Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rage Quit

I quit my main raiding guild a few weeks ago, during the pre-patch. From an outsider's vantage point, I'd see it as a surprise. I've never rage quit during a raid before, ever. Not even when I was robbed of loot. I've always finished the fights, attempted to redress any issue I had, and if I felt I needed to leave, I left at a low activity time. Leaving is always my choice, for my reasons. I don't do it to make a point. That said, I'd characterized the way I left my recent guild as a rage quit. My first, in over 5 cumulative years of playing this game.

I logged in expecting the last night of attempts at clearing SoO on Mythic. We were set to start at Blackfuse. We did not have 20 people, though, so we instead went to ToT. What the fuck? I really don't give 2 shits about old content, and ToT is old. I don't want to play it again for at least 2 years. I go anyway because it's a team effort, and my understanding of the team dynamics at that point was that actually killing Garrosh on Mythic is less important that building a 20man team that will transition into WoD. It doesn't matter what we are doing, so long as we are doing it together, as a team.

Well, it's that "together as a team" part that wasn't going well. The raid leader was giving orders but his reaction time was way behind. He would say "interrupt that" (and it's already interrupted) or "taunt that" (and I've already taunted). I don't care about tone or word choice (though that could improve). I care about results, and as a tank, I'm one of the those most responsible for providing those results fight after fight. I have learned to appreciate what fair criticism is and isn't, and I wasn't getting it at all.

There was one particular wipe called when the raid leader said over vent "Don't bubble!" I don't know if he was seeing my Sacred Shield or meta gem proc, but I certainly wasn't trying to live after a wipe was called. No, that's what the other tank does, frequently. I don't like being blamed for something I didn't do, so I contested it and it was dropped. However, this is not the first time this accusation has been leveled, and certainly not fair to begin with.

Then we get to Primordious and I get the rehash of the stupid fight I already know because we've done it so many times before. I wait for my add to come out. I see it and sprint to intercept it and as I'm taunting and engaging, I hear "Get the add! Get the add!!" I already got the add. Then when it's my co-tank's turn to get the add, she doesn't get it. I don't know why, but I get blamed anyway. I "must have done something to pull aggro." I demanded a specific explanation of what they thought I had done wrong, but no explanation was given, just "something".

 So I quit, then and there, and I haven't looked back. I had realized that I was paying $15 a month to put up with abuse. Fuck that.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Challenge Mode" Raiding, a tentative gearing plan.

  Disclaimer: I have not played beta. I'm getting my info from Wowhead.*Edit. I've heard something about a 3 piece limit to crafted gear. If this is the case, this changes gearing options significantly, and I'll update this article shortly  rewrite this article later to reflect this.

  For a while now I've had the idea to start a guild with a theme of Skill>Gear. The two ways in which I intend to prove this concept is to have guild members organized into Challenge Mode teams, and to combine those teams into a heroic raid team with an interesting standard, i.e. a gear cap.

  It has long been my firm conviction that clearing any particular raid is designed to be possible using gear from the immediately preceding content, e.g. SoO cleared in gear from ToT, ToT cleared in gear from HoF/ToES, ToES cleared in gear from HoF/MV, HoF cleared in gear from MV/dungeons, and MV cleared in gear from dungeons. Any gear that drops during progression through a particular tier is not necessary towards clearing that tier. It merely "nerfs" the later bosses of that same tier.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Random Ramblings: Disc DPS postponed again, feeling extra bi-polar, semi-obsessed with #GamerGate, rethinking feminism

  I've decided against posting my current draft of Disc DPS: A Case Study, mostly because I think it's crap, but also because I want to incorporate a pre-patch comparison, and that will take at least a week of playing. Also, it's crap. I feel very strongly about the major points this article will have, which are currently Competitive Context, Judging Viability, and The Nature of Hybrids. Along with a pre- and post-6.0 comparison, I'm also considering adding a major point about "Niche vs Gimmick". It's all over the place and it's crap. Sorry. This baby will come in it's own time.

  I'd be remiss to not also blame #GamerGate for hogging up much of the internet time I don't spend raiding on my Pally or messing around on my new Mage. This train don't stop!

  I try not to spend the whole day at the computer, but it's the source for my writing (I write other things as well), most of my reading, my TV, my radio, my news, my games and my communication with people far away (I hate talking on phones). I don't conscientiously limit my time at the computer so much as my body can't stay put for long when I'm up, but when I'm down, I can't create anything. I just watch videos on Youtube and look at funny pictures on Reddit. Like this one:

  If you don't get it, don't worry. It's just silliness expressed through compounded inside jokes.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

10 Questions to Restore Focus

  It's been hectic on Twitter, between #GamerGate and #NotYourShield. I've put my two cents out there and will continue to do so, but I'm not getting sucked in to the point of forgetting what I'm really here on this blog for: My thoughts and experiences in the World of Warcraft. That includes the aforementioned kerfuffle, of course, but is not limited to it. That said, let's answer some questions:

  1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
   Both times I started WoW, it was because I was bored at the end of a deployment. After we packed up our equipment, there's nothing to do but sit around watching DVD's and playing video games.

  2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
   In 2006, I played a Tauren Hunter, got power leveled, geared up with friends and spent 20+ hours a week raiding. I ended up hating it after a while and quit before BC came out. In 2010 I played a Dwarf Hunter named Kalven, tamed an orange tiger named Hobs, and took my time leveling, finding my own way into the game again.

  3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
   Both times I started playing, I chose faction and server based on where my friends were playing.

