Sorry for the late notice, but I’ll be on the Team Waffle podcast tonight at 10 pm Central with Sunfyre from Sunfyre’s Nest to talk about…something. If I still know anything about druids. (Man, go away for a few weeks and you’re like, umm, I push 1 for the attack that makes the red swirlies, yeah!)
I spent a few hours playing the TERA open beta over the weekend, and here’s some quick thoughts. (I’ll start doing these every so often, especially when there’s no druid news to talk about.)
The gameplay is quite good. Initially, things are confusing as heck (you start at lvl 20, play a short tutorial, then go to lvl 1…none of which is really explained at all) but the whole action-combat style works well. Very similar to a multiplayer version of Kingdom of Amalur, though like KoA, it really works better for melee classes than ranged classes. Having to move + dodge frequently because you’re right up on enemies = fun; stand and nuke = not as fun.
Questing isn’t any better or worse than any normal MMO…nothing to see here, really, and the storyline is also quite forgettable. Leveling is quite fast, and you do want to level quickly, as the AI of the early mobs is simply terrible (thankfully, they get smarter.) I didn’t try any of the crafting or PvP, so I can’t speak to that, but all the buttons were there.
Remember how I said leveling was fast? Several people were already at level cap, and complaining about how there was nothing to do. (If you preorder the game, one character per server will not be deleted when the open beta closes. Interesting incentive.)
The UI is good for a MMO game. All the elements can be moved around the screen by default, though I couldn’t immediately see a way to minimize/close them. This annoyed me, as one of the UI elements was showing how my spells were mapped to my controller, even though I was playing with mouse/keyboard. There’s a rudimentary combat log, but no mod support, so good luck with doing any kind of comprehensive analysis. (Yes, WoW has spoiled me on this. The question about whether that’s a good or bad thing is a whole nother’ debate.)
Look and Feel
The big controversial point: it’s pure anime styling. The men all look like Marcus Fenix or Ezio Auditore, while the women are all in stripper gear. There’s even a “race” that looks like pre-pubescent females, complete with available bunny ears and panty shots. Combine this with the marketing campaign (which features a MMA fighter beating up people who play other MMO’s until they switch to Tera) and you can see EXACTLY which demographic this is targeted at. That all said, the world design (monsters, weather, backgrounds) is the best I’ve seen in any game to date, so that’s something.
Two thoughts. 1) If I was 18 again, I’d probably be all over this game. Now that I’m 28 with a wife and son, this kind of thing just feels tawdry. 2) I don’t know what their goals are, but the target demo + the lack of endgame (which appears to be all PvP) tells me this thing is going to be big for a month or two, then flame out as everyone moves on to the next big thing. Again, a lot like KoA where about 15-20 hours in, you were like “Welp, I’ve seen everything this game has to offer.”
I’ve been frustrated with the lack of updates for druids recently, so I decided to roll up some Monks on beta, see if they were worth assuming ‘main alt’ status come Mists release date. Well, I’ve enjoyed them enough that I’ve decided to rip off my own blog layout and start up a new Monk blog called…World of Monkcraft! (I know, I know, great name, right?) I’ve been writing up some Monk spec guides: Windwalker is up, and I’m currently working on Mistweaver. Feel free to pop over and comment/troll/berate as you see fit; the design is terrible, as is my usual standard.
Also, not to worry, I’m still committed to Feral: the thread on the beta forums I started is going on five pages of mostly drama-free constructive criticism, so input’s still flowing in. Just no new builds means no new stuff to talk about. :(
- Melee hit/exp cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 2550 (7.5%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 2040 (6%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses. The PvP hit/exp cap is 3%, or 1020.
- Dual wield hit cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 9180(27%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 8500. (25%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses.
- Spell hit cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 5100 (15%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 4080 (12%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses.
- Racials: Draenei get a free 1% hit for all weapons. Certain races get a free 1% expertise for certain weapons.
- The whole odd Expertise/Expertise Rating thing is gone, it works just like Hit now.
- Pets fully inherit your hit/exp ratings and combine them to get their ratings. This means if you have 15% hit and 0% exp (warlocks), a melee pet will still be hit/exp capped.
EDIT: Since this is apparently a popular search result page, I’ve gone back and updated this table with the correct numbers for Level 90; in early beta, all the combat ratings were higher, but were reduced by about 15% across the board.
