Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts

- Most of my random thoughts are about leveling today.

- It might be because I somehow managed to start three new characters this weekend.

- Leveled all three of them to 85.

- I'm just kidding of course, leveling might be easier now but not that much easier.

- I rolled a Tauren Druid and played for a little bit getting to level 12.

- Then some guild mates wanted to reroll together for fun so we picked a random server and rerolled again.

- Picked horde.

- Apparently it was an alliance server.  To bad so sad.

- They where all over the place, could not get anything done in the main cities because it seemed like the alliance lived in Orgimmar.

- Rolled a Tauren Paladin this time.

- We made it to 11 as a group when we finally decided that it is not going to be much fun when outnumbered so badly on a server so we all quit.

- Next day we picked another new server and went all troll this time.

- I wanted to be a Troll Paladin but sadly the only thing Trolls can not be are paladins.

- If you can be a warrior and a priest you should be able to be a paladin. 

- After all, they are only warriors and priests combined.

- I rolled another Druid, second of the weekend.

- Only made it to level 7 when I had gotten called back to my main server because I was needed for an alt raid.

- When making those characters the hardest part was naming them.

- I gave up and hit randomize and oh my god what language is that?

- Does someone actually make up these names or do they just slap the keyboard and whatever comes up they suggest?

- 98% of the names I got while playing randomize where not even something I could pronounce.

- The other 2% where just flat out horrible.

- A few didn't even have one vowel in it.

- Made me wish that once you name a character that name is yours and you can take it to every server.

- I've come to a conclusion.  Naming your character is harder then anything I've ever encountered in game.

- I refuse to use alt codes.

- The game should force everyone using an alt code into a forced name change.

- They could easily get around the naming problems by having people choose a first and last name.

- Even if you where only allowed to select a last name from a drop down list of 20 or so premade selections.

- So instead of one person being named Bob you could have 20 people.

- For each race.

- They would not run out of names as easily.

- Or have names linked to things already in game.

- Like Bob, the male tauren paladin.  Bob, the male troll druid.  etc.

- Allowing more people to have the same name would make getting half way decent names easier.

- We would also know for sure that anyone with a stupid name was not just someone that got stressed trying to find a name and took anything, we would know they are an idiot based on their name alone.

- I have some strange names, but they are at least what normally resembles a name and is pronounceable.

- Even those strange ones are taken.

- Something should be done because if I have to choose between a stupid name that can not be pronounced or a name with alt codes, I'll just play another game or on another server.  No alt codes for me and no stupid names that you can not pronounce either.

- I would rather not play a character then to play a character that not even I can say the name of.

- Speaking of rolling on a different server, they need to do something about balance.

- When there were more alliance in a horde home city then their are horde you know there is a problem.

- For a veteran player like myself it is no big deal but imagine a new player that accidentally stumbles onto that server and happens to choose the wrong side.

- Not everyone takes the new server option, some choose a server name they like.

- They could start the game, be having a great time, make their first trip to a major city, accidentally click an enemy player and tada, their game play is now over.

- They will be dead in one shot and every time they come back and resurrect they will be killed again even if only by incidental AoE.

- Balance isn't just for us 85s.  Balance matters to everyone in the game.

- Server balance is a much larger issue then most people think it is, in my opinion anyway.

- That server lost 12 players because we were so overwhelmed and the thought of the future if we stayed there was not promising.

- With that type of imbalance we would never have BH or whatever the next incarnation of BH will be called.

- We ended up going the other way and joined a server that was mostly horde.

- Oops, we are part of the problem now.

- When there is imbalance and someone looks before they join a server, they will take the side that is overwhelmingly favored.

- Which only goes to further imbalance.

- They could fix this with a few things.

- If a server is overwhelmingly horde, offer anyone with an 85 that wants to reroll there 1000 gold and all 20 slot bags to roll on alliance side. 

- Then add that they can not server transfer or faction transfer for one year after hitting max level.

- Might not work, but then again it might.  1000 gold and all 20 slot bags is more then ample to cover anything you will need while leveling and will take away the starting pains of starting on a new server for people that are used to having lots of gold and big bags.

- Also, make it so no more new characters of the side that is favored can be rolled.

- Design it to count only 85s (or whatever max is at the time) and whenever one side is over 60% lock that side out from making any more characters until it evens out.

- The worst deviation there should ever be is 60-40.

- When choosing a new character I now have two requirements.

- They must be able to tank or heal and they must be able quest in their tank or heal spec all the way up to 85.

- This means that I can only roll a druid, paladin, warrior or priest now.  Shaman are out because questing to 85 as resto is not exactly something anyone would want to do unless they are into dying a lot.

- No DKs do not count, they do not start at 55.

- A priest can level in disc easily.  Druids, paladins and warriors can quest in their tank specs no problem.

- Being warriors have no heals I kind of dismissed them too.

- So now I am left only three choices.

- Kind of sad that the pure tax is so darn high.

- The days of hybrid tax are long gone, we have a pure tax now.

- Rolling a pure DPS means hell at max level.

- Rolling anything that can tank or heal means the world is your oyster.

- Which makes me think about the changes to talent specs.

- Being they are adding a 4th spec to druids and with their super easy new talent tree designs it will be easier for them to balance because they took away choice.

- It will be also easier for them to add a 4th talent tree to any class.

- I can honestly see hunters and warlocks getting a tanking spec with this new design if they ever wanted to go that way.

- I can see mages getting a healing spec if they go that way.  If a shaman can use water to heal so can a mage right?

- Poor rogues get screwed.  While I can conceivably see them having a tank type spec it just does not seem as likely as the other three pure classes, even if they where very good tanks in BC with the right gear. 

- I defiantly do not rogues them having a healing spec but it would be funny to see the old joke rogue bandage spec somehow turned into a reality.  For humor factor only of course.

- Personally I think it is about time every class could perform at least two different roles.

- Would really stop a lot of the QQ about DPS wait time.

- It is not the fault of the mages, hunters, warlocks and rogues of the world that they can not tank or heal.  I feel their pain.

- I do not feel the pain of DPS priests, shaman, druids, paladins, warriors or DKs.

- You have the ability to fix your own problem, if you choose not to then you have absolutely zero right to complain about it.

- Yes, I understand you do not want to heal or tank.  You made your choice not to.

- Now shut up and wait like all the other DPS that do not have the choice.

- If you have the choice and refuse to use it, you are the only one to blame for why you are stuck waiting.

- One of the people that rolled with our little group asked a simple question.
- I've never rolled a horde before, is it really different?

- I  said, nope, exact same thing just different hub cities and a lot more winning in battlegrounds.

- We have actually lost guild members because of that.

- We are at three this year already.  Three people that went from alliance to horde because they got sick of losing in battlegrounds.

- More imbalance problems if you ask me.

- No easy fix for this one like there is for the server problem.

- Human nature will draw most people to the side they think they have the best chance of winning on.

- If all the people that are serious about PvP roll horde it is going to keep getting worse for the alliance.

- While it is true alliance suck at battlegrounds it is partly because all the people that like to PvP roll horde.

- Makes you wonder if it is really PvP they like or if it is winning they like.

- I am not much of a PvPer myself but if I were I would prefer to test my skill, meaning being alliance against the vastly superior horde.

- Being horde just seems like you are taking the easy route to a win.

- While taking it easy is fun sometimes, it doesn't seem like it would be really fulfilling from a game play standpoint to have all the winning handed to you on a silver platter.

- At least in my opinion.

- In a way it makes sense.  All we ever hear is about people wanting things easier, they all want instant gratification.

- When it comes to PvP if you want instant gratification and easy content (PvP wise) you roll horde.

- It turns the causal raider / hard core raider comparison into the casual PvPer / hard core PvPer one. 

- If you want quick and easy content (PvP) roll horde.  If you want a challenge and to test your skills and prove you are better then someone else, roll alliance.

- Hard core PvPers roll alliance.  Nice tag line, think it would draw over good horde players to alliance?

- I doubt it.  Sooner or later the losing will get to them and they will go back to horde for the easy wins.

- There is only so much anyone can lose before they give up or switch to the winning team.

- Then again, I am not one that should speak against taking it easy.

- I've been playing a tank more this expansion because I decided to take it easy and it does not get any easier in this game then playing a tank.

- Way to much pressure on the DPS end of things but that is a post in itself.

- If only tanking randoms was not a world of hell I might actually enjoy tanking more.

- I guess that is the balance for the role, tanking itself is stupid easy.  Dealing with other people is amazingly hard.

- I skip the middle man and just do not do randoms, so I keep my tanking life nice and easy.

- Makes it a little interesting when you gear up through raids only and have horrible luck with drops.

- Part of the fun for me.  Every upgrade I get is really a good feeling.

