Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting Past the Achievements

Today saw a lesson in how, if you don't try to hard, a great many things are possible without the Right Achievements.

The Rogue has, since she hit 80, been indulging in Large Amounts of Pottering. I've bought some items from the AH, but in the main she's been clothed via the Random Dungeon Tool. This means putting up with variable amounts of crap play, stupidity, fights & strops (neither from me I should add) and the accumulation of Elbows of Triumph. I'd collected sufficient from levelling from 70-80 to afford the Tier 9 gloves when I started this process, and as you can see I now have shoulders and legs to add to the collection. As I grew in gear level my options increased in terms of reward drops. I didn't deliberately queue for any dungeon, I wasn't farming any particular piece of gear. As things went, it was all very measured.

When Heroic Forge of Souls finally became an option, I got very VERY lucky. I won both Blood Weeper and the Unsharpened Ice Razor in one run. For a Combat Specced Rogue, I really couldn't have done better: slow main hand, faster offhand, both daggers: it was job done in one hit. Both had Berserking enchants waiting for them, paid for with the cash I'd made via levelling. I know I'm not likely to see better weapons before Cataclysm, and I'm well aware just how fortunate I am to have both drop in the same run. As it stands, my drop luck with the Rogue has been stellar. I've grabbed 232 neck and the crossbow thus far from Dailies in ICC 5 mans, and last night I finally saw the inside of the Halls of Reflection (even if I never made it to the first boss) So, with continued luck and quiet faffage I suspect the last few items of blue gear will fall away. I have Superior, in less than a week from hitting 80. All things are indeed possible.

I also have the full sweep of 10 and two of the 25 man VoA achievements. I didn't have an achievement to link, and I got thrown out of one 25 man when I couldn't produce them, but the next person I whispered for a Raid didn't ask. I kept quiet, stood away from the rest and managed 4k dps on Toravon. It wasn't great, but it did the job, and with the 25 man achievement I blagged a 10 man run and got all 4 of the bosses in one hit. I didn't get any loot, but I now have a way into Elbows of Frost. It also helped that this week on the server was Noth the Lolbringer Must Die! My Frosty Total is looking very healthy.

Needless to say, you don't need to be well-endowed to get ahead of the game. You just need a bit of luck along the way.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fings Aint Wot they Used to Be

I'm on a Jazz tip at the moment, so this seemed vaguely appropriate. Be grateful I didn't give you Max Bygraves, the urge was strong...

So then, those changes to 10 and 25 man raiding: let's get the crystal ball out and do some guesswork as to what's going to happen as a result....

Someone somewhere will predict it's the End of 25 Man Raiding. There'll also be those of us who will try to resist the urge to remind people what happened when it was 40 man raiding getting the heave ho. Someone will then be obliged to mention that 'it was all fields here once' and wander off muttering about kids not knowing they're born... Yes, some of us are really old. We like to remind you this in the vague hope it might afford us a measure of respect, but it never works...

A Hardcore Raiding Guild will cite this announcement as the reason they decide to call it a day. The wailing and teeth gnashing that results will have nothing to do with the real reason they stopped playing, which will inevitably be a combination of real world issues and people deciding they don't want to spend another summer waiting for the expansion to drop when all they'll need to raid come launch is Cataclysm blues. Yes, it's going to be a kick in the teeth (again) for the Hardcore, but frankly half of them are gonna go play The Old Republic anyway, so it's not the biggest loss.

Heroic 25 Man will DEFINITELY become the new Epeen standard for End Game Raiding. Yes, we know it already is... the only difference of course in Cataclysm is that the slacker 10 mans will have the exact same loot, only a detailed mathematical breakdown of each individuals Achievement Points will be able to tell people this is the case. Expect a new addon shortly after Cataclysm: Heroscore. This broadcasts to the entire server just how many times you've completed every Cataclysm hard mode with 24 of your mates. Only having nine friends will become the equivalent of typing 'LF Rouge to open my lockbox' in Trade. The people who predicted the end of 25 man raiding will be in the Inn, lamenting the glory days of Sunwell...

Large swathes of Server Population will take a Six Month Summer Vacation. Yes, you only need Cataclysm blues to do the starter raids. Legions of players finally step outside for the first time to discover the sun and distractions like Television and Other Forms of Entertainment. Slackers who've not played celebrate that finally they'll not need to spend the last six weeks before the expansion frantically gearing to not get wiped by the first mob they hit when they start levelling again. Those with no actual ability remain blithely unaware that anything significant has changed.

The Number of Casual Players will Continue to Increase. Sorry Hardcores, but if you ever wanted an indicator that This Expansion is Not for You, then here you have it. If you were among those laughing at the 80,000+ people queuing for the Sparkly Horse, remember that horse will scale to 310% speed. The Casuals can spend all Summer having a life, buy the Expansion and still be as well equipped as you without the need to have nearly as many mates online. They can also get the girls, the guys, have the ability to fold space and time simply with the Spice and their minds AND be way better looking than you and frankly there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. Blizzard's bottom line is, like it or not, fuelled by the KER-ching! There's going to come a point where no-one plays this game anymore and when that happens Blizzard need to have made every single cent they can, and that money is in the Casuals' pockets. Yes, they care about you but they know you're moving on too. So, they cater to the biggest single majority.

In conclusion, what does this mean for the Game?

The more things change, the more they stay the same. People continue to spout cliche's, fights get started and restarted, a small majority pack up their toys and go somewhere else, and the rest of us wonder at just how long Blizzard can go on making money. Surely there has to be a point where they screw it up. SURELY...?

Told You So!

Some called me strange. However, I predicted the Demise of the Badger last month, and I was right.
Our primary goal when approaching badges in Cataclysm is to address a lot of the confusion that comes with these currency systems. To that end we're changing badges to a more straightforward point system, similar to the ones we've used for a while for Arenas and Battlegrounds. There will be a total of four types of points you can earn in Cataclysm (two for PvE and two for PvP), and these will remain the same even as we introduce new content.

Here's the breakdown:
Hero Points -- Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most dungeons. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
Valor Points -- High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, as well as a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from Dungeon Finder daily Heroic and from raids. (most like the current Emblem of Frost)
Honor Points -- Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most PvP activities.
Conquest Points -- High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, and a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from winning Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas. (currently called Arena Points) (Source)
You have to hand it to Blizzard, they are trying to make things clearer for everyone. I'm not sure the Raid Lockout changes are going to please everyone as much, but you can't fault them for being consistent. I think this is an excellent indicator for the future as well: less clutter wins my vote.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Matters Arising :: April 26 Edition

Add Another Alt to the List

 Thorim was also very bored of the Sparkly Ponies...

Finally, the Rogue is L80. Now I'm there, I'm not entirely certain what happens next, but no doubt she will be geared before Cataclysm. Her main raison d'etre was to act as a replacement miner for M as she's become an Alchemist, and that's working pretty well. The gathering proffs are very well-covered, and the cash they're bringing in is not to be underestimated. Next on the list therefore will be the Priest, and hopefully I will be able to finish off Inscription once and for all. The daily learn seems to be never ending. After that it's just Jewelcrafting to worry about...

WTB [Decent PuG Experience]

Last night I snagged a decent ICC 25, for the first time in what seems like weeks, but it's probably closer to months. Even when the entire thing collapsed at Festergut people were polite and friendly in departure. It's becoming increasingly apparent that the casual population is contracting for the Spring/Summer which means Guild ads are getting more frequent and decent PuG Experiences will continue to diminish. Still, I have a pair of Scourge Hunter's Vambraces to show for the evening so it's not all bad.

I should also congratulate my husband last night who picked up a VERY decent PuG and ended up with a raft of top-quality achievements:

If you're going to do things, do them properly. No, he didn't win the Horse, his lack of luck with dropped mounts is now legendary...

Market Watch.

Low level herbs are good business at the moment, so much so I've had one of the bank alts out wandering about levelling up Herbalism in the low level zones. Frozen Orbs appear to also be a good seller again (I am aware there's a lot of people using the LFD Tool right now, so clearly the number of orbs remains healthy) I'm looking for niche markets at present: low level leathers for instance are always worth a look at especially if you can gather them quickly and with a good number of other items. A couple of runs through Shadowfang Keep for instance pull out decent amounts of Light and Medium leather, greens and low level patterns that are constant good sellers. Running Karazhan up to Moroes is also a decent money spinner right now for dusts and shards and a chance at a couple of very decent selling Outland enchants and patterns. It's all about keeping an eye on the AH and working out what's this week's big seller...

This week has a lot of RL content so we'll have to see what we can get done in between. Top of the list is getting M sorted with her last branch of Crusade rep, as once I've done Exodar that's a third alt I can tick off the 'Colluseum Completed' List...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Things to Make and Do

Weekly is Ignis. Can you tell?

I really am going to give Mountain o' Mounts my best shot. I refuse to spend huge amounts of cash however, for I am a tightwad. As a result, it may take some time. However I did throw 200 elbows at the Mammoth, coz frankly there's not much else apart from gems they're going to be any use for on P. I may also have bought the remaining four Aether Rays I didn't posess and the five Netherwing Dragons not in the stables. This means I now own 89 mounts. There will be trips to Strat and Kara, and to ZG. I will be keeping my fingers crossed in the Oculus. There's two more PvP mounts to get. I've almost pulled together enough Seals for my first 100 seal Mount. As I said, gonna be a while, but it's not as if there's anything staggering about to drop Game wise any time soon... but having said that Children's Week is looming, and there's another mount there I can get without too much effort...

As you can also see, the ICC 10 progression is good and constant. Gonna have another run through Monday, if all goes well.

I also managed to snag Muckbreath's Bucket via the Crocs Quest. That's one lizard short of the full set. Pet collection is coming very close to three figures as well...

So, I'll amend the In Progress list to reflect my latest stupid project. I could really do with Blizzard opening the PTR as a distraction...