Sex, Drugs and RMT

Broken Toys has quotations from an another IGE lawsuit. Only this time it's the insiders suing one another. The feeding frenzy has begun, and I have my popcorn ready. Virtually Blind has more.


Game Over


..and After.


The End

The End
The End,
originally uploaded by Shalkis.
You know the best part of killing someone? The look on their face. It's that look. Not when they're threatened. Not when you hurt them. Not even when they see my spell. It's when they realize that they will die. Right here, right now.


Punctuality and Discipline

Zanderfin's been wondering about raid punctuality. Here's my two cents.

When I joined my current guild I wondered how they were able to clear raid instances in just 3 hours. Not anymore.

First of all, signups and therefore raid tuning is done a week ahead of time. Invites start 30 minutes beforehand. If you have a tight schedule, you're expected to get your consumables, repairs etc ready beforehand and log off near the instance. When you receive the invite, you're supposed to drop whatever you're doing and start heading for the instance. You're expected to help with summoning the furthest raid members. Raid start time is when the first pull is made, ready or not. At that time everyone is in the instance. Buffs have been done and water/food/healthstones have been distributed.

During the raid itself, everyone is expected to know what the mobs do and what you should do. Certain raid markers are always reserved for specific purpose. For example, triangle, square and circle are reserved for crowd-controllable humanoids. Classes are expected to organize their duties by themselves. When that green triangle pops up, I'll always know that I'm expected to Polymorph that mob during the pull.

At bosses, there are no extensive tactics explanations. Everyone is expected to read the tactics beforehand, and 90% of the time the only discussion is about picking people for specific roles, group reassignment etc. Preferably, all discussion about specifics is done beforehand on the forums. If we kill the boss, loot is distributed quickly. If you don't bid for an item, it'll be disenchanted in 20 seconds. Meanwhile, people are being resurrected and rebuffed. Tanks and crowd-controllers are already setting up for the next pull. If we wipe, everyone's expected to be ready for the next attempt in five minutes.

During the raid, there will be one longer pause (long=5-10 min). That's enough for food, a bio break or a chance to sate your nicotine addiction.

If you have a bad connection, you're expected to notify the raid leader and preferably find yourself a replacement. If you screwed up, you're expected to admit it. Not learning from your mistakes is grounds for a kick from the raid. A farm-status boss will only be attempted for a maximum of 3 times, unless problems that led to the wipe(s) were clearly resolved and won't be repeatable. The raid leader relocate the raid to a different instance or even disband the raid early if no progress can be expected.

Sounds harsh? Perhaps it is, but it works. Nobody's kidding themselves here. We don't go to an instance to spend an evening. We go to an instance to progress as far as we can, because that's what we like. To defeat challenging enemies like a well-oiled machine. This requires a lot of self-discipline and being responsible for yourself. Nobody will hold your hand.

Self-discipline also ties to the age-old discussion about casual and hardcore players. One can attain the oxymoronic rank of a casual raider by focusing on the quality of time, not the quantity. Spend less time yet achieve more.

At worst, WoW is like work. You spend long hours doing some mindlessly dull task while trying to tolerate your mindless associates and a frothy-mouthed, always-yelling boss. At best, WoW is like work. You arrive at your workplace refreshed and eager to work. You use your skills to solve problems many thought to be impossible. Customers praise you and your boss can't wait to reward you appropriately. And you go home early.


WoW, WAR & Persistent PvP

Tobold spotted Keen and Graev compare WoW's and Warhammer Online's PvP. I've also touched upon the issue while dicussing persistence, but Tobold does point out that if you give players immunity due to barriers such as factions, someone's going to abuse it.

EVE Online, on the other hand, has no such thing as predetermined factions, so players are free to punish former teammates as they please. The plurality and fluidity of player alliances ensures that no group has uncontestable supremacy, which keeps the game interesting.


Oo, shiny!

We're back in Black Temple after the holidays and proceed to Teron Gorefiend without major hitches. But then I do something completely foolish that had me cursing myself for the rest of the evening (and probably the next week). I bid on the Robe of the Shadow Council.

A caster robe with decent stats, lots of spelldamage and spell crit. How's that bad? It's bad because this item level 141 robe was worse than the item level 105 robe I was wearing, the Frozen Shadoweave Robe. Let's look at the stats, shall we?

Robe of the Shadow Council:
37 Stamina
36 Intellect
26 Spirit
28 Spell Critical Strike Rating
73 Spell Damage and Healing

Frozen Shadoweave Robe
30 Stamina
20 Intellect
Yellow Socket
Blue Socket
Socket bonus: 3 Spell Hit Rating
72 Shadow Damage
72 Frost Damage

At first glance, the choice seems obvious. Roughly the same spelldamage, but the former has more spell crit. As always, the devil is in the details, or in this case, sockets. If you equip the Frozen Shadoweave Robe with a Veiled Noble Topaz, (+4 spell hit and +5 spell damage) and a Glowing Nightseye (+5 spell damage and +6 stamina), you'll increase the stats by 7 Spell Hit, 10 Spell Damage and 5 Stamina.

Let's look at the new stats.
36 Stamina
20 Intellect
7 Spell Hit
82 Spell Damage.

Now, is 9 Spell Damage and 7 Spell Hit worse than 28 Spell Critical, which is 1.27% crit? Nope.

Let's factor in the remaining stat differences. 1 extra Stamina equals 10 hp, and 16 extra intellect equals +0.2% more crit. If you factor in Improved Divine Spirit from a friendly priest, you get 2.6 extra spell damage (10% of your Spirit) from it. So here's the final results:

+10 HP
-6 Spell Damage (rounded)
-7 Spell Hit
+1.29% Spell Crit

With my gear, that's roughly a 20 dps loss. Giving up 20 dps for 10 hp is simply not worth it. And as a final reminder, this is a comparison of item level 105 and item level 141 robes. Pre-Karazhan loot should not even compete in the same league as Black Temple loot and definitely not outperform it. I could go on a rant about how clueless Blizzard item designers are, but.. It's not the fool who asks, it's the fool who pays. In this case, me.


The End of the Beginning

The winds and the three-phase hum of the mongrels' spell pulls me back to the dreary reality of my predicament.
"Oh, ya are awake."
"You will never catch me unaware, mongrel."
"Now why would I wanna do dat, hm?"
The sound of metal clattering on rock attracts my interest and I turn my head. The troll has brought me my armor and weapons.
"Returning stolen property after the fact will not save your neck at the tribunal at Silvermoon, troll."
"But it might save yer own. Ya could have gotten it all back if ya just asked, but ya chose to.."
"I chose nothing! And no elf will ever accept.. scraps from a troll's table, assuming you ever know what such a thing is."
"Now dat is just rude. If ya do not accept a gift of life and freedom, perhaps ya will take it by force? Go on, dress up. Ya'll need yer.. scraps soon."

I grab my chestpiece and start strapping it on. I keep my blade and my bow at arm's length while I fit in the rest of my armor. There's no telling when the beast is finally unable to contain itself.


"Murderous mongrel. I wondered when the rampaging beast that you are would be unleashed."
"Ya'll see rampage all right. But murder requires intent and premeditation. Odderwise it's just plain old-fashioned killin'. I have no intention of killin' ya, derefore I'm not a murderer. Not.. yer murderer, anyway."
A lack of killing spirit, a fatal weakness. The limp arm is an another, and exposes her flank to my attacks. Cutting through her shoulderpads should not be a problem, but her sorcery might slow my blade enough. I'll have to sink my blade to her armpit, past that useless arm. Still, getting into position can prove to be difficult and I have to exploit any openings immediately.. If only I had Airin to distract her..
"Even Airin's blood was purer than yours. You deserve death for just what you did to her."
"Perhaps ya should have not sent it to it's death so easily. Dat's not someting a responsible master would do."
I make a rising sweep towards her limp arm. If I can just cut it off..
The troll takes a half-step backwards and chuckles: "Oo, frisky, aren't we?"
"Shut up and die."
I follow up with a downward lunge, driving my blade towards her other shoulder. Forcing her to plummet to the death she planned for me might not help me get down, but will be immensely satisfying.
The troll takes a sidestep and my blade hits nothing but air. I feel magic around her and instictively turn around, ready to block her poisonous, pitch-black blade. She may not possess strength, but one hit from that accursed blade would put me at even worse disadvantage. Her blow is harmlessly blocked, but I doubt she'd have the strength to split my skull anyway. She doesn't even try to press through my defence, but feints a thrust and retracts her blade only to lunge again. My armor deflects her blow and I press my sword down towards her outstretched arm. She lifts her blade up and only barely misses my head. Our weapons clang together. I force my blade down to her hilt and push her away. I feel her magic and make a broad sweep with my now-released blade with a single arm to my back and feel a satisfying clang. And a rather unsatisfactory sting in my wrist. Damn. The cut wasn't deep, but I can already feel the blade's powers working against me. I turn around and grip the blade with both hands. There's no more time for finesse. I push my blade and complete the sweep, but she ducks and deflects my strike upwards. She lunges forwards and nicks my cheek with the tip of her pitch-black, seething blade. For a moment, I thought I saw.. it's just her damn tricks. I continue the swing and make it a full circle. The force of my blow sends her reeling backwards.

"You are weak, troll."
"Two points for me, zero for ya."
"This isn't a game!".
"Says ya. Now stop tryin' to hit me and hit me."

The curse is taking effect. Her blue robes seem to be drenched in shadows, and her eyes burn. Her blade seems less like a weapon, and more like an extension of her arm. The limp arm flays in the wind like tattered cloth. I don't have much time before the fear takes hold of me. I lunge forward, but hit only shadows. The back of my neck explodes with pain, and I feel like touched by death itself. I make a wide sweep and hear that satisfying clang which echoes in my mind. I resume my two-handed grip and lash out at the shadows. The pain finds an opening in my elbow joint and slithers in. Another snakes around my waist, and the third almost forces me to drop my blade. How did it get so fast? Or did I get slower? Where are those eyes? I must strike at the eyes.. I hear a strong breathing sound all around me, like a dragon preparing to..

The sound seems to come from everywhere and nowhere. And not just one. Legion. The shadows flow back into a vaguely humanoid form. Her handclaw scrapes the rocks, and the seven imps are laughing at me, while the sixty-seven mouths just grin.
"it SeeMS datdatdatdat ya lost"
"Lost! Lost! Lost!"
"yer ChanCE to reCLAIm yer fre-fre-freeDOM by force."
"Force! Force! Force!"
"but FEAR not."
"Fear! Fear! Fear!"
"To-to-to-to-day IS dE day OF fORGiveness. aLL can be UNdone."
"Undone! Undone! Undone!"
My vision clears for a moment, and I see the blue, gold-trimmed sleeve being rolled back, revealing a blue four-fingered hand and a skeletal elbow. I hear the sky being drained. Shadows snake from the rest of the arm along the brilliant white bone, grabbing the flesh on the other side. More, and more. And more. I did not cause that wound, and in the matter of seconds it's no longer there. The arm flexes and is consumed by the shadows. How could I even hope to defeat such a thing?

"Seeeeeeeee. Aaaallllll bettttttteerrrr."

Despair grabs me by her hooks and I slump to my knees.
"Please. I'll.. I'll do anything."
The three-hundred and five mouths erupt into laughter.
"Anything! Anything! Anything!", the imps mock me.
"So nooooooooooooow ya gro-gro-gro-gro-growel."
The laughter is blue.
"Very well. I shall make ya a hero. A champion for yer people. But first, ya must reclaim de memory of de past and de rage of de present. At de ruins of Mathystra resides a lost soul who seeks a worthy cause. And near de Vector Coil ya'll find rage incarnate, courtesy of yer esteemed prince. Make sure to document everying ya see in de isles for yer fellow Farstriders. Now go."
"Right past dat platform."
And it is gone, along with the three imps and the three thousand mouths. When did it leave? I feel dotted pink. I pick up my bow, and it coils around my back. I look into the abyss, and take a step. The wind screams around me as I fall and..
I find myself in a cave, looking at an opening. A tauren seems to be sleeping near the campfire. I walk quietly to the night.