Why? Life happens. I may write for a video game blog in my spare time, but that spare time seems less and less. I get home from work each weekday with about 7 hours before I end up going to bed. Living in the greater Philadelphia area, approximately 3 hours of that is chewed up by watching the Phillies, especially now in the postseason. (How ’bout that Halladay no-hitter last night?) Even after baseball season is gone, that time’s gonna be funneled into the Flyers. (season opener tonight on Versus)
Weekends have even less time for gaming, since I spend most of the weekend with my girlfriend. Can’t play videogames because of sports and women? Am I developing a life? I might have to turn in my geek badge and soldering gun after a quarter century of dedicated service.
When all’s said and done, I think I now have less than 10 hours each week to dedicate to gaming. Coming from being used to making gaming a second full-time job, it’s a huge shock. My pile of games to play grows as my time to play them shrinks. I haven’t finished a game since last October when I was unemployed and powered through Brutal Legend in two days.
The current list of games I’ve been playing (and what I’ll spend the rest of this post on – I swear this is a gaming blog, not a “living a boring life” blog) is as follows:
Team Fortress 2
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers
Assassin’s Creed II
Team Fortress 2
Yeah, it’s a game I’ve had for more than 2 years now, but the recent (probably not as recent as I think) Mann-Conomy pack has breathed a lot of new life and fun into the game. I had stopped playing right after the Sniper/Spy updates, so the weapon dynamic has completely changed with all the newer class updates. The number of achievements has nearly doubled, and the new item drop/shop/trade/upgrade system has made the game incredibly rich and complex, while still being fun and simple to jump into when you have 15 minutes to kill.
If you haven’t played TF2 in a while, break it out. It’s still able to eat 5 hours of your time in a sitting.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers
I’ve been a Magic player for 16 years now. I’m sure there are first-time readers stumbling onto this blog who were born around the time I started playing Magic. I was always quite good at the game mechanics, but had a very simple problem that kept me out of building incredible decks. Some decks cost $100+ just to obtain the basic resources to cast your spells. You could be looking at another $75-300 for your actual deck concept. It’s a game of outbuying your opponent, and I was always broke as hell as a kid.
The economic metagame is taken out of the equation in Duels of the Planeswalkers. There are a handful of fixed decks with unlockable sideboards (expansion cards that can be optionally added or swapped with cards in the base deck), each with roughly the same level of power depending on their core concept. I found this aspect highly enjoyable, because I was no longer at the mercy of my collection. (My actual Magic collection is expansive, more than 6,000 cards, but very few of my decks have all of what they need to reach their maximum potential. Furthermore, these decks are quite old and no longer sanctioned for tournament play.)
What I especially like about Duels of the Planeswalkers is the “Challenge Mode.” This is a series of single-turn puzzles that throw the player in the middle of a game in-progress (often in dire straits) with a simple objective: Win the game. This mimicked a series of similar puzzles published as a single photo in InQuest magazine back when I used to play heavily. It’s a fun bit of nostalgia, though I ran into a few cases where I successfully completed the challenge in a way the game wasn’t prepared to handle and lost.
Challenge Mode is my current go-to time waster when I sit at my computer and have a few minutes (rapidly spiraling into a half hour) to waste.
Assassin’s Creed II
Rounding out my “wasting my life on games that are nothing new” collection is AC2. I never played the first one, but the second one has me pretty deep. The storyline is presented in an awesome way, the ease of performing pretty badass assassinations on guards is a lot of fun, and the game does a great job representing boring collection systems (statues, feathers, seals, weapons, etc) in a slightly immersive way (having to drop items off at various locations, integrating it with the villa’s development)
There’s really just one thing keeping it from locking down my time 100%: Jumping puzzles. It’s not 2003 anymore. I know Ubisoft made Prince of Persia and probably even used the same engine to make Assassin’s Creed, but there’s nothing fun about jumping puzzles, especially with Assassin’s Creed’s wonky freerunning controls. I’ve abandoned several Assassin’s Tombs because the jumping puzzles were tedious and frustrating. It’s an unfortunate detraction to an otherwise perfect game.
So that’s too many words on why I haven’t done a Cataclysm beta live stream recently. Hopefully I can scrape together the time to do one in the next week or so. Stay tuned to this blog and I’ll let you know when I expect to do it. It seems my Vashj’ir blog posts were somewhat popular, so I’m sure some of you would like to see Vashj’ir live.
