Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of the Year Wrap-Up

We're just a few days away from New Years, a time for binging and then making the resolution to not binge anymore. That resolution will stick until the next binge holiday like St. Patricks day, President's Day, or even Tues-Day.

I thought I'd do a few resolutions, both about this blog and about WoW. Something to aim for (and miss completely).

Emblem of Frost Pick Order for Mages

Vene at Tankingtips always puts together a pick order for warrior tanks. I thought I would give the mages out there a pick order we can use for our Emblems of Frost. This is the one I'll be using and I'm in a guild that does primarily 10 man ICC. If your guild does 25s and you get some items from there, then you might have a slightly different list.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

LARP Plot Tips: Incapacitate Mechanics

A group of highly skilled characters are investigating a slavery ring. The slavers tend to use many traps and poisons to keep enemies out of their camp and to control slaves. Time is of the essence, as the daughter of the mayor of the town has been kidnapped and if she's not recovered tonight, she'll be gone forever.

This module is designed to be the major battle for the night. All the high level characters and big political players are involved, and are expecting a knock down drag out fight. However, a mere five minutes into the fight, and every single PC is incapacitated and the NPCs don't know how to handle the situation. Why did this happen?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

LFG - The Best Thing To Happen to Bloggers since... Blogging?

I have seen a huge influx in posts about LFG.  While I haven't had a super terrible time with it, I figured I'd send this out to all the bloggers, Megs-Style.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

// Drink up, healer now
// Combat, are you in or are you out?
// Just leave your loots behind,
// 'Cause the tank's going off without you
// "Excuse me, I'm too busy blogging this tragedy
// To Heal you. I'm bubble hearthin'"
// 'Cause They've no idea how to play

// So queue up, just queue up, jump in
// Oh well, whatcha waiting for
// It's alright,
// 'Cause there's fodder in the failure
// So queue up, QQ up, just get in
// Oh it's so amazing here
// It's alright,
// 'Cause there's fodder in LFG

// More posts the more it sucks
// and Webhits rising with the fail
// So bust out that mole remote
// Can't you see that rogue's now in BRD
// Such boundless pressure
// DK tank's rocking spellpower
// You can't wait for the buff to expire
// 20 seconds to survive!

// So queue up, just queue up, jump in
// Oh well, whatcha waiting for
// It's alright,
// 'Cause there's fodder in the failure
// So queue up, QQ up, just get in
// Oh it's so amazing here
// It's alright,
// 'Cause there's fodder in LFG

// So queue up, jump in
// Oh well, whatcha waiting for
// It's alright,
// 'Cause there's fodder in the failure
// So queue up, QQ up, just get in
// Oh it's so amazing here
// It's alright,
// 'Cause there's fodder in LFG

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Board Game Review: Pandemic

I haven't had a chance to review a really good board game recently, but since we celebrated Christmas early, I'll probably have a few to review in the next couple of weeks. My D&D crew is pretty hip to board games out there.

Name: Pandemic
Creator: Matt Leacock
Publisher: Z-man Games
Players: 2-4
Game Setup: 5-10 minutes
Game Play: 30-60 minutes

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

5 Things Your PuG Mage Wants You to Know

Thanks to Amber at I Like Bubbles for the healer version and Altadin for the tanking version. This one could also be titled "How can you tell if I'm a scrub mage."

1. You are permitted to 1 mage table per run.
Sometimes I forget to drop it, and if I haven't dropped it after the first pull, you are free to remind me. Don't ask right away, as I'm probably already doing it, and you don't need mana right now. I will not drop a second, but I will conjure food for people coming in late after someone drops.

If you have a mage that refuses to summon a table at the very beginning, he's probably a scrub.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Think I'm in Love...

I know there's a lot of hate posts about LFG and people being idiots - whatever. It's no different from spamming trade chat, except that you can't get away from the idiots afterward without ignore.

I could care less about doing LFG 80 dungeons. I've been having a much more interesting time on my shaman - who was level 19 when I started LFG. It all started on a whim.

Friday, December 18, 2009

ICC-10 Strategy Fo' Mages

I haven't seen a lot of guides floating around the mage blogs on how to do ICC. I thought I'd throw up my little bit of information based on our experience in 10-man. I will be giving it from the perspective of the Arcane mage, with some frost (I did frost for two fights due to replenishment issues).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Don't Cleave Me, Bro!

Arenas are not really hard, per se. They're just very, very intimidating. There is not a lot of love for people who come in unprepared. If your comp isn't good, you don't use binds, and you don't use voice communication you'll probably get dominated and never want to play again.

So people go looking for help. If you've done your best to make yourself as good as possible internally, sometimes you need help elsewhere. That's what forums are for.

Monday, December 7, 2009


No, it's not an iPhone. But it's close.

