Return of the Valor

WoWScrnShot_102415_200255While everyone else is off complaining or moving on, I’m still here excited as all get out.  Why is this? While I might be the only one, I am stoked for the (re)introduction of valor points.

With patch 6.2.3, Blizzard announced that valor points would be making a return in order to upgrade gear.  It will cost 250 VP for one upgrade (+5 ilvls) with two available upgrades per piece of gear.  In other words, for 500 VP you can add 10 ilvls and boost the stats of all your gear.  Valor points come from a variety of sources- heroic (100 VP each) and mythic dungeons (300 VP each), weekly bonus events (500 VP), and LFR (150 for HFC, 75 for the others).  There is no valor cap anymore, but all the sources are once per week.

This change is probably my favorite from the patch.  The way that I am interpreting it, there are two major positives that this will bring.

The first and most obvious positive is this will provide yet another alternative gearing method, and one that is without RNG.  Instead of being at the whim of the Random Number Gods, players will now be able to run a number of dungeons or LFR and earn points towards a guaranteed upgrade. For the raiders, this means that their gear can be supplemented and improved upon while waiting for that BiS piece to drop.  If the bosses don’t drop anything for you, you can still advance your character’s power.  As someone who has been sitting at ilvl 695 for a while with no good gear dropping, this is a godsend.  I can bring a better and better geared toon each time I play.

Even for those who don’t raid but also want decent gear, this is also very helpful.  Valor points will allow players to augment the gear that they do have.  Let’s say your thing is soloing old raids.  With the +10 ilvl gear, you might finally be able to get a boss down that you previously couldn’t have.  Or maybe that +10 will make running around Tanaan, or dungeons, or hunting for achievements easier.  Valor points can help all sorts of players.

Another great thing about the new valor system is that there is no cap.  So if you run a few dungeons and a bonus weekend in one week, and then just one wing of LFR the next, you aren’t behind because you ‘didn’t cap’ your valor.  The lack of a cap will make valor points less mandatory. (Yes, I understand that for the more elite players, there will still be a drive to run every source of valor every week, but many players will most likely not follow this path).

The other huge positive that this change brings is that it will get more people into LFR.

This next part comes from the perspective of a progression raider. An LFR raider or someone who does not raid at all would have a different opinion and I by no means pretend to express all those viewpoints, just my own.

As it currently stands, I do not run LFR ever anymore.  For Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry, it’s much more worth my time to pug the raids that I need.  I can get the stones/runes that I need and I also have a chance to upgrade my gear.  While not everyone pugs, there is a pretty big population of puggers who actively avoid LFR.  For Hellfire Citadel, there is really no point in me running it because my guild raids the normal version.  I already get the tomes I need and the gear in LFR is not any better. Even on alts, the queue time and reputation of HFC is enough to deter myself (and most other raiders that I have talked to).  The crux of the matter is that most raiders do not run HFC LFR anymore.

With the introduction of valor points, there is now an incentive for raiders to run LFR.  Maybe the gear and tomes are of no use, but the valor points it drops are now highly valuable to us.  I know that I will start running it once the patch drops for those valor points.  This change will bring more people into LFR, hopefully alleviating queue times.  It will also bring more players who know the fights well and/or are pretty well geared.  With an influx of players who want to get down their LFRs for their valor points quickly, the speed of LFR HFC runs also will improve.

Now unfortunately, this also  could bring a few negatives.  I can already see raiders joining in LFRs and seeing themselves as better than everyone else.  I see potential fights between LFRraiders and leet hardcore raiders as the hardcore raider gets angry at real or perceived failures of boss mechanics. But this has always be the case.  Blizzard should still put the valor point system in place, regardless of a few bad eggs.  Overall, I do believe it will improve the quality of life in LFR.  Most raiders will want to get the job done quickly, not get involved in protracted fights.

And then there are dungeons! With the valor point system, Blizzard is also another step closer to making dungeons valid once more.  Players will return to heroics that they have months abandoned.  There will definitely be an uptick in mythic dungeons.  While dungeons aren’t my favorite type of content, I do appreciate that they are being made relevant for those who do love them.

