RPGs

Patch 7.0.3 Impressions

Patch 7.0.3 Impressions

So the pre-patch, 7.0.3 is now live across all regions, and with it come all the changes being made in prep for Legion. So after a full day with the patch, what sort of things did it bring? What did you think about the changes?

Well, let’s break down what I thought into the stuff I loved, and the stuff I hated… Continue reading →

Posted by Sar in Beast Mastery, Gaming, Hunter Stuff, Legion News, Marksmanship, News, Patch News, RPGs, World of Warcraft, 0 comments
Choosing a class for Legion? Part 2

Choosing a class for Legion? Part 2

Following on from an earlier article, I’ve still been thinking hard about which class and spec I want to choose as my main for Legion, and perhaps beyond.


I’m not one for rapidly changing classes or specs, having played my Prot Paladin for over 6 years before changing to my Hunter last year.

However given the all-encompassing changes that Hunters are seeing in Legion, which may or may not result in an enjoyable experience for me, another change may become inevitable.

So, given that it’s a bit further on in the previously Alpha and now Beta process of changes, let’s see where my thoughts lie now.

As per the previous article, Rogue, Shaman, Mage, Warrior and DK are all fairly much out of the running due to intrinsic feeling of “meh” I have towards them.

That leaves:

  • Demon Hunter
  • Priest
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Warlock (completely forgot about this in the last article!)
  • Druid
  • Hunter

So, let’s go through them all…


Demon Hunter

As per usual, Blizzard look to be nerfing abilities and utility of older classes in order to bolster take up of their newest class. It happened when DKs came along in Wrath, Monks in Mists, and now DHs in Legion.

They’re looking completely OP, certainly in terms of mobility with passive double jump, slowfall, gap closers etc, but they are as yet very untested in a live environment, and without beta access and final tuning still to come, it’s next to impossible to make a definitive call on this class.

Priest

I’m still really enjoying Holy and to a lesser degree Shadow on my Priest. It’s the spec I’m playing in mainly atm in Thunder’s recent raid resurrection (yes, we’re back and Heroic raiding again!), but sometimes still have to jump on the hunter if we’re loaded with healers, to help out with DPS.

A solid choice, but not a lot of utility and having more removed in Legion, particularly in terms of mobility.

Monk

I’ve gone off Mistweaving slightly since the last article. No real reason why, I’m just finding other classes and specs more intriguing.

Paladin

Holy & Ret are right out the door straight off. No interest really in either spec, so that leaves my old comfort spec of Protection.

Whilst nerfed slightly in terms of self-healing from where it was when I wrote the last article, this is still looking like a strong spec overall in Legion.

However Legion changes to active mitigation (the best thing to ever happen to tanking IMO), and the fact that my reasons for quitting tanking on her haven’t changed since, I doubt this will be an avenue I’ll be pursuing in Legion.

Warlock

Again, a lack of general utility, being a pure dps class in a similar manner to Mages, means that this is not a class I’ll likely choose for Legion.

In contrast to…

Druid

I’ve recently begun levelling a Tauren Druid named Lifebinder, and was enjoying it, so I decided to dust off my old Nelf Druid and faction changed her, again to a male Tauren, this one named Sarcrux.

I was very undecided on this one in the last article in March, but having played it a bit more, I’m really liking the utility Druids offer. Not least the fact that I can semi-tank in bear form, and semi-dps in cat form, both while in Resto Spec.

If I were to choose a druid, Resto would likely be my Main Spec, with an open choice of off-spec.

But given we’ll be getting tri/quad spec in Legion, Off-specs will be an open choice anyway.

This one is a very strong candidate now.

Hunter

I’m a lot happier about where Hunters are now, in comparison to a few months ago.

MM have their pets back for example, with Lone Wolf being a talent choice again, albeit a level 15 choice rather than 100, so Lone Wolf lovers can essentially level all the way without a pet.

Hati and BM in general have also seen improvements, both in terms of Hati’s basic model (looks gorgeous now), and the ability to have her look like one of your other pets, so you can truly dual wield pets of your choice as BM now. Dire Beast has also been given the option of using stabled pets, rather than randoms from your current zone.

I know what you’re thinking. I dislike Mages, Warlocks and Rogues   because they’re pure DPS classes and offer little in terms of role variety, so why do Hunters, another pure DPS class get a bye?

Hunters have the pet collection aspect that ameliorates this complaint to a significant degree. For me at least, because I love pet collecting. So ner.


So that’s where I’m at atm, and presently it’s looking like a straight choice between Hunter/Holy Priest/Resto Druid.

Certainly there’s a decidedly healing based skew on those choices, but I’ll only truly be able to make a decision if or when I finally get access to the Legion Beta…

No, still no access.

tumblr_ln2h1yAIAc1qejy5r


There are changes to talent swapping that have been made in a very recent build that I’ll be expounding on more, but that’s another article for another time…

Posted by Sar in Gaming, Hunter Stuff, Legion News, Monk Stuff, News, Patch News, Priest Stuff, RPGs, Tanking, Thunder, World of Warcraft, 2 comments
It’s Official: iLevel is the one true stat.

It’s Official: iLevel is the one true stat.

https://twitter.com/AlternativeChat/status/723465836812460032

Chose that tweet to lead with, as it contains a link to Alt’s blog, which, as per the Blogroll page, is always worth a read 🙂


So, to the matter at hand…

LFM: ToT Transmog run. iLevel 746 or GTFO Scrubs.

LFM: Molten Core Transmog run. iLevel 746 or GTFO Scrubs.

Fuck those pesky and confusing stats, amirite?

Who cares how much of “X” stat you have? Who cares if you have your gear gemmed and enchanted, or if it’s even the right armour type. Who cares if you’re using a wand as a rogue? Or wearing spirit mail as a Fury Warrior?

FUCK THAT GAIS!

Blizzard are now going down the “ITEM LEVEL IS YOUR NEW GOD” route.

And that character sheet?

Looks like something from a pretty shitty action game, where there’s only 1 stat that matters.

Eurgh.

