February 2010

A new trojan has been discovered that hacks into WoW accounts that use authenticators, MMO Champion has the details. I find this amusing after all the going-ons recently with people getting on their authenticator bandwagon and preaching down to the peons who don’t have one. The thing is, you can’t protect people from themselves, and this proves it. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats good general internet security. This means having a decent bloody anti-virus and actually using it. But more importantly it means practicing sensible internet use. If you download torrents or watch porn or click on dubious outside links on youtube or click on the link in your spam mail from the dude in Namibia because you think it will be funny, or buy gold, then you are well on your way to being hacked. I find it ridiculous that the general argument is that you have to have an authenticator. It’s like telling people who want to lose weight to drink diet coke instead of regular coke, or to eat ‘low fat’ food. It’s a seemingly easy way out of a problem, but the reality is that unless you change deeper habits then you’ll still be at risk of being hacked, or in this case you probably won’t lose weight.

We always want easy solutions to problems that are often a direct result of our very actions. You go to your doctor and discover that you’re sick, and you take the quick and simple solution, a handy pill. Often medicine serves to mask the symptoms of a disease. So in effect we’re popping pills to hide from the fact that we have a potential problem. We’re paying to stick our own heads in the sand. The authenticator is the same thing. Just use it and all your WoW hacking problems will be solved. And it’s just $6, (plus a huge amount of postage if you live outside the US). I’ve had many people say to me to get it. What’s your problem, they ask me. It’s only $6. And all your problems will be solved …

MMO Champion says that this is just a single virus. That may well be, but it may also be the only one that has been discovered so far. A few days ago it was commonly accepted that using an authenticator was 100% safe. Of course it was, becuase that was what they told us. Today the authenticator is 99% safe when used together with a decent anti-virus, or so we are told. I wonder what the commonly accepted view will be next week?

It’s been a tough week levelling wise for my groovy troll fire mage, Elirac. I’ve had my parents-in-law here since Sunday but thank the sweet honeysuckle bears they left this morning. It’s not that I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to play WoW – I’m not the sort of person to let anyone have the power over me to say or pressure me into what I can or cannot do, it’s just that I had to put my energy into them which didn’t leave much time for Elirac the troll of trolls. I love trolls, I think they are da bomb. Before the Undergeared Project I had always played Alliance, just because I’m an old D&D freak and that is what I felt most comfortable with. But playing the Horde, oh my, trolls are cool. I walk cool, I ride cool, I wipe my nose cool, and I cast pillers of flame cool. And now I am in Outland. I have been disparaging in the recent past about Outland. I think I said something along the lines that it is a pile of steaming turds and should be nuked. But now that I’m back there, it’s not that bad. I’m finding Hellfire kind of fun, groovy even. And oh my, I had forgotten how much of an upgrade the greens are over the Old World stuff. The new tool-tip that lets you compare stats really puts it into perspective. I got my first item, a staff from a quest, and I clicked on it to see if I should equip it and I dumped my old staff faster than my first girlfriend did to me when she saw that new French kid in school, the little whiny weasle.

Now my plan has always been to level using Fire until I got to level 60 when I would change over to Arcane, as that is when Arcane turns into da bomb. But the new patch notes intimate that Fire is back. I’ve been waiting for a mage blogger to go over the notes and finally Critical QQ did that for me. What I’m probably going to have to do is go dual specs and have them both. The problem with this is I haven’t been playing the auction house much. There is one slight drawback to being in a guild full of people who follow Gevlon – they’re all fricking auction house players. I have a bit under 1000 gold, but seeing that I’ll need to get my epic flying and other bits and pieces I think that I’ll need to pull my finger out on this one and start being a playa myself. The guild cleared Naxx 10 man last week in blues, which isn’t that surprising as it is designed for that gear level. They hit Sarth tonight and hopefully in a couple of weeks my cool troll will be joining them. For the Trolls!

