Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- I hate pug people.

- Just thought I would start off with that one.

- Was doing a flex 4 pug and there was this one jerk who just kept making stupid comments.

- Not as part of conversation, just hitting the talk button, yelling something stupid like "moron", and then being quiet.

- Every pug I ever get in there is a person like that.

- I know why they act like that.

- Because it is the only place they can get away with it.

- They would never pull that stuff in real life or they would be eating pavement.

- Makes me wonder if they are the type that normally gets their ass kicked and that is why they act up in a situation were they know they can get away with it.

- Wish I could find the one article about it I read once.

- It concluded something like the more someone acts out where they know they are safe the more likely they are to be the picked on person in the actual world.

- So it leaves me torn, should I hate the dick for being a dick, or should I feel bad for hm knowing that most likely someone is beating the crap out of him regularly and this is his only outlet to get control.

- Screw it, he is on my time now and I do not give a shit about his personal short comings, kick the bastard, if I knew who he was I would beat on him too because he is an asshole.

- Whoever is shitting all over this person in real life which makes him act like this here most likely has a reason, and I can see that reason and agree with them.

- I dropped the group.

- I had no problem with the person, none what so ever.

- I just do not like disruptive forces.

- If he did it once or twice, no big deal, but doing it throughout the entire raid and not getting kicked for acting like a dick, and no one even saying anything to him about it?

- Yeah, I'd rather go watch TV, clip my toe nails, shovel snow, basically anything else.

- I was only doing it to help a friend anyway.

- And now I feel bad because I left him.

- Don't even know if they downed garrosh, I just dropped group and went off line.

- But being I was one of only 4 DPS in a 25 man over 200K I would not bet money on it unless he really trimmed the fat.

- The majority of the group was under 120K.

- We went into 3 visions, yes, 3 visions, I did not even know that was possible.

- You know the sad part, the person that was being a dick was probably one of the people doing better.

- Why do some people believe that being decent at a game gives them the right to be rude to everyone else?

- How about trying to help others if you are good so they can get good too.

- Nope, you would rather chase people off line.

- You know what I want?

- I want a panda mount.

- We have bears, we can mount bears, pandas are bears, you do the math.

- I don't think the pandaren would mind much if we were riding around on a panda.

- You don't hear the worgen bitching about people riding on worg do you?

- While trying to find reasons to log in I created a new DK.

- Sad part is all my plate BoA gear was on my other account which remains inactive and will stay that way.

- And being I have done so few dungeons this expansion I did not exactly have an abundance of justice sitting around.

- So I went justice farming soloing heroics.

- Once I did a couple I noticed I would be better waiting 15 minutes for a group, time wise at least.

- While it only took me roughly 30 minutes to solo a level 90 heroic and the time between waiting and doing would be around 30 minutes, at least while waiting I could do other things.

- Like grinding mogu in the vale to try and get skyshards while waiting.

- I am a big fan of killing two birds with one stone.

- And I get to have the good feeling of helping some people through some dungeons.

- I had some great groups that we ran through it like it was a fire drill and everyone was destroying things.

- I had ones where the second best DPS was a tank doing 17K.

- Even with misdirect and feign death I could not keep mobs off me.

- The healer said to just let me tank.

- Yes, on my hunter.

- So I did.

- Decided to switch things up and do some on my lock, being it still needs valor for that part of the legendary quest line.

- I had never done dungeons on my lock.

- Was funny getting achievements for everything.

- Goes to show you why people are not doing dungeons, blizzard made them obsolete to quickly.

- If with each new raid tier they increased the item level of drops from dungeons people would still do them often.

- But once you hit 90 there is no real reason to step into a dungeon, you can go right into the LFR.

- Unless your reason is to avoid the LFR, which would be a very good reason.

- Someone in guild said that dungeons should drop gear equal to the current LFR gear.

- I would love that.

- Sure, would not get tier, but can still gear alts and not do LFR, I would so love that.

- I would send gifts to the developer that added that.

- I would put him on my christmas card list for life.

- Anything that can make the gearing up process for alts not involve the LFR is a good thing in my opinion.

- Which brings me to... Bring valor gear back.

- For every single slot, weapon included.

- Make valor gear current LFR level.

- Again, no tier, but at least you can skip the LFR completely.

- That would be a good thing right?

- Well, I think so.

- I decided to do some achievement hunting this weekend.

- It is hard to get any real achievement hunting done solo when you are floating around 18K points.

- It basically means you have almost everything you can get solo.

- Except PvP, there are a lot of PvP ones I can get solo, but that is another story all together.

- I have almost no PvP achievements.

- So I asked 2 people from guild to join a group with me because I was going to knock out a few scenario achievements I had not gotten yet.

- I could have just gone in with random people but I did not want people to screw up my achievement I was going for, if they could that is.

- I learned that you do not even need the other 2 people to do anything.

- They can stand at the entrance and they still get valor for it.

- Even if they never moved.

- Made me think of something really interesting.

- If I reactivated my second account and leveled from 85 to 90 and made a 3rd account, I could effectively go into scenarios by myself with all three characters being me.

- And being I can solo them that means I get 3x the valor because I am getting it for three of my characters all at once.

- Nice.

- Oh, BTW, got all my heirloom gear for my new DK.

- Got side tracked and forgot to finish that train of thought.

- Got it out of the starting area, went to hellfire, quickly lost interest in playing it for now.

- But I did keep all the starter gear and transmoged into in.

- So it might be unplayed, but it sure looks good not being played.

- Now to do the peninsula until I get that one sword I love from a quest and the set, as I want it, will be complete.

- Now back to scenarios and getting some achievements.

- I got side tracked, like I often seem to, and decided to see if I can solo the heroic scenarios.

- I can, I did, I even got the timer on a few of them.

- Nice.

- I managed to knock out 4 more achievements I needed.

- Four might not seem like a lot, but where I am at in the game, four in one day is huge.

- I think I have lost my desire to raid.

- Having the time off these last few weeks due to the holidays and not running as often has made me realize I don't really like raiding as much as I used to.

- Have a changed or is this raid tier really that bland?

- I actually thought I liked this raid tier.

- If someone asked me I would say it is easily one of the top 5 raids ever.

- Maybe I just needed a break and will get back into it when we are doing it again.

- Or maybe I need to change how I play.

- But to what?

- I really do not feel like leveling at the moment.

- Or gearing up alts because that means LFR.

- And why even gear them up if I am not really in the mood to raid with them.

- Achievement hunting is getting to be slim pickings.

- Grinding, and I love grinding, for skyshards has all but worn out its welcome.

- I've spent easily 100 hours if not more killing mobs, and had countless characters level there and do the dailies back when they were there.

- All that time and I only have 7 still?

- Yeah, there is a difference between a grind and a waste of freaking time.

- But I do manage to get a butt load of greens and cloth from doing it so I will never be at a shortage of enchanting materials or bolts of cloth for bags.

- So basically all that is left for me is PvP.

- There is a huge skill cap ahead of me that I am way the hell behind.

- There are 100s of achievements, many actually easy once I know the battle grounds.

- It can be done solo or in a group.

- It has instant queue, not like waiting for an hour for LFR.

- And I still need gear for it so I get to go back to what I like the most, building things.

- Like building the best PvP set I can get.

- And then there is that arena mount I can get for winning 100 matches.

- I guess I might have found a new focus.

- If I end up wanting to do it.

- But if you thought I was a grumpy elf before just imagine how grumpy I am going to be after I was chain feared for an entire match.

- That is my biggest problem with PvP.

- My trap takes timing, skill, and ability to get someone into and it only last 6 seconds and is broken on damage.

- Yet a no skill fear which is target and forget it, someone can not side step it, have someone activate it for them, or otherwise avoid it, and you can beat on the person the entire time they are feared without breaking the fear, lasts for a year and a day.

- Then they can do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

- Diminishing returns my ass.

- So I get feared for 18 seconds, then 16 seconds, then 14 seconds, then 12 seconds, etc.

- It is still too long and you can still effectively chain CC someone with that one ability for an entire match.

- I've had it happen before.

- It is not fun, and that is why PvP is not fun.

- Remove CC, remove healing, lets just fight.

- Let the best fighter win based on using their abilities, the environment and  teamwork.

- Now that would be fun.

- Have a great day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Regretful Gamer

An old friend of mine recently came back to warcraft and wanted in on a flex.  No problem I said, they have always been welcome, even if they did leave our guild on what could be considered by some as bad terms due to some self created drama.

I use the term friend loosely here, she was a friend in the sense that we have known each other for 5 years or so in game and I've raided, done dungeons, meet up at guild events in game, etc, with her over the years.  We have never spoken much of real life and for this I feel it is necessary I point out that the friend term means friends in the lesser way you might refer to someone as a friend.  We do not even know each others real names, it is just a gaming friend.  Just enough to do things with and maybe occasionally ask a favor of like "we have some DPS spots open for this flex if you want in".

