Do you recall, many moons ago, sweet Elune it was way back in 2008, I did a post called “I don’t know what it is, but it has Aggro?

My good buddy TishToshTesh came up with this insane rendering of my son’s idea for an Engineering Hunter Pet.

You know…

THIS THING.

Gnomish-Aggro-Fish-Tish-Tosh-Tesh

Some of you thought it was an impossible dream.

Some of you even laughed, and not an evil genius, mad scientist laugh appropriate for the occasion but a mocking laugh, a laugh tinged with a tone of derision.

Let’s see who’s laughing now, chuckles.

The first stage of the process has begun.

In the game?

Hell no, in the real world!

Feast your eyes on this, and gaze unbelieving upon the seeds that sow the coming apocalypse.

fishonwheels-kickstarter

And THIS is the video for what they call the Fish on Wheels Kickstarter project.

Look at it.

LOOK AT IT!

Yep.

They’re coming.

Wheels and a guidance control system today, CHAINSAWS AND ROCKET LAUNCHERS TOMORROW!

Mark my words.

You think this is an accident? Oh sure, you see the cute little fishie in the video, they have you thinking, “Aw, how cute, what threat could they possibly be?”

That’s exactly what they want you to think.

But look back up there at the picture at the top. See the grin on that goldfish in the picture?

DO YOU SEE THE GRIN?

There is a day coming, mark my words, there is a day coming when you will walk into a supermarket looking for some tunafish, and there in the aisle will be a dolphin in an armed ATV, and that dolphin will yell at you through their tinny little  speaker, “That better be albacore, BITCH!

And on that day, you will remember.

I warned you, but did you listen? No!

Oh, and while you’re here, why not check out the aggrofish shirts in our lovely gift shoppe?

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Thanks to some serious help from the transmog experts in Elitist Jerks mumble chat Tuesday night, I discovered and obtained the final capstone on my Horde Hunter set.

I knew I needed that something, that piece of flair to touch the set off nicely, and I found it in the Vengeful Gladiator’s Longbow for 750 honor.

I am extremely happy with this look, the overall appearance really says ‘serious hunter’ to me.

Ebonsoul the Hunter

If you’re interested in putting together this same set, some of the pieces can be a pain to get and require patience and Auction House stalking, but it’s absolutely NOT gated by raid difficulty. All of these can be obtained from nothing more strenuous than running Heroics to get Justice Points to convert into Honor Points to buy the bow.

The set consists of;

Head – Stylin’ Adventure Hat - BOE hat crafted from a bind on pickup Leatherworking pattern.
Shoulders – Black Dragonscale Shoulders - BOE shoulders crafted from a bind on equip Leatherworking pattern.
Chest – Steel Breatplate (for the silver torc look around the neck and the lack of arm art) – BOE chest crafted from a trainer-purchased Blacksmithing recipe.
Shirt – Stylish Black Shirt - BOE shirt only purchasable from Lisbeth Schneider in Stormwind, which means you need to do some Neutral AH dancing to get it Horde side.
Undercity Tabard
Gloves – Ebonhold Gauntlets - BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Whelpscale Gauntlets (both faction quest reward) and Savage Gladiator Grips (BOP BRD drop) are alternatives.
Belt – Ebonhold Girdle - BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Devolved Drake Girdle (Alliance quest reward) is a lookalike alternative.
Pants – Ebonhold Leggings - BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Savage Gladiator Leggings (BOP BRD drop) and Sunstrider LEggings (Horde quest reward) are alternatives.
Feet – Ebonhold Boots - BOE world drop, Auction House bait. Savage Gladiator Greaves (BOP BRD drop) are an alternative.
Weapon – Vengeful Gladiator’s Longbow - purchased with 750 Honor Points from Kezzik the Striker in Netherstorm, either faction, you can earn 1500 JP from Heroic boss kills and convert to Honor to purchase at 500 JP to 250 Honor conversion. At the moment you get 100 Justice Points per heroic boss kill, and I got enough from just four heroic runs in one night.

I do love this set. I wonder, would it look as good on a human?

No matter how determined, every Hunter has someone to rely on to watch their back.

Watch My Back

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Let’s talk about this web series Blizzard and Paul Jr are doing, okay?

Azeroth Choppers, a show whose time really hasn’t come.

Here, check out the most recent episode.

You’d think I’d love this show, because it’s got two things I really like; World of Warcraft and Orange County Choppers…. oh wait, I mean Paul Jr’s custom bike builds.

Thing is, I don’t like it. It’s not even okay, it’s annoying as hell.

In fact, I’ve got a LOT of problems with this thing. Enough that I want to drop the flag and call bullshit on the whole thing.

The first and least irritating point about the whole scheme is, not once, in either episode, has anyone mentioned that the World of Warcraft developers and art crew have already designed two choppers and put them in the game.

If the whole point of the show is to see how incredibly awesome and cool it is to have this guy design two Warcraft themed motorcycles, one Alliance and the other Horde, why in hell wouldn’t you mention that you’ve already done your own take on it yourselves?

THEY”RE ALREADY IN THE GAME, DAMNIT.

If you didn’t play World of Warcraft, you could be forgiven for thinking the choppers on the graphics intro to the show were created specifically for the intro, and weren’t really in the game.

Not once, at any of these meetings where artwork was passed around, ideas traded, concepts tossed out, not fucking ONCE did anyone happen to mention, “Oh yeah, and we already designed our own take on these two faction choppers, here, check it out, tell us what you think.”

Not once? Really?

Or… did they intentionally not film any of that because this is supposed to be some kind of wonderful new collaboration?

Bullshit.

If this is to drive enthusiasm with the existing fans of the game that also love badass hogs, then why not show us exactly what Paul Jr thought of the Blizzard designs already in the game.

Seeing what Paul Jr, a master custom bike designer, thought about the existing bike designs would have been actually relevant to the show and to Warcraft game fans. It would have been an awesome thing to see. Pretending they don’t even exist feels like they’re aiming the show at everyone except WoW players.

I for one, having long familiarity from watching OCC and the bike build offs, would have loved to have seen what Paul Jr thought of their designs from his experienced artistic eye.

Guess talking about chopper design in a video game in a TV show about chopper design in a video game was too much like crazy talk.

I mean, come on. They’re passing around these beautiful full sized high-rez concept art pieces, but nothing about the in-game choppers? No big pictures of bikes with sidecars, the PWN license plates, the trikes the Goblins use, none of that? Not once while talking about what a Horde or Alliance motorcycle might look like did the thought come up.

Bullshit.

Fine, let’s move past that.

Let’s move on to the big “who are you, and what did you do with Blizzard” part of the whole thing.

What we supposedly have here are some of the real powerhouse artists and creative people in Blizzard going to another artist, one that works in chrome and steel, and commissioning two custom pieces of artwork inspired by World of Warcraft.

We’re talking the BIG TWO, here. Chris Metzen and Samwise Didier. These two guys are amazingly talented creative geniuses who have created something that has absorbed my free time and my life outside of family for over eight years.

But let’s not bullshit each other here. They are the heart of a company that is world famous for their mantra – “We’ll release it when it’s done.”

“When it’s done.”

Think about it. Before there was a crazed fan base or a WoW, there was a company named Blizzard that had made it’s bones by saying they wouldn’t release crap just to make a ship date. They’d release it when it was done and up to their standards, and if you want it you’ll just have to wait instead of playing some buggy half-assed shit pushed out the door to turn a fast buck.

So what are we getting here, from these creative giants that have spent years putting quality and artistic vision and excellence before bullshit ship dates and arbitrary deadlines?

In the second episode, we get “We gave you ten weeks when we first commissioned these bikes, but now we’re telling you you’ve only got five. Because fuck you it’s dramatic.”

What the flying fuck is that about? No explanation why.

Put episode one and two together, and what you get is, “Hey guys, glad you could come to this meeting where we are supposed to talk about the design sketches and concept art for what the bikes will look like. What’s that Paul Jr, you say you already have platforms made with frames and tires and shit? ALREADY? Wow, totally blown away. Oh, and I guess it’s a damn good thing you’re already that far along since surprise, we just cut your time in half, hahahaha fuckers.”

Horse puckey.

Either it’s all pre-scripted bullshit for artificially pumped up drama, “oh wow, impossible time to complete, impossible man, oh my god what’ll we do, oh wow.”

OR.

Or it’s all true, it’s not scripted and fake, and the time being cut really was a surprise for Paul Jr, and especially for his two build teams.

Probably not, but let’s pretend. Let’s pretend that it’s being honestly presented.

I’m not going to bitch about not adding more people to each team in the face of changed deadlines. In complex systems, adding more people to a project can actually make things take longer if the existing people have to take the time to train up the new people.

On the cynical side, if they brought ten more skilled craftsmen on board to complete the builds, where would we get the fake drama from? Also, how would we get to know the builder’s personalities if there was an army on the build? And we probably shouldn’t outsource components to other machine shops in the area that had extra waterjet or CNC capacity to make the deadline, because there isn’t much thrill in competently getting things done. Without raging around kicking things and whining about deadlines.

Regardless, we’re pretending that this is all honest and on the up and up.

WHAT THE FUCK are these two artists or Blizzard management in general doing going to another artist and telling them there is a deadline that must be reached and to hell with quality craftsmanship and beautiful art?

Blizzard setting arbitrary deadlines for another artist? Really? We don’t care if it’s ready or not, you have to make the ship date? REALLY?!?!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Either way, it’s got no heart.

Don’t get me started on Chris Metzen representing Alliance. Yeah, like he has ever, ever shown a preference for Alliance. Yep, when I think Alliance fanboy, I think Chris Metzen. Talk about scripted for TV.

It’s just a shame. I love me some OCC, I’ve enjoyed all the bike build shows that have been on for over a decade.I’m personally more a fan of Russell Mitchell and his Exile Cycles, when I finally buy one of my own that’s where I will go, but I still love all the build shows.

I still sit around the office with my maintenance crew and we’ll talk about some of the builds that Paul Sr and Paul Jr have done. I think the Dragon bike that OCC did was amazing, and showed what they could do when given a rough idea and were let loose.

Just, why? What benefit do you get from telling an artist working with chrome and steel that he has to rush it?

The carry away here really is, either the whole thing is completely fabricated made-up scripted bullshit, or they really did just tell an artist that the quality and craftsmanship of his final creations isn’t important, just throw some shit together in red and blue with spikes on so we can get this show pumped out to the fans.

Such a great idea for a collaboration and a show that had me so enthusiastic, and here it is I’ve watched episode two, and I’m laughing.

I’m laughing, but it’s not funny. It’s sad.

Holy crap Samwise, Metzen, you’re supposed to be living the dream! Making your own rules, having a blast, showing the world that the old labels of geek and nerd and all that other crap dumped on computer programmers and graphic artists is so last century, you’re fucking AWESOME, you’re Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta, you’re geniuses that have done it YOUR way and now you make the rules in the new world, you are the ones everyone else watches and tries to race to catch up to

This is what you come up with?

Is this really the best way you can think of to get the greatest custom Warcraft-themed bikes that ever were?

Because if you’re not trying to get the greatest goddamn custom bikes to fit your vision for Warcraft, what the hell is the POINT OF THE SHOW?!

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Damn Shaman.

There is one final class I have never leveled to max in WoW; that damn shaman.

I came close on the Kael’thas server, real close, but stopped a few levels away. There were just so many times I could take the last five levels of Cataclysm before I snapped, and my shaman suffered the final price.

But here we are, and the days are ticking down to d-day.

D-day stands for denial day. I say it’s the day when my WoW subscription runs out a month hence. Cassie says it’s the day I try to log in, can’t, break down in a panic attack and resubscribe to the 100-year plan.

I hear if you sign up for the WoW centennial plan, Lore brings waffles or pancakes to your house, your choice.

The game time is there to be used, and, well, you know. Why not log in, just clear out a few of those last little things.

