In a rare move today, Blizzard held a mini-event, the sole purpose of which was the cinematic and release date for the next expansion in WoW. As always, I got goosebumps as soon as it started. I really got goosebumps at the end when I saw the construction of the Dark Portal. That was just one of those jaw-dropping moments in the grand scheme of things, which is good because the developers have made it clear the Dark Portal plays prominently in the expansion more so than it did during The Burning Crusade.
The release date is a little earlier than I expected. I know their original suggestion was sometime in December and so that’s not a huge stretch. Still, based on the latest numbers (which showed another 800,000 subscribers lost) Blizzard no doubt at least wanted to get players talking about the next expansion’s release date. I don’t normally put stock in subscription numbers, but it seems strange for Blizzard to have a day like this that isn’t BlizzCon. It says to me they might recognize numbers are still strong, but almost half of what they were at peak. So get the community talking even more than just the beta, and perhaps some of those lost numbers will be reconsidering their November gaming plans.
November 13th and the cinematic weren’t all we were shown this morning, though they were arguably the most important. I enjoyed the first episode of Lords of War, and have long thought a WoW animated series would do well. The dark tone definitely makes it hard for a television sell, so making it a digital series works well. It makes me hopeful they’ll do more than just this series.Without going into things fully about what we saw and heard, I’ll share just a couple thoughts:
I’m not a hardcore PvP’er, but I love the idea of Ashran! Being able to loot half of someone’s currency just screams cheshire grin. It almost makes me regret selling all my Owned! loot cards. UBRS. Dead Leeroy being hilarious and all, I’m excited about the chance to try out the new dungeon before the expansion launches.”Death Knight like start zone.” I better have the option to skip this after the first go. To this day I like the Death Knight class, but going through that great zone more than 3-4 times is like onion juice poured on my eyes.Garrisons. This feature I really don’t want much to do with. I haven’t followed much about the beta information thus far, but I will be disappointed if it turns out to be a “must do” in order to play and enjoy the expansion.
As of late, I’ve been pretty quiet around here, mostly due to being busy. I’ve been playing WoW sparsely, but enjoying it enough. My thoughts have wandered plentifully towards Warlords. I wouldn’t have had Pandaria if not for the kindness of others. At no point did I really look forward to the contents. This time has been different, but by not tapping into the beta information I haven’t had anything to enhance my excitement further. Until today. What I saw, for the most part I very much liked. Most importantly, with my son going to school in September I will have a couple of months for any further preparations for the game, should I desire to be there on launch day.
The news came out today that the first Adventure Mode for Hearthstone will go live on July 22nd, which is this coming Tuesday (note: Blizzard, stop doing all your stuff on the same day). During the “launch event” the first wing is completely free. The remaining wings, as you will recall, are 700 gold each and once the launch is over the Arachnid wing will no longer be free. How long the launch is, remains to be seen.
Whether you are a meta gamer with a Zoo Lock or just someone who enjoys puttering around with the game, there’s a good chance this new feature will be of interest to you. If nothing else it’s something different. You don’t have to just practice against the computer nor do you have to face other players. This computer mode is both challenging and rewarding…and apparently if you go Hard Mode then you seem to have sanity issues. So yes, I am looking forward to it.
I haven’t decided which deck I’ll use first against the Necropolis. Leaning towards Shaman, but that could quite easily change. What about you? Now that we know Naxxramas is coming next week, are you ready? Do you have a class deck in mind?
If you’ve put in any time making gold, then you should know of one of the biggest assets for doing so: The Undermine Journal. For the past four years, the site has been an amazing resource for deals as well as just a great source for pricing on everything. Whether it’s your server, or game wide, the financial info and item availability was a click away. Unfortunately that appears to be ending this month.
According to the website, you can no longer subscribe and auction information is no longer updating. Whomever hosts the servers for TUJ is not able to meet the needs of the site and as such it is going to close by the end of the month. Whether it’s an official closing is yet to be determined though. The folks there seem to want to keep it going but time will tell.
There will probably be a period where this site is completely closed. We may be able to find a new dedicated host, but there are a number of improvements that should be made here before Warlords of Draenor is released anyway. So if WoD is released and The Undermine Journal is down, it’s probably not coming back.
