Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

When I was a kid, say around 10 years old or something like that, there was a cartoon show I enjoyed watching called “The Real Ghostbusters”.  Obviously, this cartoon was based upon the movie that came out in the mid 1980's, and was a tremendous success (spawning a sequel, a very enjoyable video game, and if you believe the rumors, a third movie). 

This is all relevant to the title of this post because I distinctly remember, for two or three years in a row, a “The Real Ghostbusters” marathon would be on TV on Halloween night.  It was a natural choice for a kids marathon, given the whole theme of the cartoon was about ghosts — a staple for Halloween, of course. 

The thing I remember most about watching these marathons when I was a kid was waiting eagerly for the two episodes that features a ghost called Samhain.  I adored this character because his name was actually more than just a silly sounding name given to the villain of a children's television show.  The word “Samhain” is actually where the whole Halloween holiday comes from — it being a Celtic festival originally spelled “Samuin”, and is an Old Irish word that roughly means “Summer's End”. 

I really don't know why, at the time, I knew all of this.  If I remember correctly, I believe the Ghostbusters did actually explain it fully, so that's probably how.  I certainly didn't have the Internet to fall back on back then.

Anyway, in homage to my childhood, I found episodes of The Real Ghostbuster online, and I'm now going to give them a watch. 

Now playing: Mark E. Smith - Winamp *** 4172. Gorillaz - Glitter Freeze Ft. Mark E. Smith

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Matter of Quality

I watched the original “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie yesterday.  I was in the mood for a good horror flick, since Halloween is this weekend and all.  Over the weekend, I had actually watched the new 2010 version. 

After watching the 1984 edition, I began to think about what makes it so much better than the new one.  This isn't the elitist in me saying this either, because I tried really, really hard to enjoy the new one.  And, when viewing the new one without drawing any comparisons to the original, I did quite enjoy it.  The idea is still quite fresh — using dreams as a means to scare you.  No one else has really done it other than Freddy Krueger. 

So why exactly do I enjoy the Wes Craven version so much?  I've come to a few conclusions.  First, I eliminated what WASN'T the problem.

It's not Freddy.  I think Jackie Earl Haley did an exceptional job.  The makeup was different and it worked just fine.  He had the right attitude.  The right laugh.  The right swagger about him.  He made the role his own and he pulled it off. 

It's not that the new film is too dark.  If you watch the original 1984 movie, that is also quite a dark film.  I would say it's the darkest of them all.  Freddy is not the wise-cracking jokester that he became in the later sequels.  He's a monster in that movie, and the film is quite scary.  It has both the psychological scares, and the “jump” scares. 

So, I've come to the conclusion that the problem with the new film is the main cast (aside from Freddy).  In the original film, I truly like the four main characters.  They're VERY likeable.  This is especially the case with Nancy, played by Heather Langenkamp in that movie. 

In the new version, I simply don't like Nancy.  She starts out as quite unexceptional in the beginning of the film.  They try to portray her as being strong, and it just doesn't work.  Later on in the film, they try to make her seem strong willed.  Instead, she seems cold and kind of a bitch. 

Sadly, the only character I actually liked from the new movie was Quentin.  And I truly believe this is the main reason why I think the film is so bad, especially compared to the quality of actors that were in the original. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PD's 10 Scariest Moments in Gaming

Halloween is almost upon us.  So, I figured it would be a good time to list out what I think are the "10 Scariest Moments in Gaming".

Keep in mind that this is MY list.  I don't play all genres of games, so obviously your favorite might not be on the list.  Also, these are in no particular order.  

1. Friday the 13th (NES) - Generally, NES didn't really have scary games.  That's a Nintendo thing, I think, and the same concept is true even today with the Wii.  This game wasn't really all that scary, but it did get your heart pumping when Jason jumped out of nowhere to attack you (as he often did).  I remember screaming out loud when I was quite low on health at one point from being chased by zombies and ducked into a cabin to find health, only to have Jason in there waiting for me.  I peed a little, too, I think.

2. The Suffering - At the beginning of the game, when you first break out of prison, you're walking alone, in the dark.  You enter a cafeteria, and begin to hear the sound of metal scraping against metal.  Naturally, you expect something to jump out of the shadows at you.  Instead, something drops down from the ceiling right in front of you.  I shat myself.

3.  Doom 3 - entire game.  Specifially?  Turn on hard-core mode.  The zombies will sometimes reanimate.  Nothing matches the jump factor of casually glancing behind you to see a zombie shambling up to chew on your skullflap.

4. Quake 4 - The sequence when you are turned into a Strogg.  It's simply horrifying.

5. Amnesia - This game SEEPS fear.  Even the main menu scares the fucking crap out of me.  It's actually the embodiment of the type of fear that I don't like -- scariness mixed with DESPAIR.  Ew.  GET IT OFF.  *showers*

6.  Half-Life 2 - Ravenholm.  'Nuff said.  I had to go watch a Disney movie after playing that level.

7.  Dead Space - Claustrophobic fear.  Ugh.

8. Fallout 3 - Going into an abandoned Vault for the first time.  More claustrophobic fear, but at a different level from Dead Space.  In Dead Space, you pretty much knew there were monsters around at some point.  Vaults in Fallout 3 *could* be completely empty.  You never knew what you were going to get when you walked into one, and that added to the atmosphere.  Anticipation of something frightening is often more frightening than actually seeing it.

9. Aliens vs. Predator - The entire marine campaign.  Obviously.

10. Bioshock 2 - The first time you see a Big Sister.  Another moment where I nearly shat myself.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I feel like talking, but I've no idea what I want to talk about.  This is due to the fact that I'm in a disgustingly good mood this morning.  You may find that odd, considering it's Monday morning.  Who the fuck enjoys Mondays?  Ah, but this Monday is different, because it's the only day I'll be at work this week.  Oh yes.  Now you understand.  

So where to begin with my ramblings?  Well, first off, I've ordered a bunch of Warcraft books.  I initially planned on purchasing only "The Shattering", but then I realized that the book is new and not yet available in paperback.  I have a hatred for hardcover books, unless it's a book that I don't actually plan on reading.  They are bulky, heavy, and annoying.  If I want the book for the art, fine, hardcover is probably the smarter choice there.  But if it's something I actually want to read, chances are most of the time I will be reading the book in bed.  I don't want the corner of a hardcover digging into my left nipple.  That's just not comfortable at all.  So, I instead bought some of the earlier books to read first, which should keep me quite occupied until the paperback version of The Shattering is released.  

Speaking of hardcover books digging into my right nipple, I cracked open the Sword of Shannara again last night.  It's been a few months since I've done any reading of that monstrosity, and I'm quite surprised I even knew what was going on.  The progress there is slow.  I'm on page 225-ish out of...God knows how many.  Thousands.

Ok, enough about my nipples.  I started playing Fallout: New Vegas over the weekend.  I'm having issues getting into the game.  It's not the game's fault, either, it's just that I'm simply not in the right mindset to play it right now.  The fact that it looks, plays, and feels EXACTLY like Fallout 3 should be enough to tell me it's going to be a great one, given how much in love with Fallout 3 I am/was/will be forever.  But, it's just not what I want to be playing at this time.  I'll get deeper into it later.

Aside from that, I'm looking forward to a week away from work, and more time spent with mai Pookie.  (I'm in so much trouble for using that word...)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mastering Mastery

I'll admit, at first I didn't really consider Mastery as important right now. I assumed that it would come into its own later on when I started obtaining new pieces of gear having that stat on it from the start. So yeah, I pretty much dismissed it at first. But it bothered me, because I started to think it was rather silly for this new stat to exist and it to have no value to me. That seemed wrong.

So, as much as I didn't want to, I began calculating the numbers. When it comes to things like this, I never give a crap about precise calculations, for two reasons:

1. This is a game.
2. I am not a computer and therefore precise calculations are pointless.

Therefore, I always tend to do my calculations BROADLY, so I have an idea of what is correct without the lengthy algorithms and equations that other theorycrafters tend to create. It just hurts my brain less, and gives me the same general information.

So here is my theorycrafting of the Protection Warrior's Mastery Rating.

There are three stats in question. Dodge, Parry, and Mastery. I have other stats on my gear that can be re-forged (Hit and Expertise), but I need those stats to remain as-is to keep myself at the required 8% and 26 numbers, respectively.

Therefore, the main question to ask is: How much Dodge and Parry should I Reforge into Mastery?

To answer this question, we first need to take the following things into consideration:

1. First, we must realize what Mastery does. For a Protection Warrior, each point of Mastery increased Block and Critical Block chance by 1.25%. Mastery at level 80 (without any on your gear) is 8. So, all Protection Warriors gain 10% block and 10% critical block from Mastery at level 80 without any Mastery stats on their gear.

2. The next thing to take into consideration is that Mastery is not susceptible to diminishing returns, while Dodge and Parry are. This suggest that no matter what, Mastery will eventually become more valuable than Dodge or Parry. Obviously, finding the threshold would be important, but not really all that important yet.

3. We must take the "Hold the Line" talent into consideration, as it increases my chance to critically block by 10% for 5 seconds after a successful Parry.

4. We must also take Shield Block into consideration, as it increases my chance to block by 100% for 10 seconds, every 30 seconds talented. This makes half of my Mastery benefits useless for 30% of the time.

I can resolve concerns 3. and 4. right now. Because of Hold the Line, I conclude that it is most beneficial to keep Dodge and Parry nearly equal (since their benefits, DRs, and calculations are nearly the same), but keep Parry *slightly* higher. I also conclude that while Shield Block does make half of Mastery's benefit useless 30% of the time, it makes the critical block portion of it more beneficial, and therefore can be removed from the equation since the two balance each other out.

I didn't want to do a whole bunch of calculations if I didn't have to (and luckily, I didn't have to), so I first decided to see if I could increase my "unhittable" window simply by reforging. If so, then it's a no-brainer. Instead of hurting my brain, I just decided to do the re-forging and look at the numbers. it's just easier that way. So let's do a before and after, shall we?

All right, so when something swings at me, the game rolls 1-100. Before re-forging, I had a 5% chance to be missed, 22% chance to Dodge, 22% chance to Parry, and a 30% change to Block. Therefore:

Game rolls 1-5: Miss
Games rolls 5-27: Dodge
Game rolls 28-49: Parry
Game rolls 50-79: Block
Game rolls again
Game rolls 1-90: Block
Game rolls 91-100: Critical Block
Game rolls 80-100: Full hit

Most satisfactorily, when I reforged my Dodge and Parry equally into the Mastery, keeping Parry slightly higher, was left with a 5% chance to be missed, 19% chance to Dodge, 21% chance to Parry, and 40% chance to Block. So now:

Game rolls 1-5: Miss
Games rolls 5-24: Dodge
Game rolls 25-45: Parry
Game rolls 46-85: Block
Game rolls again
Game rolls 1-60: Block
Game rolls 61-100: Critical Block
Game rolls 86-100: Full hit

And no further calculations are required. This is all gain, and a no-brainer.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Culture Gap

We have a visitor in the office for three days this week.   At its core, I view this as a slight annoyance, since I actually have to dress respectably for three days this week.  Woe is me.  This is doubly annoying due to the fact that I bought several new t-shirts from Old Navy over the weekend, and now I can't even wear them this week.  /whine

On the bright side, however, this visitor is a fellow co-worker who works for our company, from an office in Belgium.  She came from an acquisition of ours called Porthus.  This is her first time in the United States, and we took her out to lunch yesterday at a restaurant called Primanti Brothers.  If you don't live in Pittsburgh, you're not going to know what this place is.  But rest assured, it is just about the most American place we could have taken her, and that was exactly the whole point of its choosing.  The expressions on her face were quite priceless.  It started when we ordered drinks.  Obviously we weren't going to drink alcohol, since it's a work lunch, so I had a Dr. Pepper.  She really didn't know what she was doing, so she simply ordered the same thing I did.  Needless to say, she was quite surprised by how "sweet" the drink was.  "It's like candy..." was the description she gave.

Let's more on to the food.  As I stated, Primanti Brothers is quite American, but also unique.  It's a sandwich shop at heart, and the gimmick they have is that their sandwiches come with coleslaw and fries on the sandwich, along with whatever meat and cheeses you happen to choose.  Quite unhealthy, of course, and thus quite American.  Surprisingly, she found her sandwich to be quite good.  I really was surprised by that, because Europeans simply don't eat like we do.

It's quite interesting to watch this lady interact with us and react to our culture.  I can imagine that when I made my trip to Copenhagen a couple of years ago, the people there were just as amused by my reactions to their culture as I am right now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I be so stealthy, dat even mai blog posts be invisible!

(PD: /facepalm)

Hallow's End

Y'know, I had my own blog once. I'm not sure why I just can't have that back.

(PD: Because you enjoy talking about yourself WAY too much.)

Hey! Stay out of my posts, 'ya Blog Nazi!

ANYWAY. While I was at the Bank of Dalaran yesterday, I noticed some jack-o-lanterns, which reminded me that Hallow's End has begun. I like Hallow's End. Maybe this year I'll be able to complete my collection of masks. I have so many of them, though I'm not entirely sure why I need this male Tauren one. In any case, the only ones I seem to be missing are both kinds of Troll masks (I like Trolls...they're cuddly), and a female Draenei mask.

While I was riding around trick-or-treating, there were some more earthquakes. I wonder what's causing those? I hope it's not serious. While I am sort of bored these days, now that the fighting against the Lich King in Northrend is finished, I definitely wouldn't want to see another war so soon.

I think I'll go fishing.

Arguing with Myself

You may see some strange posts popping up on here in the next few days.  It seems my WoW characters are not satisfied with how little I talk about them, and really don't like what I have to say when I do.  So, they've demanded that I give them access to my blog, so that they can make posts on their own.

If they start talking about gear score, I'm banning them.  You guys hear me?!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Thoughts on the 4.0 Tanking Warrior

Patch 4.0 has been out for a week now, and that has given me sufficient time to basically re-learn how to play my character.  Below are some of my thoughts.  For your amusement, the header of each section is a song title.  

Ready to Start
The first most noticeable difference, aside from the sweeping changes to the talent trees, is the fact that rage is now quite different.  I would go sofar as to say that right now, pulling mobs is much more difficult than it was before, due only to the fact that the amount of rage we can generate before pulling a pack of mobs has been severely nerfed.  Bloodrage is gone and replaced by our shouts, but the added 10 rage over a few seconds feature is gone.  So right there, we've got 10 less rage to work with than we had before, and we're not even getting hit by a mob yet.  Also, Bloodrage placed us in combat, which means the rage didn't decay as quickly as it does using the weaker Shout version of it.  The combination of these two things means that unless I'm charging into the pack of mobs, I'm SEVERELY struggling to get the pull started correctly.  I've been thinking about whether or not I think this is something that needs to be adjusted by Blizzard, and I've come to the conclusion that I think it does.

Somebody Like You
One thing that sort of annoyed me about the sweeping changes is how the four tanking classes are now even more similar than they were before.  It's unfortunate, as I feel I've lost just a little bit of what made me unique.  It makes me nostalgic for the times when warriors where the Horde's only tanks.  On the positive side, this means that it's going to be even more difficult for anyone to justify any tanking class as being superior to another.  In my opinion, there simply isn't a superior choice, even before these changes.  Now it's even more apparent that they are all balanced quite nicely.  Sure, you may have a situation here or there where one might have a slight advantage over the other.  But it's not going to be a major advantage and it's not going to happen often.  That's a good thing.

Bleed It Out
While the single target tanking rotation has stayed basically the same, the AoE tanking rotation has completely changed.  To me, this rotation felt clunky as all hell to me at first.  But now that I've worked with it for a while and practiced it, I actually believe it is much better than it was before.  Basically, it goes like this:  Charge in, Rend your target, Thunderclap to spread the Rend, Shockwave now that it's damage is increased by Thunderclap, Cleave, and Thunderclap again.  From this point, you can fill in the waits on cooldowns with single-target attacks.  With this rotation, I'm actually finding that I can hold mostly everything without tab targetting through the mobs to give each one of them attention with single target attacks.  Obviously, if someone is nuking the fuck out of a mob that I'm not targeting, yes, they're going to pull it.  Duh.  But if they are AoEing the pack, usually they will not pull.  That is an improvement from before.  I realize that we're not going to be AoEing everything down in Cataclysm, but this makes me feel better about the whole thing.  Because, what I'm sure we will be doing in Cataclysm, when we're not CCing, is focusing on one target and letting incidental AoE hit the other mobs.  This makes me confident that I will be able to hold onto these mobs through something like that without having to switch off of the main target (and risk losing it because of the DPS focus nuking it down).  And I'd like to say that Thunderclap spreading Rend is my current favorite thing ever.

The Anthem
Shield Block again costing rage sucks.  There, I said it.  All it means is that I'm going to not use it as often as I should, because I need the rage for other things.  It's back to TBC when the button was left unpressed most of the time.  Making a tank decide between taking less damage and having more rage in which to cause threat IS NOT FUN AND INTERESTING.  It's annoying.  Stop it.  There will never be a situation in the game...EVER...where I would ask myself, "Hm, would I like to take less damage here, or would I like to generate more threat?"  Because you know what?  The answer is always both!  And if I really do want to take less damage...I'm going to use Shield Wall!  Amazing, ain't it?  Yeah.  Stop making Shield Block useless.

Overall, my general opinion of things is that while tanking feels a little bit different now, it's still pretty much the same.  Which is good, since I wouldn't be happy if everything I enjoy about it was just gone.  Instead, they've kept the foundation of tanking there and just changed a few things so that it's not completely the same 'ol stuff.  That's probably the best route they could have taken with it.  

Personality Reviews

It's that time of year here at my office when we do our annual performance evaluations.  The title of this post is a bit of a jab at these, because personality ends up factoring into these reviews no matter how hard you try to keep them out.

This is the third year in a row that my company has completely changed the format of the review documents.  I think they do this on purpose to prevent us from copy/pasting last year's data.  Not that we would EVER do that.  *cough*

Dealing with people is something that I've never been good at, though my life's experiences have been shaping that skill slowly as time goes on.  I've always considered myself to be a bit on the naive side, which isn't good when you're managing a group of people.  You will always have someone who tries to manipulate or take advantage of you, and its necessary to be able to see through any such attempts.  This is probably why I've never much cared for a managerial position.

On the positive side of things, it looks like my company will actually be taking the reviews into consideration now when it comes to deciding on salary increases.  Any normal person would probably scratch their head in confusion at such a statement, because, yes, it should be common sense that things should work that way.  Sadly, you don't know my company.

Tally ho.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Patch Day

WoW's Patch 4.0 came out today, which begins the first step towards the Cataclysm.  Today saw the implementation of a number of game changing things, the biggest of which being the sweeping talent tree changes.  Abilities have been changed, some have been removed, and there are even some new ones. 

Whenever something like this happens, it always makes you question whether or not you really know what you're doing.  I've never been one to extensively research things online.  I do it sometimes, especially if something is confusing me, but I always make the decisions about my character on my own.  He's MY character.  Someone else is not going to tell me what I'm supposed to do with him. 

So when it came time to spec my talents, I did it my way.  I read each one and I made the choices.  This morning, I went to Elitist Jerks to see what they thought.  I was pleased to see their suggested spec was nearly identical to mine, with only minor differences.  They took the self-healing talent, I took the Impending Victory talent. 

Seems that I still do have some idea as to what I'm doing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I like this time of year, right when summer ends but before we enter “Tundra Season”, where I curse the world for just how freaking ass cold it has made the mornings and all I want to do is curl up under my nice warm bed covers. 

I'm not sure if I'm just in a really good place in my life right now, or what, but these days I have been feeling quite content.  I attribute most of this to the fact that I've found someone whom I enjoy being with immensely, and whose affections towards me are the same as mine for them.  That's a wonderful feeling, and if I ever had a trace of cynicism in me towards other human beings, this person is slowly melting them away. 

It's not exactly all rose-colored glasses for me, but these feelings I have right now are enough. 

Now playing: Middle Class Rut - New Low

Friday, October 08, 2010

I'm fucking tired and it's my own damned fault.  Seriously, I need someone to come into my house and smack me over the head with something at about 11:30 PM so I can actually get a decent night's sleep once a week.

Monday, October 04, 2010

She Got a Boob Reduction

I was playing the new Tomb Raider game last night.  They have foregone the "Tomb Raider" name, and adopted a more Indiana Jones-like naming convention:  Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. 

The game is good.  The controls have been simplified, and it's got a more arcade-game feel to it.  But these are not bad things, actually.  I find this game to just simply be a lot of fun, and that's really the whole point.  If you like adventure games and puzzles, I highly recommend it.


Holy smokes.  The last post I wrote for this blog was on October 18, 2017.  Through the little more than  two years since, this blog has be...