She came on voice chat for the raid and said her hellos to all the people that remembered her, we talked about some fun times we had together, but she never mentioned the time she left the guild.  Or should I say times, as she had done so on multiple occasions before.

Of course this is not something you bring up in casual conversation.  She was not kicked from the guild.  She left on her own when she left and she did not leave, at least 2 out of the 3 times, because of anyone other than herself.  She would always create her own issue, argue with herself about it, and then rage quit over something she said.  Odd I know but sometimes interesting, as in the type of interesting that you slow down when passing an accident to see if you can see anything.

But in her voice I could hear the regret and over the course of the night I could feel her getting more comfortable with everyone there.  Being nothing was mentioned about her leaving or why she left she probably figured all was forgotten.  Oddly enough, it was not, we still joke about the reason she left the last time whenever we see someone leave the guild and we don't know who it is.

See, she was not a raider with us.  She would occasionally fill in if needed and only on early bosses, nothing later.  She was a capable damage dealer and pulled decent numbers but she understood that she was not very quick on mechanics and had some issues paying attention.  It never needed to be mentioned to her, she was a smart enough person to figure it out on her own and know that even if her numbers were good we needed someone with a bit more situational awareness.  She is actually a great person to have as a backup because of that.

So the last time she quit she just raged out in guild chat about how no one appreciates her DPS and guild quit.  So whenever we see someone leave that no one knows, because they do not raid, dungeon, PvP, talk or anything else with us, we joke, maybe they left because we did not appreciate their DPS.

We keep letting her back because it is not her fault.  Some people are just quick to the jump in anger and for no reason.  She never insults anyone, she never calls anyone out, she just starts to argue, well, with herself, and gets so upset that she quits.

I am sure each of you here know someone like that.  Someone that is quick to guild quit over no reason, like the mage put a portal to stonard and they took it and they rage quit because of it instead of laughing with the rest of us.  She is different however, she does it to herself and I can hear it in her voice, it bothers her.

It must be hard for her to come back to the game even if none of us really have anything against her.  She has no way of knowing that even if I have told her on occasions, after she quit, that if she wanted back in tomorrow to shoot me a message.  I understand the reason she never comes back right away because I have been there.  I have experienced that moment being the regretful gamer.  Where you do something you regret doing and suddenly feel like you can't show your face again.  Mine was different, and in a different game, but I can sympathize with her.  After all, she is a friend, even if only using the word loosely.

Listening to her voice and how it changed over the course of the night made me feel good for her.  I am sure somewhere inside of her it feels like a great weight has been lifted from her shoulders.  She joined another guild after she left ours and played with them for quite some time before she quit.  So her coming back to the game and reaching out to join us for a pug was not, in my opinion, a way for her to ask for an invite back, it was a way to get that feeling of regret for what she did off her shoulders.  Even if she didn't have any real reason to feel regret.

Now I will break and tell my little story of something I regretted doing in a game.  The regret you feel, even with people that you barely know, can be huge.  At least it was for me.

It was another game, not warcraft, and there was a marriage function.  It really stood for nothing in game except benefits that came with being married.  I married some random girl when I started the game so we could both benefit from the advantages of being married.

As so happens we got to know each other in the year we were married.  We were on a first name basis, real names, even exchanged pictures, and even if there were never even the slightest actual real life connection, we were a couple, in game.  We did things together, we worked as a team to boost our marriage benefits, we always talked, even if it was just to say hello.  Even so much as to log on just to say hello even if we did not have the time to play that day,

After a year it was clear our in game directions were heading in different directions.  To put it in current warcraft terms, I was max level and looking to raid as a player with aspirations and she was a lower level happy to just log in and pick herbs in duskwood all day long.

When offered by another guild to join them and marry one of their top players so we could get benefits together and fight with them it was something I could not over look.  Top guilds rarely had spaces open and surely not for someone that was as new as I was.  So I went to her and told her of my intentions.

She was very understanding, I even let her keep the house we worked together to get.  Just like a real divorce I joked.  The funny part is, it was like a real break up.  I had been talking to this person for a year, worked with this person for a year on a common interest, and even if there was no real life connection, the connection in game made me feel as if I was leaving her out in the cold to fend for herself. 

I mean, how could she live up to the life I had set up for her off the proceeds of picking herbs in duskwood.  I had shown her a life she would not be able to live on her own.  She was respected in the game and no one touched her because they knew that meant you had to deal with me and no one wanted to deal with me.  Without my name attached to her she would be a target, she would be alone, and it would all be my fault.  I actually felt bad about that.

I actually felt regret for breaking up with her in game.  I would still send her stuff, I would still upgrade her house whenever I could, and I felt, as weird as this might sound, as if it was a real break up.

We all do things we regret in game, mine just happens to be a little different because even if it was only a game I felt the same way I would feel in real life if I left her for another girl.

Both the person I mention up top and myself were feeling completely irrational emotions, or were we?

She felt that her guild quitting because she wanted to burnt bridges, when it really didn't.  I felt that I had some sort of responsibility to continue to help someone after I moved on in a game because of some misplaced moral directive.

If she had walked out on her job like that she would have had a good reason to feel regret.  If I had left my girlfriend for another girl just because she was prettier then I would have had a good reason to feel regret.  But when in a video game we should not have regret.

Even if people will not admit it, every gamer takes something from real life and reacts in a game oddly because of it.  But very rarely, as in never, do I recall hearing anyone ever talk about it.  Talk about being the regretful gamer.

Is it because they are afraid people are going to call them names?  Tell them they have problems because they act like they would in real life in a game?  So what.  I might have problems because I felt bad for effectively "using" someone like that until I got a better place to move along to but it also says a little about me as a person to have regret over things like that.

Have you ever done something in game that you had a real life emotional response to that you ended up regretting you did or regretting how you handled it?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wasteland 2 - Early Beta Impressions

I will give you fair warning that the first paragraph or so of this post I will be letting my geek flag fly proudly.  I first played wasteland 25 years ago and have been playing it ever since.  It is, in my opinion, the single best RPG ever made.

When I logged into the game like I do the first time for any game I play I wanted to get a grasp of the movement but was instead immediately distracted by the person I was placed in front of.  Vargas, someone whom I controlled in the original wasteland was now in charge of the rangers.  After listening to his opening parts and exploring the area we start out in I saw the gravestones of some old friends.  Pedros, Vax, Metal Maniac, Covenant, and so many more.  People I knew for over 25 years were all dead in wasteland two.

I then ran into Angela, whom I was glad to still see was alive like Vargas is.  So a second person from the first game survived.  She told me about Thrasher and his recent death and the life he was leading which was contrary to what you might have expected from your time playing him.  She offers to join me on my first quest and that is to investigate the recent death of Ace, another old friend from the original wasteland.

There were no shortages of memories to be thrown around for someone who played the original.  But I will get back to impressions and how the game felt to play and try not to dwell too much about how awesome it feels to be back with the rangers, where I belong.  After years of playing the game I didn't just play a ranger, I was a ranger.

To someone that does not know the story there is nothing you are missing here.  It is all presented well and the characters and tombstones are more there as a throwback to us older players.  You not knowing who Redhawk was isn't going to matter, to you he is just someone that died, and it still shows that this wasteland is a very harsh wasteland none the less, even if you do not have a connection to said characters like I did.

All the details you need to know for your mission are given to you by Vargas, your commander, on your first test as a ranger.  You are given options to answer questions based on the skills of your lead character such as answer as a smart ass or a kiss ass.  Unlike other games however, you can not just choose them, you actually need to have "skill" in being a smart ass before you can answer like one.  It is one of those little details that make this game so much more involved than many other RPGs I have played over the years.

Something that my history with the game made me notice, but most others might not, is the shovel on the ground behind Vargas.  I know I will need that, so I am going to take it.  The good thing is, shortly after we begin our walk we find something that when inspecting it says, kindly enough, "looks like something is buried here".  Well now, I have a shovel so let me dig it up.

This is a gentle nudge in the direction that players will need to think for those that never played it before.  This game does not hold your hand.  It will not tell you "hey idiot there is a shovel over here you missed" by making it flash brightly like in many other games.  If you do not see it, you will have nothing to dIg stuff up, and trust me, you want to be digging up everything you can. 

The lack of hand holding is one of the reasons I love the game, it is also one of the reasons I don't think the game as a whole will hit it off with the larger general market, no matter how much I love it.  People just can not think for themselves any longer and unlike the original, there is an internet now, and guides, and people will know, or be told, to pick up that shovel by someone.

But if you had one of your members with the perception skill that shovel would have sparkled just as brightly as it would in any other game.  Assuming you put the person with perception in the lead of your group and used that ability.

That sets the tone for the game.  You need to use abilities that you use in no other games, in ways you never used them.  The game has a few different skill the original didn't have so far on the beta, but they are all still needed, they were not added for fluff.

As far as movement goes, it took me a long time to get a hang of it.  Actually still do not have a hang of it.  If I could make some suggestions here in my impressions, they need to adjust the movement to be more fluid.

