Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas from Emblem of Conquest!

Well, there hasn't been a post for a while, and for that I apologise, but the nature of the season has drawn me away from blogging temporarily.

But I'm back now, and as my Christmas present to you all, I'll be delivering (within the next few days), the Raid Guide Brigade entries to the first four bosses of Icecrown!

Until then, from me and the entire team at Emblem of Conquest, Merry Christmas!

~P

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dungeon Finder is too random, fix please

I don't know if it's just me or if everyone has as bad luck as I do, but the "Random Dungeon System" is actually completely random. So far, we've had 11 days since the patch, I've had Oculus once, HoL once, ToC once, Nexus once, UK once, UP once, AN once, OK once, DTK once, and Gundrak once. What really set me off was today, I didn't want to do HoS for the first time, dropped out came back later and got Forge of Souls! Can we PLEASE do something to make the system a little less random!

Just for thought, I do my one dungeon a day because you (Blizzard) feels end game raiders need to run dungeons and we do it since we don't have much of a choice to max our characters out. Assuming there are all 16 dungeons available for me to queue, the probability that I would get these dungeons in the order I have is 1 in 780,903,145.

During the time it took me to write this post, I queued up again, got Violet Hold, which makes it 1 in 6 billion (6,247,225,158) odds to get the dungeons in this order! It's obviously too random!

The large majority of players have no interest in doing several different dungeons, we would just like to do Oculus over and over again every day because that's such a fun and quick instance.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Introducing Project Bad Player

So I just noticed all of my holy PvP gear sitting in the bank from when I actually gave half a shit about PvP, and I decided rather than have it waste away, I'd put it to some use.

I'm going to re-gem those with awful gems and flesh the rest of my gear out with random greens of spirit, queuee up for heroics, and win.

I'm looking forward to seeing some of the reactions I get from players. Especially when I link DPS and still out DPS everyone by miles.

~P~

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Icecrown Raiding Update

I am happy to announce that, with the help of 2 rogues who came and cleared the trash up to Lord Marrowgar with us for 1000g each, we have been able to face Lord Marrowgar. We have, however, been wiping to him for quite some time. We are struggling to deal with the frankly ridiculous damage output that he does to our tank and this is what is wiping us (tank keeps dying).

This is on 10 man, of course.

~P~

Monday, December 14, 2009

Icecrown's ridiculous class requirements

Good job Blizzard, making a joke of an instance that we can't do because we don't have a rogue.

For hours now we have been wiping to the trash before Lord Marrowgar, which we have as of yet been unsuccessful in attempting because we don't have a rogue.

So we'll be clearing one of the trash packs when somebody steps on an unseen trap which issues forth the Deathbound Ward, which cleaves, silences and spells instant doom for the raid. We'll run back and rebuff, only to have another Deathbound Ward spawn and wipe us again. This goes on for many hours.

It's completely preposterous that we have to be cruelly denied progression in Icecrown because we don't have a rogue available to us. Whatever happened to bring the player, not the class? I just want to see the content, but I can't because I don't have a rogue in my guild.

It's time that you either removed the traps and associated Deathbound Ward spawns entirely or gave the ability to disarm traps to another class/spec (like BM hunters).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

DXE: Because BigWigs is a piece of shit, and so is your face.

This is an angry post that was sparked by some general idiocy and ignorance in the community (mainly from Drumstick).

If you're at all concerned about raiding, then you're probably going to be using a boss mod of some sorts. I'd wager that most of you reading this will be using Deadly Boss Mods or BigWigs. If this is you, stop reading now and go do this:

1. Open your World of Warcraft folder.
2. Click through to Interface\Addons.
3. Find your DBM/BigWigs folders.
4. Delete them. All of them.
5. Install Deus Vox Encounters.

I've just done you a huge favour. DXE is by far superior to the pieces of crap that are DBM and BW. Let me rattle you off a few reasons as to why.

1. DXE looks good. The bars are eye-catching and are pleasant to look at, unlike DBM and BW's offerings, which will lead to you missing important information because you were too busy steering your eye clear of an ugly bar.

2. DXE is completely customisable. If you don't want bars on your screen telling you the timer of X ability, or you don't want to be told who has Y debuff, you don't need to. This leads to DXE being more streamlined and less spammy than alternatives. In addition, you can configure DXE to block raid warning messages from other boss mods, which also helps to cut down on spam.

3. DXE has a proximity display that isn't dogshit. Instead of merely arbitrarily telling you who is within 10 yards of you, DXE displays the exact distance and direction that a player is from you in a real-time window. This is amazing on any fight that requires people to spread out (e.g. NB, Saurfang).

If you're still not convinced, then be aware that DXE was instrumental in allowing Fallen Chapter to kill heroic Anub'arak, and had I not switched to it from BigWigs, who knows what would be happening today. Controlling the Nerubian Burrowers' Shadow Strike is vital, and BigWigs' timer for it is wrong and gets desynchronised as you progress through the fight. DXE doesn't suffer from this problem, and since I installed DXE, I haven't let a single person die to Shadow Strike.

One more thing: It's pretty well known now that DBM is owned by gold-selling companies. If you are actually stupid enough to support these scumbags, then you are a stupid piece of shit, and I sincerely hope that the next time you go to open a carton of milk to pour on your cereal, you find that the milk has been removed and replaced with ape cum. You deserve it, fuckface.

~P~

Thursday, December 10, 2009

First Impressions

So, after two days of being able to experience 3.3, I have to conclude that I am very, very pleased with the way it has turned out. Despite the tyrannical onslaught of the blue bar boss and "instance not found" messages, both of which are pretty much resolved now, nothing about the patch has provoked my ire.

The dungeon finder tool is great, makes finding groups for anything a breeze. Tanks and healers will find an almost instant queue, while DPSers need to wait a whole, oh, 2-3 minutes. It's wonderful.

Although I complained vehemently in the past about the emblem changes, I don't mind them now, taking solace (or rather, dual solace) in the fact that Slime Pool McGee and his Band of Bads will not be able to access the best 258/264/277 loot.

As for the new content, the new 5 mans are excellent and offer something that's been lacking from 5 mans this expansion: replayability. Their loot and fun encounters will keep players wanting to go back.

The Icecrown raid itself is shaping up to be a cracker. Although the first four encounters seem quite undertuned, bear in mind that it is normal mode and they are showing a lot of promise to be hard encounters on hard mode. All of the encounters, especially Deathwhisper and the Gunship Battle are pretty fun and offer something new. The look and feel of the place is great and I'm looking forward to experiencing the rest of it. I have a great deal of confidence that the rest of Icecrown will be equally great.

You can expect some guides to Icecrown encounters in the near future.

~P~

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Features

To complement all the new features that have been released in Patch 3.3, there is now a new feature available on my blog. You may now click on the 'Raid Guide Brigade' icon in the right sidebar to view posts that are part of the Raid Guide Brigade.

I'd love to discuss some of the new features of the game, but the servers aren't making that possible at the moment.

~P~

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Day is Finally Upon Us

Nothing official has been posted yet, but BB is adamant that it's today, so of course, I'll believe him.

For comments: What are you looking forward to most in 3.3?

~P~

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Raid Guide Brigade: Preparing for Icecrown

With 3 days to go until Icecrown, it's perfectly understandable that you and the rest of your bad guild want to be as ready as possible when it launches, so you can spend less time discussing strategy and more time wiping to Deathbringer Saurfang.

