Garrosh Hellscream still wins, kind of.

At the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar the heroes of the story will have defeated Garrosh, and stopped his plans to use Sha powers to rule Azeroth. That is the expected outcome of the patch content. There is also some question on who the new Warchief of the Horde will be. I won’t spoil that for you.

I will spoil part of the story, as it is a part which I dislike. You have been warned if you read on.

Garrosh_2_000000

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The Legendary catch-up in p5.4

A note from a little while ago indicates that there will be a Legendary catch-up coming in Patch 5.4. This is good and bad, and the divide in opinion seems very polar.

Good for those who are interested in getting the item, and who struggled to keep up. Great for new 90s, or for players with Alts. Incredible for them. I know many players personally who will frigg’n love the fact that they won’t be returning to old content just for the quest drops.

Legendary-Quest-Part2Complete

Bad for players who wished this Legendary to be as unique as the others. They want it to be hard. As a direct comment in the post says:

So basically what this means is, those of us that keep up with the chain as parts are introduced are wasting time that could be used to do other things, because all we have to do is wait a patch or 2 and we can make up months of  grinding in a cpl weeks… Cut the shit!!! IT’S A LEGENDARY, not every hockey helmet that pays $15/mo is entitled to it just because they pay for game time… This is something thats supposed to be exclusive, treat it as such and keep it harder to aquire then getting a new heartstone…

Overall if it were my choice I’d have said no to the concept, but the actual mechanic in this case still requires significant grinding, and will not make that much of a difference in terms of time investment. Sure, it took me 3+ months of hard work to get here, but that is ok when the hard work is still needed. This is less of a nurf to effort than when the Valor points were dropped.

So I think Blizzard have done a good job of allowing players to raid (what will be) the current content, but also slowly gain ground on the quest chain. The drop rate seems to be the same, the kill rate, etc all should leave the player doing the same activity, just in a harder and current raid. Once the Legendary was presented as an Orange-Toy-for-Everyone this type of grand fest was really the only course of action.

Happy killing.

DK-T14-Chest-is-a-Dress

A good time to return

Art-ToTIf the banter around flex raids is true, then patch 5.4 will be a good time for players to return to WoW, particularly if they are members of a guild like ours.

I know, that sounds like a recruitment post. It’s not especially one, but more players and characters are welcome.

What I mean is our guild is one which has a very dedicated raid team who sometimes used to have trouble with numbers. We now also have slightly more darn good raiders than we can fit in an ideal x10 man composition, and an additional growing number of more casual members who love to raid but also play wow in a less serious way. Or they might play hard, but less often.

For us (and potentially a large number of other guilds) Flex-Raids that means we are in an ideal spot. Whichever way we go in terms of using the flex systems, it can only be to our advantage. That said we (the officers) haven’t chatted through the implications as yet, but I fairly confident that we’ll get to a good place with a minimum of fuss.

Now all I need is to get through the 11x remaining kills of Lei-Shen for the uber-rare widgets of awesome, so I can catch up on the legendary quest chain. Fun times ahead watching folks stand in the bad.

Art-MC

WoW patch 5.4 looks good thus far

There is a stack of new material to read for patch 5.4, and what I’m reading at the moment makes me think that it will be a good patch. Why? Because a lot of the material is further along that what we saw with the early v5 patches, which means I think I am getting a better view of things to come.

Linkage of interest (spoilers and opinions follow):

My highlights so far are:

  • There are new temporary titles for the people completing the realm best challenge modes, and the character only has the title while they hold the record. To keep the title you need to keep the record. That is so darn cool! i.e. “Darkmaster” for Scholomance. What warlock does not want the title Darkmaster?
  • DK have a change to Blood spec where Dancing Rune Weapon does not cost runic power anymore. Cool! I’m going to macro that puppy in now and use it all the time.
  • Interesting that Fel Armor for Warlocks, Shadow for priests, and Moonkin form for Druids no longer reduces damage taken, from 15% to 0%. The Hunter talent was reduced from 15% to 10%. Why the difference? Do Hunters still need protection from standing in bad and raid damage, but the casters are meant to know better?
  • Pvp Season 14 Armor for Warlocks is awesome looking. I want a t16 Warlock now.
  • Pve T16 for Mages is very beautiful. The glasses are a little odd, but the overall effect is stunning.
  • Flexible Raid will be interesting and I can see a huge potential for guilds to use this.
  • The “virtual servers” acting as realm combinations is a new feature which is interesting. Does this mark the unavoidable merge of low pop realms? It depends on how it is added, and what the effect is. i.e. If I join a guild on a different server using this virtualisation and then that realm becomes high pop, do I get unjoined?
  • The new solo content in the Proving Grounds is something I like to read about. Will the rewards be cosmetic (like Brawlers and Challenge modes) or gear-ups like Heroics and Scenarios?
  • The Siege of Ogrimar / Garrosh encounter is going the way I didn’t like, but hey – can’t have it all. Garrosh is corrupted/empowered by Y’shaarj who is one of the old gods, and gains all sorts of boosts from it. Reading the summary thus far the end fight in SoO might feel similar to the end of Ulduar. Not a bad thing, I would have preferred that Garrosh was a nasty bastard without having him “corrupted”. Why must our evil villains be corrupted to be evil?
  • Apparently support for dedicated sound hardware has been nurfed in WoW, and this makes the shitty chopping sound I’m getting since patch 5.3 make sense. I’ll have to research how to alter my sound config to not stutter now.
  • We have new item levels as:
    • 521 for Raid finder, 527 for Flex raids, 541 for Normal raids, 547 for Thunderforged, 554 for Heroic raids, and 560 for Heroic Thunderforged gear.
    • That means that the Normal mode gear you might have now (522) will be upgraded slightly by Flex, no real upgrade except the Tier bonuses for LFR.
    • Unless you’ve also already upgraded your 522 to 530, and then even Flex offers nothing except Tier gear. The numbers seem well thought through.
  • The Engineer’s SkyClaw mount might be in this patch.
  • Blacksmiths get another new daily transmute – the Balanced Trillium Ingot. I’m still transmuting the other stuff. Hopefully this is a useful waste of Trillium bars.
  • Les excited by a new Celestial Tournament, which will likely be the new daily quest hub. Probably also another bloody faction to grind up with. For pitty’s sake.

yshaarj-window

Lastly we have the Death Knight new Tier bonuses…

T16 PH – Death Knight DPS
2 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 DPS 2P Bonus – Killing Machine and Sudden Doom grant 500 Haste or Mastery, whichever is highest, for ($hnd * 2 + 4) sec, stacking up to 10 times.
4 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 DPS 4P Bonus – Death Coil increases the duration of Dark Transformation by 1.5 sec per cast. Pillar of Frost increases rune regeneration speed by 100% while active.

T16 PH – Death Knight Tank
2 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 Blood 4P Bonus – Dancing Rune Weapon will reactivate all Frost and Unholy runes as Death Runes, and make your next 4 Death Strikes free.
4 pieces: Item – Death Knight T16 Blood 2P Bonus – Every 4 Heart Strikes, Rune Strikes, or Blood Boils will add one charge to your next Bone Shield.

For Blood I can see DRW being a bloody awesome Boom tool. It becomes a burst effect for either recovery or threat/dps. I really like that idea. The 4x set is also clever in terms of quality of life improvement where Tanks need to think about refreshing Bone Shield less.

For DPS the 4x set looks nice in terms of boosting dps on use, which is better than the current 4x set which I think is situationally great or average. Not sure on 2x set as yet.

GarroshKillEverything

Impressions of new content for patch 5.3

I played the new content released in the WoW patch 5.3 last night, and here are a few observations (also here is Wowheads guide – which is darn handy).

Overall: Great to see new lore. Excited to have two new scenarios, specific quests to advance the story, and an experience across both the old world and Pandaria. Great too that the legendary quest keeps rolling, and I cannot wait (but will take months and months) to get the high level cloak.

Pandarian-LoadScreen

Whatever comes in 5.4 will hopefully still value that cloak’s ilevel 600. Otherwise it seems a short term reward. Or imagine what the next jump after 600 will be, and how that will devalue all other gear for the patch.

But … no way in hell I’m doing the “gather 150×4 materials” every bloody week. I started the quest yesterday, and it took hours and hours to progress through it. I’ve got around 450 of the 600 drops needed, and I’m already really bored with doing the same four tasks:

  1. Kill mobs in one of the four areas, infrequently opening boxes too. At the moment I can kill and loot mobs faster than I can sneak past mobs to loot boxes. Druids however can loot the boxes in bird form and snaffle them quickly.
  2. Kill one of the special bosses which randomly spawn. After death they drop a better amount of each material, but they also can now (hotfix 223 May) be tagged to the alt faction and also take a bit of time to kill. That change at least means it is faster to gather the mats.
  3. Escort a caravan, so that it arrives safely and hope than a faction opponent does not dps it dead. The caravans as so easy to kill its a joke. Trust me – I took revenge on a horde group by nuking their caravan.
  4. Find the random exploded boxes. Periodically somewhere on the map a lot of boxes spawn all spread out. Run around looting them for 1 or 2 mats per box.

Dull, dull, double-dull is all I can say about this weekly quest.

I’ve already read comments from other players saying they’ll do this quest twice and then never again. My advice is to do this now while people still want the pet and the few other odd rewards so that you gain the advantage of big groups killing those NPCs. It is a blisteringly stupid move to create such a grind.

But apparently it is great for alts, as they can gear up this way? FFS no. Each weekly grants a 489 item when better rewards are in the new heroic scenarios, but only if you have also looted one of the special drops too. Derp.

scenario-screenie

Otherwise the scenarios and new quests are great. Fast, easy on normal, and fun to blow through. I get the impression that after a few times I’ll recognise all the lore elements and begin to get tired of them, but for now it is something new to play through. My last task is to get the end of the “help the lost old hermit” chain, for the boots, and then that will be all the lore done. A few nights and the content is “encountered”.

Regardless, I hope you’re liking 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

Are patches coming too fast? (wowinsider)

WowInsider has an interesting post – Are patches coming too fast?

My gut says yes they are, but only slightly. The main irritation I have with the patches is the news and hype mill, and the fact that I play so little that my main falls behind and that means zero alts.

As my friend Ragnaros says, “TOO SOON! YOU HAVE AWAKENED ME TOO SOON, EXECUTUS! WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS INTRUSION?”

The two points I’ll make briefly are (a) the ramp up of patch news arrived too soon for 5.3 after 5.2 hit the servers, and (b) our raid team was not able to get through all of the content, but I thin overall the timing of the actual drop was very good.

As far as (b) we could have done better if we’d had less in-team issues unrelated to the content. Folks leaving or having interruptions to their schedules caused us to lag behind where we really could have been. Should have been. Desire to be. One week extra would have made little difference, so this is really moot. The actual drop date was good. If I were a player trying to take two characters through the content then I suspect it would have been more of a struggle.

On (a) the rumour mill and the hype starts so far in advance of the actual content that I think it is a distraction to the current material. We had news of the 5.3 gear and weapon changes and some other patch notes before the best players in the world had killed the end boss on Normal mode. That is too fast. Far too fast.

The energy and hype on patches gives players excitement for what is next, but having the next carrot dangle when you have just got your teeth onto a new one feels like overload. We could have had one to two weeks of pure patch 5.2 discussion and feedback with Blizzard as a vendor, to make the feedback and excitement stick. Then they could have started talking about 5.3.

Heck we’ve already heard a blue make a “you’re going to love the next expansion” comment, which is too early by a bloody long way. We have not even heard a sniffle of how Garrosh will transition into a Boss.

Lastly I’ll concede a very valid point that too slow is worse than a little too fast. The wait at the end of Wrath of the Lich King and the Burning Crusade as long, and I think some players gave up due to that.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Patch, Token, and Guild

It has been almost a week between posts, as a deliberate strategy to not smash a few folks in the head using text, to calm down a bit, and to reflect on what we’re about to get from Wow’s patch 5.2. The stupidity indicator in my mental framework was flashing warning yellow all last week, and moved to match the aggro indicator in red on Friday and Saturday. Nothing to post here except that I have maintained my intolerance for liars, thieves, and real estate agents (do real life things get an interest here from readers? - I’m not sure).

In good news our guild’s raid team is getting stronger again thanks to some players returning from hiatus and also switching back after looking for greener pastures. That is a minor compliment of sorts as I do not think many folks quite a guild then return, and it also shows that the remaining players are good enough to accept them back. Kind of proud of what our GM and the officers have built. Kudos to all folks, and welcome to the recent arrivals.

[ ... The angry part of my lizard-brain wants to suggest that some of these folks left guild for a reason and we're still the same people, and that it might open us to more drama. Well yes, you lizard bastard, shut it. I choose to see this as positive and good. Circumstances and people are not the same between two different days of the week. Do I judge a person once and keep that sentiment forever? Sounds like a path to a boring and unhappy life.

Lizard-brain is a term I stole from a sci-fi novel where the storyteller explains basic animalistic reactions we have like attraction, anger response, survival, and such as being powered by the lizard-brain rather than the reason. I really like it. Eat, food, lunch... ]

For the raid team it means strength and diversity. We are stronger is a very practical sense as I am hoping that the more casual players (myself included) will be able to be slackers again. I love raiding, but hate that I let the team down with an early finish time each raid. It is a pain for everyone. The advantage of having 12-13 players in a raid team vs 8-10 is irrefutable. I still plan to be online and sub-in when needed, but can slip away when I need to in prep for the early starting work day.

We also get diversity from (hopefully) adding more classes to our mix. We lack a regular Warlock and a regular Paladin in the raid team, two classes of the three on one of the tier tokens. This means that our resident Priest is bloody well geared in main and offspec. Good for him too I say, but sheesh we had a lot of Mages, Druids, Death Knights in the runs. We don’t have a lot of Rogues, but then does anyone?

Tokens – T15 tier tokens seem to be reusing the classes of the T14 Tokens. Well shit, that’s just poor. I was hoping against all historic precedent that it would be switched around for each Tier in Pandaria. yes, I know that is a bitch for some teams, but for us it means we’re over saturated in a few classes for the entire expansion.

The class mix is:

  • Token A – Rogue, Death Knight, Mage, Druid
  • Token B – Warrior, Hunter, Shaman, Monk
  • Token C – Paladin, Priest, Warlock

I maintain that the tokens should be for any class, and let the raiders divvy them around. But hey, I’m just a casual and don’t understand what “real” raiders want. Sarcasm.

Appearance wise I maintain that the DK tier set looks dumb. I’ll revise that in game when I see it on screen – for now the teeth look lost. The human figure looks like it is half eaten. The armour is also inelegant. Did the designers run out of skulls for Death Knight gear and have a heap of Hunter teeth left over? Perhaps they ordered too many.

A positive is that the models match our spec choices, which makes transmog use somewhat appealing. There – I said something positive about the dental mistake that T15 is for Death Knights.

T15-DK-Helms-nom-nom-nom-nom

(Help! I’m stuck inside this abstract sculpture of teeth, and all I have is floss)

Looking forward I am anticipating the T15 raids to be good. The hype machine has certainly been telling me that they are fantastic, and I’m happy to take that expectation to heart. The content devs have even been doing the promo interviews amongst the big blogs and shows to demonstrate how much of a push T15 has. It had a promotion vid and also an official video too. Effort has been made by Blizzard, will it be enough?

The smaller changes in Patch 5.2 are interesting too.

Old patterns becoming available from Blacksmithing is meh, as it added no additional raid patterns (meaning ilevel 476+) out of the gate. I have no use for an ilevel 463 item now, and now also cannot upgrade that item as the upgrade vendor has left. That means it’s LFR or nothing for the quick upgrades. Whatever – don’t argue it, I get it. It shits me that the system was offered in the first place to act only as a patch jump.

When we see T16 replace T15 the gear divide from new level 90 to raider will be even wider, and there is a likely scenario where new patterns and the upgrade vendor will return. A telling mistake in previous patches was the time to get from newbie through to raider very late in the expansion’s life. Plans can be made to mitigate that.

I’m also a bit underwhelmed by the Archaeology changes for the Klaxxi. Here is a race that used to serve and worship the Old Ones as gods when they were active on the planet, and the archy material is a few new items and some achievements? Lost opportunity to do fantastic stuff right there.

Heck, the entire last Tier could be Klaxxi + Garrosh with aplomb. Imagine if T16 is a hash of old gods and the rejection of Garrosh by the Horde. It stinks of a good story. Even better if Garrosh is not thrown out because of being corrupted by old gods, but because of his own ambition. Let Garrosh raise alone to attempt to rule all of Azeroth, let him burn all before him, let his drive for power and absolute rule be the force that compels his followers and emboldens his naysayers.

Actually now that I read that, leave the Klaxxi/Old Gods out of it, and lets see a true natural menace appear in the world again. Garrosh can be the return to a true evil overlord in the story. No cop-out corruption, or misguided passion for purity. Give me a downright evil bastard and I’d consider switching factions to Horde just to feel the story of betrayal. Perhaps T15 bosses will open a few stories when they start falling…

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew Continue reading