Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Random Thoughts

- Took off on monday so it is tuesday random thoughts this week.

- I guess random thoughts fit for any day after a weekend.

- My horde hunter is finally starting to get a few 100 followers.

- Nicer seeing 100% completion chance once in a while now.

- One problem with leveling so fast is your garrison missions level with you.

- A bunch of 90s, 91s, and 92s do tend to have some difficulty with level 98, 99 and 100 missions.

- I wonder why.

- It is still starving for garrison supplies.

- I could run out and kill some rares, collect some items in the world, just to gather up some.

- There are ways to get them, just no quick ways as of yet.

- I'll get there.

- But this really stresses to me how horrible this expansion is for an alt.

- If you level them fast, which will happen as you know what to do and they have rested, you can hit 100 and put yourself in a bad position with building up.

- With that in mind I bought my warlock to draenor.

- Just so I can start leveling up the early followers and build some resources.

- My other characters that have been sitting around playing in their garrison building resources and leveling followers made the smooth transition to 100.

- But the one I played right through and did on two sundays in a row, ouch.

- Not very fun at all.

- Like I said, I could fix it if I invested some time in it.

- But it is an alt, I do not want to invest some time in it.

- So I will do it slowly this way.

- Just seems like an uphill battle when most missions sit around 40%-60% at best.

- Speaking of alts, got to tank a little on my druid again.

- Joined an already in progress run with just the last wing bosses left.

- It was only normal but normal can still be challenging depending on the group.

- One shot iron maidens and one shot kromog.

- Might not seem like much to you, but it is the first time I tanked a kill on either of them, so I was happy.

- Almost one shot blast furnace but things went a little whoops at the end and we wiped.

- Never did get that far again, but it was a nice run.

- And I didn't win a ring this week again.

- Woohoo.

- I won nothing instead.

- Boo.

- Want to hear something funny about my tank?

- I have tanked some heroic bosses, the starter 6 only, but I still don't even have the savagely epic achievement.

- Yeap, still have one blue piece I just can not replace.

- Don't you hate when that happens?

- We all have a piece or two that always gives us trouble.

- I need to get over this anxiety I have over playing with people I do not know lately.

- Even vastly over gearing and knowing all the fights like the back of my hand, I still would not even pug into a highmaul run.

- It is not a fear of failure, I know all the fights.

- It is not a fear of under performing, because I know I do decently on my character.

- I can only chalk it up to a fear of people.

- I will not join a group any more unless someone I know is already in it.

- And even at that, sometimes I still won't.

- I have developed a very irrational fear of pugs.

- I'd rather log off than join a pug.

- I would even rather log off than join a pug that would be willing to carry me and expected nothing of me.

- I just do not want to play with random people I do not know.

- This feeling is expanding too.

- I have not even bought my new hunter into skyreach to start the legendary quest line.

- Admittedly the 40 minute to an hour wait is not an attractive thing looking at it to begin with.

- But it is more than that, I just do not want to deal with people.

- The rogue that refuses to DPS trash because hes too good for that crap.

- The tank that chain pulls and runs out of the healers range all the time and then blames everyone in the raid, even the DPS, for why he died.

- The healer who refuses to heal damage dealers because their job is the heal the tank.

- The damage dealer who spams recount after each trash pack.

- The idiot that zones in and starts whining before the first pull and then continues to whine the entire time saying how everyone sucks and he is god even though it was a totally smooth run.

- I am just sick and tired of the people that play this game.

- I do not want to be around them any more.

- I wish blizzard could do something about it, make people act... human.

- But they can't, people will be people, and I just hate them all.

- Speaking of groups, I always liked world boss groups.

- Even if they sometimes went bad, usually even on a fresh character or a character you suck on, it is easy to blend in and go unnoticed in a world boss group.

- Too bad after looking for an hour I did not find one world boss group.

- Do you believe that?  Not even one world boss group.

- I miss the days when world bosses were actually worth doing and people made groups for them.

- I could start my own, this is true, but seriously, not gonna happen.

- At least not with how I feel about groups now.

- I need to get over these anxieties or I might as well just quit now.

- If I can't play with other people and raiding is the only content blizzard seems they want to add now, why should I stay.

- Speaking of quitting, I wrote my I quit post over the weekend.

- I am not going to post it of course, as I am not quitting, but this is the first time I actually wrote the post.

- Not just started it, not just through some thoughts in it, not just outlined it, but completely wrote it from beginning to end.

- That says something about my state of mind and the state of the game within my mind.

- How about that no flying, probably ever again, in current content.

- Blizzard has really jumped the shark, is putting the final nails in their own coffin, and whatever other cliche you can think of.

- They might be cliches but it sure as hell feels accurate.

- Games that are growing are adding flight.

- So I guess it makes sense that games that are dying are removing it?

- 6.2 will be released June 23rd.

- Why do I say that?

- Because final fantasy 14s expansion comes out june 23rd.

- Just look at the facts.

- Blizzard has historically released things to compete with their competitors.

- Right now FF14 is the top competitor.

- They will want to challenge them.

- Plus there is the fact that in the last quarter wow was down to 7.1M subs and FF14 was up to 4M subs.

- Think of that, a game that just came out was bleeding subs.

- A game that was out for a long time and its expansion was still months away was growing.

- This is not how it is supposed to work.

- So if, and that is a big if, blizzard does not put out 6.2 before the end of this quarter, which that is, they might actually see themselves behind FF14 in sub numbers.

- Did anyone think that was ever possible?

- Or possible this soon after we saw them up to 10M just a few months ago?

- I could see blizzard losing another 1.5M easily in this quarter with no patch release.

- That would be a very reasonable loss based on the current trend.

- So that would put them down to 5.6M subs.

- If FF14 was growing before the release of the expansion, with so many people upset with or leaving warcraft I could see them testing out the new expansion, so it is completely reasonable to believe 2M new subs could find their way to FF14 when the expansion comes out.

- So the very possible outcome of FF14 with 6M subs and wow with 5.6M subs could happen.

- If blizzard does not release 6.2 on June 23rd.

- See, there is that if again.

- So, that is why I see blizzard releasing 6.2 on June 23rd.

- Maybe a week sooner, possibly but unlikely a week after, as it would allow FF14 to add that weeks worth of subs to their numbers which I am sure blizzard wants to stop.

- So I believe they have to release 6.2 June 23rd, and I think we will see it then, even if it is not done.

- Just like they released warlords even though it was not done yet.

- Blizzard will do so to try and save face, because can you just imagine what the doom sayers would be on about if warcraft is not the #1 sub MMO any longer?

- They are a business first and foremost, and they are not going to gamble at losing that number one spot they have held so long.

- Sure it is a huge long shot that FF14 would pass them even without the patch, but do you think they will take that chance?

- Absolutely not.

- So we will see it then.

- I am sure of it, or we might be looking at a new leader.

- And blizzard surely will never allow that without a fight.

- And surely they would never allow that to happen all because of 1 expansion destroying everything they worked so hard for.

- Did you ever think we would see an expansion worse than cataclysm.

- I surely didn't think so.

- Simply amazing if you ask me.

- Even if I was not all that excited about this expansion I never even thought I would be talking about the possibility of another game passing it in subs.

- Even if it is a huge long shot that probably will not happen.

- Just the idea we could even consider it possible after that boost to 10M is astounding.

- Have a great day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bonus Coin Roll Changes I'd Like to See

I want it and I want it all.  I am starting this post with that clear statement because I know I am asking for a hell of a lot here.  But this is my blog and I am delving into my imagination, so I might as well have some fun with it.  I've seen the reward of gold way to often, more often than I would like and way more often than to believe their is any truth to the statement that there is such a thing as roll protection.

With my unhappiness with rolls I have been thinking what would I like to see to make the bonus coin roll system better.  The actual loot system can be whatever you choose to use, a loot council, a point system, a need before greed, personal, what have you, but the coins, the bonus rolls, that is what I am talking about here.  That is where I would like to see some changes made.

Gold:

First things first, gold is nice, I like gold, who doesn't like it, but at this stage in the game it does not seem like such an amazing reward.  At least not when you win gold off every boss you kill anyway, so gold does not feel like something special from a coin roll.  Not when you can page through your characters and complete a few missions every day and make hundreds of gold even without trying to recruit all treasure hunters.

They need to boost the gold enough so that when you see you won gold it might suck you did not win the item you were looking for but this is a nice chuck of change.  Having a bonus roll give you an amount of gold that most of the time does not even come close to covering the cost of a repair feels lame.

If anything, I would say if you do not win anything it should give you nothing at all.  Giving that tiny bit of gold is more like adding insult to injury.  Hey, you did not win anything, but here, have some gold so you can repair three pieces of your gear, but only three. 

Being blizzard does want to make even loosing rolls feel as a complete loss they give you a consolation prize and they use gold as a measure of that consolation prize. If they choose to keep using this system of reward I believe they need to boost the gold you get from a losing roll to actually feel like something more than pocket change.

My suggestion would be that it reward somewhere between 200 and 500 gold.  It is not exactly a game changing amount of gold but at least it will cover the cost of a few repairs, maybe a stack of food, or some return on your time invested into the raid.  Being blizzard wants to give a consolation prize, this seems like more of a fair consolation prize than giving 27 gold is.

Goodies:

We, or at least I, do not know what the rate is for winning on a roll.  I am just going to throw a number out there even if it not true for an example.  Lets say the chance to win loot is 10%.  Lets also add another layer to what you can win.  A 50% chance.  So 50% of the time you will win a goodie bag.

Although no one would ever be hoping for a bag when they need loot from the boss, it will still at least make it feel like you won something once in a blue moon even if the bag is filled with junk.

I'd suggest that the bag be something like the tank or healer baggie from dungeons, except smarter.  My healer friend keeps getting stamina flasks in his healer bag.  I guess I did not know about the new stacking stamina for better heals build and neither did he so I am not alone, but blizzard seems to love the build as it always gives him a stamina flask.

But I digress, I am thinking about smart bags that will give you an augment rune or two, a flask or two, or some other thing that might be useful to your current spec, or set spec specialization when you open it.  No chance at mounts, no chance at pets, nothing like that, just some raid support items to help you defeat the next boss in hopes you can win something off that one.

Selectable Loot:

Totally disregard the previous two things I said, yes I like them, yes I would like to see them, but they are not the reason I made this post, this suggestion was why this post was written.  I just couldn't have one suggestion so I needed to make some others.  Not saying I don't think the others would be a good change, but this is the one I really want.  This is the one that makes me feel like I am acting all greedy, as I mentioned in the first line.  I want it and I want it all.

I would love to see a change made to bonus rolls so that when you win a piece of loot and it flashes the word loot it stops there.  It does not flicker from that word loot so show you a pair of boots you don't need or the 4th ring you have received tonight, but a selection of all loot you are capable of receiving off that boss in any spec you are capable of playing.

For example, lets say I just killed Operator Thogar and nothing dropped for me so I use a coin and see the loot screen.  It would follow with a selection screen showing me the shoulder tier token, the mail waist and the mail feet, as those are the only three things a hunter can use from that boss.

They will all appear as normal items.  No warforging, no gem slot, no extra stats.  Just basic.  I could then choose what I would like, the shoulder tier piece of course.  When the loot is awarded to you it would then randomly see if it will any any bonus on it, just like the tier token does not tell me if it has any bonus on it until I convert it.  So even if I decided to take the boots, they could still end up with one, two or even all three of the bonuses on it.

This would make the bonus roll really feel like a bonus roll.  I would not mind either of my first two suggestions and would be glad to see them implemented in the game but if this one were to make it into the game I have this feeling I would need to write a love letter to the person who added it to the game because it would be that great.

The excitement of seeing you finally won something after rolling for 6 weeks is great but disappears quickly when you won the one thing you didn't need from that boss.  A bonus roll would really feel like a bonus if you could choose what you won and I would like to see that added.

I would even be willing to sacrifice everything else from the bonus roll system.  If I lose give me nothing at all, keep your 27 gold.  They could even flash up a sign saying, you lose sucker, in big red letters in the center of my screen, because it already feels like that to begin with.  They could do anything they like, just so long as when I do win on a bonus roll it actually feels like I won something.  Is that too much to ask for?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What is Our Shiny New Toy?

Maybe I am just a spoiled elf but I was sort of expecting a shiny new toy with the last major content patch of an expansion.  Ever since wrath we have seen a new part of the game added with the last major content patch that ended up being a huge part of the game as we know it.

Wrath's last major content patch saw the addition of the dungeon finder tool.  Cataclysm's last major content patch saw the addition of the raid finder tool.  Mists' last major content patch saw the addition of flexible raiding. We can debate the merits of such additions in another post but the fact does remain they were all added with the last major content patch and they all changed the way we play the game since they were added.

Love them or hate them the dungeon finder, raid finder, and flexible raiding all molded the way we play the game now.  Many of us, even those that remember hanging out in trade to assemble groups, can not even imagine what the game was like before the finders were added, be it dungeon or raid, and years from now we will probably have a hard time remembering what life was like without flexible raiding.

This is why I call myself a spoiled elf.  I've been spoiled by blizzard doing such a good job with adding things that really impact the game in the last major content patch of this expansion and I am having a hard time seeing anything of any consequence being added in 6.2.

Some might argue, and perhaps rightfully so to an extent, that the timewalker dungeons are the new "impact" feature in line with the finders and such in the previous end expansion content patches.  To them I would counter that 6.2 is not adding them.  If anything 5.0 added them.  The tech used for the timewalker dungeons is the same scaling tech used for the proving grounds and challenge modes.  As both of those things were added in mists, if you are going to call timewalkers a new feature than you would have to respect the fact that said new feature was added in mists and is not being added in 6.2.

They are indeed expanding on the timewalkers feature and giving it a new focus moving just from a singular use of them scaling for current level and gear conditions by expanding on it to scale us downward.

Perhaps if timewalkers worked for all dungeons and if timewalkers was more than just an "available on select weekends" feature it might be easier to consider it an impact feature in line with the other ones even if the tech was already in game because something like that would indeed have a huge impact on the game.

What this all means is one of two things...

1) We will be getting no shiny new toys to play with in the last major content patch this expansion.
or
2) This is not the last major content patch of this expansion.

Which do you think it is?  If you think it is number 2, or even if you don't, what would you like to see as our shiny new toy?

I would like to see timewalkers for all dungeons and for it to be available all the time and not just on select weekends.  I would like for timewalkers to be a full new integration throughout the game not only for every dungeon but for every dungeon on all difficulties.

This means even timewalkers would really be a game changing addition to the game.  Challenge modes at level for every dungeon in the game could be fun for some.  You could even add random timerwalkers dungeons with special rewards, or even the same as current dungeon ones.  Maybe even scale all the gear that drops to be equal to dungeon gear at your current level of dungeons.  Would be awesome for twinks as it would make many more gearing options available.

I would not leave it at that, I would push it even further however, by adding an outdoor timerwalkers function.  You could choose to experience all the zones on a sliding scale when you have timerwalkers enabled.  If a zone is intended for 15-20 as soon a you enter it you can choose which level to be scaled to while you are in it.  This way you could quest with friends, experience zones as they were intended to be experienced instead of just blowing through a zone, or just have fun with it if you wish.

There are so many options that timewalkers could be used to have an impact on the game, much greater than a limited time weekend thing for a limited amount of dungeons, the proving grounds or challenge modes.  If they fully integrated timewalkers into every part of the game, now that could reach the same level of other end of expansion additions that ended up having a huge impact on the game.

Sadly I know that is way to much to ask for from a patch at the end of the expansion, but I do hope that is something we see coming with the next expansion.  In my opinion, after seeing what 6.2 has to offer, about the only thing to get excited about now is the next expansion.

What would you like to see as our shiny new toy?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

6.2 is Coming

You might notice that the background downloader is currently downloading 6.2 data.  Most likely it is art, data files, and the new raids, but it is usually a sign that they are getting near the end of the ptr testing.

I am surprised that it is coming this soon personally.  While we are all complaining about the lack of outdoor content or content we wish to do in general, this is way too soon.  At least from a raiding perspective and from the perspective that is it not adding any of the things we were complaining there was a lack of.

Blackrock foundry came out so close to highmaul and now the new raid will be coming out closer to BRF than anyone expected.   As I mentioned in a post the other week my guild is doing extremely poorly this expansion raiding wise.  The worst we have ever done in as long as I can remember.  And yet as poorly as we are doing we are still placed near the top 20% of active raiding guilds.  As a raiding guild in the top 5th of raiding guilds, I would like to think that if I believe it is too soon for another raid then most likely a great many others do as well.  But I can not speak for them.

My biggest problem with 6.2 coming out this soon, outside of the new raid concerns when the vast majority of the raiding player base has not even done the previous two raids yet, is the fact it does absolutely nothing to address the problems we have had all expansion.

There will still be no flying, there will still be no daily hubs, there will still be no repeatable rare mobs to kill in the world worth killing, there will still be very little content to do out in the world, there will still be no choices, options, you know, they things that people like having.  As some say, there will be even be less, as I saw some people complain.

If 6.2 was coming jam packed with content, varied degrees of content and not just more of the same, then it would be a welcome addition in my opinion.  But being it will just be more of the same I say they should hold it back until they can add more to it.

One thing I read about was rare spawn battle pets out in the world being added.  I HATE, yes in all capital letters, HATE this idea. 

Having them spawn in only one place in the world and only one at a time means camping out and most likely fighting a dozen other pet collectors for it and then if you get unlucky enough to never snag the pet you wanted, when the next expansion comes out and blizzard once again goes into full on retard mode and makes draenor a cross realm zone you might be now facing hundreds of people trying to get them.  No blizzard, just no. 

Camping for hundreds of hours and then hoping you can click on it faster than a hundred other people is not fun.  Never has been, never will be.  No blizzard, just no.  And what makes it even more annoying is that there is no flying.  So that basically means you can not try all spawn points.  You are now forced to set your character at one spawn point and sit there... forever. Not completely horrible for someone like me with tons of level 100s because I will park them in the world in just log in to see if they are there, but dreadful for anyone else.  And lets get real, even if I have a small advantage with so many 100s, it is still dreadful for me too.  It is lazy design for adding content by making people sit out in the world forever waiting for something.  That is not content, that is torture.

