The RNG Sting Again

Okay, it’s Monday Night. The night before Reset.

I have done all the bosses on normal, three bosses on heroic, all possible bosses on the LFR and I did the four mythic weekly.

I wonder if I’ll get my Unholy Chaos Bane helm in the Vault?

Wish me luck!

The RNG Sting

Broadly, I don’t mind the random nature of loot drops. In my mind it is like an ice cube tray, they all get filled eventually and if one doesn’t, well, that’s okay because all of the others did. The random loot drop system has worked fine for me for quite awhile.

Until you need one specific piece.

This is different than hoping for the final piece to collect your set (or maybe not, really). I guess it is exactly like waiting for that final piece. Once you do finally get it, you forget about the hassle pretty quickly.

In my case and for very many, it is about the raiding helm. This is the key to unlocking the Unholy Buff called Chaos Bane. And, I’ll do most anything to get it.

Last week we went 9/10 on Normal so this week I had two solid chances via the Great Vault to get my helm from Remnant in Wing Two and Fatescribe in Wing Three. No luck so I ran the LFR. No luck again and I ran my typical run of Normal with my raid team. No luck at all.

I’m not sure how the Armory counts kills, it has ten kills of Remnant on Normal for me. I might have run with another raid team having already killed that boss with now no hope of loot but it might counted as a kill. But ten is ten with no helm!

I am running with the Frost set. I tried the Blood set and it does zero for healers (tanks love this set). The Frost set is kind of strange but it doesn’t help my healing much either. Unholy is the grail for healers right now as I see it. I have three of the shards upgraded to level three, waiting to go!

Like I said, RNG is fine for me but when wanting that specific piece: it is disappointing. Until I get it and then I’ll forget about it!

Torghast: Choose Your Fun

Dipping into the forums (wash your hands after), I see a lot of players calling it Choreghast and really hating that part of the game. This is because one earns the materials to upgrade your legendary in Torghast. If you can remember back to Junior High, when you had to read a book and do a report it was a total drag, no fun; when normally you’d enjoy reading a book and talking about it. Simple human nature. If you can get past your own human nature, recognize it, then you might go have some fun in there.

The new scoring system can trip you up and it is offset by the new talent tree.

You get scoring points for clearing and escorting and opening chests and breaking urns. There is a time element but that is folded into all of the other scoring and it’s not a major factor, just one thing among many. You get points for what you do during Empowered (kill mobs, break urns) and the talent tree can extend that empowered time by 50%, which is a lot of time.

The choice (in choose your fun) is your decision when you start.

If your fun is getting five stars, a flawless run, and a chance at the upper floors; then you will skip some of the fun by not picking an epic anima cell or saving your phantasma so that you have 500 at the end of the run to add to your scoring points with a goal of 200 points. And, if you go that route, you’ll probably have a ton of phantasma to spend on a cosmetic piece from that upper floor broker.

The other choice is not caring at all about the flawless stuff. Then you can enjoy getting your epics and spending your phantasma on goodies and buffs and cells. Being overly powerful is part of the fun of Torghast. And, I can say from experience, sometimes you get a surprise flawless which is kind of fun too.

I think that people resent the time factor and the pressure to perform for flawless and the idea of returning again and again for more Cinders to upgrade the legendary. But, you can ignore all of the pressure things and simply enjoy a run. It feels to me like the old gaming days, say playing Diablo I. One would start on the bottom floor, weak and nervous, but by the time you face the Big Bad, Mr. Diablo himself, you are powerful and ready to go for the kill.

Torghast, as in all games, the designers want you to win. It is designed for you to win and have fun with your own character.

The Three Shard Bonus Set

As you know, there are three types of shards; unholy, frost and blood. Each shard has some little bonus like leech or movement. These shards drop from the raid. There are gear pieces associated with the types, the helm piece is for the unholy set – you’d use this helm and three unholy shards and get the bonus, Chaos Bane.

I tried the Blood set in the raid last night. The bonus is called Blood Link. I was on my healer and I asked my raid leader to run logs so that I could go over the stats. The shards were all at their lowest level, none have been upgraded.

According to the logs, the Blood Link sucks!

Tomorrow, at Reset, the Blood Link bonus should get buffed by 20% and the Frost gets buffed by 45%, as I recall. I might be wrong. Why Blizzard released this system from the PTR is beyond me, it clearly wasn’t ready for play and players have already invested in upgrading their shards!

My guess is that most players will still go with the Chaos Bane (unholy) set because it stacks up your main stat like intellect but we will have to wait for all the theory-crafting guys at Wowhead to see the changes and do all the simming and then write about it.

However…

The main reason I wanted to report today is that while wearing my Blood Link set in Korthia, it offered my second highest dps number and my first highest healing number — probably because we don’t heal ourselves much at all. So, even at it’s lowest and unbuffed state Blood Link is very worth having while doing your chores in Korthia.

Also, I wore this set into Torghast to see if I could “feel” any difference. It didn’t make any difference really. It felt the same as always in that place.

