Blogging Like Crazy


I have a new blogging action plan. I have spent the last couple of weeks madly typing out angry blog posts, venting my frustrations, yelling at idiots and in general putting the world to right via the power of a good pen-lashing.

Then I have deleted the posts and walked away. It has been very therapeutic.

[PSA] Get Your Ring Checked


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WoW gear is fairly simple to understand. In most cases, if it has a higher ilvl then it is better. It hasn’t always been the case though and we are returning to the days when it is worth looking twice at the gear drops you got to figure out which is best.

In the early days of WoW items derived their attributes through a hidden item level. The ilvl, together with an item’s rarity gave a stat budget and every stat on an item meant there was a less budget remaining for other attributes. Attribute itemisation was generally a bit crazy which meant that at one point I had fully uncommon L57 gear with randomly generated stats that was better than almost everything I could get from the Molten Core raid drops.

Slowly over time, things were changed. First stamina was de-budgetted so each ilvl gave you a fixed amount for free. Then the primary stats got a fixed part of the budget. By this time class changes meant that the overwhelming majority of an items power came from the primary stat. Since the primary stat was linked to the ilvl it because increasingly difficult for a well itemised lower level item to be a greater power gain than a poorly itemised item of higher level.

Suddenly, in Legion, we are back in the wild days. The stabilising role played by the primary stat to ensure that ilvl is king has been removed from accessory items such as rings, necks and cloaks. Legion accessories only contain secondary attributes. Some secondary attributes are a lot more valuable than others when it comes to a player’s output power. For example, versatility trades power for survivability so it is almost always less favourable than the other attributes when it comes to DPS or healing done. Any ring with versatility is going to take a lot of ilvls before it becomes better than a lessor ring with more useful attributes.

The result is that we need to be a lot more careful in checking our gearing priorities and thinking for a second before automatically assuming that higher ilvl means a better item.

[Hearthstone] Welcome Pack



Logging on to Hearthstone over the weekend I got a pop-up saying that the starter pack was available. Since the only class legendary I have is Al’Akir (not bad to draw through a random effect but not a card that sits comfortably in my shaman deck), I thought I would take the plunge and splurged my £3.99 in a bid to break my bad luck.welcome-bundle

Upon purchase you get a screen with the face-down legendary and ten classic packs. Clicking the legendary I received… Cenarius. Not the best class legendary but not the worst either and it wasn’t a duplicate so that left me happy.

Onto the 10 classic packs. I already had all all the common cards but got some value from fill a few gaps in my collection of rares.The highlight was pulling a golden legendary from my first pack. It was duplicate of a legendary I already hold Malygos, but since it is golden I can dust it and craft another legendary for the same cost. Just 4 decks later I got another legendary. This time a Jarraxus for my warlock deck. He is a legendary that I am very happy to receive.

I consider getting three legendarys to be great value for money [1]. I am very happy with my purchase. It is just a shame I couldn’t buy it with coins. I guess I will save those to spend on the autumn expansion.

[1] – Your results will probably differ.

[WoW] Retcon, what retcon?


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I have seen several posts floating around the blogverse about Blizzard’s retcons. I consider myself a fan of the Warcraft lore and have read most of the stories with the exception of Dawn of the Aspects (which is a retcon itself – it is discovering that what happened was quite different to the story that had been handed down), and War of the Ancients (which is probably quite relevant to this discussion but there is only so much Knaak that I can take). I would have thought that I knew a fair bit about the lore, but I cannot spot the retcons that have gotten some people so up in arms.  It would help if people moaning about retcons actually said what they were as opposed to making moaning vaguely in the name of spoilers). I only recognise one retcon. It gets me quite grump so iI am saving that for a special post on its own.


I can only conclude that people imagined the War of the Ancients to be a mostly Elven encounter and did not think a Tauren would play a prominent part. There are several reasons why I don’t consider that a retcon. Mostly because it aligns with established lore.

