Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nerd Life: Comics are Fun Again

Any comic fan can tell you, comics these days are growing more mature with each issue. Granted, their core audience is growing older, and the medium is growing with it.

However, what about new readers? What about bright-eyed little 8-year-old boys (or girls)? Many major comics are becoming exactly what moms everywhere feared they were years ago.

Then, Marvel made one of the most brilliant and controversial moves in their long history.


For the past 40+ years, Spiderman has been the flagship title for Marvel. Sure, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man and others may have exceeded it in sales at times. Avengers has always been the core of the Universe's story. But Spiderman has always been the company's heart and soul.

We've grown up with him.

We've seen him fall in love.

We've had our hearts broken.

We were invited to his wedding.

We were together at the worst time imaginable.

Over the years, as with many books, Spiderman's universe was growing complex. Writer J. Michael Straczynski was introducing some interesting plot developments, but between joining the Avengers and all the big Marvel events like Civil War, he was unable to really bring them together.

Like many comics before, Spiderman was due for a relaunch.

This started in Amazing Spiderman #538, when, in an attempted attack on the now-public identity of Peter Parker, his beloved Aunt May is shot. This leads to the "Back in Black" event where Peter goes after those responsible, seeking vengeance.

Amazing Spiderman #544 starts the "One more Day" storyline, where Peter does anything and everything, legal and illegal to save Aunt May. His last resort is Mephisto, a near-omnipotent demon trickster. In exchange for saving May, mephisto wants one thing in return.

Not Peter's life.

Not his soul.

His love.

Peter and Mary Jane agree and Mephisto changes all of history. Peter and Mary Jane never got married. Spiderman's true identity was never revealed. It was a "Brand New Day"

Many fans were outraged by this. They canceled the subscriptions they've had since childhood. I thought it was brilliant. If Stan Lee says it's a great idea, then who am I to judge?

At the time, there were 3 regular monthly Spider-books, Amazing Spiderman, Sensational Spiderman, and Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman. Marvel took a huge chance and CANCELED the latter two, deciding to publish Amazing Spiderman three times a month.

"Brand New Day" started in Amazing Spiderman #546, and was the beginning of the almost-weekly publishing schedule. Instead of several writers and artists working on several titles, Amazing Spiderman features a team that collaborates on the issues.

Let me say, this change has made comics fun again. Spiderman is single again, hurting for money, trying to have relationships, work, pay the rent AND fight crime. It's a long overdue return to his roots. The schedule allows them to run one-issue stories without "wasting a month," while still doing larger, 6-issue "trade-sized" stories. Additionally, they can create large, branching, drawn-out underlying stories that would take YEARS to tell in a normal format. You can tell even the staff is having fun. The lost art of "editorial balloons" has resurfaced. Used to remind readers where plot threads came from, the editors and writers now actually use them as a storytelling device. They inform and entertain, even telling jokes and poking fun at each other.

If you're someone who has loved comic books in the past, but lost interest, do yourself a favor. Go to your local bookstore, buy a big cup of coffee and sit down with the Trade Paperback edition of "Brand New Day." You'll fall back in love all over again. I know I did.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Links! 5/29

The Purple Kodo: 13 Points of Blogging - Matticus, blogger extraordinaire, gives some great tips on how to own a successful blog. Granted, I fail at many of them, but "success" isn't really my goal, anyway.

What's Your Mage Bad At? - Even though it's his weakest skill, Gnomer gives some great explanation in how to use Amplify and Dampen Magic.

Stupid Mages and their Spawning - Fulguralis has one of the best posts ever.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exp-LORE-ation: Prepare to Die

Exp-LORE-ation will be a recurring, but not regular feature on Hardcore Casual. I absolutely love the story created by Blizzard and the wonderfully crafted world we play our game in. I will use this theme to explore some of the lesser-known aspects of the in-game lore.

Today's Topic: Father Inigo Montoy

When I first happened across the Father at Light's Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands I laughed at the joke and continued with my business.

Several years later, while working on the Wrathgate questline, an interesting plot unfolded. Wintergarde keep is under siege by the Scourge, led by the Lich, Thel'zan the Duskbringer.

During the quest An End and a Beginning, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon shows up and converses with Thel'zan, saying, "So how, then, did Father Inigo Montoy, bastion of virtue for the Argent Dawn, become the embodiment of that which he hated most?"

Wait, what?

