Sunday, January 31, 2010

A month?

Well, It has been a month since I began this venture. In that time I've had 50 independent posts (this is #50). I've only been late once and the majority of the posts had content.

I think another reasonable tradition to begin would be a end-of-the-month wrap-up. So without further ado, what I did this month, in game and in blog.

As this was my first month, I introduced myself, by way of my characters and started on some basics. I began, well everything that is going on here, the daily post, the daily screenshot. With that in mind you can now send me emails at eldritchreign@gmail.com if you want to either submit a topic of discussion or an image for the daily.

Additionally I covered all of the Heroics required for Glory of the Hero (Its a Compilation).

I covered my opinion on wiping and trolling (Wiping and Have you ever...TROLLED?).

I've mentioned what I find funny about all of the classes in WoW (Humerous).

Next month I hope to cover gold farming, power leveling, achievement getting, raids and possibly some speculation on Cataclysm or other future expansions. And by speculation I mean 'wishful thinking'. But who knows?

Two of a Kind

This was taken while under the affect of the curse "Shrink" which brought me down to the same size as my so-shall drinking partner.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It is a compilation!

I'm going to cheat again! Because of my rather obscure titles, it may be difficult to find certain articles, so I've decided, that once I finish a series- such as the WotLK Original Heroics series I finished- I'll compile a set of links in a post. In the future, as I write more (maybe) I won't count them as the post of the day, but for now, I can still cheat.







Lol. Gems.

I usually do remove the UI from screenshots. But. Lol. Gems.
That is 61 gems, 13 of them are epic and will sell for around 200g each.
The remaining 48 are rare and will sell between 30g and 80g each.
It looks sooooo pretty.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It is national bank alt day!


I'm gonna show off some shots of Dugerlok, 41 Draenei Mage/Bank Alt.

This may be today's post. If you're lucky (or unlucky if you happen to like my work).





I don't actually have any of when he was leveling (I might have some somewhere), because I haven't leveled him at all since I got this computer. I did honestly level him to 21 and then had him RaF leveled to where he is now.


It is SOOOO PURTY!

I haven't shown this off yet, at least in its natural state. I have shown it angry, but still. I earned this one through the holiday achievements and I earned back during Halloween. I was in a Headless Horseman run when the squashling dropped. It was all I need for the achievement. I rolled. 2. The guy who won later pm'd me and said that he didn't really care and gave it to me- free. I gave him 300g.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wiping

I wiped on ToC 10 tonight. Five times we died on the Northern Beasts. And it was one of the most fun experiences I have ever had while raiding.

I've been in raids before where we have wiped repeatedly, Naxx, Maly, Sarth and Uld, but I didn't have much fun with those. There we were dying for stupid reasons, someone standing in the fire, someone popping AoD.

When I went into ICC for the first time (10-man, I was tanking) it was absolutely thrilling, but after killing the trash and wiping to Lord Marrowgar three or four times, I, like the rest of the pug, got bored and left.

I think part of it was that ToC is a challenge for us. It requires a skill level and gear level just about where we average out. Another thing is the lack of trash, the quick pace of the fights, and the need to be aware of several events.

The fight we were wiping on, the first one, Northern Beasts, is a three part fight where the two tanks taunt off each other because of a stacking bleed. Not difficult, but requires some attention. In many ways it was similar to Gluth.

The second part also requires two tanks, there are two different mobs. One needs to be kited, because, similar to Grobbulus, he farts out toxic clouds. The other is stationary, but on occasion, the two worms burrow and switch roles, requiring some concentration on the part of the tanks.

The final part was fun, especially because at that point the OT, one of the healers, and four DPS had died, so we had a resto druid, resto shaman, frost mage and myself, prot paladin. We could have gone on forever, until the enrage timer blew after a total of fifteen minutes of fighting.

Another part that kept me interested was a specific piece of loot that I knew these guys dropped and would have been a huge upgrade (232 Raid Epic vs. 200 Heroic Blue). Anyways, after our five wipes (hour and a half) we decided to go try our hand at Onyxia.

Me and the other tank pulled the trash outside her room to quickly and we wiped on those. Then we one shot Onyxia, with only one person still dead at the end (of course, we had three druids with Battle Rezes up, a shaman with reincarnation, a warlock who threw out a soul stone, and myself with Ardent Defender). It was the first time since before 3.2.2 that I had killed Ony, of course, back then I could solo her easily and did so regularly.

Lagaran!

Ah... Lagforge...The Lagdor and the Lagyer... Now introducing: LAGARAN! It is generally seen as an image of Arthas, the Lich King and a blue loading bar.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Culling of Time

Yeah. Its my view of that god forsaken instance, Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme. The actual fights are fine, but the 13 minute (read that THIRTEEN MINUTE) introduction sequence can be a little bit off putting considering that it is in fact one of the longer instances in WotLK. So without further ado:

  1. Meathook: After beating four random waves you get Meathook. It is an Abom. You killz it. (Hint it's a tank n' spank).
  2. Salramm the Fleshcrafter: This guy is another tank 'n' spank. Unless you are going for Zombiefest! (which I got today). At that point, you want to LoS/range pull him back to the Town Hall (TH). It will be a pain if he's at the Market Gate because, well its damn far. However, once you get him to the TH kill the zombies around him. Then let him hit on the tank until the zombies have fully respawned. Then you can kill him. Loot, then let Arthas saunter over to you. Clear the inn and go down the secret passage way and leave most of the party there. Then take the tank back up and run all the way from the TH to MG without hitting any zombies, just aggroing em all. Turn of Ret Aura, Thorns and the like before doing this run. Once you have them all gathered up, use some AoE to shoot em down. This works best for pallies because they can use detect undead to find any hiding zombies and then can use Holy Wrath to one shot em all. When the tank kills them, the rest of the party should open up with everything they got on the zombies along the gauntlet until another twenty or so are killed.
  3. Chrono-Lord Epoch: Tank 'n' spank. Keep threat off Arthas. Sometimes he'll freeze time and go berserk on you, but there isn't much you can do. If you are doing zombiefest, you'll want to kill him before gathering the zombies.
  4. Infinite Corrupter: This guy is a very easy tank 'n' spank (see a pattern yet). However, you have to get to him within twenty five minutes of the first wave. If you do, he will drop a Bronze Drake, an Epic Speed mount. If you do zombiefest, you are unlikely to get this.
  5. Mal'Ganis: A fight between Arthas and Mal'Ganis. Mano a Demano. And a party of five brave adventurers. Following the pattern of the other ones, Mal'Ganis will occasionally cast sleep, which can be a bother. It is a curse, so it is dispellable. Drop him and you just saved the world from potential destruction. Now Arthas will survive and turn into the Lich King. Somehow, the powers that be believe this to be a 'good idea'.

Lets play a game of Risk! (tm)

I love risk. And apparently, so does Garrosh Hellscream. However, he is probably pretty bad at it considering the results from his recent IQ test.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In the Nick of Time!

Me and some friends were trying to get into UBRS. This is back when there was that fun 'additonal instances cannot be launched' was there for everything. Since we were using a porter there were loads of bright colors.

Aw Bugger

Time to cover Violet Hold. Yay. A general rundown on all the fights: TANK 'N' SPANK.

