Cataclysm catastrophy

•February 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We’ve all heard of the announcement from Blizzard confirming the release of Cataclysm in 2010. Since it’s still pretty early into 2010, this  time frame can be anything up to 10 months, although I doubt it’ll be coming out at the end of the year. But if Blizzard’s track record serves any indications, you can probably expect Cataclysm to hit the store maybe in the last quarter of this year.
Now the big question, what will we do in game to tide us over till the expansion? Bear in mind there’s a strong possibility Blizzcon will take place sometime in October. This gives us 8 months before Blizzcon and if they launch the expansion after that, it’ll be 9 months till we see Cataclysm.
We know there’ll be another patch coming with some new pve and pvp content as well as the patch 4.0 before the expansion, as been confirmed by a blue post in the forum. Now everyone is speculating about the next patch. Personally, I think it’ll be another Zul’ something raid, like with all previous expansions. Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman both came out as the last patch of content before expansion. Is this going to be enough to make you stay in the game until expansion? Arthas is not going to survive too much longer in hard mode. Will this lull in game drive players to try other MMOs coming out this year? Let’s take a look at what other MMOs are expected to come out this year.

  • Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s Star Wars, the fan base is already there, although it’s rumoured the game won’t be out until 2011, you never know if they’ll make a big push to get this game out if they learn the launch date of Cataclysm, to get a head start over Blizzard and lure the players away from WoW.
  • Guild Wars 2. It’s a free MMO (no monthly fee, just have to buy the disks) and plays just like WoW. If WoW didn’t exist, Guild Wars would have a much bigger audience, the game is solid and plays well. Depending on the changes they make for 2, this might be something to draw players in since there’s no subscription fee involved.
  • Lego Universe. Building on the success of all the Lego games out for the consoles, the younger players will feel more at home playing this as well as parents who enjoys MMO and would like to play with their children.
  • APB: All Points Bulletin. Like GTA but in MMO form. This game looks interesting from what I can see so far. Cops vs robbers with loads of car chases. Could prove to be a dark horse this year. And it’s written by Realtime Worlds, the potential is there, but no one knows how it plays, going to keep a close eye on this game.
  • Final Fantasy XIV. Having jumped ship from Final Fantasy XI online to WoW myself, FFXI will always have a soft spot in my heart. Blighted by the lack of new ideas for their expansions and the grindy nature of Japanese MMO, the core of the game is still top notch. One that I’ll certainly try when it comes out. (They’re currently accepting Beta testing applications).
  • DC Universe Online. Champions Online was a disappointment, but DC Universe will have proper super heroes and villains to fight alongside with. Can corner the super hero market and maybe draw others in too.
  • Need for Speed World.  No idea how a racing game can turn into an MMO, but there are millions of Need for Speed fans out there. Could be fun joining a racing world if you’re into driving games. (they’re also taking applications for beta testing from their site).

There are some strong MMO schedule to come out this year, but whether it’ll draw players away from WoW remains to be seen. Or maybe Blizzard is confident in their loyal fanbase and don’t really see the need to push out games faster and expect everyone to just sit around and wait till they feel the game is ready. The younger players won’t attach themselves to a brand as easily as the older gamers, WoW is probably the only Blizzard game they have played. Will this “the game is ready when we feel it’s ready” approach have any repercussions to Blizzard seeing how many MMOs are coming out this year? The exodus before an expansion isn’t anything unusual, while they always return to WoW once the expansion is out, but partly because there isnt any competition out there at the time. But with titles like Star Wars and Final Fantasy, if they can provide a richer and more rewarding enviroment, it’s not inconceivable that the players will stick with it instead of returning to WoW.

Are you feeling a little jaded with WoW and which upcoming MMO piqued your interest? Final Fantasy XIV is definitely on my list and APB should be something to look forward to.

Whining DOES work!

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’d have heard me whining about gear itemisation in Icecrown for us Elemental Shamans. Although it makes me feel bad for whining so much, but guess what? I guess whining does work because Blizzard finally see the need to give us hybrid casters some love.  If you go take a look on mmo-champion, they posted a note from the blues on some weapon stats changes from Arthas drops. Although it’s not the perfect weapon for us, we lose so much hit with Icecrown gear, what we need is a weapon with spell power, haste and hits. But I’ll settle for spell power, haste and crits. Just have to make up the hits from elsewhere.
Also from a blue post this week, the limited tries in normal Icecrown is going to be scrapped altogether. I have no idea why they brought that in at the beginning, if your group is good enough, the amount of tries will not stop them from downing the Bosses and if your group just isn’t good enough, no amount of tries will help you, and that’s if your group don’t give up before long.

