Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Rarest of Them All...

Last night I looted something that, for a long time, I thought didn't even exist.

I have no idea how many times I must have run UBRS with P since it's introduction, but I suspect it's many many hundreds. In what must be over five years of farming, this pattern has never dropped in ANY group. I can only ever remember one other person even mentioning it, such is it's rarity. With Cataclysm, the only consistent source of Red Dragonscale has vanished (the dragons outside the then-deserted Grim Batol) so to make one would be quite a feat to begin with, not that anyone would have any real use for it. Needless to say, it's an antique, a hangover from Vanilla which I had pretty much accepted I would never see.

I didn't think there was much left in this game that could surprise me. How wrong I was.

My Inner OCD Leatherworking Pattern Collector is very, VERY happy :D

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Three Drop Night [*]

This Expansion has not been kind to me, Dear Reader. Back in the days of Wrath I'd fall over relevant loot without even trying. I'd win rolls with reckless abandon. In Wintergrasp especially, tier would just drop in my lap. Not so in Cataclysm: it has been a fallow season for anything Huntery. The Ranseur's still not appearing in my personal loot table and I'm getting increasingly comforted that I dropped the cash to obtain one.

Last night, the Loot Gods finally gave me a break.

In related news, Firelands is nerfed, but that's nothing compared to the fact that Shannox finally chucked me his hat. It's a RIDICULOUS thing, so much so I am actually tempted to 'Show Helm' from time to time, Sadly, it completely does NOT GO with my current Murloc Green shoulders, which I sense aren't going to be replaced until 4.3 rolls around. No matter, it's a substantial upgrade. This can only be a good thing. After that, Beth the Spider of DOOM did the business and coughed up another item on my To Win List:

I don't remember the last time I scooped two items that were substantive upgrades on the same run. It would have been three if we'd have managed to kill one more boss, because that would have thrown me over to Revered with the Avengers of Hyjal. Ironically however the Ancient Petrified Seed still doesn't beat out the Key to the Endless Chamber as my secondary BiS trinket so I suspect I will be running the Stonecore a few times in the vain hope it might drop from the first boss... ^^ After this impressive haul I decided to drop the cash on the last remaining BoE I can guarantee as a drop from the AH: the Lava Bolt Crossbow. The increase in dps this has afforded me makes me think I've made the correct decision, and it just means I need to work a little bit harder to regain the cash I've spent so I'm ready for whatever I need to buy in the future. That's hardly an inconvenience.

There's no more I can do myself to upgrade gear, from this point on I'm in the lap of the Loot Gods until 4.3 appears. let's hope they feel I've done enough penance to deserve another night like this in the future...

[*] Okay technically it was only two but that doesn't make for as good a title now does it?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

4.3 :: Yes, You're Broken.

I am surprised that two nuggets of information seem to have been largely ignored in the 4.3 infodump, both of which wave a hand in the direction of those who choose to do their dps up close and personal at the rear end of bosses. To wit:

  • Melee classes will be getting a buff that is only active in the new raid to help them compete with ranged classes.
  • The attack power buff will apply more to melee attack power than ranged attack power.

The last time that we had a raid-wide buff thrown at a raid it was to ensure tanks didn't go BOOM due to excessive damage. This was part of Blizzard's plan to alter the fundamental way in which tanking was approached, and it showed an understanding that mechanics needed to change. With this new buff approaching in 4.3, I think it's now fair to say that Blizzard really did hate melee, and they know it's time to fix that. Notice how the second point specifically mentions this isn't ranged AP we're talking about. Hunters, if you're not doing Marks right now then you should know it's time to change if you want to pull the big numbers. You're not totally broken, although there are lots of things Blizzard could do to make us even more shiny (with a nod to Eidotrope.)

I've been faffing on my Rogue for the last few days and it is painfully apparent how much this buff is needed. There are ridiculous amounts of downtime on bosses where a melee will need to move or adapt while a ranged dps can pretty much carry on pulling out the big digits. Even on a boss as simple as Coren Direbrew there's an at least five second window when he casts his Disarm where you are forced to move back and twiddle your thumbs whilst arrows, fireballs and missiles whistle past your ears. The DoT damage that a Rogue can do is all very well but when the entire point of being melee is to hit him with shiny knives/maces/empty tankards/broken bottles to start with... you need a chance to be able to do that. Unless melee are going to all suddenly develop insane ranged throwing or shooting skills, something needs to be rethought.

We have a standing joke in Guild, much akin to the concept of the Jacket of Shame: the 'Deathboy' tag. I'm proud to say this tag remains staunchly gender-specific, because girls don't stand in &%!$ to start with. Guys however have an uncanny habit of doing so, and for a long time the moniker was bestowed upon a hapless Priest who, try as he might, could not go through Karazhan without buying it on multiple occasions. Of late however the title's moved to an Arms Warrior who, try as the healers might, can't be kept alive. The problem however isn't just his: given the Triage nature of healing post Cataclysm, the choice is simple: keep the tanks in the game or lose a melee. Most times it's a no-brainer, because the melee's doing less dps than the ranged anyway... ^^

I sense this will be the precursor to some more fairly major in-game evolution, and considering how traumatic the last round of changes were for certain classes before the Shattering I can only hope that Blizzard's thought this one through a bit more than before. I think we could do with keeping as many people on board as we can without a whole new bunch of people walking away with their 'I was Virtually Disenfranchised by Blizzard and all I got was this Lousy T Shirt' parting gift.

At least we finally know that melee is broken. Let's hope the long-term solution is more robust than this Band Aid of a buff.

Time to Move Forward!

Blizzard embrace their inner Blue Box...

Unless you've been on Skaro for the last week or so, you'll be aware that as adventurers we are about to be presented with a lot of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey gubbins when the new expansion hits. Since the introduction of that ultimate MacGuffin, The Caverns of Time, we've been given the opportunity to move back in time to those pivotal moments in Azeroth's history and to ensure the present remains reassuringly intact. However with 4.3 we're not just visiting the past, we're going into the future, to a Dragonblight destroyed and littered with the remains of the existence we currently play in. This is what we have to look forward to if we don't destroy Deathwing. Don't say you weren't warned...

Overseeing all of this are the Bronze Dragonflight, who are perhaps one of the best utilised factions Blizzard have ever produced. It was them who helped us open the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj back in Vanilla, a truly Epic undertaking in every sense of the word. It is they that have saved Thrall from an untimely demise (and hopefully will do the same again at Wyrmrest) and who ensured Arthas took is pre-destined place at the Frozen Throne. The implication that they have been present at every significant event of Warcraft Lore is in turn reassuring and disturbing: who do these guys think they are? Are they really simply ensuring that Time runs as it should or is there a more sinister agenda behind their machinations? I could compare them to that race whose soul surviving member rides around in a Blue Box on TV right now, but I think Matt Smith's getting enough publicity already. I wonder how many mages are thinking they HAVE to get 5/5 Tier 13 just for the name... ^^

Anyway, I digress. When the Escape from Durnholde five man first appeared in TBC it became hugely popular: it wasn't just the scenario either. Venture into 'old' Southshore and you could find nods to a plethora of well known NPC's and a conversation in the Inn that made lore nerds squee uncontrollably for months afterwards. Blizzard made an effort not simply to populate the foreground but the background too, and it made for a fantastic experience. I hope that as we move through time in 4.3 that the same attention to detail is being covered, that I'll be able to complete the instances and take a trip around what was and what might be and uncover more slices of lore and moments of fangirl love.

From a development angle, time travel gives Blizzard a near infinite amount of potential content to explore in the future, and I'm wondering how much of what we are yet to see in patches and expansions may use this MacGuffin to take us there. As much as I love the idea of exploring potential possibilities, I hope this isn't the beginning of a trend where we'll be flitting backwards and forwards. I love Azeroth as it is, and however much fun it might be going back to the future, I want to progress in the timeline I've forged for myself.

Is it time for the PTR yet?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No I in TEAM.

I had a post planned today, but on reflection I've decided Not To Go There. Needless to say, at this point, my faith in people being fair, generous and understanding's at a pretty much all-time low. This game doesn't just bring out the best people, it makes them petty, selfish and downright objectionable. It is at times like this I wonder why I bother.

Then I remember what happens when people put that aside and work as a Real Team.

Monday night we wanted our last crack at the Firelands pre-nerf, and we had our sights on Baleroc. It was a bit of a struggle to pull ten people together (thanks to M who tanked at short notice) but when we got there and wiped at 8% as he Enraged, it was clear we had the ability to beat him, we just needed to right method to accomplish it. Tactics were freely discussed, we tried a number of combinations until we dropped from two tanks to one and I got taken out of the shard rotation and given one task: dps. It's been a while since I've felt pressured in game on a Boss but suddenly it was there: I needed to do the job.

I've spoken at length about how I wish that it wasn't always about performance in situations like this but the fact remains: when it comes down to winning, everyone has to do their best. You can't carry people, you shouldn't have anyone not giving anything but their best. However 'polite' people can sometimes be when you fail, it is still that: a failure. It could just be one person who blew it, it could be a succession of small mistakes that contributed to a greater issue. Whatever caused it, you're back to the start. As soon as the pull was made I said quietly to myself  'don't panic, just do what you know you're capable of' and as we worked our way through the encounter I felt myself relax. Suddenly I could remember to pop abilities for extra damage, could take that potion when Time Warp was activated, as able to do what I'd been asked without being afraid I'd screw it up. As Baleroc dropped and I looked at the meters I'd not topped them but I'd done more damage than I'd ever managed in any encounter before. I brought my contribution to the table, and so did everyone else.

The Guild managed 4/7 in Firelands on Normal Mode pre-nerf.

The only reason that happened was that everyone put their best work into every boss. As a result I'd anticipate, with the Mighty Nerfat having swung, that Ragnaros should be down well before 4.3 hits. I'm hoping that even with these reductions in difficulty that the Guild doesn't stop wanting to do it's best, that it keeps pushing forward and trying to be the best team it can be.

