Forty Thoughts On A Friday

Saintvache, with Navimie and Cymre
  1. Despite my lack of fondness for the whole Fall of Theramore, I’d still like to take Saintvache and see it Horde side.
  2. It can’t be any worse.
  3. I’m hoping to do a post on “how I would have done it.”  If you’re going to criticize, it’s always nice to present an alternative.
  4. Speaking of Saintvache, he’s got a date with Arthas Saturday night.  8pm EST time.  Kingslayers indeed.
  5. I’m also looking forward to Sunday’s LBR on Alliance side.
  6. Farming a BoE green that has a 0.5% chance of dropping sucks.
  7. I had to explain to someone once that killing 200 of said mob will not guarantee the drop.  S/he didn’t understand the idea of individual random results vs. cumulative.
  8. I’ve got two more Posthumous chapters almost ready for publishing. 
  9. Once again, I surprise myself with where things go.
  10. Now I just need to work on the in-game version of Liam.
  11. He’s 30, after 5 levels of farming the same rare in Wetlands. 
  12. Man, do I have a plethora of hatchlings to sell.
  13. Speaking of which, anyone trying to auction cut gems at this point is just throwing away gold. 
  14. Unless someone asks for it, don’t bother.
  15. I just remembered Tome reserved a name on my Server for her Panda.
  16. That’s assuming at this point she chooses Pandaria over Tyria.
  17. And speaking of which, I forgot to tell my Mac friends that Guild Wars 2 is now available to them. 
  18. I owe Matty for that one.
  19. All Mogolympics prizes have finally been awarded.
  20. Now I just have to work on the site some more.  Thank goodness for Draynee’s help because I’ve done very little myself.
  21. This is the last weekend of WoW Cataclysm.
  22. Even those of us not buying the expansion will feel the effects from Mists.
  23. People are just frothing for pet-battles.
  24. I should’ve gathered more pets to sell.
  25. If you’re buying pets, and you’re on multiple servers…do the smart thing and compare prices.  The realm with the most money doesn’t mean you need to spend the most. 
  26. Same for mounts. 
  27. Learned this week the Choppers are considered two different mounts and can’t be shared cross-faction.  Understandable, but disappointing.
  28. I’ll be getting a Jewelcrafting Panther before I get another chopper.
  29. I determined this week Formula: Enchant Chest – Greater Stats has finished paying for itself.  It was 19k I didn’t really miss.
  30. I was hoping to be back over 200k on my one server by now.   Damn recipes.
  31. I wonder how far I’ll be able to level my Jewelcrafting when Mists goes live.  If I don’t have to go to Pandaria to train, I’ll be “all over that.”
  32. The same could be said for all my Professions, really.
  33. I’m glad the “Stay Classy” guild achievements stayed at 85 (including the Monk).  Just Pandas need to make it to 90.
  34. After Liouxpold hits 85, I have no idea who will be next.
  35. I wish VoA wasn’t server restricted.  When we have Wintergrasp, no one is interested.
  36. Just remove the Wintergrasp requirement already.
  37. Speaking of annoying…if cross-realm zones weren’t bad enough, I had the “Confection Sugar” quest in Stormwind today.
  38. That Cooking daily takes an hour at the best of times.  Having three times the people running around the city doesn’t help in the slightest.
  39. At least the powers that be were smart enough to remove the fishing tournaments until that gets sorted out in the cross-dimension nonsense.
  40. Oh well, should be dead again on Tuesday.

Thursday Thought Patterns

Another musings post if you will permit me.

