Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5.2 First Impressions

As always there is the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This patch release was no exception.

The Good:


The game was up when I got home from work, so as far as I am concerned, all was well in the gaming world.  There were no disconnections, no quest errors, no bugs, and only two or three evade mobs, which is actually exceptional if you ask me for a patch this size.

I had no addon issues, even with out of date addons being loaded.  I had a few spikes of lag for no more than 3 seconds each but in the over all the release was problem free.  When it comes to good thing, this is the number one good thing everyone wants to hear.  No real issues with release.

Main Land Rares:

The new rares on the main land are pretty cool.  Even with many packs of people flying around looking for them I was able to find my fair share.  Was able to get the achievement for 5 riders and 10 of the others and many other kills along the way with ease.

Please take note: These are not shared kills, which could be confusing being we were told 5.2 rares where shared and these are 5.2 rares and these are not shared.

The regular main land rares are quite easy to solo.  At least for a hunter.  As long as you know how to move from junk on the ground, can misdirect the scarabs if that mob has them and you kite the spirit you will not have a problem at all.  The mob can not kill your pet if you keep mend pet rolling, but the spirit can, even if the pet is in tank spec.  So multi when the spirit comes and let it chase you.  Do not even bother trying to kill it, it does not drop loot and is a waste of time because it despawns on its own in time.

The mounted main land rares are another story.  A little more gear, or someone all heroic geared, might be able to solo them no problem.  For me, I had the occasional issue.  I would grab them waiting for my friends to get there, was in a group with two others most of the time, and could keep it going until they got there.  Even got one to 50% by myself which means I "could" solo it, but right now, why would you if you can down it so much faster with another person or two.  Be careful when doing the main land mounted ones solo, while I think it can be done, it is a lot harder and the spirit loves to get behind your pet and one shot it, which will mean instant issues for you.  So if you want to keep that from happening, two things are required.  Blink strike will assure the spirit will be in front of your pet if you use it instantly when it spawns, as it seems to spawn behind your pet and the blink strike will turn your pet around, and you need to pick up the spirit ASAP.  I did not notice the spirit ever getting behind the pet on the normal main land ones, but the mounted ones it seemed to come from the back each time.  Could just be a coincidence.  I killed about 10 of the mounted ones with no mount drop love.

As a side note, do not take the fact we easily 3 manned the mounted rares to mean they are easy.  I solo a lot and had two people with me that are good players, so it was super easy for the three of us without a death ever from any of us, but we watched groups of 5 or more die, once even 8 horde on it wiped and they had a tank and two healers, so they can be deadly if you do not have decent reactions, do not kite or CC spirits, or are not skilled at least at a minimal level.  I think that is why I was able to get so many of them in such a short time.  Everyone was wiping to them over and over except us three.

Isle of Giants:

This place rocks.  The appropriate amount of scary shit you might want to avoid unless in a decent sized group and lots of little stuff a hunter could solo.  Not to mention the tome to tame direhorns is here and so are the direhorns themselves.

The small dinos should be capable of being soloed by nearly everyone, do not let the elite tag scare you much.  Just pay attention to the casting and avoid the avoidable.  The medium ones might be an issue for most.  I managed one solo but it did require me reviving my pet a few times and some fancy footwork here and there.  I imagine with a little more gear they will be easy too.  The big ones I would not even try solo if I were you unless you really want a challenge.  They do a large AoE damage that will whittle you down and I do not think we can out DPS it and as hunters can surely not out heal it.

The dinomancers, the ones that drop the book hunters need to learn to tame the direhorns as well as the four new battle pets are super easy.  Just make sure to interrupt the heal and they are not a problem.  I was able to solo four at the same time, could have even taken more if there were more there.  Just single target them, make sure to keep mend pet up, and interrupt that heal and they go down fast enough.