The game uses the often seen click on the ground to move there approach and while there were many places that I would click somewhere to move but it registered as on the wall or in a place where I could not move.  That is not original to this game and some of it will be fixed in the beta I am sure.  At least as much as they can.  My only real issue was with camera movement which uses keys.

As it is now if you hit the Q or E it will turn the camera a 1/4 left or a 1/4 right.  Many times in the game neither work well.  You get obstructed views, blurred views, or just in general give yourself a headache trying to find the right angle to look at something correctly so you can click on it.  If they just made the Q or E free flowing like the A, S, D and W are when moving left, back, right or forward, it would be better.  Making it a set movement amount like 1/4 just doesn't cut it.  If I want to turn my camera 1/16 of the way left I should be capable of doing so.  If I wanted it to move 1/4 I would just hold it down for a couple of seconds and I will get there.  Being locked into that /14 movement just does not feel natural for me, and thus camera movement does not feel natural.

As far as graphics go they are exceptional even if not what some would call astounding.  They did a bang up job on the environments in nearly every detail.  There are many graphical glitches as you might expect in a beta so I will not get hung up on those as I expect they will be fixed, but one thing I will mention which I doubt will get fixed are objects behind you. 

I have this issue with many games, if something is behind your character it should not block your view.  Sure that wall is still there, but I should be able to see through it.  Quite often I was stuck with my back to a wall fighting for my life against killer rabbits that wanted to nibble me to death and had to use that wonky 1/4 turning angle to get some sort of view where I could actually see my characters and be able to click on a piece of land I can move to.  I don't expect them to fix that as no other game I have ever played in the history of gaming has ever managed to ditch the clutter behind your character.

Speaking of clicking on the ground to move, targeting is sometimes a nightmare.  Not sure if that is a beta issue or if that is just design being a little off.  So often I would want to move one step forward but I couldn't because no matter how I spun the camera I could not get an angle that would allow me to click on that free grid space I knew was there.  Here is to hoping they can fix that.  It is more a general annoyance than anything else, but it would surely be nice to see it fixed.

The story is well written, but what would you expect from the same team that made the first one.  Back when games needed a good story to carry it wasteland has just that, and wasteland two does not fail at delivering the awesome story telling you would expect from a game of this genre.

From Vargas who sends you on your first mission to Angela who tells you about Thrasher, to some redneck threatening to rip you to shreds and feed your bits to his dog, every bit of dialogue is real, informative, and just feels as if it is coming off natural.  Something many RPGs seem to have an issue with.  The writing will surely carry this game to the top of many gamers favorite games, if they take the effort to read it all.

Speaking of reading it all, you must read it is.  It is not just about an immersion thing, it is about game play.  People will tell you hints when you talk to them and most of the time they will only tell you the hint once.  If you go back to speak to them they will have a different dialogue.

There is some humor involved as well in the game just like the original where you needed to find the password to Fat Freddies and the person at the door asks you "What's the word?".  Well, everybody knows that bird is the word, and it was.  This time around it seemed our old friend Matt had a thing for Jenny because the combination to his safe is 8675309.

The music is a thing of genius.  I am sorry to say I do not know the person that scored the game but they did an amazing job, as well as the people that work the sounds.  For a beta the sounds seem pretty well finished in my opinion.  It is also balanced well and unlike most games where I need to adjust the value because some things are too low while others are too high, this worked perfectly out of the box for me.  No over bearing backgrounds, solid voice acting, even the static from making radio contact sounds authentic.  The sounds and the music are top notch in my opinion.

Now to the game itself and a sad conclusion I need to make here.  Everything I like about the game is the reason I do not see this game making a big impact in the market or having a huge following.

There are two reasons for that.  One is the no hand holding and two is the persistent world.

I'll delve into this a little further for people that might be interesting in trying the game when it comes out.  This is of course if they do not come to the same conclusion I did and add a little hand holding and a little recovery from mistakes in judgement.

At the moment the game plays like the original for me, same as in 88.  There was no internet, there were no gaming manuals, there was nothing to help you.  You had to figure out everything on your own and if you accidentally double entered past a very important message you could find yourself stuck and needing to go back to a previous save because you were stuck with no way to move forward.

Everything matters in this game, every little word that comes out of some bum half passed out from drinking too many snake squeezings lips even matters.  Every little item you pick up that might seem like junk now could be vital to getting past something later.  There are, as always, red herrings as well, items they make you think are important so you carry them around forever talking up bag space but they mean nothing.

Being early beta and there are so few playing and no message boards or no guides and no hand holding in the game it is exactly the way I like it.  This is how all games should be.  At least all RPGs.  Maybe I am thinking too much about it and when the time comes there will be help books and guides online for everyone to look up and it will not let those people that skipped the paragraph that had the information they needed pay dearly for that like it would me now, but I do not think today's gamer is the same type of gamer I am.  They would not like a game that was a challenge, where you needed to figure things out, where you were alone and your success or failure was based more on how well you played instead of who had read the most tip books, ones that would say, in this case, make sure to pick up the shovel behind Vargas or you will miss out on a butt load of loot.  So I love it, but with no hand holding, I do not think the modern gaming community will.  I do hope I am wrong.

Now the perpetual world where your decisions matter.  Using your "smart ass" skill when talking to people could mean someone that you needed help from might decide not to help you making your mission that much harder.  It could make the merchant you were talking to get pissed off and whip out a sawed off shot gun and put the business end in your face.  There is no turning back now, if you do not fight him you die and if you do fight him he dies and if he dies, he is dead.  Not going to respawn ever.  The only dealer for blood packs in the entire zone is gone.  Forever.  All because you wanted to play smart ass.

And if you think you will just run and if a person or two dies when you are trying to get away, think again.  Because in wasteland dead is dead.  There are no phoenix down in this game.  If your character dies, you are starting from an old save.  If any of your characters die, you are starting from an old save.  Either that or you just do the rest of the game without that character, it is up to you.  There is no way to revive the dead.

That also means you do not have unlimited ammo.  If you go all hog wild and start burning full clips on some killer bunnies when the real fight comes later and you are out of ammo, you better make sure you have the brawling skill or you will never hit with your fits.  And there is no store that has an infinite supply of ammo.  If the vendor you go to says he has 10 clips, guess what, he has 10 clips, once you buy them he no longer has them.  Oh, and he can not buy the junk from you until you buy something from him.  He actually has a cash flow.  If you never purchased anything, he will have no money to buy something from you.

Early in the game you will get two radio distress calls.  One from Highpool and another from the AG Center.  You will only be able to respond to one, that decision will impact the entire game.  If you go to Highpool the AG Center is destroyed.  If you go to the AG Center then Highpool is destroyed.  Your choices matter.

If you can not get a water pump to stop to finish a quest so you decide to blow it up to stop it, then later on when you need to restore it you can't.  Do you know why?  Because you blew it into six million pieces moron.

I love everything I have said there.  I love that I need to watch my ammo and choose my battles.  I love that my relationship with NPCs matter.  I love that when I save the AG Center it has consequences in Highpool.

That is reason number two why I love this type of game but I believe most won't.  Today's gamer does not have any experience in what you do matters.  If you kill garrosh today he is back on reset tuesday (or wednesday).  If you killed some boss in a five man he will be there 4 more time in that hour so you can kill him again.  If you buy 1000 milk from the vendor he will have another 1000 for you tomorrow and the day after.  If you have never purchased something from a vendor he will oddly enough have a cash reserve of billions to keep buying stuff from you.  Things like that, things today's gamer takes for granted.  People have gotten used to that and I do not think it will go over well.

Speaking of not going over well, one thing they will need to change.  Absolutely 100% need to change, is damage and healing.

It works for the old school players but will be a real rude awakening to the current type of gamer.  Damage is permanent.  There is no mana for instant heals either.  You need healing supplies and as I already mentioned, everything in game is limited, as in extremely limited.

In the original wasteland we had the ability to stand in one place and hit the ~ button over and over to regain health over time.  It was basically time wasting but saved me countless healing materials. I have yet to find anything equivalent in the game.  If you are at 33 life and go down to 25, you are at 25 life until you get healed, be it 10 minutes or 2 hours later, you will still be at 25 life.  This means every little bit of damage matters.  None of that "I'll just walk through this poison fog and heal afterwards" because it would be wasting resources, resources you do not have.

I think they should either make healing supplies a little more abundant instead of a vendor only having one or they need to add a heal over time like in the original.  Hey, maybe it is there and I just have not noticed it.  Either way, this will not go over well with the current gamers out there that are used to ending a battle and going back to full health or having unlimited amounts of healing potions or mana.  It adds a lot to the game play in my opinion and is part of what attracts me to the game, but just because I love it doesn't mean others will.

Speaking of things adding to game play my favorite part that is new from the original are the positional requirements.  Something the original could not do, but this one can being it is an open world game.  If Big Bert just went and smacked a pod person in the head with a pipe Cold Eye can not just take aim with his sniper rifle and shoot.  He might hit Big Bert if he is in the way and I am pretty sure that Big Bert is not going to be happy taking a round to the back of the head.

