Friday, June 11, 2010

Over 3000!

Very little will change in Outland and Northrend. It would be nice to make more changes for continuity, but consider that Wrath of the Lich King shipped with roughly 1,000 new quests, and Cataclysm is scheduled to ship with upwards of 3,000 new quests. (Source)


Let's stop and think about this for a second. We have two new starting areas, so that's quests for all the starting races and classes. There's also some significant changes to existing race's class combinations, so they will need quests as well. Even with this as a consideration 3000 is a HELL of a lot of new progression content on the quest side. It does suggest that a lot has been added, but what this figure makes no allusion to is what will be removed, and this is more of an issue for some (especially those I know who have Loremaster on their list of 'Things To Do Before Cataclysm Hits')

Another significant Blue quote from yesterday makes reference to something I've been hoping would happen since we all piled into Outland: a direct progression of Life on Azeroth. I'll let the Blue explain it (coz they do it so much better than I ever could):
We're definitely not taking a simplistic inside-out approach and flipping the feel of every zone around. Some areas will change drastically as a result of Deathwing's cataclysmic return. These areas will change for better or worse. You'll also see a lot of what we refer to as political progression. For instance, the Forsaken are determined to really come into their own as a faction now that the Lich King is gone. They intend to continue to fight for their preservation with allegiance to the Horde, which requires that they find alternate means of sustaining their forces since they cannot reproduce. Politically, they're determined to expand their territory around Lordaeron and march into Greymane. It is in the Horde's interest to have a coastal stronghold on Eastern Kingdoms in the event that an attack on Stormwind becomes imminent.

So, beyond the physical changes of the world, you'll see a lot of storyline advancement, as the setting on Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms will now be post-Lich King. (Source)
Actions have consequences, and the laying the ground here as a reason why the Worgen would side with the Alliance (as the Forsaken want to take their lands) is an excellent reason for creating the conflict. It's not simply the remodelling of Azeroth that's important for many of us, it's the advancement of the 'story' in which we have all become so emotionally invested. This will mean of course that levelling from scratch will be a fundamentally different experience than it was before the Expansion, and this is perhaps the biggest masterstroke from Blizzard: they really have recreated the game with a way for the 80's and the newbies to exist together in a world that although remains fundamentally the same has moved forward. It also means that many many people who may not have considered doing the 1-85 grind are going to roll a new character, just to see what all the fuss is about. This may be one of the reasons Blizzard polled people recently and suggested that new character slots might be added to the server maximum of 10... they KNOW people will want to roll on their existing servers...

However the biggest OMG moment from yesterday's Blues may not be of interest to some, but it stopped me in my tracks. Rated Battlegrounds in Cataclysm already were a great idea, but now they have EPIC written all over them:
We're currently expecting both normal and rated battlegrounds to be cross-battlegroup (within a region) for the launch of Cataclysm. So, players queueing from anywhere in north america (for example) could play vs players on any north american battlegroup, etc. This applies to all regions, not just north america. (Source)
I can play with anyone in Europe. ANYONE. That's just win, that is, and it should mean that ratings are more accurate and that people will have a harder time 'cheating' the system for points. That's just...

Is it time for the Expansion yet? :D

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Azeroth's Got Talent! :: Druid Edition

...well, some of them anyway. In what is looking increasingly like the precurser to the Beta Test getting underway, Blizzard have released the Cataclysm talents for Rogues, Priests, Shaman and Druids. As all four of these are relevant to yours truly I thought I'd have a go at casting my talents via the wonders of the New and Shiny MMO Talent Calculator. First up, the easy one. Druid Talents Ahoy!

Here we have a 63/0/13 Tree. In the Resto arm it's pretty much business as usual,with some subtle changes in the top two tiers (I reckon aimed at those of us only speccing here for the Master Shapeshifter talent)

Sigre's DB links aren't yet active for the talent spells so it's good old cut and paste for now: here are the two significant spell changes. Moonfire as part of your standard rotation has been pushed for a while (Moonfire spam jokes no more, old gits!) but now it really looks as if it's being made an indispensable damage dealer. That's borne out by spells in the Balance Tree itself:

So that's a 24% increase in damage for 3 seconds? Ok so that's not long but it does seem rather a lot, especially as I've increased it's base damage by 6% anyway, plus the extra 6% damage overall. Anyone want to be on how much we're going to be nerfed come Release? ^^

New spells abound in the tree: let's look at the highlights shall we?

You'll see Lunar Justice on the forth tier of your Talent tree. I can see healers running towards rays of light for replenishment already, both in PvP and in 5 Mans, and there's no excuse as they have 15 seconds to get there... and this is clearly going to be a theme for Druid's use in raids. Solar Beam is a long overdue silence mechanic (pull those casters while questing!) and I suspect is going to be rather nifty in a PvP environment. All these beams of light from the sky could get pretty confusing, I hope Blizzard have thought through mechanics to make each one easily distinguishable from the others. If you talent Solar Beam you also get access to a completely new spell, and by the looks of it a completely new spell type to boot:

'Spellstorm Damage'? Whut? Is this going to be a new spell type across classes? (Makes note to go check Shammy spells after this) Does this mean there will be a Spellstorm potion? Spellstorm enchants? Spellstorm mousemats and t-shirts??? Needless to say at 11% of base mana this is not a spell for the feint hearted, and with a 2 second cast... I'm going to want to see this one in action on the PTR please.

There are two other new spells of note in the tree:

If you stick 3 points in Dreamstate (mana regen) you now get Euphoria as an additional bonus. From what I've been able to glean about how Moonkins will work in Cataclysm, extra Lunar or Solar energy cannot be a bad thing (though I'm betting there's gonna be a lot of micro-management of bars and the like in the early days) Needless to say 12% of our mana back per Eclipse of any variety sounds like WIN in my books.

Finally we have what I will confidently predict will be referred to for now and forever after as 'The 'Sroomkin Talent' Despite being NYI (boo) this now makes speccing into Treants a total necessity for me. I've never used them before as I always thought they were a bit of a poinless exercise (comedy pets, die in a stupid fashion, seem vaguely annoying) but with a 70% slow as a bonus... would be rude not to!

I'll be taking a look at the other trees over the weekend so expect similarly pithy insights when I do. Before I go however, in the hugely unlikely event that anyone from Blizzard is reading this, I ask you NOT TO CHANGE THE NAME of this Feral talent. Really guys, it's great as it is!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Fly Me To Dalaran

So, I officially give thanks to my Recruited Friend (who is having a whale of a time on The Sha'tar EU Server doing That Roleplay Thing) because yesterday I got an e-mail saying 'Paid for my time, go check your account.' So, I did, and after some clickage I logged in to find the following in my inbox:

You know what, I think this mount may be even better than the one I'll get when this ridiculous achievement is done:

If you want me, I'll be off flying totally unnecessarily to places for no readily apparent reason. To the skies!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

How to Succeed with Progression Without Really Trying

It started simply enough.

A particular Guildie, who had missed out on the weekly ICC10 Run, got a few people together Monday night for an off the calender try, and bought in some PuG-gers to help out. I was called in when their mage ducked out (it was his bedtime, Mum got cross ^^) and did Rotface, Festergut and Putricide pretty much as a one-shot on my Druid (thus giving her the Plagueworks achievement) As it all went well, we decided to have another go tonight, but the particular Guildie declined the invitation. This meant I offered to heal on my Shaman. After a chat in the Raid we decided that Dreamwalker was gonna be hard in a PuG as none of us had ever tried it (healing was myself, a pally and a lovely 16 year old Disco priest between her GCSE studies) so we decided we'd go do the Blood Princes. If I'm honest, I'm still in shock.

The Princes were far easier than I remember them being as a dps when we unsuccessfully tried them in Guild, mostly because as a Shammy I found a spot, dropped my totems and just healed my arse off. I only moved if I was forced too and it's a tactic I suspect I'll find hard to repeat as dps but no matter, I am sure I can find a way to deal with all those numerous abilities as I now know what they are. Once they'd died I was confident with the team we had the Blood Queen was simply a matter of getting the tactic sorted and her fight, I think, is far easier than the Princes. We did it as a 2-Shot. This fight was notable because I ended up for the first time ever dropping a Mana Tide totem in place of my Healing Stream because I was simply healing non-stop. With a constant damage AoE and all manner of tomfoolery happening around me the Tremor Totem ended up being worth it's weight in gold. I can honestly say I had the most fun healing that I have ever had in five years of playing.