Boom. AS Advertised. y’all. You heard it here first.
In one word: Amazing.
In a song, what else?
Seriously, it looks and feels like this, which is a great thing. I might need to loop this song when I do my live streams of it.
The Vashj’ir experience starts with one of the most cinematic events you’ll ever see in-game, but I don’t think I want to spoil it. Suffice to say, it has fades and soft focus and all sorts of storytelling visual aids you wouldn’t expect to find in an MMO. Blizzard certainly learned their lesson from Wrathgate, and has the cinematics team working overtime on in-game content.
Vashj’ir proper begins inside of a shipwreck. Mercifully, the first quest rewards you with the Sea Legs buff. Before I go on with the zone flow, I’d like to say a few things about Vashj’ir conceptually.
I always wanted to see an underwater zone, ever since the first time I had to run into the Temple of Atal’Hakkar in Swamp of Sorrows. Having to swim underwater to get to an instance was a really different experience, and made me want all the combat to take place underwater. Also, playing a Warlock at the time, I saw that as requiring a Warlock to complete the dungeon, which would have been a positive for me.
Vanilla-era WoW environment design would have been awful at implementing an underwater zone or dungeon. This was the design mindset that thought a 5-hour slog through Blackrock Depths would be fun. There would be no “quality of life” buff like Sea Legs in a Vashj’ir designed by that mindset.
Sea Legs makes Vashj’ir. Vashj’ir without Sea Legs would be awful. The zone is absolutely massive, essentially its own continent roughly the size of Nagrand. Moving around that at 70% movement speed would take forever and make the zone very unfun. An underwater zone needs to be huge to work properly. The 60% movement speed buff works out very well, making walking speed in Vashj’ir slightly faster than normal ground walking speed, making the space between mobs and quests more than tolerable. Furthermore, a lack of permanent underwater breathing buff would have made the zone as much fun as those underwater levels in Sonic the Hedgehog. (I know how much everyone loved the “running out of air” music or that little chime warning that the panic music was about to start.)
Thanks to this buff, you can explore the depths of the ocean freely and at a pace that keeps it fun. Which is great, because the atmosphere of being underwater is something that truly needs to be experienced. The color scheme and art design is great, but what really sells the concept is the feeling that certain death is everywhere and about to strike. With raytraced shadows on, the massive shadows of mobs loom overhead, leading you to believe that large sharks or naga are about to descend upon you. Combat happens in 360 degrees, which is a blast. Adding to the confusion are the towering kelp plants obscuring your vision. On numerous occasions, I had mobs hiding behind them, aggroing me when I got too close.
The final touch of genius is that Blizzard found a way to neutralize the convenience of quest objective sparkles. There is an early quest where items are resting on the seabed against sand that is nearly the same color as the sparkles and the items. With the underwater wave effect, the sparkles are almost invisible further than 5 yards away.
After the first hub’s worth of quests, you get your underwater mount, the Abyssal Seahorse. The Abyssal Seahorse makes a great zone even better. It swims at 450%, which I don’t feel like doing the math on, but I believe it makes it a bit faster than a 310% flying mount. While riding the seahorse, you absolutely fly along underwater.
So far, Vashj’ir has been a brilliant zone. I spent 2+ hours there last night and didn’t even finish the first subzone or find the entrance to the Throne of Tides instance. Hopefully in the coming days, I’ll do another live stream of the zone, with many more viewers this time.
That’s right, I’ll be running a live stream from the Cataclysm beta tonight at 6:00 Eastern Standard Time. From the poll that I ran for the past 18 hours or so, it looks like I’ll be primarily be playing either a Feral Druid tank or a Resto Shaman.
I’ve never played a Shaman above level 25 or so. You may be in for a treat as I try to struggle my way through healing instances for the first time on a class I have little familiarity with.
I’ll also be taking viewer requests for what content they’d like to see. Feel free to post requests in comments to this post, as I’ll be checking it before starting the stream.
Available here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/surrealcatalyst-live
So I’m in the Cataclysm beta, and I could fire up a Ustream of beta footage, taking requests from viewers as to what content they would like me to find. Does that sound appealing to anyone?
