Thursday, December 31, 2009

Assholes Abound

Now, I've played this game for a long time. I recall when the AQ event happened, and feeling at a loss for how I can recover my beloved Feralas. I remember what it was like to see a member of the Top Guild, inspect their shinies, and vow I'll be like them some day. I spent a lot of time in cities, rolling my eyes at the meaningless babble. Remember when the global LFG channel was implemented? Scary times, man. But in all those years, I have no memory of the amount of assholeness that I see today.

It's possible it's just me, but have the big, progressive guilds sudden taken a turn for the pricks? The guild in topic has been on server since Day 1, and I've had friends in and out of the guild. They suffered a rough split in early BC, but the group of people as a whole have just been honest, proud raiders. There would always be a jokester member, some who hang out in trade, but they rarely uttered a demeaning word such as "scrub". They had huge egos, to be sure, but they weren't used as a weapon. Yesterday a "discussion" was going on about whether a 500g fee for crafting some ICC patterns was honest. The seller informed on of his accusers that he did not need the opinion of a "scrub hunter." Really? I mean, wouldn't "idiot" equally suffice? "Uneducated imbecile"? "Fool"? Why do you have belittle both his class and his guild membership? When I /who'd the seller, found out he was in the Top Guild, I bemoaned how the mighty have fallen.

I've done my fair share of name calling, don't get me wrong. I've flustered over how the "casual" members of Guild Y managed to down a boss before us. But I've never referred to anyone as a "bad" outside of my guild. I'll specifically trash talk people who are on the same level as me in terms of game play and experience, not people who don't know how to pull pyrite when riding shotgun in a demolisher.

So why have the assholes multiplied? I'm going to make an unresearched correlation and blame the new raid system. Normal vs Heroic. Easy vs Hard. All the loot looks the same, they all have the basic level stats. You couldn't tell the difference at first glance between raider of Guild A and raider of Guild M. Are raiders a bit frustrated by this? I think so. There is considerable more pressure now to prove you are not a bad player, that your iLevel gear was earned with hard work and diligence and not just through a random PUG found in Trade; that you have been playing this class as your main for years, not just as an alt, casually earning your tier through badge runs. And so the inevitable happens when a group of males must prove their manliness when nothing else distinguishes them: They talk shit, and their guild's reputation suffers.

Like I said, it might just be me. I'm in a new position, where I no longer have an assured raid spot. I have to PUG my way through the weekly raid quest. I have to compete for a GDKP raid poisition with alts from the Top Guilds, with friends of the leaders, and with people that buy gold. The world is a bit scarier place for me now, and keeping my eyes open is vital if I want to inch my way through progress.

Of course, this comes from a bad day back. My first two attempts at completing the Random Daily Heroic failed due to Brann bugging out (yes, another HoS...) and people immediately leaving if they find the random heroic happens to be Oculus. The second attempt at Oculus was successful, thankfully. I tried to get into a group for Ulduar 10 to down Razorscale, but I was totally ignored, even after the leader specifically said "need a warrior, mage, or pally dps." Really? This is Ulduar 10, to Razorscale - what can a mage do that I cannot? And are you really concerned that I will be taking gear from another hunter? I just linked Glory of the Ulduar Raider to prove to you I know what I'm doing - I don't think I'll be needing gear. Then came the slew of embarressing WSG defeats, followed by a duo of equally as embarressing WG failures. The Horde has so much promise; why do they have to be so single minded?

The only highlight of my day came when I saved a boomkin from a human pally in between Wintergrasp battles. It was by total chance - I had just sniped a draenei hunter with about 5% mana, and I was flying down to drink up when they appeared in front of me. The boomkin thanked me, and we parted ways. I was doing some fishing before the battle when I got a tell saying that I was an ass for interrupting their little duel and that hunters are always butting in where they don't belong. I asked him how long he'd known of the concept of world PvP and if he considers rape just casual sex, too. Moral of the story, kids: World PvP means that anyone can enter your little "duel".

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The End?

I hope you all had a productive holiday week. I certainly did. Plans were made for the wedding, a copious amount of fatty foods were consumed, annoying family members were endured and/or avoided, and the Boy and I learned a lot about what it means to leave your newly established home for a week.

And in all that time, I haven't had the hungering pains for WoW. I had a small stab of guilt for not updating the Butterfly, but that accompanied the frustration of not having much to post about. A small part of me says "quit now, while you still recognize how easy it is to walk away!" but another part of me says "do you really have something better to do?" I do still want to down Arthas, and make at least 50,000 kills, but they are goals that are very casual and not exactly time sensitive. I feel that my lack of drive is a good thing; this addiction has burnt itself out.

Despite the Boy's warnings that I should get a backup game for the inevitable rebound, I feel like my gaming drive is just dying out in general, like a childhood habit. This has good and bad components. On the good, it means I can devote all the necessary energy to school, research, and home. On the bad, it severs one of the ties that brought the Boy and I together in the first place and ensured our relationship would last through our time apart. Yet I think he will be able to relate - after all, he announced a couple weeks ago that he was growing tired of beer, and I rushed to check if he was feverish. Something tells me, however, that just a good solid break from a gaming console will be a good fast to set me up for another go for another game, should I feel the call again.

This isn't the end, not yet. You'll know when I'm gone for good ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays from The Angry Butterfly!

Today is the Winter's Solstice, the shortest day of the year, which means the days will only get longer from here until July 21st. This is the reason for the holiday season, so celebrate by eating a lot of fattening foods, staying warm by the fire, and catching up with friends and family.

This is also the time for giving to those less fortunate and in need of assistance. I encourage you to donate time, money, or other goods to a charity of any sort (I highly recommend any on this list - and that does include Child's Play). Donations can extend to WoW as well, where you can extend a hand to those poor noobs out there by teaching them and providing them with basic goods instead of one-shotting them (I know, it's difficult not to).

I will be venturing back to the Midwest this week, to sate the hungering family and plan a wedding (ugh). I won't be on much, but I'm sure I'll still try to snag a present under Grandfather Winter's tree sometime!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowed In

Evidently D.C. and Virginia have declared the current weather emergency-worthy. I'm not gonna lie, it's a lot of snow, but after living in Chicago for four years, I have definitely seen worse. Regardless, the Boy and I are trapped in our apartment for the weekend, and that's not a terrible thing.

WoW has taken a lower priority as the weeks wind down towards the holidays. We are flying back home to Kansas on the 21st (the solstice!) for a week, and I want to return to a clean house. I've been busy cleaning and organizing, which doesn't leave much time for anything besides the daily heroic and battleground, maybe a Wintergrasp or two. My funds are woefully low for this week's GDKP run, so I most likely won't be able to afford anything, and I haven't had time to grind honor to buy gems as a source of income.

I did join a 2s team with a Holy Pally, and we hit 1600 this week - not bad considering we are just goofing off. With the plethora of melee teams we've been encountering, I've finally conceded to going SV for my PvP spec. I've never PvP'd as SV, and while I find it more intuitive and easier to control people with, I find it more difficult to survive in battlegrounds, ironically enough. The double-Deterrence MM offered with Readiness made flag carrying a breeze, while I just don't have the same means of short-term survival with SV.

And with that, I leave you with a WoW Carol:

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
but my Toshiba Qosmio is delightful,
and since the cables out on the tubes,
time to pwn noobs, pwn noobs, pwn noobs.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Blizzard

Every time I get Heroic Halls of Lightning or Heroic Halls of Stone through the random dungeon finder, I will kill a kitten, as all wrathful goddesses are prone to do. It is on you to prevent these needless slaughter.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

I spent waaaaay too much on gear today

I can't say I haven't had much to spend my gold on lately. Since all I've been doing is PvPing, I don't get gear upgrades nor have to repair much, and arrows last forever when autoshots don't have time to fly between members of the Alliance. I tentatively have been saving up for epic flying on a couple of alts, but all in all, just hording for a rainy day. Ironically, it rained the majority of the day in Northern Virginia.

Around 10 AM server time, someone in trade started a bid war on a Battered Hilt. Now, unless you have Heroic Hellion Glaive, a MM hunter looks at that very hungrily. Right now, I have 102 stat points wasted on haste, and I would like to get rid of that. So I started bidding, and luckily enough, the seller is in a rush, and I won for 8500g. The poor sap easily lost 1.5k or more, but business is business. Tomorrow I'll have a Quel'Delar to match the Boy's old Quel'Serrar. Even though I loose around 50ish AP, that 99 crit is worth it.

