Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This is a Test

I read an article today about linking to used or older posts over at Tish Tosh Tesh. Sure, I know he was making some point or another about the issue of buying/selling used games, but he said that if anyone linked to any of his older posts, like this one about "Selling and Reselling", that he would start charging people.

"So, henceforth, anyone (including myself) who links to any of my previous blog posts must pay me the full price originally charged for the post...Each link will incur the full price, so if you link twice, I'll expect you to pay twice."

So, if I understand correctly, if I post this article by Tesh, since I've linked to it once already now I have to pay twice the original amount.

I guess I'm being watched by a Big Brother WombatCam as well, so I guess I should be scared!

Well, Tesh, all I have to say is I AIN'T PAYIN'!!!! I'm taking a stand. I'm using your old stuff and you're gonna like it. Why, if people like your old stuff who's to say they won't buy your new stuff. I know, like you say your stuff is free, but "we're talking ideals and morals here, people!"

Ah the joy of games people play.

Oh, I almost forgot!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Geek speech!

How did you become a geek? Oh, don't get offended, I mean the fact that you're reading this blog, any WoW or gaming blog, definitively marks you as a geek. Seriously, how long have you been biting heads off chickens and/or snakes?

According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, a geek is "a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off of a live chicken or snake".

You can't deny it, you're a biter!

Ok, fine, you win, there are other definitions of a geek. The most common being: "An enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity (i.e. computer geek).

I have phased in and out of geekiness throughout my life. There have been periods where I was a gamer, and there have been years that I never played much at all, and therefore dropped my geek label. Now I find myself in two worlds simultaneously, professional and geek. What I appreciate about one is also the fault of that world, and what I appreciate about the other are traits that I would like to see displayed in both. Let me clarify.

What I admire about the geek world that I live in currently, specifically the WoW geek world, is that opinions are unhindered. Whether it's on a forum, a blog, facebook, twitter, in-game chat, vent, newspaper...er, wait, Newspaper? Sorry, I got swallowed by the ghost of media past there for a second. My point is that we, the WoW and gaming geek community, have a seemingly endless supply of means to express ourselves, and more importantly we can express ourselves in the manner most pleasing or natural to us.

I hope that I don't need to extol further the virtues of free speech, or free thought that is granted a voice by our chosen means of communication. I can only suppose that there are very few communists reading my blog, so I'll continue with my suppositions. Anway, as I was saying, what I love is that people can and do voice their thoughts and are checked by few rules or boundries. Sure, there are forums that mediate and regulate speech when it becomes hateful, but for the most part we speak what we think.

The obvious problem with this freedom is that there are many who are either incapable of articulating their thoughts or whose base thoughts themselves are so base and hateful that it overwhelmes us sometimes. We cry out in game against those who, unprovoked, bring race, nationality, sexual preference, or gender into arguments in such an offensive manner that we're given the power to kick and ignore them so we don't have to be subject to their hate in the future. Those that are of simple mind, and incapable of intelligent thought are another beast altogether, for they don't spew hate or offensive language, they are unintentionally ignorant or perhaps uneducated, which leads them to argue things based on single-minded opinions, without capacity to consider mutiple sides of an argument.

I love the geek gaming world for their blatant honesty, and the negative side effects of such freedoms I accept because the benefits of said freedom of speech is enough to sastisfy me. In this respect, I wish the professional community could learn something from geeks. Professional business men and women are alwasy walking the line of decorum and familiarity. They want to get to know somebody quickly, to either appear to be their friend or genuinely be friendly so that they can sell their product or service. They must use proper words and phrases so as to not offend. There is much less freedom to say and do what one desires because your will, as a professional, is bound to the will of your employer. And if you're self-employed, it's bound to the will of your need to succeed (or you'll be homeless).

I wish that business professionals had more liberty to speak their thoughts, more freedom to be intelligent and stupid, for it would, in a way, help to sift through the insincere who wish to sell you something for a commission, rather than selling you something because they truly believe that it's the best or it could truly benefit you.

On the other hand, I think geeks could learn something from business professionals. There is decorum, there are manners, there is a politeness that does not exist in the geek world except by individual choice. Luckily there are many that choose it, but there are no bounds to act accordingly as there are in the business world. I certainly would not advocate that geeks become business stiffs, typing their opinion on the next game or toy in a manner that is both insincere and incomplete. But I do wish that more geeks had the temperment and sense of a business professional, as I believe it would lead to more civil discourse than "you're a @#$%@#$% noob, loser!"

Note: People get pissed in business and say nasty things, but not as an opening sales pitch, usually as a parting shot to somebody that was "supposed" to have your interest at heart.

So, since currently I find myself in geekdom, and proud of it, I might add, I am pleased to be able to express my opinions freely here on this blog. I love that I do not have to guard my opinions behind a hidden agenda, and I'm free to be as intelligent or stupid as my pain medicine allows on any given day. I love that you can comment, leave your geeky thoughts and opinions as well and lively dialogue can exist. I'm glad that anonymous idiots (not saying anonymous commenters are idiots, btw) can comment as well and that I have the power to delete their hate and prejudice if the occaision demands it.

Geek speech doesn't have to be professional, it should do all it can to avoid a mighty pendulum swing in that direction, but it can learn something from a good, smart businessman. Just as the stiff in the suit can learn from all you geeks. May the two worlds never completely merge!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Feelin' the Friday Love!

"Congrats dude!"


"Nice, grats!"

"I hate you!"

Uh, sorry, didn't mean for that last one to slip out. I mean, I am happy that you got another toon to 80, but that means that you now have 6 while I'm stuck on 3.

It can be embarassing to admit jealousy, can it not? It signifies that I am not a perfectly composed robot nor am I selfless to the degree which would merit approbation. Jealousy is dirty, yet it comes in various degrees, from a bit of dust on the corner of a book to rolling in the mud with the pigs. Yes, jealousy is a dangerous game, and for me an occaisional struggle. I speak only for myself, but if you have had similar or dissimilar experiences, please share them so that I can feel worse about myself.

When I reached 80 for the first time it was an accomplishment in my mind above anything else that I had done in the game. I had no concept of what it was to live out a max level life, as I was new to the game when Wrath was introduced. I didn't know about min/maxing, about raiding, about gearing mains or gearing alts, the only thing I cared about was to soak in the pleasures of having one, just one character at max level (80 in this case).