Valor points will get people to return or try out a variety of content.  Especially considering that Warlords is moving into the end portion of the expansion, this addition will help to keep the game fresh for a little while longer.  People love feeling overpowered, and all those ilvl 700+ folks are going to love steamrolling through Heroic Auchindoun and getting something out of the deal.  In Mists, Valor points were a big drive for me to run my LFRs and I’m excited to see it return in Warlords.  And also, I can also improve my gear even when I don’t get the drops I desire.  Its a win win situation!

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What Counts as Content?

This actually has nothing to do with the article, I just thought it was a cool screenshot

This actually has nothing to do with the article, I just thought it was a cool screenshot

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of days, you have no doubt heard about patch 6.2.3, the latest patch in Warlords of Draenor.  However, as indicated by the number and lack of name of the patch, this newest update will not be a ‘major content patch’.  You can view the full patch notes here.

The patch itself seems to be a smaller one, but after reading it I was struck with the notion that this supposedly small patch actually had a ton of content.  Patch 6.2.3 could arguable be bigger than Patch 6.1 in fact.  In order to explain this, we will need to look at a much bigger question.

What counts as Content?
Most WoW players would define content as stuff to do in the game.  Questing, Dungeons, Battlegrounds, and especially Raids would all be considered content.  Content is further divided down by old content and new content.  Old content typically refers to quests, dungeons, and raids from a previous expansion, but it can also refer to ‘outdated’ and older content in the current expansion (Normal Dungeons and Highmaul would be examples from Warlords).  New content is raids, battlegrounds, zones and whatever else is part of the current expansion and currently being played through by the majority of WoW players.  A patch with content is usually one that introduces a new raid/battleground/dungeon/etc to the game and it typically is written with two numbers as opposed to three (Patch 6.2 versus Patch 6.2.3).

With all this in mind, one would think that deciding what is a content patch and what is not would be relatively easy.  However, this has turned out not to be the case.  Patch 6.1, the first major content patch in Warlords of Draenor was surprisingly light on content for a major patch.  The only new things that the Patch brought were a continuation to the legendary quest, the Garrison Jukebox, some more pet battle stuff, new blood elf models, Garrison bosses, and Twitter Integration.  No new raids or dungeons or battlegrounds to speak of.  No new questlines (other than a short addition to the legendary), no new max level hubs, nothing.  In comparison, Patch 5.1 Landfall brought us the new quest hub in Krasarang Wilds with a host of dailies, story, and rewards, Brawlers Guild, a slew of Pet Battle changes, the continuation of the Legendary Questline, and four new Scenarios.

In reality, Patch 6.1 was incredibly light on content.  Compared to all the other major patches in recent history, 6.1 was more of a hotfix than a content patch. However, that would mean that Warlords only would have one real content patch, 6.2.  Every single other expansion has had at least three major content patches; having just one in Warlords almost makes Warlords an expansion-lite instead of a complete story.

When you look at the original content that patch 6.2.3 brings us, it’s almost as light as 6.1.  A new PvP Season, a new set of Timewalker dungeons (I would consider this new content because of the upgraded rewards), and a mount.  Interestingly though, Patch 6.2.3 brings both dungeons and PvP content, two of the kings of content.

Be without Doubt, this doesn't really pertain to the article either

Be without Doubt, this doesn’t really pertain to the article either

However, there are two changes that patch 6.2.3 brings that I would argue make it a HUGE content patch.

Item Upgrades and Valor are back!
Item upgrades are back! Players will be able to earn and spend Valor to upgrade items from Hellfire Citadel, items created from Baleful tokens in Tanaan Jungle, and all Draenor dungeon drops. All the items you’ve already earned are eligible for upgrades retroactively.
Characters can earn Valor in a number of ways.

  • Completing the first random Heroic Dungeon of the day
  • Completing Mythic Dungeons
  • Completing weekly Bonus Event quests
  • Completing a Raid Finder wing for Highmaul, Blackrock Foundry, or Hellfire Citadel for the first time each week.

Mythic Dungeon Loot Improvements
Mythic Dungeons now have a chance to award items ranging from item level 685 to 725 in 5-item-level increments, with a progressively lower chance as item level increases.
Mythic Dungeon bosses now also have a chance to drop a new Heirloom Trinket that will scale up to level 110.

Neither change is adding new things to do in the game.  But what they are doing, is creating a new incentive to run old content.

Valor points allow players to increase the power of their gear, making it very appealing as another path for gearing up.  The sources of valor points are Heroic Dungeons (first per day), Mythic Dungeons, weekly Bonus Event quests, and LFR wings (first per week).  Many of these sources are considered outdated and are less often run.  But now that there is an incentive to run these things, people will begin running Dungeons and LFR in floods.  Content that was once old will again be current because it once again will have a worthwhile reward. This also will have the added bonus of getting knowledgeable and geared players into LFR, which will improve the speed of those runs.

The second half of this was the increased rewards to Mythic Dungeons.  Again, this will get more players who might not be completing Mythic Dungeons anymore back into them.  Previously older content is made relevant once more.

In addition to all this, there is also the highly controversial moose mount.  Love it or hate it, the moose also acts as a way of keeping content relevant for longer.  The highly desired mount is available for a limited amount of time from a limited source (Mythic and Heroic Archimonde).  Basically, it is another version of the wolf from Mists of Pandaria Garrosh.  The moose will keep players raiding Hellfire Citadel up until the day that the mount becomes unavailable because of it’s desirability. While the moose is just a couple of pixels, it will have the effect of keeping Hellfire Citadel relevant for months and months.

Patch 6.2.3 isn’t bring much in the way of new content, however it is making a huge amount of older content relevant again.  And when you consider all of that content as part of the patch, Patch 6.2.3 starts looking like a major content patch.  I honestly believe that Patch 6.2.3 should really be 6.3.  True, it is missing the massive amount of class tuning that major patches usually have, but it also has more content than previous ‘major content patches’ in this expansion. And in the grand schemes of Warcraft, Warlords could certainly use another major patch to bring it up to par with previous expansions.

Now we just need it to hit live realms!

What slackers! (This also has nothing to do with anything)

Waiting for the patch like….

Satire: How to Raid Lead Pugs

WoWScrnShot_070815_221517(Warning: Heavy Satire)
So you wanna be one of those hot shot raid leaders.  You wanna make the calls and decide who comes, but you’ve already been kicked out of your guild raid team.  Where can you go to lead? Luckily for you, Blizzard has implemented the Group Finder function where anyone can create groups for anything.  Which means you can finally live your dream of being the master of a raid group! But before you begin, here are 10 tips to keep in mine while leading pug raids.

1)  Knowledge of the fights is completely arbitrary
When leading a raid, you absolutely do not need to know what the fights are like.  You are already putting this group together, do you have to hand hold them through mechanics as well? The tanks should be explaining the fights, and if they don’t they are bad and deserve to be kicked.  Don’t waste your precious leader time explaining, just get pulling!

2) Your ilvl requirement must be high or you will fail
A good rule to go by is the ilvl of the gear dropped in the raid +20 points.  So for Normal Highmaul, look for people ilvl 675 or above.  The people in your pug must be at least that high, otherwise you will wipe endlessly. However, your own ilvl is inconsequential.  These folks should be carrying you anyway, that’s their job as puggers!

3) Failure should be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly
If anyone messes up any mechanic or accidentally pulls anything at all, they should be immediately kicked.  How are you to know that they won’t make that mistake again? In order to keep a successful group, failure must be eradicated.

4) Always have an excuse ready if you are the one who fails
A weak leader who makes mistakes loses the respect of the rest of the pug.  If you happen to make any mistakes, be sure to blame it on lag, a cat on your keyboard, or someone elses’s mistake (best option).  Owning up to a mistake will only cause chaos as the puggers will no longer believe in your skillz and will begin to jump ship.

