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?

  • vrijdag 29 april 2016

    We are still cookie-cuttered.

    I have this idea in my head about writing about what we miss these days in World of Warcraft. What is the difference between then an now, and are there possible solutions to get something of that back..if I can actually figure out of what 'that' is.

    But every time I start, it becomes this big blur of thoughts where I cannot seem to make sense of, where do I start? Where do I go? Am I making sense to myself? Well..  have some random thought:

    One of the things I actually miss is the old talent tree system. Remember that system? You got your first talent point at level 10, and then every level another one. And one point would give you 1% more block or something small. The reason why they got rid of it was that everyone used the same cookie-cutter spec.

    So if you where a fire mage, you had to have a certain spec, and being a Tankadin, you'd better had 41 point to reach Avengers Shield... and who played a tankadin with a spec like 0/40/21....  oh..yeah..that would be me at the end of TBC.

    Now, to be honest, I think the new talent system works. Although, the amount of times we pulled a boss, and I forgot to change a talent are numerous. Which basically means we still have cookie-cutter specs, only for each boss, instead of all-around. But it works, for end-level stuff.

    When you level, you have to wait 15 levels before you get a talentpoint these days. And than you get the choice between three talents which you probably don't really need while levelling. And that is something I don't like. I liked levelling and getting that point when I levelled up. It was a nice little reward. And you had to think what to take, it was the basic of theory-crafting.

    So here is one solution, at least to make levelling more fun again, use a talent tree for levelling, and the moment you hit max level, it is replaced in your UI with the 'modern' system for different choices. This would make levelling more fun I think..although..the time we actually where one level for more than an hour is gone...  well..maybe lvl98 and lvl99 take a little more time.. a little.

    ..but increase levelling speed and heirlooms...  that's for a later post.

    dinsdag 26 april 2016

    Well... I wasn't expecting this....

    Official Reply to Vanilla Servers and Nostalrius
    We wanted to let you know that we’ve been closely following the Nostalrius discussion and we appreciate your constructive thoughts and suggestions.

    Our silence on this subject definitely doesn’t reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic. We hear you. Many of us across Blizzard and the WoW Dev team have been passionate players ever since classic WoW. In fact, I personally work at Blizzard because of my love for classic WoW.

    We have been discussing classic servers for years - it’s a topic every BlizzCon - and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:

    Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.

    We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.

    So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.

    One other note - we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.

    You, the Blizzard community, are the most dedicated, passionate players out there. We thank you for your constructive thoughts and suggestions. We are listening.

    J. Allen Brack

    I wasn't expecting an official statement. Don't expect anything soon though, unless they just hire the Nostalrius-people, let them handle it. and have the added security to fire them if it goes awry.

    maandag 25 april 2016

    The things we miss....

    I don't think we where prepared for the backlash about shutting down a Private Server. Before Nostalrius, private servers where on the background, hidden in the shadows of the Internet.

    I was aware they existed, and have been for a long time, but I never gave much thought about it. They where illegal according to Blizzard, and the law, and I know they probably cost Blizzard some money. But as stated last time, I really didn't care.

    The amount of people playing there where probably not to many. And they where probably people either not willing, or not able to pay the Blizzard Price, but then... Nostalrius. I am pretty sure some people stopped playing, and paying, for retail, just to go to Nostalrius. And knowing my fellow players, some probably put that in as reason why they stopped.

    And although the shitstorm it was at the start of the backlash of the shutdown, which almost looked like a World of Warcraft Civil War, the forums have now shifted to the reason why Blizzard should, or should not, start Legacy Servers. And if you are weak of heart, don't try to visit forum-posts about it. Well-thought posts are far apart.

    My opinion is simple: Yes, there is a market for Legacy-servers, but, if people have to pay for it, why would they not pay for retail, because Vanilla had some large flaws. I think it will be popular at the start, and than fade away... apart for maybe enough players for one server.

    But, maybe Blizzard could take note from some of the complaints, I hope. Not for Legion, but isn't it time for WoW version 2? At least we could get rid of that bag-pack with 16 places...

    But this whole thing, and my little journey on Nostalrius, has made me think about stuff I really liked in the game that are gone..and also about stuff I am happy is gone. But that is for another post.

    vrijdag 8 april 2016

    Nostalrius, a house divided

    And boom, there goes the World of Warcraft Internet. A private server was 'asked' to go offline, and being the forums on and mmo-champion...well..escalation galore.

    Before I'll continue, here is my feeling about this all, and not only about private servers, but also about all the people screaming at each other over the internet at the moment.