  1. Erekem: Kill the adds first. Or second. It doesn't really matter, considering current DPS values.
  2. Moragg: He's so cuddly. He has some psychic attacks.
  3. Ichoron: Ichoron has a shield that absorbs 99% of all damage until 99 attacks have hit her. This means you should use your faster, cheapest attacks until the bubble bursts. At that point she will disperse, and you can either destroy each of the elementals individually or use one of the safety devices on the wall (pinkish diamond/brazier thingies). However, this will prevent you from getting Defenseless, but will almost guarantee Dehydration.
  4. Xevozz: He needs to be kited. And by 'needs' I mean, its suggested, but he'll probably be nuked to death before he can do too much damage. But the healer would like it if you moved him a little.
  5. Lavanthor: Dawwww Puppy! He has a firebreath attack so the tank wants to keep him facing away from the rest of the group.
  6. Zuramat the Obliterator: Nuke him for the achievement. Or when you get shadow sight, tab-target and kill the Void Sentries. This will make it easier on the healer, but it is not as important these days.
  7. Cyanigosa: It is a dragon guys! Stay away from the tail. Stay away from the cleave. Stay away from the breath attack. When she pulls everyone in, the go back to your previous position. Dodge the Blizzards. Nothin major. However, I'm waiting for the day when Blizz releases a dragon that has gills, so it can release its breath to the sides and you WANT to stand in front of it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oho! Mashed Potatoes

I remember having a plan for today.

I don't remember what the plan was.

I don't think anyone really cares what the plan was.

I think I should write something at least moderately interesting.

I think I'll try for that.

I think I'll write about browser games.

Flash games and their ilk.

Star Pirates: A fun, easy game that- for maximum growth- does not need to be checked more than once every twenty minutes. It is a real time game in which you create a pirate vessel and perform mundane tasks to make it better. Available at starpirates.net.

Cybernations: Similar to Star Pirates but much larger and has a much greater portion of player decision. The game is about as in depth as Star Pirates but you have a lot more data on your civilization. Available at cybernations.net.

Artix Entertainment: Artix Entertainment has made a series of online flash RPGs. Their first was Adventure Quest, a classic Fantasy RPG. Since then they have created Dragon Fable, Mech Quest and Adventure Quest Worlds. AQW is a MMORPG. All of their games have fairly simple graphics and simple, intuitive and fun gameplay mechanics. It is possible to upgrade to a premium account for one payment and signing up for a premium account in earlier games allows access to special areas, items and other things in their later games. You can find AQ at battleon.com, DF at dragonfable.com, MQ at mechquest.com and AQW at aq.com.

Other Flash Games: There are loads of other fun, simple flash games available out there and one of the best places to find them is at kongregate.com. Kongregate allows its users to upload their own games to be played by the masses as well as making a tidy profit. Yes, the games you upload can earn you money, depending on the click-throughs. If you do choose to sign up my user name there is Lord_David and I would very much appreciate it if you let them know that I was the one who referred you during your signup (optional, of course, it just gets me more points).

Angry Drake is Angry!

Lookie! Its a reddish proto-drake! Violet proto-drake gets very angry and begins to go berserk!
I love how some affects (like berserk, or the blood-thingies in zangermarsh) affect not only you, but your weapon and your mount.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More on them RPGs

I've covered tabletop RPGs to a limited degree and since I'm too lazy to cover VH and COT:COS I'm gonna just do a rundown on a few single player RPGs.
Dragon Age, KotOR II, Bioshock, and Oblivion are on my list for today.

Oblivion:

When it was released it had the best graphics available and right now- they're still pretty good. The game has hundreds, perhaps thousands of quests and you have to hunt them down, there aren't ! over npc's head telling you where to go. The story line is pretty long, and while I haven't been able to affect the storyline much or change the course of the world to fit my image, I still play a major role in many parts of the society.

Combat is simple but effective and fun. The leveling system is unique and there are ways to really spam your level up quickly and ways to become very, very strong without leveling at all.

Dragon Age and KotOR II:

I have chosen to include the two of these in the same place, because, although they are radically different in many ways, the basis of both is very simple. They are both made by the same company and they are both based on a d20 system.

The games are loads of fun and the graphics are really nice (although in Dragon Age, there are no water physics). Knights of the Old Republic is set in a timeline off from the main universe but the legends created by your character and the history affected by it are included in the EU. You can choose several different paths and you do become a major player, but you are not universally recognized.

In Dragon Age, you also can make a few key decisions, but none of them really affect the game all that much. Some encounters may be slightly different but in the end, the events in the game remain the same- it is what the history books will write is what is different.

Both games have a similar combat system where you can pause easily in between actions if you want or can play in real time. The weapons are all pretty basic, but you can upgrade them to make them very strong. The leveling system is very similar to D&D. You gain exp and every level you gain skills, some ability points, some feats etc.... Both also have epic end games, which I will not go into for the sake of spoilers.

Bioshock:

Bioshock is a creepy, creepy game. Like, I mean, creepy. I play with at least one light on (preferably two) and generally at least one other person in the room (preferably two). And I'm still freaked out. The developers succeeded in making a creepy game. The story line is solid, the graphics nice and the game play smooth. It is not exactly a RPG because your character is the same every time you play through and there is really only one decision you can make that affects the plot at all. Nonetheless it is a wonderful, highly recommended game.

Additionally, it does not have a leveling system, per se. It does give you access to more weapons, more plasmids (for lack of a better descriptor- 'magic abilities'), more ammunition and better upgrades.

EEVILLE!

A paladin gone bad.... Corrupted by the arch demon Mal'Ganis. This warrior will kill all who stand in her way... for the next ten seconds- then the debuff wears off.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Arisia 2010

Yeah, Arisia was my first con. For those of you who don't know Arisia is a sci-fi/fantasy con in Boston lasting four days. It seemed to be a pretty standard con- panels, an open-gaming room, and movies in the evening. You get to read my day-by-day account of the whole thing- I'll probably skimp on some details but you're big kids- you can deal with it.

Friday:
We get there around six and went to the hotel we were staying in- nobody else was in my room, and nobody was in my friends room so we just went to the con immediately. When we arrived, we wandered a bit and ate some free bread, not seeing anyone we knew (there were about 35 or so of us from my school). We visited all the dealers and I bought myself a pencil print of Boba Fett and David Weber and John Ringo's Mardukan Epic*. After not seeing anyone for the better part of two hours we saw Outlander- an amusing and predictable sci-fi film. Immediately after, we watch Horrible Turn, a fan made prequel to Dr. Horrible's sing along blog. The quality was pretty good and the casting fit the characters fairly well. After that we find that everyone else had been exploring Boston and has recently arrived at the con- we are tired and head back to our hotel. I finally get to sleep around 3 and my roommates say that they will set the alarm for 10.

Saturday:
I'm sleeping on the floor when I am awakened. It is 11:30. I go see some sword demonstrations, hang around with my friends for a while and then climb mount Arisia (16 stories in 1:55) for a ribbon to attach to my ID. I get myself a gladius- imperial area, centurions sword. We look at boff swords for a while trying to determine if we should get them for our pseudo-larp group we have. At some point we head out of the con and walk for a while until we find a good cheap place to eat (con food is ridiculously over-priced). We keep on walking, get to our hotel, relax there for a bit and head back to the con around 10. When we get there I and some friends watch Reptilicus, a 1961 Danish monster film. It is shown using the 'Emergo' system which is a system that is similar in concept to Imax. It is supposed to make the movie come to life and bring the audience closer to the film. This means they through a 5 1/2 foot long plushy lizard at us during the film. It hit me in the head. I got to keep it. It made my day. There was then a dance, which I found particularly invigorating and left with sword and reptile. Read for lots time- then go sleep (on the floor again).

Sunday:
Most people are leaving today and there isn't much to do. We go to the weapons dealer and I get another dagger and then we head off to the games room for a while. I go to a theremin panel for a bit and then go back to the games room. We play a game of Munchkin followed by a game of Catan [settlers of]. Probably around 5:30 me and a friend head up to the artists gallery and I get a really nice piece of art- nice meaning "it has a dragon in it". Around six we go to watch two hours of trailers/commericals shown on film. Note that Arisia is the only con on the east coast, possibly all of America that still shows film. After that I see the first two hours of stardust and leave because my driver does wanted to leave at ten and doesn't want to get stuck in bad weather. It was some of the worst weather I had ever seen.

I'mg gonna give you a BIIIG hug!

Dragonblight- east of the path of the titans. It is interesting to note that the scourge are expending so much energy digging up skeleratons to raise when there is this one right here as well as a much larger one just below it in the water.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A manager's note

The previous post is all wild a wacky because I had to save it as a text document in Open Office, then send it to myself as a Google doc and then copy-pasta it into the blog. At that point it had decided to have a white background and there was nothing I could/can do about it.


Also:

tl;dr- Playing video games makes you more naturally aware of things in your peripherals and you respond to them, even without consciously knowing of their existence.

An Essay on Attention in Video Games

Voila- my masterpiece:
Video Games: A Portal to Attention

Video games are becoming more and more popular as they become more advanced. They advance in many respects, primarily in graphics quality and game-play, but another pivotal point, one that is often overlooked is how they help with advancement, especially with attentional growth. Video games allow growth in several vital sections. Video game players (VGPs) are more capable at focusing on multiple objects, attending peripheral objects and concentrating on a central object while consciously attending multiple objects, both peripheral and central. Additionally, they are capable of having increased ability in switching tasks under certain circumstances.

In 2006 Green and Bavelier ran a series of three different experiments that indicated how playing video games and not playing them changed the way the participants attended to various stimuli. The first test was a perceptual load experiment, one which tested the natural attention to peripheral objects. The purpose of the test was to determine the differences in attentional load between the VGPs and the non video game players (NVGPs).For the test Green and Bavlier had a display of six potential locations where the target stimulus would appear. For low load tests they would display only the target stimulus and a distractor either centrally located or peripherally. The participants were specifically told not to look at the distractor stimulus. They then had to determine which of two possible target stimuli had appeared. In some cases the distractor stimulus would be the same as the target stimulus and in other cases it would be the other potential target stimulus. In the high load tests all six potential locations for the target stimulus to appear were filled with stimuli, however, these stimuli did not match either of the two potential target stimuli. Again, the distractor stimulus could either match the target stimulus or not as well as being either centrally located or peripherally placed. Green and Bavelier had sixteen participants, all men with normal or corrected vision. They were placed into the two categories, VGP and NVGP based on a questionnaire. VGPs had to play action video games at least several times a week, preferably daily for the past six months. NVGPs had played little, preferably no action games in the past six months. The results showed that with both the centrally located and peripherally located distractor stimuli, VGPs had a higher difference in RT between compatible and incompatible stimuli (compatibility effect) as compared to the NVGPs. Additionally the results showed that the VGPs had faster reaction times in all scenarios than the NVGPs. NVGPs presented a decrease in in the size of the compatibility effect for both centrally located and peripheral distractors, whereas VGPs showed a decrease in compatibility effect only for the peripheral distractors. This shows that the VGPs have an increased natural ability to unconsciously attend to objects other than the target. This conclusion was reached because the VGPs were more affected by the presence of both a compatible and incompatible distractor stimulus than the NVGPs. It could be surmised that the VGPs had a greater spatial distribution of attention thus causing this difference, however, it was shown that both the NVGPs and the VGPs had similar spatial distributions of attention.

Green and Bavelier followed up with another experiment with another set of sixteen participants, again equally distributed between VGPs and NVGPs. The test, a Useful Field of View (UFOV) looked at attention to twenty-four locations, described by the intersection of eight radial lines extending from the center of the visual field and three concentric circles with radii of 10°, 20° and 30°(neither were shown). The VGPs participating in the test reported that most video games are within 10°, the outer edges of attention required are at 20° and that 30° was way out of normal conscious attention when playing a video game. The focal point of the field of view was a 4°x4° outline of a square. Stimuli were rapidly presented (a filled in triangle within a outline of circle in an area of 3°x3°) at one of twenty-four possible locations (mentioned above). After the stimulus had been presented (6.7 ms at 10° and 13.4 ms at 20° and 30°) a mask was shown for 750 ms. The mask completely covered all possible locations for the target stimuli as well as being randomly generated each time so no localizations could be made between target locations and the mask. After the mask the potential target locations were numbered and shown with the spokes and circles visualized. The participants then had as much time as they need to respond to which spoke they believed the stimulus to be on. A previous test, Ball et al. (1988) had shown that when a participant knew the spoke where the stimulus appeared, there was a 90% chance that they would know the eccentricity as well. Therefore, for this test participants were not required to enter the eccentricity of the stimulus. Each target location was tested in the first round followed by a round with twenty-three distractors. This round had a distractor stimulus (4°x4° outline of a square) at each of the other twenty-three potential target locations. There was a third round in which there were distractors at all of the other potential target locations as well as halfway in between every possible target location. This resulted in forty-seven distractors. This was followed by a center-shape discrimination task in conjunction with the three tests before. In the center of the visual field, either a isosceles triangle or a diamond would be shown at the same time as the target stimulus. The participants then had to identify the shown shape as well as the spoke on which the target stimulus appeared. These tests were also done with twenty-three and forty-seven distractors. The difference between twenty-three and forty-seven distractors both in this experiment and others has been shown to be negligible so the data from the two were collected into a 'distractor present' set of data. The results again support the superior attentional capabilities of VGPs. With no distractor, VGPs averaged about 80% accuracy, doing better with targets located 20° out. NVGPs averaged closer to 33%, also doing better when the target was in the middle circle. With distractors present the VGPs maintained about 80% accuracy except for 30° when their accuracy fell to 60%. NVGPs remained at their lower status of about 33% accuracy. As predicted by the previous experiment by Green and Bavelier the central task inhibited the NVGPs significantly without disrupting VGPs accuracy. NVGPs went from 33% accuracy to 25% accuracy. VGPs went from an overall average of 77% accuracy to 76%. This experiment conclusively supports the fact that VGPs have more attentional resources available than NVGPs.

The third experiment was to show causality. It is possible that VGPs started playing video games because they were good at it- they had naturally better attentional resources as compared to NVGPs. Additionally another possible point of causality for the previous results could be the fact that the VGPs are used to using visuomotor skills. Thus it has to be shown that those who do not play an action video game but still play one are worse than those who do play action video games. For the experiment, Green and Bavelier found thirty-two NVGPs approximately half male and half female. They were randomly divided into two groups, control and experimental. The first step in this test was to establish a base line using the procedures in their second experiment. They made small changes based on participant response from the first time they ran it. They simplified the mask to a white noise mask, gave an equal amount of time for the targets to be shown at all three eccentricities and made the central task harder. Over the course of the next thirty days the control group played Tetris everyday (for a maximum of two hours everyday, minimum of five hours every week, maximum of eight hours every week and a sum of thirty hours after the month). The block preview option was turned off so the participants only had to attend to the falling block while still using visuomotor skills.. The experimental group played Unreal Tournament 2004 (under the same time restrictions as the control group) a first person shooter. The game had a simple user interface but still required attending to multiple objects including several peripheral objects. As the players improved in the action game the difficulty was raised. Finally at the end of the experimental period the difficulty was returned to starting difficulty to show a quantitative skill difference in the participants. At the end both groups showed signs of about equal progress in their respective games. After the end of their 'training' both groups were tested using the modified second experiment again. For the tests, both with and without a central discriminatory task, without distractors, the experimental group's pre-test and the control group's pre- and post-test scores were all similar- approximately 85%, 80% and 75% for 10°, 20° and 30° of eccentricity respectively. The experimental group's post-test scores increased to 95%, 95% and 85% on the same scale. With distractors present, again the experimental group's pre-test and the control groups pre- and post-test scores were very close to each other- 60%, 40% and 30%, again relative to the same scale of eccentricity. The post-test for the experimental group however showed a significant increase with the distractors present to have a score series of about 80%, 70%, and 60%. The results clearly show and increase in visual attention and attentional resources available to the experimental group. Additionally, it has been shown that their increased attentional capacity has expanded to outside the normal range of video games (30°) as well as the fact that their central attentional capacity was not diminished as shown by their steady results even with a central discrimination task present.

Looking at all three experiments Green and Bavelier have shown a clear link between video game and improved attentional capacity, showing itself in the VGPs' ability to react more accurately to peripheral stimuli while still managing to keep track of a central discrimination task.
More recently Bavelier, along with Dye (2009), examined the development of visual attention in school age children while looking at the value of video gaming. Over the course of five years one hundred fourteen children and forty-seven adults were recruited and tested. They were divided into VGP and NVGP groups using similar qualifiers as Bavelier had used in the 2006 study with Green. Additionally, they were broken up into four categories based on age, 7-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18-22 (elementary, middle and high school age followed by college age). The first training task was a central discrimination task similar to that of the UFOV of the 2006 study. It was then followed up with another training task, a no-distractor UFOV test, continuing to test with the central discrimination task. Finally, they tested all participants with a full UFOV, 23 distractors along with the central discrimination task. For the two training tasks, the data showed that age and amount of video games played had no effect on the training task performance. However, on the main task, the time for which the target was displayed was shortened until the participants performed at a specified threshold- 79.3%. In the 7-10 category, both VGPs and NVGPs had about equal necessary time, however, the VGPs had a slight edge. In the older ages the VGPs had a significant edge, only needing a mean of about 50ms as compared to the NVGPs requirement of approximately 70ms. During the procedures of the study it was shown that the VGPs did not sacrifice central attentional capacity for their increased peripheral attentional capabilities. This study also showed that playing video games affected the attentional resources of children as well as those of adults, validating the belief that video games help improve developmental attention.

The second test used the same pool as the previous one, however seven of the previous participants were not able to partake. The test consisted of a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), in which a outline of a shape would be presented in a 10°x10° visual field. There was one target (T1) in the baseline task and two targets (T1 and T2) in the main attentional task. For the baseline, between one and seven shapes would be shown, each displayed for 40ms with a 66ms break between them, followed by T1. T1 could either be a leftward facing red isosceles triangle or a rightward facing red isosceles triangle. After T1, at the same pace between three and six more shapes would be shown. At the end of the test trial, the participant had to determine which direction the isosceles triangle was facing. For the main attentional task, one to seven shapes were shown, then T1, followed by 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 shapes (the first trial lagged by one, the second by two etc...) the T2 appeared, a blue isosceles triangle point either up or down, and then the trial finished with between three and six more objects. Once all of the objects had been displayed, the participants then determined which way both of the target objects were facing. After seeing T1, there was an 'attentional blink' during which attention could not be focused properly on the shapes. Bavelier and Dye calculated the mean recovery time for each age group of NVGPs and VGPs. The recovery time was determined by finding out the mean time until the participant could determine the direction of T2 80% given accuracy on T1. The younger NVGPs (7-13) need about 450ms while the older NVGPs (14-22) needed between 350ms and 400ms. The VGPs, through all ages only need about 300ms. Clearly, at the younger ages, the attentional resources and attentional blink is considerably lower among VGPs, which would indicate and increase in development of attention.

The final test continued to use the same pool for a multiple object tracking (MOT) test. Sixteen faces (each of 0.4°) were placed on a screen of a 10° circle. At the beginning of the test, one of the faces was a blue sad face, the rest were yellow happy faces. Once the trial was initiated the faces all began to move randomly, bouncing off each other and walls. After two seconds the sad face turned into a yellow happy face. After another five seconds of random movement of all the faces, a question mark appeared over one of the faces. It was programmed so that it would appear over what had been a sad face 50% of the time. For every three correct answers in a row an additional blue sad face was replaced one of the yellow happy faces at the beginning of the next trial to a maximum of eight blue sad faces. If the participant got the answer wrong, one sad face was removed for the next trial. After eight one of the starting faces switched forms eight times (either from blue to yellow or yellow to blue) or seventy-two trials, the test ended. Both groups of 7-10 year-olds had similar scores- with a maximum of 2.9 objects. However, for the three other age groups, VGPs could track between .5 and 1 more objects than the NVGPs of the same ages. The MOT plateaued for the VGPs just under five objects. Additionally there were general improvement for NVGPs as they aged, indicating that MOT is one of the slower functions to develop and that video games do help expedite the rate of growth. However, the plateau may indicate a cap which both VGPs and NVGPs cannot get past. If that is the case, VGPs are fully developed in the area of MOT between the ages of 14 and 17, whereas it would normally take about 25 years (extrapolating from the given graph of NVGPs).
These thee tests help support Bavelier and Green's earlier findings showing that VGPs have better attentional capabilities than NVGPs- at all ages. It is also possible that playing video games accelerates portions of attentional growth to maturity perhaps even 50% faster than in a NVGP.

In a very recent study, Watter and Shedden (2010) examined how proficient VGPs were at switching tasks as compared to NVGPs. Fifty-six people were selected as participants for this test- all were male, with normal or corrected to normal vision and were undergraduates from McMaster University. The test consisted of an A, B, C, 1, 2, or 3 appearing on either a high contrast or low contrast background, either cued or uncued. When it appeared the participant had to identify which had appeared by hitting the appropriate key. The contrast of the stimulus was the value for the difficulty for the stimulus. There was also a difficulty value for the order of the keys, easy was standard left-to-right A then B then C and 1 then 2 then 3. The hard way was B then C then A and 2 then 3 then 1. There were also the variables of whether or not it would be switching from displaying a letter to number or not, and the cue-to-target time interval (CTI) was adjusted either for either 100ms or 1000ms. Finally, the cue would either be red (number), green (letter) or white (neutral). The stimuli were presented in a random fashion, although it was set that no two adjacent stimuli would be the same. Understandably, for all participants, the easy stimuli and easy response pattern led to shorter reactions times than for their harder variants. The VGPs excelled at several tasks especially when long CTIs and informative cues were present. There was additional significant superiority on the part of the VGPs when undergoing a switch from letters to numbers or numbers to letters, but only when the contrast was high (and therefore the task was comparatively easy).

Watter and Shedden had a follow up experiment that also looked at task switching capabilities of VGPs and NVGPs. In this test the stimuli 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 were displayed and participant had to respond to one of several tasks, which had been cued before the stimulus appeared. They had to identify one of the following- odd vs. even, prime vs. multiple or less vs. more. They responded with index, middle and ring fingers of their left and right hands respectively to each of the potential queries. The participants were informed that no stimulus would match the stimulus previous to it, but the query might be the same as the one before. Finally, there was the possibility of the CTI being either 100ms or 1000ms similar to the previous trial. The results indicate that although the VGPs were faster at responding to all of the stimuli, the proportional differences among their scores when switching tasks was the same as the proportional scores of the NVGPs when they were switching tasks. This disproves any solid link between video games and a constant increase in the ability to more efficiently switch tasks.

Other studies, not intent on the effects of video game playing have noted the value of video games. Rogoff et al. (2005) found in a study on cultural biases of MOT that video game players could attend to more items in a larger visual field, therefore avoiding a attentional bottleneck. Cavangh and Alvarez (2005) also make not of the value of video games. They looked into MOT and found supporting evidence that video games have a strong, positive affect on MOT. Additionally, they mention, real sports also advance the MOT in many people- so the old days of playing sports outside still help with attentional development.

