Monthly Archives: March 2013

#201 Screenshots of Pandaria Part VII

I seem to have caught quite a bad fever from PAX East last weekend, leaving me little time to play WoW or do anything else for that matter.  For today I have another gallery of screenshots from my adventures in Azeroth.

My friend and I riding together on my Mekgineer's Chopper through the dwarf leveling zone

My friend and I riding together on my Mekgineer’s Chopper through the dwarf leveling areas

Another meeting of the "lets kill Galleon for his loot" group

Another meeting of the “lets kill Galleon for his loot” group

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A beautiful camera shot of my druid while I was running through Mogu’shan Palace as a DPS melee

This was one of the items from Blingtron's gifts. Someone at Blizzard has a really, really dark sense of humor

 Someone at Blizzard has a really, really dark sense of humor when creating the loot table for Blingtron’s Gifts. 

Back when I was on the horde, I took this screenshot when somebody used a Handful of Rose Petals and a Elder's Moonstone on Thrall. I think it was a part of his retirement party

Back when I was on the horde, I took this screenshot when somebody used a Handful of Rose Petals and a Elder’s Moonstone on Thrall. I think it was a part of his retirement party


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#200 Shared Topic: The One!

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared topic comes from Cymre with the question:

What is your absolute favorite profession in WoW? Why do you love it above all others and what is one feature you would add to the profession if you could?

Out of three characters I actively play I have four professions ,Skinning and Tailoring on my mage and Alchemy and Herbalism on my druid.

I still haven't decided what professions my monk should get

I still haven’t decided what professions my monk should get

Out of the four different professions I like the skinning profession the most because on my mage it gives me a critical strike, called Master of Anatomy, and it is an extra way to make money while I am out there doing my dailies.

But the biggest reason I rank skinning above all others is because I can loot leather from the beasts that other, non-skinners, players have defeated.

This reminds me of the time where I just followed this one level 26 in Southern Barrens skinning the beasts he killed for his quest. (this was when I was too low of a level to take them head on and before I perfected the art of skinning the animals when the other player  left the area.

This reminds me of the time where I just followed this one level 26 in Southern Barrens skinning the beasts he killed for his quest. (this was when I was too low of a level to take them head on and before I perfected the art of skinning the animals when the other players are not looking)

If I had a wish to change anything the skinning profession I would add a Northern Cloth Scavenging passive to all skinners. I always love getting bonus cloth drops from common enemies and while I can sell the clothes and Windwool Cloth and Windwool products on the Auction House the Magnificent Hides sells for more.

While I know it is selfless of me to change a professions just so I can make more money  and while would completely cripple the Warcraft leather market with a sudden influx of raw leather goods I can still dream about making enough gold to buy the Reins of the Grand Expedition Yak, right?


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#199 Post-PAX Post (and mini-first impression of Hearthstone)

PAX East 2013 has come to an end and now I face the transition back to normal life while fighting caffeine withdrawals and rehydrating my body from a jammed packed, star-studded, three-day weekend.

Over the weekend I was able to sit in on some amazing panels, listening to the inner workings of video game journalism and got to see what potential new paths the next generation of MMO’s are going in MMORPG’s Future of MMOs.

It wasn’t all just panels for me, I was able to get signatures from all sorts of famous people in the geeky world from Zarhym to M.C Frontalot and even adding another piece of signed work from Bill Amend, the creator of FOX Trot.

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One of my regrets was not bringing along an actual camera (all of these were taken on my smart phone)

I even got to drink with some of the employees of Riot at their bar hopping event.

But this was a video game expo, so I also spent a good chunk of my time playing the video games the developers had on display on the floor. Many of them were still in beta, because where’s a better place to find hundreds of beta testers than PAX? I signed up to for all the beta test trails I could get my hands on with the plan to write-up a first impressions for all of you guys, because what’s the point of playing betas if you can’t tell anyone about it?

Out of all of the games I played, there were a few that stood out that I would be really interested in playing further, the games were too numerous to list but the top three are WildStar, Marvel’s Heroes, and Smashmuck Champions.

But there was another game that was announced at PAX East by a major game company right?  Something that was announced by a company that I been writing about for the past year or so right? Oh yeah… Blizzard’s newest Collectible (electronic) Card Game, HearthStone, Heroes of Warcraft.

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As luck would have it I was able to get my hands on a playable build that was showcased at expo floor, but because of the number of other people in line I was only to play one card game, so I can only offer a mini-first impression.

