I will not explain the recent deal with RealID itself, as there’s probably about a hundred or so posts on this topic, and if you’re reading this, I’m pretty sure you already have an opinion on it. I’ll talk a bit about all the side issues that popped out with it.
Evil addons are stealing my name and Battle.net account ID!
It started on forums, was reported by wow.com, and by the time you blink it’s all over the bloody place. I’ve even seen this one in one place I would never expect it – on Tobold’s blog. I know he’s not a bad guy (and neither are the rest), and I was really surprised to see him release such crap on the net. I have no idea why. However he did, and as in every FUD, there is some truth in it – let’s take it apart then.
There is no magical way for any addon to show you real names of other characters on mouseover. This can happen only in two instances:
- The character is already on your RealID friends list (in which case you know that name anyway, duh). Note that this is only your own friends list, not the one you could get from the “friends of friends” feature – that one doesn’t have character names included at all, even if the person in question is online and right besides you on your screen.
- The player behind the character somehow transmitted his real name to you, so your addon knows his name.
So, let’s talk about the second instance, since the first one is obvious. There is indeed a vulnerability in which you can let some addon get your real name. If an addon gets your name, it can transmit it to someone, and you won’t even know that it happened. I won’t go into details of how it works – if you know about how addons work, you can figure it out by yourself, and this itself is not very important here.
What is important, are these things:
- To learn my real name this way, I have to have a suspicious addon in my own addon folder. Now, the question is, why would I have something like that? I download addons only from respectable sources like WoWInterface or Curse, and I’m pretty sure that the authors of Grid or Auctioneer won’t risk putting malicious code in their work. So as far as you’re downloading well known addons from well known sites, you can be pretty sure that you’re safe.
- It is also technically possible – I guess – that someone will hack into my laptop (or that I get some trojan from a website, or something like that) and alter some addon to include malicious code in it. Again, why? Just put a bloody keylogger there and get my account ID, password and authenticator code all at the same time, it’s easier. And you can defend against this in exactly the same way as you’re now defending yourself against keyloggers.
- As for my Battle.net account ID, this is simply impossible. Yes, I used my friend’s email to add them to my friends list, but this email is not stored or displayed anywhere, and there’s no way at all for an addon to get hold of it.
To be exactly sure that you’re safe, I suggest you download one of these addons – BlizzBugsSuck or BNIsNotSelf. Both of them will block any attempts of addons trying to use this exploit and will tell you which addon tried to do nasty things, so you can delete it right away.
You could also use the solution that Tobold is suggesting in his post, namely enabling parental controls on your Battle.net account and disabling RealID altogether. However, because this will remove all your friends from the ingame list, I’ve opted not to do so, as I like the ingame thing a lot. You can safely enable both the parental controls and keep RealID enabled, which is what I did.
The last words on this are – watch what addons you’re downloading and where from, or at the very least use the fix. Not sure if an addon is okay? Don’t download it. Not sure if this “new and improved Grid666, a replacement for Grid/Healbot/Decursive” is okay? Don’t download it. Curse/WoWI are laggy, and you just happened to find a mirror of AtlasLoot on some site you’ve never heard before? It’s a trap. In the end, it’s your PC and your hard drive, you’re going to be the one responsible if you happen to download something bad onto it.
Rather than talking about the changes themselves, I’d like to take a look at the responses it provoked on the blogs and forums. From the mild ones (“I’m not posting on forums now, so I won’t post on them anyway”), through conspiracy theories, to extreme cases like some Gnome cancelling his account. Gnomes, I tell you, they’re crazy and dangerous creatures. One of them, that small one with pink pigtails, even said she can delete me! Anyway, where was I…
I kind of admire Gnomeageddon for making a stand in this way – even though I realize that he loses absolutely nothing by doing it. Blizzard won’t delete his stuff anyway, so he can resubscribe later if he wants to. Some reactions however are just over the edge – like a blogger deleting all of her WoW related posts on her blog in protest. Now, I’ve never read her blog, so I can’t say what was there, but it seems like a bit of an overreaction. I wouldn’t delete stuff that could be possibly helpful to someone. So, it’s a strange way to protest, and given that Blizzard doesn’t really seem to care about blogs, it mostly hurts the blog readers that have done nothing wrong.
Some apparently don’t mind it too much – this being mostly the people that have their names known anyway, like Turpster or Big Bear Butt – so they don’t care much for this change at all, even if they’re not really agreeing with it.
There’re also responses that you could expect from 4chan and other crappy sites like that. Browsing through blogs, I’ve found one that openly lists personal information of Blizzard employees – information some moron with keyboard, google and too much free time found by looking up their names. Protesting is one thing – and completely okay, but shit like that? No way, that’s why I won’t link to it. I did report it to their hosting service, and I had to lie in the support form that it’s my name and personal details that’s there, even though I’m in no way a Blizzard employee. Hopefully they’ll check it anyway.
My own response.
I don’t really like the forum change itself. It feels too much like an experiment, and I’m not really sure that I’d like to be paying to be a test subject. It’s a very interesting experiment, mind you, but an experiment nonetheless, and I don’t know if it will fail or be a success. I know that it could be done in a different way, like a permanent nickname that you setup for your Battle.net account and sign all posts with that – like they’re proposing with our names, but without all the privacy issues.
I don’t actually care that much about the change, though, as I very rarely post on official forums anyway – so don’t expect any big protests from me. I use the RealID ingame communication feature to talk with my friends cross-realm, and I still like the game and what they’re planning for Cataclysm.
Would I post on the official forums under my real name? Probably not. Unlike Gnomeageddon or Hatch, I don’t have a boss that would give me the bad eye if he knew that I play games after work, and my name is already connected to some anime stuff I’ve done in the past. Even though, I still post here and on the WoW blogs as Saithir – and I would prefer to do so on the official forums as well, because it would keep all my thoughts and opinions under one name. Using my real name for one of them is not helping with that, unless I’ll use it everywhere, and that’s not going to happen.
For now, I’m going to sit tight and watch how the situation will evolve. I hope they won’t go through with the real names idea, and implement the new forums with permanent nicknames instead. We shall see.
In just a few days, the Undergeared guild will be five months old. Since lately we’re doing quite well, clearing Trial of the Crusader and Onyxia, here’s a bit of background info.
It all started in December as Gevlon posted an idea on his blog to prove that you don’t have to farm gear endlessly in order to clear all the raiding content in Wrath of the Lich King. To add a level of challenge (and to make sure we don’t have to farm content we’ve already done), we’re doing it all in blue gear that everyone can get from the level 80 heroic dungeons and crafting recipes. No epics are allowed, unless they’re a bonus from your profession of choice (like the engineering helmets), and same goes for enchants and gems.
It’s also a project that aims to prove the stupidity of “LFM ToC-10 link achiv and have 5k gs” and similar idiotic announcements that are so popular in the Trade channels of pretty much every server. Unfortunately, that goal is hard to achieve without letting the word spread out a bit – hence this post, which with small changes will be probably copied by me at least onto official Blizzard forums.
Why do it now, after whole five months, and not earlier? Because now we are actually doing the content that matters. As much as I like Ulduar and Eye of Eternity, nobody will be convinced by us completing that, blues or not. ToC on the other hand, is still a very popular dungeon and I see people run it all the time. Next Saturday we’re doing our first ICC-10 raid.
Who am I anyway?
I’m Saithir, a gamer and a raider from Poland. On my current main, Vrethir, I’ve tanked the whole expansion up to Sindragosa in 10-man Icecrown Citadel – and then stopped a while ago, with the unfortunate event that is the disbandment of my guild. In I play as Misaka, the Restoration shaman, and I’ve been a healer in almost all the raids we’ve done.
It’s my first shaman character above level 10, and I’ve leveled her from scratch on Arathor-EU purely as Elemental. It was actually one of the requirements of the Undergeared project – to raid with classes you don’t raid on other servers. I chose to make Misaka, because I wanted to learn how to heal on a shaman.
At first I wasn’t very good at it, for example I’ve totally forgot to apply Earthliving Weapon on our first evening in Ulduar, so I’ve healed it all without it and never noticed – until some commenter on Gevlon’s blog pointed it out after looking into our combat logs. I’m also that shaman healer that had to portal out of Thorim’s room to get a shield instead of an offhand frill, so that the adds won’t kill me as easily – and got a green shield from the AH with strength and defense on it (and a +25 Int enchant). :) It worked, and even though I now use the more proper one from Horde Expedition, I still keep that greenie in my bank as a souvenir.
I’m still sometimes late with the totems or forget to use Bloodlust at all, but I think I’m getting better at it. ;) And I made a big blinking icon in Power Auras that tells me I don’t have my weapon enchanted with anything. :)
Why <Undergeared> and who are they exactly?
In the beginning, I thought of the project just as a tool to distract myself from my Alliance guild, and to finally level a Horde character to 80 and see the other half of the game I’ve been playing for so long. The raiding was just an excuse to do so and actually get to the endgame. ;)
However, I can’t say I didn’t like the idea of blue raiding – it adds a nice challenge because of the static (and pretty low by today’s standards) gear levels, at the same time reducing the need for doing the endless badge grind to keep up. Sure, I had to spend some time with Rawr to figure out the best gear and run some heroics to obtain it, but after I’ve finished that, I’m done – I can log onto Misaka once per week for a raid, or pop on when I’m bored and want to do some heroics, or just quickly do the daily jewelcrafting quest in 10 minutes and then log out.
As for the other players, well they’d have to speak for themselves really. We have different kind of players, more and less hardcore raiders – from ones like me that mostly do the normal modes in 10-mans, and ones that raid more hardcore and are on some heroic modes in Icecrown. It’s hard to say really, because we’re not a social guild by any means. I can’t really say I like them, because I don’t really know any of them… But I sure do like raiding with them, and that is exactly why I’m still there.
We’re not a social guild, because we don’t have to. We have a set goal, our goblinish GM routinely kicks people that aren’t online for a month, and we have to prove we can get the needed gear and put out a decent performance in a heroic or a raid before we gain the rank of Raider.
