Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Friday, December 22, 2006

4.0

I received my final grades for my first semester of college. I came out on top with a 4.0! Five classes and five A's. I received 100% in two of the classes, 98% in two, and a hair over 95% in the last class.

I guess going back to school after all these years wasn't as hard as I thought.

YFClinkexchange Directory by YFC

Monday, December 18, 2006

Gold Sellers Love this Blog!

It seems that my World of Warcraft TCG post yesterday has stirred a World of Warcraft MMORPG gold seller to offer to pay me for advertisement space on this blog. Maybe someone should inform this gold seller there is no gold in the WoW TCG? Anyways I have reposted the comment below for your enjoyment.

Dear Sir:

After browsing so many websites, we are impressed by your site's enhanced design and navigation.

Brogame.com is a leading provider of virtual currency provided to the Massively Multiplayer online community with over 1 year of experience. Till now, we have served over 100,000 Happy game players. In the process, we have built good cooperation and friendship with customers while winning good reputation from the fellow traders. Owing to the large increase of my business, and the consequent additional strain which this put upon me, I have deemed it advisable to have assistance with your company. We hope very much to promote our site by advertising in your site.

You can reach us on any of the email addresses below. Please allow up to 24 hours for us to respond.

Email: nesta.brogame@gmail.com
MSN: nesta_brogame@hotmail.com
yahoo message: zhao_david2002
icq: 383220419
aol: nestabrogame

We look forward to receiving your favorable and prompt reply.

We hope that this letter is the first step to establishment of a long
and pleasant relationship.

Sincerely

Nesta
Brogame
Feel free to contact Nesta at any of the aforementioned contacts :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A View from the Bottom: Losing, Learning, and Loving the World of Warcraft TCG

Yesterday, I competed in my first World of Warcraft TCG tournament. It was Sealed Pack format with an entry fee of $30 which netted each player six boosters and a hero. There was a total of eight players with an additional two interested parties who had to be turned away due to a lack of card supplies which has been an issue for the WoW TCG. Hopefully starting early this week the promised shipments from Upper Deck will hit stores and product will be freely available. Until then there is a very limited supply.

Six Boosters

After opening my six boosters I quickly realized that my card pool was a bit weak. I had only a single protector which was the five cost Horde ally, Kulan Earthguard. Other key allies I pulled for the Horde were 2x Voss Treebender, 1x Vesh'ral, 1x Ya'mon, 1x Hur Shieldsmasher, and 1x Confessor Mildred. Key allies for the Alliance I received were 1x Parvink, 2x Maxum Ironbrew, and 1x Ryn Dreamstrider. As you can see I lacked many of the important 1-2 cost allies that are essential early game plays.

On the ability side of cards I pulled a scattershot of rares and uncommons. Unfortunately none of them provided much synergy for any deck builds I felt comfortable playing. Below are the abilities organized by class.

Druid: 1x Predatory Strikes, 2x Bear Form, 1x Mark of the Wild, 1x Natural Selection, and 1x Healing Touch.
Rogue: 1x Dismantle, 1x Gouge, 2x Coup de Grace, 2x Stealth, and 1x Eviscerate
Warrior: 1x Rend, 1x Mocking Blow, and 1x Demoralizing Shout
Paladin: 1x Cleanse, 1x Holy Light, and 1x Retribution Aura

The other class abilities I nabbed were too few to build any decks with and in the case of the Warlock and Priest I only received a single ability for each. Some useful neutral abilities I received were 2x Exhaustion, 1x Burn Away, 2x Interest You in a Pint?, 1x Call of the Spirit, and 1x Vanquish.

Looking at the lists above it seems as though I had a pretty good start for a Rogue deck, but when it came to weapons, items, and armor I received little to nothing. 1x Barov Peasant Caller, 1x Hide of the Wild, 1x Truesilver Breastplate and 1x Chromatic Cloak. The only weapon was a single Iceblade Hacker.

I drew an array of quests with 2x Blueleaf Tubers, 1x It's a Secret to Everybody, 1x Zapped Giants, 1x In Dreams, 2x Chasing A-me 01, 1x Into the Maw of Madness, and 2x Big Game Hunter.

My Deck

With the lack of protectors and the lack of a weapon I decided against playing a Rogue deck. My first instinct was to take the Truesilver Breastplate and play either a Paladin or Warrior. I felt that both of those choices were weak considering my only weapon being the Iceblade Hacker and the likely proliferation of protectors that ready themselves.

My final choice was to go with the Horde Druid, Thangal. Sadly it is one of the few classes I have no experience playing.

