Archive for June, 2010


I’ll tell you what, I was disappointed in E3 this year. Maybe it’s me getting becoming more and more jaded at the games of tomorrow, or watching G4’s coverage of the event like everything presented is awesome without giving a thought that maybe, just maybe, they are just getting fed too much of the snake oil from the marketing department.

Or…. maybe all I got of the Warhammer 40k MMO was a minute long trailer and told to wait 2 months for more. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Anyways, disappointing conventions aside, let’s go over about Cataclysm for a bit. It’s been practically a year since it was formally announced and while we know more now that what we knew then, we still don’t know much at all. All of the info we have received is disjointed and until we have beta access and the NDA’s are lifted we can get solid information from the community where everything learned is put together, not picked apart separately.

Take for example my video on cataclysm druid tanking. I completely forgot that months earlier, they had announced some of the planned changes to the class itself, and that a new baseline ability called Thrash will be introduced. It’s an AOE that does damage and causes the targets to bleed for 6 seconds, with a 5 second cooldown on the ability. While that doesn’t change what I said about pulverize on single targets, we don’t know enough about thrash if it will be used in single target fights. Judging from the description, I think its focus is AOE only.

But let’s forget that right now. The big thing that was mentioned waaaaaaay back that I never got a chance to talk about was Vengeance. All tanks will be getting this ability in their chosen talent tree. What is Vengeance? It gives you an attack power buff every time your hit. When you are hit, take 5% of the damage you received, and add that to your attack power. Continue to do this until the vengeance buff equals 10% of your unbuffed (read: after gear) health. Its Blizzards way of giving them an easy setting to tweak that just affects tanks if they need to re-arrange tank dps/threat.

If you read into interviews and whatnot with Ghostcrawler, you will notice that the focus of the game has shifted from a short term, 3 year property to something that will last for quite some time, and that the original game was not made with consideration for the future in mind. When the developers want to balance something, they have to find a way to change what they want without rendering a specific class or spec useless for PVE or PVP. In my opinion, while they have made huge, HUGE strides since WoW was first released, they still fail at this. I’m not saying it’s easy, but looking at how many survival rogues or frost mages are successfully accomplishing Icecrown even at a casual, 10 man level compared to other specs for the given classes, I think the outcome of their current efforts are clear.

Talent masteries like Vengeance is a way to fix that. Every class and spec has a version of Vengeance that increases their raw damage that is specific only to that class and spec. If say, a mutilate rogue is too high on bosses compared to the combat and subtlety, they can dial down the melee damage passive increase in the assassin tree to make it even, without gimping the spec itself. Looks good in theory, we’ll see how it works in practice.

Now, when it comes to tanking, all tanks have 2 of the 3 passive abilities, with the third being unique. All tanks will share a damage reduction bonus as well as vengeance, which will serve as our attack power bonus. The 3rd, unique ability, from the looks of things, appears to deal with the block mechanic. I’ll explain.

First, let’s take the warrior, a tank that actually has a shield to protect his face from Bad Things. A warrior’s 3rd mastery talent is critical block chance. Now, blocking in of itself is getting redesigned to shave off 30% of the incoming attack, instead of a constant value, to make it more useful in boss fights. Critical block chance for a warrior gives him (or her, for you ladies out there) a chance that the block will absorb 60% of the damage. Good stuff. Extremely useful for a warrior to tank hard hitting bosses like Festergut, further solidifying the niche that a warrior tank always handles the big baddies.

A paladin, on the other hand, gets Block Amount, which increases the amount absorbed through normal blocking, but keeping with the current theme of the class, a paladin will block a lot more than say a warrior. If Holy shield doesn’t get a massive change to its block % increase, then you will still see paladins blocking 40% or more of their incoming attacks. This right now is something I am curious to see if they will let it stand, because outside of ICC, paladins are unhittable due to holy shield. If in Cataclysm this remains unchanged, what you are looking at is a tank that, if he doesn’t dodge, parry or is missed entirely, the attack is blocked. If it’s blocked, it’s at a minimum 30% damage reduction. That means EVERY attack that lands is 30% reduction, which is huge. It’s like having a mini divine shield up, permanently.

Then you have the non shield wearing classes, the druid and DK. Druids get Savage Defense, which increases their ability of the same name. This ability is a druid’s equivalent to block, and I would not be surprised if Savage defense gets buffed to 30% of the incoming attack, like block will be. Then comes the question, what will the mastery improve? Will it make it activate more often? Will it increase its damage absorbed, like how it will do it for a pally? We won’t know until more info is released.

Lastly, and least, is the Death Knight. Since blood is being redesigned as the tank tree, and DK’s don’t have a block mechanic currently, their mastery is Healing Absorption. From the description, every time you heal yourself (death strike, rune tap, etc), you gain the ability to absorb some incoming damage. I feel that this will be a DK’s version of block. Considering that currently a blood DK does at least 2 self heals in a 10 second span, I can see that this Healing Absorption will be around 30% or a little more. It also means that DK’s can very well be the only class that can actively choose when they want to block, or get a block like affect. All of that is speculation of course, as the DK is getting the most rework out of all the tank classes.

Seeing that I’m already at the end of my second page, I’m going to end this entry here so you’re not all bored to death, the very few of you who read this far. I’ll talk about what the future of tanking is starting to look like going off of the posts and impressions from blizzard’s staff in a few days.

