Fun

Boss Fights: A Response to Mike Rugnetta

Mike Rugnetta of PBS Idea Channel asked in his latest video about Boss Fights what people thought about… well, boss fights. In games, specifically. In reality, he asked two questions:

  1. What are Boss fights (to you?) and what do they do?
  2. What about games without Boss Fights? Or adversity at all?

Before I start drunkenly answering these questions, you might want to go check out the video for yourselves. Click the link to watch it, then come back; I promise this post isn’t going anywhere.


Alright, welcome back. Let’s talk bosses! Or at least let me blow smoke up your respective asses about bosses!

boss

He’s listening…

Boss fights are, popularly, a test of the skills you have learned. Traditionally, boss fights are staged, closed off skill checks that require a certain amount of mastery over skills learned over the course of a game. Some games test recently acquired skills; a perfect example of this can be found in the more recent Legend of Zelda games, where the means to defeating a boss is found within the dungeon preceding it.

In these kinds of games, the boss fight is very much a licensing test, where the dungeon is a training course and defeating the boss is proof enough for the developers that a player has mastered the item, and can be counted on to figure out when and how to use it.

In other games (Enter the Gungeon comes to mind, simply because I’ve played/watched it a lot), Bosses are a pure test of in-game skill. The items you’ve acquired and progress you’ve made during a playthrough will make a boss fight easier, no doubt; but if you’re garbage at dodge rolling, you’re still going to hit the ground hard enough to make a 6 foot deep crater.

h_az_meteorcrater_02

More or less; depends on how you died.

In these games, the skills required to beat the game are typically given right at the start, and each progressive boss simply ramps up the difficulty, either by increasing the number of threatening situations or limiting the room for errors, which forces a player to hone their skill to the point where the boss can be defeated.

Boss fights aren’t necessarily one singular entity, though; in Devil Daggers, for instance, there is one boss in the game, somewhere so far into a run that under 2% of all players have ever seen it. Every other “boss” moment is either the introduction of new enemy types, which quickly become a regular and terrifyingly numerous occurrence, or a suddenly large wave of enemies to combat all at once. Moments like these are still tests, but without all the drama of a big baddy. The idea is that, once these moments are mastered, future parts of the game can be accessed and played better, leading to further boss moments.

All of this, however, requires “buy in” from the player, and this is where the second question kicks in. Can games without adversity still have boss fights?

My short answer is ‘yes,’ they can, if we look at boss fights from a different point of view.

Broken down to its essentials, a boss fight in most games is a payout for the gradual structured rise in tension brought on from mounting difficulty and more complex game mechanics. The rising difficulty of challenges designed to make players figure out how to use the bow and arrow in Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple climaxes with the shadow Ganon fight at the very end of the ordeal. This moment only feels like a proper boss fight so long as the player understands that this moment, this fight, is the ultimate skill check before the reward the player knows is coming; they’re accustomed to having their reward at the end, damnit. In addition, the boss fight itself, being a spike in difficulty, earns its “boss” status in part because of the incredible difficulty spike.

dark-souls-3-boss-700x394

Now with 2 times the murder!

In short, change and conflict create the emotional buy-in from the player necessary to give it the oomph required of a boss fight. Good boss fights are tough, but not too tough, and you won’t find them in the middle of a section of gameplay (unless it is a “mini” boss, a fight only significant enough to break up the steady pacing of a dungeon and create a mid-point for the player to reference how far along they’ve come).

In non-adversity games the question becomes “how do you create tension when mechanics and mounting difficulty are non-issues?” Unlike more mechanically focused games, where story telling and narrative can help but are ultimately not necessary for building the tension to create a boss fight moment, narrative games create the tension required of “boss” moments through writing and story.

Journey, for example, creates powerful, beautiful moments where the player is invited to experience the adventures of their pilgrim; sand-surfing, for instance, or the terrifying crossing where you have to avoid the large, mechanical snakes lest they… do something.

friendlyrobo

Look, don’t ask questions here, I don’t want to know.

