Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting worse?

Have you ever had one of those raid experiences where you just have to call it because every seems to be getting worse?

You walk in and start blowing things up at a pace that is quicker than normal.  You break your previous time records on bosses by a huge amount and then bam, out of nowhere, you wipe.

No big deal, it happens.  You dust yourself off and go at it again and correct the mistakes you made.  Usually this happens because everyone is doing so well you start to become over confident and make a stupid mistake here or there.  It has happened to every raid group out there.  Wiping on something you have on farm.  It is a lesson in humility.

Personally I think of moments like that as the perfect time to point out the gentle reminder that no matter how many times you have done something, no matter if you are over geared, no matter if you think the mechanics are capable of being ignored now, no matter what, you still need to do what your are supposed to do.  Or you wipe.  Plain and simple.

We hit one of those moments last night and after the wipe we wiped again and again.  Each time we did worse than the previous time. 

I've seen it before, it is just one of those nights where everything was easy and a mistake was made and you just can not get back into the grove.  So I called it.  Sometimes that is the best thing to do.  Wiping against a boss you know you can beat, even if it is not farm status, and getting worse with each attempt is one of the signs that you need a break.

That is the beauty of a casual guild.  A hardcore guild would have had the raid leader snapping at people and keep going at it after three consecutive wipes that everyone got worse on each time.

I don't snap at people.  Part of the reason we are not as progressed as other guilds.  It is not my style.  There were a few people making stupid mistakes and I mentioned what we all needed to do better.  I did not single people out.  When I saw we did worse with each attempt I figured it was just not our night and I called it for the betterment of the group.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for a teams morale is to know when to quit.  I saw the pattern.  I did not see it getting done.  I did not want to single out anyone in public, whisper is fine for that.  If we kept going we would have not downed it.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just start getting worse?

I am sure you have, we all have.  Maybe the solution is not to keep banging your head into the boss hoping it will knock it over.  Sometimes the solution is a lot simpler.  Call it a night.  Take pride from blowing through the raid up to that point and don't let it go down hill with any more wipes.

Morale is a touchy issue for a lot of players.  Keeping people motivated is a lot easier when you quit after a couple of tries and laugh about it than if you kept going for another half an hour and don't down it.

I just think the whole concept of getting worse is an interesting thing.  I have to say, I really hate those days when things are going so smooth and then one wipe leads into a downward spiral but what are you going to do.  It happens to every group at one point or another.  No one escapes the getting worse problem.

In a war a good general knows when it is time to withdraw so you can fight another day.

When you see you are getting worse you know, it is time for bed, good night all, lets get it next time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leveling Needs Fixing.

With the new notes coming from 4.3 that leveling will be made even faster and the group quests in BC and Wrath are being changed to solo quests it got me thinking about how horrible the leveling part of the game is becoming.

When the world changed and we got the new linear quests I hated the idea.  In practice it was worse then in theory.  Not only does linear questing suck but linear questing is limited in its own and it shows in many ways.

Once upon a time I loved to level and now I dread it because of the horrible, sneeze and you missed leveling, speed and the linear questing.  I try to grin an bear it and get to 58 so I can get to outlands and actually start enjoying questing again.

Once you get to outlands it becomes a game again.  Pick and choose your quests, tons of extras if you want to over level in one area so you can skip another.  While it is still a lot faster than I like it is effective questing by design. 

Elite quests give a reason to look for others to help you and give a sense of community in a way and now they want to remove them.

I can not tell you how often I am traveling through northrend and see someone asking for help on a quest.  I usually stop and give them a hand, being on an 85 of course it is enough and they do not need to look for further help, and sometimes I make a new friend out of it.

Elite quests are good for the community.  That is one key reason to keep them in the game.

I loved elite quests for another reason.  While leveling you can, if you are willing, give yourself a challenge of doing it all alone, looking for help, or waiting until you leveled a little bit and try to come back and administrate an ass kicking later when it will be easier.

Elite quests are one of the exact reasons why linear questing sucks.  Because they are using linear questing and you can not force people into doing group or elite quests they just removed them completely.  There is no challenge leveling in the old world.  Elite quests, quests that took thinking, skill, perseverance, travel, planning, they are all gone in the old world.

There is no longer the long effort of clearing an area before you go after the much larger prey that is the elite.  Doing those quests on your own really became an effort in learning how to play.  Doing those quests with others taught you a little bit about how to work as a team and the value of complementary team mates.  No matter how you did it, elite quests are some of the best quests in the game even if they where as simple as go kill this person and come back to me.

Why are they removing the last remnants of decent questing from the last two places left in the game that actually had any decent questing?

Blizzard seems to have taken the hard line on leveling.  They want you to get to 85 as fast as possible with as little resistance as possible. 

There is one problem with that approach, bad players.  The leveling process used to be a road block for many bad players.  Bad players would get frustrated with it taking forever to level and they would take their time and learn their place in the game.  When they reached max level, be it 60, 70, 80, 85, they would know that they are not raiders.  They are bad players and they know they are bad players.  The top level was their end game.  They would start another new character and do the trek all over again being they beat the game by getting to max level on that character.

That is the problem with fast leveling and blizzard is trying to make the problem even bigger still by streamlining leveling more.  People who worked to level, even a tiny bit, I am not talking super grind, I am talking looking for where to quest instead of being told where to go.  Choosing the most effective quests to level instead of being lead by the hand from one place to another.  Having to deal with elite quests and group quests and choosing how they will handle it.  Those people, the people that earned their level, they became better players.  They are the ones that hit max level and want to raid.  Those are the ones that hit max level and look for more to do.

I think they need to start working in the opposite direction.  Let the first 20 levels move quickly but each level there after should take a day (as in 24 hours played) to level.  Meaning that those last 65 levels would take the average of 65 days, 1560 hours, to get to that point.  Really good players would cut that down some of course, but that would mean people are actually working for their characters to get to max level.

The random dungeon finder would be heaven if leveling was done this way.  There would be no bad players messing things up.

The reason for that?  Bad players would not be capable of putting in the effort and commitment to the game to get to max level.  It would take the forever to level and because of that, their game would be the leveling game leaving the post 85 game to the people that actually put in the effort to level.

Also, if leveling took forever it would teach people that they need to work for things.  No more arguments that everyone wants all their gear and they want it now.  They would have learned they have to earn their way through the game and as such you would need to earn your way to gearing up as well.

Add to the fact that if a bad player was forced to spend 65 days, 1560 hours, (or a lot more because that is a number for the average players) they would become better at their class. 

They will learn their role, their abilities, everything because they had no choice.  They would be spending a lot of time on that character, so much so that they would probably be better than 98% of the current raiders in the game the second they reached 85 because they actually worked their way up and where forced to learn their class.

While it is true that bad players would still find a way to make it to top level the number of bad players at the top level would be so minimal that the odds of you running into one of them would be about the same as getting hit by lightning.

Even the bad players that made it would be a much better class of bad player then the ones we have running around now.

Two weeks ago on a Friday a hunter whispered me asking if I could answer a few questions for him on the class because he is new at it.  I said sure thing of course being I am the type that is always glad to help others.  He asked me a bunch of basic hunter questions and you could tell he never played a hunter before because some of the stuff was really simple things that you should have learned from leveling.

I asked him if this was his first hunter.  He said it was his first character.  That explained a lot.  I spent a good 45 minutes talking to him and he seemed to really understand after I explained everything and made a comment, I'm sorry for wasting so much of your time thank you for helping but I never learned any of this stuff while leveling.

Now came the time for the surprise.  I asked him how long he has been playing.  He said he got the game on Saturday and just hit 85 a few hours ago and was completely lost.

This hunter might be the exception to the rule.  He was inquisitive, he wanted to learn, he seemed to be quick to pick up on things and he surely seems like he will become a great player if he continues on the path he is on but to think that someone that just bought the game could make it to 85 in less then a week with no guild, no heirlooms, no experience, no foreknowledge is just scary. 

I left him with a few sites to look at, EJ, warcrafthuntersunion, and a few other forums I found to be somewhat helpful.  I also told him to come back to me if he had any questions, to try not to post on any of the forums.  I warned him, the people on the forums are not usually friendly and even more brutal to new players.

This is why we have so many bad players at 85.  This hunter will not be one of them.  This hunter is one in a million.  One that stopped to ask some questions from someone. 

Now they say they are making leveling even faster in the other areas?  Now they say they are removing the group quests in those areas?  What the hell is blizzard thinking?

They are heading in the wrong direction.  Leveling needs to be made to be longer, harder.  It needs to allow people to make their own decisions on where to go again instead of hand holding the whole way.  It needs to have group quests.  It needs to have random elites that will stomp you into street pizza if you happen to make the mistake of getting to close to them.  It needs to draw it out so you spend time, real time, with each and every new ability.  It need to make you use all your tools.

Leveling needs to be part of the game again.  Right now all leveling is is a stop gap to max level.  It no longer feels like it is part of the game.  It feels like it is a waste of time that you have to deal with until you get to 85.  Quite honestly, with how leveling is now, they should just start everyone at 85, or at least 80 so they can experience the new content, because leveling is no longer fun.  It is a waste of time.

Blizzard needs to make leveling a part of the game again.  Not a means to an end only.

Making leveling longer, much much longer, would be a good thing for the game.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts

-  I am thinking about hunters only today it seems.

-  Maybe it is a sign I miss playing a little bit?

-  I think for boss fights the hunter minimum range should be removed.

-  I can accept that for PvP purposes if hunters had no minimum range it would mean playing a hunter gets much easier.

-  It would also mean beating a hunter would get much harder.

-  I think I can live with that.

-  Better than being a free kill.

-  I love seeing a hunter in PvP, even as another hunter it is a free kill.

-  All kidding aside, some boss fights are hell on hunters because of minimum range.

-  I learned that even more having four hunters in a raid the other day.

-  Thank god I was tanking and it was not five.

-  There were two other hunters online that where not in the raid but are raiders.

-  Where the hell did all these hunters come from?

-  You would figure with the way the world of hunters has been there would be less of them around and not more.

-  Perhaps people are finally starting to get the hang of focus.

-  Perhaps they are new hunters and focus is all they ever knew.

-  While I have started to really love focus there are still some fights where it sucks.

