Archives For Opinion

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?

Deathwing on Wyrmrest TempleIn the last 24 hours, there’s been a TON of information that has come out about the impending 4.3 patch — certainly helping hype up how Cataclysm is going to end.

It seems we’re going to be doing the 3 heroic dungeons in order to continue the story (ala Icecrown 5-man dungeons), the first being sent to the future via Caverns of Time, where we find Deathwing impaled on the Wyrmrest Temple.

I’m not going to go through and re-hash what the previews have done, but I will link them, and then put in my $0.02.

Just reading through the previews on these three heroics makes me very excited.  Because they’re being based in the Caverns of Time, you get to experience more of old-world Azeroth, and get more of the lore behind why Deathwing is the way he is.  The first heroic looks to be the first truly “outside” instance — it takes place in varying places in Dragonblight. (I wonder if we’ll be able to fly out there…)

Young Malfurion and IllidanThe second instance takes us way back into the past, and it looks like we’ll get more depth behind Illidan — really explaining why he got so wrapped up with the Burning Legion in Outland, and why he and his brother had their falling out. (Malfurion did eventually make peace, but Illidan wasn’t having any of it)

In the third dungeon, we’re back with Thrall and banding together with the different colored dragonflights, and escorting the objectives from the second instance back to present day Wyrmrest temple to start the assault on Deathwing.  It seems like this one is going to be a “fight off X waves of stuff and win” type of instance, and for those of you that raided in BC, sounds a lot like Hyjal.

This is all lead-up to the raid, allowing us to go after Deathwing himself, where encounters 7 and 8 are both Deathwing.

Raid Preview: Dragon Soul

It looks like the first 6 bosses will pay homage to some Old Gods (C’thun, Yogg-Saron, but N’Zoth looks like he’ll be the next Old God we start hearing about)

There’s going to be lots of faceless (tentacles!) since that seems to be who Deathwing has allied with.  Blizzard has said that the first Deathwing encounter will involve prying plates off of Deathwing in order to weaken him enough to take on a different form.  I really dig the idea of hanging on to the back of a dragon while he’s doing barrel rolls.  That encounter is going to prove no less than a challenge.  The last Deathwing encounter is supposed to have a lot of the plating removed, and he’s supposed to look more like Cthulu-wing with a tentacle face.  The last bit of the raid has been said to take place at the edge of the Maelstrom.

None of this has been directly hunter related, I know.  I’m a raider, and enjoy a bit of lore.  This is the first bit of it I’ve been truly excited about since Cataclysm launched — because it gives us more of a reason to dislike Deathwing.  He was never this ever-present big bad like Arthas was in Wrath, which was a bit of a let down.

I desperately want to hate Deathwing, but the wold changing wasn’t enough for me.  It gave us awesome new zones and quests like The Day Deathwing Came.  Maybe these new heroics and this raid will make me want to punch him in the face… again.

Crazy thought, but no, I’m not perfect.  Never claimed to be.

Everyone has those things they’re not so good at, or lazy about, but what’s important is how we overcome them.  As a Hunter, we have several things that we can be lazy about that many other classes would never think about.

  • Aspects
    • Most other classes never have to think about how their “aura” affects the rest of the raid. (Pallies, if you turn off Crusader, we’ll turn off Pack, ok?) Personally I’m so terrified that I’ll leave Aspect of the Pack on for a boss pull, that I tend to toggle aspects before I even sit down to eat.  Admittedly, I learned this trick back in Burning Crusade when I accidentally left Pack on and we pulled Teron Gorefiend. Never. Again.
  • Understanding those “specific use” shots.
    • Many will never understand why Wing Clip might be valuable or why Widow Venom might be useful in a raid scenario, but being familiar with all these little tools makes the difference between a good hunter and an awesome one. (Wing Clip is helpful in a short range fight where you might need to slow something getting to its target, and you’re not at range.  Widow Venom is helpful if you’re dealing with a boss fight where you might have adds healing the boss.)
  • Understanding the value of bringing the right pet based on group composition.
    • In Cataclysm, Hunters have truly been put in a position where they can fill in gaps in buffs, and make a big difference in the success of the whole of a raid if say… mages and shaman aren’t available.  We can provide a “Heroism” effect. No spell damage increase in the raid? Bring a dragonhawk or a windserpent.  If everything is covered by your group, bring what you like. (WHU has a great write-up for this in particular)
  • Breaking our own traps.
    • There, I said it.  I do it.  Just be careful.  Blizzard even made it easier not to break traps, so stop trying.
  • Not watching threat
    • I’ve been caught.  I’ve pulled threat right off the bat on a boss pull and died.  Recently? No, but it was a lesson that needed to be learned.  This, kids, is why we have Misdirection and Feign Death.  If you’re misdirecting at the beginning of the fight, and using feign death when Omen says you’re too high, you’ll never pull aggro.  Unless FD is resisted, which is an entirely different discussion and peeve.
What are some of your bad habits? What’d you do to get past them?

Over the weekend, I spent some time on the PTR — investigating the new dailies, and looking at some of the things implemented in the upcoming patch.  If you hadn’t heard, it’s expected to go live on 6/21 — coinciding with the end of the Arena Season, and the beginning of the Midsummer Fire Festival. (Coincidence? I think not.) All Patch Notes can be found here.

New Quests

When 4.2 rolls, you’ll see a new quest pop up on the Hero’s Call board, which will send you to the Sanctuary of Malorne in Hyjal.  It takes days to unlock everything, so be patient.  You’ll also find a couple new quests starting at Nordrassil in Hyjal, which shows you the Thrall (Go’el) story.  I can’t emphasize enough how well put together this quest line is.  It might not be fun to do, but the story behind it is fantastic, and of course, a happy ending.  This quest also will give you an epic cloak, which is worth picking up since it’s better than what’s available in the 4.1 content.

The new dailies start with a small set in the Sanctuary of Malorne — where you help the Guardians of Hyjal push back the invaders from the Firelands, and assist them in establishing a base to move on Ragnaros.  It should be noted that unless you’ve completed a significant chunk of the Hyjal quests, you will not be able to get to this area and proceed with the dailies.  (Wowhead says: In order to partake in the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quests, players must have at least completed up to and including the quest Aessina’s Miracle. Once this quest has been completed, players should speak with Matoclaw in the Sanctuary of Malorne to take part in the Regrowth efforts.)

General

Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: Hibernate, Entangling Roots, Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap, Polymorph, Repentance, Shackle Undead, Blind, Hex, Bind Elemental, Banish, Seduction.

Morynne Says:

I haven’t had any real-world experience with this change; however it sounds really solid.  It means when your trap breaks, whatever mob it is won’t immediately come try to eat your face.  Hopefully though this means that the tank, because they’re closest before the trap is broken, will immediately get solid aggro.

Hunter
  • The Aggressive pet stance has been removed and replaced with the Assist stance. This stance will cause the player’s pet to attack the player’s target. The pet will not change targets unless the master attacks a new target for a few seconds.
  • Multi-Shot damage has been reduced. It now deals 120% weapon damage at level 80 or higher, down from 137%.
  • Traps now scale with hunter stats such as hit, expertise, spell penetration and attack power as intended.
  • Talent Specializations
    • MarksmanshipCareful Aim now grants additional critical strike chance against targets over 90% health, up from 80% health.
    • SurvivalBlack Arrow damage done has been increased by roughly 40%.

Morynne Says:

I’m looking forward to the Assist stance.  It will become infinitely handy for fights like Omnitron Defense System — but it scares me at the same time.  The change to this stance will likely de-emphasize a hunter’s need to control their pet.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it being easy, but every hunter still needs to be accountable for what their pet is doing.