Personally, I don’t have the helm for the unholy set yet. Nor do I have a third unholy shard. But, at reset I will have two choices in the Great Vault, it is timewalking week (I probably won’t do it) and I’ll run the second wing of the LFR hoping for that helm and shard. And then, I’ll keep looking when we raid normal too.

My advice is that as soon as you can make a set, use it. But don’t upgrade the shards until you know exactly which set you want to live with for a few months. My guess is Chaos Bane, the unholy set.

Happy Hunting!

Blizzard’s Lawsuit and Me

I guess it is really Activision, if you are going to sue, you don’t sue the janitor, you sue the guys at the top. I’ve read the lawsuit and I mucked about in the forums for a bit yesterday. I read some thoughtful blog posts too.

Of course, I’ll keep playing the World of Warcraft.

The company had, I guess, a very weak HR. I mean, were people really drinking at work? If so, no wonder it got so bad! But, they are very publicly busted and they will clean up the place. As I read it, it is two things: sexual harassment and non-equal pay with unfair promotions. The two things are not easy to clean up and it will be hard but it will be the right thing to do and all will feel much better for it.

Personally, I’m not the type to get up in arms about much of anything. I am assuming that those with the torches and pitchforks demanding things in outrage don’t wear shoes made in China. It is too hard, for me, to keep track of the many things that cross my path. Child labor in China is pretty bad and no one can bust them with a lawsuit. This isn’t to say that I don’t have lines, I can’t watch Kevin Spacey movies anymore.

So, we know that Blizzard will clean up it’s act. Reading the lawsuit, there are a ton of questions that came up in my mind. I’ll be curious if we ever get to find out the details, I don’t think that everyone working at Blizzard is a bad person. But, when you have a bunch of all-men in leadership I can see how it can get pretty bad, just look at our Senate and Congress.

I even have a bad analogy for you. When you buy a steak at the grocery, you are all happy because it looks great and you will eat a yummy dinner. But if you ever saw a slaughterhouse or a meat-packing plant, that glimpse behind the scenes might give you pause for awhile. But, if you like your steak, you’ll get over it. Pretty bad analogy, right?

Peace.

WoW: A Brand New Raid

I’m feeling typical. Last week our raid team downed five bosses over two days on Normal. We did the five bosses again on the first night and will be working into real progression now with learning the fights and the mechanics. I see that in the big mythic race to world first that they are stuck on the sixth boss, just like we are!

Loot drops continue to be elusive and now with the special sockets and the need to have a specific piece to make the bonus work; it is, as ever, discouraging. My “ideal” is three pieces of unholy shards to get the Chaos Bane buff, which is supposed to be powerful but all of that hinges on me getting the piece of raid gear that offers the unholy bonus.

The problem with the “rare drop mechanic” to build our systems, as I see it, is that it takes so long that when you finally get it; you won’t care. I feel the same way with the legendary upgrades; the cost is so very high in gold and materials that when/if you ever get there there is no excitement, just resignation that you had to do it.

Part of my problem is that I don’t really understand how it works. Does that higher piece of legendary gear make the legendary stronger? I doubt it but maybe it does. Or maybe the higher piece with it’s stats will simply up our power and when that is the case, the price we are playing in gold and materials is way too high. The question is if that legendary is really a difference maker or a mere 3% boost to your overall actions.

Like most everyone, I had to do a very expensive (in gold) shuffle to change my legendary piece from boots to pants because leather boots can have a domination socket. It burns! And I made some stupid, unlearned choices on gloves and with all my changes and mistakes I think I went through a lot gold. Like I said, it burns. While there is no cool gold sink mount in this expansion, the gold sink is in the legendary gear; something you won’t keep beyond this expansion. Yet you burn through your cash.

On the other hand, the need to run Torghast to get the needed materials for the legendary seems, to me, almost secondary to the fun of running Torghast. We are building our talent tree by hitting max “tower knowledge” every week and enjoying the buffs and the perks offered. Yesterday I made it up to the special floor and saw the looks and monsters, I earned a toy (that eats other toys like that darn train set) and bought a cosmetic back piece that is animated and cool. So far I have bought the Experimental Anima Cell toy and two or three cosmetic pieces and the toy eater was a drop.

On my big run to the top new floor, I had equipped the Night Fae Convoke legendary which has a one minute cooldown. After gaining three “reduce by 20 seconds” anima cells, Convoke had no cooldown! I just spammed my over-powered button again and again. Totally fun.

And, I think my experience is typical for most players. Working through the new raid, I have yet to see the new mega-dungeon, slow gear gains, worrying over the new socket system and playing everyday.

So far, so good!

The Week We Fly

What was so unexpected to me is that the flying quest chain had nothing to do with flying and was a very cool campaign quest full of surprises and fun. I almost balked at carrying the Sigil, don’t give me that responsibility! But I am the Mawalker, it is my job.

The solution is pretty good and it’s been a worry to the designers and players. Having players fly up and over mobs to get to the goodies is not good design even as we relish the ability. Flying has you miss the scenery and the little bits and whimsy tucked into the corners. So, this time, we get a new zone and the solution is to let us fly in the older areas that are done. We do get some great satisfaction of soaring right over those pesky mobs that have been hassling us as we try to get the big World Quests. And we explore Korthia on the ground, looking for water; any water at all.

