Friday, October 15, 2010

A horribly long post about the week that was: Patch confusion, Mage goodness, Paragon glimpses and Earthquakes

Have you settled in the new Post Patch Landscape? Is your gear re-forged and re-gemmed, have you re-familiarized yourself with your class and successfully restored your UI?

To be truthful I'll answer "no" on all questions. But it’s Friday night and I refuse to panic about anything. It’s time for a pint and some ponderings over the past week. So expect one of those posts where I defy the idea about a red thread, letting my thoughts wonder freely as they come.

Ups and downs
There have been downs and ups. Mostly ups, actually. For all the annoyances and frustrations it causes, a major patch tends to have a revitalizing effect on the game. It may be broken, but at least it's a change.

Take Dalaran for instance. It’s lagging again. And I salute you, lag! It means that the players are back, running around, apparently busy and slightly clueless, trying not to get too badly tricked by the goblins that automatically will appear on those occasions.

People are coming back and I’ve greeted guildies who I haven’t seen for months, since they’ve been away playing in the beta or dabbling with other games. It’s really heart-warming, like an appetizer for Cataclysm. If it’s like this now, can you imagine the crowds and the lag once we get the real expansion?

I must admit though that even if I’ve been online a couple of hours after the patch, I haven’t really played my characters very much, in the sense of killing stuff. And no, I haven't harvested anything at all in the terms of gold, since I'm a moron and a slacker when it comes to those things. Sue me.

I’ve had my hands full trying to bring some kind of order into my house that the torrent storm smashed into pieces. My to-do list appears to be endless.

The specs have to be settled – two for my mage and two for my druid (the rest of my alts are left in the dust for now being.) The new talent interface feels a bit unfamiliar, but I say: “yay!” for not having to pay 15 gold as a punishment fee if you happen to set one point in the wrong spot. It’s wonderful that you can mess up as much as you like before confirming your new spec.

I’ve been glyphing (thank you my wonderful guild, providing free glyphs for all mains!), switching gems and going on a desperate hunt for hit rating. In case you didn't notice: the new requirement of 17 percent for everyone is brutal, at least if you're a spoiled arcane mage until now.

I’ve tried to restore my action bars back to something that resembles a little bit to what they used to be – but I keep failing as I use them. My muscle memory won't comply with the new conditions. Like Tobold I have to relearn how to heal.

And then there’s the new mechanism for spells queuing up that confuses me completely. I keep telling my finger to stop spamming the buttons, but alas, it's in vain. Spells keep going off, and not necessarily the ones I wanted. And is there anyone else who keeps pressing “O” , wondering why there isn’t any guild list?

Another issue: what’s with this new thing that buttons suddenly will flash up and keep blinking angrily until you press them? I can’t help wondering what happens if I’ll disobey. Will the computer explode? Will the Blizzard Gods put a note in the records: “Noobish gnome that refuse to follow the UI advice. Beware!”?

A smooth patch
All in all, most things have worked as intended and it has been a very smooth patch.

Sure, there are some broken addons and it was frustrating to enter a battleground just to find that I didn’t have any raid frames at all. Kind of hard to heal then. Lucky for me, I have a personal UI builder, who has promised to help me out in my distress, so I have hope for the future.

On the whole, I’ve been OK. I didn’t experience any unexpected critical errors during the download. I didn't have to visit the technical forums begging the blues for their attention to my problem, expecting no help but the harsh standard reply "wipe it and reinstall the game from the beginning".

There have been a couple of weird things. Like the Polymorph Monkey glyph that appeared out of nothing. I’m completely certain I’ve never bought or installed it. And why do I suddenly every now and then find myself wearing our hideous guild tabard, which I never use voluntarily? I swear I didn’t put it on and yet it shows!

But isn’t that what’s so charming with those major patches? Expect to encounter the unexpected!

Talking about the unexpected I believe I’m not the only one to freak out every time I start the game. Zarhym does too, according to a blue post.

“I jumped out of my chair yesterday when I hit the Play button to check on something in the game. This isn't an intended heart-rate check and we're looking to get it fixed in an upcoming patch”

I look forward to that too. Even if I can see the benefit of being alert and awake once I start playing, I prefer to get my adrenaline rushes in other ways.

