MoP Update – Klanu the Tauren Monk

Just a few quick thoughts I wanted to get out.  First  was wrong about the new frames.  Roll animations for non-Pandarens not out yet.  As I’ve gotten further with my Tauren monk, (he’s level 8 now)  I notice it more, especially with the kicks.  That being said, I’m having fun with it.  Though I should probably swap out the default weapons at some point, it would probably improve my damage.  Thanks for reading my rambles.  Comments and Criticisms are always welcome.


Mists of Pandaria Beta – First Impressions [SPOILERS]

With this newest wave of invites I have finally joined the mass of Annual Pass people who are playing in the MoP Beta.  I wanted to do a quick write up about my first impressions with the beta.  I do know that it is beta and things are subject to change, and I will keep writing about things I see as the beta progresses.

Say hello to Bearidar, he is my Pandaren Warrior.  I decided to use him to test the new starter zone.  The zone itself is very saturated on most test servers as everyone who joins wants to play a Panda, but that being said, I managed to complete the zone in about two hours without any real bottlenecks.  The first 10 levels through this zone are all about your training and helping to heal the land that has started to rebel.  You are mainly fighting different types of Hozun or Varmin, while working to bring the elements to the Temple of the Five winds.  You are assisted in this by the fiery Ji Firepaw and the sedate Aysa Cloudsinger.  Upon reaching level 10 you accompany the two of them to talk to the turtle that is the island, to find out what ails it.  He tells you that he has a thorn in his side and asks you to remove it.  You fly over to that area, see the crashed ship and then head back to the Temple before heading down to the contested area.  Without getting into what happens down there, I haven’t seen the conflict that is supposed to be the main portion of this yet.  You deal with very wounded reps of both factions and honestly you are offered a choice on how to remove the boat from the turtle, but only one faction has even made a suggestion on how it should be done.   It may just be me, but I didn’t feel there was enough of a lead up to the choice for it to be anything but a preference and no difference one way or another.  After making the selection ( I chose horde, because it’s my prefered side), you are transported to the faction capital to have a talk with the faction leader.  Quick note, if Blizzard is trying to make me hate Garrosh more than I already do, his little speech cemented my dislike.  This is where I’ve left him at this point, I will probably remake him a couple of times during the beta just to see changes as they are implemented and see if I can find any bugs.

This is Klanu the Tauren monk.  I am using him to test the monk class.  I have not done much with him yet as was concentrating on other things, but will be leveling him through Mulgore.  I chose to go this route rather than the Panda, because I wanted to test the new class with the least amount of lag I could find.  Only place that I could think of that might have been less would have been Silvermoon.  My initial impression of the class (really initial as I’m only level 5) is that it will be a fun class to play and will definitely present a almost rogue like play style.  It does appear Blizzard has done a lot of good with the skeletons as the movement seemed natural and not overly forced, at least to my untrained eye.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of this class as I progress through the levels.

The final part of what I started on beta was to start my shaman, Bulidar on his road to 90.  At this point they don’t have the beginning quests for Pandaria, just a messenger by Garrosh’s Throne room that will teleport you to one of three locations.  I chose the wreck because from what I had seen that is the actual starting area.  For questing, it’s a lot like Vash’jir initially in that you are going around and recovering things for the survivors, but these portions move relatively quickly, as you complete more and more quests you begin to work your way up to Hellscream’s Hope which is the first of the questing hubs.  So far I have noticed two quests that I see being real bottlenecks when there are a lot of people moving through the area.  The first is wet work that requires you to grab orbs spawned by elementals, the issue is the spawn rate is currently very slow and is one at a time.  This will cause a back up I think.  Luckily that quest is skippable.  The second quest I see as an issue is Acid Rain.  The quest involves you flying around bombing Hozun with poisoned throwing stars.  With about 30 people flying around the area simultaneously tonight the quest took about 25 minutes to complete.  I can’t imagine what it will be like if there is more.

Last thing I want to talk about still deals with Bulidar, but is more about the shaman changes.  I like the idea that most of our buffs are innate now and don’t require a totem.  What I have that I’m missing is the Call spells that let us drop multiple totems at once.  The main reason I miss the was that I was able to keymap the single spell to drop all 4 totems, now we are back to the original way it was which means single dropping totems.  Luckily with the buff totems mostly gone this allows us to pick and choose what we drop.  The exception I see to this is enhancement which always needs to have Searing down and anything else will be an additional drop.  I will admit I have only tested enhance so far and still have a lot to try out, but with the exception of totems the gameplay is very similar.

