Blues announced last night that heroic dungeons were open and ready for testing in the Mists beta – which promptly set off a flurry of “omigosh, it’s going to be released tomorrow” comments. While I don’t anticipate a summer release, I can envision an early fall release at this point.
Alot of other bloggers have been diving head first into beta game-play and such for the past few months, and kudos to them. Their posts about new mechanics, animations and the like are great teasers for what promises to be an excellent expansion pack. I’ve, of course, been following the shaman changes and reading tidbits here and there about what’s to come.
That being said, I’ve spent a total of 1 to 2 hours in the beta since I got my key. I did two separate runs of dungeons on my main to get a feel for some of the changes and then toyed around with the panda character creation screen. I have many guild buds who have jumped right into the content and been leveling and exploring in Panda-land since they got their access. I’m glad for that, honestly, since it will make it much easier to coordinate and plan RP and in-character questing/dungeoning once the pack is released.
I, however, have deleted the beta from my computer and don’t plan on doing anything further with it until launch. I want it to be fresh and new to me. I want landing on Pandaria with Rhianon to be not something I’m finally doing “for real”, but filled with the rush of “the first time.” Nothing is ever quite like your first time experiencing something — a book, game, etc (you can elaborate as you will). I can never read The Poisonwood Bible again for the first time, and even though I’ve enjoyed it immensely on subsequent readings, it doesn’t give me the same rush.
I want to be a Panda virgin. Sometimes I feel like I’m alone in that! Do you want Mists to be completely new when you start up the game on launch day? Or do you enjoy getting “prepared” by playing in the beta and learning the zones/dungeons before release?
I am the worst pack rat ever. My bags are constantly full of stuff I don’t need (but might potentially need one day in the far future!) and my bank is stuffed to the brim. I think I have Aldor rep tokens and spicy Crawdad sushi in my bank still. (It’s probably stinking everything up a bit.)
To be honest, though, I can’t really think of any item that I would be disappointed if I lost. I have a few nostalgic items — the first raid tier drop I ever got (Tier 5 shoulderpads), for example – and all of the holiday dresses. I have my transmog sets. I have rp clothes.
But I have nothing that’s personally valuable to my main character.
I suspect it has something to do with my playstyle — I don’t really go after “unique” items or special items other than pets/mounts — and I’m usually unattached to items I use for raiding purposes. Ever expansion pack, I try to do a full clear of my bank and bags to get ready for new things.
So far, the Tier 5 shoulderpads were the only things to survive the past two expansion pack clear-outs. I have some ICC gear left and that will probably go with Mists. Now that pets and mounts don’t take up bag space, I have little of personal value in my bags or bank.
On the other hand, my alt paladin has an item I would be upset to lose – the Competitor’s Tabard. Not only does it look smashing on her, it’s a unique tabard that you can get any more. She also has the Argent Dawn Wrath launch event tabard, a full set of Undead Slayer gear, and the lyric book to Lament of the Highborne.
Is it a little sad that my alt has more personally valuable items than my main?
We’re closing out the whirlwind month of the New Blogger Initiative – but not without a final challenge, of course.
There were about 100-some new blogs created during the Initiative period. Amazing, right? Of course, it’s easy to get going but keeping going is another matter. I know this from personal experience as the managing editor on a few environmental blogs for work! This blog is actually my first endeavor where I’m writing what I want, not editing others’ posts or cobbling together something to promo our next event. I’m personally just happy posting for myself for that reason; if other folks find it interesting, all the better!
Without much further ado, I’ll present a few blogs that caught my eye during the initiative – and heartily recommend you add them to your reading list!
MMO One Night a Week: I admit, the concept for this is fascinating. Kanter will be taking on an MMO in bursts of just one night a week, a pretty foreign concept for those of us who play MMO’s on a more regular basis. It will be interesting to see how he progresses and engages in the game with such a focused schedule. His first night found him in the Shire in Lord of the Rings, but he’s currently fielding ideas for potential games to explore.
Flask Half-Empty: Okay, there are two mostly silly reasons that this blog caught my idea at first. One – the banner image is really gorgeous and makes me imagine some sort of fantastic, fairytale kind of world. Two – the first post I read was about shaman totems, and well, I think my biases are pretty clear there. Beyond that, however, the writing is solid and conversational in the best of blogging styles, and I look forward to seeing what Ninevi will be up to in the future!
Healing Mains: A blog from two intrepid healers, Brae (priest) and Eluna (druid), about their adventures in healing and also while they’re not on their “healing mains.” One of the reasons this blog stuck in my mind was Eluna’s discussion about how druid healing just works for her. I personally have never been able to get into druid healing, and I’ll appreciate a chance to see her perspectives on healing. Maybe I’ll learn a few things so I don’t have to ask my druids stupid questions like “what’s the range on Tranquility?”.
