Warcraft III – In Search of the Pre-History of WoW February 27, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Warcraft III
My relationship with Blizzard and its games is odd in that Warcraft has never been all that interesting to me.
Well, I suppose that, in and of itself isn’t odd. Warcraft doesn’t interest a lot of people I am sure.
But that fact that World of Warcraft has ended up being my MMORPG of choice for most of the last decade is what makes it strange. It means that I haven’t really felt as connected to the game through its lore as I have in other similar games.
I certainly care about the lore in Lord of the Rings Online. As many interesting little features as Turbine has in LOTRO, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have played it a tenth as much as I have if it wasn’t grounded in the works of Tolkien.
I also came to care about the lore in EverQuest. While it was something new, the games connection to TorilMUD (itself rooted in Forgotten Realms, which gives me a lore erection just saying the name), along with its newness and nature at launch, set my expectations and ideas about Norrath. I have a pretty solid notion of what Norrath should be like based on that, something that has not always served me well. Part of my problem with EverQuest II early on was the movement away from the lore of the original in the first couple of expansions. And the whole crazy mounts thing irks to this day in EQII in a way that doesn’t bother me at all in WoW.
Hover disks in Norrath annoy me because that isn’t 1999. In Azeroth they don’t even register because didn’t they always have stupid techno gadgets in their games?
Basically, in WoW, in Azeroth, my take on the lore is pretty much whatever has been handed to me piecemeal over the years, without me having ever managed to get invested in it.
Which brings us back to strange.
Strange because I have actually owned all of the Warcraft RTS games, the source of the lore for WoW.
I have just never gone through the single player campaigns on any of them. Ever.
This was because I never had any enthusiasm for them other than as games to play with friends. To my mind they were in the RTS genre to be played against other people, not single player games to be explored. And even then, of Blizzard games, StarCraft and the Diablo games were far more popular in my group of friends. I only picked up the Warcraft games over the years because they were the game of the moment for people at the office. I think Warcraft II may have literally only been installed at the office and not at home.
So, before WoW, I played the Warcraft series for a few minor moments in between Total Annihilation, StarCraft, and Age of Empires (I and II, but not III). Somehow that little bit inoculated me against caring about the lore.
Not that I haven’t had my moments with the lore in Azeroth now and again. I was involved with the story surrounding Wrath of the Lich King, and have played through as much of Mists of Pandaria as I have in part to finish stories. In fact, the return to the end of WotLK got me thinking about story and lore and what came before WoW, so I decided to dig out my Warcraft III CD.
Well, my Warcraft III CD case. I have no idea where the actual CD is at this point. But the case had the serial number on it, which was enough to activate it in Battle.net so I could download the game. So I was set to get myself updated on some Warcraft lore.
Time to play the Warcraft III campaign!
How that played out after the cut where, if you played through and remember well the Warcraft III single player campaign, the punchline you are probably expecting, given what I have said above, does arrive. We ask that you please hold your “Well, duh!” moments until the end of the performance.
$10 Gets Your Character’s Name on the EVE Online Monument February 27, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: CCP, EVE Online Monument
The cut-off date for character names to make it onto the EVE Online monument thing is fast approaching. From the original announcement:
The monument will stand atop a half meter tall metal-plated concrete platform that will have the names of all the “main characters” of all active EVE Online players etched upon it. This list of active, paying players will be captured on March 1st, 2014—no exceptions. In addition, CCP will be honoring EVE Online players who have passed away by adding their names to the monument, as described in the following section.
Fortunately, if you are on the fence about coming back to have your semi-obscene or pop-culture based character name engraved in a tiny font on something which will be placed somewhere around Reykjavik harbor, CCP has a deal for you. For just $10 (for those who pay in US currency) you can reactivate you account for 30 days.
Clicking on that screen shot will get you nowhere. But if you go to the EVE Online site and go to the account management section (somewhere off the EVE Universe menu at the top right) you’ll see the offer.
While there is has been some controversy about CCP spending money on such a thing… shocking, I know… I have to wonder if there isn’t really some evil genius in this. They haven’t said how they are paying for this monument, or even who is actually paying for it. They are essentially putting it on public land, which I bet will get them a big tax break. And I am sure that this will lead to at least some boost in subscriptions. Are they essentially mixing crowd funding and tax breaks to cover any costs here?