Tonight I hopped in another GDKP run, and while there were some bumps through ToC25 (more on that later), we followed with the pug's first foray into ICC25. We one shotted Morrowgar, then spent the rest of the time on Deathwhisper, and my it was a hunter's night. Morrowgar dropped the hit helm, and Deathwhisper dropped the ArPen pants. I was a bit poorer that afternoon than I was earlier, but I topped the bid with 5.5k, and won. We earned more with two bosses in ICC25 than on all five bosses in ToC25.

The questline for Quel'Delar is fun, and I won't spoil it for you. You do get to venture into the other faction's side of Dalaran, which means I finally got to explore the beer garden:

Tonight's GDKP run of ToC25 hit a stressful note when we hit Twin Valks. Last time I mentioned that their strat is to put all the melee on black and all the ranged on white. Well, this strat is easy enough to explain, but not exactly optimal on damage, mainly because a class of great dps is severly gimped: The hunters. So I said in raid "I'm going to go white with the melee", took the white attunment (watched the other hunter do the same), and we stood together on one side. About halfway in, the raid leaders noticed we were white, and while I said we were fine (and we were), they were not happy.

Once the bosses were down (in less than three minutes), one of the leaders asked me why I was the "wrong" attunement, and I explained: By keeping the hunter's on the caster target, you are severely gimping the overall DPS of the raid. I tried to explain it wasn't a matter of not getting to do "leet dps" or being purposely annoying - having hunters dps a target that have the appropriate debuffs makes the fight shorter. She tried to say that having multiple attunements in the range made it more stressful for the healers, but I pointed out that we would only get splash damage (neither of us hit an orb) and by having more dps, the fight would be shorter and the healers would heal less. Obviously I was in the wrong for not doing what the raid leader said, but it was not maliciously - it was to better the raid. It was smoothed over, but I'm debating whether or not I want to do the fight with them again, or discuss the strat with the leaders. It's just silly.

Anyway, we are going to finish the ICC25 tomorrow, and I am quite eager :3

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Raiding Hunter Loot in 3.3 has been updated with all the new loot (sans Arthas, of course) along with my thoughts.

Good luck in Icecrown!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Get the info out

In my brief life in a hard core raiding guild, there was a lot of fuss about managing who got certain gear first. Since the goal was to down content as quickly as possible, each item of gear was given out with the mentality that it would go to a class/spec that offered the maximum amount of efficiency for the item (hence, I got Hellion Glaive on our first Anub'arak kill - oh look! My picture is on wowhead!).

I strongly encourage you to repost Rilgon's analysis of the new trinket from ICC25, Deathbringer's Will, on your guild's forums for discussion among the physical classes. Let them know what proc they are getting, and how much the proc will benefit them with gear from Icecrown.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reflections on the new LFG system

I spent yesterday in a queue, and I'm not complaining. I tested out the new LFG system on the PTR a month or so ago, when the old GM couldn't stop singing it's praises, and I had to admit it was great all around. I instantly plotted my goal to finish off 1000 Stone Keeper Shards and then get the subsequent achievements for the new system.

I logged in, queued up, and got H:Halls of Reflection. Then H:Pit of Sauron. Then H:Halls of Stone. Then H:Drak'tharon Keep. At that point, Wintergrasp had started, so I went over to deal with that, but we lost since the graveyard spirit rezzers were a bit biased and refused to rez us, resulting in everyone in the workshop graveyards having to run to the Horde emcampment. So while WG was down, I did a random normal instance, and got Halls of Reflection. I had no intention of just doing a slew of normal instances, so I did the PvP daily (25 arena points = awesome), and even jumped into a 10 man Eye of Eternity to do the weekly raid. Once Horde won the Wintergrasp again, I ran H:Halls of Lightning, then another H:Halls of Stone, followed by another H:Halls of Reflection (methinks computer random is at work here), and then finally a H:Culling of Stratholm, where I completed my 1000 Stone Keeper Shards.

I had good fortune with the puggers as well - except in the Halls of Lightning, where the main tank was chatting more than he was pulling, then told me off for pulling for him. Chatter was rare, but if it was, it was mainly concerned with topics clearly covered in the patch notes, and I grew increasingly more impatient with people who were surprised that the 5mans were dropping Emblems of Triumph.

Dealing with other servers loot rules was an unforeseen surprise - afterall, how often do you think about other server's codes of conduct? We started labeling servers for how they roll on Frozen Orbs - the PvP servers nearly always Need, the PvE servers nearly always Greed, and the RP servers are a toss-up. It took me awhile to get used to the new Disenchanting system as well, only because if no enchanter was in the group, everyone just started Greeding the BoP blues and epics. This makes sense of course, I just wasn't ready for the sudden lack of "no enchanter in group? guess we can just roll for vendor."

I only grouped up once with someone from a Big Name Guild, and that was a ret pally from CUTIES ONLY in my first Halls of Stone. I enjoyed it - he was silent, but did all the work on the Brann event, and all I had to do was drop traps.

Now that I am one day in, I don't think I have any reservations about the new system. I haven't had the chance to use the "Vote to Kick" option yet, and I hope I don't have to, nor have we really carried any new-80 in blues and greens either. I'm 22 of the 50 away from a new chuckle-worthy title. What I am rather pleased about is that once the novelty of the system wears off, and all the titles are gained and badges farmed, it won't be nearly as painful to pick it back up again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Raiding Hunter Loot in 3.3

So here we are, the last content patch of the expansion. I'm slightly depressed that after all this time, the vast majority of the loot I'll be outlining here won't be available to me, but I can seek solace in the fact that others who will use this list will get the gear and use it well. I am happy that they are bringing back a faction to get rep with, along with a dungeon with many many bosses. I enjoy such instances, because they make me nostalgic for the raids of old. Hopefully I can get some raids in to see the content before I call it quits.

Fortunately, this time the annoying Horde- and Alliance-only names are left behind with the Argent Tournament. Normal and Hard Mode loot still exists, but it won't be as painful to list them out.

Tier pieces work in a similar way again, with three levels: 251, 264, and 277. Ilvl 251 can be bought with Emblem of Frost (the new Emblem of Triumph - just like the last patch, every instance except Icecrown 10/25 now drops Triumph, and everything new drops Frost) - 60 for the shoulders and gloves, 95 for the helm, chest, and pants. Ilvl 264 requires the 251 piece plus a tier token from Normal; ilvl 277 requires the 264 piece plus a heroic tier token from Hark Mode. As of right now, it is still unknown where the tokens drop.

As of the patch release, not all the loot is known (what with Arthas not being tested and all), so these will be updated as the instance progresses. For the most part, I will not be listing loot from the 5-man dungeons. However, some items (such as stat-sticks and trinkets) are notoriously difficult to have drop and/or win in some raids, so some upgrades may exist in the new 5-mans.

"Neg's Notes" are my eyeballing estimate of what is the best of the gear. I don't plug anything in to the spreadsheets, so I may very well be wrong with what is the optimal piece, but I'm fairly certain I'll be in the ballpark ;)

Taldron's Short-Sighted Helm - Normal/Hard Mode - Rotface 10
Snowserpent Mail Helm - Normal/Hard Mode - Lord Marrowgar 25
Tier 10/10.25/10.5

Neg's Notes: All three are acceptable, but since 4-piece tier is priority, gonna have to go with t10.25. Snowserpent is a nice alternative for a hit piece, which hopefully you won't need.

Precious' Putrid Collar - Normal/Hard Mode - Festergut 10
Rimetooth Pendant - Normal/Hard Mode - Sindragosa 10
Wodin's Lucky Necklace - Normal/Hard Mode - Trash 25 (Stinky and Precious?)
Sindragosa's Cruel Claw - Normal/Hard Mode - Singdragosa 25

Neg's Notes: Rimetooth Pendant is where it's at, with Wodin's Lucky Necklace as a hit alternative.

Pauldrons of Lost Hope - Normal/Hard Mode - Gunship Armory 10
Shoulderpads of the Morbid Ritual - Normal/Hard Mode - Professor Putricide 10
Dual-Bladed Pauldrons - Normal/Hard Mode - Rotface 25
Tier 10/10.25/10.5

Neg's Notes: Tier wins with no haste.

Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape - 50 Emblems of Frost
Shadowvault Slayer's Cloak - Normal/Hard Mode - Gunship Armory 25

Neg's Notes: Arthas better have a better piece of cloth up his sleeve, since there is nothing dropping for hunters at the moment. Save up your Frost Emblems, and make that cloak one of your first purchases for an easy upgrade if you never got chest loot in ToC10/25.

Longstrider's Vest - 95 Emblems of Frost
Hauberk of a Thousand Cuts - Normal/Hard Mode - Deathbringer Saurfang 10
Carapace of Forgotten Kings - Normal/Hard Mode - Festergut 25
Tier 10/10.25/10.5

Neg's Notes: This is tough to eyeball (sans the wowhead comparative loot table), but I'm just going to call tier for this as well, since I don't doubt that the set bonuses will outweigh any stats on better chests.

Icecrown Rampart Bracers - Normal/Hard Mode - Gunship Armory 10
Scourge Hunter's Vambraces - Normal/Hard Mode - Gunship Armory 25

Neg's Notes: This one will depend on your hit and ArPen. The 10man hit bracers also have a nice little chunk of more AP.

Logsplitters - 60 Emblems of Frost
Handgrips of Frost and Steel - Normal/Hard Mode - Lady Deathwhisper 10
Anub'ar Stalker's Gloves - Normal/Hard Mode - Valithria Dreamwalker 25
Tier 10/10.25/10.5

Neg's Notes: Well, here's a nice batch of guarenteed hit, so go with tier - though, those two red sockets on the 10man gloves are tempting...

Band of the Night Raven - 60 Emblems of Frost
Linked Scourge Vertebrae - Normal/Hard Mode - Lord Marrowgar 10
Blood-Drinket's Girdle - Normal/Hard Mode - Blood Prince Council 10
Nerub'ar Stalker's Cord - Normal/Hard Mode - Festergut 25

Neg's Notes: Once again, depending on your hit and ArPen, either the Festergut 25 or the badge belt are good - just stay away from the BPC10 one (ew, haste). I'm actually going to weigh in favor of the badge belt over the heroic Marrowgar10 piece as welll; the stats are identical, except for the sockets. The Marrowgar10 will be better if you don't have a better place to put your Nightmare's Tier, but if you do, those two yellow sockets in the badge belt are more welcoming than the blue and red.

Draconic Bonesplinter Legguards - Leatherworking made
Legguards of the Twisted Dream - Normal/Hard Mode - Valithria Dreamwalker 10
Leggings of Northern Lights - Normal/Hard Mode - Lady Deathwhisper 25
Tier 10/10.25/10.5

Neg's Notes: No competition here - Deathwhisper25 pants all the way. The LW pants are different by the normal version by a matter of 16 AP vs 8 Agil - and when the iValues are balanced, I still weigh in favor of Agil.

Rock-Steady Treads - Leatherworking made
Wyrmwing Treads - Normal/Hard Mode - Sindragosa 10
Taldron's Long Neglected Boots - Normal/Hard Mode - Festergut 10
Treads of the Wasteland - Normal/Hard Mode - Blood Prince Council 25

Neg's Notes: Once again, it depends on your hit and ArPen and what you can get vs what you need. Go for the BPC25 boots over the Sindragosa10, and both the Festergut10 and the LW made are good, just depends on your ArPen balance (though the LW sockets are fairly annoying).

Saurfang's Cold-Forged Band - Normal/Hard Mode - Deathbringer Saurfang 10
Seal of the Twilight Queen - Normal/Hard Mode - Queen Lana'thel 10
Band of the Bone Colossus - Normal/Hard Mode - Lord Marrowgar 25
Frostbrood Sapphire Ring - Normal/Hard Mode - Valithria Dreamwalker 25
Ashen Band of Vengeance/Greater Vengeance/Unmatched Vengeance/Endless Vengeance - Increasing rep with the Ashen verdict from Ormus the Penitent

Neg's Notes: I'm going to make a sweeping generalization that every ring with haste is bad, which leaves the Valithria25 ring and the rep ring. There, that was easy.

Herkuml War Token - 60 Emblems of Frost
Needle-Encrusted Scorpion - Devourer of Souls, Heroic Forge of Souls 5
Whispering Fanged Skull - Normal/ Hard Mode - Lady Deathwhisper 10
Deathbringer's Will - Normal/Hard Mode - Deathbringer Saurfang 25

Neg's Notes: Badge trinket bad, NES not as good as Mjolners/Grim Toll (10% proc on crits vs 15% proc on hits), the Fanged Skull is meh, and the Deathbringer's Will is awesome (for hunters). The spreadsheets will tell what combos will be at the top, and your luck will determine if you want to stay with the ArPen-procing trinket or reach the ArPen cap through gear/gems.

Stat Sticks
Orca-Hunter's Harpoon - Marwyn, Heroic Halls of Reflection 5
Quel'delar, Ferocity of the Scorned - Quest reward started from the Battered Hilt, a drop from any of the heroic new 5mans.
Hersir's Greatspear - Normal/Hard Mode - Blood Prince Council 10
Shaft of Glacial Ice - Normal/Hard Mode - Rotface 10
Bloodfall - Normal/Hard Mode - Bloog-Queen Lana'thel 25
Distant Land - Normal/Hard Mode - Festergut 25
Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger-General - Normal/Hard Mode - The Lich King 25

Neg's Notes: We now have a stat-stick that does, indeed, say "Hunter Weapon". I'm also fairly positive that when you loot Oathbinder and equip it, a chorus of naked men/women (depending on your sexual orientation) will decend from the heavens in glorious trumpting for your disposal.

Njordnar Bone Bow - Normal/Hard Mode - Lady Deathwhisper 10
Stakethrower - Normal/Hard Mode - Blood-Queen Lana'thel 10
Zod's Repeating Longbow - Normal/Hard Mode - Lady Deathwhisper 25
Windrunner's Heartskeer - Normal/Hard Mode - The Lich King 10
Fal'inrush, Defender of Quel'thalas - Normal/Hard Mode - The Lich King 25

Neg's Notes: Well it's obvious now, what with the Lich King loot out. Too bad the best of the lot has haste (and is a bloody xbow...), but the second best of the lot is actually very pretty.

I would say they definitely got it right for loot this instance. Everything has a secondary option than you can balace with your other gear, though it does mean you will be accumulating a lot of gear to enchant and coordinate.

Once again, tell me if I missed something or my rational is screwy.

Have fun in Icecrown!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Every which way

It's our first snow day here in Virginia, and I'm aching for something to do. Which is slightly ironic, because I want to do everything. I have an urge to do everything that I've had on my mind for ages, but I feel like starting one will somehow betray the others, so doing nothing seems like the safest alternative. But I wanna do something!

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the Animorphs series. It got me hooked in the second grade when one of the main characters shared my legal name. Now that I'm grown and more knowledgeable about such things - even if it was possible, the animals the kids turned into would have to somehow reflect their biological age instead of the full adult animals they always turned into - I still get the urge to reread the series, as redundant as they were towards the end. I even had a dream last night about having to infiltrate a top secret enemy underwater compound, and I had to morph into a fish to do it, but had to get past the keeper first.

Now that I'm no longer raiding, all my old hobbies are resurfacing. I used to write - a lot. I know most readers are familiar with my RP writing, but the stuff I used to write would keep me up until the wee hours of the morning in dedication. I had a book I was working on in high school, and while I still skim through it from time to time, I more or less abandoned it when WoW came along. Now that urge to work on it is resurfacing, helped along by reading Pike's little writing adventure, and I can't think of a better time to start back on it than when the world is covered in white, and I'm snug indoors.

However, my new little goal in WoW is to get Battlemaster, and that means a lot of PvP. I typically do the weekend battleground, but I pop in from time to time in others just to shake up the monotony. I only have one Veteran, so I have many games to do in the other BGs. I almost have the Wintergrasp meta, so I frequently jump into those games when the time comes. One guy shared quests, including one that confused me. It was a quest to go into AV and kill a named NPC. The name sounded familiar, but I couldn't find him in wowhead. Then it hit me: It was an old quest from vanilla, before they did the complete overhaul of Alterac Valley. The guy that shared the quest had it in his log for over two years, and now it was mine, like a sad little virus that you could never satisfy. I should just delete it, but it brings back happy memories of the way AV used to be, with the mini-goals, the support troops, the summoned gods, and the 1-, 2-, 6-, 12-, 24-, 48-hour games. I think I'll just keep it.

