Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Early Story On Gems.

Hunter gemming just got fun.  Yes, I said gemming is fun.  The reason for that is because in the past every time I saw a blue gem slot I thought to myself, wasted bonus here.  I would generally use the nightmare tear in the blue slot that got me the best bonus. It made the most sense. 

Now I will not need a nightmare tear ever again.  It's use to a hunter was greatly decreased the moment we lost mana.  Being we no longer need intellect for mana having the 10 intellect from it has no value to us.  Being we no longer need intellect we no longer have a skill that turns our intellect into attack power further reducing the reasoning why nightmare tear was actually a very good gem for us before.

Gone are the days when we basically used red and red only with the rare case where we needed a yellow for hit.  At that, there was enough hit on gear and a talent to get even more hit that made it so we never needed hit at all.  So it was a world of red for us.  No matter what spec really.  AP(BM), ArP(MM), or Agility(SV/MM). Now our skill that gave us hit is gone as well as AP and ArP gems altogether.  Which means we will need hit gems again and we only have one choice in red which will be the same for all specs but there is one major difference now.

Hit is now blue.  How completely awesome is that?  We actually have a blue gem that has some use to us now.  We will need hit once again and hit is now blue.  So with hit now being needed and haste being a good thing for us Hunters we now have options for blue, red and yellow and will most likely use them all.  That means we will be getting all bonus stats on all gear if itemized correctly now.

Here is what I see our possible gem selections to look like.  Remember, anything can still change.  I left Critical in as an option even thought I see it as being possible the least useful one of everything listed.

Rigid Ocean Sapphire - +40 Hit Rating

Glinting Demonseye +20 Agility / +20 Hit Rating

Delicate Inferno Ruby +40 Agility

Deft Ember Topaz +20 Agility / +20 Haste Rating
Deadly Ember Topaz +20 Agility / +20 Critical Strike Rating
Adept Ember Topaz +20 Agility / +20 Mastery Rating

Sensei's Dream Emerald +20 Mastery Rating / +20 Hit Rating
Piercing Dream Emerald +20 Critical Strike Rating / +20 Hit Rating
Lightning Dream Emerald +20 Haste Rating / +20 Hit Rating

Smooth Amberjewel +40 Critical Strike Rating
Quick Amberjewel +40 Haste Rating
Fractured Amberjewel +40 Mastery Rating

So, from the looks of things, it seems we have something that will be of use in every color gem.  That is something we could not say before.  Hit will be required I am sure without a talent for it unless they make another tier set like the T9 stuff that was so overloaded with hit it was stupid.  We will also always need agility as it is our main stat.  So that has blue and red covered. 

Our utility gems will be the yellow ones depending on how the weight of each stat and how it benefits us.  Early returns seem to suggest that Mastery might be the yellow of choice with Haste right behind it.  Critical Strike Rating, which was always something we took when we had no other option might not even play a part any more being we have so many options now. 

So for the "solid" colors we have + Agility, + Hit and + Mastery or Haste.  Having something useful in all three solid colors means we will always have many options when trying to get the most out of our gems while still getting bonuses on the gear.

For once I have to say this works out to be some serious Hunter love even if it were not intended to be.  It was almost as if they had us in mind with this change.  Hit being blue is a godsend for Hunters around the world. 

A+ for the initial outlook on gemming.  I can't wait for the changes so I can upgrade some stuff and make sure I get all the bonus stats and not have to stick myself with + Stamina on something just to make it there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crowd Control Rundown.

Being Cataclysm is right around the corner I've been looking over my characters and evaluating or reevaluating my crowd control options.  Many of my characters I've never had a reason to use it at all.  Three, my Hunter, my Rogue and my Mage, I tend to use it a lot while leveling.  Two on purpose and one almost passively as in it just happens without trying.

Being I am leveling my Mage as frost I am forever freezing things so that works as a type of crowd control on its own and then of course there is sheep which I love to cast just for fun even if I did not need to.  My Hunter, while leveling, used traps once in a while but once I started doing solo raid and dungeon content I tend to use them more often.  My Rogue can just not live through some battles if I did not sap a mob to start with.

My other characters I have crowd control on but have never used it in any way.  My Shaman has hex, it is on on the tool bar even if it is over to the side as something I would need to manually click but it is there because I have never used it.  Not even once to see what it looked like.

My Priest has Shackle Undead and it is another one of those things I never had a need to use.  First off leveling as PvP only ( I used scream all the time then) for the start and then questing later I leveled as Disc.  I never got hit so I never really needed to worry about any type of crowd control.  I've never used the ability and even if I did, as a healer, I have no hit so I would probably miss anyway.

My Death Knight has Chains of Ice and I have it on my bar but again, like the other classes, I never had much need for it so I have never used it even once.

My Druid has a nice little selection of things it can use but Roots where the only one I ever used and even at that it was only used very early on.  Once I leveled a little rooting mobs made no sense to me, I was a bear by then and basically I did not care if I got hit.  I can take it.

So here I am considering myself at the least a good player if not great and I do not have much crowd control experience.  The thing is, I have some.  That is more then most have.  In the WotLK days crowd control was laughable.  It is as if I need to teach myself how to use crowd control to be ready for Cataclysm.

The thing is, will it be worth it?  Blizzards track record shows that we will need CC when we first get to the dungeons but by the time we are done with the first tier of raiding and have some gear it will be laughable again to run heroics.  I have no faith that Blizzard will do anything that stops the laughfest that dungeons became. 

Example:  ICC 5 mans.  When they first came out you heard people saying how they loved that you needed CC and needed to plan pulls again and that this is how dungeons should be, that they were hard and only good players would ever get through them.  Within 2 weeks everyone was just blowing through them again in an AoE spam fest even if they were horrible players.  This is because Blizzard does not really think anything out in advance it seems.

So is it going to be worth practicing my CC abilities when they will not be needed?  I am golden on my Hunter.  In LDW I spam my shots and when someone gets mind controlled I have a trap under their feet instantly while never losing a beat throwing the hurt on the boss.  I know how to CC as a hunter.  Should I take the time to learn how to do it on my other classes?  That is my question.

Learning is easy enough.  While nothing can kill me really I can still practice CCing them just doing some low level dungeons or better yet, 70s dungeons on heroic.  That is the perfect playground to learn how to CC solo.  That is where I got most of my experience with my Hunter, heroic MgT.  Now that is a learning experience to solo that baby.

While looking over things I noticed that every class has some sort of CC.  Some more then others of course and some that are situational based on the type of mob you are facing.  With that in mind I want to make a list for myself of what I will need to use if I plan to practice my CC abilities. 

Speaking of CC abilities I need to work on my kiting on the PTR as well.  Kiting, while not CC does serve the same purpose and there might be a need for it.  I've had to kite things at various times in raids before and I doubt that will change.  On the PTR I am totally confused with kiting.  I am just not doing it right.  Maybe I can blame that on my keybinds at the moment, being I have none, but I should still be able to do it and I can't.  Have to get used to that.  I think after the PTR goes live is when I will start to play around with CC on my other characters. No use trying now when I very well might have to relearn everything soon anyway.

The return of CC means a lot to old time players, to me it is a totally new concept.  I used CC when alone, in a group I rarely if ever have seen the need for CC.  Might be fun but I can tell you one thing for sure.  If the 5 mans are going to need smart people dropping CC whenever needed I will not be running randoms for sure.  I know that most people are stupid and will never grasp the concept of CC.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hunter (helps) Tank: A Different View

I was reading on the forums once again about how DPS are completely useless and tanks and healers are all that is important.  I've made my argument for DPS being just as important and in some cases even more important then tanks or healers.  As I play all three roles I can say I speak with some degree of knowledge.

While it is true that you do not need DPS for a great deal of the dungeons now, a tank and a healer can run them alone, that was not always the case and in some way still isn't always.  When the dungeons where new you would have never made it through with just a tank and a healer.  You needed those mobs to go down and the faster the better.  Even now I have run some dungeons that would be destine for ghost runs if it were not for good DPS because of shaky tanks or horrible heals.

So with that I share three stories.  Two yesterday and one a while back.  All including hunters, one was not my hunter.

Yesterday I get the Halls of Stone on my healer and I always wonder what this little adventure will be like.  I've been in groups with all 6K gear scores and wiped on the Tribunal gauntlet before.  There are some people that you just can't save and others you just do not want to.  I've come to the conclusion that the higher your gear score is in a heroic the lower your IQ becomes.

So the dungeon starts, bear tank, right off the bat I am worried.  As a bear myself I know that with stupid DPS things will get messy, and fast.  That is exactly what happens.  The first few trash pulls and I am healing like crazy, using more mana in a few trash pulls then I usually use in an entire dungeon.  I even need to drink, twice, before we got to the Tribunal and we headed straight there.  We skipped the other bosses.  So you see where this is going right?

You are going to say it is going to a complete and total wipe fest on the Tribunal right?  Nope, wrong.  It is as if the group that handled the trash where the pet dogs of the players and the players showed up for the important part.  None of the DPS took any aggro from the tank.  The hunter was trapping to slow things and sending his bear to off tank any adds that ran past.  He was all over the place.  The other DPS where beating the crap out of anything that moved without taking aggro at all.  The DPS where doing everything that DPS are supposed to do according the the DPS text book.  All I needed to do the entire fight was throw new shields up when they broke or disappeared and throw a mending once in a while on our friendly neighborhood bear.  I ended the fight at almost full mana. 

The DPS kicked ass and this proves how important DPS can be.  For as bad as they looked on trash they looked fantastic there.  The hunter more so being hunters have so many tools.  The hunter dropped a trap every chance he had to slow things down.  He MDed every chance he could to the tank.  He sent his pet after runners and then recalled the pet so the runners chased the pet back to the pack so the bear could pick them up again with their swipe without having to run after them.  If it were not for the DPS and more importantly this hunter that fight would have never run as smooth as it did.  I just wonder why they let their dogs play to begin with?  Maybe teaching them on the trash?  Who knows.

The second story of Hunter (DPS for that matter) basically tanking something comes from me on my Hunter.  I don't run weeklys or randoms or anything else really on my Hunter any more.  No need to, I have all the badges I need so when a friend needed help with the weekly he came looking to me knowing I have good DPS and know what I am doing.

He said that the tank was having some troubles so DPS had dropped out.  The weekly was Ignis from Ulduar so that means people were now saved to get to that point.  If people where leaving and giving up knowing that they could very well be screwed out of doing the weekly this tank must really be a piece of work.  I agreed, switched from my dancing bear (which is what I like to do while hanging around Dal) over to my Hunter, and headed there.  I walked in to see lots of people complaining about having wiped three times already.  This was not looking good at all.

As soon as the pulls starts the tank is losing aggro, no biggie, my MD would be hitting hard soon.  Within no time at all he is already losing aggro.  So now it is time to start thinking here. If I let him lose aggro we are all dead.  The offtank is a complete tard when it comes to getting the stone guys but that is none of my concern at the moment.  I slow my DPS as much as I can to line up some of my best shots and watching my procs.  When my MD comes off cool down I am ready to go and help him with his shaky, at best, aggro management.  I wait and wait because I know a few procs will be coming soon that will give me more damage and thus more aggro to transfer. 

My procs click perfect and go off and unload holy hell on the boss and it still does not seem like enough.  I click readiness and MD again and continue my onslaught.  Finally a small lead in aggro for him which he seems to start losing almost instantly.  I am out of cool downs if he loses aggro this time there is no way I can help.  Just as he slips and the boss goes to move to someone else my MD comes off cool down and I click it and go off with all my huge stuff, I had been saving it so I knew I had it for that moment.  Even kill shot was lit and went off there too.  A nice little boost for that end run. 

It was at that point that I knew there was no turning around.  If this fight lasted until my MD was off cool down again we where either dead or the boss was.  I give it all I have and the boss goes down.  That whole fight the tank never had secure aggro except when I was the one doing it for him.  I do not care what anyone else says, he did not tank that boss.  I did.  DPS is important when you have one that knows what the hell they are doing.

So yesterday I join in on an AQ 40 run.  Mostly 80s and some lower levels that needed gear from there.  We move along just fine until... you guessed it... the twins.  We explain it at the start, we go over it a few times, we go for it, no one gets it.  I just flat out stopped DPS all together.  What use is hitting it at all if it is gaining life faster then it is losing life when an idea came to mind.  The tank won't listen, he just follows the guy around trying to keep aggro on him so I am going to have to make the guy follow me and force the tank to follow me in the process.

I hall off on the one boss I am working on.  They switch, I have aggro, I disengage and the boss comes after me.  The tank follows a few seconds after and grabs him.  So do all the others and they start banging on him.  I set myself up so I know which way I am going next and when they switch I do the same thing.  Over and over I start moving him around the room and making the tank chase me basically by chasing the boss.  The life is finally starting to go down some.  This continues for a bit and I noticed after the 5th jump or so that the tank seemed to realize what I was doing and he started to prepare to move the boss himself.  So I stopped fighting him for aggro and let him do his job.  He did fine after that and we downed the boss.

Not to toot my own horn but if it were not for me there that pug would have ended at that fight.  The other tank never moved and the tank on mine never did either until I started making him move.  Next time you see a DPS grabbing aggro, more so a hunter like myself, think for a minute like this tank must have.  I have more then enough tools to handle aggro.  If I am ripping it off you and not using any of them (when I normally do) maybe I have a reason.  Sometimes, DPS can be more important then a tank, it was in this case and the above ones.

Never discount the DPS and write them off as nothing special.  They are really needed and more so, never underestimate how much a hunter can really control a fight.  Sometimes, a good hunter, is the difference between a win and a wipe.  DPS is important.

Ports Gone from Shat and Dal?

I am all for change.  I might bitch about some of it and even get to the verge of irate but that is because I am the grumpy elf.  It is my job to be grumpy and I am usually good at it.  Not like it takes much skill to complain about everything.  That is why I am so good at it.  It is not hard.

Speaking of hard, people always say the game was harder back in the day.  It was harder because mounts did not come so soon and it was a lot harder because there were no central hubs where people could port to every major city all over the world.  Those hubs made the game so easy is their claim.

Hell no they don't.  What are those people smoking and more importantly why are they not sharing?

I've said it before and I will say it again.  Making things take longer does not make them harder.  It makes them more annoying.

Let us take one example and let the people decide which is "harder".

You are at the Argent Tourney doing some jousting and need to get to Darn.

With Ports:
1) Fly to Dal
2) Port to Darn

Without Ports:
1) Fly to Val Keep
2) Board boat to SW
3) Board boat to Darn (yes, in cat the boat goes right there)

So is it really "easier" with ports.
It is one step simpler, sure, but does that really make it easy.  Is there more "skill" involved doing it without ports?  Of course there is no skill involved in using a port.  The need for skill is what separates easy from hard isn't it?

So with no skill needed either way the only real difference is time.  Doing it with a port means you get from the Tourney to Darn in roughly 2 and a half minutes.  Without ports you are looking at, roughly of course being I do not want to waste that much time trying it, 15 minutes worth of travel.

So you are talking about a 12 and a half minute difference with and without ports.  Neither of those journeys take any skill so they are both "easy".   One just gives you a chance to play the game more whereas the other just lets you.... travel?  Is that supposed to be fun?

Now lets give you the choice.

You have 30 minutes to play today.

Which are you going to do?
Use ports and travel for 2 1/2 minutes and play for 27 1/2 minutes?
Go without parts and travel for 15 minutes and play for 15 minutes?

I know which one I am going to chose.

Leave the ports and let the people enjoy the game with travel taking less time.  Let things that are actual game play take time.  Make raiding take time.  Make grinding rep take time.  Make grinding gear take time.  Make leveling take time.  Make earning gold take time.  Make leveling professions take time.  They are all actual game play things that you gain something from so taking time makes sense.  You gain nothing from it taking longer to travel.

Leave travel short, which means having more ports, not less.  You gain nothing from travel being shorter except maybe more time to actually play the game.  Isn't playing the game what it is supposed to be about?

Some solutions to relieve the stress people seem to be having over it being removed.

The ports are in high level cities as a bonus for being that level, make them act as that.
Make the ports in Shat have a use level of 65 and the ones in Dal a use level of 75.  That way they become a perk of level as they should be and not a hub for alts to use. (although I love using it for that)

Let Scribes have the option to make scrolls to port to different places.  They have their scroll of recall why not a scroll of SW, IF, Darn and Exo (and their horde equivalents of course).  Being they are trying to destroy the glyph market this would be a nice buffer for them to compensate.

Let Alchemists make potions of transport for all the cities.  Would be a nice addition to their sales and it does make sense and there is some prescient for it.

Let Mages make transferable ports for single use.  However this one is one I am against.  No other class has a way to make money like mages do already, adding to it will just give them more money.  Lets professions make the extra money I say.

Last but not least. Make ports from every major city to every other major city.  That way if you make SW your home you can get to the other 3 alliance cities easily, Shat (once you are 58) and Dal (once you are 68).  Now that fixes the problem with overcrowding in cities because people will be happy to make Exodar their home as no one uses it much and it still can get you anywhere you need quickly.  People would split up.  I like this idea most.

One more comment on the people that complain about lag in Dal.  If Dal lags it is not Blizzards fault it is your fault.  If you want to stop the lag buy a better computer or adjust your settings.  You hold the way to fix this problem in your own hands.  Stop complaining about something that is in your own hands to fix.

For the moment I will reserve judgment because I have faith something will be done to correct this horrible idea for change but I will not hold my breathe, I am still waiting for the replacement to volley hunters where promised.  And do not say Multi Shot because if that is your answer you apparently have not been playing WoW long enough to make an informed comment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hunters: The Most Unique Class in the Game!

With Cataclysm right around the corner and many changes coming around we have seen the uniqueness of many classes go the way of the winds whereas Hunters seem to be becoming even more unique.  While all classes are seeing some of their abilities being shared with other classes the Hunters seem to be moving even further away from the pack.

Take the Shaman class for example.  Long has heroism/bloodlust been a staple of the Shaman talent pool.  It was a unique ability that only that class brought to the table.  Now Mages have that ability and one of the Hunters pets has that ability.  Gone is the uniqueness of the Shaman class having that skill.

The Warlock class used to have soul stones and now they have the things that used to use soul stones working more on a resource basis.  Mind you I do not know as much about this one myself as my warlock is the lowest of my characters so it is the one I read the least on but a change to a "unlimited" resource instead of a gathered resource is something that now puts the Warlock in line with every other class in the game.

All other classes have lost their uniqueness this expansion in one way or another in various degrees, except for the Hunter of course.  The Hunter not only kept its uniqueness but it even expanded on it.

The Hunters unique features already included:

Ranged White Damage: Hunters are the only class that can do what is commonly refereed to as melee damage from range.  White damage can be done from range from other classes, warrior and rogue to name two but no other class can do white damage from range effectively. +1 for uniqueness.

Minimum Range: The hunters are the only class that has to be at a minimum range to do its "natural" abilities. Yes, a hunter can melee, no a hunter should not be doing that.  Casters can cast in melee and of course melee can melee in melee.  Every class can do what their class naturally does in melee range except for hunters.  +1 For the uniqueness.

