The Walking Dead Season 3 Finale – Thoughts

This whole blog started as an outlet for me to vent my disappointment in M. Night Shyamalan’s bastardization of  The Last Airbender. I thought it only fitting that I my first post in about a year and a half be another bit of my whining about being let down. This time about the season 3 finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead. If you haven’t watched the episode yet be warned - spoilers are ahead.

I’ll start with what I really enjoyed about the episode, as that list is much, much shorter. The first scene before the opening credits with Milton, the Governor, and Andrea was outstanding. It really set the stage for an action-packed, exciting episode (unfortunately it all went downhill from there). Milton finally stood up for himself and for his town and got nothing for it but stabbed in the gut. Why he decided to take 2 or 3 steps forward before lunging at the Governor rather than just knife him in the throat as it was handed to him is beyond me, but that was one of the more minor displays of non-logic from the episode so I’ll let it slide.

The other outstanding and totally redeeming part of the episode was basically any scene Carl was in. I hated this kid for the first two seasons and to see how he’s evolved over the course of this whole prison debacle – killing a guy in cold blood, and then telling his father “you made me this way by making so many mistakes and causing so much more death” – was just fantastic. I can’t even believe the acting chops on Chandler Riggs. This kid carried the episode in a big way and definitely proved he’s more of an acting force than his 14 years may let on.

So that was the good news. The disappointment came in basically every other part of this episode. Frankly, I haven’t been too keen on season 3 as a whole to begin with and the finale just disappointed that much more. I’ll start with Andrea. She’s been annoying as sin this season. Flip-flopping all over the place, never taking a stand until it was way, way, way too late. But then when she’s locked up on a chair knowing that her buddy Milton here is about to die and could turn at any moment, she decides to make peace with him and pause dramatically instead of fighting for her life and scrambling to get unlocked. For somebody who fought so hard last episode she really slowed down. Another lack of logic from the episode. I know you’ve gotta have some drama in a, well, drama series, but she can’t talk and reach for the pliers at the same time?

Then we turn to what should have been the bulk – if not the entirety – of the episode; Woodbury vs. the Prison. It’s what the whole season has been building toward; this epic clash of the titans that are the Governor and Rick. Instead we get a five-minute “showdown” that includes a grenade launcher being shot at a very clearly empty guard tower, a huge truck with a massive gun that plows down zombies and is then abandoned, an empty prison that is very obviously a trap, and then 25+ well-armed people running scared from two people in hiding (Glenn and Maggie). Where’d the grenade launcher go? One shot there and the whole fight would be over. Or the truck with the gun; why leave it in the middle of an open area that quite literally anyone could just walk up to and use when you can drive it up through the gates and just go to town unloading hell? For how prepared and devious the Governor has been all season this counter-logic really drove me quite nuts.

What the Governor REALLY saw

At least the prison scene gave us this bit of hilarity.

Finally as the Woodbury residents run with their tails between their legs we get to see the Governor truly snap and just full-on murder everyone. Now I know Martinez and Shumpert have seen the Governor do some shit, but come on! He just murdered all your friends and potentially family, and for all you know is about to drive back to Woodbury to finish the rest of them off. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and on Arrow on the Doorpost when the Governor and Rick met and Daryl got to bond with Martinez we learned he’s not exactly a sociopathic, homicidal maniac. Why in the hell would you ever get in a car with this guy after seeing that? Forget not getting in the car - why wouldn’t you just shoot him right there?! I mean, of all the terrible logic in the finale, this was the most glaring. It makes no sense.

