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Posts with tag mobs

Breakfast Topic: Awesome Animations

So hot on the heels of the best mob noise in game discussion, I thought I'd ask another question: What about the animations? We probably don't think about it too much, but the sounds and animations of PCs and NPCs alike probably end up making a lot of atmosphere we take for granted. It fills out the world and makes it feel more immersive, more real.

With that in mind, the noise topic got me thinking of what animations I really like. There's a lot of them that at least deserve a mention, from the howling of Coyotes to the nervous skittering of the Silithid. In the new animations, we get stuff like Stinker's escapades and the wildlife of Grizzly Hills going on with their every day activities.

Beyond that, even PC animations can have their awesome looks, such as a Draenei twirling a Polearm to attack or a male Blood Elf dying with Shakespearean dramatics. Ethereals also have some pretty graceful moves overall, even in the way their bandages move and their energy pulses.

What animations and graphics have you encountered in WoW that have made you stop and say, "Hey, that's pretty neat?"

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

How to level up through the Argent Tournament

Banana Shoulders has a really excellent guide to just what the Argent Tournament is all about. I played it for the first time the other night (while we were streaming live from the PTR), and it's a strange little mix of minigame, questing, and rep grind. The Argent Tournament has set up north of Sindragosa's Fall, and there are three basic stages: first, we've got to help them build the place (which will send you to quest in other parts of the world), second, you'll be moving up the ranks from Aspirant in the tournament to Champion, and third, you'll be acting as an Argent Tournament Champion, and picking up Champion's Seals to spend on various rewards and items.

The tournament itself involves a minigame of mounted combat -- you can ride around on a mount, lance equipped, that has a few different abilities. There's a ranged attack that will let you break down an opponent's shield, there's a Defend ability that will let you build up your own shield, and then there's a Thrust melee attack that just does damage, and a Charge attack that will do damage as well as break down your opponent's shield. And out of combat, you can fully heal your mount or challenge someone else to a duel. The Aspirant quests teach you all of this, and then the Valiant quests really put your knowledge to the test as you move up through the ranks, fighting NPC mobs as challengers to the title.

The Argent Tournament definitely seems like a lot of fun -- as I said way back when, the whole event seems like a one-stop shop for picking up rep and items in Northrend, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if Blizzard plans to add more events and more daily quests on to what we're building up there. Banana Shoulders will be posting part three of their guide soon, and of course you can stay tuned to WoW Insider -- as we get closer to the patch 3.1 release on the live realms, we'll have everything you need to know about the Tournament and then some.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Lore, Guides, NPCs, Mounts

Quests added to mob tooltips on the PTR

The Godmother over at ALT:ernative ducked into the PTR recently, and noticed something new: Blizzard is apparently testing adding Questhelper-style notes to tooltips of the quest-related mobs you come across. This looks so familiar that I thought it was an addon, but no, apparently Blizzard really is planning to tell you when a mob you're looking at happens to be the target of a quest.

It shocked me for a second -- not only is this dumbing down the questing game even further (maybe someday we will have a large red arrow pointing out a quest target from zones away), but it seems to be an awfully big break in immersion. Blizzard is basically telling you that "this is the mob you need, right here," and actually reading the quest text becomes even less necessary.

But then I realized that tooltips themselves aren't exactly paragons of game immersion -- it's already a little jump in the reality of the game to see a box with a mob's name and level whenever you mouse over it. Tooltips are already where the UI meets the road, so to speak. And as for the "dumbing down" of the game, most experienced players already had this functionality through addons like Questhelper and MonkeyQuest anyway (and if you do plan to complain that this makes things way too easy, make sure Questhelper is out of your Addon directory before you start typing). But if the tips stay in the game when the patch goes live, questing will be that much easier for people who stick to the basic UI.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Most annoying Northrend Mob


Hey, don't get me wrong. I am a confirmed Northrend fanboy. As a big fan of Warcraft III, Norse Mythology, High fantasy, and the like, Wrath of the Lich King is pretty much almost perfect. It taught me how to love again and fixed my hot rod. But there's still some annoying parts too. In particular, my problem the last few days has been with the Shoveltusk.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Taunt and Growl to be increased to 20 yards

Warriors, Druids, and Death Knights are going to be creating their own version of a very happy dance soon. The range on Taunt, Growl, and Dark Command will be increased to 20 yards.

