Round-up of WoW news Snippets

A few smallish things worth briefly pondering…

Challenge Mode Leaderboards are live, showing the characters doing particularly well in Challenge Modes. It has some neat filtering options for classes and removing the same toon-groups.

Free realm transfers for some realms due to population troubles. If you’re on these realms you might be interested – not so much for most of us. Oceanic players on Frostmourne particularly might be keen.

Blizzard have released a graphic novel – The Pearl of Pandaria, which is getting reasonable reviews so far from what I’ve heard on blogs and podcasts.

Pet battles are proving to be darn popular, which I did not expect. Many guildies are raving about how good it is and the achievement junkies are going spare to get all the battles in. blogs and podcasts too seem to be loving them, somewhat ironically. Good call Blizzard, wow – given that I might try it in a few weeks.

Dark Legacy have a cute comic about the pre-release emptiness in the cities – moot now but still funny.

I’m reading the Tides of War novel to gain some lore background on the setting for Mists. While I can appreciate the books are different from the games (or films, or whatever) there are things in the novel’s timeline which do not mesh with what I am playing in the game.

For example the game lore just released has everyone discovering the moving island of Pandaria. This discovery leads to a few changes for major Non Player Characters and also to the escalation to war between the Horde and the Alliance. The novel by contrast has the escalation based upon the destruction of Theramore, and the ongoing battle using all sorts of non-typical war machines. It is a disparity in terms of I am not sure which is missing on what lore, or which is meant to be right.

Am I at war because of Pandaria, the bombing, or some other reason? “Why do we fight” is a reasonable question, and one that perhaps the more roleplaying focused players have already answered for themselves in spite of the odd contradiction. I’m kind of expecting a RetCon somewhere in the post-Mists round-up to declare that the novel is authorative, but who knows.

There is also the possibility that the segment of story told in Tides of War is removed from the events of Pandaria and these things are all happening in parallel. That would be almost plausible, except for one of the NPCs (who I won’t spoil).

Jania does not know anything about Pandas, poor girl

Many distracting things which take us away from the leveling. Must play…must play…

Brewfest 2012 Cheatnotes and Gear

Update: As a new level 89 with quest gear this encounter is tough. Expect to work for the kill rather than just fooling around like it has been in some years past.

 

I had the opportunity to roll need against a Tank for one the the tank trinkets, the really nice one for dodge – I didn’t. I’ll regret that later, but it would have been against all the loot-rants I’ve made.

Brewfest is on for players level 89 or 90 to complete, and the big appeal is the ilevel 470 gear that Direbrew will be dropping once he is killed. Admittedly I might struggle to get to 89 by then, but many players are 90 and bringing through their second characters to maximum at the moment. Raiders will want to be ready for this.

The fight mechanics have not changed from previous years, meaning that well geared level 90 characters can probably just tank and nuke, where level 89 under-geared players will need to worry about adds and the odd special stuns and barrels and effects in the fight. I expect most groups this year will not be over-geared, so be careful.

Keep reading after the jump for a fight cheat-sheet and gear dropped this year. Continue reading

What happened second? I looked at how I’m leveling

Here are a few thing I’ve noticed about how I level; apart of slowly.

Mists is doing a great job to present the lore of the situation into the player’s eyeballs. Some quests give blunt information, others are more subtle. At times this means that the task we are asked to do is not to the style of my character, but that is totally forgivable when the context it gives is useful. The lore as it stands now is very engaging and I am loving the new content.

I tend to read the quest text, but sometimes skim read if the task is obviously to kill X of Y and come back for more. Those quests might have a context of “create a potion”, “deliver this rare”, or whatever. The nature of WoW’s quests have not changed, and honestly I cannot see how it could in a theme-park style mmo. In fact it is a good thing, and something which mean of the community enjoy as well. There is always the question of how re-playable the content is, but I see that as moot for now.

Despite being in the first zone and still level 85 I have already maxed out Mining to 600 by chasing nodes over doing quests. It’s slower but the mats are too valuable to ignore, and I do not want to return to an area to back fill the skill, or find a node later that I cannot grab. The nodes also grant xp so its not a total waste.

I’m trying to stretch away from a totally linear quest series, as having a small degree of choice is empowering (have a read of Tobold’s post below for a view on linear quests). Essentially though the content must have some sort of pathway, and linked hubs make sense for 80% of players. Completing a quest hub is a must as while the gear is not an upgrade yet, often the next hub is unlocked by the last stage in the previous hub.

Silly aside – Why do we Fight? Why do the leaves fall?

I fight because I have to to get to the mining nodes and all the monsters get in the way. Sometimes other players too. The leaves fall because I keep bumping into the trees, monsters, rocks, and all the other terrain artwork and widgets. I abuse auto-run.

First to 90 based upon timezone. Aussie servers?

Aside

The first players are pinging level 90, and arriving at a rapid rate. GuildOx has a dandy little feature which is relevant for the first few days to show how fast which character got to the new maximum level. It is unsurprising that the list contains all European character in the top 100+ across the world. The reason (if it’s not blindingly obvious) is that the EU servers get the game first due to timezone.

Well shucks, how about some Aussie based servers so that ours update first and we’ll have the opportunity to take the lead? No? Harrumph.

Congrats to those who are blistering through levels and getting the realm firsts, seconds, and thirds. You can use the link above to GuildOx to check who is fastest on your server too. I’m jealous.

What I did first? Heck, I’ve just only started

Many blogs out there posting about what they did first, and what the experience in Mists is like, which is great to see high praise for the content released. I played for less than 1 hour between dinner, baby tasks, and spending a non-wow night with the better half.

No download (that was done), no patch issues (also done), no latency issues (cool).

enter the realm of Pandaria

In an hour I was able to:

  • Accepted the new “come to the King” quest that appears auto-magically. Great touch – this is a superior way to get the content in the player’s eyeballs.
  • Ramped up my professions (mining, first aid, archy, cooking, fishing), but could not get the Stormwind Blacksmith to talk to me; ah well. Better things to worry about.
  • Checked my quest log to get rid of the naff naff quests that I might have left.
  • Logged in each lowbie and 85 alt character so that the rested ticks over. I’m not sure if I actually had to do that, but I figure it was a few clicks to be sure.
  • Created my Pandaren Monk, did the “get your staff quest”, then logged. Rested will be ticking slowly, ready for a good run in a week or so.
  • Then headed to Pandaria to help recover the Prince! Cool. An actual reason for a hero and highly regarded character to head across to an unknown place and “adventure”.

So my initial impression is that the introduction was solid, and worked well as an Alliance character. I loved that the first real quest was a vehicle mode, and then straight after it was a “Kill a Set of Dirty Stinking Horde snotlings”. Yes, the tone is right. Get players into the mindset that we need to hurt the Horde. If the lore is adding in-game to back the destruction of Theramore, then I’ll get on board with the Horde killing.

So I’m stoked. It’s too early to say its all wonderful, but the chatter in Guild seems to be that everything is darn interesting and the characters are racing toward maximum level at a smooth pace. A few characters were already 86 last night, and I’m sure we’ll see a few 87′s today; if not already.

Happy (misty horde scum) Killing, TyphoonAndrew.

Some tips for what and how to name your Pandaren

With all the new furry hand slappers (monks) adding to the regular characters in World of Warcraft many players are looking for that perfect Pandaren name (yup, this adds from the post where I had no idea for a name – I still don’t).

A pandaren monk by a few brasiers

Here are some tips:

  • Please pick a name that is not overtly stupid. If you previously created a character called “Iownyoutoo” then you should read this first tip a few times. Let it sink in.
  • If you pick the name of a real Panda living in a zoo, be prepared for it to potentially “retire” in your life time.
  • Pop culture or odd references will get a good thrashing, and on the non-RP realms that seems fair an reasonable. I know a Hunter named Schrödinger who always used a Cat. Perfect.
  • Anything involving beer, stout, ale, etc will be actually be suitable to the lore for a change. Alehound is still a crappy name, but given we have an official NPC called Stormstout there is an excuse to get a little left field.
  • Names which combine quasi-roleplay themes are really cool, especially the two word combos: Thunderpaw, Powderkeg, Ironfoot, Raindancer, Firehammer.
  • Don’t forget that the Pandaren lore is both heavily spiritual and also respectful of the elements, much in the same way that the Shaman and Earthen Ring is, so all the elemental based (earth, air, fire, water) names are up for grabs, with all the variations; Mountainsong, Firebrew, etc.
  • Not a fan of the “bare” instead of “bear”, although if you’re an Australian and you want to really mash the lore into a blender then some “Koala” references might be really dangerous and fun.
  • Silly is great when it’s openly so – Whoflungpoo – that means you!

a pandaren brewmaster holding the Keg

There are resources already sprung up to help folks find that perfect name, such as (from the other post about Pandaren Monk names) these with a few extra thrown in: