Thursday, August 21, 2014

From 90 to 100: The Leveling Experience

My beta hunter hit 100 on the leveling server in 36 hours /played.  Do not let the large number of hours played fool you.  It is actually a lot faster than that.  Once you take out all the countless hours I spent trying to complete quests that were bugged but I could not complete them and all those "beta being beta" disconnects that not only disconnected you but sent you back to stormwind when doing so requiring me to travel back and all those bug reports filled out I would say half that, maybe 18 hours would be a more accurate number.

I believe that number can also be cut down a bit if you move from zone to zone as soon as you are able to.  I did complete zones in an effort to test, hey that is why I am there.  In a way it turned out to be a good idea.  I never stepped foot in the last zone, Nagrand, and even if I had I would have not been able to get anywhere because the lead in quest for the alliance is broken so you can not even start the main story line questing in Nagrand.

So what did I think about leveling?  Read if you wish to know about leveling because that is what this post will be all about.  There will be absolutely no spoilers so feel free to read if you are trying to avoid information because I will supply none, except for how the leveling felt.

I'll start off with my favorite part of leveling in warlords and my least favorite part of leveling in warlords.

Favorite Part of Leveling:

I raided heroic siege last night on the live server and was in exactly the same gear as I am currently wearing on the beta at level 100.  I must say I really did love being able to quest and not feeling as if the first quest reward green I came along replaced my gear.  It was like that in each of the previous expansions.  If it was not the first quest you started replacing your raid gear it was shortly after, maybe by the second zone.  Even heroic gear did not have a long life when the new expansion came out in previous expansions.  I loved, loved, loved and can not express how much I loved being able to use my raid gear all the way to 100.

This time around I was in nearly all normal gear, a few warforged normal pieces, and one heroic piece and I did not need to replace any of them.  I probably could have replaced my AoC trinket around level 96 because AoC was not as big for me any longer as some of the abilities it shortened a survival hunter no longer had, and that was what I was leveling as.  I had gotten 2 trinkets with multistrike late on in questing either would have been a decent replacement but as I got close I wanted to see if I could get all the way with what I had, and I did.

Also, just as a side note as a level 100, even in my current raid gear at level 100 I was able to do the level 100 dailies with little to no problem at all.  So it sure as hell felt nice to have my gear be worth something for once when a new expansion came out.

I must note I did not do the last leveling zone of Nagrand.  I am sure if I had then I would have gotten a few pieces that could have replaced my normal siege gear.  Even more so if I got lucky with a rare upgrade or an epic upgrade from a quest reward, which I saw a few of while leveling.

Either way, lasting as long as it did, I loved the leveling feeling.  It made raiding feel like it was less of a waste late in the expansion because that gear was still useful.  So if you are burnt out on raiding, think of it as gearing up for the leveling process.  I would guess someone fully heroic geared and upgraded could very well not replace anything even if they do Nagrand.

The fact I could just quest and do so in the gear I had worked so hard for instead of replacing it with quest greens was the best part of leveling for me.  A+ work on that one blizzard.

Least Favorite Part of Leveling:

Professions.  I really could leave it at that one word.  Professions are in a word, horrible, in warlords.  From how you learn them, with random drops, to how you level them, to what you need to use to make stuff.  Professions are beyond horrible right now and are something that if you were a solo player that does not want to shop for materials via the auction house means you will be required to either have alts or be active in your garrison to get the other materials you need.

Things like alchemy needing fish, meat, and ore for potions but not needing herbs is stupid.  Sorry I could not find a more politically correct term for it because there is none.  It is just flat out stupid.

Learning your professions will be luck based to begin with as well.  You can not go to a trainer and train them, you need to find random world drops to learn them.  Don't get me wrong, the drops do drop fast enough.  I had most of mine within the first hour questing, but I still think it is a horrible idea.

I include this with my leveling review because I level my professions as I level my characters, always have.  I consider professions part of leveling.  I also consider them the worst part of leveling in warlords.  Professions are probably in the worst place they have ever been in the history of the game in my opinion.

I am not looking forward to the nightmare of archaeology with no flight.   But I guess that is not so much of a problem being I still have not found the damn book that will allow me to get to level 700.  Yeap, all the way to 100 and some and I still have not learned it (I am sure they will increase the drop rate on that book, because they have to).  Yeah, professions suck this time around and are the worst part of leveling this expansion.

The Flow and Feel:

Now to the flow and feel of leveling and it is quite good and somewhat bad at the same time.  The main story line runs from hub to hub as we have become used to in these types of game, even more so warcraft because they have been refining it and making it better with each expansion, or at least attempting to.

You will get to a quest hub and "need" a lead in quest.  That fits part of what I call somewhat bad but it is understandable because they want to keep you on task, so to speak, following the story.  When you turn in the lead in quest they will give you anywhere from 3 to 5 quests that are all nicely grouped together which means no running all over the world for the objectives of those 3-5 quests because you can get everything for them in the same area.  I like this and think it is a fantastic time saver.

What I do not like is that they seemed to all but abandon the pop up turn in quests that had become popular.  There are a few, sure, but not as many as their could be.  There are many quests that send you somewhere, you come back to turn it in and they send you right back where you were.  I thought blizzard had grown out of that.  Really loved the new style of if where if there was a direct continuation that the quest turn in would pop up and the follow up would be given to you without having to go all the way back.  But oh well, it seems in many cases they no longer do that.  The sting however is nothing major.  As I mentioned all the story quest hubs seem to give you nicely grouped quests in the immediate area.  So it is not like the old world quests before the redesign that would send you half way across the world and when you came back they would send you back there again.  Nothing like that at all here.

The extremely small maps also make for a much more enjoyable questing experience because getting from place to place is so much easier on a smaller map.  So easy that most of the time you are better running around on your ground mount than getting on a flight path because being on a ground mount is faster.  And no, I am not kidding.  I actually timed it running back to the same place after they had some "beta being beta" issues that kept putting me back in stormwind.  It is faster to run, even to different zones, than to take a flight path sometimes.  And that is great for questing but also says they need to work on flight paths a hell of a lot if even a ground mount is faster than them.

So as I said, the story flows nicely but what about non story quest content?  There is a fair deal of that.  Mini quest hubs you will come across while adventuring, ones you do not need a lead in quest to do.  Like I can not do the Nagrand storyline because it is broken but I have found 2 quest hubs, nice sized ones, so far.  Each zone is like this.  They have quest hubs that are not story bound that can offer you a fair amount of experience.

So follow the story line or ditch it and look for some of the non story bound quest lines, you have a choice, but that is not the only choice while leveling, there are other things to do that will all give you experience.

Of course there are the old standards like exploring and newer additions like gathering, if you have a gathering profession, to get some experience, but it seems they took the timeless island and went a little, make that a lot, overboard with it in warlords.

There are things you can pick up on the ground that offer experience while opening them.   I've gotten junk from them, gear from them, archaeology fragments from them, gold from them.  They are all over the place and oddly enough even with the new highlighting feature on, they are still extremely easy top miss.  You actually have to pay attention to find them.  Those lucky dwarves that have treasure finding.

There are rares all over the place.  You can not move 10 feet without tripping over one on your mini map and it is easy to be distracted by them.  Killing them will usually net you some sort of goodie like a toy, and most of those toys do not go in the toy boy for some odd reasons so say goodbye to bag space again, a piece of gear, a useful item, or a silly item.  Oh, and they also give you experience, which is what leveling is all about right?  From what I have seen the experience they offer is nothing staggering but still not bad at all even if well below what you would expect for the time it might take to kill some of them if you are solo.

I will make a note that the vast majority of the rares you see while leveling are always up.  So if you miss one just hang out there for 2 minutes and it will be back.  No, I am not kidding.  We do need to find a different name for these however, because they are not rare at all and there are actually rares out there.  Don't want to get them confused.  I'll just call them silver dragons named after the border they use and the addon made to find them.

These silver dragons are only special mobs to you once.  So don't think you are just going to camp one and kill it over and over for experience.  Does not work that way.  Once you kill it the next time you see it the mob will not have the silver dragon border and will not give you anything special, item or experience wise.  There is no reason, at least none that I have found yet, to kill these things twice.  Kill it once and move along.

There are other things you can do while leveling also.  There are events like the ship one and the brew one on the island.  A bug there you need to kill a bunch of her insects so she gets angry with you and flies down to try and kill you, but you kill her instead, or at least that is the idea.  There is a hidden egg in a cave that if you happen to get there during event time for it you can click the egg and then have to fight off mommy hydra.  After you defeat mommy hydra you can loot the egg which will give you your very own baby hydra battle pet.  Thing like that.   Again, not the greatest of ways to gain experience, but still a way to get some, and some goodies too.  I like my baby hydra pet.

Then, last but not least, there are event quests, or at least that is what I am going to call them.  They are marked on your map by huge swords crossing, not like the thin silver ones that show events like the ones on the timeless island and the hyrda one I just mentioned.  This one is much larger and much more colorful and has a lot of killing involved with it.

When you get to where one of these are on your map you are automatically given the quest.  It tells you what your objective is.  Usually something like kill this many peons, kill this many warriors, kill these two big baddies, and collect these four things.  Basically it is like you are doing 3 to 5 quests, same as a quest hub, at the same time without actually picking up the quests or needing to turn them in.

Not exactly sure why blizzard considers this ground breaking because it is not but it does add a little something to the game none the less.  You do not need to find a quest, you can just find the huge arrows on the map which are impossible to miss and go there and be given the quest event.  Like I said, it is like you just went to a hub and picked up all the quests.  When done however, it auto completes just the same way it auto accepted itself and throws you some gold and some experience.

There are a few cool things about these event quests that I think might be something a few people like.  When you leave the zone the quest is in it disappears from your quest bar.  However, when you go back to that area, even much later, the quest pops back up with the exact quest progression you were up to.  Meaning you do not need to do it all at once.  Even getting distracted and going somewhere else, say to kill a rare, will not mess you up.  Oh, and they also offer reputation and we all love reputation right?

So when I am guessing leveling would be half of the 36 hours it took me and be closer to 18 hours for me I believe that to be a fair guess.  Between the standard quest story line hubs, your random quest hubs, your silver dragon mobs, your rare mobs (yes there are some of those too), your events, your quest events and the exploration and gathering factor, there are many ways to get some experience while leveling, so much so that I think you can stumble your way to 100 even if you just run around killing things and doing anything that you come across.  So even questing mindlessly you can still level.  You do not need to follow the main story.

I would suggest however not to just avoid quests even if you do not like questing.  There is a lot to get from them besides story and I am not just saying that as someone that likes to quest.  There are quest line rewards that give you books you can trade in to upgrade garrison buildings which in turn can save you gold.  Either spend 1000 gold to buy the plan or trade in the book you got from questing to get the plan.  Something like that.  And you can get followers from doing questing as well not to mention the reputation doing quests offer.  That is always a plus.

So even if you are like me and wearing SoO or better gear where you will not need anything quests drop all the way to 100 I would say it is still worth questing.  But hey, if you really hate it, there are enough events and silver dragon mobs to move you along some.

Over all blizzard did not reinvent the wheel here because it did not need to be reinvented.  The tried and ture questing system works because it works, there really is no need to change it.  But by adding some things, even as simple as events and silver dragon mobs, they did add a little spice to it.  The event quest things really do not tickle my fancy, not sure why they did not just give you a quest to do those 3-5 quests instead of popping them up as an event, but oh well, whatever floats their boat I guess.

I would say the flow and feel of leveling in warlords is good over all but when comparing it to previous expansions I would say this expansion finishes second to last on the list of which I enjoyed most with only cataclysm and their disconnected zones being a worse leveling experience.  Even with all the spice they added to it the story was still lacking, the questing was still tired, and the "fun" parts were few and far between.  However there were a couple of vehicle quests that were fun, not even close to as fun as running over all the gnomes in uldum, but not all that bad either and something you will actually enjoy doing.

I don't see myself having as many 100s as I have 90s this time around however because the questing just doesn't do it for me here.  Maybe it will grow on me as I get a few characters up and develop my route to level like I always do, but only time will tell for that.  As much as I like questing, this was the first time I actually felt like I just wanted it to be done already.  I blame that in part on garrisons.  I kept wanting to go back to my garrison to send my followers out on new missions every time they finished one.   I kept wanting to spend time there instead of out in the world questing.  Bodes well for garrisons?  Maybe.  Bodes bad for questing?  Definitely.

So that is my take on leveling.  It had a good flow, moved nicely but the story was lacking and I really did not feel the repeatability as I have with questing in other expansions.  I would not say that the leveling was bad however, it was definitely good and the added ways to get experience did give it a little more than a direct route feeling.  I would give the over all questing a B.  It was good and I really can not find much bad about it but there was still room to make it better.

Side note to end it.  I did not mention this in the main post because I think it is a beta bug, but I hope it does not go live.  Way to many mobs drop nothing.  Not even 10 silver.  Not a single thing and that greatly hurts the questing experience.  Getting loot when you kill something just feels good, even if it is junk.  Lets hope blizzard does not let this go live.  If it goes live this way I would lower my quest feel and flow rating to a C-, which basically means, barely passing.

Added:  Because a few people asked I will explain the gearing if you are not in full SoO gear.  For the first time ever blizzard finally designed an expansion correctly. 

It is designed that if you are a new player coming through a year from now and hit 90 at a 435 item level you can go straight to warlords and do just fine.  The first few quests will give you some solid gear, around the 500 to 522 item level.  You will get consistent upgrades, and it is a smooth transition.  

No more will you experience things like going from wrath questing with your 138 item level to cata with their 272 item level and massive gear difference.  Even if you come from mists with your 430 gear to warlords and the 500 gear, the quests that give the 500 gear are meant to be completed by people in 430 gear.  So no worries people, blizzard finally for the first time got an expansion transition right.  You can quest from one expansion to the next and never even notice it.  This is part of the reason I think questing this expansion is so well designed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Feedback on Flight and Travel in Warlords For Blizzard

While leveling in the beta and with the knowledge that there will be no flying this expansion, despite the tiny morsel of hope they give people but will not live up to, I've been thinking a lot about how travel can be made better without actually adding flight because, lets face it, we are going to need a lot of things fixed if they want us to stay grounded and not be frustrated every step we take.

I've already mentioned in a previous post that I think blizzard has done a fair job thus far with designing the expansion with us staying on ground mounts in mind.  There are more direct paths to and from areas of importance and travel from zone to zone is probably more obvious and easily accessible then I ever recall seeing in any expansion but that does not mean that there are not any changes needed.  So lets get on with it.  My lists of suggestions for making travel easier by ground and yes I will be sending a trimmed version of this post to blizzard directly.  Hopefully they can fix a few things in the little time they have left.

1) Connecting Flights Should Not Be Needed.

I've been saying this one since the beginning of time and it still amazes me that blizzard has never fixed this.  Maybe with the old system it is understandable why things stay as they are but this is a new expansion and it can be designed different.  Designed better.

If I have flight point A and I have flight point B that should be all I ever need to get from A to B.  I should not care if there are 1, 2 or 17 other flight points between A and B because those 1, 2 or 17 flight points do not matter to me.  I am going from A to B.  I do not need to know those and I should not need to know those.

There is nothing more frustrating then being out questing and taking a break going home not to be able to get back easily.  So often I would be out questing and pick up a new flight path and hearth.  The next day I log on and go to fly back and guess what?  I have no connecting flight points that connect to that and I now have to waste my time getting back to a place I already have the flight point for.  That is bad design, very bad design.  I've gotten into the habit of clicking on the flight master after I pick up a flight point just to make sure it is connected and I should not have to do that because the coding is bad.

Lets put this is a real life comparison.  I am taking a flight from new york to california.  I paid for a non stop flight.  There are probably dozens of airports I am going to be flying over.  Do I need to know where they are located?  Do I even need to know they exist?   No, because I am on a flight to california.  I do not need to visit every airport between the two before I am allowed to fly there.  I shouldn't need to visit every flight point in the game either.

Some might say, but what happens if there is trouble and the plane needs to land, you would need to know the closest airport wouldn't you.  Actually, no.  I would not need to know.  Even if an emergency happened and the plane was forced to land the pilot is the one that needs to know.  The pilot can land me in a place I never even heard of.  I do not need to know where that is, only he does.  I am pretty sure that this flight path mount knows all the flight points even if I do not, after all being a flight path mount is his job and he has been doing it forever.  The mount is the pilot.  The mount needs to know the other flight points.  I don't.

So number 1 on our list is connecting flight paths.  Lose them blizzard.  As long as I know where I am and where I am going, that is all that matters.  I should never need to know every single flight path between the two.

2) Direct Flight Paths.

Another one of those things that blizzard should have fixed a long time ago.  Every fight should go a direct route.  They are no longer restricted like they used to be by there not being art assets in some areas and they needed to go around them.  Being everything is designed with flying in mind everything has a top, so no need to avoid going over things any longer.

Going back to the point A to point B example from the previous point.  What is the shortest distance between point A and point B.  A direct line.  I am pretty sure every single one of us heard that by 3rd grade at the absolute latest in our lives.  So how come not even one person at blizzard ever heard of that?

Using the most recent added flight point to the live game for an example, the one at the timeless island, I will show how horrible the flight design still is in the current game and in the process give the perfect example of why it needs to be changed.

I was on a character that has every flight point, so it is not like I was missing something, when I logged in, got on my flying mount and started to head over to the timeless island.  Do not remember what made me do it, but when traveling over the jinyu village I decided to jump on a flight path to finish out the flight.  For those that do not know the flight path I am talking about is the closest you can get to timeless island without actually being on timeless island.

So what path did the flight path take me?  Instead of just heading to the timeless island it took me to the highest point in the jade forest and then back down and over to the timeless island.

This is the newest addition to the game in terms of flight paths and nothing has changed since the beginning of the game with the long and winding flight paths for no reason other than to completely waste our time.

So number 2 on our list is direct line flights.  I don't want to go sight seeing every time I get on a flight path.  I want to get from point A to point B.  Just make a direct line and fly that direct line.

3) Misleading Mountains.

There is one thing I hate more than anything else while on the ground and that is thinking I can go somewhere I can't.  The art team does some wonderful work and I will not fault them for doing a good job, but they do too good of a job sometimes.  That make little mountains, little dirt piles, anything that requires running up, all appear so smooth and as if you can just run up and over it.

I hate seeing a path to where I want to go and then while running toward it suddenly I am doing the AFK number lock dance.  You know those guys you see running at max speed into the wall because they went AFK with auto run on?  Yeap, that is what I end up looking like.  Cruising along and going the most direct route possible while hugging the wall and suddenly I am running in one spot.

Please make it so things we can not walk over look like we can not walk over them?  Is that too hard to ask?  I know this might seem petty to most and even I say it is a little petty but with all these jumping games they added where you have to jump form platform to platform or rock to rock or ledge to ledge having so many of them visually appear as if you can jump up on them and yet not be able to is extremely annoying.

So number 3 on the list is please make mountains, ledges, platforms that you can not jump on so they do not appear that they are capable of being jumped on.  God how I hate wasting time trying to jump on to something that apparently is not intended to be jumped on because visually it looks as if you can.  That awesome art team needs to make things we can not climb up and can not jump on look as if we can not jump on them or climb up them.

4) Remove Invisible Walls.

This one goes hand in hand with the previous point to making travel easier.  Be more telling with your art work.

Have you ever been running through the trees and see two trees close together and you get to them and hit space bar and jump right thought them?  We all have.  But it seems in warlords nearly every single set of tress I have seen like that can not be jumped through.  There is some sort of invisible wall connecting them.

Have you ever been running through an area and there is something that looks like you can run right under it so you scoot yourself under it?  We all have.  But it seems in warlords that even if visually you could drive a mack truck under something you will just hit a wall and not be able to do it.  There is some sort of invisible mass under that passage that will not allow you through it.

Have you ever been in an area that was surrounded by a gate you can not jump over so you run around the gate until you find an opening in it and run through there?  We all have.  But it seems in warlords that even if there seems to be a very visual indication that there is a break in the gate at a certain point you still can not walk through it there, you need to run around to the entrance they expect you to use.  So why have that wide open space if we can not walk through it?  Seems that there is an invisible gate there stopping you from getting through.

This coming expansion, more than any place I have ever seen before, has more invisible walls in the oddest of places.  We all like to take short cuts.  We all will go through the hole in the fence, the break in the weeds, the path under the branch, etc to speed things along and it is annoying as heck to hit an invisible wall when there is absolutely no indication that you can not get through that wide open area.

So number 4 on our list is letting the visual follow the actual.  If I can not walk through a hole in the gate or a space in the weeds then do not have a hole in the gate or a space in the weeds.  There should never be invisible walls in the middle of zones, where you can and can't pass should follow the images we see on the screen.

5) Death and the Run Back.

I get that blizzard does not want us flying but they really need to let us fly while dead.  It is not only possible but highly likely that you will find yourself dead at one point or another in a place that you have no way to get back to.  Or a place where you do not remember how to get back to it.  Or a place where it is insanely long to travel to to get back to.

Why not let us fly to get back to our bodies more easily.  So instead of having to go around this really long mountain pass to get to our body in our slow motion dead bodies we can just fly over it to exactly where we are.  And the worst case scenario, dying in a place where there is no way back to your body without flying.  Not possible you say, I say get back to me after it happens to you and tell me it is not possible to again.  There are many quests that send you somewhere that you have no access to unless you are sent there.  How exactly do you get back to your body if you die?

So number 5 would be letting our spirits fly even if you do not let us fly.  It would greatly assist in getting back to our sometimes hard to reach or impossible to reach dead bodies.

6) Stop the Insanity.

I actually yelled at my screen the other day while playing on the beta.  It was not due to beta being beta, it was to mobs being stupid.  I was running somewhere and got dismounted like 12 times in a row all by mobs that I could basically one shot.  I yelled, this F'N crap is annoying, why are mobs that can't even scratch me if I was naked keep F'N attacking me and dismounting me.

I can see some logic to mobs being able to snare, stun, slow or dismount you but nothing is more frustrating than having mobs do it that you can one or two shot.  It is nothing more than annoying and it is a complete waste of time and has no game play value to it.  They are not a threat, if anything they should be trying to avoid me not attack me because they know I will kill them easily.

But I am wrong, there is something worse.  Having a mob that you can one shot dismounting and dazing you AND it drops no loot.   The sheer number of mobs in warlords that drop no loot what so ever is annoying in its own right, but to have my time wasted by something that poses no threat and provides no game play value drop no loot is beyond annoying.  If you are going to waste my time at least drop a couple of silver for my troubles.

So number 6 would be getting dismounted.  Remove this crap from the game.  It impedes travel and offers absolutely no game play value other than to slow you down.  And when you get dismounted and do not even get loot from one shotting the thing that wasted your time it is adding insult to injury.  Just remove the dismounting mechanic completely.  There is a reason it was removed from the older mobs a long time ago.  That was because it is not a fun part of game play.  Did you forget that?

So being we will be traveling on foot and on flight path, those are some of the suggestions I have for making our travels just a little bit better.

Six Things I Love About WoW

Time for another community project, this time presented to us by Mr and Mrs WoW where they ask us to share some of the things we love about warcraft.  They say there is too much negativity going around and we should all talk a little about some of the things we like about the game.

I believe they are right because I am one of those people that loves to complain and as I have said many times before complaining is a sign that you still love the game.  You can read that post here if you would like.  Lets face it, when I stop complaining it will mean I have stopped playing.

With that said, I want to participate in the "things I love" because I do love the game even if people can not notice it some times.  No one would ever write for this many years and this many posts and topics if they didn't.

6-A) The Random In Game Community:

No matter how we try to dress it up the majority of the community would be better having cinder blocks tied to their feet and being thrown in the ocean to die but that is for another post all together this is about the smaller percent and quite honestly the percent that is a great thing to enjoy in the game when you can find them.

I sometimes have a habit of flying around killing rares when I am bored and often I will see one being fought already.  It has become a habit of mine to hit F and see who is fighting it.  If I see an 87 fighting something near their level I don't just fly to the next kill I hover for a second to see if they might need some help.  If they seem like they can use a hand I land, kill, remount and take off.  I do not ask for thanks but sometimes I get an emote (if they are of the opposite faction) or thank you (if they are from the same one).

Now this might not seem like a lot to you but to me it means the world.  It puts a smile on my face.  I like the idea of passing along a good feeling hoping that others might pass it along to someone else.  You will find that there are maybe 1 in 20 people who are decent enough to help their fellow player.  To kill a rare with them expecting nothing in return instead of trying to get them killed so they can steal the tag or get invited to a group so they can need on anything that drops.  Or to not take a node you are fighting on.  Or to help you out with something and not expect something in return.  Or to just pass along a buff as they are passing by.

It might be rare to be on the receiving end of someone doing something nice for me but sometimes after a bad day in the LFR with group after group of self obsessed people that all think they are gods gift to gaming just standing there and having a druid put mark on me is enough to make me smile.  The little things matter and not all the community is bad.  There are most definitely gems in there and those are the people worth playing with and the people that lighten up your day when you are feeling down.

So if you ever happen to have a random gnome mage or gnome lock or gnome priest run up to you and hug you, buff you, and run away.  Maybe that is me, just trying to make someone else smile.  Something about being on a gnome just makes me want to hug everyone.

6-B) My Friends In Game:

My friends, or at least the ones I try to have around me as friends, would all fit the idea of what I said I like about those random people.  People who do things nice just for the sake of doing them.  Work as a team because being a team matters to them.  Go out of their way to assist when someone asks for help.

When timeless island came out we all went to the island and as a group we snagged pets for everyone.  If we got two ruby droplets we traded it to someone that did not get one.  We did not ask for gold or anything in return.  We wanted to make sure that all the pet battlers had the new pets. This, and many things like it, are what make my group of friends great.

It also works as a nice little test to see who fits with us but that is another story.  We all know that guy that takes takes takes and never gives.  Yeah, he is not one of us, not one of the good guys.  But hey, maybe he can still be a friend.  Don't need to be like that to be a decent person and those decent people I play with are one of the things that keep me coming back.

6-C) The Online Community:

The hunter community has taken a lot of really heavy hits over the past year, year and a half.  Many great writers, many great theory crafters , many great hunters have taken their leave from the game but no matter what I still believe the hunter community to be one of the best in the game.  Not to slight any others of course because they are great as well, but as a hunter main of course my focus would be on my community.

Even from writing the blog, which is something I created just for myself because I like to write and it was a way to give me a venue to do so, I have developed many friendships because of it.  From the people that agree with me to the people that think I am the worlds biggest moron, I really so love them all and they all matter to me.

There was a time about a year ago maybe where I was thinking of quitting the game.  It was not like I was playing something else because I wasn't.  I had just lost my desire to play warcraft for a while.  I kept writing however.  The reason being is that even if I was not interested in the game any longer, I really still loved the community we have here in the blog world and I did not want to leave that behind.  Needless to say I started playing again and I doubt most people would be able to pick out the time I am talking about from my posts.  I never mentioned I was not playing the game any longer.  Mostly because I did not feel it was worth mentioning.  Just needed a break was all, but even with a break, who would ever want to take a break from this community?  You are all great.

5)  The Grind:

As probably the only person that would add this to their list of things they love about warcraft I must explain myself.  I love the idea of moving forward, making progress, seeing my progress and in the game there is nothing that can satisfy that more than reputations at max level.  Even if it is doing quests for the orges in BC and seeing that reputation bar move really slowly or jumping across the bridge on the timeless island and grinding the timeless island reputation that first day, I love being able to see progress.

I am probably alone here but I do believe that is probably one of the things I like the most in game.  Grinds.  It makes me feel like I am doing something, getting somewhere, moving forward, and to some people, myself as it is, that is really fun.

4) Pet Battles:

I would have never thought I would get into pet battles as much as I did.  I was top 100 in the world when I was still pretty active with it if you want to count wow progress for their data but that was only because I loved everything about pet battles, not so much the battling only.

I liked leveling them, I liked developing the right match ups before there were any places where you could find them, I liked hunting down the rare spawns, killing tons of critters in an effort to find that one rare one I needed.  It was everything that I like all rolled into one.  I got to have a killer bunny as a pet, I got to level it, and I got to use it to kill other critters in search of the best ones I could find.  Hey, I was a pet collected before they even had pet battles.

People might joke about it, call it a kids part of the game, but make no mistake, pet battling is really something that anyone of any age can sink their teeth into and have a little fun with.

3) The Kill:

I am not exactly a great player or a hard core player and I might get my raid kills some 3, 4 or 6 months after others do but I do not mind.  I play a casual play style and get it when I can.  Either way, whether it is a week one kill on normal mode or a week 40 kill on heroic when most guilds that it mattered too already killed it, each and every kill is exciting.

What is even better is when you have one of those exciting and dramatic kills.  You know the type I am talking about?  Boss is at 1%, everything is going well and then suddenly boom, WTF happened, the entire raid is dead and there is one person left and a sliver of life on the boss as they are in the middle of doing a mechanic and you think, all you need to do is finish that boss before he finishes that mechanic and you will have the kill.

It is adrenaline pumping fun and excitement.  That is how my guild got its first heroic kill this tier, with one person alive, and it was awesome, it was fun, and it was the type of thing we live for in the game.  That type of excitement is something you can never plan or experience otherwise, it just happens, and those kills are the ones you never forget.  Who cares if we were world 1500 to get the kill, but we did it, and we did it in style.  Admittedly it was really scarey and had a we wiped again feeling of anti excitement to it for a moment but it was awesome when we won and it was over.  That is the type of fun I live for in the game.

2) Soloing:

I am a to myself type of person.  If I were given the option to play warcraft alone and be able to do everything without the need of other people I would jump on that in a heartbeat not even thinking about it.  Sure it is funny how I say others are some of the most exciting parts of the game and things I love about the game in my previous points, but really even if I do like that aspect I would not mind playing alone.

I only have one world first hunter kill, and sadly someone else got credit for it because they posted a video and I did not, but it does not matter to me, I know I did it months before the world first video was posted.  But as far as soloing goes, there are still a ton of bosses out there that have vidoes for them that I can not do.  So I am not a great soloer and do not claim to be but I sure have a crap load of fun doing it.

I do really like to figure out how to do things on my own.  Sure watching a video can help but the fun of soloing is finding out how to do it and doing it on your own makes it all the more exciting.  Be it soloing for mounts, pets, or just for fun.  Be it easy content like running wrath heroics for something to do, or harder soloing like current expansion dungeons before ToT came out.  It was all a matter of seeing what I could do, pushing my limits.

On one hunter I am stuck on getting all the dungeon achievements alone because there is one that needs others to do it.  Was it hard, not exactly when you are in half heroic gear, but I did it because I wanted to do it because I like to solo stuff.  Isn't that why we play, to do something we have fun doing?

1) Leveling:

This is probably one of those things that would be like grinding.  People hate to level but not me.  I love to level because I see myself progressing.  I see myself moving forward from 18 to 19, or from 42 to 43, or what have you.  It might not feel like much to many people but to me it is a nice change of pace, to see myself getting there instead of killing the shaman for the 20th time and not getting the trinket.  Leveling is a reward of its own, no RNG involved, all your personal progression is in your hands and your hands alone and I really enjoy it.

I have played every race and every class and every spec that doesn't have feathers, yes I never played balance, and I like to experience all zones to their fullest.  I go against the grain and do not quest on the road that game seems to try and push us now.  There are always alternate zones to level in and those are the zones you will most likely see me in.  Experiencing the leveling adventure to its fullest.

I would suggest instead of leveling to rush to the end maybe people could have a little fun playing a race, or faction, they never have before and take their time with it.  Read the quests, see the areas, explore, talk to NPCs that are not quest givers, just have a little fun with it.  Leveling doesn't need to be a mad rush to max level, leveling can be a game of its own and it can be really fun if you let it.  I really do love leveling.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don't Count Your Flying Mounts Before They Hatch

I've always been a supporter of flying.  I think it is a great convenience, it breaths life into the game, it gives people a reason to go out, it actually makes people more willing to go places, and it can be used as a way to add content to the game so it is with great sadness I say that after trying out the beta I do not see flying ever being added to Draenor.  But it might not be as bad as we think, even if I still think it is a huge error on blizzards part to remove a convenience we have had for 8 years.

How did I manage to come about this conclusion that we might never see flying?  It is simple.  Draenor is small.  Very small.  While it has been said that some people have measured it and Draenor  is larger than Pandaria it sure does not feel like it at all and in the end it is how it feels that lead my to my belief.  Blizzard seems to have made a massive effort into making Draenor feel small so the lack of flying would be opposed less.

Draenor was designed for us to be using ground mount throughout the entire expansion.  While there are still a great many of those annoying mountains in the way of things that force you to run around them or lead you to think you can climb up the side but you can't so you end up wasting your time trying, in the end getting from point A to point B on a ground mount is fast.

It is so fast that the zones feel extremely small.  Overly small.  You can run from one end of the zone to the other in minutes, or less depending on the zone.  Some zones are really small width wise so going from east to west can take less than one minute, no kidding.  This is absolutely by design.  Blizzard made the zones like this so it would not make people feel as if they were missing flying, because getting from one place to another was more so a direct route.

Even if those people that said they measured it and it is bigger than Pandaria are right the bottom line is that not having flying is not a major hindrance to travel and that is the number one reason why I believe they do not intend to ever add flying.

They would have never made the world so fast and easy to transverse if they had intended to add flying.  For one example I can mention I had a daily fishing quest to fish up something in frostfire ridge which happens to be on the west side of the map as opposed to me as alliance on the east side of the map.  I took a quick flight path and took to the ground and ran to frostfire ridge in a matter of minutes.  From the east most zone to the west most zone that quickly.

Something like that means they thought this one out a little.  They knew if this were to be a daily and it was a long travel between the alliance zone to the horde zone that many people might complain so it is not a long trip.  Quite honestly it was amazingly fast, much more so than I was expecting.  When I got to a place where I could fish in forstfire I had to think, am I really here already?

Add to the fact that as an alliance walking into a horde territory you would expect I need to walk a horde city or at least a horde quest hub.  This is one of the best reasons for flying in my opinion.  Avoiding unless confrontations.  But forget about that, they actually thought about that this time.  While I do need to run directly through a horde quest hub to enter frostfire ridge as an alliance player they made sure the PvP flagged mobs were slightly further back so that they would not aggro on you as you ran past into the zone.  Check on reason off the list for why people would want flying to make something annoying a little less so.  Unless you are not paying attention and walk straight into them instead of turning right with the road, you will never get attacked and flagged by them.

Can you see what I mean with that one example alone how it seems that blizzard has made a huge effort to keep us on the ground and make it not be such a big deal?   They actively want us to not miss flying and are making some effort to ease the pain of our loss.

Mists was designed well also but not well for ground travel, it was designed for flying.  This allowed them to add more winding paths where it took longer to travel by ground mount.  It made Pandaria seem larger than it really was because you needed to run around a lot of things and that made it feel much larger.  Pandaria did not feel small on foot, that feeling did not come until you were flying.

It was designed to be harder on ground mounts for two reasons.  One was to give the leveling some depth, make it feel fuller and larger than it was and two is because they knew they would be adding flying.  So it was no big deal to make the feel on the ground be longer and more time consuming because the only time you would ever experience it was while leveling.  They new that once people could fly they would forget the long winding paths and the annoyance of being on foot. 

Adding flying at max level in mists also allowed them some ability to add higher level questing zones in the lower level areas.  Which is one of the beauties of flying, it does smooth things out some but that is not to say there are not zones like that on Draenor.  There are level 100 questing areas in every zone and you could just as easily walk into them as a fresh level 90 where that did not happen in mists because they just put those max level zones in areas that required flying.

I must say that I am a pretty big fan of the fact that my starting zone also has a level 94 quest hub and level 100 quests.  I liked the fact that I could accidentally stumble across some level 100 red elite mobs while exploring on a level 90.  It reminded me of the good old days like when you would walk out of forest song as a level 20 something and there would be these ?? elite dragonkin that would smell you from what seemed like half a zone away.  Adding some danger to the zone.  I so miss those zones and while a level 100 to a level 90 is not the same as a level 60 was to a level 20 it does bring back that "run run run" feeling when you first see a pack of three of them walking right at you while you are exploring.  I'll leave out the fact that I am a hunter as I engaged them anyway, but that is besides the point.

With Draenor it is designed to not have flying so all the road paths are direct.  No need to make it extend like they did in mists.  If they did that people would rage that it takes forever to get anywhere.  It is true, and it would be reasonable for people to complain about it.  Draenor feels so small because it is so small and because all the travel is direct, not winding, like in Pandaria.

It seems as if blizzard has made every effort possible to make you forget you do not have flying.  From a questing standpoint and maybe even a daily standpoint, they have won me over, slightly.  I guess I can deal with no flying... for a little bit.

What flying will be missed for however still greatly out weighs the efforts blizzard has made to ease the pain of life without wings.  Gathering will still be annoying without flying, but I guess we have garrisons to help with that some.  Pet battles and catching wild pets will suck having to run from pet to pet too.

Archeology I have not tried it yet, but I could not even imagine the nightmare it would be without flying and quite honestly I do not think I will even consider touching it until they add flying, if they do, which I don't think they will, which basically makes archeology a completely useless profession now that it is not even worth thinking about, and this is coming from someone with the seeker of knowledge title.  If you know what was required to get that, you understand I am not just anti archeology.  Just anti archeology without flying.

Getting to friends that call for help without flying will be an annoyance, but not as bad being the world is so insanely small, but nothing can compare to mounting up and going.  Not even quick roads or faster more direct flight paths.

Rare killing will seriously take a hit, exploring will take a hit, anything that needs you to get to areas that were hard to get to or far apart will be nothing but generally annoying now without flying.  In a way, that is another reason we will not be getting flying.  Not to be annoying, but to keep us on the ground because there are some things that are designed for us to do from ground level.  Blizzard has made many efforts to add things that need you to do some jumping, or thinking or both.

Things like the one rare I needed to do some interesting jumping that did not look like I could jump to and some rope climbing, just to get to a rare.  With this design, I do not see them wanting to add flying because it defeats the purpose they designed these for when you can just land on the rare.   They went through the same efforts to design something with hard jumps, jumps you might not notice, ropes, and the such, just as much effort as they went through to make the world feel small.  All efforts to make us stay on the ground.

If blizzard gets their way I do not expect we will ever see flying this expansion, not even in a later patch, maybe even never, not even when we are in the next expansion.  And that will lead them to actually removing flight completely from the game in any future content and expansion releases.

It is not because "they did not design everything" or any other conspiracy theory you might hear, but we will all believe our own things.  Like I believe it is because the designers feel they can get more creative with us on the ground and they are trying to give that a go.

So if you really do want flying back, do not give up.  Do not fall into the lull that I already have where I can deal with it because I can still get from point A to point B fast.  Faster than I ever have in any expansion because the world is so small.  When the expansion comes out keep posting, keep making threads, keep being civil about it, let blizzard know that they should never remove a convenience we have had for 8 years because they want to try some new things.  Let blizzard know we like those new things in small places with no flying like the timeless island and the isle of thunder but let them know we want out flying back in the main world.

Blizzard has done a fantastic job of making our stay on the ground less frustrating.  I'll give credit where credit is due and they deserve it.  Fast road trips makes for a less frustrating ground trek but it does not change the fact I would rather fly.  I just won't count on it because after seeing beta and how well it was designed to keep us on the ground I am 100% certain they have no intention of adding flying in.  Only you can change their mind.

Now on a slightly related note I want to end this post with a question.

Why is everyone running around on flying mounts?  Those huge things are just annoying and blizzard should remove the ability for them to walk on land.  Why are people using them and not taking advantage of the chance to use the many great ground mounts in the game like I am?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Random Beta Thoughts

- This will be spoiler free so you can feel safe if you are trying to keep from reading stuff.

- Although I have to ask how you manage to stay spoiler free while still reading anything wow related.

- It is almost impossible.

- I've given up a long time ago on trying to wait on information.

- Okay on to the beta and I've only got one real complaint with warlords thus far.

- They destroyed professions.

- There is little, if anything, I like about them.

- I was so happy to have the new crafting stash in out banks.

- Pay 100 gold to open a 98 slot bag you can put crafting materials in.

- Things now stack to 200.

- Awesome right?

- How about no.

- Making up an example here.

- Lets say it took you 1 herb to make a potion.

- Now it takes 10.

- Lets say when you picked an herb you got 1 herb.

- Now you get 10.

- You see what they did there?

- They increased what we collect by 10, increased what we use by 10, and effectively our old stacks of 20 were increased by 10 so we end up with a net result of being in the exact same place we were.

- I thought the idea of letting things stack higher was so we could take up less space.

- Not the same amount of space.

- And that is not even where the profession clusterfuck ends.

- Remember how they said you can craft stuff straight from your bank and you no longer need to carry around the crafting materials?

- Doesn't work for garrison work orders, which is where I find myself using the vast majority of my crafting materials.

- And lets talk about that space.

- I am not even level 100 yet and my crafting bag is completely full, yes, all 98 slots.

- The idea was to give us more space, not bog us down with massive amounts of materials so we are back where we started from, with no space.

- Blizzard once again proves they fail at math.

- You can not train professions in warlords either.

- If you want to get to level 700 you need to get a drop that allows you to do so.

- I got the drop for cooking, first aid, herbalism and fishing pretty quick, but I still have not gotten the archeology one, and I am 98, and I got the alchemy one too late that I can no longer learn it.

- I am guessing that archeology has not been added yet.

- I am guessing that the alchemy one is a bug that will not allow me to learn it because I already upgraded my garrison.

- I am sure that will be fixed before launch, as they say beta is beta.

- Would really be screwed up if you could only learn alchemy if you have a level 1 garrison.

- Just annoys me that there is always a question mark while in my garrison and no one to turn it in to.

- I thin that bugs me more than not being able to learn alchemy.

- I can;t go around having any quest undone.

- Even in beta.

- I put in a report on it of course, that is what I am on beta for.

- There are lots of beta bugs.

- There are horrible respawn timers.

- There are dreadful pathing issues.

- There are graphical glitches.

- There is everything you would expect from an early beta.

- Sadly this is a late beta.

- Biggest beta annoyance?

- Every time the server kicks everyone we log back in in stormwind.

- Son of a bitch, can't you just log me in back where I logged out.

- Once yesterday I spent 2 hours trying to complete one quest.

- Not because of bad spawn timers or hard to do questing.

- Because every time I worked my way back there the server went down and I came back in in sotrmwind and had to head all the way back to where I was.

- One interesting thing I noticed however.

- After getting logged off once while on a flight path and ending up in stormwind while still on the flight path mount and I could not get off of it or do anything else I decided to run back to where I was questing when I finally got it working.

- It was faster to run to the quest I was working on than it was to take a ground mount.

- Compare.

- Flight path vs ground mount in a place where I do not know the layout yet.

- Which should be faster?

- Ground mount was not only faster, it was much faster.

- Being I finally got on the beta I can say I figured out why there is no flying in warlords.

- The world is small.

- I am not talking small as in "not large" I am talking small as in I can get from one end of a zone to the other end in a minute or so at most on a ground mount, for every single zone.

- Normally you can not even transverse a zone that fast even on a flying mount.

- I think that might be reason number one that they do not want flying mounts in game.

- They do not want people to realize how small the world is.

- They failed.

- That first time I ran from where I zoned in to a quest in the middle of the next zone over faster than the flight path took me there I noticed how small the world was.

- Oh, back to gathering for a minute.

- WTF is with the fish on this planet.

- They gave us more bag space so they decided to give us 5 versions of every type of fish?

- Please blizzard, bag space is too much of a problem already, I do not need 5 versions of every type of fish out there.

- Heck there probably are more than 5 for all I know.

- Between the types of fish you catch, the bait you can use for them, and the "prepared" version of them there are too many to begin with.

- I do not even want to think about what other types there are.

- And I am not even counting the enormous or lunker ones I have not seen yet.

- So there are more.

- Gee thanks blizzard, more junk to clutter up my bags.

- Do we really need 5 or more of the same exact fish?

- No, we do not, thank you very much, remove that annoying bit of game play now before it goes live.

- And speaking about bag space.

- Toy box rocks, a really great addition.

- So I have one question about it.

- Why are none of the new toys allowed to go in there?

- Okay, a couple have, but my bags are already filled with toys that I can not put in my toy box.

- If I throw them away will I be able to get them again later as the mob is no longer a silver dragon mob to me?

- I think that is a fair question.

- And what is with all this awesome gear that drops off the silver dragon mobs that is soulbound.

- Make them BoA like the mists ones.

- Seriously, does my hunter need a shield, a mace, leather, cloth, etc.

- No, buy I might have some alts that could get use from it.

- Just creating vendor trash.

- The least you could do is make mobs drop class specific stuff.

- If I kill a silver dragon mob on my hunter and it is going to drop something soulbound it should be mail, with agility, or something else hunter can use.

- Not like it is needed while leveling.

- I am 98 now and still wearing my SoO gear, have not even replaced once piece yet.

- However I was tempted with 1 582 trinket with multi strike.

- Playing as survival right now and they need multi strike.

- I can not tell you how survival feels just yet for a few reasons.

- One is I have the 4 piece still, so it is not a real representation of how the class will play.

- Two there is some major input lag.

- I lead with a gliave toss and sometimes it takes 2 seconds for it, and every single shot after it, to go off.

- Can not really say if a class players fluid without being able to play fluid to begin with.

- Three, everything is different while leveling.

- I will say I miss kill shot while questing.

- Sure I never used it on normal mobs but I was so used to using it on the rares I often find myself hitting 7.

- That is where I had my kill shot.

- You would not think removing something like that would throw someone off but it has with me.

- I used to feel like "the mob is dead" when it got in kill shot range, now I feel like, this is still going to take a while.

- Even if there is no difference because kill shot hit like a wet noodle and explosive shot was actually a DPS increased over kill shot.

- There was something about seeing it light up that made you feel as if the fight was about over.

- I miss that, but I will get used to it.

- Or maybe I won't.

- Who knows if I will even play survival when I get to 100.

- Any spec is fine for leveling.

- Hunters rock no matter what flavor they are.

- And looking around the beta you can see that most people agree with that.

- I would say that 80% of the people I saw while questing where hunters.

- I saw Bendak from Eyes of the Beast over there.

- He was AFK or I would have stopped and said hello.

- Pet classes are so much fun to level.

- Outside of the horrible respawn rates which I am sure will get fixed, the questing seems to roll along nicely.

- Yes, we are getting to some of the good stuff here.

- There is a deeper story line you can follow and it flows okay.

- Yes, just okay, not very good but acceptable.

- But on beta it usually comes down to one of two things.

- Stuff spawns so fast you can not leave an area.

- You have to start backing out because as you are killing they are respawning.

- Or you run around for 10 minutes looking for mobs.

- Had one quest take me a half hour to complete.

- Mobs where that scarce.

- And there were only 2 or 3 other people in the area.

- I would hate to see that quest go live with that spawn rate and 100s of people trying to do it at the same time.

- The ones that are nicely balanced on the beta move by smoothly.

- There are quests you can pick up that are not story bound all over the place.

- Just while running around I came across quest markers all over.

- It was nice.

- Grab it if I want to, skip it if I don't.

- There are more than ample quests.

- You will not have an issue leveling even if you decide to skip some.

- The pop up event quests are not worth doing.

- Sure, they offer a nice chunk of gold and experience but every single one of them suffered from the same issue so far, at least that I have noticed.

- None of them have ample mobs.

- It is just another way of giving a quest without you picking it up from a quest giver.

- It seems like it gives a lot of experience but it really doesn't.

- They usually ask you to kill or collect 3 different sets of things, the same as you would get from 3 quests.

- So the fact it offers you triple what I quest would give you means nothing, because it is what three quests would be anyway.

- The one good thing about them is that you do not need to run back to turn them in.

- Got to love that.

- But I think you can easily skip them and let others fight over the spawns and come back for them later if you are like me and want to complete everything.

- The silver dragon mobs are the same.

- If it is in your way, kill it, but do not go out of your way for it.

- So far while some have dropped some cool things, none of them drop anything you need to level.

- They respawn fast.

- And some you can not attack right away, or at all it seems, so in the end going out of your way to find them will waste valuable leveling time.

- You can always go back and get them, they are always up.

- I missed a few and decided to stand there and wait for them to respawn.

- Less than one minute later they were back.

- So far I have only met one that gave me a hard time.

- And hard time is the understatement of the century.

- The guy WTF owned me.

- Not once but three times.

- And he was owning everyone else too.

- Eventually we got it down, me and 7 of my closest beta buddies, meaning 7 random people that happened to be trying to kill it at the same time as me.

- We had to zerg it, people saw me attack and they joined in.

- I died but because it was still in combat he stayed tagged.

- When I got back other had died, and we kept doing that, running back, dying, running back.

- I think I died 3 more times during the fight we downed it.

- It was not some simple silver dragon mob, it was a mini world boss.

- I think it was slightly over tuned.

- Heck, if I could not solo it, there is an issue with it.

- Some people in general were saying they soloed it.

- Not sure how, but maybe if they had lots of healing and were a tank.

- But the second it got its hands on me I was dead, and even if I lived, I was near death.

- Yeah, over tuned.

- Only died 2 other times while leveling.

- One because of jumping into trouble and being at low life.

- I was an idiot, should have disengaged to not take damage.

- But I did not factor in for the server lag and hit it when it looked like on time for me but was actually 2 seconds after I landed.

- Oops.

- The second to to major respawn lag.

- Was fighting 3 mobs and doing fine one second and the next second there were something in the realm of 15 mobs on me.

- I hit feign death as fast I could but the DoTs were on me already, I was dead and just had not realized it yet.

- Over all the leveling experience has been fun and not at all challenging on a hunter.

- But what would you expect, hunters are the best leveling class in the game.

- A friend on beta asked me, when did I get the heroic warforged belt, I do not remember winning that.

- I said, you didn't, your normal gear is now called heroic gear and your heroic gear is now called mythic gear.

- Now to garrisons.

- I must say it is not exactly what I expected, but then again I expected a lot.

- They are however interesting.

- Not exactly sure what the purpose are for them other than just keeping us busy.

- I like the follower missions, it is like a mini game.

- I just never have enough missions for all my followers.

- I never have any missions of the right level for my followers.

- And I rarely ever have a follower who excels at a particular mission.

- I guess in time that will happen.

- Just seems like busy work at the moment.

- I did get a few nice little toys from it.

- Including a neck piece that says if I wear it in the most mundane places I could find treasure.

- Not sure what it does yet, but I will wear it to get treasure if need be.

- Some of the followers surprised me.

- Like I would have never guessed Fiona, from the plaguelands, was a holy priest.

- And she has the ability lone wolf.

- Wolf... worgen... lol

- Come on, don't tell me I am the only one that found some humor in that.

- And I would have never guessed someone that travels with a caravan of people would be a lone wolf.

- And Nat Pagle is a marksmen hunter.

- I guess that makes some sense.

- He hunts fish.

- Guess we have another famous hunter to add to my list.

- Just wonder why I need to get to 700 fishing before he will join me.

- After all he is my best friend.

- My personal best friend.

- You would think that if he came through the portal he would be hanging with me from the get go.

- We have been tight for so many years, from buying bait from him, doing quests for him, since I was in my 30s level wise he and I have been tight.

- And now that I am some commander type, with my own mini stormwind, instead of joining me he wants me to be max level fishing first.

- Dude, we are both hunters, we are friends, I should not need to prove myself to you.

- No worries, when I get you I will station your ass at the fishing shack and you will live out your days there.

- First daily fishing quest for me?

- Go fish up something in forstfire ridge.

- Hey, did you see the colors all over this place, they are blue, hint hint.

- I needed to fish up the fish then use the fish then hope they dropped eggs when I used them.

- I fished up small ones, large ones, bait ones, and converted some to ones.

- Yeah, as I mentioned before, to many fish for just one type of fish.

- Once again, blizzard, fix this crap.

- There is absolutely no reason to have so many types of fish for all being one type of fish and clog up our bags with that crap.

- Speaking of clogging up bags.

- Toy boys is nice, but how come none of the new toys go in there?

- Did I mention that already?

- Well, it deserves being said again.

- It is a great question.

- The old alliance thing that turns you into a furbolg for 3 minutes and has a one minute cooldown goes in the toy box.

- Freaking awesome.

- I can now be a furbolg on all my characters, not just my main who still had it from the quest that is since removed.

- All furbolg, all the time.

- I did one quest where I was turned into an Arrakoa for a short time.

- I want to be an Arrakoa hunter.

- There animation for it looks great.

- And the rolls on their back make it look like they have a quiver.

- It is as if they were meant to be hunters.

- Too bad if they add them as a race they would not be hunters.

- I do not think I have ever seen one as a hunter.

- Doesn't mean it could not be done however.

- Back to garrisons, I really do like them.

- But I have to be the one that asks the question.

- If blizzard is all about getting people back in the world, why did they give us a place like garrison where we have no reason to go out in the world.

- I think I have spent more time on my garrision than I have leveling.

- I would have been 100 already if not for dilly dallying around in my garrison all the time.

- Even just riding around it I liked it.

- And I can stay mounted in my buildings.

- Well, they are my building and if I want to stay mounted I should be able to.

- My buildings, my rules.

- I am the king here.

- One more thing to bitch about.

- Orcs.

- Seriously, I am about as sick of orcs as I could be already.

- I can not imagine an entire expansion of this BS.

- Worst part is we are fighting orcs and the horde are orcs, so I have to pay attention before I go head first into a village.

- If could be the new enemy orcs, as in the bad guys of the expansion, or the old enemy orcs, which chould flag me and lead me to a quick death.

- I think that is the thing I like least about it.

- Just orcs everywhere.

- I am already sick of it and the expansion has not came out yet.

- But then again, I was already sick of it before I got on beta, so this just made it worse.

- They could have stood with mixing it up a bit more.

- Sure the orcs are the bad guys, but they could have added more side bad guys.

- Maybe someone that knows lore can explain something to me.

- How do the AU Draenei have anima golems from ToT?

- If they are from Draenor and never been to Azeroth, then they surely have never been to Pandria and by connection never been into ToT so where did they get them?

- They are not Draenei inventions, at least I did not think so.

- Did the blood elves bring them and give them to the AU Draenei, that is the only thing that would make sense to me.

- Maybe I missed something somewhere.

- Easy enough to miss I guess.

- Just do not see how they would have tech from something they have no possible way to have known about.

- If anything playing on the beta has not increased my desire to play the expansion.

- It has done the exact opposite.

- So far I do not see anything really interesting.

- But I am a sucker for mini games, so I will be building my garrison and maxing out all my followers.

- But one thing that REALLY pissed me off.

- To get one of the building I want for my garrison I need to PvP?

- Seriously blizzard, WTF is wrong with you.

- Did you not noticed that adding PvP into PvE content does not work?

- Did you learn absolutely nothing from the legendary quest line?

- This is one of the biggest F yous from blizzard to their players.

- If you want that building in your garrison, you need to PvP.

- And we are not talking just win a few battle grounds, we are talking 5,000 kills in Draenor.

- It is not like something you can knock out over a weekend.

- Change this now blizzard, before it goes live.

- If you insist in tying PvE content (garrisons) to PvP content, make it something simple that can be done over a weekend by people that do not even PvP.

- Make it 100 kills, not 5000.

- Seriously blizzard, don't be stupid with that crap again.

- I'll probably play next weekend again and get to 100 and then see what else the expansion has.

- I have made, and sent, a huge list of bugs to blizzard.

- And a huge list of suggestions.

- All in all, warlords looks good for a very early beta.

- But it sure does not look like something that is expected to be released in less than three months.

- And it sure as hell does not look like the people on the math team have a clue what they are doing, talking about the profession crap.

- Either way, there is still some time for them to change some of that stuff but I do not expect it.

- For some reason blizzard will never get math.

- Some people just can not understand some things.

- Blizzard will never understand math.

- And on the final note.

- I do not even want to think about doing all the archeology achievements without flying.

- I do not give a crap you want to hide how small the world is blizzard.

- Flying is required at max level to enjoy the game.

- Otherwise I might as well just sit in my garrison.

- In the end, flying is the only thing that would get my out of my garrison.

- Oh, and we have new home cities?

- Now I understand why they changed them.

- Might as well not waste too much time on them when no one is going to spend any time in them.

- Given the option, my garrison that has everything I need for the most part and NO trade chat, or a city that is crowded and with trade chat, my garrison wins, hands down.

- Have a great day.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Beta, Cinematic, Healing Heroic, and More.

This is one of those days I have a lot on my mind to talk about but no one topic in particular so I figured might as well just throw a bunch of topics together and have at it.

Beta:

Yesterday I logged into my battle net account to gift some time to a friend that had their account expire and they did not really have the money to continue playing even if they wanted to.  I'm a nice elf like that.  I've often gifted time to friends, nothing really weird about that.  I am sure we all have done that or received a gift or at least know of someone that has done so.

To my surprise I noticed that I had warlords on my account and I had never received an email telling me I had beta access.  The last time I looked to see if I had an invite on the battle net account itself was when they sent out the invitations to people who have finished heroic.  Being I had done so I figured maybe I would have an invite.  I did not.

So it seems sometime between the day after they announced that, which was the last time I checked, and yesterday when I logged in to send my friend some gift time I managed to get myself a beta invite without getting a mail ever.

So, if you never got a mail I suggest you log into your battle net account online and see if you have a beta invite.  It is quite possible it is there just like it was for me.  It never showed on my launcher until after I logged into my account from the website and saw it.  Maybe you will get lucky too.

Testing Beta:

Of course for my own selfish reasons I want to test things that directly pertain to me.  Who wouldn't right?  Of course I will be playing around with the three hunter specs so I can give me feedback, and most likely be ignored like they have all the other hunters it seems, but if we do not test and we do not speak up then there is one thing that is certain, nothing will change.  So as a hunter it is my job to test and to speak up on what I feel works well, what I feel doesn't, and give feedback on how the class feels.

Then of course there is part two of me doing things for me and that is testing garrisons.  I am really looking forward to them and I like the idea that I can get a feel for them on beta so I can decide what I want to do with them ahead of time instead of wasting time on live trying to figure it out later.  No matter what blizzard says there will be a right choice for what you do with it.  It will not be a sand box you can just play with.

You will have to send the right people to do the quests which not only means figuring out who is right, but which quests are best for you.  Then there are the building and as a raider the one that gets you an extra roll in raids once per week will be the right choice.  It will also be mandatory for anyone that wants to better their character.  Yes, there is that word again and there you have it, even if just for the extra coin roll that garrisons are mandatory.  Well, almost mandatory as you can still get extra rolls elsewhere.

From what I am reading I am leaning toward choosing building that support the professions I already have.  Being I have all professions getting the secondary items all professions need will not be an issue.  My alchemist will not need a mine to get ore because I have miners.  So I might as well make something that supports my professions meaning perhaps an herb garden.  As it seems if you choose something that is the same as a profession you already have you will get extra production from it.  If I have everything myself, and choose only things I already have, all my characters, in effect, are getting extra.  Awesome news for people with alts like me right?  We will see, but that is why I want to test it out and make my decision now.

Then of course there is the standard beta stuff I have done before and that is just reporting anything that seems to not work, seems hard to use or understand, or is just plan bugged.  After all that is what the beta is for.  If I am not going to actually test stuff then there is really no reason to be there.

Cinematic:

I liked the cinematic that was released yesterday because it seemed like a story was being told more than it seemed like an advertisement and it made me want more.  More of the story at least.  I think it would make for something good to watch. 

I do worry however that the cinematic was too focused on people that used to play the game and while it is a good idea to try and get some of those lost players back in my opinion the game needs to try and draw new players as well.  You can not focus only on trying to get the people you lost back.  If you lost them you lost them for a reason.  Maybe you can get some of them back but if they grew out of the game, can no longer afford, it, wanted to play something else, or just changed their tastes and no longer like this style of game no matter how much you tug on the nostalgia rope you will not get them to climb back up.

I do not see the cinematic as being something that can draw new players in and I believe that is needed just as much, if not more, than trying to get old players to come back.  The story, to us that know it, is very interesting in the cinematic because we see how it is different, yet still the same, as our own history.  The artowrk and presentation in the cinematic was exception as well but I personally can not see how anyone would look at the hair on Grom and not laugh, it just looks wrong on an orc to have some 80s metal band greasy hair do going.  I half expected him to pick up a guitar and start some monster rift.  Admittedly that would have looked really cool if he did however, while banging his head with his metal band hair flapping around.

Outside of the must have been added for its humor factor hair and the fact I don't think it could draw new players in the cinematic was quite good and extremely well done.

I do have one worry however and maybe you share it.

Watching the cinematic left me feeling as if the iron horde are the good guys.  I know the story, I know why we are going there to fight them, I know they want to kill us, but even knowing all of that after watching the cinematic I wanted to BE the iron horde.   They were the good guys.  So if I felt that way imagine if it does drag someone new to the game, they are pushing the iron horde as the good guys and being only one faction has orcs who are all those people going to be if they do start playing, horde.

So if any new players are drawn in from that coming attraction get ready for a huge influx of players on the horde side because everyone that sees that cinematic is going to want to join the good guys and apparently based on the cinematic that means they are going to play orcs.  They won't know they are not the same orcs as the good guy orcs they see in the cinematic.

Lords of War:

If you were to ask me to put the lords of war clip against the cinematic and pick which one I liked best it really would be no challenge here.  The lords or war clip was ten time better than the cinematic in my opinion.

I really liked the art work and presentation of the story as they told it and the story was well written.  It made me feel invested in what was going on and connected to Kargath, it had me rooting for him.  When it was all over I wanted to be part of the shattered hand, I wanted to play as Kargath.  It is another case, just like with the cinematic, where I was left feeling like he was the hero, the good guy.

It really feels weird going into warlords as the bad guys basically.  Sure, we are protecting ourselves, but everything we see of the iron horde makes them seem as if they are the good guys.  Blizzard is making absolutely no effort what so ever to covey the threat they pose, they just keep showing them in a favorable light.  So much so that even someone like myself that knows what is coming and what we much do finds myself rooting for them, not wanting to kill them.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Is it intended?

Who knows, but one thing is for sure at least from my perspective.  I am looking forward to the next part of lords of war more than I am looking forward to the expansion.  The plus of that is we will be getting the lords or war a lot sooner than the expansion so no real waiting involved there.  The only sad thing here is I believe it was said there would only be five lords of war shorts.  Color me a sad elf.

Healing Heroic:

To say I am out of practice as a healer this expansion would be an understatement.  Sure I can go into an LFR and heal it like I own the place but that has more to do with the fact that I am not a drooling idiot than the fact I know how to heal, because I don't.  I am way to out of practice to heal anything of consequence.

I just do not have enough experience healing this expansion, not like I did in the previous expansions where I healed often and got quite decent at it.  Anything you do often you get better at, that is just natural.  I have not healed much at all this expansion and as such I am not really all that good at it right now.  I've healed maybe a few bosses in the first tier, a few heroic runs in ToT on my priest and then there is thok, who I have healed on often as the third healer.

Really this tier my experience with raiding is maybe two of three bosses here and there once in a blue moon and thok a dozen or so times.  I always end up playing third healer and as such it is usually just to help get over a hump and not really to press my healing limits or test my skills.  That is all I ever heal, fill in.  Oddly enough my healer is still wearing a freaking timeless island helm despite the fact I have healed thok so often, but at least it is a burdened one upgraded.  You would figure with killing ordos each week, filling in on thok all the time, using coins on both, I would have come up with a tier token for the helm or a warforged helm at one point or another, but I haven't.

So here I am, with okay gear for having not played much and the legendary cloak done of course, but not a great deal of practice healing, going into a heroic run because we needed a healer.  I honestly did not expect much because I do not have practice on the fights on normal.  Usually if you have done something on normal, more so if you have done them plenty of times, you can easily move into heroic.  But I not only had to heal the fights but learn the fights on heroic because my only real experience healing them was LFR and while that can be something in terms of learning there is a huge gap in what healing one and what healing the other is like.

With no actual normal experience to speak of I stepped into heroic.  The group had 5 people, me included, that had some experience and of course my experience while full is only from the perspective of a damage dealer.  The tanks and other healer had no heroic experience.

I did not do well, we wiped a lot, but I got better as each attempt went on.  Had a bunch of wipes on the first boss, a couple on the second, one shot the third boss, and a couple of wipes on the forth.  Over all I think I did okay but I could have done better.  I felt completely useless.  I know we downed bosses and in the end if you down the boss that means enough people lived to get the job done so as a healer you did your job but that does not mean I do not think I can do a lot better.

I might actually get into healing a little again.  Might make the next three months more bearable.  It would be something new because I have not done it.  First things first however, I need to gear my healer a little better, some boots and some rings would be nice, not to mention that helm I spoke about before.  About the only thing my healer doesn't need are trinkets.  I have both amplification trinkets and as a disc priest they both work for me, the nazgrim trinket and the thok trinket.  All my other characters can not get a trinket for their life but this character is rolling in them.  Don't you love how things work sometimes?

Any advice for a disc priest basically starting at heroic would be welcome.  I know the fights of course so it is more a matter of getting better at healing them.  I have a 558 item level but based on lack of playing the class and being out of practice I would say I am current performing at a 548 item level or less, and that should get better as I play it more.

Updating Old Elements:

Someone on  MMOC asked a question on what we would like to see updated next.  Cataclysm updated the old world, mists updated a lot of small sutff, warlords is updating character models and storage stuff among other small things so what would we like to see updated next.

Personally I think some UI management would be nice.  Actually a lot of UI management would be nice.  We should be able to move anything anywhere we like.  I would like to be able to set up my bars the way I do with bartender.  I would like to be able to move things like loot rolls and battleground counters like I do with move anything.  I would like to be able to pull out the in game raid frames and use them like I use a healing add on.  Some click action on those frames would be nice too like right click to shield, left click to heal, middle click to flash heal, you get the idea.

I think it is about time the UI caught up with the addons.  It would be a task for sure but nothing on the scale of character models or redesigning the old world I think.  There really is no reason, in my mind, why we can should not have more control over our UI and be able to use the in game raid groups as a healing add on sort of thing.

I use all mouse overs, even if I do use healing add ons, so I can heal with the in game raid frames if need be but they still would never fit the bill because I can not size them to the way I would want them.  They are just way to large and do not show the information I want them to.  Now that would be a quality of life upgrade to the game I can really get behind.  A hell of a lot more than redesigning the old world or giving us new character models.  I would have liked to see the UI updated before either of those things any day.

Mythic:

I've got an interesting question about mythic, well interesting to me at least.  When 6.0 comes out the raids will change and heroic will become mythic.  So lets take my priest that is now 4/14 heroic as of the other day goes to pug, what do I say?  If tomorrow 6.0 came out and I was pugging would I say I am 4/14 heroic or would I say I am 4/14 mythic.  Being heroic will now be mythic I would technically be 4/14 mythic but I would have never actually have done mythic because I never did it in the 20 man version that mythic would be.

It is an interesting question if you ask me and I could see a lot of people saying, you have never done mythic even if you did heroic before heroic was mythic.  Sure it will be dated content by the time we see it, already is for some, but I wonder about weird things like that from time to time.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

November 13th, 2014 - Warlords Release Date

In what has to be a surprise to everyone it seems like warlords is coming out in November.  In my last post I said it would not surprise me if blizzard through us a curve ball and gave us a November release.  I said it, but I never really expected it.

What does this mean for the 10th anniversary events?  That is my biggest question now because you know a fair amount, as in most, of the players will not be max level by the time the 10th anniversary comes around.

Either way, what do you think?  Good, bad, indifferent.

I guess I am happy with it, I think I am most happy with it because it was not expected.  I like to see that sometimes.