WoW Progress Update

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done one of these. Yep, I’m still playing WoW. Does that mean I’m past the 3 monther status now?

KGC & Friends are now 7/7 Heroic Emerald Nightmare, and 3/3 Trial of Valor.

That’s quite an accomplishment for us. We are a VERY casual raiding guild — about as casual as they come. We raid 2 nights a week for 2 hours each night. Typically our raids are on Monday and Sunday at 4:30pm PST. Yep, that’s right, we raid only 4 hours a week.

One of the biggest challenges with being so casual is that we have had to fight the idea that being casual means it’s okay to be unreliable or not committed and dedicated. We had to let some people weed themselves out. Some people wanted to raid more. We had to let them go and flap their wings and fly free. Some people didn’t have the patience to wipe and thought wiping for a couple of hours on a boss wasn’t fun, and they too had to depart. That’s okay. We want people who want to play the way we play.

I’m proud of the team we have. We sort of lead by committee, and have everyone participate in the raid leader role. If someone has a suggestion, and it makes sense, then we try it. We laugh, joke, and have fun.

KGC on FenrisWe’re also very much about realizing that people have real life obligations. We have business professionals who have to miss a week at a time, USPS drivers making Christmas deliveries, etc. That’s okay. As long as people let us know they can’t make it, we can work to replace them that night. We’re not afraid to PUG, and we just have the goal of doing content every time we raid.

We’re now gearing up for when Nighthold comes out. I’m excited! Even more content and things to see and do. I ended up going full-time tank now, and have been this way for almost a month. I’m 870 item level, and having a blast.

If you’re looking for a raiding guild that fits the description above, feel free to contact me in-game (Bewear-Fenris) or leave a note here. We are definitely recruiting and have room for more like-minded players.

Warcraft Games I Want to See Made

Blizzard has a great property on their hands. Warcraft has been a RTS, a MMORPG, sort of a MOBA, and even a card game. I’d like to see Warcraft take shape into a few different/new spinoffs.

Warcraft classic adventure game

Warcraft the Classic Adventure Game

Did you know there was going to be a Warcraft adventure game? I did, and i was really looking forward to it! Lord of the Clans was set to release back in 1997, but due to communication issues and the competing Monkey Island, the project was cancelled — and it was pretty much finished!

I think a classic adventure game set in the Warcraft universe would be amazing. There’s so much lore and familiarity surrounding the characters and their world(s). A great story could be told with humor and familiar locales. Moorgard, can you get on this project asap?

The series would lend itself very well to point and click adventure, with puzzles and thought-provoking narrative. I imagine it would be a mix of Monkey Island and King’s Quest.

Warcraft RPG

Warcraft the Roleplaying Game

We have a massively multiplayer role-playing game in full 3d, but I think that Warcraft could be amazing as a Baldur’s Gate / NWN type of isometric RPG.

I would want the systems to be heavily based on D&D, and wouldn’t mind the combat being exactly the same. In fact, take almsot everything about Baldur’s Gate 2 or NWN and slap it into the Warcraft universe and I’m sold.

Everything is there: (1) Massive world, (2) Lore, (3) classes/races/abilities. The design doc pretty much writes itself.

 

Warcraft Action RPG

Warcraft the Action (RPG) Game

Any Champions of Norrath or Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance fans out there? Maybe some Gauntlet Legends? These games were loosely called “action role-playing games,” but they can pretty much be summed up as hack and slash adventures. You smash through mobs in dungeons while gathering loot and progressing your character. Dungeons were set in diverse areas, and could indoor and outdoor. Once again, Azeroth lends itself well.

All of these great action rpgs were somewhat isometric, but much less top-down than Baldur’s Gate. The camera is typically movable too. They featured ability trees, gear drops (typical green, blue, yellow stuff), and stat progression.

Characters were usually a set race, with an associated class. For example, a Night Elf Druid or a Gnome Hunter would be playable, and each have their own ability trees. Gear would be somewhat up to the player. For example, the Hunter would easily lend itself to melee and traps or ranged and pet usage. Once again, the design doc practically writes itself.

Warcraft the Fighting Game

Warcraft the Fighting Game

Now here’s a departure, but not as far as you might think. Imagine a Street Fighter or Tekken style fighter set in the Warcraft universe.

