Category Archives: Patches

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch is live! And: The Joys of not being a Frontrunner

A month into official launch Black Desert Online already released the Mediah patch today with all sorts of goodies, ranging from new quests and items to a 30% world map increase. You might have guessed that last point makes me especially happy and I itched all day to jump into the game and ride around for hours chasing genies, collecting cherry blossoms and getting my screenshots fix. It rocks being me – Black Desert Online is already my game of the year!

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

Altinova Entrance

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

Because there weren’t big cities in the game yet..

While the official BDO forums are still trying to come to terms with an expansion so shortly after original release, because you can have too much to do in an MMO or something, I had a blast so far exploring Tarif and Altinova. As most of the town names and NPCs in Mediah suggest, players heading East from Heidel are in for a veritable pilgrimage to the Black Desert’s Middle East (or alternatively North Africa) – exotic magic, camel caravans and shishas included. Heck, there is even an innkeep lady stationed in Altinova with my real life name, that’s one MMO-first for me!

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

I need a camel mount!

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

It’s the orient, alright.

It is a bit surprising Daum decided to launch this first expansion as quickly as they did but then there’s absolutely no reason why anyone outside of the most hardcore circles should feel rushed just because Black Desert Online got even more content. Maybe we shouldn’t even think of it as ‘content’ but rather treat it like an actual place; a world that’s vast enough to remain mysterious to the average player for a good while yet. I take comfort in that. Without endgame or linear progression, worrying about your individual pace, the best competitive gear or alchemy gems need not be a thing. And for those on the self-imposed fast lane who are ever a millisecond away from boredom, more frequent updates should seem like a boon too…but then this wouldn’t be an MMO if a vocal minority wasn’t unhappy with the way things are done, would it.

I am still nowhere near level 45 and now I really need to figure out how to buy a camel. Also, this thing creeps me out! –

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Tarif

Uuuuuhhh…..??

P.S. Daum published a Mediah patch trailer without corny voice overs this time, let’s be grateful!

[GW2] Just can’t get their throat stuffed

Back from summer break, which I spent castle hunting and aching from bike tours, I was reluctantly excited for the Bazaar of the Four Winds update in GW2 which follows ANet’s recent announcement of aiming for bi-weekly content patches in the future. Yep, that sounds wild – and you’ve heard it here first! Really, it’s a rare thing when a MMO developer goes and fulfills what you’ve wished for specifically on your blog in the past. That has me convinced I need to continue my wishlist category!

In the end however it’s not just the frequency of new content that matters. Is it content? – Or is it rather that someone at ANet just can’t seem to get their throat stuffed on back items?

gw827

Ye shiny graphics, they don’t fool me.

GW2: The Magic Formula

As you arch an eyebrow at above expression, let me elaborate: it’s a liberty I am taking on this here blog from time to time that I literally translate sayings and idioms over from my native tongue. Every now and then there’s an expression just too perfect and impossible to translate adequately – and in this case it’s GW2 (and other MMOs for that matter) just not getting enough already of the same item-grinds and achievements. Are we there yet? Do we have enough yet?

Seems not. They can’t get their throat stuffed (or full) of the same old or maybe it’s really what the player base wants. I don’t know – it’s not like anyone is allowed to complain much about an essentially free-to-play MMO but then, I’ll keep doing it. Personally, I find it highly insulting that we aren’t only grinding items and achievements with every new “content patch” but the same items! Welcome to GW2’s magic event formula: new weapon and armor skins, new back items, mini-games and jumping puzzles! Oh and that last one is all around you this time because the friggin’ bazaar is sky-borne! I have been to one of the world’s biggest, most famed and wondrous bazaars: it was dark, cramped and stuffy, like a city’s underbelly maze. I would’ve preferred this a hundred times over to the lofty acrobatics required to get to the Bazaar of the Four Winds – but nomen est omen so doh @self!

Magic formula ranting aside, I am still looking for the actual content here. My first impressions are bitter and sarcastic (I’m sure you needed this update) but Syp is having fun and so I shall give this investigation some more time. I understand that several achis are linked to an event further down the line, so maybe I can bring myself to care about that. That said, I am starting to take grim pride in the pitiful amount of achievement points I’ve accumulated on my character so far (which apparently is going to disadvantage me now too); it’s one of the more bizarre side-effects this current generation of MMOs has had on me that I am developing inverted snobbery where things like gear or achievements are concerned. Achieving nothing is the new purple!