References:
http://www.wow.com/2010/04/09/cataclysm-class-changes-druid/
http://www.wow.com/2010/04/08/cataclysm-class-changes-death-knight/
http://www.wow.com/2010/04/14/cataclysm-class-changes-paladin/
http://www.wow.com/2010/04/08/cataclysm-class-changes-warrior/

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It’s X-mas in June!

The industry event of the year to shame all others has finally come to pass. E3 is here and officially starts tomorrow, but everyone who actually matters is getting their major stuff out of the way now while they can secure exclusive press time. At the time of this post, EA is in the middle of their press release, with Microsoft already done their little dance in the limelight. Blizzard already jumped the gun yesterday with all kinds of juicy new Cataclysm details. These would be…..

– Path of the Titans got axed
– Inscription now has “Medium Glyphs”, which are described as cosmetic
– Guild Talents are gone, and they took its money with it
– Can now reputation grind your guild (ugh)
– New raid lockout mechanics, such as downshifting and swapping raid ID’s mid week
– New lore developments

All good stuff to look into and talk about. But not today, and probably not via blog. I’ll probably talk about it via video later this week.

Right now, at this very moment, I’m constantly hitting refresh on as many game news sites as I can for any scrap of information on the upcoming Warhammer 40K MMO. We have been told repeatedly that the details of the game would be revealed, finally, at this E3. I want that info. I need that info. If there is one franchise that will make me sign a Faustian Bargain for is WH40K. I love the lore, the board game, the RTS games, the novels, everything. It is the only franchise that surpasses Warcraft, in all of its incarnations, for me. Sadly, Warhammer 40K is saddled with Gamers Workshop, who I feel don’t necessarily do their genius IP right, like they are purposefully holding it back for some unknown reason.

For those of you who are not familiar with Warhammer 40k, it’s a dark gothic sci-fi setting set far in the future. Humanity is living in a dystopia, engaged in constant wars both from enemies at the gates and traitors from within. Space travel is dangerous and necessary, enemies are everywhere, mercy is for the weak and victory is never without cost. It portrays humanity in its greatest forms, with tales of honor, bravery, heroism and sacrifice. It also covers the darker sides, such as corruption, stagnation, ignorance and blind hate. It’s humanity in its decline versus enemies who show no remorse, no pity, no respite.

I love every second of it.

Anyways, the new Xbox 360 looks nice and sleek, and I will probably get one in a few months since my current 2 are broken, and have been broken for over a year.

I really wish I had time to update this more often. Between getting these tank tutorials made, raiding, family, work and, of course, other games, the blog generally comes last in priority. Also, it’s the medium I am least familiar with, as I don’t really know how to work with wordpress and whatnot. It’s a shame really, because I like to write and would like to be more social in the WoW community.

Thankfully, with the tank 101 series is at a close now. I can start focusing on more fun stuff to make video’s on. Unfortunately these videos will require a lot more editing, and thus more time. Having a weekly video is still doable, just means I will sacrafice time from something else.

Anyways, I wanted to go over something that irks the shit out of me. It happens more often than necessary, and it makes me wonder what we teach our children in our schools in terms of professionalism, respect, and good old fashon grammer.

I am talking about prospective applicants to serious raiding guilds for a raiding spot, and they make a fool of themselves in the process.

You see, the guild I’m in, as well as many guilds across the world, are labeled as “progression guilds”. We take raiding content seriously, at least enough to be able to put effort into crafting a team together of like minded people of various classes and specs to contribute to clearing content. We don’t bring people who are undergeared to carry them so they can get free epics. We don’t bring people so they can get some gear and move on to a more progressed guild. We also don’t bring in people who don’t know thier class or constantly fail in encounters where there is avoidable damage.

Above all, we don’t accept people who can’t understand the simple concept of answering a fucking question. If I asked you what is your name, and you gave me this long story of your ancestry and how you got your name, but didn’t actually tell me your name, I’m going to slap the shit out of you on principle. It makes me wonder what these people are thinking when they go through filling out the application. Are they so full of themselves that they got some notion that they will get in regardless of thier app? Do they think such massive paragraphs that answer nothing at all will hide the fact that they don’t know what the fuck they are talking about? Do they think that we don’t have people who know the class, and can see through thier bullshit? Mabye it’s a combination of it all, I don’t know.

Anyways, we generally get a flood of apps once a month, and for every 3-4 people who apply, 1 will get accepted. Recently, we got a glut of 6 or so apps very quickly, all horrible, hence this post. What also makes me wonder, is do they not look at the other perspective applicants? Surely they can see that these people put up shitty apps, and were ripped apart by myself or other players. Surely they can see where we pointed out in detail what we didn’t like about the app. I am guessing they don’t, cause then they wouldn’t repeat the same motherfucking mistakes! They are like fucking lemmings walking off a cliff!

Bah, had to get that out of me.

Anyways, like I said, I want to post more, and mabye I will. It’s either that or make more videos, and the latter isn’t very likely now that I’m trying to learn more about Sony Vegas and trying to push what I can do. Seeing that I know very little about making videos, it doesn’t take long for me to start venturing into new territory, which means immense slowdowns in the creative process as I try to figure out what the fuck I am doing.