Archive for September, 2008

Here’s an update

Still not gone, hurrah! And bulleted lists are fun >^..^<

  • Being able to eat more often than once every 3 days is jawesome. I are not snakey kthx.
  • My sister’s birthday is in two days, I have that long to learn how to paint feathers.
  • I made art, just to prove to myself that I still can. He’s little on purpose. Pixeling is hard.
  • Yesterday was the second time this year my route home has been altered because of a traffic accident involving death, both were within 10 miles of home. (and I live out in the boonies)
  • I’m finally on the PTR and hating…. let me reiterate… HATING paladins. Do not want to be stun-locked by a pally. I won’t rant, and I’m sure I need to do some L2P, but it’s made me huffy.
  • The PvP realm PTR is quite spacious. I like it.
  • I do more damage, but I suck more at PvP…. I know, I need to L2P.
  • Good thing I get 4 character copies, I sold most of my (seemingly) superfluous armor and now I want it back.
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Eeeeehh…

I apologise for the lack of posts. I have not forgotten, nor abandoned this blog.

I am, however, very very sick. As in, curl in my bed and scream for the pain kind of sick.

I’ll try to get back to posting when I’m back up to snuff, but I honestly can’t say when that will be.

Run! Hide!

My real-life stunt double is out to get you!

Ok, yes, I’m sorry, I admit it…. I’m throwing cat videos at you to stall. Turns out that compiling screenshots of everything I want to talk about is taking more time than I thought it would. Also, my artistic standards are much higher than the artwork standards for present-day WoW, so I’m finding myself expounding on the virtues of a properly unwrapped model with no texture streaching and then I log in and see it all over the place… /sigh

Have to keep reminding myself that I’m not attempting to critique all of World of Warcraft.

Now, go enjoy the cat video and call me in the morning 😉

Meh…

The doldrums…

they be settin’ in…

/sigh

I know I’m starting to feel it later than most. When I was transferring to <Unemployed> and getting giddy at my inclusion in 25-man content other people were looking months ahead at the release of Wrath and sighing their longing to the skies.

Recently there has been a new wave of beta keys delivered to the eagerly waiting masses of Azeroth. It would seem that this is the largest release of beta keys to date. I’ve been reading many blogs by people with beta keys but a good half of them seem to have been granted a key by a reader or some other grateful fan. This time, I logged on to see that five of the <Unemployed> recieved an e-mail informing them of their good fortune. I don’t know how many on Hydraxis are now in Beta, but that was a signifigant percentage of the people I talk to on a day-to-day basis.

I was not one of the lucky people to be graced with a beta key. However! Instead of QQing about it (I do plenty of that in the privacy of my own head anyway) I’m going to do my best to help those who did get an invite do their job better.

Yes, I said job.

By using your beta key and not passing it on to someone else you have acknowledged your willingness to work for Blizzard for free. You are a Beta Tester. Your job is to play (or attempt to play) the game you have been provided with and report back any erroneous things you might find. Your job is not to complain that something is unbalanced and bemoan the broken-ness of the game. What you are playing is not Wrath of the Lich King. What you are playing is its beta.

Most games do this step behind the scenes. Take, for instance, a novel. An author is writing a novel and finally the last chapter has been written. But the novel isn’t yet done. There is proofreading to be done and there are issues of flow and tone to be addressed. This all takes place (or should) before a publisher is ever approached.

It’s the same with Blizzard’s latest expansion pack but for one minor major detail. You’ve both been given the opportunity to play the game in its unfinished state and the responsibility to provide constructive feedback pertaining to the issues the developers are working on at the time.

Take this beautiful Blue Post of Ownage, for example…

Q u o t e:
WOTLK Balance – Is a Colossal Failure

I log on today for the patch and what do I see: Warrior, Shadowpriest and Shaman NERFS.

Meanwhile Rogues, DeathKnights and Mages are completely broken. (I play Rouge and Mage so no I’m not personally upset, but this is just dumb).

Even without poisons, on my Rogue I can kill a Shadowpriest within ONE cloak and stunlock. Meanwhile Blizzard is nerfing the mitigation on the Shadowpriest Dispersion. What a good way to balance the game – trying to re-tool the classes that aren’t broken, without touching the ones that obviously are.

Since the community has been so gracious in providing it’s feedback. I would really love to hear some feedback from the Blizzard Developers making decisions.

Have you ever leveled a character to 70 in World of Warcraft?
Have you ever logged on to the WOTLK BETA Test Realms?