New mage dresses
Enough about the patch though. I’m sure I’ll come back to it in the next couple of months.

There has been some other stuff going on this week, worth a mentioning. MMO Champion presented the new tier 11 armor set for mages, and I just have to talk a little bit about it because with one exception it looks absolutely amazing.

What isn’t there to love with the fire themed dress with the glowing shoulders? The thought of wearing this if you’re fire specced is irresistible. There are two other versions as well, one purple and one blue, and it's still a little bit unclear what they represent. Maybe it's about heroic and non-heroic versions? Or could it be that they show how the dress will look in different specs, the blue one being the natural choice for a frost mage? Probably not, but I like the idea.

And now to the exception from the awesomeness. Of course I'm talking about the head, which displays a glowing skull mask. And I just don't get it. Do they think mages enjoy running around like some kids begging for Halloween candy - all year round? It could have been a fun seasonal trick where you temporarily could get your head turning into something more festive. Like the mounts at Christmas. But this?

Oh well. I know where to find the checkbox to not display the head. I’ve used it so many times before. There just isn’t such a thing as a good looking head for mages.

Paragon interview
This post is running awfully long, but it’s my Friday night when I’m talking about whatever comes to my mind and there’s no way you could stop me.

So now I’ll just mention something completely different that I stumbled upon this week, namely a podcast called Nordrassil Radio. They did a mega-long interview with Totalbiscuit, which was entertaining in the way you could expect. If you like his style of ranting, I suggest you listen to it.
They also did a 1,5 hour long interview with the Finnish guild Paragon, which currently is considered the best raiding guild in the world. They talked to four of their members and the conversation gives some interesting glimpses into a world of competitive raiding that is very different from what most of us ever experience in the game.

Did you know that it's a normal procedure for this kind of guilds to take fake screenshots from first kills with guild members who weren't even in the raid at all? The reason is that they don't want to give out information to their competitors about what setup they've used. And if you’re curious about what specs the players in Paragon use, maybe wanting to copy it, you shouldn’t trust what you see in Armory. In order to not reveal their tactics, players will deliberately switch to some random spec before logging out! Wow. That’s what I call a competitive mindset.

It was also intriguing to hear that they regularly use Meyers Briggs tests as they’re evaluating potential new players. They have found that one personality type was dominant within the guild, even though they didn’t say which one in this interview. However it might be worth keeping an eye on their website. Apparently they’re planning to give some more information about their testing, possibly also letting visitors test themselves.

The weekly toast
It’s time to wrap this up I think. This gnome has been babbling long enough.

Have you felt the earthquakes? Every time I do, I smile to myself, and my heart trembles a little in anticipation. The shivers tell me that we ain’t seen nothing yet. There’s more to come. Much, much more.

Let’s bring out a toast for the earthquakes and whatever adventures they’ll bring us.



Ratshag said...

"And is there anyone else who keeps pressing “O” , wondering why there isn’t any guild list?"

Yeah, that'd be me. Once I finds the guild info, though, is pretty handy stuffs there.

Prelimar said...

i keep pressing "O" too : )

for the first time i can remember, i love the mage tier gear! i never display the headpiece, so i don't care that it's a skull -- my real hope is that the color changes depending on your spec... that. would. be. AWESOME.

also, i thrill to the earthquakes, too. now if i could just get my UI fixed, i could actually accomplish something in game and test my shiny new spells...

Edawan said...

a major patch tends to have a revitalizing effect on the game.

It's also discouraged me a bit.

I was playing two alts regularly in the last few month (which was a bit surprising since I can spend years without touching an alt) and the thought of re-learning two more classes when I'm still struggling with my main's main spec is too much for me.

Tesh said...

I found myself mildly annoyed that they moved Bear form to level 15, but happy that Cat form is finally lower, at level 8. Smart move, I think, but it screwed up my plans to have a trial account in bear form for BBB's bash tomorrow. I had one at level 10, all ready, but I had to scramble for a few more levels last night.