I’d most likely run the stream around 6 or 7 PM EST on weekdays.
Where’s the fun in Massively Multiplayer when you’ve lost the tolerance for the masses, and can’t find yourself a single other player to spend time with in the game?
I started playing WoW on Christmas Day 2004. My friends from home, along with all of my suitemates at college had all purchased the game at roughly the same time. At that time, I bounced between a few servers, both Alliance and Horde, to find out where I was going to play.
I settled on the Arthas server, along with two suitemates and a close friend, despite my roommate playing on Durotan. We formed our own guild and leveled to 60 over the next 5-6 months, having fun and spending numerous sleepless nights playing the game.
Some time after hitting 60, my friends’ interest in the game tapered off. I left the guild we had formed and found my way into a group of guilds that ran raid content together. For several months, I raided Molten Core and Onyxia’s Lair with this alliance of guilds, until the more hardcore among us grew tired of the more casual players who weren’t mirroring our efforts.
In January 2006, those hardcore members of our alliance formed our new guild (with its appropriately angsty and reflective name) – Ashen : The Brotherhood of the Fallen. I would find myself playing and raiding with Ashen nonstop for the next 7 months, failing three courses in college and quitting a part time job at Staples to do so.
Ashen was a playing experience I have never matched in more than 5 years of playing this game. At the time, it was considered an arduous task to assemble 40 players on a single night per week to raid, let alone form a guild of fewer than 50 players capable of fielding a 40-man raid on three set nights per week. The members of Ashen had an incomprehensible dedication and focus to our raiding, and in those 7 months, we powered through our three roadblock bosses in Molten Core (Golemagg, Majordomo and Ragnaros) and reduced Onyxia to farm status, as well as powering through Blackwing Lair.
I sometimes take off the rose-tinted glasses and reflect upon the people I raided with – vaguely familiar names that occasionally sprinkle my Facebook feed, dormant names on instant messenger friends lists. Some of them really were great people, and passed for a reasonable online definition of ‘friends.’ Others, however, were the same blatantly annoying personalities that I hate to see yelling out in trade chat, or spouting overused catchphrases in comments sections online (often using ‘lol’ as punctuation).
It’s the latter category that I’ve long since outgrown. As I’ve grown older, I’ve lost my ability to cope with and overlook that mentality in any theater. Whether it be online gaming, blog comments, Facebook comments, casual conversation – I can’t stand attention whoring and half-assed attempts to be, for lack of a better term, the class clown.
Unfortunately, those people are the loud minority (or are they a majority?) of online gamers. One simply needs to watch the brilliant documentary Second Skin (which is available for instant streaming on Netflix at the moment) and see the stereotypical online gamer in action (or would that be inaction?) This is the representation of the 12+ million WoW players in the world. No one tells stories or remembers how normal a WoW player they knew was.
I am part of a lost faction of online gamers. The silent thinkers. Social gamers with the self-control to only speak when they have something to say. Granted, I have plenty to say, but I’ve seen what my audience looks like. I know the audience won’t respond. I know my words will simply be cast out to an ocean of ignorance and self-importance, so I say nothing.
WoW is my personal hell. A social player surrounded by thousands of other players, yet the vast majority I have encountered have not been worth my time. I’m a gamer from a simpler time, where a player with the right attitude was more important than their character’s equipment. Better gear drops all the time. Terrible players don’t necessarily get better.
I enjoy raiding, but I’m not an eager young 20-year-old raider anymore. I’m older, wiser, and quite frankly – tired. I don’t have the patience to live in the modern ‘raid scene’, where no one cares to find a group of people they enjoy playing with. Instead, my desire to see complex encounters and the aspect of the game I find the most fun is met with, “OMG WTF LINK 9000+ GS and ACHIEV, NUB!”
So instead, here I sit nearly 6 years later. Experienced in nearly all aspects of the game, 5 characters at the max level, and no method to take any of them further without subjecting myself to the tedium of the majority attitude toward endgame content. So how about it, Arthas? Is there any intelligent life left out there?
And here’s some screen shots from alpha for my brothers in arms.
Stormwind..notice the water and how the rocks look real and not just some bs 1 poly stuff.
and here is (presumably) deathwing?
