Monday, November 30, 2009

The State of WoW Bloggers

Adam over at The Noisey Rogue did an interesting post recently that got me to thinking. His question was "Are Rogue blogs an endangered species?" In recent months we have seen a significant decline in specifically Rogue bloggers. But even more than that some rogue bloggers who use to be quite frequent are talking more about ALTS in their blogs than their rogue mains. Zaltu over at One Rogue's Journey has closed up shop. Others have not posted in literally MONTHS.

Then today as I was looking at some of the other blogs I follow I stumbled across this post by Matticus. Basically he is offering the first 20 people who contact him to do a free guest post because he has found himself to be "in a rut" and is hoping the suggested topics will help keep him energized and motivated.

The more I scanned blogs the grimmer it looked. Greedy Goblin (someone I personally can not stand but I know has QUITE a following) is changing format because HE no longer feels challenged. Other blogs that are still active have become little more than "Anti Blizzard" platforms or are focused more on how the game has CHANGED than where it is at now.

Adam's thesis is that "Bloggers are a vital part of an online community, they reflect its state of health." His conclusion, based strictly on the rogue blog community was that this loss of bloggers shows us that WoW itself is failing and something needs to be done quickly to fix it. I came to a different conclusion but one that I find just as concerning.

What stuck out to me was the TYPES of blogs we are loosing. Those shutting down are often our technical bloggers, our theorycrafters and individuals known for pushing their specific classes to the edge of their ability and beyond. Even sites like EJ's are seeing less traffic. Now I believe there are a couple of reasons for this decline.

First, the age of the game. World of Warcraft the online game has been around now for five years. As compared to other games coming out now you can see it's age in our original avatars and the old world setting. Now Blizzard IS taking steps to do something about this as we know with this next upcoming expansion. How much they are able accomplish and the impact it will have it still an unknown.

Second, the targeted market has changed.When WoW first hit the shelves it was to a niche audience. NO ONE expected it to turn into the juggernaut it is today. But with its success has come an added strain. Where the ORIGINAL players were all "hard core" gamers, looking to push the game to its limits and see what it could do. The more recent influx and now dominate number of gamers today would be classified as "casual".  Their play time is limited and they often have not already developed the skills that many "hard core" gamers take for granted.

So where does this leave us?

Like it or not WoW has become "main stream". Where before those that played were classified as "geeks", "nerds" or "no lives living in their parent's basement." Now it is not unusual to have a raid group made up of housewives, professionals, teens, and even celebrities. It has product endorsements from such companies as  Mt. Dew not just the "gamer companies" like Dell and Jinx. Few people can go through a day with out rubbing shoulders with SOMEONE who plays World of Warcraft.

This change in demographic is being seen in our blogging community. More and more of the blogs out there are from more "casual" players like myself rather than the pioneer players that helped make the game what it is today. Often those veterans who are leaving are doing so for a variety of reasons. Boredom, five years is a LONG time to play ONE game regularly. Real life situations such as finishing college, the birth of children or the saving of marriages. recently did a post asking "When will you quit WoW?" The comments section of that post was revealing. Many of those who responded had already given up the game but still felt ties to it due to a variety of things, most notably their social connections. Who were the majority that had walked away? Those hard core gamers who resented the fact that their "niche" had been invaded. By becoming "main stream" Blizzard could no longer focus as much attention on the things that drew THEM to the game but rather was forced to deal with the learning curve of those just entering their customer base.

So the question then becomes: Will any of the NEW blood be able to fill the holes left by the loss of these veterans? Who will step forward to pick up the gauntlet they have laid down? Is the game itself truly SICK or just suffering from the effects of its age and success? Is it starting to crumple under the weight of being THE powerhouse in the market?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Those Turkeys are a Lurking

This past week has certainly been a busy one for us all hasn't it? Between the usually holiday stuff we had this new IN GAME holiday. Now it is almost over what do I think of it? Frankly I think it was one of the best holidays Blizzard has come up with yet (even with it containing a couple of achievements that are CERTAINLY not rogue friendly.)

For the first time, without any effort on my part, the majority of the guild is almost maxed out on their cooking skill due to just attempting to complete a good number of the achievements this week. My only frustration with this personally is that lvl 300-375 cooking training still requires you to go to Zangarmarsh so I was unable to get it on my lowbies and take full advantage.

While the quest pay outs for level 80's were not THAT great the experience pay out was enough to level each of my lowbie characters at least two levels which was also nice. For really a minimum of effort you could easily turn in each daily within 20 minutes, quicker if you don't use "public transportation" and have a mount.

Since I play one of the more common races for rogues Turkey Lurkey was not quite the pain for me that it was for others I know. For Orc and Dwarf Rogues especially, this week involved large mobs of people following you around in hopes of getting their achievement. The announcement of their location in trade chat on our server was often greeted by other rogues yelling "RUN!!" My friend Boinc finally just ended up parking herself outside of Stormwind to save herself the headache.

The bane of my existence however was The Turkinator. While there are several nice macros out there for people to use. Along with things like Tracker Snacks, turning on NPC Names, floating health bars, etc which all HELP. When it all comes down to it there is an aspect of luck involved. Numerous times I would get SO close only to have another person either working on the same achievement or farming turkeys to cook cross my path resulting in the buff wearing off before I could find a LIVE turkey.

