Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- Another monday and another new mount.

- Two actually, but nothing special.  No rare ones this time.

- Finally got the ground mount from TB because I went back to doing dailies.

- Also finally got another one of the argent mounts, just 3 more to go.

- Amazing I am still doing wrath content for fun when I am bored yet I avoid cataclysm content like the plague.

- That has to say something about the content doesn't it?

- Just noticed another staple cataclysm is missing.

- A rare mob kill achievement, like bloody rare and frostbitten.

- The more I do things the more of the little things I noticed are missing with cataclysm.

- Blizzard should be really happy that they still have a nice big player base after this disaster.

- After four days of trying here and there I was actually able to get on the beta again.

- Quite sad that pet battles need level 90 to train.

- I wanted to play around with that some.

- I've tested every quest, I leveled a panda, I done all I can do test wise.

- So I was going to test pet battles.

- Kind of hard to test something when we can not even be the level to train it so we can test it.

- Oh well, I guess it was no big deal I could not get on for four days then was it?

- I did not run DS this week on my hunter because I tanked it so I decided to do some dungeons on my hunter to make valor.

- Not like I need it, I just do it for the sake of doing it.

- I actually had to force myself to do them.

- Even with the easy as hell LFR and new dungeons and I still had no desire to do them.

- It was not the ease and/or difficulty of the content that turned me off of doing the content, it was the players that I meet in them that turned me off.

- Over all the few I did went smooth, one I did with a guild mate DPS that was extra smooth.

- Had a fresh geared tank and a fresh geared healer.

- They had to love it.  Me at 39K and my guild mate at 33K made for a super smooth run.

- The third DPS was doing 18K, he was probably used to being #1 but he was smoked.

- Everything died so fast, it was nice and quick and easy.

- The tank and healer were very grateful to get a group like that.

- Have to love when gearing up to get a good group.

- How come my tanks and healers when trying to gear up never get a group with DPS like that?

- Bad luck I guess.

- One run I accidentally insulted someone.

- I assure you it was not intentional.

- After a boss which I did 62K on the healer said that was the best DPS he had ever seen in a random.

- I said, with the 15% buff and full raid gear with bosses that die so fast there is no excuse for being under even 40K, but thanks, I try my best.

- They said, tell that to the warrior, he is better geared then you and only did 20K.

- The warrior did not say anything and neither did anyone else.

- I am guessing he either ignored us, did not read english or took it as an insult aimed at him and did the high road and did not start an argument over it.

- Between you and I, it was not meant as a shot against him.

- And truth be told, if I knew he had better gear than me I would have not replied that way.

- I never even looked, it is a random dungeon, I never even cared.

- I only look when people are doing amazingly good or amazingly bad.

- He was doing good, but not amazingly so, which meant I had no reason to look.

- But lets be real here, full 397 or better gear, a less than 1 minute fight where over 1/3 of it is spent in burn phase, and the 15% buff, you should be doing at least 40K, am I right?

- Now knowing his gear I do believe he should have done a lot better, but I would never offhandedly insulted someone like that.  It is not my style.

- Heck, 20K in a random is extremely good really.

- Not counting myself or my guild mates, do you know how often I see someone doing over 20K in a random?

- Maybe once every 5 runs.

- Over all most of my runs were nice, except one.

- Was a tank, one DPS and me from my guild and two people from another guild that we randomed into in the one bad one.

- The healer kept pulling and the mage left after the healer wiped us once by pulling everything.

- By left I do not mean left group, I mean was hanging out in the mage quarter in stromwind.

- After two more attempts at running the circle into the moonwells, where the healer refused to move with the group and kept attacking mobs that where not even fighting us causing themselves to die and us in the process we tried to kick the mage.

- Sadly, the way things are now, if a guild group of three try to kick someone, they need the forth person to agree and of course the healer would not agree to kick his completely useless friend.

- Despite the healer and mages efforts to grief the group we downed the rest of the stuff without them somehow.

- They both left at the boss.

- At least they left before we pulled it.

- See, it is people like that that make me always feel like I have nothing to do in cataclysm.

- If there are not enough on for a guild run and there are no raids going on there is nothing for me to do dungeon wise.

- Back in wrath I would just random on alts when I got bored.

- Now I do not random at all most of the time.

- It is not worth the effort.

- Seeing healers try to wipe groups instead of keeping them up.

- Seeing no one be able to do over 20K even when in some heroic DS gear.

- Seeing mages hang out in the mage quarter and not being able to kick them.

- And when we do report the one person we can, the mage, we are told to relax and let it slide my the GMs.

- If we report the healer for pulling the GMs will just write it off as, maybe they are new and do not know any better.

- So reporting does nothing to fix the problem either because the GM's are completely useless and do not even enforce their own game rules.

- More than anything else it is the lack of anything to do when running solo in cataclysm that is what kills this expansion for me.

- I guess that is why I am still doing the argent dailies to pass that free time.

- I can do it solo, I can get mounts and pets, and those pets still sell quite nicely.

- The best thing to do the pass the time in cataclysm solo is in wrath content.

- That really says something doesn't it?

- Good luck achievement hunting on children's week.

- From the early returns I've heard of people trying to get the PvP stuff done it seems like this year it is easier with more people helping each other and less people competing to do them.

- I guess that is one of the good things with blizzard losing nearly one fifth of its player base and not being able to attract any new players.

- Less people to compete with the get those achievements done.

- Have a great day all.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The School of Hard Knocks

It is that time again.  Once more we get to hear about people attempting to do the most horribly designed achievement in the game. Once again we get to hear about testosterone pumping men putting holes in the walls and punching their monitor screens.  Once again we get to hear about anyone not prone to violence breaking down in tears failure after failure.

I've done it, the second year it was out, only eye of the storm had eluded me that first time , but I still get ready to help my guild mates in their efforts to get it without pulling out their hair.

For me, this children's week means something else.  I finally get veteran nanny.  I got my first pet in 2009, second and 2010 and for some reason the quest bugged on me in 2011 and would not let me do it, so as blizzard's customer service usually does they basically told me to suck it.  So now, the forth year, I am going to be getting my third pet for the achievement.  I am glad this one was not part of the meta.  But back to hard knocks.

I am still wondering why blizzard has not removed this from the meta or at least updated it to make it less stressful on players.  This is one of the few achievements that have people on both sides of the fence moaning about how horrible it is.  It is not just the achievement hunters that don't PvP complaining, it is everyone.

For those that do not know the School of Hard Knocks is an achievement that requires people to do 4 PvP related things with their orphan out.  Easy enough right?  Well, not exactly.

Assault a Tower in Alterac Valley
This one is usually easy enough.  In my experience doing this on my main and helping others each year it seems that more often then not there is usually one tower the achievement hunters for both sides go to and trade it back and forth.  It might take some time to find a group willing to do that or find the right tower they are at.  But when it comes to stress level this one is maybe a 4/10 on the maximum stress tolerance scale. 

Also, one flag changing sides will not effect the PvP aspect of the battle way to much, so PvPers that are there to PvP can still go about doing their objectives to some extent.  As far as it goes, this one is the least intrusive to game play out of all of them even if it is to some extent.

Assault a Flag in Arathi Basin
This one sounds easy enough but is the one where it seems people start to work against each other.  Isn't the idea of PvP to work together?  I've seen people running to make the attack on a flag and see other people behind them and stop.  The reason is they want the others to get their first, so they are in battle, so they can sneak in and make the assault.  They are, for lack of a better explanation, setting up their own team mates to be ambushed so they can get their objective done.  Not exactly what I call team play here. 

On the rare, and I do mean rare occasion you can also get a group like I mentioned in Alterac Valley that will exchange assaults back and forth.  It just does not happen as often here but it does happen, I've seen it.  On the stress scale this one can be annoying but it is again, not completely annoying so it only scales in at 5/10.  This one however does have a much larger impact on the people that are actually there to PvP, thus raising the stress level of people not even doing the achievements at the same time.

Return a Flag in Warsong Gulch
This one, in theory, makes a lot more sense and does actually work toward the objective of the battleground.  Whereas in Alterac Valley and Arathi Baisn you usually want some sort of team effort to capture the tower or flag in Warsong gulch it doesn't make a difference who returns the flag.  If the flag is dropped, anyone can return it and that is the objective really.  You might want a specific person in the others to do the capping, but here, who cares, a returned flag is a returned flag right?  But now that is where the problem comes in. 

Everyone is too busy trying to go after a flag carrier so no one is protecting the base, no one is running their flag.  Basically this one comes down to whichever team has the most people trying for the achievement is going to lose.  I've seen people let the other team grab the flag just so they can get it back from them.  That is not how you are supposed to play this battleground. 

To make things more stressful, for some with slow connections or bad reactions, is that the flag is returned in a matter of lightning speed.  So you have to be quick about it.  This one could very well reach 7/10 on the stress-o-meter, that is for sure and it does so for the PvPers as well.  Too many people after their own objectives that they are ignoring the real battle.

Capture a Flag in Eye of the Storm
This is what what nightmares are made of.  For PvEers going after achievements and for PvPers that want to battle this one is a 10/10 on the stress tolerance meter and this is the one I have heard stories about people breaking things over more than any other.

Lets take a break for a moment to explain how to win eye of the storm quickly and easily.  I promise it won't be long.  Capture and hold three points.  There, I said it would be quick and easy didn't I?  Seriously, if you have never PvPed that is how you win this one.  Even if the other team runs the flag back and forth as much as they can, if you control three places from the start they can not win.

