Tagged: Blog

Welcome to Mezzy Talks! The editorial where I take a look at something within World of Warcraft culture, game design (which has been moved to the design corner) or anything else WoW related.

Update2:

The release date has been confirmed: June 23rd!

Update:

PTR testing is heading towards it’s final phase. Zorbix just posted on twitter:

“We’ve reached a point in 6.2 testing where going forward, builds deployed to PTR are going to be flagged as “release” versions.”

This makes an end of June / start of July release a lot more likely.

Original Article:

Recently the first bit of patch 6.2 hit the background downloader causing a lot of speculation as to when the patch will be released. As it’s a quiet Sunday night, I thought it would be good to tackle the subject of the release of patch 6.2.

Since the background download has started there have been 2 camps of speculation. The first one being that the patch will already be released within the next week or two. You’ll mostly find these players in-game in the trade channel, whenever the background downloader gets mentioned.

The second camp is one you’ll more likely come across in the online community and social media. You’ll more likely hear from this camp that it’ll take 1 month – 4 weeks for patch 6.2 to be released. Let’s take a look at each of the speculations and then I’ll do some speculating of my own.

Speculation of 1 week

When it comes to addressing this particular time frame we can be done pretty quickly about it. Before a major patch is released there is always at least 1 release candidate pushed to the PTR, if not more than 1 candidate. We’re currently getting 1 new PTR build a week and the content itself isn’t done yet (which we’ll go into more deeply shortly). There is no way in the emerald nightmare that we’ll see 6.2 release in 1 or even 2 weeks.

Speculation of 1 month

Timewarped Item

Another factor – timewalker (and raid) tuning

One month – 4 weeks would seem more reasonable, but at the current state of things it would mean just a meager 4 more PTR builds. They could (and likely will) increase the amount of new builds they do per week, but there’s still a lot that has to be done to make the 6.2 patch complete.

The shipyard can’t be upgraded to even level 2 yet, the quest(s) to get more than 2 ship blueprints still do not work properly (beyond having used a bug in previous builds to obtain the submarine), the way shipyard missions work still don’t seem to be final (the mission requirement changes in the last build indicate that at the very least) and the new reputations for Tanaan Jungle Watcher recently talked about in an interview haven’t even made it onto the PTR yet. In fact, they’re still being fleshed out. They’re not even fully designed yet.

So while 1 month seems reasonable and puts 6.2 at a end of June release, I feel it’s unlikely with the amount of time and effort that undoubtedly still needs to go into 6.2. After all if there’s one thing we learned from the delayed release of WoD, it’s that game design takes time.

Neither

So if it’s not 1 week, 2 weeks or even 1 month, when can we expect the release of 6.2? Well given the pattern Blizzard has shown in the past, I feel there are 2 possibilities that take the “soon” comment from the recent interview into account.

The first possibility is mid July which would put the wait time at 6 to 7 weeks. The second possibility is mid August. Which would put it at another 10 to 11 weeks. So you might be wondering, why the gap? Well at the start of August Gamescom takes place from the 5th to 9th of August. Whenever these events occur, the week before and the week after nothing usually happens.

Speculating the release of a new patch is a very inexact science. No one actually knows how far 6.2 is in the development process outside of Blizzard themselves. So while we as a community enjoy the guessing, in the end we’ll just have to wait for the official announcement. 1 month is possible but unlikely, let’s just hope it isn’t actually another 2,5 months!

Welcome to A Look At, an editorial series where we try to keep things lighter than your average guide.

Patch 6.0.2 is live on both the US and EU servers now and it possibly has the biggest amount of changes to the game we’ve seen in any pre-expansion patch. Because of this you’ll undoubtedly run into some things that could be confusing or just broken. Let’s take a look at what you could run into and how to go about dealing with it. (You can always check out the patch notes here)

Class Changes

Let’s face it, one of the biggest things you’ll encounter is the amount of changes you might have gotten to your class. The ability pruning and stat/healer/tank changes were all needed for the longevity of the game but no doubt some things might frustrate you at first. You’ll have to get used to playing your class or spec again in a different way compared to what you were used to. You might even have to switch specs if it turns out due to the changes another spec has more damage/healing output. Icy veins has guides to help you along in getting used to the changes for your class.

