Friday, August 30, 2013

Three Reasons Alliance Should Not Want to Kill Garrosh... Yet.

Actually the title for this post should be "three reasons why it would be better storytelling if the alliance does not kill garrosh immediately and the one reason it can never happen" but it was too long for the title box.

Now on with the show.

There has been a great deal of talk about how the alliance has gotten the short end of the stick story wise this expansion and it really should not come as a surprise.  The writers have been all about the horde for a long time now, but what do you really expect from a company that has a statue of Thrall in front of their corporate office?

So while I do support the people complaining that the alliance has been getting the short end of the stick story wise for a long time I believe they are picking the wrong fight saying that alliance has been left out of the build up to killing Garrosh.  Lets face it, the alliance need no reason to what him dead.  Do you really need a story to build up to killing the enemy?  He is the enemy to the alliance, sha touched or not, right?

Blizzard has done a decent job trying to make the alliance feel as if they were part of a story that they really have no business being a part of.  The horde need a reason to kill Garrosh, the alliance does not.  So give the writers some credit for finding a way to squeeze in some alliance storytelling here and there.  In truth, they did not need to.  The only reason there is any alliance stuff is because they did not want to leave one faction with nothing to do.  It was not added because it was needed because it was not needed.  The alliance already wants Garrosh dead.

So even if the alliance need no reason to kill Garrosh, the question is, should they really kill him the second he pops up or should the alliance wait until the right moment?

This is where I believe the blizzard writers have failed.  It is not because the expansion has had so much more for the horde story because that is how it should have been.  The horde leader is becoming the big baddie, so he needs that build up.  Being he is horde and it is his build up, the story will of course unfold on the horde side of the coin.

The horde is turning on their leader, justifiable or not as you might see it, so they needed to build up the story for them to want to take down their own leader.  The horde needed their story.  The alliance didn't, the alliance wants to kill Garrosh because he is the leader of the opposing army.  There is no further justification needed.  There is no need for some huge story behind it.  The enemy must die.  That is all the story the alliance needs.

So with all the lore "unfairness" behind us now lets get to the point of the post.

Even with the alliance needing no reason to want to kill the leader of the opposing faction I don't think the alliance should have anything to do with the next raid tier, at least not as it is written.  The actual raid tier is where the alliance part of the story should start to be written for the expansion.  The entire expansion has been about the horde story, and rightfully so, so now is the time for the alliance story.  This is where the alliance should shine.

Three reasons alliance should not want to kill Garrosh... yet.

1) The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Let the horde and the true horde fight it out.  Why should the alliance even risk losing troops sending them in the middle of two rabid dogs fighting.  Both the horde and Garrosh's true horde are the enemy.  So let them go at it.

No matter who wins, the alliance comes out on top.  If the horde wins Garrosh is dead and the alliance can come in and wipe out a weakened horde.  If the true horde wins than the alliance would have a fresh army that could walk all over the tired and beaten true horde.

While there are a million and one reasons for the alliance to want to see Garrosh dead, losing troops, massive amounts of troops, is not the way to go about it.  Sitting back and letting the dogs go at it and then cleaning up the mess when it is all over is the way to handle it.

Both the horde and the true horde are the enemy of the alliance and as such, they are also a friend, being they are taking each other out.  Let them duke it out and let the story line be told from the alliance perspective of getting ready to clean up the mess and eliminate the horde once and for all as soon one of the dogs go down.

That is when the alliance should take out Garrosh.

2) The Alliance wants you.

Recruit, recruit, recruit.  The alliance have always had a working relationship with Vol' Jin.  He might be the enemy in the terms that he is a horde leader and his race is a card carrying member of the horde but that does not mean he can not be bargained with.  Alliance or horde side, you can see the influence he has had on cross faction relations. 

Vol' Jin is a good leader, an intelligent man, a brilliant tactician and knows when the getting is good.  So given the option to switch to the winning team is something he might be willing to do.  He owes the horde nothing more, that debt was paid a long time ago, and this turnabout from the true horde should be enough to show him the horde he once knew, the one that deserved his respect does not exist anymore.  The thought of his enemy being more helpful to him than his friends might lead him to think of his enemy not so much as his enemy any longer.

Even with the barrens he sought out the help of the alliance.  Although I could swear I remember reading, while doing the quest on one of my characters, that it was the blood elf leader's idea to seek out the alliance's help.  Really wish I could recall where I believe I read that, horde or alliance side, so I could reference it.  However, if that is indeed the case, that not only is Vol' Jin willing to work with the alliance but others are as well, it could mean more races could make the jump as well.

In the end the other races of the horde could be very agreeable to jumping ship from a horde that turned on them to an alliance that helped them even when they were the enemy.  By drawing out the fight and allowing the horde to lose at every turn their need for the alliance to assist them will grow greater.  Once it reaches the point where they realize that it is jump ship or be destroyed, they would be more than willing to join the alliance.  At least the trolls, tauren and blood elves.  Not so sure about the other races.

Once the alliance has split the horde, or at least some parts of it, then they could put their full backing into the war effort and go in stronger than ever before.

3) Wrathion was right.

Wrathion wanted one faction to stand tall at the end of the current events and he did not care if it was the horde or the alliance.  He did not care what they called themselves.  He just wanted everyone together to face a greater threat.

From a story telling perspective that would mean that wrathions vision would be closer to my previous example.  But going further.  The forsaken would never join the alliance.  Heck, I'd be hard pressed to figure out why they are even with the horde.  So that would mean not only would Garrosh need to fall but so would the dark lady.

While she is around there will never be a completely united front like wrathion envisioned.  This would mean that the alliance would need to get the horde races they can get to join them to join them even sooner.  As soon as possible, so as to make sure they do not lose as many troops as in the previous example where the alliance waited until they were in dire need to recruit them.  If they recruit them sooner that would lose fewer troops of their own and then they could go in to face Garrosh with a much larger force together.  The reason this is needed is because the moment Garrosh falls they would need to move on and finish things which would mean removing the only other obstacle to a true united world.

Effectively this would change the last raid patch into a bit of a surprise for everyone that plays the game.  Garrosh falls and then the combined forces of the new alliance/horde grouping would move directly on to kill Sylvanas.  The new battle for undercity in technicolor raid format.  It would be even more epic than the original one that everyone thinks back fondly of.  Now how is that for a surprise ending setting up a true combined force for the next expansion?

And then the one reason it could never happen.

1) Game play.

While from a story telling stand point all those above options, the alliance destroying the horde, splitting  the horde, or absorbing the horde, would all work out to be fantastic story telling and give the alliance a true fist pumping moment like they were promised and a vibrant story over all it could never happen for game play reasons.

No matter who the big baddie is at the end of each raid tier the true enemy we face is not them but the person sitting at another computer somewhere in the world that is viewing events from across faction lines.  While the game never shows it, the story of warcraft is horde vs alliance.  We might never actually participate in any of that battles but that is what is the driving force behind the game.

Like when Garrosh made such huge advances in Kalimdor before cataclysm.  We never got to take that land as the horde and experience the victory, we never had a chance to defend that land and suffer the defeat as alliance.  As a matter of fact, what we did as players didn't matter at all.  It just changed hands without our input at all and that is kind of sad in a way.

The story telling could not have went the way that any of the three examples I gave showed because we can not dismantle one faction, or even permanently injure it to the point it is a fraction of its former self.  But from a story telling point I personally believe there was a huge missed opportunity.

For the first time ever the game makers could have let us have a hand in the molding of the game.  They could have had the alliance ask for some reparations for the lands Garrosh appropriated while he was in power.  They could have asked for all remaining orcs that were part of the true horde to be jailed or even put to death.  They could have allowed the horde and the alliance players to actually be part of something that changed the face of the game, at least in a shift of power sort of way.

It would have been nice to be a part of the changing events and seeing those events happen instead of just logging in to the next expansion with a notice of "this is what happened when you were gone is the time we are skipping that you had absolutely nothing to do with".  They could have used us as the catalyst for change and let us be a part of if.

It would have given the alliance the fist pumping moment they have been promised and denied the entire expansion.  As I said, I do not see why alliance players complain about things so far this expansion as it was building up to take Garrosh out, so it was a horde story, the alliance story was already told, Garrosh is the enemy, we kill the enemy, that is all alliance needed.  But this, the after killing him, that is where the alliance story should have been.

To have used this content to change the face of the true game, the horde vs alliance game, to let everyone play out a part of something that ended with an exchange of land, now that would have been excellent writing.  That would have been good story telling.  That would have been more believable.

In the end, because of game play, the story took a hit and that could not happen.  The game can never be written too well because to be written well you would need to make sweeping changes and that can never happen thanks to game play.  Game play 1, game player 0.

If you were to say game play be damned, how would have you liked to see the story end?

1) Alliance destroy the horde.
2) Alliance split the horde.
3) Alliance absorb the horde.

Or maybe...

4) Horde turn on the alliance that helped them and kill them furthering the hate between the factions.
5) Certain races splitting factions.  For example next expansion trolls and worgen could choose to be alliance or horde.


6)  Something else you decide.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Where Would You Add Valor Gear?

Next tier has no valor gear, everything is gained from raiding only.  As someone who often used valor to gear up some of my non raiding characters I will miss it being around.  I am hoping for a lot of pugging thanks to the addition of flex but even if there is a bunch, I do not see myself having time to run 11 (or more) characters through pugs even if they are always going on.  That is why I loved valor gear.  I could gear the alts up slowly doing a little here and a little there.

So this really is not a post about anything in particular, just asking a question.  If they did decide to add some valor gear at the 11th hour where would you place the item level for it.  Keep in mind that valor gear was usually at the level of normal mode gear but we have a new set of gear added to the game thanks to the addition of flex.

If valor gear was added, what item level do you think it should be?

LFR - 528
Flex - 540
Normal - 553
Heroic -566

As for my opinion, I think valor gear should be normal mode level.  However, with the addition of flex my opinion has changed.  I think that valor gear should be somewhere between flex and normal.  Sort of like the new crafting patterns will be I believe.

So my opinion on what valor gear should be if it were added would be around 545-548.  Just better than flex, not as good as normal.

What do you think?  One of these numbers or something different.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What if: LFR Was Replaced by LFD 2.0

As the game stands how we recognize the LFD to mean a 5 man dungeon usually from the start of the expansion with low starter gear and the LFR to mean a 25 man raid that is now the new standard for the gearing up process.

I often complain about the LFR for various reasons but one of the most prevalent reasons why I no longer run it is because of the people in it.  Maybe some people do not mind a jerk here and there but I've about had as much of these assholes (excuse my language) as I can take.  Even if it is a good group with just a few "go go go" jerks and a few "I am gods gift" morons sprinkled with your regular AFK LFR heroes I just do not want to deal with them any longer.

The LFR has worn out its welcome as far as I am concerned.  Now, with no valor gear the only way to gear alts this coming patch is through the LFR.  So like it or not if I want to have alts at least at a minimal level of gear that I can bring them in to raid once in a while I have to subject myself to the horrible nightmare that is the LFR for gear.  There is no longer any way around it.  I can no longer just get whatever valor gear there is and work with that to get me up there a little until I get into an alt run for the real raid.  Blizzard has damned me to hell and made it so if I want gear I have to burn in the pits of anguish, otherwise known as the LFR.

So it had me thinking, what if there were no LFR but LFD 2.0.

All LFR wings would be 5 man dungeons instead of 25 man raids.  Designed to be done just like dungeons with one tank one healer and three damage dealers.

Lets look at some of the pros and cons as they might be.

Pro's for LFD 2.0:
  • 5 man randoms usually have better people when compared to 25 man randoms.
  • They would be easier for the masses.
  • You could remove raid tier as it is no longer a raid.
  • People still get to see the content.
  • Premade groups would be easier to assemble.
  • Tanks and healers could get baggies.
  • They would fit better into the "bite sized" content people like.
Con's for LFR 2.0:
  • Unlike LFD you can only loot bosses once a week which could confuse some.
  • Some raid mechanics can not work with 5 people.
  • Some like to raid and they would lose that "epic" group feeling.

I am sure there are more pros or cons that you can come up with, but what if they completely abandoned the LFR project and went back to using dungeons as the gearing up process.  But in a better way than ever before with updated dungeon gear with each new addition.  Each patch would release a new tier of dungeons that are mini versions of the raid with their gear as the catch up mechanic.

What if the LFR was replaced by LFD 2.0?  Would it replace all the problems that many people perceive the current LFR to have?


- I often say the LFR is too hard for the masses it is made for.  While bosses go down most groups are filled with people that will never learn anything because the game can not create more difficulty to teach them without making it harder on the few that actually know what they are doing.  So I contend that making it easier is the better idea because the ones that do not want to learn will never learn anyway, so why have any difficulty there in an attempt to teach people that refuse to learn?

As a five man dungeon that becomes less of an issue.  As they will be easier to begin with because of five man design, some of the mechanics that actually cause problems for some, the ones that seem to never learn, would most likely be absent, so they can not screw them up.

Also, with the addition of flex, the argument that LFR can teach people no longer holds water.  While it is true a person that wants to learn to get better can use the LFR as a tool to get better the majority are there for quest items, reputation, gear and/or valor.  They are not there to get better.  That is now the place of flex, where you will be with a group that might actually teach you instead of a bunch of random people that all care only about themselves.

Wait time?

- Have you ever waited in queue for over an hour?  I have plenty of times.  I remember when the LFR first came out and the tanks actually had a wait time.  Myself and a tank buddy entered the queue together, one hour and 50 minutes later I said to him, we should be done with two LFRs already, not waiting for the first one, and I gave up and logged off.  It was also the last time I ever queued up as a tank with just another tank with me.  Now I will not tank the LFR unless there is a mostly full guild group there.

People only have a certain amount of time to play.  Even someone like myself who does play often I only have a certain amount of time to play.  It is partly why I no longer run the LFR.  I'll log on with the intention of doing one or two with an alt and do some auction house listings, some pet battle dailies, some rare hunting and maybe another quest or two.  If my queue does not pop, guess what?  I don't do the LFR.  I do not have an unlimited amount of time to sit around and wait.

Maybe, just maybe, if I could be assured a good group with decent people that will move at a fair pace I would wait it out but more often than not I will queue into a group were one of the tanks drop as soon as they zone in and after waiting 50 minutes I am now waiting again.  No thank you.

One of the worst parts of the LFR is the fact there is such a brutal wait time.  Would having five man versions of them alleviate that?  I think there is a possible chance of that actually happening, if the bribe bags are used correctly.

Being you can only get loot from LFD 2.0 once a week what real reason is there for a tank to queue more than once?  The baggies.  Make the baggies have a chance to drop a piece of loot that comes from that wing.  So while you can only get loot once a week, you can grind out as a tank to get a second piece or even a third or forth, if you are willing to put in the effort.  That is of course along with the goodies they already have a chance to get from baggies.

This would mean that, if done correctly, you have all but removed the wait time from the LFR by making them LFD 2.0.  My alt would never get through its first pet battle daily before the queue popped up and I don't know about you but if queue was that fast I would be much more likely to use the LFR (LFD 2.0) to gear my alts.  The excessive wait times of the LFR would not translate to the LFD 2.0.  I might even tank them if they were 5 man because it would remove the biggest reason I do not tank the LFR, the fact the other tank 99 out of 100 times is a complete jerk in one way or another.  If they even respond to you when you ask them if they want to take the boss first.


- I believe the 25 mans give the community a bad name.  No really.  Just look at some of the groups and the people that are in them.  I am not talking just the "go go go" jerks.  I am talking the whole bunch, the entire collection of the great unwashed, the undesirables.

Making groups has always been the best way to build community and just look at the success of the heroic scenarios.  I have not seen trade more active on my tiny server since the days of ICC with people looking for groups.  Looking for tanks or healers.  Admittedly I do not understand why anyone would need a tank or a healer for a heroic scenario but in lesser gear they could surely be helpful.  I've just gotten so used to going in my heroic scenarios with my 3 hunter team.  We rip through them like a fat kid at a cake shop.  We leave nothing behind and finish the stuff in record time.  Love capping valor in an hour.  But that is another story all together.

Making a group of 3 or 4 and getting the 1 or 2 you need from the random system is a lot easier than making a group for the LFR.  Heck, even getting all 5 for a dungeon is a lot easier than getting 25 for the LFR.  Even more so late in a patch like now.  If I can find even 3 or 4 people willing to do the LFR it is a miracle and my guild is a guild filled with alt-a-holics that all have characters that need stuff from the LFR but they just will not do it.  They would rather leave their alts under geared than to subject themselves to the hell that is the LFR and I don't blame them.

But with smaller groups like LFD 2.0 would bring, saying we have 4 and just need one more, the likelihood of getting that guild person to join us is better.  As is so much better I might as well just call it a sure thing.  We just need one for a 2.0 dungeon.  Me, me, me, I can see it already.  Full guild group.  I am in.

Whether it be making guild groups or trade groups, smaller groups mean the likelihood of more community and more people talking to each other to make said groups.  This is good for the game.

Toxic behavior?

- I would be hard pressed to believe there is any worse part of the LFR than the toxic behavior that seems to run rampant in them.  I could not even repeat some of the things I have heard in those groups or I would have to label this blog as adults only and it would still most likely offend someone that reads it.

Large groups bring out the worst in people.  As an old saying goes, a person is smart, people are stupid.  That is shown in a perfect example with the LFR.  I have seen people that were normally decent people get caught up in raid conversations that were bile being thrown back and forth and why is that?  Because they can and because blizzard does nothing about this sort of toxic behavior.

Before the LFR was ever introduced I made a post expressing my concerns on what could go wrong with it.  One of them was this, the toxic behavior thing.  I said, basically, you can not put 25 random people together and ask them to act civil to one another when there are no penalties for them becoming jerks.  Chalk another one up for the elf.  Sometimes it sucks being right.

LFD 2.0 would still have the chance of grabbing a jerk but that jerk would be less likely to act up without a huge captive audience.  9 times out of 10 a jerk in a five man the jerk will either find the fast path out with a boot to the ass or they will just shut the hell up and do their job because it will all be over in 15 minutes.

