Thursday, January 29, 2015

What is This Class Homogenization?

Homogenize - to change (something) so that its parts are the same or similar.

For a long time we have been hearing about the homogenization of classes.  When they added spells, when they removed spells, when they redesigned rotations or priorities, no matter what change is made we hear this term pop up.  People saying that the classes are being homogenized.

I am not exactly sure what this post is supposed to be about.  Am I defending the act of homogenization of the classes?  Am I saying they have not been homogenized?  I really do not know, perhaps a little bit of both and a little bit of neither.

It is hard to compare classes really because they are all very different yet at their base they are all the same.  Tanks take damage, healers heal it, and damage dealers kill the mobs.  So no matter what flavor of tank healer and damage dealer you have, their job is the same in the end and they all have the tools to do so. 

From the very first incarnation of the game this has been true. So you can say that even if there are different classes they have always been similar as they all could do whatever their task was.  All tanks have the ability to take more damage than other classes can handle and reduce the damage that they take.  All healers have the ability to heal injured players and all damage dealers have methods that allow them to deal damage.  So aren't all classes similar if we do not go deeper into it?

I was thinking about it a little bit lately when talking about what I liked about classes and disliked about them.  It seems that I always like the same type of things.  I dislike long cast times.  I hate being land locked.  And the one and a half second global cooldown seems like an eternity when you are waiting for it, which also means I hate waiting for things, like energy.

So even if you consider that all classes are the same in theory, as in damage dealers all deal damage, they are really different even if they are similar.  So is that really homogenization?

That is something I don't think we really can answer as a yes or no because it really depends on what your opinion of being homogenized is.  Are shaman and mages really that similar because they both have a time warp like ability?

Being this is something that is opinion based I am going to give my opinion.  To try to level the playing field so that all classes are compared to each other under the same situations I am going to use my proving grounds experiences with them for the basis of my comparison.  I did the proving grounds on all my characters as soon as I hit 100 usually within a 580-600 item level gap.  So all characters were similarly geared to a point.

I am going to base my opinion on how the classes play and not what their abilities are, so to speak.  As in, was I able to do the same thing on all characters because to me, if you can do the same thing on different classes than that is homogenization.  Again, opinion of course.

Tanks:

I only have two tanking classes at level 100 and both of them did the proving grounds the second they hit 100.  For good measure it just so happens that the two tank classes were a druid and a warrior which are the closest in terms of abilities to each other.  They both are strong physical tanks and they both use rage as their primary resource.  In terms of comparing I do not think you could choose two tanks that would, or should, play as close to each other as these two would.  When talking homogenization with tanks, two tanks do not come much closer.

First up my druid which entered the proving grounds and promptly found herself getting stomped on.  My druid was taking copious amounts of damage.  So much so that I think it would have taken two healers to keep me up.  That was even with mild use of cooldowns, thinking long term, and not blowing everything all the time playing fully defensive.

To manage getting it done on my druid, due to the large amounts of incoming damage, I had to change to a completely defensive sort of tanking.  Liberal use of cooldowns, even over use to an extent if that is even possible.  I had to play it as if I did not have a healer and I needed to keep myself alive.  This meant absolutely no rage spent on maul and every single spell needing to be interrupted when able.  I had to limit damage as much as I could just to get by because the in game healer was, in a word, poor.

Then when my warrior got there I figured the challenge would be the same and I was quickly proven wrong.  Very wrong.  My warrior seemed as if he did not need any heals what so ever.  I could have most likely did it without a healer.  If my health dipped below 90% more than two or three times that was probably a lot.

Right off the bat I could see this was like a completely different fight on my warrior than it was on my druid.  He was able to go full on offense.  I could use heroic strike on cooldown as I had no need for the additional rage for defensive reasons.  Strike could be considered, in homogenization terms, the warriors maul.  While they do different things they are both the signature rage dump that does fair damage.

So my druid had to deal with taking huge damage and I needed to work on keeping it alive myself whereas my warrior did not have to worry at all about survivability.  Does that just mean that warriors are that much better?  Perhaps they are in a way, but it was not as if my warrior did not run into problems of his own.

My warrior seemed to have an issue with casters, they always targeted the healer.  Even when I had aggro on them they would still attack the healer.  The flamecaller guys would always throw their first flame under the healers feet and of course the healer would not move or even heal herself while she stood in the bad.  This made tanking it on my warrior all about control.

I needed to interrupt everything I could, the flame guys more so being even if I let one single fire squirt out it would surely be under her feet.

So in my opinion are the tanks homogenized?

Oh hell no.  Even with two tanking classes that have very similar abilities that easily lend themselves to support the people who like too say the classes have been homogenized the proving grounds proved to be two completely and totally different fights.  They played differently, completely differently.  Even with similar abilities they felt different enough for me to say that tanking is not homogenized.  There is enough difference between the classes to make them unique.

Healers:

I did the healing proving grounds on three different healers.  My priest, my shaman and my druid.  One note I should make is that my priest had no spirit gear so her experience might, of course, involve a little more mana management as it was a really limited resource for it.

First up my priest and her 0 spirit build.  I tried the proving grounds when I first hit 100 just for the hell of it, as I was there having done the damage dealer one already.  I never expected to be able to manage it with no spirit gear but I did.

I'll be the first to admit it probably had a lot to do with the fact that when it comes to healing I am most versed as a healer on my priest having had been healing on it for many years and it being my only character that has been a main spec healer since the moment of creation.  So I admit the familiarity with class did make doing the proving grounds with no spirit easier that it would have been for other classes.  I think the fact the priest did it with no spirit puts it on equal level with the other healers, effectively cancelling out my greater experience on it over the others.

I had more issue with the bronze healing challenge than I did the silver.  I was OOM in the forth round on bronze, I did not hit fumes on silver until the last round.  Some timely heals, some smart decisions, and some luck on my part when I decided near the end to wait on a little more mana for a big heal than casting a small one and hope it would be enough.  Waiting proved perfect as it was just what I needed.  My gamble paid off and my priest managed it on her first attempt.

