Friday, February 27, 2009

The Disappointed

What's been the subject of the most QQ-ing in General and Trade on the PTR? Not nerfs, not the constant crashes in Dalaran, but the removal of what has come to be known as ghetto-hearthing. There has also been an unprecedented amount of Forum QQ-ing about this, so much so that Eyonix popped up with the following response:

You know, there was a time before "ghetto hearthing" was possible and you had to rely on your hearthstone cooldown, or a mage port. I know it's crazy to even try and imagine such harsh living conditions.

I will tell you what, guys. I'll bring this up with the designers. Though the hearthstone is reasonable, since many of you have become used to "ghetto hearth" style travel, it may be deemed an appropriate change.

I can make no promises.

Update: Alright, all -- we're going to make the cooldown on hearthstones 30 minutes when 3.1.0 releases. Enjoy your sweet victory.

Thanks to those who provided feedback constructively.

'Sweet Victory' eh? One wonders how easy it would have been to leave things as they were. That really would have been the ideal solution, but one suspects that would be considered as genuinely listening to feedback and acting on it. One can only assume that this change is so embedded in the code it would take weeks to change back to the previously incorrectly working state it was before ^^ Of course if you're a Shammy with the Glyph you can Astral Recall every 7.5 minutes anyway. If you're a Scribe it's every 15 minutes with a Scroll of Town Portal Recall. I find myself thinking that at this rate, HS's will have a zero cooldown at sometime in the future, just because people will complain that they can't level fast enough when having to wait 30 minutes for their cooldown.

Of course, if they'd not bothered to fiddle with the ghetto hearthing in the first place, it wouldn't be an issue...

These kind of decisions (made, then partially rescinded instead of simply being stuck to or returned to their previous state) disappoint me. Mainly because they smack of someone who doesn't actually understand how people play the game they're supposed to be designing in the first place. If I had the time I could list many things Blizzard SHOULD be trying to fix more aggressively than this. This is like stacking clams and the Yarrrrr tooltip.

Yes, I'm probably taking this too seriously as well. But if it was my job, I'd have asked the people who play the game first before changing it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

[PTR] What a Difference a Day Makes

So, it's all change on the PTR. At least today I can see where I am, even if it's impossible to fly there (despite the now newly-coloured flight master and being able to fly out):

Yesterday this wasn't even ON the map, but today...

Things are pretty fluid, even down to complete changes in looks. To be honest, I preferred yesterday's version of the monument, but I can see why they changed it...

In the fast paced world of monument construction, Rome CAN be built in a day...

PvP has been deactivated on the entire server (wonder how many people complained) and there's been some swift changes, most important of which is the sequence for the Tournament. There's some basic gathering dailies, and a registration process. You need to learn how to control your new shiny mount and it's abilities (Block, Charge, Attack, Fall Off Ungraciously and Land in a Heap)[*], and you're going to need a weapon too if you want to fight for glory. In a Arthurian Legend meets Fairy Story fashion, you'll need to get your Chap Stick on and go kiss some frogs to find it...

Questing made Easy, Goblin Edition.

Once you're doing these Tournament Quests it's Silver Covenant rep you'll be stacking. You'll also need to complete a fair number them before you have enough items try your hand at some serious combats... oh and then there's the Black Knight. No, it's not Christian Bale (he's the Dark Knight). Nor is it John Cleese (Monty Python references notwithstanding). You'll have to go to Westfall (no I'm not kidding) to find out for yourself...

There's a lot here, which P is slowly working her way through. Some brief observations:
  • Multi Shot has a new noise!!! It's... multiple shots!
  • Pet talents still borked :( Wondering if this is actually deliberate.
  • Westfall is the Trailer Park of Azeroth. All the dodgy characters are there: Van Cleef, Stalvan, and now my mysterious new Nemesis...
Plus it appears to be the middle of the night on the Server: reset the clock you nubs!

M's also materialised on the PTR this morning, so I've nipped off to Moonglade already, spent my 1000g and thrown together a rough healer build that looks promising (though the temptation to steal a Guildies was very, very strong) It's unlikely I'll get to do any real testing with her but I will go have a play with the dummies just to see how abilities work.

[*] One of these is not a genuine ability.


I used to be paranoid about spoilers. REALLY paranoid. Back in the day, I'd actively avoid TV, the Net, newspapers... until it occured to me that it doesn't really matter. I can think of two occasions where knowing something spoilt my enjoyment of the experience. If I didn't want to know, I'd be better off doing summat else anyway.

Needless to say, if you're reading this via feed, all the PTR stuff is chock full of spoilers. I will now mark each PTR post with a [PTR] in the title so you know.

If I have impaired your playing enjoyment, sorry. For me, I can't get enough spoilers right now.

Green Means Go

Odd that they gave him a hairstyle first. I'd have started with a face...

So, a load more stuff has come out overnight on MMO Champion concerning the Argent Tournament. New tokens mean new items (tabard, pet, mount, items) but rather more interestingly the ability to buy reputation with your home factions at 250 a shot. I can see this being a big draw, especially for those with late blooming toons. I also like the idea of this being like the SSO/AQ Gates where you'll need a certain number of quests done to progress. The sense of competition this instills may not be healthy in some people's eyes, but it's gonna mean that our server is one of the first to complete it. It's full of serial overachievers. Lord knows what I'm doing there...

A plethora of new vendors and tradesmen at the back of the construction area.

I really like the way that Blizz are meshing casual game elements with the more hardcore ones (I'd say PvP is hardcore, especially if you want to do it properly) but also making sure what you're asked to do repetitively every day is not utterly sleep-inducing. I think it also helps greatly that there's four years of experience and history behind this as well: RP servers are going to have a field day with this stuff, especially as it allows you to fight specifically for your home city. I sense a lot of suppressed Gnome Pride will surface, after all this is the first time you can directly champion Gnomoregan anywhere in game. The tabards, I have to say, rock. Stormwind one especially is fabulous. Any Horde worth their grunt should want to own the Orgrimmar one.

Just in case you were in any doubt where you were...

As this is smack bang in the middle of the L80 zone one assumes that this isn't going to be accessible until you've levelled. That would be nice is to think that they might extend that to at least 77 (when you have access to the flying mount) so it would offer an accompaniment to those in the later stages of levelling, especially as the rewards available with the new tokens are really rather tasty. Part of my annoyance with TBC was the fact the new content from the Skyguard, Netherwing and Ogri'la was only available once you hit 70. It would have been great to have been given the chance to start working towards a flying mount with an alternative to exploratory questing, especially one that (like the factions) gave you access to upgrades as well.

Right, let's go look and see if in the latest build they fixed the bug not allowing you to assign pet talents...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To Battle!

So, finally, summat to report from PTR Land.

If you head up to Syndragosa's Fall in Icecrown, just north from there a small circle of stones and some arches have appeared: beneath the ice you can clearly see a buried Frost Wyrm. There's a sword stuck in the ice too. Travel further still and you find the grounds for the new Argent Colleseum (above)

This looks very promising. I am going to assume this must work on some kind of phasing technology like the Sons of OhDear do. It's a series of jousting arenas, plus the construction site and two inns: one for the Alliance and one for the Horde.

Clearly it's not quite done yet with more than a fair few green NPS, but it looks very promising.

Inside the Alliance Inn there are representatives of all the Alliance races, with the flags on their backs you'll be used to if you do Arenas. I wonder if it will be possible to choose your own race or whether you'll be forced to go with your home city.

More pics and info as I pull it out of the PTR.


I love totally pointless acronyms. In celebration, here are the Top Ten Things I Have Learnt on PTR In The Last Hour:

1. Dalaran seems to be the source of most, if not all of my crash errors. I actually stayed on for a whole hour by avoiding it completely. Progress!

2. Essence of Wintergrasp has a new logo:

3. Even though THAT instance isn't working, it doesn't stop people just hanging around outside of it, in the vague hope it might suddenly activate (*) :

4. I still have no hair, but have used Equipment Manager successfully and am now carrying my Self-Made Pirate costume for travelling purposes. Yarrr!

5. There are 291 items for sale on the PTR AH. 5000g for a Glyph. WHY????

6. Noblegarden got a HUGE makeover. Looks like I won't be running around Dun Morogh alone this year looking for impossibly-placed eggs...

