Archives For Opinion

So here we are, about 3 months after Pandaria launched.  I had extremely high hopes for the expansion, and I still largely think it’s a success.  The world is one of the most immersive we’ve seen thus far, and the stories are incredible.  For that, this is arguably my favorite expansion. (Burning Crusade still ranks pretty high up there for very different reasons.)

Though I have a confession to make: I have a very difficult time logging in to do anything.  This is partially due to to real life getting in the way, but that’s really due to my hectic schedule during the week — not taking into account the free time I have on the weekends.  For that, there’s really nothing stopping me from logging in.

Yet I still don’t log in for much other than raiding, re-posting my auctions, and doing the occasional pet battle.

In the first month or so of the expansion, I was religious with doing my dailies every day.  I sincerely wanted to grind through all the rep, and collect those charms of fortune for extra rolls on bosses, and was mostly successful, though as time wore on, and I reached Revered with Golden Lotus and it unlocked more dailies with the Shado Pan and the August Celestials, I found myself not caring anymore.  There’s just TOO much.

I keep telling myself I need to log in and do dailies for the charms, but I always find something else to do.

I know dailies are optional, and I’ve been taking full advantage of that — but I feel like I’m missing out on a bunch of stuff because of it.  I know I’m behind the curve on a lot of things because I just don’t have the time, or the energy to slog through all those quests every day.

With raiding, I like the encounters.  There’s really none that I can’t stand — they all have really interesting mechanics, and I find them fun.  What’s not fun is how many freaking buttons Hunters have right now.

Even the great GC has said that hunters have too many buttons.

We don’t think hunters need a massive revamp (beyond range and ammo changes they already have). They do have too many buttons.

There are a massive number of cooldowns that hunters need to manage, and limited viable macro situations to ease that.  I am so glad that Blizzard did decide to remove the Aspect toggling from Hunters, as it was clunky and created (yet another) button to manage.

From an experience perspective, the raids are fun, but I find that the complexity of the class, while fun for some, has become burdensome for others, and has caused me to not enjoy the raid encounters as much as I could.

So the long and short of this story is that while I largely enjoy Pandaria, I’m not super pleased with the way Hunters are designed this expansion (while not super different from Cata, they did add a lot more cooldowns with talents and core abilities), which is a big reason why I haven’t been updating terribly often.

I want to love the game, and my hunter again, and will continue to post sporadically, but will likely be in more of an editorial fashion for the time being.

 

theramore craterI’m about half way through Tides of War, when I ran through the Theramore scenario on Monday evening.  It’s very clear that on the Alliance side, you might not have any idea what’s going on unless you’ve read the book — but I guess that’s part of the point.  The Alliance are, for the most part, blindsided by the Horde’s attack on Theramore.

Now, for the Scenario itself, I thought as far as something to do, it’s pretty fun.  It’s not overly difficult, and it requires 3 people, and has some neat rewards.  For an expansion launch event, I thought it was terrible.

Let’s think back to the previous launch events…

  • The opening of the Dark Portal.
  • The zombie and plague outbreak.
  • Deathwing flying around and killing people.

dark-portalzombie_invasiondw-flyover

Now, we may have been spoiled in the past, what with a big bad for every new expansion, but this “event” seems quite lackluster.  We had these three amazing events pre expansion that involved everyone on some level.  There were changes to home cities, rifts that had to be closed (I still have my haunted memento!), and could take out even the most unsuspecting newbie. Having some intro quests to prepare for the event — on both sides, would have helped it make sense without having read the book.

I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone, but there’s quite the political ordeal happening within the Horde, and the Alliance is left scrambling trying to get every body possible to prevent Theramore from it’s ultimate demise.  I bet you had no idea Kalecgos was involved! (read the book, I won’t ruin this)

These details really make all the difference in the world in preparing the story to move into the next expansion.

I can only hope that the destruction of Theramore is just preparing us for going up against Garrosh in MoP, and that the lead-in quests to Pandaria make a hell of a lot more sense.

Blizzard, having played the beta, I forgive you for this launch “event.”  I know Pandas are worth it, but this could have been SO much better.

Cataclysm Retrospective

Morynne —  August 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

The Cataclysm happened on December 7th, 2010.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been working toward killing Deathwing for nearly 2 years.  Some have killed him on Heroic mode, more have killed him on normal, and I’m not sure that I know a level 85 that hasn’t killed him in Looking for Raid.

That guy had it coming, though he did bring us some good stories, and changed the way we view Azeroth forever. Continue Reading…

Now that I’m back from my time off, over a massive cold, and have a few more raids under my belt I feel like I can talk about what’s going on with Hunter DPS.

We had a great run in Firelands.

