Daily Thoughts: 4.2 – Are You Prepared!?

With 4.2 (theoretically) coming out tomorrow, I am pretty excited. Major content patches are always exciting times. They can breathe new life into the game and give us brand new reasons to hate warlocks. Ok, so we probably have enough reasons to hate warlocks without a patch.

So, I’ve spent the past week making sure my toons are prepared for patch 4.2. How have I done this? Well I’m glad you asked. The easiest form of individual character progression was to get all my max level toons nearly capped for justice points. When 4.2 comes around and all the wonderful valor point gear becomes purchasable with JP, I’ll have a stable of alts ready to start getting decked out in tier 11. Keep in mind, 359 will be the new 346 and you’ll be expected to be mostly set with 359 level gear in order to participate in the new raid content. You can also expect pug leaders to want higher average item level given the ease of acquiring 359 in 4.2, regardless of the massive 20% nerf to all of the regular raid bosses. Another great way to prepare yourself, as a raider at least, is to check up on the raid bosses in the common Firelands raid. WoW Insider columnist Matticus shared his impressions of Beth’tilac, Lord Rhyolith, and Alysrazor and could help give you an edge on some of the first bosses if you plan on jumping  right into raiding the new content. I’m sure a quick search around the interwebs would reveal more boss information as well.

I have also prepared myself to laugh at D-bags that try to ninja BOE’s they plan on selling.

  • If a player wins a Need roll under the Need Before Greed system on a Bind on Equip item, the item will become Soulbound to that player. The item will remain unbound if won via a Greed roll.

I’m okay with people needing bind on equip gear they intend to use, not if they intend to sell it. This change makes me all sorts of smiley.

As opposed to listing the entirely of the patch notes after the break, as I had thought about doing, follow me after the break for a direct link to Blizzard patch note blog as well as WoW Insider’s guide to 4.2.

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Daily Thoughts: Arcane in the Membrane

Man, I’ve really been slacking on keeping up my Daily Thoughts here. Someone once commented that I should consider calling it “Weekly Thoughts” and that is seeming more accurate right now, but the name doesn’t sound quite right. Let’s continue!

Not too long ago, my mage reached level 85. I leveled using mostly a mix of frost and fire specs. 5 minutes after reaching max level, I was ready for heroics. Wait? Apparently it’s pretty nice reaching 85 with nearly max justice points and honor points through a long series of dungeons and battlegrounds. I picked up my vendor gear and had 331 item level, well clearing the 329 requirement to get into heroic dungeons. I got fired up, ready to go, and prepped for my unfortunately long 30 minute wait to get into a heroic dungeon…and found my DPS startlingly lacking. (more…)

Daily Thoughts: MMO Death & Consequences

I’ve always found there to be something wrong with a lack of consequences for any given action. In the real world there are plenty of repercussions for bad decisions and failure. If you gamble and lose, you lose money and possibly go into debt or face other personal problems. You wouldn’t likely run in the middle of a gang shootout or busy intersection without good cause. In traditional video games, dying usually means reverting to the last saved location, but in multiplayer online games, there are varying and often insignificant consequences. Game developers have a tough job of balancing the feeling of risk with keeping the game fun.

There was a poker application on myspace that I played for a little while. There was “chips” that you could bet and collect but had no real dollar value attached. Most players played in a similar fashion to how a realistic game would go. You don’t bet big unless you have a good hand or really think you can bluff your way through. Ocassionally though, a player would join a table that would simply max bet every hand. Complete disregard for the normal consequences of betting all your money. Unless they were challenged and lost quickly, it would pretty much ruin any table. Other players would fold, leave, or sometimes call the bet and be taken out completely in one fell swoop. Of course, there is a chance someone feels ballsy and goes all-in, but not every hand or that commonly. The realism and fun of the game was hurt because losing the chips meant nothing, a player could log back in or re-install the app and be good to go yet again. In other types of multiplayer games, specifically WoW, the lack of penalties for dying or losing sometimes can hinder the behavior and strategy of some of the players. (more…)

Weekend Update: Goblin Racial Nerf & Other 4.1 Hotfixes

The two most interesting changes recently to me are:

The ability for players to retain a second queue for a Battleground after they’ve already entered one has been removed. Previously, players were able to queue for two Battlegrounds, have one queue pop and retain their second queue while they decided if they wanted to join the one that was ready. This is no longer the case. When a Battleground queue pops players will automatically be removed from all other active queues. To queue for a different Battleground it will be necessary to finish the match and queue again. This solves a design issue in that the old system gave players an opening to abandon their teammates if things weren’t going as well as they’d hoped; and it also solves some queue system inconsistencies that were being caused as a side effect of how the old system functioned.