  4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
  Raiding ICC with <Eutopia> on Ally-Durotan. We were way behind the curve, super casual, and only got 11/12 before Cata came out, but it was fun. We raided on 10man twice a week for only a few hours at a time, which was much better than my previous raiding experiences in Vanilla where we raided on 40man 4-5 nights a week for 4-5 hours at a time. I learned quality over quantity from that. I knew all of my teammates by name. Everyone was quick to accept responsibility for mistakes. We treated each other with respect and patience. My favorite night was the night we got Blood Queen down after about an hour of attempts (first night of attempts), then Sindy down on the third attempt. We were casual, but we were good.

  5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
  The game changes, and the overwhelming majority of the changes are good. If you had told me in Vanilla that I wouldn't have to worry about pets running away, and that I could have 55 pets (!!!) and that my pets were important to my team and did great DPS on their own, and that I wouldn't have to buy ammo, and that I could use 4 bags instead of 3, and I wouldn't have a dead zone... I'd laugh and call you crazy, then I would dream your words would come true.

  6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
  The Dwarf starting zone. Every expansion, I like to roll each class and level it to 15-20 or so, to get a feel for it. It's fun and enlightening. I played the new zones in Cata, of course, and did one character through the Pandaren Isle, which was beautiful, but I can't get tired of Dun Morogh.

  7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
  My total /played according to Altoholic is 367 days, and I've taken a few 1 month breaks over the past 4 years.

  8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
  Usually, especially the first time through a zone. I like a good story. My favorites for the stories are Dun Morogh, the Horde side of Stonetalon Mountains, both sides of Southern Barrens, Deepholm, and both sides of Twilight Highlands.

  9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?
  It often comes to mind that I regret not killing the Lich King while he was current, even with the buff, but after 4 years, that's not what matters to me anymore. Now I'm on the next step up of wondering if I'll kill Heroic Garrosh before WoD comes out, but that's again not the important part. My real regret that stays with me is that every team I join breaks up at the end of the expansion. <Eutopia> didn't reform after Cata came out. Most of my teammates went to another game. <Ephemera> didn't reform after MoP came out. The guild was still there, but no raiding, no rated battlegrounds. I'm concerned <Egalitarian Misanthropes> won't survive WoD.

  10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?
  I've gotten a better sense of timing, from executing a DPS rotation while managing cooldowns and reacting to fight mechanics. This is a surprisingly applicable skill to working in a restaurant, particularly working on the line.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?
10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming? - See more at:
1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?
10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming? - See more at:
1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?
10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming? - See more at:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Random Ramblings: Learning to Play Druid, 8/14H SoO, #Gamergate and Feminism

  I got my 10th character to level 90, a Druid named Kallonika, and by now it's just a relief that it's over. I hate leveling and the only thing holding me back from my goal of a 90 of each class is just setting aside time to do it. Dungeon diving as a tank is my least hated way to level, so getting my Druid to 90 has been easy enough. The only reason I'm leveling instead of boosting is to save $60.

  That's just it, though. Leveling is easy, but a chore, and I hate doing it. I also reject any argument that it "teaches you the class". Multiple specs for each class, particularly hybrids, makes that argument irrelevant. You can level a Combat Rogue, then switch to Assassination and already be familiar with the basics of managing energy and combo points, but if you level an Enhancement Shaman then switch to Restoration, nothing in your leveling experience will be relevant

  Here's what I think is a better case to be made: Want to learn your class? Do some PvP. Staying alive and getting flags capped or bases captured, peeling healers, killing healers or being a healer will force a player to sink or swim. Do some battlegrounds while leveling or wait and jump off the high dive at 90. It doesn't matter what level you are when you learn to play your class, and it doesn't matter how or where you learn, just so long as you learn.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tanking Factors

  I've had two kinda vague concepts in mind as I've both healed and tanked in WoW: 1) Maximizing healing on a tank; 2) Maximizing a tank's effective health.

  The first started as a healing gut feeling, which is a tendency to favor increasing the rate of healing that the tank is receiving. This is not the same as saying "If I heal more, the tank dies less." It's not that simple, of course. My point is that I would (for example, as a Disc Priest in Cata) favor keeping a Renew active on a tank rather than save that GCD for anything other than a PW:S or a fresh PoM. Popular wisdom was then that Disc Priests did not use Renew, but I did and I think it's because it was effective at topping off the tank, bringing the tank up if not topped off, or preventing tank death with it's steady ticks. It was a versatile and reliable ability.

  To support this gut-feeling based concept, I ask what is the ultimate HoT? I think it is the healer them self. A steady supply of Greater Heals is effectively the same in concept as a Renew. Simply put, the difference is the size and pace of the tick, that is all. For this reason, I look towards what maths out the best, never mind what a class/spec is "supposed to use." It's not a question of style to me, but rather a practical assessment of what keeps the tank alive.

  The second concept I became more attuned to as a tank, particularly by treating a Blood Shield as an extra health bar on my DK. Again, simply put, effective health is the amount of damage a tank can receive without dying. Increasing that amount leads to less death, particularly during vulnerable moments.

  Between the two, my goal has always been to reduce the rate of tank death during progression. With this in mind, my intent is to consider each individual factor that leads to tank death, assign it a value, and deduce the factors into manageable "chunks" of factors. The two chunks I am attempting to quantify are are the two concepts I described, which are preventing death due to lack of heals within a set amount of time, or due to spike damage. 

RD = the rate of damage received by the tank, after mitigation
RH = the rate of healing received by the tank from all sources
ERH = effective rate of healing, RD+RH
Th = the tank's current health
Ha = healing from absorbs
ETh = effective tank health, Th+Ha+RD
td = time until death, [ERH]/Th, when ERH is negative (brackets denote absolute value)

  Chunk factor 1 is ERH and chunk factor 2 is ETh. In both cases, the lower the number, the higher risk of tank death. More precisely, tank death is a result of either a negative ETh at any time, or a negative ERH remaining in place for the duration of it's related td.

