maandag 29 augustus 2016

Bye Bye Draenor

At this moment, it is 5 hours and 15 minutes before midnight. At midnight, Dalaran will teleport from Karazhan to the Broken Isles, starting the new Expansion. There seems to be a lot riding on this, let's not be it a failure like Warlords of Draenor was, most people think.

To be honest, that seems the general feeling at the end of almost every expansion, but even I have some problems with Warlords of Draenor. But there where some positive points too.

Warlords of Draenor...Warlords?  I only remember one fight with a warlord that took some time, Blackhand. He was an endboss, he was difficult, and he gave that 'we did it'-feeling. I know there were some more warlords running around, but they where dealt with in dungeons, or early in raids, not even as wing-end-bosses.

The idea of course was nice, but after two years walking around on old Draenor, the hype is gone. I still think we should have had a third raid-tier. Two is not enough, not for a two-year patch. But this is because Blizzard aparrantly decided to stop working on Draenor, and start working on Legion.

But let's not dwell on the Warlords, we had our garrison....   /facepalm.

Mardah's Garrison

Well... at least I now have enough gold to last me till patch 10. The garrison was a nice idea, but way to much was put into it. Everyone had enough reagents for everything, gear was being carried in by your followers, and the gold..all the gold. And don't let me start about the shipyard, which was basically the same, but now with more ships.

But...  My garrison has an auctioneer and a bank. I will probably be returning there a lot. All the stuff close together. And it is MY Garrison  :)

I did like the levelling though. The stories where good, there were nice intermissions, and the flow was good. Even on my 15th alt, I wasn't really bored with the quests. Kudos for that. And there where some nice bosses along the way, although my price for best Boss this expansion goes to the trains. Not that Orc that was walking there, I do mean the Trains.

But the biggest thing that will always be in your memory of any expansion, is the amount of time you spend in the last Raid...  which again was way to long. And I am also not looking back fondly at the whole Hellfire Citadel. 

In contrast to Siege of Orgrimmar, Innovation didn't do any Mythics in HFC, There are a lot of reasons for that. we didn't had enough raiders to field a 20-man team is one. There was a high turnover this last year, and in my opinion, that is mostly due to four different raid tiers. We did normal, we did heroic, a lot of us did LFR. Even I felt burnout at the end.

I do not really have a solution, so I am not going to linger on it to long. But, in the end, this was again a two-year expansion, with one raid-tier short, and a lot of cool dreams that could have happened, but where never there.

Mardah in her non-transmogrified gear before Helffire Citadel
Bring us the Legion, let us sacrifice our heroes.

4 hours and 35 minutes to go....

dinsdag 21 juni 2016

Legion: A look ahead

I haven't played that much Beta last week. There are two reasons for that. The first is protection. Protection against playing burnout. As mentioned before, I did level to 100, and after that did a lot of artifact-quests for other specs. I even re-did the Moonkin-Artifact quest, and it seems to be fixed now. But I just didn't want o put that much time in the so-called End-Game. I just don't have the time for that.

The other reason is alt-raids. Innovation was on a little break, and some alt-raids where scheduled. Both my Hunter Forak, and my Paladin Timicin used that. And it is fun to make a character really raid-ready. The break stops this week, but thursday will probably stay an alt-day.

In the coming weeks, people will be able to bring new characters to the raid to test out, if their intention is to raid with that character in Legion. And the pre-patch is coming soon I guess...which makes me not happy. As mentioned before, balance without the Moon-spell is not fun. 

Beta-testing, wait..a Postbox in the Druid Class Hall???
Now I am lucky, during the pre-patch, I am not abe to play that much. A Wedding, a guild-meet, and general vacation...  I am lucky to not play Moonkin... that just sounds strange. Luckily, the moment I got the Artifact everything will be ok... can we just take a moment to look at the date.

Legion will be released August 30th, which is the most idiotic date to release a game for me. I work in Education, this is the beginning of a new School Year, I don't have time for that... and it is also not a good idea for all the students to play at that time...  you don't need to many distractions at the start of a new schoolyear.

And then there is this: Cyous response on raid-testing

Cyous is a player who is very clear on things that happens to Balance Druids. He is active on both the official forum, as on fan-forums like MMO-Champion. As far as I know, he knows his stuff, and he keeps his cool..until the post I linked...  if this keeps up..  maybe Balance is not that good an idea for Legion.

