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Runzwithfire: Shits & Giggles with a Troll Mage

Help Me Runz-Kenobi, You're My Only Hope

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Less than a week after saying I wouldn't be playing SWTOR I went out and bought it.  I'm a weak willed fool I know but I just couldn't help it but there was no way I could pass up playing the biggest MMORPG to be released since WoW was first released back in 2004 (2005 in Europe).  Plus, LIGHTSABRES PEOPLE, COME ON... LIGHTSABRES!  Don't worry, don't worry I'm not giving up on WoW or anything I have far too many commitments in Azeroth ranging from my closest friends in guild to my mission of crafting our PvP'ers into well honed killing machines and finally of course my continuing task of writing basic mage guides for all of you.  But I have to be honest with you all here and admit that, with the exception of PvP, WoW has gotten a little stale for me.  It's not Blizzard's fault (or maybe it is, this is something I hope to explore), but rather it's an inevitable fact that after five years of playing (and seven years of release) and basically being the unchallenged king of MMOs for pretty much that entire period.  It's difficult to see how you can do things better when you're already doing everything in that genre better than everyone else.  But at this point it's where Blizzard's flaw came in, they were doing everything already better than everyone else and largely everyone else just tried to copy WoW with only relatively minor changes.  Blizzard stoppped innovating, and with that glaring that in mind along came Bioware - a primarily single player company but one with a strong franchise with the Knights of the Old Republic - who genuinely have strived to do things differently and so far I have to say it's paying off.

In the next few weeks I'm hoping to give you guys a full first impressions article of my starting bid to rule the universe but I have to say that straight off the bat Bioware has made the questing experience far more enjoyable in SWTOR compared to anything in WoW.  Yes ultimately it still boils down to kill 10 X and collect 15 Y quests, but the presentation of these quests as they built into your personal story (based on your class) is amazing.  At first I was wary, how can it be a personal story when a chunk of the server population is doing the same questline as you?  But with dialogue options, the lightside/darkside meter and the fact that your choices actually affect how your story plays out, the story feels intensely personal.  Currently I'm playing a Sith Assassin with a heart of gold but s streak of arrogance, and you know what?  Through the dialogue options I've experienced so far I can totally play that.  That feeling of personal connection with your character and the development of his/her story is something I really feel has been missing in WoW for a long time.  Now I say that as someone who is not a roleplayer, and dedicated roleplayers may feel differently.  Ultimately in WoW roleplayers can craft their entire story in their head, and not being a roleplayer I don't know how much the dialogue options restrict genuine roleplayers' immersion.  But personally, as someone who enjoys PC games with strong storylines where I can build a connection with the characters and can direct how their story plays out through various options without having to worry about generating an entire backstory, dating profile and and local dialect of obscure language for my toon, this is awesome and one of the biggest steps forward in MMORPGs I have seen.

Ultimately I still love WoW and will never abandon Azeroth but this is the first other MMO I've played that has grabbed my attention and I'm hoping that Blizzard learns A LOT about how to innovate within the genre from Bioware ahead of Mists of Pandaria.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my full first impressions/review article and some gameplay videos.



Welcome to 2012

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Welcome to 2012, did you all have a great Xmas and New Year's?  I did, Mrs Runz got me Skyrim and I have not stopped playing it since I departed the UK to go back to work.  In return I got her an iPhone 4S... my inner excited teenager did not stop to acknowledge the slight imbalance in present cost here lol.  I jest of course, this was exactly what I asked her for.  She also got me a pretty kick ass leather jacket (motorbike cut) which I'm very happily wearing.  On top of all this, my in-laws cooked Xmas dinner this year so all I had to do was turn up, eat, drink their beer, pass out on their sofa whilst my kids ruined their house, then I left.  BEST XMAS EVAH!

Sadly of course this has not left me a great deal of time for either playing WoW or blogging but the break has done me the world of good.  The end of November saw my guild establish our first ever RBG team with me being made up to officer level to organise and run it; it's been a pretty mixed bag so far.  Xmas was never going to be a great time to recruit or organise matches, in fact the Xmas disruption has had some pretty negative implications for our 3v3 team with none of us having the free time to competitively play so magnify that to 10 people and we have not been having a great time of it when it comes to RBGs.  Strangely, our best element is the element that we'd have most trouble with - Healers.  Our healers are absolutely awesome, and I'll take this moment to thank Nairne, Nasserkwt and Rudeboii for their tireless dedication to turning up over the Xmas period only to be let down by one DPS member or another.  Like I said, this isn't a dig at the DPS because it was Xmas and we all knew it would be a difficult period, but seriously the effort made by our kick ass healers went above and beyond so thanks guys.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 January 2012 08:38

A Short Break for Tiffin

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HAI GUYS, just a very quick update post for you all.  With the imminent release of Patch 4.3, and with my recent promotion to guild officer with responsibility for PvP, I will be taking a short hiatus from the blog.  Don't worry, I'm still working on the Fire Mage guide so I will hopefully have that done before Christmas but a lot of Warcraft time at the moment is now taken up with Rated Battleground strategy and I'm experimenting with guides for our team.  Once I'm happy things are up and running I'll get to posting them up here as well as all my usually rantings and ravings.