Anyway, there’s apparently a “best dive” achievement for this event that sounds right up my alley. Nothing feels more adequate than throwing yourself off a high cliff in desperation after facing even more back items and jumping puzzles! Fingers crossed my PC won’t crash again as my character swan-dives from 10’000 feet altitude. Geronimooo!

Wiping expansions off the table

There is one thing I am still waiting for in the world of MMOs. Okay – that is not quite true, there are a good few things I am expecting to see developers change in the future. One particular aspect however, has been gaining ground and speed there lately: namely the removal of the classic expansion model.

If I consider some of the biggest negatives MMO developers and players currently suffer from, it’s the ever-increasing pressure to deliver content fast vs. beating it, the extreme between players with not enough time to experience new content  and waves of un-subscribers towards the second half of an expansion-cycle. We all know at least some of these feelings: the race right after an expansion or major content patch hits. Then, the inevitable monotony and burnout hitting raid guilds and players at later stages, the “been there done it all”, driving some into creating yet another alt and others into canceling their sub altogether, waiting on the next installment.

And when you think about that, you realize that it’s quite an unnatural flow of things: a disturbance to the consistent and long-term enjoyment of a game. The “content peaks” delivered by traditional expansions create highly negative side effects, not just for the player base but the developers. So, why keep clinging to this model?

How extremes destroy stability

My main grief with expansions is their very situational concentration of a truckload of new content on one arbitrary and artificial moment in time – funny enough called the “release”. Players will wait 1-2 years for that monumental chunk of new content to arrive, all its ground-breaking changes and additions to the game delivered in one, fatal strike. The wait time drags on and gets tedious, the expectations are high. Some players cope by rolling alts or going on preparation sprees, others fall deep into “player depression” and “identity crisis”, leaving their guilds, canceling their subs.

The change of emotion that finally follows on arrival is extreme: players go from utter boredom to an almost hysterical rush to take in as much of the long-desired content as possible. Between those two points in time, we have a gradually plunging curve, only ever lifted by a major content patch or two (if such exist). Make no mistake though: the first quarter into a new expansion is peak time. Things go steadily downhill from there, on an individual level as much as overall sub numbers. Every time, every year, the same story like a groundhog day

Now let’s assume developers decided to get rid of these opposite poles entirely: let’s assume that instead of featuring virtual coitus, erm release, every 1-2 years (few content patches included), they would rather aim to create a more natural and continuous flow of events and change by releasing regular patches on a 2-weeks base. Every other week, something in your world would change, get added or removed. It might be small things like a flood destroying parts of a map. It might be big events like a new quest hub being installed or a new dungeon. The frequent patching would allow developers to create an atmosphere of a living, breathing story where things happen constantly and where the environment (both NPC and PC) reacts accordingly, more like to our real world. There is never the one, big traumatic change but a dynamic world that is being re-shaped all the time, like a book with endless chapters.

How exciting would that be! To log in every other Wednesday, knowing that something has happened somewhere in your world! Maybe even uncommented in patchnotes at times. Sometimes big, sometimes small. Sometimes an isolated event, sometimes an ongoing number of chapters. The world would feel more alive and relaxed because change happens gradually. The game won’t rush ahead of you, leaving you behind. And it won’t just stop at some point, leaving you longing for more –

Not enough, along with this change in game flow, a long list of negative effects would shrink considerably or fall away entirely. Things that used to unsettle and spoil your fun in the game:

  • Begone player burnout during the second half of expansions
  • Begone (raid) guilds struggling to keep going because players despair or leave
  • Begone un-subscribing and re-subscribing once things are looking up
  • Begone social break-ups because friends frequently leave and return
  • Begone “content rush” right after the big fat expansion hits
  • Begone time pressure for raid guilds fearing the next major patch striking
  • Begone missing out on big loads of content
  • Begone long wait times to experience something new
  • Begone radical changes to economy and gear/item values
  • Begone big jumps and breaks in lore and world

I remember how underwhelming player reception was in places for WoW’s Shattering in 4.0.3.; pretty much the entire world as we knew it got revamped in a swift strike, and yet there was little orchestration or preparation beforehand. Few earthquakes aside, it was certainly no thrill. Then, we did not get to be present when it happened, either. We got to log back later, presented with a grand Fait accompli that didn’t make us feel like a part of the world. Expansions often feature drastic and overwhelming changes and additions like that which simply feel un-immersive. Getting to read huge walls of lore later on is not the same as experiencing a process.