They may as well stop calling it Item Level and just call it E-Peen, or Power Level.

yuck

Eeeeeewwwwwww

I love fiddling with my characters’ stats. I’m not a min-maxer by any means, but I do like to tinker with stats until I’m happy with them with the gear I’ve got. Item level isn’t really the end all and be all for me personally.

I’d rather have stats I prefer or feel are more useful for my individual character than a higher item level.

An attitude borne out by my characters frequently never wearing the highest level gear they have, unless the gear they have marries up with my preferred stats.

As a consequence of this change by Blizzard, which you should note may or may not make it to live btw, you will need to use an addon just to see the stats that you can see today.

The biggest pain? The change from points to percentages for the likes of Crit etc. I’d like to know if I have 2100 Crit, or 2158 for that matter. A single percentage display is terrible, and obfuscates breakpoints and an awful lot of variability.

Hopefully this is display at the very least in the tooltip as it is on live, but again, no beta Alpha.

tumblr_ln2h1yAIAc1qejy5r

Proud member of the No-Beta club since 4eva. /sadface

Plus, any unused stats are now hidden, which may be streamlining, but to me it, in conjunction with the other changes, just dumbs down the individual character’s entire existence to less than a handful of numbers.

I get what Blizzard are going for here, I really do. They wanted to go one further than the greying out of useless stats that they went for in WoD. However the result just simplifies the stat sheet far too much.

It looks sad and pathetic, and frankly like someone who’s been asked to write 10,000 words on the American Civil War, and all they can think of is Capt America vs Iron Man, and wrote down #TeamCap then left the rest of the page blank.

I really hope they beef it up a bit more before it goes live, I really do. I know on live all that the idiots running pugs care about is iLevel. I tweet regularly when I’m pugging about some of the ridiculous item level requirements pug leaders look for, like 720+ for Mythic Highmaul:

Or 720+ for Normal Archimonde, a fight which rewards 705 gear…

So are Blizzard just going with the flow and caving to the iLevel morons?

Sadly it looks like it, and as gear increases in power until the next squish, the problem will only become more compounded as increased iLevel over the next couple of expacs will lead to greater increases in power.

So yeah, you’ve got it from the horse’s mouth: Item Level is soon to be the One True Stat, the Only Stat That Matters.

tumblr_ln2h1yAIAc1qejy5r

/sadface again

Posted by Sar in Gaming, Legion News, News, RPGs, World of Warcraft, 2 comments
Final Tier Lengths: Still a WiP?

Final Tier Lengths: Still a WiP?

Are Blizzard doing any better at shortening the lengthy raid tiers at the end of every expansion? The evidence is damning…


Have a look at that header graphic. I’ve reproduced it below, along with a bar chart for your edification, courtesy of @elvinelol on Twitter:

raid_pies

CgZeSBJW8AERgaL

435 days for Hellfire Citadel, by the time Legion launches, 6 days longer than the 429 days of Siege of Orgrimmar.

Since Vanilla, and with the exception of Dragon Soul, expansion end raids have consistently increased in duration, from 209 days (7 months) to the now 14+ months of recent expansions:

  • Vanilla: Naxxramas – 209 days (7 months)
  • Burning Crusade: Sunwell – 230 (8)
  • Wrath: ICC – 364 (12)
  • Cata: Dragon Soul – 301 (10)
  • Mists: Siege of Orgrimmar – 429 (~14)
  • Warlords: Hellfire Citadel – 435 (>14)

Blizzard, as we all know, have been promising to increase the production speed of expansions since at least Wrath. However it appears that promises like this are putting more pressure on the devs, which, ironically, ends with results contrary to the initial promises.


Personally, I much prefer a 2 year expansion cycle, with 3 raid tiers:

  • x.0: Launch Day – Raid Tier 1.
    • x.1: Three months later – 1st Minor Patch for features & systems
  • x.2: Eight months in – Raid Tier 2.
    • x.3: Three months later – 2nd Minor Patch for features & systems
  • x.4: Sixteen months in – Raid Tier 3.

That leaves a final raid tier as current content for 8 months, 2 of which would be pre-patch for the following expansion.

I think that would work perfectly fine. The clamour from players for faster expansions I think is actually more of a desire for regular content both across and between expansions, not faster expansions per se.

If end tiers were 6-8 months long, including pre-patches for following expansions to give players a then familiar raid tier to bed class changes in with, then I think players as a whole would be pretty damned happy with that.

2 years is a solid time to spend in an expansion. It doesn’t rush raid tiers, it allows the lore of the expansion time to develop more naturally, whilst giving plenty of time for minor patches to bed in with additional system changes or features.

Most importantly it means we’re not stuck with final raid tiers that last 14 months or longer.


With World of Warcraft aging and getting towards that final expansion, it’s high time for Blizzard to throw in the towel and settle on a rational release schedule, such as the one I’ve suggested above.

It would serve Blizzard as a developer better in the long-term with regards to player retention and income stability, and would hopefully minimise the sort of population crash that Warlords saw over the course of 2015, falling as it did from 10m+ players to less than 4m.

Posted by Sar in Gaming, Legion News, News, Patch News, RPGs, World of Warcraft, 0 comments
Black Desert Online: Launch Week

Black Desert Online: Launch Week

Or, as I call it, the best damned looking game ever made.


So Black Desert launched a couple of days ago for the biggest spenders. The Conqueror’s pre-order pack, which cost a whopping €100, launched for head-start access on 28th February (Sunday).

Today sees my Explorer (€50) pre-order launch date, and I’m really excited to get into it.

I’m a big BIG lover of customising my characters in a game, the main reason I’m such a big lover of the Transmog system in World of Warcraft. It’s also one of the main reasons I loved City of Heroes so much in the years I spent between Vanilla WoW and Wrath.

The reason I missed TBC in its entirety?

A brighter, more fun MMO, with a character creator filled with Superhero costumes.

No brainer really.

Anyhow, the character creator in BDO is a thing of beauty. The level of detail you can go into to customise your character is amazing. You can customise everything from cheekbone placement through to re-arranging the strands of hair on your character’s head manually!