The movement and the design of battle was done amazingly well, even if a little confusing when I first experienced a larger scale battle that was me vs a few mobs.  Coming from all angles you not only have to worry about where is best to make your stand but where everyone is in reference to each other.  Remember, it is not just a matter or winning here, it is a matter of winning and taking as little damage as possible while not wasting ammo.  That is where the excitement and strategy come in.

Some NPCs will join you during your time, sometimes they will let you control their moves, sometimes they will do whatever it is they want to do.  I've had NPCs shoot one of my own characters because they did not feel like moving, twice in a row.  This taught me to work my movements around the idea if I lose control they do not hurt me again.  Other times they bug out where they run one way and then move back to where they started and end up doing nothing, but I call that a beta bug.  Other times you will be making your stand having yourself defended from all sides by having your back to a wall with approaching mobs no longer coming from behind you and one goes rogue and starts running at them leaving you the option of go with them and save them or let them die.  Either way, your nice stronghold you set up to fight off the waves of pod people coming your way is gone.  So much for planning.  I find that both exciting and annoying, but something that really makes you think on your feet.  Maybe I should train one of my characters in leadership so I do not lose control of the NPCs so often. Might be a worthy investment in skill points wouldn't you say.  I am sure Big Bert would agree.

Speaking of that, the skills are all over the place.  There are lots of them and it makes sense to specialize.  Have one person with lockpicking and safe cracking, maybe even with a side of alarm disarming.  Just make sure that person has high dexterity to get the most out of it.  Having some level of field medic on all people is to your advantage and having a few surgeons never hurts either.  The last thing you need is Hex running around with a broken hand which lowers her accuracy, or Cherry Bomb looking hot as usually but more like Micheal Strahan with that broken tooth.  Yes, you need a surgeon to deal with injuries like those that lower stats.  From the big to the small and if one of your characters takes and extra hard hit and gets critically wounded you have a matter or seconds, and I am not kidding, to get them the medical attention they need or you will be moving on without them or starting at an old save point.  The seconds do not wait until combat is over to start ticking off either.  You now lost 2 people, one was knocked out and the other has to fix them up before time runs out, while the rest fight off the mobs.  Things could get really sticky really fast.

There are multiple types of weapons, and skills needed for all of them.  Makes it so you can use everything you find.  Have one person using energy weapons for the power packs, another using a shot gun for the 12 gauge.  You'll find 9mm and 7.62 rounds as well, and each person would need to have the skill to use the weapon they go with, not to mention a weapon for the ammo, so diversifying is best.

Wasteland two is a thinking mans game and while there were many visual issues and some movement issues I could complain about, I love the beta so far.  I am just not sure the gaming community will.  It is a little too advanced for the standard gamer.  But it is just want this old time gamer needed.  A thinking mans game.

It might have been 25 years between releases but wasteland did not miss a step.  It is still a compelling game with real problem solving difficulty involved.  I can't say for sure how long it will be until it comes out, or goes open beta, but I can tell you, I am enjoying my time there.  It is a game well worth playing.

I've only one thing to figure out.  I heard this was supposed to be an MMORPG and I have not experienced that yet, if that is even still in the cards.  Perhaps that is because I am still in story mode, who is to say, but story mode is so awesome, I am in no rush to leave it.  And I don't think I have enough blood packs to get into open combat yet.  Limited supplies make every decision matter.  I like it, I really really like it.

Monday Random Thoughts

- Not many random thoughts this week.

- Did not spend a lot of time in game this weekend.

- Actually, I spent nearly none.

- Enough to do the holiday event trying to get pets on 5 characters.

- And to help a guild mate that just hit 90 do AoA for the 450 quest weapon.

- That is it, my entire weekends play.

- Just a busy weekend and the few hours I did manage to play I spent testing out a new beta.

- I'll post about that tomorrow.

- I capped valor on my new hunter quickly during the week.

- Have to love scenarios, 1 hour and capped.

- That is the phase my hunter is on.

- My lock is still in the same phase but I have not been playing him so getting 3000 valor is going to take quite a while.

- At least until I get in the mood to play him again.

- That is why I hate caps sometimes.

- I might not play my lock for three weeks and then be in the mood to play him.

- I could get 3000 in that one week I decide to play him, but nnnnnoooooo.

- Of course not, that might be fun and blizzard isn't big on making thing fun for alts as this expansion proves.

- So that is why it takes so long for alts to get there for me.

- I play them in spurts, not dedicated.

- And the thing that sucks even more is when I am in the mood to play them, limits, well, limit me.

- Sure I can keep running content for drops and such, but once I am no longer getting valor, I log off that character.

- On my main I would do everything I can to get gear no matter if capped or not.

- Alts do not work that way.

- When it is not getting the "most" out of their time investment I move on to another alt.

- That means if there are 4 raids that still drop quest items I need and I am capped, I don't do them.

- That means if there are more raids that I can get gear that is an upgrade from and I am capped, I don't do them.

- I have no idea how it could be "fixed" but I really think a design that makes me log off is not really good for the game.

- That is why I spent my weekend playing something else.

- I was not in the mood to work on any specific character and I knew if I did I would have to deal with the LFR and strict limits.

- So it is hard to get into the grove of playing an alt when you know it is over before it begins, thanks to limits.

- And it is even harder because you need to use the LFR system and be thrown in with a bunch of people I would not even throw water on if they were on fire.

- Not exactly a compelling reason to log in.

- I have not been raiding much since thanksgiving thanks to a lot of people with family obligations.

- No biggie, it is what makes us a casual guild, we do not rush stuff, we will get back to downing it after the holidays.

- We got to garrosh a few times with fill ins but where not able to down him.

- More so because we ran out of time than because we ran out of attempts.

- So I've even been bringing alts to the main run knowing we are not going to finish it as well.

- I bring my main in for the bosses I need something on only.

- I did manage to get my first trinket of this tier however.

- AoC from pride, finally.

- Thought I would be stuck with the LFR one all expansion.

- But LFR AoC is this tier, how come I said I had no trinkets from this tier?

- Because it was a lower item level than my heroic thunderforged trinkets from last tier.

- Even if it is better than juju, as it is a lower item level so I do not consider LFR gear as gear from this tier.

- Even if I do consider it from this tier, there are better versions of it.

- So being it is a lower item level than gear from last tier I call LFR gear last tiers gear with this tiers bonuses.

- In a way I like that, means if I really wanted to I have plenty of characters, ones I rarely even play, that do not have to do LFR at all.

- So that crap gear means many geared players from the previous tier can just skip it.

- Even more so if they dabbled in heroics the previous tier.

- So why do they still design LFR with the idea that there will always be some skilled players there?

- So why do they still design LFR with the idea that someone that knows the fights will be there to explain it?

- So why is LFR not designed for the people it is intended for?

- We all blame the community for acting badly in there, but you can blame blizzard for making them act this way.

- If you just went in, blew things up, collected loot, left, without ever needing to explain, wipe, or talk, the community would not be as bad as it is.

- Put adversity in a group of random strangers and it becomes the blame game.

- Blizzard needs to understand that difficulty and random do not go together.

- They tried it at the start of cata with content meant for everyone and they noticed that content intended for the masses could not have any difficulty involved.

- So why are they repeating the mistake and making LFR, content intended for everyone, something that not everyone can do because it it too hard for them?

- Not like the cata heroics where hard, just in randoms they could be.

- So I am not saying LFR is difficult, just saying it is difficult for the people it is intended for when assembled at random.

- Same as the cata heroics were too difficult for the people they were intended for.

- See, did not even touch the game this weekend really and surely didn't do the LFR and the place still bugs me enough to bitch about it.

- If anything in game can be that badly designed that it bothers you even when you do not use it, there is something seriously wrong with it.

- Maybe all those alts I had no desire to play I would have the desire to play if I did not already know where I needed to go.

- It is not because I don't like playing my lock or my mage or my druid, because I do.

- It is just that the content they would need to go do to get the most out of their play time is unplayable.

- For me at least.

- So I'll keep looking for other things to do.

- Like playing betas for independent games.

- The one I tested this weekend I'll post about tomorrow.

- I will tell you two things I have noticed about it so far, without telling you what it is.

- 1) I absolutely LOVE this game.

- 2) It will BOMB big time because of the reasons I love it.

- Have a great day and have fun trying to figure out what game I am talking about.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Are You Ready For Mounted Aerial Combat?

The actual title should be "Are you ready for mounted aerial combat the way I envision it?" but it was a little too long.  This is not saying that aerial combat is coming, just that it would be kind of cool.

In a little moment of day dreaming yesterday I had an idea pass through my head that I wanted to think about a little more so what else is an elf to do but think about it while typing and see what comes out.  So bear with me as I try to explain what I visualized in a little day dream I had the other day.  It was only a fleeting image, but it sure seemed cool in my warped elvish mind.

Whenever class you are dictates the abilities you have when you are flying around.  There are no "specs" your flying mount abilities are your flying mount abilities.  This is to make the flying battle system fair otherwise hunters would rule the skies, not like there is anything wrong with that.  As the only ranged class that can attack while moving if you followed the same battle rules in the air as you do while on the ground that would mean hunters would rule the skies.  Come to think of that, I like that idea. ;) 

That sounds basic enough right?  Well that is not where my day dream started, that is kind of standard for any vision of flying combat that anyone has ever thought up before.  Almost like vehicle combat, but better.  There would need to be different abilities, mounted abilities.  I just differ in making them different by class, not different just because you are on a mount and they are the same mount testability for everyone, that would be too boring in my world.

In my day dream the mounts had abilities as well.  Just as you, the player, would get your new actions and abilities, your mount too has their own actions and abilities.

It would follow something along the lines of the pet battle system, three abilities for each mount, two different options you can choose from to "spec" your mount.   So there would be a total of 8 mounted abilities for everyone.  Five player abilities and three mount abilities.

Sounds kind of cool so far doesn't it?  Well, if you could see what is in my head you would think it was.  Or you would call the people with the white straight jackets to come pick me up immediately.  One or the other.  But lets go with the assumption that you are leaning toward the former and want to hear more, so here comes.

This is where my day dream got fun and what made me want to write this post before I had even fleshed it out the idea in my head much.  Mount abilities.

Each mount would have three abilities, one would be along the lines of a basic attack that builds "Power", the mounts resource, the second ability would be a choice between free utility either as healing or control and the third would be a special ability, or 2 actually too choose from, that are specific for that mount.  This is where your power will be spent.

That is where I started to have fun with my thoughts for the short time I day dreamed.

Ashes of Al'ar would have these two special abilities to choose from.
1) Choose to put someone in a 10 yard diameter circle where they can not move from it for 15 seconds.  In its golden blazing ball the person can be attacked, and can attack out of it, but the ball will not move and neither can they.  Lock them in for the killing blow as you peek in range, shoot, get out of range before they shoot back, or use it to get away, you have 15 seconds to make as much distance as possible.
2) Singe your tail feathers creating a trail of ash behind you, anyone that flies through the trail of ash has their speed lowered by 70% for 10 seconds.  While your tail feathers are singed your speed is reduced by 30%.  Cost X power to activate and X power to deactivate.  Cover the skies in your ashes.

Bloodbathed / Icebound Frostbrood Vanquisher would have these two special abilities to choose from.
1) Freeze the target mount stopping it in mid air and making it free fall and uncontrollable for 10 seconds.  Your opponent better hope they were high enough up that they gain control before they go splat or low enough down that going splat will not kill them.
2) Frost breath does X damage to the mount where x is equal to the current damage of the rider percentage wise.  If the rider is sitting at 10% health frost breath will do 90% of the mounts total health in damage to the mount.

Hippogryph's of all types would have one similar ability unique to their class and one original to that type.
1) The shared ability of all hippogyphs would be the call, an ability that does X damage to the targeted mount and summons a flock or hippogyyph young to attack both mount and rider for 20 seconds, 40 second cooldown.
Cenarion War Hippogryph
2)  The hippogryph lets out a battle cry that increases all mount and riders attack power in the group by 5% for 20 seconds, can stack with other hippogryph's battle calls.  15 second cooldown, stacks up to 5 times.
Blazing Hippogryph
2)  Increase speed by 300% for 10 seconds and create a world of flame setting the air on fire.  Anyone, mount or rider alike, that makes contact with the fire will get a stacking debuff that stacks every 2 seconds they are in contact with the fire.  The debuff does x damage per stack per second for 10 seconds.  Fire created by the blazing hippogryph lasts for 40 seconds, 1 minute cooldown.
Flameward Hippogryph
2) Set the target mount on fire set to explode.  The closer it remains to you the more damage is done to it.  So they better get away, or you better keep close.
Argent Hippogryph
2) The hippogryph lets out a battle cry that increases all mount and riders attack speed in the group by 10% for 10 seconds, can stack with other hippogryph's battle calls.  20 second cooldown, stacks up to 10 times.  Best used in groups filled with flameward hippogryphs in unison for insane burst.
Emerald Hippogryph
2) Increase speed by 300% for 10 seconds and leave a trail of green healing bubbles in the air that will slowly float to the ground.  The longer they exists the less healing they do when picked up. If a healing bubble hits the ground a tree will spawn for 10 seconds that any person can fly through for healing, so don't let the enemy get it.

Mounts would have a LOT more life than their riders.  While they could be killed causing their riders to drop to the ground, it would not be intended as that being the main focus.  Most deaths this way would be through fall damage however, so if you are confident in your fighting, fighting high is to your advantage.

If a mount is killed in the air you get a 5 second buff where you can now summon a mount while falling, better have it keybound, and it better not be the one that just died, because any mounts that die do not come back to life until you are out of combat for 30 seconds.  Also, if you dismiss a mount while in aerial combat you will get a debuff that makes it so you can not mount again.  So no trying to dismount and switch mounts when yours starts to get low you sneaky goblin you.

The object is to kill the riders.  Some mounts have abilities that target riders, some abilities that target mounts, some that target both.  Using the right combination, and using them in unison with others, can make for the best aerial combat team.

Mount temporary buffs are not like player buffs, they buff all players of the same faction that are within 100 yards diameter of them when cast.

I think the fun part of this little day dream I had was thinking about the special mount attack abilities.  I really like them and the first I thought of was the "world on fire" ability of the blazing hippogryph, but that makes sense, because that is the main mount I use, of course it would be the first one I think of.

Just for the fun of it, what do you think would be some fun abilities that would fit certain mounts, like frost fitting frost, blazing being blazing, and ashes leaving, well, ashes in his wake.

Well, I would write more, but the guys with the straight jackets are here to take me away.  I thought you said you were not going to call them. :(

Thursday, December 19, 2013

When Does "The Shop" Become P2W?

The new shop in game has stirred a myriad of emotions and opinions among people in the game.  If it is good or bad, if it is pay to win, if resources are being diverted from content to paid items for sale, etc.  Each could be a topic of its own but the aspect I wish to ponder on today is the pay to win part.

What exactly is pay to win and when does the shop cross that line?

Some people are saying it already has, or will, if they added the experience buff to the shop.  I personally do not agree.  That is a convenience.  All it does it get you to a higher level faster.  It does not give you more power, it does not make you "special", it just makes something that has become trivial and useless in game a little less trivial and useless by making it pass by faster and that is leveling.

So when do I believe it has crossed the line to pay to win?

Well, I believe I have a fair deal of experience in this matter because of my gaming history.  I look for a lot of things to do while at work to pass the time and as such I have played a great deal of browser based games and I have seen so many membership packages or VIP packages I believe I can tell the difference between what is pay to win and what is convince, even if that too is just my opinion.

To start, we all pay for a VIP Package already with WoW even if you do not notice it.  It is what allows us to play, that monthly fee.  Without it you can play but you have limited access.  That is the basic concept of most of the browser based games.  They give more access without a monthly fee than WoW does, but they give a lot more access without it usually.  That is not pay to win, that is pay to play.  Having a package that lets you have access to everything is a standard thing and there is nothing wrong with that.

Where the line gets drawn is between convenience and advantage.

For example a lot of these browser based games have a duel system where you can challenge other players and how it is handled is differently if you are a member or not.  Some games are set up that you can battle 20 duels per day and each battle there is a 10 minute cooldown before you can battle again.

The "bonus" you get for being a member determines if it is pay to win or pay for convenience.  One game I played reduced the cooldown to 5 minutes for members.  This is convenience, at least as I see it, because I get to get all 20 battles done sooner and do not need to be online as long to get them all done.  It is a very welcome convenience at that but gives absolutely no advantage other than time.  Other games give you increased rewards for members or additional battles for members, now those ones are pay to win.  If you get increased rewards you are getting an actual advantage in something more than just time.

Another fair example that does fit when speaking of the shop in WoW is cosmetic clothing.  In some of these games they sell clothing, lots of it, but all it does it change the look of your character.

 One game I played which is now gone, called glitch, was like that.  The clothing did not cost much, 50 cents or a dollar, but there were so many options that if you were willing to spend you could wear something different every day for a year or more.  It made for an interesting environment where most people looked different but it offered nothing more than looking different.  Then there are games out there, like wartune, where you can buy clothing, at greatly increased prices compared to glitch, and that clothing gave you an advantage.  And you could keep upgrading the clothing by buying more clothing and melding them together and the clothing which is not cheap and the more clothing you have and the higher level it is from melding it the more of a bonus you get from it.  It all gives you rage and if you want to think of it in terms of WoW, could you imagine running into a warrior out in the world and the battle starts and he always has 100 rage? It would not be pretty for you would it?  Yeah, that is a obvious advantage for the person that pays.

So what it comes down to as I see it, is what the practical impact on game play really is.  If it saves time, or is just for looks, then it is not pay to win, but if it gives you a practical advantage it is pay to win.