Between this and the pop in new trial accounts after the battle at B-R5RB made the news, I suspect we’ll see a press release or some other announcement about subscriptions reaching a new peak.
If only CCP can hold on to them over the long term.
Diablo III Version 2.0 February 26, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment.
Tags: Reaper of Souls
Blizzard dropped… after a fashion… the 2.0 patch for Diablo III yesterday.
That was the first of the three events planned for the next month or so for Diablo III. There is the patch, the removal of the Auction House on March 18th, and the release of the (first?) expansion for the game, Reaper of Souls, on March 25th.
I am completely in favor of the removal of the auction house which, even by Blizzard’s own admission, hasn’t worked as planned. I feel I know why they put the auction house in, but the way they coded loot drops for the game seemed designed specifically to drive people to it, so I remain a bit skeptical at their protestations that they were surprised by its popularity.
But it is going away, so water under the bridge. It won’t be a problem soon.
And then there is the expansion. More content and a new class, the crusader, that sounds interesting. I am not willing to buy it quite yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out eventually. It depends on the 2.0 patch.
Because the patch, the 2.0 version of Diablo III, is where the meat of the changes are coming. This was the reason I wanted to patch Diablo III last night. And once I was able to log in, Blizzard was keen to let me know what was new. (Patch notes here.)
Of all of that, I think Loot 2.0 is the most important. If they are going to dump the Auction House, they need to make the loot you do get much more viable. Some of it sounds like it came from the loot lessons they implemented in Mists of Pandaria and what they have planned for Warlords of Draenor. “Smart Loot” includes more drops appropriate to your class and no class items with stats that are not important for that class any more.
Of course, they have also made higher quality items bound to your account. No trading, because Blizzard still wants to keep the real money market down. The whole point of the Auction House, to my view, was to eliminate that market by controlling it. With the Auction House gone, other methods were required.
There are a host of other changes. There were changes to classes, to monsters, to difficulty scaling, to bosses, to the paragon system, along with the addition of community items like guilds. I am actually quite happy about that last bit. While I am kind of past having to be in a guild in every game, we had to create our own ad hoc guilds back in Diablo and Diablo II. Nice to see that Blizzard has finally acknowledged that this is a thing.
And, of course, Blizzard also had a splash screen in the game about the wonders of the new expansion as well. Always be closing.
With all of this, I thought it might be time to return to the game and see how these changes feel. I rolled up a new character… best to start from scratch I think, with all the changes… to try it out. I did not actually get very far, but I want to try to find some time this weekend to at least get through the first act to see how it goes.
How about you? Does the 2.0 version of the game have any appeal?
Warlords of Draenor to be a $60 Expansion? And Something About Insta-90s February 25, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: EuroGamer, Insta Levels, Warlords of Draenor
A controversial bit of information slipped out last week when Blizzard accidentally let the “boost to level 90″ option show up in the in-game store at one point during patch day. The error was quickly fixed, but the word was out. WoW Insider had a screen shot indicating that Blizzard was not only officially on-board with insta-levels as a paid character service, but that the price to get to level 90 appeared to be $60.
There were discussions on various sites as to whether that price was right or not and whether it was too much or not enough. Lots of theories were put up that seemed most based on who the assumed audience was for such a service really was.
My gut feeling on the price previously was that it had to be more than any current individual character service… so greater than $25… but less than the cost of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. After all, if you made it more than the price of the expansion, which comes with an insta-90 character boost, why wouldn’t I just buy multiple copies of the expansion to boost multiple characters if the expansion costs less? Since I assumed that the expansion would be the usual $40, I pegged the level boost at $35.
Over in the comment thread at Herding Cats I added in two additional thoughts:
Conspiracy theory: It will be $60 for exactly that reason, to push more WoD boxes to set an expansion sales record.
Fear: This is actually a signal that the expansion will be $60.
Today however, Blizzard has been over talking to EuroGamer about the price point, defending $60 for the insta-level 90 in terms of maintaining the value of leveling up yourself, and one of the first items put out there in the article is that the expansion itself will be $60. [Addendum: As noted in the comments below, EuroGamer has since deleted that from the article without any notice of a correction. Because EuroGamer.]
And my initial response was, “Really? We’re going $60… the defacto price of a new AAA game… for an expansion now?”
The sad part is that I will pay the price anyway. Heck, I was already toying with the idea of the collector’s edition and I never buy the collector’s edition. But with past CE’s being double the price of the standard ($40/$80) I have to wonder if Blizzard is now going to go all the way to $120 for the CE, or just cap it at $99.99 to stay within the realm of sanity. (Said the guy who bought the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition.)
