Brain Clutter

December 27, 2007

Team Fortress 2 Rocks!

Filed under: gaming, personal — Tags: , — brainclutter @ 9:33 am

Team Fortress 2

I had a bit of spare time over the extended weekend and a friend convinced me to install Team Fortress 2. After racking up about 8 hours of playtime, I can safely say that I’m not disappointed with my decision! 😀

It was a bit intimidating to start up without having read any instructions or even game reviews prior to my install, however, it didn’t take long to work out the rust from my old school FPS fingers. I used to be a big fan of Unreal Tournament 1 & 2 and even Quake 3 to a point. Since those games, I’ve been playing MMORPGs like DAOC and WoW, so the twitchiness sort of left me for a while.

My first few hours in TF2 were spent as enemy fodder. In fact, it probably took me about 30 minutes to even get my first kill. I slowly started to adapt and figure out key strategies for the various classes and by my 8th hour, spent late last night, I even managed to rack up 7 straight kills as a Demoman before finally getting sniped.

My top 3 favorite classes are probably the Demoman, Medic, and Soldier. I’ve yet to try out the Engineer, and I think honing my skills as a Spy would be a lot of fun in the long run. I don’t know how long the novelty will last, but for now it’s pretty fun, even though it can also be just as frustrating if you get on a bad team or face really skilled opponents.

Thumbs up for now anyway!


November 26, 2007

The Greenskin has Launched – Webcomicy goodness

Filed under: blogging, contest, gaming, MMORPG, Warhammer Online — Tags: — brainclutter @ 10:02 am

Howdy folks,

I finally ironed out the bugs and officially launched my Warhammer Online blog, called The Greenskin last week. If you click on this comic, it will take you to my contest page, explaining how you could win an MMO Calendar and WAR beta key.

The Greenskin webcomic - Orcish Bullies


November 4, 2007

WoW Shadow Priest // Ultimate PvP gear at level 70! (Version 2)

Filed under: gaming, MMORPG, shadow priest, the burning crusade, World of Warcraft — brainclutter @ 5:00 pm



Back by popular demand, here’s version 2 of the Ultimate PvP Gear Guide for Shadow Priests (World of Warcraft). As with version 1, this guide showcases only the best armour, weapons, and accessories that can be gained solely through PvP (ie. purchased with honour and battleground/arena marks). PvE drops need not apply! 😉

This set aims to provide:

  • The highest possible + spell damage
  • The highest possible stamina and intelligence
  • Good resilience

Now, on to the good stuff!


Buying this full set will cost you:

  • Arena (13,525)
  • Honour (158,312)
  • Alterac Valley (60)
  • Arathi Basin (60)
  • Eye of the Storm (50)
  • Warsong Gulch (20)

Stat/Effect Summary (before enchantments)

  • Stamina – 674
  • Intellect – 334
  • + Spell Damage – 812
  • + Healing – 804
  • + Resilience – 416
  • Other – 32 spell critical, +3% spell crit damage, 17 hit, 14 penetration, 6 mp5, -3 seconds Psychic Scream cooldown, -2 seconds Weakened Soul effect
  • Trinket 1 – Medallion (use): dispel Fear/Stun/Poly/MC
  • Trinket 2 – Battlemaster (use): instant HP buff 1750 (15 seconds)

Gear Links:

Weapon – Vengeful Gladiator’s Gavel (3,150 arena)
Offhand – Vengeful Gladiator’s Endgame (1,125 arena)
Wand – Vengeful Gladiator’s Touch of Defeat (1,000 arena)

Boots – Vindicator’s Dreadweave Stalkers (17,850 honour, 40 eye of the storm)
Chest – Vengeful Gladiator’s Satin Robe (1,875 arena)
Gloves – Vengeful Gladiator’s Satin Gloves (1,125 arena)
Head – Vengeful Gladiator’s Satin Hood (1,875 arena)
Legs – Vengeful Gladiator’s Satin Leggings (1,875 arena)
Shoulders – Vengeful Gladiator’s Satin Mantle (1,500 arena)

