Saturday, February 28, 2009

Playing my way

I've decided to get back on my main recently, since the PTR notes for Survival next patch are extremely encouraging. We're getting Lock and Load back without the CD I think, even though Explosive Shot is being nerfed slightly to compensate. This is actually a good thing, as the difference will probably be enough to send the min-maxers back to Beast Mastery.

So yesterday, I was reflecting on the fact that I still don't have the money for flight training for a Nether Drake, and wondering how I was going to get the money to do it. On impulse, I looked through my Achievements tab, and realised my quest completion in most zones in the game is probably around 50%, on average, with some zones lower.

I was quite surprised to discover this with Zangarmarsh in particular, because I loved that zone. It was no surprise to me, though, that I'd got both TBC and WoTLK Nessingwary achievements, as I loved those quests as well. Sholozar Basin is the only zone I've got the quest achievement for so far, and I got it without trying. Hemet and I are kindred spirits. ;)

The reason for my low quest completion rate, during both TBC and WoTLK in particular, was that while levelling up both times, I was under pressure either from the forums or the guilds I was in at the time to get to the cap, and start raiding, which of course never ended up happening anyway.

So I decided I'm going to go back and try and get the quest achievements in as many zones as I can, which might go close to giving me epic flight training as well. I'm currently working through Nagrand in particular, as another long-standing goal of mine has been to complete the Hero of the Mag'har quest chain as well.

Of course, I did just spend 1,000 gold, or close to, on the Giantmaim Bracers and Giantmaim Legguards, and I still plan on buying the Rusted-Link Spiked Gauntlets as well, which will likely cost another 1.5k, judging by recent prices. Mirsh might not end up in t7, but she'll be the Queen of the Auction House! ;)

So I guess mount money is actually a secondary priority; twinking myself out as much as possible from the Auction House actually comes first. I'm going to keep grinding rep to get the Polished Regimental Hauberk as well if I can, but Heroics are not terribly easy to get on my server, so I tend to need to set myself solo goals.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wrath Gate

(RP mode enabled. I started this months ago, after only just having finished the Wrath Gate questline, but just finished it this morning)

I could still barely understand what had happened. There hadn't been enough time.

We had not long finished securing Icemist Village and the Pit of Nar'jun. The Nerubian city had not completely been secured; that would take some time. The induction of the Taunka into the Horde had gone well, however, with much cheering when their chieftan took our oath. Though there was no need, I willingly, joyously, retook it again, myself, with him.

After this, Angmar, the local commander, gave me a task I could scarcely believe. I was to report to Warlord Saurfang the Younger at the Wrath Gate, to take part in the Icecrown offensive.

As well as our progress at Icemist, I'd heard good things from other parts of the Dragonblight, and my mood riding up to the Kor'kron Vanguard was optimistic, and eager; almost elated.

I had no idea what was coming. None of us did.

After killing some lesser Scourge, the human Highlord, Bolvar Fordragon, demanded that Arthas show himself. At his appearance, Saurfang charged him, and was killed, his soul being drawn into Frostmourne. Arthas began to repeat an earlier claim, that any attempt to stop him was pointless. Suddenly he cut off, in midsentence.

Then came the event which none of us could have anticipated.

Putress, Grand Apothecary of the Forsaken, a figure unheard of by many of us, stood on the cliffs overlooking our position. After calling down death on both the Scourge and the living, the catapults which stood next to him were fired. Catapults containing a Blight which, spirits help me, I had assisted the Forsaken in creating.

We then, all of us, fell to our knees, overwhelmed with a green mist. Gasping, coughing blood, my lungs on fire, I followed the mad scramble away from the terrible cloud, as both Horde and Alliance commanders called a retreat. Having been right at the front, Bolvar was caught at the centre of the blast from the catapults, and was bathed in the poison. When he fell, he did not get up again.

Somehow, however, even in the confusion, I managed to burn one very important image into my mind. As we had fallen to our knees, coughing and hacking, so had Arthas.

After staggering back the few meters that I could, I fell to the ground. I expected to die as had Bolvar.

When I came to, the ground around me was ablaze. The red dragonflight had purged the cloud by fire, and everyone else had run. I was uncertain how I had not been burned alive, but standing near me in human form, was their Queen, Alexstraza.

She bade me take Saurfang's armor from the flames, and back to his father at Warsong Hold. The ride back was long, and I still do not remember most of it. I was still in a daze, almost sleepwalking. Saurfang...

His father's face, on hearing my news, contorted with agony, and on seeing it, so did my own heart. Yet it only lasted a second, and he told me to leave the armor with him, where it would be taken to a pyre in Nagrand. Unbelievably, he then told me that he had to return to more pressing matters.

I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to rave that nothing was more pressing than the death of his own flesh and blood; the death of another of our greatest heroes.

Yet something held me back. It was the realisation that he was right. That forcing our minds away from what had happened, did not mean that we did not feel the agony that had been caused by it.

We would mourn Saurfang. There would be drumming at that funeral that would shake Nagrand to the very bedrock, and the cheers of our ancestors around Oshu'gun, as he joined them, would be heard by us all. The more pressing matter, then, was vengeance.

Arthas, in his arrogance, apparently was unaware that, even more than ever before, with this act, he had truly called down the full fury of the Horde upon his head; a fury that Mannaroth the Destructor had not been able to withstand. Arthas would be made aware.

I was not intimidated by Arthas. He bragged about how we were powerless to stop him, yet what he apparently also did not realise, was that we very nearly already had. Did he really think, that if he were so unstoppable, we would be able to reach his very gates? His so-called invasion had been stopped in its' tracks. His command structure had been taken apart, piece by piece.

We also did this even without the Blight, and I had known, even before the Blight, that we would find the means, we would push his supposedly unstoppable army back, and we would crush him, just as we had the Legion before him. Saurfang's death, as had the insult of the invasion of Orgrimmar, rather than intimidating us, had merely enraged us further. Garrosh, always the son of his father, was right. Let the Forsaken have the Blight, and the Humans the Ashbringer. We had the fury of the Horde, and we needed nothing else.

The most urgent matter at that moment, however, was Varimathras. Saurfang pointed me to a portal to Orgrimmar that a Sin'dorei Mage had opened for me, and I went through it.

Arriving at his fortress, I watched the tense pacing of the Warchief. Then another portal opened, from Stormwind, and through it came Lady Jaina Proudmoore; who had come to learn the truth of what had happened, for she and Thrall had signed a non-aggression pact some time earlier.

I listened to her words, standing silently next to Thrall.

"...Farewell, Warchief. I pray that the next time we meet it will be as allies."

As she turned to leave, back through the portal, I spoke, hesitantly at first.

"My Lady?"

She turned back to face me.

"I have just come from the Wrath Gate," I explained to her. "I witnessed Lord Bolvar's death, alongside that of Saurfang the Younger. His last words to Arthas were spoken with courage. Know that there are some among the Horde who mourn him with you."

At this, she smiled.

"However, I fear I must speak other words, which perhaps will not be as easy to hear," I continued. Thrall looked at me gravely, but I went on.

"I know well who the primary antagonist is for war between our two peoples, Lady Proudmoore, and so I must ask that when you tell your King of the betrayal of Varimathras, that you also tell him this:-

Firstly, that you, and not he, are who is recognised by me at least, and I suspect, in his heart, also my Warchief, as sole ruler of the Human kingdoms, and true leader of the Grand Alliance. I may not be one of his subjects, but still I do not acknowledge the right of Varian Wrynn to be King, even if the right is his by birth. He is not fit for the throne; there is much he has not seen, and much he does not know, and I can only thank our ancestors that it was you, Lady Proudmoore, who guided the Alliance during the battle with Archimonde, for if it had been Varian, his madness and hatred would have led to the death of us all. He desires to make war on us from the basis of ignorance.

