Thursday, 28 March 2013


Another weekly reset prompts the rush to Valor cap, and another chance at those elusive iLevel 502 gear from LFR Throne of Thunder. I checked this morning that there is in fact a loot table because after 7 bosses and 7 tokens, there only seems to money in that Raid. I am not the only person having problems with loot so it begs the question, what is the percentage chance of getting loot. The old MoP LFR's seem to be spewing out drops these days, but the new Raid is tighter than a camel's arse in a sandstorm.

Last Stand of the Zandalari as predicted was relatively easy last night. After 2 weeks most people know what they are doing, and it certainly helps with the DPSers are bringing in a minimum of 60K DPS. The boss fight mechanics in LFR are relatively straightforward and most people have adapted to ensure that a start of the week at least the Last Stand of the Zandalari will be easy going without too many wipes. I will reserve judgement on the Forgotten Depths until I have completed all 3 bosses so far I have only seen Ji-Kun.

I did notice that the viaduct with the gushing wind and the Banshees wailing above, claims far more lives than it should do. I fell foul of this area several times last week but now I have learnt to run straight and strafe left into the wind and avoiding the whirlwinds. It should be second nature to anyone who Mario Carts.

My server is now onto the 4th Stage of the Island of Thunder, and let another solo Scenario is available. I particularly enjoy these solo Scenarios and To The Skies is no different. They are not particularly difficult although it is possible to make things uncomfortable with some badly timed pulls.

After completing my Dailies on the Island, I got an extra quest for On Her Magic-ey Secret Service, which sends you back to the mines. As we are in a no-fly zone and I could not find a portal, how do you get back to the Mines? I even tried to mount the big blue bird at the Alliance Base (wipe that smirk of your face).

I am not also detecting that my characters are getting relatively stronger as the weeks go by. I tend not to enchant Blue items, but now I am sporting a complete set of shiny epics, I have fully enchanted my gear. The shoulder enchant alone is a massive boost, the Greater Tiger Claw Inscription provides a whopping 200 Agility 100 Critical Strike. I have said it before and I will no doubt say it again that the Stat inflation is completely out of control. I getting stronger every week, not by improving but purely from either having a lot of luck in LFR (fat chance) or the Valor upgrades that are guaranteed.

I am starting to wonder whether spell rotations are like playing the guitar. I have played the guitar for 30+ years and I am familiar with the basics, and can play lots of chords, I even know some scales, but I never seem to get any better. As a teenager I had a Japanese Fender Start copy, which never stayed in tune and I always assumed that it was the guitar that was at fault for my poor performance. A friend of my brothers came to stay and he picked up the guitar tuned it briefly before playing some great Blues guitar. This was not possible, this was my crappy guitar, that sounded so sweet.

As an adult, I am fortunate enough to own a Fender acoustic and a Fender Telecaster, neither of these great instruments have allowed me to be the superb guitarist than I know I should be. I am starting to think that I will never manage to eek out my DPS to anywhere near it's maximum ability, and even if I purchased a full gaming rig, I am sure it would not make me a great Hunter, Mage or Elemental Shaman. Sometimes you just have to realise the level of your own ability and after that you can only try your best.

From this point of view, it easy to see why I tend to raid as a Healer. The metrics are completely different, and HPS is not a great measure of success. The performance is based on, whether the boss died, how many raiders are still standing and how much mana have I got left.

The pressure can be greater for healers, but most damage dealers know that it was really their fault for standing in the bad.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Wasted Time

The Valor weekly cap of 1000, is both a gate and a target. With most of the gear in the early part of the expansion only being available via Valor points and Reputation Quartermasters, it stopped people from the worst excesses of 24 hour weekend binges of constantly running heroics, scenarios or worst of all hundreds of Dailies. At 5 Valor for most dailies this equates to 200 Dailies a week, which in my opinion is a real sad way of reaching the Valor cap.

Some people think that it is easy to reach the Valor cap and others like myself have never actually capped out in any given week. The main reason for this is that due to the Reputation requirements, I had nothing to spend my Valor on, and hence no need to cap. The situation is now reversed and I have most of the reputation vendors open and nothing to spend all this valor on. The one faction with tasty goodies for sale is the Raid Faction - Shado Pan Assault.