LFR 2.0 offers 2 things the LFR does not.  Smaller groups, were that one person has less of an audience to back him up and a quick run.  Most of the worst stuff in the LFR starts happening when people have waited for an hour to get in or waited for an hour while in there because tanks dropped or because there were wipes, or because there were any delays.  Smaller groups and quicker content means the chance of being exposed to toxic behavior is limited a great deal.  Not eliminated by any means, but limited a great deal.  For that one reason alone I would love to see the LFR wings turned into 5 mans.

End game?

The end game is different for everyone despite how hard blizzard is trying to push everyone into raiding, even more so the next patch with no valor gear.  For me my end game is normal modes, if I finish them I am happy.  Some of my readers are in the same boat as me with normal mode being our end game.  Some of my readers finish heroic modes, some of them fishing LFR and some of them never even enter LFR.  I even have a few readers that do not even do dungeons even if they have multiple 90s.  The end game is different for everyone.

Maybe it is time that blizzard starts to understand that and stops trying to push everyone into raiding.  LFD 2.0 would open the doors for a great many players where dungeons fit their play style, play time, and skill or dedication level much more appropriately.

With the addition of flex we will, hopefully, see a lot more pugging going on, so those former raiders or people that want to raid but play on off hours, could very well be served with having flex to run.  There is no longer a need for the LFR, at least not as much as there used to be.  But there is a huge open space for the vast majority of the players that do not want to raid that have absolutely nothing to do and no way to progress their character at all.  LFD 2.0 would allow them that.

Blizzard needs to understand that forcing people into content they do not like to do is bad for the game.  I was forced to PvP for my PvE legendary quest line.  I do not like to PvP and did not want to PvP.  I did it however because it was winning just two battlegrounds and once I was done with it I was done with it.  However, if I were forced to continually PvP to get my PvE gear I would quit the game so fast that the sound of me uninstalling the game would make a sonic boom.

This is exactly the place the vast majority of the player base is in.  They are not raiders, they do not want to raid, but they feel forced to raid if they ever want to feel any level of personal progression.  Dungeons 2.0 would be much more accessible to the masses and fit the type of bite sized quick and easy content they enjoy. 

Perhaps, to some small extent at least, the reason for so many lost subs is because blizzard is forgetting that the majority do not want to do the content blizzard is trying to force them into, just as much as I would not like to have to PvP all the time to get my PvE gear.

Let people have their end game.  Because now with no valor gear coming next patch, the end game for anyone that does not raid at all is going to be a year old soon.  Think about it.  If you do not raid, never raided and never had any intention to raid, your gearing process ended when the expansion came out.  463s from dungeons, 489s and 496s from valor and reputation.  Oh, and 1 522, isn't that nice.

They need to add something for those people that do not raid and turning the failed experiment of the LFR into LFD 2.0 might just give some of them something.

What if all wings of the LFR were changed into 5 man dungeons that you could only get loot from once a week called LFD 2.0?

What if indeed.  I think it would be a fantastic change for the game.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some Hunter Buffs are Coming. Are They Enough?

The announcement of on the next PTR the hunters are getting some buffs is welcome news to the ears of this elf, but looking at them I noticed while thankful for them I still have some concerns.

Incoming buffs:
  • Arcane Shot additional damage increased by 21%.
  • Lynx Rush damage and AP scaling increased by 30%
  • Kill Command base damage increased by 33% and AP scaling increased by 16%.
  • Aimed Shot weapon damage increased by 12.5% and additional damage reduced by 2%.
  • Explosive Shot damage and RAP scaling increased by 8%.
Those are some nice changes, now to the questions.

Where, again, is the buff to marksman's signature shot?  This is the 4th or is it 5th time we have seen a buff to aimed shot this expansion yet the marksman signature shot remains unchanged.  We all know that marksman is like the red headed stepchild of hunter specs right now and basically has been left for dead but why even pretend to be buffing marksman when you are not buffing marksman's signature shot.

I think someone needs to send ghostcrawler a friendly reminder that while we welcome the buff to aimed shot, it is not marksman's signature ability and perhaps he should consider buffing marksman's signature ability.  Maybe they can also point out that if he wants to make aimed shot more important to the hunter rotation they need to fix the fact it clips auto shots. (at least last I checked it was still doing so)

Second question is if they are trying to kill beast mastery hunters?  I mean with a buff like that all the excitement is going to send blood rushing to their heads to the point where they will explode.  I think there are some hunters out there right now reading this giggling uncontrollably like a school girl.

Don't be alarmed if we see a tiny nerf to the kill command buff before the patch goes live.  While I would love for that to be an upgrade we keep it would effectively make hunters a one spec class and I am pretty sure they do not want to do that.  I could be wrong however.  At top gear levels beast mastery was already the only choice to begin with.  I do see them cutting down on the base damage increase to 20% before they would buff the other specs to catch up to beast mastery.

I can't wait to see what the theory crafters do with the new numbers to see how much these changes actually effect us.  In the end, and only doing basic napkin math, it would only move hunters from the bottom of the middle of the pack to the middle of the middle of the pack.  So a buff, a nice one, but nothing close to what we should have.

What should hunters have?  We should be where mages, warlocks and rogues are.  At the top of the pack, and even more so being we still bring absolutely no utility to a raid.  So middle of the pack, while looking nicer since this changes, is not where hunters belong.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- Originally this was supposed to be the last monday post of 5.3 but we get another two weeks to play around.

- It makes me think what do I need to do in these last two weeks.

- My goal was to have a 510 average item level over all 11 classes on my main server and if the patch was due to come out tomorrow I would have missed that.

- I really lost my desire to try two months ago because I need to do the LFR to get to that point and I really do not want to do it.

- So I am sitting at a 503 average item level over my 11 characters.

- Only one is under 460.

- So while shy of my goal it is still not bad over all.

- The new LFR will need a 496 item level to enter it.

- As it stands I only have 3 characters that will not be able to enter it on day one.

- Can you guess which three?

- I give you a hint, all three wear plate.

- I don't like the plate classes all that much this expansion.

- Don't know why.

- I am looking forward to the warrior changes.

- Will be nice to feel a little stronger even if still the worst tanking class when it comes to dealing damage while tanking.

- While my paladin is not heroic scenario ready all other tank characters are and I can tell you from my own experience with it that warriors lack severely in the AoE tanking department.

- Maybe it is just something I am doing wrong.

- With my other tanks I can round up everything, do quality damage, and let the two damage dealers burn stuff down without ever needing to worry about aggro.

- I can even pull competitive damage with people in 530 item level while sitting at 480 on my DK ungemmed and unenchanted if I have enough mobs on me.

- With all tanks except the warrior it is like bringing 3 damage dealers to a heroic scenario, except one takes all the hits.

- Now THAT is how tanking should be in my opinion.

- With my warrior, I am usually 1/5 of the DPS of even people geared only at 500.

- If I go with 530 people I might as well just say screw it, I will never keep aggro off of them.

- With my warrior, I am constantly fighting over mobs because I lost stuff to AoE all the time because my low damage and lack of solid repeatable AoE keeps me from holding aggro easy like I do with all other tank classes.

- So yes, I am looking forward to some extra damage even if they are nerfing the vengeance we get from AoE tanking some.

- I still think when it comes to AoE tanking warriors will still be dead last.

- But nothing beats a warrior in terms of movement in a fight.

- Still have to love that.

- Not really looking foward to hunter changes.

- We lost all our burst with the removal of readiness and were given no compensation for it.

- Okay, not no compensation.

- We got minimal compensation.

- Stampede was returned, partly, to its original power, but without the utility.

- Nice to see the power return being it should have never been removed for PvP reasons in PvE to begin with.

- But really, more power means nothing.

- They could add more power to boosting a shot.

- The real beautiful thing that made stampede a great ability was its utility.

- They still have not returned that.

- So even with a more powerful stampede, it is still a nerf over all by the lack of utility it offers now.

- Sure that utility was mostly for solo stuff, but it is still missed.

- I would rather have the lower damage and all the utility back for stampede and give us the damage boost to out rotational abilities and not some five minute cooldown.

- They are giving us a tiny boost to some abilities but doubling the cost of arcane shot means we end up with a net of nothing.

- So if you ask the blues they will say "hunters are fine".

- But when you ask the players they all say the same thing.

- You removed our burst button with readiness and gave us nothing in return, how is that fine?

- Some would say the arcane boost, which was then switched to the signatures, was our compensation.

- It was not.

- I will respectfully remind those people the arcane boost was to boost our damage because we were so low and it was an attempt to get use closer to the middle of the pack.

- So that boost, which turned into the shift, was a balancing thing.

- We have still not received compensation for the loss of readiness.

- I like to say, lets wait and see what they will do on the PTR.

- I now say, we are not getting any compensation, so we are in a "wait until next expansion" holding pattern now.

- Unless of course they think boosting stampede made up for readiness.

- I really hope they do not think that.

- Letting an ability do the damage it was supposed to do from the start is not compensation for something else, it is fixing an error made nerfing it in the first place.