Love is in the Air is upon us once again, but his year with a bit of difference. They changed most of the quests from the previous year and you do not rely so much on the RNG to complete the achievement now. I never got to do any of this last year on this character so I had to start from scratch on all the achievement for this event.
To my surprise, I  got the Love Fool title the very same night all thanks to Ulduar! Spent a couple of hours in Ulduar killing the trash before the Flame Leviathan fight and got enough Charms to buy all the items needed. The new holiday dungeon boss was easy but I doubt I’ll ever get to see the Love Rocket drop any time soon. When it comes to random mount drops, I have the worst luck. The neck pieces they drop here are the equivalent to the ones you can buy with your conquest badges, all item level 226. So if you a fresh level 80, you can save yourself 19 emblems and pick up the neck for your class pretty easy.

So, on to the raiding, tonight, we finally got to see the Frost wing and get to wake up Valithria Dreamwalker. This is an interesting fight where healing is more of the focus in order to succeed. Healers finally get Blood Lust just for themselves and not all about for dps. After a few wipes, we got Valithria up and as usual, the drops are terrible. I get another staff which I’ll probably never use unless I’m really stretch for hits.
Got to see Sindragosa in flesh, or bones in this case. Didn’t make much progress on it before we had to call it for time. Seeing how this fight’s mechanics are easier than Dreamwalker, I think we’ll get her down next time.

I don’t like taking screenshots when I’m playing, or rather I just keep forgetting taking screenshots before or after a fight, that’s why there’s a lack of pictures in this blog. I’ll try to remind myself to take more screenshots so I can put them up here. And here’s one I took earlier just before we get Sindragosa to appear.

 

We didn't come here for the view!

 

You lost that loving feeling

•February 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Having praised Blizzard for giving us Elemental Shaman a dps boost, they gone and take away one of our biggest upgrade in the form of 4 piece tier 10 bonus.
The old bonus of cutting Lava Burst by 1.5 seconds was a god sent because that’s our biggest damage spell in our arsenal, but now our Lava Burst just refresh our Flame Shocks for a further 6 seconds? That’s totally redundant and pointless. With so much running around in ICC on Bosses, you won’t hurt your rotation by throwing in the extra Flame Shock as it’ll be a filler spell while running around, so by refreshing it just makes it pointless.

Trust Blizzard to build up our hopes in one hand and take away more with the other. :(

At last! A little loving from Blizzard!

•February 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s not easy being an Elemental Shaman in WoW. People just expect so much from you and for some reason, you just can’t seem to deliver what is expected of you even though your gear suggest otherwise. The problem with an Elemental Shaman is you are never supposed to top the dps chart if other dps in your raid knows what they’re doing. You’re there to make other casters look even better than what they should be. Is it the player’s fault? Partly, but more importantly, Blizzard just made the mechanics as such that an Elemental Shaman is nothing more than an utility player in the raiding cog. With so many gimmick fights in Icecrown and the constant repositioning needed for players to survive, it hits the casters hard on the dps front, especially with an Elemental Shaman who relies so heavily on a tight spell rotation to squeeze every last ounce of dps out of a fight that if you can’t be stationary for any stretch of time, you will not see your name appear anywhere near the top of the dps chart. Of course I’m talking in a perfect raiding group where everyone knows their class inside out and the discrepancy in each class will be more prevalent.

Throughout the Wrath of Lich King expansion, we been asking Blizzard to buff us up to bridge our dps gap with others, all we got so far has been the change to our Fire Nova totem. To be honest, they may aswel not be bothered with that change. It did add a more viable option to our AoE, but how many of us are really that bothered about how much dps we do on trash? Blizzard know we are under powered, so I’m delighted to hear about the upcoming change to our dps boost in patch 3.2.2 
We will now get a flat 5% dps boost which will bring us more competitive with other classes. It would be ridiculous to boost us so much that we can overtake the pure dps class, afterall, we’re a hybrid class, for anyone to think we should be on par with the likes of Rogues and Mages etc is just being silly. So I’m really happy with our little dps boost Blizzard is going to implement in our next patch, now all I’m asking is for Blizzard to think long and hard about itemisation to mail gear. If you take a look through the loot list from ICC, there’s hardly any suitable mail gear for an Elemental Shaman. While my guild leader is very understanding to allow me to roll on cloth gear, I’m still quite reluctant to take cloth gear from our mages and warlocks. So here’s hoping Blizzard will see some sense and give us more options as far as mail gear is concerned.

