Beta Hunter, go!

September 5, 2010

I’ve been a bit busy with real life, but managed to sit down this past week and download the new beta stuffs, then putz around through several crashes (something buggy with the ambient sound) until I finally went through my first beta instance run last night.

And Beast Mastery? Is fun.

I mean, I love playing the spec, one way or another. But I think where hunters are going in Cata is a very GOOD thing, and last night was an exercise in trying to find a rotation, or priority, and failing. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist – I’m not the type of theorycrafter to tug each spell apart myself and figure out what needs to go where and when. And I’m still operating without my addons, so my efficiency is definitely lacking (for example, I keep forgetting to keep Serpent Sting up). But here, let me tell you about our run last night.

First of all, the BMR Away Team had a full five-man ready to go into the Abyssal Maw. Except whenever we went into the instance, we got a fatigue bar that started ticking down. Also, we disconnected every time we went into the instance. So Abyssal Maw was scrapped for Blackrock Caverns, where our healer ran into such terrible cursor trouble (everything she moused over made her crash) that we ended up four-manning the instance. That’s right, first time through a place at level (I’m only 81) and we’re four-manning.

My guild? Love it. :D

I’d mentioned before that Kill Command couldn’t possibly be in its final incarnation, and I was right. Blizz put it on the GCD, as well as giving it a 6-second cooldown. This is a very, very good thing. It means it can’t be macro’d to any other shot, so that gives us another level of intelligent thought in combat. It also means that it can’t be constantly spammed until we’re out of focus, which was such a boring thing to do I wasn’t even having fun questing. Now that it has a cooldown, I find I’m looking at what shots I can get in between Kill Commands, as well as orchestrating them so I keep my focus up for that and other fun things. So that’s awesome.

Second awesome thing about Kill Command? When it crits (and in the short log I took, it was cast 14 times and every single one was a crit) it does damage equivalent to or higher than our current Kill Shots. So basically, we’re doing a Kill Shot’s worth of damage every 6 seconds. YES PLEASE.

I finally got a hold of Cobra Shot at level 81 and used it to replace Steady Shot. For the most part I fall into a pattern of Kill Command, Arcane, Cobra, Arcane, Cobra, Kill Command, repeat, but that doesn’t always hold true. Sometimes Serpent Sting needs refreshing (something I need to keep a closer eye on), and sometimes Multi Shot needs thrown out.

Oh yes, Multi Shot!

I was very unhappy when Volley was yanked. I know using Volley over and over could get boring, but it was better than nothing! It didn’t help that I noticed Volley was gone right when I needed it to fend off a horde of tiny things on a quest. Nonetheless.

The new Multi Shot is a great compromise. I’m not sure what the official effect is, as the tooltip has all zeroes for its numbers, but what happens is less of an AoE and more of what Volley was supposed to be. You shoot it at one target and it hits, then bounces off to hit every other mob within so many yards. It does very decent damage, is on the GCD, has no cooldown, and can be cast while moving. After seeing it in action in Blackrock Caverns, I can definitely say that the new Multi Shot makes me okay with losing Volley.

So that’s things as they stand now. Two of the three venoms have been yanked from the game, leaving only Widow Venom, which is a reduced Mortal Strike effect. I’m still leveling (slowly) and getting a feel for what me and my pet can do now. But I think, as usual, the logs can speak for themselves:

Look at your game, now back to mine.

August 19, 2010

I’ve been quiet for a while, but it was for good reason. See, I got a bit of news, and I wanted to let it physically materialize before I went announcing it TOO broadly (although apparently Twitter and Facebook didn’t count).

You know how much I love my guild, and how much I love telling you people that I love my guild? Well, I continue to love my guild and now it’s completely validated because Blizzard loves my guild and gave us invites to the Cataclysm beta. Which I copied Tchann over to last night (inconspicuously renamed to ‘Tchann’ – I’m a stealth genius).

I’ve only played around a bit, but this is what I’ve noticed so far*:

-I MISS MY ADDONS
-Guild charters only take five signatures. Don’t know if this is permanent or just for the beta, but it was handy for the BMR Away Team to form up quickly.
-Dalaran is exactly the same.
-Orgrimmar is like another world. It’s insane and awesome, and it took me forever to find the training dummies (hint: they’re inside).
-Playing without my addons is like being naked. Or splayed open.
-I’m half-decent at making up macros on the fly.
-Trying to figure out if Fervor can be macro’d with another ability, namely Kill Shot. Not sure if that’d be a great idea, but every time I try to KS something it tells me I don’t have enough focus, so I thought I’d give it a try.
-I seem to do about the same amount of damage overall, but Mahrou’s damage is more than half of it, especially when I’m spamming Kill Command.
-There is NO WAY Kill Command is finalized. Instant cast, no cooldown, off the GCD? Yeah, that is way too good to be true. But if they nerf that I have a feeling BM hunters are going to plummet.
-Can I have just one addon? Maybe Power Auras so I can track Frenzy stacks? Please?
-Bug reporting system doesn’t work. Suggestions don’t work. Basically no feedback works, which is silly considering the amount of bugs I’ve already found.
-I’m on a felsteed.

Nothing's impossible when you use Cataclysm body wash.

*Disclaimer: the information contained in this post may be completely redundant if you already read a lot of beta-related stuff. But because I don’t, all this is new to me. DEAL WITH IT.

/flex

July 15, 2010

When the spoilers came out for the Fall of the Lich King, I avoided them. I stopped visiting MMO Champion, I stopped reading the spoiler threads. I was deliberately ignorant of how the game would ‘end’ because I wanted to see it myself. I didn’t want to see the Lich King dead until he was dead by my hands.

(Spoiler: if you’re the same way as me and you haven’t seen him dead yet, might wanna go somewhere else. >.>)

I lost track of how many attempts we made on Arthas last night, but at some point everything seemed to click in Phase 3 and I remember shooting down spirits and thinking, We actually have a chance at this, don’t we? We might really do this!

And then we died.

I stared at the screen, flabbergasted. I even flung off my headset because the Lich King had obviously berserked and killed us all in one hit. It hadn’t felt like 10 minutes since the last DBM warning but time can fly during a boss fight. I heard my raid leader cheering and I figured he was just happy we survived until the enrage. My hands were knotted up in my hair and my husband walked over and laid a hand on my shoulder.

“Grats!” he said.

This made no sense. “…what?”

That’s when I realized Arthas was monologuing. That was weird. Bosses don’t usually do that when everybody is dead on the ground – they despawn. I watched him gloat and felt a twinge of pride at the thought that I was worth resurrecting to be one of his generals. And then I saw Tirion break free, smash Frostmourne to shards, and next thing I know Terenas Menethil wants to resurrect me.

Well, who am I to say no?

I realized after we rezzed that Mahrou hadn’t been brought back, so I took the time to resurrect him myself. If Arthas was going down, dammit, he was going down with my pet – the one I’d had since level 10 – by my side.

We all sat back and watched the movie play out, and then we all went and changed our titles to ‘Kingslayer’ and posed and took screenshots and generally felt amazingly awesome about ourselves.

courtesy of Erinice/Keryn/awesome GL

Then just as we were realizing that there was no safe way -off- the frozen platform, someone had the nifty idea to go knock out Sartharion +3 while we were at it. It took a few false starts, but I ended the night with two new titles and a trophy from the RNG:

And if I can use my blog as a soapbox for a minute here, I just want to thank Annicus, Ceirin, Erinice, Kun, Nguni, Nibaw, Vurgus, Zandivya and Zurasha of Thorium Brotherhood’s Bad Moon Rising and affiliated guilds for being wonderfully awesome to raid with. You guys rock and I’m brilliantly happy that I could see the ‘end’ of the current game with all of you.

…now let’s get him on farm. >:D

(Sidenote: I totally ranked #16 on WoL when I uploaded our logs this morning. It’s like a cherry on top of a deliciously awesome sundae.)

Would smell as sweet

July 6, 2010

I’m not sure what I could say that could properly preface Blizzard’s latest announcement, so I’ll just let their words speak for themselves:

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm.

-Nethaera

I read this and my jaw dropped. I passed on the link to others, read comments, reread the post, saw the Blue amendment (old posts will be unaffected), went to lunch and came back. And now that I’m back from lunch, I think I’ve managed to sift through my thoughts and find the relevant bits, beginning with this:

What the FUCK are you thinking, Blizzard?

