Monday, December 27, 2010

Thoughts on Cataclysm


So, I'm sure by now pretty much anyone reading this played the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm and drawn your own conclusions about it. Or if you haven't played it then you may have no interest in my opinions of the game.

But regardless whichever category you fall under- read this post anyway, I have a family to feed!

First Impressions-

When I first booted up the game, it was after a long (re:16 hour) workday, and I knew I had maybe an hour tops to play before bed. I threw in the installation disc, grabbed some chow, and sat down expecting to watch a loading bar. Thankfully however the game was ready to play
quickly and I was off to the races.

Prior to the expansion I had done zero research regarding leveling, or strategies for traversing the new content, so I was a little overwhelmed at first. I headed to Mount Hyjal and started questing through the typical "kill 10 boars" or "loot 5 orbs of evil" quests. I was disheartened to see a realm first level 85 achievement pop up on the first night, and was annoyed that people were hitting level cap in less than one day, a drastic change compared to WOTLK.

Overall however, I found myself sucked into the questing, the new zone, and the new achievements and ended the night craving much more.


I played through Hyjal, Deepholm, Vash'ir, and Uldum over the next few days and got a good idea of the game-play of the expansion. While there were some really awesome quest lines, I think the majority were far too familiar, predictable, and underwhelming. For example, the end of the Hyjal quests involved defeated Ragnaros with some legends from WoW lore, (amazing concept right?) but it ended up being a drawn out fight involving too much repetition (heal the guy, dodge the fire, kill the adds, repeat) to be fun.

In addition, it seems like the developers heard all the positive reaction to their cut sequences (Wrathgate) from the fans and decided that they needed to strike the iron while it was hot. So expect A LOT more cut scenes in Cata. And this is by no means a good thing. The Wrathgate sequence was a triumph of visual and emotional imagery which provided not only entertainment, but emotional appeal. When Bolvar calls out to Arthas, you hear the passion in his tone, and to see him fall to apparent betrayal by the Forsaken really sparks a variety of emotions in the player.

The Cata cut sequences by comparison are boring, unnecessary, and extremely random. It seems kind of like the development team ended up with some extra budget while designing Uldum and decided every other zone needed a cut-scene.

There is one cut scene where you literally ride about 50 yards on a caravan while some guy in a funny hat talks about something irrelevant to anything that matters in the game.

I found myself literally annoyed by these cut scenes at several times, because they took me out of the game, which was Blizzard's argument originally as to why there weren't more cut scenes to begin with!

Closing Thoughts-

Aside from the frustrating an pointless cut scenes, if I had to give my overall opinion of Cata, I would say everything seems too formulaic. Don't mistake me for an elitist when I say that, I realize that they have something that works, so obviously there will be redundancies. But it just seems like everything is just a re-skinned regurgitation from the past. New, expensive crafting pets and mounts to create- check; new, rare drop mounts and pets to farm- check; new factions to farm rep for, check. This may just be me being cynical as a completionist, but it feels too much like I've already beaten this game before...

Anyway, overall I know I'm going to be wasting more time than I should playing the expansion, so i can't hate on it too much. It looks better than ever, some of the quests are downright epic and/or hilarious, they added a ton of new places to explore, they added new things to farm, and the guild achievements and perks are amazing and really add extra unity to guilds. Overall Cataclysm has some brown spots, but this is one piece of fruit still worth eating.

Extra Special Graphically-Challenged

Merry Christmas and happy holidays blogosphere! Hopefully everyone had a great holiday!

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I have been considerably overwhelmed by work.

However, as a mea culpa (and as a belated Xmas gift) I cooked up this extra special Graphically-Challenged for everyone, on the side of my work mug (the blurred area was formerly the company logo)!

Monday, December 6, 2010


I will never figure out this blogger image upload stuff. It loads a different size every time. :(

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Warcraft Costume Party

One of my favorite things about WoW is that your character takes so many different and unique forms over the course of its gameplay. I've taken some screen shots of a few of the forms my paladin has taken. Enjoy!

Worgen, and Cata isn't even out yet!

Howling at the moon!

I'm a chick!

One of my favorite pics.

Best racial ever...

I'm like, Deathwing's baby.


Like my 'stache?

Ugly as sin.

An OLD picture.




I'm a pumpkin.

Me hearties!


I'm a stupid orc.

Ogre baby.

Sir, please maintain your distance, this is a private fountain.

You only see me because I want you to...


I'm contagious.

The force is strong with this one.

Pirate gnome, argh!

Weevil's minion!

Another awesome undead costume.


I be a Flamer.


Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?

Awesome skin from the epic AQ chain. :D



Drunk'n Dwarf.

Undead scum!

Being crabby...

¿Hey amigo, como estas?

Going batty

I'm a basilisk...

Tell me in the comments what some of your favorite costumes are from the game!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Graphically-Challenged #7

Interesting fact: this is the first full color comic for graphically-challenged. Yay!

(Click through for the awesome, large version!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Video Games Get Political

Good afternoon to everyone on this gorgeous election day! In keeping with the theme of the day I decided to take a moment to spread the word on a political issue facing the gaming community.

For those of you that aren't aware, several years ago a law was passed in California banning the sale of violent games to anyone under 18 (bad!). However, this law was ruled unconstitutional on the grounds that games are protected free speech under the first amendment.

Fast forward a few years and several appeals later, and this issue has reached the supreme court. Starting today the supreme court will hear oral arguments, then deliberate on the issue and make a ruling.

This is a big deal for gamers because if the supreme court rules in favor of the state of California it would mean that games are NOT protected artistic expression/free speech under the first amendment (very bad!).

This ruling could have huge implications for the gaming community, so it's important we all keep our eyes on this, and do anything we can to spread the message.

A great resource is the Video Game Voters Network, a group dedicated to spreading the message of the gaming community on issues that affect us. Check them out at


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Exciting Conclusion to the Most Annoying Ability in WoW Tournament!

Hello friends! It has been an exhilarating journey over the past few weeks examining all of the most annoying abilities in the World of Warcraft. I have covered every class in the game and decided the most annoying ability for each class.

With the release of Cataclysm looming, and new talents and abilities already live, it's time to wrap up this tournament. Apologies in advance for the length of this post, I'm going to grind out the entire final bracket and declare a winner!


To recap, the preliminary rounds featured some fierce competition for the right to be named the most annoying ability for each class. Death Grip edged out Chains of Ice to represent the Death Knight class. Typhoon blew away the competition and swirled into the final bracket as the Druid's most annoying ability. Scatter Shot hit the mark and earned the right to represent Hunters. Fear battled its way past Shadowfury to claim the title of most annoying Warlock ability. Ice Block easily slid into the final round for the Mage class. Divine Shield was favored by the Light in the Paladin bracket and advanced easily. Mind Control dominated the Priest bracket in a surprising outcome. Sap easily earned the spot for the Rogue class. Thunderstorm lit up the Shaman bracket, earning a spot in the final round. And lastly, Bladestorm demolished the competition to earn the chance to represent the Warrior class.

Mortal... Conflict! (Round One!)

The final bracket for the most annoying ability in WoW has some truly unique match-ups.

First, the DK ability Death Grip versus the Warlock ability Fear. We can all remember a time when we have been feared into a wall and gotten stuck, or were hovering innocently and out of nowhere a DK rips you to the ground. While Fear's place in this tournament is well-deserved, it ran into a difficult first round draw against Death Grip. Death Grip proves the more annoying ability and advances to round two.

The Shaman ability Thunderstorm squares off against the defensive cornerstone of the Mage class, Ice Block. Ice Block is a truly annoying ability when used in the right situation, but being blown off of the world by Thunderstorm is just too annoying to pass up in this first round, so Thunderstorm advances.

Thanks to lucky draws (and a desire to have a clean looking bracket), the Warrior ability Bladestorm and the Priest ability Mind Control advance to the Third round with byes.

Next, the Hunter ability Scattershot, while an annoying ability when dazed repeatedly on the battlefield, is easily defeated in the first round by Typhoon, the Druid knock-back attack. (If by now you haven't noticed... I hate Typhoon and Thunderstorm!)

In the last match of the first round, the perennially annoying ability Sap faces off against possibly the most polarizing ability in the game, Divine Shield. While Sap deserves honorable mention for the level of annoyance it provides, it drew a tough first round opponent, and unfortunately will not advance. Divine Shield advances!

Mortal... Conflict! (Round Two!)

The second round pits Death Grip against Thunderstorm. While hopefully by now my hatred of Thunderstorm is palpable... I cannot in good conscience allow Death Grip to fall this early in the tournament, it is simply too annoying. Death Grip advances to round three!

In a similar match-up, Divine Shield faces off against Typhoon. While Typhoon is a truly annoying ability, the hatred of Divine Shield by the majority of the gaming community is too much to deny. Divine Shield advances to round three!

Mortal... Conflict! (Round Three!)

The third round pits Death Grip against Bladestorm. While Bladestorm is an annoying ability, hated by the scores of players caught in its path... Death Grip easily advances to the final round based on the level of annoyance it offers.

The second match in the third round is between Mind Control and Divine Shield. Mind Control can be a very annoying ability, however it is very situational, and can be difficult to cast... So Divine Shield bubble hearths past it and into the final round.

Mortal... Conflict! (FINAL ROUND!)

And so it comes to this. After weeks of narrowing down all of the abilities in the game, we have two remaining vying for the title of the most annoying ability in WoW, Divine Shield and Death Grip.

This is honestly a difficult decision to make. Arguments can be made for both abilities, but in the end only one can be declared a winner. In this case I'm forced to go against my better judgements, and ultimately against the Light. In the most recent patch this ability received a huge nerf, so clearly the annoyance of the ability was too much. For its role as a life saver in the most one-sided scenarios, an escape method against overwhelming odds, and its place as one of the longest running jokes in one... Divine Shield overcomes Death Grip to be named The Most Annoying Ability in the World of Warcraft!

