Saturday, July 26, 2008

A hopefully permanent gout cure

I had a brief return of the gout monster three days ago, which is why I didn't end up posting for a week, although this time, thanks in part to your suggestions, I was considerably more prepared than usual.

As well as hitting the celery as people here suggested, I also did some research on planetary/elemental correspondences and herbalism, and remembered my own natal chart; 12th house (feet) Aries (fire), and Mars (fire) in Aquarius in 11. (Shins, ankles)

In English, what that means is that I have a more or less permanent case of dehydration in my lower extremities. I've made some more extensive modifications to my diet to include a lot more things with watery associations, (a banana every morning, avocados fairly regularly because they're cheap at the moment, cherries periodically, and lots of chamomile and/or celery tea) as well as now cutting out the pizza entirely, which I will confess I went back on after the initial attack of gout left. (lots of salt and condensed meats which worsen dehydration) As well as reducing (though not cutting out entirely, because I do need them) the Martian herbs. (Garlic, ginger)

I also eat at home more often, and if I do want fast food, the only place I go to now is Subway, which, although probably still somewhat questionable, is the only fast food place in existence that I know of that can go close to claiming to be genuinely nutritious.

The result is that over the last few days, the gout has gradually reduced in intensity, to the point where it is now almost entirely (although not 100%) gone. I am anticipating that by remaining on my modified diet, I will be able to manage it more or less indefinitely.

I know most people laugh at astrology, but I tend to find that if I trace something back far enough as far as the correspondences are concerned, I can usually match it with something that empirical science does know about.

Not only for gout, but if any of you have any other medical problems which you haven't been able to get conventional help for, I'd recommend having a look at your own natal chart. The GP I went to was entirely baffled by the cause of the gout, since according to him my bloodwork and kidney were fine. The chart can sometimes show up the causes for things in places which a mainstream doctor probably wouldn't think to look.

A better night of PvP

Qoy qeylIS puqloD, Qoy puqbe'pu'...

Ahem. Sorry... *cough* ;-)

Anyway, last night the offline friend I've mentioned earlier came over and I had a much more successful PvP session than I've had recently. My ratings still suck, but my team won an even 8 out of 19 games in the Arena, and in the last game of 3s I managed to get killing blows on two of the other team...so I felt reasonably good about that.

I'm also going to try for the Conqueror PvP title as well; I managed to finally hit Exalted with AV last night, and am at 50% Revered with WSG as well. I'm still only at Honoured with AB though...that one could take a while. Getting rep with the Frostwolves is actually fairly easy; AB will be the hardest of the lot, since AFAIK we only get 10 rep per node cap there. WSG is 35 per cap, and I think more if you cap it yourself...so I can get roughly 100 rep per winning game.

I'm moving closer finally to the new bow, as well...am at about 18.5k hp, out of 27k needed. We also had some good world PvP on Quel'Danas; it definitely helps when I'm not entirely alone.

I am thinking though that in WoW, PvP could definitely end up becoming my niche. ;-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Welcome to World of Roguecraft

I logged in yesterday to play some Arathi Basin, and keep moving closer towards getting the Season 2 Crossbow.

As I'm playing, I begin to notice something. Against other classes, it's the usual scenario of winning a few and losing a few. That's normal, and I have no problem with it.

Against Rogues in particular on the other hand, I begin to notice a pattern where whenever I get targetted by one of them, I'm essentially a free kill; there's virtually nothing I can do about it whatsoever. The stunlock sets in, and even when I trinket out of it, a stun is immediately reapplied.

My long time readers will know that the Rogue isn't a class I've ever been hugely fond of, but up until 2.3-2.4 I had been moving towards a grudging form of semi-acceptance. However, they were then given a couple of new abilities (Shadowstep in particular, and a 3 second stun to Mace Specialization, as though they really needed another stun) which has caused them to become even more imbalanced than they were previously.

