What the Mists Talent System Could Have Been

What the Mists Talent System Could Have Been

Diablo 3′s skill system essentially represents what the Mists talent tree is going to be like. I remember the former Diablo skill system was overhauled completely not too long ago. But it feels like they got it right with the current one. You have a limited selection of spells that your character can use. However, you can customize your selected spells in a variety of ways to help you out with a specific purpose. That spell customization with the Runes is what I imagine the Warcraft designers wanted with the glyph system.

Look at the Wizard’s Magic Missile. Want additional multi-target DPS? Rune it up with Split. Want to use it as a charger for your Arcane Power? Grab Attunement. Same basic spell but it now has additional flexibility with it.

Think about the possibilities with WoW. Lightwell recently received a glyph that it into a smart, raid heal for players under 50%. There’s another glyph that gives it some additional charges. How about a glyph that says anyone near it who receives a heal gets an additional 25% healing on top? Or a glyph giving it unlimited charges for 5 seconds?

You can’t really pull off a large number of spell customizations with WoW though since there’s so many classes and so many spells with a huge variety of combinations. It would be cool to modify each spell to have some cool effect, I reckon most of us would be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices.

A friend of mind made a comment that he felt as if he had zero choices when it came to D3′s systems. I laughed when he elaborated further by saying it was because he didn’t know what to pick for his ability slots and it was more dependent on the bosses and area he was fighting as opposed to something that was “best” for the class.

“Dude, you just nailed it right there.”

I’m hoping Diablo 3′s skill system, now that more people are exposed to it, will help open some eyes and encourage understanding to those who were vehemently opposed to Mists talent system. Even though the earlier talent system in D3 that Mists was based on was scrapped, you can tell that the spirit of what they were trying to do is still there.

Diablo 3 — I screwed up

I already had the annual pass. Spent the first 90 minutes or so this morning trying to login but like everyone, I was thwarted by all the connection errors. I decided to pass out and play early in the morning. Game’s a ton of fun. Playing the Diablo 3 beta, I already had a solid idea of what to expect and how the game play would work out. My impressions of the gameplay itself were already favorable. I ended up being disappointed with the connection and logging in issues. On the one hand, I felt that Blizzard should have been prepared for the volume of traffic that would be impacting their servers. On the other hand, I think there’s way more people playing than even Blizzard anticipated!

Thinking back to Cataclysm, the launch of that was incredibly smooth. There weren’t many server crashes or login errors or any of that stuff. The only bottleneck was that stupid question Vashj’ir where you had to click that conch shell to breathe and everyone on the server was trying to breathe underwater.

I made a Wizard. She’s level 11 right now. Her name’s Anivia and specializes in frost attacks and abilities.

My battletag is Matticus#1773 .

Anyway, where I screwed up on is that I didn’t pre-order the collector’s edition. After checking with every Walmart, Futureshop, Best Buy, and EB Games in Vancouver, they were all sold out. Normally I’m diligent with collector’s editions. If it’s something I really want, I‘d head over there and set it aside but it wasn’t until recently that I decided I really wanted to get it. When I tried pre-ordering it, the places weren’t accepting orders anymore.

Epic disappointment and fail on my part.

Oh well.

3 Simple Things You Never Thought of While Preparing for Mists

3 Simple Things You Never Thought of While Preparing for Mists

Matt’s taking the day off today. He’s busy storming the gates of hell in Diablo 3. Today’s post is from guest writer, Aunaka of Aunaka Heals.

I’ve gone through 3 new expansion releases and I’ve dealt with each of them a little differently.

During Burning Crusade, I waved to it as I was doing school work and was unable to play till a later time.

For Wrath, I managed to buy it on opening night, but then a certain show was being opened at that time and I was working 70 hour work weeks. I managed to get to that one later than the pack as well.

Then there was Cataclysm, where I was determined to get it right. I digitally pre-ordered the game and managed to take a week off of work with no distractions with buddies to level with me. It went well, and I managed to get to 85 in about 12 hours.

Within a week and half, I was raiding (It’s a bit of a blur). As I got further in, I thought about all the things I would have done to change what I did before the release and now I’m going to share them with you, and be determined to do them myself when Mists is released.

Don’t worry about the money

It’s a new expansion, and what will I need first?

Gold, right?

Wrong.

You’re about to start a new expansion, not a new raid. You’ll have zero need for money in the beginning. That is unless you plan on buying all your profession mats off the Auction House or gear from there as well.

Good luck with that, and also I have a bridge I’d love to sell you in New York.

