Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- I decided to try the LFR on some other characters this week.

- As always, it was a mistake.

- When will blizzard understand that any level of difficulty in random content just does not work?

- When will I be smart enough to realize that blizzard will never learn and just quit?

- As runs go I've had worse, even if doing it this time around was not exactly fun.

- Blizzard has to do something to the LFR to try and make it fun.

- After all, we play a game to have fun don't we?

- Well, I do at least.

- I figured I would give it a try on my healers because the one hour seven minute wait for a damage dealer did not seem all that attractive and I will not tank them.

- Even if blizzard offered to send me a check in the mail for 50 bucks every time I tanked one I still would not tank one.

- The time thing is another issue all in its own.

- I think I could deal with the crap a little better if I did not have to spend so much time submerged in it.

- They keep saying LFR is something people can do on their lunch hour.

- Where are all these jobs that have 5 hour lunch hours?

- Really, I want to know, I could definitely use getting a new job where I have a 5 hour lunch hour.

- Heck, even the best of the best runs when entering the queue as a damage dealer it will take a hour sometimes, plus 20 minutes wait time.

- That is best case scenario most of the time, an hour + including the wait.

- That would mean I would need to have at least a 3 hour lunch break to do it.

- 30 minutes to get home from work, 20 minutes wait, an hour to do it, and 30 minutes back to work.

- Okay, so I would need a 2 hour 20 minutes lunch break, at least.

- So where are all these jobs blizzard talks about where you can do this on your lunch break?

- I really want to know because I must have the worlds shittiest job because my lunch hour is actually 30 minutes.

- Even if I could get home fast, by the time my queue popped I would need to be back at work.

- I think blizzard really needs to touch base with reality.

- LFR is not something that you can do on your lunch hour.

- LFR is hard core raiding without hard core skills.

- It is raiding for massive amounts of time, something reserved for those hard core raiders.

- I spent more time in one LFR than I did in the actual raid this week.

- And I raided 2 nights this week and still spent more time in one LFR.

- Yes, LFR needs to be adjusted big time.

- It needs to be made quicker, easier, and into something that might be considered fun.

- If people want challenge they can do grouped content, not random content.

- Didn't they learn from cataclysm that challenge and random do not go well together?

- Another thing they really need to change with the LFR is if you have never done it before, always give you a fresh run.

- Seriously, it is annoying doing it for the first time and needing to do it 4 freaking times before you can move to the second part.

- I joined in on my priest healer, hey, it had the baggie and I was willing to give it a shot, might as well heal right.

- I have not healed in quite some time and was still sitting on a low item level, 506 I think, but I should be more than capable of doing it.

- The required item level is only 496 after all, and I will touch on that mistake later.

- I also filled in to heal for a boss or two in ToT so if I can do that I should be fine here.

- I joined in on the last boss.

- With 5 stacks of determination.

- Well, that sure made me feel like one hell of a great healer after not having done it in so long.

- We wiped, 2 times, and then we finally finished it.

-  So my "instant" healer baggie queue took 12 minutes actually, and another 50 minutes in there.

- So one hour for one boss.

- All for a baggie with nothing worthwhile in it and a repair bill that the random gold and the baggie gold did not even cover.

- That is another change they need to make to the LFR.

- It is bad enough they group you with a bunch of people that have no clue what they are doing and are unwilling to listen to people that are trying to teach them, but they make us pay for the right to be there with repair bills.

- F you blizzard, seriously.

- Remove durability losses from LFR.

- So I queue again, this time no baggie.

- Not sure why there was even a baggie last time being it took 12 minutes to get it anyway.

- But this time with no baggie I get in instantly.

- Okay, make me wait 12 minutes, give me a baggie and let me in instantly because I am really needed and I get no baggie?

- Working as intended blizzard?

- I get in on the second boss, 3 stacks of determination.

- Holy crap, not only do I still not get in on the first boss, but they give me another horrible group.

- Blizzard hates me, they really hate me.

- Even if doing the last boss I felt like a god healing, did 140K with the stacks and even finished 11th in DPS, this time around I could not help but think, I am just way too out of practice and maybe I should not queue again.

- People start dropping off the pull.

- I am doing everything I can to keep people up, rolling through every tool in my toolbox trying my best.

- We get to the rook transition and nearly half the raid is dead now and I am OOM.

- Yes, OOM that fast, when I can normally go the entire fight with no mana issues.

- People are dropping like crazy and I am feeling completely useless, I can't keep anyone up.

- Any healer knows that feeling I am talking about, the feeling of complete helplessness.

- We revive a few people and continue to push on only to see rook go into transition again but if that was not bad enough, a few seconds later, the few smart people that had switched to He transition him.

- They had 3 stacks, are you telling me they still have not figured out how to stop tunneling rook?

- We wipe.

- I run back, feeling completely useless as a healer, and consider staying for a moment, consider helping this group out, and decide for my sanity it is not worth it.

- I drop group and log off the game, feeling as if I just wasted my time and the time of 24 others, because I just could not do it.

- I feel as if the entire wipe was all my fault, like I should have done something to save them, and I couldn't.

- I log back on later that day and figure I will try again.

- Yes, I know, I am an idiot and a glutton for punishment.

- I enter queue and get in on the third boss.

- Oh come the F on.

- All I want to do is finish the damn raid, give me a fresh run.

- Again, Blizzard, if someone does not have the achievement for the wing always give them a fresh run.

- I start running toward the boss and get to where you need to run through all the sha.

- I am looking around at all the trash they did not clear and wondering, how the hell did they make it through here.

- I say, screw it, and drop group.

- Oddly enough I did not get the 15 minute deserter.

- Perhaps the game realizes I never do that, so why penalize me for it.

- Perhaps the game realized if they made me wait 15 minutes I might not try again and they would lose the pleasure of torturing me some more.

- I enter the queue again, attempt # 4 for a fresh run.

- I get a fresh run.

- We one shot the first boss, we one shot the second boss, this is more like it.

- I start to feel like this is the run I should always get, this is what all runs should be like, this is what should be considered the worst run ever, I should not be referring to it as a great run, this should be the worst any runs ever gets.

- If the worst any run ever gets is the bosses going down in one shot, with some mistakes and some deaths, but still a kill, the LFR would be fine.

- My joy of the first two bosses would not last long however, I still needed to kill the third to get my achievement and that might still end up being an issue.

- My healing numbers are getting better as I am getting more used to doing it again.

- Having a group that does not go out of their way to stress you out goes a long way in making a healer feel better.

- It was enough to make me realize that my last attempt on the protectors with that other group was not because I was out of practice but it was really just that bad of a group.

- No matter how good I was, even if I had the best of the best in gear and skill, I probably would have still not been able to heal that group.

- Made me feel a little better, but when people die and you are the healer you can not help but think it was your fault.

- I am sure other healers know exactly what I am talking about.

- Third boss becomes a brick wall however as we wipe 5 times.

- I got to go into the test for the first time as a healer however.

- I got there and was like, what the hell do I do?

- I did not prepared as a healer and did not read up on it.

- I know, that is not like me.

- Oh well, I will just heal the people in there.

- Greater heal, max health, greater heal, max health, greater heal, max health, oh, have to dispel, done, out.

- Really?  Was that all there is to the healer challenge?

- Compared to the tank and the damage dealer one that one seems pretty unfair.

- You just need to go in there and basically do nothing.

- The tank one you can die in if you mess up, the damage dealer one you can die in if you mess up, the healer one can not be messed up, at least not in the LFR version.

- I have seen healers die in there, how is that even possible?

- Each stack of determination my numbers went up.

- I feel super powerful now.

- So powerful I think I might have even been able to heal that one group with this buff.

- Or maybe not.

- Woohoo, and as a disc priest, damage the boss, heal the people, this is going to rock.

- Too bad it seems like everyone else that went into the test failed at it.

- Is this the good group that one shot the first two bosses or did I turn my head and everyone left and was replaced by exact replicas?

- Jesus I have a raid, I need to leave, can we just do this.

- I started almost three hours before raid time and even if we one shot the first two bosses we ended up being stuck here and boss three and raid time is in a few minutes.

- Again, is this something you can squeeze in during a lunch break?

- I want to work at blizzard if they think lunch breaks are 5 hours long, it must rock to work there.

- We finally down it, and I am still late for my own freaking raid.

- The LFR needs a lot of fixing.

- Speaking of one fix, there is no reason my (now) 512 priest should have more life than a warrior tank.

- Okay, I did not have more life than him, but he only had 27K more life than me.

- Not right, really not right.

- He had all island 496 and 535 gear and a 437 weapon and a 442 shield and one 437 ring and one 450 trinket.

- He was not LFR ready, he should be in heroic dungeons or MV LFR.

- But no, he was our tank for one attempt.

- The group chases him, and rightfully so.

- You can not go and give out 496 gear like candy and then make the item level to get into the new LFR 496.

- It just does not work, case and point the runs I was in.

- Damage dealers doing less than 40K DPS because they had low weapons and all 496 gear and 535 island gear.

- Healers in all badly itemized 496 and 535 gear.

- Tanks like the one I mentioned.

- 40K DPS was bad, but acceptable, for MV LFR, you should not be allowed to queue for SoO if that is all you can do regardless of item level.

- They need to add some sort of minimum standards to LFR.

- Not sure how they would manage it, but something needs to be done.

- It would be really hard to create a level of acceptable performance.

- Even more so for healers, the better the group is, the less healing they need, so how would that work?

- Low heals could then be a function of being in a great group, or being a bad healer.

- I did the third part of ToT, to try and get the pet from the saurok guy, being the one that drops in LFR is unique to LFR, so I either gear it there or I never get it.

- Being you can get it with a coin as well as a drop I figured I will do that a few times each week trying to get it.

- Seems like a lot are doing it, the groups were not really all that bad and there were some decent players in it.

- But there were also some that had me scratching my head.

- I'll call it a tale of two healers, being I was healing so I noticed the other healers.

- First boss, one healer at 12K and another at 9K.

- I did not check their gear, not a lot of healing needs to be done on that first boss, maybe they were just a little slow and me and another healer that did well ate up all the healing.

- It is quite possible you know, so I do not fault them, but I noticed it.

- Second boss, more of the same, 17K and 12K this time.

- Okay, while waiting in front of the door to the third boss, no my pet did not drop, I decided to inspect them.

- The higher of the two bad healers was really lucky in LFR.  They had five 528 pieces, two 540 pieces upgraded to 548, and the rest were either 526 or 530, meaning all their other stuff was upgraded once or twice.  They had one bad ring, a 496.

- The lesser of the two bad healers was in mostly 450 gear, I am guessing they got in on the strength of their DPS gear and didn't exactly have decent healing gear.  They had a 496 or 2, but that was about it.

- The first healer I immediately labeled a bad healer.  There is no way in hell that someone that out gears me by at least 25 item levels can be doing an eighth of what I am when I am out of practice.

- Even if they were not trying they should have been able to run circles around my numbers.

- The other healer, even if they were dead last on the healing meters, earns my respect.

- They could have entered the queue as a healer and just DPSed.  But no, they are actually trying to heal.

- With all those people around them that really out gear them, and possibly out skill them, of course their healing numbers were going to be low.

- They were actually trying to learn how to heal and being everyone lived and it was not even close to a problem I would never in a million years complain about someone trying to learn.

- As a matter of fact I would praise someone that is trying to learn, more so trying to learn in that most hostile of settings known and the dreaded LFR.

- Now if we were in dire need because we were having issues I might have said, we do not have the room for someone to learn, but between myself and the number two healer, anything anyone else could do was just gravy.

- Stuff like this would mess up my minimum performance idea.

- How can you really judge healers?

- Damage dealers and tanks, maybe, but healers, it is hard to judge them by numbers.

- While I might support the guy in 528 gear being shown the door the guy in the 450 gear really was doing about as good as his gear would allow him and you could tell he was just learning.

- So in theory, while saying it make sense, there is no way to make a minimum required, at least for healers.

- For damage dealers it is another story.

- I've seen more wipes to enrage timers than I have ever seen before.

- I've seen more wipes to simple mechanics than I have ever seen before.

- As I always say, the role of the damage dealer is the most important role and it has never been more apparent than in the LFRs.

- While there is a lot more to it if I simplify it damage dealers have two jobs.

- Follow mechanics and do damage.

- Both are equally important, like that one group that turned rook twice before the other two to show mechanics matter or the group that did the mechanics right on the third boss, but still did not have enough DPS to get it done until we were at 5 stacks.

- That could be judged a little easier.

- On one of the protector fights someone got the circle and despite being told before the pull to stack when you have it, and the consistent raid warnings the raid leader spammed when they were running way from everyone, they still kept running.

- It was funny seeing the entire raid chase this person and them continuing to run.

- Where is the common sense, even if they missed the prepull explanation or the big red in the middle of your screen raid warnings letters over and over, the fact that there are a dozen people chasing you should make a light bulb go over your head and say, if this many people are running to me, maybe that means I am supposed to be with them.

- I gave up and the second person I saw doing the same thing I let run away, and then used leap of faith to get them into the group at the right time.

- If they will not come to us, I will bring them too us.

- One of the few awesome uses I have found for leap of faith so far.

- On the 4th fight, the sha fight, with about 6 or 7 stacks or so when we finally downed it, we still had 5 damage dealers under 50K.

- That is a minimum performance that you can find a way to institute.

- While you can not have people heal more than people need to be healed, you can have something that says, if you are still not pulling 100K with a 35% buff and AoE phases, you should not be allowed to enter the LFR system at all, ever, until you learn how to play your class better.

- You could throw a land shark you got from blingtron and pull over 100K most likely during the add phase.

- So yeah, it seems like an entire monday random thoughts about the LFR again.

- Just be glad I do not give you the run through I did on my shaman as a healer as well.

- But I will say, I can surely feel those buffs.

- 510 item level, even without stacks of determination, pulling over 125K on all bosses, yeah, I can feel the buffs they got, big time.

- I did not even have a healing addon set up for it.

- Yes, it has been that long since I healed on my shaman because my guild has so many of them to start off with.

- Good thing every ability I have I have a mouse over macro for.

- Makes it so easy to heal if your addon crashes, or you make a stupid mistake like I did and forget you did not have a healing addon set up.

- Instead of going into details on my shamans run I will just leave it with a simple summation.

- 4 hours, and I never finished.

- Something you can do during your lunch break, as blizzard says.

- Working as intended.

- Have a great day.

Friday, September 27, 2013

From Gear Check to Skill Check: What Made Wrath the Expansion of the Raider

This entire expansion we have been seeing posts on blogs, forums and anywhere you might find written word about warcraft online speaking about raiding.  From the beginning mandatory dailies complaints, to the valor grinding complaints and reputation grinding complaints to LFR and whether to keep it or remove it complaints to is raiding becoming to complex discussions.

No matter where you look someone is saying what is wrong with raiding or what is right with raiding.  One of my favorite discussions are the complexity ones, ones I have mentioned myself when referencing the looking for raid system and my belief that they are too hard for the average player.

Another one of the complexity arguments that always is sure to get me reading is the vanilla vs modern raiding threads.  Both sides argue their points well, the posts that are not just flinging insults at each other at least, and I can actually agree with both sides.  So my opinion would be best considered on the fence even if I were pressed to make a decision and would say moderns raiding in a thousand times harder than vanilla raiding.

See, I agree with what some people say about vanilla.  The difficulty with vanilla was in spending time playing.  Things were more a gear check.  Having enough gear to beat the boss, or more importantly the appropriate resistance gear to not get beaten by the boss.  That and of course finding 40 people, but that part of it is another story all together.

I did not raid during that time but I have read more than enough from the people that have and what the difficulties of that type of raiding was.  It was not with the boss tactics, it was with the time needed to gather all you needed to raid.  It was about assembling enough people to get it done.  It was about hours and hours of grinding for materials, for crafted items, for PvP items, for potions, for flasks, for everything, you needed to grind your butt off. 

It was about what was the best gear which sometimes meant you wore a mix and match of gear between the current raid, the previous raid and maybe even a dungeon piece or two all because the item levels (which did not really exist then) meant nothing, but what stats the items had on it meant everything. There was no reforging, so sometimes having a piece with better stats for you from the previous raids was actually the better item.  That was all because there was no huge gear inflation back then, so all gear was relevant gear. 

Not sure, but I think I would like to see if that would work in today's world, would people do MV if the gear in it was better than the gear in SoO?  It was more complex back then over all.  It wasn't just a case of raid the current tier for the best gear, but raid everything you could because the best gear came from everything.  All raids mattered, all raids had something for someone.  It was more complex to build a good set of gear back then.

The game is just not that complex any longer.  It is not that time consuming any longer.  You can get your food and flask and potions just by logging on a few hours before the raid, if that.  If you give out buffs they last longer and no longer need reagents.   Resistance gear is no longer needed, heck, it is no longer even in the game for current content.  I don't need to carry around 5000 arrows any more.  Many of the things that made vanilla raiding so difficult have all been removed from the game.

You could call everything about raiding in vanilla a gear check.  If your guild lost their tank and needed to get another and they would have to gear them up.  Running old content, gathering to craft them the resistance gear, basically putting their gear through the gear check.

As time has went on more and more conveniences have been added to the game.  Just the world of differences in paladins buffs from five minute ones, to 10 minutes ones, to 30 minutes ones, to ones that lasted an hour.  From needing to bless one at a time with reagents with various different ones that the paladin would need to know which worked best for which class.  Having it simplified to two buffs, all cast on the entire group and not individual and needing no reagents was a huge plus when it comes to the convenience factor.

Even if I did not raid back in vanilla I have seen a lot of changes and I know from a hunters standpoint it is a lot less to worry about not having to carry stacks of food for my pet, and arrows, and checking for my pet to be buffed as well as myself.  All changes we call general convenience.  None of it was ever really "difficult" but it was, or could be, time consuming and require attention.  Showing up to a raid with an unhappy pet and half the arrow you need would not be a good thing.  Wasn't hard to do, but compared to now where we have to do nothing of the sort, anything is harder than how it is now, even that.

All those little things could be considered part of the gear check.  Having a pet ready to fight and happy and not upset with you, which required feeding, was as important as having a better bow would be.  Having arrows means you could actually use that bow.  Having the paladin and the priest and the mage all have their reagents so they could buff you was like another layer of gear, so someone else doing their job by making sure they were ready to raid made you more ready to raid also.  It was all something that increased your performance.  So when looking at all those little things, all those time consuming things, all those things that required materials, gathering, preparing, grinding, being read ahead of time and preparing, etc, they were all part of the gear check.

That was vanilla raiding in a whole.  Vanilla raiding, as I see it from all the people I have spoken with and posts I have read, was all about the gear check.  Having the gear with the right stats, the right resistances were just as important has having all the other tools needed to make that gear better.  The buffs, the food, the flasks, the potions that you could use over and over and over again and not just once like now.  All that boosted your potential, all that could be considered part of your gear.

It was when the game started to remove some of the "grind" from the game that it started to change, to make the shift from gear check to skill check.  If we could just jump ahead from where this started to where we are I sometimes wonder how both actions were called raids.  They both could be classified as raids, but there is nothing really all that similar between a vanilla raider and a mists raider besides the fact they both play warcraft.

When the burning crusade came the era of convenience started to bloom even if ever so slightly.  Some things were added to the game that made the whole catching up through gear slightly easier while at the same time many advances in the grind for items and additional raid necessities became lessened.  It all remained there for the most part, just the trip to get it seemed shorter.  Problematic things started to be removed or simplified.

From that point on and in each incarnation of the game with each expansion they added more convenience by changing, removing or improving things as well as requiring a lesser of a gear check for the raiding part of the game. During that entire time and through all those changes they tried to keep the balance between gear check and skill check but increasing the skill check a little at a time for each new convenience they added that lessened the load of the gear check. The burning crusade started to see more complex bosses and the slider started to drift from the right which was gear to the left which was skill.

While there have always been and will always be bosses we call gear checks in every expansion they are not real gear checks, not like any vanilla raid sort of gear check.  Even the most simple of simple bosses in vanilla was a much larger gear check than anything we like to call a gear check now.  Making sure your tanks had the fire resist cloaks required much more work than waiting for a drop off the second boss, or buying the valor point cloak.  Making sure the tanks had massive amounts of potions to use for their defense or resistance.  Or having a massive amount of potions for everyone else, them using healing one, even bandages on themselves and on others because the tank would need all the attention.  All things that required a great deal of time to gather and get ready for.  Yes they are both equally fitting into the "gear" category but one was wait for to drop or buy and the other was grind your butt off to get it and a million other little things to assist with getting it.   The vanilla gear check by design for every boss was more than just gear, it was things that enhanced your gear.  So once you got that resist cloak your gearing did not end, you need your potions to add more to it, each and every week to support that gear.

The vanilla grind one was the real gear check.  If you wanted to be a raider, a real raider, you got that cloak and stocked up on potions, now that was a gear check.  If you needed a new tank you went through all the old content and got them the wrists from last tier, the waist from the tier before, the crafted resist items and every other little piece that was the best fit for the content you wanted them to be doing with you.  It was really a case of gearing up a new tank.

Now, when you want to gear up a new tank you just blow through last tiers content, pass them all the drops and hope for the best.  No matter what they get, it will be good enough because of the gear inflation being what it is and with the addition of reforging almost any gear will do.  Any new gear is getting the gear you need.  Any cloak that drops is a good cloak, you do not need a resist one.  The gear check is gone, because any gear is good gear as long as it of the appropriate item level and that gear is in the right hands of a skilled enough player.  This leaves current raiding more skill related than gear related.  Sure, gear helps, gear matters, but that is another post all together.  The difference is that any waist, any wrists and any cloak will do just fine to catch up a new tank now whereas in vanilla the right waist, the right wrists, and the right cloak were the only way you caught up your new tank.

So what made wrath the expansion of the raider?

Depending on who you ask it would be many different things.  Some people would cite 10 and 25 man lock outs as the boost that gave wrath the distinction as the raiding expansion.  Them being on separate lockout might be something another would say.  The "easier" 10s is something many people like to say was a boost to the raiding population.  The fact that the gear explosion was just starting but not full fledged meant something from a previous tier might still be best for you and that left a taste of the right gear matters more than the newest gear sometimes even if rarely which is a throwback to the beginning days of raiding.

Convenience really started to take center stage in wrath, gearing up became a lot easier if you were playing catch up, getting up to snuff was not half of the task it used to be removing one of the largest "difficulties" of vanilla raiding.  Smaller sizes to raids meant they were more accessible to smaller circles of friends and no one could ever deny that.  Buffs began to get simplified even if stats had not quite done the same yet.

After wrath there was more simplification for the "harder" things vanilla needed to deal with as convenience went full force forward.  Things like no more pet happiness, no more ammo, one shared lock out for raids, locked by boss and not by raid ID all came along with many others in cataclysm.  In mists we saw more and more convenience added with group wide buffs that took no reagents, rogues not needing to carry poisons, and what could be one of the most telling additions of complete convenience that actually came at the tail end of the expansion before it, a newer, lesser version of raiding that was meant for a random group.

The more convenience that was added to the game the more they had to increase the skill check to the bosses.  If there was so little effort to get to them now, they needed to be harder once you got there.  That is what the balance is all about.  The harder it was to get ready for a raid and get into a raid the easier they could make the raid, as a reward, but if you were getting the reward of being allowed to basically just walk into a raid because of the convenience of getting there, the raid itself needed to be harder.

When removing many of the factors that made vanilla raiding hard they needed to replace it with new difficulties in different ways.  The sliding bar moved more from the right of gear check to the left of skill check with each expansion that came out.  With each bit of gearing up that took a long time that was removed, the gear check on the outside dissipated and the skill check of the inside needed to be raised to compensate, to balance it out.

So, in my own personal opinion, the reason that wrath is often looked at as the high point for raiding is because it was at that perfect point between gear check and skill check.  The ability to over gear content was still there but it has some convenience added to it making it less time consuming than before. 

Convenience was also added to many parts of the game but not always some super simple as press one button and it was done like it is now, just ask any paladin applying buffs to everyone before a raid and ask them if buffing was simple and easy.  It was easier than vanilla paladin buffing for sure by leaps and bounds, but not one button easy and everyone gets the same thing like it is now.  The sliding bar between the gear check and the skill check was at its perfect point.  That is why I believe wrath worked well, why wrath attracted new raiders, why wrath is remembered as the expansion of the raider.

The raids themselves required more skill than most of the things that came before it even if people like to call wrath raiding easy.  They seem to forget that the reason it seemed easier was they were using 25 man gear to blow through 10 man content, which effectively meant they were over gearing it.  Of course it seemed easier. 

Two of the most complex and most unforgiving fights in the history of the game came from this expansion in the form of Yogg +0 and LK 25 heroic.  One of which required a raid wide flat out buff to beat even by the best guilds in the world, something no other boss in the history of the game can claim.  The most any other fight could claim was it needed targeted changes, not blanket ones.  So there was both ease and difficulty within the game at the same time in the same raid.  Once again showing that a balance had been found and it was a good one.

The more quality of life changes they add for the players, like not needing reagents, as small as that sounds, they are removing the little things that made vanilla raiding hard, tiny piece by tiny piece.  Each quality of life change we get for our convenience we need to have a balance on the other side and that other side is increasing the base skill level required to actually do the raid.

In vanilla anyone that had the time, put in the effort, and was willing to work for it, could have been a raider.  Time was the most important factor.  The difficulty was in being raid ready.  In mists, even if you are on 24/7 and get everything you can done every single week, if you are a lesser skilled player, you can not really get anything done, unless you don't mind being carried through the content.  The difficulty is in being raid aware.

The person with exceptional game play skills but no time to grind all the gear needed or raid for hours on end multiple tiers to try to catch up was basically locked out of raiding in vanilla.  The person with lesser skills but all the time in the world to get themselves everything they could get outside of the instance is basically locked out in mists, who cares if you can make the noodle cart if you can't get out of bad or preform at a hard line required minimum.

Wrath found that balance, where the exceptional player with not much time could play and raid.  Where the lesser skilled player with lots of time could play and raid.  Where neither of them would hold you back.  The exceptional player would let his skill speak for him, because the fact he did not have a resist cloak would not hold you back.  The lesser skilled player would let their time available get them gear outside of the raid to help compensate for their lack of skill otherwise in the raid.  They could both raid, they could both contribute, they will both remember wrath as the expansion that they felt most comfortable raiding in because in wrath they were both what we would call, raiders.

Now that exceptional player with bad gear because they do not have time is called the lazy player and that lesser player with all great gear and under performing is just called the bad player.  Thanks to wrath having the perfect balance from gear check to skill check that made wrath the expansion of the raider and back then we just called them both teammates.

So all these posts and points and discussions about raid difficulty mean nothing in the end.  The over all raid difficulty is basically the exact same now as it was in vanilla, just the bar is sliding more toward the skill check than the gear check, but there balance has always been the same, one plus the other equals the difficulty of the raid.  Wrath happened to find the sweet spot of just enough gear check and just enough skill check to be inclusive to the largest number of players, at least in my opinion, and that is why I believe raiding reached its high point during it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

PvEers, Stop Hating on PvP Gear

I did one of the celestial bosses on one of my lesser played alts this week and won two pieces.  One from a drop and one from a coin.  That is the best thing you could ever hope for.  Well, actually the best thing you can ever hope for is two PvE pieces, but when you don't have a great deal of gear on a character those PvP pieces are pretty damn awesome.

Think about it for a moment and if I told you that I won two 522 pieces this week for a character that was in mostly timeless island 496 items you would say congrats.  So why does it seems like most people say, well that sucks, when you point out those two pieces were PvP items?

At the beginning of mists they changed the way stat allotment works so PvP stats no longer counted toward the total stats on an item. 

For example, lets say a piece of gear was meant to have 500 total in secondary stats.

In the past:
The PvE and PvP item would have the same item level and the PvE item might have 250 haste and 250 hit whereas the PvP piece might have 250 haste and 250 resilience.  This means that at the same item level the PvP item was worse for PvE as it was "wasting" 250 of a stat on a unless for PvE stat like resilience.

In mists:
PvP gear is always slightly lower than PvE gear in item level, such that the PvP gear is usually one tier behind the PvE gear.  But also, the PvP stats no longer eat up part of the stat allotment.  So a 522 PvE item from last tier might have 250 haste and 250 hit and a PvP item from this tier might have 250 haste and 250 hit and an additional 250 PvP power.  That 250 PvP power is extra, it takes nothing away from the item when thinking of it from a PvE standpoint.

So when it comes to PvE if you wanted to use PvP gear you will always be a tier behind, as in getting ToT level gear, 522, now.  But that ToT level gear would be the same no matter if you got it as a drop from the raid, from a vendor with valor or if you purchased with conquest.

In the end my character went from a 501 item level to 506 item level.  Even if two of those pieces are PvP that 506 item level is still granting me the same exact stat allotment as if it were all PvE gear.

Why did I feel the need to bring this up?  Because of an exchange I read in general on the island when someone started bitching about winning a PvP piece for the third week in a row. 

Someone said, if it is an upgrade, use it.  Most of the people in general seemed to have not noticed, even this late in the expansion, the change to PvP gear.  The person that won it said, I don't PvP.  Others said, I would kick someone from my group if they were wearing PvP gear.  Most comments were like that, anti-PvP gear comments and only a few realized what the first person that responded did, if it is an upgrade, use it.

It kind of amazed me that something like this change seemingly has gone mostly unnoticed and people still have their prejudice against PvP gear in PvE.  And it goes both ways, like someone in an LFR saying, "I can't believe I beat you and I am in all PvP gear".  They do not seem understand things changed this expansion even a year after we have all been playing it.

So I decided to make a public service announcement that might actually teach some people something.

Item level means your PvE item level.  PvP stats do not eat up item level stat allotment.  So a 522 item level PvP piece is the same as a PvE piece of the same item level. 

In short, all gear is the same now.

With that said, my character got two upgrades from island 496 items, and I think that pretty much rocks.  Even if someone that doesn't have a clue will say, but it is PvP gear so it doesn't count.  As I always love to say, an upgrade is an upgrade is an upgrade.  I'll take any one I can get.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Me Vs. The LFR Hero: Who Was Right?

I did the second wing of SoO last night and had an interesting exchange with someone who was accusing poor scruffy, a hunter pet, of wiping the raid and refused to listen to someone that actually plays the class about how the class works.  He kept trying to attack me (well not me personally but every pet class) and I kept shooting back at him in a way he had no way to defend against and he would not let it go.  He would not just say, oh, I didn't know that.  He had to blame the wipe on scruffy and would not accept it had nothing to do with a pet.

When I said this exchange to a friend he told me I was in the wrong, I should have just let it slide.  I said, and not teach people?  He said, yes, you should have just let it go.

Normally I am not confrontational and will usually let things go but lately I've just reached the boiling point in the game and I am not just going to sit back and listen to people rip others to inflate their own personal epeen any longer.  If a person is wrong, I am going to tell them they are wrong.

So here is the exchange, as best I can remember it.  I did stay respectful and oddly enough so did he even if I could tell that he was getting fustrated that I was questioning his LFR hero status of the guy that knows everything.

The exchange is after I joined an already in progress LFR on the last boss of the second wing, General Nazgrim.  The person explaining the fight gives a run down of the fight but we still wipe.  Our LFR hero (not the person that explained the fight to begin with) starts to rage at the people that kept attacking when he was in defensive stance, rightfully so I will add.  There were plenty of the DPS that were more concerned with their own epeen than mechanics, and I hate that crap and they deserve to be bitched at.  He repeats it over and over a few times, do not attack when in defensive stance.  I agreed with him, he said nothing wrong, so there was no exchange there, but there was next time.  The group does better the next time but still wipes.

So now after 2 wipes here we are when the LFR hero starts to pick apart why we wiped.  His reasoning was that all the hunters, warlocks and mages pets where still attacking during defensive.  He picked hunters to make a point of as there were 5 in the group, me being one of them.

LFR Hero:  Are all you hunters brain dead?
LFR Hero:  I said do not attack during defensive, that means pets too.  They wiped us.  Control them.
Me:  The pets did not wipe us.
LFR Hero:  What is so hard about not attacking when he is in defensive, he gains rage when he is attacked.
Me:  Pet attacks do not cause him to gain rage, so that had nothing to do with it.
LFR Hero:  Your pets should be on the adds.
Me:  Not when all the adds are dead.
LFR Hero:  Just don't have your pets attack, they give him rage.
Me:  Once again, pet attacks do not give him rage when he is in defensive.
LFR Hero:  You can't be sure of that, just take your pets off the boss how hard is that?
Me:  Yes I can be sure, pets do not grant rage.
LFR Hero:  Have you done it in normal, how can you be sure?
Me:  Not yet on normal, but I have in flex and I know how to read.
LFR Hero:  Then learn how to read passive and put your pet on passive.
Me:  No need, pets do not give him rage.  I read the T16 hunter tips and tricks over at MMOC like any decent hunter should and it specifically says that pets can safely attack.  I'll take their word over yours thank you very much.
LFR Hero:  Just don't have your pets attack, he will go down faster that way.
Me:  Actually, if every pet class put their pet on passive and manually sent them to attack him so they stayed on him all the time instead of running all over the place he would go down faster.
LFR Hero:  You don't know what you are talking about, how would that make him go down faster.
Me:  More damage being dealt to him means his life goes down faster.
LFR Hero:  Just take your dam pets off the boss.
Me:  No thank you.

The tank pulled after that, we downed him, I made sure to leave my pet on the boss the entire time.  I understand the person was trying to do the right thing in helping the group, but giving out the wrong information while noble in theory, is not really helping anyone.   Add to that, blaming the wipe on something that could have not even possibly been responsible for it is wrong.

I was nice about it, he was nice about it, no curse words flew out, we just disagreed.  I think the rest of the raid was in awe because no one said anything the whole time we had the exchange.  They were probably waiting for the curses and insults to start flying but they never did.  The ready check popped up in the background, and the pull timer was put up, all while we talked.  They just let us go at it.

It is not an isolated incident either.  Two other hunters I spoke to said the same thing happened in their LFR.  They had someone yelling at them for having their pets attack when he was in defensive.  I believe it is our duty, as good hunters, to educate the community about these things and not let someone think he knows everything and blame it on the hunters pet.  Sure, our pets have made a mess of things hundreds if not thousands of times, but this is not one of them.  I had to stand up for scruffy.  The wipe was not his fault.

Do you think I should have done what I normally would do and just not say anything and let the guy rant saying it was the pets fault or do you think I was right trying to educate him?

Either way, we downed the boss and I am sure even if I won that battle I lost the war.  Next time he is in there he will most likely blame some pet class for a wipe.  Some people just can not learn.  Maybe I was wrong, maybe I was wasting my breath, but at least scruffy knows I love him and I stuck up for him, and that is all that matters.

Has Marks Retruned & Time For New Macros?

With the announcement of the buff to chimera shot hunters that enjoy playing marksman have something to rejoice about.  Depending on which napkin math you choose to believe marks is either a lot closer to survival and beast mastery now or slightly ahead of it.  Either way you look at it, it is in a much better place since blizzard pulled their head out of their ass and noticed that chimera was the marksman signature shot and it hits like a wet noodle.  So they increased the damage done by it by 50%.  I would still like to see something additional added to it, to make it more robust.

Bake in widows venom with chimera, or add a buff that chimera leaves on the target for 6 seconds where it increases the critical change of all auto shots by 50% for those 6 seconds.  Something small, something extra.  The big extra chimera used to have was it refreshed serpent sting but being all specs can do that now, BM and SV with cobra, it is not special any longer.  If the other two specs needed to keep reapplying serpent sting then chimera would still have its bonus that a signature shot should but as it stands now it still doesn't and hasn't since focus was introduced.  Unless you want to call the heal a bonus, but unless you are doing a fight with constant AoE that heal usually goes to waste.  It is nice for PvP and for soloing however, and not bad for raiding, but not huge either. 

All the 50% buff to chimera does it make it not hit like a wet noddle any longer.  It still needs a new signature identity because that heal just isn't enough to be considered a bonus.  Maybe if they changed it so that if you are full it would put an absorb shield on you for the over heal then that would be pretty damn sweet for a signature.  And if it stacked, avoiding damage and building that shield would become freaking huge in raiding and take a truck load of work off the healers already busy hands.  Now that would be a signature ability.  But that is a huge pipe dream.