Along with those guides what can you do to get up to speed? Practice. Use the training dummies in the city to get used to your new rotation (Raid dummies have been updated to level 100 raid bosses, so use the level 90 dummies in your faction’s shrine in pandaria). It’s ok that it can cost a bit of time, just be patient. There’s a reason these pre-expansion patches are released ahead of an expansion. By getting used to everything now you’ll be able to rock the socks of the Iron Horde when Warlords is actually released.

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System Changes And Bugs

There’s no doubt that a lot of the changes are straight forward, especially taking into consideration all of the bagspace changes. However because of all these changes it’s quite possible that there are still bugs lurking beneath the surface because of the complexity of each system. If you come across such a bug, don’t get too frustrated. Again this is why we get the changes now and not when the actual expansion is launched. Report the bugs with as much detail as you can through the appropriate bug reporting channels. You can also check to see if the bug or issue is already known.

  • For the EU, use the ingame bug reporting tool. In WoW go to the menu (escape), help,  click Submit Bug. Then Enter the details of the bug, making sure to follow the guidelines outlined on the submission form. Afterwards click Submit.
  • For the US, other than the ingame way of reporting you also have the bug report forums.

Community Manager Zarhym had this to say about any stat squish issues:

Quote from: Blizzard

If any particular creatures aren’t properly squished, be sure to report them by name in the Bug Report forum so we can hotfix these as quickly as possible.As an aside, Patch 6.0.2 is the biggest change World of Warcraft has ever seen, particularly on the technical side with file structure and coding, as well as on the mechanical side with things like the stat squish, ability pruning, etc. There are bound to be some unforeseen bugs or other issues, which is why we have all hands on deck ready to pounce on these as we find them. With your help and patience we’ll get things sorted even faster.

Addons

As a last mention, due to all the system changes it’s quite possible some or many of your addons might be broken. The process of fixing an addon, let alone writing one, can be quite long. So if your favorite addon hasn’t been updated yet and is completely broken just turn it off for now and wait until it has been fixed by the author. (And you can always choose to find another addon that does the same and has been fixed for 6.0)

Conclusion

Pre-expansion patches are always exciting times, but they can be frustrated too. Just remember a game can be a complicated thing beneath the surface. So just take your time to get used to the new things and report any bugs you might come across. That way you’ll help the developers and be completely ready when the real goal comes around: Warlords of Draenor.

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Welcome back to WoD: TBC 2.0! Last time I covered my experiences as I leveled through Draenor. Today we’ll be taking a look at max level content, mechanic/philosophy changes and the general world.

Max level content

This is the one part of WoD that worries me. Now of course it’s still in beta, so not everything is in yet. However I am very concerned as to how much and how long max level content will last. Let’s look at what we know for WoD:twin orgron

  • Heroic Dungeons (Don’t forget you’ll need to acquire silver in the Proving Gronds to queue for it)
  • Challenge modes, doing the daily will give you a chance at a LFR quality piece of loot
  • Raids with a difficulty for everyone. LFR, Normal (flex), Heroic (normal) and Mythic (heroic). If you are in a dedicated raiding guild you’ll be doing these om specific nights in the week.
  • Reputations, still not fully in the game but it does not seem like there will be that many, nor is it known yet how you will level the reps and what their full rewards will be.

These are the natural sources of content you will go through to gear your character. They are expected, what other sources of fun are there?