The group seemed to take AoE damage a lot when I was on my priest.  Oddly enough the tank did not take much damage at all, but if there was something in melee or ranged to stand in, the damage dealers did just that, stand in it.  I needed to heal all 4 of them all the time throughout the entire fight.

When it came to my shamans turn I set myself up with the idea that it would be the same.  Lots of AoE, people standing in stuff and little tank damage.  My shaman had spirit gear yet it had the same issues my priest did.  Went OOM on the 4th round of bronze, did not have issues until the last round of silver.

When it came to the fight my shaman had to deal with a heavy amount of tank damage.  After what my priest saw I would have figured that just throwing an earth shield and a riptide on the tank should have been enough to keep him up but I was wrong.  The group still took some unavoidable damage but nothing more than my small healing totem could handle, but the tank took what seemed like a death blow every other second.

I actually had to resort to using my healing surge, the mana bomb basically draining me, more than a few times near the end to save the tank from near death.  It was at just the wrong moment.  Mana was starting to dwindle, and the most mana intensive spell was the only thing that could keep the tank alive.  It became a race of my mana against the damage dealers to see who would finish first.

I tried to switch things up to a greater healing wave for the slower but more cost efficient heal, but after two of those I could see I was falling behind and needed to surge to make sure he did not dip too low.  I managed it on my first try just like I did with my priest, but it was most definitely a different experience.

Then came my druid, that had spirit pieces as well in most slots, but not all.  I was not sure what to expect but a run like my priest had would easily be best for a druid healer don't you think.  I went in with my mind open and just had at it.

The bronze seemed to be the same for the third healer through it.  It was a mana drainer in the forth round.  But not as much on my druid, as I only went to 70% mana from full instead of OOM from half like happened on my priest and my shaman.

When I moved along I was waiting to see what run I would get.  The heavy AoE version, the heavy tank version.  I spent the entire silver run dancing around as a tree throwing a lifebloom as needed and a rejuvenation here and there for the minimal damage going out.  I also kept my schrooms under the tank of course, like a good tree should.  I basically was casting heals when I was full on mana so I could regain more mana.  It seemed like there was nothing to heal.

When the final round came I was still at 100% mana.  I knew it was over so I popped tree of life and jumped around casting rejuvenation on everyone just for the fun of it.  I was wondering did I accidental manage to find myself in the level 90 version instead of the level 100 version.  I quickly went to the dungeon group finder to see if it would allow me to queue up as a healer, which would be the case if it were the level 100 one, and I could.  Guess it was the right one.

So my druid basically never noticed one single moment when I needed to actually heal anything the entire fight.  If this is how druid healing is compared to priest and shaman healing I have to wonder, why is every healer in the world not a druid right now.

So in my opinion are healers homogenized?

Hell no.  I had three completely different experiences. My priest had to deal with everyone taking damage while my shaman had to deal with heavy tank damage and my druid, well I have no clue what my druid needed to do except dance in tree form.  While all healers have similar tools with some differences, how they handled things were different.  The tasks they had to deal with were different.  Not sure of it was by design that the battles are different depending on the class or they seemed to end up worrying about different things based on how I handled their toolbox, but in the end all three played out completely different even if one might argue that all healing is the same.

Damage Dealers:

I did the damage dealing challenge on my hunter, warrior, rogue, mage, shaman and priest.  I could easily go into details on all the classes individually but it feels as if it would be a waste of time.  I could give a simple breakdown of my starting damage dealing for each class and that would be enough.

My hunter started 4, 2, 1, 3, 3, and followed the bouncing procs, my shaman did 1, 2, 3 and occasionally 4, shift 4 or shift 1, my priest did 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 5, oh hell you get the idea.  It was just a series of number mashing whichever ability did the most damage at any given time.

Each character had to interrupt and had the interrupt to do so.  Each round had the preferred movement and positioning.  Each character had to deal with AoE situation, single target marks and priority targets.  But in the end, it was the same fight for each of them.  Once I did it on my hunter doing it on any other class was as simple as stand here, move there, do your rotation and interrupt that.

So in my opinion are damage dealers homogenized?

Absolutely.  While they vary in how they are played, some with focus, some with energy, some with rage, some with mana, they all have a basic priority system to do the maximum damage.  They all have their interrupts, they all needed to stand in the same places, focus the same mobs,  no matter what class I was on it was the exact same fight.  There were no curve balls, no surprises, nothing.  Some had more instants, some cast times, some could multi target, some had better AoE, but all in all it was the same exact fight.  Unlike the tanks and healers who needed to adjust, adapt, to change what they needed to do on the fly, once you knew the damage dealers proving grounds, you knew the damage dealers proving ground.

The question is, does this mean the classes are homogenized?  I think it does.  Even if they are all different in ways and play different in ways, how the damage dealers handled the situation was exactly the same no matter which one I was on.

The next question should be, is this a good thing or a bad thing?  What do you think?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I'm Not Enjoying Warlords Healing, How About You?

One of the most wonderful things in warcraft when it concerns classes is that there are no two that are truly the same.  Each class plays differently and as such there is usually something that will fit the play style of the person, it is just a matter of finding the class that plays the way you like it.

For every person that loves the rapid fire button mashing quick decision making always something to hit play style of the hunter there are many that dislike it.  For every person that loves the methodical waiting for combo points and slow building energy for a planned and oft times delayed for maximum effect attack of ferals and rogues, there are many that would find it too slow.  There is a little bit of difference, sometimes not very pronounced, between each and every class that makes this game great.  It is great because if you look you will be able to find something that fits, or very closely fits, the style of game play you enjoy.

But healing right now doesn't seem to have that, at least not for me.  All play styles are exactly the same as far as I am concerned, at least at their base level.  All healing play styles are basically "I'm out of mana".  All healing play styles lost their inexpensive heal for triage healing.  All healing play styles lost their movement abilities in the form of instants when we are now required to move more than we ever have before.