  ERH is one of the more commonly assessed factors of tank death. Having a negative ERH can be described as either taking damage too fast and/or not getting enough healing. Whether the blame lies on the tank or the healers (or both) depends on assessing the whether the tank used active mitigation (AM) and cooldowns properly vs. whether the healers were putting out the necessary hps. This might seem somewhat subjective, and tending towards being the healer's responsibility, but a tank would be wise to maximize their abilities in this regard.

  ERH can be controlled by modifying two other factors (using some Paladin abilities as examples):
RD is modified by using AM and cooldowns (SotR, DP) and gear (armor, mastery).
RH is modified by using healing abilities (EF, SoI) and gear (haste).
(note, mastery and haste are mutually supporting for Pallys. This is just for example.)

  ETh is a factor less commonly assessed. Having a negative ETh can be described as taking too big of a hit or just plain not having enough health. Other than absorbs, this chunk is largely the responsibility of tanks through the proper use of major cooldowns.

  ETh can also be controlled by modifying other factors:
RD as above.
Ha is modified by certain healing abilities (SS) along with other absorb healing.
Th is modified by using health cooldowns (Fortitude of the Zandalari) and gear (stamina).

Example A.

  Tank has 1,000h, and is receiving -100hps as damage and 100hps from non-absorb healing, 50hps from absorb healing. The tank's effective rate of healing (ERH) is 50hps with an ETh of 950h. Time until death (td) is irrelevant, since ERH is positive. In this example, the tank is not at all likely to die.

Example B.

  Tank has 1,000h, and is receiving -200hps as damage and 100hps from non-absorb healing. The tank's ERH is -100hps with an ETh of 800h, and td is 10s. In this example, the tank is most likely to die due to low healing.

Example C.

  Tank has 1,000h, and is receiving -800hps as damage and 700hps from non-absorb healing, 200hps from absorb healing. The tank's ERH is 100hps with an ETh of 400h. Again, td is irrelevant since ERH is positive. In this example, the tank is most likely to die due to spike damage.

Monday, July 21, 2014

7/14H, Challenge Modes, Pet Battles, Soundtracks

  First, some listening music from the Mirror's Edge soundtrack:

  <Egalitarian Misanthropes> is 7/14 Heroic in SoO as of yesterday. We were debating whether we should attempt Iron Juggernaut or skip ahead to Nazgrim (which we'd already gotten once last week), and we even voted on it, with only 1 person abstaining and everyone voting to skip. Someone suggested poking it just to get an idea of the fight, and a few wipes later, we got it! Sometimes you just have to go for it.

  We were missing a couple people, so we had to bring some friends in, and there was a bit of a debate whether we were carried or not. They were the top two DPS, but the two we were missing are our top two DPS, so... Who even cares? No amount of DPS is going to pass a heal check or keep people from standing in fire, so I don't think it was a carry at all.

  We're getting to a point in progression where everyone is going to have to collectively step up. Early heroics are outgeared, I think, due to the ilevel boost of 4 upgrades along with fairly optimized gear across the team. We're pushing into the next level, between heroic Dark Shaman and Malkorok, and some specific problems need fixed. I'm not going to air out my guild's dirty laundry, though, at least not now.


  I also got roped into doing challenge modes on my Warlock, an alt that I had retired and wasn't planning on playing anymore in MoP. My gear isn't optimized. Not every piece has mastery, I have no ToT weapon to use an extra gem on, my trinkets aren't great. I hadn't even done the dungeons on heroic on that character. I didn't ask to be there, I was asked to come, so any complaints fall on deaf ears. I'm topping the charts anyway. I'm only going along with this to be a team player and to get a preview of the fights. One of my goals before WoD is to get all Gold CM's on my Hunter or Rogue or both.

  My personal WoW time management philosophy is to have 3 plates spinning at any given time, because I don't like playing more than 25 hours a week. I focus on quality, not quantity. If I'm failing at something, I'm not inclined to brute force it with time+RNG. I'll expound more on this in a future thinking post, but for now I'm just making the point that stretching one's self too thin is a surefire path to burning out, especially for a tank. Currently, my primary plate is raiding. That's about 8 hours of raiding and 2 hours of valor capping, ect. a week. I've read up on all the fights already, so there's not much outside-the-instance tasks for my Paladin to complete each week. My second plate, reluctantly, is challenge modes. My third plate is a mess.


  I've made good headway on leveling my Druid (level 78) and I've started a Mage, which I will level to 60 and boost (20 so far). These are my last two classes to level.

  Additionally, I've started doing some pet battles. I'm almost done with Battle Pet Tamers: Eastern Kingdoms. My 1-2 knock out combo so far has been Lil' Bling and Clockwork Gnome, currently level 15 and 16. They both have self-heals and dots (Make it Rain and Build Turret), so that's a significant edge. If Bling has the speed advantage, I keep him out and spam SMCKTHAT.EXE, if not I keep Clockwork out for more uptime on turrets. My third pet has varied, usually chosen to fill a gap that having two Mechanical pets leaves, but in practice I haven't found any of them necessary so far, as I've defeated most of the trainers using only Bling and Clockwork. The ones I did use are Mountain Cottontail (S/S, renamed Speedster) and Bonkers.

  I'm going to have to change my line up to defeat Durin Darkhammer, though, since two of his pets are strong against Mechanical pets, and are level 17. Up to now I've been beating the trainers two levels below them. I'm thinking I'll try a couple Critters for the defense boost.

  Special mention for Panther Cub and Sapphire Cub, which I renamed Critter Killer and Swishy. They're only level 8, but I've had fun with the two.

  My plan with my Mage was to do pet battles between bouts of PvP, but I think my pets too quickly outleveled the zones I can survive in. I could just level extra pets through the lower levels for the XP, but I think the most efficient use of my time is to decide what this third plate is. Leveling alts or leveling pets?


  I like to listen to all different kinds of music while leveling alts or making gold, so some strange associations have been made for me. Listening to Pretty Lights reminds me of leveling my Hunter in Wrath, for example. Currently I'm on a soundtrack kick, and a few that I really like are Bastion, Journey and Mirror's Edge. I haven't played Bastion or Journey yet, but I will when I have the time and money.

  I'm learning some of the songs from Bastion on the guitar. They don't jam well solo, but playing along to the music is fun. The style is called Frontier Rock, as I've learned, and the tuning is D Modal, which I can strum loud and clear for a very full and open sound.

  Journey makes me very nostalgic for Iraq, oddly enough. It's orchestral, with a lot of cello, but according to Wikipedia, the music was made "as universal and culture-less as possible." I guess what the music and visuals are reminding me of is all the time I spent walking through the desert in real life. The last song I Was Born For This adds vocals, and after 53 minutes of instrumental music, the vocals add a sense of finality and accomplished purpose to the whole set. It's very emotional music.

  Mirror's Edge is a very fun game. If you haven't played it, you're missing out. I've never attempted parkour or free-running or whatever myself, but I am an avid runner. Being able to do that in a game in a creative and engaging way is very satisfying. I'm also a former member of the military-industrial complex, so playing a futuristic, stick-it-to-the-man storyline (with limited violence as a bonus!) was part of my break from that a few years ago.


  Ah, the cliched post about how I should post more. But seriously, I'm going to pick a theme and stick with it, and I think 2 posts a week ought to be a good start. My tagline has been "My thoughts and experiences in the World of Warcraft." for over 2 years now, but I've been stop-starting regular posting using various tricks, to no avail. I've also attempted guides and that Alt Appreciation theme, but never finished. I think what I need to do is return to the core reason why I started this blog. I want to express my thoughts so that my head doesn't explode, but in a way that doesn't overwhelm Vent or guild chat.

  Going forward, I've got two weekly posts I'm going to do. Mondays are now my "Here's what I've been doing" posts and Fridays will be "Here's what I've been thinking" posts. I'll supplement with some cooking posts here and there as I experiment with new recipes. It's good to have the occasional off-topic post, I think.

P.S. I was Navispammed!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Black and Blue

After taking a side trip on guild fun runs of old content (these people like achieves), I ran all the errands and got my 5th cape.

My latest transmog wasn't going to match it though, but I like it so I'll show the outgoing set.

Now the legendary cape goes better with the old Scouting outfit I was running with through Cata. I think the headdress hints at a Wildhammer heritage.

My other 4 alts at 90 are all at the Sigils stage of the questline, so I think I'm going to forgo doing legendaries on all alts and focus on preparing for Warlords. I've got a Druid to finish leveling, likely zooming to 80 soon this week. I've got a Mage to either boost and level more profs on or level then boost. I guess it's a decision between what takes more time, leveling to 60 or leveling 2 profs to 600?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Green, Green, and Green!

I got my transmog ready beforehand, though it surely could use tweaking:
Horns of the Left Hand Path 
Lightning Infused Mantle 
Coldtouch Phantom Wraps 
Shadow Council Gloves
Netherweave Belt
Rod of Corrosion
Book of Clever Tricks 
Blade of the Wretched (sword option)

Then I got green fire, which is nice. Now I have the cape, Xing-Ho, Breath of Yu'lon! Here's some shots:

I like it. I also tried the Glyph of Verdant Spheres, but it got too cluttered looking, and having only one above my head at times looks too dorky. Anyway, cape #5 this week too on my Rogue.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Green Fire Achieved

  I just did Infiltrating the Black Temple today. A couple resources I used were a Youtube video by Adam Becker and Icy Vein's Kanrethad Guide by Ackthal. Many thanks to the two!

  I got it just fine, and it was an enjoyable experience. I feel compelled to say this is a post-nerf kill, seeing as how my ilevel was 537. I killed him in the second Imp phase and felt a brief moment of "That's it?" which was fully replaced with evil glee very soon afterward!

  I popped some cooldowns at the start (Doomguard, Berserking, trinket proc+Chaos Bolts) and Feared the Pit Lord (glyphed) for even more DPS at start. Just as Fear wore off, I Enslaved (also glyphed) the Pit Lord and continued attacking. My macros were:

#showtooltip Enslave Demon
/target Pit Lord
/use Enslave Demon

This gets the Pit Lord in action right away.

#showtooltip Incinerate
/use Incinerate
/use Fel Flame Breath
/use Demonic Siphon

This keeps the Pit Lord's abilities on cooldown.

/target Kanrethad
/cast Charge

This interrupts Cataclysm and I put it right next to my Chaos Bolt.

  When the Imps came out, I just kept Rain of Fire on them and used another macro:

/target Fel Imp
/use Fel Flame Breath

  Before the Felhunters came out, I sent the Pit Lord behind the gate using /petmoveto and avoiding my Incinerate macro until all three Felhunters were out and aggroed onto me. I used Havoc>Chaos bolt to kill two and DPS'ed down the third normally, no problems. In one of my failed attempts, I lost the Pit Lord to Felhunters because I didn't aggro them.

  When the Doom Lord came out, I just had the Pit Lord attack it, used my gate to drop aggro, and continued DPS on Kan.

