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Archive for July, 2009

I said a few days ago when the Hunter Q&A was out that I’d be doing a piece on my personal take on it. I should have wrote this a few days ago but alas, here it is.

There are certain aspects of the Hunter class that are really emphasized in the Q&A. A lot of the issues brought up are ones that I and a lot of other hunters are aware of and are concerned about. For a start, Beast Mastery is too low at the moment even in regards to it’s more simplistic play style and that needs to be addressed. The concern however is that if a signature shot is put into the BM tree, it will just play similarily to MM and SV with just swapping Chimera Shot/Explosive Shot with BM Shot. The other route to take would be to buff BM pets, but then that raises the concern of them being too tough in PvP but also gives the problem of losing most of your dps in PvE encounters when your pet dies. A tough one to call indeed.

Ammo is also another item of keen interest at the moment so it’s not surprising to see it raised in the Q&A. It’s nice to find out that the delay is a technical issue rather than a design issue. I think they have very clear ideas about what they want to do with Ammo (something extremely similar to something myself and many other hunters suggested nearly 3 years ago on the main forums (I would link the post but it’s been buried and lost to the nether)) and it’s a change I welcome. I can understand why they’d be reluctant as it would be another Hunter only item. Most ranged weapons are itemized just for Hunters, so to include another Hunter only item on loot tables could be a concern. With that said however, many other classes whore the loot tables with stuff that can only be used by them (I’m looking at you healy Plate gear). I’m looking forward to the change so it’s nice to see it discussed again.

The Hunter “Dead Zone” was brought up aswell. I personally don’t know why they brought this up because it’s not a problem. Like Ghostcrawler mentioned, there used to be an actual dead zone of 3 yards where we couldn’t melee or do ranged dps. Now however, it’s ranged or melee. I think the solution isn’t to let us use ranged attacks in the melee zone, but rather give us a few more melee attacks centered around escaping and getting to a more comfortable distance. This is purely in the interests of balancing us for PvP and Arena, as there’s a serious under representation of Hunters there. An interesting idea might be to give us a skill that removes the lower bound of distance required by ranged attacks to 0 for our next attack or 10 seconds. Give it a minute cooldown or something and it won’t affect the PvE game.

One of the question’s response did surprise me a little. When asked about the possibility of moving Hunters away from mana, it seems like there’s going to be a discussion on this at Blizzcon. Mana has been an issue for Hunters for a very long while and this isn’t the first time Hunters and Energy have been discussed together. Back before the game even shipped and was on beta, Hunters were originally planned to have Energy. As we all know however, Hunters were given mana. I’m looking forward to the Blizzcon discussion on this subject.

They also skip over how they feel that Hunters are too cooldown limited. As a Survival Hunter, I know this more than any of the other specs so can certainly agree. Haste really only affects Auto Shot and Steady Shot so it can feel like a wasted stat at times. With that said however, it’s needed to hit the soft cap on the Steady Shot to allow room on the Explosive Shot cooldown, inadvertantly propping up our dps. Haste feels important but also rubbish at the same time. This is another thing that’s getting discussed at Blizzcon.

One final thing that does look good is that they’re finally going to revamp the Pet bar. They should be adding in a lot more available slots on the Pet bar which will be extremely beneficial. They also plan on sorting out abilities that are swapping to auto cast (such as cower) that made leveling extremely annoying. They also discuss the possibilities of doing away with the Stables and having a more Warlock based pet system, something we’re pretty close to already anyway.

I think Blizzard have done well with the whole Q&A series, and I think it’s been beneficial for both Blizzard and the players. I feel like there’s a more distinct direction with the class and it’s nice to see that Blizzard have the same concerns as many of the players. I think Blizzcon this year will be exceptionally interesting.

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Finally the Hunter Q&A is out. I’m going to post a copy of it here but I’ll be giving my two cents about it shortly.

