Friday, December 19, 2014

Chatting again with the girls gone WoW - topic: Pet Battles

Last week I was invited again to chat with the lovely ladies on Girls Gone WoW - Sil was having a break but EJ and Raven were still going strong and it was fun to be chatting to them and listening to their views on everything new in the expansion.

I won't spoil the episode, which you can hear here, and the topic was Pet Battles, which is one of those funny things - you can love it, never done it, or just do it very casually but there were a lot of strong feelings about the subject!

One of the biggest criticisms was that the pet battles were too hard.  I think what they would have liked was there to be some sort of heroic mode for the pet battle and a normal mode.  I don't blame them - pet battles has turned into one of those things where people just google other people's pet teams to find out the best way to fight a pet boss/team, and have the right pets levelled!  I however enjoy the challenge of it, but I do find it very difficult to filter through my pets, especially if I am looking for a particular ability - it would be great if Blizzard put in a search for ability in the pet journal because sometimes I just can't remember which pets do Mana surge, for example.

The Elekk Plushie adventure is a very challenging one and trying to find teams with just 2 pets that can take down other pet teams can be so hard!  Especially the celestial tournament!  I admit, I have spent ages trying to take down a pet as I experimented with all my teams, because I often didn't have the right pet levelled and then I thought, I have so many levelled surely I can substitute one!

I admit, I did cheat and look at other people's team choices.  Murloc Harbor, recommended to me by Nathus has an excellent post on Awfully Big Adventure.  Cymre has started hers, but hers are youtube videos of the battles, and I am waiting for Liopleurodon to do hers so I can see what she's got in her team comps.

One of the embarrassing things was that I got up a few hours too early for my interview, but the girls very kindly started early so I could make use of that time.  It was perfect IMO - I got up at 4am and we were done by 6am which meant no kiddie interruptions.  Slight awkward moment as they asked me to do my best roar - without waking the whole house I had to do a rather tame rawrrrr.

Anyway, I should stop talking about what I talked about and let you go listen to it if you have the time. Big thanks again to Girls gone WoW for letting me loose on their show again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How the 10th anniversary and WoD reminds us the good old days really weren't

Count how many times you've heard any of these lines?
  • "Back in Vanilla it was better with 40 mans"
  • "You don't know hardcore until you raided in Vanilla."
  • "If you played Vanilla then X or Y and Z"
Well, Blizz brought back a whole bunch of Vanilla things.  Less abilities.  No reforging.  No flying. And they brought back Molten Core.

I think people had fond memories of Molten Core.  Or they had forgotten how many HOURS it took to do Molten Core.  Everyone is so used to being OP in it now as they farm MC for pets and legendaries that when they went back to see Molten Core as it was in it's glory days, they realised how fun was probably not the best word to describe it.

These days in LFR it takes a couple of hours to do Molten Core - in the first few days of MC LFR opening it took 3-4 hours and people just wanted it to be over.  The lure of pets and mounts kept people in till the end though but I bet I wasn't the only person wishing I could get in towards the end of the run.

On an interview with Convert to Raid, Hazzikostas and Zierhut said this about Molten Core:
  • The revised Molten Core experience was not meant to be done more than once.
  • They wanted to make sure it stayed faithful to the old experience. While 5 minute curses may not be added to the game today, it was an important part of experiencing MC.
  • Some mechanics were adjusted as it was near impossible for 40 random people to get through them. The aggro radius on Golemagg was one of them.
  • We probably won't see any other old school raids come into the LFR format.
Well, if you really want those rare drops you'll be doing MC more than once!

So, that killed any nostalgia for it.  Even Godmother said the same thing recently about her experience in Molten Core - I was fortunate to go in a guild group twice and a premade once, and I also did one random which was definitely not as fun as a preformed group.  There are a lot of people who never saw Vanilla WoW and their first time seeing MC in all it's glory, 5 min curses and magic debuffs (that instant reapplication of the damned debuffs, gotta love that), massive agro radiuses and all the other fun things we remember about the place.  I still haven't got the enchant but I have the pet (but would like to get a pet for a friend) so I am still going there but that's just once a week.

Tarren Mill vs Southshore is the other anniversary event, commemorating those days long ago before the multiple BGs of world PvP.  I don't think I ever did that in Vanilla and having only ventured once into the 10th anniversary BG and an abyssmal loss after a long battle, I felt like strangling people. It really does need team play, and people forget that throwing themselves against the enemy and dying actually makes them win faster as they rack up kills.  I shall have to try again some other time, but I felt like my evening in there had been a waste - unlike MC there is no mount or pet or special enchant, there is just honour and glory and ... yeah well that's about it, really.

And you know what, I have not heard anyone saying how wonderful Vanilla was ever since WoD was released.  One of my guildies said "The best thing about Vanilla was when they released Burning Crusade."

I can't even rustle up interest in MC on the weekend anymore - I think everyone is of the feeling "You only need to do MC once", just like the devs said.  I might run one on the last Saturday before it's gone for good, in case there's anyone that hasn't done it yet for whatever reason we can do it.  And have yet another chance at that pet.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Want to see Ashran? Better set aside 4 hours of play time

Ashran sounded so exciting when I first read about it, I couldn't wait to get in there. It sounded like an all day Alterac Valley which also had some side objectives you could do as well for bonus honour.  In the first few days, those who hit 100 quickly were in Ashran as it was a really fast place to level and gear.

That got nerfed recently and so now it seems like people who actually like to PvP are in there.  But, if you want to do Ashran, you'd better have 4 hours up your sleeve.

Yep, you heard me.  The queue to get INTO Ashran is almost 2-3 hours most days, and once you're in you might as well spend an hour there doing things anyway.  I'd say for people who have to AFK a lot, Ashran is not an ideal place to spend time - probably OK once you got in and then went AFK.

I've only done a couple of the mini objectives in there (mostly in Amphitheatre of Annihilation and Brute's rise because they are closest to the Horde starting area) and I find the mini events quite fun. The racing one (pictured above) is quite fun but that's probably because I have only done it when there are tons of Horde around and almost zero alliance.

The first thing you want to do is find a group. If you just type in general chat that you'd like an invite to group someone should pick you up pretty quickly.  I didn't know this at first and spent a lot of time just wandering around by myself thinking that everyone else was in some kind of premade.  Luxy quickly told me how silly I was and then finally when I was in a group it was so much better because at least now I had people to heal and objectives of sorts to follow and PvP is so much better in a group - better chances of survival.

Basically everyone is running down trying to get to the Alliance base to kill their leader (Grand Marshal Tremblade) and it's timed so Alliance can defend it and we can lose our objective.  Along the way we fight a whole lot of elite NPC captains as well as capture towers along the way defeating the elite NPC inside which awards you honour points and some conquest points.  You also loot Artifact Fragments from just about everything you kill in Ashran, and you hand these in to help summon captains and big boss NPC to help you fight (Fandral for us Hordies, a big rock dude) as well as portals and gateways and the like. Handing those fragments in also gives you a little bit of honour as well, so make sure you loot everything you kill in Ashran!

There is a chance at each objective to get an Ashmaul strongbox - killing the Alliance leader gives an epic one but green and blue ones can drop from all the other daily objectives.  There is a chance for cool loot inside these strongboxes which is PvP gear 600 or 620 ilvl but also a chance for epic loot (which lucky me got one item) which is the Conquest points gear.

The rares in there are not soloable by little old me, and it's a pretty dumb idea to solo anything remotely hard since all it takes is one alliance to come and start wailing on you and you're pretty much dead.  But, since they're pretty much left alone, it leaves me plenty of opportunity for screenshots of rares.

So how is it in terms of time efficiency, honour and conquest points and gear?  Well, I think if you're just wanting to start getting ready for arena and RBGs or even just random BGs, Ashran is a good place to get geared up quickly.  The gear may not be fantastic but it's passable and better than running around in your dungeon heroics.  Getting just a few pieces from those boxes and then supplementing with honour bought items has been good for me.  Then you feel a bit better about getting into BGs and having SOME survivability.

It's not a particularly great way of getting conquest points but I find that time passes very quickly in there and you can get a couple hundred in an hour or so if you do your objectives, per day.  But I would probably recommend doing random BGs after that to try to get at least the first BG win conquest bonus.

I think arena is probably the best way to conquest cap and RBGs if you can get in (you won't get in anyway unless you're geared) and so I did a few and got some conquest that way.  Well, that worked for me last week, because I had plenty of free time, but this week I haven't got as much time, so it may not work out as well. I foresee a lot of late nights... again.

Being in Ashran makes me wish I had a Gladiator's Sanctum building in my Garrison.  I see everyone looting Broken Bones and I want some too!  On a PvE server it's the only place you can get those bones anyway.

So that's me in Ashran.  I've been having fun in there, but it really needs a long period of timeplay since you should log on, queue for Ashran, then go and do whatever it was you wanted to do when you got on (raids, dungeons, BGs etc).  Once the queue pops you haven't got much time to accept so don't AFK too far or for too long (it wouldn't surprise me if someone had an addon for it that makes some loud yelling noise saying "YOUR ASHRAN QUEUE POPPED!!!") or you'll miss it.

But, I need to get back into proper arenas soon.  It's very melee heavy in there at the moment, and it seems casters aren't having much fun in there which means may not be very fun for Sev, Shab and myself.  But we shall see!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Raiding - Expelling Ko'ragh

Ko'ragh required a little more coordination than any of the previous bosses, and it took a little tweaking to our technique to get it down as well!

This boss does a lot of magic damage in different forms and also has a shield that needs magic damage to burn down.  Once that shield is down he runs into the middle and charges up again.  One of the DPS (we were using hunters) can run into there and get the shield too (but have to be healed massively to be able to do that) and then when they have the shield just like Ko'ragh they can run around and soak up bouncy balls (just like in Blood Prince Council in ICC).

The boss also does a bunch of other damage things.  Expel Magic: fire puts a debuff on everyone that does damage to others when it expires if they're close than 4 yards, so all the ranged need to spread out.  The melee however, need to be dispelled but they can spread, be dispelled then come back and hit the boss again.  Expel magic: Arcane is on the tank and they drop exploding arcane circles on the ground and take 100% more damage, so that's when they tank swap.  Expel Magic: Frost makes a frost orb that you have to get away from (it slows you as well - Stampeding roar is great for getting out of it) and Expel Magic: Shadow puts a debuff on everyone that absorbs healing, and so we're supposed to use healer cooldowns for that part of the fight.

Ko'ragh also runs at someone and smashed the ground where they were, leaving a supression field where anyone inside is silenced.  We use these to kill the adds that come when Ko'ragh runs to the middle to charge his Nullification Barrier.

Doesn't sound so bad, right?

It took a little bit of tweaking.  First, the melee had to get out of the middle when Ko'ragh runs to the middle so they don't accidentally get the Nullification barrier too.  Once you get it you can't get someone else to get it, and you can't step out of it.

Secondly, how we were handling the adds was also not quite right.  When Ko'ragh runs in to recharge, little ghosty adds come out which have to be killed but when they explode they do a lot of damage so you get them trapped in the suppression fields and kill them in there.  At first we had everyone stack up behind those zones, but we seemed to be having difficulty getting the damage out to get Ko'ragh's shield down.

So we made a slight adjustment after a few wipes, and only got the melee and the healers to stand behind that suppression zone whilst the ranged went all out on the boss.  That worked better.  Another tweak was to spread people right around the room instead of a little crescent close the starting area.  That was a lot better too.  And also telling people to get away from the walls so we could actually have room to stand behind the nullification zones was also very helpful LOL.

So yay, that was the 6th boss down on normal for us!  This time I managed to get a picture!

Imperator Mar'gok will be a doozy - watching that video looks so busy!  On Friday Exray, Aza, Alca and Una went with some friends and did it, and Sev's friend Scruff (who has cleared heroic Mar'gok) offered to run me and Sev through out so we can learn it, but Christmas parties are stuffing up my fight learning opportunities so I will have to take a raincheck on that!