Saturday, September 8, 2012

In Response to HFL #51's Talent System Opinions

Dear Horde for Life Podcast,

I recently heard the Episode 51 impressions of the talent system, and though I am a huge fan of the podcast (and a brand new member of the guild!) I can't agree with your opinion of the system being too simplistic and on the direction it is going.

Though it is easy to, I find that comparing it to the old talent system is a mistake. Both were designed with different goals in mind. The old system was meant to provide customizability but we ended up theory crafting the best specs and calling it a day. The new system has fewer choices but more meaningful ones. There are raid boss guides with suggested talent choices. That in combination with the items that allow you to change one choice at a time means these choices will be addressed on a boss by boss basis sometimes.

In addition, I think you are neglecting to see this as a basis for expansion. You've mentioned that you see this as the beginning of simplifying the game further. I see it as a new foundation to build on. With this new specs can be created and new abilities designed and added with more control over balance.

All in all, love the show and keep up the great work. Lok'tar ogar!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Predictions for the Next Expansion

I'd like to jot down my predictions for the expansion after Mists of Pandaria, just for posterity. I think it'd be fun to look at these in two years when it is released.

Class Specializations Expanded

Blizzard will find the class specializations work for them, or at least that they are willing to run with them for a while. Given how long it took for them to kill off the talent system, this is an easy prediction to make. However, I think they will work to add a new specialization to every class. My guesses below:

Warrior - Ranged DPS specialization. Give them a class talent to let their abilities be used at range and add a few new fun ones. Bows and Guns galore.

Warlock - Tank spec! Either using a form like Demonology does, or a new demon, I think Warlocks can be a new style of tank.

Paladin - Ranged DPS. Shockadin anyone? I think with the additions to their ranged abilities, this could be a good fit.

Shaman - Tank. Players have been clamoring for a shaman tank for a while now. At least, a small dedicated group anyway. They could be a very unique style of tank that is long overdue.

Mage - Healing. Whaaaat? Yup, healing. I was going to guess Warlock heals, but I felt they fit more in the durability category. So, some type of Arcane healing for the Mages.

Rogue - Tank/Ranged DPS - See, I can't decide on this one. On the one hand, they would make a great dodge and parry tank, but on the other I'd love to see a sniper rogue.

Death Knight - Ranged DPS - I'd love to see a necromancer style specialization, even moreso than the Unholy spec provides.

Druid - Melee DPS or None - Druids already have 4 specializations, but leaving them with nothing seems unfair. So, perhaps a new melee form.

Priest - Ranged DPS - Smite spec possibly? I was out of ideas for this one.

Monk - Ranged DPS - See Priest

Hunter - Melee DPS - In the same way that Warriors should have their abilities switched to range, I'd love to see a melee-style hunter. I'm thinking a hit-and-run type.

Stat Changes

In an effort to further simplify stats, I think Expertise and Hit are going to be combined into one stat. In the same measure (though I think this won't happen, but hey, why not) Dodge and Parry will be combined into a single avoidance stat.


Either Emerald Dream or the Army of Light expansion is next. I have little hope for an expansion involving the Naga capital after the dismal success of the Vash'jir zone.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Four Tanks at the End of Cataclysm

Last night, in a bout of restlessness, I completed my goal of leveling all four tanking classes to 85. The final one was my Death Knight, pictured below.

No, I'm not sure why I have a Stormwind tabard on when I could have used the rep for something else. Regardless, I finished this goal just in time for the new patch, where I would have absolutely no idea how to play any of these classes. So, in celebration of the end of Cataclysm, I decided to post my thoughts on each class in order of me leveling them up.

Druid - Here's a class that I didn't feel like I gave a fair shake. I leveled a Worgen Bear/Cat Druid at the beginning of Cataclysm and hit max level, quickly gearing for Heroic tanking. I did a few runs of Lost City of Tol'Vir and never tanked as a Druid again. Tanking these dungeons was a nightmare. It took me an hour and a half to clear it each time, with one run where I went through three healers who thought I wasn't moving fast enough. I was so discouraged by that and my All-Worgen RP guild that I left the game entirely. That being said, I don't consider Druid tanks to suck. Despite my arguments that rage generation was terrible given that Druids are dodge tanks, and I need to be hit to gain rage, thus making me feel like a crippled warrior, I have been a part of groups where bear tanks wipe the floor in both tanking and damage meters.

Perhaps it was my low skill level in the class that prevented me from taking advantage of the versatility of the class, but I could never do what those bear tanks do. Verdict: Keeping him as a healer to play around with, and watching in awe at the good Bear tanks.

Warrior - This class is tied with Paladin for my favorite tank. The class just feels like a toolbox: It doesn't specialize in anything, but has a tool or two for almost every scenario. I raided ICC as a warrior and as I leveled through the Cataclysm zones I didn't feel like the class had changed much. My tanking experience was much smoother as a Warrior than as a Druid, but that could be for any number of reasons.