Since I have started doing regular LFR, I have discovered that the Valor Cap is not difficult to achieve when I can run the 5 or 6 LFR's that are available to me at 90 Valor a time. This makes capping a relatively straight forward 3 or 4 day activity and it leaves the other half of the week for the alts to enjoy the Valor Bonus Buff of an extra 50%. Why would you continue to play your main character after achieving the buff? The buff is great for your max level alts, but is not benefit to the levelling alts who are unable to do the Dailies yet. This kind of reward promotes a certain type of play style at a detriment to other types of play.

Now that I am Mystically Epic on my main I want all my alts to achieve the same the level, and the Valor of the Ancients Buff effectively cajoles me to play level 90's rather than lower level characters.
At the moment this is not an issue, because I still have 3 level 90's that are wanting Epic gear, and in particular it is important for me to gear up a Healer that is not chewing through the mana quite as fast I am at the moment.
The Mists of Pandaria expansion is like riding up hill on a bike, it was originally very hard work with all the dailies to contend with, then the amount of Valor awarded for certain activities was increased, buffs are available, work orders make reputation chasing easier and suddenly you are at the top of mountain and able to freewheel all the way down. Valor and reputation is available in bucket loads and the time constraints are reduced. I have Valor capped for the first time this expansion and I am enjoying time to random activities with my Shaman knowing that all valor gains at 50% and that even doing a handful of dailies is adding to my valor total so much quicker than previously.
Having no set parameters on your play is a wonderful part of the game, and so much of our time in game is spent on efficiency and maximising gains. Instead I am cooking, fishing and actively seeking out digsites, because it is a gentle relaxing way to play the game. Sometimes this is just what we want to do, instead of hitting the cutting edge of our current progression.
The only problem now is that after the weekly rest I am rushing to Valor cap, so that I can spend more time playing the game that I want to play.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Shooting Star

I recently received a whisper from my long time Guild Mate and survivor of at least 2 other guilds. Oovavu the Ret Pally and occasional Tank, he is one of few people in the game that is older than myself and although we have never met I consider him a genuine friend. Oov as he is more commonly referred to, took his early character naming convention from the BBC comedy programme Shooting Stars. The programme is an anarchic and surreal gameshow from the comedy duo Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. This is of course veering widely off topic. Oov occasionally gives me ideas for blog posts, and I am paraphrasing what he said, "You have to write about the Chamberlain".
Nothing else was said but it was bloody obvious what he meant, because this was proving to be most annoying quests ever devised by Blizzard.

The first thing you will notice after accepting the quest is that the Head of the Chamberlain never shuts up. It is almost as bad as my 8 year old son, who has not discovered that less can often be more, and will tell stories with no end for hours at a time. This is not the worst thing about this quest, that dubious privilege goes to the rapidly despawning body parts. No sooner than you notice the cog, it will disappear as somebody else collects the piece in question.

Thankfully after reading Cymre today The Crumbled Chamberlain this is now no longer the case. Apparently Dave Kosak tweeted on Wednesday, "We've pushed an adjustment to "The Crumbled Chamberlain" quest. It'll get picked up on server restart. The pieces will stay put each day. :)"

Last night, I discovered this for myself, but not actually knowing why the pieces despawned I was actually none the wiser for the discovery. I had found a piece in the Courtyard, and rushed off to get there and found it sat on a ledge, which would require a leap to get there. I got off my mount and decide to leap across on foot, and of course missed the ledge by the narrowest of margins. I mounted up and went back round to the stairs to get to the vantage point. On arrival somebody was already helping themselves to the prize. I decided to jump any on my Chopper, feeling like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape.

To my surprise the Torso was still sparkling, the other player had already run off, so I decided to grab it quickly before it despawned. I was feeling good about myself until I read Cymre's post. Although I have to say that is a good move on Blizzard's part, but it makes you wonder how they expected anybody to get all the parts in a 10 minute window on a full server at peak time.
Thanks for the tip off Cymre, I will complete tonight and go for the achievement next week.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Looking For Love

This is not an advert for a dating agency, and yes I am still happily married (is that an Oxymoron?). Today's topic is in fact Looking for Raid (LFR). To the best of my knowledge Whitesnake or any other band have never actually written a song titled "Looking for Raid", so you are stuck with my cheesy title.

Mists of Pandaria is the first expansion to feature LFR for all of it's Raid content. It is not perfect but it offers a glimpse at the Raids without the heavy co-ordination required for doing in Normal or Heroic versions. The main advantage for a lot of people is the timing aspect, Raids take time to setup, with calendar entries and strict Raiding times. European servers suffer with an approximate 2 hour time difference between players living + or - 1 hour of the CET (Paris Time). Raids need to finish early enough to allow Eastern Europeans to go to bed at a sensible hour and start late enough to let the UK and Irish residents get home from work.

