Thursday, 13 August 2009

Raid v3.2, or The Trial Of Wake Me When It’s Over

I think it’s kind of telling that I opted to sit out from our first 25-man kill of Lord Jaraxxus, the boss in the Trial of the Crusader who was unlocked this week, in favour of leveling skinning on an alt (yay for guides).

He's a great pet, once you get past the perpetual smell of wet fur.

I was underwhelmed by the first encounter (the Northrend Beasts), and the second encounter left me equally unenthused after completing the 10-man version this afternoon.  It might just be me, but it feels like I’m being served the raiding equivalent of baked beans on toast when you really wanted a three-course meal.

Perhaps it’s the single-room thing (and it’s the same room we do the 5-man in, so we’re seeing way too often), or the difficulty (I think the more advanced raiders are expected to still be expending most of our time and effort completing Ulduar hard modes until we get access to the Trial hard modes), or maybe I’m just tired of doing the same old thing (Shadow DPS isn’t exactly rocket science, which may be why I’m beginning to lose interest).

I spent a bit of time today on Kringle with a view to replacing his Herbalism with Skinning, the one gathering profession I don’t have on a character at the moment.  He’s currently sitting in Feralas with around 230 skinning – he picked up a new pet, the rare wolf Snarler, while he was working his way around the east of Camp Mojache, out of curiousity about wolves and their hunter-buff.  (It’s pretty nifty so far – I can see the appeal for non-BM hunters)

It looks like one of my glyph competitors (the one who posted everything for 3g) has dropped out of the race, and prices have taken a leap upwards as a result.  The downside is my remaining competitors live in the AH, and undercut me pretty quickly.  But what I’m losing in sales I’m making up for with a higher mark-up, so I’m not too worried at this stage.

I’ve yet to experience the new dailies due to one little oversight on my part: you only have access to them on a character who has the Crusader title, and the only of my characters I’ve bothered to finish that particular grind with is Dingle.  Mingle is onto her third valiant faction, and I’ve forgotten which one Fingle is up to…  The problem is, the grind just isn’t fun.

Seriously, after going through it once I have zero interest in repeating it (especially now the two irritating jousting quests for commanders and their friends have lost their common elements, which combines more jousting with the added irritation of spawn-hunting to try find the commanders you need to kill).  So there is however many new dailies that I don’t have access to because I don’t want to subject myself to 25 days more jousting per character, and to be honest, I don’t really care.  I’m spending more time doing incidental things (playing the AH mostly, with the occasional heroic) than dailies, and it’s getting harder to find things to occupy myself with.

Incidentally, one of the reasons I’ve been finding excuses to not take tank Dingle back into Ulduar 10-man has been referenced by Ghostcrawler quite recently:

We aren't trying to make the fights easy necessarily, but we are trying to challenge the tanks and the raid in ways other than just pounding the tank as hard as we can such that cooldowns (from the healers even) and big heals become the only things that matter. Those are fine for some fights, just as having a tank and spank once in awhile is fine. The problem with Ulduar is that too many of the fights came down to these huge hits such that other parts of tanking (and healing) became pushed to the side. For example, nobody is as worried about being a mana sponge these days because mana isn't generally limiting and tanks can generally be destroyed in two hits.

One of the things I’ve disliked most about Ulduar has been the reliance upon healers being able to keep the bosses from 2-shotting your tank, and that doing so requires almost perfectly-timed use of cooldowns (often both on the part of tank and healers).  Sure, a good tank is required in order to get anywhere in Ulduar (thinking of encounters like the corridor trash before Thorim, or the initial trash pickup with Auriaya, or tanking the first phase of Mimiron, as opposed to the easier bosses before XT) but there’s not much wiggle-room if things fall apart: when any boss kill can turn into a wipe because of a single mis-timed cooldown, it gets a bit less '”fun” (at least, from my perspective).

If they can make Icecrown a place where you’re not reliant on cooldowns to keep the raid alive, I think it’ll be an improvement over the Ulduar model.  Admittedly it’s a fine line to draw between “the ability to recover from mishaps” and “insert faceroll here,” especially for more competent guilds, but I’d like to think Blizz can tune things a bit better in future.

I’ve also just come across the news that we’re going to get to go back to a level-adjusted version of Onyxia with patch 3.2.2 (posted here).  I think this could be quite entertaining (and it’s very much in keeping with Blizz’s apparent love of single-room boss fights of late), and it’s a pretty nifty way to celebrate WoW’s 5th anniversary.  It’ll be interesting to see what the 310% mount looks like, and the fact it’ll be a permanent upgrade to the instance is a nice touch.

Also, apparently has insider information that confirms the rumour of Worgen and Goblins being playable races with the expansion, which makes me a happy pandaran.  It’s a pity Goblins are horde-only; my dream of a goblin bank alt will have to remain unfulfilled for now.  (sigh)

Last of all, I’ve finally gotten around to purchasing an authenticator for my account.  It’s probably a couple of weeks away from delivery, but it should add an extra layer of security to my account when it’s all set up (which will add some piece of mind, as my online assets continue to grow).

Oh, and speaking of assets, I’ve received another fan letter, I’m guessing from a competitor in the AH who fails to appreciate just how much fun I’m having.

They love me!  They really love me!

I love the way I’m berated for farming too much (something I don’t bother with) and for making too much gold.  (It’d also have a little more gravity if I could believe he was concerning about my well-being, and wasn’t just complaining because I’m cutting into his AH sales)

Well, it’s time to get back to being too rich and wasting my life.  (Seriously, I’m so amused right now)