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Happy Patch Day!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Due to my limited play time lately, I haven’t really been sitting around waiting for it.  I knew it would drop soon, but I would have been content to wait til January, to be honest.  I’m not going to have much time to experience between now (the start of exams and Christmas holidays) and January.

But it’s here, and at least it will make things interesting for a bit!  Had a good read through the patch notes, and here are the things that have really caught my attention:

  • Level 1 characters no longer start with food or water in their inventory.
  • Attack: Level 1 druids, mages, priests, and warlocks will no longer start with the Attack button placed on their action bars by default.

I’m pretty happy about the overall changes to the starting game that they’ve added.  I don’t know about you, but when I start a new character (which happens like… every other day) The first thing I do is vendor the food (and water unless it’s a caster) and take Attack off my action bar.

  • Call Stabled Pet: Cooldown reduced from 30 minutes to 5 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

I’ve made a habit of using this quite often.  In fact, I even use it when I’m in a town with an actual Stable Master.  Will I ever use it 5 mins apart?  Meh.  But this is certainly not a bad change.

  • Misdirection: Redesigned. Instead of having finite charges, it now begins a 4-second timer when the hunter using Misdirection performs a threat-generating attack, during which all threat generated by the hunter goes to the friendly target. In addition, multiple hunters can now misdirect threat to the same friendly target simultaneously.

I haven’t gone on the PTR to test this out, but I hear it is nice.  I am not looking forward to the times when I forget about the change and cast it 20 second before a pull, then shoot and pull aggro.  Maybe I should pre-apologize to the tanks.  And I’ll need to update my “Misdirection Do’s and Don’ts” post!

  • Dungeon/Raid Finder, etc.

Really looking forward to this.  Blizzard has finally put points in the Improved PUG talent!  I’m also interested in trying out the new random daily sort of thing.  The whole new system seems very well thought out.

  • Unit nameplates for critters are never displayed.

This is something that bothered me from my very first week of playing the game.  About time they fixed it!  Also appreciate the increased range, as I like to use nameplates but they aren’t so much useful when a hunter is always out of range of using them. :)

  • Top-level helm and shoulder faction-related enchants are now available as Bind-on-Account items that do not require any faction to use once purchased (they still require the appropriate faction level to purchase).

I’m glad they added this rather than just decreasing the overall rep required to buy them (as I feel they should have done with Heroics in BC).

Well, that’s about it for what I’ll be taking a look at.  Nothing that’s got me super pumped, but a lot of improvements that I will certainly appreciate.  To be honest, it kinda feels like the “Why didn’t Blizzard do this 4 years ago?” patch.  What are you most excited about?

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Learning 2 Play

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

horde-coliseum-treated

As you all know, patch 3.2.0 dropped yesterday.  Hydraxis had some extended maintenance, but it was up just in time to get our raids together.  The plan was to take 2 10-man groups into the new Argent Colliseum.

Although my group didn’t get started until about an hour and a half into raid time, when we finally did go in, we were raring to go!

I’d briefly glanced over MMO Champion’s list of abilities for this fight, but I am horrible at putting a list of abilities into a coherent strategy.  All I knew is “there are some knockbacks or poisons or something.”

None of us really knew what to expect, we didn’t know if we would have to fight all the “Beasts” at once, or if it was timed, or if we’d get a break between them.

And we were fine with that.  More than fine, in fact!

Last night was one of those rare opportunities where something is so new, that there is no well-known strategy to use.  Instead of reading the strat and evaluating ourselves on how well we can execute it, we had to be attentive to what happened in each attempt and develop and evolve our own strategy.

All ten of us participated in this process, adding suggestions and observations and asking plenty of questions.

It was one of those times where I remembered why I love playing this game, and how it really does help develop real world problem solving and teamwork skills. We had to learn and adapt how we played, and each attempt was nearly better than the last.

I hope everyone who is able to get a group together can give this a try!  Don’t just wait for someone else to develop a strategy, use your own!

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The Emblem Ordeal

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’m not one for whining about Blizzard’s changes, generally.  I actually hate it when people complain that other people are going to have an easier time getting the same stuff as them.  I don’t care how easy or hard others have it, what I care about is my own gameplay, and how it will be affected by the changes.

So I’ve taken some time to figure out how I really feel about these upcoming Emblem changes.

My overall opinion is that when you’re running Heroics you don’t need T8.  When you’re running Naxx you don’t need T8.  When a dungeon or raid gets too easy then you should move on to the next level.  Not before, not after.

But I can understand some people just want to get their alts to the same level as their mains.  Maybe they want to switch and don’t want to put in the overtime to catch up… I am not sure.

For my main, my Hunter, I don’t really care much about the Emblem stuff.  When 3.2 comes out, chances are we will have cleared the non-hard modes of Ulduar 25 and will be working on hard modes, maybe even have a few of them down.  It’s likely we’ll be moving on to the new raid when it comes out.  We aren’t going to be forced to go back and farm Naxx for Emblems, although I can see this making our off-night raids a bit more popular.

The strange thing is, this patch is supposed to be aimed at ‘casuals’ and alts.  Look!  You can get the 2nd highest shinies by running Heroics!  However, these changes make me quite sad when I think about my Paladin, who is just about to hit 80.

Will Ghugh ever get to see Ulduar?  Doubt it.  Because why would you run Ulduar when you can run Heroics and get the same gear?  Which means if I wanted to raid with him, I’d have to jump from Heroics to T9 raiding.

And that scares me.  What I like is progression, challenge.  Doing Ulduar again on a new character in a different role will make it a whole new challenge for me, but I don’t think anyone will bother running it much when you can get half of your epics from doing Naxx Emblem runs.

All in all, I’m not pleased by these changes.  I can’t know for sure what will happen, but if for some reason I decide to start raiding on my off-nights with my Paladin, he’ll be forced to skip content.  And that is just not cool.

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(BTW, Ulduar is the porridge)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

nerfI’m not going to read another post from my Google Reader that has any combination of the words “Ulduar” and “nerf” in the title.  And I certainly won’t dare to venture onto any sort of forums at a time like this.

Have you ever heard the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? For some, the porridge is too hot, for some, too cold.  And then for others it’s juuuust right.

So you’ve managed to clear through 9 bosses already. /cheer! Good on ya! I’m happy for you and your raid.  But I don’t need to hear that obviously Ulduar is too easy because you’ve accomplished this.

Still haven’t been able to get Razorscale or Ignis down? That sucks, I hope you can pinpoint the issues and get through it.  But I don’t need to hear how obviously Ulduar is too hard.

Blizzard is continually balancing these fights. It’s only been out for just 2 weeks, and maybe they didn’t do as much testing as they should have.  Maybe having only the best guilds being the ones who really test boss fights isn’t the best idea, because when things seem just right for them, it won’t be the same for <Goldie ‘locks> when they venture in with raiders who have only experienced WotLK raids in their history.

I’ve had my own issues with Ulduar, and I’ve blogged about them.  But I’m not blaming anything on Blizzard or Ulduar – our guild is out of practise and we’ve never had to coordinate with this particular group combination before.  So much of our raid has changed since our BC raiding days, it’s taking a lot of time to learn the playstyles, strengths, weaknesses and limits of our fellow raiders.

Other guilds are still playing with the same people they’ve played with since vanilla raiding days, and some guilds just have a great group synergy.  These are all factors that influence how enjoyable and successful your raiding experience will be, a much bigger influence than reducing the damage some lightning bolt does could ever be.

So I ask of you, please stop calling out nerf, whether you are for or against it.  Be proud of your group for the strides you’ve made with the content as it is available to us, or work hard to improve yourself so that you can make those strides that you have yet to make.

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Three-point-one: The Morning After

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

It was a long day yesterday, waiting for the servers to come up.  I didn’t mind it too much – Blizzard did a much better job of keeping the public informed, and that’s all I ask.  Even if they were just copying and pasting the same message and changing the time… at least we knew we could stop checking for another hour, instead of continually refreshing, letting the anticipationg get to us!

Hydraxis finally came up at about 9PM EST.  I got two achievements upon logging in – Fool for Love and Brew of the Month!  That was nice.

I did all the things on my to-do list, and then headed out to the Argent Tournament.  It took me forever to figure out where to find the people I had to get advice from for Master of Melee and it’s partner quests.  And those goblin quests?  Yeah, that’s not going to happen.  Do they give anything other than gold?  Because if they don’t, I’d much rather just do something that doesn’t involve me flying all over the map (such as my Hodir dailies!)

One of the dailies for the Argent Tournament was something about a sword.  I had to pick some flowers in Crystalsong and then go to a lake in Grizzly Hills.  I find it a bit annoying that you actually have to jump in the middle of the lake and then swim all the way back out – shoulda used a water-walking potion!  Had the same quest again this morning.  At least I only have 1 more day of these dailies to do!

I didn’t really test out my spec much, other than while I was grinding.  But generally, things seem to be dying faster.  Hopefully tonight I can spend some time with a target dummy.  I still need to pick up Glyph of Chimera Shot… anyone know where I can find it?  I’ve been told the recipe is a world drop.  That’s lame.  Maybe I’ll just get Aimed Shot while I wait for someone to find it.

It’s driving me crazy that WoWhead is broken.

We should be heading into Ulduar tonight – I’m excited!  I’ve been told by a few people that I should pick up Silencing Shot for the fights, and I believe them… but I don’t want to respec again already.  I’ll see how this week goes and then maybe change something around next week.

OH!  And is it just me, or was the Kill Shot being put on the GCD not in the patch notes?  I was so confused when my macros didn’t work.  Hrmph!  One more keybinding to add, I guess!