Friday, April 29, 2011

Troll overload

4.1 is out! So many trolls, so many wipes. Oh the humanity! Elvinity? W/e, new content is out, new epics to be had, new fights to die over and over again to. Did some guild runs (those were fun) and some dungeonfinder runs (not so fun). Can't wait for the playerbase to get used to the fights, typing out the strat for Jin'do over and over and over again is exhausting, there is SO much in that fight to have to explain and watch for, especially compared to the final boss of ZA.

New ZA is pretty cool. I'm glad I did it back at 70 as many of the fights are more or less unchanged. Pheonix boss is especially fun, considering how much I hated that fight trying to heal it back at 70. FAR easier with half the people (and therefore half the flame orbs). Speaking of easier, I'm not sure why ZA in general is so much easier than ZG, the disparity in diffuculty is just odd.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cho'Gall is down!

Congrats to <Insomnia>! Only my second raid night with them,  but after 17 wipes (including a 3% wipe that got us all very excited), attempt #18 saw the fat man fall! Hah! THATS for laughing at me in feralas! And for killing my Kor'kron buddies that I was supposed to escort to the foot of your fortress! To be fair they spent a lot of time on him the other week when I was still on the bench, so for most of them it was a lot more than 17. Also we were practising with no slow on the slimes for the first 6 or 8 wipes till our hunter logged on

Pretty sweet, as it's only my second night raiding with them, or indeed raiding anything at all in cataclysm (baradin hold doesn't count as raiding). It's quite a differant raiding style to what I'm used to in <Haste>, far more casual and laid back, which is good and bad. Good for obvious reasons, bad becuase there are a lot of afk's and switching out raiders. Not nearly as bad as raiding with IRL friends over on Stonemaul server in early wrath, these guys are quite a bit better prepared than that, but it's gonna take some getting used to going back to this style after having been in a serious raiding guild for a year.

I'm not nearly as excited about it as I should be though. Again, it's only my second raid night and on the first night we 1-shotted both bosses I was present for so I'm prety sure thats a huge part of it for me. For the rest of Insomnia, they've been working towards this for weeks. ME? I just kinda swaggered up to the plate and knocked it out of the park my first time up to bat. Not enough build-up for me. I'd say it was anticlimatic, but you have to have some rising tension to have a climax. Or maybe it's just that Cho'Gall never really excited me storywise. Maybe it's both. Either way, it's so nice to be raiding again!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Drained and apathetic

So tired right now, just absolutely mentally drained. Spent all afternoon trying to get my death knight geared, and it's put me in such a sour mood. Been a long time since I've died so much. I hate dying. Despise it even. It's not the gold, not at all, it's the wasted time corpserunning. It's rebuffing, of everyone getting back into position. It breaks up the flow, like some old mix tape where you're buddy decides to be funny and mixes nails on a chalkboard RIGHT when you're in the middle of a kickin' tune. What, just me? Well you get the idea then.

4/6 of the hroics being lost city of tol'vir didn't help any at all, even if 3 of them hadn't been a bust. Stupid place has very few decent items for any of my characters, but especially mele dps. I would have been even more down in the dumps, but a throne of tides run got me 3 new pieces, even if only 1 was truly an upgrade, I thought the entire day was gonna be a lesson in pain. My number had to come up at some point though, right?

Convergent content and the illusion of choice

I've got more than my fair share of alts, and I like to think I'm fairly proficient with leveling characters. So I had an odd thought on the subject playing messing around on my 64 holy priest last night

It's about cataclysm (of course) and how blizz did so much right and then so much wrong. Terathis was created and leveled entirely in cataclysm content so that I could have an alliance character on my main horde server, and I had a blast leveling him, until I hit wrath content. Cataclysm was REALLY a struggle to get through.

You see, leveling up to 70 is so much fun. You have so many options for how you want to level. You can quest of course, but even then you have 2 entirely separate continents to choose form, and you can bounce back and forth between them if you want. Even for starting areas, you can always go to a different races zone if you don't mind a run or have a friend with a 2 seater mount. Slightly slower than questing, you can level almost entirely through dungeons if you want. Or through battlegrounds. Or from gathering and archeology if you really want to. In Wrath content, even with the buff to experience you really hit a stumbling block in speed, especially when it comes to instances. Add in the poor item drops for wrath normal dungeons and you're pretty much forced to switch to questing.

AT least in Wrath, you have options. Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra.  Maybe both? Hop around, skip some quest hubs, do whatever ones you like. You have freedom in the questing and the zones, so much that you don't have to follow the same path twice if you don't care to. Then you hit 80, and you lose all semblance of choice.

