BlizzCon: Part 2

  • Posted on: August 27, 2009
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

This post is more about my opinions regarding the expansion than about the convention I guess.

I am interested in seeing how Tauren Paladins, Gnome Priests and Troll Druids will come about lore wise. Most of the other new class combos either exist in the game as NPCs or aren't all that far fetched. Dwarven Shaman for example, exist in the Wildhammer Clan and Blood Elf Warriors were stated as a balance decision instead of a lore issue. A blue stated earlier on the General Forums that the official lore name for the cowadins would be Sunwalker, which I assume will tie into their sun worship. I guess the gnomes were too busy focusing on the holy light instead of focusing on say, retaking their city.

The removal is this level of content in a game, particularly for an MMO strikes me as odd. I wonder if it is going to be even more odd for the folks who start playing post-Cataclysm. But that said, I think that the revamping of Azeroth is a fantastic idea and quite frankly, well overdue. The Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor have had more than their fair share of use over the past 5 years. At the moment, they feel out of date in terms of leveling flow and types of quests available. Consequently, I find it very hard returning to the old world to level my lowbies alts, even with the boost in experience.

The Burning Crusade introduced a smoother quest flow and more natural zone progression, eliminating the need to mob grind experience and to run across multiple continents and zones to quest. It also introduced a few new mechanics to increase the quest quality; The bombing runs for example. But as a whole, I felt that the story lines felt disconnected from the rest of the lore. I don't know if this was intentional or not, given that the Outlands well, is an alien planet. I just didn't feel as connected to the WoW story as I had originally in vanilla WoW.

Wrath on the Lich King on the other hand, was all about story progression. Using the new phasing mechanic and the intertwining of the lore into the quests in such an interactive and visual manner really pulled me into the expansion. So much so that I had actually leveled my hunter to 80 shortly after Keiya (anyone in guild knows that this is an incredible feat given my track with alts). It heralded the return and continuation of story lines from familiar faces that we've seen in the old world; NPC's whom we have invested quite a bit of time with like Tirion Fordring, Bolvar Fordragon, etc.

Wrath retained the Burning Crusade's smooth progression without feeling disconnected. The Lich King looms over you throughout your journey to level 80 and is introduced very early on in the expansion. Blizzard also did an exceptional job of rehashing key events from Warcraft III for the folks who either are not familiar with the strategy games or who might not have remembered what occurred. By contrast, Illidan, though mentioned quite often in quest text, did not feel like an active part of the Burning Crusade, at least to me. He just sort of popped into play when the Black Temple patch went live. I think that this point illustrates how important the doing things is in a gaming environment. I wonder how different the first expansion might have been if he was played out early in the game like Arthas?

I am really looking forward to seeing the new quest mechanics and the lore interactivity in the  old world when Cataclysm hits. I am actually looking forward to rolling and leveling a low level alt again! According to the WoW panels, they are going to be able to phase areas even more. The terrain will change significantly as you progress in certain areas (the presentation had screenshots). The developers also mentioned that they are working out phasing kinks. We supposedly, might be able to share a phase with party members. You can probably already guess at some of the changes based off of old world gripes regarding certain areas (too large, too boring, too large and too boring, etc).

I am also cautiously optimistic about the new stat streamlining. Some stats are redundant: Spirit and MP5 for example, while some stats like Armor Penetration just never worked out. It is one of those stats that very few people understand and is either awesome for certain classes and otter crap for others. There's a pretty high level of redundancy on gear that makes it difficult for certain class and spec combinations to determine if an item is an upgrade without consulting an Excel spreadsheet. Several of the changes should make gear less ambiguous: No more spirit on mage gear, no more AP on leather (no more rogueadins lol).

Oh one more thing: Battlenet 2.0 will allow you to talk with friends across Blizzard games and across WoW servers/factions. I have IRL friends strewn across various servers, so I'm looking forward to being able to chat with them all in game without having to log over or poke Facebook/Gtalk.

BlizzCon: Part 1

  • Posted on: August 25, 2009
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

Note: The image effects aren't loading for some pictures, I don't know why. Also, I have more pictures up in the BlizzCon gallery. I'll finish labeling and adding descriptions to them all later.

TL;DR: BlizzCon was a lot of fun, if you have the means and time I highly recommend it! Greatly looking forward to Cataclysm, Diablo III and Starcraft II. I'll split this post up into two parts since it got kind of long. I'll go over the convention in general today and then post general opinions on the Cataclysm tomorrow. I was going to do a rundown of all of the announcements, but I'm sure that has been done a hundred times over on all of the big WoW blogs.

I am fortunate that I have family in the area willing to lend me their couch for an evening. In the future, I think that I will just go get a room Thursday through Sunday evenings at one of the hotels walking distance from the convention center. The place that I was staying was only 15 minutes away at most, but it would have been more convenient to have in-and-out privileges. Between not being able to come and go (without paying for parking again) as well as a generally busy con schedule (so much to do!), I ended up missing a few opportunities to meet-up with some good buddies in the area.