Pets & Upkeep: Hunters are the only pet class with a pet that requires an upkeep.  Not saying it is hard and with the right glyph all you need to do is hit mend pet to keep your pet happy but they are the only pet class that actually has to worry about their pet as if it were really a "partner" and not a "servant". +1 for uniqueness.

Pets & Names: Our pets are our friends.  They are more then just a helper they are a companion. We can name our pets and even rename them if we realized that Bubba did not fit our pets personality with a little help from a Scribe.  Warlocks minions, Mages elemental, Shamans elementals or wolves, Death Knights minions, all have names that are set in stone and can not be changed.  They might be called pets but they are not companions like a Hunters pet is.  +1 for uniqueness.

Pets: Then there is the concept of pets in general. Every warlock has the same exact demons for its spec in its arsenal.  A mage and a shaman train to get theirs as do DKs.  A hunter can pick and choose what pet they want.  They can choose different looks for the same types of pets so even if you see a dozen hunters with wolves they might have a dozen different wolves.  If you see a dozen locks with their viodwalker out they will all have the exact same voidwalker.  +1 for uniqueness.

Feign Death: The be all end all of aggro dumps.  Other classes have aggro dumps for sure but nothing like this one.  This is a powerful tool.  Whenever I talk with my friends I always say if there were one ability I could choose to have on all my classes (and I do play all 10) it would be Feign Death.  I wish I had this on every character I play.  While I wish I had this on every class I play it is also the one thing I hope that Hunters get to keep to themselves that is unique to them.  +1 for uniqueness.

Traps: While none of the traps are completely game changing they are something that only Hunters have.  Some other classes might have something somewhat similar but nothing like them exactly.  From slowing to freezing to DoT inducing to poisons to pure damage they are the definition of utility and unique.  +1 for uniqueness.

Spells: Using the term spells might be strange as Hunters, and some others, are not casters but all abilities are referred to as spells.  Every spell in the game is shared in one way or another.  Rain of Fire and Blizzard?  Same thing.  Swipe and Thunder Clap?  Same thing.  Every spell in the game is used for more then one class except for many Hunter spells such as traps and shots.  Being there are no other ranged damage dealers in the style of Hunters there are no classes to share those abilities with.  Steady shot, Serpent Sting, Chimera Shot, Explosive Shot, so forth and so on, they are all Hunter spells and they are all only Hunter spells.  +1 for uniqueness.

With the upcoming changes to the game in Cataclysm the Hunters become a little more unique in some aspects while losing one of their previous unique qualities.

Ammo: Hunters were the only class that needed to make sure they had bullets or arrows and were basically useless without it.  All other classes can do what they do without any such resource.  If a caster runs out of mana even without something to drink they will get mana back.  If a hunter ran out of ammo they were near useless.  Melee damage just does not cut it.  So we lost some of out uniqueness there but I do love having the extra bag space now. -1 for uniqueness.

AoE: Hunters where not unique in this area before Cataclysm.  They had an AoE spell just like every other class in the game.  Now they do not, Hunters are now the only class in the game with no AoE capability what so ever.  For those that do not play Hunters I will clarify that Multi Shot, which changed to hit more then three targets, is still not an AoE.  Multi Shot needs to have a valid target selected to be used.  AoE spells just do AoE damage in an area even if there is no target selected. +1 for uniqueness. (But I consider that a minus for usage)

Utility: Many classes have a wide selection of utility but none have the expansive amounts of utility that Hunters now bring with them.  Being all pets now offer raid wide buffs and every buff in the game in covered in one pet or another that means they Hunters can effectively fill any buff missing from a raid.  It is kind of strange for something that helps remove the uniqueness from other classes that it is what makes the Hunter unique but it seems that is how Blizzard wants it.  +1 for uniqueness.

Utility Without Sacrifice: Asking a Warlock to use a different minion effects the way they play.  Some need a certain minion to be out to maximize their output.  Some classes need to choose skills in their spec that they would prefer to use those points elsewhere to bring that utility. Asking a Hunter to bring a different pet for the raid buff it offers will not effect the Hunter much, if at all.  All pets now have standardized damage (within class that is) which means that you no longer need to take a wolf to every raid if you like your cat.  Your cat now has the same DPS as the wolf does.  Another oddity that making things the same now makes them unique.  +1 for uniqueness.

Ranged Traps: Gone are the days where all we could do was freeze a mob in place from a distance.  Now, as true ranged specialists we can do anything any trap can do from a distance.  This takes one of our previous unique features and steps it up to another level.  (it is also the only good skill hunters get in the expansion in my option) +1 for uniqueness.

Focus: It is a brand new resource for the game being added just for Hunters stepping on the feet of DKs who where previously the only class with a unique (mana bar type) resource.  Now the Hunters have a unique resource as well that is reserved just for them alone. +1 for uniqueness.

Mastery: Hunters are the only class that has a mastery that does not effect them in any way, shape or form.  The beastmaster mastery Master of Beasts effects the pets damage and only the pets damage.  Yes, Warlocks Master Demonologist is close as it effects the pet damage just like the BM mastery however the Warlocks mastery also effects the Warlock themselves when in demon form leaving Hunters as the only class with a mastery that does not effect themselves at all.  +1 for uniqueness.

Hunters where always in a class of their own to begin with, no pun intended.  Ranged "melee" damage.  As the times move on where every class is starting to look the same the Hunters are moving even further away from the pack into their own little world more and more.

My own personal opinion on the matter is that more classes need to be designed like the Hunters class in terms of uniqueness.  It seems more and more that each class is starting to look the same except for our beloved Hunters.  Lets hope that our uniqueness keeps us from being placed in the rank and file of all the other classes that are becoming cookie cutters of each other. 

I wish Blizzard would make an effort to start making the other classes their own again and not just have reskined skills with different names all doing the same things.  Being that will never happen we can all rejoice as Hunters that we are, without doubt, the most unique class in the game.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Glory of the Hero & Possible (bad) World First

Finally I got Glory of the Hero done.  It took what seemed like forever to get it because of one thing only.  Less Rabi.  I can not even begin to tell you the amount of times I got screwed out of that achievement.  At least half a dozen for sure.  So many time he died as he was mid cast and it never registered as the achievement.  So it was a matter of getting lucky more so for this achievement.  Last night I finally got lucky.

How we did it was me on my Hunter, a Warlock, a Mage, a Paladin Tank and a Priest Healer.  The Paladin Tank was tanking for the first time ever on that character.  Nice way for someone to learn huh?  The Priest turned Shadow for the fight and then we all went at it balls to the wall.  First transformation I silenced him, second the Mage counterspelled.  That was all that was needed.  The first transformation did not come until near 30% health, the second instantly after at around 18%, he never had a chance to even try a third.

I think that is why it worked this time and not all the others.  All the others we killed him mid transformation so it did not count.  This time we killed him after the second was countered but before the third started so there was no way the system could screw me over this time.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Last night we were on Sin in ICC and we wiped.  No big deal, wipes happen right?  We all release and start to head back in but we get what I will only call is a World First for ICC.

Okay, let me set the scene.  In ICC, 11th boss. Go in, start fight.  Oops, 2 DPS die right off the start do to something stupid.  With that we might not have enough to down it but we continued just to see how far we could get it.  About 3 minutes later it is a wipe.  One of the healers is one of the last to die.  The DK is one of the earlier ones to die.

Now for what could quite possible be a world first.

We release, we all come back in except the healer.  He releases and tries to get back in but he can't.  Someone says for the healer to release. He says, I did release but it will not let me back in.  They say, but your body is still on the floor here.

Yeap, the healer released and tried to come back but could not.  So he was alive and well outside the entrance now while his body was still laying, and targetable, in the instance looking as if it never released.  We try to revive the body, it will not let us.  We have a lock try to summon him, it will not let us. When you click on the priest it shows the picture of a ghost as if they are still dead, but he is not dead any more, he is outside and now back to full life but his image when you click it is still a ghost.  There are now officially 2 copies of our healer.  One dead in the raid and one alive outside of the raid.

Now, how do we get our healer back in?  Any one of the two of them will be nice.  Someone suggests the healer check their raid ID and they do that and guess what.  The healer has a different raid ID then the other 9 of us.  How the hell did that happen?

We fiddle around a little and decide to call it a night, we are not going to continue with a different healer for the last 2 bosses.  So we will do Ruby Sanctum for now and put in a ticket so maybe we can continue this on Monday but now is where another problem comes in and the reason I mentioned the DK earlier.

The DK can not get out of ICC.  He can not walk out the front portal, he can not use the port to dalaran inside there and he can not hearth out either.  We even try summoning him and that does not work either.  He is stuck inside ICC.  Time for another ticket.

So we ended up with a healer that could not get into the raid even though his dead body was in there and a DK that could not get out of the raid.  Bugs galore.

Maybe it was revenge from the system for finally letting me get Less Rabi without it bugging?  Either way, I am sure that has to be a world first for ICC.  A 10 man raid that has 11 men.  2 of the same healer, one dead inside that can not be revived and one alive outside that can not enter and a DK that can't leave, he is stuck in ICC forever.

I know who the new Lich King is... Our DK.  He is there forever now, locked in ICC, destined to take the place of the fallen king.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Only a Game

It's only a game gets thrown around  quite often in WoW and other MMORPG type games I've played online.  I often tend to over think things and for some reason that line has been in my head all morning.  I read a lot of blogs to maybe I read something in one of them that trigger the thought but at the moment I am trying to break down what I think it really means.

It's only a game is probably the most heard line from people that are not what most would consider... um, good.

Why is none of your gear enchanted? 
- Chill dude, it's only a game.

Why are you wearing Spirit Gear?
- Get off my back, it's only a game.