My Bear is sooo close to having a Legendary cloak, after all. I have eleven out of twelve Titan Runestones. I ought to be able to get just one little Titan Runestone next Tuesday, right? I mean, come on, there are the first two wings of Siege of Orgrimmar and the last two of Throne of Thunder, and as long as I leave Lei Shen alive to take his heart once I’ve turned in all twelve, I could have it all wrapped up before the weekend.

Then there is my Horde Hunter. I’ve been fortunate enough to have Tyben of the Elitist Jerks inviting me along to their alt night runs on Tuesday, so I’ve been having a ton of fun there. Listening to them raid and joke around is a hoot, and the vibe is amazingly like being with my own raid team. It makes me wonder if all extremely successful raid teams share similar qualities, being able to focus on what needs to be done next and improve every time instead of falling into bitching about what happened last. Also, having a sense of humor without a bitter, entitled edge to it.

Regardless, I’ve really been enjoying the Tuesday night Elitist Jerk raids, and that has me wishing I had better gear on the Horde Hunter so I’m not dragging them down, and THAT has sent me into every LFR instance trying to get upgrades.

If I set my computer on fire from running too much LFR in a blind rage, I blame Tyben.

Speaking of raiding, I’ve been spending Thursday nights raiding in my own group’s flex alt night on the Bear hunter, and having a blast there as well. it’s all flex, but it’s all right. Lots of fun, and it gives me an opportunity to hang with folks in my friends list.

But there is only so much LFR and Flex that can be done, and so my thoughts turned to that lack of a shaman.

Could I putter around and level a shaman before the subscription ends? I hear Elemental is a lot of fun, you can cast lightning on the run, all that stuff.

What could it hurt if I created a pandaran shaman? Maybe a female with the red raccoon tail, I’ve never made a female pandaran. Pumpken always looks super cool, maybe a mace and shield combo would be fun!

Wrong move, tofu breath.

I managed to level through the turtle isle, but damn did that feel crappy.

First thing was, I thought the wandering isle was kind of empty when I started leveling, which was awesome. “Oh boy, the boosted 90s have cleared out the crowds fighting for the mobs and drops! I have the zone all to myself for RP!”

Um, no. I think it was the Easter holiday effect. By the time I logged in to finish it up last night, there were billions of others cross-server leveling on that teeny little isle. Okay, maybe I’m exagerrating. Maybe. Damnit, I hate sharing leveling zones with a crowd. I want to take my time and enjoy the moment. No, I don’t want to group to power level through. Piss off.

Then there’s this whole elemental thing. From level 1 to 9, you’ve got a lightning bolt, a melee whomp, and an Earth Shock. You get a lightning shield after a while, but that’s not really something you intentionally target on an enemy.

Oh, and every time something starts whomping on you, it interrupts your cast, slows it down, over and over! I found myself kiting shit more while leveling the shaman than I do when raiding.
That’s just wrong. Lightning bolt, lightning bolt, back away, bolt, back away, keep moving, shit there’s four of them!

It was brutal.

That moment when I hit level 10 and was able to choose a spec made a VAST difference. Most classes I’ve played, you hit level 10 and you get more toys but you don’t feel that much more powerful. More tools in the box, not necessarily bigger nukes.

Oh, not so with the shaman! You get passives to reduce interrupts while spellcasting, reduced cast times, boosted power to your lightning, instant cast AoE knockbacks, and flametongue weapons. Stuff that I was kiting all over creation suddenly went down like dominoes. Big difference.

So I’m rolling around on Kargath, having fun as a Thunderbear. We’ll see how it goes, it was fun and frustrating to reach level 10 without heirlooms to make the game easy mode. Things felt challenging enough to have to use all the abilities I had. Now that I have my heirloom gear, will it be too boring to continue? If I don’t use heirlooms, will it take me the rest of the month to get to a mounted level?

Should I even bother messing around with another alt? Is there time enough for May thunderstorms?

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I still love World of Warcraft as a game, and I like the people I play with, but as of this last weekend the Bear family has joined the ranks of the great unsubscribed.

I have some time ticking away on my subscription, due to being on a 3 month billing cycle, but the deed is done.

There are a lot of things that go into this decision, but the single biggest one is a lack of having anything to do in game worth paying $50 a month for the family to take part in.

Note, I’m not saying there is nothing in the game to do. There are certainly plenty of things that any of us could do. We could all log in and /dance in Stormwind for 8 hours a day, but that doesn’t mean it would be fun, exciting, or worth $50 a month to us.

For the forseeable future there will be nothing new to do, nothing that we haven’t already done on some character, somewhere, many times. In most cases, many, MANY times.

I will be back when patch 6.0 is 100% fully released. It is doubtful the Cub or Cassie will return. Until there is something new to actually do, new goals to achieve, new rabbits to chase, we’re out.

For those of you who have been with me all of these years, yea even through the great content drought of Cataclysm when I proclaimed to the sky that you’d have to pry WoW from my cold dead fingers when the server shut down, I’d like to give you more explanation than that.

I love playing WoW, but right now I feel much the same as I did at the beginning of the long, boring stretch during Cataclysm when all we had to look forward to were seven long months of Dragon Soul farming on alts.

The single biggest difference between then and now is, now we can clearly see that the decision not to release any new content during this long intermission before the next expansion is an intentional choice.

I admire the creativity and skills of the programming, art and design teams at Blizzard, but running the game is a business. This isn’t something driven by the creative programmers, this isn’t based on how passionate the developers are. This is driven by number analysis and managing a brand for maximum income versus resource expenditure among a strong fan base.

Someone over there in the business group has run the numbers and determined how long they believe they can go without releasing new content and still keep x number of paid subscribers.

Part of that calculation of maintaining subscriber income comes from how much interest they think they can generate from buzz in social media, news teasers on patch 6.0 info, screenshots, discussion panels at conventions, beta news blurbs and all the other stuff.

Basically, they expect to use words and pictures and promises of neat things to come in the future to keep World of Warcraft visible in social media, alive in our thoughts, and us enthused and subscribed until the new expansion comes out. All without new content until then.

Sure, they know they’ll lose some people, but they’ve got hard figures from the Cataclysm slump before the Mists release to know exactly how many subscribers they lost over time, and how many of those came back once there was a patch.

It’s also reasonable for an analyst to expect the pre-order offer of an immediate boosted level 90 character to bring back old players or new ones, and that influx of new accounts should hide the churn to some extent.

For those of us who are long time fans of a grand adventure run as a business, we have to live in two worlds.

In one, we are romantic. We believe in the game developers, we trust their vision, we have faith that they are working to create the most wonderful game experience we could ask for. And I feel that is very true.

In the other world, we have to remain aware running World of Warcraft is a business, the goal of which is making money, and there are ‘suits’ whose purpose it is to extract the most cash possible from the franchise without risking alienating our romantic role-playing escapist side.

I’d say, the vast majority of the time those suits leave a lot of money on the table, erring in the side of caution. They leave the short term gains untouched to focus on keeping long term trust with us. I admire that. I really do. So many other companies have executives that get greedy and start milking that cow dry. Blizzard doesn’t do that.

All that being said… $50 a month seems pretty steep to us as a family to continue logging in to do a pet battle once in a while, or do a Flex run once a week. We’ve kept active accounts for, what, over eight years now?

I’ve never unsubscribed before. I’ve been one of the faithful for almost as long as my son has been alive. There are kids playing WoW right now that weren’t alive when my subscription began.

It’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is.

I’ve said plenty of times that I pay to play a game, and if Blizzard is going to choose to stop releasing content for a long stretch of time, I’m going to choose not to pay them for that same stretch.

I’m certainly looking forward to Garrisons, and new racial graphics, and a beautiful content that is the same and yet vastly different, and raiding with my guild, and everything that comes with the new expansion.

As soon as you provide them, I’ll be back.

All that being said, I have one foolish optimistic hope.

I hope that the real, true reason we have this insanely long dry spell is because we have to for the expansion coding.

I hope that they can’t do more content patches because they need one stable core software revision to base all their changes from.

I hope that, because first I am a romantic and I’d like to believe there ain’t no suits at Blizzard, just passionate gamers.

And also, that might mean their new file structure designed for easier patching might mean shorter gaps before new future expansions!

Yeah, I know but I can dream.

Comments 22 Comments »

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