Wednesday, October 30, 2013

More Alts, More Professions, More Connection.

When I first heard about connected realms something immediately occurred to me.  I can have more characters on my server.  Now that connected realms are underway that passing thought becomes a reality.  With each new realm that merges with mine that means there are 11 more character slots I can make effectively on my main server, even if they are on one of the other servers.

This means my heirlooms can be sent to them and I can level even more characters faster.  If five realms were connected together I could effectively have 50 characters on the same server.  It can't happen because I already have a lot of characters on many different servers, some of which will not be connected because they are on full servers, sometimes with a queue to log in.  Dare I say blizzard would not be stupid enough to connect a realm to one that already had occasional queue times to enter even when there is no new content, like now?  Well, don't put it past blizzard, they have been known to make their fair share of bone headed moves before.

Either way, I do have a few character slots open being I am not at my 50 max and that means I can make more characters on my main server thanks to merging.  The thing is, what characters do you make on a server that already have one of each class?

Well, when I had my second account active, which has been inactive for an extremely long time and I intend to leave it that way until they offer another scroll of resurrection mount, I had a couple more hunters, a druid and a DK on the main server where I do most of my game play.  They sit quietly on an inactive account at 85 now, but if anything that gives an idea which characters I would level as duplicates giving the ability to do so now.

Leveling more hunters really seems like a no brainer if you ask me.  It is my favorite class.  It is the best class in the game to level with.  It is one of the best classes in the game to gather with.  And it is my favorite class and by far what I am best at.

Past that, you need to look at will I play them.  If anything a hunter would be what I would most likely be willing to play.  It is also why, when looking at my past history, the only 4 classes I tend to have duplicates of at max level early on are the ones I play the most.  Hunter, druid, priest and death knight.  Without a doubt, in my opinion, the 4 easiest classes to level and play.  But that probably has more to do with my experience in them.  I am sure other classes are easier for other people.

But with more characters comes more opportunity to expand on my professions.  Of course, like any good commander of an army of alts, I have every profession already including having one of each alchemy specialization.

So what professions might be best to have duplicates of, and that is what I am thinking about now.  With the connected realms leveling a new character does not seem like an issue.  Be it a hunter or some other class it won't take more than 2 days played even if I take my sweet ass time to level from 1 to 90.  I've said it so many times before, leveling is just too darn fast.  However, in this case, where I would just be leveling for extra professions, that works out to be a good thing.  But don't let me taking advantage of that lead you to believe that I changed my mind.  I still believe, very strongly in fact, that it should take even a fast leveler like myself 20 days played to get to max level, not 2. 

The reason we have so many bad max level players is we give them a free pass to become max level players.  I say let them take 40 days played to get to max level, if they can manage that, they will more than likely not be a bad player when they get there.  But that is a post for another day.

Back to topic.  What professions should I start stockpiling on?

First things first.  With the barrens quest hub and now the timeless island hub, we are seeing what the future might hold for us and that is a lot of BoA catch up gear.  What does that mean to the profession minded person?  I'll tell you exactly what that means.  You need an enchanter of every armor class.

Look at the timeless island BoA stuff.  Timeless plate, timeless mail, timeless leather and timeless cloth.  All of which can only be converted by the person that can wear it and as soon as it is converted you can not trade it.  So you would want to convert it on a character that can disenchant it wouldn't you, to get the most out of it.

This weekend I converted and disenchanted over 400 timesless BoA pieces for a total of 453 sha crystals and I still have roughly 100 pieces floating around because I do not have an enchanter that can disenchant mail.

It only makes sense to have one enchanter of each armor class now.  Not only does it make sense, but you would be playing at a disadvantage if you did not have one of each class.  A disadvantage in making gold, a disadvantage of not having all those normally expensive weapon enchants for free, a disadvantage of wasting materials they are handing out for free.  The only thing worse than not playing well is not playing smart.  Having a profession alt that can disenchant all classes of armor is playing smart.

With connected realms and the ability to have more characters on your server, why not have an enchanter for all types so if they ever do this again you can take advantage of it.  Being I need a mail enchanter, I love playing hunters, and hunters are easy to level.  Can you guess my first connected realm move in concern to what class I will roll and at least what one profession it will have?  Yeap, a hunter with enchanting is on its way.

Outside of that obvious addition, what professions should I make the others I will add to my army of alts when the time comes?

Things like tailors will always be good if they do something like they did with bags this time around.  Instead of making one bag every 12 days you could make 2 or 3 or 4.  I am sure you can make a lot more money having a lock on the bag market from the get go like that.  Or even if you are just making them for yourself, at least you will have all the best bags sooner than later.

But if they do it with reputation to get the pattern like this time, which I hated, who has the time to grind reputation on multiple profession alts?  Surely not me, and I play a lot.  So not sure who would unless they are unemployed.  So maybe that is not a good option because getting ready for it might effectively make more work for myself and the last thing I want is to back myself into a corner where I feel I "have to" do something again.

More transmutation alchemists makes sense.  Only need one for flask and one for potions.  There is no limit on how many of those you can make but when it comes to transmutes there is always something with a limit and when an expansion starts those things always sell like wildfire. They even still have a fair deal of life throughout the expansion.  Something you can't say about some other things.  So surely adding a few of those would be good.

How about adding another double gatherer to the mix for those days when I just feel like doing some farming?  A worgen druid makes for an excellent herbalist and skinner thanks to instant flight form and the ability to pick herbs in the air plus faster skinning.  A hunter makes for the absolute best node gatherer meaning mining and herbalism is great for them too, let the pet fight while you gather.  No losing a node to getting attacked and someone else taking it while you are fighting.  We all hate that don't we?  Well, I do.

There are so many great things (and bad things) that can come with connected realms but all I can think about is my army of alts and what professions they will be.  More alts, more professions thanks to more connection.  I can dig it.

Are you character capped?  If so, what are you planning to do with your new found ability to make more characters effectively on your main server?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Three Dailes as They Should Be

At the beginning of the expansion there was a lot of backlash against daily quests.  They felt too required, too repetitive, not rewarding.  Depending on who you are you might have thought one of those things or all of those things.  Maybe you might have even said other things about them, the types of things you can not say in mixed company.

Love them or hate them however, no matter who you are there will always be a few dailies you do not mind doing and there might even be some dailies you like to do.  Off the top of your head you might not be able to think of any, but trust me, even the biggest daily hater out there had a few dailies they did not mind doing and, god forbid, a daily they actually liked doing.

So what are the keys to making dailies more bearable?  Not necessarily fun mind you, but not annoying.

I was thinking about my three favorite dailies and what it is that makes me like those dailies and think I might have found a pattern to what makes a daily enjoyable.  At least for me.

So with no more delay, here is the small list of dailies as they should be, and of course, what it is I like about them.  There are three, one from wrath, one from cataclysm and one from mists.  I'll start at the beginning.

The Wrath Daily, as it should be:

Preparing for the Worst is a daily quest that requires you to gather up 8 Kaskala supplies.  With so many daily quests that have you gather, kill, trigger, tag, or what have you to X number of things why does this one quest set itself aside from all the others and make it on to my list of dailies the way they should be?

Could it be the 5 gold it offers, which is considerably less than any other daily of the time?  Of course not, why would getting less gold than the normal daily be a good thing.  So what makes it so great.

You enter northrend at level 68, you can pick up this daily at level 68.  An "end game" daily that you can get as soon as you get there and do it every day to level, or wait and do it every day later for reputation or gold.  That is what really sets this simple gathering daily apart from every other daily of its ilk.  You can do this one the moment you step foot into the new content.

But that is not all.  The mobs in the area are low level, like you are when you first pick up the quest, so when you get there at end game time you could just as easily pick up everything without even aggroing one mob.  This makes the daily quick and easy both end game and while leveling.  While leveling you can gather all the baskets without fighting, if you wanted to, or you can get a little experience and kill a few mobs while gathering.  It is really your choice.

Even the fact the daily offers less gold means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  This daily is quick, easy, offered from the get go, and is a reputation giving daily.  It is a no stress daily and quest honestly it is probably the only daily I have always done in wrath content on any character that was around back then and since.  New leveling characters just blow through there, but every leveling character does this daily every day they are in the area to do so.  I can't even say that about the cooking or fishing dailies of the era, and those are supposed to be quick and easy but nothing compares to the quick and easy of this quest.

So Preparing for the Worst makes the list for not only being quick and easy while still offering a reasonable reward but because you can do it from the moment you set foot on that current content and not have to wait until end game where you grind it every day, forever.

A friend of mine called this quest, back when it was current, the easiest 5 gold you will ever find in the game.  Oddly enough, he was not alone.  When talking quests with people, many others said the same thing.  Just another reason to love it as a daily.

The Cataclysm Daily, as it should be:

Thieving Little Pluckers could probably make any list of great quests even if you were just talking about the names of the quests but it was so much more.

This quest gave you a massive hammer and told you to smash some pygmies.  Now, if you never did the quest I am sure you are looking up where to do it after reading me say that and will be doing it shortly.  See what I mean when I say this daily is awesome?  It is just fun, flat out fun.

Sure it was annoying getting caught in battle and having to run away to get out of battle after turning in the daily sometimes but outside of that what is there not to like about smashing three pygmies standing on each others shoulders with a giant hammer and hearing their oogie boogie sounds as they go flying.  How can you think of that and not laugh?  I know I am giggling a little just thinking about it as I write this.

