Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mists of Pandaria is the best expansion the World of Warcraft has ever seen! Except for Wrath of the Lich King, of course, but it’s right up there.

In all seriousness, a combination of wanting to spend time with my long-time online friends and playing World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria has brought me, Molsan, back to WoW after a ten-month hiatus. There’s something to be said about an addition to or a new version of a game that resurrects your basic love of the game while exceeding your expectations as a new product and experience.

MoP has offered something that previous expansions didn’t: hope. Blizzard has taken a cue from Bane, from The Dark Knight Rises:

I will feed its people hope to poison their souls.

Blizzard, though the Mists of Pandaria, is feeding its players hope, luring them into the mists, only to turn around and crush their pixelated dreams. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but this is the big difference between MoP and previous expansions. There was always the tease of “what evil lurks.” We weren’t prepared for Outland, Arthas was waiting on his throne for us in Northrend, and Deathwing soared between heaven and hell all over Azeroth.

Mists of Pandaria has offered players… a new beginning. A fresh start. Forests and sprites. Pets and flowers and more fish. Right? That’s it… just the same game that we’ve been playing for eight years? I, along with the veterans of the game, know that this will not last for long. However, it’s a welcome change after years of beginning your journey with death and destruction.

From a technical standpoint, Blizzard continues to be humble with their game design, particularly from the questing perspective. They have incorporated lessons learned and as well as brand new ways to tell a story and engage players. For example, the “Scouting Report” Grookin Hill quests for the Horde were awesome. Each step of the mini quest line was unique and challenging, but had just enough hand-holding so that the instructions and expectations for each quest were easy to understand.

I’ve also noticed that there’s been an increased amount of quests that include voice acting. Blizzard prides itself in having a tremendous amount of audio goodness and you know they were going to show Bioware how it was done. What I liked about the voice acting in MoP is that it’s used when it can enhance a quest experience. It’s not used as a marketing and game play crutch the way Star Wars: The Old Republic did.

MoP offers a mixture of familiarity with new, epic experiences. It offers more of what we love about this genre, giving players young and old a chance to play the game however they like. While the game balance and war between the casual and hardcore rages on, there truly is something for everyone. I also have to give credit to Blizzard for one of the smoothest expansion/patch launches of all time. I had no downtime at all as the game polymorph-panda’d into MoP. Their model of upgrading the game to a major release just before the launch of the expansion continues to be successful.

It is the same game. But better. That’s why we love it.

It’s never too soon or too late to gear up for end-game in the World of Warcraft. In my first in a series of many posts, I will provide a list of upgrades by class, spec, and slot. I will also include some commentary to better explain how to itemize your gear as you level up through the Mists of Pandaria.
First up are helms for the Retribution Paladin. If you were a raider in Cataclysm, the Helmet of Radiant Glory will carry you all the way to level 90. The Visage of Petrification is another holdover from level 85 that you can use until you venture into MoP heroics. The BoE Davidian’s All-Seeing Eyes is available at level 82 and is a must pick up if you can afford it. The item was named after a WoW player that played the game completely blind. You can read the inspirational story on WoW Insider. Endwyn’s Toothy Visage is another BoE that you can keep an eye out for on the AH.
ITEM LVL SOURCE SCORE
Yi’s Least Favorite Helmet 90 Shado-Pan Revered 11,407
Sightfinder Helm 90 Siege of Niuzao Temple (Heroic) Commander Vo’jak 9,984
Meteoric Greathelm 90 Mogu’shan Palace (Heroic) Kuai the Brute 9,690
Meteoric Greathelm 88 Mogu’shan Palace Kuai the Brute 8,668
Contender’s Revenant Helm 90 Blacksmithing 8,313
Helm of Rising Flame 90 Scarlet Monastery (Heroic) Brother Korloff 8,300
Masterwork Spiritguard Helm 90 Blacksmithing 7,405
Palewind Helm 88 The Sha of Hatred (Quest) 7,386
Davidian’s All-Seeing Eyes 82 World Drop BoE 7,352
Coldbite Helm 89 Reunited (Quest) 7,209
Endwyn’s Toothy Visage 83 World Drop BoE 7,158
Sunset Armored Helm 89 Kor’thik Aggression (Quest) 7,091

I appreciate the changes Blizzard made to quest tracking. The enhancements made to the in-game maps are perfectly fine. However, I still prefer all of the features offered by Carbonite.

The problem is, Carbonite is currently stuck on version 5.041, last updated on September 10, 2012. The maps for the Mists of Pandaria zones are completely busted, and quest tracking is non-existent.

