Vacation Catch Up

Back in the Swing

NiteJammer

I think finally I am back in the swing of things as of this morning.  Last night and this morning to be honest… I have felt fairly crummy.  There is an unnamed crud that seems to be circulating through the company and I am scared I might have contracted this new strain of “death flu”.  Since I was not exactly feeling up to par I turned down the opportunity to tank Siege of Orgrimmar for a new friend, and instead chose to go directly to sleep.  I have to say that was probably exactly the right decision, because I seem to have reached the point where my body is accepting this familiar hell that is waking up at 5:30 in the morning.

Today I even woke up a few minutes before the alarm was set to go up.  Of course I jumped up in a panic, out of fear that I didn’t actually set an alarm at all.  However upon fumbling for my glasses I noticed that the alarm was in fact on and it was only 5:28.  I just sat there on the edge of the bed waiting for it to tick down.  The alarm serves several purposes, not the least of which is that for some reason it is annoying enough to rip through my wife’s slumber and wake her up.  The funny thing is… our alarm clock is an artifact of the 80s.  While the above image is not my actual alarm clock, but it is the same model.  My aunt got it for me when I was around thirteen years old, and it has worked like a trooper ever since.

The secret to the alarm working is two fold.  Firstly it has without a doubt the most painfully horrible alarm when it goes off.  It reminds me of the droning klaxon that goes off in the background of every science fiction movie.  Additionally… this is the most important part… I keep it on the opposite side of the room from our bed.  This means one of us has to get out of bed and cross the room to turn it off.  At that point we have already won the hardest battle of getting up in the morning… actually leaving the warm cocoon of the bed.  It feels as though my brain is finally able to cope with waking up on a schedule again.  Now if I can just get over the death flu everything will be okay.

Vacation Catch Up

When I go on vacation I tend to do so on a pretty large scale.  I find it hard to follow social media, my RSS feed, and pretty much anything that is not wake up/play game.  As a result over the last few days I have been crawling down through my RSS feed.  I have basically made it about 7 days into the feed at this point and am realizing that I was mentioned in a few year end blog posts, and I feel like I have to thank them.  I feel like I am missing one, and I should have kept better track of these things while diving into the avalanche of posts.  Suffice to say that even the one or maybe two that I am drawing a blank on at 6 am this morning… made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

First up apparently I am now most known for my crusade to write something… anything.. every single morning.  I guess as far as something to be known for… I can live with that, especially since before April I was most known for long and unexplained lapses in blogging.  As I posted in my own year end summary, 2013 was a good year for me and I made a lot of positive changes.  Firstly I have to thank Talyn328 of Pumping Irony, he drew my attention to his year end recap post and he said a lot of really nice things.  It gave me a spontaneous case of the feels.  Additionally he pointed out my oversight that he is not on my visual blogroll…  a thing that I should correct this week.

While Rowan did in fact mention me during his year in recap…  my gratitude for him goes so much deeper.  This man is like my own personal cheerleader, and I mean that in the best possible way.  You should totally read his year end recap, but what he does for the community as a whole goes so much deeper than that.  Every single day he picks up my post, and the posts of several other bloggers… and then creates an interesting tweet spun off of the topic.  I have tried to do this but I just lack the gift this man has.  I will never understand what I did to qualify for this constant support, but I am forever grateful for it.

I know without a doubt that I am missing one, but as I crawled through my blogroll this morning I could not seem to find it.  One of the negative features of Feedly is that you can’t search back through the things you have read.  BlueKae gave me a shout out for a completely different reason, and I was happy to read his NaNoWriMo recap post.  I just want to say that while he claims I was part of his motivation for keeping moving, he was just as much part of mine.  Quite frankly I never could have made it through the 50,000 words were it not for the constant support of my online family.  That really is what you guys are… an extended family of my choosing.

What About Games?

Well honestly I didn’t so much of anything exciting last night.  At the very least not out of the ordinary.  I gathered up a few guildies and we all ran the Throne of Thunder LFR part one.  Mainly since I have done it a truly silly amount of times at this point, I served as a guide to the various mechanics.  I am not sure about the others, but I once again lost out on a weapon.  I did however get my favorite trinket in the game, that my shaman uses regularly.  When Bad Juju procs, it summons Voodoo gnomes… which are one of my favorite things to be added to the game.  There are two other items, one from Burning Crusade and one from Cataclysm that have a similar effect.  All it really makes me want is a gnome shaman.  Blizzard you should make that happen.

We are tentatively talking about going into the next part tonight.  We got a really late start on it as the bulk of us spent a silly amount of time messing about the Timeless Isle.  I personally was a bit late getting in game as I was playing that other game that must not be mentioned.  Speaking of games that with NDAs still intact… it seems as though the floodgates of invites have opened for Elder Scrolls Online beta.  Here is hoping that everyone that wants a key gets a key, as this is certainly one of the most sought after invites I have seen in awhile.  It reminds me of the early days of WoW Closed beta.  If you are interested J3w3l has been doing a really awesome job of collating a lot of the information floating around about the game in a series of blog posts.

Bucket Update

Not As Bad As Could Be

Northrend

So yesterday was my first day back from vacation, and I have to say it was nowhere near as painful as I had imagined.  Sure over the last few days I had set an alarm for 7 am to start getting my body back in the swing of things, however there is still a large difference between that at the normal 5:30 am I wake up each day.  Sure the morning itself sucked, and I think I grumbled a bit about it yesterday, but as the day moved on I found myself doing mostly okay.  Of course it is still absolutely silly cold outside, but then again so is the rest of the country.  In the grand scheme of things our near zero temperatures are “mild” compared to the areas that are legitimately in the negatives.

The drive in was surprisingly tame, sure there were a few slick spots here and there but as the northerners say… snow is actually not that bad to drive on.  I feel as though I could deal with snow being on the road, and not our normal inch or two of ice.  Granted supposedly there is some ice under the snow, so if you start losing traction there is absolutely nothing to gain footing on… but if you drive rationally it seems to be just fine.  The problem is I live in Oklahoma… and we are not known for driving rationally.  I watched a redneck on the way home purposefully spinning his tires and fishtailing all over the street outside of my house.  I halfway expected him to end up hitting a house or something the amount of movement he was making around out there.  Here is hoping I can get out on the roads and have a similar safe driving experience this morning.

Bucket Update

WoW-64 2013-12-27 08-24-56-75

Yesterday I finished leveling Archaeology to 600, and I knew without a doubt that was something on my wow bucket list.  So this morning I thought I would take a moment to cross a few things off.  I have actually made quite a bit more progress than I had originally thought.  Seems as thought I have knocked the following things off the list.

