Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Player Dings 85 Without Killing Anything, Only Gathering

This story was difficult to believe, but it comes around every so often. With each passing expansion, the feat becomes more and more difficult to do, but it’s happened once again: someone’s managed to get their character all the way to level 85 — the level cap — without killing a single mob. They managed to get experience from exploration and gathering only, specifically herbalism and mining. Here’s the scoop from PC Gamer:

Playing on the US RP server Feathermoon, this player achieved what most thought impossible (while still maintaining one’s sanity): grinding through 85 grueling levels via gathering Professions alone. Think it’s all a hoax? The proof is in the profile pudding—Everbloom’s character profile plainly shows that he/she/it has reached the level cap without killing a single enemy. But what’s this? One completed quest?! Not exactly—this was an unfortunate misstep, where a quest was completed simply by opening a letter from an NPC (which Blizzard couldn’t redact). Nonetheless, this is an imposing achievement, especially considering that the character was created around last November.

For the players who think they’ve seen and done it all in Azeroth, this seems like the ultimate challenge and test of will, akin to old Diablo II challenges of pacifist Hell completions. Everbloom highly recommends the experience, saying:

“Being on the ground and sneaking around mining and herbing and eventually archaeology, going everywhere to get every single point of discovery xp that you can, really gives you a chance to see an amazing world up close and personal. I spent hours swimming around reefs and flying to the farthest reaches of the maps… I have been playing since day 1 on other characters and I even have an original Loremaster (you know, back when it was hard) and I saw so MANY new things with Everbloom that it really made it worthwhile for me to continue on with this character, and each level was a major achievement!”

Everbloom’s character sheet is here, and one look at the detail page proves the point. It’s a really impressive feat, and she’s been talking about it on the forums, where I would urge people to go and congratulate her on an incredible job well done.

Congratulations, Everbloom!

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No. 2

Blizzard held another Q&A session with its developers recently, taking forum questions from interested parties, just like last time. Same as last time, you can read the whole set of questions and answers on the official forums, but we’ll take a look at some of the new and interesting ones:

Q: Why can’t we have a pure, straight up, unadulterated Death Match style Battleground? – ???? ???? (Taiwan), Gulantor (North America/ANZ)

A: We think Battlegrounds work better when there is a goal that the team can work towards. Huge melees with lots of players tend to be chaotic by nature so there is less room for skill to influence the outcome. It feels more random, and the more random the system is, the more arbitrary the rewards will feel. It might be something we try someday.

For example, emergency buttons are balanced around the assumption that only a few players are ganged up against you. Even in the 5v5 Arena bracket, it’s very difficult to survive being focused by so many players at once, so you feel like you don’t have many options. There is a reason that most of our Arena attention is on 3v3 – it just feels the best.

You know, I had been wondering about this one too back when I was spending more time in battlegrounds – some people would love the “in and out” nature of having a battleground they could hop into and hop out of just to grab some honor in a short period, and in a game that’s perpetually ongoing that they could play for as much free time as they have without worrying their departure will negatively impact a team.

At the same time, the sheer number of empty multiplayer game servers in the world kind of tell the tale that when there’s no one interested in playing that all-out deathmatch style game, the few people who do want to play would have a horrible time doing it – or worse, they’ll just give up because it’s not the epic experience they’d actually want. After all – I’m sure the people asking the question are thinking of massive 25 v. 25 battle arenas with fast re-spawning, not a 3 v. 3 match.

Q: CC used to be the big thing for arena, but now it’s all about damage. Is it the direction you are taking at the moment? – Thatis (Taiwan)

A: If crowd control really was as weak in Arenas as you’re claiming, then Holy paladins would be the healer of choice and Resto druids wouldn’t have much of a role. But the Entangling Roots and Cyclone of the druid make a huge difference in Arena, and we see a lot of healing druids.

