SoO LFR Raid part one was ok

Sunday daytime a few weeks ago I had an unexpected few hours to waste online and I finally got the queue to pop for SoO part one, after a 1 hour 10 minute wait.

I am so very late to be just doing LFR Siege of Orgrimar, that it is sort of scary to think about how “behind” I am. It was Jan 19th when the Part One achievement ping’ed on my main character.

It gets me thinking that the concept of behind is funny in MMO terms. The folk who are setting or breaking records were done with this patch in Hard mode content months and months ago. The guild (Insidous Nagrand-US) has been doing hard modes for ages, and with two darn healthy 10-man raiding teams they are kicking Garrosh and his cronies in the groin on a regular basis.

As a section it is OK. I didn’t have my socks blown off by the strats or by the difficulty. I saw a heap of people die to the HUGE BLACK SWIRLY BEAM in whats-his-name-in-the-middle. I guess it was too tricky that it can go in one of two directions VERY VERY SLOWLY. I kept my well-fed buff through the entire run, which means that I’ve kind of let the noob-DK team down.

Anyway, I don’t mind being behind. I’d like some magic wand to make the queue times less than one hour, but I also feel like an absolute troll for even saying that. A player who logs in during the odd blue moon doesn’t like waiting one hour for an LFR? Cry a river rookie-boy. As a wise-crack, but altogether wise guildie suggested – or roll a Tank and man up!

I think the last thing the “LFR community” needs is my DK strafe tanking a Boss as a noob. I’m almost certain that after my Tanking an LFR run for the Lei-Shen fight a few players left WoW  in disgust. I could almost taste their tears and hear the breaking keyboards.

I love tanking, it’s not that it’s not fun at all, it’s that others don’t seem to love watching me learn. Grin.

Happy raiding, you dedicated folks. Very jealous. I’ll see it all eventually.

A few more thoughts on WoW p5.4

Now that I’ve seen more and read more about how people are using the new content and features in patch 5.4 for WoW; I’m impressed.

The standout items are the raid encounters and the proving grounds. Both I’ve not really stepped into much of either yet but both have created such an effective response from the players that they seem to be the aspects that will be remembered the most. The new raid benefits from the way the lore of the Destruction of the Vale cannot be ignored in the game. A straight up clever and direct call to players.

vale2 Continue reading

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

FlexRaids in 5.4, and LFR is apparently killing wow?

I’m reading about the Flexible Raid feature which is likely for patch 5.4, and I really dislike where the community is already taking it.

Ultimately, my guess is that in the next expansion, as long as there are no technical difficulties with the Flex Raid system, is that it will replace LFR completely.  I sure hope it does.  LFR is a stone around WoW’s neck and needs to be killed as quickly as possible.  For this reason I welcome the Flex raid system with open arms, and hope that it succeeds.

WTF!

While LFR might be killing the game for some, you are the not the entire player base.

If not for LFR I could not see the raid content. I don’t have a huge social network of raiders with RealID to sync with, and therefore I need LFR for the game to be viable.

I would not have some of the gear I have which allows me to sub-in to help our guild’s regular raid team. I am a pitch hitter who helps fill gaps, and removing LFR only makes that a shitty experience to try and keep up with where our raid team is. Our Guild raids three nights a week and is about as social a group as I have ever played an online game with – because I know a bunch of them from real life and have played with others for years. Years and years in fact.

So this new system is designed for social…good. What I will then need to do is open up and connect with new folks to form irregular raid times to try and suit my irregular schedule? Nah, I’ll just keep doing LFR when I can.

I love that the Flexible Raid feature is being added, it is a great step that will benefit the game, but to say that this renders LFR obsolete is plainly wrong. It might be true that many players who begrudgingly play LFR now will only do Flexibel Raids, but I doubt that too.

Many players will try to do all three, and that is a bad thing. It means burnout and boredom are present faster. i.e. Weekly LFR, Flex, Normal on the same content? Nope, no time. Bah, move on.

Links: I Like Pancakes – Flexible Raid Preview. and MMO Champ’s article.

Popular content observation

Aside

I read recently that WoW will be concentrating on scenarios rather than 5 mans. It started a pleasing debate over on the wow forums.It is worth a read through.

Quick thought – I think that the only reason people do scenarios and even 5 mans more than a few times is because they reward Valor points. The time/valor point is good, the experience is repetitive in the extreme. I know this is how I play, because as soon as I cap my Valor points each week I stop doing 5 mans and Scenarios.

Not true? So test this by removing the Valor reward from Scenarios and 5 mans for a patch and see how many people do them every day. Just because people are doing the content does not mean it is good, it means it is a means to an end.

(this was interesting from that thread – Sharmarli):

At this point I’m not really doing Scenarios or Heroics.  I have never done heroics this expansion (total of 9 I think when I got drug into guild runs) While I did a large number of scenarios initially to help gear up this Char the only reason I’ve been running since about the end of  November has been for quick valor points.

With the release of 5.2, however, I haven’t even been doing scenarios for the most part.  If I need extra VP I just go and kill the Isle rares for the 15VP books (made 135 VP last night in about 30-40 min of actual play time:  killed 6, went and made dinner, came back and killed 3 more).

Building new content should be an inbuilt part of the expected dev cycle. I know there is less money in the pot then before, but 8.5 million players is still a heck of a lot of players by any stretch of the imagination.

The devs have done great things by giving players more choice on how to earn these points, but we still need them. The old statement that Valor grinding is not “mandatory” is as silly today as it was before, we just have a wider range of ways to perform than grind.

TyphoonAndrew

mogu-wall-carving

Thundering LFR thoughts

I did a LFR for Throne of Thunder (or ToT as it is being called in the off-channels) and it was ahem interesting…I was unlucky enough to joining a run already in progress and on the final boss of that LFR session – Council. What I saw was expected and I’ll share a little.

For starters, the LFR mini-game has not changed and is still present, meaning:

  • an idiot still trolled the raid by pulling with missing players/roles, and left before being kicked. I feel there should be a way to make that player’s life worse somehow because he wasted 10 minutes of 20-ish people’s time.
  • an impatient player still yelled and whined about “just pull” and was a general pain through out the encounters. These people make me not want to read /raid channel.
  • nobody “knew” the strat, despite the raid leader explaining it really clearly,
  • many Dps did terrible jobs of staying alive and also actually doing damage. We sat around 80k dps for most attempts, did about 105k on the kill, but 5-7 players were doing less than 40k, and some less than 20k dps. Doing 20k dos with a 30% buff is unthinkable.
  • gear level was low for some characters present, but honestly how they played was far more a factor.
  • I battlerez’ed another character in each attempt, but I think the attitude is to wipe and reset rather than push in LFR.

ToT-screenie

Oh, but we have new enhancements to the system to help:

  • the new 5% buff for each wipe is interesting. I joined the Council attempts at +15% so knew they’re already suffering. When we killed it we were at +30%. I was around 3rd on Dps for most of the fights, sometimes getting to 1st. The buff is not stopping people from leaving, and is not stopping situational awareness, or lazy players.
  • the new buff system will help reasonable players carry bad ones, which is why I fully support it as a concept. The max value of 50% might not be enough if the player base cannot learn about staying out of sand-traps, but it is a help.
  • We will have four of these raids by end of April to do each week. I do not have the time or inclination to repeat that repeat wipe experience 4x a week in addition to dailies and trying to get a raid spot. I find wiping like that totally frustrating. It is not progression when nobody stays to learn, or refuses to learn how to do the fight properly.
  • Oh – and my Mogu coin and luck remain consistent with the previous tiers, meaning NOTHING DROPPED for me BUT A SCRUB DPS GOT A TWO HANDED WEAPON at item level 502. I wanted to throw my laptop at that point, or go out and buy a cat so I could kick it.

To be fair a single boss kill in not enough to say that the sky is falling, and in fact I like everything I’ve seen in Throne of Thunder. The trash, the bosses I’ve seen, and the physical construction is very good so far. I am pleased to say I will return there, and even keep trying to offload my lucky-mogu-coins for something other than gold.

Continue reading

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