What I should really do is clean house, since the boy is away at some military function. I'll think about that one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Since I can no longer raid with my guild, I'm happy to have an excuse to pug a 10 or 25 man from time to time. Of course, it's also tough to get into a run that won't take me past midnight, as well, so if I can get into a scheduled raid, I'm happy to.

On my server, a group does three GDKP runs a week, and the one I partake is at 2:30 PST (so 5:30 my time). If you are as unfamiliar with the concept of GDKP as I was, it goes something like this: If you want an item of loot from a boss, you place a bid of gold. In our case, everything (except Crusader Orbs) starts at a 500g bid, and each increasing bid must be 50g or more. People have five seconds from the last bid to place the next one until a top bidder wins. The gold is paid to the master looter, and at the end of the night, the total gold of all items sold is then divided up equally among the raiders. For really good nights of weapons and trinkets, the payout can be around 5000g; for a poor night, it might be 1500g or less. My first run was 1950g, and I loved it.

There is only one thing I need out of normal ToC25 now, and that is the highest bid item, so I essentially see this as me helping out 24 other people that need gear, and getting paid for doing something I love. Win-win all around.

It was strange doing new strats for old fights. I'm so partial to our Twins strategy, and then approaching the fight in a very simple way was sorta disheartening, not to meantion DPS-draining. (They had all range black-attuned and all melee white-attuned, meaning I only had a 1/3 of the debuffs I needed on the boss, and mana sucked kodo testicles. Next time, I'm stealing the melee's white orbs.) Doing Anub the safe-safe-safe way meant there were so many frost patches down, it looked like it was week one of the encounter. It was amusing, if bittersweet. However, the strangest thing was at the end, when everyone lined up nice and straight to get the pay-out:

It's like we're British, or something!

Doing only normal-modes does make me realize how much I'm starting to miss the challanges of hard-modes. I might coerce the Boy into letting me stay up late this weekend for a 10 man. Shhhh....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What you miss

It's a strange experience leaving one's home server for several months only to return again. It was like I was sent away to Raiding Military School, drilled in the basics, then sent home once I did my time. While I welcome the return to old habits bred from freedom of choice, I also miss the habits that were ingrained by force.

It is great no longer being required to have two "raid" specs. While I trained, practiced, and played with SV and BM as secondary raid specs, they were not my cup of tea. I'm a Marksman Hunter - I always have been and always will be. The fact that I can now put my secondary spec back to MM PvP, allowing me to switch back and forth without a second thought, is like trading out a work uniform for casual sweats.

I do miss having a popular Vent. I have no idea if it is a true trend, but my more casual guild rarely has anyone in Vent, while my more hard core guild's Vent was rarely empty. The same went for gchat: the casual guild kept more to themselves or restricted conversations to tells, and the serious raiding guild was always abuzz with conversation. It was how you maintained your face in the guild, by keeping up with everyone else and participating in discussions. Even if I'm not really one to keep the chatter flowing, it was nice just to hear other's speak - it gives a more intimate feeling to your fellow raiders.

However, I am loving - really, truly loving - being back on a server that knows how to PvP. Since I've been back, we have successfully defended Wintergrasp three times. That was unheard of on Turalyon. We've never lost an offensive push either. The battlegrounds are hit or miss, but I don't mind that so much. People know how to play, and the queues are no longer over five minutes.

I have accumulated a bit of a catchphase since being back, though: "Hella geared." Admittedly, Kilrogg's Horde is not as progressed as Turalyon's Horde, so I now outstrip my guildees in terms of gear score, and people notice. It is a bit depressing seeing so few Ironbound drakes around (only four guilds on server got Glory of the Ulduar Raider 25), and it can be frustrating finding that delicate gray area between trying to help and bragging.

Am I the same Neg that I was before I left? No, certainly not. But I hope I'm not a worse one.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Secret

Partially inspired by Pike's Thanksgiving post and partially inspired by thoughts of what is keeping me attached to the game, here is a fun little secret that I've been harboring for awhile.

I am thankful that this year's Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday, so I can get my LFG fix to sate Neg' gigantic crush on Krunch. We are talking massive, full-out fantasizing, fan-girl crush, and it makes the RL side of Neg look at her fantasy side with a kind of weird "are-you-really-a-part-of-me?!" kinda glance.

I have no problem admitting that one of the things holding me to WoW right now is the fact that I simply adore Neg as a character. There has been enough time and effort into her at this point that she has developed with a considerable amount of complexity (including love interests), and the thought of shutting the game down and losing her forever is frankly a bit scary. After all, how many opportunities do you get to create a fantasy character complete with visuals of herself and her world? (Side note: Is this how they keep the fantasy RPG players hooked? "Noooo, I can't let Myself die!!")

Anyway, Neg dreams of doing the whole Arwen-Aragorn encounter: "What's this, a Bloodrage, caught off his guard?" and that keeps her mind preoccupied for a bit. That's one of Neg's little secrets, and she would probably Shoveltusk-stick you all to death if you knew.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My inner Dorothy is showing

There is no place like home.

There, I said it. Happy?

I'm going back to Kilrogg, where I can be happy as I finish out the remainder of my WoW days. I'll transfer one character over at a time, I'm thinking one per pay check. This way I can play with friends, and sure as hell know a better PvP experience. If there is anything I miss more than friends when I transferred to Turalyon, it was the battlegroup. Bloodlust >>>>> Stormstrike.

It means I can't raid either, which is a very good thing. I should be able to get in some 10 mans from time to time, and that should allow me to see the end content. Maybe when the Boy is out, I can sneak in for some 25 mans, too. Just don't tell him >_>

But most importantly, I'll be back among people I truely loved playing the game with, even if it is casually.

Looking out for Number One

It's a very strange experience playing this game for myself. My entire Warcraft career has been a joint venture with others, and now that no one else exists, I am discovering what it's like to do it alone.

It's not very fun.

For three years, it was the Boy. I credit WoW with a lot towards maintaining our long-distance relationship, and while in the early years I was concerned what would happen should one of us quit, when he finally could no longer raid due to work conflicts in our fourth yeah, I wasn't too worried. We both had enough on our plates to keep us motivated until graduation.

So I started playing for the raiders. This was never a genuine altruistic endeavor, since I raid to have fun as well, but the thought of being relied upon kept me logging in every night. I enjoyed having that responsibility, and in a sad sorta way, I needed it. Social life, what is that?

Now the Boy is playing Chocobo's Dungeon (a dangerously cute game) and the raiders are gone - what's a girl to do? Being guildless sucks. Do you know what it's like to actually enjoy Trade Chat?! It's horrific! But damn that social interaction, and how addictive it is. I have been hanging out in the old Vent server, but that'll be gone on December 1st. I did have a successful venture with a Gnome Mage looking to swap Steady Hands, and that was fun.

I really should find some sort of squatter guild, just so when I do log on, I won't be so lonely.

(Also, if some one wants to get me a Christmas present, the t-shirt I've wanted forever is finally for sale.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009



Originally, this was going to be a post about raid roles and not bitching to your peers that you are always assigned to raid-support role, but other things happened.

The guild finally imploded, and I'm homeless.


I'm slightly uncertain what to do. Part of me just want to embrace this and go casual, but the other part of me wants to continue on and find a new raiding guild. I really did want to go with this expansion to the end, finish Arthas and put a cap on all the lore, but so much happened this expansion that I sincerely do not like, and there's a part of me that would be okay with walking away from it now.

It is a very strange feeling having the floor fall out from under your feet. All my in guild goals and what not are now void - I had this mock ambition to be the top achievement whore in the guild, in competition with another - so now I need to reorient myself. I can't say I'm not just a bit disappointed. It was such a difficult decision to join this guild, and while it wasn't a complete let down, it was simply completely unlike anything I had experienced before, and I know I changed considerably because of it. I wonder how things would have turned out if I had gone a different route. I wonder where I would be now if I had.

I genuinely feel indebted to the members of the guild that worked hard to get us where we were and had the tenacity to push on, and I feel sorry that they had to be let down in such a manner when they are capable of bigger and better things. Good luck to you guys, in all your adventures. May the winds guide you, and what not...

And now I'm here. I don't particularly want to server jump. A hundred smakeroos is kinda tough to justify right now, what with the holiday and all. There is no way I would ever go Alliance. I'd like to be in guild with the friends I made while on Turalyon, even just for the social aspect of it. Maybe I'll join a PvP guild, or something...

My current subsciption expires on the 3rd, so I changed it to a monthly, just until I know what I'm going to do. No worries, the Butterfly will continue be here until I leave for good.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why? Because it's burnt-orange

Also, sorry commenters, but the botters are out in full force, so I'm going to have to disable anonymous commenting. Too many malicious links out there!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BiS and what it really means

A lot of people turn to Elitest Jerks infamous Best Possible DPS thread to look for how they should be gearing/gemming/glyphing/etc through Shandaras awesome spreadsheet. While I cannot and should not encourage anyone from not using this as a reference, it is important to keep in mind a few facts.

First of all, the spreadsheet is completely idealized. If you are such a lucky individual that you can get every single raid buff and target debuff for every fight on every target for every night of raiding, then I count you a more fortunate person than 99% of raiders that I know. The gear that makes up the Best Possible DPS does not take into consideration that hunters are more often than not the off-target DPS bitch. We bring a lot of burst damage that can easy take down sparks and snobalds. Obviously, since we rely so heavily on other class' debuffs (really, sunders can DIAF), this is not ideal, but such is the curse of having instant spells. The gear suggested as BiS sometimes doesn't take into consideration that Judgement of Wisdom or Faerie Fire will not be on your target.

Second of all, consider the odds of truly getting every single item listed on that spreadsheet. I have no doubt that there are some individuals that have received them or are in line to receive them, but what are your odds of getting them. You need to take into consideration what gear you have now and what gear you have a chance of getting.

From the 92a version of Shandaras spreadsheet, this is what is currently Best in Slot for MM hunters:

Main Hand: Hellion Glaive (H) enchanted with Massacre and gemmed with two Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Ranged Weapon: Fezzik's Autocannon enchanted with Heartseeker Scope and gemmed with a Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Head: Windrunner's Headpiece of Triumph (H) enchanted with Arcanum of Torment and gemmed with a Relentless Earthsiege Diamond and a Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Neck: Collar of Unending Torment (H) gemmed with a Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Devourer enchanted with Greater Inscription of the Axe and gemmed with Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Back: Sylvanas' Cunning enchanted with Major Agility and gemmed with Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Chest: Vest of Shifting Shadows (H) enchanted with Powerful Stats and gemmed with a Deadly Ametrine and two Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Wrist: Bracers of the Silent Massacre (H) enchanted with Greater Assault and gemmed with two Fractured Cardinal Ruby (Blacksmithing socket)

Hands: Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves (H) enchanted with Major Agility and gemmed with three Fractured Cardinal Ruby (Blacksmithing socket)

Waist: Waistguard of Deathly Dominion (H) gemmed with Nightmare Tear, Fractured Cardinal Ruby, and a Fractured Dragon's Eye

Legs: Windrunner's Legguards of Triumph (H) enchanted with Icescale Leg Armor and gemmed with Fractured Dragon's Eye and Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Feet: Greaves of Ruthless Judgment (H) enchanted with Superior Agility and gemmed with two Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Ring 1: Band of Callous Aggression (H) gemmed with Fractured Dragon's Eye

Ring 2: Planestalker Band (H) gemmed with Fractured Cardinal Ruby

Trinket 1: Death's Choice (H)

Trinket 2: Death's Choice

Okay, let's look at the most glaringly obvious thing first. Two Death's Choice. TWO. There is not enough luck in the world that could guarantee the majority of players will enjoy such a pair of trinkets (and is, in my opinion, one of the greatest failures of the whole Normal vs. Heroic instance system). So what is done to compensate for pairing up the replacement for Greatness with its Heroic counterpart? Why, reaching the Armor Pen cap passively! Nearly every single socket has ArPen plugged into it. Two pieces of mail gear are substituted in favor of leather gear to better stack ArPen, and a nice chunk of mana goes with that lost Int.

However, while the improbably of getting the majority of the gear listed here is high enough, I will concede that the probably of just getting the next comparable level of gear is equally as improbable considering the number of pieces that drop from Anub'arak and the chest provided after his death. At least with the two listed leather pieces one reduces the number of Regalia's needed from the chest by two, even though the extra ArPen is unnecessary with one of the ArPen proc trinkets, so should be taken only with that in mind. While the four-piece bonus is fairly lackluster in the grand scheme of things and can afford to be broken, I highly recommend you consider your own hit, ArPen, and mana pool before taking one of the leather pieces.

In the end, it is important that you look at your own gear and figure out how to balance your stats yourself instead of relying on the spreadsheet to tell you how it is done. It is a useful tool, but should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Monday, November 16, 2009

And boom goes the dynamite

I always wonder if it's a good or bad thing that a raid night I miss ends up being overly dramatic. On one hand, there is a lot of bad play, a lot of overreactions, short tempers, and anal retentiveness just to push people a little closer to the edge, and that is the sort of thing I really don't envy being present for. On the other hand, the issues behind all of that behavior is usually discussed as well, along with potential problem solving, and I generally like being around to hear the solution.

I posted my absence to celebrate the Boy's 26th birthday and enjoy the night together before he left for a week in Alabama. (When the lady at the rental car counter noticed it was his birthday, she began singing the Birthday Song, which the rest of the rental counters joined in, followed by the adjacent baggage claim. Over 150 people singing Happy Birthday to a complete stranger. The Boy was somewhat freaked out, but soothed by the free rental upgrade they gave him.) I honestly can't recall what we were working on - it was either Ulduar or H:ToC - but I had only missed one other 25 man raid in the history of my guild membership, so I didn't feel quilty taking the night off. Evidently it was a bad choice.

I still have no idea the exact details of the night, and I probably don't want to know. I can glean that it was an overall poor night by the angry posts on the guild forums, and I wonder if it's going to have any lasting effects among membership. The guild still existed when I logged in today, and nobody had gquit that I noticed, so I'm not too concerned.

What would I do if my guild imploded? Eh, I wouldn't server hop again. A hundred dollars is hard to cough up just to try again. Even through I am fairly eager to see Icecrown, I think it would signal the end of my raiding career. I would probably tinker around with my alts for awhile, but go purely casual overall and then putter out with the end of the time on my account.

Anyway, everything is okay... for now. I think. I hope.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ze new ArPen Trink

MMOChamp has been data mining away like they do best, and gear is starting to appear. The hot topic of the moment for hunters is the shiny new trinket.

Here are the stats:

Needle-Encrusted Scorpion
Binds when picked up
Requires Level 80
Item Level 232
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 114 (2.48% @ L80).
Equip: Chance on melee or ranged critical strike to increase your armor penetration rating by 452 for 10 sec.

Now at first glance, this is pretty awesome. A new crit plus ArPen proc trinket that we all love to have to update Mjolnir Runestone or Grim Toll.

But wait... chance on CRITICAL STRIKE? Ugh... And 452 is significantly less than 612 or 665, which means more ArPen gems.

In a nutshell, for 12 more crit, you can get... not much. Unless they lower the internal cooldown (which I doubt they will), this trinket is good if you never could get the Ulduar 10 Runestone or the Naxx25 Grim Toll to drop, and since it drops in H: Devourer of Souls (one of the new 5mans), you can farm this one to your content. I'm gonna continue to cradle my oh-so-expensive Runestone until some more info comes out.

Know what I would rather have though? A FUCKING REPLACEMENT FOR GREATNESS THAT IS A 100% DROP. *exhale* *exhale* *exhale*

Oh, and yes, I will be doing Raiding Hunter Loot in 3.3 once all the gear is announced. Patience!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I am poor again:

Man, Lady Taurens just look so bad-ass on that thing.

I suffered a severe brain fart: My thinking regarding my hit reverted back to the 9% cap instead of the 8%, and I was running around with over a percent extra for several weeks until one of our new hunters pointed it out to me. /headdesk

Luckily, it was short lived, as we tried out a double ToC run, where half of the raid would be mains and the other half would be alts, ensuring that more mains would get gear and less gear would be sharded. It was terribly confusing for me, for some odd reason, and I sorta played in a daze because of it. Nothing really awesome dropped for either group - just Twin's Pact again - but a certain belt did drop from Anub in my group, solving all hit problems and letting me spec into what is pretty much my ideal spec for our raid.

And then in H:ToC that night our fifth Twin's Pact dropped instead of something better, so I just said 'Fuck it, I'll live with the haste' and took it.

Now I'm figuring out some of the new gemming concepts that are coming out. Words through the grapevine mention Deady Ametrine being useful where gemming for some crit is actually better than gemming for pure Agility, depending on your crit rating. Me being the skeptic that I am (not to mention stubborn), I'd like to see some numbers for this, so besides plugging away at my own spreadsheet, one of you more math-inclined bloggers should totally do a post about this. Yeah, you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fuck Anub'arak's Leeching Swarm

The Big Bad Bug is not dead yet, but we are getting closer. With several goes at Phase 3, it is now a healer fight.

We tweeked our strat just a bit, taking the hunters off of Misdirection and Volley duty all together. Our AoE is crap compared to every other class', so we went single target only with better results; Anub is going down about 27% each phase, and that's with several new people in the raid. We are getting through each attempt fairly cleanly, and while stupid mistakes always happen, even our best attempts get fucked over by the encounter's bugginess. Ready to ship and working as intended, my pretty little butterfly ass...

Sometimes the adds aggro onto the MT for no apparent reason (no taunt, no DPS, nada), resulting in them slow to the ice. Sometimes the targeted player for the pursuing spikes will outrange the spell, and it will switch without warning. Sometimes the spikes won't register the ice and just kill the player ontop of the ice instead. It's enough to drive you mad.

Regardless, we are getting closer, and I'm okay with the hunter's new roles. Pre-potting before the pull and popping CDs within the first ten seconds ensures that Call of the Wild will be up again and access to a Frost Resist potion will be available for P3 . No mana worries either, since the boss is being judged for Wisdom and life is grand. Fifteen seconds in Viper during P2 sets you up perfectly for each return to P1. Just be warned though - if you pop CotW with Bloodlust as you near or begin P3, it probably won't be up again if you wipe soon after. It's a massive pain in the ass as we try and work on it.

Oh, and if your Hunters are not Tranqing the adds in P2, I swear I will reach through the computer and punch them. Hard. In the gonads.

Big Bad Bug go boom soon, I hope.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


As my love for the game wanes, the goals I set for myself lower. Once it was DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE, then it became SEE AND DEFEAT ARTHAS, now it's just down to GET 9000 ACHIEVEMENT POINTS. The next patch brings the Feat of Strength recognizing this benchmark, and I aim to get it before 3.3 hits.

I was sitting at 8950 tonight, slightly bored. I had just finished Loremaster for the third time. I could go level one of my alts, patiently sitting around for me to get to them. I need to go farm ore on my DK, but it is painful as hell to fly around at 150% when you are so used to 310%. So I thought, I'm only missing The Mechanar from my Outland Dungeon Hero meta - can I solo it?

Now, I'm not the solo-adventurer that so many other hunters are. I know such things are possible, I know I am capable of doing them, and I know such ventures are typically very profitable, but they just never appealed to me. So I looked up what I needed to do, what bosses I absolutely had to kill, and decided, eh, why not? No doubt I'm totally and completely overgeared for it.

At first I tried to skip some mobs. Not a bright idea. While the humanoids wouldn't aggro, the patrolling mechanicals would, and they hit HARD. I ended up running out of the instance twice within the first five minutes, barely saving me a repair bill. Clearing the trash, I could kill the humanoids in a couple of shots, but the big guys took a bit to kill, and my turtle tank didn't live through several pulls.

Once I killed the two mini-bosses, I thought I was in the homefree. I took the elevator up, killed some trash, and prepared to run down to the last boss. And then some adds spawned on top of me. I had totally forgotten about the gauntlet boss. Fortunately for me (after I had flown back from the graveyard) I discovered that each wave could be reset by Feign Death, giving me the opportunity to heal, gain mana, and rez my pet between each hard-hitting mechanical.

And then there I was, sitting before Pathaleon the Calculator (oh, how the nerd in me smiles every time), healing my pet, drinking back some mana, and then recalled that he has a timed aggro as he came running towards me. Okay, so a quick Misdirection to Maturin, and pew pew! But wait! I'm mind controlled... Fortunately, I had spammed a heal for the turtle before hand, so I could only watch as I blew Warstomp (seriously WTF AI??), dropped some traps (for all that melee coming to me), and autoshotted my pet.

In the end, success:

Only twenty more geek points to go.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I can't say I'm very impressed with Blizzard's turning trend of naming tier gear. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the effort - only so many Stalker names are out there, I know - but now they are making it confusing.

It doesn't help that hunters are already a little embittered about the whole T9 bit. Even though the whole Horde get one name for an item, the Alliance get another bit made it painful as hell to communicate cross faction about gear, it was fairly noticeable that hunters got cheated for original faction hero names. Windrunner and Windrunner - sister hunters separated by faction - very clever.

Tier 10 names have been released, and they are... strange. Even lore-lover me had to stop and think about where these were coming from. Hunters get "Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Battlegear," while other classes get names like "Ymirjar Lord's Plate," "Frost Witch's Regalia," and "Crimson Acolyte's Raiment." See the trend here? Nearly every class' tier gear draws its title from our enemies. Only paladins make out with a good-aligned name: "Lightsworn Garb."

This makes me think - are we salvaging our tier gear from the depths of Icecrown Citadel to better go unnoticed as we work towards the Frozen Throne? Are the paladins just too goody-two-shoes, and their fancy-pansy light just can't bear be blighted by wearing the enemy's armor? WHY AM I WEARING A DEAD NERUBIAN ON MY HEAD?

Neg wants to know!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A 100 Greedy Roll

In the grand scheme of things, I'm well aware that capitalism is the way to maintain a stable economy - I'm not one of those liberals that has a delusion otherwise - but it doesn't mean some of the values it encourages are good. Like greed. Completely speculating (I have not seen their numbers), I find it hard to believe that Blizzard is hurting for money, but they will continue bleeding some things dry.

I suppose they simply got tired of charging a flat fee for the TCG pets and watching the lucky purchasers sell the cards for outlandish sums, so they introduced a Pet Store, a online site where you can pay $10 (real good' ol money) for a new ingame pet. My favorite part of this was the first line of the FAQ:

Why are you introducing this service?

The Pet Store provides a new way for players to obtain unique companion pets outside of the game, which is something that has been requested by many players who enjoy World of Warcraft's non-combat companions.
Yay for unique companion pets outside of the game! After all, if I'm paying real money for a such things, I want them to be an tangible object that will follow me around IRL. People may now conveniently purchase a cute, unique NPC pet from the comfort of their own home, without having to make that extra mile to the comic store. How kind of Blizzard!

Let's face it - they are offering simple programming typically already available in game for the cost of the time farming for it or the gold necessary to buy it from a 'dealer'; time that is already paid to Blizzard and considered by you to be entertainment regardless, and now they want more.

No, you are not being forced to buy it. Yes, this is how business works (after all, Blizzard is trying to keep up with that competition! ... Oh, wai-). However, it is coming to the point where the products are getting sillier and cheaper. Pay additional money to revert a decision made upon purchasing the game. Pay to get some shiney, fun pixels (which makes me wonder when we will be paying money for weapon upgrades a la Diablo). And in terms of quality, if the trailor for Cataclysm is any indication, I have no high hopes for expansion. Sorry, Blizzard, but if I want cheap, quirky crap, I'd shop exclusively at Walmart.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What happens when a biologist marries a rocket scientist?


(Organic brownies to the first person that links the inspiration.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Movie Break: Where The Wild Things Are

The Boy came home today after two weeks in Hawai'i for work. We did some chores around DC (turned in my five-year-old iPod for a 10% recycling discount on a new one for the Boy) then headed home, where we shared a lobster dinner at Joe's Crab Shack (so delicious and so expensive, in more ways than one...). Our treat was a 10PM showing of "Where The Wild Things Are."

