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4.2 looks Hot!

16 May

Let’s talk Firelands!

My time lately has been divided between raid leadership on the live realms and playtime on the PTR.  While the personal progression goals of our raid team are first in my mind, new content after so long a patch of nothing huge being added is more than welcome.

The Molten Front

New daily quests rarely get my going in a serious way, but the molten front doesn’t feel as grind-y as leveling fishing a day at a time.  The druids of Hyjal call upon the player to collect Marks of the World Tree by completing quests to repair the land and fightback the forces from the Firelands.

Some misconceptions: doing these quests isn’t a requirement to raid the Firelands.  Also, although the area makes huge use of various types of phasing, the quests can largely still be completed in a group (and some of them are a lot easier this way).  Finally, you do have to complete all the quests in Hyjal up to banishing Ragnaros to start these new quests, so go do that now!

As one moves from Hyjal into the Molten Front new daily quests are unlocked.  No one is completing 25 dailies and wishing they had a higher cap every day, but every day a new random group of quests becomes available.  For those not drawn in by fun new content along, there are also item level 365+ epics purchasable from vendors in the Molten Front.

The Firelands Raid

At this point in the testing cycle I’ve only had an opportunity to play against Beth’tilac (giant fire spider) and Lord Rhyolith.  Both fights felt creative, fun, and relatively straightforward for the first few bosses of a new instance.

And if you hate the colour orange, now is a bad time to be playing the game.

The raid feels large, additionally so because of the time spent mounted moving between encounter areas.  Comparisons to Ulduar are apt, and with a dps caster legendary here I expect we will be farming the Firelands for some time to come.  I hope to see some challenging trash packs, although somewhere between the heavy trash of Bastion of Twilight and the virtual trash-less-ness of Blackwing Descent.

The State of the Game

Many players are paying a lot of attention to the numbers Blizzard released during the Q2 press call stating Warcraft subscription numbers had dropped to pre-Cata levels.  These numbers come from 4.0.6 right before the 4.1 re-introduction of the Zuls.  According to the same press conference, they also expained this decline as reflective of how quickly players consumed content.

This means that blizzard’s statement of “X% of players haven’t completed the hard modes yet” might not be the guiding philosophy anymore.  I expect either easier hardmodes where players complete them before getting burnt out on the content (unlikely), more challenging regular modes with fresh ideas (seems to be the case in Firelands so far).  Its possible that blizzard will also react to this by pushing the next content patch soon after Firelands (much like they did for Ulduar’s follower).  I really hope the reactionaries don’t get their way and do this.

Despite the burnout, World of Warcraft is making more money than ever.  That fact talks, so I expect content patches will continue at the quality level we’ve come to expect.  Don’t be surprised if Firelands has harder regular modes than either BoT or BWD.

I’ll get back to you on that after I finish these dailies.

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The Best of (Dark) Intentions

17 Nov

Dark Intent.  This is an ability you don’t care about for three reasons.

First, it’s a warlock ability.  As this is a priest blog, you usually come here for discussion of priest abilities (with a few notable exceptions).  Today is not a day I plan to consume theorycrafting anything other than my main character, so let’s get that out-of-the-way first.

Second, it does not exist in-game yet.  This is a beta ability, first available to warlocks at level 83.  As a beta ability it is subject to change.  We will be exploring the current (and so far stable) iteration of the spell.

Third, you might have already written this ability off as a Focus Magic clone, tradable between warlocks and irrelevant to your shadowy path of destruction.  Not so.

You care about this ability because despite being cast by warlocks, these dark intentions are for us. In terms that a warlock can understand, I’m going to give you the ammunition you’ll need to fight off all competitors and receive this buff.

How Does it Work?

Dark Intent is a 30 minute buff a warlock will cast on another player.  It does two things.  First, it gives both players a flat 3% haste.  This effect stacks multiple times with additional buffs.  Second, every time your linked friend crits with a periodic ability, you receive a flat 3% increase to periodic damage and healing.  This stacks up to 3 times.  Likewise, if you crit with any periodic ability, the warlock receives this stacking buff.  This effect does not stack with multiple Dark Intents, so it is unwise for warlocks to trade this buff.

Who is the Warlock going to Use this Ability on?

A smart warlock thinks about three things:

  • How can I increase my personal DPS?
  • How can I increase the overall power of the raid?
  • Can somebody make me a sandwich?