Thanks to anyone who followed this tournament from the beginning. I apologize for rushing the format, but as I stated with the expansion looming, the time was right to wrap things up.


Monday, October 18, 2010

The Most Annoying Abilities in WoW- March Madness Style: Part 5!

Well guys, new content and new abilities are upon us, so it is time to start wrapping up this tournament. Today I will discuss the five remaining classes and determine the most annoying abilities of each. We're about to spend entirely too much time discussing the annoying qualities of Paladins, Warlocks, Rogues, Death Knights, and Druids... so get comfortable, this is going to be a long one.

Because we have so much to cover, the format will be a little more condensed, so enjoy!


The first class we'll take a look at today will be the demonic caster class, Warlock. Warlocks have been a staple in RPG games for a long time. Commanding the shadows and undead or demon minions, Warlocks strike fear into their opponents with their dark abilities.

One of the key abilities of the class are their many different Fear attacks they can use to make an enemy flee, allowing them with plenty of time to apply numerous damage over time abilities. In addition Warlock's have a powerful ability to siphon life from an enemy. Shadowfury is a newer Warlock ability that allows them to AOE stun enemies. And Demonic Circle allows the class to teleport out of harm's way in the heat of battle.

While Warlock's have many annoying abilities, their Fear abilities are easily the most annoying because of their seemingly endless duration combined with the capacity to chain cast them. So without much of a contest, Fear advances as the most annoying Warlock ability.


The Druid class is one of the most versatile in the World of Warcraft, filling the roles of DPS, healer, or tank. Arguably Druids can be considered some of the best in the game at their roles, which has led to dissension from pure classes that believe hybrid classes like Druids should be slightly less effective at these roles to compensate for the additional skill sets.

As a class with three distinct roles there were many annoying abilities to choose from. But for today the competition is between the CC ability Cyclone, the knock back Typhoon, the CC ability Entangling Roots, and as a generic term covering several unique abilities we will consider Druid HoTs.

While HoTs are arguably one of the most overpowered mechanics in the game (resulting in resto-druid supremacy on numerous occasions) the title of most annoying ability grudgingly has to go to Typhoon. Getting blown across the map and taking a fall damage death one too many times is enough for me to move Typhoon into the final round.


Death Knights are the newcomers on the playground of WoW classes, being introduced in the WoTLK expansion. Death Knights are a plate armor class that utilizes dark abilities to negate magical damage done while filling the role of a tank, or to harness minions to fight alongside them as DPS.

DKs are known for having several annoying abilities, the four I chose for this bracket are the AoE slow Desecration, Chains of Ice, Death Grip, and the defensive ability Anti-Magic Zone. Honorable mention has to go to Army of the Dead, which was tough to leave off the list. However, the ghouls summoned by that spell are so weak I ultimately decided to pass on it.

In a landslide victory Death Grip is easily the most annoying Death Knight ability. Nothing is as frustrating as riding across a zone peacefully, or carrying that flag to your base- getting a few steps away from capturing it... and being yanked back across the map by a lagging DK. The ability is pure annoyance.


Where to start. Rogues are easily one of the most annoying classes in this game. A stealthy assassin, rogues employ poisons, dirty fighting tactics, and lighting-fast attacks to undermine opponents and gain the upper-hand.

While Rogues have many annoying abilities, this bracket will focus on the defensive Cloak of Shadows, the CC ability Sap, Blind, and the escape ability Vanish.

As I said before, while rogues have MANY annoying abilities, this competition is awarding the title of most annoying Rogue ability to Sap, because we have all been in that situation where we're minding our own business and a rogue starts chain stunning us in the middle of our own city just to be a prick. Combine that with their stealth to remain unseen and you can easily waste several minutes in frustration because of this one ability.


Appropriately enough for a blog called Paladin-Bias, we'll conclude the preliminary brackets by looking at the Paladin class. A holy warrior that uses the power of the Light to destroy his foes, and battle the dark forces.

The most annoying abilities for the class are the instant cast, massive heal Lay on Hands, the infamous bubble- Divine Shield, the stun Hammer of Justice, and the CC ability repentance.

In another landslide Divine Shield advances because it is easily one of the most hated abilities in the game by some players, so its choice as the most annoying Paladin ability was all but assured (although LoH has made some in-roads in the past).

After the fifth and final group of preliminary rounds the final tournament bracket has finally shaped up. There looks to be some stiff competition with perennial annoying abilities like Fear and Death Grip facing off.

Do you agree with my assessments? Hate my picks for the classes? Think I'm completely off the mark? Let me know in the comments what abilities didn't get enough love, or which got too much. And check out the previous entries in the competition to see how biased I can be!

And stay tuned for the introduction of the final rounds of the tournament to determine the most annoying ability in WoW.