I heard from a lot of people before Cataclysm dropped that they needed to make as much gold before the expansion so that they would be able to pay for their repair bills and raiding mats once they actually got to raiding. This made a lot of sense to me at the time, because I wasn’t actually thinking about it.

Once the levelling experience got started, I felt a little sheepish.

In Cataclysm, I made around 6,000 gold the first time around just questing. I am more than aware that to some of you that is next to nothing, and sits in pauper status. If you add profit from selling stuff I didn’t need and the gold earned in dungeons, I started my raiding season with roughly 11,000 gold.

Perfect.

That’s not to say that having additional gold isn’t nice. It’s not going to be something I break my back to try and do again. So when Mists gets ready to drop I think I’ll just sit back and prepare for the coming of the Pandas.

Hoard your mats

This is something I wish I’d thought of before Cataclysm dropped.

Stock up on old mats.

For some reason, when a new expansion hits people irrationally run around changing their professions thinking that maybe… just maybe this is the expansion that Inscription will be useful.

So they dump their old professions, which they’ll come back to in 2 months, and start up new ones. Now these Apprentice Scribes/Engineers/Alchemist/Etc. are sitting at their computers with Wowprofessions.com up and are looking at all the materials they will need to get to the top. That’s when it hits them. Laziness.

“What do you mean I have to go pick 300 million peace bloom?”

Yeah, folks that’s right, stock up on those low level mats, pop them on the AH at the beginning of the expansion and watch the gold flood into your mailbox.

Now, I know that this is slightly contradictory to my first point, but if those people hadn’t decided to change professions then we’d still be fine with not stocking up on money. So blame them for partially negating a perfectly good point.

Personally, my Mage is about to get busy with picking herbs and mining ore. If you’re interested, I’m on the Illidan server so if you want to totally screw over my plan you should start farming that server.

No really, go farm over there.

Sleep well

I know that Blizz runs on PST, but I’m on the east coast so my headlines stick with east coast.

Hands down, the worst choice I made with the Cataclysm release was not sleeping. I woke up at 7 am on the day “before” release to go to class and thought to myself:

“Aunaka, you want to start leveling at 3am when it releases so then you should just stay awake. There is no way that’s a bad plan.”

Bad idea.

Around 12:00AM I was sleepy, but I trudged through. 1:00AM, I was vegged out in front of my computer most likely looking at CAD or LFG, halfway falling asleep. Then 2:00AM hit and I got a surge of energy.

See the plan was that my man and I would just stay awake until we were 85 then sleep, I’d made us sandwiches, I got him Mountain Dew and myself Sprite. I had fruit cut up so that we’d have healthy energy, I was Mofo prepared! The adrenaline had kicked in and we were good to go.

Fast forward to 7:00am, I’ve now been awake for 24 hours with no caffeine. I start to get very grumpy, and sluggish. Did I mention that I play on a PvP server? That is pretty evenly Horde and Ally. So I was also getting a little more than frustrated. I ended up making it to 85 by around 3-3:30PM that day and then passed out.

I didn’t touch my toon for the next 36 hours.

I was tired of playing, and generally in a grumpy mood from seeing “You can’t queue for that dungeon since you haven’t walked there and looked at the damn door.”

It was the stupidest thing EVER.

This could have all been side stepped if I had taken a nap. You know what that says to me? I wanted to stay up and do this my way so badly, that I became stupider than a 1 year old that lays his ass down for a damn nap!

My unsolicited advice to you is get home and take a nap before release time, and if you can’t then I suggest waiting till morning to start playing, or come to terms with not getting to max level in one sitting.

For the great Waddle of the Pandas, I will be taking time off of work, and sleeping during the day.

Cause I DO want to level to max in one go.

Aunaka is a level 85 Resto Druid on the US-PvP Server Bleeding Hallow. To get tips, levelling advice, add-ons, and other World of Warcraft adventures, visit her blog, and subscribe to her feed.

8 Step Checklist: Finishing Your Blog Setup

8 Step Checklist: Finishing Your Blog Setup

This is another series for the New Blogger Initiative. Find more posts by following the mmonbi hashtag or visiting the forums.

Now that you’ve come up with a name for your blog and what it’s going to be about, the next steps to getting started can be a little daunting. You’ve got your hosting plans all figured out, you have your domain name, and you’re ready to go, right? Your blog is just sitting there and waiting.

Hold on there, skipper!

Before you go pounding out posts to your heart’s content, there’s several things you’ll want to check off first before going live.

RSS Feed and email subscription

Not everyone is going to visit your blog. Maybe they’re behind firewalls at work or school. RSS allows people to subscribe using their feed reader of choice and the alternative is to get posts emailed.

  • Get Feedburner and set it up: Gives you additional flexibility and control over how your feed is displayed plus it enables email subscription to your content.
  • Show full text instead of a summary: You can configure your feed to show partial content or full content of your posts. Showing full text is strongly recommended. Let your readers absorb your content however they want. Don’t force them to navigate to your site to do so. You can change this in the Reading section under Settings in the backend.

Edit your Permalinks

By default, links to your posts will look something like this: blogname.com/?p=123

Change that to something which includes your post name. Whether or not you wish to include the date and post name is up to you. I recommend keeping it to just the post name. I have noticed that when I stumble across blog posts that are dated years ago, I unconsciously skip over them because I feel as if though the information is dated when it may still very well be relevant.

Don’t wait too long to do this. Once search engines finish doing their thing with your site and you change the structure later, it takes time to get the authority and links back the way they were before. I changed my link structure recently and had to go through 4+ years worth of posts and establish redirects.

permalinks

Comments

In your Discussion section of the settings, you get to control how strict or relaxed your comments get to be. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Uncheck user registration: Most people aren’t going to bother with the time to register just to leave you some feedback.
  • Allow link notifications from other blogs: Trackbacks are great because you can see who links to you.
  • Uncheck administrators must always approve the comment: Most of you aren’t going to get trolls within the first few months of your blog. When you inevitably do get your first troll, pat yourself on the back for reaching a milestone. This is more of a quality of life thing since I’m sure you have better things to do then checking “Approve” over and over (Things like writing posts)! However, this is a personal preference.

Important pages

Make it easy for your readers to find stuff when they hit up your blog. There are standard pages that allow them to quickly get to what they’re looking for.

About page: Your readers will want to know a little more about you and what your blog is about. For starters, include your name and what your blog is about. There’s other questions you can consider answering on your about page.

Archive page: There’s a number of archive plugins you can use to display the work that you have created. These tend to sort by date, by category, or both.

Contact page: Your readers may have questions or comments they want to send your way that are too lengthy for commenting purposes. On the contact page, consider including some web forms along with other ways they can get in touch (Twitter, instant messaging, G+, etc).

Establish backups

Hands down, backing up your information is the most important item, period. Your provider may experience that 0.01% chance where their systems get wiped or suffer from a viral attack. Maybe you decide you want to change servers and hosting providers. Whatever the reason, you’ll want that peace of mind knowing your thoughts, opinions, and experiences remain backed up somewhere.

  • WP-DB Backup: The WordPress backup plugin only saves your database. You can configure it to save the file to your web server. You can download it. You can email it directly to yourself. Most importantly, you can schedule backup processes regularly. Most people starting out can get by with monthly backups, but depending on how often you write, consider upping the frequency to weekly (or even daily).

backup

Visual Looks

While the default WordPress themes are okay, chances are you’re going to want to customize your look to something that’s tailored to you. Most themes allow you to change the header. There’s some great places to look up free WordPress themes from.

I know about decision paralysis, so I helped you out by picking out my four favourites.

Delicate (Demo | Download) – Minimalist theme

delicate

Spectacular (Demo | Download) – Advanced, comes with a featured post, lets you layout your posts on a front page

spectacular

Nublu (Demo | Download) – Comes with a slider, ad blocks on the side, and a clean looking front page. Magazine style blog.

nublu

Sight (Demo | Download) – For the power blogger. Nice, giant slider. Condensed entries which expand to full length posts. Social media panels on the right side.

sight

Analytics

You use DPS meters and logs to track the progression of your own performance. Google Analytics is the same idea. Use it to track the progression of your blog to keep an eye on your visitors and how they’re getting to you. Set up your Google Analytics account first. After that, you’ll be given a code to add to your site. If you don’t feel like adding it to your themes manually, there’s a few plugins that can do it for you.

Start writing

The first thing I do when starting a new blog is pre-writing anywhere between 5-10 posts. Why? First, it’s a personal commitment to myself that I will get started and have content up there ready for day one. Second, new readers can look around and see posts other than an introduction post and they’ll be more likely to stick around or subscribe. Third, it’s a test for yourself to determine the viability of your blog. If you can’t come up with 10 post ideas right off the bat, then maybe that blog topic isn’t suitable for you.

Need some post ideas?

  • Introduction post about your blog and yourself
  • 10 Tips for the new ________
  • How to ________
  • Favourite ________ experience of all time
  • Reasons why you should play ________

I can do this all day. If you’re ever stuck on an idea or are afraid that it’s already been done and no one’s going to read yours, come see me and let me help.

One more thing.

I know how daunting it can be to start your own blog. There are thousands of questions, problems, fears, and so on that must be racing through your mind. To that end, I will answer whatever questions you may have and help allay any fears that you possess. We can do it over Skype, Mumble, Vent, or something (if not, there’s always email).

Now if you’ve just started blogging, go ahead and leave me a comment or a tweet with your URL. I’m always on the hunt for new blogs.

Black Markets in Pandaria!

Black Markets in Pandaria!

Just saw news of this. There’s a Black Market in the game.

They sell really expensive, random stuff. Apparently the Black Market has stuff like:

  • Tier 3 gear
  • Mounts like Ashes of Alar
  • Pets
  • Really rare, hard to find crafting recipes

In other Priest changes:

I will now use Glyph of Lightspring instead. Nice addition! No more having to forcibly remind people to click the damn Lightwell!

Glyph of Val’kyr is now going to be on my number one list of minor glyphs to add to my Priest. I am pleased!

Et toi? (And you?)

MMO Declines, Being a Brewmaster, and Joining a New Guild

This week, the guild scored two progression kills between heroic Zon’ozz and Warlord Blackthorn. Otherwise, not many other events are going on at the moment. Still hard at work laying down the foundations for the guild league. It’s 1:20 in the morning as I write this and I am in the mood for some serious pho.

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MMO Decline Caused by Moves to Smaller Guilds

Theories about the decline of MMOs? Even though the past investors call from Activision Blizzard showed no significant decline in active subscriptions, there’s no doubt that people are quitting the game. Rohan surmises that it might be a result of shifts in guild sizes from large scale guilds to smaller sized ones.

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Guide to Being a Brewmaster

Sunnier has been hard at work in the beta creating a guide for Monk tanks! The guide covers basic stuff like your abilities and glyphs to the more advanced stuff like stat allocation and rotations. Give it a read if you’re thinking about tanking.

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Top 5 Things to do When Joining a New Guild

Lynesta is our newest Holy Paladin. It seems she’s brushed off the dust that had been collecting on her blog. Here, she adds a fresh perspective on different things you should do after being accepted into a new guild.

By the way, if you’re a League of Legends player looking to get started with the game or just a veteran looking to hone their skills, check out my LoL blog over at League of Matticus. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Osu! Blackthorn’d it

Osu! Blackthorn’d it

Well now.

It only took us 8 shots and a little under 90 minutes, but we scored the gunship. Went through phase 1 seven times and saw phase 2 once – The same time we killed it. Ultimately, it cost us 2 tanks at 2%, but we had enough players alive to tip him over. Phase 2 wasn’t as bad as I’d heard from others.

Phase one was just a matter of keeping the players alive as much as possible while dodging Blade Rush (them pesky charges)! We ran four different groups assigned to different areas of the deck to try to contain explosions. Strict cooldown management was used to get us through Onslaughts and Phase 2 Roars.

Monday presents Spine of Deathwing!

Everyone says I should be trembling. That bad, eh?

It’s Osu

On a completely different note, I want to introduce you guys to a game that’ll help you develop your reflexes and your mouse agility. Great for League of Legends and Starcraft 2 players.

if you’re familiar with Elite Beat Agents, then you’ll have an idea of what Osu! is about. It’s a rhythm game where you must time the location and speed of your clicks according to the rhythm of the song.

Watch me play along to Usher.

It’s like DDR for my hands!

4 Strategies Later, HM Zon’ozz Down

4 Strategies Later, HM Zon’ozz Down

Progression stonewaller Zon’ozz has been taken down at least. Feels like the Sindragosa of this tier.

We tried using individual soakers with no luck.

Having one large group standing on Zon’ozz’s butt didn’t work.

We tried splitting into a ranged and melee group and actively removed debuffs. Nope, no dice.

Then we just rolled down our sleeves and brute force healed phase 1 without worrying about running out or dispelling. Amazingly, that did the trick.

Conquest’s next efforts will be focused on heroic Blackthorn on the gunship. We’ll be taking shots on it tonight and raid boss Logan has the strategies all laid out. Fun part’s going to be ensuring all the players have gone through it.

Any individual tips or pointers are appreciated (if you have any). We do have a few approaches in mind but we’ll be making our first shots today.

Phase 2 healing

When the raid splits into four different groups to handle the tentacles, there tends to be one healer assigned to each group to keep them all alive. DPS players have to do their part in shutting down and interrupting tentacles as best as they can. Your job as a healer is to keep them alive long enough to do it.

