Mar 042014
 

Blizzard has been doing data dumps of the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion recently and been releasing screenshots and answering questions. Here’s some stuff on one of the coming dungeons.

Warlords of Draenor Dungeon Screenshots!

One of the oft mentioned complaints by “we the fans” has been the lack of dungeons in Mists of Pandaria (and earlier.) Especially since there will be little or no new content coming in the several months before Warlords is released. So we’re left with repetitive dungeons (already been through them,)  leveling and gearing up alts, and PvP Season 15.

I think there will be a lot of suspended accounts till shortly before the expansion, but we’ll see. Anyway!

Screenshots of the first dungeon Bloodmaul Slag Mines have been released. This is one of seven dungeons that will be available when the expansion launches, with more to be added later.

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Feb 242014
 

According to Gamespot:

Blizzard has announced a new partnership with The esports Association (TeSPA) that will reward and support bigger, more active college gaming groups.

The Membership Milestone program will back groups in the TeSPA network with event funding, promotion opportunities, and unique in-game rewards for Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm . The bigger the gaming group gets, the more rewards Blizzard will fund.

via gamespot

Apparently the clubs don’t even have to be playing Blizzard games, they’re looking for gaming communities that are open to all gamers. So I guess we can assume this means video games from all consoles, as well as PC games, tabletop RPGs, board games (eg: Monoloply,) and so on?

There are also various prizes that will be awarded to the groups as they get bigger, such as a pizza party at 80 members. The list of awards can be seen here.

Seems like a pretty cool thing. I would have loved to have access to such an enhanced gaming club in my college days.

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Jan 272014
 

I’m going to start a series of “basic questions” posts here. If you’re an experienced WoW player, since, oh say… Vanilla, it’ll be too basic for you. Someone just starting out, on the other hand, is who these posts are targeted towards.

I’m also posting these on my G+ page, using the hastag: #basicwowtips. Feel free to add your own thoughts either here or there.

So How Long Does it take to level up?

Continue reading »

Dec 012013
 

One thing to note is that it’s the Warcraft movie, and not the World of Warcraft movie. Currently the release date seems to be for March ’16, but it’s already slid back at least once, so don’t count on that being the real date. The story will be about the first contact between Orcs and Humans. While the Orcs were the aggressors, invading the Human lands, they were also under demonic influence. Durotan and Lothar are the protagonists and it’s looking like there will be no read “bad guy,” other than the side opposite those of us who lean towards the other faction. Gamefront has a movie primer where this is discussed. Regarding the Orcs…

The movie may very well open with a scene from Durotan’s childhood — a scene in which he and his friend, Orgrim Doomhammer, are assaulted by an ogre while racing each other through a forest. The two are saved thanks to the intervention of a draenei hunting party, establishing Durotan’s sympathy for the race of people that the orcish horde would one day wipe off the face of the planet.

And the Humans…

How can Blizzard best introduce Anduin Lothar, a man who would go on to become regarded as one of the greatest warriors of all time? Perhaps by depicting the childhood incident in which he demonstrates martial prowess against trolls while on an adventure with his friends Prince Llane Wrynn and Medivh, thereby establishing three key characters in one scene. Wrynn will go on to become King during the First War, while the sorcerer Medivh will be the catalyst for this war.

Of course, this is all speculation, but it sounds like fun. Here’s the rest: Warcraft Movie Lore Primer They have a director, one Duncan Jones, who did Moon and Source code, both which I thought were pretty good. Hopefully he can do good things with this movie. More here: Duncan Jones Chooses Warcraft Over James Bond Writer Ian Fleming ScreenRant ran a piece a few months ago on some of the plans for the movie.

What’s clear at this point is that Jones isn’t going to make a dumbed-down blockbuster that’s totally friendly to mainstream audiences. He’s going big, here, and while that’s a huge risk with a general public that doesn’t frequently turn out for fantasy fare (Ringsand Harry Potter aside, among a few other exceptions), the payoff could be equally great. Contemporary fantasy movies rarely receive their due diligence while video game movies are typically seen as a joke, but it sounds like Jones intends on making the best film possible in both traditions, which is nothing if not exciting. Here’s the rest: Warcraft Movie Plot Details

More details were released at Blizon, though most of it is still under wraps.

