Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trolls Made Me Do It

For a long time now I've had a Tuesday tradition for the game.  I log in and try to cram in as many heroics as I can on my hunter that first day. 

The reason I do that is because it seems like all the best players do their randoms that first day.  I get good groups that all know what they are doing for the most part and I am not the only person in the group that can do over 20K.  It makes for mostly event less runs that are fast and for the most part stress free.

I did not do that yesterday.  I could not bring myself to do it yesterday.  I am sick of trolls.  If I never see a troll again it will be too soon.  I have not even logged into any of my 5 troll characters in the past month.  I've been learning to hate trolls which is sad because trolls are (were) pretty darn awesome.

Some might say that I could just do some normal heroics to mix things up but over all it is a waste of time.  Most of the time the dungeons are roughly the same length (if you have a good zul group) and you get half the valor points and no crystals either.  I have a saying I am quite found of.  If you are going to do something, do it right.  Doing it right is getting the most out of your time investment.  That means doing zuls, like it or not.

I am so sick of the zuls and in turn it is making me hate the game in the same way it is making me hate the trolls.  Not only did I not do my dungeons yesterday I did not even log in at all.  I did not even log in to do my jewelcrafting dailies.  I did not even consider logging in.  I actually enjoyed not seeing any trolls this Tuesday.

For the first time since I started playing I actively did not want to log in.  Even when boredom hit me I always logged in.  I always did at least my dailies and then moved along.  I would log in and see if anyone needed some help, a low level run through, a tank for a random, a healer for a random, to do some dailies on a different character that I do not do them on often. 

There was always something I could do to at least pass an hour of my free time I like to spend playing WoW.  The trolls have beaten me down to the point that not only do I not want to log in to do the zuls I don't want to log in to do anything at all.

I will most likely jump back into the troll mix and do them later this week because I feel as if I have no choice as that is the only thing (non raiding) in the game to do where I can get my valor.

I am forced into doing it if I want valor.  Like it or not.  That is probably another reason I am beginning to hate the trolls.  When you do things because you want to do them you enjoy it.  When you start doing things because you feel you have to do it you start to hate it. 

The difference between what you want to do and what you have to do is huge.

I started to feel like I had to do the zuls.  The trolls where calling me.  They where telling me that no matter what I was stuck with them and I would run the dungeon again 20 times this week, or more.  They where mocking me with their jamaican laugh, mon.  Telling me that I had no control of my game time any more.  I could not enjoy myself.  I had to do what I had to do, like it or not.  The trolls thought they ruled me.

I showed them.  I did not even log on last night.  I did not do dailies.  I did not run any zuls.  I did not see any trolls.

No trolls laughing at me this time telling me I was stuck with them this time.

I quit, for a day at least, and the trolls made me do it.

Wednesday nights we usually do whatever the weekly raid is, for fun.  We will knock out the whole raid, whatever it is, for achievements or just for fun.  We will sometimes do an EoE 25 or a OS 3D for mount runs too.  Wednesday nights are for relaxing, for fun.

I am thinking I do not even want to log in for that tonight because I know if I do the zuls will be waiting for me.  The trolls will be whispering me, come play with us.  They will continue to beat me down from doing the same two dungeons over and over.

My guild can down old content without me.  You do not need a raid leader for that.  Hell, they can knock out current content without me.  I am not needed.  No person is indispensable.  Everyone is replaceable.  Even the raid leader.

I am just beaten down by the trolls.  They mock me and I can not take it any more.

It might only turn into me taking one day off, maybe two.  I will be back by Thursday however being we plan to finally start raiding again then.  That might make me feel like I have something to do even if I rarely ever get to do it on my hunter which is my main and that is the reason I am stuck running zuls with him for valor.

I can usually always find something to do but it has gotten to the point that the trolls have chased me away.

I wonder how many people have quit the game already because of what I am talking about now.  Those people are a lot smarter then I am.  They know when to give up.  I don't. 

I keep hoping that the game will be enjoyable again.  I keep hoping that there will be something to do besides see trolls nearly every second I play the game.  I have the knowledge that it will pass and I am trying to hold on until it does.  The day of trolls 24/7 will go away.  I just have to wait for it.

I do really wonder how many people quit the game and when blizzard sent them the questionnaire asking them why they simply replied... the trolls made me do it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Support Class?

People often talk about getting away from the holy trinity of tank, healer and damage dealer.  Usually what pops up is the theory of a support class.  The one major problem is that a support class is something that can be easily removed in most cases even if they added one.

Lets just say for arguments sake that a new battle comes out and a support class around, as is often described, is needed to give temporary buffs, debuffs or whatever.  When first learning the battle it might be important to have a support class, perhaps it is even impossible to finish the battle without a support class.  Once you start getting more gear and start to over gear the content the support class would be the first expendable class for the battle.

Support classes, based on current game design, are not really needed.

Lets take any raid with lots of AoE damage going out and a support class that can buff people with a buff that absorbs 50% of magical damage.

When my raid team currently starts working on a new fight like that we will usually use the three healer set up to help us deal with it while learning the fight.  Once the fight is learned well enough one of the healers will switch to a DPS spec and we will go at it with two healers and down it faster with more DPS.

That third healer is basically taking the place of what the support class would do.  When learning a new fight it would be awesome to have someone limit the amount of damage people are taking as well as debuff the boss so it takes additional magical and melee damage.  However, once you have the fight learned it would be better to have the extra DPS instead of the support class.

The best case scenario of a support class would be when learning a fight they are useful and once you know it they are useless.  Kind of like the third healer.

So the support class can have an offspec of DPS right?  If that is the case why not just grab another healer that has an offspec of DPS.  Another healer would actually heal whereas a support class will only buff or debuff.

A support class will put a debuff on the mob that increases physical damage taken.  We already have that.

A support class will put a debuff on the mob that increases magical damage taken.  We already have that.

A support class will put a debuff on that slows the mobs cast times.  We already have that.

A support class will out on a resistance for particular fights that need it.  We already have that.

A support class will put a buff on people that limits physical damage taken.  We already have that.

A support class will out a buff on people that limits magical damage taken.  We already have that.

Basically, a support class basically can do what everyone else is doing already.  Lets say you do not have anyone to put on a physical damage debuff on the mob you would be left with the option of taking a support class to do it or a DPS class to do it.

I am not sure about you but I would rather have another DPS doing it while dealing damage then to have a support class doing it and basically wasting time otherwise.

The way the game is currently designed is that a support class would be completely and totally useless.  You would almost always be better off taking a healer to heal the extra damage or a damage dealer to do the debuffing while also dealing damage.

Without changing anything with how the game is designed and works it is impossible to ever add a support class in the game and actually make them viable.

Or is there?

I can think of a way that would make a support class useful.  However it is not something I would really like to see.  You would need to make them, for lack of a better description, OP (over powered).  So much so that the advantage of taking another DPS or healer seems to at least be a coin toss.

For a support class to be viable there needs to be more for them to do.  They need to have something to do other then just buffing or debuffing.  If all buffs are covered except for a rend then basically all they are there to do it rend every once in a while.  How boring is that?

Their buffs would have to stack, be able to proc, and there be some sort of dynamic that would make good support stand out the same way good DPS would.  Good DPS stands out because they are hitting evertthing right and at the right time so they will do more DPS. 

A good support class would have to be similar in their buffs.  The ability to bounce around without letting buffs drops so the healers always have the healing increase, melee always have the melee buff and casters always have the casting buff.  All while mixing in a raid wide haste buff and never letting any of them drop off while making sure to stack them for increased buffs.

Okay, I can see how that can work.  If the support class is good and keeps me buffed and keeps increasing my agility by 5% every 30 seconds to the point where I am getting 40% extra agility or more then basically having another DPS in their place would give then they become worth it.  They would be giving me and 4 other DPS a 40% boost, even more as the fight goes on if they are good.  Not to mention they will be giving the healers a 40% or more healing boost too and a raid haste buff. 

Now they are worth more as a buffer then they are as an extra healer or an extra damage dealer.  If the fight is going on for a while they could effectively make the other 9 characters all do what they are doing 50% better.  That is a combined 450% increase.  More then the 100% of whatever they would have been, 100% healer or 100% damage dealer.

Now that looks like a fantastic raid use for a support class.  Can we make the support class useful in five mans as well?

For a support class to be useful in a five man they need to be the actual definition of control.  They should be able to CC every single type of mob in the game with a various array of CCs.  They should have at least three ranged interrupts all with a low cooldown.  One for direct interrupts.  One for AoE silences.  One for shield bar interrupts (the only class that can directly interrupt casts that are shielded but not all of them just as mages can not spell steal all buffs but only select ones).  They would also need dampening fields for each class of spell.   They should also have a dazzling array of stuns, slows and roots.

That would be awesome for five mans.  Although I can still see how that could be useless in a five man once anyone has any gear or some skill.  You really do not need to deflect damage, CC, interrupt, or anything else control like in a five man once you know the dungeon.

So we need to add some sort of damage or healing component to make them have a little additional use.  They would have a power bar with five bars in it.  Each time they cast a successful support spell the bar would get a charge.  At any point they would have a small selection of damage dealing and healing abilities they could use and use up that power.  So they could add additional DPS or healing as needed. 

