Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December Musings

  • Big respect to Sci Fi for bringing Gundam back to America. Now that Cartoon Network seems to be out of the anime business, it's nice to see sonebody breathing life back into it. Between this and Gurren Lagann, Sci Fi is becoming a force in American anime.
  • Maybe I'm a hungry guy, but the new McDouble doesn't satisfy me as much as the old Double Cheeseburger. Is one slice of cheese THAT much?
  • Seeing a Hellreaver with Minor Beastslayer? Funny. Seeing it on a Hunter? /facepalm
  • I'm a little disappointed with Confessor, Terry Goodkind's finale of the Sword of Truth series. I feel he wasted a couple hundred pages following the wrong characters while all the interesting stuff was happenning in the background. Way too many Deux ex Machina moments and a major plot point from earlier in the series left completely forgotten and unresolved.
  • However, Jim Butcher is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. I've blown through each of the Dresden Files novels in record time, and I'm voraciously devouring Captain's Fury, the fourth book in his brilliant Codex Alera series. The only other author I haven't been able to put down like this is Dan Brown.
  • I think the upcoming Hunter changes may be nerfing Hunter Utility too much, while NOT nerfing Hunter DPS enough.
  • Lots of good nerd movie trailers out there. Star Trek. Wolverine. Special. Fanboys. Hulk VS. WATCHMEN. Monsters vs Aliens.
  • And then there's Dragonball...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How was your 2008?

2008 was a big year for WoW, but who cares about that? I'm more interested in how everyone was affected personally this year.

2008 was an overall very positive year for me.

First of all, finally working things out to play off and on some weeknights was a huge win. My alts made some serious progress these last few months.

Samodean, my Warlock sat on the shelf for most of the year. As my main, he was the first character I "completed" in Burning Crusade. However, with the release of Wrath, he's been by far my most played. Northrend is an absolute blast. Honestly, I can't remember why I liked BC after clearing a few zones out there. Level 80 may not have been achieved this year, but it's not too far off. Gotta stop and smell the roses along the way. He dropped Skinning in favor of Inscription, which is a ton of fun. With Tarmr rapidly approaching Northrend, I should soon be able to level it past 360. Tailoring is slowly coming along, as well.

Ralken, my Hunter had an... odd... year. After my account got hacked a couple years ago, Ral was completely wiped out. No gear, not even a pet. I lost all motivation to play him. However, after much convincing, I finally managed to pry my other half off Final Fantasy XI for an extended stay in Azeroth. Helping her shape her Hunter got me back into the groove and I started leveling him again. He got to level 70 and had a little fun, but never really accomplished much. It's a bit sad to see my first character get left behind, but, honestly, he'll probably be the LAST of my characters to reach 80. The others are just much more fun to play.

(Thankfully nobody reads this thing, or BRK would smite me on the spot and revoke my Hunter License.)

Ullic, my Paladin is very confused. Leveling as Protection in Outland is a chore. Too many casters and ranged attackers to effectively AOE. Once I found out Death Knights were a tanking class, I decided to respec him to Retribution. However, once I replaced all my Prot gear, I realized that Ret was no fun at all, so I went back to Prot. Thankfully, the rest of his Outland experience will be fairly easy. He's currently sitting in Terokkar, waiting for his turn.

Haddar. Haddar, Haddar, Haddar. Shaman is so insanely fun, it makes me sad that I didn't initially roll Horde. While Sam and Ral were capable of pumping out some serious damage, they're built more for survivability and efficiency. Haddar, on the other hand, is my first character capable of DESTROYING anything he comes across. He carves a path of devastation, leaving enemies in his wake. I can't wait until Sam reaches a point where I can start playing Haddar again. Hell, I ALMOST jumped straight into Northrend with him. Jewelcrafting is still a pain to level, though.

Of course, the big story of 2008 was the launch of Wrath. Death Knights, Inscription, Northrend... all fantastic additions to the game. I love leveling Tarmr and making a complete joke out of Outland and quests that used to give me trouble. Of course, my adventures in Northrend have been chronicled in my Weekend Warrior series.

Unfortunately, not everything was rosy this year. My guild completely imploded.

No, that's not right.



The top players decided we weren't progressing quickly enough for our CASUAL guild and decided to stage a coup. People were kicked, half the roster left for greener pastures, close friends started over on other servers. It wasn't pretty. After a while, I tried to take control of the guild, but the stewards that were left in charge were all MIA, so I started up Denarian.

And so, one of the oldest guilds on one of the oldest servers faded into oblivion.

Denarian is stagnant, recruitment is nonexistent, and I fear for it's future. However, I remain hopefully optimistic for what 2009 holds.

The brightest spot of 2008, by far, was the decision I made back in October to start up this blog. It's so nice to have a creative outlet. Even if nobody outside of my coworkers and guildmates read this, it's worth all the time and effort.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Machinima Monday: The Craft of War: BLIND



This has got to be the single greatest machinima I have ever seen, from a technical standpoint. I have no idea how this was made.

HQ video can be found here.

Thanks to Nauloera over at That Damn Role Player for bringing this to my attention.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Winter Veil

Things should return to normal next week.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Machinima Monday: Shut Your Mouth

I'm not dead yet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weekly Roundup: 12/19

Starting a new concept of providing links that I find interesting.

Is WoW stronger than ever? - BBB chimes in on the differences between BC and Wrath and the future of WoW.

A further look into the den of the hardcore players - Larisa posts her impressions on an interview with then-Nihilum. Definitely a little depressing.

Freezing Arrow for Non-Hunters - Pike gives a little insight to the limitations of Freezing Arrow vs normal Freezing Trap.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Guild Recruitment FAIL

I have no words to describe this.

I... who... what the? Did he? What's that???

Monday, December 15, 2008

Machinima Monday: The Demise

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend Warrior 4

That, children, is the word of the day.


Continuing into Dragonblight!

The Warlock version of Mirror Image

This is from the quest Mystery of the Infinite. In this quest, you summon a level 80 version of yourself from the future to fight by your side. Some funny dialog is shared. Good stuff, Bliz. Also, there is a level 80 version of this quest where you must go back in time to assist yourself.

Watch your hands, buddy

Flight of the Wintergarde Defender. I hate this quest. I'm sure the continuing Comcast lag didn't help, but this quest is a pain without it. You must fly around and pick up villagers. No problem, right? Well.. they're running around like idiots and you have to stay still while you cast the pickup spell. They usually run out of rage while you're doing this. Also, with the lag, they kept dropping off the back of my gryphon. The best advice I can give is to control your flight with your mouse and use they keyboard for casting. Not all players are used to this, so practice.

I have no idea



Dragonblight is awesome.


An End and a Beginning. Nearing the end of a long questline. This Lich is about to rock everyone, until help shows up. No I'm not saying who. Although, it is nice to see old-world characters showing up. To put it simply: we know who this Lich is.



This is where the eipcness comes in. I'm sure most know what happens at this point. However, I will not ruin it for those that have not.

And there's even more EPIC to follow this event.

This can't end well

The Truth Shall Set Us Free. Very nice quest for those who know Warcraft III lore. I know there's more to this questline with some awesome story points, but I will get to that next time.

Level 74 reached, Dalaran is awesome. Weekend Warrior will return in 2 weeks!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Feralfen Hunter incoming at 12 O'Clock!

How in the heck did I end up in this position, you ask?

Well, honestly, it's just some creative camera positioning with this event:

Well now. This is what heppens when you Death Grip a near-death running mob that then dies from disease in midair. One flying corpse!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quest Reading FAIL

This post chronicles the FAIL of Denarian member "Junior" as he recounted it to me. Sadly, he did not have the forethought to take screenshots of his FAIL.

