Trance on guitars

Earlier this week, I discovered some videos of some guitarists taking some trance classics, and reproducing them on their guitars.  Even if you don’t appreciate trance, or guitars, you have to admit that there’s some serious skill here.

For reference, here’s what our guitarist based his performance on:

1998 (Matt Darey Remix) by Binary Finary on Grooveshark

Not to be outdone, another guitarist (or is this Raiden?) has done an original “trance guitar” song here:

Question for the readers: any idea what to call this “genre”?  For some reason, my brain is rather disconnected at the moment, so I can’t think of any worthy name right now…

How to Kill Raid Bosses and Get Stuff Changed

Making the news today in the World of Warcraft is a level 80 protection paladin going into Mogu’shan Vaults (a level 90 raid!) and single-handedly defeating encounters that require (at least) 10 players that are (also, at least!) 10 levels above him.  Apparently, he managed to take care of Stone Guard, Feng the Accursed and Elegon before Blizzard caught wind of it.  The video below shows his Elegon kill:

Of course, since I play a protection paladin myself, this interested me quite a bit (in terms of “wait… WHAT?!?!”).

Key to this involves a bug with our Shield of the Righteous ability (our primary damage reduction ability), and how it interacts with Vengeance (a passive ability that increases our attack power based on unmitigated damage received).  We’ve known about this for a while over on Maintankadin (and I’m guessing that Blizzard knew about it as well, but just never fixed it) — you can click on the link for all the details, but to summarise: due to a quirk of the Vengeance calculation and server/client latency, timing Shield of the Righteous with a melee swing from the boss could result in the Vengeance calculation grossly overestimating  how much unmitigated damage we received, resulting in a massive spike of Vengeance, and hence attack power, and hence damage we do.  Not only that, but many of our self-heals and absorbs also scale with attack power (Sacred Shield, I’m looking at you here — also Light’s Hammer and Execution Sentence, but since we only get those abilities at level 90, they’re not really applicable here), and one can see how our level 80 guy was not only able to deal enough damage, but also keep himself alive.

But that’s only part of the story.  Matt Walsh over on WoW Insider has filled us on the rest: there is some bind-on-equip rare gear found in the levelling zones of Mists of Pandaria (intended for players levelling from 85 to 90) that can, strangely enough, be equipped by a level 80 player.  (Here’s an example.)  By equipping those, our level 80 paladin managed to gain amounts of secondary stats (dodge/parry/mastery/haste/etc.) that were not originally intended for a level 80 player (when gear item levels were in the high 200s, not the low 400s in the case of the gear he had equipped).  More importantly, because he was level 80, he was cleverly avoiding the combat rating drop-offs that occur at levels 81 and 86 (those levels coincide with players encountering Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria content for the first time respectively).  This resulted in absolutely crazy character stats: Matt mentions that our level 80 paladin had 95% haste and 88% mastery, which one simply wouldn’t see on a level 90 character.

All of this came together to ensure our level 80 paladin could survive the raid bosses.  The haste and attack power from Vengeance meant that Seal of Insight was regularly overhealing him, and Sacred Shield was fully absorbing his attacks (not only that, but the insane haste percentage meant that it was constantly refreshing as well).  Plus, all of that mastery meant a damage reduction boost with Shield of the Righteous.

In a nutshell, all of this was simply our player using Blizzard’s design choices, and creating unintended consequences out of them.

Blizzard’s reaction to all of this has been to hotfix Vengeance so that it caps at a player’s maximum health (until a more elegant solution can be found); Vengeance previously had no maximum limit.  While I recognise that this is a temporary fix, I don’t believe it to be ideal: different tanking classes (protection paladins, protection warriors, blood death knights, guardian druids and brewmaster monks) are not created equally with regards to maximum health.  It remains to be seen how this will affect encounters that have the strategy relying on the tank having higher than usual Vengeance (10-player Wind Lord Mel’jarak coming to mind straight away); I’ll have to see what difference this makes in tonight’s raid.  (Although I may not notice much difference, since my personal gearing strategy seeks to maximise my health pool while still keeping an acceptable amount of secondary stats.)

I’ll end by throwing in this image, because it’s strangely relevant:

history-first-reported-critical-hit

One more reason to love Cape Town

How many places around the world does one get to pull off and take photos like this on one’s drive home?  (And have the added bonus of avoiding a spot of nasty traffic on the R27 while you’re at it…)

FB_IMG_13575767176779901 IMAG0234

Malibu, eat your heart out.

(Yes, I know that I’ve promised sunrise photos from Fish Hoek or Simonstown.  I haven’t forgotten about that… thing is, I have to get up really early for those — I’m not a morning person! — plus, it’s ridiculously far to drive there now.  It’s still on my list of things to do, but it’s one of those “it will be done when it will be done, and not a moment sooner or later” things.)

Real life questing

With a public holiday yesterday, and with an old friend from Durban finally coming down to visit, I decided to take some people on a tour through the Winelands.  Also joining me were my two future housemates, and a new friend of mine: a visiting master’s student from Canada (being the only non-nerd in the group).

Of course, in true nerd style (much to our non-nerd’s bemusement), we did this in the style of a World of Warcraft quest chain:

  1. Assemble a party of fellow questers.  Your fellow party members may be found in Mowbray, Sunningdale and Gordon’s Bay.
  2. Journey to the Boschendal Wine Estate and acquire 1 Bottle of Fine Red Wine.  Completing this quest requires 50 gold.
  3. Journey to Fairview and acquire 2 Cheese Platters and 1 Loaf of Freshly-Baked Bread.  Completing this quest requires 100 gold.
  4. Prepare a Banquet of the Winelands to feed your party.  A Banquet of the Winelands may only be prepared at the Afrikaanse Taalmonument.  Party members that spend at least 10 minutes eating and drinking will be Well Fed and will receive the buff “Scribble Big Bang Theory Quotes on Ron’s Car” for 6 hours. (My fault for not washing it!)

I also took everyone to Nederburg and through the Huguenot Tunnel afterwards before the group disbanded.  Muchness of fun.

Ask the man in yellow

I stumbled across the safety video for the Cape Town Stadium — it was produced primarily for the 2010 FIFA World Cup games that were held there, although it’s apparently been used at every stadium event since.

Best safety video.  Ever.

Admittedly, I haven’t noticed any mutant sea life or extraterrestrial activity in my time here.  That being said, with December 21st fast approaching: if it turns out that popular opinion regarding the Mayan calendar is correct, I’ll be sure to ask the man in yellow what to do.  (Hopefully his advice will be along the lines of “avoid the N2 outbound”; it’s bad enough in the evening rush hour…)