Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Do You Do During the Lull?

Once again we flounder in the lull of the end of expansion blues and we are all looking for things to do to keep us busy.  I personally believe that the lull hurts the players who have been around longer than it might others because many of those things you could do you did in the last lull or the lull before it.  For first timers experiencing it it can be a little more acceptable, not saying it is, but it does not tend to hurt them quite as much as those that are experiencing it again.

Myself, I am at a complete loss for things to do in game.  Sure there are many things I have not done that I could do and there are always the forum jerks who would say "have you gotten to 2800 arena, have you completed heroic, do you have every achievement in the game, if you don't then don't say you have nothing to do" but just because there is something I have not done does not mean I want to do it. 

Unlike many of those forum trolls I understand, or would like to believe I do, the people that have only killed garrosh in LFR and say they are done with the game.  If that is the top level they want to play at, then they are done in their mind, and I am completely fine with that.   You do not need to kill garrosh on heroic to say you are done raiding, you do not need to be over 2800 rating in 3s to consider there is nothing left to do, you do not need to have every achievement in the game to say there is nothing worth aiming for.  Each person plays their own way and if you are done doing what you wanted to do, it is fine for you to say there is nothing for you to do.  Don't let the forum jerks get to you, they only say things like to to rile you up.

So many people are running around the shine in circles bored right now.  Many people are sitting staring at their computer saying they have nothing to do.  They are right, even if there are things they have not done as I mentioned, if they do not want to do them there is nothing for them to do. 

Now I might not be the best person to say what are some of the options you can do in game are right now because I chose to play another game or three during this lull but I do have a lot of experience with lulls like this after a few expansions so perhaps I can help push you in a direction that you might never have thought of before.  And do not worry, I am not going to pull the "if you have not killed garrosh on heroic you still have something to do" card.  I do not subscribe to the if I did it you can do it idea, we all play our own game.  Just going to give you a few ideas on what you might want to try to pass your time.  I'll start with what I am doing.

Play Something Else:

It might feel like you are cheating on your main game by playing another one but guess what, it is not.  If you feel you are done with that you want to do in game there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying some other things out.  You can either stop your payments on warcraft and come back later or you can do like I do and keep paying and keep playing, just less than you had before.

I log in to raid, or try to raid if enough people show up, a few nights a week.  I sometimes log in to help someone if they need some help.  I log in once in a while just because I am bored of playing some of those other games and need a taste of home.

You can play other games, there is nothing wrong with that.  Don't be afraid to test something else out.  There are other free to play games out there that somewhat fit the genre that you might be interested in.  Star Wars, Guild Wars 2, Rift, LotRO, and the new entry to the genre, but with a subscription like warcraft, Wildstar.  I played Rift through the last lull and am playing Wildstar through this one.  I actually prefer subscription based games which rift was at the time and wildstar is now, perhaps I will write a post on it some day soon on why I do not play the free to play games.

As much as I like Rift and Wildstar and I could really see myself getting into them neither of them have the refinement that warcraft has.  There is something to be said about a game with 10 years under its belt, it is really smooth when you compare it to everything else.  Those games, in years to come, could be so much better than warcraft, but both of them for as much as I enjoyed them, made me happy to return to wow when I went back.

So go pick up one of those games, maybe pop on stream and download a few cheap games or even free games.  There are games like PoE or Marvel Universe or many others that I play on there that are good for what they are there for, to pass the time and have some fun.

Achievement Hunting:

The newer you are to the game the more attractive of an option this one becomes.  If you are someone like me that went back in wrath and got all the older achievements in the wrath lull there are not many I can get now, but if you are new, there are a ton out there for you.

Not sure what drives me to do it, maybe it is that I like the little toast pop up, maybe I like the sound, or maybe it is just as simple as each achievement is a task, something to do, and I like doing stuff.  Either way, achievement hunting is a valid way to play the game and have some fun.

And my favorite part of achievement hunting is the best raid in the game, not only from a raid standpoint, but from an achievement standpoint, Ulduar.  There are so many achievements to attain there and so many of them you can not get in one visit, they will need multiple visits.  And trying to do some of them solo in 25 man actually will present a problem for some classes and / or people of certain skill levels, which in its own right is fun.

Achievements also have the added benefit of spanning everything, so it can bring you to see other parts of the game you have never looked into.  Maybe you will try raiding for the first time, maybe you will try arena for the first time, maybe you will do dailies hubs you never needed to do to try and get the achievements attached to some of those quests.  Maybe you can experience a little more of the game than you have and perhaps you might find something you like to do that you never thought of before.

Building Reputations:

Guess what, they also give you achievements.  I started to grind reputations before I even know reputations where a thing, so to speak.  I did it because I found I liked doing it.  Reputation grinding is not for everyone and all reputations are different.  Some you need to do raids for, some you need to collect things for, some you need to kill mobs for, some you need to do quests for.  So maybe you might find something that fits your style of game play and you can go for it. 

I have every reputation in the game at exalted except for the three PvP factions.  I like the grind, but that should go without saying for someone who had aldor exalted and after I bought the tabard (and equipped it for the credit toward the achievement of course) I switched to scryer.  Now that was a grind and even if you will call me a sick person because of it, I found it fun.  It gave me something to aim for and it really filled a great deal of time up at the end of an expansion while there was a lull.

Also, even if you seriously over gear older content now it will still be something that will take a fair deal of time.  Factions like Brood of Nozdormu, Hydrazian Waterlords and others will take running raids for months and months on end.  Factions like Ogri'la will take months of dailies as they do not offer many and that is the only way to get reputation.  And most factions in BC have mobs you can kill to get reputation and even if you can one shot them now it will keep you busy for quite some time.

If you are looking for a way to keep busy this will surely be something you can do to keep busy and if you want some of them also have extra bonuses you can get once you max out reputations such as fun trinkets, mounts, or tabards, which if you are doing achievements you will need as well.

Know Your Lore:

Do you want a real challenge?  Well, not so much any more being loremaster was changed, but before loremaster was changed if you tried to get it at the end of wrath loremaster could be quite difficult because there were so many mobs you needed to weaken to do a quest and it was pretty hard to weaken them without killing them.  Back then you needed to do basically every quest to get loremaster so you needed to do those quests.  Thank goodness for down ranked spells.  If you have to ask it is before your time.

There are still a few quests that will be bumps in the road that, oddly enough, being stronger will make harder, even more so without down ranking now, but loremaster can be done without doing even most of the quests any longer.

Have some fun with it this time around.  No rush to get to max level with your friends because you are already max level.  Read the quests, stay on the ground while doing it, and enjoy your super OP nature now that you out level everything.

You have the major advantage of doing them without a real need to do them so you can take your time and really get into the lore of the zones.  Perhaps you might even run across a few quests along the way that you actually enjoy doing.  Quest lines such as the day deathwing came have become famous because they were liked by so many players, maybe you never experienced it and it is about time you do it.  If I could suggest one zone that is worth doing far enough to open a quest it would be uldum for the quest Gnomebliteration. 

It has to be, hand down, my favorite quest in the game.  I even stopped doing the zone on one of my characters at this quest.  I do it, abandon it, do it again.  I never turn it in.  Whenever I am in a bad mood I can go there and do this quest and I am cheered up instantly.  Just make sure to have your sound on because the sound of the gnomes is priceless.  It should be considered a criminal offense that blizzard never made that a daily.