As an exercise in aiding Guild progression I think this evening will be a great success. Learning these two fights from a healing perspective was invaluable for starters: knowing what damage comes from where was really helpful to aid in breaking down the fight mechanics. As the Wonder Pally was also present (on his hobo Rogue) he has a great primer to take with us as we go in tonight and I am pretty confident we now know what we need to tick off a big stumbling block on our path to Arthas.

I reckon we may see the Lich King before the Summer is out.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Almost There...

I believe it's high time we had an update on P's current Achievement project, the Mountain of Mounts.

Mounts #96 and 97, respectively

Firstly, there's been a lot of saving. I've said before I wasn't prepared to stump up 16,000g for THAT Mammoth, but I was prepared to throw 3,600g for these two mounts (especially as I'm Exalted with both factions) This means I've bought everything I can that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, including the Sparkly Pony of DOOM. Mount #98 should, if all has worked as it should, be available for me to redeem tomorrow. I must then thank the Friend I Referred (or slap them if it doesn't appear, I suppose) This will mean that I'll have both the RaF mounts in the stable. Come on, I wasn't going to turn down my own two person rocket now was I...? While I wait, I have Mount #99 to focus on.

Forget what I said about the Dire Maul grind being the worst one ever. I used to love Winterspring, now the thought of going there makes me nauseous. However, since this screenie was made I've been back enough times to get 6000 rep on the bar, so we're just a little over a third of the way there. I WILL DO THIS and not go insane... I will... and when #99 is done it's just a case of doing Tournament Dailies to pick up the missing mount of my choice from the faction vendors. What can possibly go wrong?

If all goes well, we may finally hit the magic three figures by the end of the week...

Matters Arising :: 7th June Edition

Kids are back at school and I feel like I could sleep for a week... so before I pass out in a heap on the sofa let's take a look back at the last 10 days of assorted Warcraft gubbins. There is actually some news!

Last Chance To Quest.

See that? That's a bloody great big Green Dragon attacking Moonglade that is! I finally got around to finishing off the second part of the AQ40 Scepter quest line by helping Eranikus fight his way out of corruption in the Emerald Dream. I was very glad I'd dragged Husband the Wonder Pally along for the ride, especially as the preceding part of the questline meant a 10 minute fight with the nasty satyr in Duskwood. This means I only have the last part of the quest to do in Tanaris, but as that requires 10 Elementium Ore to complete, I'm going to need to earn some cash first...

Balance is Restored.

P is now back on top of the character pile. After a long conversation with a fellow MM Hunter in an ICC 25 I did a significant amount of re-jigging of both gear and gems, and the T9 is back in the bank. I'm wearing 4/5 T10 (helm is the ICC25 drop from Marrogar) and I've been seeing a significant improvement in dps as a result. It took a couple of hours and a fair bit of moolah for the gems, but I think the effort was more than worthwhile. Let's hope I can get lucky and a Deathbringer's Will drops for me in the future...

Making Money the Easy Way: Lesson 12.

With time at a premium last week I did a lot of herbing on the Druid. In terms of time spent for money earnt it's by far the most productive way to make a lot of money in a very short space of time. This bag for instance, a result of an hour in the Storm Peaks and then the Basin, represents a significant wodge of cash. Let me break it down:

100 Lichbloom @ 40g a stack = 200g
60 Icethorn @ 12g a stack = 36g
6 Primal Life @ 20g each = 120g
12 Frost Lotus @ 20g each = 260g

Total for Bag = 616g

This is, of course, a good run: sometimes it's very few Frost Loti, or not as many Eternal Life. I took 20 Frost Lotus from my runs and have banked them for future use, and I will ocasionally snaffle a stack of herbs for potion/flask use, but in the main I'll sell as much as I can. Needless to say, if you ever feel like buying one of those 'Make 250g an Hour Legally' Guides, don't bother. Level Herbalism. Herbs are a guaranteed money maker. You could do the same I suspect with ore, or skins, but herbing as a Druid with flight form is simple and actually rather relaxing, and with the prices the way they are on my Server something I intend to keep doing as long as possible.

Normal Service...

...will be resumed shortly. Half Term is over, and it's going to take me about a week to clear up, but sanity is restored to the Blogsphere. The Obligatory Catchup Post is coming...