04
Apr
14

Long time, no see

dusty bookIt has been a long time since I logged into WordPress and looked at my blog.  Just over three months, actually.

I tried the Twitter thing (@DinaerRogue).  I don’t mind the format, although I am somewhat verbose for 140 characters.  My problem is that I don’t have an instinct to post my thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness manner.  Successful twitter streams have frequent updates of small amounts of information.  I’m just not mentally connected enough with Twitter.

I’m still playing the game regularly.  My guild is uber-casual.  We’re working through Flex difficulty as our main raid mode.  With flex we get to bring different people every week, which means a lot of re-learning and re-re-learning fights.  We still haven’t killed Garrosh as a guild.  We’ve got time.

I’ve been healing quite a bit on my druid.  One of our main healers announced that he is switching to his warlock in Warlords, so I may have to step in and heal full-time.  I enjoy it, so its not a big deal.  Even the announced WoD healing changes don’t turn me off.

With raid healing as my current focus, I’ve been working on the legendary cloak for my healer alt.  It’s slow going.  As we know, the  boosted 90s have made LFR a real chore.  I’m almost done, though.  Just four more Titan Runestones, and then I’ll be in the home stretch of quests.

I have six characters at level 90.  I don’t play most of them – I leveled them for their professions.  I made sure my engineer was at 90 to make the Sky Golem, and that my jewelcrafter was at 90 to make the jade panther mounts.  The only characters I currently play are my rogue (of course), my resto druid, and my paladin, who I am gearing as a backup tank even though I haven’t tanked since Cataclysm.

I am still working the glyph and gem markets.  I got back into goldmaking when I decided to craft my panther mounts.  I’m not hardcore – I’m making about 10k gold per week and that’s good enough.

With the first WoD Alpha patch notes released, I was inspired to come back to the blog and say something, at least on the rogue parts.  Check for that post coming up (if anyone is still out there).

31
Dec
13

Sha-Touched Weapon… good or bad?

When we got our sha-touched weapons back in Throne of Thunder, we were, of course, excited.  The 500 Agility gem made those weapons super-powerful.

That was then.  This is now.

Now I’m a little annoyed.  I mostly run LFR and Flex raids.  The daggers that drop, although a higher iLvL, are not really an upgrade over the sha-touched dagger.  That 500 agility gem is overwhelming.

For this reason, I’m still running with my dagger from the previous tier.  Its a little frustrating to keep raiding without getting upgrades for that item slot.

Looking back, I wish that the sha-touched bonus was something that could be applied to future weapons, much like the capacitive primal diamond that I have for my head slot.

Its always interesting to look back on game features that seemed good when they were new and examine how they age as the game moves on.

30
Nov
13

on Flying in Warlords of Draenor

Yesterday I took one of my alts out for a spin.  Its a level 90 ret paladin in a mix of Timeless Isle gear and level 85 quest rewards.  I never play him.  He was leveled to 90 without even leaving Jade Forest, by running instances and scenarios.

He is my engineering character, so I needed to go out and kill things to get the world drop recipe for the daily engineering cooldown.  This involved me actually killing things by myself for the first time since I was level 85.

I quickly found that I had no memory of how to play the character.  I didn’t recall what any of the buttons did.  I figured out about four or five through trial and error.  I was able to take on a single level 90-91 foe in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.  If I accidentally pulled two, then I was in trouble.  I really, really sucked.  I must have died 6 times just fighting random mogu in the northern Vale.

So, I flew.

I hopped on my flying mount and hovered around.  I would drop in when I could find a single mob.  I’d fight it, loot it, then hop back on my mount.  If I saw a mining node in the middle of a mogu camp, I’d wait until the mogu had pathed away, drop down, mine the node and zip back into the sky.

This is not new.  Its been the way of things at the level cap since flying mounts were introduced.  People like it.

I’d claim that it is terrible game design.

They put those mining nodes behind the mogu camps for a reason.  The idea is that they are not easy to get to.  They are guarded.  Let me be clear – if I had to fight my way to them I would not have been able to.  I am currently awful on my ret paladin.  Therefore, the flying mount is simply letting me – the completely unskilled paladin – bypass the game mechanics to get the mining node.

I can’t tell who is complaining more about this- the “elitists” or the “casuals” (as vague as those terms are).  Elitists could fight their way through the mogu to the mining node with ease.  The lack of flying would just be a time sink for them.  The casuals don’t want to be bothered fighting.  They want their mining node with a minimum of hassle.

I don’t think either of these is a particularly compelling argument, and they both smack of entitlement.

