Is this a Timeless Isle rort?

In the Timeless Isle there is the capacity to earn special “bloody coins” currency by adopting the mantle of Ordos and killing others. Get enough coins and there are some nifty non-combat rewards and even a cool mount for 500x of the buggers. On my PvE realm flagging like that is still a dangerous act, as many folk will take the opportunity to fight and the buff takes away a lot of your health. I imagine that on a pvp realm it is one hell of a fast and deadly activity.

I found a group of characters up on the very northern tip of the Isle who appeared to be having their own little Ordos party, where I can only assume they take turns dying and killing each other. A good idea really, but is it a rort?

To be fair they may not have been switching to kill each other for Bloody Coins. Perhaps there was some other RP activity going on, and I’d just found the new tunnel for the DeepRun Tram? I wasn’t invited to join them, and perhaps that was a good thing.

To get there I was riding over the water well beyond where any monsters or quests go, and it was very still and quite. Good on these players for finding a nook to sequester themselves. More power (and blood-coin-thingys) to them.

Mortigen finds rort
Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew

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Ordos is a funny encounter

I like the Ordos fight because it is simple. I dislike it sometimes because that simplicity makes people take the fight less seriously, which in turn make the encounter difficult. Essentially if Ordos’s mechanics were added into a traditional raid instance I think the fight would be considered easy.

Ordos requires one of your characters to have gained the Legendary cloak, run your way past a few fire creatures, and then dps him quickly, while moving the boss away from the huge pools of fire he drops, and having the Living Bombs applied to your raid members moved away from the rest of the people.

ordos-wide

It is in concept exceedingly simple. It is made difficult by being a primarily PuG fight where the quality of players is determined randomly. The fact that getting that Legendary cloak is required is not at all an indication that the player knows anything about what they are doing, and/or might be using a totally different character.

Last night for example I took my Druid as Boomkin to the Ordos fight. Now as a Death Knight in melee I know this fight is terrible because the Tanks don’t move and generally the living bombs go off amid the raid group. It is a cluster of fail. But hey, apparently we just run back and repeat wipe until it dies. That is PuG open world raiding (apparently).

As a Boomkin I was able to stand well back, stay away from everyone else, and dps. Twice I was selected as the bomb, but healed my way through the damage so I could keep fighting. It was easy.

It was so much easier as range dps that I cannot think why (if given a choice) anyone would do anything except stay back as range. That is what is so “funny” – the encounter is a repeated death run for melee but range get to sit back and ping and only stress about a single fight mechanic? Funny. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there wasn’t that post from Blizzard about melee friendly stuff. Or maybe they were not at all talking about Ordos. The kill grants huge ilevel gear (thunderforged 559!) so every PvE person will be trying to do this, and that the barrier to entry is so blistering low that we can expect all sorts of casual attitudes.

Good. Funny. I’m going to be a slacker now in Ordos too. The game wants a slack approach, then by golly I’ll live up to that challenge. Bring on the Alt Army of Noob.

I’ve parked that Druid right at the top of the stairs in front of Ordos, so I can switch, tag, kill, and loot whenever it pops each week. I’m going to park my noobie Warrior there soon too, and perhaps get a small bit of Thunderforged gear which will be great for transmog.

Grumble. Funny.

Panoramas and Banners for fantasy themed blogs

Aside

As a blogger I never seem to have the “right” image, and get tempted to hike images from anywhere. Well, shamefully I do admittedly hike them, but I try to grab my own, or take them from folk who are willing to give freely.

I found that “The Other Tank” Blog has compiled a batch of images which are perfect for bloggers to use for wow-related banners and panoramas. Even better he has supplied a batch of these in zip file shared via DropBox for anyone to grab. Darn fine work sir!

serpents-heart

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew.

Two quick changes in recent p5.4 notes

Aside

Quick note on some (now) very old news – the recent patch 5.4 stuff has a few DK changes which are real quality of life tweaks.

  • Death Gate now returns the Death Knight to a location near their original departure point when the spell is cast while in Ebon Hold.
  • Icebound Fortitude no longer costs Runic Power.

Yehaw for both! The Death Gate change means we’ll not be stuck in old world which is a nice quality of life change. I can now use DG to quickly get to a vendor then back into play. for DKs who are leveling it also gives you a place to port to if you’re stuck somewhere dangerous; although not much is dangerous to a DK while leveling. The IBF change is good to allow its use exactly when it is needed. Excellent.

HearthStone, Impressions so far

A week ago I downloaded and started playing HearthStone. For a beta it is solid.There were no graphical glitches, error 37s, or other strange config things going on to hamper getting in straight away to play.

Overall – I’ve now been reminded why I hate “Draw a Card” based games and why I just stayed away from MtG when it was repeatedly offered at game stores and roleplaying tables. The degree of “random” in what powers can be used when is a key issue for how the game plays. That might be a cornerstone of this style of game and a known factor to many players, but for me it is farcical.

The darn game could be renamed “The Frustration of RNG”.

hstoneBannerKnowing that a deck contains a few handy abilities to your current situation and not getting them for turn after turn is way too frustrating. Twelve or so games into the normal Practice modes where you try to unlock the other classes and I was almost screaming at the screen. I certainly thumped the table. I am also consistently frustrated by how often the NPCs is able to pull the “right” move. Kill a taunt empowered card and the NPC drops another straight down. For pity’s sake. The NPCs seem to always have the right card as follow-up. Screw this.

