Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Case Against Balance

I feel like playing devil's advocate today so decided that I would put up something that I am sure will make some people start to have steam coming out of their ears.  Everyone calls for balance in PvE and PvP, they say balance it good for the game.  I'm going to take the other side of this argument just for fun and share some of the reasons why balance is a horrible thing.

With true balance there is no real triumph against the odds.

In player vs player we usually hear about balance the most and in player vs player I would argue against balance the most.  Some classes should be able to kill others.  PvP should be a game of rock paper scissors.  Every class should have classes they own and classes that own them.  That is good design.  All things should not be equal.  All things should not be balanced.

If a mage is the bane of a rogue and always beats the rogue and somehow a rogue manages to win it is a great triumph.  It is something to be excited about.  If you are balanced then winning is just a matter of being better than another person whereas being the underdog means you accomplished something special.  True excitement is winning a battle you have no way of winning.

Isn't it just more exiting to do something that can't be done?  Coming from behind is more exiting, there is no way anyone could ever argue that.  So winning when you should lose is the ultimate win.

Same goes for PvE as well.  Isn't there something exciting about beating a fight in a way that you should not be able to beat it.  If a fight needs a warlock to make it easier.  Or needs a priest to make it easier.  Or needs a paladin to make it easier.  Or needs anything but you do it without that class, isn't it more exiting? 

With balance, the likelihood that you will enter a battle without a skill, buff or debuff you need is much less likely.  So you will always have what is needed to make the fight easier.  What exactly is fun about that?  Winning against the odds is exiting, winning when you should win is anticlimactic.

How many times have you done a fight that needed three healers and only used two?  It felt like a triumph.  How many times have you done a fight that needed two tanks and only used one?  It felt like a triumph.  That is the same as beating a boss that you needed to have hero/lust for but didn't have it.  It is exciting to do things without a needed component.

True balance, once again, means you will rarely if ever be caught in that situation because everything will always be there that you need.  Balance removes the fun feeling of having an exiting triumph in the game.

With true balance you devalue the individual class.

This effects the pure damage dealing classes the most.  If every class in the game can do the same DPS then why bring a pure DPS class when you could bring someone that could work as your third healer or second tank if needed.  If everyone has dual roles the class with only one role, to do damage, becomes worthless. 

Even more so when you think a feral or balance druid can do a tranquility when needed, a retribution paladin can do a lay on hands when needed or a warrior or DK and serve as an emergency tank for a few seconds while waiting for a battle resurrection.

So isn't balancing damage done across all classes creating an imbalance when it comes the value of the individual class?  Yes.

If you need to pick and choose because everyone is balanced completely you will choose the ones with more versatility.  When it comes down to it who would you rather have in a group when you need a battle resurrection, a feral druid or a combat rogue?  Druid of course.  If they both to the same damage then it is not a choice, it is take the hybrid class. 

If the rogue did more damage then you create a choice.  Do you want more damage or more versatility?  Can you do the fight with less damage so you can afford to take the versatility?  Without balance you create a choice on how you do things.  With everyone balanced to do the same damage you remove the choice because the correct choice is the class that brings the most to the raid outside of just doing damage.

True balance in damage dealing capabilities devalues the pure damage dealing classes.

True balance removes choices in game play.

If all healers were capable of dropping 200K healing bombs or were all capable of casting most of their spells on the move or were all capable of fantastic AoE healing then there would be no choice involved in the game.  While healers have not quite evolved into that they seem to be heading that way with the push to balance everything.

When the time comes where every class can do everything just as effectively it does become more of a bring the player not the class thing which most agree is a good thing, but it takes away from making choices.

While you might be able to argue that it creates more choices by allowing you to bring whatever healing class you want I will argue it removes choices because it no longer matters which class comes.  If it doesn't matter what the class is, then it is not a choice because it doesn't have any impact.  A choice means that you are making a decision that makes an impact, no impact because they are all the same means no choice.

When each healing class has its strengths and weaknesses you have to make choices.  Do you bring a more AoE oriented class or do you need a dedicated tank healer?  Do you want to go with three healers because you need a dedicated tank healer and the AoE healing requirements might be too much for one healer?  Will you need three because the classes you have are not ideal for this fight?  You need to make tactical decisions, also referred to as choices.

If everyone can do the same thing you might have the choice of which one you like to play but you do not have to make the hard choices that make games fun, like building the perfect team.

The same goes for tanking.  If all classes where balanced they could all handle things the same.  So there would be no need to get a tank that is better with taking melee damage or magical damage, any tank would be fine.  So when things are balanced you are given the choice to play any tank you want to play but you lose the choice to build the perfect team.

If every class could play every role the exact same then there is really no need to decide on what is the best way to do things.  There is no choice involved.  Choice is a good thing, choice shows the ability to problem solve.  Choice is why having more than one spec is a good thing. 

Choice makes situations like the following happen.  We could use some more multi dots rolling on this fight, so we will have our arms warrior switch to protection so he can tank, the protection paladin will move to holy so he can heal and the holy priest will move to shadow so he can multi dot on this fight.  I've done that in my raid before... haven't you?  That is a choice, that is problem solving, that is fun and exciting, that is what being a raid leader is about, making those choices that others did not even notice were there.  If every class did the same things across the board, there would be no choices to be made.  Boo, where is the fun in that?

True balance removes the need for strategy.

As the above example explained sometimes by switching things up you can make a fight easier on your team.  That is part of the excitement of games like this.  Deciding who is going to do what and when is a very important aspect of the game.  If everyone was the same the need to move the pieces around like that is gone. 

If all tanks are created equal you would never say a death knight is better on this fight.  If all healers are created equal you would never say a paladin would be better on this fight.  If all damage dealers where created equal you would never say that a cleave class would be better on this fight.

Like needing the multi dot class I mentioned before.  Or like needing a damage dealing class with a battle resurrection or healing cooldown that I mentioned before.  These are all strategic choices that make the game what it is, fun.  If everyone were ever able to do anything everyone else could then there would never be a need for decisions to be made.  There would never been a need to create a strategy for a fight that might very well be different then something others are using because you have a different group make up.

Some classes doing things better than other classes is an important part of making the game fun.  You have to pick and choose and decide what is needed for each fight.  One strategy would not work for all on some fights.

The same holds true for PvP, even if we have not reached complete balance yet we have reached it close enough to mean that there is no strategy to PvP most of the time.  Kill the healer first and pick apart everyone else.  95% of the time that will be your strategy so that does not really make it a strategy does it?  It means that only on that rare 5% of the times you might actually need a strategy.

If there were less balance then the strategy would be more important.  In 3 v 3 if you came up against a pack where the two DPS were super easy for your class make up, because like I said all classes should have counters, then it would be best to just blow them up, even the best healer could not keep them up if you owned them due to having the class advantage over them.  Balance means that you will not run into an easy kill like that and balance is why you kill the healer first.  It removes the need for a strategy.

True balance is bad for the community.

All the following lines are completely true in a balanced game.  If you can not do at least 20K in 378 gear you suck.  If you can't beat any class one on one in PvP you suck.  If you can not do 30K HPS on an AoE healing fight you suck.  If you can not easily control all the adds as the add tank on this fight you suck.

I've read all of these on forums.  Everyone thinks everyone is created equal and it is a balanced game design that gives people that feeling.  While it is not completely true people generalize and tend to believe that there is some sort of ultimate balance but the good thing is we have not reached it yet.

If they already make such generalizations and the game is not 100% balanced yet how bad do you think the hate spewing would be if there was a true balance.

This community is bad enough as is but it can still be decent and I've seen it.  On the stone guy in stonecore when it first came out (it has been fixed now) hunters could not DoT themselves up to get out of the stun.  They needed to run in and melee, which to anyone that knows anything about hunters would know is almost as bad as them getting stunned.  Hunters should not be in melee and even more so should not spend the entire fight running in and out. 

The forums where buzzing about this with hunters complaining and guess what happened?  People, yes the same people that love to call people bads, felt bad for hunters.  They all came out with comments like, I feel bad for you on that fight, You can run in and melee and disengage, You could got get some sulfron slammer and drink it before the spell so it will break you out.  See, people helped out.  They felt bad for the hunters.  They gave advice to the hunters.  They thought up some tips and tricks for the hunters. 

They did not call them bads because in this case hunters where not balanced on this fight and even this horrible community understood that.  They actually had it harder than any other class and the community worked with them and felt for them and understood that it was harder for them.  If all things were balanced and there was an issue that one class has a problem with they would get flamed to all high heaven.  See what balance does?  It changes people.  It changes them into, if I can do it then you can do it or you suck.

If PvP were the way it should be there would not be people saying you suck if you can't beat so and so class.  The venom PvPers spew can sometimes be leaps and bounds worse than the stuff you see on PvE forums with people calling others bads.  If PvP was a game of rock paper scissors like it should be some classes would always beat others and always lose to some others.

The community would stop saying if you can not beat them you suck.  They would do like they did for the hunters with ozark.  They would sympathize at the plight of that class vs class situation.  They would say things like, you are supposed to lose one on one so don't take it to hard, here are some tips that could help you survive while you wait for them to make a mistake and hope you can capitalize on it.  They would be helpful because they would know that it was a difficult fight for them, like ozark was for hunters.

If things are balance then everyone will always have the opinion that if I can do it anyone can, regardless of what class they are playing.  Balance creates this illusion.  Right now people think there is balance because blizzard tries to put forward the illusion of balance, so this attitude is in the community already.  Instead of creating balance they should go back to old school and say it like it is.  If a warrior gets a hunter in melee the hunter should lose.  If the warrior gets caught at ranged by a hunter the warrior should lose.  That is good design.  Making them balanced is not.  Depending on the fight one should always beat the other.  There should not be a million and one gap closers and openers to help balance things.  Bad bad bad, balance is bad.

So, in summation, balance is bad... mkay.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Mists too Ambitious?

We keep seeing more content being added and to someone like myself, someone who will most likely try to do it all, it seems like there is a lot going on.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea that there will be a lot of things to do but I wonder what it means for the long run.  With all the things going on you are asking the average player to need to know a lot more.

Look around the game now and see how many people can't find their way to outlands their first time.  Most players can't figure it out on their own.  See how many people can't figure out how to get to northrend.  There was one person in my horde guild the other day that flew to stormwind to take the boat to northrend because he could not figure how to get there from horde side.

Worse yet, I still hear it all the time, where should I quest at level 30, or something like that.  I always tell them, check the call board, go where it tells you to go.  Or look at your map, it shows you what levels that area is designed for.  All that and people still can not figure it out on their own.

The majority of the player base is not really all that "game smart".  Could be because they never played a game like this before.  Could be because they lack common sense.  Could be that they are too lazy to look things up themselves.  It could be many things.  Some innocent enough and others that just prove someone is basically an idiot.  All of them mean the person is not game smart.

Look at the standard looking for raid now.  Out of 25 people the break up usually goes like this.  Ten people usually have the "its only the LFR" attitude and don't even try and/or don't obey mechanics.  Ten people are just bad players for whatever reason it is that makes them bad, new or stupid.  Five people, just five, seem to actually want to do the best they can to get the looking for raid done.

This is a simple watered down version of content.  The heroic dungeons are harder than looking for raid by a rather large margin.  It should be run in, kill things quick, get your valor or gear and get the hell out.  The player base can not handle that.  It can not handle one simple watered down raid.  Hell, they can not find their way to outlands or northrend. 

It is either indifference, stupidity or complete laziness but it is a simple fact that most of the people that play this game are not exactly high functioning when it comes to gaming.

That is why I wonder if mists is being a little bit too ambitious with adding so much different content for a group of people that can not even figure out how to get to northrend.

People can not even handle doing the looking for raid correctly and that is about as easy as easy gets.  Now they are adding scenarios, they are add pet battle, they are adding farming, they are adding gear upgrades, they are adding many new reputations, they are adding cooking specialties, they are adding different stats to PvP gear, they are adding challenge modes but at least those can not be randomed for, yet, the crying will change that for sure.

They are adding more and more which I love but you have to wonder can this "I can't even do the looking for raid correctly" generation of players handle all this new content.

We won't have to deal with just the questions like how to I get to pandaria.  We will have to deal with people asking a million and one questions about a million and one things because they are adding so much to the game.

The people in the LFR that where indifference because its only LFR will start calling people that do not know the answers to all these questions all types of names.  Creating bad blood.

The lazy people will not look it up and expect everyone to help them do everything and tell them how to do everything.  Creating bad blood.

The bad players will complain that there is so much to do and it is too hard to do it all meaning it will either all be watered down for them or we just have to keep hearing them complain more.  Creating bad blood.

No matter how you look at it, adding all this stuff, for what I would guess would be 80% of the community, will be a bad thing.

I consider myself in the 20%, the ones that will look it up myself and/or figure things out on my own.  The ones that will try my best to do my best to do everything.  The ones that enjoy doing something new and learning something new.  The ones that just like to play the game and have fun with it.  But even me and the rest of the 20% will have to deal with something that could turn out bad from all this new content.

Could all this content turn into a faster burn out for the people that try to do it all?

Adding all this stuff means people need to know more and as we have seen people do not want to know anything.  They just want it easy and apparently figuring out which cooking specialty would be best for you will be way too hard for the average player.

Looking at all the things they are adding from the outside in you have to say that blizzard is really putting their best foot forward.  They are adding so much for us to do and we should be thankful for their efforts.  But seeing it from the inside, it looks like a whole different picture.  Just look at beta where no one wants to figure out anything for themselves.  Everyone asks for people to tell them what to do and how to do it.

I am looking forward to all this new stuff to play with.  I have no aversion to learning how to do it all.  But I am part of the 20%.  What about the other 80%?

Will all this ambitious content addition backfire on them when 80% of the population will be either too indifferent to it, too bad to understand it or do it, or too lazy to do it but still want the benefits from it?

Just like 80% of the looking for raid users are indifferent, bad or lazy.

The game is really shaping up for the 20% but I think the other 80% are going to end up either being pushed away from the game with all this new content or they will stay and make life miserable for the 20% who are enjoying it and causing them to be pushed away.

Is all this ambition going to blow up in their faces?

I hope not because it looks good... from the outside looking in at least.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tips & Tricks for the Reroll and New Player at the End of the Expansion

These are mostly standard rules and do not only hold true for the end of the expansion.  However, around this time of the expansion a lot of players start to reroll, sometimes on a new server, and for those that are experienced they might need a little refresher on what it is like to be new.

So for the new player, or the player starting new on a different server, here is a small list of things that you might find helpful to leaving yourself in a good position when you hit max level.

1) Professions:

First things first.  Get your professions ASAP.  Look for the profession trainer, each area (except gnomes) has a professions trainer in the starting area.  It does not show on the tracker, just hover over everyone until you find it.  You can train professions at level 5.  Do it.  Don't hesitate.  Don't procrastinate.  Just do it.

The professions you choose really make a world of difference when you are starting new or rerolling.  While the experienced players all know that things like jewelcrafting and enchanting seem like no brainers for the end game, when you are starting fresh on a server it is likely not the best idea to go with one of them at the start.

Enchanting is the worst profession to pick when rerolling or starting your first character.  Not because it is bad, quite the opposite really, it is a great money maker.  It is because it will hinder your making money while leveling.  Something that is very important when going through things your first time.

With enchanting you have to disenchant everything you get to have materials to level and this cuts into your gold flow.  Not to mention, some of the things you need while leveling enchanting can be very expensive on the open market meaning you spend a lot while leveling instead of making it.

Without enchanting if there is nothing you need from a quest you can choose the item that sells for the most and vendor it.  Do that, do not take enchanting.  Save that for the third character profession.  Maybe even second.  Not first.  If you really want it on your first, wait until later to do it.  You will see how easy you can do it later when this is done.

Another thing that is common is for people to pick paired abilities.  Skinning and leatherworking, mining and blacksmith, mining and jewelcrafting.  This again is a bad idea.  While it is true you can get by with it, all of those things would require you to spend extra time farming materials and less time questing and enjoying the game just to keep up with the crafting profession.  Save crafting for a second character or something to go back and get once you are max level.

So what should you do?  Gathering of course.  Skinning, mining and herbalism.  Pick any two and run with it.  I suggest skinning as the number one thing.  Take skinning and one of the others, your choice.  The reason for skinning is that leveling the crafting half, which is leatherworking, requires insane amount of skins which means that leather more than anything else has a fantastic resell rate all the time.  Add to that the new transmog world and there will always be people looking for those lower leathers to make some gear.

Skinning is king in the world of professions to have on a reroll or a new character.  Skinning, for the most part, will usually keep up with the speed of your leveling.  With the exception of a worgen, which oddly enough has a skinning bonus, all races have enough wild life to keep you moving on.  Herbalism and mining might need you to hang back a little as you will level faster than your skill level moves.  At least with mining you can smelt whereas herbalism you are sort of screwed.  All you can do to catch up is pick an area with lots of grass and hope it sprouts some herbs.  Make it an area with lots of bears and beasts too, hoping that you are a skinner as well.

TL;DR: Pick up skinning and either mining or herbalism as your professions.

2) Secondary Professions:

Lets go over them one at a time.  First up is fishing.  Pick up this profession for a few reasons.  One being now you have a daily fishing quest you can do.  Another being that fishing can make you a boat load of money at all levels, including low levels.  This is something rerollers seem to forget.  And lastly, fishing makes leveling cooking much easier.

When you start off grab a few of the things that boost your fishing level when doing the daily.  It might not seem like much but it will pay off in the end.  Use the fishing skill increase things every time you plan to fish for the fishing quests as they do not mean fishing in pools.  In the outside world you will only ever fish in pools, so no need to carry any on you.  Pools are a 100% no junk catch.

When out in the world fish in every pool you see.  You will see a fair deal of sagefish pools and as you get higher greater sagefish pools.  Save every single one of those fish.  Also, save the ones you get from the fishing daily as well.  Fish are a cheap way to level cooking and all fish have their stages.  In the case of the sagefish and greater sagefish they can get you as much as 60 skill points each when you get to that level.  Can't beat that with a stick.  This will also allow you to sell the meats you get when leveling because you will be using your fish to level cooking in many spots and meats do seem to sell better.  More on that later.