Verdit: This will be my main in Mists of Pandaria, unless the Brewmaster somehow steals my attention. My Orc Warrior has always been a dependable tank and the only other thing that could drive me away from his is the new rage system, which I am nervous will prove to push the class down.

Paladin - My first tank, leveled at the end of Burning Crusade and raided through the first half of Wrath of the Lich King. I consider the Paladin to be the best tank class in the game throughout WOTLK and Cataclysm. I have not seen a single thing the Prot Paladin cannot tank, including solo'ing old 40-man raids. During WOTLK, I solo'd Onyxia weekly for gold and fun. Even got myself a Quel'Serrar out of the deal. I hate saying things are overpowered in WoW, but if I did it would be the Prot Paladin. Mists of Pandaria brings a new system for this tank, including a larger reliance on Word of Glory for self-healing. I can't be sure how this will go, but I'll be interested to see the results.

Verdit: I'll level him as an afterthought, and mainly keep him to solo old content for fun.

Death Knight - Of all four of the classes, this is the only tank where I felt I needed to be ovegeared to perform at the same level as the other three. I only experienced leveling dungeons, but the reliance on Blood Shield really brought out some negative aspects about the class. If I was at-level with a dungeon, my Blood Shield could not rack up high enough to mitigate a significant amount of damage. I had a level 84 healer go OOM healing me on trash when I was 82 in Normal Stonecore. Now, I don't want to blame the class because it could have been my skill level, or the healer's, or even my gear at the time. But tanking on a Death Knight was a chore without the proper gear. I felt with enough time and gear it could be fantastic, but with the other classes at max level it was not fun enough to warrant my time.

Verdict: I'll keep him for posterity, and probably level him to 90 before the next expansion sometime. Blood Shield may be useful enough to solo old world content.

BONUS ROUND: Monk - This bonus round is brought to you by Tauren Think Tank! I replied to a tweet of theirs and they tossed me a Beta key, which led me to create a premade lvl 85 Monk. I didn't want to level one because I didn't want to spoil the beginner areas.

In my time with the monk, I was utterly confused by the mechanics of the class, but extremely intrigued by the mitigation system. Shuffle takes a portion of damage and applies it as a DoT, which can then be purged by using Purifying Brew if it gets too high. I thought that Blizzard was out of unique mechanics for tanks, and I was wrong. So far, my impressions of the class are that I'm impressed with the number and versatility of their cooldowns, as well as their ability to AoE tank. Single target rotations are a bit weak in my opinion, but I think many of their AoE moves work just as fine against a single boss.

Verict: We'll see! I hope to trick one out to run heroics, and raid with my warrior, but only the trip from 1-90 will convince me of the Monk's capabilities.

No matter what happens, I look forward to this expansion with glee, and tomorrow's patch as well.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Introduction

As I mentioned in the other Field, I've been taken back into the World of Warcraft, and seeing as I think it is unfair to ramble on and on about this one game on a blog that is established as a general MMO blog, I thought I would make a side blog. This one will be a bit more casually updated, and the topics may be far less analytical.

So, allow me to introduce you to my Warcraft career. I started with Warcraft 3, but only joined WoW near the beginning of Burning Crusade. Didn't really get into the end-game until Wrath of the Lich King arrived, and by then I was hooked. I spent time doing quite a few things: Guild Leader of a Roleplaying guild, Officer in a Raiding guild (as well as main tank) through ICC. Cataclysm hit and I leveled a Worgen Bear Tank to 85, got my face smashed in when I tried heroics, and promptly skipped the entirety of the expansion. And so here I am, enjoying the tail end of it and waiting for Mists of Pandaeria.

My current project is to level all four tanking classes to 85 before MoP hits, a goal you may have caught me talking about on Twitter. So far I have a Troll Druid (race changed from the Worgen), Human Paladin and Orc Warrior done, with the Human Death Knight at 83. I expect to have it done within a week or two, given I run with a very casual playstyle. The amount of time I have to play varies from week to week, but given the many additions to the game that cater to that kind of playstyle I stay subscribed. Certainly looking forward to making the Brewmaster my 5th max level tank.

My home server is Wyrmrest Accord. I am an avid roleplayer, and may just use this space to post some character backgrounds or stories that I may want to share. I tend to not make a character unless I have a story of some sorts to go with it, so every one of my characters has a background. Some are small, some are big but all of them have a name and personality.

Finally, I spend more time reading about Warcraft sometimes than I do playing the game. I recently got a boat load of the books off of Amazon for dirt cheap, and still frequent Elitist Jerks, WoW Insider and MMO-Champion. I have Tauren Think Tank, Convert to Raid and Horde for Life podcasts on rotation during my commute to work and even had my question answered on the Triple T. Shout out to Rem and Jules, my favorite hosts.

Wherever this blog leads me, I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences, and I hope you enjoy reading them.