I want to feel part of the world I play in. I want to be included in a continuous and ever growing story. I want change happening all the time, not every 1-2 years in traumatic leaps. I want stable and lasting fun, not a curve that goes from player fatigue and long wait times to over-excitement, before tumbling back down into the valley of tears. I don’t want to regularly un-subscribe from the MMO I am playing because it’s delivering content in situational peaks. Surely, developers would wish for that too?

Why don’t they do it already?

If you consider Blizzard’s ongoing (failing *cough*) effort to create a game that keeps a tight, exciting leash on its player base through an unebbing flow of fast rewards and achievements, you could think breaking the “peak-time” expansion model would follow the same strategy; after all, what better way of keeping things fresh and interesting than releasing new bits of content every other week?

Is it a marketing thing? Are expansion modules so crucial a selling-point for recruiting new customers? Surely, it can’t be the retail factor – it would have the smallest part in overall profits generated via subs, virtual goods and merchandise. So, attracting potential new customers with announcing your next big hit, I can see that as a factor. As far as I know, Blizzard added a substantial amount of new subscribers with each of their expansion releases, heavily marketing for “The Burning Crusade” or “Wrath of the Lich King”. I wonder though: how many effective customers have they lost since Cataclysm’s launch – does the strategy really work forever? And how much sub time do they lose every year because players unsubscribe regularly? It would be interesting to compare the potential losses and gains here.

It would be interesting too, to hear a developers point of view concerning the planning, administrative and actual design efforts (and deadline pressure) that go before a full-scale expansion. Have them compare the effectiveness of such an undertaking to a large number of mini-patches allowing them to break down change and innovation, focusing on one chapter at a time. Somehow I feel that from a pure design’s point of view, it would be more controlled and rewarding to go with the second option. Safer in terms of devastating bugs and far-reaching miscalculations, too. I am of course entirely speculative here and as usual happy to be educated otherwise!

I am no design or marketing and investment specialist; I would still claim however, that a content delivery model creating the more lasting effect, the stable fun and entertainment and the more dynamic and immersive flow of content for a player base, bests a system full of highs, lows and break-ups. That is from my humble point of view – from me, the paying customer. Somehow I have the feeling I am not alone.

So, who will step forward and show us how it’s done already? I am waiting!

P.S. I love charts, don’t you? I have actually used them in the one, proper way in this article – serving and exemplifying my personal message and meaning, rather than basing on existing numbers. It’s called journalistic freedom!

Good is good enough. Or: a case for pioneering

Yesterday, Hugh over at the MMO Melting Pot summarized a little wildfire that’s currently spreading since WoW’s latest patch: the whole weekly Valor Point cap deal after 4.2. We can probably most agree that Blizzard’s continued effort to undermine the status of raiding in WoW is deplorable – on a more general note though, it was another old friend of mine piquing my interest in some of the debates: the ever-returning topic of gear. To be more precise, the importance of gear as a factor in beating WoW’s encounters.

Gnomeaggedon just had a similar article up, interestingly enough on PVP, yet with the same underlying issue: the fixation some players have with gearscore, item levels or stats in WoW. In WoW of all MMOs, that most flexible and accessible game of them all. Reading how his otherwise no doubt friendly and decent new guildie made a fool out of himself in BG chat, I cringed a little – people still really do this, huh.. Asking for your gearscore before a 5man run? An achievement before inviting you to a lousy pickup raid? Comparing meters? Ragequitting over purples?

Gosh.

Were we ever that young?

I am no stranger to progress drive or perfectionist mindset. I even sympathize a little with WoW players hopelessly lost in compulsive gear-rush-limbo. I used to be like that myself, a long time ago when 40mans were new and raiding was a more elitist club. Back in pink vanilla, everyone believed gear was where it’s all at. To be fair, we had more reasons to believe so too. People sported their shinies around AH bridge in Ironforge and oh, did those epics tell a story! For one thing because not everyone else and his sixth alt’s cousin had them, for another because it took a long time and 39 more people to get you that set. Enchants were few and precious, there was no jewelcrafting, no inscription, no reforging, no endless list of consumables and buffs. You really wanted a decent arrangement of gear and many encounters were rather unforgiving when it came to certain stats or resistances. So, we chased our purples eagerly from Stratholme to Molten Core, from Blackwing Lair to Naxxramas.

Then along came the Burning Crusade and we slowly began to smell the rat. Gear popped up from every corner, at increasing speed. Hardly a second to enjoy a completed set of Tiers, BOOM the next would follow – better, shinier, more purple than your purple! Then, there were suddenly all these craftable epics, some of them just as good or better than raid rewards. Plus cheap, welfare badge epics that would do the job just as well. As if all that wasn’t enough off the attunements went – in the talent and stat buffs came, in the content nerfs towards the end of the first expansion. More gear thrown at you, more gear than you could hope to wear in a hundred years. It was like purple Christmas at the shopping mall. And with the loot choice curve rising steep, another curve began to fall rapidly: the significance of specific items towards progress.

That’s when I finally had enough, somewhere at T6. I had this disturbing image in my mind, of myself as a donkey chasing a pixel carrot that Blizzard kept replacing faster and faster. I felt foolish and ridiculous. Not just that, I spent loads of time grinding epics just so they were a wee bit better than more accessible alternatives. Ridiculous. On our way to Black Temple, it was popular belief that you needed a complete mix of T5 and T6 to beat Illidan. Short time later, we saw Nihilum’s world first killshot with half their squad posing in Karazhan gear and craftables among the odd BT set item. Pardon? You need what? Ridiculous…

I still collected gear sets later on, make no mistake; I love gear from a cosmetic point of view, always have, and a Deputy GM can’t run around in rags. But I had come a far, far way from the rushing, pushing and obsessing over gear being the determining factor for Adrenaline’s progress. Bosses don’t rise and fall over blue gems or 20 more intellect on a trinket. If you think they do, maybe you’re looking for solutions in the wrong place? Especially with the complexity some boss encounters have gained over time in WoW, there are far bigger, more tide-turning challenges for a team than collecting the best possible gear at the highest possible speed. Gear is not performance and it never wins that duel (they make a good team though).

If it makes you feel more secure about your own performance or if you enjoy the maximizing frenzy, that’s one thing and knock yourself out. However, as long as you’re not in the sort of guild that raids for, y’know money or something and just needs to progress as fast as humanly possible, it does not matter if your gearscore is XX10 or XX50 and it won’t ruin a run if you didn’t upgrade medium Tier epic to super Tier epic. You can still be competitive and you can still progress at decent speed.

The min-maxing, the cookie cutting, the lengthy preparations – they are self-imposed. Let’s say it together: self-imposed. We’ve been through this before: Blizzard never forced their playerbase to min-max so extremely, it’s the players who choose to do it and tolerate all sorts of drudgery in return. The thing is, the list of all things you can always “possibly do better” is endless.

Good is good enough

A long while back, Tessy wrote a follow-up post on a not so unlike debate at the time – healers using healing addons (or not). And she nailed easily what was an embarrassing show-off in other places: if it works for you, it works for you. If you’re good with addons, you’re good. If you’re just as good without them, you’re just as good. It’s the outcome that matters and outcome is a collective term for a multitude of aspects that need to coincide. Especially in a team of 10 to 25 people.

Now for argument’s sake, if you really, really wanted to go there; well, then I’d say you’ve got guts for doing stuff with less – less preread strategy, less buffs, less gear, smaller numbers. Assuming that’s what challenges or entertains you. In terms of outcome though, it’s completely beside the point. A little harder, “cooler”, more “oldschool” (or whatever you wanna call it) doesn’t equal better or smarter – it only means you’re doing it differently. We can allow ourselves a bit of “private vanity” sure, as long as we don’t mistake our way for the one way.

Outcome is what counts. The rest is attempts to socially distinguish yourself or get a kick. I’ll admit freely to some ego myself, but I do know it when I see it (it’s bloated that way). I know my inner demons too, I don’t take them too seriously. The times I went overboard with my private perfectionism in WoW were when I wanted to, not because it was required. I didn’t speed race to exalted in Silithus (:trauma:) for that epic mace and offhand because Benediction wasn’t good enough. I did it because too many people had the yellow staff and I was a vain priest with too much time on her hands.

In my lengthy writeup on healing coordination a while back, I put emphazis on not telling other healers how to play their class. As long as they achieved their assignments consistently, I could not care less how they did it. And I hold to that lesson. My perfect raid team is a team where I do not have to adjust or check a single person’s spell rotation, gear or talent choices. You don’t second-guess what’s working. That goose might stop laying golden eggs.

My challenge, your challenge

Progressing through WotLK 25man, we often outgeared content we beat in my guild. I dreaded these kind of kills, such a lacking glory it was to challenge a boss in epics from head to toe when it was manageable with much less. I’m all for being well-prepared and knowing your strategy; but I actually love encounters that force you down on your knees. When your team needs to click like a well-oiled machine, when it’s all about individual performance, knowing your class in and out, situational awareness, reflexes, perfect coordination and communication. Funny enough, that’s usually also when people have more tolerance for each others mistakes than the pro geared and overconfident bunch.

Ain’t no victory like the victory of the underdog, carrying the trophy home, be it in PVE or PVP. It’s those kills we never ever forget. I’d say too, it’s when your team’s true colors show in all their shades, the way you can otherwise never tell. For similar reasons, some players attempt 2-manning content that is meant to be 5-manned. Or show up with 8 instead of 10 peeps. They want to test how much they can achieve, how far they can go together. Test the limits, raise the stakes – not lower them.

And that’s why the VP rush for Firelands strikes me as bizarre: players are supposed to have all that gear now BEFORE they even put foot in a brand new instance? Says who? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Don’t believe a word they say

I should mention that I don’t exclusively blame WoW’s playerbase for the optimization mania. Blizzard have had their share over the years, implementing features like the armory and designing the game to allow for such an approach. Still, you’re ultimately in control of your choices and I hope you farm 5mans for epics every day because it’s fun, not because you think you need rewards badly that will be outdated come next patch. Time and again Blizzard, the webforums or the blessed people of hearsay have tried to intimidate us by naming benchmarks, required specs or setups, “what you really need” and “what you really cannot do” to beat certain encounters.

You know what: we’ll see about that. In Molten Core, they told us there was NO WAY we could raid without protection specced tanks. We had zero, up to Nefarian. They told us we couldn’t use offspec healers when they were our majority, all our stubborn feral druids healing in resto gear and several shadow priests healing along with their Benedictions up (another proof of how gear mattered a bit more in WoW 1.0.). Next, they told us how we really needed so and so much fire resistance for Ragnaros. Right. Towards the end of vanilla WoW, all the cool kids went straight to AQ40 first, because  “No way you can do Naxx before AQ!” Thank god we were such rebels…we’d never have experienced original Naxxramas 40 otherwise. You can keep your fugly Tier 2.5 to yourself, thank you very much.

Please, do me a favour: go see for yourself. Whatever someone else is telling you, take it with a pinch of salt. Consider too maybe how long the next content patch’s away. Do your best, but don’t let yourself be fooled or intimidated by talk and so-called guidelines. WoW’s not a perfectionist’s game, WoW is designed for a mainstream audience to enjoy. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re actually at the upper end of that mainstream. Good preparation is cool by all means, “good” preparation. The rest you can make up by other means, either setup/design-given or simply because you can or dare. I’ve gone through 21 years of what I’d like to call successful education and academia with a devil-may-care minimalist attitude and a great deal of Calvin. It works for MMOs too. Don’t feel rushed and don’t feel pressured to go along with whatever’s the latest, hysterical trend on the streets.

Do the wild thing: “TRY ANYWAY”.

Try and see. Talk later. You know, adventuring and stuff. You will never know how far you can go without trying. Be foolhardy, be reckless, be a pioneer.

Be full of spite. 

P.S. In reference to my post title, I should probably give credits to Cynwise’s comment in another article on the matter. Happy following up and remember to keep it together!

How to prep your guild for Cataclysm. Or: "Dear DPS"

Ever since Blizzard announced their intentions for healing in Cataclysm I’ve had this uneasy feeling about how the changes might turn out, or rather how to get the message across once the time arrived. Already in December 2009 I posted some quotes by Ghostcrawler in our guild forums, discussing the changes to health and things like mana regen. And I do welcome these changes, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside because things like meaningful spell choices, timing, prioritizing and mana management should matter in an MMO and it reminds me of how it was to heal encounters like Ragnaros or Firemaw back in vanilla WoW. We had good HPS back then but HPM was seriously lousy, so as a consequence you would employ tactics like the classic healer rotation or dancing with the 5-sec rule in longer fights. Do you remember when we were still timing our mana potions and bandage quickly between phases? That’s right. <3 You can hear my nostalgia and that will never change – I do agree with Dwism that WoW raiding as a whole has become better, encounters more diverse and interesting certainly, but there are things about the past that this priest simply misses. Mine is a healer’s background and as such I have always been working inside a closeknit team. Our healing struggles brought us together and forced us to communicate in ways that are almost forgotten today. Maybe that seems a good thing to some but I am a team player through and through and I love working with my team.

I’m under no illusion that Cataclysm will be vanilla all over, I know it won’t be but maybe it can find a middle ground between unnecessary downtimes and imbalances vs. steamrolling and easy loot. Cataclysm is a bit of a homecoming, not just thematically but the way it’s going to simplify stats again, make things like mobs or mana-management harder and epics (supposedly) feel more epic again. We will see.

Changing mindset

To get back to the uneasy feeling, what I’m worried about is how we will revert to this more careful and tactical mindset in WoW, not “we” the healers but “we” the entire player base. All of us have become reckless halfway through WotLK, tanks reckless with pulling, DPS reckless with starting to fire and AoE right away, healers reckless with mana and overhealing. It’s a mindset we will all have to lose if Blizzard’s promises come true and it’s a good thing because it will make encounters more tactical again.

Once I saw the new talents and spells that are now live, I was planning to write a short summary for my guildies with all the healing relevant changes, so people are prepped and also aware of new spells and effects to look out for in our future raids. I don’t expect everybody to be aware of other classes new spells, so when there’s important news to share that is going to benefit you in raids, I do like to communicate that beforehand so people have time to read up and adapt. There is also an entirely more selfish reason behind it: I don’t intend to go through important things like that mid-raid and I’ve been an officer in WoW long enough to value anticipation over reaction, it’s saved me and my fellow officers a lot of nerves in the past. In fact I will always try and open a topic or write a summary or guide so I can point people to it if need be or get grumpy because “it’s all been written on the forums for weeks damnit!”. I’m all for being prepared and transparent – especially if it saves me from getting moaned at because death is suddenly a feature of the game again. If you expect people to take note of something, write it down and get a large trout ready for later.

That said, I have been putting this off for a while, mostly because I didn’t know quite how to approach it yet and I have to say thanks to Tam for his recent topic which reminded me that there was something important I needed to do before Cataclysm!
Have you informed your DPS already that there would be no more heals for them in the expansion? Pardon, I mean, informed your guild about the healing-related changes? If not, I recommend you mention it at some point for your own sake as much as everyone else’s. Also, those guild forums aren’t there to look pretty!

The reason why I single out the DPS too is simply because they are the biggest group in WoW and often outside of the healer-tank equation in the sense that while healers and tanks are always made aware of changes in their departments quite instantly, for obvious reasons of closer teamwork and imminent consequence, DPS are often late to notice. And that is the nicest possible way for me to say this, so don’t push it.

“Dear DPS”

Since I have gone through the trouble of putting a post together that (hopefully) sums up the essential healing changes in a simplified way for non-healers, see a copy of my post below and feel free to use, alter or copy it for your own purposes in case you’re not up for writing one of your own. If you do copy, you might wanna change the guild name though (/ahem)!

And yeah, there are always those that already know most of this (or think they do), I’m actually surrounded by dedicated raiders and crazy alt-players myself in Adrenaline, but it still doesn’t hurt – and then there’s also the large trout thing.

Those shiny new AoE heals to look out for in Cataclysm!

I was planning to write a short (ha-ha) overview about healing changes sooner or later before the expansion and since I got some time tonight, now is as good a time as ever! 
There’s obviously some changes in game mechanics and playstyle incoming for everybody in Cata which is going to concern all of us in our future raids. I haven’t played the beta but I’ve followed things and talked to those that have, and if you believe blizzard’s announcements some things will change bigtime, at least in the beginning of the expansion. some of these things concern me as a healer more than they concern you but ultimately we are all co-dependent and it’s important that everyone is informed about major changes in the healing or tanking or dps department so he/she can adapt to it. Adrenaline IS a progressive raidguild and even if we aren’t of the leet persuasion we care about things like raiding quality and optimization.

To cut to the chase, there’s a few changes I’d like to make people aware of from a healing POV: several healing classes have been given new and more area-related heals (meaning they stick to the ground) in the last patch and we can therefore expect these to become relevant in our future raids. for them to be used to their full potential however, all of you need to understand what these spells are and what exactly they can do for you

I know some of you already know this, in which case it won’t hurt to refresh your memory! <3 Before going on, I’m going to sum up briefly what has been announced on Cata and is healing-relevant: – mana will be a lot bigger issue for everybody. many healing spells have been or will be scaled/nerfed accordingly for lvl 85
– HP will increase more dramatically than HPM/HPS
– all healers now have in-built dps mechanics that either improve healing and/or mana-regen
– cleansing and decursing have been nerfed