While everyone struggled with this achievement Rogues had a distinct disadvantage as we have NO ranged instant cast moves. This meant that you had to drag out the FASTEST throwing weapon you could find (1.7 was all I could scrounge up) and go looking for a thinly populated area with LARGE numbers of  Wild Turkeys.  I attempted both Tirisfal Glades and Elwynn Forest.

Tirisfal has a couple of advantages, one (at least on our server) it is less populated, two it has larger areas devoid of trees, and three it has a lower population of "beasts" to contend with when tracking. However I was FINALLY able to get this achievement in Elwynn early in the morning so TIME is another key factor when attempting it. IF you can do it at low population times you had the best success.

So now we can dust off our feathers, (I will admit getting turned into a Turkey during Battlegrounds WAS pretty funny....DEATH BY TURKEY!) and prepare for the NEXT big holiday. Winter Veil. Thankfully I only have a couple to do for this one as I did the majority of them last year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Know Your Rogue Lore: Jannok Breezesong

It is not often that a rogue TRAINER is the object of trivia and speculation but our subject of today's Know Your Rogue Lore is just that. Jannok Breezesong is one of the earliest trainers Night Elf Rogues will encounter in their travels. Located in Dolanaar, in Teldrassil, He starts two quests. One is a level 16 quest that in reality is nothing more that a feeder quest that all rogue trainers have (the exact quest varies from race to race) but all of them will eventually send you into the hands of SI:7 in Stormwind.

What makes him note worthy is actually the OTHER quest he has. There are several things about this quest that are interesting. In summery Jannok is pinning after a rogue stationed in Darnassus named Syurna. What is disturbing is his obsession with her as he is well aware his feeling are not reciprocated in the least.
Sure, I spend my every waking moment thinking about Syurna. Sure, my home is full of paintings and drawings of Syurna. Sure, I often go days without eating, sleeping, or drinking, while I lament about the love we could have had. Is that so wrong?
So lets look at the quest The Apple Falls.
The name of the quest as well as what Jannok says, or more correctly is constantly SINGING are actually part of the lyrics of a song by Depeche Mode.
Like a cat
Dragged in from the rain
Who goes straight back out
To do it all over again
I'll be back for more
It's something
That is out of our hands
Something we will never understand
It's a hidden law
The apple falls...
  Also from the quest text is an interesting tidbit.
Now she won't see me! ME! I've tried sending her messages but she won't even talk to another person unless they are a rogue.
This seems to indicate that while Jannok is a rogue TRAINER he himself is not a rogue. This has lead to some hot debate. Some feel that no he is a rogue just not one she is willing to talk to and any other messengers he happens to send her way (unless they to happen to share her profession) are rebuffed in a continued attempt to avoid him. Others believe that perhaps he was a rogue who sustained "battle injuries" that now prevent him from practicing the profession any longer. This perhaps leading both to his spurning by Syurna and his comment. Either way it certainly makes for the above average interesting trainer, especially for such a low level.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rep: The Violet Eye

The Violet Eye faction has been around since the beginning of World of Warcraft. However it was not until the introduction of the Burning Crusade expansion that players could actually begin to gain reputation with them. But who exactly ARE these mysterious individuals in purple and what is their purpose on Azeroth?

Most simply put the Violet Eye is a group of Dalaran mages whose sole purpose is to monitor the activities of the Guardian of Tirisfal. As a result of this it is not surprising that the majority of the members of this sect are located either near Medivh's last residence Karazhan or the ruined remains of what was once the kingdom of Dalaran. With the believed demise of Medivh the Violet Eye is somewhat at loose ends. Locked inside the Last Guardian's tower are all the secrets they long to possess but SOMETHING else is there too. Khadgar is aware of their difficulties and willing to help out but has other concerns of his own at this point. That leaves the Violet Eye turning to players to handle the situation.

 If some how you managed to miss hearing of Karazhan in all your travels through the Eastern Kingdoms, Apprentice Tasserel at the Worlds End Tavern of Shattrah will send you there around level 68 to locate Archmage Alturus. Alturus will then start you on the chain that will allow you to get the key to enter Karazhan. Now you don't actually have to have the key to enter anymore. Any rogue with level 350 lock picking can open the door. Anyone who DOES have it can open the door for you as well however you DO need to be in a raid group to enter the instance.

Reputation for this faction is gained in only two ways. Completing the quests and/or killing mobs and bosses IN Karazhan. However most will find this is a fairly easy reputation to grind due to the fact that unlike such factions as the Hydraxian Waterlords you can continue to gain rep off of even the trash mobs all the way up to exalted. In addition to this the first boss in Karazhan drops a mount so it is usually easy to find a partner to farm him every week or an enchanter who would like to gather the four drop enchants from this instance as well. A full clear of the instance will give you anywhere from 6k-7k reputation a run.

At the time of Kara's introduction some of the reputation rewards and quest rewards were considered the best in the game. Now such things as the Violet Signet and the Blacksmithing plans sold by Koren really don't hold much monetary value. However for those who are working to get their Exalted Title this would not be a bad one to go for.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Phishing Scam

Some of you may have seen this (thank you Matt at World of Matticus for getting such a great picture of one of the E-mails I have no clue how to do that myself.) It is one of the most PROFESSIONAL and deceptive ones I have seen yet hitting right at the "non combat pet" craze.

As I stated this is NOT an official Blizzard promotion it is a VERY clever and sinister scam. The e-mail will be sent to you requesting that you fill out a "survey" and then to receive your "Jade Tiger" you must give them your Battlenet information like was done with the Mt. Dew Battlebots.

There are several clues that this is NOT an official Blizzard promotion.

