Mar 312013

Honey, I’m home! Excuse me while I shake the sand out of, well, everything.

As I alluded to previously, I’ve been quiet for a while because I’ve been in Kuwait for the past two weeks, planning for my unit’s next deployment. As a mechanism to get myself started up again, I’ll be flipping through the last few pages of news posts on MMO-Champion and commenting whenever appropriate (or when not…wherever I feel, really! Hell, it’s good to be home.) I’ll also have a catch-up post for feral topics once I can wade through two weeks of forum posts, and I’ll start updating the various guides  for 5.2.

New Hearthstone CCG. I started out with Magic:TG as a kid, though my finely tuned economic sense kicked in after the first couple booster packs I bought. I’ve played a lot of Magic and other CCG-type games online though; it’s definitely one of my favorite genres. Very happy to see Hearthstone, though I’m sure the people at Cryptozoic (WoW TCG) aren’t. Yes, they can talk until they’re blue in the face about it being different…but let’s be real, the market for “hey, I want to play a WoW-themed card game” isn’t very big. I would’ve thought they would have diversified it among all the Blizzard properties, but maybe that’s a future expansion. “My Kerrigan deck can beat your Thrall…wait, you switched to Tyrael? Crap.”

I’m pleasantly surprised in the initial details for deck construction. If they stick to the “max 2 of same card per deck, only 1 legendary” model, that means building a competitive deck should be reasonably fast; most of the progression will be horizontal (enabling new deck builds) than vertical (optimizing for a specific build). Of course, since the only source of cards is RNG, that means a LOT of grinding (or cash money) to fully optimize a build, but I suspect the difference between non-optimized and optimized builds (aka no/wrong rares/epics/legendaries) will be pretty slight. I’m assuming the disenchant/craft feature will not yield epics/legendaries, but we’ll see. I may also be misunderstanding the rarity system somewhat, as I’m also seeing references to “golden” cards, which I don’t quite get yet.

Crap. I just realized I’m probably going to have to start a Hearthstone blog. Can a man get some free time, please? Eighth day of the week, solely for recreational purposes, call it Funday? That Steam queue isn’t getting any shorter.

PvP gear changes in 5.3. I freely admit I’ve detested WoW PvP for a long time. My first experience with it was grinding AV for an S2 staff for my lock to raid Karazhan; my second experience was futilely trying to land Shreds while playing from an Oceanic realm with high pings.I kept meaning to give it another go, never did, but this might push me over the top. I think these changes finally nail the “how to we let people in PvE gear have a fun PvP experience while still providing PvP progression for those who play often” problem, but as I’m a definite neophyte in this area, I’ll just leave it at that (Neophyte: The nice way to say noob.)

Item Upgrades returning in 5.3, much cheaper than before. From a statistical perspective, this and Thunderforged items make things quite a bit more difficult, as the definition of “BiS” keeps stretching. From a game perspective, though, this is great in that it drastically pushes out the cap at where you can no longer keep increasing your character’s power, which keeps people playing. Of course, the alternative view (I can’t stand VP grinding, if I’m Heroic raiding or bought all my VP pieces anyway, this just addis extra busywork) is also reasonable. Personally, I take a middle ground. I do the content I enjoy (scenarios, dailies 1-2 times a week, a few 5-mans, current-tier LFR) and if I don’t cap VP…*shrug*. There’s always next week. Note, though, that it took me a long time to get to that point and past the “I have to cap VP every week or I’m letting my raid down” mindset (which is a topic for another post).

Bonus roll time increased to 3 minutes. About freaking time. I know, I know, I should have AtlasLoot or something up ahead of time so I can predetermine whether to spend a MoguCoin(TM), but..yeah. “Hmm, boss killed, use a coin? Let’s check the Dungeon Journal…ugh UI taint bug that won’t let me click on individual bosses..uhhh….tickticktick…mightaswell. C’mon, Daddy needs a new….3rd Arrow-Breaking Windcloak. Yeah, that’s great. Just what I always wanted.”

LFR drop rates increase quantified. (This is based on the MMO-C data that shows Satchel drop rate for 5.0 raids as 68% and 5.2 as 81%, hence gear drop rates of 32% (up from 16%) for 5.0 and 19% for 5.2.) Of course, less time fighting the RNG boss is a good thing all around. However, this doesn’t help the problem I’ve mentioned before; if you’re going for a specific item, then your rate for each boss gets divided by the number of items dropped for that boss. This was a big problem for those looking to get Gao-Rei back in 5.0 (16% drop chance * 33% item chance = ~5% droprate), and Rune of Reorigination will be the same for 5.2.

 Posted by at 5:15 am

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