What does this mean for you? basically that healers can’t and won’t spam heals the way they have so far. there is less “universal” healing spells around which means we are forced to make choices again between most efficient heal vs. fast heal vs. big heal and believe me when I say we haven’t really had to do this in a long, long time!
There will be less tolerance for ‘unnecessary’ damage taken and there will be less leeway to cover up or compensate. one thing that won’t change in Cata is that it’s the MTs > you and there will be situations where it’s good to go back to whatever means of self-preservation you got. we have all fallen into a bit of an OP or lazy mindset towards the end of WotLK and that will have to change again and revert to a more tactical and sensible playstyle.
The good news is that our HP is increasing massively, which should give everyone some breathing space – at the same time this means HP bars won’t always be topped up right away like people are used to, so don’t panic!
along with that note that you will see healers more often adding dps now as part of their healing “rotation”. and since blizzard wants debuffs to become a bigger deal again, cleansing won’t be as swiftly or efficiently anymore in some cases either. priests for example have had their improved cleansing removed entirely.

now for the cool stuff –

New healy stuff – look out for it, use it, love it!
(*including spell changes up to Cataclysm beta-build 13277)

1) Shiny yellow dome: PW:Barrier coming to you by a Disc Priest.
Will shield from 30% damage and spell interrupts for 10secs.

2) Yellow circle of northern lights: HW:Sanctuary coming to you by a Holy Priest.
Will heal up to 6 players for 18secs.

3) Green circle with floaty leaves: Efflorescence coming to you by a Resto Druid.
Will heal up to 6 players for 7secs.

4) [lvl 83] White patch with rain drops: Healing Rain coming to you by a Resto Shaman.
Will heal up to 6 players for 10 secs.

1)-4) stack and are either costly and/or on a longer CD so making use of them is important. You won’t always be required or asked to run for these of course, ideally they will be placed in the best spot for/on yourself, or wherever they make most sense. Still if you’re outside and close to one while taking damage, you know what you gotta do! Yes, you can stand in the yellow/green crap now, wohoo! (these show better or worse depending on your video setup afaik, so you might want to check that out!)

5) Golden floaty bowl: Lightwell / Lolwell coming to you by a Holy Priest.
You can expect to see lightwell more in Cata than we have so far. I’d like to point out that this is now one of our most efficient heals and I encourage everyone to use this if you can and need to. it has been fixed so you won’t have to target the well anymore in order to heal yourself. it’s easy to oversee in the heat of battle but you can get used to clicking it more.

6) Light of Dawn: not really something you can seek out, but still nice to know that Holy Paladins have a shiny cone heal of their own now. They are also getting Holy Radiance at lvl 83 which is another AoE healing spell emanating from the Paladin to players around him.

That’s it! I hope people will be more familiar with these new spells and effects until Cataclysm, there’s some shiny new stuff going on really and while nobody can tell how much these will be used, I think it’s safe to say they will have their regular place! :)
It probably makes sense too to make similar topics about changes in the dps or tank department for everybody if you feel there’s things that are good to share and inform the rest about. Cheers!

And now you know what sort of WoTs poor Larísa is regularly subject to in her guild forums!

Bugs bugs bugs!!!

They’re everywhere, have you noticed? Every time I log into WoW since last Wednesday’s patch, I seem to discover something else that is currently broken in the game. I don’t remember when a patch broke so many things in the game before lol – 4.0.1. buggiest patch ever? What’s going on?

Today several of my guild mates got their characters stuck in limbo while trying to enter instances. Half the time I find myself “not in a guild’ after logging on. I am also wearing a tabard, when really I am not. And I cannot seem to inspect people anymore. There’s something odd going on with guildchat and the guildranks too and the inbuilt item comparison simply ignores stats on some of the gear.

Then yesterday, I realized that I do not exist in the BGs I’m currently playing in. When trying to find myself on the BG charter to check honor gained or healing done, I do not exist! There is also some weird, small nametag flashing up on my screen during PVP now, overlapping my hotkeys or then moving on top of my minimap….ermm? Apparently I am also the only one with this issue, quite unnerving!

At least I was able to buy the Wrathful weapon now, after realizing that those angry red tooltips on all the last season PVP gear are simply bugged (yes you can buy everything now, no rank required anymore!).
Oh and don’t even try to compare your converted points for honor or justice points with other guildmates, because it won’t make any sense!