$60 for an expansion.
On the one hand, you can always argue that I will get at least as much entertainment value out of the expansion as I will from any new AAA game you care mention. On the other hand, I am also paying that subscription fee every month to play, so it isn’t like I am not supporting Blizzard enough as it is.
You charge what you think the market will bear. Of course, into the mix is the fact that expansions aren’t holding their price point nearly as long. Burning Crusade was still $40 a year after it shipped. Mists of Pandaria was on sale at half price a few months after it launched. As I have been trained by Steam sales on this sort of thing, I now have to ask myself if I need the expansion on day one, or if I can wait… as I did with MoP… until the price comes down.
I don’t actually need a level 90. I will easily have three by the time the expansion hits. Maybe they will throw something else in with the pre-order to sweeten the deal a bit. Or maybe I can just think of it as buying the expansion and getting two-thirds off of my first insta-90. ($40 + $20)
What do you think? $60 for an expansion? Even with a level 90 boost?
As for selling the insta-level 90 for $60, I am somewhat indifferent. It isn’t a service I expect to use… I cannot even decide what to do with the one I will get with WoD… and I find any argument about it being too expensive to be more foot stomping than anything else. How much should a level 90 character cost? It is a luxury item after all. And anybody returning to the game who wants a level 90 will likely buy WoD to get one along with the new content.
And what happens when the price of the expansion comes down, as it inevitably will? Eventually Warlords of Draenor will be $40 or $20 on sale and then will end up as part of the World of Warcraft Battle Chest. What happens to insta-90s then? Will Blizz remove the option from the expansion at some point?
I suppose we shall see how this plays out.
Addendum: I like where Ars Technica says “Only 67 cents a level” in their Economic Reality post.
Show Me The Planets Contest Reminder February 25, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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My contest to give away a Mystery Code from the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition has just a few more days to run. You can find the full rules and other details here, but in brief, you have until Saturday to enter.
The latest entry I have is from Kirith Kodachi, and it really puts the emphasis on showing me the planet.
So far I have entries from:
- Ripard Teg/Jester
- Robyn Aurilen
- Jack Holt
- Kirith Kodachi
Which means that the field of competition is not all that big. If you enter now, the range of choices is still small enough that you could easily stand out and win… with the right screen shot.
I am still waiting to hear from Mark726 of the EVE Travel blog who, the last I heard, was paralyzed by choice in attempting to narrow his options down to just three entries.
Is PvP a Requirement for All MMOs? February 24, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, EverQuest II, MMO Design, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, World of Warcraft.
One of my gripes about the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter campaign was about PvP.
PvP was a stretch goal, but I was annoyed that it was on the list in any form at all. The promise of Pantheon seemed, to me at least, to be getting back to a difficult and dangerous PvE world that required grouping to take on. The early days of EverQuest were invoked in this regard. For a game being made by a small team that declared it was not trying to be “all things to all people,” the mention of PvP seemed like a step in that very direction.
And you should not get me wrong on this. I am not saying there shouldn’t be PvP. I play EVE Online, right? But does every PvE focused game need to spend time developing a PvP mechanism as well?
Going back to the dawn of the first massive successes on the MMO front, Ultima Online was PvP from day one. But EverQuest was derived from TorilMUD which had no PvP at all. In fact, the dev staff at TorilMUD split over the idea of PvP, which the PvP faction moving off to follow their dreams with Duris MUD. But SOE eventually felt that EverQuest needed PvP and so the Rallos Zek server was born.
This moved was widely viewed as a way to concentrate all the griefers into a single thunderdome where they would leave the rest of the player base alone. It was successful, in that the investment was low (as far as I can tell SOE did very little explicitly for PvP and was pretty hands off when it came to running the server) and it scratch that PvP itch for those who had to have it in a Norrathian context. (Roll stock footage of Fansy the Famous Bard.) And this lives on today as the Zek server with its own PvP rule set.
Asheron’s Call also had a PvP flagging system and a PvP dedicated server as part of its mix. So the big generation clearly bought into PvP, as did the next round of games. Dark Age of Camelot was explicitly PvP and Star Wars Galaxies had a sandbox PvP aspect to it.
