Tag Archives: rambles

The Curious Incident of the Penguin in the Blog Post

This is a blog post that started out as a couple of rants and then turned into me negating one of my own rants.

See, it happened like this…

I was cooking up this whole blog post about how I rather dislike the fact that Blizzard really pushes the whole Horde vs. Alliance thing. Like, that Twitter “battlecry” contest or the current photo mosaic thing. I don’t like it, because I love both Horde and Alliance. Why do they want me to choose between my babies like that? And why won’t they just let me say “FOR THE EVERYONE” or hold up signs of both faction emblems? Why can’t we be friends?

Then, that rant segued into a sort of ponder about how I have a hard time understanding people who are really die-hard loyal to one faction. Both sides have such great storylines and great races and great locations, and both sides have good days and bad days and good people and not-so-good people. I mean, I can understand “well, all my friends are [insert faction here]”, I mean, I 100% understand that. But what about the people who won’t even roll an alt on the other side? They’re missing out! I simply didn’t understand.

So I was in the middle of this all and I felt something on my shoulder. I tapped at it, but it didn’t go away, and I turned and saw this:


sitting on my shoulder and giving me “the look”.

“Bwah?” I said, rather surprised (as you might expect). “Wh… who are you?”

“I’m Tux,” he replied. “And I’m the global collective conscience of Linux geeks everywhere. And you are being silly.”

“Me? Silly? Nonsense!” I replied in a rather miffed tone as I spun around in my computer chair.

“Look,” said Conscience-Tux. “You’re sitting here writing this blog post about how you don’t understand faction loyalty in World of Warcraft. And yet you whine and gripe anytime you have to use your Windows partition and you just LOVE coming up with excuses to show off screenshots of your Linux desktop and you get all defensive and noble and “patriotic” when people bash it, oh, and did I mention that your whole NaNoWriMo book is a freakin’ allegory for the Open Source Software movement? Hrmmm?”

“But, but, Tux! People just don’t understand!” I babbled. “They don’t understand the chills that go up my spine when somebody says ‘Free as in freedom’. They don’t understand the thrill of breaking and rebuilding your own operating system when you have to. They don’t understand the deep satisfaction that comes from solving a crazy computer problem. They don’t understand what it’s like to be the underdogs, tearing and clawing your way into using something as simple as a driver, and they don’t understand what it’s like to be a part of this great community and group effort…”

Tux held up a flipper to silence me. “Oh, and yet you don’t understand why some people have chills go up their spine when they hear ‘For the Horde’? And you don’t understand why people are loyal to their little virtual community? No, I think you understand perfectly well. Your heart has just already been taken. By a sexy flightless bird, no less.”

I sighed and then grumbled “Fiiiiiine, you win.”

“I always do. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be off. I’ve got an appointment with Richard Stallman in about five minutes.”

“Wait, you hang out with Richard Stallman too?”

“Oh, all the time. Why else do you think he’s so nuts?”

“Hrmm. Point taken.”

“Regardless, it’s been fun. And I hope you learned something from this little meeting of ours.” And with that, Conscience-Tux mounted up on his Gnu and disappeared into the air.

And so it came to pass that I was forced to adapt my blog post into saying, okay, die-hard Hordies (and Allies, though there aren’t as many of you running around), I getcha. It’s kind of a weird, roundabout way of getting you, but I do. …still wish I could say “FOR THE EVERYBODY!” though.

And that is how it went. True story. Even the part with the penguin conscience.

…what’s with the funny look…?

The Long and Winding Road

This is a post that was inspired by two things. First, a video that was sent to me by my boyfriend. Secondly, a post over at HoTs & DoTs.

You may be wondering what those two things have in common, but the way I see it, they’re both about the road that you took to get somewhere. In the case of the LoadingReadyRun video, it’s a comedy about how it’s not just “one thing” that makes something what it is, and in the case of the HoTs & DoTs post, it’s about how something little, like logging on at juuust the right time, can change your WoW life.