Point is, all of these emotions and thoughts the player brings with them start to stack one atop the other in a big, unstable, tension piled mess. When the player reaches the final moments of the pilgrim’s journey, the payoff is palpable; nerves, hope for survival, and the desperate chanting of “come on, you can make it!..” These feelings are practically the same as a boss fight, where instead of the payoff coming from beating a difficult check of abilities learned, payoff comes from narrative resolution from a character overcoming the issues facing them through story and presentation.

At the heart of both of these ideas is one of conflict, and its resolution. Boss fights are just big conflicts; and if there’s one thing that good stories do to the exclusion of all else, it’s conflict and the resolution of them. Instead of boss “fights” you have boss “moments” but in the end, both kinds of games have bosses to cross, moments of gameplay where a player invested in a game will find the same kind of feeling and weight from either one.

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The Face Shrine


Beware: I’m going to be going into spoiler territory for this game. Yes, it’s really old, but it’s an amazing story with a really cool reveal and if you want to experience it for yourself, I would suggest playing the game first. Ye have been warned.


250px-links_awakening_us_boxartIn my down time I’ve had the pleasure of being able to replay one of the most important games in my life: Link’s Awakening DX. I bought it on the virtual console for my 3DS, and it has been a great experience revisiting Koholint island. Link’s Awakening is the first game I ever played in my life, and it’s one of the few games that I can pick up more than a decade later and still remember. It’s like muscle memory, running through the dungeons, beating the nightmares, and getting all the little secrets I found out as a kid with the added bonus of, you know, not being an idiot and finding the rest of them.

The thing is, the game itself has one of the best stories in any game I’ve played. While I’ve been playing, I’ve been noticing all the little things that made me, as a kid, feel for the characters and get emotionally invested. By today’s standards, it’s no Brothers or what have you, but it still works really well.

The biggest plot point that caused me to suffer the feels was when the game hinted that the island and everyone on it was a dream of the Wind Fish, a powerful entity asleep at the peak of Mt. Tamaranch. The point of the game was to wake up the Wind Fish to get off the island, but as you went through hints were dropped as to the ultimate fate of the island and the friends you made on it; that should you wake the dreamer, everyone would cease to be. The idea that something could just, not exist, blew my fucking mind as a kid.

fe91a3dc38b1981226c5c025fc759674

The first time this is very obviously mentioned is when you reach the 6th dungeon, the Face Shrine. The Face Shrine is a two parter, sporting a North Shrine and the South Shrine. To enter the North Shrine where the bulk of the action happens, you need a key from the South Shrine. So, off you go, shooting the living statues that block your way and you find your way into the South Shrine. It’s only 3 rooms long: the usual entrance to start with. You go up, and enter a Mini Boss fight. It’s not too hard and you destroy the monster, earning your key to the North Shrine. But what’s this? A door opens up ahead. Naturally you explore, and find a dimly lit room with an ancient relief in the back. You light the torches, and take a good look at the stone tablet. It reads:

windfishwall

TO THE FINDER… THE ISLE OF KOHOLINT, IS BUT AN ILLUSION… HUMAN, MONSTER, SEA, SKY… A SCENE ON THE LID OF A SLEEPER’S EYE… AWAKE THE DREAMER, AND KOHOLINT WILL VANISH MUCH LIKE A BUBBLE ON A NEEDLE… CAST-AWAY, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH!

Your first thought is what the fuck? Your second one is no way this should be true. You like this island, even if there’s weird shit on it like chain chomps, a yoshi doll, and an anthropomorphic alligator that eats canned dog food. What about Marin, the girl who Link is obviously into and she really likes him? They’ve had heart to hearts, travelled together, and played music together. It’s the first time that Link seemingly has an interest in a relationship, and you’re telling me this shit could be a dream?

So you leave the South Shrine feeling a little bummed out. It’s like someone forced you to watch the Matrix except it you actually care about the characters more than their sense of style. You leave asking if any of it is real, and the music is doing a bang up job of making you feel shitty.

