I’m a person that likes challenges. I enjoy disassembling scenarios until I figure out how to beat them. In WoW, many of my favorite fights also are the most challenging. I say this so that when I postulate that the ICC Sindragosa fight is the stupidest fight ever, you understand where I’m coming from. Why, you ask? Oh, don’t worry. I’ll tell you.

It’s a resistance fight. These should have gone the way of the dodo after vanilla, but Blizzard still grimly hangs on to the use of this mechanic. Having a fight require your raiders to waste time farming up some strange offset for a single encounter is irritating at best. Having a fight that is nigh impossible without said offset, and trivial with it is not clever. It’s asinine.

It’s a one-oh-wait-no-two tank fight. You want multiple tanks for a fight? Fine, use multiple tanks. Having the OT spend the majority of the fight bitterly pretending to do DPS because you couldn’t be bothered to figure out a role for them is insulting.

It’s the mother of all single point failures. We already separated the men from the boys, don’t make us do it again. This fight has an additionally high gear/button pressing skill requirement beyond that of raiding. Beyond even that, it specifically targets people that tunnel-vision and shits on their face. Which the majority of WoW players do. So that fellow raiders that I’m normally perfectly happy to run around with (because they’re just fine at this game) suddenly become problematic because they’re not good at watching, oh say, eight things at once. If your fight requirement is ‘Find a raid of absolutely brilliant players OR spend hours and hours drilling good players and spoon feeding them’ you have failed.

The fight beings at 35%. No really. Phase 1/2 are just… stupid. They are so easy it makes me angry. They’re also infinitely sustainable with almost no gear. Basically, they serve no purpose whatsoever beyond making the fight longer. Why. Why would you do that? What possible reason could you have for doing that beyond just pissing everyone off?

The fight removes you from the game. You wanted to play your class? Well fuck you. You’re going to spend about half the fight in an iceblock, running away, standing behind an iceblock, or mashing Esc and standing there. Having your raid spend a significant portion of a fight doing nothing is pointlessly irritating. Honestly, it seems the fight was designed to anger as many people as it could. Well congrats Blizz, you succeeded.

My raid  killed Sindragosa. I still hate the fight this much.

What a Jerk!


Something a bit more creative than rantish. Enjoy. Or don’t. You know, whatever.

“Crono, take a note.”

“A note, sir?”

“Yes, I’ve decided that my new station deserves documentation. A log of sorts.” Jarderk fixed his companion with a dazzling smile.

“Yes, sir. Let me just go… fetch some paper.” Crono backed slowly out of the room, partially closing the door behind him.

Jarderk remained staring at the door for a few moments longer, his smile still in place. “He’ll be back”, he said to no one in particular. Letting the smile drop, he wandered over to a nearby cabinet, extracting a glass and a bottle of bourbon. He poured himself a glass, paused for a moment in consideration, and then made it a double. Taking a sip, he settled back against the cabinet to await Crono’s return. He did not have to wait long. Crono slipped back in, clutching a stack of paper in one hand and a pen in the other.

“Are you sure this is really necessary, sir?”

“Crono, of course.” Jarderk clapped his companion on the shoulder. “These are important documents for posterity! You know they made me a Commandant, right?”

“Yes, sir,” Crono said, but Jarderk had already turned away, walking up to the room’s full-length mirror.

“By the Light I am quite the good looking fellow. Wouldn’t you say so, Crono?”

“Yes, sir,” came the perfunctory reply.

“Right then. I suppose I should start at the beginning, give an account of my rise to this prestigious position?”

“That would make sense, sir.”

There was a pause.


“…yes, sir?”

“Do you think I should date these?”

“I really don’t think that will be necessary sir.”

“Ah. Very well. It all began a few months ago…”




“Oh, come now!”

“Really, mate, no.”


Fuckin’ no. Tarquin sighed and leaned back in his chair, massaging the space between his eyes. “Look, we dinna jus’ toss a wage at any bloke walks in the door. We go’ standards, mate. An’ Aely accords that yeh dinna meet thim.”

Aelflaed ‘mrrph’d and needlessly adjusted her slouch against the nearby wall.

“But I’ve filled out an application and everything!” Jarderk explained, proffering a piece of paper, as if additional proof were necessary.

“Application.” Tarquin stared in bemusement. “We dinna even provide…fuck me sideways, am I too sober fir this.”

“Look, mate”, Belphegor said, taking the piece of paper and carefully laying it on the table in front of him, “I could accept this. But do you know where it’s going to end up?”

“In the pile of promising applicants?” Jarderk replied, with a hopeful note in his voice.

