Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Musings

  • All Hail Megatron is one of the most awesome things I've ever read.
  • I keep going back and forth trying to decide if I still like Heroes.
  • That Sylar flashback was impressive.
  • Oh. My. God. WHAT did they do to Deadpool?
  • WTF?
  • I'm very happy with the Battlestar Galactica finale. A very fitting end to the series.
  • "The Touch" is coming to Guitar Hero (presumably World Tour) as a free download!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Well... That was Unexpected

Just a quick note.

BigRedKitty, a fixture in our little community, has decided to do something that I greatly respect him for.

Unlike a sad amount of game players, BRK has decided to forego his favorite pastime in order to spend more time with his family.

All too frequently, we hear of others in his position making the incorrect choice. It's very refreshing to see someone who knows what's really important in life.

/salute BRK

Machinima Monday: MMOvie

From VOIG, by way of Halolz.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shunday Shaman

Took a little time away from Sam this weekend to play my Shaman, Haddar.

I'm taking him through Borean Tundra, testing out Jame's Leveling Addon.

The addon works very well. Most of the chapters haven't been officially tested and still need some fine tuning. However, for anyone who has already done most of these quests, there is very little confusion. Once Jame tests and updates everything, the guide will be flawless.

One bit of advice for those wanting to use the mod. Make sure you're level 70 before starting in Borean. Jame takes you right to the DEHTA encampment as soon as Valiance Keep is clear, and those quests aren't available until 70. So, since those elitist Druids wouldn't give me the goods, I ground out that last 1/3 of 69 on the surrounding mammoths.

"That's right tree-huggers! I'll keep killing baby mammoths until you give me your quests!"

Haddar's blowing through the zone. Between the addon and the OMGWTF factor of Enhancement, the quests are flying by. Once I upgrade my gear, things will be even better. The jump in gear quality compared to my current Nagrand items is massive. I even got a useful Enhancement Relic, Totem of the Tundra. This thing is awesome, it procs about 50% of the time, which is a very nice DPS increase. Since I never made it to 70 before Wrath launched to get Stonebreaker's Totem, this is a great choice. It's actually one of the best Enhancement Totems available in the game right now.

Anyway, I'll be back next week with Sam's journey into Icecrown.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nerd Life: Persona 4 Impressions

This is not a full review, as I have yet to finish the game. However, I feel you readers would prefer to read my thoughts before the NEXT game in the series comes out. This is a very long game. However, I feel I've played enough to give it a fair judgment.

A secondary opening video can be found here. If you don't mind some small spoilers, it shows off some gameplay elements.

Persona 4 is the latest game in the Persona series, which itself is part of the larger Shin Megami Tensei family of games.

Persona 4 places you in the role of a nameless protagonist (a common element in the series). You arrive in a small town just as dead bodies start showing up. You and your friends decide investigate the murders, and a wonderful mystery plot plays out.

The characters are all very well developed, with dark, hidden sides to their personalities that they must confront and accept, their Personas. Personas are powerful spirits that will assist you in battle. They enable you to cast spells and use powerful attacks.

Battle plays out in a standard JRPG, sort-of-turn-based format. Persona 4 is the first game in the series to give you the option to issue commands to your party, which makes the gameplay much more strategic. Many enemies have weaknesses, and when these weaknesses are exploited, they will be knocked to the ground for a short period of time. Knocked down enemies take extra damage, and can become "dizzy" and lose a turn. Be careful, though! Your characters have weaknesses, too.

The thing that I enjoy most about this game, though, is that battle and dungeon crawling is only a small portion of the actual game. Believe it or not, the bulk of the game puts you in the shoes of an average Japanese high school student, living out his life. You can learn things in school, read books, participate in school activities and any number of other things to raise your personal stats. These stats will, in turn, open up Social Links. With Social Links, you grow closer to your friends and unlock more power in yourself, making your Personas more powerful.

How many other games present you with the decision of whether to kill monsters or go to Drama Club practice? And how many other games exist where you would actually choose the latter? As long as you rescue the current victim before the killer strikes, you're free to spend your time as you wish.

Visuals and audio are top-notch. The anime style comes off very well, even on the dated PS2 hardware. The music is amazing, with each dungeon or character having their own unique theme. The battle music does get a bit repetitive after a while, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. If you're not moving even a little bit during that opening video, there's something wrong with you. Voice acting is great, and they manage to fit a great deal of it on a single PS2 game disc. Each character comes off as full of life when combined with the outstanding writing.

Persona 4 is highly recommended to any RPG fan who can still FIND their PS2. This could very well be the best RPG I play this year.

I can sum up this game in one word: style. They even have their own Ipod commercial!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sam's Stupid Name Award: March 2009

I was so impressed by a character I passed by this weekend, I had to start an entire series of awards just to show how epically FAIL he was.

This is a triple fail!

1: Naming your character "Juggernaut." Come on, at least TRY to be original.

2: Realizing "Juggernaut" was taken, you decided to go with the brilliant idea to call yourself "Thejuggernaut." Your creativity is astounding.

3: Being completely oblivious to the fact that WoW limits character names to 12 characters.

Congratulations, Thejuggernau, you are the first ever recipient of Sam's Stupid Name Award!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tagged: Nomenclature

I'm quite flattered. Byaghro over at Casual WoW is so jealous of my awesomeness that he has once again tagged me for the latest meme to circle the blog community.

"Tell us how you select your character names."

Well, I put slightly more thought into my names than your average player, but not quite as much as some roleplayers do. All my names are unique, but each has its own inspiration.

Samodean - Sam was my first alt to "stick," and eventually became my main, so I'm glad I gave him a unique name. Go ahead, Google it. I dare ya. Making a Warlock, I wanted a sinister inspiration. At the time, I was reading the Wheel of time series, and one of my favorite characters was Asmodean, one of the Forsaken, powerful spellcasters that turned to the side of darkness. That seemed to fit the bill for what I was looking for, so I did a quick letter swap and there we go.

Ralken - Ral was a more original creation. Ralken was my character name back in my Final Fantasy XI days. I played a Galka, a large, beast-like race with a very intellectual side. I played a Monk, so I wanted a name that would convey fierceness, with guttural-sounding, hard consonants, but just enough vowels to make it easily pronounceable, so it could be soft and spiritual. After typing some random letters and sounding them out in my head, I reached Ralken. I thought it was a solid name for a Dwarf, so I carried it over to WoW.

Ullic - Many years ago, when I was an even larger dork than I am today, I participated in a message board-based fantasy RPG. I played twin Dwarf characters named Thor and Ull. Thor was obvious, since he wielded a warhammer. Ull was a name I picked up from another ancient God, since I wanted him to be an archer character. Well, I refused to use "Thor" for a character name, so i went with his brother. I decided to add a little to the end for flourish.

Haddar - Easy one here. Draenei = blue aliens. The first thing that came to mind was the Jem'Hadar from Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Easy!

Tarmr - I wanted something menacing for my Death Knight. I had recently been playing Too Human, which rekindled my interest in Norse mythology. Garm was the guardian hound of Hel. I originally wanted Garmr, but it was taken. So, T got his name, which is good because "G's Death Knight Guide" doesn't sound right to me.

Other character names that I've used over the years:

Corrigan the Human Paladin and Araym the Night Elf and Gnome Rogues were inspired by their counterparts in Septerra Core, a fantastic game nobody played.

Valiar the Dwarf Priest was a straight rip-off of Valiar Marcus from the Codex Alera series that I was reading at the time.

Athelas the Night Elf Druid is named after the healing herb from The Lord of the Rings.

Braxis the Human Warrior, Ryaa the Gnome Mage, Morgosh the Tauren Shaman and Warrior, Okthar the Orc Shaman, Rondrey the Undead Priest and many others I've forgotten over the years were all random names I came up with.

Pay attention to some of these unused characters, those names may be showing up on this blog in the ear future.

Well, now I must tag 3 more authors.

Kim. No not how she got "Kim," I'm pretty sure I know where that came from.
Rhidach, because I'm very curious where that came from.
K, just because I want to see her justify 78 names that start with the same letter.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Machinima Monday: A.D.I.D.A.W.


And here's the original song and video, A.D.I.D.A.S. by KoRn. Embedding disabled due to copyright issues.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Warrior 13

Here we go, finishing up Storm Peaks!