To those of you who think it's about what you want first and what others ask second, it's time to look again. There is no I in our TEAM, and long may that continue.

Fun While it Lasted...

If you didn't capitalise on yesterday's homework, you're out of luck. It should come as no surprise to anyone that post-Maintenance, Coren's cash drop's been nerfed.

Back to the Daily Grind then... ^^

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

4.3 :: Hang On a Minute...

In addition, due to tier pieces not being offered for Valor Points, another thing you'll see in patch 4.3 is a much wider array of desirable non-set loot (covering more slots than prior patches) available from the vendors, for those players who are unlucky with specific token drops, or who aren't interested in raiding—although, once you get more details about the Raid Finder, we hope you'll find interest in having a go.
Is this Blizzard finally admitting that the RNG is an issue?

I have NEVER understood why it wouldn't be possible to return to the days when one token could buy all class specific items. One Head Token = One Headpiece for ANY CLASS. Why is that so difficult? If you're in a DKP Guild, save your points. If you use Master Looter, people roll, highest roll wins. Am I missing something basic here that means this isn't practical?

Regardless, this is great news for us slackers the more casual player who has a vast army of 85 alts expecting to be clad in the latest fashions. Of course, this will also mean getting off our arses running more dungeons to obtain those all important Justice and Valor Points...

If I'm unlucky with Firelands drops before 4.3, I KNOW what P's gonna be buying when the patch finally drops. Bye Bye Ridiculous Murloc Green Spaulders... !!!

Today's Homework...

Five Friends are killing a Festival Boss in Blackrock Depths. It takes them approximately 60 seconds to pound his face into the cold stone and to reset so they can do it again.

Each kill awards them all with APPROXIMATELY 20g each.

Assuming they don't get locked out of the event after completing more than four runs in sixty minutes (which they currently don't) how much money can they make per hour simply by farming this boss?

If this is intended, I know what I'll be doing for an hour a day for the next two weeks, coz this beats the Hell out of any of my current farming spots...

Brewfest Advisory!

New Brewfest Stein! Hooray for actually updating the Holiday this time around!

Oh and Grats on the Guild getting 4/7 Normal pre 4.2 nerfage \o/

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Beautiful World

With a nod to WoW Insider, this video rocks my world. This game looks best when you stop and take the time to appreciate the beauty that exists around you every day. This is a lovely way to do that, and is enough to make me forget just how horrendous Outland was back in the day... not unlike the feeling I'm sure I'll have once the Molten Front is a distant memory.

Also, the music is lovely.

This Week, I will be Mostly...

Happy Pirates Day, YARRRRRR!

During the next seven days, I will be mostly...

  • Pretending not to camp Sethria's Roost in the vain hope that Kelbnar will spawn so I NEVER HAVE TO GO THERE AGAIN. Except on my Maeg for a bit. *Cough*

  • Taming a Ravager so I can finally have a backup dps pet for Raids on P.

  • Doing Brewfest Stuff, because it's likely to be trinket upgrades and that's summat everyone who's at the appropriate level in the Family can use. This may mean getting N the Priest to 84 as well to take advantage of LFG Goodness.

  • Farming glods using a variety of tried and tested methods and spots. My new one is the most satisfying at present because OMG SO MANY SPARKLIES.

  • Having one last crack at Firelands before they nerf it.

  • Hoping 4.3 doesn't muck up all my best laid plans. WTB Datamining!!1!!!11

Not Soon Enough

Your skeletal dragon is being held in a queue and is important to us...

This weekend was a lot about MOAR GUILD DRAMA DOES NOT WANT, hence two days away from posting so I could go rant somewhere quiet. It also became abundantly apparent that the current content Blizzard expects us to play pre 4.3 is not doing the job. I finally went to the Molten Front with K to pick up the Tailoring bag recipes and on Saturday (and a large part of Sunday) the place was deserted. However, when I popped up to do the Tournament Dailies on P and pick up enough Champion's Seals to manage another pet I had to wait for a Chillmaw spawn, as shown above. Go figure.

I can see me concentrating on making money in the next few weeks, especially if I'm going to need to be buying Epic Gems via the AH for a vast fleet of alts /shakesfist at Blizzard. With Brewfest, Pilgrim's Bounty and then (hopefully) a brand new Hallow's End Festival to distract people I'm guessing they'll be aiming for an early December release for 4.3. We've been promised more patch info this week, and it can't come soon enough...

4.3 :: Oh That's Torn It!

We are doing epic gems this time around as a drop in the raid and we may not have those drop in the Looking for Raid tier.

Nonononononononono. I saved over 100 JC tokens!!11!!! I've got half a Vanity Guild Bank tab of Pyrite!11!!!!1

Having said that, this comes as absolutely no surprise. I can only hope that a) we might get a transmute and b) that there will be recipes so that all those tokens won't be a loss. Having said that, I can see Blizzard now making those recipes purchasable for points like they did at the end of TBC. *sigh*

Remember folks, what happened before is not necessarily what will happen again :/