Friday, June 29, 2012

Beginners Bane: Part V: Community

Warcraft has a long history of being a good game.  It has been around for a long time in terms of gaming and as such has a very expansive world which can be overwhelming for the new players.  This will be a series about the problems with warcraft from the perspective of the new player.

Part I: Abilities
Part II: Flow
Part III: Gold
Part IV: Mechanics
Part V: Community

The first bit of advice I ever give anyone that is new and happens to come to me is to never go to the in game community for advice.  Never post in trade.  Never ask questions there.  If you have a question, whisper me and I will help you but stay away from trade chat like the it has the plague.

The reason for this is because you are fresh meat and the community is filled with wolves that are hungry for blood, your blood.  The community is a pit of hate and rage and the last thing anyone new needs to get is covered in all that hate and rage, so keeping away from the people that wish to cover you in it is a good idea.

I've said it before and it is worth saying again, I blame blizzard for this 100%.  As many usually argue with me about it and say that it is our own fault because we can be better I agree, we can be better but we won't because of one word there, we.  There is no we in the community.  There is only you.  You can be better.  You can be awesome.  You are just one person.  So no matter how you try as long as there is no moderation in game for people that are abusive, hurtful, disrespectful and downright rude to everyone the community will just continue to get worse.

The basic idea is that even if someone wants to be better, they are afraid to because the community would rip them apart for not being one of them.  So it becomes a choice of joining them, keeping quiet, or being ripped to pieces by the jackals. It is that community mentality that is why I tell people, keep away from trade.

Paraphrasing what tommy lee jones said in the first men in black movie, and it is completely true, a person is smart, people are stupid.  That is the warcraft community.  It might be filled with many decent people when they are alone, but put them all together as a group in trade and they become horrible people.

It does not end for the new player there.  The community will hunt them down to rip them apart sometimes.  Everything they do they will have the community following them around.

First time in a battleground, unless they pick up really fast it is going to take a new player some time to understand the concept of how the battle is done.  If they do anything wrong, someone in this wonderful community will be so kind as to point out that they are a noob, a retard, a moron, and the worst player they have ever seen.

Lets not even think about advanced tactics for someone new, you are just trying to figure out where the hell the mine is.  But when someone yells incoming mine and you head to the lumber mill by mistake, you are the worst player they have ever seen in their life.  It doesn't matter that anyone can make a mistake, you are the worst.  Don't worry, you will not forget how bad you are, they will make sure of that.  God forbid you are on the same server as the person who found you out as the horrible player you are.  The helpful people of this community will take it upon themselves to let everyone on your server know how bad you are as soon as the battleground is over.  Isn't that nice of them to help a new player out that way?

The new player can not even escape it in single game play either.  People that will kill the quest mob you where waiting on instead of inviting them to a group.  People that will curse them out because they got to a node before them.  People that will spit on them just because they feel like it.  Not saying the entire community is like this, in truth, I have met more decent people questing than in any other aspect of the game, but there will still be those asshats here and there and those are the ones that the new player will remember.

When a new player first enters a dungeon they will encounter a million and one things they never expected but one they should expect by now will be to get called all types of names.  Their expectations will be not wasted however, I am sure they will get called all those names, and some new ones they have not heard yet too thanks for this helpful community and its amazingly colorful language.

Leave it to this community to always think of new and interesting ways to insult new players.  The worst part is many times they insult people for things they have absolutely no control over.  They insult people for not being decked out in heirlooms as losers and noobs, as if they think everyone gets a free set of the best leveling gear in the game for their first character ever.

They will bash you for never having done the dungeon.  They will bash you because your wearing a piece of gear that had stats not meant for you and never consider that a helm with strength and agility is better than no helm at all even if one of the stats does nothing for you.  They will bash you for not knowing your way around because everyone should know this already, even if they have never been there.  I must admit I do not understand that logic, but I have heard it before.  Someone bashed a tank for getting lost and after he said, sorry, I've never been here before, they said, that is no excuse  Have to love this community.

How about those people that rip into the tank for not holding aggro at low levels when they still do not have many AoE skills instead of behaving themselves and single targeting to make everyone's lives easier.  Or the tank with no heirlooms or no decent gear pulling entire rooms and wondering why a low level healer can't keep them up and not realizing that heals are three second casts.  Or the damage dealers that complain about others not pulling their weight in a leveling dungeon and forgetting that some classes are just flat out better at some levels because not everyone has all their skills yet.  Or tanks that insult all the damage dealers when they are top DPS at low levels when they are supposed to be top DPS at low levels.

Leave it to this community to always insult everyone else when they have no control over what they are being insulted for.  Out community is great that way.  It can insult anyone for anything and it seems those poor new players are the ones that get the brunt of most of their attacks.  Somewhere subconsciously I think the community beats on them because they know they can not defend themselves.

Like that healer example.  I had it happen to me in one dungeon.  I had no heirlooms because the character was on a server I have no max level characters to get them.  So to someone else, I looked like a new player, one easy for the picking, someone they could rip apart and I would bow to them as if they where my one and true god.

So the tank pulled the whole room and died and blamed me.  I said, a heal takes three seconds, if you can not last three seconds without a heal, pull smaller packs.  Don't say I am a bad healer when you over pulled.  That means you are a bad tank.  He shut the hell up, his pick on the new player because I am super awesome was beaten down and thrown back in his face, because I was not a new player and I knew how things worked.

The sad thing is, a new player in that same position would have never come up with the answer I did and he/she would have continued to get beat on over and over all dungeon long as being a bad healer when in fact it had absolutely nothing to do with his/her healing abilities.  That is our wonderful community for you.

Unless a new player takes the time and effort outside of the game to learn about the game and has at least somewhat thick skin and quick wit to defend themselves, they are going to have to deal with a fair amount of brutal attacks from the people in this community.  And even if they have think skin and even if they read a lot, they will still be at the mercy of the community that seems to think that anyone new sucks.

Lets say that our factious new player has reached max level, now they have to get ready for a whole new level of abuse.  While it is true that there are many horrible players in the game, the new player will often find themselves thought of as the bad one even if they aren't because they might not have the gear yet, the achievements yet, the experience yet, they will always be abused when the unwashed masses need someone to blame for the wipe.  The elder player, the one that is really the bad player, will deflect all blame to the new guy because it must be the new guys fault.

The end game community is so horrible I could spend all day writing, make hundreds of paragraphs, and not even touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes levels of insults they can spew out and for the reasons they do.  We all look at people once in a while and say, that guy if F'N horrible, but there is a huge difference between thinking that and typing that out.

It is natural to think it when someone is really that bad, but it takes someone with little class, low self esteem, no morals and a bad upbringing to come out and say those things, or just one person that is a flat out jerk to say them and everyone else just plays follow the leader to the alpha jerk that started the verbal assault.

I won't go into the graphic details of the horrors that a new player has to endure their first time at max level when trying to gear it.  I am sure you all know and even if you do not know I would not want to ruin your snow globe of a world you live in where you think this community is not as bad as some make it out to seem.  Trust me, it is that bad.  The only ones that say it isn't are those that have little or no contact with it, or those that are part of the problem and see nothing wrong with it because they think insulting new players because it is their first time doing something is fun.

There is a first time for everything.  Sad part for the new player is that there is also a first time you get to interact with the community and that is rarely a good impression with this community and that is a huge beginners bane.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beginners Bane: Part IV: Mechanics

Warcraft has a long history of being a good game.  It has been around for a long time in terms of gaming and as such has a very expansive world which can be overwhelming for the new players.  This will be a series about the problems with warcraft from the perspective of the new player.

Part I:  Abilities
Part II: Flow
Part III: Gold
Part IV: Mechanics

Mechanics are the double edged sword that could kill a game that has been around as long as warcraft has been and many people do not realize how complex of a balance they can be because of that.

If you make mechanics simple and basic you could upset people that have any level of experience in the game and if you make them too complex you could scare off some of your current subscriber base and any new players.  It is a balance that always needs to be adjusted.

This is the reason for continued nerfs to content that people are always complaining about.  That is how blizzard tries to balance things, a noble effort to say the least, but one that does not go unchastised by the advanced and experienced players.

Just look at this expansion alone and the success, or lack thereof, of pugs in the game.  You would have a much better chance of pugging a full clear for the current raid than you would pugging a T11 raid.  Even if people grossly out gear T11 now, it is still not puggable content because of the mechanics involved for anyone that is not an experienced player.

This is where the beginners bane comes in.  They make the mad rush to top level and then get thrown into the current raid tier and try to learn as they go but it is hard on them because the game is built around people that already have experience.  So where you and I had the opportunity to start off small when we where new, they get thrown into the bigger picture instantly.