If the extra experience for faster leveling is added to the US shops I would not call it pay to win.  It is just paying to pass what many people feel is the most boring part of the game.  However, if they added a +10% to all stats while on the potion, then it would be pay to win.

But that does bring up interesting questions from things we have seen pop up already.  Where does "convenience" become "advantage"?

Is buying 50 lesser coins for some nominal fee a convenience of not having to farm them or an advantage because you do not have to?

Or how is this for an interesting question, would them selling a bigger starting bag be a convenience or would it be an advantage?  I am not sure about you, but with all these games I have played online over the years that offered "paid" services the first thing, and usually the only thing, I purchased was more bag space.  Is that pay to win or pay for convenience?  I guess an argument can be made either way.

In the end, that is when the shop becomes a P2W, when we start to look at it as an advantage.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It Was the Best of Fights, It Was the Worst of Fights

There are many types of fights we run into in raids.  Fun fights, boring fights, hard fights, easy fights, fights that are interesting, fights that are repetitive, fights we love and fights we hate.  We remember them all for whatever reason we latch on to them.

Some fights tend to stand out in our memory for a reason and I can go on and on right now about fights I remember and why I remember them but it is rare a fight stands out in my mind for no reason other than the fact it should not stand out.

The LFR version of the Sha of Pride fight is that fight.  It is the best of fights, it is the worst of fights.  It can be considered fun, in my opinion at least, because it can test you no matter what role you play and it can be boring because it really is a simple fight.  As odd as this might sound I consider it a patchwork type of fight.

I am sure you just said, What?  Yes, I consider Sha of Pride a patchwork fight in the three difficulties I have done it on, LFR, flex and normal and in the sizes I have done it, from 10 to 25.  Sure 25 involves more prisons and more big adds but it is still a really simple fight that you can have some fun with from all roles, again, in my opinion.

The LFR version which is a watered down version of 25 with 10 man mechanics which basically means it is about as easy as easy can get.

Unless you have done it in the LFR of course.

I think I have suffered more wipes on Sha of Pride in the LFR than I have on any other fight in the LFR, and yes that includes Garrosh in LFR.  That is in part because I have done it more than Garrosh in LFR, so do not read too much into the fact I wiped on sha more than garrosh in LFR.

In case you do not know the fight, and even if you do, let me give you a brief over view of the fight from the perspective of the LFR.

The dance is everyone stacks, when self reflection begins to cast, side step so crap does not pop up under your feet, then stack back up and AoE down adds.  After that two people will be imprisoned.  Each prison needs two people to step on a brightly lit trigger to get them out.  On the tank side the active tank gets the close brightly lit one and the other tank gets the other brightly lit far one, on the stack side a melee gets the close brightly lit one and a ranged gets the far brightly lit one. 

Then people go to stack again, but only for a few seconds.  An add spawns in the back of the room, the ranged switch to it while spreading out and the melee stay on boss while spreading out around it so everyone should be spread out at this point.  No one should be at the stack point when swelling pride hits but after it does everyone should run to the stack point again while not running through the crap that dropped at peoples feet for AoE heals. Rinse and repeat and you have a very easy dance thats basically as complex as you make it but really not at all.  Healers dispel when they have gift, tanks switch at one and pick up the self reflection adds.

But once more, if you think it is that easy you have never done it in the LFR.

-=Insert top 5 Sha failures in LFR=-

The top 5 failures on Sha of Pride in LFR

5) Low DPS (It IS a patchwork fight after all)
4) Getting hit by self reflection adds.
3) Not breaking people from prison.
2) Range not switching to add in back.
1) Not spreading on swelling pride.
1a) People standing in swelling pride puddles.
1b) People stacked and standing in swelling pride puddles.
1c) People dying in mass because of swelling pride and its puddles.

-=Back to post=-

This fight is The Line.

It has a fair deal of mechanics, so much so that it can be quite overwhelming to a new player or a non raider but the movements are not random, not complex and are extremely choreographed, as I mentioned.  As simple as stack, spread for reflection, AoE, free prisoners, switch to add, spread out, stack back up, don't stand in crap.

There is no random target gets this and need to run out, or random target gets that and needs to be stacked on.  There is nothing that could or would ever take you by surprise on this fight.  Save the cheerleader, save the world.  Oh wait, I meant, do the dance, beat the boss.

In the end, for a brand spanking new player that is a hell of a lot to throw on their plate.  To vet raiders, even someone that is just a vet from this expansion only, it should be old hat already.

So that makes, in my opinion, the Sha of Pride the ultimate test to see if you should be a raider.

It throws a bunch on your plate, but gives you a simple and easy detailed way to deal with everything.  Nothing can take you by surprise, nothing can be messed up.

That is why I call it a patchwork fight.  There really is nothing that you need to think about on this fight.  Do the dance and pew pew, isn't that as close to the definition of patchwork as we can get?

I've suffered countless wipes, seen 10 counts of determination, seen people doing 7K DPS with 6 stacks, seen healers that would not know where their dispel was even if the button on their keyboard lit up and was flashing with a giant arrow bouncing up and down over it in rotating flashing lights screaming press this button, tanks that can't grasp a taunt immediately concept and others that switching to adds or stepping on a brightly lit platform are apparently to hard for them to figure out on their own, or even after someone has explained it to them 15 times.

There is nothing complex about this fight, there is nothing random about this fight, there is a do this do that approach to everything, and even if it does seem like a lot to someone new, it is very easy to follow because nothing random can happen where you would ever need to fend for yourself.

As I said, this fight is The Line.

People on one side of the line are not raiders, people on the other side are raiders (at least on some level).

This fight acts on the most basic level of raiding with simple mechanics, but steps it up a little bit by adding a lot of those simple mechanics together all at once.  Enough so there is always something going on which makes it a more active patchwork.

So we will all remember fights for whatever reason we might, but I think I will always remember the Sha of Pride fight as the fight that taught people the basics of raiding if they wanted to learn them.  If you got a group with people that did not want to learn, it would be a nightmare.

The Sha of Pride is the best of fights, the Sha or Pride is the worst of fights.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why I Play on a PvE Server

When asked why I chose to play on a PvE server there are two answers that would seem obvious.  One is that I am not good at PvP and the other is that I do not like PvP.  While there is a grain of truth in both of those statements they are also filled with falsehoods.

While I am not very good at PvP it is because I do not do it often enough to get good at it.  If I had rolled on a PvP server I would have become a better PvPer, that is just simple common logic.  It is also not that I do not like PvP, quite the opposite, I really do enjoy PvP.  I just do not like a perpetual PvP environment.

And that is where the answer for why I play on a PvE server comes from.  It is not because I want to be on a "care bear" server but because I want control.  Control over what I do and when I do it.

If I just want to quest I just want to quest.  I do not want to have to stop for an epic battle with people my own level every few minutes.  I do not want to get camped by higher levels while I wait for my back up to make it to me to even the playing field.  I do not want to log out and switch to another character is there is not someone that can help me.  I just want to quest.  I do not want to take my time out from questing to kill someone else because even if it would be easy to kill them it will slow me down.  When I am out questing I want to quest.  Nothing more, nothing less.

When I have to kill 12 voodoo gnomes and there are a total of 20 in the area with 6 people on the quest it is frustrating enough.  I hate waiting for respawns and then playing a game of who can tag the mobs first.  It is not fun game play or compelling game play it is just annoying.  I am playing to quest and that is what I want to do, I do not want to add more crap on top of an already annoying situation by having to PvP while waiting to finish my quest that I should have been done with already if it weren't for 5 other people here killing my freaking gnomes.

I'll be the first to admit that I do often wish I could just kill the other 5 people there so when those voodoo gnomes respawn I have no competition but in a pros vs cons side by side the pros of being able to kill those 5 people would not outweigh the con of those 5 people being able to kill me.  I just want to get the quest done and move along.

I look at a PvE server as a controlled environment, at least as controlled as you can get in a multi player game.  So when I want to go mining, I go mining.  When I want to go questing, I go questing. When I want to fly from point A to point B I don't have to worry about being slowed down.

The beauty of this is when I want to PvP it is a simple flag switch, queue up, or invasion into an unfriendly zone away.  This is why I play on a PvE server, control.  I control when I PvP, how I PvP, and if I want to PvP at all.

I don't really get offended by the term "care bear" like some people do but I do think that most people that use the term do not understand what being on a PvE server means.  It does not mean you do not want to PvP, it just means that when you are not in the mood for PvP you do not have too.  There is a huge difference.

I've often flown around mining flagged, so if something pops up, it pops up.  Not because I am looking for a fight but because I am not adverse to the idea of one happening.  If I were just in the mood to mine and mine alone I would not let myself be flagged.

I have a habit of getting my priest flagged, kind of because when you heal a flagged person it flags you.  While most people, if they get accidentally flagged, run an hide or hearth to a safe place, or log out, or any other thing they can to get out of the action like take a flight path, when I do get flagged, I go about my business on my priest flagged and just do not care.

It is not because I am looking for a fight but it is because I don't actually like questing on my priest, I don't have a gathering profession, and in truth, I am kind of okay at PvP on my priest.  So if a fight comes I am ready for it. 

But see, that is where what I said earlier holds true.  The only reason I am okay at PvP on my priest is because I leveled my priest through PvP.  She is not good because I want to PvP on her, she is good because she had done it a lot.  Just the same I would be on any of my characters if I leveled them through PvP.

PvP servers take away the choice of game play, that is why I play on a PvE server.  I like choice, I like control, I am not a care bear, I am just a control freak.  Slight difference.

PvE servers are more like, do what you want, when you want to.  And that is why I always choose to be on a PvE server.  I can fight when I want to fight and I can quest when I want to quest.  I do not ever feel forced into doing both at the same time, the control is in my power and I like that.

Why did you choose the server type you play on?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- I am hitting that LFR wall again.

- After a few weeks of pressing it hard for a few characters I think I need a break from it once more.

- I seem to go in cycles, hit it hard, avoid it almost completely, hit it hard again.

- I might try to just take it easy now, while I collect the rest of my valor for my hunter.

- Which means one week off as I think I have a week and a half more to cap it.

- So effectively 2 lockouts, but one week + would be more like it.

- I'm am not sure if I am glad to hear other people are not getting their drops off sha to see it was not only me or if I feel bad that my bad luck is spreading.

- A few posts on the forums over the last few weeks have lots of people complaining that the "guaranteed" sha is not coughing up the goods.

- I could have told you that ages ago.

- What I could not have told you was if you put in a ticket you might get what you should have.

- Who the hell would have guessed, normally blizzard is not very helpful with stuff like that.

- Check that, not normally, always unhelpful with stuff like that.

- A guild mate, who did not get his 12th stone this week, which would have forced him to wait another week, said that one of the posts suggested putting in a ticket.

- He had gotten one off sha this week, but had not the week before or the week before that.

- So he did just that.

- Less than 1 hour later there was a response with a runesstone in it.

- How awesome is that?

- And the kicker, was it was not this week he did not get the stone off sha, it was 2 and 3 weeks ago.

- So not only did the GM replace the stone that did not drop, but he did it for a fight from 3 weeks ago.

- Not going to help me with the two recent characters that got screwed but maybe I should put in a ticket on my second priest.

- Killed Lei Shen 3 weeks ago and nothing went into my bag, his body was sparkling but I could not loot it, even after bending down and trying multiple times.

- It was the last thing I needed to move to the next part the quest and the last boss I could kill for the week.

- It would have been my final sigil.

- I finally said, screw it, and gave up and have not logged on to that character since that day.

- Blizzard needs to do something about their definition of "guaranteed".

- I always joke, partly because it is completely true, that blizzard and math do not have a good relationship.

- Seems they aren't too friendly with understanding what words mean either.

- My priest has now joined my hunter in the "I have nothing to do with my valor" department.

- Capped and nothing more I can upgrade.

- I need to get into some more flex or normal runs with it.

- I decided to do some LFRs on my monk this weekend as DPS.

- I never tank LFR.

- So at a 522 item level with tank gems, tank enchants and tank reforging I was pulling between 105 and 125 with it.

- Not to bad for being a little rusty.

- Really helps when you have a class that you can effectively do optimum DPS with 4 buttons.

- I really like that, rogues have a rotation like that.

- But one problem rogues have that monks don't is ramp up time.

- I hate target switching on my rogue.

- I don't so much mind it on my monk.

- I think they can make rogues so much better by making one simple change.

- Put the combo points on you, not on the mob you are attacking.

- If redirect is on cooldown, and it often is as I use it whenever I switch, I usually want to finish off the target I am on instead of switching right away like I should.

- That is bad game play on my part and I know it.

- But I do not want to waste combo points.

- Put the points on the rogue and target switching is no longer an issue.

- Back to the monk, the reason I think it did reasonably well even with me being not appropriately geared for it and slightly out of practice is I had decent tanks for the most part.

- Not good, but decent, and that is a huge key to doing well as melee.

- A person who only plays range will never understand the problems melee has with a tank that moves crap when he doesn't need to and doesn't move crap when he does need to.

- Like tanks that decide the boss should stand in a poison puddle.

- Gee thanks, I needed a break, I'm going to go to the bathroom, let me know when you decide to let me attack again.

- I have 3 options really.

- 1) Stand in bad to get maximum DPS and let the healers deal with it, which is what most bad players do.

- 2) Stand in front of the mob where the tank is safely standing, but that only works if the tank is not standing in bad himself and the boss does not have any frontal effects.

- 3) Go to the bathroom, make some coffee, ask the tank to move the boss in raid only to get ignored, or wait.

- If you get a tank that knows what they are doing that is the difference between a melee doing 50K and 100K.

- And this is why I love ranged ladies and gentlemen.

- But things are not all roses with ranged either.

- Why do all tanks in LFR love to open chest on spoils that LoS all the ranged?

- It is like they know if they open this one chest everyone in the room will have to stack in one single point because that is the only angle that will be able to get to it.

- So that must be the one that open first right?

- LoS tank are even worse as a healer.

- As a damage dealer you just do not damage, as a healer do you not heal the tank the tank dies and then so does everyone else and it is a wipe.

- Then someone blames the healers when it was not the healer fault, it was the tanks fault for going LoS.

- Most recent LFR place where this always happens?

- Turning up the stairs at the start of wing 3, tanks run up and in and grab 30,000 mobs.

- Excuse me mr tank, three small issues here.

- You are behind a wall, on the stairs and behind a wall in the room and up a flight of stairs which oddly enough means you are out of LoS.

- So giving three obstacles for healers to get past to heal you so you can do your super tank impersonation is not exactly a good idea for your survival.

- Love being on my priest when they use the stairs to LoS me.

- I run up fast with a speed bubble and leap of faith them back to the doorway at the top of the stairs, so the other healers can heal them too.

- Speaking of leap of faith, what is with all the priest in LFR doing it all the time for no reason other than to do it?

- I see it all the time, in the middle of a fight people flying all over the place.

- They were not standing in bad, they were in no need of being moved, someone just moved them for the heck of it.

- And what is with mages lately?

- I saw three ninja pulls yesterday, all three by mages, all three were different mages.

- And it was not like they tired to hide it.

- One rode up to jug on their mount, through him, and then back into the group that was sitting and eating.

- He said, sorry, didn't realize I pulled.

- You did not realize the sound of him coming after you?

- You did not realize that walking through him might upset him?

- You did not realize the ground shaking?

- You were just being a jerk, glad they kicked you.

- Public service announcement: If you pull by mistake, do not walk to others, walk into the boss and die.

- I'll give you three reasons you should do that.

- 1) Reviving one person is faster than everyone running back.

- 2) Your mistake should not cost others, in terms of time and gold, and food.

- 3) Only allowing yourself to die to your mistakes shows you are a good player.

- All that does not matter, he was trying to troll the group, the group kicked him, all is par for the course.

- We have a newer guild member that is really starting to get on my nerves.

- There are the types that ask questions all that time that you can tell just do not know.

- That can get frustrating, sure, you just want to tell them looking it up once in a while, but they do not know, so it is understandable and I try to help them.

- This new member is not a bad player, he is a great player actually, but he likes to play he is a moron.

- And he asks questions about everything, everything he should know already.

- Every LFR he questions all the boss mechanics on vent.

- Dude, you did this last week, is has not changed.

- I've even started to respond to him like that because it is getting annoying.

- I forgot what it was he asked friday night, but I explained it anyway even if I knew that he really knew better.

- Then 15 minutes later he asks the same question.

- I said, it is the same answer I told you 15 minutes ago.

- It is like it is our own live action troll.

- I swear I am going to kick him just for being an asshole.

- Nothing wrong with having a lot of questions but when you ask someone the same question 5 times a night you are either a complete idiot not worthy of wasting time on, or you are trolling.

- Both cases mean I do not want to have you around.

- There could be another option there, perhaps he just does not listen.

- He heard the answer, but did not listen to the answer.

- There is a difference.

- In that case, do not ask a question unless you are ready to listen to the answer.

- Oh yeah, was talking about my monk.

- So I did okay with it because the tanks were decent, not because I was really doing all that well.

- I took a lesson I learned form the last time I played it a bit and am getting better at it.

- I think it will be the tank I finish the legendary with as it is the furthest along as is.

- It is also the only tank I am decent at DPS with.

- Ranking them all the monk is the easiest to switch back and forth with in my tanking gear.

- As I said, I also do okay with it while set up for tanking.

- And the stat priority is really close, so that works too.

- On my druid I can do pretty decent with my one button macro, but cat is not fun to play, it is like playing a hard version of a rogue with more things to keep track of.

- The one button macro, while it works, is boring as hell.

- My DK can do blah DPS.

