Raiding Spotlight: Argent Coliseum Strategy

4 08 2009

Every once in a while, I’ll try to take a detailed look at a specific element of the raiding game. Today in the spotlight: Argent Coliseum Strategy.

I rarely do strategy posts (and by rarely I mean this is the first one ever) but since the instance is so new and information on the coliseum bosses is scattered everywhere, I thought I’d do a quick run through of what I gleaned from watching Youtube videos of the encounters. I’ll be skipping the Northrend Beasts encounter because Matticus covered it better than I ever could here. Keep in mind some of this might be incorrect since it’s largely guesswork, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment and I’ll update later.

The Faction Champions (video link)

Remember the third boss of Magister’s Terrace? This looks similar, except instead of facing NPCs with crazy abilities, you’re matched up against NPCs of the classes you know and love, but of the opposing faction. They’re CC-able (but with diminishing returns, as in PvP). You have the option of CC-ing healers first and killing DPS or doing it vice-versa if you find yourself getting owned by the DPS.

Notes:

  • They can CC you, so be ready with dispels. In 10-man, make sure you have dispels available for every kind of debuff.
  • You won’t always get the same champions (list of them here), I think, so as soon as they are visible in the coliseum figure out what classes you’re up against and set up a kill order.
  • Some more information can be found here and here.
  • Healers can all be interrupted and should have an interruptor assigned to them if they aren’t being CC’d.
  • My guild got best results from burning down the 3 healers right away and then moving on killing the most dangerous and least CC/able mobs.
  • Treat it like a 5v5 arena – CC liberally, pay attention to DRs and stay away from as much incidental damage as possible (there’s a fair amount of AoE that happens, such as Hellfire from the Warlock and Bladestorm from the Warrior).

Lord Jaraxxus (video link)

A big fire-centric Eredar guy. There’s a list of his abilities here, which you should read first since I’ll be referencing them by name. Should be tanked in the centre of the arena.

Notes:

  • Summons Mistresses of Pain through creating Nether Portals. You’ll need an off-tank ready to pick them up. There’s an achievement linked to having two of these up when you kill the boss. They have their own skillset, the important ones of which are that they can leap towards raid members and cast Mistress’ Kiss on raid members which interrupts for 8 seconds if the affected raid member casts something with a cast time.
  • Casts Fel Lightning (basically Chain Lightning, like Thorim’s) so ranged should spread out to avoid chaining it. If it hits melee there’s not much you can do.
  • Casts Incinerate Flesh, which needs to be healed through (you have to do a certain amount of healing to the affected target to remove the debuff). If it’s not removed in time an infernal spawns.
  • Has a bunch of random damage and AoE damage spells, so melee will need a lot of healing. Ranged should stay at least 15 yards away to avoid taking this damage.
  • Can cast Legion Flame, which damages the target and causes that person to leave a trail of fire behind, similar to the fire in hard-mode Mimiron. Move while you have it and try to place it so it doesn’t interfere with tanks or melee DPS.
  • Can summon an Infernal Volcano, which shoots up Infernals that need to be off-tanked.

Valkyr Twins (video link) (list of abilities)

Two mobs (linked HP, I believe), 4 portals that allow you to switch between Light and Dark Essences. The Dark boss is tanked at a Dark zone while the Light boss is tanked at a Light zone.

Notes:

  • Raid members with Light Essence deal more damage to the Dark boss and vice versa (but are vulnerable to damage of the opposite Essence). So you want raid members with Light Essence DPSing the dark boss and vice versa.
  • There are little dark and light orbs floating around the arena. You want to absorb those of your current Essence (just touch them) and avoid the other ones (they damage you). When you’ve absorbed 100 stacks of one type of energy, you gain Empowered (Dark/Light) and deal uber damage. This is the key to the fight (and the achievement, which is to kill them in 3 minutes or under).
  • Each sister can cast a Vortex (Light and Dark, respectively). When you get a warning that the one you’re DPSing is about to cast her vortex, quickly walk up to the portal-looking things to switch Essences so that you can absorb the damage. Switch back once the Vortex is over. As far as I saw, the Vortices were not cast simultaneously.
  • Each twin can cast Twin’s Pact, which heals them for 20%. From what I saw, everyone has to switch to DPSing the twin casting the pact (again, not cast simultaneously) because they can put up a shield that prevents spell interruption while active and needs to be broken before the heal can be interrupted.