A quick swim and a scamper later, you enter the North Shrine, where the majority of the dungeon is a complex head wrapper. You have to find hidden walls and really use a lot more of your riddle solving skills than usual to solve the dungeon, which is easily the biggest and most difficult to date. It’s mostly because the fucking Wizzrobes eat like, 4 arrows before dying and can easily shit all over you if you’re not careful, or you can stun them and bomb them which meant I blew myself up a lot.

wizrobeoraclegreen

FUCK THIS

Other highlights include a really weird crystal ball puzzle, a room with stones that form the Hindu god Ganesha (the hindu god of wisdom and knowledge, which is apt here), and a riddle involving the eyes of the dungeon you can only get if you’ve picked up a stone beak and used it on a really out of the way Owl statue.

Enter the space where the eyes have walls…

I’ll come back to that in a minute.

At the end of each dungeon in Link’s Awakening, you face a boss called a Nightmare. Each Nightmare, once beaten, earns you an instrument you use later to wake up the Wind Fish. This one is called Facade, but I prefer the German translation; Demon’s Grimace. Like the punny English name implies, he is a face in the floor who very much wants to kill you. Over the course of the fight he throws floor tiles and pots at you, and once that runs out he starts opening holes all over the ground. You have to bomb his stupid face a bunch of times to win.

facade_face_shrine

Once you beat him, he says the following:

Okay, listen up! If the Wind Fish wakes up, everything on this island will be gone forever! And I do mean EVERYTHING!

Well shit. I don’t want to trust a monster that just spent it’s last moments trying to kill me, but it looks like Link has to make a choice: escape the island and return to Hyrule, thereby causing the whole island to vanish, or stay on the island and keep living the dream, literally.

face_shrine_mapPlaying it through a second time, you pick up on a couple more things. For instance, you notice that the dungeon layout is Link’s face from the first Legend of Zelda (this kind of obvious dungeon layout stuff isn’t new in the game: Key Cavern was in the shape of two keys, Bottle Grotto was a bottle, Tail Cave had a tail, etc). Part of the dungeon involves figuring out the riddle from earlier about the eyes. The left eye in the dungeon is easy enough: there’s a path that leads right to a spot on the wall you have to bomb, and the Map shows there’s a doorway there. Entering this room shows you the Ganesha tribute in the dungeon. Getting into the right eye took some faith: after unlocking the room right before the eye (which ends up being the mini boss of the dungeon), there’s a small combat and then… it’s an empty room. No indicating markings for anything anywhere. You poke all the walls with your sword to hear the sound it makes because in this game, if you poke a bombable wall, it makes a different ping noise than usual. None of the walls make the unusual ping, so you have to guess that there is a wall you can bomb. Eventually the riddle kicks in and you bomb your way up, and you move forward.

The cool part of the dungeon is how thematic it is from start to finish. The South Shrine has you fighting against statues, but not all the statues you see are enemies. The North Shrine’s Map straight up lies to you and tells you there’s no way into some of the rooms when there is, in fact, a way. Floor tiles, the things you walk on normally, fly up and try to kill you. Wizrobes make their first appearance, as they turn up from nowhere and disappear just as fast.

Appearances are deceiving. Not everything is at it seems. 

When you think about it even having two face shrines makes sense; why two face shrines? Because two-faced is an idiom that literally means ‘untrustworthy.’ At this stage in the game, this dungeon is a perfect story telling tool from a narrative and mechanical standpoint.

The perfect topper to this cake of feels has to do with one dungeon feature. On the right side of the dungeon, there’s a 3 room line of water that runs from north to south. Where is it placed?

Right next to the dungeon’s right eye. Link’s face is literally crying.

I love this fucking game.

Knesia first thoughts

1. Seriously? Scissors? What are we, Cutman? Well, cutWOman. But still! SCISSORS!?

2. Okay wow. She can do a lot of damage. For scissors, that’s really impressive.

3. Wait, is that an oculus rift? Why is she wearing that?

4. Oh that’s why. That’s creepy yo.

5. Wow she’s quite the uh… Sexy badass. Emphasis on the sexy. Like, stockings and no pants with a completely impractical loin cloth and killer legs.

