Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Heart Of Gold

I am not a noob by any stretch of the imagination, but I believe that there is nobody who plays this game that knows everything there is to know about WoW. Yet again I am left bewildered by my lack of knowledge, which now I am informed and knowledgeable I will of course share with you.

I have recently levelled up character number 8, a Ret Pally (for levelling purposes). The 3rd of my Plate wearers, and due to the reduction in the amount of XP required to level, means that I only got part of the way into Townlong Steppes. The result is that rings and trinkets and some gear is only iLevel 414 or 429 if I was lucky. My first step when hitting the level cap is to buy the iLevel 458 PvP gear and then start from that point in the quest for more gear.

My Warrior Blacksmith seemed to be a little off the pace in terms of recipes, with no Epic iLevel 478 recipes or the iLevel 458 PvP gear. A quick glance at Crafters Tome revealed that the recipes for the Epic gear resided with the Klaxxi Quartermaster. Originally the rep grind for the main character was bad enough without having to do it again on an Alt. Of course now it only takes 45 minutes to do a handful of Klaxxi quests to get to Honored status. The Klaxxi are a weird bunch who prefer Sapflies to real currency and the Quartermaster likes the unusual Kyparite as payment for his secret recipes. You may have seen them, but if you are like me you would have no idea what it was used for.

Now I was in a position were an item I had not paid any attention to before was now needed to purchase the recipe and then extra was required to craft the end product. The full list can be seen below:

Living Steel Belt Buckle
Ghost Reaver's Breastplate
Ghost Reaver's Gauntlets
Living Steel Gauntlets
Living Steel Breastplate
Gauntlets of Ancient Steel
Breastplate of Ancient Steel

Also there was the Masterwork iLevel 463 Weapons which I did not know existed:

Masterwork Forgewire Axe
Masterwork Ghost Shard
Masterwork Ghost-Forged Blade
Masterwork Phantasmal Hammer
Masterwork Spiritblade Decimator

All the recipes cost 20 Kyparite (12x20 = 240 Kyparite)  + 40 Kyparite for every weapon. 

Suddenly I was looking at 18 stacks of Kyparite for 3 weapons and all the recipes, and this is a resource that I have seldom seen. This was confirmed by the Auction House only having 3 stacks available for sale. 

Further research was needed to discover the spawn points for Kyparite and then a long old fashioned farming expedition across 2 zones was required. 

One of the early problems with crafting in the Mists of Pandaria expansion was the shortage of Spirit of Harmony. This was easily supplemented early on by the Sunsong Ranch, but with the awkward micro management involved in running a farm on multiple characters, means that once the farm is fully functioning, most people actually stop using it. I have bucket loads of Spirit of Harmony but not all on the character that might need it, and for this reason alone the Spirits should be Bind on Account not Soulbound. I have argued on many occasions that the introduction of Bind on Account was a good move by Blizzard, it as not been expanded as much as it should have.

I am only just discovering a part of the game that I should have been aware of 9 months ago, but this is due to the difficulties that have been faced by players with multiple characters. 

One aspect of Blacksmithing that I have not been able to access is the new discovery system. Leatherworking and Tailoring seemed to have got lucky with the drops appearing on the day of the patch, Blacksmiths on the other hand need to kill a boss on the Island of Thunder. Not exactly fair, and even worse considering that I play my Warrior like a total noob. Hunter, Mage, Shaman, Death Knight  would have no problem but I do not get on with Warriors at all.

I read lots of sites about WoW but I am still unsure at what steps I need to do to face the boss Itoka and the game gives no indication of what I should do. I am not asking for easy mode, just some in game guidance would be a start, and sometimes go to WoW Head is not an adequate answer. 

How much outside research should we have to do to play this game?

The Boys Of Summer

I am back from the week long family summer vacation, so I am desperately trying to catch up on the Blogs and WoW news from the last 10 days.

My holiday was in Norfolk, England, and it involved a lot of visiting parks, zoos and other attractions. My favourite day out was to Dinosaur Adventure, which for some unknown reason I kept referring to as Jurassic Park. The huge dinosaur models are nothing special, but they did have a couple of animatronic versions which were very good.

The park was very child friendly and especially important in the UK was the fact that there was plenty of indoor activities. Fortunately the UK is actually experiencing something of a heatwave, so it was more important to have air conditioning than shelter from the rain.