- I am sure if you ask a blue however they will say that was the compensation.

- Just shows another reason I say these people that make these decisions do not actually play the game.

- Only ghostcrawler seems to play.

- And he seems to play a mage.

- It is the only logical reason why they have been top, or near top, DPS for what, 6 years now?

- Can't say blizzard hates hunters however.

- It is just that they do not know what to do with them.

- They are a ranged class that follows all the melee concepts, and that is a nightmare to balance in PvP and that makes us sometimes take a few hits for PvE.

- Hunters are incredibly hard to balance because of it.

- Heck, hunters are proof that different designers design different encounters and different packs of trash.

- Dark Animus does not spell lock hunters, neither do the bats before tortos interrupt our casting.

- Yet the trash before council can interrupt us and spell lock us.

- Different designers, same raid, handle what hunters do differently.

- I think if hunters ever want to get fixed, we as a community, need to force blizzard to write the book on us.

- Either spell locks work on us, or they don't.

- That would be a start in finding a balance for hunters, when they finally decide on what they want hunters to be.

- Then they can grow from there.

- Personally if you ask me, I like the idea we can not be spell locked.

- Not only because it is nice and easy to not worry about that stuff, but they removed mana because they did not want us to be casters.

- Then do not let us be affected by stuff that is only supposed to affect casters like spell locks.

- I did some alt leveling this weekend.

- Got another lowbie to 80.

- And got yet another lowbie to 20.

- And another one to 30.

- Think that is all the mile stones for the little ones.

- Every time I level a new character I always wonder how I made it 40 levels without a mount, or even 30.

- Now when I get to level 20 it feels like the greatest triumph ever in game to finally be able to mount and move faster.

- It is almost as if I can't even imagine it having been later before.

- My character that hit 20 was a draenei which meant I needed to make the long trek from stormwind to the exodar.

- That take a while when doing it by foot, just to turn in your riding quest.

- I didn't even think to try to buy riding in SW and just abandon the quest.

- I wonder if that would have worked and saved me like, what, 30 minutes of travel for the sake of traveling?

- I think they should lower it to level 10.

- Really, what is the fun of running all over the world taking 5 minutes between everything you do?

- The world of gaming has changed and warcraft should as well.

- Travel time is no longer a viable way to fill gaming time.

- It is a waste of time.

- I am sure everyone that plays the game would be glad to spend more time playing it and less time running somewhere to play it.

- But you know what would happen?

- We would then want it at level 5, then level 1, then faster riding at 30, then 20, you get the idea.

- So they have to draw the line somewhere.

- I think the line should be at speed.

- I hope they never add faster riding of any sort.

- While I hate travel because it is a waste of time, some travel is needed, to give the game scale.

- It lost a lot of scale with flying.

- It is why I like the idea of no flying in new zones until max level.

- The world seems so much bigger on foot.

- But a slow ground mount, giving that one sooner, I can support.

- Checking auction houses on different servers sometimes amazes me.

- Yes, I know the economy is different from server to server, but it never stops amazing me how different it can be.

- There are some pets that go for 200K on my server, and actually sell.

- Yet I was on another server that has 2 on the auction house for 12K.

- I wish I had the gold on that character, I would buy them and send them over to my server to make some quick cash.

- So I listed some things that on my server go for 600, but on that server seem to go for 10K.

- Pets are such an amazing way to transfer money between servers.

- Buy from one server for 600, sell on another for 10K, then buy on that server for 12K and send back to sell for 200K, and effectively turn 1200 gold into 200K gold.

- Not bad for a days work, if they sell that is.

- On my server the spectral kitten sells for around 60K, if and when there is one around.

- On another server I was on there was someone offering 150K for it.

- Sadly there where none on the market or I could have effectively transferred 60K from my main server to another server I am cash strapped on.

- And made 90K in the process.

- Speaking of gold, after I spent all the gold making all the jewel crafting mounts I am back over 500K.

- Not sure how I managed that, I have not sold anything at auction.

- Do you really made that much money raiding and doing every day junk that I could make 100K in a couple of weeks just doing nothing really?

- If so, how can anyone ever say they are broke?

- Do something and you make money.

- Seriously, do something, anything, instead of sitting in a city talking in trade.

- I think that is how I make so much gold without trying.

- I am never, repeat, never in a city for more then the time it takes to pass through it.

- Soloing old content, doing dailies, raiding, farming for something.

- Just do stuff and you make gold.

- Had a tank finally finished ToT, so another character that went through it.

- But oddly enough, it was not the tank that has the first 11 down.

- It was a tank that had only tanked the first few.

- I made a group from guild and downed the last few.

- So now I have three characters that have either killed everything but the last boss (Bear), or killed the last boss but not everything before it(Monk, Hunter).

- I do not have one character that has killed every boss in there.

- Thank goodness I did not need to kill everyone on one character to get the achievement.

- I think for my hunter to actually get the kills I need we need to do them on day one.

- We usually end on day one after Dark animus.

- So day two, I tank the last three.

- If we even get the day 2 in, but the last few weeks it has been good getting that second day in.

- Which is how I got another tank the last kill.

- I thought I was kicking ass on my tank.

- Did better numbers than my druid.

- Then I looked at world of logs and realized, damn I suck damage wise.

- Still I think doing over 100K as a tank with a 518 item level isn't all that bad.

- At least I thought that until I saw that most tanks that are doing well are doing over 200K on most bosses.

- Gee, thanks, great way to make me feel blah about myself.

- And here I was having a bang up time playing my monk and feeling like I was actually doing well.

- I was surviving and not putting pressure on the healers and I was putting out damage numbers that could beat 10 of the people in the 25 man team.

- But I will say one thing, I am getting better at monk tanking.

- Even have a follower now after seeing my tank and now he wants to tank on his monk.

- We did some stuff together and he asked me how I was doubling this DPS as a tank when he has more gear that I do.

- Popped up the numbers and looked at one thing, keg smash.

- I knew exactly where it was coming from before I even looked.

- Over the course of the fight he had 1/4 of the smashes I did.

- I told him, use it on cooldown.

- Funny thing is, since he started asking me about monk tanking a couple of weeks ago I have started taking it a lot more serious.

- Not like I did not take it serious before, but now I need to teach someone, so there is no room for mistakes, when I am teaching myself I sometimes learn from failure.

- If someone is asking me and depending on what I tell them, I can't fail.

- Back to alts.

- Profession leveling is a bitch sometimes.

- I have a couple of those low level alts just sitting and waiting for the next darkmoon faire.

- They are at stages where they need more materials where you need to go back to get them.

- My new 80 is an enchanter / tailor on its own server so it has no support system.

- It's enchanting is fine, just finally made it up to cata stuff, so I'll be okay moving on.

- But its tailoring is about 15 points behind and at 400 a stack for bolts, I am not going to be spending gold there.

- So it is grind my ass off, or let it fall behind.

- I'll probably just leave the character sitting there for 3 months and try to remember to do the faire for three months to get those 15 skill points.

- It is nice for it to be an alt and I have those options, but I feel for the people that don't have those options because it is their main and their only character.

- They need to do something to make sure that professions can keep up with the new speed of leveling.

- It is not fun going back to play catch up.

- I am guessing this is why you see many new 90s with professions that seemed to die somewhere between the 200s and 300s.

- Because all professions start to slow to a crawl in that range and no matter how much you try they will fall behind unless you make a huge effort for them not to.

- And most players that do not have alts and just want to play, want to get to max level, so they will not waste time going back and waiting until their professions catch up.

- Blizzard should take a clue from that.

- They love to say they have all the data.

- I dare them to look at that data and do something about it.

- Look at how many 90s do not have maxed professions.

- Look at the level those professions were left at.

- Take note of patterns you see, like were tailoring, black smithing, leather working, etc, all seems to stop.

- Read that data, and correct those bumps in the road.

- You keep saying you have more data than we do, prove it, use it to do something to make the game better.

- Running a simple search that finds the profession levels of level 90s should not be all that hard.

- At least I don't think it would be.

- The Godmother made a post about poop quests a week or two ago and I think I found one that no one mentioned in their replies.

- Not so much a poop quest but a quest that mentioned poop.

- Actually the quest does not even mention poop, one of the NPC you rescue does.

- It is in redridge and when you rescue this one guy from orcs while running back with him he makes a poop reference that I got a nice chuckle from because even if I had done the quest before I never noticed what he said.

- He said something along the line of, "why do they call themselves orcs, it is such a disgusting word, like something I would use to describe defecating." after I rescue him from the orcs.

- But that was not the funny part.

- Then he continues with "like if I just got out of the bathroom I would say, I just took one really smelly orc."

- That was the line that made me laugh, and it is yet another one for the long line of poop quests, or poop references.

- But the best line in the game involving orcs still remains "me not that kind of orc".

- I just can not help laughing at that one.

- Even typing it now made me laugh.

- That is enough babble for today, have a great day.

- And remember, me not that kind of orc.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What If: Blizzard Gave You Everything You Wanted?

Have you ever heard the expression be careful what you wish for because you just might get it?  Sometimes we want things and do not understand what could happen if we got them.  This means everyone, myself included.  We all say we wish blizzard would do this or we wish blizzard would do that.

Lets have a little fun and scour over the forums and pull out some of the things people ask for and play a game of what if.  What if the person got exactly what they wanted.  What do you see happening?

Case # 1 : What if WoW was made easier?

We often hear people saying that they wish warcraft were easier.  I am guilty to saying that about the LFR.  I always say it is too hard for the masses and it needs to be made much easier.  So let me play with my own little aspect meaning just making the LFR easier before I go into making WoW easier as a whole.

What would happen if the LFR was easier, as in heroic dungeon blow through them nice and quickly with minimal mechanics and the ability for one person (5 in LFR) to carry the rest of the group.  I think it would make the LFR a lot more user friendly.  What I believe upsets people most is waiting in queue for 50 minutes just to wipe 5 or 6 times on a boss you don't even wipe on in normal mode.  If it were made easier to the point were you just run in and kill everything even when with mostly people of extremely limited skill it would be good for the game. 

It would make the LFR fill the role it should fill for people that are looking for an easy stepping stone to gearing up. It would serve the purpose of letting others that are not looking to use it as a stepping stone but as a way to see content and play and feel successful within their own right.

I see making the LFR easier, much much easier, as something that would be good for the game.  But...

I could be very wrong.  Maybe I am not seeing something that others would notice that making it easier would bring along.  And that is where I go to the blanket statement of making wow easier over all.

We hear people all the time ask for things to be made easier.  Leveling, solo scenarios, the legendary quest line fights, the mobs on the island, raids, so forth and so on.  Lets give it to them and see what might happen.

I think if they made things too easy it would destroy the game in various ways that most would never even consider.  Lets look at crafting to start off with.  If letting people kill raid bosses were easier then getting the materials needed for top crafting items would be flooding the market lowering their value and the value of the associated crafted items. 

If the mobs that gave the best skins could be one shot by anyone just standing there slapping their keyboard without thinking the leather market would be shot to all high hell.  And cloth would be too.  When anyone can go through any area and kills mobs like a level 90 going through a level 20 dungeon would by just spamming AoE and one shot everything the amount of cloth gained would be insane decreasing its value and the value of all items made with cloth. 

And lets not forget enchanting materials.  If the game were so easy that anyone could solo the 90 dungeons for enchanting materials it would flood the market with them.  So with leather, cloth, enchanting materials, crafting pieces, and so much more easily farmed by anyone with a pulse the economy would be a shell of what it currently is on some servers and on some servers it is bad already.  It would just be made that much worse.

If raid bosses were that easy those people that want to be raiders and could never cut it would finally become raiders and this would be good right?  But maybe they would clear the tier and get bored and quit instead of sitting on the outside looking in wishing they could do that.  As it stands there are a great many players in the game that would love to raid but they do not because they can't.  Either by being honest with themselves and knowing they can not do it or by people not being willing to take them along.  But even if they are not raiding that motivation to raid will always remain in the minds and will be, at least a tiny bit, a driving force that keeps them playing knowing that some day they too can do that.

If leveling were easier, and I doubt it could really get much easier, people would just do one quest, level up, do another quest, level up, do another quest, level up and in a matter of days, not weeks or months or even years, they would have every class at max level and if that was all they ever really did there would be nothing left in the game for them except the gear grind.  Not everyone wants to do the gear grind, as a matter of fact, the statistics show that most people never even get to it.

Don't discount the number of players that just level and that is all they do.  I read somewhere recently that only 25% of the subscribers have a max level character.  (not sure if that is true so don't hold me to it)  That means the majority of the players are just leveling.  You can read this in two ways.  One might be it is too hard to level and that is why there are only a quarter of their players at max level, or the other, that most people are just having fun playing the game instead of playing the end game. 

Leveling is important and if those 75% were given near instant max level characters, they might not keep playing.  Lets face it.  If they were serious about playing they would not be lower than max level for any extended period of time don't you think? 

What does the game have to offer those people that are not into "serious" game play at max level?  Nothing much.  If leveling were made any easier than it already is I think it would be a huge disaster for the game as subscribers reached max level that never had before and found there was nothing left in the game for them.  Maybe a few would become max level players but would all of them because of quick leveling or would they just say, I made max level, I beat the game, now lets go find something else to do because there is nothing for me to do now.  I think easier leveling would be bad for the game.

There is a lot that could go wrong with making things easier and this is all guess work of course but I believe if the game, as a whole and not just tiny parts of it, was made too easy then the game could very well crumble. 

With raiding a shell of itself and so easy that even the most casual of casual players that has an interest in raiding could get heroic content down in 2 weeks at most they could lose interest and leave.  With the AH and economy destroyed the money making mini game might be boring for many of those that used to get a kick out of. 

Those levelers that just wanted to level would find themselves with nothing left to do once they were done with their leveling unless they wanted to do it over again and even at that you can only do it so much.  People would just start to leave in droves and that would mean less subscribers which means less new content, less good content, and even less reason to stay subscribed.  Eventually leaving the game to the few that decide to stick it out and maybe PvPers and role players.  Too easy could be the end of wow.  Be careful what you wish for.

Case # 2 :  What if WoW were made harder?

Just like some could argue the effects of making warcraft easier has lead to losses already in some aspects, making it harder has done so as well.  Yes, you can make something easier and harder at the same time, just in different aspects.  Remember the droves of people that left the game at the beginning of cataclysm because of the heroic dungeons and the ones that followed with the double Zul hell that came later?

The content was good.  I liked it and I did not really find them hard unless I was in a random group but the majority of the player base was completely turned off by them.  Can you just imagine what it would be like if it took 40 days played to get to max level again?  Could you imagine what it would be like if even the most skilled players took 100 wipes to down the first boss of a new raid on normal mode?

Where would that leave the majority of guilds?  Ones like mine would no longer exist, that is for sure. At least not as a raiding guild, that is for sure, and looking at my server neither would any of the other guilds. 

Lets say they made the LFR harder. Gave it normal mode difficulty with random people.  How many LFR groups have you been in that you said, I think we could down normals in this group?  Not many I am sure.  I know, not counting when I went in near full guild groups, I have only had one LFR run where I actually thought that the group I was in could clear a few bosses on normal.  So with that in mind, would the LFR ever be used if the odds of success where effectively less than that of winning the mega millions lottery in new york?  1 in 179 million.  That is what the odds of success would be if the LFR were normal difficulty.  Just a guess of course, it would probably have worse off of success, I was just being generous.

When people would level slower they would not feel progress in this instant gratification world and they would leave quickly for something else that made them feel as if they could gain some level of success or at least see some level of progress instead of taking forever to get gtom level 42 to level 43.  The world of gaming has changed since warcraft first came out and warcraft has changed with it.  That is why leveling is faster now, even if I hate it, because it has to be.  It has to be to keep people attracted.

If the quest hubs where so hard that you always needed a group to do them it would alienate the vast majority of the player base that usually prefers to do that stuff on their own at their own time.  If the solo scenario to open the island were harder than the legendary quest solo scenarios how would a fresh 90 ever have a prayer of doing it.  If all end quest mobs where so hard it needed at least a 10 man raid group to do them it sure might sound cool, but how many people would ever get the quest line done?

Even gathering would be harder.  No leather would be anywhere to be found on the auction house if leather workers had to spend 3-5 minutes killing one mob for one piece of leather.  If they did decide to sell that one piece of leather you can be sure it would be for more than an entire stack sells for now.  A lot more.  And forget all other craftable things because if stuff was really that hard no one would be out farming for enchanting materials or cloth.  Lets not even consider getting those top level crafting items when even the best of the best guilds in the world were still wiping on normal modes 10 hours a day 2 months after a raid patch was released.  Gold buying would go through the roof because things would be so expensive and so hard to get.  This would mean more bots.  That can't be good for the game.

Make the game too hard and people will start to leave.  We have seen it already more than a few times in the recent years where something comes out that people think is to hard and they leave.  And just like the too easy explanation the too hard one would end up with the same result.  Maybe all that would be left were a few die hards, some PvPers and role players, and anyone new that most likely would not last long in this harder, and empty, world.  Be careful what you wish for.

Case # 3 : What if everyone had a raid of their own skill level?

I made a post shortly after the LFR was first introduced that said I believed there was room for, and a need for, 2 more levels of raiding.  It went something along these lines.  Super easy (an even easier LFR mode), family and friends (LFR style difficulty), casual (normal mode), dedicated (heroic mode), and hard core (harder than heroic).

It seems like, in part, my design I laid out back then is coming true.  The mode I called family and friends ghostcrawler calls beer league and blizzard calls flex.  We only need the harder than heroic mode and what I predicted some time ago will come true.  But be careful what you wish for.  The extra raid levels mean extra tier levels and extra item level and extra stat inflation and that is really bad.

What is happening now with the levels as we have them even before flex has been released is increased item inflation by adding additional levels of gear.  Now with flex it is even more so.  If they add an even harder mode there will be another.  When is enough enough?

The more modes they add the more people will think they need to do them all, even if they don't need to.  We already hear that coming from the forums left and right saying that they feel adding flex, as it has its own lockout, will add another layer to an already hectic feeling raid schedule.