The graphics in the game are second to none, certainly in the MMO genre, and the level of realism in the characters you can create is astounding:

Clean up on Aisle 6!

Clean up on Aisle 6!

The level of detail doesn’t stop with the characters. The world itself is astoundingly beautiful, and it will push my system to its limits. A vegetation, object-heavy world, with rich and highly detailed texturing and modelling, giving rise to realistic, busy cities and masses of NPCs.

The world map system is also superbly noteworthy. Not a 2D representation like we have in WoW, this is similar to Skyrim’s, in that it’s an accurate 3D representation of the world at large.

As for the game itself, it’s a complete departure from WoW, as it’s not a Theme Park MMO. There’s no “endgame” to speak of, and it’s more along the lines of Skyrim, or more appropriately, Elder Scrolls Online.

A world to play and exist in, with mobs to grind, quests to do, players to kill and gear to upgrade, it’s entirely open world with no instancing in sight. A far cry from WoD’s garrisonville.

All that, and a complete lack of fast travel – if you want to cross the world you’d better get running!

Luckily you can set a destination and afk-run or ride there, much like you can in the current flight-path model in WoW.

Of course, rather than go down the beauty route for your character, you can naturally go for the complete derp look:

DERRRRRRP

I LIEK PONIES

So WoW may see a slightly lesser look-in over the next few days as I get myself into BDO, and inevitably spend hours poring over character creation…

Posted by Sar in Black Desert, Gaming, News, PvP, RPGs, Transmog, 0 comments
The Power of Choice vs the Impact of Change

The Power of Choice vs the Impact of Change

Or…

If it ain’t broke, don’t try to “fix” it…


All classes in WoW have seen revamps at some point in the life of the game. Sure, some have been a bit more drastic than others, but it happens.

And usually only to a single spec of any class at a given time.

However something is changing about Blizzard’s philosophy regarding class and spec revamps, and it’s not necessarily a healthy change. Least of all for the players. Especially for those that play Hunters.

Once upon a time, Blizzard’s philosophy was that change should be incremental . Change over time, so that eventually the spec you played was perhaps made completely unrecognisable over the course of 2 or 3 expansions, yet was still familiar to regular players of the spec and class.

The reasoning behind this philosophy was that too many changes in too short of a timespan led to players being left feeling confused or burnt out and more likely to quit playing the class or the game as a whole through dissatisfaction.

This was a great approach, as it allowed Blizzard the opportunity to tweak specs, to tighten them up, and basically to tinker in order to ensure a spec was both competitive against other specs/classes but more importantly was also still fun to play.

What this approach allowed the players on the other hand, was the chance to retain a familiarity with a spec or a class. Even if Blizzard makes changes to a spec that means you don’t get the same enjoyment out of it anymore, there are 2 to 3 other specs to play that you will have at least a passing familiarity with and can maybe segue into.

There are 3 types of class in WoW:

  • Pure DPS classes, for example Hunters, Rogues, Mages, and Warlocks, each with their three DPS specs.
  • Semi-hybrid classes like Warriors (2 DPS/1 Tank), Priests (2 Heal/1 DPS), Shaman (2 DPS/1 Heal) and DKs (2 DPS/1 Tank).
  • Absolute Hybrid classes such as Paladins, Monks & Druids, where a change in spec equates to a change in role.

Obviously the further down that list you go, the greater the Impact of Change will be on players of those respective classes.

For example, for players of Pure DPS classes, changes to a spec will mean either gaining familiarity with the new changes, or at the very least a change in spec to another more familiar one. A change in spec for these players will not require a change in role. Pure Ranged DPS is Ranged and Rogues do it from behind regardless of spec.

On the other end of the spectrum, unsatisfying changes to a spec for Absolute Hybrid classes will mean either gaining familiarity with the new changes, or a change in role or class. The Impact of Change to players of these classes are the greatest.

Obviously the Impact of Change will occur with Semi-Hybrids to varying degrees, dependant on the chosen spec, where it can mean either a change in spec or a change in role.

Regardless of which of these three categories your chosen class falls into, the vast majority of players will have that passing familiarity I mentioned earlier with the other specs and/or roles within their chosen class.

In short, players of any given class will have some sort of refuge in one of their class’s other specs, even if it means a change in role.

However, Blizzard seem to have abandoned that philosophy when it comes to changes to the Hunter class in Legion.

No Safe Haven

Current players of the Hunter class, will in short, have no safe haven come Legion.

For Survival players, they will be seeing not only a complete change in role, switching from ranged to melee (itself not a wise change, as melee is already a crowded gamespace), but this will also see and mean a fundamental change in the abilities used by the spec. No more Black Arrow, Lock & Load etc, and hello again to the likes of Mongoose Bite and Wing Clip.


For MM players, they will see not only fundamental changes to the abilities used by the spec (no more signature Chimaera Shot for one), but they will also completely lose the ability to use a pet, one of the most fundamental and basic abilities of the Hunter class since Vanilla. MM will permanently lose part of the class aesthetic, fantasy and flavour that has been baked into the DNA of the class since its inception.


Beast Mastery players will see not only fundamental changes to their spec, how it plays and the abilities used, but they’ll see their own importance in gameplay de-emphasised in preference to becoming the logistical manager that I alluded to in a previous post.

They will lose the ability to generate their own focus, and to a large degree will also lose the ability to deal significant damage directly. BM players will be utterly reliant on their summoned beasts for both focus and the vast majority of their damage.


Of course both BM & MM will lose the ability to use any sort of trap, as they will become the exclusive territory of Survival players. Because of course melee players need to kite and CC mobs all the time…


A Lost Fantasy

Sarcasm aside, this loss of utility for BM and MM players, not only in the lack of traps for both, but the lack of pet for MM to boot is galling.

But more galling than that?

The entire fantasy of a lone Hunter with only their loyal, chosen Pet by their side,  doing damage from range while their pet goes into melee to protect their master?

Gone entirely.

  • Survival will be melee only, no longer a ranged role.
  • BM will sacrifice the lone, chosen pet playstyle for an endless crowd of random animals.
  • MM will lose the pet altogether.