Back – Sergeant’s Heavy Cape (9,435 honour, 20 arathi basin)
Belt – Vindicator’s Dreadweave Belt (17,850 honour, 40 arathi basin)
Bracer – Vindicator’s Dreadweave Cuffs (11,794 honour, 20 warsong gulch)
Neck – Vindicator’s Pendant of Dominance (15,300 honour, 10 eye of the storm)
Ring – Vindicator’s Band of Dominance (15,300 honour, 10 alterac valley)
Ring – Vindicator’s Band of Salvation (15,300 honour, 10 alterac valley)
Trinket – Medallion of the Horde/Alliance (16,983 honour)
Trinket – Battlemaster’s Audacity (30,000 honour, 40 alterac valley)

Gem Links:

Meta (x1) – Chaotic Skyfire Diamond (crafted)
Red (x3) – Glowing Shadowsong Amethyst (crafted)
Orange (x1) – Potent Ornate Topaz (8,500 honour)
Orange (x3) – Potent Pyrestone (crafted)

There you have it! Please leave your questions or feedback in a comment below!


Here’s a list of all my other Shadow Priest articles:

August 9, 2007 – A social networking MMORPG

Filed under: gaming, MMORPG, social networking, World of Warcraft — brainclutter @ 11:50 am is a free, fun, web-based MMORPG with elements of social networking; think World of Warcraft mixed with Web 2.0.

I don’t know whether to call it a game or a social network because elements of both worlds are seamlessly integrated in this addicting new service. Your goal is to raise up a new character (avatar) from level 1 throughout the ranks by challenging other players and in-game monsters, while completing various quests from your taskmaster. In a sense it’s your traditional RPG but presented on the web through an engaging user interface and there are many ways to network with friends and declare war on enemies. Combat is determined by mathematics, based on your current weapon(s), armour, scrolls, skills, stats, abilities, etc. The ultimate goal similar to all MMORPGs: get to the highest level with the best equipment.

The game is very addictive if you’re a fan of RPGs, which might be a problem because they’re currently having server issues and intermittent downtimes. If you’re like me, you’ll be itching to log in and check on your duel status!

The game is very friendly to the casual player, reminiscent of the old play-by-email games like X-Com or Risk. You can log in, check your current status, spend any gained points, upgrade your equipment, challenge a bunch of people, start a quest, and logout again in mere minutes. Then you check back every hour or so to see how you’re doing. For the twitchy gamer, you might find the pace a bit slow because your progress is dictated by your duels and it may take some time for people to accept your challenges. If no-one is fighting you, there’s not much your character can do but sit there and wait.

This is an excellent time to read the user guide or contribute on the forums!

I do wonder how they plan to monetize their service [UPDATE below]. After only two days and a couple server upgrades/additions, they’re still experiencing game lag. They have nearly 50,000 people signed up right now with no signs of slowing down. I can imagine this will be pretty costly to keep going if they expand at their current rate…

Anyway, I only have couple hours experience on Duels and I’ve definitely made a few mistakes here and there, but I’ll rate this game a 4/5 for the fun factor and casual friendliness!

My only suggestions would be to redesign the user interface to not be so graphically intensive, as that is most definitely contributing to the server issues. Also, the Battle list showing all available opponents within your level range could use a bit of a redesign to allow for advanced searching and sorting (ie. show only monsters, show only level X opponents, show only path of the Y opponents, etc.). Finally, I wish it would save certain preferences with cookies or within your profile (e.g. always hide offline members when in the Battle screen, always default to text combat summaries rather than animated combat, etc.).

Animated battle screen!

UPDATE: has three account types. The first is free, and the other two are noble ($9.95 monthly) and patron ($25.00 annually) memberships. The free account gives you the very basics, which signing up for one of the other two accounts grants you additional inventory space, stipend gold per month, free backpacks, special badges/markers for your character, etc. They also sell Noblestones for real life cash, which can be used as in game currency to buy things like gold, extra backpacks, scrolls, character respecs, etc.

July 17, 2007

Shadow Priest – Best damage gear for PvP or PvE…

Filed under: gaming, MMORPG, shadow priest, the burning crusade, World of Warcraft — brainclutter @ 9:49 am

This is a listing of items that will best-suit your shadow priest in both PvP and Pve. The main factor these items are judged by is how much + spell/shadow damage they will give your character. My older posts about shadow priests can be found here:

Let’s cut to the chase; here is the BEST set of gear you can get for spell damage as a shadow priest!