-  Kiting with focus is not exactly what I would call fun, or easy.

-  With mana I could kite from the north end of a continent to the south end and never lose a step.

-  Now I have to work at it.

-  The horror.

-  Going back to minimum range in PvP, I think I have the fix for hunters and that.

-  Leave range as is and give hunters back dragonhawk, the one that combined hawk and beast.

-  Come to think about it, bring back beast.

-  It would work better combining them if we had both of them first, don't you think?

-  Then let agility convert to dodge again like it used to.

-  There you go, just fixed hunters for PvP, some at least.

-  I know why they ditched beast and dragonhawk.

-  78% dodge at the end of wrath for me.

-  I could tank better than some tanks when I had my stamina gear on.

-  Yes, I had a full set of end game gear for raiding and another with all stamina gems and enchants.

-  And the two pieces of T5 of course.

-  It is almost always required for soloing old content, at least it was in wrath.

-  I would like to see an updated version of that gear but I doubt they would ever make something that powerful again for the soloing hunter.

-  With gear inflation the heal is just too huge as it is.

-  The drawback of it is that it has no stats on it because it is T5 and that is what makes it a difficult choice sometimes.

-  If the gear was updated with the same ability, it would be a given, not a choice.

-  Choice is what separates the good players with the bad ones.

-  Good players make good choices, bad players make bad choices.

-  Lets get back to minimum range.

-  There are a few fights where there is no minimum range issues with hunters so it can't be hard for them to code being they have already done it.

-  Now do that for all boss fights and we are set.

-  That's all for now, have a great day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Don't Mess With Time.

I could be totally off base here being I am not a lore expert by any measure but it sure seems as if the coming 5 man dungeons are going to be tinkering with the time line.  Tinkering is a bad thing.  Tinkering only leads to bad things.  Look at the Gnomes, they are tinkerers and look at all the bad stuff they are responsible for?

We have experienced moving through time before in the game. It will not be the first time and surely will not be the last time when the new 5 mans come out but there is one startling difference now, at least as I see it.

In the past when we went back in time we went back to make sure things happened as they originally happened in the natural flow of events.  We went back to make sure they did not change or even as innocently as to be allowed to witness the past and participate in it.  To succeed in each of our endeavors into the past we needed to make sure things happened as they should have happened.

With the new five mans we are bouncing throughout time and changing things.  As any sci/fi geek will gladly be able to tell you and ramble on about for hours on end, you do not screw with the time line.  One little change could cause the butterfly effect.

For those that are not sci/fi fans or those that might not know what the butterfly effect is I will explain it in the simplest way I can.  If you go back in time and change even one little thing you could cause a ripple effect that eventually changes everything you know about the world.

We are going back and changing the time line.  That is a big no no.

I have a feeling all this time line tinkering is going to lead to something quite horrible, or fantastic depending on how you look at it, with the world as we know it.

Perhaps by changing things so we can defeat deathwing we are changing things in a way that will be worse then anything deathwing could have ever done.

Anything we change in the past could change everything that happened after that point.

This could be a return to BC if something we did going back now changes what we did there.  It could mean a return to wrath if something we did going back now changes what we did there.

It could effectively be a complete reset of all the lore as we know it.  Like hitting the new game + button.  We would still be playing warcraft but we would not longer be playing it in the world we know now.

Could you imagine if something we did back then causes the humans and orcs to become allys?  What would the factions look like then?

What if something we did then gave someone else that was a push over in the original time line more powers then could ever be imagined?

What if the old gods got angered with our tinkering?

Even if all we do is go back and pick an apple off a tree we can never know what could happen.  I am not happy with playing with the time line even when the best sci/fi writers in the world do it.  There is no way I am ever going to feel comfortable with the group of amateurs that blizzard has writing for them handling it.

It can only turn out one of three ways as I see it.

1) Blizzard makes swiss cheese out of their own lore and just keeps mutilating it trying to fix it.
2) Blizzard uses this as a springboard for some really awesome retelling, in a much better way.
3) Blizzard just totally ignores it and forgets it ever happened.

I am hoping for #2, I am thinking #3 will happen and I am worried that #1 might.

Either way, time is a fragile thing and shouldn't be played with if you want to have a fluid storyline.

I love the idea of going back in time and experiencing some of the most fantastic moments in warcraft lore.  I wish we did it more often.  I do not like the idea of going back and changing those things, that is a story killer.

But then we go back to one of the biggest questions about situations like this in sci/fi.

What if us going back and changing it is the natural chain of events and the way it is supposed to be?

Either way, I made a prediction before cataclysm was released about the next expansion after it and us going back in time changes some things in a way that is starting to make me look like I hit the nail on the head.

I think I know what the next expansion will be and it will not be the mists of panderia.  Not even close.  Check out the new five mans and tell me if you can see something deeper in what is going on.  Might not be the next expansion, but what I predicted will happen it seems.

One hint. 

Our next big baddie is just hanging out right now in game doing nothing in an area that is probably totally empty and neither horde nor alliance can attack him.

I know one person that reads my blog and I read his knows who I am talking about.  I am pretty sure I posted a comment on his blog about it a year ago or so.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

LFR Questions

This is just a collection of questions that popped into mind about the upcoming looking for raid feature.  Most of the answers are unknown, it is more me just wondering about how things might be and being my grumpy self about other things.

Will LFR kill LFD off?

I have been thinking about this since it was introduced and even mentioned it in a comment on another blog recently.  The new looking for raid has a huge possibility of killing off the need for a looking for dungeon system.  They both will have the same failing, people, but when you look at everything else why would anyone do a dungeon any more if they can do a raid?

For arguments sake only based on what has been said, if the looking for raid was currently around the gear would most likely be 371 gear.  A little less then normal mode raids.  So lets look at it from that point of view.

If the looking for raid bosses drop valor points, which they most likely will, and 371 gear why would you do the dungeons?

In a dungeon you get 353 gear.
In the raid you get 371 gear.
Winner:  LFR

In a dungeon you get justice points for a boss kill.
In a raid you get valor points for a boss kill.
Winner: LFR

In a dungeon you are more likely to get a fresh group.
In a raid you are more likely to get in on a boss as someone is being replaced.
Winner:  LFR

Dungeons are all about trash which eats up 90% of your time in there.
Raids usually have some trash packs but they are only 10% of the time spent in there.
Winner: LFR

If a dungeon group fails after one boss you get no valor at all.
If a raid group fails after one boss you get valor for that one boss.
Winner: LFR

You can no longer buy set gear with valor making getting valor less appealing (but not useless).
In raid you will get the set gear dropped from killing bosses and valor at the same time.
Winner: LFR

Sorry, but I am hard pressed to see any reason to run dungeons outside of the achievements personally.  As it is now when I get a new character to 85 I immediately get it up for Zuls and never step foot into regulars or normal heroics.  I go to the top level random I can.  With the raids that will mean going to the raids as soon as I can. 

I am not alone, many people are like that.  The only people I know that do normals are looking for achievements, mounts, a break from the zul grind or trinkets, which you can not get in zuls.  Otherwise, if they are just looking to build up points for gear they do zuls only.  The only other type that do things that are not the best they can get into are people that are actually good players looking to get better and not wanting to expose the top level to their abilities until they feel comfortable with them.  IE: Me on my rogue.  I still only do normals, never stepped into a Zul with him.  Sure I can do 11K-14K on him now easily but I still think that is not good enough.  My mage, I could 20K burst as soon as I was normal ready, so I moved to Zuls ASAP.

It is quite possible that the looking for dungeon feature might become a virtual ghost land once the looking for raid comes out.  There are really no reasons to be doing them if you are just looking for gear and in truth, even if no one wants to admit it, the looking for dungeon system is only a necessary evil we do to get gear.  Once we no longer need the gear we do not do them.  So why grind for lower gear.  Just go to looking for raid and grind for the better gear.

I really believe that the looking for raid has a very good chance of making the wait of the LFD turn into a 2 hour event for DPS.  I know I refuse to tank randoms but I will gladly tank the LFRs.  Tanking raids is a lot easier then tanking dungeons and the rewards are better then any baggie.  Will we ever see a tank in LFD anymore?

How will loot be handled?

This is a huge issue in my opinion.  Lets say I am on my Hunter and something drops for me that I need and there is a resto shaman there that has an enhancement offspec.  In a normal raid the standard rule is main spec over off spec so I would get it and the shaman would not be allowed to even roll for it.  Will there be a main spec over and offspec priority?  I surely hope so or I see lots of loot drama coming from this and lets not even mention the number of tickets blizzard will start receiving from people because someone ninjaed their item.

Being I have seen how others act in an environment like this I know I have to change how I act to compensate.  If you can't beat them, join them.  This means that when we do the looking for raid as a guild and something any of us can use drops we will all roll need on it and then just trade it to the person that actually needed it.

Someone in my guild needed it so we need as a guild.  Selfish?  Hell yes.  It is not like we would normally do something like that, we are a much higher class of people and normally actions like that would get someone a g kick, but after being screwed over by people time and time again I have learned that sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish or you will end up hating the game even more.

Loot will be an issue in every single kill that is made in there.  I am 100% certain of that.  Blizzard will need to address the main spec off spec issue and as much as some might hate this, they need to disable the option to trade it in those raids. 

The option to trade it is what will turn loot rolls into hell there.  The priest healer needs that piece, there are 9 of us here, we will all role need and whoever wins it gives it to the priest.  While I will do that I do know that it is wrong.  It is horribly wrong. What about the other priest that is there alone?  He now has to roll against 10 people when he should only have to roll against 1.  It is not fair and it should not be allowed.  Blizzard should fix this problem before it even happens.  Disallowing trading items, only in the LFR system, will go a long way for that.

How about loot griefing?  I can see people rolling against others for gear just to keep them from getting it.  I've seen it in dungeons many times when three people where in a guild and all rolled need on an item none of them needed to keep it from someone else. 

There was even a huge post on the forums a few weeks back saying that someone in their group was looking for something off the last boss in ZA and then when it dropped the four guild members rolled need on it even if none of them could use it and laughed at him because he did not win it. 

