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DK Glyph Madness

23 Apr

I realize I have been basically babbling on endlessly about my monk for the last couple weeks… but damn if it isn’t a lot of fun! However, this isn’t a classist blog, and I can’t imagine it ever BEING a classist blog, so I will take a look at the DK (since I can actually *play* her on the beta right now)… more importantly, I will take a look at the glyphs they’re offering in the beta right now.

First thing’s first: If you didn’t know, glyphs are being redone completely. There aren’t going to be any more glyphs that are no brainers. Also, Prime glyphs are going the way of the dodo. Everything in the glyphs, much like the way talents are turning out, is just for the sake of flavor and cool shit. And as always…. THIS IS BETA. SHIT WILL CHANGE. /ahem. Some of the glyphs are the same (right now) in the beta as they are on live, so I won’t mention every single glyph. Anyway, on with the show.


Anti-Magic Shell – Causes your AMS to absorb all incoming magical damage, up to the absorption limit.

(Absorption limit is half of your health. Without the glyph, I think it absorbs 75% of all magic damage. This may be as close to a no-brainer for glyphs as tanks get, depending on the fight.)

Dancing Rune Weapon – Increases your threat generation by 100% while DRW is active, but reduces it’s damage dealt by 25%

(Live version increases threat gen by 50%, with no damage penalty.)

Dark Simulacrum – Reduces the cooldown of Dark Sim by 30s and increases it’s duration by 4s.

(Pretty damn cool glyph… I always felt that the CD of Dark Sim made it way too wonky to be used properly. Also… the lack of spells you can copy)

Death Coil – Your death coil spell is now usable on all allies. When cast on a non-undead ally, DC shrouds them with a protective barrier that absorbs up to (x) damage.

(VERY cool little change to death coil. Situational, but still offers some nice utility)

Enduring Infection – Your diseases are undispellable, but their damage dealt is reduced by 30%.

(Could have interesting PvP ramifications)

Icy Touch – Your Icy Touch dispels one helpful magic effect from the target.

(Huh… this could be useful in pvp and on certain pve encounters too. Very interesting)

Mind Freeze – Reduces the cooldown of Mind Freeze by 2s, but raises it’s cost by 20 runic power.

(I haven’t played with DKs much, so this could come in handy for clutch interrupts, but the RP costs could prove… interesting, as it’s now RP free, baseline)

Shifting Presences – You retain 80% of your runic power when switching presences.

(I could see this having some benefit situationally. Nothing spectacular though, of course)

Minor Glyphs

Geist – Your Raise Dead spell summons a geist instead of a ghoul.

(No real benefit one way or the other, but some interesting flavor. However, the geist isn’t actually in the game yet. Just a way to differentiate yourself, I suppose. I wonder if it would look different under Dark Transformation)

Horn of Winter – When used outside of combat, your HoW causes a brief, localized snow flurry.

(flurry!) Oh look... it's snowing... /apathetic cheer




Tranquil Grip – Your death grip spell no longer taunts the target.

(Thank the sweet merciful lord, it’s about time this glyph was added. Holy hand grenade of Antioch is this obnoxious as a DPS DK)

All in all, as you can see, a lot of these glyphs are just there to give you extra choices in how to play. Do you want Mind Freeze on a lower CD at the cost of some runic power? Do you want Dancing Rune Weapon to double your threat at the cost of some extra damage? Do you want to have a geist or a ghoul as your summoned minion? It’s really all up to you. That’s the beauty of this new system. Mix up your playstyle without fucking up your damage output or survivability or whatever.

And then there was one…

16 Aug

I’d been mulling this title over in my head for a while, but with the sudden and DRAMATIC change in what my subject matter is going to be, it doesn’t fit so much anymore… But I don’t care. You can sit and wonder just what the fuck I mean by that while I talk about something completely unrelated.

So… Ghostcrawler basically told the world that threat wasn’t going to matter anymore as of a soon-released hotfix. I believe his exact words were “…we’ve gotten over the concept that threat needs to be a major part of PvE gameplay….” I’m still a bit conflicted with what I think about it, so bear with me while I consider some of the finer points of what this means.

