Posts Tagged ‘3.3

17
Dec
09

One week later

So it has been a week and a bit of patch 3.3. Is all looking well? Is everybody having fun? Are the new instances living up to their hype? Is 3.3 a fitting climax to Wrath?

First off, for warriors it has been a thoroughly uneventful patch. We’re not touched by the AOE nerf and we have had absolutely no changes to any of our abilities or talents. Judging from what I can see in instances and raids that is perfectly alright…we’re in a decent place just now. And for once, our tier chestpiece isn’t the most boring looking of them all.

I was originally going to do a long piece on the Frozen Halls, but then realised that by the time I had published it people would already have been running it for days solid. The big plot twist would be no surprise at all, nor would the cimactic battle at the end. Instead, here comes the shorthand guide to furying in Frozen Halls:

The Forge of Souls

  • Trash is perfect for furies, but do give your tank a chance for getting aggro
  • If possible help your tank out by interrupting the odd cast
  • At Bronjahm, hit the stolen souls
  • At the endboss, stop DPS when it mirrors a soul…everybody will be happier

The Pit of Saron

  • Stick close to the tank to avoid pulling patrolling mobs
  • On Garfrost, hide now and again if you get too many stacks of the debuff
  • On Ick, run from the nova
  • On Tyrannus it makes life easier if you stop DPS when youre branded
  • Oh…dont stand in white runic circles

The Halls of Reflection

  • Fury your heart out on the trash, but be mindful because the mobs do hurt
  • Interrupt is a good thing
  • Full on DPS on boss one
  • Full on DPS on boss two

That’s pretty much it.

Of course, the 5-man is only half the instancing madness in 3.3. The other, of course, is Icecrown Citadel whose first boss, Lord Marrowgar, already has caused enough problems for him to a)have his damage output nerfed and b)been made tauntable. I applaud the former since he hit jolly hard, at least in the 10-man version, but I have to admit that the latter has me thinking “oh, so people have really unlearned their raiding skills of ages past”. Yes, I know I sound like a grumpy old grandparent now, but back in the day it was not unusual to have taunt immune bosses, and we had 40 man raids back then.

I do appreciate that the transitions can go tremendously badly, but honestly I still think it is, to use a phrase, “dumbing it down” a tic too much. At least after only a week. Basically it appears to me that Blizzard have responded to complaints (and internal testing perhaps) by turning every knob in the house. Turn down his damage, by all means, because it was needed. But give it another week before you change anything else.

UNLESS (and this is a big one) it was never intended that he should be taunt immune.

Next up for me: Lady Deathwhisper.

How far are you along in 3.3?

Advertisements
08
Dec
09

3.3 this week

And it’s official, being spouted from every news site on the internet: patch 3.3 will hit this week as expected.

New bits of kit, a whole new tier of epics, new encounters, a new grouping interface…there certainly seems to be plenty of stuff to do in this the last major patch of Wrath. Of course, it’ll be a while until we get to face off with Arthas in the Citadel yet due to the gating of the instance.

Warriors need not look much at the patch notes though. There are no fury related updates at all. Either that means that Blizzard are happy with us the way we are now, or that they haven’t yet managed to solve whatever is wrong.

The T10 set bonuses are as follows:

  • (2) Set: When your Deep Wounds ability deals damage you have a 3% chance to gain 16% attack power for 10 sec.
  • (4) Set: You have a 20% chance for your Bloodsurge and Sudden Death talents to grant 2 charges of their effect instead of 1, reduce the global cooldown on Execute or Slam by 0.5 sec, and for the duration of the effect to be increased by 100%.

A simple one, and a not-so-simple one, and quite possibly one of the more interesting set bonuses we’ve seen in a long time. More on that one later though. For now, 3.3 is coming. Bring on the patch day mayhem.

07
Dec
09

Icecrown 5-man – The rest

Having covered armour and weapons, about time we get round to the various bits and pieces that we all wear and can’t see, i.e. rings, trinkets, necks, and that ever present ranged weapon (because we do a lot of pulling as DPS warriors, oh my yes).

We have:

The general theme here seems to be sharp pointy bits (I shudder to think about what exactly the lady promised).

