Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Theramore Fail

DraNgNon and I have now run all of our 85s through the Fall of Theramore Scenario. We brought along various guildies to come with us, so all four of those runs counted towards the weekly guild scenario running. It was nice to see the guild get 250g each time we completed the scenario. However, that was really the only nice thing about running the scenario.

A lot of other people have said it quite well, but the Theramore scenario is a big failure in a lot of ways.

The scenario from the Horde point of view is as follows: You've gotten through the Alliance blockade and need to go rig powder kegs on the six Alliance ships in port. Once those are detonated kill the flight master and his gryphons. Then destroy the siege engines at the front gate. Now you find out that the horde had a spy here, who was imprisoned after his sabotage was discovered. Go kill the commander of the garrison and get the key to the spy's chains. Unlock the spy, who will port you out, while revealing that the entire siege and his sabotage was a feint. As you take the portal out you watch a huge mana bomb level Theramore.

Every time I ran the scenario I was more confused. Why was the Horde there? When had we decided to siege Theramore? Why were we bombing the shit out of them? Why were we using a Mana bomb? WTF could Garrosh possibly have been thinking???!?!


I'm really disappointed that the characterization of Garrosh has been totally upended. He had some interesting growth, and this seems to wreck all of that. When we first meet him in Nagrand he's a whiny mopey brat, too torn up about his father's failure to do anything constructive for his people. Thrall snaps him out of that, and he goes off to Northrend. There he gets strategy lessons from the elder Saurfang and a warning about honor. Time passes and in Cata he's in Stonetalon executing a general who *bombed* the Alliance. He even quotes what Saurfang told him about honor, and how it's more important that winning. Oh, and don't forget that in Ashenvale he's absolutely furious that an Orc demo driver uses some demonic energy to defend Splintertree from the Alliance. The only reason she and the player don't get killed is because you managed to root out and execute the warlock/demon that encouraged that corruption.

I'm not sure why Garrosh suddenly decided that his attacks in Ashenvale and Stonetalon were insufficient and he needed to piss of EVERYONE ELSE. I mean, with all the important NPCs who are now dead the entire rest of the world is mad at the Horde. Dragon flights angry? Check. Kirin Tor Angry? Check and double check. All the Outland factions that had a mana bomb used on them? Check. Alliance angry? They already hated the Horde, but the long voice of lets-not-start-a-war, was JAINA. The person whose city was just turned into a glowing crater.

I can understand the decision to attack Theramore. It is a strategically sound decision. Dustwallow Marsh has many resources and Theramore is too valuable a beachhead to let the Alliance continue attacking from there. The sack of Taurajo must be avenged. But a mana bomb? I'm totally confused as to why Garrosh chose that method of attack.

Game Continuity

This scenario was missing any sort of in-game explanation or reasoning at all. Both Horde and Alliance were just dropped into the middle of the siege and bombing. There wasn't even anything to tell you to look at the scenario UI to queue. Honestly I was expecting a set of quests to explain what was going on. It would have been totally logical to add in a couple quests for assisting the siege of Theramore and the creation of the mana bomb. If Blizzard had wanted to get complicated they could have put some extra phasing for a battle around Theramore and had some fighting in that phase.

Comparing Theramore to any other expansion lead in is almost too pathetic. BC had hundreds of demons pouring out of the Dark Portal. Viljo still fondly remembers slaughtering them, and still keeps the fabulous tabard from that event. Wrath had an undead plague and gazillions of zombies attacking the capital cities. Cata had the elemental invasion with elementals assaulting the world and especially the capital cities. For all three of those events and the Echo Isles/Gnomeregan event there was a really great limited time event. Yes, development time had to be spent on something that didn't last more than a week or three. However, the incredible unique experience of those events was not to be scoffed at. And I'm sure was a great subscriber boost too.

With the Mists expansion we've got a lack luster scenario that only makes any sort of sense if you've read the book, or surfed extensively online to figure out WTF just happened.

Edit: Oops got the date wrong on publishing this. It should have gone up a couple of days ago...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Random Post-Patch Screenshots

Here are a few random screenshots that I took after the 5.0.4 patch.

Druids got some cool new forms.

And some cool new glyphs.

Death Knights have some neat glyphs now too.

Still bitter about my Dragon Kite. :-(

Friday, September 14, 2012

Darkfall is 8/8H Dragon Soul

I extended our raid lockout from last week to give us the maximum time to work on the last two heroic bosses in Dragon Soul this week. It was definitely the right decision, because we managed to get them down tonight. I would have preferred to kill them Tuesday night, but it took us a while to work out the kinks in our strategy for Spine. Specifically how we were maneuvering to toss extra bloods off when we rolled.

We'd been regularly getting to the third plate on Spine before dying horribly on Tuesday night. So I was not surprised that on our second pull tonight we just slaughtered Spine. It was a pretty messy kill, we had three people down at the end, and had used our battle rez and a both Shaman had popped as well. Kuan in particular popped at just the perfect time. Just in time to help slaughter the last tendon, but after the exploding Hideous Amalgamation had gone by, so there was as little strain on the healers as possible.