Freaking Goblins...

Brann Bronzebeard, brother of King Magni Bronzebeard

This is a nifty little chain, similar to Archmage Vargoth's questline in Netherstorm.

I love Mechagnomes

Since I first saw them in Borean Tundra, I have loved this bit of lore. While it's cool to see the origins of Humans and Dwarves in Wrath, the Gnomish history is a great story that deserves more.


How do you kill THAT thing?

Why, with this of course!

Err... this!

Okay, I'll give a bit of strategy for this quest, The Iron Colossus. Some Denarian members have had difficulty, but I found it rather easy. The catch to this quest is you can only move while underground, and only attack above. Grab your worm and find the big guy. Get right up in his face and spam your two attack skills. It is imperative that you keep a 5 stack of the acid on, as it will be the majority of your damage in this fight. However, don't ignore your strike. Just sit there and soak up the hits until he starts to pound the ground. Then, submerge and move behind him. The burrow skill takes a second to activate, so be sure to hit it ASAP and DON'T hit it again thinking it didn't work. You have a small window to act in and you do NOT want to get hit by this attack. Once behind, emerge from the ground and continue attacking until his next pound. As long as you avoid his pounds, this is a easy win.

Now kill THIS


Fervor of the Frostborn. This one is a little easier. Just throw the hammer and run like hell. The stun will wear off before the cooldown is up, so you want some space. After a couple throws, he'll go down.


How did a pink-skinned Dwarf become King of the Frostborn? Yet another awesomely epic questline will reveal this.

Yet another unique combat experience

Now, lots of accomplishments to show off this week!

This gets me Ancestral Sinew Wristguards. Still gotta get to Exalted...

Next week we finally set foot in the dreaded Icecrown...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nerd Life Book Review: World War Z

I'll make this short and sweet. World War Z by Max Brooks is awesome. Brooks tells the "true" story of our war against the zombies.

Hey! Zombies are serious business.

The premise of the book is that it's written from the point of view of a UN investigator. The story is told through a series of interviews with survivors detailing the events leading up to, during and after the war.

The book is eerily plausible. It's told in such a serious way that I would not be surprised if Earth were overrun by the walking dead TOMORROW. It ties in nicely to today's global issues without ever directly mentioning them. They're there, they happened, but in the wake of the greatest catastrophe in human history, they just don't matter.

All in all, a VERY interesting read. It's quite a bit different from any other piece of fiction I've read before, but I could not put it down. Highly recommended.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Links! 3/20

The Argent Tounrament Tourist Guide - Part 1 of Siha's awesome look at 3.1's newest feature. Part 2

Ka-Wacka! - WANT

Sanguine Ruminations - Stop comments on the state of Blood in 3.1, with links to nice builds.

Neutral Auction Houses - Gnomer wants to spice up the economy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dissenting Opinion

Ok, I know there's been a lot of Watchmen posts lately, but this should be the last one.


Last week, I posted my review of Watchmen.

Big Bear Butt, one of my favorite bloggers, put up his review of Watchmen the other day. Well, he didn't enjoy it as much as I did. BBB is a bit more of a fan of the graphic novel than I am, and felt a little more strongly about some of the changes than I did.

Instead of jacking up his comment area, I decided to share my thoughts here.

Allow me to preface this discussion by saying that I have nothing but respect for the big guy. His opinions are totally valid and I am in no way saying he is incorrect. His thoughts are just as allowable as mine or any others. I am merely offering another opinion for those that have not seen the film to formulate their own.

The action scenes are very well done, but short. There are more of them in the movie than in the comic, but the amount of dialogue in the movie is brutal. They did a good job of trying to be faithful to the dialogue of the source material… but it is just is too long, and too dry. What worked on the written page doesn’t work here.

I'll agree here. I feel those extra action sequences actually help the movie, by breaking up the plot segments. It's a lot of story to take in if you're not familiar with the source material.

... they really screwed the viewers by leaving in some scenes of graphic, nasty violence... those scenes were the epitomy of gratuitous violence, because they added nothing to the story but gore and violence.

