Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pandas patch perspective!

After about an hour of optimization and patch downloading, the bf and I logged into our baby worgen in Gilneas to try out the new talent system. I was squealing with glee right from the start with the new login screen- the Cataclysm is over!

Belielle is my baby demonology warlock, I was kind of surprised the name wasn't taken- it's just a feminization of Belial.

First things first- I got a new pet for my preorder of the digital deluxe version of Mists. Had to bring him out right away! After looking over the new spell book, I started beating on some forsaken, as I was particularly interested in how Demonic Fury worked. It builds up like Rage as you do damage, and you begin to show the effects of the transformation...

And...Metamorphosis! I love it! By the end of the night I gained Demonic Leap as which will trigger the transformation, although I'm not sure what the purpose of that is aside from looking cool. I don't think I need to be in melee range to use Metamorphosis spells. I guess that's something to figure out as I level.

Overall, I really enjoyed having a smattering of new skills added to my action bar with each level, I quickly figured out what worked best for questing. By the end of the night I reached level 15 and got my first selectable talent: I chose Harvest Life because I really like Drain Life, and modifying it into an AOE spell seemed like a good idea.

The bf logged onto his baby warrior Allaso, we figured out what to put on his action bars, and we were off for some leveling. Here I'm smelling him just like I do in real life (I like boy smell!). Some comments from Allaso, who is definitely not sold on playing WoW yet:

1. the worgen starting zone is definitely better than "that cow zone." He didn't like Mulgore :( The Gilneas quests follow a story line and don't seem so random.

2. unlike me, he isn't interested in reading up on and studying rotations, he just wants to be out in the world exploring and killing things. I'm thinking this approach will be more feasible with the new talent system, with unnecessary talents simply removed from the spellbook.

Gilneas is such a beautiful place, but we're ready to finish up our business here and move on to bigger things- I'm looking forward to accompanying Allaso on his first dungeon run sometime soon!

I had two lingering questions at the end of the night, hopefully the answers will show up on the WoW forums in the upcoming days:

1. Where is my pet control bar? Is it hiding somewhere, or is it bugged?
2. Where is my worgen shapeshift button? It used to be under general spells, but I can't find it anywhere. I know it isn't essential to gameplay, but I like to see my human form every so often.

I don't know how much time I'll have in upcoming days to play with some of my leveled alts, as I'll have family visiting and that will take up some of my evening time. Aside from leveling the worgen, I'm actually looking forward to relearning my high level toons, since at this moment I'm on even ground with everyone else in the game rather than forever playing catch-up. Add to all that some bouts of Diablo III and I think I'm set game-wise until Mists arrives!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Holding my breath...

...for patch 5.0.4, and the talent changes in particular! I'm really looking forward to trying out the new specs, especially on characters that have proven difficult for me to play so far- I'm looking at you, Aeshna the kitty druid! Although a funny thing happened in the Borean Tundra- once I had Aeshna in a full set of Wrath gear, her energy problems seemed to improve a bit. With just that little change, she got a lot more fun to play, and I really enjoyed questing with her for a couple of levels even though I just did Borean Tundra on Fossegrimme. So fingers crossed, I'm hoping that the dramatic changes of 5.0.4 will bring more of the same!

In other news, I have convinced my boyfriend to try WoW again, on the Alliance side this time. Taking advantage of Recruit-a-Friend and the 75% off sale on Vanilla through Cataclysm last week, we've rolled a pair of worgen: him a warrior, and me a warlock. We made it to level 10 and chose our specs (fury for him, demonology for me), and will resume leveling under the new talent system. I'm hoping this will also give me an opportunity to learn how the new system works on a leveling toon, making it easier to make the transition on my max-level characters.

Given the pre-patch lull in WoW, I finally began playing Diablo III, which has been sitting on my desktop since I downloaded it via my Annual Pass. Since I now live in a 2-computer household, my bf also picked up a copy, and we have been killing zombies and demons together. The interface shares similarities with WoW, but has still taken some getting used to, especially using mouse clicks to move and cast spells. Everything seems very small, too, and lacks the visual richness of WoW.

Still, just going on adventures and killing monsters has been a lot of fun. I rolled a witch doctor, my boyfriend a barbarian. I love my troll mask and shrunken head and rabid zombie dogs!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New computer joy!

So the new computer purchase has been made: a shiny new MacBook Pro with the best processor and video card available, but minus the retina display. As soon as I had all of my files transferred and everything set up, I logged onto WoW and immediately turned my video settings to Ultra (they had previously been on Low with my old computer).

Oh my! Everything looks so crisp and detailed and three-dimensional! So many sparklies! I get distracted watching other player's spell animations when I am in dungeons, and having finally become flight-capable on both Milyra the hunter and Aeshna the kitty druid, I am really enjoying just flying about and seeing the sights. I always knew this was a beautiful game, it's even more so when it's played as intended with a good computer.

The detailing on gear is stunning. Above, Fossegrimme the mage as a night elf thanks to an awesome little bauble she picked up in Magister's Terrace. My first night on the new computer Fossegrimme ran around Stormwind just looking at everyone's beautiful sparkly gear. Joy!

Another benefit of the fast new computer is that I no longer lag in LFR. As a result, Fossegrimme's performance in LFR has improved greatly, much to my relief. Perhaps I don't suck at fire mage after all, it was just my computer! Of course two No'Kaleds dropped on Madness while I was playing her, prompting me to log onto Wapsi since she still needs her second No'Kaled- but no No'Kaled this time. If I had a penny for every time I've seen Gurthalak though...

Most of my actual playtime (as opposed to running around looking at shinies) has been on Milyra the hunter. She's made it to Hellfire Peninsula and is mixing up questing with some dungeons. I've decided that her signature colors will be green/gold/white, so she did her 50-55 leveling in Winterspring to pick up some matching pets. Toki the polar bear is currently her questing pet with lots of talent points in aggro generation.

Check out this beautiful agility axe that dropped from a quest mob in Outland. I nearly wept- Milyra can only wear it for another week, as hunter melee weapons are gone forever in the pre-expansion patch!

I'm a bit nervous about the patch, as it will certainly impede my leveling of Milyra and Aeshna to learn a completely new rotation and talent set. I truly hope the changes will result in better gameplay, especially for my feral druid who continues to be godawful in dungeons where mobs are moving all over the place. I don't want to admit that this may be one class that I simply cannot play- I really like being a cat druid in theory at least. So please Blizzard, let post-patch kitty druids be super OP at least until I get Aeshna to level 85 :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer's end

Oh my, work got busy, I went to a meeting and my joints went to hell, AND I adopted a tiny, sweet little dog! So things have been busy, and my WoW time has felt like it's been focused on leveling, leveling leveling. I've been focusing on my Alliance toons, and didn't feel like I could do a blog post until I played my poor neglected night elf hunter a bit and got her a decent transmog outfit- ah, the worries of an altoholic!

Fossegrimme is in LFR, and wow, her numbers are pretty bad. She's reforged and gemmed, but very few enchants since I don't feel like blowing 2000G on a Power Torrent etc. that will be obsolete when the expansion drops in a few weeks. She's not winning any loot rolls so she isn't improving her performance that way either. I'm doing the same rotation as always (following advice from Noxxic and Icy Veins), keeping her DOTs and debuffs up, but her DPS is awful enough that she actually got kicked from one LFR after repeated wipes! Never happened to me before, and I felt pretty fail. I know fire mages are notoriously dependent on RNG, but I still feel that I must be doing something wrong with her. So, I think she will be retired now until Pandaria, unless I feel like soloing more BC dungeons for pretties. Because sucking at LFR is not very fun.

At least I'm happy with her outfit! Still sporting the Mana-Etched Vestments from BC heroics, and got the wiggly staff from Archbishop Benedictus in a HoT heroic. Her cape is a HoT healer cape with the spirit reforged off.

On to Aeshna. I'm still loving being a shapeshifter, and she's a monster when she's questing out in the world so that's been a lot of fun. However, I'm still struggling with the feral playstyle in dungeons; never enough energy, can't get behind mobs when the tank can't keep aggro or drags them all over, moves that don't always apply bleeds (is this buggy or the way it's supposed to work?). I'm really hoping that kitty gets more fun to play in Pandaria, or I'm afraid she won't get much play time once she hits level 90.

But dungeons provide such nice gear! Here she's looking a bit mismatched, still wearing transmogged Emblazoned gear plus some quest drops from Hellfire Peninsula, but with a most cool staff from one of the Hellfire dungeons! I was so happy when that dropped, and who else is going to roll on a staff with agility on it?

And flight form! Thank Elune for level 60 and finally being able to fly! After reaching this milestone though, I felt it was time to give Aeshna a little break as playing her was starting to feel a little bit like work. I needed a change, something different...

So back to Milyra the hunter! I guess I really like hunters, since this is my second one. I just find them to be very fun and relaxing to quest with- I guess that's a theme here, I want to relax when I play WoW, and pick my toons accordingly. Still, I like some challenge, so I have specced Milyra as survival rather than beastmastery, which I've played on Gallore. After hearing on a podcast that survival hunters do mostly magic damage and so benefit most from the target debuff that wind serpents provide, she made her way to Thousand Needles for questing and pet taming.

Her outfit is mostly quest rewards from Thousand Needles, in addition to the Infantry Tunic which doesn't match perfectly but still looks pretty nice. I bit the bullet and paid through the nose to transmog her heirloom cape too, and changed her hair up so everything matched. I suppose this color combo isn't very hunter-ly, but  I really like it!

I've done some reading on the things that Blizzard wants to change with the talent trees, including making it so that you're not forced to put points into talents that you don't benefit from until many levels later. This problem seems particularly bad for survival hunters. Milyra is currently at level 45, and I've put a bunch of points into talents that enhance Black Arrow, which she doesn't receive until level 69, or talents that enhance the Lock and Load proc, which is pretty much impossible to do until she gets Trap Launcher at level 48. Although I'm apprehensive about having everything I've learned about my toons completely shaken up in the expansion, I am looking forward to seeing whether that talent system will truly be improved.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lazy late summer

Fossegrimme is finally into Hour of Twilight heroics, and after a few runs of BC heroics saw the Mana-Etched Crown drop in Black Morass. She's now wearing 3 pieces of that set, as well as a staff from another BC heroic that I can't recall, and although it's not very fire mage firey, I still think it looks pretty sweet (especially with her buff from Well of Eternity). I think she'll hold off on doing those old heroics for now, and concentrate on JP and VP farming and making it into LFR.

Aeshna is puttering about Stormwind while she waits for LFD queues, and hit level 45 last night. I think she'll go for some questing in Feralas for the next five levels though as I'm sick and tired of Dire Maul. My most recent observations on playing a cat druid are:

1. OMG so many buttons! I don't like to button-mash, but it's hard not to fall into this pattern especially with the ongoing NOT ENOUGH ENERGY issues. For some reason I feel more overwhelmed by the number of actions available at this level than I have with other toons (maybe because I just finished leveling a "faceroll" mage, haha!)

2. That said, the energy issue is improving thanks to some points in the King of the Jungle talent. I can now get almost through two rotations (up to 5 combo points and the finishing move) before having to stand there and do white damage for awhile.

3. Positioning is getting easier, especially with the acquisition of Feral Charge (although it's a bit frustrating the way this action repositions the camera, so that I have to spin it around while keeping on the target).

4. Despite feeling a bit hapless at times in fights, Aeshna has been performing well DPS-wise. One night Recount wasn't showing for some reason, and when I got it to show after a couple of dungeons, she was at the top of the chart. So I guess I'm doing something right!

5. It's awesome to be able to tank in a pinch! I've tanked trash and a couple of bosses after tanks have dropped group, and I didn't do too badly (also thanks in part to some great healers). I actually set up my second spec as feral tank, and although I'm not quite confident enough to go full tank, I like having the option to do so.

Aeshna is looking sharp in brown/red leathers, including several from the Emblazoned set. 

Allow me a tiny rant for a moment though while I complain about the AH armor economy on Shadow Council Alliance- it's awful! EVERY piece of low level leather gear is 200-300G at the moment, primarily due to one seller whom I sincerely hope has a cataclysmic computer meltdown sometime in the near future. Presumably he/she is buying everything up and reposting at ridiculous prices, ostensibly for "transmog," although a lot of this gear doesn't look that great. Perhaps he/she is anticipating leather-wearing monks too. 

What this means for a poor leveling toon like Aeshna is there will be no gear upgrades through the AH unless she can catch that rare piece that is listed for 5-20G (and when she finds such a piece, listed below the same damned thing going for 300G, she cackles ecstatically while she buys out the undercutter). I'm generally not much of a rager, but money-grubbing of any kind is really high on my pet peeves list, so much so that I find myself actually considering sending this person a letter asking them to knock it off. But I won't, because it's not worth an argument, and most importantly, it will almost certainly have no effect. I suspect that other people on the server are feeling the same way, so I will let the market work its magic until the gouger gives up.