In terms of personal DPS, he’s wise to trade with a class that grants maximum uptime on the +% damage part of the buff.  This requires a high number of constant critical periodic effects.  Critical hit chance effects this, but it is not a complete picture.  Likewise I’ve seen analysis that looks at the number of periodic effects one class has active versus another class.  This is also an inaccurate method of assessment.

The metric for puzzling out uptime on the +% damage buff is periodic critical strikes per second. While harder to measure than flat crit rate, only a class with more than one periodic critical every 7 seconds is going to keep maximized uptime on Dark Intent.  Here shadow reigns king.

The second aspect of your warlock’s little “who should I give this too” puzzle is raid power.  The buff should be handed out to the class that makes the best use of it.  This means a class that appreciates haste and makes use (primarily) of Over-time effects such as Hots or Dots.  In the category or non-warlock damage classes, shadow priests are the only class with three DoTs and a periodic effect as a spam-able nuke.  This puts us high up enough on the list to not be completely ignored.

In Conclusion: Why Us?

With the highest number of periodic effects of any class–and an unrivaled rate of periodic critical strikes per second–shadow priests are a perfect choice for raid success and the personal DPS of your warlock friend.

If your warlock is a mouth-breathing lowlife who looks like the picture below in real life, consider forgoing all advice and just making him a sandwich.  In my professional experience, sandwiches buy you a lot of love.

Friday Q & A Series

3 Sep

I’ve decided I’m going to officially set aside Friday as a day to answer any and all questions you guys email me or ask more generally.  If you have a burning question you want answered (that you can wait a week for the answer to) post it as a comment here or email me.

WordPress tracks the google searches folks use to get to my blog.  A number of them imply questions, and I thought I should answer a few.  (some just make me giggle).

Google Search: vampiric touch dispel damage in cata

In Cataclysm the talent Sin and Punishment is slated to add a horror effect to dispelling our Vampiric Touch.  They have also removed the damage component from dispelling the horror.  The jury is deliberating on if this will be a run horror, like death coil, or a cower horror, like our Psychic Horror

Google Search: what achievement do you need for icc

I get this search hit often, and the basic answer is none.  Pug will ask you to link as far as you’ve gotten, and honestly is your best policy.  If you’ve accomplished nothing, not even the lower spire, explain that you’ve watched the fights (assuming you have) and offer your services politely.  You might well be taken!

Google Search: world warcraft lesbian

I have a suspicion that the individual making this search was disappointed to find my blog.  First off, I’m only bisexual; my girlfriend is gay.  Sadly, she doesn’t even play WoW (and doesn’t think she’d get into it).  I do know a number of openly gay (and closeted) players in game and on my server.  We form a distinct little community, and I’m always excited to connect with these players (men and women alike)

Email: My gearscore is 5600 and I’m hitcapped.  What should my DPS be?

A lot of the items a shadow priest is going to prioritize are not the top gearscored ones.  This is especially true for trinkets, but choosing correctly itemized pieces of gear in every slot is important.  As an example, I recently helped a priest remove Shard of the Crystal Heart to replace it with Abyssal Rune.  That’s a significant drop in item level, but a major increase in DPS (assuming one remains hitcapped, or finds it in a better way).  Short answer, I don’t know.  Send me your armory link and I can make suggestions.

Email: I notice you’ve been less active with your blog lately.  I’ve enjoyed reading Mind Spike, and hope you haven’t given up on it.

Fair criticism.  I’ve been remarkably busy keeping track of my read life, and my wow-life.  The 4plex I rent had a flood, so major clean-ups and challenges presented themselves.  My guild also recruited a big batch of new players, and I’ve put some time and attention into making them feel like they have a home.  Rest assured, Mind Spike will pick up as soon as my schedule dies down a little.

Holy Bologna: What the Devs are telling us

21 Aug

The newest beta build has hit and I wanted to take a few moments to discuss how the priest Holy spec is shaping up. Like all good priests, I stay as current as possible in all three trees. While my love is shadow, I boast at least proficiency at both Holy and Discipline. Before I get into the meat of the changes, this makes me happy:

Darkness now increases Spell haste by 1/2/3% instead of increasing Shadow damage by 2/4/6%

I know what you’re thinking. “But Calsong, isn’t a boost to haste for three talents points just an indirect damage increase, and therefor still a boring and passive talent?” Not so, good readers. Couple this with the trends of late WotLK and the new haste aura associated with shadowform, and we become slippery agents of darkness, favoring reckless destruction over carefully placed killing blows.

It carves out a niche without overly complicating the rotation, which is a good thing.

Now let’s talk Holy.

The biggest news on the block is the new “specialization ability”: Holy Word: Chastise. I have three immediate reactions to this ability. First, its supported in the lore for a “holy word” framework. Priests are billed as the quintessential lore-keepers of both horde and alliance, filling a key role of arbitration and oral tradition. If the nature of “shadow words” is calling upon the dark secrets of this lore to weaken resolve and test faith, and the nature of “power words” is to draw forth the strength from within someone, then our new “holy word” is about the daunting, effervescent power of the Light.

What’s the point? Doesn’t Holy do fine already?

Holy Word: Chastise *New* – Chastise the target for 563.9 to 632.71 Holy damage, and Immobilizing them for 2 sec. 15% of base mana, 30 yd range, Instant cast, 45 sec cooldown

That looks to me like the instant cast, “oh shit” button that every Holy priest needs while leveling. It also appears to be another effort to get Holy priests involved in PvP, at least in the new rated battlegrounds. Interesting!

“Alas, alack,” say the QQers (this is a dramatic reinterpretation. They actually said “QQ”) “we want holy’s signature ability to be an awesome healing spell.” Blizzard thought of this, folks:

Revelations (Tier 5) *New* – While in a Chakra state, your Holy Word: Chastise ability will transform into a different ability depending on which state you are in. Holy Word: Serenity (Heal) – Instantly heals the target for 3161.85 to 3730.47, and increases the critical effect chance of your healing spells on the target by 25% for until cancelled. 45 sec cooldown. Holy Word: Aspire (Renew) – Instantly heals the target for 2363.56 and another 4471.99 over until cancelled. 15 sec cooldown. Holy Word: Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing) – Blesses the ground with Divine light, healing all within it for 298.75 to 355.32 every 2 for 15 sec. Only one Sanctuary can be active at any one time.

That talent is a mouthful, but here’s the punchline: Holy Word is going to be the long CD powerful healing effect you need it to be, in the situation you need it.

Current WotLK has holy priests being the “jack of all trades, master of none” healer. If we’re short a druid, I assign a renew speced holy priest to pick up the slack. The power of a Prayer of Healing build can rival the chain healing of a shaman, and I’ve even seen Holy priests use Flash healing to push the HPS of a paladin.

Chakra promises to only magnify this. That’s a good thing. For those of you who only read beta changes on my blog (who are you?) Chakra has been in the beta for a while. The latest version is a pop-able cooldown:

Chakra – When activated, your next Heal, Renew, Prayer of Healing or Smite spell will put you into a corresponding Chakra state. Lasts for 30 sec.

Heal – Increases the critical effect chance of your Heal spell by 10%, and your Heal refreshes the duration of your Renew on the target.

Renew – Increases the healing done by your Renew spell by 10%, and reduces the global cooldown of your Renew spell by .5 sec.

Prayer of Healing – Increases the healing done by your area of effect spells by 10% and reduces the cooldown of your Circle of Healing by 2 sec.

Smite – Increases your total damage done by Shadow and Holy spells by 15%

Holy seems geared up for long talent descriptions this time around. The ability basically says “you want to be awesome at using renew? Fine, here’s a reduced global cooldown and more HPS to help you out.” To increase the uptime on Chakra, Holy also has:

State of Mind – Your successful Heal, Renew, Prayer of Healing or Smite spell casts increase the duration of your corresponding Chakra state by 4 sec.

This means that, with a little forethought, a priest can stay in a Chakra state for as long as is needed. With mana being a bigger issue in Cataclysm, this won’t be forever.

So Holy is shaping up to be an interesting jack-of-all-trades. My questions (and they really can’t be answered without testing raid content) are: will the healing of holy be tuned for Chakra? Will one Chakra state be obviously and consistently better? Will Holy ever truly be PvP viable?

When are they giving us the promised racial changes?

Weapons that would forever change humanity… I was one of those weapons

7 Aug

Obligatory James Cameron reference in the title there.  5 bonus points if you figure out what non-Avatar work it’s from and why I quoted it.