Hunters seemed to be made for that tier of content.  The encounters were largely hunter friendly with very few stack up mechanics, and there were many range friendly fights.  Hunters were topping meters, and leading the pack on DPS until some legendary weapons were completed.  As legendaries were completed, you started to see Hunters fall down the DPS meters a bit, but not out of competition.

Punching Deathwing in the Face

The state of Hunter DPS in Dragon Soul is pretty unique.  Melee classes were buffed pretty significantly through AP, and casters have their legendary — making Hunters one of the only classes that didn’t see any real boost to DPS from Firelands to Dragon Soul.  This caused Hunters to fall further and further down the meters, not to say that we’re not seeing impressive performance from Hunter players — there are some exceptional players out there.  I know that my DPS has gone from in Firelands, top 7-8 DPS after legendaries were created, to scraping the bottom above the tanks in Dragon Soul in our 25-man raids.  Did I change anything? The only thing that’s changed is gear.

Now, let’s be clear here.  This is not a cry for a buff to Hunter DPS.  Blizzard is up against a very difficult challenge for balancing lots of classes with legendary weapons in range, and melee not only getting the AP boost, but also Rogues getting their legendary.  Blizzard needs to be able to balance Hunter DPS with the DPS of those range that do not have a legendary weapon.  Does that require a huge boost to Hunters? Probably not.

Blizzard did just announce in the 4.3.2 patch notes that a small buff is coming.

  • Aspect of the Hawk now grants roughly 35% more attack power.
  • Deterrence now also reduces damage taken by 30% while active.
  • Black Arrow now ticks every 2 seconds for 20 seconds, as opposed to every 3 seconds for 15 seconds. The total damage dealt by the ability is unchanged.
  • Lock and Load no longer benefits Arcane Shot, nor is it consumed by Arcane Shot.

Do I think this is going to be enough to help us out?

I think so. The ~700 AP buff that Hawk is getting will increase our DPS enough to mimic the melee buff that was granted.  Black Arrow lasting longer will give us an extra 5 seconds to proc, which should increase our Lock n’ Load procs, and with Lock n’ Load not being consumed by Arcane Shot, we’ll be sure to get the maximum bonus available.

Now this is all speculation on my part, but I do think Hunters will regularly appear higher on the damage meters than they had been, and I have a feeling that it’s going to continue to be Survival on top of the three specs for Tier 13 raid content, not to say that Marksman and Beastmastery will be far behind, if at all.

What do you think of how Hunters have fared this tier of raid content?

I was doing some thinking over the weekend, and I realized that I have no reason to run the new 5-mans beyond getting the achievements.  I don’t need the Valor points after my normal raid week, nor do I need the gear.

I’m wondering if Blizzard intentionally made their new 5-mans in 4.3 something that raiders can skip?

Here’s the deal, if you do LFR and clear all the bosses, you get 500 Valor points.  Each normal raid boss you complete gives you 100 VP.  If you’re doing the first 4 bosses in Dragon Soul and Alizabal, you’re getting maxed out before you even get to Ultraxion.

I like that Valor is normalized between 10 and 25 man raids now, and I like that if you’re in game, and doing something, you’ll get maxed out valor points. What I don’t like though is the fact that Blizzard has created these 3 amazing heroic dungeons with some great stories in them, but hasn’t given a reason to run them, assuming people are running LFR and being moderately successful in normal mode raids.

What do you think?

4.3 Too Easy?

Morynne —  December 1, 2011 — 16 Comments

Last night was my off night from raiding with my guild, so I took it upon myself to give Raid Finder a try.  I quickly was placed in a raid, which was fantastic, but I have a feeling the queue times will increase over time as more people no longer need Raid Finder gear.

The group I was in seemed pretty solid from a mechanics perspective.  We 1-shot Morchok, 2-shot Warlord, 3-shot Globule guy, and 2-shot Hagara.  Having already completed those bosses from the previous evening, I knew the strategies, so I was expecting it to be easier just from a familiarity perspective.  I was pretty shocked at how easy the Raid Finder bosses have been turned down in difficulty.

In my opinion, too much.

Regular 25-man bosses were easy for my guild, in fact, probably far easier than the first time we stepped into Firelands.  I walked into Raid Finder with 24 perfect strangers with no past understanding of how well they performed.  These people were standing in bad, dying to easy stuff, and sometimes even DPSing the wrong targets.

We still downed those bosses.

To put things even more in perspective, I did all the encounters in Raid Finder as Beastmastery.  I had no real practice with the spec anymore (the last time I played BM was during the 1-button macro BM during Burning Crusade). I was constantly in the top 3-4 DPS.  I’m not sure if that accurately comments on how good BM has become (but it really is good), or even how skilled I am at adapting to a new spec (I’m not, really — I practice a lot), but that’s also telling me that the group I was with likely didn’t have a lot of Firelands gear, or were very novice raiders.

Basically what I’m getting at is if that group could do it, pretty much anyone can.

After I ran through raid finder, I random grouped my way through the 3 new heroics.  They’re also easy, but some have very different mechanics. I’ll cover those in my planned strategies for those (just have a lot to do over the next few days).  I think I maybe spent a total of 3 hours between the 3 heroics and the raid finder last night.

That’s a lot of content!

I know the goal is to make the content accessible to everyone, but is this just too easy? I’ll let you know if I have a different opinion once we’re into Heroic modes.

Chuck Norris, hunter?

Morynne —  November 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

I just want to say that I love Blizzard commercials.  I think they’re fun and bring some attention to a massive game many love to play.

Mr. T and the Night Elf Mohawk

Ozzy’s Undead Warlock

Chuck Norris’ melee hunter? What?

Now I’d like to first say that I realize it’s marketing, and should be taken with a grain of salt, but part of me wants to be offended.

Here’s why:

In Mists of Panderia, hunters are losing melee abilities.

Go ahead, go back and watch the video.  I’ll wait.


You see Chuck Norris, hunter, roundhouse kick things, and punch gnomes.

Funny, yes. Accurate, no.

I just don’t want a bunch of people to start the game thinking they’re going to play a hunter that kicks things, and end up with a Hunter that is worthless in melee range.  Just seems… wrong.  I don’t know, if I join the game just to play a hunter that kicks things, I’d be pretty disappointed with the commercial.

Here’s what I do like about the commerical:

Blizzard did a good job showing that a hunter’s pet is a constant companion and protector.  While they may have missed the range vs melee situation, they certainly did hit the nail on the head for the other defining characteristic of the class.

What did you think about the commercial?

PTR Random Dungeon Groups

Morynne —  October 27, 2011 — 1 Comment

Deathwing on Wyrmrest TempleWhy are they sooo bad?

Last night was my regular night off from raiding, and with the husband out of the house, I decided to jump onto the PTR and run a couple of random heroics that are going to be implemented with 4.3.

I can honestly say that both groups I ran with last night fell apart before we even made it to the first boss in both dungeons.

The first group we zoned into the Wyrmrest temple dungeon, which starts out pretty cool.  You’re helping Thrall go through a gauntlet — but in all honesty that is all I saw.  Three of the five people in the group dropped before the second pull was complete.  In fact, the tank left during the pull.

No sweat, I queued again, and joined a group in the Well of Eternity heroic, and dove right in.  We pulled up to the boss, and evidently I was in a group with no one who was a native English speaker.  Everyone was either Korean or German.  Now, I don’t have an issue with either, but when trying to talk through strategy on interrupts, it’s important to be able to communicate.  Needless to say, the group fell apart.

So I have 2 questions that need to be answered:

  1. Why is Blizzard allowing cross server grouping with language barriers?
  2. Why are PTR random groups notoriously bad?

I truthfully don’t have a great answer for either, but here’s where I see the logical answers.

Blizzard wants lots of testing to get accomplished on the PTR, and the way to reduce random queue times is to allow cross server testing.  The way to give them a bigger player base is to allow for cross language grouping.  Do I think this is the best idea? Probably not from a quality of test perspective, but probably for quantity? Sure.  Does this make for a frustrating experience? If you’re running solo and happen to get into a cross language group, absolutely.

On the PTR I think you’ve got a cross section of everyone who might play WoW, but I think you end up getting a cross section that is largely disorganized.  You don’t have the sense of union with your buddies as you copy your character over — because you come into the game guildless again, and it’s pretty difficult to time things with people you know on the PTR.  They may have transferred to a different PTR realm than you did.  I’m sure some groups overcome this by establishing guilds on the PTR as well, but for the average Joe, it likely doesn’t work that way.

Progression guilds usually will spend some time on the PTR as a group testing the new content — which is fantastic, and these groups typically will set up their own guilds as well.  They’re far less likely to run random dungeons and test the Raid Finder — they’ll probably spend time with the people they are comfortable with.

I’m sure there are plenty of good experiences out there, but I can’t say I’ve ever had one.

How can Blizzard help with this?

First of all, I’d like to see Blizzard go back to only allowing random dungeons to be done within their region on the PTR.  Sure, it might slow down queue times, but from an experience perspective for the average Joe, it would probably help.

To combat the “1-man island” syndrome of transferring to the PTR, and with the creation of the guild services on live accounts, why not allow GMs to flag characters in their guild to transfer over to the PTR?  It might help with the organization of events, and who wouldn’t love to have their Mass Ressurect available for PTR testing?

Do you have any ideas or experiences to share about the PTR and random dungeons?

WoW Annual PassAt Blizzcon 2011, Blizzard announced they’d offer a WoW Annual Pass — meaning you commit to subscribing to WoW for 1 full year.

Why do that? Well, there’s some incentives:

  • Diablo III FREE – Download the digital version via Battle.net for free when the game launches early next year. This is the full game, not a trial edition.
  • Tyrael’s Charger WoW Flying Mount – Ride for the Archangel of Justice on all current and future characters on a single World of Warcraft account. Tyrael’s Charger will arrive via in-game mail with the upcoming launch of patch 4.3.
  • Access to the Next WoW Expansion Beta Test – Get a guaranteed spot in the beta test for the next World of Warcraft expansion (at a time to be announced in the future).

I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty smart to me.

Blizzard is facing a change in the landscape of gaming in a few months.  Star Wars: The Old Republic is likely going to steal away a number of subscribers — and I’m sure the beta has stolen some as it is now.

The idea of a WoW Annual Pass means that Blizzard will continue to collect $15/month from every person that signs up for it for a full year, solidifying some of their player base.

By giving away Diablo III, it ensures it captures a decent amount of players who may not have bought the game to begin with, but planned on continuing to play WoW.

I was a bad girl last Friday and was playing the Blizzcon live stream at work.  Because of that, I can honestly say I’ve had no less than 5 people come up to me and ask me to convince them to keep playing WoW.  The one thing everyone seems to really like about the WoW Annual Pass is the free Diablo III.

Do I blame them? Absolutely not.

The allure of getting Diablo III free as soon as it comes out is more appealing than you’d think.  You’re already paying Blizzard $15 a month for WoW, and an additional $40-50 for Diablo III when it comes out hurts the pocket book quite a bit.  Just by committing to a game you already play, you’re getting another game free, and it can potentially pay for your WoW subscription going forward.  How about that? (Go, go real money AH)  If you’re a collector like me, you’ll still buy the collector’s edition and pick up your 4 free months of WoW that count toward your Annual Pass.

For the collectors out there, the mount is a nice boost — but it doesn’t give you anything tangible like getting a new game for free.

For a blogger like myself, and everyone else who is looking forward to the Mists of Pandaria, getting into the Beta? Super appealing.  That being said, I signed up for the WoW Annual Pass.  You’ll see Beta stuff from me as soon as I can get into it, that’s for sure.

So how about you? What part of the annual pass convinced you to do it? Did it deter you? Tell me why in the comments!

Guardian CubFirst of all I’d like to point out that in no way am I a WoW gold expert, nor am I an economist, but I’d like to throw in some thought to the change that Blizzard has done for the Guardian Cub pet.

For those of you that aren’t aware, the Guardian Cub is Blizzard’s first tradeable in game non-combat pet.  It does not lock to your Battle.net account, and is one-time use.  The pet will cost $10US when it comes out, and there is no limit to the number that any character can carry.

Doing some quick research, the $10 that the Guardian Cub costs will get you roughly 8k gold on most sites that sell gold from gold farmers.

Initially you should expect those pets to sell for significantly more until the market is flooded and drives down the cost.  Knowing that everyone has access to these pets, and industrious folks probably have the same idea, this will happen pretty quickly. (Just look at the Winterspring Cub market — people still buy those for 200g when they cost 50g in Winterspring with unlimited supply)

Part of me thinks Blizzard is genius for doing this, part of me is angry.

Guardian Cub 2The genius part is that they’re effectively bringing in a real money Auction House to WoW.  It’s 1-directional, and they’re basically making it legal to buy gold — there’s just less instant gratification because you still have to find a buyer. In a way I hope this cuts into the profits of the gold farmers out there — particularly those that earn the gold through unscrupulous means.

Do I think that will really happen? Probably not.  People are strange.  There will be people out there who would rather buy the gold than send Blizzard the same $10 to buy the pet, just furthering account hacking, and reinforcing the need to have an authenticator on your account. Always.

The part of me that is angry is mostly frustrated that they’re changing the model.  I liked the fact that I could spend $10 and get a new pet on all of my characters, no matter when they are created.  On this new model? If I want the winged guardian cub on all of my characters, I’d have to spend $10 for each character, or buy them off of someone who has spent that $10.  For me, that’d easily be $100 across different servers.  Why not just make the in game item Bind on Account after one character on that account learns it? Seems like a simple, happy medium to me.

In an economy where people are having a difficult time finding a job in some areas, Blizzard is asking for another $10.  Is it critical to gameplay? No. Do you have to have it? No.  Is it so cute I can’t stand it? Yes. Shut up.

I’ll test the market with the Guardian Cub when it comes out, see if I can’t make a ridiculous amount of gold for one. (FOR SCIENCE!)  Will I buy one myself from the Auction House? Absolutely not.  I don’t want to chance reinforcing people buying currency from gold farmers long term.

What’s your take on the Guardian Cub?