Thursday, January 31, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Everyone sets goals for themselves and with the first raid and PvP season cycles ending soon we can take a look back and see where we are, when it comes to fun, and how much we have enjoyed this expansion thus far.

Are we there yet?

If the destination is fun, I would have to say yes, this expansion has been a great success so far in my opinion.  Sure, you see me complain about things but as I mentioned here on more than one occasion, complaining is a complement.  People only complain about the things they care about and if I wasn't having fun I wouldn't complain because I wouldn't care.  If you follow what I am saying.

Not to mention, complaining is just more fun, but today I am going to talk about some of the things I have enjoyed.  Won't be as exciting of course because it is a lot easier to point out why you dislike something than it is to point out why you like something.  For example, I love the roll club quest.  Why?  Don't know, just do.  See, saying what you like is boring, so get ready for some boring stuff.

1) Champions

The new rare mobs around the world made leveling fun as a hunter.  I would see each and every one while leveling as I was ahead of the pack and I would take each encounter as a personal challenge.  It was great fun and I even wrote a post about one of those battles a short time ago when I was leveling another hunter.

Rare hunting, as it has become known, has become a way to have a little fun while leveling.  My priest was not able to solo any of them while leveling sadly, but my hunters are gold with them and much to my surprise my death knight makes killing them even easier than my hunter did.  I heard horror stories from melee people saying how hard they were on melee.  Either death knights are really that super over powered or these people need to learn how to play better because my death knight, while it will never come as close to my hunters in speed killing, are easier than my hunter to kill the things on.

Every character I level I look out for them and give them a shot.  Every time I see one while flying around I always land and kill them just for the chance at the bag of goodies.  I've even made travel plans in the summit and kill all of them as soon as they spawn if I am on, as I know exactly when they spawn so I can get them all easily.  Nothing is better then getting a baggie with 40 golden lotus in it.  While rare, it makes killing those rares in the summit well worth it.  I've gotten more sha crystals, golden lotus, good feasts for 10 and 25 man, magnificent hides, and trillium than I can count, all for free, all for killing those rares.   Yeah, I love it.

2) Farming

While I still worry about losing this addition come next expansion I am hoping its success will force them to consider moving it to a more centralized location where we can use it forever and not make it a mists only thing.

I've all but stopped doing my farming.  I only do it once in a while if I have some time to waste on a character or when leveling a new character up reputation wise.  It just takes way to long when you have as many characters as I do and you do not have unlimited time.  If it were just pick and plant it would be more enjoyable but farming was and is a success and a great part of what was added that is mostly enjoyable this expansion.

I like the idea that with the stable of characters I have I can massively build up materials on a moments notice by planting the appropriate seed.  I like that it is something you can do while waiting in queue.  I like that it is phased as it gives us hope that something resembling player housing is on the way.  Outside of the stupid birds and vermin and other annoying junk that once you reach exalted you should never get as you are now an expert farmer, farming is really a great addition.

3) Pet Battles

I did not expect to get into this as much as I have and I only seem to get into it in spurts where I will do it like crazy for a few days and then not do it for a few weeks, but that is what pet battles are perfect for.

There is no continued push.  Once you reach level 25 on a pet it is done.  No gearing it up, no need to gear it up again when a new patch comes out, no need to valor cap your pet, no need to do anything with it.  It serves no purpose what so ever.  It is there just to have some fun with, to pass the time and it fills that role with absolute perfection.

I do it while waiting for the raid to assemble.  I do it while waiting in queue.  I do it when I know I will be logging soon and do not want to get involved in anything.  I do it just to waste a little time.  I do it on low levels for experience with the dailies.

Like I said, I never expected much from it and did not think I would like it but I do and I think that is another reason why I consider it a huge success this expansion.  When you have high hopes for something you can only be let down.  When you have no hopes for something you can only be surprised and pet battles surprised me.  Good work blizzard, you ripped off an idea and made it yours, and it is a huge plus for this expansion and unlike farming where it seems tied to one expansion, pet battles are tied to the game, throughout it all, as a whole, and that is the absolute best part of it because we know it is here to stay and worth investing some time into.

4) Raiding

I can really only talk about normal modes as I have not even attempted a heroic mode this expansion.  We plan to give heroic MV a try some time soon, but no rush because we are not done with all the normals yet and that is why I call normal mode raiding a huge success this expansion.

If a guild like mine was doing heroics or was not downing things consistently even with our lesser time spent raiding, it would have been a failure.   We are not doing heroics and we are moving forward, which in my mind, makes it a success.  A casual guild like mine should not be going into heroics easily and should also not be held back by massive cock blocks.  While there are a few bumps in the road here and there, nothing was insurmountable.

There is a solid progression for a casual guild like mine.  No boss has taken us more than 30 attempts to down but being we do not raid much, only 2 hours, that 30 attempts could take 2 weeks or even 3 on a long fight, it still makes for a solid progression rate.  One new boss every 2 weeks on average, never extending lock outs, and that, in my opinion is a fantastic rate of progression and as it should be for a casual raiding guild with so little time spent raiding.

We hopefully will finish the normals by the time 5.2 comes out but even if we don't it doesn't feel bad at all because the forward motion, while slower then a regular raiding team that does more than 2 hours progression,  always seemed to flow nicely.

I have not been overly impressed with any of the fights this raiding tier and there are none I can really say I like to do but that is okay.  It is the forward motion that matters and it always feels like we are moving forward.  Sure I would have liked a few fights I considered fun mixed in and there are none, but I can live with that.

On a side note to gripe, because I can't just not complain about anything, the LFR still sucks.  The loot drama has changed for the better with the new looting system but it is still there.  Everyone complains all they got was gold and the one person that links what they got will always be sure to hear, how come the baddies always win something. So the drama is still there.  And if you me, the loot god hate is still there as well.  Still no bow even using a coin every week and running it multiple times a few weeks.  That is one reason the old way worked better.  One person I run with has won the bow three time, old school LFR he could have given it to me.  I want that old school back because my luck sucks.  My luck aside, the only problem I see with the LFR is that it is still too hard for the masses that are in it and the ones it is meant for.

5) One Land

Never discount how important this is for your enjoyment of the game.  Most people like that everything in is on land mass now and I am one of them.  Cataclysm was horrible with its all over the place design that it makes it feel extra nice to have one simple land mass to play on again.  To be able to fly directly from zone to zone.

Whether it is gathering, exploring, hunting for something, heading to a destination, having everything in a set place just makes the game more enjoyable for many, myself included.  Most people might over look that fact and even if they are liking mists more they will never consider that this is actually part of the reason for that.

Could you imagine doing my rare hunting back in cataclysm where zones are all over the place?  It would not be even half as fun as it is now being able to go from one area to the next.  Even if people have issues with dailies it is nice that you can just make a path and go from one set to the next as they are all in the same part of the world instead of all over the place, like they would have needed to be in cataclysm if they had this design with dailies then.

So if the destination is fun and you ask, are we there yet, over all for me I would have to say yes.  While there are a lot of things I can complain about this expansion it gets a thumbs up from me so far.  Something I don't think I was ever able to say at any point during cataclysm.  I was hard pressed to find anything redeeming about that clusterfuck.  Mists is a success in its first raid/pvp cycle, at least as I see it.  Even with those things to complain about, it has a hell of a lot of good stuff going for it.

Two things I would like to see to make it better.

1) An Ulduar Style Raid.

5.2's raid is being called that but I will not just accept the reports, I have to see it to believe it.  Will it feel as great as that instance did?  Playing it will be the only real way to tell.

2) Become Alt Friednly

Seriously, for someone with one character mists is already the greatest expansion ever.  For anyone with alts, it can down right suck unless you have massive amounts of free time.  They need to make it more alt friendly, and from the early reports on 5.2, that is not happening.


  1. PVP anon here:

    I don't know. I like the visuals and some of the new additions, but all in all, this expansion is a big failure for me.