Heroic Madness is a lot easier that Spine, but still pretty challenging. The fight as a whole felt faster paced than normal. I'll check later to see if the timers are really that much faster or if the increased health of everything just makes things seem to be happening faster. We had several wipes while people learned to run for the parasite and not explode everyone else. And I did need to emphatically remind people to not pad their dps by hitting other arm and wing tentacles early.

Our successful kill I had us save Lust until Kalec's platform. Even with three heals we were only getting a second impale on that platform, and having lust then let us get away with one impale. With the new Glyph of Icebound Fortitude I had my own major damage reduction cooldown up for every platform, which greatly decreased the coordination requirements.

After the kill I had everyone line up for a fabulous screen shot. Complete with new titles and our rogue's legendary dagger wings.

I'm amused by the racial make up of the raid. We're an oddly orc-heavy raid. All the melee dps and tanks are orcs. Both main healers are blood elves. The off-healer is our lone tauren. And the three remaining ranged dps are orc, blood elf and our lone troll (Kuanchichi). It seems like a raid that is actually representative of the horde.

Since we'd had a Life-Binder's Handmaiden drop we all went back to Orgrimmar to get a pretty pic of that. Everyone hopped on their favorite fabulous mount.

I am super proud of the raid and the guild for killing all eight heroic bosses in Dragon Soul. There was a lot of work put in by a lot of people, and this was a really great way to end the expansion.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pet Battle Prep

I hadn't really admitted it to myself until recently but I'm actually excited about the upcoming pet battles. I'm not sure how enthused I will be about the pet battles themselves since I haven't tried that out yet. However, I have been having fun with the account wide pets. I've been accumulating different pets for a while now. I even went back and made sure I got enough tokens to buy the Durotar scorpion pet from Argent Tournament.

The other night I was looking in the AH for some pets I don't have, and I realized that there were a lot of Alliance pets listed in there for ridiculous amounts of money. I briefly considered buying them, but then realized that I do still have a level 64 Nelf druid languishing on some server that I never visit anymore. So my long abandoned druid was sent to Elwynn Forest, Dun Morogh, and Darnassus to purchase cats, rabbits, and owls. It was a bit of a pain to find the boat to Teldrassil. The last time I played her the boat was from Menethil if you wanted to travel to Darnassus.

I also took a look at the current Darkmoon Faire. The quests finally got reset, so I completed a bunch of them. I am only missing 2 of the pets, but do not have nearly enough tokens to buy another one at the moment.

And yes, I'm still bitter that my Dragon Kite won't be able to zap opponents in the battles...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Post 5.0.4 Thoughts

Patch 5.0.4 has been here since for a week now. I've had time to spec a character or two, update every addon at least twice, and even run a raid.

Mornara's rotation hasn't really changed all that much. I made the happy discovery that using Blood Boil on a single target will refresh that target's diseases, which goes a long way to address the (new for Blood DKs) 60 sec cd on Outbreak. I honestly can't see why you'd ever not take Roiling Blood as a talent. I'm looking forward to getting Soul Reaper, and even have a space saved for it on my bars.

Viljo's new rotation seems pretty nice so far as well. I like having a little more control over the pyro procs and feeling less at the mercy of RNG. I'm not sure I'll like the changes that Alter Time and the last talent bring, but we'll see when I get to level 90.

The raid was mildly successful. Despite addons crapping out all over the place we managed to kill the first 6 heroic bosses before we ran out of time. This task was made a lot more difficult by a bunch of disconnects, and the fact that about half the raid forgot that when they updated DBM they also needed to grab the Cata pack for it. There were general adjustment to new rotations, but it went well for the most part. Not being able to release until a fight is over is actually rather annoying. I can see it driving me batshit when there is that one jackass who doesn't listen when a wipe is called for.

I was amused at all the new achieves and combining of old achieves. It did not surprise me that logging in Morn and V was enough to get me the 100 mount achieve and 100 pet achieve. Combining mounts and pets for your account seems a bit odd, but not terribly game breaking. However, I am not going to substantially alter the mount macros I have for my characters currently. Their mounts reflect their personalities, and it just wouldn't make sense for them to be riding anything else than what they already are.

The once thing I am intensely disappointed about with the pets is that the Dragon Kite is not a fightable pet. I had all these awesome plans about how my dragon kite was going to kick ass whenever we actually get to do pet battles. Those plans are all kaput now :'-(

I did get a chance to try out the new aoe looting. This will make farming old instances slightly more profitable and less time consuming. Which is nice, since Morn still needs rep from a bunch of the BC factions. It'll help with her rampages through IQD and older dungeons.

Oh, I was also disheartened to see that the requirements for the DS meta-achieve changed. You no longer need Spine or Madness of Deathwing. It was a bit sad to log in and see that achieve pop up. I'd been looking forward to getting it when we actually downed those two bosses. Now it feels like we were just handed a consolation prize, even though I know we worked so hard and completely earned the achievements we did get.