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Nerf Weeknights!

Ok, seriously, dropping a patch on Tuesdays is mean. We can’t raid til Friday! And heck, I can’t even spend much time in Wow. Last night I spent working hard on my writing (Yeah, Nanowrimo is about over but the book ain’t. I’ve got another 90k or so words to write so… Christmas time, maybe? Just before jedis arrive?). Tonight, it’s choir practice until late. I barely had time to transmogrify Analogue, and her weapon is a stupid dagger so I don’t even have a cool weapon.

Anyway. Apparently Dragon Soul has some easy bosses. Repgrind says so and they’re 4/8 now – sheesh! I’m studying up now. Even sent messages to my raiders who haven’t done them telling them to watch the first 4 fights. We are looking really bad for Saturday night so we need to hit it hard Friday.

Guys, who told you you were allowed to be absent one night the first week of a new patch? Those bosses don’t kill themselves! Noses to the grindstones, people!

Just kidding. It’s nice to be looking forward to WoW playtime again!

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Part 1 yesterday described how to get ready for this quest chain. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re an actual resto druid, go take a look. If you’re a holy priest or something, it might have some good advice for you too, just ignore the druid specific stuff.

Ok. So you’ve got your gear reforged, gemmed, enchanted; your buff food and flask; your keys bound to useful stuff; and your mage slave waiting around at the Nexus entrance to Arcane Brilliance you. Now what?

Enter the Nexus and you’ll see a big blue dragon there – our buddy Tarecgosa who we met outside. When you talk to her, she’ll start the gauntlet. Now, the gauntlet isn’t that bad, but I found it really confusing the first few times I ran it, so I’m going to do a whole walkthrough here.

Like everyone who runs the Nexus, she heads down the hallway to the left. Partway down she casts invisibility on you so the big sentry doesn’t see you. Keep with her and when you get to the room at the end of the hall, start attacking the big arcane sentry.

You’re going to dot him up with Moonfire and Insect Swarm, then look at the two doors you didn’t come in. A little magic-eater-dog thing is going to come in both doors. Guess what? Hibernate works on them! Pop Nature’s Grasp to root them when they touch you, and Hibernate one. Dot the other, then kill it with Wrath. Note, these guys have a really really nasty silence. Definitely keep one asleep while you kill the other.

Once dog 1 is dead, kill the other dog, then kill the sentry. All this time the sentry is doing an ability you will want to avoid. When there’s a big glowing ice patch under your feet, move. Get off it. Don’t stand there. It hurts.

If you get low, pop out of boomkin and drop a few heals on yourself.

When the sentry dies, Tarecgosa gives you a chance to rest – heal yourself up now – and then leads you down a corridor of mists. Stick with her and don’t stand in the mist.

You’re going to come down to the next corridor. In the normal Nexus, this is where the frozen people are. This time you’ve got another Sentry plus dog pair to handle. Just do it the same way as before. Hibernate one dog, kill the other, keep the Sentry dotted, heal yourself, kill the other dog, kill the sentry.

Tarecgosa will play with the Sentry while you kill the dogs.

Now that the sentry is dead, start heading down the corridor. Halfway down, this happens:

Yeah. Two big nasties. She freezes you and lies to them. They disappear and she runs ahead.

Now the first couple times this happened, I got really confused. See, there’s a slow effect on you after you come out of the ice, but you can more or less catch her at the end of the hallway. She runs up the next ramp and if you follow her, you’ll probably die, because things are coming up behind you to nom your face. Let her go on ahead, while you go to the end of this corridor and turn around to deal with the new threat: not two but three puppies. They spawn right where you were frozen and run for you.

See this image? This is what happens if you don’t move from where you were frozen. They spawn right there and you have no time to get set.

Hibernate one, pop your Nature’s Grasp, let one get rooted, and then move away and kill the third. They’ll still silence you but you can handle it this way.

I forgot to screenshot this next bit. As you go up the ramp there are frozen spirits in ice cubes, and mists. There’s basically 5 spirits to a “chamber”. Enter the chamber. AOE. When the mists disappear, go to the next chamber. AOE. The bits to worry about here are, these guys hit really hard. Don’t worry about mana, nuke ‘em. Starfall kills them dead but Hurricane works well too. Also, they respawn when the mist forms, so don’t stay behind in a chamber – keep moving forward.

When you get past these, you’ll be up where Whatsername usually is, the splitting mage chick. Telestra. You know her. Anyway, instead, our buddy Tarecgosa is there, with a pair of arcane sentinel guys. Kill the first sentinel, avoiding the ice, and then the second.

