Friday, May 31, 2013

Why are the Casual Guilds Hurting?

There has been a lot of talk about the casual guilds dying off lately.  The social gamers that raided, the friends and family guilds that would be willing to take lesser players and move slower, the people that do not raid often, or are not very skilled but willing.  There are many types of casual guilds but nearly all over they are hurting and hurting bad.  Some call this time in the game the death of the casual raider, and I agree with them.

While not scientific in any way I plan to take a look at what could be part of the reason for many of the issues that seem to be plaguing and dismantling the casual raiding guilds based on my observations.

1) Difficulty: 

While some seem to argue that raiding is no more difficult now than it was before statistics prove them wrong on that fact.  They can argue it until they are blue in the face but they will never get anywhere.  That would be like me handing you a fresh banana and telling you it is purple.  I can say it all I want but it won't make it true.

Someone new to the game will have a harder time breaking into raiding then you or I did.  There are just so many things we take for granted and do normally that they need to learn.  To us it has become part of the standard but to them it is part of the learning curve and that curve has never been steeper than it is right now in the game.

In an effort to keep people like you and I engaged with the content they need to keep turning it up a bit.  To give us a new challenge.  This leaves those that had never completed the challenges before it a larger hill to climb.  They do not have the luxury we did.  They have to step right in on current, into content designed for people that have been raiding for years.  Not into the content they should be in.  Content designed for people that want to get into raiding.

Not saying it is not a challenging position for blizzard to be in.  It is.  Create raids to keep the players already playing interested in doing it or make them so new people have a starting point.  I believe the solution would be to make the first few bosses piss easy and ramp up from there.

Jasper chains anyone?  For a brand new player it was killer, to a seasoned raider it was old hat.  We have done this before haven't we?  At least three of four times we have encountered this type of mechanic.  So we walked in as if it were no big deal when a new player walked in and freaked out.  And this is why you still can not even pug MV on my server if jasper is up.  Yes, I am serious.  Don't bother unless you like repair bills or have healers that can just heal through it.  Chains and something to move out of, with rookies it is a nightmare.

The difficulty of the raids are one of the things that is hurting the casual guild.  From older members not getting better but the content getting harder to new members being harder to find because they think it is too hard.

2) Fight Length:

Wiping is a part of progression and even the most casual of casual guilds understands that.  Most people have no issue with wiping but more and more I am hearing complaints about the length of the fights.  At least from what I see and hear people do not have a problem with wiping after 2 minutes of a 5 minute fight but they are really getting frustrated with wiping 10 minutes into a 12 minute fight.

With this expansion and there being so much to do the tolerance of wiping has gone down.  A lot.  Getting 4 attempts done in an hour is just too few for the casual guild.  Lets say it is a 10 minute wipe, a minute to walk back and eat, a minute or two to go over any changes or adjustments.  Best case scenario is you are getting 4 attempts done in an hour.

There is a huge difference in it taking a casual guild 20 wipes in one night to get something down and it taking them 20 wipes but those 20 wipes are over the course of three weeks.

One night of wiping feels like you are making progression.  Three nights of wiping makes you feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall.  Both could be 20 wipes only.  But they feel completely different depending on the fight length.

It might seem like something so trivial but it does matter.  Long fights mean less attempts for the casual guild and less attempts makes it feel like you are not getting anywhere fast.  Horridon, the guild breaker, is the perfect example of that.  I've heard stories of guilds wiping 100 times on him over 8 weeks.  If only the fight were shorter it would be 100 wipes in 2 weeks and it would allow them to feel as if they were progressing, albeit slowly whereas after 8 weeks, that is two months folks, people just start to give up.  It is not the wiping that makes them want to quit, it is the wiping over 8 weeks instead of wiping over 2 weeks like it would be if it were a shorter fight.

One of the biggest issues with long fights is that it makes the guilds that play less often feel as if it it taking them longer to do everything, even if attempts wise, it was not really taking longer.

Longer fights are hurting the casual raiding guild in many ways.  It is making them feel like they are getting nothing accomplished.  It is making them feel like it is going to take months to down something it should be taking them weeks to down.  And that is huge and that is hurting.

3) Lockouts:

It is only a small piece of the puzzle but one that started when 10s and 25s were combined and now it seems to be getting worse because many people need new raiders and pugging with that extra lock out was always the bet way to get them. 

Having separate lockouts allowed for more chances to get people into raiding.  My attempts at forming the 25 man would probably go a hell of a lot better if the mains from the other two teams could be in it.  It would allow for the possibility to down more bosses and get more people gear.

The lock out issue is a huge recruitment loss for many guilds.  We used to use pugs to find new players.  Can't any more.  Need to save the mains for our group.  So no chance to meet new people and see what they can do.

Lockouts might only be a small piece of the puzzle but I believe it is hurting the casual guild by keeping them from running extra to carry some wanna be raiders or meet and recruit some new people that need to catch up.  Two lock outs would really help in both aspects and the casual guilds can sure use the help.

4) Loot:

Seriously. I just said loot.  10 man, and more so for the casual guilds, needs to be smarter loot.  I've heard it so many times and experienced it even more when you kill a boss and you only get drops that are for offspec or drops that no one can even use.

One of the ways the casual guild gets past some road blocks is from loot.  They gear up so they can over power it.  Gear can, to some extent, compensate for skill.  If your guild is stuck on a boss because "if only the tank had more life" or "the healers were not oom half way through" or "we could push some better DPS out" then there are two options to fix that.  Get better or get loot.  If they are a casual guild and this is the skill level they play at they are not about to get better quickly so that leaves only one option, get loot.

Hard to get loot when it seems that every boss drops something for a holy paladin and there is no holy paladin in the group.  Wouldn't you say?

Smart loot would really help the casual guild.  If there are no elemental shaman, don't drop elemental gear.  If there are no plate tanks, stop with the dodge plate.  If there is no holy paladin, leave the spirit plate out of the equation.  But if there is a rogue, a monk, a druid and a hunter, perhaps up the chance of the agility trinket dropping.  Maybe?

There are so many posts on the forums out there where people that have been killing the first boss in ToT for weeks and can not get past the dinosatan just wishing they had better luck with drops.  A few pieces of gear can really make the difference.  If you have ever raided in the casual environment you know that.  What your healer can put out at 485 and at 510 is leaps and bounds different.  Gear is how casual guilds get past content they have problems with.  It is like self buffing.  Instead of adding a 10% raid wide debuff, they kill bosses for a month, get everyone some gear, and they are 10% stronger, and that is how they beat things.  It doesn't happen if the loot doesn't drop.

Smart loot would really help the casual guild because having to disenchant holy paladin gear, thunderforged at that, each and every week is really hurting the casual guilds that might be a little better if only an agility trinket dropped.

5) LFR:

Hot topic coming here.  The LFR is hurting casual guilds.  While I do think this goes both ways, the LFR is also helping casual guilds, is the help it is giving enough to outweigh the hurt it is causing?

First lets go over the ways the LFR is helping the casual guilds.  Loot, see above, while not as good as the real raid, it does give an alternative method to get some gear to help get past those road blocks.  Secondly, it gives the casual guild a chance to get comfortable with a fight in easy mode before they get to it in the real thing.  Lets face it, after seeing all those stones drop from the ceiling at the turtle in 25 man LFR a few times when you get there with your 10 man on normal you can't help but think, wow, this is so much easier to avoid in 10 man.  And last but not least, LFR allows more people to see the raid content, which is turn justifies them making more raid content quicker.  So if you get stuck on a boss for an extended period, there will be a new raid out sooner than later and you can just forget about it.  It is what a vast majority of guilds did when they were stuck last tier.  Just move to ToT and forget that wall ever existed.

So why is it bad for the casual guild?

There are many skilled players, as in skilled enough for making normals easy, that have just said it was no longer worth the time, they will just do the LFR.  I've experienced it, and have seen other say it, that many casual raiders are just turning to the LFR as their source of raiding instead of trying to find a casual raid guild that would be suitable for them.

That is just part of it. Another part is that the LFR is tainting the player base.  The people that never raided now think this is what raiding is.  They come into a casual raid team and expect to down the entire raid in one night with only one or two wipes because that is how it is done in the LFR.

It is also the instant kill design where as long as half the team knows what they are doing you will never wipe on most fights.  Peoples tolerance for wiping is going down.  Add that to point #2 and you have an explosive combination for players not wanting to be part of a real raid.

Right now the only thing keeping me, and many others like me, even raiding the real raid is the fact that we like raiding and who we play with.  That reason, and the loot reason for some, is the only thing holding people in normal raids.   Otherwise the desire to slay internet dragons can easily be satisfied with a random group in random content and for many that is enough.

The LFR is hurting the casual raid guilds in many way from tainting the player base that used to feed it and make it survive to lowering the skill, desire and work ethic of the people that do come from it to step into the real thing.

Anding for the heroic raid people that think this does not matter to them, ask yourself where your future heroic raiders come from.  The normal raids.  If the people are not going up from the LFR to normal they won't be there to go up from the normal to heroic.  Do you really want to recruit your next heroic player from the LFR because those are the only logs they have?  Sure, it could work.  Sure, there could be some great people there, but no.  Just no.  The LFR is bad for the casual guilds.

