Friday, October 24, 2014

Sydney WoD Prelaunch Celebration - The Low down

I had been excited ALL DAY thinking about this event as it was THE DAY!  I had organised someone to cover me at work, I had worn what I was going to wear to the event TO work... I was set! I hadn't thought about dinner, but I would have been too excited to eat anyway.

So, at 4pm I left work, after handing over my patient to my friend to finish for me, and headed home to get the train in.  I met up with Aimei/HK and then we hopped on the train.  Neri was already in the city, Exray was making his way in with Lushen and Consti, and Cymre was also heading in.  Moo and Natanie were already there!  Lacrox was slowly dragging himself in, and he asked us to save him a seat.

We headed straight into the cinema and ran into Neri, so we went and lined up on the stairs - there weren't that many people, fortunately.  I expected more!  I guess that's the good thing about limited tickets.  I felt guilty for not talking to people around me, so I decided to be friendly and chat to random people around me.  Luxy would probably laugh at me, because next thing you know I'd be inviting them to flex or to the guild.... 

But I finally met Natanie and Moogyver in the line!  Lots of squeals and hugs!  I heard that Dayani of Heliocentric was around - Neri pointed her out to me but I was too chicken to go say hi in the big queue, I thought I'd try and grab her later.

And how cool was this, they had a DARK PORTAL to walk through to enter the cinema!  Off we go to Draenor!  I didn't get any good pics but here's one HK took.

Then there was some massive artworks being displayed around.  I should have taken more photos. Got to meet @Msmiggy as well, who was responsible for getting us our tickets.  I had to make a note to take a pic with her later in the evening.

And once we went into the cinema, the walls had the Warlords looking down at us from the sides, looked pretty neat.

And there were surprises on the seat!  Each seat had a drink, small popcorn and a mini figurine!  I got a Murky, but there was also Murkimus and Fishy toys as well!  Lucky I didn't buy popcorn outside.

So we watched the cinematic of the original World of Warcraft on the BIG screen and we then got to meet Ion Hazzikostas himself.

And he talked a lot about the game, and the 10 years of the game.  About the mistakes they had made and what they learned, and why they changed things the way they did.  It was a good explanation - they said that the game had stopped being fun because it was too hard to pick up, with so many abilities that it was super hard to learn to play it well.  And I'm thinking that maybe that chased away a lot of casual players from the game - because it was too hard to learn how to play a character.  It was a good explanation.  Ion also talked about how they were trying to configure things to please a certain group of players but at the expense of a different group of players.  And the solution to raiding was their current model - which I think has made the game so brilliant. People were being shut out of content because they could not access it, but now with LFR and also Flexible sized raids and difficulties, the raids cater to all player types and player skills.

"Accessibility is not the enemy of depth," he said, and now, I can what he was trying to say.  Many elite players said that the classes were dumbed down with the ability pruning - but Ion said that the classes were easy to learn, but more difficult to master.

Another thing he talked about was removing of some of the secondary stats, namely hit and expertise. The game was not fun if you didn't reach those caps, and then also became less fun when you went over the caps. The caps were not intuitive - you had to go look it up elsewhere to find what you needed. He said it was more fun to get more of a stat and see the benefit, like haste, where you get more haste and you cast your spells faster.  THAT was fun. 

It was a good interview.  And then @Blizzard_ANZ got deep and personal with Ion and there was so much stuff about him which I didn't know.  That he was a lawyer and he gave up law to do Game Design.  And what did his parents think of that?

"They thought I was completely insane."

And that his favourite raid encounter is Lei Shen.


You heard it.  Next week we have super extended maintenance and maybe after that... our new Australian servers will be LIVE.
Q: When will local game servers be available?
A: We’re aiming to have the new local World of Warcraft game servers available ahead of the release of the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor, which will go on sale in Australia and New Zealand on November 13, 2014. An extended maintenance to the current Oceanic realms will be required in order to migrate player data to the new hardware. Servers will be taken offline on Tuesday October 28 with normal scheduled maintenance and we will have the new game servers online as soon as possible.
There was much screaming and cheering at this announcement :D  You can read all the FAQs here!

Then it was onto some questions.  Man, there were some bad questions.  But there were good questions too.  And then it was time to go find my guildies!

We found Exray, Lushen and Consti after a while and took pics with them.  Then some of us who were lucky enough to have VIP passes got to go in the Gold Class Lounge and hang around!

There was food, drink, alcohol... you know I was really impressed.  For a free event, they sure made everyone feel like it was worth their while!  I met Dayani, and Toro and photobombed @msMiggi and @Blizzard_ANZ and even Ion himself!  I shook his hand and asked Ion if he wanted to come to Australia or did he pick the short straw and got sent here (convict style!).  He said that he chose to come, which is pretty cool :D

I was exhausted by the end of the evening so I said goodbye to everyone, and straight home to my computer to get all this out of my head before I crash!

So - all in all it was a great night.  Great to see such a huge population of WoW players right here in Sydney!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Minipost: MORE reasons why I want to go to Blizzcon - Metallica!

Ok, so not everyone is a Metallica fan, but this is not about everyone. It's about ME.  And I LOVE METALLICA!

“We’re thrilled to have Metallica blowing out our speakers at BlizzCon this year,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “After two full days of epic gaming and intense eSports action, an earth-shaking concert is the perfect sendoff for everyone at the show and watching from home.”
Thank goodness I have a virtual ticket so I can watch it live and I can control the volume!  Blink 182's performance last year killed my ears so I am happy to be watching it in the comfort of my own home (with ready access to toilet and food).

I have seen a number of people on Twitter saying that there is a lot of criticism and negativity about that, but I have seen none of that on my feed - I have seen heaps of positive and excited people (and perhaps it's only because I follow COOL people who actually like Metallica, or because I follow AWESOME people who respect other people's choices and know that if you don't like it you DON'T HAVE TO WATCH/LISTEN).

Though there was a lot of expanding on that topic:


I wonder... do you think anyone in Metallica plays Blizzard games?  Wouldn't it be awesome if they did?? :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guildleader Chores - Current guild dynamics and why being underhand never works!

The other day I went to do a Heroic SoO late as a PuG with Tribo, a guild on Blackrock who are 14/14H. Their GM is my friend and I often listen late at night to their raids and watch their Twitch stream as they fight to get ideas on how to do things.  This Flexible and cross server raiding thing is a great thing, and will always be one of the highlights of Mists of Pandaria.  These guys raid after my raid finishes so if I can start playing after everyone has gone to bed and I'm having one of my low sleep days.

They were on a bunch of alts whereas I was on my main and one of the paladins whispered me and said "Long time no chat, Navimie." I looked at his name and tried to remember him - the name was vaguely familiar but nothing was clicking in my memory.  On closer inspection I realised that he was unguilded and he was also from Saurfang - and then the ball dropped.  This guy was one of the paladins I had been trying to recruit months ago but he hadn't taken up my offer.  One thing I do remember was I was chatting to him whilst he stood in Orgrimmar but he didn't reply me - it turned out his wife was on his toon and doing his dailies for him which is why she wasn't answering.

So I chatted with him a bit - my friend was apparently very keen for him to join Tribo - and I was surprised because he was Australian East Coast and Tribo raids at REALLY late times, as they raid Perth/Singapore times. I said to him they were a great guild and he should join and he said that he would rather stay on Saurfang if possible, and I thought well, he could come to us if he liked, but I would feel bad for my friends - I don't want them to think I took their healer!  I told Tribo's GM that I knew this guy and he seemed pleasant enough as I had tried to recruit him some months ago. She was pleased to hear that.

As we healed through SoO I thought his healing was decent and when he asked me if I needed a healer, I said honestly, yes, I did. And I went through "the talk" as we raided, and he seemed to be reasonable, as I had suspected before.  I told him that he was welcome to join, if our times were better, but to make sure he said something to Tribo first that he was coming to Frostwolves because the last thing I need is their GM to think I stole him - though it IS exactly what I did.  I invited him at the end of their raid and I invited his Mrs to the guild as well and I told him to turn up on Monday for Mythic raid because I was short of healers for Iron Juggernaut.

Monday rolled around and I'd seen him online during the day so I was suprised he wasn't online for raid. We managed to muddle through without him but I was a bit irritated.  I had specifically asked him to be online for mythic raiding!  His wife logged on and I asked her where he was and she said he was online.  I went through the guild list and realised that he wasn't on the server anymore...

"Did he leave the guild? I can't see his name..." I said to her.

"One moment let me ask him," she replied.  She returned shortly after to say that he transferred over to Blackrock because they offered him gold!  I laughed.  Oh well, at least it happened before I started relying on him!  But that probably serves me right - I should not try to take things which were going to be taken by others!  Lesson learned!  Even Luxy said to me "What did you expect Navi!  You stole him from another guild, someone like that would be easy to steal away, don't you think?"  And she's right :P  Though, I think his Mrs will stay with us - and that's totally fine, she seems rather feisty and fun.

Guild seems to be rather settled to me, lately.  There were a few farewells - Shiz, Voros and Glow left the other week to go back to Alliance as their old guildies had returned.  I shall still see them on battletag so it's not really good bye, though I shall miss them!  The Caelestrasz guys have settled in well, chatting to everyone, and I don't see any huge cliques or alienisations happening.  Of course everyone has their groups of friends within the guild they prefer to hang around with - I would never expect anyone to make effort to group or chat to EVERYONE in the guild, that's MY job - but what I worried about most was people thinking they were too good to speak to others.  I haven't seen that at all, so far (or perhaps people are just well behaved when I log on).  Speaking of new recruits, I was very happy when when three ex-Scion members joined - after all that asking and eventually resigned to the fact they weren't coming they turned up when I least expected.  Duck, who is good friends with Alca, joined the guild a week or two ago and between him and Alca they convinced Una to come along as well. I've been taking Una and Alca to Mythic raids and I think that's kept them interested for now. All three of them have told me they want to be casual raiders, and that suits me just fine.  However, Drauka and Ravz are both missing - only Haevela is around regularly and I saw Daeneirys pop online for Hallow's End stuff in the last few days.  And speaking of returning, Falln has rejoined the guild on his warrior - adds another raider to the midst.  Falln said he wanted something a bit more casual so we shall see!  Brahski has yet to turn up to a raid - I am still skeptical about him being here, but he assures me he wants to be here.  I find it difficult to believe these ex-hardcore 14/14H people want to be in a guild like Frostwolves.  