DKs and Warriors with no threat drops won’t be splattering themselves nearly as often. (Seriously, retaliation/bladestorm on trash packs is just retarded, and our warrior pretty much dies every single time he does it. Of course, he does so giggling like a madman so, whatever I suppose.)
Lower geared tanks won’t have to worry about throttling raid-geared impatient fucks nearly as much. It’ll still happen some, i’m sure, but not to the degree it’s happening right now.

Taunt-swaps suck for tanks as it is. “FFS, stop attacking so I can generate a bit of aggro!” is something I hear pretty regularly. I’m not a fan of just auto-attacking any more than DPS is, but I suppose it’s less of a big deal for me than it is for them. Just a kind of minor annoyance. In this same manner, i’m not sure how the proposed vengeance change will affect this. Maybe 1/3 damage-dealt-as-vengeance will be enough for this to be somewhat of a non-issue… It remains to be seen I suppose.
Whether blizz wants it to or not, there will come a point where DPS will outgear up and coming tanks so much that they’re going to have to throttle themselves, or become a blood-stained smear on the floor. That’s just the way it’s going to be. I have a story regarding that when I first started tanking that i’ll give later.*
I’m also unsure of this “more active role for tank’s survivability” stuff GC is talking about. This is less of an actual “con” than it is “cautious uncertainty”, but there’s not really a slot in a pros and cons list for that, so I guess it goes here for now.

Overall, the more I think about it, the more the change really doesn’t bother me. It’ll certainly be much easier for new tanks breaking into the scene, especially as it gets later and later into the expansion. I guess I am more indifferent than anything else about the change, because I play a tank who very rarely has to worry about threat being stolen from me. That’s not to say that i’m the end-all be-all of tanking, but it’s more that I overgear 95% of the pugs I run with, or I run with guildies who know how I tank, and know when they can open up full throttle on a mob safely. Now, as to that story I mentioned earlier.

*I first started tanking, SERIOUSLY tanking, in late Wrath, well after ICC had been implemented. Even after the Arthas fight had been out for a while. One of my first times tanking on my druid (probably in the first 5-10 heroics I queued as a tank for), I zoned into Drak’theron Keep. A quick glance at the pugs I was running with showed 2 “…of the Ashen Verdict”, and 1 “Kingslayer”… Of course, they were the DPSers. My first thoughts? “……..fuck.” Luckily, they were REALLY cool about it. I just told them ahead of time that I was pretty undergeared compared to them, so I hope they didn’t mind going easy on me. I think they *did* try to go easy on me, but they outgeared me by so much that it just really didn’t matter. I did everything I could to keep up with them (and did a pretty good job of it, in my opinion), but I just couldn’t NOT lose threat sometimes… okay, a lot of times. I was usually pretty quick with my taunt button though, and I don’t recall anybody dying, so it turned out well. At the end of the run I thanked them and went along my merry way, palms sweating and knees shaking at the trauma that they had just inflicted upon my green tanky self. BUT, I think this made me a better tank, overall. I had to react quicker, target switch more, and OMFG TAUNT YOU SONOFABITCH AUGH a lot more than I had at that point, and honestly, it was STILL one of the most difficult runs i’ve ever had to keep threat off of everyone.

Fast forward a few months to the time that I found myself in a newly formed SiB. A few guildies were talking about running a heroic, and I was like “sure, i’ll tank it for you guys”. Now… something about my volunteering sent a cold chill down my spine as a few of the guildies instantly started going into plotting how best to make my tanking for them “more fun”. Let me set the stage: Paladin healer, Druid tank (me), Boomkin, Destro warlock, and a rogue of some kind that we pugged in. I don’t remember if we were on vent at the time, but I do remember we were in Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom… and I also remember the boomkin splattering himself against the mobs repeatedly. “DOT EVERYTHING. STARFALL! THUNDERSTORM!!!” I also remember my healer crying “NO! PANZERKIN IS NOT FOR TANK! BAD BOOMIE!”. It was a lot less stressful because I knew these guys, but it was still a pretty difficult run, because I was still relatively new to the tank game.