6) Being Casual:

The bane of the casual guild since the beginning of time is the label of being casual.  It means many things to many people but each casual guild is its own entity.  My casual guild is casual in the sense that we only do 2 hour raids.  Not really the greatest for huge raids like ToT, but we will be happy with doing 3-6 bosses a week just fine.  Some casual guilds raid whenever there are enough on.  Some casual guild call themselves casual but they are not content unless they are doing heroic content, at least the easy bosses.  It is a wide range.  But they all have one thing in common, they all want the mode they play in to mean something.

Normal modes seem like heroic light to many, see #1.  It feels like an extra step to even more.  Many people, new players and wanna be raiders, think that you move from the LFR to heroics.  It is as if normal modes no longer have a place.

The casual raiders, because of that, now feel as if they are players without a home.  When we finish normal we get a feat of strength now, not even an achievement.  When you get an achievement for doing the LFR and one for doing heroics but not for normal can you blame people for thinking that normal no longer has its place in the game?

Normals where and should remain for the casuals.  The ones I mentioned.  The ones that raid whenever there is someone on be it three nights in one week or none for a month.  The ones that raid for 2 or 3 hours a night once a week.  The ones who burn through normal and then attempt heroics here and there but revert to normal just to get some kills in.  Even the ones that go in and wipe over and over on the first boss.

There are so many different casual types of guilds and normal is their stomping grounds.  As long as blizzard considers them nothing special, as noted by the lack of an achievement for finishing them, or heroic light, as noted by the difficulty for many guilds out there, normal mode really does not have a place in the game right now.

If there is anything hurting casual guilds more than the others, this could very well be it.  The sum of all the previously mentioned facts means that there is no casual form of raiding any more.  At least not an attractive one for the masses to want to raid in an assembled group but are not skilled enough to be high end.  Being casual in and of itself is one of the things that is hurting the casual guild.  As if blizzard want everyone either doing the LFR or doing heroic raiding.  Normals need to find their place again, and that should be the casual place.

End Note:

I have been lucky considering I am on a near dead server and I still get to raid at all.  I get a small bit of progression, even if behind what we are used to, but we are growing and moving forward.  I have a reason to log in and raid.  It is worth it most of the time.  But for many out there it isn't and that is what is hurting the casual guilds.  It just doesn't seem worth it for them to raid any more and I can't say I blame them.

What do you think is hurting the casual raiding community?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Tainted Vision

Everyone makes their options based on what happens to them, the people around them, and their immediate surroundings.  There is nothing wrong with that.  How can someone formulate an opinion on something they have no frame of reference for?

The key to keeping your tainted vision from getting too skewed is the accept the fact that any opinion you have is based only on your available data, from whatever sources it might come.  I too am often victim of my own tainted vision as I can only judge things from my own experiences or the experiences of others that I can believe to be true.  However, I attempt to keep an open mind on most things.

Lets take raiding for example.  I keep saying that horrirdon is way to hard for the average normal mode raider now.  It is based on my own personal experiences, it took us a long time.  My servers progression, where only 8 guild have even downed him, mine being one.  And all the horror stories I see on the forums.  I've also went so far as to go down the ranks of wow-progress to see if my servers situation was like those of other servers.  As it turns out, it is.  Many servers have less than 50% of the active (as in having downed the first boss) guilds have downed the second and on small servers that number could be even higher.

With that data I give my opinion that horridon is just too hard for the player base as is.  I have my own personal observations to fall back on and the additional information I was able to collect to think about.  Hence the reason I came to that conclusion.  I would also feel safe in saying that opinion is accurate for the majority of the player base and even more so the majority of non-hardcore raiding guilds, to which it would be an easy fight of course.

So with all that said I can understand that other people might see things differently but sometimes I think the biggest problem on the forums, any forums, is the inability of people to see things from any perspective but their own.  They have a tainted vision and refuse to believe that any vision but their own is true.

Take this next line as the perfect example of someone, that in my opinion, has no grasp of reality.  Paraphrasing it of course.

"You can hit 90 and get into a pug to go 12/12 in ToT on day one.  Anyone that has not finished throne is either bad or not trying. My monk full cleared in a pug 2 days after I dinged."

This is the perfect example of a tainted view.  From my own tainted view I can tell you that on my server most ToT pugs fail at even getting the first boss down and none have ever gotten the second boss down.  As a matter of fact, that is the reason there is a lot of buzz going on with my guild trying to assemble a 25 man group and getting to the 4th door on week two with what is still a relatively weak crew.  Because my 25 is basically still just a pug of my guilds alts and whomever we can recruit.

I must first say I don't believe a word that guy said.  I do not think there are any servers in the game where you can hit 90 and get into a ToT pug that full clears.  Maybe, just maybe, if you have a main that is doing heroic content and are a very well known person on a high progressed server you can get a spot in a mostly guild group to get yourself carried to a full clear.  But that is about as far as I will believe.

This guy however defended himself.  He actually believed that you can do this on any server.  Any server?  My server finally has its 4th guild that has finished normal.  5th is getting close, 6th, 7th, and 8th (mine) are not about to finish it any time soon, maybe next month.  With that collection of guilds to choose from, the limited experience of most of them, and the poor player base to choose from, a 12/12 pug is not only improbable, it is impossible.

But the people coming from my perspective are not the ones that turn the forums into a bash fest.  No one 6/12 ever bashes someone for being 5/12.  Heck, on my server most of the people that have finished it do not bash the people that are 1/12 because they know that with what my server has to offer, downing horridon is hard.

The community would be a better place if people realized that not every one lives in their own tainted view.  I see it all the time in the LFR, people love to say, I've done this on normal so I know what I am talking about.  As if they are talking down to the others there.  They do not realize that for many people it is not that they are incapable of doing it on normal, they are not able to because of outside reasons.  Raiding is not solo content.  You can be the best player in the world but unless you can find 9 or 24 equally skilled players, you will still be 1/12.  Simple as that.

You can not judge a player on their progress in a raid alone.  There are other factors to consider and it is only people thinking in their own tainted view that makes them believe that anyone with more progress has no life and anyone with less progress is bad.  A tainted view with the blinders on.  Most people in the game seem to live like that.

I am willing to accept that there are some servers that actually pug some heroic bosses.  My alt shaman on another server has seen them.  Have not leveled it since wrath so I can not go of course, but I see them in trade.  I also realize that this is one of the most advanced US servers.  It is the exception, not the rule.

It seems people too far at the top have a hard time looking down and being realistic.  Same goes for people too far down at the bottom not realizing that there is an up.  As if their tainted view is not willing to bend.  What they believe is right.  Always.  And that is wrong.

One thing people need to understand is that not all experiences are the same.  Just like my bad luck with loot streak.  I complain about it, 8 weeks, all bosses, no drops, but that is just one case.  Even if most of my characters have that type of luck I know that is not the way it is for everyone.  Yet the person that wins everything all the time seems to think that it is that way for everyone.

Maybe all this is about is that I want to know what server it is that you can hit 90 and get into a 12/12 clear on day one.  I think I will send my alts over there.  If it is that easy, they can carry a crappy lock can't they?

That comment just amazed me about how detached from reality that person is.  Even more so how he went on to defend it.  Remember, everyone should be 12/12 because you can hit 90 and get into a full clear on any server.  Some people just amaze me how blind they are.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Avoiding the Avoidable

Yesterday when I got online I grabbed two guild mates and went on my standard journey to valor cap.  We ended up with Battle of the High Seas.  Neither of the two people I was with had ever done it before.  I explained quickly what we would be doing and more importantly, that we would be getting bombed the whole time.  Try to avoid them, they can really hurt you. Then I said, if none of us get hit during the entire scenario we get an achievement.  10 minutes later the achievement Keep those Bomb Away! from me... popped up.

On a side note, valor capped in 2 hours, I love heroic scenarios.

Honestly this is an easy achievement for any raider at any level of skill.  The first thing we are taught is not to stand in the bad and quite honestly, if you can not handle that, you have no business being in a raid in my opinion.

This isn't so much about me getting that achievement as it is about avoiding the avoidable and a few posts I have seen around lately concerning that from ghostcrawler.  The idea is bouncing around that, at least in LFR difficulty, they would stop making all stand in fire effects healer issues and start passing the penalty to the person it should be passed to.  As in make the damage dealer suffer for being bad, not the healers because they have bad damage dealers.

As someone that has always stressed mechanics I support this idea.  I am that type of person, I am sure the type of person some of you hate.  I believe that even in the LFR you should follow mechanics most of the time.  If something says move, you should move.  Yes, I run from the acid rain on Megarea even in the LFR.  Why?  It is good practice to not get into the habit of standing in things that are avoidable.  Can it be healed through?  Yes.  But that is not the point.  You should never take a point blank hit from it, so I don't.

The idea being thrown around is that when someone stands in the bad instead of them taking increased damage and making the healer have to cover for this inability to play, the person standing in the bad would be the one penalized.  Perhaps spell lock them for 10 seconds, or disarm them for 10 seconds, or something else that would reduce their DPS.  Because in the end the only thing that matters to damage dealers is how much damage they put out.  If you want to teach them to move from crap causing damage to them is not motivation.  They will keep standing in it and attacking and if they die it is the healers fault.  Their DPS is what matters most.

If their DPS goes down, as in something like haste reduced to 0 until they move, or the global cooldown is increased to 5 seconds until you move, or anything that would hurt their DPS really, then they will learn to move.  It would teach them to be better players by making their own selfish motivation for high numbers causing them to move.

