Are You A GLADIATOR?

Posted on

I have the most terrible affliction.

Whenever I play my Gladiator Warrior, I have the old UK Gladiators theme in my head the whole time.

Oh gosh, do you even remember that? It was my favourite TV show! Every Saturday, my parents and I would go to Salisbury. We’d do general looking around, and one of the things we’d always do was go to the market and get a bag of sweets for me. I always had a bag full of sugary candy letters for some reason. I didn’t make words with them or anything, and there were nicer sweeties at the market stand, but I just gravitated to letters.

I’d eat them while we were watching Gladiators. Every Saturday, without fail. I remember Lightning  being really good at Hang Tough, Shadow being fuckin’ unbeatable at Duel (the one where people twatted each-other with oversized cotton buds, remember? He once hit a contender so hard he BROKE THE STICK), and Referee John Anderson, the most Scottish-sounding man in the world.

CONTENDERS, READY!
GLADIATORRRRRRRRRS, READY!
THREE, TWO, ONE, *blows whistle*

And yes, there’s an extended version of the intro theme, because of course there is. Usually it was played at the end of the series, when the winner was crowned.

I always had a bit of a crush on Saracen. He was always so smiley and nice, even when he was smashing people into the ground (figuratively. And probably literally too), thus confirming my overwhelming gayness began at the age of AT LEAST 9 years old.

saracen

 

So yes, just know that whenever I play this character:

lillorigga

I’m thinking of old 90’s television.

Thanks, World of Warcraft.

Final Fantasy 7: Exciting, Terrifying, Reminiscing

Posted on

Unless you’ve been on the moon the past month or so, you’ll have heard the news of the Final Fantasy 7 remake announced at E3. Built from the ground up, for the current generation. Exciting times? Yes indeed, but also terrifying. Why so?

(naturally spoilers ahead, but are they really spoilers any more?)


 

I can’t speak for others, but for myself, Final Fantasy 7 was the first game I played that not only wanted you to play it, but also to listen to it, hear the story it wanted to tell you. Up to that point, I was raised on a diet of platformer games of the likes of Sonic, Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Here’s point A, get to point B, collect/kill things on the way, repeat 20 times, each time increasing in difficulty. Occasional boss fight. Very little story involved.

The same was true of the other type of game I played, games like Theme Park, which saw you buy some land, build a theme park, make tons of money and repeat, or lose all your money, go bankrupt and commit suicide.

tpgo

Not even kidding there. The game over screen shows you jumping out your office window, which is actually pretty damn traumatising to put in a game played by a then 8 year old, but I digress. Final Fantasy 7 was the first time I played a game that had long swathes of time where you didn’t DO anything but read what the characters were saying. This was a foreign idea to me, and I was hooked instantly.

It is by no means the first game to have done this, obviously (I mean, this game alone was the 7th in a SERIES of games like this), nor is it the first game that has emotional moments in it, but it was for me. The obvious player punch is the death of Aerith, at the end of disc 1. A character that we’ve grown attached to, and our sullen hero has grown fond of, snatched away from us by a grey-haired asshat in a douchey longcoat.

Games nowadays feature lots and lots of DLC, microtransactions and the like. Preorder bonuses are announced at the same time as the game itself pretty often (just look at Evolve and the various Batman: Arkham Whatever games). Square-Enix could theoretically, create a DLC that keeps Aerith alive, or brings her back after her death. I imagine there’s a lot of people who’d literally throw money at their screen in order to do that. I’d find it odd, it’s a key moment in the game. It’s a massive cliche moment, sure (“motivated by the death of <a woman>, our <very definitely male> hero vanquishes his foe and gains his revenge” seems to be a very common trope in games, movies, literature, etc), but that doesn’t lessen the impact.

What WOULD lessen the impact would be the ability to just change this major, pivotal moment in the story. The thing people who haven’t even PLAYED Final Fantasy 7 know about. By now, Aerith’s death is so ingrained in the culture of video games, and perhaps pop culture in general. It’s the gaming equivalent of Luke being the son of Darth Vader, of Snape killing Dumbledore, of Soylent Green being people. It was his sled, he was dead all along, he’s a figment of his imagination, Aerith dies.

You can’t just change all that. Wave a magic wand (made of money of course) and make history different. It’d feel wrong, somehow. At least to me.

final-fantasy-7-cast


 

Final Fantasy 7 is at times a ridiculous game. You can dress up as a woman and be so convincing, despite being Mr Macho Man Hero, that a lecherous old scrote picks you as his lady companion for the night. One of your party members is a cat-wolf-dog-THING, another is a robot cat riding a fat stuffed toy moogle that wields a megaphone as a weapon. Cat-Wolf-Dog-Thing’s grandfather is a weird old man who sits atop a floating ball. Another character, Not Mr T, swears a lot and initially thinks your character is a bit of a dick, but play the game in a specific (correct) way, and make specific (correct) dialogue choices and Mr Macho Man Hero and Not Mr T can go on a “date” in the Gold Saucer. There’s a slap fight on a cannon between a horrid business woman and a trained martial artist, that somehow is an even fight.

Seriously, Tifa should have just roundhoused her off the end, it’d have been a lot simpler.

Final Fantasy 7 is at times an emotional experience. Aforementioned death of Aerith, while her beautiful theme tune plays. The fact it carries through the next boss fight is a constant reminder of what exactly you’re fighting for. Why you fight. Who you fight for. Even though I KNOW it’s coming, it still gets me. Cloud fighting himself to stop HIM killing her, Sephirith descending from the sky, Cloud cradling her in his arms, the music, the materia, the boss fight, everyone’s reaction afterwards (Yuffie’s reaction being somehow the most upsetting of all) the sinking into the water.

Cait Sith’s (initial) sacrifice is another one that gets me. He trips, he falls, he picks himself up, he marches grimly on. “Even I can save the world!” Sure, there’s a replacement Cait Sith that comes along straight after, considering it’s a robot controlled by a man in an office, but it’s still a touching moment, one that still makes me sad.

Red XIII hates his father, Seto. He believes him to be a coward that abandoned Cosmo Canyon, leaving it to be ransacked by the Gi, only to learn that he was rushing to the entrance of a cavern to defend it from invaders. If the Gi had gone through there, Cosmo Canyon would have been destroyed. Instead, Seto saved them all.

I’ve not even mentioned Cid and Shera, Tifa caring for Cloud in his catatonia and learning the truth of his past, the crushing of Sector 7, when Elmyra met Aerith…

I’m worried the remake won’t do these scenes justice. I’m worried that they’ll try and change things. Tetsuya Nomura hinted in an interview that things could be different to how we know them. “If it’s a full remake, then of course, we want to take a different approach. If we actually just upgraded the visuals — there’d be no need for me to direct it.”

It’s the unknown that scares me. I’m excited for the Final Fantasy 7 I know and love coming to a new generation. I’m scared of what might be different. What we gain, but what we may lose in its place.

slapping


I spent so many hours of my life breeding chocobos. I wanted the golden chocobo. I wanted to get the Knights of the Round summon, and have a bird that could handily beat Teioh in the Gold Saucer.

Grinding for money to get the right greens and nuts, trying to get a Wonderful chocobo, getting frustrated when a chocobo flees almost as soon as you enter battle…

Then you pick a black chocobo and a wonderful yellow chocobo (you HAD to pick the black one first for some reason, glitch?) and finally getting your reward. The gold chocobo! The world is open to me! I could get to those stupid little islands the Highwind couldn’t land on! Materia galore.

Then you use your Knights of the Round materia, which you  can only get with a gold chocobo, to defeat Ruby Weapon, who drops an item that you can trade for… a gold chocobo.

Thanks.

