Friday, October 28, 2011

Some Cheese with the Whine?

I'd not heard of Manaflask until a link to them popped up on my Facebook page this morning. After a bit of cursory online digging it appears to be a new community, being constructed by both Ensidia and For the Horde. If I am to believe what I read on MMO it will be competition for the hugely popular Tankspot portal. Why am I interested in this site? Well, this morning they publish comments from Paragon, Ensidia and For the Horde members as they react to the new Expansion. I think Chainfire sums up what I sense will be a few hardcore raider's response to all of this:

They promised us old-gods and delivered us plushie-toys. Wow dies with Deathwing.

These reactions are mixed, but there are clearly those people looking forward to the Pandas. Those who aren't also feel that the game's being 'dumbed down', a sentiment it's easy to sympathise with when you consider the move towards more 'casual' content. This is not an expansion adding a new difficulty level for raiding, it's introducing a system to encourage more people to raid starting with what is, let's face it, a Training Mode. That seems a little out of place on a forum that's setting itself up to try and compete with one of the biggest raid 'support' sites: surely you should be pushing the positives to the forefront?

Inevitably, change provokes different reactions from individuals. Those who were already dissatisfied with the situation pre-Expansion announcement may well use this as the 'spur' they need to quit the game altogether: I have no idea what the turnover is of hardcore raiders is but I'm guessing it's quite high, and assuming there are still people willing to replace them, nothing much changes. If we lose a major player over this, if a 'big name' Guild quits as a result... well, there'll be no change there either. If Ensidia and For the Horde have come together to launch a site to compete with Tankspot, that tells me that someone in those Guilds is looking at a picture that is clearly larger than simply the hardcore game, and that means embracing the Pokemon and the Challenge Modes. Change is inevitable, after all, and with change comes the potential to pull in new players who may one day wish to raid. Assuming that Blizzard want to keep encouraging people towards End Game, and assuming that End Game remains attractive, there's a constant stream of potential recruits to keep the whole system ticking over for quite some time to come.

I have to say, I have a measure of sympathy with some of these comments, but as is borne out in the Facebook responses to this post, no-one is making anyone play the game. If it's not fun any more it's time to stop and go do something else. The key of course to the new expansions' overall success will be the unknown quantities: those who will come new to the game and (more importantly) those who may be lured back. Add to this the (as yet) untouched worldwide markets the game has, and I suspect any amount of whining from a vocal minority is unlikely to change any of Blizzards long-term strategies.

Blizzard clearly have a Plan. Only time will tell if it's the right one.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So, this Plan...

I think we're gonna need a bigger bank... ^^

It's all very well talking about a Grand Scheme, it's something else entirely to get the damn thing organised. For a while I've been debating whether it wouldn't be a bad idea to faction change my L80 Horde Druid back to Alliance for the gathering options it would open up, plus the fact I have a fairly tidy sum gathering dust in her bank. The only reason I put the effort into getting her to 80 was for the Tournament Pets, which I've now got, and as it is extremely unlikely I'd need to be on the Horde side again with more than one character (yes there's still going to be a Hunter there as GM of my current Guild's Dark Side.)

My druid was created well before the days of Faction Changes, and with Blizzard lining up Guild Bank transfers it occurs to me I'd do a lot worse than bring both Druid and Vanity Guild over together (cost dependant, ofc)  Needless to say, as I am pretty set on Tauren becoming Worgen, this would give me one of each Alliance race and would make me very happy. It would also mean I could retire a bankalt and free up another valuable character space, just in time I'd wager for Blizzard to drop the restrictions on 10 characters per server ^^ This would also mean I had THREE Vanity Guilds running simultaneously, all with Guild Banks. I think one might have to go, you know.

As to what I'm going to do with myself in the run up to 4.3, which I'm still guessing will drop early December, that's fairly simple. I'm keeping fingers crossed that the Darkmoon stuff's gonna pop up on the PTR next week, and if it does I'll be having a good look around. There's plenty of money to be made in the weeks running up to 4.3 as well, plus daily Jewelcrafting Dailies to keep doing and achievement holes to be filled. If I get really bored there's three of the family not yet at 85 as well, so it's not like am at a loss.

Oh, and did I mention I'm going to try and write a novel in 30 days next month?

There's a plan, but whether it will all actually happen, that's a different issue entirely...

Right Then...

The new header is the reason why I didn't want to do this until P had some new shoulders, but what the hey. This is my Mark 1 Graphic, the Mark 2 will put letters on the portraits and will increase as I add more 85's to the mix. I may also add some blue Alliance colour bars, not sure just yet, but this then gives you an idea of where my thinking is going. I'm after simple and uncluttered, having designed far too many websites in my time that were neither, and suffered as a result.

Anyway, there is a Plan, not simply for streamlining the site but for moving the Game Stuff forward, and I will get to that as soon as I have worked out the logistics.

Consider this much-needed site procrastination in the meantime :D

More Suitable...

I have located a suitable Panda-type background. It has Mists in it. That should please the Pink Naysayers...

I really do need to a) redesign this site and b) post some actual content... ^^

[EDIT: To hell with it, let's use the new template I was looking at earlier now and start from there :D]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yes, It's Pink ^^

I am having trouble with this template reading correctly on a couple of mobile devices and, in the short term I have removed the background image as a result.

I like the pink, for what it's worth :D

Too. Much. Information!

There's a lot of things changing post-Blizzcon, and very few of these have anything at all to do with Pandas.

The new Guild Services announcement popped up just before the weekend's festivities I believe, and has gone live on US servers yesterday post-maintenance: Guilds can not only be faction-changed intact, they can be moved across servers and renamed. This is not yet implemented in Europe but once it is I am giving serious consideration to shifting both my Horde Druid and her bank across to the Alliance Side. I did enjoy my levelling experience with her during Cataclysm but if I'm honest I'm always going to be an Alliance girl at heart. Needless to say, watch this space.

Secondly, it appears that Taiwan and Korea will soon enjoy twice-weekly resets 4.0 and 4.2 raid content. Progress will be reset every week for the first time on Thursday morning at 09:00, and then at 09:00 on Sunday. It seems fair to assume that this is because Blizzard feel that not enough people have cleared the Firelands content: giving a second reset is a fairly radical move.  If translated to European Maintenance this would give a reset on Wednesday and Saturday, which would mean as a Guild we'd need to quite seriously rearrange our schedule but I think we'd cope. Two Firelands raids a week, eh? Not just them but more Blackwing Descent, Throne and that other one...

The biggest news for me however is HAT related. Yes, it's THAT HAT. You know, the one you get in Gilneas...? It's been updated and no longer requires the lower level mats it once did and (sadly) seems not to require any Polished Bronze Rivets. Arsecakes. I know I'm not the only one who's been pickpocketing guys for these kiddies as well :/ Oh well, this does at least mean that I can make them for the bankalts, and let's face it who wouldn't want a L1 Bank Gnome in a Top Hat?

There also appears to be a new push on the PTR so if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if I can pick up anything the dataminers missed...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Too Soon?

What do you mean WE DIDN'T BRING A ROGUE!!!1!!1!!1!

I am shattered.

Last night was really, REALLY hard work. The Ragnaros Kill was going to be the celebrated 'Last Pull of the Night' except I failed in my job of dispatching the Sons in the P1/P2 transition so we decided we'd have one more try. Frankly, I sucked. However, when it mattered, I pulled my arse out of the fire and we got the job done. I feel like I've run a marathon as a result.

I also can't help but think that Blizzard should have made it so we'd still be wiping on Majordomo.

If I read GuildOx correctly, we should now be rated in the Top 50 Guilds on our Server (48th, with a Realm 23rd on Ragnar-O's) This is the best showing we've ever had on content, at no point in the Guild's history have we ever been this 'advanced' on progression bosses. If Blizzard's long-term aim is to get more people into raiding then I suppose we're living proof of it's success, and it's a testament to the people who went last night, and who have wiped for the last couple of weeks on this sucker so we could get a strategy formed that everyone was happy with. It's also clear (looking at the meters) that in the end we had more than enough of the raw materials to make the whole thing happen, it was simply a case of grasping what to kill and when not to stand in &%!$. Let's face it, this fight is not for anyone with lag issues.

The fact that Blizzard is prepared to nerf it's content to allow more people to attempt it has been the subject of a lot of discussion in the Blogsphere. Without that change we would, I suspect, still be 'outside' working our way towards the end boss. I don't think that would have been a loss, but what it would have meant is that we would be lesser geared to start again once 4.3 hit. Reducing the difficulty curve will mean that over time more people are 'prepared' to a standard which will allow us to walk into the Dragon Soul raid with people who can at least do the basic numbers required to survive it. I can't help but think though that with more testing in the PTR phases and some subtlety the 'nerf' could have been introduced far more gradually and wouldn't have made it look as if it was needed. I think Blizzard could do well to learn the lesson that it's as much about the manner which you change things as the change itself.

Having said all this of course, I don't want to take anything away from the team that carried my sorry arse pulled this off last night, so Congratulations to everyone who took part, and may this be the first of many kills.

I know I have considerable room for improvement.

Dun Now!

He was here. Now he's gone.

Congratulations to my Guild who have finally sent Ragnaros back to... er, well, wherever Ragnaros goes back to when he decides it's TOO SOON. We also managed Ragnar-O's (not by design I should add). I have four pieces of Tier.

I think it's time for a lie down.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Week I Will be Mostly...

Oh no, it's Keepers of Time rep next... ^^

  • This week, I will be mostly playing on the Warlock. This has begin in earnest (see above) and is likely to involve knocking off some more rep, the odd mount and the occasional ridiculous Achievement. I am also seriously cosidering maxxing her Archaeology in the vain hope that I might get the Vial of the Sands recipe to drop. Let's see how insane I get.

  • The Hunter will, I hope, be finishing all current Raid Content this week. *crosses fingers*

  • I will be continuing to fail to get anything useful from the Headless Horseman apart from duplicate items and 27 Justice Points. That mount's not going to drop. Trust me :(

  • There will be more cash generation. MUCH more cash generation. Remind me to tell you about my adventures in pet creation...

The Dust Settles...

Let's ask the Tentacle of C'Thun what it thinks of all this...

Yesterday was my birthday. I spent a great day faffing around in game, pottering and doing the same old random stuff I've done for some time. I finally got C'Thun to give up his mate above for my Firelands Bosskill Screenshotting Pleasure. I deliberately tried not to think about THAT Expansion.

Something about the entire Panda 'thing' is bothering me, and has been since Friday. I'm not even sure at this point I can put my finger on what the problem is. I am pretty sure I will be playing someone from scratch come it's arrival, but I'd have to say it's far more likely at this point to be a Female Dwarf (^^) as a Healer Monk. Part of this could well be tied in with the fact that YET AGAIN Blizzard have launched a new race for the Alliance with no female forms. I still feel that female Worgen were a missed opportunity and could have looked so much better than they do.

If I have to be honest, it was the sheer amount of information that was thrown at us over the weekend that has knocked me sideways. I'm pretty certain I've still not grasped a lot of it. However I'm not a fan of the new Talent System as it 'looks' right now: I prefered having more choices. It seems that we're losing stuff yet again to appease those who just want to top meters and paste their specs from someone else's website. I am yet to be convinced on the Pandas. I'm also wondering whether I actually have enough hours in the day to do all this extra stuff that I'm being promised will be given me if I'm not raiding. Of course, the trick now is to sit back and let the dust settle and to see what actually survives the transition to the Beta. Oh yeah, I'LL BE IN THE BETA this time.

You would have thought, having been given the chance to actually take part in the testing process that I'd already be bouncing off the walls in anticipation, but my response has surprised me. I am oddly ambivalent right now, which of course could well be because of my Birthday, or it could be because it's Half Term and the kids are here... it might be because I shouldn't even be typing this right now and I SHOULD be doing my College Assessment instead. Whatever it is I still remain oddly detached from everything that happened over the weekend. I'd like now (I think) to see some PTR action, to have the Darkmoon Faire stuff available to test. I'd like to see more about these rumours about Theramore being flattened by the Horde. My concerns are very much in the here and now, and when the Beta finally arrives I will be able to see for myself exactly what we have to look forward to in a concrete form. Then I think I can finally pass my judgement. I suspect the Beta will be ready just after I come up with 170 different names for every Vanity Pet I currently own... ^^ That should be plenty of time :D

Until the Pandas show up, I think it's time to concentrate on the here and now.