Friday, October 26, 2012

Valor Changes are Not Enough

It was announced that there have been some changes to how much valor we get when doing group content.  The random dungeons now give 80 (was 60) for the first run and 40 (was 30) for each run thereafter.  Scenarios saw a boost as well to 40 (was 30) for the first run and 20 (was 15) for each run thereafter. 

The challenge modes also got a boost but I will not even count them here.  For people that run challenge modes they can easily run normal modes to cap out being they have a premade group that can burn through the content and valor cap in a short time because of it.  I am getting at the average joe, with maybe a few people they run with or that run randoms or someone with a stable of alts.

The valor changes are not enough, not even close to enough.  They are still leaps and bounds too low.  For the hard core player valor is fine, see my challenge mode comment, for the player with a fair amount of time but only one character the valor is fine.  For anyone, even with less time, that only has one 90 and is still working on reputation, valor is fine, they will cap just from daily quests alone.  For everyone else, valor is all screwed up.

There are two reasons it is all screwed up for the masses that play.  One, capping takes a hell of a lot of a time investment.  Two, what the hell are you going to spend that valor on if you are not doing dailies for reputation.

There is another reason it is messed up, and that is my situation, which I know a few are in.  My situation first.

My main is almost done getting my last two factions to at least revered and while I will continue to exalted over time I will do some here and some there meaning I will not cap my main by doing quests only soon.

So what options do I have?  Continue to do dailies that offer me nothing but valor really or mix it up and add some other stuff in?  I will most likely mix it up but even at that, even if I do a few hubs each day, one scenario and one dungeon I won't be capping.  Lets ignore for the fact that there is already almost nothing left for me to buy, lets say there was, I need to grind forever on a character that has already maxed all its reputations making dailies less "useful". 

When I was getting gold, valor and charms along with reputation doing the daily grind makes sense.  I needed a lot from them.  When I no longer need reputation, and really can make more gold grinding mobs for a few minutes and trading in one spirit for three lotus gold is not an issue, I have enough lesser charms to get my three elder ones for the next 15 weeks, that leaves only the valor and I am sorry, but 5 valor is just not worth doing the dailies for.  Not even close.  Not when I have other 90s that will start needing my attention once I am done with my main.

Once I am done with my reputations on my main I just want to cap as fast as humanly possible and move along to doing something else.  That is when valor becomes a chore, and not a fun one at that, and I want it to be over as fast as possible and there is no fast way to get the valor grind done any more.

They need to change how many valor you get from the dailies when you reach exalted.  There is a saying I like that I will share, the reward must be worth the effort and when you get, and needed, everything from the dailies the reward is more than ample for the effort.  Once you get to the point you are only doing them for valor and valor only the reward is lackluster, to say the least.  The reward is not worth the effort, not even close.

Once exalted you should get 20 valor per quest, maybe 15 would be okay, even 10 would really be pushing it to the point of not being worth doing them for valor.

They needed to think that the time would come when people would move into valor grinding mode, and that is coming in less than a week for me, when doing dailies will be doing them for valor only.

They made all these changes to valor but they forgot one thing, the quests.  It is fine and dandy to change the group content but to not change the number one thing people are getting valor from, whether they like it or not, is an oversight of epic proportions.

A buff to the valor received when exalted with a faction from their dailies seems like it would be a reasonable change to make them worth continuing once you do not need anything else from them.  20 per sounds about right.

Now lets get back to the two things I mentioned earlier.

1) Capping takes a hell of a lot of time.

Some classes it is easier than others to do the daily grind.  Some classes it is easier to do the dungeon grind.  Either type you are it is going to take a fair deal of time to cap your valor.  The buff to dungeon valor and the complete disregard for quest valor is not going to really help anyone much.

The dungeon valor should have been buffed from 60 to 120 for the first run and from 30 to 60 for each run there after.  That would be more acceptable for the masses.  The type of player that can not invest the time some do.  There are some players in my guild that were upset we started raiding before they could open up all four the gear reputations with revered because now on nights we raid they can not fit in their dailies.

Time is limited for all types, myself included and I play often.  My alts do not have any reputations because I do not have the time to do it with them yet.  Many people, the majority if you will, are like I handle my alts, I have the time to do some stuff with them, I raid with them, and I do some dungeons here and there with them, but I can not grind out 3 hours a night of dailies.

Now, lets just say for arguments sake I do decide to grind on my alts that are 90.  A healer and a tank at the moment.  I can just do the dungeon thing.  It will take what feels like a year and a day to grind out valor cap that way, the numbers it offered, and now offer even after the change, are a joke and capping out valor through dungeons will not happen unless I have a hell of a lot of free time.

There is no way around it.  For the average player reaching valor cap is a pipe dream, it can not and will not ever happen.  Valor needs a boost so it does not become a full time job to cap out.  But that brings us to issue two.

2) What is that valor for?

If you are not doing dailies you are not getting reputation and you are not opening up the vendors to spend the valor at.  So basically that means, why even give a crap about capping if you have nothing to spend it on.  Good question.  I have the answer.

So I can gear up my alts.  Good enough answer for you?

They are alternate characters there to support my main character.  I have a tank, should it be needed.  I have a healer, should it be needed.  I have a jewelcrafter to cut my gems.  I have an engineer to make my weapon scope.  I have an enchanter to make my enchants.  I have a leatherworker to make my gear.  These are all characters there to support my main character.

There is absolutely no reason they should need to grind to revered to get gear and things they need for their professions.  My main did and that is who they are making those things for.  So if my main is revered/exalted and the items are for him shouldn't my revered/exalted status count?

There is no reason that my enchanter, a healer, should have to get to revered with the august celestials to get a pattern for my hunter.  None what so ever.  If my hunter is revered and the enchant is for him, I should have it.  It makes no difference if my priest is the one buying it.

Reputation should span accounts.  Not only so we have things for our alternate characters to spend their valor on, but so our alternate characters can do what they are supposed to do, support our mains.

So where I stand is the valor changes are not enough, they need a lot more added to it, and they need to make reputation changes with it as well.

All group content, dungeons, scenarios, challenge modes, should all be doubled in what they offer.  Not these tiny increases.  Daily quests should offer a lot more valor once you reach exalted with a faction.  And if one character is revered or better, all character should be eligible to buy the same items the revered character is.  This means gear and patterns.

Increasing valor from a dungeon to 80 from 60 is an insult to everyone that ever made a post about the rate at which valor is gained.

It was a nice attempt by blizzard to show they hear people but it missed the target.  I don't really mind the grind, never have and never will.  In fact I like it.  But that does not change the fact that this change is an insult.  I had yet to really complain about the rate of valor here and probably would not have, but seeing this change made me want to do my thing and just be grumpy about it.  Don't make chances and say they are to help things when they are absolutely not helping anyone and they mean nothing.

If you really want to change things blizzard, do the right thing, double the valor gained and let reputation privileges carry over to alts.  Now that would show you are listening.

You would have been better off leaving it alone.  This change is like giving a starving man a crumb, sure he will take it because it is better than nothing, but it is still an insult to him.  If you wanted to alleviate the valor grind issues, do it, don't make changes like this that just insult the people that wanted changes in the first place.  These valor changes are just not enough.

Which Lore Character Would You Have Dinner With?

If your character could have dinner with any character in warcraft lore, dead or alive, who would it be?

I would want someone that had some stories to share that would interest me of course.  There are some characters I would love to know more about like Vol'Jin but leaders are leaders, I would have to ask the right questions to get the right answers, so I don't think I would choose a leader.

There are some lesser spoken about lore characters that really interest me. Like the Windrunner family, at least the ones not named Sylvanas.  While I would love to be able to know more about her she falls into that leader category that I've already dismissed as an option.  Vereesa never really interested me so the sister I would like to speak to is Alleria not only because it would interest me but because there feels like there is a lot more story to her, and Turalyon, yet to be told and to be privy to that information would be interesting.  But again, I feel as if I would be playing reporter with her, trying to drag information out of her.

There are a great many hunters my character would love to pick the brain of and at least a question and answer session like that would not feel like and interview, it would feel like a learning experience.  As you can tell from my interest in the windrunner family I do tend to look toward hunters (rangers) as people that interest me usually and there are lots more that would fit the bill like Rexxar or even people that are close to fitting the bill like Shandris Feathermoon whom some argue is not a hunter but I disagree.  That is another character I believe there is a lot more to yet is mostly forgotten.  But I would not want my character's one day with anyone to be a pure learning experience either.

Who would I be able to have dinner with that would tell me stories and not need me to ask a million questions?  Who can I talk to that I can enjoy the stories and not feel the desire to only learn from them?  Who do I feel I could kick back with a brew and my trusty cat at my side with my feet up and just listen to all the stories they have to offer?

I would need a lore character that knows a lot about what interests me and is willing to share every last bit of it without being prodded for it.  Someone that likes to talk.  Someone that would not mind spending hours drinking and talking.  I need a dwarf.  I need Brann Bronzebeard.