The finale for season 3 of The Walking Dead was, in a word, anti-climactic. They’ve been building for a huge showdown for months and just didn’t deliver in the least. It’s a disappointing finale for a (fittingly) poorly-paced season that gave no sense of conclusion or closure to any of the major storylines this year. The prison has become an old folk’s home, but for the first time since it’s started The Walking Dead has a season finale with no true cliffhanger. Okay, the Governor isn’t dead and Carl’s kinda turning to the dark side, but it’s nothing compared to seasons past. Hopefully the new showrunner Scott Gimple can really step it up and deliver and season 4 reminiscent to season 2. Gimple wrote some amazing episodes including the outstanding season 2 mid-season finale that revealed Sophia emerging from the barn, but he also wrote the episode I just devoted a thousand words to ripping in to. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the former.

Humbling

I was looking over some stats for the website yesterday. I was sad to see I only got 50 hits on Friday, my lowest day in quite a while. Then I looked back at this time last year, when I only got 48 hits for the entire month of October. I’m already at over 3400% readership in October this year, and we’re only halfway through the month. It just really got me thinking, and very thankful for everyone that’s been reading what I have to say. I’ve been shifting the site towards more of a WoW-centric blog, which wasn’t my initial intention, but it’s the only game I’ve been playing for a quite a while. I wouldn’t expect much to change on that front. Might be the odd review or two thrown in now and again once Skyward Sword launches, and I’m sure I’ll be blogging about The Old Republic come early 2012, but I’d expect many more posts about WoW in general, and more specifically hunters and feral druid tanks. And of course, the random posts of gratitude such as this one. It’s thanks to everyone that has read any of my posts that this blog will continue to grow and evolve. And this time next year, maybe I’ll do another little retrospective of myself.

4.3 Heroic Dungeon Guides – Hour of Twilight

The second of the three new heroic dungeons, Hour of Twilight, is now available on the PTR for testing. I had the chance to run in a couple times last night, and it’s a fairly enjoyable experience. Oddly, it actually takes place storyline-wise after the Well of Eternity instance, which is yet to be made available (and the one I’ve been looking most forward to), so the timeline is a bit mucked if you go straight from End Time to Hour of Twilight. Either way, the story behind Hour of Twilight is fairly straight forward – Thrall has recovered the fabled Dragon Soul, and is now heading back to Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight to rendezvous with the Red, Blue, Green, and Bronze dragonflights. The Twilight’s Hammer is doing all they can to stop him, and you and four friends must accompany Thrall on his treacherous journey through the frozen tundra.

Hour of Twilight

Wyrmrest Temple, with influence by the Old Gods

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4.3 Heroic Dungeon Guides – End Time

Howdy folks! Seeing as how I don’t think anyone has written any strategy guides for the new 4.3 5-man dungeon End Time, I’ve decided to do it myself. It’s a fairly straightforward instance, and all of the fights minus Jaina are really well done. A few could use some buffing, but hey, that’s just my nitpicking.

The instance takes place in Dragonblight in a future where Deathwing defeats the denizens of Azeroth. However, it turns out he isn’t all-powerful and was only a tool being used by the Old Gods. His body is skewered upon the remains of Wyrmrest Temple, and it is up to you to stop such a future from ever coming to fruition.

End Time

So, is Skewered Deathwing going to be replacing my Skewered Eel for my buff food?

There are a total of five boss fights in this instance, but you only actually engage three of them per instance; the last boss is always Murozond, but the first two are a random choice of the remaining four familiar faces – Jaina Proudmoore, Sylvanas Windrunner, Baine Bloodhoof, and Tyrande Whisperwind. Each takes place at a different dragonshrine; Jaina at the Azure Dragonshrine; Sylvanas at the Ruby Dragonshrine; Baine at the Obsidian Dragonshrine; Tyrande at the Emerald Dragonshrine. There’s a bit of trash before each, but the only trash that is really “difficult” is Tyrande’s. The Dragonshrine is enshrouded in darkness, and all mobs take 90% reduced damage while in the dark. Luckily, beacons of light appear one at a time in a counter-clockwise circle around the Shrine. It’s basically just a gauntlet. Round up the adds, pull them into the light, aoe, rinse and repeat.

Now, on to the actual boss strategies! I’ve listed them here in the order I believe is most to least difficult. And yes, Murozond is absolutely the easiest boss in here.

