Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Patch 5.1 Invades Pandaria - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Hello friends,

Patch 5.1 splashed onto the shores of Pandaria yesterday afternoon, and with it came a few big changes to the game. Some of the changes were great, while others fall short (by a lot). Here's my take on 5.1.

The Good: 

Reputation Improvements! 

With patch 5.1 Blizzard has heard the player feedback about rep grinds and implemented a way to increase your reputation leveling speed. Upon reaching revered with a Pandaria faction players will be able to purchase commendations for that faction, unlocking a 100% bonus to reputation gains for that faction for all characters on the account.

While this change is only a bandage that doesn't address the real issue with the repetitive faction grinds, it's a welcome change for players needing relief from a never-ending daily quest grinds. This change comes just in time, since patch 5.1 adds even more faction dailies for the Horde and the Alliance.

Brawler's Guild

Probably the most anticipated change in the patch will be the additional of a secretive fight club that players can join (if they can manage to get an elusive invitation). Players can purchase an invite from the Black Market Auction House or get one as a drop from one of the rare faction NPCs in Krasarang. If you aren't able to purchase an invite, someone else who is already in the Brawler's Guild can also invite you.

Personally, I don't see the appeal of the Brawler's Guild - it seems to me like a developer just thought of it on a whim as a reference to a good movie. But, this fight club reference has garnered a lot of hype since it's announcement, and I know that on my server the rare spawns that drop the invitation are hotly contested.

The Bad: 

More Daily Quests

Yes, with 5.1 comes a host of additional daily quests for the players that have been craving additional daily quests to distract them from the lack of actual content in the game.

With the Horde and the Alliance forces landing on the shores of Krasarang, we will be asked to fight for the honor and glory of our factions by completing daily quests... boy, where do I sign up.

Pet Battle Updates

5.1 brings a few much needed changes to the pet battle UI. Pets will now be denoted by the color of their rarity in the battle UI frame (good). Additionally, the pet journal allows more sorting functionality (also good). My issue with the update is that they didn't go far enough! Some really great mods had been created for showing pet battle quality inside of battle. The greatest thing about the mod I was using is that not only did it show the quality, but it showed if you already owned the pet AND if it was an upgrade for you. The updated Blizzard UI doesn't show whether a pet is an upgrade, meaning you need to open up your pet journal and manually search for every individual pet to check if it's an upgrade. Same thing on mouse-over of wild pets - the tooltip will show you own the pet, but not what quality is in your journal.

The Ugly: 

New Item Tooltips

In a study from the school of fixing things that aren't broken, Blizzard decided to update the layout of item tooltips for the first time in 7 years. The old layout grouped primary stats at the top of the item, sockets in the middle, and secondary stats at the bottom of the item. For some reason it was decided that a better approach would be to smash the primary stats and the secondary stats together - so instead of having something that's easy to read and functional, we get a tooltip with a jumble of information that isn't easy to read at a glance.

Compare for yourself - do you hate the new tooltips as much as I do?

Item Upgrades

The patch also adds item upgrades - personally, I'm indifferent to this feature, but I think it may turn off some casual players. At most I think it adds an unnecessary level of complexity to gearing your character. A player now needs to know what gear is BiS, what to gem it with, what to enchant it with, what to transmogrify it to, what stats to reforge, and now, whether or not to upgrade it... sometimes, less is more.

- - - - - - -

Those are my reflections on 5.1. So, what did everyone else think of the patch?


Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm Back

Hello internet!

It’s been a few months since my last post, and I feel truly horrible about my absence! After taking summer (and most of autumn) off, I’m back with a vengeance.

I have a lot of catching up to do; here’s a preview of the next few posts on Paladin-Bias.

  • The triumphant return of Graphically-Challenged
  • A review of MoP
  • A recap of my efforts to be server first Paladin
  • Pet battle musings
  • And more!

Check back in a few days for a more substantial post.



Friday, May 25, 2012

DING Level 2

I can't believe it's been two years since I started this blog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An Exclusive Club Called 'Anybody'

I haven't decided if I'm actually going to play the beta or not... I'm having a hard enough time finding reasons to play any MMO these days.

Coming soon, MoP stuff... or not...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The post where I act like an iPhone fan boy then review a game

Hello again, internet friends.

It's been about a month since my last post. I apologize.

I recently purchased an iPhone, joining the ranks of hipsters and teen girls everywhere. Admittedly, I am madly in love with the device. (Almost) everything is so much simpler on the iPhone, compared to the comparatively antiquated BlackBerry I was using before.

But this post isn't a commercial for Apple, so I digress.

In an effort to explore my newfound mobile freedoms, I've been trying out a handful of mobile games. To this point my history with mobile games has been less than memorable. Aside from the occasional, mindless board game port, I can safely say I have hated nearly every game I have ever paid to play on a 2 inch screen (I'm not sure why I didn't see that coming).

*Insert a smooth segue to a game review.*

Warfare Inc.

This one may be kind of a softball review, as the game is, according to its website, "the critically acclaimed and best selling mobile real time strategy (RTS) game of all time!!!"

I could probably end the review here, as the three exclamation points pretty much let you know you're in good hands.

Basically, I was really craving an RTS to play on my phone, and after downloading a bunch, this one seemed to be the best. The easiest way to describe Warfare Inc. is to say "Hey, did you every play Starcraft? Yes? Well, imagine cramming the graphics onto your cell phone and getting interrupted by texts in the middle of getting zerged."

Add the Zerg, the Protoss, and better graphics. Simmer until golden brown.

Well, maybe that wasn't the easiest way... I'll let Warfare Inc. do my job for me:
"Warfare Incorporated is set in a future ruled by super corporations engaged in no-holds-barred competition for the resources of the galaxy. The action centers around the newly discovered planet Icarus with its astounding mineral wealth and mysterious alien relics. Players take the role of a junior executive at the underdog ACME Exploration Corporation, discoverer of Icarus, and work their way up the corporate ladder by demonstrating their strategic and tactical skills in a campaign of increasingly challenging missions. Early missions concentrate on resource gathering and combat with ACME's chief rival OMNI Industries and as the game develops other factions and the power of the alien technologies come into play."
So, we know what the game is; but is it fun to play? Yes (mostly). The game, while addictive and challenging in all the ways an RTS game should be, lacks personality. Instead of Jim Raynor as your protagonist, you have some dopey looking guys in suits and bowties.

P.S. Do you like my bowtie?

Realistically, the game is a probably your best bet if you're looking for a true RTS game on your mobile device. Even though Starcraft did it better, Warfare Inc. did it portably, which is good enough for me.

Graphics - 2/10
The graphics remind me of Bone Storm. Yes, that Bone Storm.

Wow, and all I did was enter my name; Thrillhouse.

Playability - 8/10
The game was pretty simple and straightforward. The touch screen controls work well for an RTS game. Units default to moving single file, leading to many untimely and frustrating massacres.

Difficulty - 8/10
Admittedly, I was getting stomped by OMNI jerks by level three. But, I have to assume that anyone who has had the game for more than a week would fare a little better.

Replay Value - 9/10
RTS games are always good for maximum replay value.

Overall - 7/10

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Internet Goes Dark...

In protest of SOPA and PIPA, websites around the world have censored themselves today, giving users a grim glimpse into the future of the internet if SOPA and PIPA are passed.

I urge all of you to contact your representatives, and tell them to withdraw support, or continue opposing these pieces of legislation.