Walking around the park, in the jungle walkabout I came across a dinosaur that was new to me, but it's name made me smile.


This must be the pet of choice for all Hunters everywhere. Who wants a normal raptor, T-Rex or Triceratops when you can have a Kritosaurus. Special ability 10% Crit to both Hunter and pet.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Wherever I Lay My Hat

I have previously covered the concept of Free2Play and PaytoWin, but the ingame pet store, or Blizzard kerching shop is the topic on everybodys lips. The latest thing to get people hot under the collar is the cosmetic helms available in the Blizzard store for just $15.

How many Helms are currently availble in game for Transmog purposes? and what would possibly be the motivation for spending $15 on a virtual item unless of course you didn't earn the money to buy it and you have just bled your parents credit card a little bit more. This is an item that like the cloak can be turned off in the UI, the reason is that they are often really quite ugly, or they cover the face of character that you painstakingly spent 10 minutes modifying skin colours, earrings, facial hair, and hairstyles. Then when Blizzard gave us the Barbers shop, we all went and made a small change just to get the achievement "Shave and a Haircut".
There are only two helms that I have ever liked in the game are the Horseman's Helm from the Headless Horseman Halloween boss, and the second was a Mail Helm with wings that made my Hunter look like Brian Blessed as the role of Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon. Everywhere I went people would shout "Gordon's Alive"
From a Transmog point of view there was always a problem with equipment, because your character had to be able to wear it, which is fine for Plate wearers but not good for Clothies. These new helms are usuable by all characters, but is it worth $15? I have never been tempted by an item yet, and these Helms are not going to change my mind now.
Blizzard obviously needs to increase revenue to replace the lost subscriptions, but I think they would be better spending their time creating an environment were people want to return not fleecing its long term customers out of another $15.
This just feels like the average British High Street after all the big shops have moved to the out of town developments and they Blizzard are left with Charity Shops, Pound Shops and Bookies. This just smacks of sheer desperation. They need to try a lot harder to get me to dip into my pockets.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Today I was browsing the Internet looking for some new WoW stories when I stumbled upon Kurn's Corner. I must admit I have not read Kurn for a bit, and was really taken with her recent posting  Tech and the Devaluation of Gear. The general gist of Kurn's post is that gear gets reset, and the game is about the search and acquisition of newer and better gear. Some people might disagree, but I think that with a game with no end, that this is the overriding objective for most people.

Kurn goes on to say that this design is becoming obsolete with the ability of Blizzard to scale content. Several other bloggers have also commented about scaling but it is Kurn's prophecy that:

"Gear pretty much no longer matters in the game"
It is true that Raids, Instances and Scenarios can all scaled up or down, and if implemented would preserve them in all their glory for the rest of eternity. Imagine being able to take 10 people into Karazhan and be transported back to iLevel 70. This would create nostalgia runs instead of solo Roflstomps. This would indeed be the upside of the experiment, but the downside would be that there was no motivation to complete endgame.
Raiders will always say that the primary motivation for Raiding is the Raid itself, but I would guess that if they are really honest with themselves that want that Tier XX item to drop. If all content is now scaled up or down (normalised) then Kurn is right and the Gear no longer matters and if that is the case what is our motivation to keep doing things once we have done it once.
Another big problem is the skill gap and classes being balanced. If we are normalised on entry into an instance/raid then how do you reconcile the Damage meters if and when there are huge discrepancies. No longer able to hide behind the best Gems, Enchants and Gear, the lesser skilled player will be on an equal footing but will have no excuses about terrible luck getting a weapon.
The arguments will rage and the vitriol will spill and the Elitist Jerks will rule the world. This is not worth the chance of Raiding Karazhan as it should be remembered, and the game will collapse into a large heap of dung.
Gamers like to claim that they like a challenge and want hard modes to keep the Noobs out, but the fix in Warcraft was always to attempt to outgear content and so reduce the difficulty factor. Raid First guilds have my deepest respect, but ultimately when the next raid comes out, they are fully fleshed out in Heroic Tier gear for the previous raid Tier.
Love or Loathe Gevlon, the experiment he conducted doing Naxx and Ulduar in only blue gear was simply brilliant, and a true test of skill, and was the ultimate PvE Twinking experiment.
The Grumpy Elf and myself often talk about Stat inflation, and the Panda expansion has seen more inflation than any previous expansion. Scaling would help combat the worst excesses of this problem but they certainly come at a high price.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Killing The Dragon

Legendary weapons are not something that have ever fallen into my possession. Neither have I ever really coveted them either. Legendaries have changed in scope over the years. The first time I became aware of their existence was during the Burning Crusade, [Warglaive of Azzinoth] was a unique design but was not something that I wanted due to being on two of my least favourite classes - Warrior and Rogue.