  • Mists of Pandaria launches July September 25th.  The average response seemed to be “finally” from those I spoke with last night.  The next eight weeks should be interesting.
  • Laid Back Raids is updated through most of August.  I managed to get a few requests in there.
  • I wonder what LBR’s success will be like after Mists launch?  I can’t imagine it too different from what it is now.  Some will pass, some will come.
  • Others might just want a break from whatever Mists content they’re on.
  • Some will just want to take their Panda into old content.
  • Or their Monk.
  • I’m ashamed to admit I’ve considered rolling a Gnome Monk named Junkshot.
  • The deadline for the Mogolympics is coming Tuesday.  Then the real fun begins…so to speak.
  • I wonder if the other judges will speak to me when this is all over?
  • I need to put a confirmed section on the Mogolympics information page this weekend.
  • Posthumous isn’t on hiatus or anything.  The next chapter is in the works, but my time to dedicate to it has been sparse.
  • Yes, I’m writing it as I go.  I have a few key points in my head, but the rest is more like que sera sera.
  • Tome got Anzu a little while back.  Mrs. Amateur the Baron’s Reigns to drop.  Ratters had double mount luck recently.  Me? (NSFW)
  • Glad most people seem to understand my “not buying Mists philosophy.”
  • Someone else told me last night they’re in the exact same frame of mind (minus Guild Wars 2).
  • I think Blizzard needs to come through on this one.
  • Cataclysm wasn’t terrible, but it turned (quite?) a few people off.  Two in a row wouldn’t be good.
  • I expect them to have that in mind, and deliver a better expansion.
  • I expect games like Guild Wars 2 and Secret World to force them to knock one out of the park over the next year.
  • Working on another Transmog outfit for Tum.
  • Got everything but the shoulders.  The two options I’ve chosen are from Molten Core and Naxx.
  • I think I should have considered this before scheduling LBR this week…
  • I still want my Red Proto.
  • Tum’s the closest on that, as I think he needs about a half dozen achievements yet.
  • Speaking of mounts, I’m in the process of determining what land mounts and flying mounts each (eligible) character wants.
  • No good can come of it, but account-wide mounts might just make it easier.
  • Siori’s Exalted with the Cenarion Expedition and Liouxpold’s already got the puppy dog eyes going…which looks really creepy on a space goat.
  • I wonder if everyone who’s geared up in the last month feels a sense of “why did I do that?”
  • Not saying they should, it’s just an observation.
  • Once again, greens will replace epics in the first two days.
  • Am I seriously the only one who sees a problem with that?
  • Linear stats is still the way to go, far as I’m concerned.
  • Hrm…work break’s over.

Friday Top 5: Looking Back On Cataclysm

With Mists getting closer with each passing day, let’s look back at the expansion that’s wrapping up.  As a complete package, many people were incredibly disappointed with Cataclysm as a whole.  But that doesn’t mean some good didn’t come from it.

5. The Trailer
Whether you liked the expansion or not, you can’t argue how amazing the trailer was.  I still get chills looking at that.  It was well done and perhaps set the bar too high for our expectations.

4. Deathwing
Bringing back the Aspect of Death was a great idea for an expansion. I never had any problem with him being the main boss from start to finish and having him “burninate” random zones was a unique idea that I thought was well executed. While in-game mechanics and confrontations with Deathwing during the expansion could’ve been better, I had no problem from a lore standpoint.

3. The New Class Combinations
Technically this came before the expansion, but it was part of the Cataclysm expansion.  In particular I was happy to see the Troll Druids, Forsaken and Human Hunters, and of course the Tauren Paladins.  We’re at a point now where I can’t see any of the races getting any more of the existing classes and after the Monk I really don’t expect new classes either.

2. Real ID/Raid Finder
I put these two together because it’s collectively the Real ID Raid option that has really shined through. The Raid Finder still has some flaws, but using the Raid grouping with actual people you know, from other servers, is a phenomenal option. Just look at the success of Twitterland Raiding and similar projects. I can’t wait to put Real ID to use tomorrow night.

1. Transmogrification
This is an absolute no brainer. With something like Mog Madness, looks at the various weapons best for Mogging…you had to expect it. Players had cried out for something like this (myself included) for years.  Despite referring to it as “player dress up.” the developers finally came through at the end of the expansion and we’ve run with the ball.  It took them long enough, but it really was worth the wait.

Sure, Cataclysm had a number of flaws but it also brought about a number of solid things and ideas.  Even Heroic Deadmines could have made the list in my eyes, though I do miss some of the original bosses.  What things are you happy with from Cataclysm?  Something not on the list perhaps?  As always I’m happy to hear your thoughts as well.