Yes, there will still be people that stand in it and do less damage.  There will always be those that do not care.  But people see numbers, they react to numbers.  If they see billygnome is doing 12K they will be more likely to kick him then if billygnome dies and says, I didn't get any heals.  It would become him calling the healers bad and the healers calling him bad.  Nothing would be solved, and nothing would be proved.  But 12K would stand out like a sore thumb.  And that might motivate billygnome to shuffle his tiny little feet out of that toasty warm fire next time.

When I started raiding one of the first rules I learned, after let the tank get aggro, was that a dead damage dealer means 0 DPS.  The new generation of raiders, the ones learning in the LFR, don't seem to get the idea that stuff on the ground is bad.  Hurting them with it only puts more pressure on the healers and that is unfair to them.  They need to learn a different way.  While the LFR can be really horrible for teaching new players, it can be tweaked to work a little toward that endeavor.  By hurting the only thing a damage dealer cares about, their DPS.

Floor damage will remain the same for normal and heroic of course, but they did say they are looking into the idea of having more stand in bad moments hurt the person that is standing in it and not the healers that have to heal them.  I like that idea a lot.

There are many things that help you tell the good players from the bad ones but nothing is more telling than the avoidable damage area.  I've seen damage dealers pull numbers I only wish I could only to look at the damage taken and from where that damage was taken and sigh because how could anyone doing that good really be that bad.  Is doing 20K more really worth giving the healers that much work?  No.  It is not.

There is no reasons for anyone to ever have more damage taken than a tank unless there is a mechanic that makes it unavoidable.  I've seen it happen more often in the LFR where there are two or three or even four damage dealers taking more damage than one of the tanks and all from easily avoidable sources.

People will just say, it is only the LFR but that argument has never worked for me.  In my opinion, if you can not do the easy version correctly, what is there to make me believe you can do the real one.  Face it, if you fail at the LFR, you will fail even harder on the real raid and don't even think about heroic modes.  The "its only the LFR" argument holds no water with me.  It is like a weight lifter that can't lift 200 pounds (LFR) there is no way he can lift 400 pounds (normal).

No matter what level of content you play, the most important thing you can teach someone is to avoid the avoidable. Perhaps it is time we go back to old school and teach these people rule #2 for damage dealers.

The First Three Rules of the Damage Dealer: (as I learned them)

1) Let the tank get (and keep) aggro.
2) Dead damage dealers do no DPS.
3) If you have an assignment, do it.

#1 and #3 are something I don't think you can really ever teach better in the LFR environment where new players learn.  Aggro is not quite the issue it used to be but there are some funny moments I do recall with a rogue in one of my early raid teams.

Rogue: It is not my fault I got aggro and died.
Raid Leader:  Do you have Omen?
Rogue:  No.
Raid Leader:  Then it is your fault.

That still holds true.  If you grab aggro and die, it is your fault.  Damage dealers need to work within the frame we are given.  Just because you can do more DPS doesn't always mean you should because it can lead to rule #2 if you do.

#3 is the same.  Rarely do we see fights where someone is given another task that will greatly reduce their DPS and never do we see that in the LFR where people are learning now.  Kiting zombie chow was a DPS killer, but when done correctly, it did make that fight super easy.  Like I said, we do not see stuff like that often and we never see it in the LFR.  So you can not teach rule #3 there.

But rule #2, oh yes, rule #2, that can be taught in the LFR and the best way to teach it is to hurt the player, not the healers.  I would love to see a change to how "don't stand in the fire" mechanics work for the LFR.

My suggestion for a change would be to still have it do damage, minimal, so the healers still learn there is something to do there, even if less, but to give the damage dealer a debuff that lasts for 10 seconds.  Each second you stand in avoidable damage the buff gains a stack and refreshes its duration.  10% less damage done.  So if someone stands in the fire for 10 seconds they will do zero damage for 10 seconds.  If they keep standing in it, the debuff keeps refreshing, and they are basically at no damage forever until they move and wait for it to go away or until it disappears on its own and they wait for the debuff to go away.

Want to teach people to avoid the avoidable?  Hit them where it hurts, in their epeen.  In their DPS and damage done.  Maybe, just maybe, that might teach some of them.

I swear, if I hear "but it doesn't hurt that bad in the LFR" from someone we try to bring to our 25 one more time I am going to just kick them and not even waste my time explaining why I did.  Really, they need to teach these people to avoid the avoidable.  How do you know how much it hurts in the LFR?  You should never be getting hit by anything that is avoidable no matter what level of content it is so you shouldn't know it doesn't hurt much in the LFR.  End of story.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heroic Scenario Thinking

The recent addition of heroic scenarios has me thinking about them a little bit.  I've got a lot to say about them but I've also go a lot of questions about them and scenarios in general I would like to see answered.  Perhaps one of these days I need to get off my ass and post some questions to ghostcrawler on twitter.

Here are some questions that come to mind regarding scenarios.

Q - Will there ever be a way to just walk into a scenario so you can do them solo for fun or achievement purposes?

Q - Why no loot drops in the new scenarios, not even the normal versions?

Q - Will we ever see something like battle for the undercity come back as a scenario?

Q - How about things like the Onyxia quest line, simplified of course, in scenario version?

Q - Could we expect more attunements to be group or solo scenario based, as in the island (solo) needed you to do some to open it and the barrens (group) needed you to do some to open it?

Q - Will the loot that drops from the heroic bags go up as patches come out?  Seems as that would be a great way to keep them relevant.

Q - No Harrison Jones this expansion, perhaps a scenario where we help him?

Now to some of the things I was thinking about.


The attunement idea has been bounced around, argued about, and debated on for a long time.  Some loved them, some hated them, some loved them but hated doing them for alts.  There were people in all camps.  Scenario's offer a unique ability to give both parties a small bit of what they want, be it solo or group wise.

In a way you can say reputation was attunement of sorts to be allowed to buy valor gear for those said factions.  It failed.  Reputation in general as a gate has been, what seems, universally disliked.  So we can not have something like that again but thus far there have been three gates that are in the way of scenarios that seem to be doing very well.  So why not more?

The warlock green fire quest line is an attunement of sorts.  Without it you do not get green fire.  Simple enough right?  Many warlocks are walking around with green fire because based on skill and dedication they managed to beat the solo scenario that was required of them and they earned their fire.  And then there are the people like myself who can't do it on their warlock because of a skill, and possibly a bit of a gear, issue.

That attunement works like a charm.  The reward is for bragging honors, cosmetic only, and the skilled people can do it, and the not so skilled people, can wait until they over gear it and go back and do it.  Proof #1 that attunements via scenarios can work.

Our second new attunement gate is the island of thunder.  Those solo scenarios can be a task for some unskilled players.  I've even read some people rage that they were impossible for some classes.  I can surely see if someone is of lesser skill in lesser gear how they can be quite the task.  A fresh 90 that is not a great player will hit a wall, but with a little thinking, and some practice, it can be done.  If I can do it on my warlock, the one that I still can not do the green fire quest on which shows I am not good at it, then anyone can do them.  It will just take time and practice.

The reason the island attunement quests work so well in my opinion is that you only really NEED to do one, to get to the island.  Once there you will not be able to do the dailies unless you do all the others, but you will be on the island at least.  It is layered.  You get a little something just for completing the first part.  Then you can keep attempting the others.

That is a much better gate then a valor gate or a reputation gate in my opinion.  You can either do the quest line or you can't.  If you can't, get better, or get gear and over power it.  Your choice.

The third time scenarios were used for attunement this expansion thus far was for the barrens quest line.  You needed to do two scenarios before you could get the barrens quests.  Once you finish those two, on either normal or heroic, you get your quest line for 502 boots and the fast track to one 489 piece of gear per week, to help speed up the gearing process for some.

The boots and the 489 gimme gear was not gated by valor, by reputation, but doing a few quests and more importantly, 2 scenarios.  Two scenarios that could be done at any skill level too.  Easy for normal, skilled for heroic.  Or, solo player with no one they can group with, normal, and guilds, hand pugging and friends that can make groups, heroic.  It took care of everyone.  It let everyone play.  It is one of the very few things that was done perfect in my opinion.  Blizzard gave options this time, real options.  You can make a group and go in for the harder ones with better rewards, or you could random and take the easy route.

Please, no crying about you want to be able to queue for the heroic version.  The first time you queue into a heroic scenario with one person doing 12K DPS and other AFKing or pulling everything all the time you will realize why you can not queue for them.  They are not meant for random people.  They are only meant for people that can do them and not just for whoever has an item level high enough to get in.

Using scenarios as methods of attunement to open up things could very well be the future, and one I like.  I would have liked to do a solo scenario to open up the august celestials so my tailor could get the bag pattern instead of getting them to exalted.  I would have rather have done a series of three scenarios to open the shado-pan vendors.  I would have, and I am sure others would have, liked those options, even more so when we got there later on with alts.

Scenarios can be the attunement tool of the future, and I support it 100%.  As long as things that might be considered required, like the barrens quest line, can be done on normal or heroic, so everyone can do it.  And as long as things that are cosmetic only, like the warlock one, stay harder so the people will skill finish it soon, and the people without it like me, can learn to get better, or wait to over gear it.

I like scenarios for the attunement tool of the future, more than reputation any day.

Valor Capping:

So far one of my biggest complaints this expansion was valor capping.  The valor of the ancients made it feel like we were forced to cap on one character before doing the others to get the most out of it.  That was, and still, is problem number one.  Problem number two was capping seemed to take forever compared to what we have become used to over the past years.