So back to the achievement.  This is why this puts PvPers into stress mode maximum.  Everyone is after the flag, this is not exactly how knowledgeable people win this fight.  For PvEer they then run into another little problem.  They get the flag and have no where to place it because everyone was too busy trying to get to the flag they do not have any bases.  Ahhh, the hair pulling starts, lets try not to go bald before you finish this one out. 

There is also the added problem that this one actually inspires people to grief.  Lets say you are a class that is not really a flag capture and run type so you decide to go in with a friend that is say a warrior or something so they can grab it for you and pass it to you so you can place it in the base. When they put it down, someone else, 99 out of 100 times, will grab it because, you know, they want the achievement too.  If you are not quick, even with help this could tend to be a problem getting.

This one achievement is amazingly hard to do even with a group sometimes if you are not already a PvPer with PvP gear and a class that is good at flag capture and run.  Sorry everyone, but if you get hung up on any this year I am willing to bet this will be the one.

I am surprised that blizzard has done nothing to change this achievement yet when looking at the forums each year and seeing the sheer number of people that hate it.

PvEer's hate that they are forced to do PvP to begin with, but it is not like some of the other PvP ones that are bearable like kill x amount as a gnome or in gnerd rage or something.  Those are easier.  Those will happen through perseverance.  It might take a while, but it will get done either way.

PvPer's hate it because there are these people running around ruining their battlegrounds for a week.  Not playing the game as intended and making their ability to have some fun a little less fun.

Then there are those few, the chosen few, that love this holiday achievement.  It is free honor week in the battlegrounds for those that are willing to deal with not actually doing the objectives correctly.  Anyone with a orphan out is most likely a free kill.  They most likely have no PvP gear, no PvP  experience and most likely do not know their way around.  They will usually just stand there any let themselves die as soon as they start getting attacked because they know they will not be able to beat a real PvPer.  For the vultures, as I call them, this is a beautiful time of year, all that fresh dead meat running around that you can pluck off.  Free honor here they come.

I can't really blame them.  They are there to kill people, you are there to play with an orphan.  But boy does the rage start to fly good on this one if you happen to run into a premade or partial premade that is there to PvP when the others are there for an achievement.

Don't get me wrong, I did it, I did it alone with the exception of eye of the storm which I had a few friends help so I made sure I had a tower and a flag, it can be done, but it surely is not a fun achievement for a non PvPer and it is not really fair to the PvPers to put this many people into their aspect of the game for an entire week.

Think of it from the raiders standpoint.  How would you feel if for a week 8 of the 10 people in your raid team would have no experience and no gear and you had no choice but to do the raid with them?  It would not be fun right?  Well, it is not fun for the PvPers either.

This achievement sucks all the way around from any aspect of game play and it has been complained about for years.  I wonder why they have never changed it?

If they just change it to "be in these battleground with your orphan when these things happen" and not make you do them yourself, then you can play the battleground, as intended, and not have to actively ruin it for everyone around you.

Perhaps next year they will make it right but for this year, good luck all.  You are going to need it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blizz is Letting the Inmates Run the Asylum

In anything online where people assemble and there is anonymity there are always going to be bad community members that ruin things for others.

I've recently written how the wow community has been on a steady flow downward and that is in part to the recent release of the looking for raid which gives the asshats a captive audience of 24 other players to annoy, grief or just flat out harass.

The game was a much better place, from a community standpoint, before the looking for dungeon.  The looking for dungeon seemed to hurt the community some and it was noticeable but the looking for raid took it to a whole new level.

I always blame the community for this type of action, people do not need to act that way, they choose to.  By making the choice to, it is their very own fault.

The internet is not a new thing, anyone that has ever been a part of any community online knows exactly how things go.  There will always be trouble makers, there will always be drama starters, there will always be the wanna be internet superstar, there will always be people who get their kicks out of insulting others. People under the cover of anonymity, when left to their own devices, are horrible.

This is nothing new, this has been going on since the very first internet community.

I still blame the people, the people have control over their own actions.  In my opinion, anyone that acts like an asshat says something about them as a real person in real life.  They would say, but I only act like that on the internet and I would reply, just because you are anonymous doesn't change the fact you are still an asshat.  Have some self respect.

If anything, I personally believe that anyone that acts like that under the cover of anonymity is worse than someone that would do so in open public with every one knowing them.  The reason is, someone willing to act like that in public is willing to take responsibility for their actions making them a million times better as a human being then someone that tries to hide under the cover of the internet.

As someone that has been part of many communities, and has even been a GM of two over the course of the years, I can tell you that warcraft has not yet hit rock bottom, there is still a long way to go before they get there.  I can also tell you that warcraft does not need to be as bad as it is.  It can still be fixed.

At the moment the inmates are running the asylum and that needs to be stopped.

The difference in all those communities, the good ones and the bad ones, were the moderators.  Those communities with active moderators that took no crap are the communities that were good.  The ones with little or no moderation were the ones that were bad.

The difference between the two was active moderation.  Blizzard does not use active moderation and it is why things have gotten as bad as they have.  Blizzard waits for people to report and then they have to look at things, from the past, possibly out of context and try to make a decision on it and whenever they do make a decision they seem to be fearful of taking any forceful action because it might effect their subscriptions.

They let the inmates run the asylum.

What blizzard needs to do is adopt active moderation and actually have the balls to back it up.  They need to have people watching trade chat and banning people, not waiting for reports.  They need to randomly pop into instances to check on things and ban people when it is needed.  They need to be active about it and not wait for reports as their only form of moderation.  They need to do something and I do not even mean anything really harsh, but something that shows people will be held responsible for their actions.

People posting [anal] in trade, three day ban from posting in trade.  Someone asking what the best raid spec for a hunter is at the moment and having people answer arcane because they think it is funny to troll them, three day ban from posting in trade.  People going on rants with insults all over the place in a random, three day ban from using the random system.  Someone rolling on something just to trade it later that speaks up in raid and says that is their intention, three week ban from the looking for raid.

If the community they let get out of control starts getting in trouble for their actions, if the anonymity does not protect them from getting punished, in time people will start to behave better because they never know when someone is watching.

That is the benefit for active moderation.  If you leave it up to the people to moderate themselves they won't.  Just like when you left it up to the people to do the right thing in looking for raid and only roll on things they actually needed they didn't.

The loot system for the looking for raid was perfect as it was.  The problem were the people.  Blizzard let the people have the power and they need to take it away from the people by using active moderation with actual penalties.

When the bad parts of the community start getting hit with penalties for their actions they will start to wise up and stop being so bad.

Blizzard created a great system with the randoms but they let the inmates run it and it turned into a cesspool, and calling it that is being nice.  They should back up their great system with some active moderation.  It will fix the problem that they have let get out of control.

The fix will not happen over night, just like the community slowly turned to the crap it is now it will take time to right itself.  As anyone that has ever been part of any online community will tell you, the inmates can not fix the problem themselves, they need the some leadership and active moderation is the only way to do it.

I want to see this change before pet battles, I want to see this change before T14, I want to see this change before mists even.  Heck, I am even willing to pay an extra 5 bucks each month to see them institute active moderation.

Everyone complains about things being broken in the game but nothing in the game is as broken as the community and it needs to be fixed before anything else because in the end, the best thing warcraft has to offer new players is a good community and right now, it doesn't have one.

One look at trade chat can scare any new player away... unless they are the type that is just like the people that are posting there.  Do we really want to scare away everyone except the people that are going to continue to make our community worse?

Stop letting the inmates run the asylum blizzard, institute active moderation now.

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Role and Raid Leading

    Does the role you play effect your ability to be a good raid leader?

    It is very possible that it could.  Some roles people believe lead themselves to raid leading.  Most people you will ask will usually say that a tank is the best raid leader.  If most people come up with that answer there must be a reason for it right?

    Having played all roles and been a raid leader in all three I have my personal perspectives on each role when it comes to raid leading and if I where pressed to give a short answer I too would say that the role of a tank is the best position to be in to raid lead.  However, if I where asked to give a long answer, my answer would be, well, longer.  As in, there is no best role to be.  It depends on many factors but there are five factors that can make or break you.

    For the short version I will go over the basics of raid leading from each role and show why at the basic version of it that it seems like tanks are the most suitable for the role of raid leading.

    Tanking:  Worries about keeping aggro, which is much easier in a raid setting.  Worries about defensive cooldowns, which all come down to watching raid timers.

    Healing: Worries about health pools, in which who takes damage changes from fight to fight.  Worries about mechanics.  Worries about healing cooldowns, which sometimes requires watching raid timers.

    Melee DPS: Worries about DPS, which usually is on an as needed basis because there is no such thing as a rotation because everything is all priority based.  Worries about mechanics, which once you know them will always be the same.  Worries about ground effects near the boss and cleaves, which many bosses have.  Worries about interrupts, which are usually few and far between.

    Ranged DPS: Worries about DPS, which usually is on an as needed basis because there is no such thing as a rotation because everything is all priority based. Worries about mechanics, which once you know them will always be the same. Worries about stack up and spread out mechanics, which seem to be in many fights for ranged. Worries about dispels, spell steals, or encounter specific debuffs applied, which are usually few and far between.

    I am not saying that is all those roles do, this is just the basic concept at it bare minimum.

    If you look at the break down you will see that only tanks and healers will usually be required to watch raid timers as part of what they normally do.  For a tank or healer it is extremely important to know when those big damage moments are coming so they are more likely to be used to watching timers while doing their role as a normal part of what they do.