Secondly, tell him that I tire of war between our two peoples more than most, and that right now, I am aware that it is a greater danger to us than Arthas himself. I spent my entire childhood under the influence of the Blood Fury of Mannaroth the Destructor. Like most of us, I have killed many Humans, but I am haunted constantly by the shame and agony of it, and I will kill no more of your people; save one, if it becomes necessary.

Tell him that on the very throne behind me that my Warchief sits on, I take oath now as I have never taken it before. Tell him that Mirshalak of the Warsong Outriders, and the Frostwolf Legion, has sworn that if peace between our two peoples does not come through the life of Varian Wrynn, then I will see to it personally that peace will come through his death. I would do this to ensure the survival of both Human and Orc, for I well know that the destiny of both of our peoples is interlinked, and without the one, the other will not survive. He may choose for peace to come with him, or without him, but either way, peace will come."

Jaina's expression grew stern.

"You threaten the life of our King? If peace between us is what you desire, Mirshalak, I do not think that this is the way to obtain it."

She continued. "Also, in seeking to have me as Queen, you do not know what you ask. That is a position which I have never desired, and I do not desire it now. I have sought to lead my people with the heaviest of hearts, and from necessity only. My Art is my one true love, though for a time it was rivalled by Arthas..."

Here her voice broke, and her face twisted with long-held, but still unhealed grief. I felt empathy for her pain. She was a virtuous woman, and few there were within the Alliance, for whom I had that opinion, or such feeling. I could even almost imagine the Humans as one day being members of the Horde themselves, if they were under her rule.

She recovered. "But no more. I understand your sentiment, Mirshalak, but I can not bear such a message to the King openly. Even if, as you say, I might reluctantly percieve that it would be better for the Alliance for me to rule in Varian's place, I am not as popular as I once was, and do not have his degree of support. To move against him directly at this point, therefore, would mean my head. I also would not usurp him, even if I could. The throne is his by birth."

"We could help you," I said, looking pleadingly to Thrall. "Once Varian was gone, we could take Stormwind and give it to you."

She went on. "In the current climate, I am almost an outcast for still desiring peace with you. The desire for war within the Alliance is more far reaching than you know. My people have regained their numbers, to a degree, and now some of them wish for what they see as vengeance."

Her expression changed to one of deep sorrow. "A new war between Human and Orc may at this point be inevitable. I desire it no more than you. I remember what was won at Hyjal, as well as any; and how narrowly, and at what great cost. I will pray to the Light that all of that is not undone, and will do what I can to prevent it, but I am only one voice now, Mirshalak, and I am at risk of being drowned out in a sea of others."

With this, she departed through the portal, back to Stormwind. My gaze turned back to Thrall.

"You have a great tendency to be outspoken, Mirshalak," he said to me sternly. "What you said to Lady Proudmoore then, could have cost us enormously."

"It needed to be said, Warchief," I answered him. "Did I lie to her when I said that for her to rule the humans, was the desire of your heart also?"

Thrall sighed with exasperation at this, and did not speak. I grinned. I had seen Thrall's spirit, and that was why I still admired him, when I knew now that many did not.

"Hellscream has taken command almost entirely in Northrend, Warchief," I continued. "This worries me greatly. He desires war almost as much as those within the Alliance do. There are many who interpret the loss of your fight with him, as his successfully deposing you as leader."

Thrall growled. "Do you think I do not know that? While you advocated treason among the Alliance, would you now also among the Horde?"

"Never, Warchief," I answered him. "When I took the oath to the Taunka, and had them swear it, I retook it myself as well, and I meant every word. My life is yours, and not because it must be, but because I choose it."

I continued. "In one respect however, and one respect only, I concede that Garrosh was right. Peace has not been exclusively good for us. In seeking to become more, "civilised," in order to please the Humans, we have become soft; and some of us more than others." I looked at him meaningfully at this point.

He roared. "You go too far!"

My eyes stayed level with his, the flame in them just as high.

