donderdag 26 april 2018

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie

Well.. that's what I am saying a lot in another game, but for World of Warcraft, we just went into Beta, and I am still in.

To be honest, I have no idea what I did in Alpha, the testing was mostly while I was at work. I did level a little bit, and did some stuff here and there, but not really much. Now we are in beta for a few months, my Troll Druid will be leveled probably.

Alpha-Gowron trying to take down Anduin....

The problem is that I am actually playing a lot on Live now, not really playing on of me many, many 100+ characters, but leveling a Void Elf, through TBC. All those quests I forgot existed... well, after Hellfire of course. He is o level 69 and already 2 levels knee-deep in Shadowmoon Valley stuff.

Stephanus is already ready for Orgrilalala and the Shatari Skyguard. Can actually go farm Netherwing if he reaches 70, and is on the first part of the attunement to The Eye and Mount Hyjal apparently. I also forgot that the players themselves where actually responsible for getting Gorefiend back in the loop.

Stephanus ready to take on the local wildlife.

Innovation has done something new last week, Mythic Garothi Worldbreaker, not that we downed it, but there where some promising pulls. And that's what seems to be the plan, one night Mythic, two nights farming, because we definitively got Heroic on farm now. Looking only at myself, I am not that hyped to do Heroic anymore. I have adequate gear from it, some gems, some forged. I even got a Acrid Catalyst Injector, although one of my few seals is used to get a forged one.

But we have been doing heroic for a while now, and before that normal.. Why is there still normal raiding? Once upon a time normal was called flex, because that was the only raid where you din't need 25, then they changed stuff, and now both normal and heroic have flex. And I don't really see the reasons for an extra difficulty anymore.. why not just ditch one...

Innovation's Gummi Bears

And finishing with Beta, Blizzard stated that they think most specs are done now, they mentioned four which maybe are not, Balance Druid was not of those.....

Balance is fine...they say..

I do not know

I think my Solar Wrath button needs to be renewed.

Basically, I have no problem with the GCD-changes, that just needs to get used to, but the changes for balance are, well.. we know have two Astral Power generators, two DoTs and two spenders (one ST, and one AoE).

Granted, the Moon Spell is not gone, it's a talent now (instead of Astral Communion) with double the refresh rate. And Fury of Elune is now basically an AoE-DoT, So, there may be some interesting talent-choices coming up...like I already didn't change talents every freaking fight.... 

And we still cannot really switch quickly between ST and AoE. And unless you take Moon, which does not seem great atm due to longer refresh, your main Astral Power generator will be Solar Wrath.. did I also tell you the decreased the size of Sunfire and Lunar Strike splash.. yeah..we are fine....

So,  my eye is also on some other classes. Beta really needs to convince me to stay Balance.



woensdag 4 april 2018

Azurite Armor version 1?

Today Alpha rolled out the first piece of gear of Azurite Armor. Create a new character and you get a chest-piece which you can upgrade if your Heart of Azeroth (neck-piece) has a high enough level. Upgrading you neck-piece seems random, there are some quest that give you azurite power...or something like that. As you can see below, my Alpha-Troll, lvl 112, already has a lvl4 neck.

Morshando, Alpha-Troll

So, I made several different classes to see what was going on, and they all seem to follow the same path. You have 4 lvl's of  talents, the first level, available with a lvl1 neck, gives you a talent which does something when you kill something, and a talent for every available spec your class has, so Druids have 5 options, and Demon Hunters 3.

The Balance one, Streaking Stars, has a nice idea, more damage during Incarnation when you don't cats two the same spells in a row. The problem is..291 extra damage... that does not seem to be so much, but that may just alpha. The resto talent is also interesting, swiftmend will explode your mushroom to heal a nearby target.

The next level of talents, available with neck-level 4 are more role-specific. So for Druids I had a dps, a tank and a healing talent.  Looking at other specs, they seem to follow the same path, with a talent for every role you could do, and if  you can only have 1 or 2 roles, the other talents where more dps-orientated.

The DPS-talent here almost everyone has, chance to get 97 of a random secondary stat for 10 seconds.  Considering my Alpha-Troll have around 300 normally, 97 is a lot, like a mini-heroism.
The other roles have similar increases.

Azurite Armor v1
Level 7 only has two options left, for all specs/classes the same now, either a Prydaz-effect for 262... which seems low. And a heal/more speed when something dies, situational at best. The last level is a flat 5 Ilvl increase. 

There are some obvious problems of course, especially if you consider this system is here to replace tier-sets. The first is that you cannot change the talents as of know. Which means that if you want to have an off-spec, you got to have another piece of gear for that slot.

Well, for an old player like me, that doesn't seem to bad. We used to collect different pieces of gear back in the day, so I could live with this. The bigger problem, also tying in with not changing talents is the lack of choices.

There are no choices.

It would be nice to either have choices to which talent to pick, or maybe, and that may actually be true, we have no idea, that different pieces of gear have different talents. But at the moment, it seems a little bit lackluster. Especially if it should replace tier-sets. So, as a first glance at Azurite Armor, it fails, horrible.

But, this is Alpha, there is just not enough information on either what stuff does, or what the idea behind stuff is. And being a Balance Druid, they haven't gotten anything new so far, which makes playing boomkin really, really, really boring.



maandag 2 april 2018

How I Moonkin in Heroic Antorus

At the moment, I have five different gear sets locked in for Antorus, including 5 different Legendaries I use throughout the Raid, and than I also tweak talents within these gearsets.. so, let's see what Mardah does on all the fights.

But first a little about my standard Talents, I will always use Guardian Affinity and Stellar Drift, so I am not going to mention those again. Guardian Affinity because the damage reduction and Frenzied Regeneration are just way to good.. And Stellar Drift because I have Oneth's Intuition, which makes that talent even better on Single Target (ST) fights as Nature's Balance.

There are also two talents I only change on one fight. I normally use Wild Charge, except on Kingarath where Displacer Beast is more handy for oh-shit moments, that is if he suddenly points towards you. and the level 60 Talents are completely non-important, except two fights. Have Mass Entanglement on Coven, and Typhoon on Aggramar, the latter as backup.

And another mention on a special Talent; Blessing of the Ancient (BotaA). If not mentioned, you should always be a blue moonkin, i.e. use Blessing of Elune, only in the so-called 'Dad'-build should you be a yellow Moonkin (Blessing of An'she). Although, under Incarnation (Inc), always be Blue.

Garothi Worldbreaker, Immonar the Soulhunter, Kingaroth and Aggramar

Gear: Oneth's Intuition (OI), Impeccable Fel Essence (IFE)
Talents: Starlord (SL), Incarnation (Inc), BotA

These are the standard ST fights in Antorus, there are two adds up sometimes at Aggramar, but they should be focused down. Keep in mind that you have Typhoon for Aggramar, and that you can cast-while-moving while in your own Starfall, especially handy for casting while being knocked back.

Don't forget to use Displacer Beast for Kingaroth, and start the fight with Incarnation, even if your Raid Leader says not to start with big cooldowns. This is because of IFE. I noticed that if you wait with Inc till the Add Spawns, you will not be able to reduce the cooldown on it before the next Add-spawn..so you will be out of sync. Keep in mind, boss-damage is not important here, add-control is, so be sure to have a full pool of Astral Power when they spawn.

Felhounds of Sargeras

Gear: OI, IFE
Talents: SL,Inc,Shooting Stars (SS)

The Hounds are a liitle bit silly. It is a two target fight, but because they are tanked more as 40 yards from each other, the standard Area of Effect-build (AoE) do not really work. So you end up with a strange hybrid of talents. Keep in mind that during the the ability where you are being pulled towards a dark spot, a well timed Starfall can come in handy... Stellar Drift is so good.

