Saturday, December 8, 2007

Outland Greens, gotta love them

As the crunch of school deepens, I find less and less time to update this. For today's entry, I merely present two items: Alcor's Sunrazor, an "old world" BoE epic that requres level 58, and Cross Pommel Dagger, a BoE green from Outland that also requires level 58.

Alcor's Sunrazor
One-Hand Dagger
41-77 Damage Speed 1.30
(45.4 damage per second)
Requires Level 58
Chance on hit: Blasts your target for 75 to 105 Fire damage.
Item Level 63

Cross Pommel Dagger of the Bandit
One-Hand Dagger
54-101 Damage Speed 1.70
(45.6 damage per second)
+8 Agility
+12 Stamina
+16 Attack Power
Requires Level 58
Item Level 84

Oh, and the green? It's about 10g on the auction house, typically. The epic? 500, if you're lucky.

While the vividness of that comparison sinks in, I'll go ahead and study. Don't worry, I'll be back. In the meantime, I hope now you see why you shouldn't blow your entire wad on any pre-BC epic...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Alone in the Dark(moon Faire)

...which I never was. Good thing, too, because the Darkmoon Faire is loads of fun. Drive a little Tonk around and take potshots at others, get your fortune told, even shoot yourself out of a cannon! The only thing missing is copious amounts of cheap alcohol, oh wait, they have that too! Should you be lucky enough to have finished one of the Darkmoon Card decks, now's the time to turn them in and receive your awesome-sauce epic trinket. And to top it all off, two vendors sell much sought-after items in limited supply. My Paladin, in pre-BC days, once wore the Darkmoon Necklace, and for only 5 gold to boot! There are also potions, scrolls, herbs, leather, and rare-quality gems available for purchase on a timer.

The cutthroat nature of WoW gold, however, means that someone's always camping the vendor for the blue gems. It's a shame that some people simply cannot allow the less fortunate WoW players the joy of finding a blue on the Darkmoon vendors. On several visits to the Darkmoon Faire I spotted a level 1 bank toon from one of Thrall's more prestigious guilds staking out a spot right in front of the vendor. It's pathetic that a player actually exists out there who will sit for hours before a vendor just to buy the Noble Topaz (or whatever) when it spawns. (I mean I farm for gems and ore and stuff, but at least I'm not going out of my way to screw less fortunate players out of rares when I do it.)

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't be a prick. Buy the blue gem if you see it--lucky you--but shit, don't camp the vendor for it. Get a virtual life, c'mon!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Twink is slang for a gay man, lol

And again, I have nothing against gays. I myself would probably be considered somewhat "bent"--but that's neither here nor there, hehe. I just wanted a title that would illustrate many people's feelings regarding twinks.

If you're unfamiliar with the practice of twinking, there's a reason why certain blues are exponentially more expensive than others--why, for instance, a Sentry Cloak can run 100 gold when the Cape of the Brotherhood can be had for free with a Deadmines run, or why an Assassin's Blade can fetch 250g, but a Skeletal Club (which does identical damage per second and has an equal level requirement) is barely worth a tenth of that.

The answer, in a nutshell, is twinking--the practice of taking a lower-level character and giving him the best possible equipment for his level. This is well and good for PvE, but in PvP battlegrounds, twinks can really upset the balance of the game. The 10-19 Warsong Gulch bracket has long been choked with twinks, to the point where they outnumber "normal" characters. In other words, to avoid being two-shotted in a level 19 WSG, you need to be twinked. Put mildly, it's somewhat unfun for "normal" players in these battlegrounds.

I know, you say, I'm one to talk. I do, after all, have a 19 warrior twink, a 29 hunter semi-twink, and a 59 rogue twink. I created them, though, out of frustration after my first toon (the paladin) suffered through battlegrounds at every level bracket up to and including 70. (I goddamn earned my PvP rank of Knight, let me assure you. I must have spent a day and a half staring at the "30 seconds until resurrection" dialog on my way to Rank 6.) I wanted that feeling of domination that everyone else had held over me along my way to level 60.

My brother's warrior was level 18 when he decided to give him up (he rolled a rogue after that, I think). I inherited him, and an assortment of truly awful gear; by that time, I already had a 70 and a fair amount of gold, so I geared him up. Upon hitting 19, I figured, why not, let's do a battleground. I did quite well, but in hindsight I wish I had gotten mercilessly pwned.

That early success caused me to pursue twinking. I abandoned his professions--Alchemy and Herbalism (on a Warrior?! Clearly my brother hadn't thought this out, oh wait, my level 70 warrior is an herbalist/alchemist...guess it runs in the family). Instead, I took up Engy to make some twink head armor. All told, at level 19 my brother's warrior had around 1400 health (which incidentally is over 200 more than my enhancement-spec Shaman has ten levels later).

Fully twinked, I entered Warsong Gulch. And what happened? Surprise surprise. Ganked by twink rogues left and right. Turns out Warriors are a sucky choice for twinking at 19.

My aforementioned Shaman is currently level 29, and as an experiment I gave him better-than-average gear (but not even close to twink). In other words, his gear is better than a typical non-twink would have, but nowhere near twink-quality. What's the frequency, Kenneth? Turns out he gets knocked around like a USPS Ground package. The bottom line is, twinks have become the norm in battlegrounds (at least in 19 and 29; I haven't been in a 39 or 49 BG in awhile, but when my Shaman dings I'll keep you posted). You need to be one just to be competitive. And quite frankly it sucks.

Rest assured, I never would have twinked if no one else did first. A poor, jejune excuse, I know, but admit it to yourself: You'd do it too, if your first toon got knocked around as much as mine did. I blame Warlocks, for one. ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

War(craft)-Torn Hearts

And when that question is asked, deny everything.

I know it seems hard and contrary to every human (or at least male) instinct, but if a girl in-game proposes anything that smacks of a relationship, and you think you might want to pursue her seriously, DON'T DO IT! For the love of God, yank your Ethernet cable out of the wall if you have to, roll a new toon of the opposite faction and level it for a few weeks, even commit a misdemeanor and spend a month in jail if you have to. (I hear public urination is all the rage this time of year, incidentally.) Just do NOT try to make a WoW relationship work!

If I seem somewhat passionate about this maxim, and it almost looks like I'm speaking (well, typing) from personal experience...well, I just might be. Believe you me, it is twice as difficult as making a real-life relationship pan out, with just a fraction of the benefits. For one thing, there's no going out for a quiet dinner (no, eating a Tough Hunk of Bread in Teldrassil together does NOT cut it), or watching a movie afterwards (you can try sending each other YouTube links, but trust me, it's not the same--and the popcorn tastes strangely like carpet). You can't look into each other's eyes, exchange sweet nothings, and cuddle (although if you've ever gone to the second floor of the Stormwind Inn, I bet you've seen a few couples trying their hardest to make something happen on the bed). As for, ah, more intimate accoutrements, suffice to say that a keyboard in one hand and a, uh, "mouse" (wink, wink, cough, cough) in the other, is not a good surrogate for a healthy sex life. (Not that I would know what does constitute a healthy one, unfortunately.)

And try as you might to overlook it, there will always be a kind of competition between the two of you: who's the higher level, who has the better gear, who's got a higher rank in the guild. You might laugh at such "virtual" tokens of station being capable of wrenching two lovers apart, but if the game was enough to bring you two together, you better damn well believe it's enough to rend you apart. Not to mention all the difficulties inherent in traditional long-distance relationships: increased risk of infidelity, little or no face-to-face interaction, astronomical phone bills, etc.

If nothing else, think of this poor, heartbroken Paladin who once loved a level 60 Night Elf hunter (whose names, both in-game and real, will be kept secret to protect the skanky). Think of all he did--in real life--to salvage the relationship, and think of how devastated he was to lose her to a level 38 Human Warlock. (Yet another reason to hate those goddamn locks.) If you don't want to end up like me, then for God's sake say no to WoW relationships.

Best of luck to you Casanovas out there...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

All's Fair in Love and War(craft)

On busy server days, it's not an uncommon occurrence to depart the bank or the Auction House and find a female Night Elf, bereft of any armor, dancing endlessly, as a stream of characters (all male, strangely enough) lining up before her. I will refrain from passing judgment on this practice, but you should avail yourself of any delusions that this nearly naked Night Elf is, in all probability, either a gold-strapped male, or a female who is, how shall we say, alarmingly starved of opportunities to relieve her pent-up frustrations in real life.