Deck List:

(will post deck list when I get some time)

I strongly felt that I could get ahead early with Bear Form and Predatory Strikes. Once ahead I hoped to be able to control the board with Voss Treebender, Kulan Earthguard, and Confessor Mildred. To finish games I felt that Mark of The Wild, Vesh'ral, Barov Peasant Caller, and Hur Shieldsmasher could serve very well.

Basically my deck was meant to suck up early game damage while removing early game weenies. The decks mid game was to focus on healing and getting the cards needed for a final push. To finish there was armor removal followed by ferocity attackers with Mark of the Wild. Once the dust settled Blueleaf Tubers could be used to cycle my graveyard back into my library which potentially gave me a chance at drawing both of my heals again.

How It Played

In reality I did not play the deck how I planned. I rushed allies and abilities out when I saw early game openings and found myself playing from the draw almost every game. Bear Form and Predatory Strikes never factored into play. Even with mulligans I never had more than one in my opening hand and only once did I manage to get both into play which was trumped by a Crippling Poison keeping Thangal exhausted. The whole idea of having six damage on the opposing hero by the end of turn three never developed.

I really blame myself for playing the deck poorly. I thought it out well, but executed it horribly. Every game I quickly went ahead, but never once did I finish the deal. My best game pushed a Gorebelly deck down to five life at which point I stalled out and started eating nine damage a turn. Even with both heals in hand I couldn't survive long enough to draw anything useful.

What I Learned

The biggest thing I learned about Sealed play in the WoW TCG is that you need to play the best cards you pull. Building a deck around those key cards will equal success. The top players at the tournament were finished with their builds quickly because they analyzed their best cards and grabbed the appropriate hero.

With a minimum deck size of 30 I found that playing exactly 30 works well, but certain card pools almost demand that you play every single card you can. If you get a ton of good allies you probably will play them all. A good weapon or armor piece can demand a certain hero or the inclusion of more cards.

As far as Quest selection goes I found that eight in a deck of 30 was efficient if you have eight that benefit your build. Otherwise it makes more sense to choose utility cards that could serve a purpose in certain situations or be dumped as a resource when they are just taking up space.

What disappointed me about the Sealed format was that it seemed whoever pulled the better equipment cards had the upper hand. Having key armor pieces such as Golem Skull Helm or Draconian Deflector played a far larger roll than any other single card. Getting a weapon such as Brain Hacker or Flame Wrath really unbalanced the field. With the current large number of rares and the fact they are restricted by class it feels as though you can easily get screwed in Sealed play.

As far as playing your deck in a Sealed tournament it felt as though everyone held onto cards instead of going for early game leads. I fell into the trap of seeing the early game openings and leaving myself wide open to late game stalls. Watching your board control disappear in a couple turns and realizing you have no backup is a sad lesson to learn. Knowing that I could and should have played better is a tough pill to swallow.

Even though I failed to win a single game during the tournament and finished in last place I still love the WoW TCG. I just have to suck it up and continue to practice. There will be plenty of chances to compete in the future.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blizzard says: "Hope you played last week!"

Blizzard is making a "hotfix" to the rate at which honor is gained in World of Warcraft 2.0.1's new PvP honor system! From the official forums.
Now that the Before the Storm content patch has been live for the past week, we’ve had a better opportunity to track the rate at which players are accumulating honor, and subsequently how easy it's been to obtain honor rewards. In gauging these elements, we've determined that the effort required to obtain honor rewards is more trivial than we had intended. As a result, during today's maintenance we’ve applied a hotfix that reduced the amount of honor gained by approximately 30%. This change allows the honor rewards to be obtained at rate that better reflects the item’s in-game value.

The reason that we decided to reduce the rate of honor gain rather than simply raise the honor cost of each item, is to ensure that everyone’s time and effort participating in PvP since the patch is not diminished. As this change will only affect future honor accumulation. - Nethaera
So I hope you played last week when epic PvP gear was on EZ mode. If not they are offering you another week at only a 30% decrease! Get in while it's cheap!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Making the List

It seems that I have made the list as one of the top 100 blogs for MMO gamers!

Heartless Gamer is in a respectable 86th place with the likes of Grimwell, Gamespot, and Raph Koster.

I can't take all the credit for this because it is the readers that make the blogging world turn. Without readers would our blogs get read? Nope. So thank you everyone who reads and subscribes to this blog in some form. Also a special thanks to the games and their developers that give us so much to talk about.

Friday, December 08, 2006

World of Warcraft 2.0.1 patch proves players couldn't play in the first place!

The massive World of Warcraft 2.0 patch is upon us and is causing shock waves across the WoW community! In this stunning turn of events for the market leading MMORPG...

...


...

... just wait! This just in! WoW always has issues on patch day! EVERY GOD DAMN MMORPG TO DATE HAS ISSUES ON PATCH DAY! Welcome to the "real world" and now let us continue with our regular scheduled programming.