While I haven’t used the site nearly as much in recent months, I refuse to downplay how important it was and what an amazing resource it was for those serious about gold making. Some days it’s hard to remember the days prior to it existing. Heck, if not for the Undermine Journal I wouldn’t have my Deathcharger. I certainly hope it comes back, not only because I was a fan of using it but because I think it’s incredibly valuable for the community. I never like to see any part of the community permanently log out, and this is no exception.
Having said that, there’s going to be a shift in power for gold making for the next little while. Add-ons are great, but they can’t run in real time on all servers like the Journal did. Great deals and rare listed items can’t be accessed outside the game right now and that gives those with a little more time the advantage. With nothing much to do before Warlords, the Auction House PvP is open for more aggressive folk. So while we hope the Undermine Journal isn’t down for long, your opportunity just went up.
Blizzard released some new details for it’s upcoming Adventure Mode, “Curse of Naxxramas.” We finally know what it’s going to cost to participate, and confirmation of how we all expected the release to work. The Arachnid Quarter will be made available to players free of charge. The remaining wings will be unlocked over the course of roughly a month. Each wing can be obtained for 700 gold.
700 gold is a bit more than even I expected (though I’m fortunate enough to be saved up), but it’s not an insane amount and at least we now know for sure the exact amount. This also gives players time to start saving if they haven’t done so, or continue saving if they started late or underestimated what the cost would be. Of course, you also have the option of paying with real world money and if that’s your thing then the wings cost 6.99 USD. The good news is Blizzard is offering a “Bundle Pack” option if that’s your fancy. You can get all five wings for 24.99 or drop it about five dollars per wing you’ve already unlocked.
Now with the bundle pack it looks like in making the purchase, you can open all the gates at once. This seems to be a bit conflicting, though, as the emphasis has been on rolling out Naxxramas one wing at a time. Suddenly that may not be the case. Of course, it could also mean you can bundle up and open them all once they have all been released. Time will tell though. Unfortunately, if you’re like myself and you are planning on using in-game gold then there is no bundle option for you. You’re paying a set amount regardless.
Unfortunately with the latest news, there is still no release date. But with Blizzard that’s never a surprise as their motto is always “when it’s ready.” I’ve said all along I expect July 1st or August 1st and clearly one of those dates has already passed us by. Do I still think the beginning of August? At this point it’s genuinely 50/50. But I’m ok with that. I’ll wait as long as necessary for the next phase of the game, which I expect to be a fun experience and a great new mode for the casual player (to say nothing of the meta cards waiting to be obtained in the Necropolis).
Hi there! Remember me? No I’m not dead, gone, or any other theory. I’m also ok, though I appreciate the number of e-mails and such that I received inquiring about me and my well being. Truth is, I’ve spent the past six weeks or so since I posted just living the day to day life. Whether being a dad, working, or doing things around the house…you name it. It was just one of those lengthy periods where I wasn’t logged on to the game and when you’re not…it’s hard to write about it.
Sure, I could talk about the flow of WoD information that continues to come out in light of Blizzard flipping the Beta switch recently. Honestly, there are enough sources out there and enough people doing it that the subject is well covered. Personally, I’m not sure on how I feel about various things that I’ve learned and I’m taking a “wait and see” approach to things (Garrisons, I’m looking at you) rather than share my thoughts right now. Though I will say the mount flavour text is hilarious.
I continue to dabble in Hearthstone, but even that’s been on the back burner during these few weeks -just less so than WoW because my son actually asks me to fire it up on occasion so that he can watch. Plus, it seems easier to play a quick game versus trying to accomplish anything with certain characters in Azeroth. I’m not complaining, just observing. The things I want to do require sitting down and focusing to some degree. Except for my Baradin Hold rep. Had I kept at the dailies instead of a complete hiatus, I’d have that Drake by now. C’est la vie.
This isn’t to say I’m back in the swing of things either. It’s summer time so my schedule drastically changes for July and August so going to the computer is even less appealing. Though there are some holidays in there where I might be able to dabble a bit more thoroughly. Instead, I suspect it will be when school starts that I can spend some time truly immersed in the game once more. That it’s already been four years and the boy is even going to school to begin with is an adjustment in itself.
One final note, I would just like to once again congratulate Cymre for making it into Warlords of Draenor as an NPC. I was incredibly excited for her when I heard the news. If you happened to miss it, here’s her post on the details. Many of us have always asked the question of what we’d want if we were to be in World of Warcraft and she’s the latest to have that wish come true!