There was one item that I would have loved to own was, [Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury] the big attraction for this bow apart from it being Orange, was the following bonus:

"Equip: Thori'dal generates magical arrows when the bow string is drawn. Does not use ammo"

Wow, a ranged weapon that does not use ammo. Ammo was a pain in the bag space, and it was not until Cataclysm that the concept was removed. TBC was the last time that Hunters had the honour of Legendary bestowed on them.

Legendaries have the impact of making a class over powered for the duration of the patch in which they drop, with the exception of [Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest] which gave a weapon available to all Spellcasters that was just too awesome and in really unbalanced the game for those who did not have it.

The last Lengendary items was a pair of daggers [Fangs of the Father] which came with it's own questline. In many ways without the Fangs of the Father the Rogue class might have disappeared into obscurity, the numbers playing Rogues was around 6-7% at a time when there was only 10 classes. Most of the Rogues are only found in PvP anyway due to being the kings of the Battleground.

Due to the problems of Dragonwrath and the issue of boosting some classes and others being left in the dark (Hunters), Blizzard implemented a change in design, Legendaries for everyone, and everybody cheered and there was much rejoicing. What we didn't know at the time was how much a pain in the butt a Legendary questline would be.

Oddly enough I have seen very little about the Wrathion questline, with the possible exception of Tree Heals Go Whoosh. There are of course guides on the complete quest chain as we know it, and Icy Veins again comes up trumps.

In summary the major activities in the questline are:

  1. Collect 10 Sigils of Power and Wisdom from the first 3 raids
  2. Obtain Honored with the Black Prince faction by killing Mogu, Mantid and the opposite faction.
  3. Loot the Chimera of Fear from the last boss in Terrace of Endless Springs
  4. Obtain Revered with the Black Prince faction
  5. Gather 3000 Valor after accepting the quest
  6. Defeat a powerful NPC of the opposing Faction
  7. Collect 20 Secrets of the Empire from bosses in the Throne of Thunder raid
  8. Turn in 40 Trillium bars, Obtain Exalted with the Black Prince faction
  9. The Thunder Forge quest is a single player scenario, which requires the completion of To The Skies
  10. After completing The Fall of Shan Bu, you are offered Spirit of the Storm Lord
  11. Collect 12 Titan Runestones which drop from the last 6 bosses of Throne of Thunder
  12. Kill Lei Shen and collect the Heart of the Thunder King
  13. Collect 4 blessing and defeat an NPC applicable to your role
So far the storyline has been expanded by each patch which as resulted in people like me doing everything in the wrong order, like obtaining Exalted status with the Black Prince faction before collecting all my Sigils due to the poor drop rate and being over geared for the content. I have completed become exalted with Operation:Shieldwall and the Kirin Tor Assault, so have completed all the necessary scenarios.

With Patch 5.3 Blizzard made Sigils drop from every boss in the first 3 Raids so that I have quickly caught up with several sections, and now need to collect 3000 Valor, but now in summary form I have got months left to do in Throne of Thunder at a time when everybody will be moving on to the Siege of Ogrimmar. The cloaks however do look nice, not that I am tempted at all by the iLevel 600.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Train

I talked on Tuesday about a makeover I was going to have for my Death Knight. I have never really been a melee kind of guy, but Janingvaar wants to teach me everything about the Blood spec, and who am I to refuse such a kind offer.

I play 10 different classes and some of them are genuine dual spec, so ultimately I am at least currently aware of certain aspects of 13 different specs. For somebody of my age, it can be quite a wrench to switch from Healing on a Shaman to levelling up a Ret Paladin. I tend to place my buttons in an order of approximate rotation, so even if I forget how to play a class, I can at least activate the spells from left to right with a reasonable response.

