Daily Archives: March 24, 2011

Razorfen Kraul in the Rain

For some reason, it always seems to be raining when we do Razorfen Kraul.  At least that is my recollection.  We’ve been there twice before, both times during the Northern California rainy season, once in November and once in December.  Last Saturday was our third visit, and it was pouring down rain for those of us on the West Coast.

Razorfen Kraul, or RFK, is a one pass dungeon for us.  We have never had to, or wanted to, go back to it for a second run.  Yet it is a memorable dungeon, for two reasons; that final escort quest and those damn blue leaf tubers.

Now however the blue leaf tubers, and the snufflenose gophers used to spot them, are gone.

At least I think they are gone.  You had to get that quest from Ratchet before you did the instance.  With the Dungeon Finder I am going to guess that not many people make it over to Ratchet as once did, and since Blizzard did not move the blue leaf tubers quest to the start of the instance with the rest of the quests, the status of the snufflenose gophers is unknown to me.

We formed up together in Stormwind, our line up for the night being:

  • Xula – level 30 Gnome warrior
  • Ethelred – level 31 Worgen druid
  • Maloney – level 31 Worgen mage
  • Nancyboy – level 31 Worgen priest
  • Earlthedog – level 32 Worgen warrior

The Dungeon Finder was launched and we were queued up and sent on our way.

I do not know what I can add that was not mentioned in past runs.  Yes, we were absent the gophers this time.  The quest giver is up front, inside the instance.  There is now a map for the instance, which makes deciding which way to go at that first T intersection easier.  The first quest objective on the map was to the right.

Oh, and the instance got bumped a few levels.  Previously it was for levels 24-29.  Now it is available for levels 30-40, but the highest level boss we ran into was level 35, so it would be a pretty easy run at level 40.

Actually, it wasn’t that difficult for us at the low end of the bracket.

In the two past runs we took wrong turns, memories of which stayed with us.  This time we went we avoided those mistakes and the squeals of dying quillboars marked our progress through their lair.

Little lost sheep in the hut

We made our way through each boss along the way.  Earl had a bit of help this time.  The item from Houndmaster Locksey that summons a combat pet (10 minute pet with a 10 minute cool down) gave us a bit more DPS.

Getting the dog out for a boss fight

Not that we really needed it.  As before, almost all of the fights went our way without much in the way of drama.  We tried to play things by the book at times, using crowd control and the like, but for the most part if the sheep didn’t stick (resists were high on level 34 mobs) it didn’t seem to matter much.

We did wipe once, which was totally my fault.  We had stopped before one of the bosses and I moved closer to get a screen shot, forgetting that with us at the low end of the level spectrum for the instance that our aggro radius was pretty big.

And so I pulled the boss, two minions, and a couple of quillboars who wandered by when we were still getting ourselves sorted out.  Xula pulled all the mobs off of me.  She seemed to hit new heights of aggro management in RFK as she kept stuff off of us all night.  However she also got smaked down and died rather quickly.  Then it was the slow slide as we died one by one.

All Dead

The graveyard for RFK is just outside the door now.  No more running from Camp Taurajo.  And we did managed to kill off everybody except the boss, so the return bout was very easy.

Although just as we were about to start our second run at the boss, the power went out at my house for about a minute.  I was back online and into the game in a few minutes, but the timing was almost bad.

After that, it was more of a sight seeing tour through the instance.

Remeber when we let a gopher go on this bridge?

We made our way around to Charlga for what is essentially the final boss fight of the instance.

Charlga the Crone, we meet again!

The fight was a foregone conclusion.  Even the main boss of the instance, several levels above us, did not require that much effort.  Charlga went down and the achievement was ours.

Then it was just a turn into the giant spirit boar for one of the quests for the instance.

Do you have something for me Mr. Spirit Pig?

I do wonder if you can really count the instance as done once you have the achievement.  We chose to see if the old escort quest was still available, which meant jumping down into the trench behind Charlga’s hut.

Sure enough, Willix was still down there waiting for an escort back to the instance entrance.

We kept him safe on the way back, though there was a brief moment of anxiety when we remembered that, in the old version of the instance, Willix used to run outside the instance and you had to finish the quest there.  Having entered via the Dungeon Finder, exiting would deposit us all back in Stormwind and not outside of RFK.

However, Blizzard had us covered.  Willix now stops short of the exit and you can finish the quest.  You also wrap up the remaining quest there as well, which is the end of the line for RFK.