That’s not a kni…

For once there is a ranged weapon which hunters wont necessarily want as well, unlike guns and bows where you have to fight them off with a stick usually. At ilevel 232 there is a whole boatload of different ranged weapons to compare with. I count some 10 weapons to compare directly with, coming from various sources. There are really a lot of things to compare this brand new knife to. However, I shall compare with just one, namely the Crimson Star. I know it is ilevel 245, but most people who have been doing any amount of heroics and raids will most likely have one, or swapped it for something else that’s better. So the Crimson Star is really the benchmark.

Papa’s will give you:

  • 1.17% Crit
  • 0.7% Haste
  • 54 AP

Crimson Star features:

  • 3.42 Expertise
  • 2.27% ArPen
  • 57 AP

Would you really want to downgrade to the Papa’s if you have the Crimson Star? Sure, if you don’t like ArPen and have way too much Expertise already. Otherwise, it’s a clear choice here. And before you think about it: no…nuhuh…nosiree!

Empty promises?

This ring is a bit peculiar in that the stats do not favour rogues or druids, and instead favours plate users. You can argue that it’s not necessarily a bad thing though. It reminds me of the Carnivorous Band from Icehowl (albeit without a socket) with Crit and Expertise swapped for the Haste and ArPen. The pair of them together would make a lovely ring combo in fact. The tooltip for the Lady’s Promise does interestingly NOT mention “unique-equipped” hinting that you may just be able to equip two of them, but don’t quote me on that.

The other alternative is the Planestalker Signet from 10-man Lord Jaraxxus, although that is very much itemised towards rogues and druidy types rather than warriors (it features Agility, Hit Rating, ArPen and AP). That said,the Signet is a lovely ring no doubt about it. If you are critically short on Hit Rating and ArPen it is a contender, otherwise I would rather aim for a Carnivorous Lady Promise.

Barbed Chokers

For some odd reason, Blizz apparently like the thought of necklaces full of protruding spikey bits. Either they are closet goths and emos, or they think warriors are…or maybe that warriors are all practitioners of various forms of BDSM. Be that as it may, let’s compare it to the ilevel 232 version of the Collar of Ceaseless Torment (there we go again with the SM). Essentially they are near identical, save for one thing: The Choker has Haste (!) and the Collar has ArPen. Essentially you are given a choice between Haste and ArPen, and that in itself isn’t a bad thing.

Put it in your pocket

So it’s an animal already known for pointy and nasty bits…and its needle encrusted too? Wear cloves, have padded pockets.

Joking aside, Grim Toll and Mjolnir Runestone have returned in a spiky version. In fact, it is a slightly upgraded Runestone. For a comparison between earlier trinkets, have a look here. I may have missed out some trinkets, and if so please do shout out.

Trinkets are always interesting to compare since they rarely stand up to a direct comparison, usually featuring a single stat and a proc. In this case we can compare to the Toll and the Runestone directly however, and if they were popular, chances are this one will be too. ArPen has proven itself time and time again and it should be no different this time. Crit and ArPen…not bad as a combo at all. If you happen upon this little trinket and you are not desperate for something like Hit Rating or Expertise (which you hopefully aren’t) it is definitely a keeper.

So this is where the look at gear from the 5-man instances of Icecrown ends. There are some good thing in there as well as some rather bland things, mostly as a product of Blizzard having to create a single plate “set” for 3 plate classes who all want slightly different things. All in all, not a bad selection with some upgrades, a few sidegrades and a few things for those who have yet to get better bits.

04
Dec
09

Icecrown 5 man – armour

So far, 5 bits of plate have been uncovered in the Icecrown 5-man instance. Doesn’t really seem like a lot does it? For example, there are seemingly no legs in there. If you’re planning on getting an entire lvl232 plate outfit from 5-man grinding, you will be DPS’ing in your underwear to a certain extent.

Note to all Hordies: Throughout I will compare to Alliance plate, so if you feel offended by this I do apologise and direct you to my complaints department. Please send all complaints to the attention of:

Mr. Varian Wrynn (king)
Stormwind Keep
Stormwind City
Nation of Stormwind

That over and done with, these are the five bits of plate found in the Icecrown instance (heroic):

The first thing that leaps to mind when looking at these things is: haste. 3 of 5 pieces have haste rating on them, and if there is a stat I couldn’t care less about it’s haste. Blame the DK’s and paladins that we get all that haste.

