Weekly Roundup: Happy Birthday Diablo!

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Diablo 3 came out two years ago! Two years! That’s time gone by so quickly it’s unbelievable. To celebrate, Blizzard have increased legendary drop rate by 100% and will earn double rift fragments on their bounties from 15th-22nd May. Take a wild guess as to where the majority of my gaming time has been this week… If you guessed it was Hello Kitty: Island Adventure I’ll have to disappoint.

I’ve actually spent a lot less time than I’ve wanted the past few days starting the anniversary holiday in Diablo, but I’d still say a sizable chunk of my online time has been on there. I’ve managed to get new boots, new shoulders and my first Tal Rasha’s piece on my Wizard so far. I’m also certainly enjoying the increased drop rate of the worse legendaries just to get more Forgotten Souls to get better reforges and whatnot.

With news of patch 5.4.8 on the horizon, and gear upgrades going up another 8 item levels for SoO gear, we decided on halting progression on Blackfuse for the time being, to get some more gear improvements through either gearing alts/bench players, getting Warforged gear or generally getting upgrades through other means (still no Immerseus trinket though, QQ). When the patch drops, we can upgrade 8 items in the first week if they’re already 2/2 upgrades to 4/4, so hopefully on next Sunday’s raid we can get a bigger dent into Blackfuse by being able to take care of the belt or mines or whatever just that little bit easier. Sure, we’re struggling on mechanics, but getting rid of those mechanics faster might be that push we need to get onto Paragons, and then Garrosh himself.

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It’s good that Blizz are looking at new ways of nerfing content: In ICC we saw the zone-wide buff to players’ health, healing and damage; in Dragon Soul, tier 14 and Throne of Thunder bosses received health and damage reductions in a zonewide debuff on them all; and now Blizzard are looking to buff players again, but in a new fashion of us being able to choose where we upgrade our gear to do more damage or healing, or get more health. Over time, it will act similar to the 5/10/15/etc% stacking (de)buffs, but the immediate punch to those of us with 3k valor already will notice a significant difference straight away.

I know instanced PvP has an item level cap, but I wonder if world PvP will be impacted by those that will end up having full 588 HCWF gear, against those Prideful PVPers with only 550 iLvl. Is this Blizzard preparing for perhaps another PvP season before Warlords is out? I’m certainly hoping for more expansion details soon, as I’m pretty sure it won’t be a happy BlizzCon if there’s no Warlords out by then… Though having said that, even a month before BlizzCon would be awkward for the race to world first – unless we end up having a live raid between Method and Blood Legion or whatever at BlizzCon to watch them attempt new bosses right in front of us.

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Weekly Roundup: Dwarf-style

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So I’ve brushed off my Paladin again this week, opting to go for the tanking path of WoW for the majority of my gaming this week. Still trying to get his legendary cloak, he’s been slowly getting 2 Titan Runestones per week, with the rest of the bosses in ToT and SoO proving fruitless other than the guaranteed drops. It’s certainly been interesting to note that every single time I’ve tanked LFR this week, I’ve been with a boosted-90 co-tank. Despite my initial fear of the runs being terrible because of them being boosted, I decided “why the hell not?” and continued with the runs.

Surprisingly enough, the runs went pretty smoothly, and wipes were minimal! Wipes that did occur were largely because of lack of DPS or lack of healing or whatever, but out of all the wipes, only one was due to a tank fail. Apparently, I’m a friendly guy and had about 6 people try to grab my real ID because of how friendly and informative I was to them in explaining the fights and what they needed to do as tanks… Conversations that largely went like this:

  • Co-tank: “Hi, what do I do on this fight?”
  • Me: “Do you have DBM or BigWigs installed?”
  • Co-tank: “Yes.”
  • Me: “Good. That’ll tell you when to taunt”
  • Co-tank: “Thanks!”

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Of course, there are other fights that require a little more explaining, but due to my Paladin’s gear (and bubble-hax in ToT), I ended up solo tanking what I could or generally taking the dogsbody tasks of going up towers on Galakras or picking up adds on Sha with running to the far prison unlock, and letting the other tank solo tank and moving slightly for the prisons. I’m beginning to think that LFR horror stories aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be… Or I just got lucky and actually had people that listened to what I told them.

I’m slowly building up his Ret spec so he’s actually got a DPS spec to play around with… The main problem being that because of so much gear sharing with Protection that I’ve run into the same problem that my Druid has of shared gear. The problem is magnified for the Paladin because of the fact he has less gear opportunities to choose from, and he’s too poor being stranded on a server away from my Druid, so he can’t afford enchant/gem switches each time. Nevertheless, he’s beginning to catch up to my Monk’s damage, so I might have a respectable alt on Alliance side for DPS purposes soon enough! I just need to practice a little more with Ret to get the flow working properly, alongside setting up WeakAuras to tell me how to play (maybe even pick up clcRet if it still works).

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Outside of the game, I’ve been enjoying another classic Dwarf pastime – the art of ale! I got my father a home brewing kit for his birthday, to follow up the Woodforde’s Wherry brew mix I got him for Christmas. So because of us both having a day off on the same day this Easter weekend, and with the weather appearing to begin to warm up, we started brewing our first brew! It was pretty fun as far as father-son bonding sessions go, and I’m certainly looking forward to reap our efforts in a few weeks time. Although having said that, for our first brew I’m pretty sure it’s going to go awful and we’ll end up having to pour 40 pints down the drain. If it works out though, yay for cheap beer! It’ll certainly be something I’d be interested in continuing at the very least, especially during the summer. Easter Sunday’s afternoon was also filled with us hosting for 10 in a family gathering – we all certainly had a great time, and as always it’s fantastic to see everyone!

