25 August 2010

Moving to onemorealt.com

This blog has moved. Continue reading on http://onemorealt.com

28 April 2010

About badges and the death of Naxxramas.

The new badges system for Cataclysm has been revealed. It'll be a lot like the current badges system, except that there will always be only 2 different "badges". It's simplier than our current emblems, but in my opinion it's still faulty...

If you didn't read the blue post about the new badges system, here is how it'll look like. We won't have emblems anymore, but only points. There will be 2 type of points:

  • Valor points, that you'll get from higher tier of content and daily/weekly quests
  • Hero points, that you'll get from all the lower content, including heroic instances
Each time a new tier of content is released, your Valor points will be converted to Hero points.

This system has many advantage compared to the current one. First you won't have to change you're emblems of Triumph into Conquest into Valor into Heroic so you can buy a new heirloom for your baby hunter. But, most importantly, your Hero points will never be lost! At the moment, you probably have a few of lower tier emblems, and until you're an altoholic and often buy heirloom you'll certainly have them forever, without being able to use them on something usefull.

But it's still faulty. Look at the current content you could raid: Naxxramas, Malygos, Sartharion, Ulduar, Trial of the Crusader, and of course Icecrow. Which one are you doing more than once every 3 months? I mean, which one do you REALLY do. Doing only the "BigBadBoss must die" quest doesn't count. I suppose you're often doing ICC, and sometimes ToC. Did you try to do Naxxramas raid since ToC is out? I did try. After a few evenings spamming trade channel and convincing my hubby to come and heal, I finally manage to have 10 people ready to go. Well. This wasn't glorious.We didn't pass Gluth. Kiting zombies is apparently too hard. Of course, at the first wipe, half of the raid leaved. And this was before the new random dungeon tool.

Poor lonely Sapphiron!
Poor lonely Sapphiron!

Why would people bother doing a raid, where you could wipe, when you can get better gear by just doing a few heroics? Especially now that you just have to hit a button to be insta ported into an instance with 4 other people.

I'm not saying Naxxramas is the best raid ever (Ulduar is a great raid!), but it is actually nice to do something else than always the same bosses, in the same monotonous decor. Back in TBC, I remember doing Karazhan very often. With my alts, to gear them, but sometimes with my main too, to help friends gearing their alts. And I loved it.

It would be great if the Cataclysm badge system would encourage people doing old raids, and not just the higher tier raid and the fast random heroic. The current system make the older raids deserted. I'd like to do Ulduar with my shaman, but I know it'll be almost impossible to find 9 people with adequate gear and experience wishing to go past the weekly quest.

There could be something simple to have players still wishing to do older raids : make 3 type of badges instead of 2. Heroic instances would give you poor badges, Higher tier raid would give you great badges, and all the other raids would give you medium badges. Imagine that today : if you'd want some T9, you'd have to do some raid, be it Sarthartion, Ulduar or ToC. I know most people would choose ToC but still, it'd be better than nothing. If you'd only want to do random heroics, you could still get T8 gear with your poor badges. And really, with the Citadel zone buff updated to 15%, T8 is enough to do some pick up ICC 10.

27 April 2010

Shortest Shared Topic ever !

For this week's Shared Topic, Deyndor from Swift Retribution asked what we are doing when our raid is cancelled. He! What do you think I'm doing when my raid is cancelled ? I play an alt of course!

Salade lyonnaiseIf I still haven't had diner, my hubby and me love cooking something good, like lasagna or a "salade lyonnaise" (lettuce with bacon cubes, croutons and a poached egg), and taking our time to have diner while watching a movie. But more often we only know about that after we already had hasty diner. So, as I hate daylies and I'm not fond of doing the same heroics for the hundreth time, I pick one of my alt for the night. And if I don't want to play any of my alts, I just create a new one!

And you, what are you doing when your raid is cancelled ?

19 April 2010

Shared topic: Leveling 1-10

Inspired by SAN leveling, Guthammer suggested Blog Azeroth Shared Topic for this week :

A while ago Blizzard came out with the stat that 70% of its accounts don't ever make it past level 10. While I am sure that Blizzard can put in some great analysis of their game, I am also sure that they would love to hear more player feedback on the new level experience.

