Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Five - First War Lore

This week, I contributed some prompts regarding the First War—the original war between the Orcish Horde and the Human Kingdom of Stormwind portrayed in the first WarCraft game WarCraft: Orcs & Humans—for Anna's Friday Five feature. Since I'm the one that asked the questions in the first place, it's only fair that I answer them for my own character, right? So, here goes. ;)

Be sure to check out the prompt before reading on, else this may not make much sense. :P

  1. Gryphonheart knows a great deal about the First War. He spent the better part of his childhood listening to the other refugees of Stormwind tell tales of their lost homeland, and the experience has caused him to seek out more knowledge of these events—from both first-hand and third-hand sources—whenever he has the opportunity.
  2. Born the day Stormwind finally fell to the Orcish onslaught, Gryphonheart has no recollection of the actual events of the war. His father managed to secure passage to Lordaeron for himself, his wife, and his newly born son on one of the many ships that carried the nation's refugees to the southern shores of Hillsbrad Foothills. Gryphonheart's grandfather (on his mother's side), however, was one of the city defenders that fell to enable their safe escape from the invading army. Prior to that final day, though, Gryphonheart's parents resided in Northshire Valley and fled to the city as the Horde pressed further and further into Stormwind territory.
  3. Despite its ultimate defeat by the Orcish Horde, Gryphonheart views Stormwind's actions with pride. It was King Llane's valiant defense of his lands that stalled the Orcish Horde long enough to obtain the valuable information on Orcs and their combat strategies that helped the Alliance defeat the Horde in the Second War. It was Anduin Lothar, Knight-Champion of Stormwind, who ensured the participation of the Wildhammer Dwarves and the High Elves and who led the Alliance armies against Doomhammer's Horde. It was the clerics of Northshire Abbey who passed to their northern brethren knowledge of the extent of the Orcish threat, and thus helped inspire the creation of the Paladins. Of course, Gryphonheart knows that Stormwind's actions weren't perfect—there were many things that could have been done to prevent the nation's destruction, such as calling on the northern kingdoms for aid, or taking a more aggressive stance towards Orcish incursions, or not blindly trusting the actions of Medivh and Garona. Yet ultimately, it's his belief that the seeds of Alliance victory were sown by Stormwind hands.
  4. Indeed. Not having known a stable home for much of his childhood, Gryphonheart knows how valuable one can be. Having found that home in the reconstructed walls of Stormwind, he is determined to keep it safe and prevent history from repeating itself.
  5. Gryphonheart still doesn't really know how he feels about Medivh's actions. He's read the first-hand accounts of the soldiers who participated in the final showdown at Karazhan, as well as what the official (and some unofficial) histories tell of Khadgar's tale, so he knows of Sargeras' possession of Medivh. Even then, he has an incredibly difficult time forgiving Medivh for what he did, even after the former Guardian's actions saved Azeroth from the Burning Legion's return in the Third War. Perhaps someday he'll forgive Medivh. Until then, though, Gryphonheart is perfectly content to hate Medivh's failures and appreciate his successes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Beast Mastery "X Shot" Idea

I know this isn't usually a blog about Hunters. However, after reading the recent Hunter Q&A as well as some of the conversations that spawned from it, I figured I'd share one of the thoughts that have crossed my mind. ;D

According to the Q&A, one of the problems with how to buff Beast Mastery damage that Ghostcrawler has talked about is that the Beast Mastery tree doesn't have a signature shot, like Marksman has Chimera Shot and Survival has Explosive Shot. Additionally, Blizzard is reluctant to add a special shot to Beast Mastery since that would essentially make Arcane Shot obsolete, and buffing Arcane Shot would require adding such buffs deep into Beast Mastery in order to prevent it from being too powerful in the hands of Marksman and Survival Hunters.

I've thought about it, and I think that ultimately, adding a special shot to Beast Mastery would be the best option, despite Blizzard's current misgivings. In truth, a perfect candidate for such a shot is already decently well known by the community at large, and only requires proper implementation into the game. And so, I propose adding the following new shot deep into Beast Mastery:

The Chuck-Shot
Calls forth a crazed Dwarven Warrior to load a boomstick with 2 charges of heavy blasting powder and one juvenile woodchuck (angry) and fire it at your target. Deals X damage and disorients the target for Y seconds as the woodchuck scrambles about its britches.

