Daily Archives: December 8, 2009

WoW Patch 3.3 Musings

World of Warcraft Patch 3.3 is out today.  There is a big patch download waiting for you and a whole bunch of patch notes to read while that is going on.

In glancing through the notes, a few items jumped out.

Three separate 5-player dungeons — The Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection — containing all new challenges and missions of discovery, await players in normal and Heroic modes.

This could herald the return of the Saturday night instance group to their alliance characters if for no other reason than to continue to be able to say we’ve done all the 5 person instances in Northrend.  Plus it might be interesting to do content that hasn’t been completely analyzed and documented.  Not that it would change our lax pre-instance research, but it would feel a bit different to me.

And I’m not sure what “missions of discovery” are.  A euphemism for “some more quests” or are we talking about something new here?  That phrase only gets used once in the patch notes.

A new feature has been added to the D3D graphics engine to improve texture management (particularly for Windows XP users). If you are experiencing random crashes related to file read errors or out of memory, this new backend may help. To enable the new backend, add the following line to your Config.WTF file: SET gxApi “d3d9ex.”

While I don’t crash constantly in Dalaran any more, I still suffer from what I call the “Dalaran Disease” where I get a texture related crash if I hang out in the city for too long.  Maybe this will fix the issue and I can finally knock-off that fountain fishing achievement.

All level 71-80 Battleground daily quests will now award 25 Arena points in addition to their current rewards.

The welfare epic state continues to grow.  What Blizzard?  Aren’t you going to toss in some arena standing with that as well?  Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Battleground Experience: Battleground experience gained is now based on the level of the player gaining experience, rather than the highest possible player level in that Battleground.

I am truly bummed on this one, since my daughter only shared this information with me last weekend.  We were getting more than 25% of a level in experience per win as level 51 characters in Alterac Valley.  Back to earning experience the old fashioned way by… you know… earning it.  Still, my druid is level 54 now and her hunter is level 55.

Meeting Stones: To use any Meeting Stone, it is only required that the character’s minimum level be 15. There is no maximum character level requirement for any Meeting Stone.

Take that EQ2!  You nerf travel with your veteran rewards, WoW nerfs travel right back at you.  Or something.

Health and Mana Regeneration: These regeneration rates have been increased by up to 200% for low level characters. As a player’s level increases, the regeneration rates gradually reduce, returning to normal rates at level 15.

Spell Mana Costs: These costs have been reduced for almost all lower level spell ranks. In general, if a spell decreased in cost with a higher level rank in patch 3.2.0, that spell now has the decreased cost at all ranks. In addition, spells learned before level 20 with reduced cast times and/or durations have even further reduced mana costs, proportionate to their reduction in cast time or damage.

Okay, I know health and mana management are really painful at lower levels, but I hope we’re not teaching people bad habits.  Oh, and where was this when I actually had some characters under level 20 again?

Haris Pilton now sells a new 24-slot bag! She has stubbornly decided to remain in Shattrath City, so those interested should seek her out there.

If this new bag is still called a Portable Hole I am going to be very grumpy.

But I should have a Corehound puppy waiting for me.  Users of the Blizzard Authenticator got them it seems.

Now which of the items in the patch notes will they have to fix with next Tuesday’s post-patch update?

Star Trek Online Pre-Order Choices

Cryptic is making me crazy already.

I am going to play Star Trek Online.  On this we are decided.

Potshot seems to be sharing my enthusiasm on the subject, so it looks like we might have makings of a bridge crew or flotilla or squadron or whatever the group mechanic is for the game.

And if we’re going to play, we might as well pre-order and reap the benefits of that, such that they are.

But the pre-order bennies haven’t been exactly clear up to this point.

In the absence of information, I went to the default, which is to order from Amazon.com.  I’ve been ordering from them for 12 years now and they have always been good to me.

Amazon.com showed a borg bridge officer as the special pre-order item.

I knew 7 of 9, and you're no 7 of 9

Fine, I put in the order.

