Monday, February 25, 2008

Patch 2.4: The Patchening

Ok, so I've kinda been neglecting this here interblag over the past week or two, and since I can only neglect one thing at a time without feeling bad I figure I should make a post (my wife will understand). So here's a random collection of thoughts about 2.4 in the order I have them. And probably some other thoughts too. No promises.

I'll make mention of the attunement lifting again for completeness' sake; It's a good thing for the game as a whole, and if you don't like it you're probably a satanist or masochist or something. Probably both.

The new gear: Well it seems like they're nailing down what exactly they want to do with the new Tier 6 pieces finally after the whole Stamina debacle, though I can't say as I approve of altering PVE content purely to placate some Arena jockey somewhere who's worried that he'll start losing if Holy Priests find a way to cast Greater Heal in an Arena match without spending the next 30 seconds regretting their lives. The Prot Paladin pieces specifically seem pretty good and I'll likely pick them up, although they're mostly (with the exception of the bracers) pretty much a straight sidegrade from the existing non-set pieces that dropped in BT.

The badge gear is pretty much a colossal letdown all around. Three pieces of "BT-Quality" gear which isn't even an upgrade over ZA drops doesn't exactly make me or any of my 3 level 70 alts excited. There's a handful of good pieces, but rarely for the same class. The rings are okay I guess; most seem pretty good for people who missed out on T5 rings (take note, Blizzard: your "BT-Quality" badge gear should make me want to replace my Morogrim Tidewalker drop). The Tankadin pieces range from pretty damn nice (the legs) to a complete waste of badges (the boots), and I'm still hoping they give them another coat of paint before release.

Sunwell is fun, if I could get 25 people in there I'd love to raid it. Turns out, when you don't get to keep the loot that drops, half your raiders suddenly have RL things to do! I've got a team of scientists working on finding a correlation; I can only begin to imagine what could cause this phenomenon. In related news, if you're just about anything that's not a tank and want to be BFFs, head to our forums and apply, we're recruiting all sorts of stuff.

The new 5-man is good, pretty difficult even in non-heroic, but it gives you epic lootz so it makes sense.

I'm looking for a new job (psst, hey gaming companies, you need me, I've got people skills and stuff), so that's exciting. I came across Eating Bees... I think it was through Vanifae's blog, and it renewed my vigor for finding a job in the online community management field, so I've been drumming up an updated resume. Good read, at any rate, made me chuckle a bit.

Guess that's all I've got for the moment. Not a lot going on right now. Hopefully things will pick up in the next couple weeks.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Attunements, Nerfs, and the Changing Face of 25-Man Raiding

With the removing of attunement for Black Temple and Hyjal coming in 2.4, there's been a lot of discussion. Most of the discussion has looked at it from the perspective of "Nerfing content so slower progressing guilds can get into it." That's not really an improper way of looking at it, but I'd like to present an alternate perspective.

Not a lot of people got to experience Naxxramas. It was a high-end instance that required many months of raiding (which most were unwilling or unable to put in) just to tackle the first couple bosses. If you didn't trudge through MC/BWL/AQ40, you probably didn't have much business being in Naxx. There wasn't much time for guilds to start, either; if your guild wasn't already raiding when Naxx was released, you probably wouldn't have people with the gear for Naxx by the time you got there.

TBC has made a lot of strides toward opening up endgame PVE content to more people. The first step was the reduction to 25 players instead of 40, which made gathering a group of people to go slay dragons a lot easier to pull off. Badges and Heroics were a great start as well; players without access to Karazhan (when Karazhan was a big deal) could still get themselves to an acceptable gear level via Heroics.

When Patch 2.3 released, a new gear trend emerged. Badge loot, as well as loot from a new 10man, was added that rivaled SSC/TK - and occasionally BT/Hyjal - drops in quality. This helped the guilds that hadn't already been making strides in BT and Hyjal to kinda "play catch up" and get through SSC/TK. The attunement made things kind of annoying, but it's easier to kill Kael with 25 people in full T5-quality gear than it is with only a handful.

Now, with Sunwell, they're taking a new step - one that I think has a lot of potential. According to Drysc in a post I can't find at the moment, there's a BT-quality badge vendor on Sunwell Isle somewhere. It has yet to appear on the PTR, which means if it does exist (and Drysc isn't just crazy), it's probably unlocked as part of the server event. This more or less means that once the hardcore raiding guilds have cleared the early content, it will become accessible to those farther behind in progression.

I honestly like this method, and if Blizzard can avoid the attunement problem (or lessen it) in the future, it will change endgame raiding from a linear progression to a more dynamic one. The best raiding guilds still get into the top-tier content first, but the average joe who wants to see the cool fights but has no chance of getting into one of those guilds is still able to catch up. Everyone gets to see the cool content.

Many hardcore raiders seem to take some sort of offense to this. "Why should these guys get in here for free when I had to put all this hard work?" I honestly think this results from a bad attitude toward raiding. I don't know about anyone else, but I raid because I enjoy the fights. I like going somewhere with 24 other people and coordinating to accomplish something. We're the best guild on the server because we kill everything first, and allowing other people to see the stuff we've already finished doesn't invalidate that.

Update 2/18:

Okay, so now they just kinda seem to be handing out gear to everyone just for showing up. Adding Badges of Justice to just about anything worth killing is an interesting move, and giving people S1/S2 gear for raid tokens is... kinda silly, especially since those pieces aren't particularly hard to get anyway. I discussed this a bit on Maintankadin:

Really, as more of this patch unfolds on the PTR, I'm starting to get the feeling it's designed to be the "Rush everyone through everything they haven't seen yet before WotLK hits" patch. They've taken a lot of flak over the past couple years about releasing Naxx so shortly before TBC, it seems like they might be trying to make everything accessible to everyone before then.

I'm not sure how I feel about that overall.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


So we've been playing around on the PTR a bit, done a few runs of the 5-man and took some stabs at Kalecgos the other night. Fun fight.

That's not important though.

What IS important is that I has BAREMOUNT.

Also Netherdrake but so does everyone.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008



- New Form: Onomatopoeia Form. Causes the Druid to appear as large, floating words that represent sounds (such as "BAM!" or "RAWR!")
- Lifebloom now stacks to 9001.
- Healing Touch has been removed from the game.
- Cyclone now dispels all beneficial magical effects from the target.

- The Beast Within has been removed from the game and its effects have been folded into Bestial Wrath.
- New 41-point talent: Animal Empathy. Hunters with this talent are able to have multiple active pets at once.
- Arcane Shot now also interrupts casting on the target for 4 seconds, stuns the target for 2 seconds, and sings a beautiful lullaby for 10 minutes.

- Fireball spell damage coefficient increased.
- Improved Blink now reduces cooldown by 1/2 seconds in addition to its current effects.
- Fireball spell damage coefficient reduced.
- Ice Lance now has a Chill effect.
- Fireball spell damage coefficient increased.
- A new spell rank of Conjure Water has been added, which restores up to 10,200 mana. Two bottles will be conjured per cast.
- Fireball spell damage coefficient increased.
- Fireball spell damage coefficient has been greatly reduced.
- Mage Armor has a new icon.

- Lightwell's graphical effect has been made larger and easier to see.
- Troll racial spell Shadowguard now also reduces threat caused by 5%.
- Vampiric Touch has been removed from the game.
- New 41-point talent: Warlock Form. 10 second cast. Deletes your character and makes a new character that is just a Warlock.

- Due to extensive changes this patch, all Paladins will have their talent points reset.
- It has come to our attention that some guilds have been using Paladins as tanks or even as DPS. This is unintended. As a result, we have removed many primary abilities that were being used toward these goals and replaced them with healing spells. Hopefully, this will allow Paladin players to return to the back of the raid where they prefer.

- Upon logging in, Rogues specced Mutilate will be laughed at.

- Shaman may now equip totems as Main Hand and/or Off Hand weapons. This allows them to carry the beneficial effects of the totems with them, but no weapons or shields can be equipped while doing so.
- Chain Heal can now "bounce" to enemy targets.
- Frost Shock is now effective against Spell-immune targets, Frost elementals, and Jesus.

- All Damage Over Time spells are now instant cast.
- Shadowbolt damage has been increased.
- Death Coil has been reduced to a 20-second cooldown.
- New Affliction Talent: Improved Death Coil. Reduces Death Coil cooldown by 10/20 seconds.
- New Affliction Talent: Improved Improved Death Coil. Increases duration of Death Coil by 5/10 seconds.
- New Affliction Talent: Improved Improved Death Coil. You know what? Screw it. All Warlock spells now cause a 30-second Horror effect. No diminishing returns.

- Mortal Strike has been removed from the game.
- New 31-point talent: Moral Strike. Strikes your target, causing weapon damage and a profound sense of guilt.
- New Ability: Lets Just Go Play Basketball Strike. Causes you and your target to just go play basketball.

I can't wait!!