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

Hearthstone looks interesting

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The new thing from Blizzard is a digital card game named Hearthstone. I think it is great to see effort by Blizzard to expand their breadth of game styles into new areas. These type of games do attract players with different needs and this is especially attractive as it is both free to play, and will run on many platforms including the iPad. This is a good strategy in my opinion for diverging their interests, which on the whole will help keep the company stronger (as long as it is a good game).

Be warned the promo video does not demonstrate the gameplay, for that check out the main website or the MMO Champion link below. Continue reading

Thoughts on … my most coveted items

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Joystick & Nethaera wants to know my most coveted and unusual items?

I choose Thunderfury and Sulfuras, the Hand of Ragnaros legendary weapons.

I know that is predictable and boring, but hey I worked like a mule for each of them over many years – they mean something.

Next to those is the Haunted Memento, as the free ghost follower is still pretty cool. After that I still have my Onyxia Scale Cloak banked, an Argent Dawn trinket, and the Orb of Deception waiting to be used.

HM

It’s quiet, too quiet…

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I’ve been hiding from World of Warcraft recently due to work overload. A weekend of business report writing, amongst babysitting, and replacing a broken modem/router was enough to have me tuckered out. Then I had to work Sunday night. Blarrrg.

I have been sneaking in the odd TV fix though – I’ve added the Walking Dead to the mix of shows that I treat as a naughty secret from the rest of the family. When the house goes dark and the child is asleep the zombies come out. The Mrs and I watch Mad Men together and amid Don Drapers last escapade with a brunette with morals as poor as his own I started wondering how cool a cross-over would be.

The Walking Mad Men – a cool chic zombies, huffing cigarettes and booze between solid bites of brains and flesh (and because of rule 34, I found it already created online). Then Peggy and Dom brain storming how to really appeal and distract the undead, or perhaps how to make them eat the competition.

I can see Draper getting serious with a handgun and cleaning up his beloved city, if only due to his strong survivalist instincts, and loner tendencies.

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Perhaps more sleep is needed. TyphoonAndrew.

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 5.2 Class Review – Death Knight

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GC has delivered a short blog as a review and update on their perspective for Death Knights, one part of a series for each class as a reflection of the changes made in patch 5.2. The intro to all the class updates was:

We don’t alter classes lightly, and every change comes only after a great deal of player feedback, developer thought, and careful analysis. We also know that while class changes can help keep things fresh, they can also mean that there’s a need to re-learn things about your character that you thought you already knew. We want to make this process clearer, more understandable, and easier to adapt to as we move into patch 5.2, so I’ll be working with World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to write a short blog series that will provide an overview of the important changes coming to each class.

For the DKs is worth a read (source)…

We had three main goals:

  • Make some less attractive talents more compelling.
  • Improve quality of life for Unholy Death Knights.
  • Give a small PvP buff.

We didn’t feel like Death Knights needed many changes overall, and we try not to change classes for change’s sake, especially midway through an expansion, so you’ll see fewer changes here than for some other classes.

To address some issues with less attractive talents, you’ll see buffs to Death Siphon (more damage dealt) and Conversion (less Runic Power over time).

Unholy’s quality of life changes were mostly to solve the problem of “orphaned” runes. A Death Knight would, for example, Blood Boil twice and then Scourge Strike, leaving two Frost Runes, which weren’t sufficient to use Festering Strike. Now Icy Touch activates Reaping, which will allow those Frost Runes to convert to Death Runes. We also made Plague Strike apply Frost Fever to reduce the need to use Icy Touches. We also made Summon Gargoyle no longer cost Runic Power and changed the damage done to both Shadow and Nature to synergize better with Unholy’s Mastery, Dreadblade.

While we think Death Knights are in a good place in PvP overall, we did agree with the feedback that Strangulate has a very long cooldown for what it does, so we lowered its cooldown and also lowered Asphyxiate to match. Finally, it is worth pointing out that the tier 14 2-piece ended up being overbudget to the extent that we were concerned DKs would keep using it in the 5.2 raid. We nerfed the set bonus and buffed Death Knights to compensate. Blood is in a good place overall, but we did buff Blood Parasite dramatically, because it was just undertuned.

In pondering what this means…

Overall – yes, DKs are in a good place and do not need a large set of changes.

Further every time a class gets refined in a significant way the changes swing up and down to find a new point of balance. I’d rather not have a large set of changes applied mid-expansion even to fix Unholy’s dps output. Frankly it does not make enough of a difference to me. I love Unholy the most out of all the specs, but will use whichever Dps style is better overall for me. In a month we’ll be able to review the changes being introduced for priests and monks and evaluate if they needed tweaks. I bet they’ll need tweaks.

I think most DK players have a similar ethos. The choice given to players for which spec to play when each spec is basically the same is somewhat of an illusion; a final max will be found through theory-craft, and it will likely become the default. e.g. Mage, Hunter, Rogue, etc specs too.

Talents – Conversion is a great talent, as it is passive. A nurf hurts a little, but if overall damage is altered to compensate (as indicated) then ok cool. No worries. That meas it might be worth mucking around wit the others. Death Siphon is a wonderful ability that I use in raids regularly to help the healers, and if it does more damage then that helps my Dps role. No bad there.

Timmy’s been upgraded – Overall an update to Unholy was needed, and i totally agree with Timmy being altered so that he is more usable. This does not alter the need to understand the complexity of when to use Timmy, or how Timmy might affect the raids – and that is excellent as Timmy’s idiosyncratic behaviour is one of the complexities that I think Unholy should keep.

T14-2pc Dps set bonus – it was good enough that having the set bonus and using 483/476 gear was better than using 489 gear (I have the SimCraft numbers to prove it too). Yes, that might be “overpowered” a little, but it also means that the bonus provided a bridge for those who were struggling to get gear in other locations.

Blood – My gripe for Blood is still that the health shield disappears too quickly. I know it is manageable, but fight mechanics often are more important than the timing of Death Strike, and that means a shield dropping off without being fully used, or sometimes the runes are needed for other powers.

For the PvP changes – I honestly cannot say.

Issues to bitch about – as a class DKs have a very complex mix of resources to plan with – generate and use RP for some powers, but not others. It shits me. We have cooldowns on powers to ensure they cannot be spammed and be abused, but the DK class is as complex a beast that I’ve ever played (compared to Boomkin, Warlock, Tankadin, SPriest) in raids. i.e.

  • BattleRes requires Runic Power…why? This power is meant to be used to recover from a whoops moment, but often I cannot use it as I’ve just burnt RP doing DPS. Do druids have a mana/energy/rage cost to cast the bloody thing? No. What the hell.
  • Soul Reaper requires a Blood rune, with it’s own additional internal cooldown… why? Runes have cooldowns/regeneration already. Suggestion – take the blood rune requirement from it and let me spam it according to Blood Runes.
  • Outbreak alone is almost but not really enough to keep diseases up on targets when playing Frost (well the way  I play at least). This means using runes on “lesser” abilities. That is fine, but it is not as useful as it could be. Perhaps a tweak to cooldown? Not sure.
  • Bone Shield (blood) is not a fun and interesting mini-game. It is something to remember, which is just meh.
  • Blood Shield – as above.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Naxxramas Continue reading