    At the beginning I sprinted three chars to level 90, because I had to (PVP race is brutal, thanks to the way Blizzard doles out PVP gear, if you are one or two weeks off, you might as well not exist at my ratings). This killed the questing stuff. It is nice, but since I had to do it very fast, and three times over, I haven't mustered the will to look into them ever since (well, if only a bit).

    Then it became clear that PVP is broken. Badly broken. Three BMs winning 3v3 matches by pressing a one-button macro, warriors / mages / warlocks one-shotting things, you name it. This was a huge turn-off. They didn't fix the balance to this date, although they did improve it somewhat (but half of the changes are still supposed to come in 5.2, and this is *still* not nearly enough, there are plenty of huge issues like way too many idiotic no-brain *uncounterable* CC scenarios, etc).

    Then it turned out that they didn't reset ratings from the previous season, making it very easy for rating campers to deny ratings to everyone else and very hard for new characters to climb up. One of my characters was a druid which is a class I never PVP'd on seriously before, and I also wanted to try a monk, that killed both these things. They still haven't reset ratings, and, worse yet, they said they aren't going to do it, ever. They do promise to somehow deal with the rating campers sometime in the future, but, well, I have seen enough to know that they won't deliver on that, ever, no more than they will deliver on the problem of bots.

    Then they added upgrades for PVP items effectively rendering my leveling three characters obsolete, since I can only reliably gear one of them (not enough time to gear even an off-spec, each extra spec adds at least 12-14 hours a week, for every single week in the season, I simply don't have that kind of time). They didn't fix this either. They remove the upgrades in 5.2, but they replace it with two tiers of gear where previously there was only one, for exactly the same effect.

    A month ago I decided to take a little break to see if maybe PVE is more enjoyable than PVP, and started doing some PVE while still doing arenas. Well. Let's just say that I was disappointed. As an illustration, the very first LFR I did after just hitting 470, I finished third on the meters. While dropping healing totems in order to help with the healing and having pitiful AOE (wrong spec for this), and competing against people who were in much better gear and probably did the fights at least several times already. Normal raids were only a little better, mind you. This is not to say that I am somehow uber, the exact opposite, I am not uber, but the bar for a "raider" these days is so low that I simply don't see where's the pleasure in hitting this bar. Maybe heroic raids are different, I don't know, but frankly I don't care already.

    Sorry for the negativity. As I say, the visuals are good, but a lot of key things went horribly wrong in my opinion, and there's little hope for improvement (did you see their announcement of a rolling buff that they are going to add in LFR, which rewards you every time you fail on a boss with extra damage and healing? this is very characteristic of where we are today).


    1. PVP anon again, a small note:

      I do appreciate that they added many of the small good things, like, for example, LFR looting. If they didn't add these small good things, I guess the expansion would have felt much worse. But these *are* small things. Yes, even a single-continent thing is relatively small on the grand scale. And they failed the big things, in my opinion. They failed the end game (no alts, no PVP, unappealong - to me - PVE).

    2. hey Grumpy - whats this about "To encourage Raid Finder groups to persevere, each time an Raid Finder group wipes on a boss fight all players in the group receives a stacking buff that increases health, damage dealt, and healing done by 5% (up to a maximum of 10 stacks). This buff is cleared once the boss has been killed."??? Have you seen talk about this?

      @pvp anonymoose - lol, never apologize! Everyone likes to hear rants. "D

    3. Don't be sorry about the negitivity, you are saying it as you see it and there is nothing wrong with that.

      I do not PvP so I do not know a lot of your pains but I am well aware of some of the issues like rating not being reset. That is just horrible design. I do not know why they did not delay the start of the PvP season just like they did the raid season to let people get a week or two to enjoy leveling instead of making it an insane race. And the balance will always be an issue and blizzard has shown they really do not give a crap about fixing things, as long as people are still playing.