Then came World of Warcraft, which had PvP and PvP servers from day one. Granted, day one was pretty ad hoc when it came to PvP, but Blizzard has a long history with RTS games, so players fighting other players must have seemed a natural to them. And whether or not you like the various stages WoW PvP has progressed through, it has been pretty successful. It would be hard to imagine WoW without it.
Of course, WoW also ran into one of the problems with PvP in a heavily PvE game, that of gear and ability balance between the two. It is really cool that the rogue in your dungeon group or raid can crowd control an off-mob with a stun lock, but I don’t know anybody who likes having that done to them by a rogue in a battleground. And Dark Age of Camelot ran into similar issued from the other direction, by introducing powerful PvE acquired gear into a primarily PvP game.
So mixing PvE and PvP is rarely a matter of a flagging system or a separate server. The eternal balance of equipment and abilities… which is already nettlesome in just the PvE environment… takes on an even bigger role when PvP is part of the mix. It doesn’t come for free, it requires design and development time… unless you take the approach SOE did with EverQuest and just try to ignore the whole PvP aspect of the balance thing, or you take the Guild Wars approach and just keep the two as separate as possible.
And after WoW, things just got went down hill. The success of the game meant other companies trying to copy WoW features in order to capture WoW numbers. EverQuest II is probably the most tragi-comic example of this. So much development and design time has been spent on PvP ideas in that game that it just about breaks your heart. They have had PvP servers, PvP arenas where you fight with a special sub-avatar of your character, arenas where you fight with your actual character, and, more recently, WoW-like battlegrounds. And the trend has always been that either the PvP is so bad that nobody uses it or that it is so affected by PvE stats and abilities that a whole array of special rules and exceptions have to be put in place to try to maintain at least some illusion of balance. The last time I checked in, SOE had gotten to the point where every piece of equipment and every ability essentially had two sets of stats, one for PvE and one for PvP, leading to some of the largest tool tip windows known to man.
Then there was Lord of the Rings Online, which couldn’t bring itself to allow the elf-on-elf combat we all secretly desire (we need more kinslayings) but which felt it had to have PvP, so they gave us Monster Play, a feature convoluted enough that I couldn’t even tell you how it works because I have never once used it. And I have tried the various PvP options on every MMO I have played. I know somebody loves Monster Play out there… you can find somebody who loves and will defend any MMO feature ever… but was LOTRO as a whole made better by it? Could the time spent on that have been better invested?
Warhammer Online at least never had the PvE vs. PvP balancing problem, because I don’t think most of us stuck around long enough for it to be a problem. Instead, it was bit by the WoW battleground bug, which became the most efficient way to level up, so everybody did those while the open world content languished for want of the numbers needed to make it viable.
And so it goes. Even today we are looking at The Elder Scrolls Online coming out in a little over a month. This is an MMO based on an exclusively single player RPG franchise… PvE to its deepest roots… and they are busying pushing the Alliance War, the PvP aspect of the game. Meanwhile, Star Wars: The Old Republic, an MMO made in the BioWare mold… fourth pillar and all that… has its Galactic Starfighter battleground out and available to everybody now.
Which brings me around to the title of this post. Is PvP a requirement for all MMOs? Can you even launch a PvE MMORPG without an announced PvP plan?
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter Campaign Winds Down February 22, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
Tags: Brad McQuaid, Kickstarter
The Kickstarter for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen finished up earlier today.
While there was a surge of pledges at the end, the final total came in at $460,657, well shy of the $800,000 goal. (But about where I predicted back on January 1st.)
The daily numbers ended up looking like this according to Kicktraq:
With that result, Visionary Realms and Brad McQuaid are now moving into a new dimension of crowd funding, going it alone and asking for donations. Their site is up and ready to take PayPal.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, going that route really changes, to my mind, the whole funding dynamic. There is no minimum threshold for funding. You pledge and they have your cash. And while that has worked well for other games, Star Citizen has gone insane in it post-Kickstarter financing and even Lord British has managed to come up with another million for Shroud of the Avatar, I am not sure how things will play out in the absence of successful Kickstarter campaign.
Quote of the Day – The Magic of Turbine February 21, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Dungeons & Dragons Online, entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
Tags: Turbine, Whistful Friday Thoughts
I admire turbine, they took perhaps the most well known IPs in fantasy and managed to make them small niche mmo
Isn’t that just a sarcastic stab at the heart of the truth? And there is a whole trail of tweets on the topic if you click on the link.
