Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Forays into Ulduar part 4

Things seem to be clicking a little bit better for whatever reason. Not only did we kill XT-002 Deconstructor in only 3-4 attempts last night, but we went onto kill the Assembly of Iron (the Iron Council) last night as well.

I'm not a tank so I don't see these things personally, but I was listening to the tanks describe how hard these guys were hitting them last night--especially Steelbreaker--and I was amazed. Our first two attempts were abruptly ended when the tank on Steelbreaker was one-shotted once and two-shotted the next as he ran in. And he was no slouch, nor under geared. He was crit on one of those one-shots, so he evidently got hit in the back which happens every once in a while in a chaotic opening moment like this fight where tanks have to separate three targets. But the second attempt he ate two blows before the healers could get him topped back off. The healers had to do some preemptive healing and shielding to give the main tank a few more moments of life so they could get into range.

We also found out that the Stormcaller Brundir can't be taunted in his air phase so we wiped once on him too as too many people died in the few seconds where he was loose amongst us and we hadn't scattered. Once we figured out that everyone just needs to scatter and whoever he is chasing needs to kite him around we had it.

I had been hoping we would go onto Ignis after we killed Deconstructor, but the raid leader elected to go further into Ulduar instead. We use SKG instead of DKP for loot priority, and Ignis drops Worldcarver. And since I'm #1 on the SKG it was mine by default if it dropped. I hadn't planned on us going further into Ulduar for a little while yet (if I were raid leader I would have elected to let people gear up a little more on the first four bosses first), so it was of some surprise when we downed the council and they dropped Rune Edge. According to Rune Edge edges out World Carver by a slight amount. So I am now the happy owner of this weapon.

Now I'm back at the bottom of the list. But that's just fine as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Forays into Ulduar part 3

It was a lot more difficult that it would seem to be for us, but we finally downed XT-002 Deconstructor last night after about 9-10 attempts. On one previous attempt we got him down to 5%, but most of them we were only getting him down into that upper 20's or 30's. I think most guilds are going to run into the problems we did, and that is controlling the adds and doing enough DPS on the exposed heart.

Every 25% of the Deconstructor's health activates phase 2 of the fight (75%, 50%, 25%), which exposes his heart.

Phase 2: Exposed Heart and Adds (from WoWWiki)

Whenever the boss gets below a 25% threshold (at 75%, 50% and 25%), it switches for 20 seconds to Phase 2. During this time, the boss itself cannot be targeted, but it exposes its heart, takes double damage, and adds are summoned. Three types of adds spawn from the scrap heaps in the four corners of the room:

  • XS-013 Scrapbot: heals XT-002 for 60k each if they reach it.
  • XE-321 Boombot: explode for ~16k fire damage upon getting killed or upon reaching XT-002, dealing damage to any players or NPCs in range.
  • XM-024 Pummeler: these deal low single-target damage.

The Scrapbots need to be AoE'd down and must not reach the boss. They are susceptible to most snares (stun, frost nova, knockback, etc.). The Boombots should be single targeted and nuked by ranged. It is best if they explode when surrounded by scrapbots or near the Heart. The Pummelers should which should simply be off-tanked and kited during the whole fight around the room. No damage dealer should ever target a Pummeler.

Scrapbots spawn in ~7-10 groups of 5. The groups can appear simultaneously and at varying times. Have people keep an eye out and call out where and when they are coming. When scrapbots get closer to the raid group, they need to be AOE'd down immediately (a Holy Priest using Mind Sear can help reduce the number of DPS wasted on scrapbots). Boombots need to be DPS'ed when they are near the Heart or scrapbots (or when not close to players).

When the heart goes back up into the boss and XT becomes targettable again, unkilled adds stay alive.

The Heart has 10 M hitpoints (HC) or 1.5 M in normal mode. Since the heart takes double damage, and all damage it takes is passed through to the boss, every damage dealer should try to concentrate on the Heart as much as possible. Melee should stay on the heart exclusively during the whole phase. Even healers can deal some damage in this phase, Mana permitting (else healers can use this phase to regenerate a little). While it's desirable to deal as much damage to the heart as possible, destroying it invokes hard mode, pay attention that this doesn't happen by accident.