LFR allows people outside the core hours to get the Raid experience. The MoP expansion started off slowly for myself with gearing difficulties and motivation issues in terms of Daily quests and Reputation grinds. My choice was to level up professions and 4 characters. Operation: Shieldwall provided some easily gained gear improvements and the new quest hub on Island of Thunder allows the same. LFR has been gated in terms of iLevel and it is only now in patch 5.2 that I have started doing weekly LFR runs.

My current progress shows that I have not yet completed a single LFR full Raid. The actually boss kills are as follows:

The first part of Mogu'shan Vaults, shows 3 completions, even though I have never actually seen the first boss, and a complete run of the second part. Heart of Fear is the same but with only 2 completions, and I don't think I qualify for the second part yet. Throne of Thunder was the run I did last night.
Mogu'shan Vaults and Heart of Fear have been very under whelming experiences so far, but I really enjoyed Throne of Thunder. MV and HoF are just completely disorganised and are horrible fights.
Throne of Thunder feels more epic, everybody is still finding their feet and a wipefest ensued. It was great. After every wipe we would have a change of personnel and discuss tactics and then we kick backside. This is what Raiding is about, learn, adapt, improve and kick butt. The downside to this is that I see these first 3 bosses becoming, rather easy when the general populace knows what they are doing. By wiping I learnt the fights in a way that just turning up late for LFR in MV and HoF did not. I am being dragged along without a full understanding of the fight, with people who are still learning with me.
If I can take you back to the last expansion (kicking and screaming no doubt), Spine was a pain to understand the tactics, and in many cases it was better to do nothing than do the wrong thing. Once you knew to relax, it meant all the cooldowns were available for the big burst damage to separate the plates from Deathwing. This fight became very easy in LFR unless you had a rogue idiot, deliberately activating all the adds at the same time.
It took 2 hours to do 3 bosses in Throne of Thunder but it was worth it, I just hope next time I have more luck with the loot.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Last night I hit exalted with the Kirin Tor Offensive at the same time that stage 2 was completed on my server. The new stage was written about by BBB to good comedic effect, when he makes reference to the broken down wagon with a cloaking device which for 2 weeks we have been looking for because it contains explosives to blow a hole in the wall.

The new area is tightly packed with mobs, but to be honest they don't stay around for too long, There is a new questline which involves piecing together the parts after you collect the talking head. The Talking Head will mock you incessantly, so much so that I was tempted to drop the head in a dustbin.

The combined test for the swarm of people testing the new area was the Quest "Even Giants Fall", with enough people he will go down reasonably easily, unfortunately during the self-healing stage he seemed to be immune to everybody's dispels. The effect was the see-saw effect, which required the combined forces of the players to do more damage than the heal of the Giant.

Having got to Exalted, is there any reason to keep doing these dailies? I think probably not, but I would like to know what you think. The Polymorphic Key eliminates the one reason that I could think of for continuing.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Steal Your Fire

It's been a hard fought battle but I am now starting to get some gear for my characters. My Hunter is now equipped with iLevel 481 and between Operation:Shieldwall, the Kirin Tor Offensive and the Shado Pan Assault, I am able to improve my gear every 2 weeks. I am currently doing the LFR raids that I can get into purely for the Valor points becasue the gear is worse than I already have. LFR is the dumping ground for the Elder Charm of Good Fortune (yes very funny Blizzard), which are acquired in large numbers from Island of Thunder.

I am still sporting 2 items of the Blue variety in the shape of Shoulders and (no points for guessing) Weapon (Gun, Bow or X-Bow, I don't care I am not fussy). I have heard people talking about Sha weapons but I have no idea what these are, and where Blizzard have hidden all the good stuff.

Is it possible to have one weapon for an entire expansion?
I have started my research to investigate the whereabouts of this missing arsenal, and I will start at the list compiled at WoW Hunters Hall. I have copied the list here for ease of reference.
Epic (purple) quality ranged weapons
The weapons seemed to be centred around 2 Bosses Lei Shi and Will of the Emperor and there are 3 different flavours depending on the level of difficulty. Ignoring the Fangs of the Swarm which means nothing to me, the only Weapon not fitting this pattern is Flintlocke's Blasthammer which is available on the Black Market Auction House. No doubt there is high demand for this item and I expect them to appear on the normal Auction House were somebody will try to gauge the poor Hunters within an inch of their wallets. It is quite obvious were I must now concentrate my efforts and it will mean just doing 2 LFR's in future. Considering that weapons are so important in terms of our output, why do Blizzard insist on putting it all down to the RNG gods (it is not fair on the Grump Elf).