But everyone wants a level all their own.  What if another version was added that was basically a patch work fight on all fights.  And another that was so hard that the worlds first guild might not even be able to get it down before the next patch came out.  Or one that was heavy on mechanics but light on requirements.  Or one that was light on mechanics but heavy on requirements.  Or one that was meant for 40 men and one that was meant for 15 men.

Everyone wants to see raids designed more to fit their needs and what if the game gave everyone an option to do the raid that best suits their needs?  Would that add more tiers of gear?

As it is now you can go back and do content that is not even a year old putting out double and in some cases triple the damage you did then and that is only one tier ago.  All thanks to stat inflation and multiple sets of gear.  The more levels you add the more gear you add and you are that much quicker to trivialize content that isn't really that old because of it.

Why is that a bad thing you might ask?  Well, because everyone will always be in different stages of the gearing cycle anything new that is added needs to consider all the people involved and the larger the gap the harder it is to add new content that is both doable by the lesser geared and compelling enough for the higher geared.  Remember, content is added with the intention of all to see it, at least when it is out in the world, like the isle of thunder or the barrens.

Lets just look at what we have now.  Go do the entry solo scenario for the island on a freshly dinged 90 and unless you know how to play the class and are a decent player, you are not going get it done.  That is because of gear inflation.  They had to make it a tiny bit harder for the people that had some gear but in the process made it too hard for the ones just starting out.

Try doing the barrens on a freshly dinged character or even one with a little gear and then do it with one that has some raid gear or one that is fully raid geared?  I have and it is a world of difference.  My fully raid geared characters can go in there and pull packs of 20 no problem just mowing them down while other characters without gear have to go one mob at a time and even at that every battle takes forever.

They had to make the mobs a little harder or the raid geared characters would make even more of a joke out of it than they already do, but in the process they left newly geared characters, the ones that actually need the stuff from there, screwed unless they are willing to spend 3 or more hours doing it or can find a group.

The more levels of raiding there is, the harder it becomes to add new patches that are meant for everyone.  If you want to make it so someone that is geared and has been playing from the start can get some, even if minimal, challenge from it, you effective screw anyone that is not raid geared into it taking them forever, requiring them to have a group, or them giving up and not doing it at all because it is impossible.

As it is, things have gone too far.  The first tier of raiding this expansion should have dropped 476 gear on normal and 489 on heroic.  The second tier should have dropped 496 on normal and 509 heroic.  And that would still be quite a leap, but much easier to design for everyone with.  The easy fix would have been the have the LFR drop the previous tiers item level.  Like the original this expansion would have dropped 463 and second would have dropped 476 and the third would drop 496.  With the addition of flex, it just makes it worse, much worse, as there is now another entire tier level of gear.

Adding more tiers is actually a bad thing, a very bad thing, because it makes designing anything new in an expansion a problem if you want that something new to be for everyone once there are gaps as huge as the ones we have seen coming. 

So even if one day I said I would like to see those 5 levels of raiding, I was wrong, dead wrong.  It is bad for the game because it adds more levels of gear and that makes things worst as time goes on.  I should have followed my own words of caution here, be careful what you wish for.  But be prepared.  I predicted flex when LFR was first introduced.  So maybe my harder than heroic mode is coming next expansion.  My guess it is.  If you are liking that idea right now, be careful what you wish for.

Case # 4 : I wish my character was OP?

Someone always has to be last.  Lets forget for a moment that if blizzard were to grant your wish and everyone elses that means everyone would be OP and then no one would be OP.  But lets just pretend they are giving you, and only you, everything you wanted by making your class OP.

When your class first became OP you would rule the charts in PvE content, destroy the world in PvP content and all in all be enjoying the every loving shit out of the game because it feels awesome being so over powered.  No one would ever deny that.  Everyone likes being powerful.

For this case we are going to use a druid as the class in question, as a druid is the only class that can fill all four roles.

So you are knocking the ball out of the park on your druid healer in the new raid tier.  The other healers, even if more skilled, are behind you by leaps and bounds.  Oh the joys of being OP.  After a short time, very short if you are in a hard core guild, your healing power will mean that all healers need to switch to druids and get their alts raid ready.  Soon your 25 man is filled with 6 druid healers because they are so OP.

Now I hope you are the best player there because you know what happens to healers that do to good?  The better your healers are, the less of them you use.  They are the only role in the game that one of them can lose their job by doing it too well.  With druids being so OP the need for 6 of them is not really required any longer.  So maybe they go down to 5 or even to 4. 

If you happen to be one of the bottom of the list healers guess who is sitting on the bench because they wanted their class OP.  Be careful what you wish for.  You wanted your druid healer to be OP and now you are sitting on the bench because the raid is filled with druids healers and you were not one of the best.  Perhaps next time you should ask to be better at your class than to ask for your class to be better.  Just think about that line for a minute.

Lets say everyone in your raid group starts to get into the OP nature of the druid and soon your 25 man team has 2 bear tanks, 4 tree healers, 9 cat melee and 10 chicken ranged.  Not exactly a good team to be gearing is it?  So much gear will get disenchanted.  Gearing up would be a nightmare of epic proportions when you have an entire raid to roll against.  Better hope you are an agility user there because there are only 11 of them as opposed to 14 intellect wearers.

Just for humor sake, what happens when you have to fill one spot and that person that comes in is not a druid.  Do you fight over who gets to put symbioses on them?  Really.  Would it be a raid roll for who gets it?

Lets go PvPing instead of raiding with your new OP class because you are now benched from the raid team anyway and you start destroying everything in your path.  Your three druid team is ripping up the arena league and you go from also ran to top team in the world in the matter of 24 hours.  You don't think that will go unnoticed by PvPers do you?  Nope, they will notice that druids are now OP in PvP and within a matter of no time every team in the top 100 is a three druid team and suddenly you are not all that OP any more. 

You now find yourself losing as much as you are winning.  It is, oddly, balanced because all teams are the same.  Better hope you are one of those better players if you want to keep that top rating otherwise you will once again find yourself gravitating to the also ran position just like you did on your druid healer even if the class is OP.  Let me repeat something I said earlier for further consideration.  Perhaps next time you should ask to be better at your class than to ask for your class to be better.

It might seem nice to think your class being OP would be a good thing but it wouldn't be.  It would water down the game to just a bunch of people playing the same exact thing if they are truly that OP.  Like it or not, and while sometimes heroic guilds might stack for a kill, the reason there is so much diversity in raids is because that one class is not OP.  The closer they can keep things to balanced the better the game is, even if they will never reach a perfect balance.

Having your class be OP would be bad for the game over all.  If you are going to wish for your class to be something, wish to have it be as good as everyone else.  Don't ask for it to be over powered because you never know what will happen if it becomes so.  You might be the healer sitting on the bench.  Be careful what you wish for.

Case # 5 : You pick something you want and lets see how we can turn it around.

There are so many things people ask for that can backfire on them if they got it.  I ask for random not to play such a big part in the game any more and I believe it would make the game better if they went with a more earn as you go system with everything and many people have pointed out how sometimes that could be a bad thing even if on paper it does sound good.

No matter what we want in game, there is always something we forget about.  Always something that should make us think, be careful what you wish for.

What is something you see people asking for all the time that you think would backfire if blizzard gave it to them?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Reforging and Interesting Choices

I had this whole post about some changes I would like to see with reforging.  Anyone that has read my blog for a while knows that in my opinion the best thing to come out of cataclysm is reforging.  Some, or even most, would say transmog but to each their own.  I loved the addition of the option to reforge and I think it was the best addition to the game in cataclysm.

In my post, which I will abbreviate here, I talked about how I believe it was time for reforging to undergo some changes.  The changes I would like to see are that we could reforge to exact numbers (not exceeding 50%) instead of a flat percentage of 40% like we have now.  Any stats past what you need, haste, hit, expertise, etc, are wasted stats and no one really wants wasted stats right?  So I had this whole post about how allowing us to build our stats with a better version of reforging would be a good thing.

Then I pop over the MMO-C, like always, and see our friendly neighborhood crab saying that he basically does not like reforging because, paraphrasing, nobody makes interesting choices except maybe healers.

It almost seems as if they are thinking of removing reforging with a comment like that just at the time I was about to make a post about how great reforging was and how it can be made even better.

I think that ghostcrawler needs to a little lesson in math before he makes conclusions like he just did.  He also needs to understand that what is interesting for him might not be interesting for us and what is interesting to us might not be interesting to him.  He has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not the voice of the people because he routinely does not feel the same way about things in the game that the player base does.  This, in effect, makes him the worst person to decide what is interesting and what is not.

Now pay close attention GC.  Reforging is about math, what is best.  Math can not be argued with, it can not be reasoned with, and it will never stop... being right.  Reforging lets us be better with the gear we have by letting us get rid of useless stats based on weights of which stat is better.  See, math.  It doesn't need to be interesting.  It is a tool to better ourselves.

