Thori’dal, the Grinders’ Fury

Finally, after over a year of going into Sunwell on a weekly basis… This glorious shiny item dropped.

Here’s me wielding Thori’dal, The Stars’ Fury. I also have Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker on my back but you can only really see the handle of it.

It took 69 Sunwell runs and 69 Kil’Jaeden kills for it to drop. I would like to thank my guild for the constant support every single week, there were a lot of them who helped me out over the course of these 69 weeks and I’m deeply thankful for each and everyone of them to have shown me their support this long. Thanks Vex!

Wowhead reports the droprate for this item to be 7% (1 in 14 chance), which are pretty damn good odds for a legendary to drop. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be unlucky with the random number generator. Let’s take a look at some statistics to help understand the situation better.

The chance of you getting this item if you only go to Sunwell once is 7%, but what are the chances of you seeing the item at least once if you go there 10 times? or 20 times? 50 times? 69 times? We can calculate this using some probability math:

1 – (chance to fail/total chance)^attempts = chance to suceeed in nr of attempts
1 – (93/100)^X = Y%

1 time, 7%
10 times, 51,6%
20 times, 77,6%
50 times, 97,3%
69 times, 99,3%

As you can see, it’s very statistically improbable that you’d need to go into Sunwell 69 times to see the bow drop once, but that’s just it. It’s all statistics. Every time you go in there you have the same 7% chance and it doesn’t matter how many times you do it, you’ll always have a 7% chance, every single time. But in all likelihood, you’ll see the bow drop once far before 50 attempts.
You could even say it’s quite an achievement to get the bow after such an improbable amount of attempts…

Update (22/07): My friend Harzufelt put together this video about the long and epic quest to obtain the legendary bow!

Bucket list revisited

This is my 2nd legendary and therefor also the last legendary I can obtain and earn an achievement for as a hunter (for now). My first legendary was Thunderfury, Blade of the Windseeker (click for pic).
This last legendary was quite the epic grind for me and has been pretty much the only long grind I’ve been focusing on since The Insane. This got me thinking, what else is there for me to do now, before Mists of Pandaria?… and this made me remember the bucket list for Cataclysm that I made in April. Let’s check out what that list looks like today…

Damn. I got everything! Even the new one I added after making the list in the first place (Rare camel mount from Uldum). What am I gonna do now? There’s not really any achievements to get apart from PvP achievements and I’m waiting until Mists of Pandaria before I PvP again (no minimum range, gief kthx). I suppose I could level another alt… :-/

Maybe it’s time to try out another game for a little while, just until Mists of Pandaria is released… Steam Sale, here I come!

Cheers,
Gav

Posted in Achievements, General, Reflection | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Deathwing defeated

Our guild was progressing steadily through heroic Dragon Soul all the way up to Spine, quite a while ago. We did some of the bosses before any nerfs came in and then a few more with just 5% nerf, 10% nerf, etc. But once we had defeated Warmaster Blackhorn and  gotten to Spine, everything stopped.

We had lots of tensions in the guild with people being angry about this, that or the other thing. Lots of unnecessary drama which lasted much longer than it should have. In the middle of that drama period, Diablo III was released, making raiding almost impossible. So for maybe 2 months we didn’t have any serious raiding going on. By the end of this period, the drama was eventually resolved due to the people who were at the core of these issues deciding to leave. Once was all said and done, this turned out to be for the best since they got a new guild together and all of us who stayed were able to get back to what we love doing most; progressing!

During the course of two raiding weeks we were able to finally take down Spine and Madness (with just 3-4hrs total progression on Madness)! This is something some of us had really given up hope on ever achieving during this expansion, so many happy faces all around. :)

We found that with the 25% nerf, it was totally doable to burn down the first tendon on Spine using heroism and having everyone using cds and potions. This made the whole encounter just a little bit easier. This, even though we were very far from having an optimal setup for the encounter, just one mage and sometimes a rogue. Two Survival hunters, warlocks, etc. Without the nerfs it wouldn’t have been possible at all.

On Madness we found that we did not have to go with a 1-tank setup, as long as we had the 2nd tank be a bit hybridy. So we had a feral hybrid as the 2nd tank. He was able to do 47k dps (compared to dpsers doing 67-49k), that’s quite impressive for a tank, wouldn’t you say? Here’s the log if you’re interested.