5) Foster a ‘No Questions’ environment
The best pugs are the ones where no one asks any silly questions about fight mechanics.  If someone does happen to ask a question about a fight, they obviously aren’t good enough to be in your pug and must be kicked.

6) Play the Blame Game well
When something does go wrong, be quick with who you blame.  The best options are those who are under-performing or anyone who has expressed dislike in the way you run your pugs.  These people are obviously trying to bring you down and should be shamed and then kicked.

7) Be vague about loot system
Make sure to never directly answer which loot system you will be using.  If you settle on one system, people are bound to drop group right away because most puggers are pansies.  That being said, Master Loot is the best system since it allows you to pocket all the boss drops and BoEs that are rightfully yours.  If someone has a problem with this, they are just greedy and jealous of you and also deserve a kick.

8) Deal with AFKs promptly
If anyone happens to say something along the lines of ‘afk, brb, or one second’ they are just preparing to troll your group.  They will stay away from their keyboard for hours until everyone in the group has dropped while waiting for them.  Such players need to be kicked as soon as they mention how they are stepping away.  You can’t let such people undermine your group!
However, if a person has been on auto-follow or offline for a while, don’t kick them just yet.  Wait a good fifteen- twenty minutes before kicking because they have a high chance of coming back any second now.  These players are the good eggs, they aren’t trolling you with their ‘I’ll be right back, just give me a second!’ garbage.

9) When attempting any last bosses, require the Ahead of the Curve achievement
How else are you supposed to know if these people know the fight? It’s imperative that you require AotC for Imperator, Blackhand, and Archimonde if you are going to down them.  The more AotC’s the better in fact.  An AotC is basically an instant invite for anyone, regardless of ilvl.  If the person has downed these bosses before, they know the fights like no one else but Blizzard itself.

10) Remember that you are the one who matters here
You are the one who set this raid up which automatically makes you the most important person in this raid.  Make sure that all the raid does benefits you.  It certainly doesn’t hurt to remind the other puggers who is the real reason for why they are all there.  Your leadership is extraordinary and they are all lucky to be in your pug.  Ignore complaints and kick dissenters and you will find glory!

Follow these 10 tips and you are assured success! Now go get ’em!

(Disclaimer: Yeah, please don’t do this folks.  For actual pugging leading advice, I would check out this article on Blizzard Watch)

Heraldic Invitation

WoWScrnShot_042615_173134Many months ago, I blogged a bit about an event I ran with my guild by the name of Herald of the Titans.  Once again my guild is running groups through for the achievement, and I wanted to open up the invitation to all my readers!

The Herald of the Titans achievement requires some rather specific situations.  First, all the 10 people in the raid group must be level 80.  No level 100, not even level 81.  You’ve gotta be level 80 on the dot.  Secondly, everyone in the raid must be wearing ilvl 226 or below gear.  And while all of this is active, you must go and defeat Algalon the Observer in Ulduar.  Basically, you complete the fight at level and at gear.

So why would someone want to go for such an achievement? Well to start us off, it’s not actually an achievement, its a feat of strength. And as everyone knows, that’s 3x more fancy.  But on top of that, you also earn the Herald of the Titans title.  And bragging rights! What’s more for there to ask for?

If you are interested in joining the event, shoot me an email at thefussypants(at)hotmail(dot)com and go to our guild forum pages for more in depth information.

We currently do not have a run date because people are still leveling and gearing up but when such a time comes around it is my priority that everyone who wants to gets a run.  The event is a ton of fun and I would love to play the game I write about so often with my readers!  Come join us!

Now, onto other business!
WoWScrnShot_100115_184024The vote was in, and Yotaan and I have started leveling our Ironman toons! I am playing a goblin hunter by the name of Greedypants and he is playing a tauren druid by the name of Bullsmack (isn’t that such a great name!).  And yes, you should all feel bad for voting warlock because warlocks are icky and gross.  Thank goodness hunter beat out by one vote!  Mages forever!

Currently, Yotaan is level 5 and I am level 2 so technically he is in the lead.  However, I’m just letting him wear himself out before sweeping in and taking the prize! Totally!

We will keep you updated on our exploits as we level!