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.

Slowly is the only way to go

Thanks to a guildie (hello Tarc) I have completed the Nalak phase of the Legendary quest and am now killing bosses again in Throne of Thunder LFR for the x12 bling-things part. Twelve, that is better than Twenty; right?

Well yes and no. There is no indication that the drop rate is better or worse, unless you suspect that the change to an auto-drop from Lei-Shen might indicate that these little tokens were even more rare that the 20x odd of the previous type. I got the first one last night from Lei-Shen and I guess I’m ok with it taking 12 weeks to get the others. I like Legendaries to be hard and painful. Patch 5.4 will likely be out in production before I reach 12x drops, so I’ll hopefully be able to use the cloak in p5.4 content.

From a lore perspective I do not understand how it makes sense that Wrathion would ask for this many too. I mean there are 12 bosses, and these are rare things, and they drop from bosses only…and somehow we got 20x of them. No wonder Wrathion has us doing this, it is not logical in the setting. I bet he is amazed! Not a new theme though if I remember the Hand of Sulfuras correctly either.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

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.

Um, what? Interview with Blizzdevs

Aside

Listening to the one of latest Podcast from Legendary – about 15 minutes in they’re (Greg Street and Brian Holinka) talking through the effects of balancing Pvp vs Pve, and about how they’re not desiring to push one group into the other…forgotten about the Wrathion quest line already? Wish I had.

Great interview though. Particularly good for their perspective on Pvp in terms of balance holistically in the game, rather than at a micro level between classes and specs. A cynic might view it all as boilerplate stuff, but if you listen there is some meat in there on what they are thinking about when the choices are made, which I find really interesting. I’m a fan of knowing some of the process, even if I don’t follow the results.

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

Wrathion Story part 2 done!

Those pesky pvp battles were an absolute pain, and now my DK is thankfully back to grinding drops from raid bosses and farming mats to get further through the quest chain.

Generally I hated the pvp battlegrounds. Almost all the fights demonstrated that an organised group will crush a typical pvp set of random players. The battlegrounds where we died constantly were blisteringly frustrating.

The battlegrounds were a core of us followed some simple strategies were good, and generally we either won or came very close to winning.

I learnt:

  • Any group is stuffed without a healer, and protecting the healer is actually fun. A particular Paladin teamed up with myself and another Death Knight and we roflstomped almost everyone for 2-3 minutes at a time before the Orb debuff made us crushable. As a set of three we moved through that Battleground together and it worked really well. Later it was a Druid who help me steamroll through the squishies are part of the fighting team.
  • Stay as a group. i.e. when 3-4 players stayed in the middle of the Orb Arena (not its real name) we smashed the others. Especially when we had two players with Orbs.
  • Fight within the game’s ideal zone. i.e. on the flags, carts, or in the center of the arena where you get the most points.
  • Personal cooldowns are not for emergencies, they are for every second in the game. A moment spent in combat without them is pointless.
  • Not that I intended to, but a particular Shadow Priest and Warlock on Horde are probably writing blog posts about how much Death Knights are broken and overpowered in PvP. I think I killed these particular two characters

Quick PvP Round 3

PvP round three was much better. How you ask? Well I seemed to get into more teams that knew what they were doing, and were better able to bolster my silly ass through the experience. I did participate as well as I understood.

(Warning – Achievement screenshot spam).

For Temple of Kotmogu – 4x killing blows, 3x deaths, 48 Honorable kills and 4x Orb possessions, which also grants 403 of the 1600 points were mine. Another DK teamed with me for the match pulling in a very nice 498 points.

For Mines – less impressive and far more like the noob I am in PvP. 1x killing blow, 1x death, 26 honorable kills, and 2x carts controlled. If not for the frustration I think PvP could be enjoyable.

Legendary-Quest-Part2Complete

Best of all, this means I’m back onto the PvE based grind for the Wrathion quest chain. Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Wrathion’s PvP Battleground Quests

wrathionGo to hell whoever thought it would be wacky fun times to include a few pvp fights in a PvE quest chain.

I tried to be open minded.

I crafted, gem’ed, enchanted, etc a pvp set. Because I didn’t want to be carried too much.

I’ve joined fights and basically just got my arse handed to me.

Or the team are more interested in kill farming than actually winning.

Or teams that seem to get excited by the notion of the Perfect Loss.

I have no use for honor except buying more pvp gear, which I do not want once I have this lousy waste of bandwidth done.

If this is the only way that the PvP content will get seen by a majority of the playerbase, then your pvp content is *ahem* bland. This experience just tells me that pvp has not changed or improved fundamentally in 6 years. If I want to kill people I’ll play a 3d shooter, not WoW.