Remember, these stats are before diminishing returns: See Theck if you want more DR math than your head can handle. The general TLDR idea fir tanks is stack avoidance stats for best overall survivability but more RNG; stack offensive stats for more control over your active mitigation but slightly more total damage taken.
|85 (1% Gain)||90 (1% Gain)||Stat|
|179.28||600||Mastery (but varies for some specs)|
|322.58||1259.52||Agility needed for 1% crit|
|648.91||2533.66||Intellect needed for 1% crit|
|243.58||951.15||Agility needed for 1% dodge (druids/monks), Strength needed for 1% parry (paladin/warrior/DK)|
|N/A||265||PvP Power (note: PvPP is half as effective for heals, so 530 for +1% healing done)|
- Boss armor at 93: 24835
If I’m incorrect/missing something, let me know.
Briefly, here’s what I’m predicting we’ll see come out of the press event. (Note: Yeah, I contribute for WoW Insider, who had two people there, but they haven’t told me anything. Despite attempted bribery via baked goods.)
- A big focus on the Pandaren starting zone and the new 85-90 zones. Lots of videos showing off updated animations, high-res screenshots to really sell the Asian theme, etc. A bunch of stuff about the new dungeons and the dungeon revamps as well. The male pandaren model already got lots of attention during Blizzcon, so you’ll see it, but more emphasis will be placed on the new female model.
- Lots of info about new grouping features. Challenge modes will be highly talked up as the “new heroics.” Lots of attention as to what you can get here. (Quietly, the previous normal/heroic difficulties now have nothing to do with difficulty. Normal mode is what you do on-level; heroic mode is what you do at 85, but they’re both 4.3 5-man difficulty.) Also, much more about scenarios, which are designed to be even easier and shorter versions of group content. (Dear reader, if you think things are already too easy…well, I agree, but you and I are not the target audience here.)
- More on pet battles. My first reaction to hearing about pet battles was, of course, “PokeWoW yay” but I could see it being mildly interesting. I’m probably overly down on the ides; I’m sure there’s some good strategy to be had in Pokemon, somewhere, I’ve just never been able to stick with one of the games long enough to see it. (Now, a Pokemon/MTG hybrid, where you get a “deck” of pets from which X number is randomly drawn for the battle, would be something.) I’m assuming there will be some form of quickmatch/queue type system.
- New battlegrounds and raids. Goes without saying.
- No major mechanics news. Nothing about raid size changes, dailies, very little about class changes (unless it can be spun in an unabashedly positive light). Basically, if it’s controversial at all, you won’t see it here. This is a hype event and they don’t want anything detracting from that.
We’ll see; remember, all the goodies will go live at 12AM PDT. If you want the straight data dump, I’m pretty sure Wowhead will cover you; WoWI will probably have more bite-size pieces along with analysis. I’m not really paying attention; still messing around with the SWTOR free weekend. I’ll throw up my thoughts on that after all the press news settles.
While this isn’t specifically Druid-related, I’d like to highlight the two Cataclysm postmortems that just came out from senior Blizzard developers that are incredibly illustrative.
The first, Daelo’s, is absolutely TERRIBLE. It was very short and read like Cataclysm promo material. “My greatest weakness? I care about work just a bit too much. *snif*” It reads like he just blew off the email from the CM’s asking him to fill this out, and some junior intern got stuck with it. “Mr. Mercer, how does this look? Fine. Go away.”
In contrast, Ghostcrawler’s is absolutely excellent, and reminds me of why I keep coming back to this now seven-year-old game. It’s chock-full of honest discussion about what worked and didn’t work. So go read it. I agree with 90% of what’s there; the only thing I disagree on is legendaries, and even that remains TBD. Personally, I think legendaries should go away entirely, but if they must be kept, I’d like to see the legendary crafting materials/progress be guild-bound and the proc be one that buffs raid DPS/DTPS/HPS, not personal. That way, when the next content tier comes out, you take a small personal hit if you keep using it but it still buffs your raid more than the amount you lose.
(Back to ME3. /poof)
Last one of these for a while, I promise. Here’s a quick list of what I’m planning for TFD in 2012:
- Get back to regular updates. With my schedule, that wasn’t possible before, but I plan to start writing a weekend recap post, even if nothing else is going on.
- Add some merch. As I mentioned before the holidays, I’ve had several requests for shirts/etc., and I’d love to put something together. I’ve done some looking around on Cafepress, etc., and at the moment I still feel a bit overwhelmed. I’m a writer, not an artist, and I don’t want to sell something crap. If anyone has experience with Cafepress or similar sites of that ilk, please shoot me an email.
- Update the guide. Yeah, the feral guide that’s still labeled 4.0.3, that’s about a year out of date. That one. :P
- Participate more in the forums. Not much to say here, but I like to be accessible.
- Remember that I have a Twitter account. Uh, yeah.
- Refresh the site theme. The theme is getting a bit stale. I like the overall presentation of information, but there’s lots of little niggling things that I want to fix.