This is a big change. Now the other tanking classes will have equal ability to ranged taunt mobs off other players, pulling the mob to them. Often times warriors and druids have to either Intervene or Charge around in order to taunt a mob, and that can lead to a whole kaboodle of mobs following the tank. It often is not the ideal situation, especially if the mobs cleave or otherwise do AoE damage.

Now the whole process is simplified immensely and made much more efficient. Quite an awesome change, and one that has put a smile on my face today.

Filed under: Druid, Warrior, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Rare mobs in classic, BC, and Wrath

Rare mobs are one of my favorite unexpected pleasures in WoW. It's such a thrill to be questing or grinding along and see that silver dragon; it adds a lot of flavor to what could otherwise be some boring runs through out-of-the-way zones. In fact, that's an upside to the current depopulation of Azeroth: I find many more rare mobs, since no-one's been by to kill them in an hour or two. Fun fight, interesting mob, automatic green.

However, when Burning Crusade came out, it was discovered that all the Outland rare mobs were also elite. There was a blue post around the time that defended the decision as allowing them to put better loot on the mobs, making them walking treasure chests (BC also has no world treasure chests, sadly Thanks; I guess there are still new things for me to learn in BC) . But it did make them basically unsoloable, which takes a lot of the excitement out of spotting one, at least for me: by the time I get four more people to come help me out, I don't really care any more.

Read more →

Filed under: The Burning Crusade, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

New bear animations for eating and fishing discovered

Everyone knows that bears are actually pretty good fishermen, but for some reason Ferals have to shift back out of form and use a pole like everyone else. That may be changing, however. Andrige, the same person who bought us the new data-mined Hairstyles, has discovered the animations showcased in the above video, which point to the possibility of more life injected into the old Druid Feral forms.

One animation called EmoteEat shows the bear bracing a piece of food against the ground with his paw while tearing off a chunk with his teeth, while another is a fishing animation where the bear looks to be pawing at the water, waiting to slap out a fish. The other exciting thing in the video is the possibility of a closed mouth on my bear! Do you know how many flies he's caught with that constantly open mouth of his?

I logged onto my Druid on the Beta servers to check on the status of the animations. While you can now eat, drink and use potions in Feral forms on Beta, there are still no animations associated with the act (You simply sit down while eating). In addition, you can't fish at all in Feral forms (Trying to cast my line put me back in Night Elf form).

Unfortunately, the fact that these animations haven't been implemented yet does lead me to a bit of pessimistic thought: They simply be meant for bear mobs, and not for Feral bears at all. Blizzard's been adding a lot of cool little idle animations to mobs, such as mama beasts who flush out critters for their cubs to chase and eat, so this may simply be one more set. Still, since they exist, they could easily be added on to the Feral bear's animation list in a future patch even if they aren't originally meant for Ferals. Here's hoping we see them there!

Filed under: Druid, Fishing, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

In WoW and other games, pathfinding is still "kind of a problem"


If you're not much of a computer programming person, this one might make your eyes glaze over a bit, but if you have any interest how the AI of videogame characters, including those in WoW, is programmed, this article about designing AI pathfinding is a terrific read. "Pathfinding" is a method of determining how NPCs move within a game world like Azeroth -- you and I can clearly see where the walls and bad guys are, and so we just have to press buttons to avoid either ingame, but NPCs (including pets and mobs) aren't quite that easy -- they need to be told clearly by programmers where they can go and how to get there. And when the rules they're given don't quite work, you get the funny seen above.

Many games use a "waypoint" system -- NPCs are given a series of paths around the space they can move in, and use those paths to determine where they can and can't go. The article argues for a "navigation mesh," a much looser definition of available space, which NPCs can then draw their own path across. It's a little technical, but it's cool to see the inner workings (and weaknesses) of Azeroth's code.

