Cataclysm and DX11


So finally, after about a year of waffling back and forth between various upgrades, I bought a new video card last week. I was going to go all out, I didn’t really have a budget per se, but I settled on a 1GB Radeon HD 6870 (upgrade from a 512 8800GT), which didn’t actually cost that much. WoW runs at a consistently smooth rate, in combat, instancing, flying, etc. The only performance drop that I have noticed is while navigating through the Stormwind Trade District or really any area with a huge concentration of players. Other than lowering the shading options, I don’t think there’s a whole lot I can do about that.

Heat, noise level and of course, performance were the main upgrade factors. My old card could run WoW at almost maxed out settings, but it would chug and heat the card up to around 77 °C at 80% fan speed (85 °C at 100% speed during the summer). That’s fine, it’s within operating range of the card but whenever the fan ramps up to 60% speed+ it makes an awful whirring sound (tiny ass single slot cooler fan).

The stock fan on the new card is almost completely silent so long as it stays below 50% speed. Luckily, I haven’t seen it go much over 30%, even after stress testing it at 100% GPU usage in Futuremark several times. It stays relatively cool too: 62 °C while playing WoW, low 70’s at 100% usage. I probably care more about the noise level of my computer than I should, but it’s a pet peeve. I specifically built this machine keeping that factor in mind. It was irritating that the one and only part that made any sort of noise was my video card.

I know that there was a small graphical difference between DirectX 9 and DirectX 11 in the Cataclysm beta, but I don’t think there is now. Aside from a small performance boost, everything else looks the same at max settings. I took quite a few comparison screenshots over the weekend, specifically focusing on water and lighting. I was going to post them, but since I really couldn’t see a difference I don’t see a point. However, here are a couple of screenshots of WoW with maxed out settings. It’s worth noting that I run the game at 1920×1080 windowed with vsync enabled.

Keiya’s UI Version 4.0


Edit: Download link and more info has been posted here.

Except for a few things, I was fairly satisfied with my previous interface so KeiUI 4.0 really isn’t too different than KeiUI 3.2. Same goals as my previous UI incarnation:

  1. To retain functionality while reducing clutter, both in terms of appearance and addons used.
  2. To maximize screen visibility. I don’t like UI elements showing when they are not being used and I prefer to keep the center of the screen as clear as possible, barring scrolling text mods and stuff like that.

Ultra minimalistic DPS complications have an elegance that I love, but just won’t work for my purposes. Even though I don’t do so much raid healing, tanking or leading nowadays, I still feel like I need high information visibility in addition to my thousand keybindings. Everything, more or less, has its own place either along the bottom screen or shoved up at the top. Critical items like Omen, class spell timing bars, health bars and the like are condensed within a small area at the bottom center of the screen for easy visual access. Other times like the map, buffs and Recount are at the corners up top. When not in combat or not grouping, everything other than my player frame, the map and the hotbars will fade away.


Main changes: Dominos was dropped in favor or Bartender 4 because of the way Dominos would handle vehicle bar replacement. Since BT4 doesn’t allow you to customize the experience bar, I reinstalled XPBarNone, which automagically changes the display based on your level and what reputation is currently being grinded out. KGPanels was also dropped in favor of more visibility and reducing addon clutter. I really dislike interfaces with a giant opaque black bar obscuring the lower quarter of the screen so I wanted to shy away from that type of design as much as possible. At some point, I may even just fade everything except for the map when I am not in combat.

I dropped my other nameplate mod in favor of Tidy Plates, which looks quite a bit nicer. Autobar was also dropped in favor of just keybinding my Auras on the G13 and moving consumables elsewhere. I really liked the way Autobar condensed the different types of food and what not. It may get reinstalled when I start raiding. I am also using Holy Trinity to keep track of Holy Power (the three flat horizontal yellow bars right above my player frame). There’s a small holy power interface element that pops up in the middle of my screen whenever I am in combat. Not really sure where that is coming from or how to get rid of it :/.