There is nothing fun about that type of play style.  Not even in the slightest.  There is nothing fun about feeling helpless when out of mana or forced to move when someone is dying and there is nothing you can do about it.  The fact that none of the healing classes can escape that is what makes it even worse.  At least with damage dealers if you do not like the mana conservation needs of an arcane mage, or the waiting on energy for the planned attack of a rogue, there is another game play style that you could embrace, one you could enjoy.  But all healers are limited by the same set of factors.  The exact same set.

At the beginning of an expansion it is always harder on healers than it is on all other classes in my opinion.  Each raid group rides on the backs of their healers at the beginning of every expansion.  It has been like that as long as I have been playing.  The soft enrage timer of bosses are not the timers blizzard puts into the game, but the timer on when the healers go OOM.

So it is not like I am inexperienced with this feeling of overwhelming uselessness of being a healer at the beginning of an expansion, but it is the first time I did not feel as if there were something I could do about it, gear wise, gem wise, enchant wise, food wise, to help out the situation.  With no way to regenerate mana outside of the built in mechanisms that do, so there is no "help" you can seek when first starting out.

I took some time yesterday to run all the LFRs on a few healers.  Not so much to practice my healing only, but to test out some new abilities, new styles of healing, new ways to make myself not feel so helpless as soon as the fight passes some mark where I am constantly OOM for the rest of it.  I played around a bit and saw myself getting better with the mana management part of the game play.  All while actually healing for more in the process.  But I was not enjoying it.  Not at all.

While I have managed to get better at mana management and I only found myself going OOM when there was a serious lack of healing and I tried to make up for it, and was incapable of doing so as it made me go OOM faster which in turn made it even worse, I started to get more disconnected with the classes I was healing on.  It was not fun.  I was doing okay, I was getting better, I was just not enjoying myself at all. 

Even if I started to do well, doing well does not equal having fun.  I can do well on a class and not have fun playing it.  So this complaint about healing is not because I feel I can not "do well" because I can, it is because it is not fun.  If I am to heal, I want to have fun while doing it, is that too much to ask?

The main thing is that even if I have started to get better at managing my mana, I am not enjoying it.  Healing should not be only about mana.  I can adapt to losing my triage heal, I can adapt to losing some instants, I can adapt to losing some other utility, but I am not adapting to the mana issues, because I should not have to because healing shouldn't only be about mana and that is what it feels like now.  It should be about choosing the right tool from your toolbox.  It should be about teaming up abilities so one will buff the next for maximum effect.  It should be able timing your burst healing for when needed, timing your big direct heal or defensive cooldown for heavy tank damage, knowing when you can let someone sit missing a little life and when you need to throw a heal on them or the next unavoidable AoE might get them.  Healing should be about healing.  It should not be able mana conservation.

Even more so it should not be about mana conservation when there is so few places to get increased mana regeneration.  From the sometimes seemingly impossible task of finding a piece with spirit on it, to no spirit gems, enchants, foods, you name it, they are doing everything they can to make healing about mana and mana only.  That is not a fun play style.  They do not deny my hunter with his agility flask, which is needed to better do his job but they deny my shaman her spirit flask even if it would her better do her job.

I would like to see healers have choices like damage dealers do.  To have a different style of play between them.  Not just different buttons with different names and different spell visuals all tied together with the exact same play style of stand still and watch your mana.

I still enjoy the challenge of healing.  I still like the feeling of people depending on me.  But with the lack of spirit meaning the lack of mana, the decreased number of instants with the combined need to, what seems like, always be moving and the one and a half second global cooldown, which seems like an eternity now that there are fewer instant and you know a near 2 second cast has to follow up that 1 and a half second global cool down makes me feel helpless as you are watching someones health go down and you know that you will never be able to save them.  Why?  Because in a game like this 1 and a half seconds is an eternity and when it is followed by a 2 second cast time it might as well be damn near forever.  When you combine that with the lack of mana and always going OOM it is just not a healing style I am digging.  I am doing it, I have healed up to heroic so far, but I am not enjoying it in the slightest.

I'm not exactly sure why I am still even healing at all, even at the easiest level, the LFR setting.  I'd like to see them make mana more plentiful, have instants make a come back, lower the global cool down and decrease the healing done of the spells.  Yes, decrease the healing done of spells.  This would mean less healing is done per spell but with a 1 second global a few instants and no real mana worries you can do as many as you want, as quickly as you want, and it would mean healing would be more about the skill of choosing the right people to heal and the right combination of abilities to use to maximize the healing effects of them instead of the mana management game it is now.

I would like to see a rapid fire button mashing quick decision making healing spec like the healer version of a hunter.  Always doing something.  I would like it to be about making the right choices on what buttons to hit to get the appropriate heal instead of what buttons to hit to conserve mana.  I am just not enjoying this warlords style of healing, how about you?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Random Thoughts

- My random thought for this moment right now is wondering if there will be extended maintenance tomorrow.

- Being we are expecting a huge blizzard (no pun intended) I am going to be taking off work tomorrow.

- Being it is rare I get to play during the day on a week day I wonder if I will be able to.

- Would suck to have the one day off during the week and not being able to take advantage of it.

- Been behaving myself with my garrisons by not doing them all every day.

- Funny part is, while the game seems less stressful now, because I am not trying to squeeze them all in, I am playing less.

- I figured that if I did not need to do the garrisons I would do more on my main.

- Did not work that way really.

- Freeing up that time just translated into I am playing less.

- But at least when I am playing I am free to do what I want to do again instead of feeling tied to garrisons.

- I think that is a huge thing for me.

- You know what the number one worst thing about the garrisons is?

- Not only do you feel stuck in them, but they have trade chat in there.

- So trade chat has sunk to a brand new low.

- If that was even possible.

- With no reason to go outside of your garrison due to lack of content and everyone being in their garrison because that is where the content is, it means a very full trade chat.