My wife got me an iPod Touch as an early birthday present. And that's how I'm posting this from our bedroom while we watch the second season of Torchwood.

I've already downloaded the Wow Armory app, and I'm off to find some more free swag. If you've got a favorite app or game, let me know!

- Posted via iPod Touch Bishes

Saturday, December 5, 2009


My new found love for my warrior is nice and all, but since I need to gear him up and the guild needs my mage for 25 man dps, that means I'm stuck in PuG hell. Normally, I don't really mind. I don't mind wiping over and over again, especially if people are learning. So this group I got in for VoA-25 actually had some ok DPS. For once, the problem was the healers and the other tank. The worthless raid leader didn't help either.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

50 Eggs

What we've got here is a failure to communicate.

I've been raiding on both my mage and my warrior. I've been out of town with the family and forgot my laptop. I've been busy at work and haven't had a chance to do it when I get home. Blogging is hard work!

Since I was not successful in NaBloPoMo, I thought it would be appropriate to go over the lessons learned.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What Have I Been Up To?

Not a whole lot, other than failing at NaBloPoMo. Recently, I've been spending a lot of time on my warrior, getting back into my groove.

My original character (in TBC) was a priest. I wanted a class that could heal at 80, because those are always in demand. Around level 68, the Guild told me "You are our shadow priest." WTF. I actually wanted to heal, while some other people in the guild either whined about/sucked at healing. So, despite my Primal Mooncloth Robe (which still sits in my bank as a grim reminder), I rolled shadow and became an expert at it (getting up to about 900 DPS as shadow in TBC was hard).

We had some issues with tanking, so I power leveled a warrior in order to tank. Meatgazer, my Tauren Warrior, was my pride and joy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Who doesn't love a good old fashioned slap-fight. The Blogosphere has been in turmoil about the whole Greedy Goblin V. JMTC (Just Might Try Crying) incident. This has been going on for a few weeks and a few of the bloggers I follow have commented on this very feud. Here's a quick summary for everyone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Altcrown Citadel

Have you heard the news? Blizzard came out with some information on the patch 3.3 Icecrown Citadel raid. And everyone nods their head in agreement. They all say:


Icecrown citadel is the raid that keeps you from raiding when you want to raid. It cockblocks you by keeping you from doing more than 4 new bosses a week (or two weeks), and no attempts at heroic mode until you beat Arthas in normal, who won't be ready for 2 months. That's 9 weeks. That means by the time Arthas is available, everyone in your 10 man raid has gear from the first 4 bosses. That means they don't need gear from the first bosses anymore. On top of that, you only get a limited amount of attempts at the last bosses of each wing. At first, it will be 5, but later on it will be 20 or whatever Blizz arbitrarily decides.

So who benefits most from this? Is it casuals? Is it the truly hardcore?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Prot Warrior PvP

Even though my main is my mage, my first 80 was actually my warrior. I started tanking in the last 6 months of TBC and got as far as tanking Gruul and Magtheradon's adds. I had planned on tanking at 80, but the tanking spot was filled and I didn't want to DPS on my warrior. We needed a mage at the time so Fricassee was born and powerleveled, and I found a new love for mages (I hadn't even wanted to play one before then).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Like Ellis Island

Game Review: Dragon Age Origins

Note: This review is for Dragon Age: Origins on the Xbox 360. The gameplay may be different on the PC version, but I would not know.  However, most of my gripes are with the gameplay, so if it is different, please let me know!

Dragon Age Origins is a story about your character fighting Demons for the Gray Wardens (at least, as far as I've played it). I can summarize this review in one sentence.

Dragon Age: Origins? More like Dragon Age: BOREigins, amirite?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Top Five: Mage Raiding

Today's Top Five Countdown is for new to raiding mages.  These are five things I wish I had been told when I started.  For a twist, these will be delivered via puns, the lowest form of humor.

I must warn you though.  Puns have been known to drive even the most sane person into incredible fits of rage.  In fact, that German kid who raged out on his computer was fueled by his hatred for puns.  Had he not read my post, that keyboard would still be alive today.  You have been warned.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Raiding is Srs Bsns

Recently, my guild has decided that we need to be more dedicated to raiding. They published a nice long post after a nice long officer's meeting about what was going to happen with the guild. But I can't help but think that there could have been a little more input. Here's the story:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cleveland Playhouse: Mamma Mia!

So Mamma Mia was at the Cleveland Playhouse for this week only and Jenn got tickets on discount from her school. I was going to write a review about the play, but instead I'm going to write about something else.

Tunnel Vision

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Holding Down The Fort

With all the bloggers out there that are digging into NaNoWriMo, we're losing a serious source of content (read: distraction). For that reason, I'm going to endeavor to meet a different goal in the month of November


That sounds really awful, but it stands for National Blog Post Month. The goal of NaBloPoMo is for bloggers to post every day for the month. Since I obviously missed a few days, we're going for a total of at least 30 posts. I'll hold down the fort while people more focused and disciplined write their novels!