The culmination of this, I think, has been seen in a proposed Rogue ability in the beta for Wrath of the Lich King:-

Dismantle
Disarm the enemy, removing all weapons, shield or other equipment carried for 10 sec.
1 min cooldown.

I don't think I really need to say too much about the above ability; its' implications for all but the caster classes should be entirely obvious.

The one thing I wish I could ask Blizzard is what the rationale is behind their continual favouritism of the Rogue. Hunters have had some improvements over the course of TBC, but they've still been largely incremental, and at one point a proposed change to the Warlock risked destroying that class's fundamental mechanics more or less entirely, until it managed to be appealed at the eleventh hour. Although the Shaman's problems are being resolved more or less entirely in the expansion, the Mage also is still in dire need of help. Feral Druids are still more or less a one trick pony in PvP, in terms of Mangle spam, as well.

Yet the Rogue is continually given a never-ending series of abilities which are little more than blatant exploits, and which no other class in the game has any form of counter to; Vanish, Cloak of Shadows, Shadowstep, the aforementioned stun to Maces, and a form of Stealth which has had the number of counters to it gradually reduced over time. A subtle alteration in the last patch was Rogue stealth no longer being broken by Snake Trap. With the addition of Dismantle in the expansion, the establishment of the Rogue as the one totally uncounterable class in the game, will likely be complete.

The other thing that is surprising is that when a couple of isolated posts have appeared in the General forum, attempting to draw attention to the problem, they are almost immediately drowned out by a large number of replies from members of pretty much any other class, insisting that the Rogue is fine, and should not be complained about.

I had started to consider that, since I didn't have much interest in raiding, PvP would gradually become the end-game track I would persue. Against other classes, that's likely to work out fine, but if I know that I'm going to be an entirely helpless free kill every time I see a Rogue approaching, it's going to take a lot of the fun out of it.

I don't ask that other classes be rendered completely defenseless against me as a Hunter. All I do ask, however, is that I myself am also not completely defenseless against them. I have consistently noticed that the average Rogue player's definition of an overpowered class is one that has any viable form of defense against them.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My first tentative attempt at machinima

video

I know, I know. Usually people keep these sorts of alphaware abominations private, and only release something actually watchable. However, we all know how much I love being called a scrub and bombarded with various other forms of verbal abuse.

In the interests of giving trolls more justification for pelting me with virtual rotten vegetables, therefore, I present the above linked video. In my defense, this was assembled with the WoW map and model viewer programs rather than in-game footage, and I'm also currently having to rely on Windows Movie Maker for post-production, which is the cinematic equivalent of having to perform abortions with an extremely rusty, blunt edged coathanger; the results are about equally messy. ;-)

I want to get hold of some truly decent editing software though, and learn to use the model viewer. The single main reason right now is because I've collected some in-game footage for a Scholo video that I've had in the works for a while, and I wanted to learn to combine that with some model viewer cutscenes.

The model viewer's two main advantages seem to be the ability to do better quality closeups, and also the ability to do colour correction and more advanced antialiasing than is possible with the sort of runtime rendering that WoW uses. The limited number of examples of its' use that I have seen appear to be genuinely stunning.

This video was encoded at a final resolution of 640x480, so if you can download it and view it full screen outside of this Blogger page, I would humbly request that you do so. It is somewhat more visually appealing than in the small window it appears in here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just found the new talent trees myself

I'm apparently a bit behind the curve, here, but there was a link to the MMO Champion talent trees on the forum, so I went and had a look.

As Rilgon says, Marks has apparently been boosted substantially, which is fantastic. The filler talents such as Combat Experience and Concussive Barrage are still there, and Barrage and friends haven't been consolidated as hoped, but those are relatively minor nitpicks. These buffs however will probably also have the effect of decisively pushing Survival back down to third place as far as raw DPS is concerned, but I don't have a problem with that myself at all. I will be glad if my Marks friends are able to convince raiders to accept them as viable once again.

