Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Calling All Hunters: The Zero Damage Challenge

I made a comment that I believed it was possible for all ranged classes to make it to at least level 30 without taking damage and that it was quite possible a hunter could make it to level cap without taking damage.  I was challenged to try it and I have accepted.  I now want to invite the rest of the hunter community to join in on what will be a fun and extremely difficult challenge.

Any class can join in on this challenge but to be honest melee classes can't do it, sorry, it is impossible.  All ranged classes could conceivably do it but lets face it, no class can hold a candle to hunters in a challenge like this.  They are uniquely designed to do just this.

So do you think you are a master hunter?  Lets see what you can do.

The Zero Damage Challenge


1) You must reach max level with less than 10K damage received. *
2) You can not enter a group at any point. **
3) You can be in a guild for bonus experience.
4) You can use heirlooms for the bonus experience.
5) You can take mining and herbalism for bonus experience.
6) You can not use a scroll of resurrection to start your journey at level 80. **
7) You can not use refer a friend to grant levels to your character. **
8) Sugar daddies are allowed to pay for flying, gear, etc.
9) No tag and kill allowed, you must kill your mobs yourself. **

* 10,000 damage is being allowed for incidentals like walking over fires or braziers, the 1-10 experience where you do not control your pet yet, and mobs that do AoE while you pass them but you are not actually in battle with them.  It is not much of a buffer and 0 would still be better than 10,000, so be careful.
** No way we can check this, up to you to be honest about it.

Tips and A Heads Up:

1) Know the mobs.  Some mobs will hit you even if your pet has 100% aggro.
2) Know the mobs.  Some mobs hit you when they die.
3) Pick your quests.  Some quests should be avoided, picking and choosing is suggested.
4) Work on rested.  Make it easier on yourself and only work on rested.
5) Beast Mastery is the way to go.  Less likely to grab aggro until you get misdirect.
6) Concussive shot everything.  Even if your pet keeps aggro.
7) Keep off of PvP servers.  This would be 1,000,000 times harder on them.
8) Do not go in to dungeons or battlegrounds.  It would not only break the group rules and you have no control over other people getting you damaged.
9) Beware of quests that assure you take damage.  There are some that you will always take damage on.
10) Slow and sure.  This is not a race, it is a challenge.  Everyone can win.

Do you have any comments on rules that should be changed or added?
If so leave a comment and  we might change of add it.

Do you have any tips to help out?
I can add them.

Are you planning on doing it yourself?
Let me know and if you want to leave your progress I will add it in an update and a page designed for all people trying.  Even failed tries will be kept noted if you let me know about them.

Do you think you can do better than a hunter?
Bring your mages, shadow priests, warlocks, elemental shaman and boomkins to the challenge.  I would be really impressed if a warlock could do this because they would end up damaging themselves for more than 10K in no time.

I will update this post and make a few pages to update from time to time for those that wish to share their progress.

There are less two months left to this expansion, lets have some fun on our way out.

Can you be the ultimate hunter, the true iron man?  Anyone can get to 85 without dying, a few people can get there without dying in no gear and even less can get there with more restrictions but can anyone get there taking zero damage?

Join the zero damage challenge.

Special thanks for Hyperious at Toys of Azeroth for the inspiration for this challenge.

A blog was made just for this challenge, you can view it at the hunter challenge.

For those that think this sounds a little extreme, you can do the Low Damage Challenge instead.  Under 2M total damage received.  It will still be hard, trust me, but there is a lot more room for a mistake.

Monday, July 30, 2012

First Aid: The Forgotten Profession

While I am of the belief that all the professions are in desperate need of a serious overhaul the one profession that seems to have been forgotten the most is first aid.  Some might argue that it is only a secondary profession and as such it does not need any real attention, it does what it needs to do and doesn't need anything else.

While in a way I agree I also don't in another.  Fishing and cooking are getting a lot of love in mists and have even had dailies since the days of the burning crusade.  They are secondary professions too.  Even the newest secondary profession has received a lot of love in the upcoming expansion.  So much so that to get all the little goodies you missed in cataclysm you can just hang out with the pandas and still get the older stuff.  How is that for love?  They are making sure you can get old stuff doing new stuff.  So why is first aid still so blah.

I've recently asked some people about how many feel about the first aid profession and the standard response is that they do not even learn it.  It is a waste of cloth and that cloth, more so for a new character, sells so good that it really isn't a choice.  Sell all the cloth you get while leveling and get better bags, flying when you need it, stuff for main professions if you fall behind, etc.  So it comes down to gold or a bandage and most people that think about it choose gold.

Part of the gold vs bandage argument that a couple of people mentioned to me was the ease of leveling now.  They don't ever get hurt badly, so there is no longer a need to bandage yourself and I can't argue that.  You could probably level most ranged classes without ever even taking damage until level 30 or so.  I am sure I could level a hunter without taking much or any damage all the way to 85.

So looking at it, not only is first aid the forgotten profession but it seems like the game is actually designed around not needing it now.  Kind of the reason most people that level healers never learn it.  I can heal myself, what do I need first aid for.  Now it is not only healers, it is most people.

I remember when I leveled my first character.  First aid was very important to me.  Admittedly I was not as knowledgeable as I am now but I was always getting my butt whipped while questing and having some bandages was a blessing.  Even now, leveling alts in this world where we do not need first aid I am attached to it.  Perhaps from fond memories or perhaps because I am a completest or perhaps because I know there are still a great deal of uses for it.  Maybe all three.

PvPers still learn first aid, at least the smart ones do.  Because sometimes you just need that heal and if you can get to a safe place for a few seconds a band aid is better than wasting mana, a precious resource, for even healers.

People that like to solo content like myself also know the wonders of bandages.  I've done a lot of soloing that I would have died if not for taking the time to bandage myself.  Even a few ticks of a bandage can mean the difference between life and death sometimes.  It is why I rolled with herbalism for the longest time.  The lifeblood skill used to be a solid, even if small, heal that saved me on more occasions than I can count before blizzard nerfed the heal to hell for some unknown reason.  The never ending healing flask in wrath and the root in cataclysm also came in handy for the hunter that likes to do soloing, namely me.

Some people understand the need for those small heals sometimes but those people are few and far between.  It depends on what they are doing and weighing what matters more to them and in the end a small heal you need to channel does not seem to offer enough incentive for people to even consider leveling first aid.

Lets face it, how many people do you see stop and bandage themselves in a random when the healer is having trouble so they can take pressure off them or when the healer died just to give them that little life they needed so they would not die?

I would guess that number would be really low and I would not be surprised that if you saw a hunter doing it you were in a random with me.  Because I always have at least 100 bandages on me at all times and I am not afraid to use them even if my DPS will take a hit for a few seconds while I keep myself alive and help out an overwhelmed healer some so they can concentrate on the tank.

See, the thing is that first aid is just not an attractive profession.  I look at first aid as the one thing you can look at and tell the difference between a player and a gamer.   A gamer will have maxed first aid even if they have never used it and a player wouldn't.  Gamers are old school and first aid is old school.

With the redesign of the old world and so many other things catching up to the new way of gaming I think it is about time to make first aid a good secondary profession for everyone and not just something that people like me use.

How exactly could that be done?

I think there is one change that can be made that would immediately move first aid for being a blah profession to a cool profession.  A worth having profession.  One that even healers would use and might even use more than the non healers would.  One little change that could turn first aid from the forgotten profession into a must have for every player in the game.

What is that change you might ask, so I am going to tell you.

Instead of needing to channel the heal make it so as soon as you click the bandage it puts a heal over time effect on you that ticks over 10 seconds for the amount healed.

Now even healers could use it for spot healing and saving mana.  Pop heal over times on everyone while in heavy movement with the bandages and let your mana regenerate some.  PvPers do not need to find that line of sight all the time to get the heal, they could be fighting you head to head and suddenly there is a heal over time effect on them.  Soloing would be the same thing, no more waiting for that moment when I know I will not be interrupted by some AoE or an add or something under my feet forcing me to move.

Having bandages apply a heal over time effect instead of needing to be channeled might take a little of the need for skill out of the PvP aspect and soloing aspect, but it sure as hell would make it attractive to a great deal more people.  I might even hazard a guess that it would be something everyone would have.  Free heals that you can move during, cast as an instant, and restock whenever you want is something that most people just can't ignore.

There are a few more things I think could be added to first aid to move it from forgotten secondary profession to must have profession for any serious player.  If they would do the few things I am about to present I could even see any serious rated battleground team, arena team or raid team making first aid required of all their applicants.

What First Aid Needs:

1) Heal Over Time Effects:
As I just mentioned above.  That alone could very well be enough to make first aid worth getting for many people that just ignore it now.  The number one reason you do not see many people learning it, outside of the gold thing I mentioned, is the channeling effect.  It is time that channeling requirement went away.