So to all you bloggers doing NaNoWriMo, give a shout out and give us an update! You're almost half way, and it would give a little more fuel for my monthly goal.

L2Typeset Blogger

Growing up, I was a math and science guy. In fact, my writing was absolutely abysmal until I hit the 7th grade. My English teacher was a complete grammar snob above all else. He taught us the proper rules for commas (the bane of the English language), how to avoid dangling participles, and most importantly, how to follow instructions in writing. Since this was in the dawning of the computer age, we wrote a lot of papers and essays on the computer, and he made sure we followed all the rules to the T.

He was all kinds of old school so all papers had to be written in the English Typeset convention. That meant you didn't put spaces around punctuation but you put two spaces after periods, colons, and semicolons.

The reason I mention this is that Blogger apparently doesn't care for that convention, and when I put two spaces after periods it tends to put one space on the other line. As nitpicky as I might be, I'm not going back to remove spaces when it messes up format.

As much as I care for my readers to be graced with left align, it would be unethical for me to change my writing style when I'm in the right. I will simply wait for Blogger to stop raging against my typeset.


He also taught us that it was proper to put a comma before the last option in multiple option sentence. For example, I would write the following sentence as:

That DK in the VoA pug was a clicker, a keyboard turner, and a face-roller.

Most writers won't put a comma after keyboard turner, but I want people to make sure that keyboard turning and face rolling are two separate ideas.

Steam Can Eat A Big One

Know what I love more than video games? Video games I can download on demand.  In this age of the internet where you can access any information that humanity has discovered or single click your way into bankruptcy, we need instant gratification.  Steam was designed with that in mind.  No link love?  You'll see why later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Truth About Quartz

Mortigan the Lock had a post about increasing DPS without gear/stat upgrades where he advocated hitting the next cast button early. He was summarily trolled to death about the quartz addon, and how it makes the job easy for you. I figured I'd lay out some information on how it actually works, and some things even long-time users may not know about this addon.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Arcane Rotation Redux

A few days ago I talked about a mage that dominated the charts and how I thought he had a different rotation. I ended up swallowing my pride and talking to him, and it turns out he uses the same rotation. Seemed like everything I was doing was right, and the biggest thing seemed to be discipline. This goes to show that arcane is more than just ABx4MBAM. It takes practice. This guy was an arcane mage before it was cool to be an arcane mage.

I went ahead and went back to gemming hard for spellpower. I'm going to play around with my discipline on managing my CDs and my mana sources, and we'll see if I can perform better than I did before (which was still awesome, just not as awesome).

Friday Top Five: Raiding Music

I don't often listen to music when I raid.  When I started raiding, I was playing WoW on my laptop and running iTunes/Media Player/Winamp in the background tended to increase lag, so it had to go.  Now that I have a bomb computer, I could burn DVDs and run extended MATLAB calculations without adding any effect to my computer.  I still don't listen to music normally (unless I have pandora open on light raids), but when we need to buckle down and get things done, I still have my pump up music that I listen to in order to increase my DPS by 10%.

Without Further Ado, my Top Five Raiding Songs

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Game Review: Borderlands

I know this might be a little late, but better late than never. Borderlands is a new game available on PC, XBox 360, and PS3. The game is what could be considered an FPSRPG - First Person Shooter Roleplaying Game. It's very unique, tons of fun, and could possibly be the way to go for the next big MMORPG.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Arcane Rotation?

Last night, me and a few Guildies joined a PuG for ToC 25. While the pug was a failure on Jaraxxus, due to all of the melee standing in someone's legion flames, I wasn't really focused on the failing of the pug. I was focused on the fact that one of the mages, who was less geared than me and another mage from my guild was destroying us on the meters. Even in best case scenario, he was more than 500 dps higher than me.  I may ask him later what he did, but I endeavor to figure it out on my own!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who Says Gamers Don't Give

In the past week, I've seen two wonderful causes that have been funded by WoW activities. I think both of them are very worthwhile and I'll be donating my time/money, and I hope you all do too.

First is Azeroth United's "Hearts, Hands and Voices," a donation to the Child's Play organization that gets gaming equipment into children's hospitals. As small as that may seem, toys and games for children going through therapy in hospitals helps keep their moral up so they can keep on fighting. If you have a chance, and you're a WoW person, think about donating to this wonderful cause.

The second cause is a more personal cause brought to us by Big Bear Butt and The World of Warcraft "Raid for the Cure." Julie, one of the members of the Sidhe Devils on Kael'thas US server was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. To show their support, The Sidhe Devils are having people from all around, both Alliance and Horde, show up and march to the barrens wearing pink shirts. While it's great for Julie to see all the people rooting for her, they're also raffling off some prizes for people who donate to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation via this site. Just send the receipt from your donation to the email address at BBB's post, and you're entered!