The months went by, and yes I played with alts and leveled them accordingly, but never with the thought of creating an army of 80's, but just for the fun and enjoyment that the game offered. Skip ahead a year of being 80, I now had two more join the fold and thought myself pretty special. Then I met someone, an incredibly intelligent man who taught me a lot about my own toons, who had a total of somewhere from 15-20 level 80's. He was multi-boxing and multi-tasking. He had a setup in his home that allowed him to run a full 5-man dungeon all my himself, and he did it quite often. By that means he was able to level multiple toons to 80 at breakneck pace. I must admit, I was not jealous one bit but only stood in awe at the lengths this person would go to achieve this. He was not a nerd in his mom's house but a successful business man with lots of time on his hands.

So if the jealousy didn't creep in with him, who was by all accounts one of the wealthiest account holders in the entire world, where did it rear its ugly head? Why it was with those that I had been playing with the longest, the long-term guildies. Oh don't look at me like that, just let me finish!

As I saw a few other guildies who I'd become very friendly with gear up one 80 after another (one reached 6, another 7, another 8) I continuously asked myself why I was feeling jealous. What was the source and was it really about the sheer number of toons? In the end I concluded that I was jealous because I saw that they had the time and ability to play. Interestingly enough, I am convinced that if I had 8-10 hours a day to play I would NEVER do so. I enjoy too many other things in life to devote that much time to this game. But to have the time available...that's what really rocked me. I never dared asked how they took care of themselves or their families, perhaps they were as this other dude and were insanely rich, in which case their time was their own. But that didn't matter to me, I found another correlation.

I may talk about it too much, but since it's an integral part of who I am I'll mention it again. I can't sit and play for more than a hour or so at at time because of my pain. In the end as my condition was getting worse I saw my jealousy increase. As physically I was unable to do anything, I resented those who could do whatever they wanted without hinderance. I had reached the point where in fact I was not jealous, but was wallowing in self-pity...that was the feeling that was eating at me, not true jealousy as we all know it. I had no desire to play 8 hours a day, I had no desire to have an army of 10 80's on one server and 10 on another. All I wanted was the opportunity but pitied myself for not being able to because of my situation.

What a horrible state I found myself in. I realized quickly after the epiphany rushed over me that I had to change a few things. So what I did was to try and find people who played the game that I could be truly happy for when they accomplished certain things. I had to reverse my wallowing into genuine shows of affection and support. Even though I'm not online as much, when I am and I see my guildies do something great, I make great efforts to not only congratulate them most sincerely, but to make sure that I feel as sincere as I portray myself to be. It has proven to be quite the relief these past couple weeks, and I now feel none of the "jealousy" or self-pity that I felt as recently as a month ago.

What's made it easier is to watch my 8 year old boy level his first toon towards that max level mark. Last night he hit 76, and should be at 80 by the end of the month. (He starts school next week, so his play time will go way down - so it might take him through September). For him I am most happy, and that affection I have attempted to show to guildies who deserve my support, not my green eye.

I believe that jealousy is prevalent in the game, however, as evidenced by all those with low self-esteem yelling to the whole world about their GS and how awesome their gear is and how great they are because they have this great gear, which gives them an insanely high GS. Ugh, it's one jealous shout-out after another. Oh, don't call it competition, men don't measure their "gear score" out of competition, they do it out of a jealous fit that possibly their's isn't as long or big as the other dude's "gear score" - if ya know what I mean. I make no apolgies for the sexual content here, it's how I see it.

True competition can be achieved without jealousy, by placing the largest comparison of your current self with your past self, and not somebody else. If I want 4 80's it should be becuase I only have 3, and 4 would surpass only myself, not somebody else so wholly unconnected to my account. In group settings I can judge my own position as DPS with others by using Recount and other tools, but my most healthy competion, if I am to remain healthy, should come with my efforts of trying to outdo my previous performance.

Go off this weekend and be jealous or selfless, it makes no difference to me. I'm trying to be less so, it's what will give me greater satisfaction and enjoyment as I solo or group up with guildies. It may sound like something you say to 2nd graders, but I'm just trying to be the best I can be and let everything else just fall into place. It would be my suggestion to have fun based on your own expectations, and not compare yourself to anyone but yourself; but you're not bound to my suggestions. I wish you well and a good weekend, no matter how you play the game.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pick Me! Pick Me!

Dear Blizzard type folk people,

I write to you today in sincere hopes that I can prove to you why I would be an excellent beta tester. In fact, I may be so good that you'll be on the verge of naming the game after me when we're done with testing. Alright, so I jest, but I still believe I could be of invaluable service to you and, by extension, to the community. Please allow me to explain why I believe I would be a worthwhile selection.

I'm Older than 11
I am not one to believe in the stories of supremely mature 10 year olds that can write a symphony or become the world's bets chess player, there have been less than a handful of those people in our world's history. No, what I refer to is the age of reason. As I learned in my days of endless study in college, the average human does not reach the age of reason, or the ability to formulate reasoned arguments, until the age of 12. If you insist on extending random invites, I implore that you have some sort of filter in place to omitt the under 12 crowd, for as much fun as they can be they quite literally don't have the same reasoning capability that older kids and adults have.

It could easily be argued that there are adults that are incapable of reason, but I would think that could be explained that those people simply do not choose reason, rather they choose illogic and impatience in their attempts to describe a problem they perceive in your game. It's my desire that after finishing reading this letter you will clearly see that I am one who at least makes a concerted effort to be reasoned, regardless of my absolute success or failure at the attempt.

So, since I am at least of the age of reason, and I make continual attempts at it, I give this as evidence #1 of the reasons to include me in your beta testing.

I'm a Scientist
No, I do not have a degree in molecular biology or nuclear physics, what I mean is that I make it a point in life to be observant. Good science is good observation, many a xxxx-ologist would say. I would approach the beta testing with the observant eye of an astronomer and be willing to provide a detailed, written summary of those things that I observed that would support or contradict any changes that have been implemented to date.

I understand that it's much more than running a dungeon and, upon completion, writing "
Dang, that was tough. I, like, so ran out of mana at the end, you got to fix that asap." Instead I would explain, "On the final boss encounter of Instance X, while using the rotation of Riptide > Heal > Chain Heal > Greater Heal > Riptide > Healing Rain, I found that after 30 seconds my mana pool had depleated. During the encounter, which lasted 48 seconds, I also dispelled 3 magic debuffs in between my Heal spells. I had only used Healing Rain one time, aside from that I maintained the rotation above and still used my entire mana pool. It's my observation that that particular healing rotation is not mana efficient. Whether the base mana cost is too high needs further testing, but is worth taking another look at."