Junior was in Dragonblight, working on the quest That Which Creates Can Also Destroy for the Wyrmrest Accord. He makes his way over to the Northeastern corner of the map to engage Overseer Deathgaze. Junior realizes that Deathgaze is a level 74 Elite. He checks his questlog to make sure that this is NOT a group quest. Seeing that the quest is indeed listed as a solo quest, he assumes the Elite must be soloable. Using every trick at his disposal, he barely scrapes through the fight and kills the Overseer.

He did not receive credit for the kill.

"Hmm... perhaps someone else tagged him."

Junior waits for the respawn, and manages to defeat the Overseer again.

No kill credit.

"Okay... there's a Paladin farming here, he MUST have tagged it again with Consecrate. Jerk."

For a THIRD time, Junior makes absolutely sure he has claimed the Overseer and for the THIRD time, he barely escapes intact.

Overseer Deathgaze slain: 0/1

"[1:General] Junior: Is the quest [74]That Which Creates Can Also Destroy bugged?"
"[1:General] SomeGuy: Nope, I had no problem with it"

At this point, Junior submits a GM Ticket, confident that SOMETHING must be hosed up. The GM quickly responds and Junior recounts his experience.

"Did you read the quest?"


Allow me to point out a line of the quest text: "While the seeds would outright destroy one of the lesser Scourge, they will greatly weaken these three. Enough so, in fact, that you should be able to handle them on your own."

The questgiver gives you three seeds which you must use to weaken and kill the three Elites in question. Upon realizing his noobishness, Junior uses the seed and mops the floor with Deathgaze.

Weakened Overseer Deathgaze slain: 1/1

Congratulations, Junior, you are Hardcore Casual's first FAIL!

(A quick recognition to Junior for agreeing to let me post his story. Of course, he was sure to ask if I'd use his real character name. No worries, I never do that without permission.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Machinima Monday: Thrall's Crib

Weekend Warrior 3

Decided to drop the "Wrath" fom the title. I guess that can be assumed at this point.

I wanted to run Nexus, but decided not to with the recent connection issues.

I moved into Dragonblight, which involves sailing from Unu'pe in Borean Tundra.


Yes, that is a giant turtle. Yes, the captain is using carrots on a stick to guide it. Yes, the freaking thing takes forever when you're waiting at the port.

The Tuskarr in Moa'ki Harbor will send you on some quests, including Slay Loguhn, where you have to kill the leader of the local Wolvar tribe. At first, I was pronouncing this "lo-GOON." However, once I saw the guy, it sank in. Humanoid wolverine, wearing claws... Logan.

At Wyrmrest Temple, I ran into a few old friends.

Alexstrasza and Krasus

Alexstrasza, Aspect of the Red Dragonflight and Krasus, aka Korialstrasz. For those of you who don't know Krasus, he was a major character in the War of the Ancients novels.

Nice to see she found her way out of Andorhal

Well... not exactly, she's still in Andorhal. AND at the Temple. She is a Bronze Dragon. They can do that.


A very fun quest, Defending Wyrmrest Temple. This is a daily. If you can accomplish it in under 2 minutes, you will earn the achievement Rapid Defense.

Ysera, Aspect of the Green Dragonflight

How... awkward...

This is from the quest The Best of Intentions.

Reached level 73. More Dragonblight next week.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Comcast Issues

Apparently, Blizzard and Comcast are not getting along this week.

What SEEMS to be the issue is that, after a server crash Monday night, most, if not all, of WoW-playing Comcast subscribers are having lag issues. Comcast users are having no issues with other games, and non-Comcast players are not experiencing additional lag. The only ones who do are in former Comcast territories still running off Comcast servers.

Normally, I have a latency of around 100 ms. This weekend, I was at a constant 300-400, with spikes of up to 1000.

Blizzard has a post on their Tech Support forum here.

Now, I'm not expert once these things leave the local level, but it appears that once the data hits the AT&T owned hardware on the route, things get hosed up. So, there are potentially THREE companies that need to get together to figure this one out. I seem to recall a similar issue this summer with Time Warner, but I'm not sure how that turned out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

T's Death Knight Guide, Part 3: Talents

This is part 3 of an ongoing guide that will later be compiled into one large "uber-guide" for up-and-coming Death Knights.

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.


As previously mentioned, a Death Knight's talent spec does NOT determine his role. Each tree is capable of performing all 3 roles, just in differnt ways.

Here I'll give some sample talent builds and look at a few key talents within each build. This is by no means a definitive list, but I feel it hits all the major options. I won't do any full talent-by-talent breakdowns like I have in other guides, as the only tree I have any real experience with is Frost.

What makes this so difficult is there really is no WRONG way to talent a Death Knight. Sure, some are better than others, but across all 3 trees, there is no bad talent.


51/13/7 Cookie-Cutter DPS build.
Abomination's Might: Awesome group buff. Does not stack with Hunter's Trueshot Aura or Shaman's Unleashed Rage.
Hysteria: Can be cast on yourself or another player. Make sure NOT to cast it on someone low on health, though.
Heart Strike: This attack will replace Blood Strike in a Blood Knight's default spell rotation.
Dancing Rune Weapon: Amazing DPS boost, but do NOT use unless you're at full Runic Power, otherwise it's a waste.

50/0/21 Blood with Gargoyle.
Dancing Rune Weapon scales with gear. So, for DKs with limited high-end gear, the Gargoyle spec will provide superior DPS.

52/14/5 Blood Tank Spec
Honestly, probably the least effective tank spec. However, will help out your healers if they're undergeared. Make sure to keep those Blood Runes on cooldown for Blade Barrier.

63/8/0 Sam's Crazy, Super-Bloated, Insane Survivability Build
Honestly, the only real purpose this build serves is never dying. Ever.


17/50/0 +4 Frost DPS
This is essentially my Frost DPS build. The points in Rune Tap, Hungering Cold and Frost Aura are Wild Cards and can be spent elsewhere.
Note: Between Annihilation, Rime, Subversion and Dark Conviction, your Obliterate has an extra 32% chance to crit. That is what this build is designed around. Frost may not give the highest sustained DPS, but it has great potential.
Why only 2 points in Runic Power Mastery? Simple. 120 RP grants you 3 Frost Strikes. 130 grants you 3 Frost Strikes with 10 useless RP left over.

5/59/7 Frost Tanking, arguably the best tanking build for early gear levels.
Excellent physical mitigation from Toughness and Frigid Dreadplate.
Acclimation and Frost Aura also help with heavy magic-dealing enemies.
Lichborne and Unbreakable Armor give Frost Tanks other skills to use while Icebound Fortitude is on cooldown.
While Hungering Cold may seem like a great AoE tanking ability, I don't feel it's necessary. A 1 minute cooldown means you can only use it once on most AoE pulls. I feel you're better off using a combination of Death and Decay, Pestilence, Howling Blast and Blood Boil for multiple mobs. Plus, that RP cost means you're more than likely only using it part way through the battle.

17/54/0 Frost PVP Build
Frost's incredible burst potential makes it perfect for PVP.
This is really the only time I suggest taking Icy Reach and Deathchill.
This is where Hungering Cold really shines. Death Knight Frost Nova FTW.

10/56/5 Dual-Wield Tanking Build
Insanity! As everyone knows, Dual-Wielding causes extra parries. Every time (most) mobs parry, their swing timer resets and the next attack comes faster. Dual-Wield tanking leads to getting Parrygibbed. Right?
First of all, read this. Long story short: A DK Dual-Wielding 2 slow 1-handers actually has LESS chance of being parried than a Warrior using a fast 1-hander, as tanking Warriors do.
I've seen DW tanking builds that weren't heavy Frost, but I don't like them. Frost Strike cannot be parried. That is essential, as far as I'm concerned.
Dual-Wielding allows you to equip 2 good, defensive 1-handers. This should give better tanking stats over a 2-hander in most situations. However, the tradeoff is slightly reduced threat generation.
Please note, this build requires VERY good gear and is not recommended for entry-level tanking.


17/0/54Unholy DPS
Keep Bone Shield up at all times.
Don't forget your Ghoul Master of Ghouls gives you a very potent source of extra damage.

17/0/54Unholy DPS - AOE Variant
This build drops Night of the Dead for Corpse Explosion and Unholy Blight. Although, I am unsure how useful Corpse Explosion is in a group setting.

5/8/58 Unholy Tanking
Once again, keep Bone Shield up.
This build excells at higher gear levels, when Frigid Dreadplate is no longer necessary from the Frost build.

0/11/60Unholy-Bloat PVP
This build is geared toward GROUP PVP. I feel Frost is a better option for Lone Wolf PVPers. But, hey, go with what you want. I've said over and over how each tree is viable.
This is the only build where I suggest Desecration. Movement impairing effects are always great in PVP.


15/37/19 The famous Dual-Wield Tri-Spec
**Due to only one talent that increases melee hit rate, TONS of hit rating is needed.
This build relies on 4 factors:
1: Speed
Icy Talons and Improved Icy Talons are required.
2: White Damage
On average, 2-Handed builds will only have 20% of their attacks as white damage. Dual-Wielders will have far more. This is really the only time Necrosis is worth talent points for anything other than getting down to the next level.
3: Procs
Killing Machine and Blood-Caked Blade will go off all the time.
4: Howling Blast
Unlike Obliterate and the various Strikes, Howling Blast does not scale off weapon damage. This makes it the attack of choice for Dual-Wielders.

Part 4: Combat

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Small Update

I have slightly updated Part 1 of my Death Knight Guide.

A Cry for Help

Tell your Guild.

Post on your message boards.

Tell your kids.

Call your mom.

Write your Senator.

Whatever you do, for the love of the Light, spread the word.

Death Knights can DPS, Tank or do anything they want REGARDLESS OF TALENT SPEC.

After pounding my way through Hellfire (for the FIFTH time, mind you) and being surrounded by fellow Death Knights, I can unquestioningly report that I am sick of the ignorance.

DK1: "what should I spec?"
Tarmr: "Whichever tree seems the most interesting, they're all viable."
Yes, I punctuate and use correct grammar in General Chat. Shocking! Maybe that's why nobody pays any attention to me...
DK2: "Blood FTW"
DK3: "everyones unholy"
DK4: "blood for dps, frost for tanking, unholy for pvp"
Tarmr: "Wrong, wrong and wrong. Each tree can perform each role, it's a matter of playstyle."
DK2: "lol, blood is by far the best raiding spec"
Tarmr: "Blood is by far nothing. How much raiding are you doing in Hellfire Peninsula? I've seen Dual-Wield Hybrid specs topping Naxx damage meters."
True story. Well, not personally, but I've read the accounts and seen the WWS reports.
DK1: "Frost seems like it can do some nice burst"
Tarmr: "Absolutely, I currently have an almost 50% chance to crit with Obliterate."
DK4: "bliz said frost is tanking"
Tarmr: "Yes they DID..."
Tarmr: "...last year."
Tarmr: "They've since changed their design philosophy."
Ruh-roh, big word.
DK5: "what should I spec?"
Tarmr: /facepalm

NOTE: This is not a direct transcript, but rather a compilation of several chat sessions. They all went about the same.

Trust me. I've been researching specs for the past week and a half for part 3 of my DK guide. (Why do you think it's taking so long?) Thus far, I've come up with almost a dozen serious talent builds, with a few more that still function, if not optimally.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Machinima Monday: Big Blue Dress

I dare you to get those Gnomes out of your head.

More awesome videos from Cranius can be fourn here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wrath Weekend Warrior, Part 2

Sam has completed most of Borean Tundra, earning the Nothing Boring in Borean achievement.

I hope I don't look appetizing

SamTip: If there's several people all trying to do Springing the Trap, just come back later. Even if you win the flare-spam competition, you still may not complete the quest. If you land while someone else is still going through the closing scene, you will not trigger the event yourself, and will have to go back and try again.


Oh **** me

Nothing makes an adventurer's heart sink like seeing a Gnome town come over the horizon. Sure, you'll get some fun quests, but there's sure to be some that will make you tear out your hair. These freeloaders don't even have a home any more, and yet they still send you on the most useless tasks.

That being said, Re-Cursive is cool. Love the name, and the Gnome lore is nifty. Sure, the freaking Gnomes don't believe that Gearmaster Mechazod was created by the Ancients, but I like to think he was. The Dwarves were forged from Stone and Iron, why can't the Gnomes be descendents of a mechanical race?


Ugliest. Hat. Ever.
Thankfully, I replaced it shortly.

Requires Engineering 750

I've seen bigger

SamTip: Hah... You're Not So Big Now! is kinda bugged. The Blaster has a 3-second channeling time. However, the item actually takes 4 seconds to cast. So, even after the casting bar is done, don't break the channel until you see the debuff on the Magnataur.

Next week: Dragonblight!

November Musings

  • As previously suggested, EVERYONE needs to create a Death Knugget. Even if you have no intention of leveling it, the questline is a must. Soak it in, live the lore, read some of the books that are around, slaughter some innocent civilians.
  • Big shout-out to the Alliance on Azjol-Nerub. Everyone seemed very civil in the post-Wrath leveling rush. Very rarely did I have a mob ninjaed out from under me.
  • My Death Knight guide is rapidly growing out of control. HALP.
  • FailBlog is my new favorite website.
  • As a retail worker, this scares the hell out of me.
  • I may have gone a bit overboard on the Gurren Lagann love. Then again, maybe there's too much EPIC there for normal human minds.
  • Tards are helpless without QuestHelper. Well, they're helpless with it, but they're just quieter.
  • What a miserable day of Thanksgiving football.
  • Fallout 3 is pure awesome.
  • I like the New Xbox Experience. Hoping for new Avatar parts so I can look a little less generic.
  • I'm addicted to Publix Sweet tea. For real, I drank like half a gallon last night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

See You Next Week

I'm taking Thanksgiving week off from the blog.

Posts will resume Sunday or Monday next week.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

T's Death Knight Guide, Part 2: Spells

This is part 2 of an ongoing guide that will later be compiled into one large "uber-guide" for up-and-coming Death Knights.

Part 1 can be found here.


Basic, non-talented spells by level, leaving out utility spells and previously discussed Presences:

Blood Strike, 55: Rotation attack. Best used after Icy Touch and Plague Strike for maximum effect.
Icy Touch, 55: Rotation attack. Applies the Frost Fever disease.
Plague Strike, 55: Rotation attack. Applies the Blood Plague disease.
Death Coil, 55: Rotation attack. The first Runic Power skill Death Knights have access to. Will heal Ghouls, Gargoyles and Lichborne Frost Knights.
Death Grip, 55: The coolest ability in the game. Great for pulling, saving healers and full of Awesome in PVP.
Death Strike, 56: Rotation Attack. Will be replaced in the basic rotation with more powerful attacks. However, you will still want to mix this in to keep yourself alive when necessary.
Pestilence, 56: Useful for fighting multiple mobs. Very useful when combined with Blood Boil and other disease-based AOEs.
Raise Dead, 56: Fun spell. Awesome to raise your group members and have them play as Ghouls. Unholy Knights have a talent that will make the Ghoul a permanent pet.
Mind Freeze, 57: Spell interrupt.
Chains of Ice, 58: Short-term CC. Useful for PVP or giving the tank a few extra seconds to regain aggro on a squishie-rushing mob.
Blood Boil, 58: Good AOE spell, best used with Pestilence.
Strangulate, 59: Another, more effective spell interrupt.
Death and Decay, 60: Death knight Consecrate, for non-Frost AOE tanking.
Obliterate, 61: Rotation attack. Does it really matter what it does? How can you NOT use a spell called Obliterate. Seriously, though, this will replace Death Strike for the most part in the basic rotation. Frost Knights especially will blow things up with this.
Icebound Fortitude, 62: Strong tanking and PVP "Oh Crap!" button.
Blood Tap, 64: Not sure how useful this is. Each talent spec already has a way of creating plenty of Death Runes.
Dark Command, 65: Taunt.
Horn of Winter, 65: If you don't have a Shaman to drop Strength of Earth, this can make a nice buff.
Death Pact, 66: If you have a pet out, this will make a nice emergency heal. However, if you're keeping track of time, use this just before a non-telented Ghoul dies after its duration for free health, assuming you have the Runic Power.
Rune Strike, 67: This spell is OFF the Global Cooldown. If you have the Runic Power, there is no reason any good Death Knight should not be using this. Macro it in to other skills if you have to.
Anti-Magic Shell, 68: Only a 5 second duration, so watch your timing for maximum effect. Great way to piss off casters in PVP.
Empower Rune Weapon, 75: Properly used, this will enable Death Knights to pump out some serious damage every few minutes.
Army of the Dead, 80: For the record, I will continually refer to this spell as "Army of Darkness." This spell looks awesome and is very useful if you make a bad pull soloing. Should create beautiful chaos in PVP.

Part 3: Talents

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

T's Death Knight Guide, Part 1: The Basics

Updated 12/2/08, updated text in bold italics

This is part 1 of an ongoing guide that will later be compiled into one large "uber-guide" for up-and-coming Death Knights.

Tarmr is only level 58 at the moment, and still slowly completing his gathering profesions to 300 before venturing into Outland, so some specifics may be revised over the course of his adventures.

This guide is intended for starting Death Knights and will not cover advanced tactics, in-depth stat values or end-game min/maxing.


I'll spare the backstory. I assume everyone knows that Death Knights are the game's first Hero Class, etc. Plate, 2-handers, dual-wield, blah blah blah.


Death Knights are capable of tanking, damage dealing and PVP, regardless of talent spec. Do not listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. This is a new design direction for Blizzard. Your spec will not determine your role, but rather HOW you perform it. Of course, some builds will be optimal in certain situations.

Here's the general breakdown.

Blood Knights will have very high, sustained damage against single targets, as well as increased survivability and group utility through healing mechanics.

Frost Knights offer the best mitigation against melee attacks, very high, bursty, crit-based damage potential, limited AOE and extra Crowd Control. Frost is probably the "best" tanking spec. Also, Death Knights looking to Dual-Wield will most likely want a Frost-heavy build.

Unholy Knights are best at AOE attacks, diseases and magical defense, as well as pet usage. Unholy Knights also gain speed increases that will pay off in PVP.


Death Knights use 2 different resources, Runes and Runic Power.

There are 3 basic types of Runes.

There are also special Death Runes.

Runes are used up by various spells and then recharge after ten seconds. For example, Blood Strike will use 1 Blood Rune, while Death Strike will burn 1 Frost and 1 Unholy. This gives the Death Knight a playstyle similar to Rogue, with the ability to be at "full power" at the beginning of an encounter, then using skills and quickly recharging to fire them off again.

Death Runes are granted by certain talents and will take the place of the other Runes. Death Runes are "wild cards" and can be used in the place of any of the basic three.

Runic Power functions almost identically to a Warrior's Rage mechanic. Each skill that the Death Knight uses that consumes one Rune grants 10 Runic Power. Two Runes grants 15 and three Runes grants 20. This can be increased via talents. Runic Power can then be used for attacks. For example, Death Coil is a basic Death Knight ability that can only be used once the Death Knight has accumulated 40 Runic Power. Just like Rage, Runic Power degenerates over time outside of battle.

This is what makes the Death Knight a Hero Class. They are no more powerful than any other class, but rather, are more difficult to play and thus not suitable for beginners.


Presences are what allow Death Knights of all specs to excel at each situation they find themselves in. They function much like Warrior Stances or Druid Forms.

Blood Presence is for basic damage dealing and excellent for soloing thanks to the healing effect.

Frost Presence is the default tanking Presence.

Unholy Presence is geared more towards PVP. However, with the increased attack and casting speed, it may be able to outpace Blood Presence for damage over a short period of time. However, after blowing all your skills with reduced GCD, you will still have to wait for Rune cooldowns.

Part 2: Spells

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's the Hurry?

I swear, I will never understand the super-hardcore crowd.

Nymh of Drek'thar (EU) reaches level 80 in 27 hours.

Dessembre of Mazrigos (EU) levels a Death Knight to 80 in 41 hours.

TwentyFifthNovember of Magtheridon (EU) levels 25 (maybe more) players to 80 and clears all current raid content in the game in 68 1/2 hours.




What sort of enjoyment do these people get out of playing a game non-stop just to say they were the first to do something that earns them absolutely nothing other than a sore ass?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Machinima Monday: Eternal Legend

Another old-school classic.

Wrath Weekend Warrior Part 1

Welcome to Wrath Weekend Warrior, a series of posts chronilcing my Warlock, Samodean's journey through Northrend.

Sam started off taking the boat from Stormwind to Valiance Keep in the Borean Tundra. The town is laid out nicely, very simple and compact, which I love. Borean Tundra is flat-out beautiful. THIS is the reason you're not allowed to fly yet. Stop complaining and enjoy the scenery that you just spent $40 (or more) on.

Hit up the Profession trainers, bought some new skills... and promptly ran out of money. Mind you, Sam never really did dailies. He had a small amount of gold leftover from his Inscription profits after sending most of it to alts. But ouch! 37G to train a new rank of Tailoring? 5G for each recipe? I'm not complaining, it's affordable, but PAY ATTENTION.

Speaking of Tailoring, get Northrend Cloth Scavenging ASAP. Cloth is VERY hard to come by out here.

Also Tailoring-related, the introductory Northrend set, Frostwoven, is almost as good as my now-nerfed FSW set. It appears to be similar with other professions. The starting greens are almost as good as the BC crafted epic sets.

Before leaving the Keep, one final Warlock tip, specifically Affliction specs. In the quest The Hunt is On, you are required to find and kill a Cultist spy in the prison. After talking to him, and before he aggroes, back out into the hallway. If you fight him in the prison, the other guards will help out. If they deal more damage than you do, you will not get credit for the kill. Since Affliction Warlocks take a few seconds to ramp up the damage, this is very hard to do.

Moving on to the rest of the Tundra, one quick request:


Not for myself, but for all these other noob-tards who can't read a freaking quest to save their lives. Look at the quest Plug the Sinkholes. The quest text CLEARY states "Take these explosives and place them at the entrance to the sinkholes up on the ridge beyond the beach to the west." Look to the West, cross the sand, there's a ramp RIGHT THERE, climb it, Sinkholes! Apparently, this is entirely too complicated for the average idiot to comprehend. Every 2 minutes, someone was asking "Where are the sinkholes?" Can someone give coords for the sinkholes?" "I can't find the sinkholes, someone who knows where they are please invite." Of course, they were far less grammatically correct.

Anyway, moving into the Tundra, the mist effect in Riplash Strand is cool, and a nice example of Blizzard's new Phasing technology. Thos outside the mist can't see anything inside of it and vice-versa.