What’s my point in telling these stories? I dunno. In hindsight they’re pretty damn funny, but they also helped shape what kind of a tank I have become, I think. Anyway, sorry about the nost having posted for a couple weeks. I have been absolutely ADDICTED to my warlock lately. He has been stealing the souls of many hordies, and NPCs alike, and is currently level 73. I gave up the initial quest for him to be levelled solely as pvp after a heartbreaking few hours where we lost something like 20 BGs in a row (half of them I had zoned into with 30 seconds or less left before final defeat). Somewhere around the 45 landmark I said “yeah, that’s enough of that” and blitzed my way into Northrend. He is sitting somewhere around the 8000 honorable kills mark, which is honestly more than any of my other toons… go figure, huh?

>How to bear in Cataclysm: Part 2

18 Dec


Well! This is part two… getting into the real nitty-gritty… the actual in-dungeon method. If you haven’t checked it out, you should see Part 1 first.
So… your dungeon group is put together. Congratulations! Now stop hyperventilating… Relax and take a deep breath. Take a look at your group makeup, and what dungeon you’re in. Recognize what your party members can do CC-wise, and if you’re unsure ask. If it’s a pug, don’t be ashamed or afraid to say that you aren’t familiar with the instance you’re running. (Or that you’ve never tanked it before, at the very least). You never know what kind of group you’re going to come across. If someone in the group says they’ve done the place before, then don’t be afraid to have them mark things for you so you can learn. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns.. EVEN ON TRASH. Some trash hits as hard as some of the lighter bosses. You’re going to take a beating. If you feel threatened start using things… just don’t blow them all at once.
Now then. There’s two ways to start a pull. You can initiate it, and have CC cast right as you’re running in, or have the CC cast before you run in, and pull the mobs off of them. Personally I prefer the 2nd way. The mobs are coming towards you while your enrage is… giving you rage. Mobs heading towards whoever cast the first CC, when they’re in range hit thrash/swipe. You should have your kill order setup, and marked with a skull (or whatever mark your group has agreed on to die first).

Now, I won’t give you a specific set of things to do to keep aggro on a group of mobs, because it really depends on a LOT of different factors. Biggest thing I can tell you is to keep thrash and swipe on cooldown if there’s more than two mobs. If everyone is focusing on your kill order, that should generally be enough, but you need to pay attention to everything. Watch your healer’s mana bar, your party’s health bar, your healer’s mana bar, your target’s health bar, omen, your healer’s mana bar, the CC’d targets in the back, any patrolling mobs that might be coming too close to you guys, your healer’s mana bar… starting to get the picture yet?

When I tank, my eyes are darting all over the damn screen. On trash i’m literally only looking at the actual trash mobs like 1/5 of the time because there is just so much everything else I need to keep an eye on. It takes a LOT of practice to get good at it. I can tell you right now, you WILL FAIL at some point. Don’t take it too hard. I still screw up at some point. I know the DPS still screw up. Sometimes extra pulls are made, sometimes you may get too close to a CC’d mob with your swipe/thrash.. Don’t panic. Panicking is the worst thing you can do, and can easily spell death for your group.