This wraps up my initial impressions.  I will write more as I get deeper into the beta and get more play time.  As always, questions and comments are appreciated.

Thoughts on the Annual Pass

I’ve been watching a lot of what has been going on with the Annual Pass.  I’ve been watching Twitter, reading the forums and posts on other WoW sites and while a lot of what is being posted is the normal qq that always seems to happen when people don’t get things exactly the way they want, I see some legitimate issues with the way it has been handled by Blizzard.

I personally am an Annual Pass subscriber and no I haven’t been invited to the beta yet, however, I’m not upset about it.  I’m an experienced beta tester who has tested for multiple games through  the years and multiple MMO’s as well.  I understand that to keep servers stable you must invite in waves to ensure you are properly supporting everyone playing.  That is not one of the issues I see.  Below are the issues with the annual pass as I see them with my comments in-line.:

  1. Blizzard initially advertises the Annual Pass with the impression that those who signed up would get instant access to beta upon start.  Any of us who are experienced testers knew that this wasn’t going to happen, however most of those that signed up for the annual pass are not your normal testers they are players who enjoy the game and see the beta as a chance to play the new expansion early.  Blizzard could have stopped a lot of the initial complaints by knowing their audience and addressing this upfront.
  2. Blizzard announces that invites will come in waves, inferring individuals would be invited based off activity and when they signed up for the annual pass.  Based off what I’ve been watching from people I know on Twitter and what people are saying on the forums, there appears to be little rhyme or reason to the way invites are being handled.  (Let me emphasis, THIS IS BASED OFF WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING, not what I personally know)  I personally believe this could have been rectified by establishing the wave criteria, publicizing it and then sticking to that, none of which appears to have happened for this process.
  3. Blizzard started out with a small wave initially as is apt to happen when testing first opens up as you are testing only small areas, and then do to outcry seemed to very quickly invite a few very large waves.  This bogged down the questing areas as you had thousands of people all trying to complete the same quests at the same time, as everyone was stuck to one area and new characters. One of two things could have fixed this.  Either put up more servers to handle the load or keep invite numbers down until you can support them.

How would I have done this differently?  I personally would have set up a special beta just for the annual pass people.  It would have been a more stable client on a larger number of servers.  It would have been later in the Beta and would have been a preview, not a test.  I also would have made sure this was all stated up front.  Too much confusion comes from not having all the information on a program easily found.

I must clarify, these are just my thoughts on the situation and how I would handle things differently.  This is not meant to be a complaint post because honestly, while I love testing I understand that I’ll get in when I get in and it doesn’t bother me.

As always comments and criticisms are welcome.  Thanks for letting me rant a bit. (Steps down off the soapbox)

The State of the Horde – A Layman’s View

The Horde through Cataclysm has been stretched to the breaking point.  In my opinion, it’s only a testament to the threat that is Deathwing that they are still together.  Lets step through each of the races and I’ll explain why.

The orcs are the best off of the races.  The introduction of Garrosh for them is a return to the Warchiefs of old.  The orcs love battle and conquering and for them Garrosh’s expansion and aggression fit right in.  The one issue that the orcs currently have is that Garrosh is ill suited to the positions of Warchief.  While he makes a great general and leader, he has little patience for the politics that come with running a nation.  This of course also extends to his interactions with other races.  Garrosh also doesn’t handle being questioned in his decisions or criticized well as evident in his interactions with  Vol’jin and Cairne Bloodhoof.  Garrosh has also spread his elite forces a little thin as he now must keep an eye on a revitalized Sylvanas and the Forsaken.

Sylvanas begins the expansion with a new enemy on her door step and a problem that must be solved on how to continue to grow her race.  Sylvanas has taken care of the latter problem by recruiting the Val’kyr and using them to create new forsaken by resurrecting the fallen of her enemies.  This ends up being most fortuitous as three of the Val’kyr sacrifice themselves to bring her back to life after she is killed by Lord Godfrey and his minions.  Garrosh is using the forsaken to establish a major foothold in Eastern Kingdoms with Sylvanas controlling it under his watchful eye.  Sylvanas and the forsaken army have already wiped out Gilneas and South Shore;  established major operations to wipe out the remaining scourge and push out the alliance from the plaguelands; and pushed into the Arathi Highlands and the Hinterlands looking to gain more ground for the forsaken.  Sylvanas has used the opportunity to refocus her wrath and ensure a safe buffer zone around Lorderan to protect her forsaken.  She has also shown she is not above any means necessary to accomplish her goals, so much so that Garrosh has assigned one of his generals to keep an eye on her and report back with everything she does.  Even with this, Sylvanas and the forsaken are happy with their place in the horde.

