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.

The Prodigal Mage

My posts are not planned.

An idea enters my head, I find a picture, and start typing.

Then I press the post button... and THEN I proof read and make edits. I know this isn't the greatest way to go about things but it's just how it happens....

Very occasionally, however, I start mentally constructing a post in advance, usually when I'm not near a computer, and that idea just has to simmer until such time as I am.

This post, is one of those. I thought of the title and the story as I was driving home from work yesterday. So imagine my surprise this morning when I found Pike's latest post entitled "The
Prodigal Son" posted on the very same day.

Slightly eerie, perhaps it was a sign I should be linking to her blog today, who knows.

Like Pike's story, about a returned friend who is playing again after a leave of absence, this is about returning to the game after being gone for 7 months... So enough with the background story... Get to the point you say?

Right right.

A gaming community is a dynamic affair. People come, people go. Timetables change, leadership changes, goals change etc. It is to be expected then, that upon my return to Frostmourne, things would be different. I didn't expect things to be -quite- so different, however!

To start with, the guild roster. I counted only about 10 or so familiar names, how times change!
A few other friends have switched guilds, but the bulk of the gamers I used to play with in TBC have vanished.

There are, however, two very important gamers who remain - the old raid leaders. These two guys really held the guild together and without their leadership, Vision of Frostmourne would not have achieved the success that it has, and I wouldn't have enjoyed raiding nearly as much in TBC.

It was not without some trepidation I sent that first tell to the big tauren hunter,

"Guess who?"

How would they react to my sudden reappearance? Would there be a spot in the guild for an old mage like me? Did I even want to be back in the guild? Was anybody sore over my relatively sudden disappearance? Would I be welcomed with open arms or scolded and sent away into the cold?

Thankfully, just like in the story of the Prodigal Son, I was welcomed back with open arms, and while there may not have been a celebratory feast, my sins were definitely forgiven.

... and so begins my third adventure into the World of Warcraft! Securely Guilded, clothed in epics and only slightly overwhelmed by it all.

PS: Thanks Pike for being awesome and also for the picture above. It is an original work by Pike, please don't reproduce it without her express permission.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hot like fire!

Didn't play my mage last night....

...Rolled a DK on Aman'Thul....

Said hi to Gnomeaggedon and co...

Scored a fancy sword, horse, set of blues and (almost) 2 levels!

...Had much fun

DK's are teh OP!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over nine thousand!

I, for one, am a huge fan of the new improved Armory.

I like the stat summaries. I like stats of all kinds, but particularly wow stats, and particularly wow stats about Zupa!

So I was happy to stumble across my combat summary stats which contain cool stuff like my largest hit (OVER NINE THOUSAND BABY YEAH) and other cool stuff like total damage done.

I really don't see how this could be accurate, as they probably haven't been recording this stuff since the beginning, but apparently I have clocked up a total smackdown of 3019805.

3 million? Sounds to me a bit more like the total damage I've done over the weekend.... Did I mention I ran through Heroic Ramparts?

... Take one level 80 main tank, one level 80 holy priest, let a little level 70 mage tag along for laughs and you have yourself one quick and easy heroic ramparts achievement!

And I got to bonus some XP while I was doing it too :)

Here I go again!

No, it wasn't fake! Look here's PROOF I'm back!

I spent a couple of hours impatiently waiting for the entire 6.5Gb install to download on my freshly rebuilt windows 7 64bit box, and a large part of that was spent gazing at the progress bar, doing vague mental calculations about megabytes per second (which were thrown right out the window when my download speed suddenly dropped from 1.1Mb/s to 100K/s) and generally being impatient.

A little frustrating, but not nearly so bad as the patching process which followed the 6.5 Gig download! I really thought I was in the clear when that puppy hit 100%, but NO WOW FOR YOU until several rounds of (thankfully successful ) patches complete.

After almost 4 hours... I was finally logged into the game by about 8:30pm.

What a mess I found!

As it turns out I had logged out in Mount Hyjal, wearing my shadow resist set. (took a while to notice that) and of course my talents had been reset (also took me a while to notice something wasn't quite right there)

None of this stopped me from seeking out the closest mob and sending a fireball his way... only to discover I had no buffs, had lost my frost nova icon, had no keybinding for blink, and hardly any health or damage (but MASSIVE shadow resist... yay)

And -that- is how I very nearly got squished by the first random spider thing I came across!

Thankfully my fireblast was working just fine as was level 1 frostbolt so I managed to kite it around a bit and not die. Wouldn't THAT have been a triumphant return! Blood Guard Zupa, Hand of A'dal, Champion of the Naaru, dies at the claws of a level 69 bug-thing 2 minutes after logging in after 7 months long service leave!

I then spent the next hour or so playing with tool bars, trying to figure out what gear was what (damn I have a lot of options! I think I have at least one spare epic for each slot, plus the shadow resist gear...) and of course spending talent points.

I really didn't know what to do in the talent department, so I got my espionage on, looked up Gnomeaggedon's armory page and began to rip off his talent spec... Only to realise, a little too late, that he is 9 levels higher than me and so ripping off his spec may not be the brightest idea I've ever had...

In the end I cobbled something together with lots of fire talents and icey veins.

What a difference that all made! Having critical spells on my action bars (like o you know, conjure water, blink, frost nova, ice block etc... ) Actually having some talent points spent (I was running around on 0/0/0 for a while) and of course sorting out what gear to wear (back to 1100ish spell power now :) )

Take THAT spider-bug-thing! I even remembered that little old spell called Pyroblast, not to mention Combustion. Time for the you-almost-killed-me-last-time-you-bastid combo of death!

(which in actuality is a pyro, level 1 frostbolt (proccing a freeze thanks frostbite!) then a nice fireball + icelance shatter combo, all in all dropping in the order of 7 or 8K damage in a matter of seconds...)

... and THAT is what im talking ABOUT!

Zupa's back baby, yeah :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

a thousand words

Friday, April 3, 2009

Decisions Decisions

It's time again!

The expansion has come and gone,

My old guild are into the end game content,

My toon is loaded with epics at the -old- level cap...

And, just like last time, I'm thinking about playing some more WoW!

It has been about 7 months since I succumbed to the pre-expansion blues and threw in the towel, and I while I miss raiding, and I miss wtfpwning people in AV, I'm not sure that I miss the grind, the committment and the errr... grind.

It's encouraging to hear that you have only replaced a few of your epix Gnomey! I raided long and ground hard for a lot of my fancy dresses and wizard hats, not to mention the ultimate staff of eternal demonic smackdown (or equivalent) that I looted from the great Illya Hardkore Dragonspine (or equivalent). It will be nice to get some use out of them yet... maybe even dominate a few level 70 battlegrounds or something...

If it's anything like my last return to WoW, there will be lots of fun to be had, noobs to slay, monsters to vanquish, and chicks to impress.

Maybe not so much impress.... and maybe not so much chicks.... anyway

New spells to learn (and never use?) like polymorph and mirror image which sounds like it had potential until the implementation of it was bolloxed up to the nth degree...

I am, however, a bit worried about this AOE everything all the time in all situations stategy that I'm hearing about.

Keep in mind in my day a good excuse to use AOE was something to look forward to. It was a chance to show off the uberness of the mage. It was a chance to kill everything on the screen in a blinding flurry of pixels and particle effects. It was cool damnit.

Except for when it got repetitive.... and monotonous.... and boring. Like almost every fight in Mount Hyjal. Fun, but not fun enough to be the only way to play.

So what am I gonna do?

a) start playing Zupa again and rejoin Vision. Level up, start raiding, probably annoy my girlfriend in doing so.

b) start playing Zupa again and server transfer. This is unlikely as most of my friends these days play alliance, so I couldnt really transfer to play with anyone anyway.

c) turn Zupa into a farmer and roll a DK on Frostmourne (my home realm)

d) bench Zupa and roll an ALLIANCE (OMG!) DeathKnight on which ever server sounds like the most fun.

...The poll results seem to be saying I should be playing WotLK, and playing on my mage...

but what about playing with RL buddies and what about these newfangled death knights in all their overpowered glory?

Surely the nerf bat is heading their way soon!

One thing I do know for sure, is that I miss the blogging, and I miss the bloggers. It's nice to check in on all the blogs I used to read daily and see what my old blogger buddies have been up to.

I <3 you guys!