Good move, bad timing. :P

The UI changes are still throwing me off, but it's no big deal. Sticky Targeting on by default is an odd choice, though.

Gronthe said...

Skulls should probably be reserved for Warlocks, not mages. Other than that the Mage set looks really good.

I do feel bad for Frosties, though, having to be clothed in Fire while trying to wield Frostbolts. They'll end up turning into water by the time it hits the boss, serving to restore the boss' mana rather than doing any damage.

Copernicus said...

I don't pay any attention to the top guilds, but it doesn't surprise me that Paragon has mainly one personality type. Even in my casual raiding guild I can see how different personality styles cause drama when they get around each other.

I'm also biased... I frequent an MBTI forum.

I'm an INTP for anyone that knows about it.

Bristal said...

I'm not really much of a social-type player. I mainly like to get things done...BUT the earthquakes make me just want to BE online, waiting for things to happen. My interest in WoW is definitely piqued.

Just hanging out at the target dummies is cool. It's like everybody is preparing for the big event.

I think this patch has been awesome. Sure, I've struggled with my UI and my new specs and rotation and all. But I really love the new graphics of the talent screens, the glyph screens, procs on the action bars, etc.

They seem so much more...fantastical. And I'm getting more of that fantasy feeling I remember from playing D&D as a kid, or Oblivion, or NeverWinter Nights.

Maybe it's just that it's new and different and it will get stale, but I really like it so far.

Redbeard said...

Holy cow. "Competitive" doesn't describe Paragon. "Paranoid" does.

Just imagine what it would be like if there were professional raiding guilds, just like professional sports. If they are this paranoid now...

There are two minor but very annoying glitches: the default plates for enemies don't work, and -B doesn't open all of your bags. Yes, I know that there are addons for them (if I had a gold everytime someone suggested Tidyplates to me...), but they're both pretty basic and need to be fixed.

SpiritusRex said...

I also love the anticipation that has struck Azeroth. It's almost nice to see the trade chat trolls QQ'ing about what Blizz did to their particular class, rather than picking on other players.

I'm a little overwhelmed trying to relearn huntering - the changes to focus-based are noticed mostly in the BGs where I go through my focus like there's no tomorrow and end up standing there /yelling "Bang, bang! You'd be dead if I had any friggin' focus left!" as I die unceremoniously. On the other hand, I do, however, love the OP'ness of Spriests right now - Spiritus is spamming Shadow Word: Death For The WIN (back to back 8K crits at level 73 is pure joy)!

Tier gear for mages does look nice, although I agree that the helm is more suited for 'locks. Anxious to see the Tier gear for Hunters - anything will be better than the canoes I've been wearing on my head and shoulders for the last year. Note to Blizz, hunters wear mail so you can make it look a little more badass than balsa wood.

Well, anyways, glad to see the changes starting to roll through and the enthusiasm return to your posts - you had a certain American worrying about you, ya know?

/cheers, salute and have a good weekend


p.s. gratz to the Swiss for completing the world's longest tunnel!

Bristal said...

Odd, now "B" opens all my bags. And "Shift-B" opens only the main one.

Maybe the interface has a new option for that...

Nils said...

Except for the numbers the game is fine.

My 86k arcane blasts in ICC25 are a bit strange and people inspect me all the time when I pull 18k dps with my itemlevel 251er gear

.. otherwise..

The leveling content is screwed up. It is not only easy now, but ridiculous. Most mobs are a two- or oneshot, depending on class and I am not talking about heirloom chars.

Low level BGs are pure oneshotting and it seems that they stay that until level 50 at least.

A lot of players report that they do low level instanes of appropiate level solo now ..

I really hope this is not working as intended. But even if it is .. I am doubtful as to whether Blizzard will have enough time to fix it.

Add some bugs and crashes and the conclusion has to be this: This patch isn't too bad, but Blizzard did not have enough time.

And that means that Cataclysm may not be released when it is ready, but on 7.12.2010 ...

Imraith Dos Santos said...

WTB UI Designer!! You are fortunate to have one of your very own :)

Talarian said...