Anub’arak (video link) (list of abilities)

He’s back! Yay… Like his predecessor, he can burrow, summon adds and swarms of bugs.

Notes:

  • Permafrost on the ground means that bugs can’t burrow while on it (but it also slows movement speed by 80%). Anub’arak can’t burrow either. It looks like he’s tanked on top of it when possible.
  • While burrowed, Anub’arak’s spikes will pursue a raid member, who should run away and not through people (like Kologarn’s eye beams).
  • Summons adds even when not burowed, which should be tanked near the boss to maximize incidental AoE damage. From what I saw it looked like DPS just continued hitting Anub’arak and allowed cleave/AoE to hit the adds.
  • At some point (I’m guessing when his health reaches a certain point) he will cast Leeching Swarm, which is an AoE dot on the whole raid. 20% of health every 1 second with a minimum of 250 health per tick. At this point you simply need to burn the boss down.

Seems like there should be more for the final boss of an instance, right…? IDK.





Patch Day Checklist

4 08 2009

Things to do before the servers are back up:

1. Read this excellent post by the famous Matticus which gives you the details on the Northrend Beasts encounter – the first boss of the coliseum. (Apparently the beasts are just different phases of 1 boss. Who knew?)

2. Plan talent specs. Currently my two spec are Blood 2h and soon-to-be Frost DW. Blood isn’t changing much (at all really) but I’ve decided it’s a good time to switch from Vampiric Blood to Rune Tap, just to test it out. This is my new Blood spec.

Frost’s changed quite a bit more, so courtesy of EJ, this is my new spec. (<3 EJ.) Some notes on it: use Blood Presence, the Awareness Sigil (you kept it, right?) and get two slow weapons. Put Fallen Crusader on your MH and, for target-swapping fights FC should also go on your OH. For more single-target fights (Razorice stacks last 20 seconds, so if you’re away from the main target for longer than that on a regular basis, avoid this runeforge) use Razorice.

3. Figure out strategies for the rest of the coliseum bosses. Thank the internet gods for Youtube.

4. Kill time until servers are back up, at which point I will probably whinge at the amount of lag going on at the coliseum’s entrance. Speaking of that, where is the entrance?

Things to do once the servers are back up:

1. Catch up on Jewelcrafting stuff. Buy new recipes, prospect titanium, get epic gems, re-gem all my gear.

2. Go to coliseum. Do some new dailies and buy the tabart that lets you teleport to the tournament. (Or maybe the new Quel’Dorei horsey?)

3. Raid until sleeptime.

What’s your 3.2 checklist?





When You’re Not Raiding…

9 07 2009

Right now, I like raiding. Trying out a new spec has been fun and challenging, and I have to say I get great pleasure in topping the DPS charts. Unfortunately, when it’s not raid time, and my Argent Tournament dailies are finished for the day, I really don’t have anything I want to accomplish in WoW. I can level my Warrior alt (lvl 47 at the moment), but when I get alts to 80 they simply sit in Dalaran doing nothing. I don’t need gold – I’ve got around 13k and nothing really to do with it – or mats for gear. I have two PvE specs at the moment (Frost and Blood DPS) so attempting to do PvP means swapping glyphs and talent specs a whole lot more than I want to.

So now I find myself browsing WoW-related sites, blogs and forums in my free time rather than playing. Blogging helps a great deal, giving me a WoW-outlet when I’m not raiding. But aside from this, there are few solutions I can think of to make me want to play more. I could apply to a guild that raids more often, but that’s always a ton of work and I would dearly miss the great people in my current guild. I could simply give up playing outside of raids.

That guy who only shows up for raids...is he really there?

That guy who only shows up for raids...is he really there?

What worries me about this feeling I’ve been having is not just that the current content (excluding raids) is unsatisfying, but that I don’t know what content could be added to heighten my enjoyment of the non-raid aspects of WoW.  What does the new patch have? More dailies, things to buy from Champion’s Seals, a new raid and a new 5-man. I look forward to the new raid/instance content, but the rest of it is trivial. I’m not a collector of pets, mounts, or tabards. Flavour items don’t interest me much. So it’s not so much that the patch notes for 3.2 disappoint me because they lack things I would enjoy, but rather that I really have no idea what Blizzard could implement to make non-raid content appealing.

I wonder if I am simply bored of WoW (or the whole MMORPG thing in general) and will soon quit, or if there’s something out there that could re-pique my interest.





Bloody Blood Blooding

7 07 2009

For the first time in a while, I tried out a Blood spec. My gear isn’t optimal for it – I only have about 188 ArPen and with Grim Toll I’m over the hit cap by a bit – but my DPS was pretty solid, definitely competitive with my usual Frost spec. For one, it was a lot more dynamic than I thought Blood was.

Another thing I noticed was how much I really wanted the changes they’re making to both Death Rune mechanics and DRW. Unlike the ITx6, I can’t spam rune abilities to make sure my rune pairs don’t get messed up. So when I end up with 4 Death Runes refreshing quickly, I’m going to get my Unholy runes refreshing in a pair and my Frost runes doing the same. Solving this problem will make the Blood rotation much, much simpler. The strange mechanics of DRW and Gargoyle in Unholy are also a stumbling block for both specs, and I’m glad Blizzard is simplifying them.

I actually wanted ArPen

One of the best things about being Blood, even just for a night, was actually appreciating the ArPen on my gear. So I really hope Blizzard can fix ArPen for Unholy and Blood.

BUT WHY, BLIZZARD, WHY

The worst part about doing well as Blood was the lack of nerfs incoming for the spec. If I can do on-par DPS compared to my Frost spec, why is Frost Strike getting a 10% nerf in damage, which will mean at least a 5% decrease in my overall damage as Frost (because FS is usually ~50% of damage on a given fight). Why is Scourge Strike getting a big nerf, when Blood does equal damage as it in PvE?

With these changes, and the buffs to disease damage, as well as the simplification of some mechanics, it seems like Blood might be head and shoulders above the other specs once 3.2 hits. I hope my guild gets an Enhancement Shaman soon so that I can test it out more in 25-mans.

N.B. If you want to know anything about Blood DPS, read this thread.





The Vague and the Theorycrafted

5 07 2009

Since the new Frost-DW talent (Threat of Thassarian) was announced a few weeks ago, people at Elitist Jerks have been furiously hitting dummies and calculators (see this thread) to figure out exactly what the mechanics of the new talent are. I have the utmost respect for these people, but I can’t help feeling like the job of finding these things out is completely avoidable. Since Ghostcrawler revealed the details of how Armor Penetration, the game’s most complex stat, works, why not do this for other stats, mechanics or talents?

1+1= window?

1+1= window?

The main purpose of the EJ thread I linked earlier in this post is to determine what affects and what does not affect the damage of various DW abilities, such as Frost Strike and white damage. One example of this is whether sigils like Sigil of the Vengeful Heart and Sigil of Awareness apply their bonuses equally to main-hand and off-hand strike damage or with different numbers for each  weapon. There are numerous other mechanics being tested, some answered, some not. Once we know the mechanics and the math, we can then begin to delve into the actual game and mess with talent specs, gear and stat optimization and rotations.

So my question is this: does Blizzard want us (or at least those skilled in math) to have to jump the mechanics/numbers hurdle in order to play the game the best we possibly can? For a while now, EJ has provided readers and posters with math behind what talents/stats/gear are good and which are bad, and that’s not going away. But I fail to see the use in leaving these mechanics (such as those involved in Threat of Thassarian) vague, thus making people do exhaustive research on questions that Blizzard already no doubt has the answers to. If they gave us the math, we could get to the game faster and more easily.





Some News, Some Thoughts

30 06 2009

Option to change factions in the works (source)

Some may herald this as the downfall of WoW (as with so many other things, like the mount changes) but to me it’s another way for a) Blizzard to make money, since the transfer will probably cost 25$ and b) to make the playing experience more customisable and fun. It also basically doubles any given guild’s recruiting pool. Not only can you recruit horde from your own server, but it gives you far more transfer options. Maybe you’ll be able to combine server/faction switches, for ease of guild swaps. Wild speculation aside, this change falls in line with other things we never thought we’d see like PvE to PvP transfers and dual specs. I look forward to more changes along these lines.

New Wintergrasp gear, the emblem change and the “ease of getting gear” dilemma

MMO-Champion recently reported new items being added to Wintergrasp (see the new items here), stuff that is either ilvl 232 or 226. While I’m not surprised at this (it happened with 3.1 as well) there has been a significant lack of whining on my radar about this addition compared to the conquest emblems dropping everywhere. First, the two changes are connected. If you have a choice between running Wintergrasp, BGs and fail-arenas for points and getting ilvl 213-226 gear and running heroics to get ilvl 200 gear, well, which one would you choose to gear up to raid the fastest? My guess is PvP.