Icecrown is a winged instance, and only one of its 4 wings will be accessible upon launch. This wing contains Lord Marrowgore, Kel'Thuzad's wife, some stupid vehicle battle and the aforementioned Saurfang.

Something that appears in Icecrown but you would not be familiar with as a result of your exciting adventures in the Trial of the Crusader is the trash mob. Trash has historically proved to be a fun, dynamic pacing mechanism (as seen in Naxxramas and Ulduar) and Icecrown's trash should prove to be no different.The best part of fighting trash mobs, however, is the loot. Loot from trash mobs is some of the best in the game and the fact that it is never guaranteed to drop helps to keep you engaged and interested when fighting trash. Trash will be difficult to get your head around for those players who are coming fresh out of Trial of the Crusader into Icecrown, but if you remain positive about it then you will have the most fun anyone could have in this game.

The trash up to Lord Marrowgore is quite difficult and will present a challenge to raids that have healers and tanks in greens. Once you finally beat this trash though, you will be able to fight a slightly larger trash mob that looks like a flying skull with an axe. Ignore what you've learnt about running out of whirlwinds from Trial of the Crusader, because it hits for about 200.

There are 3 more raid encounters that will be available, but you, the reader, won't be able to get past the Marrowgore trash anyway so it is pointless to discuss them at this stage. You will have to wait until the first round of major nerfs, I'm afraid.

Check back here for more updates on Icecrown soon, and never forget that the Emblem of Conquest Raid Guide Brigade™ is always at the forefront of releasing guides to new content.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Counting Down The Days

It's a busy time for me, with 3.3 and Icecrown less than a week now. There'll be lots of interesting things to cover, so stay tuned.

I'm happy to announce that my Anub'arak guide was extremely well received in the community, achieving critical acclaim on the WoW forums and especially the MMO-Champion forums, where the moderators clearly weren't hugged enough as a child.

Coming up in the next few days is a look at Patch 3.2 in review, as well as a special Raid Guide Brigade™ entry to make sure you are ready for Icecrown when it hits.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hello Mr Patch!

So it looks like 3.3 will be next week, December 8.

Let's get ready to enjoy 2-3 months of stagnated progression before we actually see some content that is meaningful.

Yay!

~P~

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Introducing the Emblem of Conquest Raid Guide Brigade

The Anub'arak guide was but a small stepping stone in the greater scheme of things.

As was hinted at yesterday, the Emblem of Conquest Raid Guide Brigade™ will be out in full force for Icecrown.

We will be bringing you the best strategies for each and every single boss in Icecrown, all the while being committed to remaining at the forefront of releasing guides to new content.

~P~

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How To: 25 man Heroic Anub'Arak

Due to the unanimous positive feedback I received from my guide to playing a ret paladin, and the influx of new guilds that hit the brick wall of Anub’arak each day, I’ve decided to write my own guide to this fight (25 man heroic, of course, as 10 mans are a joke).

Group Setup:

It’s like Sunwell all over again. You want to stack warlocks and resto shamans, as warlocks are the best DPSers on this fight and Chain Heal is incredibly useful for keeping the raid topped up in Phase 3. You want to avoid bringing Death Knights and mages, as their usefulness is very limited. For best results, imagine it is Sunwell, as DKs weren’t out and nobody brought mages to raids anyway.

You need 5 tanks for this fight, one for the boss, and one for each add that spawns in a pack of 4. Druids are by far the best tanks for this fight, so try to have at least 3 of your 5 tanks be druids.

As for healers, 3 resto shamans should suffice, with 2 holy priests and a resto druid to round out your healer lineup.

Phase 1:

Phase 1 of this fight is marked by intermittent spawns of adds called Nerubian Burrowers that you have to kill before the next set spawns (on a 45 second timer) or else your 4 add tanks will die. Have your 14 DPS split up into 4 groups (2 groups of 4 and 2 groups of 3) to deal with the adds. Have your weaker DPS members (like feral druids and rogues) be in the groups of 4 to deal with the adds that spawn closest to Anub’arak. Have each add tanked in a separate corner of the room and have your DPS be ready to interrupt when they cast Submerge. On a timer, each add will jump around the room to a different corner, so your DPS and tanks need to be ready to deal with the new add that arrives.

In between these waves of adds, which will die very quickly using this strategy, you will have some time to DPS Anub’arak himself, and believe me when I say you need all the time you can get. Anub’arak needs to be at ideally 60% by his first submerge, although you should be able to scrape through if he is at 65%.

Phase 2:

Anub’arak will burrow into the ground after two minutes or so, and is now sending more adds at you while he himself is trying to rape you with his underground spikes.

His spikes will randomly target one person and follow them. If the target is a priest, paladin, hunter, or rogue then they should immediately fade/bubble/feign/vanish. If the target is not one of these classes (or a Night Elf, as Shadowmeld works too), then they should proceed to run into the spikes and die so that the next person can be targeted. Once one of the aforementioned classes is chosen and they use their special ability, you win. Prepare for Anub’arak to resurface and resume proceedings as per Phase 1. Continue until he reaches 30%. If you have a second burrow, it’s a wipe because you’ll hit enrage.

Phase 3:

This is where the real fight begins. Due to the large amount of damage that your raid is taking at this point, it is no longer feasible to be spread out in 4 corners of the room, so you must have your raid stack up near Anub’arak. Allow any adds that are up at this point to submerge by not interrupting them. You have until the new adds spawn to kill the boss. If new adds spawn, it’s a wipe unless your hunters are good, but I’ve never met a good hunter, so good luck with that.

This phase is all about how good your healers are. Pop heroism as soon as Anub’arak reaches 30%, then have your DPS zerg the boss while your healers scramble wildly to keep the raid alive and deal with Anub’arak’s immense damage output in this phase. Have your shamans, priests and druids spam their AoE heals wildly to keep everyone at full health. As for your holy paladins, oh wait, you didn’t bring any because they can’t AoE heal.

If your healers are good, you will win. Collect your plate spellpower belt, leather spellpower legs, cloth bracers that are worse than ones from Naxxramas, and a polearm. You can also find 4 vanquisher tokens in the tribute chest at the entrance to Anub’arak’s room, assuming you killed him in under 5 attempts, which to be honest, if you’re using this guide, you probably will.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A few changes around here

I'm going to be experimenting with a few changes around the blog, so keep your eyes peeled over the next two weeks or so.

Will be experimenting with layouts, and I have some new artwork in store for the blog. Just don't be too alarmed, or surprised when I inevitably break something.

~P~

Monday, November 23, 2009

Might claims US First Tribute to Immortality

Wait.

...

Who?

~P~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Six Words That Terrify Blizzard

http://wowriot.gameriot.com/blogs/Fives-the-Paladin-Hates-the-Blues/Six-Words-that-Terrify-Blizzard

I rarely read other WoW blogs, and more rarely yet will I recommend one. However, this post is a noteworthy exception to that. It provides a really captivating insight into the Icecrown Gating System I discussed the other day, going into significant detail about each point (much more so than I did!) and considering the effects they will have on guilds and players. While I don't agree with all of his points, they are presented in a logical and thoughtful manner and it's easy to see where he's coming from.

I highly recommend that you give this a read.

