Posts Tagged “WoW in general”

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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I’ve forgotten how long it was between levels when you hit 70. Between 50 – 70 it was very easy for me to gain 2 or 3 levels per day. Now in Northrend I find myself going 2 or 3 days between leveling. I forgot how much Blizzard nerfed the experience requirements for all the pre-Wrath levels. However, I’m not really minding it all too much because questing through Northrend is pretty damn fun. Today I’m going to take a look back at the leveling experience and see how it compared to BC and Vanilla.

I absolutely hated leveling in Burning Crusade. Hellfire Peninsula was a barren waste land that sapped the energy right out of me. It felt like an absolute chore leveling through that area and the first time through almost ruined the game for me. I never really felt engaged at all while leveling and the constant abuse I got from max level Horde players did not help in the least. Hellfire being the only place for level 60 characters to quest made it a gankers paradise until the introduction of the Isle of Quel’Danas. Another chief complaint I heard from players who were around at the start of the expansion was that the huge volume of players each vying for the same quest mobs or quest items made leveling a cut throat experience. It was dog eat dog on the road to level 70.

The quest designers at Blizzard learned their lesson and Wrath of the Lich King brought with it to two unique starting zones. By not having the entire player base funneled into one starting area, the competition for quest mobs was drastically reduced which resulted in a much calmer leveling experience. The other benefit of having two starter zones was that if one of the zones was currently populated with griefers, you could make your way over to the other zone and continue with your leveling. Score a win here for Wrath.

My other chief complaint about leveling in BC is that I never really felt involved in the storyline. Aside from a handful of quests, it didn’t really seem as if I was taking the fight to the Burning Legion or to Illidan. It wasn’t until Shadowmoon Valley and the Akama quests that I even remember seeing anything about Illidan and by that point I was already close to level 70. Unlike in BC, the quest chains in Wrath got you involved with the main story lines right from the get go. In the Borean Tundra, one of the two starter zones, you get involved in a quest line that leads you face to face with the Lich King. By the end of the Thassarian quest chain in Borean, I was completely hooked. And it only got better from there. the pinnacle of questing in Wrath may have been the chain of events leading up to what unfolded at the Wrathgate. That was the first time I could honestly say I was blown away by an event in game. Personally, I was never bored while questing in Northrend nor did I ever find it to be a chore. Each new zone promised a new and exciting story arc with quest chains that helped build upon them. From the Worgen in Grizzly Hills to Freya in Sholazar Basin, there was always something new to explore.

For me, Wrath hit a home run in the leveling department. Some folks complained that they saw Arthas way too much and were kind of burnt out on him by the end of the expansion. I whole heatedly disagree. His presence and subsequent defeats made it feel as if I really were an important cog in the fight against the Scourge. And it was certainly a vast improvement over the invisible Illidan. The best part of leveling in Wrath however, was that it continued to improve the more we progressed into the expansion. Later patches would add Heirloom items that could be passed onto lower level characters to improve the early leveling experience and they would also introduce the Dungeon Finder tool, making it much simpler to find a group for an instance run. Overall, I was extremely happy with the changes Blizzard made to the leveling game in Wrath and I’m looking forward to what changes they have in store for us come Cataclysm.

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So, I am sure that you have read all the changes to each of the classes already (I am a bit behind here, seeing as I got out of bed about 2 hours ago!). However, I think it is only fair that I subject you to MY view of all the fun and exciting things that Blizzard have done for us!

Warlock

First and foremost, there is no plan to make any changes to shard farming as we know it. Do I have an issue with this? Heck no! I have never had an issue with farming soul shards, based on the following principles: A) Free reagents people! How can we complain about something which is ‘free’? B) As a raiding warlock, it is really not difficult to ensure that you have a sufficient amount of shards. I always try to enter a raid with 30-40 shards (I like to be prepared! I also know warlocks who go in with over 50) based on the principle that each death will cost me up to 3 shards. However, if I do run low, it’s pretty simple to farm more on trash as we go. I also know that there is NOTHING worse than that sinking feeling when you pull aggro, mash Soulshatter… and realise you have no shards. Jinkies!

However, this is not to say that I would not like to see changes to the soul shard system. First and foremost in my opinion is providing soul shard bags with an enhancement. Shard bags not helping the class in any other way is patently unfair. We are essentially forced to sacrifice a bag slot, just as hunters are. However, we do not reap any benefit from this apart from a slightly larger shard bag. Bring our bags in line with quivers!

The two announced class changes are very interesting indeed. The first of these is an ability called Demonic Circle, where we can scribe a circle in the ground and teleport back to it later. While it does sound interesting, I would really like to know more about it before I judge its viability in a PvE situation. How long does the circle last? Does it have ‘charges’, or can we only return to it once? I will admit I didn’t even consider the PvP applications initially (I just don’t think that way), but Daniel Whitcomb has that well and truly covered I believe over at WI. The only initial PvE use that I could think of was for bosses like Shade of Aran, if you were too slow/lazy to run to the outside. I suppose it could also be useful on fights like Prince, allowing you to place a circle in a common ‘safe spot’ and then zip over to it when necessary.

Demon Form is the other announced change. A Demonic Form will be the 51 point Demonology talent (makes sense, hey?), and the big news is that they will have an AoE shadowbolt ability. I am still a little dubious about this myself, and once again I really do want to know more before I make an adequate assessment. Initial impressions have me seeing this as a PvP talent, but this could change as more abilities are discussed. One major question is ‘Is it banishable?’

Druid

The changes to Druids are covered in much better depth than what I could ever aspire to across the Druid blogosphere. So, I will just say the one thing I am excited about:

Dire Cat! Huzzah!…(oh… and the Dire forms will look a little different). Dire Cat might add some viability to kitty DPS in raids (well, maybe it IS viable, and I just suck at it. Although, I was impressed with Hermia’s DPS output yesterday when she was catting it up – 480DPS! I think it’s nothing to sneeze at based on her gear!)

Other Classes

Some of the changes to other classes also are great buffs to every class (especially Shaman changes!). The two most notable ones are Shaman Totems providing a raid wide buff (as opposed to being party based), and Windfury no longer being a weapon buff (advantaging Druids and Rogues notably). Huzzah!

Best change overall: Best in show goes to the Hunters. Yay for Pet Talents!

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The other day, Kalf and I were discussing mounts. Namely, the fact that my dreadsteed kicks his chocobo’s feathery behind. Want to know why?

  • His chocobo reminds me oddly of Plucka Duck (especially in the part of that video where he is running with the Cricket Team)
  • If it doesn’t look like Plucka, it certainly looks like a genetically mutated chicken
  • My dreadsteed has hooves of firey fury
  • His mane is also firey fury
  • Only warlocks can have the ‘real’ dreadsteed!

I suppose for me the last point is the kicker. I love my dreadsteed because not everyone can get one. They add that special flavour to the warlock class, emphasising the fact that I may look cute, but am evil as can be! However, if I could choose any other mount in the game to ride, it would have to be the mechanostrider. Darn being human and being too tall. I say this is discrimination! I want a mechanostrider!

However, I am running a poll to see which mount is REALLY the best. Limited to racial/class mounts (simply because I am too lazy to include every single other mount there is available in the game). Choose your favourite! Go Dreadsteed!

Edit: I can’t seem to get polls showing up. As soon as I fix this, you can vote!

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