Parking wasn't a problem at all. It was $10 at the Buzz Lightyear lot across from the Anaheim Convention Center on the eastern side of Harbor Boulevard (I detest parking structures). It was a little farther than theACC parking structure, about a 5 minute walk at most, but I didn't have any problems getting caught in exiting traffic. There's ample parking in the area so that's not a big deal.

Everyone must have picked up their badge and goodie bag on Thursday or earlier on Friday morning because by the time I parked and arrived, at about 8:30am to 8:45am-ish, I pretty much just walked right up to the badge registration. The line into the convention center on the other hand was long, it wrapped around and snaked to the back service parking lot, where I stood in the sun for about an hour until the doors opened. (Note to self, get there earlier >_>).

>WoW: Cataclysm and the Diablo III Monk class were announced at the opening ceremonies, which I ended up watching on the monitors in the gift line instead of the main hall. I rushed to the store as soon as I got into the convention center. Some friends told me that last year, unless you got into the line early, it was 4 to 6 hours long and they sold out of t-shirt sizes and popular items. Oh, nice dude with the German accent who I talked with in line the entire time: I should have gotten your email or something, I feel bad for leaving you hangin' at the store.

I attended the World of Warcraft Preview Panel, half of the World of Warcraft Art Panel (and half of the Diablo III Heroes and Monsters Panel), the Guild Panel and the World of Warcraft Discussion Panel on the first day. On the second day I attended the WoW Q&A, WoWPvP Discussion, WoW Dungeons & Raids and the WoW Class Discussion (much of this one was recap, but I needed to sit and eat).

I did around half of the goodie bag promotional events (and won a T-shirt at the Razor booth. So so close to winning a new mouse). I probably should have, but didn't bother standing in any of the demo lines for Cataclysm,Diablo III or StarCraft II; I figure that since I am 100% sure that I am pre -ordering each and every one of these, it's no big deal. Well, that and the fact that I have a general dislike for unnecessary lines. I also had a chance to meet-up with a guild mate, server mate as well as a good friend whom I haven't seen in years!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to attend my realm meet-up. Bloodlust was scheduled to meet on Friday at 7pm, but the costume contest began at 6pm. I had a decent seat and didn't want to miss anything (we were also having trouble reserving seats, the main hall was packed). I also figured that many people would also probably skip the meet-up to watch. The costumes were great, some of the contestants must have spent months working on them.

Lessons learned: Go out to eat, don't get the convention food unless you want a $7 ham and cheese sandwich. Bring water: Con water costs $3. Also, if you open your water bottle in line, there's a chance that the security people at the door will make you throw it away. It depends on who I guess. Snacks are good to have, I brought snack packets of fruits and nuts from Trader Joe's. Also, half of my messenger bag on Friday was taken up by a light jacket that I ended up not using. The building was comfortably air conditioned but not freezing cold.

I bought a pack of earplugs for the closing ceremony but didn't use them because I wanted to chat with people. I am thinking that was kind of a mistake.../half deaf afterward. I'm not all that familiar with Ozzy's discography, but I thought that both he and L80ETC were very good. Hung out afterward until closing time and then drove back home. Overall, BlizzCon was an absolute blast.

BlizzCon Post Coming Soon

  • Posted on: August 24, 2009
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

Eep, well, the supposed Keiya BlizzCon Twitter feed didn't work out. There was free WiFi all over the area, but I opted to socialize and enjoy the events instead of hunching over my iTouch. Beh, it's not as if there was a lack of live feed coverage anyway.

BlizzCon was an absolute blast; I vow to attend next year as well and to plan meet-ups and scheduling better! Next year, I think I'll make sure to get a hotel in the area and stay over Thursday through Sunday night. Word is that I missed a couple of pretty fantastic blog meet-ups and parties. I will publish a more detailed con post later tonight or tomorrow with a couple of pictures and what not (I'm a pretty bad photographer >_<).

BlizzCon Tomorrow!

  • Posted on: August 20, 2009
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

BlizzCon is but less than a day away! I was going to be in OC today to pick-up my badge and meet-up with people, but I had errands to run and stuff like that, so I'm heading over tomorrow morning. So, if you see a chick wearing a black fruit fucker t-shirt with a blue and gray messenger bag, it could quite possibly be me.

I bought a new messenger bag for the convention. I've been kind of looking for one that I can take traveling for the past couple of months, but just never really had a reason to buy one. Perfect excuse! I really like my canvas Fossil bag, but I needed one that closes securely, is larger and made of a material that I can throw around without it getting trashed.

