Second Magister’s Terrace run

Ran it for the sec­ond time with my guild, again on my heal­ing priest. This time I bet­ter appre­ci­at­ed its virtues, I think. It’s a fun, inter­est­ing, and relax­ing instance, per­fect in length. It runs like a great­est-hits ver­sion of Burn­ing Cru­sade boss-fight design.

Of course, both times I’ve healed it have been with a very tal­ent­ed pro­tec­tion pal­adin doing the tank­ing. Pro­tec­tion pal­ly tank­ing every­thing is easy-mode for every­thing but boss fights. I haven’t had to heal the group with a pro­tec­tion war­rior yet, which I’m guess­ing would be (cough) a bit hard­er due to the aoe encoun­ters. The sad state of war­rior tank­ing is well known. We had a mage, rogue, and hunter, which gave us ample crowd con­trol. The hunter was one of those love­ly peo­ple who like to put an ice trap in front of me instead of him. Just a nice run from start to fin­ish, and the rea­son I like the game. Group up with guildies, laugh through an enjoy­able instance togeth­er, where effec­tive team­work mat­ters.

I for­got that some­one gets a zomgepic just for com­plet­ing nor­mal mode. Last night that some­one was me, when I lucked into [Khar­maa’s Ring of Fate] off Kael’thas Sun­strid­er. The sock­et (on a ring, whee!) goes per­fect­ly with the quest reward gem ([Teardrop Crim­son Spinel]). I’m not sold on priest heal­ing with spell haste yet because priest heal­ing is a mix of instan­t/non-instant spells, but I’ll exper­i­ment to see if it’s bet­ter than my [Band of Halos]. Not that you can actu­al­ly tell most of the time. More on that lat­er.

An inter­est­ing heal­ing note is that in both wins on the Kael’thas, two dps’ers died. It actu­al­ly got much eas­i­er after that, when you have only three peo­ple to keep alive instead of five. Most of the time when some­one dies, that means that the full dam­age of that part of the encounter then turns to some­one else. This event has con­stant glob­al dam­age, so the group takes 100% dam­age with five peo­ple, 80% dam­age with four, and an easy-to-heal-through 60% with three. I’ll shoot for four team­mates alive at the end of the next run.

This is a very fun instance. I’m look­ing for­ward to try­ing this on hero­ic.

SPHOs

So let’s say you have a guild. Some of the peo­ple are good friends, you’ve known them for a long time. You know what they do in their lives, you know a lit­tle of their fam­i­ly life. You know about their pets! They raid with you, quest with you, are­na with you.

Then there are oth­er peo­ple who have been in the guild for a long time, but nev­er make the list of peo­ple you think of when you want to explore new stuff. They don’t par­tic­u­lar­ly care about knock­ing over chal­lenges, but are glad to come along to raid or pvp as long as their real-life con­nec­tion is going to be there. These peo­ple are the oth­er half of a “pack­age deal”. They have played enough to get to the max lev­el, and they do like the sight of zomg epics. Who does­n’t? So they vol­un­teer to come with you, whether it’s for your new are­na team, or your raid. Some of these peo­ple evolve into actu­al gamers, peo­ple who get good at their role in a group, who under­stand the game and what they can do in it, and who social­ize with the oth­ers. The oth­ers become SPHOs: sub-per­form­ing hang­ers-on. (Pro­nounced how it looks, rhymes with show.)
Con­tin­ue read­ing SPHOs

One week with patch 2.4

I’ll start by say­ing that Mag­is­ter’s Ter­race (MrT) is won­der­ful from start to fin­ish. It’s beau­ti­ful to look at, the music is great, the boss­es are fun, and the gear poten­tial makes me want to bring all my char­ac­ters there. If it were none of those, it’d still be a new place to go with my guild­mates. But it’s great, so kudos to Bliz­zard.

(Also, the in-game cin­e­mat­ic should be some­thing that they do ALL THE TIME. Not just in instances, but quests. ALL THE TIME. When you cre­ate a soul­well, or a rit­u­al of refresh­ment. You should get an in-game cin­e­mat­ic when you click your hearth­stone. Just get that world of war­craft nar­ra­tor talk­ing, and you feel epic.)

The game mechan­ic cor­rec­tions and tweaks are all wel­come, as always. New craft­ing rewards are wel­come, new fac­tion, new zone. New com­bat log, new por­tals com­ing. New zomg epics. I was glad to see the excite­ment of my guild­mates as they pur­chased Nether Vor­tex­es (Vor­tices?) and upgrad­ed their craft­ed gear.

All good fun.

Maybe I’ve been fol­low­ing the game’s devel­op­ment too much, but I’m still under­whelmed. Not by what’s been giv­en, but by the long bar­ren months between here and the next expan­sion, which is pre­sum­ably six or more months away. The new 25-man raid instance is going to keep the high-end guilds hap­py for a while, but it means absolute­ly noth­ing to me and my wife, as well as our guild. I’m guess­ing that it took Bliz­zard a while to make.

The dailies? Well, they’re most­ly kill X quests. Yes, the quests even­tu­al­ly open up new parts of town, and it’s fun to progress as a serv­er and feel actu­al com­mu­ni­ty with all these peo­ple I’ve been bump­ing shoul­ders with for a cou­ple of years. But the Ogri­la quests them­selves were more fun: you have a rop­ing quest, a bomb­ing quest, a por­tal quest. Here, you have a bunch of kill quests and one bomb­ing quest. I’m just say­ing, we could have some sto­ry quests mixed in with the unlock­ing of phas­es.

Oh, a note on the Sun­well bomb­ing run: get a part­ner. Oth­er­wise I don’t see how you could do it in one pass (it’s tak­en me three tries every time when I’ve tried it solo). With my wife, we did it in one pass.

I’m real­ly look­ing for­ward to Wrath of the Lich King. It’s a long way away. In the mean­time, I’ll be doing the dailies and enjoy­ing Mag­is­ter’s Ter­race.

There are Many Ways to Win

The game indi­ca­tor of win­ning in WoW is receiv­ing an epic item. In vanil­la WoW, the vast major­i­ty of epic items came from 40-man raid­ing. I’ll grant that there was an epic hunter quest, a few lim­it­ed craft­ing bits, some world drops, and a top-lev­el pvp set that only a hand­ful of peo­ple could get. But over­all, if you want­ed a reli­able way to get epic gear (and win), you hooked up with a raid guild and start­ed raid­ing… whether you liked raid­ing or not.

Con­tin­ue read­ing There are Many Ways to Win