first rat...

max range. nuke. nuke again while getting belted (maybe). nova. run back or blink. nuke, instant cast till dead. Repeat x ten.


And that, my friends, concludes my QQ post for the month, thanks for being here for me in this emotional and perplexing time.

PS: Oh yeah. Dual-specs. Woohoo. And queuing for battlegrounds from anywhere in the world? To this I say about bloody time. Seriously, Warhammer Online did it ages ago. What took Blizzard so long to rip it off? Now go rip off public quests and dyeable gear. Go on, tell them I sent you.

I'll be waiting

PSS: Got my first spam comments. Really hitting the big time now!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another year, another spec

I'm doing it again, but this time it wont last.

First, a very brief history of Zupa the mage to put things into context.

WoW is launched, I start playing, soon realise Horde dominate Alliance in all the fun stuff, and so I roll an undead mage.

I levelled as fire, went arcane fire for pvp for a bit, then graduated to raiding. Raiding MC basically required mages to spec frost or spend a lot of time getting resisted by great big firey monsters, and so frost I became... And frost I stayed for a very long time. Then came TBC and in order to do the most damage for the raid I specced fire again.

Well now its WotLK, and raiding is still a long way off. I have decided to give a proper Arcane spec a whirl. Now an arcane spec is something I always wanted to try, but felt I didn't have the gear to back it up. No two pieces of t5 or whatever it was to get the arcane blast set bonus meant I stuck with fire.

Well those days are over, and while my gear still doesn't support an arcane spec to the extent I would like, I seem to get by just fine. The inspiration for this latest respec was none other than Tachyon over at He has a nice 3 part series devoted to the arcane spec in WotLK, going into some nice juicy theory crafting which I love, and a bit of an analysis of spell rotations for various situations.

I have to say I'm really enjoying it most of the time.

The most fun tends to be stacking a triple arcane blast debuff and proccing missile barrage, then popping my arcane power and trinket and blasting away with some rapid fire boosted arcane missles. I have been to the Nexus and Utgarte Keep with this spec and have managed to hold my own just fine.

I do, however, miss my shatter combos. You cant use arcane blast to start a shatter combo because it doesn't have any travel time, and thus there is no way to squeeze an ice lance in before it hits. Using a frostbolt or fireball instead is a bit of a nerf to your DPS, so for the most part I haven't been using icelance. I even shifted it off my ready-to-use keybinds over to the deep dark right hand corner, where spells are put out to pasture.

I also miss DoTs. DoTs are fun by their nature, and dots are fun because they entail setting people on fire.

I wonder if I should start chasing the set bonus. Probably not worth the considerable effort for level 70 set items, but it would be nice.

So until the dawn of frostfire, which happens in a few levels, I will at long last be an arcane mage.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Schizophrenic Mage

Thanks Tachyon for bringing this to my attention:

Damn. I have about 300g right now, so I'm going to need 1k for dual spec, 1k for epic flyer, 1k for cold weather flying (what a rort) and probably about 15k for all the training over the next 10 levels.

It will be nice to switch from PvE to PvP specs quickly and easily... Perhaps even nicer than being about to fly in Northrend!

... Spose getting to level 80 is step one... but not before I show some all-in-green level 70s whats up on the battleground :)

I may even spec PoM Pyro for the one-shot-lol factor.