BM's tweaks look nice, too. Still, it's a shame Aspect Mastery is so far down in the tree; I'd be tempted to grab that myself if it wasn't. Could be something fun to play with during one of my weekend AB BM temp respecs. ;-)

As for the changes which I'm most interested in, they look great. Sniper Training will give me a nice boost for both battlegrounds and farming, and I expect Hunting Party will be appreciated in both 5 mans and raids alike. Point of No Escape, if taken in conjunction with Master Tac, could give a combined total of 16% extra crit against mobs affected by Frost Trap, too...I might need to blow the cobwebs off Frost and mix it in with Snake a little, post WoTLK, methinks. ;-)

Potent Venom and the buff to the DoT from Wyvern Sting also conclusively prove to me that, despite what the forum trolls might say, Blizzard still have a very sound understanding of exactly what it has been proven that Survival is for. Wyvern's damage output has been increased by one and a half fold, which in PvP against melee with high Resilience, puts us back in the game.

3/3 Potent Venom also reduces the mana cost of Serpent Sting by 30%, as well as buffing the damage of both Serpent and Wyvern by an additional 3%. A farming build incorporating that and Imp Stings is going to be utterly glorious, and will probably really start to give BM a run for its' money, certainly on threat and mana efficiency, even if not overall speed.

Explosive Shot could have some very interesting implications for instance soloing, as well; a 1500 point AoE Fire DoT; basically what Explosive Trap should have been all along.

Looks like Rilgon was right. Assuming this talent info is accurate, level 80 is looking good. ;-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My next game

...is on the horizon.

It isn't Age of Conan. It isn't Warhammer. It isn't Stargate Worlds.

It's Spore. It is due out in September, although I've been waiting for it for close to two years now. I, my housemate, and a couple of other RL friends have also all downloaded the Creature Creator and have been playing with it.

The offline friend who took me to the Arena has become addicted to the Creature Creator as well, which is a huge surprise, since he usually only likes games or films which are extremely violent. He apparently likes the ability to design vicious predators to play with in-game when it is released.

The blog isn't going anywhere, so don't worry about that. I will also, Kali willing, be staying for WoTLK as well, at least to an extent. Once Spore comes out it's going to be very difficult for me to justify spending much time in WoW, but I will still log in now and then.

I've said that it was playing with Surv that primarily tied me to WoW. It isn't; it's this blog. Truthfully, if it wasn't for the blog, I almost certainly would have made the peon cry myself already. It used to be that I felt that even if I didn't raid, casual 5 mans on alts every now and then could still hold my interest. That was before Blizzard nerfed every pre-60 instance in the game into the ground, and most people forgot how to play because of it.

I love writing this, though; and interacting with the group of people I've met online because of it. It's funny; it's actually the people in most segments of the game (including the forum) who've come very close at times to convincing me to leave, yet it is also the people associated with the blog specifically who motivate me to stay...and for that, I thank you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Raiding Hunter Blog

Just had a link on Technorati from Rick's Place, so I figured I'd give him a shoutout here in order to return the favour. Doesn't seem to be a whole lot there yet; apparently he's only just started.

Still, thought you might want to go and make him feel welcome.

Just got back from The Dark Knight

I won't give anything away, but the ending reaffirmed to me why, of every character in that genre that I know of, Batman is the one that I have revered above all others.

Though he fights, he does not kill; his methods are violent, but nonlethal.

He is reviled, hated, mocked as insane, feared, hunted, and persecuted. In Gotham, he plays a critical role, but does so transparently, alone and in the shadows, and so he is taken for granted by those others who crave the spotlight themselves.

He shoulders it all; the onslaughts of both the monsters he fights, and the abuse of those he protects, and endures.

When morning comes, he fades away, after having spent his own time in darkness; doing what is necessary to ensure that others can continue to enjoy the sunlight.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Monday, July 14, 2008

Are boars still worthwhile?