I killed dozens of them and did not see a book drop for the tame but I did manage to get all four of the battle pets that drop from them already.  I am also on my way to 9,999 bones, over 200 now, so it might be a while, but that is one of the thing I like about the island.  It gives me something to aim for and I like that.  A set goal and a set place to grind the items needed for that goal.  Better than waiting on random drops for things any day.  I see me spending a lot of time here.

In my time there with friends we killed 100s of things, only one egg dropped for the mount.  It is a white item, so whoevers loot it is will get it, it can not be rolled on and it can not be traded even if you are in a group with someone that looted it.  Just as a word of notice.  This little bit, the white mount egg, is the one bad I would say on the island.  It should be at least green so it can be rolled on when in a group.

Reputation Visuals:

The reputations tab looks a lot better than I was expecting it too.  The little arrows telling you what you get a bonus for is simple and the star that you can click to champion something was nice.  Simple enough, for the people that know what it all means.  So good for me, but for people that do not understand what all that means this could easily fall into the ugly category.  If people see that and do not know what any of it mean, it is all just clutter to them.


There are 12 new lorewalker items we can find.  Did you know that?  Well, I didn't.  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that.  I only ran across 4 of them but noticed there are three new achievements related to them with 4 each which means there are 12 out there.  Nice to see a small continuation of this in the patch.  This is the type of thing I meant when I was talking about redefining warcraft yesterday.  Keeping up with the little stuff.  That is good and this was unexpected and I liked seeing it a lot.  Now if only we could actually have a second to read any of this stuff without getting attacked.

Throne of Thunder:

We did not even attempt any bosses.  Only had seven raiders on for some odd reason.  Only one of them was a tank and none were healers.  So we tried trash with one person in a really crappy ungemmed and unenchanted off spec healing set.  We wiped on the trash twice, but with that said, we did clear it all.

So you can do trash with one half healer, one tank and 5 over 100K DPS.  That is kind of good news, so if you want to grind up to friendly before the LFR comes out to maximized your gain from bosses, go for it, the trash seems simple enough for competent players but I can see random trade people wiping on it.  It will only take a few runs to get to friendly too.

Can't really say too much on it because we did not try to one tank and one heal the boss, but the trash was surely a lot of fun doing it that way.

The Bad:

Isle of Thunder Rares:

I was so excited for these.  Rares that were group loot, dropped valor and stones that could summon more group elite mobs.  It had all the makings of what could be amazing fun for the island, until I tried it in practice.

In a move that could only be called bullshit you can only loot one of these per day.  For someone like myself that means being I want to pet from the mechanical one I actually need to make sure that is the one I hit first each day or I can not get the pet from it.  If I accidentally hit another, I am now on that ones loot table for the day.  At least you can get achievement credit for more than one per day, but when it comes to loot, I have zero choice now, I have to attack the mechanical one every day first.  No options what so ever.

I think this is a major bullshit move on blizzards part.  If you are going to offer group loot, offer it on all of them.  Not just one per day.  Because now you are pushing people even more so to grief others.  Where is their desire to help someone else with theirs if they will not get anything from it?  Just tag it to mess with them and move along, you can get nothing from it if you already killed one.  Bad move blizzard, really really really bad move blizzard.  I can not even express how much I think this is a bad move.  Not only is it bad, but it actually makes griefing worse, not better.  It is worse than bad, it is bullshit.

*Note: Some say this is not intended and you are supposed to be able to get loot off of each kill.  Some ideas on how you could loot is to walk far away and then come back and you can get loot, did not work for me.  And to kill another mob in the area and get the rares loot with AoE looting, did not work for me.  So it might just be a bug.  So bug or bullshit, either way, it is a bad part of the release.*


I file this under bad only because of who I am, a rare hunter, and what I did yesterday, get a ton of those reputation tokens.  We needed other ways to boost reputation but these tokens that drop off the new main land rares are a little much.  As a group we got over 100 of them yesterday.  If I continue rare hunting I will have 11 characters with all reputations maxed out in no time.

A little to much blizzard?  I think so. 250 per token would have been more reasonable in my opinion.