    This immediately puts tanks and healers in a better position to be a raid leader.  They are used to watching timers which means they usually know what is happening and when it is happening even if it does not directly apply to them.

    With that knowledge they can call it out for the raid, which is part of the raid leaders job.

    So looking at those bare minimums we will look at the tanks and the healers only now because while the damage dealers are looking at what is next on their priority system and best manage their cooldowns to get the maximum damage out the tanks and healers are looking at the raid timers during the course of doing their jobs anyway. 

    If you notice, the tank is going to be tanking the same every time he tanks a boss.  Once the tank knows what that boss does that boss will do the same thing every time.  For example his spell ability might have a 30 second cooldown and his big melee ability might have a 1 minute cooldown.  Once a tank knows how to handle them it is just a matter of rotating his defensive cooldowns to assist the healer in keeping his plated or furry butt alive while watching the timer for when it is coming.

    You will notice that the healers do not have it as easy in that situation.  While they have the same information as the tank the fact that any of those things could be blocked or parried or dodged by the tank will change how they need to heal the tank.  The fact that raid damage is not a constant either, will change each time they do the fight. 

    If the mage took a lot of unavoidable damage this fight it doesn't mean he will the next time you do it.  It might be the rogue or the hunter or the shaman next time.  A healer, while having the same information as the tank, does not have the same luxury the tank does when doing a fight multiple times.  The fight will always be different for them which will require more, for lack of a better word, work.

    This puts tanks as the clear winner when it comes to being a raid leader even if both are looking at timers as part of their job.  Their job on any given fight will usually be the same each time they do that fight, unless something goes wrong.  The game is designed to make sure many mechanics do not hit the tanks.  The game is designed to make sure many debuffs do not go on the tanks.  The game is designed to let tanks tank.  This means, once they know the ins and outs of how to tank any given fight, there really is nothing left for them to do except push out more DPS.  So they are designed, by the game makers, to be the raid leaders.

    This is why most people will usually say the tank is best for the job.  But is that really the truth?

    Not really.  Any role can be an effective raid leader if they are willing to put the effort into it.  While it might seem that the game was designed to make tanks the raid leader and while it might seem like it is indeed easier on them it doesn't mean that other roles can not perform the task just as well.

    There are five things to look at that will help you raid lead in any role.

    Encounter experience: 
    - The better you know and understand the encounter the easier it is to raid lead.  It is immeasurably harder to explain things to others when you do not fully understand them yourself.  Even your first time facing a boss it is important you are experienced.  That experience comes from reading about the encounter, watching videos, and getting whatever information you can muster up before you enter battle that will tell you what to expect.

    As a raid leader myself when I walk into a fight, even if I have never done it before, I explain it as if I had done it a million times before.  This is important for a raid leader and perhaps even more important for a raid leader that is not a tank some might say.

    If it is a fight you have done before of course you will have the actual experience and from that actual experience you need to learn how best to describe it.  At some point the more experience you get the easier it gets to explain the fight and that can carry over from fight to fight believe it or not.

    Experienced players: 
    - Raid leaders have to lead all types and we have to learn to know what everyone is capable of.  If you are in a casual guild you will always have people of all skill levels and knowing what each persons is capable of makes it easier to raid lead.  Tank or non tank does not make a difference in that matter when it comes to raid leading but whereas a tank can call changes out on the fly to recover from someone not doing something right it becomes harder for a non tank as they could very well have many other things going on.  So knowing the ability of your players so you can assign things ahead of time makes a huge difference.

    Experienced players of course are a benefit for any raid leader and the better the players are the easier raid leading is.  If you are a first time raid leader I would suggest getting your feet wet in an easier raid or a raid that has been out a while.  One most people know already because the experience of the players make it easier on you which gives you a lot more time to ease yourself into the role of being a raid leader.

    If you happen to be in a raiding guild that is more than just a casual guild then you can consider yourself lucky because you will usually always have experienced players.  You will usually always have people that know the fight before you ever even see it.  When surrounded by players that do research themselves, the real experienced players, it is a lot easier to raid lead from any role.

    Multi tasking:
    - Some people might never think of it as this but raid leading is like multi tasking.  You are tanking, or healing, or dealing damage and raid leading.  You are doing two tasks at once.  Raid leading is its own animal, which is why any role can do it.  Your personal ability to handle two completely different things at once is important.

    But multi tasking goes much further then that.  You need to be able to do your job and basically do the job of everyone else as well as raid lead.  Often, as a raid leader, you will have to call out for the mage to spell steal, for the hunter to tranq shot, for only ranged to switch, etc.  Multi tasking is a huge part of being a raid leader.

    Perhaps this is the reason why healers are often believed to be good raid leaders.  While they always have a million things going on it seems they are used to a million things going on, so adding one more usually is not as much of a big problem for someone that is used to watching a lot of stuff going on at once to begin with.

    Encounter specifics:
    - Some encounters lend themselves to certain roles being in the role of raid leader.  Personally as a hunter raid leader I loved the gatekeeper in firelands from my perspective.  I just did my priority based rotation and blew my cooldowns whenever they where needed because there where no mechanics I needed to worry about and I just got to stand there.  A fight like that lent itself to a hunter having an easy job as a raid leader.

    While tanks are awesome raid leaders in many situations where they just stand in once place tanking the boss in others they could end up being the worst.  Kiting added on my warrior when doing Mal in BWD was sometimes enough of a task for me so it would have been easier for me to have someone else tell the mage to spell steal, the melee to interrupt and when to stack and when to spread.  Being I was not on the boss, and dealing with a fair deal of mobs myself, it might have been easy for me to completely mess it up calling important things out.

    As I said, some encounters lend themselves to different classes having the easy job of being a raid leader when compared to others.  That does not mean you can not do it with other classes however.  The idea is that you need to recognize which encounters will require some extra work from you as the raid leader and plan out what you are doing before hand.  I've been add tank on mal and raid lead, I've healed on the gatekeeper and raid lead.  All it required was knowing the encounter specifics and making sure you knew exactly what you where going to call, when you where going to call it and how you where going to manage calling it.

    So while some fights do make it harder on some classes, that does not mean that those classes can not do it.  It just means those classes might need to find a different way to notice things then they are used to.

    Class knowledge:
    - This is one of those amazingly important things that most people over look or completely forget about.  Knowing your own class is a raiding staple that it is considered a no brainer but some people do not value it as much as they should.

    The better you are at doing what you do the easier your job as a raid leader becomes. it really is that simple.  If you have to look for abilities, or think before doing things, every second you do that is a second wasted or a second late you might be in saying what someone else should be doing.

    Doing your own job is hard enough to do well but to try and do your job well and make sure everyone else is doing theirs well is a lot easier when you know what you are doing like the back of your hand.  The better you are at your class, the more knowledgeable you are about your ability, the better the raid leader you will be.

    Raiding on a class you do not know well is a task in and of itself, leading while playing on a class you do not know well is just way too much for most players.  It is almost as if the raid leader should always be the best player in the group.  Not only to lead by example but because they will always being doing more because of their role at raid leader so they need to make sure they do not fail at their given role while trying to fill the role of raid leader.

    So any role can be the raid leader effectively.  While some fights might favor one of the other, anyone can do it if the five factors I mentioned above are all in their favor.

    So yes, it might be true that tanks have an easier job as the raid leader in many cases it does not mean that any role can not be the raid leader.  If you can follow the five factors you can raid lead effectively.

    Being a good raid leader is just like being a good warrior or a good hunter or a good priest.  It takes practice.  The only difference in, you have to be a good two things when raid leading instead of a good one thing.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Hunter Community Wins a Few in Mists

    Our beloved concussive shot is back in the game.

    I made a post about it a short while back saying how much I would miss it.  Now with the addition back into the game I can say how happy I am to see it has returned.  There were various reasons why I believed it was better than having arcane shot gylphed to work like concussive and it seems there were many others that felt the same way.

    From the input coming out of the beta they have made the decision to remove the glyph and reinstate concussive shot once again.  For as often as I say they seem to forget about us hunters it seems like they stepped up to the plate on this one and listened to the people.  Thanks blizzard and thanks to all those in the hunter community that stood up and said something in a productive manner instead of ranting and raving.  This is one of the reasons I like to say the hunter community is the best community in the game.

    Black arrow is being changed back to its original state.

    This is another bit of great news.  Once again the hunters spoke up and have been heard.  When the new black arrow was announced in its original state it was way over powered.  In its fixed state, it was average at best, to the point where I was not even using it often because it did not feel as if it were getting the job done.

    Also, with the addition of power shot, which was nearly the same thing, the need for the black arrow change was seemingly less, well, needed.  So the community spoke up and the designers changed it back.  No more overpowered black arrow, no more cast time and weak feeling black arrow, and no more magical version of power shot black arrow.  Now our black arrow is back to the black arrow we know and love.

    And not only is it back, but it is back full force.  Lock and load once again can proc from it and trap mastery now effects it once more.  So it is basically the same black arrow we all know and love and are used to.  Another win for the community if you ask me.

    Serpent spread has returned for survival.

    When the new AoE version of black arrow was added, the AoE cataclysm staple serpent spread was removed.  Without even needing to be prodded by the hunter community it got added back.  In one of the rare times where it shows that someone at blizzard is actually paying attention to design for hunters they added it back when the changed black arrow back.  I was a little worried they would forget about this and not realize they only took it out to replace it with the new black arrow.  So back to old black arrow meant back to serpent spread without even asking.  What better win could the hunter community have than not having to fight for what is obvious.

    Growls threat has been increased.

    For those soloing hunters out in that big old world this is a nice little quality of life change.  Most people might not ever know the difference, besides a tank that you forget to turn it off for, but to those that often solo content, and by that I mean things that last for more than a minute, a little threat boost to our personal tanks is a welcome gift.  One thing to note however, with this change, it will be even more important to turn growl off in randoms or basically anywhere that there is a dedicated tank already.  Sure, a real good tank can out threat a pet but why make trouble. We are hunters, we should not be the problem makers, we are the problem solvers.

    There were some more changes like some focus adjustments and some ability damage changes, but those are things that I am sure will still be tweaked here and there as time passes but for now, it looks good.  For now, it looks like the hunter community spoke up and the designers listened.  Chalk one up for the good guys.  Nice going hunter community.  Keep up the good work on beta.

    Suddenly I'm Interested in Pet Battles

    I've never played pokeman.  Never even had the slightest interest in it but the moment I saw pet battles announced I knew it was a warcraft version of pokeman.  So, of course, I am not all that excited about it.

    That was until more information was released about it.  You see, even if I am not all that interested in pokeman I am a collector at heart.  I collect titles, achievements, gear, pets, mounts, you name it.  If there is something to waste your time getting in wow I usually waste my time getting it.

    So being there are wild pets to catch, achievements to earn, levels to level up and challenges to win it seems pet battles have suddenly peaked my interest.  I'm starting to look forward to something I had really no intention of giving a crap about.

    There is one thing I am a little worried about however.  Even as a person that loves hunters, 6 at 85 currently and another 6 at various levels, I have still never got a spirit beast.  Ever.  Not one.  Nor have I ever even seen one.

    See, I like to earn things, I like to play the game, I like to do whatever needs to get done to get things but I do not like standing in one place for hours on end waiting for a mob to spawn.  I always have a BM spec when leveling just to catch one should I come across it but I have never once in my life stalked one.

    Same goes for achievements like frostbitten.  I'll pass by known spawn spots if I am in the area but I am not going to spend my time hunting them down or waiting for them to spawn.  That is just not me.  I am a doer, not a waiter.

    As odd as this sounds, when I play the game I want to actually play the game.  Standing in one spot waiting for something to spawn does not exactly come across as playing the game to me.  So I've never tamed a spirit beast and I still need half the mobs of the rare mob achievements in BC and wrath.  If they are there while I am actively playing the game I will tame/kill them as applicable but I am not going to wait for them.

    Reading about all these rare pets that we can tame for pet battles has me thinking what type of rare will it be?  Will it be rare like low level rare mobs now where they always seem to be there and if they are not then wait 10 minutes and it will respawn or will they be rare like spirit beasts where I've leveled many hunters and spent countless hours in their areas farming for materials and have never seen one even?  On any character, not just on hunters.  Never seen one ever on any character.  Yeap, that rare.

    If it is the former, I can see me really having fun getting into pet battles and catching them all but if it is like the latter I might as well give up before I start and say screw it.

    I want to play the game.  I don't want to waste the time I have available to play waiting for something to spawn for hours or days or weeks on end.  There are some people that love that challenge.  I am not one of them.  That is time better spent elsewhere.  I could be soloing old instances for drops.  I could be working on rep, gathering materials, running dungeons, running raids, on multiple characters instead of standing in one place like a fool waiting for something that might never come.

    I can't wait to hear more on it and to see it in practice.  If the rare pets are something that can be attainable without massive amounts of wasted time doing nothing but waiting then I am surely going to catch them all but if they are going to be like spirit beasts I will treat them just the same, screw them, I'll go play the game instead of wasting my time.

    If that turns out to be the case then pet battles will not be something for me but at the moment it looks like something I might very well be interested in.  It has defiantly made me look forward to it.  I guess even if they are hard to find I can still play some and just catch them if I come across them like I do with the rare kill achievements but that is about as far as I would go.  I am a collector and a completest.  If I do not have a reasonable chance at getting everything I won't even try.  That is the same reason I do not have many PvP achievements.  I knew I would not be able to get them all, so I never even tried to get the ones I could.  If I get them I get them, if I don't, who cares.

    I live by a great motto I heard a long time ago...

    Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

    If I am not going to do it right, it is not worth doing.  This means pet battles hinge on one thing for me.  How hard are the tames to get.  If they are attainable in a reasonable time frame then pet battles are worth doing, if not, they are just another useless feature in the game to me.

    At least I am now interested in it for the first time whereas before it just seems liked a pokeman knockoff and I had no interested in it whatsoever.

    I can see this mini game becoming something like a facebook game app for warcraft.  It seems to be the way they are moving lately.  Trying to expand past the main game.  So you will be able to log in and battle your pets from your iphone or android.  Mark my words, I assure you, it is coming our way soon.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Was Cataclysm Really That Bad?

    I've always been one to rip apart this current expansion.  I can go and list point after point about the mistakes I believe Cataclysm has made and while some might be highly debatable over all it seems the consensus of the player base would agree that there where mistakes made.  Even people that say they love the expansion still have many things they complain about with it.  But was Cataclysm really that bad?

    Some things are not really up for debate.  Mistakes where made with professions, questing, and areas that are not connected or fluid.  Having a big baddie that was less exciting and motivating than watching paint dry was also a bad call on their part.  So yes, Cataclysm sure did have it's issues and if it goes down as the worst expansion ever it will be a well deserved title it should wear in shame but there is another issue that Cataclysm takes the heat for over and over again that really is not the fault of the expansion but a fault of the community.

    Back in those first days of people hitting 85 and doing the new heroics in 329, or faked 329, gear the downfall of Cataclysm really began.  The bad questing, people could deal with.  The areas not being connected, people could deal with.  The bad everything else the expansion will go down being known for, people could deal with.  The dungeons in the random setting, being they are what people would need to grind over and over on every character they make could not be easily forgiven. 

    The increased difficulty was probably the number one reason for lost subscriptions early on.  However, there is one problem with saying that.  The increased difficulty was not really that hard.  Take any half way competent guild group or any premade group into one of them and it might take 45 minutes to an hour.  It might even result in a few wipes while everyone was still gearing up that first time.  But it sure as hell was not difficult, just a small challenge while learning it.

    That same deadmines run that lasted 6 hours and went through 14 people in a random took and hour and only the starting five people with a guild group that first trip through while gearing up.

    It was not the content that was the problem, it was the player base.

    It really is that simple.  The number one problem with cataclysm was not a problem with design at all, it was a problem with over estimating the ability of the average player to work in a group setting while partnered with random people.

    So yes, it is still blizzards design fault.  They should have known their own customer base better but the only reason things where bad was because of that same customer base.

    The players could have fixed a huge portion of the problem by just being better at playing the game.  The players could have fixed what made sure cataclysm will go down being known as the worst expansion ever by working as a team.

    If we take out the fact that it was the players that made dungeons so horrible, and that mistakes of the 2 zuls for such a long time, was cataclysm really all that bad?

    There is a lot we can complain about but what it comes down to the most, the hallmark of how horrible cataclysm was, is the dungeon grind.

    Even now you can get into a dungeon and it is a wipe fest.  I don't do dungeons any more except on the rare occasion and when I do I usually do them until I get one of those groups and I stop doing them again.  I have that ability, I am already geared, but new people gearing up that are trying to get geared still have to do the dungeon crawl and still have to deal with all those dreadful dungeons and pitiful players in them. 

    Those are the people that are just learning now how horrible this game is, how horrible this expansion is.  They are noticing it is horrible because of the dungeon grind.

    Those people will remember the pitiful players and complain about them but they will remember the dreadful dungeon as being the problem.  They will not fault the true reason that the dungeon was dreadful, the players in it.

    If the skill of the players had been better, if the community was more helpful, if people took responsibility for knowing what to do on their own instead of expecting to be carried, the dungeons would have been better.

    If the players had any self respect as to not go into them without knowing them, withing being ready for them, without being gemmed, enchanted, and informed, the dungeons would have went smoother.

    If the dungeons went smoother, went as easy as they really are instead of the hell they became, then people would have been happier doing them.  If the community was happier doing the grind, the one true big grind nearly none of us can escape, then we would have been having fun instead of slinging insults back and forth about bad players and worse dungeons.

    If they dungeon crawl was fun and we liked it then it would have been a lot easier to over look all the other problems like the linear questing, the disconnected areas, the professions not being aligned, the missing nesingwary quests, and all those other things that we might say where wrong in cataclysm.  If we where having fun doing what we ended up doing most of the expansion, dungeons, we could have overlooked the other failings of the expansion.

    If we, the players, the community, where better, the expansion would have been better, or at least seemed better.  It might have still ended up being known as the worst expansion, but not as much as it will now.

    The ones to blame for how bad cataclysm really was are the players.

    So was cataclysm really that bad?  Maybe.

    Could it have been made better?  Absolutely, if only the community was a better place with better people in it.

    Cataclysm was a horrible expansion, no doubt about that, but it would have been a lot better, a lot more bearable, if not for the horrible player base.  The people are what turned cataclysm into a nightmare.  Not blizzard.

    Just look at the tail end of the expansion.  The looking for raid as the perfect example of how the player base took something that could have been good and fun and helpful for many and ruined it just like they have everything else this expansion. 

    There was nothing wrong with the loot rolling system, but the players abusing said system is what made it a horrible loot system.  There was nothing wrong with the content, but the player base dogging it and making others carry them is what makes it horrible.  There is nothing wrong with the minimal challenge it offers for random people but the player base that purposely does things wrong to grief others is what makes it horrible. 

