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, 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.
The Downfall of Garrosh Hellscream February 19, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Looking For Raid
I returned to Looking For Raid this past weekend for the final Pandaria raid. I had to re-do a couple of the previous raids during the week to get a drop that would bump my item level up to the required 496 for the Siege of Orgrimmar.
As with the earlier Pandaria raids, the Siege of Orgrimmar is broken up into segments. In this case, there are four distinct raids, each with its own bosses. I will attempt to recap my experiences.
Vale of Eternal Sorrows
This was the first on the list, and I ended up doing the bosses for this one… well, not backwards, but not in order either.
When I first queued for it, I ended up getting pulled into a group that had already done the first two bosses. I have been very lucky so far on that front, only once before having been pulled in later in a raid. I have managed to start with fresh groups all other times.
So I ended up coming in for the Norushen vs. the amalgam of corruption fight, in which I managed to hit things constantly and consistently and which was a success, though how much I contributed was, as always, debatable.
That moved us on to the last fight, the Sha of Pride, a fight with a mechanic I never figured out during the encounter. And we had to do it twice, as we wiped the first time. The Sha of Pride helpfully said:
Blame your companions!
Which made it sound like it knew we were and LFR group.
After the wipe I went off to read about the right quickly, but came away no wiser. So I just swung my sword a lot and we won the second time around. We always seem to win the second time if we wipe. But groups in LFR get a determination buff that boosts some key parameters by 5%, so you go in stronger the second time… and, one would hope, a bit wiser.
That done, I had to queue up again and managed to get a group starting off on the first two bosses. Immerseus was fun… probably because I actually figured out what was going on and was able to actively help during the fight.
And then there was the Fallen Protectors.
This was one of the more chaotic fights, in part because it was handled by those who knew about the fight entirely through negatives in the group chat. There are three bosses and numerous adds in this fight, and you have to change targets multiple times throughout the fight. Rather than somebody calling the target for DPS, all I saw in chat were statements to stop attacking one of the bosses.
Get off Rook!
Stop attacking Sun!
Why are you attacking He?!?
I couldn’t figure out who I ought to be attacking at various points during the battle, but I was well informed as to who not to attack. And I was apparently not alone. After the battle somebody said that we managed to drag that battle out longer than he had ever seen. I will compare this to the later, similar fight at the Paragons of the Klaxxi.
That finished the first stage for me and I left the group, dooming some other DPS player to have to play through the last two bosses. Sorry about that.
Gates of Retribution
The second stage actually put us outside of Orgrimmar, which I must admit was pretty cool. It started with a fight over cannons and towers in a battle I couldn’t quite follow. About par for the course when I get into something chaotic. At one point somebody was calling for more DPS at one of the towers, but by the time I got there the sub-group at the tower ran back to the main group. So I went with them.
We managed to win. My comprehension is not required for that.
Then it was off to the front gates of Orgrimmar to face the Iron Juggernaught, a fight that went off well enough. After that it was into what I think of as the main square of Orgrimmar to face the Kor’kron Dark Shaman. We managed to wipe on this one. I gather that the healers all stood in the wrong spot and got died at one point during the fight, which lead to the expected result. The second attempt played out better. As always, we won on the second try. Then we slaughtered the residents of Orgrimmar. The auction house was given particular attention. I don’t know why. Goblin hate? And then it was into the city and down into Ragefire Chasm where we found the final boss, General Nazgrim.
This last fight went very smoothly… at least relative to what I had seen up to that point… because somebody took the time to tell the DPS what to hit during the fight. So we cleaned up adds quickly and the General went down. End of instance.
Since the sections of the raid are divided up, and since I waited a day before I got to this section, I wasn’t quite sure where it was relative to General Nazgrim and Orgrimmar. I guess it was through the door Nazgrim was guarding. Maybe? No matter, we were there and after the first boss, Malkorok, who is one of those raid bosses who appears to spend his days standing in the middle of a giant circular platform. It is just a raid boss thing.
At this point all I remember was that we won and that I managed to not die. Go us.
Then it was on to the Spoils of Pandaria, which I totally remember because we stopped and somebody divided us up into two groups and explained what we had to do to win this fight. It appears that Garrosh and company had been looting the Pandaria and we were going to go get it. Only the treasures were crated up in two location… hence two groups… and appeared to be coming alive, breaking out of their crates, and attacking us. So we ran two parallel fights, which both succeeded. Go team informed!
The final fight was with Thok the Bloodthirsty, a giant armored raptor. And when I say “giant,” I mean that my character, a human male, was about the size of one of his talons. Giant.
This was a very active fight because you have to stay out of Thok’s sweet spot or he will one-shot kill you. I speak as somebody who spent half the fight on the floor dead. I was lucky that somebody spared a combat ress on me later in the fight. Then it was up and back to running around trying to stay close enough to hit him while keeping far enough away to not get popped again. Being melee can be exhausting. I missed some parts of the fight laying around on the floor as a corpse, but we won in the end and on the first try
Somebody will get that reference.