Could you imagine them CCing the same mob 5 times in a row while you are trying to attacking it and then whipping out a 100K hit on it or a 100K heal on someone because they have 5 bars.  Their over all DPS would never compete with a damage dealer and their healing would never be a substitue for a healer but it surely does fit the concept of support.  They can support by doing a little extra damage and a little extra healing all while increasing the damage the group does, decreases the damage the group takes and holding an array of abilities that could control a pack of 5 mobs all by themselves if they where good at their class.

Okay, I think I have finally made the support class fit into the five man even if I still think having an actually DPS or healer would be better, having a support would not be horrible.

Not to mention, now support has a way to quest in that spec if they wanted to.  CC, CC, CC, CC, CC, damage, slow, stun, CC, damage.  Blah blah blah.  It will not be the most exciting class to quest with but with their control and buffs, debuffs, etc, they would most likely be super powerful when it comes to soloing certain things.

Okay, I think we just designed a serviceable support class.  Lets flesh it out for fun shall we?

Gearing: - I am thinking that we have to go plate for this new class.  Someone to compete with paladins on the casting gear because they are hogging it all for themselves.  Spirit for them would translate into hit rating which they will need for all their offensive abilities.

Class: - Not sure of what I would think of with a class name but I am thinking the three specs they would have would be support, healing and DPS.  The healing and DPS classes will work similar to the support class's power bar part of doing damage and healing.  I will only detail the support end of it however being that is the all new aspect.  For the healing spec the spirit would work as it does for other healers and for the DPS end of it the spirit would work as hit, just as it will for the support end.

Discipline Bar - Like a stance bar, aura, bar, aspect bar, etc.  It is off the global cooldown so it can be tied into other abilities but all will have a one minute cooldown before being switched back to again and for maximum usage the support player would need to keep switching their disciplines.

Meditation Discipline:
- All mana regeneration continues as if not in battle for all mana users in the party or raid.  The first 20 seconds after switching to Meditation Discipline doubles the regeneration.

Cheetah Discipline:
- The haste of all party or raid members is increased by 15%.  The first 20 seconds after switching into Cheetah Discipline doubles the haste buff.

Barrier Discipline:
- Decreases all damage from all sources to all party and raid members by 10%.  The first 20 seconds after switching to Barrier Discipline will cause a bubble to surround the caster and all people within that bubble will have the damage reduction doubled.

Guardian Discipline:
- When Guardian Discipline is active all party or raid members gain 1% of their total health every 10 seconds.  For the first 20 seconds after Guardian Discipline becomes active the first person that dies will be instantly revived with full health and resources but they will be unable to move or take any actions until what is left on the 20 second duration has expired.

Reversal Discipline:
- All abilities of all party or raid members are now instant and their previous channel time is now added to their cooldown instead. The first 20 seconds that Reversal Discipline is active the previous channel time that is now the cooldown is cut in half.

Dream Discipline:
- All party or raid members have their movement speed increased by 10%.  For the first 20 seconds that Dream Discipline is active all enemy movement is also reduced by 10%.

Boost Buffs:  - These are 45 second buffs.  When a person is buffed with them they can not have them reapplied until 30 seconds have past.  If they are reapplied between 31 and 45 seconds they add up (5%, 10%, 15%, etc) and refresh to 45 seconds.  If the buff falls off without being refreshed the player can not be rebuffed with a boost buff for 15 additional seconds after the boost ended.

Agility Boost: - Add 5% to the total agility of target player.

Strength Boost: - Add 5% to the total strength of target player.

Intellect Boost: - Add 5% of the total intellect of target player.

Enemy Debuffs: -  Works just like boost buffs, but on the enemy or course.

Physical Weakness: -  Increase all physical damage received on the target by 5%.

Magical Weakness: - Increase all magical damage received on target by 5%.

Crowd Control: - The best in the game for CC is a support character.

Stone: - Turn any living creature to stone for 1 minute.

Solidify: - Freeze all the oils in a mechanical unit for 1 minute.

Strip: - Remove all the elemental abilities of an elemental causing it to tremble in fear for 1 minute.

Mirror Image: - Create a mirror image of a demon or undead.  The mob will only attack its mirror image with single target attacks until the mirror image is dead.  The mirror image does not fight back.

Crystallize: - Turn target mob into a crystal for 1 minute.  Only works on humanoids, undead, beasts and dragonkin.

Charm: - Charm a target enemy into doing your bidding for 1 minute.  Only works on humanoids.  You can not control the charmed target.

Slows:  The best class in the game for slows is also your friendly neighborhood support class.

Void Zone: - Create a void zone on the ground that lasts for 20 seconds.  Any mobs that enter the void zone will have their max life cut in half and be slowed 50% while crossing through it.

Stagger: - Reduce the movement of target humanoid, beast or dragonkin by 20% for 10 seconds.

Nightmare: - Reduce the moment of all mobs within 20 yards of you by 30% for 5 seconds.  If dream discipline is active when this is cast the movement reduction is doubled for this spell.

Bound: - Reduce the movement of target enemy by 90%.  Lasts until target takes damage.

Leadfooted: - Target enemies movement speed is reduced by 50%  for 8 seconds. 10 second cooldown.

Interrupts and Silences: - Also a specialty of the support class.

Power Surge: - Interrupt the target spell and gain the mana used to cast it.  5 second cooldown.

Power Sink: - Interrupt the target spell increasing the cost of the next spell they cast by three times.  5 second cooldown.

Power Lock: - Interrupt the target spell and lock the caster out of that spell school for 8 seconds.  20 second cooldown.

Power Circle: - Interrupt all casting within the circle.  Circle lasts for 10 seconds.  2 minute cooldown.

Power Spark: - Cast power spark on a friendly player.  The next spell that targets that player will be instantly interrupted.  Power spark lasts for 3 minutes.  If no spell is cast that could be interrupted on the target player the spark falls off and can not be reapplied on that target for an additional 1 minute.  3 minute cooldown.

Power Drain: - Drain mana and health from target until they cast a spell.  12 second channeled. When they cast a spell it will be interrupt as well as interrupting your power drain.  If your power drain channeling is completed without being interrupted the cooldown is reset instantly, otherwise, 1 minute cooldown.

Power Spike:  - Interrupt the things others can not.  Certain uninterruptable spells can be spiked.  20 second cooldown.

Power Bar: - Every time the support player casts any spell that is not a direct damage or healing spell the power bar gains one charge.  Charges can be used to do damage or heal.  While the support classes damage dealing and healing options are few and far between, they do hit like a truck when they are at a full stack of 5.

Physic Blast: - Does damage equal to your intellect / 1.5 x 2 at one bar.  x 4 at 2 bars.  x 8 at 3 bars.  x 16 at 4 bars and x 32 at 5 bars.

Psychic Bond: - Heals both you and the target player for an amount equal to (same formula as above)

Physic Surge: - Does AoE damage based on the same numbers as above divided among the number of mobs.  x 3 if there are 5 or more mobs or some sort of formula that makes more sense then that.

Okay, so the idea still need some work but over all I could see myself playing that character.  I can really see myself having some fun soloing old content with that character.  Support classes, as most think of them, can not fit into the game the way it is but making something like this, almost over powered when it comes to buffing and controlling, makes having one of these classes almost worth it.  Heck, in some cases I think I would rather a good support player in place of another DPS for some raids.  One support player can turn 5 20K DPSers into 5 30K DPSers over a long battle.  That is 50K extra DPS.  More then having another DPS would be.  And the healing would also be putting out more heals too.  Yeap, I think a good support class will surely take one of the DPS spots away for sure.

The big issue is this is all about adding a new class.  That does not help anything really.  It would end up taking spaces from DPS which is already a problem with so many of them.  Perhaps they need to find a way to make the 4 pure DPS classes have support options.  The one I described I can see being a mage class for sure.  Absolutely.  It fits a mage quite well if you ask me.

WoW will need to make some changes to design if they ever want to add a support class and I do not see that happening but it is nice to think of a class like this.  Perhaps some other classes can use some of those abilities.

I cant tell you one thing, I wish the interrupt that restores mana when used was a mage spell.  I am sure a lot of mages would be looking for things to interrupt.  Boss casting something that can be interrupted. 

Mage 1: I got it, I am on empty. 
Mage 2: Okay. 
~ Interrupt. ~
Mage 1: Okay, I am full again, thank god bosses have such huge mana pools, you get the next one, I am going to spam my 2 button again and watch the numbers fly. 
Mage 2: 20 seconds until he casts it again, I'm going to try to burn my whole mana bar by then.

I sometimes yell when on my warrior.  Hit me, I need rage.  I could see mages yelling, cast something, I need mana.

That would be a fun ability.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts

- I am looking forward to this coming patch more then some of the content patches.

- Finally, to have a crossbow that does not sound like a gun any more.

- It really takes blizzard, what?, 10 weeks to fix a sound file.

- Hopefully the stats will be correct on it too now.

- And I'll finally be able to reforge it now.

- Nah, that would be asking too much.

- Can't have it sound right, display the right stats, and be capable of reforging it.

- I'll probably have to wait another 10 weeks for them to fix the other stuff too.

- God forbid another class had an item meant for them with a bug it would be fixed instantly.

- If they can not fix a sound file in 10 weeks it makes me laugh when people complain about balancing PvP.

- Balancing PvP has to at least be a 10 year problem if a sound file is 10 week problem.

- Someone challenged my Shaman to a duel the other day while I was just hanging out in my healing gear.

- I owned him as a healer.  I did not even have my PvP gear on.  He did.

- Prot pally, even used his lay on hands, never got me below 90%.

- Got me the achievement.  I had never dueled on my shaman before.

- I think he was looking for an easy kill.

- Want an easy kill?  Duel a paladin.

- Oh wait, he was a paladin.  Guess that ruins that idea.

- If you are any class but a paladin you can duel a hunter for an easy win.

- Don't know if it is just my luck but I have yet to see one paladin that can PvP.

- Well, with exception of holy paladins.

- That goes to show you it is a balance thing and not a player thing.

- If the majority of people can not do well with a class the class needs help.

- After my win I decided to do some battlegrounds for the first time on my Shaman.

- Lost 4 out of 5.  Woohoo, go alliance.

- I marked myself a healer too, figured that would help.  Not a chance.

- Alliance go into an area and there are 4 horde, 1 being a healer.  The 3 others protect the healer with everything they can.

- Wish it worked both ways.

- When I went in to heal, even if there where 5 others there, the second I cast a heal, all the horde are on me and not one of the 5 alliance players even try to help me.

- And the good alliance players wonder why healers on the ally side are so few and far between.

- It is because no one wants to heal knowing that no one is going to protect them and let them do their job.

- It is not rocket science.  Protect the healer and live.

- One time in five battlegrounds I found a group of people that were willing to protect me.

- Three people and me defended against wave after wave of the horde trying to get to the flag.

- They kept me alive, I kept them alive.

- That is how it is supposed to work.

- People are starting to come back from the summer and we can start raiding again soon.  I am so happy.

- Firelands here I come.

- Too bad everyone else is done or almost done with it before I even start it.

- We are losing one of our healers due to his job giving him a new schedule but otherwise we have picked up a lot of people coming back to play.

- Including a holy paladin that was a main healer in wrath.

- He leveled a brand new paladin because he did not feel comfortable relearning how to play.

- He said he wanted to level holy to relearn playing it.

- He did well and geared up fast and is back to being a super healer, just like he used to be.

- We did an attempt on Shannox after a trash run last night just for the fun of it.

- I figured it would give me chance to explain the fight to everyone so when we do it this week we can jump right into it.

- Got both dogs down and shannox down to 17% before we wiped to the timer.

- Not bad at all being we did not have three of our top DPS and a holy paladin that is only 342 item level.

- I told you, my crew might be way behind when it comes progression but they are not bad overall.

- Three of the people in the group had never even stepped into firelands before.  Not even for trash.

- We actually would have downed it if riplimb did not bug out.

- Riplimb was at 40 percent and started to evade.

- When he stopped evading he was at full health.

- If not for that we would have downed it.

- We wasted so much time on him when he was evading and then having to down him again, a second time.

- I must say I was quite impressed with the group that was there.  To do so well with no experience in it and in most cases no new gear because they had not been around to get any yet was a huge plus.

- I'd be willing to bet we knock him out this week with a group that goes in with the intention to do it.

- Hope I do not have to tank it again.

- My value as a hunter is leaps and bounds over my value as a tank.

- Hitting the timer on the boss proves my DPS is needed more then my tanking.  We had 3 people around 12K.  While we would have done it if not for riplimb bugging we would have been in a better position with more DPS and my hunter does a lot more DPS.

- Either way, quite impressive for our first real solid attempt.

- Now if only we can get the holy paladin some gear.

- If he can heal that in 340ish gear imagine what he can do in 360ish gear.

- I love having a holy paladin in the mix finally.

- We had 4 shaman, 2 druids, 5 priests and 0 paladins.

- I remember when the expansion started and we had no healers and so many tanks.

- How a few months change things.

- I wonder if everyone else is experiencing the same.

- The start of the expansion healers where rare, very rare.

- I think it is because blizzard decided they wanted to make healing fun that chased all healers away.

- Perhaps they did not realize the way they designed it made healing... not fun.

- Spam your biggest heal over and over and over on the tank and hope and pray that they DPS can down the mob before you run out of mana. Or hope and pray none of the DPS take any avoidable damage because if you are forced to heal them even once it could cause a wipe.

- Blizzard thought that was fun.

- I want whatever blizzard is smoking.

- Such mind altering perceptions can really be interesting.

- At least they thought it was.

- While their healing system has still not changed.  Spam the tank and pray the DPS do not take too much damage.  Gear has made it more bearable.

- If they want to make healing more fun they should make it like they said it would be.

- Playing patch up on people with extra attention to the tank.

- The choosing between biggest heal or fastest heal for every situation and hoping you do not run out of mana is not fun at all.

- Seems like a lot of people got over it.  We have a lot of healers now.

- Now tanks are the issue.

- Not sure how that can be any more "fun".  You stand there and get beat on while moving once in a while and popping a cooldown at predictable moments.

- No really, I have no clue how to make tanking fun.  It just isn't fun.  Never had been, never will be.

- In the long and short of it I think having more people around and starting to raid again might be just want this grumpy elf needed.

- The game has reached critical mass when it comes to levels of boredom.

- I needed something new.

- Sure I have other alts I could gear up for fun but the idea of running the same two dungeons on even more characters is something I can not and will not do.

- Two dungeons is not exactly random is it?

- If you are going to make us do a mind numbing repetitive run of the same two dungeons at least take any challenge out of it what so ever.

- Even one bad group in 10 is way to much.

- At least a bad group when it is actually a random dungeon is one thing.  A bad group when you know that you are only going to get the same dungeon again if you drop makes it unbearable.

- Of all the things I've been grumpy about this expansion, nothing beats this one.

- Two random dungeons over and over.

- If anyone ever wanted to peg a reason for quitting on anything, this is it.

- Let hope blizzard noticed the error of their ways and never makes it like that again.

- 4.3 we will get three dungeons.

- Woohoo, the randomness of three now instead of two.

- I'd say they are learning, but this proves they are not.

- Finally they are recycling something in game that actually can use it.  The faire.

- Now that needed a facelift and I am glad it is getting it.

- Turning in a few rogue decks every time it comes around is taking me forever to get my rep up.

- See blizzard, upgrade what is already there.  That is a good way to recycle.

- Don't relabel the mobs with a higher level and a new ability in dungeons and call it a new dungeon.  That is a bad way to recycle.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How To Make Raids Puggable?

Thinking about the advent of the coming raid finder I was wondering if there where any chance of success if it is going to use the same format that the dungeon finder does.

The dungeon finder, as we all know, has problems, lots of them.  Some of the problems are of design and others are people problems.  There is no way to judge basic skill level and I can't see there ever being one so they use gear as a judge of a persons skill.  I hate that but I do understand that something needs to be used and this is an easily accessible number that can be used.

While most of the dungeons can get done with one sub par person in the group I do not think the current tier of raiding can.  If the average 5 man group has one sub par person in it then it would be reasonable to believe the average 10 man will have 2 and the average 25 man will have 5.

With that in mind the raids, if they are to use the current dungeon design, become unpuggable.

Mind you, we do not know what design they are going to use for it yet or how it will be implemented.  We can only go with what we know and all we know, as far as functionality, is the dungeon finder.

The raids as they are right now can not be done by pugs on many servers.  Even T11 raids will result in a wipefest in all T12 gear on many servers, two of mine included, trust me, I've been there.

How exactly do you make raids puggable?

It is actually simple to make raids puggable. 

1) Remove any and all one shot mechanics.
- Missed interrupt means a wipe.  Missed debuffing means a wipe. Anything like that can't work in a random pug.
2) Lower all response time damage.
- Pug people like to stand in warm places, like fire, make it do less damage so they have longer to live and hopefully move.  Might help teach them and will still kill them if they do not move for 10 seconds, instead of kill them if they do not move in 2 seconds.
3) No stack up or spread out mechanics.
- It is hard enough to get a pug with vent to group up.  How exactly do you expect random people to do that?

Now, by doing that you have removed nearly everything that people call "hard" about raids.  The hard part of raids is getting the people to do the right things at the right time as a team effort.

Random people and team players are on two completely different sides of the spectrum.  Hell, they are not even in the same universe.

If we remove all the team aspects from raiding then what does that leave us?  A tank and spank.

Sure, that would be the best way to do a random pug raid.  Patchwork as the basis for a random pug is absolutely perfect.  It is something that is idiot proof almost.  The only people ever taking any damage what so ever are the tanks so the healers job is single focused.  There are no adds, there are no random spells or damage spikes for the tanks to deal with.  There is no need for the DPS to ever move from where they set themselves so they can just pew pew and then compare their epeen when it is all over.

Okay, I think we went a little to far here.  While I love a patchwork fight once in a while I do not want every fight to be a go in and kill and repeat.  It would be almost as bad as the hell that the Zuls are.  God I hate them with such a passion I am often tempted to quit the game just until they add another freaking dungeon.  Doing tank and spanks would end up being the same feeling after a while.  Might be fun for the first week but it would be mind numbing after that.

