Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top 10 Reasons We Need More Fights Like Ultraxion

Each tier has bosses I like and bosses I dislike based on the role I am in.  Being I play all three roles my favorites and least favorites can vary often depending on the role I am playing.

This tier however my favorite fight as a tank, healer, ranged dps and melee dps are one in the same.  Ultraxion is the most enjoyable fight this tier, heck, the most enjoyable fight in the last 5 tiers, maybe even ever.  From my point of view at least.

Top 10 Reasons We Need More Fights Like Ultraxion

10) Easy Mechanics:
- Get fading light.  Hit a button.  Hour of Twilight.  Hit a button.  Sure, there is a little more to it when you include having to leave people behind, but as far as mechanics go it does not get much easier then that while still having something you need to do or you die.  It makes it a fight that you can bring a new raider into and teach it to them super fast.  More playing, less wiping to annoying mechanics, we need more fights like this.

9) Forgiving Mechanics:
- Okay, they are not forgiving in the way that if you mess them up you won't die, you will die, but they are forgiving that when they pop up you have time to react.  This means people with an older computer might actually be able to do it.  People with lower frame rate might actually be able to do it.  Sure, they might need to set graphics to the lowest possible setting to be able to do it, but there is nothing in this fight what so ever that would require you to have high graphics.

Can you hit a button or defensive cooldown when you have to?  That is what matters, not what you see.  Having a couple of seconds to hit the button means even people with slow reactions or slow computers can still play, we need more fights like this.

8) The Ultimate Idiot Test:
- Seriously, even the best of us fail sometimes at random mechanics.  Even the best of us might be a second too slow switching targets or picking up new adds.  Even the best of us might make a mistake when there is a lot going on.

There is one simple thing going on here.  It makes for less chance for error.  It also make for the perfect chance to see who deserves to be in a raid and who doesn't.  If someone keeps dying to hour they are left with 2 options.  One, admit your computer/connection will not allow you to do it and sit out for someone that can actually help the group.  Two, admit you are a horrible player.  Either way, for raids leaders all over the world it is the best way to weed out the bad players from your group without actually ever insulting them and calling them bad.

No need to talk about bad luck.  No need to talk about not seeing telling graphics.  No need to talk about anything.  You either can do it or can't do it which means you are either a raider or you are not a raider, we need more fights like this.

7) No Artificial Filler:
- No high fructose corn syrup, no trans fat, no monosodium glutamate.  More importantly, no interrupts, no purges, no dispels, no spell steals, no CC, no snares, no slows, no stuns, no cleaves, no bullshit.  You just fight the fight the way fights are supposed to be fought, we need more fights like this.

6) No Movement:
- Perhaps the only reason this is a huge plus for the fight is because it is so rare we get a fight like that but it is sure as hell fun to be able to just all stack in one place and do what it is you do. You are a tank, stand here.  DPS, same place.  Healer, yes, you too.  The only time you might even need to consider moving is if you are a healer to get a crystal but if you have ever done the fight before you will make sure that is either a super fast grab and back or with good positioning from the start you won't even need to move for that.  It allows for everyone to give maximum attention to their job so they can do it the best they can, we need more fights like this.

5) Tanking Means Something:
- It is not one of those taunt on three type of fights for tanks.  It is a rotation of taunting, cooldowns, and maximizing DPS.  I feel I have more to do in this one fight then in all other fights this expansion, combined, and I love it.  I also love the fact I get to put more of an emphases on DPS.

From a tanking standpoint it is the only fight I felt like more then just a meat shield on.  I also felt like it was the only fight where my DPS mattered.  I've gotten so used to just sitting there getting beat on and taunting back and forth and that was all that mattered.  That is basically what makes tanking in raids the easiest role in the game without a doubt.

Now I actually get to DPS as a tank with the added tank duties and that makes for an exicting fight while tanking.  How often do I get to look at my DPS at the end of a fight and think to myself what I can improve to get more DPS out next time while tanking?  Not many.  I know many will say they have done more but so far my record for tank DPS is 18,892 on this fight and hot damn I had a lot of fun doing it, we need more fights like this.

4) Healing is a Rush:
- Not only do I get to go freaking psycho while healing this fight, I get a buff while doing it that makes my heals go insane.  Hot damn, I feel like a DPS.  My HPS are usually a sure thing to beat the top DPS by at least 10K and it feels awesome saying that.  It is the true ABCs of healing, always be casting.  For someone like me who prides myself on being well behaved with my healing and usually keeps my overhealing to a minimum, no matter what class I heal on, it feels nice to just let loose and spam 'em while you got 'em.

I have not done it yet but I would love to heal this fight in my AA spec on my priest.  DPS and healing.  I think I am going to cry I am so happy.  Being able to pump it all out and race the clock with your heals is exciting.  Being able to just spam heals is exciting.  Seeing those huge numbers is exciting.  Hell, this fight is just plain out fun to heal, we need more fights like this.

3) Patchwork was fun for a Reason:
- For DPS it is great to be able to just concentrate on doing DPS (for the most part).  The no artifical filler allows the DPS to do what their title implies, dealing damage.  For a damage dealer that is the most fun you can have.  Later in the fight you might need to throw in some personal defensive cooldowns, but once everyone is in the grove not even that will be required any more.  It is pew pew pew, it is fun fun fun and we need more fights like this this this.

2) People Can Really Excel in Different Ways:
- Most raid fights teach people the basics that every good raider should know.  Mechanics.  This fight with its simple press the button mechanic allows people to work on the lesser spoken about skills of a good raider.  Cooldown management.  Ice block, deterence, dispersion, etc, when can you stay in, when will it be available.  If it is needed can you time it like a cooldown like a tank does to use it defensively.  If it is not going to be needed can you use it to not have to go out for hour of twilight and increase your DPS uptime?

DPS managing cooldowns for maximum uptime for doing damage or defensively when they need to soak, healers managing cooldowns for maximum mana and healing,  tanks managing cooldowns for DPS and defense, it is all about getting the most out of your class whatever role you play in this fight.  Most other fights all feel like "once you get the mechanics we will down the fight" whereas this fights feels like "once we do the best we can do we will down this fight".

This is the other side of being a good raider, the one that is not talked about nearly as much as the whole mechanics thing.  The timing of when to do things to get the maximum potential out of it.  This fight really gives people a way to shine on the lesser talked about skills.  This gives people a chance to actually play their character to the best of their ability and not be hindered by random annoyances they call mechanics, we need more fights like this.

1) A Mount:
- Last but not least, we get to have fun in the most enjoyable fight in the entire expansion with the chance to win a mount.  How can you not be happy about that one?  Not saying every boss should drop a mount but every one should have at least a super rare chance to get something fun like the super simian sphere, the orb of deception, you know, fun stuff, stuff that is not about loot and gear but about having a good time playing the game, we need more fights like this.

So there you go, the top 10 reasons I love the Ultraxion fight and wish we had more like it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- I won something in the LFR on my druid.

- I played cat on the last boss of the first half while in my tank gear.

- My offspec is healing, so that was my only DPSing option really.

- Being cat is healing spec would be worse then I did as is.

- I did horrible, 12,800 DPS, still enough to place 13th but bad enough to win something.

- Once again proving that if you want to win you have to suck.

- I did not do it on purpose.  I am just not very good at cat DPS with bear gear.

- Hey, at least I won something.

- All I had to do to win something finally was suck.

- I think I need to learn how to cat in bear gear and spec better.

- Sub 13K is horrible.

- I do more then that as a bear.

- So what does that say when I beat out a fair amount of the people that where actually DPS speced.

- I don't think I could ever explain how much I love the Ultraxion fight.

- I don't think I could ever explain how much I hate it in the LFR.

- Ultraxion is my favorite fight since the Ulduar days.

- I think I could write a post just about that fight alone to share my love for it.

- Played a little more rift this weekend and it reminded me how much I loved being a noob in WoW.

- Funny thing is, it seems rift reminds everyone of WoW.

- Chat, everywhere I go, was people talking about WoW.

- Amazing how all these people talking about how WoW sucks spend their time on another game talking about WoW.

- If it really sucked then why not enjoy the game you are playing instead of complain about WoW there.

- I think these are all people that actually still love WoW and have to bash it to justify playing rift instead.

- Why can't you just enjoy both?

- I enjoy rift for what it is, a pass time away from WoW for me.

- While playing it I did come to a realization about MMORPGs.

- The dungeon finder / raid finder is something that games require now.

- If it where not for LFD I don't think I would have ever done all the wrath heroics.

- When it came out there where 3 I had never done.

- The looking for feature makes it easier to assemble and that is required to actually do something.

- That is why it is needed in games now.

- The games have changed, they are not the type of games we remember.

- The only good grinds left in the game are from BC time and I am sure they will be changed as soon as blizz gets around to it.

- I want more of those grinds, not less.

- I guess I am in the minority here and I'll be the first to admit you should not cater to the minority.

