Friday, October 19, 2007

Welfare Epix

The idea of welfare epix has been tossed around for a while. Basically, it's the idea of a character expending little effort to get shiny new purple gear.

The idea first came to be (correct me if I'm wrong) when the hardcore Arena players, namely those who devoted hours every week with very high ratings, saw people who's arena teams had all-time high scores of 1400 walking around with the same gear they had.
So, natch, they cried fowl. 2 really crappy players could get together, lose 10 times a week, and accrue arena points, then turn them in to get FANTASTIC gear for... well, nothing. Hell, I got the S2 gloves from a 1300 rated team.
Hence the term "Welfare".

Hence also the changes in arena gear in 2.3.

In 2.3, you (YOU) [you] have your own personal arena rating based on the matches you play in.

You're on a 2v2 with 3 people, let's say Hunter, Mage, Paladin. The Hunter and Paladin tend to lose every match, but the Mage and Paladin tend to win every match.
So, the arena team itself will have a passable score, maybe in the 1400-1600 range. Of that, the hunter will have a much lower rating (think 1200-) because he loses a lot. The mage will have a much higher rating (think 1800+) because he wins a lot.
Ok, most of that was pulled out of my ass, but you get the principle.
So, by introducing personal ratings, and making it so some gear requires you to have a certain rating, the S3 gear is much more prestigious than previous seasons.
So the top Arena players will get the respect that they deserve, and the scrubs they wipe the floor with will get... let's have a look at what we scrubs get, shall we?

With the ontroduction of Season 3, the other season gear gets a wee bit cheaper. S2 gets cheaper point costs, and S1 (brace yourselves) goes onto the Honor point system.

My reaction is as follows:


So... Blizzard decides to take away Welfare Epix by forcing you to have a personal ranking to wear the S3 items, but then goes around and hands older Epix straight to the honor system?

Anyone with any intelligence is spending all day inside AV, maxing out their honor. AV is, right now, a Zerg game, with tons of honor to be had, very very quickly.
We're talking hundreds of honor per hour, easily. My personal best rate was 3.4k honor in a single hour.

So, with a good solid week of playing AV (or a single honor weekend), I could pretty much get any and all the S1 arena gear.

I think the meaning of "Welfare Epix" just got a whole lot more...

So, do I farm honor until my eyes fall out, and pick up S1 arena gear, causing me to be the laughing stock of PvP'ers everywhere, or do I turn up my nose and purposefully gimp myself with a Steamvaults quest reward for a hat?
Let's do some quick comparisons, shall we? Let's see the numbers!

Hydromancer Headwrap --> Gladiator
+4 Spell Damage
+33 Stamina
-12 Intellect
+30 Resilience
(No change in sockets, although the Glad comes with a Red one)

Imbued Netherweave (lol) --> Gladiator
+12 Spell Damage
+15 Stamina
-1 Intellect
+30 Resilience

Frozen Shadoweave --> Gladiator
-40 Spell Damage
+21 Stamina
-2 Intellect
+24 Resilience
(And an additional socket, and a red socket =D)

Frozen Shadoweave --> Gladiator
-18 Spell damage
+21 Stamina
-2 Intellect
+21 Resilience

So, replacing my two cruddy blues will net me 16 more spell damage, 48 stamina, 60 Resilience, and a loss of 13 Intellect. Well, this is a no-brainer. Two pieces of Welfare S1 coming right up.
The case of the Frozen Shadoweave stuff is definitely a little trickier. I'd lose 58 spell damage and 4 Intellect, but gain 42 stamina and 45 resilience.

So, we have to look at gems to make up our minds. To put it bluntly, I get more gems out of the Gladiator stuff. I get an extra red socket, which could lessen the damage I lose, and toss even more resilience gems into those yellow sockets. AND I get a nice set bonus of 35 resilience.
By replacing all of my gear with S1 Welfare stuff, I could seriously amp up my hitpoint pool, and easily add 140 Resilience!! And that's not including gems!

And please note that this does not take Crit rating into the equation AT ALL. I don't need it, but there it is. Replace those four pieces, and I'm looking at 84 crit rating. Thats... pretty nice.