Current players of the Hunter class will know no familiarity with the class that they used to know come Legion. There will be no familiar spec, no familiar role, no familiar playstyle.

Hell, no familiar class.

Change for the sake of it, especially overwhelming changes to an entire class like this is not healthy, and is certainly not conducive to player retention.

Hunters did not need this complete overhaul. Ok, the changes to Survival may see its use increase somewhat, at least initially. However BM and MM were both largely (80%) fine as they were.

So what should have happened?

If I was the Hunter class designer for Legion, these are the changes I would’ve made to BM and MM:

Marksmanship

Make the T18 4-Piece bonus baseline for the spec. Instant Aimed shots made the balance between pooling and spending focus an engaging mini-game, and enhanced the play-style of the spec immensely.


Balance Lone Wolf (with its array of buff choices) vs the other level 100 Talents a lot better. Make it actually viable to NOT take Lone Wolf for those that prefer a pet (like me). For those that enjoy the petless play-style? Carry on using it! Knock yourself out!

Make it an option to use a pet or not, but give players that choice.


Kill Shot. Keep it. And while you’re at it? Keep Traps too. CC in solo play is important too.


Three to four small changes. That’s it.

Honestly? It didn’t take or need that much effort or work.


Beast Mastery

Give players a talent to allow them to call a 2nd, permanent pet. Give them the ability to mix and match with this 2nd pet to give players a greater ability to create an identity and enhance spec fantasy.


Make the pet abilities at the player’s control, like Kill Command, Bestial Wrath, Focus Fire etc, all apply to the 2nd pet as well. No need for an uncontrollable throng of random animals that, let’s be honest, no-one really wants or cares for that I’ve heard so far.

I don’t think any current BM players have ever fantasised about being Ace Ventura, or Snow White…


Leave Stampede as-is. It’s fine Blizzard, seriously.

If you’re so concerned about crowding the melee space for a whopping 40 seconds every 5 minutes, then why the hell are you converting one ranged spec and forcing it into the melee area, while simultaneously introducing another entirely new melee class in Legion?

The new Stampede? Well heaven help you if the boss moves, given that it’s a 10 second AoE effect now (eurgh).


Have Growl make the enemy focus on whichever Pet has least threat, allowing for easier pet maintenance and healing.


Keep Spirit Bond. FFS.


Keep Camouflage. Jesus wept.


Kill Shot and Traps. Again.


And with that?

Both BM & MM players would retain familiarity with their chosen spec. No massive overhauls required, no changes in play-style necessary.

Evolution, not revolution.

Minimise or negate that Impact of Change.

Easy.

Posted by Sar in Gaming, Hunter Stuff, News, Patch News, RPGs, World of Warcraft, 3 comments
The Identity of the Final Titan…

The Identity of the Final Titan…

This post is going to talk about the Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 that’s going to be released in March, so if you’re lore-spoiler sensitive then look away now.

Mind you these aren’t really spoilers in the in-game sense, as this has nothing to do with Legion, but this will be talking about a few ideas that crop up within the early part of the expansion.


Screenshot_2016-02-20-18-08-46-1-1

deadpool-shocked

Yeah, that’s right Deadpool: 0_0

Ok, some of us had thought about this previously, and thought that this may be a far-out explanation about why Azeroth is so special.

But not only was it a far-out, crazy thought, but it’s now officially lore!

Azeroth is, or at the very least was, a TITAN.

Whoah.

More specifically, I think I know which Titan. Ready for this?

Elune.

Aka the One True God of Azeroth

Yes, that Elune. The Night Elf and Tauren deity? Yeah that one.

ELUNE

Elune

Or Mu’sha, as she’s named by the Tauren…

Now, why am I coming to that conclusion? What makes me think Elune is a Titan to begin with?

Well, and this is where some small Legion spoilers come into play: In Legion’s levelling experience, we’re searching in each zone for pieces of the Pillar of Creation (echoes of Deepholm here!).

All of these pieces are named after the Titans we’ve known about for ages, like The Hammer of Khaz’goroth etc.

However, curiously, one of them is named Tears of Elune, found in Val’sharah. With all the other Pillars named after known Titans this more or less confirms she/it was in fact an actual Titan, rather than a Naaru, which others had previously posited in the past.

Right, so park that train of thought for a wee bit.

Remember Pandaria? Remember in the Mists legendary questline when Wrathion ate Lei Shen’s heart, and… well have a look for yourself:

We must rebuild the Final Titan…

Remember C’Thun? And Y’Shaarj?

Well Titans fought both, and while the Titans killed Y’shaarj first, a Titan fell during the fight with C’Thun. Remember, this all happened waaaay back millennia ago in Warcraft history, long before the War of the Ancients, long before the Sundering even.

That’s the Titan I think we need to “rebuild”.

But why do I think that it’s Elune specifically?

Well, Elune has been known to communicate with the Night Elves and Tauren directly in the past, which led to them worshipping her as a deity.

Certainly the Night Elves (or Dark Trolls as they were back then) at the Well of Eternity communicated with her quite a lot, believing that she resided within the Well itself during daylight hours.

This interaction lead them to understand Titanic (the language of the Titans), their own history, and the history of Azeroth itself. Meanwhile the powers of the Well were physically evolving them from their nascent Troll forms into the more graceful, lithe forms we come to recognise today as Night Elves.

This surely wouldn’t have been possible if Elune hadn’t been on Azeroth to communicate with them in the first place?

Elune has to have been present on Azeroth and directly guiding the Night Elves. However she hasn’t had a physical form for as long as the Night Elves have been aware of her, present merely as “a calming spirit that abhors violence”.

The Titans

We know that the Titans themselves are physically gigantic, metallic beings.

How I think they come to possess physical form, is that the world-spirit that is born within what otherwise looks to be a normal planet, is imbued within this constructed, or artificial physical form. This form can be destroyed, certainly, but the spirit lives on, able to be re-imbued into another physical body.

That’s why we have to rebuild the Final Titan: Azeroth, aka Elune.

That explains why Sargeras has such a burning desire to destroy Azeroth, because it houses the one thing capable of destroying him: another Titan.

