Monday, September 30, 2013

Blizzcon 2013, what do you expect to see?

Blizzcon is just a little more than 2 months away, so I decided to speculate on what we might see in November.

WoW Expansion
This seems the most obvious. Mists of Pandaria was released on September 25th, 2012. Blizzard has been busting out the new patches at lightning speed. Less than a year later we've already opened the final chapter of the expansion. If they keep up this rate, we could see another expansion released first quarter 2014 (giving us casuals 6 months to defeat Garrosh).

DD has some great ideas for the next expansion:

Hearthstone release
From my beta testing of Hearthstone, I haven't encountered any 'bugs'. To me, it seems like this is a way to build up hype for the game then to have it actually release at Blizzcon. As some are speculating, codes for card packs to be found in your goodie bag. (wonder if I could justify a virtual ticket?!). This also seems to fit the timing of a release in 2 months.

Titan - nothing. Last I heard, the team on this project has been re-assigned to other projects, i.e. WoW expansion.

Diablo 3/ Starcraft 2 - Sorry don't really play these games. Played D3 one time through, then second play through was like questing in WoW on a slightly stronger alt.

Favorites from the Internet:

  • TenTonHammer - Warcraft Movie Trailer - maybe but from what I've read, they are still choosing cast after the director change earlier this year.
  • GamerTV Forum - WoW F2P at 10yr anniversary, all toons playable cross faction (horde humans), D3 Console controls for PC, another WoW Season Pass with hearthstone bonus card pack, and  free D3 expansion.
  • WoW forums - new character models
  • MMORPG - hinted at here D3 for XBox

Friday, September 27, 2013

Proving Grounds ... meh

Have you test drove the new proving grounds that came in patch 5.4? It's a really cool concept. You enter a solo scenario, pick the raid role you want to practice on, then FIGHT!

Silver, fight 7 - get globule to hit Mystic
so he doesn't cast heals.
To get each achievement you need to complete a series of fights within the time period. They start off easy, 1 mob, and increase in number of mobs up to the final fight. You exceed the time-limit on a single fight in the series and it resets COMPLETELY back to the first fight of the round.

So far, Elk has completed the Bronze level. There's a really great comments on Wowhead by Voxxell (BronzeSilver, Gold) that details what you can expect at this level. I feel that I could have completed the Silver level, except I kept getting hardware issues. (think new video drivers I installed this week will fix it).

The problem I see is that the implementation isn't much more than animated training dummies. Sure, in the Silver round, they heal, they cast amber globules that follow and stun, but it's all about how efficiently you can fire off the Incinerates and use your AOE, and not about training. Oh, yeah, it's a proving ground, not training.. The proving ground panda says something generic like "make good use of your area of effect spells".

I like the idea. It is good place to try out different rotations and explore different talent trees on actual mobs and not just a training dummy, but by the time I got started with the silver fights, I was rather frustrated. Yeah, mostly because randomly during the fights I had been getting DC'd or huge 2 second lag spots. This would often cause the fight to be very close (down to last second) or fail all together and I'd have to start over again. I remember a few rounds I had 1 small varmint left sitting there with ~10 health (probably laughing at me in his little illusionary voice). I would love it if you could retry a single fight, without having to start completely over again. Maybe make a separate achievement for Proving Ground Perfection (no retries!).

Have you tried them out? How far have you gotten? Would you suggest it to guildies? New players?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Noodle Cart Phase 2 walkthrough (spoilers)

Last weekend, I continued along the process of starting my noodle cart enterprise. First off, ran the instance of Jade Serpent for "Bad Feeling, Worse Result" 3 times.

First off, I didn't see the scroll you are looking for, and left the dungeon thinking it was bugged. Second time, I died trying to kill Lin Da-Gu. Third, with some help, I finished. As a warlock, I suggest you ask one other player come along. Lin Da-Gu was fairly easy for my voidwalker to tank, but he has an ability that killed me almost instantly. Run back into the dungeon after death and everything has reset (doors closed).

The next step is to catch bags of grain. This is EASY once you figure out the big trick. Clear area of beasts, use the ability on the item to put your arms out, then run to the dust motes. When you catch 5 bags, turn around and run back up the hill to the cart with a hunters mark over top. As far as I can tell, we don't actually use the grain in the cart.
To start, we're going to need lots of grain to make noodles.
Instead I made 6 basic recipes. I used 3 of my ironpaw tokens to buy items for the recipes.
  1. Charbroiled Tiger Steak (5) you need raw tiger steaks; had from killing tigers on Timeless isles
  2. Sauteed Carrots (5) you need 10 juicy crunchy carrots; my farm
  3. Swirling Mist Soup (5) you need 5 jade lungfish; fishing but I bought them using tokens
  4. Shrimp Dumplings (5) you need 5 giant mantis shrimp, fishing, also I bought with tokens
  5. Wildfowl Roast (5) you need 5 wildfowl breast; birds on timeless isles
  6. Ginseng Tea (5) you need 5 ginseng; sold from cooking supply vendor; fairly certain I had the tea from drops.
Combine these to make 5x basic carts.

