Thursday, March 31, 2011

We All Suck Sometimes.

As an avid reader of the forums and someone that has way to much free time at work I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about this, that or the other.  Sooner or later it always comes back to WoW when the day comes close to an end and I know there is a raid that night.

I think about what I can do to improve on my performance tonight and also what I think the others around me can improve on.  This is in no way a shot on them.  It comes full circle to me being the raid leader and me being the one that usually has read the most about the current content we are doing.

It is not always about raids either.  The other day I was with a guild heroic run and a new Hunter that joined last week was with us.  I started to point out little things he could do to get better.  No, I was not being a jerk, he has asked me to to help if I see anything so that is exactly what I did. 

Being I have been soloing Vortex Pinnacle lately whenever I get time, yes, it is stupid easy as a hunter, I've come up with a butt load of tips and tricks for doing that instance.

We get to the first boss and I tell him, switch to wild when the storms go in.  It greatly decreases the damage you take as well as those around you.  It will make the fight so much easier.  He said, wow, I never even thought of that. 

Honestly, neither did I.  It was not something that ever even occurred to me until I was soloing it.  Since I started soloing and doing everything I could to limit the damage I take it became something I started to do.

It does not mean he was a bad hunter because he did not do that.  I'm willing to bet all my gold that at most 1 in 1000 hunters that go in there have even thought to do that.  Does that mean that 999 of 1000 hunters are really huntards?  Nope.  Just that no one ever thought about doing it before.

Once you know what to do it changes the playing field I think.  Now that I know what to do to help I will do it every time I am in there as well he will I am sure.  The healer said that the fight was so much easier and it seemed like they needed to do half the healing they normally did.

When I do my studying of the fights I know we have lined up I read everyone's comments on tips and tricks for their class.  I then tell the person in our raid that happens to be that class, hey, guess what I read on the forums, blah, blah, blah, maybe you should give that a shot.

This is my job as a raid leader or part of it.  I find those little things that can help myself or others and I pass it along in general conversation.  Not telling them how to play, not shooting down their ability, just telling them little things that can make them better.

Sometimes however you can give someone every bit of knowledge, every tip and trick in the book and they can still not do something.  Everyone has their own weaknesses and sometimes, quite frankly, everyone sucks.  We all have things we mess up on even if we know what to do.

For me, my biggest I suck moment is back in Naxx.  It does not span all my characters either.  Just one.  I can never do the safety dance on my hunter.  I have no clue why.  I can do it on my other characters.  I did it on my priest my first time in there.  My hunter however.  I am a walking disaster area when it comes to that.  I could not explain it even if you told me what it was and I repeated it back to you.

I like to consider myself a solid player for the most part.  I am not a great player but I am not a bad player.  I just can not do that for some reason when I know I should.  That is not the lone suck moment either.  There are some things I am just not good at.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses and sometimes we just outright suck at something.  To make a raid successful you have to know what it is you suck at and you have to be willing to speak up about it.

In a raid last week I told the boomkin that if I went down he was on kite duty and he said I suck at kiting.  I said, then stop sucking.  It got a lot of laughs and he knew I was only teasing him but he noticed what his weakness was and he spoke up. 

At the end of the day I don't care what anyone says or even if we down the boss but I would rather run with someone that is more then willing to speak up and say I suck at that then someone that thinks they are god gift to the game and keeps messing it up and blaming it on lag or something else.

We all suck at something and the ability to admit it is the best thing anyone can ever do, it shows character.  Admitting you suck at something also gives you the chance to get better at it.  If you can not admit you suck at something then you will not work at it and you will never get better at it.

I will not kick someone from a raid because they admitted they are not good at something.  I will ask them to get better and if I know of a way they can practice I will tell them what they can do in their efforts to get better but I will always understand if they can just not do it.

I've had my fair share of WTF moments that I can just not explain.  Must just be I had a moment of suck.  We all suck sometimes.

Grinding the Wintersaber Trainers

The Wintersaber Trainers is one of the factions I've forever pushed off doing.  At first it was because I did not want to deal with the horrible drop rate of the meats and the even worse respawn rate of the Shaman.

When 4.0 dropped the drop rate of the meats was made 100% and I figured it might be time to go for it.  I worked them up from the neutral you start with to a tiny bit past friendly and called it a day.  The running back and forth, while not hard, I just was not in the mood for.

When Cataclysm came out I did a couple of quests with flying.  It make it super easy now.  Seeing that I figured, I can do it at any time so I will wait until one day when I had nothing to do on a weekend and some time to spend.

With the advent of the grind to get the mount being changed I decided to grind out the reputation now just in case when 4.1 comes they remove the rep.  We all know by now that they are changing the requirements to get the mount to doing a series of quests, just like the horde version of it, the rep part, no one is really saying for sure if it is still there and just that the quests no longer offer rep.

Thinking that this might be the removal of the reputation because it is no longer needed to get the mount and not a reward for doing any of the quests I decided to do the grind.

I checked online to see what some people say about the grind to get an estimate of the time that would be involved.  From all I read most people said it would be from 10-14 hours.  I guess the time differences depend on things such as competition, mount speed and possible class specials.

Thinking that this Tuesday will see 4.1 drop I had to get it done this week or I might never get the chance to get them to exalted.  All in all, a 14 hour grind would still be really fast in terms of getting a faction to exalted.

So Tuesday I started as soon as I got home.  I was almost half way into friendly when I started.  Three hours and forty five minutes later I was into revered, nicely too, and it was time to stop for the day.

Wednesday I popped on and went right back to it.  One hour and forty five minute later I was 999/999 exalted.  Yes, I had to finish it.  Not having a full exalted bar looks horrible if you ask me.

That means that it took a total of five and a half hours for me to get my Reins of the Winterspring Frostsaber and of course its associated feat of strength achievement.

So how did I manage to do it in five and a half hours when everyone on the forums was saying it would take at least 10 hours?  Glad you asked because I am willing to share. 

The reputation might be removed (not confirmed) when 4.1 comes so if you want to get another faction to exalted I suggest you do it sooner then later.

First things first.  Only take the one quest to get the meat.  Do not go kill shaman and definitely do not do the other one when it appears.  The mobs to get the meat are 100% drop rate now.  They are close and with flying you get to them in no time and each kill is a one shot kill.

Just to explain a little better.  The time it would take just to fly to the timbermaws to go kill the mobs you could have turned in the meat and picked up the quest again.  By the time you have finished killing timbermaw you will have finished killing more animals for the meat a second time. 

You will roughly be heading back from from the timbermaw and the second meat run at the same time.  Being the meat run is closer you will get back from that first.  Same rep for doing the 2 different quests as doing 2 of the meat runs.  2 meat runs is faster.  Thus only doing that one quest is faster. 

The third quest that opens after you get to revered is just out of the question completely.  It is too far away and for 100 extra rep it is not worth the time at all.

The only time you should grab all three is when you are calling it a day.  Take all 3, hearth, when you port into hyjal do all three on your way flying back.  That is the only time doing all 3 is worth it.  Otherwise, keep to collecting meat only.

Speed:  I used Aspect of the Cheetah.  If you can boost speed, do it.
Auto Loot: Less time spent looting means more time spent killing.
Ranged:  Kill things at range, target and kill the next thing as you are walking up to loot the previous one.
Bags: Make sure you have lots of space.  More space = less time spent needing to empty your bags.
Vendor: I used my mammoth but there is a vendor you will pass all the time.  Only visit it when near full.
Music/Vent:  Be listening to something or talking to people.  It makes it go by so much faster.

If you are an achievement hunter this is the time to get the exalted rep and the feat of strength for the mount.  The mount will remain in game, not sure about the feat or about the rep but having an easy rep is always a good thing for the next time they make a new rep achievement.  With this you will be one closer and one closer that no one else can get any more.  That is a nice little plus.

Get it now while you can.  As any achievement hunter will tell you, five and a half hours is nothing. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where Have all the Raid Leaders Gone?

I am my guilds raid leader but not exactly because I want to be.  I do it because there is no one else around that wants to.  There are reasons why I was asked to do it over others in my guild when I was given the position.

There are the standard things you expect from everyone, not just a raid leader.  Be there for all raids, be prepared for all the raids, be on time for all the raids and be good at what you do.

The reason they decided to ask me to raid lead is because I did something it seems a lot of people don't do.  I watched the fight, I read about the fight and I comprehended what I was watching and reading not only from my personal characters stand point but from all standpoints.

It seems that the average good player, yes I said good player, I am not talking about people that are bad.  Bad people are just that, bad.  The average good player knows how to gear, gem, enchant their player.  They know how to maximize their abilities.  They know when to use cooldowns and how to get the best out of them.  They still do not know the fights outside of how it effects them personally.

That, in my opinion, is the job of the raid leader.  It is to tie all those good people together into an effective group and understand the differences of the fights from the different perspectives.  I try my best but sometimes it feels like the most lonely job in the world.

There are two medium level guilds on my server looking for raid leaders through the worst possible method, trade.  I am looking for a co raid leader.  One of the top guilds is always changing their second teams leader because they can not find a good one and another gave the raid leader position to a friend of mine that used to be in my guild so I know that while he is knowledgeable and a great player but he is not dependable.  He only shows sometimes.

Why it is that there are no raid leaders out there any more?  After the other night I realized the deep need to find someone else to step up and be a co raid leader.  After I DCed they tried one more attempt without me while waiting for me to come back just so people could learn the fight mechanics more.  I like that.  When I did not return after that second wipe they just called it a night.  I do not like that.

When I got on I asked how things went and it seems the first attempt when I DCed it went pretty well.  They said I did not die until I got hit by a slime, which was the 4th construct to become active.  If you ask me, it is pretty impressive that I lasted that long not even being there.

When I asked why they did not just drag someone else in and continue.  I am only a DPS and while I might be a good DPS we have plenty of members that are part time raiders but can easily be pulled in to do 12K-13K which is not bad at all for a part timer and more then acceptable for the boss we where on.

The answer I got was sad actually.  I was told, I am the glue.  Without me they do not run.  When I left, no one had the desire to move on.

This could be thought of in two different ways.  One could be that any success (or failure) we have is all because of me as it seems I really do control everything or it could mean we are in for a world of hell when I can not be around because people depend too much on me. 

Good for my ego?  Sure.
Good for the guild?  Hell no.

I immediately said that no guild is one person.  They should still run without me.  They should still down bosses without me.  They should not need me.  I fill a position to help the group but I am not the group.  I am only a cog in a much bigger machine.

When running raids I have a great deal of fun.  I have fun even if we wipe over and over.  I have fun because I like doing it.  If I am the glue then it is now a job.  I am no longer showing up and running the raid because I want to and I have fun.  I am now doing it because I have to.  If I don't they do not run.  I don't think I am personally able to handle that.  I do not want my game becoming work.  Once I have to show up it is now work even if I am having fun doing it.

I've been looking far and wide for someone to take my place or assist.  I would rather be a co raid leader or a vice raid leader if you will.  I am mildly knowledgeable about all classes and I have helped nearly every person in our raid team with their spec, rotation, gear, etc.  They come to me for advice because they know I read a lot and am full of useless information because of it.  I do not mind that at all.   I would do that even if I where not a raid leader. 

Maybe that is why I was given the job.  Now to find someone else that I can give the job to so I don't have to play the part of the glue.  I do not want to be the glue.

One guild member is always calling me Boss.  I hate that.  I am not the boss, I am just the guy that babbles about strats on vent because I have too much free time and read a lot.  I am just one part of a team.  I am not the boss.  Never have been, never will be, never want to be considered as such.  So he says, okay Boss.

Whenever I talk to people I try to feel them out to see if they have raid leader potential.  None ever do.  Even the slightest hint that they might need to lead a raid they start making excuses why they would be bad at it.

I only know about my class.
I only study the fight to see what I need to do.
I am not sure if I can be there every raid night.
I'm not a good speaker on vent.
Many others...

I became raid leader because I felt someone needed to do it and they asked me and I figured I would help.  Why are there not many like me?  My server is seeing the pressure of raid leaders going bye bye it seems.  Could it be Cataclysm burn out already?

I can't understand that.  There is no difference between Cataclysm raids and other raids before it.  It might be hard once you step into in but you wipe a few times, you learn the fight, you put it on farm.  Just like every other raid that came before it and just like every other raid that will come after it. 

If there is one difference with Cataclysm raids that I noticed it is the dependency on one person in so many fights.  It seems as if a lot of the fights are designed to be make or break on if one person does their job correctly or not. 

From a Hunters standpoint Magmaw is all me.   If I do well, we down it.  If I mess up, we don't.  For old time players that will not be much of a change however.  While I was not around I heard about the stories of MC and needing a Hunter for tranq shot or it was a wipe.

Back to the point however.  Why are so many raid leaders quitting and why does no one else want to be one?

Just yesterday I saw someone spamming trade looking for raid leader for BoT then gtg.  What?  You assembled a group and no one can lead it.  This scares me and if I were in the group it would scare me even more.  That was not the first time I saw that in trade either.

It was also not the first time I experienced that either.  Last week I was messaged by a friend in one of the top 3 guilds on the server asking if I could come and raid lead for a TotFWs run.  I would have loved to really but that is the one raid I have never stepped into this expansion.  

I know it.  I could lead it.  I won't be a leader for some people outside of my guild.  Not to mention, having not done it, I would not feel comfortable leading a group of people that have all completed it already.  Sad, 9 people from the top guild that have all completed it asking someone that has never done it to lead it for them.

It does go to show you how far reached, at least on my server, the raid leader problem goes.  When a group that is 12/12 and in heroic modes already asks me to be a raid leader for a guild run things are really getting bad.

I always said there was a healer problem and there was.  As time went on and people started getting gear the healer problem seems to have fixed itself.  My guild has a lot of them now.  Sure, almost all part timers, we are a casual guild, but when you have 2 mains, 2 dual speced and 4 part timers for your healing core, you are in a good spot.  A lot better then when we needed me healing on an alt.

The raid leader problem however seems to be going the other way.  It was not a problem when the expansion started but seems to be becoming one now.

Two months ago I was stressing out about healers.  Now I need to work on getting another raid leader.  Or at least getting someone to step up should I not be around.

I never want a run not to happen because I was not there again.  There is no excuse for that.  I am just a player like everyone else, one person in a large group.  A raid should not depend on my attendance.

In business we have a saying.

The fastest way to get yourself fired is to make yourself indispensable.

There is a hell of a lot you can read into that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No Soup For You!

So last night was a raid night for my guild.  We got a little bit of a late start because I suffered a bout a healing failure on the second to last boss of SFK and we ended up wiping three times.  They where our only wipes but they where still wipes.  If not for that we would have been on time. 

I still don't know what I did wrong but I could not keep people up for the life of me.  I had never had any problems healing it on my Priest and my Priest has much less in terms of gear then my Shaman does.  Oh well, everything else went fine.  I'll try not to be a total failure at it next time around.

So we started the raid about 10 minutes late, not the end of the world.

Flash forward.

BWD, second boss.  ODS.  I explain the fight to everyone, two new people there tonight, ask for questions, none pop up.  I tell the main tank it is on him.  He puts up a ready check.  Everyone is ready.  We pull.  I mark, sting and then hang there.

Nothing.  Hit 2, 3 then 4.  They all light up but nothing shoots.  I hit 4 a few more times. 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3.  Nothing.  I mouse click them.  Nothing.  Blah.

I've had this happen before.  It is actually kind of funny when the game catches up.  It will fire everything I did all at one time when I come back.  Quite sick from a DPS standpoint. 

BTW, this is why the query system was put in, so people can not stokepile attacks like that.  People where doing it on purpose in arena by opening dozens of windows to youtube and starting videos to force that to happen.

Of course I was not doing this on purpose.  The last thing you ever want to do in a raid is stand still on fights where you know you might need to move.  A few seconds later, I DCed.  It was not a game crash or error.  It was my service provider.  It crapped out.  My whole area lost service last night.

When I first DCed I disconnected the net and reconnected it.  It is really rare this happens but it has happened before and this usually fixes it.  Nothing happened.  I went and turned on my TV to see if cable was working and it wasn't.  Looked like it was everything. 

I waited about 20 minutes for the net to come back up and it never did, so I called it a night after calling the cable company.  They said they had no time table for when it would be up and I am not going to sit at the computer waiting.

As odd as it might sound from me I do not consider this anything to be grumpy about.  As the saying goes, shit happens.  I needed a night off anyway so I popped in a DVD of season 5 of Quantum Leap and watched two episodes before going to bed.  I'll pick up my dead body when I get home from work.

I am guessing they waited a bit and then either called the raid or replaced me.  There were about 5 or 6 people online that where not in the raid when I DCed so I am sure one of them had a character that could have subbed in.  I'd be willing to bet they just called it however.

I liked having a night off.  It's just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Play Naked!

I am not much of a PvP player.  From time to time I get into it but after reading the forums and hearing many of the Hunters explain that PvP is not what it used to be I figured it was not worth a shot.

I've done some one on one fights playing around enough to get an understanding of how Hunters have changed and I have a feeling that once players, good PvP ones and not me, get used to it that Hunters can actually be in a better place then they where beforehand.  I lost a lot of matches before I realized that I needed to change my way of play.

No, it was not changing it to play naked, that came later.

I have a 5v5 Arena Team now and that is exactly what we do however.  We play naked.  Needless to say we have never won a match but that does not mean we do not have hope of winning a match.  We honestly believe that we can some day.  It is also the most fun you could possible have in game if you have a completely warped sense of humor.

Our standards of success are decidedly lower then most.  If we can kill even one person there is a hooting and hollering going on that would make you believe we just won the world series or something.

The joy of playing naked is that we have no delusions of success and each battle is fun.  We are talking on vent about even the smallest triumphs like getting stunned and actually living through the stun.  The longer we last against a fully geared arena team the louder things get on vent.  We almost made it to a draw once, it was crazy if you happened to be listening to us.

To date our most successful run has been one where we actually downed 3 players.  Yes, our 5v5 naked team actually downed 3 players in the same match.  It only happened once but it gives us hope.

Now we are starting to think a little about group make up.  I've still got many useful skills that are not gear dependent.  Some classes have more.  Our fun has moved into a new phase of how far can we push this. 

Can we actually win a match?  We are bound to run across a group of really horrible players, I mean worse then we are if that is even possible, and we could win.  To do so we would need to take advantage of all our skills that are not gear dependent.

If anything, besides being a whole mess of fun, it gives us something to do to relieve the tension that can sometimes come before raid time or after a bad night raiding.  It also gives us some nice brainless fun and anyone can appreciate that.

It is amazing fun to even last 5 minutes against a fully geared arena team.  Either we are actually getting better postponing our inevitable deaths or there are seriously bad players out there.  It doesn't make a difference which it is, nothing will ever be able to get the horrifying image of a naked male night elf out of my head, they bring ugly to a whole new level.

So make yourself an arena team, name it play naked or some twist on words to include naked and get out there to get your butts beat.  Trust me when I say that you will have fun if you do it with friends.

BTW: We do keep weapons on. (considering rings, trinkets and neck as none of them are clothing)

Why People Complain

I thought I would make a post to explain why I, and others, complain about WoW if for one reason and one reason only.  To stop people from saying, "then why play".

Any person that hears someone complain comes to the point of "then why play" when they read it.  They seem to miss the entire concept of why people complain.

People complain about things they like.  If someone does not like something there is no need to complain about it.

To explain this in a more real life sort of situation I will use a few examples that come to mind.

I am a Yankee fan, have been a long time.  Born in New York into a family of all Met fans.  I've been a grumpy one since birth.  If the entire family was full of Met fans I had to be a Yankee fan but that is besides the point.

If the Yankees are doing bad I complain about it.  They need some starting pitching.  The need a better outfield.  Their defense sucks.  I will complain about what is wrong with the Yankees but I am a Yankee fan still.

On the other hand, if the Mets where in the same situation you would never hear me complain about it.  Do you know why?  Because I do not like the Mets.  I do not care if they need a starting pitcher.  I couldn't be bothered to give a crap if their defense sucks.  There is no need to complain about their problem because I do not care.

Lets look at relationships.

A friend of mine, lets call her Jenn, started to have marriage issues about 5 years after she got married.  She would complain to me all the time about it.  All stupid little stuff in relationships that we have all been through but all things that bothered her.

She would point out how inconsiderate he was because he always left the toilet seat up.  Like I said, little stuff but it annoyed her enough to complain about it.  She complained about it nearly every time I talked to her for the better part of 7 years because it mattered to her.  She loved him, she wanted to be in the marriage.

After not hearing about the toilet seat for a while I asked, jokingly of course, if she had finally potty trained him.  She said no, he still leaves it up, but she does not care any more because they are getting a divorce. 

When she no longer wanted to make the relationship work the act of complaining about it was no longer useful in her life. While she was trying to make the marriage work and wanted it to work the act of complaining helped her get her issues off her chest.

Now lets go back to games for our next example.

I used to play this text based game online, lets call it War.  I started playing it at work as a way to pass time but really got into it and started to like it.  After a couple years of playing they finally decided to change things.  I was upset about a lot of the changes and was extremely vocal on the forums about it.  The reason I did this is because I was not happy with the changes.  None of the changes where enough to stop me from playing but they where enough to complain about because I liked the game.

A couple of years ago they came out with a small change, over all it was nothing game breaking or even game changing.  As a matter of fact it actually did not hurt me in any way shape or form.  I just did not like the change and it had gotten to the point that enough is enough and I finally gave up.  It was not worth complaining any more because I just do not care any more. 

I did not go to the forums to express my displeasure with the change.  I just logged out and never returned.  Because I just did not care any more.  It was not worth complaining about even knowing I was leaving.  It was not even worth doing an I'm leaving post because an I'm leaving post is really just another way of complaining.  It shows you still care enough about something that you have to let it known.  I did not care enough so I just left and made no post.

Now lets go back to WoW and my complaining.

I complain about WoW because I like WoW.  Just like I like the Yankees or Jenn liked her husband or I had liked War.  When you like something and there is a part of it you do not like about it you complain about it.  As stupid or simple as it might sound the act of complaining is what keeps you liking it.  The act of complaining proves you like it.  If you did not complain that means you really do not care.

I can not accept people that say "then why play" because that means they totally misses the whole point of the act of complaining.  People complain because they like something.  You do not complain about something you do not care about.

If Blizzard ever did anything that annoyed me so much that I would quit there would never be a post about it.  There would never be a reasoning on why I need to quit.  I would just quit and I would stop posting because at that point I would not care about the game or care enough to even waste the time writing about it.

Lets take Rift for example.  I've played it enough that I have things I like about it and things I dislike about it.  I do not complain about it because honestly I do not care.  The game has not caught my attention enough to actively give a crap about it.   If I don't really care about it then why complain about it.

Someone saying "then why play" when someone complains about something in WoW is basically the same as asking a Yankee fan why they are still a fan even if all they do is complain about the pitching staff.

People complain about things they care enough to form an opinion about.  When they stop complaining it means they do not care any more.

When someone that used to complain stops complaining you then need to ask them, "then why play" if you do not care any more.

Alchemy, Herbalism, and Why Flasks Need to be Changed Back

When Cataclysm first came out to make a flask you need 12 each of 2 types of herb and 6 volatile life.  This math worked out near perfect when it came to making flasks. 

As we all know well enough by now, anything that works well needs to be broken ASAP.  With that in mind Blizzard changed the break down to require 8 each of 2 types of herb and 8 volatile life.

Looking at that at first glance does not seem as if that is a really huge change.  If anything it looks better right?  If all thing where created equally it would have been a massive boost to making flasks and the market all around.  Sadly, all things are not created equal.

Lets step back to Cataclysm's release. 

I picked herbs, I made flasks, I had some left over volatile life which in turn got turned into air, water, fire or earth, depending on what I needed.  It was never a huge amount left over but enough that I could do a transmute if I needed some other volatile because there was always a little extra to go around.  I would use all my herbs for the most part.

When all was said and done, the math was perfect.  If I picked herbs until I had 400 volatile life and then started banging out flasks I would end with almost no herbs left and enough volatiles that, should I need some fire for my tailor, I could make some with the transmute.  Perfection.  One of the few things Blizzard got right in what is an astoundingly horrible expansion on every level of game play and design.

That did not bode well for Blizzard.  They could not have one aspect of the game show that they knew what they where doing when they failed so badly at everything else.  So the brain storming began and they came up with a way to destroy what was once the only perfect design this expansion.

I decided to do a little test this weekend while talking to some guild mates and expressing my disgust with Blizzard for changing something that was not broken to begin with.

I put a number in mind.  I wanted to make 50 flasks.  I would collect enough herbs to make 50 flasks.  I would collect them in as close to perfect order so that way I had an even amount of herbs as to not have a ton left over of one or another.

The end results worked out like this.

By the time I had collected 400 volatiles, enough to make 50 flasks, I had 1949 herbs.  This means that when I made the 50 flasks I had 1149 extra herbs. 

Old way, numbers worked about as close to perfect as you could design a game.
New way, numbers are about as horribly unbalanced as they could possible be.

Some might say that with those 1149 extra herbs you can mill them with a scribe, you can make potions, you can do various things.  I agree.  However, they still leaves a huge gaping hole.

In previous expansion you needed inks to make glyphs.  This expansion, once you max inscription you will most likely never go back to it except to make darkmoon cards.  Once the darkmoon cards phase passes, and they will a lot faster then they did last expansion based on the trinkets we see coming up being leaps and bounds better, there will never be any reason for inks.  This means that while now there is a market for the left over herbs in inscription as soon as 4.2 comes out that market is gone, completely.

Making fortune cards for gamblers will be the only thing inscription will be left with.  Inscription, the absolute best designed profession in the game before this expansion is completely useless now.  You could honestly leave your scribe at 450 and never notice the difference.  You would still have access to every glyph you would ever need.

As for the potion discussion that holds no water either.  Sure.  I can make a lot of potions with those extra herbs.  That does not help the volatile market at all.  I still used all mine on flasks.  Not to mention, due to the overwhelming glut of herbs the prices of potions on the market are so low it is not even worth listing them.  At any given moment there are 100 people listing, all undercutting each other, and none of them are selling.  So listing them is a waste of money.

With the previous way you would use all your herbs and all your volatiles to make flasks.  If you choose to make potions you now have extra volatiles which can now be sold to other people that need them for their professions.