One battle my “Heroic” Mage drew no extra minion cards for 5x rounds – in a game based upon using minions and specials to win! In another game which came down to both heroes being on less that 5 HP at the last turn I’d never seen a Fireball card (4pts cost inflicting 6 damage). ON A MAGE!

I also noticed that there is a certain strategy in not just using cards because you can deploy them. The NPCs in Practice mode seem to hold cards early and then swamp the board later. The NPCs in the tutorial games are softer and seem to have worse luck with cards. I’d like to know if the NPCs are at the same “level” as my hero or am I being challenged by level 10 opponents while tooling around on a level 1-3.

That aside…

  • Too many “click to proceed” things from the time you open the app to the time you are actually about to play. Animations are slow (on my laptop). I think that is by design in HearthStone as WoW plays fine on the same laptop and it cannot be using much in the way of a 3d engine.
  • Overall I’d like it to “play quicker”. Show cards quicker, etc.
  • The initial training fights have the odd “Grom Dar!”, “You will burn”, and other character based emotes and actions, and its funny now but after a few games I started wondering how old that will get.

After the training five or so fights, the player is tasked with defeating the other classes. Some classes seem already freaking cool, and others disadvantaged.

The Mage (starter) has a 2pt special power which delivers 1x damage, and it can be used every turn if you wish. By contrast the Hunter has a 2pt ability which inflicts 2x damage. Why? I note that the Mage can always ping 1pt, but the hunter can sometimes not, but that is a trivial limitation on a game where we usually have other uses for those points.

So far I’ve unlocked the Warrior, Shaman, and Priest so far, and find the Warlocks, Hunters, and Druids darn tough to beat. I’ve heard that Rogues are tough to content with, but both my matches have been down to the wire although I’ve lost both too.

The Warlock’s draw a card power is fantastic, and I am repeatedly fighting and getting trounced by the Warlock because I think that ability will suit how I like to play. Sure it might cost a few health, but a Card per 2pts is trivial if you have only a few cards left in your hand. The Druid being able to directly attack is great. It might only be useful periodically, but it seems hardy and appropriate to the class.

The Monk and Death Knight are not present as classes and I can forgive that given how much diversity there is already in the class mix.

Melee friendly raids, ah, cool, pardon, come again?

Ah, such wonderful flame-bait, blogger-bait, and diversive material; how-do-we-define-melee-friendly from WoW Insider’s post and the related interview from Blizzard. I’m blogging it as it is an ongoing joke amongst some of the melee folks I regularly chat with. I love it when I hear a fight is melee friendly, especially when it comes from a non-melee (really healer, its not easy up the backside of this giant ogre). The WI blog is a long post, and worth a read if you have not looked.

Then join me here as I meander through my thoughts a bit…

Q. How do you know if a fight is melee friendly?

A. If the dps contribution on excellent attempts or a range of kills does not have melee behind in the overall damage done then the fight is probably not unfriendly to melee or range.

Any other measure is not based on what the players are doing, and should be questioned. It is overly melee friendly if the range dps cannot keep up with the melee, and vice-versa.

Q. How do you design for melee (or range) friendly?

A. At a high level view, not in a minute by minute breakdown.

I think it is ok for fights to have bias. The balance should be across the raid instance content, and also hopefully across the phases; but not stress about within one phase, or even one fight.

I love a good melee fight. Primarily that is because a lot of my time over the years has been played on a Death Knight. Before that I played on a Warlock or a Paladin, but only rarely did dps as the Paladin because early days the Pallys were not so hot in dps. So at the time that Wrath came out I switched to a DK and have only hooched around on a Boomkin, Warlock, or Shadow Priest as range dps since.

Secondly I’ll add to that I’m a little lazy these days in fights, or said another way I prefer fights that have mechanics that make sense, and that when combined form complexity in the encounter.

A principal example is Lei-Shen from Throne of Thunder. I think it is a great fight because:

  • As an end boss it is unforgiving of mistakes. Good. It frustrates the absolute crap out of me that a player can grief his team by repeatedly making mistakes, and sometimes even dedicated players make mistakes (that might feel like griefing), but it is worse when a fight is too easy, and I support end bosses being tough.
  • Almost every attack or mechanic has been used before on the raiders in trash, pve areas, or a previous boss. Bloody excellent. No excuse for not understanding the basics. The complexity comes when responding to multiples at the same time.
  • With the exception of the “blue swirls of ephemeral bad” near the boss, the bad poo on the floor is blisteringly obvious. When one quarter of the floor space lights up and sparkles just after the lightning reactors overload…yes, you, you’re standing in bad stuff. MOVE. B-res pls lol.
  • If done well, both Range Dps and Melee Dps have roles to do which means that no style is significantly disadvantaged. In LFR and Normal that is, I never saw Heroic mode, but can imagine it is as much fun, expect with razor blade thick-shakes and booster rockets.

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WoW Hammer launches, go have fun, share, party

There is a new wow site launched, with a slightly different bend to the typical wow blog/info site – named WoW Hammer. Instead of straight patch notes or official news WoW Hammer focuses on content related to World of Warcraft stories, screenshots, the experiences of players, and any funny events.

WoW Hammer – Where the joy of play meets the joy of life.

It is a less serious place to share WoW related stuff.

The editors are keen to engage the World of Warcraft community as the source for the material, and are taking contributions. So if you are interested in contributing and sharing interesting stories I can heartily recommend chatting to the eds. They’re friendly folk.

The post rate will likely be daily updates from material already sourced from some contributors, and (for the sake of openness) I’ve happily already contributed an article which I am hoping to see published shortly.

Go have a read, it could be something great. TyphoonAndrew.

party