Like the wrath entry to the list, this quest was one of those daily quests that you did not need to wait until end game to start doing.  You enter the zone at 83 and you can start doing the daily at 83.  I think we have found a little trend here so far as to what makes dailies good.  They are not tied to only something to do at max level, they are something that you can use to get to max level, if you so wish.  I believe good daily design might have that do it early and often approach.

Thieving little pluckers is such a great quest and so much fun that whenever I am in the zone, on whatever character I am passing through with, I can not help myself to stop and smash me some pygmies.  I've even been known to go out of my way a bit just to smash me a pygmy or two.  Yeah, it is worth it.

The Mists Daily, as it should be:

Roll Club: Serpent's Spine upped the ante as a daily quest just like all other mists quests did by not only offering gold and reputation but giving lesser charms and valor as well.  But that is not what makes the quest great because it was in no way unique to this quest as all mists quests were like that.  What makes this quest great was you roll down the serpent spine at, possibly, super high speeds.

It was quick, it was fun, and you could go and throw yourself off the side just for the hell of it with ever needing to worry about dying because it was awesome to see how fast you could get yourself and how far you would go.  Even if you went straight thru to the end you could effectively launch yourself into the water.

In the end, it was just a fun quest to do.  While it was not offered until max level like the others, that was only because max level was when you first encountered it.  Perhaps if you could have gotten it earlier it would have been like the other two dailies on the list, available from the moment you can do it.

This does add to the theme the two others started however.  It was quick and easy.  Well, maybe not easy for some, I had a friend stressing out on vent one time because he could not get it.  But you know what?  He was still loving it.  Bitching he kept going off the edge, but laughing is ass off telling us where he managed to land.  Even in failure it was a great quest.  Now that is good design.

This quest, just like the previous entry from cataclysm, is one of those quests I always stop to do if I am passing by it even if I do not need the reputation because it is flat out fun to do.

If you do a daily that you have no need for anything from it because you actually want to do it, ding ding ding, we have a winner here on what makes a great daily.  < -- Read that blizzard.  Twice if you have to.

The Rules of the Great Daily:

So what do all these things have in common that should be used to consider when making new dailies, what works and what doesn't.

1) Quick:
- None of these dailies take a long time.  Even the collecting one which has the potential to take the longest if there are a lot of people doing it, is really not bad at all.

2) Easy:
- There is nothing too difficult about it.  Even a character you suck at playing can do them.  The only one that would require you fighting any mobs, those mobs are lower in level then most end game sort of daily mobs.

3) Distance:
- The supplies are all close to where you pick up the wrath quest.  The pluckers are all in the immediate vicinity of where you pick up the cataclysm quest.  You are ported to the spine for the mists quest.  No quests require you to go half way around the world to do them.

4) Reward:
- They all offer something of value.  Sure the wrath one can be argued it was of very little value, but as any feral druids will tell you, that fishing pole was BiS preraiding.  Yes, a fishing pole.  And it is still a pretty darn awesome one at that being it gives you underwater breathing.  I still carry it in my bag.  But they all offer reputation and in the case of the modern, if that was the same way back then, I am sure they all would have offered valor and charms as well.  Oh, and gold of course, who can turn down gold.

5) Fun:
- While it is no doubt fun to do the cataclysm and mists one, more than the wrath one, the wrath one was fun in its own right by not requiring you to do anything basically.  Walk around and pick up a few things, or fly and pick them up, you do not even need to fight anything.  That is fun, in it's own way for some.  But like I said, the fun of the cataclysm one and the mists one is undeniable.  When you do them just because they are great to do and you need nothing they have to offer, you know you have a great quest here.

6) Availability:
- Having some dailies, like ones added later on, being max level only dailies makes sense, but having dailies you can do while leveling is just good design.  For someone that speed levels like me it changes little to nothing, but for the vast majority of players that take their time, dailies, even more so reputation giving ones, should be available as they level.

The Daily That Never Was:

As an honorable mention I feel I need to mention my favorite quest of all time, one that should have been a daily but never was.  It comes from the same zone that my favorite daily of all time comes from.  Thieving little pluckers is without a doubt my favorite daily.  Just the sounds they make it worth doing it a million times in my opinion.  But there is another quest in the zone I would have loved to have as a daily and it too comes with its own very special set of sounds.

Gnomebliteration was without a doubt one of the most fun quests in all of cataclysm that did not involve smashing pygmies.  But you did get to run over gnomes while navigating a giant flaming ball of death and hearing the screams of all the gnomes being set on fire and crushed.

Am I a mean person for really loving this quest and enjoying their screams of pain as I bowl them over?  Well if I am, I am happy with that because this quest is just that awesome.  I have a character that I did the zone up until that point with it and stopped, so I could always get the quest and kill some gnomes and then abandon it when I am done because it is just that fun.

When you are bored, killing gnomes with a giant ball of death can be something fun to do.  When you are in a bad mood, hearing the death screams of a thousand gnomes being burnt to a crisp can surely turn your mood around.  When you are feeling sad, nothing say cheer up good buddy like a speeding ball of death killing every thing in its path, as long as by everything you mean gnomes.  When you need a break from the daily grind a daily like this just would not feel like a grind, it would feel like fun.

And that is what dailies need, to feel like fun.  Why this quest was never a daily is beyond me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- Feast or Famine week continues for me.

- But not for my hunter.

- I was unable to find any decent groups to do a flex with on my server or on OQ or OR.

- Sure there were groups, but I am picky, and so are others.

- I got turned down for a flex 3 because my item level was too low.

- I am guessing there, they did not actually say that.

- I down the bosses from flex 3 on normal mode ever since week 3 so it can't be because I do not know the fights.

- So I am only guessing it must be my horrible item level of 554.

- Experience, item level and ability, can't really offer much more can I?

- They just said, sorry, we are looking for some better people for a quick run.

- As if "554, have done all bosses on normal" means I am not good enough for flex.

- I wonder what experience they wanted, or what item level they wanted.

- But just as they have the right to be selective, so do I.

- I joined one group, advertised as "geared and experienced people needed for quick Flex 1 and 2".

- I figured one and two are easy enough, even if everyone is only 520 we should be able to blow through it.

- I get there while they are still recruiting and start inspecting.

- Everyone in the group is covered in 496 gear from the island.

- I was hard pressed to find anyone in the group with gear over item level 500.

- A few 502 pieces here and they were all I found.

- Not sure how these people are "geared".

- Unless they are using the term "geared" in a different way then I am used to.

- I mean you can dress in all vendor gear and be geared.

- As in "not naked".

- I won't bail, maybe they are on alts.

- Experience goes a long way and even lesser geared players, if they know the fights and are decent at their class they can handle flex 1.

- Then they all started talking.

- "First time here", "Never done this before", "Just hit 90", etc.

- Most of these people never even did it in LFR.

- I whispered the person that invited me and thanked them for the invitation but I am looking for a quick clear for valor and drops and I do not see this being quick or easy with the gear and lack of experience most people here have.  Sorry.

- I bailed.

- I tried grabbing a few more groups and they were either bad groups or groups that did not want me.

- "Sorry, no hunters."

- I heard that one three times.

- Is there a reason why people do not want hunters that I am missing?

- The gear is not rolled on so it can't be because of gear competition.

- I can not think of any fight a hunter would hurt the team.

- Oh well, their group, their rules.

- One of my guild mates said on vent when I mentioned it, "The guy assembling it is probably a hunter and does not want any other hunters there to make him look bad."

- That is the only thing that makes sense.

- Joined one where I had more life than both the tanks.

- A Prot warrior with 429K life and a blood DK with 505K life.

- Okay, maybe, just maybe, I can see the DK doing this, but what the hell is up with that warrior.

- All quest gear, must have just hit 90 15 seconds ago would be my guess.

- At least he was trying, he enchanted some greens.

- Can't help but think he should have spent the money buying 476, 496 or other BoE items instead of enchants for greens.

- Maybe he was an enchanter so it lowered his costs.

- Either way, I do not think 400K health is good enough to tank SoO flex.

- Skill matters more that gear, but only to some extent, even if you are the most skilled player in the world if you do not have the gear for the content, you can not do the content.

- So after a few wasted hours, lots of groups I never even tried with, lots of people telling me they did not want hunters or turning me down for some other reason, I gave up trying to get a flex run on my hunter.

- I decided to gear up another character.

- I rolled the mental random number generator and came up with my 506 warlock.

- Okay, have not played it in ages, lets get rolling and see where I am legendary quest wise.

- Sigils?

- Wow I am so far behind.

- I queued up for SoO anyway instead of going back for them.

- At least the first 8 can drop them.

- After hours, and I do mean hours, lots of them, I finished all 4 SoO LFRs and the celestial and ordos world boss.

- All said and done, 8 new pieces including a 4 piece set.

- Feast or famine?

- Feast time for sure.

- Oddly enough my item level only went up 13 points.

- So a four piece set and still not even item level 520, what are the odds?

- I can easily see the increase in damage from the gear, but still not very comfortable on my lock.

- I know I can get more out of it, it is just not coming.

- It is not like locks have a difficult rotation or anything.

- Have to love those rotations with just 3 or 4 buttons and a few situational abilities or cool downs.

- But have to hate them when you are not putting out the numbers you believe you should be.

- When the main rotation is just a few buttons it is really hard to figure out what you are doing wrong.

- Based on my current gear I should be pulling around 136K according to the sims.

- I just can not break 110K on my best single target run.

- So lots of room to get better.

- I spent some time soloing the yungol cape side on the island.

- Not just for reputation, which would be nice so I can make some 535 bracers when I get honored so I can get another burden to replace 483 ones, but so I could learn a little.

- They live long enough to actually get some decent rotation time in on and doing more damage means my minion gets more shields, which means doing more damage helps in killing it and surviving.

- A perfect motivation to do the best I can do.

- With the island buffs up I could routinely break 140K.

- Wish I could do that without them.

- But doing that, and getting gear, and spending some time on it, I saw myself get better with it.

- Sunday found me complaining how hard it is to find a pug for some things, even with things like open raid.

- I did not start the complaining, I just joined in.

- Someone had been looking for a heroic LS kill so they could get the heroic rune for a few weeks but have been unable to find a group.

- He said, everyone wants someone with experience, and we never got there, so he does not have experience.

- I said he is an extremely skilled player, watch the video and lie.

- With his natural ability to be a very good player, a fast learner, and great at adapting, he should have no problem faking it.

- Some people can do that, some people can't.

- I would not suggest that approach to most, but to him, he can do it.

- He said he did not want to.

- So I gave him another option to try.

- He has a healing offspec, switch to heals and be honest.

- Say that you have never done it on heroic, only normal, but you watched the video and know the fight.

- He said, that will never work.

- I said, at his item level of 540 for his heal set, he is well capable of it, and most of the time people do not care about healers if they have experience or not.

- He did not believe me, so I said I would prove it.

- I popped on my healer, 520 item level, 0 bosses in ToT normal, and the last time I watched the video was ages ago.

- I saw someone say they needed a healer.

- I whispered them, "I've never healed ToT but I've tanked and DPSed normal and a couple heroic bosses.  Only 520 item level but if you need me I am willing to do my best."

- I did not lie, I was about as truthful as you could be.

- I was told, "I'll get back to you.".

- 20 minutes later I get a whisper asking me to switch the my healer and get invited.

- We blow through the first 8 and get stuck on animus because they were trying to do the burn approach and did not quite have the DPS for it.

- After a dozen or so attempts they decided to call it.

- Proof that you do not even need experience, or gear, as a healer you just need to be willing.

- Heck, you do not even need to be capable.

- We two healed them all and did just fine for the most part.

- Think we had two wipes before animus and neither of them, or the ones on animus were healing issues.

- But for every bit the other healer was over gearing it, I was under gearing it, and it worked out well.

- Even if they were doing more heals than I, we kept everyone up as a team and that is how healers are judged.

- If everyone lives, you did well.

- I was actually pretty impressed with how well I did for my item level.

- I had a lot of fun, maybe I should do more healing.

- It is easier to find groups.

- You can bypass the need for experience most of the time.

- You are not judged by numbers, only survival, if everyone lives you did okay.

- If people die and you were honest, people are more accepting of the fact you are trying your best because they know you are helping them.

- As I said a long time ago, and it still seems to fit, if you want to "play" warcraft, roll a healer.

- You will always be able to find a group.

- People will treat you with more respect than any other role.

- Your success or failure usually has more to do with the group you are in than what you yourself do, as long as you are competent to begin with.

- And that person could have surely got into a LS kill for his rune if he went as a healer.

- I used coins on all the bosses we downed that had something that would be an upgrade, sadly feast week did not transfer over to my healer, so no loot for me.

- But when all was said and done, there was a new found confidence in my own ability as a healer, even if the other healer really did all the heavy lifting.

- You can not judge a healer by numbers alone, but to see myself doing over 100K HPS felt good.

- Sure, the other healer was doing 140-160 on most fights, but my 100-120 sure felt good being they had a good 45 item levels on me with their 565 item level.

- And that is why people would be willing to take a chance on a healer were they would not on a damage dealer.

- A healer is just judged on people living, if everyone lives and the bosses die, who cares what your healing was.

- I do not think I could have healed LS if we got that far however so maybe it was a good thing we didn't.

- But I would have loved the challenge.

- As much as I do not mind healing and I do like the challenge, I am still a hunter.

- Not sure why, but you seem to gravitate to a role and that is what you like to be.

- I see damage dealers and healers switch the classes they play all the time but it seems, from my observations, tanks seem to stick to what tank they like, no matter what.

- Some people switch their damage dealing role to the flavor of the month, same with healers.

- Some damage dealers have multiple characters to fill the role, but also might tank or heal.

- Some healers have multiple characters to fill the role, but also might DPS or tank.

- But most tanks just have tanks.  That is all they do.

- Is that just in my small area of the world, or do you notice that as well?

- That real dedicated tanks take being a tank so seriously that they really don't do anything else but tank.

- Makes you wonder if tanking really is in its own little world.

- And maybe that is why LFR has such a problem with tanks, that content does not mess with their world.

- All the tanks I know do not do LFR.

- I guess the only people that can truly tell you what is going through their head is them, perhaps I should seek out some information and ask a few questions of those, the dedicated tanks that are only tanks.

- Would make for an interesting post.

- At least I think so.

- Did you ever notice beer muscles in game?

- I was sitting around waiting for a rare spawn and drinking some junk I had in my bag, just to get rid of it, and have a little fun getting drunk.

- I watched as the mob I was focused on at the moment kept going down in level as I drank.

- From 92 elite, to 91, to 90, to 89, to 88 when I got completely smashed.

- Now I know the mob was not going down in level, but as I went up in the level of intoxication it seemed to.

- In effect, beer muscles, making you think you are stronger than you are you will go after that seemingly unimposing level 88 that is really a level 92 elite.

- Have to love the little things in game like that.

- I wonder who else notices stuff like that.

- Have a great day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Random is Random but Feast or Famine is Worse.

I really hate the random number generator and I am pretty sure it is not all that fond of me either.  At least if my love / hate history with it proves anything.  There are some people that are lucky and then there are some people that are not.  More often than not it seems everyone has what I call the "feast or famine effect", at least since the addition of personal loot.

I've been saying this since the loot system change in the DS LFR to the individual loot system.  There are some times you will go in there and win something off every boss it seems and other times you will spend two months not seeing anything only to finally get that run where you win something off of almost every boss.

That is why I call it the feast or famine effect.  I've had many people tell me the same thing so it is not just me seeing it.  If anything I believe the feast or famine effect supports my opinion that there should be no such thing as depending on luck for something as important as gearing.  It is not compelling game play, it is not motivating game play and it is not fun game play to have to sit around and wait for that one week where it seems you win everything.

Week one of this patch was a feast week for me.  I won 4 pieces that first week and was clearly in feast mode.  Remember, week one only had one wing of flex and no wings of LFR and the bosses we downed in normal mean nothing for feast week as I was tanking, not DPSing on my hunter.  Which basically means the three pieces I won off four bosses in flex and the one piece off the celestial boss was me basically winning off almost every boss I faced that week.  If that is not feast mode I do not know what else you would call it.

The week after I won one more piece as soon as the week started (so you could really say I was still working on the feasting from the previous week) and then that was it for that week and the weeks after as it turns out.  As each week passed and I would run whatever was out in LFR, whatever was out in flex, and actually run normal on my hunter, which never saw me with less than 6 bosses in even our worse week, that meant I was killing a lot of bosses each week. 

Adding the two world bosses to real raid bosses to all flex bosses and all LFR bosses and using three coins a week on top of whatever I managed to kill in normal you can easily say I was having, at worst, 30 chances for loot a week, more actually.  And getting nothing.  You can clearly see I was in famine mode, at least I can see that.

So after that initial week that saw me feasting, winning something off of nearly everything I killed, there was nothing.  Random is random, sure.  We all know that, we all understand that, we all accept that, but that does not mean we all think it is a good idea.

Last week after another week passed and having a total of 39 kills with a chance for loot at one level or another and getting nothing I was starting to get frustrated.  I started the patch off so well, I was feasting, I was getting loot with anything I stuck an arrow into, it was like they were handing it out, like the gear tokens on the island, just do something, anything, and get loot.

I must admit I liked winning a lot that first week.  It was a carry over from the last tier when I won nothing nearly all tier and then won 5 things in the last two weeks.  It was famine all tier, never seeing a weapon, and then seeing not one, not two but three weapons in the matter of 2 weeks to end it out.  I started to feast on weapons even after not getting any for 5 months previous to that.

You might be expecting me to start complaining about my bad luck right about now and I will of course, but not in the way you might expect.  I can live with random, but I wish random was a little more balanced.  There is no reason I should win 4 things on week one when I basically killed nothing and then basically nothing since killing many bosses each week.  I think the game would be better designed if it gave me one thing a week for 4 weeks than to give me 4 in one and nothing in three.

Everyone likes those four drop weeks but no one likes the no drop weeks.  Even the people that never complain about loot would have to admit that the feast or famine effect can be really annoying.  Random is random, sure, but does it really need to be that bad?  I am sure there has to be some way to balance things out where gear is a steady flow, a continued progression forward, instead of just waiting for that lucky week to come.  Spread the wealth of gear over the course of time instead of giving me a wealth of gear one day and then nothing else for weeks.

What made me think about this?  Feast week has come again for me and oddly enough this is the first week I have not run anything much.  Of course as my luck will have it, the week my hunter is on feast week I am not running a lot on him.  I healed the flex run, I only did bosses 4-7 on my hunter and I only did one wing of LFR, the last one.  So not a lot of chances for loot this week but I already got 4 pieces of loot.  Two from normal and two from LFR, including getting the forth piece for my 4 piece set.

