Friday Top 5: In-Game Cinematics

For a return to the Top 5, I wanted to look at the in-game cinematics. To be clear, this list does not include any patch trailers or expansion cinematics. And for today’s list I’m looking at pre-Shadowlands content. Heck, Shadowlands could have a top 5 all their own with how many there are. Moving on to the list.

5. Immortal No More
This one is on the list not out of any enjoyment on my part. I found this to be part of the Mary Sue that we call Thrall after all these years and I’m honestly done with it. It’s why Garrosh’s death didn’t make the list. Players did all the work just to have that moment taken from us. Thrall at this point is no better, but it’s the impact of the scene. The dragons gave up their immortality (which, again, I find silly) for the people of Azeroth. That was huge, no matter how one feels about it.

4. There Must Always Be A Lich King
This video was the culmination of a fantastic story. Arthas succumbing to defeat was the closing chapter, and I don’t think any of us expected to see Bolvar show up and take the mantle. He made for an interesting, lesser version of the Lich King over the years. Being able to watch this cinematic by viewing the statue in Dalaran was a nice little touch as well. My only issue is how “human” Arthas was at the end…given if you read the books he deliberately kills Ner’zhul in his mind to be the one true Lich King.

3. The Hour of Blood Approaches
Going through the Zandalari quests was an enjoyable story. The betrayal of Rastakhan was well told. What came as a complete surprise was the full scope of Zul’s power play. My draw dropped watching this scene as a player you are literally looking at an “ohhhhh no” type of moment.

2. Rejecting The Gift
Say what you want about Illidan’s return and redemption, this was powerful. Part of me actually expected Illidan to have his demon side expunged. This showed not only how powerful Illidan is, but how controlling the Light can be. “I am my scars!”

1. Wrathgate
This one probably does not come as much of a surprise. It had so much going for it at the time. It was a fantastic reward for a lengthy questline. It was really the first of its kind, and held so much lore and storylines. The Forsaken “splinter group,” Saurfang the Younger, Bolvar’s death…I can’t think of any in-game cinematic that came close to what the Wrathgate was and meant.

There you have it, my top five in-game cinematics. For what it’s worth, there were a couple of other’s I strongly considered. “Thorn Removal” where Aysa and Ji went their separate ways was close. It was short but showed so much. Also up there was Maev’s capturing and release of the Demon Hunters. What about you? Which have been your favourites?

Friday Top 5: Patch 5.0.4.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a top five, and with the patch coming next week I thought there’s no better time for a discussion than with the big change on the horizon.  So, here’s what I’m looking most forward to when I log on Wednesday evening (because I’m at a concert Tuesday):

1. Theramore
Yessir, the Lore fan in me is quivering with anticipation over what actually happens to Jaina’s nest and subsequently her as well.  I think what has me most excited, though, is for the first time in a pre-expansion event I get to experience the full spectrum on both sides.  Sure, I got to help Vol’jin get his island back but that was the extent of my Horde involvement.  Saintvache is armed and ready.  Tum has his spells prepped, and Siori’s lurking in the shadows of Dustwallow Marsh as we speak.

2. Glyphs
Probably a bit of a surprise, but much of what I have seen with the Glyph system is a welcomed relief.  Prime Glyphs are gone, and it looks to me like the idea of glyphs will be much more “flavour” than anything else.  I don’t think this could be more true than with the Druid class.  So many options now!  Can’t wait to see what they do with the others.  Oh, and of course the profits I expect my Scribe to experience.

3. Account Wide
Whether it’s achievements, pets, or mounts, it all falls under this category.  The mount one just allows me to use the best character for the job rather than the one I want it on most.  I’ll also happily admit it benefits those of us with alts and one could call it supporting laziness.  But much of this expansion is aimed at time-limited players, so less grinding and farming for alts is ok at this stage of WoW as far as I’m concerned.  Who knows, with achievements account-wide, I might actually try for a few more of them.

4. Battle Tags
In reading the Patch Notes, I finally saw confirmation of this system being implemented.  I’m happy because I know a number of people who have no interest in sharing anything personal via Real ID (and, quite frankly, I’m fine with that) but will quite easily share something as simple as a battle tag.  Once again, I have mine.  JDKenada #1124.  Feel free to hit me up if you’re not into the whole Real ID thing (or are just switching away from it).

5. AoE Looting
As someone who’s farmed and solo’d dungeons with some semblance of regularity (more so prior to this expansion)…this seems horribly overdue.  Heck, even my laptopis excited about this one.  I look forward to not having to figure out which sparkle is the one I haven’t looted and which one has the hunk of Bear Meat I just don’t feel like looting.

Obviously with a patch this big, there are a lot of things going on and a large amount offered up to us.  There’s currency conversions (man, I hope that means current Valor gear becomes Justice as well).  There’s the whole talent system, which I only kept off the list because I don’t know what to think at this point.  It’s definitely a wait and see on that one.  But you can bet for sure that come Wednesday night I will be doing all I can in Theramore…from both sides.  That’s the big one for me.

Friday Top 5: Mists of Pandaria

*property of WoWInsider*

I’ll openly admit the upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft hasn’t done a whole heck of a lot to draw in my interest.  I can recognize the appeal for the general player base in regard to a number of things, it just hasn’t been for me.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s all bad in my eyes.  There are a few things I’m looking forward to and today’s Top 5 looks at what I look forward to the most about Mists of Pandaria:

5. Daily Quests No Longer Capped
News of this only came out a short time ago (or at least I didn’t hear about it until yesterday). You’re no longer limited to 25 daily quests. Part of the reason is the vast number of dailies that is apparently going to be available at level 90. Choice is good. At the same time, I like being able to do profession dailies, Molten Front for certain toons, Isle of Quel’Danas, and more…to say nothing of any world event that might be going on, or reputation based ones. That’s for someone who’s particular in what they want to do. Achievement folks must be loving this news as it gives them a chance to do more, faster.

4. The Monk
This is the one class I felt was missing from the game when folks brought up the question. We’ve seen them in a number of locations (Scarlet Monastery and Trial of the Champion, for example) and it makes sense that at some point the Horde and Alliance would have a few. Not sure that I agree with having them for all the pre-Cataclysm races but c’est la vie.

3. The Jewelcrafting Mount(s)
No, I wasn’t a huge Voltron fan and I don’t plan to get them all. However, there were a couple of skins that I very much went gaga over (no Bad Romance). I’m sure they’ll be right up there with the Chopper in terms of cost and effort to make, and we’ll no doubt have to have Exalted with a certain faction first. Even still, them is some sexy cats.

2. Black Market Auction House
My God how people have lamented over this (at least in the posts and discussions I have been involved with). Some have gone so far as to say this is Blizzard encouraging you to buy gold instead of going out and getting it. Let me just say that’s silly. Look at the ridiculous amount of money people have right now. Quest rewards and mob drops alone make it easy to make gold without even trying. The amount increases every expansion, so you do the math. This is going to be a great opportunity to snag some incredibly rare stuff -for a price. Old Naxx gear and some of the rare mounts seem to be the key items thus far. Personally, I hope it’s limited release of each and a great touch would be either BoP or making certain you can only buy one item per day, otherwise you’ll have people like myself who will flip it on the standard auction house for a ridiculous amount of profit.

1. The Lore
While I’m sure I will enjoy the details of the new continent, it’s the existing Azeroth we know about that I’m giddy for. Garrosh being a boss and Theramore getting sacked are pretty common knowledge at this point. But it’s the details that I can’t wait to see and hear. Blizzard is putting more emphasis on war between the two factions these days and from that come some really great stories. As much as I like Thrall, this expansion was honestly too much of the Shaman for me and I’m looking forward to someone else getting the spotlight. Blizzard does lore incredibly well and as such I can’t wait for what’s next.

See?  Mists isn’t all bad to me.  There’s other things that appeal to me (Hunter Stampede!) as well, despite the fact I’ve not been excited about Farmville, Pokemon, or even Pandas.  I’d like to think the difference between myself and other negative folk is that I’m not against any of the decisions Blizzard has made, save for perhaps the Talent Trees but I will discuss that at a later time (and again, I do understand the basis for it).  The things I’ve listed, I’m definitely happy about.  What about yourself?  What elements are you most excited about?