And then there was the final series of encounters. I queued for this on Sunday and was nearly an hour getting into a group. But at least I got a fresh group. It was a paladin heavy group though, with the followers of Uther the Lightbringer making up a quarter of the group. This was apparently a bad thing, as we had a rough time of it. We got ourselves into the instance and lined up to get to the first fight… I like how the game uses your group in the cinematics integrated with the NPCs… and managed to clear the path there no problem.
Then it was time to jump into a big pipe and drop in on the first boss encounter, Siegecrafter Blackfuse.
That went badly the first time. Again, a lot of confusion and things going on and no real direction to the group. Part way into the fight, somebody asked who was on the conveyor belt… something off to the side that delivers adds… and the resounding silence indicated that nobody was on the conveyor belt. And so there was a wipe
We were not fighting in a nice little circle, the raid just dumps all the corpses there when you wipe, no doubt to aid in clean up. You can see my big pink sword sticking out at about 5 o’clock. (It is the Claymore of the Prophet used to transmog my current weapon.)
The second time through there was a bit of planning up front (a conveyor belt team was picked) so, along with the determination buff, we were able to pound on through.
And then things got a little awkward.
We lost one of our tanks after that fight, so the group was put in the queue to pick up another tank. But it looked like we were queuing for a DPS a the count put us a two tanks still despite there clearly being only one tank. The the other tank left, which appeared to fix the problem, but which left us now queued for two tanks.
After about 30 minutes of this we were back up to a full strength group and were on to the Paragons of the Klaxxi fight.
This fight is vaguely similar to the Fallen Protectors fight mentioned above, in that there are multiple bosses and the DPS needs to be on the right boss. However, rather than retroactive yelling at people who didn’t know what was going on in the first place, somebody took charge and told the DPS just to kill the boss they marked. And then they marked one boss after another and we mowed them down and there wasn’t an iota of drama. As I am fond of saying, it was like we knew what we were doing.
And then we all died to trash in the tunnel just after the fight… TWICE… because LFR.
Such a deal.
Eventually though we made it down to Garrosh Hellscream’s throne.
We got ourselves together, checked buffs, ate some stat boosting food, and generally prepared. Somebody laid down three markers on the big circular floor (again with the big circles), didn’t bother to explain what they meant, and then the fight started.
The first part was Garrosh, who weighed in at a paltry 150 million hit points there, along with some ads. No big deal.
And then, as we wore him down, he suddenly changed and were were pulled into different locations, which were, if I read right, the Temple of the Jade Serpent, the Temple of the Red Crane, and the Terrace of Eternal Spring. Each one involved killing some trash to work our way to Garrosh. Then, after beating on him a bit, we would be pulled back to the throne room, only to be pulled out to another of the locations.
After this Garrosh was transformed into a sha-touched version of himself and then the work really began. Garrosh now weighed in at 567 million hit points and was mind controlling people now and again… I got tapped twice in the first fight… and generally getting out of control. We pressed on, but at around 125 million hit points… or a long way into the fight… the wheels came off and there was another wipe.
My sword… a transmorg job… does make me easy to find amongst the corpses.
Anyway, we had to do it all again, which at that point was really starting to feel like a lot of work. Melee DPS on raids has me running all over and the fight itself ran for quite a stretch. Still, I was there and I didn’t want to have to queue up again to start from scratch, an opinion shared by most of the group it seems, since few people opted to leave.
So we stood up and started over. This time we managed to hang on through the last phase.
And then he was down and the achievement popped up along with my reward, which was actually a decent pair of pants.
Well, decent when it comes to stats… a serious upgrade for me… but they looked like hell. Seriously, I had to transmorg them into something else… anything else… once I got back to town.
But it wasn’t quite time to go back to town yet. There was the end of the tale to see. King Varian Wrynn and the alliance and Thrall back with the leaders of the horde showed up to help tee up the next expansion. Then it was time to speak with Lorewalker Cho who had a quest for me that lead out of the instance and to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms where we spoke to the spirit of the late emperor about what had transpired.
The emperor seemed a little deluded about just how much had changed in Pandaria… the place was still a mess as far as I could tell… but the story came to a close.
I feel like I got to see the finish of the expansion. The closest I have come to that previously was when our group finished off the final five person instances in Wrath of the Lich King. And there we had to leave Arthas alive. Not that we didn’t try to go back and kill him in the five person instance.
But they couldn’t let that happen. We might have to go back and twink through the WotLK raids as a group when we hit 90.
Anyway, while I have always been willing to accept that not all the content should be available to me, I am glad that I was able to go through this with LFR.
Now would I do it again? I am not sure. I think I am done with Vikund doing LFR for now. It is frankly tiring as melee DPS, even if it isn’t exactly the most important job. I might go for it with my hunter at some point. We shall see. But LFR will certainly be on my list for Warlords of Draenor.
Now for some snapshots from the Siege of Orgrimmar, available after the cut.
Show Me the Planets Contest – First Entry February 19, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: contest, Mystery Code
1 comment so far
So Alikchi sent me a screen shot less than 15 minutes after yesterday’s contest announcement went up, giving him at least the “firsties” honor. It was a shot ofa Moros blazing away during the “Shoot Blues, Tell Vile Rat” op in UMI-KK in September of 2012. It even comes with a kill mail to mark the eventual death of the dreadnaught during the event.
I always post the first entry I get, both to prove that somebody actually entered and to give people something of an “over/under” measure when it comes to their potential entries. This is now the benchmark. You should ask yourself if your entry is better than this one.
An EVE Online Screen Shot Contest – Show Me the Planets! February 18, 2014Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: contest, EVE Online Second Decade Collector's Edition, Mystery Code, pictures, Screen Shots
I’ve been down this road before.
I have something special to give away. Here, somewhere on my desk, is a Mystery Code from the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition.
CCP gave me a copy, for free, after I had already purchased one for myself. I gave away some of the bits and pieces to friends, but I held back the Mystery Code because I wanted to have a contest.
According to the CCP web site, the Mystery Code :will grant owners special benefits related to future CCP products and events” including:
- 1 x PLEX
- New and exclusive “Phanca” Cybernetic Arm
- Exclusive “Templar MkII Prototype Fighter” for EVE: Valkyrie
- More Mystery Code content will be announced soon!
Essentially it sounds like your account will be flagged to get some additional goodies at some future date. And hey, a PLEX. Gotta love that.
So I am having yet another screen shot contest.
How To Enter
Take a screen shot or dig through your old EVE Online screen shots. The only restriction is that the shot must have a planet or a moon somewhere in view. A spherical battles tation large enough to be mistaken for a moon is an acceptable substitute. Example shot:
More examples here.
You don’t have to have space ships or stations or titans or nebulae to be considered… but I can’t say that such things won’t help your chances. Just have a planet or a moon.
Rename that screen shot to something I can associate with you. Your character name would be good. Append a digit if you are sending more than one picture.
Send your screen shot(s) to wilhelm2451 [at] yahoo [dot] com with the following information:
Your in-game character name:
A brief description of the picture: (ship types pictured please, other details if you can, actual system/planet would be awesome)
Attribution information: (Who should I say took the shot, link to your blog, corp, MySpace page, whatever)
Now for the fine print.
A little less simple.
Entries must be your own screen shots. Use of promotional material from CCP will disqualify you immediately. We’ve all seen them… well, I’ve seen them because I really like pictures of spaceships… so don’t bother. And the internet has tools for searching on that sort of thing… don’t make me get out the tools!
Use of the work of other people without the express written consent of Major League Baseball… or the person… is also forbidden. Implied oral consent isn’t good enough. Just be good and use your own screen shots, okay?
If I have already linked to or posted a screen shot of yours on EVE Online Pictures, you may not submit it for this contest. Sorry.
You may enter up to three screen shots.
You must submit your entry via email to wilhelm2451 [at] yahoo [dot] com. The subject of the email should say something like “EVE Online Contest” so I can find it easily in the spam folder if Yahoo happens to have taken a dislike to you, your domain, or your country.
You can send me a link to your entry via email if you prefer, but your entry should be obvious from the link. If you send me a link to your EVE album in Imgur or Flickr or whatever, I’ll probably browse through it, but I won’t pick an entry for you.
Your picture should be in .jpg or .png format. If you send me a .bmp, I will likely convert it to one of those formats before posting it. If you send me a picture in a format that PaintShop Pro cannot open or a corrupted image, I will send you a notification that your entry is invalid.
You can ask for clarifications or further information in the comments section following this post, but all entries must be sent via email to the address specified.
You must submit your entry Noon Pacific Time of Saturday, March 1st, 2014. That will be 3pm Eastern Time or 8pm (20:00) UTC. which happens to also be in-game time in EVE Online.
If you are a winner, the Mystery Code will be sent via email to the address you used to enter the contest. If you really, really want the physical card, I will drop it in the mail to if you provide an address.
The code and card are unused, but I make offer no warranty on what CCP will actually give you when you enter the code. I just believe what the web site tells me. There is a rumor that, if you enter a Mystery Code, you also consent to let CCP Guard sleep on your couch if he happens to be in town.
The winner will be announced in a post on Firday, March 7th, 2014. The winning screen shots will be posted on this blog. All screen shots submitted will, over time, be posted, with attribution, on EVE Online Pictures. Unless your picture is crap. I won’t be posting crap. Don’t send me crap.
A second place prize of 100,000,000 ISK will be awarded to the runner up in the contest if there are at least 10 individuals entered. I reserve the right, at my discretion, to toss some ISK to pilots submitting other worthy entries. Not as much ISK as second place, but some ISK is better than none, right?
While I may consult with others to help winnow down the field of entrants, the winner will be decided by me and me alone.
Any questions, ambiguity, or disputes will be resolved by me alone and all decisions will be final. There is no appeals process.