- A person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.
- A riddle or paradox.
riddle – puzzle – conundrum – mystery
Those of you who are regular readers have probably noticed that I haven’t been updating regularly. Some of it had to do with my decision to not cover each raid boss for the tier, some of it has had to do with things in WoW, and then there’s been a sprinkle of real life in the mix as well.
You’ll notice that my realm location has changed. You’ll notice that my guild tag has changed if you look at me via the Armory links.
And now let me explain why…
Let me welcome you to the unveiling of Enigma, a Horde raiding guild on Wyrmrest Accord.
What is Enigma? Enigma is the blood, sweat, and tears of a trio of players who are dedicated to the player and the ability to progress through WoW content. We are a guild of adults striving to enjoy all that WoW offers, whether it be raiding, dungeons, achievements, or pet battles.
Our Mission: To foster a tight-knit community and progress through current content two nights a week.
So why am I sharing this? Well, aside from letting readers know where I am now, I also want to open our doors to potential raiding applicants. We raid Tuesday and Wednesday from 6-9p server (9-midnight Eastern). The team is almost full, so there aren’t many spots available!
What we are looking for in a raider:
- 18 years of age, or older
- Thrives on challenge
- Is patient
- Is willing to listen to constructive critism
- Show up to raid focused and ready to perform at their best
- Will push themselves to improve each and every raid
- Enjoys helping others
- Has a good sense of humor
- Is not easily offended
- Is interested in doing things with guildmates (as opposed to joining just for the benefits)
- Strives to avoid drama
- Plays regularly
The details of raiding with Enigma can be found in our Raiding FAQ. Raid team applicants must accept everything outlined in the Raiding FAQ before they will be considered for a trial position. Each applicant will undergo an interview with the guild officers to determine fit.
In addition to accepting the raiding policy, all applicants to the guild must accept and adhere to the Guild Policies. Failure to follow the outlined rules will result in removal from the guild.
If you are interested in applying, please check out our Recruitment page for the application process.
Enigma in 5.2
As Blizzard just announced on Monday, February 11, 2013, patch 5.2 will be dropping by the end of the month. We realize that only a small collection of members who currently make up the raid team will have enough gear to step into the Thunder King’s stronghold. With that in mind, the raid leaders have decided that the raid team will begin with, and progress through, the previously released content before stepping foot into Tier 15. This means that we will be starting in MSV, working through HoF, cleaning up in Terrace, and then evaluating our readiness for the new raid.
Another giant step that I have chosen to take, but one that has never felt more right. If you are looking for a home in WoW full of fun, active, and amusing players, drop us a note. If you’d like to give raiding a go in a solid group who likes to chatter during trash, take a moment to fill out an application. We’re currently looking for some strong DPS, but any class/role is welcome to apply.
Thanks for being here to take this next step with me and my friends, and I will try my damnedest to turn out some more content on…content and on guild leadership in the near future!
I apparently have had my blog closed in my tabs list for a while…completely unplanned! There’s been a lot going on IRL and in WoW, so I’m finally having some down time to actually do some writing! So let’s talk prot as it currently stands in Mists of Pandaria!
I’ve been 90 for a while now, and have wrapped up my 3rd week of raiding Mogu’shan Vaults on Tuesday. My raid team is currently 3/6, while I have gone 4/6 in pugs and have devoted lots of time to Elegon. Prot paladins are at a weird point in WoW, which can make an introduction to the class a touch challenging for new players.
In Cataclysm, paladins were very easily able to to CTC cap. CTC stands for Combat Table Coverage. In short terms, it was your ability to push hits off the table. The magic number was 102.4% and was a combination of the 5% chance to miss, your block, and your avoidance stats. Prot paladins were able to cap easily due to how Mastery worked with our spec. Blizzard decided that they didn’t like how easily paladins reached the 102.4% sweet spot, so they shared that they would modify the ability for any class to CTC cap, making it impossible to occur in Mists.
CTC capping was why you started seeing end-game raiding paladins gemming pure Stamina instead of hybrid gems. We had gotten to the point that we were shedding mitigation stats for avoidance and stamina. Much fun was had in LFR being called a “stamina stacking idiot” by armchair tanks who had no clue how to play the class.
Now, Mists has thrown a wrench into the entire gearing scheme. In the past, Mastery was king for us. We cared little for hit or expertise. Dodge and Parry weren’t bad, but we really REALLY wanted that Mastery. So now what do we look for?
Well, it depends on your gearing scheme. Theck, over at Sacred Duty, has done a ton of Matlab simulations to determine what is going to benefit paladins the most.
We already know that expertise and hit matter. Blizzard told us that with the change to active mitigation (AM), we will value these stats. Simply put, if our attacks don’t land, then we can’t mitigate hits from bosses.
