Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It has gone from half-full to half-empty.

First off, I don't know who these girls are, but when doing a google image search for an appropriate image when talking about the Cata alpha. The search term Alpha came up with this, and lets face it who doesn't love hot college girls?

Anyway back to the real reason behind this post. With all the leaked alpha information and the current state of the alpha builds I have to revise my earlier estimates and move from the optimist column to the pessimist column. I no longer believe that Cata will be out in august, although I am still skeptical that it will come out after Blizzcon. I really feel a November release is too far away. So maybe events will unfold something like this. Cata release sometime late September, early October. Blizzcon late October, with an announcement of the next expansion, or a tease for the next gen MMO. Diablo 3 release sometime in first quarter 2011.

Ever the optimist I suppose.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The road. It has come to an end.

Tomorrow marks the last day of Ex Obscurum as a guild on Farstriders. The GM's and most of the core raiders have transfered to Emerald Dream, to become a more progression minded raid guild. I have been a member of Ex Obscurum for two and a half years and it was an incredibly difficult decision to stay on the low population, slow progression Farstriders realm. But since I have retired from progression raiding I could not rationalize the cost of server transferring 5 toons. I know it is kind of silly to want to keep all toons together, but I like to be able to move things around and keep within a single server community. So I bid a fond farewell to all my friends in Ex Ob, and wish them luck in their 25 man hard mode progression. Kick the Lich King in the ass for me!

I have joined up with a pretty organized guild on Farstriders, Dark and Light. I have become ranged DPS in their second core raid group. What does this mean? It means I am raiding on the mage, and doing guild 10 man pugs on my Shaman. The best part is Dark and Light is a uber casual guild. My team raids 3 nights a week, two hours per raid, and they have OK'd my absence on the first raid night, due to my commitment to my sons Boy Scout troop. So I am pretty confident I can put 4 hours of my life per week into organized raiding. This makes me happy, and allows me to see some progression, and maybe even the Lich King before Cata comes out.

On to raiding news. Team 2 is making its first steps into ICC, last night we made it past Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper. Sunday night it will be gunship, and a few attempts on Saurfang. I know a lot of people think this is nearing "old" content. But when you are just now stepping into ICC it is still pretty tough.

I remember healing Lady Deathwhisper 25 pre-nerf and thinking the encounter was a joke. Then they nerfed it and I laughed at how simple it was for my well geared, well organized guild that had raided more or less with the same group as a 25 man since SCC in BC. Well for a 10 man team that has only been raiding together for close to a month. Even with the 15% ICC buff that Lady was no joke. We took I think 4 attempts to down her. I think our main problem was a shortage of physical DPS. Our DPS consisted of a ret pally, prot pally, and finally brought in a hunter alt to get her down. The casters had no problem dealing with out adds, but with so much of the pallys DPS coming from Holy damage it was tough going. On our final attempt we managed to break the mana shield and get the Lady to about 75%.

The group decided to go one more time, even though we had passed our scheduled end time. Fourth time was the charm, we re assigned DPS, did a better job of marking physical DPS targets, and managed to actually get a few seconds of breathing room between add spawns. I actually remembered to slow targets, and decurse casters when needed. We downed Lady Deathwhisper with two tanks, two healers and me left alive. I tell you that last 8% with less than a minute on the enrage timer and no other DPS left up put a lot of pressure on my to squeeze out every ounce of DPS I could.

It was the most fun I have had in a raid in a long time. The group wasn't as well organized as I was used to, it felt weird for the raid leader to explain boss strategies before each pull, as in Ex Ob, if you didn't do your research and learn the fights, you didn't raid. But over all it was an incredible feeling to finally down a boss we were struggling with.

I will miss Ex Ob, but I think I have found a new home.

On a side note, the English translation of the latin Ex Obscurum is "From Darkness" or our of Darkness. I think it is fitting that my new home is Dark and Light!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cataclysm predictions...

I have for a very long time stated my prediction that Cataclysm will be released this August. I don't know why I have felt so strongly about this but I do. I have posted this prediction many times here, and again I will re-affirm that prediction. If I am wrong I'm wrong. But I think I have some pretty good data to back up my thoughts. Today another piece of the puzzle dropped into place.

Today Blizzard announced that Starcraft 2 will be released July 27th. Blizzard has stated many times that some of the new Cataclysm features will be integration into Battlenet2.0. With Starcraft's release the end of July, that gives them a full month (I am guessing a late August release) to work out the bugs, and roll out Cataclysm.

Today the Cataclysm Beta realm character transfer servers are active. So I am guessing the beta should be starting around the 15th of this month. The Wrath beta was around 4 months. I am being pretty generous here, but assuming the familiarity the Dev's have with the tools, they can cut that down to 90 days or so. Worst case they are in beta foe 105 days and that hits my end of August guess.

Blizzcon is scheduled for October this year. I can't imagine we will be in beta for 7 months, to hit the November 2'nd release date I have heard bandied about. Also I just cant see them wasting dev time (not that Blizzcon is a waste per se) with just 2 weeks between Blizzcon and a major release. I also think Blizzcon will be more focused on Diablo 3, the other SC2 campaigns and possibly a teaser for whatever comes after Cata, as well as some news on the nextgen MMO.

I would to hear somebody tell me why I am wrong. But until then, I'll live with my glass half-full and hope for a Cata Release by the end of August.