Monday, December 31, 2007

Random Thoughts

1- Iron Maiden is freakin' awesome. To think I *disliked* them up until a few weeks ago.

2- Got me some Sangria for tonight :D It's not some fancy expensive wine, but I like it, very warm going down.

3- WTB patch 2.4/WotLK info. FUUUCK I wish Blizzard wasn't so damn "ivory tower" all the time with their communications. That's it, I'm gonna invent some world changing thing, make a shitload of money and buy up Vivendi just so I can change policy at Blizzard and get, oh, about +2000% more dev posts on the forums.

4- Back to raiding this week. I enjoyed the time off the past week as a nice WoW break (though I'm a little burnt on TF2 now...) Will be nice to get back on the horse in TK...though I hope nobody is rusty what with it being two weeks since we last fought Kael.

5- It's nearly 9:00 AM and still not sleepy.

Atlas Shrugged

So yesterday I started reading "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand at request of my grandmother. I'm only ~40 pages in but it's great so far. It depicts a world that is degrading into uselessness through excessive "left-leaning" thoughts, not just from politicians, but businessmen and the common folk. Drive is frowned upon, new ideas discouraged and the successful scorned. It portrays a few brilliant minds of business who are constantly being put down for their successes and...well that's all that's really going on so far but who knows what might happen?

(Okay, so I peeked a little at Wikipedia)

The main conflict of the book occurs as the "individuals of the mind" go on strike, refusing to contribute their inventions, art, business leadership, scientific research, or new ideas of any kind to the rest of the world. Society, they believe, hampers them by interfering with their work and underpays them by confiscating the profits and dignity they have rightfully earned. The peaceful cohesiveness of the world requires those individuals whose productive work comes from mental effort. But feeling they have no alternative, they eventually start disappearing from the communities of "looters" and "moochers" who bleed them dry. The strikers believe that they are crucial to a society that exploits them, and the near-total collapse of civilization triggered by their strike shows them to be correct.

Apparently it's one of the top self-pride/motivation, free thought, free market, etc novels. A HUGE book, probably the largest I've read- I won't be putting this one down for some time.

(Oh, and FWIW one of the main characters in this book is a woman by the name of Dagny- When I first read her name I immediately thought "female dwarf". That name does sound awfully Dwarven, doesn't it?)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Kael Down!

A slightly belated post, but Sunday we got our first Kael kill! To be completely honest I wasn't (nor do I think many others were) expecting to get him that night... apparantly phase 5 was more of a cakewalk than we expected. Anyway, it was quite a rush to see him drop. Give us a couple more weeks, get some people their Kael and Vashj vials and we'll be in Hyjal/BT mostly full time! It will be nice to get into some new content and finally for (Arv and I) get some genuine upgrades. Nethervoid Cloak especially- yum.

As an aside, I hope I can go a stretch without having to play Mr. Caster Tank. Leotheras, Vashj, Kael, I'm either kiting or tanking a good portion of them. Not that I mind doing it- I like knowing the job will get done (No sign of disrespect to my guildies. I just follow the motto- "If you want something done right, do it yourself") Here's to seeing some DPS-race gear check fights in the future?

PS- Rumoer has it boss #1 of Sunwell, the pitlord Brutalicus, is a Patchwerk style gear check encounter. Patchwerk was such a fun fight(even at level 70) it will be great to a fight like it at it's inteded level.

PPS- Jack and Dr. Pepper, not quite as good as Jack and Coke.

Monday, December 10, 2007

By Request...

As required by Fusoya.

* List your primary talent tree(s), i.e. Holy/Disc.

43/7/11 Afflict/Demo/Destro

* List the content you're primarily pursuing or most enjoy, i.e. Raiding, PvP, Solo, etc...

I pretty much do everything, but I'd say raiding is most important to me.

* Provide a brief description of the areas you feel are most in need of improvement (you may list a maximum of three issues and each issue should be described in one or two sentences).

*** DoT scaling/itemization: These spells gain little/no benefit from crit/haste which appear on the vast majority of endgame items, making Affliction comparatively weaker and weaker. It would be great to see both of these stats impact DoT damage in some way, or perhaps see one raid set per talent tree so this isn't a problem. (This is my biggest issue with the game. It is a huge problem as a raiding Affliction Warlock)

-PvP escape mechanisms: Honestly, we're sitting ducks to melee in PvP. Fear is unreliable and often not possible to cast, and while melee is supposed to be our weak point I believe we're currently *too* weak vs melee and we could use some better defense against them.

