Friday, January 27, 2012

Force Lightning

After tinkering with a Sith Juggernaut for 25 levels, I'm giving Sith Asassin a go. I get that there is not all that much in the moveis to go on in terms of offensive force powers, but I think it's pretty funny that the majority of my abilities are variations on Force Lightning. Force Lightning channeled, Force Lightning instant, Force Lightning stun, Force Lightning crowd control, Force Lightning imbued into my lightsaber. I'm only level 11, but I really want to see how far they take this.

I'm reminded of the first Jedi Knight game [Dark Forces II]. The final dark side ability a player could learn in this game was called "Force Destruction"-- a spherical, red and black fireball-esque projectile. This might seem silly now, but remember that this game was released in 1997, before any of the prequel trilogy existed, when evil force users were referred to as "Dark Jedi" and the Emperor shooting lightning from his hands was the latest in a string of seemingly escalating force powers demonstrated by the films. In 1997, "Force Destruction" was a reasonable extrapolation.

Cut to 2011 and all we really ended up with in three more films was more levatating and more lightning. Mind you, we've had boatloads of lightsaber escalation; double-bladed sabers, duel-wielding sabers, quad-wielding sabers. They put sabers into the hands of characters who had little business wielding a saber. [If a seventh movie is made they will need to resurrect Grand Moff Tarkin as a lightsaber who also sextuple-wields triple-bladed lightsabers.] But in the force powers department, just more levatating and more lightning.

Maybe my Sith Assassin will get the levitating stuff later on.

Friday, January 20, 2012

lolnerfs, again

So Dragon Soul is being progressively nerfed in a similar style to Icecrown. Fair enough.

Funny that I was just blogging about this very subject yesterday. I need to say that I think using the Firelands nerf as a comparison is a bit of a stretch-- as I wrote yesterday, my opinion is that the Firelands nerf came from a raiding paradigm-shift. That it helped with individual progression was a side-effect.

At last count the official QQ thread was at 133 pages. One hundred and thirty-three pages of people QQing, and other people QQing about the first group's QQing. I think the Internet has trained me well in recognising a pointless argument when I see one.

There really isn't anything to say that hasn't been said before:

-Difficulty in WoW is never, never, never static. You personally are nerfing the content every time you put on a gear upgrade. This is part of the game.

-If you are upset by the game supporting less competent players, even encouraging them to think they are competent, WoW is probably not the game for you any more.

Speaking of the above, it's worth remembering that Mists actually promises to bring us for the first time ever un-nerfable content in the form of Challenge Dungeons. I really don't think enough emphasis has been put onto this feature for the people who complain about PvE content nerfs.

I suppose for me personally this nerf is incidental. My raid has yet to hit any significant wall in progression. Madness took us a couple of weeks to kill. Heroic Morchok took us a couple more after that, with our first kill last weekend. If this nerf serves to make my raid progression more consistent, I'm fine with that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Raiding difficulty

In hindsight it's easy to see the design evolution.

In Cataclysm, Blizzard listened to the complaints from players that Wrath Heroic dungeons and raids were too easy. They gave us some really great, challenging-without-being-ovewhelming, Heroic-level dungeons. They gave us a raid tier we could really chew, each boss by itself a very satisfying challenge to overcome. It felt like a return to form, and to the days when raiding was respected as the highest challenge the game could offer.

Many, many players complained, having not the competence/resources/time to complete endgame content to a degree they were satisfied with. Blizzard responded to these complaints with the assurance that this was all a temporary problem that would only persist for the first tier of the expansion; that once the next tier was available, the previous tier would be made puggable.

It was a couple of months into the next tier when they noticed that puggers still preferred to live on the scraps of the current tier [Firelands trash runs] that complete their now-tailor-nerfed previous tier, no matter how retardedly easy it was. And so we had a very jarring mid-tier "design shift" to make the Firelands normal modes puggable and only the Heroic modes aimed at progression raiders. And this design continued into Dragon Soul; Heroic modes for the progression raiders, Normal modes for the PuGs and their helpful family-oriented guilds, and the LFR for the retards banging their heads on the keyboard and whingeing that they deserve everything a skilled played can get.

I can't say I'm completely happy with the current system, but that has more to do with LFR creating once again a system with multiple raid lockouts, so for the first few weeks of each tier, raiders are "forced" to do LFR in addition to their regular raid, every week, to maximise gearing opportunities-- the first time this has been necessary since Icecrown 10/25.

I'm sure Blizzard thought long and hard about whether the LFR and the "real" raid lockouts should be shared. If getting loot from the LFR version of a boss warrants locking a person out from receiving it a second time, surely the having rolled on the far superior normal mode loot is an even better excuse to lock a person out from taking loot..?

The conclusion which makes the most sense to me is that they see "forcing" raiders to carry incompetent players as a happy side-effect of keeping the lockouts separate. Because in Blizzard's view, causing competent players to make the game more fun for [carry] incompetent players is the best result possible.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trinkets, pretty trinkets

Skadi the Ruthless finally dropped his shiny drake for me the other day. Months of farming = worth it.

On the other hand, I've been killing Anzu for about the last four years and haven't seen a god damn thing.

I take back what I said about Tyrande's Favourite Doll being useless. Decent healing trinkets are pretty hard to come by these days if you're not a raider [or haven't been since tier 11]. The healing trinkets from Firelands and DS are fantastic, but the designers seem really reluctant to provide anything decent in Heroics or as a Valor/rep reward. It's all rng haste procs, mastery, spell power and other stats which are not Intellect.

What I'm only just kind of realising is that trinkets are the slot for which item level is least relevant. For any other piece of armour or weapon, the item level directly dictates how much of your primary stat will appear, or the damage / spell power on the weapon; so 95% of the time higher ilevel is better. Trinkets are completely different in that they may not even have a primary stat on them [usually terrible], or may have a proc which blows anything else out of the water, even multiple tiers later.

For example, this weekend a fellow raider of mine was grumbling about how he still had to use DMC Volcano as he had yet to find a better trinket in three raiding tiers. I told him that's the epeen talking.

Tank trinkets for tier 13 are a really good example of this. The BiS pair from tier 12 were both excellent:
- static mastery with a below 35% melee hit absorb proc
- static dodge with an on-use 20% damage reduction absorb

This tier, we get:
- stamina with below-50% absorb proc*
- stamina with mastery proc
- mastery with dodge on-use
- pure stacking dodge

*can proc from incidental damage and thus the size of the bubble is subject to RNG

Even deciding what stats are worth having is debatable these days. Everyone knows how valuable getting to CTC is, but past that point opinion varies wildly. I've been regemming for Stamina past CTC, but there are still plenty of idiots who think that stamina is worthless for all tanks in all situations and are not afraid to voice this opinion as fact.

And I've yet to see a clear conclusion on the value of Mastery past CTC. The least dumb-sounding people on forums seem to have evidence that it's a two-roll system, which basically means that crit block gets pushed off the table along with regular block, so Mastery will only become less valuable the more avoidance we have past CTC.

What I think I'll do is gem for CTC with one Mastery trinket, probably Spindle because the below 35% bubble is fairly universal in its usefulness, and swap the other trinket depending on what the encounter requires.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You call this archaeology?

The mount collection continues. One hundred and seventeen, and counting.

Spent a bunch of time Archaeologising yesterday, turning the 50 or so Tolvir Heiroglyphs I'd collected from the AH over the last few months into six or seven Canopic Jars [which I would have been over the moon about if I'd gotten them back when I was an Alchemist] and a whole shitload of vendor trash. Sigh@ RNG.

But still, I've made some progress, and Tol'vir spawns should be significantly more frequent now that I have no Night Elf or Troll rares left to discover. Though I think I'll still wait and save up some more Heiroglyphs before I start on that grind again. Spending gold is far more efficient for me than spending time.

Zin'rokh and Tyrande's Favourite Doll were the aforementioned last two rares. These 359 epics were pretty hot shit about a year ago, but as of this current patch are only really useful for the first few Heroic dungeons on a fresh 85. I can only hope that they end up doing what they did for the level 60, 70 and 80 archaeology heirlooms and lower the level requirements so that they are not totally useless when this expansion is over.

Still, Zin'rokh is a pretty fucking cool model, and I look forward to an opportunity to transmog it. Hm... I wonder if it could be applied to heirloom gear. Do you need to be able to use an item to apply it as a transmog? Probably, I guess.