As a Holy Priest, I switched from Chakra: Sanctuary to Chakra: Serenity. I valued the instant, single target healing over the raid healing benefits. It felt as if some players were taking more damage than others. With everyone in the raid taking constant damage, I lit off Binding Heals targeting two different players and activating Serendipity for a hasted Prayer of Healing on the group. If one players got too low, I leaned heavily on Serenity to give me the buffer I needed to propel their health back up to manageable levels.

Ran out of steam

After we got Zon’ozz down, I felt this incredible burden just lift off my shoulders. I’m sure everyone in the raid felt the same thing. At this stage, I had to tag out and attend to some personal business. I felt the next few bosses were on farm and that there shouldnt’ve been much difficulty in getting by.

Nope, I was wrong. The crew had a hard time getting by Hagara.

Looked like the raid that night hit it’s peak against Zon’ozz and most of the players just ran out of energy.

I remember reading a study once where the idea of patience and willpower is finite. There were two groups of participants in a room that had chocolate cookies and other type of desserts. Some participants were allowed to snag some cookies. The people who were in the willpower test group were asked to eat radishes instead. After that, both groups were given a skill testing puzzle.

The catch? The puzzle couldn’t be solved. Those in the radish group gave up much quicker and easier than those in the chocolate cookies group.

I wonder if there’s a relationship.

Introducing the Conquest Gaming League (Pet battles!)

Introducing the Conquest Gaming League (Pet battles!)

With pet battles on the horizon, it’s only fair to create a competitive environment where the best pet breeders and trainers can go to test their skills. I wanted to create something for the guild to participate in and have fun with. One thing I’ve always wanted to do was set up my own online league. It would be complete with full pre-season, regular season, and playoffs.

You can check out the league site here. It’s not completely finished or operational yet. If you mouse over some of the links, you can see what the layouts and such will look like when it’s in full swing.

The vision

Nothing’s set in stone yet, but here’s what I have going in with. Each season begins with 2 weeks of preseason followed by 8 weeks of regular season. At the mid season mark, move ups may be considered. Playoffs will begin shortly after regular season play concludes. The top 8 players with the most points at the end of the season will advance to playoffs. Each week will consist of two matches on different days against different opponents for a total of 16 matches for the regular season.

Each match will be a pet battles duel consisting of a best of 3 series between two opponents. Each playoff match will be a duel consisting of a best of 5.

Currently, there are no level or pet restrictions. That may change though as we move closer to release. You can switch pets as needed in between individual matches.

The league may consist of multiple tiers depending on how much player interest there is (Like an Open and Invite division, for instance). Already, there’s a number of questions going on through my head about to handle things like disconnects and such.  I hope Blizzard includes a way to track match records against players.

Other games?

The guild has a massive interest in both Starcraft 2 and League of Legends. Right now, I’ve got divisions open for those but they’re going to be for the guild and guild friends only for now. I’m hoping to do a full test run of the system by starting with a month long SC2 1v1 league season. Want to make sure I have a handle on everything okay both from the administrative and front ends. Ultimately, players will be able to report their own matches, upload screenshots/replay files for results, and so forth.

(I’ll have to find me some Starcraft 2 guinea pigs though to help supplement the players).

Will it work cross server and faction?

It should.

Pets are eventually going to be account bound. Theoretically, I could create a level 1 character on any server and any faction to duel the host player.

Prizes?

Probably not right away. The league’s going to start off in a closed environment first available to guildies and friends. After that, once things stabilize, I may open up registration.

Although, I did toy with the idea of playing for the Conquest Cup. … Which would be a jock strap, heh.

Anyway, still more work to do. I’m hoping everything all comes together and works out.

So, interested?

Spirit Shell Change: Burst Bubble Spam!

Spirit Shell Change: Burst Bubble Spam!

Spirit Shell: For the next 15 sec, your Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing no longer heal but instead create absorption shields that last 15 sec.

Cool! Not less than half a day since I posted that we were expecting Spirit Shell changes, they went and changed up the design of it entirely. In terms of absorb values, my guess is that they’re going to be a 1:1 value. So if you heal for 10000, you’ll be creating shields for 10000.

Instead of a spell that directly creates a shield, they’ve given us an ability that turns most of our healing spells into shield spells. Interesting design change. Can’t wait to try it in action. At least we now have a clear toggle between the times when we need to restore health and the times to create shields. Nifty ability though because even if the raid is at near full health, Disc priests can easily toggle Spirit Shell on and blanket the raid with shields and add that extra health buffer to everyone.

I suppose this is one way to shield spam the raid!

And as promised, Rapture removes the cooldown on Power Word: Shield.