2) Anti-Poison:
We used to have this, where did it go?  There should be one for each level block.  It would add the first aid debuff of one minute as all first aid things would do and it could only be used on yourself.  Cures one poison.

3) Anti-Curse:
Another one that would be on the same first aid debuff of a minute, can only be used on yourself and have one new one each level block.  Cures one curse.

4) Anti-Disease:
Same as curse and poison, just in disease flavor this time around. Cures one disease.

5) Anti-Magic:
Same as disease, curse and poison, just in magic flavor this time around. Cures one non-damage over time magic effect.

6) Anti- DoT:
How about one that will remove one random damage over time effect from you.  A new interesting twist to first aid and one that would really be hit or miss but could very well save your life in a battleground or end up removing nothing special.  Are you willing to take the chance?  Same as the others of course, only on yourself and applies the debuff.  Cures one damage over time effect.

7) Lightwell:
Why should priests have all the fun yelling at people to use the lightwell?  Just like there is a guild cauldron for flasks there could be a guild bonus for max level members that have maxed first aid.  They can create a first aid station that would have 10 or 25 charges and people could click it to get the same heal over time effect and debuff that a bandage would give them, or maybe even a tiny more being it is a guild thing.  10% more healing for the first aid station bandages would make sense as a guild bonus too.

8) Higher Heals:
Bandages could use a little healing boost too if you think about it.   In a game that has things and people capable of doing so much damage in such a short time the amount it heals for just does not seem worth the effort for most people.

As it stands now, there are very few reasons for many people, most even, to learn first aid.  The heal they give is not huge by any means, it is channeled, and it requires cloth that could be sold for a fair deal of money.  To the average player the gold will always win.  Even more so when they have the "its the healers job to heal me" mentality that it seems 98% of the player base has.

Having first aid that has more uses, more useful uses, would make it more attractive.  With the changes to dispelling and the longer cooldown for healers along with the increased mana cost having a way for people to take care of themselves would be a good design and I could even see raid leaders requiring that all their raiders had maxed first aid and came to raids fully stocked.

This would also create an additional market for many items, not just cloth.  The items needed for all the other things would vary and could be things that fall off different types of mobs requiring people to go out in the world to get them.

Don't need to make it a vanilla type farming grind where it would take people all day long to get the materials, but even a 20% drop rate would be easy enough for people to get it and give people a reason to get out in the world again.  Not going to turn this into a "benefits of grinding" article, but needing to get materials has always been and will always remain, the best way to get people out in the world, plain and simple.  If there is something people need and they do not want to buy it, they will go out and get it themselves.

For too long first aid has been the forgotten profession and it needs a face lift.  This idea might be a little much because adding that all could make it seem like a mandatory profession which would break the mold of what a secondary profession is supposed to be, but at the very least I would like to see bandages change from channeled to heal over time.  That might be enough for it to be worth people training it again.  As it is now, only the few that know it can still be useful will train it.

If they can go through all these efforts to make the other secondary professions attractive why can't they just make the one simple change to an HoT on first aid, the forgotten profession?

Monday Random Thoughts

- I can't wait for AoE looting.

- Did some recipe grinding this weekend and it reminded me how great it would be.

- Found a nice place to grind Fel Armaments and Mark of Sargeras while doing it.

- How come you never find these places until you do not need the items any more?

- At least they sell nicely.  50g per armament and 2 gold per mark.

- Got 3 armaments and 53 marks in less than 10 minutes.

- Not bad for something that was a by product of something else I was doing anyway.

- The mobs were respawning faster than I could kill them.

- And I was killing them in one shot.

- Now that is fast.

- I would kill one and another appeared in its place instantly.

- By the time I could step up to loot there was a stack of 5 or 6 dead bodies.

- Yeap, AoE looting will be awesome.

- Did some dungeon runs for recipes too, mostly in BC.

- Those dungeons have too many mobs that fear, stun, knockback, etc.

- Even at 85 you can not get too many of them on you without getting into the danger of being stun locked.

- Still would get nice stacks of 12 or so mobs at a time however.

- AoE looting would be a dream.

- I ended up getting all the recipes I was aiming for except for one dungeon one.

- Kept hitting the five per hour wall locking me out.

- At least it gave me a chance to go auction off all those goodies I collected.

- BC greens sell nicely for transmog.

- Some as high as 1000 per, others, not so much.

- I've found if you put them up for 25g anything sells.

- Better than vendoring them or turning them into arcane dust.

- And it gave me something else to do while waiting for the 5 per hour thing to go away.

- Do you know what I would like to see if they are intent on keeping this 5 per hour thing?

- A little counter when you tried to enter instead of just telling me I have entered too many instances recently.

- You have entered too many instances recently, you can next enter one in 15 minutes and 34 seconds.

- Something like that would be nice.

- Instead of flying back after doing my auctioning and finding I still can not enter.

- All that farming for recipes in BC netted me some serious cloth numbers. Over 1800.

- Too bad netherweave is worthless on my server.

- Not kidding, when you take into account what it costs to list the auction, you are better off vendoring it.

- Is it that bad on other servers too?

- I would have never though that cloth of any sort would be worthless.

- There are a few things you take for granted in warcraft.

- All types of cloth having a decent market is one of them.

- So I need to figure what to do with all this cloth.

- Vendor it, make something out of it, turn it to bolts to take up less space, there has to be something.

- For now I settled on turning it into bolts.

- I could vendor the bolts for 8 gold or try to sell them for 12 gold.

- Seeing the number of bolts listed, I am guessing they do not sell all that well.

- So being they cost a lot to list, if you have to list them twice you would lose money and be better of vendoring them.

- Sad.

- Even more sad is I am soon going to have even more of them.

- Because when AoE looting comes I am going to do old stuff more.

- Yes, believe it or not, I have started to hate doing old dungeons just for something to do.

- Reason is:  It takes longer to loot than it does to do the dungeon.

- And I hate leaving anything behind.

- I know, I could, but I just can't.

- Speaking of soloing old stuff.

- Blizzard... more bag space please.

- Lots more bag space please.

- With AoE looting I think I would need at least 50 slot bags.

- 100 slot bags would be better but still not enough.

- Hey, just make junk and cloth and gathering materials stack to 1000 and I won't complain about bags any more.

- Who am I kidding, in no time I would max out the junk I collect and be complaining again in a few weeks.

- I have this awesome idea for first aid.

- Well, I think it is awesome, I doubt many others will.

- I'll post it later.

- Have a great day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Can Scenarios Change the Way we Play?

I was thinking about the design of scenarios and wondering if the technology they use to make it would have the potential to change the way we play other aspects of the game in time.

For those that have been trying to avoid spoilers I don't think you have to worry about this.  I am not going to be telling you anything about the scenarios, just what they are.

Scenarios are like group quests that you can use a group finder to do the quest.  The beauty of the scenarios is that the group make up does not matter.  Unlike dungeons that require you to have a tank, a healer and three damage dealers you can do scenarios with any make up.  One tank two DPS, three tanks, two healers and one DPS, three DPS, two tanks and a healer, three healers, you name it.

That might sound interesting but looking at it from the background that means that the scenario needs to change based on who enters it.  The same scenario that three DPS can do will not be able to be done with three healers.  The scenario with one tank, one healer and one damage dealer will most definitely be different from a group that did not have the holy trinity.

With the design of the content changing based on the group that enters it I believe it could open doors that the game has never seen before.

Perhaps in time dungeons could be designed that way.  While someone might say, why should dungeons be that way if we already have scenarios there are many differences between them.  The only thing they have in common is you can grind valor doing either of them.  They function differently.  One is a group quest and the other is a dungeon crawler where you defeat bosses along the way.  One drops loot that you can gear up with and the other does not.  So making it work for dungeons would indeed be different.

Could you imagine if something like grim bartol was design to be done by any group of five?  Five damage dealers walk in and it becomes a completely different dungeon.  You can still grind your loot in the standard dungeon design without the standard group.

Is it possible that scenarios could lead to something like that?  Personally I doubt it and I do not think it is necessary for that to happen.  My personal belief is that scenarios were designed for damage dealers that needed no gear from the dungeons to be able to grind their valor without having to wait forever for a dungeon queue.  Being damage dealers are always waiting, having something that three damage dealers can queue up for and enter instantly to grind out their valor was why it was made.  A nice little addition.

It is the design of it that intrigues me.  If a dynamic grouping system can be designed for that, what else could it be designed for and what other things could we see it adjusted for?

The thing that has me the most excited about scenarios is what it might lead to.  With dynamic design it is possible the way we do other things can change.  There is one change I would love to see and this type of design could make it happen.

Dynamic raiding.  The idea of that just makes me smile.

Could it be done with 10 damage dealers?  One tank, one healer and eight damage dealers?  Three tanks and seven damage dealers?  Three healers and seven damage dealers?