I have on really dabbled with the Death Knight Blood Spec and have really only semi-mastered the Unholy spec. I know the spells by sight but not by name, so if you want me to use Death Strike, then I have no idea what you are talking about, so it is my job to supersede instructions with my own mental map. Just in case you are as bad as I am the Death Strilke looks like this  Death Strike Icon. The biggest memory muscle trigger is the prevalent colour of an Icon, in this case it is red, and the image is of an Axe covered in blood. When I need a heal, I am not thinking time to Death Strike, I am looking for a Red Axe covered in Blood.

Typically Rogues are the worst for baffling teh hell out of me, take this for instance:

The rotation I am using atm is something like this:
Amb -> RStrike -> SS -> SnD A Rush -> ShadowB -> SS til 5 CP -> Evi -> Repeat until CD's fade -> Killing Spree
Then I just keep Rev. Strike and SnD up, dump my CP's on Evis and use CD's when ever they are ready.

I am left bewildered by a string of letters that means nothing to me, but I do have the Rosetta Stone in my possession and the ability to translate if I so desire. The downside is I have to work out the spell names and then translate them into my memory bank. I cannot read music but it does not stop me picking up the guitar and knocking out a tune.

SS is Sinister Strike which is the Purple Stabby knife Sinister Strike Icon , that I use to generate Combo Points and it is located to the left of my toolbar because I use it often.

Using this as my backdrop, Janingvaar took me by the hand and lead me of to the Practice Dummies in Stormwind. First I had to re-spec, everything was wrong except for one option which I refused to change. My Glyphs sucked but I knew that anyway, some of my enchants could have been better. Ok not a bad start, the problem was trying to keep up with what Janingvaar was trying to tell me. I had Internet pages with reference material open on one screen and WoW open on the other, but I think I got most of the changes done correctly.

Next was practice at the dummies, the biggest issue with this for a Tank to practice they want to activate shields, blocks, and heals, not bashing out the spell combos with highest damage potential.

Sorting out my spells I soon realised that I have a huge toolbox of tricks for every occasion but there just too damn many of them. In my opinion a good PvP Hunter faces the same problem and when they master the full toolbox, then they make a formidable opponent, but usually they get ambushed by a stealthy back stabber who will turn them into a greasy smear before they get to turnaround or drop a trap.

With so many buttons to press, this was not going to be an easy task for me, and beside from that I needed to compute the right buttons to press at the right time and which ones were my ooh shit buttons. After an hour my head was in bits, and I promised to try it out after the weekly reset.

Wednesday came and went, and by Thursday, Janingvaar was interested to know the results of his teaching. I suggested bagging some Zandalari Warscouts and Warbringers, Janingvaar was keen to tag along and see the results and offer some more advice when needed. Needless to say it went very badly, but it did get better, but it was still backward step from my previous setup. It is the equivalent of a golfer changing their swing, any improvements will come in time not immediately.

For a change of pace we set off for the Battlefield: Barrens, and the scene of other famous battles, and besides we had recruited the services of Mrs Janingvaar. I started off carefully rounding up 4 or 5 flame dogs from the Stone quarry, before advancing to much larger numbers. The next problem was keeping them all aggroed because Blizzard have tried to make it more difficult to round up the entire place in one go.

The result was I would tank and they would pretend to get into trouble and bring more mobs into my ever increasing pile. After you settle into the routine the numbers of mobs become meaningless and the spikes are smoothed out and the healing is constant, the plague and pestilence is transferred to everyone at 10 second intervals, and DK's are not short of AoE capabilities.

Next on the list was Demolishers at the oil refinery. I have taken on 1 surrounded by 8 engineers a couple of incinerators and the odd overseer before. This time was the plan was multiple Demolishers and corresponding baggage. 2 was no problem, 3 was no problem and I am sure 4,5, or 6 are all possible. The healing process was smoothed out and the damage dished out by the Death Knight was of a reasonable standard which is important that you don't get too bored and nod off in the middle of the fight.

I am more than happy with my setup and my master sat down and enjoyed the spectacle of his pupil passing his first test.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Long And Winding Road

I am not usually one for making predictions, but it does not seem that Patch 5.4 is far away from plopping on our computers. Last night I received a update to the Launcher and the PTR testings are moving at breakneck speed.

Patch 5.3 was light in content and it seems odd to say that we are probably ready for the next instalment. I am in no rush for the new Raid, even if I am looking forward to trampling on Garrosh Hellscream's ugly mug. Part of me wants him chopped up and fed to the dogs, the other half the sensible Real Life part of me wants to see face a War Crimes Tribunal along with Tony Blair and George Dubya Bush.