Yes, I just dropped the f-bomb. Because something like this deserves it.  I was fine – and continue to be fine – with the Real ID friendlist because I can choose who knows who I am. Not that I exactly go to great lengths to conceal my identity, but I don’t need some random pug tank calling me by my first name.

A person’s name is their identity. Yes, that sounds obvious but let me elaborate: you’re walking down the street and you hear someone say your first name. Immediately you pause – that name is your personal identifier, after all – and turn towards the voice, only to see someone else approaching the person like old buddies. It may be that person’s name as well, but to the both of you it is something personal.

I’ll admit to only half-listening to my husband at times, but if he says my name he has my full and undivided attention. It triggers something primal, a mental flag that I need to get serious, because whatever is happening warrants the use of my specific identifier. My name is personal, and if I don’t want someone to use it I can tell them to their face.

Blizzard doesn’t have a face. It’s a company that I’ve believed for a long time only wanted the best for its customers. So instead I will say this publicly: Blizzard, I want you to use my name to bill me. I do NOT want you to use my name to tell the entire World Wide Web that I play a tauren hunter, or that my undead mage yells gibberish in battlegrounds, or that my night elf druid has been sitting unplayed for over a year.

Blizzard, it’s not fair that I trusted you with my name, my moniker, only to have you tell me that I have to share it with the entire world to be a part of your forums. And now, I value my privacy too highly to post on your forums ever again.

I understand you want to reduce the amount of trolling on your forums. I don’t have an easy solution for you. But I will tell you that doing this will not only pare out just a few trolls (because the worst ones have no moral difficulty with lying to you in the first place), but additionally serve to alienate the most competent and intelligent section of your fan base. They are the ones who understand the value of their name, and they will shun you.

Don’t do this, Blizzard, I implore you. It will only serve to tarnish your company’s reputation. Or does your name mean as little to you as mine?

Edit 7/7/10: My post on the official thread, response number 19761.

Commitment

June 21, 2010

I played softball for 11 years back in grade school, and I had always taken a lot of pride in doing my best out on the field. Unlike the girls who had been forced to play by overly insistent parents, I took the game seriously and worked my hardest to help my team succeed.

This year, I signed up to play softball on my company’s softball team. I had to go out and buy a new glove, and try to warm my arm up a bit, but I was excited and couldn’t wait for our games to start.

Yesterday, we had to forfeit because only 6 out of 16 players showed up.

It was beyond frustrating. I leaned against my coworker’s red Mustang as we stared at the ground, scowling at the fact that so many people had deserted us. We had committed to something and we were there to follow through, yet they didn’t find it to be worthwhile. No calls of apology or explanation, just a straight no-show from half of our team.

As one of our strongest members growled his annoyance at the absent team members, something clicked in my head. I’ve been saying it for a while, after all, but it’s far easier to say when you haven’t been on the field for ten years. Yesterday, standing on the asphalt by the softball field, I realized it was true:

Raiding is a sport.

Just like most sports, raiding is a team effort. When you sign up for a raid, you’re making a commitment to be available for that effort. You can have five fantastic players who can perform spectacularly at the drop of a hat, but if the other half of the team doesn’t show, no one gets to do anything.

Obviously some things are more important than a game. Our manager had to step out of playing last week because she’s had surgery and can’t be exerting herself. But she went and found other people to fill in the roster, making sure that the game could go on. If you make a commitment and suddenly cannot keep it, the very least you can do is let the organizer know so that the group isn’t left in the lurch at the last-minute.

The analogy goes further, of course. Depending on the team you play, you can stick your weakest link in right field and still win the game. But if that other team has a lefty, or someone who can place their hits, then your team will get steamrolled. It’s been said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It only takes one dps to walk through the fire and blow up the entire raid.

When I played softball in grade school, the weakest link was traditionally stuck as catcher. All that player really had to do was throw the ball back to the pitcher after each pitch – nothing special or otherwise demanding. But when a nepotistic coach stuck me in that position, I was determined to own it. I flipped my mask off to catch foul balls. I jumped to the plate and made catches at home base. What had traditionally been something that only losers played ended up changing the entire league, because one girl had made that position important.

Old habits die hard, I think. :)


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