Author Archive

Death Knight Tanks Locked Into Blood

6 April 2010 | No Comments » | Amatera

Wrath of the Lich King started with an experiment. Class design up until that point had been steadfast and rigid. Sure, you’d put a couple points in another tree on occasion, but generally each set of talents was dedicated to a particular role. Death Knights, as the first Hero Class (what does that even mean these days?), broke that mold.

Different trees often afforded multiple advantages and basic tanking could be accomplished in any of the three, though of course, the community would always gravitate towards the more obvious and efficient setups. With Cataclysm, that paradigm will be shattered. No longer will players of other classes have to be jealous of the Death Knight’s flagrant flexibility, for their roles, too, will be shuttered into specific trees. From Cataclysm onwards, if a Death Knight shall tank, they shall do so as Blood.

Ghostcrawler felt this change was big enough to warrant its own post, separate from the list of other changes coming to the class later this week, and extensively details their reasoning behind it in a post you can find after the jump.

For the tl/dr crowd, here’s the gist of it: Death Knights were originally a test-case for a more open talent tree system. It worked alright, but with the introduction of new mechanics throughout Wrath‘s lifespan, it is perhaps proving too fruitful. This, combined with the more rigidly-defined Mastery elements of the talent system coming in Cataclysm mean that it’s more optimal to shove tanking into Blood, and allow the other specs to focus on different kinds of DPS. Continue Reading

New Class Information This Week

6 April 2010 | 1 Comment » | Amatera

Wow. It seems every time I open my mouth about Blizzard’s tight-lipped policies, it’s just before they decide to give us some new information. With each expansion comes considerable changes to class dynamics, prompting us to change the way we play them. Sometimes it’s in the form of new abilities, sometimes it’s due to completely revamped mechanics. Cataclysm is surely no different.

Now, if you remember at BlizzCon, we already learned a thing or two about Warlocks and Hunters (namely, the former would be using Soul Shards in a new way, the latter would no longer be tethered to mana), but surely they can’t have all the fun, right? Well, good news! Everyone‘s getting a pony this week!

Blizzard has set up a tentative schedule for doling out the preliminary changes for each class, which will show up in small batches over the next few days. As Paladins are currently “deeper” into development right now, they’ll have to wait until April 16th for their details. For the rest of the dates, and what you can expect to see in these previews, hit the jump. Continue Reading

All Quiet On the Azerothian Front

5 April 2010 | 4 Comments » | Amatera

Most of you reading Lore Hound right now were probably fans of the site we all used to work for and, quite frankly, you must be wondering “why the heck are they talking about all these other games for? Isn’t this supposed to be a World of Warcraft-focused site?” It’s a valid query, of course. Here are Lore Hound, we do plan on covering a variety of topics because, let’s face it, WoW ain’t the only game in town and some of these other titles really do deserve your attention.

But we still love Warcraft. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. The truth of the matter is that, at this moment, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. Blizzard has been awfully hush-hush on the expansion for months now beyond reiterating and repackaging the information they doled out at last year’s BlizzCon (such as the stat changes). As far as the content goes, we know about as much now as we did just after Cataclysm was announced, and the last time the official site was updated was back in September.

But I feel it, folks. I feel like we’re on the verge of something big because we really have to be.

Continue Reading

Icecrown Buff Jumps To Ten Percent: Has It Benefited You?

1 April 2010 | No Comments » | Amatera

So, the Icecrown Citadel raid buff has been raised to 5 to 10%Old news at this point, I realize, but I want to know how this mechanic has affected your progress in the dungeon so far, and whether or not it’s a good idea in the long run.

Of course, the most straightforward argument that can, and vehemently has, been made against the buff is that it’s eventually going to make what is the toughest, and most grueling, dungeon in the game look like a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. OK, that’s actually pretty chaotic, but you get the idea. “Kid’s stuff.”  But that’s assuming that all raids are created equal, and as we all know, that’s simply not the case.

Take my guild, Severance Pay, for instance. Before any dungeon-wide raid buffs became active, we were able to get through just about everything but Valithria Dreamwalker and the wing-end bosses with relatively few problems. Some wipes were inevitable, but we’d usually finish off everything we were comfortable with before the week was out.