Veneficus Ex recruiting for Mists of Pandaria

That’s right, our guild is always look for more mature and skilled people to join our raiding team and pvp team. Raiding is our first priority and we always strive to clear the content while it’s current, but at the same time we’re not really bothered about being first. We’re all (well, most) adults with busy lives and we understand that real life comes first. We don’t have high requirements on attendance but we expect everyone to do their homework and preparations for when we do raid so that we can focus on the encounter and not on people learning their class.

We also have social ranks and lots of people who just log on for a chat, a dungeon, an achievement, etc. Most of the time we have people sitting in Mumble just talking about random stuff.

A typical week we raid 2-3 nights in progression content and then we have maybe 1-2 nights with random stuff and/or older/farm content. Our usual start time is at 20.30 (GMT+1, servertime) and we end at 0.00.

Right now we’re focusing on clearing out some stuff we missed when it was current (Rangaros heroic for example) and doing some Dragon Soul heroics still to ensure everyone gets their achievements.

We’re located on the Alliance side of The Venture Co (EU), which is one of the smallest realms in EU. I feel I have to warn you and say that it is almost completely dead. You’ll never see more than 40 people in Stormwind at one time. But if that doesn’t bother you, maybe this could be a realm for you…

You’ve heard the best and the worst. Interested? Press the “Veneficus Ex” button to the right.

Other stuff

  • My site got linked to in a blue post on the WoW Battle.net frontpage, that was pretty damn cool.
  • I added buttons for my Youtube channel and my guild to the right. Several of the videos on youtube were never posted here, so check it out if you’re interested. :)
  • Inspired by “Indie Game: The Movie” I bought Braid and Super Meat Boy, they’re both awesome and I highly recommend them to anyone who grew up with Nintendo/Sega!

Cheers,
Gav

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Cross-realm zones will not benefit low population realms

A few days ago, Blizzard unveiled a new Mists of Pandaria feature that will in itself redefine the way modern MMORPGs work;  Cross-realm zones (follow the link to read the complete FAQ).

In the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta, we’re introducing a new technology that will enable players to meet up and group with other players in under populated areas of the world such as low level zones or areas that other players may have outleveled or moved on from. This technology will allow players to form a group with other players from within a select pool of realms in order to quest just like they normally would while still allowing the social structures of their home realms to remain intact.

The introduction of this feature isn’t a complete surprise to the community since there have been discussions on cross-realm phasing technology ever since this cryptic statement by Zarhym in February:

Having said all that, yesterday we discussed low-population and faction-imbalanced realms with our developers. They have some pretty bold and spectacular plans for addressing this in anticipation of implementing some of the features we plan to in Mists. I just don’t have a lot of information to share with you at this stage of programming and development.

I remember the guys on Legendary came to the conclusion that the blues must be talking about cross-realm phasing technology because everything seemed to be moving towards cross-realm lately (with the LFD/LFR, cross realm grouping, etc) and what else would be “bold and spectacular”?  Just merging and/or shutting down low population realms certainly wouldn’t be.

What is this?

Basically there’s been a problem in WoW for many years now (which got worse with the introduction of LFD back in WotLK) that most people spend most of their time in the game inside a city. If you’re Alliance you’re always in Stormwind and if you’re Horde you’re always in Orgrimmar. This is because there isn’t really much need for you to go anywhere else, you can just queue for dungeons, battlegrounds and LFR right in the city.

The effect of this is that most zones in Azeroth feel totally deserted and if you’re leveling up characters through questing then you will feel more like this is a singleplayer game than an MMO… Obviously, that’s not a good thing.

So, enter cross-realm zones. Now underpopulated zones will merge together across realms. Perhaps you’re the only one in Silithus, well, no more. Now there will be at least 2-3 of you! In theory most zones will feel adequately populated instead of totally empty.
This technology also enables splitting of overpopulated zones. So if you’re on a massive realm like Silvermoon (EU) then maybe there’ll be several version of the same zone just for the people on that realm.

Cities well be exempt from cross-realm merging due to them always being popular zones.

The problems

This all sounds great right? Sure, a lot of zones will feel more alive now and that’s cool. But this doesn’t really solve the problems of underpopulated realms at all, which is probably what they invented the technology for in the first place.

First off, if cities are exempt from this then my realm will still feel deserted because rarely are there more than 10-30 people in Stormwind (and I hear there’s even less people in Orgrimmar).  This also means there’s literally 0 people in the other cities and in most zones and that that the Auction House feels a lot like the Neutral auction house, as in, pretty empty.

If this technology was implemented, we’d not see any more people in Stormwind, the Auction House would remain dead but at the same time there’d be more people in farming zones so there’d be more competition for all types of materials which would make them spike in price even more on our realm or disappear completely which rare materials and/or fish has already.