Hunter Q&A with Ghostcrawler and the World of Warcraft Community Team

Community Team: We’d like start this Q&A off by asking a question that players of all classes often ask in regard to the very purpose of their class. In this case, we’re looking specifically at the hunter.

Q: Where do hunters fit into the larger scope of things currently and where do we see them going from this point forward?

A: We solved a lot of perennial hunter problems in Wrath of the Lich King, from the shot clipping problems of Steady Shot, to bringing Survival back to life, and making pet choice and training a lot more meaningful and hopefully enjoyable. Going forward we have several objectives we still want to accomplish. We want to make sure hunters in PvP are as good in Arenas as they are in Battlegrounds. We think their damage is sufficient, so we want to focus on their survival and crowd control. We want to make sure their PvE utility is as good as their dps (especially making traps live up to their potential for crowd control). We want to resolve what a hunter is supposed to do in melee (Raptor Strike? Disengage?).

We want to clean up some of the clunkiness that still exists around pet control (both the UI itself and what the pet does on the battlefield). We think hunters have a good niche as the only real ranged damage-dealer that focuses on (mostly) physical damage based on a weapon rather than cast-time based spells. We just want to make sure they live up to that niche.

Q: It was stated that we had intended to remove consumable ammunition from the game for patch 3.1.0, However, due to certain functionality not being ready in time, the change was put on hold. Is there any new information in regards to the functionality of non-consumable ammunition, and also a possible estimate as to when hunters may expect to see these changes implemented?

A: From a technical standpoint, what happened is that the quiver is considered a bag just like other bags on the character but also, most critically, those in the bank. In order to remove ammo we would have to move the location of all of a character’s bank slots on the database that stores all of the World of Warcraft characters, which would be a risky thing to do in the middle of an expansion, and could result in “missing stuff” issues if something went wrong. It was just one of those last-minute show-stoppers.

We still want to make ammo more of a gear choice than a consumable. We’re not sure if this would be as simple as getting the 125 dps arrows to upgrade your 120 dps arrows, or if you would do things like swap between your fire and poison arrows??? but that kind of thing is definitely on the table.
I’m not sure when we can do it right. It’s not going to be for 3.2 unfortunately.

Q: On the topic of hunter ammunition, currently, it becomes quite expensive for hunters to purchase Mammoth Cutters and Saronite Razorheads, especially given how much many hunters use in a given week. Are there any plans to reduce the cost, by potentially looking into the materials required to craft both types of ammunition?

A: The problem with upgrading hunter ammo currently is how we work the progression. We don’t want to drop ammo on bosses for what I hope are obvious reasons so long as they are consumed. We need to have ammo improve as other gear improves, however, or the hunter overall starts to fall behind. Therefore there has to be some barrier that stops freshly leveled hunters from getting the best ammo while letting cutting-edge hunters procure it. In Burning Crusade, we handled this through a reputation grind, but it still wasn’t a very satisfying answer. In Wrath of the Lich King, we went with Engineer-crafted ammo and more recently changed the way ranged weapons scaled so that they would keep improving even if the ammo did not.

For 3.2 we lowered the cost of the ammo quite a bit — only 4 gold for a stack to manufacture. If you were paying 50 gold a night, that should drop to say 16 gold a night. Long-term this won’t be a problem because arrows won’t be consumed.

Q: While we had previously reduced the range of the hunter’s dead zone, it’s still brought up as a concern. Is it possible to remove the dead zone completely? If this is not something under current consideration, what are the current design philosophies and balance reasons behind keeping this particular mechanic in-game?

A: It’s possible to do so technically, but something we aren’t likely to do. Personally I think calling the current implementation a dead zone is just confusing and trying to sell the problem as worse than it is. Back in the day there was an actual distance at which neither ranged nor melee attacks would work – it was a dead zone. Currently there is just a minimum range for most ranged attacks. The way we want the hunter to work is that when you get into min range with the hunter, then the hunter needs to switch to melee, or more likely escape back to ranged distance again. We certainly don’t want the hunter to unload with both melee and ranged attacks at once – that might make them operate better at melee than range. Casters by contrast don’t have to do this, though it is often in their best interest to do so since their cast can get delayed or even interrupted by melee attacks. You can argue it’s goofy to be firing bows or rifles at point-blank range, but really it gets more into how we want the hunter (and all ranged weapon attacks) to work.