  • Level Gloam to 90
  • Level Alchemy to 600 on Gloam
  • Level Tailoring to 600 on Belglorian
  • Get Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth
  • Level Archeology to 600 on Belgrave

To be truthful I have not really worked that hard on knocking things off I just piddled around or as @AlternativeChat says “Faffed”.  I have to say hands down the best money I have ever spent in any game is the 14,000 gold to purchase the Traveler’s mount.  I use the thing constantly, especially when I am out farming resources.  On my lowbies, like my Horde Warrior it has made leveling him so much easier as I am always near a vendor… and it seems like the Barrens now drops a truly silly number of patterns.

As of last night we have tentative plans to start working on some of the old world mount achievements.  Here is hoping with that I can start knocking out various other bits from my list.  I have to say I am still very much enjoying the game and keep finding new things I want to do.  Right now I am running a truly silly amount of LFR as I have 6 characters that could use gear.  However when I need a break from LFR I am slowly working my way to 90 on my Disc Priest Belglorian.  I really want to get him up to the cap so I can start doing the daily tailoring cooldown.  Currently 81 is a bit too low to be able to survive Pandaria.

Slow News Day

I honestly do not have a lot going on this morning to talk about other than these few updates.  I am woefully behind on reading my RSS feed, since I really did not keep up with it at all while I was off work.  Why would I be reading webpages when I could be playing games?  I feel bad that I am this far behind.  I know there is a lot of gaming news that I am missing out on, so hopefully I can spend some time to day catching myself back up.  In the meantime I will leave you with this awesome fan trailer by Qelric.  There has been a thread going around the community requesting a Diablo universe version of Hearthstone, called Soulstone.  I fully support this notion, and I really should be playing more hearthstone myself.

WoW Needs a Gatekeeper

Content Gating

contentgating

One of the constructs from EQ that existed in the early days of World of Warcraft was the concept of content gating.  It still exists to a lesser extent but nothing like it did when there were formal quest requirements for entry to most of the raids.  These were extremely frustrating barriers, not because they existed but because they required the entire raid to complete.  Potentially the worst was the Vials of Eternity quest chain needed to enter Mount Hyjal.  At the time this meant that in order to run the Tier 6 content, you had to find a group willing to take you through the Tier 5 content in its entirety, as you needed drops off Vashj and Kaelthas the end bosses of the two Tier 5 raids.

At the time this posed so many logistical problems for raids, as you were left with two somewhat unsavory choices.  Firstly you could stop what you were doing in your current progression and run the Tier 5 content to prepare newer players for Tier 6.  This took time, and most raids already had pretty tight schedules as it was.  Secondly you could end up recruiting someone away from an already successful tier 5 raid, creating a farm team like scenario that caused so much bad blood between guilds.  The best possible scenario was to pull a player away from a raid that had died, but this was a bit of a rarity at the time.  Needless to say there was much cheering when the content gating systems went away in Wrath of the Lich King.

Must Be This Tall

you-must-be-this-tall-to-rideWhile overall removing these raid based requirements was a good thing, as greatly simplified the care and feeding of raids, it did however introduce a lot of unplanned uncertainty.  It was out of this uncertainty that things like Gearscore spawned.  Gearscore was a concept of creating an overall quality rating for a player based on the gear they had acquired.  The system was popular enough that with Cataclysm Blizzard introduced the iLevel system formally in your character sheet and began creating content gates based on this requirement.  For example currently you have to at least be iLevel 480 or higher to be able to do a Heroic Scenario.  The game keeps you from being able to queue for the content until you hit that magic number.

The problem is that the iLevel system of measurement is fundamentally flawed.  Gear acquired tells a raid leader absolutely nothing about the overall play ability of the player.  If you try hard enough you will be able to acquire gear regardless if you have the skill expected of that quality of gear.  This is why you see players in Siege of Orgrimmar LFR that are legitimately only doing 20,000 dps instead of the 75-100k dps you would expect from the 496 iLevel requirement.  iLevel is easy, so it has stuck around but it does nothing to tell you what to expect from a player.  As was proven in the past, skill is much more important than gear, and players who really know their class will always out perform those who don’t regardless of how much new shiny gear you throw at them.

WoW Needs the Gatekeeper

TheGatekeeper

The problem at hand is that people that are building raids have no non-subjective means of determining if a player is ready for the content until they have actually taken them into the instance.  You can drag underperforming players along, but you need to have players that are performing past the expectations of the content to be able to make that work.  The single best content gating mechanic that I have seen in any game came from The Secret World.  At the top of Agartha there was an encounter that is collectively known as The Gatekeeper.  He stands as the gateway to the nightmare level dungeon content, that drops the best gear in the game.

He presents to the player three tests, one geared towards Tanks, another towards Healers and a final one towards DPS…  which in my experience was the most difficult.  Each of them is a test of personal accountability and that you can perform what will be expected of you in the nightmare level content.  They are fairly brutal, especially coming from the overall easy Elite mode content before them, but they do in fact very accurately assess how well you will do in the Nightmare content.  Back when my circle of friends keyed for Nightmare mode, we struggled a bit, but we were still able to compete based on the skills displayed by the test.  Waren and I both prided ourselves for passing the dps trial, without switching gear and going after either the healer or tank trials that were seemingly a bit easier.

Essentially the trial was designed to make sure you could move out of things while still maintaining a certain level of dps on the boss.  These are the basic skills that any dps player needs in a raid encounter.  The player could retry the encounter over and over until they succeeded only then allowing them to move forward into the Nightmare content. I know personally it was exhilarating when I managed to beat the Gatekeeper.  I am certain I tried it some 20-30 times before I finally landed upon the way that I finally beat him.  Sure there were guides to doing it easier, but the players till had to execute well enough to be able to get through the encounter.  If you stepped in anything, you died instantly.  If you allowed an add to catch you, you died instantly.  If you failed to interrupt something, you died instantly.  Finally if you failed to maintain a certain level of damage…  you also died instantly.

Personal Endorsements

firstaidcard

Once upon a time, in another life I was once a Boy Scout camp counselor.  One of the things that happened every year during that first week before the kids arrived was that each and every counselor had their First Aid, CPR and Swimming Lifesaver certifications renewed.  In each case it involved some sort of skills assessment, the Swimming Lifesaver being the worst of these.  However each and every one of us passed it, and while we were cheered on by the rest of the staff each was a personal trial that we faced alone.  I feel like raiding should be gated by some sort of non-subjective skills assessment similar to this.  It sucks being the one to tell a player that they just are not good enough to be able to do the content.  Without hard facts as to why, it often feels like the leader is playing favorites or simply singling a player out unjustly.

World of Warcraft has already created a system similar to this in the Proving Grounds.  The problem is these are optional encounters and most players either don’t know they exist or since they are not required for anything…  they never actually go through them.  I myself have never done them, because they were not required for me and did not reward anything meaningful.  If they took this concept and somehow integrated it into creating a ladder to climb towards raiding, it would be extremely beneficial in the long run.  That has always been the problem with raiding in general, there is a nice clean linear path to climb to get from level 1 to 90.  However once you enter the endgame all this player guidance goes away.

The iLevel system tells the player that having the gear is enough, however in reality we all know that success in raiding is about so much more than just gear.  Having a similar endgame ladder to climb that even rewards pieces of gear to help the player progress would make what happens after you cap, so much clearer.  Additionally having one of these Gatekeeper like encounters that controls entry to the new content provides a very clear “you must be this tall” sign that players that strive for.  Sure it sucks because it introduces a “keying” process again, but in this case it would be one of personal responsibility, not of raid responsibility.  Additionally it would give those really good but also very timid players a boost of confidence if they knew that beating this solo encounter… where there is no one to judge them… means they will do just find in the larger group setting.

Even When Bad, Its Good

Misplaced Weather

It is currently in the teens here in the Tulsa area, and the wind-chill is pushing it into the single digits and in some places negative numbers.  Waking up this morning the entire world is covered in a blanket of white, albeit not a terribly thick blanket… but it is still coming down and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.  Dear Canada, I believe you misplaced your weather.  Can you please pick it up at the front office at your nearest convenience?  A friend from twitter suggested that maybe Canada was not home and the weather was left with their nearest neighbor…  which in that case seems to be the entire United States. 

Here in Tulsa the weather is a nuisance more than anything else, primarily since my wife and I both head back tomorrow after a two week vacation.  For us at least, knowing this was on the way we ran all of the errands we could think of yesterday so we could just hang out inside today in a blanket cocoon. I could go to the front door and take a picture of what is going on outside, but frankly I am just too damned lazy.  I am wrapped up in two blankets and have a loudly purring cat on my chest…  so yeah not moving.  Hopefully the snow itself will not last terribly long, and so long as it sticks to just snow I figure we will be fine.  It is always the ice storms that I am concerned about not the dustings of snow.

Had a Bad Day

20140105_083251[1] Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating mess.  Over the last several days I have been trying my best to make it through the Gates section of the Siege of Orgrimmar LFR on my Paladin.  Since you cannot progress to the next step until you have beaten all of the bosses in the previous one, I found myself hung up there trying to get the last two bosses.  Each and every group seemed to fall apart either during or directly before the Dark Shaman encounter.  Over the course of the last few days since Tuesday I have been in no less than 8 Gates groups, and this yesterday morning it seemed for a moment like I would get through the raid finally.

We had made it up to Nazgrim but after one wipe the group completely disintegrated leaving me stranded with only needing the final boss.  There are weeks that I cannot get the first bosses of a dungeon to save my life, however each and every one of the 8 attempts at Gates involved me starting over with the first encounter.  I am not sure if I set them down hard, but after the extremely frustrating close call in LFR I got up from my cocoon and while pulling off my headset it completely snapped, leaving the right earcuff danging.  The break was so close to the earcuff that I don’t think I could even attempt to bandage it along for a bit with duct tape.

It seems like I am extremely rough on headsets, as in the years of playing World of Warcraft I have gone through no less than eight that I can recall.  No single headset has lasted more than two years before either falling apart on me or starting to malfunction somehow.  Right now I am back to using a Logitech behind the head headset, but it itself has an issue with the left earcuff cutting out constantly and is only serving to infuriate me more.  Granted these are all first world problems… and I should simply be thankful that I can replace the headset at my leisure rather than having to wait to do so.  In fact as of writing this article I have already ordered a replacement.  I am going back to an older plantronics design that previously I had gotten 2 years out of, which is pretty much the most I can hope for.

Even When Bad, Its Good

People are constantly down on LFR because it represents the absolute worst of humanity.  The thing is… even at its worst I greatly appreciate its existence.  I tend to be an altaholic, at present count I have 6 characters at 90 and a large number of characters within range of getting there.  I have already begun raising my Discipline Priest Belglorian and within in the next few weeks it will likely join the ranks.  I get frustrated in these games when I can no longer progress my characters, and because of the structure of traditional raiding, this generally meant that I got to progress whatever my main was…. but no one else.  I have enough time to deal with carving out a block of time in my schedule for one stable raid group, but not multiple raid groups.

What LFR gives me is the ability to keep moving forward on all of my characters at my own leisure.  I don’t expect a lot from the process, and I don’t expect the players in LFR to be marginally functional.  I find it that I can compartmentalize LFR so that I only focus on my own role and ignore the fact that Rome is burning down around my shoulders.  In doing so this means each and every one of my alts can at least achieve a certain level of gear.  Granted I am not expecting them to be amazing, but I can keep moving slowly forward on all fronts… keeping me engaged in each character.  Now even with this on demand raiding, I still personally don’t have time to run every character through.  However I can get enough piecemeal progression to make me happy.

It is almost as though LFR was invented for someone like me, that likes to dabble in a lot of different things, but doesn’t so much care anymore about reaching the ultimate progression in any of them.  So while I might complain about LFR, and get supremely frustrated at times…  I am still very much thankful it exists.  Despite all of the frustrations and set backs, it eventually goes just fine.  Last night about 11 pm I finally managed to get a Gates group that was sitting on Nazgrim… the only boss I was missing.  After a wipe we got the determination buff and came back and beat him on the second attempt.  After all of the wait and all of the gold bags… I managed to pull the best possible drop I could hope for in the instances.  My paladin is now the proud owner of Gar’tok, Strength of the Faithful and one step closer to being as well geared as I can get him.

Wrong Answer to Right Question

Morning Sucks

I have consumed my tasty oatmeal and my first cup of coffee for the morning, and I feel no more prepared to confront the day than when I started.  For the last two days we have been setting a self imposed 7 am alarm in the hopes of trying to retrain our bodies to get up at a decent hour and hopefully go to sleep at a decent hour.  While the 2-3 am slumber time has turned into a bit after midnight, getting up in the morning still seems no easier.  I keep wondering if rather than Monday morning sucking… I have just allowed the last three days of vacation to suck equally.  The adult inside of me realizes that this is all for the best, but the inner 13 year old wants to rage against the machine and go back to bed.

I had a pretty active day yesterday, which I assumed would make it easier to sleep.  Instead it just seemed to make every inch of my body ache.  We continued our junking madness this time discovering an entire downtown area filled with nothing but antique malls.  That is a bit of an over exaggeration as there were a few businesses in there that were not, but basically it was three blocks of antiques.  I am probably going to save the trove of pictures for tomorrow as I have an actual thing to talk about today.  We did however crawl the entirety of the antiques district and found some potential options, and I got lots of random photos of interesting stuff to pad an entire themed blog post.

Disker Redux

I wanted to take a few minutes out of my planned schedule to update my readers on the whole Disker trojan issue from yesterday.  Apparently it has been confirmed that the Trojan is being spread by a fake version of the curse client.  How are people getting the fake version?  More than likely this is yet another case of Google poisoning, with an illegitimate link getting higher ranking over the legitimate one.  Basically as always if you actually know the address of the website you are trying to reach, you might want to go ahead and type the fully qualified URL in your address bar instead of relying on Google to get you there.  This has happened in the past with sites like Facebook suddenly redirecting users to a completely different place or at best an article ABOUT Facebook.

When I see one of my family members using a Google search as their address bar, firstly I die a little inside, but secondly I try my best to correct the behavior.  Each time you enter a phrase into Google you should take the few moments to verify that the URL it is sending you to is in fact a legitimate looking one.  If you go to a site frequently… create a bookmark rather than relying on Google search as a bookmarking system for you.  Criminals rely on the users laziness to carry off these nefarious schemes, and a little bit of diligence on your part goes a long ways to keeping you and your accounts safe.  If a domain name doesn’t look right, don’t use it.  At the very least do some research before using it.

Wrong Answer to Right Question

WoWInsider_90sPoll

Now for the topic I had actually wanted to talk about this morning, and the reason why you are not getting a massive flood of junking photos.  This is a bit of a spinoff topic as it started for me on the AlternativeChat blog.  She herself was reporting on a Morning Topic from WoWInsider asking just how much players would be willing to pay for a boost to level 90.  Surprisingly the most chosen answer is “Nothing, I wouldn’t want this option to exist.”.  For the sake of transparency I myself also chose this option.  In part I am not sure I want to live in a world of warcraft where nothing before level 90 actually mattered any more.  Right or wrong the decision to allow boosts to 90 that can be purchased off the store is essentially telling the player base just this.  Nothing that happened in the past decade actually matters.

Wow-64 2014-01-02 09-34-08-96 

Don’t get me wrong… I will happily accept the free level 90 that is reported to come with the expansion.  As you can see from the image above I already have 6 90s, and several that are in close range of getting there as well.  However if you look all the way at the bottom you see Belglaive my mage (which may or may not get re-rolled before I actually take the  character seriously).  The mage is pretty much the exact opposite of the type of character I like to play.  I enjoy Sturdy and Melee, and the mage is neither.  The only reason why I have a priest of significant level is because I accepted a scroll of resurrection and chose to boost that character to 80 in the process.  Similarly the only way I am likely to get a mage to the level cap is with the free boost that comes with Warlords of Draenor.

That aside I think “boosting” is the wrong answer to the right question.  The right question to ask is how can I get friends playing together faster.  Blizzard seems to be choosing the option of being able to jumpstart the character to 90 so they are within 10 levels of their friends.  This however is a pandora’s box of issues waiting to be opened. Firstly you are throwing a player into a character at the end of their life and expecting them to play catch up on learning the abilities.  Despite the problems with pacing and out-leveling content, one of the great things Cataclysm gave us was a slow and steady introduction to the key character abilities as you leveled from 1 to 60 and beyond.  By the time a character reached 60, the old world cap they had been spoon fed new abilities so that they could assimilate them at their leisure into their own hand crafted rotations.

Throwing a player at a level 90 character is essentially telling them that they should go to Noxxic or Icy-Veins and copy down the rotations that are listed there.  While I greatly appreciate that each site exists, because I don’t care about the math behind my character…  it does not really create fun and engaging gameplay.  It seems so much more engaging and a better introducing to the game world to learn those same abilities slowly over time.  Additionally I hate the idea that nothing I have done for the last 10 years of playing WoW has mattered.  There are so many amazing places out in the world that this new crop of players will never likely see, and unique encounters they will never experience.

The Right Answer

By allowing for the boosting of characters to 90 you are basically robbing them of experiencing the World of Warcraft.  Instead the game feels too much like an “end game is the only thing that matters” experience, which having played DAoC for years felt like a really hollow thing.  I talked about my commentary being a “good natured rant” yesterday, and that really is my intent.  For once I have no doubt at all that Blizzard has their heart in the right place.  They asked the right question, how can we make it easier for new players to play with their friends.  That is absolutely the question they should be asking, because despite the rough edges it is the community of players assembled, and more importantly the friends playing the game that make World of Warcraft worth playing.

I just think they are taking the easy way out in essence by boosting players over the leveling hump.  The better choice, the choice that works well in every game I have played with the feature… is to add a rich mentoring system.  This allows for mentor players to drop down to the younger players levels and experience the content the way it was meant to be experienced.  There is no glory in facerolling a dungeon for a friend, just so they can get some quest completed.  As a tank I have done this so many times, because I can pretty easily solo old content.  During the Christmas break I took a friend into Blackrock Caverns so she could get the Christmas hat.  While I was happy to do it for her, the experience was not exciting at all for either of us because I simply pulled everything as fast as I could and watched it evaporate around me.

If I could have dropped my level to hers, and gathered up a few more guild members to run that dungeon like it was meant to be run, I would have done so in a heartbeat.  I love soloing old content, so I am not saying that there is anything at all wrong with that.  However everyone should be able to experience the older dungeons the way we all did when we were at level.  All players should be able to experience the severe trauma that comes with someone clicking too many candles in Blackfathon Deep, or trying to get the Postmaster to spawn in Strathholme.  Mentoring provides two things, firstly it lets new players get in and experience some content with their friends  characters.  Secondly it lets the grizzled veteran experience those old glories through new eyes by seeing the content again with their friends.

There have been many times in the past that I thought they were primed to introduce a mentor system.  When they made spell levels scale to the character rather than basing them on ranks… I felt this was the key step needed to catapult us towards a rich mentoring system.  However for whatever reason one has not materialized and again with the talk of Warlords of Draenor I have seen no mention of this system.  This is the correct way to let players experience content with their friends, without completely invalidating everything that came before level 90.  I am not as opposed to having a single character boost to 90, but if this becomes a “priced to own” service that ramifications will likely be just as negative for the community as the dungeon finder has been.

Bronze Rhino

A Light Dusting

I have been struggling to try and get my sleep pattern under control.  Last night I had all intent to go to sleep early.  However when I got laid down around 10 pm I just could not keep my eyes closed.  It is like the act of laying down gave me a second wind.  Additionally while I didn’t have breathing difficulties sitting up, the moment I stretched out in bed my lungs started bothering me.  Had I gotten up and taken a breathing treatment right then I probably would have been fine and gotten to bed at a decent hour.  Instead I piddled around talking with my wife and finally coming to that same decision about midnight.

All the while we were laying in bed we kept making comments about the moon being really right.  When I got up to go upstairs I noticed that the entire world was blanketed in a thin veneer of snow.  I find it completely insane that our icestorm from a few weeks back could coat everything in ice, but not cover the roads… whereas this tiny snow managed to stick.  I guess the temperature has been low enough to bring the radiant ground temperature down just enough.  It did however serve to make the world nice and bright last night.  While taking my breathing treatment I got to piddling around online… and wound up falling asleep at the keyboard.  When I woke up it was 2 am and I once again troddled off to bed later than I had intended.

Bronze Rhino

RhinoSculpture

Earlier in the week we had talked about going to Muskogee, but I am not sure if that will still happen with the over night snow and the obvious cold and windy climate.  Tuesday we went out junking for a bit again, or more so we went to pay my wife’s car tag and happened to hit a couple of places in the same town.  One of the stores we had been to before long ago when we used to go junking for fun.  I didn’t remember it being the claustrophobic place that it apparently is today however.  I have no clue how anyone would find anything in it.  It has what appears to be booths, but each and every one is crammed with so much completely random stuff that I was afraid I would cause an avalanche.

The gem of the day however was a bin of Barbie dolls that looked like a scene from Law and Order SVU.  My wife has made me promise not to post the picture of it, but all I will say is I felt bad for the Ken doll.  Obviously someone was very curious about what was under Ken’s pants.  The other thing I snapped was this large bronzed rhino… because seriously who doesn’t need a giant bronze rhino for their house?  I am having trouble pulling together the situation that would have led someone to actually purchase this for their home.  Even more so, I struggle with the logic that would have lead someone to purchase this for resale.  I remember the junk store being run by a nice old woman, and this time it was by a much younger man.  I am wondering if maybe the woman has passed and left him the store… and he simply no longer cares about it the way she once did.

Like I said before I had talked about going to Muskogee today.  If you remember way back that is where I found all the great deals on LEGO sets, and they also have a large number of these antique malls along Highway 69.  No I am not making up the name of that highway, we have to be adults here… no snickering allowed.  Additionally my wife has found some good deals at the various shops in town so if we don’t go today I think at some point before next Monday we will end up going there.  I find it hard to believe that my long vacation is almost over.  I guess that is why I am most concerned about trying to fix my sleep patterns, because I know next Monday is going to be a massive pain.

No Love For Rogue

Wow-64 2014-01-02 09-34-08-96

Yesterday I did my big years retrospective post, but another thing I would have written about had I not done that was that on New Years Eve I managed to ding 90 on my rogue.  Within a few minutes of dinging I had equipped a whole slew of Timeless Isle gear.  The funny thing is… each and every character I have gotten to 90 has been short a single item from completing a full set of gear.  On my shaman he was missing shoulders, and on the rogue he was missing boots.  However upon reaching the isle and doing the various onetime and weekly chests I quickly got a set.  I am still missing a trinket, but hopefully I will get one from LFR.  I managed to boost my gear score high enough to be able to do throne of thunder, so off and on throughout the day yesterday that is exactly what I did.

For some reason this game hates giving me weapons.  So I managed to get four pieces of gear to drop, two of which were set pieces, and the other two were the exact same pieces as the set.  So functionally all I gained was a two piece bonus.  I did however manage to get enough motes on my paladin to craft one of the 463 weapons.  I have bumped that up to 471 so it is at least “almost epic”.  I feel bad in LFR because quite frankly until I get better weapons I will not really be of much use.  Rogue is so weapon dependant, and quite honestly all of the classes I play tend to be.  There is very little you can do to be of use with a complete crap weapon.  I still feel this is a massive shortcoming with pandaria… it is extremely difficult to get weapons if you do not like PVP.

2013 Retrospective

Grand Experiment in Review

2012 was an extremely horrible year for me and at least professionally I would rank it as quite possibly the worst year I have ever had.  I would put it as worse than the year I was out of work for six months after the dotcom crash.  On September 11th 2012 my company suffered what they thought was a network attack, that only later the security guy pulled his head out of his ass and realized it was a regularly scheduled security scan… that he himself authorized.  The results of this was a massive overreaction that caused me and my team to spend the rest of the year and a good chunk of the beginning of this year rebuilding damned near everything that touched the web.  Why did we have to do this?  Because they quite literally pulled the servers out of the racks and sent them to the FBI, leaving us next to nothing to work off of.

So next to that year, this year has seemed like an absolute dream.  However it has been more than that for me.  2013 has been a year of personal growth and exploring new things.  In April when I finally pulled my head above water after the “faux” security incident, I really wanted to make a break back into blogging.  I fell off of the planet shortly after the security event and simply could not bring myself to write about anything.  Coming back I devised what I called a “grand experiment”, namely to blog each and every day even if I didn’t think I had much to write about.  At this point there are 237 posts categorized as “The Grand Experiment”, and without fail I have blogged every day even when it was a struggle to do so.

Has the experiment worked?  Well functionally yes I have managed to blog every day, but more importantly has it provided an interesting stream of content?  Quite honestly I don’t know.  Most of the time I feel like I am a little kid writing to a make believe audience.  When I talk to someone who mentions something I have written… I am always shocked.  I feel like no one actually reads my stuff, that I am mostly just writing it for my own benefit.  People seem to enjoy what I write, and I have a regular stream of readers… but I will never have the type of audience that the bigger bloggers have.  I am just too rough around the edges for that sort of thing.  For the most part I am happy with the results of a year of blogging and my long-term goal is to make it at least one full year of posts without pause.  That of course will be up April 26th of 2014, which seems like it is far in the future right now.  However I don’t see myself losing steam at any point soon.

A Healthier Me

Another big change in my life over the course of 2013 is that I am considerably lighter.  In March my wife and I began to shift the way we relate to food.  I say it in terms like that because really we have completely changed our relationship to food as a whole.  To say we went on a diet doesn’t really encompass the level of change.  Diets are about the short term, but we wanted to make permanent and long-term changes in the way we ate.  Namely we focused on trying to find a new and sustainable way to live.  At this point I am 70 lbs smaller and have hit a bit of a plateau over the last month.  However the fact that I survived both Thanksgiving and Christmas without breaking that plateau makes me happy enough.

My wife on the other hand continues to lose at a steady pace and is now down roughly 60 lbs.  At some point I need to get super serious again, as I have become lax of late.  However the current weight seems to be a place I can comfortable stay without any real intervention.  I have reached my goal and it is time for me in this new year to refocus myself and set a new one.  I will never be a small man, I come from a long line of really big people.  I am however happy enough being able to say I am a “smaller” man.  The thing I was not expecting to be honest were the health benefits.  As a whole I am far healthier than I was a year ago, and the primary benefit is that my Asthma that I have struggled with my entire life… and have even been hospitalized for… is really a mere nuisance these days.  I can go months on a single inhailer, and that is not a thing I have ever been able to do in my life.

