All posts by Pike

Shaking the Ol’ Talent Tree

Hey guys, let’s go back.

wotlk talents

Let’s go back even further:

tbc talents]Let’s go waaaaaay the heck back:

vanilla talentsAhh, remember these?  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the old talent trees were a true part of our Warcraft experience if you’ve been playing for any substantial length of time.

I got thinking of these thanks to a conversation I was having on Twitter.  There are a lot of memories that come with these old talent trees – both good and bad.  I remember how excited I was to make myself or my pet just that much more powerful every level.  I remember devising specific leveling specs, PvP specs, and raiding specs.

I also remember how innately “tied” to your spec these really made you feel.  One of my earlier blog posts to make a real splash in the community, written a whopping seven and a half years ago, details how the symbiotic hunter/pet nature of the BM talents was why it was my favorite spec.

These days, though, I’m BM not because I like the talents so much as because, hey, I’ve been playing it for years and years and I know how to play it, and I do pretty well with it, so why switch?  It’s not the most inspiring reason in the world, I know.

I dunno, I’m not exactly pining for the old talents or anything.  But it is kind of a fun thing to look back on.

Wanna go back in time and play around?  Have fun!

Let’s Talk About Grom Hellscream For Two Minutes

Grom is an orc who is really good at Drinking The Bad.  And as you might have guessed, every time he drinks The Bad, everyone gets screwed over.  He knows this, but he continues to drink The Bad whenever Thrall isn’t looking (because Thrall is, as we all know, infamously bad at choosing who should lead the Horde in his absence)

Orc campaign in Warcraft 3, in a nutshell
Orc campaign in Warcraft 3, in a nutshell

You would think that Grom could avoid this whole scenario by deciding to, you know, not drink The Bad.  Unfortunately, do you know what happens when he doesn’t drink The Bad?  We get an entire fecking expac where he’s the villain.

Poor Grom.  Ruins everything if he drinks The Bad, and still ruins everything if he doesn’t.  He went and passed that trait on to his son, too.  Keep on doin’ your thing, Hellscream family!  (Actually maybe not, it’s getting kind of old by this point.)

(Got something you want me to talk about for two minutes?  Leave a comment or poke me on Twitter!)

Whole Lotta Purples Goin’ On

CBVa_PyVEAA_r9PSee that purple sucker?  I got that from a mission this morning.  A mission!  I didn’t even have to do anything for it.  It happened when I was asleep.  What a world (of Warcraft) that we live in.

I went and put a Hemet’s Heartseeker on it and it is absolutely glorious.  Just delicious.

I’m actually excited about gearing up!  What… what is this?!  I haven’t been excited about gearing up since Wrath of the Lich King!  WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!

Ahem… sorry… briefly lost my composure there…

So, readers, how’s life?


Good Games That Are Good: Morrowind

I’m not sure where to even begin talking about Morrowind.  To call it my favorite game of all time (tied with Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri) seems like a disservice.  It is, somehow, more than that.

morrowind-artRed Mountain by Lelek1980

The world of Morrowind doesn’t like you. Its creatures don’t like you, and its native inhabitants – the dunmer, or dark elves – also don’t like you. The emperor has a special feeling about you and has dumped you off here in the dreary marshes of Seyda Neen, and has let you loose there. He suggests you maybe go talk to a guy in a nearby town.

But that’s it. That’s all you’re told. There are quests, if you choose to do them. There’s even a main storyline you can beat. But that’s not the meat of the game, because the meat of the game is that the land of Vvardenfell is a living, breathing world, replete with competing religions, factions, cultures, and histories.

Also Mesopotamian engineer elves who uploaded their soul into a giant robot. Canon lore btw. Art by Lelek1980 again.

Morrowind feels alive in a way that’s difficult to describe.  I can talk all day about how the lore is really deep and meaningful and inspired by Hindu mythology and this and that but ultimately no words I can say could begin to do it justice.

And that’s fine, because the only way to experience Morrowind is to play it alongside your character.  Just like your character, you have no idea why you’re here.  Just like your character, you’d rather not be here.  Just like your character, you don’t care for anyone here because they certainly don’t care for you.

But then, slowly, as the mysteries of Morrowind unravel, the place and its people start to grow on you and your character both.  And then by the end of the game when you have the chance to save them, you feel it.

That’s what makes Morrowind so special.

(also you can break the game by way of alchemy and enchanting, but that’s a whole ‘nother article.)

Four Things I Want To See in the Warcraft Movie

So the Warcraft movie, which was first announced approximately 35867 years ago, is finally coming out next year.  Surprisingly we haven’t really seen any public teasers or anything for it yet, so what we know about it is still pretty limited. It looks like it takes place during the First War (contrary to what we were initially told), and… okay, that’s all I know.

Anyways, I dunno about you, but here is what I WANT TO SEE.  In all caps.

