Patch 6.0: Iron Tide or Iron Puddle?

https://i0.wp.com/bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/blog_header/mg/MGD943QHKTJS1413251328414.jpgIts been about a week since the patch dropped, which is a long enough time to come up with an informed and not knee-jerk reaction to the changes.  So here it is; Fussypants and Yotaan’s responses.

Fussypants: To sum up the entire patch experience for me… lackluster.  Before I sound like some whiner on the forums though, let me explain.

This is what I saw when I first logged in.  My poor action bars!

This is what I saw when I first logged in. My poor action bars!

The first thing I noticed when I logged in was that my action bars were missing a ton of spells.  I didn’t realize how much was being taken away until I saw the reality of it.  So, the first hour or so, was just me remaking my action bars and re-choosing my talents.  I was upset, intrigued, and excited by this change, because I now have five new play styles to relearn.  But this also means that my Pally’s Selfless Healing is no more, and my Disc Priest’s Atonement is not the powerhouse it once was.  But for a game such as WoW to go on, change is inevitable.

After I managed my action bars, it was off to the barber shop for me for some plastic surgery.  To put it bluntly and shortly, all my characters were wrong.  My gnome seems to have gained an affinity to axe murdering and cats, while my draenei looks blank faced.  My night elf seemed too harsh looking, but my undead was pretty spot on.  Needless to say, this is all getting it’s own article!

Next came the toys/reagents tab.  Those changes are life savers, lemme tell you!  Over one hundred spaces were freed on each character, and my bags are gloriously empty!  (My only complaint; let jewelcrafting gems be allowed into those reagent tabs too please!)  I actually managed to fill my reagents tab on my bank alt, so it looks like I will be doing some AHing.  Speaking of AH, I’m liking the merging.  I haven’t tried it out yet (due to the crazy fluctuating markets), but I’m liking the amount of stuff on it!

I have a lot of junk, but I can't get rid of it because I might need that!!

I have a lot of junk, but I can’t get rid of it because I might need that!!

So, for the most part, I really enjoyed the UI updates.  They were much needed, and much appreciated.  However… I don’t think the PvE scene was as successful.

So.  The LfA tool.  It’s… uh… a good start? I’ve never used (or even seen OQ) so this is a completely unbiased view.  I like that its only 25 groups per page, but I wish that you could page through instead of clicking refresh, so that you have the option to come back to groups you are tentative on.  I do not like the HUGE filter that it has though.  In my opinion, the raids should be broken down into more categories.  For example, these should all be separate filters that groups can list under: SoO, ToT, HoF & ToeS, MSV, Open World Bosses, Others.  That way, one can find their Ordos group much better instead of paging through hundreds of SoO groups.

Also, I predicted this to an extent, but there is a bit of elitism.  My lower ilvled characters never get accepted into anything (I literally spent an hour on my ilvl 528 resto druid trying to find a group that would take me),  but my higher ilvled ones can get into any group.  I’m not keen on this at all; there should be some incentive for bringing along those with lower ilvls.  On top of this, I want to be able to whisper the group leader before I apply.  There are times when I want more info on a certain group that I might not want to join, but I can’t just ask the leader to clarify.  This one’s a much smaller pet peeve.

I’m luke-warm on the whole LfA thing right now.  I don’t personally see it as the most convenient method for pugging, but I know it will change a bunch before WoD drops, so again, not too worried.  What does alarm me slightly is healing.

I’ve tried out almost all my characters.  My mage felt very different without Alter Time, mage bomb, and Evocation, but I could definitely get used to her.  There is a clear rhythm and logic to the game play and I like it.  My 80 something Fury warrior is even more stoked, as I no longer feel rage starved or weak.  Loving that!

But what I’m not loving is healing.  I’ve healed on both my disc priest and my holy pally, and neither felt right to me.  In fact, healing on both felt distinctly wrong.  My priest had no rhythm, no build up to it.  To me it seemed spam Smite for Archangel, then spam Prayer of Healing until the Archangel runs, and Holy Nova whenever around people (by the way, Holy Nova is the bestest spell ever).  Its boring, its only three spells, and it felt unfinished.  All my big CD massive heals abilities are gone, and I feel lost without them.