The game itself was easy to pick up from the get go, but that might just because I have played my fair share of Pokemon, Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh but it was built so that anyone could easily figure out the formula for the game.

Draw a card, summon monsters, cast spells, order your monsters to attack, end turn. Repeat.

What is unique in Hearthstone, compared to the other cards games I have played, is that at the start off each game each player chose one of the class champions (Druid, Warlock, Mage, Warrior, Death-knight…etc) each with their own special spell that is exclusive to them. I naturally picked Jaina Proudmoore (the mage) while the player I went up against picked Gul’dan (the warlock) and the objective is to whittle down the enemy’s 30 health points to zero.

Jaina Proudmoore has a spell  that hauled a fireball that dealt two damage to any monsters or to the enemy player, while Gul’dan had an ability that lets the player sacrifices two health points to draw an extra card, both did fit into the main feel of the classes in WoW.
The game was quick and I dominated the other player (I thank RNG for my success)

Oh yeah, taking pictures of the game on my phone.

Oh yes, taking pictures of the game on my phone, I’m a legit blogger.

For now, I will be holding off on any further comments of Blizzard’s new game until I can play with it some more, either in the beta or whenever the finished game is released onto the market.


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#198 My Proper First Impressions of the Defiance beta

Preface: I wrote this post after being a part of Defiance’s second beta test weekend but I could not publish the post on my blog because the game was under a Non-Disclosure Agreement. I have been holding on to this post until it was safe to talk about what I experienced. This weekend, with Defiance’s third beta test weekend underway, I was informed that the Defiance team has lifted the NDA on their product, so without further ado here is my first impressions  of Trion World’s newest game.

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Over the weekend (February 8th – 10th)  a blizzard decided to pay a visit to my corner of the world, and while I was snowed in on my college campus I decided to participate in the beta test weekend of the game Defiance.

Defiance is a Trion World game that I heard whispers of the concept and core mechanics of the game on the internet years ago when it was just in the beginning stages. Defiance is a First person shooter MMO that is not only going to be a game with cross-platform capabilities for the XBOX, PS3 , but also the PC. This gets me psyched since there is a Defiance television show that will be running at the same time with actions from the game that will affect the development of the T.V series.

I did not believe the rumors of a game that could transcend between the video game media into television, until I sat in on a PAX EAST 2012 panel called, “The Future of Online Gaming” where I and hundreds of other players got to see the first game footage of this game. We heard the announcement that the SYFY channel has picked up the show and will be airing in 2013 and I also missed my chance to ask my question to Defiance team member, Rob Hill (which you can hear at  49:16)

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Mr Hill if you are reading this my question /was/is, “What was your first epic moment in an MMO and how did you try to recreate that epic feeling in your game?”

I left that panel with one of their cool T-shirts and the hopes of one day playing that game. Fast-forward eleven months where I received my beta invitation and since this blog was started because of a beta key from another MMO I thought this would be the best place to relay my adventures of Defiance.

First I would like to note that this beta trial went infinitely better than my Guild Wars 2 beta weekend for the sole reason that I could actually connect to the server.

Starting off on a high not Trion Worlds

Starting off on a high not Trion Worlds

The idea of a massively multiplayer first person shooter is not a new to the gaming world. Team Fortress 2, Super Monday Night Combat and Halo can all be technically fit into this category but this is the first shooter game that I heard of that puts all the players in one world with PvE objectives.

The Defiance universe take place in 2037, twenty-four years after an alien race called the Votans arrived to Earth after fleeing from their dying solar system. Between the first contact and where the series starts off the human race have been constantly struggling with the dilemma of finding a place on the planet to house the sudden surplus population. The problem results in riots, unstable political talks, wars, and an accidental activation of one of the Votan’s terraforming devices that turns the Earth into an Alien-hybrid planet with a truce between the two forces formed in St. Louis.

The idea of talking about where to put a displaced race, which is numbered in the millions is a topic that I promise not to politically analyze today, check back later this week. (This was referring to my Be MOP #183 when I was at Harvard’s National Model United Nations conference)

All that back story is in on the website (which can be found here) and assumed television show, in the beta there is almost no reference to the two decades of history, instead the game starts off as a military mission to reclaim some of the Votan technology that fell from the sky. You are an Ark hunter, a Freelance agent hired by a private company working with the military, to protect the head scientist – and your boss – while he examines the machines. As luck would have it the airship gets attacked by the natives and in the confusion your boss’s escape pod gets lost and you start the game helping the army set up the base, exploring the land, and giving aid to anyone who needs it.