FFVII-CloudChocobo

 

 

Journey of a Novice Healer: IN THE BEGINNING

Posted on Updated on

So, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I created a Draenei Shaman called Tzoltzil, with the intention of picking Restoration at level 10 and actually STICKING with it this time.

chainheal

I’ve been a healer before, kinda. My original Shaman, Shamwhoa, was a healer up until about level 60, whereupon I switched to Elemental and never looked back. Sunbuer, my Priest, was a boost to 90, and though I did 90-100 as Disc, that was purely because of the strong self-healing of the spec. When I DID set foot into a dungeon (for the first part of the legendary quest) I did it as Shadow.

Tzoltzil is going to be a dedicated healer. Full on! I’ve not even bought the dual spec for her, and I don’t plan to. I figured I’d document my journey as a wannabe healer, because yay, I can document my miserable failures.

1-17

This was a relatively simple stage. Quest until I hit 15, and then I decided to finish the quests in my quest log, which took me to level 17! Bloodmyst Isle has a LOT of quests, evidently.

happypanda

Naturally, as Draenei can be Monks, there’s a Monk trainer in Ammen Vale who expresses his shock at being a witness of the crash of the Exodar!

17-50

A large jump in levels here, but frankly dungeons are uneventful at this time. Keep up Riptide, use Healing Surge. Level up, get more spells.

There were relatively hairy bits, however. Scarlet Monastery has some rough patches. The trash between Thalnos the Soulrender and Brother Korloff is relatively compact, with lots of pillars that breaks line-of-sight, meaning that tanks will invariably tuck around them, necessitating you having to hurriedly run around to heal them.

The new versions of Razorfen Kraul and Razorfen Downs popped up in my random queuing, and you know what? They’re pretty good now! Groups seemed to always get lost before their revamp and now? Easy peasy. Navigation simple.

Uldaman’s still annoying though.

50-55gogogogo

The era of the impatient DPS. Amusingly, this Warlock then went AFK constantly, and died in that room with all the respawning mobs.

That’ll learn you. Sodding Blackrock Depths.

Blackrock Depths and Stratholme have an annoying thing in common. Much like Scarlet Monastery, the trash packs are very compact. Pull one pack and invariably 20 others will join in the party.

And naturally there are a lot of tanks that either don’t know their AoE tanking abilities, or just plain refuse to use them, so the enemy they’re actively hitting will stay on them, but I cast a Healing Surge and everyone else sails over to me.

Sodding Stratholme.

Currently I’m at 55, and I’ve decided to quest for a level or two, as the current dungeons for my level are Blackrock Depths and the Sunken Temple. The former dungeon is annoying, the latter is boring. I’m holding out for Lower Blackrock Spire now, considering Upper Blackrock Spire is now 90+ only now.

Current State of the UI

uistate

So I have my cooldown trackers which I will NEED to move somewhere at some point, as it’s getting rather cluttered down there! Short cooldowns I’ll keep close to my health bar, but Call of the Elements, Ascendance (when I get it) etc will be moved to somewhere within sight, but kinda out of the way. I’ve also moved the bars up a bit so they don’t cover my cast bar!

1, 2 and 3 are my DPS abilities, for if I feel like attacking things for some reason (slow damage periods, or when questing). 4 is my Healing Stream totem, 5 will probably be Healing Tide.

So far, I’m finding healing really fun! May stick with it beyond 60 this time.

SHAMANigans

Posted on

If you’ve been following me on Twitter the previous couple of days, you’ll have noticed I am currently playing a Draenei Shaman on Argent Dawn EU.

tzoltzil

There she is! Tzoltzil, Restoration Shaman extraordinaire.

Levelling from 1 to 15 went relatively slowly, then as soon as I unlocked dungeons? Being a healer means really short queue times, and everyone having heirlooms means fast runs through places! I went from level 12 to 37 in one (relatively long) sitting, and I’d like to say it’s through a mixture of questing and dungeoning, but it isn’t. I’d get a Hero’s Call quest, have to run to (for example) Stonetalon Mountains from Darnassus, and I’d queue for random dungeons on the way. By the time I get to where my questgiver is, OOPS, outlevelled the zone!