Now for the reroll person, the one that might have forgotten about fishing, let me remind you of some simple facts.  Fishing can get you leather, bolts of cloth, coins, patterns, and the weather beaten journal which will teach you find fish.  Fish in every pool.  All that stuff adds up and will all be incoming funds which you will need while leveling a new character, reroll or not.  Just because you have experience does not mean you will not need money.

Now to cooking.  It has an easy daily for experience, that alone should be reason enough right?  Pick it up and make yourself some spice bread.  You can get a good few levels off of this and the supplies are usually near the trainer.  Make sure you buy any and all recipes that you can while you travel and learn them. The most important ones will be the ones that require fish to make, like the ones for sagefish and greater sagefish, sound familiar?

Whenever you get some items that you can make stuff with, make it.  When you reach the sagefish level cook all your sagefish and keep cooking it until you can not get any more skill points from it.  Same goes for when you reach the greater.  Just keep up with your cooking and fishing together and you will be fine.

So why are we leveling cooking and fishing?  Because cooking is a huge money maker later on and no one likes going back to level it.  End game food on many server can go from 5-20 gold per when cooked thanks to people not wanting to level cooking themselves.  Three cheers for lazy people making you money.

Also if you are leveling cooking you are more likely to remember how important fish and meat is.  More on that later.  While fishing you could always level later because you always catch a fish from a pool even if you have a level one skill it is just better to do it as you go.

Next up is first aid.  Don't bother.  You can go back and level it if you want to.  However, if you are a reroll or a class that can heal, you will never find yourself in a situation where you need it really.  And you will have lots of food to eat between battles because you are leveling cooking right?  If you are brand new and your class does not have a heal you might want to pick it up but it is not entirely needed for the most part.

Now for archaeology.  Don't even bother training it.  It is a waste of coinage when starting.  You will never be able to effectively level it until you have flying, faster flying at that.  Save it for something to do when you are max level and bored.  There is no real need for it in the game anyway.  It is a for fun only secondary profession and there is absolutely zero fun trying to level it while leveling your character because of the random placement of dig sites and quite often all of them being in areas you do not have access to yet.  Again, do not waste your time with it.

TL;DR: Pick up cooking and fishing and avoid first aid and archaeology.

3) Bags:

For the reroll this could very well be the reason you hate rerolling.  We are all used to having space and even with all 26 slot bags we always find ourselves with no space what so ever.  So the first thing a reroll does is spend everything they can on bags.  Try not to do that, it is really not worth it.  There are ways around it and I am here to help the rerolls and the new players out with that.

Unless you are on a server that has really cheap bags on the auction house it is not worth buying them.  If you are dead set, find out what they are made from, buy or collect the materials and tip someone to make them for you.  It will, in some cases, be a quarter of the price they sell for on the market that way.

Lets start with the basics and these basics are the same for the entire time you are leveling.  Every time you see a place to sell off stuff, sell off stuff.  It might sound simple but people forget that.  Even if there is only one piece of junk to sell off, sell it.  Never pass a vendor of any sort without selling stuff that can be sold.  Remember, many innkeepers have an option to sell stuff to them.  Use that option too.  There are enough vendors around that you can easily go without ever needing to throw stuff away, even with smaller bags, if you are good at emptying your bags every chance you get.

In every starting area there are a few rare spawns that are not exactly rare.  They seem to have 10 minute spawn timers and while doing your starting quests you are bound to come across at least one of them.  Beside the fact that they are amazing experience they all drop a six slot bag.  Kill that baby and claim your bag.  If you really want to you can wait for it to respawn and get another bag or two or three if that is your style.  No need to waste even a few silver on starting bags when you can get them, and a boat load of experience, for free.

When it comes to moving up in the world of bags, never trust the auction house.  Bags are always expensive there.  Even those ones that look cheap like one gold can usually be purchased from a city vendor for 60 silver.  So keep away from the auction house for bags, it is a bad idea for your bottom line.

So how do we get you some decent bags for leveling you might ask.  6 slot bags are not exactly going to last long.  Well, there are a few cheap and easy bag options.

First ones comes from reputation.  Every main city sells a 16 slot bag when you reach revered with their faction for around 1 gold.  This means that you can get 6 per side as there are 6 races per side.  This also means the value of a 16 slot bag is roughly 1 gold.  Never pay more than that.  If you see them for 5 gold on the auction house it might be worth it, but not 20 like they are on most.  Just not worth it.

Sure, one or two reputations will be easy to get to revered quick while the others take time but there is one more cheap 16 slot bag you can get along your way, as long as you make a pass through Hillsbrad Foothills.

The Alterac Valley vendors sell the old hunter quivers there for the low low price of 50 honor.  The thing is the old hunter quivers now are normal bags so that 16 slot quiver is now a 16 slot bag.  For 50 honor.  Are you insane?  I think I might be.  Even if you are not a PvPer just join one battleground at any given point.  Run with the pack, kill anything and even if you lose you can easily get 50 honor to buy the bag.  Even if you hate PvP isn't it worth it for a free 16 slot bag basically?

So with two revered reps and the PvP bag you now have three 16 slot bags while you are waiting to get the other reps up.  That should be more than ample for leveling.  Not great of course because the more space you have the better you are, but that is more than serviceable.

TL;DR:  Get 16 slot bags from race vendors near flight points in major cities once revered and one PvP 16 slot bag in Hillsbrad Foothills.

4) Auction House:

A reroll might be tempted to buy everything.  A new player might not realize it is even there.  Both seem to forget you can sell stuff there as well as buy stuff there.

Seriously folks, there is a world of wealth to be had and starting fresh means you are going to be in need of every cent you can get.  As the saying goes, one mans garbage is another mans gold.

All those things you might consider vendoring when leveling, sell them.  Meats, fish, eggs and assorted spider parts you no longer need to level cooking because you passed their level?  Sell them.  Cloth you do not need because you are not leveling first aid?  Sell it.  Oddball things like thick spider silk, elemental water, and things like that you might over look?  Sell them, people buy it.  Trust me.

Everything can sell but you need to remember that you just want to make more than vendoring it.  You do not want to get filthy rich off every single sale.  So you might see it going for 30 silver on the auction house so it is not worth selling.  Wrong.  If it sells for 9 copper and you can get 30 silver you would be a fool for vendoring it.

What if I put that a different way to better explain it?  Something vendors for 9 silver but you could sell it on the auction house for 30 gold, would you still vendor it?  Of course not.  9 silver to 30 gold is the same as 9 copper to 30 silver.  It adds up, sell everything.

Oh, and remember, you are a skinner and another gathering profession right?  Sell all that stuff too.  Never leave a beast unskinned, an herb unpicked, a mine uh... unmined.  All of that is money just waiting to fill your bags.

If you can sell it on the auction house, sell it.  If not, vendor it.  Along with making sure to empty your bags often like I mentioned before, auction often.  This is a huge key to making money and as a reroll or a new player you will need it.

TL;DR: Everything that can be sold should be sold.

5) Quests:

I don't know how much I can stress this.  It is my answer to everything when it comes to leveling.

What is the fastest way to level?  Questing.  What is a good way to get faction rep?  Questing.  What is a good way to make money? Questing.  What is an easy relaxed way to play?  Questing.  What is a fast paced way to play?  Questing.  You get the idea.  Questing rules.

Questing, aside from offering the best experience to time ratio in the game has so many benefits for the reroller or the new player.  Questing means you get reputation for everything you do.  Reputation for the main cities that gets you those 16 slot bags.  Questing means you get some coin for doing the quest and sometimes an item as well.  If you need none of the items it offers, choose whichever sells for the most and take that and sell it for even more coin.

Questing means you are out in the world killing things.  Which means as a skinner you get more skins from killing more beasts.  You also get cloth from all humanoid mobs.  Not to mention the coins from various mobs.  You run across more herbs and mining nodes while questing too.  The more you quest, the more you run across.

You get the chance at rare drops that can sell for a fair amount.  You get meat from spiders, bears, wolves, crabs, kodo, you name it and that stuff sometimes sells for a very good price.  You get recipes, crafting items, and assorted other goodies that sometimes might seem like junk that sells.

The basic idea is to loot everything, gather everything, always take the highest priced reward and remember to empty your bags as often as possible.  In the end, the questing route is the best and you will not regret it.

TL;DR: Just quest.  Trust me.

6) Hitting Max Level:

Once you capped out you can look back at everything you did.  You will probably have all 16 slots bags, unless you got into a few pugs or quests that got you some better bags.  You will most likely have anywhere between 15K-35K gold, depending on the server economy, from selling everything along the way with your two gathering professions, your fish and your food sales.  And you will be in an excellent position to start the end game on your new character or rerolled character.

Even on the low end, 15K, you can now decide to change your professions to what you really wanted.  It would be more than ample to power level anything.  If you plan to drop one of your gathering professions for something you will need that material in leveling it, go crazy gathering first before you drop it so you will have most of what you need already.  You can now get yourself some nicer bags too with that added gold.

In the end you have yourself those better professions for the profession bonus and money making potential.  You will have better bags.  And most importantly you will have learned one hell of a valuable lesson.