Observant scientists take copious notes, and I would not disappoint. I sincerely believe that my observations will be helpful in working out any unwanted inefficiencies in the gameplay. I give this as evidence of #2 the reasons to include me in your beta testing.

I'm an Accountant
Perhaps the most imporant job of an accountant (financial, not tax) is balancing every transaction. There is a common formula that I follow, Assets = Liability + Equity. What this means is that I am a professional at balancing and really good with numbers and math. Even a reasoned and observant individual can fail if not directed by a method to follow, a formula to balance. I am in the perfect position of understanding the numbers behind the graphics, and with the tools to judge proper balancing of those numbers. I can take my observations, utilize my math and balancing skills, to create a reasoned and factually based argument as to why I would suggest change X to skill Y, and so on and so forth.

This is evidence #2 of the reasons to include me in your beta testing.

Quite honestly, and all joking aside, I believe that I am in a perfect position to be a beta tester. To add to the list of evidences and reasons, I would also like to say that I would add something that not all of your beta testers have, a desire to test the game, not just play in order to get some screenshots on facebook, but actually test. Is that not what you are looking for? Dedicated testers? You have a reputation of not releasing a game until "it's ready", so why then would you make your beta testing as random as you do? You need to be more selective, and I ask that you start that selection with me. I am the perfect blend of method, observation and reasoning. If a beta key were to be gifted why not gift it to someone who has a sincere desire to make the game better for everyone?

There are other, less significant reasons for wanting to be a beta tester, but they are as insignificant as I am selfish. I want this for the whole of the community, to make it a more enjoyable game for the most possible people. I am not difficult to find, I'm right here...on the web...for all to see and hear. So I implore you, Blizzard, please allow me to be the best beta tester you have ever had. I will do all within my power to not let you down.



p.s. If I don't get invited, "at least I have chicken."

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Place in THIS World

I ventured into the world of blogging at the beginning of this year. The first month or so I posted once a week maybe (I think). But my inability to balance life and my blog caught up to me quickly. I had to learn that delicate balancing act and I got up and running once more, with one (1) semi-regular reader supporting my cause (thanks, as always, Larisa).

So when someone starts to blog, is there a strategy that they form to define themselves in the blogging community, or THIS world as I refer to in today's title? Some people create gold-making blogs, and blog about little if nothing else. Others create class-specific blogs, only discussing those issues pertinent to that class 95% of the time. I think no matter the type of blog, a few % of the posts we allow to be about a holiday or announcement or something completely different, as long as that blog sticks to it's core.

So when I started this I had a purpose, I had things that I wanted to say. My blog is based on the concept of Dualism, or the theory that considers reality to consist of two irreducible elements or modes (i.e. relating to the belief that humans are made of two irreducible elements [matter and spirit]). In WoW there are two irreducible elements, Person and Character. When I play I become the spirit of the character who is on my computer screen. I cannot separate one from the other, because my characters don't exist without the person controlling it. We share experiences together, feel things (not literally feel, I mean that would suck to be cleaved by an axe in real life), laugh and cry at our successes and failures. Immersion into a fantasy world demands from me that I attempt to become one with my toon.

It's always with this in mind that I write about things, and will continue to do so. Bots aside, every toon we pass in the streets or the killing fields on Azeroth is a real person, a fact that is often discarded or taken for granted. I can't explain bad behavior, I don't think I'm smart enough to guess correctly why there are jerks in the game. But there are jerks in real life, everywhere we go. WoW, in that respect, is no different. I poke fun at these discourteous souls because they are easy targets, but am I much better than they? I hope I am; I make fun of bad behavior in general, I never attack someone specifically with cold, calculated malice.

Real lives interfere with the game quite often, well more for some than others. For me it's quite often. Most recently I had to suspend my raiding activities due to serious physical disabilities, I could not handle the stress raiding placed on my physical being. But this act, although necessary and understood by my guild, has had a negative impact on my raid team. Since my departure they have been hard pressed to find a suitable replacement healer, a fact I was made aware of just last night. I felt sorry for them, I knew that it was my abscence that has evidently stalled them. I can't speak to their recruiting efforts, I assume they are trying. But as Wrath is winding down, there seems to be greater difficulty in recruiting sufficiently geared and skilled replacements.

For a moment last night I felt the subtle peer pressure upon my mind, pressure to return to the group that wants me to come back, but knows that I cannot. That sentiment lasted for about 10 seconds, then another image passed through my mind. I was lying on a blanket in the middle of the park with my two boys. It's 7:30 at night, the sun has gone down over the western mountains but there's still enough light that the stars are not yet visible. This scene could never have taken place if I was breaking my body for a few hours of raiding because I felt guilty for abandoning my guildmates. That guilt is quickly wahsed away in the knowledge that I made the right choice. I'm trying to heal, trying to get myself well so that I can go back and contribute some day.

Our lives, our games, they can both have significant affects on our lives. Gaming is no passing fancy for many people, young or old. It might be, but it doesn't have to be. Building model ships, joining a chess club, playing on a softball team, and many other hobbies are a part of our lives. They serve to expand our experiences in one way or another, and can be as small or large part of our lives as we choose. We find enjoyment in these activities, not because we separate ourselves form the act, but because we immerse ourselves in it, making it of worth in our lives.

For me, to make it of worth in my life right now I moderate my play time. This allows me to enjoy it while I'm there, and heal when I'm not. I don't believe in excess of any hobby, I think your real self can be stunted by making your hobby your job. (Unless you get paid to do your hobby, then you're just a lucky devil). I had to learn how to balance my blogging into my life, which included my games, now my blogging is a sub-section of that hobby that brings me smiles and enjoyment in an otherwise difficult situation.

Please, remember that that person you just ran a dungeon with is a person. It doesn't take much to say "Hi" or "TY". So do it. They just might say "hi" right back at 'ya.

Friday, August 20, 2010

If you have kids...don't do the following:

Invite them to join you as you complete quite possibly the most fun/coolest questline/achievement in the game, that is Veteran of the Wrathgatte and Battle for Undercity...at least don't do this right before bedtime.


Because 3 hours later they will be so wired becuase of all the adrenaline pumping through their veins that you'll find yourself unable to relax or sleep yourslef, repeating over and over things like "go to bed...go to bed...go to bed...GO TO BED!!!!!!"

Ah, the lessons we learn.

Friday Idiocy!

You'll see it here first! An exclusive interview with one of the greatest players the game of WoW has ever seen. I was contacted in the middle of the night by this guy/gal requesting an audience, since they seem to have been banned on every website forum on the internet. Being so great, I wondered why the bans, but then I remembered my belief in freedom of speech and expression, so I asked a few questions and got a few answers. So, without further ado, we now learn a thing or two from...what shall we call this player?...how about "Greatness"? Yes, that will do.

Greatness: I'd say thank you, Gronthe, for the audience and the chance to share my story, but I'm not going to. It'll be your pleasure to listen to what I've got to say.

Me: Sounds, er great. So, why the call in the middle of the night? What could be so important?

Greatness: I've had enough of idiots in this game. ENOUGH I TELL YOU!!! Every stupid day I log in and queue for a dungeon only to meet people who say the most ridiculous things to me.

Me: Like what? Give me an example.

Greatness: Like "Hello" for one.

Me: You hate people who say "hello" to you?

Greatness: Hate? I wouldn't say I hate them, rather I've had enough of their niceness, it's sickening and it's ruining the game for everyone else.

Me: ...

Greatness: I'm at the point where I'm convinced that these idiots don't really deserve a response, so to get back at them I don't buff them and just start running at mobs the second I zone in. Being the great tank that I am, normally I can pull literally half the instance without losing so much as 1K of my health. Over and over I'm proving to all these incompetent fools how truly great I am and what do they do in return? They ask me to slow down by trying to convince me that they "need mana, just respecced" or use words like "please" and "wait for the healer". Sorry, I didn't become great by waiting for you to suck. Get up on your fingertips and follow me, wherever I go. Some of my greatness might just rub off on you...wait no, it won't...my greatness is my own.

Me: Sounds like you're upset.

Greatness: When was the last time you got anything done by working together with someone else? I'm not sure why I'm put into an instance with 4 other people anyway. I thought I selected the solo instance, it was right there on my UI, I saw it so that's what I picked.

Me: Solo dungeon option, I'll have to, er, look for that someday. But do tell me, do you feel that everyone else is stupid or just any person who wanders into your field of vision?

Greatness: Is that like a soccer field or something? Or a movie like Field of Dreams?

Me: I'm not sure what to ask you anymore, do you have a rational thought that you would like to share with my readers today?

Greatness: Rational? I've been nothing but rational. Here's my problem with others. Politeness never conquered Rome, never helped Alexander the great subdue Persia, never got anyone elected President of the USA, and certainly never got anyone into a top raiding guild.

Me: Tell me, Alexander, are you in a top raiding guild?

Greatness: No.

Me: Why?

Greatness: Because everyone else sucks. There are too many "helpful" people, willing to show others an optimal rotation or viable enchant. Too many guilds out there who share resources and support each other through an efficient use of professions. There are too many people who depend on worthless addons in an attempt to heal better or produce higher DPS, as if they will ever be able to utilize technology in such a way that it will surpass the undeniable uberness of my own synapses. Consider this an invitation to all those out there as great as I am to come join the ultimate raiding guild. We shall never fail, never wipe, never talk...because talking is for idiots. We shall be perfect in every way, just like me.

Me: Do you have any prospects for this new, perfect guild?

Greatness: No way! Everyone sucks, nobody will ever be as good as me. Nobody will ever be able to destroy an entire instance solo like I do every day. There's always there 4 other stupidly polite people watching me run throught content they could only dream about sniffing one day. They're not worthy to see me do my thing, but as yet I can't seem to stop them from viewing the party.

Me: I'm feeling all of a sudden inferior, you are most kind to remind me of my rightful place, and of your obvious epicness.

Greatness: Like I said, this is an honor for you and everyone to bask in my glory. Soak it in while you can, it'll only be memory when I leave.

Me: And when will that be? Soon, I hope.

Greatness: I'm beginning to think you're being sarcastic with me.

Me: I would never consider even attempting such atrocity in your presence, your Greatness. I am only considering your own well being, it can't be healthy for you to be speaking to somebody so lowly as I.

Greatness: You know something, pal, you're right. You're not worthy. I'll have to go find some other blog to grace.

Greatness then left without saying goodbye, which I can't say I'm surprised. Clearly he is a great tank, an unmatched DPSer and omnipotent healer. a.k.a. a Paladin. I think we can all learn a lesson today, that is that you all suck at everything you do, and anything nice you do or say is all for nothing because if you aren't in the graces of Greatness himself, you're not worth anything. A valuable lesson for the weekend, I believe. Take it to heart. I know I'll sleep better knowing that I'm an idiot and an unworthy gamer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blizzard Made How Much on the Celestial Steed?

The answer may astound you: I have no idea.

You're so full of crap! I wanted to see how much they made on the sparkling pony and now you tell me you have no idea!!!

First of all, I never promised to be able to discover how much ATVI made on sparkling pony sales in Q2, the purpose of taking a look at their financial position is to try and guess how their current financial state will affect their decision making.

The problem I'm faced with in trying to analyze these numbers is that although ATVI is a public company, they are not required to divulge line item expenses from every account within their Chart of Accounts (COA). What the SEC requires them to do they do...nothing more other than a Q&A with high-powered investors. By the way, who knew that Bank of America was an investor in ATVI? Raise your hand if that surprises you.


Still, the figures themselves aren't what are necessarily important, but how those compare with what "the market", or smarty-pants mutual fund managers, thinks they will be. ATVI beat out their own internal figures for Q2 2010 by posting a GAAP net revenue of $967M and $0.17 EPS, but those figures fell short of what "the market" expected. So while on one hand ATVI applauds itself for having a better-than-expected quarter, their stock price takes a hit because it didn't meet market expectations.

That must suck for a company, right? To do better than you expected and knowing that you didn't meet expectations. It reminds me of doublethink, being able to hold two completely opposite viewpoints at the same time and believe in both of them equally. On Aug 2 their stock price was at $11.95 close, and by Aug 6, after the Q2 numbers were released it closed at $10.99.

Students of the stock market will realize that stock prices fluctuate for both fundamental and psychological premises. Investors really do look at revenue, expenses, development costs, leverage ratios (ATVI is in good standing there, they have always had little to no debt), and other metrics to make decisions. But investors are prone to psychological overreactions as well, speculation that the worst is inevitable only to remember that it probably won't happen, but by then it's too late, the stock dropped 10% and they just lost their vacation for the wife and kids. Ooops!

ATVI did something in Q2 that they had never done, they paid out a dividend to investors. Think of it this way, you go to the store to buy some shoes and socks, you come home with some change in your pocket, you kid wants some money to buy an icecream cone so you look through your change and give him some of it to satisfy him/her for the moment. The kids maybe doesn't get the cone they wanted, but they get to buy a stick of gum with a comic on it, how nice. That's sort of how a dividend works, sort of.

Of all that happened during the announcement of the Q2 financial results, the most intriguing was the Q&A with investors. They voiced concerns over assumed high development costs that were to show up in Q3 & Q4 of 2010, which would ultimately lead to less than expected net income figures. In this year end time frame there were to be 3 major releases, Starcraft II, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and WoW: Cataclysm. SC II is supposedly a huge success already, setting all sorts of records. CoD: Black Ops is the most expensive investment they had ever made in a console game...ever, set to be released on Nov 9. Cataclysm, they maintain, is still set to release in 2010.

But haven't they spent money already in devloping these games? Why so many development costs now, right before launch?

I don't pretend to know exactly how they do business, nor specific accounting methods, but I can guess at a few things. The first thing to understand is that unlike your personal finances, where when you go to the store to buy milk, bread, and eggs you call that an expense. A business can spend money, cash even, and call it an asset, expensing it on a later date.

Uh, what? I still don't get it.

Example: You start a business, and you rent office space. The landlord says that rent for January is due December 20. On Dec. 15 you write a check and send it to the landlord. The landlord gets the check, deposits it, and the money comes out of your bank account in December. But this is supposed to be January's rent, not December's. How is this handled by an accountant?

Accountants are master balancers, that is to say that everything they do is based on a formula they try to balance. Your cash is an asset. Rent is an expense. Expenses show up on Income Statements, Assets on Balance Sheets. In December the accounting will look like this for your rent:

Cash Asset Lowerd by $1,000
Pre-Paid Expenses Asset Raised by $1,000

See there, the Pre-Paid Expenses category is an asset, not an expense. In January it will look like this:

Pre-Paid Expenses Asset Lowered by $1,000
Rent Expense Raised by $1,000

At the end of December, that money you paid for January rent is considered an Asset, it has future value. But in January, you lose the future value and you "expense" the rent, which lowers your assets on your balance sheet and raises your expenses on your income statement.

It's the income statement that shows Net Revenues, Expenses, and finally Net Income

Revenues - Expenses = Net Income

What I'm getting at is that there may very well be significant expenses that are still on the balance sheet and have not been "expensed" yet, and won't be until some event happens in the future (i.e. the release of the game) where those expenses are moved and show up on the income statement, affecting the EPS, the net income, and in turn the stock price. Stock prices are future predictors, so if a stock price goes down today it's because the future isn't as hopeful as predicted.

What this means is that although Q2 was good for ATVI, according to their internal figures, outsiders see risk in Q3 & Q4 despite the massive game releases. Expenses will be...expensed, lowering net income, potentially harming dividends and their ability to buy ice cream.

Cataclysm WILL be released in 2010, ATVI can't affort to NOT release it. Despite any deferred income or expenses that will affect the net revenue and net income, there are investors to think about and keep happy. Stock prices are, after all, part psychological, and if the investors are happy stock prices go up.

I was going to put up all these figures today, and compare this number this time of year to the numbers at the same time last year. You can still find them here and here. I'm open for any questions on those boring numbers any time you like. I felt like it was important to look at not only how some financial figures are arrived at, but what the different parties (investors, internal managment) looks at them.

I will never know how many sparkling ponies were sold. I do know this, in a short answer in the Q&A they made a tiny reference in how pleased they were in some of the value-associated transactions, or transactions outside of subscriptions. Given that there were no major game releases in Q2, what is left, aside from intellectual property income, are many of these micro-transactions. So, if you want to know, it seems that the server transfer, pet, sparkle mount transactions brought in some good money to ATVI. Good for them!

The next time I do any sort of major financial analysis will be when I get my hands on the year end Annual Report. I may report some Q3 stuff, but will keep any analysis short. It's my opinion that management is feeling the pinch of high-investment costs in their big releases, and need the revenue that will come with a Cataclysm 2010 release. I don't see any way that it won't be released in 2010. If I'm wrong, then I guess I need to get a new line of work. If I'm right then I'll act like I did when I found out Bank of America was an ATVI investor...not surprised one bit.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Talent Thoughts...I know it's Beta still

The fun part about complaining about talent trees during a beta period is that they are sure to change, which means that you'll get multiple opportunities to complain. Yay for multiplaints (multiple complaints in Newspeak).

I've got a problem with Shaman talents. The FACT is that with the exception of Feral Druids, which have a total of 44 possible talent choices in their tree, all Shaman trees have more talent points per tree than all other class/spec combinations. Elemental has 42 choices, Resto 43, and Enhancement 46!!! (Unholy DK's have 43, but they're all stupid, so they don't count).

The mean accross all classes & specs is 40, the median is 41, the minimum is 37 shared by Ret Pali, Shadow Priest, Affliction & Demo Warlock and the Balance Druid. 37 compared to 46. Given the new "reduced" talent trees, 9 added talents is HUGE! This means less of a chance to spec into a secondary tree, and more of a need to place just about everything in your main tree. 9 talents!!! In my oh so very humble opinion, all trees should have between 38-41 possible talents, no more no less. Less means greater customability into a secondary tree, more means less (and by extension the need to pick up "mandatory" main spec talents). Choices here Blizz, that's all we're asking for, it's what you promised.

"You don't have to put 46 talent points in your Enhancement tree" said one make-believe Blizzard official. "You couldn't even if you tried, you'll only have 41 talents to play with anyway, leaving you with 5 remaining talents to spend on shower curtains and lolli-pops."

Uh, if there was ever a case of a particular tree to demand that some talents be made passive abilities, it's the Enhancement Shaman. 46 compared to 37 for those stuck up little Ret Pali's! AAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH! I'm a bit peeved. __________________________________________________

On a similar but unrelated note, I've had to postpone my raiding activities. What's worse, I was 32% away from my Kingslayer the other night, but the night reinforced what I had known for the past couple months, that my physical pains and disability just wouldn't allow me to sit for 3-4 hours at a time in a focused manner in a raiding situation. The pain was just too much, and so I had to stop.

But I'm content, mainly because during the LK fight I did everything perfectly. Before ever seeing the fight I wondered why people lamented upon hearing the word "Defile".../laugh...now I know. Curiously, I'm not sure what's so hard about getting and staying out. Maybe it's because after about 2 or 3 runs it just clicked for me and I knew what to do. All the while healing the tanks and the raid in heroic fashion. But for many of the DPS in the group, they were still struggling with defile recognition and movement. It's weird now, I feel isolated from my guild, a sort of traitor. Well, traitor is NOT the right word for it, but a sense that I let them down for sure. If I were in a true "Hard Core" raiding guild I know that I'd be flying solo right now.

I suppose it's a credit to the sociality that exists among my guild members that nobody has come down hard on my case. I suppose that they understand why I had to stop, that I need to try and rehab my body enough to where I can play with them again. I've been afraid to get on vent, I'm not sure how everyone will react. I still play a little bit each day, trying to slowly get my last piece for my 4-T10 set, but it's always quiet when I get on. I've switched my healing set for my range DPS gear that I've been storing up slowly and can run around dungeons doing 4-5K easily. I'm pleased about this considering I've only played Elemental for a total of 45 minutes before this change.


I'm still angry about the talent point disparity, I wish that all trees would be somehow equal in the number of available talents. I understand a deviation of 2 or 3 between trees, but not 9!!!! If I could just get a 1 on 1 with GC, and be sure that he was listening, I'm sure he would understand and grant every wish like the genie he is.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Frivolity!

It's been a very difficult week. I've had to be everything to my kids as my wife's been in the hospital. But she'll be getting out today...hooray! With limited visiting hours allowed, I've been home a lot. Watching tv, playing on the XBox with my kids, and yes, even playing WoW.

I think I played it to numb my brain, which probably isn't the best motive for such an activity. But I did it for that reason anyway. I was able to do some things while I was numbing my brain, however, like finish up my Classic Dungeonmaster achievement. For me this was important, first of all it meant that I had braved Orgrimmar (alone, btw) and fight my way to Ragefire Chasim. It also meant picking up some keys to places like Dire Maul West/North and Blackrock Depths' Shadowforge Key.

Late last night I killed the Emperor and proclaimed myself Ruler of Blackrock Mountain.

The nice thing about doing this achievement solo is that it gives me the time to scope out dungeons, to learn the patterns of patrols in places I've never seen, to understand the mechanics of certain fights and rooms and protectors, etc. I rarely ran dungeons while leveling my 80 toons, it was before the LDF tool and I was, well, extremely shy. I'm about to level my first tank, so it's been nice to get to know the places so that when I make my runs I can be a leader, not a stupid tank who doesn't know where to go.

Probably the biggest mistake I made was in Dire Maul West, I ran through the first square, killed a couple trees and protectors for fun, then I glimpsed this huge tree guy with a real name and thought 'Oh, a boss!'. I went and killed the guy, went to open the door behind him when I was swarmed by a dozen of those protector dudes who, I can only assume, were a bit upset that I caused them to fail at their jobs by killing their boss. Ooops! I didn't die, but I was nervous for a second or two there.

Going into DM North I did the tribute run, mainly because it was the fastest way to get my achievement. Still, it was fun to be the King of Dire Maul and have everyone bow to me.

The moment I earned my Classic Dungeonmaster achievement my kids were with me, which was nice, because we had been together for much of my classic dungeon runs. Even better because we have been supportive of each other this week while their mom has been away, unable to tuck them into bed and give them kisses and hugs. For a brief moment, we were able to share in the Frivolity that is WoW, the innocent smiles of a game that lets us spend a few happy moments with each other.

We'll all be together again tonight, things will start to get back to normal. I'm glad, that in a difficult week, I was able to smile even once with two kids I love. It's the kind of respite that makes playing frivolous games worth it.

Have a great weekend, I should be back in full swing next week. And I may have to revise my prediction for WoW's release based on new support that I failed to consider. Until then, have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Out a Week

I will not be around for a week. My scheduled post yesterday was cancelled due to real life. I'll be back next week with my keen insights into the jello-bowl known as the human brain - green jello, because it's that yummy.

Thanks for your understanding.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Media Race!

Lil' ol' me scooped the big, bad Wow.com...by nearly 24 hours! Today they announced that, per an investor conference call yesterday, that Cataclysm was on track for a 2010 release date.

Funny, I announced this yesterday!!!!

I cringed when I startd to read the comments, and hoped that if people actually wanted more and good information all they need to do is hop on over to deuwowlity.blogspot.com. I wish I could have been there for the poor commenter who guessed at a Nov. 9 release date. That just won't happen.

Why? Prove it!

Well...because they will be releasing Call of Duty: Black Ops on Nov. 9, and any idoit running a business knows that you don't have bobble-head night, dollar beer night, and fireworks night all on the same night. What incentive will people have to buy from you any other day of the week if you do everything only in one day?

I believe Larisa postulated a Nov 17 release date. That's actually a pretty good guess, in my estimation. I think the 17th is the earliest date, that would be one week before the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States. But something inside me still feels like the 17th is a bit too close to the 9th - it's not quite two full weeks, actually it's only one week and one day. I think they would love to see it released in time for people to do some major Christmas shopping, and with Nov. 26th being the biggest shopping day of the year in the US I think that there's a good chance that they'll want it on shelves by then.

If I were Blizzard, I'd want there to be at least two full weeks between the two biggest launches of the year, and two of the biggest in their history. Call of Duty: Black Ops was the most expensive project (non-mmo) ever in the history of Activision, just a tidbit there for ya. Why is that important? It means that it's a huge release and they want to be able to market it properly. Not just the buildup, but marketing reminders that it's on the shelves.

So, if Larisa can say Nov. 17, I'm going to give it a few more days, but before Nov. 26th and say that Cataclysm will be officially released on Tuesday November 23. That is exactly two full weeks after Call of Duty: Black Ops.

I have no proof, only speculation. But that's what makes the blog forum so much fun, you don't have to prove anything!!!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Preliminary Q2 Numbers Only for ATVI

I am going to need a few days to go over reports that ATVI will release to the public. I'm much interested in the segmented income statements and balance sheets (separate financial reports from Activision & Blizzard respectively). I was able to listen in on the investor conference call where ATVI discussed their Q2 financial performance and talked about things to come in Q3 and Q4 of 2010.

Expected Net Revenue $925M
Expected EPS (Earnings per share) $0.11

Actual Net Revenue $967M
Actual EPS $0.17

Expected Net Revenue $700M
Expected EPS $0.04

Actual Net Revenue $683M
Actual EPS $0.06

As we see, the actual EPS on a GAAP & Non-GAAP basis outpaced expectations for Q2. Blizzard Entertainment again made significant contributions to overall net revenue thanks to the continued success of World of Warcraft franchise.

Where they announced a specific release date for Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops for November 9, Mike Morhaime (Blizzard CEO) stated:

"... I'd like to point to the release of Cataclysm, being our best expansion yet for World of Warcraft. Although an exact release date has not yet been announced, we're on track to launch the expansion by the end of the year. As with all Blizzard games, though, we won't release until it's ready."

I know they say they won't release it until it's ready, but after listening to them it's quite clear that they are 100% intent on releasing it in Q4. They want to release all their Activision titles before Thanksgiving, so it's not much of a stretch to assume that Cataslysm's release date will fall sometime around Thanksgiving as well, either very closely before it or immediately after in order to grab the seasonal market.

As is the trend with a lot of gaming companies, ATVI seems focused on providing BIGGER AND BETTER games, but fewer of them; focusing on quality and not quantity.

Interestingly, StarCraft II sold over 1.5M copies in its first 48 hours, that's more than double than what WoW sold on its inital box release. Yet dispite the apparent massive SC II sales, non-gaap EPS is only expected to be $0.08 in Q3, an issue a few investors questioned during the Q&A session. It's anticipated, and given the development of both Cataclysm and Blizzard's new yet unnamed MMO, that there will be significant development costs in the third quarter of 2010 that will lead to, if you can believe it, lower GAAP net revenues in Q3 than in Q2, but slightly higher net revenues per non-gaap reporting.

Looking ahead there are still plans to invest record amounts of capital into new and innovative franchises, such as Blizzard's new MMO, of which we have no details. ATVI's strong cash position and low debt services are an important stepping stone to free up the capital necessary in making such long-term investments. Despite the risks inherent in the gaming industry, both subscription and valued transaction revenues remain strong in US, Europe and SE Asia.

Blizzard is one approval away from being able to launch WotLK in China...which gives me yet another reason why I'm glad I'm not Chinese. No Worgen for you, Yao Ming.

Overall it was an informative conference call, and I plan on going through what other financials are available to me over the next few days in hopes to make many outlandish and false claims of the direction and motives of Blizzard Entertainment as they relate to World of Warcraft. Just be glad you don't have to pour through pages of financials, they can get rather boring. But it's not the numbers that excite, it's what we can infer from them, namely how the financial situation of a company impacts game design and delivery.

You'll see my full report next Monday, until then, you're always welcome here and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Steroids are good for WoW

I'm older than you...most likely. I'm not a teenager, and I'm definately not a tweeny. I am a depressing tv show about late 1980 yuppies. 10 points if you can name the show, 25 if you can name the year it premiered. Anyway, aside from all divergences, I wanted to relate a story of 1998. Be patient, read the whole article, and you'll get another 50 points to Griffen....Er, anyway.

Steroids in Baseball
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but for two men it was the greatest of times. For the nation that stood in rapture, it was the pinnacle excitement and entertainment. Four years had passed since Major League Baseball players union had gone on strike, cancelling the World Series (of Baseball, not poker) for the first time in history due to a labor strike. Fans deserted the game, attendence was down at the ballparks, television ratings were also lower. Even Al Gore's invention of the internet didn't do anything to lift the popularity of Baseball back to its former glory of America's Pastime. Sure, Cal Ripken was playing every day, but Baseball in America needed a hero.

Enter stage left - steroids.

Deep withing the muscle fibres of Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa wove the elegant coursings of steriods. Making these men stronger, quicker, and dramatically improving their physical recovery rate, these men proceeded to put on a show for the American public such as never been seen before or since. You see, for all you younglings or non-sports fans, Baseball is obsessed with statistics. OBSESSED!!!! The record for home runs in a single season was 61, set by Roger Maris, who beat the previous record set by the infamous Babe Ruth, who hit 60 while playing for the Yankees in the early 20th century.

McGuire and Sosa were hitting home runs at a record pace, and it was believed that not one but two had the chance to break the home run record of 61, the only question was who would get there first? In the end it was McGuire, who not only hit his 62nd home run, but went on to hit 71 home runs, absolutely and forever destroying the record. Sosa ended up with 65 that year, still nothing to sneeze at.

For a long time the public idolized these figures...until there began rumors of a nasty little helper called steroids. The media went crazy, talking about nothing but steriods for years. There were even congressional hearings on the steriod policies of America's major sporting leagues, at which hearings various baseball players denied the use of steroids only to be proven liars and cheats months or years later.

But make no mistake, during a brief time in the mid to late 1990's, steriods made Baseball more popular. Owners and league officials alike were aware of rumors of steriods, but did nothing to curtail their use. Why? Because the game was making money again, it was popular again to take your family to a game, and they were not going to do anything to stop the boulder from rolling down that hill. Later, especially when congress threatened to take away their anti-trust exemption, did baseball leadership become self-righteous hypocrites.

Steroids in WoW
So if you've stuck with me this long, I congratulate you, I told you I would tie this into WoW. I think that there are steroids in WoW. Not "actual" steroids, like real drugs sold by devs to unsuspecting teenagers, that would be illegal. I'm talking about things that boost the popularity of the game quickly and massively. All expansion packs are steriods all by themselves, but looking forward to the upcoming Cataclysm xpac, there are a few steroids to watch out for. Remember, overdosing of any steroid can lead to an enlarged skull, weak joints, acne, aggression, and of course "shrinkage".

