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Category Archives: WoW

“Why Can’t I Make A Pandaren!”

If you find yourself yelling into the night the title of this post, “Why Can’t I Make a Pandaren?!” then you are probably in the same boat as me.  Luckily for some, patience shall be rewarded!  You have, at this moment, fifty-seven minutes until Mists of Pandaria launches.  So, if you are like me and got the game at a Midnight release (though you might have already done this last expansion and that xpack turned out god-awful >.>), you still have to wait just a little longer, yall.

You’ll get in soon enough.

Mists of Pandaria Enjoyment Tip: Give It Three Days

The most common problem with games, namely MMOs, is a toss-up between Burn Out and Lack of Content.  As MoP is an expansion I hope this is more or less immune, but as new game releases have clearly shown (Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3) a great deal of things can go very, very wrong and *fast*.

My advice to avoid all that, and I know this goes entirely against the unspoken Gamer Law, but why not just let it sit for a few days before diving in?  The content will all be there just the same. Jumping in at the very first moment might sound good in theory, but with so many people doing just that the quest items, mobs, and lord knows with the new Cross Servers being added, it is likely no zones will be barren and ripe for the XP pickings for long.  And, going on that topic, if you were to lead the leveling pack, just to what end does that get ya?  Capped fast and content starved.  Aye, there is a great deal added just for level 90s, a whole randomified zone in fact (kudos to Blizz for that extra mile), but even so, you just deprived yourself of all the stuff you already did just to get there.  Next time you see it, you’ll be rolling both your alt and your eyes at all the stuff you skimmed over in the first place.  And for what!

I mean, I love standing in town for hours in queues like everyone else (or randomly doing laps on foot while constantly jumping as I talk about nothing particular on vent), but I think we can raise the bar just a smidge this expansion pack, no?

Let Us Not Forget the Tale of the Turtle Mount and the Brown Rabbit Companion…

“If rushing to the end doesn’t exactly win the game, why not just do a little bit of everything all at once!”  Good replacement to the bull outta the gates strategy, but still a bit flawed.  While rushing to the end has a clear goal you can also avoid, a constantly wondering attention span to all the New Shinies being added can be just as detrimental if you do too much too fast. Instead of impatiently humming to yourself as you re-read the quest text for the fifth time trying to see why you can’t turn the darn thing in (forgot to take that *one* quest item off the shelf, didn’t cha’?) you’ll be scrolling through three of every maxed out Poke-panion you have while wearing a mixed set of pvp, heirloom, and raiding gear completely transmogrified into either A: Tier 2 of your class, or B. a full set of Challenge “Bronze be darned, the gear is still quasi-rare and I had to put up with ten afk DPS to get this pirate hat so I’m gonna wear it!” Mode items.

First off, get a glass of warm milk and a crate of muscle relaxers (ya got this forehead twitch thing goin’ on) and secondly, why not just do one thing at a time?  While the game doesn’t officially start at max level this time around (finally!), you also can’t jump into everything at once because you are still over-consuming the content.

Patience is the Key and Moderation is the Lock

Let’s be honest, even if you get the digital copy odds are the servers are gonna be laggy from all the people coming out of the treants to get the game downloaded and up to date because Elune knows they could not have just downloaded it like the rest of us a month prior.

(Don’t tell this to any one of the ‘them,’ of course.  It’ll somehow end up your fault, but don’t worry too much. You’ll get the last laugh as odds are they’ll jump in, hit the level cap, then complain the game sucks just like they have done the past three expansions. “Man, you just don’t know how badass classic was.  Forty man raids, dude.  Four. Tea. Talkin’ Hillsbrad pvp, none of this flying mount bs.  And pallies were on Alliance, like it should be…!”)

My suggestion is to purchase the game as you normally would, but give it at least two full days before hopping on.  Any lag, or at least most of it will have subsided, quest mobs will be a possible to click on, but the pace should still be pretty fast.  Heck, why pass the time and start an alt to relearn all the new skill/ability/talent crap they decided to completely overhaul a second expansion in a row?  (But just not a Monk or Panda, as those zones and classes are going to swarm the servers like locusts at first.)