As for the Legendary weapon, I seem to be so far behind and so far in front at the same time. I envisage having to do a lot of duplication to catch up. I only have half of the Sigils needed to get past the early stages at a time that I am almost exalted with Kirin Tor Offensive.

One option would be to PvP for a weapon but WoWhead seems to be very confusing on the matter.

If anybody has any ideas please let me know.

A Town Called Hypocrisy

WoW Insider has published an article based on the Blue Post by Draztal. The article is reasonably well written although Draztal seems to wander off topic (no Blogger would ever do that). The Blue post is about the dumbing down of WoW (in particular Raiding), Vanilla raiding required a huge numbers of people to partake, apparently the droprates for 40 people were minuscule, whilst not being strict attunements, gear from one raid would be required for the next raid, leaving a huge bottleneck in the process.

Draztal argues that anybody can become an expert these days by taking the time to study the huge quantity of material available on the Internet. It is quite true, and even I often find myself writing an a post on a subject that I have no knowledge of at the time of writing. My aim is to make other people aware of a new aspect of the game which they did not know about. Let's face it WoW is a homogeneously complexed game, and to honest I know the areas of Azeroth better than the town that I live in.

One aspect of the game that Draztal failed to acknowledge is the role of Addons in WoW. If people really want a hardcore experience from WoW, here is my tip. Go in a new raid, do not visit Tankspot, turn off, Recount, DBM or any of the other alternatives that simplify the Boss Skills and attacks. Then come back and tell me how easy this game is.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You

"Babe, baby, baby, I'm Gonna Leave You.
I said baby, you know I'm gonna leave you.
I'll leave you when the summertime,
Leave you when the summer comes a-rollin'
Leave you when the summer comes along
. "
Anne Bredon
Strangely enough this is not my swan song (sorry bad pun intended), I am not intending to bow out just yet. In fact I am enjoying the game very much at the moment, and the small changes made in Patch 5.2 have made a big improvement to my game time. So if you have come for WoW gossip you are going to be flat out of luck today.
The message I am trying to convey, is that Spring is on it's way and that indicates a change in our computer gaming habits. WoW is like food, we over indulge when the nights are dark and we consume less in the Summer months when we are more active.
Outside the flowers may be starting to appear but the UK is just seeing off a sharp downturn in the weather, involving blizzards and snow showers, brought on by winds from Siberia. If that is the kind of weather they have in Siberia then I want none of it.
I have pretty much gorged myself on WoW for 6 months now, and it is time to open the curtains, open the windows and let some fresh air into my house/life. My wife has recently bought a bike and I envisage long bike rides, through the countryside and parks as a family. I need to lose one or two pounds/kilos which is due to all those nuts (cake/pies etc) that I squirrelled away at Christmas.
My television viewing is also way behind, I have long since given up on watching films. Hollywood as moved from the action packed blockbuster to Super Hero capers, and reboots of Super Hero capers, and films with hundreds of Super Heroes together. Big budgets for special effects and $100 outlay for script and dialogue. It is no co-incidence that anything vaguely thought provoking had a chance of winning an Oscar this year, with Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Les Mis being the main ones.
I am a fan of the James Bond franchise and it was rather nice to see Skyfall reaching the heights of Casino Royale and not the depths of Quantum of Solace or anything with Roger Moore. I am wanting to watch all the Hobbit films in one go, but I get the feeling I will probably buy it on DVD in the next few months.
For me Television Drama has long since overtaken the Film industry in the art of story telling. How much of a story can you tell in a 2 hour film, compared to 20 episodes in a season last 45 minutes each. The Boxset DVD at affordable prices as made the requirement to sit in and wait each week for a new instalment almost obsolete. Over the years I have watched 24, West Wing, Buffy and Angel with 3 or 4 episodes each night, which made for super condensed entertainment.
The downside of the TV series is watching something that gets canned half way through or no second season is ever made. I have wasted numerous hours on programmes like these, the last one I can remember was Alcatraz. I kept watching because it had the Lost magic of throwing some juicy titbit only for us to be left forever in the dark. My guess is that writers had no idea what was going on and the storyline would have just deteriorated rather rapidly.
My current TV listing in no particular order looks something like this:
  1. Walking Dead (3) (up-to-date)
  2. Touch (2) (Starting)
  3. Game of Thrones (2 and 3) (need boxset)
  4. Criminal Minds (8) (up-to-date)
  5. Grimm (2) (up-to-date)
  6. Grey's Anatomy (9) (up-to-date)
  7. ER (12, 13, 14 and 15) (boxset waiting for free time)
  8. CSI Miami (All) (boxset waiting for free time)
  9. CSI Vegas (All) (boxset waiting for free time)
  10. The Wire (All) (need boxset)
  11. The Sopranos (All) (need boxset)
  12. Dollhouse (2) (streamed)
  13. Elementary (up-to-date)
  14. Sherlock (3) (not started)
  15. Doctor Who (7 part 2) (coming soon)
I might need to reduce my WoW time to catch up. Looking at the list, it would appear that my list is made up almost entirely of American TV shows. Walking Dead, Grimm, and Game of Thrones are typical WoW gamer programmes.
Walking Dead is excellent but I need to be in a zombie mood to watch it. I am particularly enjoying David Morrissey, hamming it up with a reprisal as an Elvis impersonator (thank you very much). Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) is no longer straining with his accent and now looks like an inspired choice for the role, although he will always be Egg or Simon Casey to me.
Elementary was a slow burner for me and like millions of Brits I was expecting an American take on Sherlock. If you have not seen this programme, I cannot recommended it highly enough. Elementary is a completely different take on the character, and once you get past the idea that they are as different as chalk and cheese, the programme opens up into a quirky detective show. Sherlock was filmed later than usual due to Martin Freeman's starring role in the Hobbit.
Doctor Who is the family favourite, my son even sleeps with a stuffed Adipose toy. The next family vacation is to Cardiff with the sole intention of visiting the Doctor Who exhibition. Expect a photo of me standing like Captain Jack above the Torchwood HQ.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Bad Reputation

Reputation and Dailies have been the most controversial subject during this current expansion. There are more Dailies than anyone could have imagined was possible. The last 2 patches have introduced 3 new factions and a set of Dailies with both patches. Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive were generally well received and I think that most people can handle doing one set of Dailies for 2 or 3 weeks before moving onto something else.

Thinking back to the launch of MoP, Blizzard could easily have phased in the various Factions, giving us a month to complete the major Factions of Golden Lotus, Shado Pan, Klaxxi and the August Celestials. The rest of the Factions which are more optional could have been left in place like the Tillers and the Anglers. The downside to this is the huge area required to house thousands of people all grinding in the same area. Blizzard have managed 3 times now, so it is perfectly feasible.
  1. Firelands Invasion
  2. Operation: Shieldwall / Dominance Offensive
  3. Isle of Thunder
A series of initiatives have seen Blizzard moving slowly towards helping out the people who have more than one character. The commendation system was the first attempt, which doubled the rep from doing the dailies on additional characters after your main had reached Revered. The reward was nice but it did not address the root cause of the problem, which was that nobody wanted to the Golden Lotus first time, never mind a second time.

The Sunsong Ranch which was starting to feel a little jaded after such a promising start was given a new lease of life with the Work Orders. I personally like this idea, but the implementation of the quests is terrible.

  1. Communicate with a post to choose the faction you want to cosy up with.
  2. Dig up and plough your plot
  3. Buy a bag/pack of seeds of the right type (this is a huge improvement)
  4. Plant 8 of these seeds
  5. Complete the pop up Quest
  6. Accept the next phase
  7. Put Character back into the Ranch Hut
  8. Logoff
  9. Wait until the next day
  10. Logon
  11. Come down stairs
  12. Think about whether you still have that quest or do you need to visit the cart to accept quest before those plump juice Witchberries are picked
  13. Hand in quest at cart
The implementation of accepting a quest one day and then having to accept it again the next day is very bloody annoying to say the least. The Fruit and Veg that is sitting tall and proud and is whispering to you to harvest me now, will set you back a day if you accidentally pick one in the wrong order.

I am doing these work orders on 4 characters and have only had problems on one character. I raised a ticket with Blizzard saying that I had the quest already and it didn't register on two separate days, so I had missed 2 days rep. The Blizzard GM who took 2 days answer gave the standard answer, that I was doing it wrong and I was an idiot for raising a ticket.

Why is it only a problem on one character? why did Blizzard feel the need to Hotfix the way it was working if there was not a problem? and for godsake don't treat your customers like noobs.