Sit back ladeeeez and gentleman because Blizzard is here to feed your sick addiction. Not only do they get a monthly rent from you NOW you can start to make your character that much more epic with your own money (or normal depending on the amount of addicts on your realm). You can BUY with REAL MONEY a mount in game. The in game pet I wasn’t too keen on, that’s kind of silly to blow your money on something you can’t even u-s-e in any way other than vanity, so I suppose this is not so much of a surprise as the next step in progression. But still it’s just so odd.
To what end will this stop? On one hand as a business man I applaud the insane profit they just made in a 48 hour span. 25$. TWENTY FUCKING FIVE dollars for a mount and 10$ for a in game PET. Knowing the 10 million (more like 4) of that 1 to 2% will buy this. 2% of 10 million is 200,000. Times that by 25 and you get a cool >5< million. Nearly all of that is profit. No inventory cost just the time spent designing which cant be anything more than a hundred or so man hours.So now you can gift it to your 300 pound gf in Missouri, you know the one you never met but saw dancing in some captial city. yeah..you guessed it the one who is a Night/Blood Elf.
In another sense it’s just like DLC for games, the whole Horse Armor thing for Oblivion (we know how well that went over), for just 4 more hours of game play. Does that equate in essence to the mount? Maybe. But this thing..you just ride around. With Fallout 3 dlc I can at least actually DO something with it. Like kill MOAR zombies. Which is great in most any situation. I dunno, what do you think? Am I being insane? Am I freaking out a little too much over something so trivial? Do I really need to champion for the addicts of World of Warcraft’s?
get at me.
If you end up buying the StarCraft 2 collectors edition you’ll be in line for a In Game Pet for …World of Warcraft. Okkkkkaaaay. Gee. Thanks. How about for SC instead? How About you let me axe you a question with THOR MY IN GAME PET?
Overall I wont say the collectors edition brings you anything of value other than the hope that you can sell it 5-10 years later on ebay. I kind of wish I did this with Burning Crusade or Even with Wrath of the Lich King. Go on say it. You know you want to.
I’ll say it.
The Uninspiring details are below. (mother fer said COMIC BOOK).
p.s In other news. No release date. My guess is before Cataclysm. Hell this might be the winter of Blizzard. Irony for free.
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty™, will be available both in a standard edition and in a limited-release Collector’s Edition packed with exclusive bonus materials. Players who purchase either edition will be able to play online for no additional fee through the new version of Battle.net®, the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard Entertainment gamers.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 and Macintosh®. The standard edition will sell for a suggested retail price of $59.99 and will also be available shortly after release as a download through the online Blizzard Store. The special Collector’s Edition package, which is priced at $99.99 and will only be available at retail stores, will include the following bonus items in addition to the game disc:
- The Art of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, a 176-page book featuring artwork from the game
- An exclusive 2GB USB flash drive replica of Jim Raynor’s dog tag, which comes preloaded with the original StarCraft and the StarCraft: Brood War® expansion set
- A behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, cinematics with director’s commentary, and more
- The official StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty soundtrack CD, containing 14 epic tracks from the game along with exclusive bonus tracks
- StarCraft comic book issue #0, a prequel to the comic series
- A World of Warcraft® mini Thor in-game pet that can be applied to all World of Warcraft characters on a single Battle.net account
- Exclusive Battle.net downloadable content, including special portraits for your Battle.net profile, decals to customize your units in-game, and a visually unique version of the terran Thor unit
So patch 3.3 came out yesterday and despite my previous mentions of being over wow, I’m very much NOT. And let me explain why. I’m a addict. LOLOLOLING. SO. FRIGGING HARD. I kid.