  1. Chronicle Vol. 1 mentions the final stages of the War of the Ancients involving a multi-species force of Azerothian defenders.
  2. We know the inhabitants of Pandaria, included a Tauren off-shoot, withdrew from the world to avoid the War of the Ancients. Presumably most of those that did not go off into mist the were involved in the fighting.
  3. Cataclysm described Jarod Shadowsong as having been first the liaison to the “lesser” races, and later leader of a unified army.
  4. The Tauren have long claimed an ancestral friendship with Cenarius and that their people were among the first druids. You would expect them to predate Malfurion and certainly help the demi-God during the war.
  5. Never trust an elf. They are not a reliable narrators when it comes to their own history. They are a rather xenophobic and insular species so would of course minimise the contributions made by other species .


My biggest grumblings about this zone (apart from it being too red), is that everything appears to be too easy for the Nightmare. When last encountered in the novel Stormrage, the Nightmare was being contained in a tiny part of the Emerald Dream and Xavius was an apparently long dead and rotted tree trunk. Somehow the Nightmare has re-emerged but we do not know how. Sloppy writing doesn’t even hint at that key part of the story and gives the impression that someone at Blizzard decided to re-write the end of Stormrage.

I am sure I might have missed something, but from what I have seen of Legion, it gets a relatively clean pass from me for being consistent with known history.

[WoW] So Legion is erm… nice?



I feel as though I should be giving an impressions post about World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion, but I don’t really have a lot to say that hasn’t been said elsewhere.

  • I reached L110 one week and 45 minutes after launch.
  • Up to level cap my affliction warlock was almost indestructible. Post level cap I had to switch to pet tanking. Other specs are a lot more squidgy.
  • Affliction has very low single target DPS. The AoE has gone from poor to fair (mostly because all the other AoEs are now more complex).
  • All warlocks specs take a long time to hit peak dps. One affliction spec takes over 30 seconds! Don’t even mention target swapping.
  • I should probably focus on getting geared up and completing the class campaign. At the moment I am bungling around being a little confused.
  • Some things are very dark. Lots of tragic deaths and fridge horrors.

I have nothing else to add. It is all very nice.

The First Rule Of Spoiler-Club


I don’t like being spoilered. I do not go to great lengths to avoid it, but I take reasonable precautions. That does leave me in a quandary about what to do for discussions of storylines that are in progress.

I have spent 25 years reading and participating in columns of stories and there is always some difficulty knowing what to say and what not to say to avoid spoiling other people. The latest trend that I see however is really starting to drive me crackers. People have become increasingly spoiler-conscious, to such an extent that they will now make comments without any reference to the plot. Instead they talk about the feelings and thoughts that were inspired, which is all well and good, but what can I take from this? There are two huge issues that I have with this new spoiler-friendly discussion technique?

Have I Been Spoilered?
If you don’t tell give me some clues about where an event occurred in the story, there is no way for me to tell if you are discussing something that I have encountered. The only evidence I have to go on are what the commentator thought and since people will always see differences things so there is no way I can be certain if they are talking about an event I have witnessed or something that is yet to come.

Narcissistic Bloggers 
Commentating has always been a narcissistic hobby. You blog to express yourself to whom-so-ever might read your post. Posting to the internet is the modern-day equivalent of standing on a soapbox and shouting, “listen and debate what I think.” Unfortunately the internet is not a soapbox. There is no crowd ready to argue and debate, forging opinion and discussing truth. The reply box has been neutered in such an extent that the original poster is screaming “Listen to me; your thoughts are irreverent.”
How has the reply box been neutered? If it isn’t possible to be entirely sure about what someone is referencing how can it be discussed. I cannot referencing it without potentially spoiling it for you? I could give my opinion on event A, but you might be talking about event B, and if I keep with the spoiler convention established in the original post, neither of us can know if we are talking about the same thing. We are all blind men, trying to describe an elephant. I cannot even ask for further clarification without breaking the spoiler policy inferred in the original post!