Oh sure, there's 2 starting zones, but both of them are ridiculously linear. They're a BLAST the first time through, holy crap are they ever fun! But they lose the fun factor by the third time through, and become a chore after that. You do the same quests, in the same order, and you can't skip a single one because it's all phased. The story element is strong, and you experience the progressing story, but it's more like you're along for the ride instead of choosing how the story progresses. And dungeons offer little relief, they take a while to queue for but more importantly they offer little experience after you do the quests the first time through.

Choice, that's the key. Rather, the illusion of choice. You need to feel like you're deciding your character's path, like you are in control of your own destiny. You have that in the lower levels, the choice. The options. It's fresh and fun and any monotony is easily broken up with a dungeon or a battleground, both of which offer fairly significant experience gains.

Unlike my issue with the rest of the current endgame, the problem here is not time. It doesn't take very long to get from 80 to 85, possibly even less time than 70 to 80 takes in fact. An afternoon can easily net you a level or 2, and that's most of the job right there. Again, the problem is lack of variation. Aside from the choice between Vashj'ir and hyjal, you do the exact same zones in the exact same order, doing the exact same quests.

I have high hopes for Blizz. They're not stupid people, far from it, and they keep changing things trying to get it better. We'll see what the future brings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Okay, I'll stop that, for your sake.

There's been a lot of talk about tanking and tanks and LFD queues sucking major ass lately. It basically boils down to LFD sucking major ass lately. And it's all Blizzards fault. Well, not true, it's those damn trolls on the forums too, and blizzard listening to forum trolls. And Steve Allen. Him too somehow.

At this point: spoiler alert, I'm in the minority, and I fully realize that. Apparently. At least among people that post on blogs and wow news columns (already, a minority of the playerbase). So,  I'm in a further minority, a minute minority if you will.

You see, I like games. They're not real. Indeed, thats my FAVORITE part of games, it's almost like they were based on someone's fantasy or some science guy wanted to do somee fictional stuff. OK. that was bad, sue me. Anyways, my point is that depending on who you ask, real life rocks, sucks, or is meh. Count me in for some of the "meh" if you would so kindly, please. Games are where I go to escape, to enjoy, to do what isn't even theoretically possible in real life, or at least what isn't realistically theoretical in real life. The Escape! Escapism! Wooh! And now you have all these muthafuggen snakes on this muthafuggen plane. Er, Tanks in a game. Muthafuggen tanks in a game. I have been quite vocal of late (I am kalamadea in that first link) on various public forums, especially on Blessing of Kings who keeps talking about it. Basically, blizzard has designed their new expansion so poorly that it requires bribing tanks to do what nobody thought twice about last expansion. Y'know, their job. Just so people that can get into a system that used to work just fine.

The problem: forum trolls that complained about easy heroics in wrath. Well guess what, they were PERFECT in wrath. They were the exact cure for what ails ya: an acute lack of badges. -itits.  It's a disease, look it up. Yes, as Azuriel so correctly put it, heroics were and are a group daily quests. Couldn't agree more. Hard heroics are fun at first, with friends. Figuring out how to do it, wiping and learning, getting accustomed to mechanics. Pure fun. Then, like a good raid group, you get it down, and again, and again, and soon you don't need any of the loot and you know exactly how to do it and it becomes farm content. Except now, you have to do that farm content over and over and over again EVERY DAY with new recruits, and you're wiping to farm content. That doesn't drop loot you need. Just for the badges (now points) at the end.

I don't know how many of you went through high turnover rates raiding, but there is nothing more frustrating than wiping over and over again to fights you used to breeze through becuase you have new recruits. OK, there is... it's wiping to heroic trash in LFD. I want my challenges where -I- want my challenges, not in things I have to slog through just to get it out of the way so I can go actually play. I don't want to struggle through dailys, I don't want to struggle through daily heroics for my damn valor points. I want to get in, get it done, get out, and actually play the stuff I want to play in, intead of the stuff I kinda have to play in just to keep up. I want my challenges where I want my challenges, where -I- decide to be challenged. Hrm, not a raid night. Can I solo that old raid? what about that old heroic? Hey, Think we can 3 man tempest keep? Wanna do some BGs? Thats what the game is to me, not wasting my time doing mindless drivel 5 times over becuase one retard can't jump in and out of a beam on Corla. Scratch that, I like mindless drivel (see The Insane title), I like the long grind. What I don't like is completely wasting my time becuase some other random ass that I never met before and will never meet again never hotkeyed his interupt. Helping them used to be great when they were on your server, you had a vested interest in it. Now it has become pointless, there is always ALWAYS a new one, and they usually don't want to listen to you when you tell them that spellpower mail isn't good for a hunter or maybe you shouldn't stack agi as a DK.