I'll run this past a few people I know, but it's looking like I'll be snagging me some welfare epix. At least two, anyways.

See ya in AV. I'll be the one killing Mancuso, Randoplh, and that dwarf Stout guy at the same time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I can haz moar daily quests??!?!?1


Ok, not really, but there are some very large changes in regards to battlegrounds in patch 2.3

Daily quests have been added targeting a random battleground for that day

Hmm... this could go either way. On the one hand, it provides hard-core PvP'ers a way to earn gold doing what they love to do best. Will this also serve to increase reputation with those said factions? Could it be that I won't have to cap the flag in Warsong 1133 times to hit Exalted? Perhaps that title of 'Conqueror' isn't as far away as it used to be...
On the other hand, this means that the gold farmer type people are going to be clogging up my battlegrounds... this, again, is a mix. I could end up in an Arathi with 7 people horde side only there for the cash... or maybe most of alliance side is only there for the cash. Each daily quest seems simple enough “Win the battleground, get 12 gold!”
Either way you look at it, every battleground could be full of the nubs you see running around AV, freaking out when Alliance caps snowfall.
Will I get essentially free kills from a druid in 65 greens? Or will I be hampered when my whole team decides to zerg mines, and /dance because that was the daily quest?
Gonna have to delve into the PTR's to test this one out... Speaking of which, Dr. Boom data is ridiculously hard to get off the PTR’s. We’re talking competition from 6 or 7 other people. AT FOUR IN THE MORNING.

Player's will now be able to cast spells for free for a few seconds after being resurrected, and before a battleground begins.

I cannot believe how awesome that is. Typically, after rezzing, I'd just pop Molten and hop right back into the fray. With this, I could hit every self-buff I have. You get about 5 seconds of free casting. And that pre-BG free spellcast is nothing short of awesome. I think I'll go spam Ritual of Refreshment because I can.


Hoo boy, some major changes here.

  1. Additional Warmasters no longer report for duty upon destroying an enemy tower. However, enemy warmasters still despawn on destroying the associated tower. Easier boss pulls ftw?
  2. All Warmasters are linked to each other and their respective generals, and can no longer be pulled individually. No more Vanndar only pulls? Aww... *single tear*
  3. Honor from capturing towers has been increased. Presumably, this is to counter the following change:
  4. No more Commanders and Lieutenants. While the patch notes state this much more delicately, the fact is simple. Mancuso, Randolph, Murp, all those wonderful elite honor farms are hereby removed. Such a pity, considering solo'ing one of those was an excellent way for a young mage to test his kiting skills. This, I think, will prove to be a general decrease in the amount of honor gained from an AV. I dont care what this says:
  5. Bonus honor is only given in battle for destroying enemy towers and killing the captain (Read, That Orc Dude / Annoying Blonde Mage). Upon conclusion of the battle, bonus honor is given fro surviving towers and surviving captain. Now would be a good time to mention the new mechanics of AV.
  6. Horde and Alliance have a limited number of reinforcements avaliable. This number is reduced by player death, loss of towers, captain deaths. If the reinforcements reach zero, that team loses. If the General dies, reinforcements default to zero. Basically, this is going to turn AV into a prolonged battle of attrition. The constant Zerg rush of the current AV will pretty much die off completely. Alliance could win the whole game by turtling at that damn bridge. A fear-bomb, causing the opposing team to wipe on Drek'Thar could hugely swing the game in Horde's favor.

Look at it this way. With these changes, AV is going to return to the old days, where AV could go on for hours. The difference is, with the reinforcement cap, it will have the same kind of "time limit" that EotS and Arathi have (Warsong, sadly, still lacks this time limit). We're going to get a feel for the new AV in Patch 2.3 here, and report back our findings. Should be interesting to see if the new AV turns into a bottle-necked war of attrition (think First World War) or game that requires some serious coordination and tactics (think a Starcraft 2v2 team match). The way the patch notes are making it look, we're going to get honor based on what we have left at the end. So, the longer the battle goes, the more stuff gets asploded, the less honor we get.

Goodbye Honor Cow.