… the film will be an “origin story,” focusing on the “first contact” between humans and Orcs. Iconic characters Anduin Lothar and Durotan from the original real-time strategy games will play major roles.

Jones stated that originally, the Warcraft film’s script was human and Alliance-centric. The team felt, however, that that wouldn’t have done justice to Warcraft’s other half: the Orcs and the Horde. “It’s about both sides,” said Jones, who wants the movie’s audience to be as sympathetic for the Orc heroes as the Human ones. “It’s going to be red and blue.” In other words, the Warcraft film will be about “being a hero no matter what side you’re on.”

Metzen remarked that this decision was made so that all Warcraft players can experience in the film the same balance between factions they enjoy in the games. “You have to be as empathetic for Orc heroes and their situation and why they’re doing what they’re doing as you are about anyone,” stated Jones. Pardo added: “the red side is characters too.” Durotan will represent the uncorrupted Orc nobility.

“To tell a story where you’re really, honestly telling it from both sides—especially a war film—is unusual,” Jones added. “The fact that we’re able to get an opportunity to do that is, on a story level, breaking a few barriers. I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of films with this structure.” More from GMA’s post: Warcraft movie reveals story, iconic characters, locales

IMDB.com has a page up for the movie, so far all of the cast members are “rumored.” Looks like Duncan joins, above, will also be a writer along with one Charles Leavitt. WoWwiki’s page also lists some of the crew and some background of the whole movie project. Colin Farrel is rumored to be playing one of the leads in the Warcraft Movie, but he has not confirmed this or released any details. He has admitted to reading the script, which he thought was awesome. More here.

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Nov 112013
 

IGN interviewed Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime about the future of WoW and the various other Blizzard franchises that we’re so fond of. Here are a few selected comments:

On creating new content and keeping the game accessible to new players, or returning players: “… I think maybe an unintended consequence of adding all of this content is that when you layer in complexity and add new things, the people who aren’t keeping up with all of that feel like they’re getting further and further behind.””

It can certainly be daunting for a new player. You step into this huge world with its tons of content and it’s easy to get lost. It’s nice to see that these things are appreciated. In WoW 6 there will be new quest tweaks which should make it easier to know where to go and what to do next. I’ve always appreciated having an older player help out when I started a new game, but it’s kinda hard to code tha into the system. :)

This Gnome's #1 Priority? More Gear!Setting priorities: “If I had to prioritize, it’s our active players at number one, our returning players at number two, and then probably third is players who, after nine years, haven’t tried it yet…”

You have to get the new blood in and then you have to figure out how to make them stick. Ditto the returning players. And then you have to keep your base or you’re just churning, going nowhere. Repeat customers are gold.

Going “Free to Play?” “.. I think the focus should be on accessibility, providing a free onramp to the game. But if you really want to play WoW for any length of time, I think we’ll stick with subscriptions.”

And the subs guarantee a reliable cash flow to pay for the new content. I’m fine with that.

How about those subscriptions? “ It’s pretty normal to see a spike with the launch of a new expansion. When there’s a period with not a lot of new content, we see that drop.”

Makes perfect sense. Anyone with a website will see a big bump in interest at an expansion launch and a decline preceeding it. Most of the Mists of Pandaria content has been released, so I expect things will slow for awhile until Warlords of Draenor gets close.

Heroes of the Storm? “We think that there’s enough room in the genre that everything doesn’t have to be exactly the same as everything else…”

The game will be free to play, but some heroes, skins, etc might well be sold. If Bliz does this right then I think they will carve out another nice little niche in the gaming market. There’s certainly enough love for the various characters.

Hearthstone is going Mobile, will WoW? “It’s something we talk about,” he admitted. “There’s probably an opportunity to have some type of connection to the world from mobile devices. I don’t think we’ve figured out exactly what that should look like. I don’t think consoles are necessarily our best opportunity for World of Warcraft. In terms of gameplay, our focus is going to stay on the PC, and then we’ll continue looking at ways you might be able to interact with the world from other devices.”

I just can’t see WoW going mobile, it’s just too complicated. Imagine doing a raid on a tablet with a wifi connection?

Well, maybe they’ll figure it out. It’s probably inevitable, in some form. And Blizzard has thought about it.

Here’s the whole interview

Warlord of Draenor Official Trailer

Nov 102013
 

WoW 6, aka Warlords of Draenor, has been announced at Blizcon. Lots of stuff has been flying around about all the new toys in the expansion and I’ve put together a few links to them here. So read on:

The new Orc model, better textures, face, hands, etc. WarlordsOfDraenor.com redirects to the Battle.net page for Warlords. That page covers most of the basics. You’ll see videos for the announcement and a couple of the starting zones.

Before the orcs first invaded Azeroth, the Iron Horde rose to dominate a historic age. Only the heroes of past and present still defy the warlords of Draenor. Through a refined, flexible questing system, you’ll meet storied heroes and villains in battle without slowing your exploration of a forbidding land. As you and your allies win victories, you’ll be duly rewarded—any quest can randomly award bonus rare or epic items. Stand beside legends. Break the tide of steel.

  • Garrosh Hellscream (remember him?) has escaped (surprised?) and is causing more trouble…
  • Also covered are the new character models, and the few (Orc, Dwarf, Gnome) that they already have. Nice improvement in the details, such as hands and hair. The Drwarves are a nice improvement and I think the gnomes don’t quite look right yet. ;)
  • Insta-level one alt to 90 once you have another character at 90. A custom series of quests will let you “train” that character.
  • Part of the point of the expansion is to block the Iron Horde from taking over everything and you will be able to build your own garrison to help do just that. Recruit followers to man and guard the thing and those followers will be able to run missions for you.
  • You will be able to meet a number of legendary characters on your way to 100  and your efforts to stop the that Horde.
  • “Draenor is a land of magma and metal, stone and steam. City-forges wrap her twin moons in smog, and wheels deform the earth…”  Sounds a bit like Mordor, but in reality it’s the old Outlands, before the more modern changes, when the Orcs and Draenei warred..

PvP

Once upon a time Alterac Valley wasn’t the five minute game it is now. It was a week long affair. Now…

Warlords of Draenor introduces a new world PvP zone off of the north east coast of Tanaan Jungle. This new experience involves a raging battle that has no distinct beginning or end—instead, it offers constantly evolving objectives for participants to take part in. There will be items to gather, creatures to summon, and tons of action on multiple levels. While you can enter the fray sooner than level 100, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew—enter at your own risk!

Looks like it’s being set up as a “constant war” sort of thing. Goals get tougher as you get close to the enemy base, so maybe if one side is dominant it won’t be the overwhelming dominance seen in some games. I trust Bliz to get that right, or pretty close. More here.

  • While you’re pondering all this you might want to get some alts leveled up

Dungeons and Raids

Believe it or note there will be new raids and dungeons added.

The new Dungeons are:

  • Bloodmaul Slag Mines
  • Blackrock Depot
  • Auchindoun
  • Arakkoa Spires
  • Shadowmoon Burial Grounds
  • Iron Barracks
  • Returning – Upper Blackrock Spire

New Raids:

  • Blackrock Foundry
  • Highmaul
  • World bosses

One of the new system tweaks will be to have a gearing tier below Heroic dungeons so that the heroics won’t be the first thing one jumps into at level 100. It’ll allow Bliz to make them a bit more difficult, which should please a few people and frustrate others.

There will also be added dungeon content as the expansion continues.

Raid Structure:

It looks like Blizzard is quite pleased with the Flex Raiding experiment in 5.4, so now they will expand on it, which should open things up to small guilds and more people. We shall see. The progressing will be Raid Finder to Normal to Heroic to Mythic.

Mythic is the only one that doesn’t flex, as Bliz feels it would be too much work to fine tune it to varying group sizes. It will be a riad for the best of the best.

  • Raid Finder 25 will become Raid Finder 10-25
  • Flex 10-25 becomes normal 10 to 25
  • Normal 10 and normal 25 become Heroic 10-25
  • Heroic 10 and 25 become Mythic 20.

See here for more on the new dungeons and raids, including loot changes and so on.

UI and Inventory Changes

The Quest log is going to be updated to make it easier to find where to go and what to do. It won’t be Zygor’s guide, but it’ll be an improvement over what exists now.

Heirloom Storage in the Warlords of Draenor

Inventory is something that people have been hollering about for some time. Bliz listened and is going to remove a lot of clutter.

  • Quest items are no longer stored in your bags, but in a separate UI space. Not only does this clear up the clutter it makes it hard to accidentally delete quest items.
  • A bag sorting system will be implemented, so you can assign bags to hold consumables, armor, etc. Itme will also have borders indicating item quality and items that are safe to vendor away (grays) will have a gold coin icon.
  • Craft directly from the bank, so you no longer need to have the stuff in your bags.

Collections are where your heirlooms, toys, and maybe tabards will be stored. They’re much like the current pet/mount storage and are accessible by all characters on your account, across servers. Heirlooms will no longer be server bound, but will now be truly account bound.

In addition, you will be able to tell which heirlooms and toys you still need to get to fill your collection.

More on the UI stuff, here.

Garrisons!

Yes, you will be able to make your own bases and man them.

In Warlords of Draenor, you’ll make a permanent impact on the world with a Garrison: your own personal fortress that you build, staff, and manage. You’ll customize your Garrison’s layout, appearance, and gameplay effects, and attract followers to operate it. The Garrison allows World of Warcraft players to own a larger part of the world than ever before, and opens up a wide variety of interesting gameplay decisions—with as much or as little micromanagement as you wish.

Your Garrison exists seamlessly in the world, but you won’t need to go into an instance portal to visit your home base—as you travel through Draenor, you’ll see your Garrison looming on the horizon.

Your Garrison

Followers will be recruited as you advance and they will be able to perform a number of functions, including resource gathering. Your followers will level up and will be available, eventually, in several “levels,” including epic. Better quality followers can have more traits than more common ones. Followers will be able to go on missions, level up, get geared, and so on. You might even have to rescue them from time to time.

This brings up the question: Will it be possible to, ultimately, have all epic followers?

Your base will consist of several types of buildings that you can put up and upgrade. Better buildings will provide better perks, such as a better barracks allowing you to send more followers on a mission.

As your garrison levels up you will be able to improve the number, size, and quality of the buildings. Players on the same faction will be able to interact with your garrison and you will even be able to trade materials.

More about Garrisons

Leveling to 100

At level 90 you will be able to have access to the Dark Portal, where you will be able to help save Azeroth from new dangers. To help in this you will be able to insta-level one character to level 90. It will then go through a series of quests to train the new abilities.

Horde and Alliance will take different paths through the portal to accomplish the mission of stopping the Iron Horde. 

There will be a new set of level 100 talents to learn and probably changes to most of the other talents. It’s looking like there will be an item squish so the numbers will not be nearly as extreme as they have become. No more Bear Druids with a million HP.

More on leveling, quests, the new zones, and so on.

Looks pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

Level to 90 (or 100) FastGet leveled, even with a level cap of 100,
Blast through Warlords when it goes live.
Click here now to start!

Oct 062013
 

Gearing your Discipline Priest (or any class) properly is essential to a better PvP experience. If you hope into the BGs (or, ack, arenas) in your item level 400ish greens, well, it’ll be tough. It’s not like dungeons or raids or heroics, where you need a certain minimum item level. Nope, you get to hope in with whatever you got.

If you’re not yet 90: You need to have accumulated 7,500 honor to get the PvP weapons, yet the weapon is the biggest possible upgrade. So as much Battleground PvP as you can before you hit 90. You will want to burn about 4k (maybe on mounts) and save 3,500. Then, when you hit 90, you immediately buy a Tyrannical Gladiator’s Energy Staff (or equivalent pair of weapons.)

If you’re already 90 you’ll have to work a bit harder.

At 90: You can either buy the Crafted Malevolent gear set, if you have lots of gold, or poke around the Timeless Isle for a couple hours, opening chests, and collecting your 496 PvE gear. Since everyone, regardless of gear, has 72% Resilience (as of patch 5.4) the PvE gear will be fine for honor grinding in the BGs. If you get both PvP trinkets you get an additional 10% Resilience.

Getting better PvP gear: PvE gear is downrated in the PvP settings (BGs, arenas, etc.) so the PvP gear is better. Yes, your ilevel 560 PvE gear is downrated to 496 or so. Grind up the points for the Tyrannical Honor gear.

The best Discipline Priest PvP gear for season 14 (Patch 5.4) is the Grievous set. If you’re going to do rated BGs and/or arena you will want to get this asap and the Tyrannical gear will be better for starting  that than the PvE gear, though not by a lot. (Healers only get 50% of the value of the PvP Power on gear.)

Your stats:

  1. Spirit before anything else, until you’re “Ok” with your mana use.
  2. Mastery for the absorb shields on top of the heals.
  3. Int for more powerful everything.
  4. Haste is pretty nice, especially when you hit the breakpoints to get an extra tick on your “over time” spells. (Go here, scroll down to the Priest card.)
  5. Crit is arguable. Some pan it, some love it (Divine Aegis effect.) Of  course, you have to be able to get enough crit rating to make that worthwhile….
  6. Hit is unnecessary
  7. Reforge to Spirit, if you need the mana, Mastery before Haste for the rest.

Discipline Priest Gems and Enchants

Your PvP gear socket bonuses are all Int or PvP Power. Since, as a healer, you only get 50% of the value of PvP Power anyway, it might be worth your while to ignore socket matching on any pieces of gear with a PvP Power bonus and just gem for Int/Mastery: Artful Vermilion Onyx

Enchanting

Go for Spirit, if you still need more, otherwise Int and Mastery. There are no head enchants, so ignore that part.

Everything in one pic

(Click image for a larger view.)

Discpline Priest PvP Gear Guide

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Sep 112013
 

So what do you think of daily quests? I did them all in the Firelands, but haven’t found the time to do them in M of P. (Times been tight, recently.)

There’s no limit to the number of these quests you can pick up at one time. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Does it force one to put in way too much time grinding out the dailies in order to stay competitive?

Patches 5.3 and 5.4 seem to be lacking in daily quest content. Oh, there’s a bit on the Timeless Isle, and certainly a few “regular” quests, but not piles of dailies like we’ve seen before.

PCgamesn.com says: 

Mists of Pandaria’s 5.4 patch is live, and it’s not short on stuff: try a brand new island, flexible raid system and fisticuffs with Garrosh Hellscream in the undercity beneath Orgrimmar. But it is a little short on daily quests. And come to think of it, so was its predecessor, the aptly named 5.3. What’s up with that?

“I wouldn’t say that it’s inconceivable that we will have daily quests again at some point in the future,” said lead game designer Tom Chilton, “but certainly not to the scale that we did in the past.”

It’s a very different mindset to that which saw Blizzard pile on the dailies to ensure that “the content wouldn’t feel repetitive”. But Chilton pinpoints one missing detail that kept the system in check – originally, players could only play a total of 10 per day.

“If we had a limit of 10 different daily quests, but 100 different quests you could do out there, then you can sort of imagine there would be a little bit more choice in terms of which ones you would do,” Chilton told WoW Insider, “especially if we give you different reasons to do different ones.”

But as the dev team raised that cap to 25, and then did away with it altogether, they observed an unfortunate trend in player behaviour toward habits which weren’t “the most fun way to play the game ultimately”.

Here’s the rest.

So what do you think? If Bliz dropping the daily idea or is this just a patch which doesn’t happen to have any, meaning they will be back (in force?) later on? How would you change things (dailies) if you were in charge?

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