“No.” Belphegor pointed to the adjacent table where Calenbraga was sitting.

“To him, who will process it and place it in the pile of promising applicants?” Still hopeful.

“No, sunshine. He’s going to eat it.”

“Oh.” A pause. “Maybe once he’s digested the infor-”

“NO!” A chorus of voices drown out whatever Jarderk was going to say.

Zalbuu wandered in from the bar, passing drinks off of Tarquin and Aelflaed. “Oo’s th’ punter ‘en?”

“Dinna mind ‘im, Friar. The lad’s only passin’ thra.” Tarquin replied, a note of irritation creeping into his voice.

“Mmmm” Alishe made an agreeable noise from Tarquin’s right, apparently fiercely intent on stirring a cup of tea.

“Roight ‘en, gemmeh a hollar when ye’ve tossed ‘im. ‘Eres more ‘ere ‘at came frem.”

“This is discrimination! Why should I be refused like this?”

“Oh f’r… !” Aelflaed almost yelled, throwing herself from the wall and and marching over to plant both hands on the table. “‘Cause wir no’ fir self-absorbed wee twats wha’ play hero oan weekends t’ lord o’er other folk an’ bed women. Sure wir no’ th’ most organized air outfitted ay fightin’ companies, but wir still fightin’ th’ same shit, an’ we lose eno’ good people when we dinna ha’ t’ nanny after some poncy arse wha’ canna shut th’ fuck up f’r half a moment t’ get outta th’ way ay sommat deadly!”

“But I’m not just there for myself! My stunning good looks and vibrant wit are a boon to all around me, even moreso on the battlefield!”

“Ah fir fuck’s sake!” Tarquin slammed his whiskey glass down on the table with a loud thump. “Look, yeh biscuit-arsed nob, whate’er the fuck else we maun be, wir bloody professionals. We take this shite serious, an’ well we bloody shid – yeh’d no’ make a week in the Citadel. An’ then I’d ha’ fuckin’ paperwork ta do fir the insurers. So unless I see…see a prophecy written in the fuckin’ stars or the likes, yir goin’ the fuck home.

Jarderk stood there a long moment, a look of hurt and confusion on his face. Or maybe he was just thinking: it’s kind of hard to tell.

“Best get going, mate. Kevin’s getting that hungry look again.”


The scratching of Crono’s pen eventually came to a halt. Jarderk had trailed off, his eyes focused on Crono’s hands. “Crono?”


“Don’t you own a quill?”

“But the goblins have produced this fabulous pen, sir. It doesn’t blotch and rarely needs to be refilled.”

“I don’t know Crono. Doesn’t feel grand enough without the big feather and all.”

“I hear the Mark XV launches a small rocket sir.”

“Hmmm. Well, be sure to pick one of those up then; we can’t have this fascinating tale be documented by something so dull. Now where was I….?”


The workshop was filled with the sounds of machinery at work. There was no real door, so Jarderk knocked politely on the frame of the entrance. He received no response. He knocked more loudly: still nothing. Casting about, Jarderk located a wrench and liberally applied it to a nearby pipe. There was muffled swearing, and a man rolled out from under a large machine in the middle of the workshop floor.


“Tif my man! How are you?”

“Oh, you know.” Tiforis gestured at the workshop in general.

“Very impressive. Lots of, uh, stuff.”

“Yep. Means lots to do.” Tiforis scooted himself back under the machine and began banging away.

“Look, Tif, I was wondering if you could do me a small favor.”

“Yeah, what …hey, hand my the articulated hydrospanner?” Jarderk looked confused.

“It’s the one that looks like an ogre with stubby legs. Thanks.”

“Well, I hear you’re part of this team that’s going back into Ulduar to deal with some Big Bad.”

“Big b- look, how do you even know about this? Oh, and the 5/8ths? No, to your left.”

“Tif, really? I’m hurt.”

“Right, right. Look, I can’t just get you in. Things aren’t that simple. Converter coils.”

“Tif, it’s me! Remember when I helped you with those twins? Be a buddy.”

“…that wasn’t me. I need three focusing lenses. Red cabinet.”

“Oh. Well. I can be helpful though! And not just in things like that. Really!”

“This isn’t going to be some joy ride. This is fucking Algalon. Do you even know what that means? I’m sorry, I just can’t risk it. Oh, and could you get me the inertial d-” Tif rolled himself out from under the machine. “How did you know I was going to ask for this?”

An enormous grin spread across Jarderk’s face. “Gimme a chance, buddy?”

Tif studied the other man for a long moment, then abruptly disappeared back under the machine and began banging away louder than ever. “We’ll have to sign you up under a false name of course.”