Wouldn’t be very odd to have less people in the place that should be the most crowded (the city) than the outskirts of the world? Small villages = metropolis, big city = ghost town. How does this make any sense?

The one benefit of low population realms is that it’s easier to get rarespawns, but with this technology that will now only be a fading memory. Instead you can expect to compete for rarespawns just in the same way as they do on popular realms.

Cross-realm zones as it is now, will only hurt low population realms, not help them. I beg of you Blizzard to adjust it to prevent the dying realms from taking their last breaths. Add in cities so we can feel like our realms are alive as well and make the Auction Houses be shared across battlegroups or something similar. If people will share the same areas for farming materials then they should share the same market place as well.

What do you think? Will cross-realm zones harm the low population realms? What can Blizzard do to make it better for these realms?

Cheers,
Gav

Some other bloggers covering the same topic:

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Cataclysmic Bucket List and OpenRaid

It’s been about five months since my last post on this blog. There’s several good reasons for that. First off, I started my first full-time job last year and this ended up taking more time and needing more energy than I had ever imagined. Secondly, Cataclysm just hasn’t been as exciting to play or to write about as Wrath of the Lich King. And thirdly, there’s just been too many other awesome games that simply had to be played. I mean, come on, you played Skyrim too, didn’t you?  or maybe; Assassin’s Creed: Revelations? Trine 2? Battlefield 3? Portal 2? Super Mario 3D Land?
Ok, maybe that last one wasn’t the most awesome game ever, but it was still pretty fun.

Another reason is one that I rediscovered today while getting back to the blog and updating it. I have so many posts and guides that all could be full of outdated information so I feel the need to go through everything and doublecheck the validity of each claim, links, etc.
Today I spent more hours than a full work day on just trying to make sure old guides aren’t irrelevant, and I haven’t even gotten through half of them yet. This whole update process is not fun and is a big deterrent for me when it comes to updating the blog.

When it comes to guides for Mists of Pandaria, I might try to be a bit more restrictive with how many guides I write and maintain to minimize this… I mean, Warcraft Hunters Union and ElitistJerks does a good job of telling you what to do and not to do already, so why repeat it? Instead I can write more random nonsensical stuff that doesn’t have to be fact checked twice, thrice and again.

The Cataclysmic Bucket list

I didn’t come back here just to start ranting about everything and displaying how lazy I am. I mean, I almost did. But then I came up with some other stuff to write as well!

Back in 2010 I wrote a bucket list for things I wanted done before Cataclysm would come out. Luckily for me, I managed to get almost everything on my list done (see the link for the details).
Now it’s that time again, we’re at the last tier of an expansion and the only thing we are waiting for now is the new systems patch to bring all the class and mechanical changes to the game and then after that, the actual release of the expansion; Mists of Pandaria.
So, because of that, I wrote a new bucket list.

Get…

I found this rare bastard today after a few hundred Tol'vir solves

And I have to tell you, so far it’s going real good. I managed to get the fox pet after a few thousand foxes had been slaughtered on the peninsula, almost all the archaeology rewards that I’ve been after have been found – just one pet missing – and my Darkmoon Faire grind is almost done.

The legendary bow still eludes me even though I’ve been there every week for what now seems like forever, and each time I drag along with me some poor victims from the guild who have to suffer through with me. I really do appreciate their help, without them I would be dead in the water regarding this achievement. Sunwellian grinding guildies: You rock!

All the raiding achievements on the list (except for the last one) I have managed to finish off already thanks to OpenRaid. Halion 25-man heroic was the most recent one, it lasted maybe 20 minutes and was one-shot. So, so easy. But impossible to do on my realm since there’s rarely even 25 people available in trade chat, let alone 25 people interested in doing an old raid.

For Glory of the Cataclysm Raider I had most achievements I needed already through guild efforts but lately the guild hasn’t cared too much about doing tier 11 content so I searched other venues for completing my achievement and again, that venue was OpenRaid. Over the course of several nights I managed to get all the heroic bosses needed to finish the meta achievement, no night ended up in no achievement. Every raid was successful.  And same for Rangaros heroic, I just joined one raid and that was it: Firelord Gavendo!

Gushing over OpenRaid

Needless to say, I really like OpenRaid now. My personal experience has so far been 100% successful raids, full of people who behaved maturely and were excited to do the achievements we were doing. Of course, not every group will be successful, but if you do your best you can be sure that the chances are pretty damn good.

