Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Drinking Song

Day #10 of the #WoWscreenshotaday Challenge.
Today's Prompt: Beverage

Today has been all about beer.

I've been levelling my Mage today, which means I've passed through the Shado-Pan Fallback. That also means Jin Warmkeg's behind is mine as I rescued him from the Sha, and he has given me beer.

As a result, this screenie kinda took itself.

Sorry this one is a bit late, but as you can see below I mixed my priorities.

The Drugs Don't Work

Oh, if it were only that simple.

Occasionally, it is necessary for a writer to step out of their comfort zone and admit things that they're not comfortable with. If this is in support of a worthy cause, then so much the better.

I've seen some discussion in the Blogging Community on the subject of what constitutes 'gamer addiction' on the back of a frankly very poorly written article on of all places, the BBC News website. Most notable of the discussions are as follows:

There are many, many others to be found online. I've heard so many stories over the years, both good and bad, I think the Blogsphere can cope with another hand in the air from me.

I'm one of those people who has used the game as not simply a crutch, but as a place to hide in because I couldn't face the real world.  I was diagnosed with PND after the birth of my second child and the consequences this had both for me and my family were significant. I have suffered from depression since my early 20's but this was the first time I needed to acknowledge that I had a problem that I couldn't deal with alone. During that time, some members of my family believed I was 'addicted' to Warcraft, but the truth was considerably more complicated, and it is only with the benefit of time and understanding from a lot of people that the truth has become clearer and easier to grasp.


The reality of compulsion (and why people insist it may be closer to addictions like alcohol or drugs) may be relatively simple to explain, but dealing with these issues is anything but. I'm here not only to lend my support to anyone trying to make these subjects easier understood, but to reinforce a number of points that I have a very personal association with.

1. Don't Label Anybody.

People give names to their problems for many reasons. Medical professionals need labels for certain people to ensure they get the right care, at the right time. However, using those names unless you know exactly what those names mean is a very, VERY dangerous thing to do. No two people with depression are likely to act the exact same way, because EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. Yes, there are certain characteristics that you can say are common to many sufferers, but the bottom line is simple. Labels like this aren't for us to assign, they should always be placed by more experienced people and treated with respect. Unless you're clinically trained, it's unlikely you'll do a good job in identifying them anyway. It is however vital that if you know someone who you think might be acting oddly or could be suffering from a problem you don't ignore the problem. Knowing something isn't right is half the battle.

2. Look for Changes.

Understanding personally you have a problem can be the hardest thing to admit. Often you can be the last person to realise you have an issue to begin with, and it needs the understanding of others to enlighten the situation. It can be harder if you are in a relationship with someone to listen to them over such personal issues, often the words coming from a relative stranger can have a far more significant effect. For me, it was a friend who finally coalesced the issues in my mind. As we have established above however, everyone is different. What this means is that we all have an individual responsibility to ensure the people around us are safe, well and happy, and that extends into virtual communities as well as real ones. If someone's behaviour suddenly changes, or seems different, this can point to issues, NOT SIMPLY COMPULSION. Changes can be triggered by periods of stress or uncertainty. The key in all of this is knowing your friends and then understanding if their attitudes or patterns of behaviour alter. Then it is about talking to them, and seeing if you can help.

3. Get Discussion Going

Talking is perhaps the biggest step of all: only with dialogue can you tell other people what's wrong, and they can help you take steps to improve your situation. That can often be easier with people inside the game, especially if your situation outside isn't great. However, the major point to understand is that however seductive the in-game environment may be, you don't live there full time. Your life is what matters, especially if it is populated with people who look to you not simply for support but understanding themselves. That for an adult is often a difficult issue to equate: that is why I take extra special care to make sure my kids understand the distinctions between fantasy and reality, and that there is a healthy balance of everything in their lives. Computers are all downstairs and within range of a grown-up, and as parents Mr Alt and I monitor game time very closely. As a parent I now take these responsibilities very seriously indeed. I am more than aware of the consequences if left unattended.