There are many gems to be found and lots of fun to be had while you are learning your lore and completing quests.  Not to mention, some of the best looking gear in the game is quest gear.  In my opinion at least.  It always amazed me how they spend so much time making raid gear and it is so ugly but the quest gear is freaking awesome.  The helboar carving blade has to be one of my favorite weapons in game, it is sleek.

The Grass is Greener:

Only ever played one side of the fence?  Try jumping over and seeing if the grass is really greener on the other side.  To anyone that enjoys the story of the game you are doing yourself a great disservice by not experiencing it on both sides.  While the leveling process does indeed give you a different feel depending on which side you level, it is at the current max level that you can really start to feel it more.

It seems like as time has gone on blizzard has made more and more strides in offering a distinctly different feel to storytelling on each side.  As someone that has played both I can say I see absolutely why people claim horde bias.  Sadly, or maybe not so sadly, one of the most shining examples of this bias was the barrens quest hub and the story the alliance plays a part of and the one the horde does.  Alliance had one lead in quest and then they gather junk for the horde and the horde had an entire quest line that tells a complete story.  If you never got to experience it I am sorry, but use this as an opportunity to level the opposite side so the next time something like this is put in you can see both sides of the story because it is the only way to get the full story.  At least there are still the stories in the wilds from both sides and they are different.

Having a character on both sides opens up more of the game to you as well, not only in story but in land.  Playing as horde there are many areas you will never see, never level in, never even visit, same goes for alliance.  At least now you get to see all of the game, every area, in its full glory.  It is something worth looking into in my opinion.

Fight the Power:

The RNG is the most powerful boss in the game and for some people like me it is a love / hate relationship.  We love to hate each other.  One of the few things I still have to work on in game during lulls is all thanks to the random number generator.  I still do not have the mount from stonecore or from onynia not to mention most raid mounts.

Being we have shared mounts now it makes it a little easier to fight the power.  You can run something like onyxia on multiple characters and not get the mount on all of them.  Oh wait, that was supposed to mean you have better chances to get the mount.  Excuse me if I sound bitter about not getting it, like I said me and the RNG are not exactly on speaking terms.

For as much as I might hate the RNG there is something good about it.  Of course I am using the term good very very loosely.  For as much as I hate RNG, RNG creates content by not giving you what you are looking for.  I might not do it as often as I used to but when I am bored it is not unheard of for me to cycle through characters and do Onyxia over and over this expansion since we have shared mounts.  Sure I never win the drake but I do it on a few characters, mostly the ones it is super easy on such as my many hunters and my warlock.  Not real thinking with a pet tank, just attack and let the pet do what the pet does.  Had a fun run the last time I did it and I actually killed Onyxia before she even finished taking off.  It was fun.  Even if I did not get the mount.

There are many dungeons, and any class can solo any of them now, that drop mounts you can try for and there are quite a few raid mounts.  However for many of the raid mounts you might need to have a certain class and / or skill level to attempt to get the mounts.  Even if you drag along a friend, mount hunting can be very fun even if extremely frustrating at some times.

Dress For Success:

Transmog is really a thing, a big thing for some.  I've never been one that got into it personally because of a few reasons.  One being I am color blind and if I made what looked like a nice set to me it might possible lead to other peoples eyes bleeding when they look at me and I am not really a mean person and I would not want to do that to them.

However, I do like minimalistic gear and for my main at least I went farming for a set I like and have used the same set since I finished it up.  I stuck with basic black, can not go wrong with basic black even if you are color blind.

Last expansion when we hit the lull and after transmog was added to the game I went to one of the many online sites where you can look at armor and I found a few pieces I just had to have.  Pieces that were mail but looked like cloth, which was exactly the look I wanted.  It just so happened that a few of the pieces dropped from the dungeons that were being redesigned so I had double reason to get what I could because it would no longer be available in game.

It took me what felt like one hundred and one tries to get the pants I wanted to drop and it felt like getting one of those super rare mounts I mentioned just before.  I was excited when they finally dropped.  Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy I got my mail pants that look like cloth.  All this from someone that does not even get into transmog.

If you happen to be one of those people that are into it I can surely see how much fun, and frustrating, hunting for mog sets could be.  It is surely a way to make the time pass in the lull for someone that is into it and it could even be a way to pass the time for someone that isn't into it, like it was for me last expansion, and just hates the way that current gear looks.  Take a peek at some of the lower level green sets, they are some of the bet looking sets ever created.

As a fun side note after I made my mog set, the one that looked like regular street clothing but all with the mail label so I could transmog into it, there was a mog contest on our server.  I did not join in the contest, I was just there to support a few members of my guild that were in it, and because my guild donated to the event being organized.  The people that ran it were from another server.  If you are a mog person you know which group I am talking about most likely even if I do not recall their name.  As it turns out, one of the judges saw me and liked my outfit and I actually won a prize that day of 5000 gold just for wearing what looked like street clothing because I hate how mail looks.  So transmog can be profitable too, even without trying.

Be a Goblin:

Speaking of profit you do not need to be a goblin to be thinking about making some cash.  You can sell BoE mog gear that drops that you do not need.  One quick look around and you will see what are the more popular sets and where you can find them.

You can spend your time on the auction house buying and selling, out farming, maybe crafting or flipping.  There are many ways that you can make money in game and maybe if you are not doing anything else right now making some gold surely can not hurt you and everyone likes gold right?

And it is not just being a goblin with the auction house that can make you money, and I do not mean selling your mother like a goblin would, I mean questing.  Yeah, that loremaster thing I mentioned.  Pick the loot that sells for the most and vendor everything.  That along with the quest rewards and looting everything and vendoring most of it and selling what you can sell on the auction house and you can easily make upwards of 50K just doing all the quests. 

Don't believe me?  Start a new character and do every single quest in the game, loot everything, sell the junk and auction off anything even partly decent, make sure you have two gathering professions too.  Sell it all as you go.  When you finish the last quest you will have been 90 for a long time but you will also have max flying, max speed of max flying, max bags even if you paid 3K a piece at the auction house for them for every single slot, even your bank ones, and you will still be sitting at somewhere over 50K gold.

Yes Virgina, there is a lot of gold out there and it is easy to get.  You just have to do something to get it.  Being a goblin does not mean working the auction house only, you can do what you like to make money.

Into trasnmog and know what sells, do that.  Into pet battles and know what pets are best, do that.  Buy green level one pets, turn them blue with a stone, level them to 25, sell them for 50 times what you paid for them.  You made money doing what you have fun doing.  Like running dungeons for fun, just vendor everything, but sell the cloth, really, sell it.  Like PvP, sell 2s carries, a decent player can easily carry someone in 2s to cap.  Use your knowledge and skills in whatever interests you to make gold instead of to argue about it in trade chat.

Raid or Die:

It might be hard to think that some of us have not raided much or at all this expansion, but perhaps if you are one of those people you can either step into it or step up your game a little.  If you are open to giving it a try there are a lot of guilds out there like mine that are more then willing to take someone along that is willing to learn even if they are not a raider or all they ever did was LFR.  Like I said, as long as they are willing to learn.

