Video Games

Elemental Fury + Chain Lightning = Squee!

I love patch 4.3 so much. Nice raid DPS and the more targets, the more mana I get back. Delightful.

Deathwing flying over Wetlands.


Creepy Crate eats a cow!


My new/old look


Achieve with Bane




15 Great Games That Are Playable On Low-End PCs (Especially Blizzard Games)

This article on Digg made me slap my forehead in dismay. Of course I could install some old games on our old 800MHz PIII and I happen to have a couple of the ones on the list (I'm not including WoW - if my 1GHz G4 PowerBook can barely run it, it's too much for my PC. Hell, it even only runs middling-well on my dual 1.8GHz G5 with a 256MB RADEON X800).

So I went ahead and installed Warcraft III and discovered there was an unexpected - but in hindsight perfectly predictable - secondary effect: My son wanted to play.

He's 9 and he's played a little WoW in the past, but mostly it's just riding or running around the world of Azeroth with my characters. He did start his own pally, but the gameplay is still a little involved for him to really get into. Too many spells and abilities to learn and remember. He just wants to explore and be entertained.

Well, Warcraft III is actually a lot more his speed, it turns out. So far he's doing as well as you'd expect a 9 year old to do, and he does have the odd distinction of already knowing quite a bit of the lore from he and I talking about WoW (I'm a warcraft lore junkie - I actually have ready a few of the novels and have a few more that are just waiting for an opportunity to be picked up). We were watching the cenematic at the beginning of the human campaign and he was ecstatic to see the Lordaeron throne room. He immediately recognized it from the ruins above the Undercity.

I don't know if really turning him onto computer games at this age is a good idea or not, but I'm glad to see him so excited.

Final PvP piece.


I finally got the PvP shield. It's the only piece (so far) that's from the areana 2 set. The rest is areana 1. Someday, I'll get bored enough to grind out a new set, but for now I'm actually pretty happy with Moofe's gear.

Moofe's Armory

Ezra Phoenix Chatterton 1996-2008

I've written about Ezra, before. He's the young man who went to Blizzard Entertainment and made a World of Warcraft Non Player Character in Bloodhoof Village through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I just saw that Ezra has passed away.

My thoughts are with his father and the rest of his family. 4 hankies

Death of Hellscream

I've written about this, before, but I was playing some Warcraft III, today, while the WoW servers were down, and I got to this cutscene and it made me weepy all over again. 3 hankies

Journey to the Undercity

This is a quest in World of Warcraft. Players fighting certain mobs in the Ghostlands can get a amulet drop that starts a small quest chain. I know the back story of Sylvanas Windrunner from Warcraft III and The Frozen Throne, and evidently the amulet is a long lost gift to Sylvansas from her sister, Alleria. You take the amulet to Sylvanas and the script has her pretending that it's unimportant and tosses it aside, but as soon as you complete the quest, she does an emote:

"Lady Sylvanas Windrunner looks down at the discarded necklace. In her sadness, the lady incants a glamour, which beckons forth Highborne spirits. The chamber resonates with their ancient song about the Sin'dorei...

Then the game starts playing a rather haunting song in the High Elf language while banshee Highborne Lamenters materialize around her, and glowing effects streak around her chamber.

At the end of the song she kneels back down and picks the amulet back up and whispers, "Belore," which is High Elf for "the Sun."

I found it quite touching. 2 hankies

(As always, if you take the time to look, there's bigger fan out there. I found a write up with lyrics (and translation!)

Gromm Hellscream

I play of World of Warcraft. I play quite a lot. I've read 4 of the Warcraft novels, and I bought Warcraft III after I started playing WoW so I could see more of the Warcraft lore. You could say that I'm fairly invested in the Warcraft universe. Recently, my son started playing Warcraft III and has been doing fairly well with it.

Today, I was in Orgrimmar with my shaman when my son came into my office. He got excited.

"Show me where Hellscream is buried!"

I said, "He's not buried in Orgrimmar, but there's a memorial here. Let me show you."

So I rode over to Grommash Hold (named, of course, after Hellscream), and showed him Mannoroth's skull and armor. I read the inscription aloud:

"These demon plates were worn by the creature that first cursed our people with Bloodlust. By the heroic act of one brave orc - he was defeated. Mannoroth the Destructor is no more. Let these plates always remind us of how far we've come and how hard we fought to regain our honor."

- Thrall, Warchief of the Horde

Of course I started choking up at the "by the heroic act," part.

He looked at me closely, "Are you crying?"

"Yeah." I said.

"This makes you sad?"

I explained, "Well, Grom Hellscream died to save his people. He's a hero. He gave up everything to save those he loved. When people do that it makes you kind of sad, but also kind of proud."

He chewed on this for a moment. "Show me where he died."

So we left Orgrimmar and rode across the Southfury River into Ashenvale and Demon Fall Canyon. We rode up to the monument and I read it for him.

"Here lies Grommash Hellscream, Chieftan of the Warsong Clan.

In Many ways, the curse of our people began and ended with Grom. His name meant "Giant's Heart" in our ancient tongue. He earned that name a hundred-fold as he stood alone before the demon Mannoroth - and won our freedom with his blood.

Lok'Tar ogar, big brother. May the Warsong never fade."

- Thrall, Warchief of the Horde

Naturally, I teared up, again. My son, however, was dry-eyed.

"That makes me sad, but without tears."

I laughed, wiping my tears. "There's nothing wrong with crying," I said, "but being sad doesn't always have to make you cry."

Except, that doesn't really seem true for me, anymore. Most people can weather emotional turbulence without breaking into tears. Why can't I? There are times when I'm glad that I'm able to have such depth of feeling, but other times it just leaves me feeling slightly foolish.

I mean, come on - a
video game?

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix (Wii Game)

I guess I have to finally publicly disclose my love of the Harry Potter books. When the first movie came out, I'd never heard of the books but my wife and I were completely taken with the movie. So I decided to buy the books available at that time (1, 2, & 3) and see what I thought. I read a few pages of the first book and put it down. I never put books down. I usually will finish even bad books by force of will if for no other reason. This was a kids book, though, and at the time those few pages read like a children's book to me. I just didn't see how a 500 page Dr. Suess book was going to keep me entertained.

Fast forward a few years. The kids and I are back in Arkansas and we're grocery shopping and I see a DVD bundle of the first four Harry Potter movies. I picked them up, and we just
loved them. At this point, wheels started turning and I thought to myself, "these are movies based on novels. If the movies are this good, there has to be something more to the novels than I assumed..." So I went back and gave book one another go. Loved it. Moved on to Chamber of Secrets and ended up going onto amazon to order books 4, 5, and 6 (which were all that were available at the time). I was hooked.

Well, now I've read the whole series and I even have the magnificent Jim Dale read Audiobooks for the whole series. I've read each book twice and listened to them twice, as well, over the years, so I'm pretty conversant with the story. And, yes, there are points in the story arc that make me cry (especially in the last two books).

(Finally all this preamble pays off...)

Today, I was playing the Order of the Phoenix Wii game that we bought last year but never got around to playing until I started, yesterday, on a whim. Today, I got to a point in the story where Harry'd just had his vision of Mr. Weasley being attacked and he and Ron warn the Headmaster then are sent on to Grimmauld Place. Well, the first thing you see when all the cut-scenes finish is the living room of Grimmauld Place and standing there are... Lupin and Tonks. Thinking of Fred Weasley and Sirius Black usually makes me teary, but every time I bump into Lupin and Tonks in the stories I just lose it and really start crying. I'm crying as I type this. The fact that they found each other, were so good for each other, had a child together yet were only together for a such a brief time before Harry lost them both... well, it really rips me up. Two lovable characters that absolutely didn't deserve the fate they got. 4 hankies (seriously)

(I made a tactical mistake when looking for an image to use with this post - I followed a link to YouTube with "Lupin Tonks" search criteria. There are some very lovingly made and touching fan videos out there, and they absolutely tore me apart...)