Lies I Tell You, Lies!

•April 2, 2009 • 11 Comments

Ok, ok, put away the thumbscrews and bamboo shoots for my fingernails, I surrender.  If you hadn’t already guessed, my post from yesterday entitled “A Tasty New Low” was a hoax, a fraud, a deception, an out and out (although very yummy) lie.  I admit I was taken over by the spirit of the April Fool and was manipulated, one blink at a time into posting the scam that appeared before you yesterday. Am I sorry? No.  Wait, hang on, let me check one more time… the answer is still no.

I swear I'll never lie again, honest!!

I swear I'll never lie again, honest!!

I hope at a minimum you got a little chuckle out of it, and at maximum were already salivating at the thought of buying Yumkins with extra Emerald Dream sauce by the cartload so you could be the first in your guild to cast “Gift of the Whopper”.  I really wanted to take it a little further and have something for every class, but there just wasn’t time to flesh out all the yumtastic possibilities and get them all out on the table.  Pun intended.  If you could have made your own addition to the Burger King tie-in, what sort of foods would you have suggested and what would the in-game reward be?  Put your creative caps on and give me your best shots.  I’m practically drooling with anticipation of participation.  Who knows, maybe the best idea will make it onto the menu at the Arcane Asylum,  Heaven knows the residents are just about tired of Strudel and Water.

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A Tasty New Low

•March 31, 2009 • 7 Comments

Well, now that the spasms have stopped and I am actually able to type again I can tell you that MMO’s and product-placement marketing have finally taken a flying bungie jump off of sanity cliff.  Our favorite blue poster GhostCrawler announced today that World of Warcraft had entered a partnership with none other than Burger King to try and combine our two favorite pastimes, eating and playing WoW. Here is the dealio…

Beginning with the release of patch 3.1, Burger King will introduce several new items to their menu that tie in to the various classes found in World of Warcraft. When you purchase these food items (more on this in a minute), you will have a chance to instant-win several in-game items or collect points that you will eventually be able to cash in for prizes through World of Warcraft vendors.  They are still somewhat tight-lipped about what the items will be, but they have mentioned a couple by name already, and let me tell you, it’s like a car wreck on the interstate with fatalities, I didn’t wanna look but I just couldn’t turn away.

The first item that was mentioned goes to our fine fellow transforming friends (they are, after all, more than meets the eye), the Druids.  The menu item that will be featured for this tie-in is a Chicken sandwich called the “Yumkin”. The Yumkin is basically a chicken sandwich with a special green colored sauce they are literally calling (wait for it…) the Emerald Dream.  Oh dear merciful God in Heaven, I wish I was making this up.  When you purchase your “yumkin” there will be a special game piece in the wrapper that will either let you instant win an item or collect 50 wrappers to turn in for an in-game item.  What is this item you may ask?  Its a scroll that teaches you a special buff that you can cast that is basically the same thing as Gift of the Wild, but with a saucy new name.  That’s right Druids, get ready to cast “Gift of the Whopper” and be the envy of all your fellow raiders. It even has a new buff icon that looks like a hamburger. I think I just soiled myself…

Gift of the Whopper????

Gift of the Whopper????

Now, for the Mages. That’s right bretheren, I know you were jealous and wanted your own Burger King promotional item, well dispair no more, ’cause your prayers have been answered.  Our food item that can be purchased at Burger King when the tie-in begins is called, you guessed it, the “Mana Whopper”.  I’m now gripping the keyboard so tightly that I’m pretty sure my blood is soaking into the keys (I wonder if it will come to life and eat people like Christine the car in the Steven King novel”.  So, buy the Mana Whopper and get the chance to win your very own piece of in-game BK schwag.  What is it, you may ask?  The lucky winner or collector will be able to purchase a scroll that lets you conjure your very own Mana Whopper in game!  You heard me right, screw the mana strudel, I’m grilling burgers!  The new spell even conjures a small grill that others must click on in order to have it their way and get their stack of Mana Whoppers…

The Home of the Mana Whopper?

The Home of the Mana Whopper?

I really don’t know what else to say at this point.  This is marketing gone crazy and I hope that Blizz realises just what they are doing to my beloved game.  What do you all think about this, are you as disheartened as I am about the state of the game?  Your opinions are always welcome.  I think the marketing genius that came up with this one gets a free stay at the Arcane Asylum.

Running with Knives

•March 31, 2009 • 1 Comment

Mom always said, “Ultra…. don’t run with a knife, you’ll fall down and decapitate yourself”.  Well, maybe not in those words, but you get the point.  I don’t really understand why people would say that, since, as we all know from playing first-person shooters, you always run faster with a knife!!!   Which brings me to todays subject, mobility and the mage.

Arcane mages, in my humble opinion, are the Kings of the run and gun fight.  I suppose that frost mages can claim a lot of mobility as well, especially in PVP with the oh-so-fun ice lance, but in a raiding situation, mages are the king of the drive by blasting!  But how do we keep our cool and stay frosty while we unleash arcane Armegeddon down upon our foes? Lets take Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctum as an example.

Ah Sartharion, if Hell had an obstacle course, it would look something like the chaos that occurs in this encounter.  If you thought that you were the King of NOT standing in blue, red, hot, cold, spicy or refried stuff before, this fight takes it to a whole ‘nother level.  Dragon breath (much different than doggy breath), giant lava waves, easily aggroed whelpling and fire elemental adds and the infamous blue void zones all await the poor saps who step into this encounter with visions of purplez dancing in their heads.  Now you may ask yourself, how in the name of Ragnaros am I supposed to stand in my spot and dutifully cast ABx3, AM on missle barrage proc. or ABarr on no proc. with all this crap going on around me?  The answer is simple Mr. Couch Tater Mage, you can’t.  The run and gun is the only answer.

So, the tank has pulled, you have run to your favorite spot and started spamming /wave at your favorite mage buddy and you are waiting for all hell to break lose.  What should you do?  Luckilly, at least for the first few seconds, you can stand in your favorite spot and go nuts on Sarth if you chose to fight him with no drakes up, or begin pummeling the first drake to land with Arcane insanity if you are going for 1-3 drakes up.  Either way, take a deep breath, put on your favorite pair of enchanted Reeboks and get ready for the Mage-o-lympics.

The first obstacle that you will most likely have to deal with is a Lava Wave, or in other words, the big freaking tsunami of molten fire that is now crashing forward at breakneck speed with a whole truckload of raid knockback and mage killing sadness.  If you are lucky, you are positioned in such a way that you are facing the wave, see it coming and only have to adjust slightly to get in the middle of the two surfer’s nightmares and live to fight another day.  If you are like me and not so lucky, the wave is across the way and you have to MOVE MOVE MOVE to get there.  This is where it’s good to be a mage.  Simply aim for a spot that doesn’t contain a blue void zone or a gigantic red fire breathing dragon and blink.  Not your eyes, but the nifty little spell that makes us all love being a mage that much more.  If you have mad skills and timed it right, you are now in the middle of the two waves and good to keep fighting.  Luckilly, there are only two places that the waves can come from, the only twist is that they come from opposite sides, so make sure you are looking for the telltale  “The lava surrounding Sartharion churns!”  announcement and move accordingly.

Obstacle number two are the blue void zones.  Normally this wouldn’t be that much of a challenge, but in this particular fight you have two things that work against you, the deadliness of the zones and the small amount of space in which the fighting takes place.   If you are unlucky enough to have a blue void zone spawn on top of you, you literally have about a second to get out of it before you are toast. The only cure for this is to break out the Vizene (it gets the red out), stick some toothpics in your eyes and try not to blink (yes, this time not the spell but your eyes).   Paying attention to the void zones is of the utmost importance, so just keep moving and stay vigilant, the life you save will be your own.

Obstacle three are the happy little adds that pop out during the encounter.  I’m sure different guilds have different means of dealing with this, but these adds are normally either burned down or tanked depending on how many drakes you leave up.  If you are asked to AOE any of those adds down, you must use  caution at this point.  When we do Sarth with 3 drakes, after Vesperon is dead we then have to AOE down the whelplings that spawn in the area.   If you aren’t careful and start too soon, you can easily pull aggro off the add tank and end up taking  a dirt nap.  Game over mage boy, sit down and make some strudel.  You will also have to watch out for the flame elementals that run around.  If you somehow find yourself with aggro, run towards the add tank and pop an ice block if you have to.  The key is survival, and it unlocks lovely lovely lootz, so stay on your toes.

So we’ve covered the obstacles, now, how should we DPS this fight?  The honest answer is you have to adjust to the situation as it happens. As the military folk say, “Adapt, Improvise and Overcome”.  Can I get a Hooah?  I am normally a blinking, arcane barraging, missle slinging mage of doom during this fight.  I will stand my ground and try to stack some arcane blasts when I can, but when the inevitable call of “surf’s up” comes, it’s time to take this show on the road.  One final note, as crazy as it seems, you can still work in our old friend Mirror Image in this fight.   I normally wait until right after a lava wave has passed, then break out the Multi-mages to throw a little extra DPS into the pot.  If you are lucky they won’t instantly fall to a void zone and you will get 30 seconds of multimage goodness.

I hope this inspires some new ideas on how to play one of the toughest and most exciting fights in WOTLK thus far, and also on staying mobile in general.  As always, if you have some thoughts about this, want to call me out or just say hi, your comments are always welcome here.  Until the next time, keep playing it smart!  That’s how we roll here in the Arcane Asylum.

stormwindroll

Rolling in Stormwind...

More of me to love

•March 27, 2009 • 2 Comments

Today at work was busy, so busy in fact that I wished that I could clone myself.  Not so easy in “real life”, but if you are a Mage in World of Warcraft, it’s easy, peasy, and just a hint of Japanesy.  When I found out that WOTLK and level 80 would bring about a new spell for mages called Mirror Image (MI for short), stock prices for  Depends Undergarments went through the roof.  Despite MI rating off the charts  on the Cool-o-meter, many mages either don’t know how to use MI correctly or don’t bother at all.  Granted, my pack of boys that I affectionately refer to as Multiking can’t exactly deal a one round knockout to Kel Thuzad, but when used correctly they just may be enough to get an encounter over the proverbial hump or take that annoying Ret Pally out for the count in Wintergrasp once and for all.

Raiding:
For me, using MI in a raid is a no brainer when done at the right place and time.  Your pack of not so mini-me’s are always ready to kick some booty, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always appropriate to whip em out.  Some fights have environmental challenges that aren’t safe for your boys to walk around in, like Heigan the Unclean in Naxxramas for example during the floor phase.  Unleash your magical soldiers down there and they will be dead before the first frostbolt leaves their hands.  If you are still on the platform, however, punch the go key and let em have at  it.  They will fight the good fight for you until they die (which unfortunately for them is a mere 30 seconds later).

One way to squeeze slightly more DPS out of your friendly neighborhood multimages is to use them in conjunction with heroism from one of the raid Shamans.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but MI works the same as the Druid spell Force of Nature.  Force of Nature unleashes a hit squad of Treants a-la Lord of the Rings to turn their enemies into kindling.  If your Treants, or in our case, multimages are out and fighting when Heroism is cast, they receive a DPS buff from it just like the rest of the raid.  Again, we aren’t talking about jaw dropping DPS here, but if you are fighting to beat your mage class lead in the raid on the damage meters for bragging rights like I am, then every little giblet on the ground counts.  One last tip for raiding and MI.  Cast your Mirror Image as early during each encounter as possible.  If its a long fight like Patchwork or Kel Thuzad, you may be able to last through the cooldown and call them out twice.  Not bad true believers, not bad at all.

