Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We Have a Date

So by now you may have heard that BioWare made the big announcement over the weekend. We know the release date for The Old Republic – 12/20/2011. I don’t think the date had anything to do with Blizzard’s own announcement of moving Diablo III back to 2012. The plan all along was to put Deathwing (and transmogrification) up against Star Wars. I’ll be starting a little earlier thanks to my pre-order. No one knows just how early yet, probably a weekend or so. I’ll need it because Tython, the starting world for Jedi Knights, and Jedi Consolers, is going to be crushed on opening day with Jedi.
I came to WoW late, around patch 1.9. I’ve never played an MMO at launch. This should be an experience.
In the meantime, the question now is what do I do with my last 3 months in WoW? I’d love to finish the Firelands. I just hope my team can put it together long enough to get that done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tough Spot

My raid team is in tough spot. Attendance has been a constant thorn pretty much the entire expansion, but it’s becoming more of a roadblock than thorn now. We are a team that has been raiding since Karazhan. We've had some attrition over the years, but we've kept it together pretty well. It was never mechanics that held us back this tier, it was attendance. We have been constantly battling burnout from our team members, and struggling to fill raids. That's what held us back in Firelands more than anything else.
I understand it. We've been at this a long time and everyone reaches their time when they say no mas. Of the last 6 attempts we’ve made at raiding, we fielded a team twice. I have to take some responsibility for this myself as I’ve only been able to raid one day a week for the past 4 weeks due to work, and the new night we tried was a night I simply couldn’t raid. But even with me there we are not fielding a full team.
I'm holding out hope for our team, but to borrow from an Old Testament story, the ‘writing is on the wall.’

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SWTOR: Jedi Knight Powers from the Esseles Walkthrough

BioWare recently released a walkthrough of the Esseles Flashpoint. Darth Hater did a wonderful job with their dissection of the video and they were able to pickup several of the Jedi Knight powers used in the walkthrough. All the screenshots here are taken from Darth Hater’s dissection.
It is important to remember that Esseles is a low level Flashpoint. The characters are around level 10. They classes haven’t broken into their advanced classes. This is like a Deadmines or a Ragefire Chasm. 

Here we see what will likely be the Jedi Knight’s main nuke. It works for both Guardians and Sentinels, with the Sentinel getting more damage by striking with both blades. The attack is channeled which means the Knight will need to keep his target in range for the duration. I don’t know if you can move while channeling, but if you can’t I can see JKs getting kited a ton.

This is an AoE (Area of Effect) attack. Guardian’s will use this for multi-target aggro, Sentinels for multi-target damage. This is pretty close to the Whirlwind attack of the World of Warcraft Warrior.

Every class in TOR gets an out of combat ability to heal. For Jedi Knight’s this is called Introspection. It makes you think of the scene in Phantom Menace where Qui-Gon kneels and meditates while waiting for the shields separating him from Darth Maul to go down. This is similar to bandaging or drinking that you see in World of Warcraft.

Now we begin to see some of the tanking skills, but remember these are available to both Guardians (Tanks) and Sentinels (DPS). We don’t know the exact effects of parry and deflect. When you parry/deflect do you take zero damage or just reduced damage? If it’s no damage, this could work out to a 50% damage reduction depending on your natural parry percentage and the luck of the dice. So while Sentinel’s could use this, you’ve got to think that Guardian’s will have a higher base chance to parry.
This almost feels like a tanking skill, but I think that is because it reminds me so much of the Revenge ability of the World of Warcraft Warrior.  Guardians are more likely to parry and deflect so I imaging this skill will be available more for Guardians than Sentinels.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kicking Down the Gates