Let us compare the T9 chest with the chest from Icecrown: here. I realise that it possibly isn’t quite a fair comparison, since the T9 piece has the possibility of a set bonus, yet you can argue that due to their identical itemlevel, they will still be equally good from a mechanics viewpoint. The main difference, apart from the two sockets on the T9 chest, is the choice between Arpen and Haste Rating. The Frost Wyrm has 16 Str more than the T9, however that is easily rectified by putting in Str gems (and there is additionally 6 Str to be gained from the socket bonus). Unless you are softcapped on ArPen, and using one of the Arpen trinkets (like the Grim Toll), I see absolutely no reason to swap ArPen for Haste.

The Grinning Skull Boots are slightly more interesting, in that they have no real counterpart in the raids. The closest you get are the Battlelord’s Plate Boots, Boots of the Underdweller, and the Plated Greaves of Providence, neither of which are ilevel 232. For a comparison between these, hop over here. Statswise, they feature the very decent combination of ArPen and Crit Rating. Unless you are really stuck for Hit Rating, in which case the Underdwellers are probably your thing, these are worth picking up.

The Weeping Gauntlets feature Haste (66) and Crit Rating (49). The two alternatives are the Gauntlets of Rising Anger and Wrynn’s Gauntlets of Conquest, both of which features Crit and Hit Rating…oh and they each have a yellow socket too.

Haste versus Hit Rating and Socket. It’s a lot of Haste to be sure, and to boot the Weeping Gauntlets has a smidgeon more Strength on them. It’s a matter of taste on this one, since the sockets cannot make up for all that Haste, but on the other hand, Hit Rating is nice up to a certain point, and sources of it aren’t too commonplace on gear these days. The huge big nono is to let your Hit Rating drop below the soft cap really.

Time for the shoulders then. First comment: More Haste! The T9 shoulders feature a bit more Crit Rating and a red socket (which would even out the difference in Strength). As with the chestpiece, I see no reason to swap unless you are hitting the soft cap for ArPen with a trinket proc. Is there a pattern here?

The Malykriss Vambraces versus the Armguards of the Nether Lord. These are a toss between ArPen and Hit Rating. Do you need one or the other? The other differences are minute enough for that to be the main question…ArPen vs Hit Rating.

Observant people will now probably go “Ello…why didn’t you compare with non-raid kit? People who do 5-mans don’t always raid y’know.”

However, comparing ilevel 219 to 232 gear is a bit superfluous since the items will nearly always be an upgrade to your current kit. In addition, if I did that, the people with ilevel 200 gear would come along and say “Oi!” as well, demanding more comparisons. Flippancy aside, with the relatively quick amassing of Emblems of Triumph, I think it fairly safe to assume that most people will have at least 1 or 2 pieces of T9 by now.

Overall, the new gear is fairly decent when you consider it has been made to be used by 3 different classes with very different needs. The fact that the boots fill a gap in the raid loot is a nice bonus for the unlucky ones who have not been able to replace their old ones. If you have had any amount of luck in raids however, the rest of the loot will probably be more or less uninteresting however.

Next up, trinkets and the rest of it.

27
Nov
09

You are at the end of the road. Do you…

Patch 3.3 is coming, yay woohoo, all that jazz. By now we’ve all no doubt been following it meticulously. Or possibly not. In effect I am asking myself this question: is patch 3.3 just more of the same old grind that we got in 3.2? Or is it the spine tingling conclusion to 5 years of arch nemesis lore. Yes, I remember back in vanilla when Icecrown was only talked about in whispers, where Northrend was this forbidden continent to the far north, frozen and ancient, filled with horrors of the lich kings creation.

Now Kel’Thuzad, once the scourge of Lordaeron, is no more. Even the old god of death, Yogg-Saron is no more. And the valiant heroes of Azeroth have taken to slaughtering eachother in the arena, supposedly as way of selecting only the worthy people to go to Icecrown Citadel. Tirion does have a bit of explanation to do there in my opinion.

