Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What to do Post Patch 7.0.3

The patch dropped a week ago and I've been dabbling a bit.  I've been obsessively running Ahn'Qiraj for... some reason.  I don't even know why.  It's a bit of a daunting task to go through 11 characters and sort them out.  So, here's what I think should be the first priorities in sorting out your toons post-patch.

1. Bags!

patch 7.0.3 prep bags world of warcraft

Sort out your bags, pronto.  Go though all your toons and make sure to equip all your unlearned transmog items, then vendor those little fuckers.  Make sure you double check what you're vendoring the right thing.  Don't vendor your raiding staff.  Also double check all your little baubles.  Some of them were turned into toys so you may be able to learn it and vendor the extras.  Also considering your extra materials.  Someone might just buy it up and you can make space for the good stuff.

2. Character changes

patch 7.0.3 prep character changes world of warcraft

This may be easy or hard, depending on how many toons you have.  Go through each one and pick talents, rearrange macros, and redo keybinds.  A lot of shit was taken out and a lot added in, so it'll take some doing to get raid-ready again.  Make sure to check a good class resource you trust to get the lowdown on the new du-jour rotations and builds.  Also make sure to redo your bars.  No doubt there's some gaps to fill.

3. Get off your ass

There's undoubtedly some things you wanted to finish up before Legion.  Now is the time to do it, because when Legion hits you don't want to be left behind while everyone's in Suramar and you're still camping Deepholm for that stupid dragon (that'll probably be me).

4. Miscellaneous

Still looking for a good raiding guild for the next expansion?  Now's a good time to find one.  If you multiples of the same class on one realm, consider transferring them to another realm so you can diversify.  I have two druids on Zul'jin and I no longer need them both so I'll be transferring one off at some point.  Make some friends.  Join an OpenRaid group just for funsies.  Enjoy your downtime now, because on August 30, you won't have any.

(For anyone wondering, I will be updating my Resto Druid Guide.)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Fairy Bloom Freesia Review

Other Game Reviews:
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
Lethis - Path of Progress
Long Live the Queen
Magical Diary

Review Index Page

fairy bloom freesia review steam game cute anime manga girl

I really wanted to like this game.  It's about a cute, badass fairy who protects a forest.  This sounds like the perfect game.  Unfortunately, its faults doomed it.

This game is painfully repetitive.  Each level is basically where you beat up slimes that are attacking you.  That is ALL it is.  Every once in a while you'll get visual novel-style cutscenes with some story but most of the game is just beating up slimes, which is made difficult by the highly clunky controls.  It's difficult to do anything in the game because the control buttons are just so odd.  You can change them, but I'm lazy, and I shouldn't have to.  In what word does having the Z button mean 'accept' sound like a good idea?

fairy bloom freesia review cute anime manga Lita character girl

The game does a bad job of explaining the controls and systems.  The only way to know what each button does is to look at the manual, which most people don't do when they pick up a game.  I was confused before I decided to peruse it.  It also does a poor job of explaining the different stats and special skills.  There's a blurb about each one but it's difficult to know which one to pick or which ones to to put mana into, or even how the skills all relate to each other.  I was just doing it randomly.  The combat system is way too complicated for a game like this.

There is little variety in the enemies or stages.  Most of the enemies look the same and I noticed very little distinction between the different stages of the game.  BUT, and there is a but, I only made it though 30 minutes of gameplay before I called it quits.  I could have given it more time, but the game really made me want to pull my hair out and I figure my time would be better spent elsewhere.  Perusing the Internets, I can see that there are more different levels further on.  Unfortunately, the monotony of the ones I experienced drove me away.  Maybe if there was more variety earlier on I would have been more impressed.  I've read that the game takes about 2 hours to complete, but I don't want to put my fingers and brain through that.  I just can't.

fairy bloom freesia review cute anime fairy girl lita cutscene

The game's story is simple.  Lita, the fairy, guards the forest.  Two humans come to the forest in search of part of a tree, but if they take it, Lita's father-type figure will die... for some reason.  So she decides to beat everyone up.  But the human king wants the part of the tree to do something really bad with it.  I dunno, I don't really get it.

There a few good things about this game.  The graphics are super cute.  They're anime-style and everything is shiny and sparkly.  The backgrounds, while repetitive, are gorgeous.  It's like Hayao Miyazaki and Final Fantasy had a baby.  The forest background really reminds me of Bugdom (remember Bugdom?).  Lita is cute as a button.  The visual novel cutscenes are manga style and about what you'd expect.

fairy bloom freesia review cute fairy steam game forest anime manga

The music is cute but also repetitive.  I didn't notice much variety but what music there was was cute and added some levity to the game. I appreciated it.  You can buy the soundtrack on Steam.

Overall, I wanted to like this game.  I just couldn't get over the repetitiveness and clunky controls.  However, the game did get mostly positive reviews so maybe I'm just being overly critical and not giving the game a fair chance.  I just don't wanna torture myself like that.

*Images via Google

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ongoing Saga of Nostalrius

By now I think everyone's heard of the situation with Nostalrius: it's a private vanilla World of Warcraft server which Blizzard is forcibly shutting down.  There are many opinions and speculations, particularly about why Blizzard is choosing this particular time to crack down on a private server,

Blizzard's main given reason is so they can maintain control of their IP.  A private, non-Blizzard-affiliated World of Warcraft server is a thread to their copyright.  They also reject the idea of official legacy servers due to operation constraints.  Whatever that means.

So why now?  My theory is that because Legion is launching soon and WoW's subscriber base has dropped significantly, that they are trying to close down unofficial servers to drive more people to official WoW, and pay a subscription fee.  I'm not saying this is a wrong or right decision.  It does sound like a fiscally smart decision and it IS their intellectual property.  They are well within their rights to shut down Nostalrius.

