Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Lost Arts of Dungeoning

... a Doofus Award
It's the third week of the Cataclysm.

Heroics are cropping up for most of us, the need to run dungeons becoming more and more important as it's the only source for upgrade drops and reputation for the factions that have upgrades.

But, as you might be experiencing, this is not often very smooth.  I'm trying pretty hard not to get rage-y about it sometimes in game, and I'm still mostly running with friends or guild members. But it's still bothering me when some folks don't quite know what's going on.

So, instead of raging (I reserve the right to do that later, if I feel like it), allow me instead to provide an educational opportunity to present and explain some of the more subtle things going on in a dungeon.  I'm sure that there are players who only grew up playing in weak excuses for Northrend dungeons and have never been confronted with having to do some of this stuff.  I'm sure there are some others who forgot. I'm sure that there are no crappy players who just don't care and still think dungeoning is a chance to show off their dps meters.

Dungeon Marks - Those funny colored marks that sometimes appear over mobs heads... those are "dungeon marks."  At this time, anybody can place marks on mobs' heads in a dungeon using the UI, but generally the tank is doing it.  They are there to indicate an order in which the mobs should be killed, or else to indicate which mobs need to be CC'd (more on that below).  Mostly, tanks will clarify at the beginning of a dungeon run which marks mean which, but there are a few standards. The "skull" mark almost always means "Kill this mob now."  The "X" mark almost always means "Kill this mob after you kill Skull."  The others marks usually indicate which target to use for which CC. "Moon" is often for mage sheeping, Nipple (some people say it's a circle, but we know better) for hunter trap, etc. Again, the tank will generally clarify which is which and that mark will not change for the rest of the dungeon run.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wrath of the Lich King: Final Review

Whatever hell Arthas has gone to... I hope it is a warm one.

The new expansion is off and running now, all praise be unto the makers. But I wanted to look at the Lich King, one last time to recap what I hope we all learned during the last two years. Point by point, but in no particular order:

Wrath of the Lich King- WIN!
All in all, I was quite entertained throughout this expansion. Arthas and his gaggle of supporters and adversaries were certainly entertaining, and the Lich King was surely the biggest reason I was ever attracted to Warcraft in the first place. Great story!

Dual-Speccing- BIG WIN!
As far as I'm concerned, the all time best mechanic they ever added to the game was this ability to have two ways to play your character. The benefits this will provide for leveling or grinding tanks and healers; the flexibility it provided to raid teams; the new dimensions it adds to the images of our characters; the dimensions it added for PvE and PvP specialization was just outrageously enormous.

Cataclysmic Observation

Fly like an eagle... into the fuuuuture...

I know I'm getting pretty lazy about updating my blog. It's only because I probably spend too much time playing the game right now. A number of the bigger issues that have come along recently are mostly glitchy glitches that are being (slowly) taken care of. But slowly and surely, some new articles are under development. I promise. But for now...

1. Why is there suddenly so much Outland fauna in Azeroth?
This question struck me in Deepholm. On the Crimson Expanse, one Rock Lord or another was giving me crap about how "your world is polluting ours" and pointed to the wandering fungal giants as proof of it. But, wait a second...fungal giants don't come from Azeroth; they are from Outland. Of course, I had also just done battle with a bunch of rockflayers, last seen in Hellfire Peninsula. The Twilight Hammer have themselves a nether drake in Blackrock Caverns, and then, meeting some enslaved Gronn in Grim Batol today sealed it: there's an invasion going on here. The movements of the Twilight Hammer are difficult to trace, but Deathwing has been to Outland. Did he bring back some pets?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Post: Further Reflection on Game Changes

An Adventuring Tunnel: Relish your time in the Maelstrom because you can only come here as a part of a quest, and presently, there is absolutely no way to come back once that quest is done.
[Merinna's Note:  Somaric has been further evolving his comments from last week, regarding the style of questing gameplay that seems to dominate this new expansion.]

I realized that my previous posting was a little incomplete.  The message that I was trying to get across was that the original World of Warcraft was, more of a sandbox environment, in which one could openly explore and find different quests to do from different places. Now, it seems that the Cataclysm addition has taken WoW into an adventuring tunnel. There is only one place to start, and basically one place to finish. And if you lose something along the way, it holds up any progress that you might make. 
What has prompted this examination of the old WoW versus the new WoW is the fact that poor Somaric got disconnected in Vashj’ir.  He lost the quest giver and couldn’t continue with any quests.  A search of almost the entire Vashj’ir area revealed not one unscripted quest.  Nothing.  What is this Night Elf hero to do? 

What Your Worgen Doesn't Know about the Worgen Storyline

And you thought worgen were kind of scary before they wore armor and carried big sharp things.

Spoilers Alert: this article discusses the Horde questing experience from roughly levels 10-20 in the Silverpine Forest. It is heavy on developments of the worgen storyline that are not discoverable by Alliance players. If you expect to play through the Horde quests in this zone, you might have more fun not reading this and discovering it for yourself. Similarly, you would be better off finishing the worgen starting experience before checking this out as well.

Our new worgen brethren will reach Greymane Harbor and be whisked away to Teldrassil by the Night Elves along with Genn Greymane and virtually every other NPC they have met to that point. Their experience in the new zone of Gilneas is complete. Future patches may (hopefully) bring something new, but no Alliance characters have any business in Gilneas after this point in the current content.

The worgen story goes on, however.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guest Post: First Impressions

Somaric: "Does this helmet make my ears look big?"

[Merinna's Note: Today, I'm happy to bring a guest post from longtime WoW friend, Somaric. He and I both play on the Oceanic realms, so our times represent Australian standard times instead of Blizzards American PST. Please enjoy!]

As a long-time questing sidekick of Merinna, Somaric thought it might be interesting for a first impression posting about the new release, Cataclysm

I seem to be levelling very fast.  I made level 81, yesterday, in about 4 ½ hours.  Most of this was done in Mt Hyjal.   

The realm I play on was locked up on the 7th, so I didn’t get to do anything except gain my Azeroth riding skill. Consequently, I got up early the next day.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And They're Off!


I dunno what to say. Cataclysm is here and everybody I know is much to busy hitting the slopes of Mt. Hyjal to do anything like raid or whatever. Which is just as well.

First thoughts going into the real thing from Beta.

I've got a gut feeling that the dungeons got nerfed at the last moment. It was way incomplete at the time, but Throne of Tides was much harder to heal in beta than it was last night. And I was 82 at the time I did it in beta. It was my first go into Blackrock Caverns today, and I dps'd (woo-hoo! Fun!), but apart from some malarky with boss mechanics, it was not overwhelming. Our tank even made some bad pulls, yanking in some trash on the second boss and that didn't stop anybody. I am feeling a tad disappointed, but reserve judgment for now.

Where the hell do Cocoa Beans come from? If you follow that link back, you'll see that Wowhead has no idea. Allakhazam doesn't know either. Nor does Crafter's Tome. Wowpedia? No. Wowwiki? No. Google only brings back forum posts demanding the same question, that has no answer. It's the biggest mystery in WoW today. To hell with DW and his machinations, I just want some beans so I can make some Starfire Espresso for that sweet, sweet, mana-rich taste. If anybody knows, post a comment please!

For my unofficial WoW Soundtrack of the Cataclysm, I've adopted Zoe Keating's song "Escape Artist" as the theme song. This song just stirs ideas of epic things afoot, journeys to be made and hits of tragedies to come.  Keating is using her "one cello" technique. That whole video is being played live with no back track or anything. That computer next to her takes samples of her playing and then loops them, and then she uses foot pedals to switch between loops while building on top of them as she continues playing.  Awesome.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Double Secret Reverse Psychology


This comic is the most current posting which was pretty good. But then I  read through their back collection and just about died laughing at just about every one of them. Great writing, and some really good artwork too. It's a must read!