-Lack of *active* debuffing: It would be great to see some more debuffing power, especially active debuffing that isn't a 5 minute curse you cast once per fight. For example having the Affliction 51 point talent be a debuff that reduces damage a target does by X% for Y seconds with 1 minute cooldown.

* List up to five specific spells/abilities/talents you feel most need change, redesign or improvement in the order you feel each is most in need of attention. (MOST to LESS)

-Bane: I feel this talent is *too* necessary as a raiding Warlock. It would be nice to see it moved to tier 1 Destruction so we don't have to spend as many points to reach it.

-Death Coil: This ability, once considered quite overpowered could use a reduction in cooldown in the current game environment. 45 seconds - 1minute seems reasonable.

-Contagion: For where this talent sits in the tree it's too weak. I'd like to see it's +5% damage effect Siphon Life and UA as well.

-Siphon Life/Soul Link: I feel this talent spec in particular is entirely too powerful compared to anything else in the arena and due to it's power is keeping the class as a whole from receiving changes that it needs.

-Seed of Corruption: I feel this ability is too strong. Warlocks should be viable for AoE but this ability takes us beyond viable into the "as good as Mages" category which I feel we shouldn't quite be at.

As a side note, I'm very happy with the posts of all the other Warlocks made. Many of the same issues are brought up, which gives our feedback a sense of cohesion so maybe the devs will take it seriously! It seems like DoT scaling/pet scaling came up in every other post. Tough stuff to ignore when everyone has something to say about it!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On Winning And Losing

So I'm slightly steamed after a few games of TF2 today...and it's not because I lost, as I won more than lost today. And it's not because I scored poorly as I did pretty damn's how the games went. Too much fucking offense! Scout rush after scout rush(for the uninformed, essentially taking all the objectives before the match has hardly begun resulting in a quick win) It doesn't matter if I'm on the offense or defense, I despise these rushes and the general attitude of "win at all costs"

I mean, do people really need to win to feel good about themselves? Are their egos so shallow or attention spans so short? I'd rather lose and have a good *fun* game than win with some cheap/lucky tactic. To me a game is all about how you play it, winning and losing simply being a side effect of playing the game. The interactions between players, the tricks, the fakeouts, the mind games, seeing new strategies, the minor little inconsequential bullshit, hell, losing to a *really* good player in a fight but giving it your all. Now, this may seem like a sore loser placing little meaning on winning, but I win more than I lose. I could win all the time and it wouldn't change a damn thing. Winning is better than losing, to be sure, but it's just not what's important!

To put things in WoW terms: It's all about timing that spell lock as that Holy Light has .2 seconds left until cast, managing your cooldowns to get the most out of them, CCing at the right time, losing to a new innovative tactic, getting your ass beat by a better team and learning something from it, eeking out that win against a higher ranked team, but just barely, etc.

Games are about interesting player interactions, tactics, timing, and all the nuances that make the game. To end the game just as it's beginning is like someone telling your the outcome of sports event before you've gotten a chance to watch it on TiVo. It removes the essence of the game, replacing it with a mere "Blue team wins" only to repeat itself again.

It's no surprise I like Affliction as it really drags fights out and gives me those much desired interactions with gameplay mechanics. Burst damage in WoW, especially pre BC came to the same end. AP POM Pyro Mages 1 shotting people, but for what gain? A little honor? As far as I'm concerned they weren't really even playing the game. To blow one person away, then run away until your cooldowns are up, only to do it again is pathetic.

You can play games to win. You'll get that ego boost when you do, and you'll get peeved when you don't. Or you can do more than simply play the game. Study the game, appreciate the game, learn it's nuances and learn to appreciate them. You can have a blast whether you win or lose.

Duel with pistols or duel with swords. Swords are far more interesting, no?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fun with Orange Box

So Friday afternoon I got Orange Box with much anticipation for Team Fortress 2, included inside. I'll give you guys the rundown on what I've played so far:

1) Half Life 2: I've never actually played HL:2 and only briefly even played the original Half Life. That being said what I've played so far seems really quite solid. The game has a nice story and while the graphics are slightly outdated the overall quality of the game is quite nice. Love the physics engine, character responses, etc.

2) Team Fortress 2: What can I say, it's a great shooter. The art style is quite unique, it had a nice class selection, and the maps are great. I do have a few gripes, however. By and large the pacing of the game is too fast, I'm not talking twitch factor, but just how easily objectives can be captured, and how much easier it is to kill than not be killed. It feels like a battleground where everyone is a AP/POM Mage. Too much offense. Also, the fact that there is no inclusion of a standard Submachine gun wielding circle strafing warrior really pains me. This was likely the intent of the dev team to really make each class have a super niched role, but I've played too many WWII shooters to go without this type of class. I really wish they'd made a class like the Heavy that moved a lot faster, but *actually* requires aim. Also, before buying the game the Demoman looked very interesting, but his effectiveness is too limited to certain locations of a map. Again, super niched, I know. Am I dogging it too much? Maybe. Like I said, I like the game, but I'm one to point out the faults(at least as I see them) in everything. Thumbs up to Valve on this one!

3) Portal: Here is the shining gem of Orange Box. Boy am I glad I paid the extra 20$ to get the collection instead of TF:2 by itself. It's a somewhat difficult game to describe, so I'll just say it's a spatially challenging game that gives you access to a portal gun to create rifts in space to connect two points in order to complete puzzles and finish each level. You really get to do some crazy shit. For example there are several levels that require you to use gravity to sling yourself to location you couldn't otherwise reach. Set Portal A on the ground and portal B high on a wall 30 feet up. You jump into A, fly through B, after you come out of B you fall towards the ground, while falling you create a new portal A, drop through it, rocketing yourself through portal B with the force of gravity flinging you onto a platform you couldn't otherwise reach. While rather short I must say this is one of the most innovative games I've played in years.

Definitely get Orange Box if you can to experience these titles. Feel free to add me, Draele, to friends on steam. Maybe we can play some TF:2 together!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Feedback Submitted!

Sounds like Blizzard is gearing up for the WotLK class tweaks. Leiah, a Warlock player who fed us much info about TBC beta(and has contacts with one of the WoW devs!) has kept us in the know ever since has started collecting feedback from the Hunters! Between that and more recent blue posts on the class forums I think it's safe to say they are looking for feedback.

I spent some time typing up some Affliction specific feedback here which you may find of interest. Feedback on my feedback would be great!


Blizzard seems to be looking for feedback lately so I figured I’d offer mine here. I submit this post saying upfront that I’m 100% biased towards Affliction, not in an “I want it to be overpowered” sense, but in that I absolutely love its unique playstyle and have strong opinions about it.Overall it’s a very solid tree, probably more so than most in the game and doesn’t need a whole lot of “buffs” in the true sense of the word so much as a few idiosyncrasies/gaps filled in.

Here they are, feedback 1-3 being more “fixes” and 4-5 being suggestions for WotLK that would increase the fun factor/feel of the tree.

1) DoT Scaling

2) Pets not gaining mana when you drink

3) Seed of Corruption- Too Strong!

4) Shadowbolt Dependency

5) 51pt Affliction Talent

Check the thread out for the details!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Bit of a Lull

I haven't been playing WoW much lately but I thought I'd drop a line anyhow.

So what *have* I been doing? Well aside from studying for my Operations Management, Statistical Optimization Models, and International Business courses (ugh) I've been playing a lovely game by the name of Vanguard.

Sure, it's no WoW, but with the lull in content lately coming out of WoW I figured I'd step it up and pay 30$ a month to run pixels around *two* servers! Kidding aside Vanguard does have some amazing traits. Loads more areas to explore, infinitely more quests, Diplomacy, believable towns/cities, more classes, huge view distances, interesting crafting. In short Vanguard is a lot deeper. It simply has more content and presents players with a much more realistic world. Though it certainly loses out to WoW on performance, character customization(VG has no talent trees, AA points, feats, etc to distinguish your character from others of the same class) and an overall sense of "polish" which WoW possesses an excess of which VG is very much lacking.

Two different styles, really. Both are fun!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

DoT Itemization Woes

If you've ever played a Shadowpriest or Affliction Warlock in any depth (Or spoken with me in game to know truly how much I complain about this issue...) you'd know just how restrictive itemization is for these two specs. With a near complete reliance on +dmg once the hit cap is reached it leaves (in the best case) little room for thoughtful comparison of items that other classes get to make with one stat vs. another, etc. and (in the worst case) simply no clear upgrade within reach. +DMG +DMG +DMG! Push it to the limit! With 60-70% of our DPS consisting of spells that don't crit and are unaffected by spellhaste it leaves many items severly lacking in the +dmg department.

Either way, I don't want to bore you all with excessive math, though even without it it's rather easy to notice the problem we face. Now, by no means am I asking for outright buffs, or even complaining about my damage (I tend to be top 3 damage 90% of the time in our raids) but rather a change opening up itemization choice, moving away from the dull, restrictive and...honestly, moronic route of itemization these specs take. I'm complaining for my own benefit, but even more so for Shadowpriests as they have it even worse.