My stat priority is as follows:
Expertise hard cap (5100) > Hit hard cap (2550) > Haste > Mastery > Dodge/Parry
Yes, haste is my next focus after I expertise and hit cap. Why am I stacking haste as a tank? Haste means more hits during a fight, meaning more DPS thanks to Vengeance. Expertise means more hits actually landing, which means we are generating holy power at a regular rate, which we are spending on Shield of the Righteous.
You can choose to swap Haste and Mastery in the priority list, depending on how you are choosing to gear. The lowest priority for you is your avoidance stats. They just aren’t worth it. As Theck states at the end of his post:
Shifting that dodge and parry into hit, expertise, and mastery or haste can reduce the likelihood of 80% spikes by a factor of 3 and that 90% spike by a factor of 100. While we can’t say that this makes you 3x of 100x more survivable, it’s pretty clear that abandoning avoidance is a large survivability increase. You’re choosing to preferentially eliminate the most dangerous events at the cost of a little more throughput damage, and I think any healer will tell you that’s a good trade.
If your mind can take tables and a lot of math, Theck’s post, Damage Smoothing: Expertise, Mastery, and Haste is a must read. Also take a moment to check out the first post on the topic, Avoidance, Mitigation, and Damage Smoothing.
Since our gearing priorities have changed, it means that our gear options are completely crazy too. I assembled a BiS list for Dragon Soul and shared it in this blog. I took the time to assemble a “possible tank gear list” after our first week of raiding, and it’s linked from the Excel graphic on the right. As my guild and raid team have discovered, spreadsheets are my answer to everything! Gear is sortable by slot (at some point I’ll make it sortable by raid boss). Bolded gear is what I am targeting for my BiS list. Items that have been lined out are pure avoidance pieces and should be avoided at all costs. None of the gear on this spreadsheet has crit. I dismissed every piece of gear with crit on it as DPS loot (because it is).
If you have any questions about the spreadsheet, feel free to hit me up in the comments or on Twitter!
This is a bit up in the air right now. My recommendation is to hybrid gem, working to assist in your hard capping of expertise and hit. I’m currently using Guardian’s Imperial Amethysts in my red and blue sockets, and Forceful Wild Jades in my yellows. My gemming will adjust as I reach my caps.
Here’s the list of enchants:
|Shoulders||Greater Ox Horn Inscription||+300 Stamina and +100 Dodge|
|Back||Enchant Cloak – Greater Protection||+200 Stamina|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Superior Stamina||+300 Stamina|
|Wrists||Enchant Bracer – Dodge||+170 Dodge|
|Hands||Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery||+170 Mastery|
|Legs||Ironscale Leg Armor||+430 Stamina and +165 Dodge|
|Feet||Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step||+140 Mastery and increased run speed|
|Shield||Enchant Shield – Greater Parry||+170 Parry|
Enchanters should be making sure they are enchanting their rings with [Enchant Ring - Greater Stamina], which adds +240 stamina to each ring. Jewelcrafters will want to be making use of their JC only gems.
Call me lazy, or let me tell you that I have a lot going on during raids that pulls my attention elsewhere, but I use WeakAuras to keep my attacks front and center on my screen so I can be aware of my cooldowns. Theck has been kind enough to keep sharing his WeakAuras strings on his blog. Scroll down to the bottom of his Tankadin WeakAuras Strings: 5.0.5 post for the strings to copy into the addon.
This makes my life infinity easier because I have it right in the center of my screen, so it’s a quick glance to see when I need to refresh Sacred Shield or if wings are coming off CD.
I’m still neutral on a new expansion. I discussed my thoughts at length last night with a guildie and shared that right now, for me, the biggest draw of the new content is going to be the day I step into the new raids. I’m looking forward to strategizing with my cotank, figuring out how we’re going to handle the fights, looking forward to the motivation of downing new content.
But instead of looking forward into the crystal ball at the content I haven’t run yet, let’s look back on Cataclysm in general!
Launch and Tier 11
I don’t really recall Cataclysm’s launch. I wasn’t in an active guild,4 so I wasn’t in any rush to level. I was on a high population realm, Area 52, so I think I actually didn’t bother to log in for a couple days until the initial rush died off. Not to mention that it was in the middle of the holiday season, so I was busy baking and preparing to entertain guests.
I leveled my first Paladin, Valkyrii (my Wrath main), to 85, and then followed up by leveling my hunter, Mirina (my BC main). At some point Raziel was thrown into the mix, along with my Death Knight (Azrael), my Priest (Gabriel), my Mage (Raaena), and my Warlock (Kiiera). To this day, I haven’t leveled the rest of my alts (2 shaman, a warrior, a rogue, another DK (who is now set up for Herald of the Titans), and my druid), because the Cata content got dry very quickly.
I decided that I wanted to go back to raiding (I had taken T9 and T10 off from guild raiding, and instead PuGged through ToC and ICC), so I started looking around. Not seeing many options on realm, I decided to start recruiting. We had almost gotten a solid team, but no one wanted to focus on gearing and I ended up deciding to transfer off the realm.
That’s one of the challenges with large population realms–there’s a ton of people, but there’s also more guilds than you can shake a stick at.
