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Category Archives: Rants

Random rants on WOW-topics

Garrisons

First of all; I DO like the idea of garrisons. Check out what we know so far HERE.

I don’t think of garrisons as “player housing” as much as others seem to do. Yes, it will be OUR place, our base… but so was Sunsong Ranch, and no one really considered that “player housing”, right? We could set our Hearthstone there, it was a rest zone, we could plant and harvest mats, but it wasn’t really like what most consider “player housing”.

The reason why I DO like the idea of garrisons is: It will be our base, and we will slowly build it up to be more useful. We can craft and apparently harvest there, so it’s like “Sunsong Ranch V2.0”, much more versatile and bigger.

The follower-system sounds nice as well. It seems to be inspired at least a bit by the companions in SWTOR, but that is ok, of course. If they help managing the garrison, or can help gather mats, that’d be very nice. One thing that bothered me a lot about the Ranch was that, even if you were good friends with all the tillers, it never turned out to be any less work to maintain your farm.
Planting and harvesting on all your alts (if you choose to do that) is time-consuming already, but to remove weeds, kill eagles and vermin or those tentacles over and over every day while your “friends” stand by and offer no benefit as in “OK, pay me 5G and I will till those plants”.
I hope the followers at the garrison, once you have put in all this time and work to asctually fully build the garrison and level your followers (which seems to be very time-consuming) will actually HELP you, and make it a bit less grindy. I don’t want free hand-outs, but if I could, say, set up a mine and eventually ask my followers to help with the mining, that’d be nice… after all, you put in all this work to build up the place and level your employees =)

What DOES concern me is: How will this be for altoholics like myself. Some people are concerned about it, while I read comments like “LOL, duh, just focus on your main, that is what Blizz wants”. And I would NOT be happy with that if it was the message.
Some people (and I think it’s actually quite a lot of people) do LOVE alts and using them, not only for the variety and stuff, but also for crafting and earning money, to be independent of other crafters etc.

If the garrison was so time-and work-consuming to fully unlock and level for EVERY char, that’d be kind of alt-unfriendly… AGAIN. One of the big complaints about MoP was how alt-unfriendly it was in the beginning… the gated reps, having to get through those to grind other reps just for recipes, gearing etc… all this was quite furstrtaing if you liked alts.
All this was changed eventually, and the Timeless Isle is like a paradise for altoholics… I was able to easily gear all my alts with just being on the Isle and grinding/questing there for a while with 2-3 chars. We are not talking about raid-level gear, but to be able to equip my alts in ilvl 496 gear was so much more fun than early MoP.

I dont expect free epics in WoD, but if I am forced to pick ONE of those chars and stick to it regarding the garrison… that wouldnt work, and I know I am not the only one feeling that way. If you fully level the garrison on your main, and it gets easier on the alts (like thiose rep-boosters introduced in MoP)… it would still require work and time, but less (or much less) than doing it all over from scratch on 10-11 chars.

So I hope that Blizz keeps in mind that quite a few players love alts and crafting, keeps in mind the success of the Timeless Isle, keeps in mind the unhappiness of so many players with the grind in early MoP… and can think of something that will building more than one garrison per account a bit less exhausting than “OK, you just spent weeks doing this… gratz. Now do it again and again and again with no booster or anything”.

Don’t get me wrong… I know that being an altoholic is a choice. I don’t expect to be given 10 free garrisons once I complete the one on my main. But speeding uzp the process a bit on alts if you completed it once, even just a bit, would be tremendously nice towards those that like to use alts, or might wanna change their main halfway through an expansion.

SO: I DO look forward to garrisons, it DOES sound like a very fun system, but I hope it won’t be 11x the exact same grind if you are an altoholic

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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Misc stuff, Rants

 

Warlords of Draenor: Random thoughts

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There we go then: The new expansion of WOW was announced.
The surprise (if there was one, after all the trademark was found out about a week ago) was kinda spoiled by the pre-opening videos, as one featured Dave Kosak sitting in front of the new WOW logo… with the title of the expansion. So minutes before the big opening, we already knew what the deal was.

