Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Your nightmare class as healer

In my previous entry I commented (poorly I must admit, so thanks to Failadin for pointing it out) about how the class I feared most as a healer, the retri paladin,  wasn't because all of them I've found until now were playing carelesssly, without putting much attention on the situation. Long story short: I always found retri paladins were taking too much damage and I thought they didn't care much about playing correctly. Then I got to try the class and even I was playing like I've always done with any other melee class (attack from behind, be quick to move out of fire, cleanse your own debuffs if possible) I was still getting too much damage. Maybe having a poor dps gear (Verech is a tank who just dualed retri and has a very poor dps set) made things worse, but I still don't know why this specifc class is my "black beast" as a healer, just that I always have to put special attention on them, more than on rogues or elemental shamans. Warriors and DKs usually don't need much attention (unless they do things in the complete wrong way). If I'm on my holy pally, Beacon of Light is always set on them.
So aside why retris are getting this damage, which is the class you fear most as a healer? Do you think there's a logic explanation why that class needs extra care?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Here we go again

So the intrepid Verech reached level 80 past sunday. That's my eleventh character to reach that magic number. But as everybody knows, that's just the begining. Now starts the hard part: gearing up, getting rep for the different factions, farm some gold for the epic flight... The big problem is all these activities rely mainly on running dungeons. While you can get reputation with some factions by doing dailies (Wyrmrest Accord, Sons of Hodir, some Kirin Tor with the daily cooking), the only way of gearing up and getting reputation with factions without dailies is the old dungeon grinding. And this is the dreadest phase because of pugs... or to be more accurate: the amount of failpugs you can get into.
I almost stopped palying my main characters in Hellscream because I grew tired of the wild fauna you can find in heroics, so now compare the seasoned Turnak, clad in full epic gear (ICC, T10, etc) with the frehsly dinged Verech, wearing mainly crafted and quest blues. Cold sweat runs down my back everytime I hit the LFD. I even dualed him retribution so I could do some runs without the responsability of tanking or healing the place. Just good ole no-brainer dps, simple and plain.
With such a poor gear for today' standards I'm just running normal instances in the hope of building some decent gear even if it's slowly. Yet Lady Luck hates me. First random I got was no other than Forge of Souls. At least was as dps, but my dps gear is totally laughable. I ended the last in dps with 1200 but at luckily nobody complained. And not happy with that we ran the place again. And Pit of Saron too. The party was fairly competent and I managed to survive (I thank the kind healer who kept me alive) without much problems, but this experience showed one thing: why retri paladins tend to get so much damage. This got me wondering in the past. They weren't supposed to get so much damage (unless standing in fire, stealing aggro or in front of the mobs). And still I don't know how could I get damage when I was dpsing the mobs from behind, but my health bar couldn't stay still for long. On any group pull I was getting more damage than the rest (and my pathetic gear made things look even worse). Again nobody said anything but I'm sure the healer was cursing me in silence for needing more heals than the tank.
Anyway, knowing what to do and not being a dickhead is a great step in randoms. You don't screw it when Devourer of Souls has Mirrored Soul up, you hide behind saronite chunks when Garfrost is swapping weapons, you move out of green shit and explosive mines on Ick & Krick, you let the tank grab aggro in the tunnel before Tyrannus and you stop dpsing him when you get Overlord's Brand. Isn't that complicated. And nobody died. Why the hell then some idiots can't do any of these simple tasks right?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Going deep underwater

Some days ago Blizzard announced they're working on what can be the most exciting or deceiving of the Catalysm zones: underwater areas. Some screenshots were shown too. As a scuba-diver I'm thrilled to see how this is going to be handled.

What we have until now is not very friendly: you can swim in lakes, sea, etc and you have a limited amount of air (amount that was highly increased with the launch of Wrtah from 30s to 3 minutes, much more realistic) that lets you stay underwater until it runs out and you begin to die. There're also zones that cause fatigue (and your death if you don't get away from there very fast) but these are only there to keep people away. While swimming your movement speed is reduced, even if you swim mounted (something you couldn't do until a later Wrath patch). Underwater zones haven't been very used since playing there is quite limiting. Until now we've had some quests (to recover several objects or kill aquatic mobs), access some dungeons (the Coilfang Reservoir) or even get a good fishing pole in old vanilla Wow.
Almost no information has been disclosed, only that they're working on a new way of moving around and fighting in these zones. And they better do a good job here. If you plan to use underwater mounts, please no more mounted fights unless you can use your own skills (we've had enough jousting in ToC). The second problem I see coming is the 3D environment. Yes folks, expect a new batch of Oculus 2.0 whining. Diving is very simmilar to floating (why do you think all astronaut training is done underwater?) and you have to take into account the three dimensions when moving down there. It's a great sensation in real life, but you must be careful with reference points or you can get a little confused. If it was easy to get lost in Oculus (until you got the grip of the place) I don't want to imagine what can be playing in an underwater zone where your only reference points are some rocks, seaweed or sunken objects. Was it that rock the same I saw 10 minutes ago while trying to get out of here? At least we have the compass and minimap to help. Getting lost or disoriented in real life while diving is quite dangerous. There're places where there're no reference points and this can mislead you to dive deeper instead of heading for the surface, exposing you to the dangers of nitrogen narcosis and other gas accidents. While the nitrogen narcosis (something I've experienced and I don't want to repeat) may be dangerous in real life, would be fun to see it implemented in deep water areas. This sickness is also known as "the rapture of the deep", as Jacques Costeau himself described it. Now imagine being drunk underwater... weee!

Another point to take into account, something already reflected in current game, is water being 800 times denser than air, so that's why you move slowly down there. And the more you go down, the denser it gets. Of course battles in slow-motion are not fun (add an arcane mage casting Slow to make things worse) so here they better do something. I'm pretty sure nobody imagines playing an underwater dungeon at snail speed.

I can't also forget to mention one of the worse accidents you can suffer while underwater: decompression sickness. Dives are not only limited by the amount of air we can carry, but by the amount of nitrogen our body can absorb.
Basically the more you stay at certain depth, the more nitrogen your body absorbs until it reaches maximum saturation and forms bubbles. Now imagine gas bubbles in your tissues, bones... painful? yes, specially if you ascend: gas expands, and so do bubbles, increasing the pain in your body. This can even cause worse accidents like lung or arterial embolisms (which are almost deadly). But let's not get that negative, this is a game. I don't think they will limit the amount of time we can stay in underwater zones while using that new method of moving/fightning (we have magic in Azeroth, remember!), but I'm curious to see if they add some kind of limitation or debuff (in real life you can't perform repeated dives until you eliminate enough nitrogen from your body)
Yep, that's me diving in the Red Sea, visiting the SS Thistlegorm wreck. Where' re the murlocs?

So, as a diver this new underwater area will be watched closely by me. Not because I will whine and complain if it doesn't reflects the real underwater world, but because I find underwater to be a fascinating place.

Post soundtrack: Underwater Love - Faith No More