This lull is a lot worse for raiding than the previous ones because blizzard has done nothing to help the community this time alone in terms of a 30% buff or a 30% nerf like they did in the last two expansions.  And please, do not say valor upgrades, they only help those that helped themselves.  If people were willing to help themselves they would already be raiders.  But when they need a hand to help them get their foot in the door valor upgrades do nothing to make it easier for them.

With the upgrade system if someone needs to be doing 200K they still need to do be doing 200K but with the buff or nerf they only need to be doing 140K, and that opens a lot more doors than the valor upgrade system does to allow more people to experience the content.  I think having no buff or no nerf is a huge mistake on blizzards part.  Just my opinion of course, and yes, I have finished the raid tier already so it is not me asking for help, it is just how I feel.

However, that does not mean you can still not step up your game, if you are willing to try.  Move from doing nothing to doing the LFR, move from the LFR to flex, move from flex to normal or from normal to heroic.

There will always be guilds out there that would be willing to help you learn like my guild.  There will always be guilds out there that are on the same page as you and you can learn together with them.  There are guilds right now recruiting for flex, recruiting for normal and recruiting for heroic.  It is just a matter of finding the fit for you.  It is never too late to start raiding if you want to.  Just find a guild that has decent people in it that will not give you the "this has been out for months how the hell do you not know how to do it" attitude and you might actually even find it enjoyable.

Meet New People and Kill Them:

How about player vs player?  I know for me that is the one area my achievement hunting is lacking as I do not really like PvP.  Remove all forms of CC and I can really dig it but getting feared for 19 seconds and going from 100% to 0 while stuck in the fear is not exactly what I consider fun.  But doing it to someone else, well, that is fun.  It is okay to admit it, we all love screwing someone like that over but we all hate when it happens to us.

There will always be winners and losers and sometimes you are the one kicking the can and other times you are the can.  If you never gave it a try maybe you should try to grab a few people and go into battlegrounds together.  You would be amazed what playing with people can do for the experience.  Not only will you be more likely to win more often as a group, you learn more and even when you lose at least you have other people to complain about it too.  PvP is better with friends.

I personally do it in small doses here and there and I really do not like it that much, unless I am with people as I mentioned, so I do not dabble that much with it but maybe if you give it a shot you might find that it is something you like to do.  If you don't then at least you can say, I tried it and I do not really like it.  Kind of like broccoli when you were a kid and your mother gave it to you and you said, but I do not like it mom and your mother replied, how do you know you do not like it if you never tried it.  I might not really like PvP and it might seem wrong for me to suggest something I do not like, but at least I tried it, maybe you can too.

Kill Fluffy Kill:

Who else besides me has a darkmoon rabbit named fluffy?   If they had a rabbit pet hunters could tame in game I would never use any other pet.  But crazy killer rabbits and their fluffiness aside, pet battles are a whole different breed of freaking awesome.

Even if you are not into pet battles you have to respect the way it was added to the game.  From the moment you step foot on azeroth (at level 5 at least) you can start pet battling.  They went back and added it throughout the entire world.  There are old world dailies, there are horde versions and alliance versions, there are BC dailies, wrath dailies, cataclysm dailies and multiple types of mists dailies.  If blizzard put even 50% of the care and attention to the rest of the game that they gave to pet battles they would still have over 12 million subscribers.  They did such a great job completely integrating it into the entire experience of the game that even if you do not pet battle you have to respect how well done pet battles are.  (Prediction:  Biggest mistake of Warlords is not giving garrisons the pet battle treatment and making it a one and out addition like the farm.  Boo, bad blizzard, bad.)

If you have never tried them they can be closely related to pokeman which you might have tried.  I never had, but I knew the concept.  I kind of expected that pet battles would find their niche but I would have never guessed that I would enjoy it as much as I do.  Sure I have not pet battled or leveled any new pets in months, but that does not mean I do not consider myself a pet battler.

See, that is the beauty with pet battles.  There is no "current tier" you have to beat.  There is no rush to gear up, there is no gear reset, you can play it when you want to play it and outside of remembering which pets work best against which pets when you come back you can pick it up again any time you feel like it after putting it down for a while.

For a mini game there is an incredible amount of depth to it.  There are different rarities, there are different classes, there are different strengths, different weaknesses, all playing off each other.  There are speed based, health based and power based pets.  You can go for balanced, a combo of two or a stacking of one.  There are pets you can get in the world through battles, pets you can get from vendors, from reputation, from achievements, from raids, from dungeons, from pet battles.  You can even PvP pet battles.

It might seem childish to some and perhaps it is, but we are all playing a game and what is wrong with it.  Maybe if you never gave it a shot you can try it.  It is a nice way to pass the time.  Do it while in queue, or do it to level, do it for collecting purposes or do it for battle purposes, but pet battles no matter how you play with them are a very well designed part of the game and quite possibly the best designed addition to the game I have ever seen.

And So Much More:...

There are so many little things you can do in the game during the lull.  Remember for as much as the lull sucks, and it does really suck, it offers us something that we never have at any other point in the game.  A chance to catch up, to try something new, to focus on something we did not have the time for previously, because we are not in the position that we often feel like we have to do something now because it is mandatory to what our main focus of the game is.

You do not have to do those dailies, you do not need to gear up, you do not need to get that raid done, you do not need to conquest cap, you do not need to do anything, that is the beauty of a lull for as much as it sucks.  You do not need to do anything so that means it leaves you open to do anything.  Like I said, I am still playing but what I am doing during the lull is trying out some other stuff, and you know what, I will come back but I am quite enjoying my time at the moment where I do not feel as if I must log into the game to get something done.  I like coming home and not feeling like I need to valor cap, or I need to do dailies, or I even need to log in at all.  For now I am choosing to play some wildstar instead but after writing this I remembered I have a few new pets that I never leveled.  Perhaps I might pop back in game to do that.  With the lull, I have the time, the time to do anything I want.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What If: Blizzard Stopped Trying to Balance PvP

Whether you are into player vs player or you never touch it everyone seems to share the same opinion in some way, that the game is always screwing over one aspect for another aspect.  I would be willing to bet that any player that knows their class can give at least 10 cases where their class was screwed over for a change made to help PvP balance and the same goes the other way.  I am sure any player that likes PvP can say that their class has taken a hit because of something that needed to be done for PvE.

It is not a small task to try and balance both of them so they both work at least kinda sorta well in both aspects of the game.  No matter what your main focus of the game is it is fairly certain that you would agree with the statement that balancing for one always ends up screwing over the other.

If blizzard were ever forced to pick a side it would only make sense that PvE is the side they pick to balance.  After all warcraft is a PvE game.  It is not, has not ever been, and will never be a PvP focused game.

I am sure some would argue that fact but I could easily dismiss their argument with a few simple facts that prove warcraft is a PvE focused game.  Quests offer PvE gear not PvP gear, so quests are PvE content.  World drops, random greens, even white and grey items you get off mobs in the world are all PvE focused.  Dungeons, raids, scenarios, basically any type of group content that does not take place in an arena or battleground is PvE focused and if the game was meant for PvP why would they waste the incredible amount of time it takes to create that type of instanced content if it were not the focus of the game.  And then there are those battlegrounds and arenas. 

