Monday, June 30, 2008

Something inspiring

This is something that is a little positive, which some of you might like.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back to Scholo

I just did Jandice Barov again before bed. I know I should have been working on finishing the guide I promised Mr Sato, but it's been more than a week since I've been able to get in-game. As someone said to me on the forum just tonight, I spend far more time writing about this game than I do actually playing it, these days.

I was able to buy an nVidia GeForce 8500GT on Ebay yesterday, and should hopefully get it as well next week. That will mean a couple of good things for me.

The first is that in conjunction with some extra RAM which I might be getting soon as well, I'll be able to finally make some of the videos I've been talking about. The second is that I'll finally be able to start using Linux again possibly, which I haven't been able to do with the ATI card.

I've worried with the videos though that I will put people to sleep. My getting to Jandice took probably close to an hour and a half, as pathetic as that might seem; I'm very, very slow and methodical, and I also don't dodge trash at all; I go through all of it, rather than having it hit me in the back when I need room to maneuvre later. So I'd have to choose which stuff I was going to film.

It could still just be my gear, but I find in some parts of Scholo that I still need to think about what I'm doing somewhat. As long as I am careful and do things properly, there's no problem, but I find that rushing still causes aggro to get out of control and for me to get swamped, so I don't do that.

I've got a somewhat new modal keybinding setup that I'll write about here at some point, as well; I realised I needed something new, but didn't want to expend the RAM necessary for Bongos, so I've moved some things around a bit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The gout is gone

A few residual knots and twinges, but I was back to walking yesterday, and the pain is rapidly decreasing. Am going to stay on the new diet, however; but I've allowed myself a bag of Snakes every couple of days, as I love these, and don't want to become completely sadomasochistic. They don't seem to be doing me too much harm.

I want to thank everyone who made comments wishing me a speedy recovery; it was very much appreciated, as were the suggestions for treatment.

Now, back to the forum! ;-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm back - almost

I've been bedridden with my second attack of gout, which is slightly more severe than the last one was. Although it seems to have taken close to a week, I seem to have turned the corner earlier today, finally; the pain and swelling are almost entirely gone, and renal function is returning to normal.

It's made me realise that offline in a general sense, I need to start applying the same degree of conservatism which I traditionally have with Survival in WoW. Although my weight is nowhere near that which people on the forum have at times enjoyed implying, I had previously indulged in a lifetime consumption of Coca Cola, (which, for most of my existence, has been my only real vice) as well as a recent excessive consumption of pizza.

The recent attack though, has made me aware that if I want to avoid premature death, my diet needs changing. I'd already been heading in this direction, but now it's official; Coke and pizza are out, and pescatarianism and green tea are in.

I'm seeing the same principle at work outside of the game to what I've seen inside it; we engage in excess (high threat, max damage to targets when soloing, in WoW terms) because it can feel good, but often, doing more than necessary is self-defeating and harmful; it can be good to get back to basics.

It will probably still be a few days before I'm back to being my usual outspoken, emo self, but don't worry; I'll be back and enthusiastically seeking narcissistic supply on the forum again in no time. ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A new alt

Something I've neglected to mention over the last few days is that I've started a new alt called Lougass. He's a Blood Elf; Mirsh has traditionally been a bit weak against casters in AB, so I wanted to see if the Blood Elf racials could help out a little there.

He's also pure Survival. Mirsh levelled Surv with a few points in BM; Hawk, Monkey, and ET mainly, but still not pure Surv. He's level 23 now, with 110 Ag so far; got that at level 21 though.

He's cost me a lot, as well. I've spent prolly 120g on him from my bank alt buying 10-19 twink Ag gear. Most people would prolly think that's a really dumb thing to do, but it is letting me tear through mobs in Stonetalon.

It's also confirmed my belief that Survival is as much trap based at lower levels as it is at higher ones. Before level 20, it's very, very painful. Partly because you don't have Immolation Trap yet, but also partly because there's no really good gear at that point.

Once you get Immolation Trap and Clever Traps though, it's fine. I'm finding that with my gear, in the instances I've done so far with the toon, my damage output is higher than anyone else there just with Serpent and Auto. I know that won't last, mind you.

I really miss playing as Mirsh, though. I still love Orcs. ;-)

I'm noticing a trend...

Over the last 48 hours or so, when I've mentally asked myself what I want or am going to do, the answer hasn't always automatically been WoW.

This has actually been the case for the first time since I can remember; I'm starting to look for other things to do, and not just some of the time. I can isolate a few reasons for it, I think.

1) The dailies are no longer really doable for me on Thaurissan at all. The server has recently allowed free transfers there for Alliance players from PvE realms, and so the island is now literally a perpetual warzone. As soon as I start to try and quest, I will suddenly get close to a dozen mobs crashing into me that some Alliance player has pulled. I can't transfer off either, because I don't have a credit card.

2) Pugging is largely dead. On a new farming alt the other night, I had the first positive pug (a Wailing Caverns run) that I have in months, and a few since then have been bad without exception. Pugs were always hit or miss, but I often used to get into some really good ones; these days however, a decent one will happen maybe 5% of the time. The difficulty in even the lowest instances has been nerfed into the ground, and nobody cares about any semblance of order any more. It's just chain pull, chain pull, chain pull, wipe.

3) I can't get Kara pugs on Thaurissan because of the degree to which people on that server hate Hunters. Every time I've asked if I can come in response to a Trade ad, the reply is always, "No Hunters."

4) Because pugging is as dead as it is, any incentive I might have otherwise felt to keep levelling my alts on Normal servers is largely non-existent as well.

I realise; I played this game to try and have positive interaction with other people. That doesn't seem to be possible any more, so I'm finding myself wanting to look for things where I can find it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I need to get a life

I haven't been in WoW hardly at all, recently; but oddly I don't feel as though I've really got too much else done, either. I'm working on a Hunter related project atm, and when that is finished, I'm uncertain as to how much more I'm going to be in the game.

Oh, I'm not leaving; not entirely...but there is a need to balance online life with offline. I'm 31 years old, which means that according to the usual human life expectancy, I'm approaching the halfway point. I need to do something of at least minor consequence before I die.

I will still be around, but I'm hoping I can start to develop a somewhat more full offline calendar as well. There's actually some people wanting to get a Durga temple started in Rockbank, in Melbourne. They're having some trouble getting it off the ground apparently, but I'd like to maybe at least make contact with them and see where it goes. Of course, not actually being ethnic Indian myself is making me feel a little nervous about approaching them, but hopefully that wouldn't be a problem.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Survival described musically

For me anyway.

With the below one the video isn't relevant; makes more sense with just the blog header pic as a visual element. The below song has enormous personal significance to me,'ll probably hear some of the lyrics echoed in a few past blog posts. ;-)

This is the other obvious one. As another blogger once said, "Yippee ki yay, mothertruckers!" ;-)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Armored healer lockdown with BM

Following on from my last post about Beast Mastery, there's a particular tactic I found very effective during my last AB weekend with BM that I didn't actually mention earlier.

As Survival, I will admit I've always had difficulty fighting Shamans in particular in PvP. The class is a lot more capable than what seems to be the popular perception, and I find that a good Shaman can actually be very strong defensively.

However, with BM in Arathi Basin, I was able to come up with a way of dealing with them, as long as I had a group with me, and to a degree this worked with Paladins as well, although less often because of the bubble.

If the Shaman was a healer, (and they usually were) I would focus as much ranged 1:1 fire on them as I could, (sometimes employing Rapid Fire as well) while other people in my group focused on killing the Alliance melee.

My goal wasn't actually to necessarily kill the Shaman; they were sometimes sufficiently armored and with high enough Resilience that alone I couldn't, quite. The goal was to use BM's higher base rate of fire to not only to keep them healing themselves constantly, but also to keep them tied up with spell pushback while trying to heal themselves. This meant that not only were they unable to heal anyone else, but they were also unable to drop totems, which could cause other problems.

I found that if I did that, and we had our own healers, my own group would be able to kill any accompanying Alliance Rogues and Warriors more easily, (because the Alliance were getting no or less heals) and eventually isolate and kill the Shaman themselves.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Beast Mastery: A Clarification

This is in reply to Alarand's question in the comments of an earlier post, where he asked if some disparaging comments I made about Beast Mastery on the Hunter forum were meant in earnest.

Truthfully, on reflection, no, they were not. I spoke in haste, and did engage in hyperbole.

Only recently I was experimenting with a primarily Beast Mastery oriented build for use not only as a farming spec, but also in Arathi Basin; in the latter scenario I found it enjoyable.

Although I've made other disparaging comments at times in the past, (which I shouldn't have) I have also continued to maintain that there are a number of Beast Mastery Hunters who I do have enormous respect for. In the very thread Alarand mentions, I later actually made a statement that Big Red Kitty's articles have been of tremendous assistance to me in learning about the class in general, and I stand by that statement.