WoWScrnShot_121113_210844
My paladin was even worse!  The changes to SH made me far less mobile and less bursty, which was my favorite play style.  Other than that, the class didn’t lose too much else, but I feel so weak!  I can spam Divine Light (a long casting ‘big’ heal) all day, never run out of mana, and barely heal anyone.  I was struggling to keep up in UBRS, a dungeon that I should be out gearing.  I’m really not happy.  My pally is going to get some massive talent changes soon, I can feel it.

To put it in more general, less class specific terms, DPS seems overpowered (two shotting things I never could on my mage) and healing seems very very weak (barely able to keep up a tank while on my pally).  Raiding seems harder because the heals just cannot keep up, but solo playing is easier than ever.  Everyone is more turret-like, but the new encounter (UBRS) demands a pretty high amount of movement.  Its all discombobulated!!

Moving on to the pre expansion event itself; the Iron Horde Invasion.  Better known as the Iron Horde House Visit or the Iron Horde Tea Party.  All joking aside, this was my least favorite part of the patch.  I’ve done the quest line once, and have no inclination to do it again.

It was boring!  The Iron Horde was a pushover; I could pull twenty of those guys and come out with more health than I started with.  The quests were boring and uninspired.  Kill guys. Kill spies.  Poison ogres.  Talk to king.  This had the potential to the the most awesome atmospheric expansion event yet, but all it turned out to be was a short, boring, forgettable, and ultimately lame quest line.  I had such high hopes, and I’m enough of a Blizzard fanboy that I would have settled for almost anything.  But this?  This was… lifeless. Lack luster.  Stale.

And the dungeon, eh it was ok.  Some annoying mechanics (hello first boss dude), some nice perks (no corpse run!), some nice loots (550 gear? Yeah, I’ll take it) but other than that, it was forgettable.  And the fact that is just sort of ended with no explanation, yeah not so cool.  I was unimpressed.  There were no boss lines I remember, no cool gimmicks, and a pretty cliche and reused environment.  I just… blah….

Long story short, I was underwhelmed by patch 6.0.  The UI changes were great, but the story and the ‘pre expansion event’ were honestly lame.  Maybe I’m being too critical, and please tell me if that’s the case, but I was not impressed.

Yotaan:  Okaaaay…  My impressions are not quite as strong as the young Fussypants here.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much with this pre expansion patch.  I do remember fondly the Wrath pre expansion patch and that was tons of fun.  I enjoyed the world wide interruption of the Scourge – it really felt epic (an overused word.)  The two pre expansion patches since were not nearly as exciting.  Additionally, enough people complained about the Wrath event that Blizzard was not going to repeat that scale of an event.  So, I suppose I had lowered expectations.

I actually liked the pre expansion patch intro quests.  Sure, the quest line was a little short, but the story, at least on the Alliance side, was good.  The dwarf lady seeking revenge on the ogre’s with poisoning!  Not an expected storyline at all!  My timeless gear only monk did have to be a little careful fighting the Iron Horde so I think it tuned for the boosted 90’s.

The UBS dungeon was a great start but a poor finish.  When I first ran it, I did not know when we ended.  The 5 of us ran around to make sure we didn’t miss a boss.  A little research was needed to confirm that was as far we could go. This needs to be made much more clear by Blizzard.

As for the squish, UI changes, and ability changes, that’s really just part of game – it changes with every expansion.  I like the changes every time because it becomes a new game again and I know that what we have now will be totally different as the expansion unfolds and my characters advance.

 

So what did you guys think of the patch?

Pugged Groups: Looking for Ego?

Awkward Moments Raiding
NOTE: The Beta Key Contest will end on Friday, September 19th at 3 PST, 5 CST, 6 EST.  Go solve those riddles!