- No spamming heroics for me to get upgrades on my tanks.

- Each upgrade I get I paid for with blood and broken bones in a raid, not from doing (what should be) easy content for points.

- Makes me proud of my gear.

- Not sure why really.  Getting raid gear is much easier then grinding heroics with horrible players for gear.  And much faster too.

- Guess tanking is easier all the way around.  At least when you stay out of heroics.

- th... thats all folks.

- Have a great day.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Success From Failure

When it comes to players that did not like Cataclysm (thus far) I am without doubt one of the people that disliked it most.  It is well noted that a vast amount of people had some issues with the game this expansion.  Even the people that praise it are willing to admit there where issues with the expansion as a whole when they say things like, I love Cataclysm but...  I would have liked more raid bosses, or something like that.

There are a few changes the game has made this expansion that are actually very good.  They usually get over looked by the fact that people, love it or hate it, always seem to focus on the things everyone brings up most like content, difficulty, etc.

Reforging is a great tool and most likely the best tool the game has added in a very long time.  I can't tell you the number of times I had to regem and reenchant everything just to get those last few points of hit so I would not miss.  Now I can just reforge.  I wrote about it when the expansion was just new, made a guide and everything to help new players, I loved it off the bat as did many others. 

With all the other stuff in game however something like reforging is easy to forget about because it was done so well and integrated into our normal everyday game play that it already feels like it has been there since the beginning even if we all know it hasn't.

For all the failures of the expansion we also have to look at the bigger picture. 

Like when they said at blizzcom that they where going to try and make quests less linear.  It was one of the things I nearly jumpped up and cheered about while reading it.  It's about time they fixed that error in game design was my opinion.

While it might be easy for me to call linear quest design a failure it has ended up being a minor success in its own right.  By them changing the questing to be so linear they learned something that will benefit us all in future expansions and that is to never do something like that again.

Without failure you will never know what success is.

That is where Cataclysm has really began to shine recently with the announcements of the changes they are making in MoP because of it.  Every wrong turn they might have taken was noticed and hopefully they will not go down that road again.

Having no "stated" main antagonist for the next expansion is one of the things Cataclysm has caused to be corrected.  Because of Cataclysm having a rather boring and entirely uninteresting big baddie they learned it is better to have none then to have one people don't care about.

On a side note, there is a big baddie in MoP, they are just not telling us what it is because they want to build suspense, they want to have the big reveal, they want to make the game exciting and not a game of, new expansion came out so we will just fiddle around for a year and a half while we wait for the person we are really here to kill.

Like I mentioned with questing, which was a fair idea to be honest, they tried it and learned that it did not go over as well in practice as it did on paper.  Same goes for dungeon difficulty, raid difficulty, and non-connected new leveling areas.  They are making adjustments in MoP for all of those being they learned in Cataclysm that their ideas did not quite work out as well as expected when put into practice.

For nearly everything I complained about and others complained about they are addressing the problem with new ideas.  These ideas are all thanks to Cataclysm.  Cataclysm has succeeded in the fact that it showed them that some things just can not work in the game.  While the changes they are about to make might not be good, just like they where not in Cataclysm, at least they are making adjustments and that is a good thing.

All we can hope for is that they do not swing too much in the other direction this time around and create another disaster on the other end of the spectrum.

When they decided to make deathwing come and take chunks out of Azeroth, like in badlands and barrens, they did not expect him to take chunks out of its players base as well.  Deathwing really did damage Azeorth.  Deathwing also make sure that they will not make those same mistakes again.

Any time something goes wrong and you correct it you can achieve success.  Any raider that has wiped and then noticed their error, corrected it, and went on to down the boss can tell you that.  Error, or more importantly, noticing your errors and correcting them, makes the errors a success in their own right.

Blizzard wiped on Cataclysm, but they are making some adjustments and they are giving it another shot.  The failure and the fact they noticed it will lead them to a success.  Sometimes, failure can be a good thing if you learn from it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mechanics Are Bad For Community

As always I can only speak from my experience but I can say I have had a fair deal of experience with random people in this expansion and in the last when the random dungeon finder first came out.

I've tanked, healed and DPSed randoms.  I've played as every class in the game.  I've had great groups, average groups and bad groups.  I've had groups I have openly praised and groups I have complained about.

I feel that while it has only been from my own experience I have done enough and seen enough to make what I believe to be a reasonable conclusion about random dungeons.

Random dungeons are not bad for the community, at least not as bad as some people make them out to be.  The mechanics in the random dungeons are what is bad for the community.

I might complain about 2K boomkins, 5K paladins, tanks in dps gear, healers that say "I'm done" faster than a virgin on his wedding night, but what it really comes down to is that I say it to laugh at them. 

A 2K boomkin might annoy me enjoy to complain here but that is where it ends.  Those people are just bad players.  Bad players you can deal with.  Stupid players you can not.

Mechanics bring out the stupid players.  I am not saying that someone is stupid because they never did Corla before and do not know when to step out of the beam.  Hey, we all need to learn.  I screwed it up the first time I did it too, second also, never since. 

Stupid players are players you can tell over and over to do something and they just do not get it.  Kind of like a hunter I saw in ZG one time, we yelled at him attempt after attempt to get in the damn bubble and he never did.  He was stupid.

And that brings me to my point.  The rage that was coming from the players in party chat was amazing.  Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?  Even if I am never the one to be rude or insulting in chat I was talking to friends on vent telling them how horrible this person was.  I was ranking him on a scale based on the stupidest players I have ever seen.  Good part for him was, even as stupid as he was, he still was not a top 10 idiot.  I've seen much worse.

From my experiences I have seen people kick plenty of people.  I have seen them say something before kicking.  I have seen them kick someone as a complete surprise being no one ever said anything in chat.  I have seen people bark orders, complain, insult, give advice, critique, you name it.

One thing however always seems somewhat consistent in all dungeons I have ever done.

People seem to be willing to work with bad players.  They seem to have no tolerance for stupid players.  I've gone through dungeons with that one horrible DPS and no one ever says a word as long as things are going down without a problem.  One person wipes the group because they mess up a mechanic and everything changes.

Stupid players can turn the nicest person in the world into a rage-a-holic.

The common response to bad players is usually something along the line of, you are not ready for this, or we need someone a little better, sometimes people even put in a sorry before they say that.  Even the people that are instinctively rude are much nicer to bad players than they are stupid players.  They will say something like, your DPS sucks, l2p, and start a kick.  As rude as that sounds, that is like whispering sweet nothings to the one you love compared to what they say to the stupid people.

Every time I have seen someone go all nerd rage in a random it has always been on someone messing up a mechanic.  It could even be the first time they mess up but it is the act of messing up simple mechanics that gets to people.

I know it is what gets to me.

I could easily deal with bad players.  I will give bad players advice if they want it.  I will help them or even carry them if I am capable of doing so.

I can't deal with stupid players.  While bad players can get better, stupid players are just stupid.  Stupid is who they are.  Bad is how they play.  You can fix how they play, you can not fix who they are.  A bad player gets hit by a mechanic and learns while a stupid player does not, that is one difference.

Don't be fooled either.  That 36K mage in your group, while his numbers might make him look good, he could still be a stupid player.  Just was not unlucky enough to ever get hit by anything that required him to move, so he looks like a good player.  First time Mr. 36K super star is forced to react to a mechanic and dies from it you will see how fast he turns from the BMOC to the human equivalent of pond scum in the view of the party members.

I call it the new Random Mechanic Mentality and it has been festering and building in our heroics.

Any raider will tell you that there is a thin line between wiping and looting and that line is called mechanics.  You can wipe 30 times on a boss but once the mechanics of the fight click for everyone in the group you will one shot the boss from that point on every time you are there.

This, to a lesser extent, was added to heroics and that it is killing the community.

I remember early in the expansion one time I was DPSing GB and we where on the first boss.  I was the only one over 10K but the other two DPS where doing reasonable numbers that where more then ample to down the boss.  The tank was doing just fine picking up the adds and I was keeping the one I needed to take care of away from everyone and under control with some old school distracting shot to a trap movement to get him away from the possibility of any incidental AoE.

The fight basically had one other mechanic that apparently one person in the group did not know.  The healer had no idea about the charge.  It targeted the healer first, we wiped.  No big deal, people where polite about it.  The tank explained the charge and the healer apologized.  It was their first time in there and they did not know.  No big deal, things where still pretty new for all of us and you could tell the whole group agreed with that being no one complained.

Next try we wiped again.  This time I explained, from a ranged standpoint, how you can see he is about to charge you.  I asked if they had DBM and said either way it would not be much of an issue.  They just needed to pay attention to the mob and not just their healing addon.  I told the healer I too have healed and and learned the hard way, if you are mid cast, move.  You can always play catch up healing later if you have to stop mid heal, but you can't heal anyone if you are dead.

The other ranged DPS (do not recall the class) chimed in and said they used to get caught too mid cast until they learned it is not worth it to finish the cast.  We all agreed, it happens to us all, and no one was upset at all.  We just went back in and we did it again.

After a third wipe the melee DPS was the first one to start showing some annoyance by the healers lack of ability to seem to learn.  They said something along the lines of, how hard is it to move?  On the internet no one can really know the tone you are saying something in but after three wipes to the same thing, we all knew exactly what tone that was in.

The healer once again apologized and me, the tank and the other DPS all said we understood.  We all said something along the lines of after they have now seen it a few times it will be easier for them to pick it up and it should not be a problem.  Just be quick.  Pick a direction and move and we will be fine.  The healer joked that if it would pick anyone else we would have had the boss down.  The healer was right.  The tank laughed.  We pulled.  We wiped.

Melee DPS nerd rage time.  You knew it was coming after the last attempt.  He only had one more left in him before he snapped.  He let out a tirade on the healer about how they have to be the stupidest player to ever play the game, they where rude to the extent that I could actually see this turning some people to tears.  He did not hold anything back, full nerd rage going here for sure.  Even after the tank and myself said he made his point, no need to be insulting.  He kept going until the healer dropped group on their own.

We get a new healer and the melee asks as soon as they port in if they know the fights.  The new healer says yes.  The melee then asks if they know how to strafe.  The healer says yes.  The melee then says, you're better than our last healer already.

We pull, we wipe, healer takes a charge to the face and the melee goes flippo.  Is every f'n healer in the f'n game a f'n retard or something?  He drops group, the healer apologizes and the other ranged says.  I am not sure how much more I have left in me.  We get a new melee and we go at it again.

Call it bad luck or what have you but the healer goes down again to a charge and the other ranged starts a vote kick with reason being "idiot".  I never even get a chance to make a decision, as soon as it pops up the vote has passed and the healer is gone.  We get another healer and we go in again to the same results.

The tank, who was nice and polite throughout the whole slew of attempts finally breaks down too.  This is the last time I queue up without a healer from my guild, it seems all random healers have mental disabilities, and he drops group.  The new melee drops group and the other ranged drops group leaving just me and yet another squished healer.

I tell the healer.  Sorry, but I am dropping too, after all the wipes we have had I just don't feel like even trying again.

What started as a reasonable group ended up in a blie filled rage from players because of a mechanic someone did not get.  These all seemed to be reasonable people that understood people need to learn but someone failing to a mechanic over and over was just to much for them to handle.

They could have dealt with a healer that was having mana issue.  They could have dealt with a healer that was new and learning.  They could have dealt with a few wipes and they did but when you keep dying to a mechanic it starts to get frustrating.

Now add 6 months, dozens of more runs, and plenty of more wipes from the same mechanic from as back then by more people that just did not get it.  Sure someone might be brand new to the game now and this might be their first time in there but for others they have been doing this for a while.  They have wiped over and over.  They have dealt with new players and learning players but they just do not have the patience for it any more.

Now after one mistake they start to rage.  Not like when it was new where they would give someone a chance to learn the fight.  Now, if they do not know it the second they walk in they will be labeled an idiot, a retard, stupid.

The community did not start like this.  There where few mechanics in wrath dungeons and even the few that there were they usually did not wipe you.  On the rare occasion they did, the person might have gotten picked on but being wipes where so rare, they usually got people offering them suggestions to getting better and letting them know what adjustments they might need to make.

Sure there where still some nerd ragers that would rag that you had to be a complete retard to wipe in a wrath dungeon, but those where few and far between when compared to what we see and hear now.

The mechanics and the massive amount of wipes they have caused have changed a lot of people.  More people are quick to rage out now.  More people are quick to insult now.  More people are quick to kick now. 

The community is the same community that had no issue with the bad or stupid players in wrath because those players just had bad DPS, horrible arrgo or crappy heals, but you could get by.  The bad or stupid player now wipe you.  In wrath you could not really pick out that there was a difference.  Now it is obvious.  Bad players and stupid players are different people.

There is only so much abuse a person can take before they start to lash out and be abusive to others and the mechanics pushed many people to that point.

I assure you that if the GB situation above where to happen now people would have not lasted as long as they did back then.  Back then when everything was new people also did not have a ton of wipes in randoms under their belt yet.  Now that they have been there and done that so their level of patience is so small that one mistake and they rage.
It is what has started to destroy the community.

Some will say that the random dungeons are not the "community" but they are an extension of it. 

The new way of people treating other people like crap that the dungeons have taught them has extended from the dungeons and into the raids and that is part of the reason the pug society has been on the decline.

I have seen people nerd rage in pugs over every little thing.  The "no patience" in dungeons has leaked into the pugs for raids and the looking for raid will do nothing but further support this.

People have gotten into the "if you fail at mechanics you are an idiot" mentality because of the heroics.  No one even thinks about someone needing to learn or having never seen something before because they are so sick of wiping after they learned the mechanics to others that do not know them yet.

While fights based on mechanics are fun for a guild group, it gives the feeling for learning together to complete a task, for random people anything mechanic based only hurts the community and festers hate and rage for anyone that is below you on the learning curve.

Putting different people in different stages of their learning of the game into the same mechanic based fight you are bound to have problems and those problems bring people to start to hate other people.

When all there was to complain about was bad DPS, bad aggro, and bad heals you just complained about bad players.  It might have bugged you but it rarely put decent people into a rage.

Now, I've seen decent people break down into a rage of anger and hate against people because they can not take one step to the left.  Because they got sick and tired of explaining the same thing over and over.  Something that now seems second nature to them they can not imagine someone else not being able to do.

Reading some of the forum feedback of the raid finder from the people testing it out only further supports my opinion that mechanics are bad for the community as a whole.

The common lines I am seeing pop up are thing like, how f'n hard is it to LoS when you are supposed to.  How f'n hard is it to stay out of the black stuff.  People seem to have forgotten that everyone needs to learn and just because you know it doesn't mean everyone does.  But after all the countless wipes they have all had while someone else learned something they already knew, all that was left for those people to do was nerd rage at the first sign of failure.  Unleashing their rage on the community as a whole.

There will be no patience for mistakes because we all had to deal with them over and over in heroics and soon raids and we all have just about had our fill of them.  This is bringing people to a boiling point that carries over from their random experiences where they are with people that will most likely never see again and into their local server where most communities are only hanging on by a thread to begin with.

Many previously decent people now snap faster.  Many previously decent people no longer want to help others.  Many previously decent people will leave after one attempt.  Many previously decent people have taken just about as much of someone elses failures as they can handle.

Mechanics have destroyed the community.

Anything where you have random people of random levels of skill and ability you can not have mechanics.  It is better to have damage requirements, tanking requirements and healing requirements which would usually just lead to someone saying, you are not good enough for this. 

Having mechanics makes people start to call other people idiots, retards, and stupid.  I don't know about you, but I think it would be better for the community if the 2K boomkin was told, we can not down this boss if you are doing under 10K then, I refuse to play with an idiot that can't side step something as simple as a charge.

Like I have said.  I have done more then enough dungeons since they introduced the random system and I can see that the quality of people that play in them has gone down immensely since they added killer mechanics to the random system.  Even if to you or me those mechanics are super simple, that is the problem, to some it isn't.

If you think the community as a whole has really gotten worse recently get ready for looking for raid because I assure you it will keep going down hill even more if the early returns are any indicator.  Heroics have beaten so many people down.  They no longer have any patience for anyone just learning.

Random people and mechanics do not mix well at all.

Next time you are in a random and see someone rage over something stupid, or after just one wipe, you have to realize that might have been a very nice and decent person before but they have just had enough and can't put up with it any more.  The random mechanic mentality created that rage-a-holic  Now they will carry that rage everywhere, not just in the randoms, it now infects their local community as well because they can't shake it.

That is why mechanics are bad for the community.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get 'Em Tanking

Like most specs and roles tanking has a varied degree of difficulty.  Depending on what you are tanking in what form of content and who you are with tanking can be either super easy and boring or exciting or stressful and annoying.

A newer DK tank in my guild was saying on vent yesterday how he still refuses to tank Zuls because they are too hard.  To which one of the other guild members pointed out, he has already tanked 4 bosses in firelands for an alt run last week and if he can tank firelands he can surely tank Zuls.

I then chimed in to support the comment made by the new DK and explained that I have tanked 100s of raid bosses over the years and still do not tank randoms.  Randoms are a horse of a different color.  You can not compare raids to heroics.  Raid tanking is much easier.

He wondered how "lower" content could be harder then "higher" content.  I explained it as simple as I could.