The characters could be generic “Undead Rogue” or could be famous characters like “Grom Hellscream” or “Sylvanas.” These characters would have their own combos and unique skills. Rogues could have a ‘vanish’ abilities that makes them appear behind the other player and stab them. Hunters could have “stampede” where they call a horde of animals. Shaman could summon lightning or frost shock to freeze then rock smash or something.

If you think about it, this style of fighting game wouldn’t be too far of a departure from arenas. Blizzard has already created a “fighting” feel, and once again the characters and their abilities are done as well as the world lending itself to maps like Gadgetzan’s cage, or Orgrimmar’s arena.

Warcraft Open-World RPG

Warcraft the Open-World RPG

Perhaps the most ambitious project of them all would be an open-world RPG like the Elder Scrolls franchise. An overall story could be told, but otherwise the player would be set loose in a single-player world full of interaction and exploration.

Once again I find myself thinking they could just lift Oblivion or Skyrim’s mechanics and set it all in a Warcraft universe and I’d be fine. Joining some sort of Ravenholdt (Assassin’s League) or interacting with the Bloodsail Buccaneer would be fantastic. There are hundreds of potential story arches to explore here.

Warcraft the Open-World RPG could explore a darker side of the universe, a more gritty and realistic tone. There could be lesser-told stories (again, Ravenholdt or even Northsea Pirates) and more of an untold story going on in the world. This could even all be set at a time before the events of WoW — that way there’s no conflict or crossover.

So Much Potential

There’s so much potential with the Warcraft universe. I hope that Blizzard is or will sometime soon devote serious thought toward branching out from their comfort zone.

As I wrap up this post, I can already think of a couple more. Did I miss any you’d want to see made?

 

Blizzcon Roundup – My Thoughts on What Matters Most

Blizzcon has come and gone, and I want to take a few minutes to reflect back on some of the news coming from the company that has consistently captured the attention of most people in this space.

If you’re looking for more of a roundup, I recommend Shacknews. Scroll back through a few of their posts like the one reviewing WoW’s 7.2 update and the Keynote roundup. There’s also MMO Champion for the overall “what’s next” in WoW. I’m not going to cover all of the news side because I’m an opinion guy, not press or journalist.

So here’s what matters most to me, and what I’m excited about (and why).

Diablo 3: Rise of the Necromancer

I welcomed the news of a new ‘character pack’, despite still not knowing what I’m going to have to pay for it. This year was about 2-3 years too soon for them to announce Diablo 4. In fact, I would be upset if they did. They failed so hard on Diablo 3 — yes, I still think so even after they improved it — that I would be bothered by them immediately jumping into 4. I need to see some serious brainstorming from them before I would even trust them on it again.

The Necromancer class is fantastic, and I only wish it came out sooner. Diablo 3 is, unfortunately, on the edge of dead for me. Will this be enough to revive it…. probably not, but this next news might be…

The Darkening of Tristram

The original Diablo makes a return in The Darkening of Tristram, which is a “retrovision” look back at the original Diablo. Featuring 16 levels, a boss, old school graphics, old sound track, and four direction movement, this throw back seems like the best news to come to Diablo 3 yet — and it’s free.

Darkening of Tristram

While the Necromancer MAY bring me back, this will absolutely 100% get me to reinstall. I only wish the scope was greater than the cathedral.

What’s Next for World of Warcraft

Patch 7.1.5

Really big news coming in 7.1.5, mainly the Mists of Pandaria Time Walking and class updates (which I can only hope will be good news for me). The artifact catch up mechanics also pique my interest. One thing I really like about sticking with my Druid is that I can be a tank, a healer, a melee dps, or a caster dps. What I can’t do is keep them all up.

Patch 7.2

You want to know what I like about patch 7.2? There’s lots of neat things coming like Tomb of Sargeras, a new dungeon, more artifact talents, etc. What I like most is that THERE IS A PATCH 7.2 and Blizzard actually has a plan for this expansion.

Karazhan 2 Wings

I was just lamenting how long it takes to get through Karazhan. Well, in a few months (fingers crossed) there will be upper and lower. That’s pretty neat. But isn’t that a bit late, Blizzard? I mean, ToV is coming. Cathedral of Eternal Night (A new dungeon) is coming. We’ll have Nighthold too. Will this gear actually be that good? I suppose from the final secret boss it might be, but otherwise I can’t see needing it.

Druid Wearbear Form

Heck yes. Best news out of Blizzcon. This is so ridiculously needed, and SO FREAKING COOL!

Druid Wearbear Form

If they make this hard to obtain I’m going to rage. It’s the least they can do after making our class mount (form) look so stupid.

Druid Class Mount

Blizzcon Overall

Sort of a lackluster event. The news for World of Warcraft was fantastic. There’s not a WoW player out there who can justifiably way “that’s a let down” for the coming months. But this news didn’t need Blizzcon. Can you imagine the event if there wasn’t a Legion? “You can play some old looking Diablo levels and hey there’s some Hearthstone cards. Grats kids!”

I’m excited for when the huge year comes next year, but I think I’ll REALLY be looking forward to the year after that when they finally announce Warcraft 4.

Read between the lines here where Mike Morhaime said in a Blizzcon interview…

“We love RTS games but right now our focus is still continuing to evolve StarCraft II—and to the extent that MOBA games are RTS—continue supporting and evolving Heroes of the Storm,” Morhaime said in an interview (via GameSpot). “I love that there is so much passion and interest around Warcraft IV. I would love to see Warcraft IV at some point in the future, but that is not our current focus.”

Let’s look at the facts.

  1. He would love to see Warcraft 4.
  2. It’s not their current focus

It’s coming. The announcement will be made in 2018. They’ll release in 2020. 2020 being hindsight, hindsight being they should have done this WAY sooner. It’s coming guys. It’s coming.

My Thoughts on Karazhan

Karazhan launched just over a week ago. Our 5 man group has now completed it twice, so I want to write up some of my thoughts and experiences on the dungeon.

Blizzard did something a little bit different this time.

Feels like a Raid

Karazhan is not a raid (anymore), but it feels like one. I have championed the idea for years that “raids” should be available to 5 people too. Small, epic content is really something I love (conceptually, at least until now).

Going through Karazhan for the first time took us almost 4 hours. We didn’t know the fights, we had two people slightly under-geared, and I think we were pretty tired at the time. Still, knowing the fights was a huge part.

The second time clearing Karazhan took only 2.5 hours — we could have done it in 2 if I didn’t wipe us by moving on the flame rings like an idiot.

Lots and Lots of Trash

Staying true to older raids, Karazhan is packed with trash. Most of the time is spent traveling between bosses. However, unlike modern dungeons, the trash is easier but the bosses are incredibly difficult.

Boss Fights are Pretty Good

I really like a few of the boss fights. I think the final boss is one of the better bosses we’ve gone against (mechanically). The RNG involved with some of these fights is a little tedious, but not bad if you can conceptually master what’s supposed to happen.

Speed Running Karazhan

Instead of having Mythic+, Karazhan has a speed run mechanic where you have to get to a certain point fast enough to unlock a secret boss: Nightbane. Getting Nightbane takes really good gear, a ton of speed/luck, and probably the right classes too. That’s perhaps my biggest gripe about dungeons in WoW: Certain classes are just way better at bursting through trash with AOE.

Return to Karazhan Overall Thoughts

I think Blizzard did a nice job restoring an older raid into content that players can enjoy as though it were a 5-man dungeon. I would have preferred wings in order to avoid being in the place for several hours at a time, and a lot less trash would be nice.

Overall a very nice dungeon with good loot and difficulty curve.

So about that last post…

I may have jumped the gun a bit…

Xavius Boomkin DPS

Last night I took my Boomkin into our raid and absolutely crushed it. I did the best I’ve ever done. I didn’t beat the mages, shaman, or DH but I did way better than I usually do. To put this into perspective, I was doing 160-170k tops last week. Last night I was averaging 220+.

What changed? Good question. According to patch notes there was no positive change for Boomkin. In fact, some Boomkin vets say we were “nerfed” because some “snapshot” system was removed.

I did use a flask and food. Is that responsible for a 50k DPS increase? Maybe. Quite probably.

Boomkin DPS

I felt like my abilities were flowing so much smoother from one to the other. Perhaps some extremely minor GCD tweak? I played no different than any other night.

After the raid we went into Mythic dungeons and I obliterated mobs. Again I didn’t beat the OP shaman who pulled 100k dps higher than me every pull, but I I was doing 220+ on trash and bosses. I can live with that! I can totally live with middle of the pack. I feel like I can be totally viable all of a sudden.

So while nothing officially changed in patch notes, everything changed with respect to my outlook. Yep, it happened overnight. I plan to stick with Boomkin, and spec heals on an as-needed basis.