Time for new ways to gear up

In light of the whole Need for Greed-Personal loot fiasco, I thought it was time to really sit down and think about this for a few minutes. I have always thought the “loot wheel” was a tired way to gear up. Especially when you do it over and over again in an expansion. So how can we fix this? I mean who are we but mere players in the game?

Well, the WoW community can be a happy place, full of inspired and giving people. It can be shit too, but let’s not dwell on that. First of all, let’s see what works:

Timeless Isle- More or less, Timeless Isle type gearing worked on several levels. It had personal loot from the bosses and it had lovely gear that dropped which could only be opened by a spec that could use it. When it did open, it was spec specific. In case you skipped it, when you opened a piece of gear, it would have the stats your current spec needed. So, if you were a holy paladin–you would get intellect. If you were retribution, you would get strength. Pretty straight forward. You could also send your duplicates to any other characters because it is Bind on Account (BoA), which is supreme. The gear itself could be upgraded in two ways. 1) using Valor points and 2) Burden’s of Eternity. Now, Burdens were a bit tricky, because you could stockpile them on one toon, but since they are soulbound, you couldn’t trade them. Perhaps they could make a way to trade them for another piece of gear or to another player?

I thought this way of gearing was excellent. It was probably super easy, as it was intended for a “catch up” mechanic to get people into the last tier of raiding quickly. I think it could be tweaked and applied to current level stuff though. Further, make the gear be able to be traded into a vendor in case you got a double.

Personal loot- Now, I am one of the happy people that never really liked the “Need before Greed” system. Further more, I get annoyed when boxes are popping up while I’m fighting mobs in a dungeon. For someone to be clicking on loot while the fight is going on, really annoying and distracting. Sometimes you don’t get loot, but sometimes that happened with NbG anyways. I’ve gone through many dungeons and raids without getting more than table scraps and a few coins. Hell, I tied guild-mates on 100 rolls before and ended up not getting items.

Holiday bosses- I like the way loot drops in holiday bosses. You have personal loot, and also Need before Greed. I think that works great. You get your 1 special pouch/chest per day, then after that it’s need before greed on other things. Could this not be used for dungeons?

Flexibility- I like that you can run your own group and change the loot to however you want it. Flexibility should always be premium. For LFD/LFR though, I like personal loot. I don’t need to see who gets what, and every item I lost out on. If you want to look at the loot available you can check out your dungeon journal or go online.

Frequency- I think Blizzard needs to sit down and come up with a number or time frame that a player should be reasonably geared in. Whether that is 20 dungeon runs, 50 or whatever. Personally, I would set it at 5. I think if you run a dungeon 5 times, by that 5th time you should get something you need out of it. This is not World of SpaceBard though, so other input is needed! Add it up, average it out and see where it goes.

I think the fact that they changed it to NbG then changed it back quickly to personal loot means that they want to get it right, which is awesome. Instead of taking what looks like “knee jerk” reactions though, I think they need to sit down and take a longer look at things. Especially if they want to put out content faster. Gearing up shouldn’t be the RNG beast it always has been.

So what do you think? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? What else would you like to see as far as gearing up in Warcraft? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the space below!

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What did you think of the pre-expansion content?

I have been a little behind on Warcraft stuff lately. First I ran into the problem of not being able to play after patch 6.02 launched due to a poor choice in selecting my PC and not upgrading the video cards. Long story short, I finally did it. Eventually I got around to trying the Blasted Lands stuff and it was OK. Better than what we got for Mists but not quite as good as the Elemental invasion and no where near as epic as the zombie invasion.

Khadgar in SW

Khadgar in Stormwind.

That doesn’t mean you couldn’t enjoy it for what it was worth, right? It was neat to see the Dark Portal turning red and the goons (uh, orcs) spilling forth. I was actually surprised how easy the mobs went down. Even on my crazy under-geared DK and rogue (the DK still had 377 PvP gear). Part of that is, with the item squish, we got more powerful and older gear actually wasn’t too bad.

One of my favorite parts of these “server get-togethers” is interacting with people. There was a lot of, “I help you, you help me” going on–even as the content has been out for so long (I just started doing this last Tuesday–before Warlords launched). It was also good for my lower geared characters who really haven’t spent time on Timeless Isle and haven’t got fully decked out in purples. Like my DK for instance, who was running around with mostly 377 PvP gear from Cata.

I still haven’t purchased the expansion yet, but I plan on doing so as soon as I have the cash. In some ways, it’s not too bad, since there were lots of issues going on. So I will be running the Blasted Lands content on a couple more 90s while I wait.

