At like 3am on Saturday morning I broke down and pre-ordered Warlords of Draenor. Behold, Dimanche the snotty Blood Elf paladin!
I was surprised to see that insta-90s are spawned with a gear level good enough to queue for Throne of Thunder, the penultimate tier of raid. I of course contributed to the madness by hopping into the first tier of raids within 15 minutes of logging in to my paladin for the first time.
LFR right now, at least in my experience, is a lot slower than it was a month ago and that is likely due to all the insta-90s. Fights take longer, and wipes in lower tiers are more common. That being said, I don’t really care. Hey, let’s all learn to play together!
When not ruining people’s days by being incompetent in LFR, Dimanche is busy levelling mining and engineering so she can make toys for my other characters.
So through a combination of playing and actually reading ability descriptions (gasp!) below is what I’ve sussed out about playing a holy paladin in groups. Hopefully a more experienced type can tell me where I’m going wrong!
1) Holy Shock – I have been using this more than any other ability so far. It not only is a (very small?) instant heal, but I also like always having holy power at my disposal.
5) Hit Divine Plea whenever it’s up, although I’m still gonna be out of mana in about 10 seconds.
Episode 3 of Totally Legit Movies is out today! This time we’re talking about why people should like the 2011 version of The Thing, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt flick Brick.
Hearthstone officially launched yesterday and Blizzard cleverly decided to try and tempt WoW players into trying it out with the one thing they know we can’t resist: a new mount. To get the mount players must win three games against another player, either in Casual or Ranked mode.
Winning three games is actually a very obtainable goal, even for new folks! It might take a little practice, but it’s entirely doable. In my case my favorite decks are supplemented with a few cards I won in beta, and I knocked out my three wins last night on Casual mode in just over an hour.
With the huge influx of new mount-seeking players, though, there are a lot of (understandable) strategy mistakes being made and the most common one I saw was misuse of the coin card.
The game randomly picks which player gets to move first at the beginning of each battle. Board control is very important in Hearthstone so to migitate the advantages of going first, the second player gets one extra card and a coin card which gives you one extra mana crystal for a single turn.
The coin can make the game, in my experience, and should be used wisely. Do not, ever, ever, use the coin on the first turn to cast your hero power. Using your coin to get +2 armor on your warrior for the first turn or to hit me for 2 damage on your hunter or whatever is a waste!
I am an experienced Hearthstone player, if not a particularly amazing one, and I have some suggestions for solid coin use:
1) Get creature that costs 2 mana (a “2-drop”) on the table on your first turn. Do you have a Faerie Dragon or a Bloodfen Raptor or any small creature in your hand? Get control of the board early by using your coin card on your first turn and then playing the creature.
This tactic is particularly great if you’re playing a hero that naturally supports playing large numbers of creatures, like Paladin or Shaman. I use my coin for a turn one creature easily 80% of the time I have one.
2) Save it to play something really big a turn early. One of the ways experience pays off in Hearthstone is that over time you learn to anticipate the big cards that each hero is likely to have. For example, the priest deck has a Mind Control card that costs 10 mana, and every experienced player will be on the lookout for it around turn 10.
Get the jump on your opponent by using your coin to lay out mind control on turn 9. This also works great on big creatures — the earlier you can drop something big and nasty, the less prepared I’ll be to deal with it.
(This also works in the reverse. If you have a good removal card that will take one or more enemies off the board and you’re getting overwhelmed, use the coin to play that card early!)
3) If you’re playing a hero with combos, the coin counts as a combo card! If you have any card in your hand that says something about an ability “whenever you play a card”, pair it with a coin for a really cheap combo.
Those are my tips! The coin is a powerful card, and saving it for a crucial moment can win a game.
Still confused about Hearthstone? I made a video a while back with 10 Hearthstone vocabulary words for newbies!
You guys, I forgot how much fun a good old fashioned MMO release date war can be.
TESO played their hand well in advance and announced their April launch earlier this year. That left two big players — WildStar, and WoW’s Warlords of Draenor expansion.
Yesterday WoD went up for pre-sale* and the announcement included the slightly daunting sentence “Game is expected to release on or before 12/20/2014.” It seems pretty likely that this is more of a worst case scenario date than an actual launch, but it still caused a lot of people to suddenly realize that their dreams of a summer launch are pretty unlikely.
Honestly I think anyone who has watched WoW’s expansion releases in the past knew to expect Fall 2014 at the earliest. Blizzard has repeatedly promised summer releases and has never, ever delivered. Yes, this means over a year of Siege of Orgrimmar and patch 5.4. Yes, this sucks, particularly for players who stayed up-to-date on the latest content or who do progression raiding.
Heck, I’m currently so causal that my idea of progression is working on the achievement to hug critters — learn to /love, noob! — and even I find myself slightly concerned about whether I’ll get bored before the end of the year.
Meanwhile Carbine seems to have learned a trick or two from Blizzard’s marketing team because in the wake of yesterday’s drama today there was a “slip” and, oopsie, someone has accidentally released WildStar’s launch date (Google cache) and pre-order details!
It looks like pre-orders will open up on March 19th, and the game will launch on June 3rd. This hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, but after Carbine’s hints last week about press junkets and big news coming soon this seems pretty set.
And it’s a smart date too! June 3rd is roughly two months after TESO’s launch, which means folks who are MMO tourists or just didn’t take to the game will be looking for something new to play. It will likely be 3+ months before the launch of Warlords of Draenor, which is plenty of time to hook bored WoW players into a game that is being pitched as essentially Burning Crusade 2.0.
I am not pre-ordering anything until closer to their launch dates, but I definitely see some WildStar in my future this summer.
* No, I still haven’t decided which class to boost. Paladin (years of being a clothie makes me yearn for plate) or Warlock (finally I can be a real dot damage class)?
Apple Cider Mage has a very thorough post this morning on the practicality and morality of making money off of content, specifically gaming-related blogs, podcasts, and videos. It’s a good write-up, and you should probably go read it.
It was also a very timely read for me, as this is a topic I’ve thought about a lot lately. Let me be frank — I live off a very tight budget, and due to some real life circumstances it’s been a lot tighter than usual lately. I also put roughly 20 hours a week on weekends and evenings into content under the “Totally Legit Publishing” banner, whether it’s this blog or Cat Context or making videos about movies or whatever.
And I do this strictly because I love it. When I was a small child one of my favorite activities was borrowing my parents’ tape deck (yes, I’m old) and recording myself doing “radio shows”, and although technology has moved along honestly running a podcast about video games is not that different in spirit from sitting under a table and making up weather reports.
But it’s also time consuming, and I definitely spend a little money each month on things like a web server or an extra Humble Bundle for future giveaways. During my recent budget crunch I realized that I couldn’t really afford to keep doing all the hobbyist things I do because that time would be better spent being paid for things. It was an intensely frustrating realization.
I have a relatively successful blog and podcast! And I put a lot of work into them! Surely there must be a way to not give up any of that but still scrape out some pocket money each month, or at least break even. Or, as it turns out, maybe not.
(Actually, that is not entirely true as recently some friends gave surprise donations to the server fund. Those people know who they are, and I hope they also know how much I was moved by their generous spirit.)
Anyway, Apple Cider wrote that “[content creators] should be compensated for their time and efforts” and while I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit of that I’m not sure it’s a terribly practical approach. Unfortunately, content funding is a zero sum game. Readers and listeners and watchers have limited wallets just like the rest of us, and financial support received by Blog A is financial support not received by Blog B.
That doesn’t mean that content creators who are soliciting donations or patronage should feel guilty, but I think it’s worth reflecting before considering monetization. Is your content actually valuable? Is it more valuable than Blog B’s content? A couple of years ago I was asked to edit someone’s Kickstarter pitch, and my first question was “Why is your idea worth someone’s money?” If you don’t have a good answer to that, you may want to reconsider your quest for funding.
Honestly I’m not sure what my conclusions are for this post. (Good thing it was free!) I am a passionate advocate for the idea that everyone can start a blog and say what they have to say to the world. I am perhaps just not an advocate for the idea that everyone can and should be paid for said blog, particularly in a reality where there are limited dollars and an almost literally endless numbers of creators.
Blizzard has been a font of information about the upcoming Warlords of Draenor over the past couple of weeks, and so Liore, Arolaide, and Ellyndrial spent an hour talking about instant level 90s, the mass removal of class abilities, and mandatory Proving Grounds as the gateway for heroic dungeons.
Elly asks the important question, “Is paid instant levelling a good idea?” whereas Liore glosses right over that and gets down to haggling over the price. Meanwhile, Arolaide wants to know how we’re supposed to define “good players” if we all have meaningless talents and a handful of abilities. (It’s a good question.) Perhaps mandatory Proving Grounds are the answer, although we differ wildly over how accessible those should be.
Also, poop quest predictions! Complaints about paladins! Fond reminiscing of hijinx using Mind Vision!
This podcast was also livestreamed as a hangout on air:
If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.
* Eurogamer interview with Blizzard on the $60 insta-90.
* WoW Insider on the mandatory Proving Grounds.
* Official “Dev Watercooler” on some of the Warlords of Draenor changes including the ability pruning.
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years