So as Tier 11 approached it’s end, and I still hadn’t started raiding, I began searching off realm for a new home.
I ended up joining TTGF to tank full-time in Firelands. Which, looking back on Firelands, was pretty damn fun. Dog tanking on Shannox, chasing adds around on Rhyolith, and eating Decimation strikes on Baleroc (ouch).
Firelands was a fun tier, but I still have heartburn over the fact that we missed the nerf bat by a week on the raid. We had been working so hard on Ragnaros, and almost had him down. But due to our inability to sync schedules for weekend raids, we missed our chance for our pre-nerf kill.
It was a sad day.
We dabbled with some Heroic bosses, but primarily stayed with normal clears through the raid. The bigger challenge for me was our raid times. I was raiding 10p-1a while having to make a weekly client meeting the following morning, requiring me to be about 3 hours after I went to bed (assuming raid wrapped at 1a). My body couldn’t keep up with the time difference, and I had to look for another place with better aligned raid times (the challenge of raiding with a West Coast guild!).
Firelands was great because I finally got to focus on what I loved doing best, tanking. I had healed in Wrath, dabbling with tanking when my GM was willing to respec to Holy for me tank 5-mans. I was never able to tank in a raid environment (the downside of having a BiS healing set for the time), so Firelands was the first chance I got to fully climb into the tanking driver’s seat and get ready for the ride.
And it was totally worth the lack of sleep to do it!
BlizzCon fell towards the end of Firelands, and I had a blast! I got the opportunity to meet a ton of the folks I get to talk to on Twitter and to spend some time with some of the great WoW personalities! I even got some time to talk to Ghostcrawler himself about tanking at the Charity Dinner (which was super cool as well)!
While at BlizzCon though, I got to meet a ton of members of my future (and current) guild, Enveloping Shadows! It was fun to be able to sit down, drink, and socialize with a large majority of the officers!
Soon after I returned home, I applied as a healer (hilarious, I know), and was accepted. I transferred over a couple weeks later and dove into Firelands with a 25-man team, trying to wrap my brain around healing. I actually healed for our H. Alysrazor kill!
But there were only a couple weeks left in Firelands, and then we headed into Tier 13…
Tier 13 started with some healing fun, but before Christmas I had swapped back to Prot almost full time. I’d heal as necessary (I do actually have a pretty nice healing set on Raz now…and a pretty nice Ret set…and yea…), when we managed to be short a healer.
Tier 13 was the first time that I can say that I tanked an entire raid, start to finish, on all difficulties. I got to down Deathwing on Heroic mode several times!
Tier 13 was interesting…I went from 25-man raiding back down to a 10s team. I watched as we were almost barely able to fill a raid towards the end of the tier. I watched people decide to “retire” from raiding, shrinking our pool to the point that we were pulling in non-raiding guild members that we hoped could hit buttons or soak an Hour to pulling in people like Rades once Dragon Soul went RealID wide.
Rades has bailed my ass out repeatedly. Thanks dude!
Since we got to the point that we were clearing H. Dragon Soul in 2 hours, we had a lot of time to fill. ES took some time to backtrack into Tier 11 and clean house in H. Bastion of Twilight, capturing our first guild Heroic clear and downing Sinestra, to heading to Throne of the Four Winds and cleaning up H. Al’Akir. We went back to play in Blackwing Descent, but still, to this day, H. Nefarian still isn’t playing nice…maybe at 90.
Cata, while not the most “thrilling” expansion to me (I still haven’t quested through all the low level content), brought about a lot of changes in my play style. I’m back to raiding full-time, having an integral spot on a raid team, having a raid team that I usually love signing on to hang out with (usually because some nights I’m just not in a mood for people).
As the clock ticks down, I spent time cleaning out Raz’s bank, taking some time to gear my unplayed hunter (she went from 333 ilvl to 375 last night thanks to guildies carrying me through dungeons), and playing around. I haven’t been online much in WoW lately, but the past couple days I wanted to go back and play the content. I pulled people through dungeons, both guildies and PuGs, for the shear fun of seeing how fast we could clear the content before I never set foot in them again. I’ve run ZG, ZA, and even multiple Deadmines. I even did a full clear of H. Halls of Origination yesterday afternoon!
To me, that’s the perfect send off. Remember what you did in this expansion, and run it with the people who bring you joy in the game world, and in turn, energize yourself for what’s right around the corner.
In less than 15 hours MoP is live…I wish everyone the best with leveling! I’ll see you in Heroics soon!
With Mists of Pandaria releasing on Tuesday, many people are trying to figure out how to level as quickly as possible. This means that they might not always be reaching for the healthiest of food options as they search for quick and convenient eats.
One of my big hobbies outside of WoW is cooking. I love entertaining friends and family and cooking memorable meals for their taste buds! I regularly Tweet what I make for dinner (with pictures), so people can live vicariously though them!
That being said, I’m very focused on making meals that are healthy and satisfying.
