Friday, August 31, 2012

How Much is Too Much?

At the moment we are all having fun playing with our new buttons.  Click them or bind them it doesn't make a difference, new is new and we all want to use them to see what they can do.

The thing is, unlike some new buttons, these ones in nearly all cases are not just something you will play with for a short time and forget about, they are becoming a part of your rotation.  In some cases they will become a huge part of your rotation.

They are not replacing anything in most cases, they are being added.  The priest choosing to buff up their shadow fiend might not have an additional button, but that is the exception, not the rule.

So it leaves me to ask, how much is too much?

I wrote a long time ago explaining how three is a magic number.  The human mind has an amazing way of dealing with things in groups of three.  We can remember it easily, perhaps without even trying.  So if the game wanted to make things easy they would group things in threes.

For damage dealers it would be three standard buttons for a rotation, three utility buttons, three cooldowns.  Max, that would be it.  For tanks it would be three damage dealing abilities, three high aggro abilities and three defensive cooldowns.  For healers it would be three main heals, three situational heals and/or utilities and three big cooldowns.

It would make it easiest for people to learn if it were simple like that.  Now to people like me, you and the people that read the forums these new buttons might not serve as much of a problem.  In most cases it is only adding three things at the moment.  While we get more later, we have three things to learn to use now.  That is good design, that is what our brains are wired to understand.

But what about anyone not playing right now?  What about those players that were having problems with all the buttons they already had?  What about people that have not even started playing yet?

I'll learn to use my three new hunter cooldowns because it is three for me.  For someone that has never played a hunter it is a lot more than three.  Now they get to look at the future and see what could have already been a 7 button priority is now a 10 or 12 or even 15 button one.

The more buttons, the more intimidating it becomes.  The more buttons, the more chances there are for mistakes.  The more buttons the more likely people will not be able to play their role well.

Take shaman healing for an example.  It was always the simplest healer to teach people with in my opinion.  Yes, there are some complexities involved that would set the good and great ones apart but anyone could be a good shaman healer because it was simple.

One thing for every situation.  One HoT, one small heal, one large heal, one multi heal and one quick expensive heal.  They added one ground effect heal and a totem cooldown this expansion.  Now they add more stuff to clutter up the bars.

The more they add the more choices the new shaman healer has and the more chance they will make the wrong choice.  When it was just the basics you could have turned any person that never healed into a healer easily.  The good ones would move on to learn the finer points and become great healers and the not so good ones were still capable of healing randoms and normal raids.  All because there were fewer buttons.  Now, shaman healing can be quite imposing to someone that never healed before because there are more buttons and while to the experienced player they are nice new abilities to anyone new to the role they just add a whole mess of confusion.

Now with all these buttons people, no matter the role, that are not already at end game and only learning a few new things, will have a mountain to climb in the learning process.

Just take Beastmastery for a hunter as an example.  The spec that was always supposed to be the easy spec for players, that was the intention, has now become something that would scare a new player away.  Just look at it.

Warning:  This might not be the actually best rotation at 90 as that is still being worked on.

Beast Mastery Rotation:


1) Hunters Mark before pull
2) Serpent Sting
3) Dire Beast
4) Stampede
5) Bestial Wrath
6) Rapid Fire
7) Kill Command
8) Glaive Toss
8) Readiness
10) Kill Command
11) Glaive Toss
12) Cobra Shot (to refresh sting that should be close to falling off)

Now we can start our priority rotation

1) Serpent Sting (if it fell off)
2) Rapid Fire
3) Readiness (but only if RF and BW are on cooldown, maybe DB, GT and KC if it lines up)
4) Stampede
5) Kill Shot (if under 20%)
6) Focus Fire (but not if BW is active, hit as soon as BW ends)
7) Bestial Wrath
8) Kill Command
9) Dire Beast (but only if a beast is not already up)
10) Lynx Rush (delay if BW will be activated in less than 10 seconds)
11) Glaive Toss
12) Arcane Shot (if needed to bleed focus)
13) Cobra Shot (to keep sting up, move up if sting is about to fall off)

If this is supposed to be the easy rotation I think blizzard and I have a different definition of easy.  But compared to survival and marksman, this is easy.  A 13 shot priority that follows a 12 shot set up just to lead you to using it.  That is not a priority, that is a list.

Lets not forget all the little conditionals for many of those abilities.  Like never hitting focus fire while your pet is under the effects of bestial wrath, never calling dire beast even if readiness resets it if there is a dire beast already out, making sure to squeeze in that cobra shot so serpent sting does not fall off, delaying lynx rush if you are going to be entering bestial wrath soon.  It is a lot more that just a priority, it is a priority jam packed with conditionals.

Don't forget your situational abilities either.

1) Aspects.
2) Silencing, binding or wyvern depending on which you took.
3) Traps
4) Widow Venom
5) Misdirection
6) Tranquilizing Shot
7) Distracting Shot
8) Concussive Shot
9) Intimidation

Note: And you have defensive abilities too.

1) Disengage
2) Deterence
3) Feign Death

And lets not even get into pets because I am going to make that a post of its own but you can bring a whole slew of buffs and as BM you can bring even more than the other hunters.  Not to mention your pets have cooldowns that could be used for utility or DPS that you need to micro manage to get the most of them adding even more abilities to your plate.  Also, now that growl is a true taunt there will surely be times were your pet taunting will be a useful raid tool and yet another thing you will need to micro manage.

Yeap, BM is the easy hunter spec.  With all that, and more I did not list, at their disposal you have to wonder, why would anyone want to start playing a class if this is the easy rotation.

Sometimes you really have to think, how much is too much?

Perhaps it is just me but I think a total of 17 key binds for DPS should be the absolute maximum.  That should include all situationals, all cooldowns and all trinkets or proc based things.  The basic rotation to get good DPS should be 5 keys, no more.  Ever.

I wish I only had 17 now and to think more are coming, it is just too much.  In my opinion at least.

How much do you think is too much?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The New Hunter Abilities

All classes got the same treatment with the spec changes.  Everyone is cookie cutter spec now and we are given a chance to choose a few flavor abilities or passives.  While I can go into explaining why I don't think some of this is a fix all, you will notice what I am getting at when I go through what I think of all our new abilities.

We will start at the end.

Level 60, 75 and 90.

There is nothing that needs to be said here.  These are DPS abilities that we choose from.  Just like when we used to make specs there was a right choice and a wrong choice.  These 3 tiers will always fall directly into that category.  There will be a right choice and a wrong choice.  I am rolling with dire beast and a murder of crows now.  Not because I like them but because they are the right choice.

It is the other tiers that things get interesting, things get fun, to some extent at least.  This is where the flavor is.  An argument can be made that there are also best choices in those but the impact of those best choices is not usually as big as the above mentioned best choices from the DPS abilities.  The other tiers are the fun ones, the ones were we will be making our real choices and the ones I can see us changing often.  So lets get to the real meat of our new talents, the ones that are truly choices.

Level 15:

Posthase: Your disengage removes you from all movement impairing effects and increases your speed by 60% for 8 seconds.

Narrow Escape: When you disengage, you also activate a web trap that encases all targets within 8 yards in sticky webs, preventing movement for 8 seconds.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera: Reduces the cooldown of disengage by 10 seconds, and the cooldown of deterrence by 60 seconds.

For the PvE hunter, while raiding at least, I am sure that no one would choose anything but CT,HC.  It is the best raid ability of these three but unlike the DPS talents there is a much bigger case to be made where the other two could be used for PvE and that is where our choices come from.

If you are on kiting duty posthase or narrow escape could be very useful in PvE and being we can now change things on the fly we will be more likely to do it when needed even if just for one fight.  This, in my opinion, is how all these new tier skills should have been designed, to be a choice.  Sure there will be a best one to have on most of the time but the others are still viable for their situations.

So while all raiding hunters will have CT,HC as their default they will be switching.  For PvP even more so as post haste can be a super ability in PvP in various situations like when you need a little speed boost.  Anyone that had mastered the jump/spin/disengage/spin move will tell you that we have been using disengage to move forward forever, now we can use it to move forward and get a speed boost while getting out of any movement impairing effects.  Not bad if you are the flag carrier.  So masters call and this and we can get out of two things.  Boy oh boy will people be pissed wasting all those spells on us for nothing.

Narrow escape, besides having some serious PvP uses and some situational PvE ones in raiding it has a fantastic ability for soloing and taking advantage of the new AoE looting.  Run around a lot of low level mobs, web them up, go gather some more, when they catch up hopefully you are off cooldown, web two groups up, go get some more, you get the picture.  One multi shot later and 100s of sparkles.

Not only could it be used for that but for soloing in general it can be nice, even against non-trivial targets like in the previous example.  Webbing a few mobs can be really helpful.  Why concussive just one when you can web all four.

This tier offers some choices for both PvE and PvP as well as for soloing and questing and I can see everyone using all of them.

Level 30:

Silencing Shot: A shot that silences target and interrupts spell casting for 3 seconds.