Instance Complete Shot

(You can just see Willix in background on the right in the full size picture.)

Finishing up also brought most of us two levels further along, which opened up a few more dungeon options for next week.  At level 33, I was shown this list as being available via the Dungeon Finder:

I imagine that we will go after the Armory in Scarlet Monastery next week, but we shall see.  We might knock off the two Maraudon segments instead.

One thing about RFK is that it does take a bit of time, even when it is not very challenging.  So that, along with starting a bit late, and me getting knocked off by a power outage, left us at around 11pm when we were done.  We probably could have squeezed in another instance, but I personally was feeling tired and about done for the evening.

Instead we stopped and talked about what the damage meter addon, recount, was telling us.

The three DPS players in the group this time around are Earlthedog, Ethelred, and Maloney who play warrior, druid, and mage.

Recount shows that Earl is doing almost exactly as much damage as Ethelred and Maloney are doing combined, while Ethelred and Maloney are almost in a dead heat for total damage done.

So we are trying to figure out why Earl is doing that much more damage.

Is he just the supreme warrior player?  He almost always plays a warrior, so he is well in tune with all of the warrior skills.  While I won’t speak for Ethelred, I know I, playing Maloney, am still trying to figure the right spell combos that are most effective with my first ever real mage in WoW.  Should I be using Ice Lance so much?

But Recount shows that the vast majority of Earl’s damage is simple melee.  He has a big, bad, high DPS blue polearm for his weapon.  Is it just that which is tilting the balance?

Or do warriors in the DPS role come on strong early on while casters develop later?

Anyway, we will be watching the damage meter to try and figure that out.

Meanwhile, I am going to see if I have the right spec so far for a frost mage.

World of Tanks has a Pre-Order Plan

World of Tanks, the upcoming free-to-play tank battling game, is set to go live on April 12th.

And in the grand tradition of MMOs of the last few years, they have some Pre-Order options.

But when you are a free-to-play game with a revenue model based on selling an in-game currency to buy upgrades and special vehicles, what do you give out sell as pre-order incentives?  Gold and even more special vehicles!

World of Tanks Pre-Orders Take Off

Pre-Purchase Gold for Special Price and Get the Unique Tank for Free!

London, UK – March 24, 2011 Wargaming.net is glad to announce that the pre-orders are now open for its highly anticipated free-to-play MMO action game World of Tanks. Players can select from one-of-three exclusive pre-order packages: Heavy, Medium and Light. Players purchasing the World of Tanks pre-order package till April 12, will gain access to gold available for a limited-time special price and one of the unique tanks. These exclusive tanks are one-of-a-kind vehicles, each of them possessing unique powers that will allow their owners to benefit from the very first battles.

Pre-Orders are available for American and European clusters and feature the following benefits:

· Heavy Package: 25,000 gold and the unique American tank M6A2E1 just for $90 (American), €75 and £63 (European)

· Medium Package: 18,700 gold and the unique German tank Pz. Kpfw. V/IV just for $67 (American), €56 and £47 (European)

· Light Package: 12,500 gold and the unique Soviet tank A-32 just for $45 (American), €38 and £32 (European)

Pre-order gold is on average 10% off the release price

Here is the chart that is on the North American Pre-order page, which reflects what is written above, but have details on the actual exclusive tanks.

Pre-Order Selection

Is extra in-game currency and a unique (and seemingly very powerful for its class) tank a better incentive than the usual pre-order incentive?  Is that better than, say, a free beginner’s mount in Rift?  It sure seems better than that Glass of Aglaral did in Lord of the Rings Online. (And yes, they changed the cool down and duration on it later.  But at launch? Yuck!) I am not sure that this offer is up to my Constitution class ship in Star Trek Online though.

Perhaps the best pre-order item ever...

Flying that ship might have been the best part of the game for me, but there was some emotional investment involved in all of that.

This offer also gives some insight into how much the in-game currency for World of Tanks is going to cost.  If the price on the chart is around 10% off of retail, it should be somewhere around a half a cent (US$) per gold, if I calculate right. (Math done in my head carries no guarantees.)

I thought, given a screen shot I was sent, that World of Tanks was going to be available in a box for sale on store shelves.  That may come yet.  But the pre-order appears to be only for those set to download the client for free.

Those interested in the pre-order can follow these links to the European and North American versions.  You do have to have a World of Tanks account and log in to be able to access the pre-order page.