When he asked them to trade it to him they insulted him and told him to learn to play and maybe he would deserve to win loot.  They told him that he was one of the worst players they ever saw and they only kept him around for laughs and hoping that they could do this to him.  People like that are scum and should be banned from the game but my personal opinions aside, it is still wrong and you know it will happen in the looking for raid a lot more often.

Bad player or kick options?

This is an issue currently with the LFD system but in a way I think it is fine.  People like me that never kick people unless it is completely necessary have instant kick options.  Hell, I can kick someone the second I zone in because I never kick. 

There are many people that complain they can not kick for 4 hours or something like that and for the most part I blame them for that.  They are probably assholes that kick anyone that is not perfect and that is why they have that issue.  I complain about the LFD all the time and I never kick people.  It is rare someone is so bad to the point they make the boss impossible and there are only a few bosses that bad people can really wipe you.

That is where the problem is with the looking for raid.  Bad players can not be carried through mechanics that can kill everyone.   If you need to stack up or you will wipe the group a bad player will wipe the group.  If you need to move from the group or it will wipe the group a bad player will wipe the group.  You get the idea.  Lets not even talk about interrupts.  You have to interrupt or it will wipe the group.  Random mentality says... but it will hurt my DPS.  I do not want to be with the people.

Either they need to loosen up the kick rules big time, which will create a problem all its own, or they need to implement a series of checks from the system that automatically kicks people, which again could create a problem once in a while.

Either way, when the average of 1 in 5 players in a LFD is a bad player we can expect to have an average of 5 bad players in the LFR.  You can not carry 5 bad players unless they are removing all instant death mechanics and really lowering the DPS requirements.   And I mean a lot.  You can not believe the number of people I hear say that 6K is fine for a zul.  I want whatever it is they are smoking.  I am sure they will say that 8K will be fine for a T13 raid.  8K was not even fine for ICC in wrath, lets get real.

Why no 10 man option?

It was said that the LFR will only be for 25 man groups and I can accept that but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  I want a 10 man version.  I can take guild groups into it to get an idea what to expect from the fight before they actually join the main raids.  Even if it is greatly watered down it is still going to be a fantastic learning tool.

As a raid leader I want control of the situation.  If it is a 25 man and there are people that are not in my guild I do not have complete control.  I am not going to be giving random people our vent info, no way in hell and I am not going to be there to fight with people over what they want to do and what I want to do.  I am the raid leader.  I will listen to ideas on how you think things can be done better but I will not argue it.  If you want to argue then you are welcome to go join another raid, you are not welcome in mine.

With a 10 man option I can have all guild easily, even a few lesser players we can carry, and I can have them all on vent and I can control everything.  That is what I want.  I do not want 25 man pandemonium.   Which raises another question.

Who decides who the raid leader is?

Every group needs to have a leader and even more so in more complex content.  How it is going to be decided who leads?  Too many people all saying "but in my guild we do this..." is going to make raiding hell.  No one cares what your guild does.  Honestly.  Random up with your guild if you want to do it the way your guild does it.

It would be advantageous to everyone there if there was an appointed leader and it was that leader that made the choices.  Which then brings the question of how exactly do you decide who the leader is?

I've known people that have downed a boss 20 times and can still not tell you how to do the fight.  I have walked into bosses the first time ever seeing it and know everything there is to know about the boss from the perspective of every role.  I know what the tanks need to do, I know what the healers need to do, I know what the DPS need to do.  I know where to move, what to move from, when to interrupt, who has cooldowns that can help in whatever situation.  I am a raid leader.  That is my job to know the fight from every perspective.

So you are saying if we walk into a LFR against a boss I have never done that some guy that has done it before will get the raid leader position while knowing nothing and I won't because I never did it before even if I know everything about it?  This becomes a very tricky situation in determining who will lead.  Previous raid experience means nothing.  Knowledge means everything and there is no way to judge knowledge in game.

Some people would say that I could click the option to lead the group.  So can anyone so what does that mean?  Clicking willing to lead does not mean you know what you are doing.  It is not like the system knows if you really can lead or you are full of shit.

How about alts, if they are counting experience?  Lets look at last tier for example.  My main, my hunter has only done BWD once.  My tank however has been in there dozens of times.  So if I join the LFR for that on my hunter I am now considered, by the system, as having no knowledge of the fights.  See, not even counting stuff outside of the game you can not count on the system to decide.  It would think I knew nothing of any of the fights on my hunter.  What about my warrior, my shaman, my priest, etc, that have all been there.  What are they, chopped liver?

Then lets get to the even more important stuff when it comes to the raid leader.  What if you do not like them?  Lets say I am the raid leader and I say this is how we are going to do things and you do not like doing it that way.  You are stuck in the position of doing it the way I said, arguing about it, or dropping group. 

Then their is the forth option that you know will happen, you don't like it, so you make everyone else pay for your disagreement with the raid leader by wiping the group on purpose.  I am 100% sure that we will run into lots of those people that think it is fun to make other people waste time.  Seriously, there is a large sector of people that take great joy in ruining everyone else fun, in trolling people, in insulting people, etc.  We will have to worry about them in a much larger ratio.  What happens if one of them is the raid leader?  God help us all.

What about communication?

This is a big thing with raids.  They require some sort of communication and personally every time I have to type out a fight I start to feel like I am a caveman carving out messages on the cave wall with stones.  Come on people, text communication online went out in the early 2000s for the masses, it has been gone since the late 90s for many of us old timers.  Text communication is limited and takes time.  Voice communication is instant (with exception of lag of course).

Does Blizzard expect people to give out personal vent, teamspeak, scype, etc information to everyone they meet in the LFR system?  Why not, they expect us to give out our personal information to people we want to add to our battle net.  Blizzard has absolute zero respect for personal privacy. 

I would not be surprised if they are the ones that sell our e-mail address to the spammers just to make some more money. I know dozens of people that use an email account for wow only and still get spam from gold sellers on it when the only thing it was ever used for was to open their battle net account and that is all.  How did the spammers get the address?  Blizzard either sold it to them or has security issues that allow people to get them.  Either way, just another case of Blizzard not caring about our personal space.

So they are going to tell use be like the cavemen and carve our messages with stone, or share our personal communication information.  Oh joy.

Are they going to make the raids so they do not need people to talk?  Not sure they can, they could not even make the dungeons that easy.  I can't believe the number of times I (and others) have had to explain the last fight in ZG.  Sometimes even six or seven times in one run until we got a DPS that was not retarded and capable of understanding it.

Typing is just not effective.  Lets say someone is standing in fire.  Perhaps they have partial density down and can't see it, okay, I can accept that for some people with bad connections this is the only way they can play and that is why they are in the LFR and not in a real raid group.  Can't fault people for that in a random environment.  Random environments are supposed to be for the people like that.

With voice I say, move shaman, you are standing in the fire.  With text I need to stop what I am doing to type it out and that means a DPS loss and a possibility that I will end up in bad because I am telling you to get out of the bad. 

If I am the tank it could mean a missed cooldown or interrupt.  If I am the healer it could mean I miss a crucial heal.  Any role, it could mean a good attempt is now a wipe because someone stood in the fire and someone needed to type to tell them to get out of it.  And then you have to hope that they are actually reading after you typed it and that is a whole different story.  Text does not cut it.  Not for anything that requires coordination.

If Blizzard is going to make the raids anything like real raids communication will be needed.  So we have two options to make this work.  Make all fights tank and spank or make us share our personal communication information.  Sorry, but I do not like either of those options thank you very much.

Role Checks?

* Note:  I know it will be just 25s but using 10 numbers because that is what I do mostly.

What about roles?  Is Blizzard going to fill the raids with the standard 2 tanks, 2 healer, 6 DPS set up?  I know my guild likes to do 2, 3, and 5 when we are starting out new content.  Sometimes we still keep that even on stuff we can farm.  How about solo tank fights?  I can solo tank a buttload of stuff this expansion so far.  I would say almost a quarter of the bosses can be solo tanked.  So why make sure to give us 2?  Are they going to just assume someone will have a viable DPS offset?  Same with heals, some fights can really benefit from having three healers while others two is more then enough.  Hell, I have a holy paladin in my guild that is more then willing (and capable) to one heal some of last tiers stuff.

My tanks tank, my healers heal.  I do not have viable offsets.  The only healer I have with a DPS offspec is my shaman and that is ungemmed and unenchanted because it is for questing only and it is more then capable for what it is used for. My Priest is disc/disc.  My Druid is tank/heal.  My Paladin the same but at least still has a DPS spec being I only grind mats with her at the moment.  Not sure about others but anything I have that can tank or heal tanks or heals.  Simple as that.  My warrior has two tank specs, one for tanking and one for handling adds.

Which brings us to another thing about roles.  My warrior was made for handling adds like the ones in a couple of fights in BWD, Mal is what made me create his offspec.  When we go in there I actually like tanking the adds because I have a spec made for them and I can do it with much more efficiency then most other tanks with a normal tanking spec.

Most tanks hate being on add duty.  Add duty is probably the hardest tanking job anyone can have.  Maybe that is why I like it, who knows.  If we are given two tanks from the system who is to say we will get anywhere while we wait for the two people to fight it out on who will be the add tank.  Is the system going to tell us who will be main tank and who will be off tank?  How is the system going to actually decide this?  Will the person it selects for it actually be capable of doing it?  I know many fights where if all you ever did was main tank you will be in for a shock when you have to add tank.

What about other things that are needed from time to time like someone to kite.  Okay, if I am there on my hunter I can do it just fine but what if I am not.  Will there be another class in there that can kite or are we up to the random gods and have to pray that a class that is capable of kiting is assigned to the group?  Then we have to pray that the person can actually kite.  Trust me, most hunters can not kite.  As a main hunter I die a little inside every time I see that.  I might not be a fantastic kiter but at least I can do it to some degree.

How about those fights that heavily favor a specific class or type of class?  Having 2 shaman on Chim makes the fight a laugh fest.  Having 2 holy paladins makes it hit or miss sometimes.  Having all melee on some fights would make the fight impossible.  Having all ranged on others might do the same.  Are they going to make sure that we always have a reasonable mix that is actually capable of doing all fights or will we sometimes be forced into kicking someone just because of their class?

Sorry, we have too many melee and this fight needs more ranged so someone has to go.  Sorry, but a holy paladin would be better on this fight so one of you need to go.  Healer does not want to heal a DK tank so the DK tank needs to go.  There is way to much role dependency this expansion to just allow any group to be in anything.  Sure, great players can compensate for their role being put on the short end of the stick but great players will surely not be the majority in the LFR system.

For the perfect example of how class makes such a huge difference this expansion look back to the first week of the game when we were all in 329 gear, or faking our way in.  The first pack in HoO.  Have two CC in the group and it was no problem.  Have none, you where never getting past it.  Simple as that.  Blizzard keeps spewing the nonsense about bring the player and not the class but in truth this expansion is all about bring the class and not the player.

Speaking of faking our way into heroics on the first day of the expansion brings up another looking for raid question.

What about gear requirements?

I am going to go out on a limb here and guess there will be gear level requirements for the raids.  I think that is a rather sturdy limb so don't worry, I will not be falling.  There is a built in problem with the item level however and it is a problem that has been around since the beginning of the expansion.  The item level counts things in your bag.  The item level counts things that are PvP.  The item level counts things that are not even for your class.  My mage needed one point to get into a Zul when he first made it there and I took a 359 BoE tanking back out of the guild bank and put it in my bag to get in and put it back when I was done.  Item level needs to be fixed before the looking for raid comes out.

First off, it should only count current items equip.  Second it should check if the item is meant for your class/spec, if not, count it as a 1.  Third it should count PvP gear as a 1 also.  Yes, I agree that in some cases PvP gear is better then its PvE counterpart but the fact does not change that it is PvP gear.  The name of the gear alone means it is it not for PvE.

There are a lot of things we can not control in the game but there are some things we can.  Lets at least try to control the gear people wear.

After fixing it so that it only counts the correct gear that you are currently wearing the next thing the system should do it check for gems and enchants.

For each gem slot empty it should minus 1 from your item level.  For each item that is not enchanted it should minus 1 from your item level.  For each profession bonus not used it should minus 1 from your item level.

Basically if someone has a 370 item level they could effectively be knocked down to a 345 item level.  This is a good thing, at least for the looking for raid. 

Think about it for a minute.  If you are not willing to gem and enchant your gear I am pretty sure you are also not willing to learn a new fight.  Please do not put us with people that are not willing to play the game as intended.  Even the lesser gems and enchants will count as having the slot filled, so no one can say they can not afford 250g gems.  Buy the 5g ones then.  At least show you have some intention of doing what needs to be done.

DBMs anyone?

This is one of those third part addons that usually separate the good players from the bad players.  People that care enough to move from the fire will not only look at their feet once in a while to see where they are standing but they will make sure to have something that announces that there is something tingling their feet in case they miss it.

Do not make people download 3rd party addons Blizzard.  At the very least, for the LFR implement an in game DBM.  Something that tells people to move.  Something that tells people to interrupt.  Something that tells people to do the things they have to do.

Do you want to know why you should do this Blizzard?  Because it teaches the bad players to become better.  As cruel as this might sound it is the truth.  If you tell people to interrupt, move, etc, then they will learn that they are supposed to be doing that.  If you do not tell them they will think, oh, it is someone elses job.

You have to assume that the people using the LFR system are not normal raiders which means they do not have normal raiders resources like DBMs and telling people they have to download a 3rd party application is a bad business practice.  Just include it in the game.

I am sure that people will learn a hell of a lot more from being told over and over to do something then they would if you just removed it.

If you remove the fire under their feet, or lower the damage so much that it does not matter, they will never learn to move from it.  If you tell them to move from it they will learn to move from it.  It is the old adage, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

Removing mechanics lets them down that boss.  Teaching them mechanics, even if heavy handed with lots of warnings, teaches them how to down that boss and so many others with similar mechanics.

Use the LFR as the tool is can be.  Let it be the perfect training tool.  When you upped the difficulty in the heroics that should have been done.  There should have been tons of things screaming at people to do things.  It would have taught people how to do things instead of making most of the better (for lack of a better word) players have to endure what would be hell with witless people in the randoms.

Blizzard says it likes to leave surprises for people and it doesn't just want to give things away.  That is fine for normal and heroic raids.  In the LFR version however, please keep the surprises out of it.  Do not surprise people with, ha ha, you did not get out of the group and now killed everyone, tell them, get out of the group or you will kill everyone.  This will teach people that do not know better that sometimes there are abilities that will require them to move from other people. 

If you do not tell people how exactly do you expect them to learn?  I sure hope you are not expecting me and everyone else that will look at the fight before doing it to teach people.  That is not our job.  This is a random, these are not our guild mates.  These people mean nothing to us and we will forget them the moment the run is over.  It is your job to teach them Blizzard, get to it and add something like DBMs or these raids might be more then the world of hell the first week of Cataclysm heroics where.

There are a lot more questions I have about the looking for raid system but these are just some that popped into my mind this morning.  Perhaps I am over thinking things, like I always do, but hey, it's my blog and I can ramble on about nonsense if I want to.

Personally I am looking forward to the LFR if it can be done correctly.  It will be the perfect thing for me to do on my alts to pass the time and will fix the biggest raiding problem I've seen this expansion.  No pug raids going on.  If my server doesn't want to run them, now I will have an option other then switching servers or finding another guild. 

I do hope that if all goes well with this version that they will add a real version as well instead of a third watered down difficultly version but I don't see that happening.  Either way, this has the potential to be a nice little plus to the game as long as they do it right.  I won't hold my breath for that however.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm A Harsh Judge

I am a harsh judge as a raid leader when it comes to damage dealers.  I firmly believe that the game is all about them.  Healers and tanks are just support characters to the main game of dealing damage.  Healers are just there to keep people alive.  Tanks are just there to keep the mobs attention.  The damage dealers are the ones that kill the big baddies and as such that is where I expect the most of people.
The faster the bosses go down, the easier the fight is.  Healing is easier when the boss goes down faster.  Tanking is easier when the boss goes down faster. 

When I heal I love healing for high DPS and hate healing for low DPS.  Same when I tank.  It is just the way the game is designed.  Everything is easier when you have good DPS.

The damage dealers have to do all they can do to avoid all damage and do as much damage as they can.  If a damage dealer gets caught in avoidable damage.  I get upset a hell of a lot more than I would if a tank or a healer did.  I demand more of my damage dealers.

Outside of that is the basic fact of numbers.  No matter what I see from them I want to see it better next time.  There is a theoretical cap on damage you can do and no one I know has ever reached it which means that there is always room to get better.

I look at it from my own perspective of my hunter.  There is a cap to the damage I can do and I try to get as close to that cap as possible.  I consider 80% to be a fair number for a non heroic raider.  If my personal damage cap is 28K and I can pull at least 22400 I am okay with that.  Okay only.  I can do better.  My damage cap means there is something for me to aim for.  Sure, that number means no movement and there are rarely any chances to get a no movement fight, but that is why I say 80% is acceptable.

It kills me when I see people doing 14K in raid that have a damage cap of 30K.  You are doing less then 50% of your potential.  You do not even have a right to be in the raid.

See what I mean?  I am being really harsh on the damage dealers.

As long as a tank does their job I never complain about them not putting out their theoretical TPS or even 80% of their theoretical TPS.  I honestly do not care what their TPS is.  Do they keep the mobs on them and never have aggro issues?  Then I don't care.

As long as a healer keeps people up I never complain about them not putting out their theoretical HPS or even 80% of their theoretical HPS.  I honestly do not care what their HPS is.  Do they keep the raid alive and give us a chance to down the boss?  Then I don't care.

If the boss dies I do not care what the tank and the healer did.  I still care what the damage dealers did.  I don't care if 14K was enough to kill the boss.  If you are capable of 30K there is no excuse for doing 14K.  24K is fine, it is 80% of the theoretical cap for your gear but 14K is unforgivable.

I mentioned this to one of my DPS yesterday and he said he will try to step it up some.  I explained to him that I completely understand when someone is new to a fight.  I understand that DPSing a fight you are new to your DPS will be lower.  I am totally fine with that.  DPS, just like tanks and healers, need to learn the fight and a DPS learning the fight can usually be seen easier because it shows up in the numbers everyone sees.

I've noticed since the inflation of stats on gear that there are fewer and fewer good damage dealers out there.  Maybe with the higher numbers it is more noticeable now but it is surely something I have been noticing.

Not many people are pushing 80% of their potential and to me that means they are not doing their job.  At least not doing it well.

I've been looking at the bigger picture and I start to wonder if it is just me that does this.  It is just me that has become an overly harsh judge when it comes to DPS?

I want more from them.  I do not care if 14K from everyone will down the boss.  I want 24K from everyone.

I am not asking for 100%, all I want is 80%.

I don't think there are more then 10 people on my server that I have seen consistently pull 80%.  Are all DPS on all servers that bad or am I just asking too much from people?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dwarven Drug Cartel Rounded Up.


IN A SHOCKING display of force the DTF (Dwarven Task Force) has broken up six wings of the wide spreed Dark Iron Drug Cartel in the morning hours today.  Chief Duggan Ironside of the task force told reporters at a predawn press conference that "with Brewfest starting today we did not want the cartel to be peddling their illegal products to the people assembled trying to have a good time."

Some of the Brewfest revelers that where waiting in line for the events to start were asked what they thought about the bust.  "It is a good thing they stopped them, the dark iron dwarfs are always trying to cause trouble during brewfest... hic!" said one of the celebrants that seemed to have already started their holiday binge drinking.

When asked if he thought if the bust would stop the dark irons from disrupting the events for the forth year in a row Chief Ironside was not too secure in the thought it would.  "The cartel goes deep and wide.  All we did today was show them that we are not going to just let them disrupt the events, we are going to be preemptive and try to lock up as many of them as we can."

"I'll take them all on myself... hic!" yelled an apparently well inebriated reveler while the handcuffed dark irons where being marched into Ironforge as a few others threw some empty mugs their way.

Festival security adviser Fanny Barrelbottom, taking note of the events of the morning perp walk has decided that they will make sure to have extra cases of mugs delivered.  "Drunk people will be drunk people and who and I to tell them not to throw their mugs at the dark irons should they show up.  I'll just make sure to have as many of them as I can on hand in case they are needed."  She continued to add that with all the people drinking and all the events going on it might be likely they will ask the community for help with certain things such as making ale runs for the staff.

"As usual we are a little bit undermanned.  There are usually 100s of people here at the foot of Ironforge to celebrate morning, noon and night and there are only maybe a dozen workers.  I am sure some of the good people of Azeroth will be glad to assist us and make sure we have a steady flow of ale."  She assured us, almost not even remembering we where talking about the dark iron drug bust.

She kept talking as we moved to the holding center, seemingly having partaken in a bit to much of her ale this early in the morning like it seems everyone else has.

Grepal Stonelock, gun in hand and bear at his side, was tasked with keeping an eye on the caged cartel members and was kind enough to let us know that none of them would be getting out while he was on watch.  "I've gots me a hungry bear and an itchy trigger finger, if any of them move they are dead... hic!"

Chief Duggan Ironside summed up his press conference assuring people that "Your children will be safe here, no drug pushers will be allowed.  Your kids can get drunk in peace and safety."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts

- My guild has gotten into the habit of doing TotFWs on Fridays in an effort to help gear some people up that are missing a few slots.

- 15 minutes in and out, 30 even if some people never heard of the fight.

- It is a nice way to get people their tier gear piece in less time and less effort then it takes to do a random dungeon.

- Only this Friday no tier piece dropped.

- We put in a ticket and the GM said that the tier piece is not a 100% drop.

- So we have been doing this every week to get people tier pieces and one always drops but suddenly it is not 100%.

- The GM said it is a 33% change drop.

- Holy crap then, my guild must have super luck when it comes to TotFWs.  This was the first time ever it did not drop.

- Not like I would ever win a roll anyway, I don't do well on rolls. 

- I am having a hell of a time getting shoulders for my hunter.

- Still wearing 353 shoulders.  I can't even get an offset drop.

- Got my T12 helm but can't get the damn shoulders for the life of me.

- Amazing part is I won the helm when there was another hunter in the party.

- Yes, I actually won a roll.

- It was such an unprecedented event that they held a parade in stormwind in honor of this super rare event.

- People threw confetti from their flying mounts.

- It was fun and exciting on many levels.

- Now if only I could get my shoulders.  Any shoulders.

- I really do hope that T13 brings some offset helms and shoulders for valor for people that are unlucky like me.

- Maybe if my hunter was a Gnome his luck would be better.

- Odd that Gnomes are the only race that can not be hunters.

- But it does make some sense in a way.

- With the Gnomes history of strapping bombs, lasers, and other electronic items of mayhem to creatures of all shapes and sizes they would probably blow their pets up sooner or later.

- It is not that Gnomes can't be hunters it is that the D.E.H.T.A. will not allow them to have pets.

- I've seen the posters hanging around stormwind.

- That little bunny scared for it's life running from a Gnome trying to strap something onto him, undoubtedly something that goes boom.

- The tag line is classic.  Animals should not explode, think of the creatures.

- With the fear in that bunnies eyes how can you not help to think of them.

- I want a t-shirt for my hunter that says, Save a Wolf, Tame a Gnome.

- Goblins are the same way but the difference is that the Horde don't give a crap about D.E.H.T.A. so they let the goblins have pets.

- See, I told you it makes sense why Gnomes can't have pets.

- If the Orcs ride worg shouldn't the Worgen mount be boars?

- I don't think Worgen hunters should be allowed to tame worgs.

- There is just something quite unsettling about that.

- Is he taming a pet... or a girlfriend?

- Not right on so many levels.

- I think when making an undead character you should be prompted to pick another race first and then your race is turned undead.

- That way we could have undeads of every race.

- Don't you think that seems more appropriate?

- Brewfest starts tomorrow which means there is finally a reason for me to log in on a non raid night.

- I am still trying to get the damn mounts on my main.

- Some of my other characters have them but not my main.

- Again, that hunter luck backfires on me.

- It will also be a pretty sweet way to get all those alts some nice new trinkets.

- For a main those trinkets seem quite underwhelming but for an alt that hit 85 and just sits there those trinkets seem quite spiffy.

- So I guess for Brewfest at least I am back to playing again.

- If I can get over the fact I have actually started to enjoy not playing WoW.

- Have a great day, see you next time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Gambit Design

Have you ever played Final Fantasy 12?  It was not really a great game when compared to all the other FF games but it did introduce something called Gambits to many people.  Most people that know how to code looked at gambits as coding because that is basically what it is.  It was coding exposed to the player to design player reactions.

When you code games you can do them linear like wow does for the most part or you can do them conditional like FF12 did.

For example you could set up a gambit for one of your characters to cast case cure on someone if they are below 20%, 30%, or 40% or whatever you decide.  You could set it up to automatically revive someone if they died so you did not need to do it.  You could set it up so it would always automatically rebuff you if the buff was gone and you where not in battle.  It basically played the game for you to an extent.

Allowing the player to do that in WoW would basically take all the game out of WoW.  Top gambit systems would be set up for the ideal rotations for all DPS and people would just turn on their gambits at the start off the fight and let them do the fight for them.  So no, that is not what I am talking about when I am bringing up the gambit design. 

I do not want automatic battle.  For FF12 it was fine when grinding.  Instead of controlling three characters you just set up their conditions on when to do certain things and let them have at it.  If something different needed to be done you would manually override whatever the gambit had told it to do and that was that.

What I think Blizzard could learn from the gambit system is how to make boss design a little more interesting.

As it is currently, boss design is linear.  From 100%-80% boss does abilities A, B and C.  From 79% to 50% it has an add phase.  From 49% to 25% it has ability A, B and C again.  From 24% to 0% it increases attack speed 100% and only ability C remains but it is twice as dangerous.

Something like that.  Every boss has a pattern.  Every boss is linear just like the new questing.  When you do a boss and learn the fight you have done it and learned it for life.  There will never be any changes.  Sure the random number generator might play a few games on the group and causes a wipe here and there but once you know a fight the fight becomes second nature.  It is not going to change ever.  That is what the fight is, nothing more, nothing less.

With adding the gambit design to boss design it would change the game completely.  Even after you downed a boss the next time you where on it the fight could be completely different depending on what gambits are triggered be it accidentally or intentional on the part of the people doing it.

The gambit design would allow the game to have different levels of difficulty without much coding needed.  Gambits such as...

If all players have defeated this boss ---- buff defense by 20%
If all players have defeated this boss 5 times ---- buff damage done 20%
If average item level of all party members is over xxx ---- increases life total by 20%

There could even be class gambits designed to add things to the fight based on the group make up or if individual classes are there.  Something where if there is a shadow priest one of the adds could be something that does huge damage and must be mind controlled but if there is no one there that could mind control it then it will not come out.

Could you imagine seeing something in trade like this?

/2 LF 1 more FL, must not have downed any bosses but know fights.

What a turn of events that would be.

How about throwing some twists in phase transitions, gambits could control when phases change and also allowing you to design the fight the way you want to design it.  Making it so you can try to change the conditions based on your group make up.  Have a fantastic AoE group?  Try to do the whole fight in the AoE phase.  Have amazing healers?  Push to the burn phase as fast as possible.

If xxx is interrupted 3 times in a row --- switch to phase 2 mechanics
If xxx is not interrupted 3 times in a row --- switch to phase 3 mechanics

Things like that could mean a group would now design how they want to fight the fight.  They have issues with phase 2 but do fine in phase 3 they would have to take the damage from the spell three times in a row to get into phase 3.  Risk for reward of getting the phase that might be considered easier.  The phases themselves could then become timed events.  Like once you press a phase it will only stays in that phase for 1 minute meaning you would need to push it again if you want to get back to the previous phase.

You could easily design the fight to best suit your own group make up by doing certain things to turn the tide so to speak.

How about doing things that would be seem to be based on the random number generator but are really gambits?

If you hit 5 criticals in a row ---- you get hit by a debuff that increases damage done by you 20% for 10 seconds and doing 5K damage per second for that 10 seconds.
If you heal 5 people in a row that does not top them off ---- an HoT healing for 30K over 10 seconds is placed on all the people that received a heal over the course of those five heals.

Things like that could bring for interesting design factors.  While the critical one is all up the the random number generator the healing one can easily become part of how you heal that fight.  Say you are the tank healer and are spamming away on the tank and have not topped him off in three heals but know your forth might you have to think.  Can I heal two others in real need so they can all get the HoT without losing the tank in two globals?

Sure as hell brings something else to stepping up the game and making each fight different when there are different conditional gambits to each fight.

There are so many things that could be done if fights where designed to be reactionary.

Gambits might be horrible if added for the player but if added for the mobs it would be amazing. 

If this, do that design.  That could be amazing.

And why just let bosses get the gambit design?  All mobs could easily have the gambit design.

If hunter ---- get close before attacking
If caster ---- interrupt

Things like that.  Do you notice how all mobs act the same no matter who is attacking it?  Shouldn't a mob fight a hunter differently from a warrior?  Shouldn't a mob have some sort of intelligence?  Gambit design, the if this do that concept, would give them impression of intelligence and make even random mobs a hell of a lot more interesting.

The closest thing to the gambit system in WoW was Uldar.

If heart is destroyed ---- enable hard mode

That shows that the ability to do gambits is already in game.  Why abandon the gambit design?  The gambit design is much better then the current design not to mention it gives more ability to customize your boss fights around your group make up.

The gambit design is good design.  It is reactive.  It is not linear and predetermined.  No more at 80% and 20% there are phase transitions.  I want, if this then that phase transitions.  I want more input into my fights.

I can see it taking a little longer to decide how you want to do the fight.  I can see guides telling you different ways to do the fight.  I can see people trying to go against the grain and trying the fights in ways that are super hard or super easy.  I can see lots of different achievements for triggering different things.  I can see some seriously sick hard modes for the real hard cores being added with extreme triggering needed.

I can see one raid (both 10 and 25) having each fight have 100s of different possible designs by the people doing the fight.  It would make the fights more interesting and give each and every raid more options on how to do things and more achievements to aim for.

Even some sick, totally random, encounter parameters could be designed.

If the last number of 10 hits in a row is a 6 ---- Spawn a rare trash mob before next boss.

The rare spawn would be a boss in its own and drop a mount or a pet for everyone in the raid and also give an achievement.

Sure, that is all completely random number generator but could you see people doing that fight for years on end just to try and get that mob to spawn?  I can see pugs every week even after the content is 10 years old just hoping that the last number of 10 consecutive hits will be a 6.

The gambit design would add a lot to the game if they gave all mobs a set way to react to different things.  Sure it would get predictable after a period but it would still give the game a more balanced feeling.  Leveling my hunter and my warrior would be two totally different leveling experiences even if I am doing the same quests because the mobs would fight my hunter and my warrior differently.

Even more importantly it would be capable of adding some weird gambit conditions and of course they should never tell anyone anything about them.  Let the people find them out for themselves for the excitement factor.

Could you imagine if some mob turned into a vendor that offers a rare pet but only under some insane gambit conditions that no one would ever purposely go into the fight with like if you enter the fight with all red gear, while having resurrection sickness, at least 5 different class buffs on and do not do any damage for 2 minutes then the mob will turn into a vendor when you finally do beat them.

Who the hell would find that one out on their own?  Stuff like that would sit in the game for ages and might never be found.  All we would know is that some hostile NPC sells it.  We would then have to figure out how the hell to activate the gambit that turns it into a vendor.  I am sure some people would spend hours, 100s of hours even, trying to figure it out.

The gambit design offers so many awesome possibilities.  Not just boss design.

Just as long as they do not offer it for the players themselves, gambit design is the perfect way to go when it comes to game design.  This linear stuff gets real boring real fast and random number generator can really be a bitch.  I would love to be able to activate things with gambits.  I think it would be an awesome upgrade for the game as a whole.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Looking For Raids Easier?

When I first heard the idea of the looking for raid feature I could have easily made a post that explained 25 reasons why it would fail, horribly.  While I still have some doubts I do like the new information we see on it.  Well, like might not be the correct word.  I am intrigued about how it will be implemented. 

Intrigued seems to be a much better word for it.  Making the raids training versions of what the real raid would be is a good concept but I am not completely sure it will help enough.

What I am looking forward to most is that if used correctly it can be a fantastic tool for teaching people and allowing them to learn in less stressful situations.

The long and short of it is if they give you the fight as a whole but doing less damage and going down quicker it becomes a matter of learning it and then just doing it at full force.  Awesome.  It makes downing a boss easier. 

Lets say it takes you 15 attempts to get the mechanics down before you do a first kill, with the fight being easier it might take 4 or 5 attempts.  So pop in the looking for raid as a guild group, knock out the first kill in 4 or 5 attempts, switch over the a real raid and one shot it.  You can use the looking for raid to limit your time spent learning a fight.  Well, in theory anyway.

This is all assuming a few factors we do not know of yet.

1) That the LFR does not lock you out of the real raid.
2) That the fights will be exactly the same as the real fight.
3) That you are allowed to queue as a full group.
4) That the current raids are included in the LFR format.

As an achievement whore I am going to be doing the LFR based on the concept alone that there will be different achievements for doing all the raids in a LFR group.  I like that the achievements will be different.  With a different difficultly level there should be a way to determine the difficultly level of the bosses downed.

While this addresses some of the points I was worried about with the looking for raid feature it does not address most of them.  Sure, the most important thing is addressed.  Difficultly.  It is hard enough to get 10 or 25 random people (including some horrible players) working together if the have vent, it would be impossible to do it without some sort of voice communication.  Pugging as a concept is an effort in failure to begin with.  You always know there will be a lot more to overcome then there would be in a hand picked raid.

I still worry about people signing up in the wrong roles.  I still worry about the loot drama.  I still worry about people that won't even know the bare minimum like get out of the fire.  I still worry about constant AFKers.  I still worry about kick timers.  I still worry about people thinking it is okay to wear the wrong style of gear.  I am still worried about ungemmed, unenchanted, unreforged people.  I am still worried about PvP gear to some extent.  There is still a lot to worry about but with the raid difficultly tuned down it makes everything else seem slightly less of a worry.

See, there is a curve here.  It is all based on difficulty.  If something has any degree of difficulty everything else around it becomes a problem.

Toward the end of wrath if a DPS was slacking, who cared?  As a healer I could do 7K DPS toward the end of wrath.  On my DPS I will pulling 10K in dungeons at worst.  As a tank, as long as I had a healer I could care less if the DPS sucked or not, it would get done either way.

When things are so easy you tend to care less about the little things like people doing what they are supposed to do.  This will all depend on the actual level of difficultly that they make the LFR raids.  If they are so super easy it won't make a difference if a plate DPS came as a tank.  Healers will still be able to keep them up.  It won't make a difference if there is a 5K DPS faking their way through things.

That is where I think my biggest concern still lies.  In the difficulty level.

The looking for raid has a chance to become an amazing learning tool for new raiders if it is not made too easy.  If it is made too easy it loses any use at all.

Lets take a fight like ODS where if someone stood in the wrong place they could wipe the group.  It was instant wipe on a badly placed flamethrower when BWD first came out.  Now it can still really hurt a group but you can recover from it with some good healing.  Next step down would be a 75% hit.  The thing where if it happens twice you are dead.

That would be perfect for the LFR.  Teach people by showing them, this hurts damn it.  Make it scare the crap out of them but do not make it kill them.  So when they do the real thing and they know the real thing will hurt more they will notice that they almost died from something so they know they will in the real version.

This would work as a great learning tool.  However I do not have a great deal of faith in blizzard to design things that way.  I assure you that something like the flame thrower mentioned will be reduced to 10K for each person it hits.  This basically means it will do something near unnoticeable and when people enter the real raid after doing the LFR version of it they will not know that the flamethrower is a mechanic to worry about.

Sure, doing that, and all the other abilities, at 10K per would basically turn that fight into a tank and spank with just target switching.  You would not even worry about the damage if everything only hits for 10K.  You will not learn a damn thing there except to switch targets.

I hope and pray that is not what they mean when they say they are going to make things easier.  Making them easier is a good thing to teach people.  Making them too easy defeats the purpose.

It is hard to tell people to move when they have the flamethrower on them when it doesn't hurt.  No matter how much you tell them they will never worry about it to much.  They will think, let me finish this cast first, because they know that the worst case is a few people get hurt a tiny bit where in reality it should be, oh shit I better move or we are all going to die.

As a raid leader I am a stickler for following mechanics.  Even when we do throwback raids where things die so quickly I always tell people, DO THE MECHANICS.  I do not care if the boss will be down in 2 minutes.  It is bad game practice to not do mechanics on things you over gear.  It creates lazy players and players that can't learn.

If you make an effort to always follow mechanics even if you do not need to when the time comes for you to have to do it you will be used to doing it and you will do it better because you are well practiced at doing it.  Hence the reason even on old raids I always stress that everyone needs to do the mechanics no matter what.

As it is now, all fights are easy.  They are just a set of mechanics you need to get down.  That is, that is all there is to raiding.  Get the mechanics down and everything thing else will fall into place.  The tanks will learn when to use their cooldowns, the healers will learn when AoE healing will be needed and when to concentrate on the tanks.  DPS will learn where they need to stand and when they need to move allowing them to work on their maximum damage rotation better.  Everything is easy... once you know the mechanics.

What I would like to see is the LFR dungeons be all about that.  Teach the mechanics.  Doing less damage is not going to cut it.  Doing less damage does not teach people to do mechanics.  It teaches them to ignore mechanics.  If the flamethrower is not going to kill everyone in its path there is no reason for you to run away when it is on you.

This is where it is going to be really difficult to fine tune it for blizzard.  I love the concept of easier raids with lesser gear for the LFR versions.  The lesser gear helps people gear up for the real thing and the easier raids let them experience content they might not have had the chance to experience otherwise.  Win/win if you ask me.  Oh, and achievements for me too, can't forget those can we.

How I think it should be done is this.

Leave all mechanics as killer.  Lower life totals huge amount.  28M life?  make it 9M life.  Push over you say.  Yes and no.  If all mechanics are left as is people will still need to learn them but the lower boss life will mean they need to do the mechanics dance a lot less.

Once they learn to do the mechanics dance they can move on to the real thing and do the real thing 3 times more often than they have already learned to do it for.

Perhaps lower the mechanic damage a tiny bit, for healer sake, 20% there.  Nothing more.  Anything more and you can trivialize the mechanic.

Now that is how I would do it.  I would make it a true training raid.

I do not envy Blizzards task here.  They need to try to making LFR content challenging while not making it punishing and they need to make it easy without making it trivial.

I do think they are making a step in the right direction however by saying the achievements will be different, the gear will be lesser and the content will be easier.  All things that are needed.

All the other problems with LFR?  There are still dozens of them for sure, but they are all secondary.  Content is king and they need to get that figured out first.

They have made a step in the right direction.  I wish them good luck but I still think the looking for raid will be an epic failure.  I hope they can prove me wrong.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Random Thoughts

- I am still on my self imposed break from WoW, with the exception of raiding.

- I did however pop on yesterday and some guild members needed a tank for a random so I offered to help.

- I did my first heroics in 3 weeks.

- On my healer.  The healer had to leave so we got another tank and I switched.

- One good thing was I still need one valor piece on my healer so at least the points will go to use.

- When I was leveling my warrior I got this one green weapon that looked awesome.  It was just a giant stick.

- It dragged on the ground and was bigger then my dwarf.

- I still have it in my bank, I just could not throw it away, it looked awesome.

- I started a new goblin on bloodhoof for shits and giggles.

- I really love the goblin starting area.

- I only play until I am out of there but I enjoy the quests there, they are so silly.

- Goblins have the best mounts there too, I wish we had them after we left.

- I want the car with the horn and boombox.

- I want the tiny panther we ride back and forth some times, he is so cute and totally goblin (and gnome) sized.

- I want an underwater mount that is a shark with freakin' laser beams on his head.

- The goblin starting area is about as silly as silly gets in this game and it is enjoyable.

- Beginning areas are the only place there should ever be linear questing.

- One of the heroic runs I did had two guild mates on alts they wanted to gear up.

- I learned something.  I do not even want to carry guild mates.

- One maybe, not two people doing 8K in a Zul.

- One of the people even needed to buy some PvP gear to be able to get in.

- I might complain about pugs but I am more critical of my guild mates.  Way more critical.