You know, questions like that get it's only a game as their answer quite often.  Usually when you hear someone use the it's only a game line it means that they are a bad player.  No, they are not a bad player because their gear is not enchanted, they are not a bad player because they are a warrior with spirit.  They are a bad player because they do not have a reason for those things.  There are often damn good reasons for things like mentioned above.  Do good players explain why they are doing the things they do?  We know already that bad players come out with it's only a game

For nearly everything in the game that might seem like a bone head thing to do there is a reasonable explanation for it.  Good players attempt to give that explanation, or at least I do.  I may not be a great player but I surely am not a bad one.  When I get asked certain things like that I could throw out the it's only a game line but I choose to give my actual reason.  You would be amazed how many people out there call me the stupid person but not the one that says it's only a game.

When someone says it's only a game they are given a pass.  It is like, this person is an idiot there is no use arguing with them or telling them that.  While that might hold some merit I wonder why when I have a good reason it is seen as being a bad player.

Some examples for fun.

While running randoms on my fresh 80 shaman I had a conversation like this go down.

Why is your chest piece not gemmed or enchanted?
It is a 200 piece I am going to be replacing in a few runs.
That is stupid, your DPS would be so much better if you put something on it.
Yes, it would, but I am replacing it soon and even at that my DPS seems to be fine, it is more then yours.
It is only a heroic, I do not go out of my way.
Yet you want me to add gems and enchants to a piece of gear I am replacing in 13 more badges?

I gave a reasonable answer to a question and I am the one in the wrong?  It was not like I was trying to get into a raid without gems or enchants.  I was running heroics to gear up a character (see those words gear up).  At this stage, anything less then T9 is not even worth putting the cheap gems in or cheap enchants on, you will not have them long enough to make it worth it.

Here is one from my warrior, taken from above.  Mind you, this is around level 53.

Why are you wearing a helm with spirit on it?
It has more armor and more stamina then my previous helm did and those are the 2 stats that matter to me.
Fail tank.

Lets see, if I had answered it's only a game they most likely would have not said anything but because I had a damn good reason for it I am a fail tank?  It had good stamina, good armor, I could not have cared less that it has another stat on it, spirit or not.

Here is a fun one from when leveling my shaman, in the early 30s.

Nice mace, why don't you have a helm?
Thanks and I have not had one drop yet.
You should go out and buy one then, it will help.
No rush, I'll get one sooner or later.
Whatever, but it would help you a lot.

This person surely looked at me like an idiot because I did not have a helm.  I could have said it's only a game and moved along, but I actually answered the question and got looked at bad for it.  I wonder, in the 30s, what exactly would be considered a lot?  +2 of one random stat?

On my Rogue recently.

Your DPS sucks.
I know, just respeced again to try and find something that works for me.  I really suck at playing a rogue but still trying to figure it out.
You sure do, you should quit and reroll something else, you are horrible.

Wow, how about saying something like good luck with that or give me a suggestion if you know anything about rogues.  If I would have said it's only a game they would have thought of me as a slacker and that is why my DPS was low but because I said I suck at playing one and am working on getting better they just tell me to quit instead. 

So I have to think sometimes when someone says it's only a game are they really a bad player or they just have more experience then me and know that trying to tell someone a good reason for something will never end well.  When I do something that might be considered wrong I have a reason for why I did it wrong and usually it is a good one.  Sometimes it is just... oops. 

I do not see anything wrong with not gemming a chest piece I will be replacing in 3 or 4 more randoms.  I do not see a problem wearing a helm that has spirit on my warrior if it is the best helm I have come across so far according to the other stats.

Maybe some of those people that say it's only a game have a reason for what they are doing and just do not feel like sharing it.  Maybe that reason is even a good one.  Maybe I just read to much into things sometimes.  From now on when someone asks a stupid question like those I should just avoid answering or maybe even better, I can play stupid and let that person feel like they just made someone better.

I think I have come up with a way to do it now the other way around.

When I make a raid and someone shows up with no gems and no enchants and I kick them and they ask why I will say Chill dude, it's only a game.

When I am tanking and someone pulls off me and dies and they ask me why I did not taunt it off them I will say No big deal, it's only a game.

When I am healing and there is an aggro hungry warlock that refuses to slow down and thinks I can keep a clothie up, along with everyone else, I'll just let them die and when they ask wtf healer I will say Chill out, it's only a game.

The line it's only a game is owned by the bad players, I say it is time for the good players to make it their own.  How do you think the bad players will feel when you stop carrying them and tell them, it's only a game when they ask why.

One thing people seem to forget is that while it's only a game there are some things you expect out of that game.  You expect people to not do things that will be bad, on purpose.  Like if you are playing pac man you do not run to the ghosts when you can't kill them do you?  No, that would be bad.  And pac man is only a game, but you still do things right.  So pulling aggro off the tank and not worrying about it and saying it's only a game does not make sense.  While it is true that it's only a game, drawing aggro off the tank is like running straight into the ghost.  Not a smart idea.

Sure, it's only a game but the game is pretty simple with it's lay out about how you are supposed to play that game.  You would not jump off a cliff that you are supposed to jump over in a game so why would you pull aggro off the tank.  Accidents happen in both cases but you never do it on purpose.  It defeats the purpose of the game, which is to win, or to complete the level or to defeat a boss.

So doing something stupid and then saying it's only a game makes no sense unless you are the type of person that likes to lose the game, not make the level or lose to the boss.  And if you are that type of person do not complain when I kick you from my group because I want to play the game with people that really truly believe it's only a game and they want to play the game to win the game.

Yes, it's only a game and I am playing the game to win.

So if you say it's only a game and are doing something that hinders your ability to win the game you are doing it wrong.  You know it is a game, you just said it, so play the game to win the game.  It's only a game is not an excuse for being bad, it is stating the obvious like this is only a blog.

You might not have liked my reasons for why I did those things "wrong" but at least I had a reason because I was actually playing the game and knew what to do.  Never take it's only a game as an answer.

Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed

"Jed" in this story would be me.  It is just a name but it is my name.  It annoys me whenever I start on a new server I can not use my name.  On the PTR I am flagged to change my name.  On the tournament server I had to change my name.  I do not care if someone else is using it.  It is my name.  Make them change their name.  Their name does not matter to me, my name does.

It might sound selfish and it is.  Why should I give a crap if someone else is also named "Jed"?  I do not care.  If the game chooses to care then make them change it.  My name is my name and I am sick and tired of being forced to change my name to appease someone else that has no right using my name. I will not make a bastardized version of my name using stupid symbols or accented letter.  It is my name and there is no reason I should need to deviate from it.

Some names I do not mind changing but as a writer and a life long role player (even if I do not role play in wow, yeah, weird, I know) my name is my name and has been my name for a very long time.  My main character's name is a name I created for a book I wrote 12 years ago.  That is my claim to that name.  It has never been used in any other literature anywhere that I know of, ever.  It is a creation of mine therefore is it, without question, my name.

Okay, rant over about people stealing my name.  Lets get to the point I wanted to get to before I turned all grumpy elf again.  The point is that names are limited.  At least if you want a decent name that sounds like a name and not some stupid name like "droodheals" or "ikillu" and crap like that and not names that use other characters in place of letters so it can appear they have the name that was already taken.

Names of that style usually come from one of two things.  A retarded person that thinks "ikillu" is cool or someone that got so frustrated trying to find a decent name that was not already taken that they were forced to just take anything.

I wondered why people can not have the same names.  I mean, look around you, how many Mike's do you know, or John's?  A few, maybe even a dozen or more if you get out a lot.  I can easily name off the top of my head 10 different Mike's I talk to on a weekly basis and another 5 or 6 John's.  People have the same name.  Why can't they have the same name in game?

They say it has something to do with saving the data and people getting confused by two people with the same name.  I have a small solution for that.  Just limit the times the name can be used and not limit the name itself.  Like if I make a Night Elf Hunter and name it "Jed" and someone wants to make a Blood Elf Paladin and wants to name it "Jed" they would be allowed.  One on each side, now you effectively doubled the amount of non retarded names that people would need to use because all the good names are taken.

Want to take it further?  How about a Dwarf named "Jed" too and an Orc and a Troll and a Human, and so on.  One of each race, now you effective can use "Jed" 10 times.  See, we are expanding the amount of times a name can be used.  Maybe even more if we can go further, one of each race/class combo can have a name.

They always use the excuse that people will get confused with who is who if people have the same names.  This would help with that.  Or maybe just add another field if they think that people will get a Night Elf Hunter and a Dwarf Hunter both named "Jed" confused.  Add a field for last names.  How awesome would that be for role players?  I am sure they would love it but so would many others.

If you are a role player you will most likely have a name combo that will be distinct enough that you can use it on every server and if you are not a role player then you would not really give a flying crap what your last name was as long as your first name was the name you wanted.

Lets say you wanted "Jed" to be your name and it was taken, so you can make "Jed Clampett" but if there was another Beverly Hillbillies fan on the server you could make it "Jed Smith" or "Jed Jones" or "Jed Johnson" or "Jed Robinson" or... well, you get the idea.  This effectively means that you can have 100s if not 1000s of Jed's in the game and none of them will be forced to use stupid ass symbols in their name and none of them will be forced to have to change their name.  Maybe in extreme cases, like my "Jed Clampett" example, where a name from pop culture comes into play there will still be issues, but at least now those would be limited by a great deal.

Either way, we should be allowed to use our names as we want them and I will never have to deal with some other asshole using my name somewhere. Blizzard has been doing lots of little things to make the game better and are simple additions, the return to graveyard button, dungeon maps, and many other things that where simple as hell to add and should have been added when the game was first created so why can they not add something like this?  It is as simple as simple can be.