  Overall, I just stayed out of fire and kept DPS going, using Singe Magic on cooldown and the occasional Ember Tap to stay up. I had some problems with Demonic Circle not working sometimes causing me to wipe, so I just started using my gate to avoid Kan's Chaos Bolt.

  Looking through Damage Taken: Excruciating Agony for 539k and Seed of Terrible Destruction for 254k, so more Singe! One Chaos Bolt hit me for 460k, and I didn't even notice it. Rain of Fire damaged me for 101k, so I'm not perfect on getting out of fire.

  All in all, not bad. I liked the story a lot, too. It was very informative about the nature of Warlocks.

Monday, June 2, 2014

How I View Gearing Up, As It Is

  I'm particularly bothered by a certain mindset in WoW. It has to do with the way gearing up is perceived, and it seems to me it's most commonly perceived as such:

ToT LFR>ToT Normal>Timeless>SoO LFR>SoO Flex>SoO Normal>SoO Heroic

  At this point in the expansion, new players and new alts alike get Timeless gear and from that starting point, all of ToT is ignored, even though ToT drops upgrades for the Timeless geared player. Instead, the focus is on getting into SoO LFR to get to SoO Flex to get to SoO Normal. This makes sense, of course. Why go through the hassle of a ToT Normal, with all the logistics involved, with varying gear/skill/experience levels likely present? Why do all that for ilevel 522 gear, old Tier sets and old trinkets, all of which are likely to be replaced by SoO 528 gear and current Tier sets and trinkets? Just as soon as you get to 496, you can start hitting the loot pinatas of SoO LFR and get newer, higher ilevel gear.

  Except that higher ilevel isn't necessarily better. Newer Tier sets and trinkets aren't necessarily better. Also, choosing between SoO and everything else is a false dilemma. There are many options for gearing up.

  The way I approach gearing up is by embracing the complexity and exploring options. First, I think this ordering of content itself is wrong, and very counterproductive. As such I arrange content by ilevel and add a few other sources of gear (world bosses excluded, as they are random):

JP Vendors, Timeless 489-496>ToT LFR 502>Heroic Scenario 516>Valor Vendors/Crafted 522>ToT Normal 522>SoO LFR 528>Timeless 535>ToT Heroic 535>SoO Flex 540>SoO Normal 553>SoO Heroic 566

  And now for Adventures in Paint!

  That would have been so much easier in AutoCAD, but I do not have that.

  Anyway, what that graph shows is the relative distance between ilevels. There's 3 groupings that I will call A, B and C.

  Group A gets a player out of leveling gear. It serves as a base from which to get gear from Group B. There are also a few pieces that are particularly strong for their ilevel, and should be considered even when gearing up for SoO-N

  Group B is a mix of ToT, SoO, Valor, and crafted gear (I forgot to note the crafted, sorry, moving on). This is where the bulk of effort should go if SoO-N is the goal.

  Group C is largely only available to people who are already raiding, unless they get lucky with world bosses, have enough gold for crafting, or have people who can carry them.

  For illustration, I'll give the gearing up plan of action I'd recommend to a new Prot Pally, freshly dinged 90, in leveling/questing gear, and wanting to get into raiding SoO Normal ASAP

Gearing from Group A

  Before anything else, get good trinkets, a weapon and a shield. There is one item I highly recommend getting, not for it's ilevel, but for it's performance. Lao Chin's Liquid Courage is very well itemized, compared even to ToT trinkets. It only costs JP to get, but don't waste VP upgrading it. To go with it there's: Relic of Niuzao, Alacrity of Xuen, Ghost Iron Dragonling, Iron Protector Talisman (463), Iron Protector Talisman (450). It's not the ilevel of any of these trinkets that keep you alive, just their performance. For a weapon, Maki's Mashing Mace, a quest reward from The Arena of Annihilation is good enough to run ToT LFR with, but you'll eventually want something better for SoO. For a shield, get Daylight Protectorate.

  Get the quest Heroic Deeds and hope something nice drops from the Cache. Do the quest Path of the Last Emperor for Sabatons of the Humble. Then get as many Timeless items as possible, using Burdens of Eternity on off-set pieces, i.e. bracers, belt, boots, rings, neck. Prot Pally needs Tier gear in Tier slots, since having 4 pieces of 528 Tier gear is better than 4 pieces of 559 Warforged pieces (source). As such, 535 gear in those slots is inadvisable, as they could likely get replaced by 528 gear. Then go to the Justice Point vendors and fill in the gaps. Don't bother getting Vaporshield Medallion/Medallion of Mystifying Vapors, since even the 450 version of Iron Protector Talisman is better. If you have extra JP, buy it for the ilevel boost but use something better.

 After getting Timeless gear, run ToT LFR. It makes capping Valor easy and gets rep with Shado-Pan Assault, which you'll want at friendly. You'll also likely get a better weapon and shield. If you get Fabled Feather of Ji-Kun or Ji-Kun's Rising Wind, they're third behind Lao Chin's and Relic in performance so far. If you get other 502 trinkets, just keep them in your bags for the ilevel boost. Mogu Runes are only 1,000 Timeless coins each, so getting a few and rolling on bosses that drop weapons (Jin'rok, Iron Qon) and shields (Primordius, Lei Shen) may be worth it.

  Cap Valor every week, but don't spend it yet. Save it for better gear.

 Gearing from Group B

  Once at 496 ilevel, the goal is to get 4 piece Tier and good trinkets. Run SoO LFR and as much Flex as possible. Get Vial of Living Corruption, which is BIS at any ilevel. If you are hesitant about surviving SoO LFR at only a 496ish ilevel, run as Ret or Holy and put your loot spec as Prot or Ret, depending on what the boss drops. With a good weapon, shield, trinkets and some skill, though, you should be fine.