I remember this book from my childhood, as should everyone else, and when I first saw the preview for it, my memory instantly took me back to being eight-years-old, curled up in my bed, eyes round with the thought of a jungle full of giant, walking beasts. I couldn't wait. However, unlike what some might glean from the previews, this is not a children's movie, nor is it a teen movie, nor really an adult movie. It's art, pure and simple. And it is beautifully done.

If you are not the type that can appreciate the imagination and vision of childhood, this movie is not for you. The biased adult mind sees too much in this movie - the Boy even admitted to that. He wanted to overcomplicate it, try to put reason and structure to it, and that is the last thing you want to apply. This is a child's world, and it obey's a child's rules for it - even down to his greatest fears and expectations.

This movie is a lovely metaphor for a child's spirit and mind. It helps that is is visually stunning - the costumes are brilliantly done - and the story keeps you reacting. You feel the emotional pain when Max recognizes what he has done to his mother when the Wild Things mirror the action. You feel his alienation when Max approaches strangers to the Family. My only complaint is the soundtrack. It was good, but I was left wanting just a little more diversity.

So if you are the type that ventured into the land of the Wild Things when you were a child, I highly recommend this work to venture there again. But if you were the type that shunned books and the world of imagination in general, I suggest you just walk on by on this one. "Saw VI" is just down the hall.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Race Matters?

As most of you know now, race changes have been implemented. Just like faction changes, you can now pay $25 to change your race in faction. This means considerably fewer Undead and Tauren out there on the raiding scene. And because of this reason, I really don't like it.

Long time readers know I detest homogenization. I simply cannot stand the simplification of anything. Diversity, intricacy, complexity are parts of what makes life beautiful and interesting. It is, regardless of how desperately people wish to think otherwise, how the world works.

Now, because of racial attributes, people can pay more money to increase their raid abilities, and a little bit of what makes the game fun dies. The fact that innate talents given to specific races statistically insignificant DPS benefits over others, punishing (however insignificantly) those that didn't recognize at the time of their rolling of their character five years ago. You should not be taxed for an aesthetic.

This is another account of one enjoyable condition of play being divided between PvP and PvE. Like the BC days, one side of a play aspect is "obviously" PvP oriented while the other has free reign. Specs are normalized finally, thankfully, but now you are being penalized for your choice of race.

The racials do not make or break the class' ability to pump out the numbers. After all, you don't see every progressive guild going Alliance for the free talent point. They do provide a difference, that's an annoying fact that cannot be denied, but in the grand scope of things, that difference is tiny. Not something worth an additional $25, in my opinion.

Time to go through the reports

It's ever so entertaining for a blogger to go through their numbers and discover what exactly is making their blog tick. Every time I go to my Google Analytics Dashboard, my mind is boggled how many sites mention the Butterfly, how many terms are Google'd and lead here, and what percentage of people directly come here. I never dreamed the Butterfly would become an iota as popular as it is, so, as always, a deepest thanks to you, Readers.

So as I dig through the numbers, this is what I find:

The vast majority of people that come here Google for "Angry Butterfly" or some variant. Wow. That's all sorts of awesome.

Followed closely, in runner up, are hits for Leatherworking - Ulduar, leveling, or otherwise. This makes me realize I never did one for ToC... A bit late now, I suppose.

In third place are a bunch of hits for gear - named items that find my gear posts.

Finally, there are the miscellaneous hits. "Slyvanas naked" will never fall from my keywords page, I swear... Yes, the Venomhide Raptor scales awesomely with a Tauren. And if Alliance never win Eye of the Storm, I want to know what battlegroup you are on...

But what about the people? Today, around 70 of you are visiting for the first time - 100 of you are returning for more. Obviously, the majority of people are reading this in English, but some go for Swedish (65 in the last month), German (64), and Dutch (63), along with 37 other languages.

I love looking at the map as well:

Hi, South Africa! This post goes out to you! Man, the Internet is awesome.

I applaud so many of you for using Firefox over IE and using Google over Yahoo.

At last, who is linking: A lot of other bloggers, of course. I never fails to make me smile with the thought of who is going to bring me more hits this month, Rilgon or Brigwyn? I grow my blogroll this way (ohaithar Pixelated Executioner!), but it is also interesting to see people link me in various forums. I find all sorts of guild sites (including Fusion's - eep!), wiki's, and just good ol' fashioned news sites (<3 WoWHeadlines) scattered around the referring sites list.

Have I mentioned how awesome you guys are?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fuck Anub'arak's Hitbox

We'll be spending two adjacent raid nights on HM:Anub'arak (last night and tonight), simply perfecting our strategy. While only ~200 some guilds have downed the big bad beetle, we are approaching the fight with patience and motivation, and we are finally hitting P3. This doesn't feel like the same grind on Twins, rather it has the air of Yogg - getting through the earlier phases doesn't mean much, anything can still go when he's below 30%.

The hunters (for the most part) have our duties in between the Volley spam. One of us is bringing down the orbs. Yours truly is on OT MD duty, preserving the MD charges for the back two adds. It is an interesting job, made difficult only by Anub'arak's fucking dragon-sized hitbox.

Seriously, this is Anub'arak:

And this is is hitbox:

I'm generally standing at min range, my eye on the add timer and my minimap, waiting for the adds to pop. Then I target off Anub, hit the MD macro to the OT, target an add, shoot, target the next and run, backpedal, strafe, somersault, anything to make sure I don't autoshoot one too many on one of the adds. It's a full proof system, assuming I can click on the bloody adds.

I've discovered little tricks. I can't guarantee tab targeting gets the adds I want, so I try to click on less obvious areas of their model, like their hind legs. It's always the first mob that gives me trouble, too, as I run towards them. Click, still Anub. Click, still Anub. Click, still Anub. Click, finally! Do a fast strafe away, turning my back to the mob so I don't autoshot. Click the next mob, fire. Run back to original position and volley away. I don't want to start out there (out of range of the healers and volley range), nor do I want to be with the rest of the raid. It's a tricky little balance of finding that sweet spot/area to get the MD off while maintaining AoE/single-target DPS on the boss. I pop my first Rapid Fire just as the adds go down, giving me exactly enough time to use the entire CD before the next add waves comes. It will be up again for back-to-back for P3.

The other little annoying problem I've discovered is a tendency to accidentally target someone and make them my focus, just as I'm about to MD the adds. I'll click off of Anub to prepare the MD rotation, unknowingly target someone (last time it was the other hunter, standing next to me), hit the focus/MD macro, and then, bam, I'm screwed. The MD is late, and some healer has his face eaten off. It's a simple solution - use two macros in the place of my combined - but it doesn't change the fact that it's a stupid problem to begin with.

Tonight I expect many attempts at P3. Big bad beetle go boom.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hard Mode Twin Val'kyrs Vid

Gotta love the music.

Zinaida's Memories

“Do you seek vengeance, sister?”

The young Taunka girl looked up wearily, the pain shadowing her eyes not quite hiding the fear and disgust. Despite the Scourge presence in their lands for so many generations, the indigenous cousins of the Tauren were no more comfortable with the walking undead in their midst than the majority of the Horde. One that looked so eerily like themselves probably didn’t help either.

“The invading undead slaughtered my family,” the girl said, her voice trailing off into silence. The Taunka refugee uncomfortably adjusted the ragged skins covering her strong, young frame as the death knight waited for her to continue. Zinaida wondered if she was missing some allusion – did the fact that the invading Scourge slaughtered her loved ones imply she sought vengeance or not? The living were so complicated.

“I would do anything to avenge them!” the Taunka girl finally asserted, glaring up at the death knight. The glare either spoke of hatred for her existing state or of pride, Zina couldn’t decide. Probably a bit of both, she thought.

“Take the blood-oath of the Horde, and you shall have your revenge.”

The girl exhaled, the sigh a mixture of hesitance and exhaustion.

Ranrele sighed, the sound hitting Zinaida like a blow to the stomach. This was her family, all she had in the world. If they did not accept her, who would? And now even Ranrele, the most amicable sister, was conceding.

“There is nothing for you here, little sister,” said the druid. Her tone suggested she hated every word she said. And yet she still said them, the death knight thought.

She turned to her grandmother. The old shaman was hunched over the cot, starring at her weathered hands. Tears still wetted her cheeks.

“Blessed be that your father is not alive to see you this way, Tadrolle...”