You could probably say we’re the hardcore-casual types. Hardcore enough to know the tactics, learn our classes’ abilities, get the BiS gear (even though it’s blue) and gem/enchant it properly, and replace people in the middle of the raid if the situation needs it (and the guild roster permits it). Casual enough that we only raid one evening (Saturday from 19:00 till 22:00) per week, with no vent (or ingame voice comms) and minimal attendance requirements.
What have we done so far?
We started raiding on 20th of February, two months after the guild was formed. It took that long because enough people had to level from 1 to 80, and most of them without boosts from the heirloom items. We also had some people transferring their characters, both level 80s and below.
In February we cleared almost all Tier 7 10-man content – Naxxramas, Eye of Eternity, and Sartharion with one additional drake up. Why almost? Because our rogue was for some reason saved to the weekly raid – which also happened to be Naxxramas that week, so we couldn’t kill Noth the Plaguebringer. We also couldn’t replace the culprit, due to nobody else being online. But as we all know, Noth is a pussy anyway and doesn’t really count. ;) Some of our raiders also did the new ICC heroic dungeons, but as I wasn’t part of that, I can’t say much about it.
In March we had to make a break, as there were repeatedly weeks of not enough people signed to the Saturday raid. Unfortunately as we don’t want to appear too hardcore (and “raid 6 times a month or get out” would be surely viewed as such), we couldn’t do much about it. The current requirement of being online at least once a month comes from that though, and that’s as far as it really gets.
April was a month of doing Ulduar. It took a long time, because some of the raiders didn’t have that much experience in there, but we made it through up to Yogg-Saron. We left the mad Old God alone for now, though – it’s a though and complicated fight, with lots of things to do for everyone (which makes it so good btw), so we decided to skip it for now. We plan to get back to him later, probably as a change of scenery from Icecrown.
The rest of Ulduar wasn’t very hard. Flame Leviathan which we were afraid of (it’s the one fight that punishes us for our iLevel 200 gear with the vehicle scaling) was one-shotted instead of giving us any problems. Mimiron required only a few tries, and before the kill we wiped on sub 5% HP twice (on different evenings). Most time was spent on Auriaya (due to new tanks and pulling issues) and Thorim, due to the arena team dying horribly.
Now we have May and we’re already done with Tier 9 content. The Northrend Beasts were one-shotted pretty easily with the tank never being in any danger at all. Lord Jarraxus tested our healing abilities, as we lost our Tree Druid late in the fight, and had to two-heal the last 25 or so percent of the fight. We still somehow made it, but I have to say I was completely out of mana at the end, and if it went even a little bit longer, it would be another sub 5% wipe. We continued to clear the instance with a few wipes until Anub’Arak, which we promptly one-shotted again, with only one player dying at the very end of the third phase, as I was a split second too late with my heal.
After that victory we paid a visit to our old friend, Lady Prestor, in her cave in Dustwallow Marsh, and killed her as well. The fight with Onyxia wasn’t a problem as well. We actually wiped on the first trash, as the tank pulled one of them through the raid on accident, cleaving us all – but the boss fight itself went almost perfectly. We didn’t made any additional achievements though – a bit of a shame, but well, can’t have everything.
So why this long post?
I have to admit that I’d like to see the end of the endless spam of “LFM 5k gs” in Trade, but I’m also pretty much aware that’s really a hard thing to do – and especially not if people don’t know at all that 5k gs is not a requirement to successfully clear instances.
Will our Undergeared project be the last straw that puts an end to it? I really doubt it, but at the same time it couldn’t possibly hurt if I spark some discussion or response here. Maybe someone will “see the light”, stop asking for gearscore and instead will ask for tactics? Who knows. :)
We’re just a solid proof that you don’t need awesome gear (or to be hardcore) to successfully raid and enjoy it, that’s all.
So here we are now – almost all of the previous content cleared, in gear that wasn’t really designed to use that far. On Saturday we’ll be going into the Icecrown Citadel, so wish us luck!
Any comments, discussions or questions are of course welcome, and I’ll be lurking around here and trying to answer them as best as I can.
Few things in one post this time, mostly because I’m awfully late with them, and still thinking how to write a long serious post about other more serious subject.
Cataclysm Class Previews
My paladin is still only level 39, but I have to say there are some very cool things in the preview. Making Crusader Strike a core ability (and available from level 1) is quite awesome when you consider that early leveling is quite a pain here. Holy Shock will help as well, and fusing Blessing of Might and Blessing of Wisdom will remove a lot of annoyance, both while leveling and in the endgame. The rest sounds nice on paper, but I’ll have to level up and see.
