There have been quite a bundle of interesting developments this week which I have been saving up to talk about in an orgy of wall-of-text. So lets pop straight into it with my unique take on all the goings on. Unique in the sense that this is completely opinionated.

Both Bornakk and Ghostcrawler have been active on the forums this week. Lets start with the announcement of the new Auction House app. To be honest I have no idea how this will effect gameplay. There has been a fair bit of predicting allready around the blogosphere, so I won’t add to that. What interests me are two words from this blue post:

“Premium based.”

Is Blizzard on the way to stacking two different levels of paying accounts with different features for each one? If they are, this is just an underhand way of upping the subscription price. You add a premium service with a few things that only a small percentage of the player base are willing to pay for. But over time you add more and more services to this until it is the type of account that is needed by the average player. Subscription rates haven’t gone up for five years or so, so I suppose that it is not unreasonable for them to raise it a bit. But why the underhanded manner? Why not just say, ‘Hey, it’s been five years at the same price, there is a thing called inflation you know.’ As for the auction house app, unless they add a way to access mailboxes this won’t mean anything much.

Ghostcrawler posted about changes to the the talent tree in Cataclysm. There are a few points worthy of note to look closely at here:

“… 1) We are changing talent trees, in some cases substantially. The major focus is pruning out boring but valuable talents that passively increase say damage or healing.”

Lets take a look at the combat rogue talent tree and see what this means for us. What would boring but valuable talents be according to this definition? I would say that Precision, Improved Slice & Dice, Aggression, Lightning Reflexes, Hack & Slash, Weapon Expertise, Vitality, Combat Potency, Savage Combat and Prey on the Weak are ‘valuable but boring talents’ according to his defintion, and these are just from the middle tree alone. Combat rogues really only have three ‘interesting talents’:

Blade Flurry, Adrenalin Rush and Killing Spree.

These are interesting I suppose due to the fact that they put a use icon on our in-game ability tabs. How else due you define interesting? I struggle to think of another way. Does then mean that most of our talents will have in game buttons for us to use? I really hope not. If you make everything interesting in this sense then all you end up with is confusion. These three abilities are interesting due to the fact that they are quite unique. One of the big problems that I found with Age of Conan was the abilities and talent trees. The abilities were basically all the same. The icons looked the same, the did the same sort of things, so that in the end you couldn’t really understand what did what. It was all generic. The talent trees? The same. They tried to make them intersting, but it had the opposite effect – they are boring and confusing. So I hope Blizzard won’t fuck this up. It reminds me of that old saying:

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

He also says; “… 6) We are not deepening the trees. This actually unlocks some interesting opportunities. For the first time, you can reach a 51 point talent and a 21 point talent in another tree.”

For combat rogue this would mean that we would have a shot at Cold Blood or Hemorrhage, either of which would be interesting to have.

On the World of Warcraft home page, Blizzard posted a little snippet of information on the new mount in Icecrown, Invincible. My question is, who writes this shit?

“… It was Invincible’s unfaltering faith in his master that inevitably led to the stallion’s death and unholy rebirth. On a cold winter afternoon as snow was blanketing the ground, Arthas was desperate to get away from the city even if it meant riding through harsh and unforgiving weather…”

Snow was blanketing the ground? I didn’t know that this required a tense signifying a continuous action. Does this mean that I can look out my window and say, the snow is blanketing the ground? I could I suppose, but my English grammar would suck. And why was he desperate to get away from the city? Was his grilfriend annoying him? (Notice that that is the correct use of the past continuous). Had his mother asked him to clean his room? I suppose that we will just have to make something up ourselves …

In other news, yesterday I had a wonderful PuG experience. I hit the daily random button and got teleported with a spash into the last wing of Maraudon. Oh goody. The priest buffed us all, asked for a mana break and the rest of the group ran off and started pulling. Yey. We caught up with them, killed a few mobs and then the tank went AFK, which meant that we all died and had to suffer the horror of the Maraudon corpse run. Eventually the only ones of us to survive that harrowing experience and stay in the group were myself and the priest. We kicked the AFK tank and put ourselves back in line. We picked up a shaman, a hunter and a warrior tank. The hunter began immediately pulling mobs by himself. The tanks response?

“Let him die.”

Which we did, and then we ran off and left him. He eventually realised that we thought that he sucked and that we wanted him to leave, (due to the fact that we were all writing that in chat), and he took the hint and left. We picked up another mage to go with my own. The tank was sensational. Patient, knowledgeable and a nice player to boot. As were the rest of the group. We ran the instance, I got some nice loots, and then we decided to do another run together. Off to the Sunken Temple! We cleared the whole thing in record time with no wipes. Down in the center section with all the dragon-kin, the tank gathered up truely astounding numbers of mobs and managed to hold threat while myself and the other mage went ballstic. I hit 500 DPS on this run, which isn’t bad at level 48. The other mage had some nice heirloom items so he was cracking 550. Then at one point the shaman left without a word. So the four of us went through and finished off the rest of the run. Probably the best group that I’ve had so far playing my mage. It’s just such a pity that you can’t add friends from other realms. I loved you guys, you were the bestest.

Have a nice Sunday, groovers.