Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Create Your Own Azeroth: Stand Your Ground

This is a continuation of last week's post from WoW Druid.

The story originally started in Create Your Own Azeroth: Prelude right here at Hardcore Casual.

Stand Your Ground

Corrigan would like nothing better than to ensure the safety of the refugees. However, should their defenses fall, The Scourge would waste little time in running them down. No, the best way to help everyone is to stand his ground.

Corrigan makes his way to the center of the line. He whispers a few prayers to lift the spirits of his men. He reaches deep into his spirit to summon his devotion. Scourge strikes suddenly miss their marks, deflected by some unseen force.

Inch by inch, step by step, his soldiers gain ground. It is a long, brutal battle. It takes every ounce of Corrigan's focus to maintain his men. Wounds must be healed, spirits must be lifted, the exhausted refreshed. The day drags on and on.

As the sun descends and the day turns to dusk, Corrigan's vision falters. He stumbles, the taste of dirt, steel and blood filling his mouth.

When his eyes next open, Corrigan once again finds himself in his tent. None of its previous disarray can be seen. Rondrey pokes his head through the entrance. "Good, lad. Yer awake. Just in time, too. Wyrmbane's here to see ya."

Corrigan tries to rise but his muscles cramp. The best he can manage is to halfway lean on his side.

"Stay in your bunk, Paladin. You've earned your rest. The Light only knows how you and this ragtag unit of yours survived that assault."

"We... survived?"

"Yes, soldier. Many good men lost their lives, but in the end, The Scourge withdrew."

"Commander, the civilians?"

"All safe behind the walls of Wintergarde Keep."

"So, I am to be stationed in Wintergarde now?"

"No, Corrigan. It is no longer your responsibility to protect those people. The 7th Legion will ensure their safety. No, son, your next assignment is to go on the offensive."


Our story has ended for now. We will return with further tales of Corrigan and other heroes across Azeroth and beyond.

Interested in participating? Check out our message board. Always looking for more authors.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Enhancement 3.1

Time for Enhancement this week. Raising a few baby Enhancers in Denarian.

Again, go here for my Level 71 talent build.

As always with my builds, keep in mind that this is optimized for soloing and small groups.

Tier 1
Enhancing Totems: 3/3 Strength of Earth and Flametongue are two of our best buff totems. Making them better is standard. You'll need these for soloing tough Elites, as well as group situations. Sure your offensive Fire Totems will grant more DPS for yourself, but as I always say, Group DPS > Personal DPS.
Earth's Grasp: 0/2 A must for PVP. Not for this build, though.
Ancestral Knowledge: 5/5 Despite being a melee-heavy spec, mana is very important to Enhancement. Why Intellect and not straight MP boost? We'll see later.

Tier 2
Guardian Totems: 0/2 The buff to Stoneskin is minimal. However, the lower cooldown on Grounding is very handy. Not a bad talent, just better uses for these points at the moment.
Thundering Strikes: 5/5 Enhancement is all about the crit. Please note that this effects spells as well as melee.
Improved Ghost Wolf: 0/2 2 Points makes Ghost Wolf instant cast. While this is indeed nice, it becomes slightly irrelevant after you get your mount. You'll have points left to spend to get to later tiers, so if you want to drop them here instead of Enhancing Totems temporarily then respec later, that's a solid plan. Also, this is cool for PVP. Take that, Droods!
Improved Shields: 1/3 Nothing wrong here. I'll come back to max this later. One option is to drop the 2 points from Improved Windfury Totem here.

Tier 3
Elemental Weapons: 3/3 A Mandatory talent for Enhancement. Windfury is a large chunk of your damage.
Shamanistic Focus: 1/1 So nice that this is a passive effect instead of the old on-crit effect.
Anticipation: 0/3 While increased dodge is nice, you're better served killing enemies faster. Really more effective for PVP.

Tier 4
Flurry: 5/5 You'll be critting a LOT, so this will be up often.
Toughness: 0/5 See Anticipation.

Tier 5
Improved Windfury Totem: 2/2 Enhancement's third big totem.
Spirit Weapons: 1/1 Parry is good. Shamans cannot train that skill like other melee classes. You'll be very thankful for the threat reduction. This was modified in 3.1 to effect all threat, not just melee.
Mental Dexteroity: 3/3 Remember that Intellect back at the beginning? Here's where it comes in handy. This allows Enhancement Shamans to gear for more mana for attacks while still maintaining their offensive capabilities.

Tier 6
Unleashed Rage: 3/3 Again, you'll be critting often. 10% is a lot of Attack Power to be up almost constantly. Changed in 3.1 to give the same effect for 3 points instead of 5.
Weapon Mastery: 3/3 Well... yeah.
Frozen Power: 0/2 New talent in 3.1 Enhancement is becoming increasingly viable for serious PVP.

Tier 7
Dual Wield: 1/1 When Shamans learned to Dual Wield in Burning Crusade, I was sold. 2 big scary weapons are better than 1.
Dual Wield Specialization: 3/3 Dual Wield has a 24% increased chance to miss to compensate for the extra damage, so this is mandatory.
Stormstrike: 1/1 The damage is massive. The debuff is ridiculous. In 3.1, the extra 2 charges and 2 second cooldown reduction from the old Improved Stormstrike have been rolled into the base skill.