(This is a reply to another post from Zulazilu in the comments of my last post, about boars as pets)

Charge can be great for mob positioning, Zula, and also for being able to send the boar the moment a mob crosses a trap.

However, their damage output is comparitively extremely weak, and the Orc racial bonus from Command is one of the only boosts to pet damage available to anyone who doesn't spec Beast Mastery. The bug which causes Charge to break Freezing Trap is also still present.

Ordinarily damage output is not something I am primarily concerned with, but after the Charge nerf, the boar's damage output is so low that it also compromises their ability to hold threat, and that is something I *do* care about.

I know my old boar is present in my picture at the top of the blog, and he will remain there; I also hung onto him for as long as I could, even going so far as trying to use Kibler's Bits and Strength scrolls to boost his threat generation.

However, after repeatedly dying while trying to solo Ramparts, due to his inability to hold aggro even when I was using my lower ranked shots, (which, if I'm careful, usually allow other pets to keep up) as deeply unhappy as it made me, I realised it was time to face facts.

The Charge threat generation nerf was IMHO a genuinely mortal blow to the viability of boars as pets. Usually I'm able to roll with the punches when the nerf bat has hit in the past; although traps have had several minor nerfs, (such as the introduction of the arming time) they generally weren't gamebreaking. If the boar wasn't also hit with the -10% damage penalty as well, they might still generate enough damage that they could keep up in threat, however, those two factors together produce a scenario which I haven't been able to improvise around.

For farming, with the full 250 TPS that pets are usually said to provide, if I keep my overall damage output at less than 350 DPS, pets can cope. Soloing instances with elites, it gets a lot harder, but Snake Trap and my threat wipes mean it's still doable. That is the bare minimum of threat generation that I need, though, and the boar just doesn't produce it. I was pulling Orcs in Hellfire Ramparts away from the boar after two shots, and for multimob tanking especially, I can't have that.

I was extremely upset, as I said, to have to stable my boar. I had an emotional attachment to him as a pet which I haven't re-established with any of the others; it's just not the same. However, I must also admit that since finally stabling him after the Ramparts incident, I've only used him again once, as well; that was for farming water primals, and even there he noticeably slowed me down in comparison to my Wind Serpent.

For general, low-risk farming against single targets, a boar will likely still be acceptable, (if very slow) but for any greater risk environment, including one where multi mob tanking will likely be necessary, I can't in all honesty recommend them. For levelling I'd recommend some type of flyer now if you can get them, (for Screech) or a cat if you can't.

Also, as far as Improved Wing Clip is concerned; I usually opt for Entrapment of the two, but that's probably a personal preference thing.

I find in PvP though in particular, that I like a scenario where I can drop a trap, have someone run into it, and then have them snared for a few seconds behind me while I'm still moving out to kite. Wing Clip in that scenario means that there is a much greater risk of me being hit while applying it; and in the case of a Rogue, that means being potentially stunlocked as well. An Entrapment proc means they're snared without having touched me at all, so I can then apply Concussive from range after that, to keep them at bay.

It can also sometimes be good for positioning mobs; once they hit the trap, if Entrapment procs, my pet will fight them in place, rather than them continuing to move foward and almost getting into my melee range at times, before the first Growl hits.

Like I said though, it's personal preference. I've used Imp WC before, and it certainly can be useful, especially if you also take it with Counterattack. The problem with Counter as well though is that you really need Deflection in order to maximise procs for that, and 5 points there start eating into your Marks talents as well, which is very bad for your damage.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reply to Zulazilu

(This was in response to a question Zulazilu asked in the comments of my last post. Apparently the ending got clipped, so I will repost here)

Hey Zula,
No, I don't really; I tried to write one a year or so ago, and I really should go back and revise that, because my perspective on a lot of things has changed since then.