The new heroic scenarios are quick and offer a fair amount of valor for the effort involved even if you need nothing from them.  120 valor, more of you meet the bonus, is a hell of a lot better for something that takes at most 30 minutes even with a lesser group and has zero queue time.  Compare that to normal scenarios at half that, dungeons which are quicker than scenarios if you can assemble your own group at least, but are not if you can't most times, at less, and the hell of all valor gainers, LFR.  The long long long as in I am growing a beard while waiting long wait time for them, the hell they can be when you get bad players and the dismal 90 valor you get for them makes them the most horrible part of the game when it comes to valor capping.

The new heroic scenarios should teach blizzard something.  People can valor cap faster which then allows them to do things they want to do.  Holy cow, I am shocked, people might actually have a choice now.  Do things they want to do.  I ran the LFR on my monk and rogue when they were capped, because I wanted gear drops.  Not because I felt I had to do it.  Now that is choice blizzard, please oh please someone read this from blizzard, that is choice.

Maybe they will learn from this that letting people cap faster is a good thing.  It makes them feel as if they can do what they want to do.  Doing all the LFRs because I need valor is no longer something that feels forced.  They can do what they want to do and move along.  Have to love that one.

I say lose the valor of the ancients and let all forms of valor generation be increased so we do not feel as if we are locked on one character until we cap, and then we might have a winning formula for the valor situation all thanks to what the heroic scenarios showed us can be done.


The heroic scenarios are, at least at the current gear level my guild and myself are at, the perfect difficulty.  They nailed it.  When going on mains we can beat nearly every bonus objective.  On a few we needed to learn some tricks like line of sight pulls, and CCing, but those became doable as well.  For better geared players it was a cake walk and for lesser geared ones it was not undoable.  Like I said, a good difficulty level.

Case and point was when I did some this weekend on my lesser down the line alts and had people doing the same.  Three people on alts they are not great on, that had to sneak in with the 480 item level meant we did not meet the timers, but almost made two of them missing one by only 30 seconds and the other by a little over a minute.

None of us was even doing 40K.  But we all knew how to play the game, so to speak.  We CCed the right mob, pulled to do controlled fighting.  We set the pace of the battle and decided on who we battled, when we battled and where we battled and we managed them all no problem what so ever.  Even in lesser gear, even with lesser skill, even on alts.

Perfect difficultly can not be said any better.  It can be done by everyone that can get into it.

Group Makeup:

Not sure if anyone has done them on as many different characters as I have.  I have done them on tanks, damage dealers, healers.  Characters I am good at, characters I am not so good at.  Classes I used an offspec I never play in that offpsec because it fit the fight better.  I even tanked for the first time ever on my monk and I must say I love monk tank AoE DPS.  It is fun and over powered.

No matter what group make up I was in there with we were capable of doing it.  We had to handle mobs different ways depending on the group make up too which I found to be very interesting.  I am not sure if things are designed to react differently depending on what the make up that is there is, but it sure as hell seemed that way.

One rule of thumb no matter what the group make up was is to interrupt everything you can.  If you can do that, nearly everything you run turns into is trivial.  One pack in the snow one we ran into the first time we saw it.  We died a miserable death, it was funny.  Died a second time too.   Third time we did it.  When I was on a lesser character in a lesser group I came up with the control idea.  Pulled in a controlled way that allowed us to turn one huge group into three separate fights which, not to over use the word, trivialized the entire fight.

That was fun.  Changing things up.  Having a rogue pull and speed boost the hell out of there, having a priest MC, having a mage kite, all types of things that people are not used to doing but actually everyone that plays those classes should know how to do.

This is the sort of content that can teach.  They are also forgiving enough that two decent players can carry one sub par one and use it to teach them how to play better.  And allowing a group make up like that is good for the game.  Train new players in a way that teaches them to do the right thing instead of just playing round up and AoE in random content.  That is fine for random content.  Not for learning.

Premade Groups:

Community is coming back for a moment and I really hope it can last and continues to get support from blizzard by releasing new scenario content.  All weekend long trade was filled with people looking for someone for heroic scenarios.  Do you know the last time I ever saw anything in trade being pugged that was not just the super rare old raid running?  Neither do I.  It has been that long.

On my small server trade was packed with people looking to do these.  Having people need to make groups for this content, making this content the best source to get valor, and fun, and a bit of a learning experience, means you have started to try and fix the biggest broken part of the game.  The community.  Well played blizzard, well played.

As I said, not so fond of it on my alt servers where I am in alt type guilds that do not do much of this stuff.  But that is what pugs are for.  I can join a pug, meet new people, and perhaps find a new guild that I could run things with more often because I was out and about meeting new people on my own server and talking with them instead of just gearing up through the random system and not really caring what guild I am in.

The reason premades work for scenarios are because of the nature of them.  The three bodies, instead of the holy trinity.  That is why it works.  We can never go back to the days of finding a group for dungeons, it took hours and most days I never ran them.  These scenarios are different, they are better for the game and better for the community.  Yes, I know 5 mans are loved by a great deal of people, but you will never be able to get this type of turn out for a 5 man that you do for scenarios.  On my server I am still looking for a challenge mode group and have still not found one.  5 man content + hard = no thank you, from the majority of the player base.  Yet 3 man content + mild challenge depending on group = lets get to know our community.

We might not see a lot of other premades going, but it was nice seeing trade filled almost 24/7 with people looking for heroic scenario groups.  I really like that.  And I am about as anti-social as you can get.  So that says a lot.

Progressive Gearing:

Okay, this is just me thinking out loud here but scenarios and heroic scenarios can work wonders as a gearing up catch up for players.  As each patch comes up, have the items that drop in the baggies go up.  No need to even change the baggies, just what it on the loot table of the bags. 

There would be normal bags, with minimal level gear to help people get into the LFRs and heroic level baggies that give people gear just above the current LFR level.  Each time new gear comes out, just change what the bags drop.  Simple enough, and it will make scenarios content that lasts for the entire expansion as they will always be something worth doing.  That is something blizzard needs to work on, making content that lasts and this would as long as the gear it drops keeps moving up.

That is enough thinking for now.  What do you think about making attunements all scenario based from now on, like the island ones or barrens ones instead of needing reputation.  You need to finish the new scenarios to open the new valor vendors.  Most definitely seems more player friendly.

Either way, at the moment I am liking the heroic scenarios.  So much so I did the LFR a lot less this last week because I did not feel I had to and heroic scenarios are much less stressful than waiting in queue for 2 hours.   I am sure everyone can agree with me on that one.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- Week 2 of the monk hitting in 90 showed that luck does not last forever.

- Last week I won someone off of almost every boss in the ToT LFR.

- This week I won only one piece and nothing with coins.

- But that one piece, the 516 piece for the guaranteed cache for the heroic scenario and having enough valor to buy my first shado-pan assault piece has got my Monk up to 497.

- Ready for ToT normal in 2 week thank you very much.

- Now if only I can get good with it.

- Two weeks, or more accurately 2 days of playing, is not enough time to really get comfortable with playing a new class.

- I noticed my average DPS is to LFR runs was floating around 75K.

- Before I added those 3 pieces.

- I would think at that item level, 490 at the time, 90K would be a better minimum to aim for.

- But if someone knows how monks scale better than I, please feel free to let me know.

- Not sure how close to what I should be doing the 75K is at a 490 item level but I felt I had a lot of room to grow and was well aware of a few things I believe I could have done better.

- I did work on getting my up time higher, which as a melee is key.

- You can have huge DPS and be low on the damage done if you can not stick with the boss.

- And unless I can keep my damage done position on the list moving up with my DPS I don't consider it getting better.

- I still feel like progress was made and I am getting better at it and that is what counts.

- I did the longest day achievement.

- Did not get my marked battle stone.

- I put in a ticket and they sent it to me.

- Was a bit upset that an achievement that took that long gets you only a flawless battle stone.

- One that is BoA, unlike the normal ones you can sell.

- How lame.

- You would think that something for an achievement like that would give you a stone you could use more than once.

- Like one you can upgrade something with once a month.

- That would have been more appropriate in my opinion.

- And allowing us to upgrade something once a month would not flood the market with rares.

- And lets face it, any pet battler that would actually do that achievement probably gets 5, 10, 15, or even 20 stones a month to begin with.

- So what big deal would it be to give them one more that they can use once a month.

- Made the suggestion to the GM, they sent me my marked battle stone in the mail but completely ignored my suggestion.

- Did not even comment on it.

- Did not even say go to the suggestion forums with it like everyone else usually says.

- Nope, just pretended like I never even mentioned it.

- I was busy doing the BC raids for pets so I did not stress it anyway.

- No big deal, they would not have been able to do anything about it any way so why waste my time.

- Ran multiple characters through the BC raids and there was really no pet love.

- Of all the runs I did I got three pets, two different ones.

- Gave the double to the little lady. 

- She is not a pet collector like me but she was happy with it.

- All those runs did give me something I had been trying to get for a long time however.

- Ashes of Al'ar is mine now.

- I had done it so many times trying to get it and never did.

- Was there for pets and got it.

- How awesome is that?

- And guess which one of my characters got it?

- Yeap, the super lucky monk.

- So while my monk did not have any LFR love this week it sure as hell still had the midas touch.

- I really should go on one of the horde characters and work reputations with it.

- Sitting at 197 mounts now.

- And I do not have any of the horde mounts.

- I need to get reputation to buy them.

- Light bulb.

- Just as I was writing this it occurred to me that I do not need to be exalted if I am that race, I can just buy it right?