1. The e-mail they send it to you is usually NOT your official Blizzard registered E-mail.
2. The Jade Tiger itself is a CHINA ONLY promotion.
3. If you wade through all the links you will find that they do indeed NOT lead back to Blizzard at all but rather to another site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Know Your Rogue Lore: Scout Nisstina

Last weeks lore figure was note worthy due to the speculation about her back story. The week before, the impact he directly has on how the over all game FEELS to an entire faction. This week we look at someone whose personal lore we know nothing about but it is her CLOTHING that has everyone talking.

Scout Nisstina is located deep in the Dalaran Underbelly, in the Black Market section. She famously is in stealth at all times but you can locate her via her pet worg pup. Many feel that in Nisstina there is a tribute to the Rogues of  "Vanilla Wow", the era before Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. The reason for this is three fold, one, what she has to say when you talk to her, two, the type of non combat pet she has with her, and three, the motley assortment of gear she is sporting.

If you talk to Nisstina she has three things she will say that when put together are rather insightful:
I don't be worryin' 'bout no Lich Kings.
Seen a lotta big-shots come and go,
dey always messin' somethin' up. It
ain't long aftah that when a posse rolls
on through and sends dem quick on dey
way to da history books. Dis one ain't
no different.
 In essence: I'm not going to worry about the Lich King, I've seen a lot of Raid Bosses come and go, each one supposedly is going to End the World as we know it. But then the raiders all get in there and soon enough are farming them until the NEXT one comes along.

If you wonder why the choice of non combat pet is something so many rogues find a tribute to them it has to do with the fact that (until patch 3.3 at least) the Worg pup was the ONLY dog type vanity pet in the game. And to get one you had to complete a quest in Lower Black Rock Spire. Many rogues would just stealth through and solo the quest. At that time if you had a rogue in your party who was in stealth it was often difficult to keep track of them visually so many would keep a non combat pet out as a way to assist their raid and party members. (This is actually how I got my first non combat pet. One of my guild mates was tired of losing me so gave me a Mechanical Squirrel.)

Finally, Nisstina's gear. To rogues who leveled and played during the Pre-BC years many pieces of Nisstina's wardrobe are extremely familiar to us as we ourselves sported most of them at one time or another, often for months, sometimes even YEARS. Unlike today in which full regears happen on a seemly three month basis, then you got A LOT of use out of a piece of gear and what she wears are by many considered the "hallmarks" of that era.

On her head she sports the Eye of Rend. This was a piece much coveted by role players as well as others just for the "coolness" factor of the look so to actually get one for USE was more difficult then.

The shoulders are the infamous Nightslayer Shoulders. Few rogues cared for the style of these, with some refusing to wear them altogether because they felt they spoiled the over all intimidating look of the REST of the Nightslayer set. The nick names we had for them were ALL negative.

Her belt is also a part of that same set, the Nighslayer Belt. For being a Bind on Equipt item that came off of trash from Molten Core the drop rate on this was HORRIBLE, less than 1% on most mobs. To actually manage to have it was an achievement in and of itself.

Her pants are the Devilsaur Leggings. These extremely unattractive pants are crafted and were considered some of the best you could get pre-raiding at the time. Even now they are quite good for leveling due to their itemization but harder to come by because few people take the time to farm the materials.

Her gloves are the Bloodfang Gloves. When these were first released rather than having a disarm duration reduction of 50% they actually made the wearer IMMUNE to disarm. This became an issue in PvP situations and that was changed. Still many rogues kept these gloves for a VERY long time to use for PvP.

Her weapons are also very interesting. In her main hand she appears to be holding Spineshatter. Now this was considered the BEST main hand mace for rogues until AQ20's introduction despite the fact that it had defense on it. The majority of the rogues who actually GOT this item was because either they stole it from TANKS (never a brilliant move but it did happen) or their tanks already had it or something better. Her off hand is the Core Hound Tooth. This was the BEST off hand dagger for rogues for a VERY long time however the drop for it was a little spotty so there was a TRICK to it. Since it came out of the Cache of the Firelord you didn't actually have to be PRESENT for the fight to be able to loot it. This led to a lot of character swapping and summoning as you had to work fast, you only had an hour before the chest despawned.

As to her cloak, Virvia on Wowhead suggested the Shifting Cloak. I personally lean more towards the Deathguard's Cloak. I know for myself getting a well itemized cloak at that time was a pain and the PvP one was common to see. (Though for Alliance it was the Cloak of the Honor Guard.) While the Shifting Cloak fits the LOOK, it wasn't one you often saw due to the materials involved in crafting it and most rogues who DID use it were mocked for it.

Due to her tabard it is difficult to determine what chest piece she might be wearing so I won't even hazard a guess on that one. All told Nisstina is a wonderful representative of how many of us who have played rogues for a while started out. A little piece of history immortalized in a quite corner of Dalaran's sewer. Perhaps for another class that might not make sense but for us? The shadows are our friends.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rep: Keepers of Time

We are now entering the area where the gathering of reputation from the Burning Crusade expansion gets a little more tricky as it takes place almost ENTIRELY within either instances or raids. This next group is even trickier because they are not even LOCATED in Outland but rather in Tanaris so getting to them can be a trek.

The Keepers of Time represent the Bronze dragonflight. What is interesting about this particular faction is that unlike the OTHER dragonflights the Bronze has several "subfactions" that deal with SPECIFIC situations under their area of influence but the Keepers of Time really represents what they as a GROUP are all about. The overseeing of ALL time lines.

When players first arrive at the Caverns of Time they must first complete a quest that gives them a quick tour of the area and explains exactly what is going on. It is here that you will discover that the actual Lord of Time Nozdormu is away and two of his off spring have been left to over see things in his absence. If you take the time to listen to Andormu and Nozari, converse you will learn that rather than risk themselves and potentially put the whole time line in jeopardy in Nozdormu's absence they decide to use mortals to help correct a situation being created by a new race of dragons called the Infinite Dragonflight.

Now there is much speculation as to exactly WHO the Infinite Dragonflight are and what is going on with them but we won't get into that now. It is enough to say that this will not be the last time you see them and I am willing to bet that they will be getting a even bigger role at some point later on.

Once you complete your tour you are asked to venture into one of the portals nearby that leads to Hillsbrad 7 years in the past. There you will meet up with another member of the dragonflight who will send you on a chain of quests to rescue Thrall. If you know the original lore it is actually quite interesting and even if you don't I have always found this to be a fun instance. You must complete EVERY part of the quest chain as you go through the instance. If you are doing it with others be SURE to check before starting the next section that everyone is ready or it will mean you will have to run the entire thing again.

Once you have complete the Durnholde chain and returned to Andormu  you will then be given a quest to protect Medivh and allowed to proceed into Black Morass. Black Morass is basically nothing more than one long endurance fight so clear out the random critters a bit to make it a little easier than walk up to Medivh to start the event. Once you complete this quest you will be given a large chunk of rep (about 8k) which should allow you to pick up your heroic key. At this point it is all just farming the instances.

Most individuals prefer to farm Black Morass as it is a quick easy grind with the most rep pay out. But if soloing that is beyond you Durnhold may be the option you wish to look at. Both normal AND heroic modes will give you reputation all the way up through exalted. There is one other option but it is VERY slow and VERY iffy and that is that you can SOMETIMES get 500 CoT rep if you HAPPEN to rescue a Keeper of Time from one of the prisons over in Netherstorm. Personally I just considered it a bonus when I was working on Consortium reputation.

Now since the Caverns of  Time ARE so out of the way the Keepers were kind enough to give us access to a couple of short cuts. If you are Revered you can speak to Zephyr at the World's End Tavern in Shattrath and she will port you directly to the Caverns. Even better than that, Zidormi has a portal from the Violet Citadel in Dalaran with NO reputation requirement. However BOTH of these options are only ONE WAY.

One other thing of note, while the portals in time are continuing to open only the Old Hillsbrad and Black Morass instances will give you Keepers of Time Reputation. The Culling of Stratholme will not help you in anyway with this faction. Sorry and Happy Grinding!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Going pugging

This past week has been an adventure for me in real life. We discovered that our dryer's vent from our laundry room which is SUPPOSE to pipe UNDER our kitchen through the crawl space and then outside had split in two places. So instead of going where it was intended all that nice hot moist air was going INTO the crawl space and rotting out the floor. Of course it was located just under our freezer and fridge causing a minor floor collapse.

So rather than raiding I spent most of the week dealing with insurance adjusters, contractors along with family and friends as we began the lovely process of relocating my kitchen so we can start demoing my floor. (Yes I DID want to remodel it but...not right before the holidays not matter WHAT the plate wearer in the family jokingly accuses, I am not THAT evil or demented thank you very much.)

Last night was the first time I really FELT like raiding. I still wasn't up to my usual standard but when I got a whisper to join a ToC 25 man pug I figured hey, why not. I personally enjoy pugging 25 mans. It gives me a chance to see other peoples strategies and techniques as well as test my own skills against others. The Raid Leader was Phatton. (That is actually his alt his Main is a Lock) mix his heavy Indian accent with his mic that kept shorting out and it made for an interesting night hearing instructions. Thankfully the majority of us were already familiar with the instance.

The rest of the group was a nice mix though we were kinda heavy on the mages (had 5 of them). Only one guy was one of "those guys". You know the ones....all about the dps meters, cocky, "I clear this on heroic why do I need to be on vent?" those types. It was kinda funny actually as when it came right down to it the top 8 dps were ALL really tight. We were only separated by maybe 10 points each. It was only as we got specific jobs that our damage over all started to space out. (I got interrupt and lock down duties, another mage got spell stealing, and two others polymorphing) it made for a nice smooth run up until we got to the twins.

Now the strategy we used is that all the dps went dark and all the healers light and we just focus on the light girl. This was a new strat to me as I had always done the split strat before. It is a riskier strat and well...our luck wasn't with us as the dark girl kept getting the shield. We hit the enrage timer with them at 3%.

At this point some of the raid had to leave. So there we sat. We were down to 23 and another FRESH raid was starting up so there was little chance of us picking up more to a raid almost finished. We decided to just press on and see if we could do it anyway. This time we did it, the girls went down but at that point we lost two more to the raid one of them being a tank so we couldn't finish. Hopefully we will get Anub tonight but even if we don't I didn't walk away empty handed.

The loot rules were 1 epic per person, you could roll on the trophies if you had the emblems to get gear with them and patterns if you had the trade and the skill to learn it. (Same as our guild's rules when we pug which I liked). Well Blood Fury dropped off of Jaraxxus. Now I am Fist/dagger and the other rogue that was with us was Assassination so when the Raid leader called for a roll the two of us were whispering furiously back and forth to each other. The poor raid leader is like "Rogues? Neither of you WANT that?" So I told him "It is off spec for both of us and we don't know what the rule is on off spec so we are talking about it." At that point the raid leader opened it up for "free to off spec" well then it was me, the other rogue and one of the shammys. Of course (because it is an OFF HAND) I rolled a 99.