Tier 8
Static Shock: 0/3 A very nice talent for DPS. I prefer to level with Water Shield, but I will almost definitely come back for this later in an endgame build.
Lava Lash: 1/1 This doesn't really do much damage on its own. What is DOES do is make Enhancement Shamans want to use Flametongue in their offhands instead of the old Windfury selection. Why Flametongue? More damage here, Fire Damage on each swing and MORE SPELLPOWER! We're a true hybrid, here.
Improved Stormstrike: 0/2 I raised someone's Shaman-sense with this one. While I still stand by my statement that I feel this is more useful for PVP, I have to admit it's allure for PVE. While I never experienced mana issues with Shamanistic Rage, extra mana is always good. However, my current priorities are to max out Enhancement as quickly as possible, and get into those delicious Elemental talents.

Tier 9
Mental Quickness: 3/3 AP -> SP Brilliant. THIS is the talent that makes us the only true hybrid in the game.
Shamanistic Rage: 1/1 Kiss your mana issues goodbye. Once every 2 minutes, you can get it alllll back.
Earthen Power: 0/2 More PVP.

Tier 10
Maelstrom Weapon: 5/5 Okay, that's a heck of a tooltip to take in. When you hit with melee, you have a chance to gain the Maelstrom buff. This happens often. You will quickly gain 5 stacks of this. 5 x 20% = 100% So, basically instant-cast Lightning Bolts. Or Heals for those nasty Elites you'll be soloing with this talent.

Tier 11
Feral Spirit: 1/1 I love Fen and Gar. (That's right, you're only a true Enhancer if you name your wolves!) Their attacks regain my health and stun my enemies. Also, the Spirit Walking speed boost is AWESOME.

Here's a look at what my build will look like at level 80. As usual with me, it's not the optimal OMG build. However, it gives me everything I want for what I do.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Machinima Monday: Honor Killz

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Warrior 16

First of all, finally reached Valiant at the Argent Tournament.

The Valiant quests are a bit more fun than the Aspirant ones. Fighting the other Valiant NPCs is fun. Each one uses slightly different tactics. Make sure to head over to the opposite faction's Valiant ring to get the Lance A Lot achievement. Also, the Scourge jousters for the At Enemy's Gates quest are no joke. Running down their skeleton lackeys never stops being fun, though.

Now then, a little more Icecrown for you guys.

What's this for?

What's in the dome?


The Infra-Green technology allows the goblins to have hidden bases in Icecrown. Tricky little things, those Goblins. Only one quest up here, though.

Seems simple enough

Wow, this one takes a little getting used to. You have 3 modes on this plane. One to drop bombs, one for air-to-air and one for damage control. You have to switch between the three for the bombing run, and it becomes a little overwhelming. Tons of fun, though. If you get shot down, they come pick you up and fly you right back. Unlocks dailies afterward.


A cool little series of quests. You start by taking control of a shade. WoW's first stealth mission! Metal Gear Solid 5: Scourge of the North

Nice... eye...

Next step has you taking control of a Geist. This guy is awesome. He jumps better than Mario and takes no damage from falling, so feel free to hop around like a maniac while wreaking havoc on the Scourge.

The raising of Sindragosa

Their next match will be in a steel cage

The creepy ghost kid continues educating you about Illidan's power. Now, to exploit his weakness.


A noob no longer!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nerd Life Book Review: A Game of Thrones

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die
-Cersei Lannister

I've always known George R. R. Martin as a sci-fi author. Apparently, he's awesome at fantasy, as well.

A Game of Thrones is the first book in Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series.

It's old-school epic fantasy, weaving a tale of kings, lords, rival houses, war, treachery, love, lust, incest, murder, honor, revenge, justice and fate. The story centers around the Starks, a powerful family from the North of the realm, thrust into a world they're not accustomed to. In the North, survival is the focus, not the political intrigue of the king's court.

Over a very impressive 800(!) pages, Martin tells a gripping story. Like many large fantasy tales, it is told from many perspectives. Martin succeeds in making each character interesting and fun to read. There are no "dead" chapters in this story. Just... try not to get to attached. The body count starts early, and doesn't let up. You think you'll get used to it, but one near the end surprised me so much, I had to go back and read it again to make sure I got it right.

A Game of Thrones is the first of a planned 7 novels, 4 of which have already been published. If you're looking for a solid fantasy tale that takes itself seriously, pick it up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Participated!

I'll get back to the link posts one of these days. At least this is community-related!

Friday night I finally got around to sitting in on the chat of a live Twisted Nether Blogcast. I've got to say, it one of the most fun things I've ever been a part of. Llanion was the special guest and was great. I still think it's a bit of a coincidence that the first time I show up, Breana announces she's taking some time off. However, Nibuca will be taking her place beside Fimlys.

If they can stop doing the live shows at midnight on THURSDAY, I'll definitely go back. Not only entertaining, but very informative.

Then, after weeks of plugs, "Friend-of-the-blog" and CYOA author Syrana was on Epic Dwarven Blogger's podcast Wednesday night. I stopped in for moral support and ended up actually contributing to the conversation. Of course by "contributing," I mean asking a question nobody knew the answer to and causing 30 seconds of dead air. Oops. Wednesdays are a bit tight, but I'll try to go back when I can.

There are so many things that are easier to just SAY than type it all out, so these (and other) shows are great sources of information and lots of fun to listen to, as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mr. Gnow-it-all

Tuesday, I posted my 3.1 Affliction build. I also said it's FAIL, raising a few eyebrows.

Allow me to explain.

Here I am, a few days after the patch, sitting in Ironforge, blowing the bejeesus out of a testing dummy. I'm not here trying to rock uber-pwn DPS. All I'm doing is testing out the new Affliction and comparing it's damage potential to a previous test I had run.

Some random Destro-Gnome is fwooshing the dummy next to me. Suddenly, he starts inviting me and telling me that he can help my DPS.

Here's a brief paraphrasing of the conversation.

Gnowitall: I can give you advice.
Me: No thanks, I'm just here trying to get a rough estimate of Affliction's potential.
Gnowitall: Your spec is broken.
Me: I wouldn't say it's broken. Not optimal, to be sure, but it works best for my purposes.
Me: I mostly solo with some small group situations.
Gnowitall: No, it's broken. Those points in Demo are useless.
Me: I wouldn't say they're USELESS. I find Demonic Aegis very useful.
Gnowitall: Aegis is crap. You want your points in Ruin.
Me: Yeah, because I cast Shadow Bolt soooooo often while solo.
Gnowitall: Your DPS will be bad. Groups will not want you.
Me: My DPS is just fine. I'd say 1800 self-buffed in mostly greens is fairly nice.
Me: I'm fully aware of what the "optimal" builds are. I like this one.
Gnowitall: Your broken without Ruin. Get it.
Gnowitall: Trust me.
Me: Teach me, Obi-Wan. PLEASE explain to me how great Ruin is with 7% crit.

Of course, the Gnome mounted up and ran off before he could see my witty retort. frakking Gnomes.

Okay, let's discuss this.

I KNOW Haunt/Ruin is the best DPS for Affliction. I ALSO know what's best for me.

First of all, as I said previously, I'm mostly solo. I'm starting to try to get back into some PUGs, but I'm in no hurry. As such, I like the extra survivability and utility my build gives me.

Here's what I'd be missing with a cookie-cutter build:

Dark Pact helps when I don't want to Life Tap.
Improved Felpuppy helps with that, as well as a nicer group buff.
There are very few specs who can bring the equivalent of my Elements debuff, so I rarely use Agony. Group DPS > Personal DPS
Better Healthstones for bad healers.
More Health and Mana for myself and my pet, plus pet healing.
Fel Concentration is essential for solo.

Okay, we've established that my build works for me, what about the loss in DPS this causes?

Secondly, Let's examine what I'd get from a Ruin build.

Okay I prioritize my stats like this:

Spellpower (including Spirit calculations)
Glorious, wonderful HASTE

With that in mind, I have a hair under 7% Spell Crit. Right now, with my 2 points in Imp Shadow Bolt (I'm REALLY trying to free up 3 more points), I have roughly 9%.

Over a 2-minute window, I cast Shadow Bolt in a full Affliction rotation an average of 42 times, including Nightfall procs. (I still use Glyph of Corruption)

42 x .09 = 3.78

Let's round up and assume 4 crits.

Now, my Shadow Bolts hit for approximately 2800 each. Spell crits inflict 50% additional damage, so each crit added 1400, for a total of 4200.

Here's Ruin's tooltip: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Destruction spells by 100%.

So, with ruin, each crit would total 5600, with an additional 1400 damage each.

1400 x 4 = 5600

5600 more damage over 2 minutes.

5600/120 = 46.6666666666666666

46.67 additonal DPS.

Is Demonic Aegis worth 47 DPS?

Talented, Demonic Aegis gives me an additonal 54 spell power, plus an extra 9% from Spirit, which is 511 in my current gear.

511 x .09 = 46

46 + 54 = 100

Is 100 spellpower worth 47 DPS?

Using ElitistJerk's calculations, 10 SP = 11.33 DPS

100/10 = 10 (duh)

10 x 11.33 = 113.3 DPS

113.3 > 47

Not to mention all of that aforementioned utility.

I win.

Now, once my gear improves, when the crit outweighs Aegis, I'll definitely respec. Additionally, I'll also pick up Bane, which reduces my Shadow Bolt cast time slightly, which will increase my DPS. However, there is currently no way bane will make up that distance right now.

Now, I am in no way saying my build is better. All I'm saying is my build is better FOR ME.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Create Your Own Azeroth: Patience

This is a continuation of Create Your Own Azeroth: The Hammer from Casual WoW.

The story originally started in Create Your Own Azeroth: Prelude right here at Hardcore Casual.


The Death Knight stands in the middle of the road, his cold smile mocking Corrigan. "So, the Alliance is still the home of mighty heroes. I had begun to think all their best were either hiding under mountains or in the employ of my master. Come, Paladin, face me so I can see the power of your 'Light.'"

Corrigan hefts his mace and takes a step outside what is left of the gates. Once again, Rondrey holds him back. "Ye cannot do it, lad. You're the only thing holding this host back. If you fall, the day is lost."

"But if I can defeat him, perhaps the rest will fall back."

"And if you don't?"

"Thank you for your confidence. He is only one Death Knight. I feel the Light strongly today, it will not fail me."

"He is not one Death Knight. He is one Death Knight with a thousand Ghouls and unknown other horrors at his side. Don't ye see it, lad? This attack may have been launched to wipe us out, but now the Lich King has other plans. He wants YOU, and do ye really think he'll fight fair to achieve his goal?"

"Once again, old friend, your advice rings true. Where would I be without you?" Corrigan steps back. "MEN! These next minutes will define our lives. I want anyone who can lift a sword on those walls. We will not fall this day. Rondrey, fall back and keep as many of our remaining soldiers in the battle as possible."

"As you command, sir. If I may say, it is good to see ye in charge again. It suits you, boy."

"Staying alive suits me, but thank you."

As the priest walks away, he shouts back over his shoulder, "Where would ye be without me, lad? Probably living in that floating citadel to the East!"

The Death Knight growls, seeing his plan fail. He points his sword, a wicked weapon, at Corrigan. "Before this day is through, you WILL be ours. Kill them all."

Gargoyles appear over the treeline. With unholy speed, they pluck defenders from the battlements. Abominations crash through the walls to Corrigan's side. Their high ground lost and their flanks broken, the remaining defenders do not last long. Before Corrigan can respond, Scourge come flooding in his direction. It is all he can do to stay alive. He crushes any who get within range of his hammer, but soon finds himself falling back. In short order, he is surrounded, with a half dozen soldiers and Rondrey at his back.

"This not be good. Perhaps I should have let you go. This plan surely was a folly."

"We were doomed from the start."

"Dunna blame yersel-" A hook suddenly explodes from Rondrey's throat. The Abomination that threw it tries to yank the Priest's lifeless body back to it, but Corrigan grabs hold.

"No! NO! NOOOOOOO!" Corrigan swings his hammer, smashing the chain to pieces. He lays friend's corpse on the ground, weeping. Can I protect anyone? As the thought crosses his mind, Corrigan feels a surge of energy. His hands move of without his command and strike his hammer to the ground. Waves of Holy energy radiate from his body, slamming into the attackers, searing the flesh from their bones. Crisping their bones, until nothing remains but ash.

Silence washes over the yard. After what seems an eternity, Corrigan hears the crunch of boots on gravel. "Impressive, Paladin. Too bad your efforts will prove futile."

"Futile, Death Knight? It would appear the Light wishes us victorious this day. If you'll look around, you'll find yourself outnumbered."

"Outnumbered? HA!" The Death Knight's laugh is a disturbing sound, empty of any humor. "The Lich King's servants are never outnumbered on the battlefield. Behind you."

Corrigan turns in time to see the last of his soldiers cut down.

Cut down with Alliance longswords.

The Death Knight resurrected his fallen as Ghouls. Ghouls who were now turning in his direction.

Turning back to the Death Knight, Corrigan finds Rondrey standing before him. He drops to his knees, his hammer falling to the ground. "End it, I can withstand this madness no longer."

The last thing Corrigan sees before it all goes dark is Rondrey, his head nerely severed from his wound, reaching toward Corrigan's neck. His still-warm fingers grip tightly and Corrigan hears the Death Knight's unnatural laugh fill his ears.


To start again, return to Create your Own Azeroth: Prelude.

Interested in participating? Check out our message board. Always looking for more authors.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Affliction 3.1

Okay, let's get this patch going!

First of all, here's my build.

Yes, it's full of fail, but it's what I'm rolling with right now, and it works WONDERFULLY for my purposes.

Tier 1
Improved Curse of Agony: 0/2 I prefer CoElements, so these points are better spent elsewhere. Great talent for full-DPS, though.
Suppression: 3/3 Now affects all schools of magic, not just Affliction. Extra efficiency is icing.
Improved Corruption: 5/5 Duh. Corruption is Affliction's best spell.

Tier 2
Improved Curse of Weakness: 0/2 If this is your dedicated Curse in a raid, go for it. Otherwise, unnecessary.
Improved Drain Soul: 2/2 More mana is always a plus. Threat isn't as much of an issue as it used to be, but it never hurts to have threat-reduction in PUGs.
Improved Life Tap: 0/2 Nothing wrong with this talent. I just don't have any need for it, currently.
Soul Siphon: 2/2 A must-have for Drain Tanking. Also big DPS win for Drain Soul on mobs under 25%.

Tier 3
Improved Fear: 0/2 PVP talent.
Fel Concentration: 3/3 Another must-have for Drain Tanking.
Amplify Curse: 0/1 More of a PVP talent, in my opinion. PVE Warlocks will have enough haste to make this not worth a point.

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?
Nightfall: 2/2 My favorite talent in the game. SHADOW TRANCE
Empowered Corruption: 3/3 More Corruption damage is always good.

Tier 5
Shadow Embrace: 5/5 NOW is when Affliction starts to get really good.
Siphon Life: 1/1 No longer a castable spell, but rather rolled in to Corruption. Extra healing + more Corruption damage + easier rotation. I support this change.
Curse of Exhaustion: 0/1 More PVP. Didn't get the prerequisite, so obviously not taking this.

Tier 6
Improved Felhunter: 2/2 Your Felhunter becomes a great mana battery. Also juices up his tasty buff. Granted, in a group with a Mage/Priest, this talent becomes less useful.
Shadow Mastery: 5/5 Get those Fire spells out of here!

Tier 7
Eradication: 3/3 This was nerfed in 3.1 to proc less and for a shorter duration. I still love it, though. When it procs, it's a huge DPS boost.
Contagion: 5/5 Affliction just keeps stacking damage buff on top of damage buff.
Dark Pact: 1/1 Sure, Life Tap scales and is better overall. However, I still like keeping this around for situation when you don't want to sacrifice health.

Tier 8
Improved Howl of Terror: 0/2 Again, PVP.
Malediction: 3/3 Spell damage? Okay. CRIT?! We'll get to that in a second.

Tier 9
Death's Embrace: 5/5 Many specs have a talent like this, now. Affliction really benefits from it, since we haven't been strong finishers, traditionally. Other classes can blow their mana at the end of a fight, but Affliction just keeps steady.
Unstable Affliction: 1/1 MORE DOTS!!!
Pandemic: 1/1 Here's that crit! This talent was overly complicated in 3.0, but now it makes sense. I never noticed the boost before, but now you KNOW when it procs. Favorite change of the patch.

Tier 10
Everlasting Affliction: 5/5 One of the coolest new talents of the Wrath Era.

Tier 11
Haunt: 1/1 There are still Warlocks out there that skip this because it doesn't do much damage. The debuff is what this is all about. 20% extra DoT damage. Duh.

From here, I prefer to go Demonology for the stat boosts and Demonic Aegis. Yes, this makes my build very FAIL.

I will explain my decision... THURSDAY.

