The Cloak of Virtue claimed

After a lucky run this week which saw three of the Titan runes drop, I’ve acquired a Cloak of Virtue quest reward for patch 5.3 – The Tiger Claw Cape.

To say it is an upgrade from the ilevel 530 dps cloak I was using is a shattering understatement. 530 vs 608 is a wonderful difference when you are on this side of the quest reward.

I chose the Tank challenge as I’d been told is was a little easier and I was short on time. Overall it was very straight forward, with the only trick being where the tank must stand in front of the incoming blasts from four directions. Cute mechanic for a mini-boss style encounter, but I’d be annoyed to see that in a raid fight.

It also means that I’m actually caught up on “current” for the legendary questline for the first time since starting it. Luck has a great deal to do with that.

I cannot wait to use it. Happy Killing.

New Blacksmith transmute in 5.4, old one is now pointless

Mortigen staring at the forge itself after clearing up the Mogu hanging around the entryway. This forge really deserves more attention, it is beautiful.

The new transmute for Blacksmiths in patch 5.4 is the Balanced Trillium Ingot (BTI). This transmute basically renders the older Lightning Steel Ingot (LSI) introduced to craft the new weapons from ilevel 489 to 503 defunct. So thanks. BS was handed a transmute for vanity and downgrades on the patch content, and then given another.

Screw off developers, this seems like a very short and shitty merry-go-round of mindless transmutes with no forward planning. What ever happened to giving progression through a profession, where materials and patterns progress? A leads to B, then C, etc. In essence the Blacksmiths will drop any interest in LSI now and just wait for BTI. Silly.

Balanced Trillium Ingot is used for at the very least new Pants and Belt patterns for Blacksmiths and hopefully more items. If it is just for these two slots then I’ll probably pass on this new “feature”.

Given I launch snark at the devs, here is what I would have done in its place. Continue reading

Rumour – Final stage Legendary, might not be a weapon…

The final stage reward for the legendary quest might not be a weapon, as hinted by Bashiok in this little thread. Yep, I know that is a rumour, but it raises that question of expectation on rewards for effort. Let the conjecture begin…

It could be that we have a choice of trinket, or any other gear-slot. Given how the rewards through the quests have allowed a choice on reward it makes sense that WoW could reward players with an option.

Would that suck? Kind of, but mostly not. It might fit well.

Kind of sucky as I think getting to THE LEGENDARY is the goal. By tradition in previous expansions these have been weapons, and Pandaria has gone the Gem, Gem Slot, enhancement, and now Cloak route. It is easily conceivable to not be a final weapon.

Take the lore into consideration for a sec too and ponder why Wrathion would give another person a great weapon in the first place. He’s a Black Dragon and they are an evil selfish kind of lot. I wouldn’t trust him to not give us a cursed weapon, and then giggle about it while he attempts to subvert things to his own agenda.

But what if the item was something which is not a fixed mechanical advantage at all?

  • Imagine the final reward is a ilevel “high” widget, which always continues to scale to the level to your other highest gear +5. You’d want it, and you’d always want it. Legendary. It could take a trinket slot, add gob-smacking a mounts of two stats, and be done with it. eg. Haste & Mastery +nnnn, with a proc on cast or melee to look swirls and wonderful. I’d want that.
  • A reward that allows the wearer to assume a constructed illusory appearance. Like your own little transmog illusion over the top of whatever you wear. No more transmog costs, just this widget in your bags. I’d want that too, especially if I could turn it on and off.

And so on with all sorts of blisteringly cool features which will cause every player to want this item on all their characters. And despite my previous rants about legendary being a little washed out, or the process being odd – that is what they are: something that all toons should desire.

Just a thought, TyphoonAndrew.

Great feature – Loot Spec Selection

Aside

One aspect introduced recently in World of Warcraft was the option to select your preferred spec for Loot. By golly! It is great. If you are a hybrid class and not doing this then you should really should give it some thought. My Tank set has been improved by this feature more than once already.
2-Loot-specialisation-choice
It is one of the best quality of life type improvements I think have been made ever.

Impressions of new content for patch 5.3

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.

Pandarian-LoadScreen

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

scenario-screenie

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.

WoW p5.3 this week, highlights include

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.

garrosh Hellscream image from Blizzard's website

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.

King Wyrnn and a Panda, they all look alike

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

Recent 5.3 PTR changes for DKs and Legendary reward for Blacksmiths

dk-symbolFor Death Knights the May 14 tweaks have some relevance, and the new “Reborn” style weapons can now apply the Legendary upgrade.

As I said, it was very disappointing that the Reborns were same as the LFR drops – and they still are disappointing. This brings a 30 day crafting slog up to the scale of a random LFR drop. I’m seriously contemplating dropping Blacksmithing for Enchanting or some other profession with regular solid buffs beyond Bracers and Gloves socketing.

More after the break. Continue reading

Shallow needs for loot

Whine. Every time I use a coin and miss on a reward I feel like I’ve wasted a coin. When I don’t get loot in LFR I get the feeling too. Yes, we should not get gear every kill, and yes I know I’m on a treadmill.3x-LFR-Legs-ShittyLootSystem
Still the system needs to ramp up on rewards, perhaps so that I don’t get another of the same reward. eg. getting a third set of 502 PvE legs from LFR was frustrating.

A week later I got a 522 Leg item from Nalak too. Pants!

Is LFR progress?

It is funny to think that LFR can grant players “progress”.

Strict progression is typically for normal and especially for hard-mode guilds, who are focused not only the hardest content, but also getting through the hardest content faster than their peers. Server rankings, kill times/strats, and sometimes even achievement points are ranked against each other to see who is first, and who is the best. LFR however is generally accepted as being easy, or scrub mode.

I ran a lot of LFR this week and was able to kill each boss in the current tier in LFR raids. It took more than the four nominal run through, as sometimes I joined mid way through, or the groups disbanded amid the raid.

That does not at all mean though that LFR does not have a place in terms of “progress”. Perhaps it is just progress for me, but I think there is merit in the system. Continue reading

Crafting of Bloodmoon Reborn

The axe named Bloodmoon Reborn is a weapon (two handed strength based axe) that you either buy for huge amounts of gold, or craft yourself. I’ve never seen one on sale, but my AH mod tells me that they start around 50,000 gold. That seems cheap actually considering that to start from scratch it costs a small fortune in materials, and uses a daily cooldown for almost a month. Nuts.

crafting-BloodMoonReborn

As I have terrible luck with drops I decided to craft this. One month later I have a 502 ilevel item, which could just as easily be switched for a drop from LFR. That sucks a little, but Bloodmoon Reborn does have good itemisation for both Dps DKs and Tank DKs, as it loads Mastery and Haste.

I have two bitches about this in game:

  • A craftable which takes this effort should be a touch better than an LFR drop, considering the time and resources it takes. That shits me a little.
  • This weapon cannot make use of the Legendary upgrades. So it is not Thunderforged despite being forged in the Thunder Forge. Think about that for a moment.

If you want one don’t ask me for it unless you’re willing to pay for all that Living Steel and Motes of Harmony spent. Plus the trips out to the Thunder Forge. I can see these as patterns which really demonstrate the obsessive Blacksmiths in the game from the folks who just take it as they come. Full respect to any Blacksmith who gets all the 502 level patterns.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew

I need to save 2175 Justice Points

Aside

MMO Champions’ screenie of the caster heirloom shield, hopefully arriving in patch 5.3

5.3 will apparently bring us the heirloom shields, effective up to level 85. That means (a) they are moot for my shield using Tanks which is a shame, but (b) my Shaman toy might get some bling.

Well honestly I’ll probably buy both eventually anyway in the grim hope that one day another class is added. So make that 4350 Justice pts. And a pony.

Good news though. It is something to spend Justice points on.

wow Loot Specialization Menu

Aside

MMO Champ reports a fine new feature for Patch 5.3 in WoW:

The new Loot Specialization menu is in, allowing you to choose what spec you want loot for when getting bonus rolls, Raid Finder gear, and Pandarian quest rewards

Yehaw. Darn good feature. Its very welcome. A good step toward getting a friendly loot system. It might be seen as a change which makes World of Warcraft more friendly to casuals, which is true and not a bad thing but it is also something that makes the loot system more friendly for hardcore players and those player who love Alts.

I cannot see a drawback which is not related to a whine about “back in my day…”

WarcraftCata-ConceptArt

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

Mr Robot gets even better

hmmm, Mr Robot just added support for:

  • Find upgrades for valor points, what raids to run, etc.
  • Best in Bag let Mr. Robot dig through your bags & tell you the best items to equip for your main and off specs.
  • Shopping list  will make sure you don’t miss any optimizations.

You’ll need a premium account, or try a 1 week trial. The killer feature I see is the “Best in Bags” feature, because it allows the odd and different gear to be included in optimisation. Yes, it is not overtly hard to suss, but this is about making the choices for you.

And for those who just like the free Optimise service, that has not changed.

Its a great offer, and when I tried the free week everything looked and worked as I expected. Good stuff.

T14 2set 483 vs 489 Chest, set bonus wins

Aside

After noobing through the SimulationCraft panels, stuffing around with Mr Robot and Wow Heroes, and a few other sites – SimCraft confirmed that dropping from a 489 Chest (King’s) to the T14 chest from LFR at 483 is still an approx 2k DPS increase.

I didn’t think it would be but don’t think the simCraft tools should be ignored now that I’ve gone to this effort. Upgrades, love them for the Dps, hate them for the gold sink. Continue reading

Mathy question on DK set bonuses and gear item levels

dk-symbolOn first drop I was stoked – the tier gear is something that I crave due to the old days when the BiS gear was almost always Tier only, and all the rest of the gear was a poor shadowy reflection of the Tier gear. And the Tier generally was a great looking matched set and transmog was still a gleam in the lead dev’s eye.

I had the pleasure of getting a few Tier tokens from kills (four items in two weeks – DPS LFR Chest and Normal Gloves, and also LFR Chest and Gloves) and now have a ponder-some issue for DPS gear is due to a difference in item level between my current Chest item (489), and the Raid Finder DK set Chest (483).

TLDR = To get the Tier 14 2 set bonus I have to drop the chest item level down 6 item levels. Is the set bonus of +10% damage to key dps abilities better than 6 item levels of stats other stats?

I’m really not sure. It is likely an overall dps loss, but if so by how much? Does that DPS loss become mitigated by the 4 set bonus if I can get those drops instead? Hmm.

In thinking through the solution I compared the 489 Tier 14 with the 489 Breastplate I was using and they are almost on par, with the current one (King’s Guard) a smidge ahead. This however does not include the benefit of adding either of the Tier bonuses themselves, which I’d argue makes the Tier Breastplate at 489 better.

By comparison the items show a clear difference, which is to be expected with 6 ilevels.

questionT14-1

Left is the LFR T14 Chest, and the right column shows the 489 King’s Guard chest.

Overall gains of 62 Str, 590 Mastery, and 186 Haste vs the 694 Crit is the point of differentiation, as the Stamina and Armor is moot.

So then I thought to apply the stat weightings for  Frost DKs via Wowhead. The goal was to see what difference for teh item alone was, in terms of marginal upgrade or significant upgrade.

This showed the combined weighting value of 156,784 pts for the T14 LFR Chest, and 161,280 for the 489 Chest; meaning a difference of only approx 3% in the two items. Ignoring that this is probably not the way to use item weightings (?) it shows that the LFR item is only a minor downgrade.

It also made me realise that even if I know what the weighting is for the items themselves, I do not have a dps value to compare too, as I cannot ratify a specific DPS figure increase against items level without a set of repeated simulations (like SimCraft).  I don’t know a way to settle what the difference is. Fark. Continue reading

How do you get to 1000 valor per week?

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.

golden-pagoda-golden-lotus-wow-daily-quest-hub

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.

Happy Killing.