For someone who doesn’t have much luck in Arena Play, I’ve amassed a bit of gold now. Heck, I think I’ve played 1-2 Arena games since the beginning of April in an effort to stockpile the surefire amount of gold. Do I miss out on cards as a result? Of course. But my current decks are doing alright on their own. I honestly wanted to make certain I had enough gold for the launch of Adventure Mode. Not because I want to get the new cards immediately, but because I want to be able to access Naxxramas right away.
Blizzard announced the solo game earlier this spring and, while they haven’t announced a release date for it, I suspect the July or maybe August season. The idea is something for casual players to indulge in. Yes, there is a Casual Mode but if you’ve played it…it tends to be anything but. I find I either lose to a 4+ Legendaries deck, or beat someone in 7 rounds. There’s literally no control over the balance, and it worsens when players of high rank hit a cap because they then take their decks into Casual and just stomp anyone and everyone. Why? I have no idea. I don’t have that kind of complex.
So Naxx is on the way and will solve that, to some degree. I expect it to be difficult, more so than the computer mode now. We’ve also seen a few previews of the card rewards and that’s going to make it even more appealing to all types of players. The plan is Blizzard will release the first wing free of charge. After that, they will release one wing per week, at a cost. You can pay either real money or you can pay with gold. Clearly the latter is the route I plan to take and that’s where it becomes a guessing game. Just how much will it cost? That depends on the approach taken.
My original theory was 150-250 gold. That’s just above the cost of Arena, which means it isn’t terribly out of reach for the average player. If you only manage to complete 1-2 quests a week and win 3 or 6 games in a week, that would get you 100 gold or more, depending on the quests. So every couple of weeks even a weaker player would have a fair chance to play the new wings. But is that what Blizzard is aiming at, or will it be a high end investment reward that nudges impatient players towards buying? If that’s the case, 250g won’t be nearly enough. In that situation, I see 400 gold being a more realistic amount. Possibly even a bit more. With an amount like that, good players will have no problem getting that much gold together and players who don’t want to wait to do so will just choose to spend the money and buy it right away. Given a company that still charges 15 dollars a month for their million dollar MMO, I can’t put a financial grab past them.
Regardless of what the decision ends up being, I honestly think I’m now set. Come whatever may, my decks are ready (as they’re going to be) for Kel’Thuzad and the rest. I’m looking forward to it. If nothing else, it will be something different and the end result will determine whether or not we see future “expansion” adventures down the road.
Thanks to Warlords of Draenor, we’re looking at a fresh batch of 90’s with some regularity. This will spike further when the game actually comes out (because some players want the physical version of the game, or the deluxe version). In a move that I applaud, Blizzard has come out with some Crash Course videos.
Even for players who already have a 90 of said class, this isn’t a bad little cheat sheet as it were. Trust me, some players won’t know these things despite it being their main toon. For new players, or folks with an unfamiliar class, these are fantastic starting points. Unfortunately it only helps to boost the dps pool and even then you’re looking at only half the specs. I realize Blizzard could only devote so much time and energy into the concept, but it’s disappointing. I know healing and tanking can’t really be taught in a 90 second video, but even the other dps specs are left out in the cold. If you want to be a fire chucking Mage, Blizzard can’t help you. Only Arcane.
Of course this is the world of instant media and information and we can very well look these things up. When I boost my Druid, I will most certainly be studying Feral and Resto much more closely. I know to do this. These videos don’t quite feel like I’m the demographic. It feels like they’re aimed more at new players than anything, and in such a regard should have taken the time to show all the specs. Again I admit tanking and healing tutorials are much harder and cramming one into 90 seconds would be tough, it still could be achieved in it’s very basic form.
The question is then would we like the healers and tanks we would be getting out of it? Someone who tries to tank at 90 for the first time is going to be in much worse shape than someone who has done it previously, or even 85-90. Or even respecced at 90. At least said player still has a grasp of her class in the first place. Same goes for a healer. And they catch even more grief if something goes awry.
It seems to be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, scenario. But as someone with a healer and a bit of an out of practice tank, I would like to see them (Blizzard) at least encouraging people to try the roles. Even one of these videos dedicated to something other than dps would have been a good idea. Show players what they can do at a basic level and instead of saying “look at your abilities and glyphs and wing it,” put an emphasis on places like the forums and wowhead even (since they link to it in the armory anyway). Having people try and fail (or equally succeed) is better than not even showing them the option in the first place.