Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One more reason I like the fantasy genre...

Ever wish that some stuff from the fantasy books and video games really existed? Like guarding your loved ones from some attack. Or removing diseases and curses with a wave of the hand and a few magic words. Even just finding the right special plant and giving it to the right special person to make a miracle and save your family and friends from the pains in life. Too bad athelas isn't as useful against cancer as it is against the wounds of the nazgul. And the death penalty in real life is so harsh, we really don't like to accept that it's a possibility. Fortunately, even in fantasy there is some truth: the hands of the King really are hands of healing, whether we experience it physically or spiritually. And even though we can't get a rez right now, releasing brings us to a much brighter zone. 

My mother-in-law's cancer has gotten worse. We don't know how long she has for sure, but the doctor's aren't encouraging. I'm taking a break from gaming and blogging for a while as my family works through this. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. I'll be back later, but right now this is more important.


Originally posted at WARnPieces.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Cleaning and Mastery Trees

Spring has sprung and boy did it leave a mess doing it. The pop cans and dust bunnies had already moved past the agrarian gathering societies and were on the verge of splitting the atom, so I had to step in and take decisive action to deter these rogue groups. At least, that's what I told myself when taking out the trash and vacuuming the floor instead of playing WAR.

For the little time that I have been able to play, I've been working on testing a new mastery spec in scenarios. I leveled up straight into Grace, but now that I've got city dungeons to do, I've been told that I need to be able to bring the heals. And while I still haven't been able to run as a pure healer in a city dungeon, I have noticed that the build gives me some nice flexibility in scenarios. The group heal and group HoT allow me to make someone outside of my group my defensive target. This means that I can get direct heals or close AoE heals on the tanks under oil, for example, without having to join the oil shower. It also means I can HoT up the Bright Wizard in another group and gain some wicked renown. Since I'm about 3 levels behind on my Renown Rank, I see this as A Good Thing TM

I'm expecting company this weekend, so I probably won't have another update until next week. So I'm offering all of my portion of fun to the highest bidder. Auction starts immediately in the comments. Opening bid is to accept a recruit-a-friend invite from me. I'm one away from getting that bonus item!


Originally posted at WARnPieces.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Maladorn's Progress: The Long March to 40

The time: 9 A.M.
The place: My sleepy brain.
The call: brrrrring brrrrrrringg

"Hmmm? Wha...? Oh right. An update on Maladorn... sure, I remember promising that. What? Last Friday? Well yeah, but today is only.... TUESDAY!! Holy moose lips, Batman, where did the time go? I gotta write a post!"

Yes, my friends, this is the long-awaited (sorry for the delay) update on my Warrior Priest avatar, Maladorn Fairnath. And as the title of this post probably gave away, I did make it to Rank 40 this last weekend. Last week I decided that in order to do Bastion Stair with my guild-mates and not waste everyone's time, I should rank up and hit 40. So to that end, I headed out to Praag and started questing like a madman. 

I worked my way right up through Chaos Wastes and even finished the epic weapon quest up there. Praag and CW where pretty interesting zones to work through. Praag has several quests that send the players over into West Praag, which offers a number of extra quest opportunities to help grind through the mid-30s. Chaos Wastes was my favorite T4 zone in this pairing. The combination of insane allies, enemies that aren't really enemies, and chaotic monsters was pretty cool. Also, the quests moved quickly, especially by Chapter 21 (the order hub just south of the war camp). My favorite NPC was the Stranger in Chapter 22. He's got the classic mysterious ally thing going, and his quests give the players a chance to embody the heroic attributes that seem so ingrained into the Empire. 

The Empire/Chaos pairing got me up to the high end of Rank 37, so I next went over to Dwarf/Greenskin. I started in Kadrin Valley this time, because I was curious about the whole Dwarf setup and didn't have the same background familiarity as I had with Empire. And it was probably a good thing too. Where Chaos Wastes were dark and brooding, the Dwarves felt almost goofy. I've never had to dig through so many digital piles of muck, sludge, and who knows what else. I can only say that I'm very glad we haven't gone so far as to put olfactory simulation cards into our computers yet. I'd have been smelling sulfur and squig dung all weekend. My favorite zone here was Black Crag, with the crazy RvR lake slipping in and around the PvE sections.

My only regret in Dwarf-lands was that the level 40 itch really started to eat at me bad, and I didn't take the same time that I had been to read through some of the quests and get a better idea of what was going on. But with a Saturday alone, I really wanted to try to make it to the end. Which I did, just in time to get an invite to an alliance party heading out to Bastion Stair. And since I only had the Annihilator gloves from the renown merchant, I went hoping for some good stuff.

We spent a little extra time running the PQs in order to get one guy up to having enough influence to run both left and right side bosses. It was amazing what a difference being just 4 ranks higher made in my ability to be useful. We took down the left side boss, the bull, in short order. He seemed to be a bit confused, because he didn't toss anyone until he was over 50% down, and then instead of tossing our only tank, he threw me toward the front door instead. Of course, my unlucky streak in the dungeon continued with no useable gear dropping from the boss. 

Next we headed over to right side. Lord Slaurith can be a beast, especially now that his terrify seems to make ressing impossible. The alliance folks hadn't done him very much, so we took a shot using a CoW strategy to try to keep the healers from getting demolished. First time, though, we didn't succeed. After a short break and a heal, we went back in to give it another try. This time we positioned our ranged healers a bit further away and gave the tank a little longer to get the bosses attention. Fortunately, our 3 healer, 2 dps, 1 tank setup worked out just long enough for us to take him down, and we only had 3 casualties! **whew** The victory was sweet, but the loot was not. Again, nothing useable for anyone in the party. That token system can't come fast enough.