And I can make the idea even better for Blizzard.  Name change fees would only apply to first or last, not both.  More to sell.  I can see it now, to join "Awesome Guild" you need to change your last name to Awesome.  So people will be changing names left and right.  Personally, I would never join a guild that named themselves Awesome Guild or change my name to be allowed to join a guild but to each their own.

Either way, limiting names is a bad idea all around and something that needs to be fixed.  Not just because I am a grumpy elf that hates people stealing my name but because I am a grumpy elf that hates trying to figure out how to say efgerhyy over vent.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Downloading the PTR... Again?

That is the way it sure seems.  I went to pop on the PTR last night to check something out (the cataclysm events have been added) and it started to download again.  I figured this had to be a mistake but I rolled with it.  After I was able to log in I figured I would log in and check.  I did not need to download the entire thing to see what I wanted to see.  I get in and my characters are gone.  Now that pissed me off.  I now have to wait for the download to finish again and wait for my characters to be transferred again?  Why?

I can understand the need to download the PTR again and I'll live with it.  It is the PTR after all and you have to understand that not everything is going to work perfectly.  I am not happy about having to wait for my characters to be transferred again however.  There is no reason what so ever for that.  My characters data has not changed since I logged off.  They have that data.  Even if I need to download everything again that data is still there.  Why not just use it?  It better not take 4 days to transfer a character over again.  PTR or not, that is just stupid.

So I started a new Priest for the hell of it to see what the starting parts look like now.  Only played a short while but I must say I both love and hate the leveling process now.  The part I hate is that there seems to be too much hand holding.  When I started I liked that I needed to find my own way and explore some. Everyone you need to talk to is highlighted as if to say, hey you, come here and talk to me.  Every mob you need to kill for a quest is highlighted as if saying, hey you, come here and kill me.  Now for me, even more so having done some of these things 5 or 6 times, it is not needed but I can see how a new player would love this.

They also have an embedded arrow that shows you where you need to go next on the map.  One problem with that is it seems to show you the wrong direction half the time.  No biggie, their quest system has been screwed up since they added it.  Whenever there is a quest that has an alliance and a horde equivalent, it always sends me to the horde version of it... as alliance. Who says that Blizzard does not support PvP, hell, they are trying to trick people into it.  I personally do not mind, I am smart enough to notice that but I hope they fix the arrows.  To a new player that has no clue what they are doing following those arrows will get them lost.

I love the leveling up graphics.  Simple but I like them.  I do like the notice when you can learn a new spell that pops up.  You can now learn Power Word: Shield, please visit your trainer to learn it.  Sweet!  I can not tell you the number of times I took a trip to the trainer hoping to learn something new and there was nothing new to learn or all they had to teach me where things I never used anyway.  This will make it a lot easier to know when it is worth going back to the trainer.

Now on to the water.  The last time I was in the PTR there was no water.  This made for a very interesting view of the world.  Stuff just floating in the middle of the air, fish swimming in the middle of the air.  I got a chuckle out of it.  Now the water is added and I can tell you one thing for sure.  As soon as you see it you will just have to go for a swim.  The water looks fantastic.  Thumbs up for some nice graphic work there.

Looks like I will not be testing the pre-Cataclysm stuff if they are going to make me wait 4 days again for it or even if I do, it will be out shortly after but so far I am looking forward to leveling some new characters when the changes come.  Sad part is, on my main server, I do not have much leveling left to do on any of them and all 10 slots are filled with one of each class. 

Guess that means off to the RP server for me where I have a hunter, paladin, warrior and DK all on 100% rested.  They will be saved for Cataclysm however.  Maybe I will go back to my long abandoned Orc Hunter on Aggy.  Been a long time since I have been there.

Either way, while I still seem to not be excited about the end game, or 80+ stuff from Cataclysm, I am really looking forward to the leveling aspect again so I can see the whole world and leveling looks interesting again.

Oh, and the Alchemy mount.  That I am really really looking forward too.  A Night Elf Hunter that turns into a Dragon to travel.  Wow, now that is F'N epic.  Can you just see this dragon flying at you at 310 speed then changing instantly as someone drops out of the sky and an arrow comes at your head from 40 yards away and a wolf comes dashing at you to crew your face off.   I can't wait.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tanking Pet Peeves Return.

I don't do a great deal of tanking because of my pet peeves about how everyone else in the game acts in general but being the Brewfest Boss is around I offered up my tanking services for my guildies.  I figure it helps them get it done faster, the fight will never last more then 2 minutes even with a pitiful DPS core, and if they are gearing up a character this is a great way to get trinkets and trinkets are sometimes hard as hell to come by.

So here is the story on my bear.  I do not use it often but while it is not ICC geared it is geared enough for most anything else.  Unbuffed I am over 40K hit points and I have high avoidance.  Which basically means I could most likely tank ICC because of the 30% buff.  I played the bear a bunch (with guildies) and I read bear stuff all the time even if my bear does not leave the zoo all that often.

I stopped tanking randoms for a reason.  I sometimes remind myself of that reasons and amazingly enough for such a simple event like this many of the things came back up once again.  How do you really get on this bear's nerves when it is a one shot boss that usually takes 60-70 seconds to down?

1) Pulling For the Tank.
- Yes, even in this it happens.  One time we port in and some asshat mage walks up the the boss and starts him.  I was not in bear form.  How did he know I did not need to switch specs?  You do know that a druid can be a tree or a chicken right?  I could have tanked it in cat no problem but even at that you have a 50/50 chance that you are about to go splat to a lame ass holiday boss because you pulled for the tank.  Don't do that.

2) Focus Fire.
- There is one fucking boss.  How the hell can you miss him and start killing other things?  I grab the boss, do my bear like things and keep the guy mad at me.  I swipe like crazy, because you know that is what us bears do, and that is more then enough to keep the little guys from being drawn away by healer aggro or AoE.  For you to pull one of those non elite, inconsequential, will despawn when the battle is over, sort of adds from me you had to be focus firing it.  Why the hell are you focus firing it?

3) I Don't Need Any New Friends.
- Why do people have to go and aggro the whole fucking instance when in there and bring them back to me.  Sure, one swipe kills them all and if not two surely does.  Why do you have to go collect adds?  At least you brought our new friends to me, I will give you some credit.

And people wonder why I stopped tanking.  If I can run into three different pet peeves in just about 10 runs in a super simple single target 1 minute fight imagine what tanking randoms was like.  That is why I do not do it.

On a side note, they are making tanking harder in Cataclysm?  I do not want to do it now when it is easy why the hell would I do it if it was hard.  Great way to get more people interested in tanking Blizzard.  Who is the moron in charge over there?  Not sure who should be fired, the idiot that said "lets make tanking hard" or the idiot in charge that thought that might actually be a good idea.

How about nerfing all DPS to do less damage and lowering the hit points of the mobs.  That way, no huge numbers even from crits and much harder to pull off the tank.  There you go, you fixed everything and made it so people might actually want to tank.

Mouse Issues

A long long time ago at a computer desk far far away I had this mouse I used to call the mouse from hell.  It would go wherever it wanted to as if it had a mind of its own.  A friend of mine, when I told him about it, was nice enough to buy me a new mouse.  It was one of those little cat toys with catnip in it, yes, a catnip stuffed mouse.  I've had that thing for going on 14 years now and to this point in time it is the only mouse I have ever owned that did not give me any problems.  If only I could figure out how to hook it up to my computer.

I recently purchased a new mouse.  It cost me $359 and while that might seem outrageous I am quite content with paying that much for something as simple as a mouse if it works the way I want it to.  You see, I hate mice, despise them.  I have had so many over the years and tried so many styles it is crazy.  I've found that for me a tackball mouse is the only way to go.

Using a traditional mouse has never worked for me.  Quite frankly I can not see how anyone can use one of those.  They are not even close to being precision and they require a lot of movement and a lot of space to allow all that movement.  A track ball is precision, it sits in one place and it is really comfortable to use.

One issue that seems to be an issue sometimes is that the ball gets dirty and the response time gets sluggish.  Sluggish is not good, I like a trackball because of the freedom of movement it allows over a traditional mouse, not to mention the ability to do 3D movement, something a standard mouse can not do as simply.  I can run circles around someone in PvP with a trackball.  Make faster movements and adjustments even when half asleep then even the best player in the world can when they are at their peak.  That is one of the beauties of the trackball.  Until it starts getting sluggish.

That is the reason I went out and got a new one recently.  They do not make them like they used to being they must not sell all that well.  Add to that, being they do not sell as well, they do not have updated ones, like ones with 5 buttons and the such.  I found one that had 5 buttons and I had to get it.  So I went on Amazon and get myself the Microsoft D67-00001 Trackball Optical Mouse and it is a beauty for sure.

One thing that I am noticing that is a problem is the one word you see in there, Optical.  Optical is the way everything seems to be now.  Anyone that has ever used mechanical extensively and optical extensively will tell you that optical can not hold a candle to mechanical.  The technology is just not there yet.  Optical skips a beat sometimes.  That means that you will not always have precision movement.  I was quite upset that something that cost as much as this mouse did would still have the problem I have seen with all other optical mice.  I held hope that an optical trackball would have better luck then the traditional style optical mice out there.

No such luck.  The trackball has the same issues.  Kind of blows my precision out of the water but what can you do.  I'll learn to adjust.  It is larger then my previous trackballs.  Much larger.  Do you know who Andre the Giant was?  He was a wrestler and if you ever saw the movie the Princess Bride he was the big guy there.  Remember his hands, he could cover someones entire face?  Well, that is who this mouse was designed for.  Geeze, makes me feel like I have the hands of a 12 year old with that thing.  That was no big deal really, I adjusted to it quickly.  It is not as bad as I first thought it would be.