So today is my 100th post, and I only realised this after reading the Pugnacious Priests musings on blogging this morning. I wondered how many posts I had made, took a look and it said, 99. So I have arrived at 100. This is nice since I never arrived at 100 when playing cricket, unless you count runs scored against my bowling. The blog has been progressing nicely in the last few months due to being linked at a few key places and also as a result of trying to post almost every day. Posting every day is a bit tricky as I rarely plan my posts out before hand. 98% of my posts are written on the spot, proof-read for errors and then I hit publish and spend the day wondering if I shouldn’t have written the word fuck so many times. The posts I do plan get put on the back-burner due to the fact that I am really unsure of whether to post them or not, (I have one of those right now). The strange thing with blogging is that posts which I am sure will attract controversy rarely do, while posts that I think are mere fillers can attract a huge amount of traffic. And I can never tell the difference. My most popular post is the one that I wrote in the first month of blogging on my action bar set-up, it still gets a big amount of hits every day after amost a year.

I’ve learnt two things that help to generate traffic; post a lot, and key your post title into what online searches will be. The blog began as a rogue blog but has since evolved into a general WoW entity, due to there being bugger-all to write about rogues and because I suck at technical advice, with the few times that I have tried blogging about it being smacked down by the good rogues out there. I learnt my lesson, no more technical stuff from me. I got some bruising comments on that one but one of my aims when starting this blog was to not moderate comments unless they were obvious spam. I think that it’s good for people to know that they can call me out and it will be posted. Anyway, do not worry, I am not going to make a similar post when I get to 200, 300 posts etc. But I just wanted to take this moment to thank a few people who have helped me, whether intentionally or inadvertedly. Firstly Daraia over at Ravenholdt Manor, she was one of the first commenters on the blog and as any blogger knows your first comments, (and all comments for that matter), are very important, and while I know that she doesn’t always agree with my in your face attitude she at least puts up with me. Gevlon over at Greedy Goblin for including me in his blog roll and for inspiring me to write often and to make it interesting, something which is difficult to do in practice. Zaltu at One Rogues Journey even if he is retired was the technical rogue blogger par excellence, and thank god his blog is still up so I can link him. Also to my good friend Ivan for his awesome banner that he did from scratch for me. He is an insanely good artist and is available for work if any of you need it, plug plug. And to all the commenters that I have and people who read my ramblings, thank you, you always make my day.

Most of all this blog has got me writing regularly again, something which is very important to me. I have a few new things planned for the blog this year, one of which may or may not be a podcast, a friend and I are working on the details of that now. But anyway, my thanks again and I hope that you continue to get some enjoyment out of this little corner of the internet.

Larisa over at the Pink Pigtail Inn has been getting her knickers in a knot over people demanding the achievement before being accepted on a run. She is correct in saying that this is completely ridiculous. It’s the old chicken or the egg question, which came first? You need the achievement to get in the group but you cannot get the achievement without getting in a group … The really silly thing is that it is in effect a useless way of identifying people with potential for your PuG, as an achievement can be easily obtained by ghosting through a run. I remember the first time I ran VoA – at this stage it had three bosses and a guildie asked me if I wanted to come. It was a 25 man group and I was in the top 5 on the damage meters. The first boss went down and I got an achievement. And the group erupted, with a bunch of them demanding that I be kicked. Which is beyond ridiculous. Needless to say, the group leader laughed in their face, rightfully linking recount and the fact that I did not die unlike some of the group who were demanding that I be kicked. We went through the whole run with me getting achievements left right and center. Each achievement was like me rubbing their face in it. A deeply satisfying run.

But I think that this habit of demanding achivements and gearscore is good as it lets players with half a brain cell identify a group that they would be better off not going with. In a way it is a very accurate method of identifying fail groups before you get involved with them. If they demand this then you can confidently ignore the request to join the group, even if you have the achievement. There is the argument that having this as a barrier to entry means that the raid has minimum requirements and thus will have a higher chance of success. I call bullshit on that theory because there is no effort required in weeding out based on gearscore or achievements, so how will this lazy method of discrimination ensure that the raid leader is putting in the effort in other areas? I did a fair bit of raid pugging back in BC and we did pretty well without gearscore or achievements. I remember trying to get into a PuG for Karazhan, (my favorite raid of all time). A good friend and I hadn’t been in there before – we joined a PuG and then immediately admitted that this was the first time for us but that we had read up on the bosses and strats. Then we were promptly booted. So we tried to find another PuG, same thing – we got in and admitted that we knew bugger all. This time the raid leader said that he’d check out how we went on the first boss, and we went fine. We got through most of the raid that run, and had a fantastic time as well as pulling our weight. I like to think of that raid leader of the second PuG as someone who puts in the time, who makes reasoned choices based on his own deductions. I like to think of the other raid leader as the type of person who today would be using gearscore and the achievement system to make his decisions for him.

