Brade and I had a few extra funds lying around that we were instructed to “do something fun” with. So, about a week or so ago he looked at me and said “we should get you a new computer”. At first I wasn’t sure about it. We have some remaining wedding expenses (but not too many) and we are taking a trip down to Disneyland in January. But once the thought of (finally) getting a new machine (mine is more than five years old) was planted in my head it grew. It started out as a tiny seed that I could almost forget was there, but soon flourised into a giant beast that could think of nothing but super awesome computers and how nice it would be to have a new, shiny one of my very own.
As a result, last Friday I looked at Brade and told him that if he was okay with the whole new computer thing, I would really like one. He told me to head over to MMO-Champion and look at some of the builds of the month and we could take a look at putting one together. Of course, he had the misfortune that I did this while he was out getting his haircut, which meant that I went straight to the Louis Vuitton rack and skipped over the knock off/clearance items.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did glance over at them on my way by!
In the end, I had decided that there two were things that were must haves on my list: an i7 processor and a really kick ass video card. From there, I largely went with the “unicorn” build that was recommended. I made a few changes – I opted for 16 gigs of RAM instead of 8, I opted for a larger SSD and I opted not to get a new internal HD as I had a relatively new 1 TB one in my current system that I’m just going to pull out and continue to use.
All in all we spent a little more than I think Brade and wanted, but I was really pleased with what our purchase. Ok…mostly pleased, let me tell you how hard it is to make a really large online purchase these days with credit card companies being hyper vigilant about fraud! But we won’t get into that!
Anyhow, for those interested, here is what we went with:
Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower (although, Brade did try to talk me into going with a smaller case – I was worried about the video card fitting, so opted to stick with the full tower).
Intel Core i7-3770K Quad Core
EVGA GeForce GTX670
Asus LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI Sata 6gb Motherboard
Crucial 256 GB SSD
G Skill DDR3 (16 gigs)
Noctua 6 Dual Heatpipe Cooler
Corsair Professional Series HX 750 Watt Power Source
For those interested, we priced everything at both NewEgg and Amazon, and they came out within twenty bucks of each other for the total. We opted to purchase at Amazon for aforementioned credit card security issues and NewEgg not having weekend customer support (where Amazon did). The downside was that we had to pay sales tax, where NewEgg would have been tax free (I don’t even know how they get away with that!). We also have Amazon Prime, so we get super fast shipping and it’s free, which is also nice!
I’m really looking forward to everything arriving and being able to put it all together! I think the worst part is going to be that everything but the case arrives today and tomorrow, with the case arriving on Thursday. However, my parents get in town on Thursday, so I won’t actually have the opportunity to put it all together until next Monday/Tuesday. It’s going to be sheer torture looking at those amazon boxes and knowing that my new shiny is being held hostage inside!
I’ve been thinking a lot about respect the past couple of weeks, and more particularly how people or teams can earn or lose my respect. By definition respect is giving something or someone a “high or special regard” or “to consider worthy of high regard”. Respect is a strange thing. It often takes a lot of time to gain, but can be stripped away in a minute.
For me there are a few key things that will cause me to lose all respect for something or someone. Not being humble in successes, or gracious in struggles top that list. With regards to this I am often reminded that “modesty is attended with profit, arrogance brings on destruction”. I cannot stand people who gloat needlessly; regardless of if it’s the game winning touchdown or simply crossing a finish line first. It is the fastest way to lose my respect and likely never regain it. I have almost zero tolerance or patience for those who let their egos control their actions rather than their minds and morals.
That being said, not far behind is being dishonest or disingenuous – either as an individual or as an entity. I cannot stand being lied to, regardless of the reason. If you can’t be honest with those who trust you, then you are not worth respect. And to push that even further, if you can’t be honest with yourself then you can’t be honest with others. Which, again, means you are not worthy of respect. And if you lie to promote yourself at the cost of my friends, you can bet that you will never gain my respect again. Ever. Read the rest of this entry »
Now that we are a few weeks into the raid content, I thought it would be an appropriate time to have some discussion regarding the current state of the Resto Druid. I am going to offer some numbers and data below to support what I am about to say: Resto Druids are currently not in a good place. We continue to deal with the same issues that we struggled with for the majority of Cataclysm – we lack the toolkit to deal with burst AE healing. As the weeks have passed and other healers have obtained more gear and become more comfortable with their toolkits, the discrepancy only continues to become more noticeable. This is only further exacerbated by the fact that every other healing class received abilities permitting them to be stronger at dealing with this type of raid damage.
I have a few thoughts on how to fix this that I will discuss later on in this post, but first I thought we’d take a look at the numbers.
I went ahead and pulled all of the healing numbers from the past three weeks of raiding utilizing Raid Bots (an amazing too in so many ways!). I only pulled numbers from normal 25s for the purpose of this analysis. I did this for two reasons: 1) 25s are my preferred raid style and what I am passionate about fixing; and 2) there is simply not enough heroic data yet to look at (although I will tell you from the data I pulled, Druids are a bit worse off in heroics). I understand that three weeks isn’t a huge sample selection, but it is all the data we have at this time, and throughout those three weeks is fairly consistent, leading me to believe it will not appreciably change in the weeks to come if things stay as they are currently.
I have taken a look at the content as a whole and then drilled down to each of the six encounters for a more in depth look. The first set of data that I’m going to share is an overall view of how the healing classes are comparing as a whole.
Here you can see a few things. Monks are undeniably the strongest healers at this juncture in the game with none of the other healing classes coming close to them in performance. They are followed by Shaman and Paladins, with Druids and Priests bringing up the rear. You can see the bump in Holy Priests when they got their buffs to PoM and (I think) PoH. As you can see, Druids and Priests are trailing behind the other three healing classes by a fairly appreciable amount.
Let’s take this one step further, and examine how we are doing on a fight by fight basis to see if we fare any better on the individual mechanics of certain encounters. Read the rest of this entry »
We are now into our third/fourth week of MoP and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about things. The expansion is gorgeous, but I’m still a bit sad that I’ve been so busy doing “WoW Chores” that I’ve hardly had a minute to actually stop and smell the cherry blossoms.
Let me start today’s rant with time sinks.
There are…so many of them. But I think the ones that bother me the most are dailys and valor point grinding. I hate the fact that to be the best player I can be for my raid team I am condemning myself to things that I quite honestly despise doing. I absolutely loathe the fact that every night, to do my part, I have to log in and do my “chores” before I’m allowed to play. I hate that I have to fly out the Town Long Steppes and visit the Shado-Pan. I hate that I have to ferret out where the August Celestials need my help. And most of all I hate that these miserable things take up time in game that I could use to do things I actually want to be doing. I hate that I feel compelled to grind out reputation in a slow, arduous, and cumbersome process. I hate that I feel like I’m letting my team down if I don’t do this every day.
I’m sure someone is going to read this, and feel the urge to comment “well, you don’t have to do them”. Sure, you are right. I don’t have to do them. I also don’t have to do the dishes in my house, or dust, or run the vacuum. But I’m doing myself (and a team I’ve committed to) a huge disservice if I don’t. And you can’t take that fact away, no matter how you look at it.
Which I suppose brings me to my next point: Valor Point accumulation at this juncture is just stupid. Did you know that you acquire more Valor Points right now from running Looking for Raid than you do actually raiding? I’m dead serious. How completely messed up is that? How do I earn more valor points for an hour of my time than I do for the effort I put in the other three nights a week that I raid? There is something inherently wrong with this fact. Read the rest of this entry »
I found this picture on the internet. Google links it back to ectmmo.com – so credit to them, I suppose!
I have now had experience with all six of the raid bosses that are currently available, as well as the two world bosses. As I have approached raiding this expansion, it has been with a love/hate relationship with my mana bar. And by love/hate, I suppose it’s probably more like a 20/80 split. There have been so many times that I’ve approached the end of an encounter cursing that damn blue bar. Cursing the raid wide AE damage pummeling the raid. Cursing my relative inability to efficiently deal with it.
And one night, as I was trying to squeeze out one more spell at the end of Elegon, in hopes that it might keep someone alive long enough to do just a tiny bit more damage, I couldn’t help but wonder: who decides what makes healing fun?
I mean, I know that the devs are invested in making the game engaging for everyone. But as we are immersed in yet another healing paradigm change I once again revel in the shortcomings of our toolkit, that are always highlighted the strongest when mana is an issue. But I don’t necessarily want to talk about how Mushrooms fell flat, or how Rejuv is still our way to get a raid topped up in high damage situations, and is so expensive that it’s laughable to think it can be effective – which means you have to throttle the one of the only tools you have to work with in those situations.
Rather, what I want to think about is why the devs seem to always go back to “making mana important” or why making your mana pool so tight that it’s borderline frustrating to work with equates to fun. Read the rest of this entry »
I have entered and come out of the other side on the grind to level 90. After finally making it through level 89 (dear god, this level was far too long) and hitting 90 I felt relieved to be finished. That is until I went to purchase my ability to fly and was assaulted with all of the quests. Only to learn that in addition to the quests there were more quests, in other places, to partake in. I was immediately overwhelmed and exhausted. I didn’t know where to start, what to do, or why the hell there were so many daily quests to begin with.
Yet, as I knew I needed to, I made room in my quest long and started on my way. Opting not to do the mount or the lore walker quests, I had daily quests for the Klaxxi, the Pandas, Cooking and Fishing. I easily obtained the achievement to do 25 daily quests in a single day, and then continued to have more to do. Each day after I hit 90 I spent 90 minutes to two hours taking care of daily quests. I quickly realized that it was going to become a huge burden to complete all of these quests every day once I went back to work and we started raiding again – and I imagine that it’s going to also involve me staying up later than I should just to make sure they are completed every day. The fact that it’s several hubs of dailys and so many dailys each day only makes it worse.
Every day I dread the daily grind. It is one of the first things I do, because I know that if I don’t I will find ways to avoid doing it. It is tedious, it is boring, it is frustrating…and for a progression raider it is required. I hate that rep grinds are tied to it. I hate that Valor Points are tied to it. I hate that I feel obligated to spend time doing things that I generally do not enjoy and make me miserable when I would rather be doing things I find fun (instancing, pet battles, hell – even fishing!). I stated more than once over the past few days that I felt dailys would be the end of WoW for me – I don’t enjoy them and there are just so many to be done. It’s overwhelming and time consuming and I can’t help feeling that Blizzard went overboard with them. Read the rest of this entry »
Good Luck on your first journeys through Pandaria, Everyone!
Be sure to take some time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Pandaria – if you don’t, you will really be missing out on one of the best things about the expansion.
You will likely see me resurface in approximately one week (when I am forced to return to work!).
Everywhere you look, Pandaria is all the rage. People are preparing, excited to start their new adventures, counting down the days until Tuesday, September 25. And while I am usually one of those people, I’m having a hard time working up to the frenzy that usually surrounds a release. I know that the expansion is gorgeous – I marveled at the detail in the beta. I know that there are a lot of things that I’m looking forward to doing. I’ve got gear lists running out my ears, new raid bosses to explore and pokemon to play.
But when I think about next week, it’s with a little bit of regret and fair amount of sadness. And, I suppose if I’m being honest, a case of the jitters and nerves.
Let’s back up. I suppose this story needs to start at the beginning.
When MoP was released, I did what I do every expansion year: I requested a week off work, and got ready to hunker down. Brade had done the same thing. We’ve leveled every expansion together since TBC. And even though he drives me absolutely nuts leveling with him because he often forgets I’m there, doesn’t give me time to read all the quests, doesn’t account for my OH SHINY distractions and tends to be very particular about the pace at which he does things, it’s just something we’ve done together time after time. Once we’ve deprived ourselves of sunshine and sleep to reach max level, we start the gear grind together (which is significantly less rage inducing on my part!). This process is just as much a part of the expansion for me as having a gear wipe, relearning my class and spending several hours leveling fishing. Read the rest of this entry »
Our last raid of the expansion was last Wednesday. We came, we saw, and we kicked Deathwing’s ass…again. But then we told everyone to take two weeks off. Go recharge. Refresh your batteries, and your mind, so you are ready to go when MoP launches. Of course, having all this down time makes me wonder what to do with myself as we wait for Tuesday, September 25. Oddly, I’ve found myself playing more WoW than I was before! I have good reasons though, I swear!
So during this down time, I’ve decided to take advantage of the faster Cataclysm leveling and push both my inscriptionist (warlock) and my enchanter (priest) to 85 so that they are ready to handle their respective professions. It’s been relatively quick, and my priest only has a level to go – after about two days of playing her somewhat sporadically. One thing that has surprised me a little bit is how much I’ve been enjoying priest healing. I’m not really sure why I didn’t level her sooner, maybe burn out – as 5 of my other classes at 85 were healers, but I think she is becoming one of my favorite healers to play, usurping a spot left vacant by my paladin. It’s really a bit odd – I loved my paladin up until 4.3. And then the playstyle just felt a little flat to me and I stopped playing her. I don’t know if I can really explain it better than that – paladin healing just didn’t feel as involved for me as my druid or my shaman. Maybe it’s different now that 5.0.4 has hit – but I’m having such a blast PoMing my way around (seriously, does PoM not have just the best sound ever?) that I wonder if my poor paladin isn’t going to have the fate that my priest did this expansion. Max her trade skills, let her collect dust.
Anyhow, outside of the leveling bit, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading (loving these Rizzoli and Isles novels that the show was based from!), some more cooking and trying out new recipes (some with more success than others), and debating if I should dig out some of the games collecting dust that I’ve never played, or started playing and never quite finished. Tate list is embarrassingly large. Lets see…what is on the list of shame:
- Mario 3D (in progress!)
- Kingdom Hearts for the 3DS
- Super Princess Peach (where Peach has to rescue Mario!) on the DS
- Bowser’s Inside Story (where the game is from Bowser’s PoV) on the DS
- Epic Mickey, just need to finish! And it’s such a fun game.
- Zelda (both of them….) on the Wii
- Final Fantasy…whichever was the last one that came out on the PS3 (I started it, just never quite finished!)
- Oh…and uh, Final Fantasy 12 (maybe?) was that the final one released on the PS2. (I think my PS2 s still hooked up…)
- Dance Central on the Kinect (I still don’t have all the songs unlocked!)
- Disney Adventures on the Kinect (may or may not still be in the packaging)
- Super Mario Galaxy…the first one!
- Guitar Hero Aerosmith
- Portal 2 – lost when my HD crashed. I’ve reinstalled, just never gotten back to it.
- Skyrim. I think I have like, 2? hours of time played.
- Diablo 3 – I know that I’m no where near with finished with this game, I just haven’t gotten back to it in awhile.
- Golden Eye – the remake – for PS3. Also may or may not be in the packaging, but in my defense I totally played the shit out of the original.
I’m sure this is only a fraction of my list, and if I sat down at home and went through my piles I’d have more to add. And perhaps some day I will get to them – if only that pesky WoW wasn’t in the way. I guess my thought process is that these games will always be there, but WoW is more fluid and ever changing that I don’t want to miss anything. But I can’t help wonder what I have missed because of my time in WoW. Bah. Well, anyhow, I think I might try to make my way through a game or two on this list in the next two weeks. Besides, if I don’t shorten my list how on earth will I convince Brade that I need Luigi’s Mansion 2 when it finally decides to release?
Anyhow, down time. I’ve plednty to do, just never enough time to get to it all. Or I just don’t make enough time. Probably a little bit of both!
What are you doing in the down time before MoP?
We had our final raid last night, and I decided that I would play around with Soul of the Forest a little bit. I know, I know – after last week’s raid disaster you’d think that I would just go with what is familiar to me. But between last week and this week, with the help of a friend, I managed to get my groove (and confidence) back. As such, I ran a LFR on Tuesday night where I played around a bit with Soul of the Forest, and then used it for the first six fights in Dragon Soul last night (I used ToL for spine and madness due to mana concerns on those two encounters). I’m not sure that I’m drinking the Soul of the Forest koolaid, but I’m not dumping it into the nearest potted plant either.
Yes, I am starting backwards! And I’m going to answer the ultimate question on everyone’s mind “which is better – SotF or ToL”?
Ultimately I think the choice between Soul of the Forest and ToL is going to come down to two things: Your preferred play style and mana constraints of a given encounter. While Soul of the Forest looks to be providing more output, just based on numbers alone, the other benefits to ToL should not be discounted and will be equally as valuable.
Early Thoughts on Soul of the Forest Read the rest of this entry »