I believe that this massive incoming lore dump, one that answers so many long-standing questions, is yet another indicator that Warcraft is tying up loose ends. Tidying up lore answers in preparation for the true end-game: Taking on Sargeras.

Things on the Warcraft to-do list:

  1. Create the Army of Light, led by Anduin, as foretold by Velen.
  2. Rebuild the final Titan.
  3. Utterly destroy the Burning Legion once and for all.
  4. Seek out and destroy/redeem Sargeras.

By the end of Legion, I strongly believe we’ll have taken care of #1 on that list. Why? Well, that’s neck-deep into Legion spoiler territory:

[su_spoiler title=”MASSIVE Legion Spoilers within!“]King Varian Wrynn dies (or at the very least goes missing (again?)) very early on in Legion. This leaves an older Anduin Wrynn as the new King of Stormwind.

It is from this position I believe he will end hostilities with the Horde fully, and both factions will come together to form the Army of Light.

Anduin has been positioned over the past several expansions as the new Jaina. The Alliance character who knows Azeroth’s only chance of survival against the Burning Legion is to work together, not against one another.

This means the formation of the prophesied Army of Light.

Possibly a third faction? Or perhaps the removal of the faction system altogether?

Who knows, but we’re getting there![/su_spoiler]

So, both in-game and out, we’ll be seeing major strides forwards in terms of the storyline, and making progress towards the true Warcraft finalé: The battle with Sargeras.

By the way, interesting tidbit of info: Do you know what the original name of the Tomb of Sargeras was, before it became known as that?

Answer: The Temple of Elune.

Yeah. Whoah, indeed.

Posted by Sar in Gaming, Lore, News, RPGs, World of Warcraft, 0 comments
Legion Alpha: A Stampede of Hunter problems

Legion Alpha: A Stampede of Hunter problems

Now that BM is now live on the Alpha, we now have access to all 3 Hunter Specs, and it’s not all rosy…


So Alpha has returned and it’s brought with it a new build or two, and opened up more specs for testing.

This includes Beast Mastery for Hunters, which rounds out the entire class for testing.

From looking at the BM spec as-is on Alpha (remember I don’t have Alpha access, so this is all based on what I’m seeing on YouTube and reading from elsewhere), there are a still growing number of concerns that began with MM/Survival changes, and BM is only adding to that pile.

New Concerns

Dire Beast for example, is designed to be used on cooldown, and it now has a very short cooldown of 10 seconds. Add in the chance for Dire Beast to get reset with Wild Call and its use is going to get very spammy.

Similarly Bestial Wrath is going to see more frequent use, despite the fact its cooldown has been increased 50% to 90 seconds, beast summons will reduce that cooldown, and it will probably be up for longer than it’s on normal cooldown, given the frequency you’ll be using Dire Beast.

Stampede as it exists on live has been essentially removed, and replaced with an AoE with the same name and icon. Now when it’s used, you carpet an area in front of you with, well, a stampede of pets (not your own pets, these are randoms!), and this lasts for 10 seconds.

Think Barrage, but with animals rather than bullets, and in a box shaped AoE right in front of you, rather than a cone.

This of course means no more cool screenshots or showing off with your active pets anymore…

RIP Stampede

All these random pet cooldowns with BM lead me to think that Blizzard are trying to de-emphasize me as a player in direct control of the damage equation.

The whole direction BM appears to be headed in makes me think we’re going to be less of a hunter, and more of a logistical manager for random pets while playing whack-a-mole with our cooldowns on the side.

This is in direct contrast to MM, where you can’t use pets at all, and the damage you bring is based entirely on your use of your abilities.

Overall Hunter Issues

I have quite a lot of issues with the current Hunter class on Alpha, namely in the areas of removal of: Customisation, choice, survivability and utility.


Camouflage is now a talent, on the same row as Binding Shot. It is now a 1 min lasting effect, but now has a 3 minute cooldown. No more perma-stealth in PvP, waiting to ambush the enemy, or ghosting through old instances for very long.

Plus, if you’re BM? You get no choice of Camo AT ALL. You get Intimidation instead. WAT?

This one irks me quite a lot. I love the stealth aspect of playing a Hunter, particularly in PvP. And I love pets. Now? Now I don’t have the option of utilising both. It’s one or t’other.


Lack of a pet in MM. Hunters are the best and original pet class, hell they’re THE pet class in WoW, and all 3 specs should use them. If Focusing Shot had been higher DPS in HFC than Lone Wolf, would we even be having this consideration?

As a side note, this enforced lack of a pet for MM means we’re going to spend a lot of time either kiting without any major CC, or we’ll be spending a lot more time face-tanking mobs.

Eurgh.


De-emphasis of your chosen pet in the only remaining ranged spec in the class that uses them (BM).

Stampede ushers in a throng of random pets, and Dire Beast also uses random pets. Not random pets from your stables, no, just random pet models from the zone you’re in (DB) or from the game as a whole (Stampede).

If only MM would let you call a permanent pet, and use only one pet (no Dire Beast or Stampede), that would still provide contrast against BM, emphasise your choice of pet, and solve the above issue with no MM pets.

As it stands, BM is now all about summoning a multitude of random, temporary pets that you have no connection to, and your “life-bonded companion” just gets lost in an ever maddening crowd…


The forced use of an 9-10 year old model in Hati that you have very little control over or customisation of. Yes, I get it’s tied into Ulduar/Titanstrike, but really? Using such an old model for the latest and greatest weapon/expansion?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the saber worg model, but it’s going to do 2 things: a 2007 model will look out of place in 2016/2017, and look very generic with every BM hunter having the same pet.
Again, de-emphasising your choice of pets for random/forced options.

Admittedly it is still early in the alpha/beta process, so it’s possible that this may change, but given that they’ve already introduced different skins for this saber worg in the alpha, albeit not implemented yet, suggests, but doesn’t confirm, that Hati will have different colours dependant on your artifact look. So even less likely that the choice of model for Hati will change.


Spirit Bond has been removed. In fact there is very little in the way of maintenance healing in the Hunter class now, as all we’ve got is the Spirit Beast heal (obviously BM only) and a now baseline Exhilaration with a 50% heal.