Druids got a little note about the Ancients of War look for the Tree of Life form. Now I’m really interested in how it will look – the Ancients are quite big ingame, so I doubt we will be of the same size, but maybe something like half of it would be cool. I think it’s a nice tradeoff for the permanent old tree. ;)
Another nice bit of information. Making the rewards from 10-man raids the same as from the 25-mans and then putting both on one Raid ID is exactly what was needed. Now there’s no pressure to run the same dungeon twice a week (or four times if it was ToC), and if you don’t have enough raiding after one, there are always alts. On the other hand I’m a bit afraid that the single lockout will make PuGs less often as they are in Wrath… well we’ll have to wait and see I guess. ;)
I’m not the best source for that, but we’re on Yogg+3 and oneshotted Gormok and the other beasts in ToC. That was a nice thing to do, since they’re the most annoying there. Doing 4/5 in ToC this week will be easy, maybe with an exception of Faction Champions, but on normal difficulty they’re pussies anyway. Anub might be a little problem in the third phase, will require creative healing and keeping the raid group quite low.
I was afraid earlier that the Beasts will be more of a problem, but they didn’t pose any threat at all, even when one of the tanks got 4 stacks of Impale at one point by accident.
I can bet you didn’t expect this to show up on a technically WoW-themed blog, did you. ;) Well, the main reason is that continuing to restrict myself to blogging only about WoW was a really bad idea – especially if there is nothing interesting happening to me in Azeroth, as it happens quite often lately – and you can see the results of that from the sparingly appearing posts here. So, here it is – my second big hobby besides gaming. There will be more coming, but don’t count on me blogging about each new episode that gets aired. ;)
With that short introduction out of the way, lets get straight to the meat of the post. The series presented here are ordered in the way I’ve liked them so far – remember though that I’ve seen only one or two episodes of each, as they are still new and being currently shown on Japanese TV. The pictures below are linked to the full (or almost full, as most of these are in 720p and I’ve resized them for web) versions of the screencaps.
Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
So, what do we have here. A girl who enrolled in an all-boys high school that recently turned co-ed, and is now the president of the school’s student council. The same girl happens to absolutely hate all males and wants to turn the school into a nice place, one more suitable for girls. The very same girl also works part-time in a maid cafe (in a different district of the city of course, so the students of the school won’t use it against her) after school to support her family. Then it just takes a few of her classmates to discover that fact, and we have the story rolling.
Well, what can I say about it. Somehow I tend to watch and enjoy these kind of anime, and Kaichou has all the qualities that I need – nice and simple art style, an explosive female protagonist and lots and lots of humour. Which is why it’s placed here as the show I’ll definitely keep watching this Spring.
B Gata H Kei
Once again we have a school and a beautiful girl, but this time, her plans are completely different. Her dream is to have sex with a hundred different guys, and she just has to find a nice (possibly inexperienced as well so she doesn’t get laughed at) guy for a good start! Of course she does – by accidentally falling on him in a book shop and thinking he sacrificed himself to save her. It doesn’t really help that she proceeds to scare him away right after that, and she didn’t even remember his face. Fortunately for her (and conveniently for the viewers), the poor guy is sitting right next to her in the classroom on the next day. Things go more crazy from that point, as both of them are inexperienced virgins and afraid of basically everything. That’s what makes it really fun, though.
It’s simply hilarious to watch, and manages to not turn into something focused mostly on showcasing pretty boobs and asses, for which it gets a lot of bonus points. It’s a really strong contender for the first place in this season for me, whatever might that tell about me. ;)
Senkou no Night Raid
Away from pretty schoolgirls for a bit, here’s something a bit more serious. This story is set in a year 1931 and takes place in China, where a small group of people with supernatural powers (teleporting, telekinesis, telepathy and improved vision) is sent to infiltrate a camp of an armed organization and rescue a kidnapped president of a Japanese company. Fortunately, even though they mostly rely on their powers to succeed, it somehow doesn’t feel like it’s going to turn into a superhero movie type of thing.
There have been only one episode of this anime so far, and they haven’t really explained anything in it other than what I’ve wrote above. It might be fun if the studio can put an interesting story behind it, but it’s really hard to decide after 24 minutes of almost pure action. I’ll definitely watch at least one or two more episodes, as the first one surely did a good job at capturing the viewer’s interest.
Arakawa Under the Bridge
Another comedy show this season, this one is a bit more of the weird variety. A young boy is saved from drowning by a homeless girl living under the bridge, and because he hates being indebted to anyone (and especially over something that big), he asks her what can he do to repay her. She doesn’t want money from him or a new house, and instead asks him to fall in love with her.
The first two episodes are really strange. I’m still not totally convinced if I like it – they have some good moments, but most of the situations just keeps me amazed at the absurdity of them, rather than laughing. Oh, and that also includes the opening animation. Still, it’s not really that bad, so I’ll see if it becomes more interesting later.
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou
Guess what, it’s another school comedy. This one is a magic school though, so at least it’s somewhat different from the others. Here we follow a young boy that just recently transferred here, and managed to become the center of attention for the whole school from the start. How? Well, the school has a mysterious hat assigning students to the houses bird foretelling the students’ futures, and this very boy is told that he will be a Demon King, instead of a good high priest that he dreams to be. With news of that announcement spreading around the school, soon the boy will find himself right in the middle of panic, destruction and, for some unknown reason, naked female body parts.
Well, the last part is what makes this anime (or rather, the whole ecchi comedy genre that it belongs to) a bit strange. They could’ve drop it and it would be a standard show, not especially bad or good, but instead they insist on putting our hero in weird situations as a way to show off boobs and make silly jokes about him being a pervert. Nothing too excessive though, so I don’t really mind, at least as long as they keep in on that level. It’s not a show to be a fan of, but it won’t hurt your brain to watch it as well.
Another school – but this time it’s also an afterlife. Should it surprise anyone then that everyone inside is already dead and can’t die again, no matter what happens to them? Probably not. What should surprise you though, is that there’s some sort of a resistance group here that is fighting against God and the angel (who is conveniently named Angel, and looks like a normal high school girl – that is, if we overlook her immunity to any damage and ability to summon huge blades from her wrists) that supervises this world. With guns. Lots of guns. Why the Angel lets them do so, is a mystery though.
So far it’s mostly a silly comedy show, but I’m hoping that will change and there will be some sort of story in it as well. Doesn’t really help that it’s drawn and animated in a weird style, especially all the male characters – and after the first episode the fandom already found a number of animation mistakes in the video. I’m not the one to care too much about some mistakes, if it also happens to have an interesting story, but so far it sadly doesn’t. I hope it will pick up speed in the few next episodes.
A kid finds a broken robot toy, tries to repair it, the toy suddenly gets hit with a lightning bolt and comes to life as a giant robot, granting the kid (named Joey btw, but it’s not like anyone should really care) a freaking big controller glove in the process. Don’t ask me how that works. Together they save the kid’s almost-girlfriend from a nasty gas explosion, fight aliens and who knows what else.
It’s a series done by Stan Lee and Bones, both big names in their respective areas. Unfortunately it turned out to be rather annoying to watch – sure, the animation quality is what you would expect from a big animation studio, but the characters are drawn in a very weird way that I don’t really like at all. And the fact that almost all we can hear from Joey’s mouth is “HEEEEROOOOMAAAAAN ENGAAAGE” and similar things (the second word is variable here, “HEEEROOOOMAAAAAAAAAN” unfortunately isn’t), doesn’t really help.
Or maybe I’m just getting too old for standard Marvel comics stuff, who knows. One way or the other, I was very disappointed after watching the first episode – and then I’ve tried the second with a very slight spark of hope that things will change and Joey will maybe learn how to be a proper protagonist, utter more than two decent sentences for an episode and shout at his robot less. He didn’t.
So, “HEEEROOOMAAAAAAAN DELEEETE”. I won’t miss it at all, I’ve got enough good shows to watch instead. Too bad though, as I was really interested in it when I saw Bones and Stan Lee together in the preview.
Of course it’s not all, and to be honest it’s not even the half of the new shows, but the rest are hardly interesting for me. They’re either too cute, too focused on boobs and fanservice, or some kind of sports anime, which I have no interest in at all. Then there’s also a few shows that I simply didn’t have time to check out (or that haven’t started yet), being mostly RAINBOW Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, Saraiya Goyou and maybe one or two more that I’ll try to check out. There’s also a new season of K-On! and Durarara! still hasn’t ended, so I’ll have something to watch anyway. ;)
Those of you that for some reason (totally unknown to me, though) follow me on Twitter might have noticed already – yesterday I’ve received an email from Blizzard stating that my account was upgraded with a new beta key. After almost a day of waiting due to some kind of Battle.net website failure (fortunately I’ve had work to do, so I haven’t gone totally insane), I’ve finally managed to download and install the beta client.
Since it’s already quite late here, I’ve only played a short 1v1 game against the AI, but I have to say that I liked it, even though I’ve never really got into the original Starcraft. Maybe that’s just the feeling of something both new and familiar, however weird it might sound. But I’ll write more about that after a few more games.
One thing that I was afraid of was the graphics. I was wondering if Blizzard will keep the low requirements of WoW in a completely new game. As my laptop isn’t exactly a gaming rig, will it still be able to run it? I was really surprised when I discovered that it will be good enough. Sure, I’ve had to set the graphic settings to “low”, but I don’t actually care about that, as long as I’m able to run the game smoothly. It looks kind of like the original Starcraft though, only with 3D units instead of sprites.
One new and awesomely cool feature is the replay system. It saves online matches and enables you to watch them again from any point of view, slow down, rewind, see what orders were issued, what was built, how many resources the player had, things like that. I have no doubt it will be a lot of help for a player like me, who’s definitely going to be absolutely smashed into the ground for the first two weeks or so. ;)
Oh, and I’m on the Europe side of the beta, so if anyone wants to add me there for some weird reason, you can send a friend invite towards Saithir.aervithar – apparently that’s my BN handle there.
More awesome news from Blizzard’s development team came out this Friday with previews of next few classes. This leaves only the poor Paladins for the next week for some reason.
Mushrooms! It’s weird though, but as I only play Resto, I don’t really mind. Getting Dispel Magic will be good – finally all of the healing classes will have it, which they should in the beginning.
The biggest change here is the changing of the Tree of Life. It will be a cooldown (similar to Metamorphosis they say, which told me nothing at all and I had to check Wowhead to see that it has 30 sec duration and 3 min cooldown) instead of a passive ability. It’s kind of disturbing, but on the other hand, I’ve been looking at my tree looking exactly the same for one and a half of expansion now. I just hope that the gear will be worth it, or I’m afraid I’ll have to pay for Sheven’s operation and his transformation into a female night elf. ;)
On a more serious note though, I don’t really mind. It’s not the tree form I like in the class (though it’s cool and all that), it’s the healing style, and that doesn’t seem to be changing that much – only for the better with bits and pieces like Regrowth leaving an AoE healing patch on the ground if it crits. I just hope that with removing of the boring talents they’ve talked earlier, they will be adding some fun ones instead.
Some time ago I’ve tried to level up my hunter when I was bored, but the ongoing mana problems weren’t really making it any less boring, so he’s still sitting somewhere around Borean Tundra, waiting for the Cataclysm to happen. Changing mana to focus needed, but I’m a bit disappointed here about losing ammo. It will just feel weird, and I would prefer to have an infinite item in the ammo slot instead, maybe with different damage types or something.
Second thing that I like is Camouflage, which just sounds fun. The rest – stables changes, finally getting a pet from level 1, losing some melee abilities, launching all traps at range and others – are for me just icings on a cake that is focus. Awesome icings nonetheless, especially the level 1 change.
I haven’t really played a mage before, so I might not be the best person to talk about this, but as I’m planning to make one in the future, here goes.
The big one – Time Warp. Basically it’s a Bloodlust/Heroism finally given to another class. So long, Deathwing-EU Alliance shamans, finally I won’t have to put up with your crap when I can have a mage with a brain instead. It’s about time some other class got this kind of ability and from a raid leader perspective I don’t really care about all the poor shamans that are afraid of losing their raid spots. If you won’t suck, you won’t lose the spot, rather than the rest of the raid having to endure you for your unique buff we need. They should have done it much earlier, when they gave shamans to the Alliance.
Wall of Fog sounds nice as well – with the addition of rated battlegrounds this will be a nice defensive tool in some of the places, if used right of course. Would be more fun if it was a wall of ice making a new wall and breaking line of sight, though.
Lately Blizzard is publishing a lot of information about the classes in the next expansion. It’s a good thing, but if they happen to drop some of these new and awesome features, I’d be really disappointed. So, here’s a quick preview of some I’m most interested in. I won’t write about all of them, as you can read them by yourself and I have no doubt you’ve already done so. ;)
The warrior changes are so awesome I’m starting to think it’s a late April Fools joke. They looked at everything that is annoying in playing a warrior right now, and changed it for the better. The few highlights below doesn’t really show that, but I’ve read the preview and I’m really excited about tanking on my warrior in Cataclysm.
- Heroic Strike will no longer be an “on next swing” attack, as we are removing this mechanic in Cataclysm. And all the Protection warriors around the world rejoiced at a thought that their wrists will be (somewhat) saved from the RSI, and their mousewheels saved from dying an early death from overuse. Seriously.
- Talents and abilities – Heroic Leap sounds awesome, and I really hope it will stay in the final version – even if the healers already hate me for charging into the mobs, now I will be able to do it with style. The Furious Sundering will be a nice thing to have for dps warriors when there’s no warrior tank around, and I really hope it won’t be buried deep in the tree so Arms will be able to get it as well.
The rogue class was pretty much fine in Wrath, except for the Subtlety tree (which I don’t really care about anyway). The changes we’ve seen so far make it from being just fine to cool.
- Changes to the combo points system. This includes such things as an ability to transfer unused points to a new target when you change targets – something that was quite annoying in any fight with more than one mob. Making passive abilities like Slice and Dice use points on a recently killed target (rather than wasting the ones on the current one, which could be used for dealing damage) is the big thing here. We’ll see how it plays, but it looks like it will be not as annoying to play a rogue.
- The rogue drops a Smoke Bomb, creating a cloud that interferes with enemy targeting. Enemies who are outside the cloud will find themselves unable to target units inside the cloud with single-target abilities. Enemies can move inside the cloud to attack, or they can use area-of-effect (AoE) abilities at any time to attack opponents in a cloud. This new ability is something absolutely new and awesome, even more than the warrior’s Heroic Leap, which is just a more awesome Charge.
While I still haven’t leveled my little Priest above level 28 or so, these new things in the preview make me want to do it before the expansion. The highlight here is the Leap of Faith, which is basically a Death Grip used on a friendly target. Sounds very fun. ;) Changes to healing and a group Power Word: Barrier are also cool.
The Shaman changes were a bit disappointing, as there isn’t much awesome things there. A new AoE heal is nice I guess, some fixes with Elemental as well, but it seemed like they were focused on Enhancement the most, which I don’t play at all, so meh.
Warlocks and Death Knights – no real comments here. It will be nice for DK’s to finally get a single tanking tree, at least from my raid leading point of view. Warlocks are all about the soul shards, just like in the Blizzcon preview – I’m not really interested in them right now, but after the expansion hits I might as well roll one if it’s not as annoying as I hear it is now.
All in all, it’s a lot of cool and exciting things in one. I will be really disappointed if they decide to not do some of these, and I really hope to see all of this in the game.
After about a month of playing Eve Online, here’s where I am – in a tiny shuttle, orbiting a gigantic titan class vessel – the Caldari Navy Leviathan, sitting in an orbit above the planet of Luminaire VII, or what my character would rather call it – Caldari Prime.
It’s one of the things that make the Eve universe have a nice story that the players take part in. While some of the players might simply ignore the rpg setting, I kind of like it, especially if it lets me take a very close look on something that is currently one of the largest and most deadly spaceship a player can fly in the game – and in a way that doesn’t involve me being blown up rather quickly by an angry mob of other players. The second picture shows the scale better – you can see my 40m long shuttle in the middle of the screen, flying across the top of the Leviathan.
So far I’m in a newbie friendly training corporation called the Unseen Academy – I mostly spend the time here flying around on my own, doing missions and other stuff, and once in a while attending various trainings of all kinds. So far we’ve done group mission running, some pvp, some mining operations, and a frigate tournament of sorts. If you happen to be a Polish player as well, I’d really recommend them (just like they were recommended to me) – if not, there’s also a few others, Eve University being probably the most known of them. It’s a nice way to get to know the game better, see what you can do in here and find what will be fun for you.
Still, I haven’t totally decided on what I will be doing after the Academy. Missions are okay, but they’re getting quickly repetitive and boring. Exploration (especially in high security systems) is nice, but very, very random – one day you can get loot worth from 5 to 30 million ISK each, other times you fly around scanning system after system, and get either wormholes or hidden asteroid belts. Mining, trading, production and research… I can’t go there, too static for me. This would leave pvp (probably in null sec), which I’m still a bit scared of… ;)
For the last few days, I’ve been playing Eve Online. I received a trial invitation from one of my friends (with one extra week of playtime), and started flying around big empty areas with planets, asteroids and other stuff in it.
In short – it’s much more fun when you play it by yourself, compared to looking at pretty videos, screenshots and observing someone else doing the flying. If I had to sum it up in a few words – it’s basically the good old Frontier, only played in an online environment. And yeah, I know that by saying this I’m basically reducing this incredibly complex game to something that could be fitted on a single floppy disk (only with better graphics), but I have only good memories of both Frontier and First Encounters, so it’s absolutely not negative.
So far I’ve been mostly running tutorial missions and finishing the first epic arc. The tutorials are lengthy, but they explain the basic game mechanics quite well – and award ships and skill books. The epic missions on the other hand were a bit disappointing – they provide a nice storyline to drag you around the Empire (and grant a new player something from 10 to 15 million ISK while doing so), but it looks extremely unfinished and ends without any sort of a real ending. I’ve expected maybe a bit more of action, especially for something that long. Still, the cash and experience was nice to get.
Right now I’m mostly playing around, doing random odd jobs to find something interesting. On the weekend I was mostly doing missions versus NPC pirates and then salvaging their wrecks – while not very hard at the starting level, it’s a bit boring when the pirates die in a few missile salvos and don’t have the chance to fight back. Not that I really want them to fight back though, as I’ve already lost a good few frigates by jumping into something that I couldn’t handle. Missions themselves aren’t very profitable (at least the Level 1 ones I’m able to do), but switching ships after the mission and reducing 20 enemy wrecks to sellable parts or raw materials can usually double the income. I’ve already made back more than I’ve spent on a destroyer fitted to salvage things, but most of the time the rewards aren’t that great.
This week will be exploration week – running around systems and scanning for minerals, pirate bases and other stuff that can be found in space. Lets hope that I can find anything at all. ;)
Thanks to a tweet from the Blog Azeroth forums I’ve noticed a new challenge of sorts to write some advice for new players. It was started by Khi over at Tree Burglar (and here on Blog Azeroth forums) and I really hope we can come up with some solid posts and possibly get it read by the ones who need that information the most. Anyway, since lately I’ve been levelling two healers from level one mostly by the LFG, here’s some tips from an experienced tank for the ones that are just starting.
Before I start, there’s one thing that you absolutely need to remember.
Even with the heirloom gear, you can’t solo the appropriate level 5-man dungeon. The 5 in “5-man” is there for a reason.
With that initial tip out of the way, lets start with some tips for the tanks. All of this is based on my healer experience in random 5-man dungeons.
- Always know where your healer is and what is he or she doing. Don’t run away on your own and start whacking some mobs behind two corners – the healer needs to see you to be able to heal you. Your healer is being attacked by a mob? Taunt it off.
- Watch the healer’s mana bar. If it’s less than 1/3 full, don’t pull anything, stop and wait for the healer to regain mana. This is extremely important at the lower levels, as the healer doesn’t have any mana regeneration abilities yet, and their only option is to sit and drink. They can’t do that while in combat, they need a short break. While I know that nowadays everyone wants to finish the instance fast, so they can go and queue for the next one (and this is regardless of a level), it’s really simple. Letting the healer refill their mana bar takes 30 seconds. Dying because the healer had no mana and running back will take you at least 2 to 10 minutes, and in some extreme cases like Blackrock Depths, 10 minutes might not be enough, depending on where you died. Which would you prefer?
- Learn how to tank. This is obviously different for all classes, but generally if you look over the spell tooltips, you will notice some of them have “this ability does a lot of threat” or similar on them. Use these. If after that you’re still not sure about what you should use, ask someone – either a friend or just do “/who your class 80” and ask someone that’s not in some instance (if you’re going to ask politely, most people will respond politely). You’re here to hold the mobs on you – if you don’t do that, they will run and smack that squishy mage (or what’s worse – that squishy priest that’s healing you) in the face and most likely kill them.
- Positioning is important. Never turn your back to the mob that you’re tanking, unless you have a damn good reason to do so – like taunting a mob off the healer for example – and even then only do so for a few seconds only. Always try to position yourself in such way so you can see all the mobs you’re tanking, keeping in mind that you need to be in range (and line of sight) of your healer. Overdoing it is also bad – once you’re in a position, you shouldn’t move unless the mobs or the boss drop an AoE effect on your head.
- How you pull the mobs is also important. Shoot them, charge them, Faerie Fire or Hand of Reckoning them, but don’t just run in and body-pull a group. Remember that you have to do some damage to the mobs to keep them on you, so only taunting is not enough. And if you forget to hit one mob out of the whole pack, you can be pretty sure that it will run to the healer very fast, as we don’t usually have threat reducing talents at the early levels.
- As the tank, you’ll be expected to know where to go, even if it’s your first time seeing that dungeon. The old world instances are all rather complicated (with the exception of maybe Stormwind Stockade) and they still don’t have ingame maps even after 5 years. If you don’t know the way, don’t be afraid to ask in the party if someone does. Chances are good that there will be an alt of someone who done it hundreds of times. Don’t forget to learn the way while you’re there. Also, WowHead and WoWWiki are good resources to check before signing up to the LFG – you’ll find maps, boss and loot lists, tactics, comments, dungeon quests and where to get them, all sorts of useful stuff.
- Have at least some sort of tank gear. Below level 68 it doesn’t really matter that much and there won’t be much tanking drops, but don’t forget to have a one-handed weapon and a shield if you’re a paladin or a warrior (even if you have the heirloom 2-handed weapon), or the appropriate talents if you’re a druid. Other than that – gear with defense rating, stamina, agility, strength, and of the highest armor class you can wear is good for you. Remember that you’re here in this dungeon to tank the mobs, not to kill them. There are 3 other people that will do the killing for you.
- Use your cooldowns. Tanking classes get their defensive cooldowns pretty early. Learn to use them whenever you can (and take a lot of damage) – their cooldown was cut down from half an hour to just a few minutes, so there’s no reason to save them. One warning for the paladins and druids though – trying to cast your healing spells while tanking is not a good idea at all, unless a) the healer is already dead, b) you’re absolutely certain that you can survive the few seconds before the cast finishes (especially as a druid, since it takes you out of bear form).
- After entering the dungeon, ask if the healer is ready, then start running after mobs. Maybe they need to regain their mana first, because they were questing? Maybe they need to switch from a dps spec to a healing spec (and they can’t do that while you put the whole group in combat)? You can’t expect them to be ready and simply asking costs you nothing. Also, see the second hint about the detailed reason why.
The last few tips are not only for the tanks, but also for the dps.
- Don’t ask or nag the healer to heal you. The healer already knows that they’re in the dungeon to heal people, and if they’re not AFK, there’s a big chance that they’re already casting a heal on you. Same goes for resurrecting dead people – I can see that you’re dead, and you can keep asking for a ress but that won’t happen if I don’t have enough mana after the fight (or we’re still not out of combat yet).
- Being polite keeps you alive (or gets you back from the dead). If I see something like “preist res” in the chat window, then I really hope you know your way back from the graveyard, because you’re definitely not getting resurrected by me. The characters we play have names, and the game itself even has a name auto-completion system included after you type the first few letters and press [Tab]. It doesn’t get any easier than this. My priest’s name, Ranshe, doesn’t have any accented letters that might be hard to type, so there’s absolutely no excuse to not use it. We’re all living people in this LFG group, even if you will never see us again.
- Being polite also extends to gameplay. Don’t run off in a random direction by yourself while the group goes the other way – if there’s a boss or a quest mob, just ask in party chat and we’re all going to go there. If you see other players need an item that’s of a higher level and they can use it right away and you don’t – don’t press the need button, you’ll have more chances to get it or something else.
- Focus on your job and let the others focus on theirs. Pulling mobs and tanking them is the tank’s job. Healing is the healer’s job. They will do that even without your help. You are a dps here – that means your job is dealing damage to the mobs the tank is tanking. Do that.
- If you’re not the tank, stay away from taunt buttons. Yes we know you have them, yes we know that your Death Grip looks cool or that your Hand of Reckoning deals damage. Don’t use them unless you have a very good reason to do so – like saving a healer that would otherwise die. Any other case is just going to get you dead faster.
Oh, and one last thing.
If you piss off the healer, you’d better not take any damage at all for the rest of the dungeon. This also includes tanks.