Now, I said I file it under bad, but over all it could very well be good.  Not everyone will be a rare killer like me.  Not everyone will end up with more than they know what to do with.  Most people might get one or two reputation tokens a week at most.  And in that case, I guess this is good.  Just for me, not so much as I am a grinder.  Either way, thanks to them and the new dungeon rep and farm rep my healers will never need to do a quest again, at least for the four original gear factions.  I do still think that 1000 per token is a bit much however.


The fact that it is not there from day one is the bad, or could be looked at it from that perspective.  I know I look at it that way.  Heroic raiders clear normal first then go to heroic the week after.  Normal raiders do LFR first then normal after.  It makes no sense to have normal open, but not the stepping stone normal raiders use before normals.  And then looking at the raid schedule and seeing it will be 5 weeks before it is all out LFR wise makes you think that blizzard has lost touch with the player base that is not heroic progression.

Personally I do not see us getting anything down this week because I do not think we are going to try it this week.  But it still would have been nice to get into the LFR so everyone could see it and get an idea of the layout.  It makes it a lot easier for me to explain fights too.

So for my guild, a normal mode guild, I don't see us doing much of anything until the LFR is out next week and it would have been nice if it were out yesterday so we can raid it tonight like we always do and people had the chance to take a look at some of the mechanics in a watered down version.  Another one of the bad ideas from blizzard.  They need to learn that easy mode comes first and then gets harder.  That means, if anything, LFR should be released first.  Logic, blizzard needs you to stage an intervention.

The Ugly:

Mob Spawns:

The ugly of this patch is the same ugly of every patch in the history of this and every other game that has ever been out there of this type on patch day.  Waiting forever for respawns.  Even on a smaller server like I did it, twice I hit a bottleneck, twice I needed to spend at least a half hour waiting around for stuff to spawn.  Can't really file this one under good or bad, it is just the way things are, ugly on patch day.

Mob Spawns (part 2):

Yet in other areas the mobs spawn almost as you kill them meaning the area is constantly packed.  It is nearly impossible to get away from mobs in some places.  Thank god for being a hunter, I kept walking away from these areas until I could find a nice place to dismiss my pet and feign death so I could continue along.  I guess for non hunters they will need to do the same things, but without the feign death.  They will need to walk to a safer place and finish off the mobs on them before they can move again.  I still think blizzard has a long way to go with balancing things.  They need to write some type of code that checks mobs around, how many people are on the quest, and what is needed in an area so ugly 1 and ugly 2 aren't quite so ugly.


Not good, not bad, just ugly.  The island is cluttered and would really have had a better feel if they just made it a little bigger and opened it up some.  As it is, I can see traveling on the island being quite an issue as time goes on and less people are doing it.  Being it is so compact people might find themselves overwhelmed pretty fast.  But the real ugly is that people will get overwhelmed so fast in some areas and could go along forever without seeing a mob in others.  Just an ugly layout there.


There is a good and bad part to these babies, but the ugly is that there is no consistency with them. Some of the rares are shared, some are not.  Also the group quest mobs still only give loot to the person that was lucky enough to loot it first.  Nice try at fixing some of the issues blizzard, but unless you are really going to fix it, and really add any consistency to it as in making them all shared or all not, it is just an ugly clusterfuck.

The rest...

There are parts I have not even commented on.  The gold grab scenario, the farm being ours, the quest line, the elite pet battles, the new pets on the new island.  So much more.  But that is because at the moment, I have either not delved into that area to come to a impulsive conclusion of good, bad or ugly, or I have no opinion on it as of now.  Not everything leaves you with a first impression worth mentioning.  For the things I did not mention, like the gold grab scenario, I have not decided on it yet. Or the elite pet battles, I have not experienced it yet.  Either way, those where the first impression I thought worth sharing.