- Awesome, but I only have trolls and taurens that high on characters with enough gold to go mount crazy.

- I need to spread the love horde side.

- I have at least one of each race at 90 alliance side.

- But I only really like trolls.

- Trolls rock mon.

- Love the barrens quests helping Uncle Vol.

- Always thought he was the best leader horde side.

- Now that they will be getting a new warchief presumably there are many people jumping on the Uncle Vol bandwagon.

- And with that the haters come too.

- Wish we could go back to when I was the only one that liked him because he was cool.

- They are going to pull a Thrall with him now.

- Used to love Thrall, and that bad ass armor in Hyjal rocked.

- Then they deiced to bring him front and center and it ruined him.

- How is it that great characters always seem to get horrible when they become center stage?

- It has to be a writer thing.

- Blizzard needs better writers.

- The new heroic scenarios are making it too easy to cap now.

- How strange is that to say?

- I am not complaining however, would rather cap and be able to play a few alts then take forever to cap.

- No contest, hands down, capping fast is better.

- My Monk and my Rogue ended up doing the LFRs even though they did not need valor from them just for a chance to get gear.

- Now that was a choice.

- See blizzard, let us get valor easy and then choose what we want to do.

- I like that idea.

- You talk about giving us choice, quicker caps gives us choice.

- Now if the heroic scenarios where not the only way to quick cap.

- Hint, hint, hint.

- Being my Monk needs to do the old ones, as I have just started the legendary line with it, it caps super fast.

- Well, super fast in theory.

- Still takes a year and a day to get into those damn things.

- I think there are even less tanks now that you can choose what gear you get.

- Even with a healer yesterday I waited forever to get in.

- Each one took over 1 hour except one which took 40 minutes.

- Lucky for me sunday is my game day where I play all day otherwise I would have never been able to finish them all.

- Someone in my guild has decided to quit raiding because of that.

- They felt that they could not keep up unless they did all the LFRs, even if others might believe different, and they could no longer keep up because they could not even do one per day usually with their free time, so they are quitting raiding.

- Not the game, just raiding, because they feel that can not give it their best any more.

- I can understand that.

- But they have been a raider as long as I have known them, at least 4 years.

- I am sure quitting the game will be soon to follow.

- Unless they get into PvP that has a more time friendly schedule.

- Or pet battles, or something else.

- And then if they find a way to fix the queue so people can actually get things done they feel they have to get done, he will go back to doing what he likes, raiding.

- And if they do not fix it soon enough, he will be part of the next wave of 1.3M people leaving.

- People come and go all the time but they need to do something.

- No people are coming, and lots of people are going.

- Did a cross realm Oon this weekend, went to the vale on that other server and the shrine was packed.

- I mean you could not see one foot in front of you packed.

- And not with cross realm people, with realm appropriate people.

- I left raid and went back on my server, looked all over, 2 people in my shrine.

- It says I am on a medium server.

- It says that server is a medium server.

- What is it that I always say about blizzard?

- They really seem to have a bad relationship with math.

- We are not both medium servers.

- If theirs is medium mine in not low, it is dead.

- We are not both medium.

- Not even a third grade math student could look at one and the other and think the number of people was near the same.

- One had what looked like hundreds of people in it and the other had three.

- Yes blizzard, even a third grader is better at math then the people you have on staff.

- Some might say perhaps most of the players on my realm where out and about doing things and that is why.

- Okay, you can believe that, I know that is not true.

- I think they should merge my server with 3 or 4 other small servers and we would still be a small server.

- And then part two of that would be, lose the CRZ.

- Allow us to be where we want to be, on a small server.

- They need to realize there is a huge difference between a small server and a dead one.

- I like small servers, not dead ones.

- Speaking of CRZ fun, that new unborn valk will be hell to get if I do not get lucky.

- Every spawn point had at least 3 or 4 people hovering over it.

- And there were many people flying all over looking for it.

- And this was at 5 AM when I figured it would be easier to get it because no one would be on.

- I figured wrong.

- Well, I have today off, so going to stop here and get on the game and perhaps cap another character.

- Those heroic scenarios are great for alts as long as you can get two other people.

- My poor horde characters, I have no one to play with.

- Even my guild never has people on that can do it, even if they have nearly 1000 members.

- Kind of hard to find a decent guild with skilled players that can do stuff like that easy when you only play once a month or so.

- So while I love the new heroic scenarios it sucks when you are flying solo.

- But I would NEVER want to see it changed.

- I do not want to random into these things with this player base.

- They are just too darn hard for most of the people I see in this game.

- Seriously, I am not kidding.

- Well, off the the game.

- Have a great day all.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Gnome and a Tauren Walk Into a Bar...

The Gnome turns the to Tauren and starts crying into his drink feeling sorry for himself, "Everything I build blows up.  Whenever I go out people are always trying to kick me.  I am the butt of every short joke you can imagine.  When out adventuring with friends I need mountain climbing gear to get over pebbles my mates step over, I almost drown in lakes they walk right through and I'm tired of never being taken serious like I am the comic relief."
"It could be worse." The Tauren says.

"Worse?  What could be worse then the hell I have to live with on a daily basis?"

The Tauren says, "You could have to go through life named Holy Cow."

The Gnome takes a second to think and says, "You win."


Wasn't exactly sure of a title for today's post so I figured I would make up a joke and start it that way.  Hope my joke wasn't too bad.  Just bad enough to be good. 

Sometimes wow can be downright silly and that is a good thing.  We all need a break from the serious, from the grinding, from the raiding, from the mundane.  Silly is good.

I've always been a fan of transformation toys.  My first transformation toy was Dartol's Rod of Transformation.  I loved that thing, still do.  It is no longer in game but I still have it.  I am quite glad that it was not one of the fun things that lost the battle of bag space over the years.  There are many things no longer in game I wish I still had but alas they are gone.

For anyone that wants that little toy there is at least something to replace it, even if it is not half as awesome as the rod being you can use the rod every minute and it lasts for three, meaning it is one of the very few transformations in game you can have 24/7.  It's replacement, Stave of Fur and Claw, lasts 3 minutes as well but with a one hour cooldown sadly.  Glad I have the original one.

There are many transformation items in the game and someone on wowhead posted a comment with many of them, you can see it on the link from the rod or stave.  I won't rehash what was already said and done but I will share some of my other favorites.

Ai-Li's Skymirror allow you to look like anyone for 10 minutes.  It has a one hour cooldown but healing as a bear or shooting arrows as a tree is pretty fun sometimes.  If the cooldown was shorter I would surely enjoy it more but as it, it is one of my favorite transformation toys currently

Potion of Illusion is another thing that has the same function as the skymirror and you can use it over and over to keep being someone else, but the 2 minute duration can mean you need to keep a crap load of them on you if you want to be someone else all the time.  At least this one you can keep being a different someone else every two minutes.

Leyara's Locket from the molten front quest line is another one of my favorites but its short 5 minute duration and long 1 hour cooldown made it works it way into my bank bags after we were no longer doing the fitting raid for the transformation, firelands.  But I do break it out from time to time.

The Vrykul drinking horn from archeology is one of those transformation things that has managed to stay in my bags for a very long time all thanks to its 1 second cooldown.  It is not really much of a transformation, you get a new Vrykul inspired helm and get a little bigger but it can be a lot of fun when used with other transformations to change from it making you a little bigger to making you freaking huge.

When used with Mr. Smite's brass compass, burgy blackheart's handsome hat and drinking some fras siabi's bigger beer and you can get downright huge when you mount up on your largest mount.   The first item comes from a mists rare, second item from a cata rare and the beer from ICC after the forth boss role play is done the guy that sells it will open shop there.

Lots of fun things to do, just to be a bit silly in game.  And if you are willing to let your inner role player hang out some, you can enjoy it a lot more than just being someone else.

All toys are not about transformations.  There are many different ones.  I like the trinket that gives me a super huge sword that follows me around for a bit that I got in ungoro.  Sadly I do not recall the name right now.  There are of course pets, but then there are the pets that are not exactly pets.  Nomi from this expansion is like that.  You can summon her (I think it is a her) and she will follow you around all day long like a pet.

There are more than a few items like that and if you wanted to you could get them all and have an entire entourage following you everywhere you go.  As a hunter, you can call your pet, your stampede, and your crows and walk around, at least for a short time, with 40+ things following you.  I know, I know, but I did say this was all about silly stuff right?

I often talk about what we consider "serious" things in game but that doesn't mean that I don't like to have a little fun from time to time and they do sure offer us a lot of toys and transformations and other gadgets that allow us to be silly.

What are some of your favorite toys?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Want to Play With Bob

There is a thread over on MMO-Champion titled "How would you like to handle the gap between LFR and normal raiding?" Link. I've been enjoying reading both sides.  Seeing good points made on both sides and seeing clueless people on both sides.  But then just a short bit ago someone made a post that rang so true to me and I felt the real need to make a post about it because I know a few "bobs".

RickJamesLich Said:

Why is LFR a bad option if it perfectly fits Bobs needs? And who says that you *need* to kill the bosses in normal? On top of that, they got scenarios now for the slower guys that give better loot then even LFR, and challenge modes can reward gear as well. I think there's a sense of "failure is not an option right now" with some of the people on these boards when it's perfectly fine to not be able to kill a boss. And I've seen many of the guilds with Bobs go into ToT and at least be able to take down a few bosses.

