Archive for August, 2009

To Blizzard: Give Us a Reason

Posted in World of Warcraft on August 25, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

To anyone out there who reads this and agrees, please do your part.  Link this post wherever you can, get the word out that this post is here.  I’m fairly certain no one from Blizzard reads my blog, but I think it’s important that this gets to them.  You might want to Buff this page by clicking here and then clicking the Buff’d icon.

Dear Blizzard,

I am very excited to see your plans for the upcoming expansion, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.  I think the changes in the old worlds and the storylines that will come forth will be amazing.  I truly believe this will revitalize the game and we will not only see old players return but new players give the game a try.

I do have a concern I would like to address.  Please give us a reason to go to these raids you are planning for Cataclysm.  By reason, I mean more than “phat lewtz”.

Whoever does the quests for the 5-man instances does a wonderful job.  I love how I can quest in a zone and the culmination of those quests will lead me into a 5-man dungeon.  It gives me a reason to go there.  While the Howling Fjord lead-up quests were a little lacking (Go talk to this guy.  Okay now go into the instance), the Stormpeaks quests to go after Loken were amazing.  I really felt like I was a part of a big story and I was excited about going into Halls of Lightning.

Now we look at raids.  Where are the quests?

Sure there are some low-level quests talking about Naxxramas in Dragonblight, but do we just hit 80 and decide we are now powerful enough to go there?

No quests at all, or any explanation really, for going into Obisidian Sanctum.  I know there is some out-of-game stuff about OS, but shouldn’t that be in the game?

Malygos has a quest, but to be honest it isn’t exactly epic.  Why does Sapphiron have the key to the Eye of Eternity?  No storyline is given to explain it’s presence.

Lastly we have Ulduar.  Sure, we got a neat little machinima for Ulduar, but I want in-game quests.  In-game story!  I’m not a role player per se, but I like to think about my character living the game.  I, as the player, saw the video.  I, as the player, know what’s going on.  My character has no clue.  Apparently he and his raid just decided to wander into Ulduar one day.

I haven’t been into Trial of the Crusader, so I can’t say with 100% certainty that there are no quests to go in there.  I can say, however, that I haven’t seen them.  Another video, but no in-game story.

We have Icecrown and Cataclysm on the horizon.  This is your opportunity, Blizzard, to wow the players of your game.  Just give our characters some reason to go.  The players have plenty of shiny purple reasons to go, but our characters should feel compelled to go after these raids.

Take a look at how it’s done in Stormpeaks.  Take a look at how it’s done in Hellfire Peninsula and Zangarmarsh.  Even Black temple has some epic questlines running up to it.  Freeing Teron Gorefiend and having Illidan yell at me when I got his tabard was amazing.  It made me feel heroic.  It made me feel epic.

I am in the minority.  I understand that fact.  Most players just want to run in and start getting loot and that’s fine.  But please Blizzard, cater to the people who really want to get into your game.

I obviously don’t have details on your raids, or I would write questlines and submit them to you.  You have very talented people to take care of that though, it’s just a matter of implimenting it.

Sincerely,

Randul the Dwarf, lover of Lore, story and plot.

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Cataclysm: Stat Simplification

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , on August 24, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

The first topic I’m going to tackle this week is the huge change to gear itemization for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the third expansion of World of Warcraft.

According to the Class, Items and Profession Panel at BlizzCon, stats on items are going to be greatly simplified.  Here are the major points:

  • Attack Power will be gone.  Instead, Attack Power will come from stats such as Strength and Agility.  In addition, Agility will grant Druids, Rogues, Hunters & Shaman 2 Attack Power per point of Agility, much like Strength does for plate wearing classes now.
  • Spell Power will be gone.  Spell power will now come from Intelligence, as will mana pool.
  • MP5, gone.  Mana Regeneration will now come from Spirit and all classes will get a Meditation-like ability.
  • Defense, axed.  Anti-crit will now come from talents like the Druid’s Survival of the Fittest.
  • Armor Penetration, bye bye.  Apparently this stat was too confusing.  Will be replaced by “Mastery”, a stat that “makes you better at what you do”.
  • Haste will be changed to increase the rate at which you regen rage, energy, focus & runes.
  • Block Value will go the way of the dodo.  Blocks will not block a percentage of the damage.
  • More Stamina for EVERYONE.

My Thoughts

Honestly, I go back and forth depending on the moment I’m in.  On the one hand, this is dumbing the game down.  There can be no doubt that this is the case.  When you reduce the number of things players have to think about when gearing, that is by definition dumbing the game down.

Now the question I have to ask myself is whether or not that is a bad thing.  Does it matter to me that Joe Idiot will have no doubt which of his items is an upgrade with no thought whatsoever?  Not so much, no.  I will say that I do enjoy thinking about gear and deciding which item is better.  So that kind of sucks.  I like a little complexity, even though I can recognize that things were getting a little too complex.