The main complaint seems to boil down to the concept that questing and running around are no longer part of the game at the level cap.  Once you hit the level cap, all of the things that you used to deal with are now an inconvenience.  You should be above all of that – literally – by flying over it.

Look at the Dread Wastes.  That was a complete zone that was essentially designed to be played at the level cap.  Most of us dinged 90 either in Townlong Steppes or in the first few quests in Dread Wastes.  Then, we’d play through the rest of the zone to get pre-raid gear, or for reputation.  I point this out to reinforce that Blizzard does create non-raid content for players at the level cap, and flying above it would negate that content.

I’m hoping that we find in WoD that there are vast amounts of things to do other than raid once we hit level 100.  If that is the case, then keeping us grounded is the right thing to do.  Let us play through that content the way it was intended by the developers.  If it takes an extra month before we can fly, then so be it.  We’ll have plenty of time in Draenor left once we get our wings.

29
Nov
13

on Ghostcrawler

The big news lately – Ghostcrawler (Lead Systems Designer Greg Street) is leaving Blizzard.

First thing is – good for him.  Anyone who has the ability and the bravery to move on to something bigger (and hopefully better) has my admiration.

In reading the various forums, I have found quite a bit of venom spewed at Ghostcrawler.  He doesn’t deserve any of this, and the people who use their internet anonymity to spew this crap are, for the most part, vile, small-minded sheep.

Greg Street became the face of Blizzard by making himself accessible, whether by posting in forums or, more recently, through Twitter.  He held conversations with players on their likes and dislikes in the game.  More often, it was the dislikes since the people who like the game rarely take the time to go on Twitter and say so.

Because he made himself so available, he became the symbol that people focused on.  Players who overestimate their intellect would throw their thoughts up on Twitter and expect Greg Street to simply agree with them or bow to their unbreakable logic.  Of course, this rarely happened, which led to great gnashing of teeth as people felt ignored.

Mr. Street was a great asset to Blizzard as he could stay level-headed in the torrent of inanity and vomit spewed at him.  I personally could not bear to read most of the Twitter feed because much of what I read often made me ashamed of the human race (or at least the gaming part of it).  I would not have lasted a week in Mr. Street’s position without going postal.

Those who blame all of the game’s woes on Mr. Street are simply not thinking through the vast complexity of game design.  However, in him they found a scapegoat.  Thus, the herd of internet cattle have banded together to take their final shots at his back as he rides off into the sunset.

Here’s to you, Greg.  Thanks for everything you have done.  The fact that I still play for hours every week and give my $15 a month like clockwork is all the evidence needed to show how the game has succeeded.  The fact that the haters pay their subscription fees too is even greater validation.

11
Nov
13

Can WoW ever recapture that old feeling?

Blizzcon came and went this weekend.  As far as I know, I’m the only person in my guild (there might be one other) who bought the virtual ticket.  In guild chat Friday and Saturday night, no one was chatting about the new revelations unless I brought it up, and then there were only a few quick replies.  There was no excitement.  No buzz.

I don’t blame Blizzard for this.  They are doing all they can.  Coming up with new ideas for games within the game, taking us down lore paths that are fascinating and interesting, and streamlining the game experience.

I think much of the problem lies with the time between WoW and the old RTS games, Warcraft I, II, and III.

When WoW first came out, a significant percentage of players were drawn to it from their love of the RTS games.  I know I was.  Seeing your favorite Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness scenes and zones brought to life was a wonderful experience.  This is in addition to the EQ players that came over to WoW because it was the next Big Thing.

When Burning Crusade came out, I remember so much buzz being about the role that the old RTS games played.  The Dark Portal, Karazhan, Outland, and others were all prominent in Warcraft II.  Many players geeked out over this, even though Warcraft II was over 10 years old at the time of the Burning Crusade expansion.  The excitement was infectious, and others were prompted to look up the lore or read the novels to join in on the geekfest.

Similarly, when Wrath came out the characters and settings were taken from the Warcraft III RTS.  The Arthas storyline was a favorite, and dedicated fans of the RTS series couldn’t wait to face him.  The story was much fresher this time around – there was only six years between Warcraft III and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion to WoW.

For the Cataclysm expansion, the developers went with other figures from Warcraft lore – Deathwing and the Aspects.  However, this expansion, while steeped in lore, brought less connection to the RTS game series.  It still pulled characters from the classic stories as told in the novels.  However, in this expansion we see Blizzard drawing their lore very much from novels rather than their own prior games.

with Mists of Pandaria, it seems almost like the writers ran out of lore.  They created the continent of Pandaria out of thin air based only on presence of some peripheral characters in the RTS games.  At this point, they are making things up as they go, and the veteran players can sense it.  Gone are the familiar settings and characters.  Gone is the connection to the RTS experiences of the past.

