You know, it’s been far too long since I did a Wednesday Reading list. Let’s fix that right up!
Foury @ Spinebreaker’s “A Brief History of Alterac Valley” is a gem of a post on the official forums.
Over the years, you have made a significant number of changes to Alterac Valley. Some changes appear to have been made in isolation. For example, maybe you felt that there were too many NPC’s before patch 1.8, so you conjured up a mighty avalance and buried the treacherous Syndicate stronghold. Other changes, such as the introduction of reinforcements, were in response to problems caused by other additions like the Mark of Honor system.
Unfortunately, each individual change has brought about such a drastic reshaping of this battleground that its purpose is now virtually unrecognizable when compared to what the initial vision seems to have been. Even the isolated changes became catalysts for a chain reaction that has, in the opinion of a significant number of players, gutted Alterac Valley and made it totally un-fun to play in.
We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion for some time now, but I have decided to provide some additional background for players who might not know exactly what they were missing when AV was truly a legendary experience.
He then goes through a detailed history of Alterac Valley, one that lives up to its promise of giving the reader a thorough understanding of how the somewhat fragmented battleground that exists today came to be. It is a long read, but it is exceptionally good, and I suggest you read all of it. Even the poem.
Starting with post #8, Foury then goes into a detailed proposal for how to change Alterac Valley to restore it to its former glory. Remove it from the random battleground rotation, lower the honor per minute, make significant restorations to the environment, make quality of life changes – make it cohesive and relevant PvPvE again. There’s a lot of attention to the little details of AV, things that have always bugged me (the location of the trinket teleport, the lack of owls in Van’s chamber) that shows that this is the work of a careful though.
Seriously. This is a good post; go read it. You can agree with it, or disagree with it, but you will learn something about Alterac Valley.
Hey! You! Yeah, you, down the street there.
Don’t hide from me, I won’t bite. Craggle Wobbletop, at your service! I sell toys! You like toys, don’t you?
You want epic PvP gear? You can go to Old Town for that.
Oh, you want epic raiding gear? Oh. Old Town for that, too.
How about a Paper Zeppelin? They don’t give you repair bills.
How about some blog posts to read, then?
- I could link to pretty much every post that Lara does over at Root and Branch, but I think you’ll enjoy A License to Print Money, which is about leveling entirely through PvP and the unexpected benefits (and drawbacks!) of that process.
- Zinn has a great post about the virtue of patience and Paragon’s H-25 Rag kill. This, so many times this. Patience, perseverance – these are the way to success.
- Icedragon rebuilds her UI for Cataclysm with some beautiful results. I love how she customizes each one for each character.
- Fulguralis has a nice post up about Warlock Trinkets, a subject near and dear to many of your hearts. Also, he wrote a book! Check it out!
- This is an older post, but Onike talks about Teamwork and the shift of PvP philosophy between Seasons 8 and 10.
- Vidyala has a problem with achievements. Achievements are an interesting compulsion. I should write more about my own issues with them.
- Anexxia has a bittersweet piece of short fiction up about her own stepping back from raiding, in A Sort of Homecoming in Brill.
- Speaking of the undead, Rades’s undead DK has a problem with her plate mail bikini. I don’t like it because it doesn’t match, but Rades has some more to say about it than just that.
- Psynister takes on Trial Account Twink Professions with his usual depth and insight. (c.f. GTG’s article for an introduction to the concept).
- Razz over at Planet of the Hats talks about Raiding Fatigue, which is hitting home for a lot of players right now. Spinks has a related, insightful post on Auction House burnout.
- Zel has a very funny non-WoW piece up on Twigisms. For the WoW parents out there.
- Syl talks about wiping expansions off the table, something I’ve been thinking about recently. I think there’s a larger discussion to be had here about the expansion model, the concept of endgame, and how we interact with “content.”
- I rather enjoyed listening to Ophelie and Oestrus on the latest episode of the Double O podcast, with Vidyala and Vosskah. That podcast is picking up steam quickly.
- In something that has become all too common, Beru considers walking away from Warcraft in The Straw. I have a lot of sympathy for Beru, as you’ll see in the comments.
- On a sadder note, Alas takes a few pages from the Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck and is taking a break from blogging. I’ve enjoyed her WoW Pride and Prejudice posts for some time, and while I’m sad to see them stop, I’m glad to see people take control of their lives. This is a game, it should be fun.
- And finally, my good friend Psynister talks about his challenges in staying motivated to play Warcraft in Three-Legged Stools. This is a tough time for players right now, and Psynister paints a great picture of his struggles with the game.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve started a blogging experiment on Posterous – Cynwise’s Field Notes - for shorter, more informal posts. To quote the introduction:
I take a lot of pride in the posts that go up on my main websites, but they tend to be big – really big – and I also try to keep them very topical. It’s a good thing to be topical and thorough, but for a while now I’ve wanted a more informal place to post, someplace without a lot of bells and whistles, with a little more room than Twitter but without the pressure of focus that both CBM and GTG have.
Like my field notes, this is very much an experiment. I’m at a strange place with Warcraft now, so I offer no guarantees about content or direction. I like Posterous (really neat interface!) but it’s no WordPress replacement. This is just a simple little site that takes my emails and turns them into posts.
I’m not moving, but I am definitely keeping CBM focused on PvP, warlockery, and other guides. I have no idea where I’m going with CFN, but … well, I hope you find some of the posts interesting.
You know, it’s been a while since I’ve done a link post, and there are some great posts out on the web right now. Here are a few that have caught my attention over the last week or so.
- I’m so glad to see Lara posting again at Root and Branch. Her latest, “Fight On The Flag, Damn You!” is an excellent tale of bloodshed in the gulch.
- Gnomaggeddon gives great advice, again, to folks who want to lose quickly in How to end a BG quick – without bitching!
- Murmurs has got a great post up on Blood Pact about How to be a True Warlock, covering the basics of the class in what might be the best warlock post ever.
- Psynister delivers another great leveling gear post by asking, Are Heirlooms Really Best in Slot? (He also reminds me I should probably drop my heirloom weapons on my Rogue and get some decent ones.)
- I know that this has nothing to do with PvP, and my own adventures as a druid are of the Fail!Druid type, but A Sunnier Bear has a great post up on Feral Macros. I love me a good macro post!
- Speaking of Druids: Oombulance. That is all.
- Heavy Wool Bandage has a great expose on Yetimus, because what you don’t know will hurt you.
- Jaedia has a wonderful post up on How to Win the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza. (I finally won it!)
- Jinxed Thoughts took a look at Healing classes and the 5×2 project, with some great results!
- Vidyala at Manalicious has two interesting posts up about alts, mains, and which one you raid with. I think a lot of us with dedicated mains can identify with this struggle – I know I sure can.
- And, in case you had any doubts that Blizzard really wants people to start playing Rated Battlegrounds in 4.2, there will be New PvP Mounts for Rated Battlegrounds. I’m sure you’re all shocked that another carrot has been offered.
Also, for fans of Cynwise (the character), I’ve added an Artwork page to this site.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Wednesday reading post. I read a lot more than these posts indicate, honest!
Here are some great reads I’ve come across in the past few weeks.
- Pugging Pally talks about her time in the battlegrounds with When I Asked If You Had BG Experience…
- Ihra has some awesome advice on How to Run a Premade. Bookmark that one for Cataclysm!
- I really enjoyed Tam’s post on The Best Things In Life Are Free, though it has nothing to do directly with PvP.
- One of the great things about being on the same server as Psynister? He always knows what enchant my heirlooms need. :-)
- Pugnacious Priest sees a Hunger To Win in the low level BGs. (This is one of the reasons I like playing the lower brackets so much, FYI.)
- Cass talks about her State of Mind in the BGs. Live or die, it doesn’t matter as long as you kill. I can get behind that attitude!
- Saresa at Destructive Reach is looking for a co-blogger! Preferably a warlock with PvP experience! Surely you know someone like that!
- Twisted Faith talks about The Burning Red Line and aggro in ICC, something that is near and dear to my hard. (My guild note reads “WTF is Omen?” for a reason.)
- Delerius finds his Voidwalker in Void Where Prohibited.
- I know I’m a bit loony with my attachment to my bankers. I’m glad I’m not the only one.
- I don’t have much to say about the recent RealID discussions, but I will say that Shade’s Open Letter To Blizzard was the best post I saw on the subject. It’s about INTERNET DRAGONS, people!
- Gnomeaggedon hits it out of the park with Play the Way You Want to Play.
- Also, a totally selfish link: I am very happy my monocle question got answered in the recent Blizzchat. Forget the talent trees, we need fashion!
Okay, now it’s your turn. What have I missed?
Kordwar from WTF Are You Survival pointed me to the Destruction Duel Guide 2, a seriously great introduction to playing a Destruction Warlock in PvP, with a rundown of how to beat a dozen classes or so. It’s a long video, but very good — not only is it a great, clear instructional video, it’s bookended with a storyline that makes it stand out.
If you PvP on your warlock, or against warlocks, this is definitely worth watching. The 1v1 class breakdown section is awesome.
Anyhow, as I’m watching this video I found myself becoming nostalgic for Destruction PvP. I haven’t played Destro PvP since 3.3 came out and I switched from Destro/Destro to Affliction PvP/Demonology PvE. There was a brief period when I rocked the dual Aff/Destro PvP specs, but I found it hard being proficient in both at the same time. It’s like learning Spanish and Portuguese and trying to be fluent in both — you pick the wrong word because everything is so similar.
I love videos like this because they show you the potential for fun a class/spec has. Watching people who are good at a class — any class — is a joy as a Warcraft player.
