Friday, August 29, 2014

Thrall Needs to Die

Warning:  This post will contain spoilers.

Now that I've got that out of the way so I know you are reading this of your own free will and I will not spoil any information for you I can go on with my little story.  Admittedly if you are reading this you most likely have read other stuff online and know exactly what I am spoiling here so it will not be a spoiler, but I had not make sure.  I used to try to avoid spoilers but do not any more so I can understand why some people might still be trying to avoid them.  Although with all the stories, news and updates we see, I find it would be really hard to avoid spoilers.  So I guess I live by the motto, if you can't beat them, join them, and now I too do not avoid spoilers.

Now lets get to killing off the green jesus and fast.

I used to really like thrall, he was one of my favorite characters in warcraft and I must say I have always loved his armor in the battle of mount hyjal.  When it comes to looking cool I think he was the bees knees there.  That was one kick ass set of armor, even more so for a shaman.  It looked more warrior like than shaman like.  He was the warrior shaman and it looked awesome.

The thing is I am getting a little sick and tired of him stepping in and stealing my thunder.  Isn't this the expansion that I am supposed to be the hero?  I mean I have my own garrison, kind of like king of my own land.  I have followers that will live and die on my word, everyone calls me commander, they call me the greatest azeroth has to offer.  This entire expansion is supposed to be to stroke my ego as the biggest hero of the world and yet thrall still takes every single chance he can to steal my thunder.

I am getting sick and tired of this guy butting his head in.  I was okay with the deathwing fight because after all we never really fought deathwing, we just gave him a pedicure and a slap or two in the chin, it was thrall and the aspects that brought him down to his knees so I could make sure there was no junk imbedded in his toe nails.  BTW, do you know what they call that goo between deathwings toes?  Slow running gnomes.

Even if we needed thrall at that moment my hate for him had already started to build and it really was due to no fault of his own.  Blame aggra for that and that stupid quest line in cataclysm where we battled elements to help save thrall and I had to listen to that annoying whiny voice yell go'el over and over.  She made me start to dislike thrall.  Then by the time we really needed thrall I had already hated him because I hated her.  If that was what the voice actor was going for when she did the voice of aggra, creating a character that when she spoke it felt like finger nails being scraped down a chalkboard, then I have to say that was a wonderful job.  The voice actor nailed it, no pun intended.

Then the end of mists came and there was thrall all high and mighty once again, oddly enough saying that the elements where not listening to him while our shaman was having no problems what so ever communicating with the elements.  What is wrong now mr high and mighty?  Suffering from a bout of impotence, maybe you need some viagra to get your totems to rise to the occasion.

All I could say is get your butt to the sidelines where it belongs green skin and that is exactly what he did.  Even if there might have been a few points here and there where he could have assisted us he just stood there like a wall flower staring at the ceiling.   Useless and limp.  Yet when it was all said and done he wanted to come down and finish garrosh off.  Hell no green skin, hell no.  This is for theramore, if anyone is going to lay the last blow on this homicidal beast you left in charge and had to know was emotionally unstable it would be me, or at least some member of the alliance.  But no, once again you had to insert yourself somewhere you had no business being. 

Thrall was lucky taran zhu stopped us all from killing garrosh because if he would have even tried to land a blow on garrosh the next orc to fall would have been him and his "oh no I am so scared the elements are not working for me" lame ass.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I really believe thrall wanted garrosh to kill all of us and was only faking that the elements were not responding so he had some excuse for letting us die.  He is as bad as the scum he left in your place and deserve to die right there with him.

Can you tell I am getting a little angry with him butting in?  But it is okay, I can live with it.  Two expansions in a row of green jesus to the rescue.  He is chris metzens love child, what else do you expect.  He has to be the god of everything that happens in game and basically that is why I started to dislike him.  No one likes a character like that.  I am sure if thrall could speak he would not even like what he has become.  He used to be an orc of honor, respect, and dignity.  He was intelligent and poised and a great leader.  At least he was up until the point he was promoted to demi god.

So enter warlords and me finally being able to quest in nagrand last week after they fixed the alliance introduction quest.  I fought the good fight while fighting off the warsong clan.  I made great strides for the people of azeroth in defending ourselves from the iron horde by killing rank and file soldiers, commanders, and other important people as I worked my way through weakening the ranks of the warsong clan.

I did it not for me and not even for the alliance, but for all people of azeroth, to save our world, and that includes the horde in azeroth.  I am fighting for everyone.  I am the hero, I should be considered a neutral character because I am saving not only my people but the people who call me their enemy.  I am working to save everyone.

I fight my way through the ranks and make my way into grommasher and meet up with yrel, who has some really awesome paladin abilities I wish my paladin had, and we make our way to garrosh.  The person that is responsible for me being here, the reason I might never be able to return home, the reason me and many of the fellow patriots might end up taking our last breath on an alien planet because we might never return as we had to close the gate behind us.

I am here to cut the head from the beast and then cull the remaining threat, but first, the one that is the voice from a world different that has been whispering into the ear of the iron horde, the one that has given them the desire, means and knowledge and made them want to come to our world and take it over.  I shall end him and in doing so end him feeding them any more information, any more intelligence, more strategy to the iron horde.

I am here to do what I should have done during the siege and kill the beast known as garrosh.  I fought through countless warsong forces to make my way to garrosh with a small but elite army at my side.  When I make it to garrosh he is surrounded by hundreds of orcs, all at his command, all probably able of outnumbering me easily, but garrosh does not call for their aid, he comes at me alone, he comes at me with honor, he comes at me as an orc who respects what it means to be an orc.  For a brief moment he earns my respect because of showing such honor, but that does not change the fact that he needs to die, but at least he will die as all orc warriors should, fighting with honor.

With my trusty shale spider pet and yrel at my side I take to the task of bringing down the destroyer of the vale, the devil of theramore, the slaughterer of druids.  He is weaker than he was last I recall when it took me and all my friends to down him.  Perhaps he did not have the ease of getting into this world like I did, the ease of just stepping through a portal.  Maybe whatever it was that kairoz did to transfer them to another dimension weakened him some, maybe what I did to him back when we last meet is still a lingering injury, maybe the sha infestation leaving him has weakened him some, whatever it might have been, he was not the dangerous orc I once faced in battle.

He still had strength, do not get me wrong, but with my trusty spider taking the hits and yrel making sure we were all healed while fighting at my side, he was no match for me.  I wore him down little by little.  He was no push over, he was still a strong orc, one of the strongest I have ever had the privilege to meet on the field of battle and just as I had him where I wanted him and I was going to put an end to his depraved path of war and destruction trall descends from the sky like the green jesus he is and takes over, stealing my thunder, in a freaking quest.  A freaking quest.  He could not even let me finish a quest without butting in.

In the end it was thrall that put and end to garrosh, not me.  Even if I had him dead to rights, even if there was nothing he could do against me, the honor of victory was mine.  Thrall came literally out of nowhere, I had not seen him at any time recently, as if he was stalking me, waiting for a moment where he could come and steal my glory.  The green jesus with performance anxiety issues who can't do anything on his own had to steal my moment.  I fought for the people of azeroth, as a hero of azeroth, I was the one that worked my way through waves of warsong enemies, I was the one that brought garrosh to his knees not once but twice, it was to be my honor to kill him and thrall stole my honor.

So I want my honor back and the only way to get it is to kill the one that stole my honor.  Thrall must die, he must die at my hands and he must die before the end of warlords.  I will place a bolt between his eyes and stand in a pool of his blood and if aggra even once yells go'el I will kill her too just because of her annoying voice. 

I am sick and tired of thrall, the person I once liked, I once looked up to, I once respected.  He showed little class and less honor than any single person I had ever run into.  In the end even garrosh had more honor than thrall did.  He fought me with hundreds of his forces around him.  He could have overwhelmed me with his forces but he fought me, with honor.  And thrall, the honorless low life green jesus came and stole the glory.  He is an orc with no honor and an orc with no honor, as any orc will tell you, should die.  So, thrall must die.  Even his own people would agree.  He has no honor.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

No Hope For Marksman?

With the recent patch notes for the beta we see very little, if anything, that effects marksman hunters, the spec that needed help the most.  While beast mastery actually seemed to have gotten the best of the changes where it is near where it was before even with ability pruning and was not hurt with changes to how their abilities work and while survival took some serious hits from ability pruning leaving it with absolutely zero burst and no execute ability, they are both still playable whereas marksman was changed so much that it is just a clunky mess that has no clue what it wants to be and is mostly unplayable.

Everyone in the hunter community was asking for something to make survival feel more powerful at some moment, be it burst or execute, and to smooth out a rotation that either was horrible because you had no explosive shots due to low multi strike or filled with nothing but explosive shots due to high multi strike.  Some changes were made, like returning explosive shot to a previous incarnation, which at least shows that blizzard was aware of the problem.  Yet they still have their eyes closed when it comes to marksman.