Next up, another dungeon, Stormstout Brewery to collect spilled brew. Looks easy enough, just loot from dead alementals.

Unfortunately, the next cart recipe is possible (550 in all the "ways"), but the final cart is almost impossible to complete (so far); 600 in each of the various 'way of the ___' cooking styles.  In addition, the prospect of making money from fellow players, is a mini-game (see youtube) where you can earn 2 more ironpaw tokens, not a gold making opportunity. I had really thought I could drop into a raid, pop up my noodle cart and sell buff food to fellow players for a few gold...
Set out a Pandaren Treasure Noodle Cart to sell Pandaren Treasure Noodle Soup!

You don't get gold from people buying noodles.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

LFR: Siege of Orgrimmar open

This week the LFR (aka first 4 bosses) in the Siege  of Orgrimmar opened up, Vale of Eternal Sorrows. I couldn't find LFR guides (except for PTR), but they appear to be for 10-man which has to be as close as we can get.

Wowhead Loot table


My DPS Strategy (added 9/19/2013) -
  1. Spread out evenly around boss. This is key to step 4 below.
    running back to boss
  2. Move out of puddles on ground. Pick a strategy for their dispersion and stick to it. I started at the front edge of the platform and would work my way back. Across, back, across...
  3. Avoid the blue spirals on ground. They appear to be water spouts and will shoot you in the air.
  4. The boss will 'split' (very ying yang) into dark and light blobs. I ran back to edge and turned around. The blobs form at the back edge of the circle. Kill the dark (infection) blobs and heal the friendly light blobs. When they reach the front edge, they join the water and do an AOE damage. This is usually where everyone dies. Save a big heals (healthstone, etc) for this time.. I am not sure if being ranged would helped. If so, maybe warlock teleport to back of area.
  5. Boss reforms and starts over at 2. It was basically a DPS race to beat his enrage timer.
If he has another phase I haven't seen it.

Fallen Protectors
Simple. three protectors; all three need to die within seconds of each other. Follow the raid as they bounce between the players. If you see a dark bubble appear over one character, run for it.

DPS Strategy Update: 9-26-2013:

  1. Kill adds that randomly spawn around boss. Each is supposed to remove 'corruption' but my bar never dropped below 75%.
  2. Don't get hit by beam. This is like the water stream on the Wise Mari in the Jade Temple. I put down my lock portal, then as the beam passes it coming toward me, port to other side. 

Sha of Pride (edited 9-26-2013)
This boss is a bit of a LFR coordination nightmare. The basic statement in raid chat was "if the sha is casting, spread; otherwise stack".

Before or as the fight starts:

  • The Sha has 4 disks surrounding him. These are prisons. Facing him on front left and back right.  Randomly he picks 2 people and imprisons them in these. To release the people, there are two pads to stand on. I suggest dropping your warlock portal on one of the pads.
  • To shorten the trip to the opposite prison, drop your gateway over there. That way 2 people can free the imprisoned player then run back. 
DPS Strategy:
  1. DPS and heals stack on the Sha's tail. Norushen will randomly drop buffs on selected raid members and if you are within 8 yards, you will also pickup the buff. 
  2. When Sha casts Self Reflection, adds will spawn from a bunch of people's feet. I don't believe spreading helped, but on the successful run, we did. Jump from the purple puddles where they are spawning, then kill adds. 
  3. Portal to prison pads to release trapped players. 
  4. Sha casts Swelling Pride depends on your pride bar. 0-24, do nothing. 25-49, spread out from group because you are about to explode for damage. 50-99- find a puddle marked with hunters mark (around 1 minute mark in video) and stand in it.  100 - next swelling pride you will become mind controlled by sha. On our successful kill, I never reached above 24 pride. 

According to AskMrRobot, there are 13 drops in this wing that are useful for me that are decent upgrades!

Comment on Wowhead by Amoak breaks down Disc Priest gear, also good way to find our tier drops for Warlocks. According to him, the Helm of the Cursed Conqueror drops from Immerseus

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Elkagorasa, Noodles for the Adventuring Warlock.

From the Patch notes:
  • Players who have learned the first recipe in each of “the ways” can discover a quest-line that starts on the Timeless Isle: “Noodle Secrets Long Forgotten.” Heroes will search for a long-lost pandaren recipe allowing them to build and run their own noodle cart. The all-new quest-line will revisit some old zones and dungeons, culminating in a solo scenario with a unique time-management mini-game.
  • The noodle cart allows a player to set themselves up as a vendor and distribute powerful noodle soups to their faction.
What I thought:
I am Poh.

So far, I have found the starter quest on the Timeless Isle and done the basic running around (find this toon, then run over there and talk to him). Next, "find the secret ingredient in Jade Serpent". Sigh, specific, not random dungeon run.. Here's to an hour wait in queues..

In other news, my priest alt has Timeless tokens for head, chest, gloves and legs. All from running around with Elk killing beasts and doing quests. This will give her 496 gear on each of these items. Instantly replacing all that hard work last week running Battlefield Barrens to replace with 489 BB Latent Kor'Kron gear. (sigh).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hearthstone Beta key arrives.

Friday, I got a beta key in my mail. (nope, I don't have any to give away) Loaded up the game and then played the game while working that night. Never one to play Magic, the Gathering or invest in the TCG, I found this game actually a lot of fun. .

You start the game with a basic "starter" deck. Mine was based on the Hero, Jaina Proudmore. The goal of the game is destroy all the 'health' of your opponent's hero. As a mage, you get a few spells, and a few minions that you can call to fight for you. As a hero she a special power that she can cast Fireblast (which if targetted wrong, can be aimed at yourself!!!).

The game is part resource management, part strategy. You start a round with 1 mana. Each card has a mana cost, ranging from 0 to ?? (seen 10 so far). Each turn you get one more mana crystal.

Cards that you can play include minions or various class type abilities (i.e. attacks or spells). Minions range across all the npcs from the Warcraft universe. Each minion has an attack damage level and health. A number of the minion cards have a special ability, for example the footman has a 'taunt' meaning it acts as a tank and must be attacked first, before the Hero. For abilities, the mage can cast a 6 damage fireball, 1 damage aoe damage arcane explosion, or even polymorph.

Three types of play. First off you can Practice against the AI. Your existing deck against another hero. As you beat a hero, you get their basic (10 card) deck. Beat all 10 Heroes, you open up "The Arena" (more later). This is a fun way to explore each of the various classes. Priest has a lot of heals. Paladin nice balance of heals, dps and the hero can even attack with weapon. Hunter has abilities that charm beasts, causing better minion attacks. Warlock as an interesting mix of healingdps and minions. (Yes, Hellfire hurts ALL players! Good way to kill your own minions off.). Each fight earns you a bit of XP. Enough XP, you level up. As you level up, you earn new cards (abilities). IIRC, I got a new ability each each even level until 10. Now I have to get to 20 before I see my next one.

Next is Play. You play against a random "worthy opponent" aka human. One added element of Play mode is that it appears to include the option of quests. The quests I had so far include "kill 40 minions" and "do 100 damage to opponent". Once you complete the quests, you can get random rewards like gold, pots (not sure of what) and packs of cards.

Last is the Arena. The arena is slightly different than standard Play mode in that you pick your deck of cards. I went through picking the "best of"  until I had 30 different cards. Using this 'stacked' deck, you play against another three humans, maybe more if you win (I haven't won any yet). This is one of the aspects that Blizzard has implemented their real-world money charges into. You can spend 150 gold (earned from quests earlier) or you can spend $2( or was it $3?) to enter the arena. Of course, "the first time is free!"

The other way to spend real-world money to buy card packs. Prices included one-to-multiple decks at a single time. Updated: Prices are about $1.50 each.

I had a lot of fun playing the game. At low levels, the mage wasn't able to beat the hunter or warrior. I ended up leveling up the paladin and was able to finally beat them. Now I find myself wishing their was a mobile/phone version of the game to play here in the office. :)

Here's a fairly high-level sample of game play. Both players have a number of cards beyond the basic deck. Note the gem in the middle of some of the cards (56seconds) shows white and blue (common and rare), are not typically with basic set, possibly even an arena game based on the golden token spun to determine who goes first.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

ACT NOW! Battlefield Barrens Gear SALE ENDS IN 5 DAYS!!

Do you have alts that are sitting idle? Those that would like to raid, but just don't have the gear? Maybe you want one more piece of gear from the Battlefield Barrens weekly quest. Or you're coming back to Warcraft after a long hiatus and would like to see some end-game content? You have 5 more days to get that one last piece and/or use that radical mojo.

Act now because when they're gone, they're gone forever! (or only to be found on the auction house). Note: Siege of Orgrimmar (LFR) is going to require a 496 gear score.

Now, if you're no where near complete on the quest line, don't fret. 5.4 is bringing out new i496 BOA gear. Your DPS toons can now farm gear for your healer toons!

Have Valor? Don't buy SPA gear, upgrade existing gear, buy new gear next week when the SPA sale starts, Sept 10th. All deeply items discounted!

Taming MOAR Pets

WFH means Work Warcraft From Home Monday was a work from home kind of day, so I worked on a little project of my own. I saw this on Twit...