Friday Top Five: Level 34

I dinged last night to a murmur and the sound of people ending their factory shift outside last night, and I’m quite ok with that.  Actually, in coincidental celebration I saw that Levache was 33 and decided art should imitate life and thus I did just enough to hit 34 with him as well.  The bad part of that was thinking “I really should play him more.”  But, hey, it’s my birthday and I was doing what I wanted.

It also got me thinking about what I would do if I lived in Azeroth.  How would I celebrate my birthday there, given all the options available to me?  Contrary to a few jokes,  the world wouldn’t be called “Moon Guard” and I wouldn’t just buy a weekend pass to Goldshire (though in a weird way that place really does have to be seen to be believed).  Nor would I spend it all in the big city, such as Dalaran or Orgrimmar.  That’s just not me, unless it might be to seem some Gladiator combat.  So with today’s top five I give you a list of things I would do were that I were celebrating my birthday as a true Azerothian:

5. Take In Stormwind Harbor
Ignore what I just said about cities for a moment. I’ve always found the water to be a peaceful thing. There have been many many days where I’ve sat along a shore and just watched the water, felt the air move across my face and just been at true peace. It didn’t matter whether the sun was shining or the rain was falling, it felt great. There’s something even more majestic about it at night. On occasion I’ve gone to the harbor and just looked out. It’s not quite the same, but it still has a tranquility about it.

4. Buy A Couple Fortune Cards
Don’t ask me why, but this is the one day of the year where I’m almost always a sucker for a lottery ticket or a scratch ticket. Why should my Azerothian form be any different?

3. Have A Few Rounds At Bruuk’s Corner
The inn Claws of Nature called home when we were at our most active. During Winter Veil it was the place to be for a good party. There’s no reason I couldn’t do the same to celebrate my birthday. Besides, I’d love to get hammered with the Dwarves.

2. Fireworks
Since I have the privelege of being born very close to Victoria Day in Canada, there’s guaranteed to be fireworks within six days of my birthday. However, when I say fireworks in Azeroth I should probably clarify things: I want to blow the ever loving stuffing out of certain items and in a way that sends them clear off the continent. I’d probably have to visit Goblins rather than Gnomes, but I also think the Goblins wouldn’t care who was buying it -or even why.

1. Spend The Night With A Beautiful Woman
Hey, it’s the digital me and it’s my birthday. I don’t think that request is unfair. In fact, I even have one particularly striking individual in mind…

Friday Top 5: Death Knight Helms

For today’s list, we’re going to look at the best Death Knight helm options out there. While mileage is going to vary based on what the rest of your transmogrification outfit looks like, these five suit the class.

5. Vicious Ornate Pyrium Helm
I chose this helm to start the list today as it works incredibly well in it’s simplicity.  The dark tones match most of the “Death Knight” colors in the game.  It’s easy enough to acquire as well.  You just need to track down a level 525 Blacksmith who’s bought the recipe from their trainer for 5 Pyrium bars.

 

4. Magma Plated Helmet
This Joker inspired helm makes the list for it’s rather creepy feel. There are actually three skins for this headpiece but I chose the one I would be most likely to use. It’s perfect for a Joker themed character as well. If it’s what you’d like for your Death Knight, you’ll need to try for your Helm of the Forlorn Vanquisher token from Blackwing Descent.

 

3. Koltira’s/Thassarian’s Helmet of Triumph
I find this helm to be a bit similar to the previous one, but it’s not nearly as “over the top.” So it really comes down to how “loud” of a look you’re trying to achieve as to where these two helmets rank in your eyes. The bad news is you need a Trophy of the Crusade and 1196 Justice Points to acquire it.

 

 

2. Fel-Steel Warhelm
This is one of the best/meanest looking Plate helms in the game. Perfect for a Death Knight, if you ask me. The green is great in general, but even better if your emphasis is on Unholy. The off colours give you a great palette to work with as well. As custom made for a DK as this helm seems to be, it’s actually from Burning Crusade. It drops from the Void Reaver in The Eye.

 

1. Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Dreadplate Helm
Why did I choose this helm as the best for a DK? Sheer bad-assery. It really is.  The imposing effect this piece has captures the feel of the Death Knight even better than the others I’ve listed and you can really build some great outfits around it.  The other helms have been generic, or exemplified the Frost or Unholy trees of the class, and this one certainly gives off the Blood vibe.  This version is the Season 11 Elite version, so you’ll have to get the standard version with 2200 Conquest Points and then upgrade.

Friday Top 5: Instance Bosses

The bane of our existence.  The darkness to our light.  The Newman to our Seinfeld.  Okay, that last one was a bit much.  Still, the bosses of an instance are the reason we heroes exist.  They cause trouble, in almost all cases for personal gain and we go in and whomp `em…in almost all cases for personal gain.  There are plenty of baddies in the 5-man content of World of Warcraft, but these are the ones that stick out most for me.

5. Salramm The Fleshcrafter
Salramm makes the list simply because he makes me want to kill him.  When he calls out “you are too late, champion of Lordaeron.  The dead shall have their day.” in all honesty I think he sounds like an absolute pervert (a credit to the voice actor).  It creeps me out to no end and, though he is overshadowed by Mal’Ganis, he’s one of the many things I love about the Culling of Stratholme.

4. Nexus-Prince Shaffar
For all the awesome that was Burning Crusade, there weren’t that many instance bosses that stood out for me. But the Nexus-Prince has been fun since the first time I encountered him, and I remember him being such a challenge at first. It didn’t hurt that almost everyone I knew farmed Mana Tombs for Consortium rep, so we got to know each other really well. Plus, he’s an Ethereal. Does it get any better? Actually it does, as his lines are all just perfect. He reminds me of a Bond villain in that he’s just so proper in his interaction and comments…you know, before he tries to lay waste to the party.

3. The Black Knight
I think it safe to say many people did not like the whole Argent Tournament idea. Some people hated jousting. Some hated the raids. Others, in the early stages of release, hated fighting this guy. Our final fight for the tournament (5-man), the Knight showing up caps off a rather enjoyable little story arc.  His fight mechanic was interesting, in that phase two was a kill or be killed contest.  I remember bubble/Divine Hymn so many times on that fight.  That’s presuming his ghouls didn’t book it straight for me.  It was easy to get frustrated with other players, but this was a fight that for a time actually challenged you.

2.  Keristrasza
We actually do some questing for Keri, before Malygos gets his claws on her.  He ends up binding her in Nexus and she goes nearly as insane as her captor in the process.  The cold mechanic, or the hop fight as I’ve heard people call it, made an other wise easy fight unique.  What I love most about her, is when she screams at us to finish the job and kill her.  Again, it’s a case of the actor capturing her perfectly.

1. Herald Volazj
Doing this fight now isn’t nearly the same as when it first launched.  With gear and nerfs and what have you, the fight isn’t even close to as hard.  However, I remember the first time I went into it.  I was healing at the time and courtesy of WoWInsider I had heard about the mechanic of the final fight.  The whole full party mind control was just awesome sounding.  Well, let me tell you something…this is a case where if your healer is the awesome of the party, you’re screwed.  Reason being, they will own your ass when you become MC’d or have the visage or whatever you want to call fighting the shadows of your party.  I think it was the second time I went in there, I suggested I drop group so they could get a weaker healer and the other four were very appreciative.  That’s not a testament to my eliteness by any stretch, I was just better geared and the mechanic of the fight turned the volume to 11.

When I started putting the list together, the last thing I expected was for a nearly clean sweep of bosses from one era of WoW.  Unless I had included the original Deadmines because I loved everything about that place and the bosses in it.  Heck, I even debated other Wrath bosses such as Skadi the Ruthless from Utgarde Pinnacle and Ionar in Halls of Lightning.  The biggest decision was to not include Kael’thas Sunstrider.  Yes, he’s the final confrontation in Magister’s Terrace, but to me he’s always going to be a raid boss first and foremost.

The odd thing was not a single Catalcysm boss jumped out at me.  Some of the stuff from Hour of Twilight was tempting, but that was about it.  I like a number of the dungeons, but the bosses just don’t grab my attention nearly as much.  Perhaps they’re too new to be in the nostalgia category like so many before them.  What do you think?  What bosses have you enjoyed most in the game and why?

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.