Apr 242012
 

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.)

Gameplay

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.)

Interface

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.

Overall

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.”

 Posted by at 9:00 am  Tagged with:
Apr 232012
 

My column this week on WoW Insider was about Symbiosis, and how I think it’s being unfairly dismissed far too soon as being “useless.”  Everybody brings up the Dark Intent comparison; I disagree. I think Blizzard‘s learned from that, and it won’t be THAT big a deal…of course, I have no idea what the popular perception will be. What do you think?

(Oh, and I have a full guide to Symbiosis up on the blog here.)

 Posted by at 12:33 pm
Apr 212012
 

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. :(

 Posted by at 10:21 pm
Apr 172012
 

(Technical non-WoW stuff. TLDR: new website design.)

I’ve been planning a site redesign for a while, but never got around to doing it. Unfortunately, the WordPress theme I was using was obsolete when I implemented it a couple years ago, which meant every change I’ve made to it has been (poorly) hacked in. I’ve got some big plans for Mists of Pandaria, and the theme I was using wasn’t going to let me implement a lot of what I wanted to do. I’ve been messing around with it on an on-again, off-again basis since January, and I’m finally ready to go into open beta. :) (A big thanks to Samara Dionne for helping with the new logo; now I just need to actually come up with a header that isn’t me scribbling in Photoshop.) I’m still working on several things, so fair warning. Some of the older content is going to look very odd.

Let me tackle the questions upfront.

Ads? WTF, man?

Sorry. I tried going the donate model for a long time, and, while quite a few of you chipped in and donated (which I am very thankful for), it hasn’t nearly covered the site’s costs. Roughly 80% of my traffic is people that come here from Google/Yahoo, read a guide or two, and leave…and that’s who the ads will be for. For the other 20% of you, well,  they’ll block with an adblocker, and I’m working on a method to not show them to loyal viewers. Of course, you could click them if you like. :)

I liked the old theme! Can I change back?

I liked it too, but that code did so much noncompliant stuff it wasn’t funny.

Are you still writing about feral stuffs?

Yes, the *blog* will still be mostly feral info, though a lot of my long-form columns will still likely end up over on WoW Insider. The *site*, however, will have a set of guides for all four specs, at the beginner-to-intermediate level. By FAR, that’s the biggest request I’ve gotten. I’ll start putting those up as the mechanics in the Mists beta solidify a bit.

Sidenote: Looking for good druid blogs to link to, as always. Especially feral ones.

How can I be awesome like you?

Write your own FAQ’s where you make up the questions. :P

Apr 152012
 

As promised, I’ve posted my full thoughts on feral in the beta on the WoW forums here (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4427707211). I encourage you to go read and discuss there; perhaps we can encourage some feedback. (Or perhaps it’ll get deleted like the last long feral thread did. Dunno.) A revised version of that post will also go live on WoW Insider later today, so hopefully there will be a bit of traffic.

Apr 102012
 

I need to take the time to flesh this into a full post, but here’s a quick outline as to what I’m seeing so far.

Like:
-Wild Charge and Ursol’s Vortex are both great and fun to use, though probably OP.
-Healing/Ranged spells are much more effective, though mana-limited. Tossing a few Wraths or Healing Touches as feral is cool.
-The glyph redesign nails the design intent (fun, not mandatory) very well (though the Glyph of Cat Form with its +20% healing received is too strong as-is).

Maybe:
-Now that there’s an ability that can remove bleeds (Monk Detox), Rip needs some form of dispel protection; ideally, an ability that scales in effectiveness based on the number of CP’s Rip was applied with. I’m not a PvP’er at all, so I have no idea if this would work or not, but I like the idea of 1-2 ticks of damage being instantly applied if it’s dispelled. For that matter, Savage Roar needs something similar, I’ve made this point before, but having an expensive effect removed by a less expensive effect sucks. Now, if dispels end up being very expensive, that’s a different story.
-With Disentanglement and Wild Charge, our uptime (PvP) will be significantly increased, which means our burst damage will go down quite a bit. Depending on how strong/expensive healing is in Mists, that could either be good or bad.

Dislike:
-Reversion of SR from 70% white damage to 30% all damage, making it much more important + significantly decreased crit chance + no free Ravages = more difficult rotation. FB mostly eliminated from rotation except during Berserk. It won’t be as bad as it was in WOTLK (no Mangle debuff to keep up, Rake 15sec baseline) but it subverts Cataclysm’s design intent of “make the feral rotation less punishing.”
-The above + generally increased white damage overall means a much greater DPS penalty from pausing your rotation as damage profiles will shift away from DoTs.So, why brez/clone/do all that other fun hybrid stuff we’re encouraging druids to do? Let’s not even talk about how fun target changes are going to be (though Symbiosis-ing with a rogue/lock might counteract that to a degree).

Apr 072012
 

FAQ:

  • 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
265.08 885 Dodge
265.08 885 Parry
88.36 295 Block
102.45 340 Hit/Spell Hit
102.45 340 Expertise
128.06 425 Haste
179.28 600 Crit
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)
95.22 310 PvP Resilience
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.

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Mar 242012
 

Even though leveling isn’t really in the beta yet, several people have combed through the datamined info and created a rough idea of what Symbiosis currently looks like. Thanks to Mihir, Ristaccia, and Starfyre for the original work. I’ve got some more detailed analysis coming in this Sunday’s column on WoW Insider, but suffice it to say that you’re going to have to pick between what’s best for you vs. what’s best for your raid.

Granted Abilities

Death Knight
Blood - Survival Instincts
Frost / Unholy - Wild Mushroom: Plague

Hunter
Dash

Mage
Healing Touch

Monk
Brewmaster - Growl
Windwalker - Berserk
Mistwalker - Entangling Roots

Paladin
Holy - Rebirth
Retribution - Tiger’s Fury
Protection - Might of Ursoc

Priest
Discipline / Holy - Tranquility
Shadow - Cyclone

Rogue
Barkskin

Shaman
Elemental / Enhancement - Solar Beam
Resto - Prowl

Warlock
Rejuvenation

Warrior
Arms / Fury - Enrage
Protection - Frenzied Regeneration

Gained Abilities

Balance
Death Knight - Chains of Ice
Hunter - Misdirection
Mage - Mirror Image
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Hammer of Justice
Priest - Mass Dispel
Rogue - Smoke Bomb
Shaman - Purge
Warlock - Soulshatter
Warrior - Recklessness

Feral
Death Knight - Unholy Frenzy
Hunter - Play Dead
Mage - Frost Nova
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Divine Shield
Priest - Dispersion
Rogue - Redirect
Shaman - Feral Spirit
Warlock - Soul Swap
Warrior - Shattering Blow

Guardian
Death Knight - Icebound Fortitude
Hunter - Ice Trap
Mage - Mage Ward
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Consecration
Priest - Fear Ward
Rogue - Evasion
Shaman - Lightning Shield
Warlock - Twilight Ward
Warrior - Spell Reflection

Resto
Death Knight - Anti-Magic Shell
Hunter - Deterrence
Mage - Ice Block
Monk - to be announced
Paladin - Hand of Sacrifice
Priest - Leap of Faith
Rogue - Cloak of Shadows
Shaman - Spiritwalker’s Grace
Warlock - Demonic Circle: Teleport
Warrior - Intimidating Roar

 

 

Mar 222012
 

So, I was totally wrong about the timing of the beta…it’s out now. No access for me, sadly (though I do have the client DL’ed) but MMOC has put up a database, which I’ll be mining in the next few days for infos.

(Remember, totally datamined from an early beta and I’m half asleep, so recommend saving rage; go look things up on MMOC yourself. I’ll be looking at tooltips for abilities and things later.)

New Glyphs:

Glyph of Amberskin Protection
Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by 25% while Barkskin is active.

Glyph of Cat Form
Increases healing done to you by 20% while in Cat Form.

Glyph of Claw
Your Claw and Mangle (Cat) attacks reduce the movement speed of the target by 50% for 12 sec.

Glyph of Cyclone
Increases the range of your Cyclone spell by 4 yards.

Glyph of Fae Silence
Faerie Fire used in Bear Form also silences the target for 3 sec, but triggers a 15 sec cooldown.

Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration
While Frenzied Regeneration is active healing effects on you are 40% more powerful, but causes your Frenzied Regeneration to cost 60 Rage initially and no longer convert rage into health.

Glyph of Healing Touch
When you cast Healing Touch, the cooldown on your Swiftmend is reduced by 1 sec.

Glyph of Lifebloom
While not in Tree of Life Form, casting Lifebloom on a new target grants that target as many applications as the old target had. (Ed: WOOT!)

Glyph of Master Shapeshifter
Reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifts by 90%

Glyph of Might of Ursoc
Increases the health gain from Might of Ursoc by 20% (from 30% to 50%), but increases the cooldown by 2 min (from 3 min to 5 min).

Glyph of Prowl
Reduces the movement penalty of Prowl by 100%.

Glyph of Rejuvenation
While Rejuvenation is active on three or more targets, the cast time of your Nourish is reduced.

Glyph of Shred (old): baked into Rip

Glyph of Shred (new)
While Berserk or Tiger’s Fury is active, Shred and Ravage have no positional requirement.

Glyph of Stampeding Roar
Increases the radius of Stampeding Roar by 30 yards.

Glyph of Survival Instincts
Reduces the cooldown of Survival Instincts by 60 sec, but reduces its duration by 50%.

Blood in the Water: baked into Ferocious Bite

Mar 192012
 

One addendum to my thoughts on the info from the press event. Saw this blog post today, “A Night in Mists of Pandaria,” which is  flying under the radar at the moment. Bashiok describes all the stuff there will be to do in Mists, but also drops this tasty tidbit that I don’t think anyone’s covered yet:

Proving Myself

I have all of the dungeons and raids at my disposal, and now that all of the raids are supported by the Raid Finder I don’t need to wait for my guild’s raid night to get a shot at some upgrades; plus with some Charms I have a lower probability of experiencing “loot rage” with the option of a second roll. Speaking of loot rage, the change in Raid Finder to per-player loot has made running random raids so much nicer without people fighting over rolls. I really wouldn’t mind running another one tonight.

With the new Valor system, I can work toward upgrading my current gear by increasing its item level and adding on a few stats at a time. Raid Finder is an option for a little Valor from boss kills, or I could get some more from dungeons, challenges, or scenarios. Regardless of what else I have to do I could be earning Valor and improving my items, which makes scenarios, challenge modes, and dungeons a very appealing option for tonight. If I do make some gear improvements, I’ll probably want to hit the new Proving Grounds. They’re like lored-up solo instances that make trying out my rotations a lot more fun since I can chase achievements.

A slip of the word processor? Or a new feature that wasn’t supposed to be mentioned yet? Maybe in relation to this? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

 Posted by at 9:28 pm