Feb 26, 2009

Quake Live "open beta"

Quake Live has just launched, which is nothing less than a browser based, free to play online first person shooter, Quake III Arena with extra bells and whistles! I have tried it, being a die hard quaker back in the old days and I got a seriously good feeling about this one. Been long since I held a rocket launcher or a rail gun in my digital hands, but the fragging is still oh so sweet!

About the "open beta" tag, the game is pretty much done. Apparently ID Software werent sure just how they would release the thing like a normal title so they just put that tag on to have their backs covered if something goes awfully wrong. It will still be free to play when it goes out of beta as it is called, but there will be an option to pay for premium giving you server and clan hosting and lots more.

Setting it up is easy, you visit the site and register, download a 3 mb browser plugin, restart your web browser and you are good to go. The site and servers are hard pushed currently though so there may be quite the queue to get in. When I went in this afternoon there was a 22.5k line, this evening it had climbed to 50k. It goes a lot faster than your average wait time on a full WoW server though.

The futuristic rocket launch-em-up style of Quake III may not be everyone's cup of tea, and if you go in expecting Crysis graphics you will be in for a let-down. But for anyone else looking for a good, fast-paced online gibbing time, go!

Queues are down to 1k-5k when I have been on so it takes a minute or two only. Proof of the plagues online FPS's, aim bots have surfaced though and apparently quite many are using it.. Why oh why do people invent these things, thought the point of games are, you know, playing them and not have someone/something do it for you?

Update 2:
Queue times are gone completely, and the game plays very well, no noticeable lag at all even on servers with 150+ latency. Not run into obvious aim bots in a while so I'll assume that's dealt with. Also Player skill ranking seems to be working now, which basically lets you very easily join servers with players on your own skill level, quite neat. :)

Feb 25, 2009

The daring adventures of The Muscleteers!

Start of week two for our spanking tanking 2v2 arena team, and the first points started trickling in. Oh and if you look at the honor tab.. 14 wins 16 losses total and down by 208 points, what's up with that !?

Our rating got destroyed a bit by 7 losses from 10 played in the first week, but having played a bunch of games today the rating has climbed up if just a little. We made some slight changes and the performance difference was plain as day!

We changed from wearing whatever resilience and dps gear we had, to our shiny tanking sets, with just the odd few 80 epic pvp pieces we got thrown in. With all the str and hit/expertise on tanking sets now, the raw difference in dps stats was disturbingly small compared to using gemmed and enchanted dps epics+savage and up pvp gear. Big plus with all that health against caster dps and well, melee dps hate us for obvious reasons.

Last week I went in with a pvp oriented prot spec, with stuff like improved disarm, safeguard, the whole shebang. I respecced last night back to proper tanking spec for Malygos 25 and figured I'd give it a spin in arena as well and surprise surprise.. I didnt notice any difference, at all. So basically your typical raid tanking spec.

Opsidius however changed his spec more dramatically, going from unholy tanking, to blood tanking, and this was the big big difference we noticed, the amount of self healing and whatever it is he does to heal me was just huge!

Everything here is subject to change, remember we're playing at rather low rating atm.

Double DPS teams are easy as pie, really. Using our oh shit cooldowns as they open their burst we just brute force our way through it while Opsi provides moderate but steady healing.

Any team with a mage we kill whatever the other player is first. Mages are a nightmare to get down, no matter what spec they pack. I dread the day we'll run into double mage teams. The good thing is that if we make it through all their cooldown abilities, all they do is kite, which they do well enough mind but they're not really killing us either.

Healer+DPS teams are still as expected the hardest, decent dps as tanks do now it still lacks a bit on really forcing the healer into panic mode and wasting mana or even going oom eventually. However, something that works is having the DK start wearing the DPS down while I glue myself to the healer, this usually made the healer try to kite me and run around corners, and as soon as they do that I join on the dps. We managed a few times to kill the DPS then if he wasnt at full hp before the healer could help him with the DK plus me throwing in the lovely but short burst dps that is Concussion blow+Shield slam+Shockwave+heroic throw. :) Tiny bit of luck on the crits there and we're talking 7-8k damage in a 3 sec or so.