~P~

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shadowmourne and LOLARMORPEN

Shadowmourne
954 - 1592 Damage Speed 3.70
(344.1 damage per second)
+223 Strength
+198 Stamina
Red Socket x3
Socket Bonus: +8 Strength
Classes: Warrior, Paladin, Death Knight
Requires Level 80
Item Level 284
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 114 (2.48% @ L80).
Equip: Increases your armor penetration rating by 114 (9.26% @ L80).
Equip: Your weapon swings have a chance to drain a Soul Fragment granting you 40 strength. When you have acquired 10 Soul Fragments you will unleash Chaos Bane, dealing 1900 to 2100 shadow damage split between all enemies within 8 yards.

Stats finally got released. It looks pretty awesome. Proc is definitely amazing, free 200 strength sup? Works out to an average 621 strength on the weapon (if you gem 3x 20 strength) with BoK and Divine Strength, and that's not even considering the shadow damage portion of it.

But it's quite disappointing that they had to put armor penetration on it. No, this isn't a rant about how armor penetration is shit for ret paladins yet they keep shoving it down our throats on everything, there's enough complaining going around to cover that. Armor penetration is being removed entirely from the game in Patch 4.0 (probably a month or so before Cataclysm), and although that's a while off, the world first Shadowmourne probably will be too. With ICC being the last raid of the expansion, there won't be too long a time period between HM Arthas dying and 4.0 rolling around. I'm giving it 3-4 months at the most.

So where does that leave Shadowmourne? It will be used right up through Patch 4.0 into Cataclysm, and probably right into the first raid dungeon at 85. It'll obviously need a retooling with 4.0, but why wait for that? Change the stats now and get rid of the armor penetration in lieu of expertise and/or haste. It will not only solve the issue of having to rebalance it further down the track, but it will also make it more balanced stat-wise between the three classes that can use it.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to see one on my character before Cataclysm rolls out, but I have 2 excellent DKs and 1 mediocre one that, like me, dies to Laser Barrage on Mimiron to compete with.

~P~


Friday, November 20, 2009

Icecrown Gating System

The information on this was released recently in a fairly lengthy blue post, so I'll try and pick out the most relevant details and dissect them one by one.

The first section that opens will include the Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Deathbringer Saurfang encounters. Progress beyond that point will be prevented for several weeks. Then the Plagueworks will open with Rotface, Festergut, and Professor Putricide becoming available. After another period of time, the Crimson Hall will open and you can then fight the Blood Princes and Blood-Queen Lana'thel. The final Frostwing Halls unlock then occurs after that, making Valithria Dreamwalker, Sindragosa, and the Lich King available. We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace. 
Definitely not fussed about them gating it. I don't mind the more relaxing atmosphere on the normal modes, and it will certainly be good not to blitz everything in the first week of it being released.

There are other elements that gate access along the way. Players may not attempt any Heroic versions of 10 player encounters until they have defeated the Lich King in a 10 player raid. Similarly, players must defeat the Lich King in a 25 player raid before they can attempt a Heroic 25 player encounter. So players must master every normal difficulty encounter in Icecrown Citadel before attempting Heroic difficulty.
Good. This should have been in with Ulduar.

The Lich King may not be attempted until Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana'thel, and Sindragosa are defeated. Furthermore, the Heroic difficulty of The Lich King encounter may not be attempted in any week unless the three aforementioned encounters have been defeated in Heroic difficulty that week.
Pretty self explanatory, but also a good thing.

The Ashen Verdict provides reinforcements and material for players to assault Icecrown Citadel, but this support is not endless. Raids will have a limited number of attempts total each week to defeat the four most difficult encounters in Icecrown Citadel: Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana'thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. As these boss encounters are unlocked, the number of attempts available per week will increase. The initial number of attempts provided for defeating Professor Putricide is only five. When Blood-Queen Lana'thel unlocks, the amount of total attempts remaining will increase to 10. Then when Sindragosa and the Lich King unlock, 15 total attempts will be available to defeat all four bosses. After a raid has exhausted their attempts for the week, the Ashen Verdict must withdraw their support and the four most difficult bosses all despawn and become unavailable for the week. The limited attempt system is a feature of both Normal and Heroic difficulty.
Interesting, is really all I can say. I don't mind limited attempts on hard modes, but 5/10/15 is far too few when you consider the amount of connection issues involved in ToC currently. Icecrown will probably be worse when it's initially released. The addition of limited attempts to normal modes is a bold move, and one that will probably hurt average, middle-of-the-road guilds more than anything, as well as being counter-intuitive to pugging, which isn't exactly a bad thing.

There will be no explicit rewards for defeating the Lich King with a specific number of attempts remaining as there was with Trial of the Grand Crusader. There will also not be an achievement to complete Icecrown Citadel without being defeated by a boss encounter, or letting a raid member die. (i.e. A Tribute to Insanity).
I squealed like a schoolgirl when I read this. Thank heavens they've learnt their lesson from ToC and that they aren't stupid after all.

In the weeks and months after all twelve encounters are unlocked, additional attempts against the final four boss encounters become available. This represents the Ashen Verdict growing more powerful and gaining a stronger foothold in Icecrown Citadel. To further help raids, Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will begin to provide assistance by inspiring the armies attacking Icecrown Citadel. This is represented as an additional zone wide spell effect applied to all players that will increase their hit points, damage dealt, and healing done. This effect will also increase in effectiveness over time. Players may opt out of the spell's effect if they so wish.
This is rather boring to be honest. It's much like Yogg hardmodes, except it's not interesting. Sort of a "hey, you haven't cleared it by now? Yeah okay we'll give you these awesome buffs" option for the terribles.

Daelo's post about this has earned some considerable ire and for the life of me, I can't understand why. Nothing about this system is awful, the worst thing about it is the initial limited attempts on the bosses and even that will be rectified over time. It's certainly an improvement on ToC, although it's not like that would have been hard to do.

~P~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heroic Mode testing available?

We are scheduling raid tests in Icecrown Citadel for November 18-20.

US Servers
Wednesday, November 18 at 7PM EST / 4 PM PST – Lord Marrowgar, Icecrown Gunship Battle
Thursday, November 19 at 7PM EST / 4 PM PST – Festergut, Deathbringer Saurfang
Friday, November 20 at 7PM EST / 4 PM PST – Valithria Dreamwalker

EU Servers
Wednesday, November 18 at 19:30 CET – Lord Marrowgar, Icecrown Gunship Battle
Thursday, November 19 at 19:30 CET – Rotface, Blood Princes
Friday, November 20 at 19:30 CET – Lady Deathwhisper

Heroic difficulties will be available for testing!

This is definitely a mistake. Heroic modes should be saved for the live realms so they're not spoilt early. Don't give me that crap about bug fixing, that's why they have teams that do internal testing. It's not like Icecrown will be bug free when it hits live anyway even with PTR testing of hardmodes.

Blizzard want to prolong the content, which is why they're gating it, but then again they're releasing everything but Arthas on the PTRs so it will all fall over on the first night it's released.

They've got it the wrong way around here, I'm afraid.

~P~

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I suppose you could call it an absence.

Apologies for the lack of any recent updates, there’s really been a void of information lately with regards to 3.3 and Icecrown, which has led to limited content to discuss here. I’ve also been quite distracted lately by other games (namely Dragon Age: Origins and Modern Warfare 2), both of which are excellent and are definitely worth picking up.

~P

Friday, November 6, 2009

Season 8 is the sex.

