Archive for the Uncategorized Category


Posted in Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 by firsthandtengen

            Perculia posed an issue on their blog, Flavor Text, about “If a game asks nothing of its players, what’s left of it as a game?” The question was raised on the subject of how World of Warcraft has become increasingly less challenging across all levels of difficulty, not just top-end raiding, as it has aged. The post is an excellent read and I recommend people check it out, but I can’t help feeling that it is asking the wrong question. I’m not going to get into a debate about difficulty in World of Warcraft as that has been covered by all angles and thousands of people over the last several years, but I’m interested at taking a brief (for me) look at the concept of “challenge” in general using World of Warcraft as a reference point.

            Now, I know people who play World of Warcraft “for the challenge.” What this simplistic statement usually means when these people say this is that their mission is raiding world-firsts, to face the toughest challenges as soon as possible and be the first (or among the first) to overcome them. There are also players in the game who sit in Orgrimmar or Stormwind their entire lives and amass gold by controlling markets on the auction house. There are people who collect vanity gear, pets, achievements, mounts, tame rare hunter pets, or just “play solitaire with a built-in chat function.” Now, on the broad, over-arching subject of game design, yes, challenge is intrinsic to what makes a game an interesting or “good” game, and you NEED challenge for a game to exist. But I feel that the “challenge” from a game does not necessarily have to be the INTENDED challenge the designers implemented when creating the game, nor do I believe there is a requite floor to the difficulty of a challenge. After all, stacking blocks can be a challenge. Building an intricate scale model of the Taj Mahal out of blocks is not the same degree of challenge as stacking 5 blocks on top of each other, but there IS a basic motor-skills challenge of stacking 5 blocks. Gravity can cause you to fail at the challenge of stacking 5 blocks if your motor skills and understanding of stable structure theory aren’t very good. If raid encounters or dungeon encounters become less punishing and challenging, that does not diminish or enhance the difficulty for Mr Bank-alt McMoneybags controlling a server’s economy. It may change the relative value of items, but that only affects his profit-margin “score” after he has completed his challenge, not the challenge itself.

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Top 10 Disappointments of Catacylsm (so far)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10, 2011 by firsthandtengen

            As I was RUNNING through Silvermoon City, bemoaning my inability to fly here for the millionth time, the idea popped into my head to list my 10 biggest disappointments of Cataclysm to date. There are many things I like about Cataclysm, but it is so much easier, and more fun, to complain than to praise; so here are my top10 biggest disappointments of cataclysm (so far, it’s not over yet…)

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Growing Up As A Tank

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2011 by firsthandtengen

            I’ve grown up a little more in Cataclysm. I’ve grown as a player, as a person, and as a tank. I guess the world having its face re-arranged can do that to people. I can remember the times in the now-distant past where I was clueless as a tank. I remember popping my +dodge Monarch Crab trinket before dragons breathed on me thinking it would help. I remember using a healer mace to tank Wrath heroics and not understanding why it wasn’t a better tanking weapon because my consecration damage was so much higher. “I did more damage” I would think, “Surely that means I did more threat, doesn’t it?” I remember wiping in Old Kingdom because I didn’t understand target priority on trash. I remember I never used to use Holy Shield back when it provided a bonus to block % and had charges. I remember never moving out of the way of Anub’Arak’s “Pound” ability in Azjol’Nerub because the first time I did it I had an over-geared healer who told me to stay still while he healed me through it. It wasn’t until several wipes in the future later that I learned not every healer could do the same and that it was my job to move.

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Breathing on the Embers

Posted in Uncategorized on October 7, 2011 by firsthandtengen

            I don’t write anymore. I don’t stop to smell the roses. At this point, I don’t really remember why I started writing; what it was about writing that made me want to do it. I can only guess it was because there was empty time that needed filling and despite idling for countless hours around Dalaran at the time, that alone wasn’t enough just watching the lines on the chat window scroll by. Maybe That was when I had time to write and I suddenly got busy. I know there have been times where I’ve spent as much as 16 hours a day in Azeroth. There was that one-time “Great Cataclysm-launch Marathon” of 60 hours that I somehow managed to pull off. Looking back on it now I remember how surreal it felt, going from 80 to 85 in about 22 hours, then immediately grinding dailies, extra quests, and heading into dungeons, cause I was gonna be damned if I wasn’t in full 346 or better and killing at least one raid boss the first week of the expansion just like all those impressive guilds. Little did I know, of course, that those impressive guilds wouldn’t just kill a boss, they’d kill 12 of them, even if Nefarian didn’t die until Monday night, and only on 10man because of some bug in the 25m version.