      As for your PvE adventure, do not call those people you met raiders. lol. No, seriously. They are dungeon goers and they are the reason I say the LFR is too hard for the audience they are aimed at. In your average LFR run you will have anywhere from 2-5 raiders it seems and the rest are people I would not even invite for a group quest I could solo, that is how bad they are. Blizzard is really making a mistake trying to push everyone into raiding. And because of that LFR people think they can really raid, which is just sad.

      If you noticed, all the thing I liked were the little things really, except for the normal raiding difficulty, the others were all small stuff. The small stuff matters. At least in my opinion.

      @Roo, they are adding that so groups do not break up after a wipe. I don't think it is needed. The reason people break up after a wipe usually has more to do with them being the type of people that should not be raiding then them being 5% off of what they needed to do. Wow, that is a post all in itself right there. lol

  2. PVP anon here:

    Sorry for the OT, but this weekend I discovered something that you might be interesting in as a DPS, Grumpy. :-)

    We all know that in today's WoW, the tank is typically doing 35-45% of all damage in the instances, up until MOP heroics, right? That's no surprise, has been that way since Cata. This has to deal with AOE, which is frequently better on tanks than on DPS, and the fact that everything dies so fast that getting a lead of one or two hits makes all the difference in damage done at the end of the run.

    OK. These weekends I took my leveling pala, respecced it from ret to prot and queued AS A DPS. I left pulling bosses to the 'regular' tank, but was pulling the trash simultaneously with him. I announced what I was doing in chat, of course, so as not to confuse the healer, this got a few chuckles, but nobody was against the experiment. The result? A super-fast run with the entire rooms dead before you can say a word. :-) I did five or six instances in total, getting the same perfect result of a super-fast run every single time. Sure, leveling instances are already fast, but we are talking about doing them 1.5x faster still, with no downsides whatsoever (the survivability is, in fact, better).

    I am definitely going to continue queuing with a tank spec as a DPS (queuing as a tank would be faster, but don't mind the queue times). It seems that the small increases in power that were being handed out by Blizzard in the last years finally succeeded in mutilating the balance to the point where the staple tank-healer-3dps setup is visibly and unequivocally worse than 2tanks-healer-2dps (3tanks might be better yet) for all leveling content.

    Go figure. :-)

    1. That probably has more to do with vengeance than anything else. It is why my DK was pulling upwards of 140K DPS on trash the moment it hit 90. The vengeance spike you get when you first pull is amazing.

      However, too many tanks can spoil the fun. I did some scenarios on my DK when I hit 90, as tank of course as that is all I do, and experienced something like what you said.

      When I had 2 damage dealers, thing died so fast it was insane. I will pulling, at worst, 40K+ in my 440 gear and the DPS were allowed to never worry about getting hit so they too were pulling more than they should. Even single target I would pull 25K.

      However, once you introduced a warlock or hunter with taunt on their pet or another tank and my single target dropped to 15K or less and my AoE was no where near 140K, heck it was no where near 40K. All thanks to having to share vengeance.

      At lower levels it could work, but at higher levels, that tank DPS drops through the floor without vengeance. Vengeance just builds so fast at low levels so even sharing it makes no difference, and like you said, things die so fast, so it matters less.

    2. PVP anon:

      Sure, I agree, leveling content only.

      The point was that the changes made by Blizzard over the years have had such a huge effect on the game, the leveling part of it is now so vastly different from what it was and what it was meant to be in the beginning (I am trying hard not to use the word "broken" here) that even former *staples* of gameplay no longer hold true for it.

      I am not complaining, there is little point in complaining in any case. It is just amazing to me how the relentless focus on the end game, where Blizzard are fighting their eternal war, can leave everything else more or less unattended to the extent that these parts of the game deform and crack.

    3. You are right and broken might be the correct term. That is why your vengeance as a DPS/tank was so high, because things are broken. It is designed to work around end game, where you will not be getting hit so you will not have vengeance so you will not do good DPS. Things at lower levels ended up broken, as you see.

      I do think it is horrible they broke the game as a whole just to make end game. They forgot where they came from and sooner or later that will bite them in the ass to hurt them.