Thursday, March 17, 2011

Further Proof...

... if it were needed, that Blizzard recognises the best way to keep the game running is to make sure you're not required to log on daily to take advantage of their maximum allocation of points. In case you don't see this from the graphic, MMO Champion provides this nugget of 4.1 PTR Goodness:

Click to Enlarge, coz it's quite hard to read...

So if you can't play in the week but have time to do seven Heroics across the weekend (or vice versa one assumes)  from 4.1 you'll get Valor Points for all of them...  or indeed in any way you want, but only the first 7 runs count. This is yet to be officially confirmed of course and is only via Data Mining but the consequences of this are quite frankly rather significant, especially for my Guild where I know certain people only log away from raid times at present to 'run their Daily'.

Now all we need is some decent new points loot to benefit ^^

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Can You See?

Shoddily-constructed Graphics ftw!

I logged in late yesterday evening after a fairly long and hard RL day, and my first move (as normal) was to check for any auction wins in my Inbox. Instead of cash I found something else: a member of my Guild had decided to quit, and had left me notice of this via the in-game mail.

To be honest, I find myself not being particularly surprised at this turn of events. The Guild is very quiet currently, on an average night we're lucky to pull double figures for appearances. Many of our regulars have been swamped by Real Life, or are off playing other games (Rift, Dragon Age 2 and Minecraft being the most popular distractions) and as a GM I find myself wondering what we as a Guild should be doing to counter this drop in active membership. Both the official forums and many of my favourite discussion areas are full of 'I'm quitting WoW, this is the end of Warcraft' threads and I have to concede that, where I'm standing right now, I think there is a movement of people that I know away from the game. On the flip side to this however there is still lag in SW, there are vast numbers of people playing at the times that I do, but I don't recognise the names in the AH as often as normal. Ironically my Friends List seems to be full of people doing 10 mans on an average evening, whilst I'm picking up the odd Heroic or doing achievements.

Winter is normally the peak time for us, with less distractions and more people 'at home' when it's cold. With this drop I know that come the summer months we will struggle to run an active Raid team (we're not exactly turning people away right now) and so it's probably time to start thinking about what the Guild will do about this. Whilst we do that I know we are in good company, with the number of Recruitment adverts in Trade steadily on the rise. We're not alone, and finding good people who will raid consistently is becoming more and more of an issue for a certain type of Guild.

With Warcraft apparently due to be launched into Latin America and Japan this year, it's clear that Blizzard don't consider the game to be on it's last legs just yet, but what is apparent with the delay of Firelands to 4.2 is that Blizzard recognise the pace of raid progression beyond the high-end guilds is slowing. The inclusion of the two Troll instances specifically as five mans could have been made for a Guild like us who's not really steaming through the end game content. The ultimate irony for me in ZG, I realised last night, is the bow that was my First Ever Epic that I'll be playing for a second time: we've done all this before. When we go into the Firelands to kill Ragnaros (assuming that there's enough of us of course) the only difference between him and his MC incarnation will be two legs and a couple of years of experience. We've already beaten Ragnaros, after all, once a week when there were 39 other people to slack with. This time around I have more HP, and it'll take longer to kill him. Everything else is pretty much constant.

In fact, there's a school of thought that says that there could logically become a point where Blizzard will make raid instances in 5, 10 and 25 man flavours thus allowing anyone (theoretically) a chance to take part in End Game... but 5 mans aren't raiding, are they? 10 mans weren't raiding either back in the day, they were considered the poor man's end game, but now they're just as relevant because they mean you don't have to rely on vast numbers of people to enjoy the game with. Rebranding ZA and ZG from ten to five man really is a master stroke, because they'll give the growing number of long term serial casuals somewhere to go when ten man raiding becomes impractical.

I've spent a long time playing in Azeroth, and although I'm not ready to give up just yet, I can see the time when I am. If Blizzard are smart, that'll be about the time they launch Titan... ^^

Monday, March 14, 2011

Into the Valley.

Waiting for the off...

I've been waiting for the Alterac Valley Honor Weekend to roll around for a while, if truth be told. As it's clear that the current PvP Season will now extend to 4.2 (which could be several months away) I wanted to sort myself a full set of tier gears as well as attempt to knock off some of my PvP-related achievements, and the easiest one on my list depended on 39 people doing something that can be something of a problem for the Alliance as a rule: winning.

However, with the abolishment of Battlegroups (and with the whole of the EU servers to draw from for allies) wining is now far less of a rarity. It does however have a significant correlation with the time of day I play: as a rule, win percentages rise during the mornings and late night (the cynic in me thinks it's because the age of the average Horde is significantly younger they play in the afternoons after school and get sent to bed by their Mums quite early, yes I am being frivolous, no please don't come and beat me up thank you) and the ability for people to work as a unit seems to have noticeably improved. As a result, it took far less time than I thought it would to get my 100 AV Victories.

As it transpired, the honour gain was so good this weekend that I've been able to upgrade the last pieces of crafted gear I had, giving me 5/5 Gladiator. All that's left to do is grind the 2k I need for the resilience shoulder enchant and I'm done for current gear needs, unless I can slip in some more Arena matches for upgrades. I'll be taking a long look at my PvP achievements in the week and seeing what's the next easiest to do. I won't be saying goodbye to AV any time soon though, I need to defend another 24 towers to grab the Master of AV Achievement...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Cracking Night...

I think we're going to need a bigger boat...

It all began with a bloody big fish.

It was a quiet night in Guild. A fellow Achievement-chaser whispered my Husband early evening and asked if he would be interested in helping him get From Hell's Heart I Stab at Thee with him. My good Dwarven Friend G had already soloed one of these monsters, so when I signed up to help and we had eight of us in total ready to do battle I expected a pretty straightforward fight. How wrong I was. This big bugger took far more co-ordination than I'd expected and again I take my hat off to my husband for an absolutely first-class tanking/kite job which made the achievement possible. Over six minutes later we had a corpse, and an insatiable desire to achieve more stuff.

And achieve we did.

We cleared Naxx 10 with eight for those who needed it (failing on The Undying inevitably to an iceblock on KT) but pulled out numerous achievements along the way (including Subtraction for me) which then left the way open for Glory of the Raider, which I will admit I've coveted for quite some time. After Naxx it was Onyxia, and after her we headed back to Northrend for a last few scores it was 1.30am. It's gotta be a good night when you finish the next day :D

Needless to say, that's the most fun I've had on a Saturday in game for a while. Thanks go out to everyone reading who contributed to a cracking night.