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.
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.