Wow! This past week has been nuts. I’ve been totally absent from blogging since the unraveling of the valentines day mystery hints. I apologize for that. I’ve been up to a lot though, IRL and in-game.


Let’s take a step back to the beginning of last week. I’d mentioned then that school had started up again and, with it, student teaching. The funny thing that’s happened though, is I’ve spent more time reading about games than playing them! For the longest time, I’d come home from college or whatever I’d done after and hop on WAR, or WoW, or Vanguard to drift away from the stresses of the day. Now though, college isn’t college. It’s more of a full time teaching job, with all of the responsibilities and obligations associated. So, I’ll read my favorite blogs on lunch break, or what have you, and come home ready to crash.


That was last week leading into this week.


I’ve found my groove though!  So what’s with all the silence around here? Well, it’s hard to write about games if you’re not playing any. When I’ve gotten home this week, I’ve spent it in a game or two. Admittedly, it’s been mostly WoW, despite my inclinations to get some things done in other titles. We’ll get there in a minute.


So, what’s up in the wide world of WoW? Pretty much the same thing as any level 80 sans raiding Naxx. I’ve had great luck with PuGs though. Monday, I was able to get into a normal vault run (two pieces of tanking warrior gear dropped) followed immediately by a run of normal Obsidian Sanctum. I’ve been able to get my T7 hands last week and this latest run got me the 22 slot bag. So, apart from badges, I have everything I need from OS10 standard! I’d love to try to with some drakes up but the PuGs I’ve been in have been real hesitant about that. Personally though, a 0 drake run is so easy that I’m going to start pushing for a little more challenge.


Skip this section if you don’t want a rundown of Obsidian Sanctum – from a ranged DPS perspective.


For those than have never been, here’s a (very basic) run down of the sanctum. You have three drakes up surrounding a central island with the main raid boss. There’s trash in between each drake. The way we’ve been doing it is to go clockwise around the zone. On the first drake, tank and spank until he opens a portal. When he does, go inside and kill the single elite you’ll find there. When he dies, you phase out back into the normal boss fight. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and watch out for the red circles on the ground. It’s the same thing for the far right drake, essentially. On the second drake, the one in the back, we haven’t even been going into the portal. This guys summons little whelpling adds. If you have the AOE for it group them together and burn them down. This process repeats.


When all the drakes are down, you can take down the big dragon in the middle. Stay away from his tail and don’t stand right in front of him. Throughout the fight, he does an aoe you can easily move out of and also calls lava waves. These can be in front or in back. When you see the emote about the lava churning, move your camera to the side and look for a split in the lava. Stop what you’re doing and get in between the split. RIGHT IN-BETWEEN. If you’re off-spot, you’re going to die to the lava wave or come real close.


And that’s it. Rinse and repeat. I know this isn’t all inclusive but if you want a basic idea without reading a plethora of WoWhead comments, this is it. If I’m missing something, and I know I probably am, feel free to add it in the comments.


Begin reading again.


Anyways, half-assed guides aside, I’ve also been able to get into a couple of heroics. I ran heroic Oculus yesterday, which was fun. I love drake-based combat. It went easy as pie except for the last boss where it took my group a couple of tries to move away from his arcane barrages on time.


All of this dungeon running let me figure out an important fact about 200 series nVidia cards. They seem perfect at first. They crank out the FPS at blazing speeds with games set to the highest settings. It’s enough to really make you satisfied with your purchase. Until you step into a raid encounter and your FPS drops to 1-2. After some digging I found out that the 200 series cards have trilinear optimization set by default to “on”. You must go into the nVidia Control Panel and manually disable it. Apparently, TO tries to anti-alias every spell animation at once which destroys fps. I have the 500dps on Archavon to prove it. Disabling makes no noticeable difference and gave me.. wait for it… 60 extra frames a second.


Apart from WoW, I’ve been playing Vanguard a bit. The scale of this game simply amazes me. I’ve played through a big chunk of the trial isle (which is HUGE) and am almost always in awe of my adventures. So far, the quest requirements haven’t been revolutionary or anything but their stories and where they send you to complete them have been very cool. And there’s so much to do. It’s obvious that this was a game designed to keep you playing for a long time. You have your four scopes of play, Adventuring (normal leveling), Diplomacy (a conversation based card game), Crafting (more in-depth than any other game I’ve played), and Gathering, which is standard “find-the-node”. Vanguard really captures that essence of explore and adventure that is lost on almost every other game out there.


It’s art style isn’t for everyone but it does lend a lot to the immersion. It’s realistic enough where the environments seem almost real sometimes. They also have some great lighting affects which lend a lot to this. Tone mapping, which costly performance wise, is pretty cool. I love how I can immerge on the other side of an underground tunnel so see my screen go white as my characters eyes adjust to the brightness of day, only to see a beautiful expanse spread out below him.


Or it. I play a dog-man. No, honestly. If you took a German Shepherd, stood it up, gave it some pecs and a green robe, you’d have my little druid. He’s all good though. Lacks a little ferocity maybe (two mobs at once tend to pull his tail) but I like him.


I’ve been a little in between on my gaming though. Where does a newly-casual spend his free time? WoW is well and good but only if you can get a group quickly; otherwise, you pretty much grind away the time. WAR is appealing, very actually, but I’m hesitant to cancel Vanguard quite yet. This week will probably decide that for me though. Then there’s LotRO which is another great option for a casual, so perhaps I’ll play around there. The thing is, tri-juggling MMOs is hard to maintain. I’ll have to settle in somewhere and, despite WoW’s failings, it’s hard to give up on something you’ve spent so much time on.


I’ll get a post up on that this week.


So, to end this “mega-post”, what can you expect from the blog this week? More frequent posting, for one. I’ll be doing some drafting this weekend, such as the post I just mentioned, and I’m also planning on writing the second installment of “So Your Spouse Hates Video Games”. In the first part, I talked about handling it like an adult but we all know that sometimes our hobby comes under attack in a less than adult fashion. This week, we’ll look at how to dish it out as well as we can take it.


If you have any ideas for posts, or tips on stories, feel free to contact me at I’m also happy to publish guest entries, emails, etc. within reason, of course. Sorry for the quiet this past week. This week should be back on track. I hope J