- Means I will be top 3rd of LFR but nothing to feel as if I am really doing okay with it.

- Not like I do it enough to get good at it, but it does have potential to be okay.

- Much like the monk I can basically get it down to a four button rotation.

- It is just not fluid like the monk one, in my opinion.

- Say what you want about monks but I think blizzard did a fantastic job with them, they fit well and play well.

- For my warrior I would need a different weapon, can't really just use the same weapon for tanking and DPS like I can with my monk, druid and DK.

- This puts a kink in the works to begin with because it is not like there are any easy weapons to grab when starting up to begin with.

- I am okay at arms, never liked fury.

- Just do not have a weapon for it, and being it is hugely gear based having myself set up for tanking will greatly effect my DPS so that is not as much of an option.

- Paladin is the same and I just hate ret.

- At least I can heal, if I wanted to, on my paladin, but that would surely require an entirely different set of gear.

- And being my paladin is my least played class this expansion at a dismal 500ish item level, the idea of making a second set for a character that does not even have one set yet is not exactly attractive.

- So monk gets the go as my tank that will get the cloak.

- Oddly enough, I will get it as a damage dealer doing the LFR to collect the things because I refuse to tank the LFR.

- However I have no issues "helping" with shaman.

- If something goes wrong in the LFR people love to blame the tanks, but they would not blame the person that was "helping" they will blame the other tanks.

- Perhaps they should start treating the tanks that queue up as tanks as people that are helping.

- But I guess that is hard to do sometimes.

- I zoned in on spoils on my priest the other day and I had more life than either of the tanks.

- All timeless gear, ungemmed, unenchanted, not reforged, not even with tank stats on it.

- Okay, I can get why people get on the tanks when they show up like that.

- But that is all you got now.

- You made your bed, now lie in it.

- If you did not scare all the real tanks away from the LFR you would not be stuck with those people.

- Instead, the people that are geared for tanking and know how to tank do not go there.

- As evidence by myself, even as a lesser tank, and the many like me, that just refuse to tank the LFR.

- It is the way they treat tanks that left us with 2 tanks on spoils that my cloth wearing priest has more life than.

- A great line came to me the other day when a healer decided he wanted to go DPS because he did not think the healing was really needed.

- If a damage dealer came in and was barely doing any damage would you complain?

- Hell yes.

- Then don't come in as a healer and barely do any healing.

- If you are going to complain about someone else, don't do it yourself.

- On that note of wisdom, that's all folks.

- Have a great day.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Roles We Play

Sometimes I think about where I am in the game, not as a player in terms of skill, not as a raider in terms of progression, not as an achievement hunter in terms of points, not as a pet collector in terms of pets owned or any other number of things you could put actual or arbitrary numbers on.  I think of where I am in the game as a person and the role that I play.

I ended up as a raid leader kind of by accident.  I had only been raiding for about a year, maybe even less and only playing a bit longer than that, maybe another year more at most.  It was a role I never wanted and quite honestly is something I really think there are many others could do better at it.  But it is the role I play.

By accident I call it, the incidental raid leader if you will.  The old story of the right place at the right time but only if the person wanted the job.  I just wanted to raid and if that meant I had to be the raid leader to get it done, so be it.  I'll find someone to replace me later on, lets just get to raiding.  That was around 4 years ago.

While raiding the other day someone said something that I thought was rather funny.  Not funny ha ha but funny interesting.  Between a wipe when we were running back people where talking about, you know, anything.  When we reached the boss I said, okay shut up and lets get killing and one of the raiders daughters grabbed the mic to say hello, not like I could understand it.  She is just a baby and that is probably one of the few things she can say, sort of, but she does that from time to time.  We all said hello back and her mother said, whenever you talk she tries to grab the mic from me because she wants to say hello.  She listens to everyone else talk but she always wants to listen to you.  Whenever you start talking she stops whatever she is doing and listens.  I said, I guess she likes my voice.

Then it occurred to me.  Perhaps there is something hidden deep in the subconscious of the human mind that makes some people listen to others for no real reason.  They just like the sound of their voice.  It is not about what they are saying or how they are saying it, but just the sound of their voice leaves a feeling within them that this is someone they want to listen to.  Could it be that deep?

When I was thinking about it the thought passed my mind that perhaps even if I never wanted the job maybe that is part of the reason I do it.  Even to me on a subconscious level, it is the role I was meant to play because people will listen to me, oddly enough, even when I am wrong.

Then I think about the other people and the role they play.  The person that keeps pointing out something after I've already said it.  The person that whispers me ideas.  The person that questions strategy vocally on voice chat.  The silent dedicated person that is always there.  The complainer that always complains they can't get gear but they are the best geared in the raid.  The person who says they are going to quit every time their class is even mentioned in the patch notes, good or bad.  The player that clearly could be in a world first guild but seems amazingly content raiding normals.  The person that wants more but does not have the tools to get it.  The person that will always offer to fill whatever role is needed even if they want to be on their main.  The person that has geared alts for everything but would rather ride the bench than bring one in because we need it.

There are so many people that have so many personalities that show and we can call them out by them like I just did.  In the end, they make up a team and all of them, like it or not, make things work.  Kind of as if they are needed.  As if you need that person to always be upset about changes to their class because it makes them try harder.  As if you need that person that refuses to switch because it gives you an easy option on who to sit.  Or the person that whispers strategy to nudge you in a direction they are thinking or at least discuss it.  Or the person that says it out loud so you can explain, to everyone in case they too were thinking it, why that would not work.

Some of the things I mentioned might be looked at as bad, but they all have good parts to them and those people all have a role to play.  So perhaps one day I might find my replacement but maybe it will not be the person I have been looking for all of these years.  It will not be the person that reads all the forums and strategies like I do and plans out how to make it work with the make up we might have.  Maybe the person that is meant to fill that role just has to have a voice that even a baby would stop and listen to, because maybe that is really the most important part of being a raid leader, being listened to.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fluffy Has Super Powers

When it comes to pets blizzard has done a bang up job fixing some of the issues we had with them over the years.  Sure, they do still miss a lot of stuff but in a way that gives pets a personality, even if annoying at times.  Some of the things have me questioning the sanity of my pet, or think that he is holding back super powers he does not want me to know about.

Remember the good old days when both your pet and the mob would continue to try to get behind each other?  You would pull a mob and your pet would do the tango with it across the entire zone.  He would jump behind the mob, the mob would jump behind him, he would jump behind the mob, the mob would jump behind him, and this would continue until the mob was dead or until you ended up pulling another 75 mobs in the process and die yourself.

It made for some fancy footwork on your part toggling between passive to call back your pet to keep him under control and closer to you so he did not pull the world.  While this sort of thing is gone from the game for the most part, it still happens from time to time.  And that brings me to my pets first super power, the ability to walk through walls.

On rare occasion your pet will still play the go behind game with a mob and being both your pet and the mob are a lot more "powerful" than you are, they can both go into walls.  So while you are there with the sound of your gun going click, click, click because the target is out of line of sight because it is in the middle of a wall or a rock or anything solid they have no business being in, your pet and the mob will finish each other off. 

Good thing we have the fetch glyph now right?  Nothing more annoying than that one quest mob you needed to loot something off of being in a wall and you would have been stuck waiting upwards of 15 minutes (if it is a BC mob) for it to respawn.  But do not worry, your pet not only has super powers to fight inside walls, it can loot inside them as well.

Oddly enough, even if my pet has the ability to walk through walls there are many places I walk where he does not just follow me despite a clear path to do so and instead will take the long way around to get to me.  Maybe all that walking in walls has caused a little brain damage in poor fluffy, but we still love him anyway.

Blink strikes is an interesting ability even if not the best option we have for DPS.  It is a good questing ability to have.  Most of the time the mob will die before you pet even gets to it, so having it blink there helps but it also exposes another of the super powers that my pet has.

When farming leather one time on my rogue tabbing and killing I accidentally tabbed to flying mob when I stepped and I stepped mid air behind him and fell instantly, good thing the fall would not kill me because he was not that high up but bad thing was he was over the edge of a cliff and I did indeed go splat.  Fluffy does not have that problem, fluffy isn't a stupid rogue that steps behind something and gets dropped to his death and goes splat.  Fluffy has super powers.

With blink strikes your pet can fly.  In short spurts at least.  When I attack a flying mob and blink strikes is up my pet will jump behind the mob in mid air and will fight the mob there the entire time.  It will not fall, the mob will not try to come down, my pet just hovers there in mid air doing what my pet does best, mauling some poor innocent mob that I am probably only killing for a quest item to death.  When the mob is dead and he comes back to the ground, he takes no fall damage either.  So two super powers in one.

But that is not all, there is a third super power my pet displayed here.  If he attacks something over the edge of a cliff or mountain like the rogue did and ends up falling down the mountain once the fight is over, he will just climb up the mountain even if that means running directly up the side of the mountain in a way that has to be physically impossible.  But nothing is impossible for fluffy, he is a super hero.

What other secret super powers have you noticed your pet has?