7. There is a new tab in the World Events Achievements for the Darkmoon Faire. \o/

8. When you get the 'Shave and a Haircut' achievement for the first time you can hear the sound of scissors cutting... ^^

9. Some things clearly are not working as intended. W would like this glyph please...

10. Chat on PTR = fail. Plus, there is no spoon. Justin said so, in SW ^^:

Conclusive proof (even if it wasn't needed) that simply hanging around randomly waiting for your Server to come up can teach you stuff. Perhaps not important, but stuff nonetheless...

(*) Obviously including me.

Much Ado About Nothing

So, until the PTR actually has some content unlocked, it's mostly all about the data mining and the reporting. The wealth of info coming out currently is huge. I wouldn't have the first idea on how to do this, I have to be impressed at those who can. There's a slew of new patterns (which I am going to guess will drop in 25 man, along with the new orbs) plus a ton of new Enscription glyphs (so, do you learn these or do these drop as well, coz if this is a load of new stuffs for Scribes does this mean other proffs will get further love?) After some poking I have discovered that I can't assign any talent points to my pet on PTR so testing anything new is pretty much a waste of time. M's not been copied yet (if at all) and I can't get onto the Copy page on the Webby to check her status.

More importantly, if I can't stay online longer than 15 minutes bfore the game crashes, how on Earth am I supposed to check out anything properly anyway?

The Normal Realms may be down for maintenance, but the PTR is working. So, despite all of this, guess where I am right now...?

The Godmother, being Sadly Predictable since 2006.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


So, I'm in ^^

First thing I find (after renaming my character) is that I appear to have lost my head:

Clearly there's a problem with some of the hairstyles: whether it's client or server side I am yet to discover...

Next thing I do is pop off and find the Dual Specs Trainer. 1000g. Not unexpectedly large but it will cause a problem for a fair few of my Guild. They've shifted Glyphs out of the spellbook and stuck them in the Talents window, and they've done summat far more significant to the actual choice of Talents themselves:

FINALLY! All those times I've tried to respec and made one wrong click and had to respend my gold. Now if I could only persuade Blizz to reimburse me for all that bad clicking.

I popped up to Ulduar, where there is a large green swirly portal and not much else, and I was heading to the Argent Camp when my machine crashed for the third time in ten minutes. Time for a reboot and some more exploring...

It's ALIVE!!!!!!!!

So, guess what I'm doing right now?

There's even a New Event type Thing to look at as well! Can I contain my excitement???

[EDIT: Ok, so that was Part 1, and I did think it was a bit small. Part 2 is almost a Gigabyte.

This is gonna take some time...]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Update

  • Half Term is over. We survived, not totally unscathed but fairly ok. Parents kindly took the kids on Saturday lunchtime, so there was some faffing. Who am I kidding, there was LOADS of faffing...
  • 25 Man progress continues unabated. Two and three-quarter wings are now conquered. Last night we one-shotted Grobbulus (impressively it must be said) and 2-shotted Gluth. We will ignore the loot-drama ahead of a very good night's progress and a lot of laughter on TS. M walked away with 2 upgrades. All in all, decent night.
  • Even more decent was the one-night clearance of Naxx 10. Despite the fact all I got to show for that was two greens and some spider silk, it is a significant step that we can now knock off the 10 man in an evening. I am guessing this post had a lot to do with it.
  • PTR hysteria continues unabated. Despite having zero raiding stuffs on both M and P, both got coped as soon as I could actually access the PTR page. By then the wait time to copy was 14 days. Cuttently it's up to 25 days... I'd like to go see how the Dual Specs stuffs works more than anything else...
  • I did a shedload of herb and eternal/crystallized farming. It seems the best bet is Wintergrasp between battles, doing a circuit around the edge of the Zone. This gives decent returns for ore as well (especially Titanium) I've got stock now for a couple of week's cloth manufacture. I am going to make Ebomweave Gloves on K the Tailor for levelling, and shard them to give to N the Enchanter for subsequent levelling. Selling them has proved problemmatic thus far. AH has gone into something of a freefall on all the Northrend stuffs. Old Skool items are where it's at, baby!
  • Talking of Old Skool, the new project is L38, and was speed pulled through SM and Uldaman. Too low for the final quest inside I need to gather all the subsidiary quests now and badger somene to drag me through again at 40. BS stands at 220 and is gonna need some work on the mining front, but I have nearly everything I need for the Weaponsmith quest. I would expect this week to see some major levellage on this front...