As I pondered what I would fix for MoP leveling, I decided to share my recipes with everyone for meal ideas!
The recipes below are conducive to making ahead of time, and then are easily able to be pulled out of the fridge or freezer and into the oven. That way, all you have to worry about doing is pulling the food out when it dings!
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!
I grew up on these and they are so good! Lots of flavor! I usually serve them with minute rice and some fat free refried beans. They are great on their own if you don’t want to deal with sides.
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (you can shred this too. I usually boil the breasts and let them cool. Then cut them into thirds and shred up the meat)
- 2 cups light sour cream
- 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
- 2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 cups (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp chopped onion (can be fresh or dried)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
- Flour tortillas
- Combine first 9 ingredients, mix well.
- Place a heaping 1/2 cup of chicken mixture inside each tortilla.
- Roll and place in baking dish.
- Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle tortillas with remaining 4 oz cheddar and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- I usually get 4 pans of 4 enchiladas out of this. These freeze very well. If frozen, let them defrost in the fridge before baking. Number of enchiladas will be based on how full you fill the tortillas.
You can never go wrong with a crock pot! Crock pot cooking was my convenient way to make dinners when I knew it would be a long day in the office. Here’s a chance to take advantage of the slow cooking method while you instance or quest your way to 90!
- 2 lbs chuck roast, fat trimmed
- Small red potatoes, whole, or if they are larger than bite size, halved
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
- 2 large onions, peeled and cut into eighths
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
- Season chuck roast with salt and pepper. Place in bottom of crock pot
- Surround roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions.
- Add in Cream of Mushroom soup and Lipton Onion Soup mix packet.
- Add a touch of water to crock pot.
- Turn on low and let cook 8-10 hours.
- If you’ve got the time, gently coat the roast in flour, salt, and pepper and sear in oil in a pan on all sides before adding it to the crock pot. This will create a nice crust on the meat.
- If you don’t have a crock pot, sear the roast (as outlined in the first bullet) and place into a dutch oven type pan. Add ingredients as listed and cook at 350° for 4-5 hours.
- The soup gives a creamy gravy for the meat. I like my roasts done this way, but if you aren’t interested in a creamy sauce, feel free to skip and add in beef broth in place of the water (use a touch more due to lack of moisture). Same with the Lipton packet, use if you like!
Cream Cheese Chicken
Courtesy of my cotank, this recipe is sure to be a winner! Lots of flavor and another convenient meal from your crock pot!
- 4 chicken breasts brushed with butter or lightly coated with cooking spray
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 2 Tbsp Italian Dressing mix (Good Seasons)
- 1 package light cream cheese
- Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
- Cook on low 6-7 hours.
- This can be served over rice or egg noodles–since we’re looking for quick and easy cooking, I’d probably fall back on Minute Rice because I don’t have to babysit it once the water boils.
Chicken/Pork Rice Casserole
Another old family recipe, I’ll be making this Monday night in preparation for dinner on Tuesday night!
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1 package Lipton Onion Soup mix
- 1 soup can full milk
- 1 soup can uncooked long grain rice
- 4 chicken legs/thighs or 4 bone-in pork chops
- Preheat oven to 350° and butter a 9×9″ pan.
- Mix up first 4 ingredients in pan.
- Place meat on top of mixture and cover dish with aluminum foil.
- Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Begin checking regularly at 45 minute mark for doneness.
Notes: I’m making mine with pork chops! This would go great with some fresh green beans and a hot roll!
This is probably my laziest recipe on here! But you can never go wrong with a meatball sub!
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
- 1 tsp McCormick Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb 80% lean ground beef
- Spaghetti sauce (homemade or bought)
- Fresh sub rolls
- Sliced mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Add panko, eggs, water, cheese, garlic, parsley, seasoning, salt, and pepper to large bowl; stir to combine. Add beef, mix by hand until just combined.
- Scoop up 3 Tbsp of meat mixture to form balls; smooth by rolling in cupped hands. Arrange meatballs on baking sheet, about 1 1/2″ apart.
- Bake 15-17 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°.
- Heat meatballs in spaghetti sauce over low heat (or put them into a small crock pot with the sauce to warm on low).
- Cut open sub rolls, leaving half of the sub roll attached and line with a piece of cheese (I fold mine in half).
- Spoon meatballs with a little bit of sauce into bread.
- The meatball recipe is courtesy of Wegmans! They are a great grocery store with lots of fabulous recipes and foods! Feel free to poke around their site and gather lots of other yummy meal ideas!
Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili, adapted from Bon Appétit
This recipe came to me from Nyx! It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1/2 lb dried black beans, rinsed well
- 1 chipotle chile from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- Sour cream (optional)
- Green onions, chropped (optional)
- Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and coriander and stir. Cook together for 1 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, beans, chipotle pepper, and oregano. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until beans are flavorful and tender, anywhere from 2-4 hours.