Wyvern Sting: A stinging shot that puts a target to sleep for 30 seconds.

Binding Shot: You fire a magic projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 5 yards of the landing arrow for 11 seconds.  If the target moves 5 yards from the arrow they will be stunned for 5 seconds (3 in PvP) and will be immune to the effects of blinding shot for 10 seconds.

Another tier where all the abilities have their place.

A silence is always a good thing and is a solid choice in most PvE cases when doing dungeons.  In a raid setting there will usually be someone with a better interrupt option but you could take it for that as well to be a back up, which is never a bad thing.  Silencing shot also has PvP uses and can sometimes be a huge part of it when timed correctly.  While questing it could be useful at times, but might be the least exciting option for the quester, except for the rare quest mob that might actually live long enough to hurt you with magic.  For soloing, it could be make or break against some bosses to be able to interrupt something.

The sting is a situational thing that will probably see more use while soloing or questing but once again it can be used in the dungeon, raid or PvP scene.  Remember folks, while wyvern sting is not an interrupt it can act like one on any mob that is not immune to it.  If the mob you are attacking is about to cast a spell you can sting it which will put it to sleep for a split second before you hit it again but being you put it to sleep you interrupted the spell.  Oddly enough, many people did not now that it could be used as an interrupt as well on some targets.  In the dungeon or raid setting there will be better CC options and in PvP its longer cooldown and shorter duration make it a little lackluster but still useful.  That is why it will shine mostly while soloing or questing.  Being able to effectively CC 2 mobs makes a hunter capable of taking some packs of mobs other classes might take the long walk around.  That is the true power of wyvern sting and where it shines.

Binding shot screams out that it is a PvP ability and it sure is.  Everyone gathered at the flag in eye, keep them there.  Flag carrier getting away, slow that baby down and catch up.  This might very well be the best choice for the battelground hunter hands down.  The possible uses are endless.  Keep someone from catching an ally.  Keep them from getting away.  It is just one of those abilities that has PvP written all over it.

Don't let that fool you however, this ability has many PvE uses too.  Forget raids and dungeons were you might never use it, unless you are soloing them, but couple this ability with narrow escape from before and you can make that massive stack of mobs grow ever more.  These two abilities put together make me want to try to do something I have always wanted to do.  Kite an entire zone.  Every single mob in it.  Yeap, that is how awesome this ability can be if used correctly with the other exceptional kiting abilities the hunters can choose from.

It can be a handy questing tool and a handy soloing tool.  Keeping mobs at a distance is still the best options for any hunter even if we can shoot at melee range now you should try to never do so.  This will keep those pesky mobs at the distance they should be, far away.

Level 45:

Exhilaration: Instantly heals you for 30% and your pet for 100% of total health.

Aspect of the Iron Hawk: The hunter takes on the aspects of the iron hawk increasing ranged attack power by 10% and reducing all damage taken by 15%.

Spirit Bond: While your pet is active you and your pet will heal for 2% of total health every 2 seconds.

This is the healing tier for the hunters and nothing says heal like having a lay on hands for your pet every two minutes.  Exhilaration will surely be the choice of many soloing hunters doing some of the more challenging content.  It might also have some raid uses.  In a fight where there is not much damage going out but there is the occasional hit that will hurt you for a bunch having that 30% heal for yourself can help the healers a lot.  In PvP this ability could also be useful to heal yourself and your pet, but I think it would be a little more situational and it is harder to determine what you will need in PvP until you are already fighting, so I will leave judgement on this one to more serious PvPers, to me it seems like it could be good, but I would not choose it unless I was trying a three DPS arena team and needed that big heal.

Aspect of the iron hawk seems like it will be the default ability for everyone.  Firstly we get to keep our DPS aspect, hawk, and add a 15% damage reduction across the board for everything and you have an ability that can be useful for everything, all the time.  For most raiders, unless there is a situational thing where one of the others might be better, this is the one ability that will be used.  For the dungeon goer this might be it as well and for the PvPer reducing all damage across the board is never a bad thing.  So this one might shine all over leaving the other two to be completely situational.

Spirit bond will find many places to be useful.  Those PvE fights with minor AoE but no other threat to ranged DPS and spirit bonds might make healers love you.  If it is ever enough to keep up with the damage you are receiving, it is actually a better option than iron hawk.  If you are only taking 2% every 2 seconds reducing it by 15% won't mean a thing and this will keep you at 100%.  Same for the large heals of exhilaration.  Why would you need a big heal if a little constant one is enough to keep you at full.  For questing and some easier soloing, this might actually be the choice of the smart player.  For PvP this one seems like it would be the least useful, but once again, I am not a serious PvPer so don't take my word for it but as I see it I doubt this one would see any use in PvP.

So level 15, 30 and 45 we are given real solid choices.  Actual choices, what these new types of specs are supposed to be about.  We will all find out defaults like mine are CT,HC, silencing and iron hawk, but I will be switching around as needed and I now have the freedom to do it on the fly without needing to go back to a trainer to do so.  Now that is what it is meant to be.

Level 60, 75 and 90 seem rather lackluster in that department.  There will be a best and we will use it.  On rare fights there will be a reason to switch, and we will switch.  Over all level 60, 75 and 90 are not choices, there is a right and a wrong and while there might be a right and a wrong with 15, 30 and 45 as well, even the wrong choice in those would be more beneficial than the wrong choice in the others.

So how did blizzard do with our new talent set up, in my opinion?

The first three tiers rock and feel like real choices.  The last three tiers don't feel like choices at all and I think they missed what they were aiming for, allowing people to do what they wanted to do.

As long as there are damage modifiers or damaging abilities to choose from, there will never be a choice in game unless you count it as making the wrong choice is a choice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Need to Know: Need to Use

Need to Know is an addon that keeps track of things for you.  I've been a long time user of the addon but never really used it on my hunter.  Perhaps for various reasons.  One being it was my main and I was so used to it that I knew when things were ready and the other was we never really had a lot of things to look out for as a hunter.  Keep that priority rolling, try not to lose even a fraction of a second between any shots and worry about that one cooldown (outside of trinkets) named rapid fire.

Now that the world of hunter goodness has changed we are full of cooldowns and we should be using them all the time.  If you are a good hunter you have already taken A Murder of Crows and Dire Beast and will be taking Glaive Toss at 90 not to mention getting Stampede at 87, all that and there is the addition of readiness for non MM hunters.

So on top of what the average hunter needed to do, which was amazingly cooldown friendly, you will now have 5 (or 4 depending on if you played MM before and always had readiness) new cooldowns to keep track of.  For most people this moves things from being easy to monitor with your memory muscle to something you might need assistance to keep track of.  I know I will, at least while learning it.

For that I would like you to take a look at Need to Know or any addon like it that you might use.  I know there are other addons that do the same thing but I like the slim look of NtK.  I've always used NtK on my warlock and fire mage and even used it on my tanks to help monitor my defensive cooldowns when I was first learning.

What does need to know do?

It is a program that is very versatile in what it can do.  It can keep track of the cooldown left on a spell, keep track of the time left on a DoT, notifies you of procs, and basically anything your little heart desires.  You can change its location, appearance, even have it show little icons of the skill you are monitoring.

Each spec will have its own set too, so you can make it role specific and really any role can find a use for it.  A healer can use it for cooldown tracking, a tank the same, just as a damage dealer would while keeping track of their DoTs and whatever else tickled their fancy.

Hunters however never really had much of a need for it.  With only one slightly bigger cooldown in each spec outside of rapid fire, BA for survival, BW for BM and readiness for MM what else would you have really used it on?  To track if your serpent sting was up on a target?  Don't laugh, I did this for a while because I got into a habit of forgetting to use it when I first hit 85.  Oops.

Now with all the cooldowns we have I think it about time that every hunter out there thinks about getting something like this.  You might be able to do without it, we all will with enough practice, but it won't hurt to have it.  It is a small program and will not cause any lag, never has for me.

Best part is, it was updated for 5.0.4 right away too.  Something many addons were not.

So what should you do with it?

Here is how I am going to have it set up for me as survival.  You could do hunters mark, to make sure it is on the target, sting, to make sure it is on the target and the cooldown left for black arrow and explosive shot if you really want but we are all used to that.  So much so that not many even think of the cooldowns any more, we know when things are up without even looking.  This is for the new stuff, save one, the one real cooldown we needed to watch before, rapid fire.

I use images of the spell because I like that, you do not have to.

1) Rapid Fire - Time remaining on cooldown.
2) Readiness - Time remaining on cooldown.
3) A Murder of Crows - Time remaining on cooldown.
4) Dire Beast - Time remaining on cooldown.
5) Stampede - Time remaining on cooldown.
6) Glaive Toss - Time remaining on cooldown.

So you can let need to know tell you when those things are ready or you can try to learn it all on your own.  It is up to you.  I know I used it on a few of my characters until I got comfortable with the timers and I will use it on my hunters now to get used to the timers.  Once you got it down you can hide need to know again but it is a great tool to help you keep track of all those new cooldowns we have to deal with.

If you are like me and was spending more time looking at your spells yesterday to see when they came off cooldown, don't.  Let this do it for you and you can get back to kicking some ass, just like us hunters are supposed to.  Less time watching cooldowns means more time bringing the pain.  Can you dig it?

So now hunters enter a new phase of life.  It used to be a good hunter was the hunter that was best at responding to their priority and doing so even if forced to move.  Our priority has always been a little brutal in how one mistake could effect our DPS and it still is.  Now we added something new to the mix, cooldowns, lots of them.

Don't let those cooldowns interrupt that priority, it can mean a huge DPS loss.  Integrate them.  So the new version of the good hunter now is the one that is best at responding to their priority, uses their cooldowns for maximum up time and can do so even while moving.

Huntering just got harder, but it just got more rewarding too when doing it well.  Need to know helps you make that transition into a cooldown class on top of everything we already were.

Other addons that do the same type of things that were suggested by posters:

Weak Auras
Tell Me When

First Feel for Marks & Survival

I logged in yesterday surprised how smooth it went, it was even up before it was expected.  Not to say there were no issues.  I did some dungeon runs and there were bugs galore.  Nothing game breaking, just annoying.  I wanted to test out my hunter so I ran a few dungeons and the looking for raid for the first time in months.

For knowledge sake, the talents I decided on for both marksman and survival are as follows.

Level 15: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera
Level 30: Silencing Shot
Level 45: Aspect of the Ironhawk
Level 60: Dire Beast
Level 75: A Murder of Crows

First up, survival.

My DPS was off roughly 6K from what it normally is.  I had a few shining moments where I was close to my normal but not one where I could reach it.  I went and reforged so I could get to the expertise cap and lowered my hit cap so there were less wasted stats.  Remember, hit cap is now 7.5%, it is no longer 8% so you can take some out of it.

So with the idea I was not missing being removed the lower damage was because of me trying to work my new skills in.  Having readiness as survival was a nice little addition but losing my 10% haste buff was a bit annoying.  I also liked having silencing shot in survival.  Interrupts are important.

I'm a button spammer, I'm sure I have said that before, and when I was doing my cobras I was used to 1.5 cast times and was now 1.8 cast time which mean at lot of click click click sounds coming from the game when I tried to do something but was still channeling a cobra shot cast.  .3 seconds might not seem like a lot but when you have had your timing down so well for so long .3 seconds is an eternity.  I swear I heard the click click click from not being able to fire a shot a thousand times last night.

I didn't like having the added abilities to work into my rotation.  I've played on beta, I read everything there is to read, I know my priorities already, it was just a matter of putting them into practice.  And I surely need a lot of practice because I was ending up focus capped all the time it seemed.

I noticed the ability to fire the three explosive shots in a row was causing some problems.  So even if I could fire them back to back now I started squeezing in arcanes when I was in danger of capping.  So sure, I could fire them all at once but more often than not I wasn't.  It was not practical to fire three of them and let myself be capped.  It felt like a waste.  Unless some theory crafter comes out and says you are better off letting yourself get capped to fire the three explosive shots I am going to do it the way I used to do it and squeeze in an arcane shot to bleed off some focus to keep myself from capping.

Either way, I found myself capping quite a bit but I chalk that up to paying too much attention to the new spells and over casting cobra once in a while  It could be the reason for the lower DPS as well as the reason for me capping.  It is nothing that a little practice at it won't fix I am sure.  Survival seems like it will still be easy enough even if it is looking more like a warlock rotation with a million button than a hunter rotation with 5 or 6 main ones max.

Now for marksman.

I was so excited to be able to play marksman again.  It has always been my favorite spec.  I have not used it on any given fight normally since beth in firelands.  I did use it here and there in other spots but because survival was so much better in the sims I switched to survival exclusively and let my favorite spec be put to the side for soloing and PvP.

If I just complained about focus capping as survival I have to apologize because compared to marksman it was nothing.  It was a minor thing here and there with survival.  With marks I was capped for what seemed like entire fights.  Even when I tried to bleed as much as I could I had to do my two steadies to keep my buff up and was right back to capped again.

I just could not get into the grove with it.  One fight I did 22K on.  I have not done 22K on my hunter since late T11 / early T12.  How did I get so bad at marksman?  I used to rock it.

Is it a product of not playing it for so long or is it the same problem I had with survival and I was paying too much attention to my new spells that I was making minor mistakes here and there.  Either way, there is no excuse for an experienced hunter around a 400 item level to be doing 22K.  None at all.

I played around with it some more and was able to get it up some but still not really close to what I have become used to.  I did get it over 30K and I did start to get those new spells into more of a grove but I was still focus capped nearly all the time.

I think that is the reason I was doing so badly.  I was paying way to much attention to being focus capped and trying to bleed off some that I made mistakes, lots of mistakes and even lost my steady shot buff often while trying to get rid of focus.  I paid way to much attention to it.

Marksman is holy shit hard now to keep up with.  There is too much going on at the same time and it will be near impossible to keep a top damage rotation up while not capping and taking advantage of procs.  I love it.  I also hate it.

I love that marksman is now going to take some serious skill to pull off correctly but I hate that it seemed like it is now harder even if they improved the double steady buff to a 10 second duration.  After a few runs and many fights where I felt like I was basically useless because I could not get into the grove I went back to survival for the LFR run.  I would have embarrassed myself with marksman.

Marks was always about timing and now it is more so than ever before.  It had an insanely tight rotation before and now we have new spells we need to add into that already overly tight rotation and it messed me up.  Messed me up so much that I can see this being something that could make some hunters quit.  Not me, I am a hunter and I look forward to the challenge but they really made a hard rotation timing wise much harder now.

I can't believe I did 22K on a boss fight.  That was horrible beyond the definition of horrible.  But it is also nothing that a few hours on the dummy could not fix.  I think anyone that wants to do marks correctly will either have to practice some to get the new timing down or they will need to ignore those new abilities and just roll old school and only use them if they have some extra time.  That would be a much smaller DPS loss than trying to do it all and having the timing all messed up, like I did.

So today it will be dummy time for me.  It is the patch before the expansion, I should be doing more DPS, not less.  All other classes seemed to have boomed up big time and I went down.  Might be me not adjusting fast enough or it might be the loss of the main hand and need to move stats into expertise.

It is just funny hearing people say, wow my haste is now at 36% or wow my mastery is now at 40% and here I am on my hunter and my crit is 7% less that it used to be, my haste is 5% less than it used to be and my mastery is 4% less than it used to be.  How did every class in the game get a huge boost and my class got torn to shreds?

Either way, I still finished the LFR in third because another hunter, from guild, and a warlock that was just insane did better.

Hey, I thought I had it bad, there were two other hunters in there under the tank and both of them were actually good hunters, not great, but good, and they could not get into the grove either.  I more than doubled them however, so I guess I am not in as bad of shape as I make it out to be.  Perhaps I just have higher expectations of myself.

So as much as I complain about feeling off with it, at least I am not them.

Either way, I am not happy with adding more buttons to our rotation.  Blizzard seems to have once again forgotten their player base.  They have forgotten the skill level of those players, the majority.  I will get into the grove because I read a lot and am willing to invest time into learning.  Most won't and adding more abilities for people that could not handle the ones we had already is bad design.

They needed to lower the number of things people needed to do and they increased it.

If we thought we saw a lot of bad DPS in cataclysm, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Around the bases on other stuff:

Beast Mastery:  I will give it a try this weekend.  It seems to be the easiest of the three specs and if beta shows us anything it is possible this could also end up being the best spec.  It has been so long since I played it however I wonder if I can get into it.

Pets:  Geez they got squishy.  Mine was dying left and right, always taking damage from god knows what.  If pets are going to have the life expectancy of the cockroach at an exterminator convention it might make BM the worst spec.  Without a pet BM is useless.

LFR Loot:  I like how it pops up for you what you won, either the baggie of gold or an item.  In a way I feel slighted when I get an item because that means I get no gold.  I would rather the bag with 25 gold instead of a 12 gold item I don't need anyway.  I hope they fix that, you should still get the gold even if you get an item.

Loot Rolls:  Love the new loot roll.  It even tells you if you won something and what you won it with.  A nice little change.  Nothing that was needed really but nothing to complain about either.  I do think it is kind of cool that it tells you when you won.  Hell, how many of us have had moments were we ask, did I win that piece?  No more.

AoE Looting:  Being I only did dungeons and raids yesterday I did not get to use it but had used it on beta.  Don't need to use it again to tell you I love it.  I love it.

64 Bit:  I am playing in 64 bit now when I never had before.  Must say the colors are a lot brighter with 64 bit.  Insanely brighter.  Not sure if some things were bugs or if they are supposed to blind you, like the sand on the ground at the end of the first HoT.  I thought I was going to go blind.  It is vibrant for sure.  Even noticed a lot of little things I never noticed before.