Now on to the raiding front. I haven’t really done much this week except the 10man ICC on tuesday. We have Queen Lana’thel left in crimson wing, I hope we will get a good run on Monday and get her before the final wing opens on tuesday. The Blood Prince council fight wasn’t all that hard, and because I was assigned the job of keeping the kinetic bombs from hitting the ground, I found myself bored out of my mind in that fight. Staring at the ceiling during the whole fight isn’t what I would call exciting, and when you can’t even use a macro to target the kinetic bombs, it makes targetting them that much  harder if you happen to get a gravitus cloud on you to block your view. Our 25 man group have Festergut and Rotface down while I been away with personal engagements. I hope it’s not just some dumb luck they got through and they can repeat that success when I’m back raiding full time. Putricide will really test if they’ve learned anything at all in the Rotface fight.

Happy belated New Year

•January 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Been a while since I updated this blog because of the holiday season the guild’s lack of raids. With the new wing open in Icecrown Citadel, things are starting to get interesting. If you have the notion of Icecrown being a faceroll, you better have a rethink, Rotface and Festergut, though not overtly hard, it’ll pose more of a challenge than you previously had in ICC. Rotface is a fight where you will need to pay attention for the duration of the fight and Festergut is a total gear check because of the short enrage timer. Haven’t had a chance to see Putricide yet because my guild only had 1 day of raid time since the new wing opened.
News about Blizzard is going to make changes to Shaman’s Tier 10 4 set bonus is still unclear at this time, will have to see if the change is going to be positive or negative before I’m going to comment on it.
On WoW.com this past month, there’s been a lot of blog post from Adam Holisky writing trash again, first he post about wow players are pressing it’s own self destruct button because of all he QQing, then he pick up some positive changes to how Blizzard is going to restore hacked account and made it into a negative piece. Here’s a link to that very post.
May I remind you all how Blizzard is dealing with hacked account right now. They’ll get you on the phone and verify a few details, then they’ll put you in a queue to roll back the date before your account got hacked and restore all the items you lost, albeit with a wait time of generally a couple of weeks. Tell me if I’m wrong here, if Blizzard is going to give those of you that got hacked, a packaged deal to facilitate the process of restoring your account, isn’t that a good thing for those to take the packaged deal if the account didn’t really have that much valuable items in it? And here’s something really funny, and I’m going to quote what Mr Holisky said, “ If the player does not accept this care package, they are then forced to go into a character restoration queue that is consistently several days to weeks long.” Woah, hang on a second buddy, you are forced into a queue??? What was the alternative before the news of this? That’s right, you are in a queue to get your items restored anyway. What a load of bollocks. If anyone’s pressing the self destruct button, it’s people like him that is out there feeding false information to players to whip up a frenzy. If you are one of the readers of WoW.com, may I suggest you engage your brain and analyze the info before you start your QQing in Blizz forums.

On another note, I’ve played a lot of console games on my XBox 360. Bayonetta is a totally awesome game with beautiful graphics and the fights are amazingly choreographed with completely over the top effects, sometimes you just get lost in what’s going on and end up button mashing. If you enjoyed Devil May Cry, this game might not have the technical panache of DMC, but it certainly made up for it in its sheer exuberance.
Also played the demo for Dante’s Inferno, it’s similar to Bayonetta in it’s game mechanics, but the story seems a little more immersive, oh and lots of boobies :)

Will update again soon after I had more raid time. In the mean time, keep doing your daily random and build up those Frost emblems :)

Welfare Epics and Why I hate the idea of them

•December 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“I pay the same amount of monthly fee as all others, so why are the top end gear are only available to a select few?”

I think Blizzard must have heard that complaint way too many times and are giving in more and more with each and every content patch they implement into the game.  Forget about all those Blizzard fanboys and sympathizers who will come out and defend every decision Blizzard make whether it made any sense at all. I like Blizzard, but not to the point where I would be happy to take any crap they throw at us and tell us it’s a neccessity in order for the game to thrive. We already live in a world where political correctness is going way over the top and people are too quick to jump in to defend what isn’t there to defend in the first place. People are not equal simply because we don’t lead the same lives. These “Casual” WoW players who complain not being able to get the top end raiding gear because they don’t have time to raid, I have just one question for you.