So after the raid I had to head over to Ironforge to do it....break down and learn Axes. Then I went to my bank, rummaged through all my weapons (it is kind disgusting how many off hands I actually have) thankfully I never did bother to do anything with the Westfall Saber I got a few weeks ago...though it DOES look cool....Finally located my Silent Crusader I had gotten to use for all of two days back in my Nax days and headed off to Strat to work on leveling my skill. (I have a phobia about having a skill UN maxed.) Figure if I have to get it maxed up may as well work on getting that stupid mount off of the Baron while I do it.

So now I will be a lumber jack for a little bit and I don't care...but I REFUSE to wear High heels, those things HURT and slow you down.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One of our own honored

Blizzard is well known for honoring and commemorating individuals from the WoW community in game. Some times it is as memorials, sometimes just a nod to all the hard work an individual has done before they had to say good bye but sometimes it is due to work they are doing and continue to do even now.

Recently MMO Champion data mined a nod to one of our very own. One whose work has touched many of us and with out it most of us would be unable to obtain the dps we do today. The catch phrase amongst rogues would not even BE "check the spread sheets" if not for him and his ground breaking efforts. All COMPLETELY voluntarily. I am of course talking about Aldriana and his work at Elitest Jerks.

Not a bad looking piece as an off set item that appear like they will come from (of course) the 25 man normal version of Ice Crown Citadel. I am sure Aldriana will be pleased and may I just add my own Congratulations! It may feel a little strange for him to put HIS OWN name into his spread sheet this next patch.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dps Questionnaire

This all started over at Death Goddess with her doing a dps questionnaire and inviting people to join in. It hasn't gained as much attention has the Healer chain or even the Tank chain that went the rounds which is interesting considering how many MORE Dpsers there are but here is my poor stab at it. (Yes, even bad rogue jokes.)

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary dps?
Daraia, Combat, (15/51/5) Rogue.

What is your primary dpsing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
10 and 25 man raids, 5 man heroics and some battle grounds. (Though the battle grounds I do mutilate spec.)

What is your favorite dps spell/ability for your class and why?
Killing spree. It is just a FUN move. The ability to hit so many targets, some times even targets up in the air. It makes me laugh every time I use it. Even when it miss fires and sends you flying over a cliff.

What dps spell do you use least for your class and why?
Backstab. As a Combat Rogue I NEVER have a dagger in my main hand and when given a chance to open from stealth  I prefer to Garrote.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your dps class and why?
Our abilities to mitigate or avoid damage all together, Evasion, Feint, Cloak of Shadows, and at last resort Sprint. They allows us to continue to Dps when many other melee classes have to reposition.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your dps class and why?
Rogues are very gear dependent, especially with our weapons, even when you upgrade all the other pieces your dps will only see a slight increase if your weapons do not improve. This can hurt a lot of more casual players as often the best weapons are located in more hard to reach areas such as hard modes or final bosses in raids.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best dps assignment for you?
Single target focus but I enjoy when I have such things as interrupts, or other situations where I get to use all the tools I have as a rogue.

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with most and why?
Death Knights or Enhancement Shamans. Horn of Winter and Windfury. What is not to love?

What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with least and why?
Those who are more concerned with being the top of the damage meter and then risk the other members of their party because they won't do simply things that can help the whole run go smoother because all that matters are "the numbers".

What is your worst habit as a dps?
Tunnel Vision. Getting SO focused on what is going on with my target that I fail to notice what is going on with others around me. This is worse with some fights than others.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while dpsing?
People who link Recount in group. As well as individuals who just assume that everyone is going to already KNOW everything about a given instance or perfered tactic and then call others names when they fail to preform to their standard.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other dps?
Yes, though I still hear that rogues are "over powered" it seems to be more directed at PvP rather than PvE now. But this may be more due to there not being as many rogues as there once were in PvE.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a dps?
Recount, Wowmeters, and World of logs. Put them all together and they give you a nice over view of what you have done as compared to everyone else in the raid from more than just one perspective.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
That Rogues are really easy to play well. They are a much more physical and mathy class than many people realize.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new dpsers of your class to learn?
How to manage your cool downs. It really comes down to experience, knowing when to use them and when to hold off for best effect.

What dps class do you feel you understand least?
Death Knights. They have just so many variables to them I can't seem to rap my head around what makes a good one or not. I just know when I encounter a good one I want to run with them again and when I run into the multitudes of bad ones I avoid them.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in dps?
Recount, Tidy Threat, X-pearl, Satrina Buff Frames are just some of the mods I use.
The macros I use the most are the following two for Tricks of the Trade:

/cast [help] [target=focus, help] Tricks of the Trade
/cast [help] [target=targettarget, help] Tricks of the Trade

Agility over other stats or balanced stat allocation, and why?
As Combat it is really more about the Attack Power and Armor Pen (if you have the right Trinkets which I unfortunately have not been lucky enough to get my hot little hands on.) My personal preference has really been to run for a more balanced stat allocation but as Rogues are now that is not how you get the best dps.