I look back at my first WoW character ever and see a lot of weird little things that all conspired together that brought me to where I am now. Rolling on the server I rolled on, cause a friend had characters there and decided we’d prefer to start out on that carebear RP server than on his other server, a PvP one. Rolling hunter cause a friend told me to. Learning herbalism because I wanted to pick a Peacebloom. Learning alchemy because seriously, as if I would have any other profession. The fact that I then had both herbalism and alchemy? Beginner’s luck.

There are a lot of what-ifs, too. What if the WoW free trial hadn’t worked on my Linux install? I was using Linux fulltime when I installed it. If it hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t have even tried to make it work. My personal reasons for using Linux were– are– more important than a game.

What if the friend that got the boyfriend and I into WoW had us roll Horde on his PvP server instead? Would I still be inventing stories and backstories for my characters the way I do now that I’m spoiled with the RP server mindset?

What if the person who told me to roll a hunter, told me to roll something else?

What if I’d never stumbled across the WoWWiki “fansites” page that introduced me to the (at that time, much smaller) WoW blogosphere?

And then what if I’d never decided to bite the bullet and make my own little blog? I put off doing it for a long time, you know. “Why use up valuable internet space that I can’t even put to good use? I’m no BRK,” was my reasoning. And yet for some reason I finally did it anyway.

My latest little “what if” comes in the form of joining my new guild. All I did for that was go to the official forums (where I never go) for my realm, found the first “Recruiting!” thread that I could find, went to the website, liked what I saw, and applied. A few weeks later I was in Ulduar, and now not only is my main in ToC25 but my alt is, as well (though I admit she is probably not geared for it, but it’s fun anyway.) You gotta understand, prior to joining that guild I’d been puttering around in PuGs and Naxx10. I figured I’d seen all the WotLK content I’d ever see. But the WoW gods apparently disagreed with me.

Where am I going with this? Truthfully at this point I think I’m just rambling; I’m trying to write a book, see, one that’s been stewing in my brain for thirteen years and I’m just now trying to get serious about it, and because I’ve been writing that all day, my brain is fried. x_x

BUT! The moral of the story, maybe, is don’t be afraid to take risks, like I did when I joined my new guild. It might be really good, or it might be really bad, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

The other moral of the story is that alchemy is clearly the superior profession because our flasks last twice as long. I miss four hour flasks though. /cry

Not Everyone Is An Alt

If you are anything like me, if you see a low level character running around, you instantly assume it’s an alt. Oh, now there are heirloom items that are a dead giveaway, but even the characters without said items still convince me. They don’t have to say anything. They just instantly register in my head as “alt”.

You can’t blame me, really. And I’ll bet a large portion of you do the exact same thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that– you just sort of get into that mindset.

Back in the day when I was leveling Tawyn, my first character, people assumed I was an alt as well. I’d get people telling me about what they were doing in Eastern Plaguelands, sprinkled with phrases like “as you know…” and I’d nod my head and smile even though I’d never stepped foot in Eastern Plaguelands because I was level 40. It amused me that people assumed this about me, but it never bothered me, because I felt terribly new to the game.

Things first started to change when I did have a max level character, and my alt, the druid Tamaryn, was level 50ish and healing BRD. This was about, oh, a year ago. I was in a group for BRD and it didn’t take long before the truth came out that not only was I was the only person there who had been in the instance before, but I was the only alt. All four other people were people’s first characters, discovering WoW for the first time and seeing this amazing, sprawling dungeon that is Blackrock Depths for the first time. Suddenly I felt very… old.

Things would, of course, continue to change as Wrath of the Lich King came out not long after that. Months went by and as they did, I found myself more and more in that position I’d been in when I was healing BRD. Suddenly, people didn’t understand when I said “This fight is like Romulo and Julianne” or “This fight is like Gruul”. Suddenly, people didn’t laugh at my “HOLY FIRE ON TAWYN” jokes anymore when we got to the chick that looks like Maiden in Halls of Stone. Because suddenly I wasn’t the token WoW newbie anymore. Suddenly I was a veteran who had done raids “back n’ the day” that other people hadn’t.