Along with these 2 reputation improvements there is also the BoA drops from the Land that Time Forgot, and the Grumpy Elf has been moving his characters on swiftly through this method. Last night I discovered there was a fourth method, which I had forgotten about which is championing a Faction in Scenarios and I presume 5 mans. If you have not yet found this facility it involves pulling up the Reputation tab and clicking the star next to the Faction of your choice. The scenario load screen will remind if you have not set it up yet.

As individual initiatives they don't amount to a great deal, but combined they offer a reasonable solution. I have even started doing some regular dailies again because the rewards seem so much more tangible than the 100 rep per quest that the Golden Lotus used to offer.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Always The Last To Know

As part of a follow up to a conversation I had with the Grumpy Elf, I rushed off to complete my Kirin Tor Offensive quests. Instead of my usual, click an orb, and go and kill 12 Mogu with bad breath, I was to join Vereesa Windrunner in an Aerial Assault on Shaol'mara. Apparently they needed a champion such as myself. How could I disappoint Jaina in her hour of need, and besides flattery will get you anywhere.

Needless to say the Aerial attack force ran into some serious problems and Vereesa and myself were left to complete the mission on our own. The inevitable ambush happened immediately after falling out the sky, and after dispatching the herd of raptors with their Mogu trainers, Vereesa ran off into the jungle. I decided to hang around and skin the huge mound of raptors lying in front of me. I felt that it is my civic duty to clean up after myself. I also need the leather for my discovery program of all the new PvP gear (iLevel 458 in case you thought you were missing out on something).

Vereesa and Bob, broke the barricades and killed the Bosses, the second boss in particular is a long drawn out affair, not particularly difficult just long and a little tedious, being chased around by a giant floating shield. All of this activity takes place inside a solo scenario, and to be honest I am really enjoying the solo scenarios, so big kudos to Blizzard for introducing them.

Vereesa Windrunner for a major character in Blizzard Lore and a Ranger to boot, was utterly outclassed by Bob the Hunter. When facing 2 mobs, I took one guard and she took the other, and after polishing off my guard, I would need to assassinate her guard as well. Perhaps I am just used to Jaina and Varian, who when the mood takes them can slice through the Horde like a hot knife through butter.

Bob has now created a new base for Jaina to setup camp, and I now seem to be running grinds on 2 different factions. There is the Kirin Tor Offensive and the Shado Pan Assault. I only discovered this when I asked if anyone in guild wanted to help me smash a generated Elite which states that I need several mates to help me, suggesting the trusty Tank, Healer and 3 DPS combination might be required. The answer from everyone in guild was what my rep was like with the Shado Pan Assault. Why are they asking me these daft questions? well it appears that I am the last to know, and that after a little light reading I discovered this little nugget of information.

"Trash will only grant reputation up to 2999/3000 Neutral."

The Elite that I am able to summon by combining 3 blue rocks (apparently they are known as Shan'ze Ritual Stones), will take me into Friendly territory with the new Raid Faction, and judging from the gear available, this is something that I really want to do.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Lucky Man

The Kirin Tor Offensive is my current chief motivator. I am neither excited or bored with these quests yet. The differences in the quests are so infinitesimal, kill 10 Mogu or alternatively, kill 3 Mogu with bad hair, 3 with with bad teeth and 3 with bad breath.

The reputation grind is closer to Golden Lotus than the Anglers, and Revered looks like it might take weeks.

On the plus side, I am yet again making full use of the Sunsong Ranch. I have no intention of doing Dailies on alts, but I can manage to grow a few vegetables for a daily reward. The farm is slightly more manageable with the 4 seed planting and the half hit point Virmen, after you have ploughed them down. Bursting crops seems to be a more common occurrence than previously but then they need to be replanted, and I am no longer holding stacks of single seeds.

With the changes to this patch I have been able to push the last mile for exalted status with the Anglers and the Klaxxi. Having completed the Klaxxi through work orders I decide to see if there was a finale to the grind. I was not disappointed and my reward was the Seal of the Windreaver.

Doing the Kirin Tor, means that I am positively overflowing with Elder Charms of Good Fortune, and it was at this point that I discovered that they only stack up to a max of 20. To make space for some new ones I decided to stand in line for the lengthy wait in the LFR. I was surprised to see another option in my list for Heart of Fear, and I was lucky enough to notch up a Garalon kill by joining at the end of a run.

Having used up the grand total of one Elder Charm, I immediately chose to run LFR Mogu'shan Vaults. I find this raid utterly tedious, the trash turns this into one big boss fight. This time I was rewarded with 3 items Stonemaw Armguards, Wildfire Worldwalkers, and Fetters of Death. Belt and Bracers replaced PvP items and the Boots were a sideways upgrade. What was more shocking was the iLevel of these items, iLevel 476, is less than the ring for completing the Klaxxi rep grind at iLevel 489. Operation: Shieldwall is relatively easy to grind to exalted and that offer iLevel 496. It appears that LFR is nothing more than a way of obtaining 90 Valor points to add to that all important 1000 weekly Valor cap.

Is this good design? personally I think that Valor is becoming the only way to gear a character, and until they make it so that you can Valor cap in 3 nights, then alts are going the way of the dodo. My guild wants me to take up Healing duties in raids, but at the moment I am too focused on my Hunter, to gear up a second character. This is bad for the game, and alt Healers and alt Tanks are needed to reduce the long waiting times in LFR and LFD.

My hunter is still wearing 4 Blue items and we are up to the second patch in the expansion. The worst thing is that the gear make such a huge impact to the DPS, and I expected an increase between 10-15 K for the 3 new items, and when I get a decent weapon the figures will go through the roof, and then maybe, I might not be such a sitting duck on the Island of Giants.

Friday, 8 March 2013

New Kid In Town

Patch 5.2 is upon us, and as usual the Europeans are 3 steps behind. The only advantage I can see to this scenario is that the EU servers also get the bug fixes applied at the same time as the patch, and in general the Europeans see a far better transition than our North American brethren.

In short I have no addition insight to the new patch that other bloggers have already discussed, but what else am I going to talk about?

As usual I was going into the patch fairly blind, I did remember to tick the load out of date addons, but did not update them in advance. That is a job for when I have completed this post.

The pop-up quest to take you to the new Island is standard fare for all new content and is a good starting point. Just in case you have not visited the new zone here are the intro steps:

  1. Fly to Shado Pan Garrison in Townlong Steppes
  2. Accept a tour to Thunder Island
  3. Land on boat, click on orb
  4. Accept quests and attempt one of the three hubs
  5. Troll area is heavy on the respawn but it seems to be more manageable last night than the first night
  6. Sarok is the quirky area where you get polymorphed into a bouncy humanoid reptile
  7. Mogu area is heavy on mobs and there are, the nasty Wailing Banshee women, that we met doing the Golden Lotus Dailies. The problem is they don't always drop out of the sky to offer themselves to the melee classes (and pets). No pet aggro and Hunters are surprisingly squishy.
At the moment this area is taking a long time to complete, but I expect this to be streamlined with better gear.

I have not yet visited Jurassic Park Island, but after reading BBB, I expect a visit in the very near future. Every hunter will sporting a new dino in various colours, in the upcoming weeks.

Last night, I was lucky enough to locate one of the new treasures chests. One of the rewards from the chest was a Key to the Palace of Lei Shen

This key starts a quest chain to the single player scenario, which you will have heard about because it involves looting as many chests as possible without dying a horrible death. I almost get the feeling that Harrison Jones is going to come to our rescue, if they hadn't over egged that pudding in the last expansion.
Apparently the latest news is that, you can loot one of these key each week. I am nervious of wasting the key and so I plan to fully investigate the traps before wasting the key and being stuck in the first room.
Patch 5.2 is more than just 2 Islands, but I am unlikely to be stepping into the new Raid any time soon, no doubt the LFR requires iLevel 500 or something daft.
The feature that caught my attention was the ability to get my hands on some prime real estate over at Sunsong Ranch. Master Yoon, after being accepted by the Tillers is too busy to look after the farm (Like he ever did anything). The workorders was my primary motivation, and the chance to get my reputation up with the last few factions.
"One of the great new features in 5.2 is the ability to take over the Sunsong Ranch farm in the Valley of the Four Winds. You can do this by talking to Nana Mudclaw after reaching Exalted with The Tillers, and unlocking all 16 plots of the farm. When you take over the farm you can begin taking work orders for specific factions in Pandaria, allowing you to earn reputation with them simply by planting, harvesting, and delivering the items you grow.

The way your receive work orders on the Sunsong Ranch farm was changed recently which may cause some confusion. If you've been doing your work orders you probably have logged in and had the second work order in the series automatically pop-up in your quest list. This has been changed, and from now on you’ll receive the quest when you start harvesting your plants, or when you interact with the drop-off crate."
My Hunter is able to complete work orders for every faction, but my alts only get a couple of choices, Operation:Shieldwall and the Klaxxi. It would appear that you need to advance your reputation to a certain point before you are eligable for Work Orders.
Staying in the Halfhill area, I also noticed the same quest that attracted the Godmother's attention
I assumed at the time that the Pandarans had found a good use for gunpowder like the Dwarf fishing quest were you throw sticks of dynamite into the water. No, this quest is to fish up 5 Golden Carp!
This is the fish that seems to have 2 uses, one is for the Grocery Bundle and the other is as a Vendorfish.