Something like BWD was a handful for people that never raided before.  We might think it was no big deal but for someone with little or no raid experience it was a lot to swallow.  Even a fight like ODS which was probably one of the easiest council fights ever for the experienced raider it was like, OMFG what do I do, to a new player. 

There were four bosses, each with one AoE spell, one single target spell and a mechanic that is handled completely differently.  Then they needed to keep track of two of them up at the same time and doing both the mechanics.  And they needed to rotate interrupts, move to things and from things, switch to adds, spread out and stack up, it was just like every single basic fight mechanic all in one.  Every single basic fight mechanic... to me and you.   I loved it, new players that never raided hated it and I do not blame them.

To a new player there was nothing basic about it.  It was a whole buttload of information to absorb for someone that is used to killing that one thing in front of them and it might do one thing that you can step out of or stand in because it won't kill you anyway.

That fight alone is the perfect example of beginners and mechanics.  It was a starting fight, so it was meant to be easy but to someone that never raided before it was not.  As the raid leader for a casual group of players and someone that lets everyone raid even if they have no experience I needed to explain that fight dozens of times if not more over the course of this expansion and I know what new players grasp and what takes them time. 

Moving from everyone when you have lightning?  Easy for a new player to understand.  Switching to slimes?  Easy to understand.  Run if the slimes fixate on you?  Could sometimes be a bit for them to handle.  Move when the fire is going to hit you so it doesn't pass through anyone else?  What the hell are you talking about.  Some parts of it were easy to teach.  Some parts of it were hard to teach.  Put them all into one fight and you had a raid leaders nightmare for a completely new raid group that never raided before.

This can be a huge turn off to the new player because they do not have the chance to ease their way into raiding.  They have no library of knowledge to fall back on like we do, so that can't just say, oh yeah, this is like the XT fight and I need to be away from everyone.  For us, being we have done it, that does not even seem like a mechanic any more.  For a new player, that is something new to learn.  This creates the great divide.

While I do think dragon soul was a bit too easy when it first came out the only reason I think that is because there was nothing new for me really and my guild has been basically the same core for most of the expansion.  We've been there and done that with all the fights there.  It was also an easy fight to explain to new players and it progressed very well.  Two things to point out on the first few bosses.  Three on the one after.  Four or five on the next.  Maybe 6 on the one after and the final boss was a simple attack what I call out for fight.

Like it or not, dragon soul is the future of raiding if blizzard really wants to include everyone, which is their expressed intention.  Like it or not, it is a very good thing for the game if they do that.

Keeping things simple gives new players the chance to learn to raid and all raids should always start off easy to remember that not all of us have been raiding for years and those few that do end up left out because they are still not capable of it, the nerfs that come later on for them.

That does not change the fact that raiding is the beginners bane.  Their first steps into a raid can really be a turn off for a new player if they get unlucky enough to be in a group that doesn't understand everyone needs to learn somewhere.

Mechanics can make it impossible for a new player to advance and even more so if there are no people out there that are willing to teach them and wipe over and over with them.  Mechanics are a beginners bane that can make or break this game and the sad part is that the best way to handle the mechanics issue is to do what most people would call the dumbing down of the game.  I say it is not dumbing down, it is just giving the new players the same chance to learn that we had.  Not everyone will be lucky enough to get into a guild like mine that was willing to wipe 100 times on something we should have been downing on week one.  Most guilds only want players that know what they are doing to begin with. 

The looking for raid has only made the beginners bane issue harder to deal with by creating an atmosphere where everyone says, it is only looking for raid, mechanics don't matter, and this is a horrible way to try and teach people.  Mechanics are hard enough for a new player to grasp but to tell them they can ignore them and then expect them to enter a real raid saying they know the fight when they really don't?  Beginners bane indeed.  I am so glad I am not just starting to raid now, because I wouldn't.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beginners Bane: Part III: Gold

Warcraft has a long history of being a good game.  It has been around for a long time in terms of gaming and as such has a very expansive world which can be overwhelming for the new players.  This will be a series about the problems with warcraft from the perspective of the new player.

Part I : Abilities
Part II : Flow
Part III: Gold

For most of us that have been around the block a few times we know how to make gold while leveling.  I've said it many times here and there are hundreds if not thousands of sites and blogs out there that say the same, just pick two gathering professions and sell everything while leveling and you will have no issues.

For new players this is part of the problem because while we know it they do not.  A new player will usually, at best, pick one gathering profession and its related crafting profession.  Some of the smarter new players will even pick the crafting professions that would work well for them.  This is a smart move really but when it comes to terms of gold it is a horrible idea.

The economy is brutal on most servers and downright horrible on quite a few.  A new player can not even get any bags within reasonable pricing and bags are the most important thing anyone in the game can have while leveling, even more important than decent gear because you can level in just quest rewards alone just fine but if you have no bag space to put stuff, you are basically screwed.

The lack of gold to buy the grossly over priced bags on the market is only the tip of the iceberg for a new player.  If they are intent on keeping their professions in line with their level they will most likely need to spend a fair deal of the little bit of money they get to do it or spend a lot of time in areas where they do not get any experience to gather the materials needed.  If they do the later then it is fine but if they do the former, or wish to do the former, it becomes a huge burden on the wallet of a new player.

As time goes on and you move further into the game the lack of gold can only become more of a hindrance for a new player, or at least makes them feel as if it is a hindrance.  Most new players with no help and no prior knowledge in the game will reach level 60 and not be able to afford flying for outlands or the old world or cold weather flying when the time comes for that.  Lets not even think about getting fast flying or 310 flying, these are the same people that will rarely be able to get something for 500 that 5000 feels like it is a million miles away.

For new players with little or no gold making knowledge they are put into a circle of feeling as if they can not keep up with the required things they feel they need in game.  Like decent sized bags.  Like keeping their professions up to date, that poor player that needs a rod or primal might to continue along with their enchanting but it costs more than flying does might just have to give up on it there or make the hard decision, flying or profession.  Like getting flying so they can spend more time playing the game and less time traveling by foot or from flight maters.

Lets not even think about that person when they do finally reach the end game and gear up some and enter the looking for raid and someone bitches them out for not being gemmed and enchanted.  They might want to be, they might even be trying to do just that, but one look at their wallet and the moths flying out of it and the prices of one thousand or better for an enchant they will only need to buy three or four more times each time they upgrade their gear it could be a daunting task.

As I said, money is not hard to come by for the people that have been through it all or have alts with every profession and that is why things are so expensive on the auction house.  Like that rod or primal might that the enchanter needs or the gems and enchants they would need when getting into higher random content.  This could be a huge turn off for new players at the most and disheartening at the very least.

While we can never experience it as being a new player again even if we reroll on a new server we should all be aware, for as easy as gold is to make for us, for a new player it is a huge beginners bane.

Beginners Bane: Part II: Flow

Warcraft has a long history of being a good game.  It has been around for a long time in terms of gaming and as such has a very expansive world which can be overwhelming for the new players.  This will be a series about the problems with warcraft from the perspective of the new player.

Part I: Abilities
Part II:  Flow

First I must address the great advancements for the new player in this area.  The reassignment of zones so the leveling works better from zone to zone in many places.  The lack of world hopping quests where you spend hours and maybe even days jumping from continent to continent on different sides of the world.  Flight points being given as you reach the level that could have found them anyway.  The call/command board telling people where their next zone should be and so much more.  Don't get me wrong, the game has done a great deal to help the new player find their way in the world but when they redesigned things to add many of these upgrades to help the new player they created another problem.

The redesign of the old world served to be a much bigger disservice to the new player than a boon.  Sure the questing moves more zone to zone but it seems that is offers people less of a choice now. 

All the questing is on rails and you feel as if can't jump off and explore.  Linear questing is bad design for a fantasy game, one that should embrace the concept of getting lost and exploring.  You should be allowed to say I don't want to do this quest but still do the others instead of being forced into having to do that one in order to do the other.

Now to mention the game now tries to push you into where you should quest giving you the feeling of even less choice.  If you are horde you will be funneled into org and if you are alliance you will be funneled into stormwind.  No matter what race you play, it doesn't make a difference, these two cities are the hubs and they make damn sure you can't avoid that.

For a player with some experience you can choose to go your own way and ignore the constant pushes from the quest lines to make those two places your home town but for someone new, that is where you are, like it or not.  They seem to even make an effort to keep you from realizing that there are other options.  The call/command board in both cities will very rarely offer you something on the other continent.  They want horde on one continent and alliance on the other and I think that takes something from the player.  It does not feel as if the world is as big as it should be because you find yourself locked into one half of it.

