Posts Tagged “Cataclysm”

Holy crap, what a week its been. First off, plenty of kudos to the entire Blizzard team for what was a mostly problem free launch. I started playing early afternoon on the launch date and didn’t experience a single problem logging on to the game and playing. Most of the people I spoke to had the same experience. I don’t remember the Wrath of the Lich King launch going anywhere near as well. I’d also like to thank the good folks at Amazon for getting my collector’s edition to me first thing Tuesday morning.

My actual gaming experience has been nothing short of excellent. It took me less than a week to get from 80 – 85 and it didn’t feel the least bit like a grind. Aside from my many encounters with Horde gankers, which is to be expected playing on a pvp server, I don’t have a single negative thing to say about any of the zones I quested in or any of the dungeons I took part in. Mount Hyjal, Deepholm, and Twilight Highlands are all visually stunning. My personal favorite of the three was Hyjal. I’m a huge Nightelf fanboy and I thoroughly enjoyed geeking out at all the Nightelf lore getting tossed at you from all angles in the zone. I also really enjoyed all the cut scenes Blizzard added in each of the zones. I felt it gave you a chance to just sit back and appreciate the fruits of all your labors. I’m not going to spoil anything for all of you haven’t hit 85 yet, but the cut scene towards the end of the Twilight Highlands was pure freaking win. I’d put it right up there with the Wrathgate scene in terms of pure awesomeness.

The only bad things I have to say about the first week would hold true at the start of any expansion and for any game. Auction house prices are absolutely ridiculous, making leveling crafting professions damned expensive. This does mean however, that there are plenty of opportunities for gathers to make an absolute killing. I managed to turn a couple of hours farming Obsidium Ore during the week on my Death Knight into almost 6000 gold in profits. Had I spent more time farming and playing the auction house I very easily could have made double or triple that. Ganking was also absolutely crazy and continues to be so. If you play on a PvP server be prepared to either suck it up or take matters into your own hands. I preferred the second of the two options. My advice is to team up with a couple of guildies or put the word out in general chat that you’re looking to clear out the zone of unwanted members of the opposing faction. You’d surprised how effective you can be with just two or three of you working together to kill other players. Not only is it great fun if you’re into PvPing, but you’ll also get plenty of praise from members of your own faction for making their lives easier if just for the next hour or so.

So there’s my quick and dirty run down of the first week of Cataclysm. I hope y’all have been having just as much fun as I have. I can’t wait to try my hand at a few heroics here in the coming week and getting prepared for raiding.

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Man has it been a while. Sorry for not having posted in a while but work has been kicking my ass something fierce. We’re just over 2 weeks until Cataclysm hits and I don’t know about y’all but I’m very much looking forward to it. Doesn’t look like I’m going to meet my ultimate goal for Wrath, which was to down the Lich King, but I’ve very much enjoyed this expansion. A while ago I made a couple of post about leveling and instancing in WotLK but I never got around to talking about my favorite part of this expansion, raiding. I have a lot to say about the raids in Wrath, some good and some not so good, so I’m going to split this conversation up into a few parts to spare you all the giant wall of text. Today I’m going to talk about the first raiding tier.

I first started playing World of Warcraft midway through The Burning Crusade expansion. As a result, I was WAY behind on the progression scale once I finally hit max level. The guild I was in was never able to clear anything past Gruul’s Lair. We were able to get through the first three bosses in Zul’Aman before all the raids were nerfed into the ground. It wasn’t because of a lack of desire that we were never able to see higher end content, it was because of attrition to further progressed guilds. Try as we might, we could never quite sustain a full 25 man roster to progress past Gruul and into Serpentshrine Cavern. Two things stopped me from leaving my guild and trying to get a spot in a further progressed guild. First, I formed way too many friendships with people in my guild to just up and leave. Secondly, I played a Balance Druid and there was no way I was getting a raid spot as an oomkin. So I just stuck it out until Wrath.

The expansion put all guilds back on equal footing progression wise and also introduced 10 man raiding as a very viable option. Thanks to this, I was finally able to do some real progression raiding and loved it. Having never seen Naxxramas before, I was blown away by the raid. Each wing had a very unique feel to while still maintaining its overall fight against the scourge theme. I felt the difficulty, especially in 10 man was perfectly tuned for an entry level raid. Without trying for achievements, none of the bosses were overly difficult and each introduced mechanics that were needed to be understood by new raiders in order to be successful in future raids. I also found the instance to be very fun for the first few months of running through it. There were a few bosses that challenged your ability to coordinate your raiders and others where DPS could flex their muscles and fight for bragging rights. Many a fun time was had on Patchwerk where my fellow boomkins and I were constantly upstaging the mages and warlocks in the raid.

Obsidian Sanctum and Eye of Eternity where the other two raids that shipped with Wrath of the Lich King and both were drastically different from Naxx. Where Naxx was a 15 marathon of a raid, OS and Maly were one boss sprints. After having cleared Naxx and obtaining the key that unlocked the Eye of Eternity, it was very realistic for a group to clear both raid in one night. Obsidian Sanctum also introduced the concept of “hard modes” to raiding. By choosing whether or not to leave any drakes alive when engaging Sartharion, raiders could up the difficulty of the raid from delightfully easy (no drakes up) to “Oh dear gods why?!” (3 drakes up) to suit their tastes. I loved being able to dial up the difficulty of the raid and push myself harder as a raider, even if most of my guildmates at the time did not. Because of this, I found Obsidian Sanctum to be a very successful raid. Eye of Eternity on the other hand can go die in a fire. The idea behind the this instance was pretty cool. Take on the Aspect of Magic while riding on the back of a dragon? Who hasn’t wanted to kill something riding on a dragon? The execution of said idea missed its mark. The controls and abilities of the dragons felt clunky and they’re power didn’t scale with gear level of the rider. Once I completed the instance, I had very almost no reason to want to back in there.

Overall, I felt that Blizzard was largely successful with the first tier of raiding. It allowed novice raiders a good opportunity to get their feet wet in end game raiding while still providing ways for experienced raiders to challenge and push themselves. The encounter designers would take what they learned from these raids and craft what was one of the most widely loved raids in Ulduar.

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Like Sar, I have spent exactly zero seconds on the PTR so my Affliction spec comes with the same caveat.

Affliction Talent Tree

Doom and Gloom (2/2): Increases crit chance for one of our DoTs? Sure I’ll take it

Improved Life Tap (2/2): In a world where mana is not to be taken for granted, what’s not to like about getting more mana back from Life Tap?

Improved Corruption (3/3): Increased damage for our bread and butter DoT is very much a no brainer

Jinx (2/2): With Curse of Agony becoming Bane of Agony, it allows us to work a nice utility curse into our rotation. This talent allows us to cast to only once and affect all nearby mobs. Situational? Yes. Useful? I would say so.

Soul Siphon (2/2): More damage from our execute spell for each Affliction effect on the target makes me all warm and fuzzy

Siphon Life (2/2): Allows me to passively heal myself while I Life Tap my mana back. Pure win.

Cure of Exhaustion (0/1): Doubt this has any real use outside of PvP

Improved Fear (0/2): Once again, pretty much PvP only

Eradication (3/3): Anything to help reduce the cast times of Unstable Affliction and Shadow Bolt is ok by me

Improved Howl of Terror (0/2): More of a PvP talent in my opinion with little to offer in PvE

Soul Swap (1/1): I love the potential of this talent in PvP and the best thing about it is that it could be very useful in PvE as well. With more of a focus being put on CC, it’s possible we could be dpsing trash down one at a time and having the ability to instantly apply all our DoTs will be a huge DPS boost.

Shadow Embrace (3/3): Straight up damage increase to all of our DoT’s. Nothing fancy here just a nice meat and potatoes type talent.

Death’s Embrace (3/3): Does this mean we now channel Drain Life until 25% and spam Shadow Blots after wards? Way to turn my world upside down Blizz.

Nightfall (2/2): Instant cast Shadow Bolts are yummy.

Soulburn: Seed of Corruption (1/1): Seems like a pretty fun talent. Usefulness may be a bit limited but could be pretty strong in BG’s or while AoEing

Everlasting Affliction (3/3): Increased crit chance for 3 of our top abilities and free refreshes of Corruption.

Pandemic (2/2): Nothing wrong with lowering the Global Cooldown of our instant cast abilities and the refresh to Unstable Affliction is nice

Haunt (1/1): Always been a big fan of Haunt and don’t see anything to change my mind about it in Cataclysm.

A hint of Destruction

The thought of dipping into demonology never once crossed my mind.

Bane (3/3): Faster Shadow Bolt casts are lovely

Shadow and Flame (1/3): Nice little bump to the damage of Shadow Bolt and a chance for a debuff to be applied to the target.

Looking over the talent tree for the first time raised a few questions for me. Is Drain Life now the filler spell for Affliction? Should I now only use Shadow Bolt when the mob is below 25%? How difficult will it be to adjust to this?

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I have to preface this with the obvious warning – I haven’t played in the beta.  I haven’t played in the PTR.  Hell, I haven’t played in live in forever and a day.  This series is compiled purely on my intuition, and a smidgen of research.  As I have a minimal depth of knowledge of the other trees, my choices in talents there could be very questionable.  There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of information floating around on the interwebs about Warlocks in Cataclysm (perhaps because there is a lot of discontent with the state of the class currently, but I am not really qualified to comment on that, being that I haven’t been playing and all!)

So.  With the arrival of Patch 4.0 staring us in the face, I am sure we are all asking ourselves ‘What the fricking hell am I going to do when my talents reset?’  Which, of course, is a damned good question.

Cataclysm and 4.0 bring us the most drastic overhaul to talent trees I have ever seen.  With a mass culling of talents, the introduction of ‘masteries’, and a different way to approach talents, the game is looking very different.  But, of course, you knew all this already.  So let’s get down into the nitty gritty.

Talent trees info

Affliction: Shadow Mastery grants you a lovely 25% increase to Shadow damage.  Certainly nothing to scoff at. At 80, you are able to train into your Mastery: Potent Afflictions (no link available, alas), which also increases all periodic shadow damage by 13.04% at level 80, increasing by 1.63% with each point you gain in Mastery.

Demonology: Demonic Knowledge grants you a 15% increase to Fire and Shadow spell damage.  Your Mastery: Master Demonologist, Increases damage done by your demons and by yourself in demon form by 12% at level 80.  This increases by 1.5% per point.

Destruction: Cataclysm (see, Destro is so damned awesome that the name of the expansion is in our talent tree!) increases fire damage by a shiny 25%.  Our Mastery: Firey Apocalypse, increases all fire damage by 10% at level 80, increasing by 1.25% per point.

While the above are interesting to consider, they don’t actually help you much in the way of choosing a tree to follow.  I can’t make a substantive judgement at this point to say which tree is shaping up to be the best damage in Cataclysm, and (unless I am blind, which is very likely), there is little around on EJ or other sites to suggest which is most viable at the moment.  I would say to go with the playstyle you are most comfortable and happy with for the remainder of Wrath, operating on the (perhaps foolish) assumption that each of the specs will be more than viable for end game raiding at this point.  Preliminary speculation suggests that Affliction is the strongest tree, with Destruction being a close second (Affliction edges us out with their Execute) and Demonology being third (which I personally find to be rather disappointing).

A breakdown of the talent trees and glyph choices will be published over the next few days.  As each post is published, I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post for future reference.  I more than welcome any criticisms or queries on any of the following – I know that my research is bound to be flawed, and I’d love to be able to fix errors!

4.0 Destruction Derby: Guide to speccing for Destruction ‘Locks

All About Affliction: Guide to speccing for Affliction ‘Locks

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It’s been a while guys.  I’ve been stupid amounts of busy, my desktop is still mildly borked (totally repairable, just a matter of time, a commodity I have none of nowadays!), and I’ve been pursuing other, um, interests, as those of you who follow me on Twitter may or may not know.

As we all know, it’s getting closer and closer to expansion time.  Almost time to make decisions about which toons to keep, which to put on the backburner, and which to forget forever.  Now, I’m not going to tell you that you should most definitely play a Warlock in Cataclysm (even if I think they are really damned awesome and most anyone should enjoy them).  I am going to tell you that you should play the character that you know is you.  The one that, deep down inside your bones, you identify with and love.

I love playing my Druid and Hunter.  I really enjoy them.  They are great fun, they let me change it up a bit, and I get to experiment.  But they aren’t my Warlock.  She fits me like another skin.  Or maybe I fit her.  I can not touch her for months, but when I load her up and get rolling, it’s like rediscovering an old friend.

Your main should feel like an extension of yourself.  I might be (OK, I am most likely) psychotic, but my Warlock just makes me grin, and smile, and immediately think nasty awful thoughts of killing bunnies and roasting babies.  There is nothing wrong with any of that, by the way.  I can play her with my eyes closed most of the time, and if I really feel up to the effort, I can turn her into an almost unstoppable killing machine.  My alts?  Yeah, they’re fun… but they aren’t me.  They are like some sick twisted experiment that someone stitched on to me, and they just don’t ever feel quite natural.  Playing my Hunter is like wearing someone else’s pants: they might fit, they might look awesome, but damn it if they don’t give me a wedgie every so often.

So, when you choose who you stick with in WoW?  Choose the toon you love, choose the one who is as much a part of you as you are of them.  And if you don’t have a character like that?  Maybe it’s about time you found one!

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I don’t care when Cataclysm comes out.

I don’t care what happens in it.

I don’t care if it is all new and shiny and everything in between.

Why?

Because I am already sick to death of hearing about it.

Today, I unsubscribed to almost every single WoW blog I read.  You in the beta?  I don’t read you anymore.  You talking about stuff that’s in the beta, or the PTR, or anything else?  Sorry, on the hit list.  I’m sticking my head in the sand and waiting for this to all pass me by.

I realised I was having a bit of a weird reaction to the plethora of beta news that’s floating around when I had a rather snippy reaction to someone today.  “Have you seen the awesome lock changes?” they ask me.  “No, don’t know, don’t care!” I growled.  Wait, what?  Since when do I not care what is happening to Warlocks?  Since when do I not care whether things are good or lame or what have you? Well… since people started nattering on about it constantly.

There’s only ever been one real reason why I’ve been excited about Cataclysm coming out, and that was because I thought Wrath was a stinking pile of felhunter poop.  Anything to get away from the expansion that I have had so much difficulty enjoying.  I don’t care about what is actually happening in Cataclysm, so long as it’s more interesting than Wrath.  I don’t much care about class mechanics at this point, so long as they come out OK in the end.  Stuff gets changed, and changed, and changed again before it makes it to live, so I’m not going to bother my pretty little head about it now.  Sure, it may be exciting to some, but at this point… it’s kinda like having a friend narrate the whole plot of a movie to me without me being able to watch it.  And yeah, I know I could download the PTR and poke around, but I can’t be bothered.  Which is how WoW seems to be affecting a heck of a lot of people these days.  I should really make a new character and call it Bartleby, because that’s who I most resemble with my current attitude to WoW, Cataclysm, and blogging about it in general.

Yep, I’m suffering ‘Cataclysm: DILIGAF’ syndrome.  How about you?  Excited, or just plain over it already?

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So, the Hunters (as usual!) are all ‘raargh raargh raargh’ because Volley has been removed from the game.

“We’ll be at a disadvantage!” “No one will take us to raids!” “I can’t AoE while I’m questing!”

So, I have an idea.

Blizzard, give Volley back to the Hunters.  Please.  Please please please.  That lot is so damn loud and everything, and I just want some peace, damn it.

Take my Rain of Fire instead.

Yes.  I’m serious.  If Blizzard took away Rain of Fire, I’d do a little victory dance.  Naked.  In the middle of my lounge room.  That’s how excited I’d be.

Don’t you guys get bored using channelled spells?  Seriously?  I mean, yeah, they are handy for a few things.  You can cast it, then tab out.  You can cast it, then get a snack.  You can cast it and wax your legs at the same time.  You can cast it, then check out the guy washing his car over the back fence.

But oh my fricking ever loving monkey god is it boring to cast a channelled spell over and over.

I’ve had instance runs on my Hunter where I use Volley almost exclusively.  I’ve had the same on my Warlock.  Sure, my Warlock is slightly more awesome, simply because fire balls coming from the damned sky kicks the arse of arrows any day of the week.  But it’s the same old snorefest.  Press button.  Wait.  Press button.  Wait.  Press button.

I want to have to use a rotation.  I want trash where I might have to think (gasp!) a little.  I don’t want to watch my bloody cast bar crawling downwards, and I don’t want to play a game where the main advantage is I can wax and play at the same time.

Besides, you only have so much body hair, and then what do you do?

So, Blizzard: abolish all channelled AoE’s.  I’m putting this one down to Hunter bias: why are they allowed to have a fun playstyle experience while the rest of us get to suffer the crawling cast bar of doom?  Damn you Hunters.  Damn you!

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The most notable thing that I got out of Blizzards little Press Conference thing (that I have been slow in posting about, because my Mum was here and I was tied up with the following:

– Of course I didn’t go out and buy fruit in an attempt to make you think I eat it

– The house is ALWAYS this clean!

– Yes, I have been saving, I swear!)

Anyway, apart from the ‘lookie, we have canned most everything that we said was cool and awesome about Cataclysm!’ announcement, there was something big snuck in there.  Something scary.

“Look, you’ll be able to LEARN your glyphs”. 

Yay, no more carting around glyphs.  Because so many of us do that, right?

… but wait, what about us Scribes? 

I’m not sure how Inscription is going to be a profitable profession anymore.  Unless glyphs become MUCH more expensive to make, so we can charge out the wazoo for them, Scribes are going to be low on cash all the time.  For me, that’s not a huge deal.  I’m too lazy to exploit the glyph market anyway.  But for others, I can see this being a pain in the butt.

The other thing is this whole ‘Major, Medium, and Minor Glyph’ thing.

WHAT THE HELL?

What is the difference between a Medium Glyph and a Minor Glyph?

  • Major glyphs (much like they are now)
  • Medium glyphs (NEW “fun factor” and cosmetic glyphs)
  • Minor glyphs (much like they are now)

 

Am I just slow?  Am I missing something?  Minor glyphs are supposed to be the ‘fun’ ones, right?  They generally suck enough that they could only be considered as fun.  Unless, of course, all the minor glyphs that lack utility will shift to Medium Glyphs, and all the ones with sucky-ass utility will stay as Minors.  And really, shouldn’t those names be the other way around?

I am so confused!  I just want to scream… just like my cat does when I take her picture.

Suki Cat rawring.

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Sure, it’s a baby sheep.  Regardless, it makes me feel sufficiently evil enough to actually talk about Warlocks without feeling like an imposter.  Seriously, I’m waiting for the day where someone points at me and cries out “Look!  It’s a MAGE!”  Then I’ll have to scurry away and take up a new life in Booty Bay (the place in the sun for shady people).  Maybe I’d join the Bloodsail Buccaneers… or I could just wipe them all out, and sit back on the beach on a banana lounge drinking a Bloody Mary.  But then, that could get misconstrued as a public service.

See, thing is, I am through with being nice.  I’m through with being useful.  When did people get this idea that Warlocks were all about providing a public service?  About doing people favours?  About helping out, for goodness’ sake?  So, no more.  I quit.  I’m changing my summoning stone to spew out random angry comments, not to actually summon people.  I’m going to break it, and have them get lost in the nether.  Or wherever it is they go through on their way to get their lazy arses to me.  And then I’m going to laugh, and make pithy comments about how they should have dragged their own fat butt to the raid.

Or I’ll just stop collecting shards so I can’t summon them.  Either one works!

As for curses?  No more utility curses.  Gone.  Off my bars forever.  I don’t give two hoots about your damage: you bring your DPS, I’ll bring mine, and we’ll go about our merry way.  Of course, you need to make sure you give me buffs, because that’s your job, damn it.  What do you think I let them bring you along for?

When you get that inane bunny pet out in raid?  Yeah.  I’m going to let Dagpep kill it and eat it.  He’s been a good boy lately, and I am tired of restraining him.  I think he deserves a reward anyway, just in case he isn’t the cool kid anymore when Cataclysm rolls around.

Warlocks: We aren’t your best friend, and we don’t want to hold your hand.

 

 

 

 

P.S. Please please please please PLEASE make us more evil in Cataclysm Blizzard!  I’ll send you cookies and stuff!  Or, alternatively, if you don’t, I shall rain firey doom down upon your heads.

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and then there was light… or however it would happen if the Bible met My Fair Lady, in Azeroth.

OK, OK, so I am not the only one who has been asking about this for a long time.  However, since I am a total egomaniac, I am going to take all the credit anyway.  Yay me!

I am sure that you have all now heard that in Cataclysm, you will be forced to choose between 10 and 25 man raiding.  The long held perception of dumb-dumb 10 man raids will hopefully be done away with.  People won’t feel forced to run the same content twice a week to remain competitive.  10 mans should be more challenging because there will no longer be any over gearing.

I know many people who are afraid that this will be the end of 25man raiding.  The same old chestnut gets mentioned every time this is discussed.  “But why would you bother doing 25mans if 10mans gave the same loot?” 

Why?  Because you bloody well like 25mans, that’s why!

Believe it or not, some people prefer 25man raiding.  I used to play with someone who actually missed 40man raids.  Some people like that large size, that epic scale, the camaraderie you get with the people of your class and role that just doesn’t happen in 10mans (Arcis Warlock Chat, I miss you so much <3).  The level of inner competition and drive was amazing in 25mans, solely because you had so many more people who could potentially be kicking your arse at your job.

Others like 10mans.  The intimate feel, the huge sense of responsibility on your shoulders knowing that, if you mess up, that’s ten percent of your raid gone.  Raiding in a group that is small enough that everyone can actually have a chat on Vent (or even get a word in edgewise), and everyone can carry some of the responsibility of running the raid.

For most of Wrath, 10 man exclusive guilds have been punished for being just that.  The player base refuses to see them as anything other than casual, regardless of how seriously they play the game.  More attention is given to 25man downings than 10 (partly because the top guilds raid both levels of content, and so over gear the ten man equivalent).  The emphasis on bloody gearscore has also meant that 10man only guilds and players are, again, largely seen as casual or scrubbish.  This annoys the hell out of me.

Not one type of raiding is better, or more important, than the other.  But by allowing people to do both, 10 man is always going to be pushed to the bottom of the pile, where 25man raiders run the 10 ‘just for badges’, making 10man raiders appear lazy or unmotivated.

I’m not sure how popular this change is going to be.  I remember once suggesting this on a TNB Round Table, and I think most of the people there at the time vehemently disagreed with me.  However, I think it will most definitely be for the better.

Now let’s just pray for some challenging raid content.  Heck, this change may see me go back to serious raiding!

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