Think about it – why is it that at every Blizzcon, players cry for the return of Alleria and Turalyon?  Why is there so much interest in fighting the Burning Legion again?  These are the heroes and villains that we are familiar with.

With that in mind, Warlords of Draenor is a good idea.  Bring back some of those classic names.  Go back to the days of Ner’zhul and Durotan as played out in Warcraft II.  Try to recapture that old feeling.

But, Warcraft II was twenty years ago, now.  Most WoW players haven’t played it.  In fact, the RTS games won’t even run on modern computers.  Even though a return to those settings is good in principle, I think we have lost a critical mass of the RTS players, and its getting hard to generate that excitement.

10
Nov
13

A return to loot distribution systems?

In Mists, (and even in Cata) my guild got away from using any loot distribution method other than /roll or need/greed.  In 10-man raids, the itemization on gear made it suitable only for two or three specific specs, and as a group of mostly friends we never had any drama.

In Warlords of Draenor, with larger raids due to flexible raid scaling there is bound to be more conflict.  Add to that thee revelation that gear will alter its stats based on the spec of the character that equips it.  That means that a single leather piece can be rolled on by ALL druid specs, ALL monk specs, and any rogues.  Depending on the secondary stats, a single plate drop could be rolled on by ALL paladin specs, ALL death knight specs, and ALL warrior specs.

Will this force us back to a loot distribution system?  I was happy to be rid of that for the past two expansions.  We used EPGP back in the day.  Might have to reconsider it.

03
Oct
13

Gold Proving Grounds for Rogues

In each patch there is something that catches my attention and gets me to focus.  In 5.4, it was Proving Grounds.

I went in there all cocky and sure that this was going to be a breeze for someone with my experience.  Turns out that the Gold level dps was a good challenge.  I actually ended up reforging, changing talents, and flasking up to finish it.

I only did it as assassination so I can’t give any specific tips about combat (is anyone playing combat?) or subtlety strategies.

General Tips:

  • I did find myself energy starved at certain times.  Most of the mobs are level 91-92 (except the Sha in the last two waves), so you can get away with not being hit-capped at 7.5%.  There is a reforger in the scenario instance.  I reforged some of my hit away to haste to help my energy regen.
  • Always get a Rupture going, even if just 1cp, for the energy return (Venomous Wounds).
  • MARKED FOR DEATH IS OP.  Once I made sure that Marked for Death was hotkeyed, the scenario got much easier.  Remember that the cooldown on Marked for Death resets if your target dies in under a minute.  ALL of the targets there last less than a minute (except the Sha), so you can start each mob with 5 combo points for great burst.
  • Potions are disabled, but you can use a flask and food buff.
  • Your gear is going to get scaled down to level 463.  Tier bonuses don’t work.  Meta gems don’t work.  For that reason, feel free to equip different gear than you would normally wear in raids, as long as its itemized well, gemmed, enchanted, and higher than 463.  Don’t feel the need to keep your tier sets together or that high level trinket you got from SoO if you can find something lower level with a better proc.

Specific Tips

  • Target the Banana Tossers first.  I used Cloak and Dagger to jump behind them, hit them with Cheap Shot, then Marked for Death for a 5cp Rupture.  Then I burned them down ASAP.
  • When you have a group of little virmen, you can leave them for last.  However, when you run past them you can Fan of Knives once or twice to get some poison ticking while you take care of other targets.
  • The only spell that you need to interrupt is the heal that is cast by Mystics.  The Amber Weavers conjure Amber Spheres, but they can help you if you maneuver right.  The Amber Spheres encase and stun whatever they hit, whether its you or one of your targets.  Whatever is encased takes extra damage.  If you can maneuver it to hit one of your targets, then you can burn it down more quickly.
  • The small banshees die really fast.  When they spawn you have to turn and get them, but you can stay on your current target for another second or two to either finish it off, or refresh Rupture to keep ticking while you’re attacking the banshee.
  • You’ll see little damage-buff items spawn.  In the gold challenge, one spawns after wave 3 and one after wave 7 or 8.  I encourage you to save them both for wave 10.  If you need them to get past earlier waves, then you’re probably not going to have the dps to finish the last wave, anyway.
  • The last wave is hard because the Sha has a shield up most of the time that is reducing your damage by 75%.  When he drops the shield, use all of your damage cooldowns.  If you’ve saved the damage buff items you should use one of those as well.



Armory

Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
July 2014
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Add to Technorati Favorites
website statistics








World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®

Blog Stats

  • 1,199,433 hits

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers