Taking It to the (Beta) Max + New Diablo Trailer

Okay, seriously, there are no good puns with “beta”:

Some Pandaren monks in End Time in the Mists of Pandaria betaOver the past few days, I’ve been continuing to tinker with the Mists of Pandaria beta, despite the constant crashes, DCs, and bugs.

On the plus side, they got template characters working, so I made an 85 warlock to make sure mine being a few levels lower wasn’t giving me an inaccurate impression of things.

I still like destro, though the nerf to fel flame does make it a bit on the simple side. Still, it’s fast and exciting. Also, I can hit for 400,000 damage with a single spell. Gotta love that.

Demonolgy is still too basic. I don’t understand why Blizzard wants us to have fewer abilities in our more powerful form. I don’t want metamorphosis to be the “lol slash spam” stance.

I tried warlock tanking, but it seems that’s finally been nerfed to death. I was eaten alive in record time. Dark apotheosis is now just a ridiculously elaborate way to look cool while AFK in Orgrimmar.

My warlock stylin' and profilin' with dark apotheosis in the Mists of Pandaria betaThe dream of lock tanking is dead.

I haven’t bothering testing rogues, since there aren’t that many changes, but I don’t like the sound of the few there are. It seems our passive damage sources now contribute an even greater percentage of our total DPS than they do on live, which is the last thing rogues needed.

Also, it turns out our AoE stealth cannot be used in combat and only lasts fifteen seconds. This makes it mostly useless in PvP, and completely useless in PvE.

My reaction:

We’ll throw this on the already massive list of conceptually awesome rogue abilities that do exactly nothing outside of PvP.

Monk impressions:

I also created an 85 Pandaren monk and tested the windwalker (DPS) and mistweaver (healer) specs with a few runs of End Time.

Windwalker was pretty fun considering the rotation is not yet finished. It’s a bit mindless — use rising sun kick and fists of fury on CD, then just bash whichever button is glowing — but it’s fast, and slaying dragons with your bare fists is pretty cool. It didn’t really feel like a new class, though. More like a slightly different rogue.

I did, however, love the utility and mobility. I kept the trash stunlocked through most of the instance with fists of fury and leg sweep, and I prevented at least one wipe with zen meditation.

Roll is just insanely awesome on so many levels, and I was also quite fond of flying serpent kick — which shoots you forward at rapid speed until you choose to land. It’s difficult to target, but it’s incredibly satisfying to land on a target just right.

My Pandaren monk using life coccoon in the Mists of Pandaria betaBetween the bugs, the random DCs, and the fact that monk tanks are incredibly squishy right now, my first experience of monk healing was quite a trial by fire — made all the more difficult by the spec itself.

Whereas windwalker feels a bit mindless and unoriginal, mistweaver seemed to opposite extreme. Mistweaver feels totally different from any other healing spec I’ve ever played, and the sheer oddness of it was rather overwhelming. I didn’t even have the courage to try their DPS healing.

I’m sad to say it, but I’m not sure I like monk healing. There are aspects of it that are very neat — being able to cast surging mist while channeling soothing mist, for instance — but there are too many buttons, I’ve never liked HoTs, and the mechanics seem a bit arcane. I appreciate a certain degree of complexity in DPS specs, but healing, by the very nature of the role, should be simple and user-friendly, I feel.

Perhaps things will be improved before the expansion launches. One can hope.

One thing I do love, though, is the mana regeneration mechanic. The concept of pausing to sip tea in mid-fight is just awesome, and totally suits the easy-going Pandaren.

Pretty lights and lack of patience:

I’ve also been taking note of the new lightning effects in MoP. They’re really neat, but they seem oddly inconsistent in what they affect. Maybe they’re not finished yet. I hardly noticed they existed until I saw the lantern-carrying guards in Stormwind.

But my warlock’s offhand scepter did make her look deliciously spooky.

My warlock showing off the new lighting effects in the Mists of Pandaria betaI’m also loving the new spell effects. The animation for glyphed shadowbolt is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in WoW, and the monk spells are just amazing.

To be honest, though, I already find my patience with the beta wearing thin. I guess I’m just not much of a tester, but all the glitches and failures get tiresome fast.

I mean, a dungeon PUG is a risky thing at the best of times. Add constant DCs, no one in your all monk group knowing how to play their class yet, and bugs that can result in people dropping dead for no reason to the usual disorganization and newbery, and you’ve got a recipe for spending some quality time with the spirit healer.

New Diablo III trailer:

Blizzard recently released a new 30 second TV spot for Diablo III, featuring a lot of previously unseen cinematic footage.

I’m glad I read “The Book of Cain” and can thus understand what I’m seeing in this trailer and properly nerdgasm over it:

“OMG, the Diamond Gates are broken! OMG, Tyrael and Imperius beating the holy snot out of each other!”

I still have my doubts about this game, but it should be worth it just for the cinematics. That animation is breathtaking.

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