Friday, 30 September 2011

Assorted bits and pieces

Hey Hey all. Anyone out there? If you’re still reading, I’d love you to drop a comment or two just so I can be sure I’m not talking into thin air. Moving on to the business of the day, let’s take a quick break from our raiding guides to take a peek at what Blizz has been up to over the past few days.

First of all we had the Firelands nerfs. When I first read about this my reaction was somewhere along the lines of ‘WTF *** ***** *** **** ... (this went on for several minutes) ... ****** morons’. I was not pleased. After I cooled down a bit, and ranted at several people I knew, I took another look at the conundrum. Why exactly did this piss me off so much? The reasons are several:

·         This, from my perspective, partly invalidates any content I have not yet done. It’s now much easier than it was intended to be. It takes some of the fun out of it, but more on that later.

·         This is going to supercharge my guild’s progression. Before the nerf, we were sitting at 5/7 and were getting ready to hit domo. Now, we’re going to burn through the remaining content and get onto heroics, something which I wasn’t counting on happening for at least another month. The stuff is so easy now that there is no fun to be had in stopping for a few weeks to farm up gear, with a 15% nerf to heroic modes, that’s just not necessary, and there is absolutely no challenge left in the content. Speaking of Heroic modes...

·         WTF. HANDS OFF THE HORIC MODES. This is what shocked me more than anything else; although I think I can see the reasoning behind it. With the nerfs hitting the harder end of the normals, the jump between Normal rags and the heroic modes would have become too great. Guilds that would have normally just about reached rags, maybe even get him on farm, will now be hitting that point much sooner, and then have nothing to do, which would have led to a lot of qq further down the line. So, the reasoning is understandable considering we won’t be getting 4.3 till November.

·         The other point, and the one I suppose is the one I’m most iffy about, is that it invalidates content I’ve already done. I worked hard to down those bosses, the gear on my back is proof of my efforts regarding that, and now Blizzard is opening that up to a lot more people, who probably are less skilled. They are removing perceived value from my character, which is a big no-no in the MMO world. Now, I was OK with this at the end of 4.1, because I knew that the gear I was wearing was invalid anyway, the new stuff was all that now mattered. But this is happening halfway through a tier, and the gear is still a valid status symbol. Hence my irritation. In addition to that, I can see this perspective, and it also irritates me that other people can think this of me, when I start toting around my Heroic gear. Blizzard has removed a source of pride for me, and I resent them for it.

I waited to make this post until I had actually raided under their effect, and now I’m glad I did. I’ll tell you something, it is HORRIFIC. Worse than I imagined. To illustrate the point, an example: We started an hour late this Saturday. It took us an hour and a half to clear up to domo. Alysrazor is ridiculous now, on a side note. You can actually catch up with the twisters, I almost cried over all the effort we put in learning it only for this to happen. I did it while it was hard, just about, and I can be proud of that fact. Anyway, there we are, facing off against domo. Now, just ot be clear, we put in precisely one attempt on the boss the week before, wiping at 60% and then calling it a night. We one-shot it. I couldn’t even feel satisfaction at the kill. I simply felt bitter. Now, Domo isn’t exactly a hard fight, but one-shot? We then had over an hour left to attempt rags, and we got him down to 60%. I was actually pleased with that, because even with a 25% nerf, coordination and skill are required, those sons of flame still wipe your raid if you mess up. But I have no doubt that He’ll be falling over next week, and then we’re stuck with the heroic modes and 7/7 farms each week till 4.3. Shannox and Ryolith are pushovers now, or so I’m told by some of my friends who’ve experienced the content so far, but hopefully after those two we might be able to find a bit of challenge in our weekly foray into the Firelands, we’ll have to see. Overall, I’m not sure how to feel. This is certainly going to push our progression up a notch, which I suppose, is good, but I’m not sure I like the feeling that I’m getting handed this. I’m sure that the Heroic modes are still hard, and that they still require skill and coordination, but still, I’m left with the lingering feeling that I’ve been cheated. It’s not a nice feeling.

Anyway, we’ll have to look back at that in a week or two. Onto something infinitely more interesting, the motivation behind this change. The company line is that Blizzard looked at the rate of progression in Firelands, noticed it was a bit slow for their liking, and they nerfed it to speed things up. More likely, I think, is that this is a dry run for what they’re planning with the raid finder. If they don’t want this thing to crash and burn, they need 2 things, they need people to enter the thing geared, and they need to see the effect it has on the community for a tier to be puggable in the middle of a content arc. Hmmm. So they nerf T12N for this reason, and then nerf the Heroic to provide a progression outlet for the guilds whose progression got supercharged past Ragnaros. Suddenly this all makes a bit more sense. Anyhoo, speaking of the raid finder...

The raid finder. I’m going to be honest, I LOVE this idea. If it works, it will solve SO many problems. What I was happiest to hear was the way they’re now dealing with tokens. It all drops off raid bosses now. If I could hug blizzard I would. You’ll be able to get tokens out of the LFR, and there isn’t a lockout, so you can farm for your 4pc T12. The loot is going to below normal level loot, but the tier pieces can be mixed and matched. Offset pieces are now going to be sold for valour. Again, I approve. All my dreams have been answered. So, instead of farming 5-mans for tier, I can farm 25mans... 5 times the noobishness, 5 times the pain; or maybe not. We will have to see. I am hoping against hope until proven otherwise.

Finally, the mage T13. I think it looks awesome. It’s going to look extra awesome on my gnome. I’m gonna look sexy steam-punk awesome. More importantly, the set bonuses look really fun:

·         2P -- Your damaging spells have a 30% chance to grant Stolen Time, increasing your haste rating by 50 for 30 sec and stacking up to 10 times. When Arcane Power, Combustion, or Icy Veins expires, all stacks of Stolen Time are lost.

·         4P -- Each stack of Stolen Time also reduces the cooldown of Arcane Power by 3 sec, Combustion by 4 sec, and Icy Veins by 6 sec.

So a 10stack of stolen time is 500 haste rating, which is just under 4% haste. That’s nothing to be sniffed at. At 30% chance per cast, that’s gonna be 30-40 casts to build up a full stack, so you’re looking at 40-60 seconds of casting to build up a full stack. But wait, there’s a catch: when your major DPS cooldown expires, the stacks fall off. So, for fire that’s every 2 minutes, frost and arcane every 1.5 minutes. However, fire will also stack more slowly as it has a longer cast time on its primary nuke. Frost and arcane is going to be close, arcane casts faster, but has to interrupt to cast arcane missiles, frost has a LOT of procs going for it, which all count as casts. Opening up a fight as arcane with a hero burn just got more interesting, that’s going to stack up like nobody’s business. This probably pushes haste a bit further ahead of mastery for arcane in terms of weighting. The 4pc though, makes it even more interesting. Each stack gained reduces the cooldown on your primary nuke, up to a third of its normal cooldown. Obviously this is all still open to change; it’s only just on the PTR.

That’s all from me for now; I’ll be chucking up more raid guides soon.

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