- After 1 1/2 hours of cooking, add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, and salt. Place the pot’s lid back on slightly ajar and allow to simmer on low hear until the beans are soft and the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooked through. Add more water if the chili becomes too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and green onion.
- Can be made two days ahead. Can be frozen!
Just because you’re leveling to 90 doesn’t mean you need to eat poorly! I hope you enjoy these recipes and find them good enough to add to your collections! Happy dining!
An interesting read came across my Twitter feed this morning, called “Looking Inside Your Screenshots.” The theory is simple: Blizzard is applying watermarks to your screenshots storing “personal” information. In this case, the author states that your account ID, a timestamp, and your server IP are captured.
Part of me was intrigued, and I did some reading on the discussion (get your tinfoil hats ready), and part of me shook my head. This blog post is around the thoughts that sprung to mind as I watched the commentary fly by about the whole topic, and my thoughts as I read the post.
Who Are You Really?
One of the fascinating things about the internet is that you can be anyone you want to be. I say that with a casual attitude, and only some succeed at it, but let’s walk through this.
Most people, WoW players, guild mates, even Twitter pals, exist as you know them. They are male, they are female, they are tall, they are short. You may know this because you’ve heard their voices in chat, you may know what they look like because of a picture thread on your guild forums, or maybe you’ve even met them in person! You may know if they are married, or if they have kids. What their pets look like, what their favorite pair of shoes is. You can learn a lot about a person, or even people, if you just step back and listen.
But there are other people; individuals who go to great lengths to hide their identities. They may only provide their voice in chat, but you know nothing about them. Some people choose to not even speak. They could be a stranger you see at the bus stop each morning on your way to work. They could be the classmate sitting beside you in lecture.
But you really don’t know, because they don’t want you to know.
I’ve been told I share a lot with the world. In the grand scheme, I probably do. That said, there is much that I don’t share. I shape a personality, an image, that I want you to perceive when you think about me. But who I really am, most people will never know. I can smoke screen through a lot of things–the only people who can truly see through it are the people who play the same mental games I do.
Social Engineering 101
Social Engineering, as defined by Wikipedia:
Social Engineering, in the context of security, is understood to mean the art of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
And it’s so easy to do.
Wiki’s definition is a bit too tight for me. I’d paint it a touch broader that social engineering is the art of manipulating people to gain information or perform actions which they might not be inclined to do otherwise.
I was going to use Twitter as a prime example, but I think that it would hit too close to home for many, so I’m choosing to shy away from it. It’s a rabbit hole that if I went down would probably make people a touch uncomfortable around me, but it’s how my mind works…
The long and short of it is that I don’t need much information to build a picture about my Twitter followers. You’ve given me a lot of information, and with just a few nuggets, I can do some digging and build a complete picture that you probably don’t even realize.
Social engineering is, to put it bluntly, “creative use of real life mechanics.” It’s taking bits of information and seeding the rest to gather what you need. It’s asking very basic questions about a topic of interest, about your personal life, and then taking that information back into (in some cases) readily accessible tools to learn about someone.
Let’s take a step back in time in Miri’s life. I shared this in a very early blog post, but I’m going to flesh it out to give perspective on how easy it is to manipulate people. In this case, I manipulated my peers for my own success…
Social Engineering in Action
One of the courses I was required to take for my degree was in Information Warfare (my degree is in NetSec). The course description:
This course will examine and assess the role of information technology as a tool of warfare. Topics will be discussed from both a defensive and offensive perspective and will include: physical attacks, cyber-terrorism, espionage, psyops, biometrics, Network Centric Warfare, and applications of encryption technology.
Our final project was an information war, where we picked sides and were told about our alignments with other groups (enemies and allies).
My team took the challenge a touch further. We were, after all, the hackers. Loyal to no one, but hell bent on our own desire to win. But how were we going to defeat the other 10-11 teams? We sat together one day in the atrium at school, our laptops balanced in our laps, our cans of soda on the tables beside us, as we argued and debated our points to win. And then one of our teammates spoke. “What if we turned each team against each other? What if we played the ultimate war game?” Intrigued, we all leaned in. At that moment, we had decided to take one hell of a giant step, sidestepping the line of ethics, a scheme beginning to flesh itself out.
My teammate proposed an idea, and we began to weave the fabric that would completely change the game. We would pretend to be our professor, the current Assistant Dean of our school. We would communicate with our fellow classmates, planting seeds of misinformation to spin the game in our favor.
We had months of email communication from our professor. We knew her writing style, her greeting and her closing methods, her sentence structure. So we began drafting our communications, our misinformation. We knew who was on each team–their email addresses were published in an a course tool that everyone had access to. We sat on the school network, and spoofed our professor’s email address. We sent out email after email, each a touch different than the first, updating other players in the “war.”
Time passed, and we continued to develop our battle plan. We composed the final documents to present to our classmates, and showed up to class, completely calm, and more than a little curious to see if we actually succeeded in our game.
We chose to be the last team to present, and we watched as each team went to the front of the room, and pulled up their PowerPoint decks. We listened as they presented their list of allies, and their list of enemies. And we watched as they wove in our “information”–stating how they changed their allies and enemies list based on additional information that was provided to them during the course of the battle.
We watched our professor’s face contort into a frown, but she never spoke. The presentations continued, each one building on the last.
And then it was our turn.
I took center stage in the front of the room, and displayed the following image on the screen:
I watched the class’s facial expressions change. First they were confused, and I’ll admit, I smirked. My team’s ultimate goal had succeeded.
And then I spoke. I stated that we had no allies, and that everyone was an enemy. And I thanked them for their participation in our little scheme.
And the looks of confusion turned to anger.
I took a casual posture, leaning up against a table at the front of the room, my arms crossed in front of my chest, my face only illuminated by the projector showing the image behind me.
I asked my classmates who sent them the emails with the “additional information.” I asked that they point to the sender.
And I waited.
My classmates shifted in their seats and pointed to our professor, who looked even more confused. My fellow students studied our instructor as their looks turned to horror as they faced me once again.
I changed slides and sat back on the table, my legs crossed at the ankle, my hands casually resting on the table as I leaned forward to impart my final words of wisdom.
“You just spent a semester learning how wars can be fought online. You learned the ways that social engineering can be used to manipulate outcomes. And yet, you fell for everything you were taught to watch out for. Let this be a lesson–that things aren’t always what they seem.”
And with those final words, I blanked the screen and walked back to my seat.
Once my professor was able to get over her shock–her realization that we had completely manipulated a project she had assigned us, she polled the class on who won the war.
What You’ve Given Blizzard…
I got to watch people go “OMG my privacies!” about this whole watermarking scenario. I’ve watched people wave the BS flag, and I’ve watched people step back and wait for more findings.
My stance on the whole thing was “I don’t really care.”
If you are so worried about what’s in your screenshot, then take the time to step back and think about what you’ve given Blizzard.
Here’s a quickly compiled list:
- Name (Real or not, hope you never have to recover your account)
- Email Address
- Mailing Address
- Credit Card w/ expiration and secure code
- Buying history
- IP Address
- Computer specifications
When you’re logged into Blizzard’s servers, they have records of everything. A quick list, once again:
- Your IP
- Your character’s location in their world
- What’s in your bags/bank/mail
- Your addons
- Your conversations
If Blizzard wants information, they don’t need to store it in a screenshot; you’ve already given it to them when you sign on to their realms.
They didn’t need to socially engineer you for that information–you gave it readily.
So how do you protect yourself in light of this “finding”?
According to the author of the screenshots post, they think that “someone could use this to identify which account holds which characters and perhaps stalk and annoy its user, or help perpetrators choose their phishing victims with a more targeted approach.”
Some things I’d like to note:
- The account ID that is shown is not your Battle.net account ID, nor is it your BattleTag. It’s apparently the name that your account started with (think before we merged into Battle.net). The only person who knows that is the person who signs into the account (if you have multiple accounts and have to select which account to sign in).
- A time stamp. Well, in my screenshots, my clock is showing. You can see the HH:MM in my lower right hand corner if you care. And if you want to look at a screenshot where I hid my UI? Please let me know what time I took it in case I can’t find it again.
- My realm IP. As was noted to me earlier, it could be a dozen different IPs on any given night. Your realm IP, your dungeon server IP (remember, dungeons are on a different server), your raid server IP. And let’s not even open the can of worms that is CRZ–you’re bouncing to (or from) various realms all night now if you’re in low level zones. Have at it Blizzard. If anything, it would be intriguing for me to learn what the dungeon/raid server IPs are.
If you can go to the Armory, you can figure out what realm I’m on. Hell, it’s in my blog header. It’s on my Twitter account. I publish that information so people can find me.
If someone wants to exert the effort to extract that information from a picture, have at it.
There’s a lot of information already available thanks to search engines, standard “friendly” commentary, and ourselves.
Protect yourself by limiting what you say and share. You can help control the amount of information that the world can use against you.
But you have to make intelligent decisions to protect yourself. Don’t expect anyone else to do it for you.
Your safety and security starts with you.
When Enveloping Shadows wants bosses dead, we’ll get bosses dead. Past experience has proven that we can put our minds into this zen state and steamroll through content that we may have been dragging our feet on earlier. ES saw Heroic Zon’ozz and Hagara fall on the same night, completely unplanned, but quickly doable once we buckled down and focused.
Which is why, in the grand scheme of things, our July 31st and August 1st raids don’t surprise me at all.
The Final Countdown
The team showed up, energetic and ready to get more attempts on Heroic Spine. We had been getting to third plate with regularity, but hadn’t been able to hold it all together long enough to beat the encounter. We rolled through 6/8 Heroics, with only a mild hiccup on Skittles (something about a Blood DK out-healing a druid by 80%). The team blew through Heroic Gunship, and our raid leader gave us a quick reminder of our Heroic Spine strat before we were parachuted down onto Deathwing’s back.