It looks as if Marksmanship is getting a nerf with the change to Careful Aim, which will typically impact Survival hunters as well.  It means there will be far less hard-casting of Aimed Shot.  The Multi-Shot change doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal for Survival’s AOE ability.  It’s only a minor reduction, and SV will likely continue to be the big AOE spec.  It’s good to see that Black Arrow has been buffed.  Hopefully this means it will end up proc’ing Lock n’ Load more frequently as well.  Sadly I haven’t spent enough time in a raid type environment  or with a target dummy on the PTR to know for sure.

Tier 11 Raid Changes

All of the Tier 11 Raid content on normal mode has been smacked squarely with a Nerf Bat.  I recommend checking the patch notes for full detail.

Fun
  • D.E.H.T.A. has recently placed a great number of critters under their protection, especially rabbits and squirrels. Because of this, Flintlocke’s Woodchucker has been re-fitted to use wild chickens until an “agreement” can be reached.
  • Players are once again free to dance in combat (without causing graphic errors). Other animations, such as attacks, will take precedence over dancing. The dance animation will be suppressed until the higher priority animation is complete. Fun has been unnerfed.

Morynne Says:

Well thank goodness for D.E.H.T.A.  Saving all of those rabbits and squirrels. Now we get to kill the saved rabbits and squirrels with the proc’d chickens. (? really Blizz ?)

And I’m also glad I can now get my dance on during movement light fights like Chimaeron.  I’ll show him my p-p-p-poker face. (Worgen females, you know)

New Pets

There are 10 challenge tames now available.  Petopia has a good write-up for them.

Morynne Says:

I’m pretty excited about these challenge tames.  Some are clearly going to be easier than others, but certainly worth the effort.  I’ll probably go after the yellow spider and the onyx cat first — they’re pretty slick, and from what I’m understanding — some of the easiest to tame.  I’d ideally like to snag Deth’tilac, but I won’t lose sleep over it.

Non-Combat Pets

If you’re a collector, this is a great patch for you.  There are several new pets, and new achievements to boot!

Morynne Says:

Dang you, Blizzard.  I just made it to 150, now I’m going to have to push to 175.  Last additions to my collection were Tiny Shale Spider and Enchanted Lantern.  Now if only I can luck out and get a Hyacynth Macaw.

Quality of Life
  • Characters can now be reorganized at the Character Selection screen. This feature not yet fully functional and the reorganization of characters doesn’t save at this time.
  • Raid Profiles are in the process of being implemented and are not fully functional. Raid Profiles will allow players to save the raid window user interface layout based on type of content (i.e. 10-player raids, 25-player raids, Battlegrounds, etc.).

Morynne Says:

After having gone through two faction changes, my main has managed to sit near the bottom of my character selection screen.  It’ll be nice to have it organized again.

In Closing

With the build on the PTR having been labeled as a “release” version, what you see here shouldn’t change much between now and when it will be put on the live servers.  I’m looking forward to getting out of the Tier 11 content — it’s been 7 months roughly since we’ve seen any new raid content!

With the 4.1 patch coming to WoW this week (most likely), Hunters are facing some pretty awesome changes.

Here are the patch notes.  I’m going to break it down in sections with my thoughts after each category.

  • Deterrence no longer requires a melee weapon to be equipped.
  • Explosive Trap now has a new spell effect.
  • Master’s Call now has a new spell effect.
  • Multi-Shot damage has been increased by 250%.
  • Tame Beast now tames pets to match the hunter’s level, rather than 3 levels below.

Morynne’s Thoughts:

Multi-shot damage increase is going to help the AOE viability of all specs for hunters, particularly for Marksman though — which will be helpful on fights like Cho’gall where AOE damage is required, but single target has to be high as well.  This will also make Survival better in the same encounter.

And as for not having to level pets anymore…. hurray!

Pets

  • The Feed Pet ability now instantly heals 50% of the pet’s health. Cannot be used in combat. Requires diet-appropriate food.
  • The Happiness/Pet Loyalty System has been removed. Hunters will no longer have to manage Happiness for their pets, and the previous damage bonus for pets being happy will now be baseline for all tamed pets.
  • Bloodthirsty no longer generates Happiness.
  • Carrion Feeder no longer restores Happiness.
  • Guard Dog no longer causes Growl to generate additional Happiness.
  • Summoned pets now start with 100 focus, up from 0.