In a heroic, random heroic that is, you never know what you will get.  You could end up with DPS that could not fight their way out of a paper bag.  You could end up with DPS that feel like they have to flex their epeen so they do not care about kill order, aggro, or CC. 

You could get a healer that is a not ready for prime time player.  Or a combo of DPS that don't move and a healer that does not have the mana to compensate.  Or maybe a healer that just straight out can not heal the damage coming in on the tank or ooms almost instantly from bad spell choice.  Random heroics are indeed random.  There is also no control over what happens or who you get.

In a raid you will have a designated kill order, people will follow it, they will not try to flex their epeen as much as they will try to do the best they can do to make everything go smoother.  There is also a much larger sense of accountability in a raid setting, one that is absent in randoms where people can act like jerks without worrying about their reputation.

The DPS is usually hand picked so you will not run into people doing 5K.  The healers are hand picked so you will not run into healers that run out of mana 20 seconds into a fight.  You will have a better array of buffs, you will have a set attack plan, you will usually have a designated leader and you have an offtank for trash. 

That is a huge thing when compared to a heroic, where trash is usually 100 times harder then the bosses and DPS always seem to aim for the mob you have the least aggro on.  For some strange reason it seems like in randoms if a DPS gets aggro they like to run to the healer, perhaps to get heals, who knows what goes through the minds of idiots, and not run to the tank.  This will usually mean the DPS dies and the mob then locks on to the healer killing the healer and thus the wipe is now well on its way.

Raid tanking can be downright boring.  That is something you can rarely say about heroic tanking.  Heroic tanking is almost always exciting and not always in a good way.

Once I explained what he meant by saying that he was still afraid to tank Zuls the other person understood completely and said, I guess I don't blame you then.

I've said it before and I will say it again.  No matter how easy the content is, it is only as easy as the people around you will let it be.  In group play you could be the best player in the world but when surrounded by horrible players then you too are horrible.

I've heard people say that tanking is the hardest role in the game.  I've heard people say that tanking is the easiest role in the game.  What it really comes down to is where you tank, and who with.

I consider tanking to be the easiest role in the game and not by a slim margin, it is the easiest role in the game by leaps and bounds over anything else you can do.  The reason I say that is because I do not tank randoms.  I tank raids.

Tanking difficulty is directly connected to those around you.  Keep decent people around you are you might just fall asleep tanking.  I've had a tank tell me that not so long ago after I dragged him into BWD for the first time some months back.  He had never done Chim, so I explained it and said, don't worry, it is super easy.  When the fight was over he said, you where not kidding, I almost fell asleep there.  I said, welcome to the world of raid tanking.

Being tanking difficulty is directly connected to those around you it makes random tanking most likely the hardest part of the game.  Normally easy content is always complicated when you add random people into the mix.

What it boils down to it mindset.  Whereas healing and damage dealing both need a mindset and a skill level, tanking is more about the appropriate mindset then it is about skill.

I've seen some horrible tanks that have the right mindset for it do well.  They do amazing things with seemingly little or no skill.  It is because they have the mindset to deal with chaos.

Good random tanks and PvPers are the same.  They excel in chaos.  It is their mindset that sets them above the others doing the job.  Sure, skill does play a factor but without the right mindset your skill means nothing.

Healers and damage dealers look at everything in a rational, organized, logical way.  The adaptive mindset to chaos is needed less often for those roles and even when chaos comes healers and damage dealers can deal with the chaos in a logical way.

In a raid things are usually pulled in a planned way.  Thus rational, organized and logical.

If I, or that DK, ever want to tank in randoms on a regular basis we need to change the way we play the game.  Not the skills we have for the roles we play, those are fine.  We are going to need to change the way we think.  We are going to need to develop the mindset of chaos.  Organized chaos if you will.

How do you train the minds of the players that look at everything as black and white.  As right and wrong.  As rational, organized and logical to have the mindset of dealing with chaos?

How do you get 'em tanking?

Or more importantly, get them into the tanking mindset of organized chaos so they can be random ready.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Achievement Hunters Rejoice (?)

I've not read much, or anything really, about the opinions of achievement hunters about the change to achievements that is coming with the release of MoP.

Personally I like the two coming changes and for me at least it is a reason to rejoice but is it a reason to rejoice for other achievement hunters?

I can see the reason why some achievement hunters would be upset by making achievements account wide.  They might consider it as if they are being slighted by it.  Lets say me and someone else are both at 10K achievements.  They only have one character, I have many.  Now I will have 12K and they still have 10K.

While achievement points mean nothing really.  They are just there to give you something to aim for.  I can understand why someone would be upset and I can understand both sides of the argument should it ever arise.  While I have my own opinion, I can understand the other point of view.

I can see people that are against it saying their achievements mean more because they where all earned on the same character.  I can see them saying it was harder for them to get certain achievements because I know darn well that some achievements on some classes are harder then others.

I can see people that are for it saying that they, as the player, did the achievement, so they earned it no matter what character they happened to have been on at the time.

I side with the second one there.  If I earned an achievement I earned it.  What character I was on should not make a difference.  I am still me, the person behind the screen, no matter which pixels I am currently playing.

Right off the bat I know my main will be getting a few achievements I have been unlucky with the moment this happens.  The reason for that is that some achievements are just easier to get on certain classes or roles.  I'll list a few for example.

Faster Than the Speed of Light is not a hard achievement in and of itself.  That is assuming two things.  You have even half way reasonable DPS and a tank that knows how to move it.

When I tank it I get it every time if the DPS is not horrible.  Heck, the first time I ever tanked it I got it.  I am a warrior and a bear as my main tanks.  Which means I am a rage monster.  I keep moving because it keeps my rage up.  I hate down time.  I think that is why those classes fit me well.

I just tell people never touch the throggs, they are mine and mine alone.  Attack bosses only and let me handle them.  I pick them all up, drag them to the boss, AoE tank the boss, the throggs go down with the boss and I keep moving.  See, super easy.

On my hunter I have never met a tank that knew how to do that.  I even told them how to do it when they asked and still they where too slow or just did not have enough skill to figure out how to do it.  I've been in there with groups of people all over 15K DPS, which should really make it a cake walk and still had tanks move like they where taking a leisurely walk through the park on a lazy sunday.  My main will now have that achievement.

Tunnel Vision is another one that is not hard, you just need a healer you can count on for it.  My healers have it.  As a matter of fact the first time I was ever in there on my healer the tank said, do you want to try this, you seem to be a good healer.  I said, I'll try my best, we did it no problem.  I've done it every time in there since.  I tell people, if you want tunnel vision just do not switch to the lightning totems.  They don't, we do it, I've never wiped.

My hunter has done ZA over 50 times and has never gotten a healer that could handle it.  I've suffered more then a few wipes because healers could not do it.  I've had most healers say they can't straight out and a few that said sure and they could have but some stupid DPS did not read chat and notice we were going for the achievement to get it.  All my DPS characters, not just my main, are missing that achievement.  I'll be glad to finally have it.  It is an easy achievement, there is no reason for me not to have it.

Ohganot So Fast is one that is easy but on the DPS whereas the others were on the tank and the healer respectively.  My DPS have it.  My healers have it.  My tank?  Nope.  That could be partly because I rarely tank them or it could be because when I do tank them it is usually to help newer characters gear up so we do not try for achievements.  Either way, I will have it now on everyone.

I like the idea that I can now hunt my achievements on the character I want to hunt them on.

There is another added bonus I don't think many people will even notice.

At the beginning of this expansion I was stuck on my healer because we lacked healers.  No one wanted to heal in Cataclysm, can't say I blame them, I liked the challenge, I hated getting used to it however.  So I spend most of the first part of the expansion raiding as a healer and occasional tank.  I think my main, my hunter, downed a total of 8 of the bosses in T11 before T12 came out because he never had the chance to get into any raids.  I was always needed on my healer or my tank.

I had considered changing my mains.  It would have really increased my enjoyment of the expansion if I did not feel like I was always playing something I did not really want to be playing.  It would have felt like I was leaving so much behind if I where not playing my main, my hunter.

One of the things that kept me from doing that however was a main with over 10K achievement points.  I worked hard for that and if anything that showed that was my main.  I did not want to switch because I did not want to leave all that behind.

Now?  No problem.  Now I can play any character I want and my main gets the achievements too.  I no longer feel like I am cheating on my hunter by playing my shaman.  I will no longer care if my first firelands clear is on my tank instead of my hunter.  I won't give a crap if we go do some old content just for fun and my mage gets an achievement my hunter did not have.

All characters are now truly an extension of me.  It is no longer my characters that are getting the achievements, it is me that is getting the achievements.  I like that.  It lets me play the game without feeling bad that I am not on my main.

It actually makes the concept of having a main different now too.  Mains used to be tied to things you got on them, mounts, pets, achievements, progression.  Now that we share all achievements, can trade pets, the only thing that is character restricted is mounts.  Making the whole concept of mains different.  Now you can play every character as if it were your main.

Truth be told, I was getting quite bitter that I had to heal or tank when I wanted all the achievements my other characters where getting on my hunter.  Now, I will get them.  So I will fill any role needed and I will fill it happily knowing that now I, the player, get the achievements and not just the character I am on.

There is another addition they said they are adding that might cause some achievement hunters to be happy.   Account wide achievements.  Things like get every profession to max and get every race to max and every class to max.  Stuff for the alt-a-holic and stuff for the achievement hunter all wrapped up into one nice little package.

Most of those achievements I will get instantly if they where added now.  All classes to max, all professions to max, I would have to wait on at least two races for max however.  Might be three, have to check.  I know for a fact I have no max level goblins yet.  I always delete them after the starting zone just to start it again.  I do have a goblin priest however that is working her way up albeit slowly.

I wonder what other achievements you could add that would be account wide like that.  Perhaps for each dungeon they would have an account wide achievement where you need to tank, heal and DPS the dungeon.  That would be cool.  I could easily do that, I have tanked, healed and DPSed every raid and dungeon in the game as it is.  Now I would get an achievement just for that.

Actually, that is an achievement that could be done by three classes without even needing alts.  Druids, paladins and soon monks would all be able to get those achievements on their own.  For account wide achievements like that they might add that it must be on three different characters.  Works for me, I like the idea.

Another little thing most people might not have realized is that this coming change for MoP has changed the way some people play in cataclysm now.  I know it has changed the way I play and it was only just announced.

I have done very little arena this expansion.  Truth be told, I still have not gotten used to PvPing with focus.  I read everything there is to read.  I know the changes we have had to make as a hunter.  I just still do not feel comfortable with it in an arena setting.  I am okay with battlegrounds and the group setting of the occasional world PvP (which we really need more of, it is awesome), there is more room for error there and more room to learn.

Now, with the chances coming in MoP I can PvP on my shaman in arenas and still get the achievements on my hunter.  I am all for that.  No one wants a hunter on their arena team, even more so a hunter that freely admits he is completely relearning how to do arena but I have been asked to join arena teams left and right on my shaman.  I even had someone tell me they would help gear me up before I had any PvP gear just because even a bad resto shaman is good.  These changes open doors for me.  Before I would have never considered doing arena on my shaman.  Kind of in a selfish way for my hunter.  If my hunter can not do it, then I do not want to do it on my shaman.  Now my shaman is doing it for my hunter.

MoP has given me more things to do in cataclysm.  I can now arena.  I can now get all my raid achievements while tanking or healing and not feel bad about it because my hunter will have them too.

I am no longer suffering the penalty of being a DPS main.  I can now use my tanks and healers to get the achievements for my DPS main.

Amazing how a change in another expansion has changed how I feel about this one.

Now that I can get achievements on my hunter while on my warrior I might actually be willing to pug tank and random tank again.  The baggie did nothing for me.  It was not a lure to tank randoms in any way for me.  Allowing me to effectively get achievements for my hunter while on my warrior, now that might make me tank.

While I can surely understand why some people might be upset with a change like this I like it, I like it a lot.  This change alone has made me go from almost wanting to quit to considering spamming trade to knock out every achievement I can on my tank.  I want to play again and I know everyone needs tanks so doing things on my tank will keep me busy.  Nice change when compared to being bored to hell on my hunter.  It is quite amazing that this change in feelings toward the game is because of something MoP has to offer, not because of anything Cataclysm has to offer.

Sometimes it is the little changes that make the biggest difference.  This is proof, from my standpoint at least.

I am all for the changes to achievements.  What about you?


Yes, I know we do not know exactly what achievements it will be yet.  We only know it will be for the "harder" achievements.  If there are any achievements that are "harder" then group achievements where you need other people to do the job right, I have never seen one.  I am hoping that all raid, dungeon and PvP achievements (things that require other people to get them) will be what they meant when they said "harder" and it is from that point of view I wrote the post.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Annual Pass: What Is The Intention?

When the new annual pass offer was posted the first thing that crossed my mind was that I was buying it, it was not even something that needed to be considered. 

I looked at it this way.  I pay all year round anyway so paying in advance is no big deal.  Add to the fact I get a mount, another game and an invite to the beta and you basically have a no brainer here.

As it turns out I actually saved money because of this.  By paying in advance I saved $2 per month on my subscription cost and I saved the money I would have spent to buy the mount.  Yes, I would have bought the mount anyway.  I have the sparkle pony and the rasta lion so I would have got that too.

That alone means I have saved, at the least, $24 in subscription costs and $25 on the mount for a total of $49 savings.  Nothing wrong with saving $49 if you ask me.  Add to that the fact I get another game free, if I play it or not does not make a difference, it is free, and an invite to the beta guaranteed it as a win/win/win all the way around for me.

When I mentioned I bought the new package to some of my guild mates and explained the advantage to buying it they all seemed to jump on board.  Some are probably going to sign up today even.  Every one of them immediately considered buying it and the few that had issues with it had issues with it for one reason only, the outlay of a years payment.

When I explained that you do not have to pay a year in advance, you can pay one month at a time if you want to, then any reason they had not to buy it was gone.

It is a good deal for everyone that plans on playing for a year anyway.  Worst case scenario would be you get a free mount, a free game and a beta invite but pay full price for each months service.  Still pretty much a win/win/win all the way around.

So what exactly is Blizzard's intention with offering a package deal like this?

It all comes from an accounting stand point.  While it might get a few people that do not subscribe all year long to subscribe for a full year that would be a bonus in their mind.  While it might very well get a few of the people that quit playing to come back and pay for a years commitment even if they are not currently playing cataclysm.  It is not aimed at them as their main focus. 

It is aimed at me and people like me.  People that plan to pay for a year anyway.  The are giving all the bonuses to make sure we take notice and make our yearly commitment in advance instead of paying as we go.  They want to try, as best they can, to get everyone that is currently playing to commit to a year.  That is the intention.

It is completely for accounting purposes.  Even if everyone chooses to pay one month at a time when agreeing to the year contract, every month on that contract can be counted as revenue generated in the quarter that the commitment was sold in, or assigned anyway they see fit.  Commitment contracts are really fun for accounting and playing with numbers to make them look better then they really are.

They are trying to boost their quarterly numbers for the sake of their stockholders.  Nothing more.  They have to answer to them first, not us.  The stockholders took note of losses since cataclysms release. 

While us fans argue over if the loss of players matter, some saying yes, some saying no, the stockholders opinion was the only one that blizzard actually took notice of, and they said, yes, the loss is a problem. 

Just look at what recently happened to netflix.  It lost 810,000 subscribers and its stock fell 23%.  In comparison, netflix is much bigger then WoW, lost (percentage wise) much less then WoW did, and it hurt them.  It hurt WoW too and this is their response to try and keep the stockholders from biting their heads off.

This is being done to address that problem, to save the game in the eyes of the stockholders, not us.  They want to be able to show the stockholders at the next meeting that even though they have lost a fair deal of subscribers their profits have gone up instead of having to say, we lost subscribers and all the money associated with them. 

That is the reasoning behind such a fantastic deal.  There is absolutely no reason for anyone in the game not to buy this deal.  They want, they need, as many of us regulars to buy it.  Even if all you can afford is $15 a month and can not spend more up front you can still take advantage of the deal.  You can still get the free game, you can still get the free mount, you can still get beta access, all for the same exact $15 per month you are already paying anyway.

If you look at it from our standpoint blizzard gets nothing by giving this to us.  If anything, they lose.  They lose the money some would have spent on Diablo.  They lose the money they would have made selling a mount.  They lose the money from people that always paid monthly like me but now pay in advance so my cost is now cheaper.

It seems they are buying time for this next expansion and hoping it will reverse the bleeding that cataclysm has caused.  This sale is just a way for the accountants to pad the books by using future commitment numbers as current numbers (a common practice) to make it look like they are doing fine, to make the stockholders happy long enough for MoP to come out. 

Then they will all collectively hold their breath and cross their fingers and hope that the month MoP is released it doesn't lose customers the same as it did the month cataclysm was released. 

This is a gambit.  A risk.  If MoP turns out to be as badly received as Cataclysm has been and causes more people to leave, even in small numbers like 5%, then the whole franchise might be in for a huge change because the stockholders will demand it.

We will find out for sure on May 15th when MoP is released I guess. 

Now stop reading this and go buy that annual pass now.  It's worth it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts

- With all the thinking about MoP the most important question seems to have slipped my mind.

- Will we be able to skin the pandas?

- They are animals after all right.

- I want my hunters T14 to be the Panda Slayer set.

- I can wear a panda on my head like in the movie tropic thunder.

- They made me wear a murloc, they should allow me to wear a panda.

- I think a panda helm would be way cooler than a murloc helm.

- I doubt we will be able to skin the pandas just like we can't skin worgens any more.

- I remember leveling my rogue back in the day and spending hours in duskwood skinning worgens.

- They had a great respawn rate.

- Now my rogue is a worgen.

- I wonder if his pixelated mind is suffering with some self hate issues after killing so many of his own people just for their skins.

- Someone told me they just leveled through there and they can no longer skin them.

- Quite sad, what is the world coming to when you can't even skin things with fur.

- Speaking of that, I remember the first arctic fur I ever got.  It was from a dragon.

- I didn't even know dragons had fur.

- I guess if we can't get leather from skinning cows (and tauren) then we can get fur from skinning dragons.

- This is a fantasy game damn it, stop trying to think logically.

- With the pandas being able to choose sides could this mean opening the door to other races being able to choose sides?

- If they ever do that I hope they make it so you do not need to level a new character to be allowed to change.

- That would be a hell of a lot of new tauren and trolls I need to level just to make them alliance.

- It isn't so much that I would rather be alliance, it is the fact that I see no reason for the tauren or trolls to continue to side with the horde.

- Their debt is paid, well paid, if you are even considering that angle.

- Not to mention, the leadership is not the leadership they agreed to help.

- Sides can change.  People to not remain allies forever.

- The days of tauren and trolls in the horde should be long gone.

- Even more so after the wholesale slaughter of the druids in ashenvale.

- Tauren and trolls are druids too, are you telling me that did not bother them?

- I can't see them staying horde, or at the least staying in line with the current leadership, much longer.

- Time for a change.  Orcs need to become the second class citizens in the horde empire and let the trolls take the lead.

- Their war machine would be a hell of a lot more effective under troll leadership and their diplomatic endeavors would be much more welcome coming from taurens.

- You have to wonder, with all the advances the horde are making the last few expansions, when will the alliance leaders stop being pansies and start fighting back.

- I am guessing never, the alliance is primed for destruction, they do not have the heart to fight back at the same level the orcs are taking it to.

- Horde are just forgetting their biggest enemy if you ask me.

- It is not the alliance.

- It is the forsaken.

- I still say when you start a forsaken you should be able to choose the race of the forsaken you want to be.

- Or is life after death reserved for only humans and the occasional night elf?

- I would make a panda forsaken.

- Even the panda haters have to see how fun that would be.

- A panda forsaken monk doing the barrel roll and leaving a leg behind.

- Time out!  I need to get my leg, sorry.

- As some might be saying now, the only good panda is a dead panda.

- So that means forsaken pandas are good right?

- That would also mean the hunter T14 Panda Slayer set would be good too.

- In the immortal words of Captain Picard, make it so.

- Have a great day all.

- Beware of undead pandas.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Now... The Other Side

I posted a list of many of the things that popped up that I am looking forward to with the next expansion, now to post a list of the things I am not to thrilled with.

Pandas -
I don't have anything against them because they are a cute type race.  We have probably thousands of pigtailed female gnomes running around that people made just for the purpose that they are considered cute.  Cute had a place even in a RPG. 

What I have against them is the fact of what they might turn out representing.  A change in the game toward an audience that isn't me.  Lets face it, no one wants the game they love being turned into something else.  I hope it is not a step in the direction of making WoW into a kiddie game and bringing in droves of people that are not fantasy RPG players into what is supposed to be an standard fantasy RPG game.

Some people might also call them silly and have that against them.  I have nothing against silly either and I am pretty sure most of the panda haters have nothing against silly, they just do not want to admit it.  I've leveled at least a dozen goblins through the starting area just because it is silly and it was fun.  The thing for me is will they always be silly?  I worry about that.  The goblin starting area is silly, but it is just a small area that is silly, not their entire life.  I worry about them making pandas silly from beginning to end.  We have silly beginning to end already, we have gnomes, we do not need more silly.

Mists of Pandaria Title -
It just does not seem to fit the pattern of the game.  Again, like I said about pandas, it feels like it might be trying to change the audience of the game.  I feel a little slighted by that.  I am the audience, or at least I thought I was. As far as I am concerned they could have called it Kung Fu Panda Adventure Island and I would have the same feeling about it as I do with them calling it MoP.  It is a horrible title.

All the other expansions where named after a focus.  Is the focus really going to be about one island only?  Doesn't seem like much if you ask me.  Would wrath have been as cool if it was called the Snows of Northrend?  Nope, it was the fact it was a long quest to kill Arthas that made it exciting.  If all we did was run around and fight bad guys that exist for no reason other then to kill them then killing them does not feel like is as important.

How would BC have fared if it where called, The Mystery of Outland and all we did was run around exploring a new area and meeting new people and new races but having nothing to aim for?  While a title is not everything, it makes you wonder sometimes.  The other titles seemed to have a purpose, this title seems to be blah, at best.

Antagonist -
The lack of having someone we need to defeat as our main goal scares me.  Why does it scare me?  Because of the grind.  We all grind for things we like, we all grind for things we are aiming for, we all grind for something, for some reason.  The grind is fun because we are aiming for something.  Once we lose our focus on what we are aiming for or once what we are aiming for no longer seems important to us, the grind becomes annoying and no longer looks like a means to an end.

Why keep grinding gear when there is no one we really want to beat on?  Sure, we will do it because we have been trained to do it.  Just like the elephants in the circus.  They chain them down with heavy chains and they try to get away every day, sooner or later they stop trying to get away, their brains where trained that they can not.  After that point you can tie them down with sewing thread and they will never try to get away.  We are trained the same way from the game into doing the gear grind.  There is one huge difference here however, I mean besides the fact we are not elephants, at least I don't think any of my readers are, we can move on.  If we are not inspired to do the grind somehow, we will stop sooner or later.

If there is no one to beat, or no one interesting to beat, where is the driving force to keep grinding?  I lost complete interest in deathwing and killing him so while I do make an effort to keep up, within reason, I do not go crazy like I did when I wanted to kill Arthas.  If something new came out BoE that was best in slot, or close to it, I would make sure I got it ASAP in wrath.  Now, who cares, I can do well enough without it, not worth getting.  That is with someone to kill and I still lost interest because that someone, deathwing, was a boring antagonist.  With no one to kill, will this expansion be able to keep me wanting to grind?

Raids -
This is one of the biggest problems with Cataclysm and they seemed to not even remotely touched on it for the next expansion.  Maybe being we have no big baddie to go after there is no need for them to address the raid problems.  I am not talking about the difficulty here.  The difficulty in Cataclysm is pretty close to perfect.  Some bosses seems to almost require a certain class to make them easier, but outside of that, raiding seems good over all.

The problems with raids are much more straight forward.  Lock outs.  We want 10 and 25 lock out back.  Check that, we need 10 and 25 lock outs back.  With the advent of the harder raiding the ability to pug has been compromised so badly that having two lock out is almost imperative.

That is where pugging failed this expansion more then the difficulty.  The ability for guild to run 10s during the week and pug 25s on the weekend.  Without that, less people get experience, less people get gear, less people know the fights to help the progression as a guild.  Also, without that, it creates stress for guilds.  Say your guild is not making the progression you personally want, or you showed up late for a raid, you might want to go grab a pug.  With two lock outs you can jump into a pug and still be available for your guild, should they need you.  Now you can not do that.

Two lock outs are needed again, maybe people have said it, blizzard has not listened.  I am not sure why something so simple is taking so long for them too fix.  Unless there is some reason they don't want to and if there is, I would love to hear it.

Pugging -
They are introducing a few things in an effort to help pugging but all of them are short sighted and not well thought out.  Raid finder would be a winner, if it where 10 man as well but they are making it 25 man only.  When tanking a 5 man trying to get 3 DPS to follow a kill order or CC or interrupt is nearly impossible, how exactly are you supposed to get that many people to do what you can rarely get 3 people to do?  A 10 man version would really help.  You could most likely fill all DPS spots from your guild so there is no need to worry about bad DPS.

Speaking of bad DPS, it seems their way to fix this is to take away their ability to choose their skills.  No matter who you are, you will now have the perfect spec for what you choose to do.  No longer will people choose the wrong abilities.  Blizzard seems to forget that bad players are bad for a reason, because they are... not good. 

Giving them the perfect spec is not going to make them play their class right.  You will still have 2K DPS boomkins, 5K DPS ret paladins, and hunters that think just shooting steady shot is a solid rotation.  If they where good players they would have had the right spec to begin with.  Giving them the right spec is not going to magically turn them into good players. 

I think they made this change to help out in 5 man pugs more then raid however, to assure you had tanks with the right tank spec, healers with the right healer spec and DPS with the right DPS spec.  It is a noble undertaking, don't get me wrong, I like that people will all have the right spec but forgive me if I don't believe this will help the bad players.

Stat Changing -
I am not really sure how to feel about this.  They changed the way we have stats in cataclysm and  it seemed okay.  Not horrible, not great, but usable for sure.  Their biggest error with changing the stats was not the change, so to speak, it was the fact they did not fix everything before it to go along with the change.
Now they are going to try to do that again and I am sure we will have even more discombobulated stats all over the place on gear that is not current gear.

I think this was needed, while numbers are just numbers and we can keep just making them bigger having them smaller makes them easier to balance and control.  So bringing them back down to earth is a good idea.

I have no problem with trying to get "in order" but if you are not going to fix previous items you are not fixing the problem as a whole, you are only addressing the current and creating a big mess for everything that came before it.

It could be a huge plus to the game, it could be a huge mistake.  That remains to be seen.  Changing how everything works every expansion however, is not a good idea.  Which brings us to change...

Change -
I'll admit it.  I am a geek that will immediately look to the experts for advice.  I will find out what stats are best for me, what my caps are for my classes, what my optimum rotation is, all that fun stuff.  As a geek I do that and I like doing it. 

The problem is, I am probably part of 25-30% of the WoW population.  The rest of the people are really just part time players, something to pass the time players, call them the true casuals if you will.  They never looked at a forum, they never studied a rotation, and even if they might care enough about their class to try as hard as they can to do reasonably well they might still think that you need to put a blue gem in a blue slot.  They don't read so they do not know any better.

It is that population of WoW that these constant changes hurt.  People like me will keep up, it is what we do, but everyone else will start feeling slighted because every time they start to feel comfortable the game changes everything on them.

Lore -
I don't know a great deal about panda lore but I do know that what I know is probably most of it because I read often.  There is just not a lot out there about them which means they need to do a hell of a lot of building on lore this expansion.

Why is this under my don't like list if I like lore one might ask?  Pandas as a whole just do not interest me to begin with.  I'll give it a go of course because I like most of the changes coming for this expansion, but I can't find myself getting hyped up for their lore.

The reason I feel their lore will be pretty much a loser of a proposition is because there is no lore connecting them to the rest of the world as we know it.  One of the greatest things about lore, good lore that is, is how everything is connected.  They are not connected with the outside world and the little bit they have been we already know about.

Are we going to need to withhold our disbelief while they try to tie everything that ever happened in Azeroth into panda lore?  I am not sure I can do that.  I will know it is bullshit, and I will know it is a stretch.  Which leads me back to, I am just not that interested in the panda lore to begin with.

Most everything else seems to be on the right path for the most part.  I read someone say a line on the forums I really agree with.

"Now I get it, they named it MoP because they are mopping up the mess they caused with cataclysm."

Sure feels that way, to me at least.

I called cataclysm a patch, not an expansion.  It felt that way.  It felt as if it were just something thrown together while they tried to figure out something they could give us that was a good story.  I will call MoP a patch as well.  It is a patch to fix all the problems they created for themselves with cataclysm.

I am still waiting for the follow up to wrath.  As far as I am concerned wrath was the last expansion.  Cataclysm and MoP are just going to be two huge patches they are charging us for.

In the end however, I do think I will like the 5.0 patch a lot more then I liked the 4.0 patch.  I just hope we get the next expansion soon, the last one was in 2008.  In game terms, that is a lifetime ago.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm Starting To Like The Pandas

So far the only two things I don't like about the next expansion are pandas as a playable race and the name.  The name is just a name, so no big deal and the pandas are just another race, no big deal.

I don't like them but neither one of them is enough to make a big deal about.  So they decided on a stupid name and a cutie race.

While I can't really see playing a panda I most likely will, just to have one.  I have one of everything else so why not?

I am starting to really like pandas however even if I do not want to play them.  Each time I see someone complain about them it just makes me like them more and more.

If you are going to complain then complain about something that matters.  Take it from someone that is a master complainer.  I complain about things I don't like, I complain about things I do like, I complain about things no matter what.  But there is always a reason behind it.

There is no reason to complain about a race.  Don't like it?  Don't play one.

The trade chat on my server is like the panda hate society.  Each panda remark is more rude then the next.  People saying blizzard has gone full on retard and are catering to 6 year olds.  Each one of these comments make me like pandas more and more.

Step up your game people.  Complain about balance.  Complain about difficulty.  Complain about content.  Complain about quests.  Complain about horde favoritism.  Complain about alliance favoritism.  Complain about something that impacts the game in some way.

There are people out there that hate gnomes, or trolls, or what have you, but you do not hear them saying that they are going to quit because they are in the game.  You know how those people protest the races they dislike?  They don't play them.

While the fact remains that I am in no way a fan of the pandas and I might see it as a step in a direction of making the game aimed at a different type of player than myself, I can just not play one if I do not want to.  There is so much in the game to love and hate.  To focus all your hate on a race because they are cute seems a bit sad if you ask me.

Are they secretly afraid that having a cute race around might cause their epeen to shrink?

From looking at trade it would seem the only thing people hate so far about MoP in any large numbers are pandas.  If that is the only thing there is to hate in an expansion then I think we are in great shape.

If the people in trade keep this up, I might just become a panda lover by the time the game comes out.

Talent Review: Not As Advertised.

The run down before I babble:

Talents 2.0
  • Major change to class talent trees, and this is a new phase of development for the talent system.
  • The goal is to have you sit to another next to another combat rogue, and this combat rogue will actually have different talents than you do!
  • Character customization was the original point of talents in the first place but overtime cookie cutter builds dominated the scene.

New Model
  • Class Abilities are available to all specs in the class. All warriors learn heroic strike for example.
  • Spec Abilities are available to certain specs. Only Arms warriors learn Slam. Retribution and Protection paladin get Hammer of the Righteous, etc ...
  • Talents are optional skills/bonuses available to all specs. Any warrior can choose Throwdown, and you will have to pick between 3 different crowd control abilities on this level of talent.
  • Level 15 - You pick your first talent. For example, warriors have to pick between Juggernaut / Double Time / Warbringer and players will have to pick which mobility ability they want to pick depending on their playstyle.

Talent Philosophy
  • Access to stuff you never could before. If you were a subtlety rogue you knew you weren't going to get something like Killing Spree. And because talents are going to be all in the same tree, you're going to be able to combine them in a way that you never could before. For example, any rogue can have Shadowstep!
  • Several new, overpowered (feeling) talents will be added to the game.
  • If you don't see a beloved talent in your new talents list, don't worry, it's probably something we gave your spec as a baseline. For example all Holy priests now have Circle of Healing.
  • No mandatory talents anymore.
  • Every choice should be hard but fun!
Once again they are redesigning the talent tree in an effort to fix things.  They have said on more then one occasion that they want to make a break from the cookie cutter design and even touch on it again with it's statement that you can stand next to someone that is the same spec as you and be different from them.

Forgive me for being rational here but sometimes I feel it is my job to point out the obvious.

You will choose your spec.  Everyone that chooses that spec will have the exact same abilities.  You will not even be given the choice of having different abilities because once you choose that spec you get all the abilities that spec offers.

Sounds about as cookie cutter as you can get to me so far.  So cookie cutter in fact that you do not even have a choice, everything is handed to you, like it or not.  They are not giving you the materials to make the cookies and then letting you figure out the proportions you want to use, they are giving you the cookie itself, the finished product.

This surely has its place.  I have seen some horrible specs in my day.  I've had a few horrible specs in my day too before I started reading up on what is best.  This is basically cutting out the middle man when it comes to deciding on what abilities to choose.

In the past you would go to a site, Elitist Jerks for example, and look up the best marksman spec for a hunter and copy it.  Easy enough right?  Well, if the number of horrible hunters with even worse specs out there shows anything, most people have not figured out how to use the internet yet to search.  Blizzard decided to make it so they did not need to search any more.  Want the best marksman spec now?  Just choose marksmen.  You have it. There are no options.

Sounds cookie cutter so far right?

To defeat the concept of cookie cutter they added new talent points.  One every 15 levels.  You get an option of three abilities and can choose one of them.  Simple enough.  All three of the abilities have their place somewhere in the game, all it really is doing is letting you choose the flavor of the cookie you are getting.  Chocolate Chip, Butter Crunch or Oatmeal Raisin.  It is still a cookie made with the same cutter, it just has a different taste.

Having only 6 talent points to spend means less chance for error, less chance to choose bad options.  Even someone that knows nothing can not mess up choosing 6 things too badly and like I said, all of the three options have their place.  Looking over most of the them for all classes I have found very few that I looked at and said, that would be a horrible choice.  Some might not be optimal, some might not be great, but none are going to keep you from doing your job one way or the other.  You will still have all your markman abilities, like it or not.

Lets take the first tier of hunter choices for an example of how truly cookie cutter this is, even more then it has ever been.  Two hunters, both marksmen, both have all the exact same abilities.  Both are given 1 point to spend on one of three things.

Frozen Arrows - Your arrows and ammunition are chilled with frost, causing your Auto Shot to have a 30% chance to reduce the target’s movement speed by 30% for 10 sec.
Arcane Arrows - Your arrows and ammunition are infused with arcane magic, causing your Auto Shot to have a 50% chance to restore 5 focus when it deals damage.
Venom Tipped Arrows - Your arrows and ammunition are mixed with serpent venom, causing a stacking poison damage over time effect on the target dealing nature damage. Stacks up to 5 times.

All three of these options have some appeal for sure.  One gets thrown out immediately however when you are talking about PvE.  Frozen Arrows is a PvP talent even if on rare occasion it might have a PvE use.  All marksman that are doing PvP will have that one most likely.  Cookie cutter right?  Now the choice is between the other two for the PvE hunter.  Both seem good, one hunter will take Arcane while the other chooses the Venom option.   There we go, now the two specs are different but are they really?

I am sure they are going to do their best to not make one so much better than the other so the difference between the two hunters and their respective DPS should be so minimal it would not be noticed at all, assuming the same gear, skill and connection of course for example purposes.

There are no really wrong choices here because of that fact.  It becomes a choice of what sounds cooler to you.  Perhaps as a marksman Arcane might be a better option, to restore focus, and as survival Venom might be a better option if the mastery effects the nature damage.  But again, I am sure the difference would not be huge.

As some point sites, like Elitist Jerks, will decide that in marksman that Arcane works out to have a 35 DPS advantage over venom and all the hunters that read often will choose arcane just for that extra 35 DPS.

The hunters that do not choose arcane might lose 35 DPS but who would ever really notice that?  Unless you are raiding hard modes and going for a world first you do not need to min/max anything to the point where 35 DPS really matters.

So it would still be cookie cutter because even if you choose different things it will not be enough of a difference for anyone to notice.  The only "wrong" option would be to take the PvP talent in a PvE spec and in truth there are times where said PvP talent might have a place in certain PvE fights as well.

Now lets add to the fact that they said changing talents (all 6 points of it) will be as easy a changing glyphs.  So even those choices that might be harder, like silencing shot or wyvern sting or intimidation (which are the level 30 hunter choices) will mean nothing.

I am sure the raid leader would tell their hunters if they need CC and need wyvern or if they need interrupts and need silence and even if they don't all hunters have other forms of CC to use and all melee classes have a better silence than a hunters so even the choice of support abilities means nothing.  It can be changed on the fly and it is only support, something other people could do anyway, and probably do better.

What this all adds up to is the fact that everything will be more cookie cutter.  You will have the same base spec and your six points will all be placed in support abilities that are not make or break to begin with.

The only huge thing I see here comes with PvP.  No longer do I need to completely respec if I want to do some PvP.  I just change my 6 talent points, as easy as changing glyphs, to the PvP option that is best and now my PvE hunter is a PvP hunter in less then 10 seconds.

Most of the options, for all classes, have an obvious PvP option as one of their three choices which means that for the PvE player it is almost always the choice of  two things, not three.

Basically what Blizzard is doing here is not trying to break away from the cookie cutter design, they are trying to reenforce it. They are making it so people that do not read sites will get the optimum abilities and have as little chance to make bad choices as possible.

Even if we figure a right choice and a wrong choice making as much as a 100 DPS difference we are still talking a total of 600 DPS difference if they choose everything wrong.  In the end who cares if someone does 24200 DPS or 24800 DPS.  Like I said, unless you are doing hard modes or going for world firsts that small difference is not going to make a difference and lets face it, the people doing hard modes and going for world firsts are usually the ones that wrote what is the best option, so it is not like they don't know to begin with.

In the end the new talent system is more cookie cutter then ever before.  By not giving options at all, they are taking away one of the biggest parts of this type of game, the ability to make your character what you want.

What they started in cataclysm by destroying the options in spec making forcing you into one tree for 31 points they have finished off here.  Spec design has officially died.  We will all be the same, even if they try to tell us otherwise, because we have no choices what so ever in our specs.

I think the reason for this is to help the clueless players in the game and cataclysm really helped point out who those people are.  I have no problem with helping them out but I do have one concern.  If they where so clueless that they did not have a good spec that means they where so clueless as to the point of not knowing how to play said spec even if it is given to them.  This will not help them.  It will only hurt the people that want a choice.  A bad player will remain a bad player, even if you force the correct spec on them by taking away their choices.

This is not a break from the cookie cutter, this does not allow for any character customization, this is the exact opposite of what they say it is, it is not as advertised.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Okay, They Listen Sometimes.

Hunter minimum range is gone!

 Very nice indeed.

Hunter melee weapon is gone!

 You better REALLY up the stats on the ranged weapons then.

Developers would like to do PvE battlegrounds, where you will have to slay 50 alliance/horde soldiers, destroy 6 towers and the barracks, and then defeat the enemy General.

Okay, we have proof they read my blog.  You think?  I have been on and on about this for a while now. and that is basically my description of one of my scenarios.  Hope they do gates of hell, please, please please do gates of hell. (check last post for a link to it if you never read my PvE battlegrounds idea)

You will be able to collect, level, and battle with companion pets.

This feels a little bit silly, okay check that, a lot of bit silly, but then why do I love the idea?

Players got grumpy

Really?  Who would ever be so grumpy?

You don't need the typical tank/heal/dps setup, you will just be able to enter and play your role no matter what it is.

Excellent.  Something in the game that lets everyone play instantly, how ingenious.

Resilience will become a base stat, and will increase a little every time you level.

No more PvP gear, thank god, no more need to complain about people that take the easy route just for a gear score and not for effective gear.

Allow achievements to be shared among all characters on the same account, things such as the raid achievements and the ones which are difficult to get.

There are so many achievements I have on other characters I do not have on my main, I was waiting for this for a long time coming.   Now all my characters will have 310% speed without ever having to buy it.

Allows to include new achievements such as "get all the professions to the maximum level"

Ah, some love for the alt-a-holics out there.  Thank you for noticing they are people too blizzard.

Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery (Wings 1 and 2) will be back in Heroic Mode

Lets hope they do it like Rades over at orchish army knife laid it out and we will have a real winner here.

Increased focus on max level content, it will reward you with Valor Points.

Valor points for doing quests?  Count me in.  If I get bored of dungeons and my guild is only downing 3 bosses a week I now have other options.  Huge thumbs up for this one.

For example finishing a quest might give you a buff for the day, and maybe that buff will let you roll on a loot that only appears to people with that buff.

Okay, you really got my interest with this one now.

More quest choices, and a lot less linear

I love you blizzard, I think I am going to cry.  It is okay for a grown elf to cry?  Even more important, is it okay for a grumpy elf to cry?  Down with linear.  Please do not make that mistake again.

Monk new class.

Isn't that what a disc priest was supposed to be?  I just have one question.  I have 10 alliance on one server, one of each class.  I have 10 horde on another server, one of each class.  Are you going to give me at least the ability to add one more character for the new class on each server?  If not... well, I try not to post the types of things I would say there in my blog but you get the idea.

No flying until max level

I'm all for that, excellent idea, but watch the QQ to come pouring in because of that one for sure.

Diablo III Free with Annual Pass

Awesome, a free game for paying for a game I am paying for anyway?  And a mount too?  Okay, who am I to turn away free stuff.  I'll take one for the team and bear the burden of free gifts.

Challenge Mode Dungeons

And you can't over gear them too.  I love it.

There is still a lot more to come I am sure but for an expansion based on Kung Fu Panda and as silly as the whole concept sounds, outside of the name and the new race being pandas, everything else sounds sort of good so far.

I am not sure how I like the idea of not having a villain for an entire expansion.  I like having a goal, killing Arthas was a driving force, killing deathwing just bores me, killing nothing?  Not sure how I feel about that yet but it can't be worse then deathwing. I'd say I have a higher desire to kill nothing then I do to kill deathwing.

So far it seems like this is looking good.  Just wish it had a better name, might as well just named it Kung Fu Panda Adventure Island with a name like they did.

I am sure I will have more detailed comments but so far I am finding little to be grumpy about.  I am not sure if I am happy with that or upset that I have nothing to complain about.