Mind you this *is* just a suggestion for most casual folk out there.  Any World First-ers, auction house kingpins, and achievement junkies need not apply.  At the end of the day it is your game and yall see fit to enjoy it as you like, just posting a passing thought that some people might not have thought about.  But a word of caution:

If you have thought the same thing I did, you just shared something I also thought up.  Be afraid, my friend.  Now, I’m not saying you definitely are going to have a psychotic episode… but try to avoid sharp cutlery, cinnamon-flavored floss, and japanese eggplant for a few days just to be safe.  (If you do, you kinda might possibly wake up with an extra arm badly stitched atop your belly button.)  Then you’ll have to spend the rest of the day figuring out what grave it came from so you can return it and… ya knowwhat?  Who needs details?

Avoid the dang eggplant, just sayin’.

Mists of Pandaria: Release Date on zee September 25th!

Man, how many months has it been since I typed about Mists?  Heck, typed about anything at all, right? XD  Surprised was I to hear the intro cinematic to MoP was being shown on August 25th, but then like rapid-fire I found out the expansion is getting released a month later to the day!  Amazing.

I have not sat down to read a full-on WoW website in nearly a year, but as this announcement sparked my interest in playing again, I did see some things on wowhead that I thought was nifty.  Namely more detail on factions and things to do like farming a la Harvest Moon (which I believe was one of the games I did a shout out to many moons ago with the Developer Appreciation Week).  But it seems you can only start farming at 86 (and get rep at 90).  Will this eventually lead to lower levels being able to use it, like the Pokemon addition?  After all the farm is your own zone/instance so they could easily add a plot of land to the major cities with little hassle. They are probably playing it smart by requiring 86 and MoP zone only, you *need* to have MoP and all the previous expansions (cha-ching!) in order to access it.  Maybe in a few months or even next expansion pack they add a plot of land outside the major cities.

It’s not like Elwynn Forest is far from Stormwind, nor are those pig farms outside of Orgrimmar.

But as for the really important question: Who else can’t wait to kill Garrosh?  For reals this time!

WoW: Cataclysm 4.3 is LIVE, Buddeh’!

Dust off the ol’ Blizzard account, it’s time to let yourself get back into the poisonous addiction!

If you don’t have the patch already thanks to the Background Downloader, fire that baby up.  Looking For Raid is live, so think Looking for Dungeon/Group only a lot bigger.  You’ll get an actual shot at loot and seeing end game content without requiring a guild (finally!)  It’s a bit of a godsend for those stuck on smaller or really uneven population realms.

There is also the Void Storage which will help all ye’ packrats hold even more items.  Better still, you can Transmogrify any item you can normally wear for your class, which takes the item you like and makes your current gear slot look identically like that very item.  Somewhat of a vicious cycle for all the aforementioned packrats ^_^  Already have a bud with a completely full Void Storage and the patch has only been live for like an hour!

It costs 100 gold to unlock the storage and 25 gold to store each item, in case any of your were wondering what the final gold costs were for using the Void Storage.  I didn’t PTR at all so I’m glad to hear it is rather low overall.

I’mma hop on and take a look-see.  Have a great day, everyone!

-Edit-

Completely forgot that Tyrael’s Charger is now live as well!  So go and get your Diablo 3 tentacle angel love a flowin’ outside the AH or bank.

And that sounded a lot dirtier than intended.

Mists of Pandaria : Item Squishing – The Great Lootralizer

Interesting topic at the WoW Developer Water Cooler blog feature this week, namely the topic of Item Squishing or Item “Compression”.  The conundrum of it all is pretty simple: Items and stats are growing exponentially fast.  So fast that stats are starting to get a little ridiculous.  Ludicrous, even. Items in the theoretical 5.3 patch will have +thousands to stats and 6.3 would have over tens of thousands.

The bigger picture problem that Blizzard was trying to sell home was that computers will not be able to handle dealing with that many variables when it comes to damage, as tens of thousands of stats on every item logically would equate to doing millions of damage.  That million plus damage is the root problem of this all as the game requires both the servers and your game clients to be precise.  Ten million four hundred thirty-six thousand nine hundred and forty-two, kind of precise.  That is as annoying to read out like that as it is strenuous for a server to process.  Maybe not one player at a time, but imagine Alterac Valley.

That is a LOT of virtual dice to keep rolling every time your DoTs tick.  Something has to change.

The first of several ideas started minor and even comical.  Of these my favorite was simply rounding off damage at “10k” or “2m” instead of thousands and millions, but they displayed it in such a way as to make fun of the people who will inevitably be the largest group of nay-sayers to these proposed ideas.

While that could work, it would only really delay the inevitable.  Later on the honest ideas started rolling out, which is the whole point of this post ^_^  Item Squishing is the act of taking existing items and squishing them down to more manageable levels, and lowering damage output as well.  The developers made it very clear we would still do the same percentage of damage as we do now, only the numbers itself will shrink.

The loudest group against this proposed change is those who claim to only enjoy seeing big numbers when they do damage.  The bigger the number, the better.  While I can understand seeing big numbers is great, it really is secondary to the process.  You don’t care about the number itself, you just care at how BIG the number is compared to normal.  People don’t seem to be grasping that on the forums, though.

Let me give you an opposite example.  Was playing Black Ops with a bud over the weekend and one mode was Team Deathmatch or something similar.  I noticed in this particular mode that every kill the respective team got earned them exactly 100 points.  Not ten, not fifty, but 100.  That changed everything.  The shiny bars at the bottom keeping score surged forward, but for what?  It was first to 2,000 wins, but we were never really playing that game.  We were playing to twenty.  As with the rest of that FPS ‘series’, it was merely over-inflated hype.  I don’t know if anyone playing even noticed, but it certainly rubbed me the wrong way for being misleading.

WoW is trying to avoid getting to that by nipping it here and now.  Damage is related to the content you are in.  It doesn’t matter if you do 20 or 10 million if each hit takes off 10% of the mob’s health bar.  For that reason, I am also in support of the change.  But, I am not so for it that I can’t see potential issues.  If you take a gander at the graph they released, you’ll see the new proposed item levels they sorta have in mind.

The lighter shades above show where we are presently, the darker colors are where they plan to be.  This isn’t 100% going to happen, but come on.  It’s a graph.  This is Science.

My two concerns with this change is, first, Cataclysm still has a huge impact on the item level, or “ilevel”.  Based on the numbers you go from ilevel 75 to 175 from 80 to 85.  .  That’s basically all of 1-60 made up in five levels.  If that math keeps up, we’ll need *another* round of squishing, another Great Lootralizer to even the scales, at the start of the very next expansion after Mists of Pandaria.  (175/75 = 2.3ish.  Cata ends at 175, multiply that by the 2.3 and poof, 402.  Conveniently where Cata is at presently based on that graph.)

Secondly, is that 1-60 content is seemingly not going to change.  If our items at level 85 before getting tier gear are marginally better than tier gear from Classic content… how the heck are we gonna raid outdated stuff solo?  I don’t do this often, but I have helped out friends in the past, and I do like checking out old 5mans for Transmogrification… if our stats get lowered not only will damage we deliver go down, so will the amount we can take.  Add in Warriors and the like blocking percentage damage instead of whole amounts like we did in Wrath, and that makes old content a lot less soloable than now.  There was a post made about this issue on the forums, but avoiding giving direct answers only solidifies the worry some people are having about this.  The Blue in question is Daxxarri, and they said:

It seems to me that some of those that have expressed misgivings about the squish are worried about feeling ‘nerfed’ when facing older content, but the item squish shouldn’t mean that soloing older raid content will die, necessarily. Though we appreciate the feedback, I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t want anyone to turn their back on the idea purely out of concern for losing the ability to take down older raids solo or in small groups.

-Daxxarri

Wudya mean, “shouldn’t mean that soloing older raid content will die, necessarily”?  Is that the PR way of saying ‘You can still do it, stupid.  Just bring 39 others with ya!’?  Ending the comment with “small groups” adds another clue, in my opinion.

Daxx, if you go through with the squish, if everything goes smooth/properly do you guys see it affecting the numbers needed for old BC/WotLK raids etc? If so, how much?

It’s very early days yet, and as Ghostcrawler indicated in the Watercooler, we don’t even know which direction we’d be going in yet (if we end up pulling the trigger on it at all). So, with that in mind, I’m just not in a position to comment on it at the moment, but we are interested in the feedback that we’ve seen, including support for the idea.

-Daxxarri

In short, ‘Even though you asked be a very obvious question and could say the answer to it right now… I can’t legally.  Sorry.’

This leaves a massive door open for both good and bad comments to be crammed into this posters mouth.  Again, I am for the idea.  But I never think that limiting the player ever ends well, especially after many have grown so accustomed to the idea of running old content solo.

Perhaps add solo dungeons to the list of things to include in PvE Scenarios?  Fast groups with items that look identical to the originals so Transmog Hunters can still have fun with modernized Old Content?

I’m sure we’ll all find out soon enough.  Last I remember that ol’ business conference call with Blizzard stated a Q2 released of Mists of Pandaria.  I dunno if Diablo 3’s delay pushed it back any, but things are definitely on the conveyor belt to launch at this point.  Also, patch 4.3 is starting to appear on the Blizzard (Background) Downloader.  So you know what that means.

Cata is almost over!  It is almost over, friends!

/happily sobbing a la Tom Hanks in Money Pit

After nearly a year of pointless nothingness, we are coming upon a shiny new continent and a new race and class.  We have stared into the xpack and the xpack stared back into us.  Though many have fallen, we the proud remain.

Cata is almost gone, thank the flying spaghetti monster! XD

Diablo 3: Paving the Way For Mists of Pandaria’s Talent System

By now I think we’ve all seen the current idea Blizzard is heading for the new Talent System in place for Mists of Pandaria.  It has drawn both love and hate as it pretty radically changes how the talent system works.  Before you plotted points down a tree like how it was in Diablo 2 and called it a day.  They added more in Burning Crusade, they added more in Wrath.  They slashed them back down to Classic levels in Cataclysm, and now they are slashing them even more.

The trade-off is supposed to be choice and personal preference under the guise of avoiding cookie cutter builds.  Hats off to their attempt at it, but I think it was pretty clear some classes got more love than others at Blizzcon.  For example, check out the planned Hunter talents. Take your time and fill out a spec to the bottom if you haven’t already.

MoP Hunter Talents

Decent choices, pretty much could go either way depending on your play style and preferences.  Note some interesting takes on old abilities like bonuses to Disengage and Ice Trap. Compare those options with, say, Warrior talents.

MoP Warrior Talents

Notice the issue?  Out of the whole thing, five new ideas.  (Hunters have 11 new ones at my count) While both classes have repeated abilities that already exist today, the Warrior one has far more repeats that don’t exactly make much sense.  Even worse, Blizzard wants talents to be a hard decision, something we spend time thinking about and making a tough but helpful call to enhance our character in our own preferred way.  With the current options in the Warrior talents, it does not match their projected goal.  The options were simple and still took cookie cutter as they didn’t have enough variety.

Am I raging about it?  Not at all.  While I think the Hunter ideas are great, I think the Warrior changes have not gone in yet.  We’ve seen something similar were one class finishes developement earlier than others, for example Tier gear.  It isn’t done yet, but we get a short glimpse at what they have planned and I understand time constraints and all that.

Mind you, if MoP arrives and we get nearly identical talents to what they are currently, oh yeah.  That crud wouldn’t fly XD  But as it stands now, it was at Blizzcon, let’s see what we get at release.  Luckily, we all got another example to gawk and ponder at with Diablo 3!