    The looking for raid is a fantastic tool for quick valor and some fun, too bad the community, that horrible player base, turned it into hell.  Blizzard did well making it, the players are the ones that made it horrible.

    Blame your fellow player for how bad cataclysm is.  Sure it might have been bad on its own, but it is not really as bad on its own as any of us will remember.  The players made it that bad by being horrible players and horrible people and a horrible community.

    So when people say cataclysm was the worst expansion ever they are telling the truth but they should realize that it is also the worst the community has ever been.

    We are all looking forward to mists, hoping mists can make things better than cataclysm was.  Blizzard is making their efforts on their end.  Making dungeons easier and challenge mode have no random finder option.  Attempting to fix some of the community created problems that came with the looking for raid.  But no matter what blizzard does, no matter how hard they try, even if there is a miracle and it is the best thing since sliced bread you have to remember, the community can destroy it.

    The community destroyed cataclysm.  Lets hope the players learned something and don't go around destroying another expansion like they did this one.

    So was cataclysm really that bad?  Yes and no.  But the community is absolutely the worst it has ever been in the game, that is for sure.

    So it the community the reason for cataclysm being so bad or is it because cataclysm was so bad that made the community worse?

    Chicken or egg question there.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Random Monday Thoughts

    - Another set of random thoughts and another mount.

    - I am starting to sense a trend.

    - I finally got the drake out of VP after what I guess is about 80 attempts.

    - Now for a moment to share feeling like an idiot.

    - At the beginning of the expansion I used to solo SC and VP for the drakes.

    - It was a lot harder back then with only dungeon gear so I only did it once in a while.

    - After not doing it for a few months I started doing it again about 4 or 5 weeks ago.

    - Each, once per day, on heroic.

    - I forgot the drake drops from normal.

    - How the hell did I forget that?

    - Do you know how much easier they are in normal?

    - A lot easier.  Heck, a lot is an understatement.

    - After reading a guide on soloing both last week it reminded me about doing it on normal.

    - Thank you hunter community, the best community in the game.

    - Got it on my 8th run on Saturday.

    - Logged in early in the morning and did 5, came on later in the afternoon and got it on my 3rd try.

    - Like I said, maybe 80 runs for it.

    - Compared to others I am lucky.

    - Two weeks in a row with a rare mount drop from soloing.

    - I am on a roll lately.

    - Stonecore, UP, and SH here I come.  You're next.

    - I think those are the last three modern ones I need.

    - Still need the baron mount as well.

    - Had some luck with rares this weekend as well.

    - Got two more toward frostbitten on my way to do a UP run.

    - Also got a few of the achievements I was missing from the cata glory meta.

    - All I need now is headed south.

    - The bane of all hunters.

    - Tried doing it in a guild group the other day, the easy way.

    - Four people got it, I wasn't one of them.

    - I made one mistake, I took a step back to help with DPS as two died, missed the debuff.

    - Sad face.  Otherwise I would be writing about two mounts.

    - Oh well, I will get it one day.

    - For those that do not know, I will give a quick break down of the easy way.

    - Kill the boss before downing the melee adds.

    - Well, almost kill him, bring him to like 10%, kill all the ranged adds as they pop up.

    - When he is at 10%, burn the three adds, burn him, easy achievement, and a ton easier on the healers.

    - We did some randoms trying to fill out some achievements other people needed just for fun.

    - One run we did not have a healer so figured we would pug one.

    - We got a shadow priest that said they where trying out holy so they might not be so great.

    - We said, then you won't mind our horrible DPS.

    - It was GB, first boss was dead as soon as he summoned the first adds.

    - Second boss was dead as he choose his first weapon.

    - Third boss was dead before he jumped off to get on the dragon, we still needed to down the dragon anyway, in case you wanted to know how that would turn out.

    - Forth boss was dead as the first set of adds came out.

    - Easy way for me to get the egg achievement.

    - Can't believe I never got that in a pug.

    - It seems everyone and their mother got that one in a pug.

    - I just have the worst luck ever.

    - At the start of the expansion, the first time in GB, I was able to solo DPS one down.

    - I had never gotten a group where the other 2 DPS and the tank combined could down the other one.

    - That is what I call bad luck.

    - The healer said to us when it was over... please take me with you.

    - We all laughed.

    - He said he has never seen dungeon bosses go down that fast.

    - I said, it is all gear, don't mistake any of it for skill.

    - Sad part is that is somewhat true.

    - Gear inflation is insane this expansion.

    - But you do need some skill to use it to its potential I guess.

    - Is it only me that thinks there is something wrong that T11 is harder than T13, even in T13 gear?

    - I see groups where the average item level is 400 wiping dozens of times in T11 content.

    - I see groups with no one over 380 item level one shotting every boss in T13.

    - I think there is something wrong with that.

    - Is it only me or do you see people in 390+ item level still not able to do over 20K?

    - I would think you have to purposely try to do bad to have an item level of 390 and not do at least 20K.

    - I could ungem, unenchant, and unreforge my hunter and probably still pull 25K.

    - Heck, one of my baby hunters with an item level of 320 has pulled up to 18K on a normal boss in a dungeon.

    - Sure, that is with the 15% buff, but that should really embarrass these people in 390 gear that can't do that.

    - Goes to show you that all the gear inflation in the world is not going to help bad players.

    - If anything, it makes them stand out more.

    - Randoms are still hell sometimes.

    - Saw the baggie while I was on my priest and figured I would queue up and see if I get lucky.

    - I only do baggie runs to get the mounts and pets for my main being my main is a hunter sadly and can not get the baggie.

    - I enter into well on the stairs up to the second boss already in battle.

    - I knew this did not bode well, I healed them up and we moved to the boss.

    - No one said a word in party about interrupt.

    - I hovered over the names to see if they where in the same guild, maybe they talked on vent or something.

    - Nope, not the same guild.

    - We are in trouble.

    - The hand goes out, no one switches.

    - I DPSed down the hand, yes, as the healer.

    - The total control spell comes, no one moves.

    - We wiped.

    - I explain we need to interrupt that.

    - The DPS all say the tank can do it.

    - Now I am all for the tank doing it, I've done it as a tank, it can be done, but it does unnecessarily make it harder on the tank when there are three DPS that have interrupts.

    - If you are in a group with two mages and a rogue there is no need for the tank to do it.

    - One mage said, you just do it, to the tank.

    - The tank said, I'll handle the mobs and use my interrupts on them, you can do it.

    - The other mage said, my interrupt has a 28 second cooldown, I can't.

    - I said, it only comes once a minute or so, you can do it.

    - He said, no I can't, you don't know anything.

    - The ganged up on the tank, basically telling him that if he does not do it he is a fail tank.

    - Tank dropped group.

    - I said, You can do it, you just do not want to because you are lazy.  There is a difference between can't and don't want to because you are a bad player.  Learn the difference.

    - I dropped group.

    - I rarely say anything rude in party, so rarely that if I where with a guild mate they probably would have had their jaw hit the ground.

    - I just can't stand people that are like that.

    - The tank was top DPS, the only one that knew about the hand, the only one that knew about the interrupt, and they where calling him the bad player?

    - Sorry, I might not know the tank, but I needed to defend him.

    - I think we should be able to report people for being stupid.

    - Those two mages would have had a report filed on them.

    - I can see the rogues argument which was, why does he have to go all the way across the room to interrupt when there are two perfectly capable ranged that do not even need to move to handle the interrupt.

    - He was dead on balls accurate.

    - There is no reason the tank or the melee should need to get that interrupt when there are two mages in the group.

    - At least he was not a jerk about it like the mages where.

    - It occurred to me that is not the content this expansion I don't like.

    - It is the player base I run into doing the content in the random setting.

    - As I said when cataclysm first came out, there is nothing wrong with the dungeons, they are significant challenge when at a low item level but once we over gear it they will be face roll easy.

    - I stand by that, there was never anything wrong with the content of cataclysm when it came out.

    - It was the random player in the random environment not being able to walk and chew bubble gum at the same time that made the content horrible.

    - Sadly, I have the if you can't beat them join them attitude after so many failures.

    - I agree, things needed to be made easier.

    - I think they still do even.

    - I healed another dungeon earlier, before that disaster, and everyone was at least an item level of 392.

    - Not one person did over 18K DPS.  With the 15% buff.

    - See, the dungeons are not the problem, the players are.

    - I wish blizzard could find a way to hotfix the players.

    - Is it just me or do they continue to get worse?

    - I guess that is why I've been enjoying doing solo content again these last few months.

    - The most fun I have in game are the times I am doing things alone. (with exception of guild stuff)

    - I think anything that we can random up for should also be something we can do alone.

    - The content is great, as long as there are no random people in it.

    - So what mount will come next?

    - SC, UP, SH or the baron mount?

    - I have to keep up my one a week run don't I?

    - Speaking of mounts, I started to do the argent stuff again, still need 4 mounts from there.

    - Amazing, I am still doing wrath content many years later.

    - Now that is good design.

    - I have a nice wrath vs cataclysm article in mind coming soon.

    - When you put the two together, there is no comparison, wrath wins.

    - Well, I am off to work on some ideas for soloing Sunwell.

    - I will do it, sooner or later.  I hope before mists.

    - Have a great day all.

    - BTW:  Mists will be out in July.

    - Thought you would like to know that.

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

    Remembering My First... Green

    You might be looking at the title and thinking to yourself what is the big deal about a green.  If you are, then there can only be two reasons you would ask that.  One is that you already knew a bit about the game before you started, so you knew a basic green item isn't really all that special or two, you seem to have forgotten the feeling when you got your first one.