"Garrosh went further! Also, I assure you, that however traitorous my words might sound now, there are others of us on the field, whose thoughts are far moreso! You still have my loyalty, as I have said, and as difficult as it may be for you to understand, that is why I say what I do right now. I would see you as Warchief, and no other, but in order for that, there are things that you must hear, like them or not."

Thrall's voice lowered in his next reply, but was still dangerous. "Then what would you have me do?"

"I would have you train," I answered him simply. "I would have you fight. I would have you remember what it means to be an Orc! The Humans taught you that our bloodlust was a bad thing. I tell you that right now, it is something you need to experience! I would have you go to Hellscream, and give him a beating such as he has never had before, and never will again. I would have you beat him such that he must either yield to you or die. And I would have you echo to him what Saurfang the Elder has already said; that if he gives in to depravity as his father did before him, and threatens to lead us down a similar dark path with the Humans again, that in order to preserve both our people and his own soul, you will kill him."

Thrall's anger diminished at this, and I could see that he was aware that I really was on his side. After a few moments, he laughed.

"Good advice, although you endangered your own life in the giving of it," he said.

I grinned. "I should hope so. Now you are remembering our way, not what you have been taught by the Humans."

He gestured to the portal to the Undercity. "Come with me to fight Varimathras, and I will show you that I have not forgotten to perhaps quite the extent you think. And perhaps, in time, I will remind Hellscream as well, as you have said."

A new time card

I have the unopened box in front of my keyboard as I speak, and will be entering the code momentarily. While some are sadly closing their doors, and others have already left the game, although to a degree I am diversifying my interests, WoW is still going to be part of my life, although possibly not as exclusively as it once was.

So I'll still be trolling the forums, active on Twitter, and swearing at people in Trade with my bank alt about the state of the server economy on Saurfang. ;)

What that also means, however, is that as I've said, while people are still going to get an Orc named Mirshalak, I'm tearing down the fourth wall. Being Mirsh has been beneficial for me, but I feel that it's also time to take some of the benefits that I've derived from that and apply them in a few other areas as well. I've never been content, as you know, to write purely about WoW here, because in keeping with the belief that, "all is Maya," I feel that WoW can have consequences on people's lives that are just as real as any in offline life, and that has certainly been true in my own case.

For now, though, to install the time card. I need to buy a RAF account for someone at some point, I think...I want to finish levelling my alts on Pike's and Rilgon's servers at some point, and maybe one on the servers of a couple of my other readers as well, depending on where you are. It'd be good to play with some of the people I talk to on Twitter!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A baby Hunter on Nagrand

One of the alts I have on the go at the moment is a Hunter on Nagrand. The reason why I am levelling there is because I have a friend on that server, who was playing on Saurfang, (where my main is) and then transferred. I don't have either the money or a credit card in order to transfer right now, and I wanted to be able to play low level Warsong Gulch for a bit anyway, so I decided I'd make a new toon.

I'm still only level 13 with it, and have about 10 hours /played...I'm very slow, as I've admitted elsewhere. I tend to be extremely particular about things which some other people would yell at me for, such as making sure I am at max range before starting to fire, etc. Even at the cap, I still tend to time kills on the basis of my trap or Feign Death cooldowns, and also use throwing axes for pulling as well. So it is very slow, but I do love how passive and honestly effortless it feels.

I'm levelling Survival as usual though (*grin*) and in order to do that, am being very obsessive about my stats, as early as possible. I can usually get 100 Agility by level 20, and have 50 now at 13, so I don't think that is too bad.

To be able to level in any decent space of time with Surv at all, though, you really do need to twink your head off, at least before 60, although I also do it because of how much I love battlegrounds. We don't get the first rank Immolation Trap until 20, and Trap Mastery is 41 point now. It used to be 10 point, to coincide with Immolation Trap. The new devs have ruined so much of the synchronicity that this game used to have.