Combat has a little more play room than Assassination spec in that we don't have to worry about Expertise as much (and we will usually get to cap without even trying). Even our Hit Rating is not something we worry about as that is something often easily reached with gear alone. (315) Most of our focus is on pure attack power. While Agility does give some nice mitigation and crit when it comes to pure dps Attack power edges it out by just a hair. So in the end it just comes down to personal preference. A little more Dps or a little more survivability. I personally do a mix of the two because I have two sets of gear. One I use purely for Combat that I keep gemed with Attack power based gems and the others I use Agility gems in are the pieces I use for both my Combat AND Assassination sets.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Know Your Rogue Lore: Calia Hastings

At times when dealing with Rogue lore all we truly are dealing with is our own speculations, observations and opinions. This is clearing demonstrated in dealing with our topic for today Calia Hastings. The only FACTS we have about her is that she is a level 38 Alliance quest giver located at Theramore Island in Duskwallow Marsh and a member of Mathias Shaw's organization SI:7. From there pretty much everything else is subjective.

The prevailing theory is that this is none other than Prince Arthas' older sister Calia Menethil. For quite a while everyone believed that Calia was killed during the massacre following her father's death at her brother's hand but recent clues have begun to erode that idea. It all started with a short story in the RPG Horde Player's Guide in which there is contained a tale about a Paladin and a undead Priest rescuing two prisoners from Undercity, the priest refers to the girl as "my Princess".

Speculation arose even more as the result of  the recently released novel Arthas: Rise of the Lich King. Here Arthas recalls a secret passage known to his sister from her rooms to the outer walls. In the Novel Day of the Dragon Calia was presented as being enthralled with the idea of her impending betrothal to Lord Prestor but in the Arthas novel we are given an entirely DIFFERENT picture. A Calia  PROTESTING her betrothal, weeping at the prospect and actively seeking escape. Even going so far as to beg her brother not to do the same to his own children. In addition we now know from that same book that Calia had developed a close friendship with Jania Proudmore while she visited at Lorderon so the thought of her seeking sanctuary with her after its fall is more than reasonable.

The question then becomes, what about the "Hastings"? Here again there are two prevailing theories. The first is she married. Some purpose she could have married Caretaker Hastings of Karazhan or a relative of him.  Others believe that she just took on the name of Hastings as a disguise.

Now of course this could just be Caretaker Hastings wife, daughter, niece or other relative as well, but it certainly is fun to speculate isn't it?

So lets get back to what we KNOW about this individual.

She starts and ends four separate quests that you can pick up no earlier than level 32. Each of them deal with traitors amongst the guards at Theramore. It is a fairly simple and fun quest chain if your Alliance and will give you a better understanding of the politics of the area. Calia's duties for SI:7 are to make certain that Jania stays in power and protected. You as a player help her do that.

This is another character and quest series it will be interesting to see if it manages to survive the upcoming Cataclysm being that Theramore is an Island.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rep: Ogri'la

High in the Blade's Edge Mountains, only accessible by flying mount you will find a small and unusual community of ogres. Ogri'la is considered by many to be a play on the idea of Shangri-La as its inhabitants seem to have somehow transcended beyond the brutish behavior usually seen in ogres. But it is not a peaceful existence they have in their mountain home. Besieged by both the Black dragonflight AND the Burning Legion who seek to claim the areas resources for themselves the Ogres have turned to both the Sha'tari Skyguard and Players for assistance.

Players will usually first hear about these Ogres' plight at level 70 from Grok, a representative of the Ogres' in Blades Edge who has gone to Shattrah City to plead for help. He can be located in Lower City near the Fruit Seller Granny Smith who is frequently chastising him for eating her apples. Grok will request players to go to The Circle of Blood in Blades Edge and find Mog'dorg the Wizened.

Mog'dorg will then send players off on a short series of group quests. These quests are to help free the ogres from their gronn Masters. What is nice about these quests is that you don't actually have to be grouped to complete some of them as once the item is dropped it can be collected by anyone who happens to be in the vicinity. Once you complete this chain you are declared King/Queen of the Blade's Edge Ogres and sent to Ogre Heaven.

Gaining reputation with Ogri'la is not easy as the ONLY way to gain it is via daily quests and the number of quests you have available to you only increases as your reputation with the faction increases. It does help if you happen to already be at least honored with the Skyguard as they also will have some quests available near by which grant reputation for BOTH Skyguard AND the Ogri'la faction.

In total there are only 18 quests that grant Ogri'la reputation. Only four of them are repeatable daily quests which are opened by doing other quests so in total you will spend an average of 28 days getting this reputation from neutral to exalted. There are a couple of group quests also available which some level 80 characters may find they can solo.

One other thing of note is the currency of choice for the Ogres in Ogri'la are Apexis Crystals. These are easily gathered up simply from both mobs located in the general area as well as nodes  near Ogri'la.

Good Luck!


I am not sure how many of you are avid readers of but they recently added a new feature. The art work of Kelly Aarons. Kelly has always been one of my favorite WoW world comic artist. In fact I keep a link to her website on this blog just so I can stay current on her work. When I heard she had been contracted to do a new feature each Tuesday I was ecstatic. Imagine my surprise to discover that her work will be featuring a ROGUE! Not only that but a TAUREN rogue. Of all the horde races the Tauren have always been my favorite.

Who knows where this will go but I KNOW it will be fun. Kelly's work always is. So now each Tuesday I have a new thing to look forward to in addition to keeping up on Kissless and Cadistra every week. So please give Kelly your support and Yeah Rogues!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gear just keeps falling on my head

This past week has been rather overwhelming for me in the gear department. The problem? With the exception of one piece it has ALL been for the WRONG spec. I have been running a combat spec. I like it because even though it is a raid based spec I can still easily aoe solo with it while doing dailys and keep my secondary spec open for my PvP based Mutilate spec.

But now I am in a quandary. You see just this past week I have managed to pick up:
Dirk of the Night Watch off of Jaraxxus.
Icefall Blade off of the Twins
Leggings of the Broken Beast off  Icehowl
Trophy of the Crusade off of the Champions

Previously I have gotten:
Bloodfang Hood from Ony
The Diplomat off the Twins
Westfall Saber off of Anub'arak

So I have spent the last day pulling my hair out trying to decided if I invest the money in a full re gem as well as some more Berserking enchants to go Mutilate (not my strongest spec PvE wise) which will impact which piece I pick up with my Trophy.

I don't think it would be such a big deal for me if we weren't hitting new content this week. The idea of attempting to get a new spec down while facing bosses and hard modes I have never done before is really what is contributing to all the anxiety. The last thing I want is to see a HUGE drop in my damage output while I am trying to get this all figured out.

Part of the problem is the REST of my gear. I have my Greatness card. But I have NEVER been able to replace my Fury of the Five Flights. I was able to get the Dexterous Brightstone Band but my other ring is the old Surge Needle Ring from EoE. With the exception of my newly crafted Bracers of Swift Death the rest is 226 gear out of Uludar. Like many other rogues I am faced with the question of WHEN do I break up my Tier 8?

I have been playing with my spreed sheets but even with that I am struggling as the NEWEST one for Mutilate is still in its beta form and very buggy as well as lacking some key elements. In addition to that most of the conversations on EJ focus on weapon swapping which is not something I have a great deal of success with. (Yeah I am a noob, just to advanced for me.) So what am I going to do? (Beyond go bald from pulling hair and get a bruise on my forehead from banging my desk?)

For now I think stick with what I know keep gathering the gear and maybe sacrifice my PvP spec for a while until I get the new one down. It is about all I can think of but OOOOH is it going to be painful on the pocket book.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Know Your Rogue Lore: Gamon

Once before in this series we have covered an individual who was NOT actually a Rogue. In his case it was due to confusion as many people THOUGHT he was one (I still have people tell me I am wrong.) The individual we are going to look at today makes no pretense at claiming to BE a Rogue, his race can't even learn the trade but his presence greatly impacts Orc and Troll Rogues and from them the REST of the Horde as a whole.

Gamon is a level 7-12 Tauren warrior (his exact level changes each spawn time which is about every 5 minutes) who is part of the rogue quest The Shattered Hand. In order for rogues to be able to pick pocket an individual they must also be allowed to ATTACK them and this has lead to a rather interesting and unanticipated difficulty. Gamon is a drunkard who hangs out in the main Inn of Orgrimmar the BUSIEST city of the Horde. Since he is vulnerable to Mind Control and there is NO penalty for attacking and/or killing him the options open for mischief are endless. Rogues are often forced to both camp and plead with their follow players while attempting to complete their low level quest.

With the release of patch 3.0.2 Gamon received a unique ability called Pride Breaker. It is basically a knock back ability but priests especially liked it as while controlling Gamon  they could use it to knock fellow players off of mail boxes and mounts. (This control was later lost in patch 3.1.0)

It isn't often that a rogue quest objective reaches such legendary status but Gamon's presence has literally effected the over all feel and environment of the game for many Horde players.  Few can log on in Orgrimmar with out being greeted by the sounds of fighting and a dying Tauren as Gamon faces repeated execution by players. This has helped contribute to the lawless feel of this Horde Capital city. It was further driven home with the introduction of the Death Knights to the Game. While all other NPC's greet them as unfriendly when doing the quest "Warchief's Blessing" Gamon is actively hostile and will pursue the Death Knight swearing vengeance in the name of the Horde.

Like the Alliance's Hogger Gamon is frequently the victim of long kiting expeditions, lvl 1 raids, as well as claims for epic and legendary loot drops in trade chat. His death is often greeted with spammed emotes of /cry, /cheer, /dance, /mourn and /spit. Clemency for him is only pleaded by the few rogues desperate to complete their quest.

When Horde players complete the achievement Veteran of the Wrathgate and return to the phased Orgimmar which has been placed under martial law. Gamon is one of the NPC's they will find gathered at the bank. We can only hope that in the rumored upcoming destruction of Ogrimmar during the Cataclysm Gamon will survive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


In June of 2008 a landmark Machinima was released. The Craft of War: Blind. Percula created waves with both his artistry and new techniques. While some questioned his music choice, the pacing and balance of his piece has earned it a place right up there with classics like Big Blue Dress, and the Tales of the Past series. 

The plot of the piece was fairly simple. A blood elf rogue is sent into Stormwind to take out Lady Prestor. Her presence in the city is detected by the City guard and they alert a member of SI:7 who works to stop her.

There were SEVERAL things I LOVED about this movie. First of all I ADORED that the stars for ONCE were NOT Undead. It seems that just about EVERY Machinima done dealing with rogues features the undead. Nothing against them but there ARE more than JUST Undead rogues out there. The main character is MORE than capable, she is deadly, attractive and focused on her goal. As a TRUE assassin should be. I have always liked the blood elf rogue movement animations as I feel they most TRULY reflect how you would desire to move in real life.