Having the extra volatiles made all aspects of the game better.  The market for volatiles before the change was good.  Lifes where around 8g, water was around 13g, earth and air where around 15g and fire sometimes approached 20g.

Now, being the design was changed and there are no such thing as extra volatile life the prices on all volatiles have gone through the roof.  Life is now 15g on a good day, water is still not as bad but up to 25g as is earth, Air is sitting at 35g and god forbid you need a fire they are going for 50g.  (I like fishing them up and selling them on off days for 70g each)

I bet that Blizzard never realized that their little change to flasks would have such a wide spread effect on the market.  This late in the expansion prices should be going down, not up.  They continue to go up more and more as people are farming for hours on end just to get volatiles and ending up with massive amounts of herbs that they have no use for.  The only thing that goes down, is the price of herbs.

So this is awesome for the herb market if you want to make potions because the prices of herbs are already so low they are almost at the level that wrath prices where at the end.  Heck, Lichbloom sold for 30g per stack more (70g) at the end of wrath than Cinderbloom does now (40g).  That is not right, not at all.

They need to change the flasks back and they need to change them back soon.  It was the prefect balance.  We all know that Blizzard does not like balance, they live to make this game as horribly unbalanced as possible it seems, but this is one case where we had a taste of what balance was like and we should not stand for this change and make them change it back now.

The old way was perfect.  If you milled your herbs it worked out that you had enough inks and volatiles to make cards.  If you made flasks out of your herbs it worked out that you had enough to do them in near perfect balance.  If you decided to make potions you had the volatiles to transmute to ease the stress of the market for other types of them that all professions needed.  It was, in a word, ideal.

This way means inflated volatile prices, deflated herb prices, other professions having a harder time getting the volatiles they need and basically breaking a system that seemed to be the only thing that actually worked perfectly right out of the box in this expansion.

Remember the saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it?  Well, in Blizzard they have a saying, if it ain't broke, break it, we can't have people expecting a well designed game now can we.

If one good thing came from it, I made 12K off selling everything when my testing was done.

There are two ways Blizzard can fix this.  Change things back to the way they were or make it that at 1-3 volatile life come with every herb you pick.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Player Tips: Your Level Best <--- My Reply

Read the Blizzard entry here.

"Every day, new players create their very first World of Warcraft character and plunge into grand adventures. Some get varying degrees of help from experienced players, and some go it completely alone. As they earn levels (and the rewards that come along with them), different players discover their own unique paths to level 85.

There are lots of ways to get there from here. You can choose to complete every quest you encounter. You might decide to kill every creature that crosses your path, gaining the majority of your experience that way. You can focus on dungeons, Battlegrounds, or professions.

If you were starting fresh today, how would you go about leveling? As a seasoned veteran, what tips would you give to help newcomers have the most fun leveling up?"

Warning: Epic long post ahead about the story of a new player in today's game.  If you have time feel free to read it, you might find something you like in the story.  To skip ahead to the advice, just go to the bold advice at the end.

I am not new so it is hard to say, it would be easier for me to say what my experience was like and compare it to what my experience is like starting a new character on a new server.  That will not be entirely accurate however.  I have something that I can not get rid of that a new player will not have.  Knowledge of the game.  I will try to put myself in the state of mind that a new player would be in and comment based on what I know.

My new character would watch the introductory cut scene in awe.  Looking forward to the great graphics and feel that it shows.  As soon as the game starts I will notice that those graphics where greatly over stated.  I will either be an understanding player and let it pass without really caring or start complaining right away.

I will pick up my first quest and follow the designed layout that all starting areas always had. Nothing wrong with that when starting out I say.  As I leave my little safe home starting zone and enter the real world I will see more of the same.  Quests that lead into other quests and I will do them all to open new ones.  Being I am new I will not realize that my choice in game play has been taken away from me because I don't know any different.  I will like it because it is all I know.

I will most likely not even consider leveling through dungeons because I am new and don't even know what the hell a dungeon is.  Maybe when I get my first quest that says it is a dungeon quest I might look into it.  Like many first time players I will most likely take the first two professions that I wander across. 

After I notice I can only have two main profession, if I am so inclined I might change one or both to try and get two professions that complement each other.  Leveling from gathering professions will never enter my mind because I am new the the game and do not know that mining and herbing give experience.

I will not even consider leveling by PvP because if I had wanted to PvP I would have most likely made my character on a PvP server.  Like most first timers I would be under the impression that there is no PvP at all on a PvE server.

Being I am new and do not know any better I will most likely accept the first guild invite I get or at least one the the first ones.  Maybe one of the people spamming trade that sounds good because they say they are a leveling guild.  It will most likely turn out to be someone that has 5 alts on that server that is the GM of 5 different guilds with the cash flow bonus and they just spam invite new players to profit off of them.  That will not bother me however because I will most likely not even have a clue what that means.

Back to questing I will see a quest on the call board.  It will tell me where to go.  I will of course go there.  I will do all the quests in the area that the call board gave me.  Even with no rested experience and no heirloom items I will end up wasting my time in the zone because I will be doing quests that are gray to me now.  Not like I will notice anything is wrong with that.  The quest line is linear and it is telling me to do that so I will do that.

Whenever I level and see I can learn a new skill I will happily go back to learn it at the first main city I found a trainer at, or the closest place I can remember one.  When there I will look with hopeful expectation that the call board has something new for me because now that I am level 16 these quests killing level 10 mobs are offering me no experience with only minimal quest experience and the game is really starting to drag.

When I pick up the new call board quest I will be happy as I can be to move to an area that is more suitable for me.  Unbeknown to me I should have picked up that call board quest 1 or 2 levels ago but being I had not visited the city because when I leveled last time it did not tell me to go back to the city for something I will start the new zone already 1 or 2 levels ahead of where I should be.

This means that the quests will turn gray even faster then they did in the previous zone and I will hit complete boredom in record speed doing quests that I only get experience for doing it and nothing from killing the mobs.

Lets just say for a moment I am not one of those people that will look online for help.  That means I am not you or me.  If you are reading this you are not one of those people.  Remember that the majority of people that play would not know what wowhead was if you sent them a link.  Elitist jerks?  MMO-Champion?  Nope, most players never heard of them and would look at you like you had three heads when you mention them.

So now, starting to get really stressed with questing for what seems like nothing I will post in guild chat asking if I am doing something wrong.  Being most people in those types of guilds are in the same boat as me, knowledgeable players usually join knowledgeable guilds and not leveling guilds, I will get no answer.  Even if I catch the guild master online that claimed it was a helpful guild he will be on and off so fast just to collect the cash from the guild bank that his legion of newcomers is making for him.

I might end up going to the city early out of frustration.  If I do it will be the lucky moment for me.  I will notice the new quest on the call board and the game would start having meaning for me again. 

At least I never have to worry about where to go, the game always tells me where to go and when to go there.  It gives me all my quests lined up.  My quests are always easy and can always be soloed.  Anything that might put me up against an elite there will be an NPC there that will help me beat them. 

I will start to feel a little dependent on everything being handed to me on a silver platter.  I am told where to go, I never have to look for quests.  I am told to follow a quest line and when one is done I am sent to the next bunch of quests, so I never have to worry about what my next move is.  I never need to explore or search for what to do next.

I'll never get lost because there is this map that always shows me exactly where everything is.  I will know where to go for my quest and because the mobs are kind enough to tell me if they drop the quest item when I hover over them I will always know who to kill.

By now I will have a whole mess of spells but I will have figured out which ones are doing the best for me and will only use those.  Usually it will be 2 or 3 buttons only but I will never need anything more then that.  The concept of a rotation will be totally foreign to me.  Who needs a rotation when I hit 1, 2 and then 3 and everything is dead.  The idea of maximizing my damage will also be foreign to me because nothing will ever give me any trouble to the point where I would really care if I can do more damage.

One day I will notice I got mail.  The mail could have been there for days for all I know but I just noticed it.  I've never used a mail box so I have no clue where to find one unless I was lucky enough to stumble across one earlier.  I go to a city and see them all over the place.  I click one and see two mails.  I am so excited for some unknown reason.  This is my first real interaction with another person, so to speak.

I open the first mail to see an internet address telling me if I go there I can get this, that or the other.  Maybe even buy some gold.  What the hell would I need gold for.  I delete the message.

Next message tells me I can learn riding.  I know I can learn riding but when I saw that pop up when I was leveling my trainer did not train it for me.  I was quite upset.  This explains however where I need to go.  Awesome, that is why my trainer did not teach it to me.  Apparently he is smart enough to be a master of all things warrior/rogue/hunter/etc but he has no clue how to ride a mount so he can't teach that.

I go train the skill to ride and I go buy a mount.  Now I wish I had not deleted that message to buy gold.  I didn't need any coins before but now I am broke.  That is assuming that I had enough to buy them both in the first place.  For the average player this is the first taste of, should I buy gold, questioning that pops into their mind.

