Monday, September 27, 2010

Portals Gone! is reporting tonight that in the beta, the portals in Dalaran and Shattrath have been removed and replaced by class trainers. While it will be nice to have a trainer readily available, this puts the focus back on the old world and may encourage you to actually set your hearthstone somewhere outside of Dalaran. While the portal system is much more convenient, I think I like this change as it will force new players to gain flightpaths instead of get a portal to Dalaran and have the world as their oyster. Plus it makes warlock summoning and mage portals relevant again outside of holidays.

Make no mistake about it, there will be plenty of gnashing of teeth over this change. But it is for the better, if you want the world to feel more like a world and not just a portal jump. I'm not asking for Eve-sized travel here, just more realistic travel. And yes, there will still be some portals to the blasted lands for Outland and to caverns of time from dalaran, which will enable crafty players to learn new portal jumping tricks of the trade.

Ariel has hit 75 this week and continues to grind some battlegrounds and some instances for the xp. It is fun to heal your way through the levels, although it can be a bit repetitive at certain levels. I forgot that Coren is level 78 and up only, which sucks when you are level 75 and have all the other brewfest achievements done! Ahh well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Great Emblem and Badge Trade-Up

The huge announcement last week from Blizzard regarding cataclysm was that the currency tab will be cleaned up significantly in Patch 4.0. All of your badges from TBC and emblems from WOTLK, as wel as Stone Keepers Shards and battleground marks will be converted over to the new points system. Basically Emblems of Triumph and Frost will be converted at respcective ratios to the lower level of dungeon points, while all the PvP currency will be converted to the lower level of PvP gear points. Everything lower level will be converted to some amount of gold. While the payoff may not be significant in the long run, the change will finally remove all those confusing levels of emblems and useless badges and so on.

This move fits in with cataclysm's overall reboot theme where things are simplified and streamlined. We already knew that all points in the "lower tier" would already just be marked up to the new lower tier whenever a new raid instance or PvP patch comes out. No longer will you be forced to trade down points or emblems or badges from level to level just to make them useful. For instance, if you have all the triumph gear you can buy, then you have to trade down every emblem 3 times to get to heroism emblems, which can buy heirlooms and epic gems. That will no longer be the case, and thank goodness.

Two things interest me in this scenario. First, will the mounts from WOTLK that were buyable with emblems stay in the game at an oldschool vendor who sells things that now get converted to a point value? The 200 emblem mammoth is not worth the effort to some, but perhaps there will still be an opportunity to buy it later when you have used up all your point purchases and have extra left over.

Second, is it worth it to stock up on your emblems now to buy some heroic-level gear to start cataclysm off with (once you hit level 85)? I wonder if the point conversion rate will be so minimal that even the biggest stockpilers can only get 2-3 pieces of gear at the end of the day. While this means very little market value for people like me that are not bothering to start stockpiling emblems, I kind of hope this is the case. I do not think you should be able to sandbag resources such as emblems and frozen orbs and get unexpected benefits in a later expansion. Frozen Orb vendor was a nice change because it was within the same expansion. I doubt that I feel the same way about grinding your way to cataclysm gear now in WOTLK.

My apologies for not updating more regularly, but it is football season and you know I'm over on Southern College Sports doing my best. So I'm enjoying the doldrums and waitign eagerly for Cataclysm, just like you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Doldrums and Rampant Speculation

Well these are officially the summer doldrums of WoW. While there are still a ton of people around during weekend hours, you can tell we're in the end of an expansion with very little pugging overall and not much excitement. However, that may change as we have Harvest Festival coming up this week followed immediately by Brewfest. Not much longer and we'll be back into Hallow's End. Furthermore, the 4.0 events have begun with Operation Gnomeregan and the Saving Echo Isles world events beginning. I have not had a chance to do the Horde event but I will soon and then I will report back some thoughts. The short of it is...I hope this is not it. I want to have this story be entertaining and updated every 2-3 weeks leading up to release date.

Guild rosters have also been taking a hit, including my Alliance side guild. My real life work finally slowed down a bit but my hobbies ramp up a bit in the fall thanks to sportswriting ( and if you happen to be interested). This weekend for instance I spent all day Saturday driving to and from and in South Bend for the Michigan-ND game. Then Sunday the family was out so I got a chance to play WoW for a few hours. It was a great little reload and I'm close to getting Old World Raider. The druid is at 74, the paladin at 45, and the shaman hit 30 yesterday. I'd like to say they would all still get into Northrend with the druid at 80 by cata launch, but it's likely not going to happen. Ahh well, seeing the old world revamped is not such a bad thing for players like me.

Speaking of Cataclysm release dates, the buzz in the community is huge now that the Gnomeregan and Echo Isles events went up with 4.0 on the public test realms. Everyone is speculating on whether these events mean we are a month away or a few months away. Blizzard certainly appears to be on track for the 2010 release they promised, and I can't help but imagine they will have the game out prior to Black Friday. In fact, their usual second or third week of November release seems to work well and that's when I think you will see the game. Should be some exciting times even if it comes out closer to Christmas, but I'd hate to see the families dealing with missing folks on that week!

Where's Jimmy?

Oh don't bother him, Cataclysm came out. :-)

But doesn't he want his Christmas gifts??

He said Santa ended the world and he's in heaven.

And so on. In other gaming news, our Pathfinder group finally made it into the crypt, which is really more of a tower, which is really more of a big number puzzle. I like number puzzles, but I believe the GM being a mathematician will have me outclassed on this one. Time to start begging for hints next month! It's so interesting playing an RPG after being only RP'ing in WoW for so long. And very little at that. It's too bad the game does not connote more of that feeling, but there's nothing like sitting at a table, even if it is a digital table, with a group of people and hammering out battles with imagination.

So that's what is going on in the game. AIE is growing as usual and I have to commend the guys on The Instance and the AIE Podcast, both of which have put out fantastic content during the doldrums. If you are not listening, you really should check them out. Every other WoW podcast I've ever heard pales in comparison to Scott and Randy, but maybe there are some recommendations of things I have not heard out there yet. You can never have too many podcasts!

Cataclysm - November 16, 2010.