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10 Years :: 10 Questions

Whoa – 4 months since my last post.  I’m not dead, I haven’t unsubscribed.  My playtime is drastically decreased.  The upcoming expansion has me a little excited.  My wife wants to pick up the game again, and perhaps playing together will provide that boost of fun that I need.

Anyway, here’s what dragged me back to the blog. This survey has been making the rounds of the blogosphere.  I figure I can add my stories, if there’s anyone still reading.


1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I have always been into both the fantasy genre and computer technology.  I remember when I was young, reading the Dream Park novels by Larry Niven, about a live-action RPG set in a virtual reality world, and wishing that such a thing were possible.  When Everquest came out in the late 90’s it seemed like we were getting close to my ideal game.  However, in the 90’s I had a young child and a new career, so I consciously opted not to start an MMO.  I did play Warcraft I and Starcraft avidly, and then some Warcraft II.

When World of Warcraft was announced, it seemed perfect – my kind of game in a favorite setting.  Still, I wasn’t sure if it fit into my life.  I ran the idea by my wife, and she agreed to allow me to play if we could play together.  Thus we both started at the same time, as did both of my brothers and my sister-in-law.  We started in March of 2006, so we haven’t quite been in the game for 10 years yet.  Out of that original group of five, I am the only one still active.


2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

It was Dinaer, my night elf rogue that is still my main to this day.


3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

That was all my wife.  Part of our agreement when we started the game together was that she got to pick our race.  She liked the night elves, and so we started with the Alliance.

If I had my choice, I still probably would have gone with Alliance.  At the time, I wanted to play the “good guys” in my games.


4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

Too many to narrow it to one!

I distinctly remember being taken into my first raid – 10 man UBRS back in vanilla.  There was a rogue there named Devon who was whispering me tips and techniques on rogue play – stealthing, sapping, and attacking.  I can probably credit my success as a rogue to him.

My most memorable guild-related moment was killing the first boss in Karazhan.  We were not a raiding guild when BC came out, and Karazhan was the most fun I have ever had in the game.  It took over a month of attempts before we could kill Attumen, and boy were we excited!

My most memorable rogue moment was evasion-tanking Prince Malchezzar in Kara and soloing his last 1% for our kill.  Nerf rogues.


5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

This has changed a lot over the years.  At one time it was leveling.  Later it was professions.  Then it was the gold-making minigame. Now its the social aspect.  I’ve been in the same guild with the same core group since late vanilla/early BC.  If I didn’t have them, I’m not sure that I would still be playing.


6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Well, Stormwind is the easy answer.  Other than that, not really.  I like variety.  Each time I level and alt I try to hit different zones and follow a different path than the last time I leveled.


7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

I have played for over 8 years, and I have never gone more than two weeks without logging on.


8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Every. Single. One.

In fact, it bugs me that Blizzard has made questing too easy.  The objectives are marked on the minimap, the quest items sparkle in the game.  The fact that you can complete quests without having any idea what you are doing is bothersome to me.


9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

I regret some of the mistakes I made as guild leader.  To this day, I sometimes agonize over people who have left the guild over the way I mishandled their situation.  I can list all of their names, even though I have not seen nor heard from some of them for 5-6 years.

Also – not a regret, but a missed opportunity – I wish I had tried to join a hardcore guild at some point.  I’m a pretty good rogue, but I don’t think I’m a great rogue.  I would have liked a chance to run with the big boys and see if I could step up my game.  I never tried because of my unwavering loyalty to my own guild.


10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming? 

I hate to admit it, but I think it has made me a worse parent than I would have been otherwise.  Not that I ignore my kids, and I’m not a bad parent, but there are certainly weekends and evenings where our family stayed home because I had a raid scheduled.  That is a lot of missed chances for family time.

On the positive side, I have made some really great friends through the game.  Even though I’ll never meet most of them face-to-face, I consider them as close as any friends I have ever had.


Long time, no see

dusty bookIt has been a long time since I logged into WordPress and looked at my blog.  Just over three months, actually.

I tried the Twitter thing (@DinaerRogue).  I don’t mind the format, although I am somewhat verbose for 140 characters.  My problem is that I don’t have an instinct to post my thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness manner.  Successful twitter streams have frequent updates of small amounts of information.  I’m just not mentally connected enough with Twitter.