We lost a healer early on, but we kept pushing through the plates. The tanks were making changes to our strat on the fly, adjusting as we found rhythm to a fight we’ve been working on sporadically for months. And then, after almost 3 months of beating our heads against Heroic Spine, the DPS popped that final plate off and achievements lit up my screen.
There was a pause for screaming in Mumble, and then we were on the platforms for Madness. And we all paused, realizing that probably no one had looked at the strat. Our raid leader called for a 10 minute break for people to go read up, relax, or see family after our Heroic Spine 1-shot, so that they could come back to their PCs and be ready to push ahead on Madness.
I remember glancing at the clock, my mind still unable to process that we 1-shot Spine, realizing we were about to attempt the final fight of this raid tier, and it wasn’t even 9p.
Descent into Madness
The raid team reconvened, people still in shock that we had 1-shot Spine, and I quickly began discussing survivability with my cotank. We decided to “wing it” and see what would happen for impales as we tossed around cooldown ideas. Our raid leader gave a quick rundown of the fight and we gave it a go (or 5). The beginning fights were discovering just how squishy I was on impales–quick trinket/glyph swapping, and we were back in business. (Quick note: Blood Death Knights are SUCH a broken class. My cotank takes an impale and drops to 95% health while I’m freaking out as the healers are recovering from me dropping to 40%. Blahblahblah nerf DKs =P) When we called our attempts for the night, we were clearing to platform 4 without issue, so we knew we had it in the bag on our next raid night.
The team showed up on Wednesday, ready to take Deathwing down once and for all. Our Holy priest had spec swapped after the previous raid to give Disc a go. Our warriors respecc’d for slows, I tweaked my glyphing even more, and we knuckled down for more attempts. We saw a .5% wipe and knew that we had the fight down. We would have had a kill on that attempt, but one of our legendary staff wielders DC’d on one of the platforms and we just couldn’t recover before the enrage hit.
No speeches by yours truly (running joke from H. Gunship–Miri would give a fail pep talk and we’d down the boss on the next attempt, so the speech became a requirement for H. Gunship kills), instead you could feel the energy of the team in Mumble–they were ready for the kill! We zoned back in, focused, and away we went!
It was one of those moments, just like on Heroic Spine, where the achievements caught me off guard! On Spine I was wrangling bloods and had no clue what the tendon was at. On Madness I was slowing bloods so that we could push more DPS to end the fight. Neither time did I know health percentages, so when my screen lit up with Heroic Madness, I screamed for the second time in two days!
With the entire team standing, not a single death, we beat the enrage by almost 40 seconds! We were ecstatic! We doled out loot (Gurth and Kiril), and in typical ES fashion handed the drake to one of our druids.
We learned Madness, start to finish, in under 4 hours. We beat the tier, the expansion, and we still had hours left of raid. The team was let go early to go celebrate, and I raised a shot glass several times in toast to the team that achieved the kill.
Of course, finishing off Deathwing once and for all netted many of the raiders their Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider, so we had to go pose for pictures!
It feels good to complete a raid tier when it’s still current content. It feels even better to complete an expansion’s final boss. Wrapping up Dragon Soul gives me closure to move on to MoP–a chapter that I am more than willing to let become a memory. Dragon Soul meant much to ES; our raid team shrunk from 25 to 10. Our raid leaders changed, our comp was continuously evolving. And still we persevered. The team banded together and supported each other through the entire tier, proving that 10 people with goals can achieve anything–even in a video game.
A big thanks and a massive congrats to my raid team. I look forward to us tackling MoP together in the near future!
Thanks to Vosskah, I was given the idea to poll the WoW community for easy, make-ahead recipes to nom on while you level in MoP!
— Vosskah (@Vosskah) July 25, 2012
I’m looking for ALL recipes: breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks! Things for solo people and things for LAN parties! If you have drink ideas, I’ll take those too!
If you would like to participate (all authors will get credit for their recipes!), please send me an email and I will start compiling them for a mass post! Please send your recipes to MoPCookingDaily@gmail.com for inclusion! If you have pictures, please feel free to send those along too!
NOTE! The cutoff for submissions is August 15th!
I can’t wait to see (and taste!) the submissions I get!
I’ve been incredibly busy since I came back from travel in April. Work has been a massive time sink–I’ve been training new team members and trying to get better control of my crazy work life–because, well, at some point, I don’t want to be working 12+ hour days.
That being said, I relocated in May, and now spend 14 hours a week commuting (2 days a week). If you ever doubted my sanity, this should erase any question of doubt!
I’m still raiding with Enveloping Shadows 2 nights a week. We are currently wiping on Heroic Spine, and most nights end with me not even able to fathom where our weak point is (I have some ideas, but I’m still unsure). A lot of raid frustration is around the fact that our second staff (AKA, Staff 2.0), vanished from the game within a couple weeks of the team completing the second legendary (Staff 1.0 did the same thing). We currently cross our fingers at night that all 10 will sign on to raid because we don’t have any members on stand by. It’s a touch rough!