Google Spreadsheet (listing all items ranked by spell/shadow damage rating as well as my recommended combination)


Screenshot (showing my recommended set with the best damage gear)

Best Shadow Priest Damage Gear

You can use the Google spreadsheet to make your own set by copying and pasting items from the left tables into the conversion table on the right. The screenshot shows my recommendations for the top damage gear your priest can get. This table does NOT account for enchantments, gems, or imbuements. The listed stats are the base stats I got from WoWhead and Thottbot between July 10 – July 17, 2007 and I’m sure they’ll become outdated within a patch or two, or perhaps another expansion in the future.

Some of these items are extremely hard to get, but they are the best of the best! I will link to the top three to four items in each slot by category (PvP, Drop, Vendor, Crafted) where applicable. I have also tried to provide the most accurate cost, reputation, and drop rate information possible.

Main Hand













Finger 1

Finger 2

Trinket 1

Trinket 2

There you have it! These are some of the top ranked items in Warcraft, ranked by spell/shadow damage. I hope this helps you decide which items to get for YOUR set! Please leave your questions and comments below! =)

June 7, 2007

Cool MMORPG game idea?

Filed under: gaming, MMORPG — brainclutter @ 12:13 pm

If I was a game developer (possessing actual skills in game development!) with infinite resources, this is the game I would pursue publishing for 2008/2009 release.

This idea draws on many influences ranging from the X-COM/Syndicate strategy games to MUDs to MMORPGs, to FPSs!

Subterfuge – Think GoldenEye meets World of Warcraft (WoW). This game would be a true hybrid FPS/MMORPG using real world intelligence service agencies (CIA, KGB, SS) acting as opposing factions. I want a game that plays like Unreal Tournament (UT) or Counter-Strike (CS) in terms of adrenaline pumping, shoot-em-up action but also has the rich storyline and character development process from games like WoW or Everquest. Each faction would have different goals and mission objectives opposed to their “enemies.” The game wouldn’t be level-based per say, but rather skill/rank-based as you perform training missions (e.g., protect this power plant, wipe out that armoury, or bandage up X civilians) in a PvE/PvP environment. You’d start off as a shaky recruit and end up as a seasoned veteran in your field of expertise. Gear upgrades would work on a training basis as well, similar to America’s Army (e.g., run through various training programs to achieve mastery of the 9mm handgun) and don’t forget unarmed/blade training for close-quarters combat.

Single player and group missions have obvious applications and I’d like to see one vs. many scenarios as well. Group situations would call on various members who specialize in different combat types (explosives, sniping, machine guns, medics, communications, vehicle operation, etc.) to work together as a team to complete the mission. There wouldn’t be an expansive world map like you’d find in WoW; instead you’d have a community of avatars (who can communicate with each other) running around a mission control centre (a vast base where training takes place and troops are deployed similar to Orgrimmar in WoW). When you or your group is/are deployed, you will be transported via a loading screen to an instanced area similar to the battleground maps in CS/UT/WoW, except much larger. Instead of spending a lot of time on a “world map,” effort would be spent on creating mini-map scenarios. The obvious benefit is that these map modules can be easily developed and implemented into the game via patches in a more timely fashion (say 2-3 new scenarios every month or two as a free upgrade).

The economy of this game is statistics, server-wide rankings, and rewards for single-player/group prowess. In terms of end-game content, one can specialize in multiple areas that interest them, but over time, if their skills aren’t used consistently, they’ll depreciate. The “time sink” will be staying at the top of your game, while learning new skills, achieving higher rank, and obtaining new weapons/armour/ammo/etc.

The initial release would be land-based but obvious expansions would bring the combat to air and sea.

Currently, Sony is developing an MMORPG for PS3 called The Agency, which may bring some of these elements into existence, for the console no less. Keep your eye on it, because if it implements even half of these ideas I think they’ll have a kick-ass game on their hands!

June 6, 2007

A little computer pricing experiment…

Filed under: computers, gaming, personal, tech, Warhammer Online — brainclutter @ 8:18 am

I plan to chart the cost of building a computer for myself over a six-month period, around about when Warhammer Online will be released (as it’s the only game I’m currently looking forward to).

I’m not ready to buy a new machine yet, but I was interested in running a cost comparison between a computer that can play the latest and greatest games today with the same build six months from now when I will likely build myself a new system.