  • The open world of Draenor. 7 time-lost proto drake style mounts are being added so you can farm those. Hopefully they won’t be the only cool max level things you can find in Draenor.
  • Daily Quests, or rather just 1 quest. Every day you’ll be able to earn 800 Apexis Crystals via a daily that starts in your garrison. You’ll have to go to a max level area and kill stuff (or interact with items) until the progress bar reaches 100.
  • Your Garrison and it’s related quests. You will want to level up your buildings, get their rewards and get profession materials from your herb garden and mine. The medium and large buildings have some pretty cool rewards. The stables, for example, lets you train at least 6 new mounts to add to your collection!
  • Weekly story quests, the quest content is the big winner of the expansion and blizzard knows it. We’ll have weekly story quests to keep us busy at max level as well, the question is if these will be different from the extra garrison quests or if they are the same thing. For example you’ll have to help a dwarf in your garrison out as an alliance player, once you’re done with the series you’ll be able to use a mole machine in your garrison to get to Gorgrond quickly.
  • Professions, you will want to level these to max in the new expansion like you do every expansion. The question is how will it provide lasting end game content? Will professions be improved? You’ll need more materials and materials from other professions to craft your items. You will also be able to upgrade your crafted items with your profession. Other than that, time will tell if it plays out for the better.

When you look at the list there is actually a lot to do. The question is will it last for longer than a month or two? If blizzard finds a way to make it last Warlords of Draenor will be one of, if not the best expansion in WoW history.

Feature/Mechanic Changes

When you have a 10 year old game you’re going to see some things turn ugly. Which means they need to be cleaned up, and that certainly happens in WoD.

Bagspace

Bag space is such a major issue for those that have played a long time or are just collectors. MoP added to the problem with all the toy items that became available through quests, rares and the timeless isle. The toy box should have been a feature of MoP but thankfully is one in WoD. I did not keep all MoP toys because of said bag space issues and I was still able to put about 40 toys into the toy box. But it did not stop at 40 new bag spaces!

Two surprises were added in WoD. First of all a reagents tab was added to your bank. Allowing you to store lots of reagents and materials in your bank. Add to that that a lot of mats will stack up to 200 instead of 20 and you’ll be able to craft new items while the reagents are still in your bank!

The second surprise was an additional void storage tab, allowing you to put away a lot more transmog items. This was done though because some things were pushed back. So let’s move on to the wishlist which has those pushed back items among them.

First off the heirlooms collection tab has been delayed. This was something that was supposed to be in WoD and would be quite useful for altoholics among us. I really hope this is one of their priorities as I do feel it should have been in WoD, considering the 6 month delay it had.

The transmog system that was teased will also not be in at launch. Now this was something that was only an added bonus and I’m not surprised that it is delayed. But with my many armor sets I hope to see this feature ASAP.

And finally, along with it the tabards need cleaning up. Tom Chilton has said in his past Gamescom interviews that these would likely be solved along with the new transmog system.

Button Bloat Reduction

Every class and spec are going to have some spells removed to reduce the button bloat on your action bar. This was needed. It really was… The bottom line is you’ll have to get used to it and you won’t agree with every change. I don’t think they should have removed scare beast for hunters, but it’s still gone and I’ll mourn the loss. I can’t speak for all classes but when it comes to hunters they’ve streamlined the specs. They did however fail at making each spec feel different enough. Although with all the pushbacks, delays and possible cuts from WoD it’s not really surprising.

Stat squish

Stats are finally being squished in WoD, reducing player health and stats. (Relatively speaking you don’t lose any power compared to current/old content) A breath of fresh air, and at the same time they seem to be inflating numbers pretty quickly. Player health was doubled due to PvP reasons and as a PvE player it annoys me greatly. The player health will inflate back up to rediculous numbers quite quickly with 4 tiers of gear in raids and that means another squish will be needed within a few years. Blizzard needs to find another solution for PvP in my opinion so that we don’t have these rediculous numbers again so quickly. Just for reference: At level 90 my hunter had 90k health, at level 100 with 3 crafted items, a few garrison reward items and the rest quest items he has 180k.

Garrisons

Garrisons are a huge part of Warlords of Draenor, almost everything is connected to it. There’s even a building with PvP objectives (Gladiator’s Sanctum).  For everything Garrisons you should check out our guides for both buildings and followers. There are so many elements to the Garrison that in this review I’ll take a look at the best and/or worst points. For the grand overview, if it hasn’t been released yet, we will soon have a brand new overview/guide for everything related to the Garrisons. They are quite the fun addition to WoW. From the leveling of your followers to later earning gear for them it’s fun to have your own personal army.