At least they are moving in the right direction for once with MM by recognizing that there was something lackluster about what is supposed to be the big shot in the rotation.  Perhaps if they do the whole revamp next expansion like we saw with locks this expansion marks seems to be the one that will probably have the most changes.

I am thinking of changing my off spec to marksman again.  Might even go to main, if it can be competitive, would not want to go too far behind even if I enjoy playing it and basically leave numbers on the table that could have been used to help us down a boss.

If the early numbers I have seen turn out to be somewhat accurate then using marks would not be a great loss, at worst 7K, and at best, it could even take top spot on a single target fights.  Sadly there are not too many fights of that style in SoO.  At least now it is something of a "choice" whereas before the only choice it really offered is the choice of doing it wrong. 

Sometimes the expression doing it wrong is over used, like people saying if you use talent X over talent Y you are doing it wrong when the difference between the two is 800 DPS.  No, you are not doing it wrong.  Don't listen to those fools.  If adding a different button to press from an active ability or having a passive ability are the two choices and you are used to the passive, adding that extra button to press might mathematically be an 800 DPS increase but in practice, if you miss pressing it by even 0.2 of a second a few times in a fight, that 800 gain is now a loss and probably a lot more than 800 loss.

But with that said, before with marksman so far behind, using marksman was doing it wrong.  It would be like a warrior tanking in arms spec.  Could they pull it off?  Maybe with the right healers and a weak hitting boss they could tank something, they could easily tank a heroic dungeon, but over all they would be doing it wrong. 

Marks had that feeling about it all expansion, that if you played marks you were doing it wrong.  Now at least people could argue that it can be competitive on some fights and might even be tops on a few.  Even if it ends up 7K behind when you look at those top BiS numbers that 7K of 400K is pretty much nothing.  It is less and 2%. To some people that like to stoke their epeen that 2% might be huge, to others the comfort and enjoyment of playing a spec they want to play is so much more.  Playing marks is no longer "doing it wrong" it is now "this spec would do better".  The difference is one is wrong no matter what and the other is actually a discussion.  At least marks is worth talking about again.

Now on to me having to make a few new macros.

Not sure if all you hunters did this but I know I did as soon as I logged in for 5.4.  My old stop casting silencing shot macro became a stop casting counter shot macro.  Except I misspelled it at first and was like "why the hell is this not working".  After I looked I was, "oops".

Have you ever misspelled something in a macro?  If I had a nickle for each time I did that I would most likely have enough to buy a starbucks coffee, and in case you do not know, those things are really expensive.

I got two piece of raid level tier gear now, a huge difference from last tier when I did not get my second piece of raid level tier gear until 4 days before 5.4 came out.  What a difference a raid patch makes right?

With the Assurance of Consequence, flex version upgraded, decreasing rapid fire by 37% and the two piece set decreasing my rapid fire by 8 seconds for every aimed, arcane or multi shot that means I could be firing off rapid fire more than a few times each fight.  Being it does not trigger the global cooldown it can be macroed with other abilities and now I have a decision to make.

Should I just macro rapid fire into all my shots to assure I get maximum up time or should I manually fire it off at set moments where I think it can be best used?

I already have every shot macroed because when they removed our shots from auto targeting mobs I made macros that will automatically select a target on press and shoot on the second press.  It really helps, sometimes.  It does sometimes hit a flagged person by accident, but whoops, no biggie, I can use some honor kills.

Either way, it would not be an issue for me to add the line /cast Rapid Fire to every macro being I already have a macro made for every ability.  I am thinking I am going to go that route but I am not sure if that would be the correct route to go.  As I love to say, research time.

Side comment:  WTB more marco slots.  Thank you blizzard.

I can't believe I actually have 3 tier pieces so far, one from LFR so only two raid level ones, but still, having 3 of the pieces this early is completely new to me.  Hope my luck holds out until I can nab the forth one.  Rocking the two 2 piece sets seems to have helped me a lot more than I would have expected.  I did an ordos group yesterday and did 264, which is a marked increase over the 235 I did the week before without it.  And that is with some massive lag to deal with as well.  Did rapid fire being used more really have an almost 30K boost?  I know, right.

Anyone else that usually has no problems with fight graphic lag end up in slow motion during ordos?  No matter what character I am on, as soon as that fight starts it is like moving in slow motion.  Quite annoying if you ask me.  Maybe I just need to remember to actually set my graphics down when I do it next time.

For the moment I'll just think about those macros and which spec to drop if I want to play around with marksman.  I might ditch BM.  It has felt more whack a mole than the other specs since mists came out and while it was a little overwhelming at first and a little fun while learning it, it is just boring and sometimes frustrating now.  Even with the removal of readiness BM still feels like you are always trying to hit 3 buttons at the same time and I can't really dig that play style.  So I might roll with survival while testing marksman out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ding! Achievement Earned: [1000 Posts]

This will be my one thousandth published post.  I find that kind of hard to believe because I never thought of this as something that would last as long as it would.  I started writing just for something to do because I like to write.  Almost as a personal diary of sorts.

I've made more posts, just never published them.  I've noticed I am doing that a lot more lately as I've been having some issues with what to write about.  Not like there are not things to write about, but there are no things I want to write about.

I have noticed over the years that there are certain topics that create buzz.  If you are an up and coming blogger and are looking just for hits I could give you some advice on some topics that will get people coming to your blog in droves, but that is not always a good thing.  I've never wrote with the intention of having anyone read it.  I write for me.  If it happens to end up as a hot topic it was because it was something I wanted to write about not because I wanted hits.

I think when people write for an audience it changes what they write and that is why I try not to be like that.  I write what I want to write about, like a diary.  If someone reads it, awesome, if someone doesn't, I still got to write it so I am happy.

Just like I noticed over the years what hot topics there are I can also tell you what can kill your readership in a heartbeat.  I made a post the other day that I knew no one would comment on, it was not the type of post that ever generates comments but I wrote it for me.  That is the key to what makes it easy for me to write.

One thousand posts is a lot of writing.  I never even would have considered that I would get that far down the line when I started.  I thought it would be a passing fad.  Something I would get out of my system at some point but I found myself enjoying the time I spend writing it.  If I don't post I feel like I am suffering from withdrawals.

Monday random thoughts was something that I added after I had already been posting for a while because I never wrote on weekends and usually had a lot of things rattling around my mind and it has become a staple for me.  Sometimes when I am not working on a monday I will jot down notes of things that randomly pop into mind while I am playing on the weekend and I post that as my monday random thoughts.

I think if I ever gave up blogging for whatever reason, but kept playing, I would still do my random thoughts because sometimes stupid little things pop into mind you just want to say and random thoughts are good for those things.

I started the blog roughly around the time the LFD was added to the game and gave it the tag line, let the freakshow begin.  It was basically going to be about my random groups but I ditched that really fast.  I noticed that there really was not a great deal to write about when it came to those, at least not much that has not been said before by hundreds of other people more eloquent than I.

I had not quite become the alt person I am now when I started.  I only had one character, a hunter to no ones surprise, at max level.  I ended up going from one alt, a DK for professions, to many alts for many professions and then suddenly I had all 80s and my blog became more about my family of characters even if it was mostly focused on my main, the grumpy elf hunter.

There have been a few times I was going to quit the game and this blog, believe it or not, kept me playing.  Between it and the people I call friends that I met in game, I have a little social circle that apparently means something to me.  Doesn't that sound odd?

From that first time I was standing with one foot out the door, during the Zuls, to most recently when I was about to quit and saw I was a 973 posts.  I said, I can not quit now, 973 is such an odd number.  I'll keep writing until I hit 1000 posts and then I will quit.

In that time the game redeemed itself, sort of, and I started to enjoy playing again.  Or maybe enjoy is not the right word, I started to not dislike playing.  I never quite reached the point were I was enjoying the game again but I did reach the point where I did not dislike it as much and was having fun.

As odd as it might sound and as subconscious as it might be last night I quit.  Just as the date that I am supposed to make my 1000th post came, today, I quit last night.

I have a little time left and will continue playing it out and I am sure I will keep playing in the end, but it was the first time ever in my long time playing that I actually said those words to people in guild.  I said, I quit.  In truth I just need some time off, I am still having fun in the game to some extent.  There is an achievement I have to go after, looting all the items off the new island.  I like those types of achievements and even if that is all that keeps me playing it is something that would.  There is something I want to aim for.

Ups and down, I have wrote about them.  Good and bad I have wrote about it.  From my horrible luck to my great luck, one a lot more often than the other of course.  I wrote about great LFR runs and horrible ones that while fewer in numbers scar your mind so they will never be forgotten.

I've shared ideas, opinions, speculations.  I've nailed things before they were even announced like calling the scroll of resurrection mount before they released the promotion.  Like saying well over a year ago that the next expansion would be 10 levels and not five, because cataclysm and mists were supposed to be part of the same expansion originally but they screwed up.  Like saying the item squish was coming next expansion and that is why they decided to have some fun and just go insane with stats now while they could.

I always had fun speculating and guessing what would happen and having a written record of it is always cool to look back on and see if I was right.  To my own surprise I am right more often than not when it comes to predicting what blizzard would do, as if I have some sort of inside information.  Someone even once accused me as leaking information because I work for blizzard, which I do not.

1000 posts and I am just talking about nothing, and everything in this one.  If it were not for the fact that this is post 1000 I would have been talking about what pushed me to utter the words I quit last night.  As odd as it sounds, not writing about that is making me think about not quitting.  Remembering the good times with the bad over my 999 previous posts makes me realize that for every step that this game upset me came another that gave me a reason to like it.

Sometimes those two things come hand in hand.  Mostly in random content.  Like the rogue that refused to attack the target with the skull on it.  It was annoying, but it was also something I look back at as priceless.  His reason for not attacking the target with the skull?  Because he thought it was marked because it was the dangerous one he was supposed to keep away from.  How could anyone look at that and not laugh.

I've tanked, I've healed, I've DPSed and I've wrote about it.  I've done well, I've done bad, I've been somewhere in the middle and I wrote about it.  I wrote about triumphs, failures, and everything in between.  In a way I sometimes think I keep playing just so I have something to write about.  Sometimes I think I keep playing not because of the fact it is a hobby to pass the time at home but it is a hobby that gives me something to write about it so I can pass the time at work.

The blog and my writing it has become as much a part of my game play as the actual game play is.  So perhaps the 1000 posts and the 7000 comments and the reddit links that someone else so kindly gave a few of my posts and the wowinsider links that sometimes one of their writers links me in that sends other here should be counted at achievements somehow.  Just like they would in game when you catch 1000 fish.

I write for myself only but it would be a lie if I said that I do not like to see that others read it sometimes.  Even more so when they give me advice.  Like people giving me hints with my tanking so I can get better or advice with trying to get a 25 man going.  I have to thank those people.

Someone sent me a mail once asking how I deal with some of the comments here, as some can be quite harsh.  I said, it is just someones opinion and everyone is entitled to their own.  They do not have to like what I write or even agree with it, but even the harshest critic at least thought enough to comment and that means something, it means I said something that was worth commenting on, good or bad.  So even if bad, there is no better compliment to someones writing then someone having an opinion on what you said and being willing to go out of their way to post it.

In those 1000 posts I've only found the need to delete one post (not counting spam) that someone went a little off the deep end with.  Not because they disagreed with me but because of the way they said it.  Just stringing a line of insults and curses together is not disagreeing, it is being a jerk.  Disagreeing means you have a different opinion, if you want to disagree at least share why you disagree.  With the exception of that one post, everyone else that ever posted did just that which I think is awesome.

I think that writing has made me a better player and playing has made me a better writer, as if they go together a little bit.  For each post I write I read dozens more.  I follow links people leave, their name if there is a link in the signature, and it gives me more of a world view of the game.  In many cases it has helped me in ways I can not describe.

I'm thick headed and have my own opinions that do not always jive well with some people but I have also had some posters change my mind on things because they presented a good argument that made me think.  Any post that can make you think be it on a blog, in a forum post, or even in the comments, is a good thing.

I think the best comment I ever heard anyone say when linking to my post, and they did not agree with the post they linked to, was that it made them think.  I really liked that.  Even if they disagreed with what I said they believed it was worth reading because it made them think.  I appreciate that and agree with it.  You do not always have to agree with something you read but if you like reading it and it makes you think, it was well worth reading.

I ramble a lot, like right now, and sometimes I lose track of what I am even writing about. But underneath every line there is always something I have to say, even if it doesn't quite make it out there sometimes.

What I am trying to say is that it has been a long trip and I have enjoyed the journey.  Who knows if there will ever be a post 2000 but I would like to thank everyone that shared the first 1000 with me.  Maybe there will be a lot more or a little more.  Either way, I will always enjoy writing about it and perhaps I now realize that when I said let the freakshow begin I was talking more about me than I was talking about the people in the LFD.  How times have changed.

I guess I won't quit, but I might need to make a post examining and analyzing why I was pushed to utter those words for the first time in game and actually consider not going back.  Before this post I had no intention of logging in tonight after reset.  Now, I am considering it.  See what I mean, this blog has kept me playing.  I guess I like writing more than I knew.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- Still spending all my time on the island for the most part.

- A few of my characters need to travel all the way to townlong to buy some valor gear, but they chill mostly on the island.

- Hey blizzard, can we move those old out dated pandas that sell the valor and justice gear from townlong somewhere closer please?

- Why am I buying valor gear you might ask?

- I'll give you a hint.

- 522 > 496+8

- Not to mention the 522 trinket is better than having a crap trinket which most of my characters that were not running raids have, crap.

- So my warrior, my DK and my paladin all have enough valor for the 522 trinket.

- But I can not buy it on any of them.

- Guess why?

- They still require reputation with the shado-pan assault.

- I thought they said they were removing that reputation bullshit.

- Guess they lied.

- I am so surprised, blizzard lying, they would never do that.

- Not like getting to friendly is hard, one ToT LFR and it will be done.

- But did you notice the problem in that line?

- LFR.  That is the problem.

- ToTs were bad runs when they were new and everyone was doing them, how do you think they will be now with no one doing them.

- And all three of those are tanks and I do not tank the LFR alone.

- And if I fake DPS I would feel bad, even if my 60K fake DPS with tank gear and tank trinkets would still be better than 80% of the people in there I am sure.

- Maybe even more.

- I remember being #1 on my monk a few times in the LFR.

- But at least my monks tank gear is the same as my monks DPS gear.

- I am sure all that dodge on my plate tanks does not translate very well into a DPS stat.

- So I could go in as DPS and fake it, but with lesser groups now, if everyone tried to fake it, we won't even get trash down.

- And I will not get my reputation needed.

- So guess what I did.

- I went into ToT on my death knight solo and tried to see how much I could solo.

- Lets just say, not much.

- Okay, lets say nothing.

- I tried at least and lasted almost a full minute.

- It went a lot better than I expected really.

- Death knights are insane.

- Speaking of soloing I can now officially say that a hunter can solo everything on the island.

- Except the world bosses of course.

- I was on late the other night and the place was a ghost town.

- Every time I ran into a rare I tried to solo it, I did not die at all on most of them and died once on only one of them.

- Take a guess which one killed me.

- Cinderfall.

- It budged a bit forward for some odd reason and I did not notice it and got hit.

- Otherwise you can out range it even when the fire is sent straight at you.

- No need to ever move if he never moves.

- It is really really close, so when it budged forward it got me.

- I did it all as survival.

- The biggest problem is pet aggro on the island.

- Please blizzard, fix the coding..

- My pet does not taunt, and even if I manually hit taunt it does nothing.

- It makes soloing a bit harder, but not undoable.

- I need to use MD on cooldown which means with the glyph that is every few seconds, unload during it, hit growl after 4 seconds and FD on cooldown.

- So I start all fights off slow, very slow, before I can start to unload.

- I should not need to do this, blizzard really fucked something up in the coding.

- Excuse the language but there is no other way to say it, they seriously fucked something up.

- Fix it.

- Guess what the hardest rare to solo was?

- The ship, oh my god was that a nightmare.

- With spirit bond and the island thing that heals you it is doable however.

- You are constantly moving, so only a hunter can do it really at this moment I think.

- Those heals make up for any incidental ticks of damage you might take and for a fight that long you will take some.

- I got four stampedes off that fight and at a little over a 3 and a half minute cooldown (thanks to AoC trinket) that means the fight was at least 14 minutes long.

- Over 14 minutes I started to get a little bored and almost screwed up by getting slower to move from the fires.

- You know who the easiest rare to solo was?

- I mean beside the ones down on the main land that only take 15 seconds to kill.

- The giant rock guy with 216 million life, so something around that.

- Hunter tip, you do not want your pet to have aggro on this one, never.

- Seems that if there is someone in melee range it will always stomp.

- Your pet is always in melee and takes no stomp damage.

- If you keep aggro, and being he does not move you do not have to worry about him hitting you, your pet stays in melee and he keeps stomping and never throws a rock.

- Not sure if him not moving is a bug or intended, but either way, he was soloed.

- Two people came and joined toward the end, but I still consider it soloed.

- It is not like I needed their help, I had my rhythm going, I had him land locked, and I had him only casting stomp, which allowed me to just stand there and pew pew.

- If I did the first 150M myself it is safe to say I soloed him even if I had help for the last 30%.

- He went down a lot faster than the ship.

- When running when you start getting bored you lose abilities effecting your DPS but when standing still and not having anything to worry about I could just chill and do things by memory muscle.

- Someone on my server was saying the dragon that drops the mount is unsoloable.

- Here is how to do it as a hunter.

- I just love proving people wrong.

- I cleared the area I was planning on pulling him at first.

- That is rule number one of soloing, you pick the conditions of battle.

- When he came I pulled and let my pet get a nice aggro lead.

- Using my tools, and a lot of timing thanks to taunt being broken, damn blizzards bad coders, and then when it was time, I killed the dragon.

- Once the pet has a nice aggro hold and will not lose it, just kill.

- He seems to only throw the ground effect on whomever has aggro, or is over a certain aggro percentage.

- So with your pet having aggro, and you using MD and FD all the time the only ground effect there ever is will be under the pet who takes 0 damage from it.

- Easy peasy.

- Funny how the island was so dead so soon.

- Didn't this patch just come out a few days ago and this was only its second weekend?

- Last weekend the island was packed and now I had my pick of the litter.

- Needless to say my luck seems to be back to normal.

- Been killing all these rares in huge numbers and no pet drops, no mount drop, nothing.

- At least I got the achievement for all the rares thanks to the rock guy spawning at 3 AM.

- So glad I happened to have been on at that odd hour I am normally not on otherwise who knows when I would have seen him again.

- Even more glad that he was so easy to solo.

- I was worried that with no one there I might not be able to get him down.

- I would have had to make the choice of waiting up for people to come on to do it or to wait for another time, a choice I did not want to make.

- My vote for most nasty mob on the island goes to those damn frogs.

- As a hunter they are not a problem but on a tank character they are a sure shock to the system until you find out their mechanic.

- I am so used to running in somewhere mounted and wrapping up a bunch of mobs and then dismounting with an AoE and I start killing.

- Did that on my paladin, rode in, grabbed 6 or so, spun, dropped some AoE, was at full health one second and dead the next.

- WTF!!!!

- Lets try this again, I can not believe I lost all my life that easily.

- What was the name of that freight train that hit me.

- Did the same thing again, died again instantly.

- WTF!!! x2

- I want revenge now so I go in an pull one and take a close look at the debuff.

- Ah, now it makes sense.

- Get to 10 stacks and die so that means it is a bad idea to pull that many because that basically means dead in 2 seconds.

- Got ya.

- My paladin went to kill some cats instead.

- Doing a flex run when someone asked me what item level was needed.

- I said, none, it is about performance, you do not need a specific item level to do it.

- I explained we can take a couple of people lower to help them gear up, it is how it is designed.

- So they asked what type of numbers should they be doing to be considered respectable for it.

- I told them what I believe was needed from a damage dealer and then was told I was completely out of line.

- Why you ask.

- Because I said that someone should be doing around 120K on patchwork style fight.

- I explained I understand it could be more or less when taking about fight mechanics, but that 120K should be the minimum someone should be doing to contribute.

- Am I really over estimating it?

- I figured flex is for people coming from ToT type item level and anyone in mostly 522 gear should be able to do 100K-120K on a patchwork fight.

- So 100K would be low end of "okay" and 120K would be the "decent" range.

- Maybe I am wrong.

- Maybe I am over estimating.

- But seeing some people play makes me think I am over estimating, no maybe about it.

- Seems even in 522 gear 70K-80K seems to be about what the average wow player caps out around.

- The more numbers go up due to inflation the more people that start to be left behind.

- Numbers are odd because although you can not argue them as they are fact but they do tend to change the way you look at things.

- The difference between doing 800 DPS and 1000 DPS is the same as the difference between doing 80K and 100K percentage wise.

- But 80K to 100K feels so huge and 800 to 1000 just, well, doesn't.

- Heck, when I got an upgrade a few weeks ago I was upset it was only a 200 DPS increase.

- That "tiny" increase is the difference between 800 and 1000.

- So while percentage wise things are just like they always were, they just feel bigger now.

- I guess this is one reason to support the item squish.

- It would just feel better.

- Can you imagine people asking for 1K DPS for the next tier?

- Someone was trying to pug normal on my server the other day and was asking for 200K minimum.

- How funny is that?

- Not the 200 part, the trying to pug normal on my server part.

- When my guild is the #3 guild on the server with only 4 down you are not talking about a server with a lot of pugging options here.

- But I agree, for normal I would ask for at least 200K too.

- Might not need it on some of the early bosses, but sure as hell would need it on the later ones.

- Had to pull 2 non normal raiders in to try the 5th boss.

- Did not go extremely well but at least we got a little practice at it.

- This week with our whole crew I think we can get it, assuming we can get past the first four again nice and quickly

- We are not going to extend, at least not this early in the patch.

- So far this tier is a lot better than last.

- Nice to see yourself getting a few bosses deep when you raid for 2 hours instead of being stuck on the second boss for 5 weeks.

- Normal seems a little more nicely balanced, with my crew as its intended audience.

- It is hard enough to make us work for it, but easy enough that we can still do it if we put the attempts in.

- Fits for us.

- Sucks for when you have to fill in however.

- We have a healer we can rotate in but no additional tanks and no additional damage dealers.

- Because I too, as I said, expect 200K potential from someone.

- Doesn't seem there are many that can do that, at this moment.

- Maybe with some LFR gear and some flex gear they will get there.

- I like flex but still see some issues with lesser players.

- Tried to run a flex run over the weekend and had 2 people say "I want in" and showed up with a 500 item level and no gems and no enchants.

- We carried them, sure, but that is not what flex is about.

- It is about people that want to raid.

- If you have no gems and no enchants you do not want to raid, so no, you are not a raider and you can not do flex next time.  Sorry.

- There is a huge difference in my opinion.

- If someone is 500 and "wants" to be a raider they will come prepared which means gems and enchants along with knowing how to play their class.

- Then I do not mind helping them get more gear and practice, they came prepared, they earned the shot.

- But sorry, I am not going to carry someone that can not be bothered to gem and enchant their gear, even if we can.

- Even more so when there are dozens of people in the guild that would make all the gems and enchants you need for free.

- There is just no excuse.

- If you want to be a raider, act like one, even if you are in bad gear and are still not very skilled.

- Gear and skill take time and will come.

- Being prepared shows who you are more than anything else at first impression.

- And first impression of someone wanting to raid without gems and enchants is "freeloader".

- Speaking of freeloaders there is a big secret in my guild that someone is leaving and taking some  people with him.

- Funny part is the only person that thinks it is a secret is the one leaving.

- He loves to tell anyone that will listen that he is leaving.

- I just wish he would leave already and get it done, not sure what is taking him so long.

- I did not run with him last night but someone that was with him told me a funny story.

- They wiped and he said people are getting out of the range of the healers and dying.

- The person that ran with him said to me, it was the healers that were dying.

- Then he spoke up and asked the raid, how are the healers getting out of their own range.

- I had to laugh, that was a great line.

- As someone that has healed however I know the answer to that one.

- They forget to heal themselves as they are going after others to heal them.

- Anyone that has ever healed has done that.

- Just means they need to get better at healing.

- But don't blame the people for being out of range, blame the healers for no positioning themselves better and forgetting about healing themselves.

- Oh wait, he is one of the healers, that is why it is not the healers fault.

- Got ya.

- Have a great day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What is There to Write About?

I normally feed on things to complain about and am sitting an a real loss right now. While there are a lot of things I can complain about, like not being able to loot rares on the island while in a raid group and collect coins or reputation, it just does not seem worth it.

For the first time in a while there is nothing I feel especially grumpy about.  I might need to change my name.  Maybe I could complain that I have killed all the rare pet dropping rares on the island upwards of 30 times each so far and have yet to see a pet, but I will get them, they will be there forever, hopefully.

Why is grumpy not all that grumpy?

There could very well be a few reasons for that but one is actually a little interesting if you try to read deeper into it.  Which of course you know I will.

For the first time since the expansion came out I did not cap at least one of my characters on valor for the week last week.  This left me with an open ended game play where I did not feel forced to cap as soon as the week started.  Same for this week, I paid no marked concern to where my valor was for the week.  I figured I will just cap as the week goes along, and I did this week as a matter of fact, I capped during the raid last night.  Without even trying.  So of course there is no reason to complain.

Not capping on valor is not because it does not matter to me, not even in the slightest.  It still matters a lot because each 500 is another 8 item levels to a piece of gear and that does add up.  It is also not because I have not been winning things to upgrade because to my surprise I have been.

You could say that I have so far experienced the most luck I have ever had in this game in my entire life.  Even if the rare spawns refuse to pass along their young to my loving pet battling care, gear has not been stingy thus far for me.  I managed to get 4 burdens on my main, which one day might get me a nice critical / haste ring but has not yet.  I have won one tier piece, one war forged piece, and three pieces from flex including the weapon and the trinket I wanted.  So there have been plenty of uses for valor.

All my level 90 alts now have almost every slot in 496 or better thanks to the timeless island and their over abundant drops which means that even my slacker characters and my baby alts are LFR ready.  They even have a 535 piece and that is without a doubt the highest piece I have on most of my alts, so it is not like they do not need valor either, they do, but I am not stressing getting it.

Speaking of the LFR there was no new LFR the first week, that is enough of a reason for me to be happy. No LFR means no temptation to do the LFR and no running into bad players, bad people, long waits, longer secondary waits because a tank dropped, and the multiple issues we all love about the LFR.

Even in week two when the LFR opened I popped in when I first got home, got an instant queue, and I do mean instant as in it popped up the second I pushed to enter queue.  I had not even moved my mouse away from it yet. 

I got a group that was mostly filled with people that have never done it yet which means people that were not even capable of flex.  Usually this is not a great sign for day one but I explained every fight and more amazingly the people listened to me.  When I told the tanks to move they did it as if I were a drill Sergent and they were afraid that if they didn't they would be put on potato peeling duty for the next 2 weeks.

We ran thought there like a group of 90s running through tempest keep for a mount run.  We just destroyed everything, one shot all bosses, did not even see people dieing to the avoidable.  I think I probably had the greatest LFR group ever that was filled with people that did not know the fights.  Usually smooth runs like that are reserved for people that are in guild groups or all experienced.  Most of these people had never seen this content, never watched a video, they just listened to me and did fantastic.  

Many people said in raid chat after it was done that it had to be the smoothest LFR they had ever been in and were amazed that a patch day LFR could be like that.  I even got three whispers.  One was surely meant for humor.  I hope.  Two thanked me for helping make it a smooth run and a third said it was an amazing run and I was so great with the people that she wanted me to father her babies.  I did get a laugh out of it and being I did not get any strange whispers from a level one after I left I am 100% certain I did not pick myself up a new stalker.  Been a while since I had one of those.

I even decided to do the LFR on my rogue, as it is close to moving along in the legendary quest line and while the queue was much longer than instant, it was not dreadful thanks to being able to keep myself busy skinning like a mad man on the island and killing rares.  Even if I did get into an already in progress run on the last boss, which I would normally complain about, there were no stacks of determination and we one shot it.

So my LFR experiences seemed to be, as limited as they were, much better than those of patch day release LFRs since, well, ever.  No patch day have I ever seen fights go so well.

I've got so many characters I have not even decided on what to do with my burden yet.  Might do chest pieces on the ones I do not use often because that piece usually has the best stats so it would surely be the biggest boost.  A few of my characters could use trinkets so they will make their way over to the shado-pan assault some day to buy the reduced priced valor trinkets.

I've been having a blast using the gliders around the island flying from rare to rare.  I got to play my lesser used characters and actually feel like I was moving them forward without needing to be in the LFR or wait in a queue.  I could mine, skin and herb on this new island unlike the previous one.

I even started to do something I have never done before in as long as I have played this game.  I log out wherever I happen to be.  I always had this obsession that I needed to be at an inn, even at max level, or in a safe place.  But no, the island is different, log out wherever you feel like logging out.  I have my monk logged out by where the crystal spawns, my lock by leaf mender, my hunter by garnia.  I have characters all over the place because that is just where they happened to have been when I was done playing with them at the time and I kind of like that.  I dislike the stupid 20 seconds to log out thing and think as long as you are not in battle when you log out it should be instant, but I can live with it.

I am actively seeking groups, even if I do not need them, and running around with people on the island in a small pack all the time.  I am grouping with people in guild I rarely if ever played with because they are not raiders and thus not really on my radar for the most part.  It is making the guild a better place and that is always a good thing.

I am seeing people being more helpful over all and not only those in my guild but all over the island.  It is funny when the pet rares spawn, because as a guild we always have someone online so there is always someone keeping a timer on them.  When they spawn there is usually at least 12 or 13 of us from guild there and we kill it instantly and move along to the next one scheduled to spawn.  Great team work.

We even have a late nighter set up for tonight where a lot of us are planning on staying on longer than normal and we are going to go rare hunting in a pack, groups of 5 of course because you can't loot in a raid, and I can see it being a lot of fun.  When do you ever remember making guild events just to run around and do nothing but kill stuff?  I don't, ever.

Even when I accidentally get flagged for PvP I don't kill what I can and then when I die either not revive until my flag is off or run to find a safe place.  I just pop up and go back out in the world, if I get in a fight, so be it, I fight, and I have been doing pretty good kicking some ass.  I am actually enjoying a little PvP here and there even if I am not liking that I keep accidentally getting flagged do to my own error or game error, who knows, and who cares.  What happened happened.

But that care part, the I don't care part more precisely, is the one thing that has me worried.  Maybe I just have nothing to complain about because I have reached that phase of I just do not care.

If anyone remembers a post I made a long time ago explaining why people complain it shows that people complain because something matters to them.  It is human nature, if someone cares about something they complain when there is something they do not like about it.  So my lack of having things to complain about, even if I did mention more than a few things that bothered me in this post, has me wondering one thing.

Do I have nothing to complain about because for once things are just going well or have I finally reached the point where I just don't care any more?

At the moment, I think it is just a case of, I am having some fun, not pressing myself, doing my own thing, so for once, at least for the time being, I really don't care.  I am just doing my thing and I am going to enjoy it as long as I can.  So very rarely do you hit a phase in your game play where you can still enjoy the game and not care at the same time.  I'll soak it up for as long as it lasts.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Can Bob Come Out and Play Now?

For those that do not know who Bob is let me give you a small recap.  Bob is a good person and a good player, but not great.  He sometimes has connection problems, can occasionally be a little slow to move and generally will never be the type that could do heroic raiding even on his best day ever. 

Everyone likes Bob because he is a friendly person and he is always willing to go out of his way for you.  For a while now Bob could not really raid with us, at least not until we completely out geared content and even then he could sometimes wipe us.  Every guild has a Bob or two or ten and I would like to believe that people would rather keep Bob around than just tell him that there is no place for him any more.  The game was heading quickly to a world where there was no place for Bob in it any longer.

So with the addition of flex raiding it seems that maybe Bob can once again start to raid with us and that makes me happy, because I like having Bob around and I am sure it makes Bob happy because there is only so long someone can stand on the sidelines playing the role of cheerleader for the people that are raiding.  Even more so when only a year or two ago Bob was a regular raider.

Has flex allowed Bob to come out and play again?

I've run multiple flex raids so far in the short time it has been out with varied results.  Our guild flex runs have been relatively decent and Bob was able to contribute.  Actually a few Bobs were able to contribute.  Basically because we had some real raiders there.  I am not sure a group of Bobs would be able to do it but I believe that is what flex is meant to be.  It is meant so the raiders could bring along a few non raiding friends and have some fun.  For that it seems to work.

The line for Bob is still there however, flex is not a free pass by any means.  A guild mate of mine joined some friends from an old server to give them a hand when they tried flex out.  They were all raiders in wrath but had not raided really since then.  She has downed the first few bosses on normal and flex so she knew all the fights and figured that she could help them get through flex.  Maybe it was the fact she was not so good at leading, I was not there so I can not say, or that the line for what Bob can do is not exactly all that low, but they wiped for three hours on the first boss and never got it down.

During the run I was doing a flex run of my own, tanking, and she would whisper me asking for advice on what to tell them.  She said they where doing all the right things but they were just not doing them well enough.  I got a chuckle thinking of flex raiding as "progression raiding for Bob" but I do think that is a very accurate assessment.

Flex raiding leaves a wider gap for mistakes to happen and not kill people or wipe the attempt, but it is not exactly a push over unless you go into it with real raiders.  Those people you see on the forms that are complaining that flex is too easy need to be ignored.  Of course if you are in ToT heroic gear flex will be easy.  You drastically over gear it and drastically out skill it so it should be extremely easy for you.  But if you are Bob flex is still pretty damn hard.

For a mixed group, like mine with a few raiders and a few Bobs we can go in and work on things.  We did the second half of flex and wiped 2 or 3 times on each boss but we got it down.  That is absolutely fine.  That is what flex is supposed to be, you are supposed to wipe when you are doing it with "friends and family" or in your "beer league", whatever someone wants to call it.  I call it "raiding with bob".

We had three rather lack luster players in the last first half flex we did the other day.  I am talking 50K type damage dealers.  Or if you want to go to effective DPS we are talking much much lower.  Yet we still managed to down it all, only wiping on the last of the four bosses once.  So even with those mega bobs, if you will, it was still capable of being done when 15 of the 25 people were actual raiders.  If you would like to judge it based on that experience, you could say that flex rocks.  It allowed us to get a few fresh 90 alts and a few bobs in there and we were still able to down a few bosses even if we did experience one wipe all thanks to the fact we had a few real raiders there.

More importantly, it allowed us to become closer as a guild.  Bob is no longer left out when we do the real raid.  I no longer have to say, sorry Bob but your connection is iffy and we can not stand losing a person in the middle of the fight so I can not take you.  I can just tell Bob you can come with us on saturdays run.

It allows me to take my paladin, and its god awful DPS in there to hopefully get a few pieces of tank gear without actually holding back the group any, as long as not all of the main raiders are bringing alts.  We can all rotate bringing in alts, so at least 10 of the 15 of us are on mains, and we still have a reasonable chance at success in a 25 man flex.

While my guild mates group wiped for three hours on the first boss she said they continually got better.  They could see themselves getting further into the fight and everyone was moving from stuff quicker and reacting to things with more accuracy.  They were doing progression within their own ability and that is freaking awesome.  In the end, when talking with her, I told her they would never get it down.  I had her look over peoples gear, there were too many ungemmed people, unenchanted people, and people with item levels of 480 and 490.  When the whole raid is basically made up for Bob it is going to be hard, really hard.

Even if someone is a Bob they still need to be of the appropriate item level, they still need to be gemmed, they still need to be enchanted.  Truth be told, the group she was trying to help was not even ready for the LFR.  But they made progresses.  They did not get the first boss down, but they got to play as a team. They got to see they were making it further each time.  They got to see that they could do it with a little more gear and some effort with making their gear better with gems and sparkle with enchants.  They got to see what it was like to raid again for the first time since wrath.  Really raid, not looking for raid.

Flex is progression raiding for Bob but it is so much more.  It is a testing zone for casual raid teams that hit a wall so they can try different strategies without as much pressure.  A gearing up place for those that are behind a little.  A raid where you can bring new players to let them get a taste of real raiding in an environment where people are willing to teach them instead of yell at them.  A place where they can learn mechanics matter and can not be ignored like you do in the LFR sometimes.  Flex has a place in the game and while I am not completely sure if the difficulty is right on or still a bit to hard for Bob, it does have excellent Bob potential.

Can Bob come out and play now?  Yes, yes he can.