Launch:  Well color me surprised, it was up nice and quick and while the dungeons seem to have a lot of bugs there was nothing game breaking.  Nice patch work there, seems like blizzard is getting better at this stuff.  About time, do you remember not being able to log in on tuesdays nearly every week for hours?  Glad those days are gone.

Shared Achievements:  I picked up a whole 110 achievement points.  How sad, I though it would have been more.  Oddly enough only 10 of that was from my horde characters and I know I have a lot of achievements on my horde characters I do not have on any alliance ones, or I thought I did.  I know of some for sure like the fishing and cooking dailies to start.  That should be a total of 8 achievements shared, but I guess those aren't shared between factions.  So I wonder where that 10 came from.  What horde achievement could I have gotten that I never got on an alliance character that is shared if the horde specific ones are not shared.  I would love to figure that one out.

All in all not a bad patch day.  Now to get to work, I have a lot of hunter work to do if I want to get back into the grove.  I hate new buttons.  Why does everyone else like them?  I had enough abilities to begin with, there was no need to add more to gum up the works.  Oh well, now to find somewhere to bind them.  You know, clicking them could have also been part of my problem.  Who knows.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't Expect to Log in Tonight

Don't expect to log in tonight, at least not right away.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  You will hear cries and whines and moans on the forums.  People saying how horrible blizzard is for releasing broken products.  People declaring this is the last straw and they quit.

Don't expect to log in but not because blizzard is doing something bad, it is because they are doing something good.  The push of people logging in today will be considerably less than it will be when mists is released.  It is the end of the expansion, guild wars is coming out today, many people are on vacation, and so many other reasons why there will most likely be fewer people on today than normal.  So now is the time they released the most dangerous stuff, the stuff that could break on a large scale release.

They are playing with the skills now because that is a huge change.  It is a change in functions that effects every single character in game from level 1 to cap.  There are across the board item changes, like relics becoming gray items and ranged weapons becoming melee weapons, as in you can only equip one or the other and not both.  There are a lot of moving parts going into effect today and that means there are a lot more chances there will be a squeaky wheel here and there that needs to be oiled.

We all hate it, we all want to get on and play with the new toys as soon as we can, but we also all need to remember why this is such an important moment in patching.  The reason it is so important is because we are getting this today and not on release.

That is a huge thing most people seem to forget.  Changes like this, like I said, there will be some problems with.  They are sweeping changes and they effect the entire game as a whole.  Releasing them now means we do not have to get them released on the 25th of September.  It means the release of mists will most likely be a hell of a lot smoother for the little inconvenience we might feel now.

If there needs to be a few hours down time would you rather it now, at the end of an expansion when many of us don't even play as much any more or when the new expansion comes out and you have new levels to get, new reputations to grind, new areas to explore and new and interesting people to meet and kill?

I'm willing to accept some extra down time now in return for less down time when the expansion comes out.

For as much as I complained about cataclysm there is one part of cataclysm that shined brighter than any expansion before it.  The release.  Not so much as a hiccup even.  I was on the second it opened and never had even one issue.  The game never went down, it was never slow, it was never lagging, it was smooth.  The only thing I would complain about is 10,000 players all on the same quest but that is not a function of the game that made that happen, it is the players.

Cataclysms release was fantastic.  Amazing by the standards of a game this large.  The reason for that was because they dealt with all the game sweeping changes before it came out by releasing the new talent system early.

Just like they are doing now.

So if you are trying to log in when they said it will be up and can't get on, remember that means you will get into mists faster.  If you still can't get on 2 hours after, remember that is 2 hours of the mist launch you would have missed if not for this.  If you end up giving up and going to bed 6 hours after it is released, remember that is 6 extra hours you will be playing mists instead of waiting on it.

There is a lot I can fault blizzard with.  More bad decisions than are made in every bar around the world by drunk men and women sleeping with people they won't remember in the morning.  But they really have gotten down releasing content with the intention of making it work better than anyone else out there.

They use this time, the down time of the game were many are taking breaks anyway, and use that as their down time tester.  So they inconvenience less people and do so when there is really nothing new for people to rush for.  Anything added we will have a month to play with and being we have had months of nothing to do, waiting a few more hours won't kill us.

They are saving the easy stuff for the expansion, the adding new areas, that is easy to add, just give access to it.  The hard part is now, with all the moving parts, all the things that can go wrong.

So you have the option, be a cry baby on the forums and threaten to quit because of downtime or be happy that they are experiencing down time now and not on launch day.

I don't know about you but I would gladly trade a full day of game time lost now to assure I have no problems at launch.  I'd even be willing to trade a full week of downtime now to make the launch smoother.

Either way, please don't complain if it takes longer to come up than they expected.  It is benefiting us all in the end.

With that said, I still hope it is up by the time I get home from work.  That would be awesome, wouldn't it?

They have been getting better and better, if you can remember what it was like you will realize how much better things are now, so who knows, maybe there will be no problems getting in tonight at all.

Hey, an elf can dream right?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- On the monday before a major patch the random thoughts of a natural born hunter turn to hunterly things.

- Of course not all are just for hunters.

- Like AoE looting.

- We hunters can share that one, we are nice like that.

- But we are keeping fetch to ourselves thank you very much.

- /targetlasttarget  /cast fetch  and we never need to move to loot again.

- There are a few things that confuse me in the changes.

- Our pets get 50% of our hit as hit and expertise and 50% of our expertise as hit and expertise.

- Why not just 100% of both?

- I think it is a way for them to force hunters to cap both.

- I still say expertise should be removed from the game.

- Said it before hunters needed it, still say it now.

- Missed shots now refund 80% of our focus.

- I can't remember the last time I ever missed.

- I'm a hunter, I don't miss, ever.

- Don't even like the prospect of that being possible.

- With my horrible luck my DPS would drop like a rock.

- Even if I only have a 1% chance to miss I bet I would miss 10% of the time.

- That is how my luck works.

- I am the only person I know that has ever went an entire 10 minute fight without the staff from deathwing procing.

- Not kidding.

- Even checked recount to see if maybe I did not notice.

- It never proced once.

- That is how my luck works.

- I wonder if that means misses due to effects count as misses for focus regen reasons.

- Would an absorb count as a miss?

- I doubt it, that would be so over powered in PvP.

- But that would be cool.

- Sorry, but like I said I never miss, so I don't know if things like absorbs count as misses for mechanics like that.

- Anyone else excited for exhilaration for soloing?

- A lay on hands for our pet tank on a two minute cooldown.

- Yes please.

- And it heals us for 30% too.

- Soloing just got so much better.

- AoE looting and a lay on hands for our pets.

- We will need it because our pets are losing a crap ton of armor.

- But that is not all we have for soloing.

- Growl is now a true taunt.

- Readiness for all specs might mean I solo in something other than marks.

- Love the change to kill command too, with a built in dash if your pet is not in range.

- Target switching your pet just became a skill that a good hunter will shine at.

- But will the cost of kill command be worth it for marks and survival?

- Now that is a snap judgement thing where skill and knowledge will make the biggest difference.

- Aspects are now on the global cooldown too which will really show some skill also.

- Being it is on the cooldown now that means you lose a shot.

- I hate that.

- But now the skilled hunter, besides being sharped dressed and stylin', will know when to switch and when not to and it will reflect in a much larger DPS gain/loss to do it at the correct time.

- Speaking of growl being a true taunt now, I was talking about that right, I can think of so many raid applications for it.

- It better work on raid bosses.

- Camo can be used in combat now, that should be a neat addition, even if it is aimed more at PvP.

- Lets not forget one of the biggest changes to hunters, no minimum range.

- I can not tell you how many times I yelled at my screen because of range issues.

- No more will I have to stand a little back and possibly miss a bit of the AoE healing.

- No more will the tank shift the mob causing me to move.

- No more will I have to step in to raptor to decrease damage.

- Well, no more raptor now either.

- Glad they gave us concussive shot back.

- I wanted to cry when they removed it.  It is such a huge shot for the knowledgeable hunter.

- They said to glyph arcane and that will make it do a concussive as well.

- And pay focus and waste a glyph spot for something that was free, no thank you.

- It was a great day when they added it back and a huge win for the hunter community.

- Immolation trap is gone along with our melee abilities and I won't miss it.

- I'm trying to figure out if I ever used it.

- And I am a hunter that used all his abilities, so much so I had over 100 key binds at one point.

- If I did not use an ability, the ability had no use.

- Being I did not PvP this expansion I lowered my number of key binds a lot.

- I have only 58 right now.

- And I do not bind a lot, like professions, mounts, or things like that.

- Goes to show you how many things are PvP only.

- They say hunters have the highest skill cap in the game in PvP.

- I'd say they do in PvE as well, even more so now.

- Easy to play, hard to master.

- That is a hunter 100%.

- I don't think I like the idea I am carrying around a whole freaking zoo with me however.

- Thank god we do not need to carry around enough food to feed them all to keep them happy now.

- Could you imagine them all turning on you?

- Murder of crows and stampede make for a massive amount of animals and I fear for the poor soul with an old computer in a 25 man that has 6 or 7 hunters in it.

- Lag city for them.

- Upgrade those graphic cards now if you play a hunter.

- Or play with them.

- It is almost like army of the dead on steroids.

- And much cooler looking.

- I remember calling out the crows and stampede with a snake trap on those big 1M hit point spiders on beta.

- I never even needed to fire a shot, they ripped everything in their path apart.

- Don't expect that now, they tuned them down quite a bit since then.

- But that was sick.

- I walked around and an army of animals killed everything.

- As fun as that was and sounds, I would really like to go true marksman.

- Just me and my long ranged shots killing everything from a distance.

- Speaking of traps, we were speaking about traps right, I love that trap launcher is now a toggle ability.

- I leave it toggled on all the time and just position the trap.

- One less key press is a good thing.

- Hunters look like their rotation now makes warlocks look like arcane mages.

- Number of buttons wise for the standard rotation that is.

- But at least we don't have to deal with all those dots.

- I can't wait to try out all those toys but I worry there are too many of them.

- I also worry that all those toys will confuse the young hunters and make the gap between good and bad even larger.

- It looks like quivers might be making a comeback.

- I wonder if we could choose skins.

- My hunter with his epic bow and his epic quiver.

- Now that would be cool.

- I don't transmog much but I would transmog that.

- The quilen pets look kind of cool and come with a battle resurrection ability.

- Makes you wonder what class it next in line for a battle resurrection.

- Cool thing is with all pets being able to fill all roles that pets fill, damage, tank or PvP, you can bring the buff you want easier.

- That means if you are BM, which seems like it might be viable again, you can bring hero/lust, you can bring a battle resurrection, heck, as BM you can bring anything your little pet collecting heart desires.

- I can see some 10 mans wanting their hunters to roll BM as long as the DPS is in line even if slightly less just because it makes them the most versatile class/spec in the game buff wise.

- About the most lackluster new ability hunters get is thanks to symbiosis from druids.

- We get dash.

- Yes dash.

- It might have some uses but come on.  This is a chance to do something awesome and we get to run fast?

- Give us a healing spell from resto, a healing touch, lifebloom or something nice like that.

- Give us some sort of CC from balance like cyclone or entangling roots.

- Give us berserk from feral so all our shots hit 3 things instead of 1.

- Give us barkskin from guardian druids.

- Heck, if you were going to give us one spell from all and it remains the same, barkskin would have one thousand and one more uses than dash does.

- So for the worse new hunter ability, look at druids.

- If druids really wanted to give the hunters something useful, how about giving us the ability to tame them.

- I know a feral druid I would tame the first chance I get.

- Who wouldn't love a pet that could do 50K DPS all on its own?

- Okay, guess that is aiming too high, I'll settle for barkskin.

- Heck, anything but dash would be nice.

- One thing that hunters are seriously missing is more stable slots.

- The game keeps adding new rare pets that they want us to have fun taming and makes sure they give us a challenge to get them, but they don't want us to keep them apparently because we have no space for them.

- It is a catch 22 here.

- No new unique rare pets and keep our stable as is or give us more and force us to choose.

- If we get more we have some hard choices to make and if we don't we get nothing new.

- Look at it this way, we are lucky, no other class in the game gets something put in just for them like hunters do.

- We get unique tames that take time to design.

- The down side is, we get unique tames that take time to get.

- And if you are not a camper like me, you don't have any.

- Except those darn spiders in the molten front.

- They seem to always be there, now at least.

- Besides those that like to mog things you know the worst thing about losing our melee weapons?

- We can not have our ranged weapon and a fishing pole equip at the same time.

- I always liked that I did not need to switch my weapon if I got attacked while fishing.

- I am going to miss that more than I miss having a melee weapon.

- For now I am done but I will leave you with one thought.

- Vegetarian is a native american word for bad hunter.

- Don't be a vegetarian.

- Have a great day.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is There a Double Standard For Damage Dealers?

Keeping with the ongoing series of posts I've made about the difficulty of playing the role of the damage dealer I would like to address something I have seen interjected in the comments that makes me believe that there is a double standard when it comes to people who play the role of the damage dealer.

While most seem to disagree with me that there is difficulty with the role of being a damage dealer I hold the stance that to get the most you can out of the role it is the hardest.  The closer you get to doing your maximum potential the harder it becomes to reach it.

I wonder why so many people seem to disagree with that concept because mathematically it is about as accurate as you can get.  When judging what someone does in reference to their maximum potential, it is the hardest.

So why are so many people so willing to give damage dealers a free pass?

Most of the people in the comments say that there are three damage dealers in a five man so if one, or even two, are not very good as long as the third one is you will have no problem.  While I agree with this statement 100% I am not so willing to give those bad damage dealers a free pass and say its fine because we still downed the boss.

If someone is trying and doing even 70% of their potential I give them credit where credit is do, at least they are trying their best.  They are trying to do well, that is all I ever ask.  While I do believe that 80% of your maximum potential is the threshold were you reach the "doing good" marker that is only a personal opinion.  Some might say you are not doing good even if you are only doing 80% while others seem to think as long as the group as a whole can do it no matter what you do you are doing good.

So why do those damage dealers get a free pass?  Is it a double standard.

While I have not done the LFR in a while, I think once in the last 4 months, I will never get those runs out of my head.  It is hard to forget such failure of epic proportions.  Thinking back on them however I see how people used their kicks.  They used them on tanks and healers.  Very rarely did they use them on damage dealers that really deserved it.  I've seen tanks and healers that did nothing wrong get kicked and damage dealers that sucked beyond the imaginable be allowed to stay.  Usually when a damage dealer was kicked it was because they had a big mouth, not because they were doing badly.  I've seen top DPS kicked because of their attitude, not their numbers.  But not the bottom feeders, nope, they are allowed to stay.

People with a 390 item level doing 9K DPS.  These are the people I am talking about.  9K DPS at that item level is not even trying.  9K DPS at that item level is a hunter just auto shooting and never hitting an ability.  Yet the most people might say is his damage sucks but they let it pass if the boss died.

Why does the community just let them slide?

I argue that if DPS is as easy as everyone seems to think it is, why are there so many so bad at it?

This is the reason.  There is a double standard when it comes to damage dealers.  Sure, you got the boss down, but doing bad is doing bad.  I'm sorry, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.  Doing bad is doing bad.  A tank that does badly gets the boot even if the boss is downed no problem, I've seen it a million times.  A healer that does badly gets the boot even if the boss is downed no problem, I've seen that even more.  But unless there is a wipe and you are not meeting the DPS requirements people let damage dealers that do badly slide.

Three guild mates, all DPS, all way over geared for it, went into DS in the LFR the other week and were telling me what the final fight looked like.  A druid, a rogue and a hunter.  They all wanted to challenge each other to see who could do the most DPS.  The hunter won pulling 72K on madness where the druid and rogue were both right behind him at 69K and 68K respectively.   Nice enough numbers right?  I was surprised when they said what the rest of the DPS looked like.  Do you know what number 4 looked like?  46K.  Not really bad right?  That was it however.  No one else in the group did over 30K.  Only 4 other even did more than 20K, 2 of those where the tanks.  So we are talking a damage boosting fight where 8 out of 19 (17 DPS + 2 tanks) were even capable of breaking 20K.  That is bad with a super huge B at the front.

No one said a word about it.  No one said a word about it because my three guild mates basically compensated for them doing such low numbers and that is the problem.  Someone should have said something.  Just because someone else does well doesn't mean it gives everyone else a pass to do horrible.

Damage dealers get a free pass to be bad because of the good damage dealers.  I don't care if you got the boss down, bad is bad.  Doing 9K DPS with a 390 item level is bad dead boss or not.

To me it seems like there is a double standard when it comes to people that play the role.  Tanks and healers are held to a higher standard than DPS are.  People will say because there are only one of them each in a five man is the reason and while that might be true it should not be.  Everyone should be held to the same standard.  Everyone should do well, even a damage dealer that has two others to back them up.  If you are going to kick a tank for doing badly or a healer for doing badly, then you should kick that damage dealer for doing badly even if his/her damage is not needed because the other two are doing well.  It is a double standard to kick the tank or healer when you say it is no big deal that the one damage dealer is doing badly.

Stop supporting the double standard.  Hold each damage dealer accountable for their own actions.  Even if they were not required to do well because the others had it handled, still kick them.

The community is teaching these damage dealers it is okay to do badly.  It is teaching them they do not need to get better.  It teaches them that damage dealing is easy.

Stop the cycle of coddling and lies.  Stop the double standard.

If a damage dealer does badly treat them the same way you would a tank that can not hold aggro or a healer that can not keep the tank up.  Kick them.

Just because DPS B and DPS C are doing 30K does not give DPS A the right to do 5K in gear he should be doing 30K in as well.  Stop the double standard that it is okay for damage dealers to do badly.