So I posted some thoughts on current talents, and Blizzard went along and shook them up.  All the changes are good!  We saw some serious lover here, and I’m excited about it.

Shadow Power is “gone” from the talent tree.  I know I said I was a little mixed about this, but felt it was an important part of feeling like a damage class.  This:

Shadow Power
Shadow Power is now called “Blackout” and is a passive talent tree bonus for picking the tree. It provides 200% crits to Shadow spells.

I also appreciate the “Blackout” label coming back.  It turns out we can use synonyms for shadow, without constantly just calling everything “improved shadowiness.”

The early Discipline Tree changes are what have me most excited.  Evangelism and Archangel got something of a rework.  Casting Mind Flay will now proc “Dark Evangelism” which increases the periodic damage of shadow spells.  This is great for three reasons.  First, its a not-completely-passive damage boost that can be relied upon for sustained damage.  Second, it makes getting talents in the Disc tree exciting, rather than “now where do I put these points?”  Finally, the buff is to our periodic damage; I’ve always felt, as DoT casters, we deserved more attention paid to our DoTs being a bigger part of our damage pie.

So that’s all sorts of win.  Guess what else is?  The companion talent, Archangel.  Assuming one is in Shadowform, releasing stacks of Dark Evangelism will place you in a state called “Dark Archangel.”  This restores a chance of mana and gives a temporary damage boost.  I’m assuming this would be used during burn phases, with a potion, during bloodlust, or on a target swap.  As a class that’s asked for some serious burst for a while, this is a welcome talent.

Darkness and Improved Shadow Word: Pain are both still in tier one.  Spirit Tap is gone, which I’m 100% okay with.  I have to force myself to respect leveling talents.  I think good class design should let your playstyle while leveling teach you valuable skills while raiding.  Raiding shouldn’t take away all the crutches you had and just throw you into the fire.

Veiled Shadows also made it to tier one, which I think is great.  I’ve always hated that there was nothing compelling for other specs of priests in our tree.  It makes shadow feel like a reject tree.  Holy or disc priests being able to drop the cooldown on one of our most powerful mana return abilities?  Sounds like it could be handy in the more mana-harsh environment of Cataclysm.  Of course, we’ll take it for damage.

The old “improved shadowform” is now Phantasm.  I must say, while this talent is one of the ones raiding spriests may pick up as filler utility on the way to 31 points, the name is golden.  Snaring us?  Oh no, didn’t we mention?  We’re as ethereal as air.  With the options for advancing being this or Improved Psychic Scream, I’ll be taking this talent.

Some talents have been moved around a little, or had the number of points invested in them reduced.  New and shiny?  Sin and Punishment!  (As an aside, did Blizzard just hire a dedicated “shadow priest naming consultant?”  SaP is awesome.)  This talent is something I’ve wished for for a while, but felt wouldn’t work.  Affliction warlocks have a silence effect tied to Unstable Affliction.  Dispelling this ability silences the dispeller and does a chunk of damage to her.  Vampiric Touch, our big damage DoT requiring a cast time, as a slight damaging effect that everyone worth their salt just powers through.

No longer!  Sin and Punishment fears the dispeller of your VT (and everyone within 6 yards) for 3 seconds.  Gonna chain dispel me, Mr Holy Paladin?  How about a mini Psychic Scream right in your face!  As can be expected, I’m entering a state of girlish giddiness about this talent.

Thing are looking promising.  Check out the tentative talent build I’ve put forward, and feel free to make your own and post it in the comments.

Are You Afraid of Shadow in Cataclysm?

3 Aug

Blue Post:

Mind Flay — This is a technical explanation, but basically we had to rebuild it for Lich King to get it to benefit from haste correctly. Now that we have tech to let all periodics scale correctly with haste, we can change Mind Flay back to the way it used to work. The “latency” issues you experience today should be gone. You can just mash the Mind Flay button and the periodic won’t clip.

Mind Blast — With some increases scaling and the Shadow mastery, Mind Blast should always be your highest damage button (other than SW:Death).

SW: Pain — Pain and Suffering refreshes SW:Pain with your current haste, crit etc. values. All damage-over-time refresh mechanics and talents should do this now. You shouldn’t have to recast a dot to benefit from a temporary buff or proc or whatever.

