Saturday, August 31, 2013

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky -- Book Review

Metro 2033--A Post-Apocalyptic Quest Novel

Genre: Sci-fi / Post-Apocalyptic / Horror

Humanity has been decimated by a nuclear explosion. Yes. It finally happened. Russian survivors of the blast live underground in the former metro stations and travel to each station through dark and dangerous tunnels.
Metro 2033 was so creepy in some parts that I was reluctant to be alone in the room while reading them.  

A lot of the book reminded me of a typical fantasy quest novel, minus the wizards and swords. Instead of a quasi-medieval fantastical realm, we are in the post-apocalyptic near-future, where surviving humankind is doomed to live in the former metro system. But the basic plot is the same.

Spoilers alert! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde

Vol’jin: The Next Karate Troll? 

With all the juicy drama and tension that has been boiling within the Horde, I couldn’t wait to read
about Vol’jin, the leader of the Darkspear trolls. However, it left me disappointed from its lack of any believable tension. That’s probably the biggest weakness of the book—the characters are dull, the tension is dull, and even the “climactic” conflict against the Zandalari and Mogu forces is dull because I didn’t get a sense of urgency from the tranquil pacing of the book.


·         Good insight into Pandaren culture and the two contrasting ideologies.

Chen Stormstout is somewhat of an alien among his own people because he is so adventurous. There is Huojin (live in the moment, act) and Tushui (meditate, inner harmony) that exist in each person. Different people will lean towards one, but the goal is to find balance between the two. I got a strong sense of Pandaren norms and how they preferred to live out their lives. It kind of reminded me of the domestic hobbit lifestyle. Lots of food, lots of booze, lots of farming, and very little adventuring.

·         We get to see Chen Stormstout fall in love.

I had to wonder what an interracial relationship between a Pandaren and a human would spawn. And then, Pandaren + Tauren = ???

But no. Even Chen is a traditional Pandaren who likes his Pandaren women.

·         Internal character development.

We get to see Vol’jin, Tyrathan, and Chen Stormstout grow in this book. It’s too bad that they got along a little too well, because it would have been a lot less dull to read about them hanging out.

Fighting doubt. The shas are physical manifestations of our inner demons, and doubt is a big one. Tyrathan, after his traumatic experience, suffers from a lot of self-doubt and deals with it throughout the novel. I thought this development was insightful to human nature, as it really is a battle that exhausts the soul.

Vol’jin’s identity crisis. Going from the pre-Karate Kid troll to the post-monastery-trained Vol’jin, while his changes were extremely predictable given the circumstances of being in a monastery boot camp, learning to adapt in the transformation from old to new is a meaningful concept that’s explored in this book.

Chen Stormstout’s alienation. As a well-traveled Pandaren, Chen’s a bit of an outcast in his own society. Many Pandarens love him, some look down on him, and most think that he’s a little odd for having adventured outside of Pandaria so much. It’s this feeling of being an outcast among your own people because you don’t follow norms dictated by your own culture. Anyone who’s ever lived overseas of their motherland for a long time can relate to this.

·         A critique of imperialism.

This part was genius. The Mogus imperialized the Pandarens a long time ago, and living conditions were awful for the exploited pandas. The Pandarens managed to overthrow their oppressors, but have adopted a lot of their influences in architecture and culture. The Zandalari have teamed up with the Mogu, but it’s obvious to both parties that the Mogu are stronger and more powerful. The Zandalari trolls aspire to become like the Mogu and this is shown with a particular Zandalari commander who does his hair the same way the Mogu do theirs, even dyeing it to the right color. It’s gross. There are many parallels between Mogu imperialism and the consequences of colonization that we’ve seen in our own world. We see this when people living in a formerly colonized country aspire to look, dress, and live like their former oppressors.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Art of Warcraft: Warlock

The Art of Warcraft
In order to be successful in pvp you must recognize each class's character animations and icons. Be on the lookout for spells relevant to your class and learn how to counter them. This guide updated for 5.3 mist of pandaria.

Know Your Enemy Class Guides
 Death Knight
 Hunter for class pvp guide click here.
 Warrior for class pvp guide click here.