To put it more pointedly, then: At best, you're giving your gold to a really, really, really unattractive woman; at worst, you're giving it to another guy. (Or, if you happen to be gay, and that is perfectly cool with me [although you probably wouldn't be giving gold to a female Night Elf dancing in that case], then reverse the "at best" and "at worst" qualifiers.)

The fact is, most of us aren't stupid--we know this! We accept as unquestionable gospel--perhaps begrudgingly, but accept nonetheless--that most WoW players are male, and the few female players joining them wouldn't be so (to be blunt) slutty as to strip and /dance for the benefit of a few gold pieces. Exceptions exist, naturally, but this is by and large accepted.

But, as I already pointed out, you're not stupid! So why am I belaboring the naked Night Elf point? Well, while most of us wouldn't be taken in by such a vulgar display of pixellated poontang, there's no denying that WoW is a social game by nature. Group quests, guilds, instances, raids, the Trade channel--all depend upon forming parties and interacting with others.

And when people interact, sometimes they hit it off. They become friends; they grow interested in ages, in locations, in families, in jobs, in other personal details, as friends are wont to do. As they grow more comfortable with each other, they confess sordid details and ask, in [Guild] 10-point, fluorescent green Arial, for help--not just with quests or mount money, but with real-life issues. And should it become evident that they are of opposite sexes, and single, and looking, then a bigger question looms on the horizon, one that begs to be asked and, all too often, is...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Give Yourself A Break!

There's no doubt that WoW is, for the most part, a brilliantly designed game. New players are eased so gradually into the "grinding treadmill" that they're desensitized to the addictive monotony of killing mob after mob for their XP bar to fill in sliver by sliver.

But don't let that make you, uh, forget about real life. It's well and good to spend one, two, or even more hours straight playing WoW, so long as it isn't at the expense of other, real-life needs. And regardless of how free your schedule is, for the sake of your health, it'd be beneficial to take breaks from the game every now and then. For every ten miles your in-game alter ego runs, resolve to run one yourself.

Breaks from WoW make you appreciate the game even more when you come back. Trust me. With 3 70s and a 59 twink, I've obviously spent what most would deem an unhealthy amount of time in Azeroth. And even I tire of farming, grinding, and PvPing every now and then. If I don't step away from the keyboard and spend a few days doing something else, the game would probably start getting to me, and I'd quit.

(A personal anecdote: You know you play too much WoW when someone asks your opinion of a professor, and you respond, "He's lev...levity in a turbulent society" to cover up the fact that you were about to say, "he's Level 70". Yeah...I didn't log in for a solid week after that one.)

See you all in Outland...just not every day, I hope!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Defense of the "Retnoob"

So I've just explained why the Retribution tree needs a serious revamp. But I'm sure I'll hear from someone who'll say something like, "If you don't like it, respec to Prot or Holy. No one needs another lawladin."

First of all, screw off. No one needs another huntard, Arcane Explosion spammer, or pussy lock either. But people play those classes because they like it, and to hell with anyone who tells them to respec or reroll. Right?

Second of all, Blizz never intended for the pally to be a healbot (or for that matter, a tanky), either. With the exception of staves and fist weapons, Paladins can use any melee weapon in the game, and not just for visual effect. Before Burning Crusade was released, only Humans could be Paladins, giving them Mace and Sword Specialization. Before patch 1.6, Crusader Strike was learnable by any spec, not just Ret. Hmm. Maybe Blizz intended for Paladins to be, I don't know, holy warriors? Not priests-in-plate or tanks with mana, but actual crusaders, valkyries, Knights Templar? Never forget that Uther the Lightbringer was a kick-ass Paladin, as is Highlord Bolvar Fordragon. Sure, that might just be a bit of abstract lore, but it shows Blizz's true intent of allowing the Paladin to be more than just a supporting healer or aggro magnet.

It would be nice if Blizz considered a talent tree revamp to help make that dream a reality, huh?