A big new patch is on the way with a myriad of changes across the board, from professions and user interface to most classes and specs. Combat rogues should be excited, as with changes to rupture being able to proc critical strikes this is going to come back as the finisher of choice. So go get the rupture glyph now if you haven’t already got it before the prices jump. As Dinaer notes over at foever a noob, this could mean that you will want to gem agility instead of attack power. Blizzard seems to be pushing hard in this patch for out of favor specs to be buffed in an effort to make them more attractive, ie the subtlety spec for us rogues. If they are bringing in a new tiered system in cataclysm which means you can get a 51 point talent in one tree and a 25 point in another tree, then I don’t see the point to this. Maybe they’re just throwing out some general changes to see how they will work. Either way it gives us bloggers something to gnash our teeth over.

The big news in this patch are two-fold. Firstly there are a lot of changes to professions, and the auction house. Many other blogs that are much better than I at making the golds have commented on these already so I won’t go into detail here. Suffice to say that patch notes are often great opportunities to make gold and this patch looks better than most. These notes from MMO Champion detail the profession changes.

The other big news is Cataclysm. Two sets of quest lines are going to open up, one each for Alliance and Horde, to take back two areas – Gnomeregan and Echo Isles, thus giving the gnomes and the trolls a home base each. Yey Trolls! There are a stack of new quests, new items, flight-paths, mounts, pets, lots of goodies. This is the patch to tie us over for a while and it is needed. The best news from the patch? No more 15 minute cool down on the dungeon kick option. And even better, you can also put a reason for kicking that the other players will see. It would be great if the player being kicked could also see this as it would lead to more imaginative reasons for kicking …

Kick Deathdealer due to him not washing for several weeks.

Kick lolzikillsyoulolz for being a complete fucktard ninja puppy eater.

Kick ilovesdolls because I refuse to run with players under the age of 5.

Kick facemasher because you know you want to.

Wow.com has always been a wow news source in a light entertainment style format. It’s shtick is to get as many articles up as it can to generate high amounts of traffic, and seeing that it is owned by AoL that makes business sense. Even if a good many of those articles are complete fluff, that’s okay if it generates the hits. There are also some good writers that work there, pounding away on the keyboard as they feeverishly work to come up with something new. I’ve had issues with them in the past. My review of their podcast was fairly scathing, (since then, the host Mike Schramm has left but if anything it has gotten worse,) and I have been known to get my knickers in a knot about things that have been written over there. But lately things are changing over at wow.com, and for the worse. They now seem to be taking themselves seriously, which is not good as they are merely a glorified blog. The first inkling of this change in attitude that I picked up on was when Adam Holisky attempted to tell us all that we were being mean to Ghostcrawler and should stop, which I wrote about here. The only thing worse than taking yourself too seriously is believeing your own bullshit, and Holisky seems to have a mouthful. But now he is also underestimating his readership, specifically those people who read wow.com but also blog themselves.

The thing is, it seems that most bloggers who write about WoW would gnaw their own leg off at the chance to write for wow.com. And recently they put out the call for some new writers, one of which was the Holy Paladin spot. Kurn of Kurn’s Corner put in a detailed application but ultimately lost out to a writer that they already have who does their rogue column, Chase Christian. It seems highly strange to me that they would advertise such a position, make people go to all the trouble to put in detailed applications, and then give it to one of their in-house team. It looks like a cycnical ploy to drum up interest when they already knew who they were going to give it to. But in this case they might have done better to not put out the call to applicants in the first place and just install Chase as the writer, because in Kurn they have found someone willing to take the time to dig a little deeper. Her excellent post is here and I recommend that you give it a look. To sum it up, she emailed Holisky asking why she didn’t get it and Chase did. Holisky blew her off with a lie and Kurn did some digging and discovered the lie for what it was. Holisky with egg on his face? Nope, because he just doesn’t seem to give a shit.