Important Warlock Cooldowns
For the most part warlocks have three major defensive cooldowns, Unending Resolve is a baseline spell for all warlocks and the other two are chosen via talents. I have posted below the most common and need-to-know spells that warlocks use.

Unending Resolve

The Warlock hardens his skin, reducing all damage taken by 40% and preventing his spells from being interrupted or silenced for 8 sec. (3 minute cooldown)

Warlocks can feel like tanks at times. But after they have blown their defensive cooldowns, they rely on CC and portals to stay alive. Unending Resolve is mostly used defensively but warlocks will sometimes use it to cast Chaos Bolt, summon a pet, or demonic portal.

Try not to pop offensive cooldowns while they have Unending Resolve because the warlock will probably not die, and don't waste interrupts during this cooldown.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Art of Warcraft: Positioning in Arena

"The terrain is to be assessed in terms of distance, difficulty or ease of travel, dimension, and safety."
--Sun Tzu

When it comes to being new to arenas, knowing how a particular map works will help you strategize around it, in terms of LOS, avoiding CC, and knowing where your positioning is the strongest and when it is the weakest.


The distance between your entrance doors can determine how the beginning of your match will play out.

This is quite true in the following circumstances:

Warlock Portals: Many warlocks like to summon a portal in the beginning. Usually, this can prove to be frustrating for melee when they are about to close in for a kill--the warlock teleports to the portal, and the melee is forced to either switch targets or chase the warlock (usually not a good idea if the distance is too big--you could end up running into the enemy and put your own teammates at risk as they have to move out into the open to heal or protect you).

So, what does this have to do with the distance of between your entrances? In certain arena maps, it IS possible to stop the portal summon, given the right circumstances. Usually, having a teammate with a ranged silence or stun is useful--hunters and DKs for example.

  • Blade's Edge Arena - The best portals are cast from one side of the bridge to the other. These can be stopped if you go straight for their side of the bridge at the beginning (instead of going through the bridge).
    It's harder to stop a portal if they cast it on the bottom or closer to their entrance.
  • Dalaran Arena - Usually possible to stop the portal here. 
  • Nagrand Arena - Possible, if you go by mount. However, the entrance is so far that the teammates have a better chance of stopping you before you make it in time to silence/stun the warlock. 
  • Ruins of Lordaeron - These are nearly impossible to stop, unless the warlock is slow.
  • Tiger's Peak - The entrances here are relatively far from each other. If the warlock stays behind the pillar and casts the portal sideways, it can be hard to stop. Otherwise, it is possible if one of your teammates has a speed increase or if you go in by mount. 
  • Tol'viron Arena - See Nagrand Arena. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Know Your Enemy: Warrior

How to be Good in Arena

In order to be successful in PVP, you must recognize each class's character animations and icons. Be on the lookout for spells relevant to your class and learn how to counter them. This guide is updated for 5.3 Mists of Pandaria.

Know Your Enemy Class Guides
 Death Knight
 Hunter for class pvp guide click here.
 Warrior (For class PVP guide, click here.)


You transform into a colossus for 24 sec, breaking all roots and snares and increasing your damage dealt by 20%. (3 min cooldown)

Warriors will sometimes spread out their offensive cooldowns if they are CC'ed during their one-shot macro. If that's the case, don't use all defensive abilities at once and counter each offensive cooldown with your own defensive cooldowns.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to win hunter 2's

I've been helping people cap their 12000 point cap doing some 2's. Here is a quick video explaining how to almost guarantee a win. I will be posting higher mmr games when summer starts.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Warrior Pvp Guide (5.3)

Welcome, this is a beginner's guide for people starting out in pvp or
recently came back from a hiatus and need a refresher on stat priority. Updated for 5.3.

Mindset and General Arena Tips

As a warrior, your job is to tunnel damage as much as possible while at the same time keeping track of cc and preventing it from lading on your healer. Use charge to prevent sheeps and fears form landing on your healer. Always eat hunter traps with intervene/safeguard and always spell reflect cc.

For the most part you want to fear on cooldown but watch out for fear ward, have your partner's dispel it if possible. And remember shockwave can be used to cc healers too!