Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Machine: Same Problems.

So I finally updated my machine, and boy is this baby a beast. I'm now running OS X 10.7 (Lion) pretty darn smoothly, along with (shudder) Windows 7. Although I will say on a crisp new machine, I don't really mind Windows 7 as much as I did Vista. If OS X's functionality went out the window all of a sudden, I might actually have a back up operating system. The new system is as follows:

i7- 2600k @ 3.4 Ghz
8gb RAM (Patriot Viper 2 @ 1600)
1 120GB SSD
2TB HHD .
...and a bunch of other stuff that doesn't really matter. (I've got 2 Nvidia 250 GTXs in SLI, but they are not new...)

..and yet, I'm still having the same problems with FRAPS. I run WoW @ max settings beautifully @ 1920x1080 with my crispy new monitor, and yet, when fraps is running I get terrible frame rate lag. I run a lot higher than 60fps, although I know that does not matter much FRAPS drops is so low it really effects my game play. I've tried running @ lower resolutions, but my monitor acts really funky when not in native 1080. A lot of people say they play at lower resolutions while capturing, but I don't understand how they do it with their screen all askew. I've seen plenty of people capturing games @ 1080 with much less than what I'm running, so I ask you, the beloved readers of this blog, if you know of any thing I might be able to do differently to get these wonderful videos to you sooner. Leave a comment below, or email me: snlich@gmail.com.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blog Changes!

There is a new banner up top to reflect a few of the changes that have happened in the past few months.

First off, I totally got my AQ battle tank mount. Sure it is not the black one I have envied for years, but it will do just fine. Every time I am in a battleground, or running around Tol Barad doing dailies I get at least one person asking about it. And thats good. Because I'm an attention whore who will do anything for love, even if it is virtual love.

And yes, I went goblin! I took all the screenshots when I got my Quraji battle tank before the change, so that is a pretty major change in my (now tiny) little rogue world. I absolutely love being a goblin. The stealth animation itself is a force to be reckoned with. I cannot wait till patch 4.1 and see how the changes to going stealth play out. It is certainly an exciting day to be a goblin rogue. I also now have a rocket belt, which is a huge help to me. Having what I am calling a "rogue charge" is amazing help, especially against classes like mages and hunters. It almost works like an extra vanish. Getting the timing right has been a fun little experiment. It can be a little difficult timing and placing the jump right, but when it works, it is amazing. It is so much fun when hunters are down to their last sliver of health, they like to trap/scatter shot/disengage and try to run off, feign death and then bandage. Then I trinket, pop my rocket belt and get that last stabby stab off. Game over.

The same with mages. I'm usually alert enough not to get kited, but every once in a while in the heat of battle, I'll loose track and find myself running towards someone when sprint is on cool down. With mages, I'm as good as dead. Having this extra tool has helped me so much, it is well worth the $25.

Also another tactic that I had not really thought about until someone mentioned it is using rocket belt as a disengage. Using it to get away from melee classes or pets can be a life saver and an overall great tactic. While someone is (attempting) to kite me with their pet attacking me, it is wonderful to stab their pet a few times, pop smoke bomb, get my recoup up, get my full 5 combo points, then redirect to their player, pop my "rogue charge" and hit them with a quick kidney shot.

God I love being a rogue.

You'll also notice a slight change to the color scheme. I figured since my gear and mount matches, the title should as well. I also decided that changing the blog name was a good idea considering "Rogues do it from behind" was becoming far too popular. I've seem guilds from darn near every server in our battlegroup with that name. It's played out.

Podcasting!

All my hard work is finally starting to pay off in the community. In the past few weeks I have guest hosted on a WoW related podcast, as well as joined a different show as a full time co-host. They are both on the same network, and I have to say it has been a ton of fun getting to know the podcasting business.

The podcast network is known as "Dawnforge Productions", and the network can be found at http://www.thedawnforge.com . Dawnforge is run by a great guy named Dwight aka Medros the paladin. He has been nothing but awesome to me, and is giving me great opportunity to explore a medium I have always wanted to jump into, but never have had the guts to do it on my own. All of the shows are top quality, and Dwight really puts his heart into everything. You can tell by just listening for a few minutes he is into it purely for the fun of it, which is the type of person you want to put your faith in as show runner. Make sure to check out his other WoW podcast, "All Things Azeroth". He co-hosts that show with a lovely gal known as Shades o' Gray, and their rapport with each other is simply magical. I highly recommend you checking them out!