Broadly speaking, though, the single main priority is to get Clever Traps ASAP, which you can at level 21. Survival is IMHO based on trapping to the same degree that BM is based on the pet's abilities while levelling.

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZZcGhMtcMhhz is what I recommended to someone not long ago as a good spec to aim for at level 40. After that you can start putting points into Marksmanship, so you end up with this at 70:-

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZVxbRqzhxoZcGhMtcMhh

That is a hybrid spec to use until you get enough base Agility for Expose Weakness to surpass Trueshot Aura. 500 is the break even point for that, but you will probably want to wait until 600 if you can in order to build a little more AP up as well, which you will need.

At 600 Ag, my ideal general use spec is:-
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZVxbRVzZcGhMusMhAdh

For farming, I use:-
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZVxbRxzZcGhMusMhAdh

For extreme environments, such as Heroics or soloing harder instances such as Stratholme:-
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZVxbRVZcGhMusMhVzAo

You also want to get your Agility in the neighbourhood of around 100-120 by level 21 or so. This is very possible; I've done it myself. The only real issue is that it will likely either cost you a lot at the AH, or good knowledge of where to find Ag gear in-game otherwise.

You can get a lot of good stuff from both the Wailing Caverns, (Serpent's Shoulders, several pieces of the Viper set) and the Deadmines, (the Buzzer Blade and Impaling Harpoon in particular, as well as the Blackened Defias set) and I recommend doing both of those instances repeatedly to get the +Agility loot from them.

The loot tables of most of the mid range levelling instances are not so good for Hunters, and so unless you spend a lot of money on Of the Monkey greens a bit later from the AH, the stuff you get from those two instances will last you a long time.

In terms of ranged weapons, you probably want to farm Warsong Gulch to get the PvP reward bows from the vendor at the WSG entrance near Ashenvale, as there is a new one of those for you every ten levels until 60 or so, and they have good stats on them as well. Go and explore all the PvP reward vendors you can find; for Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley, since for the level, a lot of the time the PvP reward gear will generally be the best you can get, at least without spending too much money.

There are also some good green drops in both Stranglethorn Vale and Desolace at least. These have low drop rates though, so you're more likely to see them on the AH than you are on the ground.

In terms of pets, after the Charge nerf there's no real reason to stay with a boar. The +10% HP helps a lot, yes; but their damage output will really slow you down, and with the Charge nerf also means they now actually generate less threat than DPS pets.

I'd recommend getting one of the lower level Swoops (Carrion Birds) from Mulgore before you get too high up, and levelling it for a bit. Screech is a very good threat generator, and is AoE as well. In addition, from memory Carrion Birds are a bit less fragile than Owls as well, which is good for tanking.

Also grab mining and skinning as professions early on; mining is the one profession I know of where you can earn literal gold at level 5. A stack of 20 copper bars will sell very reliably on the AH for 1g each, and although you need to level skinning for a bit, once you get to your 40s it's great for mount money.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Zeherah's Survival Guide

Just found a link to a guide Zeherah has put together for Survival.

It seems to be more oriented towards end-game raid DPS rather than levelling with Surv, particularly since it contains a recommendation not to begin using Survival until you have 600 base Agility.

Zeherah is one of a very small group of raiders on the Blizzard forum who are polite, humble, and generally civil. Although I'm of course not a raider, her gear choices (at least in the past, if not currently) have been an influence on my own. (the Necklace of the Deep and Belt of Deep Shadow in particular) As such, her writing is recommended.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My first real foray into the Arena

An offline friend introduced me to the Arena last night.

I won't lie to anyone; it was an unmitigated disaster. We won two out of ten games, and those were because the opposing team forfeited the match both times. My anonymous hecklers are entirely free to launch the usual chorus of, "You suck!" This time, I'll likely agree with you. ;-)

I'm thinking it possibly had to do with the type of match and our composition, however. Hunters are apparently a lot better in 3s and 5s than 2s. My partner was a Fire Mage (although a very skilled one, in battlegrounds at least) but we also didn't have a healer, and from everything I've heard, Hunters are also a lot better suited to drain teams rather than DPS. I also wasn't the appopriate spec; I remember Bandet's recommendation of Scatter Shot, although I was able to utilise Wyvern Sting such that we were able to kill one of the members of the other team in one match at least.

