Gone Green

After many different directions, I have decided to take this blog green. In addition to the occasional other news I may pop off on, I will be offering green tips and tricks from myself and the web. I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tennessee Tax Free Weekend

Its here, the big weekend. Tennessee is one of few states that has a tax free shopping weekend. From Friday, August 3rd till Sunday August 5th at midnight, sales tax is waved on the following items.

Clothing under $100, school supplies under $100, and computers under $1500. Thats per piece, not a total. There are of course exceptions, and anybody interested should make sure they are aware of them before shopping. This weekend is primarily to help ease the burden of back to school shopping for parents. Kids going off to college, new kids in school, or even returning students.

I am not aware of any store that does not honor this, except maybe those who do not sale anything that meets the requirements. Most places even have decent sales on top of the tax free, so get out and boost the economy.

State of MMORPG

MMORPG’s are a staple of online gaming. Extremely popular, extremely addictive, these games captivate us, enthrall us, and allow us to create an online identity, in a virtual world. We can be wizards and warriors, priest and druids. We can become gnomes or elves or trolls or hobbits. Where does the genre go now? From having roots as far back as ultima, to the immensely popular World of Warcraft, gamers are always on the move for something new, something better. Everquest held the title for many years as the MMORPG to play. Now, it is unquestionably World of Warcaft. Who can dethrone this giant? Or will it self destruct from the inside out?

Ever since the internets inception, online gaming has been right beside it. People come home from school and work, log in and are no longer Joe Schmoe the 9-5’er, but Krazzack Tombhammer the mighty orc warrior. Troubles and worries left behind, they immerse themselves in another world. By fighting other players, fighting monsters, exploring worlds and dungeons, farming for rafting materials, they try to earn a gold or two, much like the real world.

Currently World of Warcraft has over 8 million subscribers, has so much publicity that even non gamers have heard of it from gamer friends, or from watching TV shows (notably South Park). It released its first expansion “The Burning Crusade” earlier in 2007. This expansion raised the level cap to 70, introduced a new world, new dungeons, new mounts, and new PvP arenas. In doing this though, it has become harder to level a character from scratch, because there is nobody in the old zones, except people leveling an alt. Also, it is old content, boring, and has its problems with an inconsistent leveling curve. The burning crusade also introduced a new type of dungeon, to help causal players achieve epic weapons. But, it is getting stale. Rep grinds, insane amounts of materials needed for crafts, and unbalanced classes in PvP are causing unrest in the blizzard camp. Many people are waiting for the next best thing to come, as is the nature of the business.

This brings us to two games on the horizon, which may hurt blizzards business, Age of Conan, and Warhammer on line. Conan features stunning graphics, real time battle, and a rich lore based storyline. Warhammer features massive amounts of PvP, conquest, and destruction. Both of these games are currently in beta, which means they are not finished, and any discussion of them could be on information that will change before release. In anticipation of this, blizzard will more then likely release a new expansion before or to coincide with the release of one of more of these games.

MMORPG’s have been around a long time and do not look to be going away any time soon. The head dog will change; a new leader will emerge, hold the attention of millions for a few years, and then be replaced by the next best thing.

Monday, July 30, 2007

You Tube Copyright Filtering

Google owned YouTube, a popular online video site, is rolling out copyright protection to protect against uploading copyrighted material. However, it wont block the upload, it will make it easier to report and remove offenders.

Its understandable they don't want to host pirated movies, but how will it affect AMV's or trailers. What will constitute a violation? Somebody who video blogs word for word another persons work? Or somebody who creates a music video using clips from popular movies?

Is this the end of self expression on the web? Or will this be the beginning of other video sharing website opening up.

YouTube has long been a great source of entertainment for America. Millions of people enjoy linking and posting popular and funny videos for their friends. Hopefully this wont be as drastic a change as it seems.

Wonder if this has to do with the Republicans trying to back out of the YouTube debate.

Wow Goes to Northrend

Is it true? Is the secret to World of Warcraft's next expansion hidden in a song?

The orchestra scheduled to play in the final day of Blizzcon received their music, and lo and behold there is a piece titled Northrend. This musical track doesn't appear in any of the current game files, and may very well be the sneak peak WoW fans have been waiting for.

Of course by the end of Blizzcon, we expect to completely know what is the expansion.

Northrend is the northen part of Azeroth, and home to the Lich King, or as he was known Arthas. Speculated to be one of the most powerful beings in Azeroth, he stays in the icy realm of Northrend, a piece of Kalimdor that was broken apart during the Sundering. Not much has been heard from this place of the world, just rumors of evil.

If Northrend is the expansion, and Arthas is in it, there may be seen an increase in subsriptions.

Parenting through a divorce

Being a parent is not easy, but can easily be one of the most fulfilling things one does. In an ideal world, there are two parents, living together, with the child. In the real world, it is rarely like that. Due to whatever reasons, divorces, separations can and do occur. It is during this that sometimes one or both the parents become a selfish entity caring only for themselves, and for revenge on the other. They lose the focus on what is important, and instead become fixated on demeaning the other parent, insulting, withholding visitation, and treating them as less then a person, and definitely not the other parent.

As a divorced parent myself, I understand all too well the feelings one goes through. Not getting to be there for every step and word the child makes, all the spare time with them, feelings of resentment towards the mother, feelings of betrayal, and even failure. One thing that we were able to do, was work through our differences, and put our daughter first. And a lot of times, this is the case. But not all parents are able to be adults. Sure there are the cases where the divorce is due to abuse (physical, emotional, or mental) reckless behavior (drinking and driving, drug use) and in these cases the child should be kept away for their own safety. Allow supervised visitation if they wish it, but these are usually the cases where they are so self-centered that they think of nobody but themselves anyway. I am discussing cases where it is due to two people unable to be together for other reasons.

Tip1: Act your age. The time for petty grudges and revenge is way past. Put the child first. You do not have to like the other person for whatever differences you have, but it is not a reason to deny them to see their child if they wish it. At a young age especially, the child doesn’t care what happened, all they want to know is why daddy/mommy does not want to see them. And parents, if your ex wants to see the child, never ever let the child think different. Children need that love from their parents. Remember, the child is more important then your hurt feelings.

Tip 2: The child is your child, not a bargaining tool, not an object to lord over the other parent. Do not use visitation as a means to get your way. It sickens me to see this happen. Put the child first.

Tip 3: Get a mediator. If you are unable to come to terms on your own, get a mediator to help work out something that is fair for both sides. Sometimes when emotions are high, things are said and done that make it harder and worse. Mediators come in and look at both sides and help compromise.

Above all else, please, remember the child is first. Their safety, their happiness, their well being depends on our ability to be adults and provide for them, and put them first.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Plug in hybrids

Plug-in Hybrids are making news. What is a plug-in hybrid? Why should we care? Are our cars not sufficient?

Hybrids have long been around, using a variety of schemes to try and stretch gas, break dependency from gas, and to be more efficient. Reasons for this include environmental protection, independence from foreign oil, and cheaper transportation. The combustion engine has been around for over 100 years, and during that time, the principal still remains the same. Gas has long been the most efficient of these means, but the affects on the environment, price of oil, long term forecast that we are running out of oil have brought about a change in the way the automotive industry thinks.

Hybrid electric vehicles or HEV’s achieve their high gas mileage through an electric engine, smart electronics, and gas. Some achieve over 60mpg, compared to their counterpart non HEV’s of 25mpg. There are tax incentives to purchase these as well, making them an attractive option. They are never required to plug into the wall and for all intents and purpose behave the same as non-HEV’s. They incorporate new technology to save fuel, use battery when applicable.

Now the push is on for Plug in hybrids (PHEV). These differ from HEV’s in the fact that they are required to plug into a wall for re-charging. Currently they can get around 8 miles before requiring a charge, which takes around 2 hours. Not very efficient, not even practical, but it is a step in the right direction.

Currently battery technology is holding this back. Toyota is once again leading the charge for this by introducing a new version of the Prius. The Prius has extra nickel-metal hydride battery packs, to increase the distance it can travel on a charge. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are large, heavy, yet reliable. They are rather antiquated, compared to lithium ion batteries. Lithium Ion batteries are the next generation of batteries to be tested and used in these new vehicles. The problem with Li batteries is during testing, several have caught fire.

With Ford, GM and Chrysler jumping on the HEV/PHEV technology, it shouldn’t be too much longer until they start making their ways into more homes, reducing our dependency on oil, and helping the environment as much as possible.


Aquafina, one of the leading bottled water brands, is coming clean on their less then savory practices. It appears, as was reported today, that PepsiCo will begin printing on the label of the popular bottle, what it really is. Tap water. Yep. Tap water. I have a bottle in front of me right now, and it clearly states on the bottle, "Pure Water, Perfect taste, Purified drinking water". It appears, it is not pure, nor purified. Also appears that when enough bottles are emptied together, a stench begins to appear that rivals that of any compost pile.

And by no means is Coke and its popular Dasani let off the hook. They gather their water from public reservoirs as well. they report that they will post the quality process online in a month or so.

I see several lawsuits coming from this. It will be amazing if they survive this. I know I for one will not buy their water again. Nor am I likely to purchase any Pepsi products as my means of protest.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

World of Warcraft: Warriors

The warrior class brings to mind plate armor, big weapons, fierce fighters, and damaging blows. In the World of Warcraft, this holds true. The warrior class is designed to soak up damage, or to deal incredible amounts of damage.

As it stands, the warrior class has many things going for it, and many things against it. Currently, the biggest concerns are Mortal strike warriors, fury warrior agro/gear, and protection warrior solo/PvP play.

  1. Speced in protection, they are the best single target tank in the game, and the type of tank raids want as their main tank.
  2. They get to wear plate armor, and have a large amount of health.
  3. They work off the rage system. Meaning the more they get hit, or the more they hit, the more they can hit, and use more damaging abilities.

Some down sides to the warrior

  1. Easily Kited and crowd controlled. Warriors have means to break crowd control, or sap, or fear, but they are on cool downs. It can be overcome with skill, and some masterful use of trinkets and talents
  2. Can be kited easy. A warrior can close the gap on an enemy with 3 means. Charge( 15 second cool down, must be out of combat, requires battle stance), intercept 30 second, 20 second with talents, must be in berserker stance) and intervene ( 30 second cool down, requires defensive stance). Intervene is more of a PvE skill, and invaluable at that. A frost mage or hunter, or warlock, or shaman can usually quite effectively kite a warrior to death.
  3. Magic damage: Without a shield, or resist gear, has no defense against casters, except to get in their face and pummel, shield bash, and fear them.

So, what is the deal with warriors? Three things, PvP, PvE, and solo as protection.


Warriors excel in group PvP, are rough in solo PvP. However, the biggest complaint about them is Mortal Strike. This devastating attack (which is a 31 point talent, not every warrior has it) not only deals a large amount of damage, but applies a 50% healing debuff on the target. This appears to be the sticking point for PvP. But really let’s look at it. Healing gear allows some healers to heal large amounts for a long time. Mortal strike helps turn a fight that could drag on forever due to heals, shorten by a bit. People complain it makes a warrior needed, or it shouldn’t deal damage, or the debuff shouldn’t be as hard. If there was no debuff, then it would just be a gimped attack. If there was no damage, it would eliminate the arms warrior instant attack. It does make warriors needed, gives them a reason to be there.


Warriors who go the route of dps, with gear can put up some impressive numbers. However they have nothing to bring another pure dps class brings, nor do they have an agro reduction. This limits the space for dps warriors in a group. All other dps classes bring something to the table in forms of crowd control, major buffs, and agro reduction.


Protection warrior is the best raid tank, and single target tank. They have plate, 2nd highest health pool, and the most damage mitigation/stay alive abilities of any class. Where they could use some help is threat scaling, and solo play. It takes a long time to farm/level as a protection warrior, and in PvP they are a novelty. Some moves need to have the threat looked at, including ways to generate more threat, and possibly give a buff to Devastate, the warrior 41 point talent.