I spend a fair deal of time when looking at gear I can get as an upgrade in deciding which piece would be best for me.  As such, the secondary stats on that piece are a selling point that pushes me toward one piece of gear over another.  If I need new bracers and there is one that has hit & haste on it and other that has mastery & critical on it and a third that has expertise & critical on it I need to look at what I am currently wearing to decide on an upgrade.

If I am current reforging out of something else into hit perhaps the hit one will fill a nice place with me because I need that hit and as the hit one is with haste and haste is very good for me this might be the best piece.  But lets say I was over on hit already and reforging out of it every chance I got, adding another piece with hit would not help me.   Even with reforging you can only get rid of so much so all that extra hit would be wasted itemization and devalue the piece for me over all.

Same example goes for expertise.  Those two things both have exact numbers that are good for me, 7.5%, and going over those numbers basically means all wasted stats.  So maybe that means I might lead myself to think the mastery and critical one is much better as it surely would be if I am currently reforging out of both hit and expertise as I am swimming in both.

Lets take this example even further and evaluate that mastery is by far my worst secondary stat and both haste and critical are better by a fair deal.  I now look closer at the one with hit & haste and expertise and critical.  Can I do something with my reforging, gems and enchants to make use of any substantial amount of the hit or expertise on either of those even if not using all of it?

For example, even if adding the expertise one and reforging everything I can out of expertise on every piece of gear would leave me a 7.9% expertise, .4% more than I need and basically .4% of a useless stat that gives me absolutely nothing, would having that piece with the base critical on it in addition to all the other stats I got from reforging out of expertise on all the other pieces be better than the piece with mastery on it because mastery really is not very good.

So off to find data I go.  Is 1000 mastery better than the 700 mix of haste and critical I got from reforging out of expertise on every piece I have even if I ended up over on my expertise in the end?  This is where it gets to what you said isn't interesting so follow closely ghostcrawler, I am about to use an outside resource. 

I see that the value of haste and critical is much more than the value of mastery so indeed having 700 of those stats mixed is much better than having 1000 mastery.  So I go with the expertise bracers even if I do not need the expertise and will end over cap because in the end I get more useful stats otherwise because of it.

I don't know about you Mr. Crab but I find that incredibly interesting.  Most people would just see that they were at hit and expertise cap already and think, the one without either hit or expertise are best.  But it is not.  That seems pretty interesting to me.  Not everything is black and white as long as reforging is around.  Without reforging the ones without hit and expertise are the best hands down if you do not need either of those stats but thanks to reforging not everything is so clear cut.  How exactly is that not interesting?  Because people use addons to help them make this decision?  I think not.

It is not a case of just getting a piece of gear and going to Mr. Robot and asking what should I do with it.  It is deciding what piece of gear would actually be the best.  Even if things like Mr. Robot are great for helping me decide that they are not perfect.  I have seen that, and many other, resources tell me one piece was better than another but be wrong because they over valued one stat or another.  It takes playing with weights, switching multiple pieces of gear, and basically knowing how to use the resource to its fullest extent to get the best data out of it.  While most just look for what it says is best and go with it, the players that know better will spend a fair deal of time with it to find the right thing.  I find that interesting.

So yes, people can just put on gear and ask some website or some addon for what is best and do it and that might not seem at all interesting but you are looking for something to be interesting that can not and will not ever be interesting to anyone in the game that is just looking for a simple, what is best for me right now answer.

Reforging is not about being interesting, it is about being efficient.  Who cares if people just go to use some resource to figure out what is best?  There is a reason something is best.  Because numbers do not lie.  Best is best.  If I get more DPS from having a 700 stat mix of critical and haste than I do from 1000 mastery is it not up for debate.  It is a fact.  Math does not lie and math is only interesting to those that find it so.  Reforging is about math, not about being interesting.

With all that said, reforging is fine.  Sure, it can be annoying that getting one new piece means you need to reforge 6 pieces but that is how things go and that is why the websites and addons are there.  Because they help us remove the step of figuring it out on our own.  But in the end whether we figure it out on our own or if we use an addon it is not interesting.  It is just a matter of what is best.

That is why for healers, as you mentioned, it is interesting.  Because for healers (and to some extent tanks as well) it is not all about one bottom line number.  For damage dealers it is only about what you can put out.  A simple number that is best or not.  For healers (and tanks) it is about feel.

Is your team weak in the DPS department making fights last longer?  Perhaps you need more spirit to last it out.  Perhaps your team is downing things in record time, you can go for another type of build as mana is never an issue.  Maybe you are a shaman that is put on tank heals and find that a mastery build works better for you or you are the type that is more comfortable with a crit build.  Both can get the job done just fine, so you have choice and it is interesting because it is based on how you, as a player, enjoy playing your class.

The thing you need to remember is that reforging was never about being interesting when it comes to damage dealers.  Reforging was always about being efficient.  Getting rid of that extra hit, or picking up that little bit you need.  Passing on that worst secondary stat for something that is actually useful for your class and spec.  Not interesting, but effective.

Reforging is a great addition to the game and sure many need an addon to get it "perfect" but what exactly is wrong with that?

I would love to go back to what I was going to post and explain how now is the time for reforging to move a step forward, even more so with these insane stats on gear and the blanket 40% really not cutting it.  We need reforging to change to exact numbers.  No longer will I reforge 40% of the hit out of one piece when I only need to reforge 32% out of it.  I can enter the exact number and reforge 32% off of it.

Reforging needs to get better.  Reforging needs to get more mathy.  Reforging need to get even less interesting as you would say.  Reforging needs to be what it was intended to be.  Something that makes us be the best we can be with the gear we have.  I love reforging for that and I am sure many others do, even if we do get frustrated that it is just another thing we need to go through each time we get a new piece of gear.

If reforging is not good because it is not interesting then gems are not good because they are not interesting and enchants are not good because they are not interesting and PvP is not good  because it is not interesting (to me) or raiding is not good because it is not interesting (to some).  I am sure every single aspect of the game someone out there will say, it is not interesting.  Reforging is about being effective, not interesting.

Stop complaining that reforging is not interesting because people use addons for it.  That is like saying raiding is not interesting because we have deadly boss mods.  Just because there is an addon out there that tells you how to do it right doesn't mean it is not interesting.  Someone can have the best reforging they can have, it won't make them a good player, just like someone can have deadly boss mods and it does not make them a great raider.

Addons just help make things easier.  The interesting part of the game is actually in getting better playing it.  Let the addons handle reforging and stop worrying about if it is interesting or not.  It is effective and that is all that matters.

For damage dealers it will never be interesting.  There will always be a best reforge for the best damage you can do.  When there is a set right and a set wrong, there will never be interesting.  Unless you find math interesting that is.

Something does not need to be interesting to be good for the game.  It just needs to be useful and reforging is useful.  Not to mention, it works as a gold sink too.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What if: You Could Breed Pets?

This what if question is not really out of the realm of possibly.  For those that may not have noticed nearly all pets have a male and a female version out there.  Sure looking at your Alpine Hare you can not tell the difference but there is an entry in the database that shows what "type" of pet it really is.

Your pet could very well be male or female and you will never notice it.  Just like some pets have higher life but lower speed and power while others have higher speed but are lower in health and power.  There are various combinations that are dictated by a flag in the database that makes your pet have the statistics it does.

So breeding might be possible some day in the future and I was thinking about what if it were added as the way to get epic pets and it would be the only way to get epic pets.

Lets jump into the game of speculation and wonder what if we could breed pets, how would it work?

1) Double Power Epic:

Lets say you have an Alpine Hare that has the health boost and an Alpine Hare that has the strength boost.  Breeding them could end up with the result of an Alpine hare that has both increased health and increased power along with its already fast speed making for a really power house bunny.

Something like that would surely be epic wouldn't it?  Makes you wonder if this is how epic pets will be added.

2) Cross Breed Epic: 

We all have our favorite pets but sometimes our favorite pet just won't cut it.  As much as I love my killer rabbit from the darkmoon faire there are fights he was just not cut out for.  So perhaps I can breed my Darkmoon Rabbit with a Fel Flame and if I am lucky enough I will end up with a elemental Darkmoon Rabbit or maybe even a critter Fel Flame.

Something like this cross breeding would have to be considered epic because it is off the chart of average.  It is not something that can be found in game.  It is something that needs to be breed if you want to get it.

I can just imagine already having an entire army of Darkmoon Rabbits of all types.  A mechanical one, a magic one, a beast one, a humanoid one... I just feel like letting out an evil cackle of a mad scientist and I build my army of Darkmoon Rabbits.  Fear the bunny brigade.

3) Dual Breed Epic:

What if I breed my Darkmoon Rabbit with the Fel Flame and ended up with a Darkmoon Rabbit that now counted as both a critter and an elemental.  It would have the strengths of both of them as well as the weaknesses of both of them.

Something like that would be really tricky in battle with double the weakness but if planned correctly and against the right team double the strength would be about as powerful as powerful could get.  Epic indeed.

4) Double Boost Epic:

Maybe you can only breed equals in this what if world and you have a male Alpine Hare with a health boost so you head out and find yourself a female Alpine Hare with a health boost and let them spend the weekend at the bunny hut to do what it is bunnies do when they are left unattended for any length of time.

