Archive for August, 2009

Firstly, I’d like to say thanks to wow.com and all the other blogs that linked to this blog about my Emblem route. I didn’t expect to see my post on wow.com and it’s nice to be recognized. Also, I’d like to apologize for my lack of posting. The patch has somewhat occupied most some of my time. Anyway, on with my post.

tirion1After having to wait an extra 11 hours of maintenance on patch day (I hate being on Cyclone), I was finally able to log in and see the Coliseum in all its glory. There’s a real sense of buzzing activity at the Coliseum; not only from the large amount of NPCs there, but also the hordes of players. It’s been a good while (since the Sunwell) that there was an added quest hub that also housed the latest end game dungeons. One of the first things I did when I logged on (other than spending my 72nd talent point), was to get a group together for the Trial of the Champion.

Seeing that my guild is Ulduar geared, we went straight for the Heroic mode without reading any tactics. I had read about the bosses in passing on wow.com and other blogs but I never delved deep enough to look for the tactics. I’ll say now that it was because I didn’t want it ruined; not for the fact I’m lazy. We got a group together and headed in (once we realised which entrance was the right one).

I already had in my mind that it would be on par with how Magister’s Terrace was when it was added late in TBC. I was expecting something challenging but also some creative boss fights. I was expecting it to be a step up from the current Heroics and dungeons and give us competent raiders something complicated to enjoy. Oh, how I was disappointed.

To actually get the instance going, you have to endure a 3 minute or so introduction of your group to the on-looking crowd. I wouldn’t mind if it did this on your first time there, but doing it every single time gets a bit wearing. The first boss is a jousting related boss. You first have to fight 3 waves of 3 adds on horseback. Once dispatched, you then have to fight 3 of the opposing faction’s Champions, also on horseback. A lot of people moaned about the jousting boss but to be fair, it is the coliseum after all. What would the point of those dailies had been if we never had to use them in a dungeon of some kind? Once you have bested them on horseback, you then have to make the transition to normal combat of tanking, healing and dpsing. The transition is actually the hardest part of the entire fight as even good groups can make a sloppy transition. This phase is mostly a tank and spank and even if you do wipe, you can run in, buff up and start from the last phase.

The second boss/bosses starts with 3 sets of 3 adds. You can also get one of two bosses; either Eadric the Pure or Argent Confessor Paleteress. Once the 3 waves are down you then enter combat with the boss. Eadric the Pure is a fairly easy boss and is mostly a tank and spank fight. He does occasionally cast a radiating light that requires you to turn your character away from looking at him. If you do see the light, it dazes you and causes you to lose control of your character for a short while. He can also throw his hammer at you after stunning you. Other than those 2 abilities, he’s fairly easy.

Paleteress however had so much promise to be an interesting encounter. After you get her low enough, she casts a memory and makes you fight one of the many (25 in total) previous bosses in WoW. When I read about this boss originally I thought that we would have to fight a scaled down version of that boss with it’s abilities and use the appropriate tactics. If for example you had Hakkar, there would also be some Sons of Hakkar in the room and you would have to get yourself poisoned for the life leech. However, instead of doing this, Blizzard essentially just gave us a boss with the same abilities but with existing skins. No matter what the nightmare looks like, it requires the same tactic of nuking and not a lot else. Once killed, you just need to dps her down.

The last boss in here is the Black Knight. If you’re familiar with the Coliseum, you will probably have already done the quests involving the Black Knight. Well, he returns in this dungeon and interupts your applause from the crowd to be one final unexpected test. Of course, he’s actually fairly easy. There are 3 phases and none of them are particularly difficult. Once he’s finally killed, that’s it.

I know for sure that I’m not the only one feeling disappointed by this instance. It’s incredibly short and nothing in it stands out as particularly different other than the jousting, and that’s just a bit of a gimmick they had to include. The Paleteress encounter could have been so much more interesting rather than a fairly pathetic boss. I feel a little let down by the whole thing considering the amount of hype that was built around it. After doing the 5 man dungeon, I wasn’t expecting a lot from the 10 and 25 man raid. However, they’re a great deal better than the 5 man dungeon and I’ll be writing about them later this week.


Read Full Post »

EDIT: When I logged yesterday morning, Hunters had a talent reset so that everything is now working as intended.

Well, if you are a Hunter on one of the Cyclone servers, you may find that you have a 72nd talent point to spend. After the 9 hour extended maintenance, I finally logged in to find that I had an extra talent point to use. I was 4/14/53 but it said that I had an unspent talent point to use. I also had an unspent talent point to use on my offspec which I have yet to spend. Here’s a screenshot of my armoury at the time. I know I’m not the only hunter on my server (Terenas) to have this extra talent point either. Let’s hope it stays this way :).

Weird or what?

Read Full Post »

I’m not usually a big house music fan, but this really is good. Daniel Eriksson has “laid down a phat beat” and used the sound clips of the God of Death to go with it. It genuinely gets across the menace of old Yoggy. I look forward to hearing some more of this genre.

Read Full Post »

Halo Wars


Halo Wars is a rare breed. Real Time Strategy games have generally fallen short on the console format which could explain why they are far and few between. However, Halo Wars shows us how it could be done and definitely goes a long way at setting the standard.

Firstly, the controls are nearly perfect. Controls in an RTS can make or break the game. There’s nothing more frustrating than having your arse handed to you by the AI purely because they don’t have to deal with dodgy cameras and jarring controls. Ensemble have done a great job in making the controls feel consistent and simple. Although this is a great thing for simple play on the lower difficulty settings, some more complicated controls for ordering specific groups of units wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Whilst playing through the campaign I repeatedly got annoyed from not being able to select a group of units, bind them to a key and then be able to select them on the fly. With that aside, the controls are tolerable and efficient.

The campaign and main story of the game isn’t terribly exciting or revolutionary, and can sometimes even feel a little disjointed. The variation in different units you are allowed change from mission to mission, leaving you feeling agitated by the fact that you aren’t allowed Grizzlies, air units or even ODST units. On occasion it allowed me to upgrade my infantry to full only to them let me know that it was mostly wasted as the ODSTs weren’t available. In one mission you are allowed to control a pair of Grizzly tanks that are seriously awesome, but they aren’t available in any other missions. It’s like they’ve let me sample the finest wine but then not brought me the bottle.

The actual story of the campaign is fairly generic. The characters are mostly copy and paste from other titles, with the main character being a complete douche. I honestly felt a stronger bond with my lunch than I did with Sergeant J. Forge and actually smiled a little when he dies at the end (whoops, spoiler); like “a true hero does”. The romance between him and Anders was completely shallow and never developed on, nor were their backgrounds or personalities. But hey, at least the missions actually make up for the story.

The missions are widely varied and it never feels like you’re playing the same mission twice. Each and every mission has a unique twist on it that makes it feel different to the others. Whether you’re deploying and defending tanks to disrupt a laser, destroying a half built scarab or simply cleaning the hull of the ship from the Flood, they all bring something different to the table. But like I said before, the only problem with this is that they keep introducing new units for a specific mission and then take them away as if they never existed, only to appear in Skirmish matches. But what also makes the single player re-playable are the skulls that are scattered throughout the missions.

The skulls; once collected, act as game modifiers. They can affect the game by making the enemies harder without upping the actual difficulty by giving enemies more health or by removing your minimap. They can also be used to make the game easier by giving you more supplies or lowering the time it takes for you to build units. They can also be used purely for fun, such as having scarabs shoot rainbow beams of love. The skulls that actually affect gameplay also affect the multiplier on your mission score, giving you another reason to play through the campaign. The skulls add a lot of re-playability to the campaign and can make some annoying missions (I’m looking at you Arcadia) really fun.

Like with any good RTS, there’s a Skirmish mode in which you can play against other real players or AI. XBox Live enables you to be beaten over and over by random people you don’t know, or you can always get beaten hard by your friends. The Skirmish mode also brings consistency to units available and lets you also take charge of the Covenant. Although you do get the choice between these two sides, I would have liked the oppurtunity to play as the Flood. I don’t think it would have been an unreasonable task as there are already a variety of Flood units in the game.

Although the story is lacking, this game is definitely fun. The cinematics in the game are some of the best I’ve seen. It’s rare for me to watch through cinematics a second/third or even fourth time whilst going through a game, but I still find that cinematic with the Spartans at the end breathtaking every time.

The cinematics are great. The controls are great. And most importantly, the game is fun. It might not be the best RTS ever made, but it definitely shines through as one of the best console RTSs made. Amazingly fun and enjoyable… even if it could be improved with a keyboard and mouse.

Read Full Post »