Blizzard is now trying to bribe tanks to tank, and not even becuase tanking is hard, it isn't. It's annoying. That is WORSE than hard. Hard you can overcome, annoying just makes you want to stop. I enjoyed tanking in wrath. I was fairly decent at it, judging by party remarks. Not amazing, but decent. You ran in, did your rotation, and WATCHED. That was the key, somebody would pull a new group, bam! Shift and pick them up. taunt as needed. Pat is coming, shift, get the group away from it. DPS goes crazy on a mob you're not concentrating on BAM, taunt, get it under control. Cata is all about setup, downtime before a pull. Mark targets, remember who has what CC and what that CC is able to actually be used on. Mark a kill order (that all the dps succinctly ignore). It's a hassle, it takes forever, and it's annoying.

And that's my next point, Cataclysm content takes forever. Want you're valor points? hope you didn't get any of the dungeons that take an hour+ (oh wait, thats almost all of them), with those aforementioned people that can't be bothered to CC or interupt or follow a kill order. Basic Mobs have more health and hit harder, so dailys take longer to do, and still require you to kill just as many mobs as old expansions did. Or else fight through as many to get to the named elite thats actually kinda fun to fight. Queues take longer becuase nobody wants to tank, and nobody wants to heal. Dungeons take longer once you get in, and by the end, you're kinda drained and forgot you logged in to relax from a long day. It's a vicious cycle, and culminates in many people not wanting to play, let alone join LFD.

Blizzard, I implore you: bring back wrath heroics.



Oh wait, that would be bad....not banned. Uh, where to start? Wall of text INC! Suckers!

I suppose the name.

Every paladin blog it seams is named after some in-game ability or another. But this blog is only going to be mostly a paladin  blog, since that is my main and I have far too many of them to be considered entirely sane anymore. Also, most of my alts are Blood Elves, becuase I clearly have issues with my sexuality, or so the 50 bajillion 12 year olds that make up the majority of Mr. Worldwide-Webb would have me believe (doncha hate it when they hyphenate after tying the knot?)  So paladins have this thing for using the words Sacred, Holy, Divine, Justice, etc, and the Blood Elf racial is Arcane Torrent (best bloody racial there is! [see wut i did thar?]). So you guessed it! My choice of names was randomly decided by opening up the dictionary and pointing at words. Providence, no?

Why start blogging?

Lots of reasons, getting my voice (as it is) heard, writing out my ideas somewhere, messing around. Mostly, I blame Blessing of Kings. He tends to post these hypothetical meanderings so of all the sites I go to I comment on that one the most. Also I like to put my character name instead of my google account or some other such. I usually post as Kalamadea on any message board (+10 interwebs for getting the referance! aww, I'm a nerd /sadface), but I like to post as my wow moniker for wow related stuff, and that means my main: Elladrion.

So thats the Blog's name. Now the player. Thats Me.

In Vanilla, I hated wow. HATED. WOW. All my friends played it and would never shut up about it. All the customers at work played it and would never shut up about it (I worked at a hobby shop at the time, sweet gig if you can persist off of eating dirt). I hated it (the game, not the job). I hated hearing about it (the game, not the job). I hated knowing the lingo (I'll stop now, for your sake) becuase that meant that I had been around people droning on and on and on about it long enough to understand the lingo! GAH! And every time we'd go to hang out "Man, you gotta play!" "Man, you'd love it SO MUCH!"

So I started playing in March of 2007. W8wut? Yeah... Burning Crusade had just hit, my birthday had just happened, Me and some friends (my blog, my grammar) moved in to an apartment together and they just so happened to have an extra computer. Did you know that they say the first hit is free when you try drugs? Damn it all if they don't have a good buisiness model. Free computer, free first month, free game (birthday, remember?), and of course Blizzard was in on the scam too, they introduced elves to The Horde. Who could be paladins. FML.

I like elves, always have. Love em. I like that they're beautiful and lithe and agile (I tend towards none of that RL). I love that they're so ancient and wise and long-living. They look human, indeed physically the best traits of humans, but they're not so damn mundane as humans. I can look in the mirror and see a human. I can look in the mirror and see a big clumsy stocky dude with too much facial hair that needs to stop eating so darn much (24 Hour Fitness can only goes so far...) In short, I'd be a dwarf if I weren't so tall. Thats real life. Thats reality. Thats...well thats just boring, really. And thats always the issue for me: real life is kinda meh. Fantasy and sci-fi? Now THERE is the action, THERE is what captures the imagination and runs wild with it!

