First Impressions: Trial of the Crusader

November 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm (Commentary) (, , )

I recently was part of a group that did a full clear of 10 man Trial of the Crusader. Having only recently returned, I was excited about the chance to raid. Previously, I had done 10 man up to the Faction Champions, however the group (PUG) I was a part of wiped within ten seconds of starting the fight each time.  Interesting side note: This was the PUG that led me to my current guild.

Northrend Beasts: The group I was with was doing a great deal of DPS, so we really blew through the Beasts. As a Healer, I typically try to stay toward the back, so I don’t have to do a lot of the moving during Acidmaw and Dreadscale. I would like to say, however, that the fight with Icehowl is some of the most fun that I have had in a boss fight in a good, long while. The fight itself is not too difficult, and the mechanic of his Trample attack makes for a lot of good times for my guild.

Lord Jaraxxus: Okay, so when I was in a PUG, this boss completely leveled us for a few tries before we barely managed to get through. Like the Beasts, I try to stay back a bit and try not to move around a lot. It’s a fight where any person in the raid has to be able to be hit by multiple healers, due to Lord Jaraxxus casting Incinerate Flesh. Luckily, my guildmates were pretty much overgeared, so Incinerate Flesh hardly mattered. A definite shout out must go to Deadly Boss Mods during this fight, for identifying who has Incinerate Flesh as well as Legion Flames. It’s really helpful to see, “LEGION FLAMES. MOVE.” on my screen. Speaking of Legion Flames, I have to admit that like to take the easy way out and bubble and then step a few steps to the side. I find that it keeps the flames stuck in one spot, so there’s less of a chance of other raid members running into them. The real shout out again needs to go to our DPS, who make very quick work of this fight.

Faction Champions: Absolute insanity and mass chaos is what I use to describe the fight with the Faction Champions. I know there was a Retribution Paladin, a Moonkin (Read: Moonchicken), a Warlock, a Priest, and a Shaman. Everything beyond that I have no idea about, I just know that the fight started, and about a minute later, the fight was over. I’m pretty sure one of our cloth wearers died, but I can’t really be sure. It honestly was that quick. We sapped the Paladin, Hexed the Warlock (Which immediately broke), and sheeped (shapped?) the Priest. Then we hit Bloodlust and blew up the Shaman. The raid leader turned this fight over to one of our members who absoultely lives for PvP. I don’t know how much the fight actually resembles PvP, but we did well enough. I spent a great deal of my time dispelling (Big ups to Decursive).

The Twins, Fjola Lightbane and Eydis Darkbane: My poor guild. I was the only person who had never done this fight. Luckily, instead of explaining to me every mechanic of the fight, my favorite Druid tank told me to just stand next to him and make sure he didn’t die. “No problem sir!” I said as I got into position. Our raid leader described Fjola and Eydis as the only complicated fight in the entire raid. I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know how this fight works and I’ve been there. I know that there’s some switching like an old school Capactius or Thaddius encounter. All I know is that the only time I tried to switch I quickly died after clicking on the portal. I tried to switch after about the third vortex, and it didn’t really work out. I’ll probably watch some videos or ask around about what I’m actually supposed to do.

Anub’arak: Having never been this far into the raid before, I was having a little fanboy moment while watching the Lich King show up and blow up the Crusader’s Coliseum. We had to take some time to replace someone before the final show down with Anub’arak. I took the time to load up a video from Tankspot to take a look at what to expect. It looked relatively easy, just stand on the ice and kite the boss during the borrow phase. Well, turns out you don’t really have to kite and you can just stay on the ice. I nearly wiped us, because of course he has to chase the new guy first. I was kiting him like I thought I was supposed to, and a few people died as a result who were just standing on ice minding their own business. My raid leader told me to stay on the ice the second time this happened, and after the fight someone chimed in that I did pretty well for their being zero explanation of the fight.

