New Mage Spell Graphics – WoD Alpha

magethumbforstrat

awesomessssssssss

Recently I had the fortune to check out some of the new Mage talents and abilities on the Warlords of Draenor Alpha, and whilst not actively playing a mage as a progressional character, I did find the changes to be obvious from the outset, regardless of my play style and previously stated distance from the class itself. Filling my screen with fire and ice is something I will never complain about, so let the lag-inducing experience begin!

The graphical fidelity of World of Warcraft has been somewhat of a backseat in recent years some could argue, with many graphical changes in recent expansions being more akin to literal patches applied on an old leather coat, rather than a new coat entirely. This is not a bad thing, as much of what makes that coat unique and interesting is shared with World of Warcraft for me personally. With many changes, including those to the actual races and characters we play comes wonderful revamps and opportunities to implement visually stunning effects for various abilities. Mages are considerably livelier than most classes with their abilities, often filling the screen with fire or frost based explosions, so it makes sense to up the graphical quality of those effects primarily as to not make other changes look alien in a relatively old game. The character models themselves are owed this attention to detail, especially after how ridiculously good they look in comparison to the older models, on that im sure we can all agree.

The first Mage ability I looked at was called Supernova; an interesting talented replacement for the spell Frost Nova. Specifically for mages of an Arcane disposition, Supernova allows the caster to place a pulse of energy around either another player or the enemy, which then pulses for 112% of the casters spell power as arcane damage to all enemies within 8 yards of the target. This ability also causes the target to be knocked upwards, if the target is an enemy that you originally placed the ability on, then that enemy will take 100% extra damage whilst the effect is in place. The ability itself seems rather useful and adds extra utility to the level 75 talent choice. Im not a mage on the live game servers, as I have mentioned before, however I would feel that this seems to be a rather exciting and powerful choice that will likely be extremely useful in both PvP and the PvE situations with a large amount of additional creatures. Graphically the spell does exactly what you would expect, as it says on the tin. A large purple explosion of energy protrudes from the targets I placed it on, circling out in waves of pink tipped fire. Nothing short of extraordinary and certainly a pleasant selection of colours from what I would say usually remains, in my opinion very samey for many mage abilities.

spellsarecool

Secondly I looked at ‘Evanesce’, despite my first time reading the ability as ‘Evanescence’ and unfortunately expecting Amy Lee to pop out and serenade me to sleep; I was still pleasantly surprised when presented with another visually appealing, if not slightly ‘over-pink’ palette. I shrugged this off as possibly a theme suited to mages and read that it replaces ‘Ice Block’, immunity ability, which is extremely useful in PvE and PvP. What this talent choice (available at level 15 on the first tier of talents) does then is actually replace it with a shorter duration immunity lasting 3 seconds, only this allows the mage to actually continue moving AND can be used as an immunity WHILST casting other spells. Situational events where a full duration immunity do exist, however I still feel that the majority of the time, at least in PvE the choice may remain fundamentally towards Ice Block, rather than a heavily time sensitive replacement.

Thirdly, and lastly I got my hands on the level 75 talent choice, this time for Frost Mages only. Again replacing Frost Nova, this ability, dubbed ‘Ice Nova’ places a whirl of ice and snow around the targeted friendly / non friendly player or enemy monster and deals 95% of the mages spell power as frost damage, again if the primary target is an enemy, then that enemy takes 100% additional damage whilst the effect is in place. As stated before, I know little to practically nothing about mages anymore; however it seems like a particularly strong choice for the level 75 tier talent and actually looks the best out of the spell effects ive seen thus far. Unfortunately the place I tested this ability out in the video you will see below was predominantly the same colours of the actual spell, i.e. ice, however rest assured the visual fidelity and quality of the effect is sublime.

As much as the abilities which I have talked about today are interesting, it would seem there are even more mage abilities available only to level 100 mages which I hear are sublime and put these three to shame. I wait with baited breath then to be able to test out those potentially lag-inducing morsels of entertainment. I honestly want to see Blizzard address more spells for more classes, especially other magic users, as I find that if you increase quality in one place and not all, sometimes you can end up with obvious old versus new side by side comparisons. Warlocks are set to possibly get the same treatment, and my mind can only dream of what explosive options Blizz has up their sleeves.

Until then enjoy the various other changes to World of Warcraft, that honestly are making Warlords of Draenor look to be the most promising advancement the game has ever undertaken, a worthwhile leap forward in a sea of competitors, which are honestly put to shame by this aging, yet beautifully designed and evolving videogame. We intend to cover as much as possible over here on WoW.Stratics and personally in video form over on www.youtube.com/acegamestv.

If you have enjoyed my article, please feel free to continue the discussion over on our forums or leave a comment below. What are your favourite changes so far? What do you want to see from our Alpha coverage? Let us know!

 

Long Awaited Bank and Void Storage Upgrades!

pink-piggy-bank

As the last remnants of the Alpha Quality of Life changes continue to trickle in, we examine quite arguably the most definitive. Bank space and void storage room has been a huge issue, and while there are many solutions, I agree with Blizzard’s stance and accept this as a suitable response.

Many people wanted the Diablo style transmog, and of course, that would be ideal. It seems to make sense, especially in a game with so many items, but the one point I have against it is that the game has always been around collecting gear, not just seeing it. There are a lot of pieces that I am glad I still have, knowing that if the model in quest were implemented, I would have vendored them years ago.

Of course, I could simply hang on to them for posterity sake, as we did before Transmog, but this is a conversation for another day.

Let’s one again examine a few images courtesy of MMO Champion and discuss what we see and why it will effect the game in a way worth talking about!

reagentBank

Now while its easy to sum up the changes, it may not be so easy to understand why they are so prolific. Immediately, this should catch your attention as a HUGE bag-type storage that has a ton of slots available. What you are looking at is a separate tab of the current bank, likely unrelated to the previous and free of charge, that will act as “reagent” storage only.

But there is more than meets the eye to this image!

On top of simply giving us a billion slots of storage for this type of thing, it also ushers in an even more important quality of life change, being that stacks now can reach 200, instead of 20! This ten fold increase is enough to make me jump for joy, and likely will elicit the same response from any other person in charge of organizing their guild bank. This alone will allow herb storage to sky rocket, as our current herb tab is always overstocked early, and understocked late.