- Sad for me, the things I like the best in the game are slowly being removed.

- Like the blue post saying that they would not go back to the days like ulduar.

- Why not?  Because people did not see the last boss or bonus boss?

- Who cares, it was still fun as hell to try and get there.

- A raid like that felt like a raid, felt like you earned something.

- Raids nowadays feel like 10 or 25 man dungeons.

- Hard enough to be different, easy enough to be done in a short amount of time.

- I want more ulduar and kara raids and fewer firelands and dragon soul raids.

- But once again I am in the minority.

- People what everything, they want it now, and they want it quick.

- I feel like the old dog.

- I am not happy about learning these new tricks.

- But I will roll with the punches.

- I have one problem with the new system that is not the difficulty level or length of the raids itself.

- If they are going to give us dungeon content and call it a raid because it requires more people, then give us a new one every 2 or 3 months, not every 6 or 9, and I will be happy.

- Even more so with the raid finder now.

- With the raid finder the raid content is consumed nearly instantly.

- For a large amount of this instant gratification customer base that means that you are going to need to release a hell of a lot more content to keep them interested.

- Lets take for example the molten front dailies.

- Love them or hate them, if you wanted to open everything it took time.  You could not rush it.  It was how long it was, no matter what.

- That is content that took time to consume because you could not blow through it.

- DS in the LFR and MF dailies are, for this example, the same exact thing.  Content.

- People that play just to do everything would get a hell of a lot more entertainment and time spent in game out of the MF dailies then they did out of the DS raid.

- I doubt this was their intention.

- If they are going to let people burn through content with the LFR they need to release raids more often.

- Or better yet.

- Add one boss per week to the LFR, people would queue for each boss individually, or a random raid level boss.

- This means, at worst, it would have taken 8 weeks to consume the DS raid for the non raider.

- Add to that releasing new raids every 3 months, and you have a constant flow of content, even better if you make 12 boss raids.

- Now that.... is the future of wow in my eyes.

- But again, I am in the minority I am sure.

- I understand not catering to the minority.

- I just think 12 boss raids, every three months, one boss per week added to the LFR queue, and you would have the ultimate flow of forever new content being rolled out for the casual player which would never give them a reason to unsubscribe.

- Better then them subbing up once every 6 or 9 months to clear the current raid content in 1 day.

- Keeping something new rolling out every week is the future of MMORPGs.

- Now that is a design that would get the people that are complaining about WoW on rift back to WoW so they can complain there while paying a subscription.

- $$$, now we are talking in the only language that blizzard understands.

- Have a great day and see you next time for more rambling nonsense.

Friday, January 27, 2012

LFR Needs New Loot Rules

When looking for raids loot rules where announced it seemed like it would be a nice step in the right direction.  Tanks would get a bonus to their roll on tank gear, healers on healer gear and DPS on DPS gear.

Very nice in theory but there were some problems with that.

Seeing a rogue win the bow is a heartbreaking moment for a hunter.  Seeing a hunter win the two handed strength sword was heartbreaking for a DK tank or DPS plater wearer.  Seeing a DK win the polearm could make a bear cry and who would ever want to do that to our cuddly fluffy friends.

To fix this situation they decided to give items labels based on classes it was intended for.  The bow is now hunter only.  The two handed sword is correctly labeled for warriors, paladins and death knights. The polearm is now for druids and hunters only.

One might ask why was it not like this to start with and they would be right to ask.  Why wasn't it?

While the changes have been made to make a step in the right direction, the loot rules that where intended to be are still not working correctly.

Some labels cross each other and once again, just like they implemented the loot system without thinking about it, the loot system is showing the error of its ways.  It is not working as intended.

It was intended to give a bonus for tanks, healers and DPS for their respective roles.  Only druid tanks get the short end as their tank gear is also a rogue and cats DPS gear, so no bonus for them.  Crying bears are not nice to see, but sadly they get left out.  Even if I do play a bear I am willing to accept that, really have no choice.  Everything else however can be fixed.

As it stands now, the two handed sword can still be won by a shield tank.  Why exactly is that?  I'll explain for those that do not know how it currently works.

The sword is labeled as a tank weapon, because it is for DKs.  It is also labeled as a DPS weapon, because it is for warriors and paladins.  So both tanks and DPS of those classes can roll on it and get the role bonus.

The system does not recognize that a protection warrior can not use it.  He in not in the role he should be to get the role bonus to his roll.  If he wanted to get the +100 on it he should be arms or fury.  However, being DKs can use it for tanking it also has the tank flag on it meaning it is now a tank weapon, so his role as tank now gives shield tanks the +100 erroneously..

The mistake here is that they do not check spec, only class, and assign the bonus based on that.

It is the reason you see moonkins winning agility gear with the +100 rolls.  It is labeled DPS and they are a DPS.  The game is not smart enough to realize that he is not the right type of DPS.

There are also a few cases where the designers just made flat out bad ideas when labeling items.  The healer off hand does not include shaman as being allowed to roll on it even if shaman are indeed capable of using it and it might very well be a big upgrade for them depending on what they went in there with.

They claim that it was not intended for shaman to wear off hands, they should wear shields.  Not sure about you but if you made the game and it was not intended for them to use it then why give them the ability to do so?  Either remove the ability of restoration shaman to use off hands or let them roll on it.  Simple solution right?

Another error in the system, while we are talking about shaman healers, is the healing bonus to shields.  As there are only two types of healers in the game that can wear shields, holy paladins and restoration shaman, this should be a really easy one to pin down.  Label the item for paladin and shaman use only, which they did, and then apply the +100 healers role roll bonus if you are one of the healers.  Simple correct?  Nope, not for blizzard, retribution paladins get the +100 bonus to their roll as well on it.  Talk about doing things half assed.

So before we even step on to other new loot rules we need to address the whole rolling problem to begin with.

They need to look at spec as well as class so rolls are more appropriate.

Only DKs get the two handed roll bonus when tanking and not protection warriors and paladins.

Cats can not win intellect trinkets, rings, etc. and moonkins should not win agility trinkets, rings, etc. even if the items are labeled DPS, they are not the correct DPS type to win them.

Just because a retribution paladin can equip a shield they should not get a bonus to any shield be it tanking or healing.

All these things can easily be checked by looking at the spec.  They changed it too look at the class, now they need to do more.

Now, repeated loot.

They are addressing the problem of people winning two of the same item off one boss.  Again, why was it like this to begin with?  Bad design once again, you can't tell me a company that has people smart enough to make this game has no one with enough brains to ask the question, what happens if someone wins both.  So there is no excuse for it going live this way other then bad design.

Outside of that, there are some problems otherwise.  I know one of the common complaints is someone saying, but they already have a tier token.  Sorry to shoot you down, but having one already does not means you can not use another one.

My warrior can use two, my shaman can use three, my druid can use four.  Who is to say I do not respec all the time and actually play all four roles on my druid?  You can not limit people to a you have one, you can't have any more on tier tokens. Sorry, you just have to suffer through bad luck like me and basically win them in the real raid like I have on my hunter.

There are some items however that should be unique so you can not have more then one.  Things like Maw.  The only class that might actually have a use for two is a priest but even at that the only real difference might be a reforge.  One is enough.  No healing class needs more then one of them so it should be unique.

This would also allow people to actually start winning them as off spec.  Once all 6 healers have it, if they can not roll, other people that rolled need on it but did not have the role bonus can actually start winning it.

Actually, most weapons should be unique.  Just the raid finder version of it. We do not want someone winning the Maw in raid finder and then not being allowed to get one off the real raid because they have it already.  Make raid finder only limits on the items.

For hunters, mages, rogues and warlocks it is just a matter of reforging, every thing should be unique there for them.  Nearly all weapons should be unique, or at best a limit of 2 as some people like using 2 of the same weapon.

Adding something like this would greatly increase the likelihood that the loot gets around.  I was in a run the other day where someone said, this is the 9th one of these I won lol, and someone said, then why roll on it.  They said, because if need lights up I roll and if I win someone I already have I vendor it.  When asked to let people roll for it he denied and was promptly kicked.  I gladly clicked yes when it popped up, I do not like people like that.

The people that play this game are the biggest problem with the loot system.  It is not blizzards fault.  It is the players fault.  As the players are basically part of the content then blizzard needs to do what it can to fix the problems the players create, such as the loot problems with the LFR.

If the player base consisted of decent, honest, fair and intelligent people then the original loot system the LFR was released with was perfect the way it was.  Being a large, very large, percentage of the player base can not claim to be even one of the four qualities I mentioned above, that is why it is blizzards job to play baby sitter.

Like it or not, while it is a player created problem, it is blizzard fault for not addressing it soon enough.  The game is not new, they should have known what their subscriber base was like and should have taken steps to stop the problem they knew the players would create before they had the chance to create it.

It is time for better LFR loot rules, no doubt about that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Don't People Try?

Over the last few weeks I have taken it upon myself to keep track of everyone that wins something in the looking for raid.  Usually I would just look at the people that won what I was looking for so I could bitch to my guild mates about it but I started taking it further.

I am really starting to doubt the system is actually random.  I think there is some kind of hidden code in the system that will sometimes kick in and give items to the people it thinks needs it most.  Say there are two hunters that roll for the bow.  One did 45K on DW and the other did 15K.  Both need it, both hit need, the system check kicks in and sees that one hunter only did 15K and thinks he needs it more so it awards it to him.

I know, tin foil hat and everything going full force here but I am not kidding, I swear I have seen this happen over and over.

A couple of weeks ago three Maws dropped off deathwing, I was on my hunter so it meant nothing to me, and all the healers rolled need on it.  I'll admit I did not inspect them all to see if some had it already but that is beside the point.  One healer won all three, which is an error that is being address, but the reason he won them all has nothing to do with the random loot system, at least not in my mind, it had to do with the fact that he sucked so bad the system was trying to get him gear.

One healer was beast, doing nearly 30K HPS.  Two where in the 20s and the other two where 19 and 18 respectively.  The healer that won all three was doing 8K HPS.  Yes, a whooping 8K HPS.  Much less then 1/2 the second lowest and for god sake he was a paladin, the most OP healing class in the game.  His HPS was horrible and it can only be explained by one or more of three things.

One, he really sucks, which means he should not be there to begin with.  Two, he had really horrible lag, which means he should not be there to begin with.  Three, he gamed the system to get in and doesn't have the gear to do better, which means he should not be there to begin with.

The loot system awarded him all three.  Not one, not two but all three.  The system saw how horrible he was, it saw three healing items, it thought he needed help more then the others, so it gave them to him.

This is the hidden code I think exists in the system right now.  It tries to award the gear to the person it thinks needs it most.  If you look at my three reasons why he did that bad it would show you, he did not deserve it most.

I think the system is set up this way.  If people are all doing reasonable it does a true random but when one person is extremely below the average the system tries to help them out.  It is like it is awarding the item on a system where the person that it deems needs it most gets it.

If you wanted to award items based on some type of merit system as in who needs it most or who deserves it most you need to at least have a better system.

For example, if that top healing doing 30K HPS did not have it, or something better, then in all honesty, he needs it most.  He will get the most use out of it because apparently he knows what he is doing.  The system seems a bit ass backwards at the moment if you are going to say it is giving it to the person they think needs it most.  A healer doing 8K HPS in there vs a player doing 30K HPS.  I think the 30K person needs it more because the 30K person will actually get the most out of it whereas the 8K HPS person will still suck, even with it. 

So last night I went into a LFR with a buddy from guild and as usually we are destroying the charts, as DPS that is our job, we are both hunters.  Which brings me to another small point.  Hunters are near worst DPS in the game right now so how come every run I am in on any character I am on are hunters usually the #1 DPS?  Are all other people that play other classes that bad that the worst DPS class in the game at the moment can destroy them?  Sad state of affairs when your class is OP compared to hunters and you still can not beat them.

Back to the story at hand.  Nothing we wanted dropped from the first three bosses but the first three bosses we rocked it.  I was #1 on each boss in damage done, he was #2 on 2 and #3 on one.  We where doing what it is we are supposed to do.

Forth boss comes up and the agility ring drops, we can both use it so we both roll need on it.  Of course we lost and it goes to a Hunter that did 12K on that boss.  12K?  That is not even heroic ready.  12K with 25 man buffs is tank DPS, is less then tank DPS.  My bear does 18K on some bosses.

Second half the chest drops off the 5th boss, we both need it so we both hit need.  Who wins it?  A hunter that did 15K DPS.  I look at his numbers and see he is MM.  You know how I figured that out.  He used chimera shot.  Twice.  The whole damn fight he used Chimera shot twice.  Of course he was the lowest DPS, he was not even trying.  A head piece dropped for a warlock that run too.  Guess who won?  A warlock that did 0 DPS.  Yeap.  Never attacked at all.  Not even one dot, not even his pet attacking to protect him from the AoE.  Nothing.

6th boss and 7th boss we see the same thing, nothing dropped that we needed but we looked at everyone that won and everyone that won had no reason even being there.  Same as what we saw on the first three bosses in the previous run, even if we did not need anything on them we did notice.

We get to the DW fight and he says he gives up.  He has been trying too long and does not have the energy to do it any more. Why put the effort forward if the people that don't deserve the loot will always be the ones that win it.  So he just went into a basic, not really trying rotation on DW.

He still managed to hit 30K which is not bad for not trying, but he did not "not" try hard enough, there where people that did 20K and 18K.  He has to learn to not try better I joked with him.  He said he could not resist, he had to at least hit explosive shot when it was up and multi on the adds.

Nothing we needed dropped, neither of us need the polearm and only I need to bow.  The polearm did drop however and I pressed disenchant and he said, let me test something, and rolled need.  Guess what happened, he won.  Yeap, he didn't even try, put in minimal effort and he won the roll for the item because the system gave it to him because he needed it, in the games mind at least.

He said, from now on he is going to play like that.  That seems to be the only way you can win.  I really think it is.  While doing it on my Shaman last week I got lucky and saw the only three pieces I need drop.  Two where tier pieces won by a hunter that only did auto shot the whole run and the third was a tier piece he passed on, which I got lucky and won.  It helped that the only other hunter that was there passed and we had no warriors and no other shaman in the run.  So I was the only one that rolled need.  If he would have rolled need again he would have won all three.

My friend told me to just stop trying if I want loot but I have a small problem with that.  I can't not try.  It is just not in me.  I have to always try to do the best I can.  If I am doing bad on a character it is because that is what my skill level and gear on that character will allow me to do.   I don't just throw the fight so to speak.

Heck, I have still never run my mage through there even if he can do better then 80% of the people I see in there because he has a spirit piece on.  Sure, no one would notice as long as I am doing well but I will know and as long as I know I am not going to do it.  If I can not put what I believe to be my best foot forward I will not join the content.

The problem is I am seeing more and more people, even people I know, just going into the LFR and doing the bare minimum needed to get the job done and that is just not acceptable.

People should be rewarded for doing a job well, not just barely getting it done and then rewarding the people who did the least.

I think the loot system for the LFR should be redesigned.  Something that is points based instead of drop based.  People would get a set number of points per boss based on how much they contributed to the death of the boss and at the base of the temple would have a trade in place where you can exchange the points earned.  Make it so that if you perform at top level the best you can get is two pieces a week.

This would encourage people to play better.  Bad players and players AFKing or not contributing would end up taking 6 or 7 weeks to get just one piece.  That would force them to actually start contributing or at least force them to at least try a little better.

I am not going to become one of them, doing the minimum just so I can win loot.  They should become one of me and actually try to do the best they can do.

Why don't people try?

I have that answer.

Because Blizzard has decided to reward people for bad play.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Mallet of Zul'Farrak and Other Goodies

I was looking through my bank bags and found I still had this baby sitting around.  Not sure why I kept it but after looking at it and some of the other things I had in my bag I remembered why I still have it.  The memory of the hell it was to get.  Yeap, that is all.  I kept it for the memory.

As my main is a hunter and this happens to be the only type of weapon in game that is not a hunter weapon, meaning a mace of any type, it seems funny even more so that I kept it.

I asked myself, why save it?  I would still have the memory of getting it even if I did not have it.  The difference is, if I did not have it I would have not just taken a trip down memory lane.

It was quite a trek through Jintha'Alor to get to make it.  I spent more time there than it was worth and when I finally did make the mallet I had to deal with the not so exciting prospect of working my way back out of there.  I was still a new player so the concept of using my hearthstone to get out never occurred to me.  From the perspective of time and stress it might have been easier for me to just do that and take the flight back to the Hinterlands to turn in my quests later.

I remember the day I did it too, not really vividly but enough that I can enjoy the memory.  I knew where I was heading to while doing it and I knew I was close.  I had looked it up on throttbot because I was lost.  I also knew I had to head off soon because it was late.  It was probably the first time I ever stayed on just to complete a quest.

Since then I have done it a few times but it is usually a matter of staying on for an extra 5 or 10 minutes.  At worst maybe 20.  I wish that where the case back then.  By the time I finished it and made my way out of there, which included a few deaths that I used to my advantage respawning further down, it was an hour and 45 minutes after my intended log off time.

The funny thing is, it was fun.  The hard trek up, the seemingly harder trek down, the extended time playing, the deaths, everything that would seem like it should have annoyed me, it should have stressed me out, it didn't.  I actually felt as if I really completed something special.

In the end it was something just to lay in my bank and sit there forever, but it sure felt good and the memory of doing it does still bring a smile to my face.  I guess that is why I can not throw it away.  It triggers a memory that I enjoy remembering.

I have a few things in my bank that I have to wonder why I keep.  Some I know I can throw away and others I keep thinking maybe some day I will need it.  Others, like the mallet, I keep just because I can't bring myself to throw it away.

I still have a few Gurubashi Mojo Madness in my bags, doubt they will ever be useful again and I am still debating if I should ditch them or not.  I also still have two of the quest item you needed to collect from all four edge of madness bosses in ZG.  The one from Hazza'rah and the one from Renataki I believe. I am nearly certain these things will be of no use ever again but being they are still green items I am not throwing them away even if I think it would be safe to ditch them.  Why can't they just change them to grey and help me make my decision here?

I have all the hunter tagged gear from ZG as well and I feel as if I can never throw them away being there is no way to ever replace them.  I would not wear them, would not transmog them, but I just can not bring myself to discard them either way.

I have a few goodies that I held on to from the quest line for the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, which I still believe is the single best large scale quest line ever made.  I had taken the Ravencrest's Legacy sword item and held on to it because it looks damn cool.  Being no self respecting hunter would ever use a one handed weapon nowadays, and even more so a sword, I can not use it for trasnmog but as hunters are no longer going to use melee weapons at all in MoP but we can still equip them for imagery purposes, this might actually be something I equip.  Not transmog, actually equip, now that would be cool.

I learned the Drige's Kickin' Chimaerok Chops recipe but I still have the stack of 20 that came with it and for some reason can't throw it away.  I guess even more so now that you can no longer get the things needed to make them any more.  It is like a piece of history there, useless as it may be.

I also kept hold of the Band of Icy Depths because it allows underwater breathing when equip which is a nice thing to have but I use my fishing pole for that.  This one might find its way to a vendor soon being, as I mentioned, hunters will not be using melee weapons any more, I could effectively leave my underwater breathing fishing pole on all the time with no loss in stats or ability.  The good thing is it sells for over 82 gold.  Pretty sweet for a quest reward huh?

Of course, like any good hunter, I still have all my hunter epic quest line related items.  I even have another copy of the Ancient Petrified Leaf with the quest unstarted.  I have Lok'Delar, Stave of the Ancient Keepers, Rhok'Delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers and the Anciet Sinew Wrapped Lamina which is now a 24 slot bag instead of an ammo bag. 

Where the Scepter was the greatest large scale quest ever this was the best solo quest ever.  The saddest part of the loss of this quest is that it was like a right of passage for a hunter, even if you did it at 80 it felt like you where now a real hunter and you had the gear to prove it. 

I still do not understand why it was removed.  Sure it would be a push over for an 85 hunter to do but it was still very much a part of history in the game that should never be thrown away for no reason.  Having those items is a gimme, they will never be thrown away, but having them sit around and remind me also brings a little bit of sadness knowing that none of the other hunters I ever level will be able to do the quest line.

I still have all the items from the quests in AQ40 but it is actually safe for me to get rid of them being when Cataclysm came out all the quests there reappeared to me.  So that means I can always get them again if I wanted to get rid of the ones I have now.  But I don't.  I still hold on to them like the true junk collector I am.

Junk as it may be, the Mallet of Zul'Farrak and the other goodies are things I can not bring myself to get rid of.  Void storage helped me with some stuff, but not enough, I still need more bag space.  Lots more bag space.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- Got my new baby hunter to level 77 now.

- 1 day 5 hours and a few minutes.

- Will it beat my old record?

- I am making sure not to get city rested, that would speed it up even more and I just want to see how fast I can do it with a total quest grind.

- Hunters really are the best levelers.

- Started a new rogue on rift as well.

- Only played for a few hours, made it to level 8.

- Making it a tank.

- It is amazing how different the two games are when it comes to leveling.

- A few hours of leveling a rogue in WoW I could be level 30, not 8.

- Rift is no push over compared to WoW either.  I've died more times getting to level 8 than I have leveling my last 4 characters to 85 combined in WoW.

- I remembered one of the things I disliked about rift.

- Way to many abilities, I mean seriously, I have more skills at level 8 than my 85 rogue has.

- I think WoW has spoiled me to want everything simple.

- Was in looking for raid with a guild mate and he had to go, was just waiting on the roll to finish but because some jerk just left group without rolling he was waiting forever.

- He finally gave up and dropped.

- Two seconds later the rolls finished, he won two tier pieces.

- Murphy's law at its finest.

- The GMs where nice about it and sent them to him.

- That is another LFR update they need to make.

- If people move to the next boss, still assign the loot to them.

- I can not tell you the number of times I roam around after it is over and still see loot on the bodies in the first part.

- If people drop and win, send them the loot in the mail too.

- Or at least skip the person that won and give it to the second highest.

- Letting loot get lost like that is bad design.  They need to do something.

- Not saying this for me, I would not have won anything, he is on a different token then I am, I just hate seeing things like that.

- Simple common sense fixes that are not done, that is one of the reasons people complain about WoW.

- They do not hold the rights to that however, I think every online game I have ever played is like that.

- The more common sense the fix it, the less likely it is to get fixed.

- Why is that?

- Tried to do a FTA this weekend, did all but Org and something about PvPers popped into mind after the second wipe in Org.

- PvPers are a bunch of whiny little bitches.

- Excuse the language but there is no other way to explain it.

- We tried to get Org first because we all know the routine.

- The others are all super easy but that one is hard, still have not done it on any character this expansion.

- Get the hard one out of the way and have some fun.

- That was the intention.

- One wipe and half the people left group crying that it was too hard.

- I said, apparently you people do not do PvE, PvEers do not give up after one wipe.

- We decided to do the others.  Knocked out TB, UC and SM no problem.

- SM is always fun because the mobs are still old school.

- They stop following after a little while.  They believe me when I FD.

- New mobs don't.  I FD, they keep beating on me.

- Trust me, I've died a few times that way while trying to do some window shopping in Org when I was bored.

- Apparently they do not like foreigners shopping at their stores.

- SM is also fun because the only people there are usually lower levels and they just stand around and watch. 

- I find that humorous.  Maybe because I would do the same thing.

- When done with the other three we did another attempt at Org and wiped again being they knew we where coming back after we steamrolled the other three.

- It was our group of 40 vs the boss, the guards, and roughly 90 horde.

- We lasted 8 minutes.

- I consider that a huge success.

- After our FTA run the horde decided to dish out some revenge.

- They started in exodar and I assembled a group to be ready for the next move.

- I was in darn when they started to come.

- Hit have group and we surprised them, they never had a clue.

- 12 people from my guild wiped out a 40 man horde raid in Darn.

- Twice.

- We had others come join for the second wave, but they never really reassembled to put a good effort into it.

- Hey, at least we wiped in Org, they wiped in Darn.

- This round goes to alliance.

- I love PvP in the world environment but it is so rare.

- It is also nearly impossible to keep groups together for it.

- Some people do not have the heart for dying and give up so fast.

- When starting to PvP that is the first thing I noticed I needed to learn to accept.

- I might not be a great PvPer by any measure but it did make me a better player.

- Accepting death was an important factor.

- If you can't do that, you can't PvP.

- The funniest part is that all the people that dropped group when we had that first wipe where the PvPers.

- People decked in all conquest gear were crying like babies because we wiped on the hardest leader in the game, either side.

- PvEers in mostly justice gear listened to rules, stuck it out, and racked up a lot of achievements.

- I think that is the key to why we did not get Org the second time around.

- Well, that and being greatly outnumbered.

- Doing org is like a PvE raid, you need to assign roles and people need to stick to them.

-  Send your PvP geared players to the door to handle people coming in and let your PvE geared players take out the NPCs.

- Get a good balance, and it might be a challenge, but it is doable.

- The PvEers where willing to try again, the PvPers where too busy crying to attempt again.

- Without a good core of PvPers to handle the door we would not get it done.

- I thought PvPers where supposed to be more accepting of death, not less.

- The PvPers where crying to much to try again so we gave up for the day.

- I will get org sooner or later and I will get it at prime time, no late night or early morning BS for me.

- When I get it I want to get it, not be given it.

- This whole thing has showed me a recent change in my guild as far as content goes.

- We are primarily a raiding guild but lately we have been attracting a lot of PvPers.

- Not sure why, but it seems to be the in thing lately.

- We even have people that used to raid not signing up any more to raid, they would rather PvP.

- Guess we might have to drop one raid team soon if this keeps up, but at least people are having fun again with the game.

- I keep leveling new hunters because it is fun for me and my guild is getting into PvP a lot more because they find it fun.

- Fun is the most important thing in the game so whatever floats their boat I am all for it.

- I say the looking for raid is the reason for all this change.

- I'll explain in a post later why I think the looking for raid has changed the landscape of the game completely.

- I am still not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing however.

- I am liking that I can actually get some world PvP in again even if we are losing one of our raid teams in the process.

-  So no more wednesday team means more time to level alts, play PvP, or just do other things for fun.

- I think I can handle that.  We still have the friday team and the thursday team.