I’m still playing the game regularly.  My guild is uber-casual.  We’re working through Flex difficulty as our main raid mode.  With flex we get to bring different people every week, which means a lot of re-learning and re-re-learning fights.  We still haven’t killed Garrosh as a guild.  We’ve got time.

I’ve been healing quite a bit on my druid.  One of our main healers announced that he is switching to his warlock in Warlords, so I may have to step in and heal full-time.  I enjoy it, so its not a big deal.  Even the announced WoD healing changes don’t turn me off.

With raid healing as my current focus, I’ve been working on the legendary cloak for my healer alt.  It’s slow going.  As we know, the  boosted 90s have made LFR a real chore.  I’m almost done, though.  Just four more Titan Runestones, and then I’ll be in the home stretch of quests.

I have six characters at level 90.  I don’t play most of them – I leveled them for their professions.  I made sure my engineer was at 90 to make the Sky Golem, and that my jewelcrafter was at 90 to make the jade panther mounts.  The only characters I currently play are my rogue (of course), my resto druid, and my paladin, who I am gearing as a backup tank even though I haven’t tanked since Cataclysm.

I am still working the glyph and gem markets.  I got back into goldmaking when I decided to craft my panther mounts.  I’m not hardcore – I’m making about 10k gold per week and that’s good enough.

With the first WoD Alpha patch notes released, I was inspired to come back to the blog and say something, at least on the rogue parts.  Check for that post coming up (if anyone is still out there).


Sha-Touched Weapon… good or bad?

When we got our sha-touched weapons back in Throne of Thunder, we were, of course, excited.  The 500 Agility gem made those weapons super-powerful.

That was then.  This is now.

Now I’m a little annoyed.  I mostly run LFR and Flex raids.  The daggers that drop, although a higher iLvL, are not really an upgrade over the sha-touched dagger.  That 500 agility gem is overwhelming.

For this reason, I’m still running with my dagger from the previous tier.  Its a little frustrating to keep raiding without getting upgrades for that item slot.

Looking back, I wish that the sha-touched bonus was something that could be applied to future weapons, much like the capacitive primal diamond that I have for my head slot.

Its always interesting to look back on game features that seemed good when they were new and examine how they age as the game moves on.


on Flying in Warlords of Draenor

Yesterday I took one of my alts out for a spin.  Its a level 90 ret paladin in a mix of Timeless Isle gear and level 85 quest rewards.  I never play him.  He was leveled to 90 without even leaving Jade Forest, by running instances and scenarios.

He is my engineering character, so I needed to go out and kill things to get the world drop recipe for the daily engineering cooldown.  This involved me actually killing things by myself for the first time since I was level 85.

I quickly found that I had no memory of how to play the character.  I didn’t recall what any of the buttons did.  I figured out about four or five through trial and error.  I was able to take on a single level 90-91 foe in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.  If I accidentally pulled two, then I was in trouble.  I really, really sucked.  I must have died 6 times just fighting random mogu in the northern Vale.

So, I flew.

I hopped on my flying mount and hovered around.  I would drop in when I could find a single mob.  I’d fight it, loot it, then hop back on my mount.  If I saw a mining node in the middle of a mogu camp, I’d wait until the mogu had pathed away, drop down, mine the node and zip back into the sky.

This is not new.  Its been the way of things at the level cap since flying mounts were introduced.  People like it.

I’d claim that it is terrible game design.

They put those mining nodes behind the mogu camps for a reason.  The idea is that they are not easy to get to.  They are guarded.  Let me be clear – if I had to fight my way to them I would not have been able to.  I am currently awful on my ret paladin.  Therefore, the flying mount is simply letting me – the completely unskilled paladin – bypass the game mechanics to get the mining node.

I can’t tell who is complaining more about this- the “elitists” or the “casuals” (as vague as those terms are).  Elitists could fight their way through the mogu to the mining node with ease.  The lack of flying would just be a time sink for them.  The casuals don’t want to be bothered fighting.  They want their mining node with a minimum of hassle.

I don’t think either of these is a particularly compelling argument, and they both smack of entitlement.

The main complaint seems to boil down to the concept that questing and running around are no longer part of the game at the level cap.  Once you hit the level cap, all of the things that you used to deal with are now an inconvenience.  You should be above all of that – literally – by flying over it.

Look at the Dread Wastes.  That was a complete zone that was essentially designed to be played at the level cap.  Most of us dinged 90 either in Townlong Steppes or in the first few quests in Dread Wastes.  Then, we’d play through the rest of the zone to get pre-raid gear, or for reputation.  I point this out to reinforce that Blizzard does create non-raid content for players at the level cap, and flying above it would negate that content.

