Apparently TRI is just not allowed to raid this week. Yesterday there was an issue with phase three of Northrend Beasts, causing our entire group to simultaneously disconnect and teleport to interesting locations. Eventually switching to Ulduar to avoid the issue, FL promptly bugged out and we were left dead with his gates up and no vehicles re-spawned. Today we got through Beasts well enough, and then everyone in Washington who had merged their WoW account in to a Battle.net account disconnected and was unable to reconnect. This represented over 20% of our raid, myself included, so this obviously brought the evening to a screeching halt. And tomorrow there is an annual RP event that the majority of our raid will be attending, as we are Lawl RP’ers. Not that I begrudge an RP event in the slightest, but it just serves to complete the destruction of this week’s raiding schedule. Le sigh.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hang out with some Australian mage. There were laughs, and booze, and awesome accent. Apparently she has Super Sekrit info from Blizzcon, but wouldn’t tell us about it. Sadface.
I convinced a friend that plays EQ2 to make the switch to WoW. I also convinced him to roll an elemental shaman, since they apparently do not exist. Should be interesting!
In my previous post I forgot the single most important thing about the next expansion: TOP HATS. Having a character for which a top hat is prominent in RP, I am overjoyed.
I’ve given it a few days to chew over, but now it’s time to talk about all that stuff that was released at Blizzcon. This obviously contains spoilers for Cataclysm so if you hate spoilers or, like Anna, you just don’t care, ignore this post!
I should preface this by saying that it would be pretty hard to get me to quit WoW at this point. Blizzard would have to do something truly insane (Paladin class? Deleted!) to get me to hop off now. Not for any amazing romance with the game itself, though I do enjoy it, rather that I’m not really playing the game for the game anymore, but as way to interact with the friends I’ve made in it. Given the unlikelihood that we all simultaneously mass-migrate to something else, WoW is it. Phew, okay. On to actual stuff.
First, and most obvious, this is WoW 2.0. Completely new stat system, permanent restructuring of the old zones, overhaul of the talent trees and even classes. Accept it, for I laugh in the face of your denial. As far as if this is good/bad/ugly, I’m really going to reserve judgment until at least the beta; this is such a massive shift we simply have no basis for determining what it will be like at present.
The change to the talent trees I generally like, though I await clarification on how Mastery works. I’ve been waiting since the announcement of Wrath for Blizzard to figure out that adding new depth to the talent trees each expansion is going to spiral out of control, and it happily looks like they’ve done so. This is also probably playing a large role in limiting the new cap to 85, which I am really quite fine with. Which combinations break the game and induce a stampede to the forums remains to be seen.
The changes to stats is probably the most significant, at least in my mind. I honestly have no idea how they expect to properly handle a conversion of current gear into the new gear, and a change this vast is going to completely upset the status quo. This, along with Mastery, I think are going to put the entire player base back to Square One: basically, we’ll be forced to relearn how to play our classes (especially Hunters!) I don’t think this is bad per se (though I was a bit offended that being something a second grader couldn’t understand was the main reason for removing Armor Pen), but it’s going to be the biggest upset to the proverbial apple cart.
The Path of the Titans is probably the sillies think I’ve seen, giving us a required secondary profession that I suspect for all their claims to the contrary will turn into yet another grind for an minor boost to your character. I suppose it plays in to the idea of further customizing your character which I like, but it seems unwieldy at this point.
Reforging seemed silly at first as well, especially once my suspicions about limiting stat redistribution were confirmed. Upon further consideration though, I think it may be a useful tool at least for new/leveling characters. My initial reaction was: no matter how much you juggle it, something like tank gear is not going to be able to compete with a well itemized DPS piece even of significantly lower iLevel. However, with the changes to stats on items, most importantly throwing most of them out, this takes on a new sort of value. A new quest green made for a tank might have Str, Con, and Dodge on it. Well, as a DPS warrior, I already like Str. Con is not good, but neither is it bad so the only really wasted stat is Dodge. If I were able to shift some of these points over to, say, Crit, suddenly it becomes a whole lot more attractive. I don’t see this holding up as we move in to raid content, as stats just become too heavily weighted in favor of the role they were intended for even with a shuffle, but for gearing up a fresh 85 or leveling that alt through Outlands I see potential.
The changes to Old World I could not agree more. Well, except the part where they bring back a guy who’s head we chopped off and mounted on a pike. Generally though, all for it. I know, sad times, lowbie zones will never be the same and it’s canon that the Horde are better at PvP and no one will be able to appreciate oldschool Rags and blah blah blah blah blah. Vanilla sucked. The only reason we played it was because we didn’t know how much it sucked at the time. It’s long overdue for an overhaul, and I’m glad to finally see it. Additionally, it’s nice to see the fact that the world has been more or less raped by massive war for the better part of a century is starting to show. I’m hope to enjoy a better experience leveling through them on one of the new classes.
Of which I am of two minds on. Goblins are really overdue for a playable race, though making them canonically Lost hurts me a little bit. Worgen have pretty much the most awesome starting zone ever, which hopefully will make up for all the Underworld kiddies running around with their new FotM race. I’m not convinced yet that WoW needs more races, but I’ve got no serious beef with adding these. Mostly I’m curious to see what happens to all of the other races as they move racials in to line with the Goblin/Worgen ones. If the new ones really are the template, it looks like the stats will be: +1% to something combat related, a movement ability, +15 to some profession, and a random flavor ability. The new class/race combos for all that I am sure you screamed at your monitor when you read at least one of them have at least flimsy justification. At the end of the day it was a game play move, and we’re just going to have to do some rationalizing to fit it in to the lore.
The guild advancement system I was initially very concerned about seeing as TRI is a composite guild raid. Further releases make it seem less of an issue however, leading me to believe that while we may not be able to take full advantage of all it has to offer, we will not be harmed by it either.
As far as changes to classes, new dungeons, items, and whatnot I’m going to pass on these because, again, there’s simply too massive of a change and too many unknowns to make even educated guesses about how things might turn out. Overall, I’m optimistic about this expansion. It’s still a long way off and there’s plenty of time to bugger it up, but even with the sweeping changes being made I think Blizzard is at least trending in the right direction.
Remember when Ulduar came out and everyone (read: me and the like three people that will talk to me) hurt themselves trying to figure out a BiS list? I sat down to do this again for Trial of the Crusader; a bit late, but with only one boss a week available I didn’t feel it was particularly pressing. Well, go figure, the Patch That Blizzard Phoned In made it a complete no-brainer: pick the correct armor/role piece for each of your slots in the Heroic 25 man, done. An entire set with a tier of iLevel on the competition it just too much to overcome with gimmick stats, especially when half of the nearest tier is a direct downgrade. Trinkets might have some hope with their tendency for gimmicky itemization, but even those would have to come off of oh, say, Algalon. Oh, and wands. Since the 25 has none.
In other news, TRI got the new Trial boss down (big surprise, I know). I’m a bit mixed on this fight. On the one hand, it’s the first non-laughable fight in Trial. It pushes each and every raid member, and sometimes in ways I think are good. We’ve got a very, very PvE oriented raid, and the disassociation from personal awareness hurts us a fair bit. It’s not going to solve all of the problems we have with lackluster mental performance, but it seemed a good kick in the pants for things like “No really DPS, don’t be dumb, the healers can’t save you”, “No really healers, you have to do more than spam 2 and whackamole”, and “No really tanks, you uh….uh…you know what, fuck it, go Ret.” I’m cautiously optimistic it will improve our overall performance as a raid.
Ooooon the other hand, it’s an obnoxious “PvP” fight in PvE. Not that I don’t love my PvP, but there’s a time and a place for that, and more importantly, a type of people I do that with. TRI is, for the most part, not those people. Trying to coax a group of people containing members that have never ever set foot in so much as a battleground to accomplish even a semblance of PvP is an exercise in frustration. I can see this turning in to a fuckfest week after week as we bash our heads against an encounter that demands a skill set a large portion of our raid not only does not possess, but has no desire to possess. Of course, we could just bring more DKs and resto Druids and cheese the encounter. Fair and balanced.
In an attempt to end on a less negative note: I guess we’ll see. The actual kill we had on the encounter was fairly clean, so it may just have been something that needed to be learned and won’t be a problem again.
10 mans Monday (yes, something that’s actually almost current!) were pretty awesome. New Trial of the Crusader boss down, ho hum, but also one step closer to the Armor Penetration cap! Ulduar was pretty rockin‘. XT was a dick again and dropped nothing anyone wanted, but we got Thorim and Freya hard modes down in three and two tries (that’s learn and kill), respectively. Very exciting stuff, can’t wait to do more. Oh, and of course one of our tanks DC’d for the entirely of the Razorscale fight, so I got to be a fury warrior tank. I’m still not sure how that works.
A brief reprieve from WoW discussion to mention…movies! District 9 came out last week, and while anyone that wanted to see it probably already has, I feel the need to talk about it anyway. First off, very enjoyable movie. I’m always a fan of well thought out stories, especially in the pitfall-ridden land of Alternate Earth. Apparently so is the rest of Seattle, as the “empty” theater left us in the second row, breaking our chairs and necks in an attempt to get a halfway decent view of the screen. I was a bit annoyed at the video documentary style at the start of the movie (more because I’m just sick of everyone using that than any real dislike of the style. But seriously, at some point even crazy people would put the camera down), but thankfully that was dropped fairly quickly and I could start to enjoy aliens and…well..alien guns. Which were also awesome by the way. I was so, so happy that all the alien technology in the movie did a minimum of shitting all over the laws of physics/genetics/common sense. I’m looking forward to seeing it again in a less pain-inducing setting; this is definitely one for the collection. Oh, and I finished World War Z, which is basically like District 9, only with zombies. Also obviously less concern about alien rights and more concern with killing the fuck outta some zombies. Good times.
…so of course we did Sarth+3 Russian Style. For any of you not aware, “Russian Style” (so named for a bunch of crazy Russians who were the first to do it) involves bringing horribly over-geared groups to Sarth10 and killing him before the adds become a problem. It was fantastically fun and hilarious, and after two wipes figuring out the logistics of how to kill Sartharion so hard he coughs up a dragon we got him down. Titles all around, and a new mount for yours truly which I clearly deserve since I pressed the Invite button. It also may or may not have been the first time one of our full time raiders had done Sarth10. Needless to say, we plan on returning many more times until we all are riding mini-Onyxias.