I actually forced myself to try and level through Desolace, and nope. Not happening.

cooldowns

Here’s a look at my UI setup so far. Naturally, healthbars of myself on the left, my target on the right, and my target’s target in the centre. Underneath my target’s health bar is a WeakAura to track whether I have Flame Shock active on the target, because extra DPS, no matter how small, never hurts. Underneath MY healthbars are bars to measure how long I have to wait for various cooldown-based spells to be available. As I level, I add more, which means I’m going to have to move these to a more convenient location at some point!

UI

My raid/party frames are the standard ElvUI ones, as you can see. I downloaded an addon called Clique, however, to bind spells to clicks on these bars! Left mouse button is Healing Surge, right is Riptide, and my extra mouse buttons so far are Purify Spirit and Earth Shield. For my non-targeted abilities (Healing Stream Totem, and in the future other stuff like Healing Rain), I am just putting them on my normal bars.

I’m a DPS player through and through. I always try out different roles, then wind up going back to DPS eventually, but I am having a blast with the Shaman so far! It’s a way of injecting a bit of variety into the game. See things from a new perspective. I am having healer-based annoyances rather than DPS ones (“WHY ARE YOU GOING BEHIND THINGS? STAY WHERE I CAN SEE YOU” rather than the old “WHY AM I DYING?!” issues of old, and of course tanks not being able to AOE tank ANYTHING for some unknown reason), but you know what? It’s still new, it’s still variety.

It’s what I need. A breath of fresh air.

Warlocks of Draenor: Halls of Blood LFR

Posted on

So the next wing is open. More chances to get evil books.

highcouncil

Hellfire High Council

Ah, a council fight. Our favourite. The best strategy is to get them all to about 50% as fast as you can (multidot as Affliction, make use of Havoc as Destro), then burn them down one at a time. Generally, you want to kill off Gurtogg Bloodboil first, then Jubei’thos, then Dia Darkwhisper.

Abilities of note:

  • Dia Darkwhisper: Dia periodically casts Mark of the Necromancer, and her ability Reap interacts with it. If you have the debuff and she’s about to cast this, run as fast as you can to the outskirts of the room as she’ll plonk a big void zone beneath you. Wailing Horror hurts rather a lot. Avoid the ghosts!
  • Gurtogg: Fel Rage sees him fixate on a player, increase their health, and pummel them. In difficulties OTHER than LFR, each time he hits you his attack speed increases. Healers beware! When he hits 30% health, he periodically casts Tainted Blood, which reduces your maximum health by 10%, which persists until you wipe or beat the encounter.. Smash him to bits before your health drops too low!
  • Jubei’thosWindwalk sees him vanish, replaced by numerous mirror images that periodically throw their swords around. It’s indicated by an arrow which way they will throw, so try not to stand in front of them. They vanish after 45 seconds, but killing them is probably quicker. The lower Jubei’thos’s health, the lower the health of the images. Avoid Felstorm when he spins around. He lugs his Fel Blade around a bit too, indicated by a yellow arrow again.

Recommended spec: Affliction SHINES in 3 target council fights, and this is a 3 target council fight.

kilrogg

Kilrogg Deadeye

It’s an add fight! Here’s the add priority!

  • Blood Globule: These spawn from players hit by Heart Seeker. They move to Kilrogg, and if they reach him, they heal him and deal raid-wide damage.
  • Salivating Bloodthirster: These run to pools of fel blood. Kill them before they get there, or they turn into…
  • Hulking Terror: These should not face the raid.
  • Kilrogg

Here’s where to stand. When you have Heart Seeker aimed at you, use the demonic gateway. Small adds spawn where the ranged stand, so DPS them down as soon as you can.

kilroggposition

Notable abilities!