So…what do I think?
I am cautiously curious and I do look forward. I am not ecstatic or anything… I think at this point, that wouldn’t be possible, because this will be the fifth expansion pack I see being added, and I like to be cautious about looking forward. After all, Cataclysm sounded very exciting, but turned out to be less fun than most of us expected… a lot of people consider it possibly the worst expansion so far.

I was a bit surprised by the theme and setting of WoD… after all, now we go back to Draenor, travelling back in time. It seems as if Blizzard had quite a few problems explaining this concept in a logical way. Too many people seem to wonder about continuity and going back in time, without moving actually forward.

It doesn’t bother me much, really… if you are TOO nit-picky about, say, the effects of time-travelling in a FANTASY GAME, you might ruin the game for yourself quickly. So I am fine with that aspect, really.
I will hopefully be able to blog about details like the HUGE changes to items, stats, the new garrison-concept, etc.
So far: I am looking forward. I hope the expansion won’t be TOO much filled with only orcs and ogres. In the previews, we saw areas just FILLED with these two races (OK, plus Draenei), and while that does make sense considring its Draenor, I would think it was rather dull if 90% of the mobs we fight are just orcs and ogres.
Also, I am NOT too happy about Garrosh triggering the whole thing. Garrosh, to me, has become a very one-dimensional character throughout MoP, and I was actually happy he was beaten and jailed.
Seeing him being the one who actually starts the story of the expansion (and who knows how much he will be involved in the story) isn’t exactly something I consider a great idea, but thats ok as well!

I will be glad to finally leave Pandaria, as I still don’t “feel” the vibe and story of this continent and its people, and I do look forward to going back to Draenor, seeing it before it was devastated, and maybe seeing the end (or beginning) of some the things we know from TBC.

So…let’s wait and see how this turns out!

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Misc stuff, Rants

 

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A quick rant

…its totally not surprising that the media is all over Breivik being a former WOW-player, and I am sure it will be repeated again and again. It’s what usually happens in cases like this, as it’s always fun for the media to take potshots at easy targets or politicians to claim that heavy metal and “violent games” were the reason why someone ran amok.

As usual, ignoring the number of people who do play games like that or listen to that music, ignoring the fact that, unless I missed an important technological advance, no song and no game can turn you into a killer.

Also, considering how much time and effort he put into the preparations for his horrible deeds, it’s kinda sad to point at him also playing a game that 10 million other people play, and considering his statements about his motivations, the shrewd “philosophy” he has developed, it IMHO is even dangerous to just blame whatever he played as the reason.

I remember the whole controversy about song lyrics and hidden messages in music back in the 80s. Frank Zappa, back then, said (and I am paraphrasing) “There is no word that will make you go to hell. There has to be a tendency inside of you, and when that tendency is triggered into action, it can be ANYTHIGN that triggers it. maybe it’s a song, maybe it’s the red tie the guy next to you on the bus was wearing”.

There will be finger-pointing again, there will be media reports about how games, heavy metal music or certain movies turns everyone into a killer, and I am afraid a lot of people will ignore what actually happened there, a guy developing an incredible amount of hate and a totally shrewd view of the world, planning (for years) a horrible killing-spree, being totally convinced he was some kind of knight fighting for his race or religion or whatever.

And to blame that and the horrible things he did on whatever game he played or music he listened to totally distracts from what is going on here, and I don’t think it will help ONE BIT to prevent something like this in the future either, even though I am pretty sure some media-guy or politician will try to appear like a saviour, again asking for bans of certain types of media as if it would ever prevent an incredibly sad day like the one last July…

Watch what happens, it happens every single time, no matter what, and it’s sad, because its so predictable and the important point, how to keep things like this from happening, is again simplified to the point of “Well, why don’t we just ban the game he played or whatever book he read, then we are safe, right?” Yeah, right.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Rants, Uncategorized

 

Two beta-observations

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1. The language barrier

In every WOW-beta, you see the “language barrier”. People apparently are used to their own servers and the fact that those apparently are reserved for a certain country and language, so in the beta (remember, it’s one EU-server), people speak their native language, instead of trying to find and use a language that would guarantee most people understanding them (I guess English would be a good choice).

I didn’t take a screenshot, but I saw one conversation while questing, where someone asked (nicely, actually) whether it’d be possible if people could try to speak English in general chat, so everyone (or maybe, the majority of people) could understand.

What followed were a lot of rude comments (in German) by some of the German players (my mom was German, so I do understand the language), going on about how English wasnt the most used language, and that, if the guy wanted to understand them, he’d have to learn German, it was their problem.

One guy even went so far as to say “Yeah, its because we are still the evil Krauts”.

I think that that is not the problem. Yes, the EU-server has no language-rule or anything, of course. Yet, if you do ask questions in General Chat, you will probably get more answers if you ask in English, as I do believe that English is the language that is most commonly taught in schools all over Europe. I might be wrong there, but that’s what I think to be the truth.

It has NOTHING to do with ill feelings towards Germans or any other nationality… I just think that a) General chat is cluttered already, and if about half of the messages there are in a language one doesn’t speak, it becomes even more hard to follow anything and b) imagine yourself in a room where a lot of people talk, and some speak a language you don’t know… it is a strange feeling, and it might even make you feel uncomfortable.

I remember a few PUGs I was in where everyone spoke a scandinavian language. I ofc did not understand it, and at some point, from the few pieces I picked out (there are some words that can be understood if you do speak English or German), it was obvious they also were talking about me, which was not a nice feeling. Also, even if that hadn’t been the case, doing a 30 min instance with 4 people who talk in a foreign language doesn’t make you feel very… involved.

Please understand that this has nothing to do with being elitist or not liking certain countries or whatever. The reason why I think that some people ask people in General chat to try to speak English is simply to make it possible for everyone to understand what is being said… and those who ask questions will get something out of it as well, as there are more people who understand the question and can reply.

To immediately yell out “Ah, you just don’t like my country” is a rather exaggerated response, uncalled for, and not really helpful at all, and even though I do understand at least the German chat-contributions, I totally understand why some people ask to stick to English when the general chat is filled with many different languages.

So again, please don’t take this as an elitist “You HAVE to speak English” type post, I am just trying to maybe look at this from another perspective, and was a bit saddened to see the rude and disrespectful replies (which he ofc couldnt even understand) to the guy who asked…

I dunno, just some rambling, I guess

Observation #2

Healing without addons after using them for so long takes time to get used to. Call me a “newb”, and yes, I am aware that there are healers who heal without any addons at all, or can easily switch forth and back between healing with and without them, but after using Grid&Clique for so long, it’s weird for me to go back to switching with the F-keys, even though I of course can still use my Naga.

Right now, all addons are inactive on the beta (to make sure any problem encountered is caused by the game itself, not a combination of addons), so I hope that will change soon. Of course, once the expansion is out, people will use their favorite addons again, and so, to test healing changes better, I wish I could still use my addons. Again, call me a “n00b” if you want to, but I have been successfully healing heroics and raids for a long time now, and have gotten used to using addons. It’s not only the convenience they bring, it’s also that the whole “mechanic” of healing is different with mouseovers etc.

We will see! =)

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Misc stuff, Mists Of Pandaria, Rants

 

Gaming hardware

I figured I should mention some of the gaming hardware I use. Keep in mind I am not a hardcore raider, but since I DO raid, and also play a lot in general (if I do have the time), I have slowly but surely gotten into gaming hardware, starting with a Razer Diamondback that I bought in 2006, and have used for more than 4 years, before switching to the…

Naga

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This mouse has changed my gaming a lot, and the problem is that I have issues playing WITHOUT it by now. I started using it in early 2010, and haven’t looked back yet.
It takes a little while to get used to the keypad on the left side, but by now, I trigger all my spells using that, so my left hand (on the keyboard) is being used only for movement and modifiers (to access even more spells).
Whether it’s healing or DPS, being able to trigger 12 spells/abilities just with the thumb really is awesome.

There is a problem though: Even though the Diamondback I used lasted 5 years with NO issue (and still is in use by my girlfriend at work), it seems to me that the quality of Razer-products has gone down a lot.
The Naga seems to be sturdy, but there is a very common problem: The little pins under the left and right button that touch the actual contact (thereby transferring your clicks to the internal click-trigger) are made of plastic. When you use the mouse a lot, that plastic wears down, and it becomes hard to use those two buttons – they become unresponsive (which, obviously, is incredibly annoying)
You can fix it with hot glue etc, but all those are just temporary fixes. My first Naga had that problem after about a year and a half. My girlfriend wanted to take it, and she is still using it. Every 4 weeks, she opens the mouse and uses hot glue to “extend” those plastic pins, in order to keep the mouse useable.
Putting a small piece of metal over the ends of those pins would easily fix the problem, especially since it’s a well-known issue, but as of yet, Razer hasn’t changed anything.

I bought my second Naga, the one you see above, last summer, and so far, had no issues with it.

This mouse really has become a big part of my WOW-playing, and I can’t imagine playing without it anymore, it’s that convenient.

Regarding Razer: My negative opinion about the current quality of Razer-products is not only based on the Naga-problem. I also bought a Razer Lycosa gaming-keyboard, and had nothing BUT issues with it… such as keys becoming unresponsive or me suddenly being stuck running…which is NOT fun in a raid or heroic, especially since the only way to fix that is to unplug the keyboard temporarily.
Considering it cost me about 100$ and gave me so much trouble, it was a total waste of money. I heard that only a certain run of the Lycosa had this issue, but that is bad enough, and no driver-download or anything could fix it… it was a hardware problem, just like the Naga-thing.

Since the Naga has become so convenient to me, I am willing to accept its flaw, but after the Lycosa, I am not interested in any other Razer product OTHER than the Naga.

Keyboard

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The gaming keyboard I use is a SteelSeries Merc Stealth. I did some research after the whole Razer-catastrophy, and ended up with this one…and again, never looked back, as I am absolutely happy with it.

What I DO like is the weight (there apparently is a steel-plate inside, to make it heavier, so you don’t accidentially move it even in stressful raids =)), and the extra-pad on the left side.
You have: 11 numbered buttons for spell-triggering (which is obsolete considering I use the Naga, but should I ever stop using that, I have the option to use there), above a six button movement pad (forward, backward, left, right, strafe left, strafe right). The buttons of the movement pad are rather big, and its easy to get used to moving that way.

Around that pad, you have keys for running/walking, a space key for jumpinh, and several small buttons you can use for whatever you like. Here are the default keybindings from the keyboard-driver:

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As you can see, you have an additional shift-key (for example to use it as a modifier), can open the map, switch targets etc.

It does take time to get into extra controls such as the Naga-pad or the merc-extra-keys, but after a few hours of playing, I was totally used to it, and can focus entirely ont he game while being able to do whatever I wanna do conveniently with those two pieces of equipment.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Misc stuff, Rants

 

The beta-debate (rant)

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Right now, a LOT of people are disappointed about the “beta invites in waves”. You get the typical “I am a paying customer and demand to be treated that way” etc, the ol’ “I give up, they hurt me too much” drama etc etc.

How are my feelings about it? I’m rather undecided. Yes, it WOULD be great if I could access the beta, but that’s mainly because right now, I have 2 weeks off from work, and would have time to actually try the beta.Then again, there is nothing much I can do to speed up the process, all I can do is hope I’ll get an invite in the next wave (Yes, I did order the annual pass early on, and have been playing for years, AND have been in the Cata-beta, sending in lots and lots of reports and tickets about things that didn’t quite work).

However, I DO understand why some people feel very very disappointed. A lot of people (incl. the WOW-Insider-guys) go “Oh come on, they couldn’t possibly let ALL the annual pass-owners in at the same time, the servers will crash, Blizz has never done this before”.

Sure, if you do know a bit about beta-testing, server-loads etc, maybe it’s totally obvious that they can’t let in all those people (Even though I doubt that all of those who ordered the annual pass would actually want to… a lot of people aren’t interested in beta-testing, downloading the client etc.)

The problem is that Blizz guaranteed access for everyone who bought the pass ONCE THE BETA GOES ONLINE. They said so at Blizzcon, and NOWHERE was there a caveat, going “Oh, by the way, of COURSE we all know that there are server-capacities to consider, so we will do this in waves”.

Nowhere was this mentioned. Also, even though a lot of people now jump on the “Of course it’s in waves, we all know the servers would crash otherwise”… I don’t think the average WOW-player/Blizz-customer knows this, or should HAVE to know this.

What I mean by that is: Those people who bought the annual pass and looked forward to beta-access… they should not be required to know that technical limits would make wave-invites necessary. What they KNEW was that Blizz guaranteed beta-access. Blizz COULD and SHOULD have pointed out that it would most likely be in waves. They know better than everyone else what is required, and should know how much they can handle. Instead, a lot of people now feel misled, and are angry because all kinds of people post about the beta, while they can not get in.

Another point is that Blizz of course has to know what goes on in the community when something like this happens. You have the smart-allicky “Ha ha, you noobs, did you really think…”, and a lot of people feeling a tiny bit betrayed.

I know for a fact that a lot of people expected Blizz to put up several extra-beta-servers in order to accomodate the influx of people. After all, if they go “OK, whoever buys the pass gets access”…that’s a selling-point, and if they DO make it part of the offer, it’s up to them to make possible what they promised.

I am reminded of other situations… imagine you get, say, a contract for a media-package… cell phone, DSL line for your home, phone, all from the same provider, as a package. You get your phone hooked up, get the DSL, but the cell phone is not delivered. When you inquire, you hear that several of the people at work signed up and DID get their cell phone. So how would you react? You call up and ask what is wrong, only to hear “Sorry, we don’t have enough of the phones, so please stay patient, we will send it out as soon as we can”… which is something that a lot of people would not be entirely happy about.

My point is: Yes, of course I know how buggy betas are, that there are server limitations etc. However, if a company offers guaranteed beta-access (as soon as it goes live, as said at Blizzcon), they should either

a) add a warning going “If more than 500K people order it, we might have to do invites in waves. Please know this before you sign up”

b) Add a general warning it would be in waves anyway, because I guess by now, they went through enough betas to know that’s how it works

c) Set up more beta servers. Expensive? Of course, but if you guarantee access for every annual pass owner, it’s only fair if you make it possible

d) Explain what is involved, so people understand why the waves will be necessary… the same day you put the pass up for sale.

e) Make beta access optional. Give players an option to check a box in their annual pass and choose whether they even want to be in the beta.-.. some signed up for DIII and the horsie only. I know at least three people in my GUILD (!) that have beta access and don’t even care. If people could have picked whether they want it or not, the invites could have gone to those that actually care to take part.

f) all of the above? =)

Anyway, a little rant. I totally understand why it is going the way it does, with the waves, but I have low tolerance for people berating others in terms of “Dude, did you really think that would work? You should know that there is limited space on the servers, ha ha” =)

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Misc stuff, Mists Of Pandaria, Rants

 

Loremaster: General thoughts

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It’s always fun to see some of the reactions to people working on Loremaster. YOu will get everything from “LOL nerd!” through “Good luck on that!” to “U nuts?”

Yes, it’s a lot of work to get it done, but apart from a few tough spots, it’s quite an enjoyable ride if you are into lore. A lot of the changes in Cataclysm kinda made me sad, as I miss some of the classic content, some quests and questlines which just are a part of my WOW-past, but still, there are some great storylines to be found when working on this meta-achievement.

Why would you do it?

I think the MAIN reason should be that you are into the lore. There are some very funny, or very sad stories to be found in the lands of Azeroth and Outland, and afterwards, unless you totally ignored all the stories and just focussed purely on the quest objectives, you will feel like you understand the whole storyline, and feel more connected to the zones because you have seen upclose what has been going on there.

There are other reasons though… of course, if you are an “achievement hunter”, Loremaster will provide you with a lot of achievement points… the single zone ones, the meta ones, and some quest related achievements like the Caravan one in the Plaguelands.

MONEY is another good one. I made several thousand Gold just from completing “Loremaster Of Cataclysm” and “Loremaster of Northrend”, because on top of the quest reward money and the gold you loot, you get pieces of gear (q rewards and looted) you can sell (or disenchant and sell the mats).
Plus, you will probably loot lots of mats you can sell too… for example, in the Cata-zones, I looted enough cloth to make several bags for alts, or sell them for a good prize.

Of course, quest rewards will be a lot less valuable in the lower level zones, but still, it will bring in money, and on some servers, even linen cloth sells for several pieces of gold, depending on the market.

And: rep! You get tons of reputation with all kinds of factions, so if your character isn’t exalted with, say, the capitol cities, or some of the Cata-factions, you can get those done while doing those quests.

Problems

I mentioned rough spots, and there are a few. Blizz did lower the amount of quests for the Vash’jr achievement, but still, Vash’jr still feels like a very long haul, and still is one of the most unpopular zones in the game.

The worst part though? The BC-zones, hands down. SO many people have struggled with Nagrand, because not only are there several drops that start quests, there also is a timed event (the ambush at Nesingwary’s camp) which you will have to wait for, AND you have to do several quests in other zones before you can get to the final few ones in Nagrand (Altruis!).
IIRC, you have to get some status with the Aldors in Shattrath, then do quests for them in SMV before you finally unlock the final quests from Altruis, and get the achievement. You seriously have to find and do EVERY quest in Nagrand, while in so many other zones (esp. on Kalimdor), you always have quests left after you get the achievement.

Same goes for Bloodmyst Isle… which is a zone where you can’t fly, so prepare to spend quite some time there, even though it’s a low-lvl zone.
The droprates for quest items in the BC-zones are much worse than they are in the NR- or Cata-ones, or the revamped old world. Trying to get those basilisk eyes, the Arrakoa feathers or Worg tails will remind you of what droprates were like in the old days.

I really recommend to start with those zones first, to get them out of the way. Netherstorm is the other one I always do early on…it requires 120 quests, and will take a LOT of time. On top of that, I don’t consider the quest design very creative either, as a lot of them revolve around going to a manaforge, killing certain amounts of mobs there, destroying the forge, then doing it again and again.

Criticism

I always get kinda impatient when some people who did loremaster in the old days get outraged at “How easy” it is now. Yes, you did it way back then, and it was harder. But no, this does not entitle you to belittle the achievement for those doing it now, as it STILL is a lot of work.
Also, LOTS of things have gotten easier and quicker. Have you tried to get reputation with some of those factions up back in vanilla, at max level? Before it was changed by Blizz, doing, say, a lvl 10 quest at level 60 would give you an insanely low amount of rep. This was changed later, so nowadays, it doesnt take long to get that rep up, which is great esp. for Death Knights, starting at lvl 55, hitting the open world at 58.

So many things have gotten easier, and complaining about it, or blaming people for not being around back then just makes you look jealous or grumpy. I never ever laugh at people for doing stuff I did in Vanilla, even if it takes them less time, because that IS the way it IS, and I benefit from the changes as much as all the others. I am grateful loremaster is easier now, since I am working on getting the achievement for two more alts. I am grateful rep farming is easier, because there is SO MUCH to do in game now, and stuff like the “same rep at max level”, the rep guild-perk, and tabards simply make it more convenient, while not handing out freebies exactly either.

Well…

I know Loremaster is not for everyone, and I really recommend to take your time with it, get the TBC-zones out of the way ASAP, and to enjoy the ride. Apart from all the money, the rep, the loot (which can be nice for transmog too, btw), it’s a huge undertaking and, to me, enough fun to work on it a second and third time =) Good luck!

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Loremaster, Misc stuff, Rants