What might be coming in WoW v6.1?

What might be coming in WoW v6.1? (blizzard official source, and wowhead’s views)

  • A Legendary follower for the garrison, as part of the legendary quest chain. Cool.
  • Ability to send tweets and screenshots out directly from the UI. Um, wow.
  • Better flight paths. Good.
  • Game-Time tokens tradable for gold. Maybe at this stage. #Plex
  • An heirloom tab, which might be wonderful, or might be pox.
  • Maybe the new Blood Elf models. Meh, not fussed.
  • Another raid. Good.

Bring it on, looking forward to it.

Garrosh Hellscream still wins, kind of.

At the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar the heroes of the story will have defeated Garrosh, and stopped his plans to use Sha powers to rule Azeroth. That is the expected outcome of the patch content. There is also some question on who the new Warchief of the Horde will be. I won’t spoil that for you.

I will spoil part of the story, as it is a part which I dislike. You have been warned if you read on.

Garrosh_2_000000

Continue reading

The Legendary catch-up in p5.4

A note from a little while ago indicates that there will be a Legendary catch-up coming in Patch 5.4. This is good and bad, and the divide in opinion seems very polar.

Good for those who are interested in getting the item, and who struggled to keep up. Great for new 90s, or for players with Alts. Incredible for them. I know many players personally who will frigg’n love the fact that they won’t be returning to old content just for the quest drops.

Legendary-Quest-Part2Complete

Bad for players who wished this Legendary to be as unique as the others. They want it to be hard. As a direct comment in the post says:

So basically what this means is, those of us that keep up with the chain as parts are introduced are wasting time that could be used to do other things, because all we have to do is wait a patch or 2 and we can make up months of  grinding in a cpl weeks… Cut the shit!!! IT’S A LEGENDARY, not every hockey helmet that pays $15/mo is entitled to it just because they pay for game time… This is something thats supposed to be exclusive, treat it as such and keep it harder to aquire then getting a new heartstone…

Overall if it were my choice I’d have said no to the concept, but the actual mechanic in this case still requires significant grinding, and will not make that much of a difference in terms of time investment. Sure, it took me 3+ months of hard work to get here, but that is ok when the hard work is still needed. This is less of a nurf to effort than when the Valor points were dropped.

So I think Blizzard have done a good job of allowing players to raid (what will be) the current content, but also slowly gain ground on the quest chain. The drop rate seems to be the same, the kill rate, etc all should leave the player doing the same activity, just in a harder and current raid. Once the Legendary was presented as an Orange-Toy-for-Everyone this type of grand fest was really the only course of action.

Happy killing.

DK-T14-Chest-is-a-Dress

A good time to return

Art-ToTIf the banter around flex raids is true, then patch 5.4 will be a good time for players to return to WoW, particularly if they are members of a guild like ours.

I know, that sounds like a recruitment post. It’s not especially one, but more players and characters are welcome.

What I mean is our guild is one which has a very dedicated raid team who sometimes used to have trouble with numbers. We now also have slightly more darn good raiders than we can fit in an ideal x10 man composition, and an additional growing number of more casual members who love to raid but also play wow in a less serious way. Or they might play hard, but less often.

For us (and potentially a large number of other guilds) Flex-Raids that means we are in an ideal spot. Whichever way we go in terms of using the flex systems, it can only be to our advantage. That said we (the officers) haven’t chatted through the implications as yet, but I fairly confident that we’ll get to a good place with a minimum of fuss.

Now all I need is to get through the 11x remaining kills of Lei-Shen for the uber-rare widgets of awesome, so I can catch up on the legendary quest chain. Fun times ahead watching folks stand in the bad.

Art-MC

WoW patch 5.4 looks good thus far

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):

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.

yshaarj-window

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.

GarroshKillEverything

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

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

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

Raidboss Valor Reward Increased

https://i0.wp.com/mmo4ever.com/mists-of-pandaria/gfx/icons/pvecurrency-valor.pngHuge news – and perhaps in response to the community being pissed off about the low rate of valor collection – the rewards will be boosted in maintenance today – from 25 to 40 VPs per kill. Wow Insider has the skinny, twitter post from GhostCrawler, and patch notes.

Normal and Heroic raid encounters in Mogu’shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, and Terrace of Endless Spring now award 40 Valor, up from 25. This will take effect after the weekly reset.

Wow. Excellent!

What does it mean? Well for a start raiders have a reason to spin through a clear of Mogu’shun Vaults for Valor instead of doing dailies. 240 VP per clear is far better than 150.

Also in this patch is the Spirit Kings appearing in a set order – interesting. Was it enough of an issue that folks found it hard? A particular order did not seem to be more difficult. No more than the selection of Doggies in the 3 Dogs fight being sometimes a pain.

Happy Killing. Continue reading

Thoughts from 5.1 patch notes

Some odd stuff:

Spirit of Harmony can now be purchased for 600 Conquest Points at the Conquest Quartermaster.

Can I convert the other way please? Please? And to VPs not Conquest? That would be bloody wonderful. 1x SoH granting 600 VP would be like Christmas. I know, dream on.

Portal Shards grow into consumable items which can be used to open a portal from Sunsong Ranch to a major faction city.

That’s handy. Although I’d say just buy yourself the Stormwind cloak and use it to teleport. Less farming and it never runs out.

A search bar has been added to the mount section of the Mount and Pet Journal. The Mount and Pet Journal remembers which tab you were last using.

Good. It needed it.

Banquet of the Steamer and Great Banquet of the Steamer now correctly provide Intellect to damage based casting classes. Healers will continue to gain Spirit from these foods.

This will make a huge amount of raiders happy. Bravo.

 

 

wow p5.1 Valor Grinding Update by Ask Mr. Robot

You PvE folks don’t need more gear drops, just update the gear you have with Valor and Justice! Yay. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Mr Robot has an excellent summary with examples of how and how gear will soon be able to be upgrades with grind-able points. In Patch 5.1 for WoW you’ll get a +8 item level boost on any gear, costing 1500 points. That is pretty neat for a raider who is missing a key upgrade due to poor luck. It offers an alternative which was not available.

I have a niggling feeling though that it will make capping Valor/Justice each week so much more important. It was already very desirable, but now it feels even closer to a mandatory requirement.

Q. Where do you get the points?

A. Same places – boss kills, instances, and doing daily quests. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. Do we get more, or are the scales adjusted?

A. Nope, all is good in the ratios so I’m told. 25 points per boss kill is apparently what is needed.

Raiding and LFR offer between 40-50% max of the Valor, assuming that you are doing full clears. Not many guilds are doing full clears – so many raiders are not even close to max before they start doing Instances and daily quests.

Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. Should I do progression, with wipes, long effort, etc or do Valor farming?

A. Both. You need to play more, or play more efficiently, or whatever – this is all about being given expanded options. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. How could the reward improve or valor system improve?

A. How about:

  • Increase the reward from the instances from 80 VP first and 40 every run afterward to 100 and 60 each extra run. Make it so more people run instances to get their Valor – it can’t hurt. It still makes it a hard slog to cap. Increasing the JP reward is a good idea too.
  • Reward both Valor and Justice from Scenarios, unless they are intended to be done once and then forgotten.
  • Reward more from boss kills in PvE, from 25 to 40-45. This means that it is still very unlikely that a character will cap valor just from PvE clearing.
  • Reward daily quest reward from 5 VP to 10 or 15 VP. This is for fools like me who are earning valor through daily quests a lot and are really bored with it.
  • The bonus for valor capping a character changes so that instead of one character getting to 1000 valor and the buff kicking in, the 1000 can be gained on any set of characters, then all get more. This means more people are using alts – which would be their choice.

Remember: Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory. Are you happy citizen?

Refs:

A defensive update on the patch

English: A line of M109A6 Paladin howitzers as...

Patch 5.0.4 brought us some changes, and its taking some players like me a while to understand and absorb them. I’m damned if I can fit 9 classes worth of changes in my head at once, so I’ve kept to just a few. My Death Knight main and a few of the toons that I tank with: DK, Warrior, and Paladin. I’ll get around to adding the Guardian Druid into that soon, and then also spec’ing the non-tanks like my Warlock and Hunter. I wonder if Hunters and Warlocks can pet tank / solo now.

One thing about the new Tanking model is that multi-mob tanking is much more viable, as long as the tank does not get stunned or overwhelmed. When either occur you are in deep trouble very quickly. DKs, Pally, and War all hurt when faces with 10+ mobs, and the old days of doing an instance in a single pull. Now if the mobs cannot hit your character for enough damage per second to chew through the shield, then your character will never get hurt at all. Generally that will never happen at level, and even (Level -10) needs to be considered. At (level-25) or less I think its the same old run and giggle mode, which is good. At level on normal mode all Tanks should be able to solo bosses like Slabhide with reasonable gear and use of cool-downs.

As a quick summary:

  • Death Knights – feel essentially the same as previous Blood spec did, and play very much like a dps character. Good solid fun.
  • Paladins – slow and steady damage, unkillable due to great cooldowns, highly controllable self heal. The cockroach is back.
  • Warriors – fast paced leaps, charges, and thunderclaps. High damage, lower survival. Best fun to be had by far.

Death Knight – overall nothing greatly changed, and everything did. The Blood style plays the same, and it is the other tanks who now are moved to an absorption/healing based actions (aka Active Mitigation). Essentially our world changed because we have moved from having a somewhat unique ability, to having just one of the best implementations of the soak/damage model. I liked it a a DK and like it on the others too. As dps the talents feel narrow.

I’m not sold on the concept of switching talent choices per fight, except to say that if a player can do that well they are a much greater asset to their raid than a player who specs once and never changes.

Paladin – I was newbie tanking in Outland back in the day, and loved the fact that mana was returned by getting hurt. Likewise now we get all sorts of resources back from being hurt. I’ve run a few old heroic 70 and 80 dungeons in solo mode to test the performance of the Tankadin, and while I think their overall damage is too low, the survivability is very strong.Cooldowns are needed for heavy damage spike fights and too many mobs can rip through the bubble very quickly.

Paladin’s strength is the control of when they can apply their heal, and the advantage of doing either a powerful shield strike or heal as a 3x holy power combo move. I found on bosses or big trash pulls that sometimes all I did was self heal, and the slow attrition of concentration and the AoE effects whittled down the creatures. The Paladin was never in trouble, but also never was near the DPS that the Warrior did.

Warrior – A Protection Warrior at the moment is crazy fun. They do as much damage as some lowbie dps and can head smash their way through mobs darn quickly. Having additional uses of charge via talents means that for now I grind quests as Prot. Never dying has many advantages. They are still a very agile tank, being able to move across the battle exceedingly quickly. Solo’ing was almost as easy as the others, but at times my health was dropping and it took special attention to snap it back up. Thankfully the cooldowns provide for some interesting power-ups, and I was also using Herbalism’s small heal and spare potions.

If I could somehow get a huge gear jump I think the Warrior would benefit strongly from a powerful set of items and correct re-forging. Parry and mitigation re-forging appear to make a large difference in the form discussions out there, and my Warrior feels like she wants to smash heads harder, but cannot just yet. The potential is certainly there.

But why have 3-4x tank characters?

Heroic Utguard Pinnacle (h-UP), Heroic Magister’s Terrace (h-MgT), and Normal Stonecore are all easily solo-able for all three classes, which means grinding for those elusive mounts is now easier as a character can be parked out the front of each to do each one each day with no travel time. Till the new world events this is what I’ll be spending free time on. I’m pondering adding the Druid to be parked in front of Molten Core, purely because the rare mats and drops from there still sell well.

In terms of comparison neither the Paladin or the Warrior can hold a torch to a Death Knight for solo’ing and damage. Some of that might be due to much better gear (ilevel 333 vs 378) and my familiarity with the DK class, but it seems the DK is slightly ahead for now. Warrior is probably a close second, but their healing is still not as exceptional or as controllable as the Death Knight. Things will be interesting at level 90 where we are meant to be playing, as I can see a Warrior becoming once again the powerhouse of Tanking. Having the only AoE taunt will be an exceptional ability, and as gear improves their block/soak mechanics will get stronger and stronger. A Paladin too might also be powerful again for the ancient reason they were awesome in the past, that they have so many cooldowns which increase survival. By comparison the DK cooldowns are just trivial. This is also good as I think there needs to be some separation between the tank styles and perhaps this is enough. Not sure as yet.

I’m looking forward to adding a Monk to the lineup too; 5x Tanks will be excellent.

Whats your mod philosophy?

With Warcraft being patched and expanded at the moment all the community created mods also require updates. Sometimes these updates are trivial and the author can easily make them compatible with the new version. Other times the work to maintain a mod is too much, and it becomes unsupported. At wost it ceases to function properly and breaks others. For the devs giving away their free time on Mods the patch/release period must be like Christmas and Tax time all rolled into one. The community loves the work, but is also very demanding.

For players with mods this means updating is an important part of any expansion or patch activity. I’ve been watching the forums and the chatter in game, and mods are back on the list of topics that we seem to love and hate.

So what is your mod philosophy?

  • those who hate them, and refuse to alter the game.
  • those who use only a minimal set
  • those who explore options
  • those who have hundreds of mods, and test, tweak, and alter their interface weekly rather than at patch and update times.

Blizzard has said that encounters are now designed with the fact that mods exists. In other words it is expected that mods will be used, and the complexity in raid fight mechanics reflects this. That means that competitive scenarios like pve, pvp, battlegrounds, etc are expecting players to be using performance enhancing mods.

My current philosophy is:

  • Find a minimal set of mods which gives me enough information to play the game quickly and efficiently.Essentially focus on as few mods as possible, with the least memory and cpu requirements.
  • Consider each mod in terms of the time it saves. (mailbox auto-open)
  • Is the information significantly performance enhancing.(boss warning mods, threat meter, next dps button, auction mod)
  • Look for mods which when removed alter the game-play in a negative way. (in-game map resizer, loot distribution mod, bag mod)
  • And lastly a mod which improves the visual aesthetic of the interface. (unit frame mods, bar mods, buff mods, move everything mod)

At the moment I’m using roughly 34 mods, and I aim to use around half that. Hopefully.

wow Beta Build 16030 for DKs

Aside

A bit of patch news on Beta, which sort of confirms my old impression that Death Knights were not going to get adjusted until after the wash and rinse of “live-ish behaviour” changes were seen. Meh, perhaps its just a coincidence. Either way, even if I see nurfs and buffs of staggering stupidity, I am glad that DKs are getting some love.

TLDR for this update is: More health for Blood Tanks, less Damage for Frost dps from Frost Strike. Expect this and many more items to bounce around, it is a long way from over, and the devs have some work to do still.

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WoW p5 Anxiety

WoW Insider has a reasonable article on the adjustment to v5 of the game in terms of specs, races, and the other game changes.

So don’t let yourself get overly concerned. Just log in Tuesday, and take a few minutes to explore the changes. You’ll start getting back into things very quickly once you start taking it out for a spin. At its heart, it’s still the same game you’ve been playing.

They’re right. It’s the same world with a different feel for some classes. I spent some time skimming through the Icy Veins class summary to see what classes are affected, and generally – its a set of changes not worth panicking about. In fact many classes are getting adjusted to be cooler (especially Warlocks).

Raiding and Pvp specs might be borked initially, and I’d expect a patch or two along the way as we get into September. With all the points and rewards from instances and pvp being reset, I expect the 4 weeks between this update to be a time of fucking about and not stressing. Certainly enough players will be away with the outside world or Guildwars 2, so get those last achievements and mounts in now. I had to laugh considering that players will either be struggling with logging into GW2 to getting patched and working in WoW. What a great time for an action movie special on TV, so we can just ignore these game updates for a few days, and come back when the dust has settled.

The community has been through this many times before, and the world has not (permanently) ended. I’m actually looking forward to some of the run-up events which I hope will arrive with the patch as well. There might not be a huge reveal, but at the very least I expect some in-game indication that DeathWing is no longer the big bad, and that we might have found this strange island full of hostile teady-bears.

  • Will Stormwind finally finish patching the smoldering battlements? Hopefully.
  • Will the zones still burn with Deathwing’s fire? Doubt it.
  • Will the market for animal brushes skyrocket as the Pandas try to keep blood stains out of their hard to reach places? Probably.

Pets are also going to be highly desirable to some players soon, so start pondering how to get them too. There is a market there if you feel like doing the hard work for somebody else.

No dk updates, harumph!

Aside

I just read the summary of the beta changes for the recent beta release for MoP. It contains nothing about DKs (except in relation to non-account wide mounts, duh). Now that might be an over statement, except that 9 other classes are represented, many questions and tweaks are outstanding for Death Knights, and I think this is not the first beta update with nothing for DK characters. It’s odd.

Many of the updates are correcting balance issues (for everyone and balance druids) so perhaps its a blessing in disguise. There are some switch-around on which mounts are account wide which really can’t be taken as final, some changes for Druids and Hunters which look like downward tweaks, and changes to Shadow Priests which look like even more serious nurfs if you believe the comments.

In the recess of my mind I can recall that DKs were near last out of the gates in the Cata expansion beta process too, and their final form (particularly for Blood/Tanks) was innovative and is powerful in the current game. This post is not doom and gloom, but an observation based upon a fixed release date and very little information about what they will be like, given the questions that remain. I’ve mucked about in beta with the DKs to see what is different, but have not tested at 90, so perhaps a relaxed attitude is needed. I am sure that greater minds than myself, such as the folks on the EJ-DK forums would like some clarity and adjustment. BloodTap in particular seems odd, and adding abilities which require Death runes specifically makes my brain hurt.

Perhaps (ahem) a future patch will be all about the DK – to the point where instead of using a version number (like build 15952) it will contain the release version info of, “there DKs I fixed it”. The Death Knight Rises! /dry