The change that makes all heroics and entry-level raids drop Emblems of Conquest is intended (I believe) to make sure people still run that content. It’s never Blizzard’s intention to have old content completely abandoned, especially for fresh 80s, so a change was necessary to incentivize people into doing that content.

The change to the emblem system also has the effect of making t8.5 and ilvl 226 gear available from running heroics. Some are bothered by this, feeling like it’s a kind of undeserved handout. Personally, I have everything I want from Emblems of Conquest on my main (and have for a while, so much so that I bought Emblems of Heroism with them) so this change affects my DK very little if at all. I believe the situation to be similar for all other guilds who are progressing well into Ulduar. In the next patch, when this change occurs, these raiders will be doing the Crusaders’ Coliseum rather than raiding Ulduar anyways, and Emblems of Triumph will be the ones we want, not Conquest. So basically my alts get gear faster and easier, which is a plus in my books.

Raid lockout extension

Cool. Probably not necessary in the next patch (the new raid instance has what, 5 bosses?) but again it’s nice to have control over stuff like this, especially for guilds like mine who only raid 9 hours of 25-man a week.

Common token for all tier pieces

Sweet. AWESOME. I love this change. If you haven’t looked at the stats for the DK t9, I’ll tell you that the one piece with ArPen on it is the legs. All the other pieces are decently optimized, with one piece that has haste (unfortunately) and the rest a mix of crit, expertise and hit. Streamlining the way loot works in this manner also plays into Blizzard’s idea that picking your upgrades should be a thinking process, which means they don’t want us assuming that every single new item that drops is an upgrade. While this change is great, it’s a bit lackluster compared to the state of loot overall.

Things like relics and mail with spellpower are very class-specific. If you either are that class, or your raid has none of that class, it can be quite frustrating. I think it would be best to put niche-items like tanking guns into professions like Engineering and Blacksmithing or into the emblem loot system.  This (or a similar change) would mean less wasted loot overall as well as fewer rotting badges.





Death Knight: [Obscure and Irrelevant]Q & A[That We Already Knew]

25 06 2009

Welcome, welcome! As you may have been aware of, Blizzard has been releasing class Q&As, and most recently the Death Knight version appeared. If you haven’t seen the thread yet, take a look, then come back and read why I think it was a big waste of time/anticlimax. I’m going to go question by question, starting with #1. (I’ll re-post the question and summarize the answer.)

Note: Square brackets are my snarky comments.

Q: Where do death knights fit into the larger scope of things currently and where do you see them going from this point forward?

A: Death Knights have a unique resource mechanic [I hadn't noticed this. Thanks for informing me, Ghostcrawler!] Nerfing AoE damage [Unholy Blight] and defensive cooldowns [he failed to mention nerfing our armor and HP this time I guess?]

Okay, so question #1 is broad and essentially reiterates what we’ve already gleaned from the patch notes, which is a reoccurring theme in this Q&A. Let’s move on and hope there are more meaty questions farther in.

Q: What is it that makes them unique compared to all other classes?

A: Unique resource mechanic. [Where have we heard that before?] Death Knights don’t have a dedicated tree for tanking, PvP, etc. [Only DW, amirite?]

GC’s answer to this question basically told us what we already knew about the class from release. Things are not looking good.

Q: How do we feel about the current viability of dual-wielding? Are there plans to improve it or have it fit a specific role for the class?

A: Repeat of things already in the 3.2 patch notes. Blah blah Frost is the new DW. We don’t really care about 2h Frost anymore (nerfing it is not a “goal” but neither is keeping it alive a priority). Blood and Unholy DW specs apparently stopped working all of a sudden [there have been reports of its success in Ulduar from the EJ forum] because Frost got a DW talent.

So GC doesn’t care about 2h Frost. What was that about no significant changes in patch notes anymore? Not having to completely rethink the way I play every patch? Hm.

Q: Do we have plans for any changes or improvements to Dancing Rune Weapon?

A: Read the patch notes, guys. [Maybe they should have released this before the patch notes, and then I would have cared.]

Nothing to say about this. It’s a question we already knew the answer to.


Q: What are our current thoughts on the status of death knight tanks and do we have plans for further changes?