First up is the WoW related podcast, Group Quest. I was really nervous so please forgive me if it does not sound fantastic, but I had a lot of fun doing it. The show I was on was #23. We had some really great topics, some of which I've actually been meaning to write up a few blog posts about. Make sure to check out all the episodes, but number 23 if you want to hear yours truly ;)

The next show, which is the show I'm a resident co-host of, is "More Than Megapixels". It is a photography related show, which is something I know quite a bit about. I've been a semi-professional photographer for nine years, so this is a topic I can really get down on. If you have any questions you'd like to see on the show, please email show@morethanmegapixels.com.

Here are the iTunes links, in case you would like to subscribe to any of the shows:

Group Quest: iTunes link
All Things Azeroth: iTunes link
More Than Megapixels: iTunes link

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Its been one hell of year!

I can't believe it. One year since I started blogging. I've never done anything for that long and stuck with it. This is exciting!

I'm not the most active blogger, however I try to stay consistant with posting a least two things a month. However in celebration of the next year of blogging, I'm going to be writing some more in depth and comprehensive articles about lore, pvp mechanics and the like. Not just going to focus on my daily grind. I'm also going to up the frequency of posts. Last year it rounded out to about 2 articles a month, which would have been pretty great if they were more in depth.

I'm going to shoot for writing an article a week or so, and trying to set a goal of topics, not just me blabbering for a few paragraphs. Got any suggestions for me? Feel free to leave them in the comments below, of send me a tweet @seanlich.

Thanks for all your support, and lets make it another great year!

I think I just swallowed a bug!

Not a day after I picked up my fossilized buddy, I was able to pick up my favorite mount of all time, this guy:
The Aquamarine version of the Qiraji battle tank. This model has been in the game for a very long time, however seen by very few outside the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. The original was a sleeker looking black version, but that wasn't going to cause disdain for me. I was going to get this mount if takes me 3 weeks of 12 hour days before I receive it. It was going to be mine.

I started doing my research. I knew if I was going to get this mount before I went insane, I had to make sure to follow the rules, so I didn't have to backtrack. I found that while you can dig from anywhere, you can only level skill up to 100 from dig sites. From 100 up, you only got skill ups from solving. Not a terrible issue with a flying mount and the tablets you can pick up that give you a bonus of 15 fragments. I leveled to 350 on Azeroth, then jumped through the dark portal, just to see if I could snag some of the epics from Orcs, Dranaei, and the rest from Northrend. I was able to pick up the mail helm so the grind was not nearly as bad. Once I was able to recover fragments from the Tol'Vir I got excited. I would start rushing faster, and faster in the hopes it would "drop" for me.

At this point I decided to look up others peoples luck with the mount. Some guy broke down the math to how long it took him, and it was scary. It ended up taking him 1027 solves total, with 560 of those with the Night Elves, 200 of the fossils, and the rest divided among the Troll, Dwarfs and the rest of the groups. That's scary. A total of 94 hours were put in. That was really scary. The more I read, the more I found tales of despair. A few people said they got it as their first epic from the Tol'Vir. Some people were convinced that you needed every epic item from Archaeology before it "unlocked". Needless to say, people were confused.

Did I really need to snag every epic before I could unlock just the possibility it my drop?! That seemed really awful to me. Since everything is random, there is no telling how many times you'd get a common artifact before you saw a rare one. So I told my self, "okay, you'll wait til you see your first rare, then you will ease up on the farming". I was pretty convinced that if I farmed enough to get one rare per week, it should only take me about 5 months to retrieve the mount. Upon my first common from the Tol' Vir, my hear sank.


That was my first rare artifact from the Tol' Vir. This seemed to be the same deal for a lot of people on the forums, and their consensus was they solved another 15 or so commons before they would see another epic. After all the epics were gone, then and only then would mount drop. Great.