Everyone, or at least everyone that wanted to play marksman was waiting for something to be done about that spec.  Anything.  Add a proc to spice up the rotation, add interaction between abilities, give some sort of instant focus dump, change the mastery to anything but what it is, or make what it is more functional and as some people suggested change the buff to 9 seconds, or change it so we always have 50% even without it and 100% with it, so many little things could be added or adjusted to give a little life to what is currently a lifeless spec.

So many ideas, so many people explaining what they dislike about the spec, so many people from world first raiders to little johnny solo player have said how horrible marksman played, how uncomfortable it was to play, and how boring it felt playing it.  When you have everyone from the top players in the game to the bottom players who never even think about being the best all saying the same thing, that marksman felt uncomfortable, unenjoyable and over all unplayable you have to think they are on to something here and there is a real truth behind it.  When all hunters for all types of game play can agree, you have a problem here, one that needs to be addressed.  It is not one fringe of hunter players that don't like how it fits their particular play style, it is everyone no matter what their play style is that has a problem with it.

We had hoped that after Celestalon had a chance to play a marksman hunter he would understand what we were all talking about but he remains deliberately ignorant with the problem as proved with comments like "I was pleasantly surprised, actually. The Bombardment weaving, Thrill of the Hunt, and Kill Shots added more than I expected" which clearly shows he has no idea what it means to be a hunter, how it feels to be a hunter, and how these things he considers interesting and more fun than he expected are stuff we take for granted as being there and are, in fact, not fun but just all part of the rotation.

So we all were holding our breath that something would be done for marksman but a recent comment on twitter from Celestalon leaves me to believe nothing is going to happen.  When asked "are you guys going to do another pass on talents..." he responded, "unlikely at this stage that talents will be redesigned..."

So does this means we are out of luck?  It sure seems that way.  After Celestalon played a marksman hunter a week later a bunch of changes come down the pipe that effect hunters but don't really help marksman at all.  I guess he is standing by what he said and what he believes, that marksman is fine.  The word unlikely means there is still a chance but I am not going to hang my hat on that one.  I do not see it happening, at least not as long as Celestalon remains deliberately ignorant about the problem.

There are only two and a half months left before warlords is released, likely one and a half month, most likely, before 6.0 is released and any changes to talents are locked and will definitely not change because blizzard does not like to completely change specs mid expansion meaning we will be stuck with marksman as a clunky piece of garbage for all that time.  Do you think there is still a chance we can see something done or have you given up?

After hearing Celestalon I have given up.  He made me loose all faith I had in being deal a fair deal in this situation.  As long as he has any say in the matter and he thinks we are fine, nothing will be done.  At least that is how I see it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blizzards Change in Philosophy?

No blue poster has mentioned anything I could find to explain the change in philosophy that it seems blizzard has had with the introduction of the new expansion.  What change am I talking about you might ask but to anyone that follows the blues they already know what I am talking about.  For those that do not know I will clue you in.

For as long as I can remember in the game blizzard has been trying to make the world look full.  They even went so far as to merge servers, make cross realm zones, basically doing anything they can on their end to make the world look fuller.  They also keep, or kept as it may be, talking about giving players things to do out in the world.

The design philosophy has been to try and get people out in the world and doing things.  They want people to play their game and not just sit around in their main city.  I see nothing wrong with this and can support it and I am sure everyone else would as well.  We all want things to do and doing them out in the world does expand our view and make the game feel fuller.  It is better than having one tiny little space to do things and then that is the only place we are.

But with warlords it seems blizzard has completely changed its philosophy.  They seem to be actively giving us reasons not to go out into the world.  Why are they doing this?  I am not being sarcastic asking that, I really do not truly understand.  Why has blizzard, for so many years, repeated the phrase "get people out in the world" and then suddenly did an about face and are doing everything they can to make us not go out in the world.

If you ask me this is a huge waste of developer time and space.  If they do not want us out in the world why did they spend so much time making the world?  Yes the zones, outside of nagrand, are all much smaller than we are used to with new zones, but why even have them that big if there is no intention of having us go to them outside of our original journey through them to level up.

If you are not sure what I am talking about and think that I am just off on a tangent again with no rhyme or reason I will list a collection of things that show blizzard does not want us out in the world any longer.

1) Flying:

Flying had become a staple of game play.  Giving us the means to travel much easier and at our own pace and in our own direction meant we were much more likely to go out and just fly around.  Even if we did so aimlessly, which I had done many times, flying allowed us the freedom to do so.  Removing a staple of travel in the game like that greatly reduces the impulse travel.   No longer will people head out aimlessly like they do with flying because if you need to choose a flight point you need to have a destination in mind on where you want to go.  Having a destination is actually the exact opposite of just flying around aimlessly.

The removal of flying was the first step in the direction where blizzard said to its players it would rather you stay in one place.  Why else would they remove the number one method to get people off their asses and out of the cites?

2) Dailies:

While I do understand the issue blizzard has with dailies right now because of all the negative feedback from the beginning of mists their wholesale removal of them in warlords is uncalled for.  With all the feedback they collected and read (or at least said they read but being their action are as they are I am going to say they never actually read the feedback) blizzard should have known that it was not the dailies people had a problem with.  It was the fact that valor gear was gated behind them.

People like to do dailies, they always have liked to do dailies.  But they like to do them at their pace and like to do them when they want to do them if they want to do them at all.  Whether it be doing them just to get another faction to exalted, or because that faction had a pet they wanted, or a piece of gear for gold that they wanted, or because dailies were always a fair way to make some gold.  Not to mention some people did them because they just liked having something to do.  Dailies gave some people purpose, some people direction.

The backlash on dailies was because the valor gear was locked behind them.  The backlash on dailies was because you needed to have one revered before you could even work on two others and when you wanted nothing from that one but did want something from the others it opened, it was frustrating for the casual player to get stuck behind a wall that existed for no reason other than to be a wall.

In the end dailies always have been and always will be a great way to get people out in the world.  Even more so if they offer something worth getting, but blizzard removed them from the game and gave people one less reason to go out in the world.

3) Rare Mobs:

Rare hunting has become a huge thing mists.  I have a friend who plays on off hours and all he does all night is fly around (which you can't do in warlords anyway) and kill rares.  Each rare gets him some blue item that he can sell for gold or disenchant for materials, but it is the chance at getting the small bag of good or the big bag of goods and then there is the added chance of getting profession bags filled with things in townlong.  This kept him motivated to be out in the world.  This kept him busy, this kept him playing, this kept him happy.  More importantly, this kept him out in the world.

He did the original rares, he did the warbringers, he did his passes on the timeless island, he spent a lot of time out in the world killing rare mobs because it was fun for him and he could get something good from it.  For the record, he makes between 20K-60K per night rare hunting for a few hours.  So it is a fair way to make gold too.

Now you might have noticed me mention in other recent posts that you can not move 10 feet without stubbing your toe on a rare in warlords.  However that is the problem.  Rare in warlords are not like the rares are now.  There is absolutely no reason to ever kill them twice.  As a matter of fact, once you kill a rare, it is no longer a rare to you.  It just becomes a really strong named mob that gets you absolutely nothing.  So once you kill the rare there is no reason to kill it again.  Actually, you are better off avoiding it completely because it becomes an annoyance after you have killed it, nothing more.

Sure adding more rares in the world will get people out there but there are two mistakes blizzard made.  Or were they mistakes? Maybe they were done on purpose to push their new agenda of keeping people from being out in the world?  One, they respawn instantly.  So they are not exactly rare.  So you can go around, wait no longer than 2 minutes for it to appear, kill it. Two, once you kill a rare you never have to kill it again because you got what goodie it drops and it will never drop anything for you again.

This actually gives people a reason not to come out in the world.  If they got all the rares why go out, and if they do go out, they have the chance to run into these mobs that offer nothing but don't die in 1 or 2 shots like everything else.  They just become a general annoyance.

Blizzard took one thing that got people out in large numbers, got them working as a team in large numbers, got them playing in the world in large numbers, and changed it into a one time kill that requires no time waiting or hunting for. 

Changing rares to be like this is blizzard saying, we don't want you out in the world hunting rares so here it is right in your face right away and we will even give you whatever it drops instantly on your first attempt, now go get in your garrison, be alone, and get out of the world

4) Rare Events:

Things like the brew boss on the timeless island are all around in warlords.  Unlike the brew boss however, and in tune with what seems to be the warlords philosophy, they are a one time only thing.  Sure I can stop and help others with it but I can only get something from it once meaning, like the rares, there is no reason to repeat doing them.

Once more it seems like blizzard is saying to us to just do it and go away.  Get out of the world.

5) Quest Events:

These are little things that pop up that give you a few objectives to complete, sort of like if you picked up 4 quests and they sent you to this one area.  A different way of quest delivery.  They give you some gold and some experience but like everything else in the expansion they are one time only things.

Are you seeing the warlords trend here.  Do this and then get the hell out of the world, we do not want you out there doing things any more.  We changed our mind.

6) Treasure Chests:

I think they took the idea from mists release, with the things you can find out in the world, and the timeless island where there were treasure chests all over, and combined them into one.  But they did so with one major error.  There is nothing worth getting in any of them.

Make that two errors.  The other is that you do not get the map that tells you where they all are until you have completely finished a zone.  Sure you can run across some things before you complete the zone, but it isn't until you completed the zone that you can get the map to find everything.

There are some decent items to be found, do not get me wrong, but if you have already completed all the quests you will not need any of the gear you get form them.  Most just give you some garrison resources, and the others give you junk that is either completely useless or unsellable so you need to throw it away.

Blizzard seems to have forgotten why the items in the world were so sought after in mists at release. They forgot why people spent hours camping spawn sights for those items.  They forgot why everyone and their mother actively wanted them.  They were extremely high item level when you take into account they were equitable at level 85 and they were BoA so you could find them on a higher character to send them to a character that really needed it.  These are no higher item level than the quests in the area offer, they require you to be the level you are when you find them usually, and they are soulbound.  So in other words, they are more than likely useless by the time you find them.

And the treasure chest part of it was also a misinterpretation of what people liked with the timeless island.  People liked them because all that gear was BoA.  And for some characters it was useful, and with burdens it could be useful for even more characters.  With nothing useful, nothing upgradeable, and nothing trade-able even with your own characters, there really is no need to go after them.  They sucked all the excitement out of finding treasures when most of the treasures you find are junk.

So there are no achievements for getting the treasures and there are no treasures worth seeking out means you are better off just ignoring them unless you are in the area, then grab them if you feel so inclined to do so.  In other words, you are better off staying in your garrison scratching your ass.

7) Gathering:

This is the one where it really begins to become apparent that blizzard does not want people out in the world.  The number one reason people go out is because they want something out in the world.  Often that happens to be things such as herbs and ore.

With each garrison having their own farm for herbs and mine for ore it really limits the need to go out in the world.  Sure, when first starting out this will not be enough to get you by, but once the expansion rolls on and once you have a few alts running you will be gathering more herbs and ore than you will ever have a need for.

This is a huge dent in the idea of being out in the world.  Don't get me wrong I love the idea of being able to gather without any competition but when a character that is not an herbalist or miner is only a week old and already sitting on hundreds of herbs and approaching a thousand ore there really is something that shows they want to keep you inside instead of out in the world.

8) Crafting Materials:

While the farm and mine are buildings everyone can get if you want to get meat, fish, cloth or leather you still need to go out in the world.  Fish you can fish for however, if you are willing to deal with no catches until you manage to snag some bait but that is another story.

All that said, you really do not need to go out in the world for any of that stuff if you happen to have the trading post on your garrison.  If you do you can trade garrison resources for all the materials you ever need.  All the fish you need, all the meat you need, all the cloth you need and all the leather you need.

Sure going out in the world will help speed things up.  Having a lumber mill along with the trading post will speed it up and you do need to go out to make the most of the lumber mill.  But once you have a few alts running, the outside time decreases.  And even if you don't and only have one character, as time goes on you will gather enough crafting materials otherwise to not need to go out at all.

Just one more case of blizzard saying, you have everything you need right here, why would you want to go out in the world.

So back to my original question which was why has blizzard had a sudden change in philosophy and instead of being like they always had been with wanting us to get out in the world are they now instead doing everything within their power to make sure we don't go out in the world?

Am I missing something here.  Did blizzard really change their philosophy.  It sure seems so to me.  But why?  Seriously, I do not understand this complete change of approach in the design of the game from being a game that wanted a full world to a game that wants an empty one.

Maybe someone can explain it to me.  I mean I liked going out in the world and flying aimlessly.  I liked going out and gathering materials.  I liked going around killing mobs for drops.  I liked going out and hunting rares.  I liked doing dailies.  I liked going out and doing things and don't get me wrong, I love the garrisons and all, I think they are a nice step in the right direction for player housing, but I am not sure in their design change to make it so I don't want to be anywhere but there.  Why did blizzard suddenly change?  Why do they not want people in the world any longer?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Garrisons Review - Warlords Beta

I must start this the same way all posts about things on the beta should start.  Beta is beta, it is very possible some of the things I mention here will change before release and some things I have yet to test due to errors.  Over all I do believe I have a decent feel for the only new feature being added to the game that I can now talk about it some more.  Get ready for a very long post and be warned, I still did not include everything in it.

When the expansion was first announced garrisons were something I was really interested in.  Since the originally announcement a lot has changed, as usually happens in the development process, but my interest in it was still high.  Usually when I have high expectations for something be it a movie, a game, anything, I am let down because I set my expectations so high nothing can ever really live up to the hype I created in my own mind.  I am glad to say that although I was looking forward to garrisons and had high hopes for them I was not let down.  Sure they are not exactly what I was expecting and I really think they can do a lot more with them, but I am most definitely not let down by them.

When you first arrive to Draenor you will be tasked to select a sight to build a base to start your adventures from.  Not exactly a choice, so to speak, but you get the idea.  This means, like it or not, garrisons are not only a part of your adventure here on draenor, it is the main base of operations on the planet throughout the expansion. 

It starts off simple enough, you as one of the greatest heroes of Azeroth, lands on this new world and everyone is looking to you for advice on what to do.  You have earned that respect because of your past deeds saving the world over and over.  I believe this is the first time in the entire game you are really treated like the hero.  Usually you are just an adventurer, usually you are an assistant, usually you are helping others, usually you are working under the directive of someone else that takes all the glory.  This time around you are the commander, everything that happens on draenor goes back to you.  From strategic battle plans, to where to go next, to what to do next.  Everything that happens on Draenor happens because you will it to happen.

You really do step into the role as the commander and everyone in your garrison treats you as such.  I must say I think it is a nice touch, something you usually only see in a single player game and not an MMO.  Even if you can invite people to your garrison, it is yours and you are the commander and it is your little piece of an MMO that really is meant for a single player.

What you do there matters, it changes the landscape of the zone.  Admittedly not a much as was originally presented to us, and even if you do build things differently it all still looks the same no matter what, but this is all about the feel of things and you really get that the first time you walk around and the soldiers stop at attention when you pass by or the vendors call you commander, or the big name characters you might remember as important for what they did in other expansion being the commanders themselves ask you what to do next.  This is really your home and your world and you are in charge of everything that goes on around here.  They never let you forget that.

Now that I have, or hope I have, conveyed the feeling of who you are here on draenor and your importance here and the reason you are leading the attack from your garrison it is time to talk about the garrison itself and some of the features within it.  Honestly I do not know where to start.  The things I mention here are going to be from an alliance perspective but being garrisons are the same no matter what side you are on the names might be different, but everything I mention exists on both sides.

The Little Stuff:

I've always been a fan of the little things in games.  I've mentioned that so many times on this blog I could not even begin to count and that is because all those little things add flavor to the game.  There are many little things about the garrisons to like and I am sure I have not noticed most of them.  It is not just about leading your faction into war or building your buildings or working your command desk or collecting followers or sending them on missions.  There are little things that add flavor, sometimes without us even noticing it.

One of my favorite things thus far, being a battle pet collector before battle pets were even a thing, is the fact that our battle pets can sometimes be seen running around our garrison.  At first I thought that it was only the pets you mark as favorites that will make your garrison your home but it seems sometimes even pets that are not marked favorites are seen running around.

It brings a great deal of flavor to the game to see your pets, and if you named them, with your names on them running around your garrison.  These are not some random critters just running around, these are yours.  When mining one day I ran into my amethyst spider and he followed me around while I was in my mine.  When I went over to the fishing shack on my garrison I saw snarly, one of the crocodiles from the BC cooking dailies you can get, just chilling near the water.  When he saw me he decided to follow me and did so for a good 5 minutes as I ran around my garrison.  Then of course, just like any good hunter, I have my tiny sporebat always just flying around my garrison.

Sometimes it works out that you will see something that could put a smile on even the most frown filled faces in the world, a series of 5 or 6 of your pets all walking together through your garrison.  I can just imagine them being some pet battle raid team on a mission.  I think the flavor of them running around, seeing your pets, brings a type of life to the game no one could ever imagine until they see it.

At all levels of your garrison you see it grow and not only in terms of the buildings you make but in the terms of the surrounding area.  When you start there is one tombstone in your make shift cemetery you regretfully needed to make because this is a savage land after all and one of the original people that helped you settle this land must have died while building the garrison and staking your claim to a piece of land on this new world.  As your garrison grows so does the cemetery, which is just a sad fact of war, but it is also a very powerful and meaningful piece of story telling without ever saying a word.

Not only do your pets roam the garrison but there are also many strays that find their way to your land and it seems that your followers like having them around because they built a few little dog houses around the garrison, no doubt for all the strays there.  Townie cats are nowhere near few and far between, you will see lots of them, but there are two dogs that are worth making note of.

Dog, our friend from the farm, made the trip with us and it only makes sense.  He was a stray when we found him.  It is not like he had a home anywhere else.  His home is with us and he should come with us.  His name is still simply dog and you can not change it, but for me after these years with him even if I could change it I don't think I would.  His name is dog and that is what I will call him.