He is one of the greatest explorers to ever walk azeroth.  He can speak nearly every language spoken on azeroth.  He has lead us, the players, on countless adventures finding things we would have never even considered existed.  He, while an explorer, is an excellent warrior and most of all as a dwarf, he loves to drink and talk which means he is my man.  He is the person I would like to have dinner with.

With his resume and his knowledge he has stories to tell, many of them, and we already know each other, as I have done much with him in my adventures, so it would be a comfortable fit to sit back with a drink and listen to the tales he had to tell.  He seems to be a down to earth type of person that would enjoy having dinner with someone that shares his interests as much as my character would enjoy having dinner with him.

If your character could have dinner with any character in warcraft lore, dead or alive, which one would it be?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cooldown or Proc Trinkets: Which do You Prefer?

We will take a make believe trinket and compare.
Trinket 1: Proc Trinket : Procs 4000 agility on hit for 20 seconds, 90 second internal cooldown.
Trinket 2: On Use Trinket: Grants 4000 agility on use for 20 seconds, 90 second cooldown.

Now looking at them if the person uses the on use one ASAP when it is up and it is off the GCD so it does not waste time there is no difference between the two.  Both will give you 4000 agility every 90 seconds.  Simple enough right?

Not really all that simple.  There is a lot more to consider and the changes to hunters will make even those people that played them know how having more keys to press makes a huge difference.  So many people have had problems adjusting to the changes made to hunters because they were given 4 (or 5) new buttons to hit.  Having more to hit means more chances to make bad decisions and press things in the wrong order.

The more buttons a class has the less trinket 2 looks good.  If you are already worried about hitting 12 different things adding a 13th is not going to help matters any.  You would be better off having things go off on a timer on its own with nothing needed as far as input goes from your end.  With the on proc trinket the agility will always be there when it is time for it to be there.  You never need to worry about it ever.  It is a set it and forget it thing.  You can't ever make a mistake and not hit it because it will hit itself.

So that clearly means that trinket 1 is a better trinket.  For that case at least.

When you are raiding and there is a need for some burst damage having trinket 1 could leave you out in the wind.  Will you have that 4000 agility when burst time comes?  Who knows really.  With trinket two you can save it for the moment you need it.  During that phase where you need extra damage to burn down an add or during the hero/lust phase or during a time the boss takes extra damage.  Just use your on use item and you are ready to burst when you need the burst 100% of the time.  Never will you have to hope your trinket procs when you need it to because you control when and were you get that extra agility.

So that clearly means that trinket 2 is a better trinket.  For that case at least.

So while there are some cases where one might be better than another, like a fight that has no particular type of burn phase would lead to the proc one being better as there would be no chance of missing using it, it really comes down to which you prefer.

Hard core raiders getting every last ounce out of what they do will have both and use both in which situation it is needed.  I know I always have both even if I am not hard core, just in case there is a fight where I need my burst available when I call on it.  But it is not really required as I am not hard core, so that leaves me to ask what about the rest of us.  We should just go with what we like.

What do you like?

Last expansion I liked on use.  I used to stack things so I used it at the right moment for me.  While it would not have as much of an uptime as a proc trinket for example because I held it back and used it at times where I found it would be best to use it for burst, I made up for not having as much of an uptime as the proc one by stacking it.

Now, I am on the other side of the fence.  I like the passive nature of things that take care of themselves being I have so many new things to worry about as a hunter as is right now.  Perhaps my opinion will change as I get more used to all our new abilities, as it seems I am as time goes by, but for now I like proc based trinkets over cooldown based ones.

Unless you are hard core what you would use is based on opinion really.  Even more so if they would end up with the same net result.

So while most people will just look at a best in slot list and choose whatever they see is best in slot others will go with what they like and what they feel more comfortable with.

If there is one mistake I have had to teach people not to make as a raid leader over my time doing it about trinkets, it is that on use trinkets are worthless if you do not use them.  So often I would see people with on use items on and then looking at the log notice that they never used it once.  When talking to them they said it was best in slot.  Yes, it is, but only if you actually use it.

For the majority of players I think proc based trinkets are better.  There is no need for anyone that is not planning when you use it for for its best use, before the fight even starts, to ever have an on use trinket on even if some guide calls it best in slot.

Which do you prefer?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why Ulduar Was the Best Raid Design

I had started to post a reply on another blog when I noticed in my standard long winded way I was writing a novel, as usual.  So I decided that I would take what I started to write as a reply on his post and put it on my blog and then link it for him.  Better to have it here anyway where I can take my time posting instead of just leaving a novel as a reply on the fly.

For those interested the reply is for a post over at screaming monkeys asking for help finding the best raids ever.  So of course, ulduar popped into mind instantly and the rambling began.

Ulduar without a doubt holds all the elements of the perfect raid.  You name any aspect of what I think makes a raid great and ulduar nailed it or at least came as close to nailing it as any other raid I have ever seen.  I would be hard pressed to find many, if any, faults with it.  So what makes uldaur so great, here goes.

1) Scale -

The place was huge, you could tell a lot of work was put into it.  The scale not only helped with giving it that epic feeling but it felt like a zone of its own, like you were exploring it.  Kara also had that feeling of exploration if you want something else to compare scale to when it comes to giving an epic feeling based on surroundings.  These raids were not just rooms we fight in, they were whole worlds in and of themselves.

2) Travel -

Nothing makes a person say wow more than riding the rails on their way to mimron.  It is not just walking from one room to another, it is traveling, in raid, even doing it the 10th or100th time you can't help but stand on the side and look out the open door at the scenery while you are on the tram.  Even running from FL down the halls it felt like a group of adventures traveling together into battle more than lets just move to the next room to face the big baddie.  Since ulduar the only time I ever had that feeling was seeing marrowgar down the hall in ICC the first time I entered and that feeling did not last long, everything else was just some baddie in a room and the sense of travel to get to them was completely missing.  The travel to each boss in uldaur felt like an adventure itself and even after doing it as many times as I have on as many characters as I have I still enjoy that run down the hall and that tram ride.  It amazes me today just as it did my first time in there.

3) Hard Modes -

Once we had them the way they were in ulduar no raid will ever be the same.  Ulduar was not the first raid to have hard modes but it was the raid that mastered it.  Switching to heroic is boring, but letting the group roll to see who gets to press the do no press button or telling people to pop all cooldowns when the heart is exposed or the OMG FL+4, is this really a first boss encounter because it is hard, lets start with 1.  Switching to heroic can not compare to that, ever, don't even try to argue that switching to heroic is even close to the same as activating hard modes even if some of the activations were actually just as simple, it just felt better activating them.  Like I said, there is no comparison.

Activated hard modes were the absolute best addition to raiding ever and nothing has ever come close to comparing to it.  Why it was abandoned is beyond me.  The change of normal to heroic before you even stepped in was the ruin of raiding after we had a taste of what hard modes could be.  That design was an effort of genius and the person or team that thought it up as it was implemented in ulduar should have been signed to long term contracts and that idea should have been used in every raid ever.  Heroic mode should have never been introduced.  Hard modes are where good design lives.

4) Bosses -

This is 4 and 5.  4 is the fact there were so many.  It was a real raid, not a glorified dungeon with more people and a few more bosses.  Raids have not felt the same since wrath.  Ulduar was the best with its collection of bosses but even ICC had an excellent amount.  Since then we have not had one raid introduced to the game.   They just call them raids because of the number of people needed to complete them but they are just dungeons that were a little harder, or mini-raids if you must use the term raid.  A raid should not be 4, 6, or 8 bosses.  Ulduar had it right, and even had a bonus boss.  Perfect.  A raid should be jam packed with bosses, not have less than some dungeons.

5) Bosses -

The bosses were all different.  They did not feel repetitive.   Even bosses that were similar in concept were different in implementation.  There are always going to be the same concepts over and over like group up and spread out and avoid the fire or hit the special button but at least make them feel different like uldaur did, each fight felt like its own fight even if we were stuck with the type of mechanic we might have done a hundred times before.  All thanks to the bosses all being their own and not just carbon copies of some other boss fight with different color effects.

6) Lore -

Nearly every boss in there I met while questing, I helped them, I knew them.  They were not just some nameless, faceless bad guy I had no care in the world about with the exception of killing it for loot.  They were a part of a greater story and that made the feeling of the raid so much better.

The depth of the story behind the characters made a lore person out of me.  I was never into lore all that much.  I read quests, I read what was going on, I listened to all the speeches, but when uldaur came around I wanted to know more about these people and this place.  I knew that guy from the hodir quest line and I remember her from the basin and didn't I see that guy somewhere before.  I might not have been a lore person but ulduar made me one, even if only slightly, because it made me feel as if I were a part of the story.  I was there for a reason, all thanks to the excellent story development behind it.  A good raid needs to give you a reason to be there besides just to kill things.  That isn't enough.

7) Difficulty -

My guild only made it 10 bosses in, we were on mimron when ToC came out.  Admittedly one of the largest faults with uldaur was it had a short life as top content but it is not the fault of the raid, it was bad timing by blizzard.  And you know what, that is the last raid I did not kill the last boss on until I was grossly over geared doing it.  I did not give a crap I never finished the raid when it was current, I loved it, completely and totally, that I could not finish it in one night or even two being that is all we raided didn't matter at all, I still would have done it every week for another 3 months.  I wanted to raid it even if we were not finishing it.