A: DK tanks are overpowered [I thought warriors were tanking everything, GC?] and are really the only good choice for tanking hard modes. Nerfs incoming that we also already knew about.

See commentary above. 3.2 patch notes > Q&A (far less expectation of actual helpful information).

Q: Are we satisfied with stats such as Armor Penetration, Haste, and Hit having very different values depending on which talent spec a death knight is using?

A: No different tier sets for different specs. Making ArPen work for more than just Blood.

In what possible way could this be accomplished? Armor mitigates physical damage, and ArPen removes some of this mitigation, thereby increasing physical damage dealt. This is great for Blood, which does lots of physical damage, but for Frost and Unholy, where 50-60% of total damage is allocated to either Frost or Shadow damage, this stat is basically a joke. Unless they plan to somehow make it affect magic damage for Frost Strike and Scourge Strike (which are melee abilities) or make them physical damage abilities (boring), I’m at a loss. This needs to be addressed because of how prevalent ArPen as a stat is and how undesirable it makes many pieces of gear (read: all Ulduar plate DPS bracers except the one from Mimiron-25 hard mode).

Q: Would it be possible to save runeforge enchants to primary and secondary talent specializations or add rune forges to more convenience places than Acherus?

A: Runeforges are already good, no changes incoming.

Who cares? Most people have two weapons, and even if you don’t you’ll only need to change specs to go into an instance (most of the time) at which point other members of your group can just summon you back from Acherus. This leads to another problem with the Q&A: issues that are so unimportant I’ve never heard anyone QQ about them seriously.

Q: Are there plans to change or improve the Frigid Deadplate talent?

A: No plans.

WTF? Who was complaining about Frigid Dreadplate? No Frost tank ever avoids this talent or complains that it’s worse than Anticipation (dodge > miss), which was apparently a concern for GC.


Q: Is there any plan to improve Will of the Necropolis?

A: No plans.

See above.

Q: Is this a bug or something in particular we are investigating? (Referring to how sometimes the combat log records Mind Freeze as having interrupted a spell and yet the spell goes off regardless.)

A: Server-client disagreement, server wins.

I think we knew this about WoW already. Sometimes you lag behind the server.

Q: Do we have plans to change any of the death knight’s self-healing abilities?

A: No plans.

Apparently people think we can survive too long without a healer. Lots of classes can survive without a healer, we just do it differently. Rogues Vanish, Mages Blink, Paladins Bubble, Warlocks have an escape mechanism… etc. Since DKs don’t really have an effective way of running away, we get the ability to heal ourselves. Seems fair, right?

Q: Would you consider adding a Mortal Strike-like ability to death knights in the future?

A: Probably not, no.

I wasn’t ever expecting a Mortal Strike effect, and I doubt any other DK was either.

Q: Will Chains of Ice ever be subject to diminishing returns?

A: No[t yet].

It’s a snare that we can cast twice every 10 seconds, or four times every 10 with Death Runes. If we do that, our damage is completely gimped since we’d only be left with the runes to cast Plague Strike.


Q: Will ghouls ever get their voices back?

A: Long-term plan to bring them back.

I don’t care. I’ve got other issues! The overriding problems with this Q&A:

  1. Questions often already answered by 3.2 patch notes
  2. Questions and answers were uninteresting/uninformative
  3. Questions didn’t address any of the important issues in any detail (ArPen, itemization, tanking, 2h Frost…)

I’m left wondering what the point of the Q&A series really is. My initial reaction upon reading the DK version was that it could act as sort of a primer to new DKs, but that went out the window with the whole “ghoul voice” thing among other questions clearly not directed at new Death Knights. Calling it a class Q&A raises the expectation that it will answer important and useful questions about the class, rather than simply provide a bunch of repetitive crap and some stuff no dedicated DK really cares about. Better luck next time.





Death Runes Got Smarter

25 06 2009

I’ve been on the PTR, but I don’t feel right about posting my results since I’m really not quite sure what spec or rotation is optimal for Frost quite yet. I will say that switching over to this spec and equipping two one-handers yielded about a 100 DPS loss on a dummy from 2h on live, using the ITx6 rotation. I predict that the winning rotation for Frost will be a dual-disease OB-centric one, because that’s where Blizz seems to want us and are clearly leading us in that direction.