When people asked for outdoor content they did not mean give them something where they will just sit there forever in one place waiting.  That is not content worth playing blizzard, that is content worth quitting over.

I have come to the conclusion that for something new to be added to the game it needs to meet at least 3 of 4 criteria.  It needs to be 1) a waste of time, 2) annoying, 3) frustrating, and 4) purely luck based.  If you look at almost everything this expansion it seems to fit at least three of the four requirements.

I say hold 6.2 back.  Hold it back until you can add an actual mix of content into it, not just more of the same.  I don't want more of the same.  Nearly 3 million players already said that with their wallets.  Does blizzard actually want to see how many more subscriptions it can lose?

We want choices in our content blizzard, not more of the same.  Or, at least I do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ever Run Into "That" Person?

The last few weeks we have had some new people joining us for normal runs or mythic trash farm.  Even bought along some of the people for the early bosses on heroic.  I do not see any rising stars in the bunch, at least not on the limited impressions I have had of them, but despite what blizzard is trying to push the game toward, raiding isn't everything.

We can always use all types of people in the guild and do not strictly look for raiders, although good ones are always welcome of course.  A good community within a guild has many working layers.  There are the progression raiders, the serious PvPers, the part timers, the normal mode players, the battle ground warriors, the alt o holics, the grinders, the gatherers, the socials, you name it.  When you are in a casual guild you do not need to be laser focused on one thing.  It has to be a melting pot.

This is why we do the normal runs and trash runs, it gives us a chance to mingle, to get to know your fellow guild mates.  Connections are made, friendships are formed, people talk about their level 94 alts that they will now level together tomorrow.  A damage dealer will talk about how he hates the long waits in queue so a healer or a tank offer to "hit me up" so they can get an instant, or near instant dungeon.

Just because there are many people with many different focuses in the game doesn't mean that people do not have common interests.  The raider who is stocking up 4 barns on a daily basis, the gold goblin that has barns running to make gold, the non raider who just wants to make their own gear and needs bloods from their barn and the new 100 that can't really trap things on their own or the achievement hunter that is just trapping to get the achievement.  They all play differently, but they all have something in common and these little get together runs bring them on the same page so the next day they go elite trapping together.

Things like this are what build a guilds community.  Impromptu world PvP running around as a group starting trouble.  Naked dungeon runs.  Naked arena runs.  Achievement runs for old raids.  You name it, each and every little event you do brings people together and make a guild so much more than just a bunch of people hanging out under the same banner.  It is what makes a guild a community and maybe even feel like extended in game family.

But every so often someone joins the mix, like someone we have had recently in the raid runs, that just seems to click wrong.  Wrong with everyone.  The social non raiders do not like them, the active raiders do not like them, neither the progression raiders nor the normal mode raiders nor even the LFR only raiders.  The alt a holics do not like them, the achievement hunters do not like them, even the pure socials who just like to hang out and chat more than anything else do not like them.

They are "that" person.

I can not place my finger on it but I dislike them too.  It is not just the copious complains, remarks or observations I keep hearing from others.  I am the type that will usually play with anyone, even if I am not all that fond of them because I am always aware of the big picture.  But I dread them signing up for an event.  I am so glad they are not geared enough or experienced enough to bring on our proper raids.  I do not want to be around them.  I would rather log off than be part of an event they join in and the sad part here is that it is not just me.  Everyone dislikes them.  I gave them more time to pass judgement than everyone else did figuring maybe it was just a rough getting to know you phase but even I find being around them unpleasant.

There seems to be only one person in the entire guild that likes them and it is going to cause trouble because it is the guild leader.   I've already been told in no uncertain words that if they come on a normal raid that a few of my main raiders will no longer be coming along to help. They are always willing to help by bring their mains to help gear up new players, alts of some people that need gear, or just whomever we can squeeze in but as much as they do have a desire to help the guild as a whole their dislike of "that" person greatly outweighs it and they can not bring themselves to raid with them.

I am sure I don't need to tell you what the impact of losing a few people capable of doing 50K-60K will do to a normal run where we are bringing new players, under geared players or rotating who gets to bring an alt.  Having a few solid damage dealers makes every single fight easier and not having them means we can not bring as many lesser people on normal runs.  If that is the case, than there really is not reason to run normal runs, at least as I see it.  I don't want to do progression on normal mode all over again.

One person will not even get on voice chat if they are on it.  Even if they are in a different channel.  They will log in, see them there, and leave instantly.  After one odd event one evening he even removed two of his characters from guild because he wanted to play them and didn't even want to see "that" person talk in chat.  That is how much he really dislikes "that" person.  He quit the guild just to not see their name in guild chat.

I don't understand why everyone dislike this person.  I don't even know why I do.  "That" person just rubbed me wrong the first time we spoke and my dislike grew over time.  It is not like they did anything wrong.  "That" person is willing to help anyone that needs it.  Will give anyone an instant queue to a dungeon or LFR, all they need to do is ask.  If they want to buy something and are short on gold "that" person will lend it to them, heck, even give it to them if it is not much.  "That" person shares materials, potions, flasks, "that" person is the ideal player in that sense.  A true team player.  But it seems the team dislikes "that" person and I have no clue why.

I think maybe they come off as trying to hard, maybe that might be it and it just rubs people the wrong way, I know that is partly where I can tag some of my dislike of them.  Coming off as trying to hard really can be a turn off.  Maybe they come off as being a know it all, which is the complaint someone mentioned to me.  Whatever it is, they are most definitely "that" person.

My issue is I need to figure out what to do with "that" person and how to handle them or they can destroy a good thing.  I don't really want to be rude and say you are no longer welcome to come to things with us but it almost feels as that is my only true option.  I do whatever I can to not be a dick, but it seems like this time I might have to.  They can end up destroying the chemistry guild if they keep coming along even if that is not their intention because "that" person just makes everyone not want to be around them and in this case, being the only person that likes them is the guild leader, this little issue can become a big problem, and fast.

About the only thing I have going for me is that if I tell the guild leader, being they are "that" persons friend, to handle it they will.  I just do not want to draw that card unless I have to.  I've given "that" person some time.  I've given "that" person some advice on how to fit in better.  I've tried my damn hardest to help "that" person fit in, even if I didn't like them either, because that is part of what I do.  I handle the sometimes delicate balance of personalities so we can all work together.  But it did not work.  Something needs to be done and I just do not know what.

Have you ever run into "that" person?  If so, how did you deal with them?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Random Thoughts

- I have a completely noob question this monday morning.

- Where the hell is the portal back to Draenor in Orgrimmar?

- Seriously, I could not find it.

- And it is not like I would ever ask in trade chat.

- Trade chat is scary.

- Well, normally, but on my horde server we do not have a trade chat.

- I think it is broken.

- I completely forgot trade was linked to our garrisons.

- I spent a good two hours just farting around in my garrison, mostly while doing other things, and not one single word was said.

- I came back while leveling to send some followers out on a mission and some guy posted he was selling an item.

- My first throught was, how the hell did you get in my garrison.

- It was the first thing I saw posted in trade this entire expansion.

- So I guess we do have a trade chat, we just do not have any horde.

- This is really sad being last expansion I was able to pug my hunter through content just from trade.

- Was doing trade heroic (now mythic) runs before it was made cross realm.

- It was a good server for horde.

- What happened?

- Maybe none of them could find the portal either so they left.

- Nah, can't be it.

- I am the only person that is lame enough not to be able to find it.

- Must not be just horde on that server, checked the AH after I hit 100 to see if I could find any cheap gear I could grab.

- Nada.

- One 685 piece, a couple of 655 ones, and some crafted pieces but not even all of them so options were extremely limited.

- No trinkets at all.

- Wow, this server died.

- Not slowed down but completely died.

- WTB server transfer to an active horde server US side.

- I hit 100 so darn fast I screwed myself.

- I do not have enough garrison resources to build anything, can't get my garrison to level 3 yet either and all my followers are low level.

- I hit 100 about half way through spires.

- I only stepped foot on to Draenor last sunday, hit 100 this sunday and that is only playing on those 2 sundays.

- Yeah, with rested and knowing what you are doing leveling is really fast this expansion.

- And it runs so smooth that you move through it without even thinking.

- I must admit I love leveling this expansion.

- I kind of hate the situation my poor hunter is in however.

- I guess I will just be gathering resources for a while.

- Maybe next sunday I will go around killing rares and collecting things, just to get some resourses.

- And quest some in nagrand, that should get me some as well.

- I hit 100 wearing the same exact gear I was wearing when mists ended.

- I was in all mythic gear 4/4 upgraded, except for three pieces, and it lasted me until 100.

- Some people hate that, they like to change gear while leveling.

- Me, I love that.

- I hate replacing my raid gear with quest greens the second a new expansion comes out.

- It does not feel right.

- If I made it to nagrand I am sure I would have started to run into some upgrades.

- That is how it should be.

- I swear the leveling process, the gear it drops, everything regarding leveling was done so well this expansion.

- How did they go so wrong in every other way after doing that so well.

- Makes you wonder.

- No need to mention that I managed gold proving grounds in my SoO gear.

- I would never be able to do that any other class in that gear but as a hunter, no problem.

- Hunters are made for stuff like that and being it is the only class I am good at it was not really a problem.

- Now to get to a high enough item level to get into a normal.

- How screwed up is that?

- I can do gold proving grounds but I can not even get into a normal dungeon?

- If you need silver for a heroic, you should be allowed to queue for anything, normal or heroic, if you can get gold no matter what your item level is.

- If you are going to use proving grounds as a gating system, it should not be gated by proving grounds and gear.

- It should be proving grounds or gear.

- I don't have the gear, but I have proved myself.

- Yet I still can not get into a dungeon.

- Isn't that the whole concept of this, proving yourself?

- Sad face.

- I did manage to find one upgrade when I went to the auction house.

- Got a new weapon.

- Only 630 but much better than the 582 I was wearing.

- I had totally forgot about the heirloom weapon.

- Not like it was needed.

- I don't think I ever had even one hard moment while leveling as I over geared it.

- And I am not a clothie.

- And I am a hunter.

- So lets see, over geared, not squishy, and have all the tools of a hunter.

- There is a reason I call hunters the best leveling class in the game.

- Might have something to do with the fact that they are.

- I tanked normal BRF on my druid again this week, still a little under geared for the heroic.

- And I am nor a very good tank lately, out of practice.

- My timing is off probably because I do not play it enough.

- But the healers said, I am doing great.

- I am my own harshest critic.

- I set the bar so high that I can never reach it no matter how hard I try.

- I do not feel comfortable this expansion.

- Do not feel comfortable tanking, healing or DPSing on any character that is not my main.

- And even at that, I still do not feel as if I am getting the most out of my hunter.

- I know I can do better, I am sure of it.

- It is funny when you can feel you are losing a step.

- Either I am really setting the bar way to high or my game play skills are on the decline.

- At least I won four pieces on my druid tank.

- Guess what I won?

- A ring.

- A ring.

- A ring.

- A ring.

- Guess what I did not need?

- A ring.

- Hey, at least I am winning something, it is more than my hunter can say.

- More bosses down, more rolls on each tier boss, still no heroic tier pieces.

- Heck, still nothing the entire run.

- As usual.

- Last week my druid won two pieces while tanking.

- A ring and a ring.

- I think I am going to name change my druid to Gollum.

- Seems appropriate.

- At least I have a weapon now, crafted 675.

- I was running with a 645 each week, it was time I had one made, was getting tired of feeling useless when I tanked next to our DK tank.

- DKs are freaking beastly.

- He is usually near the top in DPS even on single target and on AoE he is a god.

- Then there is me going thrash thrash thrash and basically playing back up in case he dies.

- I felt useless.

- But at least this week I was paired with a paladin that was just coming back to the game.

- Ah, the joys of feeling like the "strong" tank again.

- I have to start gearing my DK, their survival is sick, their single target is sick and their AoE is sick.

- They are just amazing.

- Or maybe it is just the player.

- I'd put it as the player more than the class.

- The class is in a really strong place now, sure, but he gets the most out of it.

- But being I have access to the player I can use that as a tool to learn.

- Funny thing was I told him about the soul reaper trick the other day and he did not know it.

- What?

- With his amazing survival I was sure it was him I learned it from in the first place.

- Nope, he said he never knew about it.

- So I just helped make him even more beastly.

- Amazing he was as good as he was before in terms of survival, and this will just make him better.

- I must admit I am lucky to have played with some really great players.

- Just wish we could get them all together one day and start doing more like we are capable of doing.

- But we have always been a middle of the pack guild.

- If a boss has 50% of the guilds downing it, that is usually where we are.

- Yet now it seems we are in the top 20% range.

- And we are probably having the worst progression in any tier I can ever recall.

- I wonder if something can be read into that.

- If we are doing so poorly and we are in the top 20% area now.

- Are there that few guilds raiding now?

- Or perhaps it is just a case of me being my own harshest critic again thinking we are doing so poorly.

- Did one run this week that had 8 hunters in it.

- Went well, but there was one big problem with it.

- Not enough hunters.

- Have a great day.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blizzard's Q1 Earing Call: Misguided or Misinformation

MMO-C listed a bunch of excerpts from blizzards quarterly earning report on their front page today.  Some of them made me scratch my head, not all mind you, as I know this report is made for the shareholders and not for people like myself that play the game.  However I feel it is necessary for someone that plays to game to weight in on these snips from the quarterly call and being I like doing that sort of thing I figure it might as well be me.

I will remind anyone reading this that anything I say here is completely based on my opinion as a player of the game for many years and my knowledge of the game from playing it, reading the forums, seeing responses here on my blog and speaking with people in the various guilds I happen to play with in game as well as other players I am friendly with.  None of that changes that this is solely my opinion, picking apart what was said and pointing out what I believe could be a case of blizzard passing along misinformation to its share holders or maybe they are really that misguided and out of touch.  I am going to be a bit of a smart ass with a sprinkle of sarcasm, so if you are not into that sort of thing, feel free to not read.

Subscriber Numbers

    The team was excited to see the number of subscribers increase with Warlords release, confirming they had selected the right idea and setting for the expansion.

Seeing a marked increase on release of an expansion has absolutely nothing to do with if you made the "right" selection with your ideas.  You could have changed all classes into unicorns and set the expansion in candy land and the subs probably would have went up on release, it is just how things work.

All this shows is that people were tired with well over a year of the same content with absolutely nothing new and because they love the game they came back because something new was added.  It was not and should not be something you think of as a conformation that what you did was good for the game or that your idea of time traveling to fight yet more orcs after 16 months of doing the exact same thing was a good idea..  Thinking that or saying that is a complete falsehood.   Good or bad, any new expansion would have seen a major uptick in the subscriber base, even unicorns of candyland.
 
    Their goal is to make a fun and engaging experience and not chase subscriber numbers, as they are confident that the numbers will follow in the wake of that.

The numbers are following in the wake of that, you are correct, they are following that witness that testified against the mob boss that has the cinder block tied around his feet as he is thrown into the ocean.  Down, that is where they are following.

    WoW released at the right time and has been a very adaptable game, which has helped to sustain it over the years. Other MMOs provide inspiration on how to make the game better.

This is a clear truth, wow made the market what it is today and it is still coasting on the coattails of what was created 10 years ago.  The company has done well with keeping up as best as they can with it and adapting ideas from other games into their own to make it better.  This is completely true.

     The loss in subscribers is partially due to the cyclical nature of the game.

Yes and no.  Yes in terms that players do come and go.  No in the fact that they have never "went" in the record numbers (percentage wise) that they have in this quarter which is clearly showing that something is not, excuse the pun, working as intended.

    Players don't play WoW year-round anymore, they just come back for new content and then go off to play other games. To some extent that is okay. The team doesn't want to prevent people from playing that way.
 
Absolutely false.  100% completely and totally false.  If this was in fact true than we would have seen subs drop below 1M after 16 months of no new content at the end of mists because of the longevity of the content drought.  Do people come and go?  Yes.  Do a lot do so?  Quite possibly.  Do most?  Not from what I have noticed as the numbers at the end of mists show, most do not come and go as much as you are trying to pretend they do or your numbers would have dipped a lot more.

    There was a large spike in subscribers for Warlords so they knew there was going to be a "bit of a dip" after that.

A bit of a dip is the standard.  Anytime a new expansion or a new patch comes out there is always a bunch of people coming to check it out, but to call the mass exodus after release "a bit of a dip" is clearly a rationalization.  Do you know what a rationalization is?  A rationalization is a lie we tell to ourselves to make ourselves feel better.  "A bit of a dip" is clearly a lie when more subscribers were lost in that three month period (percentage wise) than ever seen before in the history of the game.  A bit of a dip my purple hairy elf butt.

    The WoW Token hasn't had a drastic impact on the number of subscribers.

I am honestly surprised to hear this.  Sorry it is not working out as well as expected.  I figured this would be a boon for the company as it would allow people that had real life financial difficulty to continue playing as they could buy time with gold.  Color me surprised.


Dungeons

    The new dungeons in Warlords were great, but there was no incentive to keep running them after the start of the expansion.

And who's fault is that exactly?  After 10 years you would think you might have figured out that you need to give people a carrot if you wanted them to keep running dungeons.  This is a failure of epic proportions that I and many other bloggers pointed out on the beta.  We all said that there was no incentive to keep doing them and you did nothing about it.  You allowed this to be a failure even if you knew well in advance it would be a failure.

    Previous expansions had something like Valor Points to keep players coming back for more dungeons.

And how many posts have I made since beta, since release, since 6.1 and even as recently as this week about how valor needed to make a return.  But what the hell do I know, I am just some idiot who plays the game and knows what I like.  Of course you know what I like better than I do and removed the motivating factor to do dungeon like valor, reputation, mounts, etc.

    It felt silly to run the same content over and over even as your character got stronger, which is why the dungeon rewards were removed, but they went too far in Warlords.

"It felt silly to run the same content over and over"... are you even listening to yourself.   This is the heart and soul of this type of game.  It is what wow was built on, it is the bread and butter of wow, it is what keeps people coming back, it is what keeps people logging in.  That is silly?  No, it is not, you are silly for even saying that.

    Group dungeons are one of the greatest strengths in the MMO genre and it is a shame that there hasn't been more of a reason to do them recently.

Yes it is a shame that the developers of a game that has been around 10 years could not figure out why people did them over and over again even after being told by many people.  Yes it is a shame that a company can really be that out of touch with the player base that pays them as to is why people do things.  Yes it is a shame you did not even try to motivate your player base to do them by offering them a reason to do so.

New Content and Patch 6.2

    Patch 6.2 is one of the largest content patches ever released.

I really wish I could have seen your face when you said this because then we would know what to look for when you tell a bold faced lie that even you have to realize is a lie.  I know you are just towing the company line, but how much did it hurt having to shovel that line of bull with a straight face?

6.2 will be one of, if not the smallest raid patch released in the history of the game.  Only goes to keep with the pattern of 6.1 being one of the smallest non raid patches ever released. 6.1 was so small of a patch that unlike nearly ever other patch in the history of the game this one did not even have a name and 6.2 is not lining up to be much bigger than that if you excuse the raid it comes with unless they have a hell of a lot up their sleeve we do not know about yet.

    Patch 6.2 adds Timewalking and Mythic dungeons, making group dungeon content relevant again.

Relevant again?  What the hell were you smoking during this call?  So you are adding copies of already existing dungeons that were instantly irrelevant because they dropped nothing worthwhile into harder mythic version that will be instantly irrelevant because they drop nothing worthwhile?  Nope,  absolutely not relevant content, sorry.

As for timewalking dungeons, they sound like a nice little touch and I am actively looking forward to do the, once only most likely for novelty reasons. Scaling us to old content that some of the players might have never had the chance to do while it was current sounds fun, once, but they too only drop irrelevant gear and they will only be available for one weekend every 7 or so weeks?  Please do not call limited time content we might only see every 2 months relevant content, you are insulting us and yourself at the same time.

    Patch 6.2 iterates on existing systems, polishes things, and adds some new content.

So it works on things that should be done instantly like polishing things and considers them part of  being worth mentioning a "patch" material?  Polishing things should happen at a regular basis, not be held back for a patch.  And "adds some new content" sounds so exciting even more so being you can't even name what the content is.  That must mean this "some new content" is awesome beyond compare, so awesome you can not even put it into works type of awesome.  I'll wait for it with baited breath.  Not.

    Massive class overhauls aren't as likely to appear in content patches anymore, as returning players come back to find that their class has changed once again.

So broken specs and classes and abilities will remain as is because you do not feel like fixing them.  Got it.  Sounds like a solid plan there.  If you ignore the problem it will just go away.  We should inform doctors of this, they actually try to fix people.  Damn idiot doctors, they should take a cue from you and ignore it so it will just go away.

    The amount of content added in a patch is a balance between satisfying the hardcore players that go though content very quickly and the players that go at a slower pace.

No it is not, you pretend like it is, but it is not.  Hardcore players burn through content quickly whether you add a tiny bit or a massive amount of content, that is what makes them hardcore. Do not design for them, ever.  They will eat up everything you got and spit you out asking for more nearly instantly.  There is not balance between designing for them and for everyone else.  Design for the 99%, do not design for the 1%.  That is part of the reason you are bleeding subs like a hemophiliac with a bad paper cut is because you are trying to design 50/50.

    The team also has to make progress on future projects that are important while still working on upcoming content patches.

I am guessing they are really working hard on upcoming projects because it is clear they are not doing much for the current content.  Scale us down for old dungeons with code that us already in game.  Add mythic dungeons using dungeons in game but just increasing health and damage.  Cut and paste garrison missions with people into garrison missions with boats.  Must be hard to cut and paste like that.  Seems to me the art team is the only one working their asses off.  Everyone else is just calling it in if you ask me. 

Awesome work art team, the rest of the staff can suck my... sexual organ located in the lower abdominal area.  No man it... a pop culture reference probably lost on most of you.  Move along, nothing to see here but an elf showing his age.

    Certain types of changes are reserved for expansions rather than patches to keep complexity in check.

Can you be more imprecise? What changes are you talking about and what makes you think we, the player base, would not welcome those changes, like giving us dailies, giving us valor, giving us... well, content.  I think we might embrace those changes.


Accessibility

    Accessibility is a core value of the game and has helped WoW grow and sustain itself.

So why make things so insanely intricate so people are often confused.  I swear I never go a day without someone asking me in guild "where do I find X", "how do I do X", "what should I do after X", "how come my DPS is so low", or some other question. 

The game is not exactly straight forward or telling.  If you do not go outside of the game for information you are, or could be, completely lost without help from someone that does.   My guild has a nickname for me, wowhead.  Yes, they call me their personal wowhead.  Because whenever they have a question I know the answer because they can't find it in game.  So with such a lack of information about the game actually being in the game, how exactly is that accessible?  To me or you it is easy because we know it but to Bob, well, Bob is lost most of the time god bless his confused soul.

    Classes are more complex now than they used to be back in the day. Destro Warlocks in Burning Crusade raids would literally keep up one debuff and press Shadowbolt really hard and fast to beat everyone else. The game hasn't been "dumbed down" from that.

 I agree with and support this statement 100%.  Yet didn't he just say they made this more accessible?  Can't be both more complex and more accessible.  Make up your mind.

    Changes have been made to trim excess and keep things focused, but there is still a very high skill cap.

Yeah, hunters are so much better without things like eyes of the beast and scatter shot.  I am sure all hunters loved that you removed them and they are all writing you letters of thanks and praise as we speak.  And I know I love how you removed righteous defense from my paladin, it made me never want to play it again.  Thanks.

    Both more casual raiders (Normal difficulty) and hardcore raiders (Mythic difficulty) can now see the entire story. This wasn't possible in older expansions like the Burning Crusade.

The only reason for that is because you offer absolutely no way to feel a sense of personal progression outside of raiding.  This is not something you should be boasting about, this is a bad thing when you design a game with no choice when in the past few expansions we got to see how awesome having many choices was.

    Accessibility means allowing players that have been playing for a long time to continue to enjoy the game, even if it is at a different level of commitment as their life changes. Many players started out as students and are now professionals with families.

Yes, you are so right.  I am enjoying the dailies in warlords.  I love flying in warlords.  Reputations are so much fun to pound out now.  Thank you for letting me do all these awesome things in fun ways.  Ouch, I think a hurt myself with too much sarcasm in one line.

Raids

    More people are doing organized raiding than ever before thanks to some of the conveniences that have been added recently.

This is true, but it also might have something to do with the fact there is nothing else to do to get gear.  Crappy gear from world bosses, crappy gear from apexis crystals, only three pieces of gear from crafting, etc.  The best way to get gear is by gold farming basically, which does support blizzards new business model of trying to sell gold with the wow tokens I guess.

More people are raiding because more people have to if they want to feel any sort of personal progression for their character.  Doesn't mean more people like doing it just that more people have to do it to justify to themselves why they are still paying a monthly subscription.

    It would be nice if Mythic could scale with the raid size, but the team isn't sure that level of tuning is possible.

I can tell you one thing for sure, the players that raided in 10 man groups that have been doing heroic (now mythic) since it was added to the game are either no longer raiding heroic, trying to find a guild that does leaving long friendships behind sometimes, or just gave up completely because something that they loved doing in game and have been doing for 6+ years can no longer be done in the way they enjoy doing it, as in 10 man, because it was unceremoniously stripped from them.

    Making specific mechanics and encounters for Mythic difficulty is possible now because of the fixed raid size, but if the raid had to scale down to 10 players that would no longer be possible.

It "could" be, you just choose not to do so.  There is a difference.  Yes, some things lend themselves to larger groups, but it doesn't mean you have to only make things for larger groups.  You just choose to only make things for larger groups.  Do not make it sound like you had no choice, you did, and you made the choice to ignore the majority of the raiders in the game.  Yes, fact is there were more 10 man guilds than 25 man guilds.  Absolute 100% fact.  And you completely ignored the majority.  Stop trying to make it sound as if you did something "noble" for the betterment of the game as a whole when you had to kick the majority of raid groups in the balls to do it.

Social

    The social aspect of the game is very important to the overall experience.

It is actually what keeps me coming back.  I probably would have quit if it were not for the social aspect of the game because the game itself just doesn't have sticking power any longer, for me at least, in its current state.

    The convenience features added over the years have made the game slightly less social.

Yes and no.  It gives people the ability to meet and play with more people but in the process lost all sense of server community in the process.  This is a win and lose thing.

    Sitting in town for an hour trying to find a tank in trade chat to go and do a dungeon was inconvenient, but it allowed you to make stronger social bonds.

Sitting in town trying to find a tank sucked, huge.  But is it also how I found my guild, made my first friends, learned how to become a better player and that is partly the reason I am still playing the game at this moment.  It is because of the friendship I made sitting in trade for hours trying to find groups.  So you are right, those things for as much as they sucked, are why I still play.

    The Group Finder is an attempt to try and create environments where you can still meet new people without spending an extremely long time forming groups.

The group finder would be much better if it had a few changes made to it.  First, I want to be able to list my name and say what I am looking for.  I do not want to spend hours trying to find a group, sacking to join, waiting for a reply, not finding what I want exactly, or what have you.  Let me list my name and let them find me.  The previous incarnation of the group finder allowed this, why does not new one not?  Taking a step backwards in development again?  Nice job blizzard.

And secondly, allow mythic cross server, and not after it is no longer current content, but as soon as world first happens open it cross server for everyone because the only reason not to have it cross server is for the world first race so when that is done the only reason not to make it cross server is because you are being pig headed.   Some of us would like to raid mythic but are not on servers that it is entirely possible and we either do not want to move because of money reasons or social reasons, but that should not block us out from raiding mythic because we happen to be on a backwards server.  The group finder is good, it is just incomplete.

Misc

    The group finder is getting lots of use for PvE and PvP content. 

It is also getting a lot of misuse.  Every great tool has the chance to be abused, this is no different.  But over all it is a decent tool that should be made better, see above comment.   Until some fixes are made, it is still just a broken piece of junk waiting for a fix, even if it is useful in its current form, it is not nearly as useful as it could be.

    Garrisons give players reason to log in for a short time when they wouldn't have had any reason to log beofre. It doesn't really take away from raiding, PvP, or other longer playtime activities.

Before.  Log in do a dungeon, do a scenario, do some dailies, go out and gather, kill a few rares, kill a world boss, find items hidden in the world, grind bones, hunt pets, etc.  Now... Garrison chores.  Excuse me for saying this, but I liked BG, before garrisons, better for my quick fix of fun.

True they do fit the quick fix of something to do but only because they are the "only" quick thing to do.  They also have burnt me out multiple times this expansion and caused me to take breaks.  So basically garrisons gave me a reason to "not" log in.  So you meant to say it got "some" people to log in right?  Because they sure as hell did not give all players a reason to, which seems to be what you were implying, wrongly I might add.

They are also the reason why I do not like leveling more characters because it means I have to level all those followers up all over again on another character.  And I love leveling but now I dread it.  I dread it because I know there is a garrison at the end waiting for me.  Much, if not all, of the garrisons should have been account wide, not character bound.  At the very least the damn jukebox should have been account wide, really, what were you thinking?   Garrisons are an awesome addition to the game, I agree, but they are also the worst addition to the game in terms of causing burn out if you like to play a lot of alts and don't have 10 free hours a day to cycle through characters.  Seriously, do not ever do anything like this again.  Account wide or forget it next time.

Okay, that is enough being a grumpy elf for the day, I had some fun being a smart ass, hopefully you had some fun reading and laughing at some of the comments they made or maybe even the ones I made.  Either way, I just wasted half a day at work on a friday.  Happy Friday everyone.