It was a challenge, it was fun, I did not need to finish the raid in 2 hours to feel like I accomplished something because just moving along and getting as far as mimron was enough for me, I know if we were given more time we would have gotten further without extending.  It was real progression for a casual guild and it was great.

Blizzard keeps saying that they want all people to see content and that makes the game better.  I disagree 100%.  Ulduar was loved, even by people like me that did not see the end of it when it was current.  Ulduar is proof that if something is done well it does not need to be super easy to let everyone see content to be great.

I will bet you that 99% of all the people in LFR that were playing at max level when uldaur was new never saw the end boss of ulduar when it was current and yet most would still say it was the best raid ever.  Why?  Because it was, not because it was easy.  Easy does not and never will equal good.

8) Scaling Difficulty -

Difficulty is a good thing when it is well balanced and it was progressed in each boss getting slightly harder with ulduar.  Even a guild like mine could have a great time and great fun progressing thought it.  Ulduar was the perfect level of difficult.  Who gives a flying crap if the last boss was seen by fewer guilds than any boss ever in game.  It was still perfect the way it was.

It was developed in a way that we could pick and choose which bosses to do and when to do them.  One boss was slightly harder than the next but some might be easier for some groups than others.  So you picked your own path based on the people you had and their respective skill levels.  Because they were not huge jumps in difficulty you would actually become a better player doing them as your skills were constantly being raised by new and compelling challenges.

There were no blanket nerfs to help us get past anything and that made us feel as if we were really earning our way through it and not that we had to thank a 5% or even 30% buff to do it.  We got better from going in there each week and meeting the new challenges.  Our skills as a team improved and each week we would get further and further with our 2 nights a week for 2 hours.  If we were given enough time maybe we might have made it to the last boss, maybe we wouldn't have, but it always felt as if we could because of the way the difficulty scaled up.  It let us feel, even when failing, as if we could do this, it was just one little dance step away between success and failure, always.

9) Trash -

Not too much, not too little, and it was meaningful.  With the exception of freyas room that seemed to have 12 million mobs, or those one shot mobs to mimron, every bit of trash made sense where it was and never felt like we had too much of it.  Walking right up to bosses in one pull or even two only makes sense if the mobs you are killing in front of them makes sense.

While the trash in ulduar was not perfect it was damn near close to it.  Some harder ones, some easier mow them down ones and not too much to make it feel like it was taking forever but not too little to make you wonder why it is there anyway.  Add to that the trash did drop useful things like items and patterns and even the good old BoP purple here and there along with BoEs.  So the trash could sometimes be as exciting as the bosses when filling out those spaces in your gear.  It wasn't to the point were you could ever do trash runs, but also never to the point where the trash became useless either.  Ulduar had decent trash.

10) No Holds Barred -

My guild might have only got to mimron when the content was current but we did do FL+2.  Okay, we are not world beaters so you can stop laughing, but we also did not need to finish the raid to try different things.  This was a huge plus for ulduar.  Activated modes are awesome and while it is true that uldaur was not the first raid to use them it was the first raid ever to make large use of them and to great success.

Letting the player choose how to do the encounter created a world of options for all types of players, from the world beaters, to guilds like mine that would dabble in a few here and there to guilds that just went in and killed what they could straight out.  Even some encounters like freya and FL had it so you could gradually increase difficulty as you see fit.

All encounters can be done as you feel like doing them.  Nothing is holding you back.  If you can do one boss only on hard mode, you do one boss only.  If you can only do 2 towers you do 2 towers, if you can only kill the middle guy last with no issue you do that one.  You do not need to finish the entire thing to experience the entire thing.

If you were capable of doing the first boss in one of the various levels of hard mode the day it came out, more power to you, all you had to do was activate it and do it.  That is how raids should be designed, let the players dictate how they fight the fight.  It makes it so they can design the base encounter easier for the masses and the levels or hard modes increasingly difficult for the hard core players that want a huge challenge.  All this right from the get go, no need to finish it to open it up.  There is no reason that anyone should ever be locked out of content because they did not finish it.  If you are on a boss and that boss has various levels of difficulty that boss is the only one that matters.  No holds barred, you do what you can do, no matter were you are progression wise.  Excellent design.

11) Achievements -

Achievement whores like myself love ulduar.  Not just for all the things that make it great but because of all the different achievements that could be done there.  It makes sense to have all these different achievements for doing all these fights in different ways.  It helps extend the life of the raid and for a raid like this it would have had a much longer life than most if they had let it just based on its other merits.  One of the reasons this is still the most run older raid is because it has so many achievements to be had including but not limited to the herald of the titans achievement which I still do not have.  I need to gear up my level 80 priest for that.

But back to the point, achievements for many is part of the fun of the game and ulduar has so many it is insane.  Every raid should be filled with them for doing fights in different ways and at different levels of difficulty but without hard modes those achievements can not exist thus since ulduar we have never seen achievements like them again.

12) Optional Content -

There were bosses you could skip and a boss that was made only for the most hard core of players.  All of this was completely optional.  You did not need to kill the extra bosses and most guilds like mine would skip them when we had no one that needed gear from them so we could try to get further into the raid that week.  Some groups that were much better or more dedicated would work their way through hard modes to try and open the optional bonus boss that was hard mode only.

This allowed people, both top end and otherwise, to choose who they fought and if they wanted to.  Any time you give people content as an option and do not force it on them it is a good thing.  Some might do it, most even, if they are able, but they do not need to and that freedom in a raid is rarely seen but ulduar had it.

I am sure that there are a lot of things I loved about ulduar that I completely missed pointing out because there was so much to like about it.  Maybe the only reason I like it so much is because we have never seen anything like it before or since and if we saw this design all the time I might feel different about it, but when it comes to asking me the question, based on what I know now, what makes for a good raid I have only one answer, ulduar.

In the end I would like to stress one thing.  A raid does not need to be so easy that everyone can complete it to be a great raid.  It just needs to be a great raid to be a great raid.  Ulduar proved that by the number of people that never completed it and still consider it the best raid ever.

Can Marksmanship Make a Comeback?

Survival and beast mastery are where it is at right now and marks seems to have become the forgotten sepc.  While there were times in cataclysm when marksman did fantastic it was always second best.  This expansion is all about beastmastery.

If anything hunters have it good in terms of seeing all specs have their moment in the sun.  BM was tops in BC, marks was the way to go in wrath, survival in cataclysm and beastmastery is back on top in mists.  So we get to play it all but it is not really always a good thing.  Never in that time were we able to pick and choose which one we wanted to play.

When looking at things, we are never really given a choice, unless we want to be suboptimal, or are needed for something special the other class was capable of bring.  We have been close, but not close enough for choice of spec to be unnoticed.

This expansion marks was where BM was last expansion, you only played it if you wanted to be bad.  Sure, you could be the best hunter ever but you were never going to get anywhere playing a spec that was not capable of doing well when compared to the others.

But with the new addition of glyph of aimed shot, which allows you to cast aimed shot while moving, perhaps marksman can make a return.  One of the largest drawbacks of marksman was the long cast time of aimed shot and it needing to be channeled if you wanted to hard cast it.  Basically this meant that the hardest hitting spell in the marks arsenal was left to being only something you used rarely.

I am not theory crafter but just thinking that you can fire it while moving making me think that we could see a return to competitiveness of marksmen.  I can't wait to see what numbers they can come up with in theory and more so in practice when we need to keep moving a lot.  I think the biggest problem with marks was the movement as the requirement for the double steady and hard cast aimed over 90% meant you either needed to stand still a lot or watch your DPS fall to crap.

With steady on the move and no loss of the hawk buff come 5.1 as well as the longer double steady buff that was added in 5.0 and now aimed shot being able to be cast while moving with the new glyph it should make the starting 10% much easier for marks to handle and the continued double steady buff easier to navigate.

How all those new abilities will add into the mix however could be the telling factor.  I have not tried marks since the changes and I know it was the tightest rotation as it was, is there room for all that extra clutter they gave us?  I'll have to give it a try and find out.

I, for one, can't wait to see what it can do and I am going to give it a shot when 5.1 comes out.  I always liked marks and I would love to have the ability to use it again and not hinder my raid team doing it by being less than optimal.

Do you think the change to steady and glyph for aimed allowing us to move all the time will change the marks rotation and do you think it will impact the ability of marks to be competitive with the other specs?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Farms: Proof Player Housing is Coming.

A while back before I had ever even experienced or read anything about farms I had a dream about player housing being added in 6.0.  You can read it here.  Now, having played around with my farm I am 100% certain that I was right, player housing is coming so hold on to your hats everyone, it is less than 2 years away now.

There are a few things that need to be done if they are going to make player housing work.

1) Move the Farm:

First off, they need to update farming after this expansion is over and give it the love that it deserves.  They need to make it world wide and not just something confined to the valley.  I guess we can get farms on our personal property after we "learn" how to farm in MoP.  The Tillers could give us a quest after best friends and exalted where they teach us how to start a farm on our own property after we leave the area.

