Viral Video Game Blog

Cataclysm Beta Impressions: Vashj’ir

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.

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September 30, 2010 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Cataclysm Beta Impressions: Vashj’ir

Cataclysm Live Beta Stream 6:00PM EST

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

September 29, 2010 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , | Comments Off on Cataclysm Live Beta Stream 6:00PM EST

World of Warcraft: Worn out, used up

Ashen's first time killing Ragnaros in MC

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?

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

World of Warcraft Taking The Addicts Money Yet Again.

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.

April 15, 2010 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , | Comments Off on World of Warcraft Taking The Addicts Money Yet Again.

New Tauren Druid form released, cat form

Blizzard put up it’s 3rd installment of changes to the graphics for druid forms. Below you’ll find the pictures. I’m having trouble deciding which one I like the most. Lower right is pretty cool. I can see that being the more “girl” texture and the left ones being more male. That’s just my .02! I love these changes. Really well done!

druid3druid4

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Tauren Druid form released, cat form

Patch 3.1.3 live today

Here’s a full list of patch notes from blizzard for patch 3.1.3

Below you will find the patch notes for the next minor content patch. As we do not intend to release this patch on the public test realms, we thought we’d share the notes with you ahead of time. Please be aware that these changes are subject to revision until the patch is officially released.

World of Warcraft Client Patch 3.1.3

Death Knight
* Frost Presence: Armor bonus is now 60% down from 80%.

Druid

* Improved Barkskin: This talent now also grants 80/160% additional armor while in Travel Form or not shapeshifted.
* Improved Tree of Life: The armor bonus to Tree of Life Form from this talent has been reduced to 67/133/200% bonus armor.

Hunter

* Hunter’s Mark: The ranged attack power bonus from this ability has been increased from 300 to 500.
* Master Marksman: This talent now also decreases the cost of Aimed Shot and Chimera Shot by 5/10/15/20/25%.

Paladin

* Eye For An Eye: This talent now deals 5/10% of the critical strike damage taken by the paladin back at the attacker.
* Hand of Freedom: The base duration of this buff has been reduced from 10 seconds to 6 seconds.

Rogue

* Overkill: Talent redesigned. Now increases energy regeneration by 30% while stealthed, and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth.

Warlock

* Chaos Bolt: This spell no longer ignores damage reduction effects of the target.

Warrior

* Blood Frenzy: This talent now provides 5/10% haste instead of 3/6%.
* Bloodthirst: Cooldown reduced from 5 seconds to 4 seconds, and rage cost reduced from 30 rage to 20 rage.
* Juggernaut: This talent now also increases the cooldown on Charge by 5 seconds.

Items

* Death Knight PvP Gauntlets: The chance to refresh a Frost Rune when casting Chains of Ice has been removed. When equipped, these gloves now generate 5 additional runic power whenever Chains of Ice is used.

Raids & Dungeons
Ulduar – Mimiron

* The flight time of Rocket Strikes has been increased, and Rocket Strikes will try to prefer players at range.
* The Leviathan Mk II component of the V-07-TR-0N will become stunned during Phase 4 when the VX-001 component begins to cast the P3Wx2 Laser Barrage ability.
* Proximity mines now deal less damage and have a lower duration. A small arming time has also been added so proximity mines will not immediately detonate on creation.


Bug Fixes

* Druid Tier 8 Balance Set: The 4-piece bonus no longer has its effect consumed by Starfire casts in progress when it triggers. The chance for the effect to be triggered has been reduced down to 8%, as it was originally inflated to compensate.
* Ice Layered Barrier: Upgraded to item level 232. In addition, the stats in the tooltip have been correctly adjusted to 78 spell power, 48 haste rating, 16 mana per 5 seconds, 52 Intellect, and 50 Stamina.
* Pulsing Spellshield: The stats listed in the tooltip for this item were incorrect and have been adjusted. This item provides 69 spell power, 34 haste rating, 42 critical strike rating, 45 intellect, and 45 stamina.

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , | Comments Off on Patch 3.1.3 live today

Night Elf Druid Bear forms released!

Blizzard put up their next installment of druid forms. From blizzard

“We continue our look at the new druid art with our second installment, night elf bear form. Here’s a peek at the current look of bear form along with the five new textures. As a reminder, night elves will be able to change which look they use by switching hair color in the barber shop. ”

I HAVE A DRUID TOO OMG!

I HAVE A DRUID TOO OMG!

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Night Elf Druid Bear forms released!

World of Warcraft 3.1.3 Patch Notes

Blizzard released the patch notes for the upcoming patch for World of Warcraft.

Below you will find the patch notes for the next minor content patch. As we do not intend to release this patch on the public test realms, we thought we’d share the notes with you ahead of time. Please be aware that these changes are subject to revision until the patch is officially released.

World of Warcraft Client Patch 3.1.3

The latest patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/
The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/test-realm-patchnotes.html

Death Knight (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

* Frost Presence: Armor bonus is now 60% down from 80%.

Druid (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

* Improved Barkskin: This talent now also grants 80/160% additional armor while in Travel Form or not shapeshifted.
* Improved Tree of Life: The armor bonus to Tree of Life Form from this talent has been reduced to 67/133/200% bonus armor.

Hunter (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

* Hunter’s Mark: The ranged attack power bonus from this ability has been increased from 300 to 500.
* Master Marksman: This talent now also decreases the cost of Aimed Shot and Chimera Shot by 5/10/15/20/25%.

Paladin (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

* Eye For An Eye: This talent now deals 5/10% of the critical strike damage taken by the paladin back at the attacker.
* Hand of Freedom: The base duration of this buff has been reduced from 10 seconds to 6 seconds.

Rogue (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

* Overkill: Talent redesigned. Now increases energy regeneration by 30% while stealthed, and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth.

Warlock (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

* Chaos Bolt: This spell no longer ignores damage reduction effects of the target.

Warrior (3.1 Skills List / 3.1 Talent + Glyph Calc.)

* Blood Frenzy: This talent now provides 5/10% haste instead of 3/6%.
* Bloodthirst: Cooldown reduced from 5 seconds to 4 seconds, and rage cost reduced from 30 rage to 20 rage.
* Juggernaut: This talent now also increases the cooldown on Charge by 5 seconds.

Items

* Death Knight PvP Gauntlets: The chance to refresh a Frost Rune when casting Chains of Ice has been removed. When equipped, these gloves now generate 5 additional runic power whenever Chains of Ice is used.

Raids & Dungeons
Ulduar – Mimiron

* The flight time of Rocket Strikes has been increased, and Rocket Strikes will try to prefer players at range.
* The Leviathan Mk II component of the V-07-TR-0N will become stunned during Phase 4 when the VX-001 component begins to cast the P3Wx2 Laser Barrage ability.
* Proximity mines now deal less damage and have a lower duration. A small arming time has also been added so proximity mines will not immediately detonate on creation.

Bug Fixes

* Druid Tier 8 Balance Set: The 4-piece bonus no longer has its effect consumed by Starfire casts in progress when it triggers. The chance for the effect to be triggered has been reduced down to 8%, as it was originally inflated to compensate.
* Ice Layered Barrier: Upgraded to item level 232. In addition, the stats in the tooltip have been correctly adjusted to 78 spell power, 48 haste rating, 16 mana per 5 seconds, 52 Intellect, and 50 Stamina.
* Pulsing Spellshield: The stats listed in the tooltip for this item were incorrect and have been adjusted. This item provides 69 spell power, 34 haste rating, 42 critical strike rating, 45 intellect, and 45 stamina.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , | Comments Off on World of Warcraft 3.1.3 Patch Notes

New Tauren Druid Bear forms released more forms to come!

From Blizzard’s World of Warcraft website
“In our next major content patch, druids will find a host of new textures for two major forms, cat and bear. There will be five different designs for each of these forms for the Horde and Alliance. Night elves can choose to change their cat and bear look at any time by visiting the barber shop and changing their character’s hair color, while tauren will be able to change which look they use by switching skin tones in the barber shop — a new feature for tauren in the next major content patch. Given that there are more hair colors and skin tones than unique form looks, some colors and tones will overlap with these new textures. The hair and skin colors chosen will, in most cases, correspond with the color seen in the look of each form. Some similar colors that may share a particular cat texture will not necessarily share the same bear texture.

We’d like to share with you this new art for each form and faction in four installments. So without further ado, our first preview is for the five new textures of the tauren druid bear form. We’ll also show the current form design so you can easily see the extra detail and textures of the new art. Work continues on new looks for the remaining druid forms and we hope to add them in future content patches. ”

Click on this link for the picture!

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Tauren Druid Bear forms released more forms to come!

Patch 3.2 for World of Warcraft

Lordy me, two wow posts in the same day. What is going on. Here’s the soop for 3.2 and yeah I’ll post what it says for those who dont want to click through 🙂

The upcoming major content patch, Call of the Crusade, will bring a host of new features for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

* The Argent Tournament Expands: With the help of Azeroth’s heroes, the Argent Crusade will finish the Argent Coliseum just in time to call for all brave citizens to prepare for battle with the Lich King. New dailies, rewards, and more will be available at the Argent Tournament grounds to lure adventurers into the coliseum.

* Crusaders’ Coliseum: In order to prepare for a siege on Icecrown Citadel, players will be called by the Argent Crusade to test their mettle in the Coliseum. 5-player, 10-player, and 25-player challenges await inside.

* New Battleground: Isle of Conquest, a new large-scale siege Battleground, will be open. The Horde and Alliance will battle head-to-head for control of strategic resources to lay siege to the keeps of their opponents.

* New Arena Season: Season 7 will officially start, paving the way for all-new items and challenges.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , | Comments Off on Patch 3.2 for World of Warcraft

New Ride from Orgimmar to Thunder bluff (5 years too late)

Blizzard announced a much anticipated change (kidding). There will now be a round-trip ride from Orgimmar to Thunder Bluff. This was a pain for any Tauren who start leveling in the Mulgore area, which contains Thunder Bluff to get to any of the quests out of Orgimmar. It was easily a 10-15 minute run (felt like 15 years) and a giant pain early on. And yeah, I’d do that damn run to Org then hearth back to my inn in Mulgore and not actually get the flight path making me have to do that run all over again.Exact words from Blizzard Below.

“The Zephyr is getting set to transport players between Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff in an upcoming patch.”

Beep Beep Im a zeppelin

Beep Beep I'm a zeppelin

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Ride from Orgimmar to Thunder bluff (5 years too late)

12 1/2 podcast!

Flying solo, I go WoW crazy, or how I learned how to quit WoW after installing it. The 2nd part starting at 36 minutes and 30 seconds in, our good friend stopped by to discuss e-learning and it’s future. The keyboard cat makes an appearance! Check out the 12 1/2 Podcast!

May 9, 2009 Posted by | The Master Control Cast | , , | Comments Off on 12 1/2 podcast!

Blizzcon 09′

From the press release:
“BlizzCon Tickets On Sale May 16
Tickets to this year’s BlizzCon gaming convention, being held on August 21 and 22 in Anaheim, California, will go on sale worldwide on Saturday, May 16 for $125 each, with a second block of tickets going on sale Saturday, May 30. For those unable to attend, DIRECTV will once again be televising BlizzCon in high definition as a Pay Per View event, featuring coverage from the show floor, exclusive interviews, demos, and more. In addition, for the first time, players around the world will be able to watch the DIRECTV BlizzCon event as a Pay Per View Internet stream. Check out the press release for further details, and head over to www.blizzcon.com on May 16 or May 30 to buy your tickets. ”

Click here for the full press release
.

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , , , | Comments Off on Blizzcon 09′

Patch 3.1

Blizzard’s dropping patch 3.1 today. And I wont be logging in to celebrate. I know i’m select in this but I never log in on patch days. It’s just too much hassle.Edited for proof..See. Here’s a video they put out to go with the release. Pretty sweet looking but thrall is shaping up to be a little on the weak side.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Normal Stuffs | , , , | Comments Off on Patch 3.1