The other dog of note, a rambunctious pug named pippers that belongs to shelly, one of our earliest followers (most likely a different name on horde side) can often be seen running all over the place in seemingly no real direction but if you take the time to follow pippers you will find out something very interesting.  See, pippers is one of those dogs that likes to bury things and the things he is burying seem to be your garrison supplies.  So make sure to follow him around each time you upgrade your garrison and collect the supplies he buried on you.  Even if you don't it won't hurt you, he is a little dog and can't take much, maybe 10 at a clip, but it is still an interesting bit of life going on behind the scenes, something you had nothing to do with, showing the game as a living area.

Then there are even the basic NPCs that are just there for flavor and don't have anything to say that play their role.  From the steward in your barracks that will stop what he is doing even if he is sitting down eating and get up when you enter to stand at attention in front of you while you walk around and inspect the barracks, to the people that work in the buildings you build that will do the same.  Some of the workers will drop what they are doing and walk up to you to see if you need anything.

Then there are some of those old school NPCs, like the panda fisherman that will walk away from you as you are trying to sell stuff to him.  There are NPCs of all types, old school and new school that look at you like their commander and are always ready to serve you.

There is so much more flavor to the garrisons but I do not want to waste an entire post talking about just one thing.

The Buildings We All Get:

No matter what buildings you decide to build on your garrison there are some buildings you end up getting no matter what.  In my opinion these are the most important ones there are.  Perhaps that is why blizzard decided to give them to us as baseline and not make us have to make the hard decision of if we would get them or not.

You will get the farm, the fishing shack, the mine and the pet menagerie. 

With the farm you will grow herbs and unlike with the farm on pandaria you do not need to plant anything, they will just grow on their own every day.  No upkeep needed.  Well, unless you call picking them to make room for more to grow upkeep.  You will not only get herbs from the farm you will also collect draenic seeds which you will need to collect 500 of over time to get the level three plans to upgrade the farm.

Each profession needs different things than we are used to and as such you might need to get some specific herbs.  Say you are a leather worker, you are going to need gorgrond flytraps for your daily.  No need to worry about making your way to the auction house or having a friend help you or leveling an alt with herbalism.  Just set your farm to grow gorgrond flytraps and nothing but gorgond flytraps and you will have all the herbs you will ever need.

With your mine you will be getting draenic stone along with your ore, just like you did with seeds in the farm along with your herbs. Also just the same as with the farm, do not worry if you are not a miner, you can mine your own mines.  You will need to collect 500 stone to get the level 3 plans.

Both have the new gathering surprise of mobs that pop up, sort of like the rabbits or the birds we were used to in mists but these are better.  When you kill them you get some materials.  Makes them less annoying and if you are anything like me, it makes them something I actually like to see as opposed to cursing at the screen every time a damn bird appeared in mists.

The seeds are not used just to get the upgrades either, they are used for work orders, more on that in a little bit however.  Lets move on to the fishing shack. 

With the fishing shack you have a nice little area you can fish in.  Sadly the fish don't really bite there so you will most likely not catch anything, or at least not catch anything all that often, you can still get skill ups from it however, but if you managed to snag some bait while out in the world fishing and use that bait while you are at your farm you can catch that type of fish as well as more bait while fishing in your very own garrison.  Sure some fish still can not be caught there but most of the stuff you will want can be and with bait it is a higher catch rate so it is better then heading out into the world and trying to find pools.

Last but not least from the upgradable buildings is the pet menagerie.  It is once you hit level 2 that some of your pets start to hang out and level 3 is where more start to hang out.  They have their cages there, but they are open door cages.  Who would want to keep them locked up, after all seeing them run around your garrison is half the fun of them.  Also at level 3 you get a new pet battle daily that will appear in your garrison with different match ups each day offering a different challenge.

Battles like you vs stitches jr.  Any alliance player from the pre cataclysm era will remember stitches and how he would be the death of so many hapless adventurers that happened to quests in the area.  Seems his son is now a pet battle and not a push over either.  Ignoring any and all damage that hits for less than 500 per hit and having over 6,000 health he poses as a formidable opponent, just like dad.

You will also get some smaller buildings, ones that are not meant to be upgraded, most coming at level 3 of your garrison.  Such as the tower that gives you a portal to the new city hub outside of ashran.  You will also get your very own set of training dummies.  A damage dealer dummy, a tanking dummy and a healing dummy.  Be careful of the tanking dummy even as a tank because it means near instant death if you are not ready for it.  There is also room for the garrison to grow so who knows what they might have planned for us in future patches.

The Buildings We Build:

I will not get too deep into what each building does because that will be a post all of its own but for the record I will go over what buildings we have to choose from, and a hard choice it will be because there are so many solid options.

You will be allowed to build 2 large buildings and one will be part of a start up questing, the barracks, which means you basically get to add one more.  Although you can remove a building at any time and the barracks seems a little lackluster with what it offers, it might be worth keeping for you, if it fits your play style, but as I said, more on that in another post.

The large building options are the barracks, the dwarven bunker / war mill, gnomish gearworks / goblin workshop, mage tower / spirit lodge, and stables.

You will be allowed to build 2 medium sized buildings and the options are the barn, the gladiator sanctum, the lumber mill, the inn / tavern, and the trading post.  They all have reasons to get them but choosing which ones you want can be a little complex and need some decision making that I will mention in the post about building later, but I will say if you PvP you want the gladiator sanctum.  That is an easy one that takes no decision making at all to suggest.

For the small buildings they mostly revolve around professions and their work orders, which I will talk about next, can really make choosing the right one interesting.  The profession based small buildings are the alchemy lab, enchanters study, engineering works, gem boutique, scribes quarters, tailoring emporium, the forge and the tannery.  There are two non profession based buildings worth considering as well in the form of the salvage yard and the storehouse.

As I mentioned, all buildings of all sizes are good to have, even the profession ones when you do not even have the profession yourself is good to have, there is a lot of decision making to go into it when choosing which ones you want to build.  As such, to not completely take up the next hour of your life while this post is already going to be very long, I will save the deeper information for a later date.

I will note however that you can not only build any building you want, but you can rip any building down.  So there will never be any wrong choices.  Everything will have its value.  The only one that holds no, or more, value is the gladiator sanctum, as it is tied to PvP.  The less you PvP the less likely you will be to like it and the more you PvP the more likely you will be to want it.  All other builds are good no matter what your play style is.

Work Orders:

Many buildings offer you the option to fill out work orders.  Like the farm allows you to make a work order with 25 draenic seeds.  When the order is filled you will get a fair amount of herbs from it.  The mine allows you to make a work order with 25 draenic stone that will net you some extra ore when it is filled.  Things like that, but not really always so straight forward.

Some work orders, like from the trading post, are not always the same.  They might ask for 10 pieces of fur today to make a work order and tomorrow they will be asking for 10 nagrand arrowbloom and the day after maybe 10 ore.  So it is not like you can just stock up on thing expecting to always use it there. No matter what you make a work order for there you end up with garrison supplies. So at least the end result is predictable.

For the enchanters study you end up needing ore to make a work order, but with your mine on premises that should be no real issue.  Many of the profession work orders ask you for stuff that might seem odd at first.  For professions like blacksmith, tailor, leather worker and alchemy, your work orders net you the catalysts you need for so many of the things you craft, as well as giving you a small chance at getting some of the rare but needed sorcerous items like air, earth, fire and water.

With work orders you can take a surplus of one item and turn it into another item that might have more use depending on your building set up.  This puts a lot more importance into which buildings you choose because some interact very well with others.

With work orders you can do one at a time (usually) at level 1 for the building, 3 at a time (usually) at level 2 for the building and 5 at a time (usually) at level 3 of the building.  It takes only 1 minute to fill one work order so if you really wanted to you could convert a massive amount of your frostweed into alchemical catalysts if you are willing to spend the time there waiting on your work orders to be filled.

I honestly do not believe it will go live in its present state where you can make as many work orders as you wish as long as you are willing to spend the time there.  I think blizzard will put a cap on how many work orders you can do per day but if they do not then I would have no problem with that.  I sort of like being able to turn all my extra ore into enchanting materials.  Heck, who wouldn't.

Architect Table:

This is where you build your garrison from and I should have made it the first thing I mentioned, but it really does not have a lot to say about it.  You use this interface to add buildings, remove buildings, upgrade buildings, or assign followers to buildings.

It is worth noting, unless it is a bug, that when you assign a follower to a building they do not get any experience which means they can not level up.  So unless they change that I suggest leveling up the follower before you assign them to work in a building.

For people without alts where they can't have different characters work on different buildings to work on all the achievements I see them spending a fair deal of time here building, upgrading, and then destroying buildings as they hunt after achievements such as collecting waystones for the mage tower and then ditching it after the got the achievements tied to it.  Even at that this part of the garrisons will be mostly unused after you build your garrison the way you like it.  Unless you change your mind on one of your buildings that is.  It is nice to have something like this, so no decisions are life long ones.

In this section it would be worth noting how you upgrade your buildings however.  At level 93, or based on zone progression, you can upgrade your garrison to level 2 and at level 100 you can upgrade it to level 3.  The buildings on your garrison can only be as high as your garrison level, so of course you want to upgrade your garrison as soon as you can.

You can buy many of the blueprints for building upgrades from a vendor, once you are high enough, at the cost of gold in your garrison right next to the architect table.  Do not be so quick to waste the gold however because doing your quest progression you will get items that you can trade in for blueprints, which means you save gold. 

The person you trade them in for blueprints is in our city hubs outside of ashran.  It is worth trading them in and saving some gold because if you buy everything there is really no other use for those items you get from the quests and they can not be vendored.  So they either clutter up bag space for no reason or you throw them away.  Might as well buy your blueprints with them instead of gold if you ask me.

For some blueprints you need to do quests to get them, such as with a leather working building, known as the tannery.  If you want to build that and you are a leather worker, you need to do a quest to get the building.  There are many professions like that, ones that require you to do a quest to get your profession building, but not all. 

For other blueprints you need to meet some achievement requirements.  Like I mentioned with the farm and the mine were you needed to gather 500 draenic seeds or stones each to get the level 3 building.  Something like when you gather 500 draenic stone you get an achievement for gathering 500 stone and in turn that gets you the blueprint for the level 3 mine. 

There are many level 3 plans that tie themselves into the buildings.  But none of them would require you to do anything different than you would be doing anyway.  If you are using the mine you will get the stone and from getting the stone you will get the pattern.  For building the gladiator sanctum you will be PvPing so you will be collecting broken bones so you will get the 4000 needed to get to level 3.  So none of the patterns will require you to do anything different than you would be doing to begin with.

When building a building and upgrading one, you will be using garrison resources.  You will collect them from all over the place.  Quests in the world, rare mobs drop them, you have a treasure chest in your garrison you can loot that collected them up, and as I mentioned the trading post, should you have it, can convert various materials into resources.

Not only are resources used but gold is needed as well.  Some buildings are upwards of 5000 gold, but do not fret, not all are and most have no cost outside of garrison resources.  All building, not counting the free ones, take time to build and after they are finished you need to finalize them.


There is the pet daily that I mentioned earlier and there is one more daily quest you can do.  It is one that will send you to some area from your command desk where you need to kill a large amount of mobs.  They do not tell you how many you need to kill but will give you a percentage bar.  Killing normal mobs might get you one percent and killing an elite might get you 5 or 10 percent and if you are lucky enough to encounter a rare in that area you could get upwards, if not more, than 30 percent of your completion on that one mob.  You will get to choose between two areas of the day.  I usually choose the closest one, to get it done faster.  It nets you some gold and apexis crystals, which can be used to buy, and later upgrade, a few pieces of gear.  This is really your only daily.  And no, any apexis crystals you have saved up in your bank from BC do not count, mine are still in my bank and can not be spent like that.  Ah shucks.

However, there are some other dailies but only if you build the inn / tavern.  You will get two travelers visiting each day giving you daily dungeon quests.  You might notice some of the names of the visitors because we have all seen them while questing.  These can be fun one time things because they all give you little goodies for completing them but sadly like everything else this expansion these quests are one hit wonders, once you do them it is really not worth doing them again because you already would have the goodie they offer.

Now for non daily quests.  Sometimes you will have a quest pop up, once a week I believe, I have not been around longer to try it much, and it will send you on a quest line somewhere in the world.  I've done two so far and the second one gave me a mole machine that automatically brings me to gorgrond, which is kind of cool.  I am guessing there might be some other quest lines that pop up in time but I can not say for sure until I see them.

There are also quests for invasions which is another topic so lets get to it.


Not sure if it is just a beta thing or if it will hit this way live (I sure hope it does) but you can do invasions of your garrison over and over.  Invasions can be sort of fun and even more fun if you can do it with friends.  You get some apexis crystals for completing them and the better you do and more bonus objectives you complete the more you get.  You can get bronze, silver and gold medals for competing them and turn them in for rewards.

This could be a fair way to gather some apexis crystals if that is your sort of thing, or a way to waste some time.  There are many objectives in it, but most are just the simple score 200 points, score 500 points, so forth and so on.  You will have NPCs get injured that you can heal by clicking on them.  There will be someone trying to rob your mine that you have to stop, there will be buildings you have to try to keep from getting set on fire, large mobs, small mobs, many mobs, just handle it.

Of course, like with anything else in game, there are many achievements tied to these invasions so I know I will be doing them for those and it could take me a while to get them all, depending on gear acquisition of course and if I can get some friends to help me.

Your followers are all there helping you, so it makes sense to level them all up so they are better at defending your garrison.  Also getting them gear will be really important too.  The better geared they are the better they can defend.  And even at low levels they are not just your basic useless NPCs.  They really do help and they can really handle mobs on their own.  So if planned correctly you can have them protect the gate while you stop the guy trying to rob your mine.

There is a lot of seemingly real interaction in garrisons that show they put a lot of work into them and invasions are no different.  From some of your followers ushering out civilians when the battle starts, to multiple events going on at once, to your crew working on their own and actually being useful doing so.  Invasions are very well written, and at least while new, pretty fun to do.


Followers are people that hang around your garrison but are under your direct control.  People who have pledged themselves to your service.  Just like you can get books to trade for blueprints while questing you get the vast majority of your followers through questing as well, even more so if you do not have an inn.  So it is worth questing to get them.

If you have the inn you can recruit one follower a week from there and random followers show up each week to choose from.  In this current beta the follower recruitment screen seems to be broken and is only showing one follower whom I can not recruit.  In previous builds it would show 3 followers and I could choose to recruit one.  I am going to say that is the way it is intended to work and it is just currently broken, but who can say for sure at the moment.

Some followers, like good old leeroy jenkins can be attained through achievements and as you might guess the achievement to get him is tied to the new upper blackrock spire remake which has a new achievement for him.  Other followers, like nat pagle, require you to do a long quest line to get them and meet certain requirements before you even know about them such as having a fishing shack of level 3 and max fishing before you even can consider starting the quest line for good old nat, my best friend, who seems to have forgotten me.  But I guess it is fair, even if he was my best friend from last expansion I never even knew he was a marksmen hunter.  So maybe he is mad at me and that is why I need to once again win him over like I have in multiple expansions now.

Each follower has their own strengths and weaknesses.  Some followers preform better when on solo missions, some work better with a dwarf in the group, some like missions in grassland.  Each follower has their unique set of abilities and likes and using them for the right missions increases their chances of success.

Your followers with their unique set of abilities make up for a team that you send out for special missions directly.  You are the commander and they are your troops.  You can only have 20 followers, 25 if you have a level 3 barracks, but you can dismiss them without worry.  Even the followers you let go you can get back so don't fret, at least that is how it seems on beta and I sure hope that makes it live.  I dread the idea of dismissing someone I find out I would want later on and having no way to get them back.  So I am glad they put that in on the last build, lets just hope it makes it to live.

Your followers start at or near the level of the zone in which you pick them up in.  So for example the first followers you will get will be level 90.  When you level them up to level 100 they will be able to equip items but not the same type of items we use.  They are simply known as follower weapon and follower armor.  You can get things, mostly through the salvage yard (so far that is the only consistent place I have found) and missions that can be used to upgrade them.  Things like +2 or +4 to weapon or 615 armor set.

So now that we know how to get followers and how to equip them, how do we level them.  Lets take a look at missions.


Now this is the central focus of what your followers are for.  You will level them through missions and your missions will get you a lot of good things.  The number one thing missions give you is experience for your followers to level but that is not it.

You can get things from missions that upgrade your followers weapons or armor.  You can get other followers from missions.  You can gain conquest points through missions.  You can get gold from missions.  You can get fun toys through missions.  You can even get armor for yourself through missions and who would not like getting a 630 piece really early on.

Missions seem to range from 30 minutes to 16 hours long.  Of course the longer the mission the better the reward as you might expect but also the harder the mission will be to complete.  If you are active early on with lots of those short missions you can level up your followers in a reasonable amount of time.  If you are once a day person it will take a bit longer of course.

Each mission it will show you were you are going and what you are doing.  If you have a follower that is good vs orges and the mission requires you to kill orges it will greatly increase your chances at a successful mission.  Some missions need multiple followers to go on them and having followers that not only match up against the mission they are going on, like someone with beast slaying going against beasts, it will also increase the chance of success if the group works well together.  So if you pair someone that works better with dwarves with a dwarf it will increase the chance of success.

I know that all seems a little over whelming because you need to factor in what you are facing, the class they are playing to counter it, the area it is so you can pick who fights well in that area, and the personal traits of the follower to get the maximum chance at success but it really isn't.

When a follower is good at something it will tell you that, you do not need to go figure it out all on your own.  Things like people who prefer to be alone or like to work with dwarves however you need to figure out on your own by looking at them but the system tells you, very visually so you can not miss it, who is the best person to send on the mission.  So it will not be as hard as it sounds.  And even in failure, your followers will still get some experience.  So even in the worse case, you still win.  You just do not get the objective loot.

Home Is Where The Hearth Is:

One last thing before I leave this post.  When you first get your garrison, you will get a garrison hearthstone, effectively it will be to get you back here and work as a second hearthstone.  When your garrison reaches level 3 you will have a tower that you can teleport directly to your new faction hub near ashran, which means your garrison hearth works like a second hearth truly.  It not only gets you to your garrison, but with a few steps it gets you too your city hub which in turn has teleports to every major city.  So this frees up your actual hearthstone to use anywhere.  Kind of cool right?

Well, there is a more to it, a lot more really.  More things you can win, other things you can do, more people to see, follower to, ah, follow you, but this is the basic idea behind garrisons.  If you are anything like me, this will be your home.  It is the only feature to be added this expansion and even if it has a lot less than it did when we first heard about it it sure is still very well done.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Random Beta Thoughts

- Before I get to beta thoughts I need to spend a few moments venting about live.

- I killed garrosh twice again this week and still no heirlooms.

- For the first time ever I did see a lot fall however.

- First kill 2 out of 10 got one, second kill 5 out of 10 got one.

- Is that insane, 5 people got an heirloom.

- I have killed garrosh a bunch, in flex, normal and heroic and never saw a heirloom.

- Someone in guild got their 5th this week.

- Someone that a guild member knows got his 23rd this week.

- Sorry but the random is random thing does not work with me.

- Blizzard needs are better loot system.

- Now to beta.

- If you read my post about night elf models there was a beta being beta issue with it.

- Night elves do not run with their arms at their side, as I said in the post.

- Was just beta being beta.

- But now with their arms swinging I am thinking maybe they would have been better staying at their sides.

- Just too darn bouncy for a male night elf if you ask me.

- I started leveling another character because I wanted to test things more.

- Also figured I would like to see how the leveling flow was on a lesser geared character.

- And how it was on a character I was lesser skilled on.

- So my rogue it was with his lesser gear and my lesser skill, but at least he has the cloak.

- Note:  If you have the cloak you do not even need gear in the first zone.

- Seriously, I am not kidding.

- My cloak was killing things before I had a chance to kill them.

- Guess my idea of bringing over a lesser geared character to see how they did is not actually going to work if they still have the cloak.

- Either way, still gives me a chance to test 2 more professions.

- Note:  The cloak works up until 100 but does not proc at all at 100.

- I also found that one of the items I found a good use for many times in mists does not work any longer.

- The dagger you use to kill yourself that you get from that one rare in the cave on the isle of thunder (name escapes me at the moment) doesn't work if you are level 91 or over.

- Damn, it would have been a super awesome tool for exploration.

- That is probably why they disabled it.

- So I have completed every quest that isn't bugged, every quest event that isn't bugged, basically everything in the game that isn't bugged.

- Not counting group content of course.

- But it is sad that I finished all there is to do that quickly.

- But it is good, because it allowed me to notice some things I think blizzard should know.

- And of course I am just the elf to tell them about it.

- Having rare mobs that are only rare to you once is a bad idea, no repeatability.

- Having quest events that are one time only things is a bad idea, no repeatability.

- Having activated events (like the brew guy) only reward you once is a bad idea, no repeatability.

- Basically, everything at max level is do it once and then you have nothing to do.

- Bad bad bad idea blizzard.

- People like rare hunting because they are looking for something.

- If you give it to people right away and the mob is no longer rare there is no reason to ever kill it again.

- It also takes away what is easily 100s of hours of game play, for me and many many others.

- How much time have you spent rare hunting?

- Well, gone are the days of that in this expansion, kill it once, get your goodie, no need to ever kill it again because you get nothing from it that a normal mob would not give you.

- My advice to blizzard was this, keep it giving the drop guaranteed like it is now but keep the rare tag on it and allow it, after the first kill, to have a percentage based drop of some other goodie, a BoE version of the BoP one you got the first time, or basically anything you can think of that makes it worth killing again.

- Have it drop small bag of goods at a low clip, and big bag of good at a very low drop, like in mists, because they helps rare hunting.

- Basically the reason rares were so hugely successful in mists was because people wanted to kill them over and over.

- In warlords you made millions of rares (or so it seems) but there is no reason to kill any of them more than once.

- Bad choice.

- When you finish loremaster for a zone you get something in the mail that you use to learn it and it puts treasure chests on your maps.

- Not all the zones seem to have these yet, or it is bugged.

- The two zones I did get it on, talador and nagrand, I went and got all the treasure chests.

- I did nagrand first.

- This kept be busy for the better part of sunday really.

- Lots of running around and some thinking involved.

- Don't worry, I am sure someone will post a guide so no one hurts themselves trying to figure out how to get these.

- But if I could figure them all out on my own I have no doubt anyone else could.

- I got them all, save one, because it seems bugged and is not there.

- There is no place above or below where it could be, and I checked everywhere, so I can safely say it is not there at all.

- Most likely a beta is beta bug.

- All the others are there, and some are amazingly hard to get to.

- Some require a lot of work to get to.

- Some involved some skill to get to.

- And the one that really bugged the heck out of me was so far away and I missed it 4 times.

- I found a goblin willing to allow me to borrow his glider up a mountain side.

- I jumped on the glider and went flying down trying to crash into a tree yet I kept missing it.

- You ever notice the only time you hit a tree with your glider is when you are trying to avoid it but when you want to hit it, you can't.

- Murphys law.

- Worst part is, where I landed was so far away it took forever to get back to him.

- BTW, nagrand is the one zone that is large, nicely sized.

- Smart move if you ask me, this is the max level zone, it should be the largest one.

- If only all the zones were this big it would be nice.

- I managed to get into the tree and get the treasure.

- That was not the hardest one to get, but it was the most annoying.

- I am completely dreading having to do this again when it goes live.

- It was not fun even in the slightest and I can not believe there would be anyone in the world that would say it was.

- What is blizzard thinking?

- The hardest was one on a wall where I needed to use a little creative walk jumping to get to.

- When showing a friend how to get it I manged to do it the first time and made it look easy, but it wasn't.

- The jump has to be perfectly timed.

- It took me a long while when I first did it, was really amazed I got back up there so easily the second time.

- I saw dozens of people running by me trying to get up there and every single one completely missed where you needed to climb up.

- I was amazed there are this many new players to the game.

- It is the only explanation because any older players would have immediately found where to climb up like I did.

- But getting up was half the problem, that jump needed perfection.

- My friend never got it, I told him to die and I just used mass rez and got him up there that way.

- A level 603 2 handed sword that looks freaking awesome.

- Too bad neither of us could use it.

- After I finished nagrand I went to talador and talador did not have as much effort put into it as nagrand.

- Nagrand ones took thinking, planning, looking, most of talador treasure were just easily found laying somewhere that did not take much effort to get to.

- You can tell blizzard designers put a lot of effort into the treasure in nagrand but it looks like they just threw them on the floor anywhere in talador.

- I ran into Hemet, in nagrand of course, where else would he be.

- I love that guy, hunter extraordinaire.

- Doesn't seem too happy being there however.

- I'll let you find him and talk to him to find out why.

- I ran into the mother of all rare mobs while doing treasure collecting in nagrand.

- It had 43 million life and was at the bottom of the ocean.

- And he could not be baited to come up.

- And even if you hit him at ranged and got really far away, he could still hit you.

- Not sure if that is a bug.

- He is also surrounded by level 100 and 101 elites.

- So he will not be an easy kill for sure.

- To give you a concept of how hard he is to kill, the world bosses have less health than he does.

- Yeah, that hard.

- More health than a world boss, under water, surrounded by strong elites.

- This guy will need a raid group.

- Tried to 2 man him.

- Did not go very well.

- So I did all the quests I could, found all the treasures I could, killed all the rares I could.

- All that is left are the dungeons and raids because the expansion has nothing else to offer.

- We need daily hubs, big time.

- Blizzard is over compensating from mists where people back lashed against dailies.

- Word to the wise for blizzard, being they missed it.

- People where not upset with the dailies, they did not hate the dailies, they just hated you gated things behind the dailies.

- If you add dailies and they are 100 percent optional, people will do them as a form of content when they are looking for something to do.

- People wanted you to remove the daily gating, not remove the dailies.

- Sometimes I think the people at blizzard take stupid pills every morning.

- With all that said...

- There is no reason to go out in the world once you do any of those things like completing loremaster, killing rares, collecting treasures, etc, because as I said, there is no repeatability anywhere.

- So warlords, unless they add a hell of a lot more to it, is sit in your garrison, or a city, and queue for stuff.

- Way to move backwards in game design blizzard.

- Congrats on destroying a great franchise.

- I loved that mists never gave me any reason to stay in a city, there was always some reason to be out in the world.