Ultimately, we think there has to be a place for both crowd control and damage. It can be just as frustrating to be chained from a fear to a poly to a stun without having an answer as it can be to die to two dudes killing you in a few GCDs without an answer. We don’t want Arena in particular to be all about which comp has the best layering of crowd controls that don’t share diminishing returns, because that greatly lowers the number of viable comps out there (and why rogue-mage-priest dominated in earlier seasons). We have taken steps this season already to nerf both out of control damage and excessive crowd control for some classes.

The best thing you can do is just keep providing feedback when you think something is broken. Many other players will disagree with you, and at times so will we. The signal to noise ratio for PvP balance is frankly always going to be bad, and the design calls are extremely subjective. We are constantly amazed that some players playing very powerful specs perceive themselves as weak or interpret very gentle nerfs as soul-crushing. That doesn’t mean that we’re never going to listen, but it does mean the burden of convincing us something is broken is going to be high, probably higher than it is for PvE.

Ouch – holy blowoff, batman! Although I can’t say I disagree here. I think Blizzard is acquising the point that they’re paying more attention to damage, but they’re trying to strike the balance between damage and crowd control. I disagree that seeing a lot of resto druids somehow means that holy paladins aren’t the healers of choice in battlegrounds (that’s like saying “hey, the fact that a exists means there must be less of b,”) but I see their point. Balance is what’s important, and they’re always open to your feedback.

I hope the person asking the question got that same message, because I could see how the tone at the beginning is kind of a diss. A loving one, but a diss nonetheless!

Q: Can I hear your thoughts of the survival abilities of the Warlock on PvP? – Mccoll (Korea)

A: Overall, we think they’re fine. Warlocks in PvP often compare themselves to Shadow priest, and to be fair, Shadow priests have some very potent emergency buttons, particularly Dispersion. Warlocks have good self-healing (which also to be fair, was nerfed recently), abilities like Demonic Circle and fears that are good for both offense and defense. Once Shadow priests lose their defensive dispel capabilities, we think they will be less versatile and their entire package will be more comparable to warlocks.

I love this question only because it was asked. I remember the days when warlocks were unstoppable damage and destruction machines in arenas. If you had a lock on your team, you were pretty much guaranteed to win, and if you had one on your team and another on the other team, it came down to who had the most resilience. Thankfully, no more.

So – this set of Q&A questions were pretty heavy on the PVP side of things. If you’re a heavy PVP’er, what do you think of Blizzard’s responses and the questions they selected to respond to? What would you have asked if you had the opportunity? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Cataclysm Raid Changes Announced

Looking to get your raid on when Cataclysm finally lands? There are a few very serious major changes incoming that will rock your Vanilla/BC/Wrath world that may lead to the end of raiding and dungeons as we know them…or maybe it won’t make much difference to you.

All in all, this is going to be a lot to swallow for most players, and will represent some serious and significant changes to the way they raid. Some of the highlights?

First of all, 10-man and 25-man raids will drop the same loot, just in different quantities – that means 25-man raids won’t get higher item-level gear like they currently do – a lot of people have been fighting this point on both sides, and it looks like while at first Blizzard was coming down on the side of the people who favored better gear for 25-man raids, they’ve reversed course a bit.

Second, 10-man and 25-man raids will share the same lockouts. That means a 10-man group gets the same amount of time to complete a dungeon as a 25-man group. Yowch. That would be a problem if not for the fact that also announced is the fact that 10-and-25-man bosses will be very similar in difficulty, and not the pretty big difference they are today.

Blizzard also has some plans to change up the way raids are done, and create shorter raids with fewer bosses (much like the heroic Onyxia and Sarth runs) that are still difficult enough to accomodate a large number of people, but that just have fewer bosses.

Like I said, all of this is still up in the air, and Blizzard reserves the right to change all of it, but if anything I can see it’s a pretty big leveling of the playing field between 10-man guilds and 25-man guilds and the dungeons they run. If anything, it may lend itself to the thought that Blizzard’s noticed that 10-man runs are mostly guild runs with tight social groups, and 25-man runs are largely pugs that are done for efficiency and loot. Interesting.

What do you think? Will the new announcements impact you at all?

Read Blizzard’s full announcement and leave your comments behind the jump!