Sylvanas – Attack her, don’t stand in black. When she goes up into the air and becomes immune, a bunch of ghouls spawn around her and are all attached with a purple beam. Everyone needs to focus one of the ghouls down asap to break the beam and get out. Leave the beam successfully, rinse and repeat.

Tyrande – Melee should stand on the rock with her, and it’s a tank’n’spank for them. Healers and ranged, on the other hand, have a few things to watch for. She shoots blue lines on the ground, don’t stand in those. Second, there are eyeballs that spawn around 75%, just stay 6 yards away from them. She gets slightly stronger at 80%, 55%, and around 25 or 30% she summons stars to fall. Just don’t touch those and you’re golden.

Baine – There are 4 platforms in this fight. Everyone should start the encounter on Baine’s platform, but stay spread out. He’ll target one person with a hammer, which will knock back; no big deal (if you can line yourself up so that you are in a direct line from Baine to the platform behind you, it may be possible to be knocked onto it rather than the lava. I’ve never tried though). You can pick the hammer back up though and throw it back at him for a bunch of damage and a stun. He’ll also periodically target a player and destroy the platform they are standing on – when that happens, just abandon ship and head to another platform.

Jaina – Interrupt the Frostbolt Volleys to help healers out. Otherwise, ranged/heals should just walk onto the fire traps she puts down asap. That’s it. Very, very easy fight, and definitely needs a buff of some sort.

Murozond – As with all dragons, he breathes all kinds of fire, so tanks should face him away. A large hourglass appears in roughly the center of the area. Designate somebody to click it about 5-10 seconds into the fight (so everyone can hit all their cooldowns) and then again every 20%. Stay out of the bubbles he puts on the ground and the subsequent explosions that pop out of them, and remember to re-hit all your CDs every time the hourglass gets used. Another really easy fight that could use some buffing, but the mechanics are awesome.

Transmogrification: The 11 Best-Looking Tier Sets

As many of you know, Top 10 lists are for cowards. Due to the fact that I am not a coward, any time I make a list like this, I always make sure to go to 11. Transmogrification is heavy on every WoW player’s mind right now, and I’ve decided to showcase what I believe to be the best of the best tier sets. If you play one of the classes listed below, you won’t find better than what’s on this list, so when patch 4.3 drops you’d better have the gear listed here. Of course, Blizzard has released most of the Tier 13 previews already, and they look amazing so far, so this will all be a moot point when 4.3 hits if Tier 13 is better than anything listed here. Finally, I’ve only included sets that are currently attainable in-game and are farmable (that means no T3, T11, or T12).

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Feral Tank Stats and Reforging

There are two schools of thought in terms of reforging as a feral tank. Depending which side of the coin you choose, the stat priority will change. You could reforge for Dodge or for Mastery/Crit. Dodge is generally considered the way to go as a starting tank, until your gear gets slightly better. Reforging for Mastery/Crit will help your Savage Defense shield grow, lowering spike damage. Plus it has the added bonus of allowing you to do a little more damage in cat form. The stat priorities are as follows:

Dodge Tank:

Agility > Stamina > Dodge > Mastery > Crit > Hit (up to 8%) = Expertise (up to 26) > Haste

Mastery/Crit Tank:

Agility > Stamina > Mastery > Crit > Dodge > Hit (up to 8%) = Expertise (up to 26) > Haste

Stat Breakdown:

Agility – Our go-to stat. Agility grants Attack Power, Crit, and Dodge. The former two will increase threat, while Dodge increases your survivability. Agility is the only stat that does both, and is easily our most valued stat.

Stamina – Higher stamina means higher health pools, and it scales wit Vengeance. The general thought with Stamina is to get enough of it to survive, and then enchant for agility.Dodge – Fittingly, increases your chance to dodge. It is the best secondary stat for a dodge tank, and scales incredibly well with feral tanks.