Cataclysm Report Card: Classes

I bounced around a few blogs before I came across the subject of Tree Heals Go Woosh asking a few questions about the changes to their character(s) from pre-4.0 to now.  In the spirit of Saz, I’m going to look at it from the two characters I’ve maxed and considered my main toons for quite some time (and also pick and choose the questions I’m answering).

Do you feel that your class is better (in that it is more fun to play, more effective, etc.) now than it was at the end of Wrath?  Do you feel that your class is better now than it was at the beginning of Cataclysm?

Rogue: As a whole, I think it’s definitely better than it was.  The one beef I still have regarding the class is that when we were doing great dps in Burning Crusade people cried foul and instead of pulling the class back a bit, they jacked everyone else.  Still, I am not confident taking my Rogue into anything other than regular 5-mans.  I can harass a bit in PvP, but otherwise I just feel out of my element in a team environment.  I’m confident in my CC abilities, but hitting the high dps marks, I don’t know.

Priests: I think it’s on par in terms of fun compared to pre-4.0 (I’m talking Holy by the way).  Is it easier than when Cataclysm launched?  Absolutely!  No one could understand how Chakras worked and many people (self included) didn’t realize how nerfed Flash Heal became.  Once we as players got it sorted out and Blizzard made the appropriate adjustments, Holy Priesting life was good again.  I do still miss mp5 to some degree though.

Did you switch mains during Cataclysm?  If so, why did you make that choice?

No, I’ve treated my toons the same.  My Rogue was always for hammering away the new quest content, and then I rock & roll healing instances with my Priest.  I love healing…I hate questing as a healer and refuse to dual spec.  If anything, though, I’ve learned to tank in Cataclysm (no end game yet) and find I do enjoy it.  That Tauren Paladin is climbing the ranks of character love insanely fast.

What were your class’/spec’s strengths throughout Cataclysm?  What were its weaknesses?

Combat: The spec continues to be aces for leveling.  I think in terms of PvP and endgame, the other specs offer better alternatives for success.  To me that’s quite alright as that means each spec offers something for someone and that’s a huge success.  What I consider a “weakness” of the spec is the amount of CC I can perform with the role.  In an era where people still measure ability by the dps charts, the role has a number of interrupts and stuns that can make fights easier but at the loss of some damage.

Holy: Weakness?  It’s hard for me to say because I don’t have any other type of healer at an endgame to compare to.  But I find I’m not as deep mana wise as I used to be, though I’ve worked on better management of that.  Strengths?  The two healing Chakras are great, Leap of Faith occasionally teaches lazy dps to move, and Blizzard made us Lightwell healers popular again.

How, if at all, did Cataclysm’s revamp of the talent trees affect your class?  Did you feel that these were changes for the better or for worse?

Rogue: When Cataclysm launched, I immediately dual-specced for the first time on Siori.  I kept Combat because I was familiar with it, but I quickly realized Assassination looked much more appealing for damage output.  The removal of weapon specialization hurt the overall combat talent tree in my opinion as each offered a unique way to play the class.

Priest: Once again, Holy just took getting used to.  As I said, Chakra’s made a huge difference, and creating a Lightwell friendly environment was a boon.  I used it pre-Cata but many players weren’t used to it unless they ran with me with something resembling regularity.

Did your class experience any significant changes or additions to its lore during this expansion?  If so, how did you feel about those changes?

Rogue: The big thing people are going to talk about post-Cataclysm for Rogues was our Fangs of the Father.  The class specific legendary is still a “want” for me.  The only other major thing was Mathias Shaw’s heavy leadership in a portion of Twilight Highlands.  I liked it, to be honest.  It beat him just sitting in Stormwind not really doing anything.

Priest: Lore wise?  Well, two of the original races became Priests: Tauren and Gnomes.  One makes sense to me, the other not so much.  In that order.  I’m sure there’s something involving Priests that I’m brainfarting on in terms of lore, but there was nothing really stand-outish for me this expansion.  Let’s face it, the expansion was incredibly Shaman and Druid heavy and I’m quite fine with that.  Burning Crusade felt like a darkness vs. light battle to me and Lich King was all about Death Knights and Paladins (for proper reasons).  Every class gets/will get their turn in the main spotlight and there’s enough lesser light sprinkled throughout that I’m ok with it.