Combining the results from these studies the link between attention and video games is obvious. Playing video games is strongly correlated to having considerably higher reactions, to peripheral objects, multitudinous objects and combinations of the two, without sacrificing much, if any central focus attention. Video games also help with accelerating developmental attention and may be able to advance some aspects of attention to full maturity possibly up to a full decade prior normal maturity. Finally, video games help slightly with the ability to switch between tasks, but only when the differences between the tasks are clear and the tasks are very simple.




Bibliography


CS Green & D Bavelier, (2006) Effect of action video games on the spatial distribution of visuospatial attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 32, pp. 1465-1478.

Matthew W.G. Dye, Daphne Bavelier (2009) Differential development of visual attention skills in school-age children Vision Research doi:10.1016/j.visres.2009.10.010*

Karle, J.W., Watter, S. Shedden, J.M. (2010) Task switching in video game players: Benefits of selective attention but not resistance to proactive interference Acta Physcologica, doi 10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.12.007*

Maricela Correa-Chávez, Barbara Rogoff and Rebeca Mejía Arauz, (2005) Cultural Patterns in Attending to Two Events at Once Wiley InterScience, 76(3), pp. 664-678.

Patrick Cavanagh and George A. Alvarez, (2005) Tracking multiple targets with multifocal attention Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 9 (7), pp. 349-354.


*Article in press. No volume/page numbers available. Found on SCOPUS and available online.

Epic lag!

This was before Blizzard fixed Trial of the Champion. After the first event, the three bosses would immediately go wild on everyone they could find. That meant you either had to be a top notch team or run out. I tried, but clearly I failed. Even though I was on the other side of the portal. I hate lag.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Have you ever... TROLLED?

Well, have you?



I must admit that I have on occasion. Generally on a toon that I will never, ever touch again.

I mean, when someone in Stormwind begs for gold I offer them 150 silver for every 2 gold they give me. Or offer 2 gold for every 300 silver they give me. But that's not really trolling.

I've never begged for gold in my life, never begged repeatedly for a port or a dungeon run. Maybe I might throw up a plea a couple of times when I entered a city, but not every 30 seconds.

But I have hassled people on DKs. I have been a detriment to society. But I enjoy it, it lets me blow off my steam. And now I have a paper to write, so write it I will.

I am Bad-ass

This is a VUNDERFUL shot. It is from my guild's (The Oasis Contingent) birthday party this past august. I was wearing my ogre costume I picked up in DM while doing some runs for goblin rep. Clearly, not entirely sober. In this case the way the fisheye lens works really makes it seem to me that he is striding out of the image and he is one big BAMF.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm tired- again...

This is becoming a trend. Bad trends are bad.

Right now I have nothing special to say about WoW so I'm going to hold off saying anything cool, but you can wait. Tomorrow I'll have something equally random to this and Friday I'll probably just post my paper that I'll be writing on attention, consciousness and video games.

Some games that I'll talk about sometime in the future:

Bioshock
Bioshock 2 (when it is released)
Oblivion
Dragon Age
KotOR II
Dungeons and Dragons Online
Star Pirates
Cyber Nations

And quite possibly some others. Probably for tomorrow though, I will write about my vunderful experience at my first con, Arisia 2010.

Abandoned

The abandoned keep in Dragonblight. I love the way it is half completed, but still completely ready. It seems to fit perfectly with the way the Wrathgate chain finished.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Altoholicism

Yup, I'm an altoholic. When the new armory thingy came out I made poses for everyone of my Ursin alts. At one point I wanted to make a toon of every class and bring them to 80, and some people have done that.

Others have leveled 5 or so of the same class (generally shamans or paladins) in concert all the way to 80.

Even others have leveled 10 of the same class to 80, generally Warriors, but sometimes other classes.

There are those who level their alts in special ways. One leveled without dying once. Another leveled without wearing any armor- ever. One guy got a level 17 bank alt with the explorer title- he hadn't killed anything, just explored.

Personally, I find that I make loads of DK alts, the quest chain at the beginning is just so epic that I'm keep on running through it. Thats probably going to happen with the Worgen and Goblin zones as well. The nice thing about those though will be that after the initial craze is over I can go back there with any other toon that I make and go through that chain again.

As mentioned many times before, I love warlocks. I'm going to make a Worgen lock and I'll probably throw together a gnome and undead lock at some point.

I think thats about all- I'm pretty damn good at rambling and thats what I'm doing here so yeah....

MOAR TROLLZ?

There are enough trolls in WoW already. We didn't need a third raid just for them! This is technically an image of Gundrak, but no player has ever actually set foot into the place. There are two little entrances (off screen) and the rest of the instance is deep underground. For a while people expected for the troll to reappear from Zul'gurub or Zul'aman. Then again, Gundrak isn't a 'zul' whereas Zul'drak is... Maybe the whole zone is a raid....

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'll get it over with... finally...

Or not... Today I'll cover Ulduar: Halls of Stone and Ulduar: Halls of Lightning. I thought that it would finish the series of guides to Wrath heroics, but then I recalled H-VH and H-COT:COS which I'll get to in the future.

  1. Maiden of Grief: I usually do this one second (if I'm not skipping Krystallus and/or her). It is a pretty easy fight as long as everyone stays out of the doom cookies (the big black circles she summons). When tanking, be sure to pull her completely out of the cookies so that the melee dps can still get behind her. For the achievement, just bring along some extra dps. If you are having trouble, bring some PvP trinkets along.
  2. Krystallus: Another tank'n'spank. Be sure to have Krystallus facing away from any holes in the ground as he occasionally does a knockback. If the tank gets booted well... I'm gonna guess bad things happen.
  3. Tribunal of Ages: An interesting and unique encounter (as far as I've seen). Protect Brann from dying. The thing is one very long trash pull. I've had some difficult as a paladin tanking this because I start to go OOM. Because they are trash I don't need as many heals so I get less mana from Spiritual Attunement and my Divine Plea wears off. For the achievement, have everyone use lots of AoE to grab aggro before the mobs can tag Brann.
  4. Sjonnir the Ironshaper: These days, a very simple tank'n'spank. If you have low dps you may have to worry about adds coming from the sides, but generally they are easily handled. The achievement is one of the ones that takes immense coordination takes a long time. If one dps does not do their job correctly, then you may well fail. To get the achievement you have to bring Sjonnir down to 50%. At that point the random mobs stop spawning and a constant stream of oozes pours out. Every two or four will combine to create a sludge which you must then kill. If a dps does not hold off and wait for the sludges to be formed- either by continuing to attack Sjonnir or attacking the slimes, it is quite possible that Sjonnir dies, or the oozes take many more minutes to form.

  1. General Bjarngrim: A simple fight so long as you do not over pull and as long as you kill his Lieutenants first. To get the achievement, wait until he is charged- he turns on and off every other stop (I think)- and then attack. He does more damage, but any 200 iLv + tank can handle it.
  2. Volkahn: (ic- as in Volacano) KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHN! (I had to do that). Clear the mobs- the steam mobs have an annoying knock-back- so watch out for that. Again, the fight itself does not have any complicated mechanics. He will occasionally summon adds which can be a pain to pick up, but if you hit him hard enough and fast enough they shouldn't be a problem. Additionally, if you crush him very quickly you will get an achievement- for not letting him demolish his adds.
  3. Ionar: (Ionosphere!) Another fight, if you get electricity on you- run, you do AoE damage to your teammates so you want to be out of range. When he begins to disperse- run away. He'll break into several electrical walking thingies that cannot be killed. He'll only do this once a fight now. When the walkers begin to disappear you can return to where he was, he'll reappear and you can kill him dead.
  4. Loken: Definitely one of the hardest Heroic bosses of all time. In fact, he killed more players than any other mob in the entire game from the release of wrath until 3.1. He has three abilities that concern everyone. The first is his Aura. It deals damage to everyone- the farther you are, the more he does. This means everyone needs to be somewhat close to him or else the healer may be overwhelmed. He also has chain lightning. Again this has positioning requirements. If you stand close to each other everyone will be hit. If you stand far enough away from the tank, only they will be hit. Finally there is lightning Nova. It has an in-game raid-warning and a five second cast time. When it goes off it does about 12-15k. Previously, when 15k was a significant amount of health for a 80, this would wipe groups. Now, when everyone generally has about 19-22k hp and the many tanks have 30k+, it can be healed through. For the achievement, just like the others- DPS him down, in this case, under two minutes.
Thats all for this evenin folks- ciao.

The Management Likes Messages

I've gotten around to putting up tags (labels) for pretty much everything and will attempt to continue to do so. I WILL have a tag for each piece, even if I don't attach it at the time of the writing.

The TREES! They are Happening!

A beautiful shot of the Ashenvale woods on the way from Darnasuss to Ratchet to go kill some pirates for goblin rep. The title of this piece comes from a comment of a friend. When your distance settings are low, as you ride along a path the trees "Happen".

Another Message from the Management

I'm BACK!

This means that I will be continuing my regular posting schedule. I'm very tired at the moment and I have a significant amount of work that I need to do for this afternoon, so I won't be doing anything until probably tomorrow night, I'll try to get the image up by 5 or so and I'll have the post before the day is out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A message from the Management

Again, another reminder that I will not be around these next few days so do not expect to see anything coming out of this on either Saturday or Sunday. I may be able to throw out a post or two, but it will be highly unlikely that I will be able to get a screenshot up for those days.

Grinding (for rep)

Many people prefer grinding to music (for rep). Grinding, for those of you who do not know, is the act of killing absurd numbers of mobs look for items to turn in for rep, for quests, or for rep-per-kill.

The Feat of Strength, Insane in the Membrane, which awards the title "The Insane" is essentially pure grinding. The goal of the achievement is to become Honored with the Bloodsail Buccaneers (which destroys you're reputation with the Steamwheedle Cartel*). Additionally, you need to be Exalted with the Shen'dralar, Darkmoon Faire, Ravenholdt, and the Steamwheedle Cartel.

For Bloodsail rep you need to kill many guards who become very hostile and eventually get very difficult to kill. They are level 75, have a melee with net or a ranged attack that bounces you back. Anyways, you only need to kill a few hundred of them because they each give you about 75 rep.

To get your rep back up, you can either repeat a quest in Dire Maul, many, many times or kill pirates near Gadgetzan or Ratchet. When you get to Neuteral you can do various quests for them to also bring your rep up.

There are other goals while grinding, such as looking for specific objects (for Shen'dralar and Ravenholdt and Darkmoon) but the question I wanted to look at here was what to do while grinding.

Grinding in and of itself is very boring because you are generally doing a very simple task repetitively. Many people listen to music while they do so as it does take some attention away from the boredom, but there is still not much consciousness going on. Others watch TV, but I feel that takes too much consciousness. If you do not consistently attend to the TV, you will lose your place in the story, but if you DO attend to the TV, you will lose your pace while grinding, making it ineffective.

While it has been noted that talking to someone, either next to you or on a cell phone while driving does take a significant portion of your attention, when playing a video game and completing a simple task over and over, talking may be the proper amount of attention to put to the side.

However, perhaps even better than talking to someone is listening to an audio book. It engages you as much as a person talking to you or a TV show, but does not need you to either attend to a different visual area or to worry about conversing, therefore taking less of your consciousness, but still a significant amount.


*Steamwheedle Cartel: A group of four neutral goblin factions: Booty Bay, Everlook, Gadgetzan and Ratchet.

**Also please note that I am currently enrolled in a class "Attention: A Window to Consciousness" thus causing some of my discussion.

Frozen Warrirors

These warriors have been Frozen by some great power. Either that, or like Napoleons armies, did not plan fully for their attack on Russia.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today I Cheat


This is going to be a complete cheaty-face day. I'm fair tired at the writing of this so I'm not gonna really write much. Instead, I'm going to post ten screenshots with short captions. In The Future, I'll try to post one a day, but I only have about 750 (or less) and most of them are very similar to others and/or pretty bad, so I might not be able to keep on posting screenshots. So without further ado- the images.


Just a nice sunset in the Howling Fjord.
I really love this burning ship. I mean, how the heck did it get there? How did it catch on fire? How is it still burning after being there for a year? Why does it look so amazing?
You know an organization, especially a Crusade is going to be awesome when their janitors are this jacked.
Hey! It is a screenie from the DK starting quests. Expect to see many hundreds of these. I took too many, so thats what you're going to get.
A nice pic of Valgarde with Utgarde in the backdrop. I remember when I got my new computer and I set the view distance to maximum and I could SEE. I saw Utgarde from Valgarde that day, I saw Crystalsong Forest and Icecrown and the rest of Northrend the way it was meant to be seen. Then I saw the corners of the world where the infinitely replicating water pattern ended.
The Aurora Fjordialis is particularly striking in this image as well as a very nice look at a Gjalerbron.
On the pipes in Naxx right before Gluth. I love the dino's eye.
Loken, once the games deadliest enemy. Even now there is discussion whether or not to run out of the Nova or to eat it.
A picture of the amazing night (day? tidal?) sky of Hellfire Peninsula. You will see a bunch of these as well, because every time I finish a DK and bring him/her to Outland- well, I take a bunch of screenies.
Metamorphosis.



Warlocks are the best class in the game.

They turn into Demons.

Who can curbstomp you.

See above picture for proof of awesome.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Real RPGs

Yesterday i said that I would cover ALL RPGs... thats too many.... So I'm going to cover just the basic tabletop RPGs. Thats pretty much D&D. I mean sure, there are many, many other RPGs, but A) I've never played em and B) They're all based off D&D.

For my experience I've played in two 3.5 campaigns(1 current), a 4.0 campaign, and I'm DMing a 3.5 campaign. For about two or three sessions I also participated in a Star Wars 3.5 campaign which ended after those few sessions.

My first campaign was run by a good DM who had DM'd several times before. However, I was brought into the campaign pretty far in and my first ever D&D character was the level 16 Warmage. The experience was not an excellent one for me because casters are significantly more difficult to play than melee classes in tabletop RPGs. The 4.0 was my second and I played a warlock, from the beginning of the campaign. There, the DM was pretty awful starting us in the basement of a tavern killing rats- because it was 'ironic'.

The 3.5 campaign I'm currently in is the best by far. I've died twice, both with silly characters, one of which was ridiculously useless and another who was both useless and made for unnecessary complications for the DM. My third character has actually survived for a significant portion of time and may actually last the rest of the campaign.

The Star Wars campaign was enjoyable because, well, it was Star Wars. I played a Soldier, the equivalent of a D&D fighter. At level 3 (our starting level) I could do 3d8 three times a round, for a total of 9d8. A level 3 D&D character is expected to do about 2d8 or less damage in a round.

Finally, in my D&D campaign I have come to the root of what makes tabletop RPGs superior by far to single player video game RPGs and significantly better than MMORPGs. Its the adaptability and randomness available in the game. In single player RPGs like Dragon Age or the KotOR series, you can only do a limited number of quests. Sure there are a bunch of non-necessary quests, but there are certain things you must do and certain things you cannot do (like jump). In MMOs (Looking at WoW here) there is a lot more variety, you can level by grinding mobs, questing in one of many different areas, run instances or even do BGs. However in my campaign, if someone wants to do something the rulebook (or programming as the case may be) doesn't allow for, I can make up rules and let them cook food to gather up many Rhinoceros (Rhinoceroses?) and then tame one as a mount. I even made it so that in one particular quest the only way they could kill the zombie horde was by hugging them (grapple checks abound). Some games like Oblivion do allow a huge amount of open-endedness- but that is still extraordinarily constricting compared to tabletop RPGs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm gonna blow something up

I hate patch days. See, I get up fairly early in the morning for a college student, around 9 (in the morning that is), it used to be 8 by my schedule changed and so I have adapted. Anyways, I have class from 1-4:30 and that means I'm not going to get on WoW until after dinner (around 5ish). This day I happened to go see Daybreakers (excellent film on the explosions part) and wasn't able to get back to my computer until around 10:30. This weekend I'm going to be away, so I can't post anything on Saturday or Sunday (probably at least, so that means I won't be).

Anyhoo (who?), for tomorrow expect something along the lines of my opinions of other RPGs, both MMO, Single Player, computer based and not. For Friday you can plan to see what I have to say on the matter of Grinding, mostly for rep.

Today is getting the short shrift (whatever that means), so I might as well talk about explosives in WoW.

There are not enough of them.

The above is a fact.

The above is also a fact.

(The previous few lines are just a method to make the post look longer)

(The above is another fact)

I think placeable land-mines would be cool. Primarily for PvP, they would act in a similar manner to hunter traps but either engineers or everyone(certain BGs only) would be able to use them. It would be great for anti vehicle use, just lay a dozen in front of your base, wait for them to run over and BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM (also another waste of space). To balance them, they would be friendly fire, which I think would be a cool mechanic, but that opens up many possibilities for griefing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh Noes!

I have to say that I have yet to get all of my Heroic Dungeon Achievements. This means that I have yet to successfully test several of the achievements I have described so the manner in which I describe them may not work.

  1. Amber Void: I have not done this one, but four emeralds reducing his damage to 0% or four rubies being immune to damage both make sense and have been confirmed by third parties.
  2. Ruby Void: I have yet to successfully complete this but I've gotten pretty close using 5 amber drakes. Additionally, 5 emeralds could probably do the job admirably as well.
  3. Respect Your Elders: For this one I have been in the instance, at the boss and people have agreed upon my given strategy (and I took it from others like them) but we did not have the tanks necessary.
  4. Volunteer Work: Since I've begun to actively pursue this, every time I go into AK-OK, we skip Jedoga.
  5. Less Rabi: I actually tried this a few days ago. I had a rogue kick the first one, I Hammered the second and he tried to kick the third, but missed because of the extremely low cast time. Moorabi died about 3 seconds later, not enough time for him to start the cast.
  6. Share the Love: When I tried this I didn't know that it is necessary to have a backup tank or for someone to die and come back.
  7. Zombiefest!: I tried this one today and learned that the strategy that I wished to use had some flaws, some of which lay in communication, some of which lay in idiocy, and some of which lay in forgetting the boss's abilities.
Yeah, this is a cheapo post because A) I want to brag how close I am to getting my second Proto-Drake, both of which require great personal effort (not necessarily skill in the case of the violet but hey). B) I felt that I needed to let you know that I am not actually an expert. C) I was lazy and I didn't want to put in the effort of anything else. But at least I started the post before 11:30.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm too tired

I'm too tired to think of anything special so I'll carry on with my dungeon guide! Haziness abound.

Today we shall visit the shrines of the Trolls in Zul'Drak. This makes us somewhat not really at all excited.

Drak'Theron Keep: A fun, fast instance with little trash between fights.
  1. Trollgore: Hint- he's not a troll. The strategy: Hit him with your hammers. The strategy for the achievement: Hit him with your hammers faster. If the average dps of your group is 2k (including tank and healer, 2.5k without the healer) you should be able to get this by hitting him like you would hit trash. The first few times I ran DTK, I didn't even realize this blob was a boss.
  2. Novos the Summoner: Another easy fight. He'll summon non-elite undead minions to crawl down the stairs and four casters each one coming in its turn alternating sides from which they appear. Once all four of the casters are down, Novos's shield will drop, the skellies will stop pouring out and you can just beat his face in. For the achievement, stick someone with decent survivability and good aoe near the top of the stairs. Paladins were made for this achievement because it requires killing many weak undead. That is what paladins were made for.
  3. King Dred: (Note- Blizzard did not misspell his name). The Rex (Latin for king, also his dinosaur species) is in his own special compound with 3 foot tall walls. Considering that he's easily fifty feet tall, I'm not sure how this keeps him in. Anyways, he has 6 lil' dino minions that back him up. You can easily pull three or four of them individually if you don't mind waiting for him to pat around the enclosure. You can then pull him out and when he calls for the last few, it will take them a little while for them to show up. For the achievement, just (barrel) roll in there and smack everything dead. It does not require much coordination beyond the tank coordinating his gems with stamina.
  4. The Prophet Tharon'ja: He's a big skeleton. Every once in a while he gets jealous of your flesh and blood and rips it off you, leaving you with four abilities. DPS and the healer should hit 4 whenever they can (a life drain) and 1 (a basic attack) the rest of the time. The tank should hit 4, 3 (a shield) and spam 2 (taunt) the rest of the time.
Gundrak: Gundrak has five bosses, and four achievements. This makes it one of my favorite dungeons in the system at the moment.
  1. Slad'ran: He is a snake guy. He likes snakes alot. DPS him down as quickly as possible. When he begins to cast poison nova, unless you have 25k+ hp, get out. It hits for something along the lines of 3k per second for 10 seconds. For the achievement, don't get wrapped. Suitable strategies include, kiting, aoeing and dieing.
  2. Colossus/Elemental: This is another 'not-boss boss'. You hit the colossus until it's at 50% at which point it turns into a goop elemental. Stay out of the purple and bring the goop to 50%. Kill the colossus and then go back and finish off the elemental.
  3. Moorabi: Clear all the mobs in the room, even on the opposite ledge, to make sure they don't agro during the fight. Sans achievement, it is a tank 'n spank. With the achievement, get a couple people who can interrupt- three interrupts is enough. Whenever he shouts about something being bigger, hit the interrupt button. The first two have reasonable cast times, but the third is about half a second, so whoever is on that duty should stop using their GCD.
  4. Eck the Ferocious: This is mudkip. The mobs around the boss are a pain to tank because they often leap at another player as though their life depended on it. When you get to Eck it is another tank 'n spank, again unless you want the achievement. If you do just get turn Eck towards the group and get him to ick everyone. This will be important for the last boss. You have an hour. Go.
  5. Gal'darah: Gal'darah is another tank 'n spank (in essence). The only trick is for the melee to get out of the whirlwind, unless you want the achievement. For "What the Eck" merely make sure you're covered in ooze from Eck and don't die. "Share the Love" is much more complex. You need to get him to gore five distinct players during the fight. Additionally, he never targets the player who is top in threat. Four ways to get around this. The easiest is just having a back-up tank. Once tank #2 gets gored, he picks up Gal'darah and you wait for everyone else to get stuck. The other three strategies are essentially the same, either use a Soul Stone, Battle Res, or Reincarnation to bring a dead player back to life. This is 'another player' in the eyes of the achievement, and so you just have to wait for them to get stabbed again. However, I'm not sure if you die on the horn that counts. It probably does, but I cannot be sure.
If you followed this guide the way it was meant to be followed and you used the random dungeon finder and everyone went along with the achievements and you had none of these achievements before the you just earned 70 achievement points as well as 12 emblems. Go me for telling you what to do.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Humorous

Personally I find all of the classes in WoW to be humorous in one way or another. Lets go through them one at a time- it'll be a good laugh for me.

Death Knight: Do I really have to say anything? At all? Seriously- it used to be huntards but now- its Stupid DKs. When you're leveling them up, they are ridiculously overpowered. When fighting Tusker at level 67- solo mind you, I started the fight at full health. I ended the fight at over full health. Even on my Retadin I didn't glide through that easily. Each of their talent trees can be formed to be a dps spec, tank spec, or PvP spec. Both Frost and Unholy can be duel-wielding specs, again for each of the above three.

Druid: I could just link you to Alamo's guide to druids... so I will. I've leveled a couple of druids. My first 'real' toon (second toon overall) got to level 26. I have one at 19 and one to 44. I've tried all the trees and have had a great time with all of them. The animations are always good for a laugh, and when leveling with bear druids... well- they like big butts... and cannot see their screen. Additionally- Boomkin. Everyone's favorite turkey. I'd love to point out this video to show how much fun being a oomkin is in PvP.

Hunter: "Don't be that hunter." "Thats hunter loot." "Huntard." All classic tales. Hunters for a long time were considered a very easy class to play- just tame a pet and make it do all the work. Because it was so easy, hunters did not really learn how to play (theoretically). Since it was so easy, all the little kids chose to be hunters. As little kids they did not know proper social etiquette. Combine all of those so you get a player who is easily defeated by a door boss, takes the loot, the accidentally pulls the next boss with his pet before dropping the party.

Mage: "Hai GUYS! I'm gonna blink!... or not." My personal favorite part about mages, when I'm on my paladin tanking around is that they are strudel vending machines. They makes the delicious free foods. Oh- and know they've gotten around to copying warlocks. They now have a permanent pet so they can be just like their betters. It always makes me laugh.

Paladin: I play a paladin. Paladins were fail during classic WoW. They were fail during TBC. They ruined everything that stood in their way in WotLK. As my paladin I was able to solo classic Ony in quest blues and greens. Once in AB in prot spec I was spamming Flash of Light on myself for 7k a hit. I have bubble, I have wings, I have a seven second stun. During some fights that don't require much movement (Instructor Rasuvious for one) I can bang on my keyboard and still be top dps. And I can bubble hearth. Sucker.

Priest: I find priests to be a joke. I've tried leveling one in full heirlooms and found that he was waaay to difficult to level. They really need someone to work with them or else they won't be able to get very far. But the best thing about a priest, they can kill someone who is two hundred feet in the air. Cast a couple dots, levitate and cast your flying mount again.

Rogue: Especially undead ones. They sneak up to you. Stab you dead. Defile your corpse. In a H-Gundrak I did today, one of our random party members asked for a summon ("Summon prz"). We could not do that because we were on different servers. We told him to use the 'teleport to dungeon' button. We told him where it was. He quit the group. We had cleared up to the second boss. At that point we rejoined the queue and another rogue joined the group. We began the encounter as soon as the rogue was in the instance. The rogue not only made it to the fight before we were a quarter of the way through, but managed to hit top dps for the fight and hit top overall damage dealth on the following trash pull, breaking 7k. The difference amused me- either they are like hunters or they are ridiculously good.

Shaman: My shaman, at level 13, in heirloom gear took out a level 18 mage. Even heirloom gear should not give me that much of a boost. I'm running around one shotting most of the mobs I face now that I'm level 17. Their totems are oh so pretty and they can do anything, even tank, although that is fairly difficult for them to do.

Warlock: They are, in my not quite humble opinion, the best class in the game. I mean, they can tank, they can dps, they can heal and they're not even a hybrid class! You don't believe me eh? Well then here's some proof. They were built for demolition, destruction, affliction and demonology. That there is your dpsness. They've been proven to be able to tank (at the time) the HARDEST raid boss in the game (sarth 3D or Illdian). Then they have some healing properties for their tank. Yeah- take that. And then there is Outland. See one of my previous posts.

Warrior: I'm gonna hit you with my big axe! But wait. I no has rage. And tanking Warriors are a conundrum. I get rage by being hit. And to be a better tank I need to get hit less. That way I can get less rage. And therefore I will have less threat. So I will be a worse tank. 'prz' explain this to me. I don't precisely understand this concept.

A no, I did not write this post over time. I turned it in before midnight.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Lore and Mashed Potatoes

I like Mashed Potatoes. This is a fact. That is your serving of Mashed Potatoes for this post. YUM.

In other news.... I've often come up with ideas that I would like to try out on an RP server, but haven't gotten around to fleshing out completely.

Idea Number 1: A rogue who has finally gotten over fighting. His/her entire family has died due to the massive wars that have covered the plane as well as other planes. While he is not pacifistic, he tries to avoid combat and weapons as much as possible. His main distinguishing feature will be duel-wielding a pick ax and a skinning knife.

Idea Number 2: A classic. Forsaken DK. She had been training as a priest when she fell to the plague in Stratholme. She was left in Northern Lorderon for a few years and was finally freed from the Lich King's control shortly after Sylvanas broke free. Born again she took the path of the warrior and fought the Lich King as a knight. When she was killed and raised again as his minion, he saw her worth and presented her to Instructor Rasuvius. She passed his tests and became a Death Knight. At the Battle of Lights Hope she broke free again. Since then, she has strived to be more like one of the paladins who saved her from the Lich Kings thrall.

Idea Number 3: Another classic. The common man forced to be a warrior for his nation. He would have a simple suit- this (click the triangle in the left corner to view in 3D). I would add hats, belts, gloves etc... as long as they kept the 'common' look. Shoulders are out of the question, as they are waaaay to fancy for a farmer to have.

Idea Number 4: This one would be a pain to level. The magic-fearing mage. He would not cast any spells, nor use his wand. He would melee. Everything. Unto death. It would take a while. While it is an interesting idea it is so much less plausible than the others that I would be least likely to try this.

Idea Number 5: The Pacifist. He would never kill anything. Never do damage. Again, this a pain, but just as plausible than the mage. The mage would try to kill things but would fail, the pacifist would avoid combat and quests that require killing. He would take gathering quests and courier quests, but could not do more. An interesting question is whether or not there are enough quests available in all of WoW for this to be possible. Once at 10 he could stay in BGs and gather exp that way, but that would be, to a degree, cheating. Additionally, he would not group with players in order to do quests that require killing. Probably a priest or druid.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nurrrr....

I don't really feel like doing strategy guides/walkthroughs for Gundrak and DTK or Halls of Lightning and Stone so I'm going to go rant on something... Warlocks! Yeah, warlocks are cool. I've been leveling a Orc lock (four pieces of heirloom) and its been pretty fun so far. This is my first horde toon that I've 'seriously' leveled. I leveled a Belf lock about a year ago to 14, but after grinding him up to ten in my first sitting, I played him once or twice more and gave up. I've of course made a half dozen Horde DKs, just for some fun and got one of them up to 61. I hope to get this guy capped by Cataclysm, if not well geared.

Anywho, the leveling experience itself has been fun. I've learned the source of some in-jokes, Mankirk's Wife being the foremost among them and I've fully learned the story in the Barrens. To wit, centaurs, dinos, and harpies hurt the Horde's feelings. I've suffered some terrible escort quests and I've had fun slapping around Alliance NPCs.

So far I've specced affliction and will continue to do so until I hit Outland. Not only do I have the two coolest spells available to a Warlock in Demonology at 60, but guys- Its Outland. Its completely overrun by the Burning Legion. You know whats special about them? They're all demons. And you know whats special about demons? Warlocks can enslave them! At 58 they have a level +4 range on that spell. That means we can enslave demons up to level 62 right off the bat. Whats nice about this is that you can snag an elite demon. There are some easily found in Hellfire Peninsula, and when you get to 64 you can snag a 3 man Demon.

Rolling through both Outland and Northrend, things will be very interesting because of the unique view I will get on the lore. It seems that the cross-faction warfare steps up a bit during those stages and will guarantee some good times.