Friday, October 22, 2010

My Friday Pint of Ponderings for all of you who stayed at home

It’s Friday night, but the inn is somewhat quiet, like the rest of the blogosphere, as Blizzcon 2010 is at full swing and that’s the bar where everyone’s gathering at the moment.

I’m still here though, and maybe there are a few more poor fellows, especially Europeans, who couldn’t find a good enough reason to toss up thousands of Euros just to attend a marketing event.

So if you’re still around, please come closer to the fire, slip into your favourite armchair end let us end this week as we always do – sipping a pint of ponderings over the state of the game, sharing what’s up in our gaming lives.

Ponderings over Blizzcon
To be honest I’m not that heartbroken by not attending Blizzcon. Sure, it would have been great to meet up with some of my fellow bloggers, to see the faces and hear the voices of those people who I somehow feel that I know personally after sharing thoughts with them for so long.

But as far as the official convention is concerned, it’s probably too commercial and big scale to suit me; after attending SF fan driven conventions, I’m used to something completely different to what Blizzcon can offer. Earlier this year I wrote a post about why I wished I could go to Blizzcon, but some of the comments made me change my mind.

Besides, if you’re mostly interested in the news that will be presented at Blizzcon, I honestly believe that you’re better off following them from your home. You don’t even have to buy the broadcast stream from the panels to get access to the content. The opening ceremony will be streamed for free(!). MMO-Champion will be live blogging, and considering how quick they normally are with news, I doubt they will fail us. Íf you want to see the happenings from different points of view, there are a bunch of other blogs and podcasts, such as Twisted Nether and Wowhead, who also will be posting and broadcasting live during the weekend.

Those media will not only give you an excellent overview, they will also add commentary to it, and you’re guaranteed not to find yourself stuck in a queue somewhere as they’re closing the doors to a panel you had planned to attend. Actually I think you'll be more informed in your armchair than most of the participants on spot.

So don’t be sad if you’re sitting at home right now, enjoying your pint with this pigtailed gnome as your only company. You should rather congratulate yourself to all the money and effort you’ve saved. Enjoy the free reports online – or do like me: ignore them and wait a few hours until someone has made a good summary for you.

I can guarantee you one thing: you won’t miss out ANY important piece of information just because you didn’t attend Blizzcon. Every inch of the premises, every second of the event will be covered.

A buggy week
Apart from Blizzcon, what’s up in the game? Well, I say like Syl: Bugs, bugs and more bugs. They clearly outnumber the ones who dwell outside Putricide's laboratory.

I suppose we could expect and should accept a few issues with such a huge patch as 4.01, but isn't this a little bit too much, especially since the amount of bugs rather seems to have been increasing than decreasing after the release? At least the EU realms have been plagued with dc:s, and flying from the graveyard in slowmotion after wipes became painful after a while.

As we've seen before in this kind of situations, Blizzard hasn't been too impressive in terms of communications. I've said it before and I say it again: it takes so little to keep the players in a better mood. A blue acknowledgement that they've noticed what's going on, that they're working on a solution and estimation about how long this might take. If it isn't possible to say when you can expect things to be fixed - well, you can at least give a time for when you will update the information.

It's all very basic, it doesn't cost much and they should totally be able to do this - if nothing else because it would save them some work, dealing with multiple posts from costumers who all put the same questions over and over again. I don't know what prevents them from doing this. Shall we blame the upcoming Blizzcon, pulling their attention elsewhere?

Relearning how to play
Despite the situation, I’ve tried to learn to play my characters again with mixed, or to be honest, pretty bad results.

First out was my mage, of course, and I'm afraid that the new version of the arcane spec was a disappointment. It wasn't fun or interesting or exciting at all, only difficult, confusing and frustrating. I just don’t get it. The mana juggling is counter intuitive; beyond my comprehension and not enjoyable at all. But who enjoys sucking?

Currently I'm trying out the fiery side instead. While it feels rather unfamiliar for one who has played arcane for ages, it's still got potential as "fun", and who can resist a free instant pyroblast? So I reckon I'll give this a chance and do it some more, before I'll consider sending my mage to retirement.

An overall issue, regardless of spec, is the new system, where any button you push will make you put that cast in a queue, from where there is no return, as far as I know of. The only way to maintain control is to break the habit of spam smashing buttons. You're not supposed to push anything until you're ready to cast.

This has turned out to be a way bigger issue to me than I imagined as I read about it. You don't mess around with your muscle memories that easily. It will take time to adapt. I'm glad we have the entire levelling in Cataclysm for practice. As we reach end game the next time, I should have learned the new manners.

Loving the green
Apart from struggling with my mage, I’ve also sneaked away into instances and battlegrounds with my resto druid, which has been a way more pleasant experience. The new "good green" goo effect is fun, even if certainly is a challenge for us to learn to love it, embrace it, stand in it and inhale it, rather than run away from it. Kae provided a guide, but I’m afraid that backbone reactions are strong, and it will take some time to change this pattern.

It will also take me a while to learn to remember to turn into a tree once in a while. Most of the time, I'm oblivious of the fact that I can do it, which is odd considering that I most of all wants to stay in tree form all the time. You would expect me to use the cd as soon as it was up. Once again it’s about learning new patterns and habits.

I try not to be too harsh with myself though. We have to give ourselves a bit of slack and have some patience with our own shortcomings as we slowly let the new stuff sink in.

A blind Kingslayer
I'll end this week with sharing a story about someone who really knows how to overcome difficulties. I stumbled upon this story about Hexu, an enhancement shaman at Dreanor, EU who recently earned his Kingslayer title. What makes him different to many other Kingslayers is the fact that his blind, after being injured as he served in the military. Here's a quote from the forum post, written by one of his guildies:

"Hexu tonight just killed the final Icecrown Citadel boss tonight with the aid of various mods, excellent Ventrilo comunication and the lovely function of Auto-Follow. He made it through all 3 phases without dying, even out lasting one of the tanks (/hate ardent defender not being passive).

So i would like to congratulate Hexu on a remarkable achievement which would seem so out of reach even for people with functional eyes! (no offence to people with
functional eyes!)

Kudos Hexu, he did awsome! and i really mean that, he wasn't carried nor boosted, he did all the hard work himself! (well and 9 others)"
Of course there's no way for me to verify the story, but it sounds credible enough, so I'll join the Polaris guild in their celebrations. It's an impressive achievement, not only by Hexu, but by the entire raid group. It's something to take inspiration from next time we're about to feel sorry for ourselves over something insignificant.

So big congratulations from The Pink Pigtail Inn! This toast is for you.


Now if you excuse me I'll retire to my seat by the fireplace, finishing my drink and waiting for the gossip from Blizzcon to eventually reach our little corner of the world. Hopefully we'll have something to talk about next week too. See you then!


Issy said...

I was going to suggest we all head on round to Dwism's and watch it with him :D

Ratshag said...

I done did BlizzCon last year. Were fun aspects to it, mainlies gettin' ta meet some of me blogger friends. But was way more expensives than it were worth, especiallies with all the news and info on-line only seconds later anywho.

As fer bugs, if'n I gets DC'd one more time summoning Mr Horseman, I's gonna .... go back again anyway 'cause I still needs a glubbernuggin' squashling.

Dwism said...

I'll repeat myself and say that when I went to the paris wow-invitational in 08 ( i think it was), it was a blast. Especcially the panels.

No matter how much I love boub over at mmo, there is something to be said about hearing the developers themselves talk about raid anatomies and lore creating.
I look forward to spending the next two weeks listening and re-watching all these things. Im glad I bought the online watching of the marketing event

Copernicus said...

Blizzcon: I would probably go if I could afford it, at least once. I don't like crowds that much, but I'd still like to see it in person.

Bugs: Other than the occasional d/c, the only bug I've come across is that I can't heal or buff anyone that's not in my group. However, I suspect this is an issue with Vuhdo rather than Blizzard.

Relearning how to play: I'm rather enjoying myself. I've always enjoyed trying different styles and methods. This is just on a larger scale. The biggest issue I've had so far is tanking on my paladin. The rotation used to feel like dancing, but now it's clunky. It still works, but the feel is totally gone.

You mentioned your mage... this may be a difference between leveling and raiding, but I'm currently leveling my hunter, and have consistently been beaten by arcane mages by a large margin.

AoE healing effects: I've cast power word: barrier a few times in heroic instances, and I can just see the people running out turning and looking at it like" WTF is this? I've never seen this here."

All in all, I'm having a real good time. Unfortunately I have ten 80s, so glyphing, gemming and reforging is going to take a lot of time and money. I seem to be doing just fine without them, really, but knowing that I'm lacking in some way keeps nagging at me.

Gronthe said...

I'm having fun watching debates between Disc Priests and Tanks about Smiting to heal. Like Tam talked about this week, some people just don't get it. I saw a tank telling a healer to "stop DPSing and heal". To which the Priest patiently replied, "with my new talents, I can heal by casting Smite". Back and forth it went.

For some it's not just about re-learning their own class, but taking some time to learn about others as well.

Quick strange story: Just this morning I was thiking about what it would be like if I were blind, would I be able to play WoW? I thought about it because I had to kill a scorpion in my closet last night and thought about how it would suck to be stung in the eyes and go blind. Evidently there is a way, and it's great to see somebody overcome something like that and find success by defeating Arthas. Inspirational!

SpiritusRex said...

First off - Ratshag, I'll trade you the squashling for the helm! There's also an addon to stop the Cog of Doom. Which brings up another point (future blog post?), why should Blizz fix programming bugs when their own customers will design a workaround? Especially in this case where the bug renders the product unplayable - hmmm, thinking they might want to move THAT one up higher on the priorities!

Anywho, I'm not going to Blizzcon, and, other than seeing what pops up in the blogs I read, I probably won't be reviewing any information from it. I figure after waiting so long for the XPac to come out I definitely want to feel that "Oooh, cool! Check that out!" kind of feeling when I log in for the first few months, but certainly understand those that want as much info as possible up front.

Anyways, have a great weekend dear Innkeeper and fellow guests.


Syl said...

Well we were having our asses whooped bad by the mages in PVP the past days, they're absolutely horrrribly OP atm! maybe a little consolation! =D
Like you I hope they will patch all the broken stuff asap while we're trying to learn our new specs. in a way it's nice that cataclysm is still 1 month away so we have time to practice.

And I'd love to visit a blizzcon someday, but you actually have me convinced that we're not missing out on all that much - thanks! ^^

Redbeard said...

I’m still here though, and maybe there are a few more poor fellows, especially Europeans, who couldn’t find a good enough reason to toss up thousands of Euros just to attend a marketing event.

Well, if you can pull a glass of Dalaran White out of the bar, I'm sure Q will put in an appearance. Not all of us can afford to go (or can take the family time off to go, either).

If you're that pressed for info, DirecTV has a PPV deal so that you can watch BlizzCon as it happens, although I don't know if DirecTV even beams their satellite signals into Europe.

As for the bugs issue, did you know the Netherwing ride bug is back? Apparently it happened ages ago when people who were grinding toward the Netherwing Drake mount would leave the Netherwing Ledge and find their toon reverting to normal, but their mount still a Nether Drake. Well, I was grinding the other night, and surprise surprise! I did put in a ticket for it, but they said that the developers would look into it. In the meantime, I flew around on a Nether Drake for a couple of days.

Redbeard said...

@Syl: I feel your pain. I ran some BGs with a few guildies last night, and it seemed that the Mages and Warlocks in particular were deadly.

Nils said...

About the blind-Kingslyer story. There's something I don't get ..

So this guy is just following somebody. That means that he himself does not have to move.

Changing targets will probably work by some marko to target sobody elses' target when told to via TS.

Then he would do his button rotation if he was a DD or press a heal/AoE heal as a healer. He's probably not been the tank.

So .. where's the challenge? What's even the point? Anybody could press a button to change target when told to and then do button rotation.

And we have no idea how effective he actually was. I mean: I, too can just be on follow, press some buttons and then be kingslayer if the group is good enough.

See, I don't want to insult him, really. But I question this goal he set himself.

Seems like saying: I was #1 in a Formula 1 race without actually driving a car!! I was sitting in the backseat and pressing the brake when told to.

Leah said...

personaly, i would love to be able to go, participate in a costume contest, play the latest demos, jut meet all sort of poeple, but at this time, I cannot :(


and this is so exciting!

my server mate won the costume contest! /basks in a glow of proximity to a hugely talented woman :)

Fitz said...

Blizzcon did not seem to bring much this year. A good party to be sure, but not much in substantive news. Guess we are all spoiled from the past two years with mega announcements on Starcraft II and Cataclysm. Of course next year they will be leaking details of WOW: The Emerald Dream (or somesuch). That's exciting!

Larísa said...

@Issy: Yeah, I'm afraid no widescreen broadcast in this inn. But Dwism is just on the other side of the street, not far away.

@Ratshag: I'd love to see my blogging friends, but I don't think I'm prepared to spend some 3000 dollars on it, which I suspect it would cost me. Or even more.

@Dwism: Well... now that the weekend is over are you still as excited about the broadcasted show?
If it took place in Europe I'd probably consider going.

@Copernicus: Ten 80s! That will surely take you some time to go over. I've done my mage and half my druid (only one of her specs) but I cringe at the thought of fixing my rogue, so I haven't logged into her after the patch.

@Gronthe: I think it will take a long time before the idea about the smite healing will spread in the community. It goes against everything we thought we knew about healers, and we who read a lot of newsa and blogs etc will have to bear in mind that most players don't.

@SpiritusRex: Cheers SpiritusRex. There was so little information coming from this Blizzcon that I honestly don't think you'll get much of spoilers by reading "news" reports from it.

@Syl: Well, maybe we can meet up if they make another Blizzcon in Europe? That would be fun!

@Redbeard: I actually saw a part of the stream from the opening ceremony that they sent for free. It hold my attention for fifteen-twenty minutes, but then my family called on me and I let go without any big regrets to be honest.

I never knew there was a Netherwing ride bug in the first place. Sounds like a good one! See it as a motivational teaser.

@Nils: I think it would take some effort to come up with all those solutions. The macros, the addons, probably he has to listen carefully to the sound to get clues on when to do what. And the very thing that he doesn't just give up is impressive. But it's not just this guy but the entire team. The one who had him on follow had quite a responsibility. Just think of the defile handling! And mind you, the poster says that he wasn't carried so I suppose he did pretty good damage (he's enhancement as it was said in the post.)

There are many players with different sorts of handicaps who find ways to play WoW and their stories are often inspiring. This is one of the more extreme I've heard of.

@Leah: Yay! Some great talent on your server there!

@Fitz: My wish would be that it was in Europe next year. Even if I didn't attend, it would be in a better time zone, which would affect the reports and streams etc.
But to be honest I don't think it's likely to happen. They seem to want to run it as close to their base as possible. I suppose there are some financial reasons for this.

Yaggle said...

I am predicting that the new Blizzard will be a hybrid of Eve and Farmville. Meaning it will be an outer-space themed economic/combat sim with social networking aspects. I don't think I'm actually going too far out there in predicting this.