When you think about it, Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings are huge IPs and ought to be cash cows if you made a decent game.
I cannot speak for Dungeons & Dragons Online, which has never clicked with me, but I really like and have enjoyed Lord of the Rings Online throughout the years. Getting a lifetime subscription back at launch was one of my best gaming purchases. It probably even offsets the tragic mistake of buying that Star Trek Online lifetime subscription.
And the landscape of Middle-earth looks so good in LOTRO and there are so many excellent features… I can go on and on about the music feature alone.
But I have to admit that things are not perfect. The interface is still not as responsive as it ought to be nearly seven years down the road, the icons are still poor representatives of the actions they trigger, and every time I see the message, “Item use succeeded” I want to do a facepalm. Good debug message for a programmer, not something that should be displayed in the game. And then there is the cash shop.
And with further expansions off the table for now and layoffs and uncertainty as to what will happen between now and 2017, you really cannot help but think that things could have gone better.
I was a lot more hopeful a year back.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen – Kickstarter and Beyond February 21, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
Tags: Brad McQuaid, Kickstarter
Well, here we are with about a day left to go and the Kickstarter campaign for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is well shy of its $800,000 funding goal. At this late date I think we can all agree that the project would need a Kickstarter Christmas miracle to fund.
A look at Kicktraq this morning shows the last 24 hours of the campaign faces a hill… well, a mountain… representing 46% of the funding goal.
And so it goes.
The campaign has been a mixed bag. On the downside, I think that the groundwork done by Brad McQuaid and his Visionary Realms team before they set off down the Kickstarter path was woefully inadequate. One does not simply *something something* into Kickstarter.
I also think (based on my 2014 prediction) that they asked for too much money. I know that the idea was to set the groundwork for other funding by showing that the project had legs, but asking for $500K and getting it (which I think they could have) would have been better than asking for $800K and not getting much beyond the half way point. There is also a tipping point after you hit your goal where you can open things up to other funding sources.
And I remain concerned about the focus of the project. A key statement early on was that this was not going to be an attempt to be all things to all people. But seeming acquiescence by Brad, both in the project stretch goals and the Reddit AMAs, to a variety of things I would consider out of scope for an initial release made me wonder if they could keep things on a single track. The problem in software development never involves with coming up with ideas. The problem is always paring things down to essentials so that the team can deliver quality.
But all was not bad.
I think that the overall message is one that a select group of players wanted to hear. I think there is room in the world for a niche MMORPG focused on grouping and group content in the TorilMUD and EverQuest tradition. (Though I had to walk away from forum discussions when the “EQ PvP, Best PvP” squad hunkered down to stay. Absolutely the wrong group of players for this, in my opinion.)
I think Brad handled the Reddit AMA’s well, aside from a couple of “I don’t see why not” answers to things I felt were really out of scope. (I will not get off the focus wagon, will I?) There were a lot of good answers to question about views and details about Pantheon. But I think the whole thing was best served by his answers around Vanguard, what happened there, and how things are being run differently with Pantheon.
And, finally, I think that the cross-promotion between Pantheon and Shroud of the Avatar that came at the halfway point of the campaign was brilliant. That was a really slick idea to find the cross-over appeal between two different projects.
Of course, once that was in play, any number of people wanted to know if Brad could work a similar deal with Chris Roberts to maybe get a boost from his Star Citizen funding success. I am not sure that would see the same sort of overlap of interests as Shroud of the Avatar and Patheon: Rise of the Fallen, and it did not seem likely to come about in any case.
In the end though, it wasn’t enough.
Aside from looking for an angel investor, what now?
Well, it looks like Visionary Realms is going to take on the funding effort themselves. They have updated their web site and have announced their post-Kickstarter plans.
And there are some advantages to going this route. They are not beholden to Kickstarter and do not have to give them a cut. They are not hemmed in by a time limit. They can offer a wider variety of funding options. Even now Visionary Realms has a subscription option listed with special benefits.
So the funding effort goes on.
The question is, will it have the same impact?
Despite the occasional pedantic view on the subject, the goal of funding efforts like this are not to obtain 100% of the money required to complete the project. The idea is to get enough initial funding to demonstrate that there is interest in your project so that you can get further investment. Brad McQuaid has said as much about Pantheon.