Keep in mind the entire levelling game changes with Cataclysm. 1 - 60 gets redesigned, and mobs from level 60 and up get their health/damage increased significantly when Cata hits, so I'm not terribly worried about the levelling.

The refreshed and revitalized feeling that comes with any patch, let alone a major one, is always fun though.

Glyph, the Architect said...

"The new talent interface feels a bit unfamiliar, but I say: “yay!” for not having to pay 15 gold as a punishment fee if you happen to set one point in the wrong spot. It’s wonderful that you can mess up as much as you like before confirming your new spec."

But this was already in the game before the patch.

Carra said...

Yeah, time to go and find that old WoW copy and resubscribe.

Changes, yey! I'd better train and prepare a bit before the expansion hits.

Larísa said...

@Glyph, the Architect: It was? Weird. I must have missed that somehow, even if I find it hard to understand how this was possible. It must be way more obvious now, that's my only explanation. I've respecced due to miss-clicks.

Magma said...

I have to totally disagree on the mage helmet. I think it looks completely badass. If I had an 85 mage I would so go for that set in a heartbeat.

Also, yes, the "preview talents" feature was already in game. You just had to turn it on. Now, however, they permanently did it for you.

Anonymous said...

The mage set is a Ragnaros themed outfit.

You have a Pointy Tooth Skull Hat because Ragnaros has a big flaming Pointy Tooth Skull Head.

Lume aka Steve said...

I've been half and half with the patch. My guild needed me to heal, and I'll admit I have been considerably disappointed with the resto changes. But the moonkin changes are pretty awesome.

Some people came back, but it wasn't the people I wanted to come back. And that was largely because they knew it's going to be the same old crap for a while. ICC ICC ICC ICC. Maybe Halion on occasion.


That being said, I don't mind waiting for new content, because I'd rather the new content be done well. Wrath got off on the wrong foot, and I'd rather Cataclysm be at least a little better in terms of available end-game content.

Kurnak said...

Precisely the head piece is the one I love most, and from all T11 sets already seen, mage beats the crap out of them... and without seeing the effects animated!
When I saw the set I thought "woah! kinda Ghost Rider!, love it!" The cloak reminds me a lot of the old T5 set, but it suits the class very well. Mages look very badass in T11... "squishy? me? come and get it!" And with my humble mage now doing 30k crit Arcane Blasts the set will suit perfectly (but I see the nerf bat already being swinged)
Btw, when I saw the Death Knight T11 with that crown on top of the helmet I couldn't resist but think "hey! it's the Prom Queen!" :D

Gevlon said...

You can find hit rating by reforging!

Chadrassa said...

Almost all my add-ons were out of order initially. The good thing about this is that I am finding out that I can go without them in the future because Blizz's default UI has improved quite a bit. YAY! Less add-ons = better comp-performance.

Anonymous said...

Funny how you wrote:
I’ve been glyphing (thank you my wonderful guild, providing free glyphs for all mains!), switching gems and going on a desperate hunt for hit rating. In case you didn't notice: the new requirement of 17 percent for everyone is brutal, at least if you're a spoiled arcane mage until now.

I had exactly opposite experience.

I log my elemental shaman, dressed properly in mail and not some cloth, I put my talent points together with that wonderful one which converts spirit (old mp5) into hit rating, I check the tab... what the hell 30% hit chance?!

And there came the time to throw away those hit rating trinkets and visit the reforger...

At least Talisman of Resurgence started to look appealing for dps purposes, one easy replacement for those pesky hit rating sticks.

Fish said...

I thought of you at patch time, I specced my mage arcane and LOVE it. The addition of slow to arcane blast is amazing and I love arcane missiles as a proc ability. I bought a dual spec (because for 100g, why not) and havent even assigned it. I'm pushing to hit 80 sometime during hallows end. I was hoping to get there before, but given I'm 77 and it starts tomorrow, thats unlikely.

Dwism said...

Those earthquakes are nothing to be worried about. The leadership have had long talks with gnomes Engineers and Dwarf mining experts, all confirm that this is just a minor plate tectonics shifting slightly irregularly.
There is no need to be concerned, there is nothing to worry about. Go about your business citizen.