The 20 follower limit, to be frank, takes the fun out of collecting them a bit. It feels like a punishment for collecting ’em all. Once you collect follower #21 you will be unable to send them on anymore missions until you put one on inactive. Once a day you’ll be able to reactivate one for a gold cost. The feeling of collecting your own private army is great until you reach the cap.

The profession buildings are a nice bonus, however you can’t make all the profession items with it if it’s not one of your primary professions. You’ll be able to create the materials for that profession and the first stage of the crafted items for it. (The epic items you can craft with professions will have 3 stages of item level.) The rest, such as mounts and bags you will still have to do with your own character’s professions. An advantage of having both the profession and the building is being able to speed up your material production greatly.

garrisons pic

The invasions are alright, if you’ve sent a lot of followers on missions they get harder. Followers that had to stay at home will help you defend the garrison which is quite fun because you’ll see the element of your own private army come back in the defense of your garrison.

Some buildings seem to be close to mandatory. As it stands right now the Salvage Yard is by far the best way to gear up your followers. Other thant hat there’s only the occaisional item reward from a mission to gear up a follower. Whether this is good or not is really up to Blizzard. Is it their design intent to need the Salvage Yard to be able to gear up your followers the quickest? If so then that’s something we’ll just have to live with. They’ve already stated that it is their intent you have to make hard choices as to which buildings you choose to build, so this could just be a part of that.

As far as endgame content out of the Garrisons go, it seems to be mainly the weekly(?) garrison story quests and the one daily quest for apexis crystals. Outside of that the main gameplay seems to be leveling up followers, gearing them and earning things like gear from them. An added mention should be the quests/achievements to get tier 3 Garrison buildings if you haven’t already gotten them.

Overall the Garrison is fun, you will want to keep logging in to send your followers on new missions. At the same time if you can’t log in throughout the day, that’ll be ok too. New missions come in slowly so as long as you log in atleast once or twice a day (with a good chunk of time between them) you’ll be able to keep up with leveling up your followers. The use of the profession buildings feels quite limited if it’s not for one of your character’s primary professions but from tweets that seems to be the intent of the developers.

With a lot of the resources being put in to the Garrisons for WoD the challenge for Blizzard will be to keep them interesting for endgame content for the long run, and I certainly hope they succeed in doing so.

Rare spawns and events

draenor map

While you level up in Draenor you will come across many many rare mobs. On average there’s about 20 rare mobs per zone, if not more. (Be sure to check our location guides for them) They’re a good distraction from regular quests. And that’s pretty much that’s all there is to say. It’s worth exploring the zones and look for rares that might be hidden away and they just make leveling up more fun.

Conclusion for initial WoD Experience

It’s no secret that I favor The Burning Crusade when it comes to WoW expansions, and as you can tell by the title I feel like this is TBC 2.0. WoD feels like a breath of fresh air, where leveling has become a lot more fun and significant. The storyline is good when leveling and the world feels more dynamic just due to the addition of the rare mobs and events. The garrison initial experience is very enjoyable but it shares the concern I have for max level content: Will it last? If it does, we’re going to be in for a great expansion. If not, we’ll probably continue to see a decline in subscription due to the lack of content longevity.

Warlords of Draenor: The Burning Crusade 2.0 – Part 1

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Warlords of Draenor is coming out in 3 months time and at the time of release we’ll have had 14 months of Siege of Orgrimmar, 2 pvp seasons, the timeless isle and countless heroic scenario runs. While usually I look at something game design/philosophy-wise with the Mezzy Talks series, instead I’ll review Warlords of Draenor as an expansion. Keep in mind that it’s still in Beta, so anything that might be a concern could very well change before release.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to get a beta invite will probably agree that it’s a breath of fresh air: Back to leveling, building a base for the first time in WoW, building up your own personal army and a lot of story integrated in the leveling experience.