The graphics and looks reminds me of a Borderlands series mixed with League of Legends which is a welcome change compared to the gritty brown of other shooters.

The graphics and looks reminds me of a Borderlands series mixed with League of Legends which is a welcome change compared to the gritty brown of other shooters.

For the gameplay itself, the best way to describe it is as a shooter with spells and grenades. You soon find a plethora of guns and ammo lying around. From the start you start off with four basic spells, Blur (sprint), Cloak (invisibility), Decoy (doppelgänger), and Overdrive (enrage), which you can switch between at any time and with each level up you can choose passive talents that will benefit you when you have those spells selected.

Defiance 2013-02-09 15-09-59-44

As for movement and control, I wish that I played enough shooter games to talk about the movement and feel of moving around, taking cover and the responsiveness of the various guns but I can’t. What I will say about the shooting aspect is that I, a new player to the game and genera,  can easily pick up all of the guns, aim, and, completely destroy all of the enemies that stood in my way so take that as you will.

As for the mood and feeling of the game the whole zone feels desired but in a good way. The areas gave me a feeling of a city that have been ravaged by war and left for dead, the cars are completely rusted, the roads are cracked and there is not a single building that does not have holes in the walls. It is amazing that the game gives you a mount early on because the map is just massive! just look at it:

the entire map can’t even fit onto the screen, that mark is the farthest I got to over two days of playing and there is still so much more to go.

the entire map can’t even fit onto the screen, that mark is the farthest I got to over two days of playing and there is still so much more to go.

I’m not stressing this enough that almost everyone is out to get you there are mutants, renegade military groups and hellbugs all view you as hostile and will not hesitate to fill you with bullets. The only helpful NPCs are the crew of the crashed airship and most of the time they are either under attack or asking you for help.

As for the community of the game. I do not know if it was intentional but the players seem to follow the theme of deserted-ness with absolutely nobody communication to the other players furthering the mood that it is every man for themselves. The questing system mimics this too with no official, formal groups it’s just people passively helping each other out simply because they shared the same objective.

As much as I would love to play more, the weekend and the beta trail had to end leaving me with this mighty long post (even after cutting out a lot more stuff in the game) and the simple question this time with two parts, will I buy the game when it comes out and will I watch the T.V show when it airs? And to both I will say yes, but depending.

As a college student there are some barriers to entry with games and T.V shows that I have to overcome for one it’s my wallet when the game comes out I will buy it if I have money in the checking account, which it will be the first AAA game that I have bought at full price and on day one (except for that other game of course). As for the television show if I can find a slot when the dorm’s community television is available and I don’t have classes or college club events then I will gladly go out of my way to watch the show on the T.V.

Until then I can only hope that I get accepted into the next beta testing event (which I did) and see more of the game when I’m at PAX EAST.

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The game is projected to be released April 2nd for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the price of $59.99 for the standard digital edition and $99.99 for the Deluxe digital copy (http://defiance.com/en/pre-order/digital-editions/)

The Defiance television show will premiere April 15th on the Syfy channel at 9:00 pm Eastern

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Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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#197 Pillaging from the Troves of the Thunder King

A few days ago I was on the Isle of Thunder doing the saurok section of the dailies with one of my friends because we heard that part three of the island just opened up and we both wanted to see the advancement in the island.

 

Oh, Blizzard. You know I'm a sucker for famous Cold War Speeches.

Oh, Blizzard. You know I’m a sucker for famous Cold War Speeches.

 

While I was there, recovering the Covenant Constructs around the beach, I saw a group of people gathering on the beach, and to my delight I saw a raid worth of people all fighting one of the rares of the island, the Haywire Sunreaver Construct.

 

I'm trying to make "a raid worth of people" a thing on the Warcraft blogosphere. pass it on

I’m trying to make “a raid worth of people” a thing on the Warcraft blogosphere. pass it on

After an epic fight we were able to all loot the body and while I did not get the pet version of him, I did get the equally rare Key to the Palace of Lei Shen as an awesome consolation prize.

I mentioned this before, but the key is only dropped by the rares on the island or in the treasure chests that randomly spawns around the zone. That key lets you enter a solo scenario where the main point is to steal as much as you can from the  Thunder King’s personal booby-trapped treasure room.

A quick trip to the Shado-Pan’s stronghold I was able to queue up for the event.

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Inside I was given five minutes to, and I quote “grab as much treasure as you can…” and I can say it was one of the best five minutes of any instanced event I have ever played in Warcraft.

While I could not get pass the first room I was running around like a mad man opening up chests that were scattered all over the room, tying to run around the moving statues, blinking through the lighting orbs and killing any type of spiders that dared tried to slow me down.

 

It's a like being Robin Hood, but you just give the gold to yourself.

It’s a like being Robin Hood, but you just give the gold to yourself.

 

After the five minutes I walked away with a few hundred gold and about ten Elder charms of Good Fortune and out of those two I was more excited of the Elder Charms because I still need some old 5.0 gear and  since Blizzard removed the weekly turn-in quest at the main city my attempts of getting the armor has been unfruitful.

I like Blizzard’s new direction of scenarios in this patch, and I hope that they continue using these personal experiences to further the plot of the current story and for these fun little runs whose sole purpose is to line the player’s wallets with a little extra gold. 

 


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#196 Reboarding the USS Friendship

Last week my friend surprised me with the announcement that he resubscribed to World of Warcraft. As long time readers would remember he was a same one that I set sailed on the USS Friend at the beginning of the expansion (see Be MOP #125)

We started off trying to level some preexisting horde members but the level gap was too great and I have not touched my Deathknight  since ….what? Wrath of the Lich King.

 

It always surprise me the amount of addons I accidentally level on when starting a new character.

 

After comparing characters we faced the reality that we had characters at different levels and ilvls, I only had two nineties and some low levels and his max level character has just entered Raid Finder while I’m working through of the heart of fear.

The only reasonable conclusion we reached was to roll a few Pandarens and group together through the Wandering Isle to quest through the story of how the new races ended up to Azeroth and why they joined the Horde and Alliance factions.

 

Weeeeee!

Weeeeee!

 

Since I already leveled a DPS and a tank I wanted this new character to be healing so I chose a Monk while my friend picked a Shaman with the intent to leveling through the Looking for Group service together.

 

I will be seeing this stance for a lot of time.

I will be seeing this stance for a lot of time.

 

Sadly, we both commit the deadly sin of having wearing cloth heirlooms while working through the instances. To my readers and the hundreds of people I will meet in the LFG dungeons, I regret nothing.

We are currently level 22 and I am enjoying daily Monk quest that rewards you with the +50% boost in experience on top of the +35% exp bonus from the heirlooms.

If you were wondering about what show I would be watching, and because I am in going to be fulfilling the healer role in dungeons I decided to watch Scrubs.

 

Scrubs-Cast

I can’t do this all on my own. No, I know. I’m no Superman….the motto of my healer in the LFG.

 


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#195 The Farming Changes to The Good Earth

One of the other major non-sequitur advancement added to the game in Patch 5.2 is the changes to the farm in the Valley of the Four Wind. With the arrival of the Thunder King’s reign it also comes out with the option to transfer the ownership of Farmer Yoon’s farm to you, the player.

For a while on the PTR server, that Farmer Yoon was willing to part with the farm that his family gave to him for a rather hefty chunk of gold. That was soon changed before hitting the live servers (which was a good thing because I was getting flash back to my High-school English class’s the Good Earth readings).

As it stands now, there is a quest where the tillers opened their ranks and invited Farmers Yoon to their membership, but because someone cannot be one of the head farmers and manage your own personal farm at the same time, Yoon gives you the deed to the plot of land for you to continue tending the crop and further the legacy.

 

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I completely believe that the new inn that you get with the farm is the game developers pulling a player-housing joke on us.

 

The changing of the hands, the farm goes through some changes, instead of Farmer’s Yoon’s daily quest asking you to plant various produce to impress other farmers we now get the post that holds multiple work orders from factions from Pandaria.

 

I believe this will get all of my August Celestials reputation

I believe this will get all of my August Celestials reputation

 

With the maximum amount of land unlocked, the average player can fill two food orders at a time and you get to pick the plentiful produce you will get 400 reputation each at the end of the day.

While we are talking about farming Blizzard decided to bless the players returning back to their newly owned farm with buffing the farming game-play that now address the pester problems that pop up on the untilled soil.

My favorite buff is, while plowing over a vermin-infested soil, the plow will now pop those vermin out of the ground, stun them, and automatically bring them down to 30% health, which was a change that needed to be added the moment after the game spawned  three of vile vermins on the farm. 

Now the question is, will this get me back into farming?

To this I will say yes, but only until I get to exalted with all of the reputations in the expansion. Before I received the land I maxed out my cooking skill and I already have the recipes and  plenty of materials for raid worthy Banquets.

I have no interest to actually farming the land to farm the player market on the auction house, but I will appreciate the changes to the farm.

 


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Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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