A further look at Thel'zan's Phylactery shows that indeed, this Unholy servant of the Lich King once used to be a Priest.

What happened there?

Back in the old days of Naxx-40, those strong enough to defeat Kel'Thuzad were given the quest to bring his Phylactery to the Argent Dawn. Yes, you give this item to none other than our friend, Father Montoy. He seems to be quite impatient to get his hands on it.

Some time later, (Remember, the expansions in WoW not only advance the story, but the timeline, as well.) Kel'thuzad is resurrected and Naxxramas relocated to Dragonblight. But, that's impossible. Without the phylactery, the Lich King has no way to bring Kel'Thuzad back.


Father Inigo Montoy, member of the Argent Dawn, Priest of the Light, betrayed us all to his true master.

As Thel'zan tells Fordragon:

Our lord, Arthas, saw in me the frailty of man.
"Serve me in life and i will promise to rend the weakness from your soul. To erase it from existence!" To be chosen... blessed by the Lich King in such a way.
So seve him I did... Were it not for me the glorious dead citadel of Naxxramas may never have returned to Northrend.

A wonderful bit of lore that those who have not been playing for years or those who don't read carefully will miss.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Reason I Hate Night Elves

Okay, maybe not the only reason.

While slacking off this weekend, I once again attempted one of my greatest WoW hurdles: leveling a Druid. While doing this, I had an epiphany.

I think I may have figured out just WHY I dislike Night Elves so much.

Teldrassil is an exercise in frustration.

First of all, let's look at Teldrassil itself:

See all those mountains and caves? Yeah, that's a pain to navigate. Since there are quests that have you running back and forth all over the place, you can't just point down the road and autorun while playing Peggle.

Dun Morogh is complicated as well, but more compact. Goldshire is frakking huge, but very easy to navigate. None of the starting zones are perfect, but Teldrassil seems to be the worst, at least on Alliance side.

Next, most of the Elves I've attempted to level have been Leatherworkers. The Leatherworking Trainer is just outside Darnassus. That's a heck of a haul every 5-10 skill levels.

So far, minor annoyances, but really no reason to discriminate against an entire species, right? To be honest, the Elves THEMSELVES should be enough of a reason, but it's easier to justify this way.

Let's look at the classes available to Night Elves, and how well they perform at very early levels.

Warrior - No worse at low levels than anything else. Anybody can become one, so you rarely see Elf Warriors.
Priest - Can Priests do ANYTHING before level 20+?
Rogue - Terrible survivability without the damage to make up for it yet.
Hunter - Playing a Hunter before level 10 is one of the worst things anyone can do. Thankfully, my Dwarf Hunter was my first character, so I didn't know it COULD be any better.
Druid - Same as Hunter. Sure, you have spells, but nowhere near enough mana to use them much.

So, with the exception of Warrior, all these classes are brutal to play at Teldrassil level.

Finally, the quests. I despise these quests.

EVERY time through, one of the species flat-out refuses to drop one of its body parts. And it's a different headache each time!
Practically EVERY enemy in this zone either can heal, will run away at low health, or be completely impossible to pull less than 2 or 3. Usually all of the above. I don't mind multiple pulls every now and then, but every darn time is a bit annoying.
Too many "bosses" are completely impossible to solo pull. Since they're even tougher than the USUAL annoying enemies, this becomes very frustrating.
Then there's that place.

Sure, Hunters get their pets, Druids get Bear Form, Rogues become awesome and you can always just group up. But I don't want to wait. I don't want to grind. I don't want to deal with your average low-level NIGHT ELF player. A newbie zone should be quick and easy. I should be able to do the quests in whichever order I please, without needing to wait until level X to be able to attempt it. I should be able to just go on autopilot by this stage of my WoW career.

At Level 8, I should not be this frustrated. At Level 8, I should not want to just stop playing. At Level 8, I should not already be considering making it a Free Realms night.

How in the world did ANYBODY who made I Night Elf their first character continue playing this game?

Oh yeah, it only gets worse.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Machinima Monday: Crank Dat Druid Boy

A bit of an old one, but I've been feeling rather... Druish... lately.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Links! 5/22

Threat Generation - A (Brief) Discussion - BBB gives some great info on Threat. All tanks, DPS and healers should read this.

Going on Sabbatical - Saresa gets points for using "sabbatical" correctly. Sadly, we're losing too many good bloggers.