My issue comes down to why I decided to get a new trackball.  My old one was starting to get sluggish.  Over the years of popping out the ball and cleaning it, it starts to lose its luster and it starts to get a little sluggish once in a while with the mechanical system of the old style trackballs.  So I figured I would get a new one and not just the same one I have bought 3 times over the past 12 or so years.  The new one is optical and has 5 buttons.  My healer loves me for the 5 buttons as do all the people that my heals keep alive.

The thing is that the optical mouse has the same issue (brand new) that the old mouse had (after many years of use).  It gets sluggish from time to time.  The thing is that optical does not pick things up sometimes.  It misses movement.  I hate that.  So now I need to decide to either move back to the old style, (I bought one of those also at the same time just in case I did not like this, as a back up) find a way to make the optical pick movement up better or just get used to it.

Yesterday when running my daily on my Priest it just stopped responding completely.  Not a good thing when you use healbot and all your other spells are all designed for mouse over.  (Stupid me forgot I could have used the F keys to target)  It was all guildies so we were on vent, I said my mouse died and to hold up, so no harm, no foul.  The mouse came back right away, it was just one of the pitfalls of optical.  Sometimes it does not pick movement up.  It died for all of 4 or maybe 5 seconds but in any thing where you need maximum use for quick response time 4 or 5 seconds is a lifetime.

I need to find a 5 button trackball mouse that is NOT optical.  It is amazing that everything has changed to optical and optical is suboptimal when it comes to mice.  But then again, trackballs have gone the way of the dodo for the most part and they were/are vastly superior to traditional mice.

Goes to show you that quality means nothing when it comes to the public buying it.  You can go way back to prove that one as well.  The Betamax machines where leaps and bounds better then the VHS machines and yet every household in the world ended up having a VHS while most people never even heard of a Betamax.

Never leave it up to the public to decide what is best.  If history shows us anything it is that people will make the wrong decision 90% of the time given the option. 

If anyone has mouse options please feel free to share.  I need something that moves when I need it to move, more so on my healer (and for PvP).  I can deal with it on my DPS characters or even tank characters, but people will die without my mouse working perfectly on my healer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Background Downloader and Other Stuff

I had always been one of those people that did not use the background downloader.  I have a fast connection and I wait until patch day to download all I need.  Worst case, it takes 30 minutes for me to download things.  If I know the patch is that day I just change my routine a bit.  I'll log on as soon as I get home from work to start the download and then go about life as normal.  By the time I get to the game to sit down and play it is ready to roll.

This time around that is not going to work.  After downloading the PTR and seeing how long 16 gig took me and knowing that I would need to download that to play I decided to enable the background downloader.  I am glad I did.  When the time comes in, most likely, 8 days, I will be ready to roll and not have to wait 12 hours or more for a 16 gig update.  So far I have received 2 patches of roughly 1.5 gig and 4 gig each.  I am expecting more to come.  Most likely it will end up being the full 16 gig that the PTR required us to download.

For many people this will come as a huge surprise.  They will log on the Tuesday following next and not be able to play until the download finishes and depending on their connection that could be quite a long time.  Lets not even mention all those college students and others who have a download limit on what they are allowed.  It could end up taking them weeks, if not months, depending on how much they are allowed to download.  If you have a really crappy connection or one that only allows 100 mb per day it is going to take you damn near forever to get this patch.

So assuming you are not limited by download limits and time is your only issue I suggest you enable the background downloader now and get to work.  That way when the time comes you will be able to play the same night and not have to wait.  Even a fast connection like mine would make it impossible for me to download 16 gig in enough time that I could have waited and still played the same day.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

I played a bit more on the PTR, took a pass by ZG and a few other places to find things I needed to know about.  ZG has not been removed yet, which I didn't think it would be, but it was worth looking into.  I need roughly 1 1/2 clears more to reach exalted and it looks like I will have the time.

I checked the conversion for honor to whatever the new PvP points are called to see what I would need for my last PvP mount that I put off getting while trying to finish off some PvE things first. Seems like this will be a non issue.  The fact that the mount is still around is really all I care about.  I will get it sooner or later.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Last I did an update on my leveling my Shaman was still only 76 and now it is 80 with both skills maxed.  This weekend was more about my Warlock however.  Last I updated my Lock was only level 22 but I had gotten it to 30.  My intention is to get 35 before the Thanksgiving holiday event so I can level cooking using that as much as I can.  Love that even for leveling cooking. However, once I reached level 30 I got the quest for my Felhunter.  Being I am leveling affliction, from the guides I read, the Felhunter is the way I want to go.  So my goal this weekend was to at least get that done.  Easier said then done.

Warlock quests are ridiculous.  Not ridiculous hard just ridiculously long.  The had me running all over the freaking world.  To some places I have never even been to before to boot.  Oh well, I had time.  I put myself in query for a random dungeon and started my quest to go to the barrens.  I had to find someone in the middle of nowhere it seemed.  First off, as alliance I never quest in the barrens being there is not much there for me to begin with, secondly, the sting of quests it sent me on was as if they looked at my log and said, lets send him everywhere he has never been before.

Each time the dungeon popped up I entered and did my dungeon then came out and continued on my quest to see the world for this stupid quest.  I worked my way through to grab the path at the Loch, then the Harbor on my way to Southshore.  Once there I grabbed the murloc quest, I figured I would have to kill them to get to the book anyway, might as well do the quest at the same time.  More dungeons popped up, I took them, and finished that part of the quest in time.  Now I had to head to Thousand Needles for the other book.  Woohoo, with all sarcasm I can fit into it.  I could go to Ratchet and work my way down from there but I am closer the The Harbor which will get me more flight paths going from that way.

I am all about trying to make the most of things.  While dungeon after dungeon pops up I make my way from the Harbor to the Marsh and grab that flight path and then swim the long way to Tanaris where I grab that flight path, go through Thousand Needles and get my book then continue along past the great lift, grab the book from the dead guys hand, for the quest of course.  Even if it is a low level quest I am walking past it and going to where the turn in is anyway.  Always grab quests that are along the way and you do not need to do anything for.  It is stupid to ignore free experience for doing nothing.  I turn in the quest, grab that flight path and fly off to Ratchet in route to Ironforge to turn in the quest.

The dude in Ironforge gives me a quest to go get some rods.  I know where that is, get on a bird to the harbor and grab the low level quest to get the banners from those guys.  Remember, never turn away a quest that is where you are going to be anyway.  I figure I need to kill them to get rods so why not get banners too.  I kill, kill and then kill some more.  These suckers where not rod friendly and they granted no experience being my level so it was a waste.  Oh, BTW, just from doing dungeons while trying to finish this stupid quest I am now 33.  I get the rods and make my way back to Ratchet to turn in the quest.  That brings me to 34, I do the next quest and get my Felhunter.

So all in all, if it were not for the dungeon finder I would have wasted nearly 4 hours doing nothing getting not even one level just to get my Felhunter.  At least with the dungeon finder I was able to grab 4 levels along the way as I did it.  Who in Blizzard thought that something like this would be fun?  Are they sadistic?  Lets say you are the average Joe, the type of person that can play an hour here and there and do not spend a decent amount of time on the game like freaks like me do.  This quest alone would take them a week to do just from all the traveling.  Where in their right mind did anyone at Blizzard come up with the idea that this would be fun?  If it were not for the dungeon finder I would have never gotten the damn pet.  I would have respeced to a spec that uses a pet that does not waste 4 hours of my life to get.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Speaking of the sadistic nature of the coders at Blizzard we move on to the Rogue.  Last we saw the Rogue he was level 63.  He is now level 67.  As much as I hate the little bastard I keep working on him.  It is still the most useless class in the game as far as their complete lack of ability to solo anything elite or anything that is more then two humanoid mobs.  You get two beasts on you of the same level you are kiss your ass goodbye.  The put out dismal DPS in randoms to the point where if you see a Rogue in your group just consider it as you are 4 manning it.

I've gotten to the habit, being I know I can not contribute as well as any other class, a healer can out DPS me, of kicking casters.  That is what I spend 80% of dungeons doing.  I round up the caster mobs for tanks that can't handle them and trust me, that means nearly all tanks.  It is partly because tanks do not have a great deal of ability to deal with them at that level and that most of the tanks at that level are DKs that are not tanks at all but just query as one for the faster query time.

People tell me that once Rogues get to end game they really shine.  I'll find out.  I guess I take leveling this piece of crap as a challenge.  I will get it done sooner or later.  They really do suck on a level of suck that no other class comes close to.  Even a hunter with no pet has dozens more tools then a rogue does when it comes to PvE.  I guess I should get into PvP with the Rogue.  That is where they shine.

One other thing about my Rogue that will become an issue soon.  I need to up my lockpick skill.  At level 67 now I will be moving to Northrend shortly and I am still behind on my skill.  I need to start running around pick pocketing just to get some boxes but again that is something Blizzard likes to torture you with.  I can pick 200 pockets and get 1 damn box.  Blizzard really loves to waste the players time doesn't it?

I know I am new to the game but was "annoying as hell" considered "hard" back in the day?  The warlock quest was not hard, it was annoying as hell.  Getting pickpocketing up is not hard, it is annoying as hell.  How did this game get to be so popular if the designers thought that annoying meant hard.  I do not mind hard games.  I do mind annoying.  I am doing it now because I am a completest and I like the challenge a bit but if I had started this way I would have given up.  I would not want to spend hours and hours on end picking pockets to up my skill.  As least now with the dungeon finder it is not as bad.  I query up and go about my thing.  Gives me time to get some experience and break up the grind of pickpocketing.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Last we saw our lovable Paladin she was wondering around level 40.  Now she is sitting pretty at 43 with the greatest dungeon finder story in the world.  It is short but cool.  I was heading to the Marsh to turn in a quest to Tabitha while, as always, I was queried up in the dungeon finder.  I make my way to Tabitha and click her to turn in one quest, then the second, oddly both where from different people telling me to talk to her. The exact second I am about the compete the second quest my dungeon finder screen pops up.  I finish the quest and see the explanation mark over her head.  I knew what quest it was, I figured, lets grab it anyway.  I am still too low for ZF but I figured I might as well pick it up while I am here.  I grab the quest, enter the dungeon, get ZF.  How awesome is that?  I do the dungeon, loot the tiara and leave the dungeon and turn it in at the same exact spot I was standing before I entered the dungeon.  Now that was fantastic.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

My only other leveling update to give is from my Warrior which is now level 55, up from 52.  Nothing much to report there.  Just wondering how to go about doing him in the future.  I am not sure I want to tank randoms at a low level without anyone to quest with.  Tanking is more fun when it is with someone and much more fun when it is with a pocket healer.  I'll wait until the update on him now most likely and dual spec so I can do DPS as well for soloing.  Being they are lowering dual spec to 100 gold, down from 1000, I will wait on that.  No reason to waste 900 gold.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Cataclysm Blues

Cataclysm will be my first expansion playing this game.  I joined only a bit over a year ago so all I know is WotLK.  I've heard stories of the past and I look to the future only with the limited knowledge from my time playing but I can't help to be one of those people you would classify as having the Cataclysm Blues.

There are various versions of the Cataclysm Blues and all of us have seen them or have experienced them recently.  One of the versions is the one where someone no longer wants to raid any more because they are tired of working to get gear that will be replaced within the first 3 or 4 hours of playing the new expansion.  I can relate, but I still like raiding.  Another is the version where people are just taking some time off because they know they will be in obsessive overload mode when Cataclysm comes out so they are taking a break now.  We all know someone like that.  The third is the one I think I fit.  Excitement that reaches the point where you are bound to have a let down.

Have you ever seen a movie that had such fantastic hype that you went into it thinking that you would love it and after seeing it you where so disappointed?  It has happened to me more times then I can recall.  It works both ways as well.  When the movie Hudson Hawk came out every review I read panned it as a horrible movie and one even said that if there were capable of giving it less than 0 stars they would.  One day I happened to end up watching it for some reason and I loved it.  I loved it so much I would actually consider it one of my favorite films now.

Both cases I think are because I went into something having expectations.  I expected one movie to be great and it never lived up to what I consider to be great while I expected another movie to be horrible but it was not really as bad as I would have expected thus making it appear better in my mind.

I am sort of in between with Cataclysm so I do not know what they will bring me.  When I first heard the announcement for it I was filled with interest and excitement for the chance that something new was coming.  While I was leveling I came across many areas like Grim Batol, Udlum and Hyjal and I could never get into them.  I was always wondering that they must have had ideas for these places and just never got around to adding them.  So hearing they were adding them reminded me of the mystery of when I first started playing and I first found these hidden areas and I liked it.  Now I feel a bit indifferent.  Those places should have been there to begin with or they should have been added as some content patch in any of the previous expansions.  They are also in lower level areas so they will disrupt leveling flow.  I know, all petty complains but because of that I just really do not care any more.

I was excited that there would be flying in the old world now.  Now that I really have no characters that need to go through the old world any more it is not as exciting as it could have been.  Then add to the fact that by the time you can fly in the old world you will not be in the old world again for 20+ levels.  Way to add something after the time it would have really been useful.  While leveling my characters I would have loved to have that.  How many damn quests did I have to waste 25-30 minutes to go back to a place I just came from the quest before that one just to pick up one thing.  It is a waste of time. Being able to fly there and back in 3 minutes would have been nice.  Now, even with a mount or an epic mount you still have to fight you way there and back.

Sure, I am the type of person that has 3 hours to play but what if you are someone that plays a little here and a little there.  Quests like that eat up your entire play time for what?  Nothing.  I always say that faster and easier travel does not make the game easier for new players it makes it more enjoyable for them.  I am not arguing that fact for me.  I have passed that stage on all but two of my characters.  I will argue it because traveling is the biggest waste of time in the game when you could have been doing something that might have actually been fun.  But they decided to make flying in the old world after the point where you needed it most.  After 60 it is a convenience before 60 it would have been a godsend.  In truth, if they are not going to make it so you can use it before 60 they should have saved it for 80 or at the least 78.  Before that point you will be in BC and WotLK content and you really do not need old world flying.  Making it 60 is a slap in the face.  It is like the designers said "lets give them something they wanted so bad for 60 levels after they won't be needing it again for 20 more. hahahaha Now what else can we screw with them about?"

I am not a huge fan of changing everything I know about hunters but I can live with that.  I am however quite a bit displeased by the fact that when I heard of the expansion I figured I would get 5 more skill points and a few new skills.  Instead I am ending up with less skill points then I had before to spend on fewer skills and I am getting no new skills to replace all the ones they took out. 

Camo?  Get real, that is nothing special. 
Rocket Launcher?  We already had a freezing arrow, now we have it for every arrow.  Wow, that is so freaking exciting. 
Cobra Shot?  I bet that making a "magic"(nature damage) version of steady shot took hours and hours of the developers game time to think up.  But wait, you took away our mana and our volley because they felt too much like magic but you gave up a steady shot that does "magic"(nature) damage as a new skill?  Who runs the developers team?

Developer #1: I want to take mana and volley away from hunters because magic just does not fit the hunter model well.
Developer #2: I agree, magic for hunters never felt right.
Developer #3: I agree too.  Check out this new skill I added into the game.  It is a steady shot that does nature damage.
Developer #1: Awesome idea.

Did anyone even question the logic of removing magic from hunters when one of their new skills is a magic based skill?

Do you want to know what would have been fantastic level 85 abilities for the Hunters in my opinion?  Sure you do. 

Level 85 Survival Skill - Close Combat   You can now use ranged weapons in melee range.  Whenever you hit a melee range target with your ranged weapon there is a 5% chance to snare them for 3 seconds.
(Making the survival hunter as master of melee as well as range)

Level 85 Marksman Skill - Sniper Combat.  Increases maximum range by 10 years.  For every 10 yards you are away from the target all damage by the Hunter on that target is increased by 10%.
(Making the marksman hunter a true marksmen)

Level 85 Beastmaster Skill - Master Trainer - Whenever you are struck in combat by a melee attack you have a 5% chance to instantly call a random animal to your aid for 1 minute.  This effect can not happen more then once every 2 minutes.
(Making the beastmaster a true master of beasts and the animals would be random ones that you can not tame normally)

Now there you have some kick ass ideas on how they could have actually made the specs different and make the level 85 skills pack some bite to them.  I am sure that many hunter would be glad to sacrifice their level 81, 83 and 85 (cobra, camo, launcher) crap talents they were given to have these at level 85 for their spec.

Okay, sorry for turning this into a mini hunter rant.  Just using that design as an example as it is the one I know best and explains the Cataclysm Blues at work.  I could have easily bitched about swipe having a cooldown now.  Wow did they fuck bear tanking in the ass on that one.

We were promised something new and ended up using old unused areas as "new" content.  They should have been added content for patches of an expansion and not the expansion itself.

We where promised new skills and ended up with less skills.  We were going to get more points to spend on skills and ended up with fewer points to use on those fewer skills and the new skills they do give is are really just recycled skills that really bring nothing new to the game or how we experience it.

While I do still love the idea of everything being redesigned because I am one of those weird people that actually do go sight seeing in the game and I love the art work I do not really see that as being something huge for an expansion.  Same for flying, I look forward to it but it is not something huge to be a major part of a new expansion.  In my mind adding flight in the old world is akin to adding cooking going from 450-500.  It is nothing major but is needed as it is an expansion and you need to update old professions.  It is NOT an added feature.  If you want to call old world flying an added feature then why do you not call cooking from 450-500 a new added feature.  It is an upgrade to a skill.  Nothing more.

I hope they have some surprises for us in store because so far what seemed like something I would really enjoy is already becoming a let down and it is not even out yet.  Maybe it is suffering from the movie syndrome I mentioned before.  Maybe I expected so much from it when I heard the announcement that no matter what I am going to be let down.  Or maybe I am on phase two now where I am so underwhelmed by what I have seen that I am going to think I hate it and end up loving it.

I am officially sitting in the Cataclysm Blues mode.  I went through the excitement phase.  I went through the disappointment phase.  Now I am sitting the the phase where I have no desire to ever see the expansion come out.  I would be more then happy to just continue playing the game I currently enjoy and not have to worry about any changes.  Maybe Blizzard announced it way to soon but I am burnt out from thinking about it.  Loved it.  Hated it.  Now I just don't even want it.  If it comes, it comes.  When it comes, it comes.  Either way, I just do not care any more.  If it turns out great, fine and if it sucks, fine.  I no longer hold any expectations. That is the Cataclysm Blues for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grumpy Ramblings on Hardcore vs. Casual

I was reading a post over on MMO-Champion about what people consider hardcore and casual.  Not really a "vs" thing but how you would define them.  Most people really just seem to be completely retarded when it comes to the subject and it usually has to so with the type of player they are.  A casual player thinks all hardcore players are elitist assholes and a hardcore player thinks all casuals are bad that is why they are causal.

I am going to pick apart some posts and give my grumpy response, because lets face it, I like being grumpy.  No names will be quoted, just comments.
The terms 'casual' and 'hardcore' are nothing but definitions of a mindset and say nothing about skill and knowledge.
Now here is a person that got it right.  That is exactly what it is.  I call myself casual and by most definitions I fit that but I can easily rock people wearing ICC 25 hard mode gear.  You know, the type of people most love to call hardcore.  It is more a mindset then anything else.  For me I call myself casual because if I get into a hard mode run I'll do it but if I don't I don't care.  A hardcore mind set person feels that they "have to" get that hard mode gear.
Casual World of Warcraft Player: 1. Any of a type of person or individual who plays World of Warcraft because he or she wants to and not because he or she needs to or is compelled to play or log in. 2. A person who logs into World of Warcraft without a purpose in mind before doing so and then proceeds to play only for a duration of time that real life permits within reasonable limits.
3. A person who allows normal living behavior to take priority over game play; priorities include family, friends, work, food, sleep and otherwise normal social behavior.
Wrong, wrong and oh, by the way, wrong.
1) So you are saying that a hardcore player logging in did not "want to"?  Maybe that is how they have fun or how they relax and because of that they "want to" log in so they can have fun and relax.  Hardcore players are not "compelled" by some unknown force to do it, they do it because that is what they "want to" do.
2) Who decides what "reasonable limits" are?  If someone has 3 hours free time per night and spends that 3 hours online raiding does that make them causal because for them it was "reasonable"? Whereas the next guy only has 1 hour free time so he looks at the previous person as hardcore?  Each persons free time is different.  I work the same hours every day 5 days a week. My free time is the same every day after I do everything that needs to be done.  So because I play the same time every night (and am capable of raiding because of that) it makes me hardcore?  No, it just means that I have nothing to do between 8PM and 11PM every night.  I "choose" to play warcraft.  If I where to "choose" to watch TV every night for those 3 hours would you call me a hardcore TV watcher?  It is a matter of perception.  You might think my 3 hours are not "reasonable" but for me they are because if I was not playing wow I would be doing some other mindless thing to waste time like watching TV, getting drunk at the bar, bullshitting on the phone, etc.
3) So you are saying that casual players can't let the game take over their lives?  Only hardcore players are like that?  Let me break something to you that might be a surprise but there are many hardcore players that have very full lives with work, family, friends and other hobbies besides WoW and there are many casual players that have no lives outside of the game.  Note: I do not like using the "no life" comment however because if this is how someone cares to spend their free time then that "is" their life but it was used to get my point across. 

Quite honestly those three are three of things (among some others) that bad players usually use as excuses for being bad.  Bad players equate time to skill.  Time and skill are not connected at base.  Sure, people that have skill and time might be better then people that have skill but not as much time.  Bad players will be bad players even if they play 24 hours a day.  Time helps you get gear, time helps you get gold, time does not help you get skill.  Anyone that says, "you are only better because you have more time then I do" is an idiot.  That person is better because they are better.  Plain and simple.

If someone is a bad singer you can give them singing lessons for a year and they might get a little better but they will still be a bad singer.  You can either sing or you can not sing, if you have skill at it to start you can get better but if you do not have the skill to sing you will never be a singer.  You can only get "so much" better at something you can't do but you can never get great at it if you do not have it in you.  So no matter how much time you give a bad wow player they will remain a bad wow player.
Hardcore - raids 4-5 nights a week, does all hardmodes, has a lot of achievements - the game is their life. ie No girlfriend, more friends online than offline, no real consistent responsibilities.
Wow, who pissed in this jerks cheerios.  Apparently someone called him bad or something because he really seems to be pissed off at harcore players.  Hardmode does not mean hardcore.  Achievements do not mean hardcore. Many online friends does not mean hardcore. No girlfriend does not mean hardcore. No responsibilities does not mean hard core.

I have under geared alts that I bring on the weekly just to get badges.  That is the only time I ever log on to those characters unless I need to use one of their skills.  I do not even do daily dungeons with them.  Most of them have hardmode achievements by accident. Hardmode does not mean hardcore.  A character that logs in once a week and only runs for 30 minutes at most is not and will never be considered a hardcore character.  Get real.  Most people get hard modes for fun because even "casual" players are so over geared now it is funny.

I am an achievement whore.  If anything, while I do not consider myself a hardcore player I do make an effort to get achievements.  I might go about that with a hardcore mentality but I am doing it because I like doing it.  I have fun doing it.  I do not do it because I am hardcore.  If anything my reason for doing it would fit more into the casual description most people use.  I do it because I want to do it because it is how I have fun.  Achievements do not mean hardcore.

There are people that watch all the games from their football team, does that mean they are hardcore or a fan?  There are people that go to church every sunday does that mean they are hardcore or religious?  Just because football or religion is your life does not make you hardcore.  Freaking out and killing someone because they like another team or follow another religion... now that is hardcore.  Hardcore in a sick, twisted and extreme way, but you get the point. Just because something is your life does not make you hardcore.

How do sex/relationships equate to being hardcore or casual?  So you are saying some hardcore raider that just got finished having fun with their wife/husband before they go to raid hard modes is no longer hardcore because they had sex?  They are the same exact player with or without the sex.  Having sex has no bearing on your game play... well, unless you play better when you are happy.

Casual or hardcore you will end up making friends online.  It happens, even if you are a grumpy elf like me that generally hates people.  Given the option I could easily go through my day in game and never speak a word to anyone even if I were raiding and be quite happy.  The fact that I made a few friends over the time I played changes the status of my game play?  What about my friends that bought me into the game?  You know, the real life ones from the bar that told me to join them and play?  Because they now count as online friends that makes me hardcore right?  Wait a second, they must have not been hardcore because I was their friend and I did not play.  So let me get this straight.  They were casual because I was their friend that did not play but as soon as I started playing they are now hardcore because I am now a wow friend instead of a bar friend?  Hmm, I changed their status when I started playing.  Did you inform them of that?  I think that they should know.

Have you ever visited the websites of some of the top guilds out there.  Some of them have rather open forums.  You can see people talking about their lives, their pets, their kids, their jobs.  A job is a consistent responsibility isn't it?  Well, I guess some of the top raiders in the game are not hardcore.  Can you please take the time and go tell them that they are casuals and they suck because all casuals suck too right?  Thanks, I am sure they will really appreciate you letting them know.
I'd say casual would mean that you don't necessarily care about min/maxing, and you don't necessarily care about progression raiding/getting top PvP ranking. Again, it's more of a mindset than anything.
 I like the mindset thing, fits the previous smart statement on mindset.  Everything else is full of crap.  Min/Maxing to such an extent that you change your skills when the best skills change might surely make you hardcore I'll give you that but having the best enchants and the best gems does not make you hardcore it makes you a decent player.  Remember, there is a HUGE difference between the hardcore/casual debate and the good player/bad player debate.  Hardcore players can be bad and many are, casual players can be good and many are.  The enchants and gems part should never be part of the hardcore/casual debate they are part of the good player/bad player debate.  Good players use the good gems and enchants while bad players use the bad gems and enchants.  Understand?  It has nothing to do with hardcore or casual.

The whole caring about progression is full of crap too.  I care about progression.  I want to beat ICC while it is still current content and haven't yet because I do not really go out of my way to try and get it done.  If I did go out of my way I would have had it done months ago.  By your definition I am hardcore because progression matters to me but I am casual because I have not progressed yet.  Maybe that is where the term hardcore casual comes in?

Also on that topic I am sure I could introduce you to 100s, make that 1000s if not 10s of thousands of people just on my server alone that care about downing ICC but they are just so bad that they will never get anyone to take them there.  They are horrible players that do not know specs, gems, enchants, rotations, fights, or anything else but they actively care about progression.  So you are saying all of these amazingly BAD players are all hardcore because they care about progression?
Casual = 10 hours a week or less?

Hardcore = anything above 10 hours?
Just figured I would add this one to go over something I said earlier.  Time has nothing to do with anything.  Thank you, nothing more to see here, please move along.
Hardcore = good players
Casuals = bad players
I think we just found a casual that wants to play like they are hardcore.  There are many good casual players and there are many bad hardcore players.  And this is where I will go to sum things up and explain it for the masses that are too stupid to understand the difference.

For that we must go back to the start where words of wisdom, normally not seen on any wow (or any internet) forum where written.
The terms 'casual' and 'hardcore' are nothing but definitions of a mindset and say nothing about skill and knowledge.
 Hardcore:  (the mindset)
- A hardcore gamer is someone that will make any and all efforts to be the best they can be withing the time that they are able to play.  They will spend as much time as they can to complete a task they set forth for themselves and will usually be focused on getting this task done before moving on to the next task.
And Dispelling the Misconceptions:
- A hardcore gamer CAN have other interests besides the game. They CAN have a girlfriend. They CAN have a job.  They CAN have kids.  They CAN have offline friends.  They CAN be like people that have never played a game in their life and CAN be like it is normally assumed only casual players are like.
- A hardcore gamer CAN be a bad player.
- A hardcore gamer CAN only play a few hours a week.

Casual: (the mindset)
- A casual gamer can range from someone that plays rarely just for fun to someone that plays often and sets goals for themselves.  They will work toward these goal whenever they can but unlike the hardcore gamer they can be easily distracted to do other things that seem fun to them and go back to their goal later.
And Dispelling the Misconceptions:
- A casual gamer CAN make the game their whole life. They CAN be single.  They CAN have no kids.  They CAN have only online friends.  They CAN be all the things that are normally reserved as assumptions of what a hardcore gamer is.
- A casual gamer CAN be a good player.
- A casual gamer CAN play many hours every day.

I just wonder why every time the casual vs hardcore discussion comes up it always reverts down to people insulting each other.  "You have no life, so you are hardcore", "you suck at playing, so you are casual" and things like that when ability to play or activity of life outside of wow have absolutely nothing to do with if someone is hardcore of casual.

The mindset on how you approach the game makes you one or the other and in some cases you can be both.  I always say I am casual because I am.  I get distracted easily.

Oh look, something shiny.  I have to go check it out now.