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Recent Comments:

Totem Talk: Save yourself {WoW}

Feb 28th 2010 3:57AM Well I did read the caveat, and my opinion as an Enhancement player for 4+ years is that an emergency heal from an Enhancement Shaman CAN make a difference in arena or 5-man groups, but in raids our heals are a drop in the bucket.

In the best-case scenario, an extremely well-timed heal can buy a second for a primary healer or keep a kiter, off-tank or other crucial raid member topped off.

But overall, if you're in a raid and your tanks are dying, the healing situation is likely the problem, and Enhancement (or any off-spec) heals are not going to make a difference.

I say this as the king of the "Warstomp and MW 5-stack Healing Wave" combo in small groups and PvP play, and it's a shame we can't finesse like that in raids because those mobs tend to be immune to things like Warstomp across the board. I've had many a pugger thank me for saving their ass in a 5-man by stunning the mob that's attacking them and tossing them an 8k heal, and it's nice to be useful for things other than damage.

But yeah...in situations where I find myself having to toss off-heals, and not just once or twice in an extreme emergency, I know there's a tanking or healing issue and trying to turn that around with my underpowered contribution is not going to make much difference.

If Blizzard is going to stick to their "hybrid penalty" mindset, they should look at this kind of utility -- Enhancement and Feral could never take over for a dedicated, specced healer, but it would be sweet if those specs had a specific emergency ability to amplify their heals (not overall spell damage) for 10 seconds or so. That wouldn't put anyone out of work, but it would add more utility, more options, and a tool players can put to great use if they use it wisely.

Abilities I usually wish didn't exist in 5-mans {WoW}

Jan 12th 2010 8:53PM "My current favourite peeve is dps who can't manage their threat calling the tank or other dps bad because they only understand nuke, and link the meters over and over on trash, yet stay oddly quiet after boss fights..."

While I'll agree with you that there are seemingly endless numbers of incompetent DPS, let's not pretend there's this reserve of amazing tanks working their way through the LFG tool.

Case in point: I joined a random FoS run the other night, and the first thing the tank says to the party is this: "If you die, it's because you're stupid and it's your own fault."

Great way to start off a run, eh?

And, invariably, on every pull I waited until the tank had time to gain aggro, and used my Wind Shear on every cool down, but I was still getting aggro -- constantly. In the meantime, there was almost always a loose mob running around, hitting the healer or the DPS.

And so I asked, politely, if the tank was having problems getting aggro, and of course he (a guy playing a female toon) responded in the nastiest way possible that I didn't know what I was doing.

On another run (HoR) that same day, we went through four healers, with the tank bitching about every one of them. It got to the point where I had to tell him the healing could not have been the problem if we were on our fourth healer and he still wasn't happy.

Let's be honest here: Most good tanks can fill up a five-man run with guildies very quickly, and do not need to use the LFG system. Of the ones who do use it, some are undoubtedly good tanks, but a large number are simply incompetent.

Moral of the story? There are bad players of every class, spec and role.

World of Warcraft: The Magazine needs a new Editor-in-chief {WoW}

Dec 2nd 2009 10:07PM They're all censored to one degree or another anyway.

Schramm (who I happen to like, from what I've read) agreed to an off-the-record conversation with one of Blizzard's server people, then posted about how cool the server tech is, but how unfortunately he couldn't tell us about it.

Then the NYT went and did a story on the same server tech, and they did not take Blizzard's refusal to talk about it as an excuse -- the reporter got on the phone and called experts and people who were peripherally involved, and got a damn good story.

Likewise, we've all heard about the WoW bloggers (independent, not wow.com) who signed non-disclosure agreements in exchange for getting info on the next expansion.

So really, no WoW blog or fanboy site is going to be an independent source for real in-depth coverage of this stuff. It always falls to the professionals to do that, because, 1) That's their job, 2) They're used to getting stonewalled anyway, and 3) They don't let ANYONE serve as the "official source," so they certainly aren't going to start doing that with Blizzard.

Sure, the media seems more and more like a relic from days past, but every now and then a great story comes around, and it becomes obvious that no blogger or part-time quasi-journalist would have produced that same story.

Totem Talk: The elusive shaman tank {WoW}

Oct 25th 2009 8:33AM I agree that the WotLK changes make Shaman tanking near-impossible.

