Friday, November 27, 2015


Right, it's the weekend, and I have FREE SHIZZLE FOR YOU.

If you want to enter? You'll need to retweet the Tweet below and follow me on the Twitters :D

That's all there is to it :D

Driving Away from Home

Occasionally, this game sticks a flag in the ground as a genuine challenge. Yesterday?



I've been wandering about a lot on Pher of late, finding holes in the Achievement collection to fill. I logged off on the Isle of Thunder on Sunday, for instance, having realised there was a fair few things I could still do there which never got done in Pandaria. I also soloed Nalak, which although largely fruitless, does mean I can add that to the 'Kill for Mounts' roster. I even swung past the Timeless Isle at the bottom of the hour for a Crazy Huolon kill. However, with this week being Valor for Apexis dailies? Time to go back to the jungle. And when I used my Master Hunter's Seeking Crystal on arrival?

Wouldn't you know it, I ended up facing Xemirkol.


It took me two goes, and having died on Try One I went and hit Kazzak while I waited for the Crystal to come off CD. It's the first time I've ever seen him and I've been quite religious with my use of the item in the zone. I'd also come prepared, because knowing the Shadow Crash had a good chance to throw me off the platform? Fighting against the wall was deliberately planned. With Heroism and a tank pet? It was tight but I did it, and I'm only dressed as a Panda because I clicked the wrong red potion during the fight, thinking it was health. What I learn from this is many-fold: with a 10 minute timer on this you need to turn up prepared. Know your boss abilities, turn up with everything off CD, be prepared to move. Mostly, learn how to play.

In the end, it's been a while since I felt I actually earned something. This is a title I will wear with pride.

That will do, Pher. That will do.

Time to work towards 17,000 Achievement Points this weekend, I think.

[PS: More mobs like this, Blizzard. I like.]

Thursday, November 26, 2015

BETA :: Life's What You Make It

Your Next Expansion, Folks. 

This morning, I'd like to talk about making things better. With Legion in Alpha/Beta (delete where applicable) this seems like a great idea to highlight some Quality of Life changes I've been considering. This is in line with what the new client's thrown up, and some thoughts I've had over how players approach content for the first time. The first one's been rattling about in my head for a while, but it is only this morning that a realistic solution came to mind:

1. Prompt Players to Help Themselves.

This should be doable, right?

Whilst running Timewalking dungeons last week it became abundantly apparent who'd done them before and who hadn't, based on how they reacted inside each Instance. Because the game does not stick a marker above the head of someone who's never been in a particular dungeon before (which is probably wise) there needs to be a prompt for them to maybe look up what's going on. I'm no programmer, but I'd wager it can't be impossible to have a dialog pop up like this THE FIRST TIME YOU ENTER AN INSTANCE. Once you earn an Achievement for completing it on a particular difficulty? No more dialog box. 

If you're the Instance Leader? Maybe an additional dialog ONLY IN RANDOM GROUPS might also be useful:


That one might be too contentious, or considered by many as a nanny too far, but at least 30 seconds would allow people a chance. Maybe that's all anybody needs in the end, a chance in a random to show they're prepared to work as a team.

2. The Option to say NO.

Simple sometimes actually is best.

I see lots of people getting very happy about the awesome looks Artefacts have, especially over the Druid Forms that were datamined and posted yesterday. The thing is, there will be people somewhere quietly deciding to reroll another class because those forms are just nothing like the fantasy they created their class for. Although I appreciate and understand the time and effort that the Art Department have gone to in these weapons? Some people aren't interested. Most of those will mog away from the looks, but for others? Maybe there ought to be another way.


For the next patch after Legion launches, provide a range of simple weapons for people to pick from, and let players customise them themselves. Atiesh is a great example of how you could have saved the Art Department months of work and given true customisation to players, allowing them to pick the look and adornments on their weapons. It's the same approach I'd hoped we'd see in the Garrison: less about the standard visual elements that we were presented with, and more about what players themselves could create with the 'toolkit' that Blizzard provided us with. The thing is, Blizzard clearly like to keep the visual style of the game to a very strict, polished final form. That's all well and good, assuming you are happy with the items you're presented with.

Maybe the future isn't simply a fait accompli, more of an actual halfway compromise.

3. One Region For All

Not Showing off, honest.

I'd really like to be able to play with US people. There, I said it. I don't need to be able to access their servers, per se, I would just like the option to be able to call someone up and say 'hey let's hang' and do that without the World deciding I'm in the EU and no, that won't happen. I have a US account, but I shouldn't need one, that's my point here. I know Blizzard have promised better comms as part of their feature list? I'm hoping this will be included as part of the deal.


That's my choices, what are yours?


(with thanks to @Ketsuki_WoW for pointing out the small window scaled to begin with :D)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BETA :: Song and Legend

You get a Ring, and you get a Ring... EVERYBODY gets a Ring! 

Once upon a time, Legendary Items were everywhere. Everyone had the chance to own one, if they were prepared to jump through a bunch of hoops to obtain the components required. The thing is, once Blizzard gave everybody a chance to own Orange? They immediately stopped being special. It just became another item to grind for, the Best in Slot aim for every Raider. As the man says, you have no value in your Super when everyone can be the same. Legendaries desperately needed a re-invention for Legion, and what Blizzard appear to have done is turn the idea of the same thing for anyone who farms on it's head. This owes, unsurprisingly, a lot to the Diablo world, but the couple of dozen Legendary Items that have been so far datamined?

Blizzard are here to mess with both your heads and your conception of what constitutes 'good' gear, and I for one think it's fantastic.

Well, that's a thing. Screencaps from

These things have caused a lot of muttering on my timeline. Will they become indispensable kit for raiding types? Many of the on uses of these items pretty much boils down to having a Trinket effect or a scaling buff on existing gear. If one assumes that these won't be grindable from a set mob but simply have a chance to drop ANYWHERE in the World? You couldn't possibly accurately factor them into Mr Robot equations of best in slot: you can make some guesses, but a lot of this will depend on other items you're wearing to begin with. What these items seem to be set up to do, at least from where I'm sitting in Casual Corner, is give players a chance at something utterly cool and amazing that might make the difference between them just playing and maybe, just possibly, wanting to play better. These Legendaries have an educational worth I think a lot of hardcore, cynical raiders might completely overlook when they see Orange and assume this is something they'll need.

That's when you have to stop and realise that for most, Orange has the potential to become the mother of all lucky bonuses.

What do you do?

So, these boots tell you that when you equip them, you run faster from a portion of your haste. It doesn't tell you what portion that is, but it demonstrates that if you wear them, they have an effect on something else. This item also demonstrates that speed and haste are not the same thing. So, as it happens, this item's also an education for those who may not know the difference. Mostly, an item like this gives a player an advantage but not an issue. You might do extra DPS in a fight, but more likely this would save you when moving out of bad stuff.

The problems potentially arise when there's something in the mix that really does make a difference.

And then there's the bonus :D

A friend of mine tells me, and I have no issue with his assertion, that when you're in an Ecosystem like Azeroth's? Items like this will be game changers. That 3% could be the difference between a World First wipe and a win, that I am certain could be considered as a potential circumstance for many people having seen the number of different effects these Legendaries are being stacked with. The fact remains: Blizzard know the stakes. We know these items will drop, but as yet there's no indicator of a specific loot table for any single mob. What I sense will be more likely, and this could be telling, is whether these items become open world or instanced only loots. A part of me is sensing that actually, these would be a perfect carrot for the new version of Challenge Mode Dungeons. It would encourage people to try them, and allow Blizzard a captive audience to test the concept before expanding on them. However, if they were simply seeded everywhere, across the entire Expansion? This world loot table would hark back to the days of Vanilla when, regardless of level, you'd have a chance to own something awesome.

My only issue is the BoP nature of the items, and the fact that, knowing my luck, I'd get the agility ring on my clothie. Making these BoA would just be too potent, but it would solve the problem of making sure you didn't lose the potential. I'm not sure if Blizzard have considered this, but I'd like to think they have, and there will be mechanics in place to support the possibility. If that is the case, then we made a very significant step forward in loot gathering mechanics. If all I ever had drop for my Hunter was mail/agility based items? That would not be the end of the World. It's going to be really interesting to see how Blizzard play this one out, and I for one am looking forward to seeing Orange have some genuine kudos after two Expansions where it was definitely just part of your gearing strategy.

This game could do with a sound kick to the sockets. This is a good as any a place to start.

LEGION :: Information Overload

Depending on your point of view, this next couple of weeks are either amazing or terrible.

An increasing number of people in my social media feeds are making disapproving noises over the amount of data-mining being reported as 'news.' The basic argument is pretty much consistent too: why bother getting excited about stuff that may never make it live? It's a good question, and one I can see both sides of, especially with the understanding that there is a worst case scenario possible. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we'll have to wait until September for an Expansion.

If that is the case, data mining for people like me may be the only way to keep writing about Warcraft without going completely insane.

While you were Away... ^^

When players get bored with Warcraft, they just go off and play other games. That's not quite what can happen if you are a content creator. For me and many others, having information which may not make it to live in one piece is actually a really decent way of helping you stay relevant in times where fewer people are playing or consuming Warcraft. What this release of information early also does is give Blizzard an additional avenue of appropriate feedback. By working out what people get excited about? You can plan accordingly. As an example?

YES IT IS A MOOSE. The fact that the only other Moose in game is something a large number of people have expressed an interest in? This should indicate to Blizzard that having several versions in game will promote people to do things they wouldn't normally try. Fortunately, in my case at least, I'm all over Archaeology. For those people who aren't? Time to get that skill maxxed so you can earn your moose in Legion. So, if you want a legitimate explanation for why data mining is useful?


These will be my Gun. OH YES.

Of course, data-mining has an enormous downside: expectation. You only have to look at the ENORMOSPOILERS that fell out of the client once the Demon Hunter starting experience went live to understand how damning information ahead of time can become. Yesterday's game of Blame and Consequences on my Twitter feed was actually laughable at times: the fact remains that if you want to avoid being spoilt or upset about things you have not yet either seen or played? The responsibility is in your hands, pure and simple. I however need to know all this stuff, and I've accepted the downside. I've never moaned about lacking content during this Expansion, and that's not about to change any time soon either. I've accepted my fate, and I'll be here reporting until Legion goes live.

For everyone else? You need a Spoiler Policy. Then you require a sense of proportion, realism and understanding of what the next nine or so months will mean for you. For me? This is the best way for me to prepare both myself and you for the adventure ahead. So, if you'll excuse me? I'll get on preparing your pre-Expansion experience.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015


As so many people are now asking me questions about the Transmog UI, I thought it might be an idea to keep a list of them and when the interface improves/becomes workable? I can then answer what I can.

As a result? Here's a Google Form for you to do just that with.

Please make sure you leave your Twitter handle/e-mail address so I can contact you when I get answers :D

BETA :: If Not For You

Don't be that person ^^ 

Last night was possibly the most unpleasant I've seen my Twitter feed for some time, mostly over a set of Legion spoilers. If you want to know why so many people lost their shit, you'll find the relevant spoilers here. See, I can reference stuff without showing you, that's why we use links on webpages. Social media doesn't have Spoiler Space, Twitch won't give you a warning about what someone says, and I think Blizzard failed to grasp the fact that as soon as this client became public domain, the secret would be out. Needless to say, 95% of the player base still doesn't have a clue what's going on. 

This morning, let's discuss if you should remain involved in this Website or not across Legion.


I can 100% promise you'll not be spoiled for plot here. I'm going to be VERY careful on what gets discussed, and if I have to not write about something because it will spoil players? SO BE IT. However, other sites like MMO and Wowhead will be littered with (quite possibly unintentional) spoilers until the game goes live, because that's how data mining works. If you wanna know? That's where you go. I can tell you now that I already know what happens in the pre-Expansion event despite it not being live, and as a result I won't report that at all until it's been live for at least a week. However, I don't control Social media, Trade Chat, the NASDAQ or bowling averages and I can't stop people being dicks. We're all on our own in that regard. This is the time you get to know who your real friends are.

Most importantly, this is where you work out who actually respects you or not.


Because you can't tell how people will react? It's time to pick your sources. Ideally, if you don't want the chance to be spoilt for Legion I'd not step near a PC for the next 9 months, but you could still end up being spoilt by a work colleague. It's impossible to avoid everything if your World revolves around Warcraft to begin with. I'm going to spend a lot of time talking game mechanic details and UI changes here, so if you don't want to know? Time to leave. However, I can make sure when I do that, it's in a sympathetic and understanding fashion, and that I respect you as the audience. The fact remains, it doesn't matter how much you try and control your environment. Sometimes, like it or not, you'll get spoilt for something.

So, now we're into the Land of What Matters Most to You.

A proportional response is what is required here.

For me, this site is about discussing the game in all its forms. Beta will give me a great opportunity to work out what will be relevant for players going forward, especially in areas such as collecting for Transmog, Toybox inclusion, and potential avenues for gold making (though don't expect me to become a Gold Queen, because that's not my job it's hers) plus I will have the chance with Feedback via game and this site to make sure this game is as good as I believe it should be. There's also the very real need for new content to keep me going, because there's very little in game that will be as entertaining in my mind in the months that follow. So, I'm making a conscious decision to control my environment not just for my benefit but yours too, and I suggest you guys do the same. If you want to know, stay put and I'll do my best not to leech all the fun out of the content before it's actually current.

If you don't, I totally understand if you want to leave, and I won't blame you one bit.

What's most important, in the end, is YOU.

BETA :: I Know what I Like (In Your Wardrobe)

Welcome to the next year of my life :D 

So, I'll be honest. Demon Hunters are great and all that, but you and I know what I'm really here for, and this is it. Transmog is the big thing for me in this Expansion, and now we have a client in my hands?

It is time to explore.


First up? Standard Disclaimer applies, all of this is most DEFINITELY Work in Progress. Trying to use this crashed my Client. There's half a dozen shoulder pieces in the Database and 40 pages of cloaks, so please don't ask me if Item X is IN or OUT because there's a good chance they've not even coded that yet. It is impossible to actually use the System to dress yourself, I can only roll a Demon Hunter at present so there's no other characters to link this to, and the UI's full of place-holder items.

Get the idea?

What this menu does tell us however is our first major reveal: Seasonal Items are in the Database at this point, as well as Starting Area Outfits and Grey Items. Whether they stay there and will be moggable on combat gear is not clear, and until someone confirms you can use them who actually works for Blizzard? This is Testing Purposes Only. Having said that, there are some interesting things in the Database on that front:


There have been 'tattoo shirts' datamined today by the major sites, and this looks as if that trend may yet be expanded upon (except not for those of you with the lady bumps, obviously.) The inclusion of grey items means that, technically, every single piece of armour currently in game could become a moggable option, including those on vendors. That's a scary thought, but what it does mean that the time it would take to collect everything would be... well, considerable at least. As you can see above, all my Seasonal Clothing could vanish from the bank as well as having access to every Hallows End mask I collected:

Oooh look Masky :O

More importantly for someone who has a massive dress collection in her banks? Formal wear appears to have also been included, which covers all manner of items that also are looted from Seasonal Events:


Now if all of this gets added to the Tab? Basically my entire bank will celebrate, because this will mean a return to levels of free space not seen since I was a freshly minted character. There is of course the very real possibility this is just in here for testing, so I'm gonna wait for an official announcement on this in due course. However, I'm cautiously optimistic, mostly because of one item that exists in the Trousers category:


Those, Ladies and Gentlemen, are Bloodmail Legguards. Famed for their pure 100% mail blackness, many a Mogger farmed these from Scholomance before the instance was rebuilt for Pandaria. They're a  no longer in game item that's been stuck in the database, giving hope that many other items may become usable again. I'd start picking the items you want included in the Database and Tweeting @WarcraftDevs to get your orders in, because if these legs can make it, then anything can. I can see myself going through banks this week, listing items I know have vanished. The AQ40 Quest items for starters are items that I own and I'd dearly like to be able to use as mogs on other characters.


With the benefit of a couple of hours sleep, I realise that this is going to be a long road. However, the benefits of getting the right items highlighted for Database inclusion will be VITAL: I'd urge gold makers and moggers alike to start making their lists of items they know are no longer available and be ready to speak up to ensure those items are included. The potential for what might sell now as a result of this feature is immense, because if you need to have it in your bags to be registered by the Database? The biggest single question that arises is this: will that make the item soulbound?

It's too early to tell how this is all going to pan out. However, it's certainly not too early to get excited.

BETA :: Coming Around Again

So this is *Beta*, right? ^^ 

I wasn't expecting much tonight, I'll be honest, so when the Legion game client turned up in my feed, there was mild surprise. I was also somewhat perturbed at the complete lack of anything except Demon Hunters to play with but, as it transpires, the last couple of hours play have been very enjoyable. No, I'm not going to spoil your opening experience with plot revelation, because other people will do that so much less subtly and far more crassly than I could ever manage. Instead, let me simply introduce you to my Demon Hunter.

I can't believe nobody took the name, I really can't.