Additional bonus honor is now awarded upon completion of Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm and Warsong Gulch.
So does this mean that AV will not be the honor-cow it is now? Will we see Arathi and the rest of them be competitive from an honor/hour perspective? We'll have to give this a run on the PTRs as well. Could be, we're going to look at a lot more PvP gear making the rounds.

Hmm... PvP epix. We need a discussion on that too. Look for it later this week : Welfare Epix.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Epic Failure

The time has come for me to explain the "success" of my arena teams.
Basically, the reason why they are so low is due to an unrealistic view of 70 PvP by my dear friend, Voxmortis. To put it quite plainly, Vox is an arcane mage. He has loved his arcane spec since he picked up this game, he is seriously in love with the sheer Pew Pew he gets from Arcane Missiles with only +500 spell damage (he has more than that now, obviously).
As both of us were getting levels, making our way to level 70, we each had different views about how the arenas would play out.
Vox figured he could play them just like he does in Battlegrounds; quite simply, drop the enemy before you're own survivability becomes an issue. I, on the other hand, recognized the danger of this philosophy of very small-scale PvP. I used to be fire spec when I hit Outland.
I quicky respecced to heavy frost at 62 on the (correct) assumption that frost would be the only viable spec in the arena. The last time I was frost was at 44, and so I figured (again correctly) that I would need the practice to be any good.

So I respecced early.

Vox did not.

So, once both of us were 70, we took a Paladin buddy of ours (Flirt) and hit the 3v3's.

I won't go into all the details, but basically, we got our asses kicked. Repeatedly. So, now, here we sit at the entertainingly low rating of 1320.
2v2 wise, the best record I've ever had running with Vox was 5-5 win-loss ratio.
By comparison, me and the Paladin have a 70% win ratio. We only lost when it was really late at night, and we were inevitably paired with ridicuously over-geared people relative to ourselves.
Our first loss was at the hand of a warlock in full Season2 gear. The dude had 14k hitpoints, over 450 resilience, and enough + damage to three shot the paladin.

Thankfully, Vox has recognized the error of his ways, pertaining to the arena, and has begun the horribly expensive and lengthy process of respeccing frost. He also plans on respeccing his tailoring (currently Spellfire) to match his new spec.
This will cost him money, time, and a lot of effort to get the mats together, simply to succeed in a competitive arena.
Needless to say, this is very upsetting for Vox, knowing his spec is worse than worthless in arenas. Playing the way he wants to is detrimental to the other members of the team.

And with 2.3, and the introduction of a personal rating system, it pains me to say that I will never play in an arena with Vox unless he is specced frost. It's like trying to run a heroic instance, and getting a shaman to tank for you. You're only setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Is it fair that Vox's favorite spec is ruinous in the arena? Is it fair that, for him to play the way he wants to, he is forcing his arena teams to be failing ones?

It's all simple math. To win at competitive arenas, you need to be able to take the hits. You need to be able to essentially "outlast" the other team. And this is a far larger challenge for the mage class than any other in the game. So much so, that you either spec frost or you fail.

I consider this to be a broken mechanic of the game. While there are those who say that you can spec however you want to do whatever you want, this isn't true. It just isn't.
Fire and arcane are PvE specs, with fire being slightly the better. Arcane is a little better than fire at PvP, simply because of the far greater burst potential.
Frost is the PvP spec, being a poor choice for PvE (barring solo'ing, where again it is the best). Frost beats out fire/arcane viability in any type of PvP, despite the huge nerfs frost has taken these last few months.

If you spec Fire and try to PvP, you will be a failure.

If you spec Frost and try to Raid, you will be a failure.

Please note that all the mage specs are equally viable in 5-mans. Fire/arcane provides some mad dps, while frost brings an incredible amount of control to these smaller instances.

!BOOM! Headshot.

Hunters and PvP. Blech. Anyone who's played a mage in a battleground knows that, as a general rule, hunters are to be avoided.

To put it quite plainly, hunters are designed for squishies. Sometimes they save our tissue paper wearing behinds, other times they giggle and shoot pointy sticks into those same behinds.
Anybody who's fought more than a dozen hunters in PvP knows that there are some general rules to fighting a hunter.

