Friday, September 26, 2008

[ WotLK ] :: Devastating Powers of Typhoon

I wasn't going to post about beta, but... I couldn't help it. The roommate of one of my friends currently plays on Beta, and, [since this bug was fixed], I feel like I can write about it.

Stress relief? Nothing else beats seeing lots of pretty numbers go rising up your screen and hearing the death throes of... well. Everything that you just killed. For the past two days, Typhoon, the new forty-one point talent for Boomkins, has been broken. Instead of having a cooldown of 20 seconds and costing 32% of base mana, it had no cooldown of any sort (including GCD), and cost absolutely nothing.

So for two days after the patch, Typhoon was... deathly scary. A friend made a macro that had sixteen of them, and would just hit that, and things would drop dead. With this little bug, he went though normal Sethekk Halls, Mechanar, Shadow Labs... The Nexus and another one of the beginning "70" instances in LK... then did Heroic Blood Furnace and Ramparts, as well as Kara, SSC, Gruul's, and Mags. Solo. Without stopping to drink, and only had to heal a few times, and only died a few times too (Karathress killed him)...

It was really funny to watch (and do some of it too!), and it was really, really comforting to see 2111 go rising up the screen in huge bundles (as he pulled large groups), or it critting for 4.2K, and people dropping dead within seconds, and getting knocked back, and sometimes dying in a knocked-back-floating-in-midair position.

Stress relief? You betcha.

Makes me almost want to become a boomkin, even though they fixed it so it's not OP beyond anything? Yes.

Almost. With the tree nerf and me having no idea how to make my feral spec look right to me... Egh. Almost. I can't do it... really!

In sum, Typhoon looks like it will be a well appreciated spell in a boomkin's new repertoire.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I am Perfectly Innocent... and Perfectly Distracted.

"You know, back in the old days, we used to take notes on paper..."
A friend noted this to me the other day when he asked what I was doing on WoW in the middle of the day. It was right before a class, and I told him as such... but he still made fun of me. Of course, he had good reason to, because he knows exactly what I do (or, perhaps, don't really do) during the lectures...

I must confess: I am (at least, in my mind), nearly as bad as Matt's warlock friend. While I don't play WoW in the middle of class, I can easily be accused of blogging, reading/catching up on blogs, sometimes checking BA, read BBC news, and posting to blogs. Oh, and sometimes actually look up stuff pertaining to class.

Yes, I'm a bad kid... but there are consequences to doing all of that during a lecture. Today, I discovered one of them... in a rather embarrassing manner.

Starting from the beginning: I am currently on three-and-a-half hours of sleep (and I have Aussie voices to blame), in the middle of a lecture (as I was earlier as well), and have been really rocky in my emotions and state of being lately.

I hardly ever check BA -- heck, due to my schedule and my priorities, it's very rare for me to be able to read my blog roll -- but, when I feel like looking, I do until I must stop (usually, the end of class).

This morning, I was browsing through the Author Introductions, and came upon The Stoppable Force (which also finds a home in Feathermoon, by the way!). Right in the middle of a lecture about Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin (yes -- Age of Reason was the topic of lecture today!), I posted... and broke the two main rules of posting: [one] Proof-reading, and [two] actually try to sound intelligent and did .325 seconds of research. Because I was flipping back and forth from the notes I was taking (and, surprisingly, I take acceptable notes for not really paying attention), I missed out on one really rather major factor... and it made me look like an idiot.

Thankfully, I can laugh at myself -- (if I can ever show face in that blog again, now, that's a different question!) -- and... well. Laugh at myself. The .325 seconds that I should have spent would have been on the banner, which I noticed *after* I had sent in the comment (and right after I noticed my forgot-a-letter error too)... the boo-boo?

One word: Horde.

Oops! Clearly, Lin is a genius. I'm sure it's very easy to guess exactly what she messed up on (oh, even better! It's still there! Traffic for TSF, and you get to make fun of me! A win-win situation!)... Yup. At least I was trying to be friendly in all of my sleepy-ness and confusion!

With all of this noted, I really do wonder how she manages to play the game itself in class! If I tried that, not only would I be putting my foot in my mouth all of the time, but would be kicked out of class...

Nope. Don't have the guts to do that. Doing what I do, and screwing it up is bad enough without have someone-like-Matt finding me on WoW.

Although, come to think of it, it'd be a rather nifty way to meet someone... maybe I should work on that. (First stop? Don't sit in the very front and center of the classroom...)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

[ Writing ] :: I Think I Can, I Think I Can!

In light of NaNoWriMo that is coming up in November, (which means I will not be getting WotLK until December! But there's no way I can pump out the necessary... what? 1.7K words a day to reach 50K words by the end of the month if I get sucked into WotLK) I figured I might as well give my muse a boost by warming up in here.

Now, I know my biggest issue with writing is I don't have the concentration to sit and write for too long, unless I'm having a spur of muse (which happens a bit more than it did a few months ago, thankfully)... so lets explore just how to focus your mind and get it centered on writing anything -- whether it be a blog post, NaNo, or even your average essays and papers.
  1. Be Prepared! Take extra pencils, lots of paper, a power cord, some sort of drink (mine would be coffee or tea), maybe some munchies. Anything so you don't have to move about too much later.

  2. No Distractions. That means, go somewhere quiet, remote, or just anywhere you can't be possibly distracted. It also means to tell your roommate to turn down their music/put on headphones, turn off music you know you can't work to, and maybe even unplug your internet. Don't let yourself get distracted -- I know that my muse tends to go take a month or two of naps should I stop in the middle of a post. It should just be you, whatever you do your writing on, backup stuff so you don't have to move later, and your muse.

  3. Pre-Planning. If you're one of those people who must plan out what you're writing about, do it! Jot down any idea, no matter how lucrative, and maybe you'll have use for it farther down the line. Doing initial research here also helps. Maybe look into something to be able to write in depth about it!

  4. Just write. It doesn't matter what you're writing about -- anything can become something interesting, worth reading, if you just write what is on your mind. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, or anything of the like for now. Write! What you may find is that once you start writing, you'll just keep on writing.

  5. Breaks. If you need to stop, stop! Take a break, stretch your legs, and do something else/take care of other business while your muse recharges! I will, however, suggest either have a voice recorder, or a paper and a writing utensil, so that when your muse hits you, you have something to write your ideas down on before they go flying off into the abyss.

  6. Go Back. Fill in holes, check grammar and the like, do the rest of your research should you need it – now that you've gotten it rolling and have a clearer idea from what you need to learn/refine your idea before you impart your wisdom to an audience.

  7. Test Group. Try it out on friends, family, anyone. I enjoy some good, friendly advice before I show it to the world, for everyone to see and critique.

  8. Re-edit. Take your critiques and re-write/edit/add. You'll notice things that you didn't notice before about your work – I do, for sure.

  9. Repeat the last three several times until you're satisfied, and then show it to the world. Good work: you've put a lot of work into something fantabulous.
Now that you've got a roadmap, and before I go off and pre-write blog posts for when I know for sure I won't be able to, lets look on what to write on. Other than your traditional pen-and-paper style, and your old-fashioned Word (or other text document programs), I would suggest something a bit more geared toward writers of any kind:

For PC users: Page Four: "PageFour is a tabbed word processor and outliner for writers. It has a simple structure based around Notebooks. Each Notebook contains as many Folders and Pages as you wish, and is structured in whichever manner best suits YOU."
I highly suggest this one, for I use it myself. The pages allow me to break things down easily into chapters, to which I can quickly click and see what makes up the page. It has a "Scan Current Page", which will scan the page you opened up for overused words and phrases -- a god-send, I assure you, for I often fear of being redundant in my writing. With it's simple and clean format, it's very easy to use, and -- the best part is -- you never have to save! They auto-save for you. Snapshots are nice to use as well, for you can take a snapshot of a page, edit it, and if you don't like it, go to your snapshots and restore the page as it was before you started hacking and changing whatever you hacked and changed. Page four also makes reordering pages (which, for me, are chapters) in the story easier as well.

The application is free -- however, if you want more notebooks, you must actually buy the product. (It comes with three folders.)

And for Mac users: Schrivener: “As a writer's application, Scrivener is damn near perfect; it means outlines, treatments and then first drafts can be put together in the same application.”
Pretty much like Page Four, except that this is the fancier version for Mac users. It's got a bit more features than Page Four, such as Full Screen Editing and the cork board, but, unlike Page Four, after the thirty-day trial, one will need to pay for it in order to keep using it.

Well, you've got a road-map, hopefully a muse boost, and a new application to play with (I hope, anyway!). Enjoy your writing travels!