What surprised me is that the 5% buff, when it became active almost a month ago, didn’t seem to have much effect at all. In fact, despite finally finishing Valithria, we started backsliding down the hill a little bit. Progression completely halted. Festergut’s a good measure of these things since he’s more or less a damage sponge, and we were tighter on the timer than we had been when we had no buff at all. In general, even our improvements proved too subtle to even matter.

I think the problem can be traced back to two issues. The first is fundamental raid dynamics and there’s not a whole lot we could do about it. People simply weren’t showing up for raids. Whether they were on Spring Break or otherwise, we always seemed to be down a few players. We progressed farther in the two weeks preceding the introduction of the Icecrown Citadel raid buff than we did in the three or so following it, and perhaps we had hoped that even with flagging attendance, that extra 5% would carry us through.

Continue Reading

FunCom Releases In-Game Footage Of The Secret World

26 March 2010 | No Comments » | Amatera

Stormy clouds threatened to blot out the shiny California sun at this year’s annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, but it wasn’t because of some freak weather phenomenon. Instead, it was Age of Conan developers FunCom finally revealing in-game footage of their next MMORPG project, The Secret World. Entitled “Dark Days,” the trailer gives us our first look at several of the title’s environments, characters, and a little bit of combat to boot (all presented in a cinematic fashion of course, no HUDs here).

If this is your first introduction to The Secret World, then you’ll notice right off the bat it’s a little bit different from your standard massively-multiplayer game. Taking place in more modern times, it eschews typical fantasy trappings in favor of a world run rampant with conspiracy theories come to life. From secret societies to mythical creatures and the occult, if you’ve heard it on Coast to Coast AM, you can bet it probably plays some role in the universe of The Secret World. If that analogy doesn’t work for you, think Deus Ex with a broader approach to the subject matter.

But the setting isn’t the only aspect of the game that stands out. Project lead Ragnar Tørnquist (perhaps best known for working on 2001’s sci-fi MMO Anarchy Online) promises that this new title will turn the genre on its head by getting rid of both levels and classes. Instead, all character advancement will be done through an extensive customization system and player skill. If you hate grinding, it’s worth keeping your eye on The Secret World (heck, you can even play it completely by yourself). In the meantime, check out the preliminary footage below:

You can also seek further information and check out some new screenshots and artwork by heading to the official site.

Get Those Ticket-Buying Fingers Ready: BlizzCon 2010 Revealed!

25 March 2010 | 4 Comments » | Amatera

Start booking your flights to Anaheim and mark your calendars for October 22nd, ladies and germs, because that is the official date for this year’s BlizzCon. Quite a bit later than last year, but if you’ve followed the development of the event since its inception in 2005, you might note that it has alternated dates every time. The first, third (and now, fifth) BlizzCons have taken place in mid-late October, while the second and fourth played out towards the end of August. I don’t know if there’s some conscious trend here, but it does have at least one interesting implication for the company’s 2010 releases. Namely, World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Cataclysm.

The only hint of a release date we’ve ever gotten was that it would hit retail shelves by the time the next ‘Con rolled around, which means that it will likely hit late in the year at this point. Heck, let’s be honest. Knowing Blizzard’s track record with pushing back release dates, I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave Deathwing and pals one last hurrah at the convention before launching the game sometime in November. If that ends up being the case, then I’m not sure if 3.3.5’s Ruby Sanctum raid is going to be enough to hold people over, even if recreating Azeroth is an awful lot of work. But I’m tip-toeing into a completely different post here, let’s get back on topic!

Though they’re staying hush-hush about what games we might see this year (and what would surprise announcements be if they weren’t, you know, surprises?), Blizzard has put up a helpful FAQ with all known details of the event. It’ll likely be a few months before the ticket lines open, but you will only be able to order them online through the Blizzard Store. The queue system is reported to work similar to the way it did in 2009, meaning that you better start training your link-clicking finger for what is basically the equivalent of a nerd-friendly Olympic event. Come early, or don’t come at all. Might I suggest that you keep your skills sharp by perusing LoreHound on a regular basis (wink, wink)? Here, go ahead, click it. The burn feels good, doesn’t it?

On that note, hopefully we can look forward to a bevy of “Packing For BlizzCon 2010” posts once October 22nd rolls around. And, should we all fail to be so lucky, paid event streaming through the television or online likely proved popular enough last time to warrant a second round.