The single reason why levelling with Mirsh back in the day, I never had mount money, is because literally every spare cent went to the Auction House on gear. I've been known to buy new greens every three levels or so, and will do so for an increase of as little as 3-5 Ag, if I can get it; like I said, I'm obsessive. Other than Imp Tracking though, (and Hunter Vs Wild, at about level 25) there really isn't much in Surv for damage, early on.

I'm also using a boar as a pet, currently, which is working fine. They eat anything, they're awesome tanks, the extra health keeps them alive against adds, and if I'm trapping, they usually don't have any problem holding threat, although at level 13, that isn't an issue either.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A brief hiatus

I haven't logged into WoW since probably the night before I made my last post, a week ago.

I've had a lot of stuff going on in real life recently, and I've found another interest as well at the moment, which is taking up a fair amount of my time. I won't specifically name what said interest is, other than to say that it isn't atheistic in focus, and I have enough trolls who read this blog who are atheists that I don't particularly want the heckling that I would get from them if I mentioned it.

I'm also planning on installing Wubi and getting back into UNIX programming at some point, but I haven't done that yet.

Truthfully, I'm pretty much burned out on being a Hunter at the level cap at this point. I could level up my Druid or Mage, since I do find tanking or Druid healing fun, and the Mage can be periodically good too. The only way I could see still playing a Hunter though, would be as a 29 or so twink, at this point.

So I guess that's the question; are you guys still willing to hang around if this becomes an alt blog, as opposed to a pure Hunter blog? I'm not saying I will never play Mirsh again, at all...but truthfully, Ghostcrawler has just done too much damage to my class; he is going to need to more or less revert Survival back to the way it was at 2.1 for me to become interested again at this point; and I think we all know that that is unlikely to happen.

I will still be playing alts, and if there is some interest in hearing about my adventures with them, I will record them here; but I can't promise how much more I'm going to be playing as a Hunter, at this point.

I'm also thinking of starting a non-WoW related blog as well; I could mention my activities with UNIX programming there, without getting trolled by people who only want to read about WoW. I'd like to maybe collaborate with Rilgon or Pike on some Linux stuff to at least a minor degree, perhaps.
Give me some suggestions. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

A walk on the wild side

Given that I'm slowly becoming more bored with my main, recently, (especially considering that I can no longer viably play in Warsong Gulch at 80, due to the overpowered state of the Paladin and Death Knight) last night I continued dusting off my very oldest alt.

Meet Cloudwalker. He is the single oldest character I have; made less than 24 hours before the character that was previously my main, a Mage. This was back in April, 2006, just after the patching in of Ahn'Qiraj. I always knew Cloud wasn't going to be my main, even at the start, but I was very curious about the Druid as a class back then, and still consider them interesting, if overly fragile.

Despite his overall age, Cloud wouldn't have more than 10 days /played, while Mirsh has more than 70, and probably more than 80 now...I haven't checked recently. The main reason for that is because during TBC in particular, I began to find his lack of survivability at low levels (he's level 30 now) to be very annoying.

I ended up doing two instance runs with him last night; one to the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard, and the other to Razorfen Kraul. On both occasions I was Restoration spec, but I'd earlier tanked the SM Graveyard with him as well, a week or two ago. In RFK, although I was still Resto, we had a Priest as well, and when the tank complained that the run was going slowly because of a lack of DPS, I went into Cat form, while putting Renew and Regrowth on my Cat actionbar, and exploiting Natural Shapeshifter to rapidly shift out at times, stack HoTs on the tank when the Priest was getting overloaded, and going back to Cat.

I'm starting to realise that where hybrids are concerned, the Druid is actually a better overall fit for me than the Paladin, as well. The reason why I say this is because with Cloud, I'm willing to be genuinely role agnostic; I will join a group, ask whether they need a tank or healer, and then spec/gear accordingly. With my alt Paladin, on the other hand, if I don't tank, I don't go; healing with that class is basically a one button affair, and I can't stand it.

The other thing I appreciate whenever I play either hybrid, truthfully, which I don't get to experience with my Hunter, is being a member of a class/role that people actually have respect for, and want to have around. The Hunter has been at the very bottom of WoW's social food chain for longer than I can remember, and as much as I love the Hunter as a class, it occasionally feels good not to be a pariah all of the time.

I'm also in the process of levelling another Hunter on Nagrand. I probably won't go to 80 with her; I am thinking of probably a 29 or so twink, so I can enjoy some WSG and AB again, because I am sorely missing those. I've realised, somewhat sadly and regretfully, that the Conqueror title may never happen for me now, but c'est la vie.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BM has been fixed (slightly)

So although the Steady Shot nerf is still in place, Serpents' Swiftness has had its' pet damage coefficient raised back up to 20% in the latest patch, as reported by BRK and presumably other people. This should hopefully mean that BM is once more considered viable by the leaders of raids and pugs. ;-)

It also possibly means that it could be more viable again for a temp respec for Borean Tundra AoE leather farming for me, as well; in terms of hopefully increased pet threat generation. AoE farming with Volley used to be my main incentive for temp respeccing with BM, before 3.0.8.

Monday, February 9, 2009

To Garrandor

I had this as a comment on my last post, from Garrandor.

"It would be awesome if you did quit and took your poison elsewhere. No Doubt comparing yourself to Ghandi or Mandela or Jesus and complaining about... everything!! makes you feel better in some way, but I'm sure the internet would be a better place if you just stopped."

I probably shouldn't be giving him this degree of validation by devoting a blog post to him, but I've had him as a moderately persistent troll for a while now, and it's becoming a little tedious.

Garrandor, let me try and put this in as simple terms for you as I can, and this goes for all of my other periodic trolls, as well.

Presumably anyway, nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read this blog. Thus, if you don't like me, or reading what I write, quite simply, go away. Nobody is forcing you to be here whatsoever; I certainly am not. I do, however, have as much right to exist and to express an opinion as you do.

Forcing yourself to continue to be exposed to someone online who you dislike, and then insisting that rather than simply no longer exposing yourself to them, that they themselves should be silent, is senseless, hypocritical, and futile. You will not silence me, and while that may not have been true on the forum, here, you have no way of forcibly silencing me whatsoever.

I also, truthfully, find myself wondering what it is about my writing, that causes certain people to so adamantly and persistently demand that I be silent. If my writing is as worthless and inconsequential as you claim, how does it have the ability to cause you such anger? There is a paradox of logic, there.

I do not, by the way, compare myself with Gandhi, Mandela, or Christ; some of the content of my quotes section might have given you that impression, and if so, let me be the first to correct it. Apart from anything else, at least two of those individuals were avowed pacifists, and I most assuredly am not. I have often expressed that I am aware of the fact that I am a deeply flawed human being; I see so much evidence of that fact on a daily basis, that it would be virtually impossible for me not to be aware of it.

If, as I suspect, you are a native of that particularly saddening, lifeless breed of trolls who feel that silencing me is a justifiable moral crusade, then rest assured, upon your next comment attached to any of my posts, your IP address will be blocked.

I apologise to my other readers, and wish to assure you that I will now at least attempt to return to some marginally more positive content.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Removal of ammunition from the game

Gundersson told me about this last night.

I'm trying to figure out how to explain why I think this is a bad thing, in a way people will actually understand. I wrote a rant about it on the forum, and predictably got called a moron for it.

I guess I just feel, primarily, as though it is an immersion issue, more than anything else. I can't remember the last computer game I played, of any kind, where I had a ranged weapon of whatever type, and ammunition wasn't an issue. In most of the first person shooter games I've played, having to keep track of, and ration, various types of ammunition is usually one of the primary challenges inherent in the game.

Not only that, but having to keep track of food, water, and ammo in WoW actually felt like a defining aspect of playing the class. In real life, logistical management is one of the things Hunters have to do. I also prided myself on always having enough, when I saw a number of other Hunters running around without it. I would try and tell new Hunters to always make sure they had enough, as well...whereas Blizzard's answer to the issue apparently isn't to demand that people are more mentally active, but simply to remove things and make it easier.

It is things like this, however, which honestly make me wonder how much longer I'm going to be playing this game. Gundersson said he was giving up, but I think that was a statement made in anger in his post; I'm not sure if he really meant it or not.

I'm going to still be here, but...the game is falling apart.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


So last night I was able to get in for a bit and do some frostweave farming in Sholazar. I haven't had much time to play recently, so it was good to be able to.

It was the first time where, for an extended period, I've had to deal with the Lock and Load CD, as well. Truthfully, it isn't as bad as I'd feared, but at times, it is still a pain in the ass.

During about mid TBC, I'd developed a two gear system utilising downranking, which enabled me to trap with a 1:1.5 rotation, and still maintain a reasonable (5-10%) rate of mana efficiency. If I was still able to do that, I truthfully wouldn't need Lock and Load at all, but unfortunately of course, I can't.

Last night I reflected that Lock and Load really needs to be given its' own button at this point; if it has to be on a CD at all, I'd greatly prefer to be able to choose directly when I use it.

What I eventually came up with was to start using Frost Trap as my staple in scenarios where I know I'm likely to be dealing with multiple adds, as opposed to Immolation. This way, even if I blow my Lock and Load proc entirely on the first mob, I will still be able to kite adds. I also never use Steady Shot, pretty much no matter what. Its' mana use is horrible.

BTW, if you ever need Frostweave, I recommend farming the undead around Freya, at the river delta in the Lost Lands. It's still fairly slow, but I got 5 stacks in probably 90 mins-2 hours, which isn't too bad.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gundersson: How I almost became a Huntard.

(This is the first post from special guest blogger, Gundersson. In it, he brings up a number of issues which I've been having recently as well)

Yeah, so survival got buffed. Big time. We went through Naxramas theother day and I came out as top DPS in the entire 10 man by a wide margin. I'm not used to this. I'm not that well geared and I wouldn't call myself the most experienced player you've met. Even if all the time I've wasted at work poring over specs, gear and shot rotations has paid off, it still doesn't account for the ridiculously large difference between myself and the next highest DPS on Recount.

At first I was kind of bemused. As a survival hunter, being on top of the DPS charts was novel and totally unexpected. I'd heard about the buffs to Explosive Shot so I never really put it down to personal skill. The first thing that did occur to me was that if I let it go to my head I could very easily turn into the kind of player I hate. I reminded myself that this wasn't some new and incredible personal accomplishment; this was simply a dev on the other side of the world making a mistake when it came to game balance. My own personal awesomeness had as much to do with this as the weather.

Nevertheless, by the time we downed Gluth, my Ego was sitting in the chair next to me and had helped itself to a six pack from the fridge. When we hit the pre-Thadius DPS coordination it snidely mentioned to me, that I might have to reign in my awesomeness so that the other team could catch up.

After the raid my wife asked me how it went. I gave her a sly wink, and without an iota of shame, mentioned that I was on top of Recount. I think she saw the signs then, but I guess she just didn't know how to tell me. We did a few Heroics, and I pugged a bit. I respecced and dropped all my 'useless' chain trapping talents, in fact anything that didn't give me more DPS. I found myself losing my temper with pugs a lot more quickly because well, they just weren't bringing 100%. Why should I bring my Exploding Shot of Ultimate Awesome DPS to THEIR pug if they're going to let us wipe and make me pay repair bills? Granted, pugs are utterly vile and generally deserve every bad thing said about them, but that's no reason to be an outright arse.