Mad_Murdock Replied:

I believe you're looking at it all wrong. A Friends and family guild wants to do things together, they want to hang out with Bob because despite being terrible Bob is good people and everyone loves hanging out with Bob. Bob can run LFR with 24 strangers, but he's not paying to play with 24 strangers. Bob and friends can go into LFR and be grouped with 15 strangers, but there goes the whole playing with friends, which Blizzard has stated many times they believe is vital to the game.

So what you want to give is 2 options "Get better or quit" By the numbers we're seeing, people are taking the quit option. And you are in the group that believe this is a good thing. Blizzard and the other group doesn't agree.

I still haven't seen any real reason why a 10man LFR+ option is bad. All I see is "Normal is easy enough, if they can't do normal, they should quit" That's just a terrible mindset. The best way to ensure that Heroics stay heroic, is to ensure that the baddies and normal have something to do. You should be begging Blizzard for a 10man LFR plus option. Else you're really advocating that Blizzard go back to nerfing normal and heroics for all so that everyone has something to do with their friends and family. 

And now I want to thank Mad Murdock for putting it so perfectly.  For making me see that I know bob and I like bob and I would really enjoy playing with bob.

Actually when he mentioned bob it reminded me of a few people I know and I want to share my bob stories and explain why I like being able to play with bob.

Bob #1:  The PvP guy.

This bob is more of the PvP type of player in a PvE type of guild.  A military man that has served with people in our online family.  So even if we are not a PvP guild he is our PvP guy.  He is our family.  When I am in the mood to PvP he will gladly go with me and include me in his little crew that does them.  He will go out of his way to teach you everything you need to know about the battleground, he will play the leader, he will play any role needed.  He is well geared for PvP, well skilled for PvP and very knowledgeable and a good teacher for PvP.

How anyone can be that good at PvP and so bad at PvE I will always find astounding.  It escapes explanation.  He can go blow for blow with the best of them but telling him to move from the charge on horridon so that he is not facing the group when he gets to you is like I am speaking a foreign language to him. Usually PvPers make for amazing PvEers when they try but bob #1 is the exception to this rule.

He tries his best to keep at least one tank, one healer and one damage dealer at least close to current with their PvE gear.  When we are missing a person for our 10 man he is always the first to offer to help and also the first to offer to sit when someone better comes on.  He knows he is not a great PvEer but he still wants to help in every way he can, if we need him while at the same time being completely content if we never do.

Bob #1 is good people.  He will stop what he is doing to help you with a quest, give you an instant queue to a dungeon or the LFR on his tank or healer, make you anything you might need from his professions and he is always very upbeat and happy.  All in all a good presence in the clubhouse.

Sadly, bob can tend to be a problem sometimes.  Even on the first boss in ToT.  While we carried him as a healer in hopes he can get some gear and carried him as tank when I was the other tank and called out everything that needed to be done we can not carry him as a damage dealer.  At least not as we should.  We have 8 manned the first boss.  We do not need his damage.  But he just can not move when targeted.  Like I said, lightning reflexes in PvP and can't run out of a puddle when in PvE, I don't get it.  I finally told him, to NOT stack in the puddle with us.  That was the only way to get the boss down.

So Bob #1 is a bad PvEer.  I've proved that 100% haven't I?  But I like Bob.  I want to be able to play with him once in a while without having to change how we do things because he really isn't that great at PvE.

Bob #2:  The Healer vs. Mechanics

Bob #2 is actually an extremely good raider in most senses of the word.  She keeps up on her class, always knows the changes as soon as they happen and works tirelessly on getting gear when she is not raiding.  She comes to the raid with materials as she is a jewelcrafter and enchanter so if anyone wins something she can make what is needed so they can get it on right away.  She has not missed a raid in 3 years, she comes with her own food, flasks, and anything else you can imagine.  She is the ideal raider.

But some mechanics she just has issues with.  Not sure why but as I always say, some people are just better at things than others are and we all have something we have an issue with.

The first time we went to HoF she had an off night, as we rotate healers.  We were lucky enough to get the first boss down on that first night.  The week after she sat out so we could test a new healer and we one shot it that day.  The third week she came in and she was dying every single attempt.

She just could not get the circle thing.  Not sure why, but she died to it every single time.  We wiped 8 times that night, more than we wiped before the first time we beat it.  She knew it was all her fault too.  I did not say as much but when the healer dies so early in a fight every time, people know why you are wiping.  Like I said, she was a good raider, she knew it was her fault and offered to step out.

I told her she was not allowed too.  Not in a mean way of course.  We are a team, we win as a team and we wipe as a team and we all need to learn, today is just her day to learn.  We took a five minute break and I was told by a friend that she was crying.  She actually felt bad as if she was holding us back.  While to someone in a more progressed guild would surely say she was, I would say we are just experiencing her time to learn.  Just because we all learned it faster doesn't mean everyone learns at the same pace.

I whispered her some words of encouragement and let her know that we had not downed the second boss anyway, so it is not like we were losing loot because of the wipes, we will get this down before the night is over, she is getting better.

She did get better.  Took another 4 wipes but we got it down.  She kept apologizing over and over even if we all said it was no problem.  Some people just take a little longer to learn things that others.  That is something a Bob would do right?  Well this Bob #2 I like to raid with.  It just takes her a little longer to grasp some things.

On an interesting note, she made it through the tornado's on the second boss her first time.  I don't know a great deal of people that could say that.  Like I said, we all have our own learning curve.  Bob #2 just takes a little longer to learn some things.

Bob #3 : The Airhead.

Bob #3 is a girl.  I am not talking the type of girl that is horrible and gets taken along just because she is a girl or because she is dating someone.  I am talking the skilled, but sometimes common sense deprived person.  If you will excuse the expression, Bob #3 is a complete airhead.

If you have fallen off the bridge when there is no wind multiple times, you might be Bob #3 and not even realize it.  I just can not play with her in non raid content sometimes.  I find it infuriating.  She is an excellent raider, willing to sit out or level another character because we need that role filled.  She will learn that role and be ready to play it at our current level as fast as gear drops will allow.  She is dedicated, but she is also, as I said, is an airhead.

If there are mobs anywhere in the room, she will walk right into them.  If there is a pat that we say you need to avoid, she will surely AFK right where they pass.  If we take a 10 minute break it is not uncommon to come back to the entire raid being dead because she accidentally pulled the boss.  She dismounts herself mid fight at least 5 or 6 times a night if not more and no one has a clue how, not even her.

If there is a boss fight going on she is a beast.  Great at whatever you have her do.  When there is not anything going on, expect her to pull mobs to you even if you were one hundred percent sure there were no mobs within miles.

This type of behavior would clearly label her a Bob even if her ability might seem to say otherwise.  If you do not think this is Bob behavior, just trying doing a heroic scenario with her and saying, lets skip this pack only to her her say, okay, and still run right into them.

While I actually do not like playing with Bob #3 sometimes, I do like to raid with Bob #3.

Bob #4:  The Noob.

Back at the end of wrath a very quiet and very bad player joined our 25 man.  It was the 30% ICC buff days and we were blowing through everything so we had no issues bringing them.  Even after they got a lot of gear they still could not break 3K.  Think back if you can, 3K in ICC with the buff would be roughly the same as someone doing 15K in 500 gear now.  Horrible.

He got a little better as time when on.  He was always up for everything but really not that good at anything.  He was on vent all the time but he never said a word.  As rude as this might sound at first, it was like he was our mascot.  He tagged along with us everywhere we went and no matter what we did.  Honestly I could not tell you if Bob #4 was 13 or 30, I could not tell you if Bob #4 was male or female.  But Bob #4 still found a way to grow on you.

Somewhere between wrath ending and cataclysm beginning Bob #4 changed.  He became a vocal part of the guild and a great player.  Even earned an actual raid spot when we started raiding in cataclysm, not just a fill in spot because we needed a body role like he had always been either.

If you look now you will see his name littered in the top 50 on every world of logs fight since around firelands when he finally went from the getting better to the holy crap you are good phase.  Not only can he put out the numbers but he avoids the avoidable, never misses a raid, will tank for anyone that needs instant queue, will craft gear and even grind the materials to craft gear, if someone needed it.

He was once a Bob, Bob #4 if you will, and now he is indispensable as a raider.  We kept him around because he was our mascot, he became a part of the team never saying a word even if he was not great or even good.  It was that time we dragged him everywhere that made him want to get better.  He liked doing those raids and from listening on vent he knew that when we started the cataclysm raids he would not be a part of them.  So Bob #4 said, I need to get better, and he did.  If it were not for us playing with Bob #4 he would have just quit the game because he had nothing to do.  He even has said so himself.  Sometimes a Bob can be the best thing that ever happened to a raid team.  In time.

Bob #5:  Mr. & Mrs. Bob

All family and friends type guilds have these Bobs.  Most if not all casual guilds have these types of Bobs.  They are the "we only run together" crew.  One is usually good and one is usually bad.  Don't go assuming that it is the male that is good and the female that is bad however or you will have egg on your face.  I have seen it go either way myself.  Actually, more often than not, it seems the female is the better player.  Eat that one "girls don't play wow" crowd.

But they are good people and when we can squeeze them in we like to play with them.  They are fun to have around, knowledgeable about the game and in some ways even more knowledgeable about some things than anyone in the raid as raiding is not their focal point.

Sometimes you can get just one of them, usually the good one, but most times you have to take them both or get nothing.  Like those nights where you are down a tank he will tank, as long as there is an open space for her.  If there is, we would surely agree.  Although we all know she is bad, that doesn't mean we can't do content, or it shouldn't right.  Because Mr & Mrs Bob are nice people and sometimes it is nice to do something with them.