Don't walk into the DEHTA camp while covered in Animal Blood. An unlucky Hunter I know will attest to that.

Speaking of the DEHTA camp...

Burn you lazy freaking Dwarf! Go hunt the 500 animals on your own!

The Murloc quests are a must. The baby Murlocs are so sickeningly cute, they even warmed this Warlock's cold heart. It will also be the only chance most of us have to see the Murloc Dance.

Level 71 reached, and I will leave you with that image.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wrath Day 1: Redemption

Death Knights rule.

Started a Dwarf Death Knight today, Tarmr. Completed the DK starting area and questlines. Very fun. Even if you have no intention of playing one, at least roll one to do these quests.

I'll be leveling him as Frost, more info on that once I hit Outland.

First, however, I need to work on Professions. He's a gatherer, with Skinning and Herbalism. Getting him to 70 will be a priority since he'll be supplying Sam's herbs for Inscription.

I thought I had some screenshots, but my computer ate them, apparently.

O pitiful shadow lost in darkness...
Demeaning and bringing harm to others...
A damned soul, wallowing in sin...
Care to give death a try?

-Ai, Hell Girl

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Epic Nerdgasm


Last night marked the infale of one of the best animes I have seen in recent memory, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

Loosely translated, that is Heavenly Piercing Gurren Lagann.

This show is so full of awesome, it's almost too much for fragile human minds. It manages to pay homage to the giant mecha shows of the past (everything from Gundam to Evangelion) while telling a fast-paced, modern story. It's a show that does not take itself too seriously. However, that silliness makes the dramatic moments that much more striking. Not all of our heroes will make it to the end.

*Manly tears*

Great comedy, good story, insane action, heartbreaking drama, there is nothing this show does not have. I dare any anime fan to watch this show and come away disappointed. Pick up the new;y-released DVDs or be a punk and find it on the internet for free.

After last night's finale on Sci Fi's Ani-Monday, this show has definitely found a home in my Top Ten. And that's after watching it in ENGLISH. It's even more epic dubbed.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Machinima Monday: The Classics

Posting those couple videos last week gave me a great idea for a way to phone in one blog post a week.

Err... wait.

Nah, I'll just roll with that.

Anyway, I figured I'd start out the new weekly series with the Trinity of WoW Machinima for those who have not seen them.

YouTube embeds do not do these videos justice, so I will heavily recommend downloading them directly from the producers.

-Rise of the Living Dead Episodes One, Two and Three. This was my introduction to WoW Machinima, and still one of the best. Episode Two is the high-water mark. Unfortunately, due to some of the "actors" leaving the game, Episode Three stumbled a bit.

-Illegal Danish Super Snacks and Escape from Orgrimmar. Super Snack has got to be the funniest thing I have ever seen. Lots of Vanilla-WoW jokes that newcomers may not get.

-Tales of the Past. Simply epic. The third and final chapter clocks in at NINETY minutes. Well worth the viewing time.

More Machinima next Monday!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pre-Wrath Blues

Perhaps a brutal work schedule had something to do with it, but I seem to be suffering from an extreme case of Pre-Expansion Apathy.

It occurred to me Saturday night, after a fantastic day of Shaman leveling. I brought in truckloads of experience in a short period of time, flying through the rest of Terokkar. At the end of the day, I was only halfway through 67. Mind you, I was only 64 two weeks ago. 3 1/2 levels in around 12 hours of playtime is pretty good by my standards.

But what did it mean? what sort of epiphany did it bring about? With my schedule, no matter how well I play, how much I'm on my game, Haddar and Ullic have no chance of reaching 70 before Wrath hits.

Hey, that's why I have other characters, though! Well, Sam the Warlock is "complete" for me until Thursday. And, well, I just don't feel like playing my Hunter. He's currently 4th on my list as far as enjoyment is concerned. Once the expansion launches, he'll probably be the last character to hit Northrend, even after my planned Death Nugget.


Then again, perhaps this can be good for me. Taking a little time off will energize me. Thursday will be a day I can look forward to because I can "start playing again." It will be very refreshing to be able to do something new for the first time in 2 years.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another Lazy Post

Work is still insane, so here's another video.

How does a lone Shaman single-handedly wipe an Alliance raid? Thunderstorm.

I promise, I have real posts planned once I have the time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Time

Please note that this blog will never touch on politics. I just thought I'd share this funny video I found on Halolz.

We all know that tomorrow is the Presidential election. We've seen polls for Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and every other swing state. However, one demographic goes missing.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Warlock Quickies

Two quick Warlock notes as an addendum to my 3.0 Impressions post.

First of all, while on Defensive, pets will automatically attack any target you cast on. They will stay on the first target unless you tell them otherwise. Nifty.

Secondly, I'm half retarded. It took me two weeks to find out about the stone changes. Here's the new Spellstone and Firestone. This is awesome. I wonder how much Spellpower that 1% translates into. I used to roll with a Firestone for the proc just for the heck of it, but it will be nice to equip a wand again. I was excited when they changed the stones from off-hand items, and now I'm even more excited. The loss of the Spellstone for PVP will take some getting used to, though.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sam vs the Undead

Took Sam out for some Deadite bashing last night.

Twenty minutes later, I was done. Yeah, I'm hardcore.

Decided to head over to Kalimdor. I figured, since most people would be too lazy to hop on a boat and would rather just fly from EPL to wherever was being invaded, the Western concinent would be less populated. Of course, as usual, I was right. Upon arriving in Theramore, I saw that a necropolis had just appeared in Winterspring and hauled Warlock butt over there. I found an invasion point that was unoccupied by any players and went to town. I was there for about twenty minutes. I got two rare spawns. the first dropped Mail pants, the second my Cloth. By then, I had about 40 runes, more than enough to get what I wanted, so I went on my merry little way. Completed the quest, got my gloves and picked up a tabard for the Hell of it. No sense in getting the shoulders or body piece, they would be major downgrades from my Shadoweave set.

Event complete, as far as I'm concerned.

Interesting note: Denarian member "SquidMage" noticed that the necropolis outside Stormwind seems to be slowly descending. Nice catch! I'll be sure to keep my eye on it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

October Musings

I've planned to do a "random thoughts" post to end every month. I may be a little swamped at work this week, so October's is a bit early.

  • When major changes are made to a game, and one class is clearly more powerful than others by a large margin, any changes made are called "fixes." "Nerfs" are changes made to long-standing abilities that have been decided to be too powerful after long periods of testing.
  • I'm glad they brought the Scourge Invasion back, but now EVERYBODY has a Tabard of the Argent Dawn. Ralken has been holding on to his for over 2 years, and I was proud to be one of the few to have the achievement.
  • I wonder how the Paladin FIXES will affect Protection.
  • Philadelphia may fall of the face of the Earth is the Phillies win the World Series.
  • Why does FOX insist on showing the Simpsons Halloween special AFTER the holiday every year? I know baseball gets in the way, but I'm sure they can find a spot in the schedule for a special showing.
  • I wish I could afford the new Guitar Hero.
  • Or Fable
  • Or Fallout
  • Seriously, I've had "Bad" and "Mr. Crowley" stuck in my head for over a week.
  • I really miss Totemus.
  • Jackie Chan could totally beat up Jet Li.
  • What is Gamestop thinking giving away a level 60 weapon to any stupid kid that preorders Call of Duty?
  • Inscription was way too easy to level. Not that I'm complaining.\
  • Gurren Lagann is one of the best animes I've seen in a few years. Too bad it will be ending soon.
  • I'm glad Heroes has shown they can still be one of the best shows on TV.
  • Maelstrom Weapon WILL be nerfed. Yes, that's a nerf. Bliz has said they are happy with its current function.