My further in depth with mechanic changes suggestion post on the WoW Suggestion forum. Please comment in the thread if you agree (or disagree!)

Also, here is an interesting thread specifically on Shadowpriest itemization, though there is much crossover for Afflocks as well.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Crusade Against Drain Life

...And The Nerf Brigade Just Keeps Coming!

In my previous post I detailed how Fear is about as unfair a mechanic as we see in the game. I feel I'm a pretty good judge for what's "OP" and what's not. Fear is one of them. Lately, however, as far as the WoW community is concerned (or at least a *very* vocal minority) Drain Life is the next skill on the list. Yes, there is a list. There's always a list. Since Warlocks became anything short of a free HK there has been a segment of the WoW population who has taken upon themselves to crusade against us. First it was Deathcoil. That lasted...nearly a year? Blizzard (rightfully) didn't relent so they quieted up for a bit. In patch 1.13 (TBC talents at level 60) there was a massive outcry about DoTs which did get hit with the nerfbat due to excessive scaling. Then it was Fear again, which got nerfed. Then for a brief period Fel Armor received some ill will, but come on...Fel Armor? Gimme a break. That died off without much of a fight. Then it was DoTs + Resilience, which did get a response, but nothing quite game breaking as many had hoped.

What's my point in listing all of those off? The nerf cries will always be there. We're an exceptional 1v1 class. People get their egos wounded over that. We're an annoying class. People don't like getting feared and don't like dying to DoTs after they kill us(FFS they won already! They proved the better, reaped the honor, etc. How can they have the audacity to complain about dying after the fact?) We're an easy target. I digress. They keep coming. They always will whether we're powerful or not. Let's face it, as the saying on the Warlock forum "They won't stop until we're left with Corruption and autowand" is quite true.

With a solid momentum from DoTs + Resilience the nerf criers have chosen a new target: Drain Life.

Is Drain Life a good skill? Sure. It's a staple in many a Warlock's arsenal. One, again, necessary to assist in keeping the Warlock alive for the DoT damage to deliver. The thing about all the complaints is they tend to focus on Drain Life and its use in 2v2/3v3 arena brackets in one specific build: 23/38/0. This build is make specifically to take a beating and slowly, ever so slowly, drain the life/mana from your foes. It does quite well, especially when teamed with Druids. The issue, however, isn't that Drain Life is particularly powerful. It's that Drain Life + Drain Mana + talents in this build provides + a specific partner = one powerful combo.

My point here, is that Drain Life isn't particularly overpowered in any sense. It's not some god skill in a deep Affliction spec. Felguard Locks don't have a claim to fame with Drain Life. The issue is this one particular talent spec in one particular area of the game. The question now to ask is...."Is this a bad thing?" It's a niche build. It excels using particular skill combos (of which Drain Life is one of) to exceed at one task. This build, however, is not some cure-all as far as specs go. It's mediocre in battlegrounds as the whole "drain everything they got" strategy doesn't extend beyond 3v3. Without UA or Felguard it's left rather flaccid, not to mention its complete ineptitude at dealing any form of burst damage. It's raid damage leaves much to be desired as well, and while it's not a terrible solo/5-man spec, it's not exactly stellar either.

No, Drain Life is balanced. It's quite powerful in one spec, a spec that has found it's place to be firmly in the 2v2 and 3v3 arena brackets. Something you can't say for other popular arena specs that do rather well in other areas of play. I, for one, haven't felt the slightest inclination to go back to 23/38/0. IMO it was quite boring and too limited. I find 43/7/11 to be a great one-size-fits-all spec that does moderately well in all areas of play. Which is the point of it all. You can have a niche spec or a generalist spec. I, for one, relish the idea of having these options. The game would become a terrible thing if everything were to become so dilituted as to remove these choice.

No, if you want to call nerf on anything I suggest raiding Mages set their sights on Seed of Corruption. The brokenness of this skill far exceeds anything the sniveling PvP forum whiners could ever grasp. Out damaging Mages in AoE is just heresy as far as I'm concerned...but that's another topic in itself ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nerf Fear? Actually...Yes!

In this entry I will discuss the many facets of Fear in regard to its relationship to Affliction in PvP, why it needs "nerfed", and with that being said why the role it currently fulfills is 100% necessary. Excessively ranty? Yes. Wanders off topic? You bet!

Fear...Fear...What's everyone have to say about Fear?