If I go into the forum any time soon and the trolls see my new ratings, there'll almost certainly be blood in the water. ;-)

I thank ZulaZilu for his reply to my last post, although his referring to me as lighthearted is interesting. If anything, I've always tended to consider excessive emotional intensity to be a major problem of mine; but thanks for the compliment.

As I wrote in my own comment there, I've been trying to level Enchanting, and I'm thinking that once I get that up high enough, it will enable me to make some great money.

Also to Alarand, the Wowecon.com median for Thaurissan is a 17g 50s buyout on Greater Eternal Essence. My AH tends to bounce around quite a lot, though...so it could well spike at close to double that. Thaurissan's AH median for Dark Runes, as I've said before, is around 15g, yet recently I saw some listed for 45g. It just depends on supply and demand; how many people are farming and what the sellers think they can get away with. The median is usually a good sure sale price, though.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Scholo as daily substitute

So as I mentioned a bit back, I can't really do dailies on my server any more due to the place being a warzone more or less continually now.

Since patch 2.4 came out until recently, I'd actually given up soloing Scholo in favour of the dailies, but now I've taken it back up again. From what I've been able to work out though, you can get more or less the same amount of money from Scholo in roughly the same amount of time as it would take to do the Sunwell dailies.

Trash farming Scholo up to the Great Ossuary probably takes around 30-45 mins if you're fast, and if you do that twice you'll get:-

10 x stack of 20 Runecloth @ 2g 80s ea (Wowecon price) = 28g.
~12 x vendor trash @ ~2g ea = 24-26g.
2 x Dark Rune @ 15g ea = 30g.
4 greens @ ~2g ea = 8-10g.

Total = 90g.

The above numbers are also conservative. The Wowecon price is very low for Runecloth; I use it when I want guaranteed sales, but on my server it can spike to 6-8g a stack at times. The Dark Rune price is another extremely conservative sure-fire sale number as well; again, I've seen them spike to around 40g at times, so 3 of those at 40g would be 120, from them alone.

The other thing I'm not counting here is that you can sometimes get blues which will go for anywhere between 2 and 50g, depending on what it is and what the market's doing. If you've got Priests going through 60, the Codex of Fortitude from there can spike to at least 15-20g, and the Wildheart and Dreadmist Druid and Priest sets drop in there as well. They're blues, and will typically go for 2g apiece, minimum. Again, depending on how many people you have at that level range on your server, they can go up to 10-15.

I also just had a Five of Beasts card drop as well, and the Wowecon median for that is 20g, which is almost the equivalent of having an entire Primal Water drop at once.

All of the above also assumes you don't have Enchanting. ;-)

If you're on the way back from a Kara raid, I wouldn't entirely rule out the Sunken Temple for some quick and easy farming, as well. Although the place's loot table is terrible, one thing which that instance is a great source of is Mageweave Cloth, and on my server the AH's stocks of that are nearly always low. The median for it is around 4g per stack of 20, and you can get prolly 10 stacks in half an hour or so in ST. The blues there are soulbound and not that great, but if you've got Enchanting you can disenchant them and sell the mats, and ST actually has quite a lot of skinning opportunities as well.

I've read extremely good things on the forums about Dire Maul North and East also; I haven't checked that out yet, but possibly will at some point today. I've been wanting to find some really good farming options, because the buy low, sell high thing really hasn't been working well for me, I will admit.