Weekly Roundup: Shortfused on Blackfuse

blackfuseIt’s been a relatively quiet week for gaming, and between coming home from work last night and raiding, I didn’t really know what to write about as to what I’ve done this week. So the reason why this post is a little on the late side this week, is because I spent most of the evening last night progressing on Siegecrafter Blackfuse heroic. I know he’s been nerfed in 10man but he’s still a powerhouse to content with. The new mechanics, while small and don’t change the encounter TOO much, coupled with increased health and increased damage, still make him a brutal fight. As I’m just casually raiding now, I’m not going to be spending my time digging into logs to see what went wrong per se, but from the few observations that I did have on the wipes themselves, it mainly comes down to individual mistakes screwing over the raid group as a whole. Well, that and making sure that our Hunters can stay alive on the belt and can go back onto it without dying again.

Overall however, it’s quite an enjoyable fight. One that I don’t mind wiping on (I probably won’t be saying this at 80+ wipes) as it’s a legitimate challenge, but it’s also a methodical fight as it’s very fixed pace. You know exactly how long you’ve got to deal with a certain mechanic before the next one comes along, and all I dislike about the encounter are the crawler mines. I don’t know if people panic, don’t switch in time, stack CCs or flat out don’t CC, but you know you’re hitting problems when the big bombs are reaching people, let alone the small ones afterwards. Also, please don’t let me raid without a Rogue again. I love Cloak of Shadows. It’s my new favourite cooldown.

romeiiA new game that I sunk my teeth into this week was Total War: Rome II. It’s a game I picked up while it was on sale at Christmas, and never really looked at too much since really. I’ve taken an interest in the game series largely thanks to the TV show Time Commanders that ran in the mid 00’s on BBC2. I believe that Creative Assembly, the creators of the game’s engine, were mentioned in the credits for the show, and then they just added a few extra camera controls that could be used for televised purposes. Still, I got tutored through a few matches from a friend: one just plain on land; one city assault; and a couple of ocean-based fights.

I mainly found out that I sucked at the game, and would probably need to play through the campaign to learn a few tricks of the trade, but going straight into a fight with all the troops available to you and you have no idea what they do was quite overwhelming and daunting. Even my tactic of just using the most expensive of each category didn’t work out well, because you actually had to use the effectively in the fight itself, and apparently even some of the less expensive troops are better used in some situations! I’ll probably pick it up again at some point single-player, but for now I’ll likely just play it multiplayer occasionally and just have a laugh as entire ships blow up when you ram into the side of ships.

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After losing my cultural attempt with Gandhi, thanks to Ethiopia’s apparent amazing ability to keep city states happy and win a diplomatic victory, I picked up a few more achievements in Civ5 the following game, rounding out my victory types with a conquest victory as Assyria. Turns out that they’re pretty fun to focus on that type of victory on, though I did go for British Isles map, so focusing on getting a strong siege to begin with, hiding up in Scotland at the start of the game, then progressing to Battleships later on worked out pretty well. Any city-states that were in good positions I just took, and picked up a few easy techs to catch up on in other ways there, and having the ever-expansionist and scientific Iroquois as neighbours certainly helped in our on-and-off war of around 4000 years.

Now working on winning as other Civ’s in other map types, I will eventually hit… Maybe halfway into Civ5’s 287 achievements by the time I have grandchildren. Oh Civ, why do individual games have to take up so much time? I swear, you blink and it’s suddenly 2am. Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’ve lost hours. Time goes by fast. Faster than you can believe. Turn your back, look away, but DON’T blink. I guess Civ is a little better than weeping angels from Doctor Who (for those that didn’t get the reference), but it’s still pretty terrifying.

lion_vertRounding out my week, and I’ve gone back into All-Pick on Dota (I might even return to my A-Z challenge at some point… But Chen) and I played around a little with the Truepicker site I mentioned in last week’s roundup, scumbagging counter-picking to higher chance at wins. As it turns out, when people insta-pick Meepo and they see me pick Lion at 20secs, they end up re-picking! Regardless, I still played as Lion that game and ended up participating a huge amount to a win. On other games, I saw him pop up as a good counter for other carries too, so I’m being led to believe that Lion’s just the best counter-carry support out there for most cases. It’s a good job I’m competent at him as well, from what I’ve found out in the games I played him in, and he may be joining my top heroes alongside Keeper of the Light, Ogre Magi and Jakiro before long.

For YouTube, I’ve mainly been watching Day[9]’s day off in Heroes of the Storm (yes, had to get this game somewhere in this post) where he’s learning how to play Raynor, Tyrael, Zeratul and Uther, and as always with most big YouTubers, goes less for the support role and more for just wrecking the enemy team apart. Though I have to say, the Hyperion does need a nerf when it comes to destroying buildings. Hell, whenever it kills enemies it also reduces the cooldown of it, so I’m looking forward to abusing it as Abathur for major push potential. I still want in before too many people know what they’re doing though, because I can guarantee I will noob it up big style – from seeing Day[9]’s gameplay videos, it seems that barely anyone knows what to do with Abathur though, so I’ve still got opportunities to get ahead of the curve.