I posted recently about how I was more or less giving up on the paladin class for Wrath Arena.

Well I think I might just be changing my mind. I posted about awful paladin tier 10 really is, and after seeing the Season 8 set, I have realised that Blizzard still have the ability to make great looking paladin sets.

So it looks like I'll be droning my way through arena in S8 to get my full set. And I'll be wearing it in raids and doing 5k DPS with it because it looks that badass. That or they should swap it with the (still awful) tier 10 model. Fuckers.

~P

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Question Time

I received several questions via e-mail, but first of all I wanted to respond to one that was posed in a comment on my callout post.

Do you think Heroic Anub'arak 25 is a well designed encounter. Why/Why not?

It's definitely a valid time to be posting about this, as my guild, Fallen Chapter, just got Anub-25-Heroic down for the first time, getting A Tribute to Mad Skill in the process.

My answer is yes. It's the only encounter in ToC that is moderately interesting (although I daresay any healer will disagree with this), but that's not why I like it.

Anub's mechanics are specifically designed to break paradigms that have been in place (more or less) since the first time you've raided, such as the mentality of healers to keep everyone at 100%, and the tank EH paradigm (this might vary depending on your strat however). It forces players to keep on their feet and be responsive to their surroundings. It's not up to the standard of encounters that was present through TBC and was briefly present in Ulduar but it's still a well designed encounter, and is tuned exactly at the right level for where it is in the progression path (unlike the rest of Tier 9 content).

The only gripe I have with this fight is the requirements of specific classes. They're not a huge deal and more of a minor inconvenience than anything really (it's also very dependant on the strat you use) but in a guild with a relatively small core like FC, it does become quite a problem, because when certain people are unavailable, you can forget about Anub'arak.

THANKS TARIKE AND RAV FOR GETTING CAPPED

JERKS

~P

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ghostcrawler on Ret

Eh. This ain't such a happy post. I'm pretty upset with a few of Ghostcrawler's comments of late with regards to ret paladin representation in high-end arena.

Ret paladins are complained about by the community more than anyone bar perhaps rogues. Unfortunately a lot of people don't realise the relatively poor situation Retribution is in currently with regards to arena. Yes, ret is grossly overpowered when matched against someone with shit gear, but against a high resilience opponent we become much weaker. And yes, we have 3 lives in duels, but the game isn't balanced around 1v1 anyway and we can't use LoH in arena, so deal with it.

Ret is in a pretty sorry state at higher ratings, so when we have GC coming out and saying "ret probably needs more nerfs" and "everyone is playing prot/ret, so ret is fine", it's really unsettling. The first comment is stupid, and that's immediately obvious, but the second one is a little bit more interesting. Ret/prot is a niche spec, much more so than the infamous prot/holy paladins were back in S6. They're not particularly feasible beyond 1700 or so except in 2s which Blizzard has deliberately stated they no longer wish to balance around.

So why are they being used to undermine the validity of the ret paladin community's concern for arena representation? Why is arena combat being balanced around lesser forms of PvP that offer no or limited rewards? Why can't they get my class right?

I've pretty much given up on playing ret as a serious arena playstyle for this expansion in the hopes that they might be able to get things right for Cataclysm with a serious redesign of the class. Let's keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Icecrown: Something Positive, for a Change

First of all, there's no denying that this is a negative blog at times. This is a blog that is dynamic and responsive to the changing world (of Warcraft) and the decisions made within the community will affect the views of the community as a whole. My views just happen to be more cynical. Next.

Icecrown, on the contrary to many things in Patch 3.3, is shaping up really well. I've had the opportunity to see most of the encounters (through PTR testing and streams) and they're all looking very interesting at the moment, and we've only seen the normal modes so far. I'm very excited to see how the hard modes will turn out.

Of particular note is Valithria Dreamwalker, an encounter you win by healing the boss up to full life. This is very much a nice deviation from the normal tunnel-vision style encounter of "Hit boss, collect purples". The current achievement for the encounter asks requires her to be healed within 31 minutes, although I am currently assuming (and quite safely at that) that this a placeholder value much like the original Yogg-Saron speed kill (22 minute) achievement.

So yeah, Icecrown will probably be awesome. I know someone will find some hidden negativity that isn't really there in this post, so without further ado, bring on the hate.

~P

Thursday, October 29, 2009

LFG Random Dungeon

Blizzard has announced the new dungeon system and although it's a good system and there's nothing really wrong with it, I can't help but shake the feeling that it's a desperate lifeline for their content and a last-ditch measure to try and get people running boring as sin content again.

It brings to the table several new and updated features designed to make the dungeon process easier and less painful, but it doesn't address the fact that the dungeons themselves are complete arse. At least we don't have to fly there anymore.

~P

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Randomloot's Guide to Ret Paladins

Many people have asked me lately to write a guide to ret paladins. After all, it’s a given that not everybody has been gifted with amazing skill, some people need help from those that have said skills. So I’m writing this as a guide to players new to ret, or to veteran players of the spec that are looking to squeeze just a little bit extra out of the class. Enjoy.

Gear


When it comes to gearing a ret paladin, there’s only one way to go: Agility Agility Agility. Leather gear with Agility far and away outperforms equivalent pieces of plate. Do not worry about hit rating on gear, as this will be provided entirely by talents and buffs from other classes in the raid.

Gems


Try to balance haste and armor penetration. Haste is a great stat, it reduces the global cooldown on all our abilities which means we can spam our buttons faster! Armor penetration is great too, it makes all our abilities hit harder by ignoring boss armor. ArP/Haste gems (Orange) are amazing for this purpose.

Talents

Something like this: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#sVcbGhbZZtbbxrIuGdMrsu:rzAMVz

This is pretty much a no brainer, take everything that increases your damage. A lot of paladins spec into Divine Sacrifice for raid utility, but they are WRONG.

Glyphs are included in the above link. Don’t bother with Judgement glyph since your Judgement of Command hits for about 800, and don’t bother with Consecration glyph since it makes you do less damage (damage over 10 secs instead of 8). Again, a lot of paladins use these glyphs, and again they are WRONG.

How to pew pew

Ret paladins don’t really have a rotation per se, they use a priority system. What you do is you prioritise the abilities that have the longest cooldowns. So, your ranking in order of first to last (assuming all are available) is Exorcism > Divine Storm > Consecrate > Judgement > Crusader Strike. Hammer of Wrath, if it’s up, is used after Crusader Strike.

You now know everything you need to know to be a good ret paladin. Happy facerolling!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So, since Q&As are the in thing to do...

I'm going to follow in the footsteps of Blizzard and open myself up to questions from readers. Pretty much nothing is off limits. Responses will be posted up on the first of the month!

Send me your questions via e-mail at emblemofconquest@gmail.com

~P

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Tweetaclysm

Blizzard have abandoned useful forms of communication with its playerbase in favour of Twitter, so the unwashed masses who don't have an attention span sufficient enough to decipher more than 140 characters can get some insight into the developers' minds.

I'm not going to deconstruct every single question that was posed, because some of them are horrendously awful (Are Worgen going to have mounts?)

I will however be coming out and blanketing the stage with more of my trademark pessimism because of a lot of what Blizzard has said is complete nonsense. So without further ado, let's delve head-first into the sea of rubbish.

Q: In the future will hard modes have greater fidelity like Sarth, Sarth+1, Sarth+2, Sarth+3 rather than the Binary Normal/Hard?
A: Generally we have learned that hard modes should be more binary, but that doesn’t mean we will never do something like Sarth 3 drakes again.