This way they can phase it that once you do the quest that moves the farm to your house you can no longer farm in Pandaria.  Or make that that anything you do on one happens to both, so you do not double dip on farming.  Like I said, they need to give it some love.  They really messed up tying farming to only MoP, it should have been done much better and tied into the game as a whole and not just one expansion.

2) Cross Realm Footlocker:

Have you ever played diablo 3?  That one footlocker that all your characters share.  Well, with player housing they need to add a footlocker, it could be at the foot of your bed in your bedroom or out back in the barn, or wherever, but it needs to be somewhere.

The footlocker should be for bind on account items only.  Nothing else can be put in it.  That locker would be able to be accessed by any character that is tied to your account no matter what server they are on.  And it needs to ignore their stupid bag limits.  If there are 600 BoA items, you can put 600 BoA items in there.  Simple as that.  Have it expand as needed.

Even if it is only a 20 slot footlocker and they charge you 500 gold for each additional 20 slots and that would work fine.  Just make it so that there is no way you can exceed the number of BoA items you own to the available space.  It should always be upgradeable to the point where if you managed to collect every BoA item in the game, and multiples thanks to things like archeology, it can still hold them all.

3) Other Shared Storage:

Anyone that is farming lately and leveling cooking knows that you will be overwhelmed with food.  It has happened so much so to me that I have one of my characters as a catch all for food now and she has her entire bank, with all the largest bags in the game, almost completely full.

They are adding cooking bags next patch but that does not solve the problem because that food is still clogging up space bigger bags or not.  The whole bag thing is an antiquated idea and needs to change, big time.

So with our new homes and their desire to share tons of things now between characters let us have some space in our home for food items.  It would not be cross realm like the footlocker, only tied to realm, but an icebox for meats and a pantry for vegetable or anything where we can keep cooking supplies and let everyone have access to it.

Not only would it make it easier instead of having to make a catch all for food because lets face it, not everyone is an alt-a-holic like me with that option, there is just too much food needed at least at the MoP level.

Have all those storage options be expandable, like the same 500 gold per 20 slots, and make it have no limit, or a high one at least, like a maximum of 20 of those 20 slot options.  Even increase the cost per addition as a gold sink if you must but something like this is needed, even more so if they want to keep cooking as it is in MoP and not make it one simple level up system and something that requires massive amounts of food all the time.  Our player housing is a great place for this.

4) Add Content to Player Housing:

As I mentioned in my dream.  Adding content to player housing with new professions can really add more to the idea than just a place to chill out when you are done with your questing and waiting for raid time.  Let you build your land, get more plots for farming over time, add furniture to your liking so you can style it to look like you want it to.

So much can be done with it to make your player housing more than just a place to hang out and to make it worthwhile to add to the game they will need to make it more than just a place to chill.

How about raising chickens for eggs, cows for milk, yaks for milk, etc.  Remove things like that as drops from mobs and sales from vendors and make the community make them.  We have a farm, lets raise things on it and let the community supply itself.  Make them weekly things or even bi weekly or monthly to control the market from being flooded with it.  Monthly might be best, at the beginning of each month you go collect from all your animals.

Make dailies to care for them, the more dailies you complete the more return you get from your animals each month.  Let say for example you get 2 milk from each cow each month, you would get 10 from each if you kept them fed and clean by doing at least 1 daily each week.  Not much more, you do not want to penalize people that do not log on daily but having people log on once a week to get the maximum should never be a problem for most players, even the most casual of casual ones.

Of course there would be a limit to how many cows and chickens and yaks and other things you can have.  Perhaps a maximum of 20 animals of any sort at one time.  This would make the player have to make a choice on what to raise on their farm.  Do they want to make new ingredients, or older ones, that adds to the game dynamic.

In time they could raise the cap of how many and what type of animals with some other type of reputation they add in future expansions or by having new pens built for small upgrades of 2 animals and such.  This would make player housing actual content.  Each expansion you would need to do a quest line to learn how to care for the new animals you might want to raise from that expansion before you are allowed to add them to your home.

You could also add a breeding area, as a friend in my guild that I mentioned this to said.  He used to play pokeman and he said the wow version needs breeding like that.  I have never played that so I have no frame of reference but he said you can breed two animals together to get different animals and sometimes get really rare, or even epic, animals that have the best abilities of both.  Something like this could only be done with a fully upgraded area in your personal housing area, which would of course require some serious work if you used the ideas in my other post to upgrade it.

Blues said that they would not add player housing until they could figure out a way to make it actual content and not just a place to hang out.  I believe I have given more than a few ideas that will make it actual content.

5) Visitors:

They would need to add a way to allow people to visit your housing area.  Perhaps if grouped with others when they went into the phased area they would always go to the leader of the groups housing.  Not ideal and it would need some work but I do believe that for player housing to take off as an actual idea that they will add to the game they would need a way to allow people to visit one another at their home.

For role play servers the importance of this is a lot greater than anywhere else I am sure but for social people or people that just want to show off how they decorated their home there needs to be some way to do it in game.

I remember when I finished decking out my farm I said to a few people what was on it and they said, I want to see it, but I could not show them.  That will be a huge key to making player housing a reality and that is the next and last step that needs to be worked out before we see how simple farms turn into a more complex player housing system.


So while we are really no closer to player housing than we were before I think the farms and there amazing success thus far prove that there can be a way to allow us all the have a phased area we would call player housing.  I would be more excited if farming was not linked only to one area and is not game wide, as it would make player housing even more believable if it were, but you can not escape the fact that they have proved that housing can be done.  Now to make sure we get it in 6.0 and make that dream I had come true.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- I have another level 90 now.

- My priest is 90 joining my druid and my hunter.

- Wow, an expansion that actually went as I planned before it came out.

- So now I have the holy trinity at max level and can fill any role.

- After I gear up the priest that is.

- I leveled as shadow so I do not have healing gear, will most likely deck myself out in 450 PvP gear for healing to start.

- The beauty of it now is that you are not wasting stats with PvP gear, if anything PvP gear is better.

- They are dirt cheap to make.

- Two 450 items will have the same main stats and secondary stats.

- The only difference with PvP gear is they have bonus PvP stats on them, for no cost to the item level.

- So that should be good enough for me to gear up the priest and get a nice starter healing set.

- I must say I got used to shadow, compared to being a hunter it is super easy.

- I did a heroic as DPS last night and was pulling between 26K-33K on bosses with my massive 438 item level and only needed a few buttons and a simple rotation to do it.

- Much easier than a hunter.

- If I can pull around 30K on single target with no gems, no enchants, low item level and nothing reforged with a mix and match of whatever gear I could find I can easily see doing 80K once heroic geared and all decked out.

- For little or no effort when it comes to a rotation.

- Man did hunters get the shaft huge when seeing how easy other classes have it.

- I guess that gives me a reason to be proud when I do well, because you know not many will be able to.

- So far all the hunters I have seen in randoms suck and I do not mean suck as in just not doing well, I mean suck as in they really suck.

- Had a hunter doing 23K in my run yesterday, looked at the top three abilities on recount and could not tell what spec he was.

- Pet did 4% of the damage so he was not BM.

- Opening recount I see explosive shot down at number 6, he fired 5 over the course of the boss fight.

- Damn, I can see not understanding all those new cooldowns or not being able to keep up with them because there is so much to handle now, but not even hitting explosive shot means user error, not a gear thing.

- So I inspect, he has every single piece heroic or better, a few LFR pieces and three 489 pieces.

- They are all gemmed, enchanted, and reforged.

- And doing 23K?

- I know hunter rotations are harder now, much harder, but there is no excuse for doing 23K in his gear in a random with the 15% buff.

- 33K maybe in starter gear..

- 43K minimal acceptable with heroic gear.

- 63K decent for his gear.

- He was doing almost half of what would be acceptable in gear less than his.

- He was not the saddest one I ran into this weekend.

- Running randoms with my tank and seeing the only person that was able to beat me was someone from my guild.

- If I bought two DPS from guild we steamrolled every dungeon.

- If I took one, they became harder.

- If I took none, they were all hell.

- Had one DK that kept bitching about everything, the tank (me), the healer (a guild mate), and even tried to kick the healer.

- A tank, a healer and a damage dealer in a dungeon, all in the same guild, do you really think a kick would make it?

- The healer kicked him after that vote to kick him failed.

- The mage put in a shot before he was kicked however.

- We had wiped with the boss having less than 300K three times in a row.

- So the mage posted recount which looked something like this, mage 68K, shadow priest 54K, me as tank 38K and the DK that was saying we were all bad at 18K.

- The mage said, if you could at least beat the tank we would have downed this three attempts ago.

- Don't blame a healer trying to gear up if you are doing less than half what the tank is doing on single target.

- Don't blame the healer if you die on every single fight because you do not know how to move.

- He died, near instantly, to a frontal attack that makes the mobs not move.  Multiple times.

- When the mob started it I moved, and I am the tank, why didn't he move?

- Better question, what the hell was he doing in front of the mob to begin with?

- I've said it once and I will say it again.

- If you are going to talk trash please be sure you are the best player there.

- Or better yet, just shut the hell up and do your job.

- Either help or leave or kick, but no reason to blame your failures on everyone else.

- We got another person, one shot it, because they were doing 45K and not 18K, and it was super easy.

- Like I think I said once before, 30K would be what people should aim for minimal there, every bit more just makes it easier.

- Not saying it can not be done with less, I did a few just me and the healer and I was top DPS every fight.

- Not one person was over 30K, heck, not one person was over 25K.

- We had no problems in a couple because everyone followed mechanics and did things appropriately.

- Doing things right does lower the DPS requirements, because it does not put additional pressure on the healer creating a sort of enrage timer based on healers mana.

- People don't seem to put enough emphasis on doing thing right.

- I think doing things right should rank before DPS.

- If you are doing 20K and doing everything perfectly, I can deal with it, your DPS will get better.

- If you are doing 100K and standing in everything making the healers life hell, I'd just as soon kick you.

- Most randoms without and DPS with us however were nightmares, 12K DPS and standing in everything.

- Yeap, every single group had at least one of those 12K DPS and stand in everything people.

- How the hell did you make it to 90 being that bad?

- I bet you can not tie your shoes because tying shoes is a lot more difficult than randomly hitting damage dealing abilities.

- Even hitting random damage dealing abilities will net you more than 12K at level 90.

- How is it humanly possible to do that low?

- The healer was third place on the DPS charts while keeping everyone alive on most of the fights healing as disc.

- The healer even doubled up one of the damage dealers a few times.

- Started getting my paladin into leveling now, not rushing that one.

- My damage output on it is horrible, doing 6K-9K, so things take forever to die.

- I found a way around that however, pull more mobs.

- The more mobs I have the higher my DPS goes and the faster they all die.

- I made few pulls of 20+ mobs and they went down in roughly the amount of time it would have taken me to kill three single target.

- I have a nice BoA 450 level 86 two handed sword, will go ret after I reach 86.

- I love being able to pull entire zones, but I would rather be able to power through even if it is with only one mob at a time, and in prot single target killing is too slow.

- Will have to switch my warrior to DPS as well when his time comes.

- My druid had no issues leveling as a tank and my DK won't either, but warrior and paladin damage output is just not there.

- My druid was doing triple the damage my paladin was at level 85.

- My DK, quadruple.

- So who will be my next 90?

- My rogue most likely.

- I have my ranged, a hunter, my tank, a druid, my healer, a priest and just need my melee, a rogue.

- My warrior, paladin and DK are all tanks and will always be tanks.

- Might level as DPS if need be, but they will always be tanks.

- I don't think that anyone but a tank should ever be that close to a mob.

- Rogues are okay, because I like to see them die.

- Even if I am the rogue.

- Have I mentioned I hate rogues?

- They deserve to die.

- They wear leather and get right up on a mob.

- Shows they are a little brain dead.

- Letting them die is a good thing, it is natural selection, thinning out the pack, removing the lowest common denominator from the gene pool.

- Anyone that wants to get face to face with some mobs blazing fists while only wearing leather as protection needs to get their head checked.

- For PvP they rock, otherwise, I can live without rogues or any melee class for that matter.

- Being my main is at least revered with every one of the big four it allows me time to play with my alts now being I do not have to press dailies any more for reputation.

- I will still do them for some valor at the beginning of the week each week, but that is about it.

- They need to double the amount of valor you get on everything.

- 10 per quest, 120 per dungeon for the first run and 60 each additional, stuff like that.

- Capping takes way to long now and someone that has a lot of alts they like to gear up will not be able to do it.

- And casual players will never cap.

- Heck I know a bunch of people I would even call semi hard core and they can not handle capping two characters because they have a life.

- If you can not spend at least 5 or 6 hours a day at the game you can not effectively cap multiple characters.

- I would guestimate I spend roughly 3 hours a day on my main and I can barely get everything done.

- Then again, I do like to fart around a lot being it is the beginning of the expansion.

- I fly by every rare spawn point, all rare item points, etc.

- It takes me three times as long to get to the shado-pan dailies than it does to do them.

- I can do them in 20 minutes, I spend an hour getting there.

- My own fault I guess.

- As soon as I find all the rare finds and I got all the goodies I can get from rare kills I am sure my traveling will go a lot faster.

- I love the white tiger dailies, they are quick and easy.

- That is what I am expecting the brawlers club to be like.

- That has hunter written all over it, could be lots of fun.

- For hunters at least.

- I can not solo like I do on my hunter with any other class in the game.

- Perhaps if I spent as much time on the other classes I would get better at them.

- But I still think hunters have an immediate advantage over other classes thanks to their pet.

- I can solo every single rare, without a problem and even with 6 or so adds on them, before I was geared on my hunter.

- I can not kill one freaking panda solo on my priest.

- Even people that do not like pet classes have to respect that anything is easier when you do not have something beating on you.

- Hence the reason hunter pets rule.

- Finished up the shado-pan achievement for not taking any damage from certain quests.

- Did them all with protector yi.

- That guy is a walking aggro magnet.

- But he did give me the best laugh I've had so far this expansion.

- I was looking through my achievements while flying when one of those guys sent those purple swirls at me in the air.

- I moved right, it hit protector yi who was to my left.

- He made his battle cry announcement, dismounted, and instantly fell to his death.

- It was awesome.

- Even typing this and thinking of it just made me laugh again.

- Now if only I can get credit for doing the quests with him.

- Still not working.

- Being I made it to revered on my main and wanted to take a break and not get right into to many dailies with the others I played around with pet battles some this weekend.

- It is addictive.

- I kept saying, just one more, just one more.

- Before I knew it three hours had passed and I had to force myself to stop.

- I needed to get to bed.

- But I did not want to.

- I was having fun battling trying to get rares of every single type of mob I could find.

- Some pets are near impossible to find.

- I went through one area and saw a pet that was poor and killed it, 2 hours later I never saw another of the time type.

- So there is rare in quality and rare finds.

- So you need to get double lucky to find stuff.

- I keep leveling new pets so as not to kill ones I want to catch by accident.

- While in the low level areas I can level to 5 easily.

- Just to give you an example of how hard it was to find rares of some things, I leveled up 18 pets to level 5 just farming areas hoping to find at least one rare of each pet.

- And still did not get them all.

- I guess in a way it is a good thing, as I level up no matter who I come across I will have the appropriate pets at the appropriate level to fight them.

- I am going to keep rotating while trying to catch everything in each area.

- Should mean I will easily have 75 leveled when all is said and done.

- If I remember correctly, that is exactly what I will need to get all the achievements.

- Maybe there is one for 100 and I missed it.

- 75 just seems like an odd number.

- Either way, as I get more free time I can see myself really wasting a lot of time with these.

- Pet battles can be a fun way to pass the time.

- And you can do it while falling asleep at the keyboard, like I almost did last night before I forced myself to get off.

- Damn pet battles are addictive.

- Have a great day all.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Does When and How Much You Play Matter?

I am sure some will say yes and some will say no and I can already tell you which will say what before they even would post.  It is simple because those people that play on off hours will nearly always say it doesn't matter when you play and those that play during prime time will almost always say it does.

People, all of us, have a problem with perspective.  We only see things as we know them and it is a rare case when people truly have an open mind.  I admit I see it from my perspective and from that perspective it really sucks to play in prime time.

It is like I always say that one of the reasons I do not PvP is because it is harder to gear up and have fun as alliance because we never win.  Admittedly gearing up for PvP is a million times easier than gearing up for PvE because you still get something when you lose but it gets frustrating to lose all the time.

A guild mate said to me one day that he doesn't understand what my problem is, he usually wins at least half the battlegrounds he goes into and sometimes even well more than half.  He did not grasp the concept that he plays in the middle of the day and I play during prime time.  Two totally different groups of people are playing at those different times.

One day while home early from work I entered some battlegrounds and won 6 out of the 7 I was in.  It was a good 6 hours earlier than I am normally on.  Usually if I would try when I got home from work I could do 10 and win none.  Actually that is why I quit even trying in cataclysm. 

Three days in a row I tried to do some battlegrounds, did 12 on day one and only won 1.  On day two I did 8 and lost all 8.  On day three I did 10 and lost all 10.  So that is 30 battlegrounds with 1 win as alliance during prime time and 6 wins out of 7 when doing it earlier in the day as alliance.  So from my perspective, when you play really matters.  These experiences are not isolated, I have noticed this for many years and am just pointing out this one stretch in cataclysm.

It is not only PvP that when you play matters in my opinion it is for PvE as well.  When you do dungeons during prime time they always seem to be worse.  Not marginally worse, much worse.  I wake up early on weekends because I am used to waking up early during the week and sometimes run a dungeon then.  I have never had a bad run doing them between 5AM and 8AM my time on a saturday or sunday morning.  Not one bad run and even the runs there were wipes in the people were decent about it.  Yet if I do them when I come home from work, or around that prime time, any day of the week even with a perfectly smooth run there will be someone that will do their best to try and make the run hell.