I don’t foresee many changes in the next six months in terms of rising game requirements, but to be safe I have chosen to build the system with a DirectX 10 compatible video card along with Vista Home Premium (rumour has it, MS doesn’t plan on releasing dx10 for WinXP). Also, the motherboard supports SLI because it’s nice to have that expandability in the future.

Here’s what my NCIX shopping cart rings up if I were to buy the system today:

Here’s a breakdown and links to the individual components.

The total price for this system, less tax, is $1667.93 CAD (as of June 06, 2007) with free shipping promo and $20.00 in mail-in-rebates.

Beyond building this machine for gaming, I also want it to run quietly; hence it is using the most reasonably priced, “silent” components available. Also, I am shopping at NCIX because I’ve had wonderful experiences with them in the past and they are a Canadian company (based in Vancouver, BC). I could probably save a few bucks by shopping at Newegg, but they are prejudiced against Canadians or something, ie., they won’t sell to us.

I’ll post an update every two months with charts to show the price decreases (at least you’d hope there would be a decrease). Hopefully, this little experiment will further prove that patience reaps savings, in terms of technology at least, and beyond that, I’m not too sure. Maybe I’m simply trying to justify making an informed decision to myself rather than submitting to my Id (me want shiny toy NOW!).

Check back in a couple months!

May 7, 2007

An awesome WAR review by Nazgum

Filed under: gaming, reviews, Warhammer Online — brainclutter @ 2:08 pm

I’ma have to give link-props to Nazgum, who put together an excellent early beta review of Warhammer Online from his Gamesday experiences in Toronto last weekend.  Unfortunately, I live about 18 hours away, so a road trip was slightly out of the question or I’d have been there myself! The post has videos, so be sure to check ’em out!

Congratulate him for winning a beta invite while you’re over there!

March 7, 2007

Top spell damage gear for Shadow Priests

Filed under: gaming, MMORPG, shadow priest, the burning crusade, World of Warcraft — brainclutter @ 10:19 am

My two previous articles listed the best gear you could obtain solely through PvP (at 60 and at 70 with the burning crusade). Unfortunately, Blizzard made the BEST gear available mainly from PvE and crafting, so to really amp up your spell damage and other stats you’ll need to grind in PvE… for a long time.

My other posts about shadow priests can be found here:

The gear listed below is probably unattainable for most people but it gives you something to shoot for. Even if you only manage to get some of this equipment, chances are it will really boost your overall performance. Every item in the list is the TOP spell damage item your Shadow Priest can use, which in some cases sacrifices other important bonuses such as stats, + spell hit, + crit, + spell penetration, etc. You could probably create a more balanced suit by mixing and matching items from this list with items of your own choosing and chances are, they’d be easier to get… For example, look at this setup (Paradox’s profile of EU WoW @ the Armory), which isn’t too far off my “best” set shown below.

The table:

item table

The links:

Main Hand >> Gladiator’s Spellblade
Wand >> Wand of Qiraji Nobility
Offhand >> Khadgar’s Knapsack

Head >> Collar of Cho’gall
Shoulders >> Mantle of the Mind Flayer
Chest >> Will of Edward the Odd
Hands >> Handguards of the Avatar
Legs >> Battlecast Pants
Feet >> Boots of Blasphemy

Back >> Ancient Spellcloak of the Highborne
Finger >> Cobalt Ring of Tyrigosa
Finger >> Seer’s Signet
Neck >> Manasurge Pendant
Trinket >> Eye of Magtheridon
Trinket >> Icon of the Silver Crescent
Waist >> Girdle of Ruination
Wrist >> Bands of Nefarious Deeds

The breakdown:

Stamina – 302
Intellect – 261
Spirit – 22

Spell Damage – 821
Healing – 791
Spell Critical – 82

Resilience – 16
Spell Penetration – 20
Spell Hit – 15
Spell Damage bonus (when resisted) – 170 for 10 seconds
Spell Damage / Healing bonus (use) – 153 for 20 seconds

It would appear the the base stamina and intellect from this set are moderately weak so I’d suggest enchanting bonuses into your armour for these stats. I’d also enchant the Spellblade for an additional +30 spell damage. And again, I suggest mixing and matching because in many cases, these items give up great utility just to have the top spell damage ratings.

February 21, 2007

Shadow Priest 5-Man Viability in TBC

Filed under: gaming, shadow priest, the burning crusade, World of Warcraft — brainclutter @ 4:14 pm

My other posts about shadow priests can be found here:

I have been shadow-spec since I started my Undead priest, Snafzg, because it really fit into my solo-questing playstyle. In Azeroth, I rarely joined instance groups with the exception of Scarlet Monestary to upgrade my gear, bank some cash, and take advantage of accumulated rested XP. For some reason, I just couldn’t find many efficient pick-up groups and found a better time to XP ratio by keeping to myself.

Then the Burning Crusade expansion came out and I really liked the 5-man instance implementation and the quality of party-members increased as well. Horde priests are pretty rare on my server, so I’ve also noticed an increase in group invites. I tried a few groups out of shadow-form as the main healer and found things to be quite manageable in a balanced group (warrior/feral druid, mage, main healer (me), and two other hybrids). Sure it was my primary job to keep people healed up, but certain situations allowed me to go into DPS mode with vampiric embrace + vampiric touch up. Easy pulls mean you can employ the “the best defense is a good offense” strategy. I would stay out of shadow-form just to make sure I could easily drop a flash/greater heal when needed, but I’d say I had a 50/50 DPS to healing ratio.

A friend suggested that I go holy/disc spec because I was in so many instances and it would really increase my efficiency and desirability. Respecs are cheap enough so I took the plunge. My goal was to get Surge of Light in holy with the rest in disc because I wanted some sembelance of solo-viability. Unsurprisingly, my solo efficiency dropped… by a lot… but it would all be worth it if I could own up the 5-man instances. I got my chance to test things out as a “pure” healer and I have to say, “Yawn!” The mana-inefficiency of offensive holy spells prevented me from participating heavily in the DPS category, which meant I was relegated to buffing and healing if I wanted to keep my blue bar in the workable zone. But in TBC, they seem to have nerfed the different heals scalability and efficiency levels. For example, in the past with enough + healing, chain casting “rank 2 Heal” would be more efficient than less frequent greater heals (or so I’ve heard from my holy friends). I found that, at level 63, casting anything but my highest rank Greater Heal was very mana/cast-time inefficient. Maybe it’s better for priests with better +healing than my +540 (in healing suit). For me is was very boring. I had to rely on trinkets, other “use” items, or talents to do anything worthwhile.

I lasted one full level before respeccing back to 41 shadow. A different friend of mine thinks that shadow-priests in a 5-man instances are “a waste of space” but I heavily disagree. I can’t argue that a shadow-priest can be as helpful to a group if their main role is healing, but in an assistive role, they can definitely hold their own. We definitely have group utility if you put a heal-specced druid/shaman/paladin/priest as the main healer.

What utility do we bring?

  • Stamina buff
  • Instant shields
  • HP regen with VE2 (insufficient as main heal source but is a great heal over time effect)
  • Mana regen with VT
  • Damage over time with SW: Pain
  • Second resurrector if main healer wipes
  • Extremely mana efficient DPS (mind flays with sufficient +damage aren’t to be trifled with)
  • Instant AE Fear (though not always advisable)
  • Dispel and Abolish poison
  • Shackle (undead crowd control)
  • Chance for stun with black-out / good mana regen with spirit tap (if we land deathblow)
  • Relatively low threat since most of our damage or heals are over time rather than burst

What do we lack in comparison?

  • Big burst damage
  • Efficient crowd control (aside from ae fear and shackle)
  • Big heals
  • Healing ourselves in combat

In a standard group archetype of Prot Warrior, Holy Priest, Ice Mage, I think we’re definitely a good option to fill in one of the remaining two spots.

Good shadow-strategy in 5-man instances:

  • VE
  • VT
  • Flay
  • Re-VT if necessary
  • Keep flaying until dead

Remember to Fade periodically or when necessary and if you find you’re drawing too much aggro, you can always put points into the shadow threat reduction talent. If you want to continue in shadow-form during level 70 raids, it’s definitely a good idea to invest in the threat-reduction talents. Some shadow-priests report their flays landing for roughly 500 per tick and Mindblasts for 3000+.

What are your thoughts?

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