Having flight paths appear automatically when you reach the level that should have it has also taken something away from the game, the sense of exploration.  While it is a fantastic thing they added more flight points and it was something that was needed, taking away the need to find them took a key part of the game away from new players.  The need to explore. 

Some could argue that you do not actually need to explore but I am sure every single one of us remembers that first time walking into and area and trying to find the flight point and we might even have an interesting story about it.  I remember trying to find the alliance flight point in desolase and it taking me what seemed like forever because I thought I could climb up those rocks and did not realize that if I just walked around them some there would be a way to walk up.  Annoying, maybe, but it was also fun and it also made it feel like I found that, I earned that.  It was not just a case of, okay, I am that level I can fly directly there even if I do not know where there is.

We could debate all day long if the zone funneling, condensed questing, flight paths being given automatically, and other things on if it is good or bad for the flow of new players and we would both be right.  For some it is fantastic, for some it is bad. 

What really effected the flow for new players however was the updated old world content that came with cataclysm.

If 85 is end game it is present time if you will.  This also means that 1-60, 61-70, and 71-80 are all in the past.  Updating the old world has ruined the flow for new players.  They start a game in the present time now then get thrown into a past that makes no sense where they need to kill some people that are already dead because we just came from the present where they are dead instead of having quested in a pure flow where they where still alive when we where doing 1-60 as they should have been.  Then suddenly they are in the present time again once they hit 80 and move to cataclysm content.

It makes no sense and it ruined the flow for the new player.  If they really wanted to make the new player feel more comfortable they should have used the new phasing abilities they have to make the old world appear as if it was indeed the old world.  Bolvar in charge in stowmwind, onixya still being a level 60 raid, the original naxx there and ready for raiding, ZA still around and part of BC content, etc.

That would have made a lot more sense because in the level 1-60 world you would be in that stage in your life, which should mean that 1-60 content is current life for you when you are that level.  When you reach BC the 61-70 would flow better because you where coming from the 1-60 and the same goes for the 71-80 when its time came.  All those removed raids should be put back, even if people did not run them, because it fits better with the flow of the game and quite honestly it can confuse new people when there are little breadcrumbs here and there for things that don't exist and so many time issues now that the old world has been designed to be current time instead of the past, which is what is really is.

Now lets move from the feeling of level time wise, which they screwed up for the new player and the new player could very well find confusing and step into the actual moving from area to area when you get there.

How do you get to outlands?

No, seriously, how do you?  For a new player this is an interesting question.  They might get the quest to report there, they might even notice that it is in the blasted lands, but they will have no clue where the portals are.  This means traveling to the blasted lands whenever they want to go there if they do not set their hearth there.  For alliance it is not half bad, but if your home is org, getting there without the port might take a while.  The game is not all that friendly with teaching new players the fast route there.  Unless you got lucky enough to run across the port, which is unlikely unless you are a mage for alliance, you will have to travel to the dark portal on your own every time.

Northrend is not any better.  It is actually worse.  If you are horde you have at least heard someone yelling about going to the boren tundra a million times, so even the newest of new players can figure it out but if you are alliance there is absolutely nothing that suggests how you get to northrend.

When they added the next zone quests to the call/command boards I think it might have been a nice idea to tell people how to get to outlands and northrend as well.  New players can easily be overwhelmed, which comes next article, but they can also get frustrated.

You and I might just say look it up or we might have a clue where to find these things because we have been playing.  People that played games like this before might be able to figure it out because warcraft is not original and all games do the same sort of things so anyone that plays this type of game can figure it out, but to the pure new player they can get lost here.

When mists comes out things will get even worse for flow.  You will have to level 1-60 in the recent past, 61-70 in the furthest playable past, level 71-80 in the more mid past, and 81-85 in the recent past again.  Does this make any sense what so ever?  Or would have leaving 1-60 as the furthest past and you slowly advanced in time as you advanced in level made a lot more sense to the new player?  Heck, wouldn't it have made more sense to everyone?

Blizzard would have been better served to leave level 1-60 as was, heck, it would have been better off fixing it so it was really a true 1-60 and add the original 60 stuff back being they spent that much time on redesigning it anyway they might have made it so it worked for the game as a whole and not just one expansion.

The game just does not flow like it should and instead of making it flow better for the new players they did a complete redesign to make it flow worse.

This whole thing is based on opinion of course because I am not a new player and do not know completely 100% how a new player would feel now but I do know how I would feel if I where going through things now and I would feel like nothing makes sense.  I would feel like the flow of this game is horrible.  I would feel like I was being forced into questing in one area.  I would feel like I was being held back from exploring.  I would feel like I was being forced to level as fast as possible.  I would feel like the entire flow of the game was off and piecemealed together instead of thought out. I would feel like this game was not meant for new players and that is a beginners bane.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beginners Bane: Part I: Abilities

Warcraft has a long history of being a good game.  It has been around for a long time in terms of gaming and as such has a very expansive world which can be overwhelming for the new players.  This will be a series about the problems with warcraft from the perspective of the new player.

Part I: Abilities

There are just too many of them...

No where in the game is it more apparent that there are too many choices in abilities for the new player than in the entry level of heroic dungeons. 

This is the reason we see damage dealers doing bad damage, because they have dozens of abilities to choose from and often make the wrong choices which abilities are the best for doing their job of killing the big baddie in the most efficient manner.

This is, in part, the reason we see so many bad healers in dungeons that are not choosing the right heals for the right moments.  They either panic and use the expensive heals and run out of mana or they try to conserve and cast smaller heals when bigger ones are needed.  Or in some cases they just do not grasp the concept that there are different heals for different situations and ever healing class has at least one for each task.

This is why tanks often learn how to tank without learning how to use cooldowns effectively.  While they are out leveling on their own they are in the same situation as the damage dealer when dealing with so many damage dealing abilities that they never even realize they have defensive cooldowns.  Even more so, they underestimate the need for them because a 20% reduction of damage for 6 seconds just does not seem all that attractive when compared to an ability that has 125% weapons damage even if a tanks first priority, outside of insulting the mobs mother, is to do what they can to stay alive.

Easy to play, hard to master...

This really covers the entire warcraft game.  In truth it is easy to play and hard to master but that term is usually reserved for hunters in player vs player and there is a reason for that.  The hunter toolbox is huge.  There are so many things they can do so while they might be an extremely easy class to play they are amazingly hard to master because of the copious amount of abilities they have.

There is no better example of how different the game is depending on how you handle the abilities you have and having so many of them actually makes the game much harder for those that do not understand them all.

I've trained at least a dozen hunters how to better play their class this expansion alone and it is quite interesting to see how little they knew even if they where doing fantastic beforehand. 

First boss in the last HoT I said, you can use master call to get out of that.  What?  I have said that what feels like 100 times and never once, yes, not once, has anyone ever said, I knew that.  That many different hunters and not one of them knew what masters call did.  A few even said, I am not BM I don't have it.

These are people that seemed like good players.  Their damage numbers were up there, they attacked the right targets, they managed aggro, the avoided the avoidable, they seemed like excellent hunters but they never even knew something as simple as masters call existed.

Easy to play, hard to master, meet the perfect example.

Masters call, master call on someone else, kill command while in deterrence, disengaging forward, scatter trap, concussive kiting, scare beast, aspect dancing, and the list goes on and on.

There are so many abilities that hunters, and all classes for that matter, have that people just over look because they don't fit the textbook of damage dealing abilities for damage dealers, tanking abilities for tanks and healing abilities for healers.

There is so much going on and so many things to do when all those things are going on if only the people are willing to learn them all and practice them all.

What is in your rotation...

Most like to say that the role of the damage dealer is the easiest roll in the game and depending on how you look at it that might very well be true but that is an argument for another day.  Today's argument is how easy is it really?

If being a damage dealer is so easy how come there are so many so bad at it?  I often like to use that as a response to people that say it is easy because if it were really as easy as people say it was than everyone would be good at it, don't you think?

The reason for this is that myriad of abilities people have.  They can read the tooltips and try to make the correct choice on which abilities seem the best and while that might be enough to get them by that doesn't mean they will do well. 

A hunter just doing steady shot to get focus and than arcane only to dump it before switching back to steady might be able to do well enough to pass through nearly unnoticed in much of the game because it will at least give them some mildly reasonable damage.  In the end however, that won't make the cut.

If they where to read the tooltips they might see aimed shot is a much better shot and use that instead of arcane shots as their focus dump and because of its amazingly long cast time and the fact they will be forced to move often if they use it, it will force them to break the cast and their DPS will drop.  So while in theory using aimed might sound good, it isn't always so good and surely not in heavy moving conditions or without some sort of haste buff, but how would a new player know any of that?  The tool tip doesn't explain anything of that sort.