Her father? She never knew him; though, from what her sisters had said, she took after their mother more regardless. Would she be equally as ashamed of her?

As if to put the torch to her pyre, Zinaida turned to Negathle. Her eldest sister had not even looked at her since she had arrived, let alone speak with her. The hunter’s face was twisted with contempt; the moth fluttering at her shoulder hissing its master’s loathing. No, there would be no support here. She recalled her sister’s adamancy for the old ways - that streak of Tauren independence and reverence for the living Earth was absent in Zina both in mind and body. She was everything Neg detested.

She turned back to Ranrele and nodded. She turned away, her chest heavy with alien emotions of abandonment and fear. She hated those feelings more than any feeling of hatred she felt toward her family. She could understand their decision; she couldn’t understand this weight on her chest

“The dead remain dead,” she heard Neg finally say behind her.

“How can I trust the dead?” asked the aged man, standing up as if preparing to fight.

Zinaida took a step back to show she poised no threat, spreading her arms to prove her lack of weapons.

“The Knights of the Ebon Blade are free from the grasp of the Scourge. Scourge though we were, we now seek to destroy that which formerly enslaved us before it enslaves the world.”

He regarded her through narrowed eyes, a scar running down his wide face, halving the bridge of his nose. This Taunka warrior already knew battle.

“They destroyed everything I had – my family, my possessions, my home. Even if I were to seek vengeance, I have no means of doing so.”

She smiled in what she hoped was an expression of comfort. “The Horde provides for its people.” Zina walked with the warrior over to a crate full of freshly forged weapons. “You will be supplied with all you need.”

The Taunka picked up an axe, testing its sharpness with a thumb.

“Have you ever witnessed the place of your birth destroyed?” he asked, turning to her.

“Remember the rolling plains of Mulgore, where you were born!”

The Tauren at her feet stared up at her, unbelieving the form standing over him was the same woman who he knew before. At least, Zina assumed she knew him from before. Perhaps they were in the same convoy once, both fresh, young soldiers of the Horde eager to test their mettle in the Plaguelands. She had no idea, nor did she really care.

“Tadrolle...” the dying man exhaled, the tattered Argent Dawn tabard on his chest swelling with his ragged breathing. She brought her sword down across his throat.

“I was born in Feralas,” Zinaida said to the corpse, her voice impassive for the atrocity she had just committed. Yet the memory caught her off guard. Feralas? A vision of lush green flashed past her vision, the sound of water falling over stones rang in her ear. She shook her head to clear the discordant thoughts and turned to leave the compound. The Lich King promised her bigger prey than a simple Tauren.

“You are lost, girl,” a troll prisoner lying on a cot said, his back to her as she passed him.

“We are a lost people,” said the woman, clutching an infant to her breast. “Everything we know is gone. We are at the mercy of the winds.”

The child Taunka looked up at her from its mother’s embrace. Too young to know emotion, capable only of reaction. Zinaida envied the limits of infancy.

“The Horde provides guidance. We can rebuild and reestablish what was lost. That is why we are here.”

The lies came effortlessly. She could see the spark of hope kindle in the young mother’s eyes. Old enough to be cautious, but young enough to still have hope. These were the most difficult to recruit. They did not have a warrior’s heart, no champion’s drive, but they were the strength of the people regardless. They maintained the homestead, prepared the feasts, mended the wounds. They could weather the Scourge, if necessary: “Better an evil we know than an evil we do not,” Zinaida had heard an old Taunka say. She aimed to avoid such considerations.

“Join with the Horde, and you will be safe.”

The mother looked west towards the tundra lands, the only world she knew. The death knight could not read her face. She turned towards Zina, her brow narrowed in determination.

“Will we still be free?”

“We are freed from His grasp!”

The sword fell from her grasp, her fingers uncurling painfully from the hilt after having clutched it for hours.


The pain in her fingers, in her limbs, in her mind – it was just a fragment of the torrents of agony that surged through her form. Every innocent she ever killed, every friend she was forced to slay, they all came back to her in a flood of memories. The knowledge of her existence, of what she was reborn to do, she begged the ability to deny. This was not her, this was not Tadrolle Highmountain, the youngest of three sisters. This was not the warrior who sought to make the world better for her people.

The sudden absence of the Lich King’s will was like a dam disappearing from a river. Her mind and will were always there, only blocked and contained, funneled into channels for His purposes. And now everything that was denied her since her undead awaking had returned, overwhelming her senses.

And she hated it immediately.

Highlord Morgaine announced they would join forces with the people they had just been fighting against and end the evil that had abused them. Hundreds of voices cried out in triumph. Zinaida heard her voice scream with them, but it was not in dedication. It was in hatred for herself, and she wondered how many of the other voices felt the same.

As the Knights of the Ebon Blade scattered, out to rejoin the world, Zina remained at the blood-soaked battleground at Light’s Hope, rooted to the very spot her full consciousness was returned to her. She picked up the sword, given to her upon her rebirth as a blanket is given to a newborn. She traced the runes forged in the steel, enduing it with the spells that would harness her strength. She now knew what she was capable of, the power she wielded. It had never been used for good, it had never known life. It was a force born and bred for death, for suffering. And now she had to live with that knowledge.

She threw the sword away, and it struck a fallen tree with a resonating, hollow might.

The reverberating beat of the drums sounded over the night-draped land, calling the people to sanctuary. They were the drums of urgency, of speed. Come, there is safety here from the dark and cruel world.

“I am hardly able to lift an axe, young one. What would your Horde want with me?”

Zinaida smiled and kneeled down before the Taunkan grandfather.

“Your strength is here,” she said, touching a finger to her brow, “if not here.” She crossed her arms, laying her palms on her biceps, and bowed. The appearance of reverence for the aged was not completely in farce. Their knowledge of the land was vital. They knew the history of this continent far better than any other sentient race, and that would be crucial for defense against both the Scourge and Alliance.

The refugees were scattered among the huts. Many were already asleep; the sun set long ago. Those awake were encircling fires, scrapping the bottom of bowls and speaking to each other in whispers. The fire light illuminated the old man’s face, casting the features in sharp contrast. He looked as ancient as the mountains. Zina moved to sit next to him, fearing that her face in shadow, her eyes glowing blue with a frozen, inert life, would do more harm than good towards his decision.

“I need sleep,” he finally said. “I shall inform you once I wake.”

“Awaken, o daughter of the Scourge.”

It was if she was being pulled up from the warmest, deepest, most comfortable bed imaginable. What strength she had initially resisted in reflex, but it was soon gone, leaving her compliant to the power that called her.

Her eyes opened to see a place she did not know. She looked down at herself, confused by her very ability to think.

“What am I?” she heard a voice ask. It sounded from far away, but it rang in her mind indefinitely.

“You are Zinaida, a death knight of the Lich King. You live to serve Him.”

She felt the cold prod of steel on her hand. A geist was holding a sword, offering it to her. She took it, instantly comforted by its touch. This was right. This existence was good. She knew nothing of how she came to be here or what her Master aimed for, but there was no pique of curiosity. Such a drive was unnecessary.

“Take your weapon, and drive it into the flesh of this worthless intiate.”

The tall human man that spoke stepped to the side to reveal an emancipated woman chained to the wall. She was garbed in dark rags, and her eyes glowed with a furious blue light. Zinaida stepped forward, searched for confirmation inside herself that this was the correct action, received it, and buried the sword into the woman’s stomach. The dying creature howled in agony, but Zina found the action pleasing.

“You are worthy of the Lich King, Zinaida.”

She smiled in satisfaction.

The boy child smiled cheerily and waved at her as he followed his father away from the camp toward Agmar’s Hammer. This was her life now – recruiting the struggling Taunka into the very establishment that led her to her death and undeath. Perhaps the thought of a former member of the Scourge encouraging the destruction of their old masters helped deceive the refugees into thinking the Lich King’s forces were weakening. What hopeful fools they were, but fools without any better choice.

She lied for her life and she lived now to lie. Her Tauren heritage disowned her existence, her faction called upon her to use others to sow more seeds of pain. Even her membership with the Ebon Blade was based on a lie, for she had no motivation to slay Arthas. The retribution-driven leaders of the Ebon Blade would probably kill her if they knew that.

Maybe she would let them.

“Greetings, sister. Do you seek vengeance against the Scourge?”