I'll slightly disagree here. Yes, those scenes are much more graphic in the movie than the comic. I'll also concede that the "elbow breaking" was completely unnecessary. However, I feel it was necessary for the fighting to be more violent than what we perceive as "normal." Our heroes, for the most part, don't have powers. Outside of Dr. Manhattan, they can't stop bullets or see the future. When outnumbered and outgunned, our heroes must be sure to disable an enemy. When Batman punches a foe, he goes down unconscious, but that's not how things work in the real world. For a movie that tries to portray "super" heroes as real-life characters, making the action sequences believable helps.

Now, the cleaver scene wasn't even in the comic. In the comic, Rorschach notches his first kill by chaining the childkiller to a furnace and burning the place down, leaving him with the option of cutting his leg off. One big problem: that same scenario was in Saw. While viewers who read the comic will know which came first, most moviegoers will not. So, they changed it. Zack Snyder didn't just add the head-chopping for the sake of violence. Here's Dave Gibbons' take on the scene, from an interview he did with Snyder on Comic Book Resources:

It made me wince. I think that was about as violent as it gets, and interestingly enough, it kind of fits with the symmetry thing. You know, chopping somebody down the middle of the head, I can see it had a resonance like that. And I think it had to be something that had a real kick to it, because it is what turns Kovacs into Rorschach. So it’s got to have a huge charge, and it has.

Of course, BBB's biggest issue is the changed ending. Here's the thing, if you didn't pay attention to all the little details in the comic, the original ending didn't make a whole lot of sense. After leaving the theater my girlfriend asked me about the original ending.
"Ozymandias teleports a giant squid that he created using the cloned brain of a psychic to Times Square, killing it and causing a psychic backlash that murders millions in order to make the world believe aliens are invading."
"............. What?"
At the end of the day, the movie has to make its viewers satisfied. Keep in mind that the majority of viewers have never read the graphic novel. Throwing a giant squid at them MIGHT have been a bit too much. The new ending, while less logical to BBB and other hardcore fans, is just more acceptable to a mass audience.

Honestly, I would have preferred if the movie had never been made at all. However, after 20 years of trying, it was going to get done sooner or later. I'm just happy they got a good director, willing to stand his ground and make the best movie possible. It may not be perfect, but it could have been much, MUCH worse.

Once again, everyone is welcome to their opinions. Don't listen to me. Don't listen to Big Bear Butt. Get out there, read the comic, watch the movie and make your own.

I apologize for the rambling, but the only thing worse than a geek is a geek with an audience.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Addon: AuctionLite

Last week, the magnificent Lady Jess recommended a new addon to me. You can read the article that inspired her here.

The addon is AuctionLite.

I've been using various iterations of Auctioneer for years. Unfortunately, Auctioneer has grown increasingly complex over that time. Yeah, it has more bells and whistles and can do things too complicated for me to comprehend, but at what cost? The tooltip displays so much information now that i can barely tell what an item is worth any more.

AuctionLite has a very simple layout, and simply adds a couple lines to the bottom of the existing tooltip, instead of blocking out half the screen with each mouseover.

Then there's the scanning time...

Back in the day, Auctioneer took 5-10 minutes to scan the Auction House. With the lates versions, that has ballooned to 20-30, with an additional 5-10 minutes of "Processing" time, varying depending on how many other programs you have running on your PC at the time. Auctioneer's latest update includes a "Fast Scan" option which cuts the entire process down to approximately 10 minutes or so.

The first time I used AuctionLite, I thought it was broken.

It scanned the entire Auction house in 12 seconds. The "Slow Scan" takes about 6 minutes.

Posting auctions is about the same between the two, but buying is where AuctionLite really shines. Let's say you want 20 Infinite Dust. AuctionLite will find the cheapest way to buy that 20. Perhaps it's buying a stack of 20. Perhaps it's buying a stack of 10 and 2 stacks of 5. Or maybe... just maybe it's buying a 12 stack, a 6 stack and a 5 stack and SELLING the extra 3. That's just genius.

Don't get me wrong, I love Auctioneer. It got me through many, many years of auctions. It still has a VERY robust set of features that someone more interested in the game's economy than I am could put to some real use. That being said, for a casual player, AuctionLite is perfect.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Machinima Monday: Achmed the UnDead Terrorist

And here's Legs' new video, Walter About Marriage

More of Legs' videos can be found here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Warrior 12

This week, we start on Storm Peaks.

Whoa... deja vu

Mystery of the Infinite, Redux, the followup to Mystery of the Infinite, which I covered way back in Weekend Warrior 4.

Nozdormu makes an appearance


I was too excited when I got this to actually capture the achievement. This was fun. Please note that the mines don't do much damage, but 15 of them will add up.

Not even I can make this look good

Mildred the Cruel, part of an enormously long questline. This line is even longer than the Wrathgate sequence, I believe. It starts with They Took Our Men! in K3.

Poor horse

This disguise has some humorous moments.

This is as awesome as it looks

Yes, I'm engaged in combat, on the back of a freaking drake, several thousand feet above ground.

My reward?

A husband?

Thorim, the sworn protector of Ulduar. After the death of his wife, he turned on his allies the Ice Giants and let his brother, Loken, the true murderer, take control. Now, you must continue this questline to bring justice to Loken. First up, is regaining the trust of the giants.

The Helm of Hodir

And now to take down Loken.

I've got backup

Loken's Lackeys. These guys are awesome. Of course, not all goes according to plan and we ONCE AGAIN end up doing exactly what the Bad Guys wanted us to. You finally get your hands on Loken in Halls of Lightning. However, poor Thorim is now in the Ulduar raid instance as a boss.

Please note the parallels between this story of Thorim and Loken and the Norse myths of Thor and Loki. Awesome work, Bliz.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nerd Loot: Marvel Transformers

I know the quality stinks, these pictures were taken with my phone.

Avengers Assemble!

For a closer look, here are our heroes:

Iron Man


Captain America

I saw these figures last year. While I thought they were cool, I never really considered picking them up. Wave 1 consisted of Iron Man, Hulk, Spiderman and Venom. Wave 2 was Human Torch, Wolverine, Grey Hulk (Repaint) and Black Spiderman (repaint). Then Wave 3 dropped a few weeks ago and I was in. Thor, Captain America, Carnage (repaint) and War Machine (repaint, but still called iron Man for some reason). Thor is one of my favorite heroes and how can you NOT have Cap? Then of course, I had to complete the Big Three with Iron Man from Wave 1.

Iron Man

A great vehicle mode. If someone handed this to me and not told me it was a Transformer, I might not have guessed. A bit of a backpack on the robot mode with the wings, but not very noticeable. I would have liked a way to hide the cockpit, however. Aside from that, a very accurate representation.


So much to say about this figure. The vehicle DESIGN is nice. The A-10 "Thunderbolt" was a great choice. Of course, the gattling gun mounted under the nose is nicknamed "The Avenger." The way the legs and knees form the jets and rear stabilizers is well executed. However, the coloring is horrendous. In robot mode, the knee pads are a bit awkward. And the cape... yikes. It doesn't join together and instead creates "wings." The cape hangs over the shoulders and, while accurate to the character, make the arm movement very restrictive. Additionally, there is wonderful detail in the molding that is completely lost due to the poor paint job. Very disappointing, but he's my favorite character and I HAVE to have him with the other two.

Captain America

This guy is just a thousand kinds of awesome. The only complaint I have is the arms can be a bit difficult. Left forward, they just dangle, but pushed back and "locked" the shoulders hit the wheels, severely limiting mobility. Aside from that, simply amazing.

I'm definitely looking forward to future releases from this line. It's vastly superior to the Star Wars crossover. All the figures are solid with excellent posability. Some, like Venom are a bit awkward, but Hulk is a great figure that I may pick up if I decide to expand. I would love to see a Doctor Doom or some other X-Men in future Waves.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


As some may have noticed, I've been away for a while.

I got infected.


I picked up the Antivirus 2009 Trojan. The latest version of the tried-and-true "Fake Antivirus that finds fake viruses to sell you a fake update to a fake program to give money to a fake company owned by a real person." Of course, I'm not THAT dumb, but this particular virus strain proved to be highly resilient to my removal attempts.

AVG couldn't find it.

AdAware could remove it, but not REMOVE it.

Norton, McAffe and other popular programs have proved equally useless, according to my research.

So, HUGE props to Bleeping Computer and MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware for setting me straight.

I'm finally 100% again and will start posting again this weekend.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nerd Life Evening Edition: Watching the Watchmen

I wanted to get this review up Saturday night, but was unable.

So, some quick thoughts on the Watchmen movie.

First of all, I was absolutely SHOCKED to see so many kids in the audience. Not only the expected "drop me off at the theater" kids, but small children, not over the age of EIGHT at the theater with their parents. To watch an R-rated movie. A VERY R-rated movie.

The film itself was amazing. The special effects really brought the drawings to life and music were brilliant. Many of the songs featured were actually quoted in the comics. The choreography, holy CRAP, the choreography in the fight scenes was amazing. In the comic, I never thought of Nite Owl as much of a fighter, but the movie made me believe.

The acting was, for the most part, spot on. Jackie Earle Haley anmd Billy Crudup have been widely, and correctly, lauded for their performances as Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan. However, I feel the best performance was given by Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the role of The Comedian. He brought one of the most interesting characters of the books to life in a way I never could have imagined. His performance gave the character new depth. Matthew Goode has been called by many the "weakest" member of the cast as Ozymandias. However, he was given the job of playing one of the most important characters with the LEAST amount of screen time.

Story-wise, Zack Snyder has done it again. After recreating 300 nearly frame-for-frame, he once again lives up to the source material here. Every major scene (and many more minor ones than I would have anticipated) has been brilliantly visualized. There is one notable exception, one of my favorite scenes from the comic that was left out. Zack Snyder himself was upset he had to cut it from the theatrical release for time, and has guaranteed that it's in the Director's Cut. Honestly, it makes sense for that scene to be removed, because there is literally NOWHERE else to cut time. After the initial introductions, the movie moves at a break-neck pace.

Now, the ending. Snyder came out and said he changed it. Fanboys everywhere held their breath with fear. Now, that I've seen it, I have to say, I think I like this one BETTER. It makes more sense, especially to average 2009 movie-goers. All the emotional points are intact. Everything still HAPPENS, just in a slightly different way.

Final verdict: Fans will have ALREADY seen it. If you have a casual interest, you definitely must check it out, and I would suggest reading the graphic novel afterward. Average Joes and Janes may not enjoy it as much as they did 300. The movie has the audacity to assume its audience is not full of morons. However, for a fun, thought-provoking movie, Watchmen is an excellent view.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Links! 3/6

Your Name Deters me - miss elf hates stupid names.

Idle Fun Ruminations on New Quests - BBB wants to learn Gutterspeak.

Tine vs Skill: The gear Facade - K wonders what makes a good player.

Why I Tank - Rhidach... well... he tanks.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nerd Life Special: Who Watches the Watchmen?

Tomorrow (techinically later tonight) marks an important date in Nerd History. Watchmen, the most hallowed comic book of all time, becomes a film.

Cancel that. Watchmen is one of the few comics actually worthy of the title "graphic novel." That's a term usually thrown about by people "too old" to be reading "comic books."

So, what's the big deal about Watchmen, you ask? What makes it so special?

Creative Team

You hear the name Alan Moore a lot. Very few appreciate what he's done. Not only did he write Watchmen, he also wrote:

V for Vendetta: A decent movie, but failed to capture the feel of the comic.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: As terrible as the movie was, you must admit the concept behind it is brilliant. The comics use the concept perfectly.
From Hell: Again, much better in comic form.
Batman: The Killing Joke: My favorite Batman story, and the primary inspiration behind The Dark Knight and even Tim Burton's first Batman Film.
Heck, the guy even made SWAMP THING cool.

Dave Gibbons provided the art. Gibbons has worked on just about any title you can name, alongside writers such as Stan Lee, Frank Miller and Kurt Busiek.

Watchmen won just about every award a comic book can. The Hugo Awards, known for excellence in science fiction and fantasy, even created a special category JUST so they could give Watchmen an award.

Time Magazine even named it one of the top 100 novels of the 20th Century.


I'm a little sad. Many viewers at the movies this weekend will watch the movie and go, "They just ripped off a bunch of other movies!"

Sorry, Johnny Filmgoer, everybody else ripped off Watchmen over the past 20+ years.