No. This is bad. Binary hard modes are uninteresting and generally don't make any sense. Mimiron and Vezax were implemented well, the other binary hard modes (especially in ToC) have been terrible. And with Icecrown, they're doing away with the triggered hard modes altogether, so you'll be toggling switches in your interface to activate hard modes. Right. Ignoring the fact that this makes absolutely no sense in the lore (I just changed something in my game options and now the boss hits twice as hard!), it's simply less intuitive and fun.

Looking at Flame Leviathan's hard mode for instance, it was initially designed on the PTR so that you would have to talk to the Lore Keeper of Norgannon which would activate the encounter on hard mode (there was no option on Brann Bronzebeard). This would require you to clear all of the trash and kill all towers in order to do FL on normal mode, which rewards the guilds that are able to do the hard modes by making the trash less tedious. This was scrapped, and players got the option to start the encounter on normal mode straight away. What did the players that can do the hard modes get in 3.2? Another version of the same boring, repetitive instance to clear, making their experience even more tedious. This is the opposite of what needs to happen. Hard modes need to be used in a way that changes the feel of the instance for players. They need to be able to say "Awesome, we can do hardmode now, so we no longer have to do X", in the same way as you used to be able to with Flame Leviathan. More importantly, players need to have incentive to keep doing the hard modes. This didn't happen with Ulduar, there was nothing positive to be had from repeating hard modes week after week. And it's not happening with ToC either. Icecrown looks to be more of the same.

Q: Any plans for a gated system in IIC like in Colliseum that prevents us from doing hardmodes from day 1?
A: We do have a system that unlocks bosses similar to how we handled TOC and Sunwell. We are restricting hard modes to raid leaders that have defeated Arthas in regular mode.

Mixed feelings about this. The second part is good, the first part, not so good. Arbitrarily gating the encounters is not an adequte substitute for having difficult encounters which can self-sufficiently act as gates, especially not in an instance the size of Icecrown. It's understandable that this content needs to last (probably around 8 months) as it's the last raid dungeon before Cataclysm, but it needs to be handled differently. While the normal modes of Ulduar were bested in the first week, Yogg+0, the last of the hard modes, wasn't beaten until a month before 3.2 came out. The same thing needs to apply to Icecrown, by making the hard modes truly hard, it can last the distance.

There was quite a bit of interesting stuff in the Blizzard comments with reference to Cataclysm, which looks to be shaping up quite nicely at the moment. But that's a year or so away. Let's just hope Icecrown lives up to its potential, for now.

~P

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paladin Tier 10 is EVIL

No, it's not just bad. It's far worse. It's evil.

I came home from work anticipating the start of another joyful raid week, and the first thing I did was open my browser. My homepage is the WoW R&D forums, and I happened to notice that the top thread at the time was "Paladin Tier 10 EEK!"

Being the extremely positive, optimistic person that I am, my first natural thought was "Oh, goodie! They've finally realeased my Tier 10 looks!" Upon following a link in this thread to the visuals, I realised that I was SO HORRIBLY WRONG.

And it's at this point that things start to get hazy. I'd had a shit day at work, taken a hefty pay cut ($28k if you're counting), and naturally I was pretty fucking pissed off. So I started punching my desk in my frustration at Blizzard's incompetence to design a decent tier set since T6.

I woke up at 1:30 AM, on the floor, under my desk, with a massive headache. Upon closer inspection of the room I was in, I realised that my printer was on the floor with me, and was probably responsible for the gaping hole in my head and the blood that was on the floor.

So yeah, that's why Paladin Tier 10 is evil. Don't trust it or anyone that likes it.

~P

Monday, October 19, 2009

GDKP Run Followup

Tyrian's post has been ported over to the WoW forums, where the idiots have begun a debate over the merits of capitalism and communism which sprawls several pages.

Mind you, of the 30+ people posting in that thread, only 2 have the slightest hint of a clue about what they're talking about.

THANKS WOW FORUMS.

~P

Sunday, October 18, 2009

GDKP Runs

For those who are perhaps on a lower population server and haven't been privy to these as of yet, one of my readers, Tyrian, has posted a thread on Elitist Jerks that discusses the nature of these runs and how to get them happening on your server.

It's worth a read if you're unsure what a GDKP run is, or have some basic knowledge and interest in running them.

Check it out here.

~P

Friday, October 16, 2009

Banner

I was told that my blog needed more Drumstick, so I delivered.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Insanity/Immortality and their validity in the raid scene

This has been a pretty hot topic recently amongst the wider WoW raiding community, especially as 3.3 still looks to be a while away and the majority of guilds are working on completing/farming tribute runs of ToGC. The upshot of it is that just one disconnect can be the difference between a kill and a wipe, causing you to lose out on cloaks for that week and substantially affecting your guild's ranking.

Part of the problem is how WoWProgress and other progression tracking sites rank achievements over actual boss kills. Many guilds, including Nurfed, who recently claimed server first Insanity on my own server Blackrock, have voiced complaints about the tracking methods.

Paragon, ranked world 4th during Ulduar, managed to nab the world first Anub’arak kill. They are currently ranked #13 behind a guild called The Fallen (who are at #12). This is a problem, because The Fallen was ranked world #234 during Ulduar, and also killed Anub’arak 53rd in the world.


I'd have to agree with them. Tracking progress based on gimmick achievements is a horrible idea. And it is a gimmick. Yogg-0 at least changed the mechanics of the fight, and made it significantly more challenging. The only thing challenging about Insanity is praying hard enough to whatever deity you believe in that one of your healers or tanks doesn't disconnect at a crucial moment due to something out of their control. And it will almost always be out of their control, as this instance has horrible stability and has been plagued by constant disconnects since it has been launched.

Why the fuck is Insanity in the game in the first place? We didn't need it in Sunwell, because the content was actually hard. We didn't need it in Ulduar, because it would have encouraged guilds to abandon hard modes in favour of the easy modes. The way they ended up doing it for Ulduar will hopefully carry over to Icecrown, plus the added distinction between normal and heroic modes (i.e. 4 seperate achievements). As it is now, Insanity type achievements are an excuse to make content easier.

I'm fine with the limited attempts mechanic and I hope to see it used in future. However, Blizzard can leave out the X attempts remaining gimmick achievements. Or at least provide nothing more than gimmick rewards (mounts) from them. It would be nothing to complain about. If nothing else, it would mean the content would be hard again.

~P

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Icecrown on PTRs

Lord Marrowgar (1st boss of ICC raid) is available for testing at 4PM PDT. This is 10AM AEDT on the 16th of July for those Oceanic players who are interested in testing this. Odd that it comes just after I post that it really needs to hit PTR soon!

~P

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RIP Ulduar: The death of the progression path

TotalBiscuit's great show Blue Plz! brought up a really important argument this week when discussing the badge changes. That, of course is the death of the progression path and the removal of Ulduar as a legitimate outlet of progression. Ulduar is a great instance. It's not as great as Sunwell was, but it was still pretty darn good. And now, it won't even be seen anymore except from a small minority of players who are looking to complete achievements/hammers.