The following is from a recent Queue in WoW Insider:

"Jalamenos asked:Might have been mentioned somewhere but I was just wondering if the whole Barrens campaign will still be there in 5.4 or is it a one-patch thing?

A. It appears it's being removed in 5.4. If you wanna do it, do it now!"

I know I am rather sad and have already written way too much about the Battlefield: Barrens, but I like it. There is a guaranteed reward for my efforts and after last night I will settle for anything that bypasses the RNG Gods. I am nearly finished on my current crop of level 90's, but I have a desire to complete my fullhouse of max level characters. (Gratz to the Grumpy ELF on completing this task).

This is definitely a route that I would want to take for my last few characters and besides what person would turn down iLevel 502 Boots for such a small amount of work.

If Patch 5.4 is due at the end of August (rough guess), then I really need to get a wriggle on. Just out of curiosity why can't more items and gear be Account Bound? I have done the work, does it really matter which character did the grind. I know that Blizzard has moved a huge distance compared to it's old standpoint of BoE and BoP, but the game has changed and it is about the person behind the avatar, not the individual avatars that we control. This way I would be able to farm on a Hunter or AoE grind on my Blood DK and my little healers who like to hide at the back of the party can collect their one set of gear. In fact why have we still got multiple gear for different specs. Why can't my DK plate be dodge and parry when in Blood spec and Hit and Expertise when Unholy or Frost? It can be controlled easily enough with a Passive Talent and if I remember correctly Shaman had a conversion from Spirit to Hit.

Another announcement from Blizzard, this time confirming the use of In Game Store for the Asian Realms, one little snippet from Bashiok caught my eye:

"First, we'll be testing the in-game store with some new kinds of items we're looking into introducing (in Asian regions, at the outset) based on player feedback: specifically, an experience buff to assist with the leveling process, as well as an alternate way to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune. We've had a lot of requests from players in different regions for convenience-oriented items such as these, and as with other new ideas we've introduced as WoW has evolved-including Pet Store pets, mounts, and more-your feedback plays a hugely important part in determining what we add to the game."

We already kind of knew about the store and the XP boost potion, but why do they need an alternate way to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune? All my maxed level characters get a a regular run out these days, and since the change to the charms dropping off any level 90 mobs, I have had to employ a squire on all my characters to carry the bloody things. Here is a clue, hit something and make sure it is level 90. I know we all play the same game but in different ways but I am amazed that this is considered to be an issue. If Blizzard can make money selling these things then I take my hat off to them, but if not, please devote some resources to fixing queue times for LFR instead.

On a slightly different rambling topic sort of way, I witnessed first hand the effects of the Pandaria stat inflation. The picture below shows what Oondasta used to do to brave adventurers.

One patch later and it is a picnic in the park, I am guessing one more expansion and a DK will solo this baby. Any way if they have my luck there will be bugger all loot on him anyway.

Whilst waiting for the Sha of Bugger All, (not even sure why I bothered with this boss) somebody spotted a couple of Zandalari Warscouts and Warbringers. Now I have never bothered to check these mobs out, but I like what they have on the loot table. Somebody in the Raid group said everybody Need, and the response from one of the others was, "what the hell do you want that crap for anyway?".

Personally I was thinking this is awesome, I could cap the rep on my alts in no time at all. Thinking about this rationally, I have a newly specced indestructible DK Tank and a fat lot of loot that I can share, Bind on Account with all my team. This would scratch several itches at the same time and it would be far more rewarding than doing the World Bosses and hopefully I should be able to go back to doing solo activities. (not that kind of solo activity, you all have such filthy minds).

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Blood Brothers

Recently I have spent some time playing with my Blood Death Knight, and I have written previously about how this fascination started and my first tentative steps. I have 5 characters capable of Tanking yet I have only ever felt the inclination to do so on my Paladin. It was tanking by numbers and whilst I could always generate enough threat, it used to drain my mana, and would require regular pitstops between each pull. The Go Go Go LFG's resulted in a switch to Holy and the experiment was laid to rest for 2 expansions.

During Cataclysm, I switched to PvP instead of trying the Zul's and it was in one such battleground that encountered the Death Knight PvP tank. Not overly dangerous, but impossible to damage, never mind kill.