"I hate it!" You hate it. I hate it. Melee hates it. Casters hate it. Healers hate it. Even Warlocks hate it.

"It lasts forrrrrevveerrrrrr!"
"It breaks instantly."
"I got feared to death."
"There's too many ways to break it."
"It takes no skill."
"It's all we've got."

All of the above are correct. For as long as many of us can remember the WoW community has had a terrible relationship with Fear. It's so hated because it takes the control away. Nobody can argue with that. I don't disagree with the general assessment of it in the least. It's a primo #1 grade-A pain in the ass skill to put it bluntly. It's something of a necessity Affliction, however, and I'm going to tell you why. I'll be a little creative throwing around terminology here but bare with me.

In PvP you tend to have one of three types of classes/builds etc. some of which overlap to an extent:

  1. "Burst damage": You kill your target very quickly. Your survival hinges on destroying your target before they can fulfill their role. MS Warrior, Rogue, PoM Pyro Mage, etc.
  2. "Burst healer": Can heal yourself and teammates to full health relatively quickly. If bursted down you can use some form of CC(or have a teammate do so) to buy yourself time to remove your health deficit. Holy/Resto of the respective classes.
  3. "Can't touch this": Painfully difficult to kill through large amount of mitigation, escape skills, etc. Frost Mages, Prot Warriors, Demo Warlocks, etc.

The problem here is Affliction fits into none of these categories. "Burst damage"? No. "Burst healing"? Nope. "Can't touch this"? Not quite. The problem with Affliction (not that it's necessarily a problem in and of itself) is the fact that it's moderate in everything. It doesn't have massive burst. It can't heal a lot at once. Its escape tools aren't the most effective. Self heals require damage, staying alive to do damage requires time. Fear gives Affliction this precious time it so desperately needs.

Let's face it, folks, as strong as Affliction can be it's always an uphill fight whether we win or lose. All the other damage classes want us dead now and we want them dead later. To win a fight of efficiency is rather difficult when those you fight seek to end said fight before the matter of efficiency begins to matter. Drain Life, in order to reach effectiveness requires a target to be DoTed up for the Soul Siphon talent to kick in (Increases the amount drained by your Drain Life and Drain Mana spells by an additional X% for each Affliction effect on the target, up to a maximum of Y% additional effect.) Now you have the infamous 'DoT+Fear'. Oh, here comes the Drain Life spam. It's starting to heal....

...and one of three events occur:

  1. Fear breaks early. You die because the fight didn't reach anything approaching a reasonable duration for Affliction.
  2. Fear lasts a reasonable duration. The fight goes on to be determined by such elements as gear/skill/teamwork. (Ideal)
  3. Fear lasts 'forever'. You win through DoTlock. The other guy is screaming at the monitor and you feel like a cheap hooker for taking a win which truly displays no skill.

Fear tends to be 'hit or miss' in regard to its effectiveness.
The randomness factor it holds for being an activated ability is entirely too high to the harm of all, be it lasting too short, or too long. If you've either played as or against a Warlock and hold a perspective even somewhat resembling objectivity you'll be inclined to agree, no? Either way that was probably an excessively long winded passage pretty much saying this:

We need Fear, or at least something like it simply due to how Affliction functions.

"But Draele," you say. "Not every tree should be PvP viable. Some talent trees are meant for one part of the game, not all." To that I say: Fair enough, even though
Kalgan, AKA Tom Chilton, lead WoW developer in charge of game systems(class balance/PvP/etc.) seems to lean towards bringing the effectiveness of all specs up for PvP. Example here for Warriors(search for the word disparity) But you can't have your cake and eat it too. Why are Contagion and UA in the Affliction tree then? It's the PvE tree, right? RIGHT? Sure, make Affliction the "PvE" tree, but you'll have to replace these PvP talents with PvE focused variants. Or realize Affliction needs to be able to survive to apply itself in PvP. I am sorry that your ____ tree is no good for PvE or PvP. If it does it needs to be fixed. ultimately, don't dump your issues in my lap as an excuse for my issues. Too much of that nonsense goes on at the Blizzard forums anyhow. If something is broken it needs fixed, we don't need you justifying one problem with the existence of another. I digress...

Well, what do you propose to do? Well, I propose to do nothing, but I will offer some suggestions which I feel will rectify the problems fear creates while keeping it in the role which it was designed for.

1) Redesign Fear

It now breaks at a preset health percentage or stated duration (if used purely for CC) whichever occurs first. What would the preset damage percentage be? Enemy HP percentage of... (20% give or take?) seems fair, so you're feared at 100% when you hit 80% health it breaks. This would eliminate those outlier Fear durations like the 1 second insta-break, and the 100% to dead Fearlock.

2) Nerf Fear into the ground and alter existing abilities. (
As for Priests getting the trickle-down Warlock nerf make Psychic Scream a lower duration horror effect so it can be exempt from any Fear nerfs)

(Fear breaks on any and all damage. Now a purely CC skill) Probably the least desirable choice as there has been much whining on the subject of Drain Life as of late, and Deathcoil as always, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Either: Buff Fel Concentration to give added silence resistance/lowered silence duration. This would allow Drain Life to stand on it's own two feet. Though I'd be reluctant to buff a skill which isn't in the realm of diminishing returns and has no cooldown. Or: Drastically reduce the cooldown of Deathcoil to make it more staple and less "Oh Shit!" Again, likely not the popular choice.

3) Nerf Fear into the ground and give Warlocks something else.
(As for Priests getting the trickle-down Warlock nerf make Psychic Scream a lower duration horror effect so it can be exempt from any Fear nerfs)

(Fear breaks on any and all damage. Now a purely CC skill) Add completely new abilities to fill in the hole Fear left. Potentially with the new expansion? I have a couple of ideas which I'll share, both of which are much more 'debuff' and less 'CC'.

  • Corrupted Touch: Low cooldown 20-30 seconds. Reduces damage dealt by target foe by X% for Y seconds. This cooldown range is an interesting one since it requires proper timing, but isn't an "Oh shit!" button either, potentially usable multiple times per fight.
  • Void Field: Moderate cooldown 2-3 minutes. Reduces damage dealt by all foes in a 15 yard radius by X% for Y seconds. Group utility here. Fear nerf brings locks down a notch in 2v2 and Void field brings up group utility in 5v5.
  • Something else appropriate. Again, leaning towards the debuff side of things ends up making the game much more desirable for all. Character control for all means less griping and more fun. Fun is the goal, right?

Ultimately the goal (in my mind) is to remove the nuisance that is Fear and rework/replace it to achieve the same ends without extensive loss of character control, etc. The role Fear fullfills is quite necessary, but the annoyances and inequities it presents are simply not what I'd call good gameplay.

Thanks for reading and please leave comments and discussion as always!

Monday, August 20, 2007

New 3v3 Team

Sorry for the low post count the past few days! Between a busy weekend and my AB weekend honorwhoring(got my PvP ring!) I haven't gotten the chance to post anything worthwhile.

Started a new 3v3 team tonight aptly named "Instants R Us". The old Rogue/Paly/Warlock combo wasn't bad by any means, but it lacked a sense of focus that I knew could be achieved with other combos. (Plus the old 3v3 hadn't played in a while) I ended up making the 3v3 with Arv, my 2v2 Shadowpriest partner, and Melias, a Resto Druid whom I'd 5-manned with before. This combo was by design and I'm still surprised just how well it performed. Melias handles the nasty melee classes that screw us shadowy types up good(especially Warriors) with Cyclone, while Arv and I chew up casters, healers, Hunters, etc. I'm looking forward to future games with this combo as we really seem to have all the bases covered and the mobility we possess is simply astounding(DoTs/HoTs/Roots/Fears/etc) especially compared to the somewhat non-mobile Paly/Rogue team. Effective or not it's really just a more enjoyable combo for me and requires less...bending? of my playstyle to mesh together. Kiting works. Delaying works. Indirect combat works! Ah, I'm in arena heaven...

(Also, I promise to get a real article up in the next day or two. Expect a few paragraphs with ranting, suggestions, etc all about the most hated ability in the game: Fear, and its many pros, cons, annoyances, etc.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Talent Feedback Request on WoW Europe

So I was browsing the WoW Europe forums and noticed that every class forum has threads from CMs requesting feedback on talents. What's good? What's bad? Etc. Now my question is: Where's our request for feedback? Is the U.S. community really that ill tempered? Are we more biased? Or was this just an initiative on part of the EU CMs? Either way it would be nice to have some official form to submit feedback. It would be even nicer if the U.S. CMs communicated nearly as well as the EU CMs. Sadly, I glean more information from the Europe boards than ours...Wouldn't one think otherwise since we're "closer to the source" ? Eh, call me an information whore but this bugs me! Either way, if you're at all curious here's the links to the EU class forums:


If you'd like to submit similar feedback comment on/bump my post here and maybe our blues will set one up!

A Little Bit Closer!

So after getting some feedback I've made several tweaks/changes to the level 80 talent trees which I've posted before here. Transformation was popular for many, but it was just as unpopular for many others. Replaced it with Fel Absorption which in addition to being nice on it's own accord has great synergy with Demonic Revenge. Reverted Pestilence to Blasphemy. Pestilence just didn't seem worth it, and while Blasphemy may be a little over the top it's tough to find something neither over/underpowered for Affliction.

Talent Tree
Forum Discussion

Please do post in the thread or leave comments here on what you think!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back on the Horse!

So after several weeks hiatus from the arena(I had a not-so-friendly 3v3 encounter a few weeks back several games in a row with Rogue + Enhancement Shaman + Windfury + Bloodlust = Draelemush. Let's just say you couldn't force me to queue for an arena for a while there) Now I'm back, however, doing 2v2(in the meantime as least) with Arv. Affliction + Shadow is a fine combo, so fine a combo in fact we went 10-0 on day 1. Spectacular? No. Most of the teams were below 1500 and quite terrible, but after leaving the arena system on such a sour note it felt good to get in there and kick ass on the rebound. It should be an easy run to 1800.

More Dawts! :D

Monday, August 13, 2007

This Week in Raiding (AKA "Come Back Jandari!")

So this was an interesting week...

Tuesday: We spent the entire raid on Hydross. He's not on full farm yet, but I think we're getting close. We downed him, but it will sure be nice when we can 1-shot his ass and move on to Lurker, Tidewalker, and maybe even Fathomlord all in one day!

Wednesday: Yeah...So our raid leader, Jandari, is on vacation and backup raid leader, Arv, isn't raiding tonight. So guess who gets the honor? Your's truly, of course! Now let's be honest here: I'd consider myself a damned good Warlock, but raid leader? Psh! I think Thunderhorn's finest, Fenrir(Anyone else remember that jackass?) would do a better job as raid leader than me. Thankfully, Kujo was there to set the pulls up leaving me to master loot. /salute Kujo. We got Lurker and Void Reaver no problem then called it an early night.

Thursday: "FLOOD OF THE DEEP, TAKE YOU!" If I've heard this once I've heard it too many times. Let's just say we heard this phrase many times over the course of the night and nobody was rewarded for putting up with it. On the bright side there are tales of guilds with Vashj on farm that still wipe to Tidewalker a few times before dropping him. I guess he's just one of those fights?

Sunday: A nice recovery to end our week in raiding. We got both Tidewalker and Fathomlord with some time to spare. It's always nice to end the raid week on a high note! Although World Breaker really needs to quit dropping!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I just realized this color scheme looks like camo. Something I may have to remedy...

Level 80 Talent Trees (AKA WotLK Anticipation)

Ah, insomnia at its best. 11:00 AM and still not asleep!

Warlocks@Level 80

Do keep in mind when judging these that nothing was done in a vacuum. Other classes will be getting new talents too! I've tried to be pretty balanced with everything, but ultimately the concept is what matters, not the exact numbers. Also, do make sure to look at all the talents, some of the old ones were tweaked as well.

If you're at all interested in all the iterations the trees have taken you should check out my thread on the Blizzard forums. I started with a few ideas, added to them, tweaked them, took feedback from the Warlock community, and this is what we're with now. Do post in that thread to leave feedback and maybe we can see version 5. With enough positive feedback ...and keeping the thread bumped enough... maybe Kalgan himself might look at it and get an idea what kind of talents we'd like to see. (As an aside, after seeing the devs on the Blizzcon videos they seem like pretty likable dudes, which is kinda funny since they seem like such jerks in their forum posts :P)

Some Possible Upcoming Articles

Here's a list of things I'd like to cover over the coming weeks:
  • "Talent trees" Just some thoughts on the talent trees and some of my created level 80 versions up on unleashed gaming, along with tweaks, explanations. etc.
  • "The State of Fear" I'd touch on the pros and cons such an ability grants, why we're so hated for it, and what should be done about it.
  • "DoT Gear" A rant on how Affliction/Shadowpriest gear is so terrible post-Karazahn with some possible solution(s).
  • "DoTs vs. DD in PvP" A possibility here. Pointing out some of the advantages, shortcomings, clarifications, etc. We're such cheap bastards abusing line of sight, yet we must to survive.
  • "Debuffs?" I'd hit on why I'd like to see the class taken more in this direction and be less DPS focused.
  • "Mages, the other caster." I'd touch on why I think Mages could use some buffs, and why that shouldn't bother us as Warlocks.
  • Northrend thoughts and speculations.
  • Deathknight theorycrafting (once info is released!)
  • Hero classes. Good concept, but not what I expected/hoped.
  • Raid goings-on. Good week, bad week, funny pulls, etc.
  • PvP/arena goings-on.
  • Maybe some more real life junk thrown in. (Interesting stuff only)

A New Toy!

Generally I'll refrain from posting too many non-WoW related articles(you certainly won't see me whining about how my pet died, or how awesome or terrible my love life is), but this one is recent in my mind and the blog needs some content starting off so I figured...why not?

So a couple years back I lent my buddy my bass guitar. I didn't play much and wasn't very good so it wasn't that big of a deal. A few months back I ask him if I can have it back because I'm wanting to play it. He says he'll get it to me. Time goes by and I don't get it. I ask again, he says he'll get it back. So last week we're out at a bar and he tells me he can't find it. He explains that something must have happened to it in the move(he had moved out a few months prior) and explains he'd buy me a new one.

So yesterday we go out to Guitar Center. He tells me to find one I like in fair price range. I pick me out a nice wood finished 4 string Peavey Grind bass. Between a sale they had going on and him being friends with the manager there we got a 600$ MSRP bass for around half price. I'm pleased to say the least. The bass is sharp looking and has a great tone. I like it better than my old bass already! I look online at reviews and come to find out it's rated as one of the best basses for the price range. So not only did my friend buy me a bass for rather cheap, but I, in my limited knowledge picked out one of the better basses in the joint. That made my day!

27/34/0, Ugh!

Probably not a great precedent to set, but I guess I'll make my first real post a whine. I hate 27/34/0. "Why not respec?" you ask? Well, unfortunately I'm stuck with this spec for tanking our good buddy, Leotheras the Blind, in Serpentshrine Cavern. I'm stuck, at least, until I can farm up enough heroic badges to get my FR set high enough to not have to rely on the Felhunter's Master Demonologist buff. Why do I hate it so much? It's a great spec to be sure, but I've grown...dependent? on a few key deep Affliction abilities over the past several months. Unstable Affliction, Dark Pact, Instant Howl of Terror; my muscle memory won't let me *not* use them. Ah, 43/7/11, I miss you so...Only forty badges to go! Yeah, only forty...I could spec back between raids I suppose, but it's such a hassle. Tanks, healers, I certainly feel ya on respecs now...

And It Begins...

(So after an hour or so of tweaking the colors, setting, etc for the blog I'm finally up and running. I opted to go with an greenish grey/black/white scheme. Let me know if it's tough on the eyes and I'll tweak it some more.)

On to introductions!

I'm Draele, 70 Warlock on Thunderhorn. I've been a gamer since the age of 4 (Super Mario Brothers still kicks ass!) Over the course of my gaming career I've developed certain tendencies that I feel define me as a gamer. I play the slow game in most every way. Wars of attrition. I wear you down. Direct combat was never really an intriguing play style to me. It works for many, but to me it lacks a certain...elegance that wearing the other guy down has.

In Texas Hold'em I play very conservatively. I play few hands. Very little all-ins. I rarely bluff. And when I do I'm feared across the table because they think "I better back down, this guy has the cards if he's playing them." In the long run I come out ahead.

In RTS games I was a big boomer(*cough* turtle *cough*). I loved to build a strong economy and wear my enemy down over time with fast units using hit-and-run tactics. Over a period of time they'd lose more units than me. I'd kill their gatherers slowing their economy. Do this enough and they'd be effectively crippled. Then I could finish them off at my leisure when I felt it was safe.

Even in Diablo 2 I played a rather unique character. I was big on the "Meleemancer" archetype- a sort of Necromancer built to utterly cripple their opponent. While it lacked a strong offense it could CC large amounts of enemies with Dim Vision, debuff my focus target with a maxed Clay Golem and Decrepify, and wear them down with my melee attacks. Slow going, but unique and fun as hell.

I think I make my point. I really, really, like playing a defensive/crippling play style. There's a certain fun factor to it I just can't explain. Do I enjoy watching my enemies squirm? Yep. Is it the sheer efficiency you can employ by playing D? Certainly. Do I like ruining the plans of my foes who think they can just mow me over in one fell swoop? Most certainly. No, there will be no "shock and awe" when fighting me, you better strap in because I'm in it for the long haul.

As you can see the Affliction Warlock was the natural choice for me when I came to WoW. Efficiency, longevity, and indirect combat tactics. All facets of gaming I've come to embrace over my years. Call it dull, call it cheap, call it what ever you like...but I love it!