Friday Five: Five Things That Should Give you Guild Rep in Cataclysm

The recent information Blizzard released to all of us who are eagerly awaiting the Cataclysm expansion mentioned that we’ll all need to build reputation with our guild to take advantage of guild rewards, with Exalted reputation needed with your guild for some items, on each character who wants to take advantage of said guild perks. Given this little slice of information, I started wondering just what will end up granting you faction with your guild. Which then led me to what *should* grant you faction with your guild.

Here is my only slightly-tongue in cheek list:

  1. Warlocks summoning the tardy to raids at raid start time. Triple bonus rep for putting down more than one demon tv in 5 minutes to summon those who didn’t notice the five summonses you already sent them.
  2. Crafting rep-based gear for your guildies. After all, it takes you time to grind out the rep to be able to make the gear, so that should count a a guild contribution, shouldn’t it?
  3. Standing around a capital city, waiting 15 minutes to do an enchant for your guildies as they run to and fro trying to piece together the materials. 10 rep per 15 minutes of waiting on guildies time seems fair, yes?
  4. Putting out food for your group to enjoy and get that well fed buff. After all, you put in the time fishing and cooking up that feast, so seems fair you get a small perk for that.
  5. Answering the question “have the invites gone out yet?” — that alone should be 10 points per answer, which would net upwards of 200 faction points per night, especially on weekly quest night. ;p

What would you add to this list? What do you think should give *you* guild rep? Take part in the August 2-7 Blog Azeroth Shared topic!

Friday Five: 5 Things That Need to Die in a Fire in Cataclysm

Another Friday, another Friday Five inspired by the creative folks at blog azeroth's shared topics. Thanks to Spinks for this one!

  1. I hope the flooding in Hillsbrad drowns those headless murlocs. I curse you oh headless murlocs!!
  2. I'd like to rid all of Azeroth of grouped mobs in teams of 3 or more. They are the bane of the lowbie experience.I swear my voidwalker found every such group as he dragged his to-be-attacked mob as far away from me as possible throughout my travels in Westfall.
  3. Stonetalon Mountains, one of the most annoying zones to traverse, you will happily be dying in a fire!
  4. That goes double for you Desolace! Poorly placed flightpaths, and annoyingly spaced out quests. This zone has long needed a makeover.
  5. Barrens Chat. Please let Cataclysm kill Barrens chat, and please let it not just slide on over to Orgrimarr!

On the flipside of this though, I have 5 Things I Hope DON'T Get Wiped Out by Cataclysm:

  1. Deep Ocean, Vast Sea. Every single time I've done this quest, I sing the Peter Murphy song after which it's named. And then I have myself a fabulously moody time wandering the coastline.
  2. All my horde characters have gone to help Ahab Wheathoof find his dog. Read up if you don't know the story behind his quest. It's one of the sweetest in-game tributes Blizzard has done for a (now deceased) player. Adding in Elder Ezra Wheathoof for the Lunar Fest this past year totally teared me up.
  3. Nat Pagle better not lose his little fishing spot. Because that would be a bummer for all us fisherpeople.
  4. I only completed the In Dreams quest once or twice (now we level so fast I don't even scratch the surface of that quest chain), but it was one of my favorites, and I will be bummed to see it lost.
  5. I often feel like I am one of the few folks who loves to quest through the Plaguelands. One of my most favorite quest chains there starts when you enter a creepy old house and encounter the ghost of Janice Felstone. I love the stories of the quest chains out there, and how they tie in to the Scholomance and Stratholme instances as well. I will miss them terribly.

Who or what would YOU nominate to die in a Cataclysm fire?

Thoughts on the New Guild Achievements and Other New Cataclysm Details

If you're looking to not learn anything at all about Cataclysm prior to its launch this is not the post for you. It only contains, however, reflections on information officially released by Blizzard during its recent fansite/blog day on campus.

As the clock struck Midnight on Saturday night, Wowhead and World of Raids came out with amazing treasure troves of new (and expanded upon) information about the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. All copy in sky blue below is from World of Raids.

What I'm Excited About

  • Guild talents are not going to be implemented.Instead, guilds will be automatically rewarded with perks.
  • Guild currency has been scrapped. Guild rewards will be unlocked by completing guild achievements. Rewards will be purchased with gold, and anyone in the guild can purchase the reward once it's unlocked.

These changes make me ecstatic. Why? because I was envisioning what a nightmare it was going to be for the Officer team to decide upon guild talents and awarding of guild currency across a large, diverse guild. Instead, the idea of rewarding folks for longevity in their guild will still be implemented, but without an accompanying administrative burden on the guild's leadership.

  • Path of the Titans has been scrapped and will not be implemented.
  • Instead Blizzard will focus on improving the glyph system, as they feel it didn't quite hit the intended goals in Wrath.

I know lots of folks are upset about this, but it started to sound like a sidegame grind that would be a must-do rather than an innovative and fun add-on. And it also seemed like it had the potential to be Blizz biting off more than they could chew from a class balancing perspective. I'm excited that Blizz *is* however going to take a look at the glyph system and add in medium glyphs as well as taking a look at some classes who have weak minor glyph selections. Please to be seeing green fire for warlocks and some fun minor glyphs for shadow priests. NOTE: lack of needing reagents for a spell does not equal fun!

  • Archaeology will now help to "dig into the lore of the game" — essentially being used as a vehicle for storytelling.

I was a little bummed when I initially read this but eventually felt better after reading some blue replies Sunday on the topic. Because, of course, I thought this might mean they were doing away with the promised vanity pets and toys. And I had personally been truly looking forward to having this sort of mini exploration game, with shiny new pets, to tide me over during future lulls.

What I'm Excited About That Also Worries Me

Guild Reputation

  • This is a newly announced feature; players will gain reputation with their guild similar to how other reputations work in the game.
  • As you contribute to the guild by completing quests, killing bosses, winning rated BGs or completing guild achievements, you will gain reputation.
  • The best guild rewards will require having exalted reputation with your guild.
  • Guild reputation is on a per-character basis, so you'll have to gain rep for each character you have in the guild before you can buy rewards with it.

Guild Achievements

  • These will be integral to the reward and level systems. Completing one can unlock rewards as well as give the guild experience.
  • Guild achievements are earned and owned by the guild, so once it has it, it never goes away — even if all members who participated leave the guild.
  • When viewing a guild achievement it will display the members who participated in earning that achievement.
  • To earn a guild achievement you must have 7 of 10 or 20 of 25 players in the raid be members of your guild.

For me guild reputation and guild achievements are both a can of worms. Why? For a few reason. First, I think it means we are going to see folks who were on their fence about their guild (especially with the uncertainty around what the raiding changes will mean to their guild) may jump ship sooner rather than later. The idea being no one wants to "waste" those precious first few weeks/months of guild achievements in a guild they're not sure about. And not wanting to be the new guy with no guild rep somewhere a few months in to the expansion.

My other concern is guild achievements will become the new item to war over in guild splits. Once they are implemented, I worry that in a case where a guild split seems imminent, you could end up in a situation akin to a messy divorce — with one angry person with their finger on the hot button kicking out a bunch of players and keeping the guild achievements for themself, and thus starting a blood feud amongst players.

You may think that sounds like crazy talk, but if you've ever been in the midst of a large progressed raiding guild imploding, I can tell you it got nasty back in the day, and that's just when the MC BOEs in the guild's official bank alt's bags were all that was at stake. Personally, I love the spirit that is intended with it — reward players for sticking with a guild, and make the decision to bounce from guild-to-guild a herder one to make, by meaning folks will lose out on the perks their existing guild has earned.

So this one will go on my wait and see list. I will remain hopeful, and can't wait until BETA is in full swing and we start to see folks poking around with the many new guild-related changes.

What piqued your interest the most in this mega preview?

P.S. And if you haven't taken a look at it yet, check out the new zone preview up on Youtube. Stormwind in particular looks amazing.

Friday Five: Five Ways I’m Handling Pre-Cataclysm Burn-out

Another Friday, another Friday Five topic courtesy of Blog Azeroth, as suggested by @Jaedia…how my guild and I are handling the pre-expansion slump:

  1. Gave myself some new short-term goals. Like earning cash for the eventual worgen. And working on fishing for my hordies whenever the fishing daily is in Dalaran. Bite-sized goals, and little morsels of accomplishment.
  2. Cutting myself some slack. RL is incredibly busy at the moment. Thus, I'm only going to be able to do so much in my limited amount of playtime. So that's how it goes. I want to do more in game, including hard modes. But I also don't want to give work or friends the short end of the stick. And since I try to be a courteous person, I'm not going to sign up for raids I might not be able to make it home in time for due to the inevitable working late that's been happening.
  3. Working on getting alts to 80. I am making the most of every last drop of rested XP on my three 70+s to keep them moving slowly but surely towards 80. I make sure these lowbies do the cooking and fishing dailies and any holiday-related quests too. It's all good XP. And every bit counts at this level.
  4. Cutting back on the guild's raiding schedule. After weeks of watching our fearless 10-man scheduler scrape together runs, and watching some of them not go due to no shows, I broached the topic of killing our official 10 mans other than the Lich King runs or the hard modes. It wasn't an easy decision or one made lightly, but it was eventually what we decided. We went from 30 people or more per week t 14 or 15 signing up each week. It's time had come and gone.
  5. Accepting the slump as cyclical and inevitable. That's right. I gave up fighting and went into acceptance mode. It's Summer. And people are tired of ICC. And ready for the expansion. And there's nothing I or any of the Officers can do to change that. Once the weather turns cold, and the expansion promotion hits a fever pitch, things will pick up. They always do.

That's the whole unvarnished truth. I'e embraced the slump. I shall revel in the slump! I shall slog onward and get through the slump and emerge on the other side with a dozen 80s and conquer the World of Warcraft! Or something like that.

Happy Friday!

How to Get Entered into the Cataclysm BETA Guild Contest

Surely by now you've seen the announcement? Blizzard is looking for "a handful of guilds to join us in the beta test process." I know seeing it made me giddy.  But I'm not jumping in, because I'm not eligible, unless I recruit some of you to join my bank alt guild.

Who's Not Eligible

Me. Why? I don't meet the first criteria: I'm not a guild master in a guild with 10 or more members. And a lot of the folks I saw saying they were super excited to enter aren't either. And then there's the residency clause – some states have rules that make them less contest-friendly. Thus, residents of North Dakota, Vermont, Connecticut or Maryland, you are not eligible to participate.

If you're dying to enter and you're a resident of those states, and have been considering abdicating your power to someone else, remember us Californians are always a good pick — after all, Hollywood is the land of game shows giving all and sundry fabulous! prizes!


What You Need to Submit to Blizzard

This is a standard write an essay to win contest. Blizzard wants you to email with 50-250 words (i.e. more than a Yelp listing but less than a college essay) about why you think your guild would be the "perfect candidates for testing the limits of Cataclysm's content and systems"

Content-wise, you want to convince them that your guild would be
active in a BETA, has folks with varying interests and playstyles and
operating systems. After all, many of the changes in store for Cataclysm
revolve around a new guild interface, and with new guild-based
achievements. To test them out fully, they need to have teams of folks
who will actually get into the BETA play and *do stuff*.

So, if your guild is all on hiatus at the moment, and would rather be
boiled in hot oil than try out anything that has the potential to be
buggy, or wouldn't dream of submitting a bug report to Blizzard, you may
want to think twice about entering.

What You'll Win

Contest rules state they'll be picking 100 winning submissions from eligible participants each week for five weeks,  Monday, June 7th through Monday, July 12th. That's 500 guilds who'll have the chance. Well, 10 members each of 500 guilds.

The limited number of BETA keys means if you have 100+ active members, you'll want to think long and hard about what your distribution system will be. Officers first then an essay or other contest for the remaining slots perhaps? Duels in front of the capital city of your choice? First person to collect 10 murloc heads? It's up to you. But you'll want to know how you're going to pass them out *before* your guild's announced as a winner.

Hot to Make Your Submission Stand Out

Now, Blizzard's contest gives you a lot of leeway to be creative, if not a lot of word count. Those 50-250 words can be in the form of a song, or a poem. It can be a parody of something else. It can be in-character RP. Think about what would reflect the nature of your guild. And I didn't read anywhere that you couldn't have an illustrated accompaniment, though I am not sure they'd be too excited about file attachments.

Have fun with your submission and good luck! Crossing my finger that myself and many of my favorite folks in the blogosphere will get in some time to kick the tires in BETA.


P.S. Details above pertain to the United States version of the contest. I've seen information floating around about contests for other locales. Check your country or region's official forums for details.

Friday Five: 5 Ways I’m Getting Ready for Cataclysm

Today's Friday Five inspired by the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic suggested by Nexdominus.

  1. With the help of guildies and some awesome WoW tweeps, I made myself a fancy bank alt guild. It also doubles as a place my Alliance friends can come hang out on new lowbie hordlings. We've got candy! And cobra pets in the bank! You know you want to reroll!
  2. I'm making myself some bags for my goblin hunter. And trying to decide what profession she'll have. I still lack a Blacksmith so that's tempting. 
  3. I've been looking into friendly places to make my worgens since I'm not sure how active my Alliance server/guild will be in the expansion. Right now it seems my entire Alliance guild (those that are left here) are on hiatus. And the server as a whole doesn't seem to be as active as my horde server is. WTB Alliance server!
  4. I cleaned out my bags across all my characters. Even the ones I don't play on my old horde server. Leveling=need moar room in bags! 
  5. Last and most expensively, I am working on maxing out all of my professions. Yes, if history is repeated, they will add some easier skill up recipes in the expansion to get folks past the last 25 or so points of their profession. But that will cost new materials that I know I will want to be spending on learning shiny new skill points above 450!

BONUS: As previously noted herein, I completed my motorbike tour of Azeroth, thus earning the World Explorer achievement. Those screenshots will get to go in the scrapbook of memories once things are torn asunder.

How about you? What're you doing to get prepared for Cataclysm?

Cataclysm to Take iLvl Out of the Mix for Deciding What Raid Size to Seat

If you were on twitter yesterday morning, you'd have thought the sky was falling. I was pre-coffee and pre-reading anything on MMO Champion or WoW Insider, so it took me a little while to decipher why there was 25 man raider versus 10 man raider sniping going on amongst my normally civil twitter reading list.

Lots of sniping that 25-man raiders weren't such special snowflakes. Other sniping that 10-man raiders were ruining WoW. People predicting their 25-man guilds would be falling apart. Pure chaos. And totally reminiscent of when Blizzard told us our 40-man raids were going by the wayside for Burning Crusade.

First, the Facts

  • 10- and 25- man raids in Cataclysm will share
    the same lockout.

    There should be no circumstances under which you kill a boss more than once per week on the same character. However, in the same way that you can decide on a per-boss basis whether to try normal vs. hard mode, we might allow you to change between 10 and 25 on a per-encounter basis for additional flexibility. If you started a raid in 25-player mode and then found that you couldn’t get everyone together later in the week, you might be able to downsize the next few bosses to 10-player.
  • 10- and 25- man bosses will drop the exact same items.
    We're designing and balancing raids so that the
    difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be
    as close as possible to each other as we can achieve. That closeness in
    difficulty also means that we'll have bosses dropping the same items in
    10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They'll have the same name
    and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items.
  • 25-man bosses will drop a higher quantity of loot, but not quality.
    We of course recognize the logistical realities of organizing larger groups of people, so while the loot quality will not change, 25-player versions will drop a higher quantity of loot per player (items, but also badges, and even gold), making it a more efficient route if you're able to gather the people.


Now, My Thoughts on the Changes

The disparity between iLvl loot meant that many guilds that had great progress on 10-man content, and meh progress on 25s still felt obligated to cobble together 25-mans every week, even if for only a few bosses, to keep their players from falling behind in the gearscore gap. These changes will mean that successful 25-man guilds will gear up a bit faster than those doing 10s only, but that 10s will finally be able to be viable for guilds as a primary raid offer, without fear of losing their more ambitious raiders to 25s. Folks will be able to choose their raid size based on what is most appealing to them without the iLvl quandary thrown into the mix.

For a guild like mine, which any given week was able to field one night of 25s, 2 nights of official 10s, and up to a half dozen 10-man alt runs, I think there will be some interesting possibilities. Those of us who were used to running 25 and 10s each week now have a gift of time since we will have to pick one or the other to do. What will we do with it? I bet it means we'll work on those beloved alts more. At the start of WotLK I had 2 raiding mains, which was not optimal as they had to swap out for each other in 1 raid ID. But if they'd each been able to gear up and be played, that could have worked out longer term.

But more alts in raiding can be a tricky proposition. It will work if we all agree upon solid requirements for the raids overall — and make the alts stick to them. It won't work if only the couple of official raids use them and the rest of the time it's a free-for-all. Some weeks, we might have enough people who want to raid on a given night to do a 25. Other weeks we might not. So if my 10-man team has been making great progress, why shouldn't I bring a different toon to the 25-man since I can't do both on my "main"? Which raid takes precedence? Who gets to make the choice? Will anyone even have a main anymore?

I have lots of questions at this point, and not so many answers. But overall, I think this will be a positive change for casual guilds that have struggled to fill 25s but had good success with 10s. It will keep the altoholics among us happy and busy (and playing those alts more in raids will probably also make us better at playing them.) And besides, how can we pursue archaeology if we're raiding 5 nights per week?

The sky didn't fall when we slimmed down to 25s from 40s with the launch of BC, though it did give folks the freedom to vote with their feet and find smaller guilds and other raiding teams to join. I'm cautiously optimistic that once Blizzard figures out the details, and we all have some time to reflect upon them, we'll determine our own paths for adjusting to these changes and getting our raids together.

Safe travels adventurers!

More Reading

Get some additional POVs on the changes from these fine folks:

How do you think it will affect your guild?

Friday Five: Twitter Dev Chat Qs for the Class Designers

There's another WoW Developers BlizzChat happening on Twitter this Friday today from 5-6 PM PST with the class design team. Here are 5 questions I hope to see answered:

  1. Shadow Priests are losing some of their unique utility; what else is planned to enhance them, other than shadow orbs?
  2. Will a shadow priest be able to use Leap of Faith while in shadow form?
  3. Mind Spike as a nuke is great. What will keep shadow priests from spamming it non-stop, akin to warlocks and shadowbolt spam in BC?
  4. Preventing DoT clipping will make shadow priests and affliction locks easier to play. Was that an overall goal for many of your class changes; lower barrier to excelling?
  5. Are the announced level 80+ abilities intended for all players of a class, or will they be tied to specific talent trees?

What are the questions you have ready to ask in 140 characters or less tonight?

Friday Five: Cataclysm Priest Class Changes Reactions

  1. Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or "Life Grip") is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can't seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

    Oh yeah, baby! I can pull back those sassy tanks if they let a mob get loose. Or I can bribe the mages to pull them out of whatever it is they seem to stand and die in, in exchange for a permanent lock on their Focus Magic. Mwhahahaha.

  2. All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).

    No more rethinking your rotation flow as your haste fluctuates. It wasn't a huge deal, but I suppose it's part of simplifying the play style that they are doing for all the classes.

  3. Preventing dot clipping is something we want to do in general. It obviously benefits Shadow priests just as much as warlocks.

    For some reason, they didn't include in the priest changes this tidbit from the lock changes: When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how Everlasting Affliction currently works. Presumably this means they are doing this for DoTs in general, not just warlocks. Thus, again, they're trying to make the rotation easier, and less affected by how well you can time your re-up casts. Another nod towards making it easier to do well as a SP, regardless of your quickness or your lag.

  4. Mind Spike (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn't have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don't intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown.

    It will be interesting to see if this plays out as intended (as a nice boost for smacking around adds) or if Shadow Priests, like warlocks in BC who stood around spamming shadowbolt, are just going to nuke with this. Probably depends upon the mana cost.
  5. Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can't have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

    I suppose this will be nice for running away from things. Except my cast bar is already full. Even before adding Mind Spike to it. So I suppose I'll have to make a macro for swapping to it then swapping back to Inner Fire, and assign it a key. I'm just a little underwhelmed is all. It's a nice to have but not a ZOMG how awesome!

For the full round-up, check out MMO Champion's Priest Changes post.

I'm not excited about the addition of shadow orbs (Casting spells grants a chance for Shadow Orbs to be created that fly around you and increase your shadow damage. This will help lower-level characters feel more like "Shadow priests" before they obtain Shadowform.). I have orbs on my shaman. I didn't need them on my shadow priest.

And by removing our misery hit debuff, they bring all of us casters closer together with less unique utility/abilities. So that, in their words, "In general we're going to push even harder in Cataclysm for bringing people you like to play with, not bringing people who have awesome buffs. The answer to almost every question of "But why would they bring me?" should be "Because you know what the hell you're doing." Which I thought was what they said when they made all the WotLK class changes… 🙂 At least some things stay the same