I'm just super pumped to see the gamer community giving back to the community in such a wonderful way.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Non-Meme Healing Questionnaire... Meme

Edit: This survey was actually from Miss Medicina, so give credit where credit's due.  Another blog to read! 

Gnomeaggedon decided to fill out a non-meme healing questionnaire and to challenge people who read his blog to fill it out. So I have decided to take this non-meme and non-fill it out.

My first level 70 toon was a priest, and I figured this is something I can talk about, despite him not being level 80 yet.  He's 74 now, but I'm working him up to 80 for *gasp* PvP.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Halloween, Jackholes

Today we'll be giving out candy to little beggars that come to our door. We only give out little candy bars so that next year we won't be swamped. On halloween, usually all the kids get equal candy treats, but I've always wondered what would happen if you didn't give everyone the same thing. What if you made them earn it.

I envision the idea of the man on the bridge in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Ask each kid three questions. If they get any of them wrong, they get a small candy bar. Get them all right, and you give them a full sized candy. You could make up your own questions, but these are the ones I'm throwing around in my mind.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Things You Shouldn't Do

And with the good comes the bad. Last post, I was singing praises about the guild, people doing better, and generally happy thoughts, but last night the guild did a big no-no. Our GM had a computer issue, and so while he was working through it he had our officers set up the run. It was planned to have a ToC10 run on Tuesday and Thursday, and our raiding starts at 7:00 (ends up being 7:30 because we have no sign-ups).

Last night, we had half the raid together, and we were waiting on the other half, for about half an hour. What was the hold up? They were doing HH runs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Love Improvement - A PSA

As blunt as I might be, I really do want to see others improve.  That's probably why I'm so blunt when people do things incorrectly.  It's not hate. I'm not being a dick for the sake of being a dick.  I just really want people to click on things and I love to see them do better.  This is a PSA about helping your fellow raider and fellow mage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gearscore, Gearscore, Gearscore

This gearscore thing is crazy. Many people have posted on this phenomenon, so telling you about it won't give you any more information. What I am telling you is don't let it stop you from applying to the group. Give them your best info (achievements) and reasons (alt, off-spec, etc) but don't sound pushy or pitiful. If they're a decent player, they can get past it. If they can't get past it, you probably wouldn't want to be part of the group anyways.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Epic Fail

Have you ever had one of those days, where you had absolutely everything planned out but due to a small typographical oversight, everything is completely FUBAR? Yeah, today was one of those days.

We decided to visit my Wife's parents this weekend, because we had a wedding to go to in Vienna, OH and they live pretty close to there. We were all hanging out, doing our thing, about to get ready, when my Wife re-read the invitation.

Onyxia is a Mage's House

A while back, Jong at Forbearance wrote about how Kologarn is a ret paladin's fight. Even once I had living bomb for multiple targets, I still couldn't match our melee on that fight. However, I'm glad to say that Onyxia is unequivocally a mage fight. When Zombies and the Fat Kid walked into do Ony 25 with 22 people, the three arcane mages dominated the fight. Here's why we rock so hard.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Mole Day Bishes

Being a complete and utter nerd and engineer, I think it's only appropriate that I wish every a wonderful Mole Day.

A mole is a quantity of 6.022x10^23 often used in chemisty to determine the number of atoms of concentration in a substance or object. This is called Avogadro's number, and is celebrated every October 23rd, since children can't be expected to respect science for the sick awesome power that it is. So instead of taking a belt to them they gave them cake.

Either way, here's a fun little video you can watch to celebrate mole day. Then you should get drunk and vandalize something, so you don't feel like such a nerd.

LARP Plot Tips: Failure != Death

A common misconception in writing LARP modules is that the only way the characters lose is if they die. This makes me feel like I'm playing Dynasty Warriors, where the victory objectives get very monotonous. Mix it up a little bit, and make other failure mechanics.

Say character A has a contact that they tend to use a lot. Put a crisis on that contact, forcing character A to do some sort of quest in order to save them or recover the contact's trust. You don't even need to make the contact die, so if the character fails they can continue to try and gain their contact's trust back from over several events.

This also gives plot a means to make a difficult situation without overscaling a module. Make modules that the PCs can lose without massive consequences (everyone dies). That way people will actually go into modules wondering if they can be successful instead of the normal faceroll-or-decimated results that come from standard module design. With less on the line, you can put strict time limits on fights and actually create multiple levels of success. Add in some excellent roleplay elements, and you can have people talking for years about the module they lost, but still had a great time.

