Saturday, March 22, 2008

Entry 11: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Well fellow players, with Patch 2.4 imminent we can happily cross off another milestone between TBC and Wrath of the Lich King. I have no idea when the expansion is coming out, but as always, expectations are running high. While the prospects of assailing Northrend and battling Arthas' minions is certainly intriguing (alas, my inability to fit into any kind of raid schedule all but guarantees that I will be merely a foot soldier in the campaign against the Scourge), I know that many people are much more curious about WoW's first Hero Class, the Death Knight.

Rather than waste my breath championing or denouncing the new class, I'm going to go into full RP-geek mode. What follows, my friends, is my personal list of favorite, Death Knight-inspiring characters from fiction! I don't know about you all, but when I go to create a character, I usually have an image in my head of what his/her personality is going to be, and how I'd RP if ever given the opportunity. Frequently, I'll draw on some favorite character from popular culture and hope that the Blizzard name system doesn't smack me with the infringement stick.

Since I'm probably not going to get away with the more recognizable Death Knight references (good luck, for instance, getting very far named Nazghul), I decided to go really far into left field.

Let's see the name police catch these!

Cadet 1: Guts (or GATSU, for you kanji maniacs)

The lead character from Berserk is practically the poster boy for the Death Knight class. First of all, he walks around carrying a seven foot long, demon-slaying sword, goes by the ominous title of "Black Swordsman", and wears a cursed set of armor that shoves metal spines into him to force broken bones back together and ignore pain.

He is, how do you say, badass?

At the risk of spoiling the excellent series for those of my readers who haven't seen it, Guts didn't start out this way. Once upon a time, he was just a highly talented swordsman fighting alongside his ambitious and charismatic friend Griffith, in love with a strong woman, and happily kicking ass. But when said buddy decided that personal ambition superseded everything else and sacrificed his entire battalion (Guts and girl included) to ascend to demon-god status, he and Guts had a 'falling out'.

Oh, and he raped Guts' girl. Right in front of him. While Guts' arm was being chewed on by some outer-worldly demon thing. That, my friends, makes it personal.

At the end of it all, Guts' girl is comatose, he's lost a hand and an eye, they've both been branded for life in a way that makes them living targets for every spirit or demon in the vicinity, AND the bastard Griffith got away. Them's what you call 'life changing events'.

Now he's the Black Swordsman, all he wants is revenge, and heaven help anyone/anything that gets in his way. Did I mention the cursed armor?


Cadet 2: Wodan Ymir

The self-proclaimed Sword of Magus, Wodan is the alternate-universe version of Super Robot Taisen protagonist Zengar Zombolt, and gets the nod over his alter-ego by virtue of his blacker persona. Wodan is the guardian of the Earth Cradle, the sword of Magus, and will cleave whoever or whatever challenges the safety of the Cradle. Created from the reconstituted corpse of Zengar by the Shadow-Mirror, Wodan is a killing machine with little regard for anyone or any thing. When he is confronted by his double in a conflict at the Earth Cradle, Wodan declares that he, and only he, will be the one to defeat Zengar, and the two engage in a bitter rivalry till the very end.

Wodan's tale bears similarities to the fate of many who fall to the Scourge. Their ruined bodies are reanimated and instilled with sinister new purpose, often pitting them against their former friends and loved ones. Those that break free join the Forsaken, but are still plagued by the memories of their former lives and the horrors they may have wrought while under the control of the Lich King.

Imagine for a moment that you, one of the Forsaken, are suddenly confronted by your former, living self. Suddenly, the shroud of death you have grown accustomed to is ripped away, and in comparison to the vibrant figure of your alternate you are nothing but a rotting, dessicated husk. You are hollow, while he pulses with life. Every moment you are in his presence brings back countless memories of your former life, each cutting with the sting of glass shards and salt. He is a testament to all you have lost. You are a mockery, a caricature, a shadow, a blight on nature.

Compared to him you will never be more than a corpse.

You know what? I'd probably want to kill him too.


Cadet 3: Battousai (aka Kenshin Himura, when he's not slaughtering things)

This I'm afraid falls under the "what if a belf became a DK?" category. Or a gnome with red hair. Kenshin might look a little (*cough*) effeminate, but we're not so much interested in his looks than his personality. Specifically, Battousai's personality.

You see, Kenshin was a poor orphaned child who was
traveling with some total strangers who had taken pity on him. Their party was ambushed by bandits, and poor Kenshin (then called Shinta) had to watch as all his new friends were slaughtered right in front of him. Before he himself could be introduced to the working end of a katana, Hiko Seijuro shows up and turns the bandits into a Meiji-era version of a Jackson Pollock painting.

Hiko tells the young boy that he should be grateful to be alive, swigs some sake, and moves on. That would have been the end of the story, had Hiko not happened back through the area the next morning.

To his shock, Shinta had dragged and buried every one of the bodies, including those of the bandits. The three girls who had taken care of him he found headstones for; old rocks, decorated with handfuls of wild flowers.

Hiko was touched by the boy's resolve and compassion and decided to take him as his successor, to school him in the ancient sword art of Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. Finding his name 'Shinta' too soft, he renamed him 'Kenshin'.

Years passed. Kenshin grew up, learned the art of sword fighting from the master, and was set to become Hiko's true successor when civil war broke out. The Meiji restoration was at hand, and Kenshin felt the need to help. Hiko disapproved, saying that the sword was purely a killing weapon no matter how it was used. When Kenshin insisted, Hiko disowned his pupil, and Kenshin left to help the revolution.

Kenshin's skill was unmatched, and with his help the revolution was successful. The endless fighting and killing extracted a heavy toll on the young Kenshin, and he became cold, heartless, and merciless in his efficiency. He became a legend, the feared Battousai, and the bodies he piled up numbered in the hundreds.

If there's any way of illustrating how good intentions can lead to damnation, Kenshin's story is as good as any. His youth and naiveté quickly gave way to the harsh reality of war. His master was right; the sword always would be a weapon for killing. If a Death Knight is to represent the moral degradation of a hero, Kenshin is a great fit. What's more, the DK aspect of redemption is here as well, because after the turmoil ended, Kenshin vowed to pay penance for his sins. Taking up a reverse-edged sword, he set out to wander the country and do as much good as he could -- swearing never again to take a human life.