In case I don't get a chance to post again this week, Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shaman 3.0 Impressions

Holy Space Goats, Batman!

3.0 Shamans are amazing. Dare I say, as Enhancement, I may be a little TOO powerful.

Haddar is level 64, specced full Enhancement, geared in Outland greens, questing in Terokkar. Typical attack rotation is Stormstrike -> Earth Shock -> Lava Lash -> Earth Shock/Lightning Bolt. If anything's alive after that, it's a miracle. Most fights don't even make it that far.

Enhancement Shamans can be summed up in one word: Hybrid. I know, "Aren't all Shamans, Paladins and Droods hybrids?"


Droods as a class are hybrids. They can tank, melee DPS, range DPS and heal. Same with Paladins minus the range and Shamans minus the tanking. Now, that's a CLASS hybrid. I'm looking at it as a GAMEPLAY hybrid. Droods, Paladins, and Ele/Resto Shamans perform one kind of combat. Boomkins and Elemental Shamans aren't going in to melee along with their casting. Healers just heal. Tankadins and Retadins deal melee and holy damage, sure. But most of that is procs, very little actual spellcasting. Enhancement Shamans are the only build in the game that can effectively melee and cast offensive spells. And, damn, it's fun.

The addition of Lava Lash pushes Shamans to use Flametongue on their offhand weapons. This, of course, gives a nice bonus to Spellpower for those Shocks. Also, Flametongue now deals nice damage of its own. Testing at level 70 has shown that dual-Windfury is still the top-DPS until Wrath, I don't care. First of all, I cry every time my offhand steals my Windfury proc. More importantly, Flametongue is just more FUN.

Mana is a non-issue. With the change to Shamanistic Focus, Shamans are much more consistent with their mana usage, since it's no longer crit-based. Water Shield is now trainable at level 20, which is a big win, especially with the glyph. Of course, Shamanistic Rage is still there when you need it.

Ah, but Mana is not the only thing we can regen now! Feral Spirit, in addition to being full of awesome and tons of fun, will regen your health with each attack. Get a couple adds? Summon these babies and it's not a problem.

The one thing that puzzles me about Enhancement is Maelstrom weapon. Don't get me wrong, it's a fun talent. I love launching instant Lightning Bolts. I have to wonder, though, is it a little TOO powerful? This thing is active pretty much all the time. Bliz has said that they balanced it for 2-handed weapons, and they agree it procs a little too often, but they have also said that Shamans are having fun with it, so they're going to leave it as is for now. Now, I'm sure that's dev-speak for "expect a nerf in the future." One must wonder, though: Why would they balance a deep Enhancement talent for 2-handed weapons? Anybody with this talent will be dual-wielding. I'll be keeping a close eye on this talent in the future.

All in all, Shaman was the most fun I've had with any class pre-3.0, and now it's even MORE fun. Anyone who hasn't rolled one yet should give it a try. That pre-40 dead zone is a little more manageable now, it would seem.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monkey Business Explained

Well, after some research I found out what's going on with Eldrar.

First the bad news. Growl is completely hosed at the moment. Many Hunters are as helpless as I am. Guess I better put Raptor Strike back on my action bar. I would assume Bliz will have this fixed shortly.

How about some good news? Thunderstomp is more intelligent than me. Thunderstomp is programmed to only autocast when the gorilla is fighting 2 or more mobs. Why didn't I think of that?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monkey Business

Okay, Eldrar is hosed.

I took him out to Quel'Danas tonight to really test him out. The stupid ape couldn't hold aggro at all.

Yes, there is a well-documented bug where the abilities in your spellbook will turn on autocast every time you dismount or otherwise summon your pet. I checked, and made sure Cower was off. Still got my Dwarf butt smacked around. When I checked my combat log, Growl missed its target. Every. Single. Time.


Also, Thunderstomp never once autocast. I have no idea what's going on. It's not addon-related. I'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hunter Pet History

When I first started playing WoW, I didn't know a whole lot. I knew I wanted to be a Dwarf... and that's about it. I watched the opening cinematic and saw the Hunter and his bear and figured I'd give that a try. I mean, boomstick! How awesome is that? So, WoW Ralken was born.

I logged in ad promptly ran around Anvilmar trying to figure out how to get a pet. Look, that level 2 Warlock has one! Why don't I? Yes, I was a noob, but everyone was back then.

Anyway, I drudged through those first 10 levels in what seemed to take months, and finally learned how to tame pets. I instantly went out and got an Ice Claw Bear. That was Eldrar 1.0. No, I left the 1.0 off his name, I just use it here as a naming designation. After a few levels, I did the A Pilot's Revenge quest and met Mangeclaw, a beautiful white polar bear. This guy was a pain to tame at level 12, due to his interrupt attack. It took a few tries, but I had a pet very few other players did, especially in those early days. That was Eldrar 1.1.

I don't know if any of my readers were playing back in the dark days of WoW 1.2, but let me put this simply: Hunters sucked. Or maybe I sucked. I'm not sure, but I do know this: Hunter PETS sucked. Sure, nowadays you young kids have scaling pets, focus dumps, talent trees and all kinds of toys. I had Growl and Bite, and Bite was a waste of Focus. I could have used Claw, as well, but pet autocasts were stupid back then, and Claw would leave me with no focus for growl. It all came down to one simple realization: poor Eldrar wasn't cutting it. He couldn't hold aggro. I needed something that could do damage. I was leveling in the Wetlands at the time and figured I'd try a Raptor. I went out and got Rubio, a Mottled Raptor.

Anyone who gets the reference for that name gets a cookie.

Rubio and I did well for a while. After a dozen or so levels, I realized that Rubio was getting beat around a bit too much. At this point, I had grown smarter. I started researching. I found out that Raptors were Offensive pets. Sure, he could hold aggro, but he had no defensive capabilities. I needed a Defensive pet, but I didn't want the trouble I had with Eldrar. After some digging, and discovering the Holy Grail of Hunter information, Petopia, I learned that the only Defensive pets with Medium DPS ratings were Crocolisks and Gorillas. There were no Crocolisks around my level, but there were some pretty white Gorillas. Once I got to level 40, I got myself an Elder Mistvale Gorilla. Here's Eldrar 2.0.

Eldrar and I stomped all over the rest of the game, literally. Thunderstomp had a 60 second cooldown back then, but it was still amazing. I recieved whispers any time I was in town asking where I got such a cool pet, but the only other Hunter I ever saw with a Gorilla was a guildie I was mentoring.

I kept Eldrar on as my tanking pet, and also picked up a Giant Ember Worg, Hayate, for groups.

Then, it happened. Two weeks before Burning Crusade, I got hacked. These jerks used Ralken for farming in Winterspring. With a cat. They abandoned my partner, my lifelong companion, my monkey for a freaking CAT.

I hate Cats.

Fast forward a year or so. I had no motivation to play my Hunter without Eldrar. I took up Sam as my main character, and was working on Ullic. Around this time, my girlfriend took a hiatus from Final Fantasy XI to give WoW a try. She rolled a Hunter and I helped her along. I got the itch to get Ral going again, and I geared him back up and brought him to Outland. He needed a pet. I looked at my options, tryed Hayate, but he wasn't cutting it. I tamed Rico, a Razorfang Hatchling, but I didn't like him. After some further research, I found out about Boars. There were level 60 Boars in EPL, just sitting there waiting to be tamed. They were ugly things, but I gave it a shot. One Plagued Swine later, Chops was mine.

Chops was amazing. An unkillable tanking machine. Alas, it was not meant to be. Bliz stealth-nerfed the Charge + Growl combo in patch 2.4.2, in preparation for Growl scaling off Hunter's AP instead of Pet's AP in 2.4.3.