Would you come back to find a double health boost Alpine Hare?  Not only will it have more health than the average one but it would have double that amount giving it a really robust health pool to enter battle with.  This would surely be epic would it not?

5) Breed Only Epic:

How about the epic pets be ones that can only be attained by breeding two rare pets together?  Lets say you could breed two of the harder to find pets together to make one special pet of that type.  Like the Unborn Val'kyr and the Restless Shade, two undead creatures, and maybe get a new undead of the epic quality called the Restless Val'kyr.

6) Upgrade to Epic:

Then there is the simple breeding to get an epic idea.  Just breed two rares of the same type and hope and pray that your fuzzy little companions bless you with a runt of the purple variety.  No special power boosts, no dual classes, no new beast, just an epic version of the two you mixed.  So you want to get yourself an epic Alpine Hare?  Find a male and a female and let them go at it until they breed you an epic baby Alpine Hare.

There are so many ideas I could go on and on.

There would have to be some rules to the breeding of course.  Depending on which type it would be.  Outside of the obvious one where you would need a male and a female of course.  Maybe for some of the breeding combinations you could only breed them in the summer, or winter.  Others could only be breed if you start the breeding process at night while others only during the day.  Perhaps they could even have specific ones that are breed only during specific events.  Like there would be a new rabbit that can only be breed during the noblegarden event.  Or a undead that can only be breed during the halloween event.

You would have to believe that it is possible that some day in the future epics pets might make their way into the game but what better way to make the epic pets than to make them breed only pets.  Keep the world pets, the achievement pets, the purchasable pets all of the rare at best quality and do not add any epic stones.  Those will always be rare at best but if you want epic, you have to make epic.

To make the epic pets more epic of course you would need to add chance to the mix, for as much as I do not like the "luck" factor, it would have to be there.  Limited time pets would have a very high chance to be breed like the noblegarden one, but the ones that are year round would have to be only a small chance to get an epic.  Maybe you would get a poor or common or uncommon or even rare, but being stones will only ever get you up to a rare, if you want that pet of epic variety you need to keep breeding until you hit the breeders jackpot.

It would not need to be left only at what I mentioned as the 6 possible epic pets that could all come.  It could be so much more.  So many mixes and matches and so many layers that will make you earn your pets.

For example, a good pattern for making a really hard to get epic would be something like you need to breed a critter and an elemental to get a dual pet that is both critter and elemental and then you would need to breed a magic and a beast to get one that is both a magic and a beast.  So once you have your magic/beast epic and your critter/elemental epic you can now breed those two together to get that noblegarden special pet.   So while that rare limited pet will be one that you can get easier with much less left to luck, the process to build up to it would still require work and a little bit of luck.  So those, like myself, that are unlucky, if we plan in advance, we can get our magic/beast and critter/elemental ready in advance so we don't have to get the beat down from lady luck.

There are so many things that can be done with breeding but one thing is for sure, if they ever add it, we will need a lot more than 1000 pet spaces.  That is for sure.

What if you could breed pets?  How do you see it as happening if it ever does?

I would like to see it as the only way to get epic pets is from breeding and breeding only.  That seems a lot more epic than just using a stone to upgrade it or heading out in the world to catch it.  It would be the perfect place to add breeding in my opinion.

As a little side note, as I see it, you should only be allowed to breed one pet at a time and the amount of time should depend on the pet coming out.  At least 24 hour breeding time for an epic pet.  Maybe as low as 2 hours if you get stuck with a poor you will end up releasing back into the world.

And where exactly do I see this breeding happening?  In our new player housing area coming next expansion in a breeding pen that was built by someone with the new professions of woodworking and carpentry of course, also coming next expansion.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'd Like A New LFR Loot Design

I've been thinking for a long time, actually since the LFR first came out, that the LFR needs a better loot design.  They have made a great deal of changes.  First was group loot where people would roll need even if they did not need or roll need on things just to keep others from getting them.  This was bad design for random content with that many people that I am still amazed to this day that blizzard actually allowed to go live.

I remember that first week of the DS LFR and 2 bows dropped, I rolled need on them of course as a hunter, and a rogue won both of them.  The same rogue won both of them.  I was upset but not nearly as much as some of the other hunters in there.  If I remember correctly it took another 19 weeks for me to even see another bow drop in the LFR.

Events like that happened on a daily basis and that bought on a change that only some classes could roll on some things.  This fixed some issues but not all.  Like my shaman healer losing a shield to a retribution paladin.  First, why was a retribution paladin allowed to roll need on something that is not for their spec, and even if you allowed them to roll need for off spec reasons why did they get to +100 bonus when retribution paladins do not even use shields?

I put in multiple tickets, and this is most likely when I really began to lose faith in the ticket system.  Not one person that responded to any of my tickets answered my question which was how did a healing shaman that uses shields lose a healing shield to a retribution paladin that does not even use shields.

All I wanted was someone to say, it must be a bug.  He should not have won it.  Anything to acknowledge that there was a problem with the loot system but I got "if they can roll they can win" type responses.  Well, go screw yourself GM.

So when they went to the personal loot system I was all for it.  No longer would my hunter lose weapons to a rogue or my shaman lose shields to a retribution paladin.  I would either win or lose.

Admittedly I was never completely fond of it but it was better than seeing someone else win something they had no right to even roll on because blizzard could not develop a decent and fair rolling system.

I was okay with the personal loot system until the other week when doing ToT normal and I won something I had been looking for and immediately said, thank god I thought I would never win this, I've killed this boss a million times.

And then it occurred to me.  I did not kill this boss a million times.  I killed it 6 times on that character.  It just felt like a million times I have killed it because I have killed it so many times in the LFR on so many characters and it all starts to blend together seeing gold bag after gold bag and when I won something it felt like I had killed that boss a lot on normal when in fact I had not killed it all that often at all.

So while the LFR personal loot system is better than it had been when it was first introduced last expansion and first adjusted last expansion, it still seems to have a horrible side effect, at least for me.

It is making me lose track of who is killing what and where I am killing it because I have killed it so many times on so many different characters in both normal and LFR.  It starts to blend together.  You see baggie after baggie and gold after gold on coins and suddenly it is not one character killing a boss for 6 weeks that did not get anything, it is 8 characters killing that boss over those 6 weeks and it feels like you did not get that piece you needed after 48 kills.  Not 6 like it really was.

Loot dropping from the LFR needs to be removed completely.

You heard me right.  LFR should no longer drop loot at all.  Not even the rare chance of it.  Not loot, ever.

There has to be a better looting system for the LFR, one that does not make people feel as if all they ever do is lose.  After running it week after week and for some people on multiple characters, it can start to feel like you never win anything.  And as one of those people that feels that way I can tell you that is a really shitty feeling.

My proposed change to the LFR loot system would be two fold.  First remove all the gear from all bosses and place everything that drops at a vendor in the LFR version of the raid.  Second is all bosses drop a kill token.  As this tier would drop a T15 kill token.  If you use a coin you get a second kill token on the boss.  Just like loot currently is you can only get something off a boss once a week, so you can only get one kill token a week per boss you kill.

Now to that vendor I mentioned.  Every single piece of gear that would have dropped from bosses is now available at that vendor.  Rings, back and neck for 8 kill tokens each.  Waist and wrists at 10 tokens.  Trinkets and boots at 12 tokens.  Head, chest, legs, arms and shoulders at 16 tokens each and the tier versions of said items at 20 tokens each.  One handed weapons would be 10 tokens, two handed weapons would be 20 and offhands and shields would be 10.

What this would do is make the gearing patterns quite clear in the LFR.  No luck involved.  If you want the chest tier token you will not run it week after week hoping for a drop.  You will just kill 20 bosses and trade in for that tier token for your chest.

It would also remove that feeling of "gold again" off every boss that people have gotten accustom to by now.  No one likes to never win and no one likes to see someone say "hey look I got the shoulder token I don't need because I already have 3 of them" when you have been trying for 12 weeks for it and using a coin each week and still do not have it.

Loot, or not getting it, is just not a fun aspect of the game.  Sure it is fun to get the loot but it is not fun to not get it.  And it is even more frustrating when it starts to feel like you have killed a boss a million times and never get anything, even if you only really killed it 6 times.  Because it all starts to blend together seeing gold bag after gold bag after gold bag.

With dropping tokens that means every time you down a boss, you win.  No matter what.  It gives you incentive to kill all the bosses each week to speed up your process of collecting the tokens and every kill is one step closer to getting what you want.  It is no longer of case of "maybe I will get it this week" as it becomes a case of, I just need 5 more kill tokens to get my piece.  Which in the end, is a lot more exciting then seeing another gold bag pop up, don't you think?

I always have always been a fan of the earn your gear design over the luck design and this system would really support that.  You kill enough bosses you earn the right to buy the gear with tokens from those bosses.  No longer will you ever have to hear someone say, "I have had no luck with drops" because they have no excuse.  If they needed something that costs 10 kill tokens they just need to kill 10 bosses and get tokens.  No luck needed.

I think the LFR needs a new loot design, one that makes people feel like they are winning sometimes and something that does not start to blend in with the real raid as just "another week with nothing."