Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ongoing Saga of Nostalrius

By now I think everyone's heard of the situation with Nostalrius: it's a private vanilla World of Warcraft server which Blizzard is forcibly shutting down.  There are many opinions and speculations, particularly about why Blizzard is choosing this particular time to crack down on a private server,

Blizzard's main given reason is so they can maintain control of their IP.  A private, non-Blizzard-affiliated World of Warcraft server is a thread to their copyright.  They also reject the idea of official legacy servers due to operation constraints.  Whatever that means.

So why now?  My theory is that because Legion is launching soon and WoW's subscriber base has dropped significantly, that they are trying to close down unofficial servers to drive more people to official WoW, and pay a subscription fee.  I'm not saying this is a wrong or right decision.  It does sound like a fiscally smart decision and it IS their intellectual property.  They are well within their rights to shut down Nostalrius.

Blizzard has said it is floating around the idea of "pristine servers".  This would entail no leveling help of any kind.  No WoW Token, no boosts, no Recruit-A-Friend, no heirlooms, and no dungeon finder.  Unfortunately, I don't think this would satisfy anyone looking for a genuine vanilla experience.

Even if Blizzard did somehow develop the capability of running genuine vanilla servers, would that really be a good idea?  The entire point of an MMO is that it is dynamic, and ever-changing.  While I can understand why people would want this experience, I think that's doing Blizzard a disservice by essentially saying you're not interested in what they're developing now.  And who would pay a subscription fee for it?  It needs to be maintained somehow.  But players of Nostalrius weren't paying to play it, so they probably wouldn't want to pay a subscription for a legacy server anyway.  They'd probably just find a new private server to play on.

Maybe the solution is a happy medium.  I don't know how they could accomplish it, but maybe Blizzard could create some sort of partnership with Nostalrius.  Even though there isn't a sub fee for it, it could be monetized in other ways.  Maybe in-game ads (like billboards in GTA), or ads on the website, or small non-obtrusive ads in the game that you can click out of.  You can't expect Blizzard to let someone use their IP without some sort of gain from it.  It just isn't feasible.

Blizzard has said they are going to be having "talks" with Nostalrius.  I'm excited for what this might entail.

Though Nostalrius was shut down, it was announced that they would shortly be introducing Vanilla servers! Though I won't be playing it, I'm sure some people are rejoicing. Read about it here.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Black Gate Tips for Resto Druids

Other Hellfire Citadel Guides for Restoration Druids:
Hellbreach (Hellfire Assault, Iron Reaver, Kormrok)
Halls of Blood (Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye, Gorefiend)
Bastion of Shadows (Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal, Tyrant Velhari)
Destructor's Rise (Fel Lord Zakuun, Xhul'horac, Mannoroth)

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

We made it!  The last chapter of my Hellfire Citadel Tips for Resto Druids series.  Now we can close the book.

1. Archimonde

Archimonde boss guide restoration druid guide hellfire citadel resto
It's a butt.
This is a 3-phase fight in which he will gain additional abilities as you damage him.  I recommend Displacer Beast here because of all the times you're going to have to move: run away when targeted by Doomfire, running when Allure of Flames is cast, spreading out and grouping up when Shadowfel Burst is cast, moving out of green circles and into light orbs during Desecrate, moving out of the group during Focused Chaos and Wrought Chaos, Shackled Torment, moving out of purple circles when Dreadstalkers cast Consume Magic, and kiting the Void Star.  There is a lot of running and dodging in this fight.

People will be fairly spread out, so keep your Mushroom under the tanks, melee, or the largest group of people.  Use your best judgement.

If you or anyone else break Shackled Torment during Rain of Chaos, make sure you have a defensive cooldown like Barkskin or Ironbark available to you.  Make sure to slap a Rejuvenation on yourself or them so you can heal yourself back up quickly.

You'll be grouping up with a tank and a couple DPS during Nether Banish, and during that time make sure to completely HoT up your tank, such as with Rejuvenation, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom.  Keep Rejuvenation rolling on everyone and don't be afraid to use Genesis if you need to.

Tanks will take heavier damage from Death Brand, especially if they have Shadow Blast stacks, so they may need additional healing and be sure to make good use of Ironbark when necessary.

A glyph I recommend is Glyph of Stampeding Roar.  There will be times when the whole raid will need to move as a unit, so being to pop this will help ensure everyone gets a speed boost at the right time.  If you have multiple druids, you can work out a timing schedule of when each of you will use Stampeding Roar.

There isn't really one good time to use Tranquility.  There will be many times throughout the raid where you'll wanna pop your 'OH SHIT' button, so I'd only use it when the raid leader calls for it.  Use your best judgement.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Popping the Gold Cap

It was recently announced that the gold cap is going to be raised to 9,999,999 gold.  It is currently 999,999 gold.  I have to say I'm not happy about the change.

I'm no auction house baron but I do decently well for myself.  I currently have 100k and I tend to hover between 50k and 150k.  It's not very difficult to make gold right now so I'm taking advantage of my multiple garrisons while I can.

Logically I can see why they'd want to raise the gold cap.  Some players have made so much gold through garrisons that they're starting to cap out on multiple characters.  I have read that this change will make it more difficult to instantly cap auctions and will help with inflation, but I'm not an economist so this goes in one ear and out the other for me.

What I'm worried about is dickbags overpricing things on the Auction House.  Presumably, gold will be comparatively harder to get in Legion.  I'm worried that prices will rise as the rate of gold acquisition among average players will decrease.  I already see things for the current gold cap on the auction house.  With a higher gold cap, those things will be even further out of reach for the average player like me.  It's just a bummer.  Maybe I should borrow the gold and buy a Spectral Tiger while I can.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Destructor's Rise Tips for Resto Druids

Other Hellfire Citadel Guides for Restoration Druids:
Hellbreach (Hellfire Assault, Iron Reaver, Kormrok)
Halls of Blood (Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye, Gorefiend)
Bastion of Shadows (Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal, Tyrant Velhari)
The Black Gate (Archimonde)

Restoration Druid Guide Index Page

Obviously this is a little late, but I hate leaving things unfinished so I'm going to finish the last 2 parts of my Hellfire Citadel Tips for Resto Druids series.  You can find it and the rest or my Restoration Druid guides here.  Then I can close the book on it and I won't feel like a fuckbucket for not finishing it.  Today we're tackling the Destructor's Rise series of bosses: Fel Lord Zakuun, Xhul'horac, and Mannoroth.  Let's jump in.

1. Fel Lord Zakuun

fel-lord zakuun restoration druid boss guide hellfire citadel resto

As a healer, there aren't a lot of special mechanics you'll need to be worrying about.  It's a fairly straightforward fight and with a good group you shouldn't have too much trouble.  It's a small space so Feline Swiftness should be sufficient to run out of things, and if you find yourself having trouble with placement you can take Displacer Beast.  I recommend saving Tranquility for Seed of Destruction.  You may want to arrange a cooldown rotation with the other healers.  Make sure to focus heals on people with the Befouled debuff, but only heal them to full if they are away from other players.  Keep your Wild Mushroom under the largest group of people, which will generally be the melee.  There isn't a lot of room for movement in this fight area so you'll be more or less grouped together the whole time.  You may be targeted by Seed of Destruction, so when that happens, HoT yourself up and maybe cast Ironbark or Barkskin on yourself.  Stand still so you don't walk into your own waves and die.

2. Xhul'horac

xhul'horac boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel raid resto

Healing this fight is either going to be very easy or very hard, depending on how your raid can handle mechanics.  Just one fuckup can cause a lot of raid damage, thanks to Shadowfel Annihilation.  Someone is bound to mess it up, so I would save big cooldowns like Tranquility and Tree of Life (should you use it) for this situation.  Depending on your strategy, your group will likely stay stacked in two groups throughout most of the fight, so just keep your Wild Mushroom under whichever one is taking the most damage.  I recommend Displacer Beast and Glyph of Stampeding Roar because you will need to move Fel Surge and Void Surge out of the group.  Every little speed boost helps and you may want to coordinate Stampeding Roar with any other druids in your group.

3. Mannoroth

mannoroth boss guide restoration druid hellfire citadel resto raid

This isn't too bad a fight for healers.  There's aren't a lot of mechanics specially for us.  There are a few movement mechanics that may present some difficulty, so you can talent into Displacer Beast if you need the extra mobility.  These mechanics are Curse of the Legion (run into melee and dispel yourself), Mark of Doom (run into the pool in the center of the platform and don't let another player be in your purple circle), Felseeker (avoid the 3 rings), and Shadowforce (use movement abilities to keep from falling off the edge).  Shadowforce will affect multiple players so it's helpful if you can pop a Stampeding Roar when this goes off, as well as use Dash.  Whatever is necessary to not fall off the platform.  This also makes the Glyph of Stampeding Roar useful.  You will be stacked on Mannoroth's butt the majority of the fight, so you may not have to deal with Shadowforce at all if you group is facing away from the pillar.  Since you'll be stacked, you can easily keep Wild Mushroom under either the ranged or melee group.  Stack on players affected by Empowered Mannoroth's Gaze, which causes Gazing Shadows.  Use a defensive cooldown on yourself or anyone who is taking a lot of damage from it.  There aren't any big damage phases you will need to use Tranquility on, except maybe Mannoroth's Gaze, so use your best judgement or wait for your raid leader to call it before you use it.

That's that for Destructor's Rise.  Look out for the next and final part sometime next week.  It's already written, so it will be up!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Magical Diary Review

Magical Diary game review otome steam anime manga girl
Via Google

 My next game review is for Magical Diary, developed by Hanako Games.  You become a freshman at a magical boarding school.  You can pick your classes, activities, and which guy you're gonna date.  It's overall a cute game, but it does have a few quirks.  Fortunately, the pros far outweigh the cons of this game.

Firstly, the graphics are adorable.  They're done in typical manga style.  My one nitpick is that there isn't a lot of variety in most of the characters.  It wouldn't be uncommon for you to run into a character that looks exactly like yours, since it appears that almost every character is made with the same generator.  While it's nice you can design your character a little, the limited options make it fall a bit flat.  The backgrounds are also boring and the same ones get reused with very little difference between them.

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Let's move on to your interpersonal relationships.  While the people can you CAN romance are interesting enough, there's not many options.  There's only 3 men and 2 women you can romance in this game, and I would like more variety.  But I do like that they included queer relationships in this game to represent more of the relationship spectrum.  The developers seem to be very aware of less mainstream relationship choices.  The game also touches upon gender identity.  Apparently there's a much wider gender spectrum in the supernatural realm, and they have a complete list of pronouns for a supernatural being whose gender may not be apparent or fit with conventional human gender.  I loved this touch.

This brings me to my next plus.  Professor Potsdam is the bomb.  Though she tries to guide her students to make good choices, she realizes that the students are capable of making decisions and thinking for themselves.  She is helpful but not overbearing.  She even gives you a sex talk eventually.  She's totally okay with consensual sex as long as you aren't bothering anyone or getting knocked up.  I wish I had a teacher like her who was helpful but not bossy.

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This game is a bit deeper than the average otome, but I would have liked it to go deeper.  It goes into subjects such as friendship, love, life, death, family.  I feel like they could have done so much more with it though.  It's very disappointing that the game covers only 1 year of school.  It would be nice if there had been sequels or DLC in which other years were covered, or you could play someone in a different Hall.  I also wish there had been more personal choices.  While there were obviously a lot of choices because of the nature of the game, there were some that are made for you.  Like when you go on a date with a particular guy, you say to him that you won't have sex with him.  But what if I want to have sex with him?  I don't get that options.  There are a lot of instances like this where your character's reaction is out of your control and that's annoying.

That said, the game does have some interesting stories.  You can't possibly get to all the subplots in one playthrough.  It depends on your characters stories.  I played through 3 times and didn't realize one of the subplots until I Googled a walkthrough, even though the game dropped hints the whole way through.  This game is definitely not lacking replayability.  But even though the stories are interesting, there aren't a lot of day-to-day things to choose to do.  Study or class?  That's pretty much it for the most part and it gets boring.

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I do love the puzzles in the game.  Periodically, you have exams in which you enter a dungeon and have to find your way out.  They're actually really fun and add nice variety to the gameplay.  Each dungeon has multiple solutions that correspond to each style of magic.  No matter what branch of magic you've been concentrating on, you will be able to find a way through the challenge if you try hard enough and think creatively.

I have a couple last niggles.  The audio of the game is cute but very boring and repetitive.  There are certain little sounds that correspond to events, like a gong when something bad happens.  These do little to break the monotony and I would have like a more interesting score.  There is also a LOT of RP text.  You will often find yourself clicking through minutes of RP text before you actually have to make a decision about something. It's a little annoying and repetitive and causes you to have less control over your actions.

Overall I liked this gem of a game.  It was cute and reminiscent of a certain other magic school story, but different enough to be distinctive and gives off a whole different vibe.  I would love to play a sequel and this might be my gateway otome game because now all Steam is giving me is otome games and I kind of love it.