Someone that goes a little deeper might read into it a little more.  They might consider cobra instead of steady thinking they do the same thing and the visual for cobra just looks cooler, and they would be wrong if they are marksmen.  They would see serpent sting and think it isn't worth it on long fights when it is.  Or vice versa, they would think serpent sting would be great for something that dies quick, when it would not.  So many abilities, so many chances to make errors.

The more abilities there are the more chances they have to make an error in judgement.  And that is not even entering procs and buffs or debuffs into the equation.

I have to do what... when...

The use of the cooldown and handling of a proc are often the hallmarks of the good player.  A good tank knows when he needs to use his shield wall or he is going to die whereas the new or bad tank will use it at the first sign of trouble and not fully understand that the boss is about to land a big hit in 30 seconds and they no longer have that cooldown.

A good healer might know to use pain suppression on a tank at the right moment whereas an inexperienced one might not even know they have that ability or even if they did notice it they might have read it and said, why would I want to reduce the tanks threat, this is stupid, and never even put it on their bar.

How you handle hot streak or aimed shot could play a difference.  How you fire your explosive shots could be the difference between doing good damage and huge damage.

Not only are there so many abilities for the new player to try and understand there are so many interactions between those abilities and game play for them to understand.

I just don't get it...

That has to be the most honest statement any new player will ever say and I can understand their pain.  If you do not look outside of the game there is no way to ever figure out what is best for you.  If you do not look outside of the game there is no way to get better. 

You can read the tooltips until your eyes bleed but they usually fall into one of three categories. 
1) Vague, they do not actually tell what the ability does.
2) Misleading, they seem to say something different than what they actually do. 
3) Useless, because lets face it, use this to heal yourself or an ally that has been injured is not actually helpful, we know that is what a healing spell is used for.

There is nothing wrong with a new player being completely lost.  The game offers absolutely no assistance in game to teach people how to use the massive amount of abilities they give people.  I would hazard a guess that a fair deal of the players in the game would be a lot better if only the game itself offered some type of way to teach people what their abilities do.

There are just too many...

Without a doubt there are way too many abilities and that is the number one beginners bane.  The more there is to do, the more there is you can do, the more there is you have to do, the harder it is to be the new player because there is so much playing catch up you need to do with absolutely no help from the game itself.

With each new expansion that comes out the new player just starts falling further and further behind because that means more abilities are added to their already full plate. 

With all those main abilities, secondary abilities, utility abilities, cooldown abilities and assorted other abilities to use it is understandable how a new player could feel overwhelmed by it.  And lets not even mention the need to learn not only what those abilities do but to learn when to use them.

I feel bad for the new players because if they just want to play the game and never look outside of the game in an effort to understand it all, they will always be what people refer to as bad players.

Sure, they might be okay, they can play their solo thing just fine, but they will never be good enough for group play and any adventure though the random dungeon system will show you that a large amount of the player base fits perfectly into that description, not ready for group play.

Easy to play and hard to master.  With so many abilities for all the classes, to a new player, that phrase fits all.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- I think we all need to laugh at the lighter side of things in this edition of mondays random thoughts.

- Have you ever accidentally eaten something or drank a flask while listing stuff for auction?

- Oops, I'm an idiot.

- And it was an intellect flask while you are on your DK?

- Click it off, click it off quick.

- Then you look around as if someone might have noticed you just drank an intellect flask.

- You slowly stroll out of the auction house all cool like nothing happened hoping no one noticed.

- Ever notice that the better your gear gets the harder it is to fit through some doors?

- Bigger is not always better.

- I don't know about you but I would never be able to swing a sword if I wore shoulders like they have in game.

- I am surprised you don't end up killing yourself with all the spikes on your armor.

- Am I the only one that has ever looked at a male dwarf dance and thought... I've been that drunk before too.

- How did Onyxia get in that hole she lives in?

- Come to think of it, how did half the bosses we fight get where they are?

- I am guessing they built the building around them.

- Did they build the mountain around the mobs for BWD?

- Yeah, I think we need to use some baby spice on these bosses, they are getting way to big.

- Come on tough guy, I'm going to show your toes a lesson.

- What do you call that black stuff between the bosses toes?

- Slow running gnomes.

- Ever do black morass on a gnome?

- And drowned.

- A swear gnomes should get double loot in some dungeons just because they have to face the bosses and the environment.

- Have you ever got line of sighted by a pebble?

- Not a rock or boulder, a pebble.

- If so, welcome to the world of being a gnome.

- If a gnome slaps you would it be assault or sexual harassment.

- Most people they slap it would be in their nether regions or their butts, so it could be both.

- Being worgen can get on all fours and run tauren should be allowed to now as well.

- I can see the erpers having a field day with that one already.

- Go into travel forum so I can milk you baby.

- I swear I laughed in real life writing that one.

- I had a high school humor moment there.

- It was utter nonsense.

- Oh god this is getting bad, I should wrap it up.

- Have a great day.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Do People Really Think This is What Acceptable is?

Before I start I must warn you this might come off sounding a little harsh and I know that the people this is aimed at will never read this.  That is because if these people where the type that actually read anything about the game they would not be that bad.

Out of complete and total boredom I decided to do some dungeons this weekend on some of my more geared characters.  They don't need valor or anything from any of them but I figured it would be a fun way to pass some time.  I was wrong.

I ran into people doing 2K DPS, tanks that could get one shot by hogger and healers that apparently thought their job was to heal themselves and no one else.

Do people really think this is what acceptable is?

Is it acceptable for a damage dealer, even at a 329 item level to do only 2K DPS?  Even if you were in all player vs player gear 2K DPS would not be acceptable.  One group I was in the tank said something to the person doing that low and their answer was "I am doing very well for the gear I have".

Doing very well?  A healer doing 2K DPS is doing very well in the DPS department being it is not their responsibility to deal damage, not an arcane mage.  When it is your responsibility to deal damage the words very well and 2K DPS are on different sides of the universe and should never be used together.  No, I am not being a elitist saying this, I am just stating fact.

At the absolute worst, a 329 item level, no gems, no enchants, and limited knowledge of your class I would say 5K or 6K should be the lowest you ever do.  With some knowledge of your class 7K or 8K under those 329, no gems and no enchant circumstances would be reasonable and for some classes, it might even be doing very well.

I decided to do what I normally do and keep my mouth shut.  The dungeon was going fine.  We had one damage dealer doing 20K and the other damage dealer doing 8K along with the tank doing 8K so that one person doing 2K was not really hurting us.  As I was healing and having no issue, I was not worried.  But it was interesting to see what would transpire here with this conversation between the tank and the damage dealer that was, in his own words, doing very well.

The tank started in nice enough and asked the mage when they started playing.  Oddly enough they said they started playing in BC.  The tank followed up by asking if he was new to this class and the mage responded that this is his main character, the one he has been playing since BC.

This is when the tank started to get a little more into it.  He asked, if 2K is doing very well in cataclysm what did he do in BC and wrath.  No response.  He said.  I thought so.

We pulled a few more packs and he did not get any better and the tank asked, how hard is it to hit one button over and over.  The mage said, shut up, you do not play a mage and you do not understand what is involved, I am doing very well with my gear.

I inspected him and saw something that amazed me.  He had a 342 item level, some of his items were even enchanted and he had all his gem slots filled.  Now I was sure he was trolling the group.  Doing bad on purpose.

Either way that still means the question is the same.

Do people really think this is what acceptable is?

Is it acceptable to come in and troll people or acceptable to come in and be that bad.  Same question no matter what his reasons for doing badly were.

Another run as a healer I got well of eternity and the first mob in there seemed to last a year and a day.  When the fight was over I had done 28K HPS.  What would have happened if I where not a raid geared healer.  There is no healer in the game that could have saved them in level appropriate gear.  If you were in 353 gear, even fully gemmed and enchanted, that would have been a wipe.

Is it acceptable to put that type of pressure on the healer?

Another healing one in stonecore we would have wiped every single pull if it where not for me being a raid geared healer and I started to think this is the reason there are no new healers in the game.  There would be wipe after wipe and the healer would be blamed for each wipe for not keeping people alive.

When everyone is attacking different things, none doing more than 6K DPS, the tank is barely of item level to begin with and most of that gear is DPS gear and no one is even considering interrupting the guy that turns into that spinning thing a non raid geared healer would have never been able to handle it even if they where the most skilled healer in the world.

It is wrong, completely, 100%, totally and unequivocally wrong for people to go into a dungeon and do that badly either because they can not do better or are not willing to do better and expect someone else to pick up the slack for them.