Now, understand, a big part of the reason I went Survival, was because I believed it offered a challenge and brought something more to a group than just another DPS generator. It would keep me honest, keep me hungry and constantly looking to improve. My trapping and extra crowd control were there to help out the group. It made me a team player as opposed to a competitor. When they added the replenishment buff it was just icing on the cake for me. That's what Survival did; it helped everybody in the group. I was quite accepting of the fact that I wasn't bringing the most DPS. As long as it wasn't holding the group back, I felt I would be more than making up for it by keeping the group alive in other ways.

Unfortunately in the current PvE-Endgame/AOEfest/Celebration of Mediocrity, most players scoff at the concept of crowd control, yell 'yuck' when you mention marking, and go glassy eyed when you say there should be something more than spamming one button over and over.

This is why I love my guild, because most of them aren't like that. So half way through a guild Heroic Nexus run, our tank asks me to trap something. We all know he doesn't have to ask me to trap. Most of the time, you can roll through there with your eyes closed, if you're with guildies. So he explained on Vent, that he asks people to CC to keep them in practice; keep them on their toes. This is 'A Good Thing(tm),' or at least I've always believed it to be.

Thus I found it odd that my first reaction was one of panic. 3 Months ago if a tank had asked me to trap I would have been overjoyed at the chance to break out my skills. Now however, I panicked, and felt a little annoyed. For one, I'd specced out of my trap skills so I could maximize DPS. Additionally, I couldn't remember the last time I'd trapped anything... how did this go again?

So the pull went off and I trapped. The next one didn't go so well and the mob got away. No worries really, it's just for fun, right? On the third I broke my own trap. At another later point I dotted a mob I was supposed to trap and forgot I could just overwrite the DOT. I was getting tense. Tension gave way to anger and anger gave way to.. uhm, petulance.

However, I was still on top of Total Damage Done and DPS on Recount. This made me feel better. I looked at that Recount window with my name at the top and my lip stopped trembling. It made the bad stuff go away. I was still a man.

That was when it hit me. All the signs were there. Obsession with my position on Recount, inability to trap or do anything useful other than DPS. The Ego had taken up residence in the spare room where it came home at 3am with hookers, smelling of booze and cigarette smoke. Very soon I'd start having the irresistible urge to roll 'need' onloot that I couldn't use and yell stuff like 'LAWL' and 'N00B'. It was a slippery slope. How long till I was trolling the Wow Forums and criticizing posters based on their specs and their gear?

First thing I did was close recount. I made a deal with myself not tolook at it again. I've since removed it from my system. I'll installit if I need to troubleshoot something. It's a tool, not an expression of my masculinity and value as a human being, and that's what I'm going to tell myself every day.

Second thing I did was go and get my beloved boar back from the stable. He'd been languishing there ever since I'd started running around with that damned stupid cat to try and squeeze a few more points of DPS onto the charts.

Lastly, I'm respeccing. Those trap talents are coming back. I for one cannot friggin wait till they nerf Survival again. Good and hard. Seriously. Swing that puppy for me GC, I want to feel it.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Offline Adventures

I have a legitimate excuse for neglecting the blog, for once.

I received my steel mailbox through my bedroom window at 4 AM last Saturday morning. (Two days ago)

My housemate woke me, (I'm unsure how I managed to sleep through it; he said that on hearing the noise, his initial suspicion was a traffic accident) and I woke up with the bed covered in broken glass, although somehow I was unscathed.

I'm not exactly certain what it was that I did, but I suspect I've managed to fairly grievously offend someone in Sunbury, because that wasn't the first time I've had such an incident occur. Less than a month ago, there was an attempted burglary, and the day after that, the house was set on fire by a driveby throwing of a cluster of fireworks at the roof.

I eventually came to suspect that someone was possibly trying to kill me, and in turn, concluded that leaving the neighbourhood might be a good idea. I have since, and fortunately very rapidly, been able to do so.

I still have a bit of setting up to do, but I will resume regular blog posting within a day or two. To tide of you over, Gundersson is possibly going to be a special guest poster here at the Lair, as well. He doesn't have her own blog as such, but is very much a kindred spirit in terms of his use of Survival and general philosophy with the game, and so I will welcome his material.