- Add some solo-specific content. This is our last and greatest opportunity to experiment with soloing content, to see what we can push. The item level “squish” and the removal of hybrid speccing is going to make old raids more difficult.
Long-Term (for MoP)
- Video Guides. Yes, I’m entering 2007. Go me. I will still do a fully-written guide for Mists of Pandaria, but I will supplement it with a video guide as well. There will be a small charge for the videos (still determining what a fair price would be), but everything else (text guide, blog, forums, etc.) will remain free. I plan to cover both Guardian and Feral. I will probably do some smaller videos pre-MoP to make sure I have a good product; those smaller videos will be free or almost free. I don’t do scammy; refunds will be available, sample clips will be available, etc.
Feel free to jump in and tell me what else I should cover (or tell me I’m crazy for trying to do videos, either works). This is still just an idea at the moment, so there’s lots of flexibility.
So, things have settled down for me again, and I’d like to take a little time now to look back at the site for 2011. (I’ll do some looking ahead to 2012 in a future post.)
People were excited to finally dig into Cataclysm content, and it showed. The site had a huge spike in popularity, going from ~50k monthly views in Nov/Dec to ~150k in January, then slowly fell back to the 50-60k level. (Of course, we also had a lot less to talk about in the later half of the year.) Subscribers to the RSS feed (as measured by FeedBurner) jumped from 500ish to about 800 in January, and are now hovering around 1k. I don’t have good stats for the forums, but we’re up over 6k total posts, so obviously something’s going right there. :)
- January: The gearlists, obviously. We discussed Unheeded Warning quite a bit, as well as the 4.0.6 patch notes; most notably, the loss of our free root/snare break, which had everyone predicting the death of ferals in arena.
- February: My 4.0.6 trinket list was big news (short version: UW sucked, then was great, but see below). My post discussing my negative outlook for the feral class also made the rounds and got LOTS of comments. :)
- March: My posting started to fall off here. No super-popular posts this month, but I really liked Syl’s UI post; lots of great information.
- April-June: Swipe damage was doubled for 4.1, taking us from near-worst in AoE situations to near-first. We had our first glance at the FIREKITTY. 4.2 re-nerfed Swipe a bit, but buffed a few more abilities. My 4.2 gear list was popular, but I forgot to link it on the front page until after 4.3, making it somewhat useless. :)
- July-September: Not too much happened. UW finally got nerfed, as we had all predicted.
- October-December: Some cool stuff came out at Blizzcon. 4.3 buffed us a bit; things look pretty decent in normal gear, though the final verdict is still fairly mediocre at the heroic gear level. (That said, sub rogues/UH DKs’/Enh at the top, arcane and mut rogues at the bottom…Neo says whoa.)
WoW Insider offered me a columnist slot back in January, which I accepted (first column for WOWI). Admittedly, the timing wasn’t the greatest: I completed my training in Georgia in February (CISSP passed! Yay!) and moved to Texas in March to deploy to Iraq in April. Whew. Sylvaneart, Qbear, Tinderhoof, and Leafkiller did an excellent job filling in with guest posts while I was occupied, and they of course continue to contribute in forum discussion, which I am slowly dipping my toe back into. Due to a highly unlikely set of coincidences, I was actually able to keep raiding in Iraq, even though I had to wake up at 0330 to make the 8PM CST start time. Due to a lack of healers and low FPS, I ended up raiding as Resto.
September saw me leaving Iraq for Kuwait; no more incoming fire (good) but, ironically, worse Internet and housing arrangements meant no more raiding. Yay. I wrote a story for the Blizzard writing contest, which didn’t win anything. I’ll post it, in case anyone is interested in reading my first attempt to write fiction since high school. (TLDR: Not very good.)
Now that I’m home, I’m playing through all the great games I missed (got Portal 2 on my 360, with Arkham City waiting as soon as I finish Arkham Asylum on the PC). Raid Finder is cool, but ultimately boring in the lack of difficulty. I feel like I’m cheating somehow; I’ve still got a lot of 359 gear, but I’m hitting top 5 on the DPS meters for every fight. (UPDATE: Wow, Happy Winterveil: I’ve done RF twice now, both parts, and come away with 3 pieces of T13, Kiril’s, and the Wrath trinket. I actually topped the DPS meters on Ultraxion.) I may come back to normal raiding, but I’m not ready to commit time to a schedule yet. We’ll see on that one.
Anyway, enough navel-gazing. (At least till my next post, where I discuss where I want to take TFD for 2012.) What’s your favorite moment of 2011?
Awesome, as always. Don’t forget to check out my latest column on WoW Insider for (slightly) more serious discussion.