Torghast. Well, it is what it is. If you are doing it, my suggestion is to only put one point in each talent and open the row below you and repeat to fill out the tree; then go back and max the talents that you really like first. I didn’t do it and I’m paying a (small) price in waiting for the next week to earn enough Tower Knowledge.

I’ve earned four stars on layer nine, so layer ten is open but the ilevel is pretty high and my talent tree is pretty low so I’m sticking to nine. However, I needed only 34 Tower Knowledge to cap this week and ran a humble layer seven and got the five star achievement!

I do not know the mechanics of how it works, but if I can get decent Tower Knowledge from layer sevens; I think I might be running those easier and less stressful ones to farm the stuff for the talent tree. Like, how much less do you earn on seven versus nine? I don’t know that yet. Though I do think that you must earn more for more stars, so seven could be more profitable with five stars instead of nine with three stars. Ugh, this kind of thinking is too much.

The raid is open. We got three bosses down and a few shots at the fourth. The team was excited and yelling on Discord and laughing (can I say full of joy?). New content is super welcome, believe you me.

See you in Azeroth … or Shadowlands!

Experimental Anima Cell Toy

May Elune bless the designers at Blizzard. One great toy has come out of Torghast for the cost of some Phanastma and it is well worth it.

  1. One hour cool-down
  2. Can be used by all of your level 60s.
  3. Can be used in a Raid!
  4. It acts and looks like a cell for Torghast with two choices.
  5. It is so very tempting when dropped in any place with high traffic, very popular.

The choices are fun:

  1. Reveal Your Inner Child will make you a small child of your race and gender.
  2. Open a Portal to Someplace will send you somewhere in Azeroth, I’ve been sent to the Twilight Highlands for example.
  3. Get Really Big (I forget the actual name) and you get super big but you can not move, but you can dance.
  4. Party Dress Up, whether you are male or female it doesn’t matter, you may find yourself in a wedding dress or a nice suit.

This is a really great toy, at least for now. Everyone who walks by seems to be curious and most will try something. Except for the travel one, the rest are all 10 minute buffs that you can click off if you want to get going as a normal.

The New Torghast

All things old are made new again. Torghast has some added bells and whistles, it is harder but I think that the designers would want to say challenging. Layer nine is no joke and ten, eleven and twelve are higher that my ilevel so I think that I’ll be in nine for weeks to come.

There is a new point system. There are up to five stars or jewels that you can show for a run; so far I have earned a two, three and four. They even offer a break down after the run of where and how you earned your points which then earn you a currency that you put into a talent tree to make your future runs easier.

My first impression is that while there are all of these new added elements, Blizzard isn’t asking us to take to too seriously. Can’t down the final boss? Well, go try again, he’ll have less health from your first try. Again, my first impression is that it would be really hard to fail so bad that you feel bad about yourself (unless maybe your tried to play way over your gear score and you should accept that kind of failure with grace).

The talent tree is nice. You can earn blessings or auto-loot or fewer torments which you will always have in the future. The key, bait and lure and carrot is that you’ll want to earn your weekly currency to advance that talent tree and, someday, walk like a goddess through the game.

They dropped a floor and with one less floor to clear, it is much faster to get through. Doing the second one right after the first is not a big thing like it was before when you needed a sure break for your back and eyes. But, again I feel like I have to remind all, layer nine is no joke; even the mawrats take some time to kill.

For me, I think that the funnest flavors (sorry) will be the blessings. One blessing was that once a mob was down to 40%, there is a 40% chance of the mob dying right then. Another was fun, you can kill the broker after spending your phantasma and loot the broker for even more goodies.

Blizzard spent some good time on the redesign. I liked Torghast before and I think that I’ll like it even more as I fill my talent tree and get stronger and faster (and earn some achievements, of course).

New Patch: Day Two

Well, this game sure is a bag and time filler. A few days ago, a friend asked me:

Mi Amigo: What is the very first thing you are going to do when the patch drops?

Me: Update my addons.

Mi Amigo: Boooooooo

As it was, I had logged out prior right by the pet vendor to get my 10,000 polished pet charms pet! First things first, right? And, the rest ran smoothly; no hiccups, no DCs, clean cut scenes – the play went well.

I won’t go into too much but my big goal was to reach Renown 42 and get a new conduit slot by tonight’s raid on H. Sire. Maybe that will make the difference. So, I pushed on rares in the Maw, all the while mentally composing snarky suggestions to the designers. But, I got it!

And now, I think, a few alts to follow and then settle into the routine.

I did do two torghast runs at level 9. You can buy a toy from the broker called Experimental Anima Cell which is really really a great toy, really. You can use it anywhere and those around you can use it. It is an Anima Cell with choices like Dressing Up (I got Gilnean), or a portal to somewhere in Azeroth (beware!) or grow super big but you can’t move (but you can /dance!).

I am so very glad that this patch has arrived and that there is stuff to do!