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Repost: Dragon Soul raid impressions

So, some of you have been wondering where I (Garnaph) vanished off to. Well, I found out recently that my wife is pregnant, which has radically changed my life. When my daughter is due in April, I plan to vanish from raiding for a few months (I foresee many “emergencies” mid raid, and I’d prefer not to let my team down), so I’m finding it very hard to get excited about the upcoming MoP content, since I’m likely to only see most of it in LFR. I’m not sad about it, since I knew this day was coming, and I know I’ll be back. RL always takes priority, and this is no exception.

I’ll still be around, logging in when I can, keeping an eye on my guild, and I’ll post on Restokin when I can. So never fear, the bear will still be here 😉 />

I also started a new job a few weeks ago, so I went from sitting around bored all day (which makes writing blog posts very easy), to actually doing something constructive with my time.

Finally, I’ve been uninspired. I like writing, but if I don’t have an idea, I stay quiet. I prefer to post things that I think people will actually want to read. If I’m going to repeat something someone else said, or post something terrifyingly boring, I’d rather silence myself 😛

That said, 4.3 is here, and I’m loving it. There are a couple of reasons for this :

(1) It has a real storyline. Think about any raid you’ve ever done. Yes, there’s a story, so to speak, but it’s normally around endbosses only. This one has a story going through the whole thing. [SPOILER ALERT]

  • You start out running up to Wyrmrest temple, beating off Mor’chok, who is beating on the foundations
  • Zon’ozz and Yor’Sahj don’t make as much sense from a story point of view, so I’ll quietly step over them.
  • Off to the eye of eternity, as Thrall can’t control the power of the Dragon Soul, and he needs the Focusing Iris in order to weild it’s power.
  • Back to Wyrmrest temple, and it’s under seige by Ultraxion.
  • Onto a gunship to chase down Deathwing, and Warmaster Blackhorn jumps onto the gunship to try stop you.
  • Parachute onto Deathwing’s back, and tear off armor so Thrall can get a better shot with the Dragon soul.
  • Finally, Thrall scores a K.O., and you land to finish Deathwing off.

Seriously, that story is EPIC.

(2) It’s outdoors, and in multiple locations. Almost every raid consists of walking into a building, and staying there. You go somewhere to attack it. Instead of being at a lot of locations in Dragonblight, you’re on the ground in dragonblight, underground, in the eye of eternity, atop wyrmrest temple, on a gunship (I’m on a boat!), on deathwing’s back, and at the maelstrom. A truly epic series of settings.

(3) It has 5 mans leading up to the raid story. OK, yes, ICC had them too, but this one’s story seems much better integrated into the raid. While only Halls of Reflection truly led into ICC in my opinion, all 3 5 mans lead up to the Dragon Soul raid.

My raid team has only taken down Mor’chok at the moment, as we’ve only had one raid night so far, and half of that was quickly clearing firelands (we’re still finishing up our first legendary). We barely got a few attempts in on Zon’ozz before we ran out of time (although I raided the night as Resto, which is always fun). I’m really looking forward to my 4 hour raiding session tonight.

Posted in Cataclysm, Written By Garnaph

Did ZA and ZG miss the mark?

One of the things about 5-man content in the time of WotLK is that it was largely accessible to anyone. Any of the 5-man content could easily be PUG’d except for one of the ICC 5-man instances in the last tier of content, and most of them could be finished in somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour at most. A lot of the raiding content was difficult, but people who didn’t want to be doing end-game hard-mode progression still had an option of running new 5-mans during the content release (and they didn’t need raid gear to clear 5-mans).

Right now, with the ZA and ZG heroics, people are reporting that they are spending 2 or 3 hours in the instance trying to clear them, and PUGs are really hit-or-miss in terms of whether you complete it or give up at the first boss. After taking a peak at the content, I’m pretty sure they missed the mark on what ZA & ZG were supposed to be. ZA and ZG should be content where average players are still capable of running it, even if they don’t have full raid gear epics.