Of course, it's extremely unlikely that we'll ever really see the NPC pathfinding engine updated in WoW anyway -- Blizzard will update their system in certain places to fix things like exploits (and the occasional annoying escort quest, i.e. all of them), but there's no real need to update the whole system completely when there's so much content to be done. Hopefully videos like this will bring the problem to light, and in future games we'll see some better pathfinding. Someday, that NPC will know that it's easier to go around the pillar rather than trying to walk right through it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard, Humor, Bosses, NPCs, Hardware

No threat for Lifebloom


Lume the Mad has done the math (very thoroughly), and he's got the answer for Druids: the end healing burst of Lifebloom doesn't cause any threat at all, either for the caster or the recipient. He first pared the entire situation of casting Lifebloom down to its basic elements -- you've got a player who body pulls a mob, and a Druid healing them. He took out all possible reactive abilities that might cause threat, and then set up a situation where the Druid obtained threat, and cast LIfebloom on another player, with an opposing faction Shaman purging the spell early (so it could jump straight to the end heal), and the mob stayed on the Druid -- the big heal didn't cause threat for the recipient at all. Finally, Lum tested if the Druid was recieving aggro, and as you can see above, neither the Druid caster or the Warlock is affected by the end heal of Lifebloom -- just one point of damage can still pull the mob around.

There's been a lot of discussion about this already -- the HoT aspect of Lifebloom still does cause threat (for the Druid), and so you combine that with the fact that lots of people were testing under "unsecure" situations, and the whole thing got very confusing. But Lum's tests seem very clear: Druids can cast away knowing that they won't pull aggro with that burst of healing at the end of the spell.

[Thanks, Matticus!]

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Raiding, Guides

Evade me no longer

For some reason, the first evade bug moment I remember happened in Zul'Farrak. We were clearing the basilisk pulls before attempting Antu'sul (why is it that the optional bosses always have a couple of sweet warrior drops?) and the mage in the group wanted to skip the whole thing. Impatient, he decided to start nuking away from atop one of the hills surrounding the area and managed to pull aggro, but the basilisk couldn't path up to him (and to be honest I'm not sure how he got up there) and promptly went evade. He wouldn't come down because he rightly knew the mob would hit him, and so it took us a solid ten minutes of arguing before he finally came into the monster's reach so that I could taunt it.

I'm thinking about this because of the Isle of Quel'Danas dailies, specifically the quest Crush the Dawnblade. For some reason whenever I do this quest I run into Dawnblade Summoners who are evading. This puzzles me because I can't understand why a ranged mob is evading: it doesn't have to path to anything to hit it, just get into range. Is there some way a hunter or some other ranged class can shoot them but stay out of their range?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Odds and ends, Instances

Breakfast Topic: The easy/hard grind

I'm currently working through Zangarmarsh on my Hunter, and this weekend I spent a lot of time grinding two completely different kinds of mobs. The Withered Bog Lords in northern Zangarmarsh were cake for my Hunter -- they weren't exactly gentle with my pet, but he was able to eat the damage, and I could have grinded right away on them all day. At the exact opposite end of the grinding scale, however, were those stupid Umbrafen Eels -- not only were they under water (always annoying), but they've got this on-hit electrical damage thing that just drove me nuts. I stayed to play with the Bog Lords for a long time, racking up the XP, but as soon as I was done with the Eels, I got out of the water and stayed out.

Fighting these two back to back got me thinking: what's the easiest/hardest mob to grind on? Some mobs (like the tigers in Stranglethorn or the bears/spiders in Ashenvale) are super easy to grind -- they have no special abilities, they're spaced out, and they go down fast. But others -- most gnolls, in my experience, and lots of casters -- are just annoying as all get out; they run around, pull others, heal up when they're almost dead, and give you lots of headaches while taking them down. Those are the mobs you don't sit around and grind on -- they're the ones you avoid completely after you've done whatever quest requires you to kill them.

What are your favorite or least favorite mobs to just grind on in the game?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Leveling

WoW Moviewatch: 20k DPS in Black Morass


Pretty incredible. Xetrov on Farstriders took a few friends (and a pretty good Pally tank-- never thought I'd say those words) into Black Morass, and trashed all the trash. At once. With AoE. Good lord, look at all those numbers. He says he cracked 20,000 DPS, which is pretty jaw dropping.