I am currently sitting on feast week, I need to look into open raid or something to pick up some flex runs because maybe I can win a flex tier piece to replace that LFR tier piece.  I am on feast week, if it is going to happen it will happen now so I hope I can get in on a run. Maybe I can set up another run in normal to continue where I left off, just have to make sure I have my tanks and healers so I do not have to switch to one of them.  I am on feast week, I need to kill more bosses.  This might be the last chance I have for loot for months with my luck.

Sounds exciting right?  Knowing that whatever I kill this week I have a pretty great chance at getting gear because I am in feast week.  I got 4 pieces already and I didn't even kill much this week.  Sort of like the first week.  Do I only get my lucky weeks on the weeks I do not run my hunter much?  Fits my track record with luck, doesn't it.  I have to make every effort to kill everything that might even have a small upgrade for me, because after this is over it might be a very long time before I see another piece thanks to the feast or famine effect.

And that is my problem with the random is random.  No one likes getting nothing, but it feels so much worse when you get nothing for so long during that famine period.

Do you think something could be done to balance the feast or famine game play?  What would you rather, get 4 pieces one week and then nothing for 6 or get 1 piece a week every week or two over those 7 weeks?  I think I would prefer a system where you get one piece every week or two instead of this all or nothing approach.

Random is random, sure, but feast or famine sucks.  I am not sure what is worse, not getting anything for weeks at a time or getting and lot one week and knowing that is a symbol telling you that you will not be seeing anything for a while once this week is done.  I really do support the "earn" you gear approach where you get one piece every two of three weeks as long as you work for it.  So much better than random, so much better than feast or famine.

Wish me luck on finding some flex runs, I am going to try to ride feast week as much as I can because I know I won't be seeing anything again when it is over for a long time.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is 496 Appropriate for SoO LFR?

Someone mentioned something in passing in one of the comments from the other day that got me to thinking.  I know, it can be dangerous to do that.  He mentioned about having issues on one of the bosses because of under geared tanks and the first thing that popped into my mind is that they were not under geared, they were probably appropriately geared, item level wise at least.

The issue could have very well been they were wearing the wrong type of gear or they were sitting at that exact number or maybe, like most people you see in the LFR, they were ungemmed and enchanted.  Now add all that together with the possibility that they are less skilled at their class than someone else that raids more often and has better gear and you have a tank that will get squished easily and be a drain on healer mana and most likely be the cause of a wipe.

So who is really to blame here? 

Is it the tank for coming it at the 496 item level blizzard suggests?

I do not believe that to be true.  If blizzard said 496 is required and they reach the 496 item level they have every single right to be in there just as much as the tank with the 560 item level.  Sure, the 560 tank will be sitting a 1M hit points where the 496 tank might be closer to half that.  But is it the tanks fault?  Absolutely not, it is blizzard fault for setting the bar too low for the content.

Is it the tank for not being very skilled at his/her class?

I do not believe this to be true either.  This is LFR, the skill level required to do it is lower and should be lower.  It is meant, as least I believe, for people that want to raid but are not actually what most would consider raiders or for raiders that have no other options because of time reasons.  So of course the skill level of said tank will usually be lower. 

The tank could very well be in the learning process just as he/her character is in the gearing process and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  As I love to say when I take new people with me on a raid, everyone needs to learn somewhere.  LFR should be the place where they learn even if it is not really all that good for that.  It can still be a place to practice your craft be it tanking or healing or damage dealing.  Maybe the content is just a little too hard for those up and coming tanks that have not yet learned how to use their cooldowns for the best mitigation.

Is it the tank for not being gemmed, enchanted and reforged?

Once more I do not believe that to be true.  Blizzard implemented an item level check and that is it.  There is no gem check, no enchant check, no reforge check, and there never should be one in my opinion.  Basically it means that gems, enchants, etc, should not be required for the LFR being there is no check for them.  This is LFR, not organized raiding, there is no need for every little bit of gear to be optimized for maximum potential to do it, or at least there shouldn't be. 

I think there is a minor error in blizzards design because they assume that everyone will be all decked out when the fact is they will not.  Even myself, who I would like to think of as a person that tries, will not bother gemming, or enchanting anything under item level 522 at the moment.  So if I were in all 496 gear, even as a person that normally tries, I would be ungemmed and unenchanted as well.

Is it the tank for not having glyphs, flask, potions and food?

Lets go with the I do not believe that to be true line again.  Starting to sound like a broken record aren't I?  The fact is, just like I already said, there is an item level check and that is all there is.  So none of this stuff should be needed as it is not in any way, shape or form required to reach the 496 item level and surely not to do the content at hand.

Is it the tank for not having the appropriate gear?

I can flip a coin on this one, maybe, maybe not, but over all lets stick with the company line, I do not believe that to be true.  496 is a low number, a very low number when talking about current gear, so anyone in that range is surely still in what could be refereed to as the gearing up process.  Most people, either logically or illogically, will take almost anything that is useful, even if it is not perfect, when gearing up. 

A tank taking a wrist with haste and mastery even if someone thinks that is a DPS piece, is not really a bad thing.  Sure, they might, just might, be better off with a tanking item, but as long as that is plate and they are a plate wearer, go for it.  When you reach current level (as in current item level gear) you should have the appropriate gear for your class and spec but when gearing up and at a dreadfully low 496 item level, take what you can get and I would not blame you for it.

So what does our make believe tank look like now?

Lets call him a warrior named Bobslam and gear him up with a 437 weapon he got while questing in the dread wastes.  We will give him a blue 442 shield he purchased off the auction house for a steal of 800 gold.  We will then fill out his gear with the assortment of timeless island 496 gear.  Most of that gear will only have one stat on it which is par for the course.  Two of those pieces, lets say waist and legs, he used a burden on.  One he got from the chest that guarantees you one and the other he got lucky with and it dropped off evermaw.  He also managed to get two 496 trinkets.  How you might ask being there is only one type of trinket for each role but that has a simple answer.  He is using one tank trinket and one damage dealer trinket.  Just take a look around your next LFR and you will find at least one or two people in every group that are capable of having two different types of trinkets that actually have them both 496 ones on. 

Now lets give you a little history about Bobslam the warrior.  This is his first max level character.  He is not a horrible player but not a good one either.  He has never played at max level but he knows enough that this gear is not that great and the price for gems and enchants is just insane and he doesn't have a great deal of gold.  He has all intentions of gemming and enchanting, just not something he is hoping to replace really soon, like the stuff he is wearing now.

He knew enough to download some addons like the one that showed him where all the chests on the timeless island were.  He also downloaded a threat plate addon and even downloaded deadly boss mobs, all of which immediately places him above many people you will find in the LFR.  He even spent some time on icy veins and noxxic to get an idea how to play his class, even if he never once tried to tank before.  This too places him well above most of the people you will see in the LFR.

So at his 496 item level, ungemmed, unenchanted, not reforged, with no flask, no potions, no food and absolutely no experience tanking, ever, he sees the lure of instant queue vs that of 45 minutes to an hour and decides he would rather spend his time playing instead of his time waiting to play and he joins the SoO LFR as a tank.  Can we really blame him? 

Now I ask you, who's fault is that?

He met all the requirements, he even went above and beyond by reading up on his class, even if he has never practiced it, and has a boss mod addon which is worth its weight in gold.  Now I have to ask you, is he really an under geared tank or is he the exact person that is supposed to be there in the SoO LFR tanking?

I do not believe that the 496 item level is in tune with the difficulty of the content.  Sure, you or I might look at the SoO version of the raid as a joke, as face roll, as a loot dispenser, but for Bobslam and many like him this is their end game raiding and they are stepping into it under geared because the game says it is designed for them to be able to do it under geared.

One thing blizzard does not seem to grasp is that they can not only design it for the item level, they need to design it for the people that will come in at that item level.

The people that would gem, enchant, know their class and how to play it, be ready, read strategy, do all the right things so to speak, are not at a 496 item level.  The people at a 496 item level are alts, part timers, new players, people without much time or resources, people like Bobslam.

So if they are going to design for a 496 item level they need to design it with the idea that the 496 gear is not gemmed, not reforged, not enchanted, and the person will come with no glyphs, no flasks, no potions and quite possibly no skill what so ever at the role they are attempting to play.

Is the content fine for a "good" player in 496 gear?  Absolutely.  A person that knows how to play their class well and has it all decked out and knows the fights will stomp all over it in 496 gear.  LFR people are not those people.  496 is WAY to low of an item level requirement if that is going to be the only line you ask people to cross to get into it.

Lets give poor Bobslam a break and stop picking on him.  It is not his fault he is woefully under geared and not ready for SoO, it is blizzard fault for letting him come into it like that.  As I said, he is not under geared, he is just new and everyone needs to learn somewhere, the content is just not meant for him, even if blizzard likes to play pretend like it is.

I'll end this with linking something else many people might find surprising and then throw you something interesting to chew on as far as potential for a 496 item level.

Take a look at the DPS ranking for a 496 item level player, in the best itemized 496 gear, at absolute perfection on a patchwork fight at noxxic.  The best of the best at absolute perfection would be 133K and the worst at absolute perfection would be 95K.  Lets call that an average of 114K, which seems close to accurate.  And that is at absolute perfection.  Who here has ever been at the level of perfection?  Not me.  So 114K is completely an unreasonable expectation of a damage dealer in LFR if they are at the item level required to enter it.  Can you just imagine how hard some fights would be if everyone were under 114K?  Impossible.  And remember, that 114K is absolute perfection at a 496 item level.  Think about that for a minute and consider it.