Of all the non-orc races the Tauren have the most reason to be upset with Garrosh.  The duel between Garrosh and Cairne cost them a beloved leader.  Garrosh’s incursions into Ashenvale has indirectly caused the destruction of Camp Taurajo.  Surprisingly though, the Tauren still tie their fate to that of the horde.  Baine and the rest of the Tauren feel that they still owe the Horde for saving them and helping them establish a homeland.  Additionally, they know where the responsibility for Cairne’s death lies, squarely on the shoulders of Magatha and her tribe of Grimtotems.  The Tauren did not even ask for help in reclaiming Thunderbluff, the responsibility for that was entirely on the Tauren.  The Tauren’s honor firmly entrenches them with the Horde.

Anyone who has played through the troll starting area since the beginning of Cataclysm knows exactly how Vol’jin feels about Garrosh.  Tensions between the orcs and trolls have never been higher.  Things have gotten so bad that Garrosh has actually banished the Trolls away from central Orgrimarr.  I think the only reason that tensions haven’t been higher is that the Darkspear have been busy dealing with the Zandalari menace in both Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub.  I expect tensions will get worse between the Trolls and the Orcs as Vol’jin has zero respect for Garrosh.

The last and by the opinion of the rest of the races the least of the races, is the Goblins.  The Goblins are currently led by Trade Prince Gallywix.  The Goblins are part of the Horde because they saved Thrall from the Alliance.  Garrosh tolerates them barely.  He likes there capability to build him war machines, but he doesn’t like them as a whole and as such as relegated them to their own slum away from central Orgrimarr.  Even for the mistreatment, the Goblins aren’t going anywhere, the Horde protects them and provides them a good profit source and as such, provide all the Goblins need and want.

The Horde through all it’s stretches and strains has remained mostly strong through Cataclysm, but the cracks are there.  For now though, the future looks bright for the Horde.

As always comments and criticisms are appreciated.

Thank you and a Status Update

First off I would like to thank Beru of Falling Leaves and Twisted Nether for featuring me on the Welcome Wagon today.  I’m glad you guys find me interesting enough to introduce me to your followers.  I hope to continue to put out the content that people enjoy.

Now for the status update.  I have been a little busy lately so I apologize that it has been a bit since my last post.  This week I transferred one of my two shaman on my main server over to Bronzebeard to free up room for a warrior and monk on Llane.  It may be the only server I do it on, but I want one of each class there at max level.  I will say that leveling on those will work for Mists as my intention is to level a Pandaren Warrior.  At this point I’m still trying to decide which race the monk will be.  I was initially thinking Tauren, but after seeing the animations, I may go Blood Elf instead.  The Tauren just looks silly to me, but at this point I’m still undecided.  I am working on a few new posts and should have at least one of them out by the end of the week.  I think part of the reason I’m taking so long on them is there are so many that are outstanding when it comes to lore that I tend to get a little perfectionist on my own lore writings.  I will try to tame this beast and realize that the story is important and as long as I do my research I’ll be fine.  Thank you all for reading my blog and thanks again to Beru and Twisted Nether for the intro to the community.  As always, comments and criticisms are appreciated.

Mist of Pandaria Press Release – First Impressions

Just wanted to do a quick first impression post on what my thoughts are on the information released last night.  Mainly going to just quickly hit the ones that stuck out to me.

1. New LFR loot system – I really want to take a wait and see on this one, to me it sounds like one roll per boss and if you win the roll you receive a piece of gear if it is on the boss.  Not sure what this means to roll bonuses and such as you won’t be rolling on individual pieces of gear anymore.

2.  Garrosh as the final boss –  I know a lot of people are looking forward to this one, myself included, but I’m looking forward to seeing the story leading to the raid, because currently I don’t see Garrosh as being much worse than some of the bosses I’ve had.

3.  Account wide pets – I’m just going to say it.  This will save me so much farming time as I always seem to want certain pets on specific characters.  Hopefully we will see account wide achievements and mounts soon as well.

4.  New minor glyphs – Very intrigued so far, will be interesting to see what they have planned for every class. Has me wondering if I’m going to be having to carry reagents again though, but we will see.

5.  New dungeons – Loving what I’m hearing so far.  I am looking forward to the revamped Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery, though I’m kind of sad to see Lillian Voss as a Dungeon Boss (Guessing based off Achievement leak).  I thought we might get more story for her.

6.  Challenge Modes, Scenarios, Pet Battles – I see these all as other things to do besides raid at end game and am really glad for the diversity.