Morynne’s Thoughts:

As much as I love carrying around extra food for my pets of all different types, and losing precious bag space to it, I’m glad to see this go.  I’m almost as ecstatic as I was when I heard ammo was going away.  Having your pet start with 100 focus will help greatly if you’re one of those hunters that periodically forgets to summon a pet. (Not that I do that or anything….)

Glyphs

  • Glyph of Mend Pet is now Glyph of Lesser Proportion, which decreases the size of the pet slightly.

Morynne’s Thoughts:

I haven’t played around on the PTR at all for this patch.  This might be a good one to have if you tend to run around with a pet your melee are always complaining about.

Hunter Bug Fixes

  • Hunters will no longer automatically acquire a new target if the current target dies in the middle of a cast.
  • Aimed Shot and Steady Shot should no longer start casting Auto Shot on a new target when the “Stop Auto Attack” option enabled.
  • Auto Shot now automatically turns off until reactivated once Freezing Trap is cast on an enemy player.
  • Deterrence: The area damage of the paladin ability Hammer of the Righteous will no longer hit hunters with Deterrence active.
  • Distracting Shot and Multi-Shot are now properly 40-yard range.
  • Intervene (Tenacity pet ability) range has been increased so that the pet will properly intercept attacks.
  • Multi-Shot now properly has a 1-second global cooldown.
  • Scatter Shot’s disorient effect should no longer sometimes be broken by the hunter’s Auto Shot.

Morynne’s Thoughts:

I’m so excited about the first bullet point on this section.  I can’t count how many times I’ve had to say “oops, sorry guys!” after an accidental pull.  They’ve also made it more difficult for a hunter to break their own trap, which is a plus because that’s another bad habit of mine.  At least it was prior to Trap Launcher.  I’m a little sad to see the Multi-Shot cooldown come up, but it will likely help regulate the consumption of Focus.  Before it was simply multi-shot spam until your Focus is gone, but now you may have a chance to throw in an auto-shot or two between Multi’s.

This patch is cleaning up some of the sucky things about being a hunter, and is helping balance out the AOE damage of all the specs — furthering the point that any spec can be involved in raiding.  I can’t complain about this patch at all.  Between the hunter changes, ZA and ZG coming back as heroics, new mounts and companion pets, and new achievements — it’s a good time to play in Cataclysm.

Call to… disaster?

Morynne —  April 7, 2011 — 8 Comments

The Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms will now identify which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

  • The least represented class icon will show within the Dungeon Finder to indicate the role that is eligible to earn the bonus reward.
  • Players must queue solo with the currently indicated least represented class (by the system) and complete the dungeon up to and including the final boss in order to be eligible for the bonus reward.
  • The bonus reward will be displayed to eligible (system identified as least represented) classes within the UI.
  • Once the dungeon is completed the eligible player will receive a goodie bag with various potential rewards including: gold, rare gems, non-combat pets, and (very rare) mounts.

4.1 is bringing this change, if you hadn’t heard, it’s a serious topic of discussion for the blogging community today.  I’m not going to re-hash what others have said, but maybe shed some new light.

First off, I want to applaud Blizzard for deciding to fix a ridiculous problem.  Kudos, really.  Do I think this solution will cause some problems? Sure, what change doesn’t?

I share many others sentiments that this will cause a rash of newbie tanks and healers — who are under geared, or not skilled at all.  Who doesn’t want free gold, pets, mounts, and gems?  I think it will cause people to end up with extra long dungeon deserter times, as well as longer lead times for those who are quick to kick people out.  But what about people that are the polar opposite?  What about people who notoriously don’t kick, and don’t leave the dungeon before it’s finished? Why aren’t those DPS being rewarded too?

I’m one of those people, most of the time.  I can honestly say I haven’t kicked someone out of a random dungeon more than I can count on one hand.  I’m a trooper, I stick it out.