“Of course.” Jarderk said, still grinning even though no one could see him.

“And you’ll have to dress like a real person.”

“Of course.”

“And stop acting like yourself!”

“Of course. Thanks buddy, I knew you’d pull through for me.” The only response was even more furious hammering. Jarderk exited the shop, whistling a tune. Behind him there was a muffled explosion.



“And then a few weeks later, we defeated Algalon.”

“How did that go, sir?”

“I don’t really see how that’s relevant.”

“Your assistance in the defeat of the Observer, and the subsequent salvation of the entire planet. You don’t think that’s worth describing?”

“Not really. It was just a lot of running and yelling. Plus all the women were really mannish.”

“…of course sir. Do continue.”

“Right, where was I….?”


As the last bits of the observatory were flickering back into existence, Jarderk was hard at work poking and prodding at the various devices. After helping to patch up the injured, Tiforis ran over to him. “Jarderk, what are you doing? Stop playing with that, you might break something.”

“Nonsense, it’s a simple rotating hexadecimal system with a biotic spacial interface.”

“What are you even looking f- wait, WHAT?!

“I’m looking for his calender.”

“His… Jarderk how… why do you need his calender?! Jarderk, what makes you think he even has one?!

“Tiforis, pleeeease. Anyone that’s anyone has a calender. I bet his is filled with important star dates.”

“Jarderk, what the fuck is a star date?”

“A time system used by creatures of a celestial origin. Honestly Tif, do I have to explain everything?”

“Why would the Makers need to have a time system? They created time.”

“Yeah, so they could use it to keep track of stuff.

Tiforis threw his hands in the air, defeated. “Well, by all means then. Mind if I help you?”

“No need, I found it. You can help me present it though.”

“Present it? To who? …I’m not going to like this am I?”

“To the TRI officers corps, of course.”

“Oh SHIT.”

“Come on, no time to waste! Oh, and could you clean yourself up a bit before hand? We need to be looking our best.” Without waiting for a reply, Jarderk walked off, clutching a small Titan artifact. Tiforis looked at his axe and gave a small, wistful sigh before following after.


“So there you have it! Written in the stars, just like you asked!”



“What the fuck ‘m I lookin’ at?”

“It would appear Mister Jenkins has assisted in defeating Algalon, and thus, allegedly averted a great calamity.”

“All the fuckin’…” Tarquin turned away and bellowed down the hall. “Tiforis! What the fuck did yeh do?!

“Don’t look at me, boss!” came the answering reply. “I didn’t know anything about this! I just got the guy in with my crew.”

“Fine. Fuck it. Fine. Get him a…tabard or a shirt or a silly fuckin’ hat or summat.”

“Thanks boss! I can call you boss right?”

“If yeh absolutely must…”

“Tarq?” Aelflaed beckoned Tarquin over. The two put their heads together briefly for a hushed conversation. Tarquin returned to the table with a rather more jovial expression on his face. “Actually, mate, wir all in a spot ay fortune. It occurs that yir in possession ay certain talents an’ abilities, the like ay which’re far too valuable fir ta risk in thon petty wee skirmishes up Icecrown an’ the likes.”

“I knew you would recognize my talents sooner or later boss.”

“Ayeh. Thit’s why wir makin’ yeh public relations officer. Weedin’ out the useless applicants. Dealin’ with, uh, int’rest groups. Kirin Tor an’ the likes. Bein’ the public face ay this org’nization when punters come callin’.”

“So I’ll be like a… secretary?” Jarderk looked crestfallen.

“Secretary? Fuck, nah!” Tarquin’s grin was so patently insincere it made his teeth hurt. “Wid any manner ay secretary be ranked at…uh, knight-commandant, first class?”

“I suppose not! Thanks boss, I won’t let you down!”

“Course yeh will’na. I believe in yeh, Jenkins.” That may have caused him physical pain to say. “Yeh’d best get ta work, an’ leave us ta some…ither business.”


“And that’s how I became a Commandant for Totally Raiding Incorporated.”

“Fascinating, sir.”

“Yes, indeed, it’s quite exciting. Not quite what I expected, but still. Tarq does seem to have me make a lot of trips to the other side of town though.”

“I can’t imagine why sir.”

“He says he likes the drinks they serve there. I suppose I can’t really fault him. Man knows his drinks.”

“I’m sure you’re providing a valuable service sir.”

“You bet I am! I’m sure you’ll be recording many tales of my valor in the months to come. Why, just the other day I had to deal with a Night Elf claiming to be some sort of Forsaken robot. Crono, get that pen back out, we’ve got to put this down!”

“…yes sir.”

Oops, I Did It Again.


I got 10 (or 7, as the case may be) Paladins together, and we cleared Naxx10. While Totally Pallyramas may not have had quite the attendance of Totally Pallyzhan, it was quite entertaining, and a huge success. Some things we learned:

1) Hinote will wipe you.

2) 10 Holy Wraths > Gluth zombies.

3) Even 10 paladins can fail at frogger.

4) 10 consecrates looks like this:

Next up: Totally Pallyduar!

Unable to Resolve Image.


Video game morality systems are sort of problematic. When they first started appearing, they were basically “A choice that will make the bad guys try to kill you”, and “a choice that will make everyone try to kill you”, ie, no real choice at all. Designers quickly realized that not only did some people want to actually have a worthwhile experience playing a bad character, but in fact designing games that expected “hero” to be synonymous with “goody two-shoes” was pretty stupid.

About that time, the Good-o-Meter came along. This measured your character’s good or evil on a slider. While there is something to be said for not having such a numeric value attached to your character’s personality, in video games, the other option is to basically have X choice in Y event trigger Z dialog shifts throughout the game. Perhaps this will feel less like a video game to some, but to me it’s just creating a very course system. I much prefer the slider, as along with it comes the ability to have minor actions accrue into something meaningful.

The latest and greatest of these (at least in my mind) is the Mass Effect system. I don’t really want to talk about that specifically; partially because I already said too much about Mass Effect, and partially because I’m likely to rant more about the annoyances that have cropped up later. Rather, I want to use it as a springboard.

The key part of this system is that your Good-o-Meter not only affects how NPCs respond to you, but also your ability to respond to them. Based on your Paragon/Renegade levels, you have access to new and exciting responses (and the consequences that come with them) that would otherwise be unavailable. And that’s cool, I really like that.

Incoming tangent. There’s a point, I promise. In an age when children who grew up on RPGs have reached adulthood, and indeed, the children of children that grew up on RPGs have reached adulthood, it might be expected that some of them have become rather good at it. There’s still plenty of people who just want to play Bob the Fighter, or even Varis Naltash, a jovial warrior with a drinking problem. And that’s all well and good. Those characters though are fairly simple. Bob the Fighter just hits things until they die. Varis Naltash, while more robust in personality, will still always be jovial while fighting, and become drunk and useless reliably.

At a certain point, roleplayers start to create characters that begin to resemble people. They not only have strengths and weaknesses, but they are subject to more overarching human elements, like bad days, random uncharacteristic acts, and spastic forays into self betterment (or harm). And while it is still possible that these characters will remain very polarized, it is far more likely that they will make equal parts good and bad decisions. This is where the trouble with morality systems beings.

The more Awesome or Boring (here meaning Evil and Good) you are, the more things become available. In fact, some problems may be solvable only if you are sufficiently one or the other. What happens to those that are a little less of both though? Your experience probably isn’t going to be terrible; after all, there is plenty roleplay to be found without access to super special awesome dialog options, but it does feel like you’re missing part of the game.

How to get around this though? The solution is not to add more facets to the morality system. Anyone who starts talking about Lawful Neutral will be shot. No, keep the scale as it is; change what you do with it. Yes, especially good or evil (or annoying, or dickish) characters should be rewarded with special options. What about people that don’t really care how nice you are, but are more concerned with how well known you are though? Have special dialog options open up based on total Good and Evil scores. (To clarify, the Paragon/Renegade system is two independent bars you can advance. The only limiting factor to your ability to fill them is that there are a finite number of dialogs before you complete the game.) Given that some dialogs will reward more good than evil, or vice versa, a “neutral” character would likely end up with a higher total score than one who focused on an alignment specifically. This would allow for option available only to such characters.

Also, have the ability to achieve some “special” events with either a very high single score, or middling scores of both. As an example, say your character is part of a mob, offering “protection” to a shopkeeper. He refuses. Perhaps very evil character have the option to break his knees and then ask him again. And perhaps a middling character would be able to stop his fellow mobsters from driving away his current customers (a mildly good act), and then remind him that protection would extend to all his family while staring at his children (a mildly evil act). Both result in the shopkeep breaking down, but are arrived at via different special options.

RPGs are constantly improving (well, there’s sometimes some backsliding) morality systems, and I have no doubt this will continue. In fact, I have no doubt someone who actually gets paid to think of these things did so long ago, but I still eagerly await the day when they become reality. And of course, if you really want nuanced personalities without a silly morality system, you can just go play P&P. You know, with people. Who do not have sliders.