I've dealt with a lot of my problems and anxieties over the years by channelling them into writing, and this blog is testament to having a daily routine which helps you keep on top of the Bad Days, which I still get. Channelling emotions from one place to another, understanding what they are and giving them names, all of this has helped me to move on with my life. However, I am not you, and if you feel that there is something wrong, you owe it to yourself to try and do something about it. Similarly, if there's someone you know who you think might have a problem, perhaps you can find the time to talk to them today and see if they need any help.

The only way things change is when we do something about them, after all.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Worth Fighting For

From MMO Champion. That's a thing.

Yet again, the PTR's brought up something really rather interesting. As we always say, remember this stuff could change at a moment's notice... but you know what, I don't think this will. In fact, I think we just crossed an important threshold. Somewhere in this patch, assuming they make it to the light of day, will be BoA weapons. If I believe WoW Insider (and why should I not, frankly) these drop from Garrosh himself and, most importantly of all, they DON'T drop in LFR. If I didn't know better, I would say the game's designers just told us to stop doing LFR altogether if we want the best gear, assuming of course these details are final.

There's a thing all in itself, right there.

The level range on these things alone should be enough to make most people sit up and take notice. 90 TO 100 YOU SAY? Does this mean that these babies will be good for two expansions? Can we expect a massive TEN LEVELS to negotiate before we arrive at End Content for the next one? More significantly, will there be a way for stats to scale on these items so they will become some kind of weird and wonderful heirlooms proper once this expansion is over?  Could it just be Blizzard feeling guilty that so many of us never got a decent weapon this time around and compensating accordingly? Okay, that last one may be a bit of personal bias taking over... but wait a minute. I'm likely to be running 5.4 Raid content in Flex Mode as well as LFR for points, and that currently will award me with random loot in the same way LFR does... suddenly getting a duplicate Bow looks like a really rather attractive option, especially for the legion of Hunters I'm currently running.

More significantlly levelling a DPS caster to Flex Raiding level becomes an EXTREMELY attractive possibility, because if I can snag a staff for one, that means another two (possibly three) characters could use the same item when they get levelled too. As I don't run any tanks I need not worry about those bits, and that would leave me with just daggers and maces to consider for the Rogue and the Shaman... no, no hang on, these guys have laid dormant since the expansion started, and I KNOW I'm never, ever going to have the time to be able to get a) everyone to 90 and b) get to run them all through Flex, to the end, unless we have a year before the next expansion... no, let's not go there. However, some people do have the time, and the inclination, which is why these weapons NOT being available to LFR is something of a masterstroke on Blizzard's part. If you wanted a cast-iron sure-fire way of forcing people into Flex, then I reckon BoA weapons is it, and then some. I'd expect to see a LOT of money changing hands from the more entrepreneurial souls as the expansion winds to a close, selling Garrosh boss runs and the chance of your weapon at the end.

Don't say it won't happen, because you know it will.

There's a host of possibilities here, an awful lot of 'what if', and again we'll need to see what actually happens when this entire shebang goes live (which could be less than two weeks away if I believe some of the predictions I'm hearing.) I for one would like to think this is Blizzard realising that at the end of an expansion your weapon is normally the most important bit of kit you want to keep: but if we have 10 levels to negotiate and the item scaling continues to be immense, won't this item simply be out of date in a month after release...? We need answers to these questions, but right now we'll just have to wait until PTR becomes the real deal. In good news, that hopefully won't give us long to wait...

Afternoon Delight

Day #9 of the #WoWscreenshotaday Challenge.
Today's Prompt: 2 o'clock

No, I'm not here.

I used to play a lot during the day, but currently I'm using that time to write Warcraft fiction (or at least trying to) which I'm finding something of a challenge. Therefore, today at 2pm (like it's been most days this week) I'll be hunched over a keyboard pretending two of my characters are in Auberdine. This is the screenshot I've been using as inspiration.

Yes it's a kop out. Don't look so surprised. Instead, go make me happy and read my fiction to see what all the fuss is about :p Then, PLEASE LEAVE FEEDBACK so my inner writer can be kept fed :D

Yes, I hijacked a screenshot post to advertise my own writing. I am that desperate.