Of the 10 matches I played today we won 8 of them! Tables turned completely from the results we had last week, and I can't wait to go back in for more. Arena tanking might be cheesy, but it is also darn good fun! :D

Feb 22, 2009

On Warrior PvP

Last night (in the late hours of course), I had a rant-session on my guildchat about how I feel warriors are left behind in the stone age compared to all other classes and how they have become less and less viable for PvP.

It should come as no surprise I had just been to a series of disasterous BG's prior to my outburst. I went in first with a pvp tweaked fury build which was total humiliation, then again with a pvp oriented prot build, with no sign of improvement.

Now there's no hiding if you armory me, that I havent done a whole lot of pvp since WotLK launced but before that I used to be quite active, playing weekly on 3 teams in fairly ok teams, so I have a fairly good idea on how to kill other players dead. Being on a rp-pvp server also forces reminder lessons daily. ;)

Anyway! Its a common trait among WoW players to always consider their own class underpowered and I am no exception, but the kind of response I recieved was mildly shocking. I had 4-5 guys playing different classes telling me that prot warriors are so unstoppable and can kill anything, this was just after I had been kited around by a mage in EotS while a druid was healing me for a couple minutes, couldnt touch the bugger at all.

I replied that yes, 1v1 protection warriors are strong against certain classes, funnily enough arms and fury warriors, enhancement shamans, warlocks and priests. I also said that protection dps requires that I take a heavy beating, in group pvp people have to be idiots to feed me rage while there are easier targets to wear down. And some other mumbo jumbo, if you play a warrior as well you will know all the arguments.

But still, they wouldnt budge and were adamant in saying prot warriors are awesome for bg, arena, you name it and that was when I took them on their word, and offered them a chance to do some arena with the awesomeness that is Prots. Two death knights took the bait, which led to the birth of.. The Muscleteers! (2v2) We did some initial rounds last night and ended on 3 win - 7 loss, but there is room for some improvement on teamplay and we're going to play a lot more hopefully. So we now got a fabulous tank team running around on Rampage battlegroup with unholy and blood death knights, and me.

What we noticed right away is that it takes them some time to figure out which of us to go for. I'm obviously prot with my shield out but have limited self healing and deal considerable oomph if focused, and my death knight mates are quite resilient too with self healing and high damage. On most of the matches they went for me, which in double dps teams meant we won the match. We had as expected great trouble with healer teams though, especially with a paladin involved. I have really no idea how to counter the absorb shield, high armor, heavy healing.. Advice welcome.

At any rate, this should mean for some amusing evenings between raids, will post stories of great victories and defeats, possibly or most likely with a dash of whine!

Feb 21, 2009

Browser games

Not related to WOW or MMO's at all, I still have to share with you a wonderful browser game site I found: Armor Games ! Theres like a bajillion flash games there, and the three I've tested so far, Sonny, Sonny 2 and Super Mafia Land are all wonderful! Off to test what looks like a tower defence game next, speaking of wasting time, the hours I spent on TD's on WC3 battlenet... :)

The Sonny games are basically tactical combat games, Final Fantasy style and you get one guess only what kind of game Super Mafia Land is.. Perfect site to waste some time at (server maintenance, downtime at work etc).

Glad I stumled over this site and wanted to share the goodiebag with you all. :)

My friday night

So as I was going home from work last evening I was all excited to relax and have some fun in the game, perhaps do a 10 man with my guild.

I get home, dig out my lame screenshot to post here and log on. I sign up for a Naxx10 set to start at 22.00 and the next thing that happens is a mate asking if I'd be up for tanking the daily heroic, good for warmup!