Mr Alt started it :D

The Demon Hunter's starting zone is green and grim, but in a really high definition, beautiful way. It's full of lovely new high-def skins and lots of clever set dressing and, as it happens, it is quite fun and immersive to play. I didn't die once [*] and all the Demon Hunter abilities are easy to pick up. However, I'd be lying if I said I didn't get distracted by the Spaceships, because I did, and they're AWESOME. Because yes, Azeroth needs more spaceships.


Then there's Minimap and UI changes. I see bars on screen to show me what health/demon resource I'm currently at. I see stars on the Minimap for Rares, and I see certain objectives with percentage totals instead of numbers. I know this bothers some people but I don't really care. As long as it's clear what's going on? I'm good. Also Objectives still exist, and you can earn gold along the way. It's all looking a lot like Blizzard picked up all the good stuff from Warlords and threw it in here.

Rares = Silver Star
Percentage Totals = GOOD (IMO)

And finally, there is the very real understanding this is VERY early days for this iteration of the Expansion. All the class talents may exist and quests may be in but I'm only playing Demon Hunter until they fix stuff, and even then I can only play the first two or so hours of that. I'm aware of some absolutely huge spoilers that have been thrown all over the Internet in the last couple of hours: I PROMISE you won't find any of them here. All you will get is pretty pictures and moody shots of Buffy. Because let's face it, these guys and girls were born to be angsty anti-heroes.

This is me being moody. In Space.

Now I've finished the quests and gotten as far as I can go? We'll do a Transmog Post with what I know, and we'll come back in the morning to see what people discover as I sleep.

Needless to say I'm very optimistic from what I've seen this evening of what Legion will have in store.


[*] That's not 100% true, but as this is a Spoiler? You can wait.

Monday, November 23, 2015

LEGION :: Lowkey Flex

Spear of Destiny.

I play a lot of Hunters, as some of you may be aware. In the upcoming Expansion, the Class now has three unique styles, each of which wields a weapon that reflects the 'fantasy' of their class. In the case of Survival? That means this spear: Talonclaw, Spear of the Wild Gods. Well, *technically* its a Polearm, but you get the idea. For me, I'll want to pick three of my (many) Hunters to wield this in the first instance and see how I feel with the Spec overall. But, there's a problem.

What a totally showy and inappropriate thing this spear actually is for my style of Huntering.


I sat down this weekend and actually had a long, hard think about what matters to me as a weapon. In the case of Talonclaw, as is the reasoning with a lot of the Artefacts now I've actually had a chance to examine? It's all show. It makes sense, of course, to have these weapons as clever and involved as possible because, like it or not, the looks are what's pulling the vast majority of players into the 'fantasy' to begin with. My problem, more and more as time has gone on (and as I've gotten older) is that the looks of things becomes secondary to their actual effectiveness. Therefore, trying to sell the look as either cool or attractive is, like it or not, a complete waste of time. Don't get me wrong, I understand how significant a deal this is, but with Transmog at my disposal, I can at least remove what I don't like with something I do. This is, in this case, why Transmog's standardisation into the UI may end up being the biggest triumph Blizzard actually achieve with the Expansion.

Preparation is everything.

What this means therefore for somebody like me is that the notion that 'everyone will be the same' is a complete fallacy. I have the opportunity, knowing what each weapon will look like, whether I will choose to take the look I'm given or not. In the case of the Hunter I'll be playing I've dispensed with the interim Mog I was going to use and instead have picked this camouflage set and an extremely neutral spear. Instead of using the weapon as a basis of a transformation, I've pretty much ignored it completely. I'm sorry Blizzard, please don't take this however as a sign of failure for the artwork, because that's so not the case. I've already got a version of Titanstrike for Pherian I'll be working with, so it's not like you're not producing items I find attractive. This is more me again accepting the fact I'm not your target audience for the majority of looks and simply making my own choices.

That's why without Transmog I would be totally and utterly lost, and why as a result I'm REALLY grateful you've got the UI ready from the word 'GO' in Legion.

Reassessing my World View

What this does mean is a subtle redefinition of everything I do in terms of outfits and 'dress-up' for the Alts. As this Expansion is now more actively pushing a fantasy that I wish to be involved in, I find myself more willing to consider the wider consequences of how everyone looks. Hunters should not be overly showy, I believe, that if you're going to be a decent representation of your class then you don't turn up looking like a cake decoration. I'm genuinely looking forward to playing all three versions of the Hunter, and excited to see how Blizzard has changed them all to better give diversity to the class. When I do so, I'm going to look the part.

I'm really grateful I have the choice to decide what that means for myself.