I decided that I would farm a few more commons for the Tol' Vir, and then hit the sack. The biggest problem with solving for them is that they only show up in one zone. So a good portion of the time, when you are trying to farm in Uldum, the night elf or fossil ones would pop up, which would require you to fly all the way to the designated zone, hoping the one you were unlocking was to Uldum, and that the artifact would in turn be the mount. I began using a little trick that would help speed up the process. Each Continent would have 4 dig sites, which would sending you from Hyjal to Un;Goro to Ashenvale and back around again. I would simply just wait til all 4 dis sites were in Uldum, then go grab em all. It would usually provide me with enough fragments to complete an artifact. It seemed to speed the process up, and thus, making Yikezz happy to farm one last artifact before bed. It was at that time I saw the most beautiful looking scepter icon.

It was almost too good to be true. I had to google the name twice just to make sure I was not going to be let down. Nope. It was it! I ride this thing every where now. I'm exalted with Hellscream's reach, and yet I run around doing their dailies for the simple fact I get to show off my mount.

And show it off I do...

Hardly 10 minutes goes buy without someone asking me where I got the AQ mount, others asking me if it took over 100 hours! I'm here to dispel the rumors and what not. It is still completely random, you don't need every epic artifact to unlock the scepter. It is a random occurrence, just like every other artifact in the game.

Good luck, and happy hunting.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2 days ago...

I went on a pretty intense archaeology binge. I decided on a whim to start leveling it again, and before I knew it, I was traveling to Outlands. I decided to dedicate the past 2 days solely to archaeology, and tonight I was rewarded with:

The super awesome fossilized raptor! That makes 9 rare artifacts for me. Currently working on my 10th (the wisp thingy). Hopefully over the weekend I can start work on finding that silly AQ mount thats been BUGGING me...

(okay, sorry for the terrible pun)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ready to raid!

I joined a new guild!


Tonight I took a much needed break from the PVP world and decided to hit the raiding content. After the guild mate fiasco I was having, I finally decided to leave my guild of one and a half years. It was a pretty tough decision for me. This was the second longest time I had spent in a guild, and up until about three weeks ago my second favorite guild I was ever in. I had a really hard time with the decision, considering the amount of time and effort I put into this guild, but more on that later. First the exciting stuff!

Considering the circumstances I was under a few weeks ago, I had decided that I was going to focus on pure PVP content in Cataclysm. I'm one of those people that if were not doing progression content, I grow very bored and loose interest. Especially after the buster that was Burning Crusade. It's not to say I don't enjoy raiding, but when you are stuck on Nightbane when several of even the weaker guilds are clearing SSC it can get discouraging. Feckless they seem once you start to fall behind.

While searching for partners for a 5's group I'm building, I came across a very marvelous holy/retribution paladin. He was as shocked as I was when we won 6 games in a row at 1200. Keep in mind it has been about 2 years since I took arena seriously, so don't be slanging your noobish insults ;) Not that he wasn't a decent player, I just have had horrid luck when finding partners. We then transitioned into some rated battlegrounds, and had amazing luck there. The raid leader was telling me how I was always welcome into their guild, as they were in need of "amazing dps" (his words, not mine :P).

Given the context of my performance, I just assumed my guild invitation was for PVP only. When we were talking in vent it was made pretty clear that they had one of the oldest and one of the most solid guilds on our server. This was a surprise, but they rarely advertise in recruitment channels as well as trade chat. All their characters are mostly parked at Undercity for its proximity to world PVP, so I had never seen them running around Orgrimmar. So when I was invited to last nights Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Decent runs, I could not have joined the group fast enough!

We blasted through Halfus rather quickly, in very few attempts. Valiona and Theralion, the twin dragons and the second bosses, looked rather menacing, but they were dealt with quickly. I was lucky enough to score a pair of boots to replace my epic PVP set from Baradin Hold.

Yeah, thats right, I wear PVP gear in PVE content...

Prior this run, I was simply just wearing them and forgot. The gear really is much better than even most of the heroic and justice points gear. In a Baradin Hold run a few weeks ago, I was in full heroic and justice points gear, I was pulling about 9,500 dps. Nothing fantastic, but from what I remember I had not even reforged at this point. I knew I was on my way out of the guild at this point, but considering I knew this I figured I would get carried through a few runs. Pretty average damage for my gear and timing after the expansion release. Wanting to test my stuff out before I ruined THIS guild's run, I decided to check my DPS on the dummies. I had fully reforged into haste on my PVP gear, but forgot I had it on. Looking at the charts I was pulling about 14,000 dps! Quite the step up. Wondering what the hell I did, I started looking at my gear.

D'oh! Left the PVP gear.

I decided to finally reforge my gear, and see what kind of damage I could do in PVE gear. After capping hit, I maxed out as much haste as I could. A modest bump up to about 10,100 dps. Not really exciting. I decided to test again, and sure enough I was still pushing about 14,000 dps in PVP gear! I explained to the guild and raid leader, gave them the example, and they were fine with it. They're response was: "Hey, if it blows the boss up, you could wear cloth gear for all I care".

My new guild master: I'm already starting to like this guy.

Next up was Blackwing Decent. Something I was very excited about. All the lore about Blackrock mountain and it's residents has always been my favorite part of Warcraft lore. Just thinking about that little punk Nefarian gets me all giddy. The trash was cleared quickly (something we could not do in my old guild without bickering) and before I knew it we were staring Magmaw right in his squirmy little face. I was put on chain duty which scared the hell out of me because I hadn't even looked at the fights strategy. (I know! I know...). I had no trouble with it, however that is always one of the parts that gives me a minor panic attack. It brings me back to my first days as a hunter in Molten Core not being able to pull right. (I know! I know...) Of course I had no problem with it, and it only took us about half an hour to get the strategy down. Two hours, and four bosses down. Not a bad nights work!

I was pleasantly surprised at how well my new guild crushed the new content. Granted a lot of guilds have progressed farther, but we only raid two nights a week for two hours. The rest of the week is dedicated to PVP, which REALLY makes me happy. The PVE content, however, did not seem particularly easy, in the sense that we cleared it as if we simply out geared it. However the content itself, with the exception of one gripe I had between the first and second boss in BoT, was really awesome. I was really anxious to see what changes they made to their raid plans from Wrath of the Lich King.
Baradin Hold seems like a nice polish on the Wintergrasp mechanic. It seems fairly similar, and pretty much a step over, it is still fun. I've been looking into the lore a little more, so perhaps knowing the story a little more makes it more exciting. I wonder how long it will take for BH to get old much like Wintergrasp. However I still say it is smart to put these kinds of boss fights in. Besides the obvious idea that it is for slightly more casual players, the change of setting is really what sells me on the new raid content. The past two nights, I've really enjoyed our method of attack to the new content. Clear Baradin Hold, blast through the Bastion of Twilight, the first two bosses in Blackwing decent, and finally progression deeper into BWD.

The idea of picking to progress into BWD is a smart move. To me anyhow, because of my preference to the lore there. However the constant changing of setting and stimulation of completely different mechanics kept me on my toes. After starting to get sick of running down the same hallway a few times, it was nice to immediately switch it up. I can tell that in the coming weeks, the plan of attack will be something like this: give ten or so attempts on a boss fight. If no progress is made, switch up the instance. Now this may seem counterproductive considering most of the time you need to just keep plugging along and experimenting with content. Yet we only switch if we're not making progress. If there is a 10% difference in our wipe, we stick it out. The slow progression is obviously enough to keep us stimulated, especially in these early months of raiding. When it comes down to that last week of heroic Nefarian, it will be a nice change up to start on the heroic BoT.

Just take an hour or so break, get a few whacks onto Magmaw, and see how its goes. This would be espeically uplifting in those dark hours when you are not downing a boss in another instance. When the tiring and frustrating wave of rage washes over you from you twentieth wipe in the night, it is going to be nice to be able to take a break and go down another heroic boss, and give people some new gear. It should be a rather good motivator to get peoples heads back in the right position.

Also, given the drastic changes in game, be on the look out for some drastic changes in this blogs layout. It may just equally torn apart, just like Azeroth.