Zahiou leveled 10

My leveling experiences varied a lot depending on the class between level 1 and 10. The easiest and funiest class at low level is without any doubt the warlock. You get your pet really fast, and the moment you have it your Imp can just kill the mobs alone if you want it. The only "hard" part is the quest to get your Imp(1). So it is easy, but it is also fun as you use multiple spells : you got your main pewpew spell and immolation at level 1, then you get corruption, curse of agony and life tap before leaving the starting zone. That's a lot of buttons to hit while fighting mobs so you're kept busy, and life tap allow you to keep going without any mana problem. If you're undead, you won't have any downtime.

Some other classes get to level 10 pretty easy, but are boring. That's the case of paladin for example, that only have one spell to hit. In fact, you don't even have Judgement until level 4: until then, you just kill things with you auto attack \o/. It doesn't stop by level 10 by the way, paladins keep being boring until you hit level 40. But leveling a paladin is not hard. Mobs die at a decent rate, you don't run out of mana (how could you? Your only spell cost 6 mana and is on a 10 seconds cooldown), you're wearing mail armor so you can afford taking damage before you're in danger.

But some classes are (or were) really hard to level to 10. I remember the last priest I leveled, it was a bit more than a year ago. I buy her lots of mana potion, heirloom shoulders and some other greens from the AH to make leveling less painful. But still. I couldn't just kill 2 mobs in a raw using smite in the strating zone. If I didn't finish the mobs with my little mace, I was almost oom when they died. And I was human. How did the priests who hadn't the spirit bonus? By now leveling a priest should be easier with the adjustment they made in the mana costs of the spells and the mana regeneration at low level. When I leveled my baby shaman in SAN my mana was back to full as soon as I was out of the five seconds rule.

Some classes are ok, but are just missing something essential. What about rogues with only one weapon? What about hunters without a pet? What about a druid who can't shapeshift? Worse, I recently realised hunters only had a mele attack at level 1! No wonder why there are so many mele hunters out there. I completely understand that new players could get confused and think Raptor Strike is the main hunter attack.

But these considerations are from a confirmed player point of view. That doesn't answer the question : why does so many account don't make it until level 10 ?

Even if some of these account could be trial accounts from wow players, I suppose some of them are completely new players. When I remember my first hour of playing, the time it took to kill something was the least of my worries. Wath bothered me was way more basic. This experience will depend on each player previous experience. As wow is my first game, you can understand that I didn't care at all that my rogue was only wearing one weapon (why bother with 2 weapon by the way? Managing one is hard enough! ). I was just trying to get were I wanted to go, and attack what I wanted to attack. When I did that right, the stuff died, and it was ok for me. But often it was : "Why the hell did my character stop attacking? ", "You are facing the wrong way", "Wait, I'm trying to turn my character but that's not that easy! ".

That's how I felt in the strating area. The difficulty hadn't nothing to do with the game: moving was my biggest problem, my boyfriend explained the game mechanisms to me.

The level 6-10 were a little harder. You begin facing fleeing murlocs. Do you imagine how it is to try and run after a fleeing murloc when it is already hard to just run in the direction you want to run? And you need to fight Princess with her 2 bodygards!
The zone is way bigger, and you absolutely don't know where you're going. At this time, there weren't points on the map showing me where I needed to go. And I barely knew how to use a map. I remember getting lost when looking for a quest, and being surrounded by Defias 5 level above me.

Some of these difficulties have been dealt with. It's now easier not getting lost, if you know how to use the quest mapping feature. The discovering experience is not that great with this feature, but leveling is being made easier and this can really help players going past level 10. Most named monster are also easier to kill. Princess has now only one bodygard, and most elite mobs are not elite anymore (except Hogger) and can be easily soloed.

But there are some other changes, meaning to make the low level game better, that could not reach their goal. For example, all monsters in the strating zone are now neutral. It makes the strating zone easier. But quest in there weren't hard. Now, you don't need to kill stuff to level, you earn less experience, and you could find yourself leaving the strating area at level 4. It's very very low and that'll make your questing in the next area much harder than it should be. Moreover, you haven't learnt how to handle aggressive mobs, and it'll be even harder to handle aggressive and fleeing murlocs.
When Cataclysm goes out, hunters will have a pet at level 1. Leveling a hunter from 1 to 10 will be way more interesting for sure, but handling a pet can be difficult when you're just discovering the game. When I first played a demonist, managing my pet wasn't easy, and it was already the 3rd character I created.