How do we up the random difficultly while not actually upping the difficulty?

Remember, they are two different things.  Randoms can not add the things I mentioned taking out before because as we all know we will be grouped with random people and you can not trust any random person to have any skill what so ever.

Hell, my hunter is speced into silencing shot even if I could put that point elsewhere and it result in a DPS increase because I do not trust anyone to interrupt something that is important in a pug and I want to be able to do it if and when they do not.  Never ever trust a pug person to do their job. 

How do you add difficulty for idiots?

A gear check baby.

Yeap, make them all tank and spank gear checks.

1) Can't do a constant 18K DPS?
- You will never make the enrage timer.
2) Don't have enough active mitigation?
- A stacking contact buff the boss gets will destroy you.
3) Can't manage your mana correctly?
- You will never keep up with the heavy tank healing and the constant AoE that is hitting everyone.

Make all fights a five minute fight.  Make them tight and require people to do the best they can do and require them to have the gear needed to do it.

No more waltzing around in ungemmed, unenchanted, unreforged gear thinking it doesn't matter.  No more gear in your bags getting you by.  No more PvP gear getting you by (yes I know some is better in some cases).  No letting the DPS carry tanks and healers by killing everything so fast they can be below average.  No more tanks hoping the healer can keep them up long enough for the boss to die.  No more healers expecting everyone else to do their own healing or hoping the tank is so over geared that they do not need much healing and the DPS are so uber that they never even take one tick of avoidable damage.

It will be easier to pick out the people that fail in this system.

It would also be nice if after a wipe the system put up a list of people that are eligible for kicking. 

Tanks that did not even mitigate one shot for 5 consecutive shots twice during the fight?  Up for a kick vote, by the system.

Healers that burnt through their mana half way through the fight or did not keep up the minimum HPS to keep people up?  Up for a kick vote, by the system.

Damage dealers that did not do the minimum DPS requirement to meet the enrage timers based on time of the fight, not just active time, so no more pulling 40K at the start and then sitting there doing nothing so it looks like you did 40K to anyone not smart enough to view damage done?  Up for a kick vote, by the system.

See, the key here isn't even the fact we need to change the way fights are to make it work.  We need to add some sort of independent way to determine who deserves kicking.

And not on a completely different note...

Someone in my guild said yesterday to me, maybe we are thinking about this all wrong.  We are all guessing that it will be just like the dungeon finder.  Maybe it won't.

We can all sit back and wait and see and hope that it is not like the dungeon finder because there is one thing I can tell you for sure.  If they give the current raids in the dungeon finder format, it will fail.  Big time.

I am looking forward to doing an AQ 40 at level.  To doing sunwell, at level.  To doing all the old raids at level.  I am even considering, if it is good, experience capping a few characters at 60, 70 and 80 so I can continue to experience the game at the level it is supposed to be for that level content.

There is one beautiful thing about capping a character at those levels.  The gear grind has an actual end.  Once you have best in slot you are done.  There is something quite... satisfying... about that.

How do you think they can make raids more puggable?

Finder or not.

Because on my server T11 normal modes are still not puggable yet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Timing Matters... A Lot.

You can ask anyone that had ever been on interrupt duty how important timing is.  Even more so in this expansion when it seems that one missed interrupt can mean a wipe.  Raise your hand if you have ever wiped a raid because you missed an interrupt.

~raises hand~

Twice this expansion actually.  Oops.

I am guessing the only people that did not raise their hands were people that either do not raid or do not play a class that was ever tasked with interrupt duty.

That is not what this is about however, it was just the perfect example of how important timing can be.

I am talking about timing while DPSing for the most part.  Timing while DPSing can not be seen as obviously as missing an interrupt and most people do not notice that their timing is off.  When an interrupt is missed damage follows and everyone knows that someones timing was off there.  DPS is not as noticeable.

I've run the zuls 100s of times now so I've seen a wide selection of players of varying gear and skill levels of course but while sometimes you can chalk something up to gear or skill other times there really does not seem to be an outstanding reason why one person is so much different from another.

If someone is wearing all PvP gear and you see them doing sub par DPS you chalk it up to the gear.  If someone has a low item level or used some items to cheat their way into the run that where in their bag you chalk it up to gear.

If you see a rogue without poison on his weapons you might chalk it up to skill.  When you see a retribution paladin that never once used inquisition you might chalk it up to skill.  When you see a survival hunter that never once shot a black arrow you might chalk it up to skill.

Then there are those times where you see people that have great gear, have what looks like a good understanding of their class, are using their entire tool box and yet there is still a huge difference in their DPS.  How is that possible.

Lets take two marksmen hunters in the same gear firing off the exact same rotation.  One does 14K and the other does 17K.  There has to be a reason for this.  They both have the same gear.  They both understand their class and the priority of their shots.  Why is there such a large difference in their DPS?  Can it really be the random number generator that is making that much of a difference?

After reading an article about hunter timing (forgot where I read it, sorry, or I would link it) I decided to check it out for myself.

I took to the dummy and held back.  I did not cast anything until the previous cast was done.  I did 14,400 on the dummy, no cooldowns or buffs of course.  I then did another 5 minute test where I would start my steady shot before the precious one finished and I would hit my instants before my second steady finished.  I did 16,800, same conditions.  I noticed something after doing the second test and went back to the first test so I was not even spamming my instants.  I would treat them exactly the same as I did the steadies and wait for them to finish completely before hitting another one.  I did 11,800 DPS, same conditions.

So we have three sets of numbers to work with.  One waiting completely, even on instants which was 11,800, waiting only on channeled casts, which was 14,400, and hitting things as soon as possible which was 16,800.

You will notice that there is a 5000 DPS difference between the top and the bottom there and any waiting I really did was minimal, perhaps 0.2 seconds per steady mostly.

0.2 seconds between shots and we see nearly 17K fall to about 12K that easily.

Timing matters for all DPS as well.  It is not just hunters, it is every class in the game and even more so classes with channeled times.  I have done 36,000 on the lynx boss in ZA on my mage.  I have done 23,000 DPS on the lynx on my mage too.  I am sure that is all timing being all I was doing was spamming my 2 button for most of the fight each time.  Perhaps my key presses were even 0.01 second off on each one and you can see the huge difference in DPS that came from it.

When you do anything that is channeled there is always a window of opportunity to start casting the next spell before the previous one has gone off, that is where your DPS gain (or loss) will come from.  The better you take advantage of that precast time the higher your damage done will be. (Same for healers too.  You can start the next heal before the previous one has landed but that is another article)

Just like that one interrupt can wipe the raid DPS with bad timing can wipe a raid do to an enrage timer.  If you have six damage dealers all leaving 5K a piece on the table that is 30K less DPS your raid is doing as a group.  That is a lot of DPS.

If someone ever said you can bring an extra DPS and they would do 30K wouldn't you say hell yes and immediately think that it would make all the fights so much easier because the boss will go down that much faster?

Most of the DPS issues I think we see in the game are not really a gear issue or a skill issue.  It is a timing issue.  People are not timing their abilities to the best of their capability.  Sure, there are a lot of bad players out there, there are a lot of people that will suck no matter what, but there also a lot of fairly acceptable players out there that would turn into good solid players if they could just pick up that 0.1 second per ability.

There is another factor that should be mentioned.  Latency.  No matter how good of a player you are.  No matter how quickly you can spam your skills.  No matter how knowledgeable you are at your class.  Latency will always limit you to a maximum potential much lower then your actual maximum potential.

There is a reason why the top guilds in the world ask people what computer their use and their specifications for that computer.  They need to know that you are not leaving any DPS on the table by not having a machine capable of allowing you to do your maximum potential.

If you are ever having problems with your DPS and start wondering why someone in the same gear as you can beat you when you know you know your rotation, it is a timing issue.  Nothing more.

If you are a raid leader and you see some people doing sub par but are usually much better perhaps they are having problems adjusting their timing to the fight and it is not really that they are doing bad, it is just that they are learning to fit their timing in better in that particular fights requirements.

From my own personal experience I have seen my DPS go up as I got more used to a fight and learned when I would need to move and how I would need to move.  As I better understood what I needed to do during the fight I was able to adjust what I did around those movement requirements.  I timed things better and my DPS went up in subsequent attempts.

DPS is a role of continuously learning.  Every fight you have to learn your timing over and over again for that particular fight.  While latency can limit you some the only thing that will ever really limit a damage dealer is how quickly they can adapt to the change between each fight.  The faster you adapt with your timing, the better you will be. 

When you are having issues sometimes it might be best to stop thinking about the DPS you are doing and start thinking about the timing of your shots.  You will notice, if you concentrate more on timing your shots so you never have any down time and are always doing what you should be doing, the DPS will follow on its own.

Worry about your timing first and you can look at the numbers after the big baddie is dead and everyone is rolling for their nice new shineys.

Timing matters... a lot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Casual Misconception

New players are still having trouble with the first 30 minutes and five levels of the game, more hand holding is coming for very basic concepts like moving, questing, fighting, and looting.

Personally I think anyone that is having trouble with WoW in the first 30 minutes of the game is not the type of person this game is meant for to being with.  So what is the real issue here?  I say leave it be, or better yet, change it back to the way it was.

When I first started the game, knowing nothing about it except what my friends had told me trying to get me to join them playing, I had no clue how to move, quest, fight or loot.  It did not stop me from playing.  Even back then the starting areas where easy enough to ease into slowly even for someone that had no idea what they where doing.  Now, they are 100 times easier as is.

My first death came shortly after the game began when I was given a quest to go up to the top of the tree in the night elf starting area.  Nothing hard about that right?  Coming down however was a little faster then I would have liked and I fell to my death.  It taught me how to find my dead body.  It taught me to watch where I was going.  It taught me that I could die even when I was not fighting.  I learned.

Some deaths later I ran into three furbolg that did not wish to be separated from each other so they three manned me basically beating the snot out of me.  It taught me about pathing, it taught me about pulling and relative distance between mobs and I died a few more times trying to figure out how that all worked together.  I learned.

My first adventure into a cave ended up being an all day event.  I made my way down and through no problem but got lost down there and could not find my way out.  I would guess I spent nearly an hour and a half in there fighting my way out.  It taught me that all paths are not always clear and to remember my way out.  It taught me that I should have enough food and drink before venturing anywhere that I might not be able to get back to a vendor soon.  It taught me the value of bag space.  It taught me that things respawn.  I learned.

I got abilities such as concussive shot which I immediately looked at and thought what is this piece of crap, I need abilities that do damage.  What use is slowing a mob if you can not kill it.  The day came where I got my brains splattered all over the place over and over trying to defeat a mob that was just to strong for me and I thought that if I only had a few more seconds I might be able to beat it.  I then learned the use of concussive shot while looking over my skills again for anything that could help me.  I learned.

I remember my first ever dungeon quest but I did not know exactly what that meant when I got it.  I made my way to blackfathom deeps to do this new quest and walked into a room filled with elite creatures, ones I had already known would be stronger then normal mobs because I had seen a few but they where all over the place here.  I used my previous learning to work my way through the dungeon.  Slowly pulling mobs one at a time, working my way through there as best I could.  It took me a total of maybe 6 hours, leveling 2 levels, over a couple of days, but I finished my quest there, solo.  Like I said, I was a total noob.  I did not know this was meant for 5 people.  I did not know I was not supposed to be doing it on my own.  I did not know I could just skip these quests.  I thought this was just an extreme challenge for those that wanted to do it and I liked the challenge.  It took me a while but I got it done and guess what, I learned a lot in there.

I ran into a few mobs here and there that became a personal bane.  I spent what seemed like hours trying to figure out ways to beat them.  I learned how to do the run and jump shot to kite mobs.  I would kite them back to a road, where I knew nothing else would join because I had kited them into other mobs before.  I learned not to do that again.   It taught me how to kite.  It taught me how to better make use of my pet.  It taught me how to mix slows with damage.  It taught me how to be aware of my environment. I learned.

There were hard pulls.  Deadly mobs.  Pathing mobs that would sneak up on you.  Elites that would take every bit of skill you could muster up to beat.  It was fun, it was exciting, it was a challenge.

There were also those ?? dragonkin just outside of forest song that murdered me, repeatedly, because their aggro range was huge.  The bears in felwood that I was not quite ready for when I wandered the wrong way one day.  There where dangers every step of the way.  It was filled with excitement, it was filled with challenge, even if some of the challenge I created myself like being stupid enough to do a dungeon quest alone.  I played, I learned.

The redesigned old world has dumbed down everything to the point of it being a joke and now they are talking about making it even easier?

Some people say that it is catering to casuals.  I call that a casual misconception.  I am a casual and I do not want that done.  I want the old old world back.  I want leveling that takes time and leveling that brings a challenge.  I want leveling that does not tell you where to go.  I want leveling where you accidentally walk into bears 10 levels higher then you because you strayed into a place where you did not belong.  I want to be afraid of the possibility of those dragonkin outside of forest song that are long since gone or be afraid of swimming to that cool island off of Theramore Island because there are some seriously scary ?? things in the water over there.

Making leveling easier is not about catering to casuals.  It is about catering to people that are not interested in this type of game.  Making it easier for them is not going to make them play the game.  Making it easier for them would mean making it easier for me.  If I where to start now there would be no challenges, there would be no experiences the way I experienced them, there would be nothing left of what made me love the game.

People think easy means casual and they are wrong.  Easy means trying to get people that do not play this type of game into this type of game.  That can only end one way, badly.   People that do not play this type of game will not get involved in this type of game for long.  It will pass some time for them and they will move along to the next game that grabs their interest.  They will not stay and play this game just because they made leveling easier.

They are not the casuals, they are the passerbys, they should not be catered to because they have no intention of playing for long and even if they do play long enough to reach max level they move from the everything being handed to them leveling experience to the I have to work for things by grinding and doing dungeons that might actually require them knowing their class sort of game and then they will leave.

Making the leveling content faster and faster and easier and easier is bad for the game.  It needs to stop and it needs to stop now or they will create a new generation of players that think everything should be instant.  You can't basically gift people with the easy path to 85 and then expect them to know anything about their class, about how to handle real tasks, or be able to group with people for content that is not merely a task to pass the time like the entire leveling experience is now.

I am a casual, I leveled slowly with my first ever character, I died 100s of times and most of them where my own fault.  I had fun, I enjoyed the challenges.  I did not find it hard back then to get a hold of the game and how to move, quest, fight and loot.  I did not have a problem because I wanted to play the game.  I liked the concept of the game so I took the 1.5 seconds it would take any normal person to go check out what the sparkling thing on the mob I just killed was.

The concept of WoW and what is done in game is not hard to understand for a beginner and even more so for a beginner in this day and age.  WoW is not unique in any way, shape or form.  The movement is the same as 1000s of other games out there.  Looting is a concept that many games have and I am sure every person that has ever played WoW played a game where they looted mobs before they ever looted a mob in WoW.  Questing is not a new concept by any means and fighting is as simple as it gets to begin with.  All classes start with something in the 1 spot that does damage.  All classes walk up to something and press one (or click on it).  Fighting is not hard either to start out with.

There is nothing wrong with the leveling and learning process for new players.  Except for the fact that the leveling process no longer requires people to learn anything about their class.

Welcome to a world where a hunter now reaches 85 and knows nothing about anything I learned early on because I had to.  He will not know how to pull mobs, kite, slow, plan, etc.

If anything, WoW needs to slow down leveling and add back harder quests with elite mobs so people actually learn their class even a tiny bit while leveling instead of just basically granting brand new players to the game an 85 just for logging in.

Please, do not think they are making things easier for the casual player because they are not.  They are making it easier to try and get people that normally would not play this type of game to play this game.

Thinking they are making it easier for casuals is a casual misconception.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts

- There is something wrong with my hunter, I think I need to send him to an in game psychiatrist or something.

- I did 19K DPS on nearly every fight for the last two weeks.

- Not bad at all, not great either.  I've done better many times and worse many times.

- Random dungeon 15% buff?  19K

- Random dungeon 0% buff? 19K

- No cooldowns? 19K

- Cooldowns?  19K

- Heroism?  19K

- No heroism?  19K

- BH?  19K on both bosses.

- BoT? 19K across the board.

- Halfus?  Of course you can guess.  38K.

- BWD?  19K across the board.

- FL? 19K across the board.

- A nice selection of buffs, heroism, and all cooldowns?  19K.

- No buffs, no cooldowns, on target dummy?  19K

- No matter what I do I do 19K.  Only the last two weeks however.  I sense a disturbance in the force.

- No, my recount is not broken, I had people I was running with check theirs because I started to question that.  They seem to always tell me I did 19K.

- That is freakin' weird.

- I tried to bear tank again this week, first time since the first month of Cataclysm.

- My bear was quite dusty.  First shot she took a puff of smoke went into the air from the dust that had built up on her.

- Bear tanking seems a lot better then it was when Cataclysm took off.

- I must admit I love bear tanking, except when it comes to packs with multiple casters.

- If gear actually appeared on a bear I would be mogging bunny ears on my helm for my bear in a heart beat.

- A big bear running around with bunny ears would be priceless.

- They jump like they think they are bunnies to begin with.

- I want bunny ears on my bear.

- Over all I had no issues with tanking with my bear at all and it was better then my last run with it when cataclysm first came out.

- I might actually run enough heroics to replace all that 318 gear now.

- My bear finally got their looking for more achievement.

- In case you do not remember, that means teaming with 10 random players.

- The bear has been max level since the LFD first appeared and had run probably a hundred dungeons in wrath and at least 10 or 12 normals before this weekend in cataclysm.

- Goes to show you that I only run with guildies mostly.

- My warrior got his looking for more a few weeks ago.

- Complete proof that I do not like to random with tanks.

- I hate randoms.

- My hunters broken 19K would be top DPS in 99 out of 100 randoms.

- That is part of the reason I hate randoms.

- I ran a few on my mage this weekend.

- I suck at my mage.

- Two runs, top DPS both runs.

- When I suck, have no real gear and I am number one, you have a problem.

- Speaking of DPS, bear tanking DPS is insane.

- In crappy gear for the most part, two PvP pieces just to get the item level (and a 358 PvP piece is still way better then a 308 PvE piece), the BoE gloves of Zul and boots from JP and I was pulling upwards of 14K DPS on AoE pulls.

- Top DPS.  Scary when your tank in crap gear can out DPS you.

- Doing a couple of randoms on my bear and on my warrior I can say I like the threat changes.  I had some issues with over zealous DPS doing 20K+ but over all it was a lot easier to keep aggro then it was before.

- I don't stress it when guild members do it because I tease them about it.  I don't tank randoms however because if I don't know you, don't pull threat off me or I will let you die.

- I look at it this way.  My guild mates know me, I want them to test me, I want them to make me a better tank,  I do not mind if it causes a wipe.

- If you are a random DPS and take aggro from me you are a bad DPS.  I did not ask you to test me.  I do not want you to make me better, I want you to help me get the dungeon done as fast as we can.

- Amazing how who you play with makes such a huge difference.

- Did a BWD with some guild members the other week, a few of which where never there.  We wiped a couple of times on a few bosses due to people not knowing the fights well enough.  Didn't bother me at all.

- If I join a pug and we wipe like that, I am out of there after a third wipe on anything.

- I do not leave right away, I give everyone on chance unless I can see it is going to be impossible.

- Pugs on my server only know how to wipe.

- They can do it in ways you could never imagine.  Trust me, if it took skill to wipe, my server would be the top ranked server when it comes to skill.

- So many times I was left asking, how the hell did we just wipe.  And no one could figure it out either.

- Raid finder is a disaster before they even added it. 

- If people can not do pugs with vent, with an agreed upon raid leader how the hell do you think they will work with no vent and everyone wanting to be a leader?

- Raid finder is dead before it even started.

- Unless they want to give you patchwork type fights as the only raid boss in the raid finder.

- I still see many wipes ahead for us.

- I will still try it anyway.  I have to see how bad people are.

- In a strange way I like seeing horrible players from other servers.

- It makes me feel better about the horrible players on my server.

- Every week, it seems, I will come across someone that makes me thankful I am not on their server.

- I could continue with random thoughts on the raid finder but then it would ruin one awesomely grumpy filled post about it that I have in mind.

- That reminds me of a run I had the other day on my healer in a random.

- I come in to a fresh ZA and they are talking in party about the firelands raid they are doing that night and how they can not take someone because their gear just is not good enough for heroics, they can't even pull 30K.

- Do you really need 30K for firelands heroics?  If so I hope my hunter gets out of his funk so I can go back to doing 24-26 and start working my way to 30.

- None of them pulled even 12K over the course of the run.

- No, they where not alts, they had all 378 with a smattering of 391 gear.

- These are the people that are going to make the raid finder fail.

- People who think 30K DPS is needed, but can barely do one third of that themselves.

- It is like the person yelling gogogo in a random when they are dead last in DPS behind the tank by a long shot.

- Gogogo is annoying enough to begin with, do not even consider saying it unless it is 100% certain you are the best player in there.

- The ZA people apparently found someone to carry them through heroic raids and they will now expect random people to carry them as well.

- For a guild doing heroic firelands they really sucked.  The tank could not hold aggro, even with the horrible DPS they had.  He was losing bosses to healing aggro even.

- Makes sense because all 4 of the people needed to be healed as if they where tanking.  They stood in everything, they took damage from places I did not even know caused damage.  I HPS was probably through the roof.

- I wonder how people can get that far in content being so bad.

- It is astounding really.  Do they bang their head against a boss until they get lucky?  Because with these people I can assure you, it was not skill that downed any bosses.  They where not even skilled enough to down ZA bosses if it where not for me carrying them by having to heal 4 tanks the entire run.

- They must have much better healers then I am in their guild because I barely kept us from having any wipes in a 5 man we all way over geared.  I could imagine how hard it is to raid heal these morons in gear appropriate content.

- I'll bet these are the people on the forums that call every other player that has not done the same content as them baddies.

- Someone in trade said something fantastic the other day.  Yes, in trade.

- If you have to keep telling people how great you are you probably aren't very good at all.

- That was a response to a few mages on my server thinking they are the best mages in all of WoW and always fighting over how great they are in trade.

- I'll bet that firelands talk from those people was meant to make me feel bad being I have no firelands kills on my shaman at all.

- They where just looking for someone that would ooh and aah at how cool they where because they where doing heroic FL when the healer had not yet.

- I am a grumpy elf, I do not ooh and aah, I am cynical, sarcastic and sometimes too blunt for my own good but I never ooh and aah.

- Unless it is something like a bear jumping around in bunny ears.

- If that does not deserve an ooh or an aah then not much really does.

- I hear the fat lady signing, so have a great day all.

- Make sure to head to the forums and insult every one that has not done the content you have, it makes you cool.

- See, I can do sarcasm.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Deaths: 22

Many times I write about bad pugs.  Some times I write about good pugs.  Most of the times pugs just pass by somewhat good or somewhat bad and never get mentioned because they go by without much of a problem leaving no stories to be shared.

Yesterday I had a fun pug.  It went by fast enough and there were no real problem.  No horrible DPS but not fantastic DPS.  No amazing tanking and no horrible tanking.  It is the type of pug that you see maybe 70% of time, passable.

There was one retribution paladin however that it seemed tried to find new and interesting ways to die.  He died nearly ever step of the way along the run.  He died from things we did not even know people could die from.  He died all on his own no where near us.  He died to every avoidable damage you could die from.  He died so much and for such stupid reasons it became impossible to kick him.  We all wanted to see how he was going to figure out how to die next.

I joined an already in progress ZG with just that first mob at the entrance dead so any deaths before they killed that guy I do not know about but the paladin was at low life when I came in so I am going to guess he died, I just will not count it.

Let the count begin.

Death 01:
- Retman forgot to click the cauldron so he took huge damage coming down and ran past the bugs all the way up to the mask and got smoked.
Death 02:
- While we finished the bugs and headed to the mask he released and ran back without touching the cauldron again.  He never made it to us.
Death 03:
- We are waiting for him before getting the guy before the bosses room when he makes it to us, runs past us and right into the guy and get toasted despite the efforts of me and the tank to save him.
Death 04:
- While we are fighting, he dies again running down because he did not touch the cauldron.
Death 05:
- How many deaths can he endure running back?  Add another one.
Death 06:
- He finally made it back as the tank pulls the two snake guys.  He stands in a puddle and I save him the first time.  I can't the second.  He dies.
Death 07:
- Guess who dies running back again because he forgot the touch the cauldron?
Death 08:
- He touched the cauldron this time, fell off the bridge however and got eaten.
Death 09:
- He makes it back just as we are downing the second snake guy and just in time to stand right in front of the spew again and die once more.

Intermission:  Someone pops a mammoth so he can repair.  That was nice of them.  For some odd reason a vote kick goes through on the tank with the reason of horrible tank.  I think Retman started it.  Not sure why the others agreed, it was not the tanks fault the guy died 9 times already.

Death 10:
- He dies on the boss the same way it seems 80% of all melee dies on it.
Death 11:
- He tries to run back, he never makes it.  Did he fall again, did he forget the cauldron?  Who knows.
Death 12:
- Dies running back once more.  I type out, touch the cauldron.
Death 13:
- He gets killed somewhere close, but not with us.  I can just tell he was close because he lit up as in range on my healbot even if I could not get a heal on him.
Death 14:
- He gets back in time to die again from breath.
Death 15:
- He gets back and jumps right in poison and stands there, dying of course.

Intermission:  Lets give credit where credit is due.  The other two DPS died as well and they did not even try to run back.  Me and the new tank did basically 80% of the whole fight ourselves.  Someone pops a mammoth again.  Tank whispers me, I hope I can make my raid in an hour.  I reply, not looking so good with this group.  He says, lets give it a try.

Death 16:
- Gets hit by rocks coming up and then promptly gets squished when he gets to the top.
Death 17:
- Stands in devastating slam.
Death 18:
- Gets slammed again.

Intermission:  Retman took a break from dying for a while.  We did the archeology boss and the crystal boss too without him dying.  He did however find a way to drag nearly the entire room by the crystal boss into the fight and no, it was not from being feared into things.

Death 19:
- Stands in the whirlwind and some how manages to get the tank killed as well in the process.
Death 20:
- Dies to the same mobs a second time.  I should have never revived both him and the tank while we had everything CCed so that one is my fault I guess for reviving him.
Death 21:
- Stands in the fire, no achievement for this one.

Intermission:  Mammoth time again.  This guy is lucky someone had one.

Death 22:
- In a final blaze of glory he decides to stand in the purple stuff that increases damage while downing a chain and not moving when the little puff of smoke appears under him.

Endnote:  The tank whispers me saying, thanks for helping me carry them.  When the dungeon finally rings done there is a little exchange that goes something like this.

Tank:  Wow, you did not get the achievement for this, you have done this before.
Retman:  Yeah, I am just having a really bad day.
Me: I noticed.
DPS: No kidding.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Will You Be Mogging?

If you haven't been reading any sites the last few days you might not have heard about the coming addition of Transmogrification (oh look, a new word for me to mangle the spelling of over and over).

It is a going to be a new feature which will allow people to make their gear look like other gear, within reason of course.

They are not going to allow us to use legendary weapons even if we have them so no Thunderfury for me, and I was going to be using that as my weapon if it where allowed but there is one weapon I can change and I will be doing so the moment the patch comes out.

Rhok'delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers will now be the only bow I ever use again in game.  Any self respecting hunter that was lucky enough to get it before it was removed or skilled enough to get it back when it was end game and held on to it should at least consider making sure they show the bow the love it deserves and wear it proudly.

I might have a little fun with my Gunblade too for some FF throwback fun but the Rhok is where its at.

As for tier sets, sadly in a recent bank clearing, because I needed space, I threw away a lot of gear and some of it I am not sure if I can ever get again.  I will have to consider if there is a tier set I like enough to make my main tier set to run around in but I doubt it.

One thing for sure is that I will be mogging all my PvP gear into PvE gear.  Let those baddies that only prey on people that are not wearing PvP gear learn a little lesson.  If you are a fighter you fight every fight, you do not pick and choose your fights.  I can't wait for people to see an easy kill only to get stomped.

Gear wise I can't see me making much of a big deal about it, but weapon wise, yeap, I am so going to use it for that as soon as I can.  I can't wait for that.

I see the good and bad of this new feature but at the moment, I can't see much behind my Rhok.  So for now, I'll enjoy the one good thing about it that I can think of, the ability to actually use my Rhok.  I was never around when 60 was end game, so I never actually got to use it... until now.

What will you be mogging?

The End Is Near

With the news that the last raid of Cataclysm is coming with the next big patch and knowing that means the next expansion will not be that far behind I was overjoyed.

I had such high hopes for cataclysm.  I looked forward to so much and was really let down on all counts.  I can't blame blizzard for that, that is actually human nature.

When you look forward to something so much and have such high hopes for it you create a sense of how great things will be.  You over inflate it in your mind so when it finally arrives, no matter how good it might actually be, you feel let down. 

This is exactly what happened to me with cataclysm.  I expected so much that no matter what happened the game had no chance in hell of living up to my expectations.

While I know it is my own overestimation that is the main reason I have come to hate this expansion I am not going to cut blizzard any slack what so ever.  It could have been better, a lot better.  It might never have lived up to my expectations but it sure as hell could have been better.

As I said to someone in guild last night about what sums up cataclysm in a nice simple package is the heroic dungeons.

When we where all rocking our 329 item level or faking our way into heroics and not actually having a 329 item level the heroics where hard.  In some cases they where brutal.  I honestly do not believe that some things would have ever been done if everyone was in 329 gear and you did not have a favorable group make up with the appropriate CC options.

The dungeons where fantastic.  I loved them.  They took two hours to clear, they took communication, they took planning, they where indeed a task to be completed that would take an actual effort from everyone that was there.

The dungeons where fantastic.  The start up for cataclysm was exciting so far when it came to dungeons but soon something happened.

We all geared up some, we all started getting to 340 item level, then 350 item level, then 360 item level and instead of blowing through dungeons like they where old hat you would still occasionally get into a wipe fest here and there.  You would occasionally get into a 2 hour adventure again.

Doing the same dungeons over and over and doing them with people that where just learning them now made those once fantastic dungeons general annoyances.

It happened quick too.  Joy to annoyance took maybe two weeks, three max.

I did not mind working my way through a dungeon and learning my way on what to do.  I did not even mind helping other learn.  In time however, it got to the point where I was sick of doing them.  I was sick of people that didn't know what to do when there.  I earned my way through.  I fought in groups where everyone had the bare minimum item level and we did it. 

How the hell can I get in a group now with everyone over 350 item level all enchanted and gemmed and after the nerfs and they still wipe?  We did them all at 329, some people faking to get there, with no gems, no enchants, no luck of the draw buff, and before they nerfed the hell out of them. 

How the hell do we continue to wipe in dungeons 9 months after the game was released with all the added things we have now?

That sums up the cataclysm expansion.  When it was new it was exciting.  As soon as I did a dungeon even as few as 5 or 6 times I was ready to start rolling thought them and would still get stuck with groups where it would take two hours.  At least I was not like a friend that actually stayed through a four hour ordeal in deadmines.

Cataclysm went sour fast.  Really fast.  The heroics summed it up perfect.  Great fun being hard while learning them but once they where just another cog in the grind they became annoying as sin because you now had to learn with other people. 

How many times does someone need to have a wipefest before they paid their dues?  How many times will someone be so totally oblivious to the mechanics of a fight even after it has been explained to them over and over?  How many times will someone that could not fight their way out of a paper bag be allowed to do their 2K DPS in a heroic?  How many times do we have to wipe because someone is behind the learning curve?

Unless blizzard is capable of keeping these people out of heroics they needed to keep the heroics easy.  If you are going to allow any retard to queue up you have to make the content so any retard can do it.  Simple as that.  When you had to hand make groups it was fine to have a challenge.  When you group me with anyone you want to group me with, please, leave the challenge out of it, thank you very much.

It was not just dungeons, it was everything.  Everything seemed good at first.  Everything got boring fast.

I really think that Blizzard has heard the complaints of the masses and I do believe they are going to do something about it in the next expansion.

What I expect from the new expansion is as follows, based on the failures of this expansion.

1) New areas that are actually new areas.
- Lets face it, hyjal and twilight highlands just blend in their areas because they look exactly like them. Not exactly a new area sort of feeling.  Deepholm was okay but it would have fit better in BC than it does in cataclysm.  It feels like a BC zone they forgot to add in BC.  Vash was horrible in every sense of the word.  Underwater seemed like an interesting idea but the amount of people that actually like questing there you can count on one hand.  Uldum is the only area I liked and even if I liked it, lets face facts.  It is the same as tanaris with some egyptian buildings, not exactly new and exciting is it?

2) Open Questing.
- I think they will stay with their retarded linear questing but I also think they will allow a lot more freedom outside of that.  They will use one central quest line to lead you from one place to another in an effort to tell the story but they will no longer require you to do all five quests before the linear one will let you continue.  The linear one will let you continue instantly and it will be your choice of which of the five filler quests that are there that you want to take.

3) Normal Mode.
- A normal DM, SFK, ZA and ZG would have been nice.  Sure I know there are normals of DM and SFK but get real here, those normals are nothing like the 85 versions.  All dungeons should have a normal and a heroic version.  In a world where Blizzard loves to cheese content by giving us recycled content why not have 2 versions of the same dungeon.

4) Idiot Proof Randoms.
- If they learned anything this expansion it is that most of their player base is barely functional.  They will not put any idiot checks into randoms this time because this expansion found way to many idiots while checking for them.

5) PuG Friendly Raids.
- They will make sure that raids are bigger, 12 bosses at least, and that the first 4 are puggable at the very least.  4 easy bosses in one single raid that could be pugged on even the last place progression server will be something they make sure they do this time around.  Expect to see a few tank and spanks coming next expansion.

6) No Gear Checks.
- Not talking about the gear you are wearing, I am talking about the gear you are playing with.  There are way to make gear checks for your computer and your internet connection in this expansion.  While I might have a decent computer with a stable connection not everyone does and we all have experienced, or seen people experience a lag spike just at the wrong moment and a wipe follows. 

One of the biggest draws of WoW is that you do not need a mega computer to play it.  The graphics are basic and simple and you could easily play it with an iffy connection on an eight year old computer.  Or you used to be able to do that before this expansion.  I think blizzard will make an effort to take into mind that a great deal of their player base is playing this because it is what their computer can handle and they will not challenge that as much as they did this expansion.

There are a few things I personally would love to see next expansion.
1) 10 and 25s on different lock outs again.
2) More big raids, screw this three small raid BS.
3) Ease down the stat inflation.
4) New areas that are new and not just more reused art.
5) New mobs, not more reskins on old mobs.
6) Anything new.  There are lots of great ideas out there, heck, check out my PvE battlegrounds for something that might be a nice addition.

With all that said I think the next expansion will be horrible if I take this expansion as a marker.  We wanted something harder.  We hoped and prayed for some sort of challenge.  Blizzard swung the pendulum and the difficultly level became too much for many players.  They will swing it back the other way and judging from their history of over doing everything they will swing it back way to far to the point of brain dead, boring as sin, no challenge content.  Kind of like how they made leveling already.

All in all I expect very little from the next expansion.  Perhaps if I keep my hopes down really low I will end up liking it.  Having high hopes for this expansion did not help this one any.

One thing is for sure.  The next expansion is already a success in one area, it will not be this expansion and that is a plus.

Thank god the end is near.  Just wish it came sooner.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fighting for Both Sides

This is not about playing Alliance and playing Horde even if I do play both.  This is about common issues that people talk about in game, or should I say argue about.

It is not that I am personally indecisive, it is that I find it easy to understand each side of the issue.  This is something I think most people can't do.  They make a decision and then say that what they think is right, no matter what.  It is never that easy.  If you where to say there are 10 classes, that is a fact, no one can argue that.  If you say your class is the best, that is an opinion.  Opinions are just that, opinions, and yours is yours and is right as you see it but that does not mean it is actually right.

While I do admit I have my own opinion on things and which side of the fence I am sitting I can at least open my mind enough to see the other sides point, agree or not.

So, for the sake of it I've decided to argue both sides, with myself.

359 Head and Shoulders

With this current hot issue we see people arguing that they should be purchasable with justice points now that the items are downgrades from the top level raid.  The against side is saying they needed to get the tokens and so should everyone else.

Pro Me:

They are dated items that, if anything, and would only be a small upgrade from the 353 troll pieces that are easier to get.  Allowing people to get them would mean more geared people for more successful pugging.  It would also mean that gearing up an alt, or for a new person with their first 85, would be much easier and put them in a position to get into the current tier of raiding a tiny bit faster. 

There is the added bonus of not having to wait on luck.  The luck that the 353 troll pieces will drop.  The luck that you will be able to get into a pug that can clear the content.  The luck that you tier piece will drop.  The luck that you will win the roll.

For some servers pugging T11 is still near impossible which means on those servers you would never get into the raids meaning you will never get them drops.  Luck aside, can't win something when you can not even find a pug that is capable of doing the content.

Against Me:

You can easily get to a 360+ item level without the head and shoulders.  This is more then ample to get into a firelands raid and if you know what you are doing and you are doing it right, with the exception of getting the 4 piece bonus, there is not such a huge difference between the 353 and 359 pieces that would make it a game breaker.

You can still get a head and shoulders from bosses in T11 even if they are not the set gear.  While you might not be able to get into pugs on many servers that can beat the last boss you can easily get into pugs that can get up to them meaning you can still get a head and shoulders from other bosses even if they are not the tier ones.

If the head and the shoulders actually mean that much to you then most likely the achievement for finishing those raids does too.  In time more people will finish them and learn the fights.  In time as more people know the fights getting into a successful raid will be easier and the tokens will come easier.  It might be harder right now because a lot of pug people still do not know the fights but that will pass.

Hunter PvP:

A hot topic, at least among the hunter forums, is how bad hunters have it in PvP at the moment.  While visiting the hunter section of the forums the other day 17 of the top 20 posts involved hunter PvP.  Two of those 17 where even from other classes expressing how bad they feel for hunters in arena right now.

One person put it perfectly when he explained a little story.  A post in trade goes something like, woohoo, finally 2200 in arena.  Trade erupts in noob, 2200 is easy, learn to pvp, and the like from pvpers around the world until the person says, as a hunter.  Trade falls silent for a second and then congrats start coming in from all over the place and people starting to say that they did not think it was possible for a hunter to get 2200 in arena.

This explains perfectly why hunters of all shapes and sizes are crying out for buffs.  When a hunter looks at another hunter and starts thinking, easy kill, you know things are bad for a class.

Pro Me:

Hunters in arenas are hurting big time with 1) no targeted CC, lets face it, no one is going to stand still and let you trap them and a human at the controls won't just walk into a trap the way a mob will. 2) no non targeted AoE 3) and no burst any more since we changed to focus.

Add that to the fact that their abilities seem to be lackluster when it comes to doing damage in arena now as well when compared to other classes leaves hunters at a huge loss.  Some sort of buff is a requirement if they ever want a fair (read as 10% as they are one of 10 classes) representation in the top of the arena ladder.

The lack of arena useable abilities and power and healing and burst make hunters a general liability for any team unless the team is specifically designed around the hunter.

Against Me:

Hunters are fine.  Hunters have so many slows, so many ways to get away, so many tools that they are actually the hardest class in the game to play in PvP.  While they might be lacking in certain areas at the moment don't all classes have some sort of problem they need to deal with?

The issue is really the user here.  Hunters rule battlegrounds because of their utility and they can rule arenas as well.  It comes down to a skill issue.  As I have seen many people joke, just role a feral druid and they give you a 2500 arena rating to save time because you can get that without even trying.  The thing is, it is not a joke.  The reason it seems like it is that easy is because it is.

Hunters, in theory are just as easy.  They too can roll to 2500 in a heartbeat but unlike the feral where anyone can do it for the hunter you need to be good.  Really good.  The skill cap for a hunter in PvP is through the roof.  A good PvP hunter has more buttons then any other two classes combined.  Possible more then any other three classes combined if you do not include a lock.

Hunters have so many tools that it makes them nearly impossible for the average or even decent PvPer to play them to their maximum ability without a hell of a lot of keybinds and practice.

People asking for PvP nerfs are really just asking for hunters to be made easy in arena.  They are good, they are just not easy.

It is an old saying but it has never been more true then now when it comes to PvP.  Hunters... easiest class to play, hardest class to master.  Hunters are fine, the players just need to get better.  If you PvP as a hunter and do well, it proves you are a good player.  A 2200 hunter is 100 times better than any 2800 feral, in terms of player skill. 

If you are a PvPer and want to prove you are good, then prove it, play the hardest class in the game to the top level.  Now you can brag about how good of a PvPer you are.

As a side note.  The reason we will never see hunter PvP buffs to help in arena is because hunters are already beasts in battlegrounds and quite decent in PvE.  Being blizzard is horrible at separating them all if they buffed hunters to be as easy to play as all the other classes in arena then they would be way over powered in PvE and even more over powered in battlegrounds.

Easier Raiding:

Another topic we see all the time on the forums is people complaining about the raid content.  Most saying it is too hard, some saying it is just fine and a few saying it needs to be harder. 

Before I give my Pro Me and Against Me version I would like to point something out.  There is a reason why most of the complaints we see are people saying it is too hard and we see so few saying it is fine or it needs to be harder is because of human nature. 

People complain when they are not happy, when they are happy they have nothing to say really.  That is why it seems like everyone is complaining.  Because they are not happy.  It does not mean they are the majority, it just means they are the ones with something to actually say.  Everyone else is okay with the content, at least, so there is nothing for them to say.

Pro Me:

Raids need more of a nerf.  Even the old ones can not be downed on the average small servers out there.  My server can still not pug 25 man heroic LK in a pug if you can believe that, been 11/12 forever and will most likely never see 12/12 until the next expansion.  Blizzard had already made it abundantly clear they have no intention of condensing servers so the only answer is creating a pug atmosphere again to make the content easy enough that even low population servers can clear T11 content.

The pug atmosphere worked from a business standpoint in wrath, that is a fact, should it be bought back however comes down to opinion.  If you are in a good guild or on a large server you might say that things are fine.  Everyone else in the WoW world knows otherwise.  Spend a few hours on a small server with low population and you will see that there will maybe be three T11 raids assembling in trade and for all those hours you will see those people still looking for people.  This means it takes at least 3 or 4 hours to assemble a group to pug and then you are taking your chances if you will actually get past the first boss.

Lets not even start on firelands pugging.  It is almost impossible to find rep pugs that do not break up after one clear on small servers.  Boss runs are completely and totally out of the question.

For the sake of the game people need to have pugs again, they need easier content, they need to feel as if they are accomplishing something even if it is easy.  Pugs are good for the game and no pugs are bad.  Right now there are no pugs for anything.  Nerfs are needed, big time.

Against Me:

It is still way to early in the expansion to be nerfing the hell out of everything.  Worst case scenario would mean we have at least one more raid before the big deathwing raid.  Even if that were the case, by the time we make it to deathwing the two added tiers or raid gear will nerf the ever loving crap out of the T11 so that even horrible players can do it.

Blizzard will then slowly nerf the last raid, deathwing presumably, like they did ICC.  They will want everyone to see the content at some point.  They will also probably really nerf all previous raids to the point they are completely and totally puggable even by the least experienced player because they will want everyone to go back and see them as well.  Just like they did in wrath.

The end of the expansion will see lots of pugs going on.  People will be getting the achievements they missed out on earlier and there will be something for everyone to do.

I can't speak of other servers but I can speak of mine.  Maybe people do not remember but when Ulduar came out they where still not pugging naxx.  Just like when FL came out they are still not pugging BWD.  I don't think I saw regular naxx pugs until ToC was out, and out for a long time.  Ulduar pugs where still few and far between even after ICC was out for 6 months.  ToC was the only raid there were ever pugs for.

People seem to look back at ICC and think that all of wrath was like that.  It wasn't.  Sure I could hit 80, spam some dungeons, and get into an ICC pug all in one day and probably even clear 6/12 with a bad pug.  That is what everyone remembers, that is what everyone wants back.  That is not all wrath was.  Memory can be selective.

Give it time, the nerfs will come, your achievements will find their way under your belt, and you will not be left out of the big final raid, blizzard wants everyone to see it, they already said that many times.  For now it is just a waiting game.  Wait, the easy raids and pugs will come, when all the content is said and done for this expansion.

Nerfs are not needed now.  They will come.  Perhaps some raids will start popping up when the new raid comes out, whatever it might be, just like pugging really didn't start until ToC in wrath, it won't start until the next raid in this one, hopefully not another ToC.

Side note, please do not say your server was pugging naxx the week wrath came out.  Your server is not my server and my server was not.  That is a fact, not an opinion, you can not argue fact.

I'll argue with myself again another day.  That is enough for now.

Well, as far as the arguments went I am not sure if I won or I won but either way I had fun arguing with myself.  I might do it again some day if the doctors don't lock me up for having a split personality.