I’ve only done a handful of heroic scenarios and the Dark Heart was pretty tough all told. I joined the team and found that it needed all my concentration to keep alive and swinging. Yes, heroic scenarios are actually challenging. That is good. Bring them on.
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):
- wowhead’s build highlights
- wowheads’s Tier Armor preview
- and current patch notes (yup, wowhead guys really do great summaries)
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
I’d like to know how other players get to the 1000 valor cap per week? My method is constrained by small blocks of time, and a desire to alternate activity. I do:
- as many dailies for valor and rep as I can fit in while waiting for a queue
- x1-2 scenarios and x1 instance run per day, for the 3 nights a week I play. As a priority the Instance comes first, as it rewards more VPs, although the Scenarios can be quick.
- rarely I’ll do one or two extra daily quests before work, or on an off-night. Only 10-20 VPs worth at a maximum.
- even more rarely I get to kill bosses in a Raid or an LFR. Typically this happens if I don’t get a raid spot and I also get a night with no distractions. Once a month typically.
How successful is the strat? Its generally not enough. I get to around 650 VPs per week, although on a great week that might be almost 900 VP.
Is this the fault of me as a player not having enough time, or the fault of game design?
Given I spend approx 9 hours playing a week broken into small chunks of 45 minutes to 1.5 hours (if not raiding) I’m very comfortable saying that it is my schedule which affects the lack of capp’ing Valor points. Adding a night, or even 1 extra hour per day would make a huge difference on this time, and that is my long term plan – to spread play into “off-nights” but only doing stuff that is very easy to be interrupted in.
I’ve posted about the Valor rewards themselves being poor, and it may appear to be an attack on the overall system. The facility for obtaining Valor is fine, but the reward rate (5x per Daily) feels very low, but has not totally prohibited gear upgrades.
- Raidboss Valor Reward Increased (typhoonandrew.wordpress.com)
- wow p5.1 Valor Grinding Update by Ask Mr. Robot (typhoonandrew.wordpress.com)
- Shieldwall VP rewards (typhoonandrew.wordpress.com)
- Gearing up for an adventure (typhoonandrew.wordpress.com)
- Dungeon and Raid Requirements (typhoonandrew.wordpress.com)
A “note to self” on what item levels are needed to get into the MoP Scenarios, Dungeons, and Raids, and what item level they drop. Also what is obtainable from Factions and Craftables, via gold and Reputation.
Why? Because I frequently get them confused with each other…
- Requires: 425
- Awards: chance of 463, and now a small chance of 476
- Requires: 440
- Awards; 463, with very rare 476 on a few end bosses.
Mogushan Vaults (raid)
- Requires: 460
- Awards LFR: 476, Normal: 489, Heroic: 502
Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (raids)
- Requires: 470
- Awards LFR: 483, Normal: 496, Heroic: 509
- (most) faction = 458 gear purchased with Justice points
- (some) factions = 463 gear, such as Klaxxi Exalted weapons, for gold.
- (most) Honored and Revered with faction = 489 gear purchased with Valor points
- Friendly with ShieldWall Offensive = 458 gear purchased with Justice points
- Honored with ShieldWall Offensive = 496 gear purchased with Valor points
- Revered with ShieldWall Offensive = 496 gear purchased with Valor points
- Exalted and doing a Quest chain, with the Golden Lotus grants a 489 Neck
- Exalted and doing a Quest chain, with the Klaxxi grants a 489 Ring
- Item level 450s (no special mats needed – dirt cheap)
- 463 (Spirit of Harmony needed – cheap-ish)
- 476s (Spirit of Harmony needed – not badly priced at the moment due to new gear)
- 496 (Bloods needed – very expensive)
Here is a great summary of the lost lore to do with the Fall of Theramore scenario, from the Wowinsider folks. Its a great summary that I’m going to read in detail a few more times. Kudos. I’m about 6 chapters into the book so far, and enjoying the lead up to what I know is about to happen to Theramore.