Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly In 5.3

It hasn't been that long since patch 5.3 was released (three days since, to be exact), so my opinions may change over time. Things might also change as hotfixes are rolled out.

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 :)

- 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!
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.

Some stuff that I'm looking forward to experiencing in the very near future:
- "Bad luck protection" for battle-stones.

- The consumable that boosts exp gained for my pets.

- Accuracy changes.
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".

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.


  1. I am in my third hour or so, using the main and 5 alts, on 3 servers...

    1. @Anonymous: That is some dedication! It would drive me nuts having to switch over from toon to toon, server to server. Good luck and I hope you collect one soon. :)

  2. Agree 100%. All the pets added in this patch (aside from Gahz'rooki and the PVP direhorn) require too much RNG. I've had relatively poor luck with the Burning Crusade raid pets. I expect the Throne of Thunder raid pets to have the ridiculously low drop rate of the other pets from that zone. Nobody has found the filthling yet. (Although it sounds like that might be hotfixed.) No sightings of the val'kyr yet. Very frustrating.

    I don't think I've seen any beneficial effects from the 'bad luck protection'. I completed 'The Longest Day' achievement and received two stones, three pets (which I already have). Most of that was from the beasts of fable dailies, aside from one pandaren spirit pet.

    The beasts of fable are currently killable, but they too seem to have a lot of RNG. Some people say that Ti'un is the worst, whereas I killed him on my first go. Nitun was the worst for me, but others say he was simple. In any case, I might have started doing those daillies again, but my experiences since the patch has soured me on them again.

    Well, that was long. I hate being so negative, but I'm just a tad frustrated.

    1. @Jawn: I haven't really experienced the "bad luck protection" mechanic either, but then again, I've only managed to start doing dailies again.

      RNG is ok and can make for some interesting content. I just wish it wasn't the ONLY factor to make things "hard" or "rare".

  3. I actually caught the Unborn Val'kyr accidentally. I was doing the longest day achievement and flew from Borean Tundra to Icecrown. Flying through Crystalsong Forest, I saw a squirrel and next to it was the Val'kyr. I landed in Icecrown, returned to Dalaran and then to the forest. There she was, poor quality, but I had lots of undead stones. She was near the river, not far from the tamer with undead pets.
    As for BoF, before starting the quests I read lots of scary stuff about the difficulty. The beasts do hit like trucks and can kill in 2 strikes (like the goat killed my mechs). But overall, they are doable. It just depends on luck and RNG.

    1. @Ирина М: Grats on your find! That must have been a really pleasant surprise. :)

  4. Beast of Fable - Doable. 'but' even less worth repeating than they were when you got 1 bag for 10. Did the for Longest Day and not doing again as it's too long for the rewards. I already have excess stones (over 20 undead for example, few beast/flying though)

    Unborn Val'Kyr - 3-4 hours (a couple of deaths due to fatigue from flying off map when i thought I stopped while tabbing out). no sign. A few people at spawns but what if it's at a spawn nobody has recorded yet? Just seems that it's the easter eggs all over again. more efficient to sit in one spot and hope it spawns as when flying you have NO chance of finding it.

    Also, what if they have the mechanic so they don't spawn at server start. There may not actually be any for a period so you are just flying around for nothing. At least in a minfernal/scourge whelp size area it's pretty obvious pretty quick there are none.

    TBC pets. Did kara on 12 (still 2 more to do), SSC and TK on 6 (might also try on my 89 shaman)

    Kara - 4 Red Riding for 1 wolf (3 OZ, 5 R&J), 12 totals for other kara bosses - 1 imp, 3 Curator and 1 Infernal

    SSC - 6 kills of hydross/morogrim, 1 Tainted Waveling, No tideskipper. Only 1 kill (with my hunter) of Vash but got pet. not really doable with a melee dps. her stacks too high. might not be too bad as a tank

    TK - 5 of each . Got 1 of each pet.

    I know it's a small sample but in the region of 1:6 and 1:10 may be a rough estimate

    1. @Anonymous: I don't think any pet uses the "mass repsawn after server restart" model anymore. They may still spawn after a restart, but I think it's more sporadic now.


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