We actually have a joke this expansion or Mr & Mrs Bob thanks to MV.  They are two third players. We could do MVs first four bosses with them but could not down the fifth.  Kind of hard when they are both doing DPS in the 20s.  But hey, they were fun to play with and we were capable of doing a few bosses with them.  But even that only happened after we past MV and over geared it a little. 

The Mr & Mrs Bob I am thinking about at the moment have since quit the game as there is no place for them any more.  They get brutalized in the LFR because they are not good players and we have been focusing on new stuff so there were no older raids to invite them to that we would get some bosses down with them.  It is sad to see them go.  They were really nice people.

Bob #6 - 10,000+

There are so many bobs out there that fit so many stereotypes that I could not count or list them all even if I wanted to.  But what Mad Murdock said is so true.  Sometimes you just want to play with bob because you like bob.  No more, no less.  You just like bob and want to play a game with him.

So the answer to that question would be I think there should be a 10 man version of the LFR and/or a difficulty lower than normal but higher than LFR. 

Perhaps that 25 man I mentioned in my last post would have not been so horrible if there were such a thing.  LFR, with that group filled with Bobs, would have been a joke but normal with them was impossible.  It shows there is a clear gap there.  And all those people, those Bobs, are the ones that gap leaves with nothing.  And sadly for me, if I ever want to run 25s again on my server, I am going to have to take a few Bobs along like it or not.

Feeling Defeated.

I've been hearing a lot about the death of normal modes and I agree, it seems to be happening.  My progress through ToT has been dismal at best, if you can say that.  Any other raid tier I would be at least 9/12 at this point and my group just can not manage that and while we have multiple people trying to recruit all day every day, on the forums, in trade, through word of mouth, even talking to people we meet in randoms or know from other servers, there are just no decent players out there any more to support a solid raid team on my server.

Odd thing is when taking about my core team, for the most, part these are the same people that did all of cataclysm no problem.  Sure, we never downed nef in normal and were only progressing on rag but those were the only 2 bosses we did not down when current.  As a normal mode casual guild that raids 2 hours that was fine with me.  I always said if we raided more we would have had no problems and I am sure that is the case.

It is all about what you desire in the game.  I only desire to do normals so doing normals is fine for me.  DS was another story, it was a bit too easy and even more so when they started going crazy with the debuff.  But in a way, that too was nice.  It allowed us, a normal mode group to go through heroics like we normally go through normals.  Best of both worlds maybe?

Either way, we are stuck this expansion and it is becoming harder and harder to recruit anyone that is even half way decent and even harder than that to keep anyone motivated.  I am not world beater, not in the slightest and I do not ask others to be so either.  I can do my 90K-170K, depending on the fight, and it is ample to get the job done. 

The idea is finding other people capable of doing that.  It is the not great but not bad either area, the area I would like to call average but sadly it is not the average.  I would be hard pressed to find more than 20 people on my entire server that can do those numbers as a damage dealer and they are all over in different guilds.  I guess in a way I am lucky my guild has five of them.

We tired to run 25 man last night, filled it with all guild members which is a start at least and it was horrible.  Not horrible as in no fun, we did have some fun, but horrible as when looking at it and you ask yourself are these the best available players our server has, it is horrible.

We hit the brick wall many guilds are hitting on our first attempt at 25 man.  Horridon door 2.  Heck, looking at the numbers I am amazed we made it that far.  I think even making it there was a result of the people that have been playing on normal being there.

We had a great balanced healing break down that should have made dispelling easy as cake.  People were dying left and right to magic or poison effects.  I could not figure out for the life of me what was going wrong.  I explained everything as best I could, even for the absolute beginner and people were still not getting it.  I gave assignments for who is on what, what should be tanked where, priority in kills and dispels and everything I could think of.  Maybe it was information over load, but we hit door 2 and we hit the floor. Over and over again.  Face, meet wall, full speed.

Looking at the damage done most of these people I would have not invited to DS after the 30% debuff.  There was a warrior doing 17K.  I know in that chaos doing melee is hard, it is for me too, but 17K is not acceptable in any way shape or form.  The last time doing 17K was good was in ICC.

And the rest of the new raid damage dealers were in the 30 and 40 range.  I know I should have never let a few come along but I wanted to give people a taste, something to help motivate them to do better, to get better, to work on their gear.  Show them that if everyone is capable of stepping it up, this is what we can do.

After the raid I gave my review.  As always I was not overly harsh of anyone.  I knew there were a lot of people here that had not stepped into a raid this expansion, and in a couple of cases, never had been in one.

I mentioned the healers need to be dispelling smarter.  I saw the add tank go down on a few attempts when there was a damage dealer at near full health that was getting their dispel.  Dispel smart.  I told everyone they need to do a little more to help themselves.  Move when there is something bad at your feet.  You can see sand traps falling, move before it starts.  See poison, move, don't just side step it and forget it, it can move back under you, keep an eye on where you are standing.

About the only issue I did not complain about was the tanking but that is because we had our normal tanks.  They have done this, they where not the issue.

We did a few attempts before I started to nit pick, because as anyone that has ever raided both 10 and 25 man will tell you, the feel of 25 man is a bit more organized chaos and for many it was their first experience doing it at that size that was not the LFR.  Then I started taking notes while we attempted to progress past that second door.

Each time I would say things like, we had a few too many people standing in the bad, have to watch yourself when stuff is on the group.  As a casual guild I do not ever single out unless there is a need for it, and at this moment, there is no need for it.  Let the people think for themselves.  Let them learn for themselves.  They should be able to.  That is how I learned, by making mistakes.  That is how any decent player learns, they learn from their mistakes.

Next time I said, I want everyone on the venom priest's when they land.  When that first single one lands it should be dead before the two come afterwards.  If it is not dead before the second two land we might as well give up because we will never make it past that door.  So switch.  Instantly.

A few more attempts equal a few more wipes and each was because of the same thing over again.  I call the raid for the night and in my speech afterwards I tell everyone why we did not do more attempts.

I said to start that for our first time assembling as a team and with many people that have never raided before we should be proud we even got as far as we did.  That as we work together more we will get better but heavy mechanic fights are always harder on new people and we will get it if we keep working on it.

Then I went into the work on it mode.  Besides what I previously mentioned there was the concept that people need to pick up their numbers.  Seriously.  If you can not down the first venom priest before the other two drop we are just going to be banging our head against the wall here.

As much as I stressed smart play, the mechanics, and all that other stuff, it once again came down to what it always seems to come down to.  The damage dealers.

If you do not down that mob fast enough you are extending the time we are at that door which makes it harder on the healers and harder on everyone else as well because we will quickly run out of space.  I mentioned the one attempt, and only attempt, we actually downed the mancer on the second door and closed it.  There were mobs all over the place and there was poison everywhere.  Some people could not make it to the third door because they were basically trapped by poison.  I pointed out that as the perfect example of even if we close the door, if we are not downing things fast enough it is a wipe.

Basic idea is I came out and told the damage dealers.  You need to get better.  You need to do more damage, you need to interrupt more and you need to watch where you stand.  The tanks did okay.  The healers are getting better working as a unit and they will continue to.  But if the damage dealers are not doing their job and getting the mobs down in a timely manner we are all just wasting our time.  Practice attempts will let us all get better at switching and be able to time things better for damage on the mob that needs to go down, but if people are not doing enough, it will be impossible.

I said, next week I expect to see everyone with some new gear.  Or upgraded gear.  I expect them to spend some time on the dummy to work their rotation and get better at it.  If they need gems, enchants or advice, come to me, I can give them everything they need.  But they need to return the favor and get better.

I did not call anyone out by name, I did not call anyone bad, I even said we did awesome for out first time in there as a 25 man.  I also told them how to fix the problem we had.

And when all was said and done, a series of /gquits came.  WTF?

Did asking you to do your job correctly offend you?  Did asking you to pull your weight offend you?

It is the LFR mentality.  Everything thinks they should just be able to walk in and things should fall over dead.  They don't think wiping in normals should ever happen.  Well guess what, I don't think wiping in normals should ever happen either, but if you play badly you will wipe.  Not hard to understand. 

Sad part is, the people that left were the ones I saw with potential.  Those middle of the pack ones.  The ones doing 70K-80K, the ones that had a few interrupts, the ones that would have made it happen.  They were the ones we could have built on and weeded up the 17K warrior and others with low numbers, low skill and low desire.  And...

Giving this its own line because it deserves it.

The ones that left were the ones who normal mode content was made for.  Some skill and some ability but not all that great.

Do you know why they left?  Because they did not want to be stuck wiping in normals, they should be in heroics.

See, that is the LFR mentality.  People only wipe in heroics.  If you wipe in a normal you suck and I am better than you.  Welcome to the new world where everyone is a heroic raider, even if they can only pull 70K in mostly 522 gear.  People.  You are a normal mode player.  That is it, nothing more.  If anything, you are not even good enough for most normal modes.  I wanted to say that, I really did.  But they wanted to move up to heroics because normals were beneath them.

Excuse me?  Heroics?  They were good enough for normals maybe, up and coming players, sure, but they would not even get a spot on a 10 man normal team unless there were just starting.  And that is exactly what this 25 man is doing, just starting.  Be happy with it.

The people doing sub 30K are all excited to do it again next week.  But they are not good, and I don't want them back until they can start getting better.  And not to be disrespectful but if you are rocking an item level over 480 and still only doing 30K, raiding is not for you.  That is not an insult at all, that is just stating a clear fact.

The people that seemed to always stand in the bad are all excited to do it again next week.  But they are not good.  The easiest part of that fight is moving from the bad and if you can not handle that you do not even deserve to be in a raid.  Yes, I understand that for some it is a computer issue and with your settings you can not see the bad on the ground.  Well that means one of two things if you want to be a raider.  Download an addon like GTFO that will yell are you, or get a new computer.  Otherwise, you are not a raider, sorry.

The one healer that kept saying that people should come to him if they need heals because he doesn't want to run around like a chicken with his head cut off can't wait until next week either because he wants to raid again.  Why couldn't he leave, I don't want or need anyone with that attitude in my raids.  If you can't do your job, get better, this is a casual guild, you have time to learn because we do not demand perfection from the start.  You don't tell people to come to you for a heal.  Position yourself better so you can heal and work with the other healers to make a grid.  Don't just find your happy place and stand there.

A 25 man has a lot of moving parts and it seems the only parts that want to stay are the people from the 10s on alts, and the bad players.  Some bad players can get better, but we need those middle of the road players, the ones that are decent and have the chance at getting better with time and gear and they are the ones that are leaving because they want heroic progression.

I know it is only one week, but I really can not play like this any more.  I can not play with the only people happy to raid and willing to wipe being the bad players.  The people that could be great wanting more than their abilities allow them and the few good players I have getting frustrated by doing the same thing over and over again.

It could just be that fight.  It is a bitch to say the least, but we did okay getting there our first day as a 25 and as far as I am concerned, it should be our last day as a 25, for now at least.

I feel defeated.  The fights are just too hard for the player base I have available to me.  I can not do it with the people that are on my server.  And I do not want to teach a whole crew of people all over again.  I am tired.  I am beaten.  I do not have the energy for that any more.

I would like to just find a group of people that, even if not great, all know how to play their class, all look up the fights on their own, and can all listen to instructions.  I can deal with wiping with a group like that.  I can't deal with wiping with a group like I had.  Not any more.  I am defeated.

And that is why normal modes are dying.  Yes, I agree, normal modes are dead.  If all the recruiting we could do resulted in this being the best our server had to offer that was available I might as well just quit.

I am feeling defeated and I definitely do not have the energy in me any more to be a raid leader and have to teach this new LFR generation of players how to raid after they have been tainted beyond my repair.

I've a decision to make if 25s are to be in my future.  Quit raiding all together.  Find another raid team on another server where I can just sit back and be a rank and file hunter doing my pew pew and collecting my loot and letting others worry about finding capable fill ins and letting someone else teach them.  Or just quit the game all together.

I am feeling defeated.  I just want to raid and I can't even do the thing I want to do to a level of reasonable success because the people are incapable of doing it.   It feels as if I am being held captive by the player base and the player base loves torturing me.  They win.  I have been defeated.

I think the content is fine as is. The problem is with the player base.  And I have been defeated by them.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Heroic Scenarios - Valor Capping ASAP

The new heroic scenarios came out and I'd be lying if I said they were not fun.  Like anything else however, time will show if they stand the test of time.  It was fun doing them all once and a couple a second time.  Will doing them over and over still be fun?  It was fun doing them with 2 capable people.  Will it still be fun doing them with someone a little lesser on the skill scale or on my alts that I am not as good or geared on?

All questions that can not be answered now.  Everything looks different when you have the passage of time added to it so I can only make any judgements I have now based on first impression and that first impression was good.

First I would like to give a little review of the scenarios from my runs yesterday before I get into the meat of the post.   So here goes.

If I had one gripe about them it would be as simple as "no loot, really?".  Admittedly I don't think I would stop and loot while going for a timed event.  There was only one event that I was capable of finishing with a decent amount of time left, a bit over 2 minutes to be exact.  So there would have been more than a enough time to bend over and pick up a few coins and some cloth but there was also the ones I missed, didn't even come close to and the one that I made but only barely made exactly on time.

Oddly enough when I say exactly on time I mean exactly on time.  The countdown was going, 5, 4, 3, 2, crap oh crap of crap so close, 1, kill it, 0.  Bonus objective achieved.  Literally as it hit 0 the mob went down.  That was freaking great.

I doubt that will happen often, it will usually be one of the two other styles I mentioned, make it by a long shot or miss it by a long shot.  The one we made by a long shot was actually simple and straight forward.  Kill stuff.  Okay, I am a hunter, easy as pie.  The one we missed by a long shot we needed to find and rescue people.  As if the finding and making it there was not enough, I feel off a mountain.  Oops.

Let me be the first to tell you, this wastes a shit load of time.  But if you ever do it I suggest falling off the mountain I did because even if it helped us miss the timer it was well worth the fall.  I landed near a bear that apparently had the same bad luck I did, but he landed head first.  So he was buried in the snow with just his feet sticking out kicking like crazy.  I found it quite humorous.  And at least I know I can not take the short cut I was trying to take.  Damn trees make it impossible to see sometimes.

So while that did put a crimp in our timed run it was when the other two people with me died that really sealed our fate.  Luckily I am a hunter, a hunter that loves to solo stuff, so instead of starting all over again I worked the two quest type elite mobs and the 8 or so trolls all by myself.  It was fun killing them all alone and gave me a chance to practice all those little things that really make hunters the best class in the game but it was also the nail in the timer coffin. 

Perhaps if I died and we could have come back, all three of us, we might have had a prayer.  But it took me so long to solo the pack of mobs that we ran out of time.  I would say we were well short.  All my fault too.  Falling for one and then soloing those mobs instead of dying.  It is one of those cases where dying would have been the better option.

Who would have ever thought that death instead of victory would have been the right thing to do.  And that is one of the little things that make the heroic scenarios fun.

They are much harder than any non raid content available outside of challenge modes and you do not need to find the perfect group to beat them like you would the challenge modes which makes them much more accessible.  I like that.  I have still not had the chance to run any challenge modes, never the less finish them.  I am quite upset about that personally.  That alone means that these scenarios have taken a place in my heart already as something that offers a small challenge that can be done easier thanks to the smaller group requirements.

With that said, I have actually not really seen the challenge of them yet. The two people with me were well over 500 item level as am I.  We are all closer to 520 and with that these were quite easy.  Only one boss fight caused us to wipe and we wiped three times on it.

Now for the interesting thing.  Talking to some guild mates that did them, they said they did not wipe at all on it.  They also said that what we had a problem with they never noticed.  So perhaps these fights are designed to work differently depending on the group that is there?  I can't wait to mix it up and find out.  They had 1 melee which was a tank and 2 ranged in the group.  My group had three ranged.  While we both did the same fight, it was different.  Perhaps someone being in melee range changed the fight.  If this is the case I have give blizzard a round of applause.  Congratulations on making flexible content that is designed for the people doing it so that every group gets their own unique challenge.  I really can not wait to try that one again in a different group with a different make up.

Over all, time will show if these are really as fun as the first day made them feel.  Playing them on my characters that are lesser geared will show how it feels to others that do not over gear it.  Playing them on characters I am not as good on as my hunter will also give me more to think about.  So good or bad I can not say for sure just yet.


And this is the big but.  But one thing that stands out bigger than anything else for me is the valor gained from them, even after doing the first one.  They are quicker than heroic dungeons and the looking for raid, they are instant queue, and they offer more reward for your effort.  If you can meet the bonus task you are getting at least 100 valor per run after the first, more on the first of course.

This means that they are the absolute best way to cap fast right now.  As long as you can get a group that can blow through them.  And that brings me to a nice point 2.

You can not queue for these without a full group.  Welcome back community.  Welcome back getting to know the people you play with.  Welcome back making people want to be social.  Welcome back pugging.  Yes, pugging. 

LF2M to cap with scenarios.

With a good crew and some bonus stages met, not even all, you can valor cap in less than 3 hours.  Some LFR runs take more than 3 hours... for 90 valor. 

Cap valor vs 90 valor.

How do you want to spend your time playing?

Is the valor reward too much for the content you are doing?  Like I said, on my lesser geared characters and the characters I am not as skilled on these could prove to be a bit of a challenge and I will not be blowing through them like I did on my hunter with a like skilled group.  But even if I have to take it slow on alts, these would still prove to be a much more time appropriate investment to capping valor.  If that is your intent at least.

If these new heroic scenarios are going to be the major focal point of valor capping for the people that want to get the maximum out of their game time there needs to be some adjustment to other random content. 

Like the LFR, lets get back to the 250 valor per run for them.  Seriously.  Unless you need gear, or rep, or quest items, from them there is no reason to run them and we all know the gear drop rate is pretty much horrible.  So, long waits, bad groups, massive repair bills, and everything else you can say that is wrong with the game for 90 valor no longer seems acceptable.  Not when you can get 100 valor in 15 minutes AND a chance at a 516 piece of gear which is better than the LFR drops anyway.  If anything people should get more valor for hazard pay for having to do the LFR.

Will the heroic scenarios continue to be added to the game, will they continue to be the best way to get valor, will they continue to have enough interest in them after they have been out for a while to make getting groups easy for them?

Are they the future for the time obsessed player that just wants to valor cap as soon as possible?

At least for now, heroic scenarios are awesome if you want to valor cap ASAP.  No doubt about that and the fact that more than a few people in my guild are already capped for the week, even ones that have not capped in months, shows that.