So we blast through Violet Hold in what turned out to be my mage friend and 3 randoms, still it went ok, no wipes though I felt a bit sorry for my healer, all three dps were in the 1000-1500 range so it was a bit of an endurance test.

We finish there and minutes later a guild group is asking for tank to run some heroics, I'm all over it and we tear up Halls of Lightning and even get the Loken achievement. Awesome, disregarding most of the group got blasted to shreds in the last aoe. Details!

Its now 20:30 and I'm asked to join for another, but I figure I could use a breather between heroicing and diving into Naxxramas, which was understandable. So I get out of the group, do my cooking daily as I'm preparing a pasta for dinner, eat and look at the time, 21:15.

Hm, still some time left before the raid starts, and I notice I'm quite tired, nothing a 15 min power nap wont sort, right ? So I hit the couch, set an alarm just to be sure and close my eyes.

Next thing I know its 07:30 in the morning, d'oh.. Sorry Orphans! Seems I'm just not built for weeks of 11-13 hour work shifts, hope it gets a bit calmer here! And yes, I'm writing this from work too.

Looking forward to the "Minus fifty fucking DKP!" yells next time we're on TS ;) At any rate, I probably deserve that just for the sake of crashing so early on a friday evening, raid or not.

I must be getting old.. Can't blame it on alcohol either, the shame!

Feb 20, 2009

6th Screenie

My hopes of avoiding this screenshot passaround thing entirely failed me, as Yakra over at Mirror Shield tagged me for it. Not one to step down from a challenge I present my incredibly lame contribution! (click the images for full size ones if they're a bit small)

Cant strike gold with every screenshot taken, can we? *blush* So, what I got for you is basically me loitering in Shattrath seeing one of those oversized pets for the first time, and for some reason I found it screeny-worthy. :]

Oh well, guess it can serve to show what my UI has been looking like. This shot is quite old of course but it hasnt changed all that much since then. Added another screeny to show what it looks like now, and indeedy, its mostly the same apart from pitbull frames and minor cosmetics. Oh and feel free to gasp in awe at my incredible AFK-sit a mile up in the sky skills!

Now for the hard part, passing the challenge on. Urgh. Not been around that long so the full list will take a bit. But for now, here are the challenged:


I'll look for a few more to poke, later tonight. :)

Feb 18, 2009

Heroic Strike, the Warrior's worst friend

Edit 19/07/11: This blog entry is horridly outdated and shouldn't be read in any serious manner by anyone. I want to point this out because it has been one of my most read posts even until today. Heroic Strike got "fixed" although not in the way I wanted. I'm not exactly thrilled about it being an extra button push for instant (awful) damage at 50-70 rage either. I'm glad Heroic Strike is an instant attack now which is something warriors needed, but even in freak occurences where it keeps critting, using it with our 0 cost procs, and incite, it remains an afterthought, a trick to push out a couple hundred dps in rage satiated situations.

In the current Firelands tier of content, there are a number of fights where Warriors are fed rage, where the current heroic strike and its counterpart cleave are spammed on their 3 second cooldowns, but I'm not entirely sure I want Warriors DPS based around that. And come on, you know a nerf to heroic strike/cleave is coming just because of these fights, however pitiful rage dumps they are.

Oh, and Warriors whether tanking or dps are still spamming their heroic strike/cleave hotkeys like crazy, even more so in situations where it can be kept up thanks to Inner Rage. Was that the best "fix" Blizzard could think of, really ?

With that out of the way, if you want to read my ancient rant about Heroic Strike with the mechanic it used to have, read on.

What about Heroic Strike, exactly?

For those uninitiated in the "fine art" of protection warrior tanking, it is an essentual tool for keeping up aggro during any raid encounter. It has been in the game since day one and has always been useful while tanking for dumping rage and gaining extra threat, but these days it seen more as a mandatory keypress every 0-0.5 seconds (can think of at least one wws +video to show it, will try to dig it out tomorrow), just to be able to keep aggro and let those dps'ers show their true potential.