From what I'm seeing so far, the truly big money is actually often in things from Azeroth, that are wanted by twinks or people who are levelling alts, but which generally aren't available because most people don't try and get them. Hence, low supply + high demand = money. The biggest single example of this that I've seen, is a herb in Azshara and Felwood called Dreamfoil. The median price for that is 1g 16s for a single piece, or 23g 20s for a stack of 20; and Azshara and Felwood are both covered in it. (http://mapwow.com/)

The other overall benefit of soloing instances is the lack of competition. Even before Quel'Danas became as active in PvP terms on my server, there were often the equivalent of traffic jams, as there could literally be one player for every mob at times. Soloing an instance, you've got the whole place to yourself, which means no competition on drops, and also increased speed and efficiency.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Character Profile: Mirshalak

(I've had a character bio in my head for Mirsh for a while, but Pike gave me the idea to write it here. I'd done it, then got rid of it, but I'm going to re-add it)

The fire was dying down again. Throwing some more wood on it, I looked around out of habit, and then stopped myself.

I was trying to force myself to relax. Although the Charred Vale was technically contested, nobody had seen Alliance out here for a long time, and there had been no sign of them when I'd ridden into the area earlier that day. Still, I considered paranoia a virtue.

Sitting back down, I threw the boar a piece of the meat we'd cooked earlier, and absently scratched the bristles along his back. He arched his back, and grunted appreciatively. Basilisk wasn't the most tender of meats, truth be told, but the pig would eat anything.

Staring into the flames, I found myself thinking of the past.

I'd come to Azeroth with my parents during the First Crossing, when I was six years old. On Draenor, my parents had lived alone as hunters and boar farmers, and were relatively peaceful people, (at least, by Orcish standards) but they had been present with the others at the meeting of the clans.

All three of us, including me, were given the Blood.

I still remembered what it had done to us; sometimes it came back to me in nightmares, which would cause me to wake, shivering violently enough that an onlooker might think I was having a seizure. Then the dream would fade, I would slowly remember where I was, and my body would lock rigid, as I exerted all of my will to avoid screaming; depending on where I'm camped, sometimes calling attention to my location could be fatal.

Thought, logic, any sense of reason; all were blotted out, and replaced simply with the single minded hunger, the need, to kill and destroy.

I make no apologies or excuses for my people. Without the Blood, we were already fierce enough, but my parents had been unusually intelligent by Orcish standards, and they had taught me to value life, and to know when killing was appropriate, and when it was not. The Blood erradicated that.

I didn't really know how we managed to survive the various conflicts; several years after that, and all of the rest of my childhood and adolescence, were not much more than a red haze, punctuated occasionally by the terrified faces and dying screams of humans, or the feel of warm, sticky human blood as it washed over me. I didn't remember most of it, or at least not outside the nightmares, and for the most part I know it's better that way. The Humans might still hate us for what we did to them, and to an extent, I actually don't blame them; but they also don't know what the Blood did to us.

I remember the end of the fighting, and how slowly, the red haze faded, giving me back full consciousness and memory once more. I and my parents had been locked in filthy wooden buildings with a large group of our people; and the will to fight, the will to free ourselves, and sometimes even the will to move, had left all of us.

I learned later that the name of the place was Lordamere. My father had died there, not long before Thrall had begun liberating the camps. Our exposure to the Humans had meant that we had caught many new and unfamiliar diseases; these swept through the camps, and many of us died.

I remember my father dying. As his breathing steadily became more and more laboured, and his eyes closed, my mother leaned over and whispered to him; of boars uprooting the red earth of Draenor. Of the rough, green grass and water of Nagrand, where they had hunted Talbuk. Of home.

Since we broke out of the camp, I've mostly wandered around Azeroth. Somewhat aimlessly; but I'll go wherever people say there's something big and ugly, that I'm likely to have fun stalking. My mother's still alive, and since the reopening of the Portal, has moved back to Nagrand; I see her occasionally, though not often.

I generally keep to myself; I don't do people very well. Truth be told, I wasn't always like that, but I got screwed over enough times that now I just find isolation a lot less complicated.

Occasionally someone will offer me money to take them somewhere dangerous, though. I used to accept that kind of work all the time, but now, unless I really need money, not so much. It gets annoying; most of the people who want it have no clue how to follow orders, and even less of how to keep themselves alive, so generally it doesn't accomplish much other than nearly getting us both killed.

I used to spend a lot more time hunting the Alliance as well, but these days I don't let them bother me so much. There's still some action to be had in the usual places, but aside from those, it's mostly dying down everywhere else anyway. People just have better things to do with their time; the Humans in particular are trying to pull themselves back from the edge of extinction, and our Warchief has more or less said that he doesn't want us causing trouble either, which is generally fine with me.

I don't attack Humans in particular unless they shoot first. Part of the reason is that growing up, we killed enough of them for the next several lifetimes, and the other part of it is that because of that, I'm aware that they've nearly become extinct. If it hadn't been for the Blood, my parents would have had big problems with our wars with them; we love smaller scale fighting, sure, but we don't see honour in genocide. Privately for this reason, I don't agree with the Forsaken hammering them either, but that's an opinion I generally keep to myself.

The Dwarves are the Alliance group that I've had the least personally to do with, overall. I find them interesting. With a Dwarf for me, there'll nearly always be a standoff. He won't start a fight usually, but he will stand there watching me, and I will be able to tell that he's wondering what I'm going to do next. Most of the time I will carefully withdraw; however there was one time in particular where I was very angry with a certain Dwarf, but I had to chase him for a long time before he turned and attacked me. They usually seem to be reluctant fighters.

The two Alliance groups that I'll still be tempted to have a go at occasionally, are the Gnomes and the Keldorei.

The Gnomes because they use their appearance to lure people into thinking that they're innocent and harmless, and then when you turn around, they'll stab you in the back. I've had that happen with them often enough, that generally speaking now, with them I shoot first and ask questions later.

The Keldorei, because not long after we got out of the camps, it was them, rather than the Humans, who started hounding the few of us that the Humans and the camps hadn't taken care of. They killed a lot of friends I had back then, and they made a pretty good try for me a couple of times as well.

My own issues with them lessened somewhat after I learned about what they'd suffered from the Qiraji. With hearing about the loss of Staghelm's son in particular, I more or less considered their debts to me paid. Since then, I won't often go to them looking for trouble, but if I run into them and they start something, I'll still enjoy finishing it.

In terms of other Alliance groups, while I have nothing against the Draenei myself at this point, I'm guessing they don't feel that way, due to our history. I haven't had all that much to do with them, though; they seem to mostly stick to their own concerns.

I also don't trust the Naaru; never did, and when word about the M'uru incident leaked out, I can't say I was surprised. I figured A'dal had some sort of angle, and that we just didn't know about it yet. Everyone always does.

The future seems interesting; there's talk of going north and finally doing something permanent about Arthas. No arguments there; he's an issue we've needed closure with for a while. I'm also sure that that part of the world will be as interesting as every other I've encountered so far; we will see.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My new hero

Have a look at the Armory profile of Mynithrosil.

He made a thread on the forum, which predictably got buried by the, "DPS is the only thing that matters," crowd.

All political correctness aside, however, (although his spec isn't quite what I'd do myself, and I'd probably also go for another hundred or so Ag) as far as I'm concerned, this guy represents what Survival is really about. Read the OP, and if you can, wade through the other garbage in the thread for his followup comments. It's great stuff.

You're awesome, Myn. Don't let those who can't see it get you down.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weird AV Result

Someone a while back said that it wasn't killing blows that they considered important in a battleground, but damage done. To that particular troll, if you're still reading, this screen shot is just for you. ;-)



It's probably still not that great; around 4th in terms of damage, and lower than that overall...it's probably about the most damage I've done in a match, though.

Awaiting retorts of, "Don't fool yourself. You still suck." ;-)