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

The Cloak of Virtue claimed

After a lucky run this week which saw three of the Titan runes drop, I’ve acquired a Cloak of Virtue quest reward for patch 5.3 – The Tiger Claw Cape.

To say it is an upgrade from the ilevel 530 dps cloak I was using is a shattering understatement. 530 vs 608 is a wonderful difference when you are on this side of the quest reward.

I chose the Tank challenge as I’d been told is was a little easier and I was short on time. Overall it was very straight forward, with the only trick being where the tank must stand in front of the incoming blasts from four directions. Cute mechanic for a mini-boss style encounter, but I’d be annoyed to see that in a raid fight.

It also means that I’m actually caught up on “current” for the legendary questline for the first time since starting it. Luck has a great deal to do with that.

I cannot wait to use it. Happy Killing.

Have you noticed the gap?

I noted when running around after work on Tuesday night that the buff for extra Valor was still on my character, yet the cap had been refreshed back to 0/1000.

Like a good little grinder I’d almost finished farming my 150×4 of the bloody barrens boring grind-fest, so I got my last 35 oil, and parked at the quest giver.The ugly troll gave me the quest as expected.

Unexpectedly turning in the quest got me 300 Valor not 200. The What? +50% Cool!

Apparently it also works on the Isle of Thunder and disappears if you change zones or change maps. Yes it appears a bug, and likely unintended. I can’t say I’ll panic and plan to do this just for an extra 100 Valor each week, but it was a surprise.

BarrensArtwork

Slowly is the only way to go

Thanks to a guildie (hello Tarc) I have completed the Nalak phase of the Legendary quest and am now killing bosses again in Throne of Thunder LFR for the x12 bling-things part. Twelve, that is better than Twenty; right?

Well yes and no. There is no indication that the drop rate is better or worse, unless you suspect that the change to an auto-drop from Lei-Shen might indicate that these little tokens were even more rare that the 20x odd of the previous type. I got the first one last night from Lei-Shen and I guess I’m ok with it taking 12 weeks to get the others. I like Legendaries to be hard and painful. Patch 5.4 will likely be out in production before I reach 12x drops, so I’ll hopefully be able to use the cloak in p5.4 content.

From a lore perspective I do not understand how it makes sense that Wrathion would ask for this many too. I mean there are 12 bosses, and these are rare things, and they drop from bosses only…and somehow we got 20x of them. No wonder Wrathion has us doing this, it is not logical in the setting. I bet he is amazed! Not a new theme though if I remember the Hand of Sulfuras correctly either.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Pandaria Gathering Achievements

There are a set of gathering achievements in Pandaria which are based upon finding low and high quality items which appear randomly throughout the zones. These are generally the domain of the folks who love achievements like “The Loremaster”, which is to date one of the best titles I think there is in the game and which is also actually achievable without a world ending amount of hard grinding. These collection set is Bounty of Pandaria, Finders Keepers, Lost and Found, One Man’s Trash, Riches of Pandaria, and finally Is Another Man’s Treasure (wowhead has a good guide on this). The end goal for all of them is the in-game title “the Relic Hunter“. Another great title, more so because I think the number of players who have it will be rare (around 5%) but also because it demonstrates that the player is dedicated and probably slightly insane.

As of this post I have all those achievements done except “Is Another Man’s Treasure”, which requires the player to find 20x of the special BoA or exceedingly rare items which spawn randomly in the game world. At the moment I am up to 18 of 20 items. So close, which makes it frustrating and rewarding when I get each of the last ones.

Aside – I almost never actually do this type of completionist / gathering / farming / achievement stuff, but I love this type of thing when it gives quasi-tangible rewards. In this case a title, the gold from the low quality items, and the Bind to Account items from the good rares.I am going to pass the BoA items down to my alts, and also hang onto some of them on my Death Knight main as they are actually still oddly and slightly handy.

It feels like this set of “quest chains” were well designed and have tangible rewards directly related to the effort.

There are approx 5-7 more items I could find to get up to the 20 rares found which are needed, but they are the rare of the rare, and often very highly desired. That means farmers, campers, and lots of competition all the time. Even in the short time I’ve been watching some of them I’ve seen regular character also flying past in patterns very similar to mine.

On two occasions I got to an item with a few seconds of somebody arriving, and in one case was beaten to an item by the skin of my teeth.

I am enjoying the challenge immensely.

I am also considering trying to get more than one of some items on my account by farming them with alts as well. The Mining Pick is an example where it gives a +10 to mining skill when carried.

A character wielding two rare weapons might be a tad selfish for all the other Relic Hunters, and a character with two of the same rare can look darn good. A great RP set should try to make others jealous.

Happy Hunting, TyphoonAndrew Continue reading

Rumour – Final stage Legendary, might not be a weapon…

The final stage reward for the legendary quest might not be a weapon, as hinted by Bashiok in this little thread. Yep, I know that is a rumour, but it raises that question of expectation on rewards for effort. Let the conjecture begin…

It could be that we have a choice of trinket, or any other gear-slot. Given how the rewards through the quests have allowed a choice on reward it makes sense that WoW could reward players with an option.

Would that suck? Kind of, but mostly not. It might fit well.

Kind of sucky as I think getting to THE LEGENDARY is the goal. By tradition in previous expansions these have been weapons, and Pandaria has gone the Gem, Gem Slot, enhancement, and now Cloak route. It is easily conceivable to not be a final weapon.

Take the lore into consideration for a sec too and ponder why Wrathion would give another person a great weapon in the first place. He’s a Black Dragon and they are an evil selfish kind of lot. I wouldn’t trust him to not give us a cursed weapon, and then giggle about it while he attempts to subvert things to his own agenda.

But what if the item was something which is not a fixed mechanical advantage at all?

  • Imagine the final reward is a ilevel “high” widget, which always continues to scale to the level to your other highest gear +5. You’d want it, and you’d always want it. Legendary. It could take a trinket slot, add gob-smacking a mounts of two stats, and be done with it. eg. Haste & Mastery +nnnn, with a proc on cast or melee to look swirls and wonderful. I’d want that.
  • A reward that allows the wearer to assume a constructed illusory appearance. Like your own little transmog illusion over the top of whatever you wear. No more transmog costs, just this widget in your bags. I’d want that too, especially if I could turn it on and off.

And so on with all sorts of blisteringly cool features which will cause every player to want this item on all their characters. And despite my previous rants about legendary being a little washed out, or the process being odd – that is what they are: something that all toons should desire.

Just a thought, TyphoonAndrew.

Um, what? Interview with Blizzdevs

Aside

Listening to the one of latest Podcast from Legendary – about 15 minutes in they’re (Greg Street and Brian Holinka) talking through the effects of balancing Pvp vs Pve, and about how they’re not desiring to push one group into the other…forgotten about the Wrathion quest line already? Wish I had.

Great interview though. Particularly good for their perspective on Pvp in terms of balance holistically in the game, rather than at a micro level between classes and specs. A cynic might view it all as boilerplate stuff, but if you listen there is some meat in there on what they are thinking about when the choices are made, which I find really interesting. I’m a fan of knowing some of the process, even if I don’t follow the results.

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