Archive for July, 2011

The monkey on vacation

So I’m officialy on vacation for the next two weeks. yeah!!!

During that time I may or may not post and I just don’t know what will happen! Wanted to let you all know so there’s no widespread panic is posting gets eratic here. On that, have  a fun summer!


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I am weak

I was so ready for the news of The Old Republic preorder. I would buy a regular edition because the game would be just as good and enjoy the game like a normal personn. I had steeled my mind and like a Jedi master I’d resist the temptations of the dark side.

… Within 10 minutes of hearing about the collector edition I was frothing at the mouth to get it. Wich I did yesterday…  I am an hopeless fanboy…

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Eff the Ineffable bingo!

Had some fun yesterday making a list of conversations you may hear in EtI. In the spirit of the Bee pit bingo, here’s the Eff the Ineffable bingo! Check a square everytime you hear one of the following in guild or raid chat.

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Death knights mechanics 101

This post was written during Cataclysm. Although not up-to-date, the general flow is still valid which is why this post might be of interest to some. Just be mindful of the actual abilities.

Yesterday I was arguing with Zel about how Death Knight is the most awesome class ever made and that deep down, she wanted to play one. She replied that she barely made it out of the starting zone, kept dying, and had no idea at all what was going on. It’s a comment I hear often about DKs, that feeling of being lost and of having no idea what you’re doing. Today, I want to remedy that and share my love of death knights with all of you.

This post is all about mechanics and basic how to play a DK. It’s not about gear, the different specs and what are the strengths and weaknesses of a DK. While these are all important topics, I don’t want to make a long post longer than necessary.  Often, I hear that new Dks are simply lost in the sea of abilities and have no clue how to play a DK and this is what I want to remedy.

The core mechanics

I find that it helps me a lot when tackling something new to have a general, broad overview of the topic so I’ll start with that. In very broad terms, the DK play style is a priority system where you set yourself up to deliver your most powerful strike as often as you can. Every spec has a signature strike that you’ll want to be using as much as you can and the whole idea is to make it as powerful as you can and use it as often as you can.

A bit deeper down into details, the general battle plan for a DK is as follows.
1. Set-up diseases on target
2. Use appropriate cooldowns
3. Unload death and destruction
4. Use runic power abilities while you wait for your runes to reset.

Of course, there’s a lot of variation in there according to the particularities of a fight but in general that’s what you’ll be doing. The fun part is that when a Dk is well-played, you can actually skip some of the steps or make them shorter so you get to the death and destruction part quicker. This is what the core of playing a DK is. Sure you have a ton of abilities and it looks confusing at first but ultimately they all tie in the above battle plan, whether to help you get to the good part faster, make you hit harder or just give you options for when you need them.

Diseases + the big strike, the building blocks

This is what it’s all about. Do you have Frost fever and Blood plague up on your target? Can you maintain them? These two diseases make up the core of a DK dps or tanking and your ability to get those up fast and keep them on the target will make all the difference between a good performance and a bad one. At first you will have to use two abilities available to set this up, Icy touch and Plague Strike. Once those are up you can then use your big, signature strike, scourge strike or Obliterate for example, to deal maximum damage.

These strikes wich are the core of your dps do a lot less damage if your diseases are not setup. In fact, a lot of your abilities scale up when you target is diseased.

Rune management, the key to success

One thing you’ll notice quickly is that Icy touch and Plague strike use a frost and unholy rune and that your big strike uses the same pair of runes. That would mean that under normal circumstances, you would get one or two chances to do your special strike before being forced to reapply diseases. And that’s not counting needing frost or unholy runes for something else.

DKs have 4 types of runes. Unholy, frost and blood make up the basic runes and Death runes are a special type of rune that replace any of the other runes and that can be used as any of the other, a joker. You start out with 2 of each the basic runes. Generally speaking, frost and unholy runes will power your main abilities and blood runes are mostly used for support abilities.

So how do you manage all of it? Simply by going back to the main goal, applying diseases and doing as many of your signature strike as possible.

The whole idea of rune management is to free up as many of your runes as possible for the big strike. In most cases this will either generating Death runes and/or using blood runes to maintain diseases up so your other runes are free. Abilities like Pestilence, Festering strike, Contagion and Outbreak are all there so you can minimise, if not skip, the “applying disease” phase and go right back to dealing damage.

There’s a trick to all of this though. The above assume the normal situation but more often than not you’ll find your runes solicited by a number of factors. It could be rezzing your ghoul again, throwing up bone shield or simply fights mechanics forcing a reset of the diseases.

So when you’re faced with a curve ball you just have to remember the primary goals, get diseases up and unload the big strike. Your rune management should reflect that. If you know you’re going to need an unholy rune at a critical phase of the fight, plan for it, insert it in your rotation and go right back to the main plan. If it’s unplanned, the same apply. Deal with the emergency and hurry back up to dealing damage.

 Runic power, even more options!

Runic power looks confusing at first but it’s pretty simple. Runic power is something you accumulate when you use your abilities. Some of your abilities uses runic power instead of runes so if you want to use them, you need runic power.

Runic power is used for two occasions.

The first is a runic power dump to use when your runes are on cooldowns. Under normal circumstances you want to use runes as soon as they are available to do even more big strikes so you need something to fill up the spaces when runes are recharging. Enter runic power dump strikes like Death Coil and Frost Strike wich are great to fill in during those moments and they even do considerable damage themselves.

The second use is for those “once-in-a-while” abilities like Mind Freeze an interrupt, your battle rez or a threat building ability like Rune strike if you’re tanking. These require a bit more forethought because you need to either hold back on using runic power or you want to use them in priority over your normal rotation. This is where planning and smart play pays off. If you know you have interrupt duty, making sure you have 10 runic power stored up becomes suddenly very important.

A note on runic power. Don’t stockpile it! Even if having a battle rez is cool, don’t hold back 50 runic power all fight long as it costs you too much in terms of dps. Having 10 or 20 for interrupts is fine when they are needed but runic power dump abilities are an important part of your dps and should be used.

Closing words

I hope I conveyed through this post the spirit of Dk play wich is a priority system. I know I insisted a lot on diseases and getting back to doing big strikes and in the end it’s what truly matters. Knowing what’s your ultimate goal, I hope it will make the rest of the class easier to understand so you can bring death, pain and misery to your enemies!

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Summer blog cleanup!

Spend a good deal of time yesterday evening and the past few days doing some cleanup in here. Removed broken links, updated the guide section (check out the revised version of the Dk tanking primer!)  and just straightened a few thing out.

I’ve also updated the blogroll and removed a few blogs that have gone inactive. If you guys ever start to blog again, send me a mail and I’ll put you right back there. Since we’re on the topic of the blogroll, I’ve been asked recently about my policy regarding it.

There’s no policy! There’s blog in there that I read on a daily basis, others that are there because they’ve helped me start-up or just because I find them incredibly cool. The only rule I guess is that I try to keep the list on the short side. If you think your blog should be up there and that I just forgot (wich is entirely possible given my dyslexic tendencies), do drop a comment or send me an email.

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I played the PC version of the game. I hear that the Xbox version has horrible controls…

Yep, Duke Nukem Forever… the much maligned game that was announced as the second coming of the Lord. Critics have demolished it, fans have renounced it but a small band of die-hard fans are still rooting for the Duke. Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

Well, this monkey was a fan of the series way back in the 90s when I played some Apogee games in 2D and Duke Nukem was up there with Commander Keen and Jill of the Jungle. Then Duke made the jump to 3d in ’96 and my 14 years old self was thrilled with the tactless and dirty Duke. Pixelated boobies was a big deal to my hormone raging teenage self.

So I ignored the critics and the naysayers, bought the new game and went for a ride with my old buddy Duke. How did it turn out?

Toilet humour and sexism

Critics of DNF have argued two points against Duke. The first being a shallow story full of toilet humour and a lot of sexism and the second point being an unfinished and bland game.

To everyone who critics Duke Nukem based on bad humour and sexism…. It’s Duke Nukem people!!! It’s kind of the whole point of the serie. It was exactly the same before. You asked for Duke and you got Duke. Take it as a caricature if you want or just avoid the game if you don’t like it but don’t reproach the game for being true to the source material.

If you disagree that this kind of games exists for numerous reasons (most of wich are probably valid) that’s fine with me. What I hate is people saying DNF is bad because it uses bad humour and sexism… it’s what it is people. What honestly did the critics expect?? It’s the same people that praise the old Duke games but suddenly find the humour sucks? It sucked just as bad before!!

The unfinished, bland game

As much as I don’t agree with the first critic I’m forced to agree on this one. The games does feel unfinished, it does get bland during long stretches and it reeks of a game that was half-done.

I did some research and watched a lot of videos of the old versions of the game and it became obvious the current game is more or less a patchwork of the previous work done by various companies. Going by the developers comments and the game itself, I can’t shake the feeling that DNF was released just so they could get it over with and start working on the game in the serie.

It’s not that bad to be honest and the game does feature quite a few strong moments but much of it feels like a filler. It’s a bit sad but if they can build on the strong moments for the next game it could be the Duke Nukem game we didn’t get this time around.

The list!

In the grand tradition of Screaming monkeys here’s the list!

The monkey threw the devil horns at!:
-The intro theme played by Megadeth! Metal!!!!! WOOOO!!!!!

The monkey liked:
-The fidelity to the source material. Duke is as crude and stupid as before and I love it.
-The return of old favorites. Guns, enemies and giant bosses are still there.

The monkey was dubious on:
-The gimmick levels. Wether being shrunked or filling that damn truck up for the 5th time.. the whole thing didn’t feel great.
-The filler levels. Why the hell did I need a Duke burger level? Or a ton of levels in the Dam….

The monkey hated:
-The load screens… Everywhere, all the time!
-The graphics. It felt aged… in a bad way.
-The strafe and win bosses. One strategy to beat them all!

Final Verdict: Wait for it to come to a bargain bin, buy it and take it for a spin down memory lane. One fun evening of memories and sillyness with the Duke himself.

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The Vp craze

Everyone talking about it , wether or not you should be capping you VP every week so you can get better gear so you can get even moar loot!!!

I was so ready for this when Firelands went live, max VP every week and do the dailies and zomg get gear asap! Heck, if anyone needs gear its me! I have two specs to maintain!

But then after day one I quickly realized something. Maxing vp with random heroics will make me quit WoW. I’m at a point where doing a random hero with a pug is pure torture and I only want to get out. It’s the very antithesis of fun. So the max out VP plan quickly went out the window when I realized that even if I was going to bite the bullet, I was looking at a whole summer of maxing VP week after week. My subscription would not survive that.

However, I fully agree with putting in effort to gear. So I had to find alternatives. One of these has been to work those dailies likes crazy. So far I’ve done all firelands dailies without missing a day and its paying off in gear so far, plus it’s not driving me crazy! Added bonus, the reputation and vendors sell gear for both my sets so it’s really paying off. Win!

Long term approach

This is what I’ve been doing since Cata and this is what I need to keep doing. If I burn myself out, I’m not helping out the guild at all. If I do nothing, I’m being lazy and not helping much either. Going middle ground like I’m doing, doing something everyday feels like the correct approach. I think a lot of the recent discussions is people trying to do it all at once.

Sure it’s hardcore and it makes you look good but I chose to raid with Eff the Ineffable because we are allowed to have real lives and I like to believe this extends to farming of dailies and VP.  We’re going to be raiding Firelands for a long time… so why not take our time and not drive ourselves nuts? I’m doing my dailies, I’ll be doing a few heroics when guildies are on and after I’m done with the dailies but I won’t be doing dailies + farming + VP… no way…

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