And yet, in his darker moments, in those moments of desperation, the Battousai would rear his head. The blade would reverse, people would again be put at risk because of his sword, and Kenshin would be left struggling in the aftermath. What must it be like to know that there's a bloodthirsty monster lurking inside you? Kenshin certainly does, and for that reason he'd make an excellent Death Knight.


Cadet 4: Kenshiro

YOU wa SHOCK! Kenshiro is a master of Hokuto Shin Ken (God Fist of the North Star), that iconic assassination technique from Hokuto no Ken (translation: Fist of the North Star). It involves striking an opponent's pressure points in such a way as to cause lethal damage, usually involving exploding body parts. One particularly large individual was in fact struck such that his entire upper half exploded in a geyser of blood. Ah the 80s.

Ok. This one, I will admit, is just a bit of a stretch, for two reasons:

The concept of the Death Knight seems to revolve around damnation and redemption; it's about the climb after the fall. Kenshiro doesn't so much fall as simply gets defeated. He loses his girl to Shin, an erstwhile friend who is also in love with Yuria, and for his troubles gets seven scars drilled into his chest care of the same a-hole. So Kenshiro picks himself up, having survived the attack, and decides he's going to find Shin and make his head explode, in true Hokuto Shin Ken fashion. I suppose you could call this a 'fall', but there was no real moral degredation here. Ken just lost, and now he's after revenge. Unlike Guts whose entire outlook began revolving around killing Griffith, Kenshiro retains his sense of honor, and even shows his enemies mercy.

That is, if you define mercy as killing someone in a such a way that they experience no pain.

Second, Kenshiro doesn't use a sword. Who needs a freakin' sword when you can punch someone and make them explode? I'm banking on the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Death Knights will be able to use some kind of fist weapon. As I said, it's a stretch.

So why did I pick Kenshiro? I'll admit, here I'm leaning on sheer badass factor. I'd name my Death Knight Kenshiro just to be able to taunt, 'You're already dead,', right before a duel. There's something about his total disregard for his opponents that makes it clear he's a master of an ASSASSINATION technique, not some pretty self-defense nonsense. If you fight Kenshiro, you'd better be ready to die, because he's not letting you off. At all. That's kind of how I imagine Death Knights entering into combat.

If you don't like it, say so in the comments. And be ready to eat Hyakkuretsu Ken.


And there you have it. Just a handful of Death Knight concepts to play around with. I'm sure my readers can think of many more, so lets here them! I may do a continuation of this series at some point in the future, as we get closer to Wrath. Get those runeblades ready!
Continue reading 'Entry 11: Something Wicked This Way Comes'

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Entry 10 - Who imba? U imba!

Alright, I've been a little strapped for WoW time lately, but I have managed to make some progress here and there. For one, I finally got my epic flier! Let me tell you what, the 280% increased travel speed is STUPID. I've never managed to do anything so freaking quick in my gaming life, it's changed the way I think about any task in the game. The bombing run missions are trivial, and I'm usually forced to float around waiting for the bomb cool-down to wrap up. The Ogri'la quest took me just about two minutes, maybe a little over if you count accepting and turning in the quest. TWO MINUTES.

But enough ranting on the super mount (that I shall leave for a later post!), I'm here to talk about a quick little search that can yield some cool results. Just how imba is your character? Be ready to find out.

First, head over to; if you're on a US server, be aware that the site has had problems accessing the US armory, but those issues seem to have been resolved. Enter your realm and your toon's name, and hit that search key. What you end up with is something like this:

Feren, who is just-sort-of-imba.

What happens is that your character is assessed based on their gear and major stats as to where in the end game PVE you might best fit in. It even ranks you based on your efficiency in regard to grinding, PVP, PVE. Keep in mind, it is just assessing your current armory profile, so if you happen to log out wearing a pretty purple dress, no matter how OP your warrior/priest/rogue/brewmaster is, it will still think you're geared primarily in a frilly dress.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's what gets your rage flowing.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, take my assessment for instance. I happened to be logged out in my grinding gear, or what I take as my grinding gear. All my spell-hit gear is sitting happily in my bags. So when they check my stats, they are seeing a relative deficiency in spell hit, and a focus on my spell damage; perfect grinding setup.

Even then, it's telling me I'm more or less geared to start Zul'aman. That's refreshing, and I'd be excited to try it...if they're right.

You have to take all this with a grain of salt. This in no way checks for the talents of the PLAYER. Skill cannot be tracked, except perhaps by gear, assuming that you earned all of it and didn't just ride on the coat-tails of an established guild. Ultimately the deciding factor will be the skills of yourself and your group.

I say group because I think this would be an interesting way to gauge potential raid members. Most guilds, if not all guilds, check armory profiles as part of the recruitment process. This kind of does some of that work for you, albeit in a very superficial manner. Good GMs and raid leaders should still take the time to parse this info out for themselves, as they are the real experts on what their particular group needs and how certain players might fit.

Still, it's kind of an ego boost (or humbling experience!) to see how you fit into the end-game. So, readers, just how imba are you?
Continue reading 'Entry 10 - Who imba? U imba!'

Monday, March 10, 2008

Entry 9 - blah blah blah formatting stuff

Just a short post today. To spare my readers from my propensity to hurl walls of text around like they were Insta-Corruptions in a BG, I've applied some of the awesome principles from Blog Azeroth. All of my posts should now be divided into nice little introductory text blocks and the handy link to the full article. Now you cannot complain that I a forcing you to read endlessly; you choose your own personal hell!

On a WoW note, I finally broke down and bought my Gladiator's Spellblade. My spell damage in shadow now exceeds 1000 with Fel Armor. Mages beware. Continue reading 'Entry 9 - blah blah blah formatting stuff'

Friday, March 7, 2008

Entry 8: Sketches of the Afflicted

Here's a quick sample of a pic I'm working on for the site. This is the straight pencil sketch, freshly scanned and shrunk for your viewing pleasure. Next step will be to throw it into Painter and do some inking, then to play around with the paints. Still trying to decide if I'll use watercolors or oils, or go for a more anime approach with some cel coloration.

We'll see, I guess. Yes, in case you're wondering, that's supposed to be the Frozen Shadoweave Shoulders and Mana-Etched Crown he's wearing. Continue reading 'Entry 8: Sketches of the Afflicted'

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Entry 7: A Tale of Two Warcrafts

It wasn't so long ago that the idea of gearing yourself through PVP was at best a fool's errand, and at worst a massive time sink that led not a few High Warlords to outright quit as soon as they reached the top. The changes to the honor system and the introduction of Battlegroups made group PVP - gasp - fun again. This post isn't about the BGs, though. It's about the relatively sudden shift I've felt in the way the game is being managed, most notably, by the seeming reversal on the way the developers seem to be handling class balancing issues.

All of this, of course, stems from the introduction of the Arena system.

For those of you who have never attempted it, the Arena system allows players to organize themselves into teams of 2, 3, or 5 and engage in gladiatorial matches against other such teams. Players earn arena points, rank, and require both to purchase the Seasonal gear (or S1 for Arena Season 1, S2 for Season 2, etc). The Arena gear is a PVP mirror of equivalent Tiers in the PVE gear sets. S3 is roughly equivalent to T6, for example. Blizzard has tried to time the releases of new Seasons to coincide with new PVE sets becoming more frequently distributed throughout the game population, and in this way maintain a balance in itemization between PVE and PVP. They are trying, it seems, to avoid the problem that was so prevalent during classic WoW PVP where guilds who had the end-game instances on farm could, at a whim, enter into the battlegrounds and obliterate the opposing side. Now that the PVPers have gear on-par with the Raiders, that doesn't happen quite as often.

Let me go on-record saying that, as a player, I have no problem with the gear that people can get through PVP. I think it's a great way to let players earn their equipment on their own terms. There is enough of a difference in both the way PVP is played versus PVE, and in the critical stat values specific to the two sides. Eveyrone in PVP needs a healthy amount of damage mitigation, for instance, while in PVE the non-tanks (barring the odd resistance-skewed fight) don't have to worry about it as much. In some cases there is an overlap in gearing objectives, such as with PVE tanks using Resilience to help improve their survivability against raid bosses, but for the most part they are separate animals. A fully-geared PVP-er will not do as well as a fully geared PVE-er in PVE, and vice versa. Fair enough.

The problem seems to run much deeper than that. Up until just recently, Blizzard has maintained that it does not try to balance classes against each other, but rather against the game as a whole. That's why we have the rock-paper-warlock, er, scissors, relationship between the different classes. A warlock has an advantage against a mage who has an advantage against a warrior, and on and on. As a warlock, I recognize that some classes will just beat me into the ground more often than not (*cough*Rogues*cough*), and try to work with that limitation.

Now take a look at what Kalgan just posted on the official forums, in regards to the revoked Life Tap changes. Take your time, I'll continue when you're done.

Did you see the switch?

The developers are using the relative representation of the classes in the top tiers of the Arena ladder to determine class balancing issues. Any class that is 'over performing' might be due for a nerf, and one that is grossly under-represented due for a buff.

That is what sparked the whole Life Tap incident, it seems. They were starting to see too many Warlocks in the top tiers. Apparently though this data was more of a flux than they originally thought, because new numbers indicate that the Warlock Trend was receding. No problem = no least for now.

Anyone else find this really disturbing? They were ready to implement a class-sweeping change over what ended up being a spike in PVP numbers, and it certainly doesn't seem like anything the community brought up swayed their opinions at all. That, in my opinion, is the whole problem with using the PVP world to manage how classes interact with one another: the information is too volatile to support any concrete conclusions on class imbalance.

PVP, more so than most other aspects of Warcraft, is the aspect of the game that is most intensely affected by human performance. Sure, the skill of raiders is instrumental in the completion of a new encounter, but bosses are predictable (to an extent). They can be learned, tested, mastered. It's not like Attumen has three talent trees that he can play around with to "surprise" raiders the next time they come a'calling.

Players discover new interactions, new synergies, all the time. Some of these synergies provide them with tactical advantages over other teams. These synergies are not limited to in-class interactions (let's face it, talent trees have been analyzed to death), but more importantly to cross-class interactions. The SL/SL spec would not nearly be so effective if the pairing was sub-optimal, say (forgive me if I offend), with a prot-spec warrior. Of all the talents and abilities of all the classes, it does not surprise me that some combinations prove to be more effective than others. But these trends, at best, should be transitory. Players learn and adapt, they ferret out the weaknesses of the reigning strategy and depose it. Engaging a sweeping change because of a spike in a particular strategy is poor game management because it's so short-sighted. If Blizz keeps this up, they'll be playing whack-a-class forever.

If the new Tournament Server is any indication, Blizzard seems very determined to springboard the Arena game into the spotlight of competitive, legitimate sport gaming. Excuse me, but Warcraft will never be Halo, or Unreal Tournament. The key to any digital sport is the emphasis that it's player skill, not class design, that determines victory. Every character in Halo is the same, with the same access to weapons and defenses that everyone else has. It's a level field. Warcraft, by the admission of the developers themselves, is NOT a level field when it comes to PVP. Forcing the game to be such not only flies in the face of its basic premise and design (that of a cooperative environment where every class has a distinct role to play), but seeks conform the majority of game play to suit a perceived discrepancy in a comparatively minor field.

To be fair, we are likely only seeing the tip of the iceberg that is the reasoning of the developers when it comes to class balancing issues, but let me reiterate: it's a pretty ugly tip. How do you resolve the problem of having a class be perfectly suited to PVE, yet grossly unrepresented in PVP? Do you buff it to the point where you break the PVE game? Do you leave alone the class that is doing well in PVP, yet has horrible representation in the end-game of raiding? How is one metric more important than the other?

There now seem to be two Worlds of Warcraft, one firmly entrenched in PVE, and the other fighting it out in PVP. The abilities critical to successful PVE are deemed overpowered and un-fun for PVP, and the specs necessary to survive in PVP are sub-optimal for PVE. Just how much further is this schism going to grow before Blizzard bites the bullet and either implements totally different mechanics for problem abilities, or just makes a whole new game entirely?


It just occurred to me. Perhaps this is all just a smokescreen? Perhaps Kalgan made that comment about class representation in the top tier as some elaborate distraction. Perhaps, in reality, the developers are just trying to avoid coming outright and saying that, yes, they really screwed up and were very sorry for the whole misunderstanding. compelling. I loves me a good conspiracy theory.
Continue reading 'Entry 7: A Tale of Two Warcrafts'

Monday, March 3, 2008

Entry 6 - Planning for the Future

As of this writing, humble visitor, your host is sitting on the largest pile of Gold he's ever had in his entire gaming career. 4420 gold, to be precise, within spitting distance of that coveted 5000 that will finally get me my epic flyer. Having long-since earned my exalted rank with the Sha'tari Skyguard, once I finally clock in those last hundred gold I will likely be cruising around on one of those slick Nether rays.

At least, that had been my plan. Then the PTR went and threw a very shiny fly into the ointment.

There are two new tailoring recipes that drop from the Sunwell Plateau raid instance, and neither of them are BoP. That means, conceivably -I-, your humble host, could get his hands on one through the AH, and soon afterwards be utterly decked out in some of the sickest robes I've ever seen. My Frozen Shadoweave Robes are already shuddering at the thought of being donated to Goodwill (read: Disenchanted), but hey, one day you're in, and the next it's some-german-word-for-goodbye.

Here they are. Try not to drool on your keyboard.

Sunfire Robe
Sunfire Handwraps

Between the ludicrous stats and gem slots, I could have that thing rocking like nobody's business in no time, and I'd look snazzy to boot. I wholly expect that, should the item even end up on the AH (more on that later), it will clock in easily at at LEAST 3000 G, just for the pattern. Add another 1K gold for the mats, and you'll see why I'm sweating. If I waited, I could watch the AH manically until the pattern went for sale, and snatch it up as soon as it did, but then I'd be broke. Almost totally and utterly broke.

But I'd look great.

This is a common problem often mirrored in real life too. You have a stash of money you've been saving for something important, like the down payment for a new car or house, or for the renovation of something like your kitchen. These are what we like to call 'long term investments' (well, except for your car, which is basically a four-wheeled black hole of depreciation). The epic flyer is a long term investment, while the robe is most definitely a perfect example of instant gratification.

Unlike the flyer, the robe would convey a sense of instant power. They are on par with T6 and would definitely contribute to the whole "power overwhelming" thing we warlocks apparently enjoy. The problem is that they are so terribly transient. With Wrath probably just a few months away, it's almost certain that these robes would get replaced by whatever junk drops in the starting areas of Northrend, as Blizz has already confirmed it will once again reset all equipment so that everyone is on-par.

The lifespan of that item is at best about a year long.

The epic flyer on the other hand, while in no way contributing directly to my power level, is an investment I can be comfortable making because I know I'm not just blowing my money. Even if Northrend ends up disallowing flyers until we're closer to the level cap again (kind of like how Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm), I will nearly double my travel speed in Outland and in any other areas flying becomes permissible. A faster flyer means swifter completion of any task I could conceive of performing, be it gathering or otherwise.

With absolutely no idea what WotLK will hold, I hate to speculate on what Blizz is or is not working on, but I'd like to think that we'll see continued growth in the realm of mounts. The natural progression, in my mind, is mounted combat, limited to specific abilities like bombing or jousting. I don't know about you, but I'd love to be able to get on my dreadsteed and drive headlong into a mob, maybe knocking them back and stunning them for a second, and dealing a nice chunk of damage. Will siege weapons require a specific riding skill to use? No idea, but it makes investing in 375 riding seem like a pretty good bet.

The real question, of course, is whether I'd be better off buying the skill and then starting on the Netherwing Ledge reputation grind to 'earn' my epic mount rather than just shelling out the 180g for the Nether ray I can get through the Skyguard. Honestly, at this point I'm pretty burned out on rep grinds, so it looks as though the Nether ray will be it for me. Well, at least until the aesthetics of the situation become unbearable and I simply HAVE to have a dragon mount.

After all, Warlocks + Dragon Mount = ALMOST Nazgul, and Nazgul are teh shiz.
Continue reading 'Entry 6 - Planning for the Future'

Entry 5 - Regarding Lifetap

((Copied from a post I made on another blog forum. The blogger was asking for an explanation as to why warlocks were freaking out over the proposed change to lifetap on the PTR.))

Greetings. As one of the angry mob, let me do my best to provide a concise and meaningful response to the changes proposed in patch 2.4.

The problem with the new lifetap is that it no longer fits into the design of the class as a whole. As many other players have pointed out, this change was designed to negate the bonus stacking stamina provided to warlocks, both in pvp and in pve. On Live, stamina falls into place as the third most critical stat for warlocks to focus on in PVE (Spell Hit > Spell Damage > Stamina), whereas in PVP it falls closer to second place, right behind Resilience.

Everything about the warlock focuses on stamina. We have two talents that provide a passive boost to stamina (Demonic Embrace and Fel Stamina), and one of our pets, the Imp, is designed as an unkillable party buff to stamina (Blood Pact). Much of the item budgets for warlock-centeric gear tends to stack stamina much more than it does intellect.

The change to Lifetap on the PTR flies in the face of all of that.

The class as a whole has a very precarious position as a caster; we lack the myriad defense and escape mechanisms of mages, and thus must rely almost solely on our often large stamina pools to allow us to survive under focus fire. The entire concept of "drain tanking" in pve requires a good chunk of stamina and spell damage, so that we can effectively take hits and still survive long enough to drain the life back.

We cannot Blink, Iceblock, Frost Nova, or use our mana as a damage buffer. We must spec for pvp survivability (Soul Link), and for our supplementary vampiric spell (Siphon Life). The only other method of effective mana regen available to warlocks is Dark Pact, and that is a 31 point talent in Affliction. There is no Evocate. We have little to no Spirit to speak of. For the majority of warlocks, Lifetap is an indispensable tool both in solo play and in group functions because it helps provide the class with the longevity necessary for our DoTs to be truly effective.

Put it simply, warlocks seem to be designed for the long haul, both in how we deal damage and how we recycle life into mana into life. This change seems very heavy handed, and goes against the grain of the entire class by making incremental gains in one of our primary stats WORSE the more we get.

The suggestions for adaptation have been maddening at best. Eyonix's own suggestion of stacking Int to somehow "exploit" the change seems to ignore that on all of our class-specific gear, Stamina grossly outweighs Intelligence. Our T6, for instance, supplies somewhere along the lines of 248 stamina and 145 intellect, nearly twice as much. Compared to our stamina buffs, we have one talent that increases intellect passively. How, then, are we supposed to "stack int"? Roll on mage gear? Have you ever met a warlock whose mana pool exceeded his health?

Other players have suggested removing party buffs like Fortitude. We would be the only class doing so. The fact of the matter is that warlocks with higher HP become a drain on the raid over time, as healers are forced to heal back a proportionate amount of HP. It just doesn't make sense.