In all seriousness I’m not really this crazy gamer who maxes out everything. I’m a total half bake when it comes down to it. As you can tell by the frequency of my posts here. Rich suffers from the same affliction if you cant tell. Well the biggest beef is that I cant stand most every other gamer on the planet and most every one of them maxes or has to be the best. That’s just not my style. I just play games dog. Card games, board games, video games, etc, whatever. So in this patch Blizzard introduced a cross realm looking for group tool. That means not only your realm has people looking but also your entire battlegroup and for mine that means >20< realms. >20<. Groups fill quickly now to say the least. Another awesome feature is if you pick up group, or pick “random” heroic, you’ll get a buff to your damage, healing and I believe damage reduction. I’m certain on the first 2 but not the last one. +5% is HILARIOUS for good geared groups which I managed to stumble in with. So you select what you want to do, damage, tank, heal, or even lead a group (but you also have to select one of the first three duh). At max level you do Dungeons on normal or “heroic” setting. On heroic (which most everyone does now that most of us have some level of gear) you get badges that drop from bosses along with loot. With these badges you can buy really nice gear. So for example, I’ll do a dungeon and get 4 badges. To get a baller “tier piece” one of the more expensive items I’ll have to spend 58 badges. 58/4 sucks. Right? That’s like >15< heroic runs. But here’s the kicker. Most everyone is geared up and heroics aren’t too awful unless your group is hella bad. Which is not always the case. So most heroics take 30 or so minutes or for the longer ones 1 hour. The time invested is not crushingly awful for one piece. (dungeon sets anyone. UGH).
To kind of combat this hella gnarley ness they introduced “daily” dungeon quests giving gold AND badges. So it wont take 15 runs to get one piece. Realistically you’ll get something from a heroic unless you’re ultra geared out so it’s not like mind numbingly bad. Also you can now wear tabards to get rep so after 15 runs you’re likely exalted with all of Humanity or any high level faction in game. At exalted factions will sell you epic items. So lets say you didnt get something you liked in heroic drops, which is unlikely, there are also other rewards with that effort. Sure, It’s not a total cake walk but it is compared to when the first part of the game came out.
I know people will get really lame about it and say Blizzard is handing out epics and “casuals” much in the same way they talk about conservatives or liberals (as if they’re people really walking around with this above them saying THINK OF ME). And, sure they are to some extent. But what they’re really doing is making a very in-depth game much lighter on the normal people. Now that I’m older and thus don’t have time nor any interest to be on the computer from 9-5 then from 6-12 this is GREAT. I can pop in and out of groups swiftly, get what I want from the game which is pew pew pew pew pew, and then roll on to over things in my life. On weekends I can still raid though my guild doesn’t, and only one or two pug raids happen. This game just got A LOT better for me. Blizzard is like the JK Rowling. Everything she does is gold and same with them. Props to blizzard.
After a 2 week vacation in mexico drinking Tequila, and doing all manner of rude things we are back! Joking. About the tequila. We get together and discuss some Sim City, Batman Arkham Asylum, Wii failures, and finish up with lots of Nintendo Holiday releases as part of our holiday release guide.We also finish up on Tru-Bloods not so great finale. Not that there’s anything WRONG with that. 28th_podcast
Sorry for the afk. I was away over the weekend. Aparently the new patch for World of Warcraft is coming out. Patch 3.2.2. I totally spaced on soloing onyxia on the paladin so i’m a tad bit miffed about that one. Oh well. Here’s the insanely long list
World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.2.2
The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/test-realm-patchnotes.html
The latest patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/
The Brood Mother Returns
After years of lurking in her lair battling the many brave adventurers who travelled from afar to challenge her, Onyxia returns stronger than before to commemorate World of Warcraft’s five-year anniversary.
- Onyxia has been scaled to offer new challenges to level 80 players and is now available for testing in 10- and 25-player modes.
- Adjusted for modern raiding, but with the fundamental experience of fighting the Brood Mother still in effect, including the horrors of her Deep Breaths!
- Onyxia will now drop level 80 item versions of some classic loot items from the level 60 encounter.
- Brood of Onyxia, a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after Onyxia herself will be available for the luckiest of challengers.
- Armor Penetration Rating: The amount of armor penetration gained per point of this rating has been reduced by 12%.
- Copied Test Realm characters will no longer be copied with their achievement history in order to better facilitate the character copy process.
- Players level 11 and higher will now always see a daily Battleground quest, as the quest giver will only offer daily quests for a Battleground in which a player is eligible to participate according to level bracket (i.e. players levels 11-20 will always be offered a Warsong Gulch daily quest, while players levels 11-50 will be offered either an Arathi Basin or a Warsong Gulch daily quest, etc.).
- Gnaw: This death knight ghoul ability now has a 1-minute cooldown.
- Heart Strike: Secondary targets of Heart Strike now take half as much damage.
- Subversion: Now also increases the critical strike chance of Scourge Strike by 3/6/9%.