Blizzard wanted player input for the development process? I would love to see the player input that advocated for Shadowpriest, Warrior and Shaman Nerfs. Because any player that logs on the Beta Realm for just about minutes, that is not completely blind, would have easily told you, that you’re doing it wrong.

WOTLK Balance is a Colossal Failure. The beta has been plagued by moronic development decisions,
that have completely unbalanced this game, over-complicated this game while reducing the skill level of this game.

I could write pages, about what is broken, what isn’t, what is good and what needs to be fixed. But honestly I’m sick of this. What a waste of time, all the individual player input has been. And one knows it when they see patch notes like these.



Actually, comparing our accounts, I have multiple 70’s more than you do. I also notice that all of my characters are higher level than yours in the Beta.

Thanks for helping us test out the Beta while you lasted. Beta testing isn’t cut out for everyone. It was nice having you.

The Blues have posted time and again, reminding us that we have yet to see a broad-spectrum, accross-the-board class/game balance. In fact, from what I’ve seen, it looks like they’re just now starting to balance the talent trees and skills within each class. <– There’s blue posts there, go read them, very informative.

Now, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a huge “You’re in beta so you’d better be damn appreciative and stop your whining” post. This has turned into a preface of a post I’m going to write for/over the weekend. My goal will be to explain, in layman’s terms and as clearly as possible, how to recognize and critique graphical errors. This might seem like something that’s pretty obvious, but knowing a little bit about the terminology and the way things work can go a long way to helping you make informed critiques and thereby making the Developers’ jobs of fixing the problems that much easier.

So, keep an eye open this weekend, some of the things you can expect to see explained are:

  • The difference between textures, models, and meshes
  • Exactly what an animation is
  • Alpha Maps & Particle Systems
  • Baked vs Dynamic Lighting
  • Collision Boxes

And yes, there will be copious amounts of visual examples!

gnothi seauton

… or ‘Know Thyself’

Wait wait wait, this is not a philosophical blog. What am I doing using this as a platform for soul-searching? Well, bear with my incoherent ramblings and you may just glean a bit of truth and insight into how this seemingly innocuous saying makes WoWing lives a lot easier.

There is currently a discussion happening on the <Unemployed> forums about raid preparedness, progression, focus, and carrot-vs-stick methods of enforcing this.

One of our raid leaders posted a link to this discussion on the official WoW forums and asked us to discuss. I recommend reading all the responses, there’s a good blue response in there as well.

Now, I’m not going to talk about raid focus, progression, preparedness, and the lack there-of per-sé.

When doing anything, and specifically when taking part in raiding 25-man progression, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses and not only how they relate to your class, but how they relate to your performance as a raider. Now, because this is my blog and my little place to indulge my inevitably generous dose of egocentricity, I’ll use myself as an example.

I am…

  • Primarily a follower. I like to have someone telling me what to do
  • Paranoid. This is a throw-back from my gradeschool days. If a group of people were talking in hushed tones… well then of course they were talking about me. A group across the room suddenly bursts into laughter… of course they’re laughing about me. I apply to a raiding guild and can see lots of new posts on the forums but neither their title nor their content then… of course they’re all talking about me.
  • A sponge for praise. I cannot get enough of it. A little goes both a long way and not nearly long enough for me. Every tiny bit is kept and cherished while I’m still desperately hungering for more.
  • Devoted. If I make a promise or a commitment I will stick to it to the best of my ability. I also expect everybody else in my life to do the same.
  • While not exactly comfortable with taking lead, I will do so if it’s necessary and I feel myself equal to the task.
  • Honest. If I make a mistake, I will own up to it, and if you see me make a mistake I want you to tell me.
  • Easily frightened. I don’t take harsh criticism well. I withdraw into a small, terrified shell and any inclination I might have had to lead is now gone up in smoke.

Now, some of these traits are virtues, some of them are, while not a vice, certainly a hindrance. This is why it’s important to know yourself. My first point states that I don’t like to lead, I’m not comfortable in that position and I get nervous easily. However, I play a tank. Tanks are supposed to be natural leaders. If they don’t act in a raid leading capacity they are at least expected to know when it’s time to pull and help keep things moving forward. To this end I’ve discovered that if I’ve seen an encounter enough and am knowledgeable enough, I feel capable of taking the lead.

Is this a kind of dichotomy? Absolutely. The trick to making it work is knowing under what conditions I find myself feeling capable of leading, and doing my best to re-create these conditions.