Combine that with the lack of CC, and the lack of a pet to tank for you in MM and there’s going to be a lot more downtime for MM hunters while we passively heal up outside of Exhilaration.


Removal of Traps from all specs bar Survival. More CC gone. Oh goody.


Kill Shot has been removed. No more execute ability, and no more big hits in the last 20-30% of the boss’s health.


No more Lone Wolf choice of raid buffs. Lone Wolf may be baseline for MM, but we no longer get the option to provide any raid buffs, AT ALL as MM.

Or BM or Survival for that matter.

In fact looking at WoWHead, Hunters will no longer bring any raid buffs to the table at all.

Unless Critical Strikes, a 10% crit buff you get from level 1, applies to the raid as well as yourself, IE: an aura. But it’s passive, so not manually applicable to a player, therefore giving potential issues where one section of the raid is phased (Nether Banish, Archimonde), and lose the buff?


Aspect of the Cheetah is now a 3 minute cooldown that lasts for a whopping 3 seconds at +90% speed and another 30% for 9 seconds. No more perma-speed boost outside of combat.

/slow clap

More utility (and fun!) gone.

At least we still have Posthaste.

For now.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera is gone.


Deterrence is gone, and replaced by a 3 minute cooldown called Aspect of the Turtle. Admittedly it has a pretty cool shell shield style graphical effect, but it’s a one shot deal, no more second charge. More survivability gone.

Combine that with a lack of CC, no maintenance heal, and the inability to use a tanking pet for MM?

Yeah, you can see where I’m going with this…

DOWNTIME. GET USED TO IT.


The removal and outright rug-pulling changes to the class, this late into the game’s life cycle is not what I would consider a sensible move. Look what happened with Star Wars Galaxies when they did something similar with the NGE. Players exited the game in droves and the game nearly collapsed as a result. Arguably it never really recovered.

We lost a metric fuckton of players during WoD’s first 9 months, we can’t really afford to lose a lot more. Especially from the most popular class in the game.

The entire class seems to be changing outright, and a lot of what brought me to the class is being dispensed with between expansions.

Prefer playing as Ranged DPS? There goes 1 spec. Cya Survival!

Pet collector? There goes another spec. Buh-bye Marksmanship!

Hope you like whack-a-mole with a crowd of mainly random, no-choice selection of “animals”.

I can’t even bring myself to call them pets. The term “Pet” implies a choice, a bond, a story, a history.

Not BM. Not anymore.

Now? Your choice of pet now merely makes a guest appearance on a crowded stage filled with randomers.

In fact it’s less like logistical manager, more like a raid leader for a group of mindless, minimum-effort randoms in LFR.

Oh, and you also have to put up with no chance to use camouflage.

Yippee.

Posted by Sar in Gaming, Hunter Stuff, Legion News, News, Patch News, RPGs, World of Warcraft, 2 comments
(A Dozen) Things to do in Azeroth when you’re dead (bored)…

(A Dozen) Things to do in Azeroth when you’re dead (bored)…

We’re now in the middle of the long night of no content, with an undefined dawn awaiting at some nebulous future point.

With potentially so long to go before Legion launches, possibly as long as another 8 months, for those that still want to play WoW, what is there to occupy your time?

What can you possibly do in a game where there’s been no visible content in over 6 months already, with a seemingly bigger barren desert stretching out in front of you as well?

What to do when, like me, your guild is all but dead, awaiting resurrection in Legion?

Well, this is where we start digging into different kinds of content, improving our gear to solo newer content, and grinding out the stuff we didn’t get time to do when the content that was there was fresh.


The List

  1. Mount Runs
  2. Pet Collecting
  3. Toy Collecting
  4. Title Collecting
  5. Achievement Hunting
  6. Valor & Legendary Ring Upgrades
  7. Rep Grinding
  8. Transmog Collecting
  9. Gold Capping
  10. PvP
  11. Levelling Alts & gearing them (including opposite faction)
  12. Professions

So let’s take a quick scoot through some examples of the above list, shall we?


Mount Collecting

I’m a collector. I love collecting things in game, regardless of what it is. If there’s a checklist of things to pick up in game, I love ticking off all the boxes in order to fulfil achievements, pick up bonus rewards or whatever.

The first and primary thing I love to collect are Mounts.

Mounts are a statement of what you’ve achieved in WoW, more than anything else. Some require patience, such as Ashes of A’lar, where the drop rate is so abominably low that you could feasibly go the remainder of the game’s lifetime and never see it drop, even running Tempest Keep on 11 different characters every week.

Some mounts require skill (PvP mounts, looking at you here!), some require friends, some need pure luck, others just cold hard cash, and yet others just need you to complete content or grind reputation.

But most will remark upon some kind of activity that you’ve carried out in order to acquire it.

Of course some you get just for collecting other mounts. I’m currently sitting at somewhere just shy of 210 mounts on my Paladin, and so I need about another 41 or so to pick up the newest added reward for the 250 mount mark, the Felfire Hawk.

So I generally will run older raids for the most prized mounts I still don’t have yet, such as Invincible from 25m Heroic Lick King, the aforementioned Ashes of A’lar from Tempest Keep, Mimiron’s Head from 25m Ulduar, the 2 dropped mounts from Firelands (I got the meta mount when it was still current content), 2 of the 3 dropped mounts from Dragon Soul etc etc.

I do have some prized mounts from older raids and instances that I’ve managed to pick up over the years, such as the Headless Horseman’s mount, the mount from Midnight in Karazhan, the Onyxia mount, all the useless (outside of the instance) mounts from AQ bar the black one, both Malygos mounts, both Sartharion mounts among many others.

But there are more yet to acquire…

Pet Collecting

These are easy enough, for the most part. This is one that requires patience, as collecting the pets that are available in the wild just requires you to nip around the various continents of WoW battling and capturing the pets you don’t yet have.

Easy.

Some will require you to fulfil meta achievements, such as drops of other pets from raid bosses, or be lucky with garrison missions, some just need you to get really lucky with spawns (hello Unborn Val’kyr), and again, some will require simple cold hard cash (either IRL or ingame).

As for me, I’ve collected all of the wild pets you can get, bar 2 rare spawns in Draenor. I’m still working on some of the raid boss drops, either by doing old raids, or buying them on the BM/AH.

Once collected, there’s always the option of levelling them as well, or maybe doing the Celestial Tournament in Pandaria if you haven’t done that. I have, and got all 4 pets, and they’re so worth the effort.

There are the new Legendary pets to battle in Tanaan Jungle, all of which can reward other pets to boot…

Toy Collecting

This is one that I’m not really actively working on, but I do know some people that are as fervent about collecting toys as I am about Mounts & Pets.

Always bear in mind that there are some items that aren’t toys right now, but will become such in Legion.

Title Collecting

Again, not another high on my list of priorities, mainly because I stick with a handful of titles I already have (my paladin is forever either Judge the Proven Defender or Crusader Judge).

However there are a couple of Titles I have that I’m quite proud of, that are actually quite hard to obtain.

Predator is one. This is obtained from killing a very rare challenge boss in Tanaan Jungle, Xemirkol, and is currently one of the titles I use on my Hunter.

Sar the Undying is another one I’m very fond of. Unobtainable now, sadly, but it was garnered by running a full 10 man raid team through Naxxramas without dying to any bosses, prior to 4.0.3 when it was removed from the game. Even then, it was quite the achievement to do. We never did get round to completing the 25 man version, the Immortal

Achievement Hunting

This one’s fairly self explanatory, and doesn’t need much going over. Simply have a look at the achievements you don’t have and set about clearing some of the easier ones to begin with.

I’m about 270 points short of 17,000 achievement points on my Hunter, so I’ve still a fair few to pick up, particularly PvP achievements, which I’ve got very few of.

Valor and Legendary Ring upgrades

Yep, the busy work at the end of the expansion for the 2nd time in a row. Gear obtained from the latest raid instance can be boosted by 5 item levels for 250 Valor Points. This can be done a maximum of twice per piece of gear, giving each piece a maximum of an extra 10 item levels. Overall this would/should boost your overall item level by about 10, giving you that little bit of extra oomph for other activities, regardless of whether you’re a raider or not.

Similarly Crystallised Fel can be obtained to upgrade your Legendary Ring (if you have it) by 3 item levels per time. This can be done until your ring’s iLevel maxes out at 795. Currently I’m at 753 with an Archimonde run still to be done this week.

Of course if you don’t want to run Archimonde each week, once you’re done with the Valor upgrades for your other gear, you can purchase the same Fel item from a vendor in Tanaan for a whopping 1250 Valor.

If you ask me, upgrading your other gear is a far better use of your Valor in the meantime, as 1250 Valor will fully upgrade 2½ pieces of gear. I’ll carry on with the Archi kills until they’re no longer viable methinks, and buy one now and then with any extra Valor I have, as I’m nearly fully upgraded with it anyway.

Rep Grinding

The rep grinds in Warlords were, as has been admitted by Blizzard, godawful. Simple, mindless, drawn-out rep grinds are lazy and uninspired, and the initial reps in WoD were exactly that. Mind you if grinding out reputation in this manner appeals, then you’re already likely to have gotten to exalted with the likes of the Frostwolf Orcs/Council of Exarchs or Arrakoa etc.

The reputations in 6.2 that were added to pad out the meta achievement for flying in Draenor were more palatable, but were gated behind dailies, so couldn’t be done in less than a few weeks.

Of course there are plenty of older reputations that you can grind out. This is one of the drawbacks about changing main characters like I did 6 months ago. I have nearly 50 exalted reps acquired on my Paladin, having played her as my main for nearly 7 years, but now I’m on my Hunter?

18

This makes acquiring related titles, such as The Beloved from the 60 reputation achievement that much harder to do.

Ideally the meta would count all the reps you have at exalted across your account, whilst obviously not counting any of the same reps twice. Easily solved by giving a Feat of Strength achievement for each and every exalted reputation on your account, and have the metas work off of those counts.

Transmog Collecting

This is a massive one for me. As you’re probably aware I’m a huge lover of the transmog system not only in WoW, but also of similar systems in other games such as Wildstar, Elder Scrolls online etc.

Legion will of course bring a massive and very welcome overhaul of the transmog system, giving us a collection/wardrobe system similar to that seen in Wildstar. This will happily include Tabards and weapon enchants!

Of course you’re also going to have a starter wardrobe added at the very start of Legion/pre-patch, as you’ll be given access to all the quest rewards you’ve had the opportunity to gather over the years, even including the choices you didn’t take at the time!

If you haven’t already, I thoroughly recommend getting yourself setup with a full set of Hexweave bags to maximise your bag space ahead of Legion to allow for maximum transmog collecting potential. I did this a couple of days ago and got an extra 70 or so bag slots across my personal bags & bank slots. It cost about 12,000 gold, but it was most definitely worth it.

Even at that, 12,000 gold isn’t a massive outlay these days, especially if, like me, you’re looking to set about…

Gold Capping

This is another target for me in Warlords, and one of the main things keeping me ticking over in the meantime – hitting the gold cap at least once.

Hitting the mythical cap is something I’ve wanted to do forever in WoW. As someone who entered Warlords with a grand total of 50,000g and thinking at the time that I was rich (bless), I’ve seen my gold total hit nearly 700k in the time between launch and now.

Currently I’m sitting at just over 500k, having made some investment in mounts to keep a hold of until later in the year in order to re-sell for hopefully a decent bit of profit. I’ve also spent quite a chunk of change over the past few days acquiring the remaining Heirloom items from vendors, and getting some stuff fully upgraded to 2/2 or up to 100. So I now have every Heirloom available for purchase in game, and only lacking the ones available from the Darkmoon Faire, or the Dread Pirate ring from the Fishing Contest.

1 million gold, you will be mine eventually…

PvP

This is one for me, as PvP is something I’ve not done a huge amount of in the past. Mainly this was down to me playing a Prot Paladin, and as such killing players wasn’t exactly something I was going to excel at, given my damage output potential in Prot Spec.