There were some significant changes with the patch and I'm not talking about the Shaman/Paladin gear drops.
  • Arena System introduced
  • Honor System revamped
  • The Burning Crusade talents introduced
  • Massive UI changes
PvP Changes

The Arena system was introduced and subsequently has crashed. The Arena is set for small teams to do battle against each other while competing in a ladder type competition among all players within your Battle Group. Currently the Arena is set up for practice matches only. It requires a team of all level 70's before you can advance in the ladder. So the Arena system can't really be judged until after The Burning Crusade is launched.

The other part of the PvP changes comes in the form of a new, but not really new Honor System. Honor decay is gone and Battleground faction grinding has been removed. In their place has come a static Honor system where you never lose points and a Battleground reward system built around completing goals. For example to earn the top rewards for Alterac Valley you may be required to win 30 matches and turn in the tokens to an NPC. The current feedback is that it is much easier than grinding faction which is a great change for casual gamers.

The main complaint with the PvP changes has come from the hardcore rank grinders who were pushing for rank 14 prior to the 2.0 patch. They feel cheated because all their hard work was washed away when Blizzard reset honor back to ZERO. The only thing I have to say to these idiots is; "You got what you deserved. Blizzard announced the changes in plenty of time for you to stop, but you continued to grind. Someday you will wake up and realize what a waste your life has been and maybe then you will go out and do something with it." Yes, that is exactly what I would say and I believe I've just said it.

The Burning Crusade Talents

Every class has had their talent tree updated in preparation for The Burning Crusade and level 70. Of course this has introduced a plethora of bugs and outright overpowered classes. Warlocks kill with a single DOT spell. Paladins can actually do damage now (like they couldn't before???). Pretty much a case can be made for any class being overpowered at this very moment.

This isn't shocking considering how much the game will change when The Burning Crusade hits and people start to reach level 70. WoW wasn't exactly balanced to begin with. In a classes most basic form without tweaked talent sets and green gear there may be balance, but when epics and uber talent templates get involved it is all tossed out the window. I will leave this topic here because I believe it will take a month for the community to adjust to these changes and then it is a mute point because The Burning Crusade will be ready for launch.

Massive UI Changes

With the 2.0.1 patch there has been upgrade to the LUA scripting laguage used for the WoW UI and this takes me to my title for this post. WoW players can't play the game without their easy mode UI add-ons. Decursive, ClickHeal, CTRaidAssist, and on and on and on are now completely broken and most likely won't be fixed. Most of these gamers will scream at Blizzard for the lack of a decent UI to play the game. I will blame the players for letting UI mods dominate their play style.

The cry is heard the loudest in the raiding community. Their precious raid schedules are screwed because easy bosses that they used to defeat in minutes are now wiping their raids without UI mods to hold their hands. I personally applaud Blizzard for finally putting their foot down and forcing people to play their game.

I am happy that it now takes two button presses and manually clicking a target to remove a curse, poison, or disease. I am elated that healers now have to communicate to heal. I am glad that players with skill will now be rewarded with a better experience. I laugh at raiders that suddenly found out that they can't and could never play this game.

This changes the game and I'm glad for it. I have never used anything, but a few minimalistic UI add-ons. A cleaner quest tracker (MonkeyQuest), Auctioneer, and the Census+ mods have been my staples since launch. Everything else has been done through the standard UI. I have never relied on a UI mod to make my class easier to play and I strongly believe I am a better player because of it. I play a Shaman and there is no shortage of UI mods that could of made my life easier.

Conclusion

Let me conclude this with a bold statement. Fuck the whiners. I've whined a good bit in my days and almost always I was told to stuff it. Let me return that advice to the current WoW community. Blizzard has shown a remarkable knack for getting World of Warcraft up and running after a few patch delays just like any other MMORPG out there. The only difference is that Blizzard does it for 6 million users.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pirates CSG: The only SOE game I would probably ever consider playing!

I do not like SOE. Never have and probably never will. However, they acquired a pretty good CCG/TCG company that they are now using to bring popular card and miniature games to the online space. Since there are very few commercial successes in this area I have to question the move, but none the less I am happy to see some quality coming out of their line up.

Case in point. Pirates CSG Online. This is probably the only game from SOE I would consider paying to play and it more has to do with the fact that WizKids made a damn fine game that SOE is just publishing an online portion of. Even then it will not be in a "buy a virtual booster pack of cards for virtual play pieces at the same price as the real stuff". I would pay a small monthly or reasonable one time fee for access to whatever I need to play.

It is currently in beta so head on over and get the client for free. All you need to play is a Station pass. Unfortunately or fortunately I already had one :P
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