These changes won’t be much of a stretch for anyone that leveled.  As I was leveling, the amount of gear I saw that had extra attributes (like Attack Power, Spell Power, etc) was very small.  Most gear, when leveling, has primary attributes such as STR, AGI, & STA.  I saw a LOT of those items as a Warrior leveling up.  Did I have fun with that gear?  Sure.  It was just as exciting to see an item that took a huge jump in those attributes as it is to see an item with a lot more ArPen now.  In fact, it may have been more exciting.

I said this in guild chat the other night, and I’ll say it again.  I’m not going to preemptively quit the game over itemization changes.  I’ll give it a shot and see what I think.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t quit the game over itemization changes ever.  Lack of things to do and bugs are what would drive me to quit.

Questions Going Forward

What about other tanking statistics like Dodge, Parry, Hit & Expertise?  Will they hang around or be rolled into other stats?  Agility already grants dodge for everyone and Strength grants Parry for Death Knights.  There’s no reason why they couldn’t roll that into Paladins & Warriors.

As for Hit and Expertise, I’m not so sure.  In one Q&A I’ve read they state that hit-granting talents will likely be removed.  Does that mean hit as a whole will be removed or just those talents?

In my opinion, Expertise is nearly as confusing as ArPen.  Will it be gone or will we just have to deal with bosses dodging and parrying us?  Or, will bosses no longer dodge and parry from behind?

In my humble opinion, the main thing we can take out of this weekend is that we still know very little, at least mechanics-wise.  It’s time to take a wait and see attitude and…well…wait and see.

Information Overload

Posted in Uncategorized, World of Warcraft with tags , , , on August 24, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

BlizzCon happened this weekend and a ton of information is flying around.  I’ll be spending some time today getting up to date, and then I’ll be back with a post with my thoughts.

Update

I currently have 27 wow.com articles to read to get even remotely caught up.  That doesn’t include my other blogs & forums I read.  Here’s the thing about wow.com, they have a LOT of opinion and a lot of it is wrong on their blog.  However, that’s okay, it’s a blog.  I will say this though, they definitely get the information out there when BlizzCon is going on.

With that much information, getting a post out today could be a stretch.  I’m going to try though!  My plan is to break all of the information into five juicy bits and have five nice posts this week.  Wish me luck.

This is what I get for not staying in the loop on weekends.

Link Updates

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , on August 19, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

I just realized my links list was extremely out of date.  A couple of the blogs no longer actively contribute while my two most-read blogs aren’t even on the list.

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce Skeleton Jack & Clearcasting.  These are the first two blogs I check every day.

Skeleton Jack, written by…well…Skeleton Jack, is a Death Knight blog with lots of information about specs, best-in-slot gear and the mechanics of the Death Knight class.  (Very good article about the Two Second Rule, which was completely new information to me)

Edit:  Skeleton Jack is apparently no longer going to be a DK blog, but a general gaming blog.  I’m going to keep him on my links list for now, just to see how it goes.

Clearcasting, written by Arioch, is a blog that covers a lot of topics, with a focus on Mages but has a lot of news, current events and fun stories as well.  (Excellent coverage of the Cataclysm leaks right now)

Both of these blogs are good reads and I would appreciate it if you would check them out.

The Upgrade that Wasn’t

Posted in Gear with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

When is an upgrade not an upgrade?  When everyone you are competing against gets the exact same upgrade as you.

Imagine if you will, you try and try and try and TRY AND TRY to get an upgrade over your pvp weapon, the Titansteel Destroyer.  The vast majority of people you are pvping against seem to either have the Titansteel Destroyer or the Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver.  You run Ulduar every week hoping Ironsoul or Stormedge will drop.  All of the 2-handed dps in your runs have gotten their upgrades, the only thing standing between you and a massive weapon upgrade is the stupid thing dropping.

Then, the unthinkable happens.  3.2 comes out.  Weapons of the exact same quality (in fact they are better) are dropping in a 5-man Heroic!  Why slam your face against Ulduar droprates when you can just run Heroic Trial of the Champions every day and hope it drops there!

Finally, you get that upgrade you’ve been looking for!  You are ready to go out there and face the world with your awesome new weapon.  You go into Arena and what happens?  Everyone and their stinking brother has done the exact same thing as you.

This is my story.  I’ve tried for months to get my hands on an upgrade to the Titansteel Destroyer so I could go out there and rock the competition.  I’ve run Ulduar, Naxx25 and even a few Naxx10’s in hopes of Death’s Bite dropping.  My luck has been, abysmal.

Finally a shortcut.  Heroic TotC.  So I run it for a week and finally Marrowstrike drops.  I’m happy!  I’m thrilled!  I’m deceived.

Make no mistake about it, Marrowstrike & Edge of Ruin are Titansteel Destroyer 2.0.  These weapons aren’t upgrades if everyone else is using the same weapon!  Sure, if I still had Titansteel Destroyer it would be even worse, but upgrading to Marrowstrike has taken me to the exact same level I was before!  Right next to everyone else!

Now what?  Now I have to find the next upgrade.  Unfortunately the next upgrade is just not very accessible to me.  Taking a look at Rawr, I can see the following weapons would be upgrades for me.