It is as if a completely different class of player plays during prime time and that really does effect the game of everyone around them.  As someone in my guild loves to say, I play when all the kids get home from school and that is why I have such bad experiences when I play.

Now with the daily grind going on, when you play even matters more even when doing them.  I have a friend of mine that does his dailies when he gets home from work which is roughly three hours before me.  He says there is very little competition and the quests go fast and easy while when I do them there seems to always be at least 10 people camping spawn spots for mobs to kill because nothing is alive.  There are most likely a lot more but I only see 10.  His doing dailies is faster, more enjoyable and less stressful than mine based on a three hour difference.

The real kicker is that when he does dailies he says that people seem to be decent.  If they see you fighting on top of an item for a quest they move along and let you finish your fight and get it.  Maybe on the rare occasion he might see someone land and take it but if that happens once a week it is a lot he says.  Whereas I see that at least a dozen times every single day I do dailies.  There are even people that camp the relic for the golden lotus quest waiting for others to step on the lights and open it so they can can attempt to take it.  I saw someone yelling at another person in say about it.  I felt bad for them, decent people do not steal, even in a video game.  I saw this twice yesterday alone and when I mentioned it to him he laughed and said he had never seen anyone do that before.

One of my guild mates, after seeing me get the glorious achievement and I told him about all the little goodies I got, decided he would start rare hunting too.  He is a late night player, so he is always on during the really off times.  I came home from work to him saying that he found 11 of the rare items and killed over 60 rare spawns in 3 hours that night.  I do not even have 11 rare items and I look for them every single day multiple times since the expansion came out.

He does this every night now and gets so many baggies and pets and other goodies from rares it is insane, he is making over 20K per day just hunting rares and selling the things that he gets from the bags.  I see nothing usually,  I get three of four kills a day, if that, playing the same amount of time he does but I play in prime time and he plays late night.  That is the difference.

At least he realizes why it is while many don't.  He said it to me, he is lucky because there are less people out there looking for them and he can get all the rare items and spawns he wants because of it.

So when asking does when you play make a difference I would have to place myself firmly in the camp of yes it does.  It makes a huge difference. 

But does how much you play make a difference?  That might be a lot harder to find any definitive answers for because each person is different and that might lead people to have different opinions based on how they play. 

As someone on my blog once posted, they play more than I do but do not seem to be able to accomplish everything I do each day.  We went back and forth in comments for a bit and he realized that it is because of how I use my time that makes the huge difference.

I am the type of person that plans everything out and because of that I am usually quite efficient in doing what it is I do.  If I were to say I did all the dailies in 1 hour it would have taken him 3.  Not because of anything other than the way I went about it.  I would do quests in an order that were not necessarily be one at a time but working on a few at once so as to not wait for spawn timers and such, kill the three that are there and move on and when I head back kill three more.  I would not wait for the respawns.  This changes what I am able to accomplish in the time I play.

So saying does time make a difference is a little harder to judge because each person plays differently to some extent.  My one hour of play time does a lot more than his three hours.  Even with that, I do believe that time available plays a huge part.

While I play a fair deal and accomplish a lot I am still not able to get it all done, not to the extent some people do.  I can not gear up more than one character now when doing my dailies and the other little things, it takes all my play time each day during the week.  So having more than 1 geared character at the moment becomes impossible.  Yet there is someone in my guild that already has 4 90s all at least 470 item level already.  I've got one that fits that description.

He does not move as fast as I do, not even close, when he is doing dailies at the same time I am I can finish all of them in the time it takes him to do just two hubs, but it is the fact he is retired and has nothing to do all day but play, so he does most days of the week.

So playing more gives him a gear advantage for sure and gives them the ability to get raid ready faster with multiple characters but not only that, more time gives him more time to make gold, play the auction house, gather, hunt those rares, and the ability to choose when he does things so he can do them at times where it is better to do them as I mentioned when you play makes a difference as well.

So I would have to say that when you play and how much you play does effect your game play and your capability to play at a higher level but I don't think there is anything wrong with that, well most of it.

There is nothing wrong with people that put more into the game getting more out of it.  If anything, that is the spirit of RPGs and it has always been that way and should always be that way.  That is what the grind is all about and that is one of the reasons I like the grind.  While it might place me way behind some of my guild mates because I do not have the time to invest like they do there is nothing wrong with that.  I just have to make the time I do have matter more.

Those who put more into the game should get more out of the game.  That is fair, that is how it should be.  That is why I fully support gating and grinds.  I think RPGs should always have a need for time investment.  If you are not willing to spend the time to get what you need you don't deserve to have it.

It is also the reason I believe all gear should be locked behind grinds and not be based on the RNG in a dungeon group.  Bosses should all drop currency and you should buy all your gear with that currency.  It would make people earn their gear and not just luck their way into it.  Want raid pants you will need to down 10 raid bosses to get enough raid currency to buy them.  No matter what, no luck should ever be involved when it comes to gear.  I support the time aspect being an important part of gaming even if I do not have the amount of time others do.

I have no problem with someone having more gear than I do because they worked for it but it irks the every living hell out of me that some people luck into everything.  It feels as if they did not deserve it, they did not earn it, they did not work for it, they just got lucky.  Luck should never play a part in any RPG when it comes to things like gear.  Gear should always be earned, it should never be lucked into.  If someone plays more than me and puts in more effort then me they deserve more gear than I have.  Simple as that.

So while I do not mind time being such a huge factor in the game I really must admit I am extremely jealous of the when you play issue.  I am jealous that I have to do 10 battlegrounds to even hope to win one when someone else can win 3 in a row every single day.  I am jealous of the people that can be home during server resets so they can just park themselves at any rare spawn point in the game and get it the second the game comes back on.  I am jealous that people can do dungeons with decent people that help each other when I get stuck with asshats who insult everyone, even if they are the ones doing badly.

Just the other day I was talking to someone about switching my main server for that reason alone.  I want to get home from work to play and have that time be in the middle of the day on the server, so I can have good groups, so I can win battle grounds, so I can get any rare spawn I want.  I want to know what it feels like to have the fun they have being able to be around decent people and get things accomplished without any fuss.  Perhaps it is a grass is always greener thing, but playing on off hours does sound so nice.

I wish there were a way blizzard could fix it but there isn't.  There is no way to fix when people play most.

So agree with me or not, as I see it, when you play has a huge impact on the game and how much you play has an impact but not as much as it should.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Daily Review: My Opinion of the Mist Hubs

There are a lot of daily hubs out there and they all seem to have a personally of their own with the quests, rewards, and amounts they give.  Everyone will have their opinions of which hubs they like and which they hate.  These, are mine.


When it comes to daily hubs this one is my favorite, or at least one of them.  They are usually neatly grouped up so you can do all of them at the same time and even piggy back them, for example getting the stolen goods and killing monkeys.  Just kill the monkeys in front of the stolen goods and you are getting two quests done at the same time.  Does it really get much easier than that?

There are a few fun quests that are like side quests not part of the pack that you get sometimes.  And I would not be surprised if there are some you have not even seen yet.  Just yesterday I got a quest I had never seen before and I have been doing them every day since day one.  Makes me wonder if there are more.  Be it killing weeds, watering crops, jumping on critters or looking for chickens, even the one side quest that is not part of the pack is not a great diversion.

The tiller quests are quick and easy and just as rewarding gold and valor wise as any other quests, plus one will give you an ironpaw token, so what is there not to like?  Nothing.  When it comes to doing dailies, these are the tops.  Well designed and something you will do even after exalted for a few valor, a little gold and an ironpaw cooking token of course.

As for achievements related to questing for the tillers there are none directly but there are some indirectly.  You will get them all just by doing your farming.  No effort really required to get them.  The cooking achievement for getting each cooking skill up are not listed under the quests section but you could consider them part of it if you wanted to and you can use your farm, your tokens or the auction house to get them all done rather easily.  If you are after gear only, you can completely skip this one but I think that would be a mistake as this is one of the most enjoyable quest hubs right now.


This is another nice and easy quest hub.  You only get three quests per day from it and they are not tied as tightly together as the tiller ones are but being there are so few and they are so easy it makes for a quick and painless hub.  Unless of course you get one of the few quests that actually require fishing and you have low level fishing, then it could be a while.  I suggest getting the best lure you can get if you do not have max level skill.  Even with max level skill you will still catch junk from time to time so under that you can expect to catch junk a lot.  Even with that, the angler quests would still be something I consider nice and easy.

If you are an achievement hunter, just do the quests, there is really nothing that you would need to plan to get here, just doing the quests will get you the only related achievement which is for doing all the quests.  Easy enough right?

I can see this being a nice little hub for your characters that are alts with low fishing.  It is low stress, gets you three fishing skill points a day, and 15 valor and some gold.  So it is win all the way around for a rarely played alt.  Like the tiller ones however, if gear is what you are after, you can skip this completely but as easy as it is to do I can't see why you would unless you are really pressed for time.

Cloud Serpents:

Everyone seems to want to ride a cloud serpent and you will need to get them exalted if you want to learn the skill to do so.  Like the anglers and tillers this faction has no gear and is a purely cosmetic faction so to speak.  It is about your riding skill only really.