Blizzard has said it is floating around the idea of "pristine servers".  This would entail no leveling help of any kind.  No WoW Token, no boosts, no Recruit-A-Friend, no heirlooms, and no dungeon finder.  Unfortunately, I don't think this would satisfy anyone looking for a genuine vanilla experience.

Even if Blizzard did somehow develop the capability of running genuine vanilla servers, would that really be a good idea?  The entire point of an MMO is that it is dynamic, and ever-changing.  While I can understand why people would want this experience, I think that's doing Blizzard a disservice by essentially saying you're not interested in what they're developing now.  And who would pay a subscription fee for it?  It needs to be maintained somehow.  But players of Nostalrius weren't paying to play it, so they probably wouldn't want to pay a subscription for a legacy server anyway.  They'd probably just find a new private server to play on.

Maybe the solution is a happy medium.  I don't know how they could accomplish it, but maybe Blizzard could create some sort of partnership with Nostalrius.  Even though there isn't a sub fee for it, it could be monetized in other ways.  Maybe in-game ads (like billboards in GTA), or ads on the website, or small non-obtrusive ads in the game that you can click out of.  You can't expect Blizzard to let someone use their IP without some sort of gain from it.  It just isn't feasible.

Blizzard has said they are going to be having "talks" with Nostalrius.  I'm excited for what this might entail.

Though Nostalrius was shut down, it was announced that they would shortly be introducing Vanilla servers! Though I won't be playing it, I'm sure some people are rejoicing. Read about it here.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Black Gate Tips for Resto Druids

Other Hellfire Citadel Guides for Restoration Druids:
Hellbreach (Hellfire Assault, Iron Reaver, Kormrok)
Halls of Blood (Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye, Gorefiend)
Bastion of Shadows (Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal, Tyrant Velhari)
Destructor's Rise (Fel Lord Zakuun, Xhul'horac, Mannoroth)

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

We made it!  The last chapter of my Hellfire Citadel Tips for Resto Druids series.  Now we can close the book.

1. Archimonde

Archimonde boss guide restoration druid guide hellfire citadel resto
It's a butt.
This is a 3-phase fight in which he will gain additional abilities as you damage him.  I recommend Displacer Beast here because of all the times you're going to have to move: run away when targeted by Doomfire, running when Allure of Flames is cast, spreading out and grouping up when Shadowfel Burst is cast, moving out of green circles and into light orbs during Desecrate, moving out of the group during Focused Chaos and Wrought Chaos, Shackled Torment, moving out of purple circles when Dreadstalkers cast Consume Magic, and kiting the Void Star.  There is a lot of running and dodging in this fight.

People will be fairly spread out, so keep your Mushroom under the tanks, melee, or the largest group of people.  Use your best judgement.

If you or anyone else break Shackled Torment during Rain of Chaos, make sure you have a defensive cooldown like Barkskin or Ironbark available to you.  Make sure to slap a Rejuvenation on yourself or them so you can heal yourself back up quickly.

You'll be grouping up with a tank and a couple DPS during Nether Banish, and during that time make sure to completely HoT up your tank, such as with Rejuvenation, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom.  Keep Rejuvenation rolling on everyone and don't be afraid to use Genesis if you need to.

Tanks will take heavier damage from Death Brand, especially if they have Shadow Blast stacks, so they may need additional healing and be sure to make good use of Ironbark when necessary.

A glyph I recommend is Glyph of Stampeding Roar.  There will be times when the whole raid will need to move as a unit, so being to pop this will help ensure everyone gets a speed boost at the right time.  If you have multiple druids, you can work out a timing schedule of when each of you will use Stampeding Roar.

There isn't really one good time to use Tranquility.  There will be many times throughout the raid where you'll wanna pop your 'OH SHIT' button, so I'd only use it when the raid leader calls for it.  Use your best judgement.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Popping the Gold Cap

It was recently announced that the gold cap is going to be raised to 9,999,999 gold.  It is currently 999,999 gold.  I have to say I'm not happy about the change.

I'm no auction house baron but I do decently well for myself.  I currently have 100k and I tend to hover between 50k and 150k.  It's not very difficult to make gold right now so I'm taking advantage of my multiple garrisons while I can.

Logically I can see why they'd want to raise the gold cap.  Some players have made so much gold through garrisons that they're starting to cap out on multiple characters.  I have read that this change will make it more difficult to instantly cap auctions and will help with inflation, but I'm not an economist so this goes in one ear and out the other for me.

What I'm worried about is dickbags overpricing things on the Auction House.  Presumably, gold will be comparatively harder to get in Legion.  I'm worried that prices will rise as the rate of gold acquisition among average players will decrease.  I already see things for the current gold cap on the auction house.  With a higher gold cap, those things will be even further out of reach for the average player like me.  It's just a bummer.  Maybe I should borrow the gold and buy a Spectral Tiger while I can.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Destructor's Rise Tips for Resto Druids

Other Hellfire Citadel Guides for Restoration Druids:
Hellbreach (Hellfire Assault, Iron Reaver, Kormrok)
Halls of Blood (Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye, Gorefiend)
Bastion of Shadows (Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal, Tyrant Velhari)
The Black Gate (Archimonde)

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

Obviously this is a little late, but I hate leaving things unfinished so I'm going to finish the last 2 parts of my Hellfire Citadel Tips for Resto Druids series.  You can find it and the rest or my Restoration Druid guides here.  Then I can close the book on it and I won't feel like a fuckbucket for not finishing it.  Today we're tackling the Destructor's Rise series of bosses: Fel Lord Zakuun, Xhul'horac, and Mannoroth.  Let's jump in.

1. Fel Lord Zakuun

fel-lord zakuun restoration druid boss guide hellfire citadel resto

As a healer, there aren't a lot of special mechanics you'll need to be worrying about.  It's a fairly straightforward fight and with a good group you shouldn't have too much trouble.  It's a small space so Feline Swiftness should be sufficient to run out of things, and if you find yourself having trouble with placement you can take Displacer Beast.  I recommend saving Tranquility for Seed of Destruction.  You may want to arrange a cooldown rotation with the other healers.  Make sure to focus heals on people with the Befouled debuff, but only heal them to full if they are away from other players.  Keep your Wild Mushroom under the largest group of people, which will generally be the melee.  There isn't a lot of room for movement in this fight area so you'll be more or less grouped together the whole time.  You may be targeted by Seed of Destruction, so when that happens, HoT yourself up and maybe cast Ironbark or Barkskin on yourself.  Stand still so you don't walk into your own waves and die.

2. Xhul'horac

xhul'horac boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel raid resto

Healing this fight is either going to be very easy or very hard, depending on how your raid can handle mechanics.  Just one fuckup can cause a lot of raid damage, thanks to Shadowfel Annihilation.  Someone is bound to mess it up, so I would save big cooldowns like Tranquility and Tree of Life (should you use it) for this situation.  Depending on your strategy, your group will likely stay stacked in two groups throughout most of the fight, so just keep your Wild Mushroom under whichever one is taking the most damage.  I recommend Displacer Beast and Glyph of Stampeding Roar because you will need to move Fel Surge and Void Surge out of the group.  Every little speed boost helps and you may want to coordinate Stampeding Roar with any other druids in your group.

3. Mannoroth

mannoroth boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto raid

This isn't too bad a fight for healers.  There's aren't a lot of mechanics specially for us.  There are a few movement mechanics that may present some difficulty, so you can talent into Displacer Beast if you need the extra mobility.  These mechanics are Curse of the Legion (run into melee and dispel yourself), Mark of Doom (run into the pool in the center of the platform and don't let another player be in your purple circle), Felseeker (avoid the 3 rings), and Shadowforce (use movement abilities to keep from falling off the edge).  Shadowforce will affect multiple players so it's helpful if you can pop a Stampeding Roar when this goes off, as well as use Dash.  Whatever is necessary to not fall off the platform.  This also makes the Glyph of Stampeding Roar useful.  You will be stacked on Mannoroth's butt the majority of the fight, so you may not have to deal with Shadowforce at all if you group is facing away from the pillar.  Since you'll be stacked, you can easily keep Wild Mushroom under either the ranged or melee group.  Stack on players affected by Empowered Mannoroth's Gaze, which causes Gazing Shadows.  Use a defensive cooldown on yourself or anyone who is taking a lot of damage from it.  There aren't any big damage phases you will need to use Tranquility on, except maybe Mannoroth's Gaze, so use your best judgement or wait for your raid leader to call it before you use it.

That's that for Destructor's Rise.  Look out for the next and final part sometime next week.  It's already written, so it will be up!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Magical Diary Review

Magical Diary game review otome steam anime manga girl
Via Google

 My next game review is for Magical Diary, developed by Hanako Games.  You become a freshman at a magical boarding school.  You can pick your classes, activities, and which guy you're gonna date.  It's overall a cute game, but it does have a few quirks.  Fortunately, the pros far outweigh the cons of this game.

Firstly, the graphics are adorable.  They're done in typical manga style.  My one nitpick is that there isn't a lot of variety in most of the characters.  It wouldn't be uncommon for you to run into a character that looks exactly like yours, since it appears that almost every character is made with the same generator.  While it's nice you can design your character a little, the limited options make it fall a bit flat.  The backgrounds are also boring and the same ones get reused with very little difference between them.

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Let's move on to your interpersonal relationships.  While the people can you CAN romance are interesting enough, there's not many options.  There's only 3 men and 2 women you can romance in this game, and I would like more variety.  But I do like that they included queer relationships in this game to represent more of the relationship spectrum.  The developers seem to be very aware of less mainstream relationship choices.  The game also touches upon gender identity.  Apparently there's a much wider gender spectrum in the supernatural realm, and they have a complete list of pronouns for a supernatural being whose gender may not be apparent or fit with conventional human gender.  I loved this touch.

This brings me to my next plus.  Professor Potsdam is the bomb.  Though she tries to guide her students to make good choices, she realizes that the students are capable of making decisions and thinking for themselves.  She is helpful but not overbearing.  She even gives you a sex talk eventually.  She's totally okay with consensual sex as long as you aren't bothering anyone or getting knocked up.  I wish I had a teacher like her who was helpful but not bossy.

Magical Diary game review manga anime otome steam

This game is a bit deeper than the average otome, but I would have liked it to go deeper.  It goes into subjects such as friendship, love, life, death, family.  I feel like they could have done so much more with it though.  It's very disappointing that the game covers only 1 year of school.  It would be nice if there had been sequels or DLC in which other years were covered, or you could play someone in a different Hall.  I also wish there had been more personal choices.  While there were obviously a lot of choices because of the nature of the game, there were some that are made for you.  Like when you go on a date with a particular guy, you say to him that you won't have sex with him.  But what if I want to have sex with him?  I don't get that options.  There are a lot of instances like this where your character's reaction is out of your control and that's annoying.

That said, the game does have some interesting stories.  You can't possibly get to all the subplots in one playthrough.  It depends on your characters stories.  I played through 3 times and didn't realize one of the subplots until I Googled a walkthrough, even though the game dropped hints the whole way through.  This game is definitely not lacking replayability.  But even though the stories are interesting, there aren't a lot of day-to-day things to choose to do.  Study or class?  That's pretty much it for the most part and it gets boring.

Magical Diary game review spells anime manga otome steam

I do love the puzzles in the game.  Periodically, you have exams in which you enter a dungeon and have to find your way out.  They're actually really fun and add nice variety to the gameplay.  Each dungeon has multiple solutions that correspond to each style of magic.  No matter what branch of magic you've been concentrating on, you will be able to find a way through the challenge if you try hard enough and think creatively.

I have a couple last niggles.  The audio of the game is cute but very boring and repetitive.  There are certain little sounds that correspond to events, like a gong when something bad happens.  These do little to break the monotony and I would have like a more interesting score.  There is also a LOT of RP text.  You will often find yourself clicking through minutes of RP text before you actually have to make a decision about something. It's a little annoying and repetitive and causes you to have less control over your actions.

Overall I liked this gem of a game.  It was cute and reminiscent of a certain other magic school story, but different enough to be distinctive and gives off a whole different vibe.  I would love to play a sequel and this might be my gateway otome game because now all Steam is giving me is otome games and I kind of love it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Taking an Anime Detour

Sup.  Been a while huh?

Lazy. Busy.  I could make a bunch of excuses, but what's the point in that?  Let's get to the meat!

This past weekend I attended Anime Detour in Minneapolis.  It was glorious.  It was a perfect weekend of gaming, anime, and ramen.  I came home $500 poorer.  Mostly I bought posters, but I also bought a couple shirts, a pencil case, a sleeping mask, and a sword.  Yeah, I bought a pink katana.  I'm going to mount it on my wall, above one of my stuffed animal shelves.  I also bought some PS3 games I've been wanting to get.

Since returning from Detour, I've been binge watching AKB0048.  I didn't think I'd like it because it has such an odd premise, and I don't like ridiculous animes.  I won't be writing a review on it because I think watching an anime just for fun and watching it to review are different.  I've just been watching it for fun and if I was to review it I'd have to watch it again with my "review glasses" on.  I'm already on the second season.

On the gaming front, I haven't been spending a super lot of time in WoW.  Mostly I've been logging in, doing garrison stuff, and doing auctions.  I'm steadily making gold.  I've been spending a lot of time playing other single-player games.  Lately I've been revisiting a childhood city builder favorite, Pharaoh.  I'm trying not to use any cheat codes, and beat the levels myself.  I think it's more rewarding that way.

The school semester is almost over, and with that there will be more posts as I have more free time and my brain space isn't taken up by academic stuff.  I may also begin working on my YouTube channel.  I have one and I made the art already, but I haven't made any videos for it.

I also am planning to preorder Overwatch soon.  I have been paying off doctor bills, but next month I'll finally have my doctor bills paid off and I'll have a little bit extra money for funsies.  I did play in the last open beta weekend, and I'm super good.  Ok, that's a lie, I'm poop.  But it was fun, and I do enjoy playing Widowmaker.  Unfortunately, everyone plays Widowmaker.

Blizzard also recently announced Blizzcon 2016.  Part of me is excited, and the other part of me is like... "What more could they have to talk about?"  We already know all the shabazz that's going to be coming out, so what's the point of Blizzcon?  I hope they have something awesome up their sleeves.  If they don't that's going to be a big waste of money, because I'm definitely buying a virtual ticket again this way.  I guess if nothing else I'll get a cool pet.

Well that's the end of the stuff I wanted to talk about.  Watch this space for cool new stuff at some point int he present or not present future.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sick Days

Things have been pretty quiet lately.  There's a few reasons for that.

I threw out my back (yeah, I'm only 23 and I have back problems).  I was pretty much on bedrest for a week.  And now I'm sick.  It's been a bit of a shit show, and I still have to keep up with my 5 classes I'm taking.

It's been kind of hard to balance everything.  Lately I've been feeling a lot of burnout, and all I wanna do is play Zeus and watch TV.  I've also been watching a lot of Netflix.  I watched the new Land Before Time movie because... I can.  I had all of those movies on VHS back in the day.  I also watched Jem and the Holograms.  It wasn't THAT bad.  I tried to watch this Chinese film called The Assassin but I just couldn't.  I got halfway through and nothing was happening at all.

There's a LOT of good shows on this season.  A lot of new ones.  Here's a list of things I'm watching.  Just because.

1. Hell's Kitchen
2. Supernatural
3. Teen Wolf
4. The Magicians
5. Recovery Road
6. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
7. Real Housewives of Potomac
8. The Shannara Chronicles
9. Shadowhunters
10. Pretty Little Liars
11. New Girl
12. Lost Girl
13. Keeping Up with the Kardashians
14. The Originals
15. The Vampire Diaries
16. Project Runway All Stars
17. Grimm
18. Scandal
19. How to Get Away with Murder
20. Teen Mom
21. Girl Meets World
22. Real Housewives of Atlanta
23. Teen Mom OG
24. Family Guy
25. Vanderpump Rules
26. Dance Moms
27. Criminal Minds
28. Bring It!

My god I have a problem.  But when I'm sick, I just wanna curl up on my bed with my dog and watch some trashy reality television.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Miscellaneous Ramblings

This isn't gonna be a post about anything in particular.  You know how YouTubers sometimes sit down and ramble in front of a camera for 20 minutes about just whatever pops into their head?  This is gonna be like that.  But in text.  So automatically about 35% less interesting.

I haven't been playing a lot of WoW lately.  My raiding team is having roster issues so we're on a bit of a hiatus until we get some more good people.  What keeps happening is we have an abundance of healers but not many good dps.  I've decided to start gearing my shaman as ele.  I haven't played my shaman much and when I did it was resto, but I think ele shamans do look pretty cool.  They're like druids, but with rocks.  And stuff.  It's a bit of a slow start.  Good PUGs are hard to come by.

I also think I'm gonna start my transmog collecting extravaganza in anticipation of Legion.  I don't much transmog collected but there are so many good places to find sets I wanna get a head start on it.  I'm terribly obsessive about keeping my banks clear so I have plenty of slots to hold gear until Legion drops.  I'll also be looking out for mounts while I'm at it.

I finally collected the last pet I can buy for my pet collection.  All the ones now that I don't have are from achievements and whatnot.  And I now have about 15 or so pets that are still not 25.  That will be easy to rectify, if I can make my lazy butt get up and do battle trainers.

In non-WoW news, the game I've mostly playing is Zeus: Master of Olympus.  It's an old-school citybuilder based on ancient Greece.  It's one of my favorite games.  I just discovered the wide world of user-created campaigns to download.  I'm having a lot of fun with it.

zeus master of olympus

I kind of want to start making Let's Play videos for my currently-inactive YouTube channel.  It's just a small case of cold feet.  I think I may want to start out with Lethis since I've already played it so it may be a bit easier to talk about.  After that, I want to start whittling down my Steam list.  I have so many games I haven't played.  After Lethis, I'm thinking of playing Magical Diary and making videos and a review about that.

Time is a bit scarce lately though.  I'm taking five classes this semester.  That's a big workload.  I'm taking them online so mostly it's a lot of reading more than anything else.

So right now I'm starting to binge-watch all the Pokemon movies on Netflix because they're being taken down in February.  I hurt my back again so all I have is time for the next few days while my back heals.  My left hip and my lower back right above my tailbone is where it hurts the most.  I can't even stand up straight.  At least it's a good excuse to ask my mom to do things for me, like make me grilled cheese.

So that's what I've been doing.  I'll be finishing my Resto Druid raiding guide probably in the next week or so.  Since I haven't been raiding as much I haven't gotten the screenies or been doing the mechanics to keep the strategies in my mind.  Until then, see ya.

PS: If you're in the US, don't forget to caucus!  It doesn't matter who for.  Just be involved!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Yuki Yuna Is a Hero Review

Other Anime Reviews:
Little Witch Academia
Log Horizon
Tamako Market
Brave Witches

Review Index Page

Yuki Yuna is a Hero is a cute anime if you're into the magical girl thing.  It has an interesting plot with twists and turns you wouldn't see coming.  It's one of the more original magical girl plots.  The world seems more fleshed-out than you usually get in a short anime like this one.  However, it does have its flaws.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero anime review squad cute girls magical

We start out with our little gang of magical girls.  This anime definitely gets a little tropey.  You can count on just about every trope for a main character showing up in the first few episodes.  Fu is the responsible but firey older one, Yuna is the innocent and charitable one, Karin is the arrogant and brash one who later changes her ways, Mimori is the smart but shy one, Ituski is the younger adorable one.  Though tropey, the characters synergize well.  They are introduced in a way that it's easy to remember their names.

The story opens with the girls being part of the Hero Club at their middle school.  The club is basically a volunteering club.  They have their own room.  Seriously, each club gets its own room?  Suddenly they are transported into an odd forest and attacked by a weird monster that looks oddly like a phallus.  Then it is revealed: they have been chosen by a magical tree to be Heroes.

The magical tree is called the Shinju, and it is the source of all the blessings of humanity on the planet.  More of the Shinju's backstory is revealed later in the series.  The Shinju is protected and worshiped by a group called the Taisha, who also have a say is who is chosen to be a Hero.  The Heroes protect the Shinju from monsters that want to destroy it, thereby destroying the world, called Vertexes (they say Vertexes in the anime, but wouldn't the plural be Vertices?).

Yuki Yuna is a Hero anime review vertexes magical girls

The show doesn't do a good job of really explaining what the Vertexes are and exactly why they keep attacking.  It tells you a little bit, but they don't explain it all that well.  They also don't explain very well exactly what the Shinju is, or the role of the Taisha.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero anime review pretty art magical girls

What the anime lacks in exposition, it makes up for it in stunning visuals.  Seriously, this anime is gorgeous.  At first it looks like your run of the mill animation, but then once they get into the spirit forest it's like they're in a watercolor painting on steroids.  The flower imagery is also beautiful and it becomes apparent that each girl has a color and flower association.  This is incorporated into the henshins.  The henshin sequences are just as beautiful as the rest, and the costumes are very pretty.  Every Vertex looks unique and not something you see in other anime.  The way the ribbons are incorporated into Mimori's movement while transformed is something very unique that I haven't seen before.  The girls also get super henshin forms that augment their original weapons.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero anime review henshin fuku costumes magical girl

The weapons in this anime is unique.  Not a single girl has a magical stick that performs their attacks for them.  They have swords and some sort of weird wire chakram.  The battles are really cool.  One cool thing that this anime explores is that fighting has actual consequences.  Girls become crippled doing this work.  It's very reminiscent of Madoka Magica in that way.  There is a dark secret hidden in the Hero system.  It leads to some very dark suicide shit, and this show gets super fucked up.  Not quite to the Madoka level of fucked up, but it gets close.  Another parallel is that the main character is pretty innocent and has pink hair, while the other girls is her best friend with long black hair and wants nothing more than to protect her, even at the expense of everyone else.  See a similarity?

Yuki Yuna is a Hero anime review magical girl madoka homura yuna mimori

However, it does have its lighthearted moments.  Sometimes this anime seems more like a slice of life than a magical girl show.  It gives some depth to the everyday lives of the girls, but the fighting aspect sometimes falls to the wayside and backstory is never explained fully.  There is one episode dedicated solely to helping Itsuki pass her singing test.  Not a single fight in it.  While I see later why it was necessary to put emphases on her love of singing and how important to her her voice is, they could have done this is a less time-consuming fashion.  Also, I'd like to say the tarot desk Itsuki uses is the same as my old one.

Though the show has a very interesting integration of modern technology in it, I have to wonder if it makes a lot of sense.  Everything is done within an app.  When they want to summon their familiar, they must use an app.  I think it would be a pain in the butt to have to do everything from within an app, that would get tedious.  Also, the girls communicate in battle using their phone.  What if one of them dropped or lost their phone? Or the screen broke?  It would make more sense for the girls to use some sort of headset for communication.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero anime review cute magical girls slice of life squad

A couple other things bothered me, like the fanservice.  I know, we gotta lure a male audience somehow.  And it's really only one girl they do this with.  It zooms in on her jiggling boobies every time she transforms, and the ribbons tie around her body like some sort of fucked up bukkake.  It zooms in on her ass a lot.  I roll my eyes every time I see her asscrack showing under her skintight outfit.

I'm also wondering why they just randomly switched school uniforms halfway through and then switched back during the last couple episodes?  That was weird, but their first uniforms were cute.  The second ones were pretty plain.  One thing I love about anime with schoolgirls in it is how unique the school uniform designs can be.

I also hated that the girls kept repeating the tenets of the club over and over and over.  In battle.  In the hallways.  In the club room.  My god, shut up.  We know.  Once is enough.

The music in the show was fine. Just fine.  Neither song appealed to me much.  The opening animation was interesting, as it shows the characters doing everyday things and battling, and it also emphasizes the flower imagery prevalent in the series.  The songs just aren't that good.  The opening sounds more like an ending theme - slow and cutesy.  I felt like it should have been more upbeat.  The ending isn't anything special and the entire time they're just walking on a beach.

Overall I really enjoyed this anime.  I wish it had been longer so the story could have been expanded upon and fully explained.  It had its niggles but it holds up really well against the other magical girl anime out there and I definitely recommend it, for the visuals if nothing else.  If you like Magica Madoka, Sailor Moon, or Cardcaptor Sakura, you will like this too.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bastion of Shadows Tips for Resto Druids

Other Hellfire Citadel Guides for Restoration Druids:
Hellbreach (Hellfire Assault, Iron Reaver, Kormrok)
Halls of Blood (Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye, Gorefiend)
Bastion of Shadows (Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal, Tyrant Velhari)
Destructor's Rise (Fel Lord Zakuun, Xhul'horac, Mannoroth)

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

1. Shadow-Lord Iskar

shadow-lord iskar boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto

This fight has a special job for healers: possessing the Eye of Anzu in order to dispel Fel Bomb.  It is likely that one healer will be designated to dispel.  Usually a tank will hold the Eye during the downtime it isn't being passed around, and will give it to the healer who is in charge of dispelling.  Dispelling from a single target will dispel everyone, so you can send the Eye back to the tank for interrupting.  If you are not using the addon Iskar Assist (which you should), be sure your raid frames are set up to show the debuffs and create a macro for your extra action button so you can pass the Eye.  There will be two groups for most of the fight: ranged/healers and melee.  I generally recommend keeping your mushroom under melee.  Displacer Beast may be helpful if you have trouble with your reaction time, but if your reaction time is good, then Feline Swiftness is perfectly fine.  During the Phantasmal Winds, popping Dash and Stampeding Roar will keep you alive.  If there are multiple druids in your group, you can set up a Stampeding Roar rotation so that it is always available during Phantasmal Winds.

2. Socrethar the Eternal

socrethar the eternal boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto

Socrethar is basically a tank n' spank so there isn't a whole lot you will need to worry about.  Definitely spec into Typhoon so you can use it against the ghosts.  It will buy you some time for kiting.  It may become necessary to use Dash or Stampeding Roar to run around until your DPS take the ghosts down, but it shouldn't come to that.  People will be spread out for most of the fight so I would keep your Mushroom under the tanks/melee for the most part.  It may become necessary to dispel Shadow Word: Agony from the tank once it reaches too many stacks.  Your raid leader can decide how many stacks they can handle.  Players with Gift will need significant healing due to the damage debuff.  The Soulbound Construct cannot be healed in Phase 2 so make sure it's healed up before the phase shift.  There isn't anything that will require super good movement.  Usually you will just move out of the way when Socrethar targets you and you should be right as rain with plenty of time to move.

3. Tyrant Velhari

tyrant velhari boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto

This fight can be a bit of a heal check.  Velhari will put an absorption shield called Touch of Harm on everyone.  You will need to outheal it with big single target heals like Healing Touch.  Don't dispel it unless the target is in danger of dying.  In the beginning the ranged and healers will be spread, so place your mushroom under the melee and tanks.  Later the whole raid will be stacked during the burn phase and you will need to move your mushroom quite frequently during the movement to avoid the despoiled ground.  You and your fellow healers may wish to set up a cooldown rotation for the edicts in Phase 2, as it hits quite hard.  Phase 2 also means you have to deal with font, so you may want to keep your mushroom under those affected by it, who will usually stack at a designated marker..  It's really up to your discretion.  There aren't any major movement obstacles so any movement talent will do you dandy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Little Witch Academia Review

Other Anime Reviews:
Brave Witches
Log Horizon
Tamako Market
Yuki Yuna is a Hero

Review Index Page

Little Witch Academia was an anime that came out of nowhere for me.  I was randomly reading Kotaku one day and saw an article about a little anime short called Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade.  It looked cute but I find it difficult to watch subs so I skipped over it.  Then one day in December, I saw both of the shorts had been dubbed and were now on Netflix.  Of course I had to watch it.

Little Witch Academia anime review Shiny Chariot
Shiny Chariot, the witch that started it all... kind of.

The premise of Little Witch Academia is that it takes place in a school for witchcraft, populated by only female students (as far as we've seen).  The main characters are Akko, Lotte, and Sucy.  Akko is our quintessential fiery, happy go lucky magical girl, who's actually kinda shitty at magic, but makes up for it with an astoundingly happy attitude.  Lotte is shy and a bit of a bookworm.  Sucy is a very deadpan character who likes making deadly poisons- er, I mean, potions.  Diana is Akko's overachieving and haughty rival, with Hannah and Barbara being her little sidekicks that follow her around.

Akko is not an ancestral witch like almost everyone at Luna Nova.  She became inspired to become a witch by watching a witch named Shiny Chariot perform flashy magic shows, which almost all the other witches look down upon as exploiting magic.  Shiny Chariot eventually faded into obscurity, but she inspired Akko to love magic and want to use it to make people happy.

In the first episode, one of their teacher sends their class down into a magical labyrinth populated by monstrous creatures and traps, to come out with a rare artifact within an hour.  This, as you might guess, leads to some life-or-death shenanigans with our dear heroes.  In the second episode, Akko and her friends get into some major trouble thanks to Sucy's penchant for toxic substances, and their punishment is to manage a parade that the school holds every year.  The witches go into town and are ridiculed and have tomatoes thrown at them.  Akko is disgusted by this tradition and tries to change it to celebrate magic and witches instead of ridicule them.

Little Witch Academia is an adorable little anime.  The animation itself reminds me a lot of Tweeny Witches, another very good series.  I love the effects like the fireworks in the beginning that are really cool and give the anime a definite magical feel.  It's like your right there with Akko watching Shiny Chariot for the first time.  I know after seeing something like that I'd wanna be a witch too.

Little Witch Academia anime review Diana squad dragon
How much trouble could this cute little guy cause?  A LOT.

I like the characters, but they can be a little annoying.  While watching, there were a few times I wanted to tell Akko to get her head out of her butt and get real.  It's not really like she's WRONG or anything.  She's just really bad at articulating what she thinks and feels.  Lotte needs to develop a backbone.  Sucy's just kinda weird.  But their friendship is really cute to see and even mean girl Diana gets some character development.

While the music wasn't exactly bad, there wasn't really anything very special about.  It was dramatic when it needed to be, and whimsical when it needed to be, but not anything worth mentioning.  As this is a short anime, it had no traditional anime opening or closing sequences.  If the show gets picked up as a full-length series or film I'd love to see opening and closing sequences, and some great music.

I feel like dub voice acting is a lot better than it used to be, and Little Witch Academia mostly came out unscathed.  Most of the voices seem to fit the character and situation, and aren't too annoying.  Amanda, one of the new supporting characters in the Enchanted Parade, got the short end of the stick with her VA.  The voice actress doesn't seem to fit her and the acting is very flat.  She could have been cast better, but the rest of the acting is almost perfect.

Little Witch Academia anime review squad
Squad goals.

I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Little Witch Academia.  I hope that the studio is able to create a full-length series of a film sequel the the shorts because it is such a cute anime with so much potential.  I come out of watching them with so many questions that I want answers to and I'd love to explore the world of the anime.  I hope they do well on Netflix and then the studio will have to make more.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Halls of Blood Tips for Resto Druids

Other Hellfire Citadel Guides for Restoration Druids:
Hellbreach (Hellfire Assault, Iron Reaver, Kormrok)
Bastion of Shadows (Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal, Tyrant Velhari)
Destructor's Rise (Fel Lord Zakuun, Xhul'horac, Mannoroth)
The Black Gate (Archimonde)

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

Hello raiders!  This is Part 2 of my Tips for Resto Druids series.  Today we will be covering the Halls of Blood.

1. Hellfire High Council

hellfire high council boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto

This is a pretty straightforward fight.  The only major mechanic you will need to worry about as a healer is the debuff that Dia gives you, called Mark of the Necromancer.  It does continual stacking damage.  Your group may have the healers only dispel when the debuff turns red, or it may tell you not to dispel at all.  It will really depend on how well your group does at mechanics and how much your fellow healers can heal through.  The group will be stacked for long period of time, so place your mushroom where it will heal the most people.  If you suffer from poor reaction time, it may be beneficial to take Displacer Beast so you can more easily run Reap to the far area of the room.  It would also be beneficial to hit Stampeding Roar just before Reap occurs to give your group an edge running it out of the group.  The glyph shouldn't be necessary due to the small area the fight takes place in.  If there are multiple druids in the raid, you can organize a rotation for it.  In the mythic version of the fight, the healers might want to arrange a cooldown rotation for the mirror image phase when Jubei'thos uses Windwalk, which deals heavy damage to the raid on that difficulty.

2. Kilrogg Deadeye

kilrogg deadeye boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto

Kilrogg is a bit of a pain in the butt for druid healers.  The melee group will be stacked on the boss the whole fight, so make sure your mushroom is always under them.  This is the only boss I can think of off the top of my head that I like to take Force of Nature on, and that is for death throes.  You can't stand still during this ability, so I find that it's helpful to drop trees to do some additional healing to complement my Rejuv spamming.  For the Heart Seeker, you may once again want to take displacer beast if you have trouble with your reaction time.  Otherwise, popping Dash or Stampeding roar will be enough to get you to the predetermined marker in time.  After someone is targeted by the heart seeker, they are given a damage over time debuff.  These people will need additional healing until the debuff falls off.  The vision phase is where this fight really kicks a druid's ass.  Druids are not built for super high instant single target healing.  Our healing takes place over time.  The visions phase has very high spike damage that is almost impossible to heal without popping tranq.  If you are chosen to go into the vision, pop your tranq, spam regrowth, and pray to Illidan that you don't fuck up.  And use Genesis a LOT.

3. Gorefiend

Gorefiend restoration druid boss guide hellfire citadel resto

Gorefiend is a pretty easy fight when you have the mechanics down.  It's a bit of a heal check.  DPS is less important on this fight.  Ranged will be standing a certain number of yards apart, so it's best to put your mushroom under either the melee or the tank.  As always, I would take Displacer beast if you have poor reaction time, otherwise using Dash or stampeding roar is fine when you get targeted by Touch of doom.  Run to the edge of the room or whatever marker your raid lead has designated.  Make sure you don't run right off the edge, because you WILL die.  I know this because I did it once.  If you are targeted by Shadow of death, and also the first time you die, you will be transported into Gorefiend's stomach.  Heal up the friendly Draenei spirit NPCs as much as you can.  What I usually do is get two stacks of Rejuv, Lifebloom, and a Living Seed on them and move onto the next one.  If you use VuhDo, make sure you turn on target frames in the 'Panels' section.  It makes it a lot easier to heal up the spirits.  Feast of Souls is the real healing check of this fight, so it is strongly recommended that the healers have a cooldown rotation for this, as it lasts an absurdly long time.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Guild Slut

I have a confession to make.  I was that girl.

You know.  THAT girl.  The girl in your guild who flirts with all the guys, makes raunchy jokes, and has a collection of dick pics on her phone.  That girl.

I was the guild slut.

It's not a title I claimed on purpose.  When I first started playing WoW I barely talked.  My guildies didn't even know who I was or that I was even a girl at all.  Eventually, I guess I discovered that if you were a girl and you flaunted it, you got attention.  In real life, I'm a pretty shy person.  My social interaction is pretty limited.  So when I found that I could get attention from guys in WoW, well gosh, it was an epiphany.

I mercilessly flirted with just about every guy I could.  I made sure to stay away from the guys who I knew were too old for me or had significant others.  That was drama I didn't want.  My long-term guild at the time had a guild Facebook so I always looked on there to make sure to only flirt with the guildies I found attractive, because I'm shallow like that.  Sometimes the flirtations would turn into sexting, or worse.... e-romances.

I was naive.  I didn't realize then that a lot of time, my flirting only lead to trouble.  Most of the time, the girls in my guild didn't like me because they thought I was a big immature slut.  At the time I just ignored them and thought they were just prudes and couldn't handle my openness.  Looking back, I wish I'd at least respected that sometimes there is a place and a not-place to flirt with guildies, and maybe raid wasn't one of them.  I annoyed the fuck out of people.

My need for attention lead me to make some bad decisions.  I got into relationships I shouldn't have.  They all ended up with my heart broken and my feelings hurt when I should have known better than to bring them into a game in the first place.  I made enemies because I didn't care about anyone else's feelings.  I sold pictures of my body for gold.  Yeah, I did that.  I'm not that ashamed, except I should have charged more because my boobies are priceless, but I lost a friend because of that transaction and that I am sad about.

It's difficult to make real friends in-game when everyone already thinks of you as an object.  I got guys' attention by flirting with them and acting sexual, but when I tried to have real conversations or talk about something that wasn't sexual, they didn't understand.  I'd conditioned them to think of me as an object of sexuality, not an actual person.  It took me a while to realize I was doing that.

I broke up a relationship and lost a dear friend because I couldn't keep my nose out of other peoples' business.  I was infatuated with someone, so I butted into their relationship and they eventually broke up.  I still maintain that they would have broken up eventually anyway, but that friend has never forgiven me and he probably never will.  It's my biggest single regret from the last 4 years of playing WoW.  Every mistake I've made doesn't compare to that single moment because I lost someone I cared about.

I just joined a new guild.  Their raid chat is raunchy and I love it.  They shit talk each other all night and it's the most hilarious thing ever.  I've been easing into talking because I don't want to make the same mistakes I have before.  Instead of being an object, I want to be a valued and respected member of the guild, who maybe happens to be a girl.  I want to be accepted and respected, not be known once again as the guild slut.

I am worth more than that.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hellbreach Tips for Resto Druids

Other Hellfire Citadel Guides for Restoration Druids:
Halls of Blood (Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye, Gorefiend)
Bastion of Shadows (Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal, Tyrant Velhari)
Destructor's Rise (Fel Lord Zakuun, Xhul'horac, Mannoroth)
The Black Gate (Archimonde)

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

Though it's a little late to the party, I thought someone might benefit from the little tricks I've learned healing Hellfire Citadel.  These are geared for heroic, but would probably work for other difficulties too.  As always, before attempting a new boss, you should read or watch a thorough guide so you aren't a burden to your team.  I also recommend VuhDo and DBM because that is what I use.  You can also read my post A Raiding Primer, and my Restoration Druid Guide series.

1. Hellfire Assault

Hellfire Assault boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto

Talents and glyphs aren't going to matter too much on this fight.  Your group will likely place markers for a group on the left and the right.  Whichever group you are in, place your mushroom  under where it will heal the most people.  Depending on the difficulty, you may be asked to handle running the ammo crates to the cannons.  If your reaction time needs a little work, you can talent into Displacer Beast to give yourself an edge.  But under normal circumstances, Feline Swiftness coupled with cat form and either Dash or Stampeding roar should be just fine.  There are no big raidwide damage abilities you will need to coordinate cooldowns on, but sometimes the Felcasters can get out of control and you may need to pop a tranquility.  Dispel Conducted Shock Pulse as soon as you see it.

2. Iron Reaver

Iron Reaver boss guide restoration druid resto hellfire citadel

Iron Reaver is much like Hellfire Assault.  It's kind of Hellfire Assault Pt. 2.  There is a lot of stuff to avoid.  Make sure your mushroom is under the largest group of people, but when the fight gets going people will be moving a LOT.  Make sure you stand near melee.  This is not a fight where you need to distance yourself from the boss.  That will just make it much harder to avoid Barrage.  As with the previous fight, if you have poor reaction time, displacer beast is your friend.  Your group may want to set up a cooldown rotation for Pounding.  If you get Artillery, run well away from the rest of the group and HoT (Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, and Living Seed and Wild Growth if possible) yourself up, and apply Barkskin to yourself.  When the tank has Artillery, make sure you have HoTs rolling on him and cast Ironbark on him.  When you are not targeted by Artillery, make sure you're staying in range of as many players as possible because people tend to scatter and it can be hard to heal people.  If possible, it's even better to mark the healers and tell people to stay near them.

3. Kormrok

Kormrok boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto

Movement on Kormrok isn't very difficult, so your movement talent is really up to you.  When the explosive / empowered start to come up, it's a nice little boost to your raid to cast stampeding roar.  You can also use glyph of stampeding roar to increase its range.  Your group will likely be stacking on the boss's butt for most of the raid, so place your mushroom under the group.  Healers may want to arrange a cooldown rotation for Pound.  Make sure you're spaced away from other people and pop a Tranquility.  There will be spiking damage from the runes and the grasping / dragging hands, so make sure to HoT people up and spot heal with Healing Touch or Regrowth as needed.  If someone gets dragged into a pool, you can try to keep them healed up but it's unlikely they will survive.