So Kickstarter is a funding exercise in part, but even more a marketing exercise. But if you fail the funding part of Kickstarter, how much is the marketing exercise constrained? And even if a company can turn around and go do their own fundraising effort post-Kickstarter, will that have the same impact?
And, the biggest question for me, how long will it take Visionary Realms be able to catch up to where they left off with Kickstarter and will people be as willing to pledge? Because they have lost a few valuable assets that Kickstarter provides.
The first is, of course, the Kickstarter name itself. People have a range of opinions about Kickstarter and the wisdom of giving people money through it, but they know what Kickstarter is and as a service it seems reasonably well respected. There will be no Kickstarter cachet to bring people to the table any more.
Then there is the time limit aspect of the campaign. While Visionary Realms won’t make their goal in the time frame, I would be willing to bet that the mere fact that there was a time limit got people to pledge. There is nothing like a deadline to get people to focus. Campaigns that succeed, or which are close to success, often have a large surge of pledges at the last minute.
Now though, there is no time limit. There is no boundary to make people get off the fence one way or another. I suspect that will hurt funding in the short term.
And then there is what I will call, for lack of a better term, the “Kickstarter Deal.” In the case of Brad McQuaid and Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, the deal was that if he could raise $800,000, he would make this game happen. You can believe him or not, but that was what he was offering. So I put up some money along with about 3,000 other people. But the effort will fall shy of the mark, so none of us will end up paying out any money. Our pledge cost us nothing because the threshold for funding… the threshold at which Brad said he could make it happen… was not met.
Now that threshold is gone.
If I go over to the Visionary Realms web site and pledge $100 they have it that day, and if nobody else pledges I have just wasted my money. It is much easier to throw in some cash if you think you are part of a group that will meet the threshold for funding. But in the absence of that, I am probably not going to rush out on day one to give them some cash. I am much more likely to sit on my hands, to wait and see how things are going, before I think about donating.
While Kickstarter does not in anyway guarantee that a funded project will actually do what it says in the end, it does at least give the illusion of a concentration of pledges that, if a pre-determined threshold is met, will make the project possible. Unless I am missing something here, going to self-funding removes that aspect of the campaign.
So there we stand. The Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter will run out the clock in less than a day and will not meet its goal.
Did you pledge any money to the Kickstarter and will you, in turn, donate to the self-run funding campaign for the project?
Is this the beginning of the end, or just the end of the beginning?
Return to the Heroic Deadmines February 20, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep
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Last time out for the instance group we finished up the last of the normal mode instances, Grim Batol, and then decided to try our hand at Cataclysm heroics.
The Deadmines, ever the favored dungeon in Azeroth, was our target and the fact that we couldn’t use the Dungeon Finder because the item level of our gear was too low did not deter us in the slightest. An item level of 329 seemed too much to ask.
In hindsight, we might have paid a bit more attention to that last bit. While we managed to get in the door and through the first couple of bosses, we were clearly in over our head and called it a night after too many wipes in the foundry.
Thus stopped mid-instance, we decided to remedy the gear item level situation in Pandaria. Four of us went to visit Silkweaver Rul in Pearlfin Village.
While we had all picked up at least a few items in our first foray into Pandaria, where we stopped at Pearlfin Village, we clearly did not pick up enough. The four of us each ended up buying 8 or 9 items from the vendor.
The gear is kind of interesting. There is something there for everybody and it is all item level 372. It is also all bind on pick up and you cannot disenchant them. This is clearly the “catch up” vendor for those entering the expansion.
Earl, on the other hand, decided to press on into Pandaria to gear himself up. He didn’t get to read the discussion in last week’s comment thread about the balance between health and main stats versus secondary stats as you level up in Pandaria, which was probably a good thing as it was more than I really wanted to consider, and just leveled up to 86. He also came up with an item level 450, account bound (which means you can mail it to your alts), sword to wield.
So the group was all at item level 372 or above and ready to go.
- Earlthecat – Level 86 Human Warrior Tank
- Skronk – Level 85 Dwarf Priest Healing
- Bungholio – Level 85 Gnome Warlock DPS
- Alioto – Level 85 Night Elf Druid DPS
- Ula – Level 85 Gnome Mage DPS
The question was, where should we head with our new gear? Ula was AFK when that discussion started, and when she returned she flatly stated that we were going to go back to the Deadmines and that was pretty much that. The decision was made. Having walked there last time, we felt entitled to use the Dungeon Finder to get us there.
Did all that gear make a difference? More after the cut.