Now remember, if you have read here, what I always say about damage dealers and numbers.  If you can pull within 80% of your theoretical maximum DPS you are doing well.  So that would lower that number to 91K DPS is "good" in 496 gear, in my opinion.

Now lets subtract gems and enchants and people being reforged correctly with the right glyphs and a flask and food.  I do not know the exact numbers but I recall reading that all that could be worth upwards of 20% of your output for a damage dealer, I also recall reading 30% somewhere, but I will use the lower number and deduct another 20%, or 23K, from our original maximum potential.  So now we are looking at 68K.

That 68K is now in the unfinished format with no gems and such but it is still assuming someone is a "good" player and doing 80% of the maximum potential.  Now I don't want to call most of the people in the LFR bad, but I can say most are not good.  So lets say they can not do that 80% potential, they are more like 50% potential. 

So where would that place the average LFR damage dealer in 496 gear with no gems and no enchants?  34K.  Yes, 34K.

That is using that 114K best possible DPS for 496 as a marker, considering the person is performing at 50% of their maximum potential, and then deducting 23K for the lack of gems, enchants, proper reforging, glyphs and flask.

Now, with that in mind, do you think that the SoO LFR would ever get any bosses down with two 496 tanks and their extremely low health and avoidance and all the damage dealers doing around 34K with the few "good" ones doing 68K?

Lets not even talk about what a healer in 496 gear that was not decked out could handle.  They would be screwed having to heal to the enrage timer ever fight and trying to keep those paper bag tanks up.

Nope, sorry blizzard, you did not design SoO for players in 496 gear.  Not even close.

Perhaps that is why there are so many issues.  Do you think blizzard is just assuming that there will always be a fair share of part time raiders sitting around 520-530 and full time raiders sitting between 550-570 to carry everyone?  If so, that is bad design.  If it requires 496, it should be designed for 496.  496 with bad gear choices, no gems, no enchants, no anything, oh, and sub par skill with all of that other stuff absent.

So my opinion, absolutely not, 496 is not appropriate for LFR.  Or maybe it should be the LFR is not appropriate for 496.

So the next time we see someone in there doing 40K or a tank with only 500K health, they are not doing bad, they are the person that is supposed to be in there, blizzard just didn't design it for them.  They made it the item level for those people, just not the difficulty level for those people.  So we should be complaining to blizzard that they are doing 40K or only have 500K health, not to the player.  They are in the right gear doing the right things.

And people wonder why I keep saying I don't think anyone at blizzard plays their own game.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

SoO Wing 4 LFR - Good or Bad, Too Confused to Tell.

I am not confused about the fights, so to speak, as I know them.  I am confused about how my run through the LFR will help anyone that goes into it again next week.  I am confused as to if anyone can get a feeling for it from me sharing my experiences. It was not a bad run really.  We wiped once on the first bosses, one shot the second boss and wiped three times on the last boss.

We had one of those horrible LFR moments that reminds me why I do not tank the LFR but outside of that, it was okay.  Lets start at the start and I will point out what confused me.

Over all LFR wing 4 seems easier than LFR wing 2 and LFR wing 3, which in and of itself is confusing. Blizzard really needs to work on their design for random content, they have no clue where they want it to be.  Shouldn't the earlier ones be easier?

Boss one.

No one mentioned assembly lines.  No one mentioned tanking the shredder away from the boss.  No one mentioned crawlers.  No one mentioned anything really.  They left it up to the group to be able to figure it out on their own which if history proves anything it proves that is not a good idea.

In all honesty, anyone that queues up for something like this should have a basic idea of the fights even if they never did them before.  If you queue for group content it is your job to make sure that you are not wasting the time of 24 other players and as such it is your responsibility to know the fights beforehand.  That is my opinion at least and I know a great many disagree with me.  Seemingly, most of the LFR I was in disagreed with me as it seems a hand full knew the fights.  I would say at most 10 of the 25 had a clue, just so happened it was just the right people that knew it to get us through it okay.

I was going to do the assembly line but someone mentioned I got the line so I just figured I would pew pew because that is all there really is to do.  Pew pew and avoid crap.

Being the assembly line was never explained, the healers were extremely powerful and healed people through a lot of stuff they should have avoided, and the DPS was okay, which is unheard of in an LFR, the fact that most people there had no clue did not hurt us as much.

So next week when most of these people go into the LFR none of them will know about the line, they will all think the damage means nothing because it was healed through by the great healers we were lucky enough to have and, effectively, they will have all done the fight and still have absolutely no clue how to do the fight.  If that makes any sense.

Was it our job, the people that knew, to at least explain a little?  Explain what was going on, so even if they did not understand they would know there was something going on?

We wiped once on that fight because the damage became too much.  Someone mentioned after the wipe to keep the shredder away and for people to try to avoid the avoidable, but that was about it.  We downed it the next time on the backs of 4 250K DPS and 4 of the 6 healers being pretty much this side of awesome.

Boss two.

Boss two was a one shot affair.  I know the fight and it is the only fight I would never want to explain in a million years.  I despise council fights to begin with when it comes to explaining them and if I never saw one in the game again I would be a happy camper but one with 9 bosses, no thank you, let someone else explain, this brings the annoying council fight explanation thing to an entirely new level of "go f yourself blizzard".

Were there differences between LFR and normal?  Damned if I know.  Seriously, I have no clue.  I am confused.

We one shot the boss.  No one said a word, heck we went from trash pulling into the boss fight instantly.  I would be willing to bet 15 of the 25 people (which I am figuring is probably the amount that has never seen the fight) thought we were still on trash.

The only words said in raid was a /rw that said single target skull only.  And that is exactly what we did.  Well, all execpt one person that was more interested in meter hogging than doing the fight the way intended.  Be prepared to see a lot of that on this fight.  It will usually be followed by the prerequisite posting of recount and some damage dealer saying how awesome he is even if he completely ignored the mechanics. And no, the person AoEing was not a lock with rain for embers or a shadow priest or boomkin for procs, it was someone that gains no benefit from hitting more targets what so ever except to stoke his own epeen.

One died, another skull popped up, one died, another skull popped up.  The fight went by so fast I did not even see any mechanics, maybe I was never targeted by anything, maybe they were all going down so fast, maybe some of the abilities are not in the LFR version, maybe I had one of those "baddie" moments where I was ignoring mechanics and didn't even know I was ignoring them.  Who the hell knows.  I sure don't.  I knew it was a boss fight and was so confused by it if I did not know I might have thought it was more trash too like most of the raid probably thought.

Either way, the paragons went down in what are probably the easiest fight of all the LFR SoO fights.  Where there mechanics?  Maybe, who knows.  I did not see any.

Maybe that was the right way to do it, if you tried to explain 9 bosses with 9 sets of abilities and how the 9 interact with each other in some cases and the buffs and debuffs it might have made the fight a lot harder than it was.  Like I said, they started the fight so quickly that most probably just thought it was more trash that was slightly harder trash.

It sure felt like that, just some trash that was slightly harder.  I am confused how the hell we managed a one shot on it and I am sure other there will be confused the next time they are in there and the fight is not a joke like it was for this group.

Trash to boss three.

Yes, trash to boss three needs its own header.  Why you ask?  Because we wiped (using that term loosely) 10 times on that trash.  Yes, a group that two shot the first boss, one shot the second boss, and here we meet trash that starts a wipefest galore.

This is also when the standard tank drama starts.  It is not an LFR run if someone doesn't call at least one of tanks bad right?

So before we even start the trash one tank drops.  I do not blame him, I would not put up with that shit either.  The other tank decides, it is just trash, lets pull, to which I agree.  One person said "single target".  It seems only I read that.  We wipe.  Well, they wipe, I am a hunter, I always live or try to.

To be completely honest, I am not sure even if we single targeted we would have survived, but I agree with the single target approach.  Everyone gets back and we try it again and things go haywire again.

Tank goes down and one mob comes straight for me.  This quick mental exchange goes on.  Feign death, MD to pet, growl, crap pet got one shot, run away run away, damn I miss readiness.  Concussive, trap, kite, FD back up, use it.  Woohoo, I survived.  Go hunter, go hunter, its your birthday, its your birthday.

But then I noticed something.  Something cruel if you really wanted to think about it.  When I FD someone else gets aggro, that someone else will not live long.  But they will live long enough for what I need to use them for.

I go about this routine for all the adds while everyone is running back over and over.  I attack, I get aggro, my pets still dead so it is just me, me and the unsuspecting soon to be dead others.  I trap and concussive to slow and burn as much as I can.  I FD when it gets close, let it go on someone else and get my distance again and start to pew pew once more.  When they die and it starts to come for me again I trap, concussive and kite until FD time once more when he gets close then let someone else get aggro and do the routine all over again.

Basically I keep sacrificing others so I can pick them apart.  Effectively I kill all of them with a little help from unsuspecting victims.  I use the number that we wiped 10 times because after all was said and done most people were talking about how many times they died, most people were saying at least 10.  I died once.  I basically killed all of them.  Even the time I died the sucker that killed me went down at the same time.

During this time they are bashing the tank for not keeping aggro.  The tank drops, we get two more, people start screaming at them as soon as they zone in.  One died the second he zoned in and dropped group, the other tried to get things in order but died near instantly.  He stuck around a short time before he dropped too.

We get two more tanks and the raid starts complaining about how horrible the other tanks were, they both drop before even doing a pull.  If all that venom was being spat at me the second I zoned into an instance I would drop too.  No way to win over a group when they already hate you the second you zone in because they blame tanks for everything of course.

We sit and wait for two more tanks, which was good because I needed a bathroom break.  So far we have spent more time on the trash than we did on the first two bosses and their associated trash combined.

Now another moment of confusion on my part.  Why is the trash to the last boss harder than the previous two bosses?  Does blizzard really think people in random content want hard trash?  Do they think it is fun?

Well, tell you what, I was having a blast.  I was loving it.  I had fun kiting, I had fun seeing how many people I could pass aggro on to and get them killed while I kill the mob.  I had a hell of a lot of fun, probably the most fun I have had in an LFR in months.  But then again, I only died once and I did most of the killing, so that is why I had fun.  There were 24 other people there that would very likely say they did not have fun.  More so the people I let die so I wouldn't.  Hehehe.  Sorry, I could not help it, that was funny.

When we finally get two more tanks, numbers 5 and 6 to enter, not counting the two we started with, so up to 8 for the run, we finish the last of the trash off.  Again, I end up doing my hunter thing, surviving, while everyone else around me dies a horrible and brutal death.  Hehehe.

Boss three.

Someone actually made an effort to explain this fight.  After the last boss fight and the failed attempts at this one I was almost starting to think maybe it would be better if we did not flood a bunch of random people with simple data because it is only simple data once you know what it is.  If you don't, it sure it a lot to suck in.  Most people would suffer from information over load.

It would be better to just have someone instruct as you go with raid warnings.  I read what was being said, I read that the guy that did the lines will do the engineer.  This tidbit of information will come into play later and act as proof that no one read what the poor guy that made the effort to explain had to say.

We go at it and it goes well.  I almost had this feeling we were going to one shot it, until the mind control phase and no one, except myself it seems, switched to the MCed players.  We had some issues earlier with people not stacking for the weapon as suggested and set up with markers, but that was manageable.  I put myself on weapon duty.

By putting myself on weapon duty I noticed that more than a few people did not read what the guy wrote, and sure as hell did not understand what he said if they did read it.  Weapons target ranged players.  Not players at range.  There is a difference.  If a hunter stands in melee he is still a ranged player and can still be targeted. 

The guy explaining actually did say it targets a ranged player and not it targets a player at range.  But the thing with that is, even if people read it, which they did not, many would not understand the difference in terminology.  Only people that know the fight would know the difference and as I mentioned most people here did not really seem to know the fights so you know what that means right?  If you guessed weapons in melee, here, have a cookie.

Hey, I do not know the fights well either, I only read about them, watched a video or two and only did them once, I could even be wrong about a lot of things, but I try at to understand at least and I respect anyone that will take the time and effort to explain and I will read what they have to say and follow their lead.  I wonder why so few others do that.  Even if they have never read about it or watched a video or done it, at least have the common courtesy to read the advice being given to you by sometimes that has and is willing to take the time to share that information with you.

After the first couple of weapons they started landing in melee because ranged players decided, if I stand at melee I will not get targeted for the weapon.  Wrong.  A ranged player is a ranged player no matter where you stand, thanks for dropping the weapon in melee.

I was the only one that switched to the weapons when they were at range which made for them taking a little while to down but once one landed in melee it seemed a light blub popped over a few peoples heads that said, maybe downing these things is not a half bad idea.

Even with all the weapons landing everywhere except where the markers were set up and people, for the most part, just letting them sit and spin until they were in melee, it was going quite well.  Until the mind control phase, as I mentioned.  Pro tip: you can kill MCed people in LFR.  Oops.  I was thinking it would just break them out at 20% because it was LFR, apparently I was wrong.  Sorry people I killed.  At least it was fun. For me.  Hehehe.

The reason we wiped during the MC phase was not me killing people, it was me being the only person that went after the MCed people.  Sadly my murderous streak for killing my team mates was not enough.

Second time around we did much better.  People switched to the MCed people, ranged mostly stayed at range, or at least the weapon only targeted ranged that were at range except for once, and things were moving nicely.

I was starting to get into that "we 2 shot it" mode in my mind but I must have thought about it too soon because when the empowered MC went out people where tunneling the boss and once again, as much as I like to think I am good, I am not that good.  I could not take out all the MCed people myself and we wiped.

A gentle reminder was given that people need to switch to the mind controlled people and someone said, there weren't any, just these sha things.  Well, those sha things are mind controlled people.  Attack them.  Or in my case, kill them, but shhh, don't tell, I did accidentally kill a couple more people.  I need to learn some self control.  Sorry dead peoples I killed. Hehehe.

With 2 wipes under our belt I was ready for a kill but we wiped again and I will not even call it a wipe for the sake of this.  It was completely accidental and not exactly sure how we managed to wipe, but it was over as fast as it started.  We did not even get a stack of determination for it.

Next real attempt the entire ranged point gets crushed by an iron star.  I mean nearly wiped out.  I was one of only 3 that managed to survive.  Maybe because I noticed it was coming and took actions to avoid it.  The rest of the raid apparently thought it was a bug.

People started saying "there is only supposed to be one of them", "how did that happen?", all comments like that.  See, it shows no one knows the fights before they go there and no one reads what people are saying when explaining the fight.  The person that was on engineer duty apologized and admitted it was his fault.  A very bold thing to do in an LFR.  If anyone even so much as suggested kicking him I would have kicked them for suggesting it on general principle.  That guy is the reason none of you even knew about the iron star.  He was doing a great job, he made a mistake, he owned up to it and said it will not happen again.  That, my LFR friends, is what a decent player and a decent person does, try acting like that a little more often and take a lesson from him.

With 3 wipes under our belt now thanks to more than half the raid dying an iron star death, we go back there for attempt four and blow him away as if everyone there was doing this fight for months.

Everyone stacked where they were supposed to.  The engineer guy did his job again.  Everyone was on the MCed people instantly.  No one got killed in the transition phases, which could not be said of the previous attempts, and we beat him like a red headed step child.

Was it a good run or a bad run?  Who is to say, it had its moments of each and the normal moment that I would consider it being a bad run, when names were being called and insults being thrown around, I was loving every minute of it kiting and killing both enemies and friends. Hehehe.

The run, over all, was decent, due to a few people that knew what to do and took care of the little things like the assembly line guy, the engineer guy, the target switching guys and everything went okay.  I just feel bad for all those people that knew nothing about the fights, because even if we did well, they still are left knowing nothing about the fights.

Makes me wonder, good runs like this are nice, but what do good runs like this do for the community, nothing.  Because if 15 of those 25 people knew nothing of those three fights, the 10 of us that did, really did nothing to teach them.  We took care of everything that needed to be taken care of.

So what happens the next time they are in there with people that do not know, they will be confused on why it was so easy last time and so hard now.

One thing for sure, when adding in the wait time for tanks, we spent more time fighting, waiting, running back, and everything else on the trash leading up to the last boss than we did on everything else combined.

Yeah, it was an odd run, good and bad, and confusing a bit, but nothing is more confusing than why the hardest part of SoO wing 4 in the LFR is the trash.

I would love to give you a review of the wing but I can't because in the end, I was kind of confused.  Even knowing the fights, I kind of had no idea what the hell was going on.  So how is someone that knows nothing of the fights supposed to understand them?

Still, even if I am sure most people will have runs a lot worse than mine this first week, wing 4 is WAY easier than 2 and 3 were.  So be happy for that.  But they are still too hard for the average LFR group.  I am 100% certain of that.

I hope, for your sake, you ended up in a group like mine, as confusing as it might have been sometimes, it was a decent run.  If you go in with a group that knows nothing, expect to wipe.  Maybe a lot but surely a lot less than you did on shaman or the general.

How was your first LFR wing 4 run?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three Baggie Perspectives

This is basically a short post to share something interesting someone said the other day, to say something I decided the other day, and to get some input on motivation.

About the random baggie:  Something interesting.

A hunter in my guild the other night told me he got the bribe bag when queuing up for the LFR the other day.  We both thought it was a complete fluke that a damage dealer had the baggie but then it happened to him again two days later.  Have you ever seen a damage dealer offered the baggie?  I never have.  I want my baggie.

When talking about it we came to the conclusion that it was the hour he plays.  He is a late night player, as in so late at night type of player that he is probably in the LFR when I am waking up for work in the morning.  Twice in the last week it seems damage dealers are needed at that time of day.  Or should it be that time of night?

About the random baggie:  Something decided.

I don't mind healing LFR.  If anything it is the only role I don't mind doing in the LFR.  Not exactly sure why that is, it just is.  But while playing around during the weekend it occurred to me, why bother just to cap being there is no longer any valor gear to buy with valor, and I do not raid enough with them to get new gear all the time to need the valor to upgrade it.

So from now on, I will only heal an LFR when there is an option of the baggie.  No baggie, no healer.  So the next time you are waiting on a healer and wonder why there are none around you will know that at least one healer is out there that is not entering the queue because there is no reason for me to gain valor without valor gear and there is no reason for me to heal without giving me something extra to bait me in.

About the random baggie: Motivation.

The bag has never been motivation for me to tank the LFR or a dungeon.  It is not really about reward or even instant queue.  I can ramble off a million and one reasons I do not like tanking random content but it comes down to the people in it.  I've actually become a pretty staunch tank protector in random content.  Even more so when I am on my healer and others complain.  As long as I have no problem keeping him up, you have no right to complain.  But all people do it complain about tanks.  All other tanks do it ignore or insult each other, usually.  Tanks get no love, only grief.

I currently have 6 tanks capable of tanking SoO LFR.  I've tanked some flex and some normal on two of them.  But I will not ever even consider for a moment tanking SoO LFR.  A baggie is just not compelling motivation.  I like to tank, I am willing to tank, but the people in them keep me from doing it.  I am sure I am not the only person that feels that way, just look at the fact there are always tanks needed.  What type of motivation do you think would get people like me to tank?  People who like tanking but do not like the people in randoms?

Before You Enter the LFR Ask Yourself One Question.

I've had some awesome LFR runs recently.  I've had some dreadful LFR runs recently.

From completing LFR wing three last week with no wipes and a smooth run to spending over 20 hours over the course of 5 days for LFR wing three the week before.  Results can vary from one extreme to another but there is always a question that passes through my mind when I get into a group and see people under performing.  What if they asked themselves the question I always ask myself before I enter the LFR?

"If everyone performed at the same level I am performing would we down the boss?"

Everyone that ever enters the LFR should ask themselves that question and give themselves a completely honest assessment before they even consider entering the LFR.

The damage dealer that queues up as a healer and does not heal, if every healer did the same thing, would they down the boss?  No.  Then don't do it.

The tank with no tank gear, no tank experience, a 529K life pool and no idea what cooldowns he needs to use or what to use them on, would you down bosses if both tanks are like that?  No, Then don't do it.

The damage dealer that is doing 30K DPS has to think what it would be like if every one was doing 30K, would they down the boss?  No.  So don't queue up.

The person only doing 20% of their potential, be it dealing damage, healing or tanking mitigation, if everyone did only 20% of what they were capable of doing would they down the boss?  No.  So don't do it.

I often think about that when looking at the numbers when all is said and done and looking at the break point, how low can you go.  There is a reason I have not gone into the LFR on some of my other damage dealers like my mage, lock and rogue.  Sure, they can all pull over 100K, but I am not really great at them.  But if everyone would perform like I did, we would get it done. 

So honestly, I should queue up right?  The problem is, others do not ask themselves that question.  So me thinking we would get it done if everyone does just the same I do gets screwed over by the fact they will not think before joining and my "should be" middle of the pack performance would put me squarely in the top performers, and if I am a top performer on one of those characters, we are in real danger of wiping, multiple times.

It should not be that way, it should not be a case of me having to ask myself "how many can I carry".  It should be a case of what if everyone did the exact same as me but because they don't, it effects my ability to play my characters because I can not go in with them because I can not carry anyone on them because I am not good enough to do so.  The slackers, the ones not asking themselves that question screw me out of being able to play in a decent group because they refuse to be decent themselves and ask themselves that one simple question.

They will come in and go AFK and never ask themselves, if everyone goes AFK can we still down this boss?

They will ignore mechanics and think "someone else will stand in the swirl" and never consider what if everyone else thinks "someone else will stand in the swirl" and then we wipe because no one stood in the swirl because everyone acted like the person who deemed it unnecessary to stand in it.

I think if everyone was a little more honest with their personal assessments and took a little personal responsibility and always asked themselves my question before entering the queue we would have more good groups and fewer 20 hours over 5 days groups.

I know it could never happen, because as I have said before, people love to think they are better than they really are so most would never admit "I'm just not that good" like I freely do when talking about my rogue for example.  People love to believe they are special and they do not need to do certain things and others will do it for them, they will cover them, so they think, its okay.  So there is no way we would ever get groups that are capable of doing content because we will always run in to those people with such over valued self worth but what if, just what if, everyone always asked themselves that one question.

"If everyone performed at the same level I am performing would we down the boss?"

If the answer is no, don't queue up.

I would like to think that being I know the fights before I enter.  I have read them, seen them, and in this case done them in flex before I ever step into LFR.  I have my gear gemmed, I have my gear enchanted, I am reforged to hit cap and stat priority.  I try my best, I do not ignore mechanics, even if I believe you could ignore something, because it would be the wrong thing to do so.  I perform my role adequately, even more so for the content we are talking about.

So yes, I believe if everyone played like me an LFR run would always be nice and smooth.

With that said, I am "allowed" to run LFR.

If everyone asked themselves that question and those that said no did not queue up, what a wonderful game this would be.   I wish there were a way to open their eyes, to tell that 30K DPS that just complained about the wipe, "what if everyone were doing the exact same you where, would you ever get it down even with 10 stacks?"  No sir, you would not, so you should not be here.  If a group filled with "you" can not down the boss, "you" should not be there.  Simple as that.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- Have another new level 90 in my stable.

- My first since 5.4 came out and my first to start the timeless island as a fresh 90.

- So I figure I would give you a run down of my gearing up experience so far with it.

- To compare, my monk hit 90 in 5.2 and was almost item level 500 in a matter of 24 hours, thanks to a lot of luck.

- This character, another priest, only managed to get to 487 in that same time frame.

- Odd being this one is a healer, so instant queue.

- Odd being this one has the island with instant 496 and 535 gear.

- Goes to show you that luck has more to do with gearing up than anything else and this priest has less luck than the monk did.

- So what did I do with a fresh 90 you ask?

- Here goes, the run down on how it was fun and exciting to gear up a new 90.

- Yes, my final conclusion is that it is more fun to gear a fresh 90 than it is to try and keep the gearing process up on an end game character.

- I went and purchased flying, that was the first thing I did when I hit 90.

- Still had 150 because, well, this character spent its entire life broke thanks to making the mistake of leveling tailoring and enchanting as my professions.

- So I was always spending everything I made on materials to keep it leveled.

- It was easier to do that than to go back and farm the stuff.

- Even if I did waste a lot of time tying to do just that because I had no gold to buy materials off the inflated AH.

- I think you should know I am not a fan of wasting time, if you read this often.

- Going back when there is leveling to be done is wasting time.

- Because of that I never did it often.

- I can always make gold later, I will just live with my 150 flying for now.

- I took the quest to the island and starting opening chests.

- Being this character is on a decent sized server it was not so hard to get to every single one of them.

- If there was a mob in the way, wait 5 minutes and there wouldn't be.

- One of the good things about being on a more populated server.

- I opened every single chest on the island first thing there.

- I was not about to start killing stuff at a 438 item level on a freshly dinged healer who does almost as much DPS as disc and he does in shadow.

- So chest hunting it was, and it did not exactly pay off.

- I managed to get 4 pieces of cloth.

- I could have completely decked out a leather or plate wearer, but no cloth for me.

- Still, it was nice to get a start on some gear.

- From killing rares I managed to get enough lesser charms to get some tokens, so back to the shrine to get some extra rolls.

- I then returned to the island and joined a celestial group.

- Gold and gold.  Darn, my monk got 2 pieces of nalak on day one, even if one was a PvP one it was still a nice start, so behind already.

- Joined an ordos group even if I really should not have been there with my horrible 34K DPS I was up to.

- Gold and gold.  Double darn, my monk got 1 piece of Oon.

- So my priest is already behind on gear compared to my monk gearing up.

- My monk also had a whole slew of characters that could make things for it, my priest is currently flying as the only character on that server, so no personal network going there.

- Even if I won nothing off ordos, my baggie did have something of use.

- A 540 cloak, not exactly a 559 warforged piece, but nothing to shake a stick at when you are wearing a 437 cloak wouldn't you say?

- The gearing up process is still the funnest part of the game, there is so much you can do to get gear.

- No sha or galleon groups, so that was out of the question.

- Did the two specific scenarios to start off the boot quest line, finished off getting my 502 boots.

- Then flying to thunder isle I passed by all those spots where some of those BoE goodies can be found, looking specifically for the caster ones of course.

- At 150 flying this was taking... a while.

- Oh, passed scritch, so you know what that means right?

- He drops the thing that gives rep for all faction, this character needs rep for all factions.

- Attacked him, died a horrible death.

- I am not geared enough and not very good at the priest fine arts of soloing.

- If I had a few more life points I might have survived.

- Got unlucky and he nabbed me while jumping around, that and the fact I ended up with 3 other monkeys on me including the elite that pats there.

- Actually I was surprised I lasted as long as I did, killed the elite and two of the three other monkeys while keeping dots and my proc plague on scritch.

- I almost did it and think I would have if not for the adds and not for a bit of bad luck getting nabbed by a jump.

- When I get back to my body he is dead already, someone else got him.

- That is one of the bad things about being on a slightly bigger server.

- I manage to get the 450 agility trinket, and do not use it.

- Come on, I do not need the item level that bad and no self respcting priest would use an agility trinket, even if it was a freebie.

- But I did consider it as it does has a passive 751 mastery which is not half bad really.

- I did nab the 450 neck piece for casters, but not the weapon sadly. 

- I also managed to snag a two handed sword which is not exactly going to help any.

- I get to the island and do the one lead in quest, because you have to do one to get in there.

- I do not do the others, as I know I am going to valor cap anyway and I will save them for when I am not capped, so I can get better use from them and the valor they reward.

- I go and kill one saurok, trying to get the quest for the saurok suit, so should I go to that area I do not need to fight my way through.

- It did not give me the quest but it did give me the key, and that was actually the reason I came here, for the key.

- I go through the solo scenario and end up with a full 20 elder charms of good fortune.

- Off to the LFR we go.

- First MV, instant healer queue, 2 DPS doing over 250K in there, 15 minutes later, one LFR raid down, 5 pieces of gear.