With the influx of these new tanks and healers, more patience will be needed than ever.  Sure, it might cause dungeons to take longer.  But don’t you remember when you were just learning to tank or heal?  Wasn’t easy, right?  How long did it take you to learn to do it well?

So that being said, I agree with others’ sentiments that this change makes pure DPS classes feel like second class citizens — we don’t even have the option of getting these bonuses, but they’re just vanity items, really.  I’m not to the point of muppet panic yet, but I do think some extra consideration should be paid to those that stick it out.

Why not reward those who want to see the random dungeon runners get better at their roles?

What makes an encounter click?

Morynne —  January 27, 2011 — 1 Comment

This is a shared topic from Blog Azeroth.

We’ve all been there, we’ve all sat through wipe after wipe after wipe and seeming to make no progress.  How miserable.  Then, like a miracle, everything clicks — and the next thing you know, that boss you’ve been wiping on, is now dead.  Vent goes into cheers and the purples are distributed.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been through this.

In Wrath of the Lich King, I did all of the content on regular and on heroic modes, and for the most part we breezed through the normal encounters.  Then there was Sindragosa.  My guild wiped on her for what seemed like months.

When you come across an encounter like that, something your guild just can’t get past — there’s a lot of evaluation that has to be done — on all levels.

As a Guild Master or Raid Leader…

  • Check your raid composition.  Is there more melee on a range friendly fight? Do you have the optimal buffs?
  • Is everyone using flasks, food, potions to help increase their performance?
  • What’s your strategy? Do some reading — does someone out there have a different strategy that might work better for you?
  • Have you been wiping all night? Is your raid tired, and need a break?

As a Class Leader….

  • Is everyone in your class playing to their potential?
  • Is everyone running an optimal spec for what they’re trying to do?
  • Is everyone’s gear gemmed and enchanted the way it should be?
  • Are they using their profession bonuses in a way that will actually help?

As a Raider…

  • Do you know your role on this fight?
  • Are you prepared? Flask? Food? Potions? Elixirs? Band aids?
  • Have you been staying up with the most effective way to be playing your class?
  • Are you playing at your best? Is something going on in your life that might be distracting you?
  • Have you checked around for anything specific for the encounter with your class?
  • Have you asked for feedback or help?

I find it really difficult to put a finger on exactly what makes an encounter click.  Obviously practice makes perfect — especially if your raid members are doing everything they’re supposed to do.  Sometimes it’s just blind luck.  I’ve also watched raids wipe all night on an encounter where nothing crazy is standing out that’s wrong — have our best attempt early in the evening and had the remaining attempts for the night go downhill.  Then come back the following night and 1-shot the encounter.

To get an encounter to click, I think the following have to happen…

  • Your raid members have to want it, and show up prepared.
  • Your raid has to know the strategy.
  • Your raid has to know their individual roles and play to their potential.
  • Be mindful of how long you’ve been wiping on an encounter in a raid session.  Go do something simple as a break, or really take one!
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Just don’t give up — that boss will give up his purples eventually.

Ruby Sanctum Released!

Morynne —  June 30, 2010 — 3 Comments

I’m all for new content, and Ruby Sanctum is going to provide that.

How it was launched? Garbage.

For several battle groups, they experienced server downtime of 24 hours the same time that Ruby Sanctum was released for public consumption.  I have a big problem with this.

For progression raiders, timing is everything.  You live and die by how fast you can down an encounter.  Several battle groups weren’t able to do this yesterday — not and be competitive for the world-firsts.

Before this post turns into a giant QQ fest, I want to say that I enjoyed my night off raiding last night — gave me a good night’s sleep before I had to face the DMV at 8am this morning.  My biggest issue though is the fact that it wasn’t even left as an option for the servers that were down to participate in the “first” kills of Halion.

If you’re going to do a content release like that, at least make it open to everyone at the same time.  Not only will it save you about 70 pages of whining on the forums, but will also give the feeling of everyone being on the same playing field.

