Pallys… the new huntards???

26 03 2010

So here we are again, I finally managed to download the various patches of behemoth proportion and I have been able to login and create my character.

For anyone that read my previous post (all 2 of you :P) you will know that I was looking at a ret pally. Well I stuck to my guns and Curadane the Blood Elf Paladin was born.

I set off into the world and the first thing I noticed was that either the Blood Elf starting zone has been made easier than before or the pally has been elevated to some sort of demigod like level of power.

It isn’t just easy because it’s a starting zone or because I rock, (which I may well do!) It’s easy because the pally is ripping through everything like a mail armoured hot knfe through some particularly flimsy butter.

This is not normally a good sign.

My feeling of vague unease was confirmed when I put a shout out for a group in the Ghostlands to take down 2 x lvl 21 elites; other than one priest and the obligatory Blood Elf hunter with ghostclaw pet all the people that I encountered were Pallys.

Now this was at something silly like 8am GMT so it’s not as if there were stacks of people on and everyone else is just shy!

So now I am posed with a question; do I stick or twist, stay or go? Should I bother to take my pally any further ( he’s only lvl 17 at the moment) or do I roll again? At the moment I can’t decide, on one hand the pally is fun and is a new class for me, on the other hand do I really want to look like every other plate wearing sheep chucking out buffs like they are going out of fashion?





GRRR

25 03 2010

Well far be it from me to complain but the size of the patches I need to bring me up to speed with WOW are just ridiculous, I am sure it will all be worth it but 7 gigs of patches!!!

But anyway I digress, my big challenge at the moment is what class to play, I used to have two main toons that I ran with, a Prot Warrior and a Hunter (before Hunters were cool I might add)

Now I am thinking I will mix things up a little, it looks increasingly like it is going to be a ret pally, anyways we will see how that goes and I will keep you all posted, whether you want me to or not!





Welcome to the world…of Warcraft

24 03 2010

Well after a two year break away from the digital crack that is WOW it looks like I am headed straight back into the most popular MMORPG known to man.

My reasons for leaving WOW in the first place are numerous; from the packs of annoying 12 year olds playing with Mum and Dad’s Mastercard through to the annoying gits corpse camping everywhere they can in order to gank noobs. To cut a long story short I vowed never to return and promptly threw myself into LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) with great gusto.

But times change and people change; my High Elf Guardian is now level 65, Moria has been thoroughly stomped into submission and Mirkwood has been torn a new one, in short I’m bored.

The Kinship that I helped start has matured to a point whereby it doesn’t need the constant fussing and maintenance anymore, the endless stream of new players looking for someone to run them through instances or join their group to help twink them has dried up to the occasional trickle.

So like an addict looking for his next fix I have been trying out everything and anything I can get my hands on; Baldurs Gate I & II, Never Winter Nights, Oblivion, Fable II and Spellforce I&II all have been chewed up and spat out again as I try to find something to fill the bottomless RPG void in my life. Likewise I have dabbled with some harder stuff; Perfect World International , Age of Conan and Dungeons and Dragons online, but none of them have managed to hold my attention for more than a few fleeting hours.

So what is it about WOW that sets it apart from the competition, there are certainly other games that are very enjoyable and equally immersive;  LOTRO is one game that springs instantly to mind.

I guess there are as many views on why WOW is top dog as there are players, but for me I think it isn’t one big thing that sets it apart, it’s a collection of many smaller things.

I think that unlike many other MMOs that are out there WOW has got the mix just right, for the avid PVPer there are whole servers set aside where you gank people to your hearts content, for the more player that doesn’t always want to be risking certain (virtual) death at the hands of a superhuman  Korean there are still designated places where you can melt faces and for those of us that would rather not vanquish our fellow players there is insane amounts of PVE content that mean you need never set foot in an area or battleground.

The classes are well worked out and by this stage in the game they all  feel more or less “right” there isn’t anyone class that is desperately in need of being tweaked to make it more powerful or toned down to make things fairer on everyone else, if I compare this to other games it is a vastly different situation; for a long while in LOTRO the Hunter class was basically a death dealing demon from the skies, yes it was squishy if you got in close, verrry squishy but that didn’t matter, the mobs were dead before they realised they were in a fight.

Sure it was corrected eventually but in the meanwhile things just felt a tad unbalanced, no slight on Turbine; they have done a fine job of turning the works of Tolkien into a very playable MMO, but at the same time I can’t imagine Blizzard taking as long to react, too many people would complain.

Maybe this brings me to the key point here, WOW is quite simply huge, not just in terms of the amount of content (which is monsterous) or the areas there are to explore (which are vast) but also in terms of the sheer number of players; last time I looked there are over 12 million of the buggers, to put this into context that more people then there are in Belgium (WOW is more exciting than Belgium as well).

When you have that many players all paying there monthly fees you are talking about a lot of pounds, shillings and pence each month, if you DON’T stay on top of your game you are shafted, if keeping 12 million people happy means that you take just an extra little bit of care with things, or pay just that extra 5% extra attention to detail, than that is a small price to pay! Plus when 12 million people talk you have to listen.

If you are running a MMO and have an in game population of say 300,000 if you do something that 2% of people don’t like you get 6000 complaints, if you dont act on that you might lose half of those people that complained so you might lose 3000 people.If Blizzard manage to piss of 2% of their in game population thats 240, 000 disgruntled customers, thats a figure that some games would bend over backwards to have as their entire subscription base.

So maybe thats why WOW is the best, maybe not at everything all of the time, but certainly overall.

They are the best because they have to be, 12 million payments of $14,99 a month say they have to be.

As for me going back maybe the biggest factor is that my girlfriend has finally said I can…





Homemade Tigerbalm

23 03 2010

Well following on from yesterday when I posted my recipe for making Dit Da Jow; I dug out an old notebook and decided to look through and see what other little gems I might have lurking away.

Here is another of my all time favourites that again I haven’t made for ages:Tiger Balm

To make your very own Tiger Balm you will need the following:

3.8 ozs Beeswax pearls

2.4 ozs Menthol Crystals

1/2 oz of Petroleum Jelly

2 ozs Camphor Essential Oil

1 oz of each Clove, Cajeput and Cassia Essential Oils, if you can’t get Cassia you can use Cinnamon essential oil instead

Small metal tins or glass jars (about 4 oz.)

1/16th oz chili extract (capsaicin) – This isn’t strictly needed however I have always added it as it helps with joint pain

Melt the beeswax and petroleum jelly in the pan over very low heat.

Weigh out the menthol crystals and add to pan, the smell off of this may well be overwhelming at first so you might want to open a window.

Stir continuously until melted and then add the chili extract if using. Once the extract  is all mixed in, remove from heat and add the essential oils, make sure that they are incorporated well and pour into tins, then all you have to do is leave it to harden.

Once your tigerbalm has had time to harden and cool it can be used straight away, however I have experienced better results when it has been allowed to mature for a while  first.





Turkish Lahmacun

22 03 2010

If there is one thing that I miss about the UK, and let’s face it there aren’t that many things, it’s the wonderful variety of different cuisines that are available to you on your doorstep, particularly where I am from in East London.

One of the many styles of food that I get a craving for quite regularly is Turkish and when I get that itch there is really and truly only one thing that is going to scratch it – Lahmacun.

These delicious little flat breads topped with spicy meat and a tangy peppery sauce are divine and as soon as you try them you will see why!

As I haven’t got a Turkish or Greek deli anywhere near me I have had to make some substitutions for a couple of ingredients however it isn’t many and the Lahmacun still taste great!

Ingredients:

10 mexican tortillas or any other type of flat bread
500 gr lean ground beef or lamb
2 medium onions
1 handful of parsley finely chopped
1 tbsp red pepper paste*
2 large tomatoes, seeds discarded
1 tsp flaked peppers or 1 red chilli de-seeded and very finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tsp salt

Method:

Chop and mix together all the ingredients except the ground beef / lamb. When it is well mixed together  knead it in with the ground beef. Put the mixture into a plastic bag and Refrigerate for about an hour, then let it stand on the work surface for 20 minutes or so before cooking.

Set the oven to about 180 and make sure you have two baking trays ready. Take some of the topping  and spread it over the flat bread as one even layer.

Place on the baking trays and put the trays on the second rack from the top in the oven. Bake for about 3-4 minutes, making sure not to burn the edges of the bread.

Place a paper towel at the bottom of a large pot. Fold the cooked Lahmacun in half and put them in the pot to keep them warm with the lid closed.

 When all are of the lahmacun are cooked, serve with a simple side salad while they’re still warm.

* If you can’t find turkish red pepper paste then you can follow the recipe here in order to make your own.





How to make Dit Da Jow or Punch Wine

22 03 2010

Dit Da Jow is a traditional liniment from China that has long been used to treat a whole range of different ailments from bruises and swelling through to rheumatism and arthritis.

However in the west it has commonly been constrained to martial arts circles where practitioners have used it to treat injuries suffered in training and also in conjunction with certain training methods such as Iron fist or Iron palm from Kung Fu which aims to toughen up the skin on the knuckles, fingers and palms of the hands.

I have always sworn by it and have used it for years both when I was a practicing martial arts instructor and for my own arthritis and joint problems, you can sometimes buy this from shops but the potency of it is somewhat dubious at the best of times and besides it is far cheaper and more interesting to make your own,  this is a slightly non-traditional recipe using herbs that are more readily available in the west however it it has always worked perfectly well for me and my own instructor has been using it for over 40 years and wont touch anything else.

If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area than most of what you need can be gathered quite easilly if not you might have to go through a herbalist or catalogue to get hold of what you need, if you find that you are going to be using it regularly you might want to start growing some of the more hard to find items.

Here is what you need to make the Jow

  • Arnica blossoms
  • Comfrey
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Goldenseal root
  • Ginger root
  • Myrrh
  •  Sasparilla root
  •  Witch Hazel
  • Stinging Nettle
  •  St. John’s Wort
  • Wintergreen oil
  • Camomile
  • Fenugreek
  • Rubbing alcohol

Use equal proportions of all the items listed, by weight. You can meaure them out on a small kitchen scale.

Grind the herbs in a mortar & pestle and place them into a glass jar. Add in the rubbing alcohol, if for some reason you cant get hold of rubbing alcohol you can use Vodka.

Next you need to add in the herbs I use 4 ounces of dried herbs to one pint of alcohol (or equivalent proportions). Seal the jar tightly and leave it in a cool dark place .

 Allow the infusion to work for two weeks; once or twice a day, swirl the liquid gently through the herbal mash. After two weeks, strain off the liquid and discard the herbal residue.

This tincture can be applied as is to swollen or bruised areas, or can be mixed with a thickener (like lanolin or safflower oil) and a hardener (like beeswax) to make an ointment. 

 A big part of the benefit from using this or any other tincture for that matter is the rubbing motion that you use when applying it, make sure that you really work it in well and that the direction that you rub in is away from the heart, this will help aid blood flow to the damaged or sore area helping to aid recovery





So little time so much to do!

22 03 2010

Well I really should slam the breaks on and take a break from this for a while but I am on a roll so don’t want to break  the momentum!

In a moment of grandiose self importance I have decided to open a Twitter account, this probably makes me a fool but at least I’m a self aware fool, besides who knows there might be a time when a well placed tweet could save my life!

If you are completely starved of any stimulus whatsoever you might want to hear what I had for lunch and such like, if this sounds like your sort of fun click  here .

On an unrelated note, Lonely Planet are running a fun little competition where you can upload your favourite pictures and possibly win a round the world trip for two, they explain it far more eloquently than I so check it out!








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