Move along, now.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

Having mentioned the Prospector Mage yesterday that topped the meters in LFR, I was reminded of how easy some people make the game look. I don't know if its attitude, or skill, or some mystery third ingredient I don't possess and therefore don't know what to put here to make the equation work, but some people just make playing whatever they do look effortless. I can recall the superb players in Guild over the years, many of whom we're still lucky to have on the books (points at Mr Alt and our Wonder Maeg as only two of a bunch of notable examples.) No, I'm not just talking about impressive output when I consider someone as knowing their game: the ability to deconstruct boss mechanics, to not stand in s**t, to grasp what is being asked of them... all of this is how one knows the good from the bad. However, when the only way you 'know' someone is the little coloured bar in your Recount, suddenly the ability to use a range of external factors to make an informed decision dries to a trickle. You are faced with the stark understanding that you are judged by a number.

This group is not full of mains. FACT.

Staring at numbers has become something of a specialist skill in Warcraft: if you know what they mean, they can tell you everything. They're the difference between buying good and better gear, for instance: I watched @oliviadgrace yesterday compile a dizzying list of currently available iLevel items, which frankly HAS to put in game somewhere just to show people just how many gear choices they have. It is fairly obvious from these numbers above, for instance, to know who's packing better gear than everyone else. What this doesn't show however is that I'm wearing not simply a flask, but a full-strength food buff, and I'm FLAT OUT. I know when I slack, and when that happens I will drop down the meters faster than a sack of King Edwards potatoes dropped from a reasonable height. In this fight, I was utterly focussed right to the moment I took the screenie and then down I went, ending up overall as 4th (I think, could have been worse.) This is the key, however: individual perception. It isn't just because I know the numbers matter, it's because the further we go down the stat inflation road, the more obvious the disparity between geared and not becomes, and people will begin to notice.

In our quest in the Parish to get people to not just play better but to be better people whilst doing so, this is going to cause some problems. Witness last night's LFR, for instance, which dissolved into an extremely childish game of name-calling once one player decided that no dispells in the second half of the MSV run was appalling slacking by the Priests. Except, we didn't have any. Then there was the Hunter in my Pinnacle of Storms (2/3 Runestones GET IN) who continually asked for a Healthstone, despite the fact we had no Warlocks. The thing is, you won't do yourself any favours if you don't start looking around and ACTUALLY NOTICING the world around you. The notion of preparation is a mantra I like to repeat not simply from years of running around the game gathering stuff to keep myself alive. I needed all the help I could get, as much as possible, and I learned to keep myself alive as a Hunter independent of healer intervention. At the back, I'd consider myself doing a decent job if I was the last one standing. Bandages became my lifeline with potions. I sense some of that self-preservation has been lost, especially when some people can't even be bothered to run in and expect a Mass Rez as a matter of course.

There is no avoiding the terror that is gearing to keep pace with content: you either choose to do so or you sit out. What I feel many people are still not grasping is that even soloing/farming will be progressively more academic with the higher level items on your back. That means saving valuable time as well as making extra gold, folks, but if you want the shinies you will have to work for them. I suspect therefore that sticking heirloom weapons on Garrosh Hellscream is a very deliberate move on Blizzard's part to encourage people to consider that slacking in LFR is all well and good, but if you want the real prizes you might have to step up and start improving your gameplay. If these babies are marked with a L100 cap as well, I shudder to think what ten levels will do to us all for a new expansion. If this is the case, you're going to need all the help you can get in that grind, and that doesn't just mean wearing the right stuff, it also demands you play a good game.

However, all this is not enough if you don't grasp the understanding that it isn't just you at the screen. You need to learn to look around and uembrace what happens with the rest of your fellow players, whether it be 25 man or at a World Boss. Everything has a method, not every situation will provide you exactly the tools with which to complete your task quickly. I'm seeing Raids filled with Hunters and Monks, for instance (20% of the raid, on several occasions) which tells me people are picking classes that are, if you want to switch your brain off, not that hard to play. If you need to do that, be aware that there will be consequences, and that you may not have as easy a ride as you thought. After all, we still need tanks and healers for raiding. Those jobs are hard. If those people fail to turn up, no-one goes anywhere, and therefore having respect for those people by making an effort yourself really should be a no-brainer. Sadly, this is becoming less and less of the norm.

I know who I am, and what I'm capable of. I wonder how many other people can say the same.


Day #8 of the #WoWscreenshotaday Challenge.
Today's Prompt: Peek-a-boo.

You know what, they're never gonna see us... ^^

Alterac Valley. Back in the day when resources weren't a thing, I'd enjoy hiding behind stuff and seeing how many people I could snipe. I'd spend many a happy hour stuck 'camouflaged' as a tree pumping Serpent Stings into anyone who passed. Then, when it came to killing 50 people in our own base, I'd stick up my Ironforge banner and hide behind that as well. See that grey and orange blob in the corner of the shot? That's Sherman, my Scorpid pet. He'd come with me.

You'd be amazed how many Horde fell for it as well.

The best thing about hiding? Sometimes you don't need to worry about who sees you.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

You've Got a Friend

I have no friends. I JUST RECRUIT MYSELF.

I've spent a lot of the last week dragging friends and guildies through dungeons. YES HEROICS, the five man staple, where random really can mean doing the same instance three times in a  row incase you forgot how to do the bosses as soon as you left. I've also realised a lot of things about the use of such places for gearing, how random numbers really aren't the way forward for certain tasks in game, and how playing alone makes you forget just how enjoyable group activities can be even when they don't actually go as planned. The key to all of this, of course, is the introduction of other people, and the constant reminder that if you're going to play Warcraft, doing it on your own is not the preferable state. Of course, you can play it on your own, but that's only good for some things...

Before I tackle my Heroic gripes (and there are several) let us turn to the one about the Mage that walked into a LFR Pinnacle of Storms... stop me if you've heard this one before...

No, this isn't one of those apocryphal stories Bloggers make up on a Slow News Day. Our Fire Mage was clearly adept not only at prospecting, but DoT-ing bosses simultaneously. I watched the chat window fill with his spoils and realised that if I didn't have that indicator I'd be no wiser as to what he was doing, so did it really matter? He wasn't being obnoxious or (more importantly) pulling his weight, so really he'd not be a problem to leave in the group. However, another player (I didn't check if he was #2 on the meters ^^) decided we needed rid of him and as soon as one dissenting voice stood up, his time was done. When asked, I decided that 'taking the piss' was probably the best reason I could find for kicking him: he was probably on Facebook and Twitter simultaneously, putting us lesser multi-taskers to shame. The moral of the story is simple: it doesn't matter how good you are, if you don't turn up and give the task 100% attention, people will complain. Especially if you're better than they are ^^

Of course, when you can pick your playing companions, such issues are never a concern. However, that's just about all the choice you get in Heroics, thanks to the joy of the RNG. It means an often frustrating night watching bosses drop nothing your gearing compadres can use, and an almost constant slew of DE's (if you're lucky enough to have one in your group.) As a result, I think it might be time to apply the same set of rules that have been attached to Heroic Scenarios: first complete run of the day awards you *something* useful so at least you feel you're moving forward. If I were a generous soul I'd say we needed some random-statted Trinkets to go in such bags, as these slots seem to be the single biggest issue I've encountered in getting people geared for the LFR 'production line' I'm not expecting individual loot bags for Heroics, don't worry Blizz, but I really think there needs to be a carrot inserted into the equation.

Finally, and this is perhaps the most important point, having helped people start their gear adventure after an absence, the path to upgrading needs to be so much more clear than it currently is. A couple of blog posts as we approach each new patch is all well and good for those of us who read such things as part of a daily routine, but there are so many other people who don't and might waste Valor at this late stage on lower level gear without even being aware that the higher items exist. There is not sign in game that indicates such a thing, after all. Come to think of it, there are no signs ANYWHERE in game. Oooooh I think I just worked out a way to utilise the Heroes Call boards in the Capitol Cities for max level players:

All you need to know is here :D

Let's use the Heroes Call Board to tell people the following: click on it as a max level 90 and the following is an option to 'read':


This poster 'changes' with each patch, and everyone has NO EXCUSE as to what is current gear and where you can find it. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind explaining to Guildies every day where they can get stuff, but this is probably a FAR simpler method...

Sign O' The Times

Day #7 of the #WoWscreenshotaday Challenge.
Today's Prompt: A Sign.