It will be nice to see (hopefully) fewer people disappearing in the middle of BG’s, particularly while I’m trying to kill them. Also,

The goblin racial Best Deals Anywhere should now only be applying to vendors with associated reputations. It no longer incorrectly applies to vendors with no attached reputations, nor does it apply to flight path costs. (Note: the displayed costs for flight paths require a client-side patch to update and are not currently reflecting this racial change). In addition, it is no longer possible for goblin characters exalted with their guild to receive an extra discount on top of the exalted faction discount from guild vendors.

I hear this means there is no longer a discount for the mats for the Vial of the Sands drake, someone should leave a comment if they can verify that. Death Knights also just got a bit of a frost DPS nerf, fortunately the left blood alone which is my main spec on that guy. It does make me a little sad that my warrior friend can out DPS me now. Full recently 4.1 hotfix notes after the break and a full list of all of their 4.1 hot fixes can be found on Blizzard’s site HERE.

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Daily Thoughts: Ding! The Consequences of Leveling

Leveling is probably one of the most satisfying events while playing WoW. Not quite as satisfying as letting a jerk dps die when they pull a pack of trash without waiting for tank, but still pretty satisfying. Pretty much every new level there is a talent point or new spell enticing us to reach the next plateau.

My mage reached level 80 and started Cataclysm content just recently. Which, I must say is a nice change of pace from previous content. Wrath of the Lich King content was great when it was relevent. Now it seems slow and clunky like BC content once was – not just because I’ve done it so many times on other alts – but also because the questing system and layout for this expansion is that much better. Reaching 78 was actually the biggest jump in “power” for my mage though, because of the Cataclysm quality greens. My spell power doubled and stamina tripled going from 77-79 because of the massive item level difference. After that, the power growth jumped again upon receiving mastery at level 80. It took only slightly longer than an hour to reach 81 but here I noticed something. My DPS didn’t really go up. A couple of upgrades had only a tiny effect. Level 82 and a couple more upgrades and my DPS remained constant. How can I gain a few hundred spell power, more haste/mastery/crit rating and not gain DPS? (more…)

Daily Thoughts: Freezing Frost Mages Batman!

I have to be honest: I hate frost mages. Not quite as much as I hate the fear mechanic, but pretty fiercely nonetheless. That said, mine is level 74 and I’m having a blast being a royal pain in the butt to countless alliance that dare cross me!

Frost is Broken

My 74 mage is dual spec frost and fire. In full heirloom gear (head, chest, shoulders, weapon, trinks, back) and a mix of quest/dungeon gear otherwise I’m finding myself pulling about 2300 dps in fire. This isn’t a difficult rotation but does involve a handful of buttons and paying a little attention to DoT timers. On the other hand, frost can do 2100 single target DPS while pushing only frostbolt and ice lance during a fingers of frost proc or while moving. I hear the problem isn’t so bad at max level.

On the other hand, in PVP the issue is magnified. I can ice lance crit other players for 70% of my HP repeatedly if they’re frozen. Frost nova + ice lance is brutal. Not to mention adding deep freeze (a 5 second stun) plus a counterspell that is also a 4 second silence. I can often easily kill a healer of equal level and greater health without giving him the chance to even cast a spell. If there’s already a HoT or bubble on the target, spellsteal makes it mine. I got to witness an exaggerated version of this in arena at max level. Two weeks ago my druid/warrior 2’s team had 6 wins 3 losses with 2 of the losses against teams with frost mages. The week after that, we went 7 wins 10 losses, 9 of the losses being teams with frost mages (including a team that was dual frost mages). We did beat 2 teams with frost mages though. There is of course a possibility that our comp or skill just doesn’t have the tools to beat a frost mage, but I don’t feel like the problem should be that substantial. Finally, players tend to gravitate to what is most EZmode or over powered. So, 11 teams with frost mages out of 17 matches total? Seems a bit excessive. Wonder why the players are gravitating that way?

Frost is also freakin’ fun

There is another pretty strong reason players have decided to rock out with their frost out in PVP. It’s really fun! I’ve been spending most of my leveling time between 40-70 leveling and up until almost 70 I was playing with the fire spec. The talent points on my frost off spec slowly grew and grew, unspent, unloved. Until finally, one evening, I had my face repeatedly beat in by frost mages while pvping on a different toon. I decided that there must be something to this frost mage thing – and I’ve been slowing, freezing and murdering alliance as they try to feel in terror ever since. Leveling frost is definitely a solid choice for anyone bring their mage up. Although all specs can bring something interesting to the table, frost has a great skill set for preventing getting beat on by mobs or other players and makes it ideal for a class not running around in plate.

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