I have also been asked recently in email to compile a class guide of sorts, which I am in the process of doing, and within that I will be treating Beast Mastery in exactly the same manner as the other two trees; no more negatively or positively. I have also on a couple of occasions advocated Beast Mastery to new Hunters, and will continue to do so, although not in a heavy handed manner, as I feel that a person's choice of spec should be just that; their own choice.

It is actually because of that, that I will admit what does draw my ire, and will, I confess, occasionally draw me into making unwise generalisations, is the attitude of a certain number of resident individuals within the Hunter forum who very forcefully attempt to assert their belief that everyone, regardless of background or any other factor, should be using Beast Mastery, and moreover that if a person is not using Beast Mastery, they should not be playing a Hunter at all.

In a more objective frame of mind, I am able to recognise that neither the tree itself, nor the majority of Hunters who use it, are to blame for the above. There exists a tragic tendency within the Hunter forum to insist on talent tree monoculture, and to be truly relentless in the degree of vitriol expressed towards anyone who would express dissent towards the idea of such a monoculture.

Prior to the release of the Burning Crusade, this monoculture was oriented around Marksmanship. Now, it is centred around Beast Mastery.

I will openly admit that those who advocate said monoculture do have the potential to make me extremely angry. This isn't, contrary to what it might have sounded like due to some admittedly stupid things I've said, due to my supposed hatred of Beast Mastery. It's actually because I'm tired of people refusing to acknowledge the value of all three trees.

To anyone who might suppose it, I can assure you that I would not want to see a Survival monoculture any more than I enjoy seeing the current BM one. Monoculture in general is extremely unhealthy in my opinion. My playstyle attempts to make use of everything I have at my disposal; I've tried to write about that here as well. Range, trapping, melee, DoTs...everything I have has a use, and at times gets used.

That is exactly the way in which I view the trees themselves. When a former guild I was in wiped three times on Murmur during my initial visits to the Shadow Laboratory, I immediately went and respecced to Beast Mastery afterwards. I did so precisely because I felt that if Survival (at least with my then current gear) wasn't what I should use to primarily assist the guild, then I should do whatever was necessary to find what would. If that was BM, then irrespective of whether I might feel that Survival was my more general use spec of choice, I'd use BM. If it was something else, I'd use that.

Although I admit at times that yes, I've tried to force myself to consider the idea of adopting the tree more permanently, and have been unable to do so, I will also say that there have been other times where I've willingly respecced to it for a weekend or so where I was under no duress to do so whatsoever, and on that temporary basis, greatly enjoyed the experience, particularly in Arathi Basin. I've even documented it at least once here when I have done so; that should hopefully demonstrate how I more genuinely feel about the tree.

People do, however continue to demonstrate, over and over and over again, that the gap between the three trees isn't the yawning chasm that the minority of monoculture advocates make it out to be. I do believe it's wrong for people who don't use BM to receive as much abuse as they routinely do from said minority, and I am going to continue to fight said minority tooth and nail.

However, I'm admitting here what I should have admitted there; that my beef genuinely is not so much with the tree itself, as it is with the small band of abusive zealots who try to insist that if people aren't using BM, they shouldn't be playing a Hunter at all. The majority of people who use the tree genuinely aren't like that, and I know that.

Another thing; probably the single most seemingly disparaging statement I made in that thread was that I mentioned the idea that non-Hunters disliked BM, or more specifically, Bestial Wrath. From the amount of complaining I've heard coming from the Priest community in particular, that is true. It also isn't any great slam against people who use the spec, either. I have said before that it sometimes worries me that the highly visible nature of Bestial Wrath is what causes the caster classes to continue to call for Hunter nerfs, primarily due to said casters' ignorance of the class in general, but again, that is not a personal attack on people who specifically use BW.

I apologise to Alarand and anyone else who may have been offended by my statements in that thread. As I have said, for the sake of anyone else who is interested, I later attempted to offer some clarification within the thread itself.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Great Green Hunter added to my blogroll

Truthfully I've actually been meaning to do this for a while; I first learned about GGH through Technorati, and having been looking in on her blog periodically.

Her link is there now though, so those of you who haven't seen her blog yourselves can check it out. She writes well; her preview article on Warhammer in particular is interesting.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A slight restoration of faith

Although I get the feeling for some odd reason that I shouldn't go into specific details, I had something happen earlier tonight which made it at least a little more likely that I'm going to stay in WoW.

Truthfully over the last few days, for the first time I'd genuinely begun wavering. When I got into the guild, it was with an offline friend, and I thought that was finally my chance to do some genuine progression. It might have been my only chance, as well. Thaurissan as a server has a very deep anti-Hunter prejudice; worse than most from what I've seen, actually. As far as moving forward is concerned at this point, I'm going to have to either shop around for another guild, or possibly try and scrape together the money for a transfer. I want to keep trying though; at least for the time being.

The other thing has been the steadily continuing condemnation of me on the forum, the state of the forum in general, and the fact that the trolling has now actually started to spread back here. Given that, I'm still debating banning Arithe from my comments, my earlier apology to him/her notwithstanding, and beginning to adopt an aggressive deletion policy generally. This isn't something I'm going to do lightly, if I do; particularly considering that on the forum at least, the trolls will simply move onto that as a potential focus in their attacks.

The effect that their trashing of me, and their vitriol and mockery towards nearly anyone new to the class who comes in asking questions, has on me could be compared to the steady dripping of water on rock. Each individual drop, by itself, does virtually nothing, but over a long period of time, the cumulative amount of water begins to wear through.

Rakan told me earlier that I feel too much. Yes, I do feel. I feel and display emotion more openly and honestly than just about anyone else I've seen playing this game. Most people on the forums are like the walking dead in that regard; jaded, seared, merciless, cynical, and unsparingly sociopathic. Call me emo if you want; guilty as charged. I'm not going to apologise for it, either. As far as I'm concerned, if you're calling me emo because comparitively speaking, you bury everything, I'm not the one of us who needs help.

I will also never accept the constantly repeated excuse, "It's only the Internet." There are any number of other actions that get taken in this world on a daily basis, the consequences of which are supposedly instantly and miraculously absolved via invocation of the phrase, "It's nothing personal, it's just business." America's current political scenario exists more or less entirely because the country is largely populated by people who are always able to find some rationalisation (however absurd it may be at times) for refusing to take personal responsibility for their actions.

Things do happen online that can have offline ramifications. What you write is going to be read by a thinking, feeling (even if they don't consciously acknowledge that part) human being. There are going to be those who will try to shelter themselves from examining this within the context of their own behaviour by pointing out some of my own acts of savagery on the forum, and labelling me a hypocrite.

Yes, I have attacked people at times, and sometimes quite viscerally so. I'm not like Pike, Brigwyn, or BRK in that respect; individuals who have at least the apparent genuine ability to be flawlessly positive, every minute of every day. Look at the image in the top left corner of the site, and read the story it links to. I don't see Kali as an excuse for my own behaviour, no; but I do see her as being a symbol of the dualistic nature of my own personality, as well as being a symbol of what, if you read this blog, you can realistically expect to get.

At times it's going to be positive, and hopefully informative and useful, as well as being stuff that relates directly to the game itself. Other times it's going to be vicious, negative, angst-ridden drama that will cause you to think I'm mentally ill, and to possibly question your motivation for continuing to read the blog entirely. As well as for being argumentative, I've actually been openly attacked on the forum for trying to be kind towards people at times as well; so there's darkness and light.

You might then well ask, if I attack people too, how come I'm criticising some of you for doing it as well?

The answer is that I'm not actually criticising people on the forum for attacking me and others so much. What I am criticising them for is the cowardly ("It's only the Internet") pretext in which they do it, and for being thoughtlessly sociopathic while they do it. I might not always think about what I say at the time, but I do think about it afterwards, and I often feel a fairly strong degree of remorse for it as well. Most of the rest of the people on the forum simply don't care at all, either during the act or after it.

Arithe, I'm not actually going to ban you from being able to comment; at least not yet. The reason why is because despite your lack of diplomacy, and tendency towards being overly critical, I do sense in you what I did in Alumatine; a genuine desire to try and do something positive. I wrote an obituary of sorts for Alu here which I later took down, which some of you may have seen before I did, however. The reason why I took it down is because in the end, I realised I genuinely didn't agree with it. His underlying altruism notwithstanding, Alu's treatment of people on the forum in the end, in my own mind was genuinely unjustifiable.

That's what I've got a real problem with, I realise now; not that the negativity on the forum exists, but the fact that such truly pathetic, dishonest, and cowardly attempts are made to justify it.

Whenever I attack someone, on later reflection I am nearly always able to identify the cause as having been an externalisation of my own pain. It generally has very little to do with the person I've actually attacked at all. If we (me included) call someone a newb, or a scrub, or terrible, or trash their Armory profile, and really notice some intense negative emotion while we're doing that, we need to stop and ask ourselves something; What am I really this upset about?

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."