I’ll add that the melee attack issue for hunters themselves is something we keep discussing. While we are unlikely to go back to a melee-focused build for hunters, we might consider a model where hunters don’t run away most of the time but switch to melee attacks – perhaps even a single punishing attack on a cooldown before the hunter Disengaged or whatever. This would be one of those things that helped hunters feel more different than actual magic casters, and might make them care about melee weapons as more than stat sticks. Additional feedback from the community on this sort of thing would be appreciated.

Q: Would we consider allowing auto-shoot to work while moving? If there aren’t plans for that specific change, is there anything in the works that will assist hunter dps in fights where a great deal of movement becomes necessary?

A: Moving should feel like a penalty. We don’t want ranged attackers constantly circle strafing FPS-style because it confers a defensive advantage without giving up an offensive one. Moving is supposed to be bad and how you handle it is a test of your skill. We do give instant cast spells to some classes, but it should always be a dps loss when they have to focus on these exclusively. We would consider giving hunters another way to pull off an instant shot or beef up their dots, but we would want to make sure these would only be used in true long-distance movement situations. What I mean by that is we think we’ve possibly already gone too far towards balancing the Arena around instant attacks that can’t be countered before they go off.

Q: Are there any long term plans to possibly removing the need for hunters to rely on a different resource system then mana?

A: I hate to do this to you, but this is a great BlizzCon question. For these Q&As, we’d like to keep the focus on each class’s current status and short-term plans, but at BlizzCon we’ll be happy to go into some more detail on our long-term vision for them.

Q: Are there any plans to increase the benefit hunters gain from haste?

A: There are two ways to answer this question. The more general one, which applies to all classes, is that we want haste to be a useful stat. Rogues, warriors, and some casters like it currently, and we need to get it there for everyone. As I have said in several of the Q&As, some stats have just fallen away from some specs even though they routinely appears on your gear. Sometimes this happens because talents prop up other stats so much that instead of being more attractive, they feel mandatory, and the ones that aren’t supported go from sub-optimal to junk status. We need the ability to put a variety of stats on your gear. We don’t want there to be an uber stat for anyone that trumps everything else to the point at which you don’t even look at the other stats. Gear is supposed to be a choice. I’ll say again that I think the online community sometimes focuses too much on the best-in-slot mentality, to the extent at which they consider everything except those BiS items to be worth skipping over. Remember, if it improves your dps, it’s an upgrade, even if another item would improve it more. That sounds so obvious, but I think there is a tendency for some players to stop thinking that way.

Now for hunters specifically, we think the class is just too cooldown limited, which creates problems with haste. We’ve driven in that direction in order to give hunters a more interesting rotation, and to be fair, we feel like we’ve done that. But being cooldown limited isn’t necessarily a fun way for the class to play and we think it’s one of those things that makes hunters feel more like casters than like ranged-weapon users. (Hunters are casters in the sense that they’re ranged dps, but we still want the emphasis to be on the gun or bow.) More on this at BlizzCon, too.

Q: How do we feel about the current state of stings? Are there any improvements planned for the way stings work, such as removing them from a shared global cooldown (GCD)? Are there current plans to improve individual stings?

A: The best way to describe stings is we want them to feel like warlock curses. They should be a meaningful part of your rotation and something you should want to keep up. We understand that some of the stings are much more attractive than others (though to be fair, curses have a similar problem) and we need to make the less-popular stings more useful or just end up cutting them. We aren’t likely to remove any damage-dealing ability from the GCD and we’ve even taken a second look at whether we have removed too many defensive abilities from the GCD. It’s there for a reason, particularly in a client-server based game with inherent Internet lag.