There's countless WWS logs out there on single target bossfights where the tank takes lots of damage, where good tanks do 0-5 autoattacks. Over several minutes. Thats a lot of heroic strike hammering. While the warrior tank is doing this, he or she is also spamming his regular short CD abilities, and it all adds up to AT LEAST 3-5 key presses per second if the tank is on the ball, as expected.

There has not only been concern but also obvious evidence that this kind of keyboard mashing is not only expensive as it obviously destroys your keyboards rather fast, but also causes hand and arm motor damage. There have been numerous suggestions as to how to ease the job of putting out acceptable tps and ragedumping, which have largely gone unnoticed.. until now!

This is perhaps the best news I've heard in a long time ( ok that says something about my life in general, I KNOW ), I sincerely desperately hope Blizzard acknowledges this and takes action for a fix before permanent hand and arm nerve injuries join the usual line of counter-effects warriors have to deal with while doing their job, and this is no call for nerf, but being forced to mash our keyboards to stumps doing the same job a DK does pressing 4-5 buttons every 5 seconds (assuming GCD reducing "aura", even less without it), it ain't right.

I am hoping for a heroic strike toggle, instead of manually using it constantly, perhaps even with a lower rage limit for activating it to make sure rage is conserved for the regular GCD's. Here's to hoping... *crosses fingers*

Update: Found the video mentioned above, Patchwerk 25 man 1m54s kill, tank doing average 10.5 keystrokes per second, 3.3k dps. The video spawned a very interesting debate over at tankspot, well worth reading (link includes video and discussion board). High quality download available at filefront, recommend taking 5 mins to download it, its just 105 mb. If the topic isnt of interest it may still be worth a watch if you like raid encounter vids, or angry music! ;)

Feb 17, 2009

Too soon, Executus!

Or about bleeding time, all depends.

Time for an overdue update! Moving and being rather busy in general the blog project has been on forced hold for a while, but it looks like things are getting somewhat normal now. Actually they have been for a few days now but being stuck without an internet connection for 3 weeks, naturally my first priority has been to get some serious gaming done!

On the bright side, seeing how eager I've been to get back in the game showed me I'm not nearly ready to put WoW away, good thing considering the game was starting to feel a bit bland. Really missed the guildies and just goofing around, it is good to be back :)

After I returned to WoW I've been to a Naxx10 which we cleared about half way in 3 hours, joined a followup run in Naxx25 where we cleared our way to Kel'Thuzad, wiping at 5% on him just long enough over our scheduled raid time that we decided to call it rather than going again (he's so going down tomorrow, guild got him on 25man before but not while I've been about to see it). We also had a rather sweet first evening of tries with Sartharion with an extra drake up.

He went down on our third go and seeing how chaotic it all turned with just one drake up, I gotta admit I'm a bit psyched about trying it with more of them! Was good fun.

Finally though and what was perhaps the highlight since I picked up the game again, we had an old school Molten Core and Blackwing Lair raid! I hadn't been to those places in ages and despite the obvious steamrolling, it was really sweet being there again, brought back good memories. To make it all the better, an old friend who has been farming MC for months now trying to get his last Binding of the Windseeker for his Thunderfury sword joined as well, and would you believe it, the damned thing dropped ! Well earned, Zagar :)

We had some other fun drops too, one of our hunters picked up Ancient Petrified Leaf and I'm now purely for nostalgic reasons the happy owner of Ashkandi and The Untamed Blade , two beautiful swords! Good times..

Unrelated, I am searching for some decent wow related plugins to put on the blog, I would be very grateful if visitors could point me in the right direction. Looked at an armory plugin but it didnt really seem to work at all, is there any of the sort out there thats compatible with blogspot pages?

Wrapping it up here for now, as a final note I am very interested in feedback on the blog. Anything goes, constructive or otherwise. ;) Stay tuned!