I am okay with raid content being hard and somewhat exclusive. I’m perfectly  happy to have raiding content be long and grueling (I spent like 6 hours one day raiding a single instance in LOTRO a couple weeks ago). However, I’m not really okay with 5-man content feeling long and grueling. Even if it’s “hard”, it should be relatively fast to clear. Both ZA & ZG have too much trash, since they also have a lot of bosses. The target should be for people to be able to get done in an hour or less for 5-man dungeons. Any 5-man taking longer than an hour (unless you are wiping repeatedly) is too long for people. A 5-man version of a raid we used to run shouldn’t really feel like running a raid, it should feel like a fun 5-man where you can just calmly hang out with your friends for a quick trip down memory lane.

The new random PUG dungeon finder tool should go along with a set of dungeons that can actually be done by people who PUG 5-mans on limited time schedules because the 5-man content should be end-game content targeted at people who can’t raid. People who don’t raid want to be able to go in and not have to commit a 3 hour time block to clear content. Even people who raid really want short things they can do in the ~hour or two they may have free before/after the raid. Instead, the ZG and ZA instances are huge time-sinks that I haven’t even been able to run due to my schedule not allowing for setting aside 3 or so hours on either a raid night or a non-raid night.

I like my raids long and epic-feeling BUT I like my 5-mans fast and straightforward to give me a fun break from the grueling raiding end-game process. ZA and ZG just don’t feel fun because they’re just so long. 🙁

Posted in Cataclysm, patch 4.1, Patches

The worst graphics in the game

So, a couple days ago, Zarhym posted that warlocks would be getting male/female versions of their demon pets.

However, their demon pets aren’t the worst looking models in the game. No, I believe that druids still win for having the worst looking graphics. The winners for biggest losers are travel form & aquatic form.

Our travel form loses because it’s a placeholder graphic that is identical across all the races and is so boring and uninspired that it can be mistaken for some random NPC feline, and looks so much worse than the  cool updated graphics that hunters get for their pets. Blizzard originally called it a placeholder graphic, and then took back that statement saying it was intentional and permanent (because I think they didn’t want to put in the effort to actually update it).

Our aquatic form is so ugly that people had serious debates on the druid forums a long time ago about what it actually was, and team Seal, team Sea Lion, and team Manatee had epic forum battles. The one thing everyone agreed on was that the form was super ugly.

Seriously, when are we getting new graphics for these two super out-dated forms that weren’t even really good to begin with? We heard rumors from Blizzard that they were thinking of changing them for Cataclysm, but they didn’t get done before the Launch of Cataclysm. I’m hoping that Blizzard hasn’t forgotten about these two neglected graphics. These two druid graphics should definitely be in line for replacement before they start working on having multiple gendered options for the warlock demon pets. Until then, I’ll just be embarrassed every time I have to use these two forms. I actually hate looking at them so much that I almost don’t want to put the pictures in my post, but I need them for emphasis.

Please, Blizzard, replace these graphics ASAP! Let them be a priority in the art department please!

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General

A couple of podcast updates

Hey guys, I wanted to highlight a couple of podcasts.

First, for fans of Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket, we have a special Team Waffle Podcast “waffle bite” where you can listen to me interview Keeva! While the previous Waffle Bite episodes have been feral-related, this one is packed full of Resto Druid goodness! I had a lot of fun with the interview. I always enjoy getting to talk to other resto druids! It was an extra special treat to get to interview one of my favorite trees, too!

Second, I did a guest appearance this weekend on the Group Quest podcast (hosted by Medros). On that podcast, we talked about recent WoW & Blizzard-related news. It’s not particularly druid-centric, but sometimes it’s worth taking some time to talk about the other news happening in the WoW community. Thanks for having me on the show guys!

Posted in Cataclysm, Druid - General, patch 4.1, Patches, podcast, Restoration Healing Trees


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