Thursday, November 29, 2007

Arena Season 3 In World Of Warcraft

Season 2 had a very disappointing end for me (hence my lack of posts lately). I've been dealing with keeping my arena teams functional for the close of season 2 and preparing them for the start of season 3. First off, my dear friend paladin's computer totally died during Thanksgiving week and we had some serious issues getting the team functional even. She had to pull out an old backup computer from her basement and install it, which made it pretty impossible for us to succeed through our regularly scheduled sessions. She did turn off every graphical option possible to boost performance so that we could do one last good push on the last day of the season. We got to within 10 points of our goal (earning the "Duelist") title, but then fell back down. That was a real downer, but so many matches we lost were extremely close and we would have had a very good chance at winning if we had a slightly different class composition. So I've had to fight my own frustrations and push my teams forward.

On my warlock's team, we did an impromptu session yesterday, starting off this season 10-0 just to get the ball rolling. We'll be running our usual sessions this weekend and we've decided to start recruiting a good discipline priest (if you coincidentally are one and want to play on Kilrogg with us, lemme know!).

On my priest's 3v3, I convinced my dear friend rogue to spec more for PVP instead of PVE and we took off to an 11-1 start this season late last night. The one game we lost, we simply didn't manage to finish off the other team's warlock in the opener and after we used up our super aggressive opening tricks, we lost the endurance match to their superior endurance composition.

On my priest's 5v5, our original paladin showed up again late last night, so hopefully we can run him and our new paladin while we get our new paladin geared up. Our original paladin was by far our best paladin of the 3 we went through in season 2 in terms of gear and skill. His one problem was his temper. =(

Hopefully Season 3 brings good fortune and possibly Duelist titles for both of my characters. I feel like this season will probably be my last arena season, so I want it to be good.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Ave Maria" from "Hitman"

Sometimes movies(and games) that I wouldn't expect to have really beautiful music in them surprise me. One such example is the new "Hitman" movie. The movie is about a hitman who works for some strange outcast sect of the church and kills for good. In summary, it's a violent video game movie. However, the movie features a rendition of "Ave Maria" performed by Christina England Hale that is quite beautiful.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My First World Of Warcraft Add-On

I saw a PVP video of a shaman where he had some mod spamming his party's chat with all the debuffs he purged. I thought that that was a good idea, so I tried to see if there was something like that for priests. I couldn't find anything, so I decided to make something for priests. Priests in arena have some of the most important jobs in dispelling, since priests are the only class that can remove paladin bubbles and mage ice blocks and can dispel offensively and defensively.

I made DispelReporter to fill this niche. It started off as a brain dead simple mod that would shoot out a raid warning whenever some key PVP buffs were dispelled (e.g. paladin bubble, mage ice block, etc). However, oddly, the first few comments made on my mod were from hunters who wanted various things supporting their arcane shot dispels. So my add-on mutated into having configurable options so people could have it function the way they wanted. Then another hunter asked to have it report dispels to another mod called Scrolling Combat Text. So I quickly released a third version that supported optional output to SCT.

Not bad. 3 versions in less than 24 hours after I first started working on it. There might be more versions to come if there is continued interest in it. It's sometimes funny how things turn out, though. My priest mod seems to be popular with hunters. Heh.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Billing Stub Quirks

My cell phone company, Sprint, has an interesting payment stub on their bill because in the section where you fill in how much you're paying, it has enough digits to allow up to 7 digit dollar amounts. Do people really need to pay over 1 million dollar cell phone bills or do they just use that exact same form to bill other things as well?

Then my land line company, AT&T, has a strange payment stub too. They list a "due by" date then say that if it's not paid by four days after that, it's "late" and you have to pay a penalty. So if you miss the "due by" date but pay it before the "late" date, what is it?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cal Band Video Game Halftime Show

Sometimes my alma mater makes me proud. The University of California at Berkeley band did a video game medley at a recent football game. They did a fairly impressive job of even animating gameplay from some of the games. Go Cal!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Federal Court Rejects Truck Fuel Standards

I never really understood why (besides greed) SUVs and similar abominations were permitted to exist when the environment is in such a dire situation. I didn't know the court system was so closely involved in policymaking in our country either, but apparently a federal appeals court rejected the fuel standards bill that pretty much exempted light trucks (the classification SUVs fall under) from being anywhere close to the passenger car fuel standards.