- I wonder what our progression would look like if I could get the same people together for wednesday, thursday and friday to raid instead of them being three completely different groups.

- Ah, the joys of a casual guild and the delicate balance of trying to keep everyone happy.

- As it stands now, we have a lot of happy people in guild being we are doing a little bit of everything.

- Can't complain about anything there.

- Have a great day all.

Friday, January 20, 2012

One With The Beast

In a topic that often comes up when talking about pure DPS classes it is time again to visit the idea of removing the pure from the pure DPS.  It it time to tackle the best class in the game, the hunter, and make them twice as good, or would it be thrice as good?

One With the Beast
100% Focus - 1 minute cooldown
-The Hunter enters a trace and becomes one in mind and body with their currently controlled pet.  While at one with the beast the Hunter can not be controlled or damaged.  During this time the Hunter controls all the beasts actions and should the beast die so will the hunter.

This new ability would be baseline and not tied to any one spec meaning that all specs of hunters would be able to use the one with the beast ability.  The beastmaster hunter spec will however have one additional ability when using one with the beast and that is bestial wrath.

Each pet group would become a different type of pet when joined using the one with the beast ability.

Cunning pets:  Healing abilities.

Ferocity pets:  Melee DPS abilities.

Tenacity pets: Tank abilities.

Being the hunter themselves are a ranged DPS this ability would effectively make hunters of any spec capable of filling any role in the game as needed.  All the three classes of pets would have basic abilities that would allow them to fill their roles competitively but none would have all the "extra" abilities that are usually associated with their roles.

As an example, while the melee version of the hunter using one with the beast would have a 10 second interrupt like all melee classes have it would not have any slows, disarms, burn time cooldowns, or a wide variety of abilities like all other melee classes have.

All three versions of the one with the beast will use focus as their resource, just like hunters do and they would all follow the basic concept of one of their abilities being used to regenerate focus like steady/cobra does.

The three versions would all be somewhat simplified, as to not make hunters have to learn 4 different rotations to play only one class.

Tank pets would have basically 2 taunts, one single target and one multi, 2 direct attacks, one for high threat and damage and one for focus regeneration, and 2 defensive cooldowns, one short and small and one longer and large along with an interrupt.  In addition, all tank pets would have one pet specific cooldown, like the turtles shell shield, the bears regeneration, etc.

Healer pets would have a small fast heal that regenerates focus and is meant to be spammed when not using others. It would then have one instant small heal, one instant HoT, one big heal and one AoE heal and 2 healing cooldowns, one for a channeled big AoE heal and one for a channeled effect to converts focus to mana for all people in the group or raid, which could be used to help support the rest of the group but would also double the healer pets heals for the next 20 seconds after it was used making it useful for both the pet and the raid. In addition, all healer pets would have one pet specific ability like a spider would have a web that webs a friendly target in a shield equal to their total max life, they can do no abilities until the shield is broken or 10 seconds have passed but the shield could be an amazing cooldown for many situations that I could think of.

Melee DPS pets would have an interrupt and four attack abilities. A single target attack that regenerates focus, a large attack that does good damage but is costly, an AoE attack and an execute time attack for the last 30 percent of life. In addition, all melee pets would have one pet specific attack like a cat with berserk or a wolf with a frenzied assault.

For the beast master hunter, being the master of beast as they are, they will keep the beastial wrath ability when they go into one with the beast.  It would keep the same cooldown time and instead of increasing damage done it will change for the current role.  In tank it would increase threat generated and avoidance for its duration, for healing it would increase healing done and add an HoT on the healed target for 10% of each heal during its duration and for melee it would serve the same as it does now.

Keeping the rotations and abilities of each pet simple would make it easier for a hunter to learn how to play all four roles while within one spec, something no other class would have the ability to do.

As agility is the main stat for a hunter all roles would base their needed stats off of that. 

Tanks would have avoidance based off the agility of the hunter for dodge, as pets can not parry or block, like bears all they would have is dodge.  Also like bear tanks, the hunters stamina would have a +30% or so multiplier when in tank form.

For melee DPS they could use agility to attack power just like they do for feral cats and rogues.

For healers, being spirit does not matter as hunter healing does not use mana, their agility would convert to spell power and critical percentage.

The one minute cooldown on the one with the beast ability is to keep people from changing back and forth during battle all the time.  Changing once per minute would be more then ample.  The cost of 100% focus is also there to keep it from being used instantly on the fly.  Hunters regenerate focus fast enough that shouldn't ever be a major problem should they need to switch instantly.  Not to mention, hunters would rarely ever be using a cunning of tenacity pet while DPSing, so in the time it would take them to switch pets it should give them the time they need to get focus capped.

If the concept I have heard being thrown around of removing the DPS classes as a whole would ever come to pass this is how I would like to see it done.  I think if something like this ever did get done it would be a beast master only ability which would be fine I guess but the concept fits with hunters in general and not just beast masters.  It would fit with the hunters way of life, of joining and becoming one with their pet.  How much more of becoming one with your pet could you ever get then being one with the beast?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A New Leveling Model.

In my previous post I mentioned why I felt the process of leveling, as in 1-85, was outdated.  In this post I propose a new type of leveling.  It would serve the same purpose as the previous leveling experience, but in a different way which would allow people to level as an end game.

For this system to work everything would have to be gear based.  Gear has been the end game way of leveling in WoW and every MMORPG ever and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.  Once you reach max level the only way to level, for lack of a better word, your character is to get better gear.

The idea for this would be to allow questing to be a viable way to get gear and putting questing, dungeons and raids all on the same level.

Questing would be for the solo progression, dungeons for the small group progression and raids for large group progression.  This would take away from the "if you don't raid you suck" mentality many people seem to have as all three forms of progression would be equal for the most part.

You could still quest to level your character, gear wise, which is what the end game is all about.  Instead of using the dated model of questing to get to the end game, make questing part of the end game and not just a way to get to the end game.

Quests, just like dungeon access is now, would be unlocked based on gear level.  What is currently a 1-10 area would be for starter players just gearing up.  The 11-15 areas would be a step up as they got more gear from those quests and so forth and so on.  Each new expansion would add its questing areas as an additional step up.  Each step up would also be harder, designed to be a challenge meaning the game is always moving forward and never stepping back at the beginning of each new expansion to let new players catch up.

All areas would have three types of quests.  Standard quests, which once done are done but are always there.  Floating quests, which are story specific to the expansion and once the expansion is over they are gone.  Daily quests, which you would need to complete the loremaster for that area to open up.

The daily quests would also be expansion specific.  Each new expansion, even if you have the loremaster from the previous one, you would need to do a quest line to open the daily hub, the same one that someone getting there for the first time would need to.

Using daily quest hubs would also open up a whole new world for PvP.  In Elwynn forest the horde have no quests but being all areas will have quest hubs for both sides, the horde side quest hub there would all be PvP based.  No need to worry about horde PvPing in a low level alliance area as there is no such thing as a low level player any more.  Just lesser geared.  These such areas would be the areas that would unlock shops that you can purchase PvP gear.  More on shops later.

Each zone would have the standard quests opened up by an item level, just like they are opened up now by a character level.  So they would progress just as they do now.  It would also allow people to sometimes skip an area entirely if their skill level allowed, otherwise they would be forced to step back and get better gear and possibly even learn to play their character better.

Each quest area will be harder then the previous one.  While a level 84-85 zone might have the same collect 12 bear meat as the level 1-10 zone does, the level 84-85 zone will be massively harder do to mob ability, life, density in the area, etc.

So while you can easily get to the end game without ever doing a quest, if you wanted to, you actually had to work to level your gear with quest leveling.

The gear gained through questing, dungeons and raids will be exactly the same now with one minor difference.  The only difference would be gem slots for all the end game gear, quests gear would have 1, dungeon gear would have 2 and raid gear would have 3, but they would all be item level 397 for example and the same base stats.  BoEs, drops, crafted, whatever, would always have no slots what so ever.

Being the quests would be progressively harder based on area level, the same could be done for dungeons and raids meaning no need for nerfs on anything, ever.  The entire game would be coded for the current expansion, always, and each expansion would get progressively harder without nerfing the previous expansions before it as those previous expansions would still serve as part of the leveling up process because you will always still need the gear from it while moving up.

Questing, where it would lack in gem slots, would also offer specific rewards not available through raiding and dungeons.  Each area in the game would always have its own quest hub.  As such, each hub will offer its own unique goodies.  PvP shops would be opened in areas where your quest hubs are for PvP content, as mentioned before.

For example you can trade in 200 darkshore tokens for a darkshore pet.  Raids would offer the top gems, like they are doing this tier and dungeons would offer something like valor points to fill in the gaps but valor gear would be like BoE gear, no gem slots.  So all three would offer their own special thing.

Another example is something like opening the darkshore shop for purchasing gear.  Lets say darkshore had the top non dungeon or raid hunter back and I wanted it on my hunter, I would have to have done 250 darkshore dailies to be able to buy it.  This would work as a gold sink as well as making gated progression, the same as raids are now.

Raids add new levels of gear progression with each raid.  Questing could do the same.  When the new level of gear comes out, there will be a new cloak for me at darkshore that now requires me to have done 300 dailies.   Unless I went and kept doing them after I got my last one at 250, I need to start working toward a new one again.  If there are 5 dailies I can do there then that means at best it would take me 10 days to get my new cloak.

With every area in the game having dailies, it is likely that I would have switched to another area to try and get their shop open.  Or lets say the new hunter cape is in duskwood and I never did anything there, I would now need to work up to 300 there.  So while not raiding, I am still working on my characters progression though questing alone.

This would make for a massive amount of content, contently refreshing content.  For questers as well as for raiders and dungeon runners that need to fill in a spot here or there or just want to get pets, mounts, etc.

The daily counter would of course need to be reset each expansion as to not let later people be at a huge disadvantage, but for achievement purposes they would easily keep track of darkshore quests this expansion and darkshore quests total for when it comes to opening a shop.  Just like you need 7250 honor points this patch to buy a weapon, you would need 250 darkshore dailies, this expansion, and reset it as needed each expansion to reopen the shop.

You can truly level your character through questing.  You do not need a level number to be hung up on like 85 any more.  You are at the end game as soon as you start and begin to work on item level, the one true thing the game is based on.  Item level (gear score) had replaced level number a long time ago already.  So why waste your time leveling from 1-85 when once you get there 85 means nothing any more.  Let people level in the only way people know.  Level through gear.

With this design there would be many good side effects as well.  As every area in the game would now have a daily quest hub the likelihood that people will be out in the world will be much higher meaning more chances for world PvP and in my opinion, world PvP is the greatest part of the game when it comes to PvP, but remember, I am not really a PvPer so maybe that is why I like it so much, no organization needed, just mass slaughter, but that is for another post all together.

Being each new tier of gear and each new expansion means more reasons to do quests in all areas of the game it makes no area empty as there is something for everyone in every area, always.  With a gear reset each expansion as they might be planning to do with the squish idea, that means that even at the end of the expansion, the starter areas will actually still be current content, always.  While it might be easier, like questing in TB is now while in 397 gear is, it will not be as easy as going through ashenvale in 397 gear.

Gear leveling is the way to go when to comes to leveling.   The trip from 1-85 is no longer needed when the real trip doesn't even start until you reach 85 and start looking at item level.  I need 329 to get into heroics, 346 to get into zuls, 353 to get into HoTs, 372 to get into looking for raid, 380 before I can get into a DS pug, etc.  Those are the real levels.  You are not a level 85, you are a level 390.  Why not make the leveling process be all about the only level people seem to pay attention to.

There is one major fault with a system like this, the fact it could easily be faked.  Someone could start a new character and deck them out in all BoEs and crafted items to instantly be a decent item level.  Oh wait. that already happens.  Just like one of the rogues I mentioned in the previous post that was only rolled because the person wanted the legendary daggers did.

He hit 85, put on all his BoEs he was saving, spent a little on the AH, made a few crafted items, and finished it off with two PvP pieces, went into a LFR, got lucky and then went and bought a spot in a DS just to pickpocket for the daggers and win a few more items.  393 average item level in less then 6 hours after hitting 85.

So the system already works just like that now.  The only difference is, he wasted a few days play time to level now and would not have the other way.  Leveling from 1-85 is basically just a waste of a few days play time for someone like him and trust me, there are many like him.  For them level is a waste, nothing more.  It is time for a new leveling model so why not make questing, for different reasons, the new leveling model.

With this model the person that starts the game today is on the same level as everyone else.  They just need to earn their gear and not earn their levels just so they can earn their gear.  New players would not be scared away by the idea they need to get 85 levels before they can play because lets be honest, even as quick as they have made leveling, 85 levels does seem quite imposing to a new player and can scare some people away.

It would be a lot more attractive to a new player if they can create an account and start raiding the second they first log in, with of course the easiest raid made for beginners.  They can then level just through raids, each one getting pregressively harder as they build up their gear.  They can level through dungeons.  They can level through quests.  Either way they choose, the second they start the game they are right in the heart of the game, no need to look at the trek to 85 which from the perspective of fresh eyes looks like a very long trek.

Also, with a system like this, people can level their character so many different ways and as fast or as slow as they want to.  You can do everything, one thing, or a mix and match.  It is all there for you, it is all made for you, at any level you are, it is all accessible.

Could you just imagine doing older raids like AQ 40 or ulduar while leveling and it actually be meaningful content because it is an upgrade for your gear as opposed to what it is right now, old content for 60 or 85 that you do to blow through after you reach 85 for achievement sake only?

The way leveling is now you blow right past 60 and 80 you would never think of doing that content at level but if you are progressing based on gear only and not level you might actually do them because if their gear is an upgrade it will help you unlock new questing areas, new raids, and new dungeons.  This means it is wroth doing now, and not just something you go back to later, for the hell of it.  All content is meaningful content.  Always.  Nothing will ever get outdated by new expansions that easily.

I guess this really seems like gating content which I know most people would be against, but to me it seems more like progression on a personal level.  It would still take time for new players to get to the current end game but unlike now where they look at it and say I still have 20 levels to get before I can start gearing up they will look at it only as I am 20 item levels away until I can do the new raid and there is something about being 20 item levels away that seems more as if you earned your way when compared to 20 more levels before you are allowed to do it.

Don't get me wrong, leveling with levels and leveling with gear would basically be the same thing but it is the feeling surrounding it that would make the biggest difference.

New players would feel as if they are right in the game, in the heart of it and if they want to burn the midnight oil so to speak they can get to end game quickly by questing through all the areas.

Old players can come back at any time and not think, crap, I have not played since BC I have to catch up 15 levels, they can just go and move right into it. They can pick up questing or start off at the last level of dungeons and raids there where at when they left and continue directly from there instead of being forced to get those 15 levels.

People that want alts can still roll their alts and still experience all the content while getting loremaster on the new alts without feeling as if they are out leveling content before it is done, as you can not out level anything any more, if you want to finish the area that is up to you, enjoy the story, no worries about the quests being gray because it does not matter, you have no levels to gain anyway.

The skill level of end game would be better too.  No nerfs needed.  Being the whole system is always getting harder every step of the way, people will be leveling based on skill as well as gear.  If your skill stalls you at the black temple, you will not get better gear then that to move any further.

If you choose to quest your heart out to get some higher level gear, you will be noticed as having quest gear (1 slot) or BoE gear (no slots) and not raid gear (3 slot).  You can then use your actual skill, with lesser gem slots, to earn your space into a regular raid but it would be known that you are not a raider on that character.

Gear leveling just makes so much more sense now.  A lot more sense then a new player looking in at the game and seeing they have to make 85 levels before they can even start playing.  A lot more sense then making the leveling process so easy no one learns anything.  Gated content, people will complain, but gated by gear, gear you earn for your true level, item level, now that is a much better leveling model if you ask me.

Maybe it is time for a change.  I doubt they are going to go back to long and hard leveling, they are just going to make it shorter and the shorter it gets, the less reason there is for it to even be there.  Something will need to be done some day because I know damn well if I where to start now, I might look at 85 and think, screw it, that is just way to much playing catch up to do.

Way to much when there are so many other games out there with less levels to get, better graphics, newer, and fresh.  Letting people jump right into the real game instead of making them level 85 levels first can only be good for a game that can no longer say it has no real competition out there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is The Leveling Model Dated?

I know there are many that disagree with me and in a way I disagree with myself on the matter but I think that leveling is really no longer of any use in the game.  While the fact remains true that I love leveling characters, always have and to some extent still do with the redesign of the old world even if it is not as much as I used to.

Outside of being a nice way to break the monotony of the end game grind, be it PvP, raids, dungeons, what have you, the end game is a series of repetitive tasks and while leveling can get repetitive as well it is not the same old same old.  This is why I still have fun leveling even if I do not like the redesigned questing and the super fast leveling speed.

The speed of the leveling however has taken a big chuck out of what I enjoyed about leveling alts.  If I made an alt and played in once in a while it would take months to level up.  Each day playing it was an adventure.  It was always faster once you knew what you where doing, where the good quests are, how to piggyback the quests to maximize experience gained for time spent, which quests had horrible drop rates or spawn rates so you knew to avoid doing them, etc. but it still took some time.  The time factor was the main reason I liked leveling alts.  As I said, it gave me something to do.

Just before 4.3 was released I decided to level another hunter.  I went through the leveling process at record speed.  Not such a bad thing for me.  I started it right before the release of 4.3 and wanted to get it done before it was released so it never occurred to me how wrong that was.