I learn my mount.  I mount up and run around my home city.  I am like Leonardo Dicaprio in Titanic riding around.  I am the king of the world moving like lightning in and out of the twists and turns.  This is the first real moment of excitement I've had in the game and I am loving it.  After a few minutes of running all over like a fool I decide to go back to questing and pick up the new quest on the call board for me.

More of the same as before.  Quest leads to quest leads to quest.  The only difference is I can now ride my glorious I am king of the world mount back and forth to the quest locations.  This makes the game a little quicker which is a little more enjoyable but also means that things now seem to go gray faster because I am finishing quests faster.

A few levels later while doing a quest someone whispers me and asks me why I have no shoulders.  I say that I have not had any drop and have not had any as a quest reward yet.  He opens a trade window and gives me a green set of shoulders.  I whisper asking him what he wants and telling him I spent almost all my money on my mount so I do not have much.  He says not to worry about it they are free.  I say thank you very much and start to think maybe his guild needs members, he seems nice and has, in 1 minute, helped me more than my guild has.  But he is gone before I can even finish that train of thought.  I start to think that the people that play this game must be really cool and almost expect everyone I run into to be like that.

A few more levels later I get another whisper asking me why I am not wearing a helm.  I tell them the same thing I told the other guy.  He calls me a noob, laughs at me and runs off.  It bothers me a little bit.  It is not my fault.  If none dropped and none where given to me how the hell am I supposed to get one.  Maybe not everyone in the game is really that nice.

The game continues to flow as it has been.  Everything, except a helm, is handed to me on a silver platter.  I'm told where to quest.  I am told where to go to do the quest objective.  I am told which mobs drop the items I need or which are the ones I need to kill.  There are some quests I might not like the style of and would love to skip but I have no choice.  I have to do them.  So I am stuck not only doing whatever I am told to advance but I am stuck doing quests I hate because if I don't do it I can not get the quest after it.

Flash forward to the next time I see a mail.  It is shortly after I just got my recent level and it told me I could learn riding again.  I knew my trainer was an idiot when it comes to mounts, I knew where to go now.  I went and picked up my new mount and again felt brand new for a while.  I was running circles around my old self.  Two or three passes around the city and the first thing I think is how the hell did I ever get this far without a mount like this.  This is beyond awesome.  Too bad I am broke again now.  Where are those gold sellers when you need them? 

This is the second time I'll have been really tempted to buy gold.  Being I am still a new player and still assuming I am the average player that will never go to any forums of any sort, not even the official ones, I will not think anything wrong of it if I ever decided to.  As I have nothing else to buy now, I have my mount and I am moving faster then the speed of light, I do not need gold.

Flash forward again because how often do we need to hear the I do a quest to lead to a quest to lead to another quest to having them turn gray and everything gets boring again for a while.  You know it will happen over and over again.  How any new player sticks around now amazes me.

I get told from the call board that I have been called to the outland so I go.  I walk through the portal and I am in sheer amazement.  This is not my world.  This is wild.  I walk to the top of the stairs and see all these ?? mobs and this huge guy with more hit points then I have ever even imagined on a mob.  I nearly crap myself, figuratively speaking of course.

Afraid to go down thinking they will attack me but seeing the question mark just down there I inch my way forward ready to run my little 58 butt back to the entrance if they start coming for me.  Slowly I turned...step by step...inch by inch..., (a cookie for the reference) and I make it to where I turn in the quest.  Maximum distance from him of course.  I turn in the quest and get sent to the flight master.  I high tail it over there as fast as I can.  Talk to him and get the F out of there.  Wow, that was freaking exciting.  This zone is going to rule.

I quest for a little bit avoiding this giant ass robot that always seems to be exactly where I am at all times and hit 60 in no time and notice that I can learn flying.  Flying?  You have to be kidding me.  That is awesome.  I drop everything I am doing and go to pick up flying.  After training artisan flying and getting a mount I can not get old world flying because I do not have enough gold. 

I check my mailbox wondering if maybe I forgot to delete that gold selling mail, hoping at least.  It is gone but that is not such a big deal.  I am going to be questing in this new place, screw that old boring place.  That new place is exciting and the gear the quests give me is 100 times better then what I am wearing.  I can get the other flying later.  I am not coming back to the main land any time soon anyway, this place is to damned awesome.

Once I get my flying mount I do just what I did when I got the other two mounts.  I give it a test ride.  I start flying all over the place singing, I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky...  I notice the experience I am getting from flying over new areas and think this is a great way to get some experience, let me fly over the whole area.

I fly over the enemy city and they notice me.  Oh crap.  I fly away as fast as possible.  Holding down the W as hard as I can as if I pressed it harder I might move faster.  As soon as the mark fades off me I let out a sigh of relief and think I really should pay more attention to where I am flying.  Last thing I need is to be killed in enemy territory.

I go back to where I was to continue questing.  I am a tiny bit afraid of exploring now after my near death experience but something did appear to me that I had not notice in my previous questing.  There are explanation marks all over the place. 

After a few quests I come along one I really do not feel like doing and figure I will just skip it because I saw so many other quests I can do and I know from previous experience, I do not need to do every quest in the zone before things go gray.  I am loving this new zone even more.  I can choose to skip things I do not want to do.  This is amazing.  Great scary mobs, flying, giant freaking I squish you robots, questing of my own design.  Does it get any better?

I get a dungeon quest, the first one I actively want to do, the reward would be a huge upgrade for me.  Heck, huge is an understatement.  The gear from this new area is amazing and this dungeon gear is even better than that.  This is my first attempt to join in using the dungeon finder.

I pick the dungeon that has my quest in it and wait right near the quest giver that gave it to me.  The timers says it will be 8 minutes so I go to the bathroom and get a drink and wait a little nervously.  My interactions with others have been few and far between in game and truth be told I am actually more then a little nervous.  People on the internet can be downright abusive sometimes.

I stand back and play follow the leader.  Things go smoothly.  I get my quest done and even won an item while running it that was an amazing upgrade.  I have to do this stuff again.  This was great.

Next run, not so great.  Things keep attacking me and everyone else.  Seems the tank is not good or at least that is what the healer said before they left.  The tank left shortly after and we got a new tank and a new healer a few minutes later and finished.  Nothing dropped for me this time.  Somehow, with the deaths and having a hell of the time finding my way back to the dungeon and not getting anything it does not seem as fun as it was the first pass through.  From now on I will only try ones I have quests in. 

Dungeons seem really useless if there is nothing you can get out of them and already from this limited experience it can be hit or miss.  I would rather do quests because a lot of quests give me gear and gold.

I continue through outlands doing dungeons once in a while and they are always hit or miss.  Some break up after one pull, some go through a dozen people before we finish them and some we are done with before they even seem to start them.  Picking and choosing my quests is the greatest thing since sliced bread and this is where I am enjoying myself most.  I never want to leave this place.  Design wise it is much better then the first 58 levels of what felt like hell with slow travel, quests I could not skip, horrible rewards, you name it.  Outlands is the shit.

Outlands also taught me a little bit about how to play for the first time of playing.  I had quests to go against these elites and no one came to help.  Where are the NPCs that are supposed to help me.  I've just spent 58 levels having everything spoon fed to me and now I actually have to work.  This is starting to actually feel a little bit like a challenge.  I like it.

For the first time I needed to look at the abilities I had and start using more then just 2 or 3 buttons.  Someone in one of the dungeons gave me some advice and listed some abilities I should be using.  That was nice of him.  Better then the guy before him that told me my DPS was crap and I suck but never offered to help.  What the hell is DPS anyway?

I learned that in time.  I am also using a lot more of my abilities.  After dying to that freaking naga 8 times I finally figured out how to kill her.  It was the first time in the game I ever felt like I accomplished something.  Where the hell is my achievement for that?  They seem to throw achievements at me for everything else that was easy as pie.  Beating her was not easy.  I want my achievement for actually doing something achievement worthy compared to catching 25 fish.

When I hit level 68 I get a call board message to go to northrend.  I head there hoping it is more of the same and to my surprise is it even better.  I had to buy cold weather flying now and that kind of sucked all my gold again.  Glad I did not buy old world flying now.  No need for flying in the old world if I am never there.  That last zone and this one are just too freaking cool.  Seems like they kept getting better with every expansion.

I love that I choose my quests here as well and the areas seem as if they were so well thought out.  The music rocks too.  There were a few quests here that I tried and tried and tried on and just could not do alone.  I think it is impossible.  I need to find a group for them.  Never done that before.  I just can not beat them.

I meet a few people questing in the area that also needed those quests done.  They could not do it either.  There were two of them.  Makes me think I was a fool for even trying.  We three join up and beat the elites for these quests.  Even with the three of us it really was hard but awesome at the same time.

I quest with them for a little bit and say thank you and go my own way when they had to leave.  It was fun having someone to help with quests, even more so being I really needed the help.  The gear is this area is leaps and bounds better then the last one but the mobs are leaps and bounds harder.  I am enjoying the challenge.  I think it is also helping me get better at playing.  I have not been insulted in my dungeon runs recently, not like the last area where I would get someone tell me I suck what seemed like once every 4 or 5 runs.

I am in complete and total awe.  This game has just gone from a fun way to pass the time to the most amazing game I ever played.  I have to view that veteran of wrathgate cinematic again, it gave me chills.  I swear the hair on my arm just stood up from the chills.  Oh, again.  I can't believe how awesome that was.  I have to come back and watch this one again.  I have to call friends over just to show them this.  After seeing the sheer awesomeness of that they will not laugh at me for playing a game any more.  This was so unexpected.  The game really reached a new height for me right there.

I wonder if I missed more in the past that were like this or if this was the first one like this.  Either way, this one thing alone has just secured northrend as the greatest area in the game.  Hands down.  Nothing will ever beat that cinematic.

The dungeons here have also taught me more about how to play my class.  People run through them as if they where in a theater that was on fire trying to get out.  They move so fast.  I've learned faster reaction time which in turn has really helped me with questing while facing those hard mobs. I've become so much better in my ability selection and speed at which I activate them because I have no choice but to get better because everyone seems to be in such a rush.

As I work my way through the area's I keep thinking back about that cut scene.  Nothing else in these zones ever compares to it even if there are a few moments that are really fun.  Outlands and Northrend have been nothing like the main lands.  I am glad for that, these areas have been fantastic.  Each new area I go to seems to step up the game some and make it so much better.

I think 1-58 was all spoon feed to me and kept me questing in dead areas long after I should have moved along.  58-68 added the ability to choose my own quest line so to speak which really opened up the game for me and let me explore which was really fun.  Even got me killed a few times going places I was just not quite ready for yet. 68-80 trained me how to maximize the use of my abilities because things are so fast moving there.  Off to the next expansion I go.

It is in the main world mostly so I have to buy that flying now.  I still can not afford the epic flying but I'll live.  I am moving fast enough and I am content with it.

I zone into my first new area and play the explorer thing and fly around some.  Looks like all the rest of the main land, nothing really different as of yet but something I did notice.  No explanations marks.  Crap, back to that main land questing crap.  I liked being able to choose my own adventure. It made me feel like I was playing my game.  Now it feels like paint by numbers again.  Boo.

These starting mobs are really hard but after completing a few quests and seeing the gear they give me I will catch up soon.  The stats on these are nearly triple the ones I am currently wearing.  One good thing I noticed, even with this crappy quest to quest to quest is that it is not as annoying now with flying and I am not out leveling the zone while still working it.  I can deal with this.  Not nearly as bad as 1-58 was but not even one tenth as good as outlands or northrend.

Elite mob quest.  Okay.  Should I assume that being the questing is like the other main world stuff will this be one where someone will come to help me or should I be prepared to use every skill and ability and reaction that the outlands and northrend has taught me.  I'll play prepared.  I will also waste my time it seems.  The NPCs are even stronger then they were in the old quests.  I do not even need to fight.  They will kill the mob for me.  I'll just make myself a drink while they kill the mob for me.  This really is not all that fun.

I'm not really a big fan of being spoon feed.  I think I liked the other areas where I needed to do my best to beat mobs.  I learned a lot there and it got to be pretty fun.  Heck, there are quests I did not do because I could not do.  I can't wait to go back later when I am stronger and beat those monsters like a red headed stepchild.  It will be fun.  Either way, I'll just cruise control my way to 85, I am so close as it is.  I've heard the game doesn't really start until then anyway.

Flash forward to the epic flying achievement.  Woohoo, I am moving now.  I start singing I believe I can fly again while zooming all over the place in twilight highlands and fly into some dragons that doesn't seem to like me very much.  They down me into some more mobs that aren't all that friendly.  I die a horrible death.  I laugh my ass off because that was rather unexpected.  I think that was the first moment of fun I've had so far in this part of the game.

Ding.  85 baby.  Lets get rolling.  I can't get into any heroics so I will do some randoms.  Wow, 40 minutes waiting time.  I'll do some dailies.  I am broke from buying my flying and I want to buy the even faster flying now.  I am addicted to this speed.  If I remembered what that gold sellers web address was maybe I would already have it.

Flash forward again roughly 15 normals, tons of dailies and some shiny new rep gear and normal gear and I am item level 329 and ready for heroics.  I queue up and wait my 40 minutes and get into GB.

I die on the first trash pull.  What did I do.  Nothing, the damage is just so high that a fresh 329 will die in a couple of hits if that many.  I die a few pulls later again and the tank tells me that is because I was not on his target.  I know about marks, I did not see any marks so I tell him that nothing was marked.  He says focus my focus and you can tell he is pissed so I did not even mention I had no clue what he meant by that.  I've been insulted enough in other dungeons to know when it is best to just keep my mouth shut.  Some people you can ask questions, others you can't.

First boss I get squished.  WTF, he did not do that on normal.  At least I do not remember it.  Wipe.  Second try I did not die.  I am quick at picking up on things that kill me and I try not to let them kill me again.  Not like it made much of a difference, we wipe again.  And again, and on the forth attempt I screw up again and die and I get kicked begin told I suck and I have no business being in a heroic doing 4K DPS.

How do they know what DPS I am doing and how do I have no business being in a heroic, I have a 329 item level.  Those things are really hard but my item level says I am more then capable of being there. 

A few more heroics, few more kicks, a few more insults, a few more wipes.  And this is where the adventure of our new player makes its last turn, assuming they even made it this far after how horrible 1-58 was.

From this moment on the new player has a decision to make.

1) Keep being bad and try to get better on their own at the expense of the time and efforts of others. (Most people that made it this far will go this route)
2) Start looking online for ways to get better and run more normals and get more rep and earn gold to buy BoE items. (A small percentage will do this)
3) Keep being bad but think that gear will solve everything and buy gold to buy BoE weapons after doing a net search to find where to buy gold. (A reasonable amount of people will do this)
4) Look up guides for how to play and buy gold to help give them that boost to catch up. (A reasonable amount of people will do this)
5) Quit outright because they hit a dead end and this is just not any fun.  (A fair amount of people will do this just like when you beat a console game you move to the next one, getting to end level is like this if people feel there is no place else they can advance, they beat the game so it is time to move on)
6) Start another character hoping to do better with that one.  (A fair amount of people do this and become altaholics even)

Advice to new player:

Take mining and herbalism. 
You can change later, but while leveling you will get experience for gathering and you can sell the items for a fair price on the auction house market.
These are the single most important thing in the game.  Buy the best ones you can afford as soon as you can afford them.  Bigger bags means more questing before you have to unload all the junk you collected.
Remember that the call board will tell you where to go.  Also remember that you do not need to finish an area.  If you are not getting good experience from the quest mobs again drop all remaining quests and pick up a new destination from the call board.  New areas start with new quest lines.  You do not need to finish the previous ones.  This is a big thing for new players.  Doing outdated quests, and it will happen, will really ruin the fun of the game for you.
White Items:
Just because it is white does not mean you vendor it.  Check to see if it has some value.  Some white items can sell for a fair amount.
Levels 1-58 are as boring as sin.  There are really no good stories unless you knew the previous history which you don't being you are a new player.  There is no challenge to the quests and you are stuck doing everything like it or not.  It gets better.  Trust me.  From 58-80 you get to actually enjoy the freedom to explore.  That is where questing will be fun.
Do not do dungeons to level, questing is just way more efficient.  From 1-58 do each dungeon at least once.  They offer quests at the beginning and they offer great items and gold and experience but otherwise are basically a waste of time.  Queue up while questing.  If you get one that you have quests you never did in it, stick with it.  If not, drop group and continue questing until you can queue again and hope for a dungeon with quests in it. 58-85, only do a dungeon if you have quests for it.  The quests for these dungeons are (mostly) not at the beginning of the dungeon and you will pick them up while questing.
Have thick skin.  While learning you will be insulted and kicked on a regular basis.  Do your best and be an asset to the group.  Know your class.  As long as you did the best that you can do then you have no reason to be upset if you are kicked.  You can not live up to everyones standards.  Just live up to your own, but keep that standard high and keep aiming for it.
Forums and Websites:
If you really want to be good at what you do you need to look outside of the game.  The game offers no instruction on how to play right.  Websites will tell you your best stats, rotations, abilities to use, etc.  Websites will also give you small guides on what to expect in those heroics.  Reading them before going into one will greatly increase your chance of success.  I suggest that you invest at least some time in reading about your class and the content you intend to do.  It helps not only you but those around you.
Many people get sucked into a leveling guild because they do not know any better.  95% of leveling guilds are just meat markets.  They take anyone that will join.  They do not care what you do or how you do it.  Do not be afraid to leave a guild if another guild pops up that might be better.  Blizzard made a mistake with guild reputation and people fear starting over now.  Once you hit 85 getting to exalted with a new guild is not hard if you do dailies and run dungeons with the guild so it should not be an issue.  Leave the moment you notice your guild is not a fit for you.  It will make your gaming experience a lot better if when you have a question there was someone that was actually willing to answer it in your guild.

