Tuesday, November 1, 2011
On a lark, I decided to pound out the Hollow's End meta achievement on my druid in the waning days of the event. I already got it on my druid last year, but figured what the heck. By the end of jumping through those hoops, it did get me thinking about how nice it will be when, presumably, stuff like this is shared across all of my characters, and I'll only have to do holiday achievements once.
Nonetheless, I did get enough candy to buy the cat with the witch's hat, which is a pretty snazzy pet. I was tempted to get the wicker man, but then I figured that the cat would likely be usable in the pet battles next expansion, so I might as well get him / her now and be done with it. But yeah, account-wide achievements, can't wait!
PS - Didn't get the mount on any of my characters this year. Ha-rumph. =(
Posted by Jeff at 9:47 AM
Sunday, October 30, 2011
It's been a little over a week since Blizzard announced Mists of Pandaria, and now that the dust has settled, I must say that I like what they're doing with it. I've never been a huge fan of raiding, so seeing all of these new game modes like PvE Scenarios, and the dungeon challenge mode has peaked my interest (I can take or leave the pet battle Pokemon game). Even the pandarens seem a nice lighthearted addition to the game world, as much as some seem hellbent to write them off as childish pandering.
This expansion I've done all of two raids, those being full clears of Bastion of Twilight, and Blackwing's Descent. They were interesting enough, and running them satisfied my abject curiosity as to what the places were like, but after doing them I have no real desire to go back. I just don't like sitting at my computer for several hours at a time trying to complete a raid. It's not for me. As such, I prefer doing random battlegrounds, and leveling alts for the most part. This can be fun, but after a while even that can get stale, so seeing WoW actually get a number of new game modes is an exciting proposition for someone such as myself.
The notion of being able to grab just a couple of friends and dive into a PvE scenario is intriguing, and I'm glad that Blizzard is making these things for such small groups, as well as possibly breaking away from stringent holy trinity group setups in the scenarios (presumably anyway, as I find it hard to imagine a solid tank / healer / dps comp being in play for a 3 man scenario if Blizzard wants to make the smaller ones as easy as possible for people to jump into).
Also, as someone who has wanted time attack modes in dungeons for the longest time, this new challenge mode is extremely welcome. I'm particularly happy that gear stats will be normalized for these runs so that there is no possible way for people to outgear the instance. They'll stay just as tough for the life of the expansion. About the only potential problem that I could possibly see coming of all this is for the player base to start finding flavor of the month group comps for each dungeon, sort of like what we have seen in the past in arenas, so that maybe one instance may work best by stacking mages in dps, or another instance where shamans are the best option for healers, as examples.
I'm actually surprisingly indifferent toward the addition of pandarens and the monk class, however. Being a healer, of course I'll roll a monk to try their healing spec out, but neither the new class or race have really knocked my socks off. I'm sure that there'll be plenty of interesting asian themes, and the zones do look rather nice, and a lot more unified than what we saw in Cataclysm (the vast differences in Cata's zones was a turn off to me as it made things feel too theme park-ish, as opposed to the overarching winter themes of Lich King). I also find some of the complaints that pandas are childish rather amusing. It's like these bears are some sort of assault on these players maturity and sophisticated tastes. Outside of the big bads in each expansion, the vast majority of WoW has been quite lighthearted, and tongue-in-cheek, so I don't find the pandas out of place at all, and in my mid 30s now, I certainly don't find them in the least bit childish. These sourpusses complaining need to lighten up a bit.
In any case, I'm quite looking forward to Mists of Pandaria, as these new game modes will give me a lot more to do in WoW. Cataclysm was alright, but not being interested in raiding has limited my options for what to do in game, and the same ol' same ol' of BGs and alts can get pretty tired. Scenarios, challenges, and Pokemon look likely to help alleviate that.
Posted by Jeff at 9:37 AM
Friday, October 14, 2011
Other works of his that work well include Oriental, a duet featuring cello and piano (as well as being one of Cui's most popular works), and for symphonic works, I recommend Scherzo No. 3.
Unfortunately Cui's music is more difficult to track down than a lot of other Russian composers, but it is well worth the effort. I find his pieces to be very relaxing, and when I'm plugging away in an MMO, he's a good choice when I'm going for a more mellow experience.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
When I saw Blizzard's new pet that they're going to be selling in the item shop, I thought, "Hey, more pets" and "It's pretty cute" (but then again, most of the pets sold through that thing are reasonably adorable, even Mini KT!). What did come as a bit of a surprise is that players would be able to sell the Guardian Cub on the AH, this making it possible for players to buy gold in a round about way: First they pay real money for the cub, then toss it on the auction house, and get gold for it later.
Of course, there was a vocal group among the player base that had a problem with this. Then again, there are vocal groups that have problems with just about anything in WoW. Anyway, people seem to think that this is suddenly shifting the game into some sort of Pay to Win model, and that's just silly. This sort of thing has existed for some time in a lesser extent via the TCG pets that players could toss on the AH for gold. Now Blizzard is just greasing the wheels, and making it a bit more of a frequently doable option for people.
If anything, I think this will hurt gold sellers more than anyone else. Tobold has already made a point of this on his blog, and I agree. Blizzard has made it so that people who want to buy gold can, and eliminated shady businesses from the picture in the process, allowing Blizz to make the money themselves. People who want to buy gold are going to buy gold. This has been the way of things since Everquest. At least now it will be coming from a reliable source overseen by Blizzard itself.
With any luck, we just might start noticing gold sellers disappearing as they have difficulty competing with this system. I for one look forward to a slightly more spam-free trade chat, and hopefully less accounts being hacked as these companies fail and dissolve under the wait of this change.
Also, revisiting this whole notion that somehow these cash cow cubs will make the game Pay to Win, well that's just silly. Most of the best gear in the games has always been BoP. Players are still going to have to run raids for all of the best PvE gear (even more so now that the next tier set is only available from them), PvPers are still going to have to run battlegrounds and arenas a plenty to get their gear since it still costs Honor and Conquest points for all of the good stuff, and heck, even some of the epic gems coming along look like they may not be purchasable. The only things that players will be able to buy off the AH with the gold they get for their cubs is crafted gear, and the occasional BoE that comes along. These pieces are usually decent, but never a necessity, and a lot of the Justice and Valor gear that comes along is just as good.
People who buy that gear are not going to suddenly be at some sort of huge advantage. They may be able to do stuff a little quicker, but that's about it. I think Blizzard is largely adding this as a convenience to players. People who want extra gold quicker to complete certain gearing, mount training, or whatever a little faster can Those who want to buy extra pets at the AH can. The only ones likely to get left in the dust here are the gold sellers. Unless Blizzard starts making tiered gear, legendaries, and the like BoE, there is nothing to fear from this.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
...and it was pretty fun. I'm not a huge fan of raiding, but my guild was doing a Bastion of Twilight run, and asked if I could come and help heal on my druid, so I said, "Sure." It was a pretty entertaining romp, and I like that it's a fairly short instance, with minimal trash. That's the one thing that I really like about the Tier 11 dungeons: there's a number of them divided into bite-sized pieces, as opposed to releasing one big dungeon at a time. It reminds me of some of the dungeons from The Burning Crusade, as there's more variety in what one can do if they're inclined to do some raiding.
From a healer's perspective, the fights were alright, though I did like the bosses in Blackwing's Descent better, as they had more interesting mechanics, and I found those fights more challenging. While healing in Bastion of Twilight, I found that I mostly had to concentrate on not standing in bad stuff, and occasionally stacking or running out of the raid when certain things happened. My favorite fight of the bunch was going up against the Twilight Ascendant Council. There was a lot of running around getting those grounding and levitation buffs to protect myself from their attacks, actually having to run through a fire to lose a debuff, occasionally running out of the raid, and trying to stay spread out while still being in range of people so that I could heal them. With so much to do their, it was easily the most enjoyable fight in that dungeon. Sure, there's been plenty of nerfs since the place went live, but it was still fun fighting those bosses.
As far as gear drops go, there wasn't a huge amount of stuff that dropped that may be useful for me, but Chelley's Staff of Dark Mending did drop off the trash, and no one else needed it, so my GM was kind enough to toss it my way. I was quite pleased by this, as I still had a dagger from the troll dungeons, and an i346 offhand item.
In any case, it was a pretty fun romp. All I need to clear now to be done with that tier is Throne of the Four Winds. I could have done it last night, but I had other obligations, and bowed out before then. That one does look a little complicated with constantly having to jump between different platforms. There's always next time, and I'm in no rush. There's still plenty of opportunity to see all of the raid content for this expansion in due time.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I've been doing a decent amount of random battlegrounds the last while, and it never fails to blows my mind as to how much of a disorganized free-for-all they can be. People running around everywhere, attacking the first enemy they see, not completing objectives, trying to solo cap stuff, and then halfway through the match spending most of their time at the graveyard chewing everyone out for the team losing (it's always fun to look at these people's stats on the matches scorecard :p ).
This all being the case, I figured I'd do my part to try and be part of the solution and give what advice I can that can hopefully help some people do a little better when they run these things. Note that this isn't meant for rated BGs, although there's plenty of crossover here, but just simple tips for people doing some random battlegrounds in their spare time that will hopefully prove useful. As an aside: I've seen plenty of this when on both my Horde and Alliance toons, so lets not turn this into a "my faction always loses" QQ fest!
Posted by Jeff at 12:16 PM
Friday, October 7, 2011
I think there may be a pun in this post title somewhere. :p Anywho, for years I've tried to level jewelcrafting, but always got bored with it by around 120 or so. This time I've buckled down, and decided to just do it. So far so good, as my shaman is getting close to 200, and I'm heading into the truesilver recipes pretty soon.
I've actually had to slow down my questing to help my crafting level catch up. It's a particularly interesting situation as the experience that I've getting from quests is causing me to plow through zones far faster than I can accumulate the ore I need to top up jewelcrafting. Nonetheless, I'm going to tough it out and max out jewel crafting come hell or high water. Wish me luck!