This weekend I decided to level yet another hunter.  Can you tell I love playing a hunter?  Working on hunter number 6 to make it to 85.  That hunter, the one I was hoping to just waste a little time with here and there, now that my valor grind is done on the majority of my characters, is already 62.  Yes, 62 in less then 1 day play time.  Much less then 1 day play time.

It seems the record time from my last hunter leveling, which was only a few weeks ago, is going to be shattered once again.  Entering BC content I was looking forward to the quests I normally knock out early for maximum experience gain.  There are plenty of elite quests there.  They give me a sense of challenge, a feeling of accomplishment, and a nice chuck of experience to boot.

It is with a sad heart I say that all those quests seem to be gone.  They where there only weeks ago when my last hunter went though there.  All those elite mobs are just normal mobs now.  One that I used to always have to wait until I was 62 or 63 I destroyed in seconds at 59 because the mob was no longer an elite.

Why did they do this?  I understand that the leveling process is only there to make your way to the end when, as some people say, the real game begins.  So I see why they want to make it faster but at what point does it make leveling useless?  Does leveling even serve a purpose any more?

If leveling does serve a purpose perhaps I am missing it.  As I have at least one of each class at max level I have at least a serviceable knowledge of every class.  While some I might not be very good at I know more than enough to make leveling any class easy.  Perhaps that is why I see no challenge in it.  I am tainted.  I've been there and done that.  I can not give an objective view that someone who is leveling for the first time would have.

It is from hearing everyone else around the net saying it and people in my own guild saying that makes me think it is not my tainted perspective that is saying leveling is too easy, it really is in fact that easy.

Being max level used to be a task in and of itself.  When you saw someone running around at max level you knew at the very least they put in some serious time and effort to get there.  Even in wrath that was the case.  Just that short time ago I would hear people say they did not want to level again because it was hard and took to long.

The most recent updates to leveling have removed the hard word, now people just say it takes too long.  Leveling is easy but it takes too long.  I hear it all the time and I disagree wholeheartedly.  I think leveling is way to quick.

Maybe if they made people actually work to get to max level people would not be rolling flavor of the month classes just for the hell of it.  I personally know of 11 people that leveled a rogue as soon as the rogue legendary was mentioned.  They leveled it in the spare time, no power leveling, and it still took them no time to level it.

If it were like it was even a short time ago in wrath I bet you not all of them would have.  If it where like it was back in BC I bet even fewer would have.  If it where like vanilla I can assure you that all 11 would have said, screw that, I am not spending months leveling a character I might not even like.  Not to mention, even with power leveling, there would have been no way to get to max level in less then 4 game days played.

If leveling does not mean anything, why is it there any more?

Every aspect of the game has its own level of progression.  Progression is not a word just meant for raiding alone.  You can make personal progression in many aspects in the game, the first we all come across is leveling.  That is our first gauge of personal progression.

People complain when raids are nerfed, when heroics are nerfed, when rep gains a nerfed, when they worked for something, they earned something, and everyone else gets the easy route but none of them can hold a candle to the nerf that leveling got.

No raid has ever been nerfed as badly as leveling has.  Even LK can still wipe some 85 groups in all 378 or better gear and it was both nerfed and now heavily outgeared.  So do not cry to me about raids being nerfed.  Raids can not hold a candle to the nerf that leveling has gotten and continues to get.

If leveling keeps being nerfed to make it easier and easier then I am left to wonder, why even have it at all?

I've got an idea for an alternate leveling model that would make it more attractive to most players and allow people the ultimate quick start if they do not want to actually level. 

In effect, the game starts at the end game in my model.  I will post it tomorrow.  It is leveling, but leveling in a different way, which would allow people that like to level, like myself, the ability to do so and people that they keep nerfing leveling for, so they can make it to end game faster, the ability to start a new character and be end game instantly.

As leveling is right now, I do not think it serves any purpose, other then to waste a little bit of time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How Far Do You Let It Slide?

I mentioned in my previous post about seeing people without gems in randoms, dungeons and raids, and saying that there really is no excuse for not having at least gems in.  While I do agree with my own statement that there really is no excuse there are many situations where I would say... Let it slide.

We all have our own proverbial line in the sand with things like that.  Where exactly do you draw your lines?

Gems, enchants, reforged.
None in a heroic, do you let it slide?
None in the raid finder, do you let it slide?
None in a guild raid, do you let it slide?

DPS checks.
Under 8K in a normal heroic, do you let it slide?
Under 12K in a HoT with its 353 minimum level to get in, do you let it slide?
Under 18K in the raid finder, do you let it slide?

Healing checks.
5K HPS in a dungeon, do you let it slide?
8K HPS in a raid, do you let it slide?

PvP gear.
To get past the initial level to get into heroics, do you let it slide?
To squeeze into the new HoTs, do you let it slide?
In the raid finder, do you let it slide?

Things like that.  They are usually markers.  When do you let it slide, when is it something that is unforgivable coming from someone that is trying to pass themselves off as a good player or at least a player capable for that level of content.

I don't believe there is a clear cut answer for me. 

I have no issues going into dragon soul and pulling a 12K DPS along with us for the first four bosses.  You can say, I let it slide.  We hit the 5th boss and I can no longer just let it slide.

It is not the 12K where I draw my line.  It is more when the 12K becomes an obstacle in and of itself that I draw the line.

I've carried my fair share of 3K warriors and 1.5K locks through the new HoT heroics and let it slide.  I did not let it slide because I am a nice guy.  I did not let it slide because I wanted to help them and thought that maybe if they could only get some gear they would get better because lets face it, if you can only pull 3K at a 353 item level the gear is not going to help you, the only help there is for you is actively trying to learn your class.

I let is slide because the people did not hinder me in any way, shape or form from completing the task at hand. 

I think that is where my own line is the sand is.  It is a very simple to define line.  Success / Failure.

No gems and success?  I let it slide.
No gems and failure? Different story isn't it...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gemming: There is no Excuse

When Dragon Soul came out the price of gems on every server went through the roof.  On a great deal of servers it is still rather high.  I can understand why some people are rolling around without gems because if you are just gearing up now it can prove to be extremely costly and an insanely repetitive task at the rate upgrades might come pouring in.

Lets say you hit 85 and get into some heroics at 329.  No one expects you to have your 333s gemmed, in most cases there will not even be a gem slot.  But once you start getting those 346 items the gem slots start to appear.  If you are on a server like my main and you are basically any class but a tank red gems are going to be what you use 98% of the time.

They run in the range of 400-550 gold per on my server.  If you gem up those 346s and get some upgrades to 353 and pug some old content for some 359s and then get some 378s and enter the raid finder for 384s and pop into a dragon soul for 397s you are talking about the possibility of gemming 6 full sets of gear in a short time.

Even for someone like me that has a fair amount of gold on all his characters it is not a very appealing process to have to gem 6 full sets of gear in what could very well be a short span of time.  It could easily run you over 20K gemming and regemming per character and in some cases gemming and regemming the same slot of gear three times in one day if you get lucky with upgrades.

With this in mind I usually never complain about anyone that has anything that is ungemmed that is less than the current justice point / new heroic gear level.  This means, if you are gearing up and wearing 346 and 353 and 359 gear without gems I would never even give it a second thought.

The only time I would say you should gem things of that item level is if it is only one or two pieces.  We all have that one piece we just can not seem to get.  Because you are unlucky does not mean you should leave it empty once you have everything else up there.

Some people are real jerks about it.  They do not realize that if someone is just gearing up now it is not worth it gemming something you are only going to replace soon.  I can respect that someone does not want to gem their 346 helm when they are in a HoT knowing that they could be getting a 378 any second if they get lucky.  I am fine with that.  It is okay not to gem something you know you will need to replace really soon.

But is it really?

Even with the insane numbers on those red gems on all servers you can easily get split gems for a song now.  Or how about uncommon gems.

You do not need to spend 400 gold for a straight +40 main stat red gem.  Go get some +20 main stat / +20 secondary stat gems.  They are usually pretty cheap.  On many servers you can easily get the split gems for less than 30 gold.

You are better off doing this, while gemming for socket bonuses even if we usually do not do that, than you would be having no gems at all.

Just look at the raw numbers.  If you had 10 slots you wanted +40 main stat in you could have 400 of that main stat but you would also be out at least 4000 gold and it is understandable why you might not wish to spend that knowing that you will be replacing it as soon as you get some drops from the new heroics or raid finder or buy some pieces with justice.

If you use split gems and gem for the slot bonus you will have 200 main stat and 200 secondary stats, and if you are smart you will choose the best secondary stats for yourself.  Add to that you might even come up with an additional 100 stats from the slot bonuses you just got, which could be main or secondary.

Doing it this way you might lose 200 main stats for 300 secondary stats you gain, at worst, but you are still going to have a lot of stats you would not have had otherwise and if you can get the gems for an average of 30 gold each you can do so for 300 gold total.

300 gold compared to 4000 gold is a no brainer.  If it is only about the gold your excuse is gone now.

So you say that 300 gold still does not seem worth it?  Well I have the solution for you.

