Insidious has defeated Ragnaros

At last, after fighting him tooth and nail, the Insidious raid team have defeated Ragnaros – giving them 7 of 7 and completing the normal mode fights in Firelands. Well done guys, you earnt that victory.

Typically it was the last attempt for the night, just after the raid was supposed to end. Perhaps you guys should raid from 11pm to 11:15pm?

Congratulations.

ps – we’re looking for a few good players too. If you’re a good player, mature, and love playing in the Ausssie time zone then look us up. Insidious on Nagrand-US Alliance‘s website. Currently recruiting healers.

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My class of Choice

Back in 2008 I wrote a post about My class of Choice. At the time I was an alt-a-holic, with 3 characters who were regularly played in Warcraft, and many more who were used as profession mules.

Fast forward to now and my warcraft time is as different as my life is, then from now. The Paladin, Warlock, and Druid has been replaced by Mortigen, the Death Knight. Wrath saw this class released upon the game, and I’ve never looked back.

The Death Knight was my first character to level 85, and the first I wanted to take to raids. I also now have a Hunter and Druid at 85, and the Paladin, Warlock, and Priest are stuck at 80, with a shamble of Shamans and others throughout the 30s to 70s. In 2008 I said I’d not ever have a Hunter and now its 85 – the game changes you.

Lifestyle wise in 2008 I was living in another city, where my partner (now wife) was regularly working away from home or doing long hours. This facilitated a huge amount of time where i could do as I pleased. The Alts came out in force, and the content was getting smashed left and right.

It is funny to ponder how wow and life changes. Happy Killing.

p4.3 Rogue only legendary? Balderdash

There are a heap of posts around today about a Rogue legendary in patch 4.3.

If you believe the rumors the lore is still being worked out, the plan is draft, and they’ll work out the details soon. Then the post, which was originally from the Escapist Mag got pulled.

Sorry you leather stealthy guys, I call balderdash on this.

To release any Legendary into the game this quickly will seem rushed. The caster staff was telegraphed well in advance. As were the Hammer in Ulduar, the Axe from ICC, and basically all the other Legendary items were not added on a whim. Warglaives of Az anyone? Don’t Rogues already have access to a weapon that is darn useful for them (at the time).

Some have said that it is due to the lack of Rogues participating in raids, but hey – news flash – this won’t change that now in a way that will “fix” it for patch 4.3.

Also to release a Legendary for a single class is totally odd to the previous design behaviour too. Its so out of character that I’d bet a warm dinner that this is not true.

Conversely if this is true, what does this say about the planning and development methods? Words like rushed, decided, patch, are not what players wish to read, and I think there would be a better response to the Rogue population, and an overall better acceptance of this if a Rogue weapon was planned for the 5.0 game. In the next expansion I can see a weapon usable by Agi melee being viable.

Easy mode raiding, why not?

Blessing of Kings has a nice post about a way to have more transient raiding – its a good read, and worth considering.The post is well thought out, comprehensive, and clear.

If not found in wow, it could be a feature of other MMOs that seek to entertain a more casual play style, which would be a draw card in my opinion. World of Warcraft has most of what would be needed already, or is coming soon in patch 4.3. Odd eh?

As an extension of BoK’s ideas – it would not be too much of a stretch to add Easy mode raids (let the hate fly!).

I know that people might hate the idea of dumbing down the content for casuals (just read the forums), and many raiders would be darn pissy with the idea. But think, if the rewards were less, achievements different, and the lockouts different – the easy mode raids would allow for learning, some side-grades, and a sense of theme and plot without a monumental increase in effort. Where is the difference between Easy mode, vs the Normal and Hard modes when the lockouts were separate for 10s and 25s. Some players thought 10 man fight on Normal were already easy mode. Same people probably hate this idea too – with potentially valid reasons from their perspective.

There would be no direct negative impact on the Normal and Hardmode raiders, except the nudge to their ego. To them the kids in the sandpit playing at war (and eating dirt) are happy, as they are playing a separate game. Yes, it would require tuning to make sure that easy was not trivial, but it would not impact the Normal and the Hard raiders.

An easier mode is different from the “Buff of Nerfage” that Icecrown had. That was an end of expansion way to ensure that everyone could play through content, and it was good too. The buff applied across all, whereas a Easy mode would allow more people time to fight and learn the bosses before the rush at the end. Some guilds may even just complete Easy mode and be happy – that content might be enough for some. For others it will be a step ladder into the content. It would also remove the need to add a “Buff of Nerfage” at the end of the content patches – why bother. If all you want to do is kill the boss, then switch to Easy mode and see the content’s theatrical style. No way in hell you’d be considered a Hardcore raider, but you’d still see it.

Even as I write this I have doubts too though. Who would use it? Would the achievement of Easy mode be considered more a brand of failure than none at all? Would enough people use it instead of Normal and Hard to justify the time investment?

The casualisation of wow has had an affect on a lot of players, and there are as many perspectives as there are players on what the right choice is. facts about subscriber numbers may influence the choices made in the coming patches and expansions too. We’ve already seen a change to threat that some folks don’t like, but others (such as myself) think are excellent. Is this casualisation? Probably, and it helps keep me paying my subscription every month.

One limiting factor that I don’t think was good in the end in Cata was the shared lockout for 10s and 25s. There were ways in Wrath to pug those odd 10s and 25s so that you had extra opportunities to gear. When the shared lockout was first described I thought it might have benefits, but I’ve come around to the opinion that having a wide range of options is actually better than having a strictly defined path. Perhaps the Easy offers a similar option, a separate lockout for Easy mode. This way a low geared toon (all those alts) would run the Easy mode to get basic rewards and confirm their literacy for their role, and then be able to migrate into Normals when they were ready.

For easy mode gear rewards it would make sense to me that the gear drops should not be any higher than the current 5 mans which are considered “hard”. As we’re in p4.2 that means 353 rewards if it existed now. The idea is not to use the gear as a reason to raid, but to offer alternatives to the basic 5 mans that expose the content. Training wheels? Yes, for sure.

I would also expect that Bind on Equip gear would not drop so as to not flood the market. And the gold rewards would be significantly reduced so that farming was not attractive at all. Likewise the quests that were needed for special story paths would not complete in easy mode either.

I would have also liked a Normal and Heroic mode for the ZA/ZG 5 mans too, but I guess the same time in tuning and scaling would have been needed – with a low potential audience. A scaled approach such as  ZA/ZG Normal offering 346 and Heroic with 353 is not a terrible idea. It changes nothing about the step up, but makes the ZA/ZG part of the runs that a PvE player uses to get geared.

So Easy mode raids…way off base, or something that you’d use? Let me know.

Raze – the Dungeon Warrior

After capping out on Valor points on Mortigen primarily by running the ZA/ZG instances over and over, I decided it was past time to continue to level something else. I turned to my Warrior, recently renamed to Raze.

Raze - Warrior at level 82 in random drops

Raze wearing random drops. Fist weapon as a Tank? Hell yeah.

After a quick review of gear I decided that a small expenditure of Justice points and some new AH green gear will see it well resourced to finish the late level 70s. It worked so frigg’n well that I passed through to 80 without really noticing.

Being a Tank at 70s to 80 was much better than I remembered. All the instances were still very quick to queue up for, and it didn’t take much to remind me of the strats for Wrath normal dungeons. For the most part the dungeons were the same speed as when we did them as over-geared 80s.

As ping’ing 80 was so exciting, I jumped straight into a few Cataclysm dungeons and found that they were harder, but still ok. I was surprised as I recalled the 80-85 normals to be a total wipe fest, and it was totally the opposite as a Warrior Tank.

Three runs later I had 4 upgrades for my Tanking gear. Booya. Pinging the Warrior through normals will be a great fun distraction I’m adding to my week once Mortigen has his weekly Valor cap. Bring on the beautiful rested xp, the awesome range of Warrior control cooldowns, and some mean dps in tank spec. The Warrior is now 82, and I’ve got to discover the entrances to the next set of dungeons so I don’t just keep killing the same two sets of bosses over and over.

kudos to those who solo

Quick post to spread the word – mmo champion has videos of a DK who successfully completed Yogg+1 solo, straight after doing a solo kill Mimron on hard mode: Firefighter! Also in the post is a Malygos solo by a Warlock. So we have a Death Knight doing what they are darn good at, by demonstrating that Firefighter is nigh on impossible for some groups now, but plausible for a solo DK. That is great.

Then a Warlock stepping up and showing that it is not just plate wearers can solo old content. Malygos is a darn healthy fight. Just amazing efforts by both the Death Knight and the Warlock.

LFD Quirks

I’ve noticed that the first group I get in LFD is typically a fresh run where everyone starts from the start. If for some reason somebody does not accept, then the next group will almost always be a mid-way through run of some form. Sometimes its early, other times is at a hard boss.

I have no idea if this is by design, and I think its good. But is it just me – does anyone know if this happens for Dps, or just Tanks, or if its just a strange consistency in recent randoms?

If its planned you’re typically going to wait for a group, it is sometimes better to get into a part way group so that the wait time (for the guys that wait) is overall the same from queue to completion.

A counter though is that joining a group that has issues might have you joining a group of terrible players, rather than replacing a terrible player. I guess there would be no pattern to that.

DMF adds new Heirlooms?

Ah what a good rumor – so much so I hope its true. Psynister Notebook is blogging that their will be new heirloom rings and legs added as part of the Darkmoon Fair. He has already written a comprehensive guide to heirloom items, and with these our alts and twinks should be even better geared. Or is that overgeared?

New Rings and Legs for 1-85 are most welcome. I couldn’t see the declaration specifically in the Wowhead post he’s referenced, but there are links to Rings and Legs within Wowhead, so it is not beyond the call at all (eg. New Tanking Legs). Far more likely than the next expansion being based upon Pandas at the very least.

Do we have enough Heirloom gear now though?

A typical character can be outfitted already in a brutally powerful set of items, to the point where they are typically well above the power of a character not using them. Now I don’t have an issue with this at all, but wonder if the plan is to eventually give us a full Heirloom set that is a matched style and function. Boots, bracers, added in, and then revise (or upgrade / trade-in) the older heirlooms to function from 1 to Max level.

I’d personally love to see it, and think that the slow addition of extra gear is another way we’re being encouraged to stay in the game. It is not a bad strategy – don’t over nurf the content or XP too much, but instead offer players a tool to accelerate through the content should they choose to. No free levels, but certainly fast levels.

It just remains to question what the currency for the heirlooms will be. I hope it stays as Justice points, but could see those pesky darkmoon tokens being used too.

I’ll be reading the patch notes specifically for that now.