In order to maximize the number of players who profits from DPS cooldowns it's better to use it during the first adds phase. If there are not many deaths it's more effective to use Heroism or Bloodlust in the third adds phase, because in that phase usually 20% boss health is reached, and players with Execute or Decimate profit from the last few seconds.

Any damage you do to the heart is passed onto Deconstructor, so it is imperative that you do as much DPS to the heart as possible without killing it (unless you want to activate hard mode). We only had DPS to get the heart down to 65% health, and I think that was largely our problem last night. Some of that might be attributed to deaths from Light Bombs and Gravity Bombs either because people weren't paying attention or because healers couldn't heal them fast enough. Or because too much DPS was pulled off the heart to control the adds during phase 2.

If we could have put the heart down into the 50's and controlled the adds a bit better I think we could have downed him in only a few attempts. Fortunately we're still running Naax-25 and OS-25 on Wednesday nights so the newer people in the raid can get better gear. That should improve things in the coming weeks, but it won't help those who are having problems performing exterior activities like staying out of the fire on Razorscale or getting out away from people when they have light bomb or gravity bomb.

I've now run Ulduar a few times and I am even more of the opinion that Blizzard did a pretty good job on this instance. While we fairly regular posts on the official forums complaining about how "easy" Ulduar is, I think it's going to be quite a challenge for the majority of players for some time to come. It's definitely a step up from Naaxramus and I'm personally quite happy with the greater difficulty level.

While I haven't yet seen most of the instance I am also pleased with the obvious attempt Blizzard made to create new and unique boss fights. Especially Flame Leviathan, which is a much better vehicle fight implementation that the Eye of Eternity in my opinion.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Noblegarden really should have been more noble

So here I was, my first world event since my return to WoW two weeks ago. I had heard Blizzard revamped it but hadn't really heard any details other than it was completely different. Last night WoWInsider ran a few articles explaining the new event, but an article doesn't always explain things in enough detail to remove all vagueness from your mind. In this case, a central point about the event was just plain wrong.

I applaud Blizzard's attempt to revamp this world event, but unfortunately it needs quite a bit of work before it rolls around again next year. Last year when you walked around in Elwynn Forest you would find little eggs everywhere. Can't say I paid that much attention to it since there weren't any achievements in WoW back then and there wasn't anything you could earn or that had any value from it all. So I largely ignored it. This year however, the event takes place in and around the starter zones for each race (and Shattrath). Additionally, unlike last year where you would find eggs everywhere, the eggs now spawn in a relatively small area, and in the same spots around trees, bushes, and buildings. In other words once you find where an egg spawns, you can simply sit there and wait for it to spawn again. The eggs re-spawn every minute to two minutes, so it's a lot more efficient than running around looking for another egg. And it didn't take long at all for everyone to catch onto that either.

I walked into Dalonnar around 10am this morning to find every spot where an egg can spawn camped by at least one person. Yelling and cursing was prevalent as irate people were trying to tell interlopers to their spot to get lost. Most people would ride around looking for an egg spawn that wasn't already camped, but would by and large move onto the next starter area hoping to find a spot of their own there. Lots of frustration was expressed not only in the zones, but on the official forums as well. Here is a quote from just one of those threads that I think adequately expresses a lot of what you could have read on the forums today. I'm quoting it because Blizzard has a habit of deleting things. Linked here.

This is quite possibly the dumbest event I've ever seen in this game. It is currently 1:30AM and I'm averaging around 1 egg per 10 minutes. In the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

There are so many players crawling around the tiny area where eggs actually spawn, you're lucky if you even manage to see an egg before it's nabbed. The sheer crushing garbage that is this event truly boggles the mind.

A holiday that consists of spending the ENTIRE WEEK trying to grief and steal from other players. That's it. That's the extent of it.

Why do you keep doing this, Blizzard? Why do you keep deliberately making events that simply are not fun. It's not even hard to figure out the correct way to implement this: an egg appears, stays for 30 seconds, disappears, respawns elsewhere. During that time, everyone can loot it. Each person can get a chocolate out of it.

Voila. Cooperation between players, instead of griefing, and an event that consists of running around trying to find eggs, instead of camping spawn points and yelling at other people who come close.

This is so bad it's offensive. Complete and utter failure.
I think I have to agree with him. The crushing competition and frustration this event spawned is clearly foreseeable. Ignoring the fact that the majority of this event requires you to sit in a spot for hours and clicking on an egg that spawns every 1-2 minutes and hindsight being what it is, if I had designed this at the very least I would have also included higher level areas to spread people out and give a much greater portion of the player base a chance to do this.