Do people really think that is what acceptable is?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The No Lifer and The Scrub

Have you ever noticed that the majority of the warcraft community, or any community for that matter, looks down upon everyone that is not themselves?

If you have done better than them, you have no life.  If you are not as good as them, you are a scrub.

What ever happened to looking at things objectively?

I know I have said both things about people as well but never as a first impression.  I do not just call anyone better than me a no lifer or anyone worse than me a scrub.

Quite honestly I think those terms should be reserved for the ones that really deserve them but even at that, who really deserves them if we do use them?

Is that guy that seems to be on 24/7 the no lifer?  He is on when you log in before going out, he is on when you log in when getting home, someone tells you that he has been in trade for hours on end, he is on when you log off.  You can be pretty safe to say this is what most people consider the definition of a no lifer right?

Perhaps they are a stay at home mom or dad, or a retired person, or someone that lives in some rural area where there really isn't anything else to do.  Maybe this is just the way they wish the pass the time.  Who are we to decide that how they spend their time makes them a no lifer?

It almost seems like the people that play the game would be fine with these people spending 8 hours a day watching TV or at the bar drinking because that means they have a life more so than if they are spending 8 hours playing a game.  So time played is not really the issue.  What someone does to entertain themselves, be it golf, handball, drinking, or what have you, is their own prerogative.  Or at least it should be.

I think what it comes down to is jealously.  If someone is better than you, and better is a subjective term, they are a no lifer.

A person could be 8/8 heroic before the nerf but only spend 10 hour a week playing while you spend 40 but they are the no lifer, not you.  Some might say, in a smart ass way, look in the mirror before you use that word.  If you can not do what they do in four times the amount of time they play, perhaps you are the no lifer and... wait for it... the scrub.

Which now brings us to the other end.  It seems anyone that does not have the same progression as you, the same achievements as you, the same years played as you, is a scrub.   Why exactly is that?

Take the person that just like to level, or to play the auction house.  Are they scrubs because they aren't even 8/8 normal yet with a 25% buff?  Ask the masses that play and they will all tell you that they are.

By that logic I am a no lifer on some of my characters and a scrub on others.  Judging a person by what they do in game is wrong but the people continue to do it to everyone they run into as a first impression and quite honestly it is annoying.

I saw one person getting picked on in one of my guild today because they had a few 85s in the guild.  A few people jumped on them pretty quick and it started to get a little out of hand so I interjected, as I am seen as someone everyone comes to for advice, I figured I would be able to help and I said that I will have at least 20 85s by the time mists comes out, does that make me a no lifer too?

I only have one 85 in that guild so no one there knew, they instantly called bull shit and said I was a liar and if I did have that many I too was a no lifer.  I laughed at that.

These are the same people that only moments before were all asking me directly for help with this, that or the other.  The same people that only an hour earlier said I was the best player in the guild.  But because I have more than one 85 I am suddenly a no lifer.  This is the attitude you get in a social guild, and most of my rarely played alts sit in social guilds because raiding guild want people that are willing to put in more time than I do on my alts.

So it makes me ask, is the community really that small minded that time spent is the only determining factor between someone being a good player and someone having no life?

It makes me wonder if anyone ever considered the reason I know about all classes, all rotations, all stat priorities and all that other useless informaiton that I might just have all classes and that is why I know?  When I only had one 85 that rarely played and knew a lot about the game I was the best player they ever met, but as soon as they find out I have more than one 85 and actually spend more than 3 hours a week I am a no lifer.

The more I play the game the more I realize that people are really small minded and can not judge people on a case to case basis.  It comes down to the simple versions. 

If you play more than I do, you are a no lifer.
If you play less than I do, you are a scrub.
If you have more achievements than I do, you are a no lifer.
If you have less achievements than I do, you are a scrub.
If you started playing before I did, you are a no lifer.
If you started playing after I did, you are a scrub.
If you have more raid progression than I do, you are a no lifer.
If you have less raid progression that I do, you are a scrub.

It is really all that black and white?  Am I missing something?

I guess if I told them that most of my characters have cleared DS on at least normal and a few have even heroics done when that guild has still not even cleared normal I would be considered a super no lifer instead of a super sub that they are always begging to come on and raid.

But here is where the whole thing comes to bite those quick judgement people in the ass.  When they are raiding, they want me more than anyone else in the guild to be there because I am the top player and I know all the fights from all perspectives so I help explain to them.  Even if I would now be considered a no lifer because I have more than one 85.

Perhaps the next time they ask for help I should just say, sorry, I don't run with scrubs.

Using their very own terminology that definition would fit right?

Wouldn't that be a bite in the ass to people that try to judge you just based on the time you play?  I would probably get a guild kick from there if I said that but it would not matter to me.  My alts like that are just for something to do on rare occasion and have no progression anyway.  Wait, that makes me a scrub too because I have no real progression on that character.

Darn, I am the no lifer and the scrub.

I swear that most of the time people say either it is just a quick response to someone new that is totally filled with jealously against the no lifers and superiority toward the scrubs.  Very rarely is it a true comment based on the person and/or their abilities in game.

I'll leave this with pointing out the little fact that there are people that are 8/8 heroic and they are scrubs and there are people that only play a few hours a week and they have 13000 achievement points.  I guess that throws a monkey wrench in their assessment because if someone is 8/8 heroic they have to be good and if someone has 13000 achievement points they have to have no life.

I swear the more time I spend in the community it scares me that these people with their little minds are real people in the real world.  Someone should teach them that everything is not all that black and white.

It is going to be up to you however, because I can't.  I am a no lifer and a scrub.  They would never listen to me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pipe Dream: More Solo Content

For those not familiar with the term, a pipe dream is something you hope for and dream about.  It is a fantasy that you know will never happen.  But people love to dream and for the moment I want to dream.

My pipe dream for warcraft would be to see a great deal more solo content.  I would also love to see all new content designed for group play or solo play.  Dynamic coding where you can choose to step into an instance with any size group and still be able to do it at a difficulty level perfectly designed for that groups size.  Be it alone, with one friend or even nine.

I enjoy soloing old content, even some of the stuff I find challenging.  I've wiped plenty of times while trying to solo some old raid bosses while I made my decision to either adjust my attack plan, adjust my spec, adjust my pet, or just declare it as something I do not think I am capable of doing.

I think that is part of the fun of soloing.  The aspect of seeing if you can do what should not be able to be done but I have to question why should anything ever be something that you should not be able to do.

I would have loved it when dragon soul came out if I could have went into there on day one and soloed it.  That is my pipedream, that they would design content so you really have a true choice.  If I wanted to do it 10 or 25 I could, what if I wanted to do it with 1 or 15, shouldn't I be able to?

I would love to see everything coded so it could be done with any number of people and its difficulty adjusted around the number of people there.  I understand the design needed for that would be a complete waste and it would never happen but that is why it is called a pipe dream.

What if you went in solo and could hire NPCs to work for you and fill certain roles?  While that sounds amazing in concept it really is something I can never see happening and probably would not want to see happening. 

Do you want to know why?  Because if something like that is designed you would need to make the NPCs smart and if the NPCs are made smart then in a 10 man group with nine people that know what you are doing, the NPCs, they could easily handle the raid by themselves, the live player would not even need to do anything so that would make all content trivial and I do not want that when doing solo content.

I want solo content, not trivial content.  So the hire an NPC approach would not work.  I do think there would be a way to make solo raid content work however.  It would need to be designed for one player and that one player should always need to be DPS as every single class has a DPS spec.

Make all the fights, while still being challenging based on timer and movement required, basically tank and spank with an NPC tank that does not lose aggro and can not die until the boss enrages.  Remove all AoE damaging effect to negate the need for a damage dealing class that can heal and set everything up where you can avoid everything if you are good enough at it.

Honestly, every fight in DS can be done like that.  First fight, have the bubbles not cause damage if you are on them and add more bubbles.  The NPC tank will hold aggro and never die while you as the DPS have to make sure to be on every single bubble to avoid damage and run out to avoid damage all while working against a timer.  Perhaps it should not even be damage so healing classes that do now have a distinct advantage in soloing them.  Perhaps a secondary health bar that is not effected by any healing effects.  That would be better. 

Second boss, only one blood is released, if you let it hit you then you have to deal with slightly different things when compared to what we already know but still a different effect from each one.  So you have to switch and kill or deal with whatever happens if you don't stop it all while working the timer. 

Third boss, same thing, this time the bouncing ball does no damage, but there are three markers around the circle and you need to bounce the ball into all three markers before it goes into him.  All that and a timer too.  Hope you are good at working angles to get the ball to hit the markers so they will go back to him because you sure as hell will need the damage buff to beat him solo. 