When you see SUVs on the road, how often are they hauling cargo versus how often are they just used to carry around passengers? Nearly all the ones I see are simply carrying passengers. Therefore shouldn't they be passenger vehicles?

This court ruling is awesome news to me. It's a long road to saving the world from global warming, and every step counts.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Who Should You Vote For In 2008

This is a nice little flash app that lets you answer some questions and then matches you to which political candidate answered the most closely to how you answered. My one beef with it is that it only goes for 100% matches. There are some questions where there were several appealing choices, so really I could go for a candidate that chose any of them.

Anyways, surprisingly, Barack Obama came out as third closest for me (due to the lack of gray support). Instead, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich were closer matches.

However, the best part about this app is not their matching system. It's that if you hover your mouse over each of the questions, it will show you a quote expressing each candidate's stand on that issue. Thus this thing provides a very convenient way to do some quick research on the candidates you're considering.

WoW Arena Difficulties

Yesterday, I downloaded a video of one of the best warlocks in World of Warcraft, Azael (now Azazael after transferring to my battlegroup). He was on the highest rated 5v5 arena team in the world. However, due to some strange team drama, their team reformed under a new roster, resetting them back down quite a lot of rating points. However, watching his team play was very interesting to me because he plays a warlock in 5v5 with almost the same spec I have, so it was a good glimpse into top level warlock play.

Last night's arena sessions started off fairly well. My warlock's team pushed over 2000 a couple of times only to get pushed back down, but we weren't doing too badly. Then amazingly, we got matched against Azael's new roster and got stomped pretty hard. Luckily they were back up over 2400-ish already so we only lost 2 points. By the end of our session, we finished at 2010, our first finish over 2000 ever. Yay!

Then I had to go run on my priest's team. Things were pretty miserable and we ended up tanking about 50 rating and finishing under 1900. Along the way, we got matched against another of the teams in Azael's video and lost 1 point to them in that crushing defeat. So it was kind of a difficult night.

I'm not sure why things sometimes work out that way, but I think it's getting pretty clear that my warlock's team is better than my priest's team. We just execute offense more consistently cuz I boss people around. My priest's team lacks unified and experienced offensive coordination.

I did find it amusing that I had to face two of the teams in that video I had watched earlier in the day, though.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bush And Pakistan

I really enjoyed this editorial I read today discussing how Bush claims to be all about spreading democracy throughout the world but stands by and watches as the democracy in Pakistan disappears. Actually it's worse than that. He actually sends them money simply because they are supposed to be helping us fight terrorism.

I suppose the erosion of democracy in our own country shows Bush's true feelings about democracy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

T-Mobile Trademarked Magenta?

T-Mobile claims a trademark on the color magenta in the telecom industry? That's some funny stuff. I think I should trademark the color black in blogs. Black backgrounds are obviously my signature style....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Orange Guard

One of my friends today introduced me to Orange Guard, an insecticide / insect repellent that's pretty environmentally friendly and actually smells nice. A few years back, ants attacked my apartment... my roommate and I ended up buying insecticides and ant traps. I really was reluctant to have to turn to that because I don't like the idea of having toxic chemicals around the house. If only I had known about Orange Guard back then.

Apparently the key component is orange peel oil, which repels and kills insects. Next time I have an insect problem, I'm definitely going to give this stuff a shot.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Getting Close To 2000

My World of Warcraft news: My warlock's 5v5 arena team finished this week at 1986 and my priest's 5v5 arena team finished at 1961. Both getting close to hitting the 2000 mark! =) Because this arena season has continued for so long, my priest has already bought 2 pieces from the DPS priest set and my warlock has full season 2 armor and is gonna buy the spellblade this week.

I feel kind of proud that my teams have come this far. I built and trained my warlock's team from scratch, pretty much. I even assembled a team website to explain arena strategy and stuff to my team members for that team. My priest's team, I'm the only remaining member who has been in every single game since the team was formed. Our paladin initially also had similar attendance, but he quit the game, sadly. It's exceptionally hard to get a strong arena team going on a PVE server like mine, especially in the infamous BG9 where many of the top arena teams have gathered. As far as my server goes, my two teams ("Fodder Time" and "we pew pew u qq") are among the best....

Next season will be the first season that my characters don't start undergeared compared to everyone else. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Desire To Create

I think people have a basic urge to create things and to leave a mark on the world. That's a big reason why blogs are so popular: they provide a convenient way for someone to create something small on a regular basis and throw it out into the infinite internet as a mark of their passing existence.