Speaking of fish, the Nat Pagle special fish seem to be a lot less rare than previously. I may even have caught enough to be exalted with him before the expansion is over.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Mansion On The Hill

Player Housing is something that has been floated around as an idea for WoW since it started, that and the Dance Studio. Personally I have no interest in my characters being able to do Break Dancing, the Hokey Cokey, or the Mash Potato. I can tell you now that I do not look good on the dance floor whatever the Arctic Monkeys might say.

Player Housing as always been an idea that added nothing to the game, even the idea of keeping trophies from famous victories over Hogger, it just didn't fire my imagination in the slightest. That was until now, when I read Big Bear Butt who is positive bubbling with enthusiasm at the moment, if you haven't read it then get over to BBB and read Putting the Pieces Together. The whole idea of what player housing could be will be transformed in the space of a few hundred words. I always envisaged it being a dreary house in Stormwind/Ironforge etc... a room downstairs and a bedroom upstairs, the house littered with trophies, but it does not have to be that way.

I am now seeing a fortified tower on the borderlands, and it is your presence that is stopping the Horde from streaming over the hill and attacking the Alliance citizens who are eking out an existence on the edge of civilization. Not only do you have the chance to grow your Tower into a borderland Citadel but you have random events to deal with, these could involve:
  1. Storms destroying property
  2. Repelling invaders
  3. Hunting dangerous wild beasts
  4. Settling local disputes
  5. Presiding over allegations of witchcraft ( flashback to Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
  6. Taxing the local farmers and traders
  7. Heroic Quests for the Holy Grail
It would not be dailies as we know them, because these are solely for the purpose of maintaining and growing our personal fiefdom. The sky is the limit as to what can be added to this function and as BBB pointed out the technology is actually there, and you could even use the use the minecraft style building techniques, obviously with graphics more befitting the number 1 MMO and not a game that looks like it was designed in the early 1980's.

In fact you could even add elements of the original warcraft series with Peons/humans mining and chopping trees so that you can build an army to take down the opposing army who are busy doing the same thing on the other side of the valley.

WoW can become a one stop gaming experience with meta games all over the place, we already have Plants V's Zombies, Pokemon, and Farmville. I am excited and it's not even a real feature, I guess I will just have to make do with a new patch.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Oops! I Did It Again

World of Warcraft is a large game, with complexed coding that has evolved over 8 years. Sometimes a small tweak here can cause a big ripple over there. It is the Chaos Theory (Butterfly Effect) of computer games.

Last Thursday there was a bug fix patch, which annoyed me enough to write about it, but one of the consequences of this was the return of the Zen Pilgrimage Return Bug. Zen Pilgrimage is the Monk spell that allows the Monk to return for training and more importantly to pickup the Enlightenment buff. The bug stops you from returning to the nearest graveyard to were originally port from. The spell tooltip says it has a 30 minute cooldown but the return should be available anytime.

To maximise the uptime of Enlightenment I would travel to the current quest hub, then take the Pilgrimage so as not to lose time travelling whilst the buff was up. The only option was to Hearthstone and start travelling from there.

A quick Google search of the bug suggests that it was present at launch and I am guessing this will occasionally reappear from time to time. The fix was quickly reapplied before too many people noticed, and to be honest I think it is funnier, than annoying.

On a side note I would like to second the motion proposed by the Confused Elf

"Dear Blizzard, you are invited to remove the reputation requirements from gear and patterns, thank you, the people that pay you.

There is your written invitation. Now fix it.

Altoholics rise up and storm the Citadel at Anaheim.

Friday, 1 March 2013

What's Going On

Thursday 28th February 2013, What's going on? I have logged in to be faced by a wait screen with no sign of life, no indication that something is happening.

Is it really too much to let us know, that there is fresh updates for the upcoming 5.2 patch. Even Microsoft give us more information than that when we accept our frequent updates.
A few minutes later the download screen appeared, but not before I considered  closing the application and running the repair feature. We all know the patch is due, but it is still rude not to inform us that this might take some time. If you say 10 minutes and the patch is installed in 2 minutes then you look super efficient and you have surpassed the customer expectations. Say nothing and we look for problems where there are none.