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?”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Negathle's Achievement Services

News of my last Loremaster profit snaked out to other raiders, and now I have another client - 8000g for a little more than 400 quests. On top of it, he's paying another 1000g for miscellaneous quests like The Coin Master and Well Read.

Fortunately, this time the buyer is a BC baby, and his missing quests follow a more predictable path. It is going to take a good week and a half, in all likelihood, just due to the sheer number of quests needed, and since this is Azeroth, it takes a looooong time to commute. Happily though, he skipped some of my favorite zones, allowing me to relive them again without that whole leveling stress.

So... Any other buyers out there? This is considerably more profitable than dailies. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


One year later....


I recall very early in my WoW career making the switch between clicking my abilities and keybinding them. The transition was smooth and natural - I still love the feeling of hand-dancing through my shot rotation. I'm very partial to my set up, as well. The visual person that I am works to make sure what is on screen coordinates with my keyboard. I can't have two things that are far away from each other on my bars be adjacently bound under my fingers. My spatial reasoning likes things being symmetric.

So, what's my set up? First of all, I began my life as a hunter with my main shots centralized, melee abilities off to the left, and off-shots to the right. I didn't realize it at the time, but it allowed me set up the rest of my keys without range constraint. With my main shots in the middle of the main action bar, my hand had free range of the rest of the key board. However, it didn't allow me to get into the habit of making key-modifier macros, since my hand is only in the left portion of my keyboard for melee situations. CTRL and Shift modifiers just never became a habit for me, so I balk at using them.

Here are my action bars:

A couple of macros I use are my Kill Command/Kill Shot macro, which I still spam as a remnant of the BC days, and a stopcasting/Disengage macro for middle of Steady Shot get-a-ways. For fights like HM: Twin Val'kyrs, where AoE effects come from every direction, the bottom two bars are hidden since they don't contain any vital abilities. For fight specific macros, there is a column not shown to the direct right of Master's Call, health stone, and mage food (hence the box looks uneven). My aspects are in a hidden bar off to the left of my screen, so they are not seen here. Mounts are handled by Livestock, which also applies Aspect of the Cheetah/Pack when indoors, but I keep a pair on hand just in case.

Here is my keyboard:

My hand is constantly centered with my ring finger on 5/Chimera Shot, middle on 6/Aimed Shot, and index able to do the full gambit around that area. Pinky takes care of `/Pet Attack and F4/Aspect of the Viper; ring manages 4/Disengage and F5/F6/Kill Macro in addition to Chimera; middle Y/Viper Sting, F7/Multi-Shot, and H/Mend Pet along with Aimed Shot; and index deals with U/Tranq, 7/Arcane, 8/Steady, 9/Serpent Sting, F9/Aspect of the Dragonhawk, and I/Volley. My thumb takes care of ,/Rapid Fire and ./Readiness. Silencing Shot is bound to my third mouse button under my right thumb. C/Push To Talk is handled by whatever finger is free at the time.

As you can see, I put a lot of weight on my index and middle fingers to take care of some more random effects. What I rely on them to do are the necessary abilities that for the most part do not have priority over other shots, so they should be free to do those shots when they are called for. Thus, if Jaraxuss needs to be Dispelled, I don't need to remove my fingers from my important shots in order to shoot Tranq.

Abilities I do not have keybound are those that do not necessarily have to constant throughout the fight, are only called on for circumstance, or simply have too many options. Misdirection, for example, I keep the main spell in addition to two macros for: One to keep it up on the focused tank, the other to keep it up on the target of target. Because fights can be unpredictable, I don't want to be in the habit of hitting the same keybind for the focus-target Misdirection when the situation may call for the target of target or the free Misdirection. Deterrence I do not want to hit accidentally and waste precious DPS time and the cooldown.

While I am fluent enough at maintaining a hand bound rotation, I am still working to completely transition my movements to mouse. I am such a dependent strafer, it is difficult for me to abandon WASD. Every time I go to Best Buy, I drool over the $80 mouse with seven buttons that I would love to bind to my strafe, but I just can't justify the cash. Right now I'm about 50-50 with my movements, mouseturning when I am maintaining a basic shot rotation, keyboard turning when not.

Monday, October 19, 2009

O hai thar!

As one of the Beloved Readers commented: "I'm glad when you don't post much. It means you are getting important stuff in order." Well, I don't know about important, but life is moving along, and it doesn't exactly provide much material for a WoW blog along the way.


We finally, finally downed the HM:Twin Val'kyrs. Nothing noticeable dropped (okay, a feral staff did), and I enjoyed the fight immensely. I've been a little peeved about not being able to try the whole DPS-n-soak bit [every time I was on it I either a) put too much focus on the soaking and didn't even try to DPS or b) put too much focus on the DPS, pulled aggro, and failed all around], and I was satisfied with the results. While I have enjoyed every strat we tried, this one I found more feasible for the DPS-n-soak, since you are responsible for a 12th of the field instead of a 3rd.

I've been working on a few minor projects to take up my time. I'm a third of the way done through the Gurubashi Arena Grand Master. I'm one bloody Hallowed Helm away from my new fusia protodrake. I was three Tastyfish away from winning the Stranglethorn Fishing Tourney last Sunday.

Also, I've had motivation to work on my alts. Partially, it's because of the hostility in the air as we banged our heads against the Twin Valks, and I welcomed the escape. More of it is because I need more gold. And just a tad of it is because I genuinely enjoy reliving all the lore and content. My DK is 71, my druid is 58, and my baby shaman is 34.

Finally, I've rolled another hunter. She's separate from my little inner story, but I felt I needed to relive the experience again before it irrevocably changes. It won't be the same as it was five years ago, of course, and I highly doubt she'll hit 80 before I leave the game forever, but it would still be a nice affirmation for my class.


GRE done and taken! I was happy with the math results, not so pleased with the verbal results, and found the essays simple. I told myself I was simply writing another blog post (the fastest and lamest blog post evar), and it was amazing how easily the words came to me. I wish I could say the same for the analogies... Final results will come in less than a week, and I can finally finish that formality of a grad school application.

The Boy is gone for nearly five weeks, first to Hawai'i, then to Georgia, then some where else - I can't remember. This leaves me alone with two kittens, which means there is no one to keep them entertained while I am raiding. It is very interesting maintaining a shot rotation while your left shoulder has a kitten perched on it.

I still have a wedding to plan, and the Save-The-Date cards are not coming out as well as I had hoped. I wanted to photoshop a picture of the Boy and I playing the game of Life onto an empty roller coaster, but my skills for photoshopping are a bit rough. I never got around to getting the shot of just the Boy and I, so now I'm wondering if I'll have to just go with a sappy picture of the two of us and call it good. I don't like compromising a good idea...

So, there you have the last couple of weeks in a nutshell. It is a dry season in the Blogosphere - I have no idea how Pike manages to keep the regular flow of posts constant - and there is just not much to say that hasn't been said before. I have some plans for posts in the works (doesn't everyone?) so we'll see if I can't resurrect my ol' bloggin' self.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My brain is melting

With my GRE on Thursday, I've been trying to cram a lot of studying in the past week with the result that even trying to write a word feels arduous. Seriously, I am double-checking every single word I see, freaking out that it is spelled incorrectly. The majority of my English skills seemed to have resigned in protest, such that it takes me two minutes to conjure up a correct turn of phase. All of this summing up to how much I hate tests.

The best part of doing all of this vocab studying is the recognition of words used in WoW that don't necessarily mean what they do in the proper English usage. Take 'enervate'. My first impression was, "Oh, it's sorta like innervate, so it must mean 'to infuse' or some such." Nope. It means 'to weaken'. Fuck. Luckily, some words, like neophyte or zealot are dispersed throughout the game. I smiled a bit when I saw raiment on my vocab list. I wonder if the creators of items and NPCs have a well-thumbed thesaurus on their desk.

To make matters worse, I wanted to do a thorough post concerning the social side of ingame raiding and the implications when it is ignored, but my bogged-down mind simply failed at iterating my intentions. Poo.

Anyway, happy server-maintenance Tuesday!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I only dislike ingame kittehs

This is where I've been all weekend. Meet Donnie and Duskie (or Darko, haven't decided yet).

Strange how a laser pointer, two kittens, and a slippery floor completely replaces a video game...

J!NX, why must you tempt my credit card?

I haven't been sorely tempted in a long time. Most tickle my funny bone, but I let them go, knowing very well I don't really need them. I've given in to two in my time: For The Horde and the standard hunter emblem. Now they come out with this:

I think I know what I'm asking the Boy for this December...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

T10, or How Many Other Tier Sets Can You Find AGAIN

So, I'm thinking Cryptstalker Shoulders (T3/7), Helm of Wrath (warrior T2), and some form of druid boots for the end result of looking like a giant, bloated felguard. Yay. Could be worse, I suppose. I actually like the used-look to them. Those giant buckles on the shoulders, particularly. Personally, I'm a big fan of what they have going for the rogues this time.

Hopefully they will do away with that silly different-names-across-factions crap (it's not Talonstrike - IT'S DEATH'S HEAD CROSSBOW) and stick to differentiating with colors. But what about the name?! Plaguestalker? Froststalker? Howitzerstalker Arthasstalker?

The really good news about T10 is the set bonuses:

  • Item - Hunter T10 2P Bonus - Your Auto Shots have a 5% chance to cause you and your pet to deal 15% additional damage for until cancelled.
  • Item - Hunter T10 4P Bonus - Your Shot abilities deal 4% increased damage to targets afflicted with Viper Sting, Serpent Sting, or Wyvern Sting. When your Viper Sting, Serpent Sting, and Wyvern Sting abilities deal damage, you have a 5% chance to gain 20% attack power for 10 seconds.

Not sure about the typo in the 2P - obviously there should be a time in there. Ten or fifteen seconds seems likely. Both of those bonuses are simply scaled versions of things we already have, and I love it.

Update: Boooo they changed the 4P! Bit of a downgrade, depending on what the internal CD is, but still not bad.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Algalon Vid

Complete with our Vent! Ugh, yes, that's me calling out star deaths. I hate my voice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Negathle, Astral Ranger

Not that I felt anything like Chuck Norris last night. It was a weird day all around - somehow our rent didn't go through, so we got a scary notice on our front door; the Boy got chided at work for leaving a lecture early he's attended twice already - just a bunch of strange deviations that sorta caught us off guard and left me caught in quicksand early on in the raid night.

We had nine attempts left in H:ToC25, so we decided to knock them out first. Our first attempt on the Val'kyr was great - a perfect repeat of our best attempts from Thursday. I was happy to do it again and down the pair, but everything sorta fell to pieces, along with my enthusiasm. I vividly recall watching one black ball travel up right behind the light-attuned raid and thinking, "Bloody hell, I should run forward to dodge it, but I'll still get hit by the splash damage," so I sat there, ate it, and died. After the first attempt of the night, the bosses started moving strangely as well. I'm not sure what the tanks were going for, but the first mob we were on kept backtracking into the raid, leaving me struggling to find the sweetspot between doing deeps and being able to click on the portal. This was the first time it had happened in all of our attempts (and, regretfully, not the last), and my mind in its already perturbed state wasn't coming up with the clever solution it is capable of producing, so I just dealt with it stupidly, nipping the big deeps I had produced on our first attempt in the bud. On our last attempt, I was sat, whether for dying to orbs or not switching attunements fast enough (I certainly hope it was the former - I was clicking on portals as fast as neurons fire), which left me even more flustered.

Off to the Starry Dude, where we downed him in four attempts. I got scolded for just killing stars without regard to the Cosmic Smashes after the first try, something that is part of my job, and all I could give back was a weak "I'll try" for the next. I died twice to Big Bang - once because I didn't know it was coming (adding confusion to why my DBM wasn't showing all bars), the other as I was half in a black hole portal. On our kill, I had died to a star exploding (I think), rezed, only to die again as I ran to set myself up for the last 20% and phased into a black hole portal. There should be a vid of it coming up soon, so you can all watch my badness in action.

So I left raid, went to Dalaran to watch the little event, and got even more pissed at this little snippet:

A day of non-sequitors topped of with this. Can I defect to the Blue Dragonflight now? Please?

Anyway, at least my arenas went as well as could be expected for an early Monday afternoon. It helped that Ulduar25 was kind to us (we one-shotted every boss except Firefighter, which was a three-shot) and provided me with a some lovin':

I wing-clip you with a constellation!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Horde's Crusade!

Tonight's 10 man completed A Tribute to Mad Skill for the first time tonight. Various people took credit for the final kill - the shadow priest dispersion tanked, the rogue popped evasion, etc. All I know is this:


No, everyone in the 10 man group was awesome - heals, dps, and the two tanks that are normally a tree and a kitty. Great job, Group 2 (aka Team Ninja)!

I also took a very shiny bow, despite it being a downgrade, because it is fucking hot:

I wish I could use it in the battlegrounds...

Look! Look! Misdirection doesn't suck as much!

Misdirection: Redesigned. Instead of having finite charges, it now begins a 4-second timer when the hunter using Misdirection performs a threat-generating attack, during which all threat generated by the hunter goes to the friendly target. In addition, multiple hunters can now misdirect threat to the same friendly target simultaneously.

So it's still not as good as Tricks of the Trade, but it's good to know that hunters are at least getting some love back as the original bearers of the ability.

If you can dodge a wrench...

I have a favorite fight of the expansion. It's been a long time coming, particularly since we are on the third full raid instance of Wrath, and nothing before it had tickled my fancy.

I have fairly high standards for the Favorite Fight title. The encounter has to represent everything about raiding I value: Fun fight, complex strategy, individual accountability, and (of course) the potential to do my job very well: AWESOME DEEPS. In 3.0, I suppose I could say that my favorite fight was Sarth plus Three Drakes, though at the time that last part was lacking, it had everything else up to par. Ulduar was more difficult. When a current guildee asked me what my favorite boss fight in the instance was, I had to actually think. XT would be up there, but hunters are always on bitch spark duty, so it's not as fun. Thorim would probably be it, but it is lacking in the complex strategy department.

So what about Trial of the Crusader? It's not like any of these fights are vastly different on Heroic verses Normal. Honestly, I'm not sure why the Heroic Twin Val'kyrs appeals to me so much. They don't have any different abilities, nor does the fight have any new things to kill. But as we worked on it last night, getting to 9% on our best attempt before our excitement overtook us, I was getting that feeling of thrill reminiscent of the old days. I felt like I was working on the Illidari Council again, and loving it.

The Twin Valks is a fight that can be done many different ways, and in the end, it is about finding a strat that is comfortable for the raid and sticking with it. Ours relies heavily on individual accountability, since every single DPS must change portal color and start dpsing the appropriate boss immediately should the special ability call for it. It also requires the raid to recognize their color and dodge the opposite-colored orbs if the soakers can't dive for them. It's wrought with dependence on the individual raider's ability to stay alive, and I love it.

Originally, the hunters were soaking. Obviously, this wasn't ideal for us, but we did it since the job was deligated in our direction. It was a bitch, no joke, since at best we might be able to shoot instant shots from the side as we run around trying to get orbs. Then another raider had her boyfriend watch us over her shoulder, and we drew from his suggestions to use Unholy DKs as soakers instead. Then I was in heaven.

This fight is a MM hunter's dream. Why? Piercing Shots. Any stacking DoT is going to do something similar to exponentially more DPS than any other normal ability. Check out this Recount for one attempt:

A 15k tick!! /faint