Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A little bit of MoPing

It feels like MoP has been around the corner forever now. Everyone is just slouching around, waiting for it to come as a knight in shining armor and swipe us off our feet for another year of raiding/pvping/leveling alts or whatever floats your boat. Seriously, I think I have been eagerly anticipating MoP since the release of Dragon Soul, eventhough I am not entirely sure I even knew the name of the new expansion then. In the meantime, I am sure there are more than just me who have taken a little break from WoW (voluntarily or no) to explore other games for a little while. D3 has been a pretty obvious choice, in my case it often also ends up being Pokémon for some reason I am not sure about. I don't throw myself at every morsel of information about MoP however, maybe I have grown out of the childish anticipation and everything that comes with it, who knows. It's ok if I don't know everything about MoP before hand, if I just log on and noob around about it for the first couple of weeks. I've come to terms with that my continues WoW-playing most likely will be kept on a pretty casual level. But I hear things every now and then that will make me raise an eyebrow and that I think warrants a comment.

People want to have attunements again

Attunements is one of those things that perfectly seem to examplify something that you really don't like when you have to do it, and sort of miss when you don't have to do it. Here is what I think about attunements - there are good things and bad things about it. Before you call me captain obvious, let me explain. I recall the attunements back in Vanilla, for BWL and MC and whatnot, to be somewhat over the top. I bet everyone who had an awesome raiding guild back then remember them as being great, the rest of us, not so much. Many of them required friends with lots of patience to complete, and this is also something that Blizzard have mentioned as an issue about attunements. If you happen to be one of those people who enters the party after everyone else, it can be hell to rally the people necessary to the attunement done. Usually there are always a handful in each guild who sacrifice some time for those poor bastards, but not always. But that problem seems to be fairly simply solved, just don't make attunements a group thing. If I remember correctly, the attunement for Karazhan didn't require a group of people to complete, at least not the majority of the chain. As with most other things concerning karazhan, I recall that particular attunement as being a pretty good example of how to make a good attunement. According to me, attunements suffered another issue, far worse than just the difficulty level. The fact that you had to redo it for every single alt.

That was ok for some attunements. Again, the attunement for Karazhan was similar enough to any kind of quest chain so that I wasn't much bothered having to redo it for every alt. Also, they eventually changed it so that only one person of the raid needed the key for the rest of the raid to be able to enter. Far more annoying was the attunement for Caverns of Time. It wasn't even just for the raid, right? It was to be able to do any of the CoT instances as well, and it was, pardon my french, extremely f*cking boring. It wasn't as long as the Karazhan attunement, but I'd gladly pick that any day of the week over that ranting little kid whom you had to follow, not to mention I got ganked more times than not doing it, having to start all over again. That instead, was a good example of how to not make an attunement, eventhough you could do it just fine on your own and it wasn't even that long.

I really wouldn't mind if they implemented attunements again, in a way I felt like it made the raids feel more like raids. There was this little hurdle to overcome before you became a proper raider and could join the other guys. Nowadays, with LFR and everything, raids feel so much like big instances I constantly struggle between really enjoying the accessibility and missing the feel of raiding as being something separate and you know... elite from the rest of the instancers. Making something a struggle to reach is both a good and a bad thing, and when you find the right balance it adds an awesome feeling to your feats. In the end, that struggle is really what WoW is all about and I can't help but feel like Blizzard are just lazy when they say they removed attunements to make it easier for the casual player to join in on the raiding. I think there is a way to make attunements a part of raiding again, without going over the top with it like back in Vanilla.

WoW turns into Diablo (but only a little)

Whatever game I play, if it is even remotely similar to WoW, I will end up comparing it with WoW somehow. D3 was obviously no exception. One thing I quite enjoyed about d3 was the personal loot system, but I couldn't quite figure out how to implement something like that into WoW without flooding the market with gear, kind of like in d3. In d3 they've counteracted that issue by putting a 10-item limit on the AH, also trading just isn't as big a thing in d3 as it is in WoW. Apparently Blizzard enjoyed the system themselves, because they intend to implement it to LFR in the future. From what I understood of how it is going to work, it looks awesome. No more having to go into furious nerd rage over people who need on things they can't even use in raids, when you've killed that boss 50 times and lost that roll 30 times already. Systems where you needed on items just so you had some leverage later on in case you wanted something else developed among players, which only goes to show that the need/greed system just didn't work very well. It didn't work well in 5 mans and it definitely didn't work well in 25 mans. By having everyone get their own loot table, completely cut off from everyone else and their rolls, a lot of frustration has been removed from LFR. In a way LFR is soon going to be different enough from regular raiding so that it actually should be considered big-instancing rather than raiding.

And a word about priests

Can't do a WoW post without writing something about priests, can I? Well I have done plenty of those actually, but anyway. I won't write anything long winded though, apparently they're going to remove DH from the disc and shadow priest spec, and personally I don't have any issues with that. The way DH had an 8 minute cooldown as disc/shadow, it seemed like a skill Blizzard didn't want us to use, but didn't dare to properly remove either. Most of the time when doing progress raiding, I only had it available every other try, which in all honesty is stupid. As disc it was often overrated by everyone except me, having raid leaders telling me to use it in situatuions it just couldn't handle. Many times I often just preferred spamming other skills rather than throwing out DH, and I constantly had to explain the limits of DH to people around me. Don't get me wrong, it was still a strong cooldown, mostly for the healing buff, but it was clear Blizzard were not comfortable with disc/shadow having it. When you have a skill like this lying around in your arsenal, there is a potential danger that it prevents developers from giving you other tools, or refining the tools you have because they don't know how to balance it. Because of that I am glad they just removed it, rather than just dilly dally around it.

We've also gotten to see the new tier bonuses, as they look now anyway;

Priest T14 Healer 2P Bonus - Reduces the mana cost of your Flash Heal spell by 10%
Typical, and original, set bonus. No surprises, I could wish for something more interesting, and for my own healing style this set bonus isn't worth much either. Although I started using Flash Heal a lot more during the end of my raiding than I did at the beginning of Cata, it is still nowhere near the levels of usage I had back in Wrath, where FH was the basic heal. I don't interpret this as Blizzard wanting us to bring back FH more into our healing rotation, my impression is that Blizzard are quite comfortable with FH role at the moment, which means to me this set bonus won't be very valuable.

Priest T14 Healer 4P Bonus - Reduces the cooldown of your Penance spell by 4 sec and reduces the cooldown of your Circle of Healing spell by 4 sec.
Seems fairly well balanced between the two specs, at the same time giving a bonus to each specs strength (point healing disc and aoe healing holy). 4 seconds is a lot, and I wonder if it will stack with the glyph or if they will be removed so that this set bonus basically replaces them? I am not read up enough on MoP to know for sure, but as far as I can tell this set bonus looks boring but solid.

And the waiting continues...