After our successful kill of Lord Ryloth, Devolve sets its sights on Alysrazor. Technically, we are now in Ambivalence, but I still think of our team as Devolve. Our attempts on Alysrazor went….poorly. So after clearing the farm bosses (I love that Ryloth is on farm) we headed over to Baleroc instead.
We didn’t have an ideal composition for Baleroc with two hunters, but we went after him anyway. Hunters aren’t great for Baleroc because sometimes the crystals that DPS have to soak are too close in to allow Hunters to dps. Blizzard really needs to eliminate the minimum range on Hunters, especially when it causes encounter specific issues like this.
I have now met my weekly quota for qq. Lakini would be so proud.
We assigned 3 dps to the first crystal rotation and 3 dps to the second. I was in the second group following our Moonkin and Warlock. Both of those guys could take quite a few stacks so the time I spent soaking was minimal.
We wiped a few times as we got the crystal mechanic down, and then our biggest obstacle became the Decimation Blade. This attack takes your tank down to 10% and you’ve got like 5 seconds to get him back up to over 90 or the next Decimation Blade is going to take him down. Baleroc is a one tank fight so if he bites it, it’s game over for the raid.
Our current tank corps consists of two Paladins. Both of these guys took up the shield after watching how much fun I had with it, and it makes me proud watching them tank bosses down like a champ. It took a couple more wipes for our healers to get the timing of Decimation Blade down. We run two Holy Paladins along with a Resto Shaman. Yes, there’s a LOT of pink in our raid frames - our Lock struggles for shoulders.
I don’t know what clicked in our healers but they did a fantastic job and got us through each and every Decimation Blade, and Baleroc coughed up his purples. It was a cloth and leather night.
We couldn’t go poke Staghelm because Alysrazor was still up, but now we sit at 4/7 in Firelands. Our goal remains to kill normal Rag before 4.3. Here’s hoping we make it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jedi Knights

I was not selected for the first Beta Weekend. This is disappointing, but I can always hope for next weekend.
In the mean time, let’s talk Jedi Knights. I think everyone has known on some level that Jedi Knights would be a playable class in Star Wars: The Old Republic. This is MY class, my intended ‘main’. I’ve been interested when the other classes were revealed, but my attention is riveted on the Jedi.
Here’s the official class page: http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/classes/jedi-knight
Valiant, Determined, Guardian of Peace
A symbol of hope in dark times, the Jedi Knight stands for the legacy of the Jedi Order—more than twenty-thousand years of protecting the Republic and keeping the peace across the galaxy. Though Jedi Knights have served as generals, guerilla fighters, and warriors for generations, their legendary combat prowess faces its greatest test during this age.
Through years of disciplined training and meditation, the Jedi Knight hones body and mind into perfect harmony. Combining the foresight of the Force with unrivaled reflexes and practiced physical precision, the Knight turns combat into an art form, gracefully executing acrobatic feats in tandem with elegant lightsaber tactics.
A source of inspiration to allies and intimidation to adversaries, the Jedi Knight’s presence is welcome in any confrontation. The Order’s long history of fighting for justice has earned the trust of countless friends and the hate of innumerable enemies. Few, though, are foolish enough to challenge a seasoned Jedi Knight unless they have the skills and technology to even the odds.
That sounds like a very cool class.
There is a little bit on the site about the Jedi’s combat.
Whether defending allies by deflecting a barrage of blaster-fire or charging in to challenge a Sith Lord, the Knight’s role is crucial in any conflict. The Jedi Knight enjoys the benefit of ancient teachings that have been passed down through hundreds of generations. Combining these time-tested maneuvers with the natural guidance of the Force, the Knight is capable of achieving extraordinary feats.
Just as we saw with the Sith Warrior, it looks like Jedi Knight will be able to deflect Blaster Bolts from range.
Focusing body and mind, the Knight is capable of blasting opponents with a powerful wave of Force energy, knocking them off their feet. More powerful Jedi Knights have even been known to practice this technique against large groups.

It looks like Jedi will have some sort of Force Push that will be a knockdown. At higher levels, it will affect entire groups. Remember that you will be fighting multiple targets in TOR to give it that ‘heroic’ feel.
Combining physical prowess and Force focus, the Knight can throw his lightsaber in spinning arc to strike enemies at a distance. Practice and mastery of this maneuver enables the Knight to ensure his saber returns to his hand after its lethal circuit.
We get Lightsaber throw! 

We’ve also seen a very cool Force Charge. It looks like some sort of attack where we fly through the air and launch a devastating blow on our enemy. It looks very cool.
We know that at level 10, the Jedi Knight graduate into two Advanced Classes: the tank focused, single saber Guardians, and the melee dps dual lightsaber wielding Sentinel. SWTOR will allow you to switch Advanced Classes but it has an expense in credits (in game currency). The current model is that it starts cheap and gets more expensive with level to the point it becomes prohibitive at around level 30. The level cap is 50.
The Guardian will be my path, and most of what I post here will be about Guardian Tanks in SWTOR.
I am really excited to see the Jedi Knight revealed as a playable class for TOR. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.