  1. Hmm new area is alright I suppose. It's too dark for me, I like lighter zones. I haven't really delved too deep into it as I signed up for a x-realm MSV hc attempt run by someone I know. As it's not really old tier yet, the nerf was only 10% and not only had we not done hc before, we also didn't know one another. Well I knew the raid leader, one of the healers and a couple of the dps but it was basically a pug group. I'm pleased that we got Stone Guard down and we nearly got Feng too, would have had him if someone hadn't rage quit from the wipes.

    We're going Throne tomorrow apparently, it's on the calendar but I think we're just going for a look see. I'm the best geared on the team at 493 ilevel so we're not likely to get super far. I'm in mixed minds as to what you said about LFR. On one hand I want the gear upgrades, and the experience. On the other hand I loathe LFR, and I also do tend to get a bit sick of the same raids after a while. LFR, especially if you go on lots of alts, does tend to fatigue you. Plus I think it does take away a little bit of the magic that you get with a first kill, not much, hardly at all sometimes, but a little bit. So part of me is relieved that I don't have to start grinding it yet, whereas the other part of me wants to get started already.

    I got my farm on my main but I have all the factions exalted there already, so no point filling work orders. I got it on my alt and started one for August Celestials which is the last faction I need to get to revered, but I might get it today with dailies as I was already close. I haven't touched anything else yet. Patch days make me want to hide to be honest, there's always a lot of people about (even on my low pop server) and I can't be doing with the competition. I thought about looking at some of the achievements but they'll still be there in a day or two when everything's cooled down.

    As it is for patch day, which was today in europe as opposed to yesterday, it was pretty good. Though I'm cross that they were ultra efficient, they had the servers up at least an hour earlier than they said and so I missed the chance to look for my Scourged Whelpling. I thought I could at least depend on patch day being late/on time rather than early.

    1. Of course the one time you want to me be late they aren't. Murphys law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

      I have never tried one of those cross realm raiding things, perhaps I should try it some time. I can imagine a lot of last tier stuff being done, but do the old school things have good participation levels? I guess I could check it out myself but the ever since the LFR came out I find myself more distant in game then ever before. Like it pushed me away from wanting to socialize with anyone I don't already know.

    2. I don't sign up to random events. I only go with the people I know, but we use Open Raid to fill those last few spots that are always a pain.

      As for old stuff. I run Ulduar ever single week, twice a week. I'll be getting my legendary on saturday, then I'll be gearing up an alt for herald, but still going every week for a shot at the mount. I also go ICC sometimes for achievements, the legendary and mount chance. I also have the choice, should I feel like it, to go Dragon Soul, Firelands and Throne of the Four Winds ever single week too, as those are run by a friend of mine. I went to get my metas but haven't gone since.

      Those are the most popular raids that I see (on europe open raid at least) but you sometimes get other T11 raids. People put up battlegrounds and Glory of dungeon runs. Currently I'm keeping a look out for Blackwing Descent hc, as that's all I'm missing for my meta and from cata raid achievements. There was one run of it recently but it clashed with a guild raid so I couldn't go.

      Generally speaking I've always had a good experience with open raid, but then like I said I'm going with friends plus a few randoms. I signed up for my first completely random people run at the weekend. However, there's the reputation bar + comments and they are all positive for this guy, so that's a good indicator.

      I'd seriously check it out I love Open Raid. It appeals to the achievement nut in me.

    3. I guess that is what I would need to do, find a few people I would like to do it with and dive in.

      I worry about rep bars because I know some people can really be jerks. Win something they wanted, bad rep, take a bathroom break when they want to keep going, bad rep, do more DPS than them, bad rep, they don't like the sound of your voice on vent, bad rep.

      System like that usually end up failing because if people do like someone they are less likely to give someone good rep because they like them, so they do not think about it. But every little thing that someone dislikes they will fire off the bad rep without even thinking.

      As you can tell, I have no faith in a community of any sort to handle itself. lol

  2. well, you did not disappoint me GE. Nice review.

    Hi Tait!

    It is tight in some areas, but whats weird is that big war ship sailing from the one harbor. Of course the big doors aren't open yet, but I cant wait till I can go inside.

    Now what drops those tomes so I can tame a dino?

    I saw that BIG MONSTER T-REX and it said "can't tame", so I got out away from him real quick.

    Did not really get any dialy quests, but was helping to kill - it pissed me off too - the critter was still for the taking, but when it died, all the loot was gone. I didn't put the first hit on it, but I did kill it (well actually Mary Cathrine did the killing, the bloody little lass she is) because the original person died halfway thru. I mean I don't care about the loot, but there should have been something - I did get the 2 leathers though :D

    Later - time to get back to those laptops!


    1. The dinomancers on the isle of giants drop the book that allows you to train the direhorns.

  3. Pre-cap PvP has been seriously borked by not listening to knowledgeable players.

    They implemented a (buggy by itself) artificial level-raising system (your character gains the Health/Mana, skill increases and primary stats as if highest level of the bracket, but not the abilities) but forgot about secondary stats and stats decay - meaning that characters at the low end of brackets have actually become weaker as now you're not fielding e.g. a 80 in 80 gear but a 84 in 80 gear, while the official intention was to make bottom-bracket characters stronger.

    Hit Rating seems to have been hit the most (a low end character already needed more Hit since MoP, now it's preposterous), people have actually ended up with a negative Hit chance (clearly a bug but annoying still).

    Heirlooms are even more buggy. In their apparently eternal quest to make the newcomer experience as awful as possible Heirloom Gear is supposed to scale to the new artificial level (while normal Gear doesn't and hence becomes weaker, as said above) but unless you enter BG's naked and then equip the Heirlooms they have no secondary stats at all.

    Of course, a lot of this is 'just' a bugfest, but it's downright irritating and leaves me wondering what they actually tried to accomplish as it isn't helping newcomers (let alone those on their Trail and Battlechest Account, being shunted as they are to the Twink BG's ) and it isn't like scaling and stat decay are unknown territories for WoW designers (one would hope).

    1. That is really messed up. Would hate to be 84 wearing 80 gear, that is horrible design, how the heck did that even make it through?

    2. ''Shut up, PvP guy'', really, especially where pre-cap PvP is concerned.

      For example, during Cata there was a semi-petition from players from the XP-Offs that included a bunch of ideas to balance the one/two shot fest pre-cap PvP had become (esp. before Resi gear becomes available). The major thing was reducing damage by about a half - but healing as well, as otherwise you'd exchange one problem with another.

      What did Blizz do with MoP? They gave 40% baseline resilience, without reducing healing at the lower levels as well (as was asked for) , resulting in healers and esp. hybrid healers running rampant (as was predicted).

      Similarly with the WSG GY change, when it was announced it was announced as a way to curtail GY camping by FC's but also - and most prominently, as it was in a thread concerning this - being camped by the opposing team. Again, esp. people from the XP-Offs warned on how this change would work out, Blizz didn't listen, and so the first map newcomers encounter is essentially a deathtrap (esp if you're new to the ways rezzing work etc.)

      Blizz gives token attention to early level PvP with obscure changes like introducing character level requirements to bandages (even though the amount of GF'ed characters capable of using the higher stuff was extremely slim even in the XP-Offs) while basically ignoring the more obvious issues like Heirlooms

      Add to this that PTR/Beta feedback concerning the earlier levels is almost always ignored (eg people reported with Cata about the Shattered zones & Instances being a one-shot snoozefest, Paladin Holy Power healing being broken like hell, and Sub rogues having silly Ambush damage yet it still went live) and people tend to eventually give up, there seriously is little or no point to being constructive if you're not providing feedback on subjects that have the Devs personal interests.

      So personally I think they got a call to 'do something about low level PvP being so borked and off-putting to newcomers', looked at what other 'new & hot' games did, and forgot out of desinterest how their game actually works and how this affects lower level play -even though people that do care about this part of the game warned them several times.

      Of course, it doesn't always help that not all (to put it mildly) twink posters are level-headed like Kore was, looking at the e.g. the US forums those threads do often contain rather much (excuse my language) sausage-comparisons etc. and reacting to the inevitable closet homophobic remarks about 'hur dur real meaning of the word 'twink'' hur dur'' doesn't help, either..

  4. Isle of Thunder has a confusing layout. I'll get used to it with time but it's too easy to get "lost" since we're on ground mounts and there are only certain paths that you can follow (which aren't clear from the map).

    Spawn rates are messy as Grumpy mentioned. Either way too frequent or way too infrequent.

    I've noticed a lot of phasing bugs where mobs are there then disappear then reappear.

    The contrast in the area is too low. Everything is "gray" so it's hard to "see" things. The Grave Guard quest is annoying because you can't see them, they just blend in with the background. The areas with the Quest givers are very easy to miss if you're not looking closely. Et cetera.

    Setting the Trap is poorly designed. The mob isn't shared so you have to be in a group. However, you need a full trinity for it and finding the right 4 other players in the local area is not simple. You can't use a raid group and get credit for the quest even though that's the easiest thing to create. There are tons of dps running around so you'll easily get 8+ players where one can quasi-tank and another can quasi-heal. But being limited to 5 is really hard. If you summon him, you lose your stones regardless if you end up getting credit for the quest, so you only get one chance. The quest is just really poorly designed both for launch rush and for after things calm down. You'll either have too many people or too few and you're screwed if you mess it up.

    Taking over the farm is lame. I don't get what difference it makes. Supposedly, you lose the opportunity to do the daily quests that Yoon used to give. I need to confirm but if so, that's even more stupid.

    The Isle of Giants seems like a lot of work for very little gameplay. Make a new land mass, create a bunch of new dinosaur skins, fill the island with elites that aren't really soloable, add a direct flight path from the Shrine, add a few archeology npcs that offer no interactions, add one troll who collects bones that will give you a pet and mount if you collect enough bones, add a grind for hunters if they want to tame direhorns. That's it. If you don't want the 1 pet or the 1 mount or you aren't a hunter, there's no reason to ever go to Isle of Giants. There's nothing to do there except sneak around big dinosaurs that will quite literally devour you in a couple of bites and kill elite trolls with 2M hp to grind for a pet/mount.

    The first part of LFR should have been available this week. I didn't complain about it at the beginning because people were leveling and all that stuff so you didn't qualify for LFR on the first day anyways. However, I qualified for it a month ago... At this point, I can just run old content for VP and do the new dailies. There's very little content for players like me for this first week.

    Most of the improvements are useless for me. Blizz told us "don't play alts", so I do everything on my main. I've had all the reps at exalted for quite a while despite only doing dailies a couple times a week. I don't need all the extra rep opportunities. Galleon spawns more quickly now but the gear off of it is for last tier so who cares.

    I could go on but I'm going to be late for work...

    Initially, I'm giving this patch a neutral/negative score; the negatives outweigh the positives for me. I'd rather go do the old dailies and just wait for LFR to start unlocking. I'm not impressed with the new islands. In other words, I'd have been equally satisfied (or perhaps even more satisfied) if they just fixed/balanced/tweaked things and gave us the new raid.

    1. I agree it is confusing, but by the second day I was running around as if I had been there forever. There are still a few spaces I need to open my map for but if someone yells a rare is up I know exactly were to go without looking.

      I have helped many guild mates do setting the trap with groups of 5 DPS. You do not need a tank and a healer. Just 5 smart players. But I agree, it would be easier with a trinity group and I think that is what it was designed for. I hate the not sharing idea on those, bad idea after they went to sharing other things now.

      I know where you are coming from. I would have been happy if they fixed a lot of the outstanding issues they have already too but I do not dislike it as much as you do. It is something new to do and it is something new to grind, which is what I like to do. So for me at least, it is good, but even I am not looking forward toward grinding a million bones.