Mastery – Another amazing secondary stat, mastery will increase the amount your Savage Defense shield can absorb.

Crit – Obviously increases your chance to critically hit, but Savage Defense procs from critical strikes. The more crit you have, the more often you’ll have Savage Defense up.

Expertise and Hit Cap – Expertise reduces your chance to be dodged and parried, while hit reduces your chance to miss. These are the best stats for threat generation, which is generally a non-issue for bear tanks currently. However, if you seem to have problems holding aggro, reforge into this.

Haste – Increases threat generation, but not nearly as much as Hit or Expertise. Always a bear’s worst secondary stat.

Reforging:

Situation 1 – Threat:

If threat is ever an issue, put hit and expertise at the top of the stat priority. Reforge out of haste and crit, and into expertise or hit. With the new threat changes in 4.2, this should rarely occur, except in the rarest cases.

Situation 2 – Dodge Tank:

If you are a newer bear tank, I recommend reforging into dodge. Threat should not be a concern, so you should reforge out of haste, expertise, hit rating, and even crit where possible and into dodge. Do not, however, reforge out of Mastery. Even as a dodge tank, mastery is a valuable stat.

Situation 3 – Mastery/Crit Tank:

This is my current build, and I recommend it to most tanks. It gives great survivability with less spike damage, and gives a bit more damage if/when you switch to cat form. You’ll want to stack Mastery and, to a lesser extent, Crit. Reforge out of Haste, Expertise, and Hit Rating. Dodge is still a very worthwhile stat, so only reforge out of it if you have no other option.

Transmogrification: The Best Looking Hunter Weapons

There was an excellent post over on the Warcraft Hunters Union the other day, showing all the hunter tier sets and how awesome most of them are. That led me to thinking, “Alright, sure, those are some sweet sets. But what about all the weapons that go with them?”. So, naturally, I spent a few hours looking through wowhead to find the best looking ranged weapons, staves, and polearms in the game.

Yes, this list is fully my own opinion, and I welcome you to find your own, but these are awesome models. Also, there’s no way in hell I’m doing this for all the weapons – just finding bows, crossbows, guns, polearms, and staves sucked enough. Obviously, if you’re playing a non-hunter, you’re wrong anyway so this list should apply to the vast majority. I’m only looking at gear that is currently attainable (so don’t ask where Rhok’delar is. Also,) and is not from any Cataclysm raids. I didn’t even look at the PvP gear, but that’s a small list you can narrow down for yourselves.

Guns

Blunderbuss of Khaz Modan – If you’re a dwarf, I’ll make this easy for you. This is your ranged weapon. Stop reading. You can skip right ahead to polearms and staves, if you want. Ignore the rest of the ranged weapons, because you’ve found yours. It can be yours from the Argent Tournament in Icecrown for 25 Champion’s Marks.

Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle – It may just be my fondness for my favourite raid of all time, but this lovely little gun from The Big Bad Wolf event in Karazhan is just awesome. It’s especially awesome on a Worgen hunter, who is apparently hunting himself.

Dragonbreath Hand Cannon – It’s a little bit nonsensical, sure, but it goes really well with our Tier 2 set, Dragonstalker. It drops off Ebonroc in Blackwing Lair, which you’ll be farming for the Tier 2 set anyway, so keep your eye open for this portal dragon.

Wrathfire Hand-Cannon – Yes, another cannon, but this one has FIVE BARRELS. Five. That’s like four more than most guns. This thing is roughly five times more awesome than every other blue. A pretty easy grind in Shadow Labs, this bad boy drops off Grandmaster Vorpil.

Bows

Heartstriker – Another solid addition to Tier 2 if you’re some girly elf-like creature that doesn’t use a gun like a real hunter. Also drops in Blackwing Lair, so it’s easy to farm while you’re picking up your Dragonstalker set.