- While doing a raid this weekend with some new people I asked if anyone had any questions after explaining a fight.

- My raid assistant said, there are no stupid questions, better to ask than make a mistake that could be avoided.

- Good comment.

- I said, "whoever made the expressions there are no stupid questions never read trade chat".

- Because yes, there are stupid questions.

- Seriously, trade chat is where brain cells go to die.

- That is the worst part of garrisons.

- There is one idiot that posts his "can you put a large building in a small slot" all day long.

- I swear whenever I log in, there he is asking this in trade.

- Day in, day out, since the expansion launched.

- Is this really how this person has fun?

- I fear for the future of humanity when the next generation is filled with people who think that is fun.

- I started gearing up my shaman for 3s.

- Going to go elemental in an LSD team.

- I never PvPed as elemental so it will take some getting used to.

- And I have no PvP gear.

- So me and my team mates queued up for 3s and got our collective butts handed to us.

- We knew we would lose, all barely (or in my case none) geared and the first time playing together as this combo we were not expecting instant success.

- It was more to learn, to time things, to get our macros, binds, etc down.

- We dropped in rating like a rock and once we hit around 900 we started to meet teams at the same level we were.

- As in new to spec and comp and not well geared.

- And then we started winning.

- With what we learned while on our way down losing 6 games in a row when we were matched against someone that was our equal we made it work.

- We did not win them all, but we started to win some here and there, more than we lost actually.

- We were getting the fear, hex and cyclone chain going like clockwork, we were working the burst, setting up the gates, protecting the healer.

- It started to come together nicely and a lot faster than I expected.

- Still not used to playing elemental in 3s, but as time went on I started to get a little more comfortable with it.

- And I started to realize, oh wow, I have that ability.

- That is the problem with playing so many classes and so many specs.

- You forget things, even more so after they changed so much this expansion.

- Like I did not even know elemental had spirit walkers grace.

- And I found out at the perfect moment.

- Perfect if you were not the mage I was after that tried to get away.

- Popped my spirit walkers grace and ran after him and finished him off.

- Cool, need to remember that tool for next time.

- Why was I PvPing on my shaman you might ask?

- Because I could.

- I had free time to do anything I wanted because I did not feel trapped by my garrisons.

- Someone in guild asked if I would be willing to play my shaman in an LSD comp and I said, I will give it a try.

- Better than saying, I still need to finish off my garrisons, maybe later.

- The freedom of not being tied down by garrisons was awesome.

- I did some rare hunting on my hunter.

- Needed 3 rares from everbloom wilds.

- Thought I had them all.

- Then it occurred to me, I did, on beta.

- So I sat and camped them.

- I killed them one at a time doing nothing basically except sitting there.

- 45-60 minute respawn timers on those, if you were wondering.

- Yes, I was waiting there that long to see some respawn.

- I am liking not feeling stressed because of doing all my characters garrisons.

- I am doing good beating the garrison addiction and not doing them all.

- And even if I actually am playing even less than I was before, I am enjoying the time I am playing more.

- And isn't that what a game is supposed to do, give us something we can enjoy?

- From hanging around hunting rares, to trying something new like PvPing as elemental, to healing heroic HM for the first time on my priest, I did some things this week that I would not have had time for before.

- All thanks to ditching the impulse to do the garrisons on all my characters.

- Had a rogue quit the guild this week because I did not invite him to the heroic run.

- He did not make a big deal of it, just left shortly after and removed his alts as well.

- Did not say anything to me but did message one of the other players.

- The message, as it was passed to me was, he joined the guild to raid and if he was not going to be getting invites to the raids he would leave to find a guild where he would.

- That is a fair and reasonable reason to leave.

- But all I could think was, good luck joining a guild doing heroic that will want a rogue on their main team that does 8-12K in 650 gear.

- Side note, my rogue in 622 gear got his first heroic kill in this week, first boss only, and I managed 14,700 in the same spec.

- And I suck at my rogue.

- We brought him with us on the normal run the previous day so he could get experience, gear and hopefully get better.

- But I was not about to bring someone with those number to heroic.

- All another person does is make it harder on everyone else.

- And it got me to thinking about a post I want to make.

- Basically, do people really understand their own capabilities.

- In the end, if that guy wanted to join us on the heroic run, it was in the normal run he had to prove his worth.

- I did not invite him because he was not heroic ready.

- Simple as that.

- But I can tell you one thing for sure, lack of raid awareness and low numbers is not a way to earn your way on to my raid team.
- 12K for normal is low but I would have kept bringing him there so he could learn and get better, but I was not going to bring him to a heroic.

- I guess I am just too much of a softie giving everyone a chance at some point.

- But hey, where do you think the next generation of raiders are going to come from?

- They need to learn somewhere.

- Just wish people like him would realize that he needs to learn to play before he is guaranteed a raid spot.

- And just because heroic is flexible does not mean I will just invite anyone.

- And I can't really see any other raid leader just inviting anyone either because it is flexible.

- I really need to make a post on this, so many thoughts, wonders and questions going through my mind.

- Maybe I should seek him out.

- Would love to hear his reasoning why he believed he deserved an invite to a heroic run and would leave the guild for not getting it.

- Maybe I am just designed different.

- If that were me, I would have taken it as a challenge to get better.

- Not to find another guild with lower standards.

- Always move forward, not backwards.

- At least that is how I see it.

- Have a great day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Garrisons, The Good, The Bad, The Grind and The Burnout

Someone made a comment on my blog when I had not posted in over a week saying that maybe my garrison swallowed me and they were not to far from the truth.  My garrisons had become such a huge task eating at my play time that I had no choice but to take a step back for a while.  I had to retrain myself, to not do what I would normally do, to not care about my alts.

I play a lot, a hell of a lot really, but when it finally came to the point that I was logging in and cycling through 7 level 100s and 3 lower levels all with their garrisons and then noticing that I had no time left to do anything else in the game, the game started to move from "fun" to "work" for me.

I had no time during the week to grind reputation, to do dungeons to gear alts, to pug raids, to farm materials I needed, like traps for my barns, to do the daily, to squeeze in challenge modes, to even get in world boss kills on all my 100s, to do the myriad of other things the game has to offer that I might think of as fun because I felt I "had" to keep up with my garrisons and professions first.  Once that was done I usually had no time left to play the game.

So I did get swallowed by my garrisons.  I was in a cycle of doing nothing but my garrisons.  I love garrisons, don't get me wrong, I think they are a nice addition to the game, but when you have alts like I do and play the way I do where I feel I need to do everything I can do to better my characters, they became too much.  Too much of a time investment.

I love to level characters and now I am stuck in a place where I did not want to level any more characters because I did not want to add any more garrisons to stable of things I needed to do each day.  In a way the garrisons and the prospect that they are waiting for me there was keeping me from doing something I really enjoy doing, leveling characters.

Taking a step back and saying, no, I will not do them, was something I needed to do.  If I did not step back from the garrison grind I might have ended up quitting the game because that is all the game would have become for me.  The daily grind of doing garrisons with no time for anything else.  Sorry, but I work 11 hours a day as it is, I do not want my 2 or 3 hours at home to be more "work" and garrisons had become that.

I found myself playing longer than I normally did, because I felt I had to if I wanted to get some "fun" time in.  It took me so long to do my garrison work that now I needed to stay on longer to get the things done I wanted to do.  To squeeze in some challenge modes, to run some dungeons on my alts, to do my daily for apexis crystal quests on a few characters, etc.  So I was playing even more than I had played before because my normal weekday play time was no longer enough as it was spent working in my garrisons instead.

I now have barns empty with no work orders churning for over a week.  I have full stacks of orders sitting on many characters and only get to them when I log into that character to do something with them.  I am way behind on my burnished leather, hexweave cloth, and other parts because I refuse to log into them to do their daily cooldown because I know I lack the self control to not just do that and I will end up doing their entire garrison and wasting my time I should be playing doing work instead.

I hate playing less than effective.  I should be doing my daily cooldowns, I should be doing my garrisons daily, I should make sure I do all the little things I can be doing but I can't.  I can't because if I do it would hurt my enjoyment of the game.  But isn't it hurting my enjoyment some knowing that I am not taking advantage of everything I can in game?

The garrisons are the rock and the hard place and I am caught up in them.  Do them and feel like I am doing everything I can for my characters or don't do them and focus just on one or two characters and have fun with them.  Either way I am leaving something behind.  Leaving behind my alts by not doing them or leaving behind the fun time so I can do them.

I had to take a break because of the garrisons, but I also came back because of them.  I do like them.  I just need to learn to change the way I play so I can get the most out of the game while not pushing it so far it feels like work.  I need to change because the game changed.  That is just the way it is with this game and every other game.  Times change and you either change with it or move along.  I am trying to change.  Garrisons are forcing me to.  Because if I don't change, I will have to move along and I am not quite done here.  There is still a lot of game left to play.

How are garrisons affecting how you play? 

Garrisons are good, they are bad, they are a grind, and they can cause burnout if you are not careful and get swallowed by them, trust me on that one.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Monday Random Thoughts on Thursday

- Sorry for the absence, needed a little break from the game.

- I'll post about the reasons for my needed break another day.

- Now I am wondering about more important things.

- Like how can a piece of gear that in "indestructible" be disenchanted.

- Wouldn't disenchanting it destroy it?

- If it can be destroyed I hate to break it to you blizzard, but then it is not indestructible.

- Mount farming has not been kind to be lately, but I noticed something about those old raids and wonder if anyone else noticed.

- BoEs and patterns drop like crazy.

- They did not drop like that when it was current content.

- I get at least 3 patterns per DS run.

- We were clearing it in 3 or 4 different groups at the end of cataclysm, full clears, and if we saw 1 patterns over those 3 or 4 full clears it was a "good" run.

- I had one run in ICC were I had BoE raining from the sky.

- Six in one run, I don't think I saw six ever drop in one run.

- Unless it was a rep run or drop run and we were just clearing the opening packs over and over.

- For hours and hours on end.

- And even then we rarely if ever saw 6.

- Otherwise over a full run I do not think I ever saw more than 2.

- And 2 dropping was an extremely lucky run.

- Think that only ever happened twice if memory serves me correct.

- Anyone else notice that when things are no longer "hot" they seem to drop like crazy?

- Did not get the follower we were supposed to get when finishing the garrison campaign achievement.

- So what is an elf to do?

- Put in a ticket.

- I swear I feel bad for them sometimes having to deal with so many tickets, but you can not blame a person for putting in one when it says this quest rewards a follower and it end up not doing so.

- The reply I got was it is a known issue they are trying to resolve.

- They said it should be fixed soon for anyone that has not completed the quest yet.

- But people that already completed the quest, like myself, are basically screwed.

- So my advice, if you have the quest, do not turn it in until they fix it if you want to follower.

- It will get fixed for us people that already turned it in as well, but it would require a client side patch to fix it, so it might be a while before I get the follower.

- I applaud the GM for being completely honest with me with a response like that.

- Better than leaving it at "It's a known issue" and leaving it like that is what most GMs would do.

- This GM told me what the problem was and the sad part that it could very well be a long time before it is fixed for me because I already finished the quest.

- As much as I hate the fact I got screwed because I finished the quest before it was fixed the fact the GM was honest with me made me feel okay about it.

- So I am stuck waiting a long time for it.

- Oh well.

- At least I know I am going to be waiting a long time for it.

- As I have said many times, honesty goes a long way with me.

- I swear if I would have gotten one of those "known issue" and leave it at that responses I would be complaining about not getting it now.

- Yet one honest comment from a GM and suddenly, I am sort of okay with it.

- Well, not okay, but you know what I mean.

- Time to rip down all my scribe quarters.

- Darkmoon faire cards are down a hell of a lot.

- Probably because they suck for most classes even fully upgraded.

- And there is now another option worth putting there.

- Alchemy lab.

- Being alchemists will be able to transmute savage blood and the catalysts are tradable, might as well have a few alts churning them out.

- Alchemy is the only profession done right in one aspect.

- The "special" alchemy item, the catalyst in this example, is not soulbound.

- None of the "special" items should be soulbound.

- I swear the game wants me to make my hunter a tailor and engineer.

- Every day when I do bling I get gearspring parts and hexweave cloth.

- Okay, not every day, but at least 5 out of 7 days a week I get both, the other days I get one or none, but it sure seems the game wants me to change professions giving me those useless things.

- But if they were tradable it would be awesome.

- Why are the not tradable?

- Finally got my last profession maxed and dinged the achievement for having all  professions at 700.

- The game has been out for months.... months.

- And I only got that now?

- I usually have every profession maxed within a week of release.

- I think that is one of the things I hate about this expansion.

- They really screwed up professions badly.

- Not in just slightly bad, but horrible bad.

- Dreadful bad.

- Might as well just remove professions from the game bad.

- Yeah, that bad.

- Where are the cloth, leather, mail and plate patters to level to 700 that do not require a "special" item that is on a daily cooldown?

- Blizzard, daily cooldown items work for raid level drops.

- Not for leveling a profession.

- And most definitely not for 640 crap.

- Even if that 640 crap can be equip at 91.

- If the upgrade item for the 670 version used a daily cooldown, that would be fine.

- But the 640 versions should not need it and the 655 versions, if they needed it, should need very little.

- Horrible design there as far as professions go.

- The base patterns should not have ever needed a "special" item which effectively gated leveling your professions to a daily cooldown.

- Not cool blizzard, not cool at all.

- I'll try to post about what suddenly caused me to need a break soon.

- But I am pretty sure everyone already knows what it is.

- From looking around, it seems every active player is in the same boat I am.

- To much "work" not enough "fun" in the game right now.

- So I took a vacation from work.

- I needed it.

- Have a great day.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Random Thoughts

- No new 100s to report this week.

- Probably because I did not play that much this weekend and that is when I usually bang out a new 100.

- Seems like up until this week I had a new 100 every week.

- The time I did play I did a pug.

- It took 6 hours, only downed 5 bosses, and I was happy with it.

- Sure 5 bosses on heroic should not take 6 hours, but it was a pug.

- And it really was more like 4 hours, the last 2 hours were spent trying to reassemble later on when people left.

- So it is not so bad more so for a pug with no voice chat used.

- The group was filled with decent people.

- No ragers, no people calling everyone baddies, no people defeating the purpose of being there basically.

- We wiped a few times on all bosses except the first.

- Once on butcher, three times on brack, twice on tectus, once on twins.

- So it is not like there were any wipe fests either.

- Just hiccups that you might expect with a group that is not over gearing the content but learning to work together.

- Just the standard pug issues with people coming and going and needing to reassemble which took time that slowed us down, not so much the wipes.

- We started to break up on the 6th boss, which seems to be the stopping point for most pugs.

- But we were reassembling and we started to get those people that would come in and start trouble.

- Had one big mouth come in raging about how he hates pugs and how he can't deal with baddies.

- Literately I am not lying when I say the raid chat was completely filled with this guy raging about bads, people not moving from trample, people that fail, how his group kills this on heroic with 630 geared alts in one shot each week, how bad everyone was, etc.

- We had not even pulled the trash yet.

- He just joined the group and started in like this.

- I would have kicked him as soon as he opened his mount with that crap.

- The raid leader did not, and that is the only mistake they made the entire run.

- Hey, I hate pugs too, but first, I do not come in and complain and call people names as soon as I join the group and second, if I was in that much of an "I hate pugs" sort of mood, I would not have joined one to begin with.

- Either way, we clear trash.

- This is where we wasted nearly 2 hours of the 6 hours on this boss, only managed three pulls, but people coming and going were killing us.

- And that guy.  That F'N guy.

- I whispered the raid leader telling them it was a nice run thus far but this guy is a jerk and is ruining our chance to go any further.

- You can never succeed in a group when someone is like that, they mess up the whole group, as if they are trying to stop the group from moving forward.

- The raid leader kicked the jerk after I messaged them.

- Do I have to tell you that the person with the big mouth who was so awesome he had to start complaining even before something was pulled was the worst player in the entire group?

- Why is it that the person who "thinks" they are the best player in the group is usually the worst?

- His numbers were below what my 605 mage pulls, he stood in everything, and he managed to get  hit face first with trample as a melee.

- How does one even manage that?

- Over all it was a great pug, until that guy joined.

- His attitude infected the group, we managed a couple of pulls after, but he ruined it for everyone.

- After people dropping and coming after each of the attempts and nearly 2 hours wasted trying to get a group to stay together, the leader called it.

- If that guy never joined the group we would have been just fine.

- We lost so many after he came in because they just did not want to hear his crap.

- I don't blame them, I should have left too, but I was tabbed out playing a flash game while we were reassembling anyway, so waiting did not bother me much.

- He was poison, he killed a great run, and if I could find him and kick him in the balls I would be on a plane in a heartbeat to do it.

- People like him are a cancer to the game.

- Every time I experience a player like that I just wish blizzard would create all content capable of being consumed by the solo player.

- Lets face it, the only way to ensure you never run into people like that is to make everything so you can do it solo.

- We had some, best to call them, less than stellar players in the group but we managed just fine on all the bosses.

- But one elitist jerk and the whole raid blew up and went to crap.

- Once again it has been proved, you can down bosses with some "bad" players, but you can't when you have "bad" people.

- I'd rather play with a bad player that can learn than a bad person that won't shut up.

- I did manage to get 1 upgrade out of the run, an item with a gem slot.

- Which is my only gem slot now.

- Already had a 670, but a 670 with a gem slot is an upgrade, even if not in item level.

- More importantly, I managed to win an item off butcher with a roll.

- It was an item I did not need mind you, but it was still great.

- Because the butcher drops three pieces a hunter can use, and I have now coined 2 of them.

- That means the next time I get lucky enough to win on a coin roll I will get the trinket for sure.

- That is of course assuming that blizzard did not lie about the roll protection they added to the game.

- So that if you already won an item from a roll you can not win it again unless there is nothing else for you to win off that boss.

- So three items, two already won off rolls, means the trinket has to be next.

- That is "if" I win another one on a roll.

- Big "if" there.

- Winning two rolls on the same boss in this short of a time is amazing luck to begin with.

- At least if you look at my history of rolls.

- Remember when they added the extra rolls?

- I used all three coins on the boss that dropped the sha touch gun in LFR each week being I did not need any other LFR or normal pieces and we were not up to TotES yet as a guild.

- Three rolls each week, every week, same boss, never got the gun.

- Was stuck with the normal weapon from MV the entire tier.

- Lucky I got that one too as there were three hunters on that kill.

- The other two had the sha touched gun however.

- Lucky me.

- But that is more along the line of my luck.

- A massive number of rolls, maybe up to 50, and never getting the item I needed.

- So knowing the trinket is next is my biggest win from that pug.

- Sad part is that one bad apple ruined what was otherwise a nice pug.

- And that one bad person that killed the run will be what I remember the next time I go to pug.

- Not the 5 bosses we did manage with all decent people and no one raging.

- Human nature, it is easier to remember the bad than the good.

- But with playing less this weekend and all my free time being in one pug meant no new 100 for me because I had no leveling time.

- That is a good thing, I have to cut back on alts this expansion.

- With the garrison and my personal feeling like I have to max everyone, this is not a very alt friendly expansion in my mind.

- The fewer I have the better it will be for me.

- This is one time, the first time, I think having fewer characters would help me enjoy the game more.

- I used to always think that the more characters I had the more I could do.

- But with the exception of soloing, why do I really need more characters.

- So I create more work for me with the garrisons?

- I play to have fun, not feel like work.

- Garrisons are awesome content, in small doses, but with many alts, they suck.

- They suck at levels of suck as high as it goes.

- They move from the fun category to the work category with too many characters.

- But that all depends on the person.

- To some they might want more, some might want less.

- All I know is that my most recent 100 still has three empty slots on his garrison.

- And no intention of putting anything in them.

- I don't need them, so why put them in?

- It took me 7 100s before I stopped caring about the garrison at max level except for my salvage yard of course.

- Speaking of salvage, got my 6th 665 piece this weekend out of it.

- A strength DPS ring.

- I have absolutely no characters that can use this.

- All my plate wearers tank and tank only.

- Guess I will sell this one, if they are still worth anything that is.

- Sure I could get 12K-15K for it.

- I did my weekly soloing and encountered a bug, once again, that is annoying.

- 9 out of 10 times (guesstimating) I solo throne of the four winds on heroic 25 when I kill the first boss (bosses) I get no loot.

- Has that happened to anyone else?

- Am I killing them too fast, in the wrong order, I wonder why I get no loot from killing them.

- It happens most of the time too, not a once in a while thing.

- I got loot off them twice, just twice, since I started soloing it on 25 heroic last expansion on multiple characters.

- Spine is even easier now with the stat squish, which is nice, but it is still an annoying as hell fight.

- Come on blizzard, just fix the fight that if there is only one person on his back he does not flip unless you are standing in a hole to flip it on purpose.

- I think it is the DBMs announcing everything that annoys me most about that fight, more than anything else.

- I noticed I spend more time in DS when soloing listening to role play or taking flight paths.

- It is so quick to solo now that the extra stuff just gets in the way.

- No new mounts to report on all my soloing, still sitting on 249.

- I really want to get the mount from DS normal as my 250th mount.

- It would get me the achievement for 250 mounts and the drake achievement as well.

- Would get two mount achievements with one mount, I think that would be cool.

- I already have my gift lined up.

- I always get myself a gift when I get a new mount achievement.

- Made myself the 4 panthers and one big panther last expansion when I got one.

- This time I am going to get the mount that costs 50K gold and 5K apexis crystals as a gift for myself.

- I have the crystals and I have the gold, just waiting for the mount so I can get my 250 mount achievement.

- Switched all my enchants to multi strike to give survival a better try this time around.

- At least I had no gem slots, so no extra cost there to change and test.

- Forgot to change to multi strike on my weapon however.

- In that run I did I managed to break 30K on two fights, which is a first this expansion for me.

- I bet you can guess which two I am talking about if you are a hunter.

- And no, I did not go cheese on tectus.

- Multi here and there on motes, not full out AoE.

- Or I could have reached 34 or 35 maybe.

- The other fights I was between 24 and 26 which seem more in like with what I was doing with MM.

- Pure single target I still think MM is better, like butcher.

- But it was nice to start getting into the feel for survival.

- I did manage to pull out top DPS on butcher which I found odd, being in a spec I was just getting used to that I know is not my best single target spec and seeing the people we had in that group otherwise including one with a mythic weapon.

- Maybe they were AFKing or something, but they should have beat me.

- They were ahead most of the fight and just dropped as it went on.

- You know someone has a mythic weapon ( or amazing luck) when you see burst over 100K single target.

- For the group I was usually top 3, but would have never thought I would win on a pure single target fight like that.

- Surprised the hell out of me.

- I am having a hell of a time trying to squeeze in barrage, seems like I am always focus starved as SV.

- I never have focus issues with MM.

- Right now, that is why I like MM more still.

- I hate feeling focus starved.

- But each has its attractiveness.

- Love SVs instants, love MMs focus management.

- MM really needs an instant, SV really needs an execute.

- Add them both and you have 2 full specs.

- Right now the only hunter spec that seems complete is BM, in my opinion.

- Oddly that is the one spec I do not use right now.

- I will have to switch to get the spirit wolf at some time this expansion.

- No rush, I hope.

- Never know with blizzard, they really do love to remove things for no real reason.

- Hope they do not remove that before I get a chance to do it.

- Might try to grab another pug tonight on my hunter to get some more practice.

- Hope I get a good one, like the first 5 bosses, and not a bad one, like the 6th boss.

- That one person and people like him are the reason I hate pugging.

- It is amazing how one person can ruin an entire run.

- And be such a bad player in the process while he is calling everyone else bad players.

- I wonder, if he put as much effort into learning to play his class as he did bitching that others can't, maybe he would be in a place to help people get better by leading by example, instead of killing groups he joins.

- I did well in the pug, I had hunters whispering me for advice, which in turn mean they might get better.

- I am by no means a great player, but I always try my best and I lead by example.

- Calling people out and doing poorly helps no one, but doing your best and offering advice that is asked for does.

- Don't be a pug killer like that guy.

- Rage kills runs.

- Hope you do not run into one of him in your runs.

- If you do, spit on him for me.

- Have a great day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How Are Random Stats (and other things) Treating You?

I've kept no secrets with how I feel about the random number generator and how I wish it would just go away and never come back.  This expansion has taken random to a whole new level, effectively moving the game in a direction directly away from what I look for in a game.  I look for consistent focused game play where you work your way toward a goal, not luck of the draw game play where getting to that goal is up to lady luck. 

There are random stats on mission gear, random stats on crafted gear, reroll random stats items, random abilities on followers, random tertiary stats, random warforged gear, random gem slots, and the list goes on, and I hate each and every one of them, some more than others.  But that does not mean I have not had my fair share of luck so far this expansion.  Even when on a lucky streak, I still can not stand random.

How is random treating you this expansion?

As far as random stats go, I never seem to get the stats I am looking for on gear I get from follower missions.  My shaman and my druid are, sadly, the worst off.  Each of them has had at least a dozen chances each to get a neck piece of various item levels where I set my loot specialization to restoration only to find myself, once again, with a piece that has no spirit on it.  How it is possible that I have rolled at least 24 necks with a healer specialization and not a single one of them had spirit on it?

My hunter was never able to get a ring so I finally caved in and made myself one a few weeks ago and then upgraded it from 640 to 655 to 670 and have been trying to get multi strike and critical strike on it for what seems like forever.  I must have rerolled it 30 times if not more already and I can not get that combination of stats.  It just feels like a waste of my time and resources to keep rerolling, so I stopped even trying.  I will never end up with multi strike and critical strike on it, I have learned to accept that as a fact.

Not all my luck with stats on gear has been bad however, I have had a little luck here and there, mostly throw away luck however.  My hunter has not had much luck in the raids with bonus stuff but while gearing it up when the expansion first came out it seemed like every single piece of gear I got from a dungeon had either a gem slot or was warforged and on two occasions it had both.

My rogue has two indestructible daggers, one with a gem slot, and two other indestructible pieces.  What are the odds of one character having 4 pieces of gear with the indestructible stat on it?  My warrior got a 645 weapon from a mission that not only ended up warforged but with a gem slot and leech on it.  The trifecta of bonus rolls on one piece of gear.

So I've had a little luck here and there with stats and bonuses on gear but over all I would have to say my luck has been poor over all.  Most of my luck seems to have come before it mattered (my hunters heroic dungeon gear) or on characters I do not raid on (my warrior and rogue) while the characters I want to raid on like my shaman, druid and hunter, have had no luck what so ever when it comes to stats from the healers not getting spirit gear to my hunter wasting so many materials trying to reroll stats that never want to be there.

One of the biggest luck thing this expansion is the big crate of salvage from your level three salvage yard.  I managed to get lucky on the day I built it with a 665 BoE that ended up going to my druid.  A few weeks passed and I got a second 665 which just so happened to be one of my best in slot pre mythic trinkets for my hunter in the form of the lucky double sided coin.

So even if it took a month, and what had to be thousands of crates, you could call it bad luck to get so few but I call it good luck to get the one I really wanted.  Even with the good luck, as someone pointed out to me, with the amount of level three garrisons that I am running I should be getting a few 665 BoEs a week, even if they are only a 1% drop chance.

I am currently running seven level three garrisons with seven level three salvage yards.  On a week day where I do not get to play as often I log in before work, when I get home, and then before I go to bed which can get me somewhere between 100 and 150 crates a day.  On weekends it is more.  So over the course of a week it is not our of the norm for me to open over 1000 crates now even on a bad week.  With those types of numbers, maybe my friend is right, I should be getting a lot more even if it were a 1% drop chance.

But last week it seemed to all catch up as I managed to get not one, not two but three 665 BoEs over the course of five days.  So I went a long time with only two, then had three in one short span of time.  It seems to fit the random number generator in the game.  Feast or famine.  I have often said that RNG seemed to always be you either win everything or win nothing, this is just another case of that.

Still, even with that burst of luck last week my over all average is poor at best.  But do not tell that to the people that have received not even one 665 yet, like someone in my guild with 5 level three salvage yards that has not even seen one piece yet.  Then there is one guy in trade that claims to get one or two pieces a day, at least.  Being he is forever selling them in trade chat he either is getting that lucky or he is duping them.  Either is possible, but the guy seems to have an endless supply of 665 pieces for sale and he is selling them all day long every day.

So once again, while for me I consider 5 pieces in less than 2 months to be extraordinary luck, in the grand scheme of things based on the number of crates I open, I am still working on the short end of the stick.

So I have had a great deal of luck this expansion, when looking at my past history, even if over all it might not seem like such great luck.  But it is all about perception.  And as I perceive it, I am having a lucky expansion thus far.  And guess what?  I still hate RNG and hate the game is turning further and further toward it as a style of game play.

How are random stats and other things treating you?