Why the fuck do you need raiding gear if you don’t raid in the first place?!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means a hard core raider myself, but when I see other people with the latest end game epics, it’s something I aspire to work towards. If I really want them bad enough, I would find myself a top end guild and work for them, not by getting them handed to me by Blizzard simply through some whiny posts in forums and such.
There are different levels of gamers, we should know our level. I’m useless in first person shooter, when I play Modern Warfare and can’t kill a single person in online play, I know I have 2 choices. Either work on my game and be good at it, but in my case, that’s near impossible since I suffer from motion sickness playing those kind of games, or I can just look for something else to play. You can’t cater for everyone, it only creates conflicts, while the “casual” players gets to enjoy themselves by literally doing nothing, it makes the gaming experience more and more intolerable for everyone else who do spend their time working on their skills. Gear alone doesn’t make you a better player, it just gives you a false sense of invincibility. Instead of teaching the unskilled players to brush up on their skill, Blizzard just keep throwing gear in their face to shut them up. How many players have you grouped with that are better geared than you but still be a burden to your group and than turn around and blame you for their failure? They have forgotten to learn the basic skill because they’ve gotten their gear by just turning up to a raid and spend an entire fight face down because they didn’t know fire on the ground isn’t actually a buff for your spells.
This is like giving someone a Ferrari before they have their license, they might think they can handle the car because it’s parked outside their drive, but in reality, they’re a danger to themselves and people around them. If this trend continues, people who are pioneers, who are driving this game forward are going to look for something else that will give them more of a challenge, than you’re left with the mediocre and the bad. Sooner or later, you’ll just have to show up to a raid and all the Bosses will drop dead with a push of a button and fill your bag with epics and people will still complain because they have to push a button to kill the bosses. This might sound a little pessimistic, but with Blizzard’s latest track record, you can never say never.

The new dungeons

•December 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Having had more time to play around with the new additions to Patch 3.3, my impression is pretty mixed. Blizzard introduced some great changes to the patch, like the new dungeon finder feature. Now you don’t have to worry about meeting people who are really under geared to do Halls of Reflection with you because the game will now calculate your gear and put you into appropriate dungeons if you decide to do a random Heroic. I’ve been in a pug for Pits of Saron and Halls of Reflection and beside a little mishaps along the way, we successfully completed both of those dungeons, whereas if I had been paired with some fresh level 80s, there’s really no way we could have done those. We all know gear doesn’t make a player, but it certainly helps especially with the new dungeons where gear really does play a vital part.
All 3 new dungeons are pretty short and there are no more than 3 Bosses in each. Forge of Souls, while quite beautifully designed, it didn’t inspire me the slightest, the Bosses were predictable and there’s nothing you haven’t already seen in other dungeons. Pit of Saron is where things starts to get interesting, the gauntlet run was pretty good the first time you come face to face with it, especially if you jump straight into the deep end and do Heroic mode before you get to taste it in normal mode first. In Halls of Reflection, the Arthas chase was something else. You really feel the urgency to clear your path before Arthas catches up to you, with my pug, we literally made it just in time with no time to spare before Arthas had a chance to annihilate us all.

Now the not so good part. Dungeon Finders. It always blows my mind as to how stupid or ignorant some players are that plays this game. This is a great feature that facilitate the need to shout for groups in LFG channel, or on my server, spams through the Trade channel. Yet here we are, 2 days after the patch, people are still spamming trade for groups. Really?? Do people not look at the features added to the patch? I don’t want to go into a main city and have my trade channel bombarded with spams because people are too stupid to use the dungeon finder, you don’t even need to make your way to the instance as it teleports you right inside once they have enough people. The other thing I have a problem with is the new Ice Crown raid. It always feels good to down new Bosses in the game for the first time, but please Blizzard, make it a bit more challenging, the only reason people will have to spend more time than neccessary in there is the amount of trash. The first time you walk into ICC, you can literally see the Boss as you enter, but it still takes a good 20-30 minutes just to clear the trash before you can reach him. Having so much trash in such a confined space only leads to 1 thing. People will accidentally pull other groups they’re not ready for. If this is the only way Blizzard can make a raid wipe, than they really need to buckle up their ideas because the Bosses themselves don’t really possess a threat once you know the main mechanics of the fight. And the loot from ICC, I don’t know whether the people involved had way too much to drink when they came up with the itemisation on the gear, or Blizzard just having a laugh with us. Most of the stats don’t even make sense and even with the ring you can get from your rep inside, there’s no options for a plate dps. Plate dps need strength, so why on earth are there not a single ring that gives strength?

Blizzard brought some nice new changes with this patch, but I can’t help but feel there just isn’t enough content to last us through till the next expansion. Once they release all the Bosses in ICC, I’m afraid people will get tire of doing the same limited content over and over. the good news is next year, we’ll see tons of AAA titles for the consoles, that should keep some people occupied before Catalysm hits the store. Let’s hope the new expansion will come sooner rather than later.

 
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