Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Alt patch will leave my alt out in the cold

So, the patch is out and excitement is in the air all over the place. Finally we get some new content to discover, conquer, get used to and eventually bored with at some point in the future.

I’m pretty sure many players think it’s not one day too soon, since they’re more or less done with the current game and need a change.

A little bit too early
Others, and that includes myself, aren’t quite as enthusiastic about the timing of the launch. It seems to be planned more to give a golden edge to Blizzcon and to strategically match upcoming activities from competing MMOs, than to actually fit with the progression curve of the majority of the guilds.

Taking our guild as an example, we didn’t get around killing Yogg-Saron in 25 man mode before the summer and vacation period crimpled us, and I’m pretty sure there are quite a few other guilds that are at the same point, 12/14 in Ulduar. Given a couple of weeks more we could at least have made it to 13, before our focus started to shift towards the new raid instance. This bugs me a little (especially since there’s another nerf coming with the patch).

On the other hand, we’re now given the ability to postpone the reset of the instances at our own wishes. This change is so good for guilds like ours that I lack words for it. It’s brilliant, so good that it outweighs the possibly bad timing of the launch.

At last Blizzard has left the decision to the players to decide if they’re geared enough to face the harder bosses or if they want to keep farming known content a little bit longer before accepting the challenge. For players who prefer progression raids to farm ones, but have RL obligations that keep them from raiding every night of the week, this is a huge improvement. And this will surely increase our possibility to get that last kill soon enough and to work on more of the hard modes in Ulduar as well, while we’ll still have time to run the new instance.

Effects on my playing
So how will this patch affect my everyday life in Azeroth? Quite a bit, I think.

1. Mage changes
The changes to the mage class are the least thing I’ll be worrying about. They’re minimal. The only thing I have on my agenda is o figure out when it’s worth applying Living bomb to multiple mobs and when it’s not. I guess I’ll just look what they guys on EJ suggest and do whatever is recommended. (Yeah, I admit it; I’m lazy when it comes to theory crafting).

2. Tournament dailies
I’ve been boycotting the Argent Tournament Dailies for quite a while now, since the day when it dawned upon me that I didn’t enjoy doing them. The new improved bank/mail/vendor squire and the outlook to call myself “Crusader Larísa” isn’t incentive enough to bring me back to the chores.

However, the mounted combat that we’re supposed to do in the Coliseum is. There’s no way around it – I need to practice jousting, even though it feels rather strange to do it as a mage. Finding up the concept of jousting, it seems as if they suddenly forgot about the different approaches different classes normally have to fight mobs. As a squishy I’m supposed to use my superior intellect and knowledge as weapon. It doesn’t make sense that Larísa is suddenly turned into a plain knight,, downing her enemies by charging and hitting the enemies with a lance.

Still: If I have to know how to joust to do the instances, so be it. I’ll do it, although I’m muttering some protests meanwhile. Argent Tournament grounds, here I go again!

3. The hunt for emblems
The biggest change of my game play however will no doubt be my renewed interest in doing five-man instances on my main character. I can’t remember last time I did the daily dungeon quest. I’ve had no reason whatsoever to do it. Now I have every reason in the world. Even if they’re far from exciting and interesting, the reward from them is too good to neglect. Being a raider at heart, my first priority is always to keep my character in shape, among other things improving her gear. With epic gems incoming as well as Tier 9 gear that can be bought for emblems, I see no alternative than to grind five mans, provided that enough instances can be launched, which I suspect may be a problem, at least in the first rush of enthusiasm.

I expect this hunt to go on for as long as I need the gems and there are available badge upgrades. This also means that the leveling of my druid alt probably will slow down radically or even stop altogether for a while.

An alt patch?
People have been calling 3.2 an Alt patch, because of the changes to the mount system and badge drops from the heroics. But if you ask me, the effect of this patch is the opposite: it’s the “desert your alt and get back to your main”-patch. I won’t have any time for alt playing until she’s as well geared as she possibly can be.

I can’t help feeling a little bet cheated on the druid forms. It would have been nice to see them, instead of once again doing the same old instances over again on my mage.

But then I tell myself: “Larísa, don’t panic! There will be plenty of time for everything you possibly could want to do in the game. This feeling of being slightly overwhelmed comes with every major patch. Realistically it will be quite a while before we get Icecrown. You’ll surely be playing your alt even more than you would like to before Icecrown finally arrives. Just relax and see. ”

So how do you feel about the patch? Do you think it will change your daily life in the game?


Dorgol said...

I am NOT going to be taking my main Paladin back into 5-mans if I can avoid it. I just completed Glroy of the Hero, I completed "Proof of Demise", and badge gear just doesn't cut it for me. Most of the time the upgrades are minimal - in fact, I've only bought two pieces of gear with Conquest badges and BOTH were for my second spec.

Instead, I'll be one of those alting it up in the 5-mans. I spent some serious time and money getting my Warlock into acceptable Naxx / Heroic shape last week - and now I plan to abuse all the overgeared raiders as they farm the badges.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the patch. :0

Copernicus said...