The lesson is, you might want tailoring and enchanting or jewelcrafting and blacksmithing but that is what you want for end game.  While working your way up, do not think about end game.  Think about leveling and making money.  When you get to the end, you can have anything you want because you set yourself up in a good position by doing the right thing.

New players get distracted by thinking they do not want to level a profession just to drop it.  Rerollers get distracted by thinking they need two other professions for the end game.  Don't get distracted.  Leveling is about leveling.  Just take care of that.  Make some money along the way following my suggestions and when the time comes at the end you can do anything you want basically.

TL;DR:  Don't worry about the end game when you are leveling.

So for all those new players that might be starting now or people looking to reroll on a new server these things could help you out a little bit.  At least until the crafting professions are sped up to match the increasing leveling speed, it is just better to level this way.  It is less stressful and quite frankly more fun if you ask me.

So jump into the game and have some fun with it.  Rerolling can be fun and starting new doesn't need to be stressful.  You just need to do it right.  Have fun.

I would also suggest to all those that have never been horde or never been alliance, at least level enough to go through dustwallow marsh on the other side of the fence.  It has always been one of the best designed questing areas in the game from the start of the game up until now.  It was left mostly untouched from the cataclysm.  So roll it from the side you never saw it on before and enjoy, for the last time most likely, the experience of leveling in one of the best zones before it is changed forever.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Community: It Makes us and it Breaks us.

Any internet community is driven by its people.  While people might be brought to communities for the content the community has to offer; a common interest; a game; information; it is the community itself that determines whatever it will thrive or crash and burn.

I know I've been a part of various internet communities and I am sure everyone that reads this has as well.

The perfect example is a support forum.  If you are having an issue with something, lets say a computer problem, you look around for forums that offer to help.  You make a post describing your issue, giving as many details as you can, and asking in a polite way for assistance.

Forum one has responses like...
- Just buy a new computer you cheapskate.
- How can you not know how to fix that yourself, are you an idiot.
- U iz screwed lolololol.

Forum two has responses like...
- If you go to your setting and change option two that might fix it.
- Have you tried to run the repair option.
- Check this folder for a filed named this and delete it and restart, that might help.

Forum three has responses like...
- Lots of technical jargon that if you did not know what it meant it would be no help.
- A long drawn out expansion that explains why it happened and why what you did fixed it.
- A long post that goes on like a short story but gives you what could have been a one line fix.

These are the three types of communities that I have seen that seems to be the most likely to be found around the internet.

Community one is full of people that really do not care about anyone but themselves and find it more fun to insult than help.  Your chances of getting any meaningful help in this community are slim, but not completely impossible.  Even in bad communities like this there are usually a few decent people around.

Community two is full of people that don't mind helping if they can.  They might not be the most knowledgeable or the most well spoken people but they try and can usually work, as a group, to help people out.  It might be hit or miss, it might take a while, but they can help you.

Community three is a group of people that are all very intelligent and knowledgeable about whatever the topic is and unless you have a basic grasp of the topic they are talking about to begin with you will be lost, instantly.

Now lets go back to those forum posts and see how they turned out after a week.

Forum one we see...
- 68 posts, 2 of which actually pertain to what was asked.  The other 66 are either insulting you or insulting someone that insulted you.
- Nearly all the posts will contain someone using internet slang, a few you might have never even seen before.
- At least 1 person posting a meme, usually not even one that makes any sense to what is going on.
- People posting stuff you can not figure out no matter how hard you try.
- When all is done you will feel your IQ just dropped 15 points by reading the thread.

Forum two we see...
- 24 posts, which contain 7 solid ideas and two people arguing over their ideas on the matter, but at least in a way that can not be considered very insulting.
- People that actually seem like they want to help you with the problem, even the people arguing offer apologies for it happening in your thread.
- The 2 far fetched ideas say they are so and the posters mentioned it might be worth a shot even if it might not work.
- The 4, of the 5, reasonable ideas are quick and to the point.  One or two of them might even have said they had that problem themselves.
- The last one is usually a long drawn out description of everything you can do.  This one idea has a dozen ideas all wrapped together.
- When all is done you feel like you might actually be able to figure this out.

Forum three we see...
- 4 posts only.  4 very long posts.
- Post one will be roughly 6 paragraphs explaining everything in full detail.  All the things you need to know and a lot more that really do not help you any but might in interesting to someone with some knowledge on the situation.
- Post two is someone pointing out a small error in the thesis that the first person posted and presents his reasoning for believing it is wrong in his own 4 paragraph post.
- Post three is the post one person thanking the other person for pointing it out and then explaining how he made that error, or came to that conclusion, in his own 8 paragraph rebuttal.
- Post four is some guy that just says, I think they covered it all but if you need any more information on the topic you can check these 14 links on the topic that I just happen to have because I keep this stuff around.
- When all is done you are left thinking you are going to need to post on another site to ask them for help trying to figure out what these guys said while trying to help you with your original topic.

If you think about it, this three style of community system works well.

If you like to just joke around and mess with other people, you have community one to satisfy your needs.  If you want a decent environment with basically average people that sometimes joke, sometimes take things serious but always consider that it is a community and not their personal playground there is community two.  For those that only the facts matter and there is no time for just having fun when there is data to be considered and posts to be written that you can use your knowledge to its fullest potential with than community three is for you.

If you will notice in the warcraft community, on the forums and on the servers, you can see that we have it all.  We have a lot of people from group one, group two and group three.  We fill all roles and that is what makes the warcraft community unique and extremely hard to balance.

If you where looking to solve a computer problem you could easily look at some previous posts on the three forums I mentioned and decide which one is for you.  I would choose group two for most, group three only if it where a topic I understood well to begin with and group one if I was in the mood for some self abuse.  I am not sure how communities like group one survive but a search of the internet will show you that there is always at least one very popular community like group one on every topic you could think of.

That is where the problem with the warcraft community lies if you where to ask me.  We are all parts from different puzzles mixed in the same box.  We might all be warcraft players, but we are not all playing the same game.

Take a look at any thread on the forums and you will see what I am talking about.  Take the standard "I Quit" topic that someone goes into details why they are quitting.  Not one of the troll looking ones, a real thought out one with valid concerns on the part of the writer.

You will see a large portion of people posting things like, "can i haz ur stuff", or "don't let the door hit you in the ass", or "good, one less whiner." while you will also see a few people wishing them well and saying they are sorry to hear they lost their love for the game even if they did not know them and finally there will be a post here or there that will pick apart why the person is leaving and explain, in painful detail and at least 5000 words how the thing they are leaving because of is actually something that has been good for the game.

There you go, all three communities represented in one single post.

So why is the issue of community becoming a much larger issue with the game, larger than it has ever been before?

Because more and more people are migrating to group one and group one, in my opinion, sucks.  They do not make for a feel good community.  They exist for ripping things apart and not building them up.  They overwhelm people, like a swarm of bees.

People in group two are usually give or take, some post but most don't which is a sad thing.  Those are the bread and butter for the mixed community that is warcraft.  They are the average joe.  They are the ones that help people.  They are the ones that make people feel welcome.  They are the ones that speak in layman terms.  They are what most communities are built on.

The group three people will usually find their topics and talk in them, usually among themselves, and occasionally make a huge post to explain things in another thread if they have a belief that someone in that thread might actually take the 15 minutes to read their short story.  Otherwise they know their time is better spent in threads where they know people are willing to read something that takes more then 20 seconds to finish.

Group one and group three can survive on their own, they can even survive together.  If a thread is a group one thread and a group three posts in it the group one people will pass right by it and post TL;DR.  If a group one person posts in a group three thread the exact same happens.  A group three reader would see a one line post and not even bother reading it because nothing important can ever come from only one line.

Group two is the bread and butter of every and all communities.  Remember I said there would be a few decent people in a group one forum?  Those would be the decent people that just like that humor, they would be the group two people that just hang out in a group one world.  Same goes for the other end.  A group two person that is knowledgeable on a topic can fit perfectly in a group three world as much as a group two person that likes to be silly can fit in a group one.

Group two is the glue that holds the community together.

This is the reason the warcraft community is falling apart however.  Because of the sudden loss of group two people.  Many have given up and become more likely to say "can i haz ur stuff" instead of "good luck in real life, be well".

The group one people have scared away most of the group two people.  I know, from my own experience only, that I never post on the official forums, or any wow related forums for that matter, because I do not want to deal with group one people.  It is not that they bother me, it is that they waste time and can easily turn what could be a good conversation into a troll fest or a flame fest.  I love to joke around and have fun, but unlike a group one person, I know the time and place for such things.  I have no time for group one people and I am sure I am not alone either.

Even in trade chat on whichever server I play if someone asks a question I always like to help but I never help in trade.  I whisper the person directly with the answer and after they say thank you I say, you're welcome, if you ever have a questiond feel free to ask if you see me on because it is better than letting those trade trolls get their hands on you.  That usually brings a laugh and more so brings another person that would have been a group two person out of the community and into the secret world of whispers where people can talk and not have to deal with trolls telling them that survival is the best mage spec.

Warcraft did something special creating what they did.  They created a community that was growing for a long time while having all three groups of people in one place.  It is a rare phenomenon on the internet for sure.

It is also what is now coming back to hurt them.

I've said it and so many others have said it as well.  If I ever leave wow it will most likely be the people that make me leave it and not the game itself.

Even when I was on the verge of quitting during the dreaded double zul torture it was not running the zuls over and over again that pushed it to the edge, it was the people I would run into in them that pushed me to the edge.

I waited 25 minutes for this?  A group that is filled with people that can't step out of green slime, can't do over 5K DPS, can't say one word in party with a curse or an insult?  I waited for this?

The zuls where only bad because of the community in them.  They where not really as bad as the community made them seem to be.  The people... the people... it was the people.  As much, and as often, as I say the zuls almost made me quit it was not them.  It was the community.

With the continued addition of random grouping and no accountability for rude and/or inappropriate actions the group one is growing in numbers never seen before.  Group two is becoming more and more introverted.  They want to keep to themselves.  If anything, the open community of the looking for whatever system is actually hurting the local community as well.

I used to be a pug person.  I would join them when I could.  I got to know people on my server.  The looking for system has made my views of others change to instead of thinking there were some bad players and some bad people I think they are mostly bad players and mostly bad people.  With that, I do not even pug on my own server any more.

This is because the balance of the community is shifting to be way more group one people.  Group one communities can survive but they can not survive in a mixed community.  At least not in the way they want to survive.  A group one needs to be kept in check or it will consume the community they are just trying to be a part of.  Look at the slowly disappearing group two people to see.  They are either joining group one or just not talking; playing at all any more.

The community is what makes or breaks us.  The big question is can blizzard fix the community to get the balance back in order?  Or more so, should they?

In the end what I said earlier holds true.  It is the community that makes people quit.  A community filled with better people and better players would be a better community.

Should blizzard do something about the "can i haz that" people?

I would love to see something done about them but I am pretty sure I am alone here, or maybe I am just being grumpy again.  Who knows.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

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Is Blizzard Betting All In?

The announcement for the release date of the next expansion is less than two weeks away now by my estimation and we are still getting a slew of information day in and day out about things being added to Mists.  It is beginning to seem, more and more with each announcement, that blizzard is going all in with Mists.

After trying to bluff with a bad hand that they named Cataclysm they are low on chips.  Another bluff like that and they could very well go from being the table leader to walking home with their tail between their legs.

They announced Cataclysm saying it would be the biggest expansion with the most content ever.  They said they would release new patches faster than ever before.  They said a lot.  They where bluffing, none of the things they said where true, not even one, and in the end everyone saw their hand.  They had nothing.  A pair of twos could have beaten the hand that Cataclysm was.

With Mists they have been dealt a new hand but the people sitting at the table can't just take their betting big once more as proof they have a good hand.  They are going to need to wait it out to see it.  They are going to have to let them play it out and see what they have.

From all this information it is hard to believe that Mists is just another bluff.  They showed us what looked like a very advanced preview at the last convention and they kept it up by not only having a huge beta that was willing to invite anyone that bought an annual pass but adding many additional things to the beta that are functional but we where never even told about.

After having convention announcements for a dance studio and a path of the titans and seeing both cut before the finished product came out you have to look at this as a complete reversal for them, something we have never had the occasion to see before from them.  They are adding content that was not announced.  We are going to be getting more than they promised, not less.  Is this all one huge bluff or are we getting ready to see blizzard whip out the royal flush?

I happen to be from the school that is hoping for the best but expecting the worst.  I fell for their bluff last time.  I had high expectations of Cataclysm.  I was duped.  I and millions of other people, some of them got up and left the table after being so insulted by the Cataclysm bluff, expected so much more the way they had played their hand.  Once bitten, twice shy.

We won't get fooled again with that type of boasting about the best expansion ever but seeing blizzard going all in on this expansion has one wondering if they do actually mean it this time.  Are we really going to get the biggest expansion ever now?  Are we going to have more content than ever before?  Will we have faster patches and more things to do?  I know they did not say any of that about this expansion, they said it about the last one and I am still waiting for them to deliver on that.  I am holding Mists accountable for the debt Cataclysm left behind from their unfulfilled promises.

Lets just take a look at some random numbers that are being thrown at us.

8 - New questing zones.
1 - New hub city for each the alliance and horde. 
3 - New battlegrounds
1 - New arena.
10 - New or redesigned dungeons.
1 - New dungeon difficulty mode, challenge.
1 - New dungeon type called scenarios that can be done by any group make up.
10 - New scenarios.
3 - New raids
10 - Classes completely redesigned
30 - Specs completely redesigned
1 - New spec, guardian druid
1 - New class, monk
3 - New specs for monks
1 - New race, with dances, emotes and movements designed just for them
1 - New mini game, pet battles
10 - Different classes of pets
350 - Over 350 different abilities pets can have.
300 - Nearly 300 new pets
100 - Around 100 wild pets that can be captured
20 - Over 20 new factions to encounter
1 - New faction completely designed to be for lore only
6 - New cooking specializations
5 - New guild levels with redesigned bonuses
50 - Over 50 new mounts
550 - Over 550 new achievements
1200 - Over 1200 new quests
... so far.

All that and so much more.

An updated archeology that allows 6 digs per site and more pieces per dig, a wide variety of achievements for it and new collections, new races and new rares.  The new farming thing and new cooking containers.  The new creatures, new battles, new mechanics, new focus, new this and new that.

Many classes will find themselves with new resources like locks and arcane mages while other classes will find themselves with new ways to manage what they do like all tank specs and shamans with their totem change.

The changing and removal of things for hunters which is of course of special importance to me like the removal of minimum range and the change to needing expertise make for a new feel to how we do things for the second expansion in a row in our ever evolving class.

There will be so much to do game wise to begin with and everyone will need to relearn their class to some degree or another as most all abilities have changed, new abilities have been added, long known abilities have been removed and while it all remains the same there will be a fresh take on everything.

There are many new glyphs, most for fun and some that will be hard to decide on.  Druids will be able to be the good old tree all the time now, they can be a stag travel form that can carry a passenger, they can be an orca when they swim, there is just so much to do.  Hunters can even use a glyph to teach Fluffy to fetch now. 

There are world bosses that turn all the mobs around them into elites and have raid like mechanics in an open world setting which could be great fun or amazing havoc, either can very well be an exciting thing.

The world Pandaria covers appears to be more than we have ever seen in one expansion and the scenery is not only visually exciting but seemingly well thought out.  It is also all connected, something the world misses because of the disconnected questing areas in Cataclysm.

It seems like they have put so much into this expansion, for every bit they didn't do in Cataclysm they did it twice over in this one.  They are betting the farm on it, they are pushing all in.

They are correcting a lot of the errors they made with Cataclysm, such as the previously mentioned connected areas.  Hemet Nessingwary has made his return and he is all over the place.  Alchemists once again have reusable healing and mana potions.  Some forgotten currencies have been addressed like the dalaran cooking tokens.

Everything they screwed the pooch on in Cataclysm they are seemingly making some adjustments to in Mists and if there were ever a sign of good things to come that would be it.  A game might be judged by its much bigger over all but it touches the minds of its players with the little things, something blizzard seemed to forget in Cataclysm.  Even the little stuff matters.

Blizzard is putting all in.  They are not just putting in the big chips this time, they are even putting in the little ones.  They are effectively saying this hand is a winner.  This hand is the best hand they ever had. They are really all in this time and they intend to win.

Do you think they have what it takes to win this hand after the horrible bluff that backfired called Cataclysm?

We can all hope.  I'm not quite ready to bet the farm on them winning yet but for some reason I don't think they are bluffing.  I think that they really believe they have a good hand this time.

For me the key will not be when Mists is released, the key will be when the first patch comes out.  If it is more content and a raid and it is three or four months after the release of Mists I'll believe they are in it to win it.  If not, all this build up, all these goodies, all of it was just another elaborate bluff.  Just like the bluff they sold us when Cataclysm came out saying it would be the largest expansion ever with more patches faster than ever before.

Word to the wise blizzard, don't bluff your users again.  Last time it cost you big, next time the losses could be worse.  You've got our attention, time to wow us blizzard, no pun intended.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WTB: Decent Looking Mail

I've never been much for transmog but I have played with it for certain things.  Mostly helms really.  All my characters fit neatly into two categories, don't show helm; transmog helm.

Before transmog came out the only characters I ever had the helm show on were male night elves.  They bring ugly to a whole new level.  All other characters I did not show helms on.  Mostly this is because helms usually look horrible, fit horrible or just tend to make everyone look the same.

So for me, helms were the only thing I ever thought to transmog.  Even at that, only two characters have transmogged helms.  One is an engineer, can you guess what he mogged into?  I'm sure you can.

So transmog held no real use to me, outside of something as a joke... until recently.

My hunter finally moved on to doing his ranged weapon and while there are a fair deal of quality bows and crossbows and guns out there my decision was simple as to what I would transmog into. Rhok'delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keeper.

Using that just feels good.  For some reason I just feel like a hunter again.  It makes me feel bad they removed the quest from the game so others can not get it.  The bow really makes a hunter a hunter, at least for me.

After doing my bow up to look all classic like it got me thinking about going for a more old school look.  I was always a junk collector so I have a lot of gear sitting around.  I have many full sets.  I have my T5s for soloing, I have some T1.5 stuff, I have the original ZG stuff, I have a nice collection of goodies I've gathered over the years and kept for no real reason.

You might think, until now, would have been added there but it was not.  I still keep them for no reason.  They all look nice.  They all have some sort of memory attached.  They are all things that adding void storage to the game made sure I did not throw away but they all have one other thing in common.  They all do not make me feel like a hunter.

I want something that feels natural, something that matches my bow.  All this bulky armor that is mail is not for me.  I am a hunter, not a warrior.  I stay away from the action, I do not mix it up.  I want something that looks the role I play.   The role of being at a distance, moving like a fox, jumping and spinning and kiting and trapping and all those good hunter like things.   I do not care if the game wants to call it mail but at least make it look like I could do hunterly things in it.

Come now.  Can you see a hunter wearing that stuff trying to sneak around people in camo?  They would hear him coming like a bull running through a china shop.  I can see having a little extra protection, something chain mail would offer, but mail gear in game looks more like light plate and less like reenforced leather which is what it should be.

I would love to see some mail gear that looks like something a hunter would wear.  I've looked all over at gear sets.  On ivy veins there is a spectacular hunter transmog guide.  Nothing there looks hunterly however, but that is not their fault.  There is one on wowhead, there are a few sites dedicated just to hunter transmog, I've checked them all out and none of them have anything that looks like a hunter would wear it.  Again, not their fault.

I looked over all of them thinking perhaps one caught something the others had not come across but it seems they didn't.  There is just nothing out there that looks right.  Unless you are female.

I've found a few things I would consider borderline; the I might consider this sort of thing, but they still look horrible on a male hunter.  On a female hunter they are passable but not on a male.  Being I do not wish to do a sex change on my character I am back to square one now on looking for gear.

I'd like to see something added to the game gear wise for hunters to make them look more like hunters and less like warriors with ranged weapons.  I would also like to see some "normal clothing" looking options in mail like there are in cloth so we could look as if we are not wearing armor at all if we wanted to.

I would just like to see some options for hunters to look like hunters.  Is that really too much to ask for? 

They added transmog and it meant nothing to me.  When I finally decided to use it, there is nothing for me to transmog into.  You would have thought if they where going to add this, they would have added more stuff specifically designed to be used with it.

Do you think they will add things like that in the future?  A mail tuxedo or a mail suit and tie or mail leather looking items or anything really, anything that is not so bulky on what is supposed to be a quick, agile, sneaky hunter.

WTB: Decent Looking Mail.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- This Monday I got back to getting a new mount to mention in random thoughts.

- The raven lord is mine, finally.

- I am running out of things I can do for a nice an easy daily run.

- I am starting to wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

- While I hate running something all the time and never getting anything there is the other side of the coin, having nothing to run.

- Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

- Did a fun run of ICC heroic with a bunch of people that had never done it before, not even on normal.

- It is amazing how many people still wipe on LK because of shadow traps.

- This was an all guild group, they did not wipe to shadow traps once.

- My guild is weird.

- Give them something like shadow traps where the average player has problems and they do it like they have seen it a billion times.

- Give them something simple that anyone can do, and they wipe.

- Not kidding, they are awesome at the hard stuff and seem to miss the easy stuff sometimes.

- At least it makes things interesting.

- So we got some people that have never been there the achievement.

- I don't mind that the older content is easier, it will always fun to get people that have never been there the achievement.

- There is one problem with getting people that have never been some place the achievements, at least in ulduar.

- Some of the hard modes you get them for the meta keep you from getting other achievements.

- I need to get the other achievements for me.

- Maybe it is time I make a run for secondary achievements instead of making one that gets new people that hard modes.

- The amazing part is that some bosses you still can not ignore mechanics on.

- We wiped once on professor because no one switched to slimes.

- Have to love design like that.

- I told them switch to slimes and it was no problem.

- I really do love mechanics like that, the ones you can not out gear.  Like shadow traps.

- That is just good design.

- Ever notice how many groups still wipe on the twins in AQ.

- Being how over powered DPS can be now you can kill them without keeping them apart, we four manned it that way last week, but back at 80 it killed pugs.

- I've seen it kill a few pugs at 85 too.

- Some mechanics are awesome, others really suck.

- Soloed some of naxx for fun and speaking of mechanics, some of them still hurt solo, a lot.

- My poor turtle will have nightmares of patchwork for sure.

- He died a few times before I figured out the timing.

- Have to love feign death, at least I did not die.

- I do need to send his shell out to the body shop however.

- Patch really laid the smack down on him.

- For me the best part of soloing is figuring it out.  How to get around that one something, like I did on patch.

- The worst part of soloing is trying to figure it out and not being able to because it is impossible.  It all becomes wasted time when you can never do it anyway.

- Speaking of wasting time, I am sick of wasting time trying to catch old crafty.

- You ever get the feeling something just hates you.

- I think I have caught old ironjaw 7 times in the same amount of time I have spent trying to catch old crafty once.

- It is funny fishing in an opposing city however.

- There are so many different types of people.

- My favorites are the ones that like to have fun.

- The ones that will come fish with you.

- Saw them, saw the ones that just notice and walk by, saw the ones that attack me.

- The ones that attack have a whole sub set too.

- The kill you once and move on, the try to camp type, the die and keep dying type.

- I had one hunter try to kill me and I had to wonder, what is he shooting me with, feathers?

- I usually just stand there and let them kill me but this guy would have taken all day.

- I killed him after seeing my life move almost nowhere after about 10 or 12 seconds.

- He came back a few times, I killed him a few times.

- Finally he killed me, but it was not him.

- Somehow he got a guard involved, and the guard killed me.

- Got durability loss, that is how I can be sure.

- He stopped trying after that, guess he felt good about himself.

- One word about PvP for that guy.

- If you can not kill a hunter with no pet out, that is letting you attack him, with a fishing hat and pole equip, give up on the PvP.

- Please.

- You wasted your time and mine.

- Some people are just not to bright.

- But credit where credit is due, after he died a few times he figured out how to get a guard to come to me.

- Nice trick, I have to figure out how he did it.

- Then again, I really do not care.

- If I see a horde fishing in ironforge I usually hang out with him and wish him luck.

- I only kill attackers, not achievement hunters.

- I think of it as I am an achievement hunter myself, we are brothers under the skin, no matter what faction we are part of.

- Have a great day all.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

DPS: Queue for Original Random Heroics

It is not often people even need to run dungeons any more for valor.  Most people will clear DS and do the BH boss and be close enough to capping.  Others just don't care because there is nothing they need from valor any more.

However, the role of a damage dealer is something special, because now when it comes to randoms, good damage dealers are needed.  There are so many people gearing up and so many people trying new classes that the dungeons where they are starting at, those original heroics are, in a word, horrible.

While gearing up one of my newer 85 hunters and my lock recently I had occasion to queue up for original heroics, not HoTs, because I needed to on those, they did not have the gear yet.  It was there I discovered a nightmare.  A real send shivers down your spine and make sure you can not sleep for the night type of nightmare.  A nightmare that could make someone want to quit the game.

The original heroics are harder than the HoTs and lets not even mention the Zuls.  Killing bosses in DS is like killing quest mobs compared to the Zuls.

What it seems to be is that the tanks can handle it, even when just gearing up for the first time and some healers can handle it, even when just gearing up for the first time but the DPS is bad.  I mean so bad that it makes the job of the tanks or healers nearly impossible.

There are some valid reasons for the DPS being bad so do not always blame the players 100%.  People are not gemming and enchanting low level gear anymore which means the guy you used to see in your heroics when you were first doing them back in December 2010 doing 10K or 12K could very well be the same guy doing 6K or 8K.  This is part of the reason the DPS has been lower in original heroics.

The original heroics need some damage dealers.  Some good damage dealers.  It would make everyone's life easier.  Even if they are just 15K or 18K they can make a world of difference.  So today I decided to do some randoms on my hunter being I did not run DS this week and wanted to cap just for achievement sake, yes, there is an achievement for getting valor.

I could have queued up for an HoT but I decided that I wanted to do my good deed for the day and queued for a any heroic.  It gets me the same 150 valor and if I got an original I am sure my DPS would be a welcome addition to a group that is most likely used to seeing 6K or 7K as the top DPS.. 

I got into some horrible groups that suddenly were not so horrible once I joined them.  You see, the biggest problem with the lower heroics is that there is not enough damage being put out so one good damage dealer can make a huge difference.

Without enough damage the job on the tank gets harder, because they are more likely to run out of cooldowns.  Without enough damage the job of the healer gets harder, because the longer the fights go the more healing that needs to be done.  Gearing up a healer can be a daunting task because mana is at such a premium at low gear levels.  This is the reason there were no healers when the expansion started, their job was just way to hard.  Until they geared up, or the DPS picked up the pace at least.

The first random I had the pleasure of getting into was a stonecore run.  There where dead bodies just about everywhere and people where low on health.  I could tell I was coming in after a few wipes.  They where at a loss, frustrated beyond belief, and all in all their day has been a heaping pile of dung.  They felt just the way any of us would after being stuck in a wipe fest with random people.

Enter the over geared DPS to the picture and seeing and hearing their story we moved on, with a little hope, to the 3rd boss, the rock guy.  44K DPS later and he was deader than a doornail and even through the internet I could hear a collective sigh of relief from these four random people I was with.  Their nightmare had ended all thanks to some very high numbers when considering the content involved.  The other two damage dealers did 6K each respectively and it makes me wonder what the one that left was doing if he were kicked.  Or maybe he left because he was tops at 12K or 13K and felt like no one else was doing well enough and got frustrated himself.  They did not say, the bones where all I saw.

In yet another run I saw a tank with aggro problems. With such high DPS it became less of an issue because things died so fast it did not matter really.  In another run there was a healer that needed to drink after every pull, I heard them talking about this when I came in.  Yet for some reason once some high numbers came in the healer never needed to drink again for the whole run.  I am sure that healer thanked god for bringing me to that dungeon because from the conversation going on I could almost hear the healer crying because they where blaming her.

On yet another, a fresh run, I helped a group of people get some achievements and the added DPS was surely helpful to a great extent.

See, the thing is, us people, the damage dealers that are over geared now, can make a huge difference in the lives of other people by helping them out.  It makes it easier on tanks gearing up.  It makes it easier on healers gearing up.  And believe it or not, it is very profitable.  You will get heavenly shards, something you never see any more in HoTs.  You will get much more cloth than you do with the nearly trashless HoTs, not to mention all the other goodies trash drops.  All in all, the original heroics are just flat out more profitable to run.

A geared tank could help the lesser geared people running these, just could.  A geared healer can help the lesser geared people running there, just could.  A geared damage dealer will help less geared people running these.  Yes, will.

The best thing of those runs was seeing people actually need items in them.  When a boss goes down and something drops that they need and they get excited because it is an upgrade from a 318 I share in that joy with them.  I remember that feeling.  I might have nothing to get from a heroic any more.  I might have nothing to get from the looking for raid any more.  But I'll be damned, I was happy to see someone roll need and actually need it.

Damage dealers can make a difference in the lives of other players.  Those original heroics on my lock when I was doing a horrible 7K and was top DPS were nightmares.  They where the things that make people hate the game, they were what is dragging down the community and making people hate and insult others.  But damage dealers can make a difference.

No one cared that the other two DPS where doing 6K in the one run because I was doing enough for all three of us.  No one cared that there was a ret paladin doing 4K in one run because everything went down smoothly.  No one cared because there were no wipes.  No one cared because the tank did not feel like he had to do everything.  No one cared because the healer was not scraping the bottom of the barrel for that last drop of mana because thing where just not going down fast enough.

No one cared because things went smoothly.  People only care when there are problems and they look to fix those problems.  You, yes you mr or mrs DS geared DPS, you can make everybody's life easier.

So if you have a geared damage dealer that doesn't need something from the looking for raid or the HoTs why don't you queue up for an original heroic.

Believe it or not, you will make a huge difference and not just in that one run but in the community as a whole.  Remember, people only complain when things go bad.  Your damage could make sure that does not happen.  You will be helping people with smoother runs which makes people happy and the community needs less hate in these dungeons and a little more happiness.

The damage dealer can help save the community.  Who would have ever thought it?

Next time you need some valor.  Help the people out that can actually use gear and are just starting up.  Its worth it for you and for them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bringing Back World PvP

I'm not much of a player vs player person, I am sure I have mentioned that before.  I do love world player vs player however, and I am sure I have mentioned that before as well.  Whenever I think of player vs player I start to think about how blizzard can bring it back and make it worth doing.

Thinking about it a bit today I've thought of a few things that I think would help the player vs player aspect of the game as well as return world PvP to the glory it once had.

Here are six things that need to be changed to see a true return to world PvP in my opinion.

City Personal:
- First up, guards.  Ditch them.  A few waves here and there, not so powerful, but enough to give a little resistance is all that is needed.  Leave the super powered guards for the low level zones.  Up to level 20 at most you can have the serious guards.  After that, you are on your own.  City guards are one of the reasons that world PvP has taken a huge hit.

- Second up, quest givers and key game play personal.  Unflag them.  Make inn keepers, quest givers, bankers and auctioneers unable to be killed.  This will keep people from crying about not being able to do their quests or other things they need to do.  It would also mean that on unbalanced servers you do not have to worry about excessive griefing.  I know on one server I am on alliance own org and my poor tauren can never get anything done there.  Some people get an ill feeling toward PvP because while leveling it ruined their game play.  When I was leveling my first character I spent two days in ashenvale hoping the quest givers would respawn and I could take, or turn in, quests before they where killed again.  This is one of the reasons I hate PvPers, because it left me with the feeling that most PvPers are jerks and assholes who just live to ruin the game play of others, a belief I still hold to this day.

- Third up, high military targets.  We are removing super guards but that doesn't mean we can't have a few high priority targets in each city worth aiming for with a small contingent of super guards.  People would receive their share of loot (more on that later) for being in the group that took down these key targets.  In major cities there could be a few all over the place so instead of city attackers looking for leaders only, the attack could be anywhere that a high military target might be patrolling.

Remove Resilience:
- I can not stress this one enough.  I think the removal of resilience would be the number one incentive for people to pick up playing the PvP part of the game even if they never attempted it before.  There are dozens of reasons to not have resilience but only one reason to have it.  Do PvPers really need to show off their 4500 resilience e-peen so badly that they refuse to accept the fact that if they where skilled at PvP they would not need that resilience to compete against someone with none?  If no one had resilience it would be a fair fight based on skill always and not a fight of who put on their PvP gear and who didn't.

- The removal of resilience would also remove the number one reason I hear people say they do not like PvP.  The whole gearing up concept and the need for a second set of gear just for it.  If people felt they could be effective and not just a free kill target in their PvE gear they would PvP in their PvE gear.  If people did not feel like they needed to collect a whole different set of gear just to PvP, and then gem, enchant, reforge and carry around a whole different set of gear, they would be more likely to jump in on the action.  I can not even begin to tell you the number of times I was in a city being attacked and heard someone say, the attackers are lucky I do not have my PvP gear with me or I would help but without my PvP gear I would be useless and get slaughtered.  One set of gear and the removal of resilience would fix that.

Offer Rewards:
- For the high military in major cities offer some sort of reward.  Do not make the bodies need to be looted, just make it so when it is killed the gold goes directly into your bag so to speak.  Perhaps have it based off the number of people used in the group.  If a high military was labeled as a 40 man PvP boss it would give everyone 5 gold in a 40 man group but it if were done with a 20 man group they would get 20 gold, not 10, which would mean an even split, but more than that because they did something that required 40 people with less.  Something like that.  Something tangible.  You will not only get the glory of the kill but the spoils as well.

- Maybe there could even be an in game raffle every day for every person that had 100 open world honor kills that day or killed at least two high military officers that day or killed one leader that day.  Everyone that reached that requirement would be put into a random raffle to win 1000 gold for that day or even better, some raw gems in a goodie bag with some gold.

- Offer daily titles.  Titles you can only have for the day you earn them and if you want them again tomorrow you need to complete the needed requirements to get them again.  Something like if you kill 10 people in your city you get the temporary secondary title of City Defender.  This would not replace your current title, it would be your secondary one.  So Arthasdklol would be Arthasdklol, Destroyer's End and the next line would be City Defender.  A new tab for secondary titles would be added and you could choose which one you activated that day to use, if any.  Make some really hard, some super easy.  When dailies reset, your secondary titles will also be reset.  I am sure some alliance would love to be Pillager of Crossroad and some horde would love to be Pillager of Goldshire even if just for a day.  And they would have to do it every day to get it again.

Make Killing a Gathering Profession:
- Give people more of a reason to kill people in the open world.  Give non PvPers a real reason to get involved.  A new catch all bag would be added for all players called the booty bag.  Whenever you kill someone you get a gathering resource based on that persons professions.  It would also be an item that fits the level of the person and it could come in amounts of 1-4 of said item.  You kill a jewelcrafter you have a chance at getting a gem.  Kill a skinner or leatherworker have a chance to get some leather.  Kill a miner or blacksmith you have a chance to get some ore.  Kill someone with no professions and you could get anything.  You get the idea.  I can see it already in guild chat.  I'm going out to do some gathering at crossroads if anyone wants to come.  I need some BC leather so heading to hellfire to see if I can find anyone flagged.  Killing to gather could be fun.

- By making killing players a way to gather materials you are creating a way to break the monotony of flying around mining ore or picking herbs.  People would go out killing just to spice things up or get a small change of pace from the same old same old.  It would also allow people to get items for professions they do not even have.  They can gather their herbs for their flasks by killing instead of needing to have an herbalist to get it themselves.

- Allow for the big score.  Some random kills on very rare occasion could reward a PvP based pet in your booty bag.  Just like you would see people kill a billion foxes in TB to try and get the fox kit they might start killing a billion of the opposing faction just to get some pet that can only be attained that way.  Maybe even make the epic gems an extremely rare drop into your booty bag when you kill a jewelcrafter, or patterns for blacksmiths, tailors, etc. as all rare booty bag deposits.

Add World PvP Achievements:
- Many people like achievements.  Adding achievements to world PvP might get quite a few people that where not previously interested in player vs player combat into it which in turn would mean more participants.  Just take a look at any assembling of for the horde or for the alliance runs.  There will always be people in the group that are not PvPers but are going just for the achievements and just for the mount.  Achievements can be a great motivator.

- Make attacking and defending achievements for each area and main city.  Defeat X amount of enemy players in Felwood, Defend stormwind from X amount of enemy invaders, Slaughter X amount of enemies while raiding thunder bluff.  You get the idea.  There could be ones for every zone, for every city, for every thing that would inspire people to go kill other people.  Also the defeat X means there is always room to expand the achievements to add more.  10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2500, 5000, 10000, so forth and so on.

- Make some meta achievements just like there is one for killing the four main leaders how about one for killing one high military officer in 25 different enemy settlements.  Or maybe one for reaching the 100 kills in every zone.  Or one for reaching the 1000 defends in each of your home cities.  All things that could inspire people to PvP even if they never have before and even more so if they offer rewards like titles, pets, mounts, tabards, etc.

A Perpetual Battleground:
- How would a perpetual battleground help world PvP you might ask?  Well, being there would be no win and no lose to the battleground there would be no people afraid to jump into it not knowing what to do.  The battleground would serve as just one giant killing field.  It is a place people can go, almost unnoticed on an individual basis, and get a taste for PvP, to practice killing and not to worry about objectives and being a fool for not understanding them.  It makes for the perfect place for people to go into a PvP environment and learn.  People could come and go as they wish and the sides would be kept even as best they could by the system.

- As to not be used as a farming area there would be no gathering drops into your booty bag while in the perpetual battleground and there would be a cap to how many honor kills you can farm per day in it but it would still get you into the mayhem of pure open world PvP and perhaps even inspire you to get out in the open world and start killing once you reached your cap and can no longer get anything from the battleground.  After battling, you are in the grove, so might as well get out and get in the world and keep the blood flowing.

I think these six changes to player vs player could make world PvP something that would become fun again and something that would get people that have never PvPed into it.  World PvP died, as a friend that has been around since the start said to me, the moment they added resilience.  People became less likely to pick up their sword in defense when they knew the other team had come ready to fight and had the huge advantage of PvP gear.  I happen to agree with him.  I might have not played in vanilla but he is not the only one I've ever heard say that.  Ask 100 hard core vanilla PvPers and most will tell you, resilience killed world PvP.

Remove resilience, add the other five incentives to get people back out in the world, and world PvP will make a huge return.  I guarantee it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Type of Achievement Hunter Are You?

Achievements are going account bound with mists and there are many reasons to like or dislike it depending on what your personal views on achievements are.

Achievements mean different things to different people.  To some it is an e-peen thing.  To others it is something they feel validates their time wasted playing a game because they earned something.  For others it is just there but not something they actively think about. And yet for others it is a form of content itself just like a raid would be content, something to do.

Something as simple as the achievement system has become a huge part of the game even if it sometimes goes by without even thinking about it. 

There are people like me that look at the list of new achievements and immediately starts to think about which ones I can do solo and which ones I will need groups for.  I actively seek the solo ones as something to do when not doing anything else.  Other people come across an achievement and go, wow, I didn't even know that was an achievement.  There are all different types..

Which type of achievement hunter are you?

E-Peen Achievement Hunter:
This is the type of person that goes out of their way to try and be the first to do anything and everything.  They are the ones that have to have realm firsts and will gladly show everyone that asks, and doesn't ask, how great they are by posting their achievements and immediately shooting down anyone as a "bad" that doesn't have the same date on their achievement. 

They only go for the achievements worthy of bragging about.  Realm first mage is important to them.  Realm first raid is important to them.  The salty title is a waste of time to them because anyone can get it.  It only means something to them if they did it before the other person.

There is also the wanna be e-peen hunter that would fit in the same category even when not talking about firsts.  They might have a fall of deathwing achievement dated May 10th, which most would not be impressed by, but if you do not have it, they will brag on and on about how they have it and you don't, just to extend their e-peen.  This version of e-peen hunter would think salty is important however because if they have it and you don't they can use it to stroke their e-peen.

Completest Achievement Hunter:
They take achievements serious, but not to the point where they go crazy about it.  If getting a raid achievement would be easier to get next patch, they do not mind waiting, but they have to do it because they need it.  Seeing 54/56 in an achievement category bothers them because it is not complete.  They want to have everything because they believe the only true achievement is completing all the achievements.  Each one of those 54 achievements are nice, but until they have all 56 in that category they have not really achieved anything.

A completest will raid even if they are not a raider, because they have to have them all.  A completest will PvP even if they do not PvP, because they have to have them all.  A completest sees each achievement as part of a bigger achievement, the achievement of getting them all.  It is the over all number and getting as many as they can that matters to them, even if they take their time doing it.

Content Achievement Hunter:
This is the type of player that uses achievements as a form of content.  To them, like the completest, when they see 54/56 they want to get the other two but unlike the completest that looks at it as the real achievement isn't done until all 56 are the content achievement hunter looks at it like they have two other things to do for content.

Where the content and completest differ is the content hunter does not stress over having it all.  54/56 is fine with them.  They will do only the ones they want to do and use the achievements list as a form of tracking to see what they have and have not done.  They are the type of person we have all seen and quite possibly the most common achievement person.  Hey, I just noticed I never did black temple on this character, who wants to go?  Is something a content achievement hunter would say.  They use achievements as a way of giving them something to do when they do not have anything else to do.

Dedicated Achievement Hunter:
These are the people dedicated to having to get it done.  Kind of like the e-peen one that has to be first this one has to be done as soon as possible but they will not be as up front about it as the e-peen hunter.  They will also not rub it in your face.  They will just be happy to have done it.

This category of hunter usually comes from the dedicated raider or dedicated PvPer.  They focus one thing and that one thing is not done until they can do it all.  They are dedicated to that single focus.  To them, nothing says you are a real raider like having all the raid achievement.  Nothing says you are a real PvPer like having all the PvP achievements.  They do not seek the achievements to rub it in someones face, they do it to show people who they are.  I am raider.  I am a PvPer.  My achievements show that.  That is what they would say and they are really dedicated to getting those achievements, none of the others really matter at all to them.

Incidental Achievement Hunter:
This is the type of person that usually only gets the achievements that come without much, or any, effort.  25 fish, level 10, things that happen just because they do are the achievements this person will have.  So why are they still classified as an achievement hunter?  Because if you tell them that they can get an achievement for doing something without actually changing what they are doing already by much, they will do it.

They are the type of person that if you ask them why they are fishing and they say it is because they are waiting in queue and only doing it because they are bored you can tell them they can get achievements from fishing in the dalaran fountain they will move there.  Being they are only fishing to pass the time where they fish does not matter to them but if they can fish to pass the time and get an achievement at the same time, they will do it.  They won't go out of their way for an achievement, but they will take all the ones that will come to them on their own without any concentrated effort.

Closeted Achievement Hunter:
Oddly enough this type of achievement hunter will usually have a fair deal of achievements but if you ever ask them about achievements they might say something like they are not a loser that wastes their time on useless achievements or I'm not really into achievements.  They will be the ones that will come along to help out on things only if they do not have the achievement for it but will never say that.  Doing a run of black temple and they do not have the achievement, they will gladly tell you they will help you out.  Doing a run of tempest keep but they already have the achievement, they are busy at the moment or they would have helped.

The closeted hunter is an achievement hunter in denial. They want the achievements, they want as many as they can get, you can tell that from their usually high number of achievement points, even if they always say they do not care about achievements.  You can pick them out easily when running old content because they will always be happy to help other people get achievements but never ask for help in getting any themselves.  They are a closeted achievement hunter.

Bonus Achievement Hunter:
This is an achievement hunter with an agenda.  Does it offer a pet?  Does it offer a mount?  Does it offer a title?  If so they are all over it like white on rice otherwise they don't care about it.  Achievements matter to them only when there is something else that comes along with the achievement.  They want the bonus goodies only, that is all that matters.  The achievement pop up means absolutely nothing to them unless it comes with something else.  A new title, a mount or pet in their mail box, or anything else they can show off.  A tabard, the dalaran coin, things like that.

Indifferent Achievement Hunter:
This person does not care about achievements in any way.  If they get one, cool, if not, that is cool too.  If they get a bonus out of something, cool, if not, that is cool too.  The word achievement is not even in their gaming vocabulary.  They play because they enjoy playing.  They do what aspects of the game they like because they like doing it.  The thought they will get an achievement for something never enters their mind.  They might get the destroyers end title or many others but they will usually be the ones that wear none.  None of that matters to them.  They are only here to play the game.

With the shared achievements coming out in mists you have to look at all the types of achievement hunters out there and see how this changes the game for them in one way or another.  It will have a fair deal of impact on nearly all types of achievement hunters out there in some why, even the ones that do not care about achievements at all.

I fit into the content achievement hunter category myself.  When I am bored and looking for something to do I go to my achievement list and think, what can I aim for now.  Shared achievements will impact me and people like me the most of all the types of achievement hunters out there I think.  We lose the most when this comes out.

If all my characters already have all the dungeon achievements what need would I have to go back and do all the BC stuff on a new character when I am bored, they will already have the achievement.  Achievements worked as a form of content for me.  It gave me something to do when I was bored.

What type of achievement hunter are you and how will shared achievements effect you?