Great, now what? Ooh, Screech is a good aggro-holding focus dump. Let me try a bird. Cema 1.0 was a Greater Windroc. I upgraded to a Dire Raven when 2.4.3 hit since Carrion Birds were Defensive pets, while Owls were Offensive. Cema 1.1 got me to 70, and she's still with me.

The biggest announcement about Wrath for me was that pets would auto-level to within 5 levels of the Hunter upon taming. I could get my monkey back! Two days after 3.0.2 went live, I picked up Uhk'loc and squealed with delight with Eldrar 3.0. Sure, thanks to BRK, everyone has a Gorilla now, but I doubt many will stick with them. There's Devilsaurs and Core Hounds and Rhinos for those wannabes. I'm a Gorilla man to the end.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Affliction Tree 3.0

Alright, I've given my impressions of Affliction gameplay, let's dive a little deeper into the tree itself.

My build can be found here. Keep in mind that this build is optimized for solo play.

Let's break that tree down.

Tier 1
Improved Curse of Agony: 0/2 I prefer CoElements, so these points are better spent elsewhere.
Suppression: 3/3 Extra hit is nice. Mana efficiency is a big goal of mine, this is where I put my extra points to get down to further tiers.
Improved Corruption: 5/5 Extra damage with it now base instant-cast? Yes please.

Tier 2
Frailty: 0/2 I guess if these are your dedicated curses in a raid setting, this would be a decent talent.
Improved Drain Soul: 2/2 Haven't had much use for the mana return at 70, perhaps later. Threat reduction is always nice, but not sure how neccessary it will be with tanks getting huge buffs. Perhaps these points will move in Wrath.
Improved Life Tap: 0/2 Nice talent for a pre-40 build. May take this if I decide to drop Imp Drain Soul.
Soul Siphon: 2/2 A must for Drain-Tanking.

Tier 3
Improved Fear: 0/2 Nice PVP talent.
Fel Concentration: 3/3 Another must for Drain-Tanking. Now that is affects UA and Haunt, it's an amazing talent.
Amplify Curse: 1/1 This is more of a PVP talent. I put this here just because I had one extra point left. This will be removed in my level 80 build.

Tier 4
Grim Reach: 0/2 I never understood this talent. Why would I want extra range on my Affliction spells, but have to run in to fire Shadow Bolts or put up Immolate?
Nightfall: 2/2 Easily my favorite talent in the game. And, yes, Glyph of Corruption will give you double the Nightfall procs.
Empowered Corruption: 3/3 No explanation required.

Tier 5
Shadow Embrace: 5/5 A decent talent becomes amazing. Useful in PVE and PVP. Also, the Shadow Embrace effect counts towards Soul Siphon.
Siphon Life: 1/1 I rarely use this spell in normal leveling, due to it's mana inefficiency. It just takes too long to get the full effect. But when i need it, I'm glad I have it.
Curse of Exhaustion: 0/1 Primarily a PVP talent. Warlocks can use it to kite, but just bring a Hunter instead.

Tier 6
Improved Felhunter: 2/2 Love it. Love it. Love it. Affliction finally has a dedicated pet.
Shadow Mastery: 5/5 If you see an Affliction Warlock without this, ask him where he bought his account.

Tier 7
Eradication: 0/3 Nice talent, great name. More of a raiding talent, for help with Shadow Bolt spam, I would imagine.
Contagion: 5/5 Another mandatory talent.
Dark Pact: 1/1 The reason to go Affliction. With Improved Felhunter, I see almost no need for Life Tap now.

Tier 8
Improved Howl of Terror: 0/2 More of a PVP talent. I know many 'Locks like to Drain-Tank multiple mobs with this, but I'm happy with my playstyle. Using fear mechanics as a leveling method just seems too risky for me.
Malediction: 3/3 Curse of Elements is my primary curse. Extra spell damage is icing.

Tier 9
Death's Embrace: 3/3 I really like this talent. My biggest problem with Affliction in Burning Crusade was difficulty finishing enemies off. This talent fixes that.
Unstable Affliction: 1/1 More DoTs!
Pandemic: 0/3 The only reason I'm avoiding this talent right now is I have almost no crit rating. My gear is focused on pure Spellpower. I may pick this one up in Wrath.

Tier 10
Everlasting Affliction: 5/5 This is brilliant. I really have nothing to add here.

Tier 11
Haunt: 1/1 This is the best new skill of the patch for me, across all classes. Bliz did tons of tinkering to get it just right, and I believe they were successful in a big way.

From here, I prefer to go Demonology for the stat boosts and Demonic Aegis.

Before I sign off on this post, I'd like to give a huge shout-out to Wowhead. Powered by Wowhead has got to be the greatest tool a WoW blogger has.


Whee, it took a while, but I'm finally listed on Warcraft Bloggers.


I put a shiny little badge on the page to show it off.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Warlock 3.0 Impressions

Alright, had some time to test out my new 3.0 Affliction build this weekend. Took him to Quel'Danas for some daily action. Tons of fun. Seems way overpowered, if you ask me, but of course, everything's balanced for level 80, so we'll see how it works out.

Cast rotation was as follows:
Curse of Elements -> Corruption -> Unstable Affliction -> Haunt -> Drain Life
That's it. Only one DL before the mob dies. No time for Nightfall procs or even a Drain Soul to finish it off. Enemies were half dead before I even started draining.

The boosts to Fel Concentration make this cast rotation very easy to pull off. Normally, I would start with the cast-time spells before the instants, but now, the ablity to put Curse of Elements up first is very handy.

Here's some quick numbers:
Self-buffed bonus spell damage is at 808 with untalented Fel Armor. Used to be quite a bit higher, but the Spellpower change nerfed all the Shadow-specific damage on my gear.

Corruption: 669/tick
Unstable Affliction: 609/tick
Drain Life: 358/tick
Haunt: 1104

Haunt gives 20% increased damage to all DoTs on the target, plus an additional 5% with the Shadow Embrace talent. Fitting it in to your cast rotation is a must. Gaining over 1k health back at the end of each fight is a nice bonus, as well, especially since Fel Armor no longer grants extra healing. That effect has been moved over to Demon Armor, although Fel Armor got the health regen from Demon Armor to make up for it.

Mana efficiency is insane. Drain Soul at the end of every mob was not necessary. Good thing, too, since I'm hopeless at managing shards without Necrosis. (UPDATE: Necrosis 3.0 wentlive late Saturday)

Now for the best part of 3.0 Affliction leveling: the Felhunter. Previously, Affliction 'Locks would use Imp as a mana battery or Succubus for damage. There's also the ones who didn't know any better and rocked a Voidwalker. Those poor lost souls.

However, we now have a dedicated Affliction pet thanks to the Improved Felhunter talent. Fel Intelligence is a great buff, since Fel Armor now grants a percentage of your Spirit as Spellpower. And Shadow Bite. Holy Crap, Shadow Bite. Extra damage for DoTs on the target... nice. Netting 5% base mana each time it's used... amazing. This will keep your Felpup topped off at all times for Dark Pacting.

Once all the post-patch insanity dies down, I'll run some damage meter tests with the Training Dummies.

Initially, though, I must say I'm very happy with the new Affliction tree.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Uhk'loc tamed

Everyone, meet Eldrar. Smile for the camera, Eldrar.

No no no. The camera is this way, silly ape.

That's better. Yay!

Inscription 300

Got Inscription to 300.

Slightly underestimated the amount of herbs needed for the lower tiers. Had to transfer a couple hundred gold over from alts. However, with the insane rush to buy Glyphs, I stand to make all that back and then some overnight.