Martyr vs Command - K gives some great Retribution info.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sam's Stupid Name Award 2




Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Toughness is NOT a DPS Talent

Small amounts of math incoming. I will keep the post relatively short to give your brains time to relax.

I would like to make one simple point. For Death Knights, Toughness is NOT a DPS talent.

Now, don't get me wrong, Toughness is a fantastic talent, both for tanking and PVP. However, taking this talent solely for the DPS boost through synergy with Bladed Armor is a mistake.

Let's assume your Death Knight has 10,000 armor. High-end gear with buffs will allow you to go well past this number, but it's a nice one to work with.

Bladed Armor, when maxed, increases your Attack Power by 5 for every 180 Armor.

10,000 / 180 = 56-ish
56 x 5 = 280

280 Attack Power is a very nice stat increase for 5 talent points. 14 Attack Power translates into 1 DPS. This is a 20 DPS increase for white damage, which is 60 extra weapon damage, assuming 3.0 attack speed. Many Death Knight abilities scale off weapon damage, and those that don't scale with pure AP.

Now, what about the benefit of Toughness?

10,000 x .15 = 1,500
11,500 / 180 = 64-ish
64 x 5 = 320
320 - 280 = 40

Forty. Trust me, 40 Attack Power is NOT worth 5 talent points.

If you're Frost or Unholy, those 5 points will have to come out of either your core Frost/Unholy talents (a very bad idea) or Dark Conviction. Trust me, 5% crit is a much better DPS increase than 40 AP.

If you're Blood, those 5 points will have to come from various Unholy talents. (And you SHOULD be sub-specced into Unholy as Blood, if you're serious about DPS) Again, not worth 40 AP.

Now, I usually go with the "play how you want" line. However, when I see so many people making a BAD decision, I feel it is my responsibility as a member of the community to educate. I mean, what else is a blog for, but to distribute information?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Machinima Monday: Gnomebusters

It's about time somebody took care of those creepy little guys.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend Warrior 17

It's been a while since I posted a Weekend Warrior. Last time, we were helping Tirion Fordring hunt down Arthas' weakness.

He seems smaller

Although, he DOES bear a striking resemblance to a certain handsome fellow.

I don't remember Illidan showing up this much

Seriously, Arthas is popping up EVERYWHERE. While it's awesome that we get to see this major villain doing his business, it kind of loses its effect after a while. That being said, this is an AWESOME scene. It also proves one of my lore theories impossible.

And..... that's about it for progress. A pretty simple weekend.

Time for some more accomplishments, though!

Dagger of Lunar Purity, from the Argent Tournament. Yup, Welfare Epics for me. This thing is awesome and I dropped an Exceptional Spellpower on it. That glow was MADE for this weapon model. Self-buffed, my Spellpower is almost 1900, nice!

For the Hordies out there, the equivalent is Scalpel of the Royal Apothecary.

Magnificent Flying Carpet. Whee!

And, just for fun:

I rode around like that for quite a while. I even kept standing while Jousting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nerd Life Buried Treasure: The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant is a Square-Enix developed RPG released for the XBox 360 last November. It was also recently released on PC.

Wait. 6 months? THAT'S a buried treasure?

Yup. Seeing as this game can currently be found in bargain bins everywhere it sure is. It will probably be hard to find in the near future. As with many non-major franchises releasing in the Fall, this game sold like crap. A coworker recommended that I try it out, so I picked up my copy for 25 bucks brand new. I expected a decent bit of fun, well worth the cost.

I was surprised. Shocked, even. This game would have been worth buying at full price.

So, why did I wait? Well, i have a limited gaming budget and that money was going to Fallout 3 and Wrath of the Lich King at the time.

Now, many other people did not purchase it for a more sinister reason. The game received widely awful reviews. Some major news sources (*cough*GameInformer*cough*) passed it off without ever giving it a chance. The battle system must suck since they never took the time to learn it.

Admittedly, the graphics were a horrible, glitchy mess. So, it deserved a mediocre score. However, saying the core of the game is not worth time because you didn't GIVE it any is a mistake. This was not isolated to any single source.

Those graphical issues have since been "solved." The PC version runs fine. With the New XBox Experience, you can install the game to your hard drive. This cuts down the loading times immensely. It also relieves most, if not all of the glitches. Now, that doesn't excuse the poor design, but it allows many of us to play a wonderful game we would have otherwise missed.