6. At least she’s easy on the eyes… For a psycho barber.

7. Holy shit it’s the demon barber of Seville! But sexy.

8. Heh, she can do a barrel roll. Hehe. 

9. She looks a lot like Dark Lady from HoN.

10. Hot DAMN she does a lot of damage. Like wooooow.

11. I think I like her.

Top 5 Survival Tips For Hunters

He didn't follow the tips.

Hunters have always had a reputation of being the dumbest WoW players, and that’s because a bunch of folk decided it’d be a good idea to play the class where they could shoot things and have their family pet Fuzzy in the game too.

This has bred a stereotype: hunters are casually based, easily aggravated 12 year olds with a serious ego complex; and if there’s anything they can do, surviving a 5 minute fight in a boss is not one of them.

Let’s make sure that we can by following a couple of simple tips.

5. You’re not the tank, and neither is your pet.

You, the hunter, are not a tank. You do not want aggro. You may be wearing mail, which is a step below plate, but here’s a secret.

The only thing that boss cares is if it’s in plate armor. If it isn’t, then it’s wearing cloth.

This is what you're wearing, and nothing else.

Studies have shown that 100% of hunters who let their pet or themselves gain aggro (under normal conditions) are total huntards, and have a much greater tendency to die shortly afterwards. It’s true! I conducted the studies myself.

Not to worry though! If you do manage to get aggro, there are ways to fix this small problem. Such as…

4. Misdirect can save lives.

This baroquely constructed skill is probably also the most uniquely crafted to saving your ass while returning the tank to his rightful place: as your meatshield.

 

So long as they don’t get in the way.

So what exactly are you supposed to do? First, make a macro that looks something like this:

#showtooltip misdirection
/cast [target=focus, help] misdirection; [help] misdirection; [target=pet, exists] misdirection
/target lasttarget

Once that’s done, make your tank your focus, so that the macro doesn’t  doesn’t break rule #5. Then activate the macro, and shoot the things that you need to! Congratulations, you’ve now actively conscripted your tank to take another beating!

Alternatively, you can force the monster to murder someone you don’t like; for instance, I remember fondly the one time I forced a boss to murder the most aggravating healer of all time. I wouldn’t make a habit of it though.

However, what I would make a habit of remembering includes…

3. Play Dead.

When shit hits the fan and even Misdirect can’t save you anymore, there’s only one more answer to saving your not quite so fabulous hide.

Feign Death.

 

Now would be a GOOD time.

Here’s a little song so you can remember how awesome it is.
When you’re the aggro man, and the game’s name is pain?

It’s time to Feign. It’s time to Feign.

Anytime you have aggro, or the area’s aflame?

It’s time to Feign. It’s time to Feign.

Did you like it? I know I did.

2. Eat food

I’m not even kidding. Go make a sandwhich, then come back. I don’t want you on an empty stomach. Eating has been shown to actually, you know, keep you alive. If you’re dead IRL, then you can’t raid/do ANYTHING.

So go make a sandwhich, have a glass of water, take a potty break, and then get back. I’m sure the article won’t go anywhere.

You know what? Take your time. Make a big juicy burger, sizzling with grease and delicious, tasty meat. Add some onions, take some crunchy lettuce, and add some Ketchup. Enjoy your meal with some people, friends, family… and then you can come back.

Or this. Take your pick.

I’ll wait, no worries.

1. Don’t stand in fire/black/voidzone/electricity/(Insert thing here)

There is no real need to explain this. If it looks like this:


This:


Or even this:

AVOID IT. %$#@.

-Klin

The Great Klinderas Nerfing of 2011

In other news, I’d like to share a story.

I’m spending time with a friend of mine, just being my fabulous self when I look at my twitter.  Someone from the guild, namely @CutDownTheTree, told me fantastic news:

Ghostcrawler had been spotted.

I raced my way  over to Vash’yr, and began combing the area for signs of the elusive crab.  After about 15 minutes, I finally spot him, his shimmering hide clearly visible! I drop a trap, and start taming… but the animation got cancelled because he disappeared.

I thought that he despawned or something,  but no! Apparently his elusive, crabby self just goes invis intermittently.  Right when my friend says this, poof: there’s a crab.  I drop the trap, and begin the tame!

A few seconds, and many, MANY smacks of the nerfbat later, I witnessed a miracle.

NERF ME NOW GC, I DARE YA! HAHAHAHAHA!
Love,

Klin

Why Beast Mastery Hunting?

In a large, flaming, two headed nutshell...

Most of us experienced folks know exactly what Beast master hunters are.  We’ve been around the block, tried the rides, and have settled on the one that we like.

Some people are new to this game, however, and I feel like it’s my obligation and privilege of educating the Cata and Wrath babies as to what exactly is a hunter, and what it means to be a beastmaster.

So why don’t we start at the obvious beginning, with the question of all questions: what is a hunter? What is our purpose? And why are we so awesome?

WHAT IS A HUNTER?
Blizzard defines a hunter as a powerful ranged attacking class with pets to help dish out pain, traps to control the flow of battle, and… they have an easy time soloing.

In essence, they’re right.  We do massive quantities of sustained ranged DPS (Damage Per Second) to kill things dead.  Our pets help us.  Our traps can burn, poison, slow, and even freeze opponents.  And yes, we’re excellent soloers due to our personal tank.

The problem is, it’s a very basic description.  Hunters aren’t just that, and if we were, we’d be no better than warlocks, crafty, smelly, overblown sheets of tissue that they are.  Hunters can perform a huge variety of roles with all their abilities and skills.  If there’s a situation, we always have an answer for it where another class might not.

Here’s a statement for all of you: we are the swiss army knives.  We are the most adaptable.

Our strength as hunters is in dealing damage, but we can literally do everything but heal on a major scale, without the need to re-spec either (Suck it, Shamans/Druids/Paladins!).  We can tank with our pets, as shown by Big Red Rhino.  We can control the flow of battle.  We can kill things as quick as anyone else.  We can occupy and distract enemies, offering help to those currently in trouble.

The fact that there’s a saying that “all loot is hunter loot” is proof enough that we could do anyone else’s job, cause all they’re gear is our gear (It’s actually not, please don’t loot everything.  I understand that spellpower LOOKS like it might help, but we don’t actually use it.  I’ll explain gear later!).  A good hunter can be of huge benefit to a group in more ways than any other DPS class could try to.

TL;DR: We are the swiss army knives of Azeroth, and no one better forget it.  All the loot is hunter loot (Not really, please don’t actually think that.) and we can do any job anyone else can.  Our versatility makes us strong.

SO WHY BEASTMASTERY?
Marksmen focus on ranged damage dealing, specializing in the damage they can do.  Survivalists specialize in damage and crowd control.  What do Beastmasters specialize in?

Their pets, obviously.  And what do our pets do?

Here’s the short answer: pets do everything.  They CC, they debuff, they buff, they heal, they tank, they deal damage, they reduce damage, they increase all kinds of damage…  hell, pets even give bloodlust, Mini-blessing of Kings, and a  Leader of the Pack buff (The second last two of these are only usable as a beastmaster, bee tee dubs)!

So what a better way to be super versatile than to specialize in the one thing that really makes the hunter as versatile as it can be: pets.  As a beastmaster, just about anything can be tamed, and something out there is the perfect pet.

Besides, picking one of the other talent specs makes you a mail wearing mage, and that’s boring.  Mages read books, and do funky things with their hands.  Sure, the explosions are cool, but what happens when you run out of mana? Oh no, you can’t explode things anymore.  Boo hoo.

With a hunter, everything explodes, always, all the time.  And as a beastmaster, you get a large, angry T-Rex coming out of those explosions to eat people.