I mentioned I am paranoid. It’s true when they say acknowleging you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it. I have a very active imagination that tends to jump to the worst-case scenario. Since I know that’s what my mind will do, whenever I start feeling that way I make it a point to step back and think of other options. Every time I’ve managed to come up with a solution that, while it may not be correct, has nothing to do with me and makes a lot more sense than thinking everyone is out to get me.

I like praise, I’m dependable, I’m honest. I know these are my virtues so I strive to make them shine. If you know I don’t enjoy leading, but I say I will lead, then you are damn sure that I’ll give it my all, won’t flake out, and will do everything in my power to troubleshoot. I point the finger at myself first and make absolutely sure there’s nothing I could have done differently before looking to others for the source of the problem.

As for being easily frightened, I simply strive to not place myself in a situation where that will happen. My last guild I got screamed at where a quiet /w of ‘Hey, I know this is a new spec for you but it doesn’t look like your gear is quite up to par. I’d like you to run a few instances and heroics before we take you back into kara’. Instead there was an angry growl of ‘Lowest DPS leaves!’ then damage meters were posted and there I was, leagues below anyone else. Suffice to say, I never raided with that guild again and I quickly found myself another guild.

Know what kind of a situation you are willing to tolerate, and what kind of a situation will make you break. I’m a casual gamer. I enjoy raiding and I enjoy progression, I take it seriously, but at the same time I want to have fun. Being prepared and ready both physically and mentally is just considerate for your fellow raiders. It’s a ‘Do Unto Others’ kind of thing. It is possible to be relaxed and ready at the same time, to be serious when you’re in a raid and have fun. Trust me, it is, I’ve done it!

Knowing yourself is the first step in helping you find what kind of an atmosphere you would do best in. Remember, not everyone is going to hold your hand and not every guild is going to be a good fit. It’s your job as a responsible raider to know where you will fit well and to be able to identify a good or bad situation when you see it, and react accordingly.

Tigerfeet +1

No, I’m not pregnant… (I only WISH)

Mr Tigerfeet brought home a new kitten yesterday. He assured me it was a girl. We’ve already got a boy cat about two years old (fixed) and a girl cat (un-fixed,  but not for long) that’s a little over 1 year old. We’ve been together for three years and each year have gotten a cat… I hope this doesn’t turn into a trend?

Anyway, poor little kitty was in very sad shape. When his sister found it, it was wandering drunken-ly on the sidewalk, thin as a rail, with an eye crusted shut and it’s whiskers cut clean off. So, he called me at work to ask if I’d be ok taking in another kitty. After his assurances that it was a girl cat and we’d be in no danger of impregnating the prissy little princess we already had, I said alright.

I got home, and I’m convinced this little ball of fluff is a HE. But, it doesn’t bug me all that much. We’ve named him Nibbles, (our other cats are Virgo (male tabby) and Lily (female calico)). The poor little guy is TINY. You could fit three of him in a regular water bottle. He’s also very round… well, since we fed him he’s very round.

I feel so bad for him and his missing whiskers. They’re so short, and cut VERY evenly… he’s got little spikes coming out of his face. He wanders around kind of lost but is very very affectionate. We’ve washed his eyes too and he’s bright and alert, acting every inch the healthy kitten.

Alright, I just checked this place and yup, little nibbles is undeniably male. Mr Tigerfeet? You fail at sexing kittens. But, now that he’s in our house I don’t think we’ll be getting rid of him. I’m way too soft-hearted. Unfortunately, we now have two male tabby cats. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to tell them apart when Nibbles is grown!

Special Note on Druid Fun

That snowball macro I posted yesterday? You know, the one for mid-air combat?

Yeah…

About that?

Don’t try it with Heavy Leather Balls.

Heavy Leather Balls acctivate the Global Cool-Down, Snowballs do not. GCD activated means you have to wait and manually click to get back into bird form, can we see where this is going here?

Thankfully, last night I had the foresight to test this out while still relatively close to the ground. UNfortunately I had filled my inventory with Heavy Leather Balls prior to testing this out. The result? I was running around Shatt for a good hour pelting people with balls until I just decided to share the ‘fun’ with my guild and plopped the last few stacks in our bank.

Now, granted, if you’re doing this game with another druid, and are flying very high, there’s nothing stopping you from tossing balls at them then manually shifting back into bird. But lets face it, that’s not nearly as much fun as doing it with snowballs 😉

As for the Druid Macros of Yesterday –

Final versions are up. Those are the ones that work and the ones that are totally awesome. Thanks everyone for your input! (all two of you) 😉

In other news…

I bought Spore.

I’m already addicted.

I made dragon people… completely on accident.

More time as a creature plzkthx?