1 - Take the pet out of commission. (Fear, Frost Nova, Hamstring...)
2 - Take away the hunter's mobility. (Frost Nova, Hamstring, that druid root thingy...)
3 - Unload as much damage as possible on the hunter, as fast as possible.

To quote a certain large angry feline, hunters provide "Massive quantities of sustained, ranged DPS".
The key word here is "ranged" and "sustained". Countering both of these is the only way to win against a hunter that has any experience in this game.
As a mage, your guiding principles are simple. Polymorph the pet if possible, root the hunter, and the whole time, unload any and every instant spell you have to get that hunter down as fast as possible. As a general rule, taking the pet out removes anywhere from 30% to 50% of the hunters damage, depending on their spec, and marksman hunters are the only ones with any real amount of burst damage.
So, as mages, our strategies are as follows:

  • Polymorph the pet, if time allows. This is risky to do, BM's will simply break it and trash your squishy behind. As well, you waste at least 1.5 seconds of the encounter to this, which is time you could be damaging the hunter. Another downside, the hunter gets a free 1.5 seconds to do whatever they want. Shoot you, drop a trap, whatever.
  • Blink is a very effective spell to use againts hunters. It has two uses: 1 - getting into dead zone territory faster, 2 - breaking LoS when hunter pops SquishyKiller...err, Beast Within.
  • While first running at a hunter, use every instant you have. Fireblast, Cone of Cold, Presence of Mind, Dragon's Breath, Blastwave, hell, even an Arcane Explosion won't hurt.
  • If you're fire, use Dragon's Breath to get off a fireball, or at least a scorch or two. You will desperately need that damage. If you're Frost, pop Frost Nova as soon as you can, and try very, very hard to get off a Shatter combo. Chances are very good you'll be met with "Scattershot" or "LOL MY PET IS BIGGER THAN THRALL'S CHAIR". If the former, trinket out of it if possible, and at least get an Ice Lance nuke out of it.
  • Beast Within is very dangerous, if you let the hunter use it to it's full potential. This is your strategy for countering it : RUN. You have to survive the next 19 seconds on your own. Break LoS, blink away, /beg, have a paladin bubble you, whatever it takes. Having Ice Block immensely alleviates the difficulty. You only need to survive 9 seconds. Again, break LoS, whatever. And congratulate yourself if you survive, you just wasted a BM's most powerful weapon. Feel free to /giggle.
  • DEADZONE! This is your best weapon against a hunter. They cannot melee you or ranged attack you, and is currently the only way to deal anything remotely approaching serious damage to a hunter. If you can manage to get a hunter rooted with none of the "IWIN" buttons, you can get a full cast off here.
  • Silencing Shot. /shudder. If you get hit with this, two things you can do. Ice Block out of it, or break LoS so the hunter can't take advantage of it. Drop behind a pillar, run into a building, whatever.
At this point in the game, unload your instants again. If the hunter's not dead by now, chances are pretty good you're going to lose. BM's are easier than the others, they have nothing now. Frost Nova again, Shatter combo, you win. Marksman may have Scattershot up again; if you have a cooldown monitor addon, it is invaluable against hunters. If you don't have one, get one. If he doesn't have it, Shatter with impunity. If you're not frost, props to even living this long.

Please note that having a Water Elemental is incredibly useful for fighting a hunter. Basically, free extra damage, and an extra root. Heck, you can even get another Shatter combo off of it, if you're deadzoning.

If you can make it into a second deadzone cast and pull it off, you've basically won at this point. Some hunters are tougher and require another Instant Cast smackdown, but they drop easy once their cooldowns are gone.

If you find yourself unable to break LoS when you need to, unable to somehow get the pet out of the picture, or find yourself trapped/wingclipped to a standstill, be prepared to eat some very painful pointy things. Blink can be a help here, if you have the cooldown, you must make every effort to stop that hunter from gaining range on you.
If the hunter does get range and keeps his mobility, you've lost control of the situation. And when you lose control of the situation, you lose the fight. Plain and simple.

