Cataclysm is the WoW killer

How many times have you heard about some shiny new MMO that is about to hit the scene these last few years? It seems that every new MMO has someone wondering if it will be the WoW killer. That game that finally comes in and dethrones WoW as the king of MMO’s.

It is said that somewhere someone is designing the WoW killer.

It’s talked about it like it’s giant rock flying through space, intent on wiping out the dinosaur that is WoW.

Criminy folks, WoW is five years old. Let that sink in for a second.

If  WoW was a child it would be starting school this year.

WoW is older than 7% of the population of the United States (per 2008 census)

It’s technology, art, and mechanics are all based around a system put in place five years ago. It has been patched, updated, and duct taped together with hot-fixes for years.

It’s old.

 

Then the Cataclysm was announced, speeding towards Azeroth like that asteroid once headed towards Earth.

The game as you know it after the Cataclysm will be so different you would hardly recognise it as the same game.

That’s because it’s not.  Virtually nothing will remain unchanged from The game that was released in the fall of 2004.

They did not create an expansion, they created a whole new game.

 

At least we finally know who the WoW killer will be.

Magic 8 ball predicts the future

It was a dark and stormy boring night.

I sit here in my office waiting for a trouble call. One that if what my screens tell me is about as likely as getting hit by an asteroid on my way home from work. Either one could happen, but based on what I am seeing neither one is very likley, at least today.

I am sitting here digesting what I heard this past weekend over the Blizzcon live stream. Actually I am taking that along with all the articles I have read about it over the last several hours.

Speaking of my feed reader sat at nearly two hundred posts when I came in today, and it was empty on Friday. Man, you folks are prolific when you want to be.

The articles pretty much fit into four categories.

  1. Direct coverage of the event. Live blogs, re-posts of Blizzard announcements, attempts at truly unbiased reporting.
  2. Posts claiming that for whatever reason that the game is now well and truly borked. Reasons might range from the destruction of an old favorite zone (WTF is going to happen to Barrens chat? it’ll be two zones…), the simplification of stats and gearing, even the choices of new races can lead to endless QQ.
  3. Posts focusing on how cool everything is going to be in the next phase of the game. Generally going on and on about the particular features the author is most excited about.
  4. Posts that are still focused on whats going on now as opposed to what might or might not happen sometime next year. Basically remember to have fun with the game your playing now, later will take care of itself.

I’ll address them each in order.

Direct coverage is a great and wonderful thing. I gathered a lot of good information this way. I thank those that took time from their own Blizzcon experience to keep the rest of us abreast of things in near real time. My only complaint is certain sites **cough** WoW.com **cough** that do not provide a full story in their RSS feed.

Most sites that do that get dumped from my reader as soon as I find out, Just sayin’.

If you think the sky is falling because of *insert change here* chill out. Nothing has happened yet. There is a real possibility that nothing will, you simply never know. This expansion is not even in beta yet, wait till it is to freak out.

Actually the same could be said about folks who are all stoked about the announced changes. Remember, just because they say it’s coming does not mean it will make it into the game. Dance studio anyone? How about hunter ammo changes?

Now I will agree that playing the game we have now is a good plan. After all it’s not like we can play with the changes yet. We don’t even know when the game will ship, although I am going to break out my magic 8 ball and take a look into the future (or maybe it’ll just tell my to ask again later, you never know with that thing). I kinda like this idea of going with the flow.

 

Here are my thoughts on release dates and why I think what I do. Granted these are all just guesses on my part.

Patch 3.3.0 will go live on December 8th. Just far enough ahead of the Christmas shopping season to give a bit of a nudge to the purchase of game cards as gifts. It will also put fresh content on the table right about the time other games might be found under the tree.

Cataclysm PTR will go up in late March. Pretty much whenever it’s ready.

Patch 3.3.* will be a pre-Cataclysm patch. Some new content, although not much. It will get a lot of the new art into the files and put things in motion for the world event. I also think paid faction changes to become available at this point. This will save a lot on the resources needed for launch day. I expect that to go live on or about April 13th.

Cataclysm (4.0) will ship on May 20th. This would time it just as summer will be starting and school will be ending. It will be just before a holiday weekend (in the US at least). The timing would be good towards getting folks to stick around during the summer a bit more than they have in the past.

I could be totally wrong about all this, but I called the release date of Wrath with a week of being right several months out.

 

Now all that being read and digested I find myself kind of sitting in between all those opinions.

I am not going to freak out about changes that have not happened yet, for better or for worse. That does not mean I won’t do some prep work based on the changes that have been announced.

I am not going to ignore the expansion like it is not even on it’s way. Actually I am looking forward to a lot of the announced changes. There are a few I am not so happy about, but oh well.

I will keep playing the game that we have now, but I will also have an eye towards the future. As an example I give you Dekado. Troll Hunter and my first main. One of the last of my Horde characters, most having been deleted already. He has been retired, drunk in a tavern in Booty Bay, since before Wrath hit.

dekado

This weekend he threw some coffee down the hatch, sobered up, and got back to work.

My friends list is empty, no one has signed into his guild in months, and he is dirt poor. Right now it’s Dekado and Grita against the world… alone.

I am having a good time seeing Northrend from the other side of the fence. If nothing else comes out of this then I’ll get to see new Azeroth through a Trolls eyes as well, then he will go back into retirement.

Then again if everything they are promising comes to pass Dekado will be able to join the rest of my characters on the Alliance side. After seeing his way to 85 as a Troll I think he would make a good Worgen Hunter.

After all, they are all about trying to keep the inner beast in check, and he already has a Wolfslayer.

Cautiously optimistic

Today I am a happy hunter.

There was a time just a few days ago that I actually dropped my subscription to this game we love.

In the “why are you leaving” note that Blizzard requested of me I railed against the inability to enter an instance.  It bothered me enough to vote with my wallet and let them know why.

Right about the same time a far more eloquent blogger than I, one known for his expanded ursine posterior posted about the same topic.

We both offered essentially the same suggestion to Blizzard. Similar to how they handled the issues they had sometime back with battlegrounds we suggested a que system to at least spread the pain out in a more equitable fashion. Apparently Blizzard was thinking along the same lines, but they actually applied what they learned with the BG’s.

They skipped right over the que and went right for the solution that worked for them there. Once upon a time they created cross server battlegrounds. Folks thought it would never work, now it’s just another part of the game. Today they announced (amongst other things) cross server instances.

Pugging 5-mans across servers to relieve the load.

It’s not enough on it’s own to make me resubscribe, but I’ll pick up a game card or two until I see how it works.

I guess you could say I’m cautiously optimistic.

Hunters changes in Cataclysm, scattered thoughts

I am not going to do a play by play of all the changes to my favorite class. If you are reading this I am sure you have already seen more than enough on other blogs. If not consider hitting up some of the more prolific sites, these would be of interest:

MMO-Champion

WoW.com

Official Blizzard Cataclysm site

As I said, I won’t go into all the changes. I am simply going to go into how I think (assuming I think at all) the changes to game mechanics will effect Hunters. The points I see that apply directly to this are:

  • Mana no longer to be used to power our shots, replaced with something very like a Rogue’s energy called focus.
  • Attack power gone on gear (say goodbye to our friend “of the bandit”)
  • AP will now be supplied by Agility.
  • Haste will cause our mana focus to regen faster (I am going to keep calling it mana for a long time. *sigh* stupid brain)
  • Steady Shot will cause focus to regen faster as well.
  • Too many shots are on cooldowns, expect a lot of that to go away. (Woot! I can quit playing the UI and start playing the game again.)

Now those are not nearly all of the changes. They are the tip of the iceberg at best. 

I have already read a few posts where folks are… what’s the word… disgruntled will work I suppose, with the changes. I see it as an interesting change. I look forward to it a lot actually. 

Agility and Haste will very quickly come to pass as our most important stats.

I expect the major theory-crafting sites to have a haste number figured out where you can go balls to the wall Dps and never run out of gas. A point at which the bar will simply fill up faster than you can empty it. I’ll go out on a limb and call this the haste cap.

At the same time more haste will equal more autoshots. More autoshots = more white damage.

Haste will also speed up the casting of Steady Shot which, properly worked into a rotation, will help keep focus levels up.

With more of our shots coming off cooldowns I expect to see a lot more work going into crafting the best shot rotation for each individual player based on how much focus per global cooldown you can afford to spend without running dry.

I believe that with this Hunters will also scale much better with gear than they already do. It will also make it a bit easier to tweak our Dps, as simply adjusting the focus cost of a shot will adjust how we throttle our own Dps.

My expectation is that we will be looking for (in order) Hit (until capped) > Agility > Haste > Stamina > everything else. Now I could very well be wrong, but these are my thoughts based on what I heard on the live stream yesterday. Today is day 2 of Blizzcon, they might very well shoot all this in the foot.

Some people may not be at all happy to hear about the changes, I for one welcome them.

I wonder what surprises today holds?

I give up, the servers win

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

This one wasn’t worth a thousand, more like A hundred and sixty-two. Paraphrased here (because copy/paste failed) is what I told Blizzard when they asked why.

 

I love the World of Warcraft. It has been nearly four years since I first ventured into Azeroth, and it’s been a hellava ride.

The fact is the main reason I pay to play this game is to run instances. Soloing is fun, but not all the time.

For the last several weeks I have not been able to play the game I enjoy. Every time I have tried to run an instance I have ended up doing aerobics trying to get in, all the while being told that additional instances cannot be launched.

People getting in to heroics have reported few issues. Folks walk right into Naxx, Uludar, and the Coliseum.

What this tells me is that their money is worth more than mine.

As a parting suggestion, How about until you get the instance server issue fixed you implement a que system similar to the battlegrounds.

It might be a nuisance, but at least it would be an equal nuisance.

 

I still have a few weeks of time left on my account, if they fix this before then I’ll likely re-subscribe.

If not…. well, I guess i’ll be back when I can actually play again.

Just shut up and eat your vegatables

It should come as no secret that I read a good bit about Wow.

I have even gone so far as to dabble in that swirling troll filled mosh pit known as the official forums.

Players whining and crying because some facet of the game is either being ignored, buffed, nerfed, worked on, left alone, changed, or pretty much anything else. Kind of a mix of Jerry Springer’s show and the anonymity of the interwebs. It’s a wonderful environment.

There are folks on those who must imagine themselves as trial lawyers. People that can take a blue post about how the weather in Anaheim would be nice for a picnic today and twist it into an admission that Blizzard hates <insert class here>. Something to do with the way they mentioned passing out sandwiches.

Now among the topics I have seen come and go there are some that just keep popping up. 

Here’s an example.

 

I have seen posts, many times, calling for various ways to reuse old content. One thing people have suggested has been making level 80 versions of old world instances.

I have read suggestions involving having the instance level scale to the occupants, including the gear that drops. This premise was basically to use the same type calculator they had for BoA items and just lock in the stats at the time the item drops.

I have read long well thought out posts that were all rainbows and sunshine about wanting to make use of all those old instances. Of wanting to see the content while it was challenging and yet actually be able to find a group. 

 

Well, holy crap. Blizzard listened.

In the soon to be tested patch 3.2.2 Onixya is getting a face lift.

  • The mechanics are being changed to support a 10 and 25 player version of level 80 raiding, as opposed to the 40 player level 60 format.
  • Some of the loot will be adjusted to make it actually desirable for level 80 characters.
  • A shiny new 310% dragon flying mount will drop there (although very rarely)
  • They don’t mention it, but the meeting stone will likely go to being accessible to level 80’s.
  • And more stuff I am not going to get into right now.

See what they did there?

They took some well designed yet outdated old content and updated it for modern times. They gave us something else to do, another option for those who want to take it. Blizz actually gave players what they asked for. They actually do that quite a bit.

Where I come from it’s called customer service.

Lo and behold, there was great rejoicing and dancing in the streets right?  

Actually no.

 

Most of what I have read so far boils down to the accusation that Blizzard is too lazy to actually design new content.

Since they are way too busy doing other things they are just recycling old stuff. The claim is that it all started with Naxx and it will just keep snowballing from there. I even read someone predicting that in the next expansion we will be raiding level 90 Wailing Caverns.

Then again most of the people that are bitching about it are the same folks who are always bitching about having nothing to do.

Or about how badge gear is going to ruin the game.

Or going back and forth like an old Reese’s cup ad about how “you got your PvP on my PvE!, no you got your PvE on my PvP!”

Or about how they used to have to walk through Stranglethorn Vale, uphill, both ways, with no flight points, without heirloom gear, with a raptor clamped firmly to their left butt cheek.

I can almost see some of these folks in their rocking chair on the front porch  talking about “the good old days”. Back when people showed them the proper respect while they stood outside the bank in Orgrimmar. The respect they deserved for having a bunch of epics.

Then again, they sometimes remind me of spoiled children. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

Sad thing is, I do it just as much as anyone else. I want to skip over everything else and head straight for dessert, but this time I think I’ll just shut up and eat my vegetables.

You never know, they might be pretty tasty.

The Gathering Storm

For those that have followed Robert Jordan’s series The Wheel of Time I have some good news.

The Gathering Storm, the long awaited 12th book in the series now has an official release date.

After Mr. Jordans death the series was continued by Brandon Sanderson, the talented author of the Mistborne series (amongst other things).

Based on a post on Mr. Sandersons blog the release date for The gathering storm will be Tuesday, October 27th. Well, that’s the date in the US and Canada, he was not sure of others at this point.

Links to reviews as well as any other updates, can be found at his site.

That’s it for the moment, just sharing some news =)

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