I like the fact that they removed almost all luck from this world event, which has been a huge problem of other events, because if you don't loot an item you need you can always buy it off a vender. It just requires you to sit on that spot that much longer to get the necessary additional chocolates to pay for the item. I was lucky this morning because I ended up only having to camp my spot for three hours and looted all but two items I needed from my eggs. I bought the last two items and headed out into the world to complete my remaining achievements.

That is except Shake that Bunnymaker, which requires you to place bunny ears on female characters of each race. Anyone who has played WoW for more than a few minutes knows it isn't easy to find a female character that isn't a Night elf, Blood elf, or Gnome. Female Undead, Dwarves, Tauren, Trolls, and Orcs are no easy thing to find anywhere. And to make matters worse Blizzard insists that they have to be at least level 18. A funny play on real life to be sure, but in WoW it simply means this is the achievement--that is part of the meta achievement required to get the title and complete this world event for the year-long meta achievement. Otherwise people would just do what they have done in previous world events and make an alt of whatever they need for a friend and have that friend reciprocate.

Blizzard needs to scrap this event and go back to the drawing board. They clearly did not spend much time on this event, which is disappointing considering the company we're talking about.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

All your bronze drakes are belong to me

I finally completed another of my goals I had been working on since the release of WotLK yesterday. I've had the bad luck of only finding 3 groups that could complete the timed event for the Bronze Drake, and on both previous occasions I lost the rolls. Well, I finally won a roll yesterday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Forays into Ulduar part 2

I should know better, but with my return to WoW and the search for a guild to raid with I just hadn't spent much time reading up on Ulduar. To be honest I wasn't expecting to raid it any time soon because I know I'm really not geared enough for it yet. But I found myself in Ulduar Monday night where we downed Razorscale and we headed back into Ulduar last night. As I said, I should know better because I wasn't aware that you had to kill Flame Leviathan first in order to gain access to Razorscale, XT-002, and Ignis. The guild had previously killed Flame Leviathan at some point last week but wasn't able to down Razorscale (or any other boss) until we downed Razorscale Monday night.

Yesterday was patch day, and Ulduar reset, so we needed to down Flame Leviathan before we could move on. I'm honestly not sure what happened on the first attempt, but we did down Flame Leviathan on the second attempt. I remember not being all that excited about vehicle combat when I first heard about it several weeks ago, but now that I've done it I found it quite interesting. I've never even been in Eye of Eternity, though I have done the Occulus. So my vehicle mounted combat is somewhat limited in so far as raiding goes.

Once we downed him we moved on to Razorscale again. Patch Tuesdays being what they are (patch 3.1.1 was pushed out yesterday), plenty of people were having lag problems despite the rollign restart of our server just an hour earlier. And several people kept being dis-connected throughout the fight, so unfortunately we never did get her down below 250k health. The tanks were having a lot of problem taunting her last night too, but I don't remember anyone complaining about it Monday night. Not sure if there was a change, or rather that it was just too chaotic Monday night for anyone to have noticed.

Despite the number of wipes we've been experiencing in Ulduar, I am finding it quite refreshing. While I like epics as much as the next person, I find the challange the true draw for me. Ulduar is certainly delivering that in spades. I would be lieing, however, if I didn't admit that I'm really looking forward to downing Razorscale so we can hit up Ignis. Ignis, you see, drops Worldcarver and I am number one on the SKG list. If it drops, it's mine, no questions asked. Makes me a very happy Death Knight!

My new squire

It was with some pleasure that I accepted the service of my new squire yesterday. Blizzard does know how to bring a smile to people's faces.

Since I was already exalted with Darnassus, I became Champion, and Exalted Champion at the same time. Too bad you only get one squire though. Think how fun it would have been to get a squire for each city you champion. Instead of the human squire, I'd be running around with a Night Elf squire right now. Food for thought Blizzard.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Argent Tournament will be phased?

I've already said I was a fan of the tournament. But I didn't mention in previous posts about it that I had a suspicion it was going to be a permanent phased event like the older Shattered Sun Offensive. Nethera on the official forums hints very strongly that it will be though.

This feedback would be better if it wasn't about placing blame on anyone. :) That said, feedback noted. Keep in mind, there is more to the Tournament than what is currently available. The coliseum should be of interest a bit later as well.
So keep that lumber and stones coming!

First foray into Heroic Ulduar

Since coming back to WoW a week ago I had been looking for a new guild since my previous guild had imploded due to lack of recruiting and raid attendance. Most of the guild joined another guild we had occasionally run raids with but I had been having problems getting in touch with the Guild Master. At any rate the problem was solved over the weekend and last night I got my first taste of Heroic Ulduar even though I'm not really geared for it.

This was my first look, but the guild had been into Ulduar previously in the week, but had failed to down any of the bosses. And at first it didn't look like we were going to down any last night either, but after about 7-8 attempts on Razorscale we finally got her down.

The fight is, shall we say, very busy and quite interesting. Not having had a chance to read the strategies before we raided I was a little lost. Luckily we made several attempts on her so I had ample opportunity to see first hand what was what. Unlike the WoWWiki strategy, only the ranged DPS engaged the Sentinels when they arrived however. The rest of us stayed on the smaller adds that emerged from the pods.

Not a terrifically complicated fight, but you are doomed to fail--as we did--unless you can stay out of the fire. The Devouring Flames tick for a great deal every second. With all the adds running all over the place it is perhaps a little harder to keep track of what you are stepping in. But you need to find it in yourself to somehow watch your feet at the same time you are watching the adds.

I was a little worried that I wouldn't make a good showing of myself initially. I'd cleared Naax-25 previously, but only had two pieces of Naax-25 loot. Everything else was Naax-10 loot and the new guild had had Naax-25, H EoE, and OS+3 on farm for many weeks. So I was vastly under geared in comparison to most everyone else. Turns out my fears were unfounded because I was never at the bottom of the DPS chart on any attempt. On most of the attempts I was around number 6 or 7. And on the attempt where we actually killed Razorscale I ended up being number 5. Some of that was survivability, but based on my showing last night at least I know I won't be drummed out of the raid group until I can get some better gear.

Change 2 to Death strike and yet another DK nerf

We have since made another hotfix to just change the way the healing works completely. It now heals 5% of the death knight's health per disease on the target, up to a max of 15%. This should allow Frost and Unholy to benefit from Death Strike healing while letting Blood benefit from extra Death Strike damage. The tooltip will not reflect this change until we can patch the client.
I was just commenting on this yesterday, but it doesn't surprise me that they are changing Death Strike again. Or even this soon. The fact they are changing it again this soon is just more evidence, in my view, that they have absolutely no idea what they are doing.

Patch 3.1.1 is going live today with one more DK nerf:

Anti-Magic Shell now absorbs magical damage up to a maximum of 50% of the Death Knight's health. (Down from 100%)

Monday, April 20, 2009


That must smart a little.

80% nerf to Death Strike. Really?

As several players above demonstrated, Death Strike ignores the third disease if you are Unholy and have a third disease. It does more healing with two diseases up than with one disease or no diseases up. We lowered the healing done quite a bit. It appears to be working correctly.

If Frost and Unholy never Death Strike again, then we might consider a different implementation. Perhaps Death Strike heals similarly for all specs, and Blood just does more damage (but not more healing for that damage).

When there is a contention between quality of life issues and being overpowered, the latter always has to win out. We're not going to let an ability be overpowered for one spec just because nerfing it makes it weak for other specs (especially when the other specs have options to use other abilities or even respec).

Death knights have been at the top of the food chain for a long time. We're not trying to nerf them into oblivion, but if you're used to being an indestructible juggernaut, life might feel a little different for you in 3.1.
This is the kinda of quote, from Ghostcrawler, that really makes me wonder just what Blizzard was thinking in the first place; and what the heck they are doing now. The developers are the people who actually designed and coded the game. They know exactly how the mechanics of it work and as they have said at times on the official forums, have access to data and tools that we do not. In the year before the WotLK beta even started, while Blizzard developers were internally testing everything, did they not perhaps perform analysis of how skills and abilities would work at various levels of gear and talent specs?

In the 9-10 months of WotLK beta, where thousands of players got to pitch in with the testing, did they not perhaps perform analysis of how skills and abilities were working at various levels of gear and talent specs? And in the five months (today) since the release of WotLK, have they not pretty much nerfed and changed the class every patch that has come along?

So what gives Blizzard? How the hell do you justify a 80% nerf to a skill like Death Strike? you know, the one skill non-blood specced Death Knights have to perform more than an extremely minor self heal that is Blood Presence? The class is designed around self healing, but as of the hot fix last week, only one tree now provides any substantive self-healing capability.

The nerf, while outrageous in its enormity, is bad enough. But what I'm surprised about the most is the continuing ineptitude Blizzard is showing toward development of this class. I prefer my game developers to, at the very least, appear to know what they are doing. Vice those that appear to be doing nothing more than casting a fishing line out in a pond to see what they can drag up.

Figure out what the heck you want to do with the Death Knight class, and then do it. Stop the constant class redesigns every patch please.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Argent Tournament

I had mentioned a few days ago that the Argent Tournament was one of the aspects of patch 3.1 I was most looking forward to. And it has not disappointed me. The quests require a bit of traveling, but are relatively easy in nature. And they are an excellent way to obtain exalted status with those races you are not yet exalted with, and at the same time gain access to some new pets, mounts, and weapons.

It also comes at a time in the expansion where most people have probably earned exalted status with all the factions in WotLK and are probably wondering what was left for them to do. The Argent Tournament gives them some focus back. And as far as the "grind" goes, it's a relatively short grind, taking just less than a month to Champion all races, if you do the dailies every day. And they remain a good source of gold after that.

Day 1-2: Aspirant dailies.
Day 3: Aspirant dailies and Valiant dailies (#1). Valiant home city.
Day 4-6: Valiant dailies (#1).
Day 7: Valiant dailies (#1) and Champion dailies. Champion home city, Valiant second.
Day 8-12: Valiant dailies (#2) and Champion dailies. Champion second city, Valiant third.
Day 13-17: Valiant dailies (#3) and Champion dailies. Champion third city, Valiant fourth.
Day 18-22: Valiant dailies (#4) and Champion dailies. Champion fourth city, Valiant fifth.
Day 23-27: Valiant dailies (#5) and Champion dailies. Champion fifth city.
Day 28+: Champion dailies.
One caveat however. Do not spend your Valient's Seals on those pets, mounts, and weapons until after you have Championed all the cities, because each one requires 25 seals (5 days work) to get to that race's Champion quests.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dual Spec

I finally went ahead and paid the 1000 gold for the dual spec for my Death Knight a couple days ago. So I've had lots of opportunity to check out the new system and I think its going to be everything I had originally hoped it would be. Of course it's something that lends itself to hybrid characters a little more than pure characters, but it also lends itself to those who want a PVE and a separate PVP build as well. For Hybrid characters, you probably really need 4 specs, unlike "parent" characters like Rogues or Mages, who can get by with two (PVE/PVP).

At any rate, I decided I wanted to keep my Unholy spec, which has a couple of non-raiding talents like On a Pale Horse, and Improved Unholy Presence which I use for mobility when travelling and questing. And my second spec is a Blood build. I figured I could run in my Unholy spec on trash pulls because of it's high AOE damage, and then switch over to a much higher single target DPS Blood build for the boss fights. When I'm questing I also travel in my Unholy build.

I will probably pay for dual specs for my two other characters at some point as well. My Shaman is Elemental, and I would like to keep that since he's mostly epic geared. But I had leveled him up as Enhancement until about level 65, so I would probably want an Enhancement spec for him too. And of course there is my Druid who is still level 71. I'll probably dual spec him as Feral/Resto whenever I get around to playing him a little more.

I'm not sure I really agree with Blizzard's imposition of a 1000 gold fee for the dual spec, but all in all, it really doesn't take that long to come up with that kind of gold these days. Other than that, there really isn't any reason not to take advantage of it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Status of WoW patch 3.1

Despite daily rolling restarts, and even some restarts in the evenings, various servers continue to be somewhat unstable. And by unstable I mean instances crashing of be extremely laggy, or realms crashing unexpectedly. I was just on my Death Knight doing Argent Tournement dailies and Kargath crashed. And it had a rolling restart earlier this morning. Instability--to one extent or another--is nothing new with patches. Especially major patches like 3.1, but it doesn't erase the frustration one feels while you wait for Blizzard to optimize things.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Serial attention whore Ensidia downs Yogg

I wasn't in the least surprised when I read this. I had been following along on MMO-Champion yesterday and watching the board get updated with new world firsts. Late last night I saw Ensidia was working on Yogg and knew I'd probably be reading about it this morning.

Less than 24 hours after patch release the same people who bitched and whined about completely clearing all raid content in next to no time after the release of WotLK, clear the latest raid effort by Blizzard. And that after weeks testing on the PTR. At the time Ensidia made a point of calling Blizzard out, demanding harder content. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Not only do they dislike the very idea of content being accessible by a greater portion of the player base, but they spend untold hours "rehearsing" on the PTR, then blow through the content on the live servers and complain about it being too easy. How about Ensidia just STFU and go into a raid without any testing on the PTR and show us just how bad ass they are then?

Sorry for the rant this morning, but these people seriously rub me the wrong way. I hadn't had a visceral reaction like this to other top raid guilds, but then again they never seemed to have publicly crossed a line I think Ensidia has.

As for me, I'm sure I'll be dipping into Ulduar soon enough.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WoW patch 3.1 goes live today

As far as patches go, 3.1 is one of the biggest I've seen in the four years I have been playing WoW. Thusly the patch notes are too big to post here I think, and the official site isn't updated with them yet (of course), so suffice to say that a lot of things have changed.

Of all the changes I think I like the addition of the Argent Tournament the best, with the addition of Ulduar a close second.

The Argent Tournament Begins!
- As the might of the Scourge wanes under the pressure of Azeroth’s
heroes, the Argent Crusade have taken a foothold in Arthas’s back
yard. Off the northeastern coast of Icecrown, the Argent Crusade
have sounded the call for the most bold and brave adventurers of the
Horde and Alliance to take part in the Argent Tournament.
Representatives of all ten faction capitols, from Undercity to
Exodar, have traveled to the tournament grounds to find champions
among their heroes who will prepare for the inevitable battle
against the enemy of all living beings, the Lich King.
This is especially good for achievement chasers and alt-a-holics like myself (and before you ask, yes I am playing WoW again -- more on this later) because running race quests from their starter areas was really super boring. Even if you could complete a given quest in 1.2 minutes, it ate up a lot of time with all the running around and you made no money while doing any of it. With the introduction of this tourney, you can not only now more easily become exalted with a given race, but you can make some money and gain access to new mounts, pets, and epic weapons. Not too shabby.

Ulduar is perhaps the most anticipated aspect of the patch by the majority of the player base. Six months of raiding Naax, the Eye of Eternity (which I still have never set foot in), and the Obsidian Sanctum people are more that ready for something new. I logged back into WoW on Friday and was greatly surprised at how empty WoW felt throughout the weekend. Easter I think had very little to do with it consider how busy WoW normally is on holidays. People were burned out and were probably off doing other things waiting for this patch. I talked to a friend on Friday and he said he wasn't expecting the patch for another couple of weeks, so I imagine we should be seeing a bunch of people logging back in today.

Next on the list of new and shiny is the dual-spec system, though without the promised new equipment switcher that was to come along with it. Many players will find this to be absolutely essential, but not all. I plan on using it for my Shaman (Elemental and Enhancement), my Death Knight (Unholy and Blood), and my Druid (Feral and Resto), which I've started playing again over the weekend.

On the down side there are a horrendous number of changes, and nerfs to the Death Knight class again. Six months and Blizzard is still wallowing through class change after class change chasing the mythical balance beast. It's beginning to look like a grail hunt to me. Seriously, look at the line items for the Death Knight, then look at all the other classes.

Out of combat mana regeneration took a huge 40% reduction as well. Strangely enough, in combat mana regeneration is staying the same however. Does that make any sense what so ever to anyone? Color me blind, but if Blizzard thought (and they have said as much) that mana regeneration had become too trivial, then someone explain what the heck mana regeneration out of combat has anything to do with anything. Isn't the mana regeneration you receive while fighting what is of primary importance? Of course this means different things to different classes. Healing classes will be affected by this more than offensive casters, which makes the situation even more odd. Yes Blizzard, lets beat on the players that are the most rare these days. Remember the "tank shortage" in Burning Crusade? Well welcome to the Wrath of the Lich king, here is your healer shortage.

In any event it's going to take me quite some time to absorb all the changes. So expect to hear more about this patch in the future.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blizzard imposes new rules on mod makers update

I previously commented on this last month, but just saw that Blizzard is putting everyone on notice again today that the drop dead date for compliance is 19 May. I still think this is a horrible move for Blizzard and sends the wrong message to people they have more or less counted on the past four years to patch real usability to their lackluster UI.

Blizzard has no right to tell someone whether they can charge for work they do in their own home. Ignoring for a moment that they also are forbidding asking for donations in game, think about yourself as a mod-maker who might not even play WoW. To you this is a for-profit endeavor and you break no other rules or laws. Yet, here Blizzard is, now telling you what you are allowed to do within the confines of you own four walls. This is something that is entirely outrageous and should never be condoned.

If Blizzard wants to restrict asking for donations in game, such as many mods do right now with a quick textual message when you start up the mod, fine. It sucks, but you are in fact inside a world they alone control. But outside too?

And what happens if someone doesn't adhere to the new Blizzard policy? What happens if a mod-maker believes as I do that Blizzard has no right to impose their will on someone outside of WoW? I think we both know the answer to that.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter everyone

Just wanted to pop on and say Happy East to everyone. Hope you all have a terrific day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I've been kind of bummed out about EVE the past week or so. EVE is a very unforgiving game, in that it takes forever to really get to a point where you can do anything serious. And because the game is centered around player created content (PVP, Diplomacy, seizing and holding territory, crafting/manufacture, and trading) you are really at the mercy of timing and placement. It's even worse in EVE than it is in WoW regarding being at the mercy of others for "end-game" enjoyment.

My two accounts are paid up through May 6th and I will continue to have skills in the skill queue, but I have been thinking I'm going to let my accounts expire and see about finding another game to play. I've even been thinking about picking WoW back up, which I think should indicate the level of my discontent with my current EVE experience right now. I've only been following the patch notes for WoW patch 3.1, but I liked very little of what I was reading before I left WoW back in February, and don't like much more of what I'm reading now.

I am not completely certain CCP intends EVE to ever be what I would consider to be a tier 1 MMO, with very broad appeal. Because it is very easy to see how the steep learning curve and long periods of training, ridiculous missioning system, and other brutal, non-forgiving aspects of the game keep many away that otherwise might have been interested in it.

So alas, for me, my EVE experience is about to have run it's course for a second time. perhaps I will be back again, but at this point I'm just not certain.

Empire: Total War

A friend of mine had been talking up Empire: Total War to me over the past couple days. I had originally gotten him into the series back when Rome: Total War hit the streets and he and I played it for quite some time. So I figured I should check out the new installment to see what was new.

The overall feel of the game is largely the same as previous games, though there are what I see as cosmetic changes here and there to make some aspects just different enough to warrant a new name. So sadly after only a day of playing I'm already kinda bored with it, though I must say the aspect I think I enjoyed the most is the new sea combat.

Sadly there wasn't an "American" option in the grand campaign. At least not to start with, though perhaps its something you "unlock" through playing other countries in the grand campaign. I know that was an option in Rome: Total War.

All in all I think I'd give the game a high C grade.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Looking for a new home

I had mentioned recently that I was mulling over looking for a new corporation in EVE for my two characters. Things really hadn't improved in my current corp, and in fact had gotten somewhat more quite with the number of active players taking an even further dip this week. Out of my own sense of personal morales I just didn't feel right looking around for a new corp while I remained in the old one, so I went ahead and took my characters out yesterday and actively began looking for a new home.

But the problem with low skill points on both of my characters is still there. So I had been giving some thought to playing something else while my characters skill up a bit. I might try out the new Empire: Total War game that a friend of mine told me about yesterday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

As I had mentioned yesterday, we had a "PVP op" scheduled for last night. And it was largely what I thought it would be. Initially we started trolling for opportunities by baiting in an asteroid belt with two of our miners jetcan mining. They had a few nibbles, but no one actually took the bait. So eventually we grew bored and started roaming a couple of low-sec systems nearby. That was also largely a waste of time as we had determined from our previous PVP op that we weren't going to fire first in order to avoid the loss of security status. And while we found a couple of people who might have offered a good fight, they both refused to fire first. Even when targeted. Probably because it would have been 3-v-1 had they been silly enough to fight it out.