My hotbars have been rearranged to correspond with how my Logitech G13 is laid out: Instead of having four 12×1 chunks arranged in a 2×2 configuration, I now have four 6×2 chunks arranged in a 4×1 configuration. It’s easier for me to keep track of how everything is keybound this way. The first chunk is bound to 1 through =, the second chunk is bound to shift + 1 through = and so forth. Will post my G13 layout later now that is has been “finalized.”

I’ve tried the new Blizzard raid interface, which is surprisingly nice though limited in terms of how you can configure it. Though I think the real problem is that I have been using a certain raid bar configuration for around 5 years or so. I love the way Grid and Perfect raid look in regards to how clean they are, but they just feel way too foreign. So I just stuck with Pitbull’s raid module which is fine.


Things that I may change: I am thinking of moving ClassTimer below my player frame, given that there is enough space. The only UI element located in that spot is a narrow bar that displays whenever I am in a vehicle or whenever a pet is out (not relevant to my paladin obviously). The vehicle thing isn’t an issue, since I’m using the Blizzard default vehicle frame (BT4 hides when I hop in). It’s not going to work out for my hunter though, since that is where my kitty’s healthbar is located.

Apologies for not responding to any UI inquiry emails received within the last couple of months by the way. Busy, yada yada. If anyone is interested, I can post this compilation somewhere. Though beware, it’s really only tested and designed for WoW in windowed mode at 1920×1080.

Cataclysm & Cloaks

Hey, the cloaks in Cataclysm are pretty sylin’. Anyone else notice this or is it just me? I have gotten into the habit of just auto hiding cloaks since all but a handful of WoW cloaks have traditionally been pretty bland or butt-ugly. These are actually nice looking; I like how the melee cloaks look like melee cloaks with plate, chain etc. I guess if you are going to stare at a character’s backside for hours on end it may as well have a pleasant looking cape dangling off of it.


Ding! Level 85!


Oh wow I sure didn’t bother blogging much this time around. Oh well, too busy playing. Anyway, ding. I hit level 85 on Keiya Sunday afternoon. I could have taken more time leveling, but it was fun going into full on obsession mode for a bit, especially after effectively not playing for more than an hour a week for the last month or so. Besides, everyone was already at level 85 and having fun doing level 85 things without me!

I will go over more zone sin detail if I get around to it and as I complete more of them. I did: Half of hyjal, half of Vashj’ir, all of Deepholm and most of Twilight Highlands before hitting level 85. I am currently working on finishing up Twilight Highlands. I’ll probably move over to Uldum next before finishing up the zones that I half completed.


Of the two starting zones, I am going to go with Vashj’ir over Hyjal. Hyjal is a very well done zone, I love the quests and storyline but Vashj’ir is absolutely gorgeous. The environment and everything is so rich. Also, the swimming mechanic isn’t really as annoying as I had originally anticipated. I do run into depth issues because I like to play with my camera way zoomed out, but it’s not really that bad.

Deepholm was nice but it is effectively a giant cave. A giant grindly cave. I wanted to make sure that I played that zone to completion so that I could unlock the Therazune daily quests and maximize the easy quest reputation for the shoulder enchants and rewards (Keiya is a good raid farmer!). Speaking of which, guess who forgot to do her dailies today? Task.


The dungeons that I have ran are well designed and the bosses fun. We wanted to start queuing up for heroics, but folks were about 1 gear average point shy of the 329 iLevel threshold (a tank wasn’t available, had to use the dungeon finder). So we ran Halls of Origination, spend some justice points, swapped a few crap pieces out and ran about half of Heroic Deadmines before running out of time.

The heroics are hard again by the way. See, that’s one thing that I missed when WotLK hit. We started farming entry level heroic instances as fresh level 80s with little to no preparation. I recall trying that in Heroic Coilfang after hitting level 70 in the Burning Crusade and getting curb stomped by a giant spore thingy. Having to rethink encounters and approach mobs with more caution, versus just AoEing down everything is a welcome challenge.

Cataclysm: Day 1


Well 20+ minutes isn’t too bad; I was expecting it to be at around an hour. On the other hand, it took about 20 minutes for the authentication servers to get to this point. And as I write this, the queue keeps jumping up…boo. At least the WotLK login dragon is gone! As daunting of a character Deathwing is, we are fortunate that he does not roar every couple of seconds or so while you are waiting patiently in queue. I am one of the fortunate or unfortunate people, depending on your opinion, who did not bother taking the day off of work to play. So while you all were having fun playing during the low population times of the day, I was staring longingly at WoW Insider news feeds on my phone. QQ.


By the way, zone spoilers below. I leveled in Hyjal instead of Vash’jr in favor of trees and greenery over swimming. Also, as someone pointed out, meleeing mobs underwater sucks pretty hard. For me at least because I fail at depth perception or whatever life skill is needed not to suck at that. A few of our old friends from the Molten Core are chillin’ in Hyjal. There is a giant corpse pile next to Barron Geddon. I figured that it was there because people were being retarded and screwing around. Found out later that was not so and added my own body to the pile. We are clearly not as smart as Galrond, the NPC who repeatedly warned people NOT TO STAND IN THE FIRE.


I didn’t do any instancing, just straight up questing. I will try out some of the new dungeons either tomorrow or Thursday. Hopefully tomorrow but, we will see. Boo real life. Is there an inn in Hyjal? I swear that I couldn’t find one. Oh and for the first time ever in six entire years, I bound my hearthstone to Darnassus. I made the mistake of hearthing to Stormwind and having to get back to Hyjal (to fly to STV to pick up my loot card goodie, which was the [item]Sandbox Tiger[/item]). The boats from SW harbor run just about as often as the trains here do, almost never. Man, I have been using the Dalaran and Exodar portals for so long that I have almost forgotten how to get around in the old world. I really really really want to level my Worgen but I really want to hit level 85 first.

Anyway, I am obviously having fun with the expansion pack. So much so that I am just going to cut this post short and publish it so that I can go to bed because it is late. I did though finally make it to level 81 before logging off for the evening. Folks are already at level 85. Jesus. Apologies if this post made little to no sense. It is late and I wanted to post something before I went to bed.


Cataclysm: Day 0


Protip: Now is not a good time to train flying. I am weak against Collector’s Editions. If it weren’t for me wanting to complete my collection of WoW collector’s edition boxes, I would have probably just ordered Cataclysm digitally for the sake of being able to stay up with half of the guild for half of the evening fawning over my new love. I kind of sorta wish that I had taken tomorrow off. I will be sitting in an office all tomorrow longing to play! Oh it’s not fair (/whine), guild members already have their game ready to go and here I am sitting here with my nose pressed against the glass. T_T.


>Anyway, a couple of quick updates since I haven’t bothered posting about WoW in a couple of months. This post probably officially ends my short WoW hiatus. In lieu of the guild leveling system (and the benefits of being in a large active guild) and steady player attrition within Paradigm, most of us have merged into another guild on Proudmoore. Given our number of active players, it would have been very hard to recruit that many people and honestly, I’m not sure I have time to do all that anymore. It is really odd migrating over to another guild after four years, but online home is where your online friends are <3. New faces!

I am probably going to level in Vashj’ir tomorrow. Not really sure, it depends on who is leveling where at what time. Because I have intentionally not kept up with the Cataclysm previews and news, I really don’t know where to go to do anything. It’s more fun figuring everything out (turning off all questing mods). I spec’d my paladin back into Retribution with a *gasp* Holy offspec. I really want to roll my Worgen druid right away, but I really do not enjoy spawn competing with a thousand other players. In theory the starting zones should calm down a bit after hitting level 85.

…I also promised a couple of coworkers that I would eventually roll a Goblin something on their server. I really want to play through the horde quests at some point.