Since encountering Janingvaar I have built my own Sherman tank, with 3 pieces of Tanking gear courtesy of the Trolls who are stockpiling the Kor'kron resources for the impending siege of Orgrimmar. I could amass more Tanking gear but it does not seem to matter for what I require.

I have extended my limits by attempting to accumulate more and more mobs with each pull, and providing I have the time to start spreading diseases then I have more than enough regenerative skills, and spell shields to survive. I got so confident that I started tackling Kor'kron Commanders, and was rewarded by some kind words from my fellow scavengers.

Boosted by this new found confidence I even ventured into the Slave Pens to confront Ahune the seasonal boss. When this boss was first introduced, a good group would kill on the second appearance and a bad group would kill on the third. This group I was in managed it on the 6th or 7th appearance. It was a long boring fight and hard work for a new Tank who was also topping the charts on about 40K. The bottom placed DK was on 13K and appeared to only have one spell in his repertoire, Blood Boil. Needless to say this bottom feeder died halfway through the fight (I am not sure how this possible unless you can't stay out the bad), making this whole fight longer than it should been. When the Tanking Cloak dropped I was overjoyed that there was a reward for the hard work. I searched in my bags to find the new cloak, only to discover that Doucebag Karl the crap DK had nicked it in a Need roll. It took me awhile to calm down and I was not going to attempt another 10 tanking attempts in the hope of seeing it again. Everybody knows that the odds are stacked against Tanks, in an attempt by Blizzard to get them to stay in these useless groups.

My one tanking experience in Pandaria was tainted, but I think I will attempt tanking again, but only in the safer confines of a Guild run.

Last night I found a mail from my new best mate, Janingvaar who thinks that he can tweak my build for the better. I am all ears for my first lesson.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Wishing Well

There is no doubting today's hot topic, Tobold and the Godmother have both run with the story, and the subject is Free2Play. I intend to merely meander with this story, because I seriously don't believe that Blizzard are anywhere near to going to Free2Play. Declining numbers of subs will of course force Blizzard to continue to gouge players through the In-Game-Store.

Tobold and Rohan have already written often about Free2Play, and I don't really have a wide enough knowledge of how the other games are able to finance themselves using this model. Tobold often refers to one of the models as Pay-to-Win, were money will give a distinct advantage over other players, the other model in common usage is the Vanity/Cosmetic model (previously favoured by Blizzard). Pay-to-Win is seen as more divisive, and the Vanity model is more acceptable because people are just buying pixels.

The latest datamined story centres around a 200% XP boost, which is at the start of an expansion can be viewed as Pay-to-Win but at this stage of an expansion is more vanity orientated to allow people to max out Alts for the final/penultimate patch of the expansion. This was summed up by Tobold on 18th June as:

"Once you consider all this you'll see that "Free2Play" is necessarily an illusion. If everybody actually played these games for free, these games would stop to exist after the short period of time it takes for the money of the company to run out. But as Rohan noticed, there is a disconnect on Free2Play, causing people to complain if anything even remotely useful is for sale. A lot of people with no idea on economics believe that Free2Play games should only sell "hats", that is decorative items with no effect on gameplay"

Blizzard is the largest MMO in the market and one of the only ones still on the old subscription method of funding. Over the lifecycle of the game Blizzard has been handsomely rewarded, while over Software Houses have struggled to recoup the original investments. Free2Play has allowed some companies to stay afloat and for other they are positively thriving. World of Warcraft is in steady decline and Free2Play would boost Blizzards coffers and player number considerably, but the problem with this is that Blizzard are already burning their candle at both ends and have been gauging the Playerbase with vanity items for many years now.

The only real exposure I have had with Free2Play is the apps that are available on Phones and Touchscreen devices. I play with the rest of the family  Ice Age Village, but all the apps seem to work on the same principle, of tapping the screen to farm things and then using the resources to buy things. The money element is the rare nature of some of the resources, forcing you to buy a bundle for real money to further your progression. I heard a recent story about Turpster on the Instance blowing a small fortune playing the Simpsons. The games become free to the majority and are paid for by a minority, the ease in which eTransactions takes place is very worrying especially when younger players can rack up huge bills on Parents Credit Cards.