"’s the “desert your alt and get back to your main”-patch. I won’t have any time for alt playing until she’s as well geared as she possibly can be." -Larisa

I agree with this.

I have three 80s that I rotate between: a druid tank, shaman healer and warlock for DPS, as well as a stable full of various leveled alts. My first priority, however, will be to get my druid into heroics and geared up as much as possible.

Raiding exclusively in 10 mans, my gear level is less than optimal. Every increase I can get means that much less damage I take, translating into that much less mana the healers have to use. My guild can't take down the keepers yet, so anything I can do to make the group better as a whole, is a plus.

Going back into heroics is quite a change though. I tanked heroic Nexus last night for a PuG and it was like going on a picnic. The freshly 80 DK called me an amazing tank. It made me feel good.

Anonymous said...

For me, it's more a case of "oh, the Argent Tournament involves jousting that I didn't enjoy. I'll check back in next patch."

WoW's increasing emphasis on the vehicle interface and repetitive dailies is convincing me that I might need to find something else to do with my time. This sounds a bit like "cancelling my account, so there!" but I plan to remain active, and show up to chat, do the odd dungeon, and grab an achievement or three. But I'm off the treadmill.

Hatch said...

IMO, it's a patch for both. But as you noticed, that has absolutely nothing to do with content, and everything to do with loot.

The best description is that it's a loot patch.

Your main gets to grind old content (and cash for epic gems) to keep in tip-top shape for raiding.

Your alt gets to grind old and new content alike to skip entire tiers of raiding.

I recently got a new character to 80. Last weekend, that character went through a Naxx clear, expecting to clean up, given how bad my new 80 gear was. I had the worst streak of bad luck ever. Of the 50 or so items that dropped in those 4 hours, only 3 were usable by me. I got one of them. It looked like getting this alt uld-ready was going to be a SLOG.

Last night I joined a group for the new ToC 5-man. We cleared it once on heroic, then 4 times on regular, over the course of an hour and a half. I got a grand total of 6 upgrades: a naxx 25 level weapon and bracers, and a naxx 10-level chestpiece, helm, ring, and belt. I went from being laughably undergeared to almost ready for ulduar without even using the badge system. And if I didn't have to go to bed, I could have kept running it because there was still a cloak, trinket, and gloves in the normal mode. And tomorrow I'll have a shot at a neck and shoulders from heroic. That's pretty much an entire set. Before, you had to do heroics and lower raid instances to gear up. Now, just spend an evening with a group running ToC over and over.

But there's almost no new content. It's all loot loot loot. Everything you earned so far is obsolete now, but you don't have enough new content to obscure just how much of a pinata it is.

Hatch said...

Oh, and I HATE that they make us joust. I'd almost rather grind naxx for badges than joust for the insane upgrades in ToC.

River said...

I hate the Jousting too, but it wasn't too bad in the 5 man, one round of it just.

Green Armadillo said...

Hatch has his finger on my issue with the patch. By pushing so much inflation so quickly, Blizzard has actually managed to convince me not to care about loot. It would take me literally hundreds of badges from hundreds of heroics before I could "finish" all of the possible upgrades for my mage, and they might have replaced all the gear with even stronger stuff in patch 3.3 by then. That leaves me to evaluate the content, and there just isn't enough content there to make me want to drop everything and go diving into 5-mans.

Whats my main again? said...

This patch is insane for me. I would have liked a little more time to finish Ulduar but I get the impression that my raid group won't quit there just yet.

My shaman won't gain anything from running the new 5 man... but my 5 other alts... OMG that place has so much loot. Took my warrior and my friends undergeared druid healer through and he walked away with like 13 upgrades!

Outside of maybe doing the heroic daily... I won't mess with any other instance besides the new one. We pretty much facerolled our way through the place doing the heroic version before attempting the reg. I have to admit I like the way it is set up compared to what I had imagined.

The 10 man is pretty rough though. The first phase isn't bad at all but those damn worms... going in without a strategy will take us some time to figure it out.

This patch just gives me way too much to do...

Darraxus said...

This is not an alt patch for me either. I was leveling my 4th toon to 80, but my Warlock will be stuck at 74 a little bit me thinks. I am going to be grinding as many heroics as possible on days I get to play. I have three characters to gear. This is gonna take some time.

Anonymous said...

From a gold perspective I love the patch because, as normal, I typically make more money in a few hours than I do in weeks otherwise.

I hate jousting too and won't do it. The rewards, even now, are just not worth it to me.

I ran the heroic last night and was bored to tears because everyone was so over-geared. I swear I cast ten healing spells the entire run. If that continues to be the case I don't know what I will do.

As for the alt issue my main is my alt. As a feral/restro I have to keep three full sets of gear. I would have to run nearly 300 instances just to get enough badges to get all that gear to level 226. I don't think that's likely to happen.

Fitz said...

This is definitely more of an "alt patch" than normal, you'd have to admit that. Normally the new major content patch is only full of things for endgame toons, but now we have new toys for toons at all levels of gameplay down to level 20 alts through alts just reaching 80 to your endgame raiders. I expect Call of the Crusade to be very successful and a good model for Blizzard in what they should do with the later content patches in an expansion's cycle.

Looking forward to the new instances on my main, but I wrote all about the wonderful excitement for my three alts to get mounts and/or travel form last night. Quest on!

Shamrockgirl said...

I have a feeling that it will be a "park the alt" type of patch... though i am trying not to make it one. I tend to get a lot of whispers to heal this or that while i am trying to level my alt and with new content i expect that will not change. I have managed to get my priest to 78, so i am still going to really try to get up to 80 soon as this patch did make it a lot easier to get geared.

Klepsacovic said...

This patch got me back to playing my paladin to check out the new Argent Tournament dailies. New raid? Don't really care much. I might PUG the new instance sometime.

The new totem bar makes my shaman much more playable, so there's a buff to alts. New druid forms make me want to play my druid, that and the change to innervate which will be great (since alts hardly have the mana bars to handle a full innervate).

On the other hand a new engineering schematic has me playing my paladin again.

I'll call it a "Do whatever you feel like" patch because that's what it is to me. I find it silly to feel obligated to run into a new raid just because it's a new raid. Though I must admit I laughed a little when I saw my guild still in Ulduar while I was trying the new quests; there might as well have not been a patch for them (except deconstructor was apparently bugged).

Azryu said...

I think ultimately this will turn into an alt patch, but at the moment it's going to be one of those deviants :)

Dwism said...

Don't you worry, you will have plenty of time to focus on yogg (even if he is a bit smoother on the old learning curve)
Because there is only one boss in the new dungeon to play with. And with learning and addon bugs and all the lag of a new instance, it took one of our 10 manned grp all of 45 mins to learn the fight and conquer it.
So you will have plenty of nights left on yogg. :)

Larísa said...

@Dorgol: I've always enjoyed the 5-man format a lot and I enjoyed doing the Glory of the Hero achievements. But yeah, I've sort of been there before... I guess I'll take a middle way, doing the daily heroic whenever I get the chance, but not farming other instances for emblems of conquest. Or wait... I need thosme gems... Darned.

Yeah, I'm a bit curious about how it will be like. Unless people are going for achievements I guess you can expect speedruns.

@Anonymous: as long as it's only ONE encounter and the rest is free from jousting I guess I can live with it. But no, I'm not a friend of vehicle fights either.

@Hatch: yeah, it's exactly as I wrote in a post earlier. Epic gear can't make up for just a small amount of new content.

@Green Armadillo: yeah, the question is how far off the 3.3 is. But I guess I'm kind of obsesessed with the mindset to have the best gear I possibly can out of the circumstances. It's silly maybe but I can't rid myself from it.

@What's my main again: I haven't been there yet, but I'm looking forward to it, although I must admit that my lack of talent for jousting makes me a bit worried. I can only hope others are better than me and willing to carry me through that part of it... :)

@Darraxus: three characters to gear, omg... Well I'll gear Larisa. And if I ever get done with that, Arasil is eager to at least hit Outlands (currently 57, soon 58). I'm afraid that gearing my 80 rogue is quite unthinkable. There's no time for it.

@Elnia: oh, I never get used to the hybrid way of thinking. Three gear sets to grind through heroic instances. Yeah, I bet you'll be sick and tired of it before you get there.

@Fitz: yeah, the mount changes are awesome. I just hope I'll get time to use it at some point. Right now I can't see it.

@Shamrockgirl: with the probably huge increase of interest in instance running, I bet you'll be spammed with requests to heal...Feel the love!

@Klepsacovic: I was actually not that excited about the new druid forms. Maybe I'll get used to it but I think those things hanging under the neck look stupid. Really really stupid.

@Dw-redux: yeah, you're probably right. I haven't seen any of the new instances yet, so it's a bit hard do evaluate it and see how it will affect our raiding. Time will show.

Whats my Main Again? said...

The jousting is pretty easy since it becomes a 5 vs 3. In fact if at anytime your horse gets low you can run towards the outside of the ring and hop right onto a new one.

Keep in mind that the other riders will try to do the same thing after you knock them off. Which you can solve by just sitting on top of them with a horse...

The real pain is when everyone dismounts... it is nearly impossible for the tank to pick everything up. I almost wonder if it isn't bugged in some way in that regards. More then likely you will die once they are grounded, but when you come back in you don't have to redo the jousting.

Fitz said...

@W.M.M.A. - Yeah I just did the normal and heroic 5-mans last night, and I thought the conversion between the end of jousting and the beginning of fighting the three bosses in normal-fighting-mode was very difficult. Perhaps the hardest thing in the entire instance, but the Black Knight fight is pretty spicy too. Good content at least in there, hoping the raid is fun too.