Larísa said...

@Ratshag: Oh yes, it’s really good, especially the profession stuff. No excuse for spamming guild chat with “can anyone make…?”

: And I STILL press O after a few days! This will indeed take some time to relearn.

@Edawan: it is overwhelming. I’m very fond of my alt as it is and I’ve had a lot of fun with it the last month but I feel that I need to relearn how to mage now. But I feel kind of reluctant to let go of my druid… hm…

@Tesh: Awww a bear at BBB.s run! That’s an awesome idea. Hope you made it! That sticky target made me crazy until I read at some blog about to turn it off.

@Gronthe: my question is: who wants a mask that covers the entire face anyway? I suppose it might make sense for DK:s and pala’s in their shiny knight costumes, but for others? Why?

: Well I wouldn’t put it that simple. Actually in my experience a group just consisting of one personality type can become pretty inefficient since they’re competing for the same position. Different types will complete each other. The weak spot of one is the specialty of another one so to say. But it requires some maturity and insight to accept and embrace the differences. I’ve done a couple of those tests, even if it’s been a while since the last time. I tended to end up as an INTJ.

@Bristal: Oh yes, I’m waiting for something to happen too. Who knows when it will? With all those quakes… something just have to happen. I imagine the ground breaking up right in front of me any minute.

: Paranoid: well… they were partly a bit paranoid, but they also sounded very easy-going and down –to-Earth sort of. Very much like any player. I suppose they’re so new to the top that they haven’t fall into any bad diva habits.

Another annoying glitch is that you can’t inspect other players, at least not in a BG. It was impossible to know if you had another healer around in your group or if you were the only one.

: Overwhelmed is the word. I raided on my mage yesterday and it felt awkward and I didn’t do particularly well. This will definitely take time to adjust to.

Grats to Swiss? Yeah maybe… But I hope you’ve noticed that I’m not Swiss but Swedish. No worries. We’re used to that people mix it up…

@Nils: Hm… I didn’t pull 18k dps. But I probably suck. I’m really not used to the new rotation style. Some AB:s made very big numbers though, I agree on that.

@Imraith Dos Santos: Indeed I am! And yesterday he delivered my new one and it looks great! I just have to get used to and tweak a few small things.

@Carra: see you in game!

@Magma: That is a bit of a fail isn’t it? Either from me or for Blizzard, the choice is yours. But I honestly had no idea it existed already.

: Want to see a TBC player who never payed Ragnaros much of attention? (Raises hand)

@Lume aka Steve: yeah, ICC feeling a bit old. The bosses and the settings are the same. And yet I feel that I need the practice to understand my toon. But I guess I don’t need to panic. After all I will have 5 levels to figure it out again.

@Kurnak: I feel a bit sorry for the hunters though. Sure it can be fun to dress up like a murloc for a masquerade, but to wear that dress all the time?

@Gevlon: Indeed I can. That’s where all my spirit went. Now the question is how many more gems I’ll switch.

: Oh, I’m sure someone will come up with another “necessary” addon you “can’t live without”. Just wait and see!

: Pesky hit rating, hehe! Yeah, that’s really the opposite. It’s been a while since I played fire, so I really have chosen gear with haste and such over hit gear.

@Fish: I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I must admit that I still feel clueless about the new arcane mechanics. I hope I’ll come to like it but right now I don’t grasp the concept, it’s very unintuitive. I have a fire dual spec though, will try that as well and see if it feels any better.

@Dwism: Ah… thank you. Business as usual then. I’ll go back to my between-expansion-slacking then.

SpiritusRex said...

@ Larisa

My tunnel reference is for your Swiss guests. Although I have been known to be geographically challenged at times, I'm pretty good at remembering where my friends live. ;)

Larísa said...

: Cheers!
We actually DO have at least one Swiss guest here, namely my fellow guildie and blogger Syl at Raging Monkeys.

Dàchéng said...

The Glyph of the monkey appeared because for some reason it shares the same item id as the old "Glyph of Frost ward". Check out