So, I came back to work yesterday after taking a sick day to myself, and thankfully I went the entire day without so much as a dizzy spell. This is all well and good, but otherwise I had to deal with the monotony of work. Sigh, so I did what I always do, I hit my web comics, read the slashdot news, then hit digg. There is something amazing about browsing digg after not having looked at it for a day: there are literally 10-15 pages of news that you will have missed. Now, I say news, but some of the 'articles' are really just funny pictures that diggers liked or dumb little clips from YouTube. However, occassionally there will be an actual news story, like the one posted in the wee hours of wednesday morning.

"Apple has released a video card upgrade kit for the first generation Mac Pros on the Intel chips. NVidia 8800 GT 512MB."

Holy pooping jehovah! I have a first generation Mac Pro on the Intel chip and I thought that we would never see an upgrade besides the ATI x1900xt (which is overpriced, not really designed as a gamer card, and has huge problems in the general user comments particularly concerning WoW play). So, I ordered it on the spot. I just helped a friend of mine set up a gaming rig and he had a PCIx 8600GT and WoW runs at a constant 75 fps even in the horrible areas where shaders and particles are flying and going nuts. I assume (based on the reviews I read) that the 8800 is, if not better then, at least comparable to that. Maybe I will get lucky and can finally start playing with Movie Recording going on... SWEET. Apple is marketing this card (with some nvidia pushing, I'd assume) as a gamer card for the first generation mac pros. Essentially, this extends the lifespan on my mac by a few years. I can't wait to see how HL2 looks with this card in. It's supposed to arrive mid-to-late next week, so I can hardly wait.

MAN, I want to hit some real ratings. Playing 10 a week just doesn't cut it. Once my brother graduates, we will likely spend a couple days straight just farming our rating up. At present, warrior+druid and lock+priest does extremely well against most other cookie-cutter teams, and we can win 60-70% of the matches we play. All that's left is getting in the time and games to a decent rating. Also, since our 2 teams occupy the same team-space, they should be able to climb faster than a single 2s team alone. Why? Well, it's simple really. The team rating climbs faster than the personal rating does because the team constantly gets the changing rating, whereas each player only gets as much as they play.

Here's an example: say we go 5 games on druid+warrior and 5 games on lock+priest and we win 3 and lose 2 on both teams, and each win/loss is worth 15 rating. If our team AND personal ratings were 1500, then after those 10 matches, everyone's personal rating will be 1515. However, the team rating will be 1530. Long story short, we have been doing this on our current team, except that the situation is not so simple. Our druid+warrior switched to this team from another team, thus resetting their personal ratings to 1500. Yet, our lock+priest had gotten their team AND personal ratings up to 1700 or so. This was in the midst of respec'ing and odd game play. So, the warrior+druid team played 3 games of the 10 and let the lock+priest team play the rest. It started out well, the warrior+druid team would win 2 and lose 1, then the lock+priest team would usually win 5-6 and lose 1-2.

The interesting thing here is that the warrior+druid team was getting matched up against 1700 teams (because that was the team rating) but having their personal rating changed as if they were 1500 (because their personal rating WAS 1500). So, we would beat a priest+warrior team at 1716 and though the matchup only netted the team 15 rating, our personal ratings went up by 24. We were doing something interesting, but not exactly gaming the system. Then we spec'd feral+warrior... which was a mistake, admittedly. We would lose 3, then let our spriest+lock team try and salvage the week. It got to the point where we actually had a 7-3 week (or close to it) a couple times, so our lock+priest team would only gain personal rating and watch the team rating stay the same. We were gaming this system reasonably hard now.

Oh well, that's all done with. I know that our warrior+druid team can win most of its matches, and I know that our priest+warlock team beats almost every conceivable healer+warrior team. The trick with healer+warrior is just knowing what to do when the warrior picks a target. If he picks my lock, then I have to get him to follow me out of the healer's LoS... which is hard sometimes, but I can usually fear the healer if he DOES get into LoS. Also, my spriest friend will be busy mana draining the healer while keeping dots alive on the warrior. Usually, I will just quickly summon out my voidwalker and get the huge melee mitigation and have the priest throw shield up on me a lot. I can withstand quite a bit of warrior beat-down as long as I have the voidwalker out. Also, we NEED to remember that ProM is better than spread, so we can't have my pet on the priest even though we need the spell knockback. Oops, lost my train of thought... sorry. Anyway, with this knowledge that we are good players and have good team make-ups, we should be able to devote some time and energy and get our ratings up to a respectable level once my brother graduates.

Can't wait for my new video card...