Uncommon gems usually go for 5 gold or less on most servers now unless they are the red ones which still seem to go for 100+ because they can be transmuted, so use the split uncommon gems instead.

+15 main stat and +15 secondary stat is better then no stats at all.  In the end you will end up with +150 of a main stat and +150 of secondary stats along with the slot bonuses which could be any variety of +100 stats of some sort or more.  At 5 gold a piece that would run you a grand total of 50 gold to gem yourself up.  50 gold is less then the amount of gold you make for doing one random dungeon.

So in the best case scenario if you are lucky with drops, you can gem every single thing you get for less gold than the gold you made from doing one random run.

Ungemmed gear means you do not care. Low gemmed gear means you are just saving money.  If someone ever where to bring it up in the random dungeon or raid finder I am sure the vast majority of people would be a lot more receptive of you if you had even uncommon gems then none.  Just think about it.

"I am not gemming anything because I am waiting until I get better gear."

"I am using the cheaper versions while I am gearing up because some stats are better then no stats, I'll use the better gems when I get up to date gear."

Some jerks will still be nasty because you are not gemmed with at least rare gems but the majority of the player base, the ones that are not jerks and are going through the same thing as you, will think, hey, at least he is trying.

Trying goes a long way.

Cheap gems and split gems might not be the best but they are better than nothing, they are always better than nothing and there is no excuse for ever having anything ungemmed because of them.

The next time you see someone in the looking for raid saying they are not gemming because they do not want to waste money on gear they know they will be replacing soon you can tell them, at 50g to gem an entire set of gear with uncommon split gems the only excuse for not being gemmed is that you are a bad player that is too lazy to even try.

There is no good excuse for ever being ungemmed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Warcraft for the Solo Player

Warcraft has always had the ability to be a good game for whatever you want to do no matter what the level of your desire to interact with other players was.  While it is a multi player game it was never required that you do things with others.  There was enough you could do on your own even if it was not everything.

With all the additions over the years the game has become more friendly to the solo players.  Being able to do PvP, dungeons, and raids without leaving your home city or even ever speaking to another person has made it even more accessible to the solo player.

It almost seems as if it is being done by design.  As if Blizzard was trying to remove the social aspect from the game.

I've often said I am not a very social player.  In randoms I say hello at the start and thank you at the end because I believe it is the respectful thing to do.  Unless there is something important that needs to be said or I am answering a question, that is all I will ever say in a random.

This is why I consider myself a solo player.  I am content to play the game and never talk to another living being while doing so.

It is important I mention that because as you will see, even me as a solo player, I found the game to actually encourage me to be social.

When leveling I would run across a quest where I needed to beat some big baddie, lets say a bear.  I would wait there killing things around it doing some other quests in the area hoping for someone to come by that I could ask for help or for someone to come by doing the same quest so I could join them.

It never took all that long.  In most cases it was no more than a half hour, not much waiting as I was doing other quests in the area while waiting.  I would join up with the person. They needed me just as much as I needed them.  Perhaps we would even grab a third or sometimes forth person and we would get the quest done for all of us.

We would all mention that we tried it solo and mentioned our lack of success, or success even, like I almost killed him or something like that.  It reminded you that you are not in the world alone.  It made you actively seek interaction of some sort, even if it was only to further your own personal agenda as a solo player.  Other people where needed, interaction was needed.

For someone like myself that does not like to talk while playing I learned that there was a place in the game for that.  Like it or not, I would interact with others and in time I actually started to enjoy doing so once in a while.

Even now, although a lot less often, if I am passing through an area and see someone mention needing help in general I always stop and help unless I am in a rush on the way to somewhere.  I remember what it was like.  Although I would have never been the person that asked for help in general, I know what it felt like to need help.  More often then not it is something like the amphitheater or ring that people are looking for help with, it is no longer random elite mob so and so.  That random elite mob so and so probably started many friendships in this game and he is missed.

Like I said about the options of the game even back then, you could have just skipped that quest.  Kept being the solo player.  You where not exactly required to do the quest so the option became yours.

Questing has changed to the point where the need for other people for group quests are few and far between.  There are a few quest mobs that will beat you like a redheaded stepchild but over all there are not many of those any more.

My first dungeons were when I saw people asking for help with a dungeon in general in the area I was in.  I would join them and work my way to the dungeon.  I would get lost sometimes and have to stop to socialize, like it or not, to ask directions and share my story of getting lost.  I would hear the stories of others that got lost.

We would finally get everyone together at the dungeon and start working together to defeat it.  Maybe it is me with some rose tinted glasses on but I do not remember old dungeons being like they are now.  I remember needing to attack with a plan and not being able to over pull or we would all be spirit walking our ways back and getting lost again.

 I still get lost going to Mara and affectionately remember one time with three others when we wiped in there and none of us could find the way back in so we all revived at the spirit healer and sat around talking for 10 minutes before we went our separate ways.

You where forced to socialize to some extent like it or not.  You where forced to realize that it really is a multi player game.  You needed to assemble groups, you needed to travel to get there, you needed to talk about how you would advance in the dungeon, you would need to play the game with others, interactive, and not just as if they where NPC controlled units there to assist you.

Maybe you were not forced. You could have just skipped them and continued being the solo player and not do the dungeon quests.  Maybe you went the way I did and tried to solo it as much as you could at level or came back later when you had a few more levels and it would be a little easier.  You where given the option of being the solo player still or to socialize.

With the new system you do not need to assemble a group.  One is assembled for you so no need to talk to people to get a group together.  You do not need to find your way to the dungeon because you will be ported directly there so no need to ask people for directions if you get lost.  When you die your body is usually right outside the dungeon now, no ghost runs from half a continent away where once again you could get lost and need to ask for directions. Now it seems that dungeons are just a series of pull the whole room and kill everything so there is really no need for talking about getting one mob at a time or one pack at a time, because none of that is really required.

You can now find a group, finish a dungeon, and get back to where you were before you even started in the blink of an eye and even more importantly, without ever saying a word to anyone.  Dungeons are effectively added to the solo players game choices.  The other people, while actual people, mean nothing to the solo player.  They are just assistants to help you finish your task.  You are playing solo, they are only there to help you.

The same can now be said for raids.  Raids were the next step on the social ladder.  Quests where minor social interaction with people you would do one simple task with.  Dungeons where more advanced interaction where you would work with several people for an extended time toward a common goal that needed communication.  Raids are the last step in the line.

You needed to assemble a larger group.  The group tasks where harder than anything else you have ever encountered.  You had to deal with the same travel to and from issues as dungeons.  This is where guilds came in.  You actively needed to start working with people on a regular basis so you could conquer these advanced tasks.  Working on them with the same people every week increased the chances of getting better as a team, the ultimate social interaction, teamwork

Now they are the same as the dungeons.  There is one minor difference.  Unlike the dungeons where you can get through them with all 5 people being non social people you need at least one person to be social in the raids.  But with 25 people there will surely always be one person happy to call out the colors of the slimes to go kill.  Even the only boss in the raid, the 5th, where I would figure there needs to be tank communication I have found out can be solo tanked thanks to a comment from someone here.  So not even that needs communication and when I go there I solo tank it and totally ignore the fact there is another tank there, the way any solo player would.

While you will never get many of the more complex tasks done without interaction, the game from beginning to end can now be completed without ever typing one word to another living being on the other end of the screen.

Where it was always a choice of the solo player on what they will and will not do they can now do nearly everything while effectively still playing the game as a solo player.  It even seems as if Blizzard is designing the game so it could be done that way.

PvP by nature is a social action, you are working with and against people and know that beforehand and even that can be done by the non social person, at least not at the top level.

While I do like that idea that the game is more solo friendly I am somewhat upset about it.  While I was never a social type of player to begin with I got used to the fact that sometimes I needed to talk to others to complete a task.  Other players would feel like real people because I needed to talk to them and not just like NPCs that are helping me with my task.

Maybe the reason we see such venom being thrown around from the people that do talk is because of this.  They do not see other people as people, they see them as NPCs that help them on their tasks.  When the NPCs do something wrong they treat them as if they are not people.  Just the same way all of us have looked at our screen at least once while doing an escort quest and said, "would you hurry the F up".

The other people in the game are just those annoying quest NPCs now because the game lets you do everything solo you seem to forget those are people and not NPCs.

From a self proclaimed non social player and a self proclaimed solo player you would think I would actively support these changes but I don't.

As it seems, warcraft is leaning more and more toward being a solo game with multi player aspects instead of being a multi player game that gives you some things you can do solo.  Perhaps that is their intention, who knows.

At least I will never be stuck sitting at a graveyard with three people I don't know with resurrection sickness talking about not being able to find our way back to Mara.

Oh wait, that was actually one of the best moments of leveling and it will never happen again for anyone.  Such a loss for he new generation.

A non social person missing social interaction?  That is proof they had the formula right before.  In my opinion at least.