So right, elves. I was talking about elves. The Dungeons and Dragons elven ranger was always my favorite archetype growing up (I didn't know tolkien, or I would have said Legolas was my favorite archetype. Now I know better). Later in my teens I also had a pension for the Paladin: aka The Paragon. Superman. The Boy Scout. The Good Guy. In the '90s, every hero was an antihero. They're dark and moody and don't follow the rules, they're fun. They're a rebellious teen's ideal. But then I started to look at these extremes, these pure characters...and they had merit. Plus, anybody that played D&D in 3.5 knows how much rangers sucked, and how much humans rocked. So, I played some paladins. The paragons. The Boy Scouts. Also, there were some angels (Astral Devas) via an expansion book that let you do that (I have a thing for angels too, especially the Herald of Destruction, Archangel on the warpath type. Goddamnit I'm a nerd, what the heck happened to me?!) And all this was coming to a head in March of 2007 which I swear should be important to me for some reason...oh right, that wow thing.

The One, The Only

I will mention, as of this writing, Elladrion is still the one and only Elladrion in all of wow. He is unique and individual, just like a snowflake. He's a prety butterfly with delicate wings of gossamer. Or something. Anyways, so I like elves, I like paladins, all my friends played Horde (FOR THE HORDE!), and now I have a free month on a free computer with a free game. Did I mention something about FML? Yeah...

So Lord of the Rings movies are out by now, and the shop I work at has been selling the miniatures game and I'm pretty heavy into both and reading WAY too many wikis about the world in my downtime at work. Elladan and Elrohir are the twin sons of Elrond and they are getting pretty cool looking miniatures around this time, but both names are taken on my server. THANK GOD! That would have sucked, in hindsight! Instead, I had to come up with a semi original name kinda sorta based around LotR characters. Fan-fucking-tastic! Elladrion, the elven paladin is born unto this earth! Divine prophecy fulfilled! The 2nd coming is nigh upon us! Dogs and cats, best of buddies, all is right with the world!

Except I'm terrible. Now, I don't know that I'm terrible. Yet. And I blame my friends for this, the same friends that got dealt me, gave me wow. Nobody horde-side knows how to play paladins. They know they hate them, that they suck to try and kill and are ioncredibly annoying and can freaking BUBBLEHEARTH the moment you get he upper hand!. Well,m thanks to these friends (or warriros, almost all) I'm enamored with the idea of paladin tanking that has been propegated with this new expansion, so I level as protection. But NOT as an aoe grinder.Oh No, I got to 70 one, single, glorious mob at a time. And I didn't judge since that took away my seal (why would you ever DO that?!). So my roomies would come out, and watch me fight a mob for a minute, minute and a half, and comment on , autoattack all the way man! Sweet zombie Jesus on a pogostick it was slow, but that was the whole game for me and I didn't know any better. And I never died. I could kill elites, I could handle adds, I could do my own group quests and handle 2 orange mobsa at a time (3 required cooldowns. My warrior roomie was disgusted). It was great! I was hooked in the only was an obsessive cumpulsive can be hooked to anything: completely and by the balls.

So I finally get to 70, still patch 2.0, and I start tanking normals with my friends/guildies who a) have no idea how paladins work and b) don't want to discourage me. See where this is going? Yeah, I was bad. Horrid even. I stacked stam for health and int for mana, so it could last through a fight. Yes, you read that right. Reading it again won't change it. I stacked Int as a prot pally. I didn't even know what defense rating was, other than something warriors spoke of occasionally. But my firends, they were pretty damn good healers, and since they had to be to keep me up in dungeons by golly they did, and nary a word but praise was said. The jerks. But I never had an aversion to PUGing, and did so a fair bit, and good lord does the ugly, dirty truth come out (and then some) when you're with strangers on the internet!

At first I thought it was just them, these people with their stupid epics! Jeez! Of COURSE I'm not as easy to keep up as your epically geared buddy tank! It's you, not me! YOU suck. I rock! My FRIENDS don't have any trouble keeping me up (so the jackals lead me to believe), you're just a bad healer! And you too! And you. And you. You. You. You, man, there's a lot of people telling me I'm bad at this sorta thing, what the heck? Of course, it all culminates in one glorious, painful night raiding kara with thes "friends". Well, not a night, more like 20 minutes before I leave raid and huddle myself into a weeping, mopy fetal ball on the floor, sucking my thumb and asking when mommy will be home.

"Google , " (asked I) "what are other protection paladins doing that I'm not? Oh. Oh. Ah. Really? I'm that far off base? Are you sure? So how SHOULD I be gearing then? Oh FML."

Yup, a simple 15 minute google search and I was devastated, everything I (thought I), EVERY SINGLE THING I knew about protection paladins was wrong, -I- was wrong. Seemed all the paladins were still healing, I guess I could do that. And boy, did I. I spent the rest of the expansion as holy until very late in 2.4 when they made ret viable, and by then I just PvPed. I Healed everything up to some T5 content as holy, I still to this day love karazhan as the bestest raid EVAH!

Alts: The Slow Decline into madness

Did I mention I was a prot pally in BC? I think I did. Then a Holy paladin for the remainder of BC? Cool, I'm on fire. Have you ever tried to kill stuff as prot or holy in BC? Yeah... not so much with the killing, more with the outlasting until the mob becomes so bored it dies. And a differant circle of friends is playing off server, so I make a hunter and they peter out prety quick while I'm left BGing at 29, fighting all the twinks and waiting for friends to coem on. Wait, -I- have a 70, -I- can make a 29 hunter twink.

So I did. And it was hella fun. Fighting other twinks in BGs, running up and down the road in duskwood, encountering level 30+ players on their way to stranglethorn (no mounts till level 40 back then). I quickly stopped challenging anyone that wasn't at least level 33, no sport in it. I once killed a level 38 priest on my 29 twink (clutch Arcane Torrent FTW) and another time killed a level 34, a 35, a 33 then the 34 and 35 againbe fore they finally rez-zerged me down! What FUN! But all my friends that made twinks started to tire of it and level, and I didn't ever want that to be on the table. I start a 2nd hunter just to level "Now there's no reason to level the twink!" thinks I, and I'm right.Huzzah! About this time the infamous BigRedKitty has been oging at it, and i'd been enjoying it (you newer people are sorely missing out, he unfortunately had to quit a few years back). Then he posted the video of him single-handedly (with his pet) taking 2 of the 4 adds in moroes out of the fight. O. M. G. This! So much THIS!

I raced to 70 on my non-twink hunter (Ithrandil. That link to the right. Yeah, that's the one), I read all the guides I could, all the blogs, all the how-tos. I would NOT be a huntard, not-no-way-no-how! And I wasn't, I could chain trap with the best of them, I could control my pet like you wouldn't believe, I could spam my macro and keep my littly kitty alive through anything! I rocked! Best yet, I could KILL THINGS! SO MUCH MQSRDPS! It was glorious! He basically replaced Elladrion as my main for a good part of BC, I got into more pugs and topped more than a few dps charts, and certainly got farther progression-wise in raids even as Elladrion got moved into a proper raiding guild. But now there was no reason to twink, since I could do it on a 70, get more gear, and use more abilities. Suddenly my friend's remark about twinking being like watching the special olympics makes sense. So I laugh. Anyways. then 2.4 happened, and RL meant I couldn't make raid times, which left only PUGing (HAH! I was ret by now. PUGing as a loladin...riiiight....) and PvP.

And ret was FUN! Not good mind you, just fun. Then something amazing happened, cross-realm premades. It was all ventrillo based, you joined the vent server, and everybody would queue for the same AV at the same exact time, and you usually got 30+ people all in that specific AV. And the strategy, which I still follow (becuase it WORKS DAMNIT!) would be posted by the leader through macros, and was entirely dependant upon which group you were placed in for who would go where, so the few non- premades could also follow it. It. Was. AMAZING! I spent most of the last summer leading up to wrath doing that, long after I didn't need any gear. Thats the gear set I chose for my Figureprint, and the one I still have and you see me wearing up top. It's badass. Even though season 2 was considered the badge of the noobs back then with all the creme de la creme in their fugly Brutal Gladiator sets. Screw you people and your "mad skillz"!

Wrath was fun. Great, really, I'll talk more about it in later posts, but I really, REALLY enjoyed wrath. Bounced around a few servers and guilds (on alts that is, never transfered), Healed until 4.1, then went ret and rarely looked back. I didn't like where healing went in later wrath although I came to really enjoy tanking (now with less noobness!) It was also the only time I've been in a truly hardcore raiding guild, ending up 9/12 HMs in icecrown, which is a big deal for me since I never even saw Hyjal in BC, let alone Black Temple or Sunwell! I did level quite a few more alts by the time Wrath was finished though, all my toons except Terathis were 80 and at least badge geared and antering ICC pugs.

Unfortunately the guild disintegrated in Cataclysm, most people quitting or changing servers, which brings me to <Insomnia>, as of last week. We'll see how it goes, still a Trial agian so I haven't gotten to raid with them yet.

Obviously I shorted you on Wrath and Cataclysm stories. Gotta have SOMETHING to talk about later!

TL:DR version:

I'm a paladin, blah blah blah!