Go forth and read!
Tree Heals Go WOOSH had an excellent post (that I almost missed) last week, describing experiences taking an undergeared alt into LFR. There’s a bit more to the story, of course, and I recommend you go and check it out, but the part that really jumped out to me was her final point:
Expansions are WoW’s only true skill equalizer. Gear may be reset each patch, but only an expansion asks us to look at our abilities from a fresh perspective and apply them to content for which we are, often, undergeared.
This equalizing effect is really the thing that gets me excited for Mists of Pandaria. I’m crazy: I loved that first month or two of Cataclysm where the heroic 5-mans were the endgame for the most of the player-base and most of us were barely geared or undergeared. We had to work for those heroic kills and there were no ilvl 410 players carrying us. I loved seeing what I could do with my character’s abilities when she didn’t have the cushion of gear (which I eventually got in spades as we started doing raids).
I’m not saying that I’m perfect and all those starter heroics were walks in the park. They weren’t. They were hard, especially at the beginning. I made mistakes. I went OOM. My parties struggled at times. I got frustrated. But that made the victories all the better and the praise (I lucked out and usually got pleasant LFD groups) that much sweeter. It made me feel – darn, I’m good at what I do and it’s not just because I have full ICC tier. Strip me down and my heals still sing!
**Note: I still reserve the right to absolutely despise Stonecore – both in normal and heroic incarnations.
It was really my first time experiencing that on Rhianon, my main. By the time she got to the level cap in Burning Crusade, the expansion pack (obviously) was already months old and most of my fellow dungeoneers were in great gear. She got kitted out with crafted goods quickly by fellow guildies as well. In Wrath, I lagged about a month or two behind everyone getting to max level and into heroics as I was in a period trying to figure out my guild/server situation (story for another post!). Cataclysm was the first time I was on the “edge” with everyone else – and man, I loved it.
Just thinking about it makes me excited for Mists’ launch. Of course, all the other awesome stuff that’s been coming out about the game makes me excited too, but I really just am looking forward to the total RESET that happens with an expansion pack.
Finally got around to finishing off Act 3 of Diablo early Saturday morning. I felt like Azmodan’s fight was the right level of difficulty; I definitely had some close calls, but I did get him down on my first go (and with a sub-optimal build, trash skills and passives still equipped). So I was basically running around like a ninny and flinging sludge on Azmodan while picking up health globes after he ate my puppies.
Act 4 went by quickly. Nothing was terribly difficult, although the first named mob did smash my face in (luckily, I had my ‘rez’ passive equipped and popped back up!). I was anticipating a decent challenge with Diablo’s fight (particularly after I lost my templar bud) and pulled it once without adjusting my build just to see the cinematic before wiping immediately.
After dying, I adjusted my build to something more suited for survival/single-target encounter. Lots of health return abilities, tanky pet, and speed boosts (Spirit Walk) to keep my distance.
I figured Diablo would be similar to Belial. Belial took me at least 6 or 7 tries and a couple build iterations to get him down the first time. I wasn’t actually expecting to down Diablo on my first serious pull.
The fight underwhelmed me. As long as I kept moving (occasionally turning to Diablo to fire off a Haunt, Poison Dart or Spirit Barrage), I avoided getting caged and sustaining much (if any) damage. He was killing my tanky pet very quickly and I was resummoning on CD basically, but I anticipated that. I did eat a cage once or twice, but a health pot put me back into a safe zone and I used Spirit Walk to get out of melee immediately after the stun wore off. It was just incredibly long (probably because I was being so conservative and just scurrying around with the occasional DPS burst when it was clear).
Overall? Diablo 3 was a fun jaunt. Witch Doctor had a bit of a bad spot near the end of Act 1/beginning of Act 2 and the beginning of Act 3, but once I got enough abilities, I felt pretty OP. I may pop back in and do some Nightmare mode at some point, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to do that right now. At times, I felt like the story was a bit poorly handled at points (near the end) and sometimes too surprising to seem plausible, but I’m also coming at it from the standpoint of a complete Diablo novice. Perhaps if I had played 1 or 2, I might not have been so “bwah?” at various points of the story.
I was going to post something about some of the (awesome) shaman changes in MoP – particularly that cool watery chain heal glyph – or maybe some of my adventures in mastering D3.
Instead, I pose that perennial question:
“Are Shaman players whiners?”
Are we constantly accusing Blizzard of “nerfing” our class or saying that we’re the red-headed stepchildren of WoW? Is our DPS just not as good as it should be (in our minds) or our Healing just not as oomphy? Read the rest of this entry