There’s a lot of excitement about Cataclysm going around right now. (Notice I didn’t use words like “panic,” “consternation,” or “distress.”) And with all that excitement, it’s easy to lose sight of that there are still fun aspects of the game to explore right now. Maybe it’s an alt you haven’t played in a while, or a spec you’ve never tried. Maybe it’s playing the auction house (*ahem*) or trying a different role.
For me? I’m having a blast with my current Aff PvP/Demo PvE build, but maybe I should let myself go back to the bursty side while giving Aff PvE spin in raids.
Sometimes, all it takes is a video of how much fun a spec can be to reawaken the joy in your play.
(Yes, I miss Shadowfury. Like, duh!)
You know, it’s been a while since I’ve done a Wednesday Reading post. Here are some posts I’ve enjoyed recently.
- Gnomeaggedon has some awesome SotA Tips, Better Than a Guide for those who, ahem, didn’t look at Strand as the ideal filler between Wintergrasp and Alterac Valley during the pre-3.3.3 honor grind. And yes, I love the map. :-)
- Ixobelle tries PvP and finds he likes it. Huzzah! (Via Larisa.)
- Dominic Hobbs does a fine job covering Destro 101 over at WoW Insider.
- This has nothing to do with PvP or Warlocks, but I quite enjoyed In Other News, Fire is Still Hot over at Pugging Pally. (Also, congrats on the LK10 kill!)
- I confess, I think of my Death Knight as a plate-wearing, melee Warlock. Psynister talks about that, and more, in Death Knights for Spellcasters.
- Krizzlybear writes an inspirational post on Why I Frost, and Why I Won’t Take Anyone’s Crap over at Frost is the New Black.
- Speaking of mages, which we weren’t, but I guess we are now, Craig over at Plagued Candles has a great write up on Focus Magic and how to use it. I love, love, love getting Focus Magic. It’s like Christmas for my DPS.
- Okay, I may have a bit of a conflict of interest here, but Arrens’ post on Roleplaying and You: Demons and Pets is a good look at playing your relationship with your Demon while roleplaying. (I suggested the topic, but hey, my blog, I can post links I like too!)
- Cass takes us through Maraudon: Pristine Waters, and I, for one, bless these maps every time she publishes a new one.
- MoodyDK over at Death Grip My Heart looks at the new Icy Touch and comes up with some choice names for it.
- Something a little different, but welcome and needed — Shieldbreakr at A Horde of One talks about ridding his server of offensive, racist trash, and I support his efforts. Pretend hate of the Horde or Alliance is one thing. Real hate is something altogether.
Here are just a few of the articles I’ve enjoyed over the past week:
- Gnomeaggedon rightly points out that It’s All About The Towers in Wintergrasp. As the Alliance on Durotan shifts almost entirely to defense, I have found that the real fighting is down south, where numbers are evenly matched (but Tenacity is in effect) and the battle is either won or lost by 1) Alliance success in taking down the towers or 2) the Horde overcommitting forces down south and not punching through the gate. I don’t envy the Horde position on Durotan right now.
- There Is No Try at Righteous Orbs talks about putting forth your best effort versus half-assing things. And endgame druids who heal in caster form.
- Cassandri at Hots & Dots Revisits Uldaman and likes what she finds there. I really like this series — the maps are well done, the commentary is spot on, and it’s a joy to go through dungeons with Lath and Cass.
- I struggle with Too Many Choices, too, and sometimes yearn for a time when I had fewer alts competing for attention. I really want to focus my attention on making someone as good as they can be (hence my rolling, uh, 5 level 19 twinks) and the alt/main dichotomy sometimes weighs heavily on me when I’m logging in.
- I remember learning about The Dunning-Kruger Effect in my introductory psychology course… and then in introductory management… and pretty much it’s totally, totally evident every time you log into the game and deal with other people. Critical QQ has an excellent post on it in Warcraft, which you should go read now.
Here are some posts I’ve enjoyed over the past week.
- The trend of calling fellow players out in posts continues, with Arrens and Psynister contributing very funny entries to the genre.
- Nibuca runs down where your DPS is as Affliction. All of those tips are great, and nearly all of them apply to Destruction, too.
- Ihra contemplates the nature and future of guilds, and wonders about being in multiple guilds at once. I’ve wondered this myself, as while I *like* hanging out with my raiding guild, I also have the desire to put many silly guild tags under my character’s names. Oh, and see how other guilds do things, but really, I’m about the funny tags. (<Fist Full of Cyns>, anyone?)
- Cass breaks down Gnomeregan, and OMG did I need that map. I’m not running it yet — still deciding what I’m doing with my level 24 paladin, to twink or not to twink, that is the question — but I am definitely someone who gets lost in an instance until I run it repeatedly.
- Anexxia breaks down some of the fun new toys in the revamped Armory. I’m of two minds about including gizmos on this site; on the one hand, SHINY, on the other hand, I’m a fan of simplicity. Rilgon has a lot of fun with it, too.
- Zach over at WowInsider has a great piece on fighting druids in PvP. The only thing I’d add is that once a druid turns into a tree, they become Banishable.
Over the holiday, I found myself reading: