Friday, March 23, 2012

No Beta

No, I didn't get a beta invite. At least not yet. I'm stuck reading from the sidelines with most everyone else.Which also means that I have no answers... only questions. Questions I've not seen adequate answers to (though, admittedly, I may just not have looked hard enough). In random-stream-of-consciousness style, here's the list of questions running through my brain. Feel free to answer in comments with exposition or linkies, whatever's clever.
  • What's up with new Warlock pets? Seriously, just caught some pics today, are all those talents going to be in the demo tree?
  • While we're on that thought, has anyone seen anything about Affliction Warlocks? Specifically, wtf we're going to do with soul shards now? I mean new information here. I remember what they said back in the day, but has anything actually been implemented? Or are we all just going Demo this x-pac because they're going to make it too awesome not to?
  • AoE Loot. Fuck yeah. (Pardon my demonic, but it is warranted in this case. Also, there is no question here. It just needed to be said.)
  • When does Diablo come out again? Seriously, I thought this was announced but it was promptly driven from my brain. May 15th, right?
  • Is Pandaria really that pretty? I've seen some raving-lunatic-like pronunciations. How much can they really do with this ancient engine? I don't mean this to sound as negative as it sounds, but I guess I just have a hard time believing the OMG IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL crowd. Like, maybe I'm just jealous. Green is a good color of me.
  • GREEN FIRE. (Sorry, spontaneous combustion happens.)
  • Going back to the pets... am I in danger of not using my felpup? Floaty eye =/= felpup. Just sayin'. 
  • Can we, instead, get a felpup update with little bits of mage stuck in its teeth?
Okay, I'm just getting silly now. It's Friday. Brain wants to go to lunch. This will have to be it for now. Feel free to add your own questions (if you're not in the beta) or answer them (if you are or are just well-informed).


  1. We have no idea just how much they've updated the engine internals as they've been using the same art assets all this time. For all we know it's a '63 Beetle with a Porsche 911 engine in the back.
    What I personally know so far having played the demo at blizzcon is that it was very pretty then and probably hasn't become worse

  2. Reason there's not much info on warlock gameplay yet is that the only area playable right now is the starter area for new pandas. You can't bring a lvl 85 character to Pandaria just yet, there's not even a breadcrumb quest and no other way of getting there. And nobody copies over a lvl 60 or so character just to play through content they can have on live ;-)

    Yes, the starter island at least is gorgeous. Very very nice graphics, breathtaking landscapes, and nicely animated characters (although no /dance yet, sniff!). So, it's awesome!

    Off topic: I'm fairly new to your blog, having just levelled my first (affli) lock, and wanted to say thanks for the awesome guides, they are so very helpful. If you ever feel like writing another, may I suggest as a topic "how to handle movement"? I'd much appreciate that. Anyway, keep up the good work :-)

  3. @Dejara - I hope it really is pretty. Going with your automotive analogy... there are some big engines that you simply can't fit in the old engine compartments. That is, there is a limit to what they can do, I'm sure. I'm just saying that I find it hard to believe it's "blowing away" the other, newer MMOs in terms of graphics. Yet I keep seeing that line. On par, maybe, but blowing away?

    @Sibylle - Good point about the lack of 'locky information and available levels. I reserve the right to get more excited when such information becomes known :-).

    As for a "how to handle movement" guide... I would assume the question, more specifically, is "how to keep your DPS up on heavy-movement fights." I'll see if I can't throw something together this week. It may not be a big, scary guide, but it should be helpful... I hope.

  4. Yes, that's exactly what I meant :-) The internet seems strangely void of information on what an affliction 'lock is to do when she needs to move and dps at the same time. Not even the Elitist Jerks article on Affli says anything on the subject. Most classes have some obvious ability they cast then (Scorch as a fire mage, Moonfire spam as a Boomkin...) but we don't seem to have any instants other than the occasional Soulburn:Soul Fire. My dps is terrible on fights like Morchok when I chase crystals so I'll keep my eyes peeled for your article!

  5. Okay, cool.

    I guess the one caveat I'll make going in is that any fight with quick-dying, bursty adds is going to be awful for us. It's not a function of movement, but a function of not being able to let our DoTs roll. In the current design, there's not much help for that. (Clever soul swapping can help, but since they nerfed that it's only "meh." Part of my disappointment with Cata.)

  6. @fulgarlis
    The problem with an automotive analogy is that software is far more malleable. (I used the specific analogy I did because I know that particular combination is quite possible.)

    The specific problems with gauging the state of the WoW engine are threefold. 1) they've deliberately gone with a very artistic and painterly art style. This has the major advantage that the art will never look completely obsolete, the same way that line drawn comics are still current even though we have the capability to do 3D rendered comics now. Attempts at doing "realistic" looking games have usually aged very badly.
    2) They have used what look to be the exact same art assets since Vanilla. I could take a modern 3D engine and something 5 years old and using the same art assets make them both behave like the 5 year old engine. I have no personal knowledge if they have or haven't been doing under the covers upgrades, but if I was running that particular zoo I certainly would be doing stealth upgrades. And now we come to the panda stuff and it seems that the capability has improved, particularly in the character animations arena…you can see that in the you tube videos (look for the hair on the female pandaren).
    3) and these issues are compounded by the backwards compatibility with old hardware question. WoW is particularly generous to people with older platforms so they won't necessarily use all the capability they have available. Over time the oldest-useable-hardware level gets better and then you can start making the standard look more sophisticated. Note that hardware development has not been a smooth path, there are jumps in the capabilities.

  7. Yeah, that's a good summary of the issues. It's hard to say what the engine is really capable of.