            I think it really was an issue of time. I had all the time in the world, and I didn’t want to sit around writing about the World of Warcraft when I could just log on. I didn’t feel a need to chronicle things or analyze them when I could just talk to people in-game or on vent. Now, almost a year since my last entry, I still have all the time in the world, I still recognize that I’m not in any position to give advice on the game or about my class, and I was perfectly content, until tonight, to let this place go on gathering dust along with my consecrate button. But, thanks to whatever it was that made me open up the list of blogs I used to read, I’ve seen that The Renaissance Man has continued to update his blog and has sparked something in me to create again. Whether this spark will live to enliven some creativity, or be squashed like the adds on post-nerf Al’Akir, only the future will reveal.

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Algalon “The Raid Destr…” oh f**k it he died before Big Bang.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 by firsthandtengen

So, Hi everyone, haven’t posted in ages, too busy grinding my face off.

I was going to blog about my race to 85, but then I spent 24 hours running on adrenaline. Hit it in just shy of 24 hours (server 13th, not bad). Would have been faster but I was dumb and ran Throne of the Tides and Blackrock Caverns hoping for some nice instance-XP, but it jut turned out to be a waste of 2 hours. Then I went to Vashj’ir first and wasted another hour on clunky 3-d movement and the inability to tell when I was going to pull something that looked far away. Once I went to Hyjal I finished the zone in an hour and was extremely disappointed by all the time I had wasted instead of just going to Hyjal first. I also died ALOT. I leveled Retribution because I thought it would be faster. It was fast enough I guess, with my 4-piece 264 tier and a heroic Brynn’troll which I didn’t replace until somewhere in Twilight Highlands I think. One or two monsters at a time was ok, but once I started getting 3+ it got hairy, and even with cooldowns and Word of Glory spamming myself, 4 or more usually meant death. I also didn’t read a lot of quests. There was one quest in Uldum where there were 6 guys guarding an item I had to click on and all I had to do was use an item in my inventory to distract them and get it, but instead I charged in and tried to kill them all with kiting and CC and luck three times, eating floor every time, because I only looked at the “where on the map do I go” indicators, and not reading how to do the quest. I killed so many 400k-elite quest mobs solo that I was supposed to weaken down to 100k with an inventory item that it’s not even funny… Continue reading

The Home Stretch

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2010 by firsthandtengen

Cataclysm is almost upon us. Everyone has had a great deal of notice for all the things that will be changed, added, and removed, and much to my exceptional good fortune, my disappointments are minimal compared to the last time Blizzard announced an expansion. Unlike when Wrath of the Lich King came out and I was only in my 50s, I am ending this expansion about as kitted out as you can get as far as gear, I’m a stone’s throw from 9000 achievement points, and I’ve completed all but a few of the hardest encounters in the game. I may have missed the Amani Warbear and pre-nerf Sunwell, but I got my Zulian Tiger, and while I wasn’t able to kill him, I did see pre-4.0 heroic LK on 25man. I rode all manner of dragons and horses, slew fearsome beasts, old gods, men, and myth. I mined A LOT. I became a Gurubashi Grand Master and a Master Angler of Azeroth for winning the Stranglethorne Vale fishing tournament (made more difficult by the fact that I had been grinding Bloodsail rep not too long ago). Ever try to turn in a quest in Booty Bay when everything is trying to kill you?

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming months, and now, with two years of experience under my belt, I’m going to experience what it is like to be awake at 3AM when Cata goes live on servers and I race for server-first 85 on my humble realm, only to race for Glory of the Hero and raid server firsts. Lots of racing in my future it seems, should change my name to Jeff Gordon. I’m looking forward to my highlighter-colored troll druid with transformable batman mode and seeing the new races and their opening questlines.

Being 80 certainly helped in my enjoyment of the pre-cata festivities. The elemental invasion was a pretty novel idea, and while it must be frustrating for the low level players to have to leave the city every 3 hours or die horribly, it certainly has its moments. I imagine on the very large servers these invasions are over almost as soon as they begin, and on smaller ones, well, maybe no one ever goes to defend Thunder Bluff. I suppose Bliz knew this so they didn’t bother invading Silvermoon or Exodar since they’d just be camped by NPCs for the duration.

The Nuclear Clock Is At 11:59

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2010 by firsthandtengen

Deathwing is coming. 4.01 is out on the PTR and Boubille over at MMO-Champion has suggested that Cataclysm will be out by the first week in November. The Icecrown Citadel buff is going away, Mankirk is about to embark on a mission of revenge for his wife, and Zul’Gurub will be reduced to ruins, sinking like atlantis along with the tiger mount I will now place next to the Amani Warbear on the shelf of things I wasn’t able to get before they were removed from the game (Tabard of the Protector and the black recolor of the Paladin tier-2 armor set are on that shelf as well).

A long time ago (about 10 months ago) I made a post which mentioned a list of goals I wanted to achieve. I don’t think I was specific about the timeframe in the post, but “before cataclysm” seems as good a cutoff as any. Now, with its release date around the corner, I decided to look back on my old list and see how I’ve done. Continue reading