This gets to the next thing I loved about the movie. Unlike with most others the characters handle their weapons ACCURATELY. The guards have to re load their guns, the rogues hold the weapons APPROPRIATELY in their hands not JUST facing FORWARD but BACK as well as you would in TRUE knife fighting. Yet there is STILL some fun "wire work" if you will that gives one of the fight scenes an added tension.

The fact that Percula used both IN GAME moves as well as TRUE fighting techniques in his movie gave it an ADDED punch. I tell you I SO wish I could do the flip move the main rogue uses....The screams of overpowered would be to much but MAN would it be FUN! For those Horde who saw the film and had NO CLUE who Lady Prestor WAS the mocking by Alliance for thinking her "just some warlock" who could slice  steel weapons with her bare hand was an added bonus. (Yes that is Onyxia, in disguise DUH!)

So why am I going on about a movie that came out over 10 months ago?...Well, when Craft of War: Blind first came out the IDEA was it was to be the first in a SERIES. Each episode would feature a different class. While we would have Cameos of PAST characters in each following episode. So for the past 10 months people have been waiting with baited breath for the NEXT movie. is official, there will BE no more.

update November 1, 2009

Hey everyone, I thought I'd give an update since I still get plenty of people asking about future videos. Currently I don't have any plans to continue with The Craft of War. I've been delaying letting people know this because I didn't want to disappoint. I had thought people would forget about BLIND after a while but there seems to be a steady stream of new WoW players that see the video and ask about a continuation. Why won't I continue? It has to do with me being laid off from work earlier this year. I had to focus on finding a job so I quit WoW because, I'm sure you would agree, playing WoW takes up a lot of time, lol. Since my forced break from WoW I've lost my interest in playing although I still visit the WoW blogs and am still part of the officers mailing list for my guild. Maybe I'll find something that'll motivate me to play again. :) I think I'd have to start playing again in order to be motivated to make more The Craft of War videos.

Even though I may not continue with TCoW I still plan on making more animated videos. Instead of being based on WoW I have some original concepts that I think will be totally awesome. Also, if you want to see more of my work you'll have to pick up future id Software games as I'll have a hand in their development. :) I won't mention my past work because I continue to improve. My past animations won't compare to my future stuff. Also, why should I mention games for a company that laid me off?! AM I RIGHT?!?! LOL!


So, I guess I will just have to crank up Hide and Seek (yeah I even ordered the CD from over seas so I could add the song to my WoW mix) weep a few tears but wish Percula all the best. Hopefully he will find a job soon and Cataclysm will bring him back to the game motivating him to re think this WONDERFUL series.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rep: The Consortium

The Consortium is a group of ethereal traders. (At least that is what they call themselves.) In reality these cloth wrapped energy beings are really little more than thieves and smugglers lead by their mob boss Nexus-Prince Haramad. Their main base of operations is located at Stormspire in Netherstorm, but they have smaller settlements and shops scattered all over Outland including such notable locations as Aeris Landing in Nagrand and within Mana-Tombs in Auchindoun.

One of the unique things about the Consortium is that once you reach friendly status with them you are officially considered a member and placed on the pay role. Once a month you can stop by Aeris Landing and receive your wages in the form of raw gems. The greater your reputation the better the quality and quantity of gems you will find in your Membership Benefits.

How you gain reputation with the Consortium has changes a bit over the course of the game so the options available to you are really manifold. Players usually first encounter this faction at Aeris Landing in Nagrad unless they happen to make it into Mana-Tombs first.

From Neutral to Friendly you could get reputation from:
NORMAL Mana-Tombs runs (These will get you reputation up through Honored)
Oshu'Gun Crystal Fragment turn in to Gezhe
Pair of Ivory Tusk turn in to Shadrek

Once you hit Friendly you can no longer do the Ivory Tusk or Crystal Fragments. Now is a good time to move on to either:
Obsidian Warbeads which can be farmed while working on Kurenai (Alliance) or The Mag'har (Horde)
Or the Zaxxis Insignia. which USE to be the preferred way to get you all the way to exalted.
But as I mentioned there was a change with patch 2.1.0 with the introduction of the Etherum Prision.

Now once you hit Honored you CERTAINLY want to head to Netherstorm no matter what. There you will find two quests (if you haven't been doing any of the other Consortium quests already) which will send you to Seek out Ameer. He will send you on A Mission of Mercy which will become in a sense a repeatable quest for you as you will continue to find keys and free prisoners. This will lead to the repeatable quest Ethereum Prisoner I.D. Catalogue. These keys can be farmed in three places: The Staging Area, and The Heap in Netherstorm and Bash'ar Landing in Blades Edge Mountains.

Where you chose to farm is entirely up to you. Some like the Heap as you can still get Insignias, some prefer the drop rate in Bash'ar Landing, and others prefer to stay close to all the prisoners at the Staging Area. There really is no BAD area to grind.  Each I.D badge will give you 250 rep. Opening a prison that frees a FRIENDLY prisoner will grant you 500 rep for THAT faction.

For those who like to break up the monotony of grinding there are a total of 90 quests offered that give reputation for this faction. Unfortunately a good chunk of them are tied to daily dungeons or repeatable "grinding" style quests. The majority of the quests are of course located in Nagrand and Netherstorm but don't miss out on those in Blades Edge Mountains as well.

Many consider the Ethereals one of the COOLER looking races and to be a part of them even if only by association is a lot of fun. While the "goodie bag" of gems may not mean as much now as it once did, they STILL are nice and those working on power leveling jewel crafting won't mind the extra help.

Happy Grinding!