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Decrypt Macros with Fitzcairn’s Macro Explain-O-Matic

Macro_Explainer

There are tons of macro resources around the Web, most of them give you a basic description of what the macro does, who it’s for, and the macro text that you can copy/paste into your macro keyboard’s macro editor or into the WoW macro-editor. But what do you do if you come across a macro that’s supposed to be the best thing ever and make your life easier but you don’t really understand how it does what it’s supposed to do? Or even what it’s supposed to do?

Enter Fitzcairn’s Macro Explain-O-Matic! This handy little tool lets you paste in your macro text and get a step by step explanation of what the macro does at each line. It’s perfect if you want to take someone’s pre-written macro and edit it to do exactly what you want it to do or add steps to include more actions without breaking the macro.

Gold Making Tips from a WoW Millionaire

Gold, gold, gold

Ah, gold. The main reason I hear from some of my guildmates that they haven’t picked up dual-specs? It costs 1000g. The main reason our my pally friend is tired of respecing between healing and tanking? Gold. Everyone needs it, not all of us have a good, solid way of getting it.

Have you ever wondered how people seem to play the auction house to make money? Have you ever wondered how you can take the economy on your server and turn it into a moneymaking machine without putting so much time into it that you’re distracted from actually playing the game? So have I! Which is why this post, Gold Making Tips from a WoW Millionaire over at WoW Economist piqued my interest.

In the first video, our tutor manages to make 1000g in 4 hours of /played time:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9g6dGgkHcc[/youtube]

The post goes on into another video that outlines the narrator’s typical day of milking the auction house for all it’s worth – the best part is that this strategy doesn’t particularly rely on being brutal against other players and devastating the server economy in order to make a few extra copper – it’s just playing off the need for certain items and the willingness of many players to simply overpay for something because they want it. All of the videos are created by the writer of WoW Auction Mastery, where more videos and tutorials are promised soon.

Which Class is the Easiest to Level?

hunter class logo

A little while ago, I polled my friends at Twitter (you can follow me at @halophoenix, by the way) to find out what the WoW players I know think are the easiest classes to level.

Old wisdom has always been that hunters and warlocks are the easiest to level because you almost had a second character there to help you in the form of a hunter’s pet or a warlock’s summon. I’ve played both classes and found them pretty easy to level, but my main is a hunter and the lock I play is pretty small, so I was curious what other people thought.

Are Death Knights the automatic winner because they start at 55, and the biggest help to leveling is getting rid of those 55 levels to grind? At the same time, retribution paladins have gotten a lot of dps love lately – are they easier to level? I’m playing a ret pally alt right now and she seems to blow through levels faster than I can get her gear for them. What about warriors? Has the nerf stick hit them so hard no one plays them anymore? And what happened to all of the rogues?

Well, the Twitterati came through in a big way. While no one really agreed on a specific class that’s definitely the easiest to level, some trends appeared. There was “easy classes” to level, and there were “unrewarding and completely too difficult” classes to level.

draenei paladin

Among the winners? Shadow priests, retribution paladins (as expected), hunters of all specs (also expected), and one passionate vote for warlocks even though they had their hayday a few patches ago and no one seems to play them much anymore. My good friends @nanceinsnow and @transrelativity both weighed in in support of shdow priests, locks, and of course, hunters. (although nance’s dps output is making me want to change specs from BM to survival…) The trend seems to be that dps classes are the easiest, which makes sense – they’re designed for damage output, which makes questing and grinding that much faster. The only class to buck the trend were death knights (suggested by my guildmate Yoshi, who tanks with a 2-hander with style), which were easy not just because of their massive DPS but also because they start at 55, and sure enough – skipping 55 levels makes a difference.

prot warrior

Among the losers? Restoration druids, protection warriors and paladins, and elemental shaman. (unless you’re a multi-boxer and have enough of them to one-shot elites 5 levels above you!) The trend there isn’t so clear. I can understand why prot-spec’d anyone would be difficult to level: you’re specced for damage absorption, not output. Resto druids I can understand too – healing classes are designed for, well, healing. Elemental shamans I was confused by though.

holy priest

One stand-out though: a good friend in my guild, @tongarityphoon pointed out that she thought holy priests were the easiest to level. I boggled; holy priests? Cloth-wearing healers? Easy to level? How could that possibly be? She insisted; it was the easiest class to level she’d ever played. I’m still skeptical: I might have to roll one to find out.