In short: Is Icecrown more of the grindy loot fest that the Argent Coliseum has been? Or is it actually going to be a climactic struggle, rivalling Ragnaros in epicness? Yes, ol’ Rag is a shade of his former self these days, but answer me truthfully those of you who witnessed it back then: Was it not epic when he burst forth from his pool of molten rock? TOO SOON EXECUTUS!

To answer the question, it may well be a climactic struggle, an epic ending to an epic expansion. But story and lore is but one part of the epic feeling. The other is…loot. And the third is: stuff to do that isn’t just dailies and more silly rep grinding.

I might’ve covered point 1 already. Let’s get right down to point 2 then, the loot, the reason we kill the poor bosses 10 times rather than 1. And with that, we have to mention the loot distribution system since its an integral part of the whole notion of loot. It is possibly here that we’ll see the crux of the matter appear.

Now, Blizz have already revealed the loot system, or rather it has been mentioned in various places by people who have experienced it on the PTR. The usual clause about subject to change will apply here of course. But judging from this description(link) we will have to first get the standard “hohum” version of the epic, only to upgrade it as we go along. Sound like a familiar system? That’s because it is…it’s a slightly altered version of the Zul’Gurub and Ahn’Qiraj loot systems. While those were perhaps based on rep it still amounts to the same thing; you have to grind the instance enough to get the loot.

In effect that places a brake on things, not the progress per se, but the loot progression itself. It would only hinder raid progression if it contained blocking mechanisms like FR or FrR or some other vanilla tactic, but it doesn’t. So why do it at all? Because it will extend the length of time that people will be interested in going back to the instance. Not that there will be anywhere better to go, but it seems simply like a delaying tactic. People are going to get their T10 no doubt, they just have to wait a tiny bit longer before they upgrade it.

The third leg is the “non raiding” bit of the patch. Realistically speaking, I doubt very much that we’ll get a departure from the Coliseum formula. The indications all point to more of the same, for better or worse. There is a new faction to grind for too (The Ashen Verdict). It is a tried and tested formula, but one can’t help but think that it starts feeling a bit samey by now. “Right-o, that’s one more faction to exalted. Next!”

It is the balancing act between the (perhaps) too hard reputation requirements for the heroics of TBC and the fact that immediate access, or “default key”, solutions are…let’s face it…boring. If anybody can just waltz in, a bit of the feeling of achievement does go away. For some that is no problem (yes, I’m looking at you “gief eipx n0w!” people), but for people whom might be a tiny bit interested in stories and lore it is unsatisfying. I could go on at length, but that would be a topic all of its own. The important point is to appreciate the tightrope that Blizz is walking.

So, all that said, will Icecrown Citadel be a fitting conclusion to the reign of the Lich King? From a game perspective seen, Blizzard are pouring all of their experience into making it the best raiding instance yet, and given their ability to walk tightropes, it is quite certain to be a good bit of fun. While Naxx might have suffered because it was essentially a pre-TBC refurbished to modern standards, Ulduar (and to a lesser extent the Coliseum) had very new and very interesting challenges. And most of all, it had a grand majesty about it…and is there anything better than to kill bosses in environments that look nice? I am confident that the raiding aspect will be good and that we wont be let down.

And just to reiterate it, yes I fully expect a new batch of dailies and new pets, and new tabards, and new bits and bobs to grind for. After all, we have to make money for repairs don’t we. While I don’t enjoy the grindy aspect of WoW, I am quite certain that we wont be let down here either.

That said however, in one way patch 3.3 is destined to fail.

Bringing closure to a storyline that began with the very launch of vanilla WoW 5 years of go cannot possibly live up to all the stories, memories and lore that comes before it. I still remember entering the Western Plaguelands, riding to Chillwind on my slow horse and taking in the destruction and desolation that the Scourge had brought with them. The names and the places of the past, when they were more than just places to grind runecloth for a tailoring alt: Andorhal, Corrins Crossing, Scholomance, Stratholme…

So when the Lich King finally dies, when Arthas and Nerzhul are finally destroyed…then what? Do we go back to the daily grind for the Ashen Verdict “to get that cool undead baby gryphon” or do we sit back and reflect upon the 5 years that have built up to this moment?

What will you do?

15
Oct
09

Looking for Dungeon?

So, Blizz are doing away with the heroic dailies, and good riddance. The concept is rather dated now, and I think something new is going to make a nice change. After having ground dailies for near on a year, I would imagine most people tend to see it that way.
Roll on patch 3.3 and its new hot item: Looking for Dungeon, and its partner, “random players”. It’s essentially a way to bring people to PUG. There is even an achievement (3 in fact) for grouping with many random people. So, all is well and good, isn’t it? Well yes, if you’re the type of person who jumps onto WoW and jumps into LFG to get the daily done prontolike. What, you mean some people aren’t?!
Now, this may be a “whine for the sake of whine” post, but even so I think it deserves to be said: The LFD is inadvertently punishing players who like to group up with people they know (guildies, friends, you name it) by rewarding people who sit in LFG more. Essentially, that is what is potentially going to happen: guilds not grouping up anymore since the rewards are greater for doing it with complete strangers.
At this stage it should be noted that the emblem rewards do not look to be affected (maybe?) by this; it is solely the monetary reward you get from the first instance run of the day. Big deal eh? Sure, if you don’t instance for the money that’s all hunkydory. On the other hand, why should people be reverse punished for preferring their guildies and friends?
I see this as Blizzards attempt to combat the waves of soloing instances that is going on these days. Or soloing quests. Or soloing anything. People solo whenever they can get away with it, simply because it’s more convenient at most times. However, MMO’s are all about grouping, so why not incentivise that…which is precisely what Blizzard have done.
Only, they’ve kicked the groups of friends or guilds a bit in the shins with this one. And before anybody says it: yes I’m shallow that way, that I would like to reap the maximum monetary benefit from the daily instance. So sue me. Blizz have always told us to play with our friends (but kindly reminded us that we should go outside Azeroth with them as well), except now they’re paying us not to.
Note: At the time of writing, there are a lot of unknowns in this equation. And I haven’t gone into detail about the finer workings of the LFD system, mostly beause it’s still being tested and is subject to change.

So, Blizz are doing away with the heroic dailies, and good riddance. The concept is rather dated now, and I think something new is going to make a nice change. After having ground dailies for near on a year, I would imagine most people tend to see it that way.

Roll on patch 3.3 and its new hot item: Looking for Dungeon, and its partner, “random players”. It’s essentially a way to bring people to PUG. There is even an achievement (3 in fact) for grouping with many random people. So, all is well and good, isn’t it? Well yes, if you’re the type of person who jumps onto WoW and jumps into LFG to get the daily done prontolike. What, you mean some people aren’t?!

Now, this may be a “whine for the sake of whine” post, but even so I think it deserves to be said: The LFD is inadvertently punishing players who like to group up with people they know (guildies, friends, you name it) by rewarding people who sit in LFG more. Essentially, that is what is potentially going to happen: guilds not grouping up anymore since the rewards are greater for doing it with complete strangers.

At this stage it should be noted that the emblem rewards do not look to be affected (maybe?) by this; it is solely the monetary reward you get from the first instance run of the day. Big deal eh? Sure, if you don’t instance for the money that’s all hunky dory. On the other hand, why should people be reverse punished for preferring their guildies and friends to completely random strangers, who might or might not be any good at what they do.

I see this as Blizzards attempt to combat the waves of soloing instances that is going on these days. Or soloing quests. Or soloing anything. People solo whenever they can get away with it, simply because it’s more convenient at most times. However, MMO’s are all about grouping, so why not incentivise that…which is precisely what Blizzard have done.

Only, they’ve kicked the groups of friends or guilds a bit in the shins with this one. And before anybody says it: yes I’m shallow that way, that I would like to reap the maximum monetary benefit from the daily instance. So sue me. Blizz have always told us to play with our friends (but kindly reminded us that we should go outside Azeroth with them as well), except now they’re paying us not to. Is there some backwards logic I am missing?

Note: At the time of writing, there are a lot of unknowns in this equation. And I haven’t gone into detail about the finer workings of the LFD system, mostly beause it’s still being tested and is subject to change.