PVP:
Let me start off by saying I am not the world’s best PVP’er, nor am I the 2nd, 3rd, well…  you get the picture.  I would also like to say from the very begininng that I hate Ret Pallies in PVP. HATE THEM.  I hate them so much that I try to turn my hate into a nuclear, acidic cone of bile and venom that is literally melting the monitor right now.  But I digress…
I have learned to enjoy PVP, and have been working on a nice PVP set from the Archivon raids that we’ve done and all the useless Tokens of Valor I have lying around at this point.  I know, Mr. Arena king, I see you back there screaming and laughing at me that resilliance isn’t worth anything in WOTLK and that I should focus on burst, blah blah blah.  That is a discussion for another blog, but let’s get back to the topic of MI, shall we?  I have learned that calling out the MI boys during PVP can cause just enough confusion or damage to help you finish off that curse-slinging warlock or escape to the hills to fight another day.  At the moment, MI mages will either cast damage spells or try to get off a polymorph spell on those in your general vicinity.  I have found that there are two good times to use this spell during PVP, when you are close to the kill but having a hard time bringing it home, or when you are about to take a nice long dirt nap and need to get away.  MI can cause just enough confusion to let you get that instant-cast invisibility spell off so you can run away while cursing Ret Pallies under your breath.   One trick that I really love comes when the person that I’m fighting is about to die and so am I.  I will try to blink ahead of them, cast Mirror Image then Ice Block and sit back drinking a frosty one while Multiking finishes them off.  It doesn’t always work, but when it does it sends my chuckler into spasms for quite a while.

I hope that this has shed some light or at least provoked some thought on one of my favorite spells in the game.  The next time Mr. Pally comes knocking at your door, flip him the mage finger, pop MI and let the magic happen.

Multiking says hi!

Welcome to the Asylum

•March 26, 2009 • 1 Comment

kirintorhouse

Welcome to the Arcane Asylum! Pull up a floating chair, take off your robe and wizard hat and stay a while.  Although I wish I had the power to telepathically send all the information that I wanted you to have  directly to your brain, sadly, I can’t.  I think thats coming in a future build!

So, you’ve arrived at the Asylum and you are asking yourself, “Self, who is this guy and why did he start a blog”?  Elementary, my dear Rhonin, I want to unite the mages of the World (of Warcraft) into an elite spellcasting, polymorphing, struedel making machine of death that can’t be stopped, not even by the Nerf machine that is Blizzard Inc.  Good enough? Let’s continue.

A little about me.  I’m 37 years old, work in the IT field, have an awesome fiancee and two great kids and I love to play World of Warcraft.  I started the beta way back in the dark ages playing a druid named BearTrax on the Durotan Realm.   Once the game went gold I plunked down the $$Bux and bought my copy like the good soldier I am and dutifully started creating new toons.  My first toon to hit 60 (ah 60, you seem so insignificant and long ago) was a Dwarf Hunter named Manowar.  After that came a little Gnome rogue named McStabb who captured my heart and all of my freetime.  After hitting 60 with McStabb (he prefers to be called Stabby) our small guild merged with a bigger guild named MoreMyth and I began the wonderful pasttime that we all love to hate, Raiding!  Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, AQ20 and 40 and the floating citidel of Naxxaramus all fell before me like rain from a darkened sky until the day I created my mage, my beloved Ultraking.  After seeing the lovely ice flow from my fingertips (yes I was frost at the time) and smite my enemies with polar goodness, I knew that there would be no turning back.  I was a mage, I think I always had been even though mom swears it’s not true and I suppose I always will be.  After a falling out with MoreMyth and a brief hiatus from the game, I joined a guild that my close friend had been a member of for quite some time, Chi Cerca Trova.  These people were cool, they were eccentric, they were flat out nuts, but despite it all, they got results! I was hooked.  The Burning Crusade saw my mage take on a personality of his own as we tackled Karazhan then moved onto some truly epic content in the form of Tempest Keep, SerpentShrine Cavern and even the infamous Black Temple and the Sunwell. Not even the awesome new Death Knight hero class created in WOTLK or Blizzard’s sworn secret Nerfing vandetta from hell against mages everywhere can drag me away from my chosen class.   I like sheeping stuff, I like the rainbow swirleys that are Arcane Barrage, and God help me I even like making Struedel.

So, if you are a mage, know a mage, love or hate a mage, or have even just seen a mage, this Blog may be for you.  Do I know everything? Not by a long shot.  But now that you are here, sit back, pull up some freshly conjured water and lets talk about all things arcane.  Welcome to my Asylum.

Welcome to the Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum