Thursday, July 8, 2010

No More Dings

I'm comming out of retirement for one last post. I dinged 80 for the 10th and final time yesterday. It was only 6 months past my goal but then again I took three WoW breaks totaling 11 months away from the game.

Since this was a DK blog and my Death Knight was my first 80 I'm giving him a position of honor. Top Left.

Omenscourge dinged 80 on 12/04/2008 and you can easily see my exploits with this toon in the archives. This toon was a joy to tank with and was very effective at DPS as well. Even though I've rolled him out a couple times lately I still have never seen Maly with this toon which is all that is standing between him and his Champion of the Frozen Wastes title.

As of now, this toon is a blood tank and I mainly use it to run guildies through BC era dungeons as I can easily solo any of them without waiting for heals. He still sits in his Naxx era gear and maybe someday I'll do the heroic grind with him to up him to T9.

The first toon I leveled to 80 after my first Hiatus was Bearcat my druid, dinged on 8/18/2009 . This was my first tank back in BC and I tanked with him all the way into T5. Come wrath I thought I'd try my hand at healing so I ditched all my feral gear and geared him as a tree. I quickly discovered I love tanking and enjoy DPS I could give a rats ass for healing myself and he went boomkin for the duration. I have recently converted him back to a Bear again and you can find me in the heroic Q. He still needs a lot more emblems before I'm happy with him but now that I don't have any leveling to do I have more time to tank.

My next 80 was my first 70 and the first toon I ever raided with. Omenator, my Warlock dinged 80 on 9/8/2009. When Wrath hit I was sporting full shadoweave along with battlecast gear. Combined with a Felguard - Siphon Life spec this toon had more self healing that my shadow priest did. It was also a felony how fast it could level. Run through a group of mobs, dot them all up and let the felguard bat clean up. Specwise he is now back to Affliction and serves as my banker since it is the only toon that I have leveled enchanting high enough to DE any greens or blues I pick up along the way.


To say destroying mobs with an Elemental Shaman is fun would be the same as saying I like breathing. Watching a mob lose half its health with one key just brings out the kid in me. Totemomen dinged 80 on 10/15/2009. It took a little longer but then again this toon wasn't anywhere near 70 when wrath hit. In fact it was one of many 60's. This is also the only toon I have ever healed a 5man, heroic, or raid with. Which is to say I've done it a few times only when the guild is desparate. Healing is just not my thing but it makes me appreciate those who do heal me while I am tanking all the more.


I took another hiatus in October with the birth of my second child. WoW is a lot of fun but Family is always first, followed by work to support them second. When I did find time to get back into game just after the first of the year I leveled my ret Pally Omenknight next. I acheived 80 on this toon on 1/16/2010. The stories about Ret being OP are true. More mobs the better even. This toon had originally been a pocket healer as a dual box to 60 long before Wrath ever came out. But a big 2H Axe later and it was a PvE destroyer.

After playing a melee toon I thought I'd go range and powered up Omenpotestas the Frost Mage. For true AOE grinding there is nothing better. Pop Ice Shield, ride around a large group of mobs in a circle. Drop off the mount and Fost Nova them all in place. Next Blink away and start the Blizzard. At worst the pack would close on you and you'd Nova, Blink, and Blizzard again. Then it took 3 hours to loot all the corpses. I ran a bunch of heroics with this toon as Arcane but will definately go back to Frost when it's time to push this toon to 85.

Then it was back to the ground. Omenwar was a fury warrior all the way to level 70. It has been Prot ever since and dinged 80 on 2/26/2010. And you may flame a former DK blogger for this next sentence. As a tank I prefer the Warrior. That's right, in my opinion Charge > Death Grip. Actually, it's Charge+Thunderclap > Death Grip + Death and Decay. I have run so many dungeons with this toon that the Triumphs are only good for gems these days. On the extremely rare occurrence I can make a raid between family and work, this is the toon I tank with. Sorry fellow DK's, I have betrayed your trust a second time.

Next, it was time for more work. Such is life. I didn't get back until late May. I dinged 80 on my Rogue, Hiddenomen, on 6/11/2010. I have been running heroics with this toon and have just started getting into world PvP. Or to be more specific, my guild loves to ensure the Allies on my server never have a shot at VoA. So I have thrown my lot in with them as well and enjoy watching clothies try to hide when they see me coming. As of right now this is my second best geared toon just behind Omenwar. I dumped a lot of gold into this one power leveling Engineering but it has been worth it for the tinker chants. Now if I could only get two swords or two daggers that I like.

If there are any Shadow Priests out there, you'll have to explain the fun of these toons. If I want to DoT something to death I'll play the warlock in a cold, dead, heartbeat. I realize shadow is the only way to solo a priest to 80 and I dinged mine that way on 6/28/2010. Damage is fine, while questing I could hit 1,200 dps and toss nearly 2k in dungeons on the way to 80. Just something about the play style doesn't sit with me. Oh well, I have enough other toons to keep me occupied and I'm glad I did it.


My final class to hit 80 was my Hunter, Huntomen. I dinged yesterday, 7/7/2010, in a guild 5-man with some of my friends. I saved the hunter for last. Not because I dislike them. I saved this toon for last because it was my first toon I ever leveled past 10. I eventually abandoned it for over a year at level 36 in favor of the warlock. But because this was my first it will always be one of my favorites. I haven't had time to gear this one yet but you can believe that will happen before Cataclysm comes out. Not to mention this is my only toon with a turbo-charged helicopter so I have to fly around on it.

The other part of my goal was to ensure each and every toon had epic flight. That was achieved long before they hit 80. In fact, I refused to level a toon past 70 without it. Now some of you are saying that is a ton of gold, where did it all come from. The simple truth is questing from 70-80 will net you over 5k per toon if you always take the most expensive quest reward and vendor it when it's not useful to you. Combined with a couple toons with mining, herbing, and skinning, I was never in want of gold.

So there it is, unless my life changes I am basically done raiding. Either way, I am definitely done blogging. To my guidlies of the past couple years, thanks for all your support. You know I always have a toon ready for a heroic whenever I'm online.

For my readers, thank you as well. It is heartening to see that even after being gone for more than a year I still get a hundred hits a day and will soon reach the 100,000 milestone.

Cheers

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quick Don't Look, You didn't see that

As you know after essentially quitting my DK and blog at the end of March last year I quietly snuck back into Azeroth after several months to level the rest of my toons. So far, my DK, Druid, Lock, Mage, Pally, and Shammy have all hit 80. They all have epic flight as do my 73 warrior and 73 huntard.

I'm playing the warrior right now and after leveling to 70 as a dual wielding titan gripping furious SOB I wasn't real happy with him. Then a guildie suggest I take him prot, hooked me up with the cobalt set, and AOE grind all my quests to have more fun.

I gave it a try.

I died attempting to solo Harold Lane too many times to count. Then something clicked. Pieces fell into place and I was a tank again. Naturally I joined LFG for a random and was pleasantly surprised with the insta-q.

UK.

I haven't tanked in almost a year. I've never tanked with a warrior. All my tanking knowledge came from being a Bear in BC and DK tanking a year ago.

I think I did OK.


The Druid and Shammy were both melee toons so they got exposed to all the bombs at my feet. When the tank takes 70% of the damage for the entire run it is a safe bet it was a smooth one.

Damn I've missed being a tank. Just don't tell my wife.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WoW.com's Bad Business Decision - Time for a Boycott

I have been a long time reader of WoWinsider and subsequently WoW.com. While I occasionally enjoyed the drama in guild watch I myself wasn't terribly disappointed when it was removed. That did not appear to be the case with the general public based on their comments.

In today's edition of the classifieds Adam Holisky an editor at WoW.com posted the following comment after deleting several comments and banning people from posting.

"I'm giving a warning here -- we have banned several of you who seem to not be able to move on. The constant barrage from a few of you is not welcomed, and is considered a very low form of trolling. You are welcome to participate in the community here with different email addresses if you like, but if you continue to demonstrate your inability to be polite and respectful, we will make the bans wider.

This is a community here, and we're not going to be like the general forums.

End of discussion."

I disagreed and replied with the following.

"@ Adam

I disagree with WoW.com's response to the many requests to have drama reinstated and believe that you are collectively making a bad business decision for two reasons.

First, your audience have clearly demonstrated a desire for a feature that you have in the past provided yet refuse to now. Any time a business eliminates a product or service feature it risks alienating its customers. Based on the feedback I have seen on this column since it has changed I would say that risk has become reality.

Second, your response to the repeated requests (albeit some not so polite) by banning people from commenting and expressing their disagreement further erodes the relationship you have with your readers. Even those of us who have not be banned are alarmed that opposing viewpoints are not tolerated in all instances. By all means edit the asshats, but don't blanket censor the disagreement.

Both of these points ultimately tie to the fact that WoW.com makes its money based on readership. Both of the points will reduce readership and ultimately revenues and your ability to earn a paycheck by writing about a game you love to play.

Afterall, the service WoW.com has a relatively low barrier to entry with the biggest obstacle being the relationships you have cultivated with Blizzard and with their fan base. Neither of those are protected and therefore it would make good business sense to reconsider your collective policy of not only not providing what your readers want, but also the heavy handed treatment being doled out towards those who are unhappy with the changes.

Regards,"

Now I personally believed that to be polite and respectful.

It was deleted inside of 5 minutes.

Personally I am less upset about the removal of the drama section of guild watch, I am abhorred that legitimate debate is suppressed. I am quite sure WoW.com will not pick this post up in their Daily Quest feature but I feel compelled to bring this practice to light. It is an old business adage that ignoring your customers best be done at your own peril.

Therefore, I am encouraging other bloggers to pick up the torch and let's collectively show WoW.com that their readership expects to be heard.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Accountability

Time to hold myself accountable. At the beginning of the year I set the ambitious goal of continuingng to raid with my DK and provide reasonable if not exactly cutting edge suggestions on how to get the most out of your toon. I also had the ancillary goal of leveling all 9 other classes to 80.

Of course what I didn't know at the time is which way my life would turn. These WoW goals were set assuming life outside in the real world would remain stable.

It didn't.

However, I still believe it is important to see how I did against these goals as with all goals in life.

The real world saw my work schedule become very busy as we had several major initiatives going in the office. It also saw the decision to have another baby, the full pregnancy, and the birth of my daughter. These factors led me to quit WoW at the end of March. I just couldn't do it all.

After four full months away from game I came back to find my small group of friends mostly back in a guild we ran Kara and Gruul's with and I was welcomed back there as well. I spent a couple solid months leveling toons when time permitted but never got The Scourge out for another spin beyond respeccing him when all the points got refunded.

I took additional breaks from WoW on a regular basis especially after my little girl was born. So here are the results.

As you can see my druid went from a T5ish feral tank to 80 and is a boomkin. My lock is back to affliction after leveling as a felguard siphon life spec. Gotta say with full Frozen Shadoweave this build had so much self healing I don't think I ever ate or drank. My hunter languished and went from 70 to 73. I took my rogue up to 70 and have plans on finishing it someday. My Shammy made it all the way from 61 to 80 and is now a heroic resto but I just don't make the effort to be a fantastic healer and usually let a dps or two die during the run.

My mage is up to 70 and remains the frost AOE grind champion but has yet to go any farther. My pally went from a resto pocket healer at 60 to retribution for the solo push to 71. There is no spec more OP than Ret Pallies IMO. My priest went from being a pocket dual box healer at 60 as well and is now full shadow. It is also a hard to kill toon with all the self healing. If it has mana, the mob(s) is dead. My warrior is a dual wielding titan gripping disappointment. At level 70 it has the lowest dps by far from all my toons and while I may not be optimal at rotations I do look up standard rotations for each class so I am somewhat competent.

That leaves my DK. The Scourge sits in the same gear he had the day I retired. He hasn't stepped foot outside of Dalaran except for a single fishing excursion. It was a very fun toon but I think I don't run heroics with it to collect badge gear because I don't want WoW to have that much influence on my life again.

On the subject of heroics and the new random pugs I have run a ton this week while on vacation on my Lock, Boomkin, and Shammy. Overall I have had good experiences. Only one run did I have to deal with asshats and I can count the complete wipes from 30-40 runs on one hand.

Lastly, I am somewhat amazed that after 9 months of shutting this blog down I still average 100 hits a day. That is a long way down from the 750-1000 I had at my peak and I wonder how far could this have gone had I devoted the attention to it that it deserved. I had several good e-mail interviews for DK of the week feature but ultimately the feeling of obligation to generate fresh, relevant, daily content was also a contributing factor to my departure.

I hope 2009 treated everyone who shared this journey with me well and I wish you all the best in the new year.

Regards,
Omen aka The Scourge

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life after WoW

It's been two months since I canceled my account. In some ways leaving the game has been easy, in others not so much.

The biggest issue I have with WoW is also its biggest attraction. The persistent nature of the game. Even when you are logged out events that affect you continue to transpire. This is a powerful motivator to not log out, not miss anything.

I figure I was playing 20-25 hours a week before I quit. Six to eight of those would have been raiding, the rest doing the daily grind. Fishing, crafting, dailies, running heroics for rep, etc, etc, etc. Most of that time was not truly fun.

The time spent raiding also included tons of down time for breaks and wipe recovery.

Outside of the game I was putting another 10-15 hours a week into this blog. Between the two it was as if I had a second full time job with no pay. I'll admit it was one I enjoyed.

In my resignation post I identified two aspects of my personal life I had let slack. Reading and my health. I have addressed both of those.

I have read a couple books but have focused most of my readings on online journals and blogs that deal with my professional interests of data modeling, economics, decision theory, and personal finance.

I write a blog on my professional interests and it is achieving my goals. I don't update it near as frequently as I did The Scourge, but then that is the nature of my professional thoughts. Insight takes longer to develop and distill in that arena. My readership is also much lower but that is also a nature of the material. However, I am getting the right readership. People who can further my career.

As for my health I indicated I had put on a few pounds. I know myself. If I don't have a good kick in the ass by someone other than my wife I will not exercise. So I hired a trainer. In just a few weeks I've dropped a few pounds, lost an inch from my waist, gained a lot of endurance, am a little stronger, and have the energy to keep up with my son at the park.

Gaming wise, I played a number of games. I tried Diablo 2 again. It was fun and I could see a lot of the Death Knight in my old favorite class the necromancer. I also finally got Warcraft 3. I'm not and RTS fan and WC3 is definitely not WoW. I did join iRacing and settle into it. I've always had a love affair with racing and this is much cheaper than buying a spec Miata. The beauty is, I can fit my racing schedule more easily into my routine and if I need to quit for something in RL, 9 or 24 people are dependent on my being there.

But it's not easy walking away from something that was a big part of your life for two years. I still lurk on a few blogs. Afterall, WoW blogging really is a community and especially amongst us fellow DK bloggers. Death Knights continue to be in the good hands of Me And My Ghoul and Death Knight Tactics, though the loss of Skeleton Jack leaves another hole in the group.

I have no intentions on removing this site from the web, but two months after WoW I can say I have no intentions on coming back.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Following the herd

out the door.

When Phaelia left to have a baby it didn't really phase me since I never followed Resto4Life.

Yesterday BRK pulled the plug.

Today it is my turn.

To be honest it's something I've contemplated. I like to claim I'm pragmatic and can be happy with 95% of the benefit for 50% of the effort. But when it comes down to it, I'm not satisfied. Never have been, never will.

I launched this blog for two reasons, one I wanted to give blogging a spin, and two, at the time I couldn't find any good DK blogs. If you look at my link list on the right you will find plenty of good blogs.

The reality is, to achieve my blogging goals I need to put in more than 50% of the effort. That is time I can not afford to commit. For the past two years WoW has dominated my nights once my son goes to bed. I've given up more sleep than I care to admit. I've done what I could to minimize the impact on my personal and professional life, but I know I haven't eliminated it.

In the year prior to taking up WoW I read the following books:

Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Reality
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Intelligence, Genes, and Success: Scientists Respond to The Bell Curve
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
The Purchase of Intimacy
The New Direct Marketing: How to Implement A Profit-Driven Database Marketing Strategy
How to Lie With Statistics
Making Great Decisions in Business and Life
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
Personal Financial Planning
The Nine Nations of North America

Since I started WoW I haven't read a single one. I personally believe I am not as interesting as I once was.

Before WoW I was a part time college professor in addition to my day job. I haven't taught in two years. Though to be honest I don't think I will take that up again anytime soon. Student demands for grade distortion, cheating, lack of willingness to study or do homework frustrated me to no end. There were exceptions of course.

I've put on 15 pounds while my bike gathers dust.

So there I was deluding myself I could have it all. After all BRK was a middle aged professional like myself. He had a wife and kids like myself. He was more successful at raiding than I ever was. He was more successful at blogging than I ever was, or likely ever would be. What I didn't see was how much he was sacrificing at home until he admitted to it yesterday.

Truth is, I don't want to be BRK, or even like him. I want to be the same guy my wife fell in love with 13 years ago, only a little older. That will still include computer games, just not ones with persistent worlds where I fear if I'm not online I'm missing something. They will be the kind where I can hit save and walk away and don't rely on 24 other people to achieve my in game goals.

To those of you who know me IRL, we'll keep in touch. To everyone else I've met in this fascinating game, I wish you the best of luck in achieving what you want out of life. It's a rough world out there and I hope I have added a little enjoyment to y'all as I know I have received my share of enjoyment from you.

Cheers,

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Morning Blues

I didn't get much playing done over the weekend. Outside of a couple dailies and fooling around in a couple dungeons didn't do anything exciting.

I'm still trying to score my first Maly run. I honestly don't care whether it's 10 or 25. I also don't care(but wouldn't pass up) about loot in there. I raid to see content and I still haven't seen this fight outside of Tankspot, or gotten a kill.

I'd really like to have that before 3.1 hits.

In the meantime I'm collecting mats for Northrend Inscription Research. One I can use the mats to finish capping my scribe prof, two I'll hopefully discover some of the better new glyphs early on and be able to make some easy money.

I have about half a dozen good entries for my next DK feature. It's going to be a hard decision. If you aren't chosen don't worry there are always future weeks as well.

I ran a nexus regular pug on my hunter over the weekend. We had a DK tank. He was level 70 with 61 points in Frost. Not exactly ideal spec and I would argue that while leveling just grab a few pieces of +def gear and tank with a DPS spec. But it was clear the guy hadn't tanked before. That's OK too, we all need to learn sometime.

The tanking basics that you need to know regardless of class.
1) Only pull when your healer is ready
2) Know where a safe place to tank the pull is
3) Don't pull when a Patrol can join the fight
4) Make sure you have a way to establish and maintain aggro on all mobs that are not CC'd
5) Use Line of Sight to ensure casters come to you
6) If you do not have the health, mitigation, and avoidance to survive a 5 pull, use CC
7) Slow Down and Think

For DK's Items number 4 & 5 means use DnD either on the mobs where they are (assuming #2 isn't violated) or apply rule #5 and make sure all the mobs have to run through your DnD as they come to you.

I bring this up as there were numerous trash pulls I died on since feigning death would have put the mobs back on our healer that much faster. I'm sure some of the expert hunters out there could give me some tips on kiting casters in tight spaces. I know I wasn't good at it.