I've offtanked Karazhan on my Tauren Shaman, and quite a few times I tanked TBC's late-game five-man (non-heroic) dungeons.

Here's why it worked then and doesn't work now:

- Frost Shock no longer causes enough threat to function as a taunt, and indeed, the Spirit Weapons talent makes that spell even less effective for aggro
- Shamanistic Rage used to last for 30 seconds, now it lasts for 15 (albeit, recently, with a lower cooldown)
- Comparatively high iLevel (at the time) PvP epics, combined with a shield, raid buffs and a Devotion Aura, meant Shamans could reach HP and armor levels not far off from regular tanks in TBC. That's not true anymore
- Shamans used to use Strength, which increases shield block, but in WotLK Blizzard made Strength a lot less attractive to Shamans (by cutting the AP bonus in half), and now we use Agility instead

In TBC, I could tank any of the regular instances up to level 70 without much problem, but heroics were extremely difficult and not advisable unless the rest of the group was willing to go very slow and the healer was extremely good. Even in KZ, with the extra raid buffs, offtanking was rough going because Shamans lack so many of the tanking mechanics the true tanking classes have.

Still, it's kinda cool to see some people continue to do unique and unexpected things with their toons. More power to the Shaman players who still find ways to tank.

Armed Forces is September's Guild of the Month {WoW}

Oct 20th 2009 3:06AM Sorry, you can't play the "you don't have XX achievement? Then you must be scrubs..." game with these guys.

You know what's harder than taking down raid bosses? Signing up for the military.

Know what's even harder? Signing up when you know there are two wars going on.

Even more difficult than that? Coping with all the stresses that come from being deployed, and surviving through it to rejoin society.

My brother was a Recon Marine who survived Fallujah, and thanks to the fanatical safety measures he and the other NCOs instituted in their company, combined with the execution of the things they learned in training, NO ONE was killed during their deployment.

You could have "Undying" on 75 different toons and that still wouldn't be as impressive as what these guys do.

Step away from your computer for once, and take some time to think about why you should feel grateful for what these guys do for the rest of us.

Breakfast Topic: They just don't get it... {WoW}

Oct 19th 2009 7:21PM In the Stonetalon Mountains, there's a village called Malaka'Jin.

Malaka is a Greek word that literally means "masturbator" but is used a lot like the British "wanker," where it can be either an insult or a term of endearment for a friend, as in, "What's up, you crazy wankers?"

When I noticed the name of the village several years ago, wile leveling my first toon, I looked at Blizzard's development staff list, and sure enough there was a Greek-American. I can't remember his name off-hand, but I'm pretty sure he's responsible for that village name.

Also, malakia (a derivative word) can, in Greek, refer to anything obsessive or nerdy, so to many Greek-speaking people, obsession with video games or MMOs can be "malakia."

That said, do not approach just any Greek and call them a malaka. If the person is your friend, they'll almost definitely find it funny, but if they're a stranger it's probably not the kind of word you want to use upon first meeting them.

We have a Tabard: I could teach you, but I'd have to charge {WoW}

Oct 14th 2009 9:10PM I have a hard time imagining how some people's DPS can be so low. My personal favorite, out of runs I've been on in-person, was a Warlock in a mix of high-end Ulduar gear and the new ToC gear, posting about 1.3k DPS.

What I don't understand is how they do it -- even auto-attacking with a wand, and mixing in an occasional spell, you should be able to do more than 1.3k, especially with that gear.

Yet I am sure the absolute lowest I could do (as melee), while auto-attacking, is about 2.2k. I just don't understand how it could be lower, especially since time off target doesn't factor into your overall DPS numbers, the way the WWS client and Recount work.

Every class or spec has fights where their DPS is crippled, whether it's because they have to fill some other, non-DPS but still crucial role; or maybe the tank is not very good, and as melee you find yourself constantly running after targets; or maybe a debuff or bad stuff on the ground prevents you from reaching the hit box of a certain boss.

But consistently underperforming like that? It's either indicative of such incredible laziness that pushing an extra two buttons is seen as a major effort, or that the person genuinely doesn't know what they're doing.

Erin Andrews Video Straddles Sports Culture's Sexual Fault Line {Fanhouse NCAA Football Blog}

Jul 25th 2009 7:05AM I don't want to hear this disingenuous stupidity about the "right to privacy" and how "decent men" don't view women like Andrews as sexual objects.