Steroid #1: Worgen: I realize that many of you, myself included, really want to experience the awesomeness that will be playing a Worgen Anything. For the really deranged, who have set aside an entire realm for Worgen only alts, we can only hope that they all end up playing with each other and spare us the random dungeon comments of "Look at me, look at me, I so awesome with dis fur and big teeth and claws and, mommy look at me, look at me." For anyone planning to make 1 of everything Worgen, you need to be on the lookout for larger hats and more supportive pillows, perhaps a memory foam pillow will be able to support that huge noggin of yours.

But a Worgen, administered properly and in the right doses, will be the huge spark that sparks the bonfire of the Alliance. As they finally get a bestial race, and an awesomeness one at that, there will be some long-time Horde enthusiasts tempted to swing the other way just for the chance to rip and claw without having to roll a Druid. Worgen are a terriffic addition to the playable races, and will serve as a steriod for a long time in the new xpac.

Steroid #2: Goblin: The Goblins have a much greater chance of developing more of the side effects that come from heavy steroid usage, shrinkage being more of a racial than a side effect. For all the fun and games that come with the new Goblin class, I foresee aggression being a common side effect. Gnomes are small, so small we can step on them if we're not careful. But they don't fight back too often. Even if they do, their voices are so squeeky and silly that nobody can ever take a gnome seriously. Goblins, however, are known for less-savory behavior, and for all the bad behavior that we currently see in the game, we need to be careful to not embody too much of a Goblin's true character into our own.

I know I'll play some sort of Goblin, and mostly I'll do it for the mount. I'm not a money-making Goblin for sure, but we can all see the potential for abusing the Goblin persona to make really, really bad jokes. If you roll a Goblin, please stay out of all chat channels. If you want to make money, do it with a Blood Elf or Dwarf. If you don't you may just find yourslef getting carried away into a deeper and darker fantasy. Some of you may like that, and it's your choice. But just like any other steroid user, don't say you haven't been warned of the potential side-effects.

More Steroids: Flying mounts in Azeroth, Gnome Priests, public bathing pools, leopard-skin sheets, sharks with frickin' lazer beams, remake/reshaping of the Old World, improved soloability with improved quests and quest rewards, Gnome Priests with frickin' lazer beams on their heads, and more.

Like I said before, an expansion is one giant steroid all by itself, everything in it are the various ingredients to the steroid mix. I didn't include any of the talent changes because none of that is finished, so it wouldn't be right to label it as either a steroid or a depressant...yet. So go home and tell your friends, family, whomever that steroids are good for you. They will make WoW the place to be, the show to watch, the game to play. Just remember, measured doses will do you right, overdosing will just make you grumpy and "small".

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Q2 - Two Days Away

In case you didn't hear, Activision Blizzard's Q2 financial results will be announced this Thursday, August 5 at 1:30 pm PDT (4:30 EDT). Here's the detail:

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 19, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ -- Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its second quarter 2010 results after the close of the market on Thursday, August 5, 2010. In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

To listen to the call, please log onto:

Word on the street is they will have some important bits of news to announce (Cataclysm release date???). Notice it says "In conjunction" with the Q2 results, there will be more goodie news to be had. So get your headphones/speakers ready, whether at work or home don't forget to tune in, it should be pretty interesting. Well, at least I think so.

DK's Are Fun! Fun, I Tell You!

If you have OCD.

Well I do, so that's a start. My first Death Knight was made with the help of my children. There was no way that I was going to create a DK without the input of my two boys. We debated for days, actually, trying to decide what race to choose. We knew that it had to be Alliance, all my main toons at the time were Alliance, so it only fit. We also agreed that it had to be a male, because I teach my kids that sexism is a good thing. (That last sentence is untrue, you know, a joke, just in case your jaw dropped too far). Actually we decided it would be a male because that was the next in line. I had created 1 male then 1 female then 1 male then 1 female, and so on and so forth, and so my DK had to be a male because that was the next one in the oder of things.

After about 4 days we finanlly decided to make a Night Elf. Firstly, I had no other NE toons, secondly, to be a master of Death and Decay with one who previously fought tooth and nail over the rights of tree spores and fruitlings seemed appropriately fitting. Having finally selected my male, NElf DK I entered the world of the DK for the first time.

The starting area questlines were astonishing. The story pulled me through and engulfed me round about. Every task had meaning, while providing learning and entertainment all along the way. I quickly grew into my first plate-wearing melee fighter and could feel the difference as I found myself well protected from outside forces. As I blew up an army that was clearly having a beach party, I was hooked. After leaving the starting area I quickly leveled up my DK to the point that he became my highest level toon, sitting at 72 and ready to push forward.

Then it happened...burnout. Ugh! Disease, Disease, attack, attack, death coil, dead, loot. The repitition burned me out big time. I fell back in love with my other toons, getting two of them to 80 before my DK ever sniffed 73. But a few months ago, after a year or so away, I went back to ol' NElf-boy and pushed him forward to 80. Then something really strange happened, I started to find playing a DK fun again.

DK's are unique, they can tank or dps with all three specs (for now at least). And all 3 specs, for however similar the opening two spells are, work very differently. I respecced my talents mabye 20 times, and enjoyed every single playstyle there was. Dual-wielding, 2H masher, Disease spreader, all of them held some appeal to me. I found that having a set rotation, unlike the priority system I was used to with my Shaman, allowed me to build up a muscle memory with my fingers and pay more attention to my surroundings. No longer did I have to focus on "when Proc A occurs do spell B then C unless proc X occurs then go to Z then A then B". No, for a DK the rotation is clear, and once in the groove I found myself, even as melee, looking around everywhere, trying to catch a loose mob with a death grip and pull it back to the Pali's consecration or interrupt spell casters with the choice of two different spell interrupts.

A smart person at the keyboard/mouse of a DK is a powerful and useful tool, and I found that the DK satisfied both my OCD (where a rotation was concerned) and my problem solving mind (where DK utility is concerned). For someone who really sucked at PvP I used my DK to help me break into the PvP world and feel more comfortable. I came to discover that DK's are more than just mashing 4 buttons over and over, owning a DK was an opportunity to be useful in ways that I hadn't before because I was not as aware of what was going on around me. My DK taught me how to be raid aware while in melee, which has translated to other melee classes I play with. With it's static rotation a player simply has more brain power to devote to everything else around him/her.

Being a greater part of the failure or success of a group has been extremely satisfying, and I owe it all to my DK. DK's are fun, if you have OCD; I do, so I'm having fun with mine.