Final Thoughts and Gear: I like how quickly this raid gets done. No trash, just you versus the bosses. I liked Naxx and Ulduar, however after 10 p.m. I don’t want to be clearing trash. My group one shot every boss, thanks mostly to my guildmates having already done the raid a few times, however that’s not a bad thing. I like going with experienced players who can help pickup the slack for somebody like me that tries, but sometimes has to do things a few times to get them right. At the end of the night I had a brand spanking new Pride of the Kor’kron to show for my troubles, which felt pretty awesome to take home after watching all the cloth and leather that blows my current gear away pass me by. In conclusion, I think this is a really well put together and thought out raid encounter, and look forward to what comes down the pipe in the future.

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Shared Topic: The PTR and You

November 26, 2009 at 11:18 am (Commentary) (, , )

This is a Shared Topic from Blog Azeroth suggested by Anne of Jaded Alt.

To begin, I’m going to get a few things out of the way.  I have never stepped onto the PTR. The one time that I tried I found the download of the client to be way too large (Over 10 gigs by itself? Really?) and honestly I would rather spend what time I have to play actually progressing with my character instead of doing things that won’t matter in the long run.

My only real experience with the PTR came in the form of a guild I was in grinding nearly to a halt because many of the key raid members decided they would rather get a sneak peak at Ulduar. To be fair, we were pretty much done with 10 man Naxx, and really had no intention of going into 25 man. However I personally still had a few little tweaks and things that I wanted to see on my character before 3.1 hit. Another thing that really annoyed me was that my guildmates decided that nothing else was worth doing, and that we were going to stomp right through Ulduar.

Time for the reality check. At the time, we couldn’t consistently complete Eye of Eternity. I knew that if we couldn’t get people so coordinated that they not die while on top of a dragon spamming two buttons, that we were going to be getting reamed in Ulduar. However, this is a topic best saved for another day.

We’re talking about the PTR! What do I like about the PTR? I like that there are people who have the massive amount of time it takes to go into the files and mine the crap out of them to tell me what I can expect from a new patch. It really helps create a strategy for what to do, especially for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of time to play in the first place. I also find it funny that the new races of Cataclysm were totally discovered by the community, while Blizzard made the announcements like nothing had happened. I also like that the hardcore raiding guilds and other, “PTRers,” have no problem posting strategies for the new content. It saves me a lot of time and frustration.

Now let’s talk about what’s lame about the PTR. While it’s true that the PTR really has little impact on my overall game experience, there is one glaring issue I have with the PTR. I know that it’s a public test, and it’s meant to work out the kinks and all of the business of supposed balance. However, it really gets annoying whenever a patch hits, and it’s completely different from the changes that we expected, due either to balance or some kind of bug. I understand the reason for changes, but there have been some patches that are completely unrecognizable from the original intentions. I would just rather not know anything at all than to have to relearn what’s what five different times.

At the end of the day, the PTR isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t impact my game experience in any massive way. Is the PTR the realm of the hardcore guilds that want to kick the crap out of the new content immediately? Maybe. I’m sure that it helps Blizzard implement new content and fixes with a great deal of ease, and I’m glad that I get to play a complete patch instead of a long series of hotfixes and, “Patch x.x.01a.” Star Wars Galaxies (Pre-Everyone Gets to be a Jedi-Days) was really bad about that. It felt like there was a patch everyday, and really looked bad on the developer’s ability. It doesn’t feel that way with Blizzard, despite the complaints of bugs and extended maintenance on patch day.

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First Impressions: Patch 3.2

August 5, 2009 at 8:56 pm (Commentary) (, , , , , , , , )

So here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. As of yesterday’s maintenance, Patch 3.2, “Call of the Crusade,” is live. Today I got a chance to go around and check out some of the new content, and here are my first impressions.

The Argent Tournament: I thought there might be a reason that we were gathering so much stone and lumber. The coliseum really looks like it should. It puts you right into the mindset that you and your friends are going to step inside and duke it out with some of the greatest heroes in Azeroth. First thing I did was check out some of the updated dailies. Turns out the Tournament doesn’t need anymore stone or lumber, which is a good thing in my opinion. I got so tired of having to go to the Crystalsong Forest for the lumber and then back to the Storm Peaks for the stones. Jousting the Scourge Commanders has been updated so that the two respective dailies go faster, and the quest to kill 15 Scourge has been replaced by a quest to kill 15 Converted Heroes. Honestly to me it makes no difference, since Converted Heroes were the mobs I would kill for the 15 Scourge quest to begin with. There’s another Daily Quest where you fly up to a ridge and take out a bunch of cultists. Once again, I’m glad that I don’t have to go very far from the quest giver to complete the objective.

Heroic Trial of the Champion: After I logged on and picked up some Dailies, I hooked up with a PUG to do some Heroics, in hopes that I would pickup a good amount of Emblems of Conquest. So we stepped into the Heroic 5 man version of the Trial of the Champion. We blazed through the first jousting portion, however somewhere between dismount and pickup the bosses we wiped. One thing I like about this instance is that the bosses and trash will, “reset,” and be standing there when you re-enter the instance. I like this because I don’t have to start all over, like Violet Hold. After a few more wipes, we managed to get past the first trio and onto Argent Confessor Paletress. We got to the portion where she summons up and old boss and my ears nearly bled when this kid screamed out over vent because she summoned up Prince Thunderaan. Meanwhile, we all wiped while he was freaking out like it was a Miley Cyrus concert. We re-entered again and this time she summoned Vancleef, who was quickly dispatched along with the Confessor. I personally cannot wait to smash Hogger.

The Black Knight: The Black Knight, the final boss, is going to get his own note here. I don’t really remember a lot about the fight with the Black Knight, because it didn’t really last very long. The fight itself felt really anti-climatic. In short, I felt that it was too easy. For two boss fights and four wipes, one shotting the last boss without much effort left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Sure, we had to do a lot of running around because of all the adds, but at the end of it I was really left wondering if the fight was really going to be over. Now, our only clothie Mage got smacked around and died, however I still don’t feel that the fight was up to stuff.

Mounts: One thing that I was super excited about was the new Paladin only mount: The Argent Charger. I don’t know if I just missed it in the PTR coverage, however I was unaware that you had to be Exalted with every Horde faction in order to be able to get the mount. You have to have the Crusader title, which requires completing the achievement Exalted Argent Champion of the Horder. All I have to say is, “Really? Seriously?” Talk about one huge undertaking of an achievement. Not only do you have to complete the Valiant requirements for every faction, you also have to be Exalted with every Horde faction. I wasn’t even Exalted with Silvermoon whenever my Paladin first set foot on the Argent Tournament grounds. So far he is a Valiant of Silvermoon and Orgrimmar. I’ve been using my Champion’s Writs in order to get up my reputation with Orgrimmar while I work on the Thunder Bluff chain. At least this is something that will a byproduct of getting my Dailies done.

Mounts, 2.0: I also went over to Un’Goro Crater to see what this buzz about the new Ravasaur mount was all about. In the past, I’ve never really been big on mounts and pets, however with Wrath of the Lich King, these items no longer take up bag space, so I’ve started collecting them here and there. Of course, they couldn’t just make it somewhat easy for us to get the new mount. There’s a small quest chain, which if you are on a populated server could take some time, followed by the classic WoW quest of collecting lots of random items. Luckily, my guild had plenty of Runecloth stashed in the Guild Bank. Another part of the collection comes from doing a Daily Quest, and I’m really hoping that it doesn’t take me twenty days to get all of the ones I need. I’m also interested to see how much I end up paying for twenty Rugged Leather. I’m also not too terribly excited about the time that it takes to actually get down to Un’Goro, especially if I have to do so for twenty days overall.

Emblems of Conquest: On a last note, I think it’s awesome that Heroics are being updated. Emblems of Conquest dropping in Heroics is going to get people back into Heroics again. Not to mention, the Tier 8 tokens are not as expensive in the long run as the tokens from Heroism or Valor tokens. I for one think that this is awesome, and the rest of the items available are amazing compared to the ones that I am currently using.

All in all, I know that there’s not a lot of content for the, “Hardcore,” crowd, but for someone like me that doesn’t want to have to devote his life to the game to get cool stuff, it’s a step in the right direction.