- After two bosses of ZA I said lets switch to regular heroics and get you the gear you need to belong in here, your DPS sucks and we are not going to finish this with two sub par DPS.

- Not sure if they where offended or not.

- It is better they hear it from me and I make an effort to help them get better then they hear it from a pug in the form of insults and a kick.

- I know it is an alt but there is never an excuse for doing under 10K DPS in a Zul.

- Unless you are the healer.

- Or the tank.  I normally float around 7K-8K on my tank. 

- If I did randoms and got the buff I could probably push 10K.

- If I had any hit rating on my tank I could probably push 10K.

- If I can do it, as a tank, anyone can.

- The alt hunter said that if he had more gear he would be doing better.

- As a main hunter I shut that down instantly.  I know better first hand.

- At 329 a hunter should be doing 10K in ungemmed, unenchanted, unreforged gear.

- I explained that gear means nothing.  Gear only changes your maximum potential. 

- A good player will do good, within respect to their gear level, no matter what.

- If everyone was given best in slot gear as soon as every patch came out I wouldn't care.

- You would still see ret paladins doing 5K, hutners doing 6K and boomkins doing 2K in Zuls even if they where in all 391s.

- Give all the gear away for all I care.  Bad players will still be bad players.  Gear won't fix it and giving it away might be the best way to prove that to the idiots that think gear is all that matters.

- Of course I am being sarcastic about just giving away gear but sometimes I wonder how great of a world it would be if people did not have excuses.

- I don't have time to raid often.  I never win roles.  I can't run dungeons all week long.  I don't have to gold for BoEs.  I don't have the professions for craftables.

- Well, now you have BiS gear, what is your excuse now?

- There is something so sadistically mean about saying that I would love it.

- Who am I kidding, most of the time I just let the other people rage.  I am never rude in a dungeon and rarely complain unless there is something seriously wrong.

- Why don't they have all gear slots available for valor anyway?

- Because they don't want everyone looking the same.

- Who the hell cares?

- With the addition of the Barbie Fashion Playhouse next expansion everyone will look exactly like they want to anyway.

- Being I won't be able to tank in a tuxedo and a top hat I couldn't care less.

- They say it would be silly to allow people to wear stuff like that.

- We are playing a game where we go after big bad guys and kill them and they reappear next week for us to kill them again over and over and over.

- That is not silly but tanking in a tuxedo is?

- Its a game people, chill the hell out with the idea of trying to not make things silly.

- We are adults fighting dragons for goodness sake.  It is silly to start out with.

- I'll show them silly.

- My dwarf will be using the big stick I have been saving damn near forever when I tank.

- Now that will be silly.

- And that will be awesome.

- Silly can be awesome.

- See gnomes on sparkle ponies for the perfect example.

- See the goblin starting area.

- How could the same company make the ultimate silly area like the goblin starting area and then in the next breath say they don't want to make things silly.

- Geez, pick a side and stay on it blizzard.

- I would love seeing more zones like the goblin starting area.
- Well, that is all for today.
- Have a great day all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Testing Out LotRO By Suggestion

Based on some urging from Spinks over at Spinksville I figured I would give Lord of the Rings Online a try.

I downloaded it last night and played a little bit.  Not enough to make any real determinations about it but enough to get a full first impression feeling.

First things first.  I could not get "my name" which immediately annoyed me.  I know this is the internet with millions of people and the odds that someone else will use the same name are there but if I can not get my name it makes me an even grumpier elf.  If I do end up liking the game I will pick a new server and only join a server where I can get my name.  If I am going to play, I might as well be me right?

Second things second.  I can be a true hunter here.  I love it.  No pet, just me and my trusty bow.  Not like I do not like my pet and all, I love all my pets in WoW.  I made an actual connection to them as strange as that sounds.  If you have never played a pet class you probably do not understand but if you have I bet you know exactly what I mean.  My thing is that the way I envision my character when I first made it in WoW was as an archer and archers do not have pets.  So I am looking forward to having an archer now.

Some people say first impressions mean the most and while this is true to someone completely new to the genre I am not new to it, so while my first impression is not overwhelming positive I will continue to check the game out.  I understand that the beginning of all games of this sort are meant to be an introductory phase.

The introductory phase, which is all I've been through so far, is nothing special.  I do like how it gives you a lot of pop ups and explanation which would help a new player but having played other games of the ilk like WoW and Rift there was nothing here that I did not know about already so it was redundant to me.

I did not hold it against the game.  I always look at things from fresh eyes, or at least try to, and look at the bigger picture.

I do not like the artwork at all.  It looks like they are going for the "real" look and did not quite make it.  I think they would be better off going the "cartoonish" route of WoW.  People might complain about the models in WoW but in all honesty they are the best I've seen in any of these types of games.  The reason for that is movement.  As soon as you start to move things just feel clunky and with WoWs design it doesn't.  Most "real" looking games have horrible movement and this one is no exception.

I mentioned the same thing when I started rift about the characters.  They look nice and all but movement just feels wrong.   I would trade artwork for flow any day.  Give me WoWs artwork and good flow any day over games like this.

I also found the constant "selling" of their product to be annoying but it is understandable.  They need to make money and you make money by selling your product.  If you do not sell your product then you do not make money and have no product to offer at all.

Perhaps it is just me but I came in knowing I can buy things if I want.  I do not need to be constantly reminded of it when I hover over my locked bags or on each loading screen, or the reminders here and there while hovering over things.  If I like the game I would gladly pay for a membership and the expansions.  You do not need to keep reminding me that because I am playing for free I am the human version of pond scum.  Okay, it is not that bad but it feels a little like that.  I am tempted to buy all the crap just to stop seeing that I am being locked out of anything.

Speaking of hovering over things, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pop ups and hover overs.  Some of the things I hover over seem so small that I need to break out a magnafying glass to read it while others are so huge it is like one of those phones with the huge buttons for old people so they can see the numbers.  Hey, can we pick a font and stick with it people.

I have not played much, only an hour and a half so far, and I am not going to give up on it without at least getting to level 20 being I feel that is a good test of a game, but I am not so much interested in it yet.

Maybe when I get some professions or I get to the point where I can get into the open world, so to speak, I might like it more.

So far, if I where left to make an early assessment of the game it would be as simple as, you get what you pay for.

It is a decent game so far, but you can tell it is free game.  A game like this is fantastic for games like WoW.  This, as a free game, give people a taste of the concept of what games like this are like.  Once they get that taste and want to buy a game they can move on to something like WoW which is much more refined.

So far I like it enough to give it more of a test but if the movement is going to be like it is at the start for the entire game I can not see me playing it all that much.  Movement is the only reason I don't really play rift any more and I paid for that, I am not going to continue playing something I didn't pay for when I dropped something I do pay for because of the same issue.

If the only things I can complain about so far as movement and font size, the game is off to a better start then most of other ones I have tested.

Perhaps when I reach the area of paid expansions those are coded better and the movement is not so herky jerky like it is now at the free game start.  If the movement is still going to be like that even in the paid areas I see no reason to ever give the game any money.  I paid for one game with horrible movement and I don't feel like paying for another one.

In the end, if it were to come down to it and it where a choice between this and rift I would go back to rift.  Like I said, I paid for that and this and rift so far seem like the exact same game so if I am going to play why not play one I paid for and not pay for a second one of the same thing.

I look forward to what will come as I play more.  It has great potential.  So much so I can really see me getting into it, if only I can get past the movement factor.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Good Sutff To Do

I've been complaining about the lack of things for me to do in game but really all that is of my own design.  There is still a great deal to do in the game.  My problem is just a personal one.  I've done them all on my main and I do not feel like doing them on another character.

Perhaps if I took it upon myself to start going for achievements on other characters I would have more than enough to do to keep me busy for a long time.  It all depends on the type of player you are and what you look for from the game.

I like to grind things with a foreseeable end.  Reputation grinds where always my favorite.  Switching from Aldor to Scryer by collecting something like 1300 eyes was hell but for me it was fun.  It was a task with an end in sight.  It took a time investment and dedication to get it done.  It was not hard but it was a task I looked forward to completing.

Like I said, I have done all of these things on my main but I figured I might make a small list of some of the things that you could do to pass the time if you happen to be bored like me.  They are all still things in game and depending on how you like to play they are all things that could still be fun to do for you.

So for all those people that are bored like I am but have not done some of these things, here goes.

Reputations: (BC had rep grinds done perfect.  The best grinds in the game came from BC)

The Mag'har (Horde) or Kurenai (Alliance)

Do all related quests first from the faction you are working for and then you can move on to the grinding part.

Kill ogres in Nagrand all the way up to exalted.  At max level it is only a matter of time, you will one shot everything.  There are more then enough ogre camps all around nagrand that you can go from one to another and never stop moving.  They will drop Obsidian Warbeads as well, you will collect lots of them and they can be turned in for reputation as well but do not do that.  I repeat.  Do not turn in any warbeads for Mag'har or Kurenai reputation, I will explain why later.

Added Bonus:  Once you reach exalted you can buy 8 Talbuk mounts when you get exalted if you are a mount collector and you can buy the tabard if you are a tabard collector.  This (either) is also needed for the Diplomat achievement.

The Consortium (Both)

Turn in all your beads that you collected to them but first do the repeatable quest to turn in crystal fragments until you reach friendly.  You do this to save time.  That repeatable quest can no longer be done once you are friendly but the beads can be turned in all the way to exalted.

You can grind Zaxxis mobs for the Zaxxis Insignas they drop and turn them in for reputation.  They are in a nice circle in Netherstorm and it would make for a quick grind.  I would suggest also running Heroic Mana Tombs every day as well.  It is good reputation and there is good money to be made from doing them as well.

Added Bonus:  A tabard at exalted if you are into collecting those.

Thrallmar (Horde) or Honor Hold (Alliance)

There are a lot of quests for both of these factions at their respective hub but the bulk of your reputation will come from running shattered halls on normal all the way up to exalted.  You can also do all three of the dungeons there on heroic once per day.  It offers a little more reputation and is still easy but heroics are a one a day thing.  Shattered halls is the only dungeon that will give you rep on normal mode past honored.

Added Bonus: A tabard at exalted if you are into collecting those and a discount from the mount vendor for flying mounts there.  Not like you would need it at that point.

Sporeggar (Both)

You can do Cenarion Expedition in this area as well but I am saving them for later for a reason, leave them be for now.  Start by grinding the Bog Lords in the Dead Mire in Zangermarsh until friendly.  Added bonus if you are a herbalist because you can herb them.

Knock out all available quests now and then move on to repeatables.
After you hit friendly you can get a repeatable quest to kill Naga nearby.  That is the way to go.  Grind Naga and make sure to pick up any Glowcaps you run across during your entire time in the area.  These will be needed as currency later and trust me, you will want to buy some things from here.

Added Bonus: A Tiny Sporebat pet if you are into pet collecting when you reach exalted for 30 glowcaps.  A tabard at exalted for 10 glowcaps.  Clam Bar recipe if you are trying to get all the cooking recipes for 1 glowcap. (need to confirm this is still in game, they removed the other one that was there that made pet food).  This reputation is also needed for the Diplomat achievement.

Cenarion Expedition (Both)

Now you can start working on them.  Doing the other factions in Zangermarsh you probably have a nice large collection of Unidentified Plant Parts.  If you are an herbalist you have even more.  Now is when you start turning them in from the repeatable quest that asks for them.  You will get a baggie from turning them in.  Open them up and sell everything, it is all junk, except for the Uncatalogued Species.  Do not turn in any Uncatalogued Species until you are honored, then turn in all the ones you have.  The reason for this is the repeatable quest to turn in the plant parts only goes until honored.  If you turn these in you get to honored sooner and can turn in less plant parts meaning getting less of these to turn in.  Waiting means your time spent to reputation ratio goes up.

After you are done with this repeatable and the follow up do all the quests in the area and get as high as you can.

Now you can run the Steamvault on normal until exalted.  There will be a repeatable quest there and you will be able to turn in coilfang armaments as well after you do the quest the first time.  Spamming the normal version will also help you make some serious gold in the form on disenchanted items, cloth, and just selling items you get from there.  It is quite possible to make 5K or more while running steamvaults and you will need it for the added bonus this faction offers.

Added Bonus: You can buy the Cenarion War Hippogryph when you reach exalted.  It is a beautiful mount and well worth the gold not to mention you get an achievement for buying it too. This is also needed for the Guardian of Cenarius achievement which comes with a title.

Lower City (Both)

There is one repeatable quest that you can do but grinding it is more time consuming then dungeon running.  Up until exalted you can do all three of the related dungeons on normal for lower city rep but once you reach revered you can only run shadow labyrinths for reputation on normal.  All three on heroic will always offer reputation but remember you can only do them once per day each.

There is a slow grind version you can do as well and it will be mentioned after the Shattered Sun Offensive section.

Added Bonus: A tabard at exalted for the collectors.

Shattered Sun Offensive (Both)

There is a slow grind version you can do that will be mentioned next in conjunction with the Lower City slow grind.

There are so many daily quests for this faction that I am not going to list them all.  You can find them mostly in Shattrath City and the Isle of Quel'Danas.  Maybe if I ever write up more detailed versions of these I will list the suggested quests to do on a time investment to return ration based on reputation.  You can easily get Shattered Sun Offensive to exalted just by doing the dailies.  There are enough of them that it would not take long at all.

Added Bonus: A tabard at exalted for those that collect them and a title if you are willing to spend 1000 gold once you get to exalted.

Lower City & Shattered Sun Offensive Slow Grind (Both)

I love anything where you can kill two birds with one stone so to speak.  Both reputation grinds can also be turn into mount grinds at the same time.

Lower City has Sethekk Halls that you can run on heroic for reputation and also the chance at a mount drop, the reins of the raven lord.

Shattered Sun Offensive has Magisters' Terrace that you can run on heroic for reputation and also have the chance at various drops.  A mount, a pet and a trinket that can turn you into a blood elf, unless you are a blood elf then it will turn you into... yourself.

The slow grind is to not worry about grinding rep for these two factions and instead only running the dungeons listed trying to get the mounts.  Killing two birds with one stone.  You get reputation and you get a chance at mounts.  If you get lucky enough to get the mounts before you finish the reputation you can go back and do the reputation as normal.  If you don't, well at least you put your rep grind to good use trying to get them.

Netherwing (Both)

You start hated with them but there is a blood elf that will offer you a quest to introduce you to them and eventually lead to opening up daily quests.  There are many daily quests to be done and the grind is not as long as some people make it out to be.  Even more so at 85 now where nothing you run into will ever provide a challenge.

To make the grind a little faster you can try and grind for Netherwing eggs which are used in a repeatable turn in.  I found the mines to be a great place to look for them and killing all the creatures down there also gives you a chance to have them drop.

You can continue to clear the mine, pick up any that drop, kill everything and then pop outside for a fly around to look for some.  Once you finish the fly around you can go back in the mine and do the same all over again.  If you have lady luck on your side with spawns and drops you can get exalted in one day.  Yes, seriously.

If you are a miner or an herbalist the eggs can also drop from mining and herbing the quest mines and herbs there.  So gather away and hope the random number generator loves you.

Added Bonus: Six awesome drakes when you reach exalted.  Cheap, even by BC standards really.

Ogri'la (Both)

This one will take some time with so few quests and only three dailies.  This is a true effort in commitment.  It actually fells like an achievement when you finish it unlike most.

Added Bonus: A tabard at exalted for those that collect them.

The Violet Eye (Both)

There are some quests that lead up into getting into Karazhan that will get you some reputation with them but not a great deal.

Personally I would suggest the slow grind approach here as well.  Go in and kill all trash up to Attumen the Huntsman and then kill him and pray for a mount then wait until next week and do it again.  You will rep up really slowly, but you will be putting the time to good use and killing two birds with one stone by getting some rep and trying for a mount at the same time.

If you wanted to press it you could easily solo the instance to make getting reputation faster.  One optional boss would be avoided and the chess event will be the only one that would give you any trouble but the rest of the raid is easily soloable.

Added Bonus: Hmm.  You got them to exalted, that's about it.

Ashtongue Deathsworn (Both)

They only become introduced after you choose Aldor or Scryer but I mention them before that because they are a simple reputation to grind.  Do Black Temple.  Sadly, it can not be sloloed.  At least not by a Hunter, trust me, I've tried.  Get some pugs going and grind it up.  It won't take many runs to get to exalted.

Added Bonus: Same as Violet Eye.  Nothing really.

The Scale of the Sands (Both)

The battle for Mt Hyjal raid gives this reputation.  Get some pugs or attempt it yourself.  Most classes can get pretty far alone.  I don't think any can solo it.  Like Ashtongue's Black Temple, it will not take many runs at all.

Added Bonus: Same as the previous two raids, nothing noteworthy for an 85.

Keepers of Time (Both)

There is only one way to get this reputation and that is to grind dungeons.  Two give reputation for this Old Hillsbrad Foothills and Black Morass.  Run them on heroic once each and then normal as much as you like.  Neither is a quick run being they both are timed events but both are easy enough.

Added Bonus: A tabard at exalted for those that might want one.

The Sha'tar, The Aldor & The Scryers (Both)

I put these three together because they are tied together.  The best way to go about getting the reputations up is by choosing either the Aldor or the Scryers first.  After you have chosen you will use the turn ins for the appropriate faction and that will increase your Sha'tar reputation.

Aldor uses Mark of Kil'Jaeden, Mark of Sargeras and Fel Armaments as turn ins.

Scryer uses Firewing Signet, Sunfury Signet and Arcane tome as turn ins.

Until the overflow of reputation from the faction of your choice makes The Sha'tar reach honored work on them alone.

To raise Aldor or Scryer you will need roughly 240 of the first turn in, 1320 of the second and 94 of the third.

If you where running a lot of dungeons solo you should have a fair amount of the items you need, at least enough to turn in until you get The Sha'tar to honored.

Once you have the Sha'tar honored it is now time to switch to working on them.  You can run the three associated instances on heroic all the way until exalted but only The Mechanar will allow you to run it on normal until exalted.  I suggest doing it on normal for a few reasons.  One, you make a ton of gold running it.  Two, it might take longer but that also means more drops for turn ins for aldor and scryer.  Three, it is even easier.

Once you have Sha'tar exalted you can turn in all your turn ins and maybe farm for more if need be to finish off the other faction you took, Aldor or Scryer.

Added Bonus: All three offer a tabard at exalted for your hard work.

Switching Between Aldor and Scryer (Both)

Note:  If you are going to switch and want the tabard achievement equip the tabard for the side you got to exalted with before you switch.  Once you ruin the rep with them you will never be able to equip it again unless you change back once more.  If you equip it first it counts for the achievement even if you are no longer capable or wearing it.

To go from Aldor to Scryer you will need roughly 1344 basilisk eyes (no rep increase considered) to ruin your Aldor rep and allow you to start turning in your Scryer items.

To go from Scryer to Aldor you will need roughtly 1344 venom sacs (no rep increase considered) to ruin your Scryer rep and allow you to start turning in Aldor items.

Added Bonus:  You will get a feat of strength called Hero of Shattrath.  And of course, access to the other tabard if you are into that sort of thing.

Sha'tari Skyguard (Both)

There are a handful of daily quests, two with a timing achievements, that you can do to get reputation with the skyguard.  One of the Ogri'la quests also offer gives skyguard reputation.  The mobs in the area will offer rep all the way to exalted and there is a repeatable quest you can do over and over that will offer rep.  You can make this as quick as you want by grinding it or just do the dailies daily and take your time but either way it is well worth it.

Added Bonus:  You can get a tabard at exalted like most of the other reputation here but the real winners are the five nether ray mounts and the one nether ray pet that you get at exalted.  There are no other mounts like them.

Okay, that is enough for now.  Perhaps I will make another list of reputation grinds for other parts of the game but once I started on BC and realized how much there really was to do in BC I noticed that it was a post in its own.  God I love the BC reputation grinds, they are the best.

Hope that if you are as bored as I am I might have just given you an idea or two on how you can enjoy the game.  That is assuming you like doing things like this.  For achievement sake you get reputations, mounts, tabards and will make a butt load of gold in the process.  Not bad for something to do to pass the time.  Assuming you have not done it already.  Enjoy.