Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walking the beaten path

It's always interesting to just stand in a major faction city to observe people. Whether it is just to look at some specs and gear combinations or to see people whip out various items they just found while cleaning the bank there's always something funny, something sad and something interesting to see.

And while I sat there on the roof of the bank in Org I noticed something peculiar, something that without knowing and having lived the life of a wow gamer for a while would've struck me as odd.

So odd that had I just joined the game just now I would've stood there puzzled looking at all the people running from the AH straight to the mailbox by the bank.

There they were... whizzing into the AH and to the mailbox at the bank and back, like they had done for days, weeks, months and even years in the past....
whizzing out of the AH... right past a mailbox that was introduced in one of the last patches straight to their old familiar mailbox which is without a shadow of a doubt at least twice as far from the auction house as the one they just ran by.

And there we had it... people had become so accustomed to doing things in a certain way that even when they could clearly see the new mailbox sitting right there next to the AH they still took the time to travel to the one just a dab further away.

It makes me wonder what else we miss along the way. I am not one to walk the beaten path often but it took me a solid day to ween myself off of the old mailbox onto the new one. And so even I begin to question if my fairly unique playstyle is not simply the result of how I played so many MMORPGS before wow and even wow itself.

Has all this practice and experience with wow in fact made us blind to unique playstyles and new experiences that we could have if we just did things 'differently'? I'd like to think not, I'd like to think each and every one of us is playing our way because we want to play the way we play.

But then there's the masses of people running back and forth from the AH to the mailbox they have been running to for the last who knows how long. A throng of ants following an invisible pheromone trail laid by themselves and others too easy to follow and too hard to break away from.

Are you still loyal to your mailbox?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Retribution PVP - putting the FU in Fun

Between my seemingly now standard 10-12 hour workdays I have been looking for ways to gear up some of my 80's a little to at least get them out of their blues and into something a little more epic.

The problem with running up to 12 hour workdays is that once you log in you need to know right there and then what you're going to do and whom you are going to do it with (no sexual inuendo intended).

Despite the relative easy of instances these days it turns out that getting a group as a blue geared paladin of any type can be a bit of a time-consuming challenge and so I turned to the age old gearing standby: PVP

And since I was and mostly still am fully dressed in the standard set of PVP blues I decided to go with Retribution as my primary pvp spec. Even as a blue geared ret paladin the burst is crazy enough to be able to take down most of anything.

Still as Retribution PVP there's still a few challenging classes. A good warlock is without a doubt capable of kiting the life out of me (quite literally), frost mages can pretty much snare me till I turn blue (also quite literally) and a good frost dk will definitely have the advantage over my blue geared ret pally even if it is only on the basis of lots of snares and interrupts.
Thankfully most warlocks these days are destruction in the BG's so there is only a minor worry that you'll be dotted up and CoEx'ed until you expire leaving the frost mages as biggest issue.

To try and address the whole issue of being easily kited I decided to put the FU in fun and looking towards gear that will keep me from being kited as much by frustrating the hell out of anyone who tries to lock me down in such miserable ways.

My answer to the problem was simply: Frost resistance (and liberal use of hand of freedom)

The 3 primary gear items for this goal are easily crafted (Icebane) starting you off with a chestpiece (115FR), some boots (86FR) and a belt (86FR) that together provide almost 300 Frost resistance (FR). Slap on your frost resistance aura at that point and you're sitting at a massive 400+ Frost resistance.

Incidentally 400 Frost resistance is about where you'd want to be to be resistance capped. Read a previous post of mine here on that topic.

The icebane set definitely has some disadvantages (losing crit/hit/resilience) but there is a decent amount of stamina on there and some sockets to make up for the biggest losses you may have taken.

You can also slot some gem slots with infinite spheres but at a moderate +5 resist all you can ask yourself if this is really worth it over some hit/crit/other gems.

Last but not least it's worth mentioning that there's a couple of rings such as the titanium frostguard or frozen eye that can be used to swap some gear around without losing any frost resistance over it.

Looking back at a day+ or so frost-resistance combat I can note a little less burst and some loss in resilience which is hardly noticeable. With frost resistance aura up however I can now pretty much mitigate a significant portion of frost dk damage and almost completely shrug off frost mages which previously were a huge issue.

Combining this with various engineering trinkets I am currently trying out and it seems like trading in some damage for oodles newfound mobility is paying off quite handsomely.

Perhaps once I have access to better PVP gear I will have to re-evaluate using the icebane set in favor of something else but in comparison to the pvp blues and even some of the earlier PVP gear sets icebane's tradeoff in damage vs resistance definitely puts icebane ahead of anything I have seen so far in terms of survivability.

If nothing else I can heartily recommend giving it a try simply because the overall material requirements to craft a frost resistance set is laughable by today's standards.

Now if you'll excuse me I have some frost mages to giggle at.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flash users -> update now

Funny how time flies when you're just playing the game and not paying attention to your blog.

I could bother you with the latest and greatest of patch 3.2 which has been available to us for a while now but other than the mount changes I can honestly say I didn't take a closer look yet. For some reason securing logistics to get all my characters mounted up as far as they can go took a little longer than anticipated.

Nonetheless there is a little something I encountered that you might want to take care of before it costs you your valuable wow account.

A recent vulnerability in flash player which is commonly installed on most PCs means that the flash player of certain versions have become somewhat prone to become carriers of key loggers.

I am not going to bother you with details, but since I saw some problems related to it on a corporate level I'd think and go ahead and issue a warning to my 4 readers (although those might just've died in the chairs they are sitting in, remind me to poke them with a stick later):

Go update your flash player at or go read more about it by following this link here: Link

Be aware that it will try to install the google toolbar as well so if you don't want that don't forget to uncheck the related checkbox.

Uninstalling flash isn't really an option since it's used by quite a few websites and they will happily tell you that you need a flash plugin when you don't have one.

Normally I leave security in the hands of the individual people but this one has such a high chance of being abused by various crackers (this is not a racial slur, go look it up if you disagree) to break into your wow account that I decided to break my usual stoic silence and give you fair warning.

There's been a few reports here and there for this vulnerability but since this one can actually be abused to drop a keylogger in your system my opinion is that you can never repeat it enough.

It won't make you cracker-proof but at least you eliminate one more risk.

Back with something more wow-like soon... don't worry.