Zod’s Repeating Longbow – It was one of my favourite models ever in the Icecrown days, and it still is. I generally hate using non-guns, but I was fine toting this bad boy around for 8 months. Drops in Icecrown Citadel, from Lady Deathwhisper on 25-man only.

Bristleblitz Striker – Not the easiest bow to farm, but damn is it nice. Drops off Archimonde in the Battle for Mount Hyjal. You’ll probably need a group of at least 1 or 2 friends, but when you get to hold Archimonde’s face in your hands, you’ll see it’s worth it.

Golden Bow of Quel’Thalas – Another gorgeous bow that is probably un-soloable, it drops off the Eredar Twins in Sunwell Plateau. If I ever decide to transmogrify into a bow (very unlikely, as guns are clearly the superior choice), it will probably be this one.

Thor’idal, the Sun’s Fury – How good was Burning Crusade to bow models? I mean, come on! Beastly back in the days of ammo and still gorgeous today, Kil’jaeden himself is the man who drops this, at a mere 5% drop rate. Of course, Blizzard has said you can’t mog from or into legendaries, but you never know…

Crossbows

Steelhawk Crossbow – Another entry from Karazhan and the first crossbow I remember seeing and really saying “wow…”. A very easy-to-solo weapon that drops off Attumen/Midnight. Hey, you may even get to bring Midnight home with you. It’s win-win either way.

Stoneshatter – Alright, I lied about the Hand-Cannon being the only blue item. I had to add Stoneshatter. It’s freaking hilarious. The only one-handed crossbow in the game (that I can think of, anyway. Anyone know of others?), it is just unbelievably tiny. Makes me laugh every time. Drops from Prince Tortheldrin in Dire Maul.

Polearms

Black Ice – I’m sure it’s not the most popular model, but something about this giant black stick thing stuck with me. It drops from the 10-man version of Malygos, which is technically soloable, but the lowest I’ve been able to reach is 14% before he enrages. Good luck if you try for yourself!

Hellreaver – A very different model, especially if you’re sick of polearms. This thing is a straight up sword. Not just a regular sword, but a cool-looking one, like the kinds you see in animes that are obviously way too big for whoever is holding them. Drops from Nazan in regular Hellfire Ramparts (and ONLY in regular, non-heroic mode).

Shadowstrike – It’s a trident. That’s awesome. I have nothing more to say, other than it drops off Sulfuron Harbringer in the Molten Core.

Blackhand Doomsaw – Again, if you’re sick of polarms, here’s a sword. It’s pretty damn cool-looking, but not nearly as cool as other swords nowadays. It drops from Warchief Rend Blackhand in Blackrock Spire.

Staves (yes, it’s staves, not staffs)

Terestian’s Stranglestaff – The second I read about transmogrification, I went to Karazhan and grabbed this staff off Terestian Illhoof. It is an amazing green octopus on top of a staff. This was another one of my first “whoah…” items, and is for sure what I’ll be using on top of a staff. The same model has been used since, but the green is best for hunters, in my opinion.

Zhar’doom, Greatstaff of the Devourer – If for no other reason than to piss of Warlocks that don’t have this staff. I’m sure lots of players will have this thing, so don’t expect to be an individual if you have it. It drops off Illidan in Black Temple

Abracadaver – Another spell power staff, I really like this model. It drops from Festergut in 10-man, normal mode Icecrown Citadel.

Journey’s End – Animal-themed, which makes it hunter themed. I remember rocking this stag back in Naxxramas. I felt so special… Anyway, it drops in 25-man Naxx, off Kel’Thuzad.

This is a very short list. There are literally thousands of models you can pick and choose from. I recommend hitting up wowhead to search for the one you personally enjoy, but these are my favourites. Feel free to add your own in the comments below!

For those wondering, I intend to have on the Dragonstalker’s Set (Tier 2) with the Blunderbuss of Khaz Modan, and either Black Ice or Terestian’s Stranglestaff (depending on whether I have a polearm or a staff). Patch 4.3, and transmogrification, cannot come soon enough.

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