Then I saw that GameStop had something different.  A “bonus starship” as part of their pre-order package.

On the surface, a bonus starship might be lame.  But when I went to the site to look into it, the ship turned out to be a Constitution class starship from the original series.  For those not up on the lore, that would be the same class as the Enterprise.

To Boldly Go...

Okay, cancel my order at Amazon.com (sorry guys!) and head over to GameStop.

Only at about this point, the gaming press starts reporting on this situation in detail, since Cryptic finally put out a press release on the subject.

NEW YORK, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ — Atari, Inc., one of the world’s most recognized videogame publishers, and acclaimed MMO developers Cryptic Studios(TM), are pleased to announce several pre-order programs for the highly anticipated Star Trek Online for PC. Based on the world renowned sci-fi series, Star Trek Online gives gamers and fans of the fiction a chance to boldly explore the Star Trek universe for the first time on a truly massive scale. Star Trek Online is available at retailers in North America on February 2, 2010.

All Star Trek Online pre-orders receive guaranteed access to the Star Trek Online Open Beta test from January 12th to January 26th, 2010. In addition, Star Trek Online also offers an exclusive Early Start Program with pre-orders at all participating retailers that runs January 29, 2010 through launch on February 2. The Early Start Program allows players to get a leg up on other interstellar explorers and access the Star Trek universe the weekend prior to the game’s launch. Unlike beta play, all in-game progress made during the Early Start Program will carry over to the live adventure.

All customers who pre-order Star Trek Online receive access to the Open Beta and Early Start Program. Details on exclusive pre-order content for Star Trek Online include:


GameStop customers receive the ability to command the exclusive and always classic USS Enterprise from Star Trek The Original Series.

Best Buy

Best Buy is offering their customers a fun in-game pet. As a Federation Captain, players own a famed Tribble of Star Trek lore that will accompany them on their travels into the final frontier. As a Klingon commander, players control the boar-like Targ, a beast found on the Klingon home world of Qo’noS.


Amazon is offering an exclusive “Liberated Borg” Bridge Officer. This bridge officer, who comes with unique nanotechnology augmentations, assists in missions and gains experience as the player does.


With the Wal-Mart Bonus Skill Points package, receive addition skill points that enable players to improve their characters quickly.


Target customers who pre-order Star Trek Online receive a unique ground weapon — a TR-116. This rare projectile weapon is used in dampening fields and other challenging environments; it is also modified with a micro-transporter which beams the fired projectiles to targets at close range so that a user can fire without a direct line of site.


Direct2Drive customers receive an exclusive Multi-Spatial Personal Shield. This advanced personal shield system is based on Borg technology, which constantly regenerates itself and the health of its wearer.


STEAM is offering customers Chromodynamic Armor. This armor is based on technology brought back from the Delta Quadrant by USS Voyager improves the damage and critical hits of energy weapons.

In Star Trek Online, players will visit iconic locations from the popular Star Trek fiction, travel to unexplored star systems, and contact new alien species. Every moment spent playing Star Trek Online will feel like a new Star Trek episode in which you are the hero. Immerse yourself in the future of the Trek universe as it moves into the 25th century: a time of shifting alliances and new discoveries. As the Captain of your very own ship, it’s up to you to lead your crew on missions that span the galaxy.

For more information, please log onto www.startrekonline.com

So many choices.

Of course, the real die-hards on the forums want to know if they can buy some or all and combine them on a single account.

I am only buying a single copy, so I had to take a deep breath and think on this a bit.

A pre-order bonus cannot… or at least should not… give you any sort of huge advantage in game.  Every pre-order or collector’s edition item that I can recall has generally outlived its actual usefulness pretty quickly.

And if usefulness is going to be set aside, then style is really the way to go.  And for style, you have your tribble or you have your Constitution class starship.  But that still leaves a choice.

Decisions, decisions!  I’m leaning towards the starship.  I’m already humming the incidental music from the episode “The Doomsday Machine” in my head.  But a tribble…