Diablo 3 Skill Calculator

While WoW is getting a few of these ideas, or at least the same thought process behind it, Diablo 3 is getting fully decked out with the stuff.  Feel free to check out the link, but be warned it will easily consume the rest of your day and week if you allow it.  The amount of options per class aren’t exactly staggering, but each option IS difficult to choose from as each one is beneficial and feels solid in its own way.

Let’s take a look at a simple ability from the meat n’ potatoes Barbarian class, Throw Weapon.

The ability will always do the following:  Throw a weapon for 210% weapon damage and slow the enemy by 70% for 4 seconds.  Costs 20 Fury.

We’ll just assume you like the ability and select it.  (But keep in mind you are never forced to, you can pick them as you like, however you like.)  Now you can tweak it further with Runes.  These suckers drop all over the place, but to keep the math congruent, they provided the strongest version of each rune available.   (So not only do you choose what type of rune, the runes have different strengths depending on what difficulty they drop in.)

You have five options.

  1. Alabaster Runestone – Confuse the target into attacking other enemies for six seconds
  2. Crimson Runestone – Increase damage to 368% (instead of 210%)
  3. Golden Runestone – Spend all remaining Fury to throw a fallen enemy instead of a weapon.  Damage inflicted increased by 6% per point of Fury spent to all enemies in a 16 yard range of the target.
  4. Indigo Runestone – Hit up to five targets within 20 yards of one another.
  5. Obsidian Runestone – Throw a hammer instead of your weapon with a 24% chance to stun the enemy for three seconds.

This isn’t even going into the mix-and-matching you can do with other abilities that you can use in tandem of one another, or the passive skills you can have that are always on in the background (of which there are 15 distinctive ones available).  The game isn’t even out yet, and I’ve spent over two hours happily agonizing what skills and combos I’ll be using for classes I haven’t even tried yet on a game I haven’t played yet XD

While the options will probably not be as numerous in WoW by comparison, that will likely end up as difficult to choose from.  Do you go straight up damage increasing, or add utility?  Decrease cooldowns or mana costs?  So on, and so on.  D3 provides another glimpse into the future to show how the MoP talents will likely end up when they are fully polished and ready to go.

Side Note:  Anyone else think WoW’s Talents should be renamed altogether?  Not that it is a bad name, but it just doesn’t read like ‘talents’ to me anymore.  I’ve already refered to them as “Perks” to buds of mine, as that seems to fit mo’ betta’.

Mists of Pandaria: Developer Question and Answers

‘Bout a week ago, MMO-Champion gave the transcript of the Question and Answer session that was held with a bunch of WoW developers.  One early one caught my eye:

Q:Where exactly is Pandaria located on Azeroth? many speculate that it is in the south, but I have always assumed it was to the west of Kalimdor. 
A: Pandaria is located on the south side of Azeroth. Think the exact opposite of Northrend. Come to think of it, we should have named it Southrend.

Now, I don’t wanna say I called it, so I’ll coyly repost my original thoughts and deeply imply that is what I am getting at when I typed this just about four months ago on the day when Mists of Pandaria was first noticed:

If the bulk of gameplay is really taking place in the Mists of Pandaria, it is sounding like another Wrath of the Lich King sort of continent being tacked onto the world.  Maybe south, this time?  I mean we got Eastern Kingdoms in the east (of course), Kalimdor to the west, Northrend is in the north (noticing a pattern…) and most of Cataclysm was involved with stuff going on in or near the Maelstrom right in the middle.  Kezan *kinda* was southish, but it is very small.  If it will be a full-blown xpack, I can easily see a ‘Southrend’ of sorts popping up below everything.

-Encrazed Crafts (August 2nd, 2011)

And I just noticed this right now, I do not even remember typing it but dang:

Will they be a neutral race as they were in Warcraft 3?  Will both sides be able to play as them if that is the case? Will a ‘brewmaster’ be the new hero class?

-Encrazed Crafts (also August 2nd, 2011)

I’z a dang mind reader!  Prognosticator of all prognosticators!

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