    I was still a baby hunter starting out in the world with no money, no bag space and no clue what I was doing.  I was having a hell of a time too, enjoying the crap out of it but it was beating me up good.  I needed to eat and drink nearly every other mob and that stuff is expensive when you are new.

    I had killed a few nightsabers in my travels and got some junk item that sold for 33 copper from it.  It seemed to drop often, but it did not stack.  I figured this would be the way I could play for my food and drink, 33 copper was a fair deal of money.

    Lets face it, when you first start and you don't know any better and everything that drops is 1 or 2 or 3 copper something that is 33 copper seems like a hell of a lot.  Heck, the most expensive thing I recall seeing was maybe 7 copper or 11 copper and that was armor.

    So at the tender age of 6 or maybe even 7 I started my first grind, to make some awesome money.  Awesome in my mind from my limited experience of course.

    As I had almost no bag space I stayed close to someplace I could sell and went out and killed nightsabers and came back to sell all the 33 copper items.  It was mildly stressful because they did not stack and I had to run back to sell all the time but when I could collect these high priced items, it was worth it.  Occasionally I would even get a rare drop of a paw, which was 92 copper, could you believe that, 92 copper.  I was so excited when one of those dropped.

    In my farming for riches endeavor I looted one body and saw something I had never seen before.  It was a green item.  It was not a piece of armor or anything I had ever seen before.  It was called Malachite.  I immediately thought that this must be some really rare item.  I mean after all I had killed hundreds of cats already and I had never seen this yet.  It has to be something really special, something really rare.

    I was so excited, I had to get to the main city to see if I could sell this.  My grinding days where over, I would have more then enough money to buy all the food and drink I needed, yes, hunters needed mana, and I seemed to need to drink all the time back then, and eat too.  Heck, that is the main reason I was grinding.  I could not even afford food and drink and when I started to make what seemed like good money I figured, why stop.

    I made sure to check and double check my bags when I was selling off my junk items so I did not accidentally sell this super rare incredibly expensive item that would make sure I never had to worry about buying food and drink again.

    As I walked to road to the main city, Darnassus, a place I had never been yet, I was very cautious because there where mobs higher than I was.  I was a level 9 now I think, pretty sure I did not have my pet yet, but they where still a lot higher then me.  I did not want to get killed on my way to see what I could sell this item for.

    When I finally made it to the city I was amazed by how huge it was and I got lost so very easily.  I spent more time talking to the guards that first visit there to ask my way around than I think I have in all my years playing since then.

    I made my way to the auction house and typed in malachite and hit search expecting to see myself being able to sell it for a fortune.  When the search came up and I saw that it sold for about 1 gold I was glad, one gold would have been a lot, but I was expecting so much more from such a rare item like this.  I had almost had 1 gold already just from my grinding, that was not really all that much, I had expected so much more.

    I listed it for 95 silver and went looking around Darnassus some more, viewing what some vendors had, seeing that there where bags for sale, and realizing that the amazing wealth I had come across was not really anything special.  Neither were the 33 copper items I was farming for when compared to what things cost it seemed.

    Being my little grinding expedition had amassed me a fair amount of silver, enough to buy food and drink for quite a bit, and I noticed it really was not much in the long run, when I went back I did not grind any more.  It was back to leveling and getting what would soon become my life long companion and best friend.

    That was no big deal, it was time to move on anyway, but the sad part for me was that while questing another malachite dropped a few levels later and it didn't feel that special any more.  The joy and excitement of getting the first one was what we play these types of games for.  Now, it was just another item.  And item to auction off, because I had no clue what it was used for anyway.

    Now, years later, when a green drops it goes into one of three categories usually.  Send it to my bank alt for later should I need it for leveling a profession, like malachite would, send it to an enchanter to disenchant, or vendor it.  Not really all that exciting is it.

    Greens are nothing more then colored garbage to me now, but nothing will ever replace that feeling I had when I got the first one ever.  It was exciting.  It made me feel as if I had gotten something special.  In a way, it is one of the things that made me fall in love with the game. 

    The beauty of finding everything new, that first time, the exhilarating feeling you get when you experience the good things that first time.  Those are memories that are nice to look back on and they help you remember why you enjoy the game, even if that feeling is long gone when you get a green now.

    Now when I level a new character and get a malachite drop, which seems quite common when leveling, I always get a smile on my face because I remember my first one.

    BTW, I never did get rich from it, it did not sell for 95 silver, or 80 silver I listed it for afterwards a couple of times.  By the time it did sell, I had so much gold I did not even notice the money I made from it.  In the end, it doesn't make it any less special when I remember it, it was still my first green and I still was extremely excited when I got it.

    If anything, it got me away from grinding for 33 copper drops and into heading forward in the game.  By making me go to the city and making me see the prices it made me notice that there is so much more to the game than farming for 33 copper items and grinding cats, there was a much bigger world that awaited, a world where malachite was less then 1 gold, even it was was green.

    Greens might be nothing to me now, but malachite will always hold a fond place in my memories as my first green.

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    I Hate Being Less Than 100%

    Looking over my world of logs reports from recent raids it has me wondering what I am doing wrong lately.  Even excluding last night in which it seemed the whole raid team was off its rocker because we wiped 4 times doing a normal run when I can't even remember the last time we wiped on normal with that team my numbers are not where they should be.

    Over the last month I've only ranked on one fight on my hunter. 115% of the rank limit.  Yes, I know there is a better way to judge things, but I like to look at the rank limit as a marker.  It is something to aim for.

    In most fights I have been hovering between 75%-85% which, to me, is completely unacceptable.  On two fights in the last month I have even been under 50% but being one was hagara and the spine I can take that with a grain of salt.  Spine you have to hold back on and two ice blocks on hagara will kill anybody's DPS(e).

    I also understand that for numbers sake that everyone is included together, so people that are in all heroic gear are getting those higher numbers which means it pushes the 100% marker up even higher.  It doesn't mean that I can't make my best efforts to reach that number, even with lesser gear.

    The more time that passes by that I do not have heroic gear I know I will never see ranking again.  I will never see 100% again, but as for now, I know I can do it because I have done it in the past.  With lesser gear.  Which is why I am wondering what I am doing wrong.

    I've never felt comfortable since switching to survival but there is a difference between not being comfortable and not being effective.  You can be uncomfortable but still do well.  I just have not been doing as well as I can.  If anything, I seem to be getting worse with survival the longer I play it, not better.

    In last nights raid, the one where it seemed everyone was having a bad day, I had the worst ever showing on madness.  Worse than my first ever kill.  Worse by 3K even.  My first ever kill I did 43K(e) in about 6 item levels of gear less.  Last night, I did 40K(e) which is a dreadfully horrible 73.6% of the limit and an even more dreadfully horrible worse than my first kill in lesser gear.

    I know I was having an off day, sure, that whole guild seemed to have had an off day, but that off?  Even with heroic geared players skewing the numbers I can not accept that from my own personal past performance, even more so when I know I can do better because I have done better.

    I am just beginning to question if I should continue to use that rank limit as a bench mark for me.  I have no heroic gear, we rarely do heroics because we raid more for relaxed fun most of the time, and I still need a fair deal of gear from there.

    I don't even have the four piece set yet.  I don't have the bow.  I don't have the pole arm.  I don't have the trinkets.  I do have the ring however.  Woohoo for something.

    In my raid it seems every week the rogue, death knight, mage, druid pieces drop.  We have been adding in alts just so we stop wasting tokens.  It seems like every rogue, death knight, mage and druid in the guild has a 5 piece 397 set and I am still sitting at three.

    With all that considered I have to ask, am I putting to much pressure on myself using the rank limit of 100% as my personal judgement of doing well?

    Perhaps I am trying too hard and because I am pressing it is making me do worse?

    I doubt that.  Pressing is what drives people to do better.  At least me.  I step it up based on the competition.

    My best showing so far on ultraxion has been 39K while my normal numbers are usually around 33K-36K depending on my fading light luck, or lack thereof. My 39K run was when I was running with a DK from supermassive.  He was in all heroic gear and I wanted so bad to beat him even if I knew I never would.  He destroyed me, he did 50K, but he still pushed me to my limits and I did 39K for the first time ever.  Heck, using female dwarf it said that my max possible was 37K, so I really pushed the limits.

    So it can't be me pressing too hard.  That usually makes me better.

    I have all the pressure I need.  My group has a cat druid that is ranked on nearly every fight, some even top 50 and he doesn't even have the polearm or trinkets yet and no heroic gear.  That pole arm has never dropped for us, neither has a bow, or a maw, or anything people can use.   I think dragon soul hates my guild.  If he was in all heroic gear I have absolutely zero doubt he would be the #1 feral druid in the world.  He is amazing.  So I have all the pressure I need to push me.  So why am I moving backwards lately?

    I have to figure out what it is or it will bug me.  As someone mentioned to me when I mentioned I was doing worse lately, they said, maybe I am just getting bored with the content and even if I feel as if I am giving it my best I am not because in the back of my head I know I don't have to give my best to clear the content any more.  Perhaps there is something to that.

    Perhaps there is something else.

    I am going to have to do some searching online to find some sort of guide that will help me analyze my world of logs data.  Perhaps there is something there that I am not noticing.  Some things I know how to read on there like if I am getting the maximum black arrow up time and such, but perhaps there is something else I do not know how to read there.  A guide would be nice.  If I am doing less there has to be a reason, and I do not see it so I need to learn how to see it.

    Even if I am wrong thinking I need to use that 100% rank limit as a marker of what I should be doing because it includes people much better geared than I am I am right to compare me to myself and when doing that comparison, I was doing better before.  So I know I am not doing as good as I can.

    I might not be able to get over that 100% rank limit on the fights all the time, but I should at least give 100% of what I am capable of.  Anything less then 100% is not good enough, even if the content in trivial.

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Looking Forward at Leveling Plans

    Having taken my hunter to the beta level cap (87) and done every quest I am capable of (2 still undone because of bugs) in just a little over 5 hours I am left to believe that unless something changes that leveling in Mists will be even faster than leveling in Cataclysm was.

    If all stays the same I am sure that I'll have every class already in the game to 90 faster then it took me to get every class to 85.  Who will be the second 90 is a fun thing to think about.  My hunter will be first of course, as that is my main, but what comes next is any ones guess.

    After my little story time I will give a few tips for people that have many alts they plan to level to 90 and want to do it a little faster.

    At the end of wrath I was using my druid for tanking and priest for healing and it was my intention to level them up to get one of each role to max as fast as I could but somehow my rogue managed to become my second 85.  How that happened I have no clue and I am the one that did it.  I hate being a rogue.  Not sure why it worked out that way.

    So I will not plan ahead like I did last time when it comes to who I want to level second.  Who knows, my second 90 could very well be a hunter as well.  I have so many 85 hunters as is.  I even have three of them on my main server.  I might even do it based on professions.  Over the three 85 hunters I currently have they have herbalism, alchemy, skinning, leatherworking, inscription and jewelcrafting.

    I think I have an idea of what might end up being the way I go, level gathering characters second, after my hunter.  If history does indeed repeat itself, gathering the first week of an expansions release is always a gold mine.  I remember the first day of cataclysm on my hunter.  I managed to gather over 2000 heartblossom while leveling in deepholm.  Heck, I never even went looking for it, I only picked what was where I was at the time.  By the end of my leveling process on my hunter I had gathered nearly 5000 herbs.  Gathering that first week is always amazing.

    With good 'ol Hemet back you know that leveling a skinner will be paradise right there.  Which leaves me a few options.  I have a paladin skinner, a rogue skinner, a hunter skinner and a druid skinner on my main server.  All but the druid skinner are at max level.  The druid I do have at max level is mining and jewelcrafting.  That does not mean the other druid will not be 85 by then.  I could get it there if I wanted to.  That druid is a pure gathering character, herbalism and skinning.  That would most likely make for an amazing combo with a new expansion when it comes to getting materials, even more so seeing all the green lands and animals all over the place.  It means there will be lots of skins and herbs to be collected.

    In the end, I wish to have my main, and all the characters with professions I will need, at max as soon as possible.  This means I need an alchemist for flasks, which is no problem as that is my main.  I will also need a jewelcrafter and an enchanter.  Which means, my druid and my priest.  The same two I had intended to get to 85 first after my main in cataclysm.  Yet somehow my rogue managed to take the second 85 spot.

    If you are new to the world of alts and leveling many characters during a new expansion here are a few tips when it comes to choosing which characters you want to level up next from your stable of alts.

    Log on to all Your Characters -
    If you are at cap and a new expansion comes out it seems like you will not get any rested experience unless you log in first.  Even if you log in and out right away, do it.  So the ones you are not working on now can at least start building rested experience.

    Level Enchanting and Jewelcrafting -
    If you want to make a crap ton of gold, level these two professions.  Many people just power level and go back for professions.  Many people will also need these when they start heroics and raids and might not have them ready to go, so they will pay through the teeth to get them.  It also works the other way.  If you do not want to pay through the teeth, you should level these to save money.  Whenever new content is released with new gear these two professions make a boat load of cash, and a new expansion is new content.  Start the expansion filthy rich and make sure you level them quick.

    Switch Characters -
    Most alt-o-holics like myself tend to get caught up on one character and work it until it is done.  Others know how to multi task.  This is one of those cases it is better to multi task.  If you are leveling alts for support professions, or just to get a few classes up, you are better off rotating.  Play each until their rested is done and then switch to the next. 

    This will speed up the over all leveling process amazingly.  If you level your main first, even if you are a fast leveler, all your alts should have at least a reasonable amount of rested to start out well.  If you have many characters, rotating between them all, even if you are a heavy player that plays 5 hours a night, you will never be on a character that does not have rested and as anyone that levels a lot knows, rested is king for fast leveling.

    Multi Task -
    Speaking of multi tasking, make sure you make catch all characters.  For stuff you do not want to sell that you might need to level professions.  Usually this will end up being the first person you have leveling that specific profession.  But keep your professions up while level, send materials to the people that need them, keep track of who is where when it comes to questing and professions and maximize what you get into what you can get out of it.

    Handling a lot of characters leveling at the same time and paying attention to all their professions and what they need can be a daunting task but it will also be a rewarding one in the end when everyone is capped at level and professions at the same time.

    Do not fall into the common pitfall of trying to level three of the same crafting professions at the same time either.  Make a designated first to max person.  Send everything to them and when they pass a level of needing a certain item then can send it to number two on the list.

    Don't Forget Dailies -
    For alts that are not part of the current leveling process, or used their rested only the day before, do not forget to at least pop on and do their dailies.  They add up, and they are quick and easy.  There is no reason you should not be doing them every day.

    Don't Let Rested Cap -
    If you are going to be leveling 15 or so characters at the same time like me after my main is done or even if you have less, it is easy to let some characters get capped on rested.  Any time you sit around capped is wasted experience.  Get the most out of your experience, use your rested.  Even if you only log in for 15 minutes and go on a killing spree.  That can give you lots of experience because you are getting double per kill and it can eat a small chuck of that rested up so it is not wasted. 

    If you happen to be a gatherer then make it work for you.  Skinners make sure you go on your killing spree with animals you can skin.  Miners make sure you go on a killing spree near mountain sides. Herbalists make sure you go on killing sprees in the grassy areas.  Everyone else, kill humanoid mobs only, cloth is the gathering choice of the non gatherers after all.

    Let Yourself Fall Behind -
    If you happen to fall behind on your leatherworking, alchemy or blacksmithing do not worry about it.  Once you reach 90 and can fly it will make farming a breeze, you can easily go back and catch up on them later with your gatherers.  Spending extra time looking for nodes is just not worth it.  If anything, use your "over rested" skinner/miner/herbalist as the one that gets you the stuff you need.  Do not waste your own time.  Not to mention, once leveled up you will start to get stronger making gathering even easier.

    Have Fun With It -
    Part of leveling alts is the fact it is fun.  Just because you are trying to get to max fast does not mean you can't have a little fun with it.  While we all will make our routes for what works best for us to level fast some characters might have an easier time in some areas and some gatherers might find some areas better to farm.  While sticking to a set questing path is a good thing, be willing to compromise your plans and remember to have a little fun with it too.

    No Dungeons -
    If you are looking for speed, keep away from dungeons.  They are great the first time you do them with all the quests in them.  They are great if you have full rested and that one dungeon is all you have time to do.  Any other time, they are a waste of time better spent elsewhere.  You will get more materials, more gold, more gear, more reputation, more everything questing.  Even if some people like to justify that you get better gear from dungeons people need to face the facts that anything you get leveling, from a reward, a drop or a dungeon, is going to be replaced faster than you can imagine.  The better dungeon gear while leveling is just not worth going out of your way to get it.

    KISS -
    Kiss stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.  We are getting new talent trees.  If you are a good player you can figure out what is best for you and roll with it.  Leave the theory crafting for level 90.  Just because you think a new rotation might work, don't worry about taking the time to maximize your leveling DPS, it just does not matter.  Does the mob die fast enough?  Are you never in danger of dying yourself?  If the answer to both is yes, you do not even need any of those new skills, so don't waste time with them yet.  Have a few simple abilities bound and that is all you will need while leveling.  Keep It Simple Stupid, use the kiss method.

    Well, that's all for now.

    I wonder who will be my second capped character this time around.  Any bets?  I sure hope it is not my rogue again.  I still wonder how the hell that happened.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    [BETA] Hunters Lose a Staple +Thoughts

    Now that I am finally on the beta I can give some first hand opinions on how things are looking over all and more importantly, for hunters.  Conceptually hunters seem to be in a good place.  In practice, not so much.

    There is a lot I want to touch on but there is something I feel there is a need to address first.

    Concussive Shot - A long time staple of any decent hunters arsenal is gone.  When first starting my copied hunter I was setting up my bars so I could do some questing and could not find concussive shot.  I really do hope this is an error and it was not removed, it is a staple of the hunter toolbox and is, as I see it, required.  Lets hope and pray this is only an oversight and it was not intended to be removed.

    When I first got concussive shot on my first hunter I thought, what is this crap.  It wasn't until some time later, as I really learned to play my character that I noticed the power of this ability.  It became my favorite ability when I got it while leveling a new hunter.

    There are three things a hunter is known for.  Their pets, their ability to crowd control and their ability to kite.  Removing concussive shot removes our ability to kite, at least effectively.  I am sure I would have never been able to kill the fel reaver at level 58 when I first entered hellfire if it where not for concussive shot.  I am sure I would not have been able to destroy every retribution paladin I have ever met in PvP without concussive shot. 

    Concussive shot has been a god send when soloing, when in raids, when in dungeons, when in PvP.  It has done so much for me and made my play time fun.  It has been a part of what a hunter is and it is usually how you can tell a good hunter from a bad one, yes, sometimes something that simple was very telling.