Although, I am a master at playing specs that aren't possible according to the masses..  maintankadin-memories float into my mind....

zondag 12 juni 2016

Spotlight: Eight Years in Azeroth

The story has ended. There will be an epiologue this week (or next week), but the story of Descendants of Draenor as written down on Eight Years in Azeroth is finished. This is the story written down by the Guildleader, from the moment the formed at the very start, till the end.

Their ending was in a time I know was a time where Innovation also almost folded, but we got lucky I guess. It is a very good story, go read it, if you haven't heard of the blog yet.

Thanks Shawn.

The first post on Eight Years in Azeroth

maandag 30 mei 2016

Legion Beta: Cheesing Mechanics

Disclaimer; This blog-post contains spoilers for Legion. Although I actively try not to actually spoil stories, sometimes a tidbit of information may leak through. Mechanics will be written about.

My first level 110 is a Troll Balance Druid named Morshando. For the first time, I actually levelled up completely on a Beta. I have been in all Beta's since Wrath, but this is the first time I actually had enough time to play it properly.

Morshando Dings near a strange questgiver
This has nothing to do with my own time though, more with the fact that on Live, I have hardly anything to do. I have enough Gold to probably be settled until we go back to Draenor to fight Yrel the Corrupted or something.

A couple of months ago I wrote that I really liked to have Beta-access, so I can actually test the new Balance. I have horrid memories of the Wrath-Cata transition with my Tankadin, and how I did level him first, but really couldn't like the Holy Combo Point system. After which I levelled Balance. Changing game-plays can be real frustrating, especially if you find out to late.

Luckily, there is the pre-patch, where you can figure stuff out.. a little bit. The problem this time around is your Artifact. That weapon everyone is going to get very soon, and has to upgrade all through Legion. After a little discussion last night in Innovation, I actually looked at all the Artifacts, and there is something fishy.

As far as I can tell, almost all Artifacts have a 45+ cooldown as their starting position. Something that you can use once in a while, maybe does huge things for your spec, but is not really altering how your spec works. Now comes the Balance starting Artifact-trait...which is in a whole different ballpark.

The Moon-Spell, not only has this spell the highest DPS of all your spells, it is also the best Astral Power generator. Both are more than twice as good as empowered Solar Wrath/Lunar Strike. And because they regenerate quite quickly, 3 charges/15 sec CD, the Moon-Spell is the Heart of your Balance-spell casting.

While other specs will be missing one cooldown during the pre-patch-phase, Balance-Druids will miss their core-ability. I had a little time to test it, in the Artifact Quest-line, which you have to do without Moon.

It was awful.

Because your are missing the big Astral Power-builder, you first hit the mobs with a piece of wet cheese (un-empowered Lunar Strike/Solar Wrath). When you finally have enough Astral Power, you cast Starsurge, and two Empowered spells..before using the cheese again. There are some talents (Astral Communion especially) which help with that, but that is a 1.33 min CD.

The only reason I could get through one piece of the quest-line, was by cheesing the mechanics, and go to flight-form (see, no lore-spoilers here). I just didn't have the power to subdue that part with the tools I had. The moment you get your moon-spell, it is a lot better. I am even starting to like be honest, letting a moon crash on your opponents is fun.

I also did all the other artifact-quests for druids, and for Retribution-Paladin/Combat Rogue, and those where nowhere near as difficult as the one for Balance..  fighting the trial against Deathwing all over again.

Morshando showing the new animation for Archaeology
For levelling as Balance, I really advice people to take Treants and Astral Communion. Having some more cooldowns can save you. Also... be carefull with casters, you can take several melee at once...but casters will wreck you. There is also the path to choose while upgrading your artifact, which deserves a seperate post. Resto-Affinity is also a must, your healing Touch is useless, so you really need some better healing options.

The questing is quite good. Although it did take me 2 days and 44 minutes to reach 110. But I was dalying around a lot, or doing Archaeology. Be warned though, if you have Professions..those quest will take up a lot of time, and most importantly, not reward reputation with faction, or huge Artifact Power boosts at the end of story-lines.

After doing nothing more than profession/druid-quests and Archaeology for the first few levels, I finally did a Zone, where I found out, that you get some nice Artifact Power boosts through questing, and there are a lot of rares and treasures around for more Power and Garr..rr..Order Hall Resources.

When Legion is live, I will probably just do the four starter zones, before looking at the profession-quests. More Artifact Powerrrrr... and you need a lot.

donderdag 26 mei 2016

Slower Levelling? Finally....

They reduced the XP you gain while levelling, which is a good thing in my opinion. At this moment I have to make sure my character is not using heirlooms and is not in a resting/area when logging out, to make sure I do not outlevel the zone. And still I sometimes skip quest/hubs. Not even starting on the fact that doing dungeons really screw stings over.

A lot of people are complaining about this, ´We don´t want to level longer´ , but you have a choice, equip Heirlooms, and outlevel everything fast enough. Although I would wish that if you have no heirlooms, your damage would scale up in dungeons, so you at least have the idea you are doing something meaningfull..that, or reducing the power of the heilooms, not the XP-gain.

But new players will..STOP there.. they are new players, do not speak for them, and let them eperience the game at their own pace. And don´t give me that stuff that the game does not start before max. World of Warcraft does not start at level 100-110 anymore. There is so many to do outside end/game stuff.

But now they cannot play with their friends that are max/level? Wait..what? Why can't they do that? This is more a problem of not helping your low level friends, than not the option to do it. Be in the same guild already makes you play together more. Or start levelling a low-level character yourself to help your friend. Playing with friends goes two-ways people...

And then some so-called altoholics come by, and proclaiming that no one wants to slow level because you want to be max-level at all alts... well..boohoo... I am an altoholoic, and I actually like doing lower level dungeons..once in a while, although strong heirlooms take away the fun.again, do not talk for everybody  /sigh. And having multiple alts was never meant to be easy.

At the moment I have 15? level 100's...and guess what? Even before the Beta, I was hardly playing them, because you only have so much time.. and it doing the same daily on 15 characters after each other... well, hello burnout?

You know, I actually don't mind outlevelling a zone that much, as long as there is a story to end. To make a choice is not a problem, and I would not mind skipping half the quests, Problem - is, that all zones have story-lines that are hard to break up, on big story per zone. Which makes me do the odd not-logging-out-in resting-zones-and-no-dungeons.

I think Blizzard did not go far enough, they should really scale down the heirlooms to their level, The raw power is so big, that, as mentioned before, doing dungeons as non-heirloomed characters really is not fun. Actually, as a heirloomed Char it mostly not fun..suff dies so fast, not even starting about all those rolin tanks. And for that matter, increasing their XP-gain would also help. People who really just want to level, would do so faster, and you would have the choice to go without more XP... but with the same power.

TL;DR  Good Job Blizzard, now, scale down the power of Heirlooms and increase their XP-gain (So the levelling-time takes about the same time)

dinsdag 17 mei 2016

Legion: Beta first steps

I was away the whole weeekend, but I still managed to do a little beta. And before I continue, I will (try) not to spoil Lore.

I made a Trol Druid, Boomkin, and logged in. After all the normal stuff you do with a new character, like figuring out what spells to place where, changing keybinds, allocating talents. I walked around a little bit, did the first quest, which gives you a ring.... and tried out some of the new spells.

Basically you have 6 spells.

Moonfire and Sunfire, the Dot's, MF is stronger Single target and SF is for Multi-target, like it is now, but they are two different spells again, I guess I have to keep them both rolling on main target. Those two spells give Astral Power.

Solar Wrath and Lunar Strike are your big spells.. and replace Wrath and Starfire. It seems you use SW on a single target, and LS when multiple. When to switch to LS is not sure yet for me. I guess three, but maybe two or more. These two Spells give Astral Power.

Starfall and Starsurge. These two spells cost Astral Power to use. StF is for multiple targets, and SS is for single target. Starfall is now a placed spell, like Blizzard/Death and Decay. No longer casting it and hitting everything in 40 yards.

Starsurge gives a buff to your next Solar Wraths, and Lunar Stirkes. That is an AND. So I gues that after casting SS, always cast SW and LS even if not normally cast, like casting LS on a single target.

Now, there are some talents which give more spells, and effects (like casting on the move when you are moving inside your starfall), but these are the 6 basic spells you have to use to kill stuff. The rest is ice on the cake, so to say.

After all this, I tried some things on request of guildies. There was a question about the respec cost, which I tested... although Blizzard removed that cost altogether now. And someone was sure the Affination-Boomkin-form had a Cooldown..which it hasn't, it works as a normal Moonkin-form.

Having done all that, I trained Skinning/Leatherworking and Archaelogy, couldn't find where all the glyphs went... put my primary spec on boomer...and tried the second quest... The one that brings you to the new continent.

I tried it 5 times...  but was disconnected on varios stages through this quest, and transported back to Orgrimmar Docks.....  so..very buggy. Beta-happiness I guess.

woensdag 11 mei 2016

Here we go....

What is this on my account?