- Vampiric Blood: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and duration reduced to 10 seconds.
- Threat of Thassarian now also causes Rune Strike to use both weapons when dual-wielding.
- Unbreakable Armor: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and changed back to granting 25% additional armor while active instead of flat damage reduction based on armor. The amount of strength granted has been reduced to 10%.
- Frost Presence: The damage reduction granted by this ability has been increased from 5% to 8%.
- Bone Shield: This ability now has 3 charges instead of 4. Cooldown reduced to 1 minute.
- Dirge: This talent no longer grants additional runic power from using Obliterate.
- Moonkin Form: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.
- Typhoon: The daze duration has been increased from 3 seconds to 6 seconds.
- Infected Wounds: The debuff generated by this talent no longer stacks and instead causes the full effect with a single application.
- Predatory Strikes: This talent now also causes the druid’s finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast.
- The Beast Within: The duration of this talent has been reduced to 10 seconds. In addition, hunters with this talent will do 10% additional damage at all times.
- Bestial Wrath: The duration of this talent has been reduced to 10 seconds.
- Arcane Blast: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.
- Arcane Missiles: Casting this spell while both Missile Barrage and Clearcasting are active will cause only Missile Barrage to be consumed.
- Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it. This talent no longer has a chance to be triggered when spells miss.
Combustion: This talent now also increases the critical strike damage bonus of Fire spells by 50% while it is active. In addition, Living Bomb periodic ticks will no longer interact with the count or the charges on the talent.
- Righteous Fury: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.
- Ardent Defender: This talent now reduces damage taken below 35% health by 7/13/20% instead of 10/20/30%.
- Blessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now grants 10% strength in addition to its current effects. Also, the strength and stamina bonuses from this blessing will no longer be lost when Blessing of Kings is removed.
- Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.
- Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin’s strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin’s stamina.
- Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack that can only strike a single target.
- Seal of Corruption and Seal of Vengeance: These seals will now only use the debuff stacks generated by the attacking paladin to determine the damage done by the seal and by the judgement.
- Improved Spirit Tap: Mind Flay periodic critical strikes now have a 50% chance to trigger this talent.
- Twisted Faith now grants spell power equal to 4/8/12/16/20% of spirit, up from 2/4/6/8/10%.
- Envenom’s scaling has been increased from 7% to 9% of attack power per combo point.
- Fan of Knives: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 30%.
- Master Poisoner: No longer increases the Deadly Poison application rate following a successful Envenom and instead now provides a 33/66/100% chance of preventing Envenom from consuming Deadly Poison.
- Throwing Specialization: This talent no longer causes Fan of Knives to interrupt spellcasting.
- Honor Among Thieves: A 1-second cooldown is now enforced on how often a rogue can gain combo points from his party via this talent.
- Cleansing Totem: No longer pulses instantly when dropped.
- Flame Shock: The duration of all ranks has been increased by 6 seconds.
- Lava Burst: This ability no longer ever consumes a Flame Shock debuff off of the target.
- Shamanism: Your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning spells gain an additional 3/6/9/12/15% and your Lava Burst gains an additional 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus damage effects.
- Earthen Power: No longer causes Earthbind to pulse a persistent snare immunity aura. It does still remove snares from allies as an instant pulse, but there is no lingering immunity. Earthen Power now also brings Earth Shock’s melee attack speed reduction up to -15%/-20% (with 1 or 2 points in it, respectively).
- Sword Specialization: Now has a 2/4/6/8/10% chance to proc an extra attack, up from 1/2/3/4/5%.
- Critical Block: This talent now grants a 20/40/60% chance to block double the normal amount instead of 10/20/30%.
The trailer for the new expansion for WOW is on youtube. here goes!
Last weekend, friday to be specific I embarked on a journey after reading the somethingawful forums. They were reporting that in Alterac Valley people were seeing really good xp gains for bg’s. I’m going to state a few things before I lay into this:
I have 2 80’s one alliance, one horde. One is a farming Dk and another a sweet and loveable shaman. I’ve bought three epic fliers in my time of playing. I have a 2 full guild bank tabs as well as being full up on my character’s bank tabs and quite a few thousand gold. When it comes to gold for alts I am in a word : OK. I was not doing it for twinking purposes. Or speed leveling. Or doing it because it’s lawleasy. Or doing it because questing is easy or boring. I’ve done the questing in Northrend on top of having 2 80’s, a 72, a 73 AND a 74. I was merely just seeing how the leveling went in bg’s.
So, I took the level 74 mage into an AV in the Battlegroup “Whirlwind”. I wouldn’t say Alliance Dominate in my battlegroup in all cases but we do well. It’s a pretty even split. Not like say the cyclone battlegroup where 90% of the victories come in AV and the rest is just a horrid grind for marks. In any case I put on my heirloom shoulders for the +10% xp and then checked the daily bg. It was AV! Nice! I sign up.
As usual we head down towards Galv,the first so called boss in AV. We down him in under a minute. 19k xp pops up on my screen as well as 300xp for killing him. WOW. Really? Next up the towers. Iceblood and Towerpoint. I skipped IB then ran to tower point and clicked on the wing commander and let his smelly self run away ASAP. Pppppppp-uuuuuu. I step out, mount up, and run towards the base. I’m one of the first to arrive. I run into the west tower, or is it east, and click on the next wing commander and away he goes. Next up, running and capping the tower. Check. The rest of my friends arrive and we clear out the base. Just as iceblood’s tower burns, 19k xp pops up. Holy smokes. Tower Point right after that. 19k. holy cow! That’s three quests in 5 minutes of my time! Then 6k pops up, and shortly after another 6k. It’s an XP extravaganza going on! I found out later that the 6k was coming from returning the wing commanders to the base. After some standing around east and west burn. 19k each! We head inside for drek. After a quickie 26k pops up! WOW.
All told 133,000 xp for a 15 minute match. Let me rewrite that. 133,000 in 15 minutes on top of honor gains which came to about 1500 honor. WOW. I’m ABOUT this kind of leveling right!!?
Well here comes the downside, and it’s to be expected so, it’s not really a downside. XP gains like this are not like this every match. Sometimes the wing commanders will get killed. Sometimes horde will backcap you, causing you to lose TP or IB. And then there will be the times you just flat out lose. I cannot stress how many times galv was fiercely defended. No matter if the kiddo’s in the bg chat said RUN BY, it meant horde were turtling and even if you did you’d still have to contend with 4 towers which will be fought for. It’s a turtle. Accept it and wait the 30 minutes for the fight to end. This happened late friday night, about 10pm to 12. And also on saturday and co-incidentally on sunday. I’m going to guess that “bedtime” co-incides with this. But that’s just a arrogant guess.
Sure I could have “farmed” hk’s but that’s not really my stylie right now. I”m here for xp. So never one to sit around idle like that I headed to the harpy cave. Since n oone was around to leech the xp I was getting about 1k a kill. Not too shabby. So I just cleared the cave and waited for it to all end. So lets fast forward to Sunday night. I ended up hitting level 80! All told, it was about 22-24 hours of gameplay to go from 74-80. I ended up getting about 80k honor in that span as well.
Some other small things to note:
Heriloom items do not apply to Battleground XP gain like tower capping, boss killing, flag captures. They do however stack with…..
You will get xp for killing any npc. So stick around the graveyards for xp gains and the towers. Try to pull some of the elites while waiting at the base. That’s xp. It’s not much, maybe a few hundred each. But a few hundred times 40 matches equal’s a lot. We’re all mathy nerds here anyways right?
Don’t forget the quests for AV out of the Alterac base camp in Azeroth. I hit exhalted and got 4 quest completes for upgrading the trinket. Gold and Xp. Score!
Daily quest. It’s gold and xp. No brainer there.
At level 79 1/2 I headed to Zul’drak for the amp of anguish quest chain. It’s easy, takes about 30 minutes to totally complete and gives a boat load of xp. It didn’t detract from leveling all that much.
The xp gains obviously vary as you get higher in level and rest xp is not eaten while in bg’s. So the emotion goes from from WOW to oye quickly. At 74 I was pulling in rougly 2 1/2 bubles a match on victories mentioned above. At 79 I was lucky to pull in 1 1/2.
At 78 don’t forget your Blue PVP set. You’ll get torn to shreds until 78 with your grappy level 70 quested gear.
All told I’m very happy now with my freshly minted 80. She’s all trained up, equipped with some PVP epics and all ready to go! I want to add that I took a level 70 paladin into a BG and god 5600xp for killing drek. Hardly worth the effort. I’d like to guess that it’s the 71-80 AV bracket in battlegrounds where alliance wins AV so maybe we’ll be lucky and not see blizzard change this. Maybe? And lastly, here’s a picture of a Gnome Warrior I saw on a Hog. Look at the driver of the next hog you see, well over half of the time you’ll see a Warrior in one. It’s almost a requirement if you’re a warrior.
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Blizzard has released patch 3.2 today to all the addicts (yes myself included). The video is not as impressive as the Ulduar Video released a few months ago but it’s impressive none the less. There’s lots of In Game footage, or “Gameplay” for those keyword searches.
Blizzard has announced that patch 3.2 is releasing today. I suppouse I could do a massive write up on the changes or talk about it but The biggest things to note are:
New Druid Forms
Isle of Conquest
New Heirloom Items
More Mounts (huzzah!)
Trial of the Champion a new 5 man dungeon
and a raid I don’t care about (yet, possibly ever)
Someone posted a video preview of a the new Battleground Introduced to World of Warcraft in patch 3.2 ” Isle of conquest” It’s a bit of a fast preview and not much to say toward “how to” isle of conquest but it’s near to see it in all it’s size. It appears to be quite a large battleground that was sorely needed to the game. Enough of my chatter here it is
Mmo-champion has data mined the tier 9 models for all classes and posted a entry about it. He posted every model with every possible race wearing it so there’s no chance in high hell I’m going to do that much work. The paladin’s look cool. But they look like the Elves from the Lord of the Rings RTS came. The dudes with the longswords. I may be imagining this though.
Oh and I’ll note this, i’ll never ever see a piece of Tier-9. Ever. I’m a “scrub” as they call it in the wow-verse.
Herooooo. Good morning. A very nice wakeup call appeared as I downloaded some podcasts, most notably the new Giant Bomb, which is always enjoyable. Blizzard released a question and answer session for Druid’s. Of course the restoration dominance was widly covered as well as why they made the distinction of Cats and Bear talents in the Feral Tree. It was really needed. When I was raiding on one of my druids, one of them being feral, I always felt out of place when I wasn’t tanking in bear form. Although I could do dps as cat it was never exactly meaning-full dps. Of course it was better than say a Protection Paladin or Warrior but oh well. You cant have your cake and eat it too right? There’s always the discussion of PVP viability for all classes and I have to admit that in Battlegrounds, every one is viable. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s just a fact of life. In Arena, which has become increasingly ugly looking over time, I dont think many people care. I stand by my answer make cast bars different in arena. The players will adapt.
On the pve end of this yo-yo article I have to laugh at how Greg, the lead dev, plays up this idea that Bear Tanks were never really viable tanks. It’s hard to have one specific tank to take you through the whole game. Certain fights required certain things. And all the tanks have specific abilities that make them good in certain situations. Out of the 3 bc tanks, only the Warrior was the least used in my experience. They were all enjoying the insane dominance in early PVP. (Our friend created a warrior for this reason and I quote “I’m tired of losing”). The restoration side of things is funny. I’ve always felt they’re perfectly fine. Resto fits my playstyle and the inception of Dual Spec made that possible for a short while.
Blizzard like lost, leaves the best for last. It’s interesting to note that ONE artist did all those forms. Wild. Wild. Wild. We have multiple designers here and they have one. Mind Boggling.
“Q: For the official word, do we have plans to update more druid form models at some point in the future?
Ghostcrawler: I know for a fact that the current Travel Form and Aquatic Form are loathed by the artist who redid bear and cat. We do have plans to update additional forms at some point in the future. ”
Blizzard has announced they are working on someone being able to switch factions in game. There are no specifics yet, as how can it apply. I have a Tauren shaman and if going based on it’s opposite, a gnome, there is no gnome shaman. I could only go to drenai due to the alliance only having one race capable of being a shaman. And that’s just one case. Also, how does rep work? I doubt this will happen but I cant forsee a “tauren” on the alliance side. That’s just a little odd. But if luke can be tempted by the darkside whose to say Mooshoopork cant be? It’s something they did come out and say NEVER would happen but hey. Everyone wants to make money in this ECONOMIC DOWNTOWN.