Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Grand Prix Vegas 2015

Grand Prix Las Vegas. Modern Masters 2015. The biggest tournament in Magic: the Gathering's history and almost the biggest card game tournament of all time. How was my experience? I'll break it down into a few different sections to get all my super salty and nerd rage filled opinions out in controlled bursts.

Initial Experience

I had heard the tales of Grand Prix Las Vegas 2013, the former record breaking Magic tournament, for the past two years. When I found out they were releasing a new Modern Masters set and having another GP in Vegas, I knew I couldn't miss it. Channel Fireball, who hosted this event, did a really great job. The website was nice. Awesome giveaways for early signups. Preregistration available for main events and side events. Around 30 artists in attendance (seems like typical GPs have about 3-5). A cool, exclusive t-shirt (see above) that you could purchase as a souvenir. Not one, but two (!) exclusive playmats for the main event and side events, respectively. I can't forget just the fact that you would be opening Modern Masters 2015 booster packs which could have who knows how much value?! These, of course, were all of my feelings before the set was completely spoiled (which has now already been covered by many other blogs and podcasters so we all know the value of this set doesn't really meet the $10/booster price tag). So let's jump into what I did for the 3 days I attended Grand Prix Vegas.

I arrived in Las Vegas early Friday morning, had a great breakfast of chicken and waffles, and headed to the convention center around noon. I had preregistered for an event that started at 1pm and wanted to make sure I got there in enough time to figure out exactly where I needed to be. Showed up to the convention center to exactly NO SIGNAGE outside of the convention center that told me where I needed to go to get inside. However, there were signs outside for a WASTE EXPO convention that was also happening in the convention center next door to the GP, and because that was properly labeled, I used my context clues to go inside the convention in the proper place. (Also there was an overwhelmingly male crowd with backpacks heading towards the convention center and nerd recognize nerd.)

Once inside, I saw a giant wall of all the players preregistered for the main event where you could go find your name to make sure you were signed up and the section you would be reporting to on Saturday for the main event. There were also customer service booths with staff for questions, and the convention center was ridiculously well air conditioned. Almost TOO cold but I'm not going to complain because it was over 100 degrees in Vegas that weekend. Channel Fireball rented out what seemed like four giant convention halls for this event and with possibly 10,000 players in attendance, I never once felt crowded. Another point for organization, which will quickly be deducted as I'm trying to find out where the hell to go for my side event. To avoid walking around aimlessly and in the interest of time I go straight to the customer service booth to just ask where I need to be. As I walk up I hear them tell someone else who had the same question where to go, so I head inside, but not before grabbing a map. Again, MASSIVE convention center. It's popping. My eyes are wide. I'm so excited to actually be there.

They had giant banners with Magic characters on them hanging from the ceiling and under those characters were corresponding sections with tables and table cloths that matched those colors. For example, the side events were mostly being held in the Liliana area. Big black banner. Black planeswalker. Black table cloths. I found it easily. The group on front of me from the customer service section were instructed to ask a table judge where exactly to be once we got in the section, and as they did, the judge had no idea. At this point, the general consensus was wait for an announcement over the convention center system and it will tell you where to be, so I wandered off to explore. I brought what I felt like was a massive amount of cards with me I wanted to get signed by the artists so I jumped in a line while I waited for the announcement. I don't remember exactly what artist's line I jumped in first, but they all were a pretty good length and seemed to be moving okay.

First Event

I got through one line when I heard the announcement (later than 1pm) and went back to the Liliana area where a judge said seatings were posted. Found the postings board, found my name, sat down, everything was fine. As I'm sitting, I see the judges passing out sheets to register the pool you open. I immediately realize that because this event I signed up for was a "last chance trial" to get bye rounds for the GP, we were going to be registering and passing product as if we were in the main event or a PTQ or something. I then sank in my chair. I hate registering pools and I hate passing the packs you open. I understand why this process is done (to prevent cheating as much as possible); however, this also means that if you open anything remotely good, you get the best value from dropping from the event and not playing to keep what you open. It also means, as other players at my table were confirming, that they planned on doing this and so GENERALLY SPEAKING the pool you are being passed will probably not be worth too much. This is Modern Masters 2015. I want MY VALUE AND I WANT TO PLAY WITH THE CARDS. I don't want to open a pool and drop because of money, I don't want to have to pass money, and I want to actually play. So I'm having a dilemma, which turns into a crisis once I get my six boosters and begin registering.

I open (and I feel sick every time I think about this which will inform the entire rest of my GP experience) an Eldrazi, either Ulamog or Kozilek, a Spellskite, a foil Smash to Smithereens, a Remand, another $10-20 dollar card that was possibly a mythic if I remember correctly. My first pool of GP Vegas. Not SPECTACULAR, but was a little bit of money. I searched for prices online and it seemed like retail was about $60 at the time. Of the other people around me, one person to my left opened a Tarmogoyf and dropped, and a guy to my right opened either a Bitterblossom or Dark Confidant and for sure a Cryptic Command and dropped. Other people were saying if your pool could cover your entry fee you might as well drop because you are also getting the playmat for signing up and can just join another event. My pool was right on the bubble and after sitting there, literally in pain because of this decision, I said fuck it. I'm fucking here to play magic. The pool isn't insane. I'd be maybe breaking even. I want to play Magic. I pass the cards. I get passed a pool half as valuable as the one I had before. I instantly feel like shit. I like playing Magic, but I also like having money. It's just the kind of person I am. So I decide well since I passed that pool I just had (like an idiot), I have to suck it up and play now. 5 fucking rounds. I already lost value passing, might as well stick this out and try to make some back up.

The pool I get passed, while not monetarily valuable, had some good removal. It was light on early creatures (or good white creatures that this particular archetype needed), but I ended up in the archetype I wanted to be in, which was blue white artifacts, splashing red for a couple dragon bombs. First round my opponent was one of the ones that probably opened something good and dropped so I got a bye. Cool. I jump in a couple more artist lines to get cards signed. I run into Houston aka Ginger Ale from the Tap N Sac podcast and say hi. Cool ass dude. Get some more cards signed, show up for round two, repeat this process until this 5 round tournament is over at 8ish FUCKING O CLOCK with a 2-2-1 record and a (1!) Khans of Tarkir booster pack as my prize for spending all fucking day in this event. I cannot express enough how much this event rubbed me the wrong way and how much it informed the entire rest of my GP experience. I guess I'll add here that I came to Vegas with my parents as well. See, my birthday was a couple days before the GP and the weekend before that, I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree. (At this point it is perfectly acceptable to ask me why in the fuck am I writing this fucking novel after just finishing college and not ever having to actually write a paper again.) The trip was intended to be bigger, as in more of my family coming with me, but they couldn't manage to fit it in so it ended up just being me and my parents, which was great. Oh, except for the fact I was AT THE FUCKING CONVENTION CENTER ALL FUCKING DAY ON THE FIRST DAY WE WERE IN VEGAS AND I INTENTIONALLY SIGNED UP FOR AN EARLY EVENT TO NOT BE THERE ALL DAY SO I COULD SPEND TIME WITH THEM TOO.

Because I was there all day, I told them they might as well go see a show they wanted to see, and I would try to get as many signatures as I could so I could not spend as much time there Saturday and more time with them. Also because I was there all day, their show started as I was leaving the convention center, so I had to walk to the monorail (which wasn't far) then take it to the closest hotel near mine, and walk from there, go to the front desk and get a room key, eat dinner by myself, go to bed, and wake up early the next day without ever doing anything with them aside from breakfast. Oh well. Sucks for me, but bad beats is bad beats.

First Day of Main Event

I wake up early, and because my parents had a late night, I walk to the monorail and ride to the convention center before they are awake. I tried to get their early because Steve Argyle, an awesome Magic artist and just another fucking cool ass dude, had an alter policy where you had to get there early and sign up for a time slot in the morning for an alter, which you would them come back at that time and drop it off, and he would do it in between signatures. So I arrived early, LUCKILY got one of the last time slots available, 8 fucking :30 pm. Savage beats. I wanted this alter though, so I again, said fuck it. I'M MAKING MAGIC HISTORY! CHEER UP! THIS IS WHAT I'M HERE FOR!

On my way to my table for the main event, I run into fellow Nerdcore rapper, internet superstar, some might say legend, another cool ass dude, Billy the Fridge. I say hi and get a picture. I've talked to him quite a few times online and on his Twitch channel (where he streams magic and makes people laugh) so it was really awesome finally meeting him in person. I then sit down for the main event. It is reiterated that you will be passing your pool so if you want to drop, feel free. After the day before, I was really hoping for some money in these packs to make up for the bad beats and time I spent there. The product gets passed out and I crack an almost IDENTICAL pool in cards and value as the one from the day before. Also like the day before, people around me were cracking cards, getting up immediately and dropping. I stare at my pool, I think about the 9 rounds, and I think about all the artists I still didn't get a chance to get stuff signed by (the lines that didn't seem long usually took at least an hour to get through), and THIS TIME I said fuck it for a different reason. I would much rather flip some of the cards for value and go get cards signed then get passed a possibly shitty pool, maybe live the dream and day 2, or maybe spend all day here again and not get WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO GET ACCOMPLISHED, accomplished. I understand my strengths and skills as a Magic player, I know I am no where near as good as some of the players there, and I also know there is a chance I could have made day 2 (a local guy named Pablo from my card shop did! Congrats!). I also know I what I would be happier doing, and that is doing the thing that is more rare than day 2'ing a GP, meeting 30 artists all in the same place at once.

So I drop. I wait in hour long lines. I get cards signed, some altered, and I have a great an okay time doing it. My feet... not so much, but hey, MAGIC HISTORY. I then decide since I also now know I am going to have to be here until after 8 to get a card altered, I really need to get EVERYTHING I wanted to do done on Saturday so I could finally spend some time with my parents on Sunday and Monday. In between all the long lines and cards being altered, I go give blood. The Red Cross was there and Channel Fireball offered anyone who gave blood a free draft, which was like handing them 3 Modern Masters 2015 booster packs and I'm all about value! So I do that, it takes about an hour and was kind of a mini nightmare of its own but it isn't something I can blame on Wizards of the Coast or Channel Fireball so I'll skip that specific experience.

Having nothing to do until 8:30, I decide to sign up for another sealed, fully planning on cracking and dropping. It included the side event playmat, and was only $60 since I had signed up for the main event. All the value. As I sit down I find out this event was not going to require us to register our pools. I get super happy about this. I tell myself, "Yeah. I'm playing this one." I cracked my packs, again, nothing really of value. Very similar to the other packs I had opened. However, the packs looked BONKERS as far as a limited deck was concerned. I was again in blue white artifacts splashing red, this time, almost mono blue with Tezzeret, the only red was for Electrolyze, the white was for like two cards, a great curve, a lot of really solid cards, a good number of artifacts, a small eldrazi synergy with a rare legendary land, All is Dust, and 2(!) Ulamog's Crusher, it was truly a thing of beauty. Then I realized it was REALLLLLLLLLY light on removal. Almost none. A counterspell, I think an Arrest, and the All is Dust. Better removal would have made this deck unstoppable but as it was, All is Dust is great when you know you have it and are playing a lot of artifacts. I could make it work and I did. I started 1-0. It took three games because game one I realized that the legendary land didn't actually tap for any mana, and had to add another land to the deck. The first thing of note was going Ulamog's Crusher, next turn All is Dust, top decking another Ulamog's Crusher for the final turn. The only other thing of note is my opponent fanning out his deck after he lost to show me the Goyf he never drew, basically to say, "Yeah you won but I got money!" *Sigh* Round 2 I get paired up against a guy playing the typical 4-5 color Domain good stuff deck. It was anyone's game early and we vied for control until I eventually was in the driver's seat looking unstoppable. Good board position, fired off an All is Dust (admittedly a little early), had Ulamog's Crusher out, feeling like I locked it up, the only problem was his Blinding Souleater that didn't die to All is Dust and could lock down my Ulamog's Crusher the whole game. That sucked. Whatever. Then, Vapor Snag to Ulamog's Crusher, damn. Oh well. I had other cards in my hand, I figured since he would be locking down Crusher all game I should just deploy a ton of threats instead of just one. Anyway, he eventually was able to beat me down with a flier and I just couldn't seem to get back in the game or do anything about the Souleater so he won game one. It put me1 on the hardest tilt ever. There was almost no way I could have lost. I kept thinking about what the fuck actually just happened. Then of course my shitty pool. Then all my shitty pools. Then life. Then my bad luck. Then more pissed. Whatever, I try to get back in it. I win game two. Kind of hand him his ass, but then he shows me he also got a Goyf. Pissed off again. Lose game three because of land screw and kinda keeping a bad hand but it was close. I am way too tilted to keep playing even though this deck was super ridiculous, I couldn't even focus. I unsleeve the deck and go sulk for a minute. Later of course it hit me that my deck was probably good enough to win out and I should have played it out but the salt was real.

Lines. Waiting. Signatures. Walking. Lines. Waiting. Signatures. No real food anywhere nearby because of where the convention center is located (at least as far as I looked). Con food for lunch. A slice of Sbarro pizza. It was actually okay. Lines. Waiting. Signatures. Walking. Lines. Waiting. Signatures. Sbarro again. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. See a bunch of pros walking around. Shahar Shenhar, Patrick Chapin, LSV, Reid Duke, Martin Dang, Josh Utter-Leyton, even the now confirmed douchebag combo of Huey Jensen and Owen Turtenwald. Pretty cool. Didn't bring a sharpie with me for signatures which was definitely a misplay on my part that I won't be repeating, but still cool. Then while on the phone with my girlfriend, I see Maria from the Magic the Amatuering Podcast walk by, and I am a huge fan, so I say, "I'll call you back in a minute!" Then, very uncreepily, follow her for a second, just to make sure she wasn't busy with something, then get her attention and say hi. She was so super nice and said she was on the way back to The Meadery booth, where her partner in podcast Meghan was, and I should come say hi to her as well. This made up for a lot of the long lines and bad beats. I talked to them both for a minute, told them they make me laugh and I am a huge fan, joke around with them a bit about all of our different accents, and then get a picture. I was definitely cheesing in it, and I blame them for being way nicer than I thought they would have been, having been surrounded by the aforementioned overwhelmingly male crowds and most likely some shitty behavior from Magic players because of their attitudes when playing against women. It was unfortunately bound to happen and they both alluded to a couple instances they would cover in the next podcast probably.

Finally 8:30 rolls around, I go to drop off my card, and see Steve Argyle was ridiculously backed up on commissions and signatures. Having seen him stay the latest of any of the artist the day before, it looked like he was in for it again. He was, and he did. Because of this, I stayed way later than the 9pm I planned, but also, I got to chat with Steve Argyle for about an hour while he worked on mine, and other people's commissions. I already said he was a super cool dude, but he really was a super cool ass dude. He jokingly said he rarely has free time to have fun because he is always working but he enjoys video games and traveling, which he is glad his work on Magic has allowed him to do. He used to subscribe to and read comic books until he got behind and cancelled his monthly pull list, but would like to pick it back up again eventually. We also talked about techniques when altering cards and drawing on playmats. We talked about my art and what I liked to do and he said he would love to get into stone carving one day, which is one medium I really enjoyed doing in college. He then finished my card, it looked ridiculously amazing, I said bye and took off. Another really good moment that made me happy I was there.

My parents come pick me up, having already eaten both an awesome lunch and dinner while I had Sbarro both times, and we went to a giant Ferris wheel called, "The Highroller," and took a 30 minute ride to see Vegas from 550 feet up in the air. It was really cool and I was glad I finally got to do something fun with them. After this, we went to Fremont street and gambled a bit, but mostly people watched. A lot of crazies out, as well as street performers, and the hybrid of crazy/street performer/weirdo dressed up as something. I have been to Vegas three times now, but that was the first time on Fremont street. It was cool to see I guess. Got back to the hotel. Went to bed.

The Final Day of the GP

On Sunday, the final day of the GP, I had preregistered for another sealed event at 11am. I did this one early so I wouldn't be there all day. Having got most of the signatures I wanted, I was content doing this event, then using my ticket I got from giving blood to draft, then taking off and feeling like I had experience a satisfactory amount of Grand Prix. Get to my table, crack another almost identical pool as far as rares and value go, this time though with a Noble Hierarch and Kiki-Jiki which I was happy to see. Still didn't make any real money and planned on keeping those cards for a while. Also planned on NOT STAYING THERE ALL DAY so I walked away and went to turn the blood I gave into value.


I ended up first picking a Daybreak Coronet as I completely intended to lose the first round as it was single elimination. The Coronet of course was miscolored, which I guess I will derail here for just a second and say, HOLY FUCK THE INTERNET WAS NOT FUCKING KIDDING. THESE PACKS FUCKING SUCK. SO MANY FUCKING CARDS DAMAGED RIGHT OUT OF THE PACK AND FOILS SCRATCHED UP AND LOOKING LIKE PURE SHIT! HOW IN THE FUCK CAN WIZARDS DO THIS AND GET AWAY WITH IT?! 10 FUCKING DOLLARS TO BE RIPPED A NEW ASSHOLE?! GET FUCKING REAL! I'M SURPRISED NO ONE HAS BURNED WOTC TO THE GROUND YET. THIS IS WAY WORSE THAN MAGIC ONLINE BAD. I have been playing magic for a little over two years now, and I have never fucking seen this many fucked up cards in my life, straight out of the pack. No fucking joke, I even defended Wizards and said, "Hey, the internet will complain to complain," but holy fuck these cards are fucked up. Seriously fucked up. No fucking joke and no exaggeration. They are miscolored, misprinted, scratched up, bent, and nicked. I was holding two cards side by side that were commons from back to back packs that were a different shade of green. It is embarrassing. There is no fucking way Wizards will not be admitting they were wrong and apologizing for this fucking joke of a set. They fucking have to. I know they just made a killing but I sure as fucking hope the voices start rising to the forefront after this GP. Back to the draft, I begin to end up in red/green, start getting fixing, start going domain, end up in red/green splashing a single blue, white, and black for some domain cards. No real money besides the Coronet that I remember. End up losing in the first round to a guy playing red/white all combat tricks and enchantments. It took three games and I kept a bad hand game three. It was embarrassing to lose to him. What was embarrassing was it was exactly my kind of deck and I could have been in it because ALL the cards came through me first. Those are the decks I usually play, the against all conventional wisdom, red white, all two drops, card disadvantage for immediate advantage, kill you ridiculously fast decks, and I wasn't brave enough to draft it. I feel mine was objectively better, but unluckily for me we got matched up round 1, we were both playing red, and he out sped me with the enchantments and combat tricks. A really shitty way to go out of the final event of the GP but whatever.

I think it was about 5pm when I finally left the convention. I stayed a little later than I planned to charge my phone a bit and then met up with my parents. We walked around a bit, drove around, walked around again, then eventually got to finally go to Gordon Ramsey's BURGR, which we all had been looking forward to. The food was amazing. No surprise there. Nothing to complain about. Gambled a bit. Went to bed. Next day got some awesome donuts (O Face Donuts in North Vegas, look them up), then a buffet for lunch, and headed home.


As I look back on the Grand Prix, I had fun. There was a lot that was done right, and of course, a few things done wrong. I've heard how hard it is to run a really good GP and I think Channel Fireball pulled it off. I've heard many GPs have had side event confusion, or events that run really long because they can't get their shit together, and that has to be expected at this point. I feel like they did their best, and it was good. Seemed to be well organized. Every judge and non judge working the event were super friendly and in a good mood. They accommodated players who wanted a different playmat. They actually got enough convention halls and seating to accommodate all the players too. I'll talk about some of the shitty things I couldn't control, like ridiculously long lines for signings, and artists doing commissions while others waited for signatures, or artists that showed up and left at really random and short times. I feel like I waited in lines the majority of the time I was there for almost three whole days and still missed two or three artists I wanted to get signatures from.

The shitty things that I could control, were my expectations and attitude. I am already completely aware that I have bad luck when it comes to cracking packs. I personally cracked 2 Modern Masters 2015 boosters before the GP, 27 boosters while I was there, and was passed 6 of them while passing 6 of mine. I know I've opened over 12 mythics, which seems like insanely good luck, but none of them were Goyf, Mox Opal, Bitterblossom, Dark Confidant, Karn, Emrakul, Primeval Titan, or V Clique, so I didn't make more than I spent, and don't even think I broke even if I sell everything I opened (unless I sit on it for a while). The only good rares I opened were Spellskite and Noble Hierarch. I shouldn't have put so much energy in expecting I would be cracking Goyfs left and right and leave Vegas a winner, monetary or otherwise. Some people have to leave Vegas as losers, and I was one of those people. It bums me out, which is why I rarely gamble, even on Magic cards. I guess this isn't such a big deal to my family, since they frequent casinos year round. I let this trip be the big Modern Masters splurge and I crapped out. It was made worse walking around for three days hearing about all the other people cracking multiple Goyfs, but that's just how it is. I didn't have to get tilted and salty, but I am a self-professed, "nerd rager," and so that's just how it is as well.

Sitting here a couple days later, as I said, I did have fun. It was a net positive experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Sure, I would do a couple things differently, but I know that now. If you've never been to a GP, you should go to the next one you can. If you went to GP Vegas, I would love to hear what your thoughts were on the whole experience. At the moment, I am pretty burnt out on Magic after this weekend and I'll be taking a break until Origins comes out (with a little Modern constructed thrown in here and there because, no matter how burnt out I am playing magic, I am never too burnt out to play BURN).

Friday, April 23, 2010

MM Hunter BIS Gear List for the Current Patch

Never posted anything like this before but I spent a good amount of time going over other "Best In Slot" lists and trying to find my personal one. Because I spent a good deal amount of time doing this, I figured I'd post it somewhere and share, even though there are a million of these floating around.

Things to keep in mind: I use the agility MM Spec (still favoring Armor Penetration on gear as the primary stat of choice though)

My Armory (for reference)

Head: T10.25 - 77 Arm Pen
Neck: Wodin's Lucky Necklace (BoE) - 38 Hit
Shoulder: T10.25 - 55 ArmPen
Back: Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape - 52 Arm Pen
Chest: T10.25 - 77 ArmPen
Wrist: Scourge Hunter's (Gunship 25) - 40 Arm Pen
Hands: T10.25 - 63 Hit
Waist: Nerub'ar Stalker's (Festergut 25) - 63 Arm Pen
Pants: Leggings of Northern Lights (Lady D 25) - 77 Arm Pen
Feet: Rock-Steady Treads (LW, easy but expensive) - 47 Arm Pen
Finger: Ashen Verdict - 59 Hit and Frostbrood Sapphire (Dreamwalker 25) - 60 Arm Pen
Trinket: Deathbringer's Will (Saurfang 25) - 155 Arm Pen and Mark of Surpremacy - 128 Hit
Stat Stick: Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger-General (Lich King 25) - 115 Arm Pen
Ranged: Fal'inrush, Defender of Quel'thalas (Lich King 25) - 36 Arm Pen

Arm Pen: 77, 55, 52, 77, 40, 63, 77, 47, 60, 155, 46, 115, 36 - 900 constant
Hit: Neck 38, Hands 63, Finger 59, Trinket 128 - 8% hit by gear so you don't need to gem for it.

Note: The only "low" (Non T10) ilvl piece would be trinket. It provides 3% hit at the cost of a better trinket that would give roughly 3% crit. However, if you choose to go with an Armor Penetration spec, you would pick up the 3% hit in your talents and use an Armor Penetration trinket like Mjolnir Runestone or Needle-Encrusted Scorpion. Grim Toll also works but you would use a slightly different talent build.

Note: I didn't list 25 man heroic gear because I won't be doing those for a while (my guild is currently 8/12 in 25 man and on Monday we will be 9/12 :) but all the gear in 25 man heroic is the same gear as 25 man non-heroic but with better stats.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

That Commercial I Promised - TCIP

Microtransactions pt. 2

Photo credits to (cutaia) on WoW.com

Be sure to read part 1 first :)

Continuing on with diving headfirst into Blizzard's microtransactions by addressing the common complaints, concern, and controversy.

  • The cost of the item, $25.
As I mentioned in the first part, $25 dollars was the price Blizzard put on the item all outside things considered. They have economists on the payroll and they raked in 2.5 million dollars and climbing off this mount. Good for them. The huge problem people are having with this price is when they put it in comparison to something.

$25 dollars is almost two months of game play, therefore it is outrageous.
$25 dollars is half the price of the game/an expansion, therefore it is outrageous.

You know what I spent well over $25 dollars on yesterday (to put this in perspective for you)? Dinner and a movie with my beautiful girlfriend Shelby. You know what I could have done? I could have bought the two of us Hot Pockets and Cheetos and pulled up the movie illegally online and watched it at home for about $5 total. However, $25 to spend on something fun and cool and relatively better than what I could get for $5 at home, was well worth it to me. So let me try this game.

A car cost $25,000, this mount only cost $25. OMG that is 1000 times less than the price of a car, I should buy it!
My pay check is $2500 a month, this mount only cost $25. OMG that is 100 times less than what I make in a month, I should buy it!
A month of groceries cost $250 a month, this mount only cost $25. OMG that is 10 times less than what I spend a month on food, I should buy it!
A night out at the movies, and possibly even popcorn and a drink included (depending on how expensive the theater is), cost $25. So instead of going out one night a month, you can buy a mount.

$25 is a joke.
  • A bad use of money or a waste of money.
Who are any of you internet jokers to say how I, or any other person, should spend our money? That is what I thought. But then people took it a step further saying, "Sure. Go ahead and spend your money on whatever you want. It just makes you look like a stupid moronic idiot that shouldn't be leading a guild because you have bad judgment and no sense of the worth of some things and have a poor miserable life."

To that I say, "Cool story, Bro."
  • That Blizzard will only ever make cool things for real money now and not in game achievable.
  • That Blizzard already has $15 a month from us and we deserve cool stuff like this in the game.
I think these two go hand in hand. You know what I would say to this? There has never been a better time to play WoW and everything we have gotten during this expansion has been awesome. Remember the Core Hound? He is a badass, and free. Remember the Perky Pug? He is a badass, and free. Onyxia mount anyone? Free. Invincible's Reins?!?!?!?! Free.

I made my point.
  • The fact that so many people have a cool mount make it cheap looking and lame.
The BEST response to this I can find: Here. I couldn't have said it better myself, but I still plan to try. ;)

When you buy a car, chances are you aren't going to be a unique snowflake. Even if you buy a Ferrari, if you join the right circles, you will see plenty of them. This goes for ALMOST every rare mount in WoW. Some rare mounts (raid achievement mounts) you have to be in a group to get, and then EVERYONE gets one. So why is it that the more people have something, the less cool or desirable it gets for everyone else? Seriously people? Are you that pathetic of a person that you play WoW to have more things than other people to make yourself feel better to the point where something that you personally think is pretty cool suddenly isn't when other people have it? Your E-peen must be HUGE!

I have two mounts currently that I think are two of the coolest mounts in the game: The Great Brewfest Kodo and The Black War Mammoth. One of them is a semi rare drop and the other is purchasable by anybody with 300 stone keeper's shards, yet I still ride them both and love it and don't give a crap what people think or how many other people have them.

Just because things are common do not make them less useful or cool (iPod and iPhone).
  • The mount is actually cheap looking, lame, and feminine.
The mount is very cool looking, in my opinion. My favorite part is that stars appear behind you when you ride it around and even on top of you if you just sit there. It is a really cool effect. I can't speak for the feminine part, other than people are saying that because it is a horse/pony/"My Little Pony." To each his/her own. And as Blizzard showed us, there are well over 100,000 people and counting that don't share the feeling. I guess I could have used that previous line to debate all of these points, which makes me feel like it was a cop out.

  • The misleading info that it got you a 310% mount. (Untrue.)
I felt I should mention this because it brings up a great point. If this mount was a 310% mount and it was purchasable with real money, I would call that crossing the line. I don't know if it would be enough to quit the game for, like selling gear would be, but it would be very hard to take that lightly. That being said, it was just a misinterpretation and will scale to 310% if you have it, but will not give you a 310% mount. I also brought this up to take a moment and cover a topic that was going to be a separate blog, but this was a good segway.

Blizzard is planning on making 310% flying speed purchasable ingame with gold. There are already nerd rage tear puddles on keyboards all across the world over this change. "Blizzard catering to casuals" and "I am not a special snowflake anymore," you know, the usual. In my opinion, it isn't a bad thing. I am sure Blizzard is going to make it a ridiculous amount of gold and I AM FUCKING POSITIVE that if you already have a 310% mount you won't have to learn it. Some people were raging over the fact that would need to learn it even after already having a 310% mount, pull your head out of your asses people! The reason I don't think it is a bad thing is because I still don't even have the epic flying skill. So guess what people? You will always be a special snowflake in my eyes because I don't have 5k+ gold to drop in an insane gold sink. So you got to be a special snowflake for a long time, you still have awesome 310% mounts no one else has or will have access to get, AND you didn't have to buy it like everyone else. You are still a winner with a huge E-peen to everyone like me, so please calm down.

  • This is one I forgot to add but some people actually do believe this gives you an ingame advantage, because you no longer have to purchase a mount ever again.
This point has been shown as a lame reason proving that the amount of money maximum that you would spend on one characters mounts combined in 161 gold. So you save 161 gold per character that doesn't have any mounts yet. So technically, yes, this mount does give you an ingame advantage. You get to be 161 gold richer than all your friends. However, what if you only had one character, only ever planned on making one character, and only used the mount on one character? It doesn't change a thing. Furthermore, you could say multiboxing gives you an unfair advantage because you don't have the resources to do it and level up that fast. It's all relative.
  • All of these Microtransactions are okay when Blizzard does it, but not okay for any other company. Basically, gamers are two faced and Blizzard biased.
The final boss of them all, Seraphina Brennan's remark. She is getting the point treatment as well.
  • But, no matter the topic, one thing seems to stay the same: people really, really, really dislike microtransactions overall.
No, SOME people that FREQUENT YOUR SITE possibly dislike the current microtransactions as they are today. I am not going to lie, even before company sponsored microtransactions, they were happening EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Don't try to make a statistic out of thin air.
  • It seems that people really hate microtransactions, yet Blizzard's newest buyable mount doesn't have people quitting the game left and right. In fact, it seems everyone is cramming in to buy one!
You are right, I doubt anyone quits the game over a stupid mount that you don't have to purchase. Who is this "everyone" you speak of? 100,000+ people when Blizzard has how many active accounts?
  • The store offers optional cosmetic purchases, like pets, for what is a pretty steep price.
Your opinion. But as I have made clear many times, it is a fair price conjured up BY REAL ECONOMISTS. Or pretty much anyone with half a brain. $10 - $25 really isn't that much money in the grand scheme of things (which yes I realize is my opinion). Agree to disagree on that?
  • While there are certainly naysayers intermixed with the excitement, that comment page looks nothing like, say, one of our comment pages when we talk about Cryptic's item shop. Even WoW.com's poll is pretty much in favor of the mount being in the store.
So how is it that Cryptic could be so fail and WoW be so win? Oh I know! Because they are two completely different things! Cryptic is making you pay for things WoW gives you free. Two character slots? Is that a fucking joke? PAY REAL MONEY to respec your character? Fuck that. Paying real money for more inventory slots in Allods Online? GTFO.
Ok, fine, yes I just linked the whole second page. BECAUSE THAT WHOLE PAGE IS BULLSHIT. There is so much BULLSHIT on it, I don't know how she can say on her blog that, "We at Massively like to take a neutral tone with our news stories. Even when our opinion as a staff swings the other way, we’ll put out a story that will more or less recite facts and leave the speculation up to readers." Seriously?

The problem is, and she has made this same comparison before and I was telling myself this then too, you can't compare the thoughts and complaints of the vocal majority without knowing the feelings of all the people who don't visit the websites and read the blogs. Just because this certain demographic of gamers does, I can name a handful of hardcore gamers I know who have never visited a site like Massively, let alone read my blog. (lol)

Also, WoW is in a league of it's own. This isn't fanboi speak either. This is the truth. So when you said, "Cryptic's item shop is sucking the consumer dry with both a subscription and microtransaction business model, but it's 100% ok if Blizzard does it, right?" And then asked the question, "Why is Blizzard allowed to do what so many other companies can't do?"

You can consider that answered.

In closing, I will leave you with a quote.

"You're both yo-yo's. Shut up ya yo-yo's."
- Master Shake

Microtransactions pt. 1

I went with the broadest title possible because I have a feeling this will turn into a 100 page novel of some sort. This blog specifically is an overview and my opinions on Blizzard selling in game items for money AND THIS RIDICULOUS IDIOTIC CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING IT.


Blizzard recently started selling in game vanity items, such as non-combat pets, for real money (as opposed to in game money). The latest of these items, is a mount called the Celestial Steed, which is a one time purchase that goes to every current character and future character on your WoW account. The mount scales at whatever riding speed you have and functions as both a ground and flying mount where applicable. It cost $25 dollars.

My Opinion on the Current State of Blizzard's Microtransactions

(See how I carefully worded that? I can only talk in the present because some people think it is a slippery slope and only a matter of times until Blizzard will let you pay real money for an in game advantage.)

I think the current system is great. You have the option to spend money on in game items that are neat and look cool and offer no competitive advantage. Therefore, should you choose not to buy these things, you are not at a disadvantage. Meaning, WHO THE FUCK CARES?! I will tell you who, a portion of Blizzard subscribers, that's who. These people say, "it is a slippery slope" and, "it is only a matter of time before they sell in game gold and gear." Do I really think that will ever happen? No. You know why? Because Blizzard does closely monitor the forums and the actions of players and know just how far they can go until they go over the edge. Anywhere you look there are people saying, "it is fine as long as they don't get an advantage." Blizzard knows this and will not alienate their subscribers by doing something as insane as that.

The Money and Numbers Section

There are overwhelming number of people complaining about the cost of this mount. Here is why Blizzard is smart. As I said before, Blizzard knows what it going on around the internet. They know that any mount loot card they come out with will EASILY sell for about 100 bucks on Ebay. Not to mention, some of them go for HUNDREDS of dollars. So what does Blizzard do? Funnel that revenue to themselves more directly. Make cool pets and cool mounts that people want and sell them for significantly lower. If they can get $100+ on Ebay they should have no problem going for $25 in the Blizzard store. And no, they didn't. Blizzard made over 2.5 million dollars in one day. Easily.

You know what Blizzard also knows? That people pay $15 dollars a month to play their game, most of them will pay the $50 to buy the expansion as soon as it hits shelves, a lot of them will buy $150 tickets to attend Blizzcon (enough to sell out the venue), a lot of them bought Blizzcon for $40 when it was on DirecTV two years ago SOLELY for a mount, a lot of them bought Blizzcon last year for $40 SOLELY for a Murloc Marine non-combat pet, a lot of them bought a spot in the arena tournament SOLELY for a Murloc Gladiator pet, and a lot of them bought non-combat pets from their online store as soon as they hit the digital shelves. So why exactly is it a stretch and an outrage that you spent real money on something virtual (since everything above BESIDES attending Blizzcon) is virtual?

The Controversy

The following list are the problems people have with Blizzard selling this mount and people buying this mount.

  • The cost of the item, $25.
  • A bad use of money or a waste of money.
  • That Blizzard will only ever make cool things for real money now and not in game achievable.
  • That Blizzard already has $15 a month from us and we deserve cool stuff like this in the game.
  • The fact that so many people have a cool mount make it cheap looking and lame.
  • The mount is actually cheap looking, lame, and feminine.
  • The misleading info that it got you a 310% mount. (Untrue.)
And in the special case of Seraphina Brennan, an author on Massively.com
  • That all of these Microtransactions are okay when Blizzard does it, but not okay for any other company. Basically, gamers are two faced and Blizzard biased.

This is the end of "pt. 1." Stay tuned for the immediate and exciting follow up where I address all the concern and controversy, right after this short commercial break.

/cast Resurrection

BACK FROM THE DEAD! Introductory and obligatory post on why I haven't blogged in a while.

A little while back, WoW.com needed a new Hunter blogger. I applied and didn't get the position. After I sent in the sample blog and waited for the response I didn't want to post anything on here and use up and future ideas I could have used to WoW.com, should I have gotten the position. Like I said, I didn't get it, but the person who did is much more qualified and has been doing GREAT. I don't think I have a copy of the blog that I sent them, but should I find it, I plan on posting it here just to add to the collection.

After that, I just didn't get around to blogging. It wasn't because I had hard feelings. It also SURELY wasn't because there wasn't anything to write about. Honestly, I just had a busy last few months. Also, first post of the new year, so HAPPY NEW YEAR! How many have failed at the resolution by now? (This guy has.)

Now to the comeback.

Like I said, there have been so many things I have been privately nerd raging about, even sharing a few rants with my friends. So much news about the future in Cataclysm I have wanted to post on. I had a very hate filled rant planned about the current state of WoW that drove me so close to "picking up the pen" again. However, it wasn't until today, when the rage filled up to the top and spilled out over the edge that I knew something needed to be said. I need to put my opinion out there again. I need to rant, vent, share my views, and expose the moronic opinions that push me to this rage filled state. I feel like I sat in the penalty box for 2 minutes after getting into a fight and watched the game go on. Now that I am out, I am making a beeline back into the game to inflict serious pain, ultimately leading me to feel better about the 2 minutes I was out of the game for.

(I apologize in advance for sharing opinions on "old news," should they be some of the things I write about.)

It feels good to write again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ammo "Controversy"

*Info on why I haven't posted in a while to come soon*

I just wanted to make a quick post about some B.S. I read that sparked all kinds of talk a little while back.




When I read those articles, I have to admit, it was the stupidest fucking thing I have ever read on WoW.com. (No offense Mike.) I was not "news worthy/blog worthy" at all. QQ because epic arrows weren't "easy" (an opinion) to come by? Mike even contradicts (one might say he was just explaining both ways to look at the issue) himself in the article.

I just wanted to say, not even 2 weeks after the patch came out, I got 21,000 epic arrows made last night, by someone I didn't even know, with my own mats, and tipped 20g. If we do the math, I paid less than 1 gold per 1000 arrows. I have paid between 5 to 10 times more than that for saronite arrows. Also, if you economists want to factor in the cost of me farming the mats, yeah it might have had a high opportunity cost (like all farming does) but it just so happens that all those crystallized shadow I used I had just saved up over the course of the expansion with out a real use for them. People said this was going to be expensive and it would take forever for people to get honored with that faction and it would be hard to find the right spec'd engineer and and blah blah blah bull shit bull shit.


/end controversy

EDITED TO ADD: I am so full of laughter and anger as I read the Hunter QQ in that thread. It honestly embarrasses me to play a Hunter. I might revisit this topic soon...