When your group wipes, take a second to take stock of what happened. What could you have done better? Did a mob get past you somehow? Did you position your combat mobs too close to your CC’d mobs? Was the kill order followed? Did a patrol catch you offguard? All of these things can, will, and DO happen. I have done them all… your guild’s main tank has done them all… the main tank of Ensidia has done them all. /shrug. Nobody’s perfect, and to expect such from yourself is only going to set yourself up for failure.
Now then… how do you keep aggro on packs of mobs? Thrash and Swipe are going to be your main abilities, but as they both have 6 second cooldowns, obviously they’re not the only buttons you’ll be hitting. I generally thrash, swipe, and mangle my main target, then start targetting my other targets and hit them with lacerates, hitting thrash and swipe as they come off cooldown, or occasionally mauling (you have that glyphed, right?) if you find yourself near the top end of your rage bar (as a rule, it’s usually safe at 60 rage or more). Let the DPS do their work. Tab through your targets and keep an eye on your threat relative to theirs. Watch for errant spell-casts. Use your interrupts whenever you see something to interrupt. Don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns. [b]ALWAYS keep an eye on your healer[/b]. Watch your healer’s mana bar like a hawk in between pulls, and then…
Congratulations! You now have a big ugly boss staring you in the face. Do you know the mechanics of this boss fight? If not, feel free to ask your guildies/group members if there’s anything specific you need to know. Unless your group’s committed to going in blind. Make sure your group has completely mana’ed and healed up… make sure they’re *ready* (yes there is a difference… sometimes people go afk for a split second, or will alt-tab for something briefly)… and then make the pull. Use your enrage to generate some opening rage, and hit it with your Faerie fire.
Now from the pull the first thing you need to worry about is positioning the boss. It’s a 100% safe bet to put the boss’s back to your party members. Unless there are obstacles that prevent that, any melee in your group will thank you for it. If you’re unfamiliar with the mechanics of a fight, or if you know there is are knockbacks involved, putting your large butt against a wall is also a good idea. Now the problem with putting your back against a wall is that it will screw up your visibility immensely. There’s a large joke running around that all tanks ever see is boss crotch. Rotate your camera around to your side so you can keep an eye on the party. That way any adds that spring up can be controlled quickly.
Once your boss is in melee range, and while your positioning him, it’s time to start building threat… I mean, after all… that’s your job as a tank, right? You absorb hits, and you build threat to make sure no one ELSE has to eat any of hits. Your FF will give a fair amount of opener threat. Now your highest threat generating ability, as well as your hardest hitting ability, is going to be Mangle. Mangle should be used as soon as it comes off of cooldown, EVERY time it comes off of cooldown. Watch for your berserk proc’d mangles as well… they take priority over everything else. The majority of your button presses are going to be Lacerate. You always want to get lacerate up to 3 stacks, and then Pulverize. Maul can be thrown in as your rage gets higher (again, 60 rage or higher it’ll be safe to maul). I personally don’t find the bleeds from lacerate hitting hard enough to be worth leaving stacked while Pulverize’s buff runs lower. I could be wrong about this, but it’s how [i]I, personally[/i] do it.
With all that, this is what your combat priority should be
Faerie Fire (to keep/refresh the debuff) > Demoralizing Roar (to keep/refresh the debuff) > Mangle > Maul (over 60 rage. It’s off the GCD so fit it in anywhere really) > Lacerate x3 > Pulverize > Faerie Fire (if the buff isn’t in need of refreshing/you’re out of rage for some reason)
It’s worth noting that you *shouldn’t* run out of rage, but if you slip up and maul at the wrong time, you can definitely find yourself with a free global cooldown. Now, as for your defensive cooldowns. You need to learn what your healer can and cannot handle. If you see anything going on, and your health bar is dropping to an uncomfortable level, pop a cooldown. Depending on what’s “uncomfortable” for you, should really depend on what cooldown you use. Barkskin is a short cooldown (And it can be used while you’re stunned too), so it’s a safe bet to use that one first. If, for some reason, you end up REALLY on low health, use another one (frenzied regen or survival instincts)… The worst thing you can do is panic and blow all 3 cooldowns at once. Sure, you’ll take very little damage for a period of time, and your heals will pop you up much higher, quicker, but if the shit hits the fan again within 3 minutes, then you’re boned.
Have you noticed a recurring theme here? A lot of what’s involved in successfully tanking is keeping your head straight, and not spazzing out. Sure, some people can boil it down to a bunch of math and formulas and stat weights and priorities and such… and to a point those are ALL important, but a tanking is a lot more seat-of-your-pants style than DPSing is. Tanks have to be proactive AND reactive, and legitimately, the entire group depends on your ability to perform your job well. Don’t expect to be an amazing tank right off the bat, but take the small successes with the failures, and find out what you do well, and where you can improve. Ask your party members or guildies for advice… find a good bear that you know and ask them for tips on what might help with certain encounters or trash pulls that give you headaches.
Feel free to leave me any comments or questions.

>Titles and Finishing Up Wrath

18 Nov


So, with 2 1/2 weeks left in Wrath, my guild has been doing a little bit less “serious” raiding and more finishing up our “bucket lists” before things go away… A few people are attempting to get “Undying” from Naxx (nobody dies to a boss within a single lockout), and others, myself included (unknowingly) are still trying for “Champion of Ulduar”, which includes defeating every boss with no one dying… and unlike Undying in Naxx, you can’t reset that by wiping the boss. It has to be a one-shot clean kill.

As I mentioned in my last post, i’ve done a lot of things in this expansion that I never even expected to have the opportunity to do. I am two fights away from having my Ulduar 10m drake (Vezax HM and Yogg+1)… a couple more of my guildies got theirs last night, or will tonight I believe. I’ve seen literally *every* boss in this expansion fall before me (and now that I think about it, almost all of them were in heroic mode. A total of 6 bosses’ hard modes escape me, now that I think on it… huh)

So, I don’t exactly know what got me pondering it this morning, but I started thinking about titles… I started thinking about the titles that my main (Vaerron) has, and the little dilemma I had with myself over using either Kingslayer or Starcaller… So I posed the question to my twitter-base as to which title they felt was cooler. I actually had quite a response – with both titles getting about an equal nod. I personally went with Starcaller, because I’ve been Kingslayer on my druid since July, and it felt like time for a change. Besides, my hunter is still Kingslayer at the moment. Also, as several people have pointed out, Starcaller is a much more exclusive title. It seems like a majority of the people rampaging around Dalaran have Kingslayer titles, but not as many have Starcaller, so that kinda makes me feel pretty awesome… not that I am better than your average Dalaran wander-jockey. ;D

So, after the huge response I got to my “Kingslayer or Starcaller” question, I decided to pose another question to my followers… “Which title does (any of) your toons possess that you’re the most proud of?”… Man… my twitter-feed was *not* prepared. I am still getting some replies even as I write this on my break during class!

I’ve recieved quite a large variety of replies. Some people saying Kingslayer or Starcaller predictably. Some of them saying much more exclusive ones like “Hand of A’dal” or “Champion of the Naaru”, both of which are no longer obtainable. Several people mentioned the PvP titles that were given from back in the day, whereas others mentioned some VERY grind-accomplished titles like Salty, Loremaster, Bloodsail Admiral and Seeker. I think Cynwise won the “Holy fucking shit” achievement when he proclaimed his proudest title (with proof on his blog) that he had a level 19 Ambassador… holy shit.. I’ve got a metric TON of 80s, and only one of them has Ambassador. You can see how he did it here… Absolute insanity, if you ask me, but I digress.
So, if you’re not on my twitter feed, feel free to follow me @Achloryn and see what all the insanity is about.. There is a *wonderful* WoW community on twitter, and a very large part of them are bloggers/podcasters as well. I’m really quite glad I stumbled my way across them. They’ve found me a guild, helped me improve my WoW game, allowed me to help others, helped me find new friends, and just been all-around fucking awesome… Now, before this post gets too sappy, i’m gonna close it out by saying just one thing.

I’m on a Chocobo!

>Chronicles of an expansion

13 Nov

Welp… It’s official..I’ve officially killed every boss Wrath of the Lich King has to offer… Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not 12/12 25m Heroic ICC or anything like that… but every boss fight i’ve thrown myself at has, eventually, fallen before my sword/spell/face/claws. Maybe a little backstory is necessary.

At the beginning of Wrath, I was a mage… The big draenei guy you see as my avatar for blogspot? Yeah that’s him… still in his ABSOLUTELY HIDEOUS T8 tunic… Hey Blizz? Clothies are for robes, not tunics. Fuck off with that leg-showing cloth shit, mmkay? Anyway…
I raided in BC as a mage, and that was how I started Wrath… Clusterfucking my way through Naxx with pugs and the occasional guild run (we weren’t a raiding guild, btw)… I succumbed to the bug and left my casual/social guild shortly after Ulduar was released, and joined a burgeoning raiding guild. These guys were… struggling to say the least. (I won’t name any guild names, or even server names, lest they somehow manage to stumble upon this blog and think i’m speaking ill of them.)… The guild was moderately well managed by the officers. The GM wasn’t a raider, which I thought was odd, but whatever right? But in Ulduar we just… couldn’t manage to get it together really. We made…………. a little progress. Only killing (oh god lemme count… ) 8 bosses out of 13 or 14 if you count Algalon. We only ever downed 1 keeper as a guild, Hodir. We threw ourselves at Freya and Thorim a few times with nothing even resembling success, and we weren’t even dumb enough to look towards Mimiron’s room… and of course not having been able to kill all of the keepers, we couldn’t even attempt Vezax or Yogg, even if we wanted to.
The frustration of going 8 bosses in (in a 4 hour raid duration, mind you) and then going brain dead and barely even giving half-hearted attempts at anything else REALLY got to me, and shortly after ToC was released I retired myself from raiding and rolled a brand new toon on Wyrmrest Accord… an RP server. Why an RP server? Cause I knew someone IRL who was on that server, and WoW lore had *always* fascinated me, especially since I used to play the ORIGINAL Warcraft game wayyyyyyyyyyy back in the day… but I digress.
I spent about a year on Wyrmrest Accord… made friends, RP’ed, dungeoned a bit, leveled a SHIT TON of new alts, and just had a general relaxing time… ToC came and went with little more than a notice from me, and then Icecrown Citadel was patched in… and there was a little tickle in the back of my head. Along with this little tickle came with a toon I had had more fun on than i’d had in who-knows how long…

My hunter… God looking at my UI back then makes me *cringe*. Anyway… I’ve kinda taken to a lot of toons in my WoW career, but I absolutely fell in LOVE with the hunter.. From levelling him to dungeoning with him. So much so that I ground heroics like I had never done before, and soon had him a full t9 set of gear, and found myself going back to wowhead and find out how to properly spec… learn my rotation, etc etc.

I loved my hunter so much that I did something I hadn’t done in over a year.

Trade Chat:“Starting a brand new ICC10 group. Looking for DPS. PST class/spec/experience”

Me: “Marksman hunter… No ICC experience, but i’ve read up on several of the fights, and I know my rotation well… no idiot, I know how to raid.”
Yep… I pugged into an ICC 10… and holy fuck was it fun. After about 3 hours of raiding, I found myself with a 6-boss kill experience, and that little tickle in the back of my head had suddenly turned into a full fledged roaring desire to return back to raiding. I also had a standing invite from the raid leader to join their guild and raid with them… something I was very hesitant to do because I really liked my tiny little RP guild… but the thirst just would not be denied. I talked to my GM and asked around, listened to a few podcasts, and finally transferred my hunter over to Shadowsong-US… a very large guild called “The Illuminati Order”, associated with the “Warcraft Outsiders” podcast. I really dived in headfirst into raiding with this guild. In fact, my first week in the guild I got to see 10 “Fall of the Lich King (10 player)” achievements spammed. This guild had gotten their first LK kill, and I joined them just in time to see it… and no I wasn’t involved LOL.
Along with my hunter, I transferred one other toon to Shadowsong. A baby little fuzzball of a druid named Vaerron.

Man, that’s still one of my all time favorite screenshots… ANYWAY. I levelled Vaerron up to be a tank. I became quickly enthralled with it from the first time I successfully tanked a dungeon (Gundrak) at level 78 with the full Eviscerator’s leatherworking crafted set… but I ran into one problem. “Illuminati Order” was an *immense* guild compared to what I was used to (6-700 toons), and they really had no need for raiding tanks. Well, by this point in time I had already started blogging and started networking over twitter, so I put out a call for a relatively casual/progression-ish guild who was willing to recruit an untested tank.
Thus, in July of 2010, I met Amber and Orithea of Brotherhood of Oblivion, on Azgalor… Well, I have already been exceedingly verbose in this post, so I’ll try to cut it short here, but I found my new home on Azgalor… Brotherhood of Oblivion splintered a week after my joining, and Stands In Bad was formed. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve transferred my original mage to Azgalor, as well as my hunter, and started a few other toons as well. I’ve earned myself a couple kingslayer titles, helped several others earn theirs, became an officer, became a raid leader, and managed to not kill anyone in the process… go figure eh?
Sorry if I have glazed over the last few months of history, but a lot of what has happened since my leaving Illuminati Order has been chronicled on this blog, so I don’t feel like repeating myself too much. A lot of people have had bad things to say about this expansion, but I think they’re absolutely out of their mind. Were there bad parts? Sure… I couldn’t imagine going into ToC as top-end content every week, although I do secretly enjoy the raid to a point. I’ve gone back and finished the bosses i’d never killed in Ulduar, and even done all of their hard modes, all the way up to 7/12 in ICC10 HM. That’s pretty impressive, in my opinion, for someone who had “retired from raiding” at one point in time.
Thus Wrath of the Lich King comes to an end. I’m ready for it to end, but I can look back over the last 24 months rather fondly. Friendships made and ended. Raids killed me, and fell before me. Frustrations were had, money was spent on server transfers, disillusionment was emerged from, and all-in-all… I don’t think I would change one bit of it.