Pirates be this way.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Day #6 of the #WoWscreenshotaday Challenge.
Today's Prompt: This means a lot to me.

The Shado Pan.

I think, of all the Faction Grinds we've been presented with in this Expansion, this is the only one that got it 100% spot on. These guys seem to understand everything about Pandaria that matters to me: the need to preserve the sanctity of the land, a grasp of the ethics of war and peace, and looking totally kickass in red (though this last one is an unexpected bonus.)

But seriously, this Expansion's been pretty hit and miss. Grinding out all of these reps was, to be honest, a horrendous experience. This one was the one I thought did it best, and in a world where I seem to struggle to find my moments of satisfaction, the mount(s) at the end of it all felt particularly well-earned. A lot has mattered to me in eight years, but I'm all about the moment now, and getting on with things when I can.

You should take your opportunities as soon as they arise, and see your responsibilities through to the end.

Bohemian Like You

Waiting for the group that never comes... ^^

I worry sometimes whether I take all of this far too seriously for my own good.

I recently admitted that I cried when I lost the first hunter pet I ever tamed, after an addon stopped reporting my feeding habits (yes, this was back in the day when if you didn't feed a pet it left you.) I did have a particular attachment to said animal as it was pretty much the only one I'd used since I began P's life. However, it was only a collection of pixels inside a virtual environment, and crying over its loss could easily be interpreted as showing a worrying attachment to the virtual. Needless to say, that was not the first time I shed tears over an aspect of the gameplay. I have begun to realise over the years that my attachment to the game is at vastly differing levels to other people's, and it manifests itself in often more emotional ways.

I view this place in far more cinematic terms than many others. Images, backdrops move me to emotional passion that is roughly akin to the same feelings I get from reading a book or watching a good movie. It all comes down to the visual stimulus: what a game looks like is nearly as important as how it plays. When someone puts all that together into the almost perfect compilation, I'll end up as a gibbering wreck. This video, for instance, pretty much does that to me EVERY SINGLE TIME.

The best TBC preview video YOU WILL EVER SEE.

It is odd therefore that a good friend of mine recently remarked they thought that the way I am able to distance myself from the game and its more addictive properties was something they wished more people could do. I don't see that when I watch things like this, or something happens in game which gives me pause for thought. When this stops being about simply gameplay and the lore takes over, I become unreasonably involved. That's probably eight years of immersion for one thing, but more importantly it's an indicator that even though I'm not playing in the most up to date graphical environment, the world has its claws in me and isn't letting go without a fight.

Dwarf. Prince. EVIL DRAGON.

I have not been overly gripped by the Legendary storyline, mostly because I think just having you 'acting' against the Black Prince  wasn't the best choice in terms of immersion. Adding Prince Anduin as Alliance in 5.3 has definitely improved matters, but it's still painfully obvious that the technology is the least of the problems Blizzard has in making new ways of creating experiences that define your emotional gameplay. The actual combat (as I discussed yesterday) was beautifully done, and was at just the right level of 'this is annoying I HAVE TO BEAT IT.' However, we're still not at a level where the player can lose themselves in the emotional power of a moment. For that, we do have to go back to cinematics, and that's a beast that Blizzard seem to have eschewed altogether this expansion, preferring instead to place the player into the 'real world' wherever possible. Although this is a great way to set scenes in situations like Scenarios, it doesn't pack *quite* the same punch.

Very, VERY powerful. Cinematics work.

Our in-game moments are not simply defined by group play. If you spend any time in the World then the events that transpire within it will touch you. Of course, you can choose to ignore it, but one of the overriding reasons why I believe the game has remained as compelling as it has without updating graphics has nothing to do with gear levels and PvP teams and everything to do with Azeroth as a storytelling tool. Clearly this is something Blizzard take seriously (I'm not going to spoil 5.4 for anyone but needless to say things are changing based on legitimate and understandable player feedback) but I sense in this expansion we have moved away from methods of storytelling that might
be considered too time-consuming.

We mentioned on Sunday the new Blizzard video 'series' concerning the actions of the Last Emperor of Pandaria: whatever reason is behind this particular release, it is clear that someone at Blizzard feels there's not been enough storytelling this time around. I'd have to agree, and I hope that in the next expansion there is a movement back not simply to more entertaining and diverting content, but to stories that don't need you to be on your own to be told. It's all well and good being a solo player, but its far more immersive to feel you're part of an epic storyline. Maybe we need to move away from solo scenarios, and move back to something that gets everyone involved in a story, not just the solo player.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Ordinary World

As is often the case with things, I tend to turn up a bit late for stuff and try and pretend it was all a deliberate part of my plan ALL ALONG. Such it now is with Tycertank's #WoWscreenhotaday Challenge on Twitter, with me a mighty FIVE DAYS behind the curve. However, I like a challenge, me, and so here we go, 5 screenshots in one day :O

Click the images for a larger version :D

Day #1: Something beginning with N.

There are far too many of you guys here. Just saying.

The number of Night Elves involved in Pandaria bothers me. Of course, it just could be paranoia (and the fact that my own race is rather preoccupied at present) but I can't help feeling that SOMEONE here has an ulterior motive. Could this all be wrapped up with the fact that Pandaria's soil and water has special regenerative powers? Maybe it's all part of a massive conspiracy wrapped up with what happened with The Sundering all those thousands of years ago... or simply because now there's nothing going on in Azeroth and all these people need  something to do...?

Whatever it is, N is ALWAYS for Night Elf.

Day #2: Incomplete.

I have a bad feeling about this...

This digsite bothered me so much I ended up writing fiction about it. This story is far from over, even when 5.4 is dead and gone... in fact part of me can't help but hope that once this expansion ends we don't just go press that Huge Red Reset Button and forget any of this happened... ^^ I'd like to think that not only do we learn something about ourselves from all this but the faction war machines do to. Only time will tell.

For now, I look at this place every day with sadness, and I wish that it didn't have to end with destruction every time.

Day #3: Skyline.

Morning. Could have been #5, but no.

Anyone who knows me will understand that Ironforge and its environs have a special part in my heart. I could have given you the outside of IF as picture #2 but actually, this seems more appropriate, because I'll never get tired of this skyline LIKE EVER.

No, can still sit here and stare at this for hours. Job dun.

Day #4: Fresh.

Back to Wrath we go... :D

This is one of several very old screenies I will be dragging up for this challenge. I was fresh into Northrend, and this was pretty early into the campaign. I find it really rather hard to believe this is now ALMOST THREE EXPANSIONS AGO :O Needless to say, if I'd known then what I do now... [avoid the Fjord COMPLETELY ^^]

God those glorious days when I only posted once a week. Where did they go, eh? ^^

Day #5: Early.

No Longer in Game :(

Some days, I miss what the game was before Cataclysm, then I grasp the understanding that things change as you get older, and there is a need to understand why. This place was absolutely key in my earliest days in game: my first ever character was profoundly affected by Darkshore, so much so I deleted her soon afterwards because I found the place simply too scary to level in. This is why I ended up in Ironforge, but as soon as I was able I bought P back here to dispel the myths and reassure myself it was one of the most significance areas of the world. The Night Elf architecture still moves me even now, and when I watched this pier be destroyed in the Cataclysm trailer I cried.

Don't think this game doesn't maintain the ability to move, because it does if you're prepared to immerse yourself in the experience.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

There. Now what?

Yesterday I decided to try and do something positive towards moving forward my gaming experience.

Having my friend here back on UK time for a couple of weeks, and watching him desperately trying to capitalise on the time with people to gear and prep himself for more solo play has made me realise how little I have done on that front myself, especially as we are currently not in a position to raid again (hopefully this might change but there are so many people away for holidays that I'm not entirely convinced.) To that end, I've been deliberately steeling myself to go and do the ToT LFR's (despite hating them) to finally pull together my final Secrets of the Empire and thanks to a Guildie's generosity (cheers Andy) I ended up yesterday with enough Trillium to go see the Black Prince.

That's an afternoon I won't forget for a while.