7.  11th Character slot – I am glad to see this, I think we all are, however, was really hoping for the removal of the by server limit and just having the by account limit, hopefully that will be something we see in the future.

Just a quick run down of what I see. thanks for indulging me.  As always comments and criticisms are appreciated.

Shared Topic: Gaming Distractions

The shared topic this week comes from Oathblade of Info About wow from the Altaholic.  She asks:

We all like to do other things when we game. What do you do? Why?

I’m one of those guys that plays with my game on my desktop and my laptop up.  Normally on my laptop I’ll have Tweetdeck open to monitor twitter and have my browser open to either a gaming site or a streaming site (Hulu, Netflix, or Pandora) or sometimes even both.  Normally because I share my office area with my wife we’ll have the TV on or the radio going for background noise.  I have also recently started hoping on the Sleepyhams mumble server from time to time to talk and listen with some of the fun people I interact with on twitter.

Why do I have so much extra going on?  Mainly because there are lulls in the game and you want to fill them with something.  Another reason is because I have for a long time had an issue concentrating on one thing without other things happening around me at the same time (I blame it on coming from a big family, there was always noise).

As always, comments and criticisms are always welcome. Thanks.

Altoholism abounds

For those that are wondering, I am still hashing out the post I mentioned in my last post, but figured I should give an update on what I’ve been up to lately.

First off, I finally have my first alliance 85, a Dwarf Shaman named Frazzld on US-Durotan.  He was almost entirely inspired by the fact that there are so many cross realm raiders that are alliance and I wanted a change to participate with them.  Additionally, I have also made it a goal to level a shaman of every race that has them, so this takes me to 3 of the current six races (already had Tauren and Troll).  Upon getting him to 85, I very quickly realized that I missed the support system I have for my toons on the Horde side (have all the professions covered/maxed but engineering).  So I have started leveling more alliance alts as a support system for him.  I am currently working on my first tank, Puria the Draenai Palidan, who will be a jewelcrafter for me and hopefully allow me to learn paladin tanking so that I might try it on my max level horde pally.  I am also leveling a mage, probably will be fire, to give me my enchanter, he’s still low enough level that I may change my mind with him yet (might go priest and try healing that way).  And I’m leveling Grenn the Worgen Hunter, because I wanted to see the storyline for that beginning zone and kind of need the Leather worker.  So I have been bouncing around between these toons as well as a few on other servers in addition to getting my LFR runs in, doing the first half of DS Normal 10 with my friends in the Iron Circle guild on US-Llane and throw in a little of the original Mass Effect for good measure.  So needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of everything but working on that post, but I promise I will work on it soon.

Still Here

Just wanted to drop a quick post to let you guys know I am still around and working on posts, the one I’m working on right now is taking me a little longer as I’m actually researching some things to make sure I have them right. I hope to have a new post out soon.

My Mists of Pandaria Wishlist

Blizzard has announced that the Press Tour for Mist of Pandaria will begin in March.  That got me to thinking about what features I would like to see in the new expansion, so below is my wish list for MoP.

1.  Revamp of BC/WotLK content to bring it up to current game time — I know this one isn’t going to happen, especially with how much work they put into old world content for Cataclysm, but would love to see the content for these two areas updated for events that have occurred in game.

2.  Removal of per character server limit — I really want this to happen, while I don’t mind creating characters on other servers to play with friends, I really hate having to go to another server just because I’ve filled all my slots on my current server.  With an 11th character class coming, this needs to change.

3.  Better gear Itemization — I understand that this isn’t an easy one, but it would be nice to as a shaman not to have to ignore most of the valor gear because the stats are the worst possible for me.  Most of my problem with this is it feels almost as my class/spec is ignored in itemization.  I know it’s not true, but as the minority class as far as stats, it does seem that way sometimes.

4.  Kul Tiras — Even as a hordie, I think it’s time for the alliance to have a big epic story line.  I think the introduction of Kul Tiras would present that opportunity.  Not only does this give us some insight into Jaina’s background, it also presents an opportunity to visit one of the unknown human kingdoms.

5.  Lore Progression — I know this is going to happen, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want it.  Looking to see more on what Sylvanas is up to, furthering of the ongoing tensions in the horde.  Some progression for Anduin, as well as with the Dwarven council of three.

Just a quick list, but I honestly think these are my top 5.  You’ll notice I don’t really talk about features, other than the server limit, I know Blizzard will bring a host of new features that will continue to make the game interesting.

As always, comments and criticisms are appreciated.  Thanks for reading.