It gets so bad in the beginning of the expansion, when everyone is playing all day every day, that we would sell the excess because we simply had no room. Now, this would be ludicrous, as having that much room PLUS stacks of 200 means we have essentially been given infinite space to work around.

Besides all this, another thing that jumps off the page to me, but may not be obvious to you is that there are bandages in that tab as well. Of course, it may not actually be bandages, it may simply be some new reagent for something I have yet to understand, but if it is bandages…

Well would you typically consider bandages a reagent? I wouldn’t. I would consider them the output of reagents, ie craftables.

Other things I would consider as craftables would include Pots, Flasks, Enchants, cut gems. The list can continue, if needed.

So, if you are following my train of logic here, would we agree that it would also be possible for flasks to stack to 200, as well as be stored in this? Same goes with potions?

Now THAT is interesting news as well. Having stacks of 200 potions saves a TON of space as well for us, especially in the early goings.

Either way, this is such a great change that its sad people wont recognize it past the damning label “Quality of Life.” This is a real part of the expansion for me, and I am looking forward to it as much as anything else.

voidStorageTabs

The other topic we are discussing here is Void Storage and its future with transmog. In the image, we see that there is now an entirely new tab, the exact same size as the previous. Its very likely all the charges of prior will apply to this one as well, but either way this has been something people have been begging for.

I know quite a few people who have had theirs filled for a long time now, and in honesty, its on Blizzard to remedy this. The whole concept boils down to keeping everything even remotely interesting just in case some day you wish to use it to transmog to or perhaps use as novelty. If the storage is limited, then the system is flawed.

In my opinion, I see no reason this needs to stop at 1 tab. What function is that? Are they actively saying they are happy to give us another tab for this expansion, but its your fault if you run out of room again now?

What’s the point behind gating it, especially now that you proved interest in expanding it?

Back to the previous conversation about transmog, do we think this system does the job? As mentioned, I think it does, because I like seeing items that I have saved, but in an ideal world, its utterly flawed start to finish.

The fact that you even have to save the items to be able to transmog to them makes little sense to me, especially after seeing other title’s approach to the system, but coupled with them being each a single slot in a box now smaller than the reagent tab of your bank…

You know its bad when people are deleting the challenge mode gear sets after transmogging to them to avoid having to use up another 9 slots in the void storage!

 

Anyway, I believe this is everything that falls under the quality of life changes seen in this first Alpha build. As a recap, I’ll include the other articles so you can see any you may have missed.

http://wow.stratics.com/news/wod-quest-interface-changes/
http://wow.stratics.com/news/dungeon-journal-changes/

I am really looking forward to all these changes, as well as the Toybox, which is in, but not quite working as well as it should be yet. That will be a target of my interest for sure.

So stay tuned, as this will likely be a whirlwind test cycle, and I imagine by the end of this week, there will be another 10 topics to discuss!

Must See WoD Quest Interface Changes!

Wod questings

Another of the many quality of life changes coming with Warlords of Draenor is supplement to the questing UI as well as general improvement to questing as a form of leveling! At Blizzcon we learned about the new bonus options, as well as world objectives appearing sporadically that many players could participate in. After quite some many months, it appears that not only these changes have made it in, but alongside them is a list of UI featurettes that should add some really nice elements to what is commonly considered a grind.

Once again, we will check out all that is available to us, via imagery provided courtesy of MMO Champion.

It will be my honored privilege to walk you through what you see, as well as layer on my opinions about this system and give my regards towards its future.

Quest UI1

There is a lot happening in this first image, as well as a lot of differences from what we expect to see, so let’s take it slow.

First of all, this is labeled as “Map and Quest Log.” So does this mean that there is only one button for either? What about when we have completed all quests in the zone, or if we currently have none to pick up? These are all questions that immediately race through my mind when I see this.

The next thing that my eye is drawn to is the actual quest text and rewards. Literally, it appears as if they two have been photoshopped together. It is an exact merger to the finest point, even including the exact XP with a new icon for that. I love this concept, because it means that you will be able to immediately see how much EXP and gold you will gain after a chain of quests. But this raises another question in my mind, being what happens when you have multiple quests?

Another supremely interesting thing to note about this image is the small icons on the map itself. If you can’t see this, take a moment to open the image in full screen. While I can’t confirm exactly what this appears to be, I would image it is the zone events that can be completed by players that are lucky enough to be around them when they happen. This is a common feature of many other games, and how it typically works is in the form of a large event that many people rush towards to take down. There will undoubtedly be a good amount of EXP from this, and maybe even a gold or gear reward as regular questing would entail. If typical, it will also be superfluous to the zone’s experience flow and lore. They will simply be isolated events that make sense, but in no way impact your ability to level linearly or follow the story. A great addition overall.

The final thing I see there is the Reputation bar at the bottom. This insinuates that each rep associated with a zone will be featured there, but of course its almost never this simple. The starting zones have historically had their own rep, dating as far back to Thrallmar, but what about other zones? Will this be a feature of many, or just one. Only time will tell, yet again!

Regardless, I really love this new map mode. Its great to not only see the quest and objective markers, but also see the quest text and rewards. Looking forward to seeing what this does to old zones as well as the max level content.

quest UI 2

This next image answers as few of my previous questions. This is clearly an image of what will happen when you appear in a zone with no quests complete and none picked up. Besides just the quest progress, it even appears to display the achievement associated with the zone, which of course goes hand in hand with the progress itself.

This does two things.
First, it helps you know EXACTLY where you left off. No more having to ride around or even google quests in the zone to know if you have completed them or not! What a great addition!
The second thing is it helps you track an achievement that you otherwise may not have interest in or even know exists. There are a lot of quest achievements like this in the game, so if this gets backwards implemented it can dramatically help with those looking to complete Loremaster. As stated previously, not knowing where you left off is a HUGE drawback of such an expansive achievement.

On top of this, it may also help you distinguish “story” quests from filler or those events. This is just speculation, but it does seems logical.

It should be obvious to gauge my opinion on this one, but if not let me state it clearly. Amazing change. This has been needed since Wrath. My first article was on how much the questing in this game has developed, and this is another piece to that argument. Can’t wait to see it at its completion!

Quest UI 3

This appears to be the on-screen tracker that has changed a lot over the years as well. In the early days, this didn’t even exist, and was only functionalized via a variety of Addons. Having this as a feature added with 2.0 really changed the questing scene, and this 6.0 additions furthers the trail blazing.

There are a variety of icons, likely dependent on type of quest, but a bit confusing regardless. Based on what we know now, the circular icon typically is associated with just your run of the mill quest, and the number inside it denotes the order in which you should complete them. The question mark symbolizes that it is already complete, and in the current order, should be turned in after you complete the first quest.

But then we get the new icon! Perhaps this is representative of the world events, or maybe this is part of a new system to organize story v non story quests? I can’t be sure, unfortunately, but it certainly is fun to ponder. Regardless, it looks much more regal and beckons attention.

Even more so does the new header! The text of “Quests” is commanding, but the fact that there is a cogwheel present indicates you can adjust the settings surrounding it. It scatters the imagination!

wodQuestLog

The final look we have this evening is on what appears to be a different machination of the previous. Perhaps answering my previous question, it is logical to believe that the new icon for quests may indeed be the new type of quest. We also see the Bonus Objective feature that likely increases the reward!

I would have a guess in saying that when you enter the area, this bonus objective pops up and lets you know what you can do if you choose. Perhaps there is more than meets the eye with this feature, but all we have to go on is what we see.

No matter the outcome, everything appears much nicer and much more compact. This is extremely important and honestly quite the innovation for a game this age. To think back when doing a quest meant staring at every NPC just to see if they had one for you, and then compare it with these images…

Breath taking, truly!
I for one, can not wait to get my hands on some Warlords of Draenor!
Stay tuned for more!

 

Dungeon Journal Changes – Role Specifics Update!

DJ 6

One of the new changes to WoD, recently see on the Alpha, is the Role Specific Dungeon Journal change. At this time, I’d like to go on the record again and say that again they are stealing my thunder! They already did when they started doing youtube videos of class guides, but now they are stealing my Healing guide idea! Well, rest assured this wont deter me, but for those looking for a much more basic outline, it can now be found in game!

Let’s examine the change via a few imagines and then discuss exactly whats happening. Once again, these images are courtesy MMO Champion, as we eagerly await our own personal account’s access to the Alpha.

It's my world, you can't have it!

It’s my world, you can’t have it!

Alright, so this is the way the Dungeon Journal reads as of 5.4.8 on June 6th. Its got all the basics, but of course they are laid out as a raid group, and not for individuals. The big change you will notice in the subsequent imagery is the overview tab, which is the first one featured, being removed entirely. Instead, this overview will exist as a whole new tab, with three individual role-specific markers.

New Overview Tab!

New Overview Tab!

The second image we see indicates what I was just speaking on. The previous installation’s “Overview” portion was copied and pasted into this new tab, and below it are three role specific guidelines. This should, in theory dramatically help players new to the encounter understand everything that needs to happen from their perspective. Of course, this is what I always wanted my Healing Guides to be, but they are MUCH more in-depth than is likely needed for your average flex player, or the like, so its good that they got what they needed as well.

Now we will check out each individual entry and comment on their usefulness and imagine what the future might hold when the new raid’s DJ gets added.

DPS or DD, which do you use?

DPS or DD, which do you use?

 

So the first thing that immediately throws me off is that there is FOUR bulletin points. Are we even talking about the same encounter? I’ve honestly never done this fight as a DPS, but I suppose these are the important things. Realistically, the Touch of Y’shaarj is the most important thing that can be messed up, so if its handled properly then their job can be considered done but there is sooo much more to this encounter! I am excited to see what it might read for the new encounters though, and also what will happen with the Mythic journal. Obviously, Garrosh is much different on Heroic than he is on Normal or Flex at the present moment, so are they taking the time to explain the differences, or are they not going to edit it. To save time, they could easily say “Refer to previous difficulty for basics. New on Mythic is ____”
I feel that would work quite nicely, and would actually be useful for everyone. Regardless, things like aoe rotations on the adds in first phase, as well as group coordination for the transitions is 100 percent vital to the strategy, so if this is where all it were to say for Heroic as well, it would be completely useless. Only time will tell though! Let’s keep moving.

dk Tanks

After rationalizing through the DPS portion, the tanking one makes a lot more sense to me now. While there are a LOT of nuances in this encounter, they are all individual strategy elements and implementation, so thus the basic strategy is of course this. If you were to understand nothing else, these three points would be enough to recognize the fight’s purpose. But of course, this is far too little to go on, even in lower difficulties. Things like boss positioning, how many stacks to taunt off, and who is doing what role in terms of add clean-up, are quite vital to the encounter as well! But those couldn’t be placed there, as you are assuming individuals are reading these, not raids.

All well and good, now that I understand the concept a bit better, but what does the future hold for tanks? They have already confirmed a hundred times that tanks will no longer be getting hit for 100 percent of their health in one global every 4 globals as they do on a lot of encounters now and in the past. Does this mean that there is going to be more mechanically heavy focus for tanks? I wouldn’t mind it honestly, especially mechanics such as Iron Juggernaut, where tanks are meant to run around and soak mechanics as well as actually worrying about the boss. The more I think about it, the more excited I become!

wodDungeonJournal

Expecting to see something different still? JK, same basic principle. And I was worried about being out of the market for Healing Guides! Once again, if you understand these things, you understand the damage output, but even in small groups and lower difficulties this is nothing compared to the remainder of the encounter. Most of the damage you incur, especially in Heroic, will be from other sources, and will test your ability as a healer to not only sufficiently use CDs, but use your mana wisely.

This can be said for every encounter, but truth be told, I am glad they are taking the time to do this. I think it will be very healthy for those running pug groups and doing it for the first time, and may even help old veterans like myself get a fresh look at the encounter. The best use for this that I can see is for Beta raid testing! That will be huge, as knowing exactly what each role’s basic job is will help us build a strategy around it. That is one of my favorite things, and I look forward to simultaneously testing the new Dungeon Journal entries and the boss encounters in kind!

That’s everything, so stay tuned for much much more coverage of the WoD Alpha and all the new features that are trickling in!

Horde Garrison Preview – WoD Alpha!

WoWScrnShot_040814_203518

Whelp, as per usual WoD alpha launches the week after another “wow killer” mmo competitor. Today we will be starting the media storm that is this expansion with a look at the Horde Garrison, previously unreleased despite apparently being partially finished!

In this article, we will examine a variety of images obtained via MMO-champion that were taken from day one of the Alpha. Please understand that what you see here is likely less than half finished, and will continue to change many times. Each picture will follow with a description and Metro’s opinion on the state of the process as well as potential.

garrisonUI1

The first one we see demonstrates what appears to be a Horde Follower. Its even using the new Tauren model! On the right, we can see its abilities and gain some insight into the mini-game this appears to be developing into. We see that Taunt is its ability, but the word “Counters” appears beneath with another icon, resembling feline swiftness. This is an interesting concept to me, because it sounds very much like we will want to pick and choose which followers we gain, and then which we send on missions. Its too early yet to tell, but does this mean there are an infinite amount to choose from? Will this decision be made early in leveling, or can it be refined once we take our time at max level?

No one knows these things yet, but we all await their answers.

garrisonUI2

The next image we examine is even more telling and thought provoking. Let’s break it down piece by piece.

Starting on the left, we see the “in party” status. As the previous screen was the followers tab, and this is missions tab, there was likely a way to pick from the previous image.

Next, looking at the main portion, we see the name of the mission and its description. It explains where it will take place, and gives some brief hint as to what will happen. It appears a patrol around the garrison will reveal some unwanted intruders this time, and our pal Olin will taunt the hell out of them. Hopefully.

On the bottom of the main portion we see the “Rewards.” Its quite obvious that this is far from finished, but it leaves room for extrapolation. It appears that there will be some luck involved with the rewards, which I can live with, especially if the bronze reward is substantial. Experience and perhaps other resources don’t seem to make sense to me yet, but I am excited to learn exactly what their function is.

So what does this mean for the player? How many missions will we get? Is this going to be in the same fashion as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm were we have to log in each day to get these missions? That doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but I’m hoping we see less of the rigorous 24 hour cycle blizzard seems to bank on. Regardless, it should work out that these missions coincide with zones and leveling, so we will learn more shortly!

garrisonUI3

The next image we have today is of the interface for selecting and building structures. First thing we see is that there is a sort between Large, Medium, and Small. This likely means that there will be a limit to how many of each you can have, or perhaps it will be to help balance cost and time.

Next we notice the Trading Post, when hovered over, displays that there is indeed a time and cost, and also yields a description talking about more missions; answering my previous question partially.

Now when we are talking about time of building these things, how do you think it will work? There are many of these small facebook type games out there that you have to deal in real time to get anything done, forcing you to have to check progress for months on end to ultimately achieve your goal. I’m hoping this will not be the case, but regardless, once each place is built, I can’t imagine there will be too much to worry about. Perhaps the upgrading will again take large portions of time?

The final thing to take notice of is the fact that there are multiple plots and multiple options. This is pretty exciting, as it means each garrison will be fundamentally different from the next. When you guys see some of the screens of the actual walk-around version, you will be as excited as I am about this! I can’t wait to see how much plays out!

garrisonUI4

I added this once just out of interest. Its what appears when a building is complete, but once again the time seems like the limiting reagent. Will it appear when elsewhere in the zone? Can I get an alert on my phone if it completes outside of my time in game? How cool would that be!

Garrison 5

This is the first of two looks at the actual Garrison lay out from the ground. I was impressed with the UI elements, but this is where the real magic happens. All of the NPCs and structures in here will be full interactive and customizable. The first image we have shows a peon, using a new Orc model, taking a snooze next to a closed up mines. Perhaps its in construction? Or based on the image showing the layout, it may be locked up until we advance to a further point in EXP gain. Regardless, the tents, logs, and even lighting is really good for this early in the process. I am excited to see what this area has the potential to transform into. I wont lie, I am not sold on Frostfire Ridge being the starting zone and the place we will build in. Jade Forest was so immaculate that this will really struggle to live up to my expectations, but over all the other zones seem to be even better, so I hope the Garrison gives this zone the boost it needs.

Garrison 6The final image we have to examine is a nice look at the complexity the Garrison presents, even on day 1. Front, we see a new model Orc Peon attempting to use his puny brain to build stuff. Work, work. Yes, something need doing. Get to it.

What I am most excited about is the fact that there is stairs and multiple levels and layers. It seems silly, but this level of design makes the Garrison feel that much better, and when we take a moment to examine the surroundings we realize that all the structures and NPCs will be intertwined and interacting. I simply can not wait to see images of one further along in completion, and hope I can get my hands on access soon!

I hate to say it, but I am honestly looking forward to this feature as much as I am anything else. I’ve been a top level raid leader since TBC’s end, but this feature is really captivating me. I can foresee myself spending hours in here each day just tooling around and making it look perfect to my standards. Hopefully I find time for pre-raid gearing ;)

 

Anyway, that’s everything. There are a lot of people who discredit this feature as minor and act like its not worth the effort or time. I wont say I was one of those people at one point, but I will say that when this was announced at Blizzcon those many months ago, I thought to myself “Oh, that’s neat. Let’s get to the real stuff though!”
Perhaps it was their fault for not being able to emphasize it more, but this really is the big new technology the expansion is centered around. MoP brought a LOT of new systems like Challenge Modes, Pet Battles, and the Tiller’s Farm. This expansion, there appears there will be more hours into Garrisons alone than all those features put together. And that is REALLY good news!

Stay tuned, as there will be many things to write about in the upcoming few days.

WoD Stat Changes – Explanation and Opinions

Stats

For those of you who don’t know, they are changing quite a lot with Warlords, and while it may not be as front stage like Pet Battles and Challenge Modes were in MoP, the item squish and stat changes are easily two of the biggest changes to come to the game.

Recently, blizzard released this post that I would recommend you all at least skim over if you have no idea what the topic of this article is. With this in mind, I aim to give a brief description of each change, as well as my opinions on how the stat will effect the game over all.

Secondary Stats

Multistrike:

This is a whole new concept being added for WoD, and really sounds quite interesting. The brake down is that whenever you deal damage with an ability, you have a chance to do a smaller portion of the same spell, roughly 30 percent of the original damage. It will visually appear as the mage Icy Veins glyph of current, where they just continue to fire out of your hands after the first spell was cast.

This type of stat seems like it could be extremely useful for those centered around burst dps. The fact that you are essentially getting extra globals for no reason is enough to say that a moderate amount of this state will increase your dps by flat percentages. Looking forward to seeing how this develops as we move into Beta.

Bonus Armor:

I LOVE this concept! Bonus armor has always been in the game, but now it will be the Tank’s version of Spirit in WoD, meaning only on select pieces like rings, cloaks, necks, and trinkets. Their claim is that it will be much stronger than other secondary stats as well, in hopes to make it the obvious choice to any tank with a brain.

There are not many implications to be made here. Its an amazing tank stat, and I am really looking forward to a linear stat that helps reduce damage. It will really feel good when you see mobs doing less and less melee damage with each upgrade.

Versatility:

This one is fresh off the presses, so lets examine exactly what it does. The goal is to improve everything your character does. 1 percent gained of this stat increases the damage, healing, and absorbs you do by one percent, as well as reducing the damage you take by o.5 percent. Now THIS seems amazing. They claim they wont over tune it, but they intend for it to be quite strong.

Now this is a stat I can get behind. Obviously not 100 percent sure how any of this will work, let alone if this even makes the cut into the game, but if it does it will be my BIS stat. I promise that, because I am a player that, as a healer, I recognize how important being alive is. I LOVE to be the person who soaks the big damage, especially knowing I can do so easily. I even kept mining in MoP just to have the health increase! Besides just me, if an entire 20 man mythic raid team all gets this stat, then not only will their damage increase, but so will their off healing, and so will our chances of keeping everyone alive during the big damage. Its just an extra level of comfort when your healers are already getting stronger.

Secondary Stats that didn’t make the cut!

Readiness:

This was the stat on the trinkets that simply reduced the CD of major abilities. This was far too strong and I am glad it wont make it into the final mix, but I will say its going to be hard for some to go back to their original CDs. I remember how hard it was to leave the MSV holy paladin tier behind and make Holy Shock a 6 second cd again!

Amplify:

This one was even less appealing and more OP. Essentially, the more stats you get, the better amplifying them is. I wouldn’t want to see a stat like this in the game, because early on it would be so incredibly weak compared to the last tier, that by then everyone would have this go from worst stat to BIS. Was fun, but good riddance.

Standard Deviation was also on the "Cut" line.

Standard Deviation was also on the “Cut” line.

Tertiary Stats, now called “Minor Stats”

If you haven’t been following, these stats have a chance to drop on pieces of gear, and wont effect the budget. I’m curious as to how this will effect challenge modes, but regardless, I LOVE the concept, especially since upgrading gear is going away. Seeing that tertiary stat you like the most on a BIS piece will be so comforting.

Movement Speed:

This likely wont be as cool as it sounds. They claim it will stack with every source available, but will have a low cap so people can’t build entire sets and then just kite bosses around the entire time. Rightfully so.

Aside from that, I would really enjoy this stat. Part of my mindset is being the role player to soak damage or the like, but surviving isn’t the only thing we have to do. A little movement speed helps not only getting to places, but also helps the lack of instant casts we are suddenly swimming in, especially as Holy Paladins.

Avoidance:

This stat works similar to the combat pet version, but will be in much smaller quantities. It allows you to take less damage from either damage on the ground, or AOE damage form certain sources.

Once again, I can see my self interested in this, as nearly everything I can do as a healer to mitigate the raid’s responsibility is revolving around these sources of damage. This, on top of Versatility, are taking an early place in my BIS stat list. The fact that its all speculative and based around your playstyle makes things much more interesting either way.

Indestructible (previously Sturdiness):

A stat that prevents the piece that has it from ever taking durability damage. But why? Seems pointless to me. Only point is to make the Disturbed song stuck in my head, I suppose.

The ONLY time I’ve ever seen durability become a factor was Heroic Spine of Deathwing, and slightly on Heroic Garrosh before we adjusted the strategy. The tank’s shield would break very quickly because of how many times he was blocking the 100s of adds there were on the encounter. So much so, that we would have to repair every single attempt, otherwise it would break mid pull. This is the one situation I can see where this would be useful. Otherwise, it will be the troll stat, but perhaps save a few gold?

Leech (previously Lifesteel):

At Blizzcon, it was announced to be a stat that gave you healing based on the damage you did, similar to how it was in Diablo. Of course, this would be one sided, so the function changed, along with the name, to Leech; giving healers health every time the heal as well.

I can see this being incredible for tanks, especially since vengeance is gone and they will always be doing a certain amount of damage. Compared to other options, this one seems too good to pass up honestly. I would enjoy it as well as a healer, because its nice to not have to worry about yourself when you are healing others for heavy damage.

Minor stats that didn’t make the cut!

Cleve:

This stat was meant to make your damage and healing also hit targets or players around your focus. This didn’t work for obvious reasons, as there are many times where there simply is nothing to cleave, yet there is also something to heal, so it would be way too good for Healers. I don’t find this a bad thing, but apparently Blizzard did so it has been scrapped. They claim it may make an appearance again at some point, but off the table for 6.0.

 

Well that’s everything. I was really excited to read all about these new stats, and I hope you were as well. As I said, these features are just as big as anything we have seen, so as to write these off is to show your inexperience. I am REALLY looking forward to what this means for Mythic raiders, and challenge mode stat levels!
Until next time, Metro out!

Where did "Stats" come from? Don't they mean Attributes?

Where did “Stats” come from? Don’t they mean Attributes?

Azeroth Choppers Finale – Predictions!

Paul+Teutul+Jr.+Rachael+Biester+married+3atDm1ewT0Tl

So the bikes appear to be complete, and the show’s finale is rapidly approaching. They have releases recaps of the brief season that was, and have even showed behind the scenes for each team’s process. All the while, we are under the guise that the “voting” we have been doing will be our way of joining the struggle to help get our favorite bike in the game.

Some of you have voted because you play exclusively Alliance. Some of you have voted despite this, because you prefer the Horde bike in terms of quality and appearance. Many of us have voted, but we have all of us been deceived.

I apologize in advance if I sound like a conspirator or come off as condescending, but I believe I have deciphered exactly what this entire series has been.

Horde Bike

Horde Bike

At face value, of course it has been a way for Blizzard to cross promote their product. Regardless of what you think about either the company or Paul Jr. designs, they both have a lot of pull. I can’t speculate how much each party has benefited from… wait actually I can!

Based on what I have seen recently, I assume Paul Jr. approached blizzard, instead of the other way around. I would assume that it was his intent to enter a new reality theme, but couldn’t find potential suitors because of the trend moving away from his style. Of course, Blizzard was happy to accept his request, and after much brainstorming they came to the agreement we have been viewing for 7 weeks now.

I would go as far as to say that this means Paul Jr benefits the least of this, potentially even losing money in order to keep Blizzard on board with this project. Especially considering there is no corporate advertising past the meager effort Youtube make, what was there to gain from Blizzard’s part?

I’ll tell you!

This entire “webseries” has been one giant advertisement for a product they will unveil very shortly. Here comes the prediction, so pay attention!

The final episode will wrap up the show and they will reveal the winner.  But like everything else, this has all been pre-recorded and the winner was never really in our hands. Our vote was for a much different reason!

By issuing a vote, Blizzard has learned what distribution of people prefer which bike, and how many actual people do for both. This may seem arbitrary, it was done for a specific reason.

I presume their intentions will be to implement the least popular bike, and place the remaining on the Blizzard store. By doing this, they have maximized their exposure and profits in multiple ways.

First of all, as mentioned, the ENTIRE series was on giant advertisement for the bike that would be sold on the store. Everyone was getting hyped up over the weeks and engaged in the process, so much so, that when the bike we want doesn’t get implemented, we will of course consider paying just to see it do so. This is as effective as marketing can get, and I am frankly surprised it took me this long to realize it.

Second of all, the vote confirms what we already know. Horde is typically the more fervent populace, so its not surprising that they would win the vote. By making it appear that Alliance voters came through in the clutch for their team, Horde will rally even harder at the concept of seeing the bike implemented. This, once again, is as effective as marketing can get, as everyone from day 1 assumed the Horde bike would win, so when it does not, they will be more implored to make a purchase.

On top of this, its commonly considered that there are more adults on the Horde side, which equates to more likelihood of disposable income, thus increasing sales on this product.

Finally, this concept has generated a ton of publicity and revenue through Youtube as well as potential through Paul Jr. fans and association. I stick by my original idea that Paul is the primary benefactor, but would examine a possibility where they chose his meager fame to help boost what was never about actual success in the first place.

When you examine it from my perspective, you immediately see just how smart the entire thing was. For weeks, everyone said how lame the reality show concept was, and how short each episode was. For weeks, we talked about the “show” to a point that it became ritual. Welcome to marketing 101.

We, the viewers, played right into the hands of the market. It was never about whether the show was well received, or if the bikes were developed in an interesting manner. No, Blizzard did not care about how many views they got on each episode, or whether not the expectations were met by the fans. All they cared about, for as long as this project was conceived, is whether or not they saturated the ears of every able body with the hope of seeing a bike they were even remotely passionate about enter the video game they most certainly were passionate about.

warcraft-bike-1

Alliance Bike

When you advertise in this effective of a fashion you simply can not lose. Its equatable to those who believe the entire NFL season is advertisement for the Super Bowl and its billion dollar per second time slots.

Up until now, I would have simply laughed at this premise, but after not only watching, but being engaged in the very way they intended, makes things very very clear.

To conclude, I will say that this is very clever. It was entertainment, and it was well done. The series was lame at times, but the bikes are incredible to behold. I hope they look as good in game as they do in person, but I state my final prediction right now.

The Alliance bike will be chosen as the winner, and in response to the “overwhelming requests” Horde fans spurt out, the Horde bike will be issued as well, for 25 USD. Maybe even more?
And at the end of the day, it will set record sales for a Blizzard store product, and we will all scratch our heads and wonder why.

Heart of the Valorous – One Word: Why?

Purple Heart_custom-10fde2038924f09550400fb2a3c44bd819e1882e-s6-c30

Before we go anywhere, let me catch you guys up to speed for the sake of impact. About a month ago now, I wrote an article on this topic when we all assumed it was going to be an implemented buff to help expedite the Legendary Questline.
Now, as of May 30th, we see this is no longer the case.

Instead, we were granted a “limited time” game-wide buff to valor gains by 100 percent. The window this is offered in is today, May 30th, and will last until June 10th.

Now the point of me making an article on this is simple. This is utterly pointless. So much so, it HAS to be leading to something else, or some elaboration on the concept past this.

Besides being implemented, its use is further degraded by its timing, especially given the patch we just had released. Why on God’s green earth would you release this NOW, and for 12 days. Even worse, its first day is on the weekend!?

I’ve been capped on valor since 1EST on Tuesday, and spent all the valor I received minutes later. Maybe if it was introduced on a Tuesday, and lasted multiple weeks, it could remotely be considered worth its salt. But instead, we get it for essentially 1 week, as anyone who isn’t capped already by this point in the week just isn’t trying.

More so, the fact that it just speeds up a process that takes barely any time in the first place is laughable. It takes like 2 hours max to get the 8 or so Heroic Scenarios done, and now with the timeless coins, it can even all be completed the previous week. I have simply prepared the 30k coins I need for the upcoming week, log on, do the weekly to get even more coins and valor, and then turn in what I need after that.

What really confuses me is this lonely post that accompanied it. Here, have a read via the official website. Its such a short and brittle thing that it makes me wonder if this is the same Blizzard I have come to know over the years. Usually, their announcements are over the top and obtuse, so much so that you think its about some grandiose implementation that everyone will talk about for the rest of the week. And it works, which is the funny part! Usually it DOES have people, including myself, talking about it for the rest of the week, as well as making articles and videos on each.

But instead, we have this. A glorified rant about nothing. Not nothing in the case of my lack of inspiration. Don’t get it twisted! The “nothing” here refers to the fact that this is such a silly and wasteful concept that its essentially nothing. But as Arya would say, Nothing isn’t better or worse than anything. Nothing is just nothing.

And in this case, she would be very correct.
So I know what you are thinking about now. Something along the lines of “Well if you are so smart, what should they have done bigshot?”
There are two ways to implement this, that would actually make sense.

1. Make it permanent. Facts are, a lot of people are growing more bored with this patch by the day. I am NOT one of them, as I recognize the insane amount of content MoP has introduced and realize I have done very little of it successfully, but we can’t ignore this just because I have my eyes actually open.
By making it permanent, it helps players who want to raid and compete still get enough valor to cap without further repetition and burn out. It won’t get better either, because now that its 4/4 upgrade, an entire week needs to be accrued and then spent to upgrade any single piece you get from here on out. This means, that unless you are FULL BIS or simply don’t care to get any more gear, the only way the Heroic Warforged piece you received is an actual upgrade over the Heroic non-war4 piece is with that 1k worth of effort. This means doing Blood in the Snow another 8 times to get it there as well.

It also helps those that are only mildly serious about getting the valor they need, or even people who have time constraints. Now they can easily get their cap in no time at all. And as mentioned earlier, this wont change, so why would the buff go away?

2. Increase the cap either instead of this, or in tandem with this.
Obviously in tandem is optimal, but regardless, if you increase the cap, it will further the reward players have who put the time in getting it, but keep valor rolling in for those who are active mildly. This leverages the problem in the other direction that number 1, and honestly is better in my mind. This allows us to now get all the gear we still have yet to finish completely upgraded, and makes the process back to what it once was. If it takes 1k to upgrade a full piece now, then if the cap was 2k, and we receive 100x more, literally nothing is different. The math equals out, and we are now in the exact same situation as we once were, only we have much strong gear and the nerf to SoO is completed.

 

Either of these is totally fine by me. Of course, maybe they have their reasons, and maybe this is just some type of trial run before they ultimately include it permanently, or increase the cap as well. Now that these ideas are on paper, when they go ahead and implement one of them, I can now say it was my idea! :D

Valor

If I got this, THEN it would be worth it…

Mythic’s Seperate Gear Models – Too Little, Too Late?

justoutofarmsreach

Usually I don’t play the skeptic when it comes to a video game I have been playing for coming up on 10 years, but this time I thought it would be fun to dance around this topic like everyone else.

For those not aware, the newest difficulty in Raiding will also feature entirely separate gear models. This comes in on the news that LFR will suffer the same fate, leaving 3 separate models for each tier alone, and that’s still per class past LFR. There will be 30 plus unique models (not just recolors) for each tier, which already sounds like a burden on the art team that is apparently struggling to push out the character models, but that is not the argument here.

What I will carry forward on is the premise that they are doing this to help niche players out, and prove that LFR is for the common folk, real raiding can be done by anyone, and Mythic raiders deserve a truer reward than just item level. At face value, I couldn’t agree more. A LONG time ago, in Classic and even until Cata really, you could tell who on your server were serious players without having to examine their health pool. The gear they wore could not be masked, so seeing the main tank of the top 40 man in full dreadnaught really meant something, and often inspired those less accomplished to reach for the stars. I make no qualms about saying this is single-handily what got me into raiding. Seeing a select Warrior tank who would find a way on top of the structures in Ironforge in first full D2, then full Might Set, and finally full Wrath set. It was at this point that I decided I want to raid as well, so I contacted the GM of this man’s guild and let him know that I was top in my class, rank 8 FFA eastern wc ladder 2, and a quick learner. He chuckled, noticed my greens and likely invited me as a joke. By the time I was able to figure things out and get some Wrath gear, our main tank was getting full Dreadnaught and my eternal admiration.

Ahem, anyway enough of the trip down memory lane. The point is that gear rewards used to be what made a player stand out from others. Today, this can still be the case, especially if coupled with a tremendous healthpool and flashy entrance, but with there is one inherent flaw that this entire argument is predicated upon, and I will end this sentence first before unveiling it for dramatic effect. Here we go, are you ready? The issue is… Transmogrification!

Yes, it has become so rampant that anyone who plays a toon seriously puts sets together, even if its mismatched pieces. I personally can not live without my Firelands Heroic tier on top the Reins of Galakras. The colors of the gear and the mount are literally perfect together, and there is nothing even remotely competing in my mind. This is all the reason I need to assume this mythic separation of gear is too little and indeed far too late.

The parallel example would be their Challenge Mode endeavor with gear, and the fact that so many of the sets were indeed as epic as they come. Sure, at one point it really showed an accomplished player, but this was an entire set made to be transmoged to, and with a lot of work put into it.

Will the same happen with Mythic? Even now, in the 582 item level I have, if I untransmogged my entire set, the gear I was wearing would not be a complete match. Is this enough to deter people from showing it off, or does it encourage more unique combinations of the pieces we do actually have.

Regardless, I stand firm when I say that, while I am all for this addition to the game’s gear and cosmetic landscape, what they hope to achieve is something extinct in the minds of most players. Any one who is any one has a plethora of transmog set options, and even those who do choose to use the new pieces to display their prowess will likely do so in mixture, making its effect just that.

There is no easy way around it, but facts of the matter are that if you are spending resources on all these different gear sets just to add separation into the game, and in turn a very low percentage of Mythic raids end up displaying the set, then you have wasted some amount of resources.

Unless of course, the sets are that amazing…

Only time will tell!

I’ll leave you with this image, and you can decide for yourself.

gear

Courtesy of MMO-champion dataminers.

Take note of the massive difference in shoulders, helm and belt from the Mythic (top) to Heroic (bottom.)
Also notice the lack of difference in boots, legs, etc.
Its still very early though. But what do you think? Does this strike you as something you’d shatter your transmog for, especially just to show off yourself as a Mythic raider?

Play Like a Pro! – Survival Hunter Weak Aura / Information!

transmogrification-hunter-pve-tier-14-challenge-mode

Hello and welcome to our newest series inspired by our third Podcast (http://wow.stratics.com/interviews/wow-stratics-podcast-3-spotlight-disadvantaged-gamers/) where Metro discusses how simple UI elements can make a world of difference and helps players looking to take their character to the next level do just that. As mentioned in the Podcast, if you aren’t playing with proper Keybinds, Macros, or Addons, you might as well be missing a hand compared to players who are! These guides will be focused on players who already understand the class/spec and are looking to elevate their game to the next level. The experience I have with each spec is almost purely through Challenge Mode dungeons, and can say these design elements can make or break your play and will tell you if / when you are ready for that next step. Let’s get started!

Today we will examine Survival Hunter Weak Aura set up and show how a few simple indicators can take your play from moderate to exceptional. This one will be especially important, as from my experience, I literally have never played a DPS spec at any high level. Yet with this combination of Auras, I am able to hang with anyone!

The Weak Aura set-up we will be examining today is once again wholly different from the Tanking and Healing ones I have posted, mostly because the spec and playstyle is quite different. As a DPS, you have one real focus, but its more about maximization than anything. In order to do this properly, you want as many tools as possible helping you with your rotation, CDs, and procs. Doing this helps you focus on the more important things, especially in small group content such as Interrupts, Dispels, and AOE stuns. A lot of people play a DPS spec to be the ultra dps machine, but I promise you that if you focus more on your own survival and those around you, you will be helping your group more than if you stand still, eat all the mechanics, and do one point hundred kay dps. Let’s move on to how you can do that easily with this weak aura set up!

Hunter Weak Aura

Clink to Enlarge!

At face value, there is a lot going on in this screenshot, but by the end of this, you should understand exactly what you need, why you need it, and how it can benefit some like me who does NOT have the DPS mindset already ingrained in their skull.

Rotation Helper -

Compared to the Frost Mage cluster, this is as basic as it gets, however just as effective when dealing with the Survival Hunter rotation. There is little complicated about ability usage, therefore there is little complicated about the string.

Hunter Weak Aura

You’ll see two icons in the screenshot, hopefully both of which are familiar! On top we have the Hunter’s Mark warning indicator, which will simply appear if your target does not have Hunter’s Mark. Its set up so that any hunter’s application will count, so you should get used to pretty much never seeing this while doing anything serious.

The icon on the bottom is of course for Serpent Sting, but is a dynamic icon that will rotate through the ability selection preferable. The list of abilities and priority are as follows:

1- Serpent Sting (If not applied)
2- Kill Shot (If Available)
3- Black Arrow (If not applied)
4- Lock and Load (if Procced, explosive shot 2x)
5- Explosive Shot (If available +focus)
6- Glaive Toss (If Talented, and higher priority on CD)
7- Thrill of the Hunt Proc (If talented, and everything  else on CD. Note for AOE!)

Of course, those who have played the class for a long time will find flaws or say this isn’t necessary, but as mentioned before, the more tools you have to guide you the better you can play!
The Weak Aura String for this set is part of the CD set as well, so keep reading!

Major CD Set -

Nearly as important as any rotation tracker, you’ll find the major CD tracker to be your best friend in 5 man content especially. Lynx Rush can be extremely important for AOE, so knowing its precise CD can mean big things. Of course, even in raids its very important to be aware of exact timers, but you’ll notice when pulling bosses 200+ times, the CD timers become more muscle memory than anything. Regardless, this will help guide you along your path.

CD group

In case you need this level of explanation, The top left icon is Rapid Fire, the top right is Stampede (aka zoo), and the bottom left is Lynx Rush. I currently do not run Dire Beast, and only do CM on this toon, so likely never will. If you need to add it, you can copy and paste the coupled icons for each CD and simply change its ability target to be Lynx Rush instead of whatever it is. Then just place them where you want, and enjoy!

It should be noted that the space on the bottom right is typically occupied by a Aspect tracker, which will be separate from these pieces, and will be explained shortly.

To implement the Weak Auras described as the Major CD Set, as well as the Rotation Helper, copy from the pastebin!
http://pastebin.com/RfEHweHH

Focus Bar -

Focus bar

Even more basic, but even more important for some one learning hunter. This bar will track exactly how much focus you have and display it in both a progressive bar, and as a finite number at the end. As before, the more you play the less you will need something like this, but its helps tremendously when attempting to pool Focus for upcoming aoe or even Black Arrow Global.

Find the Weak Aura String for this here!
http://pastebin.com/Vb8BvUY1

Aspect Tracker -

Aspect Tracker

As mentioned previous, please take care to note that the bottom left symbol is the only one relevant to this section. I show them all to denote the slight size increase in the Aspect tracker, to help it always be your eye’s focal point. This is important, because if you are ever accidentally in the wrong aspect, it could be disastrous for your group. Especially in Challenge Modes, you should constantly be switching between speed aspects and DPS, to assure both you and your group are being maximized. Using Aspect of the Pack at every safe availability can save a LOT of seconds, especially in the larger dungeons.

In terms of display, it will simply show the icon for the aspect you are in. As depicted, shows Iron Hawk as well!

Not shown is the indicator for when you have no aspect up. This is obviously just an oversight, but if something causes it, an icon will appear towards the middle to help you immediately resolve the issue.

Find the String here!
http://pastebin.com/Cp8YAyXd

Pet Isn’t Attacking!? -

Most annoying thing ever about the Hunter class. Its a real issue as well, especially on some raid encounters and Challenge Modes. This icon will help discern where your pet is, and will help you know when Lynx Rush is actually possible.

Pet attacking

You’ll see that when your pet isn’t doing damage to something that matters, the cute little bear icon will be jumping up and down. This will help you notice it, and also remind you never to hit your pet. They aren’t children for ever, and its important to cherish the time you spend together.
Please not that this is only for combat purposes. If for some reason you do not have a pet altogether, there is another weak aura for that.

Find the Weak Aura String Here!
http://pastebin.com/behnknT2

No Pet Currently Out! -

Whenever you pet is actually alive, but you do not have it out, this icon will appear.

No pet whistle

If your pet is dead, this will not appear though. This is only for alerting you that you have a living pet that isn’t active.

No tint, Fishbowl. It ain’t hard to spot ‘em.
http://pastebin.com/msWAsdJi

Potion CD -

Just like with Frost Mage, potion maximization is extremely important for Hunters in Challenge Modes. I wouldn’t imagine you will need an aura like this for actual raiding, but it is more valuable than all the rest when you are a spec that doesn’t require an invisibility potion to make most skips. There will be some that are risky with Camo, and for those, you can either intentionally pull, disengage, and then Feign once the group has passed, or you can simply go Engineering.
Regardless, the options are very important to your success, and should be used to their fullest.

Potion cd

The potion Tracker consists of two separate trackers. I use both for CM, but only 1 for actual raiding, as having a potion icon on your screen when you are intentionally saving it for 5+ minutes is really distracting. Get both, and activate each separately, if need-be.

Potion is Ready!
PotionCD Tracker!

 

Well that’s everything, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the forum attached to this topic, or contact me in game.
As always, I am not fluent in the program, and usually find people who ARE fluent and modify their work. Most of this was assembled from two separate concepts. A few was taken from the Huntman’s Lodge blog and some other pieces were taken from this thread on the official WoW forums.

Either way, it’s important to remember that you are the best person to help yourself improve, but with tools and help from those already experienced you can transform yourself into a top-tier player near instantly.

Discuss this Topic at:
http://stratics.com/community/threads/survival-weak-aura-set-up.316376/
See the set-up in action:
Soon to come!
Check out my Hunters’s Armory:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/firetree/Metrohahaha/advanced
Download Weak Auras Two:
http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/weakauras-2