This site is fantastic for crossrealm pugging. It has scheduling and a chatroom for more impromptu pugs. It has a feedback system similar to eBay, after each raid you get to up/down-vote each person who was in the raid and leave a comment on them. This prevents people from behaving like assholes, ninjaing items, afking all the way through a raid, etc. If you’re an ass, everyone will know about it.

You can pug all raids (except for Dragon Soul), dungeons and battlegrounds through this system. Are there any raid achievements or dungeon achievements from the past that you are looking to complete? Are there battleground achievements that seem impossible to do without a group full of achievement-hungry people? Well, what are you waiting for? There is now a website just for you and everyone like you and it’s called OpenRaid.

Cheers,
Gav

Posted in Achievements, General, Reflection | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Herald of the Titans in Cataclysm

At the end of Wrath of the Lich King I was part of the one and only group on my realm that was going for “Herald of the Titans” achievement. This achievement requires you to kill Algalon (the heroic-mode only boss in Ulduar) only wearing gear of equivalent item level of the gear that drops in 10-man Ulduar. And once you do that, you get the title; Herald of the Titans.

After many months of gearing up ourselves and countless other people who would join for a bit, only to disappear soon after, we finally had a team of people in full gear, ready to destroy Algalon. Since in those days you only had an hour per week to put in attempts on Algalon, it took us quite a few weeks…. and I was very lucky, I managed to get the achievement just a short while before the shattering.

Still obtainable

Later on during Cataclysm I learned that the “Herald of the Titans”-achievement would still be obtainable, even in Cataclysm. As long as all the participating characters were level 80. After finding this out I decided to try to make a new team for it and get it again, since it was so awesome the first time.

And sure enough, after about 2 months of setting up a team and gearing it up, we had a full team of 11 people and with that team we went into Ulduar and smacked Algalon in the face! (We also went back the week after and did it again for that last 11th person of course)

Requirements

To achieve Herald of the Titans, you need to:

Defeat Algalon the Observer in 10-player mode at level 80* without anyone in the raid wearing any equipment with an item level higher than is available in 10-player Ulduar.

* This means ALL the participants in the raid need to be level 80

Clarification on item levels:

  • Armor items must have item level 226 or lower (this includes relics, sigils etc.)
  • Weapons must have item level 232 or lower (main hand, off-hand, shields, wands, ranged weapons)
  • The gear doesn’t have to drop in Ulduar, it can come from anywhere as long as it meets the item level requirements. This includes PvP gear and even BoA gear.

Gear enhancement:

  • Cataclysm enchants and gems require higher item levels than what you can use in Ulduar so you’ll need to use Wrath of the Lich King enchants and gems. Crafting professions self-enchants (such as Tailoring’s cloak enchant) do not require high item levels and will work just fine.
  • All types (epic, blue) of Wrath of the Lich King gems and enchants work.
  • Reforging is allowed and recommended. Most classes will want to reforge into Mastery since it scales so ridiculously well at level 80.

Consumables:

  • Both Cataclysm flasks and food works just fine and is strongly recommended since it’ll provide all of you with huge stat increases (+390 useful stat, +90 stamina).
  • Bring some seafood magnifique and a cauldron. If none of the level 80s can make them, you can have someone else put down the feast/cauldron just outside the raid for all of you. Just make sure that the person is in the raid when he or she puts down the feast/cauldron.

Tips

General:

  • First of all, don’t forget to lock your character’s XP once it has reached level 80. You don’t want to accidentally level up and get to level 81…
  • I highly recommend getting the Ulduar part for DBM or BigWigs, whatever boss mod you use.
  • You no longer need a key to enter Algalon’s room.
  • Algalon doesn’t disappear after an hour of the first attempt on him anymore, so no need to rush it.

Gearing:

  • Gearing up can be fast or slow, whatever you and your group likes. If you want to take it slow then all you need to do is to run Ulduar continously for a while. You should be able to get all the gear you need from there. But if you like to speed it up a bit, and if you like to get your hands on some better items then it is highly recommended to grind for some Justice Point gear and to do the Icecrown Citadel dungeons and Trial of the Champion, often.
  • The fastest way of grinding Justice Points is by doing the level 80 Cataclysm normal dungeons.
  • The ilvl 200 Darkmoon Card: Greatness trinket is best in slot for all dpsers and healers due to the way stat values changed with Cataclysm.

Where the loot comes from:

And lastly, don’t forget that this is a time-commitment for at least a few weeks up to a few months. Make sure you have people you can rely on to show up to raids in your team or you’ll be cursed to deal with replacements over and over and over again…

Cheers,
Gav

Posted in Achievements, General, Guides | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments