Sunday, August 29, 2010

Developers Gone Wild!

This is just a tidbit, but check out this tooltip:

Glyph of the Monkey

At some point in the future, this dynamic link will get dynamically fixed. So for historical accuracy, at the time this was posted it said "Your Polymorph: Sheep spell polymorphs the target into a bear cub instead."

It gives me the idea that there's a bunch of developers sitting around a table somewhere calling out ideas that some peon is taking notes and they all get confused sometime.

To be honest, I have fought monkeys and I have fought bear cubs in world. I'm not sure that these are docile enough for polymorph.

Regardless, between my mage's Polymorph sheep, turtle, pig and cat, (penguin needs a glyph. Whatever) Need something to rotate around that bestiary a bit more frequently

Say hi to Naralie!

Hi, everybody!
Over in Betaland, there has been some shaking up going on.

A new build was released last week and it apparently became clear that something was wrong, because the presence of any goblin character in the realm caused the entire server to  crash.

As a result, all goblin characters have been "disabled."  There are some calling this The Great Goblin Wipe of Last Thursday, but since I can read and understand English, I know that "disabled" is not the same as "deleted." I'm taking a wait-and-see approach to this before I write Winklestien's obituary.

In the meantime, I decided to go visit the Eastern Kingdom a bit with Naralie the undead rogue here. I can say that Tirisfal Glades is not particularly special. There is a combination of some old quests with a few new ones, but it is sort of ambling. Silverpine Forest on the other hand... has gotten a complete and utter remake. The Banshee Queen Sylvanas is on the warpath against Gilneas and she is making face time with her loyal subjects.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paradigm Shift

One thing never changes: Subtlety rogue dps is still lolz

I know I'm not the only one looking very hard at the new 31 point talent trees. Apart from Ghostcrawler, I don't think there is anyone very very happy with them. But I think that perhaps we need to look a little harder at the developer's intentions-- particularly at something that may not have been said (yet.)

I think the developers may be setting out to destroy min/maxing. This has not been a stated goal to the best of my knowledge, but most of the statements being made and then the structure of trees themselves seems to show this.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things that Make You Go Hmmm...

  • OMG! The Hunter AoE Volley is Out! Gone! Deceased! It has shifted off this mortal coil! It is no more! Ghostcrawler dropped a clarification note about this saying that a channeled spell causing a bunch of arrows to fall from the sky was not very hunterly, and that multi-shot would be the go to AoE effect for hunters now.  A collective whimpering arose from hunters forums the world over, saying that being able to hit three or perhaps four targets wasn't really AoE. And a collective grunt from the warrior community, who have only been able to AoE to the tune of four for a long time now, indicated that the hunters need to "suck it up."
  • CC Spells are having their casting time extended to 2 seconds across the board. GC said something about them being uninterruptable with the levels of haste that exist in today's game. This reeks of "arena balance issues" to me, to which I say meh.
  • Ghostcrawler said that the shaman talent Totemic Focus is not long for this world.  Huzzah! That was a crappy talent that everybody skipped over anyway. I hope they replace it with something more useful than Telluric Currents now.
  • I met some NPC Worgen in game today and um, they snuffle a lot. There is this default sound that is something like "gnrrrrrhrokfmmrrrraaaarrrrll" coming out of those things most of the time.  They also do a dog yelp if you injure them.  I haven't observed any PC worgen making the same noises.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Chef's Hat is Better than Your Chef's Hat

This is not beta, it's from the live servers:

I just wanted to show off what happens when you put an Arcanum of Burning Mysteries onto your cooking hat. I'm still not sure though if, when you crit on a Fish Feast, it burns the food or makes it an "Exquisite Fish Feast" (although "Exquisite Fish Feast" sounds like cat food really so maybe just burning it is better).

Gimme some Mana Back!

I shall make no doubt about this: Merinna is a restoration shaman. I levelled this char from the very beginning as resto (long before I realized how difficult that could be). Whenever new patch notes come out, or the big changes are announced, I always skip past everything else to read the shaman-- the resto shaman-- section first.

