In any case, here are my first impressions. First off, what I really like about this patch (short and sweet):
- BoA stones! I loves me some bag space :)Keep in mind that there are probably many other new features that I'll enjoy, but to be honest, I haven't really gotten into the battling side of things for 5.3 yet. I've been mainly focusing on collecting all the new pets.
- Pet Journal saves your pet's abilities even when you change teams. Fewer cases of forgetting to change an attack for a certain fight.
- Moar pets!
Some stuff that I'm looking forward to experiencing in the very near future:
- "Bad luck protection" for battle-stones.On the flip side, there are some things that I am not really enjoying and do not look forward to experiencing. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't necessarily mean it's "bad".
- The consumable that boosts exp gained for my pets.
- Accuracy changes.
Maybe it will just take time for me to get used to. Or maybe it will get changed. And it's always possible that it won't and many, not just me, will also (continue to) dislike it.
Unborn Val'kyr Spawning
I was hoping to catch my very own val'kyr before writing this post, so I could share my entire experience, but it's going on the 8th hour now, and I still haven't had any luck.
Yes, I've been in Northrend for roughly 8 hours. My guild's raid was canceled so I decided to head to Northrend, expecting to be done in a few hours. The wait and hunt has extended well over those "few hours".
I've spent a few moments on alts and I did a few LFRs in hopes for the pets. But other than that, I have been sitting and staring at all the zones of Northrend. It's been very engaging *sarcasm*.
I'm having trouble deciding if this spawning is better or worse than the Minfernal. Honestly I'm leaning towards worse. Both are still maddeningly boring, time-consuming, and rely way too much on RNG.
However, unlike the Minfernal, which has a fixed and centralized area in which it can spawn, the Unborn Val'kyr seems to spawn randomly in ANY Northrend zone (minus Wintergrasp, I think?).
There are a total of 9 zones, and so far each one seems to contain at least 2 confirmed spawn points for the pet. That's at least 18+ different locations to travel to. The travel time is killer, as is the randomness of the spawn.
This is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But yenno what? I would prefer looking for the needle at this point. At least when you search for that, you can apply some sort of method to the hunt. Use a magnet or use a sorter. You can't apply any kind of logic to the search for the Unborn Val'kyr, except for maybe flying in a set and predetermined flight path to check on each spawn location.
It's absolutely frustrating. There is just way too much RNG involved with this pet. As I always say, it's about finding the sweet spot with RNG. Enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it makes players feel like they're going out of their damn mind.
Another thing is that the RNG probably wouldn't be as bad if I actually had a reason to be in Northrend other than looking for the pet. If the Unborn Val'kyr had been released during WotLK, I think I wouldn't have minded as much having to travel from zone to zone. I would already be in Northrend, all my activities outside of pets already revolve around Northrend, and that alone would provide reason for me to travel to a random spot and possibly stumble across the pet.
In that type of situation, it would feel much more like a pleasant surprise. Collecting materials for flasks in Zul'Drak, and oh! What do you know? You find an Unborn Val'kyr to collect. How lovely!
Unfortunately, that's not the case, and as it stands right now, I'm going out of my way to be in Northrend to simply WAIT for the pet. This feels very unproductive outside of pet collecting. Even as a collector, I'm not really doing much except flying from spawn point to spawn point, and/or camping an area. Finding it would only be a relief to finally get out of Northrend and be done with the search.
I think the pet looks amazing and I can't wait to collect one of my own. But I really think the spawning mechanic could have been improved. Allow a bit more player control and involvement and/or less RNG. Provide some method to the madness.
As Piazzolla said on the WarcraftPets forums, "This might be the cruelest thing Blizzard has come up with as far as spawn mechanics go.."
Is that an overstatement? At this very moment, as I sit here, sip my now cold coffee, and watch my screen in Grizzly Hills, going onto hour 8 soon, my thoughts are 'no'.
Beast of Fable Difficulty
There is A LOT of talk on how the BoF NPCs were buffed beyond what's "doable" and "fun". After reading people's first impressions, I've put off trying out the ramped up BoF dailies. As a collector first and foremost, I don't need the stress/frustration of trying to defeat a possibly overtuned NPC on my plate right now.
That being said, I can't accurately give my own impression of the updated BoF. However, I can provide a quick summary and my thoughts on the matter.
Many have mentioned how the BoF NPCs have had their life reduced drastically, but to compensate, they hit extra hard and heal for the same amount. The former is something that I think most of us anticipated when it was mentioned that the difficulty would be increased. But the latter comes as a surprise to me.
You would think that because their life was reduced, their healing would also be scaled down. It would only make sense, right? If you had 1000 total HP to start and healed for half of your life, but suddenly you dropped down to 600 total HP yet still healed for 500, wouldn't that be a bit unfair? You could jump to nearly full life in a single turn without even trying.
Players have already suggested a way to counter this overhealing... sort of. Rather than using fun teams and actively participating in the match, a few have opted to use what I consider a "neener neener, I can survive longer" approach.
Simply put, a team that outlasts the NPC so that Apocalypse can resolve and kill the BoF. It doesn't sound like it works on all of them, but with many people getting roadblocked on the BoF quests, any idea is better than nothing.
Outside of battle mechanics, I have to question if ramping up the BoF difficulty by so much was the way to go. There are already so many dailies that collectors and battlers feel they need to get done, and now there are three more that may take the longest to complete due to how difficult it is to defeat the NPCs involved.
It's not as if these dailies don't hold anything important either. There's a higher chance for stones as well as pets from the reward bag. Both necessary for a collector/battler. Sure, there are other sources for both (wild battles, other reward bags, PVP, the AH, etc.), but it just seems a little mean to dangle the carrot and keep it out of reach all because a silly fish can outheal any damage you output.
Like I said, though, I haven't tried the battles out for myself yet, but I can imagine them to be quite annoying post patch. I have no doubt that sooner or later players will discover a strategy that everyone can adopt (even if it may not be foolproof), and/or the BoF will get an update to balance and tune them better.
In the meantime, I wish the best to everyone doing the BoF on a daily basis. I sympathize and empathize with your frustration. *continues to fly around Northrend* Maybe hour 9 will be luckier......... gonna need more coffee.