It could be argued that "it's old content" and it doesn't need to be a relevant instance throughout an entire expansion, which the "badgers" (TB's affectionate name for supporters of the badge change) have argued at great length. However, the content that people will be running (i.e. heroics) is even older and much less interesting. Why do players want to be running easy, boring as sin content when they could be running a great, challenging instance? More importantly, why is Blizzard abandoning the former for the latter?

Some of the most fun I've had in the 5 years I've played this game has been in the first two weeks of Ulduar. Now, it will be abandoned. It's funny that Blizzard's policy of allowing everyone to see the content is in fact leading to people being unable to see content.

~P

Monday, October 12, 2009

More tips from MMO, prospecting this time.

MMO-Champion posted up another gold making guide post, this time on prospecting. Was pretty short, basically saying to prospect thorium ore and resell the gems from it for profit.

You don't have to be a genius like myself to work out what this will do to the market. Thorium Ore prices will rise, so buyout cheap ones while you can and do some farming for it in Winterspring if you're desperate.

It's been a pretty lazy week in terms of new content to post on, so bear with me. Hopefully the Icecrown Raid will be available for testing soon, at which point you probably won't be able to shut me up.

~P

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Icecrown Raid!

Information on this is available here.

So, in a break from my usual standard of negative posting, I'm pretty happy with the way Icecrown Raid is turning out. Everything on that page looks impressive and Icecrown looks like it will be very epic. I'm definitely pleased that Arthas will be appearing and not killable in the 5 man.

Other than that there's not a whole lot to say until it hits the PTRs for testing. I will however say that I hope Blizzard learns from their past mistakes, by not rushing it to release and by making it actually challenging.

~P

Friday, October 9, 2009

An Open Letter to Blizzard: 3.3 Emblem Changes

Hi Blizzard,

I can't begin to express how ecstatic I am being able to get Emblems of Triumph next patch. As a casual player with limited time to play, I have been unable to get these in substantial quantities. I have a guild of mainly real-life friends, however we have been unable to progress in 10 man ToC beyond the jormungar worms, and we have not been able to kill Koralon or Onyxia. As a result of this many of my guild mates are no longer interested in raiding, myself included. Personally, I believe that acquiring the best gear should not require 10 or 25 players.

As my guild is failing, I tried to apply to another guild in between trying to get into pug groups. However, I have always been rejected for being a "badge vendor hero". All of my gear has come from the Emblem of Conquest vendors and this is easy to tell. With the new Emblem of Triumph change, I may have some luck getting into a decent guild as I will have better gear where people can't instantly tell that it's badge gear. Actually, if all of my guild mates gear up with Emblems of Triumph then we might be more successful! Think of the possibilities!

I'm also looking forward to the prospect of going back to Naxxramas and Wrath Heroics. I think these instances are some of the best in the game and any reason to keep the playerbase doing them is good. I am sure that everyone will have lots of fun doing these again.

I do have a few complaints about the badge system though. First of all, there are no weapons available from badges. I should be able to fill every slot with badge gear, however there is no way of obtaining good weapons other than raiding or PvPing. I don't want to spend my valuable time raiding to get a weapon and I can't an 1800 rating for a PvP weapon - I play as a rogue with my priest and mage friends, but this team composition is severely underpowered.

I'm also really excited about the Icecrown 5 man heroic. This will drop item level 232 gear, but it will also drop Emblems of Frost instead of Triumph right? It's only fair that I should be able to get Tier 10 from the new content. I mean, I pay my $15 a month, I deserve it!

Giving Emblems of Triumph from all content is great, but Blizzard aren't going far enough. The only people who would disagree with me are the hardcore nerds with no life, that make up 1% of the population anyway. I mean, they can have their Icecrown raid, I don't see why the other 99% of the population can't get access to gear that is half a tier or a tier behind, right?

Yours sincerely,

Arthuzxdethx

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tier 10 set bonuses (Update)

Blizzard seemed to understand that Ret's 4 piece is terrible, so they went ahead and changed it.

2 Pieces (Damage): (Updated) Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm ability.
4 Pieces (Damage): (Updated) Your Seals and Judgements deal 10% additional damage.

They swapped them around and buffed the proc chance. Whoop-dee-do. This ends up being an overall nerf, as we will be unable to run 2pc tier 9 with 2pc tier 10.

Please don't be deluded by anyone who says the current 2 piece is good. It's horrible and shows a complete lack of understanding of the ret paladin class on Blizzard's part.

On another note, the tier 10 models have been released for 5 classes, and they look good so far. We'll probably see what the paladin set looks like in the next few days, but my guess is that it'll continue the precedent of looking like shit that Blizzard seems to have set for us.

~P

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Paladin Tier 10 Set Bonuses

Paladin T10 Holy 2P Bonus - The cooldown on your Divine Favor talent is reduced by 60 sec.
Paladin T10 Holy 4P Bonus - Your Holy Shock spell causes the next Holy Light you cast within 10 sec to have 0.3 sec reduced cast time.
Paladin T10 Protection 2P Bonus - Your Hammer of the Righteous ability deals 20% increased damage.
Paladin T10 Protection 4P Bonus - When you activate Divine Plea, you gain 12% dodge for 10 sec.
Paladin T10 Retribution 2P Bonus - Your Seals and Judgements deal 10% additional damage.
Paladin T10 Retribution 4P Bonus - Your melee attacks have a 4% chance to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm ability.

Love the 2pc for Ret, but much like Tier 9, the 4 piece is terrible.

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

~P

Death's Verdict



"If you kick ass, you get good shit" - Tyrian

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Aion: Economic Prospecting

I've been playing Aion recently, so I thought I'd take an in-depth look at the way Aion's economy works, draw some comparisons to WoW's own economy, and look at a few ideas Blizzard might try and pinch from Aion.

Aion's currency is called Kinah, and unlike the gold, silver, and copper we have in Azeroth, Kinah only has the one denomination. Kinah is acquired very rapidly, and it's not uncommon to have hundreds of thousands of Kinah by the time you reach level 20. This is a good thing too, because you'll need every last Kinah.

Aion is full of money sinks. Pretty much everything from character advancement to death recovery to transportation costs a seemingly obscene amount of Kinah. The two upgrades to your wings are roughly 1 million and 12 million Kinah respectively. You can, at early levels, expect to be dishing out 20% of your Kinah to recover from death. Professions are costly to level, as are your skills.

You'll have a lot of Kinah coming in, but also a lot flowing out, and obviously the trick is to have your income be greater than your expenditure, and one way of doing this is trading with other players. There are two main ways of doing this in Aion - the Trade Brokers (Auction House) and Private Stores.

Trade Brokers:
These are the equivalent of WoW's auctioneers, however, they work in a slightly different way to the Auction Houses and are slightly more restrictive. Most notably, you can only have 10 active auctions at any given time, so no mass posting for you! Like WoW, you pay a deposit fee proportional to the value of the item when posting your auction, however you do not get this back when your item successfully sells. This is made up for by the fact that there is no Auction House cut.

Private Store:
Players have the option of setting up a private store, where you set down a stall, much like an NPC. You are able to put items from your inventory into the store and you can set the price for these. Other players will have the option of interacting with you to inspect your store where they can browse and purchase your wares. The amount of items you can have in a private store is slightly more than the 10 you can place up for auction.

I personally think the private store is a great idea. It brings back the player interaction that you don't have with the auction house, and makes you feel like you're actually buying from a player, not just an NPC. I wouldn't be too surprised if Blizzard implements something like this.

