Penultimate Hearthstone thoughts

How can I say these are my penultimate Hearthstone thoughts when the game is not even out of a closed-ish beta? Well I’m kind of over it. I’m only saying penultimate because I will post something when it “launches” properly, but I don’t think it will change my impressions.

The short version: HearthStone is not for me. I don’t hate it, I just don’t particularly like it either. I’d rather play something else.

I was essentially bored within 10-15 games, and was proceeding through the rest of the games because I thought there was something I was missing. There is more, far more.

The execution of the game is solid, the gameplay is probably great if you like that sort of thing, and it was as complete in beta as many other games are launch. Kudos Blizzard. Not for me though.

click here for TCG grinding

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Late-ish into the HearthStone beta

Yehaw! Some emails are just plain exciting to get. As I download, play, and get all mushy (hopefully) about HearthStone, I’ll post follow-up. I’ll also have to read the T&Cs to see what I’m allowed to say, in case any caveats are still in place (ahem).

As a person who generally has no time for physical collect-a-card based games (like Magic TG) I am looking forward to how this game makes me feel. I’d go as far as to say I’m a collectable card game hater. I am a keen gamer though and I can see this game as real avenue where casual based play would entice players to spend real money on cards.

That is the spin for HearthStone from what I understand now, the cash you spend will get you bonuses far faster, far better decks, which in turn (I assume) gives far more leverage to the win-loss ration which I read is a key metric for rewards. A game with a pay-to-win from the outset isn’t something that I’d first accept as a casual player, bu then perhaps it make a huge difference because it is isolated and set from the get-go.

So this should be interesting. I’ll certainly have to get my ipad back, as that type of interface is very likely where I’ll do all my testing.

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Wildstar actually sounds interesting

warrior_logo_mbThe more tangential information I read on Wildstar the more I think it might be trying to approach a different audience and supply a different game.

A few things sound interesting, like having playstyle pathways where you pick the style of challenge you want, and the game as aspects built especially for that style. If you like combat, you kill monsters. Prefer discovery, then be challenged to find nooks and special areas.

I also like the art style of the game. Having an overtly cartoon world means the rendering could be sympathetic to longevity in graphics, and also potentially avoids the problems of the uncanny valley which most “real-looking” games face. The tech and resources needed to render out a human face which looks “right” are crazy complex and high. A styled cartoon looks right as we fill in the detail mentally. Our minds are the sketchpad and resources which gives the game appeal.

A non-real style also means that emotional, special, and blood/damage effects can also be skewed toward imparting the meaning without a special particle engine. Take the presentation of a spaceship for example. I have no idea what a Devastator class warship might look like in a space game, but I can tell you without a second of thinking that rendering of water in Farcry was incredible and still looked like cgi. I accept the spaceship as real, but I call bullshit on the water’s repeating pattern at max camera distance.

I have no intention of playing Wildstar, especially as my old pc will not be up to the challenge; but I am interested. That is more that I can say about many of the other games being published and in Beta at the moment.

Interesting times. I’m going to keep watching it. TyphoonAndrew

WoW p5.3 this week, highlights include

Patch 5.3 notes are out, for the Prod drop on May 21st. Ref: MMO-Champion – Patch 5.3 Live This Week for a full summary. I expect downtime to be bigish, with the downloader churning away. This means the cycle is less than three months between patches, and if the next patch comes quickly we might see a staggeringly fast end to the Pandaria story-lines. Blizzard’s website also has a nice prep summary.

garrosh Hellscream image from Blizzard's website

I’m pondering the amount of ilevel 500+ gear which is being made available in one time rewards, and perhaps it is time to consider the offset as a priority.

A few highlights for me are:

  • the return of the Item Upgrades, via that vendor. Yes, we can again decide if an existing upgrade is better than buying off-loot (” items upgraded with Valor will now cost 250 Valor Points to upgrade per 4 Item Levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 Item Levels per item “). Cool. Mr Robot and others will have their systems ready too if what I read is true.
  • the ilevel 600 cloaks from the Wrathion quest chain. ilevel 600 is huge, and worth it for everyone. I want it, and want three of them.
  • the Heroic Scenarios is a boon I’m looking forward to, not because I want to see that older content again, but because of the chance for the ilevel 516 gear. Including a quest that has a reward of a 516 built in. Wowhead has a comment which lists the rewards by armour type. Why on earth are these using the Pandarian models for blue and green loot? Lazy. A re-colour at least might have been nice – all emeralds and ruby.
  • the Heroic scenarios need item level 480 to enter, and use a pre-made team of three. Still hopefully should be not too hard at ilevel 510.
  • the new scenarios for the lead up lore/story to the Siege of Orgrimmar. Assuming that is the big deal in patch 5.4, this should get all the players happy with killing Orcs and agreeing that the War Chief is a bad guy, not a good-bad guy.
  • a quest has been added that reveals the final Sha and some ilevel 502 boots. Nice upgrade for the slow and unlucky guys like me. Shamefully I’m planning on getting better than this, so I might just take the Tanking option instead of the Dps option.
  • I know I should try the brawlers guild soon.
  • the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster will sell re-colour of popular old Tier gear, upgrades to ilevel 489 which is nice for the alts and new main toons. I don’t mind at all they the stuff is available in a different way. They’ve chosen some nice sets, and as a DK I had access to my set anyway.
  • we can now transmog from the Bank and Void Storage directly. Good. Nice change.
  • the Heirloom Shields are in. Great news for alts. I’ve been saving the odd Justice Point for this.
  • Lastly – I’d love a Hearthstone Beta. I’ve ripped on it recently as a distraction, but I am curious. HINT. Too strong? Nah. HINT HINT.

King Wyrnn and a Panda, they all look alike

Overall I’m looking forward to the 5.3 patch. It is not a huge patch for content, rather is a prep patch. It is a great patch for gearing your toons. The folk who don’t get much are those who are already geared up beyond 522 or higher. Sorry guys, only the cloak for you.

I did not finish collecting the Wrathion tokens from boss kills in patch 5.2, but will get there soon. I also don’t run the downloader often, so I’m going to kick that off before bed tonight.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew

DK Tank note in MoP beta build 16048

If the title was not janky enough with abbreviations and miscellaneous numbers then read the full patch notes for the recent Beta build dropping soon. I expect the stead series of adjustments to continue for at least a month after MoP release. Just enjoy the variety people, for now is the time to test out all the odd stuff and enjoy the game before we’re meant to be serious again.

We get more tweaks via MMO Champion, for Blood Tanks we have this change:

  • Death Strike now does 280% weapon damage, up from 230%. Damage increased by 43%.
  • Heart Strike now does 115% weapon damage, down from 170%. Damage reduced by 54%.

What does it mean? Apparently Blood DK damage was too high on multi-target. No effect on base healing effect from DS. I know that this is certainly not what I am seeing in current game, so keep in mind this is level 90 content based feedback (what do you mean you’re spending your time farming for rares and not in beta?… me too).

Warrior Tanks get a few buffs too, which should make them happy. Paladin Tanks I think will still suffer a bit at the moment, although that is an impression based upon rants and wanderings rather than analysis and posts.

wow Beta Build 16030 for DKs

Aside

A bit of patch news on Beta, which sort of confirms my old impression that Death Knights were not going to get adjusted until after the wash and rinse of “live-ish behaviour” changes were seen. Meh, perhaps its just a coincidence. Either way, even if I see nurfs and buffs of staggering stupidity, I am glad that DKs are getting some love.

TLDR for this update is: More health for Blood Tanks, less Damage for Frost dps from Frost Strike. Expect this and many more items to bounce around, it is a long way from over, and the devs have some work to do still.

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wow build 15961 has DK changes. Yay!

Well the Beta build 15961 has DK changes coming to a server near us all very soon; well a change. Yippee. Cough. Now this is not assured, so perhaps this is the beginning of something beautiful. Oh hell, I’ll just cut to the chase, here is the change which will benefit so many Death Knights:

Now I think they’re just screwing with me. Continue reading

No dk updates, harumph!

Aside

I just read the summary of the beta changes for the recent beta release for MoP. It contains nothing about DKs (except in relation to non-account wide mounts, duh). Now that might be an over statement, except that 9 other classes are represented, many questions and tweaks are outstanding for Death Knights, and I think this is not the first beta update with nothing for DK characters. It’s odd.

Many of the updates are correcting balance issues (for everyone and balance druids) so perhaps its a blessing in disguise. There are some switch-around on which mounts are account wide which really can’t be taken as final, some changes for Druids and Hunters which look like downward tweaks, and changes to Shadow Priests which look like even more serious nurfs if you believe the comments.

In the recess of my mind I can recall that DKs were near last out of the gates in the Cata expansion beta process too, and their final form (particularly for Blood/Tanks) was innovative and is powerful in the current game. This post is not doom and gloom, but an observation based upon a fixed release date and very little information about what they will be like, given the questions that remain. I’ve mucked about in beta with the DKs to see what is different, but have not tested at 90, so perhaps a relaxed attitude is needed. I am sure that greater minds than myself, such as the folks on the EJ-DK forums would like some clarity and adjustment. BloodTap in particular seems odd, and adding abilities which require Death runes specifically makes my brain hurt.

Perhaps (ahem) a future patch will be all about the DK – to the point where instead of using a version number (like build 15952) it will contain the release version info of, “there DKs I fixed it”. The Death Knight Rises! /dry

Uninspired by DKs (so far)

Most of what I’m reading is uninspiring for Death Knights in MoP, which has been said before. As the weeks pass and significant changes are not making the MMOChamp, EJs, and the other DKs I read happy. My 2c: it appears that some abilities have a cool factor, but integrate poorly into the DK mindset. By example the use of DeathRunes as a new resource linked to specific powers, rather than being a catch-all rune to grant flexibility.

To the point that I will (a) take a series look at what is being said to validate it, and (b) consider a class or game change. Class change is less dramatic, less QQ-ish, as I see adapting to my preference within a game I like is better than just quitting. That said, many other options are available apart from World of Warcraft, and perhaps a change is needed. I’ve stopped playing before and returned to WoW and enjoyed it again. It is a viable strategy for fun.

As shallow as it sounds, I’d prefer a class with far less time monitoring the resources and far more time watching the battle, moving the character, and reacting to circumstances. I was a fan of simple Warlock rotations, and loved when Rogues had macros to do smashing dps. Currently the Death Knight (and some other classes) feel far more like a set of nested IF-THEN logical processes than an Undead Knight fighting through a world of challenges. Mixing up the fluff and formulas in my head is how I view the class.

Heck it would even be nice to enjoy a fight /game rather than monitoring rune cycles. There seems to be a new design principal where each class must now have secondary and tertiary resources to monitor (DK RP, Runes, special runes).

Does 300 more MoP beta keyss mean launch soon?

Blizzard LogoMMO Champion are throwing around 300 more beta keys, and given the amount of keys already out there, plus the annual pass millions – I’d say they are getting bloody close to closing the beta and giving a release date.

So does 300×3 more MoP beta key mean we’re getting a launch date soon?

I think so, but I have no evidence at all. My fervor is directly proportional to my desire to see the date. It cannot be so long now. ComicCon can end without an announcement date, but if not soon then I think Blizzard are really stretching time.

Does anyone who wants a key not already have one?

Via MMO-Champion.