Spec options — We have some plans to make early Disc more attractive to Shadow. There are probably fewer of us than you imagine, and we just can’t work on every class at once.

I’ll admit it, I have concerns about the Cataclysm progress regarding shadow priest play.  Saying that is a little bit like asking an unfinished portraiture why your illustration doesn’t have a chin yet.  The answer: we’re getting to it.

What I posted above is great.  Fixes to long term bugs in the class is as exciting for shadys as blink working correctly would be for mages.  Honestly, though, those are not my major concerns.  Maybe they should have been, but they aren’t.

Two things warrant mention.  First, I love how a shadow priest plays.  I enjoy complex DoT management, I like having tons of small periodic effects whittling my enemies down.  If I wanted to blast giant balls of flame, I’d play a mage.  If I wanted a pet and a lot more fragility, I’d play a warlock (more often).

Second, the damage tree for priests is full of relatively lackluster talents.  Part of this is because of the above: we already have a fair amount going on.  Reducing cooldowns to give us access to spells more often is great.  Cool shadow apparitions that create a neat visual, correct some mobility deficiencies, and don’t force us to completely re-learn the class—perfect!

Now this is a QQ post, so not I’m going to QQ a little.  Stay with me, because underneath my complaints there is a legitimate issue.

Tier 1

Darkness –  In the current beta build this talent increases shadow damage by 6% for 3 talent points.  It also occupies that “low in the tree” spots that make it ideal for other specs to dip in for.  I would love to see this removed completely, or perhaps replaced by a talent like Twisted Faith that gives us Hit from Spirit.  At least that talent is useful for a pvp spec or a leveling healer.  If in the new talent system every point is special, or most are, I hate spending 3 in darkness.

Not past the first tier yet, we hit Improved Shadow Word: Pain.  An exciting change to the mechanic of our signature DoT?  Nope, just another passive increase to damage.  This time its only 2 talent points for 6% damage.  Goodie!  Honestly, this talent would be more exciting as a proc of some kind, perhaps a 50% chance to do 12% more damage.  Even a bonus to crit damage is more exciting than the current talent.  As with darkness, there are no reasons for other specs to even think about this talent.

Spirit Tap has been clearly relegated to the domain of leveling talent.  Honestly, while I’ll miss procing and indirect increase to spellpower, this isn’t really a bad thing.

Tier 2

Improved Mind Blast is a shining example of perfect talent design.  It gives a core ability more use, and it adds a mechanic unique to the spec.  With shadow priest mortal strikes being normalized, this effect will be as strong as a hunter, rogue, or warrior.  For three talent points, this feels right on budget.

I kind of wish shadow had some of our PvP functionality tied into other PvE abilities, so Improved Silence makes me a little sad.  The ability is what it always has been, a few critical seconds shaved off one of our best PvP abilities.  Fine enough, I guess, but this would be an ideal talent to add “and increases your shadow damage by x%.”

Another success story is Veiled Shadows.  This talent reduces the cooldown (and increases our use of) two unique abilities that feel connected by flavor.  Talents like this make us feel more “shadowy” without adding undue complication.

Tier 3

Signature and still great, Shadowform has changed a little.  It still gives us more damage and a little more survivability, so I still love it.  Don’t fix what isn’t broken, eh?

The sister talent, Improved Shadowform, also works well.  It gives us a little utility and a solid raid buff that’s worth taking even for soloing.  My only complaint is how many abilities begin with “improved.”

Not to be outdone, Improved Devouring Plague looks like a passive damage increase on the surface, but it’s actually a well crafted talent.  Adding an up-front damage component to the spell changes the way we use it, and in this respect makes it a bigger part of the shadow toolbox.  Good talents don’t have to hit you on the head with a hammer, but they should feel special.

Tier 4

Deeper into the tree, we see talents like Vampiric Embrace which got a beautiful redesign in WotLK and now functions as a personal buff. I love what this talent does for personal and raid survivability, but could we change it to cause no threat and automatically be up in shadowform?  Rebuffing after a death in a BG shouldn’t take me twice as long as the preparation phase.

Shadow Power is weird.  Do much larger crits change the feeling of a dps class?  I think they do.  +100% for 2 talent points (read, four levels and two “exciting moments”)?  Yes, that feel right.

Significantly re-designed for Cata, Mind Melt currently looks interesting.  Buffing the damage of Shadow Word: Death during an execute phase and reducing the cast time of Mind Blast with Mind Spike creates some interesting rotational changes.  As talents go, altering the interaction of important class abilities seems idealy suited to this level of character customization.

Still needing improved fear to gain the one point for Silence leaves us exactly where we were before—one PvP shadow spec, and one for PvE.  Nevertheless, I am glad to still have the option of this powerful form of CC.

Tier 5

Iconic to the priest, Vampiric Touch hasn’t changed.  If they change replenishment in a significant way, it will effect the entire raid and the many classes now offering this buff.  Gaining abilities from talents is exciting.

With Shadow Orbs being our new mastery bonus, I’m a little surprised they added Empowered Shadow Orbs.  In the defense of this talent, they could have named it “improved shadow orbs.”  The talent increases the odds of gaining an orb.  I don’t understand why they didn’t make this baseline, as designers will have to balance around the talented priest’s mastery bonus scaling.  When the mastery concept was first introduced, the suggestion was we might have talents to let us do things with the orbs.  Apparently this is the end result.  Shadow Orbs are hard to get excited about, when I’m just a semi-translucent shaman.

In stark contract, Shadow Apparition is exciting and visually unique as a talent.  The damage is not game breaking, and it asks you to adjust your playstule in some situations, but most of the time the bonus is passive and the talent is still fun.

Tier 6

Psychic Horror is another talented CC ability that spriests do not seem to have room for in a PvE build.  Oh well.

Converting spirit to hit and adding damage to our rotation, Twisted Faith isn’t bad.  The spell hit aspect gives us a slight advantage when going from holy/disc to a shadow offspec, but our best items are still going to not have spirit on them.  This talent works a passive bonus into an active play style change, so it very much works.  My only issue is I wish it were in tier 1.

As I expressed before, I enjoy the way our class plays.  That’s part of the reason I’m glad Pain and Suffering is reasonably unchanged.  As talents go, this one feels important and does change how we’re doing our damage.  It also makes Shadow Word: Death slightly less risky.  Have I mentioned I really want to see Shadow Word: Death make a comeback?

Tier 7

Dispersion comes under fire from folks who don’t use it often enough.  This talented ability deserves its own article, so I won’t get in too deep, but I have no issues with it remaining completely unchanged.

In summary, our talents feel significantly pruned down, but still remarkable bloated.  Perhaps this is the price we pay for having two healing trees.  Nevertheless, I’m hoping Blizzard takes another crack at our talented customization.

Music and the World of Warcraft

19 Jul

Naturally, a proviso: all posts this week are inspired, directly or indirectly, by my recent trip to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.  Today the connection is loose, but obvious.  For anyone who hates music, or the thought of listening to it, you should skip today’s post.

Music is almost everywhere we go.  At its most basic, its a rhythm or a sound.  At the most complex, its a soulful expression of human creativity.  That’s a pretty large continuum, and anyone who listens to Pop music has likely hear everything on that spectrum.

I’ve talked to a lot of arena players who make a point of getting “pumped up” with some music before a set of matches.  This does a few good things.

First, it builds confidence.  Confidence is an important a stat in arena as haste, spellpower, or resilience.  Confidence is the difference between someone who knows what they’re doing, and someone who knows they can do it.

Second, it puts a rhythm in your brain.  In fast paced arena play, its easy to get out of step.  Its easy to miss a global as you try to figure out why you’re dying so swiftly.  A rhythm gives you something to track back to.  It lets the pace in your head define the pace of your match.  Try it.  You’ll see what I mean.

In a raid, music can help tune you into a fight.  Let me explain what I mean.  At a low volume (low enough that one almost can’t hear it) I play one song or album on repeat during a new boss attempt.  I continue to listen to it throughout all of our wiping, gradually associating the shifts in the music with the phases of our encounter.

Day two, we return to this fight.  Before going in, I briefly listen to that same song.  My mind is quickly flooded with all the learning points of the previous night; I am right back there without any need for warm-up or re-explanation.

This is quite possibly an extreme example, but sounds and music are a powerful cue.  Anyone using DBMs will understand the power of sound to keep everyone awake and alive.

While we’re staying awake and alive… I thought I’d share with you some of the music I got to encounter this weekend.  These folks are pretty amazing.