Professions:
Professions play a big part in Aion's economy and like in WoW, are an important part of a character's development and advancement. Unlike in WoW, the inhabitants of Atreia can choose to learn all of the 6 available professions, however they may only become masters in two of these. This is roughly the same as being able to only advance past 300 skill points in WoW professions. The professions on offer are sewing, weaponsmithing, armorsmithing, handicrafting, cooking and alchemy. These are mainly levelled by completing work orders (a type of quest), in which you are given materials and are asked to craft a certain item, often requiring a vendor bought item. I love this system, definitely feels less grindy and more epic than WoW's system. Just be warned that the vendor bought items for the work orders, and the cost of upgrading your professions to the next level (each level is 100 skill points, compared to WoW's 75) is very expensive!

Gathering isn't forgotten about in Aion, however instead of having multiple professions like WoW, they have all been merged into one single profession: extraction. This encompasses herbalism, mining and fishing. I haven't found an Aion equivalent of skinning, but please comment or e-mail me if it exists. The extracting profession is levelled like the crafting professions, however it does not contribute to the maximum of 2 that you can master. Score! While you'd expect this to flood the economy with gathering materials, this isn't the case, as extraction is rather time-consuming to level up, certainly moreso than any of the crafting professions, and not many people are levelling it, as far as I have been able to tell.

I really like Aion's profession system, and I certianly prefer it to WoW's. How big of a part professions play in the end-game is yet to be seen, but it's definitely worth levelling up at least one, as there's not only quite a bit of Kinah to be had from them, but they can also be a great asset while levelling, especially alchemy.

Influence Ratio:
Aion introduces a brand new way players can shape the game's economy. The Influence Ratio is determined by the territory held by your faction (Elyos or Asmodian) in the PvPvE zone, the Abyss. The amount of territory held (as a %) has a direct effect on the prices paid throughout the entire world. This is absolutely brilliant, it makes your actions have a direct effect on the world and makes you feel like you're impacting on the wider world, something WoW's world PvP has failed to do. Again, this is the sort of thing you think Blizzard might implement, a world PvP zone like Wintergrasp with one of the rewards for controlling it being reduced prices worldwide.

If you still haven't given Aion a try, I recommend you do so. It's a good game and will keep you entertained for a while. It won't kill WoW, but it's good enough that it should be able to keep its subscriber numbers up for a decent period of time.

~P

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sonata Arctica's new album


I don't have an actual content post today, you'll get posts like these from time to time reviewing music or movies I've seen or heard.

As for the album, it's great. I just finished listening to it on the way to work, and it definitely impressed me. It's a big departure from a lot of their other music and it definitely feels much more epic. I highly recommend buying it.

I've got something special in the works for tomorrow's post, so stay tuned.

~P

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Effect of One on Many: Market Changes

This is Part Two of my commentaries on the effects of MMO-Champion's gold guide posts. Part One can be found here.

I've been monitoring the effect of MMO-Champion's gold guide posts, and the results are pretty astounding. On my server, Blackrock-US, the following changes have already taken place in less than a week.

  • High level herbs (e.g. Icethorn, Lichbloom) have increased in price by 40-50%
  • Low level herbs (e.g. Peacebloom) have doubled in price
  • Cobalt Bars are fluctuating like crazy, they had increased in price by 60% at one stage
  • Flasks (due to increased herb prices) are about 25% more expensive
  • Infinite dusts are about 20% cheaper
  • Eternal Earths are 10-20% more expensive
  • Glyphs are anywhere from 20-50% cheaper, depending on the glyph
It's probably worth mentioning that my glyphs are selling A LOT faster than they were prior to the MMO-Champion post, probably as the result of new "wannabe" monopolists entering the market.

Infinite Dusts will probably continue to come down in price due to the Abyss Shatter recipe (which is available on Blackrock as it recently came down for emergency maintenance), while Abyss Crystals have been rising steadily since the announcement of Abyss Shatter, and are now nearly twice the value they were two weeks ago. Snap up any cheap Abyss Crystals while you can.

Part Three of this series will probably conclude it and discuss ways for you to profit off the market changes. I will also be doing some testing of Abyss Shatters soon, and you can expect to see the results here!

~P

I'd like to hear about what changes have taken place on your server as a result of the MMO-Champion guides, and what (if anything) you are doing to profit off them! I'll be including a selection of these in my next post on the matter, so please contact me at emblemofconquest@gmail.com if you have a suggestion.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tier 10 from Tier 7 content, joy!

Badges are a great idea. Allowing you to suppress the effect of random loot somewhat by filling gaps in gear and moving certain items off the loot tables and onto badge vendors (standard issue: relics) is definitely good. 3.2 was already taking this idea in the wrong direction with the abolition of tiered badge systems, and now here's 3.3 to rub salt into the wound with the handouts of Tier 10 gear from Tier 7 content.

As if Emblems of Triumph from daily heroics weren't bad enough, you can now get 10 Emblems of Frost every week from running "weekly raid quests". Except this implementation is much, MUCH worse.

You see, running the daily heroics for Triumph badges takes at least some degree of effort and time commitment. To get 10 Emblems of Triumph from heroics in a week, you will need to run a 15-20 minute heroic for 5 days of the week. All in all, roughly a 1 hour to 1 and a half hour weekly time commitment. Not too bad considering the difficulty of the content and the fact that the same emblems can be obtained from TOC, VOA, and Onyxia, none of which are much more difficult than heroics.

The candidates for the Emblems of Frost weeklies are:
  • Patchwerk
  • Noth
  • Razuvious
  • Anub'rekhan
  • Sartharion
  • Malygos
  • Flame Leviathan
  • Ignis
  • Razorscale
  • XT-002
  • Lord Jaraxxus
  • Lord Marrowgar
Lord Marrowgar will be an Icecrown raid boss, and following the pattern of the other bosses, will probably be the first boss of the instance.

Notice the pattern here? None of these bosses are difficult to defeat or access. Zone in, faceroll for 5-10 minutes, collect Tier 10. Part of the logic behind changing heroics to drop Emblems of Conquest/Triumph (from the dailies) was to encourage players to continue to run these where previously they would not have. I can only assume that this change is at least partly due to the same mentality. In which case, THIS CHANGE WILL ACCOMPLISH NOTHING. People will zone in to do the weekly boss, nothing else. If you want to keep players doing your content, then at least make it require the later bosses of the instance (i.e. Yogg, Vezax, Anub, KT). And make the rewards proportional. Noth is not the same difficulty as 25-Jaraxxus-Heroic, yet the game does not distinguish between them when it comes to dishing out emblems.

There's a whole wealth of potential problems that this change will cause to the playerbase itself, but those are to be discussed another time. I'm off to get some Tier 10 from The Stockade.

~P

Friday, October 2, 2009

3.3 hits PTRs

3.3.0 PTR Patch Notes

There's not much to say, apart from the fact that this is definitely a rushed job. The amount of class changes is minimal considering the scope and significance of the patch.

There's nothing worthy to try, so it's not even worth playing the PTR (no, Icecrown 5-man does not count).