And don't make it so the PCs can't win. That's not what I'm endorsing. Just don't be afraid to challenge them to perform at their best, and if they don't take it seriously (since they may know it's not life or death), then they might not be successful.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cleveland Playhouse: Young Frankenstein

Last night, my wife and I got to see the first show of our season pass at the Cleveland Playhouse. I know, you're thinking the theater is for old people and primadonnas. Well, you're right, and I got to meet all of those wonderful people in the complete CF that was getting out of the parking garage.

However, I must say, Young Frankenstein was possibly the most entertaining thing I've ever seen. And I've seen Alice Cooper in concert. Alice Cooper was great, but the experience lacked because he followed this horrible Canadian band that had the word "Electric" in damn near every song title.

On to the review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Arcane Haste

I've finally broken 800 haste unbuffed on my mage. With talents, that puts me a little over 30% haste. I've followed the thought process that Euripedes at Critical QQ brought up and started gemming hard for haste.

I'm talking about using Quick King's Amber for yellow, Reckless Ametrine for red, and Intricate Eye of Zul for blue (when bonuses are appropriate).

Here is what I've seen so far with ridiculous haste.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The 4 A.M. Breakthrough : Parataxis

My wife got me a present - The 4 A.M Breakthrough - for our 3 year dating anniversary.  This book is a bunch of exercises in making you a better writer, and it would be a waste for me to just keep all the exercises I do to myself.  The point of writing is to practice, have people read it, criticize it, and move forward.  Here is one of the exercises.

Write a narrative in paratactic style concerning a 19-year old man leaving messages for the woman who broke his heart - 500 words.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

LARP Plot Tips: Change the Basics

Anyone who's ever run plot at an event knows that it's much harder than it looks. When running games like D&D, spur of the moment and larger than life plot maneuvers that don't require physical setup, props, and player's physical limitation. Here's a tip for writing a LARP module, stolen from the guys at Exiles (give credit where credit's due) for their end of the year event.

Changing the Basics
Every player has their role. They know their skills and they know what they can or can't do. But what happens when you give them a completely different set of skills?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Practice your Elevator Raid Pitch

One of the worst things that can happen to a raid that has a lot of momentum is a long explanation of the next fight. People who already know the fight lose concentration. People who don’t know the fight get overwhelmed. Either way, it makes it very hard for each member to keep their steam from the last boss. This can be an issue with low end guilds on progression content, where it’s very possible to clear several bosses for the first time in one night. Because of that fact, the RL needs to be prepared to give the explanation of the new boss. This is where the elevator pitch comes in.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Exiles

This weekend, I will be attending a LARP called "The Exiles." The game is based somewhat on Deadlands, inasmuch as it is a wester/steampunk/horror type setting. This game is a rush. It's finishing it's 4th year now, and while it's a small game, it proves to push the boundaries of what can be done in a LARP.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Robe or Reverse Robe?

I had stepped away from WoW for about a month, but the release of patch 3.2.2 with the massive changes in how Arcane played brought me back in. The problem is, a month off can seem like an eternity in game. I have to catch back up with my guild as far as gear goes. The way I plan to catch up is to snag myself these two crafted gems: Merlin's Robe and Bejeweled Wizard's Bracers.

Vene always made quick insightful posts about gearing up, even when it came to bags. Looking at both of these items, you will definitely get your money's worth working up to get them. As an Arcane mage, these items are amazing. Lots of Haste, low on hit. Just what you need. You can probably find the recipes on the AH (or find a tailor in trade) and then it's just a matter of amassing the materials needed.

And if you don't like the way it looks, you can always wear Merlin's Robe backwards to get this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

State of the Blog

In case anyone hasn't noticed, the blog has been very quiet over the last week and a half. There are three reasons for this.

1. I got married. Call me a sucker, but something about a beautiful woman in white controlling everything I now say or do (like she didn't before) makes me happy. Mucho time was dedicated to keeping her from hyperventilating pre-wedding and thus was the biggest reason for my absence.

2. WoW patch 3.2.2 put the crack back in World of Warcrack. My Mage's DPS is higher than ever as arcane spec and we've been raiding a lot more consistently which makes me a happy (and if I ever get rid of this tunic, well dressed) blood elf. With working 8 to 5:30 and raiding at 7, not much time for blogging.

3. Content gaps in Champions are dreadful. I hit said content gaps on both of my main toons, and I would be able to grind through it, were it not for points 1 and 2.

For these three reasons, I have decided to revamp the content for the blog. I've had a lot I've wanted to write about that was not necessarily Champions related, so I could get more content if I made it a general gaming/writing blog. I will still be writing about champions online, but I'll also have posts associated with other computer games, LARP, writing or fiction. I hope everyone enjoys what is in store in the new blog, The Gaming Diaries.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Basics of Tanking in CO

Tanking in Champions Online is very different from tanking in World of Warcraft. Most of this has to do with the way the designers made Champions less like the holy trinity (Tank, Healer, DPS), and made everyone random. However, a lot of it has to do with the unavailability of information on how threat works in this game.