There are couple of socials that I think would benefit from coming to some heroic SoO and hopefully I will be able to dig them up during the week (coughs at Bio and Thohand). I hope everyone can get an heirloom to go into WoD with!

However, what I said a few months ago has come to bite me in the backside.  I had too many healers a few months ago - and now I seem to have a huge paucity of them.  Initially I thought I had me, Morz, Koda, Amayeti, Asys, Ravz, Glow, Daeneirys, Tensai - that seemed like a lot! But Asys left the guild to go to Blackrock, Glow went back to Alliance, Ravz is on a break, Dae is social only and Ama has not been online yet.  Tensai likes playing his alts and he also has classes till late.  Looks like Luxy may have to heal in WoD after all...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Raiding - A Flexible NORMAL raid (of sorts) and Uq the doorman

Flex, normal blah. I can't say normal without people saying "Do you mean old flex?" So I am going to stick to saying NORMAL from now.  And I mean the easiest flex that is available.  Normal.  NORMAL.

Everyone wanted to bring alts. I couldn't ask our usual tanks to tank. So I went and did the unthinkable, which I had done now for twice in the last few days and I hadn't done it for more than a year.  I went and specced guardian.

Now my gear is not quite right for guardian.  I am wearing my feral clothes for one (and feral tier), and I am wearing a DPS cloak.  The only thing going for me is that I have good gear, thanks to all the leftovers from raid that I pick up.

So I was tanking and I wondered who was going to tank with me.  And guess who I had?  It was Aza on his warrior.  He would have had more experience than me with tanking since had tanked Challenge Modes.  The most I ever do is dungeons.

Obviously one advantage is that there are much fewer abilities to worry about now.  It makes tanking a lot easier, a lot more... Vanilla.  Now I wish I had three specs so I could continue doing kitty as I was just getting used to the whole thing.

Our usual tanks, Aimei and Exray, were on the crappiest alts ever.  And I had to rely on them to tell me what to do.  I had Aimei on Skype and I think Aza had Exray on Skype so we were pretty much hand held the whole way. Exray even did the marking and the pull timers so I didn't have to do much.

Tanking is very different to healing, I must say.  The most running I had to do was for Iron Juggernaut as I frantically searched for the bombs to click on and jump on them when there were a billion bodies in my way.  I didn't get all of them as the DPS were often helping out.

I tanked all the way up to Garrosh and I admit it, I had fun.  I may have taunted at weird times, and I often stood in bad things (but this time they don't kill me!) but it was rather relaxing.

There was one standout moment that I shall immortalise in a Faily Frostwolf Comic at a later stage because to me it has gone down in Frostwolves history as one of those memorable moments.  A memorable Frostwolf moment is usually a totally hilarious face palming stuff (or stuff up) of some sort.  Like Faithless and elevators (yes, would you believe she died in the lift after Nazgrim - Faithy style!).  Or Asys always forgetting to repair and breaking all his gear mid fight.  Or any of the times we forgot to kill the engineers (always blame the ranged!).  Even Sev's bad luck with getting cloaks on bonus rolls in SoO!  Or me and Thok.. to name a few.

So Uq/Eq was afk, and so we started Spoils without him.  It was going well. We were doing great, and I was happy that I was getting the hang of this opening boxes thing and not having to worry about facing mobs with my water spray as a healer.  We were on the second side, and the other half of the raid had finished their half and pulled the lever, they were waiting on us.  We were just killing the last mob, the lever turned all shiny and someone was running over to pull it....

... and suddenly we jumped to the cinematic of running over to Siegecrafter Blackfuse trash.  That was weird.  Is that something new that happens after you complete the spoils encounter?

There were screams and yells of WTF and Nooooo!  I hit escape and sure enough we were standing at Blackfuse trash.  What happened?

"OMG!" exclaimed Exray.  "I think someone opened the door to Blackfuse..."
"Uq did it!  He came back from AFK!"
"Wait did that reset Spoils?"

We all rushed back.  Sure enough, Spoils was reset.  Uq was sheepishly apologetic but I was laughing my ass off.  Some of the others weren't amused, but I thought it was funny.  Not my fault they don't have a sense of humour.  So we did the fight again and I am pleased to say that I learned something.  Now if anyone goes AFK they are NOT to touch any doors.  NO TOUCH!

We finished a bit past 11 and I thought that it went so easily with all those alts that perhaps we should do heroic SoO next week on Saturday.  But we would need some time to clear beforehand!  Maybe do some preclearing?  Or maybe use someone's save?  Either way, I think it would be a good thing and I'm looking forward to giving it a try. Maybe I should start at 8 so we can get some stuff cleared? Just a thought!