- Gone are those days. :(

- Beta is beta, lets hope they add something to do, change how rares work, add some dailies, something.

- There are other things I could do, but I would not grind them on beta, like the goblin faction reputation.

- Over all, there is not much to offer in this expansion.

- You know all that bag space they opened up for us?

- Well it was nice, when I first logged in.

- Now I have less bag space than I ever had before.

- Blizzard added too much crap to the game.

- And the trading post supplies do not stack, really?

- And the garrison follower upgrade items do not stack, really?

- I have nearly 2 royal satchels filled with that stuff.

- At least when I get a follower to 100 I can use some of it.

- But why pour so much junk into our bags, and make none of it stack?

- They could give me all 100 slots bags and I would probably fill them.

- Can't believe I have only been in the beta 2 weeks, not really going all out or anything, and I am already out of space.

- I do not want to see what will happen on live after I have been playing for a few months.

- LFR did open up so I figured I would give it a try.

- Zoned in on a boss with 7 stacks of determination.

- We wiped and the bosses health did not even budge, it was healing more than the damage we were doing.

- In a couple of attempts we finally got the grove on and started to damage it.

- But we could not do enough damage to kill it.

- We were killed by the enrage timer.

- Even our best attempt we were not close.

- But if there was no enrage we would have done it.

- A least half the raid was wearing a hellscreams downfall title so I would guess these were at the very least competent or capable people.

- And we still could not even get close to downing the boss.

- And LFR is supposed to be easier this expansion?

- Beta is beta, but this is really your first attempt at super easy LFR?

- When mostly heroic raiders can not down an LFR boss there is, without a doubt, major tuning issues here.

- Group fell apart and we never downed it.

- It was not a hard fight, easily really, and even not knowing about it picking up on it was no problem, kill adds, interrupt what you can, win.

- Not as easy as it sounds.

- I hope they give the level 100 mobs loot tables.

- If it goes live that all the mobs in the daily (the one we have) zone drop nothing except the rare crystal here or there, I see a major outrage coming.

- I did write blizzard and tell them, people like to loot stuff, even if they give them a standard junk only loot table with a few silver here and there they need to drop something.

- You can not ask us to kill all these mobs every day, and be really hard at fresh 100 item level, and they all drop nothing.

- Some of these zones I really feel bad for a fresh 100 that is not very good at their class.

- They are strong mobs, they are cluttered in huge packs sometimes, and there are many stronger or elite ones running around.

- Some areas are elite only.

- I see a lot of people dying a brutal death doing these dailies.

- Replaced all my SoO gear already, except my cloak.

- Did I mention the cloak no longer procs at 100, but it still has awesome stats.

- Every time I get a piece of gear with versatility on it I want to punch a blizzard employee.

- Not because I am angry, but because they deserve it for letting that stat get into the game.

- Seriously, how F'N useless of a stat is this.

- They really think this is a good idea?

- It should never be on any gear a hunter would wear, get it off my gear now blizzard.

- I feel dirty wearing gear with versatility on it.

- I feel like a noob hunter that rolls on resto shaman gear while wearing anything with versatility on it.

- It is wasted stat allotment.

- I swear I am going to put a bug report in on live whenever I get a piece of gear with versatility on it.

- Dear Blizzard, I found a piece of hunter gear that is bugged, it has a useless stat on it for a hunter named versatility, please fix.

- It is as useless as bonus armor or spirit on my gear, get it off my gear now.

- Your gear is basically one stat gear if you get a piece with versatility on it.

- We need reforging back blizzard and it should be a 100% change of a stat now.

- Really, just do it blizzard.

- Actually I dare you to do it so I can prove my point.

- When everyone in the entire game changes all their versatility to another actually useful and performance enhancing stat maybe you will realize how useless of a stat it is.

- Then you can use all that data you keep saying you collect to see that no one in the game has any versatility on their gear and you can remove it.

- Who the hell came up with this useless stat idea?

- And even worse, who the hell in their right mind allowed it to be put in the game?

- Does anyone at blizzard stand up and say something when someone comes up with these horrible ideas or are they all yes men?

- No need to answer that, we all know the answer.

- So now that I am done with everything (not group related or waiting on quests to pop up) that there is to do in the game through testing I can tell you the expansion has nothing to offer outside of garrisons.

- But I do like garrisons even if I did expect more.

- Not like they can keep me playing for more then a few minutes a day mind you, but I do like them.

- I plan to make a full post on garrisons later this week.

- Lots of little things to like about it.

- I still have not tested dungeons yet.

- Because to me the game needs to interest me on a personal level, group content is just for the sake of doing it.

- Outside of gear the game needs to offer me something if it wants me to do group content.

- And right now, with mass disconnections and lag, even for testing purposes, doing dungeons is not worth it right now.

- When it comes to live it will be different, we will need to do dungeons to gear up, and there should be no lag.

- But did I mentioned, there is no reason to really do group content either?

- Once you have gear from dungeons or LFR there is no reason to touch them with a 10 foot pole.

- There is no valor any longer, so no need to do stuff to build valor.

- There is no justice any longer, so no need to spam dungeons to get justice to buy heirlooms or convert to honor.

- So dungeons offer nothing except gear which means as soon as you get gear there is never a reason to do them.

- There are no motivating factors to get you into dungeons.

- To reward us with gold?

- I would sooner spend an hour on the auction house and make 100 times the amount doing one dungeon would net me.

- At least now you would do dungeons for some valor, or justice maybe.

- Now there is no reason to do them.

- So now if you queue up for a mists dungeon you will get a tank that will chain pull, because he can, or me who could solo it and does not need anyone, because I can, or many others that just make the run fast and smooth and fun.

- We do it for valor, that is our motivating factor.

- Without that do you know the only people you will ever see in dungeons.

- The people that need the gear from there.

- You are aware if you make a group of only people that need gear from a mists dungeon, it still could be somewhat of a challenge.

- Even more so if they are not even remotely skilled.

- But that is what it will be like, only people that need the gear in dungeons.

- Because there is no reason to go anywhere near them otherwise with no actual reward from them.

- No valor grinding means no need to touch dungeons after the first week of release on my main.

- Bad move blizzard, really bad move.

- So nothing to do at max level solo, nothing to do at max level as a group once you have gear, makes you wonder, do they want people to unsubscribe?

- We are less than 3 months away and they are not looking like they have even considered what people are going to do at max level yet.

- Because there is nothing to do at max level.

- I am not being grumpy, I am not being negative, I am being 100% honest here.

- They need to add content for max level, content that has replayability, content worth doing.

- Lets hope they pick up the production pace and add a hell of a lot of stuff.

- Otherwise I would not be surprised to see them lose another 2M subscribers over the life of warlords.

- I read some treads on a few forums asking, what do I do at 100.

- I would say, hang out in the garrison, that is all there is to do.

- Or better yet, log out and find something else to do.

- Lets hope blizzard reads those types of posts and notices they have their work cut out for them instead of just dismissing them as "haters gonna hate".

- The people complaining there is nothing to do at 100 are telling you what is wrong with the game blizzard, stop dismissing them as if their concerns do not matter.

- People are complaining because blizzard completely forgot to add any real lasting content to their new content.

- Garrisons post will be coming this week.

- What I call the main bright spot of this expansion.

- Have a great day.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Male Night Elves, Female Tauren and Hunters in General

So a new patch was released on the beta last night that gave us, among other things, many new character models to play with.  Two of those character models are of particular importance to me because as luck would have it the two characters I am playing on the beta at the moment are a male night elf and a female tauren.  So needless to say I was happy to see the character models for not one but both of my hunters.  Yes, they are both hunters.

First up I have to say that unlike most people who are complaining about their characters not looking like their characters I am pleased to announce that my night elf actually looks like my night elf.  Sure there are some minor differences but there is no doubt that this is the same character I have been playing for years.  Just in higher detail.  I must admit I still wonder why the detail is needed.  I am always wearing boots, so are having actual toes really needed?  Either way, when it comes to looks I was pleasantly surprised by the male night elf model.

I had not known what to expect because we have not seen an artcraft on the male night elf.  No one could have even guessed that they would be included in the next patch of character models because no one even knew that they existed yet.

Just like anyone else would do, even someone like me that is not all that interested in the character model redesigns, I took a nice close look at my character.  I had to check, I had to make sure if he was the same character I have been playing all these years.  I was worried.  My night elf could have ended up looking like anything and seeing some of the other character models like the male human and his shrek imitation , or the female human and her children of the damned look, or the female troll and their crack head street hooker look.  Night elves could have ended up being anything and I was not expecting much.

Needless to say I was surprised that they were done so well, at least as I saw it.  I am sure some people will have problems with it.  If they do not have any faces that look close enough to what their look was before they will complain, and rightfully so.  I just got lucky that it made my ugly as sin night elf a little less ugly.  But still ugly none the less.  No one ever said that they would see a night elf on the cover of GQ magazine after all, they are not quite what anyone in their right mind would call attractive and I am actually fine with the idea that they still aren't.