See, every single fight can be designed for solo players with just a tiny bit of thought involved.  Something like that could have a simple 25K DPS requirement so all classes can do it without much of a problem, maybe even 20K if you want to be really forgiven.  It would come down to doing the dance right on each fight.

It can be done, it can be done quite easily, but it is a pipe dream and it will never happen.

I would love to see more stuff designed for solo play.  So while I am waiting for my guild run for DS I could go solo everything else this expansion, just for fun. 

I would like to see more solo content and it is not just raid content.

I want to see reputation go back to taking forever to get because that is solo content.  I would have preferred therazane just having the dailies and they only offered 100 to 150 reputation per and have to work my way to exalted slowly instead of the way it was where I was exalted with them the second day of cataclysm release.

I would rater grind reputation so it took a month to do them, see, that is solo content.  It gives us something to do solo.

The problem with me is I am living the the past.  Everyone wants things now, and fast.  I like to work for things, I like things to take time, I like to feel as if even something as useless as ogri'la reputation was worth it because it took time to earn it.  It felt like I did something even if I was only doing it for the sake of doing it.

I would love to see them make leveling take longer, that is a way to add more solo content.  Rushing you to 85 means they are rushing you to group content.  I understand that this is an MMORPG but why does everything need to revolve around doing things with other people?  Shouldn't that just be one option of many?

Those other people from the massive multiplayers would be the ones I talk to in guild, run into while questing or gathering, buy from and sell to on the auction house.  The content should not be 100% dependent on them, the others. 

I'd like to do my dungeon grind without them, I want to do it solo.  I would love to raid solo because I would never need to depend on the ability of another to gear correctly, gem correctly, enchant correctly and know how to play their class correctly.  I do not want to be held back, or boosted ahead, by other people.  I want to make my own way through content and then on those moments I feel like venturing out with others, I like that the option to do so is there.

But that is my pipe dream.  I wish that grouping up with people was actually an option but it isn't.  You have to do it if you want to do that content.  My pipe dream is for more solo content.

It will never happen.  Doesn't mean I can't think about how awesome it could be if it did.

We all have something we would like to see in game that we know will never happen.  Mine is more solo content while it is current that was originally group content only.  What is yours?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I am Not Excited For

I while back I made a post about things that are going to be in mists that I am excited for.  Now it is time for the other side of the coin, what I am not excited for.

The Black Market Auction House:
From my standpoint there is absolutely no up side to this.

People get things by buying them instead of working for them or lucking into them.  Mind you, I am no fan what so ever of the luck system, but if I had to run something for three years to get a mount and that mount is still in game and still attainable the way I got it I believe people should need to get it the way I did.  Maybe they will get lucky and get it on one run or maybe they will have to run forever to get it, but at least they earned it.

Before anyone says I only think that because I want to be special for having it I should point out that I have mounts, armor and weapons that are no longer attainable in game and I have no problem with them being attainable.  There is no way to get them, so adding a way for newer players to get a piece of the past does not bother me.

It is just that I believe if something is still attainable in game you should have to get it in game.  I don't think anything that is in game now should ever be offered there.  You should need to get it the way it is intended to be attained.

Then there is the other way around.  I've been farming the drake that drops from UP for many years.  Probably been soloing it since ulduarish time in wrath when I was first capable of soloing it.  While I have not done it every day I would say I have easily run it 300+ times and never seen that drake drop.  When I get bored or am looking for something to do or have a little time to kill before a raid, I run UP and hope for the best.

When I get it, there is one less thing for me to do in game.  As much as I hate the random number generator for not letting me win it, I like that it gives me something to do having not won it.  Having something like that to do adds a little fun to the game.

I will be tempted, heck, I will buy it if it pops up on the black market auction house.  I have the gold and I need the item, so I will buy it.  I do not have the self control to pass it up.  If I see it I will get it and it will take something away from the game from me.

I will lose my little something to do whenever I have that free time.  I will not have that excitement of finally seeing it drop when it does.  It will take away something from the game.  I think having little things like that to pass the time is a good thing and selling the items we do those things for removes the need for doing them.  In a way, selling stuff on the black market auction house is removing content from the game.  As in, if I buy it, I no longer need to run UP.  It removed that content from the game for me.

Then we have the elephant in the room.  Gold sellers and the buyers that love them.  Something like the black market auction house will mean there will be more gold sellers in the game.  It means there will be more gold buyers in the game as well.  The thing most people miss is that this will not only effect the black market auction house it will effect the entire balance of the game.

People will buy gold to get that expensive mount or raid gear on the market and then buy more so they can get that new craftable belt or power level a profession and they will buy more and more and the prices on everything will go up in the process because people have become more comfortable buying gold.

Not to even mention what the added gold sellers to the game will do.  More people getting hacked is only the tip of the iceberg.   They will also be around gathering meaning more competition for what can sometimes be pretty competitive to begin with.

Nothing good comes to the game from gold sellers being around and having a part of the game that requires people that want stuff, including heroic raid gear, that costs a lot of gold you are giving the gold sellers a damn good reason to be around.  It was blizzards way of putting up a sign that says gold sellers welcome here.  I don't like it, not at all.

No Valor for Gear:
I want to know who the genius that thought this one up was so I can send him a nice thank you bomb.  Just kidding of course but really what is the logic behind this one?

I don't know about others but for myself I use the valor gear to at least semi gear up alts so should I need them I can just bring them into the mix and they are not completely out geared.

Take my priest for example.  I used her at the beginning of the expansion and felt her healing was weak and switched to my shaman which it was a lot easier healing T11 and T12 with.  So my priest, after just a few runs in T11 sat on the shelf for a long time.  She did however stay geared up.  By running randoms I was able to keep up with buying valor gear and when T13 came I did not need to play catch up, she was already geared and ready to roll day one having not even raided since those first few steps into T11.

How about my rogue which was oddly enough my second 85 this expansion.  He had never raided, ever.  I think I took him on one of the weekly raids back at 80, maybe two.  He was my crafter for my hunter.  As a leather worker his entire life was lived just to make gear for my hunter.  However, since I could get gear with valor I was still able to keep him geared, even if only minimal as he did not even run dungeons much.  When T13 came out and I was capable of getting in there to start the legendary quest line it was not like playing a game of catch up, he was appropriately geared for DS even having never raided before in his life thanks to valor gear.

Or my warlock, the character I really hate playing this expansion and my only class that I do not have at least one of with a 390 item level or better.  Thanks to valor BoEs and justice BoEs I was able to give him a nice little jump start.  The same way I gave every character a jump start when they first hit max.  I like that my characters can help each other like that and without having gear for valor that means no gear BoEs for valor either to give myself a jump start.

Speaking of BoEs that is a whole topic of its own when it comes to the valor and justice gear.  Are you aware how many people make the bulk of their gold selling them?  I never really have but there are many people that make their gold that way and that is probably the easiest way for people that are horrible at making gold to make gold and being they apparently want people to all have a ton of gold, see above, taking away an easy way to make gold is not a good thing.

I know of many people that have a whole slew of alts but only one main.  They gear up their main and run their alts to sell the valor BoEs for big money in those early weeks.  I feel bad for them but it also works both ways.  What about someone that has the extra gold and wants to gear up a little faster, they no longer have those people selling that they can buy from.

Removing valor gear is changing something, a lot of things really, that we have all become used to and accustom to.  I do not like the idea of just upgrading gear with valor.  It is a horrible idea.

What are we going to do when we upgraded everything?  Is all that valor now useless?  At least now you can buy some valor BoEs with that useless valor and make something.  From the various servers I play on the current valor gear sells from 800g to 4000g even still all depending on server economy.   I am not sure about you but I would prefer 800g to useless valor points any day.  Gear for valor just makes sense and having one or two of those pieces be BoE make even more sense.  I am not looking forward to upgrading gear with valor and that is all we can do with it. 

Mind you, I am not saying I dislike the idea of upgrading armor and weapons, I actually love that idea.  I am just saying that removing gear for valor and replacing it with the upgrade system is a horrible idea.  They could make valor gear you can buy and upgrade gear.  But that would make too much sense and it would make valor more useful for a longer time.  Why would they ever do anything as stupid as making something useful for a longer time.

Cross Server Zones:
Oh my god I don't even know where to start.

Lets start with basic and simple.  What if someone likes playing on a small or medium server?  Cross server zones basically means you are forcing them into a high population server.  On my main server if I go to level an alt I can be fairly sure that I can quest without anyone else in the zone and even if there is someone else their might be one or two.  On another one of my servers where I recently leveled another character every zone I stepped into was filled with people all over the place.