Q: Beast Mastery falls behind Marksmanship and Survival in regards to DPS, especially when the pet dies, due to how much damage comes from the pet when specialized in the Beast Mastery talent tree. Do we have plans to bring the potential damage the Beast Mastery tree offers to be more on par with what’s currently possible with Survival and Marksmanship?

A: Ideally, we want Beast Mastery to be able to do competitive damage with Survival and Marksmanship. Realistically with dps classes, it’s a math problem, and one tree nearly always edges out the other ones in most situations. That doesn’t mean we stop trying, but it also means we have to be realistic about what it will take to really get the specs to within 1% dps of each other, which is sometimes the point I fear we’d need to hit.

The buffs to Catlike Reflexes and Wild Hunt were intended to boost Beast Mastery a little without causing every hunter in the game to swing back to Beast Mastery the way they all swung to Survival a few patches ago. We don’t necessarily like buffing Beast Mastery through the pet all the time. However, Beast Mastery also doesn’t have a signature attack like Chimera or Explosive Shot. At the same time, we don’t necessarily want to give them one because then Arcane Shot risks just vanishing from the hunter rotation. But, we can’t just buff Arcane Shot (unless it is very deep in Beast Mastery) because Survival and Marks use that too. See the problem? Ultimately the tree is supposed to be about pets, so we would rather make the pet easier to control and give the hunter ways to get the pet out of trouble so that they don’t face the profound dps loss of pet death. And even then, having a pet that is 50% or more of your dps is always going to have design problems, so we can’t go overboard. Beast Mastery and Demonology (and even the Unholy death knight) are going to be at a greater loss when their pet dies. That’s just the cost of having a more powerful pet.

Q: In regards to the survivability to hunter pets are there plans to make additional improvements? The resilience change should help somewhat in PvP, however in end-game PvE environments, the hunter’s pet can die pretty easily, especially given the specific encounter. One suggestion made by many hunters was to add a passive ability that healed the hunter’s pet when the hunter received a heal from a party or raid member.

A: Honestly, we aren’t happy with some of the current solutions to keeping pets alive. In particular, the area damage avoidance mechanics just don’t work well. They are frustrating for other players in a PvP setting when Bladestorm or Arcane Explosion can’t really hurt pets, and they don’t keep pets alive on a 5 million damage Mimiron missile. What we really need is a system where certain PvE attacks just don’t hurt the pet (maybe they can’t set off Mimiron mines for instance). We don’t want players to have to pay the price because the pet AI is in fact just an AI. This is something we’re working on.

We’d rather not have to come up with additional mechanics needed to heal pets or keep them alive. We’d rather just the pet didn’t die in situations where a player that can make intelligent choices wouldn’t have died. Hunters do have abilities to heal or rez pets, and those ideally should be sufficient.

Q: As a follow-up to the previous question, do we have plans to make it easier for the hunter to bring a dead pet back to life, such as reducing the casting time of the base ability?

A: We talk about this a lot, but the trade off would be a much more fragile pet. In some ways we think a system might work better where the pets were easy to kill, especially in PvP, but the hunter (or warlock) could bring them back say every 30 seconds or so without a huge loss to personal dps. But in that situation, we would nerf pet health quite a bit so that the pets would crumple quickly when focused. The death knight (especially with an unglyphed Ghoul) works a little more like this currently – they have like 12K health without the glyph. But to make this change we would have to solve the PvE pet-gibbing mechanics referenced above.

To be clear, this is a hypothetical different model than I’ve been talking about in the rest of this Q&A. I don’t want to confuse anyone by saying pets should both be hard to kill and hard to rez, and easy to kill and easy to rez.

Q: The Cunning pet-type was originally designed to be optimal for PvP use, however, most hunters feel that the Cunning pet-type falls short. How do we feel about the current state of what Cunning pets are offering, and are there any current plans to make improvements?

A: We made an effort in 3.1 to get the Cunning pets up to speed by giving them talents like Roar of Sacrifice, and normalizing all of the pet stats so that Cunning pets had the same stats as the other two types, modified by pet talents. Crabs are still fairly popular and they probably should be a Cunning pet given their crowd control ability, but the carapace also made them feel like they should be able tanks. And selfishly, I had no problem with seeing a lot of crab pets. (No, I’m not serious.)

This is something we would love to see more feedback on. Hunters in the online community tend to focus a lot on overall PvE dps or overall PvP survival and not get too much into pet comparisons. Someone theorycrafts the best pet and then hunters just go and get it instead of discussing what the other pets would need to be more competitive. To be fair, there is some of that discussion, but it’s not always easy to find, and I have looked. It’s not super high priority given some of the other hunter design issues we’re looking at, but we do want pets to be a choice.

Q: Due to the number of abilities available to hunters, many level 80 players have expressed concerns in regards to placing all necessary abilities on their action bars. Are there any improvements coming that will assist hunters with this particular issue?

A: We recognize this as a problem. We need to get more buttons off of the bar. We made some progress with streamlining say tracking and aspects, but we’re not there yet.

Q: Additionally, do we plan to expand upon the number of pet action bar slots? Due to the current number of slots available for pets, hunters frequently have to swap pet abilities in and out of their spell/ability book.

A: Yes, we definitely want to do this. The whole pet bar needs a little work. There are still some bugs relating to which abilities can be moved on or off the bar and whether they default to autocast or not. We want the bar to work much more like character action bars.

Q: Are there any plans to allow Tranquilizing Shot to play a larger role in the hunter’s arsenal?

A: Consider that on the one hand this ability just used to be for Magmadar, and on the other hand I just acknowledged above that hunters have a lot of abilities to manage. Given that, we don’t really want Tranquilizing Shot to be in your rotation like Steady Shot or even Kill Shot. It’s a bit situational, and we’re fine with that. We did make some recent efforts to make Enrages feel more like a major mechanic that you’d want to dispel the way you dispel magic and other effects.

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SDC10093In my last post I talked about the possibilities of the Worgen and Goblins being new playable races in the next expansion. It seemed more likely because they showed up as having new Halloween masks sneaking in with 3.2. It turns out however, that a few more Halloween Masks have been added to the files since the original discovery. So, what does this mean?

1. New Halloween Masks.

It could be that Blizzard are just adding in new Halloween Masks and it turned out that the Goblin and Worgen ones were done before the others, so they got snuck in early.We’ve just been over analysing every thing and they really are just new masks.

2. Blizzard are bluffing.

Perhaps Blizzard saw the blogosphere erupt when the masks were discovered and are trying to cover their tracks by planting in more masks. It’s entirely possible that this is the case considering this is the first time a female Orge has been given an in game texture… and it’s been copy and pasted from the WoW Art book. It also has some inequalities as a texture. I’m not entirely sure that that texture could be used as is. Blizzard are trying to bluff us and cover their tracks so as to save the big announcement for the upcoming Blizzcon.

3. Double bluff.

Maybe they’re trying to make us think that they’re bluffing us, when in actual fact, there either aren’t any new races or we’re going to be playing Murlocs in a years time. Just a thought.

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A few days ago it would have been just mere speculation to suggest that Goblins and Worgen would be playable races in the next expansion. Today however, there’s a bit more to it than just speculation. In the latest PTR Build, four new Halloween Masks were added to the game files of a male and female Goblin and a male and female Worgen. The masks have only ever been of the playable races in the game, so this is definately something to take note of; and the idea of them being playable races isn’t actually too outlandish.

The next expansion will be about the Maelstrom, and convenience has it that that’s where the Goblin City of Undermine is nearby. It’s likely that the Horde will get the Goblins and the Alliance will get the Worgen as that makes the most sense lore-wise. The Horde already have plenty of Goblins sitting about in their cities and running the zeppelins. The Horde also don’t have a “small” race so Goblins will certainly fill that tiny gap. The Worgen could fit in with the Alliance I guess considering they are humans, and maybe they’ve become more civilised since being stuck behind Greymane Wall. It is still speculation, but certainly looks a little more likely.

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My 100th Post

Well, I’ve finally reached 100 posts. Technically this is my 103rd post, but there are 3 posts sitting as drafts somewhere. Maybe as a treat I’ll finish them off or something…

Instead, I’ve decided to set up a Tumblr account and blog. I’ve just spent the last hour or so tinkering with the HTML to make it look vaguely like this blog. The resemblance isn’t staggering to be honest but there’s still work I can do to it. This should be my first post on my Tumblr account (other than my test post) although it’s my 100th here. Rather good timing don’t you think. Anyway, my posting here shall continue and my Tumblr blog will just pick up an RSS feed of these posts. Although completely pointless (great, I have the same posts on two blogs), Tumblr recieves a lot more traffic, making the whole blogging experience more gratifying somehow.

Anyway, here’s to 100 more!

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EDIT: Thanks to Dsauns for noticing the emblem I missed from CoS. The post has been editted appropriately. I have also moved the route around slightly. I believe this new route can’t be beaten. I have also editted the Emblem totals as the drops from the normal version of the new dungeon and the dailies has changed.

EDIT: Just seen the feature on WoW.com! I’ve had a few comments regarding the Oculus and after checking it does indeed drop 4 emblems instead of 3, so I have editted the post accordingly.

As promised yesterday, here is my post on what I believe to be the quickest way around Northrend to pick up the full amount of Emblems. I realised that in my post yesterday I made a slight mistake in saying that the amount of Emblems available from Heroics is 47. I completely forgot to take into account the Emblems available from the Trial of the Crusader (the new 5 man, doh!) and also miscounted elsewhere, so I believe the figure to be at 54. The Heroic version will drop 3. Let’s begin!

heroicsRoute2

This is the map I’ll be using (a larger version can be found here). The basic premise for this is to have the most efficient route possible. The problem however is that many places; such as Coldara and Utgarde Keep, are well out of the way. This in my opinion is one of the quickest routes to get around, so let’s break it down.

We should start off by travelling back in time to the Culling of Stratholme and should go there from Dalaran. Doing this means that we can hearth back to Dalaran afterwards to allow our Hearth Stone time to come off cooldown sooner. If you are in a good group, getting 5 Emblems here shouldn’t be a problem, otherwise you might have to settle with 4 Emblems if you can’t pull off the timed run. Once you’ve finished forcing Mal’ganis into submission, it’s time to go back to Dalaran for Violet Hold. It’s a relatively easy Heroic and will allow you to get 3 more Emblems without too much hassle. Once done, you should be up to 8 emblems in total!

After CoS and the Violet Hold, just take a quick trip over to visit the Nerubians at Ahn’kahet and Azjol Nerub. Azjol Nerub is by far the easiest of the two (did a very quick 11 minute run of it recently) and will bag you 3 easy emblems. Once you’re done with Azjol Nerub, Ahn’kahet is just next door. It is one of the harder Heroics in Wrath, but there are 5 more Emblems up for grabs, along with a 22g Daily quest for the place. Another 8 emblems added to the total brings you up to 16 already! Good job!

After dealing with the Nerubians, it’s time to head over to Coldara and get The Nexus and Oculus out of the way. The Oculus is one of the most irritatingly annoying Heroics at the moment, but with the drakes adjusting with your average iLevel, it should be a bit less annoying next patch. The Oculus will give you the next 4. The Nexus is just down stairs from the Oculus and will bag you an easy 5 emblems, bringing your total up to 25.

It’s now time to hearth back to Dalaran to stock up on ammo, food and reagents before setting off to prove your worth at the Coliseum. Once you’re done stocking up and repairing, head over to the Tournament Grounds in Icecrown. Here you can run the Trial of the Crusader in Heroic mode bagging yourself 3 Emblems giving you another 3. This takes you to 28.

From here just fly on over to Stormpeaks to traverse both the Halls. Completing the Halls of Stone will give you 4 Emblems to start with. I personally don’t like the Halls of Stone as it was one of my first Heroics. Nothing quite sets you up for hating an instance more than trying for difficult achievements whilst being severly undergeared. Maybe it’s just me, I’m sure someone out there loves the place. Anyway, Halls of Lightning will also give you another 4, bringing the total up to 36. Not too shabby!

After the Halls, you have the oppurtunity to repair again with the vendors just outside the instance entrances. Once you’re done filling your bags with ammo (I feel I’ve mentioned this before…), head on over to Gundrak. This is another fairly easy Heroic; even if the last boss can be a little unpredictable, you can get another 5 Emblems. It’s well worth going out of the way for it as it takes the total up to 41!

From here it’s a short journey over to Drak Tharon Keep. This is another instance I love but I also hate. I love it because it is so easy and the bosses are a little different, but I also hate it for the fact the King Dred just didn’t drop that trinket when I needed it. Even though the place is so easy, you’ll still be awarded 4 Emblems. This takes us up to 45 in total.

Now it’s time for the last trip of the journey, down into the depths of the Howling Fjord. Here are another two instances for you to milk for Emblems. The first should be Utgarde Keep itself as it’s the easiest of the two. It’s a fairly straightforward Heroic and I know I’ve run the place in well under 20 minutes. This gives you another 3 Emblems. Finally we have Utgarde Pinnacle, regarded as one of the harder Heroics, even giving you an oppurtunity to leave with a shiny Proto Drake. Even still, persistance should let you get another 4 Emblems. This will bring your daily total up to 54!

The Normal Daily also rewards another Emblem, bringing your final total to 54!

From a full days instancing, you can bag yourself 54 Emblems of Conquest, just short of a shiny piece of Tier 8.5. Also doing all the Heroics should also bag you 2 Emblems of Triumph from the Heroic instance daily. If you keep this up for a few days, you’ll be geared enough to play with the big boys… and you’ll be in need of some time away from your computer.

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EmbConqIt’s no secret at all that Heroics will be attracting a lot more activity next patch due to the bosses dropping the current top tier of emblems. This is going to be a big help to many guilds and players across the entire board. Hardcore raiders are going  to be able to pick up that one piece that just won’t drop and casuals are going to have an oppurtunity to play catch up to some degree. There’s a fair amount of moaning from the hardcores in particularly, but I don’t see how their moaning can actually be justified. Allowing players to catch up is a great way to get those dedicated players who might have been late to Wrath get the gear and join in with the big guys, rather than just being dismissed outrightly because of their gear and overlooking their skill.

On the flipside, you can’t get a complete set of the latest gear from emblems alone. Emblems of Conquest only give you access to the Tier 8.5 Chest and Helmet. You can also only get a Belt, Necklace and Gloves at iLevel 226 with the Emblems, that still leaves 10 slots or so of gear to fill. Raiders will still have such a headstart on the new content over players who have just picked up this gear from trading in Emblems. Ofcourse you can always trade down to Valor or Heroism Emblems to pick up those filler pieces, but even still, they’ll be a few levels of content behind. Not only will the rest of the raiders’ gear be up to scratch, the new players will also have to spend some time to get the Emblems. And if my math and method is correct, there are only 47 Emblems available just from Heroics.

Getting all 47 every day until you have everything you want is going to be a bit of a time drain and probably a headache with some Heroics (I’m looking at you Oculus (although the changes to the drakes will help things)). I’ll be posting something tomorow to hopefully outline the quickest way to get around all of the Heroics in the quickest time possible.

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