Archive for March, 2009

Whoah…where the heck has THIS idiot been?

Hey folks. It’s been an awful long time. But I haven’t had a reason to update lately. Most of the things going on in my life can be quickly summed up with some updates to Twitter or the like.

But I think it’s time I started updating again, even if I turn this into a gaming blog of some sort. Well to heck with it, Conflagration’s my little sector of the internet, and if I feel like rambling about World of Warcraft, then by golly, I’m gonna do it.

But first….I have to say thanks to someone, and his name is Lee Kuhl. You probably know who he is, if you’re reading this. If not, let me just say he is without a doubt one of the biggest blessings of my life in recent years. He helped me get some perspective on something going on in my life that was truly troubling to me, and thanks to his advice (plus a lot of prayer), I believe I’ve done the best I could to set it right.

So I have a new laptop now. I saved up and put the money towards getting a truly awesome gaming laptop that I could take with me to my frequent trips to Waco, yearly Nerdtacular trips, or even if I just feel like going into the living room and not holing up in my bedroom. After doing the research, I ended up deciding to acquire the Doghouse Systems Mobius 17C. Yes, that would be the same one I participated in the naming contest of. My name, “Wardog” ended up coming in second. Mobius, ironically, was submitted by a US Marine recently deployed to Iraq. Still, as is my habit, I decided my lappy needed a new name, and if Wardog couldn’t be the model name, it’d serve pretty good as a nickname. So there it is.

How’s it run? Well, like a dream, to be honest. I have the settings cranked to the max on World of Warcraft, and in high-traffic and high detail areas, I still get an average of 40 frames a second. In not crowded areas, it shoots up like crazy. If you get on a flying mount and soar over Northrend, the landscape looks gorgeous.

I also installed Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on it this weekend (the announcement of a sequel, Modern Warfare 2, got me excited to play it again) and did a couple of levels on that. That game is equally very beautiful. Infinity Ward did some amazing work with making the environments look as realistic as possible, and the Wardog showed it off well. I can’t wait to see some of the Orange Box on it. I may never look at Half-Life the same way, heh.

And speaking of gaming, I gotta say I had a LOT of fun with some folks in my guild in World of Warcraft yesterday. We had two raids scheduled for the afternoon/evening. The first one was kind of up in the air as to what was going to take place. Let me explain.

In the new expansion, there is a world zone called “Lake Wintergrasp”. It’s a big open PvP zone, which means while you’re in there, you’re flagged for Player vs. Player combat. Every 2 hours or so, the zone becomes contested, which means that one side (Horde or Alliance) must defend the Wintergrasp fortress while the otherside tries to capture it. There is a time limit in place, which the defenders can shorten by taking out the attacker’s towers. There are buildings you can capture which produce siege vehicles that you can drive to attack the walls of the Wintergrasp fortress or the attacker’s towers. If the attackers capture the fortress, or the defenders hold out until the time expires, they win control of the fortress, and the zone. This has several benefits for the faction as a whole, but the main thing is that once you control Wintergrasp fortress, you can enter a raid dungeon called the “Vault of Archavon” and take on a Runed Giant boss named Archavon. He isn’t a hard fight, and drops pretty good items.

So our plan was If we had control of Wintergrasp, we’d do a 25-man raid on the Vault. Well, about 30 minutes or so before we were scheduled to start, the Wintergrasp battle started again. We’d been out doing other PvP battlegrounds for fun, so by the time we jumped back to Wintergrasp…the battle had been going on for a bit, and the Alliance were already inside the inner courtyard of the Fortress. Meaning they were pretty close to winning. We decided to rush to one of the Siege vehicle workshops, take it over, and get some siege vehicles to the attacking enemy towers to shorten the time. Well, didn’t work too well. They defended them pretty ferociously. We ended up losing Wintergrasp, so we couldn’t do the Vault of Archavon raid.

So this left us to our second objective for the afternoon: Obsidian Sanctum. Obsidian Sanctum is a valley in a volcanic region in which the Black Dragonflight is hatching (literally) one of their new plans for more power. You see, the Black Dragons are pretty friggin’ evil, and they want to rule the world. They’ve tried several plans, including breeding “superior” dragons with abilities from every dragon type in the world. Their latest plan is to breed black dragons infused with the raw magic power of Outland and raise an army of these powerful “Twilight Dragons”. Obsidian Sanctum is where these Twilight Dragon eggs are secretly kept. Well, secret until the other dragonflights found out about it and asked some intrepid adventurers to stop them.

Obsidian Sanctum is pretty much oval shaped. Sartharion, the Black dragon watching over the eggs, sits in the middle. Around the perimeter, various draconic creatures patrol. Three Twilight drakes (drakes are younger dragons that have not reached full adulthood, and thus full power) also stand perched on the ledges of the perimeter.

You can click right here to see a picture of it. Sartharion is in the middle, and you can see one of the drakes to the right, partially

The idea is to kill the draconic patrols, deal with the twilight drakes individually, and then take on Sartharion. However, there is a challenge here. You can leave one or more of the twilight drakes alive before starting the fight with Sartharion if you want to make the encounter more challenging. Sartharion alone is not a hard fight, but if you add in the presence of one of the drakes, he becomes substantially more difficult. The drakes are mini-bosses in their own right, so they’re not quite pushovers themselves. Why would you do this, you ask? For the challenge, and you get some extra loot if you do it.

We had decided that we were going to leave one drake alive this week. So after dealing with the patrols and the two leftover drakes, we engaged Sartharion. Sure enough, about a minute into the fight, he yelled for Tenebron, the twilight drake still alive, to aid him. Apparently the twilight drakes are jerks, because Tenebron then yelled that he was amused to watch Sartharion suffer, but he’d help anyway. This is what happens when you breed an already evil creature with raw magical power, folks. They become evil jerks.

Tenebron adds a unique dimension to the fight, because he periodically hatches numerous eggs into twilight whelps (baby dragons) to swarm the raid. These whelps will kill a non-heavily armored class pretty quick, so the tank has to get them focused on him, while the DPS players burn them all down. Mind you, this is all while dealing with Tenebron himself and avoiding the waves of lava that Sartharion routinely summons at you all.

Tenebron did claim the lives of a few of our raid members before we dropped him, but after he went down, it became just another Sartharion fight, and we took him down, earning our extra loot, an achievement, and a lot of satisfaction for this challenging little element.

Later that evening was our scheduled run into Naxxramas. Naxxramas is a floating necropolis, a base of the undead Scourge. It’s split into 4 quarters, with three bosses each, and then two final bosses after that to deal with. In Wrath of the Lich King, you have the option to do raids in normal mode or heroic mode. Normal mode requires only 10 people. Heroic mode requires about 25, as the bosses are harder (most have extra abilities), but the loot you get is better)

Last night we were going to take on Heroic Naxxramas, and try to fully clear it in one evening (meaning kill all the bosses). Heroics are much harder than normal raids, obviously, and we were hoping to be the first group to defeat every boss within. Well, I could go in to many of the fights, how they work, and how we did in each of them, but you’d get bored by that quickly i think, so let’s just say that we did it. We cleared Heroic Naxxramas in one night and earned the achievements that come with it. It was a LOT of fun and I’m very proud to have been a part of it. The guys and girls on our raid team are spectacular players and a lot of fun to be around.

Well I think I’ll end this for now. I’m told some folks are coming up from Waco to visit me, Justin, and Stacy soon, with a possible trip to the zoo involved, so that should be fun. I think I get discount tickets from work, actually. I’ll have to look into that.

Talk to ya’ll later.