All in all the warrior class is fairly balanced, in need of some minor tweaks, but overall pretty good.

Dave Landeo Band

Got the opportunity to see the Dave Landeo band live at Rookies sports bar the other night. They are an amazing band, great vocals, entertaining to watch, and just all around great music.

Dave has been performing for several years, and has won many local awards. They perform for bars, restraunts, and are available for weddings and other gathering functions. He has appeared nationally on several shows, and is a pretty well known artist in the knoxville area.

The show started out with a little conversation, then right into the music. Deep clear voice, strong instruments make this a rewarding experience. His schedule is on his website, be sure and catch them if you can, it will be a rewarding experience.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Deathly Hallows: Review

Wow, thats all I can say, just...wow. JKR far surpassed herself with this book. Unlike previous books, there was very little down time in this one. From the moment the book starts, it is hard to find a stopping place. The book speeds along at a rapid pace, heroes fall, heroes rise, unexpected twist, deaths, and defeats. I did not like the ending too much, it seemed to rushed. I would have liked to have know a bit more after the fall of Voldemort, errrr He-who-must-not-be-named, but can understand why. At over 700 pages, it is a fairly long book, very well wrote, and did tie up most of the outstanding lines. Best line of the book goes to Mrs Weasley near the end, when she fights LeStrange.

I am hesitant to write too much, would hate to ruin it for somebody. Maybe in a few weeks, I will flesh it out a bit more.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Blog editing Websites, 3 column

Broke the mold today, went and fixed my blog up to the 3 column format. I am familiar with HTML coding, but not much else, XML throws me for a loop. But, I did find some websites that broke it down for me. Personally, I found that the basic template i am using now is one of the easier ones to manipulate, it just takes some getting used to and understanding some stuff.

  1. http://beautifulbeta.blogspot.com: This is the one that ended up helping me the most. The basic numbering in the initial setup was a great help in understanding where exactly the new code goes. This is the one that finished off my learning, and is highly recommended for anybody wishing to just add a 3rd column.
  2. http://blogger-tricks.blogspot.com: This is the other website that helped me. Lots and lots of good information in here, has many more tutorials, and links to other sites, some with premade templates. Of course, I am stubborn and have to do everything myself.
If you decide to go to a 3 column format, and are a complete novice at web authoring, be sure and check these two sites out, the information is great.

Propel Fitness Water

Just recently started drinking this stuff. Can read all about it here. Primarily I drink water, decaf green teat, the healthy stuff. Every now and then, I need something more. I am rather addicted to the Grape flavored one at this time. The flavor is not overpowering, but refreshing. I don't much care for Gatorade or Powerade, and I despise Dasani with a passion, this bridges the gap quite nicely for me. Give it a try, you should enjoy it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter: The Deathly Hollows

Nope, dont have, havent read any of the spoiler sites. I just really want to say, those that try to spoil the fun and wonder of the last book, please grow up. How horrible of a person do you have to be to ruin something like this? Its gotten so bad, the World of Warcraft forums are suspending anybody who post anything about the books. Kudos to them.

Photobucket has taken down the pictures that were uploaded. eBay needs to step up to the plate and close any auctions of people claiming to have the book. Myself and thousands of other fans have waited a long time for this.

Some tips, don't Google Harry potter at all. Be ware of any message board, blog, IM, or even email. If like me, you are picking up the book at midnight, when you get home( if morons don't do drive by shouting in the parking lot again) turn off the phone, tv and pc. Wake up Saturday, read it with everything turned off.

Good luck, enjoy the new book!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter: The order of the Phoenix

Hmm, how to describe this movie. As a stand alone movie, it was okay. A lot of dialog, no action till the end of the movie. Comparing it to the book, it fails miserably. Goblet of fire was a much better movie, and compared to the book better. It is impossible to put the whole book in a single movie, but, at times it felt that they didn't even try.

Noticeable deviations.

No quidditch! No watching Ron learn to be keeper, Harry and the twins getting banned for life. There was not a single mention of quidditch.

Levicorpus. The student were using this spell while training in the Room of Requirements. It wasnt mentioned until book 6.

The whole Cho/Harry thing was poorly handled, they made Cho into the person who spilled the beans on the DA group. Also no indication or mention of the coins they used for the meeting purposes. Parts where Ginny glared at Cho was fairly humorous though.

OotP. The whole thing was rushed, no plot development, no nothing. Just basically a group of people fighting death eaters. Not much else was developed.

Harry's nightmares. They showed brief glimpses of it, but at the point when Ron's dad was attacked, they showed nothing of the hospital, Neville's folks. In fact, while they were all in Dumbledore's office, after the dream, Dumbledore sent Harry away with Snape at that moment, claiming we are all in danger.

The attack on McGonagall was not shown, or hinted at. The owl test were only seen in one small moment, and was presided over by Umbridge.

There was a few more I thought maybe should have been included. The acting was superb from Ralph Fiennes ( Voldemort), Alan Rickman ( Snape), and Jason Isaacs ( Lucius Malfoy). The rest of the cast was about par for themselves, nothing outstanding, corny and forced at times. Michael Gambon (Dumbeldore) actually improved a bit in this movie. Previous movies he seems to make the most powerful wizard afraid of the tiniest things.

When seeing this movie, try to forget there is a book about it. It will be a little bit more enjoyable.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Transformers: The Movie

Went to see this, all I can say is wow. Unlike many movies that are remakes or spin offs of cartoons/books, etc, this one avoids the campy lines, the throwbacks and the stupidity that surrounds them. There is of course a few notable lines, "Roll out" "Starscream, you have failed me for the last time", but nothing over the top.

The movie doesn't have a lot of slow spots, and is a real good action flick even if you think a transformer is what plugs into the wall and gives you power. The robots are very smooth in movement, the CGI is wonderful. My one gripe is is appears to be one big Chevy commercial at times. It is really the first time the new camaro has gotten a lot of attention. While looking nice, it did get old seeing all the cars Chevy emblems. I may be biased being a ford/dodge type of guy though. And, they really shouldn't have made a decepticon a mustang.

The acting by the humans was pretty good, considering there wasnt a lot of star power present. Mostly new actors, or child actors trying to distance themselves from their image. The voice actors for the robots are pretty much ones whose voice you will recognize, mostly from cartoons in the 80's. And, a BIG plus for fans of the original transformers cartoon series, Peter Cullen, the voice of the original Optimus Prime, is also his voice in the movie.

All in all, a wonderful movie, and one I would strongly suggest seeing in the theater.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Edgewater Hotel in Gatlinburg, Tn

Located in beautiful downtown Gatlinburg, the Edgewater is a very nice and relaxing place to stay. Stayed here for the first time over the 4th of July holidays, and will definitely be back.

Located on River Road, it is behind the main strip in Gatlinburg. About 3/4 a mile from Ripley's Aquarium, it is removed enough from the noise of the strip, but close enough to everything. They offer very spacious rooms, private balconies, either a creekside or mountain side view, pool, continental breakfast, on site parking, and friendly staff. They accept AAA discounts as well.

The room we had was a spacious 2 queen room, and even with two queen beds, there was still room left over. We had a microwave, mini fridge, tv, coffee maker, and the other normal amenities, including wi-fi for laptops.

The staff was friendly and helpful, and acted like they actually cared about us as customers, instead of the normal blah attitude so prevalent in hotels today.

All in all, a nice hotel, reasonable priced, and a great location.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dollywood: The Experience

I covered the coasters of Dollywood in my previous post, found here. Dollywood is more then thrill rides, although it has its fair share. Dollywood is also home to talented crafters, cooks, and even some bald eagles.

A normal day at Dollywood can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, depending on your groups desires and wishes. To ride all the rides, will pretty much take all day, even if you use their new Q2Q device. This is a new addition at the park and pretty much allows you to go to the head of the line by scheduling your ride times.

There are three water rides in the park, Daredevil Falls, Mountain Slidewinder, and Smoky Mountain River Rampage. Lines for these are typically over a 45 minute wait, based on the outside temperature, and of course amount of people in the park.

The carnival section of Dollywood features carnival rides, games, and carnival food. This is the main location if you want to try your luck at winning a large stuffed animal. It has a swing, scrambler, ferris wheel, and some smaller rides for the little tykes as well.

Craftmans Valley is home to blacksmiths, glass blowers, a variety of shops, and food. This is pretty much the largest section of the park, and is almost in the middle. Here you can also find the endangered Bald Eagle reserve. The Eagles are almost always visible, and there is a couple of shows as well.

During the Fall, Dollywood host a fall festival. During this time, the rides take second fiddle to the music, shows and crafts.

Dollywood is a wonderful park, fun for all ages. If in the area, plan a day around it, maybe even take in a dinner show afterwards, of which there is an abundance of in the area.

Dollywood: The coasters

Located in scenic Pigeon Forge, Tennessee Dollywood has a unique flair, theme, and appearance. When walking through the gate, the sights and sounds assail your senses. The park is beautiful landscaped, the buildings take you back to a time long ago, and the sounds relax you.

Dollywood has something for people for all ages and desires, 4 roller coasters, 3 water rides, a kids area, a craftsmans valley, shows, home cooked food, and a carnival ride area. Admission is reasonable, and there are some discounts and perks as well. If visiting the park more then once, a season pass is highly recommended.

Dollywood is home to 3 coasters of unique design, and 1 that is classified a coaster I think mainly because it is on tracks.

Thunderhead was added to the park in 2004, a long wooden coaster reaching speads of 55 mph, a 100ft drop, and approaching 3.5g's. Being wooden, there is no inversions. As far as wooden coasters go, it is relatively smooth, the line moves reasonably fast, and it is about 1 minute of thrills. It was rated best new coaster of 2004 by Theme park magazines reader choice awards, and was named “the number one wooden coaster on the planet” in 2004 by www.thrillride.com. Thunderhead was named Coaster of The Year and Best New Wood Coaster at the 2005 Coasters’ Choice Awards, the first wooden coaster to take the top honor in the awards’ five-year history.

I have ridden most coasters on the east coast, and this comes in right behind The Beast at kings island for me in terms of fun, thrills, and excitement. A must ride at the park.

Tennessee Tornado
The Tennessee Tornado is a metal coaster with 128 ft drop, and 3 inversions, with places pushing 4g's. A very short ride, but very intense. As far as steel coasters go, this one is okay and you should ride it if in the park, but don't make the trip just for it. It is a very smooth coaster, hardly any rider discomfort. If you are sensitive to g's, you may want to skip this one though. Coming into the third inversion, we have on occasion had our eyesight narrow and go dark, it does push the limits at that point. Top speed on this coaster is only around 64 mph, which is kinda slow for a steel coaster, but all in all, it is a fun ride. The line is normally very short.

Mystery Mine
Dollywood's newest attraction and roller coaster is the Mystery Mine. This is a very uniqe coaster, one I totally enjoyed, doing somethings I haven't experienced before in a coaster. It reaches 74 mph, 4g's and has 3 inversions. What makes this unique, is the cart. It has two rows, 4 person to a row. This design allows for some unique parts to the ride. The most interesting is 2 climbs, at 95degrees. Almost completely perpendicular, you climb up on your back. The first climb takes you outside the "mine" and through a few twist and turns, the second takes you up, as you are "escaping the mine" and then just, drops you. You literally go from on your back to on your stomach. A absolutely wonderful ride, and a must ride attraction.

The Blazing Fury
Yes, I count this as a coaster. No thrills, no big drops, no high speed, but it is nostalgic. The Blazing Fury is an underground coaster, that takes you through a community on fire, an almost collision with a trains, and a bit of water at the end. I remember this ride from when Dollywood was still known as Silver Dollar City, many years ago. I recommend it once, pretty fun and safe introduction to roller coasters for kids, and nice sit down and cool ride for adults.

In my next Dollywood entry, I will cover the other parts of the park, including the crafts festival, and of course the water rides.

World of Warcraft: The Game play

World of Warcraft has been previously explained in this post located here. I gave a quick overview of the game and the genre. Now, a little about the game. Most of this discussion will revolve around game play since the Burning Crusaded Expansion.

Leveling means increasing your characters level, which allows you access to more powerful skills, abilities, and sometimes forms. Your character begins at level 1, in what is known as a starting zone. Each race has their own, sometimes shared with others( trolls and orcs, and gnomes and dwarfs share one, while the other races have their own). Your first quest giver is standing right in front of you, with a big yellow exclamation mark over their head. Quest in warcraft can usually be completed solo, and once a quest is completer, the quest giver has a yellow question mark over their head, and will reward you with experience, money, and sometimes items.

The max level in Warcraft is currently set at 70, and it can take anywhere from 5 days playing time and up to reach that level. Those that have leveled to 70 before, usually can do it faster by knowing where to go, which quest to take when, and where and when to just grind to gain experience.

You gain experience from killing mobs around your level, completing quest, and discovering new zones. The experience you gain increases as your level increases, but also the amount of experience needed to level increases. At level 1 I believe it is 1000xp to level, compared to level 70, which requires you to gain over 700,000 exp at level 69 to reach.

Talents and Specs
All classes, have three "talent trees" that further defines their class. Beginning at level 10, you receive 1 talent point per level gained. You then spend these talent points in your specific trees. For example, a warrior has an Arms, Fury, and Protection Tree. Arms has useful talents to augment the other two trees, but also is commonly recognized as the warrior PVP( player vs player) tree. Fury is for Pve DPS, and Protection is where warrior tanking skills are. It is not recommended to level as a protection spec, because there is little to no dps talents in this tree.

Based on your talent choices( and there are plently of options listed on the official WoW class forums) you can specialize in other skills. A mage can focus on frost, fire, or arcane magic, or a combination. A druid can become caster dps, a healer, or a tank/dps class. Even priest, who are usually just known as pure healers, have a dps tree, which at end game is very, very formidable.

End Game
This is where Warcraft, in my opinion, flounders a bit. A player can level all the way to 70, doing quest alone, never entering an instance. At level 70, you have two choices, raid or PvP. Blizzard recently added some repeatable daily quest, which you can do 10 of a day, which nets you about 120g for around 1.5 hours worth of time. Raiding requires time and dedication, money for repairs, consumables, etc. PvP requires time, dedication, but not the money sinks that PvE has. Blizzard has made PvP reward gear very comparable to Raiding gear, which allows those that love PvP the ability to have gear equal, or in some cases, greater then current raid gear.

In conclusion, warcraft is a solid game, highly addictive, but also a huge time sink. You will spend your time farming for money, materials, reputation items, and gear. Just so you can get more gear from harder instances. Currently, the best MMORPG on the market, and the one with the largest fan base. It will be interesting to see how it holds up against the upcoming Conan and World of Warhammer games.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

World of Warcraft Over View

Warcraft, the history, the lore, arguably the best MMORPG in the market right now. What is it? What is the theme? The lore?

World of warcraft is what is known as a MMORPG( Massive multiplayer online role playing game). For those not familiar, it is as follows:
  1. Massive: Well, self explanatory. It means large, many.
  2. Multi player: This isn't a console game, you interact with many other players, sometimes referred to as PC's( Players Characters). You can chat, trade, group with, and even "kill" them.
  3. Online: The main software is installed on your pc, but you connect to Blizzards servers and play online.
  4. RPG: Role playing game. You take on the character you are playing, be it gnome, dwarf, tauren, etc. You attempt to become that character. Some take it further and create backstories for their characters.

Warcraft started out as aRTS game, and lived through three versions, and a couple of expansion packs. The warcraft universe is rich in lore. A few years ago, blizzard decided to turn their popular loved RTS into a MMORPG. The success was more then they could hope for. It was released in november of 2004. I remember launch day very well, server crashes, massive lag, the demand was far higher then what they expected, and it took a few days to be able to play. Nobody predicted the popularity of this game. Blizzard added new servers as fast as they could.

The game recently went through an expansion at the end of 2006, opening the dark portal and allowing players to enter outland, the original home of the orcs. More lore, history and in depth explanations can be found at the offical WoW sight, or Wow wiki.