Once it became an option, I dual-specced elemental, which has been fun too. But at the bottom of it all, Merinna's mission in life is to spread life, to a tank or whoever else may need it inside a raid group.

So, bearing in mind that I barely know what I'm talking about outside of healing and chucking lightning at things from time to time, when it comes time to really examining class dynamics, I probably will not stray too far from where I feel at home :D

I think it is a little hard to talk about this stuff without it sounding a lot like QQ. I think most players want everything about their class to stay exactly the same as it was, with a few buffs of course to make what they are already doing more mighty. Especially this time around as the Cataclysm is coming, the developers have definitely come up with new ideas about all this. So it's up to us to adapt as best we can.

So let's talk about ways to get mana return!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's the Little Things... (part 1)

  • It appears that every quest in the game may have reset. I suspect that my full quest history does not copy to the test servers. Or, there will be a new Loremaster type achievement.
  • My favorite shaman trainer in the game is Farseer Umbura who always sat in the Valley of Heroes of Stormwind, down by the water sort of enjoying the nice day.  She has moved to the tavern in the Dwarven District where she spends her time with a couple of Wildhammers now.  /sigh.  I'm not sure I appreciate these damn dwarves sort of taking over as the face of Alliance Shamanism.
  • Things that are gone:  The Hydraxian Warlords. That big nasty bronze dragon outside the Caverns of Time. Steamwheedle Port. Arch Druid Fangel Staghelm (and good riddance to that last one).
  • I was poring through Mer's gear and was thinking, "What the hell? Why has all my stuff got all this damn spirit on it? Bleah! Yuck! Spirit!" And then I remembered that Spirit is the new Mp5 and my gear in beta has transitioned to all the new stats. Spirit still seems like a priesty thing however, so it leaves a sorta bad taste in my mouth still.
  • We have spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit! How 'bout you?
  • Also, in my healing gear, I have approx 27.6% bonus hit. Even though 16% is the hit cap, and um... healing gear doesn't have any hit rating at all. So that's got to be a bug. But in the meantime, I feel like Bullseye. Ha! Can't miss!
  • Merinna dropped by the newly flooded Thousand Needles and dove down deep to see what they have done with this (I was hoping to find a bunch of waterlogged centaurs honestly) But I got down there and finally needed to put on my water breathing spell. But all the glyphs are currently turned off, so I didn't have any reagent and drowned.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do You Think It's a Bug?

I was trying to take some footage of Winklestein's Feign Death animation which really made me laugh out loud. As you can see, however, there seems to be a little problem with the video recorder in the new client.

One Word: "Stylin'!!"

Questgiver: Take this, a mighty magic helmet, to aid you in your struggles.
Winklestien: Hoo Yeah! 'Bout time one of you questgivers gave me a helmet with some stats.
Questgiver: And in addition to protecting your life, this helm shall strike fear into all who oppose you on the battlefield. Your visage shall be one of terror to your enemies.
Winklestein: Sweet!
(Winklestein puts on the helmet, stands a bit taller... for a goblin)
Winklestein: How do I look?
Questgiver: ...
Winklestein: C'mon! Spit it out!
Questgiver: One word: Stylin!

Winklestein is wearing the Spearhead Helm, available soon from questgivers all over the Southern Barrens.

What They Need to do with Raiding

Mer's favorite raid strategy: Lie there dead while the boss blasts the $#%@ out of somebody else
This is a long loaded topic for almost anybody in WoW these days. Much has been said in the community and by the developers, about what shape they expect Cataclysm raiding to take. I think there is distinct improvement in some points on the table and some that are not so good.  And then there are some things that nobody is really talking about.

It's the part that hasn't been talked about that I'm concerned with today.

Thesis:  Hard mode raid fights should be immediately accessible to players and be hard, based on additional encounter mechanics rather than simply the need for more gear.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flying in the Cities

Mer can do this because she is just That Good.

Flying has come to Azeroth. Long live the flying mount! Presently, there is nowhere that you cannot fly in Azeroth. You can fly over your cities. You can fly over the Horde cities. You can fly into the Auction House or the bank... or any other building there is.

Above, you can see Merinna in the Undercity where she flew down the back entrance completely unopposed. (she got out with no difficulty either). This raises issues:

My Hunter and Her Felsteed

After the Cataclysm, all hunters ride Felsteeds

I have to laugh sometimes at how things can break in beta. It is, from all accounts, a completely normal thing for stuff to break or be incomplete at this stage. You just wouldn't expect the weird ways this would happen.

Best example is my hunter riding her Felsteed there. At this time, the goblin racial mount does not exist. Nor is there a trainer for riding anything, and of course, at around lvl 30, she is not exalted with any other factions of note who could help her get mounted. A work-around was discovered though!

Goblins (and anybody else, I suppose) can train for Blacksmithing in Orgrimmar and right next to him is the Weaponsmith trainer. And the weaponsmith trainer will teach the spell "Summon Felsteed." Makes perfect sense, right?

Many of the other things breaking are really new things though. Winklestein specced into Survival Huntering and thus received Explosive Shot at lvl 10. Except that she didn't. The spell appeared when I allocated my first points and then disappeared for all time ever after.

I would write a beta feedback ticket about this. If you have never seen it, the beta and PTR clients have an extra mini-map feature to make reporting bugs and problems very easy. Except that two builds ago, the entire feedback system disappeared. It has reappeared since, but is still not functional.

Exodar Disco

Yah, this isn't anything about beta, but this is my WoW blog and the Prophet Velen urging everybody to bust a move makes me laugh. Plus, EmberIsolte is in this and she is hawt.

The Horde and its Politics

There seems to be an awful lot of horde tricksiness afoot and I'm not quite sure entirely what to make of it yet. But I'm kinda a lore nerd so it's pretty fascinating This is a Spoiler heavy entry. Feel free to skip if if you don't want to know! But you'll have to follow the break to learn more!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Goblin Thoughts

The inevitable, untenable Winklestein

So, the big rule I set for myself entering the Cataclysm beta is that I didn't really want to spoil too much of the new content for myself. New content is new only one time around, and I would prefer it to be new when it is all nicely polished and I can hit the dungeons with my friends and not run them feeling like I feel now having done the LK dungeons about 300 times apiece.

So, with that in mind, my first big endeavor in the Beta has been a goblin hunter.

Some recurring themes in the story of the goblins:

1) Explosions- It always comes back to blowing stuff up. A favorite early example of this is when you go to rescue some goblin captives. You kill the guards nearby who drop keys to the cages, but your rescue plan involves attaching jets to the cages so that they fly away to "safety."

2) Environmental Devastation- Wherever the Bilgewater Cartel goes, the utter obliteration of the natural environment follows. Head on into the Valley of the Spirits in Orgrimmar that has now been labelled the "Goblin Slums" and see the tranquil waters turned into tar pits. Or, head to the Talondeep Path between Ashenvale and Stonetalon which has been turned into the Talondeep Vale since the goblins came by, blew up most of the mountain and widened it.

I'll be honest, this environmental theme leaves me a tad upset. Personally, I'm not much of a tree hugger, but with BP ruining my favorite beaches in the United States, images of oil derricks turning water black or strip mined mountains in Azshara feels like an intrusion of real world problems more than it seems like interesting color.

The Goblin starting experience is pretty sharp. It is extremely linear, telling a very established story in which you are the big hero. I think my only real problem was that, in a lot of ways, the beginning experience doesn't feel much like Warcraft. Some of those early quest involve entertaining guests at a party, shopping for "bling" and hitting pirates with your hot rod. There's a complete absence of any other Warcraft races and most of these quests involve doing things that it really doesn't matter what class you are at all. The bling is at the same friendly vendor for everyone. I think I was lvl 7 or so before I actually had to kill anything.

I think the ultimate motivator of a goblin is meant to be selfishness, so how that translates to the rest of the world seems dubious to me. The voices of all these goblins come straight from The Bronx in New York, which I think is going to get old rather quickly.