And you, what do you think about the changes on the low level game ? Do they improve your leveling experience? Do you think they will improve beginner players' experience?

(1) I just discovered the quest to get the Imp at level 1 didn't exist anymore, you can just buy the spell now. That's a bit sad, it was great to have a warlock quest that early in the game. And the mobs warlocks had to kill must feel quite alone now...

13 April 2010

And the winner main for Cataclysm is...

Warning! In this post I'll talk about Cataclysm class preview, if you don't want to read spoilers, don't read this post !

Shaman and priest preview are now out for Cataclysm (ok it's been for a few days but I couldn't write before now), and that's plenty of nice changes announced. As I played and loved both classes as my main, this led me a little step further to choose which character I'll play when Cataclysm goes out...

Shaman changes

Let start with resto shaman changes. Those are pretty nice : new healing spells, nice mastery bonus, and the come back of Spirit Link <3.

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we're adding another spell to the class's direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the 'new" Healing Wave to be the shaman's go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

As it was announced, shaman have their healing spells panel extended. Now we'll have an Healing Wave that will be mana efficient, a big heal (Greater Healing Wave, our current Healing Wave), and an emergency heal (Lesser Healing Wave). I'd guess the new Healing Wave cast time will be somewhere between Lesser and Greater Healing Wave, the mana cost will be very low, and it won't heal for a lot, perhaps a bit like the healing provided by Lesser Healing Wave.

Unleash Weapon (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable. * Earthliving Weapon - Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman's next healing spell by 20%.

This spell is nice, but we'll have to use it on cooldown if we want it to be really useful. I suppose we'll want to macro it to some big or emergency spell.

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

This spell seems just wow. An aoe healing spell, without a limitation in the targets number, and without having to channel it, of course I want it ! It's not overpowered though as it requires that people stay in the area of the spell for the full duration. And I suppose the size of the area will be limited too. But resto shaman will clearly become even more powerful when healing stacked people.

Spiritwalker's Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Imagine you're running and chain heal ribbons of awesomeness are still jumping in every directions... Who wouldn't love that ? Apart from the hunt trying to hit you while you run around pillars in arena of course. But I suppose we'll have to get used to this spell before using it efficiently. Running and casting are such opposed actions since we play wow.

  • We're making changes to which classes and specs are able to dispel magic, diseases, curses, and poison, largely for PvP purposes. Shaman will have Cleanse Spirit as a baseline ability, but it will only remove curses. Restoration shaman will have a talent that will improve Cleanse Spirit so that it also removes magic. Shaman will no longer be able to remove poison.
  • Cleansing Totem will be removed from the game, as we want dispels to be a decision for players, not something done mindlessly. To that end, all dispels will cost slightly more mana, and you will waste the spell if you cast it when there is nothing to remove. (Currently, the dispel is only cast when there is something to remove, which encourages spamming 'just in case.") We will balance PvE dispelling with this new model in mind.

The change to dispel mechanism is the only one I don't like. I was perfectly fine not being able to dispel magic with my shaman, and I'll miss poison dispelling. I'll miss cleansing totem to, but I have to admit this could be overpowered. But I really can't imagine how you can manage fights like Iron Concil Hard Mode without being able to spam you dispel button on the tank before the debuff land.

Spirit Link will likely be worked back into deep Restoration in some form. The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept -- and so did players -- so we are trying to bring it back

I love that. I was so sad when they abandoned Spirit Link for Riptide in WotLK beta. I just hope they'll be able to balance this spell now. Not only will this spell make resto shaman very useful for some fight mechanisms, but it also has a great synergy with Chain Heal!

Resto shaman specific Mastery bonus : Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target's health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.

This is a great mastery bonus. Your spell become more powerful when you really need it, that's always good! I just hope this will work with all chain heal jumps(I don't know what they mean with "direct heal"), but even if it only works with the first jump it'll be ok for me.

Priest changes

I don't know if it's because I read shaman changes first, but I fell less excited by priest changes.

Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the "new" Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest's go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

Here again a new healing spell. As I understand why they add a new spell for resto shaman, I don't really feel like priest did need a new spell. We already have lots of them, a little adjustment in mana cost and amount healed could have done the job very well in my opinion.

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can't have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis

While this new buff will be situational, it's nice to have the choice between 2 buffs, depending on fight mechanisms, or on your gearing choices.