Before we get into a zone by zone analysis, the general feeling: While questing in Draenor it really does feel like you’re back in Outland, playing The Burning Crusade expansion, except even better. The difference is that the story is much more cohesive and the graphics blow it out of the water.

It’s hard to get everything across so let’s go zone by zone what makes it good or bad. After that, in part 2, we’ll take a look at the features/changes to game mechanics that come along in WoD.

Shadowmoon Valley

 

Shadowmoon Valley2

When questing in Shadowmoon Valley as an alliance player you really feel like you are on a strange outlandish planet. The draenei have their own problems they have to deal with and you have to prove yourself to them as an ally. The flaura and fauna are beautiful and are not quite what you would find on azeroth. You’re just as foreign to the locals as they are to you. There is one thing you might get annoyed by though, and that’s the amount of hills you have to get around while questing. Although in most zones I did not miss my flying mount, at some points I did on SMV. If you read quests or pay attention to what happens during the RP this zone certainly brings some shocking story progression, which you would not expect from just questing. As an alliance player this is a good zone to start Draenor with and you’ll certainly enjoy it.

Frostfire Ridge

 

Whereas Shadowmoon is the re-envisioning of a zone in outland, Frostfire Ridge is a brand new zone. You get the same type of feeling in Frostfire Ridge, except you’re helping Thrall’s ancestor’s clan. FRR (Frostfire Ridge) is a cold desolate vast plain, a similar feeling to Hellfire Peninsula, except much much grander. The Bladespire Fortress alone is a testament to how the environment team has continued to grow after Mists of Pandaria. Most of the zone is quite fluid when it comes to questing here. There is one particular quest that comes to mind though that you can’t pick up until level 92, which rewards a follower, but you’ll come across it at level 91. Meaning that if you forget to come back after leveling up again you’ll miss out on a follower. Between the two starting zones it’s hard to pick a favorite, both are quite enjoyable to play through and I certainly won’t regret using my lvl 90 character boost to get a lvl 90 horde character.

Gorgrond

 

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Gorgrond is a mixed bag of feelings for me, the start of the zone is hard to get in to, the story did not really feel engaging. On the other hand you build your first outpost which is your garrison away from your garrison. You’ll get to choose between the lumber mill and sparring arena for your outpost. Each gives a different garrison ability for you to use in the zone. The LM gives you the ability to use a shredder which has 2 dps abilities and can fly for a short while. The SA gives you the ability to summon a gladiator. It’ll be a different one each time on rotation. When the gladiator leaves you’ll have a buff for a short while. By far the worst was the chance on hit reduced damage taken and the best was the chance to stun your target. So the usefulness of this ability will vary each time you use it. This is also the first zone where you’ll get different followers depending on which outpost building you choose.

Once you get past the initial quests it will start to feel more fluid. There is a lot of traveling here so prepare yourself for it. It’s not a bad thing however, as while exploring (or using this guide) you can come across 2 events which give you unique looking followers to add to your personal army. Another perk is that there are bonus objectives everywhere. These are quests on location that give A LOT of experience compared to regular quests (3 to 5 times as much), which make them very much worth doing. You’ll have already come across bonus objectives in your starter zone, but this is where you’ll want to do as many as possible if you haven’t yet, and that’s because of the next zone.

Talador

 

Oh Talador, how you remind me of Terrokkar forest. While the nature of the zone is for the most part nice, the quests are scattered. It doesn’t feel coherent and it’s just a lot of traveling that makes you long for your flying mount. I’m painting a bleak picture here, but it is compared to the other dreanor zones because they are just that good. Once you get to the main questline for Talador things turn around and things actually get quite epic as you get your first big series of encounters with the burning legion. The story is engaging, the quest flow is good and you get a good follower out of it at the end.

When it comes to your outpost building choice, I feel that the artillery tower/ armory is by far the best choice. It gives a cooldown with 3 charges that bombards an area for roughly 300k damage and each bombardment stuns those hit.