I like both of them.  Some days I want an area all to myself and others I like to see life around.  And I am just one person and like both ways.  I am sure there are others like me in that aspect and I am sure there are many that like it quiet all the time.  Some people choose to be on low population realms because they do not want people around all the time.  A cross server zone takes away that option and forces them into a high population realm basically.  So much for giving people choice huh?

This also makes for the trifecta in messing with the economy.  Add a black market auction house to screw with gold, take away BoE valor items to screw with gold, and make gathering a multi server thing instead of a single server thing to screw with gold.

Way to go blizzard, you hit the trifecta in screwing with the economy.

Lets take the small server for example.  You have one guy that does laps in winterspring for icecap and sells them 50 gold a stack.  He does an hours worth of picking and can usually farm around 10 stacks and all is well for him.  He is happy with the money he makes and the server is happy with the price because it sells at that price easily.  A good supply and demand balance has been reached on that server.  Enter cross realm zones and he goes to farm and now has 100s of people there, many of them competing for those same herbs.

He can no longer get 10 stacks in an hour, he can only muster up one and a half with that type of competition going on.  If he is intent on making 500g for his hours work that means he will need to sell those for just a bit more than the 50g a stack he usually did.  In this case a little bit more means roughly 375g a stack.  There is no market for 375g a stack.  So it does not sell, and he does not farm them at all any more.

It could work the other way as well on a higher population server, with a cross server that means there is an increased spawn rate, if the game is designed the way they say it is at least, and on a higher population server where they sell for 13g a stack and there are always many people there it will now sell for 6g a stack because there are more people there and more farming causing faster respawns.

For the low pop server with few people farming, they will lose out on materials for their server and the price will go up in the process.  For a high pop server that normally had a fair deal of people there it will now have more and there will be more in the mix because of the higher spawn rate meaning the prices will go down.  Crossing realms chances the balance.

Lets not even think about the balance of the players, lets think about the balance of the bots.  Lets say a server has someone running a bot on it, they just have that one bot to deal with.  But if you are using the cross server zones then if 10 servers are there together and 5 of them had bots now that one area has 5 bots.  For the bot runners that is awesome.  Five bots mean faster respawn rates, again if it really works as they say it does, and that also means you, the human player now has to contend with 5 bots beating you to the node instead of just one.

Gee thanks blizzard for making me have to compete with 5 bots now instead of 1 when I go farming.  That was so nice of you to think about me like that.

Lets not forget about questing.  Some people like the low population servers because they can just do their thing.  The one mob they need to kill will be there because no one is there to kill it.  On high population servers you often find yourself and a few others going for the same quest mob or mobs and if they are not nice enough to group with you guess what?  You are stuck waiting for respawns.  There are some quest mobs in some areas that are barely enough for one person to finish the quest and have a dismal respawn rate.  Welcome to the full world where there are now 10 people looking for the mobs that there were not even enough for just you.

That makes me think about us poor hunters.  The only class in the game that needs to hunt for an ability, as in a spirit beast.  How do you think a warrior would like if he had to hunt for his charge and other people could kill it before he got it, or a priest would like to hunt for their greater heal that others wanted to kill to grief them?  If a BM hunter wants a spirit beast which is the best for them in most situations they need to hunt for it.

For someone like myself, with 7 max level hunters and having have never even seen a spirit beast even if I am always looking for them this is already frustrating.  What is worse was the fact the first spirit beast I ever saw in my life I had to kill for frostbitten.  No thank you blizzard, I do not want even more competition for something I should not need to compete for to begin with.  Do not cross server zone any zone that has rare spawns that a hunter needs.

Or how about any zone an achievement hunter needs to get things in?  Frostbitten and bloody rare are hard enough as it is when you are one of few looking for it.  How do you think it is going to be if 100s are looking for it?

And how do they plan to handle spawns?  What if terror spinner had spawned on server B 20 minutes ago and server B is the server you throw me on when it was due to spawn on my server in a few minutes?  Lets say I go back over and over looking for it and always get unlucky and thrown into a server where it spawned 20 minutes ago.  I might never find it.  Now I need to fight the random spawn thing and fight the system that could very well put me on a server it is impossible for me to get it on every single time.

Word to the wise.  If you want frostbitten or bloody rare, get it now.  It will be damn near impossible and require a lot more than time investment and luck come mists.  It will involve double luck.  You need to be lucky enough to be in the right place and lucky enough to get thrown on the right server they decide to make for the cross server zones.  Nothing good can come from this.

Don't Have Group, Won't Travel:
Blizzards official stance on this is that they are removing it because they want people to get out in the world more.

I am almost speechless, good thing I am typing this and there is no need to talk.  I have never heard a more erroneous statement in my entire life from them or more proof that no one at blizzard plays the game.  How does removing something that gets people out in the world more often get them out in the world more often?

I just can not grasp that concept.  I can just imagine the brain storming on this one in the offices.

Clueless Designer 1: We need to find some ways for people to get out in the world more.
Clueless Designer 2: How about we remove have group will travel?
Clueless Head Designer: Don't people use that to get out in the world more in pvp, raiding, and helping others quest?
Clueless Designer 2: Yes, but if we remove it they will have to fly there so they will be out in the world more.
Clueless Head Designer:  Do you think that will work?
Clueless Designer 1:  It has to, people will be forced to go out if they can not summon people.
Clueless Head Designer:  Okay, lets remove it.

It was probably something as simple as that and they removed it and once again completely forgot who their player base was.  They forgot that the reason people do not go out is because they are lazy and have group helps cure lazy in some cases.  They forgot that have group made it easier to get people around so people used it to get around more often.  They forgot that instead of needing two people that where not lazy to go to a summoning stone you only needed one person which effectively made it twice as easy to get a group together to get out.

It also made it easier to get people to help you if you needed help.  Lets say you where leveling and at the amphitheater and needed help.  You would say, could anyone help me for 5 minutes and while most would love to help you it would take them 20 minutes or more to get there if they where not already local and then they would need to head back to what they where doing before hand taking more time so they do not help.

With have group they say, sure, have group me, you get there, you kill the mobs, you hearth back and go back to what you where doing.  No one wants to waste 20 minutes flying to help someone unless they where bored to begin with but most people, decent ones, if they are not doing anything pressing would help a guild mate for 5 minutes if they could instantly get there.  Gone are the days of using have group to get someone somewhere to help you.

How about doing PvP defenses when horde is trying a two phased attack in multiple cities?  Have group is king.  My guild is not a PvP guild and most do not even like PvPing but with have group we go out to defend because it is only a matter of saying, have group me there and then suddenly we have 16 people that were sitting around doing nothing out in the world doing something.  All thanks to have group.

I can not even begin to tell you the number of times we kept inviting everyone that popped online and have grouping them to us and doing some world PvP.  We used it for tram fights.  We used it for attacks.  We used it for defenses.  We used it for molten front skirmishes.  We used it for open world fights that originally started as a two on one and ended up a 10 on 10.  All this from a guild that does not even have one guild rated battleground win because none of us PvP.  All thanks to have group.

Once we even took out a double attack in stormwind and darnasses at the same time thanks to have group and some good timing.  It was all thanks to one mistake in timing from the horde and some good use of have group and my small group of guild mates, 16 in total, wiped two 40 man raid groups at once.

We saw them coming in stormwind so we assembled in the kings chamber waiting when we got an inside tip that the group attacking stormwind was only a distraction it was mostly the PvE players and people that already had the other achievement, the serious PvPers and ones that wanted the achievements were going somewhere else.  So all of us that had alt mages popped on to our mages, ported them to another city and went back to wait being we did not know what the other target was yet.

We destroyed them in stormwind really quick, with outside help from others around there of course, and while we where finishing we saw they where going to darnassas.  I had my mage in the building, I switched characters, hit have group, and the full PvP group walked right into all of us ready for them.  They never saw it coming, we took them by surprise completely.  We took out the entire group in roughly 90 seconds, it was pure slaughter and probably the most exiting PvP moment of my game play life.  It was amazing, it was exciting, it was great fun and it was all thanks to have group.  Of our group of 16 people only 2 were PvPers.  The other 14 would have never even joined in on the fun if it had not been for have group.

It is the moments like that people remember.  Things like that make people love the game.  It is the feeling you get from doing stuff like that which makes you want to do it more and play it more.  It even inspired a couple of those players to get a little more involved in PvP.  Have group did what it was supposed to do.  It got people out more, it got them to do new things, it got them to have fun, it got them to experience something that could be addictive, something called fun, something the game needs more of.  So it only make sense you would want to remove something like that right?  Well, to blizzard it does.