This also why Blizzard's announcement of dispatching the dead zone worries me so much. A class flaw it may be, but this class flaw was the only thing we mages had to get an actual cast off against a hunter. Without the deadzone, we will be stuck with Instant Casts. With only instants, we simply will not have enough damage to drop the hunter before they drop us


How to beat a hunter
1 - Remove the pet from the equation
2 - Take away the hunters mobility
3 - Drop them as fast as possible with Instants
4 - Abuse the deadzone so hard, the hunter trainers /cry


Ever wonder how a hunter does so much damage to us? It's simple. Almost all of their attacks are based on physical damage. This is mitigated by armor... and guess what? You got it. We mages have no armor. This is why we eat auto-shot crits of over 1k damage each, from undergeared beast master hunters who didn't put points in marksman.

EDIT: Fixed a few typos

Monday, October 15, 2007

A swift kick in the pants (Patch 2.3)

Patch 2.3 is on the way, and as any serious wow blogger must do, here is my thoughts on it.

Ritual of Refreshment will allow players to pick up their own stacks of food and water

Any mage that complains about this deserves a swift kick in the pants. There is no downside to this. It summons mannabiscuits, which restore both HP and MP. Each Ritual has 50 charges. The fact that it costs a reagent is a minor inconvenience to an otherwise great, and long overdue, spell. I don't care what some mageholes say, the ability to get food/water to an entire raid group in one spell is fantastic. If you're running Gruul's, which would you rather do...
1 - Summon a stack of food/water for every single member of the raid.
2 - Cast one spell, and let everyone else take what they need.

Seems obvious to me.

Damage coefficient reduction removed from Improved Fireball and Improved Frostbolt

It's about time this senseless nerf was removed. Mages doing too much damage, my sweaty ass. Over half of "damage" IS "mage" for crying out loud. While this will not have much of an impact in PvP, a 10% increase in damage is still nothing to sneeze at. In PvE, especially high-end raiding, this could have a huge impact. Fire will climb right back up those DPS charts (assuming standard rotation of Scorchx5, fireballx2). Raiding mages, rejoice. Unless your Arcane, in which case you're going to be looking jealously at those fire mages again. Sorry 'bout that. And for any frost mages in the PvE area, you will notice this right away, since frostbolt is about the only spell cast in an instance.

Evocation changed to restore 15% of your total mana every 2 seconds

Thank you, so very very much! As it stands right now, 8.5k mana and no + spirit, I get 3k mana from evocate. Embarrasingly sad for an 8 minute cooldown. This new way will grant me 5.1k, which is far better, but still leaves evocate as "meh". I mean, its an 8-minute cooldown! Why not have it restore our entire mana bar? It's channeled and can be interrupted by literally anything. How is it overpowered to have it simply restore 25% of our mana every 2 seconds?

Arcane Meditation increased to 10/20/30% mana regeneration

. . . ? Ok, now I'm just confused. The new evocation basically says "Ok, sorry about spirit there. You'll never need it again". This new change says "STACK AS MUCH SPIRIT AS POSSIBLE" Confusing, yes? Nonetheless, a very solid buff (arcane mages rejoice!).

Ice Barrior gains additional benefit from spell damage bonuses

Learn to spell, Drysc. Anyways, on the surface this looks cool. But lets dig deeper... The base damage absorbed by Ice Barrier is going down, and will benefit from (correct me if I'm wrong) 10% of bonus frost damage. For me, at a sad amount of +625 frost damage, this lands me a nice... 62 damage absorbed. Woo. Awesome.
This will provide some much needed scalability to this spell, but depending on how much + damage you have, ranges anywhere from a mild nerf to a huge buff. If there are any raiding frost mages out there with 1200+ spell damage, congrats. Your Ice Barriers will be the envy of everyone.

Fire Ward and Frost Ward now gain additional benefit from spell damage bonuses

See Ice Barrier above. Hazzah Scalability, boo for reduction in base damage absorbed.