1. More Than Just “Orcs & Humans”

Look, I know it’s based off of the first Warcraft game which was literally titled “Orcs & Humans”.  But other stuff was certainly happening on the Eastern Kingdoms continent at the time of the First War.  The gnomes and dwarves weren’t directly involved with the conflict but obviously knew what was going on due to their close proximity to Stormwind.  Meanwhile, the Amani trolls and the high elves were up north dealing with their ongoing personal blood feud.  All of these races, at least, should have a shot at appearing in the movie.  Especially gnomes.

2. Cool lore stuff

Okay Warcraft movie, let’s really dig into the lore here and give us turbonerds more to talk about.  Not really much else to say about that point.  This does lead us nicely into point three:

3. Shoutouts to the fans (but not George Lucas style shoutouts)

Remember in the Star Wars prequel trilogy movies where every time George Lucas made some shoutout to the fans you could almost see him on screen winking slyly at the audience?  (Yes, I’m talking to you, R2-D2/C-3PO introduction and that one part later where Boba Fett looks slowly at the camera for no reason.)  I don’t want that.  I do want little blink-if-you-miss-it things that only the nerds are gonna get.  Wreck-It Ralph did a really good job of putting in references like this, I think.  Speaking of which:

4. Moroes needs to say “Mmm, unannounced visitors” or “How terribly clumsy of me” or something.

Moroes is in the movie and if he doesn’t quote his lines from Karazhan then I’m walking out of the theater damnit!

arghAlright, enough of me trying (and probably failing) to be entertaining.  What do YOU want to see in the Warcraft movie?

Check Out These Sick Polygons

Weird thing about playing a ten year old game: when stuff that is blatantly 10+ years old crosses with new stuff.  Example: Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat on an updated character model.

"Yeah brah, check this out"
“Yeah brah, check this out”

Another example: flying around mountains in the old world that are textured by, like… a 10×10 pattern copied ten million times.

And yes, I know, “time is money friend” and so on.  Mostly I just think it’s hilarious, to be honest!

Also I couldn’t think of anything else to blog about, so you get belfies.  Because when all else fails, I’m gonna give you belfies because my belf is a cutie.


Hunter Kindergarten: Dungeons 101

*dusts off desk*

*slowly walks up to chalkboard, baton in hand*

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Pretty sure my last Hunter Kindergarten post was written back during WotLK.  Well, ladies, gentlemen and robots and all others… class is back in session.

serenityguides2So you’re a brand-spanking new hunter in this World of Warcraft and you’ve decided it’s time to do some instances.  Awesome!  That’s the bread and butter of WoW and hopefully you have fun.

Before heading in, however, you do have a couple of things to keep in mind.

(Yes, long time readers: most of these are rehashes of posts I wrote five or six years ago.  But trust me, this is stuff I still see.  IN RAIDS.)

REPAIR: Personally I have this weird quirk where I try to be 100% repaired at all times.  I just default to repairing every time I’m in my garrison or, well, basically next to anyone who can repair.  If you’re not in this habit, you should at least repair before queuing up.  I understand that if you’re in LFG you may be out in the world or whatever whilst waiting for the queue to pop.  But you don’t want to be that guy whose gear is mysteriously red after one single wipe.  Right?

PET SPEC’D FEROCITY: Ferocity is the DPS spec.  It gets you and your pet both all the DPS bonuses.  I’ve just started keeping pets spec’d for different things with me at all time and I swap them in or out as needed.  It’s easy enough to just switch pet specs on the fly, so you don’t have to do that, but this does lead in nicely to my next point, which is…

TURN GROWL OFF:  Ten years later and I’m still seeing hunters with their pet’s growl on in raids.  This messes with the tank and leads to your pet dying, which leads to a severe drop in DPS.  Please, please make sure growl is off before going into the instance!  If you have trouble remembering then pick one of your pets to be an instance/raid pet and keep growl off on him at all times.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR AOEs: Barrage is awesome and a stupid amount of fun.  Like, I always wanted to be a human gatling gun.  (Er… elf gatling gun.)  But it’s not for places where you have to be careful with pulls, because it can and will accidentally pull the next pack of mobs – or the boss.  Same goes for Multishot!

BUFF UP: Maybe not a huge deal in low level instances.  Maybe not a huge deal if you’re a Mythic raider dicking around in LFR.  But otherwise you should probably use an agility flask and eat some food.  Oh, and I know Exotic Munitions isn’t the most popular talent in the world right now, but if you do use it, be sure to make sure you’ve just applied it.  (With Poisoned Ammo in most cases).

Okay, that’s about it.  No, really.  That’s it for Dungeons 101, at least.  Oh, there are other things you’ll need to know – things about shot priorities, character stats, and so on.  But those are all subjects for another day!  For now, these five tips should be enough to get you started.

Class dismissed!  Your homework: Play video games!  Hooray!

For We Shall Make Them Fight For Every Last Inch

Recently I’ve been focusing on setting up two sets of gear: a decent PvE set and a decent PvP set.  As such, my usual WoW days involve doing my garrison stuff, doing my apexis daily, doing a quick LFR, and then doing some battlegrounds.

So.  Alterac Valley.


I don’t know how it is on other battlegroups – or if battlegroups are even a thing anymore (probably not) – but here on Shadowburn the Horde is truly abysmal at Alterac Valley.  Just utterly awful.  My usual Alterac Valley experience, as Horde, involves starting out okay, thinking “hey, we’re not doing too badly this time around,” pulling up the map, and seeing a line of blue towers and graveyards all the way down the length of the entire battleground.

Then we lose soon after.


I refuse to remove AV from my list like everyone else does because I still love AV; something about it is deliciously old-school and I usually enjoy it anyway.  But let’s just say I don’t ever go into it expecting a win, because we never get one.

So myself and Mister Pike were in AV yesterday, and it was going about as well as can be expected for us – Alliance had, oh, about 400 reinforcements left and us Horde had like 120.  Just another average day on Horde, to be honest.

So there we were, all of us Hordies spawning back at Drek’thar (not spawning in the cave was a plus, at least), and the Alliance was getting ready to rush in and finish the job.  Then Mr. Pike said something in chat that struck a nerve.  He said “I don’t care if we lose, I’m going to make the Alliance fight for every last inch.”

And for whatever weird reason, everyone in the battleground chat started to agree.  Person after person piped up about how “oldschool” that mentality was, how “Horde” it was… and how we should definitely do that.

And so the Alliance never got to Drek’thar.  Not once.  It was all forty of us at our choke point vs. all forty of them, and it was glorious.  An absolute bloodbath.  We were under no delusions that we would win this battle of attrition, of course.  We were realists.  It was already a loss.

But you better believe that we were gonna make it take like twenty minutes.


For those twenty minutes we gave the Alliance hell.  We refused to give them the satisfaction of a quick, easy victory, because screw that.  It was oldschool AV at its finest, and battleground chat was full of people talking how awesome this was and how it was taking all of us back.  There were even GGs going around when it was all over and our reinforcements finally, inevitably, dwindled down to zero.

And that, my friends, is why I still love AV.  It’s why I’m gonna keep queuing for it even if we’re terrible at it.  I’m looking forward to a few matches later today.

Because win or lose, it’s Alterac Feckin’ Valley, and if there was ever a truly legendary battleground, then this one is it.

Okay Blizzard it’s time to revamp draenei and blood elves

I’m sure I’ll get some comments that disagree, but IMO draenei and blood elves have basically the best lore in the Warcraft universe.

But, of course, if you roll a new draenei you get the same old “OUR SHIP JUST CRASHED!!111!1″ quests we got eight years ago, and if you roll a new blood elf they’ll helpfully inform you that ~~Kael’thas is going to lead our people to Outland~~ even though that stopped being current lore, like… halfway through that same expac.

maroney_rect1-460x307_crop_northRevamp both starter zones already, Blizzard.  Make them flyable.  Make it so more of Silvermoon is rebuilt and not covered in statues of Kael’thas or fel crystals, because all of those stopped being relevant like seven years ago.  Seriously, Blizz.

While we’re at it, let’s revamp Outland.  I mean, as much of a nostalgia junkie as I am, I’m also a realist, and I accept that jumping from the Cata-revamp content to Burning feckin’ Crusade kind of hurts a little.

Actually, you know what?  To heck with it.  Let’s just get a draenei/belf expac.  This can be followed up an expac where Chromie teleports us millions of years into the past to watch the Titans and Old Gods fight because it would be awesome.

This Imperator Guy Was Serious Business For About Ten Minutes

So I’ve been doing some Highmaul LFR.  It’s a blast even if it is a bit silly.  It’s not the world’s most memorable dungeon, design-wise, but that’s okay because ogres are BRO-gres.

Anyways yesterday I did this Imperator Mar’gok guy.  It took more than one attempt, and lemme tell ya, the first attempt successfully managed to bring me way, way back to my old raiding days.

I felt like I had to keep pulling magic tricks out of my hat to dodge this, DPS that, and simply stay alive.  We got him down to maybe 15% or so before we all finally bit the dust, and I’m glad to say that apparently I’m still a bona fide hunter since I was one of the last ones standing.

my actual face as I realized that this was actually like the old times

…of course, this is LFR, which means that after the wipe we realized that something like two healers as well as a few of the DPS had been AFK the entire time!  We kicked them, got some replacements, and then the second attempt was an absolute joke.

But still!  For about ten minutes there I was back in Wrath!  I kid you not!

Anyways, remember about a week back when I said that I couldn’t fathom playing a hunter wrong in 2015?  Scratch that; there are some truly special hunters in LFR.  Maybe there is still a need for Pike after all.  /cracks knuckles