So that was going to be my update that I planned on writing last night. But then, Order was doing some good things in RvR, like pushing the Dark Elf fortress, Fell Landing, so I put off writing and joined the fray. We quickly rolled through the fortress doors and waltzed up to the Lord. He went down as quickly as a keep lord in T2, making me wonder if perhaps Mythic should let a few more defenders in. However, a guildie quickly pointed out that while we were attacking the fortress in Dark Elf territory, the Empire fortress had been pushed. So it looks like Destruction sacrificed one fortress to try and take the other. But we held Riekwald too, and soon pushed into Praag. Attacking the north keep yielded me a +300 on contribution. Several tense seconds later, I was finally rewarded with my first gold bag from a keep since T3. Two hours later, (and waaaaaay past my bedtime) we flipped Praag and headed into Chaos Wastes. With a quick smash on the south keep, I was once again on the contribution leader board, this time with a +450! And against all odds, I rolled over 900 again and was rewarded with another new Annihilator piece. A guildie who was on at the time did a quick auction house hunt and found me the Annihilator boots, so I went from having 1 lesser ward to having 4 in one evening. What an exciting day! Whole new areas are now open to me, and while I'd prefer the Bloodlord set for stats and bonuses, I'll happily take my Annihilator and catch up to the guild in the city dungeons.

So there you have it! A wall of text critical update to feed all those who are curious. I shall now close with a passage from the Book of Sigmar*:
"For Sigmar hath heard our cries for fatter loots and better gears. And he hath granted unto us the strength of mighty champions, that we might go forth and suffer not the heretic to live."
* Book of Sigmar not guaranteed to exist outside of Maladorn's mind. Not valid with any other offers. Reading this could cause blindness, fatigue, muscle spasms, tainting with chaos, and minor abdominal pain. Sigmar accepts all major and minor credit cards. Maladorn accepts cash or PayPal. Book of Sigmar may be purchased for $4.95, with a small shipping and handling charge of $321,752.68. Not available outside the continental U.S. And yes, if you order one, I'll sit down and write it.

Originally posted at WARnPieces.blogspot.com

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ack! It's Contagious!

After seeing all the interesting blog designs that got rolled out this week (thanks to Omelettez for that round-up of WAR blogging tomfoolery), I decided to fiddle around a bit and see if we could find a better background option than the boring wood grain pattern. Lo and behold, Mythic had an old wallpaper from way back in 2007 which fit the bill. Mmmm... concept art. So tasty. Anyone else think he looks slightly... undead? Vampire Warrior Priests, now there's a thought.

I also added a bit of code to open external links in a new widow, because I tend to like that feature. All you readers out there, let me know if you really like or really hate it.

In other news, I'm pushing hard to hit the level cap with Maladorn. I'll have a more extensive write-up later on. Right now, I've got XP to earn!


Originally posted at WARnPieces.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Warrior Priests Stopped From Ruling The World, Story at Ten

Hat tip to Rivs over at Way of the Chosen, because I had missed the updates to the 1.2.1 Patch Notes regarding the change to the Cleansing Power tactic. Now, instead of removing a curse on every healed ally, the tactic will instead allow Purify to remove a curse or hex from every member of the target's group. This removes the arguably overpowered use of AoE heals to remove a curse from everyone in a group every 2.5 seconds (1 second cast plus 1.5 second cool down on the AoE heal). Under the 1.2.1 rules, Warrior Priests will be able to remove a curse or hex from everyone in the group every 5 seconds. 

I've not run Cleansing Power under the current version, for reasons I outlined previously. However, this looks like a good fix. The ability is still good and can make a good argument for the Tactic slot it uses. The doubled cycle time should let those poor Choppa's get some utility out of their curses. And now Warrior Priests have a solid team hex removal as well. I think both sides can come away with good news, and I hope the change plays well on the live servers.


Originally posted at WARnPieces.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Well Here's a Pleasant Surprise

About 6 weeks ago I wrote a post with a small request. And today I find in the 1.2.1 Patch Notes the following gem:

Character Profiles

Introducing the new character profile system, which gives you complete control over the way you play your characters! Each character will now have its own Interface Profile. This will allow customization of addons and UI layout on a per-character basis. You can also customize multiple profiles per character. For instance, if you want to have a different set of addons for soloing versus open RvR, just open the Profile Management window, create a new profile, and make any changes you wish. You can then swap between those profiles at any time in the management window. 
  
Profiles can also be copied from character to character, even across servers. Just choose "Create from existing Profile" when making a new profile, and you will be shown a list of all the profiles for all characters you have on all servers. 
  
When you first log in, your first character will automatically map your existing user settings to the new profile. On first login of an alternate character, you will be asked if you would like to start with a default profile or use the profile of an existing character.

Please note that this is only the first iteration of the character profile system. We are working to add new features, including the ability to save keybindings as part of the profile.
I must say, I'm blown away. Flabbergasted. Utterly amazed. It's as though somebody over at Mythic took my post and said, "Here's the requirements for this feature." In short, this is totally awesome! I know, the character profile feature is a natural extension of the customizable UI and addon sets; it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that Mythic had it on a feature list prior to my February post. But even if that's the case, it's pretty insane that I ended up on the exact same wavelength about what the initial version should look like.

Once again, props to Mythic. I feel like even my small voice can contribute a good idea.


Originally posted at WARnPieces.blogspot.com