I haven’t given Beta much time, which annoys me to no end! I love playing it, and finally feel somewhat in tune with the new Paladin stuff, but I just haven’t had the time.
Most of my free time (what little there is) has been going to Diablo 3, where my Wizard is playing around in Nightmare level. I die a lot, but it’s fun She’s the only character I’ve played in D3, and I think I’ll be taking her up to Inferno before I consider rolling an “alt.”
I’m still on Twitter, though not as much as I was in the past. Usually because I’m so damn busy right now (which I’m hoping will change at the end of the month).
I’ve been studying for my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and I’m testing at the end of the month. It’s a 4-hour test after 4 days of boot camp, so I’m hoping I can pull this off and cross it off my list before fiscal year ends!
I just returned from a jaunt to NC to do some teaming with my coworkers and meet the engineers who I abuse mercilessly on a daily basis. It was a great time to kick back, play some Kick Ball (yes, there are pictures), Bowl, drink, and eat a ton of sushi! My team is reorg’ing our business focus and alignment, as we are part of a service that no other company can offer to my customer base, so I’ve been doing a lot of design support at the ground level. I took on the massive redevelopment of our internal support space, so I will have my arms full with that for a bit–it’s a godsend that my Director supports my random goals and helps me out when I need it. We’ll see if this paves the way for some new role alignments in the future. I’ve been pondering a relo to NC in the next couple years but if I can put a support structure in place and maintain an escalation point for my greater team from the comfort of my home office (with little to no travel unless management requests), then I will be happy. We’ll see–this is the time where I have more flexibility to push for things that benefit me.
Anyway–it’s safe to say that very few of you give a shit about my private life, but I did want to let you know that I am still playing WoW (though not at the levels I used to, see above for reasoning) and that there are more blog posts in the pipeline!
Almost a month ago, I question was posed to me on Formsrping regarding Paladin BiS gear in Dragon Soul. The question was:
You mind showing the BiS gemmed and enchanted so we can get an idea?
It has been sitting flagged in my inbox begging me to take action, and my massive delay makes me feel pretty bad. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of craziness going on in my personal/professional life that won’t be settling out until the end of this month (but that’s another blog post). So the fact that I was able to pour a drink on a Friday night and run numbers with a friend was relaxing. And thus, this post was born!
Here is our quick and dirty findings for a Paladin BiS list in Dragon Soul. Our goals:
- Stamina stacking for the hardest heroic fights in Dragon Soul (Gunship and Spine)
- Maintaining a large amount of avoidance
- CTC capping (or close to)
The end result was almost obscene. Raid buffed (Devo Aura, Horn of Winter, Mark of the Wild, Fortitude, Steelskin, Feast Buff, stacked trinket), I was looking at the following numbers:
- 260,459 health
- 44,358 Armor
- 2,225 Dodge Rating (20.07%)
- 3,456.83 Parry Rating (20.60%)
- 56.82% Block Chance
- 45.67% Avoidance
- 102.49% CTC
I needed a moment after I saw those avoidance numbers…
Anyway, on to the gear list!
Note: Raz is a JC/Enchanter, so this list reflects those professions. The only difference is that a non-JC/non-Enchanter player will have a smaller health pool.
|Faceguard of Eternal Glory (410)||Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond
Solid Deepholm Iolite
Arcanum of the Earthen Ring
|Guardspike Choker (397)|
|Brackenshell Shoulderplates (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite||
Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz
Dodge -> Mastery
|Indefatigable Greatcloak (397)||Solid Deepholm Iolite||
Enchant Cloak – Protection
Expertise -> Mastery
|Chestguard of Radiant Glory (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite
Solid Deepholm Iolite
Solid Deepholm Iolite
Enchant Chest – Greater Stamina
|Graveheart Bracers (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite||
Enchant Bracer – Superior Dodge
|Handguards of Radiant Glory (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite||
Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
Hit -> Mastery
|Goriona’s Collar (410)||Puissant Elven Peridot
Solid Deepholm Iolite
Dodge -> Mastery
|Legguards of Radiant Glory (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite
Solid Deepholm Iolite
Solid Chimera’s Eye
Drakehide Leg Armor
Dodge -> Mastery
|Stillheart Warboots (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite
Solid Deepholm Iolite
Enchant Boots – Mastery
|Curled Twilight Claw (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite||
Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina
Hit -> Parry
|Hardheart Ring (410)||Solid Deepholm Iolite||
Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina
|Indomitable Pride (410)|
|Resolve of Undying (416)|
|Blackhorn’s Mighty Bulwark (410)||Puissant Elven Peridot
Solid Chimera’s Eye
Enchant Shield – Mastery
Dodge -> Parry
|Stoutheart Talisman (397)||Solid Chimera’s Eye||
Mastery -> Dodge
This may get tweaked a bit more, but that’s what I’m currently targeting!