Now Tara leads you around the corner and you find an ice wall. She’ll deal with it, and you get to deal with a great big named fel puppy demon this! Piece of cake. Dot him up, avoid his breath of fire attack, boom, he dies. I am serious about avoiding the fire breath thing though, it hurts if you don’t. When he’s casting, just get behind him, he doesn’t move once he starts casting.

Now – the funnest part!

Tarecgosa flies off and leaves you alone to make your way across the chasm. But you can’t use flight form inside! So just hop on that little platform. It’s a vehicle, but don’t worry, you don’t have to use vehicle abilities. It just takes you to the next guy to fight. There’ll be a big dragon on a big platform with four floating orbs. Nuke him, and click the orbs as your platform goes around. They give you a shield against his big damage attack although it doesn’t completely prevent damage. When you kill him, you have a new empty platform. Don’t jump yet – heal your wounds first. Then jump.

Two little adds will spawn, rising up on platforms. Hibernate one! Hibernate is awesome and this is the first time, like, ever, that it’s been so very very useful. Kill the other, then kill the hibernated one.

Then jump to one of the little platforms. Rinse and repeat your way across the chasm.

When the big scary dragon dude shows up, don’t panic, just jump to the next platform, kill the last dragon that you have to face, and jump to the ground. When you do, Tarecgosa will make her way to you and kill all the dragons on the ground. You don’t have to fight them!  Just try to avoid attention til she gets there.

That’s it, that’s the whole gauntlet. Now it’s time to face the boss… or it will be in Part 3!

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A Quick Note to My Raiders

If you aren’t in a raid group with me you probably don’t want to bother with this. Just scroll past and get to the next item in your reader :)

 

Log’s going to be out Friday, but available Saturday. That means right now we’re out two tanks, one healer, and two dps. I’ve invited a few fill ins but haven’t gotten replies from all of them…. I’d say it’s probably not going to be a good raid night. Up to you guys what you do. Saturday looks a bit better and I bet you can get a clear  in then!

Rev and I will be back next week with our serious pants on and we’ll work on putting the smackdown on some bosses. Of course we need to talk about 4.3. Looks like it’s coming soonish. But we really want to get Falahla’s staff, and that’s going to require a lot more Firelands clears. We’ll need to figure out how to best spend time and we’re open to suggestions.

 

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This one requires a little explanation.

Saturday I was working on the Legendary staff questline in the Nexus. I’ve finally got it figured out enough to get through the gauntlet but the dragon…. ugh.

So after the first time I engaged the boss I zoned back in and found a portal that took me back to where you fight the dragon (it’s where you kill Anomalous, the Void Boss, in Nexus). Cool! I don’t have to do the gauntlet every time! I knew that the gauntlet part respawns eventually so I had incentive to try hard. Well… I did. My best attempt I got him below 30%. Ugh.

Anyway after a wipe I came back and the portal wasn’t there – and neither was the friendly dragon, or any other part of the gauntlet. Well, I’ll run back. The empty Nexus seemed vaguely spooky. I got to the place where usually you fight across bridges over the chasm. In this version of the Nexus, there’s these floating platform disks you hop from one to another of. You kill a dragon on a big disk, hop onto that disk, then two little dragons appear on little disks, you kill them, hop on a little disk, fly to the next big disk. It’s pretty straightforward. The key thing is you have no control over the disks, they just appear.

Well, the disks were all empty. I hopped onto the first big disk  – and the little dragons appear, realize they aren’t supposed to be there, and fall all the way to the bottom and despawn. Now I’m stuck. I finally decide to try to use the “leave vehicle” button and click on the next platform as I’m falling. This actually works for the first platform, but then the platforms beyond my new perch are too far away and I fall. Oh well, I think as I slowly drift downward. I’ll die and maybe the portal will be back.

Except I don’t die. I land in… well, let me show you.

A glowing blue realm. Absolutely featureless, like a prison of ice. Above I could see the place I’d fallen from. On the floor, there was one of the little platforms, and it was clickable.

It levitated! I moved slowly around the room as it took me for a ride.

 

 

I got close to the bottom of the platforms. This view was really, really cool.

 

And then it took me past the big platforms. I could jump onto the very closest one to the door where you start – so I did. And then there I was stuck at the beginning of the chasm.

I tried a couple times to get across but ended up having to hearth out and try again later.

Coming soon: A Resto Druid guide to getting this gosh-darned staff quest done. Maybe. Or a Resto Druid’s Guide to Getting Through the Darn Gaunlet, Already. That part I can write.

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Sundries

My mage ran Hallow’s End every day and got 8 Sinister Squashlings and no horse. Boo. She got the crate though.

Analogue got the Crate as well. We have a plan with Logarithm to pull them out when Kerick has made her pet all sparkly and we think it’s something lootable. Take that sparkly pet!

I’m ready to do the next part of the Legendary Staff, where you go to the Nexus and kill stuff. Unfortunately my dps fu is weak. I died ten times Saturday and never even got to the boss dude that’s in there, I keep failing the gauntlet and all the strategies I’ve read basically ignore the gauntlet entirely. Apparently I suck! I’m going to have to dedicate some time to it, but NaNoWriMo just started and I have no spare time!

We can apparently 2-heal and 9-man any Firelands fight except Ragnaros (which we 2 heal, but need all the dps we can get). We also have yet to get more time on any heroic modes. And I don’t know if we’re down one tank this weekend, yet.  It’s a bit annoying to have our progression stagnate, but I do like how much fun we’re having. Friday night was full of innuendo and gambling. Not really very PG-13. I blame Slice.

I think rolling alts is up on our server. For the last two weeks, I’ve had my Netherweave Bags priced about 2 gold higher than my usual price and I can’t keep them in stock. Just that phase of an expansion, or something else? No clue.

 

I feel so pretty in my Fire Druid gear on my Fire Hippogryph, I just had to post this one. Also: Stormwind is the best capital city for taking pictures!

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The game has been changed

Before Blizzcon, the biggest question I heard people asking about WoW’s subscription model is “will they ever go free to play?”. It’s a good question. Numerous other MMOs have dipped their toes – or dived headlong – into the FTP market. It works for LOTRO, it works for other games. I’d read people wonder whether Star Wars TOR would be the last paid subscription MMO.

Blizzard has been playing around with various revenue models. Things like the purchasable mounts and pets are a very high end microtransaction, which is what Free to Play games live off of. I was actually surprised that there haven’t been cheaper items for sale yet, or a Blizzard fake currency. Many games make you buy Points or System Cash or some other unit of currency, which you then use on microtransactions. There’s a lot of reasons for that – everything from the “it’s not real money” effect to it making impulse buying more likely. Blizzard doesn’t do that. Their microtransactions have yet to affect gameplay.  And there have been remarkably few of them.

Then there’s the D3 real money auction house, and the infamous tradable kitten pet – Blizzard experimenting with ways to let players turn in game gold into real world money, and vice versa. Since neither is live yet, no one has any idea how much success either of these will be – but it looked like Blizzard was thinking about heading down that path. Another bit of support to people who thought WoW might someday go free to play.

But then came Blizzcon, and the announcement of the WoW annual pass: sign a contract that you’ll stay subscribed for a year, and you get a shiny horse, access to the Pandaria beta, and Diablo 3 as a digital download, included. (Not “for free”: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.  It’s the “free” cell phone you get with a two year contract).

Maybe some people reacted “meh”. At this point everyone I know and play with has signed up. That has huge implications. It tells me my raid is going to be around – so I can continue to invest time and angst into it. It tells me that I’m going to see these people for a year – so maybe I should Real ID a few more of them. It tells me that they are all potential D3 game partners – see above note – and by the way nobody else wants to be a wizard, right, so you can send me all your loot?

The implications for Blizzard as a whole are even stronger, though. Having created this deal, I see it as highly likely that next year or 9 months from now they will announce another set of incentives to get people to sign on for a further year. And after that…. well, I think after that it’s not going to be the WoW Annual Pass. It’s going to be the Blizzard pass, and I believe there will be two levels:

Level 1 gets you access to Battle.net and the standalone games like Starcraft and Diablo. It’ll be cheap, like $7 a month, but as they integrate more and more services into Battle.net – and therefore need more and more resources – it’s going to be hard for them not to try to find some way to get the Starcraft players paying monthly.

Level 2 will be the full Blizzard pass. It will allow access to Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, World of Warcraft – and the new MMO that they’ll be announcing, the one that is supposedly called Titan. And it’ll be more expensive than a current WoW subscription, probably along the lines of $20 a month.

Blizzard doesn’t just want your WoW money. People get bored of WoW, but gamers are more likely to turn to another game than another hobby entirely. Blizzard wants to be the other game you turn to. They’ve got a triple threat: the best RTS out there. A hack-n-slash game that has all the depth and background and assets that only Blizzard can provide. And the number one MMO – whatever detractor say, WoW is still king. And it will still be a top MMO in two or three or five years when they announce their new MMO, and I would bet good money they learned from Everquest’s mistake. Everquest released Everquest 2 while Everquest was still amazingly popular  – and it gutted the game, split the playerbase between EQ and EQ2 players. Blizzard doesn’t want that to happen to WoW. Figuring out how to launch the next industry-topping MMO without killing their golden goose is probably not easy.

I could be wrong. I hope I’m not. WoW is a great, great value for my entertainment dollar ($13 a month, times 2, we already have to have high speed internet anyway. We can’t go to a movie that cheap. Heck we can’t get a babysitter that cheap). A Blizzard subscription would be even better.

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Pandas rock!

I hear there is still a lot of QQ out there. I don’t know why. Anyone that thinks they are ripping off a pop culture movie is not paying attention. Are there parallels? Sure. So. freaking. what? I mean really, who cares. For those that want to QQ about pokemon? Yeah you are stupid. No, really. Pokemon was not some big unique standalone idea. small collectable fighting critters is a whole subgenera of anime, manga, and now american cartoons too. Heck TRANSFORMERS had overtones of collectable things that fight. The toy industry has been pushing that format for decades. Why? Because it SELLS. People really like collecting nifty things and then making them duke it out. Is it SO shocking that Bliz would do that too? What the eff did you want them to do with mini-pets? A pet grooming mini game? Teach them tricks and have little dog shows? Dress them up in tu-tus and have dance fights? Hey if you want silly and cutesy this WoP new feature is NOT it. It could be much much worse.

And as for Pandas… if you think they are too cute for WOW my friend has something to say to you:

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 BITE ME

Have you SEEN the art they put out? Those pandas are BAD ASS. No really. Seriously BAD ASS. These are not pandas you want to hug. They are not pandas making cute faces and witty comebacks while a Lemur slaps them around. WoW did not rip off that movie. That movie ripped off Warcraft III. Really. It was in this IP first. No one tells Blizzard what they can’t do with their own ideas. And Bliz always does it best. They have Pandarian Sholin monks, Panda ku-fu swordsman, Panda samurai, Panda ninjas. Panda. Freaking. NINJAS! That is going to be beyond awesome. If you want silly and not threatening looking, go check out Draenei, or BElfs. Speaking of which, did you know that they were actually planning to put Panderans in for the BC expansion but changed their minds? Yeah this is not a new idea.

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And it is a good thing they did not put them in then for BC because now they get get their own continent and get it  done right. That place  looks amazing! I can’t wait to explore it.

I loved pretty much everything I saw at Blizcon.

Talents! Sweet!

Is anyone complaining there are too few? Gah! After you set up a decent build there are only a tiny handful you actually are free to spend any way you want. The only utility of all those other points was to give people ways to make a bad spec. That is bad game design! A few talents that are really interesting? Great! If you have been paying attention you know that they have been trying to move things in this directing for years. Most of the change they have made to talents the last several expansions has been moving in this direction. They wanted to make it harder to have a ‘bad’ spec but to make your choices matter. They kept trying and try and a lot of things really did not help.

This new system is great. They are actually making the classes even more diverse because now each ‘spec’ is more unique. People have to separate talents from spec in their minds. In 5.0 talents are NOT your spec. They are more like glyphs. They are customization. Previously the talent system was 95% a way a separating those that googled for a cookie cutter from those that didn’t and 5% character customization. Now the optimized cookie cutter spec is built in and automatic. A game should not have a system that only serves to let the ignorant sabotage themselves. That is what the old system was. The new system takes that away and gives us cool and interesting customization. If you are still doubting it go read up the lists of talents. These are real customization options. It is not stuff like ‘do I want to have 1% more crit to an obscure move or .05% more dodge while moving… gee, I don’t know. I guess I better look it up. DUMB. Now it is stuff like: here are 3 different ways to cast/or do damage while moving. Pick the one that fits your play style. I don’t LIKE min-maxing. I don’t need every bit of character customization to be about that. Let me have some that is about how I WANT to play and not have I HAVE to play to be viable. It is all about the little things like do I want my tanking cooldown to be an automatic proc or manually triggered. That is great! That is personal preference and play style.

Pet battles

Nifty. I might not do anything with it but it is great that they are putting in more things to do at endgame.

Challenge dungeons

Oooo yeah. I am so there. Standardized gear and leader boards? This is gogogo tanking heaven.

PVE Battlegrounds

Love it! Sometimes you just want to win. Or to feel like you are in a big epic battle that does not end with tea bagging.

Scenarios

These are a great evolution of the idea of chain quests and group quests. I can see them retrofitting a lot of old quest to match this system. I assume it will be phased and if so it is a brilliant new use of the technology.

New race, new class and tons of new end game content. How can anyone not be stoked for this expansion? Some people are impossible to please.

 And as a closer to my rant here are the yummy yummy mana cupcakes my wife cooked up for our Blizcon party. No one ran low on mana as we cheer for the alliance to win the live raid (so close).

And it is a good thing they did not put them in then because now they get get their own contient done right. That place looks amazing! I can’t wait to explore it.

Stupid wordpress app ate part of my post…

These are the mana cupcakes my wife made up for the Blizcon party. We all had nice and full mana as we cheered for the Allaince in the live raid (better luck next time :P).

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