So go straight to hell, this part of the Legendary chain is plain crappy. I know it is supposed to be “hard“, but it is not supposed to be a shitty waste of my time.

Tests from Wrathion

Now that I’ve done the Test of Valor (yay, finally) I’m at the part in the epic quest chain to kill a special commander, and win two pvp battlegrounds.

WoWScrnShot_TestOfValor

I’m not keen to do the PvP part as I do not understand anything about the two games, and this late in the expansion I can imagine that random teams will not like a scrub. Tough luck for them though, blame Blizzard folks, the Epic quest chain is making me hurt your PvP fun. As such I’ve started collecting the ~458 pvp gear, so I don’t get roflstomped straight away and I won’t be a useless scarecrow for the team I join.

Getting a started Pvp set is cheap if you know the patterns (10-15 ore per item, + gems and enchants) or very expensive if you want to buy your way through the sets. I either crafted the items, or had them crafted except for one item. So an almost full kit out was around 2000g with gems and enchantments, with most of that cost coming from the gear I purchased and the gems/enchants. The 458 gear is a long way from the beautiful Conquest items that I can see the vendor selling (/drool). For a full gear-set 2k is cheap as chips. If only beginning PvE gear was so cheap; nice that there is a lower barrier to entry for PvP.

I’ve also purchased a pvp neck and ring with Honor, and using a few one handed LFR 483s to go Dual Wield Frost for the pvp battles. I;m not expecting to get top charts for Dps, and did not want to affect my main hand 2H dps weapon by reforging away to the “wrong” starts for PvE.

So far the biggest problem is bag space. A Dps, Tank, and now PvP-Dps set takes up a lot of space. I wonder if PvP-Blood is still fun and frustrating for the enemy? Coming to a battleground near you, Mortigen the scrub DK.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew

Old news is good news

Some thoughts on what is now old news…

Valor points are not being reset (huzzah) to Justice points, and patch is set for 5.2 If you’re able to spend and then earn the valor for an upgrade it is still worth it, just don’t upgrade an item you’ll replace early (trinket, ring, etc) once you get into the new Reps. I shot a stack of Justice points on a basically useless heirloom item for a Shaman, because I have little else to purchase with them. Justice are pretty dull at the moment once you’re past a gear level. That is ok in the most part, but it would be nice to do something good with them.

In 5.2 we get new reps to grind out, new gear to loath the drop rate for, and new dailies to make the drop rate seem a secondary concern. Less yay, but something to get into.

New raids look good, in a way that is a new visual presentation (cybernetic aztec dinosaurs with lasers…..roar) and also a new set of mechanical challenges. Good news. Lore/RP wise it will be an interesting patch if only because we get closer to finding out why Garrosh goes bananas and why Jania does not follow suit and smash a few cities. I know she’s taken the road less traveled, but Garrosh is going to need to do some more shitty things before the rest of the horde will use him as an end-boss. He’s been an unmitigated arse so far and the horde racial leadership are happy with that. Well the ones who are alive are anyway.

Oh, and Wrathion! He continues to give the heroes gifts and boons, as we continue to follow his agenda. I feel that either he’s a major player i the end of this expansion, or the major NPC in the next expansion. It would be great to see a character transverse the expansions so that during Mists he helps and rewards, and then in the next expansion we see what and why he did particular things. I can’t help but think his goal is to restore the Black Dragon flight, and that might be brilliant or could be a total disaster for the players. It would be especially good if Wrathion is actually a creature of leadership, but not a “corrupted bad guy”. Sure his view might be different, and lets see him as a leader for the future stepping into the empty shoes of the other flights now that they have left.

The season 13 pvp gear for Death Knights looks nice, particularly the shoulders. The help is less so, but overall ok. The Shaman set is great, and stinks of a HP Lovecraft touch. Creepy Shamans.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew.

Arrrg loot in LFR and the Useless Ordinary Legendary Gem

This post is brought to you by the word: Random.

I was going to whine about loot in LFR, as a run through Terrace and the first part of Heart of Fear saw nothing. But then I got lucky in the second part of Heart of Fear LFR, and got the Gloves token which I’ve now had drop 4x times. Arrrrg. No weapons, side grades, other drops for ages. Oh, working as intended? Random rewards are fun. /sarcastic

On an actual positive note I have now handed in and completed the first stage of Wrathion’s quest-line for the “Ordinary Legendary Gem. Now the slow grind up to 6000 Valor points has started, and we’ll see how far behind the curve I am. I doubt patch 5.2 is 6-7 weeks away given the news and press flying around.

I love the fact that the Legendary quest line is a pain in the arse and bloody difficult for a casual player. Blizzard got this right. it should be driving those players crazy, and should not be something that we feel is deserved; earn it. I get a good quest line and the promise of more great stuff to come.