I’m hoping that we find in WoD that there are vast amounts of things to do other than raid once we hit level 100.  If that is the case, then keeping us grounded is the right thing to do.  Let us play through that content the way it was intended by the developers.  If it takes an extra month before we can fly, then so be it.  We’ll have plenty of time in Draenor left once we get our wings.


on Ghostcrawler

The big news lately – Ghostcrawler (Lead Systems Designer Greg Street) is leaving Blizzard.

First thing is – good for him.  Anyone who has the ability and the bravery to move on to something bigger (and hopefully better) has my admiration.

In reading the various forums, I have found quite a bit of venom spewed at Ghostcrawler.  He doesn’t deserve any of this, and the people who use their internet anonymity to spew this crap are, for the most part, vile, small-minded sheep.

Greg Street became the face of Blizzard by making himself accessible, whether by posting in forums or, more recently, through Twitter.  He held conversations with players on their likes and dislikes in the game.  More often, it was the dislikes since the people who like the game rarely take the time to go on Twitter and say so.

Because he made himself so available, he became the symbol that people focused on.  Players who overestimate their intellect would throw their thoughts up on Twitter and expect Greg Street to simply agree with them or bow to their unbreakable logic.  Of course, this rarely happened, which led to great gnashing of teeth as people felt ignored.

Mr. Street was a great asset to Blizzard as he could stay level-headed in the torrent of inanity and vomit spewed at him.  I personally could not bear to read most of the Twitter feed because much of what I read often made me ashamed of the human race (or at least the gaming part of it).  I would not have lasted a week in Mr. Street’s position without going postal.

Those who blame all of the game’s woes on Mr. Street are simply not thinking through the vast complexity of game design.  However, in him they found a scapegoat.  Thus, the herd of internet cattle have banded together to take their final shots at his back as he rides off into the sunset.

Here’s to you, Greg.  Thanks for everything you have done.  The fact that I still play for hours every week and give my $15 a month like clockwork is all the evidence needed to show how the game has succeeded.  The fact that the haters pay their subscription fees too is even greater validation.


Can WoW ever recapture that old feeling?

Blizzcon came and went this weekend.  As far as I know, I’m the only person in my guild (there might be one other) who bought the virtual ticket.  In guild chat Friday and Saturday night, no one was chatting about the new revelations unless I brought it up, and then there were only a few quick replies.  There was no excitement.  No buzz.

I don’t blame Blizzard for this.  They are doing all they can.  Coming up with new ideas for games within the game, taking us down lore paths that are fascinating and interesting, and streamlining the game experience.

I think much of the problem lies with the time between WoW and the old RTS games, Warcraft I, II, and III.

When WoW first came out, a significant percentage of players were drawn to it from their love of the RTS games.  I know I was.  Seeing your favorite Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness scenes and zones brought to life was a wonderful experience.  This is in addition to the EQ players that came over to WoW because it was the next Big Thing.

When Burning Crusade came out, I remember so much buzz being about the role that the old RTS games played.  The Dark Portal, Karazhan, Outland, and others were all prominent in Warcraft II.  Many players geeked out over this, even though Warcraft II was over 10 years old at the time of the Burning Crusade expansion.  The excitement was infectious, and others were prompted to look up the lore or read the novels to join in on the geekfest.

Similarly, when Wrath came out the characters and settings were taken from the Warcraft III RTS.  The Arthas storyline was a favorite, and dedicated fans of the RTS series couldn’t wait to face him.  The story was much fresher this time around – there was only six years between Warcraft III and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion to WoW.

For the Cataclysm expansion, the developers went with other figures from Warcraft lore – Deathwing and the Aspects.  However, this expansion, while steeped in lore, brought less connection to the RTS game series.  It still pulled characters from the classic stories as told in the novels.  However, in this expansion we see Blizzard drawing their lore very much from novels rather than their own prior games.

with Mists of Pandaria, it seems almost like the writers ran out of lore.  They created the continent of Pandaria out of thin air based only on presence of some peripheral characters in the RTS games.  At this point, they are making things up as they go, and the veteran players can sense it.  Gone are the familiar settings and characters.  Gone is the connection to the RTS experiences of the past.

Think about it – why is it that at every Blizzcon, players cry for the return of Alleria and Turalyon?  Why is there so much interest in fighting the Burning Legion again?  These are the heroes and villains that we are familiar with.

With that in mind, Warlords of Draenor is a good idea.  Bring back some of those classic names.  Go back to the days of Ner’zhul and Durotan as played out in Warcraft II.  Try to recapture that old feeling.

But, Warcraft II was twenty years ago, now.  Most WoW players haven’t played it.  In fact, the RTS games won’t even run on modern computers.  Even though a return to those settings is good in principle, I think we have lost a critical mass of the RTS players, and its getting hard to generate that excitement.


A return to loot distribution systems?

In Mists, (and even in Cata) my guild got away from using any loot distribution method other than /roll or need/greed.  In 10-man raids, the itemization on gear made it suitable only for two or three specific specs, and as a group of mostly friends we never had any drama.

In Warlords of Draenor, with larger raids due to flexible raid scaling there is bound to be more conflict.  Add to that thee revelation that gear will alter its stats based on the spec of the character that equips it.  That means that a single leather piece can be rolled on by ALL druid specs, ALL monk specs, and any rogues.  Depending on the secondary stats, a single plate drop could be rolled on by ALL paladin specs, ALL death knight specs, and ALL warrior specs.

Will this force us back to a loot distribution system?  I was happy to be rid of that for the past two expansions.  We used EPGP back in the day.  Might have to reconsider it.


Gold Proving Grounds for Rogues

In each patch there is something that catches my attention and gets me to focus.  In 5.4, it was Proving Grounds.

I went in there all cocky and sure that this was going to be a breeze for someone with my experience.  Turns out that the Gold level dps was a good challenge.  I actually ended up reforging, changing talents, and flasking up to finish it.

I only did it as assassination so I can’t give any specific tips about combat (is anyone playing combat?) or subtlety strategies.

General Tips:

  • I did find myself energy starved at certain times.  Most of the mobs are level 91-92 (except the Sha in the last two waves), so you can get away with not being hit-capped at 7.5%.  There is a reforger in the scenario instance.  I reforged some of my hit away to haste to help my energy regen.
  • Always get a Rupture going, even if just 1cp, for the energy return (Venomous Wounds).
  • MARKED FOR DEATH IS OP.  Once I made sure that Marked for Death was hotkeyed, the scenario got much easier.  Remember that the cooldown on Marked for Death resets if your target dies in under a minute.  ALL of the targets there last less than a minute (except the Sha), so you can start each mob with 5 combo points for great burst.
  • Potions are disabled, but you can use a flask and food buff.
  • Your gear is going to get scaled down to level 463.  Tier bonuses don’t work.  Meta gems don’t work.  For that reason, feel free to equip different gear than you would normally wear in raids, as long as its itemized well, gemmed, enchanted, and higher than 463.  Don’t feel the need to keep your tier sets together or that high level trinket you got from SoO if you can find something lower level with a better proc.

Specific Tips

  • Target the Banana Tossers first.  I used Cloak and Dagger to jump behind them, hit them with Cheap Shot, then Marked for Death for a 5cp Rupture.  Then I burned them down ASAP.
  • When you have a group of little virmen, you can leave them for last.  However, when you run past them you can Fan of Knives once or twice to get some poison ticking while you take care of other targets.
  • The only spell that you need to interrupt is the heal that is cast by Mystics.  The Amber Weavers conjure Amber Spheres, but they can help you if you maneuver right.  The Amber Spheres encase and stun whatever they hit, whether its you or one of your targets.  Whatever is encased takes extra damage.  If you can maneuver it to hit one of your targets, then you can burn it down more quickly.
  • The small banshees die really fast.  When they spawn you have to turn and get them, but you can stay on your current target for another second or two to either finish it off, or refresh Rupture to keep ticking while you’re attacking the banshee.
  • You’ll see little damage-buff items spawn.  In the gold challenge, one spawns after wave 3 and one after wave 7 or 8.  I encourage you to save them both for wave 10.  If you need them to get past earlier waves, then you’re probably not going to have the dps to finish the last wave, anyway.
  • The last wave is hard because the Sha has a shield up most of the time that is reducing your damage by 75%.  When he drops the shield, use all of your damage cooldowns.  If you’ve saved the damage buff items you should use one of those as well.

Patch 5.4 for Rogues

A rare post from me here.

Rogues are getting nicely buffed in tomorrow’s patch.  I find that curious, because on my assassination rogue I regularly out-dps players who are 10 iLvL higher than me in gear.  I thought that maybe it was going to be buffs targeted at Combat, which is the stepchild spec this expansion.  But no.  Its across the board.

I think that other classes are getting buffed as well, so this may be just a push to bump numbers up overall for the new raid tier.



  • Evasion now increases dodge chance by 100% (was 50%), cooldown has been reduced to 2 minutes (down from 3 minutes), and duration has been reduced to 10 seconds (down from 15 seconds).
  • Eviscerate now deals 10% less damage.
  • Fan of Knives damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Recuperate now restores 4% of maximum health every 3 seconds, up from 3%.
  • Sinister Strike deals an increased 240% of weapon damage (up from 145%), but now costs 50 Energy (up from 40 Energy).


  • Assassination Rogues should no longer be eligible for any other weapon types except daggers in situations where loot is automatically awarded(Raid Finder, Bonus Rolls, Heroic/Normal Scenarios, and the upcoming Flexible Raid difficulty.)
  • Dispatch now deals 645% weapon damage (up from 460%).
  • Mutilate now deals 280% weapon damage (up from 200%).


  • New passive ability, Ruthlessness: This passive ability is learned by Combat Rogues at Level 32. The Rogue gains a 20% chance per combo point (100% chance at 5 combo points) to immediately regain 1 combo point while performing a finishing move.
  • Killing Spree targeting has been changed. If Blade Flurry is not active, Killing Spree will now hit the Rogue’s target 7 times or pick the closest eligible target if none had been selected. Killing Spree will continue to work as it has while Blade Flurry is active.
  • Revealing Strike now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 125%).
  • Vitality now increases Attack Power by 40% (up from 30%).
  • Fixed an issue where certain conditions can cause Blade Flurry to not deal damage to additional nearby opponents.


  • Backstab now deals 380% weapon damage (up from 275%).
  • Hemorrhage now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 140%); 232% weapons damage if a dagger is equipped (up from 203% for daggers).
  • Sanguinary Vein now increases damage against targets with bleed effects by 25% (up from 20%).


  • Burst of Speed’s cost has been reduced to 15 Energy (down from 30 Energy).
  • Cheat Death now reduces damage taken by 85% after activating (up from 80%).
  • Cloak and Dagger now allows the Rogue to use Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot from 40 yards away (up from 30 yards).
  • Nightstalker now increases damage dealt by abilities while stealthed by 50%, up from 25%.
  • Paralytic Poison now stuns the target at 4 applications of the poison (down from 5 applications).
  • Shadowstep now has a reduced cooldown of 20 seconds (down from 24 seconds).


  • Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Adrenaline Rush’s effect is now baseline and has been replaced with Glyph of Redirect.
      • Glyph of Redirect now reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds (down from Redirect no longer has a cooldown).
    • Glyph of Blind now only removes damage-over-time effects that would cause Blind to break. For Rogues that also have the Dirty Tricks talent, this means Blind will no longer remove the Rogue’s poison or bleed effects.
    • Glyph of Crippling Poison has been replaced with Glyph of Sharpened Knives.
      • Glyph of Sharpened Knives now causes Fan of Knives to also damage the armor of its victims, applying 1 application of the Weakened Armor effect to each target.
    • Glyph of Debilitation has been replaced with Glyph of Recovery.
      • Glyph of Recovery increases the healing  received by the Rogue while Recuperate is active.
    • Glyph of Recuperate now increases the healing of Recuperate by an additional 1% (up from 0.5%).
    • Glyph of Sap has been replaced with Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins.
      • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins causes Sanguinary Veins ability to also increase damage done to targets affected by Hemorrhage.
    • Glyph of Shiv now reduces the cooldown of Shiv by 3 seconds (was 2 seconds).
  • New Minor Glyphs
    • Glyph of Improved Distraction: Distract now summons a decoy at the target location.
    • Glyph of the Headhunter: Throw and Deadly Throw abilities will now throw axes regardless of the Rogue’s currently equipped weapon.

Class Armor

  • Rogue Tier-15 4-piece set bonus now causes Shadow Blades to reduce the cost of all abilities by 15% (down from 40%).

WoW Insider looking for a rogue columnist

Class blogs are falling by the wayside.  My own (now essentially deceased) blog is a good example.

One of the best rogue bloggers has been Chase Christian at WoWInsider.  He’s now retired and WI is looking for a replacement.  I thought I’d throw this out there for any rogues who might see it.


Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
August 2014
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