Now, allow me a minute to break down the small stuff:
The graphics are fine. Nothing mindblowing, but, much like Too Human, there's so much going on at once on screen that the overall effect is very nice.
Music is ok. Again, nothing special.
Sound effects are functional.
The voice acting is SUPERB. However, the battle speeches get repetitive after a while.
The story is serviceable. Not bad, but not Final Fantasy quality, either. It serves to flow the real meat of the game: The character and combat systems.

Your main character, Rush, is the only one you really need to take care of. He's the only one you have to equip. He's the only one you have to synthesize gear for. He's the only one whose skills you need to manage.

The other 17 (17!) active characters will all take care of themselves. When you pick up loot they can use, they'll ask for it. When they accumulate the proper items, they'll upgrade their own gear. When they level up, they'll pick which skills to learn. Your Generals will occasionally ask you how they should manage themselves, but aside from a few quick choices, it's all out of your hands. Now, I love character building as much as the next guy, but there's no way I would want to micromanage 18 frakking guys.

Combat is a blast. Instead of issuing 18 individual orders, you place your characters in up to 5 "Unions." Then, you issue command to each Union. It's all very streamlined. Tell them to attack, everyone will attack. Tell them to use magic, and those that can, will. Others will simply melee attack. Need healing? When you do, that option will come up. Fantastically brilliant. You can pick from many different formations, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

I spend a great deal of time testing out different Union combinations and formations, trying to get the most out of the system. Of course, major fights sometimes require their own unique strategies. It's all JUST difficult enough to keep you on your toes, but simple enough that you don't mind working with it. Yes, there's a learning curve, but the game builds you up slowly. You don't start with 18 people at the start, but slowly build up to an army.

My final verdict: If you enjoy RPGs heavy on strategy without becoming full STRATEGY games, you'll probably like The Last Remnant. If you can find it for a good price (and have space on your XBox hard drive) I definitely recommend picking it up. I've currently played for close to 50 hours, running around doing sidequests and building up my team, and I haven't even reached the second disk!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Links! 5/15

Affliction Warlocky Pet Choice Guide - Fulguralis has a nice guide to different Warlock Minions.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Can Be Seductive

Image courtesy of Penny Arcade

Yesterday Fulguralis posted a great Affliction Pet Guide, in which he states that he has "very little use" for the Succubus' Crowd Control spell, Seduction.

I happen to be an excellent Seducer, as thousands of ladies around the world can confirm. You think it's a coincidence that many of my most faithful readers are female?

What were we talking about? Right, Seduction.

The confusing thing about the spell is that it has a cast time of 1.5 seconds and THEN is channeled. This makes the skill a little hard to pull off. Here's my strategy:

This only pertains to PVE.

Step 1: Focus your target.

Right-click its portrait, type "/focus" while targeting the mob, or just use a macro.

Now, my Nazverre is a fragile little thing. She hates breaking nails. So, I want to keep the enemy away from her.

Step 2: Cast Searing Pain on the target.

Just one should do. You want the tank to be able to get the enemy off you when it's time comes up in the kill order.

This is doubly effective as it makes it very obvious when the Seduction breaks, as the enemy will be pounding on you. Make sure you're able to take a few hits when using this tactic.

You may also want to drop a Curse of Elements on the mob, just in case.

Step 3: Pull the enemy to a safe location.

You don't want damage from the battle to break your Seduction early, so pull the mob out of the way. If it's a caster, make sure to use line-of-sight to your advantage. Practice.

This is where my experience as an old-school Hunter comes in handy. Back in my day, Freezing Trap could only be used outside of combat, so you had to get it right the first try. Freezing Arrow? Please.

Step 4: Seduce!

Seduce the Focused mob. This way, you can continue DPSing the main target. You're probably going to want a macro for this.

Step 5: Recast Seduction as necessary.

Again, if you used Searing Pain, you'll know when this happens.

Seduction uses 24% of the Succubus' base mana. Basically, count on getting 4 off before she's spent. At 15 second a piece, that's over 60 seconds of CC, taking into account recast times. Sure, CC isn't as useful as it was back in the old days, but it's nice to have this trick up your sleeve. Your groups will be amazed that you can do something very few other Warlocks can.

I'm leaving the macro part out because, honestly, I'm terrible at them. I have some lame-functional thing that I use, but it's too embarrassing to post publicly.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sam's Argent Tournament Strategy

A lot of people seem to be struggling with the Tournament. Jousting is not easy, but it's also not as tough as some make it seem.

I've read several other guides, and nobody seems to use my strategy.

There's Gnomer's guide, which is great for high-latency players or those who have extreme trouble reacting. It works, but it's a little too slow and doesn't always work.

Then there's Stop's guide, which is awesome, but a little on the difficult side.

What about the in-betweeners? Fear not, Sam's got your back.

This guide assumes you at least understand the basics of jousting. If you keep dying to the training dummy (looking at you, Junior) you may want to do a little research.

Step 1: 3 stacks of Defend. Standard.

Step 2: Engage

Step 3: As soon as your opponent gets to range, Charge.

Step 4: A second or so after making contact (about 2 strides), start veering to the left or right, depending on terrain. Yes, use your keyboard.

Step 5: As you come around, hit Shield Breaker repeatedly until it fires.

Step 6: Rush back to melee range and start Thrusting.

Step 7: Reapply Defend as necessary.

Step 8: Repeat steps 3-7 until victory.

OK, here's how this works. At Step 3, your Charge will carry you THROUGH your opponent, and you will be behind them. Apparently, the NPCs are keyboard turners and will be unable to attack you for a couple seconds until they get back around. In this time, you will exploit the range where you're far enough for Shield Breaker, but to close for Charge.

The key is to get your timing right, and it may take a little practice.

If executed PERFECTLY, you will get behind your enemy, come around and still be in Shield Breaker range. You will fire that off while they're still turning and get back to melee range before they can do anything. You have removed 2 stacks of their Defend and they've done nothing.

If executed WELL, you will get behind your enemy, come around and still be in Shield Breaker range. However, your opponent will also be able to come around and fire a Shield Breaker. You have removed 2 stacks of their Defend and they've removed one of yours. As soon as your cooldown is up, you can easily reapply and stay at 3 stacks.

If executed POORLY, you will get behind your enemy, come around but be too close for Shield Breaker by the time you get him in your sights. Your opponent may have been able to fire a Shield Breaker of his own. Worst case scenario, you each lose one stack of Defend, which you can again easily reapply. Your opponent will probably reapply as well.

If executed MISERABLY, you will get behind your enemy, but will run too far away, into his Charge range. He will possibly Shield Breaker and definitely Charge while you're running around trying to find your target. You have removed one stack of Defend, while losing 1 or even 2 of your own. You will have to try to regain your full stacks.

The key to Jousting is not killing your enemy. It's a game of chess involving wearing down your opponents defenses while keeping your own up. Of these two, your own well-being is more important. You will have plenty of opportunities to take down your opponent's shields, but may have a hard time fitting multiple Defends into your cooldowns.

If you practice my method even a LITTLE, you can definitely achieve the "POOR" result, and should often get "WELL" and "PERFECT." You will keep your stacks up while taking down your opponent's.

I have been able to take down all 4 Champions WITHOUT using a single Refresh Mount in between. I take 15-20% damage each fight. If I'm not paying attention, I may suddenly find myself with NO shields in the middle of a fight because they wore off without me ever needing to reapply.

Happy Jousting!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Machinima Monday: The Avenger (Trailer)

Trailer for an upcoming machinima from Dtbn.

This has the potential to be the best one I've seen since Craft of War.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nerd Life Movie Review: Star Trek

Star Trek fan? Go see it.

Casual nerd? Go see it.

Nerd who's in denial? Go see it.

Person who beats up people who watch Star Trek? Go see it.

Seriously, this movie has it all. There are enough nods to the series' legacy to please the faithful, while still being completely accessible to non-fans.

How did they do this? JJ Abrams.

The studio has said the main reason they hired Abrams was because he HATED Star Trek. So, he took this wonderfully realized universe and made it accessible to the non-geeks of the world.

Many reviewers are going on and on about how amazing the cast is. I'm not going there. They're absolutely right, but here's all you need to know:

Zachary Quinto is Leonard Nimoy's long-lost grandson.
Karl Urban is an AWESOME "Bones" McCoy.
Simon Pegg is the man no matter what he does.
No issues at all with the rest of the cast.

The main area where this film diverges from tradition is the action. In previous films and TV series, missions always start out peaceful, the occasionally require a more physical approach. In Abrams' take, the younger crew takes more of a "shoot first, as questions later" approach. Kirk comes off as more of a cowboy than ever before, and it works. More action means more profit. More profit means more films to tell awesome stories in.