I can list example after example of how have group has made people get out in the world more than they have in a while but apparently it seems my experiences are unique.  I seem to be the only person in the entire game of over 10 million people that got out more because of have group because blizzard has all the numbers and they say that no one goes out any more.  They are saying that nothing like I described has ever happened for anyone but me.  Blizzard is all knowing.

Removing have group is not horrible.  We never had it before and we did just fine so we will live just fine without it.  The thing is, to say you are removing it to get people out in the world more is the worst lie ever.  It got people out in the world more.  It did exactly that.

I would love to know the real reason they are removing it and not the lie they tried to feed us.  Blizzard must think everyone that plays the game is a fan boy that will listen to everything they say as if it were gospel.  Sorry blizzard, some of us know better and we know it was not removed to get people out in the world more because people where getting out in the world more with it.

If anything all it did was save time and as I have said a million times before, I am all for saving time.  I would rather spend 20 minutes playing instead of 20 minutes traveling to play.  It seems blizzard really wants us to spend that 20 minutes traveling because removing have group has made us do just that.  Instead of being out in the world playing we will be out in the world traveling.  Thanks... no.

So how is removing have group supposed to get me out more when it got me out more to being with?   As I said, proof that no one that makes these decisions plays the game because apparently they have no clue how the player base uses have group.

Well, that is all I have for now.  I do have another header I wanted to address but I am not posting that on purpose because I feel it needs a topic all its own.  I also feel it is something that is high priority to me and people like me that like to grind stuff and farm stuff and look for more involved game play.  So that is left out, but the above things, those are things I believe everyone could agree with.  Or at least I think everyone would to some extent.  They are things I am not looking forward to at all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

All Raid Fights Should Be Like FL+4 or Yogg +0

Blizzard seems intent on making it so that everyone in the game can raid and they are doing various things to make sure it happens.  Lets forget for a moment that everything that have done has been horrible and try to focus on how it can be better.  While the fact remains that I completely disagree with the concept that everyone can be a raider I do believe that there is a way to effectively implement that as a possibility and still keep things fun for everyone.

Instead of the game having three levels of difficulty they can use the ulduar activated modes to create difficulty.  It doesn't even need to be anything really elaborate even.  It could be something as simple as the concepts they used to create levels of difficulty in uldaur on a few fights.  A simple design, done to perfection.

Lets take a fight like flame leviathan as an example and I do not mean a vehicle fight, I mean building a fight based on activating something, or deactivating something for various levels of difficulty.

For sake of this argument I am going to make a brand new fight and describe how it would work in all levels of raiding.  Gone will be the days of looking for raid difficulty, normal difficulty and heroic difficulty.  Everything would need to be activated.

The fight will take place in a brewery, we will be fighting a panda that has been infused with the corrupting sha forces.

The basic version of the fight would be a tank and span basically.  If nothing is activated it will be super easy, the one that is meant for everyone.

If you break the window out before the fight, you will have to deal with weather while fighting. His HP will go up +50% and his damage done will go up +25%.

If you shatter the beer barrels before the fight, you will have to deal with beer spills on the ground that need to be avoided.  His HP will go up +50% and his damage done will go up +25%.

If you talk to the NPC outside of the fight, they will not stop the flow of adds from entering the battle.  Add will now continue to come throughout the fight, for each add active he, and the adds active, would gain +2% attack speed and a stacking buff that reduces damage he, and the adds, take by +2% for each add active.

If you insult his mother when you activate him, one person will be strangulated for 20 seconds at all times.  While it can not target the current tank, it could very well target a healer and that could make for an extremely interesting 20 seconds or the second tank that was supposed to taunt in 2 seconds meaning you could very well need to make some interesting strategies on the fly.

Being difficulty is personally adjusted there will no longer be any need for toggling heroic on and off.  Heck, for that matter there would be no such thing as heroic any more either.  For arguments sake, having all things active would be hard mode and designing them to stack the way they did would make for an amazingly hard hard mode even when starting off with a basic tank and spank boss.

At the base level, with no added options, it would be designed around looking for raid type of difficulty with one major advantage, you can walk into it.  This means that lesser guilds can actually experience progression at their own pace, even in 10 man mode if they wanted to.  It also gives them the advantage of having real loot instead of system assigned loot.  It would also mean that even on the worst servers it can be pugged because now you can walk into a looking for raid difficulty version with 10 people or 25 people.  The 10 man option you can walk into with a looking for raid difficulty would be a huge, beyond huge, advantage to the raiding community and even more so those people that want to start raiding.

The looking for raid difficulty version will be basically mechanic free.  It will only have the most basic of basic things.  None of the activation things will be capable of being activated if you get it as a random, so no one can grief a group of new and unskilled players by talking to someone or activating something but if you walk into it they can be activated.

The fights would be as basic as can be.  Taunt at three rotations for tanks.  Tanks being the only ones that take any major damage if people do what they need to which will make the healers lives easier.  Maybe just a small AoE once in a while to keep things interesting for healers some.  There will be one standard mechanic that new players could use to learn like fire on the ground or stack up for one thing and spread out for another, but that is about it.  It will be kept basic and simple.

When walking into the raid you can do it on that difficulty or add some difficulty to it, depending on how you want to do it.

Add some weather so you need to avoid the tornado and get out of the hurricanes.

Add some flowing beer on the ground that likes to change direction so you have something else to avoid.

Add some adds to handle.

Or basically make it that you will be 9 manning it because someone will always be out of commission for the entire fight.

How about 9 manning it with weather, or having adds and beer spills, or having to 9 man it with beer and adds, or doing the beer spills, weather and adds but not 9 manning it, or maybe even all at once for a seriously hard core fight that it going to take near excellence of execution.

Now that is good raid design.

We could also move back into one of the reasons I know I love ulduar, so many achievements to get.  If anything, there always seems like there is a reason to do it.  More achievements to get.  If anything, this is one of the reasons I am against account wide achievements.  All my characters would have all the achievements and the replayability would drastically fall.  As it is, I always have a new character I am willing to run it with to get achievements.  I am going to miss that feeling come mists.

There could be an achievement for doing it on normal.  One each for with only weather, only adds, only beer or only 1 person less.  One each for any combo of two.  One each for any combo of three.  One for using all four.

One for no one getting hit by weather while it is active, one for no one getting hit by beer while active, one for no one getting hit by either while both are active.  One for never having more than 5 adds up at the same time, or one for letting 20 adds come out before killing any of them.

How about one of those annoying random number generator achievements where you have to beat the boss after everyone has been gripped at least once.  There would also be a return to the days of wrath when there were 10 man and 25 man achievements.  No longer would one achievement cover both, you could now go for the achievement on 10 and on 25 again making one raid have more options of more things to do.

A raid design like this would include more people in the raiding world.  It would give people more achievements to get and more reason to run it on both 10 and 25 to hunt them all down.  It would mean that all guilds of all skill levels could have some sort of progression.  It would make the raid last longer as there would be so much more to do in it and most of all it would revive the pug society on many of the small servers that don't see pugs any more at all.

There is no downside to developing raids like this.  It is better for the game and it gives everyone more to do and more to experience and enjoy.

Having activated modes like that means it would be easier to develop for looking for raid too.

Think of something like the blood boss with activated modes.  Nothing activated would be like a looking for raid difficulty, one blood released, can't be killed, no matter what it hits the boss and the blood would never be purple.  This would solve the two main issues I've ever seen in LFR with this boss.  Purple and healers that do not know how to handle it and the problem that no one ever switches to bloods anyway, which if you have bad healers could mean a wipe even in looking for raid.

Now lets play with some activated modes.  We made the base mode easier.  One thing activated would mean +20% health and two bloods released, one can be killed.  Two things activated would mean another +20% health and three bloods released, one can be killed.  Three things activated would mean another +20% health and four bloods released, one can be killed and last but not least, four things activated would mean another +20% health and five bloods released, but you can kill two of them, or can you?

I just made the base version easier and the heroic version harder without changing the fight in any real way.  It also means it can be super easily pugged even by the lesser skilled players and without even the need for voice communication for people that have never done the fight before.  The hard core players get a chance to go even more hard core and the new and inexperienced get to play along as well.  Plus think of all the achievements we could piggy back on to them.  So much more could be done with the game if there was an activated mode for difficulty and we could all adjust it ourselves.

I don't see why blizzard would not design everything like this.  It is just better design.  Give people options on how they raid instead of just trying to throw everyone together.  We are not all the same and things should not be designed to deal with everyone being thrown together as if they were.  Any system that lets the people decide their own difficulty is a good design and one blizzard should incorporate into raiding.

As always, in my opinion at least.