In case you haven’t heard, there are a couple things to pickpocket for rogues. You get them off the three boss types you have to kill in Nethergarde Keep*. One is a Secretive Whistle that lets you summon a “shady dealer” to hock your wares. The other three things are some type of jewelry (Glistening Ring, Opal Amulet and Sparkling Amulet). Not sure what to do with it, but I saw people saying to hang onto them. That was kind of a neat Easter egg type thing.

So how about it? Did you like the pre-patch stuffs or did it not suit or engage you? Feel free to let me know in the comments down below!

*You can also pickpocket them from many mobs in Draenor!

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1st and 5

You never can fully escape the injury boss in NFL football. This week is no different. Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been a fantasy stalwart all season broke his fibula and Brandin Cooks broke his thumb. The show must go on. Week 12 is upon us.

QB: Ryan Mallett, Texans- Threw two TDs in his Texans debut. He has a nice arm and at least 2 nice targets to work with. 3 if you factor in Graham the TE. Keep an eye on: Zach Mettenberger, Titans. He’s a rookie and it’s the Titans, but it’s week 12 and if you need a QB you need a QB.

RB: Jonas Gray, Patriots- Will probably be the most sought after pickup after his 4 TD performance vs the Colts. I was impressed when he played against my Bears. He seems like a solid runner. Only real problem is Belichik’s pension to not rely on any one player.

WR: Kenny Britt, Rams- With the crafty vet Shaun Hill throwing the football, Britt could become a regular big play guy. Or he could flame out. It’s week 12 man. Keep an eye on: Kenny Stills, Saints- With Brandin Cooks breaking his thumb, Stills might get an extra couple looks. Stills has yet to cash in on his potential though.

TE: Coby Fleener, Colts- I have mentioned him a couple times now. Fleener put two solid games together back to back. If you have Julius Thomas and now need a TE for a couple weeks, go get him quick. With Bradshaw going down, Fleener might see more looks in the redzone.

D/ST: Cowboys- If they are out there. They have a good matchup vs the Giants this week.

 

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Walking Dead Weekly

Welcome back to Walking Dead Weekly! I have mixed feelings about last night’s episode, “Consumed”. It answered a couple questions but I feel it was a little slow. After how the Termites were handled, I guess I expected things to keep on the fast pace. Before we go any further though…

*****Spoiler Alert*****

So, there were a few flashbacks. Some of them I thought were good, some of them I thought were not necessary. I kind of didn’t think the intro was needed. It was cool to see how quickly Carol reacted when she saw the smoke rise near the prison. She went into action in the blink of an eye. We obviously know how bad ass she is after “Zombie Apocalypse Rambo” saved the adventurers from Terminus. I was surprised she did not “hook up” with Daryl though. It was so brewing.

Noah came back into the story and robbed Carol and Daryl, then had to be saved by the pair. Probably my favorite moment is when he said he was in the hospital and had to go back and save the blonde haired girl. The ‘a-ha’ moment and Beth’s name came out. It was short lived because then Carol gets run over by the hospital cops, which sheds some light on how they “save” you. We all figured they were shady but now we know 100%. We also know who Daryl brings out of the forest–Noah.

I cannot wait for next week’s episode. I have really high expectations from the way the team handled the cannibals. This time they get to be the sneaky ones. With Noah’s help, they will know the ins and outs of the hospital and when and where to attack. I kind of hope it happens over one episode but then what would happen in the season finale? There really is no build up like last season with the jail and Terminus.

My biggest question is does Carol live or die? In the preview for next week we learn that Beth speaks up for Carol and Dawn tells the cop to pull her off life support. She then lets Beth know that she just “killed that woman”. I’m hoping Carol is a little better off than she appears to be. I was kind of Luke-warm on Carol before, but since Terminus and her “Rambo” thing, she’s in my top 5. Maybe I should do a top 5 list…some other time! There is also the question of Morgan–where is he?!? We got teased in the season premiere and then another glimpse later on. I guess he will be this season’s “build up” for the mid-season finale.

“Zombie” kill of the week- In a round about way, goes to Daryl. He pushes the van off the bridge which then makes a couple walkers fall (or jump after them?) on top of the fan and splatter epically on the windshield. That was pretty cool. Also: It wasn’t a kill, but his form tackle on Noah was impressive. I have been in that position a couple of times and when you lock onto someone in a split second, lower your shoulder, then bring the pain–it’s a thing of beauty. Trust me. So Kudos to Norman Reedus and the director/stunt guys who nailed that one.

Hope you enjoyed this installment. See you next week!

 

 

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Hearthstone 101: The mage

So, you stepped into Hearthstone. Maybe to check it out. Maybe to get the Hearthsteed. You are feeling a little overwhelmed. Then this post is for you.