  • Heart Seeker: The player affected by this should run like buggery as far away from everyone as they can, aided by a Demonic Gateway if possible. Melee, don’t stand where the arrow is pointing. Players hit by this spawn an add that is of the highest priority.
  • Visions of Death: He places 3 circles on the ground that a healer and 2 DPS need to stand in. This whisks them away to THE DEATH REALM. Here, you kill things, interrupt Imps, avoid void zones left by dead Fiends, and don’t stand in front of the Mistresses! When you exit THE DEATH REALM, DPS get a large DPS buff, and healers get an ability that cleanses Fel Corruption. Oh! While we’re at it…
  • Fel Corruption: Less an ability, more a consequence of. Hulking Terrors inflict you with this, it’s cleansed by healers who leave THE REALM OF DEATH, and at 100 it mind controls you.
  • Death Throes: Avoid the spots on the ground. Don’t stop moving.

Recommended spec: Short-lived adds you can Havoc and Shadowburn? On-demand burst requirements? HELLO DESTRUCTION.

gorefiend

Gorefiend

Look at that stunner. 2 phase fight with occasional being eaten. What to watch out for?

Phase 1

  • ADDS. Kill them. Gorebound Spirit is the highest priority, then Gorebound Essence, then Gorebound Construct. Big’un, lit’lun, skelly.
  • Touch of Doom: You get affected by this? Get AWAY from everyone. You explode for big damage at the end of the debuff, which is reduced the further away from people you are, and leaves behind a void zone.
  • Shared Fate: 3 players are linked. One of them is rooted. The other 2 need to run to the rooted player, or they all take massive damage.
  • Hunger for Life: A Gorebound Construct will fixate on you. Run away from it.
  • Shadow of Death: Gorefiend kill you and eats you. Now you get to run around his stomach, DPS Gorebound Constructs, heal Tortured Essences, avoid void zones, and interrupt and prioritise killing Enraged Spirits. If you’re in the stomach for longer than 40 seconds, he digests you. To avoid this, go to the pillar in the middle. Adds in this room are doing the same, and will appear in the main room if they reach it. Avoid void zones.
  • Crushing Darkness: Spawns void zones that explode after a few seconds. Don’t stand in them.

Phase 2

  • Feast of Souls: His energy has hit 0, and he wants to refill it. Raid-wide damage every couple seconds. Yawn. He also spawns Unstable Souls which float toward him and refill his energy when they get to him. You can intercept these to extend the phase, which ends when his energy is filled, or after 1 minute. During this phase, he takes DOUBLE DAMAGE, so save your DPS cooldowns for now! Everyone should stack near Gorefiend with the melee to help the healers. Yay AoE healing.

Recommended Spec:  Short-lived adds you can Havoc and Shadowburn? On-demand burst requirements? HELLO DESTRUCTION.

Whoa deja vu. Plonk a Demonic Circle down to aid you in running out the raid for Mark of Doom, and use the Glyph of Conflagration to assist you in slowing adds down.

Candid Post

Posted on

I’m in a bit of a fragile mental state at the moment.

Last night, my grandmother died. Heart attack. Sudden. Instant. Gone.

It’s not the first time a family member has died, but it’s the first time I’ve been old enough to actually comprehend the concept of death.

Both my grandfathers died back in the early 1990’s, and I was really young then. I barely remember. Fast forward 24 years later, and I’m not sure how to react.

Naturally, I’m sad. I loved my grandmother, the fact she’s gone has cut me up. The boyfriend was out at aikido, as he is every Monday evening, so I had to deal on my own until he got home.

I cried. I don’t like doing that in front of people. Not because I subscribe to some macho macho school of masculinity where showing emotion is WEAK AND FOR WOMEN AND GAYS, but because I am an UGLY crier. I look like the Wicked Witch of the West mid-melt. I worry someone’ll drop a house on me.

I went to work. Do people take time off? I didn’t. I figured that keeping busy would take my mind off things. It didn’t work.

I played WoW. That always cheers me up. I couldn’t really focus though. Took some silly screenshots, chatted with my guildies a little, then logged off.

This was one of the pictures. Amused me. The idea of a stealthy panda who can't help but stand in a spotlight.
This was one of the pictures. Amused me. The idea of a stealthy panda who can’t help but stand in a spotlight.

All this is new to me. People die all the time, but I’ve got to 29 without it actually impacting in my life. Maybe I can call that fortunate, maybe it’s screwed me up because I don’t know what to do. Do I dress all in black and sit in a rocking chair? Not my style. Do I carry on as I normally do? Feels almost wrong to do so.

People talk about the Kübler-Ross model a lot. 5 stages of grief that supposedly everyone goes through. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I feel like I’ve skipped all the way through to stage 4. I didn’t deny anything, I felt no anger, I see no sense in bargaining. Is this normal?  Kübler-Ross herself says not everyone feels all the responses, so hey ho, there you go.

I’m gonna try and carry on as normal, just do what I feel like. If I want to cry, I will, if I want to write depressing, angsty poetry… maybe I’ll hold off on that, there’s enough of that out there already. I’ll game, I’ll walk, I’ll remember, I’ll do as I do.

This is kinda cathartic. A lot of it may not make too much sense, like I’m just randomly rambling, but it’s helping me process. It’s my blog, I post what I like, after all.

BURNIN’ in the Jungle

Posted on

6.2 is fun. I’ve started playing as Destruction with Charred Remains while flitting hither and thither around Tanaan, armed with numerous Chaos Bolts and a mouseover Havoc macro. Pull too many and the Voidlord dies? Flames of Xoroth and Soulshatter! Voidy dies before FoX is off cooldown? Mechanoshredder as the “OH SHIT” button. burn everything in sight, fly away if I really need to.

Thanks to the Baleful tokens, I’m finally getting towards the level of Critical Strike where Destruction starts to become more viable, and so I shall keep on using it. Charred Remains is really fun, guys. Tripling ember generation means you pump out more Chaos Bolts, and with Grimoire of Sacrifice, high Crit and high Mastery, those Chaos Bolts do a TON of damage.

Of course, Grimoire of Sacrifice is more the raiding talent, you wanna have your Voidlord with you actually in Tanaan Jungle. He takes the hits so you don’t have to!

kady

Doesn’t Khadgar look grumpy today? Cheer up Khadgar, it’ll be the next expansion before you know it.

NEW LAPTOP

Thanks to where I work offering double staff discount, I ordered a new laptop that I can collect tomorrow. This means I’m gonna have to find some way of transferring my Elvui/WeakAura/etc settings over because no WAY am I configuring all that shit again.

Shall I get use the bf’s USB storage device, or throw it onto THE CLOUD and hope for the best? Not decided yet.

Clipart yay
Clipart yay

8gb ram, AMD A8, 1tb hard drive… basically this new laptop is WAY better than this one I am using right now, and I’m getting it for way LESS than I paid for this one. Insanity.

Maybe, just maybe, it’ll also have a working cooling system. This current one heats up a LOT when I play anything more taxing on the CPU than Spider Solitaire.

MORE LEVELING

Both my Shaman and my Hunter are fannying around in Gorgrond at the moment, and my Death Knight, Paladin, Mage and Druid are sitting in Tanaan Jungle (the first time, where we’re breaking through) so MAYBE I’ll do some leveling when the new laptop arrives. Alternatively, I could spend my time actually getting more stuff done on the Warlock! Or even send my Monk into Tanaan, get her some Baleful tokens and whatnot.

In short there’s so much to do I can barely decide what to start with. I love it.

failsweeper
Maybe I won’t play Minesweeper though.

I’m sure there’s a lot of people who smashed through the content as fast as they can, though. People who did it all in the space of 3 days or something, and are now sat around twiddling their thumbs and saying “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WAAH” as they usually do.

DID YOU NOT LISTEN TO THE PANDAS?

"WE SAID SLOW DOWN, DAMMIT."
“WE SAID SLOW DOWN, DAMMIT.”