Wild speculation and absolutely unreliable testing aside, I found out something rather interesting on the PTR this morning. If you’ve been using the ITx6 rotation, which often finds itself with 6 Death Runes, you will be pleased to hear that they’ve gotten smarter. Basically the deal used to be that if you used an ability that would consume a Death Rune (i.e. none of the basic rune available, such as a Blood Rune for Blood Strike) then Death Runes would be used from left to right, Blood first, then Unholy then Frost. This was problematic because we wanted our runes to refresh in U/F pairs for Obliterate rather than having two Unholy Runes up at once and no Frost.

What happens now is that your Death Runes remember which rune they actually are. What this means is that if you have 6 Death Runes available and cast a Plague Strike, it will use up an Unholy/Death Rune rather than the first rune available on the left. In addition, if you Obliterate with 6 Death Runes up, it will use one Unholy and one Frost rune, making it even simpler for you to refresh runes in pairs. Yay!





The Fix That Wasn’t

22 06 2009

Blizzard has made a few strange decisions regarding Wintergrasp and arena. Today I want to talk about why I don’t like the way Blizzard has gone about making these nerfs/changes/whatevers to Wintergrasp and the 2v2 arena bracket. I’ll start off with Wintergrasp (it sounds more frosty than arena, I guess?).

The problem with Wintergrasp: too damn busy (i.e. too damn laggy, but is it performance lag or network lag?)

The WG fix: make Wintergrasp battles less attractive, hopefully drawing fewer people per battle

The WG problem redux: the fix didn’t do anything

My future is uncertain!

My future is uncertain!


The problem with this “fix” overall is that it really wasn’t a fix but a way to get players to stop using content. Blizzard is now changing Wintergrasp to a BG-like queue system (which you can read about here if you’re out of the loop) that will allow only 100 people from each faction to participate in the battle at the time. Will they in turn change the weeklies back to dailies? I doubt it – but since the change was (at least partially) done to disincentivize WG, it’s a possibility. But why didn’t Blizzard simply make it a queue from the start? Did they really expect people to go only once a week to do dailies? That seems preposterous. The queue system is a much better idea of a fix, though in practice I don’t think it will make a difference.

Here’s why: I had a 5-year old laptop a few weeks ago, and have since gotten a new one that can actually handle WoW. On the old one, I could barely move in Wintergrasp Fortress during a battle. Rarely were there more than 99 people of my faction in the keep with me, so that won’t change. Given 50 Horde and 50 Alliance fighting in one place, though, and my old laptop would just hide in the corner weeping and I’d get around 2-3 FPS, if that. With my new computer, not a single lag issue in WG (except for once when the whole zone experienced a few second delay, but that was the exception not the rule). Also, in a recent WG, my GM was with us and counted out how many people were in the battle: 120 Alliance. A cut to 100 won’t change the amount of performance lag, since there will still be 100 (less on my server) running around killing us and making our FPS low.

The new “fix” is more of a fix, but still not likely to change anything about Wintergrasp. Those with old computers will probably still feel the lag.

The problem with 2v2 arena: it’s not balanced, FotM (flavour of the month), it’s too fast-paced

The fix: 2v2 rating no longer allows you to buy the newest season of arena gear

The problem with the fix: it’s not a fix

So what Blizzard seems to be saying here is that they are giving up caring about 2v2 arena, a bracket that many care strongly about and others enjoy playing (I fall into thse second group, I find it to be fun and easier to setup than 3v3 or 5v5). In 3.2, where you won’t be able to get gear from 2v2, it seems like Blizzard will use this as an excuse to give up attempts at balancing it. Like the first WG “fix” this change wants you to stop playing 2v2. The message that this sends out is possibly a dire one: if something is broke, don’t fix it. There have always been broken elements of the game, like one class being overpowered either in PvE or PvP or another being underpowered, but Blizzard’s always taken the approach of fixing classes rather than saying “ummm don’t play that class anymore, okay?”

The 2v2 arena “fix” and the recent changes to WG are sort of like making Paladins unusable in PvP. Of course, that’s taking it to the extreme, but that’s what it feels like to me. If something isn’t working properly, well, fuck it and move on. But unlike Exorcism, which has been changed so much in the last few patches it’s hard to remember what it started out as, 2v2 seems to be going the way of the dodo. WG on the other hand will likely see more change or be instanced, eventually.

P.S.

You may have noticed a lack of discussion of 3.2 DK-specific changes. Every time I think about writing something about them, my thought always ends in “but we’ll have to see how it looks on the PTR.” Blizzard has been pretty vague as to the specifics of the changes, specifically how the new dual-wield talent will really work and what the buff to Blood Strike really means. So… check back when the PTR pops up and results from tests start flowing in.