Clay Travis is right in every respect, except when he claims Andrews herself didn't realize she was selling sex. She knew it just as well as the ESPN executives knew it, in much the same way that every blond anchor on Fox News knows it. She made a conscious decision to sell herself as a sexual image in order to obtain a cushy job making lots of money. She knows it full well -- the internet is loaded with photos of her wearing sweaters so tight, the fabric seems molded to her breasts.

As we've all acknowledged, Erin Andrews would not have her job if not for her looks.

Erin Andrews chose to wear tight sweaters and cleavage-spilling tops. Erin Andrews chose to wear form-fitting pants that leave no curve of her ass to the imagination. Erin Andrews chose to giggle and tee-hee her way through interviews and the stale quips of her male co-workers on the air.

Does that make it right that someone decided to drill a peep hole and film her in her hotel room? No. But don't tell me she's shocked, or appalled, or that it's alright for TV, movie and ad executives to shove sexual images in our face and then act horrendously aggrieved when someone goes and does something like this.

In the end, all we're really talking about is a woman who decided to sell herself as a sexual object without actually admitting it, and now she's acting supremely offended because that truth was made undeniably clear with the peep hole video and the subsequent avalanche of internet search requests for it. Sorry, she's not getting my sympathy.

Dana White: Who the F--- Is Fedor? If He Signs With UFC He'll Fight the Best {MMA Fighting}

Jul 14th 2009 2:31AM @Niv:

Good call on the comparison to ancient times. Just because combat has evolved, it does not mean we don't read about the Spartan army at Thermopylae and marvel at the technique, discipline and courage it displayed against an overwhelming invasion force.

Likewise, MMA can be compared to baseball and its continuity of stats -- as long as the rules remain generally the same, the only thing that could drastically change the sport is medical technology and more substances that could give athletes greater advantages.

I can't understand how some people could say, "Fedor needs to prove himself in the UFC" unless they're just haters. The man is 8-0 against UFC champions and will almost definitely improve to 9-0 against them in August when he faces Barnett. I may be wrong, but I don't think there's another fighter -- active or retired -- who has that record against the UFC's best. It's likely that, if Fedor had been fighting in the UFC with its restrictive twice-a-year per-fighter schedule, he would not have had as many opportunities to beat UFC champions as he has had in Pride and Affliction.

And if he goes to the UFC, and he beats Lesner and Mir, who else is left for him to fight? Do people want to see him beat Noguiera and Herring again?

I'm not saying he shouldn't go -- I would love to see a Fedor-Lesnar match-up -- but please let's not speak in absolutes about what Fedor "needs" to do in order to "prove himself," or pretend the UFC would somehow provide a higher level of competition when Fedor has mowed through their best heavyweights. Can't we just be fans who all agree that we want to see him fight the best of the best, regardless of organization or affiliation?

Officers' Quarters: Best in slot {WoW}

Jul 13th 2009 11:40PM "It's not the armor value that's the point - it's that some people can ONLY use a limited amount of gear based on armor CLASS..."

Not to mention the fact that with the advent of Spirit as a desirable stat, caster Shamans have very limited opportunities for optimal gear.

- They cannot use plate
- The vast majority of cloth and leather items have Spirit on them
- There are far fewer pieces with mp5
- Many caster weapons have Spirit, making them sub-optimal for Shamans
- Paladins already enjoy access to gear that can ONLY be used by them

All things considered, for a caster Shaman to gear up (with gear optimized for Shamans), he or she has a limited number of drops that can be used -- or used to great effect. In Naxxramas, there was so much holy Plate that most guilds were sharding those Paladin pieces within a few weeks, and while Ulduar may not be as skewed, it remains true that NO OTHER CLASS can use those plate pieces with spell power on them, unless we're talking about Warriors who like to take holy plate that's going to be sharded, just so they can walk around Dalaran wearing it to piss people off.

(Or Hunters who think they have the right to roll on mail healing gear -- I've seen that too, having lost a roll on the T7.5 Resto gloves to a Hunter in VoA.)

If your raid does allow "downgrading" to a lower armor class, let the Paladins take cloth, which drops in abundance. But it's a big slap in the face to make Shamans share loot with plate-wearers when they've already got so few choices of their own.