I do have one problem with the remodel however, one really big problem with the male night elf characters and it has nothing what so ever to do with the new character models themselves.  Well, at least not the looks of the new character models.

The way it runs is horrible.  He runs as if he just took a dump in his pants and is trying to hold it in while running to the bathroom.  Then his legs loop out a really unnatural amount and he runs basically with his hands at his sides almost.  Please blizzard, give us back the normal run animation.  You know, the one that looks like a person running instead of trying to make it too the bathroom.  The male night elf runs like a 13 year old girl trying to make it to the bathroom in time.  It is sad, beyond sad even.

While the remodels mean nothing to me the way my character moves means a LOT to me.  I would rather they keep the old models with the old run animation than the new model with the new run even if the new models do look great.  Movement matters more than looks to me.  Always has and always will and it looks like they completely destroyed the movement of male night elves.

Now to my female tauren hunter.  We had seen images of them a long time ago.  If I am remembering correctly they are one of the earliest ones we saw after blizzcon had released the first few.  I honestly thought they had already added the female tauren models.  I mean she did look better than on live.  I figured maybe it was just not all that noticeable.  See, if that does not prove how little the character models mean to me I am not sure what will.

But after the patch when I logged in to my female tauren and took a close look I would have to say she is beautiful.  Okay, not exactly sure how a tauren could be beautiful, but she sure is compared to what she used to look like.  The facial details show that she is one the of the earlier ones done, it really is great when you look close up.  She always had this slightly funky look about her but now it doesn't really look funky any longer, it actually looks believable, or should that be believabull.

Unlike my night elf that suffers from a constant need to go potty the female taurens moves actually feel better than they did before.  More fluid, but still a little lumbering which is a problem with taurens because of their size to begin with, but definitely better.  I did not play around with her much last night because of "beta being beta" but from what I saw I have no complaints about the female tauren model.  It looks good, it moves good, and it is good.

Now to hunters in general and another series of nerfs that came down the pipe.  I am just getting a little tired of this.  Hunters are not only being abused, it is a flat out joke now.  From all the reports you hear from people testing things out, top hunters out there, hunters are dead last in DPS.  Hunters are barely beating the tanks and sometimes not even beating them.  Hunters are doing 1/3 of the damage that top specs are doing.  If there is a fight that a mage is doing 90K on the hunter could be pushing 30K, maybe, if they get lucky and play perfect.  Why nerf hunters?  I fail to see the logic of making the worst class out there and making it worse.

I like to try to hold out a little bit of hope and keep thinking "this is beta" but with gap like that and them doing tuning now you would think that the classes near the bottom would be getting constant buffs to get them up to par or the ones at the top would be getting constant nerfs to get them down to earth but it is not working that way.  The top specs are getting some trade offs, to balance their numbers, win some lose some, or even worse, straight out buffs, all while hunters keep seeing their numbers go down.

I am hoping that they are just balancing things out and then going to lift the entire spec all at once after they balanced out how the abilities interact with each other numbers wise.  Kind of how they used to boost us as a whole just by giving us a hawk buff.  Something that boosts the entire spec as a whole.  Right now that is the only thing that keeps me from raging.  They are balancing the abilities, then going to lift them all up at once.  I least that is what I am holding out hope for.

As far as the specs go, and I have played all three now, there really is no question about it.  Hunters are a one trick pony.  We only have one spec.  Do not even consider survival or marksmen.  It is beast mastery or you are doing it wrong.  Sad really.  Mists was amazing for hunters.  Even if there was always a bad spec (read marks) all three could be used unless you were a min max sort of player trying to squeeze every last ounce of the class.  Now MM and SV are not even an option because it is not like "okay I will do 5% less because I like this spec", the hunter specs are not that close.  Beast mastery is in the penthouse of a hundred floor building and marks and survival are hanging out in the lobby in both numbers and play style.

Survival review.

Survival really feels like it is lacking in the one department it had become known to be good at, trash AoE, and in terms of questing, quest AoE.  Survival was a great questing spec, even better than beast mastery in my opinion, because of their AoE.  You could round up a dozen or so mobs, misdirect, drop a few multi shots on it, and then go about gathering stuff you need to pick up for the quests while your serpent spread killed the mobs but it does not work that way any longer.  The multi shot serpent spread has no teeth to it any longer and in the recent patch they lowered the damage of serpent sting which will only make it worse than it already is.

The other problem with survival right now as I see it is that there is no big damage dealer, no execute, no big move, we just start chipping away at the mob and keep chipping away at the mob.  If you attack a rare and want some burst, not going to happen as survival.  Stacking explosive shots for burst really does not work because explosive shot hits like a wet towel to begin with, so hitting 5 times with a wet towel is not going to make it any better.  It might bruise the rare, but it surely is not going to hurt him.

So no burst, no big number ability, neutered AoE and no execute ability leave survival extremely lacking and completely unfun to play.

Marksman review.

For a while there I was so excited about marksmen because it seemed like it would be the spec to play.  It was always my favorite hunter spec and I have not really been able to play it, except for PvP, since firelands.  With the change to their rotation and the change to their mastery they have went from a class that was not played because it was bad, to a class that might have potential, to a class I would not play even if you were playing it for me.  Yes, it is that bad.  It does bad damage, has a boring rotation, is clunky as hell, and is counter intuitive to the way the class should play.

The spec in the current form is, quite frankly, unplayable.  Not even taking into the fact that it does bad damage even for a class that already had bad damage to begin with the spec just does not have any heart to it.  The abilities do not feel like they are working together when you play it, it feels like they are all working against each other.  Like the days when chimera would refresh serpent sting when only marks could do it, or the double steady shot would give you a speed boost, or the stacks of steady could give you a free aimed, when things actually worked with each other, now all the abilities seem to fight against each other.  No doing chimera to help your sting, no doing steady to give you a free aimed, nothing were one ability works with another ability.  All throughout the history of hunters marks had always had the most interaction with its abilities, where one ability helped the other ability and it does not have that any longer.  It does not have its heart any longer.

Each ability works for itself and itself only and they are all fighting against each other for their shot at the spotlight for when you will hit it.  None of them even stand out because of long cast times, large focus costs, and situational damage, perhaps if they would add back something like piercing shots, or give us serpent sting back and let chimera refresh it, which with the cleave of it would be cool to refresh it on two at once (back in the day keeping two stings running used to be a skill), and maybe change the mastery straight out, they could give marks back some life, but as it stands it is a dead spec, a boring spec, and as I mentioned, an unplayable spec.

With no instant focus dumps, no proc or stack to react to or look out for, long cast time abilities, no interaction between abilities, and the need to stand still for a class that is built and balanced around being able to move it just does not feel natural.

Beast Mastery.

The beginner spec, that is what it is refereed to as by many because you can have your pet do most of the heavy lifting.  For someone that never played this type of game a beast mastery hunter is the best first class to try it out.  That is partly because it has always been a pretty straight forward spec.  Even if they have completely dismantled survival and left it with no power and twisted and turned around marksmen so it doesn't even know what it is supposed to do any longer, beast mastery remains beast mastery, the straight forward spec.

It is the spec that lost the least by the wholesale stripping of abilities and it shows.  The spec still plays basically the same way you are used to playing it now if you play it.  Unlike survival it still has nice burst moments with beast mastery should you need it and an execute with the no focus cost kill shot when the mobs are low so it does not suffer from survivals lack of power.  While it has never been overly interactive with its own abilities like marksmen, it now has one more of those abilities than marksmen, which used to be built around that sort of game play, in the from of focus fire ability.  So it stays itself and has what survival needs and what marksmen needs.

Sadly for those that wish to play other specs but I must be the bearer of bad news, this is the only spec worth playing now.  Gone are the days of mists where you could be any spec you want and only needed to be beast mastery if you wanted to be uber leet.  Now you need to be beast mastery if you want to beat the tank.

And that is the over all sad part of this whole review.  The best hunters can do right now is to try and not finish behind the tank in damage done.  They need a lift, a pretty big one.  As a pure DPS class with no raid utility (no fox does not count because it is so situational and will probably be used rarely if ever by most groups) if hunters are not near the top of the charts, they have no chance of raiding.  And if this keeps up with mages and shaman and other doing triple the damage a hunter can do, be prepared to ride the bench.

I would like to see our numbers boosted considerably.  Heck, more than considerably.  To get things in line with where we should be we need to get an indecent increase, an out of line increase, an absurd increase, and we would need to have survival given back some power and marksmen given back some heart (make piercing shots the mastery and bring back double steady's and aimed procs, please, thank you).

There is still some time for us hunters, but it is running out, and it seems the developers are completely and totally blind, because they do not see the sad state hunters are in and as proof to that, in the last patch all we received were nerfs.  How do you nerf one of the worst damage dealing classes?  Not asking to be number one, just don't want to play a pure that can't even beat a tank.  So we now wait for the next tuning patch.  Maybe they won't nerf us again.