An Open Letter

Morynne —  June 22, 2010 — Leave a comment

Blizzard developers, community moderators, GMs, fans, et, al:

I write this letter not as a plea for anything, or with any expectation; however, I do feel as if my opinion has some value, so I choose to share that with you.

The Wrath of the Lich King expansion has truly been epic.  The presence of the antagonist throughout the expansion has made this last year and a half (give or take) very memorable, and full of lore.  The stories told have been amazing.  Getting more players to experience Naxxramas was a good choice — although for those of us who have seen Naxxramas from the original World of Warcraft — it left some of the challenge behind.  Seeing the Obsidian Sanctum opened our eyes to increased difficulty type encounters — which certainly made for a renewed sense of achievement for those in progression raiding.  Malygos gave us mounted combat, which we learned most were quite bad at, but with practice, were able to execute flawlessly.

With the move into Ulduar, we learned that a truly Titan experience is out there — just beyond our grasp.  Defeating the Keepers and taking down one of the Old Gods again left us surprised and amazed at how deep the immersion in lore has become.  With the move into Cataclysm, I’m sure even more stories will come out involving the Titans and their influence over Azeroth.

Throughout the questing and leveling in this expansion, Arthas has popped up and taunted us, really making me want to kill him.  He had it coming after all. The Tournament of Champions was a matter of preparing for the final epic battle — but as a raid instance and as a lore filled experience, it was a miss.  Coming out of Ulduar, I can see where a quick, painless, less epic instance could be useful.  The repetitive nature of this instance/raid absolutely killed the allure of playing for some.  For the hardcore raiders, and the loot mongers, they became burnt out going through 4 raid lock-outs a week just so they could get the best loot possible to get ready for their venture into Icecrown Citadel.

Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Icecrown Citadel has been an amazing fight from the moment we stepped in over 6 months ago.  Many guilds, mine included, have defeated Arthas in both 10 and 25-man varieties.  The fights are still epic — even with the 20% raid buff at the writing of this.  I do find that this stretch in ICC has become tiresome, not because I’ve done all the fights once, but I’ve done all the fights… a lot of times.  There’s no more “what’s next” or “what will the next raid tier look like, ” it’s all about trying to minimize the burnout levels for many guilds — just to get to Cataclysm. Oh what’s that? Ruby Sanctum, you say? For many guilds, that will keep them occupied for about an hour a week when they go back to their regularly scheduled face-slamming into ICC hard mode encounters.

Beta is on the horizon, but with no definite start date — much less a release date for the expansion.  Right now ICC is feeling like a marathon, and it rather scares me.  Sure, you can work toward your achievement drakes, finish up Loremaster for the third time, or level an alt — but that doesn’t take away the frustration factor when you sign into the game for a raid, when you know exactly what you’re going to be seeing for the next what seems like forever.

It truly pains me to say that over the last 5 years of playing, I’ve never been so burnt out on a game as I am now (and this comes from playing years of EQ with their grind-fest and all).  I fear that many others feel the same way I do.  My love for the lore and the relationships I’ve built with guild-mates prevents me from canceling my subscription — as well as the thought of throwing away a significant amount of time I’ve invested in playing my Hunter just makes me sick.

I want Blizzard to release a solid, stable, well thought out product for Cataclysm — and I have faith that it will happen, but I sincerely hope it’s sooner than later.  The interest cycle in ICC has about run its course for many — and I’m sure Ruby Sanctum will be only a momentary distraction.  My request is a simple one, if Blizzard’s intent is to have a very short beta cycle and push to release early fall — I’ll support their endeavor; however, if the short beta cycle does happen, a broad spectrum of players (from casuals to hardcore raiders, from PVPers to role-players) will be needed to truly make it an effective test cycle.  I ask that when these decisions are being made to consider a broad spectrum of individuals for Beta invitations, and don’t drag out the beta process any longer than need be.  Your community is anxiously awaiting the Cataclysmic changes to Azeroth.