Minor Inscription research is a fun little aspect. Basically, once a day, you have a chance of discovering new recipes. Also, since Minor Glyphs are not trainable, this is the only way to get some very fun effects.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just great

First, servers blow up Tuesday, no chance to play with Inscription.

Now, BRK wants my monkey. What does this mean? Since BRK is the king of internet Hunters, this means that every Hunter on the planet will want him.

Fair warning, A-N... back off my monkey!

Okay, that didn't sound quite right.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just in time!

With a few hours to spare before 3.0 hits, I have finished gathering all the herbs I (theroretically) need for Inscription.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's:
40 Peacebloom, 60 Silverleaf, 20 Earthroot, 20 Mageroyal, 80 Briarthorn, 20 Bruiseweed, 30 Swiftthistle, 20 Wild Steelbloom, 100 Kingsblood, 40 Liferoot, 40 Fadeleaf, 60 Goldthorn, 60 Khadgar's Whiskers, 80 Blindweed, 40 Sungrass, 40 Arthas' Tears, 60 Gromsblood, 100 Plaguebloom, 60 Dreamfoil, 40 Golden Sansam, 40 Mountain Silversage, 250 Felweed and 90 Dreaming Glory

That's a grand total of 1,390 herbs.

Sam's Blizzcon thoughts

While I was not lucky, rich or motivated enough to trek cross-country for Blizzcon, I had to be happy with refreshing MMO Champion every 5 minutes trying to get the latest news.

So, I have a few thoughts on the announcements made this weekend.

First, the non-WoW announcements.

Diablo III's Wizard? Love it. Blizzard described the Wizard as a young, untrained mage not yet worthy of the title "Sorcerer." What does this mean for us players? Lots of explosions. The Video is a must-see.

Starcraft II brought the biggest bomb of the show, announcing that it would be split into 3 separate games, with each game's single-player campaign focusing on one of the three races. Some see this as Blizzard's way of milking more money out of us, but, honestly, I'm all for it. So as long as they're willing to distribute 3 full games' worth of content, I'm willing to purchase 3 full games. Think of it as Blizzard's usual "one game and one expansion" method, with a second expansion thrown in to complete the story.

World of Warcraft took up most of the show. Here's some highlights.
Dual-Spec System: I like this and hate it at the same time. I like the concept. Personally, I would love to be able to respec my Shaman to Restoration for an instance run, then back to Enhancement for leveling. If they can implement the item-rack feature to allow you to carry around a second set of armor, great. Binding hotkeys and Glyphs to each spec? Brilliant. My main issue with the system is that it's too flexible. Currently, as planned, you will be able to switch specs at any time outside of combat. This seems like a poor decision to me. It takes away all the individuality of the different specs, by allowing someone to constantly hop back and forth. In my opinion, they should make an NPC in major cities that will switch your spec. That way, players will actually have to choose which spec will be the most useful for what they want to do. Obviously, this system is still pretty far off, so I'll withhold final judgement until then.
Death Knight Talents: I would love to see this philosophy spread to other classes. Originally, Blood was the DPS tree, Frost was the tanking tree and Unholy was the PVP tree. Now, any spec will do for each purpose. The talent trees just dictate HOW you go about it. Blood is about pure damage and healing, Frost is about Crowd Control, while Unholy is about Diseases and Minions. Surely, there will be a "best" spec for each situation, but an Unholy Knight will be able to tank decently, and a Blood Knight will be effective in PVP.
Freezing Shot: This allows Hunters to CC without setting up traps ahead of time. This will allow Huntards to be useful, but I can't wait to see it in the hands of a good Hunter. I'm very much looking forward to the possibility of keeping multiple enemies trapped for extended periods of time.
Affliction Warlocks: Bliz acknowledges that the Affliction tree is a bit complicated, without a true focus, and I agree. While I am an Affliction 'Lock for life, I'm not crazy about the 3.0 tree.
Swimming Mounts: While it's nice to be able to cross rivers on my Dwarf without dismounting, when my Draenei never had a problem, I'm a bit disappointed. I would have preferred actual water mounts.
Tenacity Pets: Hunters with pets specced for tanking should be able to off-tank instances, but not main tank. Awesome.
DoTs: Being able to tag a mob when the DoT is applied, not when it ticks would be huge. Not implemented yet, but it's nice to know they're working on it.

Plenty more out there that I'm not going to comment on, but I would love to hear your input!

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to be a Hardcore Casual

Well, first of all, what IS a Hardcore Casual?

A Hardcore Casual is someone who really enjoys the game. Who knows the ins and outs of every mechanic. Who can play their class blindfolded... successfully. Who could, if they applied themselves, become a top-tier player in the game.

And why would someone not accomplish these goals?

The answer is simple: time.

Not everybody puts WoW before everything else in their life. We have jobs, families and other interests. Personally, I play for a few hours Friday night, a good chunk of Saturday afternoon and evening, then an hour or two some nights throughout the week. Playing with this schedule for the better part of the past three years, I'm pretty proud of what I've accomplished.

Here's a list of things to do in order to be a successful casual player:

1: Plan
Plan ahead for what you want to accomplish on a character. Keep a mental list of your goals. Better yet, write them down. Keep a notepad file handy on your desktop. Start a blog. No matter what you do, always be working towards something. Let's take a look at my Warlock, Samodean, starting at the launch of Burning Crusade.
Step 1: Level to 70
Step 2: Buy a flying mount
Step 3: Complete all Outland quests
Step 4a: Level Tailoring to 375
Step 4b: Complete the Frozen Shadoweave set
Step 5: Reach Exalted with Scryers

2: Know your limits
Once those 5 steps were complete, I considered my Warlock "done." Sure, there was plenty more he could do, but I was happy with where he was. I did a little PVP for fun, but never really dedicated myself to it. Due to time constraints, raiding was out of the picture, but I would keep the character available for the odd Guild instance run. I try to avoid PuGs, so constanly farming instances for Oblivion wasn't a smart goal, although I would have liked to at least get that 2-piece bonus. Heroic keys required Revered status at the time, so those weren't even an interest. At this point, I decided it would be a better use of my time to focus on another character.

3: Focus
Don't keep jumping around from one character to another. Sure, play an alt here and there for fun or to break up the monotony, but try to kep the bulk of your playing time dedicated to one or two characters. For example, I play on 2 separate computers. My weekday computer is a bit of a POS. With a lame video card and low-tier DSL, I try to keep things simple. Most notably, I don't run any addons. So, without the aid of Necrosis or Totemus, I try not to play my Warlock or Shaman during the week. On the other hand, weekends are on the primary system with cable internet, and I have no limits to what I can do. So, weekdays are currently Hunter time and weekends are Shaman-focused.

4: Take a breather
Focusing on one character is all well and good, but don't burn yourself out. Set aside some time to play a low-level alt, play some Battlegrounds, have some fun with your Guild, or just go pick some flowers. Whatever works for you.

All in all, keep in mind: This is just a game. The primary goal should be to have fun. If banging your head against your desk for hours every night trying to clear a new raid instance is your idea of fun, that's all well and good. Personally, that's not my thing. And there's the thing I love most about WoW compared to other MMOs I've played. A casual player can log on for an hour or two and get something done. No, maybe they can't be the best of the best on their server, but they can be proud of what they've done. They can have fun with their game.


About Me

My photo
A part-time player trying to exist in a full-time world. Guild Master of Denarian on the Azjol-Nerub server.


Image courtesy of Nexodyne

Current Goals

  • Haddar - Level 80
  • Tarmr - HERBS!
  • Samodean - Wyrmrest Accord Exalted
  • Samodean - Finish Northrend Quests


  • Watching - Primeval
  • Playing - Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS)
  • Watching - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Playing - The Last Remnant (360)
  • Playing - Persona 4 (PS2)


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