Frost is the New Beta

Welcome to Frost is the New Black’s coverage of the Cataclysm Beta!  If you have been directed to this site via World of Raids and the Curse Network, then I welcome you to my blog, and I hope that you will find the information here pertaining to the beta, likewise my opinions and analysis of the development of Frost Mages in the new expansion.  If you are a regular reader of the blog, old and new, I hope you will continue to enjoy the posts I will be putting up in this blog.

In preparation for the Beta, I have gone through considerable changes to my hardware in order to fully experience the new expansion’s content.  Throughout all of Wrath of the Lich King and Burning Crusade, I played on a measly Pentium 4, which by itself, was the minimum ability of my computer to play the game at all.  I raided Icecrown Citadel not only with the lowest settings, but also in windowed mode at 800×600 resolution.  It was fine for me, but anticipating the graphical upgrades coming in the new expansion based on the jump that occurred between BC and LK, there is no reason for me to think that I could do the same.

Thus, I have gone and purchased a new computer altogether that will more than handle the game.  With my Gateway FX6831, complete with Intel i7 2.8 GHz processor, Radeon 5853 video card, 12 GB DDR3 RAM, and 23″ LCD monitor, I am not only able to play WoW at max settings at 1920×1080 fullscreen resolution, but also do crazy things like set my spell detail to 150 with no framerate drop.  The first time I cast blizzard, I literally had a double rainbow moment.

OH MY GOD, INFINITE BLIZZARD ALL THE WAY.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

So today, the beta is pretty much a go.  Expect the style of coverage to take the form of a logbook of things I’ve done, my internal responses to these experiences, as well as various forms of pondering and speculation regarding the direction to which the game should go, both class mechanics-wise and design philosophy-wise.  I will completely omit lore-centric spoilers, such as details regarding the status of existing lore characters and their place within cataclysm storyline.  In doing so, I am also asking commenters to follow in the same vein.

However, that does not mean I will omit details regarding mechanics changes to Frost Mages in particular.  This is a Frost Mage blog after all, and spec coverage is pretty much what I was given the beta key for.

In closing, I would like to once again thank Curse Network for providing me with a beta key in return for assisting with class coverage during the Cataclysm testing process.  I look forward to putting both feet into the waters of the beta, and I hope you will all enjoy this ride with me.  I am way too excited!

Hiatus? What Hiatus?

Yes, for now I’m still on blogging break, but I can announce a date of my return.  I will be back on August 8, which doesn’t seem like much of a break from blogging, considering I’ve been on vacations that were longer than that.

As it turns out, I received a Cataclysm beta key from the wonderful folks at Curse gaming.  I could get started with the beta testing, but unfortunately, the download for the client is in the ballpark of 13 gigabytes, and my remaining bandwidth is a meager 3.1 gigabytes.  The next billing period is on August 8, so expect me to return at that time, and thus shifting the focus of this blog onto cataclysm and the evolving mage class, particularly those involving the Frost tree.

And about the sorting out life thing, I’ve taken steps in the right direction, but that sort of thing takes time.  With the horrid economy, that job search may very well take quite a bit of time.  But I am quite sure that my priorities are still straight, and that I will be able to manage going forward with these new responsibilities.  There’s a notion that some people are more productive when they have more on their plate, and this happens to be one of those situations.  I look forward to the future of myself and this blog.

See you in a week!

Hi-Hi-Hiatus!

Yep.  Personal life stuff.  After coming back from Europe, I’ve hit a crossroads in my life, where I have no idea where I’m going from here.  I’ve graduated, but unemployed and still dependent on my parents.  I need to find a job.  I need to move out.  I have to get my health into shape.  I have to really put my personal relationships back into order.  The whole shebang.

Until those are sorted out, you won’t be hearing from me for a while.  Sucks, but yeah.  Kinda brought this on myself really, putting things off until the last second.  It’ll only be temporary, as I hope to get things in order by the time cataclysm comes out.  I’ll let you know here if anything is to happen to this blog.  Toodles.

Get Your Beta On! Are You Ready?

It’s round 2 of the World of Warcraft: Catacylsm beta, and invites are being/have been sent out to those who have opted in to test for the Beta.  I find that this particular time in the expansion’s life cycle is rather fascinating, particularly because of the context surrounding it.  You all probably know by now the fiasco surrounding Activision-Blizzard (though some believe moreso Activision) and their decision to implement RealID on the Blizzard forums in the near future.  Thanks to the loud and relentless voice of the userbase as well as the response from the company’s stockholders, the decision was recanted.

Some may think of this as a terrible blunder that will forever leave a scar on Blizzard’s pristine development record.  I think it’s a sign that they listen to their audience, and are capable of working with them.

And what better way of living up to this feat by undergoing an open Beta for their upcoming expansion!  As I tweeted this morning, we as a community have an opportunity to be heard once again, to make a difference in the coming expansion.   If Blizzard can listen to our feedback regarding RealID, they surely can listen to the feedback regarding the gameplay and content in their expansion, make adjustments accordingly, and release a fine product.

But that outcome relies not only on Blizzard doing their job as developers, but on you, the beta-opt-in’ers as well!  When check off World of Warcraft as a preferred preference, you are doing so to give feedback regarding what the company has presented so far with their product.  You are given free reign to piss and moan about things that people have often done in the live servers, so that they won’t have to piss and moan when the game goes live.

Test all that you can.  Don’t look at one aspect of something and focus on just that.  Sure, you’re probably focused heavily on endgame, or PvP, but don’t just look at the end product of what your DPS is, or how many duels you win.  Look at your spells.  Cast everything in your spellbook and see if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.  Cast them again.  Cast them again.  Get a feel of your new abilities, and give feedback on how that feel.  Is your rotation clunky?  Is it unintuitive?  Is it mind-numbingly BORING?  It’s your opinion, and it matters!

Test what matters to you.  If I were given a Beta invite, I would test the motherfuck out of the Frost mage tree.  I’ve already seen what’s been leaked on MMO-champion and such, and there are plenty of questions that I want to ask, and instead of asking someone on the forums about what such-and-such is like, I want to see for myself.  Instead of whining on the forums about how Frost is going to be a bad spec again, I want to leave a personal note through the beta client about such-and-such is lacking.  Instead of watching videos about AoE grinding in the new expansion, I want to be the one to make said videos, to share my knowledge with everyone, including Blizzard.

Give feedback.  Any feedback.  Go into a new zone and leave your very first impression.  What do you think?  I don’t care if your initial reaction to Ashenvale is “WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN,” I’m sure your message will come across.  Blizzard will know they’re doing something right, which is just as important as when they’re informed that they’re doing something wrong.  That’s what the Beta is all about.

We’ve all learned a thing or two from our experiences in the game as it’s evolved from Classic WoW to Burning Crusade to Wrath.  It’s our responsibility as those who show interest in being in the beta to keep learning, and to report what we’ve learned to Blizzard, so that the lessons learned by everyone else who experience the live version of the expansion will do so in all of its intended glory.

Get your Beta on!  Are you ready for it?