Detect Magic removed, all players will see their target's beneficial effects at all times

Very, very interesting. This will certainly shake stuff up on the PvP scene. Being able to see all positive buffs will provide a LOT of information about your opponent. In a 3v3 arena, and two peeps are visible? Check 'em out. What buffs they got? Arcane Intellect, and no mage? He popped Invis, prepare for imminent nukeage. Mark of the Wild? Can't see a druid? Kitty is incoming. No out of place buffs? Paladins, beware, there's a rogue behind you.
As for mages in specific, some are lamenting the passing of this debuff. Gone are the days of detect magic/polymorph macros. Now paladins can debuff their allies at will, blah blah blah. Shut the hell up. Seriously. If you see a Paladin and a warrior running at you, who do you polymorph? If you answered Warrior, you failed. Ice Lance the warrior to prevent Charge, then sheep the Paladin. Then unload an instant or two on the warrior (Cone of cold is best). This forces the paladin to bubble/trinket to keep his warrior buddy alive. Then you kill the Paladin. Simple. Put it quite simply, paladins can heal one thing at a time. Themselves or someone else. Attack the paladin's friend, he heals his friend. Attack the paladin, he heals himself. Make sense? Hit the warrior, pally will try and save him. Thats your cue to mess that plate-wearing healbot up.
Detect Magic was only ever used as a way to protect a sheep. Detect Magic/Polymorph would tie a mage up, easily, for 3 seconds. And for what? To keep an opponent player sheeped for an extra few seconds, while waiting for a cleanse/dispel magic/somethinglikethat.
And who has enough time to spend a GCD on Detect Magic in the smaller arenas anyways?
This change will be, basically, an inconvenience to mages in 5v5, where they could afford the time to spend 3 seconds on sheeping a target.
This change will go largely unnoticed in 2v2's and 3v3's. Right now, it's simply too much time spent on a single polymorph. Time that should be, nay, NEEDS to be spent elsewhere.

There are a couple of other changes in 2.3 that are pertinent. The most alarming change is this:
Arcane Shot will dispel one magic effect in addition to its normal damage

Well, so much for frost being able to fight hunters. "You're overreacting!" No, no I'm not. As frost, how you fight a hunter is pretty much always set. As you get in close, you unload with at least 2 instants (fireblast, cone of cold), root them (by them I mean hunter and pet). Sheep the pet if you have time. Get to Deadzone. Shatter combo. Instants again. If they're still alive at this point, try to get another frostbolt off while waiting for an instant to finish its cooldown. Or, if you have the incredibly useful WE out, root 'em again, and repeat the Shatter combo.
In order for this scenario to work, you have to assume some things:
Assumption #1 - the hunter is not beast master spec, and if he is, BigRedSquishyKiller is on cooldown
Assumption #2 - the hunter is not marksman spec, and if he is, Scattershot is on cooldown.
Assumption #3 - you have Ice Barrier up, so the hunter doesn't kick your ass before you can start unloading some damage.
Ice Barrier is an incredible tool against hunters. At the very least, it allows us frosties to close to dead zone without getting too banged up. At best, we get an uninterrupted frostbolt.
If Arcane shot destroys my precious Ice Barrier, there is very little chance I'll win. No longer is having all my cooldowns and WE out the best scenario, it is the only scenario, and contingent on the hunter not having scattershot or any ability that breaks a root.
For arcane, this also can have a huge impact. How'd you like to see Arcane Power, a 3 minute cooldown of sheer awesome, get eaten by a glowing arrow on a 6 second cooldown? Or better yet, watch Presence of Mind get dispelled.
Fire mages, this won't change anything. Ok, nevermind, kiss goodbye to combustion, yet another 3 minute cooldown defeated by a shiny, pointy stick.
Well, hey, at least we get spellsteal. Situational and very expensive. Woot. /wrists
So it seems I'm going back to the days of getting my ass kicked by hunters again.

One other change I want to talk about before wrapping this up. Blizzard is changing the way the servers communicate with the client, effectively removing the need for /stopcasting macros, unless you actually want to stop the spell. Again, the mage forums are alight with people crying about how this effectively nerfs Shatter combo, Goodbye super burst damage, all this stuff.
So far, Dr. Boom tests on the PTR compared to the real servers seem to be producing... no real result. I'll post the data later, right now, it looks like mages are, once again, whining about nothing.

Oh, and one other thing... "Hypothermia" is being increased in duration to 45 seconds.

*Goes and swears in a corner*

Blizzard has kicked me in the balls, and my life is pain. Mechanics like this shouldn't even exist in competitive PvP. Arenas are, in essence, a battle of cooldowns. Forcing people to wait even more time to use a cooldown is simply ridiculous in a competitive environment.
Mechanics such as Hypothermia, Weakened Soul, Forbearance... they simply shouldn't exist.




PvP = Swift kick in the pants

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blogging about WoW is orginial, yes?

Alright, so I've started a blog.
You may be wondering "Why? Why would this guy make a blog?" "It's not like anybody's going to read it" "Pfft, just some myspace style emo kid"

I'll tell you why. In fact, I'll explain everything, all story-like.

I've been playing World of Warcraft for just over a year now. I have dabbled with every class in the game, and quickly realized that my favorite class was the Mage.
For some reason, a fragile caster class that takes an immense amount of skill appealed to me.
Having come from Neverwinter Nights, where you could beat the entire game as long as you had a fighter and could click on enemies, a class that required a great deal of skill to play was a welcome change.

Any idiot can play a hunter, tell the pet to attack and hit autoshot.
Any moron can play a warlock, just by pressing three buttons.
But it takes true skill to play these classes well. A hunter taking on 4 mobs at once, of a higher level, that takes skill. A warlock doing the Dun Garok quests solo, at level 28 with no voidwalker just for kicks, that takes skill.

From very early on, it was obvious to me the mage was going to be more difficult to play than the other classes. I tried a warrior, and the first 15 levels were just spamming Heroic Strike.
But a mage, on the other hand... I had Frost nova, I had polymorph, I had AoE's... all these different abilities that would allow me to take on five or six mobs at once. The slightest screw-up, such as using frost nova prematurely, would result in my death seconds later.
No other class provided this adrenaline rush for me within the first couple days of playing.

So I stuck with the mage. I got Improved Blizzard. I grinded 15 pirate mobs at once in Tanaris. I was PoM + Pyro spec at 49, downing flag carriers in seconds in Warsong Gulch (and dying myself mere seconds later). I grinded the elite mobs near the Dark Portal to level me to 58. I solo'd those elite giant things in Hellfire, as deep fire.
In every one of those cases, if I messed up, I was looking at a lengthy corpse run. It took me a good 3 hours before I stopped dying in Tanaris. My Pom + Pyro spec left me as a glass cannon with no cannon for minutes at a time. I'd kill those elites by the Dark Portal, only to be killed by a random non-elite while drinking. I'd kill one of those giants, only to be killed by a 59 hellboar.

Now that I have played around with the other classes, Mage is still my favorite to play. Sure, I can effortlessly grind 5 mobs at once with my warlock, in fact, I usually laugh maniacally as I do. Playing a Beast Master hunter is flippin' awesome, I can seemlessly take down elite mobs 5 levels higher than me.
But... well, there's never any real risk for me. The "OH SHIT" moments are very few and very far between. And, frankly, I live for the "OH SHIT" moments. I like to play WoW in such a fashion that virtual death is only a global cooldown away.
That is also why, at the very tender level of 26, I discovered PvP. By 29, I LIVED for PvP. It took me a month to level from 39 to 40. I was at level 49 for over two months. Heck, I even delayed dinging 70 just so I could play at 69, arguably my favorite bracket (no honor grinders or clueless e-bay). I also instantly signed up for 3v3's and 2v2's at 70... and failed miserably at them. (More in this later!)

So that's me. That's my general story.

Now, as to this Blog, my reasoning is very simple. The official Mage forums are a harsh place, filled with senseless trolls and flamers. A young, eager mage could go there, and be so thoroughly crushed that he'd reroll a retribution paladin, because there's less QQ on that end.

The forum Mages are a whiny, bitchy group of people who thrive by destroying others, flaming opinions, and all out destroying anyone who says anything positive. Every patch is greeted with yelling, screaming, tears, and gnashing of keyboards.

So I created this blog, so I can rant and rave in public, and in peace.