If anything that is the nail in the coffin to the argument that warcraft is a PvP game.  If it were a PvP game they would not have went out of their way to remove it from the world and place it somewhere that only the people that wanted to do it would be involved with it.  If the game was meant to be PvP focused they would have added major objectives in the world for PvPers to aim for instead of sticking them away from everyone else in their private little world where they will only fight with others that wish to fight.

So if they were ever going to abandon part of the game in terms of balance and decide to balance for one aspect only it makes sense that it would be PvE that the game gets balanced for.

But wait, there is a bit of a double edged sword here.  While warcraft is a PvE game and that can not be argued, PvP has a much wider player base that PvE.  PvE really does not "matter" until the end game whereas you can PvP from the moment you hit 15 and enjoy it just as much as someone enjoys raiding at max level.  In my opinion, that just makes PvP a much better designed part of the game and I would love to get into that more in a post some day about what PvE can learn from PvP.

In what is outdated information, but all I have to latch on to, I will paraphrase the last solid numbers I heard quoted from a developer.  7% of players participate in organized raiding (including LFR) at least once a week and 30% of players participate in battlegrounds at least once a week.

Now those numbers are old and I am sure the 7% PvE number has went up for various reasons such as the need to raid and raid a lot to get the cloak and blizzard removing any way to gear your character outside of raiding.  This had to push a great deal of people into at least the LFR.  But, and this is completely a guess with no facts to back it up, I would believe that more people still PvP at least once a week than raid at least once a week.

But, what if blizzard stopped trying to balance for both and just focused on one, that one being PvE?

If history shows us anything it is that in PvP people are more likely to reroll to a flavor of the month class.  PvE players seem to get attached to their class and associate themselves with it more and are less likely to change.  Now this does not mean there are no PvPers that feel attached to their classes and there are no PvEer that would not switch at a moments notice because they want to play a stronger class.  But just the over all broad strokes show that PvPers are much more likely to switch to the power class.

So with that said, if the game was not balanced for PvP then the PvPers would just choose whatever class happens to translate best and is the most powerful.  At least that is my opinion of what would happen.  Over the years I have met and known many PvPers that are really into it and they switch classes whenever one is more powerful, heck they have even been known to switch factions, which means most of those serious PvPers I know are now horde.

Looking at those numbers I mentioned earlier we see that more people PvP than PvE over all but that is because the PvE numbers are counted for max level only and the PvP ones are for any level.  PvP content is better content as it spans the entire life of the game.  No doubt about that.  It is also easier to design for because you do not need to do anything beside give people a place to fight.  So while older raids become useless once new ones come out older battlegrounds are still as important to a PvPer at 15 as they are at 90.

So, being we see that PvP is popular at any level we already know, as an absolute fact, that PvPers have no real problem that would keep them from playing when it comes to things not being balanced.  Balance is always created around max level and this means classes at lower levels are never balanced.  If you do not believe me, roll a hunter or a disc priest and enter a low level battleground.  If you want to talk about OP you can talk only after you have done so.  Each of those classes have a wide range of levels where they are so over powered that when you see them you might as well just roll over and play dead because you are going to be dead soon.

This shows us, at least to some small extent, that PvPers are willing to accept certain classes or specs being over powered.  Sure they might complain, but they deal with it.  It is not like you ever hear a PvEer complaining that at level 60 he can not pull his weight in molten core and that mages are too over powered for the raid because at low levels people do not legitimately raid but they do legitimately PvP.  And they do legitimately PvP with all that low level imbalance there.

So we have that prior knowledge that PvPers can deal with mismatched balance because they already do it all the time.  My belief is, and it is only an opinion of course, that at max level it would work the same way.  PvPers would just figure out which classes are the most powerful and if they wanted to win they would switch to that class.  It is really that simple.

I think it would be a bad idea for blizzard to not try and balance both but being they refuse to do it the right way, or at least a decent way (there are many ways that I will go over some day but they won't do them) it would be interesting to see what might happen if they just stopped trying.

I decided to ask what would happen if they stopped balancing for PvP because I believe it would not hurt the game as much as if they stopped balancing for PvE.  In the end they will lose some players but they would lose a hell of a lot more than if they stopped balancing for PvE, and after all, this is a PvE game.

Do you think that the game would be hurt really badly and people would quit in large numbers if they stopped balancing (attempting to) for PvP or do you think like I do, that the PvPers would all just roll the flavor of the month and keep moving along.  What are the possible side effects of just designing balance for only PvE that you can think of?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Random Thoughts

- I have two new cloak wearers.

- One is my third alliance hunter to get the cloak.

- It put him up to a 541 item level.

- He is also on this 13th week since hitting 90 and still has not won a single piece off of the celestial bosses.

- How is that mathematically possible?

- That is 13 kills and 13 rolls and not even a PvP piece.

- No wins in 26 attempts basically means that the "luck" factor plays a huge part to it.

- I find it kind of funny I managed to hit 90, do the entire legendary quest line, and get the legendary cloak before I even won one piece of loot off of a celestial.

- There are two types of bad luck in the game.

- Bad luck and my luck.

- I would not wish my luck on my worst enemy.

- To quote a friend of mine "If I ever quit playing it will probably be because I am sick of never winning anything."

- I agree with him.

- Random loot distribution sucks moose balls.

- And that is being nice about it.

- Worst... design... ever.

- The other new cape recipient was my horde hunter.

- It put my horde hunter up to 564.

- My horde hunter, with the help of pugs that did not need anything so I basically get everything I needed, is lucky enough to have received a fair deal of gear.

- What sucks for my horde hunter is trinkets.

- I am stuck running the shaman trinket and assurance trinket from LFR.

- I have a heroic sigil of rampage in my bags.

- Would you believe an LFR trinket is better than a heroic trinket?

- Reminds me of the good old days of wrath when what the piece was mattered more than the item level.

- I remember wearing my greatness all the way until I got deathbringers will to replace it.

- That is a darkmoon card that lasted the entire expansion.

- I believe darkmoon cards should all be like that.

- Does anyone else beside me love the voice acting for the sha of pride?

- I most like when he says "show me your greatness".

- I always say, I vendored it five years ago, why do you want to see it.

- Hey, I think its funny, don't judge. :P

- Joined a pug this week on my hunter, wanted to see what I could do with the cape.

- I figured I could do over 300K with my eyes closed now.

- Nope, still doing like crap, but I blame that more on managing to get into a crap pug.

- Only downed the first two and then broke up.

- That is with multiple wipes on each.

- In normal.

- I think I need trinkets to really set things up the right way.

- I just can not burst without them and burst is where it is at.

- Every fight I do it starts like this.

- Everyone bursts, I am not even close to the top 10 on burst.

- 1 minute into the fight everyone starts to settle in.

- 2 minutes into the fight I am now top damage done.

- Fight ends and I am top damage done and 100K more than anyone else.

- You know, I like that design, I really do like that design.

- Burst should not be "that" important.

- I used to say this line about a hunter that I always loved.

- When the fight stats I will be doing xx DPS, during the burn phase I will be doing xx DPS, during the downtime I will be doing xx DPS, when the execute phase comes I will be doing xx DPS.  I love being a hunter because What I do is what I do, no high points and no low points, I just do the job I am supposed to do.

- Sure there were always some ebb and flow here and there but basically whatever a hunter was pulling at the start, that is what they where pulling at the end.

- I think that is much better design that doing 2M on the pull and ending at 400K now.

- I can't speak for everything but I know there is nothing I hate more from a damage dealers perspective then seeing those huge numbers and knowing that all I am going to do the entire fight is go down.

- It really ruins the fun of playing the role if you ask me.

- I would not mind the other way around if I started out at 400K and then if I performed absolutely perfectly with a rotation I could end at 2M.

- That makes sense, that would be rewarding someone for doing their rotation well.

- Going from high to low is not rewarding.

- Unless you mean it is rewarding you for having good trinkets, lucky procs and pre potting.

- I am hoping that is one of the things they will fix in warlords.

- They said they were addressing burst issues, and I agree, they need addressing.

- However I know I am sitting on the short end of this argument.

- I am sure more people like hitting 2M on the pull and finishing at 400K because all they do is drop all fight long whereas I would love to start at 400K and do a consistent 400K the entire fight.

- So I will have to sit in the corner on this one because most people do not understand math.

- They would not understand that doing 2M DPS at the start and 400K at the end and doing 400K at the start and 400K at the end are actually the exact same amount of damage done.

- But then again, those are people that "might" raid but never really looked into numbers like weirdos like me do.

- So how would they be expected to know both things are the same from a damage done standpoint.

- I saw something amazing this weekend from a shadow priest.

- It was during a celestial fight.

- They did 480K DPS and were something like 28% of the damage done on the boss.

- I checked their gear.

- They were an instant boosted 90 with all the 483 instant boost gear and 2 timesless island 496 pieces.

- Recount did not show the presence of any of the damage dealing buffs you can get.

- So even if they had the shrine buff that 25% to all secondary stats, which is the best for most classes, it still means 480K is absolutely freaking impossible in that gear.

- It is not mathematically possible.

- At least there was no way I could rationalize it being possible.

- Even if they did their rotation perfectly, even if they got super lucky and crit every single attack, they should not have been able to do over 100K.

- Not in that gear.

- There had to be some sort of bug he figured out.

- And I bet any shadow priest reading this is going to head to timeless island and try to figure out what it was.

- Wish I could give more info to help but I can not.

- But if someone finds it I can expect to see some insane numbers on world of logs soon for shadow priests.

- That is if the bug can be used off the island.

- Would you consider it cheating if you used a bug like that in a raid?

- If that guy could get ten times what you would have expected him to do could you imagine in a raid with a geared and skilled player?

- 5M DPS would not be out of the question.

- Those types of numbers from a few shaow priests in your raid would make any fight trivial.

- So maybe it would be cheating.

- But I can see an argument going the other way.

- As long as you are not "tricking" the system and just using things in game like a buff that "forgets" to leave when you change zones, as far as I see it, it is working as intended until fixed.

- I'll tell you one thing, if there were a bug where I could easily do 5M DPS in a raid I would use it.

- Until it was fixed of course.

- And I don't believe I would be at fault for doing so.

- If you do not want me using it, don't let me use it.

- Simple as that.

- Do not give people the ability to do something and then blame them for doing it.

- Like I said, as long as they are not "tricking" the system into keeping the buff.

- That I would be against.

- But if it is just get a buff and zone in, go for it, kick ass and take names.

- Finally tried the last of the classes in wildstar, the spell slinger.

- I must say I like it.

- Still at low levels at the moment but right now the spell slinger and the warrior seem to be my favorite.

- I did cause a little of a stir on my medic yesterday however.

- Ran into another medic while looking for someone to group with for a group quest.

- While I have soloed some group content on some classes, mostly you need a group for group stuff in wildstar.

- But the medic and my medic went on a path of destruction.

- We killed the group quest mobs with adds and continued on through the zone pulling 5, 6 or 7 mobs at a time and mowing them all down.

- Someone was watching us and then asked in zone if they have buffed medic since beta because they used to hit like a wet noddle.

- Most people said they did boost them, and they do have a simple rotation for DPS as they are more designed for healing.

- But the person said, these two are making medics look OP.

- In my defense I just read what abilities sounded good, worked well in conjunction with each other, and then I just spammed whatever I could.

- Even when solo I was pulling 8 mobs at a time.

- This was at level 15.

- At level 14 more than 2 and I was dead.

- Maybe at level 16 it will be the same.

- Some people just do not understand that at certain points in time certain classes are just more powerful.

- So for one brief moment my medic is a weapon of mass destruction.

- It is like that in all games.

- The most recent paladin I leveled I remember barely being able to kill anything.

- Each battle was a marathon session until I hit level 10, decided in prot, got my avengers shield, and from 10 to about 14 I could one shot 3 mobs at a time with the shield.

- Because of the way numbers work sometimes some classes have moments of being amazingly over powered.

- I guess with my choice of abilities and the way numbers work, 15 is the magic level where I am a super killer.

- Won't last long, wildstar is just too hard to be doing that type of grinding.

- It will get to the point where I am back to one mob at a time and dying sometimes from it.

- But from hearing that one guy talk in zone chat, he seems like he will be rerolling a medic.

- Because he thinks that they are over powered.

- I can't wait for him to find out that they really do seem kind of weak.

- The one good thing that they have going for them over other classes when it comes to the DPS role is that the interaction between their abilities seem to be more straight forward of all the classes.

- I can't wait to try healing in wildstar, or tanking for that matter.

- Healing does seem like it will be harder as everything is an AoE heal.

- Which means you need people smart enough to stand in your heals.

- And you need to be smart enough to put those heals where there will be no enemy telegraphs.

- I do like how taunting works for a tank, at least some of the abilities.

- You taunt 5 mobs in your telegraph to you and all mobs in your telegraph do 25% less damage to anyone that is not you.

- So if they do get an extra shot off on someone else, it will be for less.

- Interesting little tid bit there.

- I am debating on taking advantage of the increased drop rate on things because of the black price.

- Warlock or shaman, that is my choice.

- Shaman has the advantage of being a healer so I get instant queue.

- Warlock I want to get the cloak on to make doing the green fire quest a lot easier.

- So it is a hard choice.

- But I think I need a break from LFR now that I finished up 5 new cloaks in the last 5 weeks.

- LFR can really burn you out.

- Seriously, blizzard needs to add ways to gear up outside of doing LFR.

- At least make LFR level gear available for valor, or better yet justice.

- An option to gear without LFR would really get me playing my alts a hell of a lot more.

- Being forced into raiding is really bad for the game in my opinion.

- I play a hell of a lot less now because there is no way to gear up outside of raiding.

- An alternate method is needed.

- If there was one I would be gearing up all my characters a lot more often and playing wildstar a lot less.

- Removing valor gear is the single one thing that blizzard has done to push me to wildstar.

- If there was something I could get my alts without raiding I would be in warcraft playing.

- But without anything I can do for alts, I am playing another game instead.

- Big mistake blizzard, huge.

- You should have never removed valor gear.

- Have a great day all.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Can a Community Kill a Game?