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or "Life Grip") is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can't seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

Ah! This is the fun change for priest. This will be a fun joke to make to your fellow raid members at the beginning of Cataclysm, when they still don't know this ability. But the spell would need a little instant heal to be really useful in PVE. Without any heal, I suppose a shield could do the job most of the time. We still need more information about this spell though, but for now I would say it'd be situationnal, and could be a good spell for some fight mechanisms.

Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we've also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage.

I hope some love will be given to Greater Heal. This spell is seldom used, and I understand why : there isn't any talent that improves Greater Heal in the disc tree, holy priest are rarely on tank healing duty so they don't pick Greater Heal talents, and, most of all, the spell doesn't have a glyph! I hope the developers will give this spell a nice glyph to make it more attractive and a real gameplay choice. By the way, I love the facts that disc priest will have many shields at their disposal. I suppose they'll all share the Weakened Soul debuff, and that's ok because we will have to choose wisely the good shield to cast.

Discipline will finally be getting Power Word: Barrier as a talented ability. Think of it like a group Power Word: Shield.

Lots of priests loved this spell, but I'm not particularly excited. Won't some fight become boring if you can shield the full raid with 5 gcd ? I suppose the spell will have a cd but still, I'm fine with PW:S for now.

We want to make Holy a little bit more interesting to play. One new talent will push the Holy priest into an improved healing state when he or she casts Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The empowered state varies depending on the heals cast.

This mechanism seems interesting. I can't wait to know what the empowered state will provide! This probably won't be always useful, there are some fight when you really need to use all your spell, and can't just use aoe heals or single-target heals. But there are some fight (or some phases in fights) where you just spam one type of heals from the beginning to the end.

  • Discipline specific Mastery bonus :
    Absorption: Improves the strength of shields such as Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Barrier.
  • Holy specific Mastery bonus :
    Radiance: Your direct heals add a small heal-over-time component to the target.

The disc priest mastery bonus is great. What else could have suit better to disc ? But I feel the holy bonus a bit strange. I never liked the glyph of Prayer of Healing that much. I suppose this bonus will be situational. It could be great if the holy priest is the main raid healer and there are constant raid damage, but if there is one or many druid or shaman healing the raid, I don't think the little holy hots will have the time to heal anything. Plus, how will these hots works when a priest heals multiple times in a raw the same target ?

As I said, I do not feel as much excited with priest changes as I felt with the shaman changes. By now I'd say Cataclysm will be the good time to take my "shaminette" back to the front. And you, what do you think of these preview? What are your favourite ones ?

29 March 2010

Zone review: Ghostlands

While leveling my alts in SAN, I'll write zone reviews for each zone I visit. I don't pretend to be exhaustive. I won't describe all the quests in each zone either, but I'm going to list the particularities of the zone : at which level to go there, what are the attraction points, which quest you absolutely don't want to miss because the reward is so awesome, etc.

Dreanei and Blood elves leveling zones are in my opinion the bests. The quests are better chained together and don't require you to run in every directions, you don't have level gaps as you could have in other zones if you don't have Bind on Account gear, and you'll acquire sensibly better gear, especially if you're a caster: you'll have quest rewards with spell power, attack power or crit rating in there !

As I was a bit in a pain with Zahiou without any Bind on account gear, I head toward Ghostlands after finishing Mulgore quests. You can begin Ghostlands at level 11-13. Depending on the way you’re leveling, if you’ve got rested xp or if you’re doing instances, the quests in there will bring you to level 20-22.

When going there, stop at Fairbreeze village and take the quest Missing in the Ghostland from Magistrix Landra Dawnstrider. You’ll hand this quest on your way to the Ghostlands, just before entering the zone. Do the following quest, hand it, and then you can finally entre Ghostlands for good with nice bracers and a new 6 slots bags.

The quests in the Ghostlands chain together pretty well, you shouldn’t have any problems finding what to do next. Here are the specificities of the zone :

Tranquillien reputation

The quests in Ghostlands will give you reputation for Tranquillien. When your reputation increases, you’ll be able to buy nice gear. You’ll get to exalted if you follow all the quest in the zone. If you want to get exalted earlier, there are 2 repeatable quests you can do when you hit level 15 : Rotting Hearts and Spinal Dust.

Rare spawn

If you’re a caster and need a wand, I suggest you to check the Ziggurats each time you can. Dr. Witherlimb can spawn in there, and gave me a nice wand each time I killed him.

Sylvanas’ Necklace

Lament of the HighbornWhile doing the quest Retaking Windrunner Spire, kill mobs until you get the The Lady’s Necklace. This item starts a short quest line where you have to bring the necklace to Lady Sylvanas in Undercity. When you hand the quest, Lady Sylvanas will summon banshees and start singing. Make sure you have the sound enabled, and wait until the song is over, this animation is quite nice! This quest is one of my favorite because of that song. If you like the song, you can hear it again with this macro :

/script PlaySoundFile("Sound\\Music\\GlueScreenMusic\\BCCredits_Lament_of_the_Highborne.mp3")

Group quests

There are 4 group quests in Ghostlands :

  • Anok’suten: you get this get on your way to Suncrown Village. It is pretty simple to solo this quest, just use everything you’ve got at your disposal: cd, potion, etc.
  • Knucklerot and Luzran: You get this quest on the wanted placard on the inn. Depending on your class, it could be possible to solo this quest if you wait until you’re level 20+ before doing it. But you can do it earlier by grouping. This quest will give you a nice ring. Both abominations patrol the zone, beginning at one of the Ziggurats. You can wait for them in the dead scar between the two Ziggurats, if you don’t want to miss them.
  • Kel’gash: You get this quest on a wanted poster in Farstrider Enclave. Like the previous one, you can do this alone if you are level 20+.
  • Dar’Khan: This one is the end of a questline beginning with The Farstrider Enclave, a quest you can get in the Sanctum of the Sun. For this quest, I highly suggest you to group. But you don’t need to be 5 as announced in your questlog, you can do it at 2 or 3 depending on your class. The quest The Twin Ziggurats will give you a sword or an Off-hand as a reward. Using this item to kill Dar’Khan will make it easier. So, take the one you can actually equip, and keep it! Unless you need your 2-handed weapon to kill stuff, I also suggests you equip this item before entering Deatholme : sooner is best then later. (a 30 seconds cooldown starts when you equip it)

20 March 2010

Zone review : Mulgore.

As many of you from the blogging community, I just created a new alt on Argent Dawn (EU) to join SAN. Someone suggested thats all bloggers used this opportunity to write a leveling guide (can't remember where I saw this, sorry!), and I must admit the idea seems pretty good. But as Wugan from Flow is already writing a nice leveling guide for shamans , I thought I could write zone reviews instead. I don't pretend to be exhaustive, I'll just write about the zones I visit while leveling. I won't describe all the quests in each zone either, but I'm going to list the particularities of the zone : at which level to go there, what are the attraction points, which quest you absolutely don't want to miss because the reward is so awesome, etc.

Welcome to Mulgore !

As I never leveled a Tauren until level 10, I thought it would be a good change to go and quest in Mulgore. The zone is pretty and relaxing, AND I am a herbalist. Everybody knows there are lots of flowers in Mulgore.

The good level to go in Mulgore is 5 or 6, when you've finished with the beginner zone. Beware, since the mobs in the beginner zone are now non-aggressive, you might be tempted to just go to your quest objective without killing them. But if you reach the next zone without being level 5 the following could be difficult.

Mulgore quests will then bring you to level 10-11.

For these quests you'll have to feed a dog, and kill beast and humanoids (you should be able to collect a fair amount of leather or cloth if you're tailor or skinner).

Most of the beasts you need to kill are just wandering around wildly in Mulgore. It can be a bit boring sometimes to have to run between the wolfs who all want to eat you until you finally find the last bird you need to kill.

Arrachea The quest you don't want to miss is Rite of Vision , especially if you're a leather wearer. The following will reward you with your first green item \o/. To get your awesome new pants though, you'll need to kill a very big kodo. And you'll better wait until you're level 9, or, better, level 10, to do the quest. The mob has a lot of hp, and hit pretty hard for his level. He wandered in a large zone east of Thunder Bluff, so you'll first have to find him. Then, I highly suggest you to attack him in a safe zone. If you pull aggro on other beast from the area, you'll have a hard time killing him.

There is also a quest giver wandering on the road between Bloodhoof village and the Barrens. Don't forget this quest !

By now, you should be ready to go to the next leveling zone. Generally, it'll be the Barrens. But I'll bring you to the Ghostlands next time !