So what about you? What classes have you played that you found particularly easy to level? Does it matter where in the cycle of patches from launch it was? Rogues and enhancement shaman were in vogue about a year ago, as were warlocks; everyone was playing them. Then along came the nerf train and the new expansion and it seems like everyone who played a rogue now plays a death knight. Additionally, you can’t find someone to pick up all the caster plate that drops in Naxx to save your life.

Maybe it’s a function of which class is on top at the moment, but some classes are consistently easy to grind. Let us know your picks in the comments!

TalentChic Updates for 3.1!

Updated TalentChic

One of my favorite sites, TalentChic, has been updated with talent and spec changes for 3.1!

There are significant changes to everyone’s talent trees this week after the patch, and some of you will find you have fewer points to spend, and others of you will find that you have more to spend, but with time you’ll be able to see at TalentChic what everyone’s speccing towards. Since TalentChic pulls its data from The Armory, it’ll probably be a few days before the site is a definitive resource again since everyone has to go and respec, but once it’s done a few more updates, you’ll be able to use it the way you used to!

Additionally, TalentChic has a new counterpart: GlyphChic, to help you determine whether you’re using the right glyphs for your spec. You can browse both sites by class and spec, and the most popular glyphs and specs will be shown at the top – mind you, they may not be the BEST, or even the RIGHT ones for you, just the most popular. So remember to take both sites with a grain of salt, and use them to help you make your decisions, not make them for you. Enjoy!

StratFu Presents: Pull! A Guide to Faster Raids

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fxOW3L890c[/youtube]

Tired of waiting around a dead boss for a half-hour for the hunter and the shaman to argue over who really needs that mail? Or maybe half of your 10-man isn’t taking the trash seriously and you guys wipe over and over again? Then check out this video by Kyth, of guild Fusion, which promises to show you how to turn your guild from one 5 man a night to 2 hour Naxx clears, and having fun the whole way!

While I would say that everyone in your guild would have to agree to this kind of mentality before you really embark on it, I would also say it’s worth it for your guild to be serious enough to do what they need to do in order to make a raid successful while simultaneously having a good time.

The tips are useful even for veteran raiding guilds, and over all are pretty simple: pay attention, stay on task, take everything seriously, give people the benefit of the doubt and don’t put up with poor performance, and handle yo’ business. Check out the video here in HD or click the image above to learn how your guild can raid more effectively, too!

Getting up to speed, part I

My original main character is a Night Elf Druid. She started on Proudmoore, but left her guild (and most of my friends) behind when transfers to Dragonblight were offered. Since then she’s been abandoned. Now that I have paid US$25 to fix my mistake, I can look at raiding with friends again. I’ll try to keep a log of my attempts to catch up with my friends, with the aim of helping other time-poor players enjoy with their friends what time they can spare.
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World Defense Pays Off

wenoraid1

Being a fan of the PvP, I’m on the World Defense channel in addition to Local Defense. Today several of us from We No happened to be near XR when we started getting tons of “under attack” notifications so we decided to see what was up. Usually it’s one or two folks attacking guards trying to get some people to come fight. Today, it was what seemed to be an enitre guild. A solid 20-30 lvl 60′s attacking. Right away it was on. We sent out the call to friends and in moments had our own solid defense and stomped the crap of the pesky attackers. Here’s a few screen caps I took. The achilles heal of this attack was that it all hinged on one guy named Aurthor or something like that. He stood in the back and yelled out orders and very quickly we realized that he was their leader. Why they weren’t using a raid chat channel I have no idea, but that they were allinace it was probably because they were 12 years old and don’t understand things like that. :-P Anyway, as soon as we took him out, their whole plan fell apart. And the same with each time they regrouped and came back. They finally gave up and all was right with the world.

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