October: Games Played and Time Lost


Happy Halloween. By the way, most of my WoW gametime has been more or less pushed to the backburner until Cataclysm comes out. This is usually about the time that I take an extended pre-release WoW break anyways, but to be honest, there’s just not a whole lot to do at the moment. I guess I can PvP or run dungeons, but the two big things that I really wanted to complete before the expansion (Loremaster and Kingslayer) have been finished. Besides, it’s gaming season and all of the new shit is starting to come out. Come early December it’s not like I’m going to do anything else on my computer for X months other than play WoW.

I posted a series of Minecraft videos on YouTube. The original idea was to narrate them, something that I still might do. I was going to do a Keiya’s adventures sort of continuous story bit but, eh. The problem with that is Minecraft is one of those games that I am usually playing while either half-watching or half-doing something else. It’s relaxing (when not in dark areas at least lol) and I like it that way. These videos are ultra crap-ass but I had fun recording them and hope that at least at least one person enjoys them.

I haven’t had much of a chance to play the Minecraft update in depth, just in small spurts; Partially because I was busy this past weekend and partially because a new Sims 3 expansion (Late Night) pack came out. I caved in and bought it after work on Friday; Obsessively playing it for a good portion of the weekend, which means that it probably warrants a review post. It’s a fairly standard expansion pack for better or for worse. I’d say that it’s probably my favorite out of the three that have been released, but much of it seems half-assed compared to the corresponding Sims 2 expansion features. The implementation of apartments in particular are pretty lame.

Wow is it really November already? Hey, CoD and AC:B are coming out soon…

WoW Odds and Ends


Hey before I forget: Happy birthday Paradigm! Four years is a pretty damn long time in guild years. So are WoW guild years anything like dog years? If so, I guess that makes us uuh 28? Looking forward to more good times ahead! Oh, the Lich King finally kicked it a while back. The screenshot has been sitting on my desktop for awhile waiting to be posted. We finally just got folks together and pretty much razed the place; It was really the last thing (other than Loremaster) that I really wanted to do before Cataclysm.

I’m pretty sure that I got nerfed fairly hard in the patch, though stuff like that usually sorts itself out in time, so whatever. The verdict is still out on what I plan on spec’ing into at 85, though remaining retribution is very high on the list. But who knows, I might go holy again. For whatever reason I tend to change roles with each expansion packs. Other than patch stuff and what not there’s not a whole lot happening in WoW land. I can go achievement farm I suppose, but not really into that at the moment. It’s as good as time as any to take a small break for a month or two to pursue other interests for a bit. Have I talked about Minecraft yet? Not sure I did 😛

There are way too many games coming out in the next month or two. So far my list is: Call of Duty Black Ops, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Cataclysm (obviously) and possibly Fallout: New Vegas. I’m skipping Medal of Honor (heard that it sucks, not really interested in it at the moment) and will probably hold off on Fallout for a while. After all, there is a fairly large Minecraft update coming out at the end of this month. I highly expect that it will rekindle the obsession.

PS: PS3 + Netflix = awesome (yay discless).

Loremaster: OMFG Finally


Finally. I am officially done with questing until the expansion hits. I had a couple of other things that I wanted to do in the old world before Cataclysm, but this was the only one that I was intent on actually completing. There’s such a stark contrast between the old style quests from Vanilla WoW and the new ones in Northrend at this point. I would really love to level more alts but it’s hard going back to the old content. They’ve had their use and have served us well for over 5 years but it’s time to retire the old and welcome the new, come December or whenever Cataclysm is being released.

Finishing the Outlands wasn’t too bad, I polished off the remaining handful of quests fairly quickly while half watching Lord of the Rings. Kalimdor on the other hand was just a giant pain in the ass that took absolutely forever. The last handful of quests were spread all around that godforsaken continent. I had to look up missing quest chains; Apparently there were a couple that started in the Eastern Kingdoms, were mostly completed in the Eastern Kingdoms yet counted for Kalimdor. WTF. And, why is every zone on that side of the world soooo damned long.

Loremaster is a fitting farewell to old Azeroth, if not a serving reminder that I will not miss stepping foot in old school Kalimdor. Ever. Oh, the tabard pushed me over to 25, granting me the tabard achievement. Yay!

…PTRs are up. Time for Keiya’s UI version 4.0.

Mementos (aka WoW Hoarding)

I really like the shared topics concept over at Blog Azeroth. Interestingly enough, the last (and only) time I have posted one was a little over a year ago about WotLK release speculation. Anyway, I have actually been meaning to post about this one for some time. A while back, Penny Arcade posted this comic which sadly reminded me a little of my own uuuh situation. For context, here is a screenshot of my bank inventory:


It used to be worse and doesn’t even include crafting materials and raid consumables, which I now keep on one of my banker mules in a slightly more organized state. I don’t really even know what half of this stuff is anymore, though I have a strong inkling that most of it needs to be disenchanted or deleted. I tend to do that on an item by item basis as I run out of space. Oh, my ArkInventory rules got messed up. At some point they just need to be deleted and redone.

The guild bank (not pictured) is far worse. You see, it used to be fairly organized before a round of account hacking that went down a couple of months back. Someone with access got compromised and the bank was cleaned out. A week later, the same thing happened to a lesser extent. Thankfully everything was restored and returned, but they were all returned to my mailbox. I wasn’t exactly a on the ball about keeping it organized in the first place. So that’s karma I suppose.

Shared Topic Idea: Mementos – What mementos have you kept and why? This topic is asking: What items or mementos have you kept (in your toon’s pack or bank) and why? Whether it be keepsakes, quest rewards, special items, random drops, whatever! – why did you decide to hang on to it? What’s its significance to you?

[item]Skullflame Shield[/item]: This shield was my first epic piece of gear ever. I think. It was either this shield or the banana shoulders, I’m not sure anymore. It was a gift from a real life friend and still one of the coolest looking items in the game. The proc was decent back in the day iirc. [item]Glimmering Mithril Insignia[/item]: This trinket was the reward for completing a fairly annoying series of blacksmithing quests. I think it required a total of about 200+ mithril bars to complete. Old world spawn rates coupled with constant node camping made this such a pain in the ass to obtain. It is a testament to time spent ore farming. [item]Lawbringer Spaulders[/item]: I disenchanted my original banana shoulders at the beginning of the Burning Crusade in an attempt to free up bag space and regretted doing so. A couple of months back I went along on a Molten Core fun run and reacquired them. Alas, all is well in the world once more. [item]Commendation of Kael’thas[/item]: I wanted this trinket so bad in the Burning Crusade and never received it. A while back a couple of guild members were on a mount farming bender and were running that 5-man quite frequently. It finally dropped. [item]Jin’rohk, The Great Apocalypse[/item]: I leveled with this for much of WotLK. I will disenchant this word when an I get an even bigger and more awesome looking troll sword. I just, can’t bring myself to dump it. Not just yet.

I have a handful of old school raid items that I am reluctant to throw out: The Onyxia attunement necklace, the Dire Maul fire resistance trinket, the Onyxia cloak, the Molten Core water and a couple of other things. A good portion of my bank though are just tabards, fun trinkets and funny hats. I mean, literally every single funny hat and funny trinket that I have ever come across during my 5+ year journey around Azeroth. I would just kill for a vanity head slot. I mean, I should be able to raid in a chef’s hat without incurring the wrath of my fellow team mates.

Bonus: Here you all go, my inventory, which is somewhat messier than usual because it includes all of the stuff that I haven’t DE’d yet from ICC as well as some loremaster crap. I found this post from two years back. ArkInventory makes it soo sooooo much easier to sort through junk. I keep receiving odd error messages from it though. I have a feeling that I either need to start from scratch and redo all of my rules or just look into another bag mod.


I seem to be low on potions and flasks