The trick is not to compare it to World of Warcraft now, but to Vanilla World of Warcraft. Here are a few tips to keep you in charge of threat in this game.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Devs Pls Respond! - 7 Helpful Tips for Getting a Positive Forum Response

Since Champions Online is still a new game, there are very few resources out there to get information. I've made it very clear that I tend to read the forums. When I do, I stick with the Combat and Powers forum, because it has a lot of great information in the game and helps people think about things that haven't been done before.

But it is just as much win as it is whine. And the problem is that it becomes very difficult to discern the good from the bad, even for a Developer/Community Leader standpoint. It's got to the point that Goryus posted a thread about the uselessness of the forum, since Dev's don't respond.

Daeke got involved and put a stop to that and started doing a (not quite) automated response saying "I got it, stop yelling." So we know they're out there. Here are a few tricks in order to get Daeke (and the other CLs) to extract your posts from the noise floor.

1. Do a Search for your Topic
Someone may have already hit the nail on the head in another post that got buried 3 pages back. By responding to that post you not only bring it back to the front, but you add ammunition as another witness to what's happening.

2. Be Clear and Concise
If you have a true concern, write the statement clearly and be to the point. Talk about how a power is not working or overworked. Don't tell us how many games of BASH you won with that one skill, don't tell us how many people use it in duals, don't tell us how you are going to quit the game if we don't deal with it. If it's just the facts, it's easier for people to respond intelligently rather than them flaming you and telling you "Pics or it didn't happen."

3. If you Have a Suggested Fix, Wait to Post It.
This may seem counter intuitive, but this way others can see your bug and test it and report. If they don't see the same thing, maybe your travel power was on, maybe something was unequipped, etc. Better yet, if someone comes up with the same fix, then it's two independent people who came up with it. Much more power (even though you won't have credit should they use the fix). You want a better game, not a bigger f-peen (the F is for forum, you animals).

4. Avoid Immediate Bumping
Stuff gets lost when the forum updates faster than people TP out of holds in PvP. If it's been 10 minutes and no one has responded, give it a second. Wait at least an hour and say something intelligent like "I didn't see any other posts on this and it may have been lost in the noise. Has anyone seen this?" instead of "I GUESS I'M THE ONLY ONE THAT WANTS THIS SKILL FIXT LOL." Once people get used to searching, this should be less of a problem.

5. Avoid Ad Hominim Attacks
Trolls live under bridges, but there's nothing to do down there. They will inevitably rise up and visit your thread. Don't get smarmy, don't get angry, just ignore them. They are complete attention whores, so ignoring them is the best thing you can do. And if your original post was kind of smarmy, it's kind of justified for them to come back at you. Remember, it's the internet and odds are good the other guy lives in his parent's basement.

6. Compare Situations Intelligently
In this game, you need to use 'like' powers to give credence to scaling. Do not say Circle of Primal Dominion is fine because the rest of the set is trash, because everyone can cherry pick. Don't say Ego Blade Breach is better than Reaper's Caress because they're not in the same tier. Don't say Gauntlet Chainsaw is all around better than Beatdown because Gauntlet Chainsaw costs way more energy. Just keep everything in perspective.

7. Be Thankful
If your thread becomes a positive environment for people to post input on a power/power set, thank everyone for reading and contributing. It keeps trolls away and makes everyone involved feel better. You can bet that Daeke will be more likely to read your next post if he actually feels invigorated by your last thread that had 50+ responses, rather than wanting to turn the computer off and go outside to keep him from slamming his head into the keyboard.

If you stick with these 7 tips, you may see some positive actions taken to improve CO, and you'll avoid being one of those people who post "OMG I'M QUITTING EVERYONE CRY NOW."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ode to the Forum 2

Megan at Out of Mana use to do a segment called "New Rules" that was adapted from Real Time with Bill Maher. While I think the latter is a complete hack, the former was one of the most influential bloggers/writers until she quit blogging.

After venting on the last post "Ode to the Forum", I've decided I'm going to make it a regular installment in this blog, to talk about all the redunkulous things that people should be shot over.

Without further ado, Ode To The Forum!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Maintains and TGMP

Protip: Toggles are abilities that you hit once and automatically run.  As a default setting, your energy builder is set to be a toggle that resets when you target a new enemy.  You may have noticed at times that certain chain abilities

In other news, The Two-Gun Mojo Project is moving along nicely.  I'm through early Canada and had no problems soloing any content with only Two-Gun Mojo as my only real damage power.  Here's how he sits at level 13.