After taking a break we decided to give it one more shot in the low-sec systems. This time we got a bit more than we bargained for. We decided we were going to tempt one of the gate campers to attack us. And this time we were going to send a single person through and hope that someone would take the bait. It had been more than an hour since our previous romp through this system so we were hoping no one actually in the system would remember us from local. Still no joy at the gate so out bait ship decided to start warping through the asteroid belts looking for someone he might bait and would call us in should something happen. Didn't take very long at all before he was set upon by three opponents. he actually took one down into armor fairly quickly, but he was in trouble and called for us to hurry. By the time we got there he was already in pod and we were picked apart not only by the three that were already there, but their five buddies that came in just after we got there.

Not only did I lose my Myrmidon, but because I had neglected to create a jump clone, I ended up losing 79 million in implants as well.

Friday, April 3, 2009

What to do in EVE when there is nothing to do

I've been playing EVE Online now for about six weeks or so. In that time I've mostly concentrated on mining but have waffled back and forth in my skill training between mining skills and combat related skills. I can actually fly a fairly decent Battle Cruiser now and I'm working up into a second Battle Cruiser, which I should be able to fully fit by the end of next week. I enjoy mining during the day, but I have been desiring to stretch my legs a little. I want to shoot stuff!

I get some of that action by running missions in my Thorax (Cruiser) and Myrmidon (Battle Cruiser). But shooting dumb NPCs (the AI on the older generation of NPCs is truly horrible) can get rather boring. I want to gun for the tougher variety of game out there. Other players. The problem is my corporation is really an industrial corp, although it does have a small number of "combat" players that guard the mining fleet on mining operations. I've been pushing to get some regular PVP ops going in the evenings, but thus far we've ventured out three times. And only twice did we encounter anyone in the low sec space we patrolled. Both of those occasions were fights at gates in which we initiated the combat, so we ended up tanking the gate guns along with the opposing force. Neither occasion ended in what I would report as "well". The first instance ended up in me losing my Vexor cruiser to an Armageddon, along with another corp mate losing his ship too, and the other three players warping off. The second bit of action was last night and both the targets we opened fired on jumped through the gate to escape us. we're not very accomplished pirates it would seem.

That's fine, however what I found truly disturbing in all this is how much security status you lose. Even if you attack someone with a very low security status themselves, you lose quite a bit. I'm a noob and I lost 1% off my security status last night just firing on two players. That might not sound like a lot, but it takes forever to make that up running level 1 and level 2 missions. Occasionally I get to tag along with someone running a level 4 mission, and that's really where I make the lion share of my security status. If you aren't concerned about possible travel implications then it isn't that big of a deal. But it really wouldn't take me long to go to -5.1 the way we're currently operating. And I don't want that.

Instead I'd like to see us running wormhole ops and jumping people we find in those. But thus far there has been very little interest. They'd rather cruise gates instead. The plan for tonight is to try and lure people to attack us. Which I suspect will be an utterly boring and fruitless endeavor.

So lately I've been finding myself on the the official EVE recruitment board looking for a corp that might be operating in my region and runs gangs in lowsec/wormhole space. I've found plenty of corps looking for pilots, though only one in my region. But they all want people with a lot more skill points than I have at the moment. Sadly there isn't a thing I can do to make my skill points accumulate any faster than they already are. I've got just shy of 3 million skill points at the moment and it looks like I'm going to have to keep casting longing glances at the recruitment board for the foreseeable future.

Jumpgate Evolution

I've felt fairly liberated after quitting WoW back in February. I tried a short stint in WAR and found it to be as listless as I remembered it being from my previous stint last September. And I've been playing EVE Online for the past couple months as well. But I've also been paying attention to the other MMOs out there, as well as several up and comers. Including one that I was very interest in--Jumpgate Evolution.

At first I was poking around the JE website and had come to the opinion that it sounded remarkably like EVE Online, but seemingly better graphics and a different skill system. After reading Ten Ton Hammer's review this morning however I find out that it is much more akin to a FPS game in MMO guise, than EVE Online. I've never much liked FPS games so this game unfortunately would not appeal to me.

Luckily Star Teck Online is still in the queue! Hope that one turns out to be something to watch.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools?

Am I the only one that does not particularly care for the annual silliness that ensues on April Fools?