So you all know how I love the Other Raids feature.  Even with its tendency to show healers as needing a group when they don’t,  or randomly unlist your group, the feature is pretty great.  Thanks to Other Raids, I have gotten my ilvl up to 556, been able to clear 8/14 Normal SoO, and gotten a few achievements on the way.  All in all, I’d consider the feature a success.

But, even I will admit, the feature was a band-aid on a bigger issue.  Pugging, and the extreme difficulty it was without outside sources.  And with 6.0, Blizzard intends to put in place their real solution to the problem.

The Looking for Adventure tab in the Group Finder, it is called.  Within it, players can search through and find a group to their liking, and then apply.  Or they can create a group, and set certain criteria such as item level or voice comm.  So basically, a built-in OQ.  In theory, I think the idea is sound enough, but I have a few queries.

First things first, will you only be able to list groups, or can you list as an individual looking for a group?  One thing I’ve noticed in the current iteration of Other Raids, is that there will be dozens of people looking for raids, and only a few groups listed.  With this new LFA (that’s gonna be my acronym folks, you heard it here first!), will there be just a few groups forming, and dozens of people all rushing to get into those limited spots? Or will I be able to queue up as a healer, and just wait for the whispers to come in?

I kind of hope that the LFA will let you queue as an individual or as a group, but have them under separate tabs.  For example, someone looking for a group might list themselves under the Individual tab, then go and search for a raid in the Group tab.  And vice versa.  Also, as a sometimes raid leader, I like the fact that you can  pick from an array of different people, instead of just the people who apply.

My second question; will the requirements be abused?  Yes I know that you cannot put an ilvl higher than your own, and if you put a high ilvl, only people with that ilvl will see it.  But you can easily circumvent that by putting a low ilvl requirement, but in the description mention that you actually want x ilvl.  I can see lots of possible ways that this system could be abused.

Also, one of the specific requirements that you can choose are Proving Grounds level you wish your group member have achieved.  Personally, I disliked the Proving Grounds.  I didn’t feel like that was an adequate way to test your skill at a class.  I thought the time was too punishing, and the kiting/defensive cooldowns severely lacking.  I learned almost nothing about raid awareness, CCs, or group etiquette.  All I got from my experience was how to spam your abilities the best and how to complete some highly specialized and otherwise irrelevant tasks.  As a result, I barely did any of them.  I don’t really want that to become a requirement.  I didn’t enjoy them, and I didn’t think they were a good test of the skills necessary in a raid.  And I certainly don’t want ‘LF DPS, Need PG GOLD’ to become a new normal.

But unfortunately, this sort of elitist behavior is already common in the gaming community.  I don’t want to tell you how many times I see a flex with an ilvl 550+, or a normal demanding ilvl 570, the legendary cloak, and heroic experience.  You definitely don’t need that level of gear and experience to run that level of content.  But unfortunately, many groups now want that.  And with this new group finder, I worry that this will become even worse.

I guess what I am getting at here is that while the LFA will be a great feature, we could possibly be trading ease of access for elitism.  I absolutely love the idea of pugging, but left to its own devices, it can get way out of control.  We need some sort of incentive to bring along at gear level characters, not just massively over geared ones.
‘But Fussypants, can’t you just set up your own pugs?’ Yes, but I shouldn’t have to do so every time.  There should be groups with moderate requirements that I can join.  Not just groups with outrageous requirements that are way out of my range.  The nature of pugging is quick semi-formal groups to run content.  Not hardcore, elitist jerks that carry the one leader of the group.

All things in moderation, especially World of Warcraft pug requirements.

Durumu: Best Boss Fight in MoP?

creature_durumu
‘What?’ you say,  ‘Durumu? The one with the maze? You must have made a mistake here!’ Actually, imaginary interpretation of person, I have not.  I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Durumu is one of the best boss fights from MoP. And here’s why.

First things first, Durumu the Forgotten is not easily forgotten.  Every single person who has raided Throne of Thunder remembers him.  Most people remember him because of his difficult to navigate maze or annoying cones of light ability, but for whatever reason, Durumu does not slip from many’s memories.  In my mind, and I would assume, in Blizzard’s mind, the best boss is one that people remember.

Sometimes, bosses are remembered because of lore reasons.  The Lich King, Illidan, and Edwin VanCleef come to mind right off the bat.  There is great story behind the character, and the fight is a very personal thing instead of just fighting Evil Troll #4 or something along those lines.  A lot of times, quests or the instance itself lead up to the inevitable demise of said character.  But not every boss has an in-depth fleshed out background.  Not every boss can.  So that brings me to the second reason bosses are remembered.

Bosses are remembered if they have particularly hard mechanics. Things like Yor’sahj the Unsleeping (the dude with the colored globules in Cata), The Occulus (that entire dungeon was frustrating) or Kor’Kron Dark Shaman stick out in people’s minds.  People remember the wipes, the tears, and the time invested in getting those bosses down.  And this is exactly why Durumu  is remembered.  From his hard to see maze with added death beam, to the cones of light revealing Fog creatures, and the pools of badness on the ground, Durumu is one for the record books.

But Durumu’s mechanics aren’t just memorable, they were also creative and new.  The idea of a maze, in which you basically stop dps to navigate is a pretty unusual one.  And it worked.  No other boss in Pandaria had mechanics quite like Durumu.  The boss was a radically different experience from all the others.  It had so much going on, but at the same time was rather easy to understand in concept.

And it was one of the few bosses in Pandaria where dps didn’t matter as much.  If you got to the maze phase, it didn’t matter if you could do 200k dps or 5k, because you have to get through the maze before you could dps.  Raid coordination became more valuable than the gear you were wearing.  Durumu was the great equalizer.

Sadly, the glory days of wiping endlessly in LFR on Durumu are coming to a close.  With a whole new tier, it has become more and more common for people to dps Durumu down before he ever gets to the maze phase.  But I, and many other players, will remember him for far beyond MoP.

WoW needs bosses like Durumu.  Bosses with new and innovative abilities, bosses that require more than DPS or luck to beat.  And honestly, WoW also needs bosses that are ridiculously hard, that challenge even the most elite, and push people to try new techniques.  If every boss was a tank and spank loot piñata, we would get bored with raiding really quick.  So this is why I like Durumu, and why I consider him one of the best bosses in Pandaria.

 

Addendum: Beta Key Giveaway coming Soon™

First real REAL raid

(Not actually the 25man raid because Fussypants never takes screenshots when it's actually valuable)

(Not actually the 25man raid because Fussypants never takes screenshots when it’s actually valuable)

A couple of nights ago, Yotaan and I were playing together, me on my pally and him on his shaman (we were actually on the characters that are the namesake of our blog names).  We decided to sign up for a flex raid, with me listing my name because I was a healer.  I had expected to only get a few whispers, because my ilvl was not super high (ilvl 536).

How wrong I was! Within moments of listing, I got two whispers asking if I’d want to join their group.  While conferring with Yotaan on which group we wanted to join, I got at least five more whispers.  However, two of those were far more interesting.  Someone asked me if I wanted to join their 10man normal group, and another asked me if I wanted to join their 25man normal group!  Remember, we had signed up only for flex.

A quick discussion later, and Yotaan and I decided to join the 25 man group.  I whispered the dude back, and we were quickly invited. Truthfully, I was astonished that he wanted my rather undergeared healer, but there were no questions asked about my capabilities.

After a few minutes waiting, we all flew there and started the raid!  Yotaan and his dps were faring quite well- my healing not so much.  Even pulling out all my stops, I was a distant 7th (we ran with 7 healers for some reason).  We tore through the trash, and quickly found our self at the boss.  After an accidental pull and subsequent wipe, we got all set up and pulled for reals.  My healing fared much better this time, but unfortunately both me and Yotaan ended up tanking the ground.  We wiped, kicked the AFKs, and attempted again. Again, Yotaan and I ended up tanking the ground, but the group managed to pull it off.  Loot was distributed, and we moved on.