In case you hate  the new Blizzard raidframes as much as I do and want to get rid of the minimized tab they leave on the top left of your screen even if disabled, you might wanna macro this command:

/run CompactRaidFrameManager:UnregisterAllEvents() CompactRaidFrameManager:Hide() CompactRaidFrameContainer:UnregisterAllEvents() CompactRaidFrameContainer:Hide()

Simply enter this once when inside a raid and the tab will disappear completely. There’s no other way currently to do this, as far as I know.

….so much for bugs and post-patch annoyances. That said, I am not actually too annoyed, I find it more amusing than anything to discover more and more bugs as I am playing! =D

I am a little surprised there was no big hotfix yet this morning though – or maybe that’s bugged too?

Patch me if you can!

So the big patch of 4.0.1 is finally upon us and you’ve all spent the past 2 days re-speccing and re-glyphing your chars like mad, frowning over those odd stats and mastery on your brand new character pane and trying to figure out reforging. Maybe you’ve also spent half of Wednesday swearing in front of the computer like me, because that damned patch took a lot more space than indicated, so you ended up re-downloading it all and a second time after that, due to some critical errors. Or maybe you’ve been luckier and the patch just slowed down at the strangest time or then the updater did. Patching….it ain’t easy business!

Syl vs. 4.0.1

This patch is really a 50-50 deal for me so far, meaning to say I have probably never been more undecided about whether I should hate or love the changes before me. I’m generally a bit of a ranter type when it comes to WoW patches, not because I dislike all change but let’s face it, they often really mess things up! I also naturally focus on negative things a lot more, I see the good for the good but then it’s back to the negative for me, because that’s where things still need to improve and we got work to do!

Anyways, I’ll be forcefully un-Syl today and start with the good things: I love what they did to glyphs. I can see how the new glyph system will cause scribe whining, but on a general note it’s a great change because we’ll finally have all our glyphs on us, so a lot more accessible than before. I never bothered to switch glyphs much in the past, bagspace being one of the reasons, but now I can see myself using glyphs depending on encounter a lot more.
I also love the adjustment to mount speed, finally I get to use some of those older mounts again. And the new talent and guild windows are great (yay for the professions tab!), the UI changes seem to be a big improvement altogether.

And here comes the big but (no, not the bear one): I’ve not been looking forward much to the holy priest changes and I can’t say they blow me away. For one, re-speccing seemed already very dull. Then there’s Chakra which is Blizzard’s way of saying that holy priests are the versatile healers of the game, I know – I just don’t feel the whole triple deal in combination with HW:Chastise is such a wonderful, intuitive mechanic. But I’ll get used to that. Oh and note that Chakra is now down to 30secs!

Aside of Chakra, nothing is new for holy really. We can’t spec into shiny wings proc yet like the Discpriests, because we lack the points. That aside, I absolutlely HATE what they did to Surge of Light, taking it off general crits, making it exclusive for crappy Heal (crappy for the moment anyway) and Smite instead….I loved to get my SoL procs from almost every CoH, that was so much extra mobility!
And I really do miss Spiritual healing and Prayer of Spirit, it’s been quite noticeable statwise too…mehhh Blizzard, why did you have to take away all the spirit from this priest?

Priest Tier 11

As for our recently published T11, I’m again on the fifty fifty side:
I love gear and tier sets and once more I find myself thinking “thank you, thank you, whoever designs our sets!” because it’s BLUE! YAY! I was scared to end up with a red and brown, fiery cataclysmic looking set which is great for some classes surely, not so much for a holy healer though. Let’s see what the other colors will be, but this is a great start! It looks very royal with the blue and gold and considering the onion-shaped headpiece and overall theme, it reminds me a lot of some oriental, middle-eastern garment.

Here comes the first but – the shoulders look like those old Mage T2 water dispensers or then the Harvest Festival shoulder-piece. Either way, they don’t seem to fit the rest of the set at all! What’s up with making priests look like football players?

The even bigger but: the female tier model is the only one that comes belly-free….did the tailor run out of cloth or something? Oh, get real already! And not just about the usual stupid male designer touch, but seriously: is this what you think of priests Blizzard? The sissies in the raid that go belly-free because really, they aren’t doing that much so why not flaunt their bellies in combat while everyone else is geared up in their battle armor? Let’s tan our tank a little while some blazing AoE of doom is raining down on everybody?? Wut???

I hope they get a ton of angry emails until Cataclysm! And yes, I will wear a matching shirt!