Some Genuine Excitement

18 06 2009

I’ve been having some WoW blahs recently. The alt I was levelling hit 80 and is now pretty well geared. I got my DK the Argent Hippogryph, which has left me with a desire to never ever touch daily quests again. Like many people, however, I have been reading the tidbits that have leaked out about the content in the “next major content patch,” The Call of the Crusade. If you haven’t read any of it yet, here’s the part I want to talk about today. (Source)

In the next major content patch, the construction of the Crusaders’ Coliseum on the Argent Tournament grounds will be complete, and it will hold new challenges for players. We’d like to share some details on the new dungeon, which represents the next tier of content for the game, but keep in mind that this is still in development and subject to change. The Crusaders’ Coliseum will include:

  • New epic 10- and 25-player raid dungeon with five encounters, with each encounter being unlocked one week at a time
  • A more intuitive structure for harder encounters. This raid dungeon will have four different versions: 10-player, 25-player, 10-player Heroic, and 25-player Heroic, with each one using a separate lockout.
  • Each of the Heroic mode instances has a new tribute system that will limit players on the number of attempts they get in the Coliseum each week to present a greater challenge for the most battle-hardened heroes. Additional rewards can be earned depending on the number of attempts left in the tribute run each week when the final boss is defeated.
  • New 5-player dungeon with three encounters that will include Champion’s Seals as each one is defeated
  • New tier of armor and weapons that are modelled with Alliance- or Horde-specific themes

At first, I was shocked. 4 different raid IDs in one (with only 5 encounters?) instance. As it settled in, I can see that this is pretty in line with Blizzard’s philosophy. I think this is a change in the right direction. It will eliminate the ability for guilds to ‘give up’ progressing through hard modes and revert to a normal mode of a boss because you have to down the boss to continue. Although the difficulty level of “Heroic” mode is still somewhat vague, I imagine it will be similar to Ulduar hard modes. Although – is this the end of incremental hard modes like Yogg and the good old Sartharion? If the entire instance is on hard mode, it seems unlikely that you’d be able to choose the difficulty in any way after you zone in. This is somewhat disappointing to me, as I enjoyed the mechanic of three drakes, three trees, etc.

200px-Vesperon

I'm so lonely...

Addressing my concerns

With some of the news of 3.2, Blizzard has indeed addressed some of my concerns. For one, they continue to tinker with the mechanics of raiding, which at least assures me that they are unsatisfied with the current model. Having raid difficulty match the system of difficulty of 5-mans (normal is easy, heroic is harder) will make it easier for new players to understand the mechanics of the end-game. Currently, it’s a bit of a mess as to what’s hard and what’s easy. Then there’s the tribute run – a good idea, I think. Anything extra that will give replayability to new raids is a welcome addition, in my books.

My sword looks just like your sword

One complaint that I haven’t talked about much is the reusing of item models. Shoulders, helmets, weapons – there are so few models (colour-coded for normal or 25-man) going around. For instance, my Aesir’s Edge is a recoloured version of a guildie’s Rune Edge. Introducing faction-specific models will help a little bit, but I still question why Blizzard started using so many similar models? This never happened in BC or Vanilla (to my recollection, feel free to correct me) whether the item models were ugly or awesome.

Mmm…badges

I approve of new 5-mans. I’ll run it for badges a lot, and that’s cool. I hope it’s MGT #2, meaning that it’s actually remotely challenging.

So… what next?

I feel that this patch (3.2) is a step in the right direction, but that’s all it is with the information revealed so far. A new content patch coming out with only a 5-boss raid? Gutsy move by Blizzard. Focusing on the Argent Tournament, I think, is a mistake. It’s probably the least interesting aspect of the game right now. If we’re running around doing errands for them, or fighting in a coliseum, well… shouldn’t we be out saving the world from crazed dragons or evil liches? A tournament is fun and all, but it’s not up to the high standards of intrigue that usually go on in a raid (see: Illidan, the whole Sunwell thing, the AQ40 storyline).

I also hope they have plans to release another raid relatively soon after this patch goes live, because 5 bosses (if their difficulty level is on par with Ulduar, or even to the relative increase in difficulty from Naxx) won’t last very long. For me, WoW lives and dies on its raid content. Everything else is icing on my 15$ a month cake.








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