Super Stats: Dex, Ego
Talents: +8 Dex, +5 Dex/+5 Ego, +8 Ego

Level 1: Gunslinger, Two-Gun Mojo
Level 5: Killer Instinct, Acrobatics (Versatility)
Level 8: Regeneration (Rank 2)
Level 11: Retaliation

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Two-Gun Mojo Project

Every time Cryptic nerfs some overpower skill, people are outraged.  In fact, a whole bunch of them are so angry that they post long tirades about how they're quitting the game and everyone should be sad that they're doing it.  People flame them and inevitably it turns into a thread about Aion.  (SEE YOU IN AION.  ZOMG NO YOU WON'T LOL)

Let's get one thing straight.  Skills like the pre-nerf Mini Mines are cheating, plain and simple.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Telepathy 101

The 101 series is a short information segment providing some in-game information on some of the starter tier skills for various power sets. This will give a little insight into use early character building so people don't get stuck rerolling due to high retcon prices.

Suggested Role
The Telepathy tree has a lot of healing and party abilities, that makes it a perfect tree for a support character.  Don't be fooled though, as many of the skills have the ability to do amazing damage. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Milkshake Brings All the Villians to the Yard

So I'm a dude.  In MMORPGs, for the most part, I play dude characters.  As much as I'd rather be looking at the backside of a sleek, sexy femme fetale rather than a huge man-mountain like Hulk, I would just rather avoid situations like these (thanks for the laugh Jong and Syrana).

I decided to delve into the world of transgender heroism and make a female tanking character that ended up looking like Mila Jovavich from Resident evil (so much that I might have to take Two Gun Mojo).  In order to do that, I went to make a custom body, and WHAM, my jaw dropped to the floor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Do Unto Others

At it's very heart, Champions Online is a game designed to be PvE (Player vs. Environment).  However, it's becoming increasingly clear that many of the balancing issues in the game seem to be coming from the PvP side of the show.  Why would Cryptic use less than 2% of the intended gameplay (Hero Games) in order to pick which skills are too powerful and which aren't powerful enough, if PvE is the focus?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ode to the Forum

In ancient Rome, the Forum was a public space used as tool for citizens to gather socially. They would host debates, festivals, meetings and discussions of all shapes and colors.  In modern times, we do a great service to the idea of the forum, via the internet.  In these forums people can post quickly with nigh anonymity, giving slightly less credence to the concept.

In true fashion of the freedom of ideas and freedom of speech that the Roman Forums provided (as long as you don't hate on the emperor or promote Christianity), I give you this Ode to the Champions Online Forum.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kick, Punch, Block

Seriously, I had to be the only person I knew growing up that could play Parappa the Rappa for hours on the old Playstation.  That was before games sold out for bigger and better things, like the full three dimensions.

I remember the very first level was in a dojo with Chop Chop Master Onion. Way too intense for the first level.  He had a friggin' onion for a head (you could tell because of the stink lines).
He wanted to teach Parappa how to rap, which inevitably involved various  martial arts moves that had nothing to do with rapping at all.  In fact, none of the levels had anything to do with rapping.

I feel like we could all use a lesson from Chop Chop Master Onion.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Powerhouse and You

As you may already know, the powerhouse is the first spot you hit whenever you get a new level. This is the place where you purchase all of your talents, powers, and advantages. But did you know about all the neat things you can do there?

Currently, a lot of powers and advantages don't... exactly work. However, the powerhouse gives you a chance to test out most of your powers so you can tell if something is working the way it's supposed to. Remember, just because the tooltip says what something does, doesn't mean it actually works!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Math Behind the Numbers: Part 2

I've decided to do a summary of the Math Behind the Numbers thread, because going through over 140 posts about stats can be somewhat... tedious. Here's a follow up to Part 1 with the benefits as have been solved so far, as well as some additional information.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Math Behind the Numbers: Part 1

I live for the numbers in games. Have you ever played the board game Shadows Over Camelot? That game is practically impossible to win, but there is a way that we found out. You have to use 4 specific characters and they all have to do very specific things, but that actually gives you a fighting chance. Whenever I played WoW, I became a big time theory crafter and strived to understand every stat and how it applied to every class. It's just how I operate, I'm a engineer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Wouldn’t Worry About That Little Guy.

Unlike some MMORPGs out there, Champions Online works with very little RNG. Damage dealt often doesn’t stray far from the average, damage received is pretty stable (before resistances), an martial arts will always suck. However, there are still some strange occurrences (read: bugs) that pop up from time to time when adding all our stats together. What's going on?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Munitions 101

The 101 series is a short information segment providing some in-game information on some of the starter tier skills for various power sets. This will give a little insight into use early character building so people don't get stuck rerolling due to high retcon prices.

Suggested Role
Munitions does very excellent DPS, but requires high crit in order for some of the skills to function. For that reason, they're usually picking Dexterity and Ego as their two super stats, which makes tanking or healing very difficult.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Using the Market

Most MMORPGs have some form of public trading facility (a place where people can post goods and purchase items from other people). Champions online has this, but it operates differently than many other MMOs. Here are some tips to using the Market in Champions.