I’ve had people on Twitter were tell me they’d never tried Beast Mastery before because it had never been raid viable in the time that they’ve played the game. Now, Beast Mastery didn’t stop being “viable” (quotes because I could go off on a giant tangent on this, but I won’t) until a good chunk of time after people were clearing Naxx. There are people who started playing after that? I mean, it’s obvious when you put it like that and think about it– of course there are new players– but this absolutely blew my mind.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this little ramble. I suppose where I’m going is a sort of– ponder that has been on my mind for a while. I don’t like to think it’s a rant or a QQ, just a ponder.

Namely, I can’t help but think that where the game is at this point, WoW newbies are being rushed into content too fast. And I’m not talking about a “skill” thing here, so much as I’m talking about a “skipped content” thing.

We have all this shiny new badge gear and shiny new heroics that drop stuff that has completely obsoleted Naxx, OS, Malygos, and a good chunk of Ulduar. Now I don’t know, maybe this is just the servers I play on, but nobody runs Naxx anymore. Ever. Remember back in Burning Crusade, those of you who were there– people were running Karazhan up until the night before Wrath of the Lich King launched. And yet Naxx is already dead. I’ve tried putting characters in LFG for Naxx and there’s nothing. People aren’t even doing badge farms of it, because everyone has all the Conquest badge gear by now. There are nights where I’ll do a /who Naxxramas just to doublecheck and make sure I’m not crazy, but I’m not– “0 players found.”

And so I find myself wondering– in Blizz’s bold attempt to get “everyone to see content” in this expansion, did they forget about the people who are just hitting 80?

Or the people like me who were late in the “join a raiding guild” game, and who are now toting around level 232 and 245 gear and yet have never cleared Naxx25?

No, I’m serious. I’ve never cleared more than two wings of Naxx25. And at this rate, I don’t know if I ever will. And I love Naxx.

The badge gear and the stepping stool into higher content is great for those of us who will finally get to “see it all” or for our alts, but not everyone is an alt, and not everyone got to 80 the same time that everyone else did. And I worry that those people are missing some really great content because as soon as they hit 80, it’s “get the badge gear and get into ToC”. You know?

The impending “weekly raid quests” are a step in the right direction, but think about it, how many people are going to stick around for a Naxx full clear after killing Anub’rekhan or Patchwerk? Yeah.

Aaaaanyways, I guess that is just what’s been on my mind lately. As I was saying, this isn’t a rant or a QQ or anything. This isn’t something I’m particularly angry or emo about, nor is it something that would make me ragequit. No, this is just food for thought. Something that’s been on my mind that I’d like to toss out there into the “thinking ring”. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well (or hear that your servers are awesomer than mine and are still doing Naxx >_>)… I’d especially love to hear from you newer people; do you feel rushed into endgame, or am I just completely nuts? (It’s okay if I’m completely nuts; it wouldn’t surprise me =P)

But even if you disagree with me or come to a different conclusion, what I suppose I ultimately want you to take away from this is to look around and realize that some of those newbies running around actually aren’t alts. Feels weird, doesn’t it…?

Use Your Pet

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently both in game and as anecdotes on other blogs: hunters that aren’t using their pets. At all. Like, they don’t even summon them.

Okay guys, here’s the deal. I know that 99.999% of you are Marskman or Survival right now, but even so, you can’t afford to not have your pet out.

“But Pike, his DPS sucks!”

I asked some people on Twitter how much DPS their pet contributes in a raid setting. Here were some of the responses I got:

TheAllianceGuy (Marksman): “Above 1000 at least”
T_Jazz (Marksman/Survival): “the hundreds”
tchann (Beast Master): “40+ percent of 5k dps”
shizukera (Beast Master): “I can’t give you a number, but it hurts like hell when my pet dies”
jayesh (MM/SV, depending on fight): “16-23 percent. varies from fight to fight”
ILikeBubbles (Beast Master): “I think mine is…800/900ish DPS?”
dhollinger (Survival): “Rough estimate? My ulduar geared SV hunter’s wolf does ~450-500 from what I remember”
shieldbreakr (Survival): “536dps in my raid last night in my 25man naxx pug. I did 4132dps, he did 536. I use cats”
Eidtalheg (Survival): “my average pet (wolf) dps is ~730.”

The awesometacular Anna of Too Many Annas sent me some raid info from Totally Raids, Inc, on Feathermoon. Here is what she sent me:

First 3/4 of Ulduar + VoA Clear
Surv Hunter Pet – Cat – 950 DPS, 3.3 mil damage
Surv Hunter Pet – Moth – 900 DPS, 3 mil damage
Surv Hunter Pet – Wolf – 920 DPS, 2.5 mil damage

Yogg, Ony, VoA, ToC Normal –
Surv Hunter Pet – Cat – 850 DPS, 2.2 mil damage
Surv Hunter Pet – Moth – 800 DPS, 1.9 mil damage
Surv Hunter Pet – Wolf – 650 DPS, 1.5 mil damage
Marks Hunter Pet – Cat – 750 DPS, 1.5 mil damage

It’s worth noting that the marks hunter, whose pet is at the bottom of the chart, had never seen Yogg-Saron before (he’s our “sometimes” hunter, and we’ve not been doing Yoggy a lot), so he’s got a bit of a gear disparity from the other three!

Last half of ToC plus 11 wipes on Heroic Northrend Beasts
Surv Hunter Pet – Cat – 950 DPS, 2 mil damage
Surv Hunter Pet – Wolf – 700 DPS, 1.3 mil damage
Surv Hunter Pet – Wolf – 1000 DPS, 1.1 mil damage

Extremely variable numbers as you can see, and I know this is dependent on things like gear, level of content, group makeup, etc. But look at even some of the low-end numbers from Twitter and tell me that’s not helpful. Would you say no to a free 400 DPS? And check out some of the stuff Anna is doing– those pets are doing twice that! If you’re min/maxing your gear and your spec, why would you say no to using a pet?

“But Pike, I can’t keep him alive, I’m not BM like you!”

There seems to be this weird misconception floating around the blogosphere and the WoWosphere in general that raid-spec’d BM pets are magically much easier to keep alive and/or are better tanks than non-BM pets. Here’s the deal, I could spec for pet survivability, but I don’t, because I spec for DPS. The only things my pet has that yours probably doesn’t, from a standpoint of pet survivability, is one extra point in Wild Hunt, one extra point in Bloodthirsty, and one point in Improved Mend Pet. Possibly one point in Endurance Training, if you are Survival and don’t have it. That’s it. (I don’t count Improved Revive Pet because that is assuming your pet is already dead, and we’re talking about keeping him alive.)

This means my pet has a little more stamina than yours, and a slightly greater chance to regenerate a minute amount of life in combat. Improved Mend Pet is extremely situational– it’s helpful on Heigan and that’s about it.

If I can keep my pet alive, you can too. It just involves some situational awareness and a Mend Pet keybind.

“But Pike, this is [Insert Some Ridiculously Pet-Unfriendly Boss Here]”

Now, believe me, I know that some fights are a royal pain in the butt in terms of pet survivability. I understand that not all fights are created equal.

So keep your pet by your side.

Most Marksmanship builds include 2/2 Focused Fire, which is free DPS just for having your pet there.

And on top of that, a good number of you are using a wolf right now. I don’t, myself, partially because I like other pets better, partially because my stable is full, and partially because I’m a stubborn idiot making a stand against what I see as an unfair pet status quo. But guys, the wolf is free DPS just from standing there because of Furious Howl.

“But Pike, he dies on Mimiron anyway, even if he’s standing by my side!”

Yeah, I know >.> We won’t talk about Mimiron. /cough

“But Pike, it’s just a couple hundred DPS.”

And yet that new piece of gear you are drooling over will get you what, like, 15 DPS?

And what about those 1% boss fight wipes? Betcha wish you’d had a couple hundred extra DPS there.

In Conclusion:

You have no reason to not have your pet at least out and summoned. It’s free DPS. And besides which, look at your favorite pet’s face. Go on, do it.

Who could say no to a face like that? >.>

Pet control is vital, in my opinion, to all hunter specs. It’s part of what makes you a hunter. It’s part of what makes our class difficult to play, regardless of what other classes may occasionally think or rib us about. Because when the raid leader says that “ranged has to do this and melee has to do that”, we have to listen to both those things because part of us– our pet– is in fact melee.

We are the ones who have to make sure our pet is not DPS’ing the same lasher as we are on Freya.

We are the ones who have to make sure our pet is DPSing the big add on Onyxia while we focus on whelps or Onyxia herself.

No other class has to worry about this kind of thing, except maybe demonology warlocks (and Unholy Death Knights..?). It’s a big responsibility.

And spec’ing MM or SV doesn’t automatically clear you from that pet responsibility. That arrived when you chose to roll a hunter. If you want to be the best hunter you can be, that includes your pet. You’re both in this together.

To mangle a quote by a toy cowboy, “Pets. If you don’t have one, get one!”

A Completely Different and Possibly Insane Angle of "Welfare Epics"

Guys. I have a confession.

You know all the new badge gear? The stuff that is really really good? The stuff that is a godsend and is gonna let me catch up to my guildies in Ulduar?

Yeah, I don’t have any of it yet.

Because none of it has a story behind it the way the stuff I’m wearing right now does. The stuff I’m wearing right now is mostly from Naxx10, with a sprinkling of stuff from Naxx25, and dropped from raid bosses, some of whom took weeks to see, and when I wore it, I wore it very proudly.

I am having a really hard time convincing myself to replace it with stuff that is being held in sterile confinement in Dalaran and that I earned by doing “chain Heroics”. I feel like there would be no soul in said gear.

Soul? You’ve lost it, Pike.”

Yeah, perhaps I have. That’s why I put the word “insane” in the title of the post. =P

This issue plagued me before; in Burning Crusade when they introduced all the stuff with the Shattered Sun dailies and Sunwell, remember? Suddenly there was all this gear that you could get with badges that far out-stripped my Karazhan stuff. I waffled on this new gear for a while, too, for the same reason. It had no soul. But eventually I caved and bought it all, topping it off with that infamous “Chocobow”, Crossbow of Relentless Strikes.

But when I got my Figureprint it was with the gear that all had stories behind it… Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle being the crowning piece. Aside from just looking better, it simply meant more to me than the badge bow did.


At some point before Ulduar25 this weekend, I’ll bite the bullet and snag some badge epics. And in the end, I’m glad they are there, because otherwise I’d just end up embarrassing myself in my new guild. And I don’t really have any moral problem with the way “welfare epics” are implemented.

But gosh if there isn’t gonna be a tear in my eye as one by one, all the names of raid bosses that you currently see when mousing over my items turns on Armory turn into simply “Vendor”. =/

Maybe I’ll get something from Ulduar to make up for it…

(Closing Note: I know this is a touchy subject for some people, and as such I feel driven to add a quick reminder that while discussion in the comments would be quite encouraged, be sure to play nice. <3)

Pike Vs. Player: A Tragic Tale

There are a lot of posts about PvP and stuff on the blogosphere lately and while I have no intention to touch on the “balance” debate, it has got me thinking a little about PvP in general and how my personal feelings towards it have sort of changed.

When I was leveling my first character, I liked battlegrounds, a lot. Anytime I got to a level that ended in 7, 8, or 9, I would effectively stop leveling for a good few weeks so I could spend lots of quality time in battlegrounds. It was fun. Alliance always lost. I loved it anyway. I did Alterac Valley over and over and over again for Ice Barbed Spear, it took like twelve games before Alliance actually won. It was exhilarating.

I got to 70 and while I was mostly doing instances at this point, I decided that I was sick of staring at Valanos’ Longbow and decided to grind honor and marks for a super shiny PvP bow. Later I found out that the bow didn’t have particularly good stats for PvE, but no matter, it was pretty and I was a noob, and I wanted it.

This is where my experience with PvP started to sour. See, not only does Alliance on Bloodlust absolutely suck at BGs (or did, back then, I dunno if they still do), but premades were rampant. 99% of the time you got into a game, you were against a premade, being camped in the graveyard or the little floaty island in Eye of the Storm. Now, because I was super stubborn and thought premades ruined the PvP experience, I never participated in them. Unfortunately, everybody else, well, did.

I got that bow. I got it after weeks of drearily being graveyard camped by premades. Weeks of dreading queuing up for another resounding AV loss that consisted of me repeatedly being demolished by people that were decked out in five million resilience. Weeks of queuing in and randomly winding up as the sole Silver Hand player in an otherwise “hardcore PvP server” premade and being taunted and spammed the entire time with “LOL RP SERVAR” which would often even segue into sexist remarks. It was an awful experience. I longed for the days of pre-70 battlegrounds which were fun and exciting. I actually did a lot of battlegrounds on low-level characters to make up for it, but it wasn’t the same somehow, because I knew that those characters would eventually hit level 70 and battlegrounds would die again.

I can’t remember when the new anti-premade change (aka BEST CHANGE EVER) came about. But I’m pretty sure it encouraged me to do enough PvP that I wound up with some Merciless Gladiator gear, for the express purpose of having PvP gear when I wanted to PvP. I figured, hey, if you can’t beat the people with five million resilience, join ‘em! But by that point it was sorta too late. I was tired of PvP. My friends and I were having a blast in heroics and Kara and that sort of eclipsed battlegrounds as “my thing”. Once I had all my PvP gear, I actually PvP’d, like… twice, maybe. Once was in an arena and I hated it so never went back. But yeah, it was silly. All dressed up and no interest in going anywhere.

So then we get this expansion. I get to 80. I do a ton of Heroics and Naxx a million times. My “PvP gear set” was woefully outdated but I had absolutely zero motivation to grind for PvP gear again. But one day, I realized that I had tons of extra badges. I pondered what to do with them. Then, on a lark, I bought some entry level PvP gear, donned them and some pants I’d won out of VoA, and headed into Alterac Valley.

Much to my surprise, in the long, long months it’d been since I’d been in AV on that battlegroup… Alliance had figured out how to win. Back when I had been into Battlegrounds, this would have been the happiest day ever. But no… it was just “meh” to me. The magic had somehow gone out of AV. It was actually quite a tragic realization… it depressed me a little. Healing it on my druid was a little more fun and kept my interest for a few hours but then it just became “meh” again.

I’ve never been into Wintergrasp (other than for VoA) or any of the new battlegrounds; I’ve no interest. I know I’m going to get the overwhelming “OMG WINTERGRASP IS SO DIFFERENT, YOU’LL LOVE IT” comments, and it’s probably true, but… I dunno. I just can’t motivate myself to get in there.

Now I want to make one thing very clear, I don’t have anything against PvP, or people who are primarily PvP players, or anything like that. I respect good PvPers and wish I was among them, cause I’m not. And ya know what, the occasional battleground on my lowbie is still fun, especially now that you can get XP for it. World PvP I’m iffy on– I enjoy it if it’s a fair fight, and the whole “contested territory” thing is fun in a prickly-feeling-on-the-back-of-your-neck kind of way, but I don’t and never will understand “ganking”.

But yeah, I figured you all deserved an explanation on why I used to talk about PvP a lot back in the day on this blog, and don’t really anymore.

Someday, though, I maintain hope that battlegrounds will get that “spark” back. I have very fond memories of Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, Alterac Valley… and lots of lessons that helped shape me into the hunter I am today. Someday I’m going to go back and they’ll all be just as fun as they were the first time a scrappy little band of underdogs won AV. The first time we had 0/3 flags capped in WSG and Horde had 2/3, and somehow, an hour later, we’d won. The first time an AB game went down to the wire.

I’m eagerly awaiting that day…