Posts Tagged ‘warcraft’

h1

Beta Cataclysm: New Darkshore

September 1, 2010

A Whole New Can Of Paint –

New Look Grove of the Ancients (Complete with Flightpath)

Like most zones in Cataclysm, Darkshore has gone through a major redesign.  While most other areas in the game have changed dramatically, there are some areas where old quest lines remain.   These areas have one thing in common, most of them have felt the Cataclysm and its aftermath.  The war that followed has changed many other zones.  People have died in other places, but no other zone has seen such devastation to its former quest giving NPC inhabitants.  In part because of this,  there is not a single quest left from before the world was rocked and town of Auberdine so completely devastated.

Auberdine’s Death brings a new beginning –

Your experience in the new Darkshore begins in Lor’danel, the new Night Elven homebase in the zone.  This is not much of a town in comparison to what Auberdine was.  There is only an inn, a few tents and a conspicuously empty Night Elven guard tower.  There is no dock to be found in all of Darkshore now.  If you want to go to Darnassus or Exodar, all you have to do is jump on a flight path.  (Yes, I said that correctly.  Exodar is now accessible via flight paths from anywhere in Kalimdor.)  If Stormwind is you desired destination, then its a short hop to the remains of Ru’theran Village and hop on the old boat that now docks there.

Lor’danel is a much more lush and green “town” than its predecessor, but I would hardly call it a town.  It is more akin to a forward base.  It has a great deal of amenities, but lacks at least one major one… A meat vendor.  Questing through this area as a Worgen Hunter with my default Dog pet was tedious to say the least.  Finding meat for him to eat (and he only eats meat) was impossible without going to Darnassus.  Even the fauna that has survived the Cataclysm does not seem to drop raw meat nearly as commonly as they did before the changes.  It was only because I had kept a good deal of spider bits from the Gilneas experience.

Solving the Old Darkshore’s problems –

Catpath in action

Catpath in action

The biggest complaint about the original Darkshore was the sheer area of the zone.  Questers had to traverse the length of the zone many many times during their 8-10 levels they spent there.  The long narrow zone forced players to run North and then back to Auberine, then farther North and then back to town.  After that, they had to run south and back, farther south and back.  The tedium of this fact made many players turn to Bloodmyst as the main questing area after it was released in TBC.  Bloodmyst was a well designed, far more compact zone that had far better quest rewards, storylines and a much more diverse set of enemies.  Unfortunately, the developers thought it was better to mimic the design concepts that worked so well in the Death Knight starting experience.  This means heavy usage of the big staples that became used and overused in Wrath of the Lich King.

The zone is designed for players too low to have access to mounts.  Instead of just giving mounts to players at level 10, they have given both of the overly large 10-20 zones their own system of “easy” travel.  Thusly, like Azshara and its Goblin Rocketway, Darkshore also was given a system of “catpaths”.  Situated at several key points in the Northern Darkshore there are cat calvary guards that allow you to access these “catpaths” to most of the miniquest hubs that you are directed to.  This system solves one of the two major issues with the old zone.  The changes to the flow of the zone itself solve the other issues.

The Quests –

Phased In Malfurion & Friends

Phased In Malfurion & Friends

Lor’danel gives us a whole new look on the way Blizzard wants us to play the game.  This microcosm is both surprising and disturbing.  We are given a beautiful new zone, with a wonderful quest flow.  However, like so many other new Cataclysm zones (Hyjal, Vash’jir, Deepholm) if one quest is bugged, you can not continue in the zone.  During testing this has happened many times, and the nature of the bugs it will be extremely difficult for Blizzard to continually prevent this.  As evade bugged mobs have been a problem since the first day of Vanilla.  (It actually took 2 patches and a very inventive level 83 Fire Mage to un-bug a certain NPC in the zone allowing players to continue past level 15.)

The zone has many “phasing” aspects starting with the major ones in and around Lor’denal itself.  Most of the phasing has to do with rescuing and not rescuing the survivors of Auberdine.  It is completely unclear how much time has passed since the destruction.  Long enough for other areas of the world to have been wrought with war and for Auberdine to have been overtaken by Twilight Cultists and Air Elementals.  Yet, you are still asked to rescue former questgivers, flightmasters, innkeepers, etc from the aftermath.

As you rescue these npc’s you are continually phased and receive follow-up quests.  This is nothing new.  We have seen similar questing systems throughout Northrend.  To put it simply, the system is not as large as anything in Ice Crown or the Death Knight experience.  The phasing, with one large exception, is very subtle.  Mostly we will see the results of your efforts being visible in the world.  Quest givers and NPCs will appear, disappear and move as you progress through the zone.

Choose your own adventure? –

Questing in the Burning Strand

Questing in the Burning Strand

This fact makes the zone incredibly linear.  Which in my opinion is an incredibly bad thing.  Don’t get me wrong, the zone is wonderful and fun, but there is very little choice in how you progress.  This is a predominant theme so far in my explorations of Cataclysm in its entirety.  What was so wonderful about the game thus far has been stripped away by phasing and its resulting prerequisites.  Cool quests are fun no matter how you have to come upon them.  Yet there is something to be said about being able to choose to do 1 quest and not another.  To choose to go “here” before you go “there”.  There is basically one non linear quest hub in the area, but even it has a breadcrumb that only appears after you have completed several other tasks.  You can complete the hub without ever receiving the breadcrumb, but it’s obviously designed that you do it in an extremely linear manner.

Whats so wrong with getting our hands held through to level 20?  Well nothing really.  Yet it does get extremely old after a while.  The Worgen starting experience has improved leaps and bounds since I first played in months ago.  This time through it was much more informative and interesting from a story point of view, but I had my hand held by some unseen Blizzard developer the entire time.  This feeling continues on until you finish the zone completely.

Conclusion –

Yet Another Bombing Run

Yet Another Bombing Run

The new Darkshore is fun.  Well, fun may not be the exact word for it, but it works for this discussion.  The zone is interestingly redesigned, we get to see the little story points of the old zone leak in here and there.  The often difficult to get to Troll Village is now dance free and trying to expand into the Northern zone with the help of the Horde.  The Master’s Glaive is being excavated, and somehow the dwarf archeologist that stands 10 feet away from the Twilight’s Hammer is left untouched?  Some things just don’t make a lick of sense.  Which is what really hurts the zone.

It’s an obvious fact that Blizzard’s “timeline” for the game is completely screwed up.  Zones farther into your leveling experience in Azeroth take on a somewhat interesting view on time.  Originally it was seen as “time goes by as you level up and get ‘older'”.  With Cataclysm this is evident, as your experiences with Malfurion in Darkshore and then in Hyjal would attest to.  Time is relative as you traverse the world my friends, be wary to not get too entrenched at what came first or things will begin to unravel more than “How is the Lich King still alive when he’s dead?” quandary that most people are still harping on.

In the end, the zone was a let down.  The zone ran the gambit of quests from the “go kill 10 Twilight Cultists” to the “go fetch 10 pieces of crab meat”.  But these were fewer and farther between.  Instead we got loads and loads of gimmicks.  There are multiple vehicle related quests.  In fact off the top of my head I counted 3 and a few other vehicle related gimmicks tacked on.  These include multiple Sunwell style “on rails” bombing runs that have been so completely over-utilized that Blizzard really needs to take a huge step back and say STOP! The zone had its high points and low points.  In the end, what could have been an awesome ending with a good reward both in a piece of equipment and plotline payoff falls flat mostly because there is never any real danger.  Being lead around by a leash through 95% of the zone and distracted by gimmick quests and famous npcs does not make the zone anymore fun than it was.  Sure it is much improved.  Some of the gimmick questlines are quite interesting, but in the end the zone falls flat because of its linearity.

A few more screenshots from the zone after the break. Read the rest of this entry ?

Advertisements
h1

Glyphing to Become Viable?

February 25, 2009

Today marks the advent of the 3.1 major content patch going live on the Public Test Realms for the first time.  With this patch we see massive changes to most classes and specs to improve or nerf their viability as tanks, healers and dps.  While there are bigger changes to many other classes, the big changes for Warriors have thus far only been given to us by new glyphs.

Glyph of Heroic Strike Increases the critical strike chance of Heroic Strike by 5%.
The soul change to our glyph repetoire.  This glyph used to be a bread and butter for the 10 rage it gave when Heroic Strike critically hit.  We now have something that will not only help Fury and Arms warriors, but it represents a signficant increase in threat production.

Glyph of Barbaric Insults  — Your Mocking Blow ability generates 100% additional threat.
This used to change Mocking Blow into another taunt ability.  Why they are changing a less than stellar glyph from a semi useful glyph into one that makes it so much less useful I do not rightly know.

Glyph of ShockwaveReduces the cooldown on Shockwave by 3 sec.
The impact of this new treat is yet to really been number crunched.  Yet, I would not be going out on a short limb if I said this is really just not worth it.  Changing Shockwave from 20 seconds to 17 second cooldown should not signficantly impact a tps rotation that is dominated by two six second cooldowns.

Glyph of VigilanceYour Vigilance ability transfers an additional 5% of your target’s threat to you.
This is a complete waste of a glyph.  Well correction, with current threat parameters we really have little use for changing Vigiliance from a 10% to a 15% reduction in a single person’s threat.  This glyph may find a use if the threat ceiling falls signifcantly with Ulduar’s opening.

Glyph of Enraged RegenerationYour Enraged Regeneration ability heals for an additional 10% of your health over its duration.
A purely PvP orientated glyph if I ever saw one.  There is really no real use for this glyph in a tank’s glyph set.  There are much better choices of glyphs out there.

Glyph of Spell Reflection  — Reduces the cooldown on Spell Reflection by 1 sec.
This glyph is just plain too much of a drop in the ocean to be worth anything.  Reducing a lot of cooldowns by 1 second may be worth more.  However, reducing this with a glyph slot is far from worth the cost of any other glyph.

Glyph of Shield WallReduces the cooldown on Shield Wall by 3 min, but Shield Wall now only reduces damage taken by 40%.
The be all end all of the new glyphs.  Combined with Improved Disciplines we now have a signficantly less powerful damage reduction tool on a cooldown equal to that of a Death Knight’s Icebound Fortitude

—————

The Impact:

With the addition of Glyph of Shield Wall we now have the option to have an extremely short cooldown ability with strong mitigation benefits.  Why should we be concerned over this?

Simply put, we all got together and whined and complained about Warriors getting the rear end of the stick when it came to Effective Health and overall burst mitigation.  What we got was a forced clone of a Death Knight ability.  It may look really nice, and it may actually prove to be a boon to Protection Warriors, but we need to think about what this really means to us.  This glyph becomes as mandatory to protection warriors as Meditation is to priests of any spec.

This is a glyph that we will be balanced around.  Do we really want to be balanced around having a specific glyph?  Are other classes being balanced around them?  To some extent, but it is still an option for an Elemental Shaman to pick up Lightning Bolt or Flametongue Weapon.

This fundamentally changes our skill toolbox.  While the new version of Shield Wall will be of great use, we are sacrificing our “Oh #$#!” button for something that will be a basic part of our survivalbility.  Ask yourself, how much do you think the average Death Knight tank uses Icebound Fortitude?  That’s right, the answer is pretty much every cooldown.  Can they survive without it? Yes, but they also have multiple other cooldowns to work with.  If we become balanced around using this every cooldown, where will Warriors be?

h1

First Impressions/Answers – Frozen North Edition

November 13, 2008

How will you trek into Northrend?

As for myself my trek will most decidely be a slow one.  At least on my main.  I will be leveling my warrior with a dear friend so tonight’s foray into the realm of ice is on both the paladin and the hunter.

utgarde

Starting with the boat into Howling Fjord you have an utter sense of awe and the larger than life reality that is Northrend.  Unlike Outland, the entire continent seems to be at war.  Its denizens fighting, hunting, and mining the landscape.  The Shoveltusk Bulls act like the bucks of reality and charge and ram each other.

walrusturtle0I managed to come across a few interesting creatures on my way though.  The Walrus on the turtle pictured to the right being one of the most interesting.  I have managed to see quite a bit, yet not even a real chunk of what the expansion has to offer and I am already more excited than with TBC.  The music alone is enough to make me smile.

I am keeping an eye out on places to AOE grind a bit as well as a number of places to explore.

Frequently Asked Questions (from my guildies thus far):

  1. Can I get from Howling Fjord to Borean Tundra?
    • The best thing to know as you travel out into the ice and snow is that it is very easy to travel from one area to another.  There are a ton of flight paths and 3 boat docks to assist in your travels.  It should take you about 20-30 minutes to obtain the flight paths that will allow you to interconnect yourself from Howling Fjord to Borean Tundra and the Coldarra.
  2. Where are the Grand Master Profession Trainers?
    • Howling Fjord –
      • The majority of the Grand Master trainers are surrounding the flight path.
      • The Grand Master First Aid trainer is a Dranei Anchorite tending to the injured soldiers near the central bonfire.
      • The Grand Master Herbalism trainer is a druid standing right outside the inn. 
      • While the rest of the Grand Master trainers can be found inside the inn itself.  With the Cooking and Alchemy on the bottom floor and the Enchanting and Inscription on the second floor.
    • Borean Tundra –
      • Grand Master First Aid, Blacksmithing, and Mining can be found at 57,66.  Somewhat difficult to find, but can be discovered in the Northern area of the keep near the sparring Alliance warriors.
      • The rest of the Grand Master trainers can be found across the boat to the Southeastern part of the keep at 58.71.
  3. How much does it cost to train your professions?
    • It costs 35gold to train any primary profession and 50 gold to train a secondary one.
    • Trainer recipes start at 3-5 gold.
  4. How do I get to The Nexus?
    • Take the boat from Stormwind Harbor.
    • Once in Valliance Keep follow the road to the north, pass Bloodspore Plains. 
    • Take the left path at the D.E.H.T.A. Encampment.
    • Take another left when the road splits again. 
    • Once at Amber Ridge take the flight path (Yeah the big red drake is the flight path.) 
      • You will get treated to one of the more beautiful yet short flight paths you have seen in a while.
    • Once at the Kirin Tor camp, head down the path into the crater.
  5. How long will this instance take?
    • So far the first two instances of the expansion have been extremely short ones.  Taking no longer than 15-30 minutes with a capable and geared group.  Your mileage will vary however,  but I do not venture to say that even a T4 leveled group would have real problems clearing either Utgarde Keep or The Nexus in less than 30 minutes.
  6. Is there any new food or drink?
    • You may buy level 65 food and drinks inside the inns.  You may also already buy some foods in major cities such as the level 65 cheese from the cheese house in Stormwind
      • Salty John inside Borean Tundra’s inn is a quest mob.  So you may have to act quickly to purchase any food between the people lined up to kill him. 
    • There are actual foods purchaseable for use at 70.  Plus some really nice cooking recipes such as Shoveltusk Steak that can be purchased and easily crafted early on.  (There are other’s I just managed to pick up the mats to make that while on the paladin.)
  7. What? I don’t have any rested xp?
    • Nope, so make sure you start putting all your 70’s inside an inn again.
  8. Why is there a teleport and a flight path inside the Coldarra?
    • Your guess is as good as mine, but it sure is nice.

 

I’ll be adding to the list as people ask more questions.

h1

Have you been raiding?

November 11, 2008

With Wrath of the Lich King incoming in less than 2 days are you raiding?

The reality of raiding in the shadow of the expansion is a bit of an interesting idea from a conceptual point of view.  Do you raid for gear that will be used basically for leveling purposes only?  Do you raid to see the content before its completely “last expansion”?  Or do you just take a break, rest, relax, get prepared for Wrath or even go out and fish, cook, quest, pvp, dungeonmaster your way to more achievements while you have the “free” time?  My guild has been in Sunwell as of late, but officially called raiding activities last Wednesday.

In have been bored to tears.  I have ended up sitting around for hours a day, every day not knowing what to do with myself.  Do I have fun? Well yeah.  I enjoy sitting around talking with friends, doing the occasional dungeon and helping people do quests for their loremaster achievements, or just plain hang out in Arath Basin continually using more of my G.N.E.R.D.S. trying to get my protection paladin her Hallowed title weeks late.

That was until . . .

kj-entry

Pug Raiding …

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

It Has Begun!

November 10, 2008

Stormwind Harbor Under Siege

harborattacked

It has started.  The battle for Azeroth’s very life.  The Lich King Arthas has started his siege upon both the Horde and the Alliance in an effort to slow their respective war efforts

Attacking Stormwind Harbor as Alliance ships set ready to sail to Northrend, Arthas succeeded in nothing more than strengthening the resolve of those who participated in pushing the undead forces back to the Frozen North.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Preparing for Wrath: Professions

November 10, 2008

Understanding the changing paradigm that Blizzard has implemented for all of the professions for Wrath of the Lick King can be challenging at first.  However, once you understand what direction Blizzard is aiming Professions at, you will start to realize the realities of crafting in a post 3.0 world.

Crafting Interface

The recent post by Verimonde that said (source):

All trade skills now provide some special benefit to the crafter that isn’t just a super item. In the case of blacksmithing it’s the ability to add sockets to your gear. Most of the profession perks are relatively equal in terms of what they provide, some are slightly better than others, but not enough so that you should feel ou are missing out by doing the profession you enjoy doing.

To put it simply, the developers wish to remove the ability to easily obtain armor or weapons equal to or better than higher end Arena and Raid gear.

Say goodbye to your Stunherald and your Frozen Shadowweave.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Righteous Defense = Challenging Shout?

November 8, 2008

Finally we get a real answer to the reality that is the flawed Righteous Defense.  Today’s post by Ghostcrawler confirms that there will be changes made in the future to our taunt mechanics.  Hopefully giving us a real taunt and even perhaps removing or raising the number of targets effected by Righteous Defense making it into a Challenging Shout derivative.

Ghostcrawlers exact words:

Recently I said we were going to add a glyph to reduce the targets down to one. We’re not sure that’s the best solution now. We may just add a normal taunt, and let Righteous Defense still be there for taunting larger groups, especially since paladins lack something in the Mocking Blow or Challenging Shout niches.

We haven’t settled on a final decision yet, which is why I haven’t said anything so far. I’ll let you know when we decide

We don’t want to give all classes exactly the same abilities, but taunts may just be one of those things that it’s not safe to have variable.

 

Obviously this is a good thing.  Even if they do nothing at all to Righteous Defense and just give us a taunt.  The only downside I can really see here is they choose to make this the fabled “11 point talent” they are in love with mentioning in vagueness but never come up with any clues for us to gnaw on.

The Ramifications?

Simply put, no more “Taunt Resist Moments”.  I know all the arguments against Righteous Defense’s downsides, LOS, Range, being a buff and not a debuff.  These are all moot, the first time you are tanking Brutalus and your RD is resisted.  Not having a secondary form of taunt is more of a hinderance than anything that is currently wrong with RD.  Finally giving us something all 3 of the other tanking classes have, is better than fixing RD in my humble opinion.  Do not get me wrong, RD has issues, but they can be worked around.  Giving us a secondary taunt, or in this case making RD itself our secondary taunt, is far better than anything they could do for us and tanking at this point.