The mage tower gives you a 5 minute cooldown that summons an arcane orb for 30 seconds. Although it looks cool as it reminds you of Algalon and titan technology, it has a pretty weak AoE for the duration as it follows you around.

Overall this zone will feel rather slow for a while but once you get to Auchindoun you’ll enjoy yourself when kicking some demon butt.

Spires of Arak

 

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The spires of arak is another completely new zone where you’ll encounter the Arrakoa, both with the old and new models. If you’re into lore then you’ll want to pay attention here as you get into Terokk’s past.

A fun addition to this zone are the archeaology treasures that you can loot through the completion of jumping puzzles that you’ll encounter here. As of right now the treasures show up on your mini map, so you’ll come across these naturally if you just quest. They’re particularly good because of the amount of fragments they give. Allowing for a quick headstart on solves while questing, and if you’re lucky enough (like I was on the beta, meaning I won’t on live) you might even already get a rare solve.

Your outpost choices consist of the inn and the trading post. The inn gives you a extra hearthstome which brings you back to your Spires outpost and a passive 20% experience bonus. Which is nice if you want to level quickly. There’s a price you pay for this choice though, as you can not currently switch outpost buildings. The trading post allows you to summon a trader who sells rare goods, including a follower with a sun guardian model. Choosing the inn currently means sacrificing the chance to get him.

Due to the arrakoa pressence this zone continues your feeling of being in another world and the meaningful outpost choice and archeaology jumping puzzles make this a meaningful zone.

Nagrand

 

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Nagrand is the last of the leveling zones and it feels just like the original one, except that it’s so much bigger. It has not only expanded on the ground level, it has also expanded towards the sky giving you a lot to explore. The latest beta build added new flightmasters, making it easier to get from one side of the zone to the other.

You continue the Iron Horde story and encounter Highmaul, the ogre raid. You also get to tie up some loose ends in a questline. For the outpost you get to choose between the siegeworks and the stables. The siegeworks gives you a siegetank which does plenty of damage and is definitely the way to go if you’re a hunter. The stables gives you a talbuk mount that you can ride in battle. You’ll be able to cast while moving at a 100% movement increase.

The pacing of the zone feels good, there’s a lot to see and you’ll feel good being back in Nagrand. Again with exploring (or with our guide) you’ll be able to find some interesting followers to add to your garrison. Exploring is highly recommended for Nagrand just because of it’s grand scale and it feels like a good last leveling zone.

Conclusion

The leveling in Warlords is a lot more fun compared to previous expansions, the zones and quests are more interesting and the many rares and garrison interactions give it a breath of fresh air. In part 2 we’ll take a look at the features/changes to game mechanics that come along in WoD.

Hi guys, I’m WoW Weekly’s newest columnist, Zoe, aka Pyrruss. This will be a small column focusing on the lighter side of WoW and my adventures within it! For this week though, I thought it would be nice to know where I’ve come from.

I started WoW at the very beginning, I even tried a little of the beta via a friend who had it. I created my little Tauren shaman called Pyrrus on The Maelstrom, here I began what was to be an epic adventure!
Back then it took a loooooong time to level, I only hit 60 about 2 weeks before the AQ event and try as I might I didn’t manage to attend and join in as I was only half way through the questline and a guild opened it at like 4am so I missed out. Still bugs me today lol!

I started raiding and cleared everything bar naxx as my guild were stuck on 4 horsemen… That really was a horrific fight back then…
Raided with some pretty awesome guilds in TBC, even applied to Nihilium but I was declined once I had the vent interview ’cause I’m female! Certainly laughable now! After realm hopping a lot I ended up on Karazhan with some IRL friends and flirted with being a GM and raid leader before practically quitting for health stuff. When Onyxia was re-released I was asked to help a friend and his guild kill her and ended up joining , whom I’m still with in theory today.

Over the next few weeks I’ll tell you more of what’s been happening with lunacy and where I am living now then I’ll get onto the fun things like stories, stupidity and stuff! I hope you’ll enjoy my weekly adventures in WoW! (The name Pyrruss’ Puzzlings might change for this column/blog series)