Next up was the Protectors.  After a quick repairing/eating up time, we had pulled.  Once more, my heals were pretty bad, but Yotaan was at or above 5th place in dps!  We one-shotted this boss, and Yotaan won the roll on a ring!  Grats to him (alas, throughout the run, not a single holy pally piece dropped)!

We moved on to the Amalgamation of Pride.  At this point, the raid leader was asking us all to join his vent so that we could communicate.  Yotaan and I ducked our heads, as neither of us have vent installed.  Unfortunately, Yotaan was singled out (probably because of his high dps) to click the golden orbs in a specific fashion.  He got a brief run down, but I got the sense that the group just planned to tell him verbally when to go it.

We were in a pickle.  Neither of us had vent to communicate, we were brand new to this difficulty, and now Yotaan was being expected to complete a kind of complicated and entirely brand new mechanic.  So, we did what any sensible person would do.  We panicked and winged it.

The first attempt was quite painful. Because of the lower quality screen of Yotaan’s laptop, he struggled to see what was going on in the raid.  A few moments in, and he had died.  I, on the other hand, and been desperately trying to help him stay alive and wasn’t paying attention to my own heal.  So, then I died.  Shortly after, the entire group wiped.

The next attempt was better.  Yotaan made it in and out of the orb successfully, and I was able to keep myself alive.  However, we soon succumbed to the numerous adds, and the group wiped again.  It was getting rather late for me, so we decided to try once more.

Again, we wiped.  Yotaan and I said our good byes, and we quietly dropped group.

While it wasn’t the most successful of runs, I really enjoyed my first experience at 25man normal.  It wasn’t nearly as impossible as I had envisioned it, but was a refreshing challenge.  Yotaan on the other hand, really did not like it.  He felt ‘panicked, flustered, and tense’ the whole time.  He also said that he liked PvP way better (which is funny because I get really tense for PvP).

That was a fantastic growing experience for me.  I now really really want to raid on my mage (who is much better geared), and I found I loved the challenge! So, uh, if you ever need a dps, uh, give me a shout out! 😀

Addendum:  Keep sending in those Random Acts of Uberness!  We now have a page dedicated specifically to it!  Once we get some submissions, we will get a post up and running!

Atone for Atonement

Awesome Penace Screenshot

Ok, this is a pretty boss screenshot

So, I’ve gone and done it again!  I have fallen in love with another type of healing that will be invalidated come Warlords of Draenor.  This time though, it’s a different healing class.

It’s priests.

Discipline priests to be exact.  I decided to make the switch from holy to disc, and right away dove straight into healing LFRs.  I had some vague idea of spamming Smite, but other than that I was walking in blind.

I spent the first LFR frantically trying to switch between Atonement healing and normal healing.  Needless to say, I was a far last place in the healing meter, and was very disheartened.  But I rolled up my sleeves, and queued up for another.

This time, there was another disc priest in the raid, who obviously knew what they were doing.  I sent them a quick tell, asking how to disc priest properly.  They responded with “Spam Smite”.  I responded back, “lol”, but it turns out that they were serious.  This LFR, I tried to do as the other disc priest, and only spammed Smite, Penance, and Power Word: Solace.

And it made worlds of difference.  I was able to put out quite good dps (better than my similarly geared feral druid), and moved all the way up to second in healing.  When you just stick with one type of healing instead of attempting to juggle the two, disc’s numbers get much bigger and more consistent.

I have now been disc healing for about a week now (I know I am nowhere near pro at it) and I’ve really come to like it.  At my lower ilvl, I put out pretty good healing numbers, and a respectable amount of dps.

At low ilvls that is.  As I did more and more raids, I ran into a few heroic geared disc priests.  The heals they put out were formidable (but not crazy), but the damage, oh dang.  The few disc priests I healed with were eight or higher on the dps, pumping out above 100k. 100k.  That is crazy high.

And then there is the mana component.  I didn’t ever go oom- in fact, I didn’t even need to think about my mana at all!  The mana cost of my dps spell are so low that I could effectively spam them all day long.  And, these spells cost far less than the equivalent healing spells.  It was a win win situation, and probably too much of one.

So, I can see why Blizzard decided to nerf this ability. I wish they hadn’t nerfed it so hard, but I can totally see why they did so.  Atonement was far too powerful for its own good.  Even still, I will miss it.  Yes, it will become far less effective after the nerfs, and I expect than it’s popularity will decline.

Atonement appeals to me not because of the overpowered-ness (though that does help), but more the creative way of healing.  At this point, I have had experience with four different healing specs, and Atonement was one of the most unique.  I love the hybrid feeling of doing dps to heal (part of why I love Selfless Healer).  It requires a dps mindset,  mixed with a healers awareness, which is something I actually excel at.

And Atonement healing is fun.  There’s no other way to put it.  I love seeing those green numbers mixed in with the yellow ones.  I love that my Penance can heal anyone if I direct it at a mob, or do a big heal on a single ally.  I like the fact that I can be almost competitive with my dps, and that I don’t really have to worry too much about healing.  My dps will handle it.

So, it seems I’ve fallen in love with healing again.  I’ve been playing my healers far more than my dps classes, and am really enjoying it again.  My question to you is should I try Mistweaving or Restoration next?

You are not your #%$@ DPS

See that up there? It ain't that important.

See that up there? It ain’t that important.

This has been bothering me for a while now- people judge on your deeps/heals, and not on your personality.  This has always bugged me, but not until recently have I really been bothered by it.
The event that compacted the issue happened in a flex raid my guild was running.  We, and some random others, were running the first wing and generally having a good time of it.  Everyone was getting along, and there were many laughs to be had.
Important things to note however, were this.  I was consistently the top DPS (this isn’t bragging (much :P) as it is important to the story) and my guild mates were generally in the middle of the pack.
We got to Norushen, and had our first wipe.  I started to have extremely bad lag issues (3334 latency, woot!), so I had to restart WoW.  Alright, no skin off our backs, we dusted off and tried again.  And promptly wiped again.  I had died halfway through, so I now was trying to restart my computer to fix the issue.  This means I left the voice comm our guild was using too.
When my computer finally restarted, it was slow.  I got back on the voice comm, and was shocked to hear what had happened.  Apparently, the random others had turned against a few members of my guild, citing low dps as a reason to kick them.  One member had gotten kicked, but another in our guild had invited them back to the raid.  This was our flex raid after all.
Then, the randoms started slinging insults at various members of our guild.  The person was kicked again, and this time, our entire group left the randoms.  I was shocked at how quickly that escalated, and fully expected to log into WoW, having been kicked from the group.
But I wasn’t.
It turns out, that because of my high dps, the randoms had waited 15 minutes for me to come back online.  I was astounded by their patience, and then immediately upset.  Why couldn’t they have been that patient with my guildies?
And this is the issue.  People value your DPS over your attitude, or willingness to learn.  My guildies were friendly and nice (until they were attacked), but because they didn’t have the dps, they were given no patience.  I was mostly silent, but had relatively high dps, so they waited a FULL FIFTEEN MINUTES for me to get back.  Fifteen minutes!  And yet they couldn’t do it for my guildies!
It angers me, the things that take priority in peoples minds.  Yes dps is important, but just as much so as a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.  People need to be WAY more patient with lesser geared people, especially if those people are putting their all.
I mean, which would you rather have?  The sullen sour shaman who pulls 20% of the deeps, all while putting down the rest of the raid, or the helpful happy hunter, who many not have the best dps, but is doing the very best he can while being polite to others?
I know that if I hadn’t been a high dps, I would have been kicked too.  No one would have given me tips on how to improve, I would have just been shunted.  Because I would have been taking up their precious, precious time (/heavy sarcasm).
Patience is a virtue that I think everyone can work on.

Last Riddle:

If only once,
someone stepped up
and gave the man his pay.
He’ll gladly pay you Tuesday,
for a hamburger today.

When you figure out this one, email me the answer to the riddle AND THE TITLES OF THE OTHER POSTS IN THE ORDER WHICH YOU HIT THEM at thefussypants@hotmail.com .  Good luck!