Antorus High Command and Eonar the Life-Binder

Gear: Lady of the Child (LatC), Radiant Moonlight (RM)
Talents: SL, Soul of the Forest (SotF), SS

Antorus High Command is your standard AoE-fight, lots of add to deal with. and still enough ST to use Starlord. This fight is made for Boomkins. Eonar is a little bit strange, lots of running around, and you can also take the same talents as for Hasabel. That doesn't really matter.

High Command parse from me last night, a real boomer fight
Portal Keeper Hasabel

Gear: LatC,OI
Talents: SL,SotF,SS

This fight is much more ST than High Command, so dropping down Moons is less important. Keep in mind, that if you are assigned to portals, you should use the ST-build from Worldbreaker. You can also use this build for Eonar, for me it depends what I am already specced in,or if we are going Hasabel next.

Varimathras and Argus the Unmaker

Gear: OI, Radiant Moonlight (RM)
Talents: SL, SotF, Bota

These are the odd two bosses out. Both are mostly ST, but you are close to the boss, so you can take advantage of Stellar Drift. And you are better equipped for the Argus-adds-phase.This is the so-called 'Dad'-build. Make sure to always have a Starfall active, and use Starsurge between 60-80 Astral Power.

The Coven of Shivarra

Gear: RM, Soul of the Archdruid (SotA)
Talents:  Warrior of Elune (WoE), Stellar Flare (StF), SS

Yeah.. this fight.. see this blog-post why I choose this.


So, this is how I boomkin Antorus, with 5 different gear-sets and 8 different talent setups.

Now have a Picture of Mardah the Noble...something with bunnies and Varimathras...




zondag 25 maart 2018

Alpha Access Acquired

Background Down loader downloading
I have never been in an Alpha, I have been in all Beta's since cataclysm, but to be in an Alpha, that is something new, more bugs and even less finished stuff I guess. But yeesh,, apparently I can not download faster as 3 MB/s... so it took about 4 hours to get, and to make things more interesting, the progress bar doesn't actually move, I had to restart the Battle Net app to see how much I had left to download....Alpha indeed.

My first ever Alpha Screenshot

The view from the top window

Starting Pyramid... all the steps....

I only did a little bit, best thing so far... Balance has its own Cast-bar, separate from caster-form... worsts thing... slow dps due to no moon-spells.....

maandag 19 maart 2018

Pilot Balloon

The Dutch word is  'Proefballon' which translates to Pilot Balloon according to Google Translate, or, 'to put out a feeler'. That's what Blizzard seems to be doing with these Q&A's. Says something that may seem controversial, and see how the community reacts, well, there where some reactions.

I read a lot of them, and I saw a lot of videos on it, although I am still waiting on Tallisin & Evitel, but to quote them, it was a shit-storm. The biggest continuing thread on the official forums was started by someone who is against it, who basically said: You Abused it, now loose it.

And if you haven't  seen the Q&A, and aren't into following vlogs and/or blogs, I am talking about the current Personal Loot versus Master Loot discussion. And it seems to be going down the same road it was with Nostalrius. A very Black and White discussion.

And all this about a little question in an Q&A, which was shadily answered, and pointed towards split raiding and tier-sets...  so let me get a few thoughts in, because so many, either pro or against, are so much generalizing stuff, that it feels so wrong.

First of, all the guilds I ever been in where done with ML, but none was Loot Council. There seems to be this generalization that ML=LC. And although I think think Loot-Council is the best loot-system to help any guild, I do see the pitfalls of it. And a lot of the negatives about ML seem to make the assumption that ML=LC.

Master-loot is the system for Raid-groups with at least 80% from one guild to manually distribute loot themselves. This can be done with several systems, ONE of them is Loot Council, but there are many others, most known are Dragon Kill Points, Gold Dragon Kill Points and Effort Points/Gear Points.. more commonly known DKP, GDKP and EP/GP. So please stop using ML=LC... it is not true.

And although I am not a fan of the DKP system, I am in Innovation, where we use a Blind-bid DKP system. What I don't like about it is another blog, maybe, but I knew beforehand this was the system, and it is a system to make sure the Raid grows in power, not the individual. Most Master-loot systems are.

I also see a lot of assumptions that only Mythic Raiding Guilds us Master-loot, by both non-organised raiders and by mythic raiders, this is also not true. Innovation is a Heroic Progression Guild. We aim to clear Heroic every tier, and will see what happens after that. Getting into Mythic is a little bit harder, you need a steady 20 people in the raid, and maybe you actually need to class-stack? But that is a discussion about if you can be a heroic progression raider.. this was about loot-systems.

Basically, any organisation wants to control how it grows, and a guild is no different. Master-loot for any guild is better because it helps the raid, not the individual. And any system with even more RNG is basically worse.

Most comments that are against ML seem to be from players who had a bad experience with it, mostly because they where on trial. And by default, for a long time, trial members have less right on loot than non-trials. That is the idea behind it, a trial period is there to see if a player fits into the guild, and if it doesn't work, the raid doesn't want to loose to much.

Now Innovation actually does allow trials to bid on stuff. They just have no DKP to start with, so they have to do a few raids to get some DKP, although in my experience, most Trials will be getting loot within one raid-week (I did, way back in Cata), And this system, how we distribute loot, is accessible to all on the forums of Innovation. So you know what you signed up for.

What a lot of people seem to forget, is that Guilds want make sure the Raid-group gets stronger, and that is the reason behind all the loot-systems, to make sure the group gets stronger, and how do you do that? Innovation does it by giving DKP for every raid you attend, so gear has a higher chance to end up with players that have a higher attendance, because that will let the power of the raid grow.

The problem with Personal Loot is that it doesn't let the raid grow, but the individual. Especially how it works now, where trading is only allowed when the Ilvl is lower (or the same??), not taking in account if the item is actually better or worse for a player, looking at you trinkets.

And although the raid will be better of in the first few weeks, because PL does give more loot, after that, players will get duplicates, or the RNG hates you, and you will never see that trinket. Although Mathematically seen, after enough raids, everyone will have their stuff, but how many? And does that help progression?

There is also a very bad thing about PL that already happens in LFR. The whispering/begging for gear. Now I know this seems to be opposite about what I said about Guild-raids. But I was talking about them as one being. The players are still Individuals.

I STILL WANT BETTER LOOT.

Let that be clear, I want Mardah to have all the sockets and forged stuff... but because I am in a guild, I will not be to sad to see it go to a guildie. But, if I have it in my bags, and it is better for me, I will want to keep it. Because I am an individual...  not a group. There was this comment somewhere, as long as it isn't in your bag, it isn't yours.

I am actually afraid allowing only Personal Loot will actually create more drama, because how would a guild deal with gear that is already in someones bag? At the moment, that is up to the player in Innovation with BoE's. and Luckily a lot of them are given up for bid, if the drop is not needed by the player.

In the end, at least for me, and Innovation, Master Loot combined with Blind-DKP works. Why should that be changed? Does it hurt you if we do it that way? And if you don't like our rules, then do not join, find somewhere else to play, no harm done.

So, yes Blizzard, this Pilot Balloon did generate a lot of discussion, But if you got any wiser...  no idea. But I won't like it, even more RNG in a RNG-World.

zondag 18 maart 2018

Lessons of Space-Time


 Well.. that didn't take long, after some invasions, emmisary-quests and LFR's I bought a shoulder-token on the Vindicaar  and BINGO, hunt completed, maybe to soon. I do like shoulders with Eyes on it.

Lorinthe is timely-wimey....

Other stuff I am doing these days includes some low level levelling without heirlooms. Taking advantage of more character slots and allied races, I am just hitting stuff. No rush with them, no need to get them to end-content, I already have enough to do there, if I like to do it.

My Lightforged Paladin reached 58 and Northrend todays, which makes me wonder. If I am not mistaken, lvl 58-60 may have the most dungeons available, all the vanilla ones, 2 from Outland, and 2 from Northrend, all dropping loot on the same Ilvl, I may actually freeze XP... is that still possible?

[It seems level 80 has the most different dungeons available, 4 more than level 60]

Kyaria in Northrend, before the new gear drops.

vrijdag 16 maart 2018

A Brief History of Time

The world got a lot less smarter this week.

Some Neil once said that everybody is made of Stardust... 
he forget that some are actually made of stars.

And now I am determined to get at least one Legendary...

Lorinthe, Destruction Warlock, wants some Shoulders.....

After last post, I went to Germany for a week, and when I returned Innovation had cleared up to Aggramar, and I joined in for the Sunday Madness. After the Coven-kill we did extend lockout for a day at least, so we had some tries on it before I went on vacation, and I clearly remember that I was in the mindset that a kill was near, we just needed to handle the CC a little bit better.


I also found out that rooting an already rooted add removes root.. when did I miss that memo??


After 2 hours of pulling, Aggramar went down. The fight isn't that much different than on Normal, except for the CC on adds, and I didn't found it very challenging, we had 18 pulls on him before the kill.

Mardah ground hugging during Aggramar Kill

After Aggramar, we poked Argus... and got a below 50%-wipe as our first result, not that bad, one more pull later, the raidnght ended, and we got the message from our Guildleader.


Lockout will be extended untill Argus is down.


Oh boy...


So for the next few raidnights we threw everyting at Argus. And we found out that the fight itself is strangely build up.


Firts you have Phase 1, big black zones of dead that overlap on timer and it took some time before we got it under control. Getting a spot of death on you while cone of death is being cast can make things ineterstin, while also trying to get the buff on you, and hoping it was not placed in zone of death, and praying people didn't run to early for cone of death. In the end it was decided that getting the buff was not important. Just make sure you survive the death-stuff.


Phase 2 is..well.. not exciting. Dont's stand in lines of death. If you have a small orb over your head, move away, if you have Big Ball run to the entrance...and pray that the glowing tank reaches you fast enough. So, yeah, this phase didn't gave us much trouble.


Phase 3, the dudes are here. This gave us a little bit more trouble. We first went for the empowered dudes, and ignoring the others. But that also meant no interrupts where cast... so that idea was quickly abonded. Next tactic was focus one dude, until dude is dead, than focus other dude. Which dude you had to focus was determined by the dudes vulnerability.


For me that was (facing entrance) first to the left (arcane) and second to the right (nature). This worked very well...except the few times we forgot to interrupt... onto the last phase...


HERE COME THE WIPE JOKES


The last phase was madness. The orbs over your head re-appeared, but this time, no saving when you had the big one. You die... luckily there was a tree that could rez some people, but while death, better collect orbs, so we do more damage.


Than the swirlies..so much swirlies, and standing in swirlies means death... but we didn't want you to die to swirlies, because rez-tree had a limit on rezzes.. so stay out of swirlies. And than suddenly the tank died.. what is actually what is supposed to happen... phewww...


Big Spheres of Growing Zones of Death incoming... every time 1 more...


That one was the killer, we had several below 5% wipes because of this, well actually because we had lost to many before... this was truly a 'through wiping, we learn' ability, but...  there was one problem.


We could execute all phases well, and than we suddenly had a below 5%-wipe because we couldn't handle 7 spheres... we even had a 0.2% wipe... so there was this fear that we would have a lot more of these wipes... but we lucked out... just before 21:00, within one week after downing Aggramar, and having suffered 33 wipes (9 less than on Coven),  Argus fell over.

Innovation lines up for the Kill-pic