Sure I could have switched to Ret, and did from time to time, but that’s like writing with the wrong hand. Sure you can do it, and maybe it’ll even be legible, but it’s sure as hell not going to considered calligraphy now, is it?

That changed recently, as you’ll have read in my previous post, so no need to expound upon that further as you can go read that if you haven’t already.

Mind you that was carried out with a focus on acquiring a long-desired transmog set, so PvP for other reasons (gear, achievements, mounts etc) is something I’ve yet to do a lot of.

Levelling Alts

This is something I only tend to do if I’m extremely bored in WoW. However it is a great time waster and fills out the feckless days with aplomb.

Mind you there are shortcuts to levelling characters available on the Blizzard Store, now up to 100, but that’s £40 to level a character I’ll likely not play a lot of.

In fact my free 100 boost I got from pre-purchasing Legion is still sitting unused, awaiting the arrival of Gnome Hunters. I’m levelling a human hunter on and off. Actually my 2nd human hunter, my first is sitting at 92 and unplayed. Why not use the boost on that one instead?

Meh, it gives me something to do I suppose, and levelling another Hunter is never a bad thing 🙂

It’s especially nice to play through the opposite faction 1-60 experience a few times to pick up the background story on multiple paths. Of course once you get to Outland and beyond, the story tends to then mirror the experience of the other faction more significantly, and so becomes less worthwhile. Plus that, and waiting to use a boost at 60+ will also give you instantly maxed level…

Professions

Engineering on the Hunter was a very fast and easy experience to level to the Draenor maximum of 700.

It was so easy in fact, I actually wrote up a full 1-700 in less than 6½ minutes Engineering levelling guide!

I’ve struggled over the past few months since to decide which secondary profession I want to pick up. Should I pick up a gathering profession like Mining again, or go for a second production profession?

Given that Engineering isn’t really about producing stuff for profit more than it is about giving yourself small perks and abilities, such as a free Goblin Glider built into your cloak, I decided that another production profession was the order of the day.

I mulled over Leatherworking and Blacksmithing, but ultimately decided on Tailoring. Cloaks are always useful to sell at the start of any raid tier, and there’s always the evergreen sales of various capacity bags to keep the gold income ticking over.

Well that, and Magic Carpet mounts…

Plenty of things to do in Azeroth when you’re dead (bored)

That’s a dozen things I’ve listed that you can while away the time on during the content lull until Legion eventually hits.

Even if you’re not a fan of some of the things listed, have maybe completed others, there should be something there that you can do ingame until Legion.

There’s always fun and content to be had for those willing to seek it out…

Enjoy!

Posted by Sar in Gaming, General, Guides, News, RPGs, Transmog, World of Warcraft, 0 comments
2015: Fine then, bugger off!

2015: Fine then, bugger off!

So it’s that time of the year again, time for drinks, Auld Lang Syne, and looking forward to what’s ahead: Yep, it’s New Year’s Eve.


So 2015 in WoW wasn’t its most shining moment ever in all honesty. Realistically this year will probably go down in WoW history as its worst. Hopefully. Because that means better is to come.

Warlords came out towards the arse end of last year, and this year saw the game receive very little content, not least in the form of *cough*major*cough*patch*cough* 6.1.

So in effect the game had 1 content patch all of 2015 in the shape of 6.2.x, an all time low for WoW, at the level expected of an aging F2P game. WoW is aging, that’s undeniable, but it’s hardly 100% F2P atm. In fact it’s still by far the biggest subscription MMO on the planet. It should be treated as such by Blizzard…

That and Garrisons. Eurgh.

On the plus side, it was the year I finally changed main characters after 6½/7 years and stopped tanking and went back to DPS. Glad I did, much less pressure to attend raids and perform in pugs/LFRs.


So this year I had the opportunity to try out several other MMOs: Wildstar, Final Fantasy 14 and Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.

Wildstar is a fun game, no doubt about it. It’s colourful, comical and brash in its use of pallette. Well worth dipping into, but I eventually stopped playing it because of a lack of guild or friends ingame to help make the whole experience worthwhile. Definitely a fun game though, and easy to give a crack as it’s now F2P.

Wildstar Online

Wildstar Online

Final Fantasy 14 was a different kettle of fish from Wildstar. A total contrast in fact. Where Wildstar was comic styled fun, FF14 is very po-faced, with seemingly very little humour. It’s a very dry experience, but very much a worthy game. Again I stopped playing because of subs costs (I was playing & paying for 3 MMOs simultaneously), so until the sub cost is dropped and it goes F2P it’s unlikely I’ll return.

Final Fantasy 14

Final Fantasy 14

Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is the Buy to Play iteration of the Elder Scrolls Online, a game that has dropped the initial subscription model, but still costs money to purchase the base game. This is one I’ve really been having a ball with, far more than FF14 or even Wildstar to a degree.

Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

That may be to do with my long-standing love of the Elder Scrolls games, right the way back to Daggerfall back in the day. I’m still only about 20 hours into ESO atm, but I’m loving it, and the lack of a subs fee helps in this regard immensely.

It does have a cash shop, but it’s a pretty good one, and one I’ve already spent some money on for a pet and a mount (both Jaguars!), as well as a costume set. Job done I suppose Bethesda!


Getting away from MMOs slightly, another game I bought recently was Undertale. On first appearances it looks like something made to run on a Spectrum 48k, and frankly it does nothing to dis-abuse you of that impression. But as with any great game it’s the story and characterisation that pulls you in and makes you care about a seemingly blocky arrangement of pixels…undertale


Pillars of Eternity was another game I was really happy to see released this year. Paying serious amounts of homage to its forefathers Baldur’s Gate & Planescape: Torment both thematically and graphically, this has led the resurgence of the CRPG that will only continue even further next year with the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera and more…

Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity


There were plenty of other games, such as Metal Gear Solid 5 etc, but those were the main games I sunk time into this year, and ones I’d recommend you pick up if you haven’t already!

All that’s left to be said is have a Happy New Year!

Posted by Sar in Gaming, News, Reviews, RPGs, World of Warcraft, 0 comments