Professional Growth

In the last year I have grown more into the role of the manager of my group.  I have learned to delegate more, which is something I have always struggled with in my life.  I was good at accepting assignments, but never very good at passing them on to my troops, instead trying to take them all on myself.  My team is pretty amazing and I would be lost without them.  I guess in some small way I have learned to have more faith in them, and trust that they will do as much diligence with an assignment as I would have.  As a result I have shifted more into the architect role for my group and part-time project manager and full-time traffic cop.  Making sure all of the assignments are going to the right places and all seeing at least some progress.

We usually have 50-60 active projects for a team of three people.  So it involves lots of juggling.  Various forces in my company want me to move up into a permanent management position.  However I simply do not want to distances myself from the “real work” enough to take them.  Additionally right now I am responsible for three extremely highly functional people, and I don’t think I  could cope with being put over less functional people that I would some how have to whip into shape.  I am not really great with confrontations, and as a result I think I would flounder.  Either that or it would be similar to me as a raid leader, and I would turn into a real asshole.  For the time being I think I am happy with where I am and what I am doing.

I Wrote A Novel

One of the things I have always wanted to do in my life was to write a novel.  I made several false attempts at various times over the years but never could seem to push myself to do it.  This November I joined the NaNoWriMo event, and over the course of the month knocked out my first novel.  I have no idea if it is actually any good, because honestly I have not even read it since finishing it up.  I plan in the new year to tear it asunder as I edit it, and fix any issues.  However regardless if it completely sucks, I have accomplished a goal.  I managed to write a novel, and that is a thing most people can’t say about themselves.  I didn’t do it to get famous, or be published, I did it mostly just to prove to myself that I could.

The weird thing about it is, November seems like a lifetime ago.  The whole concept of writing 1500 words per night was just absolutely draining.  My entire life revolved around that novel for those thirty days, which is honestly longer than I have stuck with anything like that in my life.  More than anything I feel like it was a venue of personal growth.  I did a thing I never thought I could, and I did so in a methodical way in which it felt like success was assured from the moment I started.  Sure I faltered a few times along the way, and there were a few days I didn’t write a blessed thing.  However I kept moving forward towards the eventual 50,000 word count goal and I achieved it.  I think more than anything I am proud of this accomplishment from 2013.

A Year of Gaming

This is a gaming blog afterall, so during 2013 I played a lot of games.  I played way more games than I can ever manage to remember, but I will try and run down a few of the big ones.  The list of major titles is as follows.

Oddly enough I am beginning this new year not entirely differently than I began the last year.  January 2013 I was still involved in the launch of Mists of Pandaria, and it was not until April that I really began to distance myself from that game entirely.  World of Warcraft and I have this love/hate relationship.  I get frustrated with it so much, because it seems that they always seem to take the most short sighted solutions to problems, and there are so many games that there that do various things it does…. so much better.  However as a total package I feel like the game is unbeatable.  It offers the most good things in one package.  The realization for me however after my 2+ years of absence from being serious about the game is that it is not about the game at all.  World of Warcraft is about the people playing it, and I had missed the ragtag group of people known as House Stalwart immensely.

The game I probably played the most often during the year however was Rift.  I want to love rift so badly, the promise of the game is really great.  The problem is it just lacks something that I can’t quite put my finger on.  It is a technically superior game in every aspect, but it is like it lacks a cohesive narrative that makes me care about the world every single day.  The dragons were a thing I thought I  could get behind.  But now that we have systematically killed each of them off, I cannot say in a single sentence what the world of Rift is.  I think that might be the problem, there is no one clear narrative to the game.  You cannot say “this game is” and have even half of the people agree on it.  I still play it occasionally and there is still an incarnation of House Stalwart there that Psynister and Fynralyl are keeping alive.  I thank them so much for being there, but I just can’t seem to care about the game right now.  I am sure at some point I will again.

Final Fantasy was another major force for the year.  This was a game I never intended to like because really I feel like me and Japanese RPGs had a messy divorce quite some time ago.  I had a group of friends actively wanting to play it, so against my better judgment I went along for the ride.  What I found however was a really well crafted narrative and dungeon experience.  If I could have kept experiencing new bits of immersive content, I would have likely stuck around.  However once you reached the end of the game, it was exactly that…  the end.  All paths lead to massive amount of grinding, and for whatever reason… while I can stomach grinding all day long in World of Warcraft… I could not stomach the particular FFXIV brand of grinding.  Namely I blame this on the overall lack of meaninful drops in the game.  If I have a chance of getting something cool while killing mobes, no matter how remote the chance… it feels exciting to me each time I open a loot window.  There was nothing that could drop from mobs in the world that I would ever care about.  Additionally gearing up to get to a point where we could raid, was just not a bridge I was willing to cross.

Games for 2014

There has been a game I have been in super secret closed door testing since February.  I cannot name the game by name, but I have to say I am still extremely excited about it even after most of a year testing it.  I have watched the game grow from something that felt polished to something that really is amazingly rich and polished.  I don’t think I will quit WoW this time for another game, because I have set down some pretty solid roots there again.  However I know I will also be playing this game, at the very least two to three nights a week.  It is probably the least wow-like game I have played in a long while, and because of that I feel like there is room in my heart for both games to have a unique space.

Past that I am really not certain what 2014 will hold.  I know that I am not really interested enough to purchase a PS4 or an XBox One, so I think I will be exiting the console mainstream once again.  I am mostly a PC gamer to be honest, and since my gameloft has been taken over by my wife I am okay with not having access to the consoles.  More than anything I am looking forward to the various stores beginning to liquidate their stocks of PS3 and XBox 360 games, so I can pick up the titles I always wanted to play but didn’t have the desire to pay for.  Additionally there are still a lot of things on the DS/3DS that I want to play, and I am looking forward to picking up the newest Zelda game.  I am sure there will be a number of surprises along the way, games that catch my fancy enough to deserve lots of blog posts.

I hope that 2014 will be as positive force in my life as 2013 has been.  Additionally I hope each and every one of you out there can say the same.  My friend @AlternativeChat has declared 2014 the “Year of Faff”, and I am down with this notion.  I think we all need to learn how to faff about in the game worlds we are in, because stopping and smelling the roses is the only real way I know to break the cycle of burnout.  I have tried my best to embrace this concept, and hope to continue to do so in the year to come.  More than anything, I feel like I am sick of jumping games every three months, and I get the sense that the gaming world as a whole is somewhat sick of that as well.  I hope we can each embrace our own faff, whatever that might mean.

Enter the Shado-pan

Who Needs Sleep?

It is amazing just how quickly your sleep schedule can be thrown off balance when you are on vacation.  Generally speaking I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and tend to go to sleep around 11:30 to midnight at the worse.  Since being on break for the last week I have managed to shift that to getting up around 10 am in the morning and having to take Nyquil to be able to have a hope of getting to sleep at 3 am.  Sleep has never been something that came easy for me, and in High School I even took a series of sleep studies to try and figure out the source of my frequent bouts of insomnia.  There would be days I just didn’t sleep at all, and as a result it became progressively harder to function.

The problem is because of my weight the doctor wasn’t actually looking for insomnia but instead he was dead certain he would find out that I really have sleep apnea.  Clearly he didn’t listen to me at all, because I told him I simply could not sleep at times.  So I got hooked up to all these machines, with electrodes super glued into my head… put in an unfamiliar room and told to sleep normally.  Apparently I had to sleep six hours for the test to be valid…  I don’t think I slept at all.  As a result I have never attempted too investigate what is actually wrong with my brain that keeps it form shutting down at all.

I am jealous of my wife, because she can take two naps in the same day and still manage to get a full nights sleep.  Me on the other hand if I doze off for 30 minutes during the day I am screwed and will not be able to get to sleep at all during the night.  I have another week before I go back to work, so during this time I am going to work on trying to train my body back into a normal schedule.  This morning I woke up at 9 am, so it is happening gradually.  I just know 5 am next Monday morning is going to be pure hell if I don’t act now and try and do something proactive to fix this.

Enter the Shado-pan

Wow-64 2013-12-30 02-23-11-74 Yesterday morning shortly after blogging I did my recent scan of the auction house and found another one of the extremely amazing Fist of Fate weapons.  These things really are ideal for leveling a combat rogue or enhancement shaman, as they quite literally cannot be beat before 90.  Since I had a pair of claws… I decided I had to go get my favorite claw graphic ever.  During Zulgurub era the coolest you could think as a melee was the matched set of claws.  One dropped from the tiger boss, and the other from the panther boss, and to my knowledge I have only known one person who actually wielded the set during the time they were viable weapons.  Vexa looked amazing with both of them, and even more amazing when the weapons would proc and she would turn into this awesome were-tiger.

During Burning Crusade they introduced a set of rare vendor purchased claws that had the same graphic.  So immediately after equipping the second Fist, I made the trek out to Dealer Jayden at Stormspire in Netherstorm and purchase the Nexus-Claw.  In the above shot you can see me wielding the set and looking otherwise badass.  Sadly the lookalikes don’t proc, especially when transmogged…  but that would be a nice change for the future.  If you transmog something it would be awesome if it also transmogged the proc graphics.  Who doesn’t want to be a badass looking werepanther?  Honestly the trinket that I am loving is the one my paladin has that turns me into a random troll tribe.  I feel like I am one of the few people out there who is not sick of troll instances.  I have a special love for Zul’gurub, Zul’Aman and was supremely disappointed that we never had a Frost Troll raid in Wrath of the Lich King.

Yesterday I had another one of those days where I simply did not want to leave the house (much to the chagrin of my wife who is getting more than a little bit stir-crazy).   As a result I worked my way through my normal leveling path, taking off and going to Kun Lai as soon as I could, and then again transitioning to Townlong.  I am currently 89 and working on the totem of rage quest series in the second Shado-pan hub.  My hope is this evening to finish leveling to 90, but we may or may not have a flex raid.  I have a feeling we are going out into the world today, as my wife wants to hit some stores.  My hope is that Monday things will not be terribly busy as most folks will have had to go back to work today.  I still have another week off, so plenty of time to faff about and finish leveling the rogue.

Accidental Achiever

Outside is Evil

Yesterday we recuperated from the whirlwind shopping trip around Joplin Mo.  It was a pretty glorious day to be honest, because we were both in hibernation mode.  We talked for a bit about getting out, because it really was a lovely day.  But when it came to actually getting up and doing it… we both failed the willpower check.  Personally I am completely fine with this notion, that we both stayed in, ate three meals in, and overloaded on relaxation.  I hung out in my fuzzy blanket cocoon on the sofa and she upstairs in her loft of power (that you all will remember once it was my game loft). 

I have a feeling that once summer happens the roles will switch with me inhabiting my office and the loft and she the downstairs, but it is cool that we have our own places and are still within vocal range of each other.  I played a ton of World of Warcraft, attempted to play a closed beta I got into… but suffered from severe graphical issues that made it completely unplayable, and snuggled with my ferrets each and every time I passed their cage.

Accidental Achiever

2013-12-29 11_15_32-Achievements - Community - World of Warcraft 

I rarely if ever set out to master a tradeskill in a game, but instead it is a thing I usually do out of an odd sense of commitment more than anything.  Lately I had been on a mission to level my rogue so I could get a transcriptionist up high enough to be able to start making living steel.  I want the 30 bars that it takes to craft my Sky Golem pretty badly.  So yesterday I was not paying much attention was I was pushing my way to 600 alchemist when immediately after getting it, I also got the Master of All Achievement.  Sure enough… now that I think of it… I do have a max crafter of every profession.  The only disappointment is you get exactly nothing for it… except for 75 achievement points.

This is a pretty massive undertaking if someone was to actually set out specifically to do this achievement.  I think it is worthy of a crafting tabard, mount, or at the very least a title.  I feel like this is a pretty massive oversight on the part of blizzard.  Then again crafting is kind of its own reward.  Being completely self sufficient feels amazing.  Additionally you end up needing to hit the auction house far less often because your army of crafters can make damned near everything you would ever want made.  It is a pretty great feeling knowing that you can make an entire set of gear for a friend, as I did for Scarybooster yesterday.  In a matter of moments I had a starter set of gear for level 85 ready for him, and I did the same thing for my rogue Gloam.

A Vicious Sneak Thief

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Speaking of my rogue, I am roughly halfway through Jade Forest and as of yesterday am about halfway into 87.  I should finish up and ding 88 before I finish the area, and will likely skip Valley of the Four Winds entirely and go straight to Kun Lai Summit.  When I am trying to power my way through to 90 the path I tend to take is to milk every last drop of experience from Jade Forest, transition to Kun Lai immediately after and then transition to Townlong as soon as you get the quest starter to go there.  Finally this ends up with you either dinging 90 in Townlong or doing so just inside of Dread Wastes.  Granted this is complete shit for your quest completion, but I figure it also gives you a lot of “questing to make gold” time if you so choose it at max level since xp gets converted up to gold.

Granted I have yet to actually do that one of of my 90s… since as soon as I hit maximum level I start going through the paces of trying to gear out the character and such.  I am such a sucker for getting my characters those purples and am willing to sit through all manner of horrible LFR experiences just to do so.  I should however have most of a set of timeless leather stocked away and ready for this guy when he needs it.  I will just have to figure out how best to get the weapons.  This time around I will likely just craft him a set of 463 agi swords and call it good until I can get something decent from LFR.  Once I finish his leveling the characters I really need to work on are Belghast, Exeter and Belgarou as they are woefully behind Tallow and Belgrave in gear levels.  Oh well… the faffing about with my characters never seems to end.

Gloam the Conqueror

Handbag of Fury

HandbagOfFury

As mentioned yesterday we headed up to Joplin to go shopping and took my mother in law with us, since she wouldn’t tell us anything she actually wanted for Christmas.  The goal was to take her shopping and hopefully find something along the way.  This process involved me getting drug to a bunch of stores I would never actually visit on my own.  I brought my 3DS with me, but oddly enough I never actually used it.  I mostly piddled around on Twitter, Tumblr, and occasionally guild chat via the WoW Armory application.  I did pretty well for the first three or so stores, but after that I started hanging out in the car while they were shopping inside.

I am sure by doing this I missed numerous things that were photo worthy, but the highlight of the day was the above handbag.  It quite literally has a set of brass knuckles built into the clasp.  I am not sure if this was really intended for self defense, but it certainly would hurt like hell to get hit by that.  I tried to convince my wife that she needed it but she was un-swayed.  I am not sure how we ended up together, because if it were my choice there would be skulls on everything.  Hell I play a Deathknight…  that class is all about beating down things while wearing skulls.  My wife on the otherhand wants none of that nonsense.

I keep finding these awesome scarves with cute little skulls, and she is completely uninterested in them.  She is not exactly a girly girl… but I guess bedazzled skulls is a bit too far in the other direction for her.  Both her and her mother found several things during our trip, which is good.  I found a few interesting clearance Legos, but decided not to pick them up because really I would have just been picking them up for a few interesting parts… and had no interest at all in the thing they were intended to build.  These were originally 90 dollar sets that were selling for 40, but that still seemed a bit pricy to purchase just for a handful of nifty thingamajigs.

Gloam the Conqueror

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When I finally got home from the whirlwind trip of shopping madness I built myself a fuzzy little cocoon on my comfy sofa and settled in for some World of Warcraft.  I did my normal crafting cooldowns crawl, making sure everyone had created their trademarked rare daily craftable, before settling in on Exeter my Paladin Blacksmith.  The first goal of the night was to farm up the rest of the Motes of Harmony needed to craft two Ghost-Forged blades for my rogue.  While I was trying to get a hold of Fists of Fate, I was unable to do so and gave up on that mission settling for the two crafted blades instead.  I still think it is almost criminal at this point that Motes are not bind on account, since I seem to have way too many on some characters and never enough on others… but I have settled on a decent way to farm them.

MoteFarmHere

I badly photoshopped a map of The Dread Wastes to indicate where I go to farm motes.  There are supposedly better drop rates elsewhere in the world, but I find this to be my favorite spot.  Firstly no one is ever out here… granted by me saying this there will automagically be tons of people out there next time I need motes.  Secondly and quite possibly the most important reason… all this stuff is level 90, easy to kill and gives Black Prince reputation.  Most of my characters need this badly to be able to progress their way through the cloak quest chain.  Especially now that I have the repair mount, this is an awesome place to go mindlessly kill things and make tons of money doing it.  Additionally the mobs die pretty fast once you are in timeless isle gear and you can make a big loop of the island and by the time you reach the other side everything is completely full spawn again.

Finally I got my 40 motes and crafted the blades, enchanted them with windsong and was up and running on Gloam.  I have to say having the crafters to built a starter set of gear for Pandaria eases the transition.  You hit the ground running and are able to slaughter pretty much everything, even on the super squishy classes like the rogue.  I made my way through the first few sections of Pandaria before sleep claimed me.  My goal for the day is to make it through all of Jade Forest.  Not really sure if this will happen or not as today is supposed to be the last “nice” day for awhile, and I have a feeling I will get drug from my cocoon and out into the world.  If that happens no promises on how far I will make it on my goals.

Redragon Perdition

redragon 

At this point pretty much every MMO gamer is familiar with the Razer Naga and most are also familiar with the Logitech g600.  They each provide a different take on the concept of the large number of button MMO mouse.  Each has its strong points and its weaknesses.  The Razer for example, I have had three of them die in exactly the same way after about two years.  Similarly I recently had a g600 kick the bucket after about the same two year threshold, granted the g600 did not die so spectacularly.  The Nagas started “jumping” in that the cursor would mysteriously accelerate at high speeds in one direction or another.  The g600 on the other hand started missing mouse clicks.  One of the actions you do more than any in an MMO is holding down both the left and right mouse buttons to move forward.  The g600 would stop registering that my right mouse button was clicked and as a result I would stop forward movement.

When I was looking on amazon for a replacement, I noticed the Redragon Perdition, that literally looks like a combination of the best features of the Naga and the g600.  At the time it was a little over $20 cheaper than either of the other mice so I figured I would give it a chance.  The reviews were really favorable and it featured a naga like shape but with g600 style buttons.  The mouse itself was a little late getting to me, as it was shipping during our recent ice storms.  However when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the built quality.  This is after all in theory a chinese knockoff of a Naga and g600, but it is a very good one.  One of the problems I have with both the Naga and the g600 is that they don’t feel nearly as good as the old Logitech mx500 gaming mice.  These had a really great slightly rubberized pebbled texture to them, that just felt nice in the hand.

Much to my surprise the Perdition has almost this same texture.  Additionally like the mx500 it has counterweights that can be removed from the base of the mouse to give it a solid feel in your hand.  I find weight mice easier for me to use since I have extremely large hands.  The perdition also sports a truly insane 16400 dpi resolution… which I immediately had to scale back as it was insanely twitchy.  If you have ever wanted to play a game by barely moving your hand at all… then that might be the resolution for you.  Additionally the software that it comes with lets you customize pretty much everything about it, including creating damned near any possible color of LED light, and controlling the “throb” motion. 

So far I am a fan, I have gamed normally with it for roughly two weeks and it still feels great.  My only complaint so far is that middle clicking the mouse wheel requires more effort than any other mouse I have had.  Luckily I don’t really middle click anything but in my browser window to open new tabs.  However if this is a hotkey you regularly use in your keybindings, just be warned for my sausage like fingers… it takes quite a bit of pressure to get it to register a click.  I like the shoulder button quite a bit because it is comfortable to hit with the side of your finger, but not as prone to accidentally hitting as the third mouse button was on the g600.  If you are in the market for a new mouse and not opposed to taking a gamble on a chinese knockoff… I highly suggest you check it out.  I really am enjoying it so far.