A demonstration of this ancient technique—as ancient as 2005, anyway—can be found in episode 7 of Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth.

Happy hunting. Oh, and don't forget to loot the chuck. ;)

PS: I fully mean this post in good-natured fun. It is not my intent to troll—I just thought we could use a laugh. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why the Argent Tournament Makes Sense

I've seen it expressed in various blogs and in-game, and I'm sure you have, too. "The Argent Tournament makes no sense! What the hell is the Argent Crusade thinking?! Highlord Fordring really needs to lay off the ale for a bit."

This post is to express my disagreement with that particular sentiment, as well as to explain exactly why the Argent Tournament makes absolutely perfect sense, both logically and lore-wise. Let's begin, shall we.

Thus far in World of Warcraft, we've seen our fair share of badass bosses. From Ragnaros' molten fury to Illidan's demonic paranoia to the corrupting machinations of the Old Gods. However, of all the badasses we've run into, the Lich King is by far the badassiest. Why? Because like Bloodlord Mandokir, his enemies' failures feed into his own strength. Let me repeat that for you. In bold, underlined letters, no less. His enemies' failures feed into his strength.

Is it making sense yet? No? So let's break it down some more. I don't know how many folks remember Bloodlord Mandokir, but when he is pulled an army of ghost-like NPCs surround the room. Now, these ghosts don't attack anyone, they just kind of sit there and wait. When Bloodlord Mandokir manages to kill someone, two things happen. First, he grows in strength, the the point where he even gets to experience the delicious golden glowiness that is the leveling up animation. Secondly, a ghost detaches itself from the peripheries of the room and slowly floats towards the dead player. Once the ghost gets there, the player is allowed the option of being resurrected.

"He rezzes us? But that sounds awesome!" you might find yourself saying. "That should make the boss much easier, since we can basically just zerg him for epics!"

Unfortunately, if you find yourself thinking that, you missed the bold, underlined letters above. Every time one of his opponents dies, Bloodlord Mandokir grows stronger. Essentially, there was a threshold of performance required to beat him back before the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King released. If members of the raid were being stupid, or not paying attention, or having an off day, or for whatever other reason were unable to perform to the level of play necessary to down him, Bloodlord Mandokir would simply offer the raid group an extremely nasty repair bill. Again. And again. And again. And each time he'd kill someone, he'd grow even stronger still. Zerging as a strategy would leave both you and your wallet in beaten, bloody tatters.

"Okay, so zerging Bloodlord Mandokir is bad. But what does this have to do with the Lich King?"

Well, think about it. The Lich King is the ruler of the Undead Scourge. And what is the Scourge comprised of? The rotting corpses of those who fought against him, mostly. So what do you think would happen if the Argent Crusade just put together a huge army and zerged Icecrown Citadel? I'll tell you what: complete and total failure. Each fallen soldier would simply add to the Lich King's strength. Slowly, inevitably, attrition would lose the day.

Ultimately, the Argent Crusade has to figure out a more elegant strategy. Something with a higher success rate than simply zerg the Frozen Throne and hope for the best. Something like pick only the strongest and most able warriors Azeroth has to offer, train them up to become even stronger still, build their relationships with each other so they'll at least work together long enough to accomplish their task, and trust that they will be powerful enough to survive not only taking the battle to the Lich King's doorstep, but vanquishing the Lich King himself.

So let's do this step by step. How does one pick only the strongest forces available to the cause? Well, a competition of some kind should allow them to be compared to each other fairly easily, as well as allow the strongest to quickly rise to the top. But the competition has to be one that's not particularly lethal (at least not at first). It can't really be a direct gladiatorial competition because the Alliance participants and Horde participants may be a bit too likely to "accidentally" kill each other. It has to be a competition that's close enough to real combat, but enough of a sporting event that people will keep themselves in check. It also has to be one that will teach skills that can actually be used in battle. In addition, since the Argent forces would have to move fairly quickly to get behind Scourge lines and have a chance at facing off against the Lich King himself, they'd have to move pretty fast. Perhaps on mounts. Now, what kind of combat-like mounted sporting event that teaches actual combat skills can we think of that would fit into a medieval-themed competition?