OMG, the thought of that is just mind boggling to begin with.  It would make for not only many different group makes ups being possible and making it easier to raid for groups that do not always have the perfect balance but it would also mean that there would be no set video of how to do it because there will be dozens of different group make ups.

There might be a standard design, but perhaps one boss might be easier if you change your make up.  Like one of those gear check bosses, would it be easier bring four healers and less damage dealers, so it lowers the DPS requirements and then have those healers be smite priests, so they are dealing damage thus making that gear check boss much easier?

The possibilities are endless.  But that is why it seems unlikely that something like that would ever happens.  With only three people in a scenario being possible it is a lot easier to make for all make ups.  It is easier to design for only three people.  For 10 or 25, it would be so much work.  So that might never happen.  Correction, that will never happen.  It is nice to think about but it is not going happen.

If it is not going to happen then why did I bring it up?  Because it sounded really cool and it does lead to another point I am about to make.

The dynamic design they are delving into opens others doors that some might not have even thought about.  Such as raid composition, but like I said, I never see a group of 10 damage dealers going into a raid and it being designed for them, I do however see different group numbers.

The standard for most 10 man guilds when a raid first comes out is either 2 tanks, 2 healers and 6 damage dealers or 2 tanks, 3 healers and 5 damage dealers.  Perhaps this dynamic design opens some doors here.

We have all 9 manned bosses or even 8 manned them.  We have all one tanked bosses that suggest two.  We have all 2 healed things we should be 3 healing.  We have also all had people sitting out that wanted to be in, or people that could have come but that role was filled.

What if the dynamic design started to effect the number of people in the raid while keeping the group make up in mind.  So if you nine manned it you would not be doing it with 9 out of 10.  It would be made for 9.  If you had 2 extra people sitting on the bench waiting you could 12 man it and it would adjust accordingly.

Say you were using the 2 tanks, 2 healers and 6 damage dealer set up, but decide to bring those 2 bench players along you might need to use 3 healers because with the increased players there is a slight increase in damage going out.

It would still follow the general balance we have become used to, you could still do it with fewer healers than might be suggested, but that would depend on the ability of your group as a whole.

We could have 12 man raids, 15 man raids, 18 man raids, 22 man raids.  All based on the number we decide to bring along it would dynamically adjust for that amount of players.  From as low as 8 or as high as 40.  Could you just imagine that?

The dynamic design of scenarios could lead to something like that.  While I never see scenarios opening to doors for raiding with 10 damage dealers only, I do see it leading to raiding 15 man raids.

That would be the single greatest addition to the game for raiders if you ask me.  It would also open so many doors to allow guilds to bring someone along that might be forced to sit on the bench just so they could gear them up.

Lets say for example a raid group that can clear normal DS in a breeze and no one really needs anything, they can switch to three healers from two and add another three players, one for each token, just to help gear them up and do a 13 man run.  It could be a way to add one person to teach them, or test them out in an actual raid group for the hard core guilds.  No more sitting a regular to test a new recruit.  Just make it 11 man or 26 man.

I can see scenarios leading to this, I really can.  I believe this right here is the future of raiding and scenarios show that blizzard is not completely adverse to creating dynamic content where the content changes based on the people in the group.

This is something I will be keeping a close eye on and hoping and waiting for.

Can scenarios change the way we play?  It sure as hell might.

I would love 15 man raids with 2 tanks, 3 healers and 10 damage dealers and scenarios very well might be the first step toward making this happen.

Friday, July 27, 2012

10 Reasons For a 10 Man LFR

I've said that LFR needed a 10 man version since forever, even before it was released.  As it was released and time passed by I see even more reasons for a 10 man version of LFR.  There are reasons why a 25 man version fits but there are also reasons why a 10 man would fit the community better.

1) Balance & Ease

Looking for raid raids are tuned to be much easier because of what they are, so tuning it for 10 man is no different than tuning it for 25 man.  The difference however is that with 25 man certain things need to be tuned around 25 people which means they will hit for more by nature.

If something is designed to hit for 250K and people should stack up to split it so it hits everyone for 10K in a 25 man and it only hits one person it kills them.  If it is designed to hit for 100K in a 10 man so it would split so everyone gets hit for 10K and it only hits one person that person won't die.  So while on average 10 mans are harder than 25 mans, with the tuned down versions, it might actually be easier.  And being this is a random group, there is nothing wrong with easier because that is exactly what it is meant to be.

It might be against the grain but I think the LFR can use being a little easier.  I think that corruptions should be immune to all damage if an amalgamation is up.  I believe that the amalgamation should not fall under 10% life unless it had a 9 stack on it.  I think that the blood boss should become immune to damage until one of the bloods are killed or they all hit him, to force people to do the mechanics correctly.  I am all for LFR being made idiot proof.  I am all for the LFR being easier because it is supposed to be easy.

2) Group Make Up

The current 25 man group make up is 2 tanks, 6 healers and 17 damage dealers.  A 25 man is effectively 5 groups of 5 people.  If it were to follow the design of the random dungeons that would mean you would need 5 tanks, 5 healers and 15 damage dealers.

With the 25 man you are needing a lot fewer tanks, 60% fewer tanks as a matter of fact.  Which now turns tank queue into a longer queue.  While in 5 mans you often find yourself needing tanks, it is the exact opposite here.

With the 25 man you are needing 1 more healer if based on the five man formula we are all used to.  For a system that often finds itself offing a call to arms for healers based on the 1 per 5 random design, needing more than the 1 per 5 there already are not enough for just means more of a wait.  It is not exactly a good group make up to require more of something that is already hard to find.

With the 25 man make up you squeeze in 2 more damage dealers based on the five man formula.  2 more, on top of 15.  That is just such a tiny percentage it is really not even worth mentioning.  Damage dealers are the issue, they are the ones that do not get the baggie, they are the ones there are always too many of.  There should be more slots for them to offset that fact.

Remember, every tank or healer can be a damage dealer but not every damage dealer can be a tank or a healer.  As such, the balance needs to be more in the favor of the damage dealer, at least more than adding 2 more on top of 15.

For a ten man group it would be addressed much easier.  One tank, one healer and eight damage dealers.  Before you get your panties all in a bunch over that one healer thing let me explain, I am a healer too, so I know the pressure that would be.

Design the fights to be one tanked, which is not really that much of an issue being it is an easier version of the raid.  Just lower the application of stacking debuffs so they land on the tank slower, thus no need to switch like normal, or just cap them in looking for raid.  If a three stack is what should be switched on, three is the most that can be applied in looking for raid and another will not apply itself until the three falls off.  Easy enough.

For healers there needs to be an additional boost being there is only going to be one of them.  The healer in the group gets a double buff.  Their heals heal for double, their mana regenerates twice as fast, and their haste is doubled so they can get quicker heals off.  Also, lower the raid damage so the entire raid is not always in jeopardy.  Should not be a big deal, because this is an easier version of the raid, so lower AoE type damage is no big deal and a double buffed healer should easily be able to handle it.

Now lets look at the break down.  We have half the healers and half the tanks.  Which means the two baggie classes, the ones that are always needed, have their need lowered some.  And because of that we have 8 spots for damage dealers, instead of the 6 that you would have with 2 five mans.  So you would be increasing it by 2.  But increasing 6 by 2 is a lot more than increasing 15 by 2.  This would help the damage dealer issue.

A one, one, eight design would be much better balanced to represent the actual break down of the community and what they play, and as I said before you need to remember, every tank or healer can be a damage dealer but not every damage dealer can be a tank or healer.

3) The Bad Tank and Bad Healer Issue

Lets look at this from the five man situation as well and face facts.  A bad tank can make the group hell.  A bad healer can make the group hell.  A bad damage dealer, can make it harder, but if the other two damage dealers are decent, it can be over looked.

No one really likes to carry people but admit it, we all do it even if we shouldn't.  The number of dungeons I've done with damage dealers doing 5K or less has to be in the hundreds.  I am sure it is the same for all of you that might read this.   So we all carry people.  It is okay, it might make you feel dirty to admit it, but you do it too.

A bad damage dealer can be compensated for.  A bad tank or a bad healer it is much harder to compensate for.  With the one of each, tank and healer, in a 10 man versions it makes things much easier.

No more will we hear, the other tank did not taunt.  Or that there is one healer DPSing.  The tank is the tank and if there is a tank issue it is the tanks issue.  The healer is the healer and if there is a healer issue it is the healers issue.

No more free rides for the classes that should not be getting free rides anyway.  Lets face it.  In content that requires two tanks it requires them for a reason.  If one is bad it could very well mean a wipe.

Same goes for healing.  If something is designed for two healers, for example, and only one is doing well, it is wipe time.  10 mans would stop the squabbling of who's fault it is.  There is no tank to blame for not taunting when they should, there is no other healer to say, I can't heal this alone too.

But for damage dealers, it is designed for how much damage is required, not how many damage dealers are required.  If something requires a group DPS of 100K and you have 5 people doing 20K it really does not matter what 6, 7 and 8 are doing.  All they do is maker it faster, which of course is easier but damage dealers are based on a total they all do whereas a tank is judged by themselves and a healer is judged by themselves.

I know what is going through your mind right now and I am about to answer your question.  No, I am not advocating carrying the bad damage dealers while kicking the bad tank or bad healer.  I am advocating letting the players play the game we have all become accustom to playing, the 5 man mentality.

The 5 man mentality is this.  If the tank is bad you deiced, can we do it with this tank or should be kick him.  If the healer is bad you decide, can we do it with this healer or should we kick him.  If the damage dealer is bad, can we do it with him doing 5K or should we replace him.

Sure, it puts more pressure on the tank or healer than it does on the damage dealers, because it is just like a five man, they have no back up whereas a bad damage dealer can be carried if you are not having any problems.  It is not fair, no, but it is the world we live in and as anyone will tell you, there are more bad damage dealers in the game than there are bad tanks and healers.

4) The Kick Issue

There is one thing I am thinking about that 25 man looking for raid has that 10 man would not have even half as much of, and that is not just people, that is kicks.

With only one tank and one healer the likelihood of someone that can not perform their role even entering the queue is lowered.  They know they will not be able to get away with being a shadow priest healer because they are the only healer.  This means, there will be less need to kick bad tanks and bad healers.  People willfully enter as the wrong role in 25 man because they think they can hide in those large numbers.

Also, there will be less need to kick others as well.  The retribution paladin doing 2K, the arcane mage doing 3K, the warlock doing 4K and the hunter doing 5K will not be as easily over looked as they are in a 25 man.  I've seen people in the looking for raid do that and go unnoticed because there are just so many people there.  They would get kicked a lot faster here and they would learn they can not slack like that when there are less people.  Again, people willfully do bad because they know they can hide in the numbers.

Your kick would mean more in a 10 man as well. You will be kicking one tenth of the group out and one replacement could make a bigger difference as opposed to kicking one twenty fifth of the group where their replacements numbers, even if great, will not make as much of a difference.

In time, there would be less kicks in 10 mans because there would be less people can get away with and they would start to realize that and not even queue up.

5) Getting Away With Things

In a 10 man it would be a lot harder for people to get away slacking off, killing the wrong thing, not switching when required, etc.  With 25 people it is sometimes hard to tell who did what, even more so for people that are not used to 25 man raiding.

I've seen healers called out for doing something wrong when it wasn't them.  I've seen a shaman pull and get kicked but they kicked the wrong shaman.  I've seen a warlock that never switched when they needed to and another warlock get blamed for padding his DPS when it wasn't him.  I've seen a hunter get flamed over and over for his pet attacking a corruption when it was some other hunters pet.

I have no problem with someone calling someone out if they do something wrong.  I do have a problem with people calling out the wrong people.

Less people means less things to watch which means less people making mistakes accusing someone of doing something that they didn't.  Smaller groups are less likely to let someone get away with things.

6) Guild Groups

This could very well be a toss up.  I've done dungeons with 4 people from the same guild and it was a nightmare and I've done dungeons with 4 people from the same guild and it was amazing.  More often than not, even if a guild group has some bad people in the group, it is better than a full random.

For the most part a guild group, even if carrying a new guild mate through or gearing up an alt for someone, will have voice communication and that person, even if not doing well, will at least be following appropriate mechanics.

It would be better for guilds too.  A guild could make full 10 mans and run it to gear up and teach people.   Being most guilds run 10s now anyway, it would fit perfectly.

I can not speak for other guilds but I know my guild would easily make 5 full runs on our own and perhaps even a few partial runs looking for fill ins whereas now, we don't even run LFR any more because the most we can usually get this late in the expansion is 10 or 12 and unless we have all the tanks and healers we don't run.  Like I said, we could carry bad DPS, but carrying bad tanks and healers is just too darn stressful.  In the end, it would be easier for us to carry someone though a DS normal than it is to run LFR.

Guild groups would be better for guilds and it would be better for the single tank, single healer and single DPS that they need to play fill in.  Even more so if those guilds know what they were doing.

I can assure you if there was a 10 man version my guild would be running groups of at least 6 or 7 through there every single day of the week based on how many players we have and how many characters some of them have.  Even more so being it would be a faster way to valor cap our alts that way than it is doing randoms.

Guild groups running would be good for guilds and good for the community all around.

7) Familiarity

Being most guilds run 10s now, most pugs run 10s now, that means people getting experience in 10s is actually a good thing.  In 25 man looking for raid it has become known that if one person fails it can be easily over looked whereas in 10s every person is important.  Even in this watered down version, 10s can show that to a new player a lot better than 25s can.

It would also be a better place for someone to learn.  Even someone like myself that ran 25 for a long time can still find 25 man raids over whelming in the LFR setting where it always seems as if people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  In the looking for raid with the breakneck pace that people move at for someone that is not accustom to it the whole experience could be an effort is wasting time.  They can't learn like that and they won't.

Playing in 10s will mean it will be easier to follow the fight and the flow.  Also being, while still extremely easy, a lot more dependent on people doing the right thing they will more likely learn the right thing to do.

I can tell you from the number of players I have bought into raiding since the LFR came out that had never raided before, they see it and it is nothing like they remembered from LFR because LFR moves too fast, teaches them nothing, and does not even require them to know anything.  While 10s will still be super easy, being there are only 10 people it will help a lot with them getting familiar with the fight as it should be.

8) Teaching

People take it for granted that everyone in a group knows what to do and to those people that think that I have one thing to say.  Take your head out of your ass.

While raiders do the LFR, the LFR is not made for raiders.  It is made for non raiders.  It has to be, with no coordination, no set leadership, no voice chat, and no real requirements being the system does not check to make sure people have appropriate gear for their class and role or even for PvE and no checks and measures to make sure people are gemmed or enchanted, LFR is most definitely not meant for raiders.

With that said, a lot of the people that do use the LFR are ex raiders, wannabe raiders that just do not have the time and people that would like to raid but do not know how to.  That is who the looking for raid is for.

In a large group they get the mob mentality and the sad but true fact is that rude and abusive people are the most vocal which means they start in on people in 25 man and others follow.  That is mob mentality for you.  In a 25 man that means there are a lot of people that can turn on you. Even if it only ends up being three or four, when only three of four are vocal, it sure feels like the entire raid is against you.

People can not learn this way.  Instead of bashing someone, explain to them.

There is a reason teaching does not happen in the 25 man LFR however.  There are just way to many people there and if the average of 1 in five players is bad you do not really want to waste your time teaching five people when you just want to be blowing through the content. This is why LFR is so abusive.  Well, this and the fact that everyone has their head up their ass and thinks that everyone should know everything just becuase they do.

In a 10 man group it would be easier to teach that one or two.  In a 10 man group it is also more likely that you will find people willing to because the likelihood of one person starting a mob mentally harassment like in 25 man would be decreased.

Again, I can not speak for others, but I know when my guild runs 4 of 5 randoms and we get someone new we always help them and give them advice if they want it.  So I am sure if we were doing an 8 of 10 LFR we would do the same thing.  But if we do a 15 or 18 of 25, we just do not want to be bothered.  There are just too many people that need help.

Most people, even the jerks, would be willing to help one person and maybe even two.  But you see seven or eight that need help and you say screw it, they are on their own.

The people that LFR is meant for would be better severed running 10 mans because they would learn a hell of a lot more from it and are more likely to get people willing to teach instead of insult.

9) Pugging & Community

Most servers people pug content.  Most servers they pug it as 10s.  While I've seen people attempt to pug LFR on a few servers it rarely ever happens.  That is a lot of random people to get together.  But a group of six people, even more so if they have the one tank and one healer required, could easily fill out a 10 man looking for raid team.

This would actually bring a little taste of community back to servers that seem to be losing it to the looking for system.  From what I've read, seen and think myself people would rather run with self made groups.  It is easier to make a self made group for a 10 man.  That is something no one can argue.  It is a fact.

Lets forget about pugs for a second even.  Just look at the random groups.  In a 25 man no one talks to anyone, at least not nicely, there are just too many people there, but I can assure you in a 10 man people might be more likely to.  They would even be more likely to talk if part of the 10 man is three people from one server and the other is seven people from another.  Then it is not talking with 24 random people it is one group talking to another.  It could actually bring a little community to the global community that randoms have put us into.

So doing it as a self made group or letting the system put two groups together, it could be good for the community.   I can't see much wrong with that.

10) Diversity

The game is all about giving people options, or at least it seems like that to me.  People have the option to raid or PvP.  They have the option to do harder raiding in heroics, or more concentrated PvP in arenas and rated battlegrounds.  In mists you will have the option to grind your valor from quests, dungeons, scenarios, raids, challenge modes, you name it.

There is reputation grinding, mount hunting, pet battles, farming, archeology, dailies for fishing, cooking, some professions, reputation, or just gold.  There is playing the auction house, gathering to craft or sell, world PvP, sitting in stormwind doing nothing, you name it.

The game is attempting to give people as much as possible to let them play the game the way they want to play it.  They go through extreme efforts sometimes to make sure everyone is included in everything and has the option to do it if they so wish, that is the reason for the looking for raid to begin with.

So why, with all these options all allowing us to play the game the way we want to play it is there no option to play it with a random 10 man looking for raid if we want to?

I think that is a fairly decent question.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

So Long Cataclysm, Thanks For All The Fish

The title might just seem like a reference to hitchhikers guide but it is not.  It is actually how I feel about cataclysm.  I might have even come up with that as the title of this post even if hitchhikers guide never existed.

So now that cataclysm is going the way of the dodo I'm going to take a walk down memory lane and remember some of the good stuff from an expansion that was mostly blah.  And blah is an extremely kind way to describe it.

So what about those fish?

Probably the one thing I will remember fondly this expansion more than anything else is the ease of getting my agility fish.  With the expansion funneling us into two main cities, SW and Org, and giving us little or no reason to ever leave them, having the port to TB in those cities to pop out and get as much eel as I could get my hungry little hands on was a nice thing.

Jump thru the port, do a few laps, catch massive amounts of fish for my agility food, get one of the herbs I needed for my agility flasks, and kill a million and one foxes hoping to get a new little fox kit friend and you have now found my favorite place in all of cataclysm.

All that and when I was done I could step right through the port and be back where blizzard wanted me.  Sitting in my home town doing nothing like the good little boy they want me to be.

For as much as they say they want to get us out in the world more and more they continue to design the game to give you less and less reasons to go out.  This is why TB, and my agility fish, were my favorite part of this expansion.

Not only did I spend the entire expansion well fed, even when questing, I made thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, off of those eel.  They were right there, at my feet basically, and people would pay 15g per for them all day long every day.  When you could catch 10 stacks in an hour, people would still pay for them, it boggles the mind.

That is why I have to say it.  So long and thanks for all the fish.

Sand in my shoes and I don't care.

Uldum was my favorite zone without a shadow of a doubt for many reasons.  I hate cluttered areas, it always screws with my camera view and all I see is what is behind me and I can't see what I am fighting.  No problem with that in uldum.  I also like the architecture.  It was a pretty sight to see in my opinion.

Flying around there was just so much to do as well.  Looking for that stupid camel statue I never found, collecting the other of the two herbs I needed for my agility flask, seeing a nice clear area and of course it was one of the two places I needed to go to so I could do some soloing for a mount, that being VP.  This meant I spent more time in uldum than I did any other area outside of TB this expansion and that was fine with me because it was the best zone.

Not only did I end up making a mini fortune selling the agility fish, thanks to this area and TB I made a mini fortune selling the agility flasks as well.  I had more than I could ever use anyway.

I can't see how anyone could say that making money was hard when I was making at least 2K-5K per week all expansion without doing one single thing to try to make money.  Just selling the extra junk I picked up during the course of the daily game play.  On the few occasions I pushed for some cash I could easily do 50K a week doing the exact same thing that made me 2K-5K a week, if only I did it for more than the hour or two a week that I normally did.

Uldum had the best quests too, as I will go into next, which made it a winner of an area all around.  On a scale of 10 I would give it a 9.  The only reason it would not get a 10 in my opinion was because there were way too many cut scenes for my liking.  They all were nice, but not all needed.  A cut scene to walk from one area to another was a little bit of overkill if you ask me.  Outside of that, uldum should never have been in cataclysm.  As a zone, it was too good for it.

Jane, stop this crazy thing.

No matter what they do questing will always remain the same in its concept.  Kill 10 of these, collect 10 of those, go kill that one mob with the long respawn timer that 27 other people are also waiting for.  Cataclysm took it one step further by turning those repetitive tasks into mandatory repetitive tasks.  No more could we do the quests we wanted to do and skip the ones we didn't want to do, we had to do the ones we were told to do to open other ones like it or not.  This on rails linear quest design was one of the worst additions in an expansion full of bad ideas, so that is saying a lot.

But that does not mean that cataclysm did not have a few gems in the rough within that massive pile of crap that linear questing was.

The one where we throw the bears from the tree in hyjal was great and it was made even better once it became a daily for the molten front.  It was fun throwing bears and it was a even more fun when we needed to throw one at a sleeping core hound as part of an achievement.  I could just imagine the core hound just sleeping there having a nice dream about eating questers and them getting hit in the head with a baby bear.  That is just too funny.

When it comes to winners on the questing front the two best quests this expansion hands down came from uldum, the best zone.  The quest you get to whack the pygmies with the hammer was a winner all around.  I do it on all my characters if I am in the area.  Doesn't matter if I need rep or not.  I just like doing it.  Whack, whack, whack, pygmies go flying.  It is a great quest for sure and it is a daily.  It does not get much better than that does it?

The number one quest of the entire expansion without a doubt in my opinion is Gnomebilteration.  If you have not done it, do it, it is fun fun fun.  I swear it is the only time this entire expansion I actually laughed out loud while playing.  Hearing those gnomes scream in pain was just so funny.  It might start with just a giggle but the more you hear it you move from giggle to laugh and before you know it you are cracking up.

I do it on all my characters.  Even more interesting is the fact that I do not just do it and move along like I always do with quests.  I actually take my time and enjoy this baby.  I will kill the 1000 I need to kill and keep going for a few minutes after.  I will abandon it and take it again just to kill more or to have it so I can play with it later.  It is a great way to cheer yourself up because it is fun.  The biggest mistake, quest wise, this expansion besides the on rails linear questing was the fact that they never made this a daily.

That's not a raid... now this is a raid.

This expansion suffered from split personality disorder.  Tier 11 raids where fun, even if I think they were a little to much for the pug society, they sure were fun for guild runs.  The entire one shot mechanic design that most bosses had made it something that many guilds had issues with and made it so pugging them was near impossible.  One missed interrupt and it was a wipe.  That was a tad much for most players.  That is a heroic mechanic, not a normal one.  On normal you miss an interrupt and it hurts, a lot, it does not cause a wipe.  That is the difference between heroic and normal, stuff like that.

Pugs aside, which tier 11 was not nice to, it was an amazing tier.  I loved BWD.  It is the only raid this expansion I can say that about.  Yes, there were little things about it I did not like but over all BWD was the best raid of this entire expansion by leaps and bounds.

Throne had an interesting design for the first boss (three bosses) and the last fight was one of the most stressful random number generator fights I've ever experienced, and this expansion had a few like that, but even at that, it was a nice little raid that had more to it than other mini raids did.

BoT, I can do with or without.  I was not a big fan of it from a casual raid team point of view but it was not bad over all.  I liked the randomness of the first fight but was not a fan of the second or third at all.  Last one was okay but I could live without it as well.  Even if I was not a huge fan of the fights there I think the biggest problem with it was it was too short.  It was not long enough to be a raid and not short enough to be a mini raid like throne.  It just did not feel natural.

The biggest issue with cataclysm was the fact that they mixed up their raids this expansion.  The easiest raid was last when it should have been first and the harder raids were first when they should have been last.  Not to mention the lore behind the starter raids, although still not really fleshed out enough was much more than anything we had for the last one.

The split personality of the raids was the biggest problem with the expansion for the most part when it comes to end game content.  They went from a fun challenge to a repetitive bore.  Even firelands in and of itself showed that split personality can happen in one raid.

I can not speak for others but I know from my experience we wiped more on rag then on the entire raid combined.  They should have scaled the raid to progressively get harder boss to boss but instead did a small climb up and then jumped so high it was culture shock.  This also caused rag to the the first and only boss my guild has ever actually given up on.  We took two weeks off because he stressed us out that much before we went back and kicked his butt.  We needed the break.

So while I did not like raiding this entire expansion I can at least think of the good time in BWD.  The only raid this expansion that felt right.  Interesting mechanics, slow building difficulty, and a nice feel to it.  If only it had been longer and did not have the instant wipe mechanics that destroyed the pug scene in tier 11 it could have very well went down as one of the greatest raids mentioned in the same sentence as ulduar and kara but because of those things, and the expansion it was part of, it will just be another raid everyone forgets about.

Even as is, I liked it but not much else this expansion when it comes to raiding.

I want it NOW!

The best part of the entire cataclysm expansion was the announcement that it is officially over September 25th when Mists comes out.  I guess it says something about an expansion when you are happy to see it end.

I've only ever felt this way once before playing the game and that was when ToC was out.  I was so excited to see it was over when ICC was announced.  It was so good to see that it was over and that is how I feel about this entire expansion.  Just 10 times more.  That was only a patch, this was a whole expansion.

In the end there is not much I can say I liked about cataclysm but there is one thing I can say.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LFR Questions Revisited

Today I would like to revisit a post I made on September 22nd, 2011, LFR Questions and see if we can answer some of those questions and concerns I raised back then before the looking for raid came out.

The question asked then:  Will LFR kill LFD off?

I originally said that I believe it would kill off, for the most part, the looking for dungeon because it was a better option.  I was half right.  I was wrong in the fact that it was a better option.  Many of the reasons I stated it would be better for ended up not being so.  I was right however in the assessment that it would kill off LFD to a good extent.

It seems common place now to use craftables, PvP gear, BoEs from the market and valor BoEs when you get a new character hitting 85 and effectively skip all the dungeons.  Or, at the least, skip the original heroics, the zul heroics and get into the HoTs until you can finish the quests for a few pieces or get lucky with a few drops.  Then you just do looking for raid until you are geared and ready to raid.

So, to many, the looking for raid did indeed kill of the necessity of the running dungeons.  It looks like I was half right there.  I was only half right because people like me, the actual raiders, abandoned LFR unless we were with a lot of guild mates and if we need valor we just do dungeons because we know we can get right into the real raid and the stress of LFR is not worth the reward of gear we are going to replace in one run of the real raid anyway when it was only minimally better than HoT stuff.

The question asked then: How will loot be handled?

I was worried about how loot will be handled and it looks like I had a good reason to be worried.  The first time I ran it two bows dropped and two rogues won them.  I then needed to run it for well over 20 weeks before I ever saw a bow drop again.  The rogues should have never been able to roll on them.  I might not have won them but some hunter should have, not a rogue.

They later addressed that adding classes to certain items but that did not fix the problem completely.  A shaman healer or holy paladin could not roll need on the offhand with spirit even if they were capable of equipping it.  The makers decided that they should only be using shields.  What is the difference between a shield and an offhand?  The armor.  Lets face it, the armor does not matter to a healer, or at least it shouldn't.  This is only one example of how their fix, fixed only part of the problems.

Then there is the DPS label giving the roll bonus to boomkins on agility leather.  Giving elemental shaman the roll bonus on agility mail.  Giving plate wearers the roll bonus on intellect damage dealing trinkets.  Wow, my worries were 100% correct.  The loot system was, and remains, and will continue to be in mists, a total pice of crap.

The question asked then:  Bad Players and Kick Options?

I was right and wrong again here.  I asked for less kick restrictions because there would be a need to kick more people because people could not be carried through mechanics and would need to be removed if there was any chance of success. 

I was wrong on so many levels there.  People not going out on ultraxion will show you that one.  I've had the amazing group here and there were nearly everyone went out, but usually it is the other way around and most don't.  I said, we needed to kick more people because we would not be able to carry them and I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  We carry people all the time, like it or not.  And sadly those are the people that always seem to win the loot.

You are indeed capable of carrying people and everyone seems to want you to carry them.  So while I was wrong about the why, I was right about us needing to kick people more.  If anything I think this is the reason the looking for raid has become so horrible.  There are too many players looking to get carried, the don't know how to play at all, the griefers, or the just flat out make life hell on everyone people. 

I still do not kick people, I leave that to others to deal with but if I were to kick everyone I ever saw that actually deserved it, we would be 8 manning most of these 25 mans.  Yeap, that is my assessment of looking for raid.  On average 17 of the 25 players should not even be there in the average group.

The question asked then:  Why No 10 player option?

It was answered.  It was a horrible answer.  Because they wanted to do 25s because it is easier to deal with people making mistakes in 25 mans as it is not as tight as a 10 man and it will help with the DPS queue times.  Okay, I buy both those ideas.  It did help with the DPS queue times and as anyone that raids knows 25 man raids are always much easier than 10 mans.  Always have been and always will be.

But while both those statements are true they still never gave us a reason why there is no 10 man.  Just because 25 man makes more sense doesn't mean there should not be a 10 man.  PvPing in PvP gear makes more sense but they let people do it in PvE gear.  PvEing in PvE gear makes more sense but they let people do it in PvP gear.  So even if 25 mans make more sense, we should still have a 10 man option.

If anything, I think a 10 man option would really fix a great deal of the looking for raid problems.  Most guilds are running 10 mans now and they will fill their own 10 mans and the world will be good because we will not need to deal with the 17 out of 25 players being horrible in a random world.

Perhaps that is why they do not do it.  If they made a 10 man version the only people in the 25 man version would be people looking to get carried and a group of 25 people all looking at the other person to do all the work would never get anywhere.

That is the true reason there is no 10 man.  They want those 10 good people to carry those 15 bad people and if we could do it on our own, we would not be there to carry them.

Now lets hear blizzard tell us that and try something they have absolutely no experience in, telling the truth.

The question asked then: Who Decides Who the Raid Leader is?

Well, we figured that one out.  No one decides, it is completely random.  I've been in groups where people got leader and said it was their first time in there.  People that had never raided in once in their life got leader.  Oddly enough, on all the characters I ran, none of them got leader except one, my shaman and my shaman got it near every time she was in there.  I think it is completely random and I think that is completely wrong.

They never developed a good way to decided leader and quite honestly, they never will.  The reason for that is, even if you choose the best person to lead it doesn't mean they want to lead.  Another reason is, no one listens to the leader.  I've seen many groups where someone tried to be the leader and no one listened to them or even worse, abused them for everything they said.

If someone would ask for someone to explain the fight, the leader might be a nice enough person to do so or they could insult them.  It was a coin flip really.  They never even made an attempt to try and put the people in a leadership position that should be.  My concerns were surely justified.

The question asked then: What about communication?

Seems like I had another right and wrong one.  I was right that no one would communicate or even try to do so effectively.  I was wrong in thinking that it was needed.  Quite honestly I think the only time I ever wanted to communicate in there was when I was tanking and we were on ultraxion so we could get the tanking switch down.  But the first time I tanked it and the OT was a total moron and kept dying and we ran out of resurrections and I solo tanked it I never worried after that.  From that point on when I would go in, I solo tanked everything because there was really no need to communicate.

However, the lack of ability to communicate was horrible, if you wanted to.  You could not even whisper people sometimes if they were on a server with two names like Khaz Modan.  It just would not whisper them.  You could try clicking on their name, you could try clicking on their image.  Doesn't make a difference, you can not whisper them thanks to bad coding.

Thanks blizzard, not only do you make something without a way to communicate but the one way we did have to communicate, text, we couldn't do sometimes.   At least the need to communicate was not as high as I expected it would be.

The question asked then: Role Checks?

Looks like this one got answered easier then it would have been if the raid had more difficulty.  They just used one set up of two tanks, six healers and the rest damage dealers.

My concerns were that not everyone does things the same and it seems my concerns were for nothing.  They made it so easy that a simple breakdown would work no matter what.  I guess I missed on this one big time, there was no need to worry.

However, you could call this a right and wrong one as well.  Because while it was designed for one build to beat all, there were tanks DPSing because the damage dealer queue was shorter.  There were damage dealers disguised as healers because the healer queue was shorter.

So the role check for breakdown was wrong, but the role check worries were right in a way.  Too many people in the wrong roles, the role check was not handled correctly.

The question asked then:  What About Gear Requirements?

I went out on a limb on this one and said I believed there would be a gear requirement.  I was right, but I'll admit I was not really taking any chances, it was a given they would do that.

I did ask if they would make the gear requirements a little more solid with this however, and I was worried about it.  Looks like I was dead on here as well.  They did not change it to make sure that it was gear equipped.  They did not change it to make sure it was gear appropriate for your spec.  They did not change it to make sure you were not using PvP gear.  They did not do anything they should have done.

If the gear requirements for heroic had taught them anything, they should have fixed all those problems with looking for raid but instead of fixing them they decided to play ignorant.  If they pretend like they do not know there is a problem they don't have to fix it.  Head in the sand syndrome at its finest.  Good going blizzard.  Ignore the problems as obvious as the nose on  your face, maybe we won't notice.

The question asked then:  DBMs Anyone?

I wondered if it would be required or if at the very least they would add something themselves.  I can see them not requiring an outside addon but they could have at least made it more user friendly for the non-raider that went in there.  They didn't.

There was no check to make sure someone was capable of doing the content at the minimum of having an addon to help them.  They did not give any additional in game information that someone without DBMs would need or that a non-raider would need.

They just said screw it, let them figure it out, and that is a horrible way to do things in a system that has no real gear requirements, no real communication, no real leadership and no real way of teaching people.

They just said, here is the sea, jump in, don't worry about all those shark fins you see, they won't hurt you.  Damn blizzard, if you really wanted to prove you do not give a shit about your players you sure did so here.  Nothing what so ever to make sure the people in the raid had any clue how to do it.

The new question we ask now:  Will It Get Worse?

I had such high hopes for it even if I did have a lot of worries or questions but I have no hope now.  It will only get worse as blizzard continues to try to push everyone into the barn like cattle.  There is a reason people did not raid before looking for raid and it is because they are not raiders.  If they wanted to be raiders there are several thousand guilds out there at all levels of progression, even from the starting point of never having raided before.  That is where people that want to raid used to go to learn. 

Looking for raid serves no purpose in the game and should be removed.  It's only use to to give non raiders the belief they are raiders and that is wrong.  You would not tell an elephant they can fly so stop telling non-raiders they can raid.

Trust me when I say this blizzard.  If someone wants to raid, they will raid.  They will find a guild that suits them.  They will learn how to play their class.  They will learn how to work as a team. They don't need you to make looking for raid into this horrible experience it is in an effort to turn everyone into a raider.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mistakes are Good

Not sure what inspired this, could be some of the stuff I was reading on the forums, but it wasn't anything to do with mistakes.

It was about the change to talent trees.  It was about bad players in dungeons.  It was about the removal of head enchants

So what does all that have to do with mistakes being good?

Well, people with bad specs were a good thing.  You could look at the spec and tell if the person was worth taking along on your raid or not.  I mean, even with the super simplified versions in cataclysm I have still saw a few really interesting, for lack of a better word, specs.  People learn from mistakes in their spec.  They learn why one thing is better than another.  They are more likely to understand why their spells do different things if they have to choose them.  Admittedly, most just look online for "what is the best spec for a hunter" and go with it, no further knowledge is needed.  But for the people that actively want to learn, having the ability to make a mistake there is good.

People that are bad in dungeons are a good thing too.  Why is that?  Good players learn from their mistakes.  Bad players might learn from there mistakes.  Bad player that did learn from their mistakes become good players or at least have the potential to become good players.  Mistakes are good.

With the removal of head enchants it removes the need to grind to get exalted on at least one character.  But in a way, it also removes the need for people to choose their enchant or defend their choice even.  Not like it was hard to choose, but I had seen boomkins with the agility head enchant because it was the only thing they could get.  Okay, I can buy that, but how will the boomkin answer when I ask him about it, that is what the head enchants could teach.  If they said, it was the only thing I have exalted and the extra secondary stat is better than no stat even if the agility does nothing for me is a solid answer.  Anything else, is a bad answer.  If people make the mistake of putting the wrong thing on, it could be a good thing.

Making mistakes is a part of the game.  Sometimes you need to make mistakes to know you did something wrong.  A part of the reason there are so many bad players is because there are fewer and fewer chances for them to learn from their mistakes as chances to make mistakes are taken out of the game. (and because most people choose to yell instead of teach, but that is another story)

What is next?  Remove ground effects because people might make the mistakes of standing in it?  Removing bosses hitting too hard because tanks might forget to use a cooldown?  Remove any AoE damage because the healer might make the mistake of concentrating on a damage dealer too much and lose the tank?  Remove the need to even roll for items because people might roll on things they don't need?  Oh wait, they are removing that already in mists.

Mistakes are good, mistakes help people learn, mistakes are how you tell the good players from the bad ones.

What is the next thing they are going to remove to make it easier on people because they don't want people to make mistakes?

If I screw up, let me screw up.  Let me take responsibility for my actions.  I'll tell you what, when you have to say sorry to your raid because you messed up on something and caused a wipe you don't make the same mistake again.  Well, if you are a good player you don't.  And that is why mistakes are good.

Define Trivial

You see the post title.  Simple, two words only, and as small as it is those words sum up all the problems with warcraft as a whole.

Defining trivial is different for all players.  It could even be different for one player depending on the role they are currently playing.  A true definition of trivial and how it is used in game are two completely different things.

Doing marrorgaw is a pug now, that is trivial for most groups.  You do not even need to move from the fire.  Just blow him up and it is no problem.  The healing required from people standing in it is minimal, the tank takes almost no damage and if your DPS is capable and you have a full or near full group the fight will only last 30 seconds at most.  That is trivial.

Morchok is not trivial.  95% or more of the raiding population likes to call it that but it really isn't.   If no one gave a crap where they stood, no one followed mechanics, it would not get done.  It is not trivial.  Maybe, just maybe, if you have enough DPS to kill it before the first black phase you might be able to call it trivial.  However, I doubt your healers would be happy about you not running to the bubbles and making them heal their asses off.  So nope, not trivial even then.

See, that is the problem with the game.  The perception of difficulty.

The day cataclysm came out and everyone was still in their questing blues and greens and just barely 329 the original heroics were a nice challenge.  They where doable, but the people that were already in them were, for the most part, the more capable players on that first day.  So they were doable. 

Anyone that did them then, looks at them as trivial.  They were capable players and did them at the lowest possible gear level without the experience and knowledge of doing them many times and got it done.  So now in high level gear, experience of doing them many times, plus the nerfs to them and to us, that is now trivial content.

It is a misuse of that word however.  The content itself is still not trivial.  Never was, never will be this expansion.  It all depends on who is doing it.

There are some bosses that have turned into trivial content if you have the appropriate group to make them such.  I was running a guild mate through some to gear them up the other day on my tank and we basically ignored 90% of the mechanics because we had me on my tank doing 18K, and three DPS doing over 30K.  So nothing was going to live that long anyway.  It was a starting healers dream.  But there were still times when we needed to follow some mechanics, just in case.  So while we acted like it was trivial, it really wasn't.  It was just easy for us, maybe even super easy, but not trivial.

I think that is a huge problem with people in the game.  They confuse easy with trivial.  Add to that, they all think that because something is easy to them it should be easy to everyone.

If you have never done a fight before it is not easy and most definitely not trivial.

I've heard people say that in randoms.  How could you mess this up, it is trivial content.  It is one of the few times I wish I were capable of reaching through the screen and slapping someone upside the head.  No content is trivial for someone that has never done it before.

Even harder stuff, people seem to misuse the word for.  If someone has downed heroic whatever a few dozen times they say, it is trivial content, if you can't do it you suck.  They seem to forget that someone that has never done it doesn't know how to do it.  They also seem to forget that it is not trivial for them either.  They are following mechanics.  They are with people that know how to do it.  That is what makes it easy for them.  It doesn't make it trivial however.

I find some fights easy, super easy, laughable easy even, but I would never say they are trivial.  Until they are.  Just because you can beat a boss in 1 minute that used to take you 4 minutes, it does not make it trivial.  Just because you have done something with the same group so many times that you can do it without even needing to call things out, it does not mean it is trivial, it is just easy for that group.

The problem is with people calling everyone names and insulting them in random dungeons and raid finder is because people like to think that content is trivial and anyone should be able to do it.  That is the problem with the game.  That is the problem with looking for raid.

Put 25 people that have never seen dragon soul in looking for raid and that content will be challenging content.  Even more so if the skill level of those people is only equal to that level of content and their gear is at minimum, it could very well be downright hard.

Now for those 25 people, all in minimum gear, lower skill levels, no previous knowledge or experience, looking for raid is not trivial.  Not even close to trivial.  It is an actual challenge.

This is what used to get me when I ran the looking for raid and no one would switch to the bloods and someone was bound to call out, "its only looking for raid".  Just because it is easy for you does not mean it is easy for everyone else.  Yes, it is only looking for raid, it is also only people with lower skill levels, lower gear level, lower experience levels, and only people that need to kill that 3rd slime because they can not handle all three hitting.  "But the damage they do is trivial".  Slap.  For a group of 6 healers pulling 25K HPS and with no mana issues it might feel trivial.  For a looking for raid group where you might have one person doing 20K, three people doing between 10-12K, and two people that couldn't break 8K if they tried, it is not trivial.  It is a wipe waiting to happen.

Trivial, usually said as easy but thinking easy means trivial, is a personal thing for most current content.  It is based on your gear level, your skill level, your experience level and if it is group content, it is based on the same factors of the people in your group and how long you have run with them.

So while it might seem trivial for a group of healers all pulling 25K HPS in looking for raid if all three hit, it still isn't.  They still need to compensate for all three hitting.  They still need to heal for that larger amount.  They make it easy.  They don't make it trivial.  Perhaps it comes trivial for the damage dealers because they just stand there are pew pew but not for the healers.  So the use of the word trivial is wrong.  It is easy and it is only easy because of over geared and well skilled healers.  Not because it is trivial.

Like my first example.  Marrowgar.  It is trivial, you can ignore mechanics if you are going to kill it in 20 or 30 seconds.  It is not trivial if it is going to live for 3 minutes.  You can not ignore the spiked people if it is going to live that long.  You can not stand in the fire if it is going to live that long.  It is not trivial if it is going to live that long.

A perfect example of how I see what trivial would be is Corla in BRC.  If you can kill her without blocking the beams before any of them turn, you have made the content trivial.  If you need to walk in and out of the beams, even once, to keep them from turning, it might be easy but it sure as hell is not trivial.

One more good example, and not a group one, is soloing SC and VP for the drake.  I've been doing it since the expansion started.  Got the VP one, still no SC one.  But being I've been doing it so long and have not only mastered my route and how to do the bosses, but I have gotten a crap ton more gear since my first time. 

So I would consider them trivial, for me.  Even more so the drake in VP.  When I started to do it in low gear I needed to FD breaths, I needed to deterence breaths, I needed to use readiness so I could do it again.  It was hard, it was all about timing.  Now, I just go in and blow him up.  Let him hit me with his breath, who cares, he will be dead way before he can hit me with enough breaths to kill me.  So now it is trivial.  For me.

I would never tell someone how to do it and tell them it is trivial.  I will tell them it is easy if they follow my instructions.  I will tell them it will get easier the more they do it.  I will tell them that by the 30th time they too might consider it trivial.  I would not tell someone it is trivial right off the bat because it is not.  Just because it is trivial for me does not mean it is trivial for everyone.

So, by my own definition this is how I would define trivial as far as content goes.

Trivial:  Content that you can ignore mechanics and just brute force with no consequences.

That is why VP is trivial for me now.  I can just brute force it with no consequences.  When I was lesser geared it wasn't trivial.  When I was first learning where to stand and when to burst, it was not trivial.  For most people, even in my gear, if they have never done it before, it is not trivial.

So what brings me to think about the word trivial and the use of it in game?  Someone in trade yesterday said that deathwing heroic was trivial.  Okay, I have not downed it on heroic yet, then again, I've never even tried to.  So you can say that I do not have first hand knowledge but I feel secure that even without first hand knowledge it is safe for me to say, with 100% accuracy, that it is not trivial.

I looked them up on the armory, just because I was interested to see how often he has downed it that made it get to the point it was so easy for him.  He had downed it for the first time this past week.  Trivial and it took you until the 30% buff to down it, I thought to myself, doesn't sound that trivial to me.  I would never say that, not my style but I thought it.

Another interesting fact was that he had only 2 other kills on heroics in DS.  The first boss and the blood boss.  So he must have joined a group for the heroic kill.  Looking at his history he had only completed it three times on normal too.

If I were the type to call someone out I could have a field day with this guy.  Normal would be hard for him, if judging by experience only.  The funny thing is, no one in trade went after him either.  A few people did make some comments, mostly to inflate their own epeen type comments like, I would not go as far as trivial but it was kind of easy.  Another one said, compared to spine I guess you could call it trivial, spine was really the hard fight.  Which would have made some sense if that guy had ever beaten spine.

It just makes me wonder what do people consider trivial.  I don't think anything in DS is trivial.  Even if we can blow through normal in a little over an hour now I would not call any of the fights in there trivial.  Even ultraxion which went from my favorite fight because it was a race against the timer is now boring because we beat it before the second crystal even comes out, but it is still not trivial.  If a tank does not go out they could die without a cooldown.  If the tanks mess up the in and out rotation we could wipe.  As easy as it has become it is still not trivial, not even close.  You can't go at it with reckless disregard for mechanics and have no fear of the consequences, thus, not trivial.

I understand that the person in trade was just trying to extend his own epeen by calling it trivial and this is not about him really, it is about the word trivial, it made me think about the word.

Would you consider anything this expansion as trivial?  And why?

Personally there is nothing raid wise and very few dungeon wise this expansion that I would consider trivial.  Perhaps it is because unlike a large portion of the player base, I don't think that everyone should know what I know.  I understand new people, lesser skilled people and people with very little experience also play this game.  Most think... if I know how to do it, everyone should, its trivial.

Why do people think easy and trivial is the same thing?

Also, why do people think just because something is trivial (read as easy) for them that it should be trivial (read as easy) for everyone?

How would you define trivial?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- I finally managed to get myself a twitter account for the blog.

- Now to remember to log into it more than once a year.

- It is @TheGrumpyElf in case you are interested.

- I won't promise content on it, I have to learn how to use it first.

- Old dog, new tricks.  You know what I mean.

- I found a decent way to entertain myself this weekend.

- Running scholo and SM to get everything that might be gone come mists.

- Got some cool goodies too.

- I got the dog whistle, again.

- I know I used to have it, must have sold it at some point.

- Have I complained about bag space lately?

- We need a lot more bag space blizzard, come on.

- They keep giving us more toys, archeology fun stuff, gear sets and thanks to transmog even more reason to keep it.

- And we still have these tiny bag.

- I have all 26 slots bags all over the place and I am packed to bursting, even my void storage is over flowing.

- And I do not even transmog.

- Geez blizz, step up to the plate and actually do something or stop giving us junk collectors things you know we won't be able to throw away.

- Back to goodies I got that I will not be able to throw away.

- I got the BoP red shirt.

- The white item that is BoP, interesting.  I have to keep that don't I?

- Got a massive amount of greens that sell good for transmog.

- If you want to make a fortune run the last part of SM and sholo and sell the greens.

- Some of them go for 1000 each on my server and my server is not even a heavy transmog market.

- I got all but the boots from the hunter set from scholo.

- OMG.  Mail pants that do not look like mail.

- Remember when I was looking for that type of stuff ages ago and no one knew of any.

- Well, that set, the pants look like tuxedo pants.

- Awesome. (said like barney on how I met your mother)

- I got some 0.05% pattern drops too.

- I sent them to the appropriate crafters and learned them.

- I probably could have sold them for a fair amount, but I would rather learn them.

- Not sure if they can be found elsewhere but I'd never seen them before so I was happy.

- Sent all my cloth to one catch all and made over 200 bolts of silk alone.

- If you need cloth, there is where you go, dear god.

- I made over 350 bolts from wool to runecloth from those runs.

- Weird thing to be a completest and having to collect everything.

- I try to get every pattern for every profession on every character.

- It occurred to me that profession restrictions, while they do serve a purpose, are really annoying.

- I would love to have my main have all professions.

- I think that is the reason I don't have any more than one 85 on other servers outside of my main.

- I do not have the professions to support that 85, so it sucks to level another one just for professions.

- If I could learn everything on the one char, it would really help.

- I would have what I need, and I could level an alt for fun and not feel as if I have to because I need the support professions.

- Maybe they can create something called a legacy character where you can pick one character per server that is allowed to be your master craftsman and have every profession.

- Yeah, ain't happening.  But an elf can dream.

- I got some really cool stuff from my runs.  Even started to have a little fun with them.

- I wanted to see how many mobs I could get on me in scholo.

- I ran the entire instance and grabbed every mob there.

- The bosses are leashed, so you need to kill them as you are running, but the mobs don't seem to be.

- I pulled the entire instance back to the gates.

- Spun, disengaged, multi shot, saw the entire screen light up, and laughed my ass off.

- Then thought for a second... why can't I have AoE looting now?

- 14 gold + repair bill just for running around and letting them beat on me for the whole instance.

- And it was worth every penny even if I did not loot them all.

- It was fun.

- Have you ever seen over 250 bodies in one pile like that.  It is awesome.

- How much do you want to make a bet for that when mists come out random tanks will try to do that?

- Fresh, just hit 90 tanks, trying to pull entire rooms.

- Thank god I am a hunter.

- Stay back, keep my finger over feign death, win.

- I did some lore reading this weekend as well and found out something I never knew.

- Or maybe I knew and forgot.

- Worgens are not from our planet.

- Does this mean there is another planet we can go to some day with some new lore and stuff?

- That would be awesome.

- They do not need to make an entire expansion about it, they could make it a patch.

- And make the worgen home world a zone like the molten front.

- Where it is just one big quest hub and teach us some worgen lore.

- It might be fun and interesting.

- It would at least be different.

- As long as they never turn warcraft into a scratch and sniff game.

- Could you imagine the smell of wet dog from all those worgen that just got out of the water?

- It would be unbearable.

- Not to mention I don't think I have ever seen a shower or a bathtub in all of azeroth.

- People must really stink.

- I don't know about anyone else but I can say certainty that none of my characters have ever taken a shower because I have never even seen one.

- Thank god we can not smell this game or I would never play.

- My characters only seem to go to the bathroom every five years or so too it seems because the bathrooms are few and far between too.

- And there is never any toilet paper.

- So never shake hands in warcraft either okay.

- For your own safety, and mine, I do not know where your hand has been.

- If swimming is the only time we clean ourselves that sort of explains why there are so few fish we can see swimming around.

- It also explains why there are so many sickly fish around the forsaken area.

- They are the rotting dead, they swim in that, if I were a fish I would be downright sickly too.

- Maybe the worgen world has bathrooms and showers and toilet paper.

- And maybe their tailors can make bigger bags.

- I want to go there now, get some bigger bags, and take a damn shower.

- Have a great day.