    Before I continue I would like us all to have a moment of silence for our lost friend.  Concussive shot, you will be missed.

    ~bows head in a moment of silence~

    Now back to explore my impressions of everything else while I hope that the hunters losing concussive shot is just an oversight and they will add it back.

    Wing Clip - With no melee weapon we knew this one was going goodbye along with raptor strike to join their friend mongoose in the land of lost abilities but when added to the loss of concussive it is really going to hurt hunters.  Wing clip was very useful at times and I don't know about others, but I used it often when in close range.

    Defensive Dodge - They took hunter dodge off the map when cataclysm came out because they were always at range, they did not want them to be good on the avoidance front as well when in melee.  Being hunters are losing two vital things they needed to stay at range, I say it is time to give us our dodge back to being based off agility again.  Playing a hunter on beta you will find yourself in melee more then you had ever been or ever imagined possible and taking every hit is not a fun thing at all.  Dodge should make a comeback for hunters.

    Offensive Dodge - There is no way I am going to get used to the idea that my attacks can be dodged.  Bad idea by blizzard.  They say they wanted enhancement shaman and hunters to use the same gear, well, we do, just make sure it does not have expertise on it.  That is what reforging is for.  Let the shaman reforge into it, leave us hunters alone.  It just does not feel right after all these years.  Some changes make sense, others don't.  This one doesn't.

    Stamina - People are currently calling it a beta error that hunters ranged weapons do not have appropriate stats when compared to other weapons but we should continue to speak up about it or we risk the chance blizzard will forget about it.  The fact it even made it to beta shows that they are not paying enough attention to weapon balance to begin with.  How could they even make it into beta realizing only one weapon type has low stats on it. 

    So why is stamina so important?  We are losing so many stats from losing a main weapon and we did not get them back with buffed numbers on our ranged weapons.  This is leading to cloth wearing having up to 30K more health then we do in similar level gear.  The lack of stamina on our weapon, which is the biggest chunk of stamina any class has on any piece of gear, leaves us with much less life.  This will make us a liability in raids and dungeons, as less life means harder to keep up when compared to others.  This will also make us an easy target in PvP.  Less stamina means less life which means you die faster and with the loss of concussive and wing clip and having less stamina and no dodge we are dead ducks the second any melee gets in range.

    Agility - Same as stamina, we lost a ton losing our melee weapon and it was not replaced on our ranged weapon.  Please keep being as vocal as possible about this on the forums fellow hunters.  If we do not speak up we risk the chance of this error in itemization going live.  At the very least our ranged weapons should have stats comparable to melee weapons.

    Black Arrow - Lets just say that I am really glad to hear they are changing it back.  There is just so much wrong with black arrow I could right an article on it alone.  Unlike other abilities that have have a cast time where you can preshoot, as in start the ability before you fire an autoshot, black arrow fires an auto shot the second it starts its channel.  While not game breaking or a bad thing really, it is annoying as hell. 

    I've also noticed that the black arrow DoT has a weird application process.  I've accidentally aggroed 4 additional mobs that my BA did not go through by firing a black arrow.  It is also not a very smart ability.  If you have a mob ice trapped and fire a black arrow at something past it, it will put the DoT on the trapped target thus breaking it out.  Again, not anything game breaking or bad even, just need to pay attention is all, but it is annoying. 

    Add to that, while I can not say for sure, but it seems to be that BA is a huge DPS loss, at least when soloing.  Any mob I put it on seems to live longer then it would if I just used the focus on an arcane shot.  It might work differently when in a dungeon or raid situation where things live longer, but for questing, BA is useless as it is.  So lets be glad they are changing it.

    Pet Pathing - Not sure what they changed but our pets have went full on retard.  I am going to guess it is a bug on pathing.  In many cases if you are in the water and attack something on land, the pet will just keep swimming down and back up.  They will not go on land to attack.  Same for a mob on a hill, some hills at least.  Your pet will stand there looking it as if it wants to kill it but it never does anything.  It seems pet pathing is broken at the moment in many cases.  I could go on with at least a dozen examples I ran across in the small time I played but it is not needed, my pet probably would have died if he attacked anyway, which brings us to the next thing.

    Pet Health - In most cases you can not pull two mobs and hope your pet will handle them because your pet will most likely die.  If you have three on your pet, start moving yourself to a nice position to feign death because even rolling mend pet 100% of the time, your pet is dead.  They are being hit as if they are level 50 pets trying to tank a level 87 mob.  On 2 occasions I've seen my pet one shot by a quest mob.  From full health to zero, instantly.  I'm going to chalk this one up to the fact that pet specs are not in game yet, or at least I could not find them.

    Misdirect - I'll say this is a bug with 100% certainty but that doesn't make it any less annoying.  Misdirect does not work on pets.  Remember the ZA/ZG patch when MD did not work on pets for a couple of days?  Yeah, it is just like that.  While it is a bug and I know it will be fixed, it was worth mentioning so any hunters that get on the beta know that ahead of time.

    Spellbook - Okay, not a hunter only thing, but still something I want to comment on.  Everything is on one page now.  I don't like it, not at all.  Remember when even if you where marks or survival, the things like mend pet and such where under beast mastery?  Well, no more, they are all under the same spec, which ever one you are in.  Not to mention, weapons proficiencies, class passives, race passives, etc, all under the same thing.  Everything you can use is in the same thing.  Although they are in alphabetical order it is hard to find things.  There are pages of things that are passives, things that should be in general, things that should be in other specs, etc.  They should add two more tabs.  One for general class abilities, that all three specs have, and one like we already have that has all the other junk, like race passives, hunter passives, weapon abilities, etc.  The spellbook just looks cluttered.  Over cluttered.

    Leveling - Another thing that is not exactly hunter specific but I wanted to mention because after all, hunters have always been known as questing machines.  In the short time I played I am up to 86 and 92%.  If I play for a few minutes tonight I will be 87.  I only played for 4 and a half hours.  I crashed due to beta errors over 50 times.  I suffered one world server down for about 15 minutes.  I had to compete with 100s of people for the same quest objectives.  I was making notes of every bug I ran into so I could report it. And I still nearly made 2 levels with all those things going on. 

    I think leveling is WAY too fast.  But then again, that is nothing new to hear from me.  I will say that there are some really hard packs to deal with.  Without my wing clip and concussive at my disposal and my pet dying if someone sneezed in its general direction it made some fights a lot harder then they should have been.  However, I only died once, and they was due to the fact that I DCed with 5 mobs on me.  They where all close to death, sure, but without having a pet that can do any serious damage and can't take any damage at all, my pet could not save me while I was DCed. 

    So even with our losses, hunters are still the best questing class in the game, by far.

    Size - Size matters, at least when it comes to world size, get your mind out of the gutter.  The world feels roughly the size of northrend and it is all connected.  As lame as this might sound, it made me feel good, really good, about the future of the expansion just for that alone.  Not sure why it matters but bigger and connected just feels good.

    Look - Unlike the sometimes all over the place design of cataclysm it is nice to see something that looks as if it belongs together.  There are no areas I have run across yet that seem out of place.  You know, kind of like how nearly everything in the twilight highlands seemed out of place.

    Hemet - The greatest big game hunter that ever lived has returned and I was excited as any hunter could be to see the man we all look up to.  What I was not excited about was how quickly his quest line was done.  I was left saying... is that all?  Maybe it is not.  There is still a lot of content to be released but based on the last quest I did, which I will not give details about, it sure seemed like it was the end quest of the story line.  I did have to face a big baddie, that was actually an elite that did not die nearly as quick as regular quest mobs.  This is what makes me think, along with why I was killing him, that it was the end of the line.  Here is to hoping they flesh it out some.  As it is it has to be the worst hunt he has ever sent us on.  20 minutes worth of quests while competing with all those people for mobs?  What is it going to take when you do it alone, 5 minutes?  That is not the normal hemet epic quest line if you ask me.

    Trap Launcher - It is now a toggle ability, like a rogues blade flurry.  You can leave it on, so it launches all the time or leave it off so it drops it at your feet.  I have been leaving it on all the time, if I need it at my feet, I just place it there.  Easy enough.  This is a very nice quality of life chance for us hunters.

    AoE Looting - Oh... my... god...  I can not express how much I love this.  Collect 10 of something?  Just kill them all, bring them back to the same area, bend over once, get all 10 at once.  LOVE IT!  This will make soloing easier, grinding for items easier.  There is no real bad side to it if you ask me.  And with my pet sucking as bad as it does, everything dies at my feet anyway.  It will take a tiny bit of getting used to.  The first few times I killed a few mobs I went to loot the second and third and had to remind myself I already looted them.  The learning process was quick however, but as I am still learning the range of the AoE looting I still sometimes hover over things to make sure I looted everything, I can see me doing that for a while.  It seems like the range is pretty decent.

    Melee Hunter - I am not used to this at all.  Even if I can fire point blank I still always try to get away.  It is a lot harder without wing clip and concussive.  Give us concussive back you bastards.  I am not sure if I will ever really get used to being a melee hunter, but with my pets issues it sure seems like I will get a lot of practice.  It generates no aggro because it hits like a wet noodle.  I can not misdirect to it.  It all adds up to many mobs on me.  Speaking of giving us things back, give us our dodge you took away too.  While it is nice to kill something point blank, it just does not feel right.  I'll get used to it but I don't think I will ever change from the idea I want to be at range.

    That is all for now, I will do another beta thoughts post as more things pop into mind.