The story is... interesting. I have no real complaints, it's just radically different from anything that's come from the franchise before. It's cool seeing all these characters we know come together for the first time, and everything fits. One problem:

I hate time travel.

I went in to this film expecting the time travel plot device to be nothing more than a way to shoehorn Nimoy's "Old Spock" into the story. I couldn't have been more wrong. The time travel allows Abrams to create his own universe, without 40+ years of canon to adhere to. New stories with old characters.

A great movie. Again, go watch it. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mission Successful!

Born of a joke, a stroke of inspiration and a complete underestimation of the time required, a brilliant idea was created many weeks ago.

A little over a month ago, 10 brave blog authors set off in a bold new direction.

Four weeks later, on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, we were successful.

That idea, that experience, that journey was Create Your Own Azeroth, our multi-blog, cross-community, WoW-themed Choose Your Own Adventure story.

While CYOA may have been my baby, I could not have done it without the help of 9 other fantastic authors. Well, I could have, but then I'd have far less time to not update my Death Knight Guide.

For those who did not follow the story (Shame on you! Go!) I would like to praise those other 9:

Byaghro of Casual WoW, for helping inspire the event.
Syrana of Sideshow and Syrana, for being our greatest motivator.
Jaramon of, for having the courage to kill our poor character early.
Fulguralis of Killing 'em Slowly, for signing up almost immediately, allowing me to believe this crazy idea could actually work.
Skipper from WoW Druid, for coming aboard late in the game and still delivering, when others had decided not to.
Creep from Creeping..., for NOT killing Corrigan when everyone else did.
Grimtorn of Me and my Ghoul, for having the flat-out coolest looking site of the group.
Snug from Circumspect Snug, for having the most difficult choice to end any chapter.
Ithiel from WoW FailBlog, for being the only author to sign up mid-story.

Also special recognition to:

Llanion from Mad Cow Chronicles, for being the unwitting inspiration for all this.
Kim from World of Warcraft Wanderings, for being our biggest supporter.
All the friends, coworkers and guildmates who helped convince me I could actually pull this thing off.

Thank you, everyone, I could not, WE could not, have done it without you.

Keep your eyes on your feed readers, for we will return with more stories.

However, if you or anyone you know would like to participate, PLEASE sign up! In order for our story to grow more epic, we need more authors.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frost 3.1 (Death Knight 2-Handed DPS)

Another Tuesday, another talent build. This will be the last of my 3.1 talent posts.

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
Improved Icy Touch: 3/3 The additional debuff is just a bonus. Icy Touch is a core Frost spell, so more damage is sweet.
Runic Power Mastery: 2/2 You'll be generating a great deal of Runic Power, so capping before you're through a rotation is not good. In 3.1, this talent gives the same bonus with 2 points that it used to with 3.
Toughness: 0/5 Standard Tanking/PVP talent.

Tier 2
Icy reach: 0/2 Fear PVP Frost Death Knights, even at range. 30 yard range on Chains of Ice is brutal.
Black Ice: 5/5 Changed in 3.1 to reduce the Frost bonus, but add in the Shadow. This is a nerf for 2H Frost, as the only Shadow damage we deal is Blood Plague, not even the Plague Strike itself. This is, however a buff to Dual-Wield builds, which gain major damage from Unholy talents like Necrosis. Still a mandatory talent, however.
Nerves of Cold Steel: 0/3 The only true Dual Wield talent in any Death knight tree.

Tier 3
Icy Talons: 5/5 This talent is not as great as you would think. A properly played 2-Handed build will only have roughly 20% of its damage come from auto-attacks. So, having those attacks come 20% faster isn't that amazing. That being said, it's not like you have anywhere ELSE to put these points, and it's a prerequisite for a nice buff down the tree, in addition to a small damage boost.
Lichborne: 0/1 Post-3.1, this is almost purely a PVP talent, now.
Annihilation: In addition to the glorious crit, this talent allows you to use Obliterate more than once per rotation.

Tier 4
Killing Machine: 5/5 Altered in 3.0.8 to be on a proc-per-minute basis instead of percent chance on crit. This balances the talent between Dual-Wield and 2-Handed builds.
Chill of the Grave: 2/2 Extra Runic Power is always good. It only amounts to 25 RP every 2 rotations, however. Still, every little bit helps.
Endless Winter: 0/2 Mostly a PVP talent. However, a completely free spell interrupt is a VERY nice ability.

Tier 5
Frigid Dreadplate: 0/3 Great for tanking. Good for PVP. Completely unnecessary for DPS.
Glacier Rot: 3/3 Any well-played Death Knight will ALWAYS have diseases up. 20% extra damage to 3 of your core abilities is amazing.
Deathchill: 0/1 Why don't I recommend this talent? It's pure DPS! Well, I feel Frost crits enough as is. I recommend it for tanking and PVP builds, when on-demand crits are incredibly useful.

Tier 6
Improved Icy Talons: The only constant buff in the game that can equal this is Improved Windfury Totem.
Merciless Combat: 2/2 Many DPS specs across all classes have a talent like this.
Rime: 3/3 That's a crap-ton of crit. Also, this now triggers off Obliterate instead of Icy Touch in 3.1. That's a buff to 2-Handed and a nerf to Dual-Wield.

Tier 7
Chilblains: 0/3 A Death Knight in Unholy Presence could kite mobs very well with this. Situational in PVE, but another great PVP talent. Now you're starting to see why I recommend Frost for Death Knight PVP.
Hungering Cold: 1/1 This is where I put that Deathchill point. Completely useless for DPS, but I like having an escape button while soloing.
Improved Frost Presence: 0/2 I MAY come back for this one later. Extra health in DPS mode is a nice buff.

Tier 8
Blood of the North: 5/5 Please refer to my Death Knight Guide for further explanation of Death Runes.
Unbreakable Armor: 1/1 A DPS buff and an "oh crap" button all in one talent.

Tier 9
Acclimation: 0/3 Tanking/PVP. Death Knight talent trees are incredibly versatile.
Frost Strike: 1/1 Yup. Frost's primary Runic Power ability.
Guile of Gorefiend: 3/3 You crit a ton. Extra damage is win.

Tier 10
Tundra Stalker: 5/5 15% to everything but auto-attacks is impressive. Assuming you keep Frost Fever up 100% of the time, this could grant upwards of a 12% increase in total DPS.

Tier 11
Howling Blast: 1/1 Hungering Cold used to be down here. Howling Blast was moved to reduce the amount of Unholy talents standard Dual-Wielders could take. An amazing ability for AOE situations.

Here's a look at what my "complete" future build. I'm still undecided on what to do with those extra 3 points. I may put them in Virulence or Rune Tap and the aforementioned Improved Frost Presence.

I may also look into the versatility of Death Rune Mastery.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Machinima Monday: World of Warcraft 101

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nerd Life: Wolverine Review

First off: This review MAY not be based off the finished product. If I were to somehow view this movie weeks ago, this is the hypothetical review I would write. That imaginary non-movie would have the bulk of the finished plot in place, one would guess.

See where I'm going here?

Okay, first of all let me get something off my chest.

Deadpool is one of the most unique characters in the Marvel Universe. He's a fan favorite.

He's awesome in the movie.

For about five minutes.

Then they completely blow it. Let us never again mention the teleporting, eye-laser blasting, Baraka-sword wielding Merc Without a Mouth.

Aside from the Deadpool debacle, I have to say, it's not a bad movie.

The core story is very well done. They've taken some license with Wolverine and Sabretooth's origins, but it all works. Liev Schreiber plays a great take on Sabretooth while Hugh Jackman is just as awesome as ever in the role of Wolverine. Everything involving their past, Silver Fox and the Weapon X Program is very well done.

However, there's just not enough of it. Sabretooth is presented as the film's main villain, but in reality Stryker is the one that conflicts with Wolverine the most.

The entire rest of the movie is just a blur of forced fight scenes and character cameos. They advertise the movie with a large cast, including The Blob, Emma Frost, Cyclops and Gambit. While that's all cool, they neglect to mention that the scenes they show in the trailer are the ONLY scenes they have in the movie. It's as if the writers just sat around asking "How can we write another character into this movie, just to say he's in it?" Overall, the supporting cast does nothing to enhance the movie.

The film isn't BAD, it just misses on some key marks. Casual fans of the X-Men movies will probably like this movie quite a bit. Actual comic fans who have years invested in some of these characters can enjoy it, but will be left disappointed about the movie that this could have been.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Links! 5/1

Links! returns!


Warlockery: Affliction Very Short Term Damage - Nib gives some tips for single-target trash kills.

The Secret to Being a World-Class Healer - Honestly, I only skimmed this post, but Matticus is the man when it comes to staring at life bars.

Take Care - Megs is calling it quits. There's been a lot of this lately.


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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