- Auctions never "Expire." If you post something, it'll remain there until it's bought or the auction is cancelled. Is your bank full? Use the Market instead! This of course only works for bound items.

- You can't look further than 100 items. This means you may need to narrow your search a little bit more to find good deals. Set the level range from x to x and pick each individual slot to see the most results.

- Due to the other two points, competition is going to be fierce. If you post an item, people may not even see it unless they search for it by name. If you need money soon, sell it to a vendor instead.

- Materials are available. Do you need to make some items? Check out the materials section. Since people skill up by researching items, you can often buy a lot of mats cheap because power leveling a craft may leave people with excess mats.

There are some serious issues with the AH, and eventually there will be too many posts and nothing will sell. By then, Cryptic will hopefully found a way to implement a little more control over the Market.

Edit 10/16/09: There are still some series issues with the market, but at least you can now view more than the first 100 items, so at least you can dig for items, but it will take a long time to get through all of them, because they still don't time out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Picking Your Super Stats

There's some confusion on how super stats work, so here's a little clarity.

No matter what super stats you pick, stack them as high as possible.

Almost all of your damage comes from your super stats simply because they are your super stat. Sure, some of the stats give a little benefit, but the flavor of the game is that you could have a high intelligence/high presence might character and you'll still do ok.

That being said, here are the basic benefits of each stat.

Strength - Melee damage (up to +20%), knockback resistance, physical hold recovery. Helps Invulnerability and Enrage
Dexterity - Critical strike chance and stealth detection. Helps Lightning Reflexes
Constitution - Increases maximum health. Helps Invulnerability and Defiance
Endurance - Increases maximum energy and energy gain from your builder. Helps Personal Force Field.
Ego - Increases critical strike bonus damage and intangible hold recovery. Helps Personal Force Field
Intelligence - Reduces cooldown times, reduces energy cost and increases pet damage.
Recovery - Increases equilibrium energy level and energy gain from your builder. Helps Regeneration.
Presence - Increases threat in defensive role, decreases threat in support and offensive roles, increases healing effectiveness and increases pet health.

Strength, Constitution, Presence, and even Ego are good for Tanking types.
Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Ego, and Intelligence are good for DPS types.
Endurance, Intelligence, Recovery, and Presence are good for Support types.

But most of all, have fun with it. Pick a stat that fits your theme more than what may provide you the biggest boost. Unlike picking powers, it's hard to gimp yourself by picking the "wrong" superstat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

If You Don't Stop Touching It, You'll Go Blind

I've got a dirty little secret. I use mini-mines... a lot. My main is a gadgeteer and the only two powers I have outside the set are PFF (to fit the character concept) and Mini Mines. Originally, I picked the Mini Mines because the futuristic look of them fit my character (let's call him Tiberius, he wears a yellow shirt, you get the picture).

I simply cannot stop using them.

**Spoiler Alert**

Using Mini Mines will ruin your gameplay experience.

I thought about picking them up on a few martial arts characters, to bring them up to curve. But on my Gadgeteer, who was doing fine up until he got them at 17, I use them too much.

It got to the point where a fellow member of my supergroup asked for some help, and I didn't use them that fight. Not because I didn't need the, but because I didn't want him to know I used them.

I'm really looking forward for them bringing them back in, whether it becomes a charged ability, the CD is increased, or the damage is brought down. Then I can use them without feeling so dirty.

Edit: They patched Mini Mines to do 30% less damage when using the "Wall of Fire" advantage. While it's a step in the right direction and I can feel better about using it, I still think it's going to be the highest damage skill I have.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gadgeteering 101

The 101 series is a short information segment providing some in-game information on some of the starter tier skills for various power sets. This will give a little insight into use early character building so people don't get stuck rerolling due to high retcon prices.

Suggested Role
Gadgeteering does very excellent DPS, but does not provide much in the area of healing or crowd control. In addition, there are no passive or active defenses in this power set, so unless you plan on a lot of cherry picking, DPS will be your go to role.

Welcome to Foxbat Diaries

Hello everyone! My name is Fricassee. I've decided to provide a resource to the Champions Online player base dedicated to providing some of the lesser known facts about the game. A lot of it is a mystery this close to the release, and hopefully we can get a strong community to help people stay involved.

I have been a member of several MMOs over the last 6 or so years and participated in several games, including Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, Tabula Rasa, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, and finally Champions Online. Some of those games I experienced end game content, some I didn't get very far in at all, but hopefully I've got enough experience to provide some actual useful data.

Edit 10/19/09: As per this post, the blog has been renamed to The Gamer Diaries and retooled to spread the focus amongst MMORPGs, LARP, Board Games, and Writing.