(Listed in reverse order from smallest upgrade to largest)

  • Hoperender – This is attainable for me, but it’s not really an upgrade.  It’s a sidegrade or a downgrade if anything.  Drops off of 10-man General Vezax.
  • Betrayer of Humanity – 25-Man Kel’Thuzad.  Easy enough to get KT down, but there are always 409817984174098 2-handed DPSers gunning for this weapon.  Plus it’s not a huge upgrade, as it only has 19 more top-end damage.  If it falls into my lap, sure, but I’m not sure about actively seeking it out.
  • Lotrafen, Spear of the Damned – Drops off of 25-man General Vezax.  Probably not going to see this weapon anytime soon.
  • Fordragon Blades – Drops off of 10-man Anub’Arak in Trial of the Crusader.  I believe this will be attainable by my guild, but we have to wait for Anub’Arak to be available for killing.  That means a month at least, probably longer.
  • Any 1850 Furious Gladiator Weapon – This MIGHT actually be one of my best bets, as I’ll be doing arena and hopefully gaining rating anyway.  A long uphill climb, but if I ever hit 1850 I will pick up one of these fine weapons.  This is also a huge 114 top-end damage increase oveor Marrowstrike.
  • Voldrethar, Dark Blade of Oblivion – 25-man Ulduar Hard Mode General Vezax.  Um, not likely.
  • Archon Glaive – 25-man Anub’Arak.  Probably not going to see this.

So there you have it.  The only true upgrades I see for myself are Betrayer of Humanity, Fordragon Blades & Furious Gladiator weapons.  Ugh.

Marrowstrike Explanation

Posted in Gear with tags , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Reposted (with some revision) from my comment on Marrowstrike versus Edge of Ruin

I realize that my post declaring Marrowstrike superior to Edge of Ruin was a little crazy.  However, when you look at the big picture, along with an additional stat on Marrowstrike, things start to make sense.

The whole thing took me by surprise as well. I can tell you how I tweaked the spreadsheet which hasn’t updated for 3.2 yet to get the numbers.

I took my current gear, which I pulled from the Armory.

I plugged in Stormedge to get the 5% additional crit & crit damage from Poleaxe spec.

After that, I just edited the stats to fit Edge and Marrowstrike respectively.  My numbers for Marrowstrike were 4,195 dps and my numbers for Edge were 4,167 dps.

If you look at my SEP numbers, STR is worth 1, Agil is worth .7168, ArP is worth .9248, Crit Rating is worth .8674 and 2 AP is worth .8741 for me at my gear level.

If you add up the numbers for each weapon.

Edge of Ruin

  • STR = 121 (121 * 1)
  • ArP = 70 (76 * .9248 rounded)
  • Crit = 54 (62 * .8674 rounded)
  • Total = 245

Marrowstrike

  • AP = 67 (154/2 * .8741 rounded)
  • Agility = 76 (106 * .7168 rounded)
  • ArP = 55 (60 * .9248 rounded)
  • Crit = 49 (57 * .8674 rounded)
  • Total = 247

As you can see, Marrowstrike narrowly edges, Edge of Ruin.  Yes, STR is that good, but when you throw on another dps stat altogether (Agility) it makes things murkier.

As my crit goes up with gear, Edge could turn out to be a better choice due to Crit having being less useful the more you have.   I’ll just have to wait and see.  For now, however, I’m very glad I managed to snag either of these great weapons.

The fact of the matter is, you should take whichever drops first.  If you want to put forth the effort to get Marrowstrike after Edge drops, go for it.  It’s worth about 30 dps (at least for me).  If you want to put in the effort to go after Edge after Marrowstrike drops, go for it.  It’s good for Fury and may be better after my crit gets up a little higher as I gear.

Bottom line, either of these would be a great upgrade over Titansteel Destroyer, Heroics, Naxx10 and non-KT Naxx25 weapons.  For Arms, they are an upgrade over Ironsoul as well, just because Poleaxe spec owns Mace spec.  If you are hit capped, they rock Stormedge too.

So there you have it.  Once Landsoul gets his spreadsheet updated for 3.2, this will be a lot easier to figure out.  I had to go in and custom gear all my 3.2 gear, including the weapons.  Hopefully he’ll get that updated soon and take a lot of the work out of this process.

Quick Post

Posted in Gear, Warrior, World of Warcraft with tags , , , on August 14, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Being that I’m very busy today, I don’t have time for a real meaty post, but I did want to put an update out there.

I am now the proud owner of Marrowstrike.  Funny how that works out isn’t it?  Yesterday I discovered that Marrowstrike was actually better for me than Edge of Ruin, after I had passed on Marrowstrike the previous day!  Then last night Marrowstrike drops and I get it.

I have been so single-minded in my pursuit of a 2-handed upgrade that I don’t even know what to do with myself now.  I suppose I should bust it out in some pvp.  My arena partner is gone to GenCon, but I can definitely hit up some BGs.

Now to work on Kered’s weapons.