As anyone that reads here might know I started playing wildstar a few weeks ago.  I do not spend a great deal of time on it so I am moving rather slowly and I am also testing all the classes and paths by playing a few characters at once.  Either way, I've finally got my footing in the game and understand the basics of how the game is played.  Now is the time I start to look up information on how to get better.

I always jump right into a game and figure things out on my own before I go looking online for "help".  It is just the way I like to play games.  I am sure there are many like me out there and there are many that never look for help or look for help before they even start.  We all play or own ways but this question is not about how we play but the communities we play in.

The only thing I looked up before starting was the server forums.  I looked for which PvE servers had a lot of activity and then looked for which side was recruiting the most for raiding, which is where my intentions would be to head if I stick with the game.  After that I never went back to the forums... until now.

As I said I was liking the game but after reading some of the threads on the forums I can't help but think if I have wasted my time already.  The community is horrible, just as bad as warcrafts.  Everyone on the forum calling other people bad, saying their options are wrong and not in a polite way which would encourage conversation but in an insulting way, saying that they are "better" than others or that this is wrong or that is wrong or this class is OP or that class is OP.  You know, the basic bullshit we have all, sadly, become way to used to seeing on the forums.

Now I am not the type of person to let others sway me, at least not that easily, but I could not help but feel that my desire to play, my desire to become more involved in the community, my desire to get to max level and start to raid has been greatly reduced after seeing all this.  If this is what the game is like at 50 is it really something I want to be a part of?

I had not reached what some would call the point of no return where I am completely caught up in the game so I will play no matter what, so seeing that this is what the community is like does have some sway with me.  Being I had not made the decision that I will most defiantly keep playing seeing that, at least the most vocal, people at the top level are this horrible makes me wonder if it is worth it to keeping going.

Then I think of all the people, the new players, the ones that come to the forums for the game I do play and am staying with, the one I have reached that point of no return with, warcraft, and think, are they seeing the same thing when they decide to look things up and coming to the same conclusion that I have about wildstar, that maybe it is just not worth the effort if these are the people I will have to deal with.

Community is a huge part of the game even for a person like myself that would prefer to do things solo.  I might be anti social for the most part but if I want to raid I have to find people to raid with which means, against my better judgement, I have to "friend" people.  I have to become part of the community, at least in the most minimal way just to continue to play the game and I really do not want to play with any of these people.

These people are not my people.  They do not have the same agenda I do when playing, they do not have the same moral base I have in the way I treat others, they are just not the type of people I would ever want to associate with in the real world so why would I ever do so in the virtual one.  If anything I expect people to be better in the virtual world.  People have flaws, they all do, but online you can fake it.  If you curse like a sailor on shore leave you can bite your tongue in game.  If you are a racist you can just think of everyone as characters and not race.  No matter what your personal flaws or shortcomings are you can be a better person online.  So why is everyone a worse person?

I am not saying that just complaining about things in the game is a bad thing, hell no, I complain all the time.  As I have said before I complain because I like the game.  If I did not care about the game I would not care if they were removing my favorite spells.  But if I like the game and want to keep playing it you can be damn well sure I am going to complain if they remove something.

So I do not have a problem with people complaining.  I do not see anything wrong with people that say they believe this should be some other way, or that should be different.  They like the game and they are voicing their opinions on what they believe will make it a better game.  No matter if  I agree with it or not I respect that they, like me, care enough about the game to complain about the things that bother them in the hopes that maybe someone will listen and maybe a change will be made that will make the game better.

It is the community that is so venom filled, so mean spirited, so "I am better than you" oriented, the people that just have to watch the world burn that are what I am talking about.  Like if I were to make a tread saying I hate RNG and wish there were more loot options where you can earn your gear instead of having to count on luck to get it an appropriate response would be that the person either agrees or disagrees or is somewhere in the middle but not with bad communities.  With bad communities you get responses like "you are just a baddie that wants gear given to them" instead of maybe starting a conversation on why they believe that RNG is "earning" gear.  They just attack.

After reading a few threads I am left wondering if I should really ever log in again.  Maybe if a few of my friends start playing and I have people to play with I might but the game has already started to lose me and not because of anything the game has done, but because of the community has.

And then it got me to thinking that is exactly what part of the problem with warcraft is and why they are losing subscriptions like crazy.  The community.  Warcraft was always losing subs left and right, even when they were at their high point late BC and through wrath they were losing subs left and right.  The thing was they were picking up more new ones than they were losing.

Now, with more options out there for the gamer, newer and more shiny or flashy games, people might come to the forums and see that community and think, this is what the game is like, well I might as well go try this other game that has better graphics, or is newer, or does not have a subscription cost.

Maybe it is that toxic community that is scaring a lot of people away, just like one peek at the wildstar forums has me questioning myself on if I wasted money on the game.  No one wants to play with people like that and while I know and you know they are just a minority, they are a very vocal and very damaging to the game minority.

Perhaps if I had visited the wildstar forums before I purchased the game I would have never purchased it at all because of the community there.  That makes me wonder, how many people heard of warcraft and its long and rich history and were thinking of picking up the game but decided to visit the forums before making a purchase and after their visit and seeing what the vocal minority is like they decided to just go get another game to satisfy their gaming needs.

Can that vocal minoriy really kill a game?  I think it can.

When Things Change, and You Can't

The game has been through many changes over the course of the years.  Some small and some large.  I remember not so long ago when hunters switched to focus many people who has been playing hunters gave up the class, others tried to adapt and never could so they just switched mains.  While it might seem odd that someone could not, or did not want to, adapt to a chance like that it happens.

Old habits die hard.  I do not tank all that much, mostly just for raids for my guild.  I do not do random dungeons as a tank, I most definitely do not do looking for raid as a tank, and I rarely pug as one unless there are people I know going with me.

Recently while solo tanking garrosh (my first kill as a tank on it) I found myself resorting to some old habits, ones that really are not needed any longer.  I would wrap up the adds and I would tab through them throwing a shot on every one of them even if my AoE was more than ample to keep aggro on them.

Anyone that tanked back when aggro mattered remembers those days when you needed to get a shot in on all the adds or you would lose them relatively easily to someone that had any reasonable DPS burst.  I saw myself doing this, I understood in my own mind I did not need to do this, but I just did it anyway because that is how I learned to tank so it is still how I tank.

Can I change?  Most likely.  If I was a more active tank and was doing it all the time I would probably get out of the old habit of doing that.  It got me to thinking of myself as a relic, something from the past.

When I am on my hunter filling the role of a damage dealer I always wait behind the tank.  It is the tanks job to pull and I let them do so.  Even now when I do a dungeon, where I can solo them and have been soloing them since ToT gear level with little or no problem, I will still let the tank lead because that is how it is supposed to be.  That is how I learned to play.  Another thing that sometimes makes me feel like a relic.

One other little old habit I have never been able to kick, and most likely goes unnoticed, more so because it is not needed as much, or at all, as it used to be is my obsessive protection of my healer.

I remember early on in my play when aggro was still an issue I learned that if the healer went down we all went down and I started to get into the habit of keeping an eye out for my healer.  I would throw a trap at their feet or save my misdirect to try and get something off of them or just pull it to myself to make sure they did not get hit.