There is a new trend in the world, which is replacing the traditional market research techniques, and that is to have an idea, then leave it somewhere that it can be easily discovered and then gauge the response from the volume of the noise on the blogs and the forums. In the UK the Conservative party have been using this technique for 6 or 7 years, of course they would deny that this is a deliberate policy, by throwing out the policies that are seen as unpopular and paving the way to use the popular ones. The PTR is datamined within an inch of it's life by MMO Champion and others, and this is a simple way for Blizzard to judge how a particular idea might be viewed. Tri spec was one such example and I am fairly sure that this is another.

Free2Play would be a financial disaster for Blizzard, unless the playerbase decides that, "hell I used to pay £10 a month, so buying that T-Rex mount for £15 is a bargain". Personally if Pay to Win becomes a feature, then I lose in the game but at least I am £10 a month richer.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Janie's Got A Gun

Weapons seem to be in short supply in this expansion. Traditionally the last set of 5 man Heroics would provide a decent if unspectacular Raid ready weapons. Ranged weapons have always been a contentious area, with Hunters of the Dwarf persuasion needing a Gun and not a Bow or x-Bow. Things have changed and the exact ranged weapon is not of any importance any more, it is just tradition that makes the dwarf population favour a Gun.

Not following my own advice
Fang Kung is the weapon (bow) that I have had for several months now, so I thought is was time that I needed an upgrade, but I have no idea where to go to get one, I never check the loot tables on the Raid Journal because that would just lead to disappointment when I have a whole week to wait for next chance at failure. In the interest of science I have visited that giant encyclopedia of all things WoW (WoWHead) and compiled a list of ranged weapons.
Looking at the list the most attainable way to get a weapon is to do LFR Throne of Thunder or Heroic Scenarios.
Name Level DPS  Type Source Raid
Durumu's Baleful Gaze (RF) 502 4725.1 X-Bow Durumu the Forgotten Throne of Thunder
Miracoran, the Vehement Chord (RF) 502 4725.1 Bow Zone Boss Drop Throne of Thunder
Shattered Tortoiseshell Longbow (RF) 502 4725.1 Bow Tortos Throne of Thunder
Voice of the Quilen (RF) 502 4725.1 Gun Iron Qon Throne of Thunder
Immaculate Pandaren Crossbow 516 5383.4 X-Bow Drop Heroic Scenarios
Immaculate Pandaren Gun 516 5383.4 Gun Drop Heroic Scenarios

If I was to choose to go the LFR route, there would be a very small chance to obtain Miracoran, the Vehement Chord which drops theoretically from all bosses, or I can try to target Durumu, Tortos and Iron Qon.
The alternative route would appear to be Heroic Scenarios which drop 516 iLevel weapons and armour, and on the face of it would be a much more pleasant method of achieving my goal.
This equates to waiting for an hour to spend several hours in what could be a hostile unpleasant environment, or get better gear from running around with 2 other Guildies in a fairly stress free run.
The other thing that is quite astonishing is the DPS difference between my puny Bow (iLevel 476) 3708.5 and the top ranged weapons from Heroic 25 Man Throne of Thunder (iLevel 541) 6795.5. The difference is absolutely enormous, and it is no wonder that the poor saps with the inferior weapons are lagging so far behind in the DPS and damage done tables.
If Heroic Scenarios are the new 5 Man Heroics, then this comes with it's own set of problems.Using the 3 5 Man Heroics from Cataclysm End Time, Well of Eternity and Hour of Twilight, it was possible to be carried if the Tank and Healer were up to it. In Heroic Scenarios, there is no room for slacking, and The Grumpy Elf was stating recently that he felt it was his fault and is dragging the team down by not being able to hit 100K DPS on some characters.
There are only about 9 or 10 scenarios, and only 3 of them were new with Patch 5.3. With the speed of Heroic Scenarios and the lack of a queue time it is possible to chuck your way through this content, with the ability to complete 3 or 4 an hour. This may become boring, very fast.
The biggest issue will be that of reward. Heroic 5 Mans used to offer 3 pieces of loot and random drops. Scenarios other a one shot chance of an item, in comparison this is not a good trade, but it has to be stated that with the downgrading of LFR iLevel, the Heroic Scenarios gear offers much more bang for your buck, providing you get the luck.
It is now time to stop playing my solo game, and join the rest of the Guild by forming up into a triumvirate. Janie has a gun and I want mine too.