Blizzard is implementing this to change the dynamic is Arena PVP. Fine. Clearly there is something wrong with the set up, as they're hitting Lifebloom pretty hard too. It may not seem like the biggest nerf ever, but the repercussions are many and far reaching. I only hope that Blizzard either takes the time to re-evaluate how they itemize for us, to reduce the gear focus on stamina and make it easier to keep the two bars level, or shelves the idea in favor of something a little less counter-intuitive.

Will it be back-breaking? Probably not; these things always tend to get blown out of proportion, and dedicated warlocks will find ways of adapting. Will it make me gnash my teeth at the profound dearth of consistency and logic for the sake of nerfing one PVP strategy (Siphon Life - Soul Link)? Absolutely.

I hope I didn't rant too much. Did that help frame the discussion at all?
Continue reading 'Entry 5 - Regarding Lifetap'

Entry 4 - Tap That Trinket!

If you played anytime towards the end of Classic WoW but right before the Burning Crusade was released, I'm sure you remember all the whining that went on about mages using spelldamage trinkets to Pyroblast people into oblivion. It seemed you couldn't get ten posts down the official forums without someone else complaining that some mage (or enterprising warlock) had one or two shotted them in their last BG session. Granted, this was at a time when players with access to these trinkets usually also had access to significantly better gear too, meaning the divide between the one-shotter and the one-shotee was fairly large. At a time when over +400 spell damage was almost unheard of, and resilience had yet to rear its anti-crit head, using a trinket to boost your spell damage up over the threshhold of normalcy led to some fairly big numbers.

Then Hellfire Penninsula opened up, and all of a sudden almost every spell caster in the game had access to a powerful, easy to acquire trinket that did almost the same thing as the long-coveted Talisman of Ephemereal Power: Ancient Crystal Talisman. This lovely green item, obtained early in the 60-70 grind, stayed with me until I finally found a better trinket in Icon of the Silver Crescent. It's been only recently, however, that I've been getting real mileage out of my Use trinkets.

Oh sure, I knew how to pop a trinket before applying my DoTs in an instance to maximize my damage on bosses. I'd even made a nifty little button on my cast bar that set off my shiny bauble (applaud me, I am so brilliant). But when it came to the solo grind, however, I was woefully remiss in consistently maximizing my potential.

See, the problem with the trinkets is that they require you to keep track of the 2 minute cooldown, something that can get seriously annoying while grinding. What's the solution? It's not very elegant, but here is mine:

#showtooltip Unstable Affliction
/Use 14
/Cast Unstable Affliction

That's it. A two-line macro that a trained monkey could have strung together. Replace 14 with 13 if you happen to have your on-use spell damage trinket in the first instead of second slot, and replace Unstable Affliction with whatever spell you like to open with while soloing. I've tried it with Curse of Agony, and that works fine too. What the macro does is to simply activate your trinket every time you cast the spell in question. Most of the time it will be on cooldown, and your toon will often shout that he "can't do that", but it will guarantee that you will have the proc up as much as possible while grinding, at no extra effort to you.

There are a few issues with the macro that you'd have to do some digging to resolve. First of all, it does not go "red" when your target is out of range of the spell you have it set to. This is annoying more than anything, as you can usually glance at one of your similar spells to see if you're in range (most affliction spells, for instance, have the same spell range), but it's something you need to keep in mind. Also, you're going to see the gray spin timer over the icon when your trinket is on cooldown, which gives the misleading impression that the spell ITSELF is uncastable. This is not the case. You could sit there spamming the button and it would cast every chance it got, whether the trinket is on CD or not. It's just visually confusing.

The upside though is, as long as you are grinding, you will be maximizing the use of your trinket. In most cases, this means that, every two minutes, you will be rocking out with over 100 more spell damage than normal. I've found that it's changed the way I tackle grind sessions, as I'm constantly watching the little gray spin timer to see how much longer I have till my next kick, and saving a pack of mobs for just such occasions. Another option is just mapping the trinket activation to a handy key and spamming it periodically, but I'm one of those lazy players who would probably forget. This takes the guesswork out through sheer repetition.

Couple it with a cool conditional trinket (such as the drool-inducing DoT amplifier out of the 5-man Sunwell Dungeon) or the Exalted Shata'ri Skyguard one for some seriously ridiculous grinding. May every elemental you kill yield 2 motes, and every Blood Elf an Arcane Tome. Happy hunting.
Continue reading 'Entry 4 - Tap That Trinket!'

Entry 3 - Grouping as Affliction

I'm a lock who absolutely loves grouping. I love doing dungeon crawls, love raiding (when I have time), and generally enjoy the dynamics of a group encounter more than the solo stuff. Because let's be honest, locks DESTROY solo PVE. It's nice to have a real challenge once in a while, and group battles are some of the surefire ways of getting your fix of ragnarok-inducing mayhem.

There's one problem with group combat though, one tiny, nagging little detail that annoys me more than a paladin on his third health bar: trash pulls. In any group situation, you will most likely be asked to perform some kind of CC function (and if you're any good at it, you may actually volunteer to do so rather than trust the shifty-eyed rogue who hasn't said a damn thing since group invites went out) in addition to simply blowing stuff up good. That's fine, you have your trusty Seduce macro that tells your pocket hottie to keep one of the bad things occupied, no sweat. This article isn't about managing Seduce. It's about smashing face.

So you're grouped up, everyone is buffed and ready to go, the healer's soul blissfully stored inside the phylactery---er, soul stone in your pocket, and the tank has dutifully marked up all the targets. Kill order is skull-x-diamond-square, or using more evocative imagery, main tank'd baddie 1, baddie 2, then the sap'd baddie, and finally the ice-trapped one.

Your party consists of a feral tank, a resto shaman, a rogue of ill repute, a hunter who feeds his pet with dead gnomes, and you, spectacular avatar of darkness that you are. How do you intend on dishing out the pain?

In most solo situations, the correct answer would be to load up as many targets in sight with everything in your arsenal (an over-dramatization, of course; warlocks are so powerful that a mere three DOTS is usually sufficient), and laugh as they crumble to dust at your feet. That's not going to fly in this situation.

As an Affliction warlock whose greatest joy (and power) is his DOTs, this can be a bitter pill to swallow, but the truth of the matter is that you are less effective when you are loading up your group targets with tons of damage over time spells, simply for the reason that they will not live long enough for those spells to run their full duration.

Bear in mind, this is generally only true in the 5-mans, normal or heroic, but heroics less so. There are still a few mobs that deserve the full assortment of your pain clocks, such as the fungal giants in Steamvaults, or the Fel Annihilators in Shadow Labyrinth. But most pulls are going to be multi-target pulls, and you can thank your lucky stars that those pulls don't consist of multiple Fel Annihilators. Most mobs under focus fire will not last longer than ten to fifteen seconds.

The most effective solution, I've found, is simply to bite the bullet and revert to a more direct-damage role, as a shadowbolt spammer. There are other blogs than this where more talented writers than I have dissected the numbers associated with this rotation, but let me summarize it for you: the 2.5 second cast time of shadowbolt will deliver nearly the same total damage as a full run of Unstable Affliction, in about a tenth of the time. Spamming shadowbolts will help your group take down focus fire'd mobs faster than a full rotation of DOTs will.

That does not mean all you are supposed to do is stand there spamming though. Oh no. There are at least TWO other things you should be doing while keeping the black pain flowing. First off, you need to manage the proper debuff on your intended target, and second is to maintain CC on whatever mob has been marked for you. In the group composition above, with you being the only offensive spellcaster in the group, you don't have to think about the cumulative effects of either Curse of Shadows or Curse of Elements. There's just you, so the obvious choice is Curse of Shadows. There are some Locks I've run with who attest that even dropping Curse of Shadows on your target is a waste of a global cooldown, and in some cases (e.g. when your group absolutely outgears the instance) that is true. But in most situations, Curse of Shadows is a great opener for several reasons.

First of all, the threat produced by landing a CoS on a target is low, low enough that you won't take aggro from the tank on the pull. Because it does nothing until your first shadowbolt lands, you are effectively delaying 10% additional damage until the tank has had time to build up a threat buffer. That, my friends, is what helps keep happy locks alive. Maybe even more important than CoS on the main target is having CoS on your Seduce target. There is nothing more annoying than having Seduce resisted multiple times, and a single application of CoS as your pet is finishing up the cast can mean all the difference between a Happy Pull and a Sad Pull.

If you'll allow me to theorycraft for a bit, let's imagine the time line of a typical 5-mob encounter. All targets have been marked accordingly, and you've been left with a single humanoid to CC with your succubus. At this point I've selected the CC mob and am simply waiting for the tank to do his thing.

Tank fires off his shot. I quickly hit my seduce macro key, and the succubus, since she was likely out of range, begins running towards the CC target to set up the seduce channel. I am running forward as well, because I want to get in range to cast CoS. The succubus stops and begins casting, I drop CoS, and half a second later the mob has those lovely hearts fluttering out of their soon-to-be-detached head.

I grab the tank's target (/assist Mr. Tank macros work great for this), drop CoS, and then, depending on my sentiments, I may drop Corruption on him too before laying on the Shadowbolts.

But wait, you exclaim, why bother with Corruption? Didn't we establish that the sea-monkey-esque lifespans of these mobs makes DOTs a moot point? Well, yes, for the most part, but Corruption does something that the other DOTs don't: it enables Nightfall, and Nightfall = more Shadowbolts.

Rank 1 Corruption works just as well as the highest rank Corruption in your arsenal for this purpose. Every tick has a chance at sending you into Shadow Trance, which means something is going to eat an instant-cast shadowbolt. Rank 1 is also more mana efficient, and can be dropped on off-tanked targets with almost zero risk of drawing aggro. The tank should be outputting at least enough threat to keep the OT'ed targets off your healer, who will be outputting more global threat than the pitiful damage from rank 1 Corruption.

More Corruption ticks mean more potential Nightfall procs, which makes you a happy warlock, but be warned: even the weakest corruption tick is still enough to break all forms of CC except Fear/Cyclone/Mind Control, so be absolutely sure that your group can handle having one mob immune to most crowd control for the duration of the DOT. If you're not certain, ignore the OT'ed target until it's time to lay into it. You never know when you may need to lock it down.

Beyond the 5-mans, I think you'll find that most mobs can survive long enough to make a heavier DOT commitment more worthwhile. The Skeletal horses in the Karazhan stables, for instance, have a good chunk of hit points that are far more conducive to some serious DOTing, in addition to your shadowbolt spam. Just feel things out; the whole point of this post was to try and show less seasoned Warlocks that, sometimes, it's better to think beyond the basic DOT.

Aren't we splitting hairs a little here though? We're talking 5-man dungeon trash, why would you care about optimal single-target DPS?

Because you're a warlock. For God's sake start acting like the power-crazed shadow caster you're supposed to be and rock that DPS chart.

Seriously though, it's important to understand this because wasting time on a full cadre of DOTs not only kills your mana efficiency, but you are actually gimping your DPS. The whole point here is speed, and as an Affliction lock that isn't exactly your strong suit. Better tailored to burst damage are Felguard talent specs, or the intimidating 0/21/40. That last one in particular can be absolutely crazy, since you basically spam shadowbolts all the time, trash mobs or boss fights, and I hear the damage is disgusting.

When it comes to Boss fights, Affliction really shines. The combination of multiple, powerful DOTs (one of which returns a nice chunk of HP every couple of seconds), Dark Pact/Lifetap, and a steady stream of shadowbolts usually means you'll be threat-capped more often than not. I've actually found that, as my spell damage bonus rose closer to the 1000 point mark, I actually had to start dropping spells from my rotation because I was building threat too fast. Work with your tank, get a good threat meter, and watch it carefully. If you outgear your tank (either with sheer firepower, or more +spell hit than he has +hit), you will be climbing that threat list far more consistently than he can keep up with.

If you do find yourself dangerously close to pulling aggro (Omen's lovely red alarm glow really helps), you've got a decision to make. First, check the timers on the DOTs you have up on the boss. You have to decide whether simply stopping Shadowbolt casts is going to be enough to let the tank pull ahead. Most of the time, especially if you've specced into Improved Drain Soul or you've got a Blessing of Sanctuary on you, you'll be hard pressed to pull aggro from DOTs alone. But in some cases, certainly if your amplified Curse of Doom is about to go off, you're much better off just hitting Soul Shatter and playing it safe.

On exceptionally long fights, it can make sense to preemptively Soul Shatter because it allows you to crank out the DPS faster than you would normally, but the three minute cooldown is highly prohibitive in this regard. It's very likely that if you are putting out enough damage to warrant Soul Shattering early in the fight, you vastly outgear the threat generation capabilities of your tank, and you will definitely need it again before those three minutes are up. In that case, it's probably better to tone down your spell rotation and try to work within the limits of your tank's TPS, leaving Soul Shatter for that moment where you get two unlucky crits in a row, or CoD blows just as you approach 100% of the tank's threat.

On most boss fights, the best opener is almost always an Amplified Curse of Doom, right after you hit your trinkets and have maxed out your +spell damage. The problem with Curse of Doom is that its threat is an absolute spike, versus the more gradual curve of Curse of Agony. On some fights, such as against Blackheart the Inciter or anyone else who resets their aggro table periodically, Curse of Doom can get you in a lot of trouble if it blows right after a threat wipe. Very few tanks are going to be able to crank out enough threat to save your sorry behind if your CoD crit, and you run the risk of getting the healers in trouble as they struggle to keep you alive. In fights of that nature, it's almost better to run with Curse of Agony and take a more gradual approach to damage.

Of course, there's also those few times, those oh so rare but oh so memorable times, when you will delight your group by spawning a Doomguard right after your CoD kills the boss. Yes, this has happened to me before. On Omor the Unscarred in Heroic Hellfire Ramparts, our group had been struggling with the boss through two wipes. On our third attempt, we managed to beat him down fast enough that he was below 10% before our tank finally bit it, and he started taking us out one by one. He dropped me sitting at 2%, leaving just the hunter up, when all of a sudden Curse of Doom detonated, dealing that last 2% of damage. Our cheers where quickly replaced by cries of "WTF IS THAT?!" as a Doomguard came charging out of Omor's smoking corpse and proceeded to crush the lone remaining hunter.

Hilarity ensued. By the time we'd all rezzed and run back, the Doomguard was gone, and we were free to loot. Remember, that caveat on the tooltip isn't just there for looks. Make sure you're group is ready for the potential surprise.

Depending on the length of the fight, it may be in your interests to refresh Curse of Doom once it's gone off the first time, or it may be a better plan to put up Curse of Shadows/Curse of Agony/Curse of Elements, depending on the party make-up. With multiple warlocks, it's always best to let whoever has invested in the improved curse to keep it up, so communicate that amongst yourselves and maximize your cross-functionality. Since it's often impossible to gauge the effectiveness of having Curse of Shadows/Elements up accurately in a PUG, I go by this simple rule of thumb: if two or more party members can benefit from the bonus to either Shadow/Arcane or Fire/Ice, go with the debuff. If it's just you, CoA is probably a better choice.

Why CoD over CoA? I've asked myself this question, and though the damage is actually pretty similar, CoD has a few intangibles going for it that tip the scales in its favor. First of all, it can crit, and whooboy will you know if it does. The screen lights up with huge yellow numbers and the boss, if you didn't pull aggro right then, starts eyeing you with increased vitriol. Second, CoD ticks away for a full minute, versus the 24 seconds of CoA. This means you don't have to refresh it, which means you have at least one more GCD that can be dedicated to Shadowbolts.

Warlocks share some of the same spell theory that shadow priests do; Affliction locks even more so. The key to maximizing DPS on a boss fight is properly refreshing your DOTs, making sure not to overwrite one before it's finished its damage sequence. The reason behind that is the "ticks" of damage; each DOT deals damage periodically, divided along the length of the spell. The last tick always occurs on the last second of the spell. If you refresh the DOT before that last tick has occurred, you are increasing the gap between the previous tick of the old DOT, and the first tick of the new one. The gap can be as long as six seconds in some cases, and that's terrible for your DPS.

It's better to let a DOT expire completely before one gets refreshed. With some of our DOTs, like Unstable Affliction, the cast time should be taken into account when watching the last few seconds of the spell tick away. I try to time it so that my UA finishes casting just as the current UA wears off, catching it just after the debuff actually vanishes. This assures me that I am not overwriting the last tick and getting the most for my mana investment. The instant-cast DOTs are a little easier to manage, as you can throw one back up as soon as you see it drop off. The rest of your time between refreshing DOTs should be spent Shadowbolting if you can stand still long enough to finish the cast. Take advantage of your instant cast DOTs by refreshing them as you reposition, since they can all be cast while running.

One nuance of Affliction that is sometimes hard to get a handle on is our mana management. Everyone is familiar with the longevity granted by Dark Pact when used in conjunction with the other staple, Lifetap. No Affliction warlock should ever find themselves out of mana for very long. My preference is almost always to DP back to full once I've finished two or three DOT rotations; it only takes two Pacts to drain my Imp down to the triple digits. I recommend Pacting early because it gives your Imp time to regenerate his mana, and bless the little bugger, he's usually ready to go again within twenty to thirty seconds. Remember to bring your imp out of phase shift during group buffs so that he can benefit from an Arcane Brilliance or Blessing of Wisdom. If you have any spare Scrolls of Spirit, they aren't a bad buff to throw up yourself if your group is short a paladin.

Lifetap is a little trickier, as it demands more micromanagement than Dark Pact does. Fire off a premature Dark Pact, and the worst thing that happens is you waste a global cooldown. With Lifetap, you are putting additional stress on your healers, or causing yourself excess damage by lifetapping when your mana hasn't drained sufficiently low enough to benefit from the full transfer. For the sake of your group, I recommend something like:

/y Lifetapping. Keep healing the other guy.
/cast Lifetap

This ensures your healers know that the drops in your HP aren't due to some wayward mob, and can respond accordingly with a HoT, or wait until there's a lull on the tank to fire off a proper heal. Affliction warlocks are mostly self-sustaining; between Siphon Life and Drain Life, we can usually recoup all the life lost to lifetap quickly and without any assistance from the party healer. Keeping up a full cadre of Affliction effects on the target helps ensure your Drain Life is receiving the full bonus from Soul Siphon.

The last bit of advice I will try cramming into this entry has to do with trinket use. Any caster worth his or her salt will almost certainly have a spell damage on-use trinket, which provides a temporary boost in firepower (usually on a 2 min cooldown, sometimes sharing a CD with your other trinket). This can be wonderful during boss fights because it provides an appreciative boost to DPS. You could argue that it tends to help Warlocks more than Mages simply because we can stack so many damage over time spells, each of which gets a significant boost out of the bonus. It certainly doesn't hurt shadowbolt either, and it makes Curse of Doom (especially amplified) a really BIG ticking time bomb. You have to be cautious, however. If, like most players, you pop your trinket at the beginning of a fight so that you can stack an amplified CoD on the target right at the start, you also run the risk of shooting right by your tank's threat level. CoD won't do it (yet...), but the rest of your empowered spells just might. Even though most of our spells are level-loaded when it comes to threat (meaning they generate threat evenly over time), it's always a good idea to let the tank get a few good hits in before you start casting. Let the threat build, pop your trinket, then unleash holy hell. You'll be able to toe the line on the threat much better, and it's less risky overall.

Popping a trinket early is still better than holding off though, as during long fights you'll usually be able to get double the mileage out of them, and on shorter fights your group is clearly geared enough for the encounter, making the bonus redundant.
Continue reading 'Entry 3 - Grouping as Affliction'

Entry 2 - The Early Years

It's been so very, very long since I've contemplated those first few seasons after I undertook the calling of the Warlock, so bear with me if I stumble along.

The decision to be a warlock was a simple one. Of all the classes I could have chosen, this one appealed to me from a pure ascetic sense. Having known no other worlds besides Azeroth, I was not swayed by the notions of role or mechanism that some of my contemporaries were. I just wanted to jump as far into the dark as I could. Good, justice, all that is fine and dandy, but we all know that evil has more fun.

The first spell at my disposal was shadowbolt. Oh the carnage I have wrecked with shadowbolt! As a young warlock I became completely focused on that one spell, to the point (and I am humbled to admit) of neglecting almost all of my militant skills. Where other warlocks might have bolted once to draw the enemy in before finishing them off with a dagger stab, I would attempt to obliterate things with shadowbolt until they were little more than black stains on the landscape, heedless of the pounding I was receiving and the strains it placed on my mana reserves.

Looking back, I think that I suffered under a painful misconception of the role of my class. Having been given shadowbolt to start with, I believed that a warlock killed things by hurling magic at them, like a mage. Even when I learned the later spells of Immolate, Curse of Agony and the like, still I failed to understand the mechanism of damage over time.

Gaining my voidwalker helped shift my perspective a little, after I realized that hurling shadowbolts endlessly at something was a surefire way of drawing its attention. Using the DOTs gave me more leeway, but the voiwalker always seemed to loose aggro anyway. At this time I was leading with Immolate because of the cast time and front-loaded damage, not realizing at the time the nature of threat, and actually working against my Voidwalker's attempts to keep my squishy self unharmed.

Around the same time, I got access to my first few talent points. Remember when I mentioned misconceptions about direct damage spells? I'll bet you can guess where this budding warlock put his talent points! I started speccing into destruction almost immediately, going for what I thought at the time was a more potent set of tools for taking down my enemies. And in many cases, that statement is true. Destruction is incredibly good at dealing damage quickly to a single target, but it leaves the warlock drained, and requires significantly more downtime between enemies than either Affliction or Demonology.

A small caveat, to help me save face; this was WELL before the revamp of the demonology tree, and the introduction of Master Demonologist and a constant Soul Link. Despite my inexperience, I believe I had guessed correctly, at the time, that Demonology was was least appealing of the three talent trees.

I'm not sure how many other warlocks made the same choice I made in their early years, but I'd be curious to know. I sincerely wonder if my shadowbolt-induced tunnel vision was unique to my experience, or something others can relate to. Has there ever been a class skill that has totally skewed your opinions of your class? Has this changed over time, or have you stuck to your first instincts?

I can say for certain that, over time, I realized that destruction just wasn't cutting it for me. I actually went as far as Conflagrate before I made the switch to Affliction though. if that gives you any indication of my mental state. I 'may' have had the foresight to put 5 points into Improved Corruption, but I can't be certain. More likely I just dumped every talent point into Destruction until I hit the max tier. I'm not sure exactly what sparked my desire to switch specs, but at the time I was becoming more and more involved in the forums, I was more interested in various aspects of Theorycrafting, and was starting to notice the disparity between my play experience and that reported by my peers.

With not a little hesitation, I unlearned all my talents (my, what an uncomfortably naked feeling that is the first time, coupled with some irrational fear that the game will glitch and you'll never get those points back) and respec'd into Affliction. I've been kicking myself for my initial decision ever since, as my grinding efficiency went through the roof (comparatively speaking). Since then I've switched talents numerous times, trying out the update to Demonology, going full into Felguard at the outset of the Burning Crusade, and then switching back into Affliction at 70. To date though, I have never gone back to Destruction beyond the arguably essential 11 point initial investment. I'm not sure I'm willing to call it an aversion, per se, but I think I'd miss the versatility of the other builds.
Continue reading 'Entry 2 - The Early Years'

Entry 1 - Introduction

Hello. Welcome to my hovel. It's rather small, I'll admit, but there's ample space for what I need here. I'm not as young as I used to be, you see, and I've found that my adventures leave me far more taxed than they used to. A corpse as old as mine needs its rest, and as luck would have it, I managed to persuade the old tenant of this mausoleum that it was time to move on.

Please be mindful of the bones on your way out. I wouldn't want my first guest to trip and hurt themselves on account of the loaf who let this place fall into such disrepair.

This is where I come to gather my thoughts after a long week in the services of my brethren, the Shadows of the Nethrezim. They are a likable lot, though they do tend to get a little carried away sometimes. I suppose having a Dreadlord's mandate hanging over your head will do that, but that's neither here nor there. We were talking about me.

I've been a warlock now for as long as I can remember. My memories of the time before my present...malady...set in are foggy at best, so please do not press me for those details. For over seventy seasons I have been studying the path of shadow and flame, to varying degrees of success, but recently I've begun to perceive the future with far more uncertainty than is my wont. I've already mentioned the fatigue, but there is more. The magic doesn't flow as easily as it once did. It seems to take more effort every day to get up and will this dead body of mine forward. I've begun to hear things, dark things...echoing in my head...

...but I digress. You didn't come here for my life story. You came here for a bit of knowledge, some scrap of lore, a glimpse of insight. Well. I'd hate to disappoint you, but I'm afraid it would be very unwise for you to put much faith in the prattling of this humble undead. I'm no guru, no prophet. The best I can do is tell you of the road I walked, and let you see where the largest stones and deepest potholes are. I pray you make better decisions than I did.

If that will suffice, then I will be happy to oblige you. Talking, it seems, remains one of the few things that does not wear me out too swiftly as of yet. So make camp, start up a fire if you are chilled, and we shall have palaver. Feel free to interrupt if I begin to stray, my attention span is not what it used to be.

By the way, my name is Ferenczys. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Continue reading 'Entry 1 - Introduction'