  Heroic Scenarios can get the last bit of Valor you need per week, if you don't care to run ToT LFR anymore or do Timeless Isle quests. The gear you get is random, but if you like doing them, you can replace 496/502 gear with it.

  ToT Normal or Heroic is an option, if you have the opportunity to get in a guild achievement run or a group on Open Raid or something. The advantage is that you'll likely be running with people who don't need the gear. The disadvantage is that, while it's not as random as Heroic Scenario gear, it's not much better either. It is an option, though. If nothing is dropping in SoO LFR, run ToT as well for more upgrade opportunities, even if you don't need the Valor.

  Run Flex SoO as soon as you can get a group that will take you at whatever ilevel. You'll definitely want to down Garrosh for an heirloom, which will likely be a major upgrade. Also, you'll get more chances at gear every week, and practice with the mechanics of the fight on normal without as much difficulty. Spend a Warforged Seal on Malkorok as Prot until you get the Vial trinket, but also start saving up to 10 so that you can spend more on normal mode later.

  Once you get close to capping Valor, spend enough every week to avoid capping, but save 2,000 for upgrading 553+ gear. The first slots to upgrade should be shield, trinkets, and Tier gear. Also, the Shado-Pan Assault vendor will allow you to replace any remaining 496/502 gear with 522, but only spend Valor there to avoid capping. An item of note, if you have been very unlucky with trinket drops, is Brutal Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Steak Taco Night

Salsa Verde ingredients:
chopped onion
chopped cilantro
2 cups water
minced serrano pepper
minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover.

Beans and Corn ingredients:
chopped onion
chopped bell peppers
black beans, cooked until soft and rinsed
frozen corn, thawed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 minced serrano peppers
1 lime, quartered

After tomatillos have simmered 10-15 minutes (until soft), puree the tomatillos with water in batches.

Saute the onions until they start to turn clear, then add peppers and spices and saute until peppers start to soften.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20-30 minutes. I like to squeeze the lime wedges over the pan and put the wedges in, cause I really like lime.

Toast corn tortillas in a dry pan.

Slice another lime, and combined with the meat I prepared yesterday (no pictures, sorry) and the rest of the cilantro, I have steak tacos with salsa verde.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Priorities vs Values

  Shortly before I was promoted to Sergeant while in the Army, I was told many things to prepare me, but one thing that was especially reiterated over and over was the Sergeant's Motto: "Mission First, Soldiers Always". It was also strongly stated that the two never contradicted each other. Never would any NCO ever have to decide between accomplishing a mission or valuing their soldiers.

  This took time for me to understand. I don't take well to arguments from authority, so I just had to see for myself. Over the four years I was a Sergeant, I never had to choose, and neither did I ever see, or even hear about any other NCO having to choose. That's just me and my observation, though. How, then, can I really know it's true?

  The difference in the wording. The mission comes first, i.e. it is prioritized. Soldiers are always cared for, i.e. they are valued. There is an important distinction between a priority and a value, and I've found it best to explain through illustration.

  Consider all the things you might do before walking out the front door to go to work in the morning: Eating breakfast, showering, shaving, brushing teeth, checking e-mail, etc. These are priorities. If you are running a bit late, you start to skip some items, because being on time for work is prioritized over checking e-mail or eating breakfast. However, there is one thing we all do before walking out the front door every morning: We put clothes on. We value modesty. Values don't get set aside when priorities are reassessed.

  There are many applications for this distinction, in all walks of life. Valuing employees is a natural reapplication. Valuing principles is another. Many companies have mission statements and core values of their own. Many I've seen are amalgamations of trendy buzz-words and catch-phrases. Not all are, however.

  Blizzard's core values are:
  • Gameplay First
  • Commitment to Quality
  • Play Nice, Play Fair
  • Embrace Your Inner Geek
  • Every Voice Matters
  • Think Globally
  • Lead Responsibly
  • Learn and Grow
  I observe that it's not a numbered list. They are, I strongly suspect, mutually supporting. One is not above any other. Gameplay First " make our games as fun as possible for as many people as we can reach" is supported by Every Voice Matters "Great ideas can come from anywhere."

  I say all this to show that Blizzard already cares about diversity. Perhaps it isn't obvious to those who walk the fun house mirror maze of "Social Justice", but to those who seek out real diversity, i.e difference of opinion or experience, Blizzard has that in great supply. There's certainly ways in which they can improve (Learn and Grow), but my point is that the company is on the right track. Each misstep along the way can be blown way out of proportion by professional umbrage takers, but if the majority of voices are rational, honest expressions, rather than fits of self-righteous indignation, the dialogue can be constructive and everyone gains. The community and the company both can grow bigger and better, and the game can improve. We are already going in the right direction.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Why I don't listen to just anyone.

  Following up to my last post, I think that some people are just not worth listening to. Quite simply, some people are trolls. I'll give two examples:

1. MikePreachWoW

  I've already had my say concerning his video Accessibility and Apathy, but since some people reference his guides, particularly new players, I really tried to take him seriously again. I watched The Legendary Dilemma,  The first 5 minutes are a rambling rehash of the past legendaries. Seriously, it takes him 5 minutes to get to his point, where he simply asserts that legendaries just should be weapons, and that he doesn't think the legendary questline in MoP was epic enough. Too much grind, not enough specialness.

  But maybe that's just a jaded opinion of someone who doesn't want to keep up with changes to the zeitgeist. Instead, let's look at video on a subject I'm more familiar with: What's the Best Tank in MoP?

 It's assumed, in reference to active mitigation, that a good tank really makes a difference. Then the question is posed: Does a bad tank make enough of a difference? He makes the caveat that he's not currently tanking endgame content while also saying how he does his homework, does his research, etc. Keep that in mind as I quote him a few times here:

  "Threat is just no longer a component of tanking."

  Well, that's just not true. First off, he seems to be unaware that "Paladin's snap aggro is garbage." However, it has been removed as an issue a great deal, so I'll still see the point. Threat has been removed as far as it has been from the game because threat sucks. It's just not worth the downsides, and the "fixes" to vengeance in MoP have made it worse in some ways, particularly in dealing with taunt swaps. But Preach doesn't know this, apparently. This is a hotly debated issue between tanks, but it gets dismissed.

  "Bad players aren't that much worse than a good player"

  This is said in reference to someone gemming for stamina and/or avoidance. This is likely presuming that player then at least continues to execute their rotation decently. I would argue that Preach's definition of a "bad player" is exactly the pseudo-elitist bullshit that infects commentary on these subjects, spreading to other jaded souls who also don't bother to crunch the numbers for themselves or test their "hypothesis." A bad player stand in bad, misses GCDs, does not use cooldowns properly, etc. A good player "gemmed wrong" will far outperform a truly bad player. This is as it should be. All this aside, just how can a bad player not be that much worse than a good player, if a good tank really makes a difference? Preach isn't being consistent here.

  Preach then references the math done by Theck, saying he likes to "read the math, then translate into what I think is the answer for you guys." Nearly in the same breath he says "I'll do the research, I'll do the homework, I'll go and read what's going on out there...." Excuse me, but no. Theck does the research and homework, and already translates what he finds, which you can read for yourself in the sections of his articles usually titled "Summary" or "Conclusions."

  This is where he loses me, about 9 minutes in to a 48 minute video. Preach is bringing nothing new to the table, merely reposting information he does not understand or even have the context for and drawing false conclusions that seems to coincide with the average trade chat of "dumbing down the game." He is a troll. People like him are best ignored.

  2. Anita Sarkeesian, a.k.a. FeministFrequency

  Sarkeesian argues that tropes in video games are harmful to women, e.g. Damsel in Distress. By all means, I suggest anyone see the first one, at least. Then I recommend one of at least three things.

  1) If you laugh, laugh with me and let's move on.

  2) If you are in agreement with her points, we'll have to agree to disagree, at best.

  3) If you are unsure what to think, try watching a few response videos, like:
    Feminism vs Facts (RE Damsel in Distress) by Thunderfoot
    Female Game Developer's Response to Tropes vs Women by Doll Divine Dress Up Games
    Female Objectification in Video Games? Anita Sarkeesian vs Gamers by Cheshire Cat Studios
    Sexism and Stereotypes in Video Games? by KiteTales
    Anita and the White Knights by Internet Aristocrat
    Anita Sarkeesian Part 1: The College Graduate and Part 2: Burqa Beach Party by

  Decide for yourself.

  Bottom line, Anita Sarkeesian is not a gamer, is not a feminist, and is not even arguing her points intelligently despite her academic experience. I assume she's trolling. It's also possible she's a con artist. Either way, people like her are best ignored.

  And that's all I have to say about that.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Why I'm ok with listening to people I disagree with sometimes.

I like Big Bear Butt. He loves games, has a cool cub that games with him, has a military background, and rants occasionally. We have things in common.

I recently started on Twitter, however many years late into the "thing." I'm usually late for these "things." So far I've found many, many people on Twitter say things that I don't like. Sometimes I think they're wrong. Sometimes I'm just plain offended. Here's and example where I think someone is wrong:

I read this because it was linked on BBB's twitter, with the reply: "hell, I felt like you were speaking for me too on the whole not really a geek bullshit, brilliantly written"

First off, I can't stand these stupid arguments! Ok, you, Christina Gleason, you are not a fake geek girl. All the people, guys and girls both, who call you such, they're being assholes and ignorant. On this we agree.

Here's where we don't: "No one has the right to call me or anyone else a fake geek girl." Yes! Yes they do. And yes, this is a censorship argument. Gleason is giving yet another variation of "Shut the fuck up!" However, her guilt tripping doesn't work on everyone, because some of us aren't simply being assholes. Some of us have thought it through and decided that fake geek girls do indeed exist. Mostly in marketing.

And they are free to be fake, just as I'm free to call them fake, and Gleason is free to call me an asshole and lump me in with the assholes calling her fake.

Quite frankly, I'm offended when people feel entitled to not be exposed to being called stupid names. I was in nearly complete agreement with this article, right up until "No one has the right..."

Grow the fuck up, Gleason.

That's just the thing, though. I can see this "thing" that someone else likes, and even empathizes with, I see it, disagree with it, and that's just fine. BBB is not ignorant, demonstrably so, neither his he an asshole. Well, not to much of an asshole, and usually is so productively. So I keep following his tweets and reading his blog.

I say this because certain people now boast about how many people they've blocked on whatever "thing", twitter or tumblr or whatever. Even worse, they condemn any other people who do enjoy the work of the "others" that they themselves object to. It's not just polarizing. It's childish.

I've recently been told I'm a rape apologist for reading Penny Arcade. Really? I just like to read the strip, and occasionally the news. I was completely unaware that this blew up into this.

I was driven out of <Taint> by the same sort of "Social Justice Warriors", as I've learned they're called, by themselves with pride and by others with dripping sarcasm. All I said and only when directly asked, was that I'm not interested in Feminism. No, I'm just not a Feminist. No, I don't hate women, I just don't like Feminism. Then the shitstorm was unleashed. I left because the powers that be in that place do not tolerate even the slightest disagreement where it concerns that particular philosophy.

