Friday, September 16, 2011

4.2 State of the Game

The staff here at Ferocious Inspiration are always talking about current events surround our favorite game. It feels like Firelands just dropped but it's already in the tail end of the tier and talk of 4.3 being on the horizon. With that comes a slew of changes, new content and features being added in. Today we sit down with the crew and as them some questions about the state of the game.

Follow the jump for more!

With talk indicating the xpack announcement at Blizzcon and release later in 2012, do you think Blizzard can stretch the Deathwing raid for that long?

Titleist - I for one do not. However I feel that it’s a healthy thing and that Blizz plans around that. If we as players are always humping that next level or raiding, we can really miss out on much of what the game has to offer. For instance, while ICC was being farmed to death I spent much of my time on my alt druid enjoying the achievement game. I also could focus more on those holidays that I would usually ignore. Just like I thirst for new content I often get nostalgic for the good old days. This is when I start to grind older reps, try to solo raids, work on loremaster, etc. So in a nut shell no but it’s all good.

Gordrin - No chance, I think they learned their lesson with BC to WotLK. They had to make the sunwell to keep people from leaving the game until Wrath hit. I am guessing they will either slowly unlock all the bosses like sunwell or icecrown to make it all last longer and keep people from doing the heroic version too fast. I am hoping they will put a few more bosses into the raid as well, as I know they wanted more raids with less bosses in each. This worked great for BoT and BWD that I would like to see something come out along side of deathwing with a few bosses like the throne of the four winds.

Goreblades - This is a tricky question. Do I think Blizzard will release this and expect it to hold our attention for a whole year like they did with Icecrown Citadel, yes. Do I think that this will actually hold everyone's attention through until the next expansion is released, no. I expect that 4.3 will introduce us to a new laddered-tier instance that will be tiered in the same was ICC was, in an effort to prolong how long this tier occupies our focus. However, unless these wings are planned out a little better then ICC was, we should expect to have Deathwing in the kill sights of many guilds before Valentines Day is over.

What will you be doing to occupy your time until the next expansion?

Titleist - I will be working on my DK….and I mean WORKING on my DK. With this expansion I’ve come to realize I really enjoy playing him. In the past I’ve played a class for a tier and got bored, I have not with my DK. My druid was going to be my main (because I spend hours working on his achievements) however since my return to death and decay, I feel like I have to regrind all those on my DK. Let’s face it, you can’t have a ton of points without doing everything (holidays, raids, bg’s, and general stuff) so thus begins the long grind…..

Gordrin - Alts and achievements. What else is there to do? I still need to finish leveling my alts and I won’t start that until I get Deathwing down. Once that happens and they start slowly nerfing them I move more and more towards researching upcoming changes and reporting them to the guild and to During this time it’s always fun to look at what class might be getting the most fun changes and level them up. In wrath I leveled a shaman during the x-pac and a priest at the end of the x-pac. In Cata I am leveling a Rogue during the x-pac and will level a druid at the end. Eventually I’ll get all my slots full. I still don’t have my mount from doing all the old heroic achievements as I have not run one since ZA and ZG hit the servers.

Goreblades - Raiding. Leveling toons. Learning how to DPS. Archeology. Collecting old gear to use for transmogrification. There is is plenty to hold my attention.

If you could take one element of lore and center an expansion around it, what would it be?

Titleist - This is hard one for me. I’m not much of a lore buff and I have not read much of the WoW novels. What I can say is there are two things that I would like to see more of. The first area I’d like to see is….. maor Outlands. They revamped Azeroth for both Wrath and Cata so why not revisit Outland? The energy out there was always palpable, so to have another major event happen out there seems unavoidable. The last few xpacks have been very….earthen. By earthen I mean very element based. I’d love to see a return to that glowy technopomp such as the Consortium and Tempest Keep.

I would also like to see more of the Taunka. I think they have a great model and much like Tauren are underplayed in terms of storyline. How they would be worked into a main stream story is beyond me but that’s why I’m not a writer.

Gordrin - I think Wrath only touched a little on the Dragonflights and what they represent and how they interact and fight with each other. I wish they would have explored that more, BUT, what I would love would be the lore around the Ancients. I mean do we even know what they looked like or what they really wanted to do? We keep killing old gods and keep accessing all their technology, how about a portal to another place the Ancients were, maybe a whole new continent or world or whatever. How about more on the emerald dream? I keep hearing that people really want to see that

Goreblades -  I would explore the future of the Forsaken. In the Silverpine quests, Sylvannas pointed out that the Forsaken are unable to perpetuate their race through procreation, and Garrosh Hellscream made it clear that he doesn't want her using the Val'kyr. How does the Banshee Queen solve his plight and usher in a new day for the Forsaken. What does this mean for the rest of the Horde. As tensions mount between the orcs and both the Trolls and the Forsaken, will the Horde schism into separate factions? 

Do you think there will be a new hero class for the next xpack? What would it be?

Titleist - While I do think there will be more hero classes, I don’t see that time being now. If I had to pick what they would be it gets mad dicey. They have to go crazy with the design of a new class – crazy not in terms of MMO’s but crazy in terms of WoW. I would like to see either a bard class or a warrior healer. The bard class would be a buff / debuff class that would deal moderate damage themselves but bring some nice enhancements. The biggest issue with integration would be the whole “bring the player not the buff” and being a class rooted in buffing / debuffing might create issues. I would suggest to start here: the bard themselves deals say 50% of the damage normally produced by a dedicated dps player. In turn the buffs / debuffs they bring make up that defiecet. Here is a 5 man comparison:

DPS1 – 20,000
DPS2 – 20,000
DPS3 – 20,000
Total – 60,000

DPS1 – 25,000
DPS2 – 25,000
BARD – 10,000
Total – 60,000

Of course the trouble stems from scaling the group size as well as bard synergy. I’m sure they would buff one class a tiny bit better than another, thus creating an imbalance. I’m sure they can work around it.

The warrior healer spawned out of my brain when I realized there is a tank hero and a dps hero but no healer. This would be a healer hybrid that could easily close the gap between 2 and 3 healing an encounter. What I mean is that in the event that 2 healers is just not enough but 3 might be too much (and you could use a bit more dps) the warrior healer would be that half healer hero. I have a priest alt who I leveled as DISC and the idea of smite healing was very interesting to me. I would love to see that incorporated into a melee damage class. Like the bard they could do a bit less damage but also randomly heal the raid based on the damage they do. In order to balance the class you could have it do perhaps 75% less damage and as for the healing I would like to see it be impossible to actively select a friendly to heal them. This randomness of heals and lower dps would ensure they wouldn’t be the only healers in a group or raid.

Gordrin - They keep asking for healers, but I think a DPS caster would be more in the works. They have a pretty good balance of classes at the moment so I doubt they would add another hero class, but I think the public wants one. I’d like to see perhaps someone who can mix magic types like a DK does with runes.  Different spells could be cast with different magic types. How about a resource system based off of not only regeneration rates, but on perhaps damage taken versus damage given. Other than that I would love to see some other type of pure DPS class.

Goreblades - Do I think there will be, maybe. I think it's still too early to tell. What would I like to see as a new Hero-Class: Necromancers.

What change or element are you most looking forward to for 4.3?

Titleist - That’s easy – Transmogrification of gear. I love love LOVE the look of certain items and it always pains me to bank them when I get an upgrade. With this I can carry them onward! People complained about not being able to dye armor colors – yeah…..this fucking blows that out of the water.

Gordrin - There are changes in 4.3? I think Transmogrification looks interesting, but I see it more as something to play with while I’m bored. Void storage on the other hand is great! Why didn’t we get this before I finally gave up and sold a ton of my gear in June to make room for extra holy gear for my paladin. Oh and I’m a PvE junky so getting all the dragonflights together to drop the people’s elbow on Deathwing should be hot! As a tank I’m interested to see what they might do to make us better or worse with player skill. I loved being a prot paladin in BC because Avenger’s shield had a cast time and a paladin tanking was actually kind of hard. Now I can totally tell the difference between a good dk tank and a bad one. I’d like a little more decision making in my tanking if possible.

Goreblades - Void Storage. Transmogrify is good but gimmicky. Void storage will allow us to put some of the junk we have into storage, and not take up valuable bank space.

What did you think of the Firelands raiding tier?

Titleist - Firelands is great. Why? Well they made a challenging tier without the RNG bullshit. Does that mean there isn’t a RNG element? No of course there is, but there isn’t a single RNG element that is the crux of a fight. How did I come to this conclusion? My raid team spends hours wiping on a boss in order to kill him for the guild first. Once that happens the boss is basically on farm. Unlike Cho’gall (who was still wiping raids weeks after we first downed him) we’ve been able to come in and replicate that first kill flawless and move onward. It was nice being able to work on new bosses each week and not get stuck wiping on a farm boss for some unknown reason.

Gordrin - Now that I’ve seen the whole thing the one thing that sticks out to me the most is there seems to be a theme to them. Do a bunch of stuff while avoiding damage, burn phase with a crap-ton of AoE damage at the end. Personally some of the fights are now a little boring. Rhyolith while an amusing mechanic feels like a really slow crawl until he dies. Baleroc while a nice test of your raid is now one of the easier bosses. All-in-all I am pretty pleased with it.  he bosses have some interesting mechanics and important things for both tanks to do. I also think they really did a good job making healers think about how much mana they have going into the last part of the ecounters.

Goreblades - As a tank, I love it. Never before have I been required to wear so many different hats in the same raid before. I'm a tank. No, I'm a DPS. No, I'm a tank AND a DPS. All the fights are very different from a tank perspective, keeping this raid very interesting.

What do you think Blizzard has done terribly wrong in Cataclysm?

Titleist - I think the single handed worst move on their part was to make the raid sizes share a lock out. Having the option was great in so many ways for my guild and myself – I don’t think I’m that far off from a majority. In a guild such as ours, 25 is too many and 10 is not enough. Where as before you could have someone learn in 10’s then move to 25’s, now we are locked into only forming 10 man raids. It’s impossible to create two balanced groups from 20 or so random sign ups, so making dual groups is out of the question. To put it simply, the change in the lock out has severely limited the depth of our raiders. Looking forward I would love to see a return to both per week or changes to the raid size. A 15 or 20 man raid might be a better fit.

Gordrin - Nerfed AoE to the ground and then wanted us to do AoE damage on boss encounters. Suddenly they had to give back 40% damage to everyone so more of us had a chance at Cho’gall. Other than that I’ve been pretty happy with Cata and everything they have put into it. Oh and give Resto Shaman a real regen mechanic, ugh!

Goreblades -  I don't like the combined 10 and 25 player lockouts. I miss running 10 mans on the weekdays, and 25 mans on the weekends in the same raids. It helped us learn the fights faster, and helped train new heros easier. We could test them in battle in a 25 man and still have 2 very good tanks to rely on in case he was a scrub.

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