I just didn't want you all to think I'd abandoned the blog if I go quiet for the next month or so.  I've never had what you'd call a regular posting schedule (as much as I might resolve to myself to keep one) so you probably won't notice a load of difference anyhow lol.

In the meantime, however, I hope you all enjoy Patch 4.3 and once I'm settled in I'm sure I'll have some opinions and views to share with you guys on all the new stuff.


Arcane Guide: BiS Trinkets for 4.2 Predictions for 4.3

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Hey guys, just a very quick update for the Patch 4.2 Arcane Mage Guide.  Something a lot of people have trouble with is the relative value of trinkets, I definitely include myself in this as things I see and think 'hey that looks awesome for me' actually end up being pants (translation for non-Brits: Rubbish).  So thanks to the guys at MMO-Champion and their thread here I'm able to stick up a rough and ready guide to BiS for Patch 4.2.  Better late than never I guess.  I also take a quick stab at what will be BiS for Patch 4.3 according to early simulations but this may well change by the time of release.

4.2 Best in Slot Trinkets for Arcane

These are in decending order (ie. the one at the top is best, the one at the bottom is... um... least best? lol).

Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor (Heroic) - Comes from the Cache of the Fire Lord after you defeat Ragnoros on Heroic.

Shard of Woe - Only available on Heroic, comes from the Cache of the Broodmother after you defeat Sinestra in Heroic Bastion of Twilight.

Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor (Normal) - Comes from the Cache of the Fire Lord after you defeat Ragnoros on Heroic.

Theralion's Mirror (Heroic) - Drop from Theralion on Heroic Bastion of Twilight.

Darkmoon Card: Volcano / Moonwell Chalice - DMC:V is acquired turning in the Volcano deck to Darkmoon Faire.  The Volcano Deck is made up of the Ember Cards (get them from Inscription or buy them on the Auction House).  MWC is purchased from Ayla Shadowstorm after completing the required Molten Front daily quests.  Why are these two at a comparable level?  Well it depends on if you're an engineer or not.  Unfortunately you cannot use Synapse Springs and MWC at the same time so it works out that if you're an engineer DM:V is the better option.  However, if you are NOT an engineer then you should take MWC.  The difference between the two is not that great from what I've seen.  Personally I take MWC over DM:V as an engineer but that is purely a personal playstyle choice and in strict theorycrafting terms I shouldn't do that but for me personally I accept the slight DPS dip for a trinket that I feel more comfortable using.

Theralion's Mirror (Normal) - Drop from Theralion on Normal Bastion of Twilight.

Probable BiS Trinkets in Patch 4.3

Like I said at the start, the jury is still out but it looks like Cunning of the Cruel (Heroic) and Will of Unbinding (Heroic) are set to be the BiS for Arcane come the new patch.

Taking a quick look at the stats Will of Unbinding (Normal) may well sit in third place depending on proc rate followed by VPLC(H) then Cunning of Cruel (Normal).  Don't quote me on this, this is just taking a rough look at the available stats and Simcraft et al may well show something different once the patch actually drops.

So there we go guys, hope this helps.



Mists of Pandaria: Think MoP Will Ruin WoW? Think Again

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There has been a far bit of too-ing and fro-ing about Mists of Pandaria and what it will mean for WoW.  Some people have barely contain excitement about the new expansion will bring, but a significant number of players have heaped scorn on it.  More than once I have heard the phrase "Cataclysm will be the last expansion for me" and whilst the turnover of players each expansion is natural this is perhaps the first time I have heard so many outside the forums so sceptical about a new expansion.  I think many people are feeling somewhat disappointed that Cataclysm failed to achieve so much of what they thought was promised and look upon Mists with projected discontent, discontent that ultimately lies with disillusionment with the current content.  Pandas also appeared to be a big issue.

Thus far I've been fairly reluctant to talk about all the massive changes that Blizzard has planned for the Mists of Pandaria expansion, mainly because it is still so far off that any number of changes are still possible.  We can talk about the inclusion of Kung Fu Panda in WoW til we're blue in the face and just for the record; my stance on this is that if you can accept anthropomorphic spacegoats and a tongue in cheek stab at the 'cow level' into WoW Lore you can accept anthropomorphic pandas.  For me, the issue wasn't pandas.

And no, no Blizzard did not steal the idea of Kung Fu Panda for WoW, Pandaren have been about since Warcraft 3 (released in 2002) although I believe Samwise's art may well have been drawn considerably earlier than that.  Honestly, if that is your biggest talking point about Mists of Pandaria I think you're kinda missing the point of this expansion.  My interpretation of MoP is that it is to fix WoW in a way that Cataclysm was designed to do but ultimately failed at achieving and no where is that more evident than in the new talent system.

It's the new talent system, and specifically the newly released Talent Calculator, that has prompted me (or rather prodded me, with sharp pointy sticks) to talk about the MoP changes today.  But it's not the talents that are really interesting me here, it's the abilities available under the spell lists that have really got me excited and has pumped my enthusiasm for a new talent system (and the expansion in general) that previously I was kind of lacking.  I hope to go into the talent calculator in far greater depth in a later article but for the moment this revelation got me thinking a great deal about what is coming in Mists and we should all be excited about it.  (press the button to read the rest of this article)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:30

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