However, I've never been called an asshole for calling people "fake geek girls" or "fake gamer girls" or whatever. It's not because I don't think they exist. It's because I don't really care enough in the first place to vocalize these opinions (usually, irony detected). People just haven't had the opportunity before now to call me an asshole in this regard. It's a issue where I'd usually rather be safe than sorry, actually. If I don't call someone fake and they are, well, no one cares, least of all me. If I do call someone fake and they aren't, then I'm the asshole.

Even so, I'm not going to block anyone, because I'm grown up enough to let people say things I disagree with, maybe even offended by, and I'll still listen. Who knows? Maybe I'm wrong, and I'm the asshole.

All I'm really offended by, when I take a moment to think, is stupidity and dishonesty. Here's what's stupid about the post in question: "What does that even mean, fake geek girl? This term gets thrown around by pimply adolescents and man-boys alike. (Because if you feel the need to put down a woman for not fitting your mental Ramona Flowers fantasy, you are not a grown man.)" That's the opening salvo of the article. Two ad hominems sandwiching a straw man. Personal attacks are stupid and straw men are dishonest characterizations. I stuck through it, though, looking for the redeeming value, and found some. Just because the first lines are fallacies doesn't mean the argument is wrong. That would be a Fallacy Fallacy. The redeeming value I did find was that, yeah, some people are assholes and need to understand that There's no gate and you're not the gatekeeper. (Did you catch the straw man? Eh? Get it?)

All this, just to say, I don't put my hands over my ears and scream "Shut the fuck up!" I just hope more people than it seems like do the same.

I still like Big Bear Butt. He loves games, has a cool cub that games with him, has a military background, and rants occasionally. We have things in common.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Glyphmas

  Ever since the original Glyphmas, it seems a lot of people have been trying to predict a re-occurrence, but I usually don't bother making predictions. I prefer making preparations and reacting to what actually happens.

  And what seems to be actually happening is a bit of a Glyphmas with all the boosted 90's. I say this based on two factors from my own experience over the last week: 1. Glyph sales have doubled, at least (last night's post cycle was about 4x typical sales); 2. Glyphs sell in large chunks, by class.

  I recently transferred one of my inscriptionists to the Ally side of my new main real, Proudmoore, which is huge compared to Durotan, so glyph prices are lower than I'm accustomed to, but prices are steadier. As such, I've decided to just take a slice of the pie and not rock the boat. Over the first few weeks, I've made about 50k in sales, and I've been selling for at least 175% cost of mats, usually 200-300%, with some 800%+ outliers, I don't have the numbers right now, but I would estimate well over half of that 50k is profit. The past two weeks has got me up to 73k total in sales, and just after a post, I often see up to a dozen glyphs of one class sell immediately.

  My reaction to this will be to maintain stacks of a large spread of glyphs (about 300 stacks), post/repost throughout the day more frequently, and mailbox dump every day, restocking with a focus on glyphs that are recommended by sites like Icy Veins, and list high on WoW Popular, especially minor glyphs.

  Anyone else seeing a boost in sales? Anyone responding differently?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Paladin Week: Kallahan

  I return to Alt Appreciation, in an attempt to finish something I started that isn't a book or a steak.

  Kallahan was an early Cata alt which I leveled in time to get geared enough for 4.3. For me, that's fast. I am not a steady leveler. Two things drove me to level this alt: One, leveling a tank through dungeons meant playing at my pace, which is fast. I had already done all these dungeons multiple times on my Hunter, Priest, and Shammy, up to lvl 50 on my Rogue, and my DK for lvl 60 and up, so I knew how to make the runs quick and efficient. I often had groups requeue with me for multiple runs, even BRD. Second, this alt was economically separated from my others, and I was leveling Inscription for the second time. I wanted to get to lvl 65 fast, so I could start doing Northrend Research, then into Cata content so I could mill the growing pile of Whiptail in my mailboxes (botters hit the server hard, and stacks were going for 12-15g.)

  My tank transmog set is pretty basic, Overlord's Battlegear, Quel'Delar, and Lofty Shield. I like armor and weapons that are at least somewhat realistic.

  My gear is fairly impeccable as far as normal-mode gear goes. I could use an upgrade to my Flex Tier helm, and my boot's aren't BIS, but most importantly, I have the legendary cloak, warforged belt and legs, and 553 in all other slots, everything fully upgraded. As for trinkets, I have Vial, Rook's, and Thok's. This is probably the most well geared any of my characters has ever been since my Hunter got 4pTier 10 in ICC.

  Raiding on my Pally has been a rocky road, much of which I have written about here. I started on the backwater side of a backwater server (Horde-Durotan) where the guilds bicker ferociously, then transferred to Proudmoore, hoping to have some casual, social fun in that one gay guild. It didn't work out. I tried another one recently, and it didn't work out either. I think I'm discovering that "LGTB-friendly" means "PC Policed", and I don't like that. More power to those that do, but no thanks. I much prefer the company of a few fellow raiders that just don't give a fuck about the whole thing, let's raid!

  About those fellow raiders, rocky roads have returned, and how Thursday night's raid turns out will determine a lot. Last Sunday did not end well. We're extending Garrosh and trying to get a second kill. After the holiday break and a bit of attendance flux, we regressed. I don't need the gear, and neither does anyone else. Sure, some minor upgrades could be had, but no one really needs gear for anything now, since we already got Garrosh. If we want to do more heroics (just one boss once doesn't count) then the gear question just gets put off one step. Why get some heroic gear? To down later heroic bosses. Are we really going to do those heroics or are we fooling ourselves?