That is the reason most people think DPS is easy.  Because they can still down bosses with someone in the group doing horrible because there are two others doing well.  Just because you down a boss does not mean everyone did well.  Sorry, that statement is false.  They did well enough, but well enough is not good enough. 

Play your role and play it right.   Hold everyone to the same standards and perhaps damage dealers will start getting better.  Judge each damage dealer as if they were the only one there.

Stop the double standard.  Stop treating damage dealers as a group and judge them on an individual basis.

As someone said it is a matter of perspective.

As a main damage dealer, I ask more of my damage dealers.  I know how hard it is and I respect that it will take time to master your craft and you might still never master it.  All I ask is that they try.  I am sick and tired of people not even trying and other people saying it is okay just because the boss is dead.  It is not okay just because the boss is dead.  It is not okay to just skate by without trying.

If people won't even try then why do you even play?  I don't get it and I don't think I ever will.

Stop treating damage dealers with a double standard and letting them slide.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Staring at the Screen: Why am I Here?

For about a month now, might be three weeks, I have not played.  I would log in just to raid and even on alternate raid nights in case I was needed to fill a role.  If I was not needed I logged off.  If I raided I left as soon as the raid was over.

I do it out of a sense of responsibility to my guild mates.  Just because I am bored doesn't mean they are.  Like last week when we dragged along 6 players that had never finished DS, one who had never been in it at all, not even the LFR version because he is a pure PvPer and we downed it no problem.  One wipe on spine because some people did not understand I have only one person on corruption duty, but once they understood it everything was fine.

I just do not have the desire to play.  I love raiding, but I hate DS.  I hate the expansion and DS was just the icing on the cake for me.  At first I liked that it was something even my casual guild progressed through quickly but that ended up not being the blessing I thought it might be.  We just got bored of it faster.

I logged on just now and was not needed for the alt raid so I popped around from one character to another for a while cleaning out junk from my bags in preparation for mists.  My hunter no longer needed his huge stash of bandages, two stacks should be enough to last me, so I sold them.  My priest no longer needed her extra gear she might use if she gets an upgrade to something else for itemization purposes, so I disenchanted it all.  My warlock has a bag full of potions like all the main stat boosters for prepotting that I normally sell and I listed them all at get them now prices just to get rid of them.  I sold off my warriors entire DPS set because I quest as a tank.  Same for my druids off sets.  No more need for my tree or kitty stuff, I quest as a bear.  You get the idea.

Long story short (too late) I ended up back on my hunter sitting in stormwind letting my brain rot reading trade chat.  Saw a few pugs that I would have jumped at just a month ago and even considered.  A BoT heroic run, a firelands heroic run, and stuff like that.  Almost whispered the people but then it occurred to me that I do not know these people and the last thing I want is a failed pug when I am already feeling really down on the game to being with.  So I didn't.  I queued for a random heroic, not a twilight one, because I like to help newer players gearing up by giving them a nice DPS boost to the original heroics. 

The queue popped and I just stared at it.

I did not click enter dungeon, I let it time out.  I just stared at the screen and wondered, why am I here.  I don't really want to play.  I want to wait until the patch comes to test my new talents out in action.  And that is when it hit me.  I don't really want to do that either.  I don't really want to play any more.

I will play of course.  Something new might interest me again.  But that feeling I had about the game, the obsession, the love of the game if you will, I noticed it was gone.

I sat there staring at the screen for a few more minutes and said good night to my guild and at this moment at least I have no intention of ever logging back in.  I will, tomorrow for raid night of course, because I have to, it is my job.  That doesn't mean I like doing it any more however.

Thinking about it, for the last few months I've had more fun blogging than I've had playing.  I have very different opinions from most and they usually spur conversation, most against my opinions of course, but you know what, I love that.  I love that people are willing to speak their words and share their opinions and try to change this bull head of mine sometimes.  They are good conversions even if it always seems to never change my mind or theirs but good conversations nonetheless.

I want to thank the people that come here and speak their mind for spending a few moments a day once in a while reading or leaving a comment.  I think that the people I talk to here are about as much of a reason I still play as my sense of responsibility to my guild.

I know, or hope, the feeling of joy, escape and freedom from the every day that I always had with warcraft will come back when there is something new to do and I thank all of you for keeping me around while I wait for it.  If it doesn't pan out and mists ends up sucking worse than cataclysm did, it is all your fault.  Just kidding of course.

I just wanted to say thank you all.

I might have just sat in stormwind having no desire to do anything and wondering why I was even there, but for some reason, I could write here every single day and never be at a loss for something to be grumpy about, an idea to share, or an opinion to start a conversation everyone will disagree with.

The blog started as something for me to do while bored at work and I never expected for anyone to read it, nevertheless comment on.  The people that share their voice here has made it as much a true part of the game as the characters I play myself and right now, the best part of the game for me is this.

Again, thanks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tanking and Healing Don't Follow a Guide

To keep with the currently flow here of the difficulty of roles I want to touch on the difficulty of tanking and healing as I see it. 

While in recent posts you have heard me say that I believe damage dealing to be the hardest role in the game, and I will always believe that, my saying that is based on the fact everyone that already knows how to play their class.  If all know their class well, that is when DPS becomes hardest.

The three roles, as simplified as can be, are the tank keeps aggro, the healer heals people and the damage dealer deals damage.  With those basic descriptions damage dealing is without doubt the hardest role in the game because as I have said, once a tank can do their basic job of keeping aggro they can't keep aggro more, they either have it or they don't.  Once a healer keeps everyone alive there is no such thing as being more alive, you are either alive or dead.  Once a damage dealer deals damage they have to continuously get better and do more damage.  This is why I say it is harder.  Once you know how to tank and heal your job is done.  Once you know how to deal damage your job has just started, now you need to get better at it, always.

So why are tanking and healing considered harder?

They do not follow a guide.

While you can read guides on how to tank or how to heal it is something that you need to do to actually learn.  A damage dealer can learn a rotation and go right into a fight having never once dealt damage before and do reasonable if they follow a set rotation based on a guide.  Hence the reason most people think dealing damage is easier.  In that sense, it is the easiest role in the game.  It is the most welcoming role in the game.  Anyone can do it, as long as they know the rotation to follow.

Tanking and healing are different.  There is no rotation.  Each situation is different.  The pressures that they have are unique and are directly the result of the damage dealers for the most part.  If the damage dealers are good the fight is faster and tanking and healing is easier.  If they are not, it is harder.  If they stand in bad, they make the healers job hell, if they pull off the tank they make the tanks job hell.

There is no guide that can teach tanks or healers how to deal with these situations.  You have to experience them and fail at them to learn.

It is all fine and dandy for a guide to tell you that if that feral druid pulls the pack off you to taunt it back but there is a huge difference between doing that and that actually working.  A guide can not teach you how to handle a bad DPS that pulls aggro like that.  You need to learn for yourself.

It is something that only practice can teach you.  A guide telling you to taunt is useless.

When you are learning to tank you learn to see who is the aggro whore of the group.  Who will be on the wrong target.  How you will manage keeping aggro on the X when the skull is still up and someone is just too stupid to attack the right target.  Actions.  That is what teaches you.

Same goes for healing.  When you start healing your idea is that you need to heal the tank.  In many fights with a decent crew of damage dealers behind you as a healer you will never need to heal anyone but the tank.  So reading a guide that tells you the best way to get maximum heals on the tank can help you there but lets face it, how often do you get a great group of damage dealers like that?  You will have melee that are not quite positioned correctly and get hit by breath or a cleave.  You will have ranged that have to finish their cast before moving from the bad.  You will have tanks that are so oblivious to what is going on around them that they do not notice that where they positioned the mob is making the melee stand in bad if they want to continue to deal damage.  These things, and how you handle them, can not be taught in a guide.

I wrote a post some time ago about how to teach a rotation for damage dealers.  It is basic, it is simple, but it will teach any person that wants to be a damage dealer how to best get results out of their character.  Even teaches people where to bind spells and why.  After that, the learning is all up to them.  Doing the same thing over and over but getting better at doing it all the time.  Their real learning, their real difficulty, comes after they learn how to play and learning how to play is as simple as reading about the rotation.

I don't think I could ever really write a post like that for healing or tanking.  I mean I could, give the basic ideas but nothing is ever that simple for a tank or a healer.  They have to learn by doing.  Unless they are playing with guild only they will never have the benefits of always having good damage dealers behind them to make their lives easier.

Tanking and healing is very front loaded in the learning process.  You need to learn by doing, not by reading.  I think that is the reason they are commonly considered harder.  They are hard to start off with and dealing damage is easy to start off with.  People only look at the starting off when they say tanking and healing is harder and if that is all they are talking about they are 100% right.  They are harder because you need to play to learn how to do things.  You need to experience situations to learn how to handle them.  There is no clear cut guide on how to be a good healer or a good tank.

Good healers and good tanks are not so much about how much you read as it is about how much you react.  It also needs a different type of person.  Tanking and healing are thankless jobs.  Do your job well, no one notices or even cares, do it badly and you will be called out for it.

Not everyone can be a tank or a healer.  Not everyone has the mind set for it.  Anyone can follow a rotation, that is why there are more damage dealers than anything else.  Doesn't mean they are good at it mind you, but being it is easy to start dealing damage it attracts people and look at those DPS numbers you see in randoms and it will show you, just because it attracts a lot of people doesn't mean it is easy, otherwise you would not see so many people in 372 item level of better pulling less than 18K.  Most of the times the entire crew will be under 18K.  The thing is, by the time you hit the LFR the tanks and healers should already know how to play whereas the damage dealers are just starting to learn.  That is when the difficulty curve changes, in my opinion.

Tanking and healing are hard to start.  They are unforgiving.  They have a lot of pressure attached to them and they are not for everyone.  But in the end the only true reason tanking and healing is hard at the start is because unlike damage dealers they do not follow a guide.

Makes you wonder if tanking or healing could ever really become rotations?  I doubt it for healers, there is no rotation for who will take damage and the type of heals those people will need but for tanks, with the new active mitigation model, I can surely see tanks becoming a pure rotation based role to maximize their defensive cooldown up time.  Even if tanks when into a direct rotation situation like that they will never be easy like DPS at the start.  Tanking is hard to start.  Even with a rotation.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- I was almost tempted to not write a random thoughts today.

- There is a nice conversation going on in my last post about role difficultly and I wanted to write another one with my stance on it to continue it.

- But that will wait for tomorrow.

- Or will it?

- I will give something for people to chew on a little in the random thoughts however.

- Looking at random dungeons only, and remember they have the 15% buff for many.

- All these questions are meant to be "In a good group".

- It is "In a good group" because in a bad group it makes tanking and healing harder artificially.

- How many tanks have you seen that can not tank them?

- None.

- How many healers have you seen that can not heal them?

- None.

- How many damage dealers have you seen do over 40K?

- Extremely few.

- Over 30K?

- Not many.

- If DPS is so easy how come most can not meet the low mark for "good" dealing damage in a random with the 15% buff of 30K?

- Think about that one for a while.

- I can tell you the number of randoms I have had where everyone was over 30K and it was not a guild group.

- None.

- I can't be 100% sure but I am willing to bet you I have never had a non guild random with everyone over 25K either.

- I have had a few where everyone was over 18K, and those runs were usually a dream.

- But 18K now is doing less than 50% of your potential for most players.

- It is like joining a pug for DS now.

- You will see maybe one person over 18K.

- Sad really, when we walked into DS the week it came out our lowest DPS was 18K.

- Blame the stat inflation for that one.  It made the divide between good and bad more noticeable.

- It also changed the divide.  For good DPS you would figure anyone doing at least 25% of their maximum potential was considered good.

- Not any more.

- Now even good DPS looks bad.

- The difference between someone doing 40K and 30K is a lot more noticeable than someone doing 5K and someone doing 3750.

- It is the same percentage wise, it just stands out more the larger the numbers get.

- It seems that good DPS will be around 120K in mists.

- That means that 90K will be that lower, but still good, number using that 25% margin.

- We went from 1250 difference, to 10K difference, to 30K difference, and while they are all the same percentage wise it makes the lower one look worse and worse and worse.

- Do you want to know why that is?

- With the 5000 / 3750 they could design fights around needing 4K DPS requirements.

- It would create a decent challenge for those better DPS on the lower end of the scale and not be a total push over for those on the higher end of the scale.

- With the last example, 120,000 / 90,000 they can not design fights for 95,000 to give the lower end of the better DPS a decent challenge because it would make the fight a total push over for the higher end.

- This means that 90K is no longer good DPS, whereas the 3750 was previously.

- And that is all with people within 25% of each other.

- And that is only the top 5% of players doing those numbers.

- Most do not do 25% of their maximum potential.

- Now the "good" DPS is within 8% of each other, it is no longer 25% because of the huge stat inflation making them design things for the higher end of the good DPS spectrum.

- I think I went on enough with this, it should be a post of its own.

- But it goes to show you that the item squish was needed now, and the designers were too lazy to do it.

- It would, in their own words, be too much work and we do not think it is necessary now.

- It was necessary in cataclysm so how the hell is it not necessary in mists when it will become worse?

- I would like to see a level squish as well.

- 90 looks scary to someone from the outside looking in.

- Even if we know it is super fast, to them it looks like a long road.

- It can scare away new players.

- A level squish to max level 40 would be nice.

- That way they can make leveling take longer again, but it would still be fast, just not as many levels to get so it would seem longer.

- It is all about perspectives.

- If it takes you twice as long to go from 20 to 21 it seems longer.

- Even if that same thing was 20 to 22 1/2 previously.

- A level squish is needed as well as an item level squish.

- It would bring us back to the 5000 / 3750 example where it was easier to design for and both the top and low end of the "good" DPS would be considered good.

- Compared to the 120K / 90K example where the low end of the "good" DPS looks horrible now.

- I'd be willing to bet that is something people never considered when they argued for or against the item level squish.

- The fact that things would need to be designed closer to the top end of good effectively making the bottom end of good become part of what people call bad.

- At least tanking works on percentages, they are not hurt as much as damage dealers are.

- A tanks avoidance is a percentage.  No mater how good or bad the player is, if they have 60% avoidance they have 60% avoidance.

- So if the tank is 25% less skilled than the better tank, they will still be able to do the content effectively.  Even unnoticed that they are 25% less skilled.

- At least they are getting active mitigation to give them something to need to be skilled about.  Maybe.

- Not so with the damage dealers, 25% less damage means the difference between a wipe and a win.

- 25% less damage means more pressure on the healers and making their job harder.

- 25% less damage means the fight lasts longer and the healer can run out of mana or the tank can run out of cooldowns.

- So that 25% less DPS, the difference that used to be between 5K and 3750, is now HUGE.

- How did the designers not notice the effect that their design would have?

- Effectively making a large portion of the good damage dealers now bad damage dealers.

- And making it so those that were less but learning, like 3500, 3000, impossible to carry any more because what used to be "close enough that we can make up for it" is now, "how can you be that horrible".

- And because of that, they will never get the chance to get better because you can not carry any one under the 25% threshold.

- Even people at the bottom of the 25% good threshold can not be carried any more, and they used to be the good ones.

- And people wonder why I keep saying DPS is the hardest role in the game.

- There is just too much pressure on them to be perfect, because the fights are designed around the top end of good now instead of the bottom end of good because if they designed them around the bottom end of good it would make all the fights way too easy for those on the top end, even if the top end is only 5% of the players, or less.

- Oh crap.  My random thoughts seem to be on one thing.

- Guess that comes from not playing and only having the comments here to inspire my thoughts.

- You know what I am looking forward to more than mists?

- More than the expansion after?

- More than anything else?

- The item level squish.

- It has gotten out of control and blizzard needs to hire someone that can understand numbers and show them this.

- It would not be hard.

- They teach this type of basic mathematics in what, 3rd grade?

- Blizzard, go hire yourself a 3rd grader so they can show you the error of your ways.

- Mists is going to show all those people out there that have not noticed it yet, the value and extreme rarity of good damage dealers.

- Lets face it, how many people do you know that can do 40K or better without any heroic gear?

- Got 4 people in my guild, myself being one, and I have seen two others, that is it.

- That is where the mark is now.  40K it the top of good DPS and 30K is the bottom of good DPS.

- But 30K compared to 40K looks like crap right?

- It does, but it is within 25%, and that still means it is good, even if the game tells us it isn't any more.

- And lets face it, there are not many in the game that can even do 30K, so who are we kidding, 30K is pretty awesome.

- Go look at world of logs and see how many of those guilds would BEG for their players to do 30K.

- And that is the low end of good, and it really isn't all that good any more.

- And people beg for it.

- Yeah, DPS is easy, so easy that almost no one can do it right.

- Guess I don't need to do that post tomorrow, my thoughts for the day touched on most of it.

- Have a nice day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Fear of MoP Random Tanks

It is only a few weeks away before we get to test out our new skills.  While over all I am not really as excited about this expansion as I was about cataclysm I am looking forward to something new to do and that means the prepatch is something I am looking for to so I can play with the new skill trees.

I've been spending the last few weeks playing different things and taking a break from the game for the most part but that does not mean I don't like the game any more or don't think about it.  It just means I am bored with it.  So any change or addition right now would be a good thing.

Oddly enough, even doing DS normal will be fun again once we get the new talent changes, so we get a chance to check out our new rotations and abilities.  From a damage dealer standpoint not a lot has changed but from a tanking and healing perspective there are a lot of changes to deal with.

All healers are adjusting once again with sweeping changes.  The standard mana cap is going to be something we all need to get used to when healing but I doubt it will take all that much time to get used to it.  It will just be something that takes a little bit of time to adjust to.

I have a feeling that stacking regeneration will be in vogue for a while when we are all learning to adjust and then we will start taking away from regeneration once we got a feel for it.  Worse case scenario should be that healers will need to stop and drink a lot at the get go. 

Hopefully the mana cap will be enough to ease the lower gear issues that we had in cataclysm for healers.  Most healers when they were coming up will tell you the same thing.  At the start their heals did not seem like they had enough power to them and they did not have the mana to use their fast expensive heal in a pinch.  The mana cap might make that fast expensive heal more of an option at lower gear levels becuase we are not restrained by having less over all mana.

So healers are going to have to make some adjustments and it will not be easy for them I am sure but they do not hold a candle to what is to be expected from tanks.  Tanks have the biggest change coming and it is about time in my opinion but in a way I am really scared by the change.  Not from a tanking perspective, but from a healing perspective.

Active mitigation for tanks will be an adventure for anyone that has never played a death knight tank.  Those that have played one will have an idea how it feels already.  While it is both an interesting turn of events, no more rage starvation for bears or warriors, it is also something that will have a learning curve that might leave many late generation tanks scratching their heads.

For the average raider I don't see it being too much of an issue.  It is just a change in their style of play but it does not change what they do.  Tanks are used to using cooldowns and all that this is changing really is instead of having the cooldown at a set time, like once every three minutes, they have it all the time providing they have the resources to use it.

From a personal perspective I think this could bring a great deal of fun to what has become the most boring role in the game by a large margin, tanking.  That is from the playing it myself angle of course.  The playing with people in randoms when I am not the tank part of it scares me.

For anyone that has ever healed before they will know exactly what I am talking about when I say this.  You can tell if your death knight tank will be good or bad within 3 pulls, sometimes even only 1 pull.  The active mitigation design means that there is no such thing as an average tank, there is good and bad.  No in between.

There are good death knight tanks and there are bad death knight tanks.  There are no average ones.  There are ones you can get by with, depending on the content, but that is about it.  When healing you notice things like this.

When we were doing the zul grind from hell and I would get a death knight tank it was always a gamble.  I've had death knight tanks where I ran though the whole thing, never needed to drink once and barely needed to throw more than a few small heals here and there while rolling an HoT at most.  Then there were the death knight tanks that I was blowing everything I had, even raid cooldowns on trash, just to keep them alive and the group alive.  I needed to drink after every single pull.  Both death knights could be in the exact same gear so it was not a gear issue, it was a pure skill issue.

With that said, I love they are bringing skill back to tanking.  From a me playing it standpoint.  I hate it from a some random person playing it.  I have faith I can learn how to be good at it but my faith in the average player is not very high.  Most players really can't learn, at least it seems that way in randoms.

I think blizzard forgot that most tanks, random ones more so, are only tanks for the quick queue and the super easy game play.  Tanking takes little to no skill if you have a smart group behind you and only some skill in aggro management and patience if you don't.  Usually for the non death knight tank there was never a need to worry about cooldowns and most random tanks didn't even notice that they had them. 

Of all the roles it is the least demanding skill wise because of that and most random tanks are perfect for that because their built in mitigation would usually be more than ample for most random content.  They have no skill they just beat on things and taunt once in a while.  That is your random tank.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying tanking takes no skill, I am just saying that a less skilled tank can easily get away with doing their job now, but they won't be able to come MoP.

When they make all tanks active mitigation tanks that means they are going to be making all tanks death knights from a healers perspective.  This means that no longer can they get by only holding aggro, they have to take an active role in keeping themselves alive.  With the built in mitigation it made it a lot easier for healers.  A lot of what would hit them was naturally lowered or avoided.   Now with active mitigation they are going to need to worry about keeping themselves alive.

With all those nightmares I have about those horrible death knight random tanks it has me thinking if they are making a mistake doing this.  It means that all tanks will have to use their cooldowns.  I wonder if you asked the average pug tank to name their cooldowns and tell you were they are bound 90% would not be able to tell you what they were or where they are bound, or even on their bars to be clicked. 

This does not bode well for healers that are also getting another big change and having to relearn things as well.  Every run will be like the bad death knight runs where you needed to drink after every pull and wipe a dozen times a run because they can go from 150K to 0 in one global on trash packs as I had seen happen dozens of times in zuls when a death knight tanks picked out 4 mobs and did not think to use a cooldown.  All tanks will now have that happen to them all because somebody, the tank, doesn't know how to hit shield wall.

Tremble in fear healers of azeroth, you are about to meet a foe more dangerous than any you have ever faced before.  The pug tank.

In less then three weeks most likely, the nightmare begins for healers.

You are not prepared.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New for 6.0: Player Housing & 2 New Professions

Player housing is coming next expansion, as well as two new professions that work to support it.  At least if my dreams have anything to say about it.

I had an odd dream last night that player housing was added and a slew of new things were added to support it.  Professions that used all levels of items to make various things for your house.  Stuff such a furniture and landscaping.

While it was only a dream it was oddly enough really fleshed out.  The player's house would become the new place your hearth is set to by default once you leave the starting area and first get your house.  In your house there would be a portal and you can select any area you have already been to when clicking it to go through it.

There is a set port option, so you can just step through and a change port option that will give you a list of all available areas you can set it to.  This effectively gives people the ability to get anywhere in the world they have already been instantly, assuming their heart is off cooldown so they can get home to use the port.

Another little detail I thought was interesting in the dream is that our farm from mists would be relocated to our house.  This would be so we could still use the farm without needing to go to old content to do it once 6.0 comes out.

The new main profession, not sure what it would be called, but it would make furniture for your house as well as other goodies that you could use in your new virtual home such as shelves and the like.  The new secondary profession would be used to upgrade your home.  While the main profession would make sense for people to take so they can make things to sell them even if they do not care about fixing up their own house the secondary one is something that you would not take unless you wanted to build on your house.

When building your new additions, more farm space, an area for horses or cows, or what have you, adding  a second floor or extending our house, you would start a project that would end up needing massive amounts of various different items to get it done.  Even your friends and visitors would be able to donate to it.  This would create a huge secondary market for older crafting materials and odd ball items and would work as a fantastic gold sink for the game as all additions would also need some items that are shop purchased only and of course cost an arm and a leg.

Your home would be a phased instance.  As such, there is no limit to how big it can be or how much land it can encompass.  People would effectively be able to build full castles with enough time, effort, gold and grind to build it.  It would take a lot of time and a lot of items to build up.

They added pet battles for something to attract a wider range of players, the same with farming.  While it is only a dream I can't really see this being that far off from happening.  It could be the next interesting addition to give people different things to do and attract different types of players.

As it was a dream some details I do not remember but there is one thing I do recall when trying to build something for my house, perhaps a storage area that would give me an additional 200 bag slots in a cabinet or something, who knows.  I do know that in my dream there were ways to add storage cabinets to your house that were like huge bags and I wanted to make dozens of them being the hoarder that I am.

What appeared when I interacted with the work in process was a list of things required to build it and it was huge.  I needed 12,000 herbs from a select list, all old world.  I needed 22,000 tin bars, 10,000 iron bars, 1500 gold bars, 1500 silver bars, 500 lions ink and 40,000 medium or heavy leather.  There were also many other things I needed small amounts of.  10 of this, 20 of that, and some of them I did not know what they were.  I am sure my mind was adding some sort of money sink thing there, like 5 of something that cost 10K each, or something like that.

All of that, just to build a place that allows me to put that storage cabinet there.  After that I would need to have one crafted for me to put there now that I had a place to display it.

It seemed really interesting and as odd as it sounds even if I am not into these types of things I liked the idea a little bit.  Probably because of the storage space.  I liked it enough that I didn't feel turned off by the dream or the idea of it.  Enough that I wanted to share the idea here.

As odd as it sounds, with the downtime in the game for me lately you would figure if I were to dream about the game it would be some PvP or some new areas to explore or new raids to attempt but this is what my mind gave me in a rested state.

Perhaps it means I am changing as a gamer, slowing down some so to speak or maybe it is just that my mind is learning to accept that warcraft is not the same game any more and this is the future.  Either way, it would be interesting to see.  At least for the storage space part of it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- Hard to have many random thoughts when it is been weeks since you have played.

- I do still log in to raid, because I have to, not because I want to.

- It is something that keeps the guild together.

- So those are the only days I log in.

- I do stay on vent if I am online, should someone need me, I could always log in.

- This is the time of the expansion that even I get bored with raiding.

- Clear a raid you have been clearing for months on normal again for what seems like the thousandth time, no thank you.

- Even with alts and the alts of alts of alts and characters you never thought you would play.

- Or do the few heroics we need to finish off while missing people to vacation.

- Not a full crew, gear we will replace with quest greens, not being a heroic guild anyway, means there is nothing to do.

- No reason to raid heroics.

- No reason to raid content that was boring and tired one month after it came out.

- Hard to have random thoughts when you rarely even log in any more.

- Even harder when the only times you log in you look at it as work, not fun.

- I'm busy playing another game for now and enjoying it at the moment.

- It a grinding game.  Seriously, that is all you do.  Grind this and grind that.

- Works for passing the time for now for me.

- Have a great day, maybe next monday I'll have more to say.