Enter Rythal, a World of Warcraft addon developer, who has published a “major update” to an “other addon,” also known as Carbonite. I have downloaded and installed Rythal’s version (5.049) and the Carbonite maps — along with quest-tracking features — are back.

I will continue to support Carbonite and understand that the mod authors will provide an official release as soon as their schedule permits.

When I came back to the World of Warcraft, I was quickly reminded of two things. For one, I can’t stand the stock user interface. On the other hand, the ability to customize the UI with community-built and managed addons is one of my all-time favorite features of WoW. Not being able to customize and simplify the user experience is one of the primary reasons other MMOs have not held my interest.

While Star Wars: The Old Republic did provide you with the ability to move, add, and subtract modules within your UI, the community could not contribute tools and functions. I lived with the stock UI there for many months, holding out for an addon community that had the potential to grow and be on par with WoW. That never materialized, and my career as a dark lord of the Sith came to a bitter end.

Now that I’m back and ready to rumble in the jungle with pandas, I have to find, download, configure, and use many addons that were an essential part of my Warcraft gaming experience. I will be highlighting those in a series of posts as I travel through the Mists of Pandaria.

What is MobInfo2?

MobInfo2 (MI) is an addon for statistics and data tracking junkies. As described by WoWInterface:

MobInfo-2 is a World of Warcraft AddOn that provides you with useful additional information about Mobs (ie. opponents/monsters). It adds new information to the game’s Tooltip whenever you hover with your mouse over a mob. It also adds a numeric display of the Mobs health and mana (current and max) to the Mob target frame.

Configuring the AddOn

By default, the MI tooltip will appear next to your mouse cursor when you hover over the mob. I find this distracting and use a static location for the tooltip. You can position the tooltip by dragging the tiny box with “MI” to the location you want the tooltip to appear. Then update the tooltip position under “Mobinfo Tooltip Layout.”

You’ll also want to combine data across like mobs at different levels. Most of the time, you will be grinding and questing on mobs that are 1-2 levels apart, but have the same loot table. Basically, I enable the tracking and display of everything.

Using the AddOn

When the tooltip appears, you will see a breakdown of the mob’s monetary value along with their chance to drop loot. Statistics on drops are broken down into tiers, and include cloth as well. So as you approach a mob, you can get an idea of your chances to get a particular type of item (or a specific item) to drop. The other great feature is that the data is also displayed in reverse. If you hover over an item in your inventory, information is added to the default item tooltip that displays where the item most likely came from.

Grinding on mobs for specific types of loot can sometimes be a gamble. If you’re looking to score some coin IRL, check out Party Poker at http://de.partypoker.com. Use MobInfo2 in-game to assist you in obtaining the items you need.

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You can download the addon from Curse or WoWInterface:

Curse: http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/mobinfo2

WoWInterface: http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info21571-Mobinfo2.html

On my last episode of s4uc3d, I announced that I would be returning to the World of Warcraft. No, it wasn’t the pandas that brought me  back. The thought of renewing friendships and connections that I had discovered in Warcraft appealed to me greatly. Starting up WoW again sounded like a fantastic opportunity to keep these relationships alive through the game and I couldn’t pass it up. Oh, and I heard there’s new loot and raids in Mists of Pandaria.

I will keep the addiction love of the game under control this time. I won’t spend every waking moment trying to figure out where my next upgrade is going to drop from. Nor will I think about how I continue to disappoint my raid team(s). Although I’m big on breaking promises these days, I will not be returning to the game to raid.

One of the new features in Mists of Pandaria, Scenarios, has intrigued me since it was first announced at Blizzcon 2011. In fact, I recently ran my first Scenario, Theramore’s Fall, and loved it. My DPS was pathetic, but the two other players carried me and we had no trouble completing all of the stages in one shot. It’s basically another type of dungeon, but feels more like the old timed-dungeon events back at the end of vanilla. Scenarios require only three players, with guild achievements earned when all three members are from the same guild.

See, there I go again. I will be keeping this round of World of Warcraft simple. I’m not going to compare achievements with others or worry about my iLevel getting so low that my online friends will begin playing without me. I’m going to play the way I want to play. I don’t have the time to dedicate to the game that I once had, but I do have enough resources at my disposal to make some gold, help others, and run an occasional dungeon or three.

My game plan has now been forged on the Internet. There’s no going back now, right? And just in time for Brewfest! Brewfest is still in the game, right? In October-ish? Seriously, someone help me… I don’t even know if I have the right Retribution spec. And my alts! My alts don’t have talents yet. I have time before MoP, though. Like a whole day or something. I have to play my Death Knight… get him some honor points right before the expansion drops.

I’m in trouble already, aren’t I?