The story takes place in the mid-1980s. The US is critically close to total war with the Soviet Union. Richard Nixon is STILL President, after amending the Constitution. The US's striking victory in Vietnam, thanks to the mobilization of costumed heroes, gave Nixon unheralded popularity.

Costumed heroes were a popular fad dating back to Superman's first appearance in comics. The costumed vigilantes rose and fell to obscurity. A law was passed re-outlawing vigilantism, leaving government-sanctioned masked men as the only legally operating heroes.

The story starts with the murder of one of those sanctioned heroes. A gripping mystery unfolds, leading to stunning revelations and serious moral choices.

Please note my use of "costumed heroes." Of all the characters in the story, only one of them actually has superpowers.


What makes a hero?

Is it powers? Because the only character to actually have any is probably the LEAST heroic. As his power grows, so does his detachment from everything that ever made him human.

Is it intelligence? The World's Smartest Man may be TOO smart for Earth's own good.

Is it passion? The character most motivated to become a hero was also the first to hang up his cape. What if he had OTHER reasons for putting on a mask?

Is it legacy? The character with a heroic bloodline is the one that LEAST wants to be a hero.

Is it ideals? The outlaw vigilante that refuses to be told what to do is shunned by society, even though he is only trying to do good.

This is what makes Watchmen so engaging. These "perfect" examples of humanity are all deeply flawed on the inside. Every person who picks up the book can relate to one of the heroes.


There are so many things that the comic did that the movie never could. The "comic-within-a-comic" that beautifully mirrors the themes of the actual story. The issue that is drawn and written to be completely SYMMETRICAL. The foreshadowing and hints that are either impossible to do or lose all meaning in a 2 1/2 hour+ movie. Watchmen is like Fight Club or The Sixth Sense. The first time, it's a fun ride. The second, third or tenth time, it has whole new meanings. You find something new every time.

While there may not be enough time to read the graphic novel in its entirety before watching the movie, I do hope that the movie inspires viewers to go pick up what i consider to be truly one of the greatest pieces of artwork to grace pop culture in many, many years.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dude, Where's my Attunements?

"Hey Sam, you're super-casual, you must be glad there's no attunements in Wrath, right?"

Well, Imaginary-Voice-in-my-Head, you are absolutely wrong.

Sure, it's great to jump right in to any content I please. But, what if I don't belong there? What if I'm not ready? Attunements are the game's way of saying "You don't belong here. Go home, noob."

I know I'm not the only one who thinks it's ridiculous that after reaching Level 80, many players seem to have 2 immediate goals: train new skills and join a Heroic. Not always in that order, either. Sorry, but that's just not going to work in most situations. I'm a Highly Intelligent Individual, and recognize this. Many players are not. That, dear I-V-i-m-H, is why attunements are a GOOD thing, when implemented properly.

Let's examine some attunements over the ages of WoW.

Scarlet Monastery: Clear the Library to obtain the key to unlock the last two wings. Fine. Show you can complete the easier parts of the instance before moving on to tougher ones.

Blackrock Spire: Obtain the key from the 5-man (10 back when I was running it) wing to access the 10-man wing (15 back then). Cool, same as SM. Run all the way out to Swamp of Freaking Sorrows to fight a dragon? Completely unnecessary. Bliz should have left off the second half.

Onyxia: Completing a nice quest chain with lots of lore is fine. Having to run Blackrock Depths multiple times is NOT.

Molten Core: Spend 5 minutes in BRD. Honestly, I felt this one should have been tougher. Way too many people who didn't belong there dragged down their Guilds and took raid spots from people who could have actually contributed.

Burning Crusade Heroics: Earn Revered with the corresponding faction and buy a key. This was ridiculous. The only way to get to Revered was to run the regular instances MANY times. Attunements should not be grinds. So, Bliz changed the rep requirement to Honored. This made it too EASY. Anyone who can do some quests could get Honored, and plenty of undergeared players caused problems. I'll explain my idea for Heroic Attunements later.

Karazhan: I actually liked this attunement. A couple quick quests, then run three normal instances, only ONE of which was required to get to the end. Finally, complete Black Morass. That can all be done in a couple of hours with a half-decent group. I feel this showed that a player had progressed far enough in the game to earn the right to start raiding. Perhaps the last part was a bit much, but only because it's too much running around.

Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern: These were excessively complicated. Heroics, Heroics and more Heroics. THEN kill Gruul and Magtheridon. I think it would have been fine to prove that you can handle one tier of raid content before moving on to the next.

Mount Hyjal & Black Temple.: Hyjal requiring Vashj and Kael kills is fine by me. BT was a mess. clearing SSC and TK should have been enough.

Granted, I'm no raider. I never had to do most of this past Onyxia and MC. However, I hate the thought of doing something I KNOW I'm not ready for just because it's there. However, I also understand that this isn't just a game, it's a business. The more people can access, the more likely they'll keep paying their subscription fees. To me, attunements are merely a moral issue. I want to EARN my way to higher content. To others, they're just hoops to jump through, trying to keep you playing longer. When they dropped attunements in BC, I watched people try raiding TK when they couldn't handle Gruul or Mag. It wasn't pretty.

So, what attunements would I consider fair? Easy to do, but still challenging enough to prove you deserve it?

Heroics: Complete the highest-level wing of the instance to earn the Heroic key. For example, clearing Occulus ONCE on Normal mode would unlock Heroic Nexus and Heroic Occulus. I don't think that's asking too much. Show you can handle the instance normally before you ramp up the difficulty. Show you've at least attempted to upgrade your gear.

Naxxramas and Beyond: Honestly, I'm okay with entry-level raids not having tough attunements. Perhaps just a small questline with some lore, ending in a 5-man group quest. However, I don't think it's asking too much to kill Kel'Thuzad before you're allowed to enter Ulduar.

I know I'm going to upset some people with this. Admittedly, it's not really my aspect of the game. However, as someone who works hard to earn the small status he has, I don't think it's asking too much for others to at least TRY.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My New Best Friends

Last week, I gave an invitation to any WoW Bloggers out there for a project. I was very pleased with the results.

So far, I've had the following people sign up:

My arch-nemesis, Byaghro of Casual WoW
Toraneko of Artists of Azeroth
Fulguralis of Killing 'em Slowly
Syrana of Sideshow and Syrana
Stoneybaby of Big Hit Box
Creep the Prophet of Creeping...
Vargarth of R E G R O W T H
Snug from Circumspect Snug
Chyllyphylly from World of Chyllyphylly

Some of those are newbies, some have been around for a while. Some are on little Blogspot pages (like me), some run big sites. The one thing in common? We're all part of the same community.

They're all great blogs, be sure to check them out. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some great fun. (I hope!)

CYOA is upon us.

UPDATE: Miss Elf has joined up.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Machinima Monday: No Point: Stretching Time

No Point: Stretching Time from BaronSoosdon on Vimeo.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend Warrior 11

Been a while since the last WW update. I took a couple weekends off for other reasons.

Anyway, when we left off, I was exploring Sholazar Basin, doing quests for that blasted Dwarf, Hemet Nesingwary.

Even I have to admit, that Dwarf can be pretty cool sometimes

This is from the quest Post-partum Aggression. Which leads to...

The Snows of Northrend Achievement

Hot giantesses shouldn't wear skirts

The Avatar of Freya. She's so badass, she's SINGLEHANDEDLY holding the Scourge out of Sholazar. Of course, she "singlehandedly" needs your help.

I wonder where this leads...

I've been here before...

That explains it

Freya's Avatar explains that Sholazar and Un'Goro were both special areas where the Titans experimented creating life. Hence the similarities.

HE'S wearing pants

Someone's in trouble now

Reclamation is an awesome quest. These vehicle quests just keep getting more complex. In this one, you need different tactics and proper use of your abilities to succeed.

This is the only way crocs make good footwear

One more down.

Finally, a great accomplishment. After continuing down the Oracle/Frenzyheart questline, you come to a confrontation with Altruis the Heartless. It's a 3-person group quest.

Soloed as a Level 80 Affliction Warlock. It was a very close fight at times, but I scraped through only having to use a mana potion. Didn't even pop my Healthstone.

He leaves you with a troubling thought:

I love little tidbits like this. We WILL redeem Arthas, not kill him.


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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