~P

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Icecrown Citadel 5-man information released

Icecrown Citadel will feature a massive five-player dungeon sprawling across three wings of the citadel's foundation. While the Lich King's attention is focused on the Argent Crusade and the Knights of the Ebon Blade ripping through the front gates, players will be tested as they assist Jaina Proudmoore (Alliance) and Sylvanas Windrunner (Horde) in infiltrating the citadel through an alternate entrance. An epic quest line will present adventurers with the task of weakening Icecrown Citadel's forces, requiring that players defeat the challenges in each dungeon wing before venturing into the next one. Normal and Heroic versions of the dungeon will be accessible to players, although each wing will be considered a separate instance; therefore, on Heroic difficulty, each wing will have its own separate lockout timer. All-new rewards -- including item level 219 (normal) and level 232 (Heroic) loot -- will be offered to those who destroy some of the Lich King's most formidable allies. The Forge of Souls Serving as the first wing in this expansive dungeon, the Forge of Souls will quickly put players to the test of carving through the Scourge stronghold into deeper, more treacherous locations. Jaina will command Alliance forces, and Sylvanas will direct Horde forces. The goal is to ruin the twisted engines known as soul grinders found in this portion of the citadel, and then players can advance -- that is, if the Horde and Alliance forces can overcome the foes who confront them. Bosses
  • Bronjahm, the Godfather of Souls: An instrument of reckoning, Bronjahm watches over the engines in the Forge of Souls. He must be killed if the soul grinders are to be destroyed.
  • The Devourer of Souls: As the chief operator of the engines found in this wing, the Devourer stands guard over the souls stolen by the Lich King.
Pit of Saron Accessible only to those who have laid waste to the Forge of Souls' unholy operations, the Pit of Saron will bring Horde and Alliance forces deeper into the Lich King's domain. Players who venture here will immediately be confronted by the lord of this lair, Scourgelord Tyrannus. But defeating him will not be as easy as it seems. Before they can present a threat to Tyrannus, the adventurers, instructed by their leaders, will need to free enslaved allies who have been trapped by the Scourge. Until that happens, Tyrannus will leave all adversaries to his minions, workers of the citadel's mines. Perhaps the challenges here will lend clues as to the whereabouts of the Lich King's private chambers outside of the Frozen Throne, deep within the Halls of Reflection. Bosses
  • Forgemaster Garfrost: A master of Scourge weaponry, the forgemaster hauls stocks of saronite ore and other precious materials to the cold forges where the mechanisms of death are born. With a host of rime weapons and exotic alloys at his disposal, it could get cold in here.
  • Krick and Ick: Zombies serve as mindless muscle in the Pit of Saron's mines, stockpiling metals for Forgemaster Garfrost, and Krick -- a devious leper gnome -- supervises the operations from atop Ick, Krick's ghastly means of transportation.
  • Scourgelord Tyrannus: Tyrannus is a terrible force who will no doubt demonstrate his powers to those brave enough to enter the Pit of Saron. The scourgelord must die if players hope to make their way into the third and final wing of this dungeon.
Halls of Reflection With Jaina and Sylvanas leading the way, adventurers who make it as far as these frigid halls will quickly recognize the weapon that lies ahead: Frostmourne, the corruptive, legendary device of the Lich King himself. The Lich King's private chambers are within reach, although they may be the death of anyone who ventures there. Bosses
  • Falric and Marwyn: Captains for Arthas Menethil in life, Scourge commanders for the Lich King in death, Falric and Marwyn will be summoned to the Halls of Reflection for one purpose: destroying all intruders.
  • The Lich King: Sylvanas, thirsty for vengeance against the corrupted prince who sentenced her to an existence as an undead monstrosity, and Jaina, eager to find a flicker of Arthas's soul locked somewhere within the Lich King, have brought their hand-picked allies to this final confrontation. Arthas's true power may only now be discovered. Is there any hope in this mission, or does only death await?

I'm particularly interested in that last part. It has the potential for greatness and it has the potential to be incredibly detrimental to the game, depending on how Blizzard go about it.

If they make Arthas killable in the 5-man, then there's no question that the game will be ruined. Not only because they're making the *end boss* killable in a 5-man, but because of the issues that arise with class composition and tuning because of the limited players available. 10 player content is enough of a joke, as it's tuned around not having certain buffs. I'd hate to see how much of a joke a 5-man Arthas would be.

But then again, Blizzard could go another way about this, which is allowing the 5-man group to fight Arthas and weaken him before his retreat into the raid instance, allowing players that may not be able to defeat him in the raid instance to at least feel like they've played some part in his demise. But while this would probably make the playerbase happy, this would probably detract from the epic feel of the encounter (5 players weakening Arthas? really?)

If Blizzard implement the "see, but not kill" strategy well then it will probably be great for the game. But this strategy comes with its own set of problems, and would be hard to implement without at least pissing off some people (I PAY $15 A MONTH I SHOULD BE ABLE TO KILL ARTHAS WITHOUT RAIDING). And when you consider that these people are not only the most vocal, but the ones have Blizzard have catered to time and time again since TBC, I am definitely worried about Icecrown being a total flop.

~P

Edit: 3.3 is now live on PTRs, with the Pit of Saron available for testing. As far as I am aware, bugs are abound with this instance and no loot is available. Don't bother.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Effect of One on Many: Altering the WoW Economy

As my first real post I'd like to discuss another facet of the game that keeps me interested - playing the Auction House. Prior to transferring (lol 20k gold cap) I had around 110k and was approaching the gold cap, as I had easily been earning 5-10k/week since the release of 3.1. As someone who works in finance in real life and does an extensive amount of analysis on the real-world economy, it's fascinating to draw parallels between the it and the WoW economy.

We've all watched how the actions of an individual can affect many, seeing the world's economy collapse as a result of the actions of US banks, and this is to some extent being replicated across the World of Warcraft as a result of MMO-Champion's posting of gold guides. For those who have missed it, they can be found on the front page of MMO-Champion, and discuss gold-making methods using professions, most prominently Inscription and Enchanting.

What are these doing? They're significantly altering the shape of the WoW economy. For example, the price of Cobalt Bars, since the original post yesterday about enchanting, have skyrocketed in value, doubling in value of some servers and increasing in value to some degree on almost all. Eternal Earths have similarly skyrocketed. Infinite Dust prices have crashed on some servers due to the methods contained in the post creating an over-supply of Dusts. It's yet to be seen what results the inscription post will have on glyph prices, but herb prices have already increased, by 50% on my server, Blackrock.

There's some money to be had if you know where to look, so get in early and beat the rush. Be sure to snap up any herbs/bars/eternals if you find that your server has not yet been affected by the price changes.

I'll keep you posted on this as it develops further, as BB will most likely develop more guides on the matter.

~P

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Welcome to Emblem of Conquest!

Welcome to Emblem of Conquest, I hope you enjoy your stay here! First of all, allow me to introduce myself. I am Panasi, and I currently play a retribution paladin, raiding with the guild Fallen Chapter on the Blackrock-US server. For a long time I have been at the forefront of PvE progression, PvE being the primary reason for me to play this game, although I have dabbled in arena, mainly during TBC where I attained Gladiator rank in Seasons 1, 2 and 3 on my ex-main, an undead mage. Not really into it anymore, however, for a number of reasons!

This blog will hopefully be useful to anyone, regardless of their skill level or experience in the game. This may sound a little ambitious, but I'm hoping my wide breadth of knowledge will be able to accomplish this and supply my readerbase with information that suits them. I'll mainly be discussing PvE, as well as paladins and game changes, however I may throw in the odd post on other aspects of the game! Stay tuned and be sure to check back soon! I'll have my first piece of content up tomorrow.

~P