Chase himself has been in the news recently with his latest article which is titled, ‘The art of the gank.’ I didn’t read it when it came out as I figured that he couldn’t find anything to write about for his column and had just come up with some filler nonsense to get through another week. Unfortunately there has been a fair bit of uproar about his encouragement of the ganking of low level players, (which he attempted to deny in the comments section but was scornfully ridiculed). Rogues Diary and Azure Shadows have written about this already so I won’t go into detail here, but I will say that it is a disappointing read from a writer that the general rogue community sees as somewhat of a guiding point. Also in the last week, Jaded Alt has taken serious issue with the Scattered Shots column on wow.com, as has the rest of the online hunter community apparently.

So we should just ignore wow.com then? Give it a big miss? Well sure, we could do that, but this isn’t the point. 11 million people play WoW of which a very tiny minority reads WoW information online. Of that very tiny minority a large number will take wow.com at face value, particularly the newer players. With the quality of their articles going down faster than a nymphomaniac on speed, it’s not a good situation for the general online WoW community. Not only is the quality of their information dropping, but their comments section on each article is a joke, with almost every comment that disagrees with their content being ‘voted down’ so you can barely read it. If I was a new player then I could imagine finding myself believing the wrong information. Is there anything that we can do as bloggers? Keep calling them out on their mistakes as is starting to happen now. It won’t effect readership or anything but it might catch a person who was believing their hype. And I wouldn’t be so quick to jump at the opportunity to write for them in the future as I don’t know that being assciated with wow.com is going to continue to be seen in a positive light.

My thanks to The Cranky Healer for putting me on to some of those links.

I love exploring new worlds. I remember when I first began playing WoW, the sense of wonder and excitement as an unknown world opened up around me. There aren’t many places in the world that I haven’t been to, though occasionally I stumble upon one, particularly as I’m leveling my first Horde toon. But there has always been a forbidden place that I have wanted to explore, and with Cataclysm drawing nearer I figured that it was high time that I set foot in the Dun Morough Airfield. I did some online searching on how best to get there, and it seemed that most of the ways had been fixed by Blizzard, meaning that you couldn’t go there anymore. What a bunch of spoilsports. So off I went to Loch Moden and the North Gate Pass. Apparently there is a way up here by jumping. Well I jumped for a while and it didn’t work. Then one of my old WoW buddies 12 year old son came online, with his priest. Perfect, I thought. I invited him to a party and told him my plan. He thought that it was very cunning indeed. He came over and we spent about 15 minutes trying to find the best way up. Eventually we found a spot further down along the cliff. We got up to a certain point, then he cast levitate and we ran around the outside of the cliff face back to where the original point was. It took us a couple of tries but finally we did it. Ran up through some canyons until we came to the first snowy log. Jump over that, then up to the right and then we were on top of the world. Snow as far as you could see with nothing to break the horizon. We got our bearings, jumped on our mounts and rode around until we came up over a rise, and there it was – the Ironforge airport.

So we ran around for a while watching the ice trolls attacking the dwarves. There is also a hunter pet trainer up here as well. No rogue trainer though, pity. He might have had a super secret spell! The we decided to head to the secret farm above the Wetlands. We found a cute bear and her cubs and then levitated down the waterfall until we got to the little farm. This is me and a cow. His name is Jim.

It’s a quite a big area, there are a few farms and some stables and some outhouses. I then peped over the edge and there was the Harbor! /wave!

Nobody waved back at me though. We then ran back along the path. There was signpost that said, ‘This Way’ and ‘That Way’. That way led up to a tunnel! Cool!

I wonder what’s at the end of the tunnel …

Oh shits! Did we dare jump? You go first, no you go first, I said it first, I dare you, and so on. Eventually my young companion cast levitate on himself, jumped off and floated for minutes and minutes into the void until he died in the Searing Gorge. Awesome. I then left him to his fate. I wanted to see if I could get down to the harbor in the Wetlands. I jumped here and there, all the while with my faithful chicken following behind me. I thought that this was fitting as I had been too chicken to jump …

Me and my chicken, Charlie.

Eventually we made it down, right at the foot of Menthril Harbor! What an adventure. I recommend that you do it too before you can just fly here in the new expansion. Now this should be in the achievement system! What would be a good name …?

‘He’s a very naughty boy!’

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