I've found myself thinking that the Legendary Quest wasn't perhaps as 'legendary' as it could have been, if only for the sheer amount of time it takes to gather the raw materials. It occurs to me now that if I'd been really desperate to get my cloak it wouldn't have mattered, I'd have just found the time. As it was there's been better things to do and I've arrived here pretty much at a decent pace. It took me an hour to complete The Thunder Forge (and a 160g repair bill) but I can honestly say that's THE MOST FUN I've had in game for several months. By fun, of course, I mean hugely frustrating and annoying and forcing myself to actually play well and having to swap pets about a bazillion times... but SO worth it. I may not be any closer to my cloak, but I finally got an item, in the patch it's relevant that actually has an immediate use.

Better dps than my 4 set bonus. ^^

Despite Anduin's warnings, I stuck my Legendary meta in my 502 helm without a qualm, and headed straight for the target dummies. I had taken the Capacitive Primal Diamond (glad to see I made the right choice without referring to the Internets) and the effect of the proc was immediately apparent, even on a couple of target passes. 10% is a decent hike in my damage output, especially as I'm coming close to being unable to upgrade any major piece of armour until 5.4 hits. I made myself the crafted 522 boots last week as the price of Haunting Spirits briefly dipped below 2500g on my server: there's only one more item of upgrade armour on the Thunder Island vendor left to buy (shoulders) After that, I'm just sticking 250 Valor on existing items.

Of course, now I have to run the last two wings of LFR for Echoes of the Titans. I still have those bits of  LFR to do this week, but I'm severely doubting I'll get a 100% drop rate, and that means there's the cast iron certainty I'll still be farming LFR well into 5.4 for my cloak. In good news, this should make the last bit of the quest a lot easier, as I know from what I've heard that's going to be a pig. I'm more enthusiastic about that state of affairs than I have been for some time. Maybe this Legendary Quest is worth the effort after all...

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Walking on the Chinese Wall

Saturday is traditionally not a great news day, but this little nugget popped up yesterday whilst I was away and caught my eye pretty much by the lack of ceremony by which it was introduced:

A COMPLETE series, you say? All about the last Emperor of Pandaria? What's that about? And why now?

That's a lot of questions: let's start with the last one first, because I think that's probably the most significant. I'd guess that it's a decent bet that this 'series' is meant to act as a prequel of sorts to the events of 5.4, to remind us of why the Sha exist in Pandaria to begin with and the process by which they were banished post The Sundering. The fact that this video makes very obvious reference to the Burning Legion is (I think) also a significant event. Of course, it is thanks to the events at the Well of Eternity (remember back in Cataclysm when we had to go back and sort that SNAFU out?) that the Legion turned up and contributed to the destruction of the single continent. This is an EXTREMELY important piece of exposition, at least in gaming terms, and one might argue it's reiteration at this could continue to point at the possibility the legion will be back post-5.4 in the upcoming Expansion. In fact, I'm beginning to feel that this isn't just a possibility any more. Only time will tell if this is a correct assumption.

We saw a very traditional trailer for 5.3 and the Thunder King instance, and I am sensing this might be what passes for a 5.4 trailer this time around. The deliberate 'traditional' look and feel of this (to mirror stories in Chinese culture) is an extremely pleasant surprise however, and I'm wondering if this may mark a departure in the way Blizzard tell us the stories behind the game from this point onwards. Certainly linking Pandaria back to the Sundering and establishing its part in 'original' Azeroth isn't something that is implicitly explained in game. We'll have to wait for the next parts of the tale, but I'm wondering if other 'events' in Azeroth's history will be similarly tied into this story, if only as an aside. Most significantly, I am wondering whether we'll see the existence of previously-undiscovered other 'bits' of Azeroth's giant continent being mentioned, as a means of writing into Lore anything the Devs might be creating to use around events in the game's subsequent development... Using the past as a canvas to cement 'future' events is a nice little creative conceit.

I'm sure we'll get more information about this once Blizzard staff are back from the weekend, but for now I'd definitely be watching this with more than simply a passing interest, because I think there's going to be a lot to learn. I also think there may be something that surprises us too: whatever it may contain it looks absolutely gorgeous so it won't be a strain on the eyes to work through all the parts. I also hope this is the start of a trend, that we can expect more lore 'interludes' like this in the future. I for one will take every one I can find.