I got some odd comments from healers on occasion from doing so.  Ones like why are you trying to trap me from healers that apparently never played with a protective hunter or from healers that realized what I was doing I would get a thank you.  It is really rare that someone notices you do the little things that really matter, or mattered back then, so it made me feel good when someone did say thank you.  In the end however, it was just one of those things you were supposed to do.  Just like the tank was supposed to tab sunder, I was supposed to protect the healer.

With classes changing all the time it is not only a change in habits like the one I mentioned, but a change in how you play the class you play as I started out this post mentioning.  Some times people can not adapt, some times changes to how a class works can chase someone away from playing it.

While it is really no big deal if I tabbed through adds to get in a shot on garrosh and it is no big deal if I drop a trap at the healers feet now because it is not going to hurt anything in either case so the fact I can't change the way I play because that is how I learned there are some things that are not negotiable.  If your class chances you need to change.  No ifs ands or buts.  If you wanted to keep playing a hunter back then you needed to adjust to focus.  That is a much larger task than some people can handle.

I am a stubborn person and I like what I like.  Perhaps that is not really being stubborn because there is nothing wrong with liking what you like but because of that there are some changes I don't think I could ever adapt to.  I don't think I can change.

It made me think, what change could happen to your class that would make it impossible for your to change, to adapt, to say, I just can't do it any more.

As a hunter I thought about that a lot when focus was coming out.  Would be it be something I just could not adjust to.  In the end I figured I would get used to it, like it or not, because the feel of my class, even if functioning differently, would basically remain the same.  I like playing a hunter more than any other class because it is a very active class.  There is always something to hit, it has a quick global cooldown, it has a lot of tools, so I always feel like I am doing something.  I like the quick pace of the class and that is what keeps me coming back even after changes like the change to focus.  New resource and all but I was still that rapid firing fast cooldown always something to do machine of death that I had always been and that is what keeps me coming back for more.

Seeing some of the changes coming for hunters and not being overly excited about any of them and down right upset with quite a few of them, I started to think once again, what would be the last straw for me.  What would be the change I would need to make that I couldn't.

The answer ended up being very simple for me.  I did not need to think about it as much as I thought I would.  As long as I can still be a hunter as I know a hunter, I can change.  But if they were to ever move to a resource system or change it so that I needed to wait to do things, like waiting on energy as a rogue or a feral druid, then that would be when the time would come where I would hang up my hat.

I would not be willing to make a change like that.  Perhaps it would not be a case of can't change but it would be a case of won't change.  I do not like that style of play.  I do not like the wait on resource system.  I like the always have it, always generate it, always use it fast pasted action of being a hunter.  All other damage dealing classes just bore the ever loving crap out of me because it is a waste on resource, wait on cast time, or wait on cooldown based rotation.  If hunters ever changed into that sort of class I would drop it as fast as you could imagine.  I can not play a game like that.  If anything I sometimes think even the 1 second GCD is too long.  Ever been spamming your next shot over and over so that when the time came for it to fire it doesn't?  Yeah, that is me.  I hit my next shot sometimes 20 times in that one second so as is that one second is still too slow for my liking.

So what would be the thing that could change that would make you switch your classes, or just quit the game.  Blizzard is changing all the time, as if they do not even understand that change can sometimes be bad.  What would that bad change be for you, a change that you just can't adjust too.

For me it would be if they ever made hunters like everyone else.  People who sit around and wait to do things.  That would kill it for me.  I am a hunter, I am better than that, I am constantly doing something.  That is the beauty of the class, or one of the many.  Hunters hunt, they do not sit and wait like those dirty rogues.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Whelp... Handle It

I like the story behind Wrathion, or should I say the story behind the story.  The words unsaid are sometimes so much more powerful in the fantasy genre than those that are said, even more so in the medium of gaming.  Telling us everything, while it might seem nice, is really something only a bad writer does.

As an aspiring writer (published but nothing that would even show as a blip on anyones radar) who has been working on fantasy the last few years I have my own character that I can say is a Wrathion type of character.  Perhaps that is why I like him, I see something in him that is very familiar.  My character however stays in the background and to most people he would just seem like a vehicle to move the story along, nothing more.  He comes in, says a few lines, sends people off in a direction and then goes back to his, seemingly, inconsequential life.

To the eagle eyed fantasy reader they will notice that he often appears in scenes in the background.  I make enough of an effort to mention someone is there but never mention it is him directly even if I might leave some clues for someone to deduce that.  He remains a background player only with the intention to use him much further down the road.  Blizzards writers are doing the exact same thing with Wrathion but with an admittedly much heavier hand.  They are not exactly hiding the fact that he is an important character and will play a much bigger role later on.  For some, the ones that like that mystery, this really takes away a lot from the character because he is basically shoved in your face and screams at you "I am really important, look at me".

Each time I go and talk to him I wonder why we just do not kill him.  He is just a whelp and while he is an extremely powerful whelp he is still only a two year old whelp.  Dragons mature much faster than us humanoids but you can tell some things even dragons share in common with humanoids and that is the fact that he throws a temper tantrum when things do not go the way he wants.  I must say I really enjoyed that part and give credit where credit is due and it is due there.  It was a nice touch for the writers to make sure to add something in there to remind the player that we are talking to a child.  A child more intelligent than any of us, but a child none the less.

The biggest part of the Wrathion storyline that I enjoy however is the part that remains unwritten.  The part you never hear mentioned.  The part I made up in my own mind, and maybe you did as well.  And that is the beauty of fantasy and even more so the beauty of a good hook in fantasy.

Lets change topics for just a moment before I head back to Wrathion.  Lets talk about one of my favorite villains in the game, Gul'dan.  I've been writing about him on and off for years now.  Even if his name is on the tongues of many now because he has been brought to the forefront of the story line I have been pushing for more on him since wrath before cataclysm was announced.  I was hoping that cataclysm would have been something to do with Gul'dan.  Sure there was that pesky little problem with him being dead and all but that has never stopped any fantasy writer from using a character or finding some way to bring him back.  The beauty of fantasy is that you know there is always a suspension of belief that people are willing to hold back and because of such you can get away with a lot of stuff you could not like with a crime drama or something else of that sort.

What it was about Gul'dan that I liked the most was that he was a pure villain.  He did things for himself because he wanted to.  He wanted power, more power than he could handle, more power than he could imagine.  But he did not want it for any other reason than for wanting power.  He would make a deal with the devil if need be to get it.  He would kill anyone that got in his way to get it.  He would parade around and bask in the glow of his own power for no other reason than to be in awe of himself.  He has no ulterior motives for wanting it, he just wanted it because it was there and he could have it and that is what makes him a great villain in my eyes.  Pure evil for no reason other than the desire to be powerful.

Now back to Wrathion and that background story I was talking about that was never written.  We all know Wrathion is going to be a big part of the story later, most likely the boss of his own expansion.  As I mentioned blizzard is really heavy handed with this character so that is not something that will ever come as a surprise to anyone.

They are not looking to play the long game of development and then twist it.  They almost come right out and tell us he is going to be the bad guy even as they mask it in the idea that he wants to save Azeroth from the Burning Legion.  Arthas was just trying to save his people too and I doubt you would find many people that would say what he did at the end of that quest was not something a bad guy would do.  Sometimes even the most noble of intentions can lead to evil and that is what they are developing our little whelp to turn into.

The part of the story that has never been said and the part of the story that really intrigues me is the fact that Wrathion is not just on his own quest to turning evil.  He is taking every single one of us with him and we are walking that path with him willingly in an effort to gain power.  For the for sake of power, power to kill everyone in our way, power so that we can bask in the glow of our own power.  Notice that cape proc?  That is us basking.

What is the difference between my hunter and Gul'dan?  There is very little difference.

Gul'dan does things because he wants to do things.  There is no reason behind it.  And he grabs for power wherever he can get it and no matter who he needs to make a deal with to attain it or who he needs to kill to get it.  Stepping on or over people on his way does not matter as long as there is power at the end of the tunnel.

We are in the exact same position that Gul'dan was in and we have made the exact same decisions that Gul'dan has made.  We are willing to make a deal with the devil to get power and we keep returning to the well to drain more power from it.

As I mentioned Wrathion is not fooling anyone, blizzard and their writers have made sure of that.  We all know that he is the bad guy of the future but in our effort to gain power we go back to him and do tasks for him in exchange for power, no different than Gul'dan would do.

Once we get a taste of that power, the sha touched gem, one we know is evil as it is sha touched, It does not stop us on our quest for power.  We keep going back for more power.  We go back for a weapon enhancement, then for a meta gem and then for a powerful cloak and then for a cloak that has the power of the black drake himself.  We keep offering up our service to Wrathion in exchange for what he has to offer us in return, power.  We do so knowing that he is the bad guy but none of that matters to us, we want power.  We did not need that power.  We could have just as easily vanquished our foes without it but we could not resist that taste for power.

That is the part of the story, the untold part of the story, that really grabs me.  Sometimes fantasy is so much better when you think of those words not spoken, the words not written, the knowledge not known.  In this case, Wrathion has turned us all into exactly what we have been fighting against.

We are Arthas, someone who sought the power to do something he could not do on his own without it.  We are Garrosh, someone who wanted power so he could carry out an agenda.  And worse, we are Gul'dan, someone that seeks power just for the sake of having it even if he did not need it because the desire for power never stops once you have a taste of it.

Wrathion turned my characters and your characters into the power hungry, weapon wielding, messengers of death by giving us a little bit of power.  He did it not because he thought we needed it to get the task done, not because he wanted us to be that powerful, but he did it because he knew that if he gave us just a little taste of power we would keep coming back and we would be serving his purpose.  He controlled us by giving us little tastes of power and getting us addicted to it so we would keep coming back for more power.

Each time we returned to Wrathion after completing one of his quests we fell deeper into the realm of becoming everything we have ever fought against.

The unwritten story, the fact we have become Gul'dan, a person that thirsts for power for no other reason than to have it, now that is a story worth telling and the best part is that blizzard did not tell it, but if you are one of those eagle eyed fantasy fans, you can see it as clear as a motion picture running in your mind.

Knowing what he will become, seeing what is is doing to us, maybe we need some raid leader to yell out.  One whelp... handle it.

We really should have killed him.  But that would just complete our turn to evil now if we did it wouldn't it?  Catch 22?  If we kill him and take his power in the process then we are the evil he was turning us into with our greed for power to begin with and if we don't he will no longer be a whelp we can easily take out as I am sure he will never give us enough power to compare to him later on but just enough power to keep us coming back.

He is pretty damn smart of a two year old don't you think?  He played us like a fiddle.

So how does it feel to know that you are the bad guy?  No denying it.  We are everything we have ever fought against now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Beta Invites Sent Out

When I saw the announcement of the new beta invites going out of course there was some hope that maybe I would get one.  It would surely put my new toy, wildstar, in the backseat if I did get one.  While reading over the post on MMO-C that basically went like "woohoo I got in" and "still no beta for me" they seemed to come to some sort of an idea about who these new invites might be aimed at.

After the first few pages it became clear that everyone that was getting the invite seemed to be 14/14 heroic and those that did not were not.  Of course there were a few people who immediately decided to complain about how "it is unfair to give it to only the top players".

I wish to disagree.  There are some very good reasons to give the beta to people that are 14/14 heroic and the first and foremost one is that maybe they plan to release the raids for testing.  Like it or not the people that are 14/14 heroic and have been so for some time are the best raiders and as such as the best people to be around to test it, don't you think?  So how exactly is that unfair.

If you want to test something wouldn't it make the most sense to have the people testing it that have the most invested in it.  These are the people that will bust their asses and raid 20 hours a week when content comes out to try an get it done as fast as possible.  These are the people who have been doing the heroic raids and know what works and what doesn't.  These are the people that will, and do, take advantage of every bug they can get control over to get the quicker kill.  These are the people that will find those bugs they can abuse or think of strategies that the developers never thought of just so they can down the boss.  I don't care what anyone says, but if I wanted to have someone test my raiding design I would want it to be the people that know about raiding most and those people would be the people that have cleared all current raids.

Add to that the fact that it is quite possible that many of these 14/14 heroic raiders are bored off their asses now.  Many of the people saying they got invites said that they were unsubscribed and had been for a long time.  This is also a smart move on blizzards part to invite these people.  Not only are they valuable testers if they are going to start some raid testing soon but they are people that are getting antsy with the game, even more than people like you and I, and you know we are about as sick of SoO as can be.

So sending these people invites gets them interested again in the game and as long as they are interested in the game they will be playing it and not looking at other options, like I have been looking at wildstar myself.  Leveling three characters now, and even if I like it, I am not doing so because I want to but more so because there is nothing worth doing in warcraft.

Anything that blizzard can do to stop some of the bleeding, like sending all those hardcore players invites so they can get into beta instead of maybe, just maybe, getting caught up in the hardcore design of wildstar where they could very well loose these people too thanks to the lack of content, would be a good thing for the game.

But even for those people that are not 14/14 heroic and have not received an invite.  Don't be jealous over the fact someone else got an invite and you didn't, be happy that they are inviting raiders with the intention of having them do raid testing.  Why?  Because when raid testing starts that means the expansion is that much closer, because that is usually the biggest thing to test and it is usually the last thing to test.  If they are really trying to get all these raiders in by the 27th and maybe when they open raid testing on the 27th, it could be a sign, a very good sign, that we are getting closer to the tail end of the long wait between expansion and we might be seeing a solid release date some time in the future, sooner than later.

And as a side note to all the people complaining about all the 14/14 heroic people getting invites.  Stop your bitching.  I am 14/14 heroic and I have not received an invite either.  It just so happened that "some" 14/14 heroic players got invited this time around.  Not all of them.  I would not be surprised if they where people with many clears under their belts and not just a few here and there like me.  So just because you killed garrosh in heroic is not a free pass to the beta.  No need to say they are playing favoritism because they are not.  They are playing smart and they are inviting raiders to test the raiding.  There is nothing wrong with that and there is nothing worth complaining about.

Lets hope for the best case scenario and that would be raid testing is opening soon, and 6.0 might not be very far behind now and a solid release date to follow.  Sending invites to all those hard core raiders should be something a casual player is excited about, not jealous about because we did not get one.  As always, just my opinion of course.