And this is also a really good example of how Blizzard has more or less crushed AoE when you're taking on more than ten mobs-- Xetrov has almost 800 spell damage, and yet his crits are hitting at around 150-200, because with so many targets, his spell damage is pretty much negated. He's still pulling down tons of DPS (and when are you really taking on more than 10 mobs, except in wacky situations like this?). But showing numbers like 150 and 160 coming off of a Mage with 800 spell damage show pretty clearly how weak AoE can get with this many targets.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, WoW Moviewatch

Daze of our lives, starring Drysc

Drysc has laid out the science on exactly how Daze works. When we all first entered Outland, it seemed like mobs were Dazing us left and right, but it wasn't really clear why or how it happened. Now, months later, Drysc says they've gone over the Daze code again, and it really is "working as intended."

Daze, he says, is based on a character's base defense rating as compared to a mob's base attack skill. The standard Daze rating is 20% (so if you're facing a mob of equal level and your defense rating hasn't been increased, then a hit from behind should daze you 1/5 of the time), and it goes up or down from there from 0 to 40%. Characters below level 30, interestingly enough, have a much reduced chance to be dazed (it's almost impossible for a level 1 character to be dazed by an equal level mob), in order to make the game easier when players first begin playing.

The reason Drysc gives for us seeing it more in Outland is a little shaky-- he says there weren't many actual level 60 mobs in Azeroth, and there are now quite a few level 70 (and higher) mobs in Outland, which means a fully leveled character will be dazed more. Finally, the reason, he says, for Daze in the first place is that they don't want to make it "safe" to randomly run through a group of mobs. "A cautious and alert player," he says, "is less likely to be dazed than one who is haphazard and careless."

My only problem with that is that I get dazed more not when I'm trying to run away from characters (I understand I'm going to be penalized when I sloppily run through a group of mobs), but when I get jumped while fighting. Should the same penalty apply when a single add jumps me from behind? And while we're at it, shouldn't being mounted lower the chance of getting dazed as well? Having a flying mount has made serious dazing tragedies much less common, but for characters still on ground mounts, shouldn't being mounted protect them a little more than being on foot?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Buffs

Hey! I needed that!

Nikol of WoW Ladies posts about something I shouldn't get so worked up about, but often do anyway-- higher level characters farming mobs that lower levels need for quests or rep.

Now, Nikol is actually on the opposite side of the equation from the one I remember being on more. She was wondering if there is a certain etiquette when she goes to farm Timbermaw rep (as a level 68) and starts competing for mobs with level 58s. Which is actually very nice of her, because usually I'm in the other situation: I'm playing a lowbie alt and I have to go kill 50 pigs to get their spleens. Suddenly, a level 70 mage roars through the area, AoEing every pig he sees, rounding them all up in a pile so he can level up his skinning. A few seconds later, I'm left with nothing to farm, and he's standing over a pile of piggies, skinning away and humming to himself. For some reason, that makes me just see red. There are lots of other places he can farm skinning, so why does he feel the need to gank my quest mobs? It makes me seethe just thinking about it!

Unfortunately, as Nikol finds out, there is no set etiquette-- outside of a group, it literally is a free-for-all. If you're in my place, your only real option is to just find another quest to work on while all the mobs respawn, or poke around to see if he missed any. And to tell the truth, I shouldn't get so angry anyway-- it could be that the mage didn't realize I needed those pigs, and in fact, there is probably a whole other cache of pigs just over the hill that I haven't found yet.

But for some reason it just drives me nuts. Have you been on either side of this situation? And how have you handled it?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Economy

Breakfast topic: Most hated mob abilities

I have previous expressed my burning hatred for whirlwinding mobs, and very few people are fans of getting feared into a nearby group of enemies.. But while leveling my pally, I've rediscovered my least favorite mob action of all time -- enemies that heal themselves when they're at about 20 percent health. These mobs also seem to conspire and wait until my Hammer of Justice in on cooldown, so all I can do is flail impotently with my big axe as they heal to 80 percent and laugh at me. I can also do a quick mana tap and arcane torrent, but by the time I think of that they're usually healed already.

As I write this, I'm fighting caster murlocs who are underwater, heal themselves, and run away when they're low on HP, which has got to be some kind of record for most annoying mob abilities combined in one. What is your most hated mob ability -- healing, fear, daze, or something even more sinister?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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