    For those that played on Nostalrius (or are playing on a PS), what did you expect? You where basically playing an illegal copy of a game and the company that made it was not getting any money from it. That is the same as copying compact-discs and giving them away to your friends, or downloading a movie, both of which are illegal in most countries on this world. So now Blizzard decided to end it, which is in their rights. Accept it and move on. It doesn't matter if Nostalrius was a big server, and Blizzard once said that Vanilla-servers would not be feasible, that is another discussion. All the rights for World of Warcraft are with Blizzard (or Activision).

    For those that didn't play on Nostalrius, why do you care? Some people on the internet where enjoying themselves with something that didn't hurt you, and didn't hurt anyone else. Do you care if someone is watching an illegal downloaded movie? And are all your disc original? Yes, I know that a lot of those PS-players thought they always knew better, or didn't paid for it, while you had to pay cash to play World of Warcraft, but did that really hurt you? Blizzard closed it down, a 'What did they expect' is all the thoughts you should have about it.

    Yes, I know, it's the internet, everyone wants to reply to everyone. But do remember:

    We are all World of Warcraft players

    What I read on the forums was mostly Nostalrius players driving home that there where a lot of players that wanted to play Vanilla, while the non-PS players are mostly referring to laws of copyright, or 'don't look at the past'.

    referring to the law, is of course correct, but really doesn't help any discussion, it is only inflamatory mostly. Everyone knows private servers are outside the law, but it wouldn't be a WoW-forum to really make sure you know...a hundred times over. There where also some comment about fair use, but a.f.a.i.k. this isn't true with private servers. Fair use does not give you the right to copy stuff outright, you may use some little parts, but not 90%.

    The idea that many players wanted to play vanilla is also not completely correct. Nostalrius boosted about 150k active accounts. Which seems like a nice number, but if you think about it is actually not that big of a number. And how many of those 150k would actually pay for a vanilla-server. I think that if Blizzard actually could get money of vanilla-servers, they would make them.

    There are also some 'don't look to the past'-posts. They come down to people simply saying play the current patch or bust. Who cares what came before. Why would you actually want to go back to that period. Normally followed by some rose-colored glasses, and 'but all was better back than'. Trust me, it wasn't....  having said that, all isn't better now either.

    I've yet to see a single lucid argument as to why legacy servers shouldn't exist for those who want them. Everything boils down to one preference being more important than another, and I think that's a tragic way for a community to be reacting to itself. Rather than supporting one another and accepting the diversity of our preferences, the belief is that a sizeable chunk of the community should be chased off.   

    - C. Whyte (commenting on alternative-blog)

    This remark really hits the nail on his head. This community should start looking at themselves. Especially posters on forums. What kind of message are we giving to the new players that come in now, or later this year, after the movie.

    We should accept our differences, some like it red, some like it blue.

    ...and just as an afterthought,

    I played on Nostalrius

    After some posts about 'how it was', I wanted to refresh my memory, and do some blogposts about it, I was doing it for research  :p. So, last week I made an account, and I just got my first level 20 last Wednesday-evening... 

    Time for you to guess how much /played was on that character.....  some things were not that great.

    vrijdag 26 februari 2016

    Let's MC the Andromedan...wait..What?

    Yes, I am part of the earths resistance to our alien Overlords called Advent. I am sneaking around killing sectoid, chryssalids, sectopds and other strange looking weirdos. And if I am not going to rush in like my guts tell me to do, I can actually survive.

    Basically, I bought XCOM 2.

    And when I though about it, it was actually the first game I bought since that day, way back in 2007. I did play some other games inbetween, but they where all free-to-play, except for Civilization V, but that I didn't buy, it was gifted to me.

    For the first time in 9 years, I am actually playing something else, instead of logging into Azeroth, or Draenor actually. Which does say something about the current state of where I am in World of Warcraft.

    I still raid, we actually can say that we are farming heroic Archmonde at the the moment, but the rest around it does not seem to pull me in. There are alts I havent seen in a while, I cannot be bothered.

    On the raiding, there are talks in Innovation of going Mythic. Not all raiders will probably want that, and there is the problem of having 20 people in. But we had a secret vote last Tuesday, where I voted yes (what a surprise)

    Innovation sitting around the big table deciding about Mythic

    Take for example, the lower part of Hellfire. It is very difficlult for me to keep optimal concentration there...which reslulted in my first killed-by-barrage-moment.... Most of the raid is automatic pilot for me at the moment.

    And after seeing the raid once a week, I may have enough energy to do it again once... but that's it. Even levelling alts is not keeping my attention, but there may be another reason there. I cannot, a Blizzard states, play with my friends, while levelling. Remember that I have a full roster on Argent Dawn.

    I also sometimes play on The Sha'tar. I have 33 places for characters there, Thirty-Three! This is because The Sha'tar is coupled with Steamwheedle Cartel and Moonglade. I wish they would have coupled a small realm with Argent Dawn. It still feels unfair that on some realms your choice of alts is bigger.