- Yes, I won something off all three bosses and got something off my coin on 2 of them.

- Upgrades?  None.

- You believe that?  Got 2 backs, 2 wrists, and a chest I think it was, all things I already had better of.

- What are the odds of winning 5 pieces on a freshly dinged 90 and not being able to use any of them?

- But hey, at least this character is an enchanter, so I did get something out of it, and this character surely needs to gold.

- Next part of MV, no 250K DPS to carry us, but an all together decent group.

- Most people doing 40K-60K which for the first LFR is exceptional.

- Amazing how the standard from tier to tier jumps huh?

- Or should we say it is amazing that there are still people doing only 40K-60K in SoO?

- Or actually let me rephrase that to should we be amazed that most people in SoO are still doing 40K-60K?

- That was good for MV, not so much for SoO.

- But back to the fun part of gearing up.

- Won lots more loot, even one piece I could use this time, more sha crystals otherwise.

- First part of HoF now, more loot, more stuff I can not use, what the hell is with my luck today.

- I have like 6 decent pieces, what are the odds that everything that drops, and I am getting a butt load of drops, I don't need any of it.

- I take a break between LFRs and grab a couple of friends on real ID, as I have none of the server being a solo player over there, and do a heroic scenario.

- Not the greatest thing out of my baggie, but an upgrade none the less, a 516 ring.

- Woot! Upgrade.

- Was sure it was going to give me a 516 back, being that is the only piece I have over 516 and that is the way my luck has been going.

- Do the last part of HoF, get a few upgrades which include a 483 sha touched weapon, I am a long way away from my legendary quest line being I just hit 90 and the sigils are not dropping for me, but a 483 weapon with the 437 off hand I had in my bag is surely better than the 429 two hander I was using.

- So I am happy.

- When I did my scenario I applied the rep to the august celestials.

- Being a tailor I want to get the bag pattern.

- I decided to do the AC dailies, to help it along, and the tiller ones, to open the farm of course.

- I capped valor and got my achievement for 1000 valor just as I turned in the last of the dailies from those two hubs.

- Yes, I planned it out that way thank you very much.

- Well, guess my playing with this character is over until next week.

- Sure, I could do more LFRs, sure I can get into ToES and the ToTs now, but without getting valor it seems like it would be a waste.

- I fly over to the valor vendor and get myself the Shado-Pan Assault neck with my newly gained valor.

- My gearing up week ends at 487.

- Not bad.

- Not quite knocking on the 500 door my monk had without the benefit of free 496 and 535 gear, but shows you the true impact of luck on drops and gearing up.

- But it makes me wonder, why does blizzard want people not playing?

- If it were not for a valor cap I would have kept going.

- So I was left with the choice of trying to gear up other characters, that would all need to do the current LFR, which is not an option, or find a flex, which I was in no desire or go searching for at the time, or to keep working on my new priest even if I would be wasting my time as I would not be getting valor.

- I decided to take option three and log off.

- If the only options I have are SoO LFR or wasting my time, I'll go watch TV.

- Unless you are really raiding in an organized group end game is just unplayable.

- Gearing up new 90s is so much more fun, sadly there is nothing to do with them once they get geared because the end game LFRs are so horribly designed.

- And as I mentioned, I am not a fan of wasting my time and not a fan of the current LFR groups.

- So I took the rest of the weekend off from WoW.

- Have a great day.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Are You Using the Proving Grounds as a Marker?

There was a lot of talk about the possibility of people using the proving grounds as a "skill check" for pugs before 5.4 came out.  Many wondered, myself included, if this could be the next best way to get people for your group.  I can not speak for the community at large but from what I have seen so far it doesn't seem like that is happening.

I stalk open raid often, even have seen a few people I have on my blog list posting there and was tempted to join their pug just to get to know them even if they would not know it was me.  Like one person on my list was pugging a ToT run the other week.  I actually clicked on his name and was about to whisper him to join when someone in guild asked me to help them with something and I went to do that instead.  But enough about open raid, lets get back on task.

In all that time I spent there looking around I have yet to see one person ask for proving grounds achievements for an invitation.  Not even a bronze or silver.  I must say I have been surprised.  I thought that the community would jump on proving grounds gold as the new gear score or item level.  I was wrong or was I?

Maybe it is the fact that so few people have even attempted proving grounds which means so few people have gold could be the reason not many are asking for it as a requirement.  When most classes have less than 1000 people that have received a gold, at my last check a couple of weeks ago, you are seriously limiting yourself in who you can have join your pug if you require someone to have a gold to join it.  Could that be the reason we do not see people asking for it?

I know on my 10 man team there are only 3 people have gotten a gold so far, but it is not really their fault because most have not even tried it.  Of those 10 people only 5 have even tried it, 3 got gold and 2 got silver.  The other 5 have never even tried it.

I am one of those people that got a gold and I must say that one of the people that only got a silver is leaps and bounds a better player than I am.  So why did he not get a gold?  Because the proving grounds is not a test of skill, it is a test of problem solving.  He is more skilled than I and I am a better problem solver than him.

I only tried it three times and might have gotten a gold on the first try if I had actually looked up anything about it before time. But I like to try things out first and then look them up.  I used my stampede on the small sha in round eight, I believe it was, thinking it was the last round and when I did get to the last round I had no cooldowns so I just missed it, as in 3% just missed it. 

That stampede would have been what I needed.  It was not even needed for the small sha, I only used it because I thought it was the end.  The second try I let one of the shades blow up because tab target sucks and even when I was spamming it, it would not switch to it and I could not find the plate to click on it manually.  As such, it went boom and so did I.  Third time tab worked and I saved my stampede and it went down quickly with time to spare.

After doing gold it occurred to me, this is why no one is asking for proving grounds, it doesn't really prove anything other then I know how to do some problem solving and pick target priorities. In a raid environment that is rarely ever an issue.  The strategy is straight forward, targets are decided before time, all there is really is in a raid is an execute phase where you need to pull of the predesignated strategy.

I am not saying that the proving grounds is easy, it is not.  I am not trying to take away from the people that have done it.  I know I would not be able to do gold on any of my other damage dealers so it is not like it is push over easy where anyone can take any character and do it without being at least half way decent at it.  What I am saying is that it really is not a measure of skill.  A measure of knowledge of your class?  Yes.  A measure of planning out targets and abilities?  Yes.  But a bang bang representation of how you will do in a raid?  Not even close.

The only people I have seen mention proving grounds in open raid are those trying to sell themselves to get into a group.  It is still a good selling point.  I am sure me saying PG gold hunter LF Flex 4 will go over better than just saying I am a hunter looking for it.  But I don't see why anyone would make it a requirement.

However, with that said, I do think silver should be a requirement, along with item level, to even be allowed to step into the LFR.  Silver is easy enough that even if you are half clueless about your class you can eventually push your way through it but it is hard enough that if you are half clueless about your class it will take you a few attempts and hopefully teach you something about your class in the process.

A proving grounds silver should be a marker for LFR as I see it.  Bronze is useless as any sort of judgement because you do not even need to know your class to get a bronze and gold is useless because it doesn't tell you anything that silver already doesn't and that is the person has a basic understanding of some of the abilities of their class.

I might have been expecting a lot more LF groups asking for golds but I was wrong and after doing the PGs I know why I was wrong.  It is because a gold really is nothing special when talking about raiding, at least as a damage dealer, when you never have to worry about taking any damage yourself and never have to worry about anything fighting back.  There is no way to die, just fail.  Pass or fail mechanics are something you can just keep trying until you get it right.  There is no difference between me that it took 3 tries, someone that got it on the first try or the guy that spent the entire weekend and 20 hours of attempts to get it right.  Looking at the gold achievement we are all equally skilled because we all passed, eventually.

The proving grounds are a good training tool.  That guy that spent 20 hours doing it will surely be a better player having went through the effort of doing it.  He will have learned movement, how to use some abilities he might not have used before, when to burn, how to burn, target selection, and many other little things many of us take for granted.  So proving grounds are a great place to learn, if you are willing to put in the effort to do so.  But they are not a good source of judging talent.  Not even endless mode.

With that said, the hunter that managed to get gold in tanking, now that shows a special type of talent.  I am really impressed with that.  But even at that, it is more an issue with problem solving and how to deal with various different things.  Just like the bad damage dealer will sooner or later learn how to do more to get gold, he learned how to tank on his hunter to get gold.  More power to him for putting in the effort to do so.  But getting the tanking gold on a damage dealer does not mean he can play the roll of a tank in a raid just the same that getting a gold as a damage dealer does not mean someone is capable of playing the role of a damage dealer in a raid.  Hence the reason it is not asked for by the people assembling groups.

What do you think the proving grounds could add so it would actually show a level of skill for raiding, something to be used as a marker?

I would add some counters for some real numbers that mean something, like how many bananas where thrown and how many you were hit by?  Maybe adding ground effects that do damage to the person and show how often the person is hit as a percentage?  Then make achievements for the lowest percentages.  So a 0% and a gold combined might actually mean something.

I think if they added data, real data, stuff you can sink your teeth into, you could read a lot more about a persons skill or ability in playing their class in a raid environment.   So while I expected to see a lot of people asking for proving grounds achievements to join their raid, I was wrong, they are not asking for them, and after doing it, I know exactly why.  A gold does not mean you are a good raider.

What do you think of the proving grounds?  Hard or easy.
Do you use it to judge others?  Do you think people should?