That’s about as cool as it gets folks. And that’s why we’re so awesome.

/flourish

Homecoming

Klin in a bar

Here begins our story. Again.

The bar was nigh on empty, the dim light from fading lamps and candles casting flickering shadows across the walls.  The bartender, a blood elf with long blond hair and clear evergreen eyes, cleaned a few mugs just to pass the time.  When you’re a blood elf, you can just magically wish for the dishes to do themselves and chance are, it will happen.  Whistling, the bartender turned towards the patron sitting on the stool in front of him.

“Now stranger, anything else before I close up?” He put the mug he was cleaning in front of the figure.

The man sat in silence for a few moments, his cloak hiding most of his features save for a mesh of rich, auburn coloured hair that fell out of his hood.

“Actually, I haven’t had a bottle of Pinot Noire in… two years? I’d like a bottle.”  He paused for a moment.  “… please.”

“That’ll be twenty silver coins please.”  The clattering of coin sounded throughout the bar, and moments later the bottle was empty.

The man wiped off his chin, put the bottle on the counter, and smiled at the bartender.  “You’re a super nice person, ‘tender.  Mind if I call you ‘Tender?”

The bartender just shook his head and continued to clean glasses.

The man stood up.  “Thank you all for the terribly soundless evening.  It was soundless, like, without sounds.”  He bowed, nearly fell over, and turned to the exit,

And collided with a Death Knight.

The Death knight’s cold, eerie and metallic voice chilled the evening air.  “Funny, bumping into you here.  Sit down and have a drink, it’s on me.”

The man shook his head.  “I think I’d rather go somewhere else, if you don’t mind.” He started to make for the exit again, but a large, gauntleted hand grabbed his shoulder and held him fast.

“I didn’t ask.”  Grinning, the Death Knight sat the man down at a table, then sat down opposite him.

The Death knight’s ice blue hair framed his elfen features, all perfectly maintained despite his resurrection.   His cold eyes were the only real give away of his ‘profession’ other than a hefty smell of gore and decay.  His armor was thick and plated, and showed gouges and scars of having fought fiercely up in Northrend against his former master.

“So to what do I owe you the pleasure of my company, Death kinniget?”

The Death knight looked pensive for a second.  “Actually, it’s to ‘whom’, and a lot of people at that.  First, do you remember Eldadres? He studied for a long time on where you could have been, and how to get in contact with you; and although he didn’t find a way to contact you, he found out a way to track where you were in a general sense.  You went to universes I didn’t know existed, planes where I didn’t you could exist.  What they all had in common were the elements.  Which is where the second person comes in: Windpaw, a shaman.  She focused really hard on learning how to find out which place you were in by speaking to the elements of that plane.  So when you came back to this one, we knew you had come back, down to the second you came.”

The man shifted in his chair, not uneasily, but largely because the chairs were uncomfortable, more so than he remembered.

The Death knight continued.  “Once you got here, we only needed to track you down.  So, you owe Aifel here too.  The instant you set foot back on Azeroth, he was on your trail.”

From the shadows of the bar  emerged a young blood elf.  His spiky brown hair did nothing to cover the completely uninterested look on his face.  He sat down at the table with them.  “Sup.”

The death knight continued.  “Once he had your movements all mapped out, he informed me of where you would be.  And here you are.”

The man smiled.  “I suppose you got help from another old friend of mine.  Where’s Colemand?”

The Bartender turned around.  “Alright, now that he knows, can someone take this frivolous magic off of me? It tastes like mildew.”

With a wave of the death knight’s hand and some arcane mutterings, the bartender turned from a young blood elf bartender into a stooped, fearsome looking Forsaken death knight.

“Much better.  I don’t know how you can all live with that crap all the time.”  Colemand sat down at the table as well.  “Honestly, it’s worse than being dead, and now I know both.”

The Death knight shook his head.  “Well, no one said you had to be here Colemand.  You could have stayed in your kitchen, feeding the war effort.”

Colemand’s guttural laugh filled the bar.  “Hellscream doesn’t know the meaning of food! Cooking for his army felt like cooking dirt.  I’d rather go out and make my own food.  Besides, I haven’t made a Gnome pie in ages, and I heard they make them in priests now, too.  If there’s anything more delicious than irony, I want to taste it.”

The man sat still for a moment, then looked up at the blood elf across the table from him.  “So why all the love? I’m not the most important elf on Azeroth, not by a long shot.  I wasn’t even present to see the downfall of Arthas.  I’m definitely no hero of the Horde, and I’m certainly not on Hellninny’s good side.”

“True, but Hellscream does know that you got shit done.  With Deathwing on the rise, that’s what needs to happen; but that’s not the reason we sought you out.  To be honest, Hellscream probably doesn’t care that you’re here at all.”  The Death knight clasped his hands together.  “Look, we all know you left to search the universes.  For a woman, no less.  A gentleman’s move on your part, to pursue love; but it didn’t work, did it?”

The man’s face turned sombre as the death knight continued.  “Maybe she died, maybe she didn’t love you, maybe both.  Either way, she’s not in your life anymore.  And now you’re here, drinking yourself silly from the west coast of Kalimdor to the east coast of the Eastern Kingdoms.  We’re here to make you do what you were born to do.  You are a hunter, and a damn good one.  Maybe not the most practical, nor the most flexible, but certainly one of the best.”

The room went silent.  Aifel sat silently picking his teeth with a dagger.  Colemand starting scratching doodles into the table using a clawed, iced finger.  The death knight sat in silence his hands still clasped in front of him.  The man stared down at the table.  This continued for what seemed like ages, the silence falling on the room like a  musty covering.

Finally, the man looked up at the death knight.  “I don’t see how a lot of what you said is your business.  You’re treading on ground that I honestly don’t want anyone to tread on yet; but you’re right about one thing, Elnoriah.”

The man threw back his hood to reveal long auburn hair, tied to keep it out of his face, bright evergreen eyes, long elegant ears and eyebrows, and a large smile.  He whistled sharply, a piercing sound, and no sooner had he done so than a large black wolf had bounded into the room and knocked the man over and started licking his face.

“I am fabulous.”

Hellfire Ramparts: Done With, Done Quick

Time... is fleeting.

Time... is fleeting.

Well, I’ve accepted another challenge, and mean to make a meme out of it.

Upon looking at the blogs I read, I’ve found a gem of a challenge: a speed run, a race.

How quickly can you utterly destroy the Hellfire Ramparts? How quickly can you mow through that instance, looting all your kills, and destroying the generals and monsters of Kargath Bladefist?

Nance was the first to attempt and post this challenge (to my knowledge) to the internether in general.  He posted his time here.

There are, as always, some rules to this challenge.

Rules and Guidelines

  • Start the timer the second you walk inside.
  • You have to kill everything inside.
  • You have to loot everything inside. Skinning is optional.
  • Stop the timer the second you walk outside.

This is what I managed.

ScreenShot_072609_235655

18:22

Needless to say, I am pleased with time; however, I know I could do a lot better.  For one, I took a lot of time trying to maneuver Jormungandr away from the corpses in order to loot them.  I also didn’t take enough risks in an attempt to pull MORE mobs at once to volley.

Nonetheless, that’s my time right now.  Which, I might add, is the record! I’d like to add some further rules though, if I may…

  • To keep costs down, no raid foods and flasks.  Health and Mana potions included.
  • Bandages and plain food/drink (Mana Strudel works well!) are fine though, to help with the speedy recovery of a bad pull.

There ya have it, my fabulousness for all to see! If you want to try it out, but don’t have a blog, then post your times here in the comments.  If you DO have a blog, then write a post! If you’re not a hunter, but want to try this anyway, then do a speed run for your class! I’d be particularly interested in seeing how Priests might manage this, or Mages.

Give it a shot! Hellfire Ramparts Speed Run Meme Starts…

Now!

Ask Colemand: Twitter Edition 1

And now, your host... Colemand!

And now, your host... Colemand!

Hello.

Many people have been wondering what I’ve been up too, in addition to the many questions I’ve been getting.  It seems like you all care for me in some stupid, sputtery kind of way.

Okay, I’m sorry for lying.  No one has asked how I’m doing.  Or what’s up.  No one has even asked how are the imaginary wife and kids! I’m beginning to think that no one values the opinion of a dead, old, sarcastic, snarky, annoyed, badgering, weathered, more than weathered, and did I mention annoyed? dead guy.

In other words, no one wants to ask a dead guy anything.  Well you know what? I am going to try to force all of you to do it.  See, if you don’t email me at slowwolfblog(AT)gmail(DOT)com, putting ASK COLEMAND in the subject line, then I will demand everyone who follows me on Twitter to ask me questions.

Here goes our first trial of the Ask Colemand: Twitter Edition!

Colemand, how can you tank? You’re bones! How do you manage to stay together during fights?

Ah? So you’ve heard I’m now a “tank”, which is slang for “pinata for piss heads”.

For one, my bones aren’t actually that brittle.  See, I drink milk.  Loads of it, every day.  It’s good for you, thanks to all the calcium in it! Plus, it tastes delicious, especially when cold.  Which isn’t hard to do, seeing as I have a mastery of cold.

Calcium alone doesn’t cut it though.  You need to have a great deal of armor, thick armor, armor that knows how to be beat on.  If you don’t have good armor, you’re paste.

Lastly, you could always accept the first and most respected tenet of the Pirate Code; make strategic withdrawals.

How’s Mikey, your pet cockroach? I haven’t heard about him in awhile.

Mikey’s good.  He’s a lot bigger, and I’ve taught him to sleep somewhere else other than my stomach!

He is also eating a lot more.  His diet now include: berries, plants, fruit, small woodland animals, large woodland animals, gnomes, humans, night elves, fruit trees, fruit farmers, orchards, buildings, and small cities.

With restraint, of course.  He shouldn’t eat too much, or his itty bitty stomach would start to have a tummy ache.

Isn’t that right, Mikey?

*clickety*

He’s adorable isn’t he?

Why do you love cooking so much?

Good thing you didn’t ask where it came from.  That’s a long bloody story.

I love cooking for two reasons: first, I have a gift.  I am undead, yet I have a perfect nose and a pristine tongue.  That can only mean that I must use these gifts, or it’s a perfectly good waste of my talents, wouldn’t you say?

Second, why wouldn’t I? You all look so delicious, I simply have to try.

Yes, even you there pink skin.  Sitting right there, staring at me.  Who do you think you are?

You’re so tasty
Looking baby
I have to simply give it a try

I look at you
thinking that you
would go well with butter and rye

Oooh, you’re a meal to me
I mean so real to me
I think that you and I should
go out and I should
Get cooking, Um, hooking up with you
Sometime.


You’re face, so tender,
You’re hands, so slender
You’d look really tasty stir-fried

You might as well be
A gorgeous pastry
Topped off with a bit of parsley

Oooh, you’re a meal to me
I mean so real to me
I think that you and I should
go out and I should
Get cooking, Um, hooking up with you
Sometime.

You better believe you're cookable, baby.

You better believe you're cookable, umm, lovable baby!

What do you think? Made that up myself.  I think I could be a star.

That concludes this edition of Ask Colemand.  If more than one person could please ask questions next time, I’d be much appreciative.

I’m In Your Base, Planning My Heist

ScreenShot_070809_002155Franko: I have a question, say we get into the cage, and through the security doors there and down the elevator we can’t move, and past the guards with the guns, and into the vault we can’t open…
Eldadres: Without being seen by the cameras.
Klinderas: Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention that.
Franko: Yeah well, say we do all that… uh… we’re just supposed to walk out of there with $150,000,000 in cash on us, without getting stopped?
[pause as everyone turns to look at Klinderas]
Klinderas: Yeah.
Franko: Oh. Okay.