To summarise, if you are going to post something discussing a story point that might be potentially spoilery, allow for the reader to decide if they want to be spoiled by giving either a general comment on what things happen or using a good old fashioned spoiler tag. Without either of those your post essentially boils down to:

“I am great because I know a secret and I am not telling”

It is fantastic for your ego but a slap in the face for community.

[WoW] App Users Beware


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Shortly after my post on being mindful with which class hall missions you run, Blizzard have announced something that makes my prioritising even more crucial.legion-companion-header

When running order hall missions via your phone, please remember the following simple ideas.

  • You are not playing a traditional ftp mobile game. You are not being gated with long cooldowns.
  • You are not playing a traditional ftp mobile game. You are not being gated with resources that slowly replenish over time.
  • You are being gated by resources that are earnt from in-game activity.
  • Prioritise missions based on what you can afford.
  • Don’t start missions in the hours before logging in. Some in-game events trigger new missions. You probably want all your champions available at the end of a play session to send on the new missions.

For some people (me included), the release of the mobile app is going to be a challenge in restraint. I could keep checking every time my missions have completed but doing that will exhaust my stockpile of resources. I am not earning resources while I will run the highest priority missions via my phone. To help me prioritise, I will give myself a budget based on how many resources I earn each day and leaving myself enough to spend on the next hall or research upgrade. I think I need an add-on that tracks the total order hall resources I gather each day.

[WoW] Best Item Ever


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Warcraft has always had some interesting item drops and quest rewards. I have a class hall improvement that gives my quest rewards a chance to proc higher level items. This combined brilliantly over the weekend.

I found a lost baby and returned it to the mother. She gave me an item as a reward and it proced the buff, going from rare quality to epic! I am now heroically fighting off the the demons legions with an epic baby blankie draped over my shoulders. Best. Item. Ever.

Epic Safety Blanket


[WoW] Missions – A Change Of Mindset


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After two year of our garrison missions, there is something a little unsettling about the class hall missions. I am seeing a lot of people treating them as more of the same and then finding that things are a little harder than they expected.

The difference is due to resources. Garrison resources are plentiful (although I am trying to save them up to turn into cloth for my gliders), so they are effectively a non-issue. Legion class hall resources appear to be plentiful since they build up quickly while you are playing , but if your activity drops or you try to do everything in your class hall at oncethey quickly become depleted and the limited factor in your gameplay.

To try switching into a “resources are valuable” mindset, I have a couple of rules that I use when planning which missions to take.

Gold missions are a trap
Missions that reward gold are nice but I will never have a pressing need for a few hundred gold. There will be times when I am desperate for resources.

Prioritise on reward
An extension of the above comment. The most important missions are ones that complete quests or open up new world activities. The least valuable are those that do not fill a pressing need. Ignore those missions. Missions offering XP for your champion sit somewhere between the two because they can open up possibly greater rewards when your champions are at max level.

Using troops can be good or bad value
Depending on the troops used, you are effectively trading 10/28 resources for a 15%/30% boost for mission success.

Mission efficiency  = Reward x Success Rate / Resource Cost

I will knock up a cheat sheet on when and when not to use mission boosts but the short answer is that troops should not be used on missions that cost less than 100 resources. They are too valuable to use up on the cheap mission.
I do not know it if is worthwhile using troops to boost bonus chances. That depends a lot on the possible bonus reward.

(Almost) Always send 3 champions on follower XP missions
Always attempt to fill the follower XP missions with 3 champions of a similar level. You should aim to maximise total XP gained. Adding troops or a champion that is too high/low should be avoided unless you have a couple of champions that are outside the range of your others.

You do not need to fill all the mission slots, but you probably want to
You can start missions without a team of 3 champions/troops. I will assume you are following the above instructions and want the reward for a successful mission in which case, the only reason to fill all three slots is to reach 100% success or because have a champion doing nothing and would like the XP/bonus chance.

The TL:DR is

  1. Find the mission with rewards that are of limited availability and what you need.
  2. Assign champions that can counter the threats.
  3. Assign enough troops to missions that cost more than 100 resources to reach (or get as close as possible) to 100% success.
  4. Fill the gaps with champions that are not doing anything important.