The mage is the first deck you get to play, and there are probably good reasons for that. It’s well balanced. It has lots of damage dealing spells, Area of Effect damage and crowd control. Things you will know from Warcraft.

The first thing you want to do is level that mage up until you unlock all your class cards. You can do this in practice mode, so don’t worry. What I tried to do was keep playing against different classes so I could get familiar with their abilities, spells and minions. Once you get all the mage cards unlocked, you are ready to make your first custom deck! It’s easy.

Main Menu-My Collection

Main Menu.

 

Custom play: From the main menu, click on “My Collection” then click on New Deck and select “Mage” and it will take you to the mage portion of your cards. Click them 2x each until you have them all in your deck. You should have 20.

They are listed in alphabetical order but from lowest mana to highest mana, so that’s what I will do too:

Basic Mage cards

Basic Mage cards.

 

Arcane Missiles, 1 mana- This is a really cool and versatile spell. You can take out a couple low health minions or hit your opponent (it’s random). If you have a minion that boosts spell power, it adds an additional missile (we will get to that in a bit).

Mirror Image, 1 mana- This card is a spell, so it has some synergy with other cards you will get later on. At face value it pops up 2 0/2 minions with taunt.

Arcane Explosion, 2 mana- A spell that does 1 damage to all enemy minions. Not all that impressive by itself until say round 4 or 5 when your opponent loads the board with murlocs. Timing is key with this one. You can also pump up it’s power with certain minions.

Frostbolt, 2 mana- This is one of the most powerful 2 mana cards in the game. A spell that does 3 damage and freezes the target. It works on both minions and the hero, which is what makes it so potent. It’s a spell so, yep–it can be pumped up to do more damage!

Arcane Intellect, 3 mana- A spell that gives you 2 cards from your deck. Sometimes that next card is the difference between a win or a loss.

Frost Nova, 3 mana- A spell that freezes all enemy minions. Comes in handy when your opponent puts out a minion and you have no other removals. Especially great when you are sitting on a Flamestrike and don’t have quite enough mana to play it.

Fireball, 4 mana- Simply do 6 damage to a target. Can be used on minions or the hero. It’s a spell so you already know it means business.

Polymorph, 4 mana- This spell is great for removing a nasty minion from the game. Especially now with Deathrattle* decks or legendary cards. Try to hold onto them if you can.

Water Elemental, 4 mana- A 3/6 minion that freezes any character that it damages. Minion or hero. Especially good vs those classes with pesky weapons. Later on when you get cards that can make it a taunt, it’s even more spectacular. Take my word on that ;)

Flamestrike, 7 mana- This will be the last spell you unlock and it’s a good one. By the time you get to 7 mana your opponent will probably have a couple minions out on the board. Not for long! Make sure to yell, “incoming!” when you play this spell.

So those are all your basic mage cards. Now lets click over to the basic minions and make this beast roar!

Basic Mage + minions

Basic minions will be under “Neutral” cards.

 

Basic Minions: Neutral cards.

(2) Acidic Swamp Ooze, 2 mana- This minion is pretty good especially as you are learning the game. It’s a 3/2 and it has a Battlecry, which means an ability that goes in effect upon summoning. This guy destroys your opponents weapon. If your opponent is playing a class that doesn’t use weapons, go ahead and play it in round 2 if you have it.

(2) Ironfur Grizzly, 3 mana- A 3/3 minion with taunt. This guy is pretty straightforward. If you are feeling a little bolder, you can swap this out with the Booty Bay Bruiser which is a 5/4 minion with taunt for 5 mana.

Nightblade, 5 mana- This minion is a 4/4 with a Battlecry that does 3 damage to the enemy hero. Which is really cool if he has a couple taunts on the board. Cards that deal 4 damage are special as well. They are smack in the middle of 2 priest spells that you will come to hate. One destroys minions with 3 or less attack. The other destroys minions with 5 attack or more. My advice is to always play a couple “4s” in your deck.

Stormpike Commando, 5 mana- He’s a dwarf so that’s cool. This guy is a 4/2 minion with a Battlecry that does 2 damage to a target. This means minion or hero, which is sweet. Also, 4 damage so, it’s in that sweet spot. The downfall is it only has 2 health.

(2) Lord of the Arena, 6 mana- This sucker is tough, especially later on when your opponent has no removals. A 6/5 minion with a taunt.

(2) Stormwind Champion, 7 mana- A 6/6 knight in shining armor that adds +1/+1 to all your other minions. It’s an instant effect, so any ones you add later (as long as he is on the board) will gain the benefit. If you want to change things up a little, you can take one of these out and add a Core Hound, which is a 9/5 minion for 7 mana.

Spell power can be boosted up with cards such as the Kobold Geomancer or Dalaran Mage.

So that is your first custom mage deck. It’s basic. It’s balanced. It’s packed with power! Feel free to swap cards out and try different things!

*Deathrattle- An effect that triggers upon the minions death

Taunt- A minion effect that forces you to attack it before attacking with other minions and certain hero attacks/weapons.

Battlecry- An effect that is enabled upon summoning/playing the card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Should there have been some low-level content for Warlords?

One of my twitter friends (tweeps?) brought up a great point in a tweet yesterday about low level content:

Was Draynee@FlyDraenei right? Should there have been some low-level content for Warlords? I’m going to say hell yes. It serves two purposes. It splits people up so that there isn’t an overload in one spot and it gives you something else to do in case of a failure or just too many people for your liking.

In Mists we had the Pandaren starter zone for fresh Pandarian toons to start and level. Even if you didn’t plan on taking the new character to max level, you still had something else to do and see. In Cata there were new race/class combos. Even though they were made available in the pre-expansion patch, you could have been leveling one of those. In addition to that, there was the whole Cataclysm revamp. In Wrath, there were Deathknights and in the Burning Crusade you had 2 new races to play.

Warlords of Draenor is the first expansion to have absolutely zero low-level content. This among other things is why there is such chaos on opening night. To add to that, more players are max level than ever before with the 90 boost that comes along with the expansion.

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How would you fix the Bears?

I know. Last week I was telling Bears fans to be patient. This week. I don’t know what to say. I still think the Bears best option for winning over the next 2 years is the Trestman-Cutler combo. Mainly because Jay ain’t going nowhere for at least 2 more years. However, let’s just play “what if” a little here. I even have this rocking Tommy Shaw song from “Remo Williams: The adventure begins”

First scenario: Fire Trestman and basically the entire coaching staff. I kind of want to see what Defensive Backs coach John Hoke could do, but then again, the secondary has been pretty craptastic outside of some early play from rookie CB Kyle Fuller. Ex-Bears Safety Chris Harris could move from Quality Control and coach the DBs. I really like what Aaron Kromer has done with the offensive line since coming over from New Orleans. I would hate to lose him. As Trestman’s #2 though. Not sure he could stay and remain effective if Trestman was dispatched.

Who would I bring in? If Cutler was staying, there is only one guy I would bring in (and this could be a bad decision) and that would be Mike Shanahan. Shanahan got the most of of Cutler in Denver and perhaps can push the right buttons again. Shanahan also knows how to run a football team. Well, except for that debacle in Washington, but I think that was more on meddlesome owner, Dan Snyder. Then again Jay kind of got Shanny fired by his lack of winning in Denver.

Scenario two: They find a team to take Cutler on a trade (this is highly, highly unlikely). The problem here is two fold: Finding a team that values Cutler and being able to fit his salary into their cap situation. I have a couple spots in mind: Houston and Washington. Houston needs a QB bad. Real bad. In the worst way. They also are not at all happy with first round pick Jadeveon Clowney. Mayyybe. Just maybe, a swap would fix both teams. Washington maybe in a similar situation with QB Robert Griffin III. I think Griffin only has 1 year left on his deal, so the Bears would only take a hit for 1 season. Marc Trestman stays and plugs in RG3 or finds another QB off the scrap heap and puts him in. Mel Tucker would have to go. Not sure Trestman would be able to get a decent Defensive coordinator who would be basically on a 1 year deal. Lovie Smith had the same problem with offensive coaches.

Scenario three: Cutler stays. Trestman goes. Rex Ryan, the soon to be ex-Jets coach comes in. He’s got a strong enough personality to handle any leftovers from Trestman’s regime. All the offensive coaches stay. Rex could evaluate the rest of the coaches. I would imagine Mel Tucker would be gone. Rex Ryan would be an interesting option in Scenario two, but I am not sure he and Trestman could get along. Then again, Ditka and Buddy Ryan had a real acrimonious relationship and it paid off in a Super Bowl win.

Scenario four: A complete blow up of the organization. From Emery on down. New GM, new coaching staff, Cutler gone. This is highly unlikely for a couple reasons. The Bears would be on the hook for all the terminated personnel. They don’t mind eating 1 contract for 1 year. I highly doubt they would take the hit. Even if they could pawn off Cutler to another team, they would be eating two years of Emery and Trestman’s salaries. Which I guess isn’t all that much, but it still cuts into the bottom line. I like Emery and Trestman. I don’t think this mess is their fault 100%. I do think Phil is paying the price on Cutler though.

So there you have it. Four improbable situations. Hey, what else can we do but speculate and have a little fun. Nothing will probably change until after the season. Even then, you might be looking at just a switch at Defensive Coordinator. I would have let Mel Tucker go now, only to see if Hoke has something to offer.

 

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