I ended up getting a smallTimbuk2 classic messenger from REI . It was a little over what I really wanted to spend on a bag, but it's well constructed, organized and suits my needs perfectly. This is what I plan to stuff into it in addition to normal items (wallet, cell, cosmetic case):

  1. The email barcode printout to pickup my badge
  2. Digital camera with extra memory cards
  3. A water bottle: I get thirsty and don't want to have to buy drinks at the convention (I've heard that it's expensive).
  4. Snacks: Same as above. I have little fruit/nut packets from Trader Joe's that are the perfect size and moderately filling.
  5. Enough cash for parking and any miscellaneous fees that might not be chargeable
  6. A light jacket: I've also heard that the convention center is well air conditioned.
  7. Small notebook and pen: /shrug I always carry one around in my purse. Might come in handy for writing down contact info?
  8. Earplugs for the closing ceremony.
  9. iPod Touch for waiting in lines.

I wonder when the Proudmoore realm meet-up is scheduled...sadly I don't have any minicards or any other form of ready-made contact information available >_<. Edit: Aww, apparently I am missing some pretty epic parties/meet-ups over at the hotels and surrounding areas in OC. Next time I'm going to stay over Thursday night.

Must get sleep. Not tired. Wide awake.

Review: Razer Carcharias

I have a small headphone fetish and apparently cannot function without being able to properly listen to my music wherever I go. I have a pair for every occasion: At home/work, on the go, running and Ventrilo. If you wear headphones often, it's actually worth dishing out a little extra cash to get a not crap pair. In my experience, most of the extremely cheap ones break easily (stress fractures on the headband near the ear cups, loose wires).

So my old headset broke last week: The sound coming through the earphones was extremely muffled and the microphone intermittently muted or reduced itself in volume. I could have just sautered the loose wires or ghetto fixed it, but why pass up on an excuse to get a new toy?

How Fortuitious!

  • Posted on: August 13, 2009
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

It looks like Onyxia is making a triumphant return to the game in patch 3.2.2 in honor of WoW's 5th anniversary. She's going to be a 10/25 man-raid instance, updated to current raid mechanics with loot matching the Tier 2 items! ZOMFG, a 310% flying mount modeled after Onyxia.

Here's the thread:

She has lurked in her lair and done battle with the many brave adventurers who travelled to that familiar location over the years. Now, in honor of the World of Warcraft 5-year anniversary, the dreaded brood mother Onyxia is being revamped to make a return to the forefront of Azeroth, as part of our big plans for the upcoming 3.2.2 content patch.

This permanent update to Onyxia will convert the dungeon into 10- and 25-player modes. We will be adding new items to Onyxia’s loot table that have the same model as some of the classic loot from this dungeon, like Tier 2 helms, with stats updated to match the current level of content. There will be a special new item too: a normal drake-sized 310% speed flying mount modeled after Onyxia herself called Brood of Onyxia. We will also be updating the encounter mechanics to be more fitting for modern raiding, but we can guarantee players will get to experience the frightening horror of deep breaths once again.

Then for a limited time, after the 5-year anniversary event officially begins in November, anybody who logs in will receive an Onyxia Brood Whelpling pet.

We’re very excited to bring this classic encounter back to provide a fun new experience for both new and veteran players. Further details will be available in the near future, and we will be setting up the Public Test Realms soon to help test out this fight along with all the new content we have planned for the patch. Keep an eye on the forums for updates!

I'm personally looking forward to wearing my Judgement hoodie once again :P. Oh edit: I never really noticed this before (I don't frequent the WoW forums much at all nowadays), but apparently the WoW forums have their own blue tracker, RSS enabled and everything. Neat!

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  • Posted on: August 11, 2009
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

Why did the paladin tier-8 chest graphic change? I was really looking foward to badge farming the booby chest token when 3.2 went live. You see, it has been a long time since I last wore a battle bra; Pre-Molten Core I think. The Karazhan chest showed a bit of midriff if I recall correctly, but it wasn't true slut awesome like some of the pre-60 pieces (nothing beats this). QQ.

Oh and, it's quite possible that I might be going to BlizzCon this year ;)

WoW Update: Patch 3.2 Musings

  • Posted on: August 8, 2009
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

Time for another monthly general WoW update! I went with 5/11/55 for my new 3.2 Retribution build (more or less copypasta'd off of Elitist Jerks). Essentially the same core talents as the old build except for the five additional points in Seals of the Pure to boost Seal of Vengeance's damage output. Slight different extra point distribution as well.

I had a chance to run the new raid instance this week. It's a coliseum event similar to Ring of Blood or any of those from the Outlands and Northrend party quests. It's fun and different than any of the other raid instances. Got the first part of encounter one down (Gormok), not so much luck on the Two Jormungar.  It was kind of fun doing the encounters without minimal external strategies and no boss timers.

WTB more heroic badge farming. I did some heroics with guild members the other night for the first time in ages. I like the changes, it's nice that heroics are once again "useful" to characters other than my gimpy alts. oh and you know...I kind of miss having aninsta-cast Exorcism.

Got a new headset because my other one finally broke: Razer Carcharias. I'll post a small review after I return from weekend activities.