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, a jousting tournament. A jousting tournament like the one being held right now at the Argent Tournament grounds.

Does it make sense yet? Are lightbulbs lighting up? Are you considering starting your next sentence with "Well, when you put it that way..."? No? Still not convinced that jousting will be a necessary skill once we're actually inside Icecrown Citadel? Well, the truth of the matter is that once we're inside, jousting will probably not be applicable in the slightest. However, getting people inside the citadel without suffering casualties is extremely important, and even if a few individuals here and there suck at jousting, the tournament ensures that an elite vanguard of jousting champions will at least be there to lead the charge and get everyone into the citadel safely (as well as keep the Scourge distracted once the strike force is inside).

This is where the updated Argent Tournament of patch 3.2 comes into play. We're not going to be jousting inside the coliseum that's being built. Sure, there may be some places where we joust (I haven't read up on all the fights yet, so I don't know for sure), but the vast majority of the combat seems to be of the hand-to-hand variety. Defeating extremely powerful beasts and some of the Lich King's own elite forces.

Where Argent Tournament v1.0 taught us what we need to get inside Icecrown Citadel, Argent Tournament v2.0 will train us to fight more effectively once we're there. I suspect that Argent Tournament v3.0 will help us to discover a weakness of the Lich King, so that we're not all slaughtered horribly as soon as we scale the steps to the Frozen Throne. Argent Tournament v4.0? Totally gonna teach us how to throw the after-victory ice-cream party. ;D

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Glory of the Hero

For the longest time now I've been wanting to try to get the Glory of the Hero meta-achievement for completing various achievements in the heroic dungeons of Wrath of the Lich King, as well as the Reins of the Red Proto-Drake it awards. In truth, I've been after any proto-drake mount ever since I first found out they were obtainable, but they've all managed to elude my grasp thus far. The Mysterious Eggs the Oracles sell me always seem to hatch into White Tickbird Hatchlings or Cobra Hatchlings rather than Reins of the Green Proto-Drake, Skadi the Ruthless in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle never seems to drop his Reins of the Blue Proto-Drake when I'm around, and the Time-Lost Proto Drake rare spawn that drops the bronze Reins of the Time-Lost Proto-Drake seems to be camped 24/7 by other players after the mount. Plus, since I doubt I'll ever have the stable free time necessary to earn any of the raiding or PvP achievement mounts, the Red Proto-Drake from Glory of the Hero is essentially the only option that does not leave me at the mercy of the RNG gods.

Sadly, until recently my progress towards actually obtaining the meta-achievement was extremely limited, especially considering that I only ran about 1-2 heroics per week, and that about half of those were pick up groups put together from the LFG system. Even the ones I would run with friends, raiding associates, and acquaintances all seemed to be focused on getting through the instance as quickly and painlessly as possible, to the point where many times one or more players in the group would just outright refuse to even attempt any of the achievements.

Thankfully, it seems I'm not the only one who's run into similar experiences. I've managed to get a group of folks together who are also interested in completing Glory of the Hero, and now we're really tearing through the various achievements that seemed fairly impossible not even a month ago. The group's first run was this past Wednesday, and since then I've managed to lead several groups, nabbing On The Rocks, Watch Him Die, Gotta Go!, The Party's Over, Volazj's Quick Demise, Respect Your Elders, Volunteer Work, Consumption Junction, Better Off Dred, Oh Novos!, and Zombiefest! along the way. We also would have managed to get Hadronox Denied if the boss hadn't bugged out on us. Plus, some folks in the group have also managed to get Less-rabi, Make It Count, Ruby Void, Emerald Void, and Amber Void (with myself amongst those who managed to get Ruby Void and Emerald Void).

It's nice to have a goal to look forward to again. Since raiding is nearly impossible due to my erratic schedule, and earning Champion's Seals/Dalaran Cooking Awards can only amuse me for so long, I was really beginning to lose all interest in even logging on when I had the chance. Hopefully, these new Glory of the Hero runs will keep me occupied and engaged until I can get my schedule stabilized and start raiding again.