Not that the “Ordinary Legendary Gem” is actually useful as it requires a Sha Touched Weapon to be slotted into, which is also RANDOMLY DROPPED. So the Ordinary Legendary Gem” is actually a “Useless Ordinary Legendary Gem“. I’ve decided to treat the gem like getting the Left Binding in Molten Core. Now begins the stupidly long path of getting the other random thing to drop.

My Death Knight could really use a Sha Touched weapon for Tanking. Really, really, handy. Random and hard for LFR upgrades is poor, random and hard in a Legendary quest is perfect. Its like the two are the same now. Just saying.

wrathion

small fun ptr update for 5.2

Aside

Source here for recent update on PTR, highlights are:

Professions

  • The chance to fish up Flying Tiger Gourami, Spinefish Alpha and Mimic Octopus has been increased.
  • Reputation gains from bringing rare Pandarian fish for Nat Pagle to examine has been increased.

=> I don’t think these fish have been implemented in Prod as yet, as I’ve never seen one. Nagle’s rep is about the hardest I’ve ever seen, and that means it is fundamentally a bloody joke. Completionist only rep. This update changes nothing about my intent to ignore Fishing and Mr Nagle. It is a poor profession.

Raids, Dungeons and Scenarios

  • To encourage Raid Finder groups to persevere, each time an Raid Finder group wipes on a boss fight all players in the group receives a stacking buff that increases health, damage dealt, and healing done by 5% (up to a maximum of 10 stacks). This buff is cleared once the boss has been killed.

=> We can now get a stacking buff to mitigate fail? Cool. Might help a bit actually, and being that its LFR does anyone care if it gets up to 50% easier? Won’t stop dickheads from going AFK or entering in the role they don’t intend to play. That would have been a better fix.

But I’ll take a buff, and no way in hell I’ll be staying for 10 wipes to get the full 50% top-up. Or I’ll create a “wipe in LFR set” and wear that so that the repairs are cheap.

Death Knight

  • Asphyxiate’s cooldown has been reduced to 30 seconds (was 1 minute).

=> Good. Though this was in last ptr patch.

The Legendary Quest Continues

Wrathion must know the origin and source of Mogu power, and Azeroth’s mightiest heroes will aid the Black Prince in finding out what it is. The search for information will take players into the depths of the Thunder King’s Palace, and pit them against trials of perseverance and skill. Along the way, they’ll unlock the secrets to a new legendary metagem, Crown of the Heavens.

=> Somebody please tell Wrathion that it is Titan technology, and that he’s in good company trying to make all that power work for himself. Mogu tried, failed, beat up by pandas, now an almost dead dynasty.Old gods fusked around with it, got spanked hard and sealed in a big prison for almost eternity.

Bran Bronzebeard has a phallic collection of artifacts and discs, and he’s no better at actually surviving without us characters as an armed escort. His Panda Lorewalker replacement in Pandaria is no better. Heck Mr Wrathion’s father tried for the “ultimate power kick” and that got him a big skull full of tentacles and a gravestone. Bloody black dragons never learn. Free epix though. Weeeee.

Is Wrathion an evil mongrel?

That funny son-of-a-black-dragon named Wrathion has a new quest in a future patch, to continue the bump and grind of assembling a Legendary item. The quest is called “Test of Valor” and requires the collection of 6000 valor points. So it’s not important if he’s evil in a good vs evil way, more in terms of if he’s the sadistic expression of “Love that Valor” grind which Mists has brought us.

It is not clear if the counter for 6000 starts when the quest is accepted, or is retroactive. I’d suggest that making it retroactive is poor for three reasons:

  1. getting a Legendary should be hard. 6 weeks work is nothing compared to the years of work to get early Legendary items like Sulfuron and Thunderfury. Yes it should be as hard as it was.
  2. getting 6000 valor will count in the next expansion as well as this one. Meaning that from start it does not matter what you do to earn them, its just a questline for a particularly challenging set of content.
  3. if it is retroactive then I have 6000 valor from ages ago when valor points were first introduced, considering some isolated mechanic which counts from one day, but ignores others makes the coding harder.

So make it count from the time the quest is accepted, and make it reset if the quest is dropped. The idea that this might upset people upsets me. I’ll say something rude and elitist which is hopefully out of character for me: play another game if six weeks work is too hard for a legendary item.

There is a thread on the official forms saying farewell to WoW due to the Valor grind. While I think the grind itself around gearing with Valor is poor in Pandaria, I’m all for the Legendary being brutally punishing, the harder they are the better.

Thoughts? Too harsh?