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Gold Woes? Really?

August 1, 2009 at 10:55 am (Commentary) (, , )

The economy of Word of Warcraft has always been something that has amazed me. It really is a study in the economies around these small communities. It’s really no wonder that there are tons of sites that encourage you to fork out real money for gold that was farmed by some 12 year old Chinese child.

However, one thing that has amazed me even further is the way people treat their gold. Today I’m going to go through a couple of examples of real life moments that I’ve encountered in WoW that help illustrate my point.

“Repair bills are lame, I’ve only got 34g now.” This is something classic that I have seen numerous times from a lot of people that I have raided with, and even from people in my guild. A couple of days of making it a point to do some dailies would fix this problem in under an hour, especially if you do them with a group. At an average of 13-17 gold a pop, you can get a nice little chunk for your repair bill in about an hour. That’s not bad if your other option is having no gold at all.

“No I don’t want to buy that item out of the AH, I’m cheap.” Now, I understand if you are saving your gold to an end. Sure thing, no problem, especially from the standpoint of a casual gamer. However more often people seem to have a problem finding a difference between their pretend gold and their real life money. I went to the Auction House once and searched on some items to help me out with my healing. I came across the Armbands of the Construct, a bind on equip item from Normal Ulduar. These bracers were a major upgrade for me, however their listed cost was over 600 gold. I’d already purchased my Artisan Flying and Cold Weather Flying at price tags of 5000 and 1000 gold respectively. So really, I had to ask myself, “What are you really going to use your gold for?” So I didn’t hesitate any longer in picking up these bracers, especially since I knew it was going to be a while before I would see the inside of Ulduar. There have been so many times that I’ve offered to make an item for a gluildmate, only to find that they describe themselves as, “Too cheap,” to buy the mats. Really?

These scenarios seem to come up again and again. I believe that it is not that difficult to come across a good amount of gold in this game. Just do a couple of dailies over a few days when you have time and your gold will add up in no time. I think that with good planning we’d see less players begging in capital cities on alts.

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Staying Focused

July 31, 2009 at 10:27 am (Blog Responses) (, , , , )

In today’s Breakfast Topic on WoW.com, Daniel Whitcomb talks about the rituals and other things that players do whenever they are getting down to business. Some people get their drinks at the ready while some are loading up a favorite playlist. My current goal is The Argent Champion on my Paladin. I’ve been doubling this with the near impossible task of the Baron Rivendare mount, although it’s 1% drop chance makes me want to hurt someone.

For me, I load up WoW and then I load up Winamp with whatever podcasts have come out that week. I like to listen to them multiple times because honestly I zone out a lot while I’m playing. This week’s Twisted Nether Blogcast has been a personal favorite over the last week.

The easiest way for me to stay on a particular task in the game is to contribute to my goal in moderation. I might do a quick mount run of Stratholme about 30-45 minutes before our scheduled raid times, or if I find myself sitting at the computer doing nothing. I find it’s easier for me to take my time than to feel like I’m grinding. That’s one reason that I don’t do a lot of battlegrounds: If it feels like a grind, I don’t care to do it.

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Daily vs. Weekly

July 30, 2009 at 9:33 pm (Blog Responses) (, , , , )

Over at the Blessing of Kings blog, Rohan brought the topic up of repeatable content in the form of Daily Quests and Raids. Basically what the post amounted to was the idea that quests where we do the same thing every time should be made into weekly quests and yield a higher reward. Mike Schramm even brought this up on WoW.com. He even brought up the idea of players being able to make the choice.

I think what this topic boils down to is the issue of how much time someone has. Currently, I’m able to double up on Argent Tournament Dailies, so I’m not feeling much of the impact of time. I consider myself a casual player, but I plan my time accordingly. So does this mean that this idea isn’t one of hardcore or casual, but more an idea of having or not having the time? I think that a casual player can find the time to do a few dailies, it just depends on play style. Maybe you could do some dailies instead of leveling your alt, or even make some extra cash off of professions. Once you build up a gold surplus, it takes a long time for it all to get spent.

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