Edit: Thursday has come and gone. Please read this post. I'm not really that fail.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Machinima Monday: Major League Azeroth

For those wondering, this video is Taiwanese.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

3.1 Weekend Wrapup

Okay, I spent some time with my active characters this weekend.

First up, Tarmr the Death Knight.

This may sound insane, but even after all the balancing Bliz gave Death Knights this patch, T seems even STRONGER now. Granted, this is based upon leveling at 70.

Overall, my core abilities are about the same as they were before. The damage mechanics have been re-tuned, but for my playstyle, it seems to still be the same. I knew Diseaseless Blood and Icy Touch Spam were going to be done away with, so I played my DK "as intended."

Icy Touch is hitting for about 400 less than before. However, Plague Strike is hitting for about 600 MORE. One of Bliz's design goals with 3.1 was to get DKs to use all of their diseases. At least for Frost, that seems to have worked out.

Rime now procs off Obliterate instead of Icy Touch, which is great, since I use that skill more often.

Fallen Crusader was toned down to grant only half the Strength of before. However, it now procs much more often. Overall, I'd say this is a boost, at least in my experience. The extra healing from the more frequent procs is great for soloing. Razorice and Cinderglacier may prove to be the better option in pure-DPS scenarios, but I'm sticking with Fallen Crusader for now.

All things considered, 2-Handed Frost is a seriously solid build. I'll expand upon the tree in a future post.

Up next, Haddar the Shaman.

Not many changes to Enhancement this patch. Basically, they've just freed up a couple talent points. Unleashed Rage is now a 3-point talent instead of 5. Also, Improved Stormstrike strikes me as a PVP talent, so that's an extra 2 points to go around, as well.

Enhancement is still solid and way too much fun.

Expect a full 3.1 Enhancement post soon, as well.

Finally, Samodean, Warlock

I may be in the minority here, but I love the new Affliction. Survivability and efficiency while solo are way up.

I'd say DPS is about even. A while back, I ran a thorough DPS test. Compared to then, my DPS is up by about 200. I haven't made 200 DPS worth of upgrades in the interval, but the simpler rotation makes up for the rest. VERY happy. I could do even better with a pure-DPS talent build, but again, more on that another day.

Also, Sam hit up the tournament. Very cool, not nearly as many people there as I would have expected. There's plenty of sites out there with more in-depth coverage than I'll be able to provide, though. Very casual-friendly, however. 3 days of 3 dailies to get to Valiant, then only another 5 days for Champion. After that, the time investment merely depends on what you want out of it.

So, yeah, the big thing in this patch was Ulduar, but there's plenty for the rest of us to like, as well.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nerd Life: New Anime Spring 2009

Couple new anime to share with you guys real quick.

First: Dragon Ball Kai

What??? A new Dragon Ball?

Not quite.

Kai is the 20th anniversary edition of Dragon Ball Z. It's completely remastered, with new audio and video.

The best part: It's been re-edited. The entire series has been cut from 291 episodes down to only 100! Less annoying filler, more Super Saiyan Butt-Kicking.

Next: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Yeah, that opening is frakking awesome.

Brotherhood is not a sequel. It's more of a do-over. Halfway through the first series, they caught up to the manga (comic) that it was based on. Some longer series like Dragonball, Bleach or Naruto will create "filler" until the manga gets far enough ahead that they can start another story arc. Shorter series just make up their own story and carry that through to the end.

Brotherhood starts JUST before the first episode of the last series, and will follow the original manga storyline.

Funimation has realized that there is nothing they can do to prevent Americans from watching anime before it's licensed in America, so you can go to their website and watch the episodes legally for free.

As for Dragon Ball, well, I can't tell you anything about that. Maybe this site will help.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Silence, Blabbering and More Silence

That's the pattern here for a bit.

No more new posts until I get some time with 3.1. It would probably help to know what I'm talking about for once.

Next week, I'll be talking lots and lots and everyone will probably hate me.

After I get everything off my chest, I'll be taking some time off for updating my Death Knight Guide.

Enjoy your new patch!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The End of the World

Not with a bang, but with a "Waaaaah."

Note: image not representative of any one person, but rather the community as a whole.

"Boohoo the realms are down."

Since when is this news? It happens EVERY FRAKKING TIME. I'm sure Bliz tries really hard to have them up on time. But then, 11 million people all try logging on at once. I'm no expert, but I don't think that's good for the servers. Things keep going boom until enough people flat-out give up, that those remaining are able to sneak in.

You know what I did last night? I worked on the blog, watched some TV, read a book and laughed my butt off at all the whining on the web. I haven't tried to log on during a patch day in 3 years.

"The instance servers keep crashing."

See above. A vast portion of those that crashed the authentication servers jumped right in to Ulduar and crashed the instance servers.

"I can't play! My UI doesn't work."

You know, this is worth an entire post tomorrow. UIs have grown entirely out of control. Simple reply: Suck it up, Sally. If you NEED your mount addon in order to play, you're spoiled.

I seem to be a bit bitter today, so I'll cut things short. I just have a hard time figuring out why this is such a big deal. We should be used to this by now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

3.1, Hardcore Casual Style

FINALLY patch day is here. No not because I can go to the Tournament or raid Ulduar.

I can finally comment on the patch notes. As the great George Carlin once said, "I never give credit for unfinished work."

So, let's explore those patch notes! Well, at least the ones that I care about. Apparently, there's a new instance or something.

The Argent Tournament Begins!

As the might of the Scourge wanes under the pressure of Azeroth’s heroes, the Argent Crusade have taken a foothold in Arthas’s back yard. Off the northeastern coast of Icecrown, the Argent Crusade have sounded the call for the most bold and brave adventurers of the Horde and Alliance to take part in the Argent Tournament. Representatives of all ten faction capitols, from Undercity to Exodar, have traveled to the tournament grounds to find champions among their heroes who will prepare for the inevitable battle against the enemy of all living beings, the Lich King.
As excited as I am to participate in this, I think I'll avoid it for the first week or two. Once the madness dies down, I'll be all over it.


All Ground Mounts may now swim without dismounting the rider. Flying Mounts still may NOT, and will dismount the rider upon entering water.
For the record, I called swimming mounts during last year's Blizzcon.

Players level 40 and higher will now be able to visit their trainer to pay a one-time fee and access the dual talent specialization feature.
I'm not as excited about this as others, but I do like the flexibility for my Paladin and Shaman. Still a little unsure on the implementation, but that's for another post.

Death Knight

Yeah, DKs were severely BALANCED in this patch. Please note the absence of the word "nerf" in that sentence. Now I'll have to COMPLETELY rework T's Guide.


Ammunition: All types of gun and bow ammunition now stack to 1000. All quivers and ammo pouches no longer provide haste. 15% ranged haste is now built into the hunter's Auto Shot.
Nice. Still stage one of the plan for ammo to be completely non-consumable, which I believe will lead to special effect ammo.

Gorillas now have a new family ability, Pummel, which works like the warrior ability and has a single rank.
Thunderstomp is no longer a gorilla-specific family ability and is now available to all Tenacity pets. It has been reduced to one rank.
I love this for one reason: less Gorillas. I love my monkey and will be happy when he's more unique.


Spiritual Attunement: Removed from trainers. It is now available deep in the Protection tree for 2 ranks at 5/10%.
Lots of crying over this one. I'm 100% behind this for "working as intended" reasons.

Lots of Protection changes that I will have to look into in more depth. Expect a post about this later.


Flametongue Weapon: Bonus damage from spell power now based on weapon speed. Slower weapons will benefit more from spell power.
FINALLY an end to the Shaman weapon speed/imbue debate. Once again "working as intended" with slow/slow Windfury/Flametongue.

Spirit Weapons: Now reduces all threat generated by 30%, not just physical attacks.
Very nice, especially since a significant portion of Enhancement's damage comes from spells.

Stormstrike charges have been increased by 2, and cooldown reduced by 2 seconds.
Improved Stormstrike redesigned: When you Stormstrike, you have a 50/100% chance to immediately grant you 20% of your base mana.

Still undecided on this. I felt Shaman mana regen was in a good place. Possibly a change for PVP purposes?

Unleashed Rage: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. No longer increases agility, but instead increases your total expertise by 3/6/9.
It bothered me that other classes had similar talents for less than 5 points. Thank you Blizz.


Curse of the Elements (Rank 5): Increased to 13% spell damage, up from 10%.
I liked this in Affliction, but I'm cool that it makes room for the new Malediction.

Malediction: No longer increases the effect of Curse of the Elements, but now also increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Corruption and Unstable Affliction spells by 3/6/9%.
Pandemic: This talent has been reduced to a 1-point talent. Now grants your Corruption and Unstable Affliction the capability to critically hit.
Still a little unsure on this whole "DoT crit" thing.

Suppression: Now increases spell hit for all of your spells.

Lots of other Affliction changes. Siphon Life is rolled into Corruption. Immolate is out of the rotation. While I though Affliction could use a LITTLE fine-tuning, I wonder if this is too much. I'd hate for it to become easymode top DPS.

Again, further posts to follow.


Northrend herbs now yield more herbs on average.
Whee! Herb amounts were balanced around one craft using them in the old days. Now, with Inscription, demand has risen without much supply increase.

Added around 50 new glyph recipes. These new recipes can be obtained from Books of Glyph Mastery found as world drops on Northrend monsters. Reading a Book of Glyph Mastery randomly discovers one of the newly-added recipes.
I like. Hopefully the drop rate isn't retarded.

The Lightweave tailoring enchant now sometimes grants a temporary spell power bonus instead of dealing direct damage to your target.
Warlock FTW. I hated the idea of dealing HOLY damage.

All in all, good patch for Sam and Co. I'm sure there are others out there upset over some changes, but they're not here, are they?

What else do you like/hate?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Machinima Monday: In for a Penny

Okay, I admit it. Blood Elves are hot. This is an absolutely STUNNING video.

This is the Prologue. Part 1 is also available, and Part 2 was just released. You can find more of Selserene's videos here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Weekend Warrior 15

More Icecrown!

I could start my own basketball team

Ebon Blade Prisoners. Lots of quests out here for Ebon Blade.


They sure make them ugly out here.

I shouldn't have eaten lunch today

Well, he wasn't exactly pretty alive, either

He wins

Okay, no more horribly disgusting images. This questline is... disturbing. Fun, but just gross. In a good way.

Introducing the Necromancer class

He's Gone to Pieces, the most hilariously wrong quest I've ever done.

Hey, it's that guy again

My best Emperor Palpatine impression

I wonder where it leads?

Double-yoo tee eff?

I'm not going to explain this one. You'll have to figure it out for yourselves.

Hey, it's that... me?

Army of the Damned, in which we discover why we stand no chance against The Lich King.

Some good progress this weekend.

Honored with Knights of the Ebon Blade is very easy to get in Icecrown. This got me:


I also got to 415 Tailoring, which lets me make the blue-quality cloths. One nifty little perk I hadn't anticipated is that my Shadoweave Tailoring specialization from Burning Crusade allows me to make TWO Ebonweave per attempt. Now, I wonder if I can make all the Ebonweave I want, and then switch specializations, since the gear does not require a certain spec. Although, I seem to remember that the Tailoring specializations were not untrainable back in BC.

Icecrown continues on... next week...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nerd Life: Guitar Hero Metallica


Okay, review over.

Seriously. Best Guitar Hero ever.

Every song in this game is just FUN to play. Even the brutal tracks like War Ensemble and Dyer's Eve are entertaining. You feel like you've actually accomplished something by completing them.

They've changed the advancement system. Now you unlock new venues and songs based upon how many stars you've earned. So, if you can't get past Disposable Heroes, just move on. However, at least on Medium, my noob-preferred setting, you unlock the final set after playing less than half the game. That's a bit TOO easy.

Heck, just WATCHING the game is amazing. For the first time in GH history, the crowd is part of the performance. They sing along on songs like One, Master of Puppets and Creeping Death.

One thing that I really enjoy about this game: the difficulty curve. In previous GH games, the first few sets are just boring. GH:M throws you right in to For Whom the Bell Tolls and doesn't let up from there. Sure, the earlier songs are easier, for the most part, but not mind-numbingly so.

The track list is awesome. Here's some highlights:

For Whom the Bell Tolls: Great beginning to the game. Very fun.
Fade to Black: One of their best songs, hands-down.
Orion: I wonder what the vocalist does during an instrumental? Still, this is "Cliff's Song," and it's great that they included it.
Mercyful Fate: It takes guts to put an 11-plus minute song in a game like this. It's an endurance test. Great song, though.
Fuel: Way more fun that I would have thought.
The Thing that Should Not Be: Metallica's favorite song to play. The venue that you unlock this in is epic.

I would have LOVED to see a Cliff Burton cameo playing "(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth," but I'm happy with the game, nonetheless.

Certain songs had to be left out due to licensing issues. Ride the Lightning, The Call of Ktulu and The Four Horsemen all have Dave Mustaine listed as writing credits and had to be left out. Ktulu was originally supposed to be the final song.

IF they were to release DLC, here's some songs that I would LOVE to play:

Harvester of Sorrow
The Frayed Ends of Sanity
To Live is to Die
Bleeding Me
The Outlaw Torn

I doubt they'll do any DLC, but a guy can dream, right?

Anyway, enough rambling. There's really not much to discuss about a rhythm game, so go buy it!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Links! 4/10

Only one link this week.

BigRedKitty's Farewell Video

Many Hunters wouldn't be where they are today without BRK.

I wouldn't be here at all. It was reading his blog that inspired me to start up this thing.

I could shut my doors tomorrow and maybe get a few emails. To have hundreds, if not thousands of people, mark his retirement is a testament to how great the big guy was.

Alas, our friend BRK may be gone, but Daniel Howell lives on. Brain Needed some Space, and he got it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Create Your Own Azeroth: Prelude



A voice.


"Who's there?"


"Sylphine? Is that you?"


"Where are you? I can't see anything?"


"No! Come back!"


"I'm sorry... I tried..."


"Syl... Sylphine. I couldn't protect you."


Light. Blinding light.

"Blast it Corrigan, wake up!"

Corrigan growls, "Light take you, Rondrey, I told you not to wake me unless the Scourge were burning down the gates." Through one groggy eye, Corrigan glimpses the old priest picking his way through the shambles of his tent, carefully making a point not to notice the empty rum bottles strewn about the floor.

"That may well be the better option, old friend. Seeing as they are."

Any exhaustion remaining to drag Corrigan back into his nightmare vanishes. Despite the alcohol, Corrigan is a soldier, and soldiers do not remain in bed when lives are in danger. "What is our status?"

"Poor, nearing catastrophic. We're undermanned as it is. The walls are holding, but I doubt for much longer. The gate will be breached before the sun reaches its apex. We are trying to evacuate the civilians, but the Scourge have set up ambushes. They seem to be intent on ensuring nobody makes it out alive."

"What do you suggest I do?"

"I SUGGEST you get yourself armored up and out of this tent for once. There are boys fighting out there who haven't even seen the commander they're dying for. This may very well be our last day on Azeroth, and I certainly would not want to spend it hungover in bed. So, leader, get out there and LEAD. I must go now. I have lives that I must attempt to save."

As the priest leaves, Corrigan rises from his sheets. His armor is polished and prepared, waiting for him on its rack, unused in the months he has been stationed here in Dragonblight. His fingers operate on their own, quickly fastening pieces and tightening straps. Corrigan has practiced this many times in his years of service, and is glad for it, for his head is still not clear.

Before leaving, Corrigan hesitates. He is unable to decide between his Hammer, his Shield and his Libram.

There are so many things I must do. I can't be everywhere at once. In what way can I best serve the Light?


If you choose the Hammer, Corrigan will stand and fight, holding the gates against the Scourge attackers. For this option, go to Casual WoW.

If you choose the Shield, Corrigan will command his soldiers to hold the walls for as long as they are able, while he protects the civilians during their escape. For this option, go to Killing 'em Slowly.

If you choose the Libram, Corrigan will not actively engage the Scourge. Instead, he will use the Light to heal and support his soldiers, so they can better defend the town. For this option, go to Sideshow and Syrana.

The story will continue on those blogs NEXT WEDNESDAY, April 15th.

Interested in participating? Check out our message board. Always looking for more authors.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Challenge: Leveling Class List

It's Day 2 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. Today's assignment is to write a list post.

Fellow blogger Miss Elf recently asked for suggestions for her next alt. I had to think for a while because I love so many of my current classes.

This challenge made me realize that I need to focus my posts a bit more. I need to provide better information to my fellow casuals out there. So, here's a list of my suggestions for leveling classes and specs. This list is based entirely on my own experiences.

What makes a casual leveling spec? I feel that, in order to effectively level on casual playtime is to use the most effective and efficient specs possible. A solid casual spec should be solid from level 1 to 80. No constant switching back and forth between specs, based upon which assortment of skills is best for three of four levels. While there's nothing WRONG with that, your time and money are better spent focusing on your character.

Starting, of course, with my current selections:

Affliction Warlock: Destruction Warlocks have to manage mana and shards. Demonology os great with the Felguard after 50, but Blueberry has trouble holding aggro prior to that. Affliction has none of these problems. Affliction is incredibly efficient between Life Tap, Dark Pact and Drains. Unless something goes horribly awry, mana is never an issue. As Affliction, YOU are the tank, so threat is no problem. I'll expand upon this in a future post, as many 'Locks still don't quite understand Drain Tanking. Expect it after 3.1 and after the Death Knight Guide is updated.

Beastmastery Hunter: I'll admit it. Hunter is Easymode. Send pet, shoot, collect loot. Beastmastery is the simplest of the three specs. Your pet is a killing machine. A solid defensive pet can tank multiple mobs at once, and almost endlessly in succession.

Enhancement Shaman: Once again, like Affliction, Enhancement is endlessly efficient. Shamanistic Rage generates mana. Spirit Wolves generate health. Enhancement puts out ludicrous damage in very little time. Totems and Insta-Heals from Maelstrom Weapon make soloing all but the most difficult group quests a breeze. Expect an Enhancement guide in the future, as well.

Protection Paladin: Traditionally, tanking classes have been a pain to level. While I can't speak for how Warriors and Druids have changed, Protection Pallies have been amazing since Burning Crusade, and even fairly decent prior to that. The ability to AOE large packs with Consecrate and reflective damage brings experience rolling in. Survivability can not be ignored. Every minute dead is a minute not leveling. The new Blessing of Sanctuary has made this spec very efficient, while Hammer of the Righteous increases damage output. Being able to jump into an instance while leveling is nce, as well. Yes, a Paladin AOE Grinding Guide is on the list of things to do, as well.

Other specs I've played:

Retribution Paladin: Kind of a Plate-wearing Enhancement Shaman. While not as efficient as Enhancement or even a Protection Paladin, Retribution can unleash some serious damage while still taking some hits and self-healing.

Any Rogue: Stealth is great. You can make sure to always fight on your terms. Massive damage output makes leveling quick and easy.

Feral Druid: I prefer not to go full-tanking or full-DPS, but rather a balance of the two. Offense is nothing without some survivability, and defense without actually being able to KILL anything is just painful. Once again, self-healing makes things go quicker.

Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with any spec. They're all viable and fun to play in their own way. However, for smooth, easy leveling from 1-80, I feel these are the best bets.

What? I missed something? Oh yeah.

Any Death Knight: Seriously. If you can't level a Death Knight, your keyboard may be unplugged.

Feel free to share your ideas on anything I may have missed!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Challenge: Elevator Pitch

I signed up for ProBlogger's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Project. So, expect to see some randomness over the next month.

Today's challenge is to write an elevator pitch for the blog.

Short version:

Hardcore Casual: Where a part-time player can still accomplish anything.

Long version:

In the World of Warcraft, most feats take persistence and dedication to accomplish. For those who are unable to put endless hours into a game, Hardcore Casual is is for you. Hardcore Casual will teach readers how to manage their time and set goals, as well as chronicling the accomplishments of the most casual of players.

Machinima Monday: Return of the Ashbringer

Pykmi presents an amazing rendition of the story of Arthas, Mograine, Fordring, the Ashbringer and the Death Knights. Lore junkies rejoice! This is one of the best bits of story WoW has offered us so far.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Weeknd Warrior 14

Icecrown: The Final Goal

The Skybreaker

Icecrown is so infested with Scourge that the Alliance is unable to gain any ground. So, the major "town" in Icecrown is an airship.

Can someone explain to me how that thing stays airborne? I never trust Gnome Engineering.

What level do I have to reach to be tall?

The Ebon Watcher is none other than Darion Mograine. There is some interesting dialog between Mograine and Fordring regarding the differnece in tactics between The Argent Crusade and The Knights of the Ebon Blade.


Oh, the lengths you'll go to in order to save this Crusader.

First Remulos

Then Alexstraza

Finally all the way to A'dal

Lots of traveling to do, but it pays off with a very cool scene.

What is this "Light" of which they speak? How many Paladins' souls must I drain to obtain it?

Flintlocke would be proud

What really grind my gears...

King of the Mountain, a very fun Daily. I almost don't hate this one.


The Lich King certainly has some powerful allies. Good thing I'm not carrying The Ring.

More Icecrown next week, got plenty more to go.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I'm Paying Attention!

Okay, Okay. I'm sorry.

Syrana and Rhidach have nominated me for an award that's been passing around the blogosphere.

Apparently, I'm brilliant or something.


I'm just as surprised as you.

Anyway, with the redesign and working on "The Project," I have not had the time to prepare a proper response. I just wanted to express my gratitude (and show off my brilliance) while everyone still remembers what's going on.

Thanks, guys.

As for nominating other "brilliant" blogs... that's what the "Favorite WoW Blogs" list is for on the left there. Nothing but the best on Hardcore Casual!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hardcore Casual 2.0

Well, the new layout is up.

Thanks to eBlogTemplates for the code.

Hope you all like it.

I've been spending a great deal of time lately on the new layout as well as other, more secretive projects. As such, there will be no Nerd Life post this week.


Redesigning site for the next little bit. Pardon the dust and all that.


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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