4 October 2010

Into the night

There are usually five or six emails in my inbox at work that I am actively ignoring at any one time. The worst of the present bunch dates back to April. It isn't even a particularly horrible email. It's from an old colleague who'd like to meet up for a drink. I like this old colleague, the prospect of drinks with her is not unpleasant, but I cannot bring myself to reply.
I'm not one to keep to-do lists, but if I were, you can bet it would follow this same pattern, with my blog somewhere up there in the bunch of top (or bottom) tasks ripe for ignoring.

There's clearly something wrong with me.

Psychologists call it procrastination, defined as a "counterproductive" deferment of actions to a later time. It's supposed to be "a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision", which is ironic considering the effects of procrastinating can include "stress, a sense of guilt and crisis, severe loss of personal productivity" and "social disapproval".

Ironically, by turning to Wikipedia for a diagnosis of my condition, I managed to put off writing this blog for a whole other day.

What happened is I got sucked into World of Warcraft, the cyber equivalent of a crack den, and have spent the last three years of my life spiralling into sleep-deprived oblivion. I have managed to keep my head above water at work, and have done enough to keep my relationship together, but that's about it. My friends, my career, even my self-esteem, have suffered.

My work is so pressured right now that I'm not even getting home in time to raid. And I clearly haven't been finding the time to stay on top of this blog. So it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of my virtual list, where it lurks and seethes and gangs up with emails from long-suffering ex-colleagues to make me feel guilty and ashamed.

It's cathartic just to even put that down in writing. My neglected blog has been bullying me.

I'd love to say right now, having reached my epiphany, that I will no longer procrastinate. I will complete all tasks that come to me in a timely and professional manner. But it's not going to happen. I am both incredibly busy and incredibly lazy. Something has got to give.

So for now, it's got to be this blog.

I think it's safe to say that if I am not blogging about the most monumental patch to ever hit this game a week before it's due to land, I'm never going to. And that's a huge shame because this is exactly the kind of thing I set out to write about, and the kind of thing I love doing, time willing.

I had a good run, I think. This blog, and all of you who read and contributed to it, made me a better player. And I think I got a lot more out of my subscription by investing time here, in the WoW community, with you. Thank you very much for sticking with me this long.

I'll not be quitting WoW any time soon, and I'm not going to rule out another blog at some point in the future, but until I can sort out my priorities and learn to balance my time a little better, it's time to let the shadow fall on Misery. Happy face melting :)

5 August 2010

Can we have wings?

Finally something worth blogging about. A new beta build is out and it includes some very interesting new talents in early discipline to get our shadowy juices flowing. (Don't linger on that metaphor too long.)
Evangelism revamped — you have a 100% chance when you Smite and a 40% chance when you Mind Flay to gain Evangelism. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts for 15 sec. Evangelism (Smite ) — increasing the damage done by your Smite, Holy Fire, and Penance spells by 2/4% and reduces the mana cost of those spells by 3/6%. Dark Evangelism (Mind Flay) — increases the damage done by your periodic shadow spells by 1/2%.
Archangel revamped — consumes your Evangelism effects, causing an effect depending what form you are in. Archangel (Caster) — instantly restores 3% of your total mana and increases your healing done by 3% for each stack. Dark Archangel (Shadowform) - instantly restores 3% of your total mana and increases your shadow damage done by 3% for each stack.
This is seriously cool shit. This is what makes me want to play a shadow priest. I know it's just words on the screen right now, but these are powerful, evocative words. This is crack for roleplayers. I don't care about the numbers, I just want WINGS.

And paladins, don't give me none of that avenging wrath snowflake crap. I'll swap you the wings for prayer of mending (it's basically a healing boomerang, you were totally robbed to start with).

Oh, and weirdly, mind flay is now five seconds long. I have no clue what that is all about. I might get around to thinking about it. Then again, I might not. Who cares, I am a DARK ARCHANGEL.

Hmm, maybe they could try saying that out loud a while and clip it to DARK ANGEL.


Oh god, it's like a drug.

15 July 2010

300 miserable posts

988 days ago I had a genius idea to start a blog. I had just finished levelling a shadow priest through Outland and had no idea what to do next; it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I called the blog Misery after a key talent in the shadow tree, but also because I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy. If you’ve had reason to pop by on occasion you probably know that.

300 posts later, and I’m still… well, you could hardly call it going strong, more limping along.

That amounts to an average of one post every three or four days, which is not exactly prolific — though I do still remember the dizzy feeling of posting twice in one day. Good times.

I average about 300 hits a day, which even in the rather specialised realm of gaming fanblogs I recognise as a modest splash in the pond. And I can’t even promise that all of those visitors find what they need; I am inherently lazy and don’t do nearly as much housekeeping as I should.

But every now and then, I catch a glimpse of the big time, thanks to the generosity of those rock-star bloggers at wow.com. The most hits I’ve ever received in one day was 2770 on 13 January 2010 for a post about shadow priest glyphs which Alex Ziebart very kindly promoted.

My most read post of all time is also about glyphs, which is a bit of a common theme on Misery. This time it’s the one about glyphs for levelling (hideously out of date). I’m sure anyone who ever hits that page bounces right back to Google in disgust. I promise to update it for Cataclysm, ok?

My top referrer is clearly Google, but I owe a good chunk of my visits to referrals from other blogs — top of the list are Blessing of Kings, wow.com, the (sadly retired) Egotistical Priest, and Penance Priest. Thank you very much guys, and thank you to all the bloggers who link to me that I have shamefully omitted here. Drop me a line if I don’t return the favour, I need a kick to update my blog roll as it is.

The most comments I’ve ever received on one post is a modest 19 for my musings about going holy. I clearly need to do more if I want the buzzing discussions of the big hitters like Matticus and BBB. Share your ideas in the comments please :)

Wrath of the Lick King has been a mixed bag for Merlot. He has seen shadow priests go from a hopelessly broken marginal support class to a dps contender, but he has had to sit out much of the end game while an upstart Tauren shaman monopolised my time. For casual players like me, this has been an incredible expansion, but it has come at a cost. I think most hybrid classes will recognise the pressure to offspec for healing or tanking, and many will understand the pitfalls of succumbing to that pressure for convenience. Once you accept that it’s easier to heal or tank than fight for a dps spot, you are lost.

So I have done more raiding this expansion than ever before, but I wasn’t melting faces. And now it’s too late to catch up. The advent of achievements and gear score have pretty much seen to that — but that’s another post.

With Cataclysm already in beta, I’ll be able to get my teeth into priestly class developments again, which is something I love. And I will soon have to make a decision about my Cataclysm strategy. Do I take the easy route and stay healing, or do I go back to shadow and bench the facehealer?

Either way, you don’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll still keep banging on about how priests need moar luv and how glyphs are broken and how I am totally going to redesign this blog like tomorrow. Yea, mañana baby.

14 July 2010

New talent trees: awfully familiar

MMO Champion is reporting that new talent tree system has been released on the Cataclysm beta realm. This is the one where you lock yourself into a single talent tree at level 10 and work your way up to the 31-point talent before unlocking supporting trees. The number of points you get to spend has been halved.

The interface screens show that, for opting to go shadow, you are rewarded with mind flay instantly, plus threat reduction and pushback protection on shadow spells. Some of the other classes have a bit more meat on their UIs (shaman for example), so I'm hoping there may be more bonuses for shadow in a later build.

I'm unable while at work to fully check MMO's talent calculators, but from the priest class page I can say the new talents look... awfully familiar. If I was confident that these were accurate and thought-out by Blizzard, I would be disappointed to say the least. In a world where talent points had been halved to allow more interesting and dynamic talents, I would not expect to have to spend two of them on improved shadow word: pain, for example, which was never much of an improvement to start with. And I am rather alarmed to see that our crit bonus looks like it's been slashed to 40 per cent.

But I'm not going to panic. I'll just assume that these are placeholder talents while the Blizzard boffins crack their heads together and come up with something inspiring. Please. Pretty please.

Edit: home now. Here's the build Leigh talks about in the comment below. Everyone seems to be in agreement that they haven't 'done' shadow yet, so I'm just gonna chill...

9 July 2010

Blizzard backs down on forums

Nethaera has posted to say that the forum developments planned by Blizzard will no longer include the use of real names.

Second good job by Blizz in two days, I'm impressed.

I'm really pleased to see that they are willing to respond so quickly and so generously on an issue that is clearly of huge important to their many customers. As Neth said: "We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters," which doesn't explain why shadow priest glyphs are so shit but then I doubt Neth's ever read my blog :P

Crisis over, now back to the game.