Is your class easier or harder for a fresh 85 to learn now than it was at the end of Wrath?  Is this a good or a bad thing?

Rogue: Honestly, I think Rogues are one of the harder classes to get good at.  You can get by easy enough, but to be really good at it takes practice.  I’ve seen some hit 85 that look natural.  I’ve seen some at 85 that make me think another class might’ve suited that player better.  If a character tries to learn Subtlety at 85, I feel for them.  That’s a curve, but a rewarding curve.

Priest: If you level as a healer, you’ll have no problem as a healer.  I find it’s the people who level dps and then switch at 85 who have the most difficult with the class at that level.  There’s so many options Priests have in terms of healing and debuffs and the Chakras and bubbles that you need to learn what works and you also have to mana manage well to be successful.

Overall, do you enjoy the playstyle of your class more now, at the end of Cataclysm, than you did prior to patch 4.0 at the end of Wrath?  Why or why not?

Rogue: Again, I still enjoy playing the class as much as I did at the end of Wrath, I just don’t have the confidence to be a raid dps with it.  I’d have to do a lot of research and put in a tonne of practice before I felt “good” about that role again.

Priest: Healing in general is just plain fun.  When the success or fail of a raid can depend on the one role that doesn’t really have a rotation (at least certainly not compared to dps and “build aggro” of a tank), I love it.  The Priest remains my favourite class and I don’t think Cataclysm swayed me in a less or more direction.

All You Wanna Do Is Ride Around Sally…

Guild Perks

This is a post I’ve had on the backburner for close to a month now.  It stems from Shy at WoW’s mount post.  After I read that, my first thought was while I had kept pretty up to date on the new stuff in Cataclysm, I had no idea about two thirds of these new mounts.  My second thought?  Crap, I want some of them.

Going through Shy’s list, I already have the Seahorse on Tum because he quested in Vash’jir.  Still not a zone I’m too fond of, but once again I like having things that I picture he’d go crazy while riding (except for the Red Drake as all my toons get that one). 

The Wind Drakes are absolutely stunning.  The only one that doesn’t do too much for me is the West Wind.  Still, I’d be happy to have any of them.

Speaking of does nothing for me…Goblin racials.  Sorry. 

Both Faction mounts for Guild level 25 are nice. I didn’t really understand the lion when I first heard about it, but it’s got a serious noble look to it.  The Horde scorpion just looks mean as hell.  That screams “there’s an orc on me that’s about to crush you under his boot heel.”

Finally, the Stone Drakes are stunning as well (yes, I have a thing for dragons.  It should be quite apparent by now), compared to their proto-cousins of Wrath. 

Indeed, my wishlist grows.  Siori still seeks the Baron’s mount in Stratholme, while Liouxpold needs to grind out the Cenarion rep for their Hippogryph.  I also want to snag him the Brewfest Kodo this year, while Siori needs the Horseman’s Mount.  Yes, I’m sadly thinking that far in advance.  Perhaps a future post will be a complete mount checklist because goodness knows as my toons level I’ll decide what I want them to have.  Such is the joy of playing them as characters.

What about you?  Any of the new mounts must haves?  Any old ones you still haven’t managed to get that are on your list?

We Really Were Spoiled In Lich King

Can't Faceroll Me On Heroic

Queued for any Heroics lately?  Apparently they’re a bitch.  That’s the consensus on the forums anyway, if you listen to all the “sky is falling” and “the vast majority are quitting the game over this.”  You know what I say to that?  Good.

Prior to Cataclysm coming out, I was giddy over the news that the developers were bringing back crowd control.  With a Rogue and Priest as my two main characters, it’s something I’m familiar with.  I remember the days of sapping a boss, or chaining an undead so that we didn’t wipe.  Of course, that was in the vanilla dungeons and Burning Crusade.  Wrath of the Lich King I got laughed at when I offered to CC in those early days.  Justifiably, I learned.  Basically the formula for Lich King dungeons and certain raid fights became simple:

  • tank rounds up all mobs + MASSIVE DPS + heals keeping tank alive = done

It wasn’t a challenge.  It was a matter of having 15-30 minutes (depending on where you were headed) to destroy everything in sight, even on Heroic.  That was a drastic change from the wipes I remember going through on Heroic Burning Crusade dungeons (to say nothing of BRD and Dire Maul ventures).  In fact, many of the people who joined the game during the Lich King expansion don’t even know what the term “crowd control” means.  In the five weeks Cataclysm has been out, they’ve learned.

On top of that, Heroics are taking people hours instead of minutes.  The outcry is over the roof.  Us healers are breaking our fingers trying to keep parties alive.  It’s challenging, I tell you.  But, I bet for most people that’s the problem in itself.  They don’t want a challenge.  They want their gear, their achievements, and their justice points, and they want it now. Well, guess what, Blizzard’s through saying “here you go” and patting you on the head.  Designer Greg Street sums it up perfectly in a recent interview with The Escapist Magazine:

“The bottom line is that we want Heroics and raids to be challenging, and that is particularly true now while the content is new and characters are still collecting gear. They’re only going to get easier from here on out. We want players to approach an encounter, especially a Heroic encounter, as a puzzle to be solved. We want groups to communicate and strategize. And by extension, we want you to celebrate when you win instead of it being a foregone conclusion.”

Perhaps it’s because I’m older or just that I was raised to believe you appreciate the things you’ve earned a lot more than the things that are handed to you.  Either way, I agree completely with the view Greg presented.  Players, and even Guilds, have to work harder and longer again if they want to succeed.  Guess what, as that success comes, the challenge will wear off.  That’s how it should be.  Challenging.

Where’s Our New CoT?

While I’ve admittedly not gone into the new dungeons yet, or even looked them up (hoping my first trip is spoiler free with guildies), I have noticed one thing so far and that’s a lack of Caverns of Time instance.

Personally, the Caverns of Time encounters are among my favourites.  The Culling of Stratholme was even on my top 5 dungeons in the game, while rescuing Thrall, helping Medivh at the Dark Portal, and defeating Archimonde at Hyjal are all also great.  They’re wonderful lore moments that players get to loosely be a part of. 

I remember when Wrath of the Lich King was coming down the pipeline, I was ecstatic when they announced Stratholme as the mystery portal that was being worked on in the caverns.  This time around, Blizzard confirmed we’d be getting another instance (actually another raid seems more likely).

If I were putting it together, I’d go with one the players might not necessarily want to do.  The heroes really wouldn’t agree with it, but it would be based on the butterfly effect theory in that if you change one thing you can change nearly anything.  So, I’d have the players help Putress make it to the Wrathgate. 

Admit it, neither the Horde or Alliance would be keen on this at all.  NPC heroes fell at the Wrathgate, namely Saurfang the Younger and Bolvar Fordragon.  So, if someone came and said to folks “listen, we need you to make sure the events that lead to these two dying definitely happen,” what do you think the response would be?  Exactly.  However, the Keepers of Time could weave a tale in which Bolvar Fordragon must fall at the Wrathgate so that he may later dawn the helm of the Lich King.  Players would hear how Jaina used her Arcane power to prevent anyone else from wearing the helm and put it on herself (she had a Nightmare of this happening, after all).  Instead of the Lich King being sealed up, the Lich Queen would annihilate Azeroth to the core.  It’s similar to why you’d help Arthas raze Stratholme. 

The run would probably have three encounters.  The first would be to help Putress and company sneak the New Plague from Undercity to Northrend.  The second could be against your opposing faction (similar to ToC).  Defend the Forsaken against an attack from a 5-man raid, essentially.  The third would involve a Nathrezim or something similar that wants to ensure the Jaina scenario plays out.  They’d stand in your way, similar to Mal’Ganis.

I’m sure the developers could put a better spin on it as well to really tighten it up and make it as unique as the others.  Whether they’d even go that route or something different (I think at one point someone suggested War of the Ancients), the point is we need our next CoT adventure.