Good luck future hero of Azeroth, your road will be a rough one, be careful not to stumble because it is easy to do so and if you do, feel free to come to this grumpy elf for help.  I've never left any question unanswered from someone willing to learn.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is it the Player or the Class?

There are a few traits I have noticed with the people I run with and even in things I do myself.  Things that are different by class even if it is the same person playing it.  I sometimes wonder if it is the class itself that makes these habits happen, it has to be being someone like myself, that usually plays a different way does them too.

Regardless of spec I have noticed that Shaman always end up face pulling or damn close to it.  Running up to the boss before the pull the Shaman will always be the furthest up front.  I do it too even though I am used to being at range.  It is not one Shaman I have seen do this, it is damn near every single one I have played with.  Oddly enough, the better the player the more in front they are. 

Why exactly is that?  I can't put a reason why the class would make that happen.  It really makes no sense but it seems to be something I see everywhere I go, even in random pugs.  I actually have to stop myself from doing it when I run in a random.

Balance or Feral only on this one.  Resto Druids seem to not have this problem.  What is the problem you might ask?  Paw.  Healers will always cast it as if it routine.  Cats, Bears or Thunder Chickens need to be told to cast it.  I would say 90% of the time, even in guild runs, you need to ask them to buff it.  It is like they always forget.

Why exactly is that?  From my standpoint I forget about it because I am a bear and buffs are the last thing on my mind usually.  I guess that is the same for other non healer druids.

Tanks specifically.  They all seem to move constantly.   In my experience warrior tanks are usually better markers and the fastest tanks in the game.  Fast to the point where I used to have to use every trick in the book on my hunter to keep up because I would run out of mana.  That is why I loved the never ending flask as an alchemist.  I would drink every time it was off cooldown and viper every chance I got.  It was the only way to keep up.  I like fast, my fast is considered slow to them.  Warriors are constant movement machines.

Why exactly is that?  It probably stems from rage and the need to keep it flowing.  I know from questing I go non stop and that carries over to my tanking.  The faster marking also seems to be a product of that.  We have to be able to mark fast because each second we waste marking we are losing rage.

Spec does not matter.  Mage's of any spec all seem to be the gogogo type.  When you hear someone say that you do not even need to look.  If there is a mage in your party it is the mage that said that.  Except for one mage I know that, as odd as it sounds, had a mana macro like a healer would, they are all always in a rush.  I guess even the mana macro fits in the same category.  Mages always want the group to move at their pace and no one elses.

Why exactly is that?  Kind of like I see no reason for the Shaman being the way they are with what they do I see no reason for the mage either.  If anything I would think slower would be better for them.  Better usage of cooldowns being you can use them more often.

Those are the only ones that popped into my mind right now but there are other things that I notice all classes tend to do no matter who is playing them.

Have you ever noticed that certain classes are prone to similar behavior even cross realms.  These habits I've seen in guild, in realm pugs, in LFD pugs, on different servers, you name it. 

When do you kick?

Personally I can count the number or times I've started a vote to kick on 1 finger.  Yeap, just once ever.  Most times if someone else starts it I will go along with it because most times it is a legitimate reason.  Every so often someone puts up a vote kick for someone with no reason stated and no reason obvious.

What would you consider kick worthy?

The one vote kick I started was for a Boomkin that was wearing mostly greens and a couple of PvP blues which where presumably how they managed to get into a heroic.  I have no issues with someone joining a heroic at exactly 329, I did and I am sure many others did.  My healers I got to 335 first.  Wanted a little extra oomph before I went in. 

My issue was that his gear looked like it was whatever he could get his hands on.  Agility leather, spirit leather, intel leather.  Well, at least the intel leather is good and the spirit leather is not horrible but what really jumped out at me was that the few things that where gemmed and enchanted where either attack power or stamina.  Add to that his amazing 2K single target DPS.  Nope, kick.  That was the only time I kicked someone.

I've seen people try to kick people for what I think of as stupid reasons.  Remember the halloween event where people would DC when they scrolled over the pumpkin.  Some idiot would start a vote kick the second they came in for the DCed person.  I never clicked it.  Give the person a minute to get back first you impatient bastard, you know there is an issue with it.  Do not blame the player.

In wrath I used to be one that would never, repeat never, kick for low DPS.  So I consider myself as part of the problem why people do not get better.  They thought it was perfectly fine to do 800 DPS in a heroic, that is my fault.  I just laughed at them with my guild mates but never said anything to them.  The thing was, by the end of wrath, the end was basically the last year, I did not need anyone else DPSing.  A tank holding a healer healing and me.  That was all that was needed for a heroic and even that was over doing it.  I was soloing all the heroics (outside of oc and the 3 icc ones) before ICC even came out.

With this expansion it is a bit different, at least at this stage of the game where everything is still new and has the potential to be hard with low DPS.  While I never would start the kick I would have no issues pressing yes if someone tried to kick a 5K DPS player, heck, even an 8K DPS player if they where playing badly as in pulling mobs, breaking CC, or always taking aggro.

There is only one boss in heroics that I would ever kick someone outright for low DPS.  The last boss in GB.  I can take one add myself.  If the other 2 can not take the other add, well, the lowest of the two has to go.  Sorry, but as the saying goes, you are not prepared.  It should be 1 DPS on one, another DPS on the other and the third DPS on the boss the whole time.

I would be more likely to kick someone for being a jerk then because of DPS.  If it were a DPS issue I would point it out and ask them to try and step it up.  A jerk can not be reasoned with.  Trying to reason with a jerk just gives me a reason to become a bigger jerk.

I've no issues with banter during a run.  If that banter is always the "I'm better then you", "you suck at your class", you know the type.  Even if they are right and the person sucks there is never a reason to be a jerk about it. 

There are more polite ways to give people advice then saying you suck at your class because you are not using xxx.  You should say, if you add xxx into your rotation it might help a lot.  That goes over a ton better.  Unless the person you are giving advice to is a jerk.  Then there is no reasoning with them.  They can do one tenth of your DPS and still know that they are better then you.

Kicking a tank without a tank spec.  I'll click yes.
Kicking a healer with a healing spec.  I'll click yes.
Kicking a DPS with a DPS spec.  I'll click yes. (yes I have seen this)
Kicking someone talking smack, even if they are top DPS.  I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that DCed after 5 minutes.  I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that said BRB after 5 minutes.  I'll click yes. (unless they stated it would be longer before they left)
Kicking someone that is a melee DPS in caster gear.  I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that is a caster in melee DPS gear.  I'll click yes.
Kicking a healer in caster or DPS gear.  I'll click yes.
Kicking a tank in caster or DPS gear.  I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that that is not the tank pulling on purpose.  I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that is always breaking CC. I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that needs on a spirit item that the healer needed.  I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that needs on a tanking item that the tank needed.  I'll click yes.
Kicking someone that did not know the fight and waits 3 wipes before saying something.  I'll click yes.

I will not kick someone that does not know the fight but asks before hand.
I will not kick someone that actively seeks advice.
I will not kick someone that has slightly low DPS but perfect execution and/or interrupt timing.
I will not kick a tank with low hit points as long as they know what they are doing.
I will not kick a healer with a low mana pool if they show they are good at management.
I will not kick someone that wants a full clear for rep or a quest.
I will not kick someone that wants to skip for a faster run.
I will not kick someone that likes to babble in chat as long as they are doing their job.
I will not kick someone that gives polite advice on spec/gear/etc to me or others.
I will not kick someone just because we wiped, even a couple of times.

If anything, in most cases I would be quicker to drop then ever start a kick.  In most cases if I ever feel the need to start a kick I choose leave group first.  When I choose to kick it is because I know that there is no way we will ever do the fight with that person in the group.  I am not quick to the gun so I believe that my assessment of the situation is usually accurate.  The other people do not know me so they do not know that.  I am sure they think their assessment are accurate as well when they do a kick too.  It is perspective.

I have no problem dropping group and waiting another 40 minutes or just not doing the run at all that day then staying in a group that is destine for failure.

Maybe I am getting cold or even elitist a bit when it comes to heroics.  I do not mind a wipe or two or even three.  But if the group is just not getting it I will just leave.  I am not playing this game to help 4 other people with their progression.  If they do not know how to do heroics I have no issue explaining and helping. 

If they are not getting it however I am not going to hang around while they learn.  I help, but only so much.  Third wipe because the retarded DPS has no clue how to do the beam on the second boss of BRC and the tank is not even trying to interrupt the fears means a laughable easy boss becomes impossible to do.  That means I leave.

If anything I think I use the leave option more then the kick option.  Heck, I know I've left more then I started kicks.  A 40 minute wait is ten thousand times better then 40 minutes of wiping with people that refuse to learn.  Being you can not kick 2 or 3 people you might as well kick yourself by using the leave option.  For your own sanity.  Leave group is your friend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Future of Heroics?

I had a random in Shadowfang Keep that was beyond amazing.  It was like running a wrath dungeon.

The over all DPS had the lowest person sitting at near 14K, an Elemental Shaman.  An Arcane Mage was at 14K.  The Paladin Tank was at 15K and I was at 16K.  On boss fights my lowest was 21K.  I pulled 24K on 2 bosses, love that buff.

We ran through the whole thing non stop.  Healer never even needed mana.  Mechanics?  What are those?  Sure, we needed to do the little things like move on green and get out of the pistol barrage but that was about it.

The entire run took 23 minutes for all bosses.  The tank pulled the packs in Springvales room and Springvale at the same time.  2 people got the achievement for him not getting empowerment.  I had already had it as it seems 2 others did as well.

None of them where massively geared.  They were all basically the same item level as me, in the 350s. (I am 353)

I've always said that as more people get geared the instances will get easier.  That is just simple mathematics.  By the end of this expansion we will forget that there was a time when they where hard and you can easily carry on sub par DPS without it ever becoming an issue.

I wish every run was like that.  It would bring fun back into what has been a horrible expansion so far.  There are many reasons I dislike this expansion but we can't do anything about most of them.  Dungeons, we can do something about.

If the quality of player in the game was better then more runs would be like this.  Sadly it is not.  I more often fail in a run of BRC because someone, no matter how often we explain it, can not get the concept of blocking the beam on the second boss.

So now the tally would be something like 200 dungeon runs as pugs and 3 awesome runs.  1.5% of my runs have been good (not counting guild runs).  While this run does prove we will be outgearing this stuff in no time it also proves that only 1.5% of the runs you will ever have in a random are capable of that level of game play.

I would say that it means that only 1.5% of the players in the game are good but that would not be entirely accurate.  What this really means is that if you pull 5 players out of the pack there is only a 1.5% chance that you will get 5 players that know what they are doing.

Still a sad state of the game if you ask me.  If every run was like that then I would have more fun playing the game.  I would not dread having to pug someone for my daily.  I would run my Rogue, Mage, Druid, all people that have never stepped into a heroic, every day as well.

It is not so much the ease of the dungeon that I enjoyed there.  It is the 20 minute run.  20 minute runs are the only way that people like me with a million 85s can ever get the chance to gear them up.  There is just not enough time in the day to run more then 1 character through a heroic now.

But this shows promise for the future.  I would be willing to pay Blizzard an additional $25 per month if there was a way to make sure I only get grouped with people that know what they are doing.  

My enjoyment of the game increased ten fold in that one run.  Sad part is, the next run I will be back to hating the game because as it shows, I only have a 1.5% chance to get into a random with people that know what they are doing.

This might show what to expect in the future however when even bad players get better gear and can start pulling 15K.  It will make things easier, thus more fun.  I am not saying easy is fun but when we are talking about random pugs, people you will never see again, easy is a good thing.  Easy is fun in that case.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Need More Mobs

While leveling my Warrior I go a little crazy sometimes.  The jewelcrafting quest where you need to get 10 elemental goo I usually get with my bear by going to gather up 10 mobs and I mow them down.  My bear is level 85.  My Warrior was level 80 when he did the quest.  I did the same exact thing.

It is insane the amount of damage a warrior can take and survive in a solo environment.  It also helps that they seem to put out insane amounts of damage as well.  At level 80 I puled a pack of mobs when I first hit 80 and entered Cataclysm content and did 7K DPS on them.  7K DPS, a heal after each kill and the ability to take a beating makes for fun leveling.

Whenever a mob is about to die my eyes are already scanning the landscape looking for my next target.  Stop, why would I ever stop.  Sometimes I over pull and find myself taking a dirt nap but I've learned that it is better to die than take things one at a time if only because it is freaking fun.

I've leveled every class and outside of my bear my warrior is the only class I've ever approached questing like this with.  All other classes I kill one mob at a time.  My warrior and bear look for as many mobs as possible.  It must be a rage thing.  It makes for fun leveling.

If you have never played a warrior and you are interested in a fast game play style I would suggest giving it a shot.  Warriors are always looking around for more mobs.  More, more, more. Leveling is fun when it has no down time.

Watching the Detectives

Not exactly sure why I decided on that title.  Maybe I've got Elvis Costello on my mind.  Whatever the reason I've decided to post about my working on some alts this weekend. 

I read a post yesterday over at the official forums about someone comparing Wrath to Cataclysm's 10 to 5 levels.  Some people said, erroneously I must add, that the 5 levels from Cataclysm is equal to the 10 levels from Wrath.  The believed the hype.  Didn't their momma every tell them not to believe everything they hear?  Have to love sheep.

People started going into the standard time it takes to level.  It seems the people that think they level fast are saying that 70 to 80 is between 48-60 hours and 80-85 is between 24-30 hours.  As funny as it sounds the majority of people on the forums agreed with those numbers, some said it was a little less but most agreed that is close to accurate.  See, the smarter people looked at numbers and did not believe the blizzard hype, they understand that 5 levels did take half of the time 10 levels did no matter what blizzard tried to trick people into believing.  Overall with their numbers, I must disagree.

60 hours + 30 hours = 90 hours which in turn equals 3.75 days.  They are saying this is the time needed for 70 to 80 and then 80 to 85.

My Warrior, which I started the weekend with at 75 is now 81.  My Warrior still has not even played 3.75 days.  Yeap.  Still not even at 4 days played.

Add to the fact my Warrior is near maxed (as in over 500) in all the following jewelcrafting, engineering, fishing, cooking and first aid, which we all know takes a crap load of time to level just from the time it takes crafting the items and to fish up things.

So I leveled 2 time consuming professions and all 3 secondary professions (pre cataclysm's archeology) in less then 4 days as well as leveling.  Of course I only quest on rested.  I do not play the character much at all but I can not see how I am such an efficient leveler and everyone else is really that bad at leveling.

What is there to it?  You quest, you kill things when questing, you turn in the quest, you move to the next quest.  It is not exactly rocket science. 

Cataclysm and new old world stuff take a little longer now however because some retard over at blizzard thought that linear questing was a good idea.  The key to me leveling so fast was the fact I would pick and choose to do the quests that where most efficient.  Can't do that any more.  Blizzard does not want anyone to have fun and play the way they want to play.  They want people to play their way and their way only.

If done correctly it is roughly 1 hour per level up to current content and 2 hours per level in current content when running on rested.  The people that say it took them longer to get from 84 to 85 then it took them to get from 80 to 84 are obviously exaggerating or doing something horribly wrong.  84 to 85 takes much less time than 83 to 84 did just because of the huge increase in experience gained from quests and mobs in twilight highlands.

So this weekend I took my Warrior from 75-81 in 6 hours, my Paladin from 70-72 in 2 hours and my Warlock from 55 to 57 in a little over 1 hour.

Maybe it has to do with the type of character that you are playing.  My Paladin will not beat my Warriors leveling time if only because when bored I fly around and just mine which is counter productive to speed leveling.  My Warlock might come close. 

My Warrior however is a leveling machine because it benefits me to never stop moving.  If I have rage I keep moving to use the rage.  Even if I finished my quest.  If there is another mob in the immediate area, so I can charge it, and I have rage, I go kill.  Same for my Paladin.  If I get an exorcism proc as I kill the mob, even if I do not need another kill for my quest, if there is something else close, I use the proc on it for another quick and easy kill.

Things like that are the reason I think I level faster then most.  I make the most use of my time.  If you want the true key to leveling quickly it is to never do dungeons unless you have a butt load of quests there. 

Now with how things changed it might be worth it but it was not like that when my Warrior leveled.  Then again, my Warrior was a tank.  As a tank I set the pace.  When I had a lot of quests for a dungeon I went into the dungeon and chain pulled the entire thing, finished my quests and got the hell out of there.  If you are trying to level fast dungeons are the worst thing you can ever do.  They are time sinks.  Time sinks are not effective.

I like to speed level sometimes just for fun.  I made a Warrior, a Hunter and a Paladin on a new server and wanted to see how fast I could level them.  The Hunter fell way behind to begin with because of my secret (only quest on rested) to leveling did not work with it.  My Warrior and Paladin however worked that perfectly.

Level 20 on both, less then 1 hour and 30 minutes played on both.  It is a new server so no help from any alts.  No heirloom gear.  No refer a friend or anything.  Just start the characters and play them.

I want to see if I can make 85 in less then 4 days played with them.  As it seems so far, it might be possible to get it in less then 3 days.  Just remember, those first few levels happen super fast so level 20 in a little over an hour is really not that impressive.

I think I can shave some time off that too if I tried harder.  To bad leveling in the old world was ruined otherwise this would be really fun.  Now, I just do not have interest in working on it as much as I used to.  Leveling is just not fun any more.  Cataclysm made sure of that.