Archive for December, 2010

Cataclysm dungeons 2.0

If you are one to follows the forums, the blogs and the various news on WoW, wich is likely if you are reading this, you know that the new dungeon experience has left quite an impression on the player base. With these changes come changes in group dynamics too, or for the old timers, a return to the times of yore when CC was king, when you waited for two sunders and where a dps pulling aggro wouldn’t even be looked at by the healer and left to die, mana was too precious to spend on people who played like retards.

And now the forums, the blogs and the web is aflame with players pissed at the changes, pissed that they have to actually pay attention now to what is going around them and not play like retards. Blizzard made numerous statements to the effect that free loot was over, that epics would not be raining down from the skies and that Heroic would mean heroic. But still, the flames and the cries keep coming. It started with the Dps complaining about the healers would could not keep them alive despite their stupidity, then the healers complained that they didn’t have enough mana to spam heals non stop. Then both healers and Dps figured that the real issue was that tanks had been nerfed too much and the tanks joined in. For a sensible look on this from the healer point of view I strongly recommend you check out Reversion post over at Looking4more.

Let me tell you about two of my runs in Grim Batol. Grim Batol is the last five man dungeon you will  do before stepping in the heroics and as such, it can become a lot harder than the other five mans if you don’t pay attention. The trash hit like trucks and CC is required, not optional. During the first run, CC was minimal, people kept breaking it, the dps was hitting different targets everytime and the kill order was never followed. It was long, it was painful and it was a mess.Second run,  the kill order was followed, the CC was applied and respected and the run went like a charm, even felt easy…

What does this tell us? That just like Blizzard promised, we now need to pay attention to what is  going on. That we have to wait for that patrol to pass, to wait for everyone to be ready between pulls, to use CC and most importantly, to use our heads. But best of all is that this mode of playing
does not make the game worst, it makes it immensely better.

For the first time in ages we have to communicate with one another in groups. In the past few days, I’ve seen people be friendly to strangers, congratulate on good pulls and awesome recovers. Pass on loot to help out someone from another server. I had two bad “gogogo” players and both were kicked from the runs. Often by other dps scared to death that the healer or the tank would leave the group.

My wish now is that Blizzard will not cave in to the rushers and the bad players. I want civility back into my game and I think we might be holding the winning ticket. And it looks like Blizzard knows it too. (linking to MMO-champion as we can’t link directly to the WoW posts anymore). Read between the lines and you’ll hear “Learn 2 play”.

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Of guilds and levels

If I was to compare Catclysm with the previous expansions to WoW I can honestly say this is the one I like the most so far. Close to everything in it seems to me very well tought out and in general are  huge improvements for the game. Sure there’s little hick ups like every other time (Hang in there  hunters!) but overall, an awesome job. There is one thing however that I’m really worried about.

The new guild system

What! How can you be against that I hear you say. How can I be against awesome guild perks, guild  achievements, mass resurrection, guild mounts? How can I be against something that by Blizzard own admission, aims at bringing back the Multiplayer in MMO, something that I’ve been wanting for a while now.

For the record I want to say I love the guild perks idea, to give guilds doing stuff together a few  perks to make life easier. Cauldrons, mass resurrection are all awesome ideas that I don’t want to see go away.

What worries me so much is the leveling system and the new barrier it represents.

A view of the future

Let’s bring out the crystal ball and jump ahead a year into the future, where most serious raiding  guilds will have made level 25 and where long-lived and active social guilds will be well on their way to 25 too. Let’s pretend that you want to make a new 10 man raiding guild along with a few people and you need to recruit to fill up the ranks, what do you think will happen?

Think about it for a moment. Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for a guild to join.

If I was a prospective recruit looking for a guild wich guild would I choose? The new, unproven guild who has to pug to complete raids and has nothing to offer me or the well established guild who will boost my xp and rep gains, will make me mine more minerals, will shorten my hearthstone, bring cauldrons to raids and has mass rez to offer… Between the two unknown guilds… why the hell would I want to join the new one? Same goes if I want to find a nice, social guild. It would be nice to get the extra xp, rep while leveling yet another alt versus getting nothing.

The new guild system looks new and exciting right now but in a year from now, it will be an incredible obstacle to anyone wanting to start-up a new guild. I fear it will kill the smaller guilds.

I might be wrong, maybe that’s not how it will play out and I’m just being paranoid. But just last weekend, when I was recruiting in the Recruitment channel, the first question I was asked was what level my guild was…

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It came from the air!

Where to begin with Cataclysm… so much to say and so much to do. I’ve hit level 85 yesterday, taking me just 6 days to go from 80 to 85. I did play heavily during the past week but still, I don’t think it would take that long.

On the plus side I really love the new zones and I really like what they did with the dungeons. They require a bit more tought and some planning (Stonecore last boss… you’ll see), are a bit longer and for all that I find them a lot more fun. Sure it will speed up as we gear up and get to know the new dungeons but  unlike WotLK, I’m not speeding through dungeons from day 1. As an aside, Stonecore is the hardest one so far and Vortex Pinnacle the easiest but also the prettiest.  Only done the first four  dungeons tough so this is subject to change.But the highlight of the weekend came sunday morning while questing on in Uldum.

There I was, fighting off some evil Nefersets in the desert when all of a sudden the skies turned red just as I killed another mob for the quest.

Cool! I tought, another event! Can’t wait to see what those evil Nefersets will throw at me next.

Ohhhh… Huge walls of fire! This is getting intense, I’m so going to beat the snot out of that boss, make him pay for trying to set me on fire.

WTF?!? I’m dead, where the hell did that fire come from? And why did I just get an achievement!?!?! WHAT IS GOING ON!

/look at achieve. Stood in the fire (10): Get ganked by the biggest dragon ever without even seeing it coming. O.o

/brains compute information… computing….

OMG!!! I just got killed by Deathwing! /Dance

/Rub it in Kaozz face later on

/Watch Deathwing laugh at me as he flies aways.

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Dead monkey enjoy Cataclysm

Hello it’s me again!

All hell as broken loose and I have to work a lot these past few days wich explains why I’m not posting much, what little time I have is not dedicated to blogging much. I think things will calm down but for now I have to batten down the hatches and hang tough.

Wich is why I’m enjoying so much Cataclysm and the relief it brings. I can escape and relax and forget for a while all that is happening and just explore all the new content.  I’ve tanked Thrones of Tides wich was a scary enough experience. Party leader told me it was spank and tank but as soon as I pulled he cast an earthquake followed by a cone of fire and something else that left me scrambling for all my cool downs! We did manage to finish so it was a blast.

I’ve been mostly questing in Vash’jr and it’s been a enjoyable experience despite me not being a fan of nagas and underwater themes. There’s been a few bugs with phasing (Looking at you Defend the Rifts and Ascend no more!), but it’s been working out alright for the better part. Already level 82 wich surprises me a bit, tough it would take longer to reach 85.

On that I’m off to Deepholm! Have a wonderful evening!

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So we’re down to a single day before Cataclysm, we’re all pretty excited I think but that’s not what I want to talk to you about since I figure there will be numerous posts about the topic in the following days. What I want to talk about is a good surprise I’ve had with Donkey Kong country Returns (Dkcr, to make it short).

I picked this game about two weeks ago out of pure nostalgia for the old titles on the Super Nintendo. I was expecting some platforming with a few gimmicks for the newer generation along with an easy difficulty not  to discourage anyone. In short, a few hours of nostalgic platforming.

The Kong plays for keeps

So I did find platforming and a few gimmicks and in many ways the game is a return to the old Super Nintendo style. It’s exactly as if they would have taken a game of that era and upgraded the graphics. What I did not expect to find was a platformer that starts out easy enough and ramps up to become one of the hardest platformer I have ever played. Or rather I should say it’s as hard as the games of old on the Nes and Snes. Single checkpoint during a level? Check. Have to cross an entire section without making a single mistake? Check. Cross chasms while jumping on the back of enemies while a giant swarm of ravenous insects follow you? Check also!

Then there’s the Kong temple secret levels where they ramp up the whole thing to a ridiculous level. Imagine a whole level where there’s no checkpoint, where the ground disappears as soon as you touch it, where a single mistake will send you plummeting to your death. You have to be perfect from start to finish.

I was playing this and I was thinking of all the parents who bought this game to their kids thinking Nintendo and Donkey Kong were safe bets of mindless fun but what their kid will get will be an exercise in patience and perseverance. Not that that wouldn’t be a bad thing in itself tough.

Personally, I love the difficulty but I can see how it may be a game breaker for some. There is an option given to you when you die enough to become super strong and blow through the level if you’re really stuck and don’t feel bad about cheating.

Music, graphics and the rest

Dkcr is a very pretty game in pretty much the same way other Nintendo games are. It’s cheerful and colorful, there’s the classic Donkey Kong music almost everywhere and if you wanted to be picky about the game you could blame it from not being original enough. Then again, some of the levels have some of the most impressive designs I have seen for a platformer so…

I’m going to make this short by repeating that this is a Nintendo brand game with all the bells and whistles associated with it. If you like the style you will like this game and if you hate it then you will probably hate this game too.

The list!

The monkey liked:
-It’s a real platformer game! Something that is becoming increasingly rare
-Music and graphics.
-The cheerful atmosphere

The monkey disliked
-The Wii gimmicks. While there’s very few of them, I still don’t like having to shake the controller to make a roll.

The monkey thinks it’s up to you to decide
-The difficulty. It can get pretty hard. Myself I like it but it’s up to everyone to decide what they’re comfortable with.

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