There are two types of dailies they offer. One is a hub based thing that seems to be nicely batched most of the time and is somewhat easy with the exception of one hub.  If you get the one hub to go into the cave I must warn you that you are going to be fighting, a lot.  Those monkeys scream and bring friends all the time.  Even if as a hunter I can handle them easy I had started to get into the habit of hearthing back when I finished the quest because I just did not want to work my way back out.  Outside of that all the hubs seem super easy.

The other type of quests are secondary professions quests.  If you do not have a high level of that profession you can not get them done and even if you do they do not offer valor and offer a small amount reputation.  So while doing them will get you to exalted a fair bit quicker they are not required and it will not set you further back than just a few days if you do not do them.  You could also try to find some eggs to turn in for reputation to speed it up, but it goes fast enough as it is that there is no real need to.  Even without doing it every day it was the first faction I got to exalted not even finding one egg, outside of the fish and lorewalker factions.

As far as achievements go this faction has a few of them and none are really difficult.  Paying catch with your baby serpent might be the hardest one if a lot of other people are around, but once you realize how the bounces work and can find a time when 25 other people are not bouncing around you will get it with little effort.  The good thing for this is you do not have to be perfect, just close and you will bounce it.

The race achievements are easy and while you might not get first place in the race the first time you do it if you follow the pack and notice all the checkpoints you will win first the second time no problem.  Getting the 10 rings achievement should come without even trying as you should always try to keep 10 rings on you anyway, so that one is a gimme.  You will also get a bag that gives you valor based on where you end the race.

As far as how fun these are to do I will leave it at this, the second I hit exalted I never went back and have no intention to ever go back.  Maybe some day I will do a few just to get 999 of exalted, but I am in no rush.  While they were mostly quick and easy they were not fun in any way.  The profession ones do not offer valor and the gold is less, so that means less rewarding quests.  The only time I might ever consider doing them is if the august celestials send me to the temple of the jade serpent one day and I am bored, just becuase that is close but I have been sent there 3 times and never once had the desire to do the cloud serpents any of those times.  Once exalted there is no need to ever even consider doing the profession ones, like I said, they offer no valor and a smaller amount of gold effectively making them useless.  You will make more gold selling the fish instead of cooking them and selling the cloth instead of making bandages out of them and using them.


How do I love thee, let me count the ways.  There are tons of rare items in the area.  There are tons of rare mobs in the area.  There are massive packs of mobs for mass carnage.  They seem to have the highest drop rate of motes I have seen.  I have got more 476 BoEs and 450 equitable at 85 BoEs while questing there than you can count.  My JC gets patterns from there more than any other place.  The quest hubs are tight and there are different ones to keep things mixed up some.  And add to that there are more than a few achievements you can get there.  All that and more.

I love doing the klaxxi area and it is one of the hubs I can see myself doing long after exalted if I have the time and am looking for something to do.  I won't get into the achievements deeply as there are many, I will save that for my quest achievement guide, but there are a few that will require you do to quests a few times making them replayable.

You will get one of four different hubs and one of two different mass kill quests.  All hubs are tightly tied together so it makes it easier for you to get them done.  A few of the quest however have bad drop rates which is the one draw back I would give this as a quest hub but because of the exceptional drop rate of BoEs and motes having to kill a few extra things is not really all that bad even if it does get annoying that you have to kill 20 mobs to get four things sometimes.

This hub is needed for reputation for one of the four gear giving factions but it should not be a problem.  Even having skipped more than a few days after I hit revered it will still be the first of the big four I get to exalted.  They offer a fair deal of quests which in turn gives you a fair amount of reputation, valor, and of course gold.

When it comes to the big four the Klaxxi hubs are the most rewarding in my opinion based on how nicely they are grouped and the area they are in and what it has to offer.

Golden Lotus:

This will be the second of the big four hubs you will work with and like the Klaxxi it has a fair deal of achievements to offer and some are actually very hard to get if you do not plan them out, I will get into them more in depth with my quest achievement guide one day, but you will find yourself doing this often to try and get the random number generator to give you the quests you need to do to get the achievements.

In a way that is one of the reasons I dislike this quest hub a lot.  While they are grouped nicely and they do seem to send you from one to the next in a fluid motion they never seem to send me where I want to go and it is annoying.  There are a few hubs with a lot of achievement based quests that I did not do the first time I got there and they never send me back there.

So one of the best things about the golden lotus quests, the fact there are so many different ones, is one of the worst, because it seems like you rarely get the hubs you like doing.  I seem to always get the one when I need to get the barrels from those sprites and I hate them with a passion.  They are easy enough to kill but they are annoying and you can easily find yourself over whelmed by them and the worst part is it happens to everyone and some people can be real jerks and it seems in that area more than any other people will try to pass their packs on to you if they see you doing AoE.  I have often found myself with 20 of them on my pet and only 3 were mine all because people would run their mobs past my pet seeing as I have a per that does an AoE.

Besides the fact of the random nature of the quest hubs is the fact they feel like you get nothing from them at 100 reputation each, 110 with faction, 120 if human.  Sure, it adds up and there are so many of them so it does go up nicely but it just seems like you are shoveling shit against the tide doing them.  You get more angler rep doing three quests than you do when you do what feels like 100 golden lotus quests each day.

If you are after valor there is no better quest hub than the golden lotus quests.  It is a long quest line that jumps from hub to hub a few times each day and in the end you will get a fair deal of valor and gold for your days work but the fact you do not choose which hubs you do takes some of the fun away from it in my opinion as you might have some hubs you like and you never get to do them because there are so many of them.

Each hub has a few different quests it can offer and there are five different hubs each with at least two sets of dailies, so that is a lot to offer.  Too bad it never offers the ones you want.  It would be nice to have a little more control over the hubs being there are so many different options here for this one.

If there was ever one hub you would use as an example of a bad daily quest hub design that went way to far over board, this is it.  I have not done it since I hit revered and probably won't unless I am really bored and want to go achievement hunting and I hope and pray that I get the hub I need to get the achievements done.


They have a few different quest hubs all in one area basically.  Nice and simple and easy.  The shado-pan quests are a good hub and it is one of the required ones for gear so it is nice to have a good hub when it is something you feel you need to do.

However, the achievements, and there are many for this hub, seem to be what makes this hub horrible.  They are almost all broken.  The achievement to do 15 quests with each companion does not work, I've done more than 15 with 2 of them and neither of them shows up.  So that means you need to do three hubs with each of the players if it worked and it doesn't and basically that means you will still be doing these, just for that one achievement, long after you get to exalted.  Much longer if you are like me and not getting credit for doing them with companions when they are there.

Those helpers being there is what makes the quest hub horrible.  If all you want to do get some reputation, some valor and some gold, do them solo and the shado-pan is one of the best daily hubs in the game right now behind the tillers and anglers and close to the klaxxi.  Take a companion and you would be better off sticking hot needles into your eyes as that would be less painful.

As a fun side note to one of the achievements, to take no damage while doing the quests, I thought of it like my hunter challenge I made before the end of cataclysm.  To level without taking any damage.  Now, as a hunter I thought the achievement was way to easy so I took one of the companions with me, protector yi, and if you have ever traveled with him you would know what I mean when I say it is completely impossible to not take damage with him around, he pulls entire zones.  So it was challenge accepted.  About 30 minutes later of careful dancing and lots of kiting, moving, and planning and yi pulling way more than he or I could handle on multiple occasions and dying on nearly every single pull it was mission accomplished.  I did all the quests, with protector yi, without taking any damage at all.  Top that baby, now that is a challenge.

But seriously, keep the helpers at the camp unless you are going for the achievement, they are not worth it.  The mages are the only ones you should ever take, they even CC things, which is awesome seeing an NPC do that.  Do not take any of the others, they are all horrible and make a good quest hub into a horrible one.

August Celestials:

These are nice and easy dailies.  Always sending you to one of four hubs around the map.  You can always go downstairs in your main city to get the lead in daily that tells you were you need to go today from the august celestial representative down there.

You will be sent to the wilds, the summit, the forest or the steppes.  Always one of those four.  There are some achievements for these guys as well as gear which makes them worth doing.  Add to the fact the hubs are nicely tied together and it makes them quick and easy too.  Two of the four hubs do have minor annoyances with them however.

The ones in the forest, at least for me, seem to always keep me in battle even when I am not fighting.  Even if I feign death I will be in battle the second I pop up even if there is no mob anywhere to be seen.  I always have to run my way back to turn in the quest and once I even needed to force close the game and start back up to get out of battle because it would not let me go, even after doing the trick of killing a critter to get yourself out of battle because that did not work.   The one in the wilds sucks because nothing there drops loot.  No big deal really but I like loot, don't we all?  Having to kill things and get nothing from them sucks.  At lest it is quick and easy and doesn't keep me stuck in battle.

The one in the steppes seems more like a quest line than others do. A standard kill, blow up, or collect type of hub.  The one in the summit is my favorite, perhaps because it is so super easy or perhaps because I am a hunter and challenge quests are what I do best.  You just face a series of challenges and beat some big baddies and collect your gold, valor and reputation.  What is there not to like about that one.  Nice and easy, as a daily quest hub should be.

So in a run down, from best to worst, here are how I see the hubs.

1) Tillers
2) Anglers
3) Klaxxi
4) Shado-Pan (without helpers)
5) August Celestials
6) Cloud Serpents
7) Golden Lotus
8) Shado-Pan (with helpers)

Which hubs do you love or hate?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Steady/Cobra/Barrage Now Usable While Moving

Holy crap, is this update for real?  What is fox going to be used for now if we can do cobra and steady shot while moving?

I know it is just the PTR but the idea that it is on there means it has a chance, a real chance, of making it live.

This would be awesome but we would now have no real use for fox, ever, will we get another aspect to replace it?  If so what type of aspect do you think should replace it.

I would love to see aspect of the beast make a return in some way, maybe where it increases pet damage by 10% instead of our damage like hawk does effectively giving beast mastery a different aspect they would want to be in.  Might not be the best idea but would be an interesting one I think.

What aspect should replace fox?  Make one up.

Do This, Don't Do That, Can't You Read the Signs

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs.  If you are old enough to remember that song you are older than I or just like that genre of music as I do but what does music have to do warcraft?  The entire concept of signs we see in game now made that song pop into my head.  That is what it has to do with it.

Blizzard has gone through great lengths to add signs to the game, signs for everything it seems and I am a big fan of it.  Some of, if not all, of the mobs you run into in the world that do effects also leave you signs to tell what area that effect will hit.

A shockwave shows the outline at least two seconds before it happens.  That is a sign.  A rain of fire leaves a circle showing the area which the rain of fire will hit.  That is a sign.  All the mobs you fight seem to leave you signs.  Signs signs everywhere there's signs and it is a great thing if you ask me.

Not only does this teach players what the true dimensions of an area of effect spell reaches but it makes them actually get a feel for it.  So that at some point people will begin to instinctively know that they need to move X amount even without looking at the little circle on the ground.

In the months and years to come new raiders will become used to it and expect it and even wonder how we raided without it.  Well, we wiped, a lot more than new players will now.  We wiped until we learned on our own what the area effect would hit.  We used our own minds and eyes to figure out how far we needed to move, we did not have some nice neat little sign to tell us how far to move out.

It might sound like I am going to say it is simplifying the game too much as if it is a bad thing but I am not.  I think it is a fantastic thing.  The game is drawing in a lot of new players that are not fantasy gamers.  Any fantasy gamer, or any type of gamer for that matter, never needed the signs, it is what we did, we knew how to move, when to move and how far to move because we like this type of thing and we understand how it works.  Those new players are not that type of player.  They need the signs and it is a good thing they are there.

If you do not believe me that the average person needs signs for everything just take a look around your house.  Check your iron that has a sign, also known as a warning label, that says do not iron clothing while it is on your body.  Or check your hairdryer and notice it says do not use while in shower.  There is a reason that signs like these are needed and that is because the majority of people we have the dishonor of being related to as part of the human race are stupid.  Really stupid.  The type of people that would iron their clothes while they are still wearing them type of stupid.

In terms of game play ironing your clothing while you are wearing it is roughly the same as standing in a rain of fire.  It will hurt, perhaps a hell of a lot, but it isn't likely to kill you because as soon as you notice the pain you move/stop.  Standing in a shockwave might be like using your hairdryer while still in the shower.  It will likely kill you and even if it doesn't you will be left in need of serious immediate medical attention.

These new signs are a great for teaching people, but only if they learn.  That is one problem where the signs do not go far enough.  It still allows people to make mistakes, if you can even call them that.  Where the person ironing their clothes on their body will stop roughly round the same time as they start screaming in pain, and you do not need intelligence for that one, in the game you still need someone to have some intelligence.

While the raid of fire might hurt it does not really hurt them, they will try to kill whatever they are fighting without moving hoping to beat the thing before it beats them or if they are in a group they will just think the healer will heal them.  So while these signs are great, the penalty is not enough.  Human nature of stupidity, the same one that requires us to put these warning labels on things, will always win out.

Doesn't mean having these things is a bad thing.  Some people can learn and it is a lot easier to teach them with these signs all over the place.  Hey, see when that boss puts that spell on you that there is a big blue circle around you?  Well, make sure no one else is in the circle.  See.  A lot easier than trying to tell people when the boss casts the spell on you to get away from everyone.  The circle around them gives a definitive guide of what away from everyone means. It no longer leaves it up to the person to learn how far away is far enough.  I like that.

I have had many types of raiders over the years from good to bad to everything in between and most, even the bad ones, can learn.  The difference is the bad ones take longer to learn and having that little tool teach them what away from everyone means will make a world of difference, so much so that even when that circle is not there they will have some sort of frame of reference from something else they did that will teach them what the standard distance of a spell is.  This makes teaching people so much easier.

There is a line in the song that does keep ringing in my head however.

You ain't supposed to be here.

Now this is something signs are really good for.  In the song it was referring to some place where membership was needed to get in, the sign said, members only basically.

See, signs tell us things.  Like the signs on the warning labels or the sign that says members only.  They tell us information we need.  If we do not follow those instructions we are effectively stupid as in it is stupid to use the hairdryer in the shower after you were directly advised against it.

These signs help us noticed the truly bad players over the seemingly bad players.  Many times, even more so when someone is new to something, it takes them some time to adapt, to understand.  Signs can help those people that seem bad but just don't understand.

Like I mentioned with the blue circle around someone.  A bad player might not move being they do not know what it means even after being told or just do not care.  A seemingly bad player, once told how to act, will usually never made the mistake again because they have this huge blue circle sign all around them.  When it happens they read the sign and the sign says, makes sure no one else is in this circle.  A truly bad player will continue to screw it up, even if the sign is as bright as day under their feet.

How is that for making things easier to decide who can learn and who is a lost cause?  There will be giant signs all over the place and the people that can not read them, even after they have been explained to them, are the bad players, the 100% truly bad players.  Either because they don't get it or they don't care.  Either way, they are bad.  Nothing else needs to be said about it.  There will never be a need for debate about it, never someone saying I thought I was far enough away, or I thought I was out of the AoE.  There is a huge sign right there in game that tells them how far away is far enough or if they are standing in something.

Bad is no longer a subjective term when it comes to mechanics like that, it is a real thing that can be measured.  Bad is no longer an opinion it is a yes or no thing thanks to signs.

Yes, in many other cases it can still be subjective.  Is 40K DPS bad for someone?  Some might say yes and some might say no but when it comes to ground effects there is a true bad, one that can not ever be debated.  All thanks to signs.

The people that can not read the signs, even after having them explained to them, are bad players.  Like many in the looking for raid last night.  It was funny seeing half the raid wipe to obvious mechanics like the line of warriors walking across the room.  Things like that are signs in and of themselves, you see them coming, you move, simple right.  When explained to the raid, after the wipe of course, and seeing a few people that died the first time to it die a second time to it shows the good players from the bad ones.  Signs.  All thanks to signs.

Some might say these changes are dumbing down the game but I just say it is the opening of doors.  It is opening the doors to the type of player that did not play this type of game before and might not understand.  For me, you and many like us, the gamers, it is simple, we understand it not because we are better but because we have done it before in other games and been doing it for years in this game.  For new people, they can really benefit from those signs.

If I enter a new raid I know nothing about and am told if I get arcane something-or-other on me I need to get away from everyone I know roughly how far that means.  I do not need a sign to tell me because I have done that mechanic what feels like a million times before.  For a new player, seeing how far is far enough makes the learning curve smaller for them, they will adapt faster, if they are not one of the truly bad players.  It is not dumbing down, it is just saving time.  Instead of a new group wiping 30 times when teaching something like that, they might wipe once because of it.

In the constant effort of the game to allow us to spend more time playing and less time wiping these signs are a great way for new people to get their foot in the door. They basically tell them do this, don't do that.

In time they too will know how far away is far enough and will not even notice the blue outline on the ground any more, as they become better players, more adaptive.  Then, and only then, will they move to the next step of game play.  Job performance.  How well you tank and rotate your cooldowns.  How well you heal and manage your mana.  How much damage you do while also handling all the little things that are thrown at you like adds or interrupts.

That is where the games difficulty should be.  It should be on how well you do your job.  I've always said that mechanics like move out of the fire or be away from everyone else were annoying because for knowledgeable players it was just an inconvenience and for new players it was a roadblock while they learned.

Mechanics like that are not fun, never have been and never will be.  Adding all those signs just helps remove having to teach every new player these things we mastered long ago.  I think that is the main reason they added them. They added them so the newer people to raiding can catch up with the people that have been raiding forever.

The only way to keep the older raiders interested was to keep stepping it up but if you keep stepping it up you make it impossible for many new players to jump in.  All these signs make it easier for them to jump in and I think it is a great addition to the game.

What are your feelings about the new effect signs?

Signs, signs everywhere there's signs.  The song spoke of them as bad things but in this case I think they are good things.