Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Suggested Timeless Improvements

Timeless Island has been a lot of fun since it has been released.  All my characters seem to spend a fair deal of time there and I am enjoying it as an excellent way to gear up alts.  However, I do believe that there are a lot of things they can improve on to make it better the next time.  I do hope there is a next time.  The design of the island has been great in my opinion and a step in the right direction.

It's Dangerous:

For a geared character the timeless island is not much of an issue.  Unless you happen to be melee and get a few of those stun / ground effect guys on you at the same time.  Then even a geared character can very well kiss their shiny epic geared ass good bye.

For the fresh 90 going there to gear up however it can be a little brutal.  I had no issues because I knew the island before I went there on one of those weaker characters.  I knew which areas I could safely go to in an effort to loot chests and hope for the best to get some 496 gear to make it easier.  But for the person that did not know where all the chests where you could very well walk into a few areas where you would get your butt stomped.

Don't get me wrong, I love this design and it is part of why I like the timeless island.  The world needs some sense of danger again.  I remember getting ripped apart by some ?? dragonkin outside of forest song thinking, where the F did they come from.  But it was cool walking around, being afraid that if I do not pay attention I could be dead instantly.

That is the issue with the island, it is dangerous and there is really no safe path that you can avoid stuff, if you want to get around much out of that first entry point that is.  Having those dangerous mobs is an awesome addition, even having a path, which is usually safe, go through a village with a whole slew of spirit monks that will rip you limb from limb could easily teach you that the blizzard entry screen tip of "stick to the road" was just blizzard trolling because sticking to that road means you are dead.

"Hunters always have it easier."

The issue is not with the danger in the world, it is with the danger in the world that makes no sense.  Or does it?  Some guy can be fighting a tiger near me while I am standing there minding my own business, not even doing anything, and some damn cat pounces on me even if he is tagged for someone else.  Not only that, but he starts attacking me after he pounced on me.

Excuse me mr cat but what the hell did I ever do to you?  Go after the guy that just hit you in the head with a sword.

It is really dangerous, and I like that, but a little work on the aggro issues would be nice.  Nothing worse than fighting a yungol and avoiding all his ground junk just to have someone elses yungol, that was no where near you, come and charge you and stun you as your yungol puts out his fire path.  You are so dead and it was not because you did it wrong, but because of some odd coding error.

But was it a coding error?  Really, maybe this is blizzards way or stepping up adding the real feel of a dangerous world to the game.  Where even being in the general vicinity of a mob means you are on their aggro table.  No longer do we need to do something to get on it, just be within 50 yards and you are on it.

If that is the new design, okay I can roll with that.  But unless I hear it is, the island is bugged with aggro and next time around it would be nice if it were fixed.

I'm Walking Here:

I understand the idea of being dismounted when running somewhere mounted, it is a long standing part of the game, but sometimes it is just frustrating.  On the island more so.  If you are running through a questing area and get dismounted you just kill the mobs and go along your way.  On the island when someone calls out a rare you want and you get dismounted it is like, WTF, do I have a come at me bro sign on my back?

"Dire Beast, Fuzzy Style."

The worst part of the island is not just the dismounting, but the disorient when dismounted.  The sheer amount of mobs on the island with all their different deadly abilities are enough to deal with but to be disoriented on top of that is just like saying "we don't want you mounted here and are trying to kill you."

Again, another part of the game that if it is intended say so.  We can deal with it.  But have you ever been running from the water through the frogs and trying your best to avoid them when suddenly one gets a good shot in on you, you are now stunned and dismounted and before you know it there are 8 frogs on you and your look up fast in a panic and see 9 stacks in 1 second and just say, screw it and die?  Not fun is it?  If it were not for the stun at least you would have had a chance.  But like I said, maybe this is blizzards way of saying they do not want us running places, they want us fighting our way everywhere.

I can accept that, to some extent, but it gets annoying when you see that one rare you have wanted up because it drops the pet you have had no luck with, because it has some vanity item that would so fit you, because it is one you have never seen up and need it for the achievement, or just because you like to kill rares.  Whatever the reason, seeing the skull on your screen, mounting and then getting dismounted, dazed, and stuck fighting while you watch it die in the distance f'n sucks.  Seriously.

I am not riding around with a come at me bro sign on my back, so why the hell does everything have to dismount me and daze me all the time.  It was not like it was always like this, just last week it seems something was changed with the mobs to do this.  Let me say, from just the opinion of one grumpy elf, it was much better when we rarely got dismounted and only if we tried to run right through something, and we never got dazed.  Go back to that style.  If I am trying to avoid things taking the wide route, how the hell are their melee attacks they can not even reach me with dismount me and stunning me.  I take the long route around them so I will not be dismounted.  Fix please.

More Please:

More burdens, more valor, more quests, just more of what there is less of.  You give coins like candy and 496 gear like candy but the things that would extend the life of the island seem absent.  One weekly for 200 valor, one daily for 50, and another for 100 coins which is not even worth doing for the 100 coins as much as it is worth doing for 45 gold for 1 seconds work.  A little more of the things people can sink their teeth into would be a plus in my opinion.

"Have you seen the size of my stable?"

It was nice to get those alts that first burden and all the 496 gear they could put their grimy little mitts on but when you know that is all you get unless you get super lucky with drops and at honored with the one reputation on the island, the desire for alts to play around seems to have already lost its luster for me.  If I knew I could get something each week with them then I would be on my alts more often getting them that one burden for a 535 piece that will most likely be the best they get this expansion.

On many alts, the ones that you might just keep geared up some for "the hell of it" grinding coins can be a task and a half.  So it is grind and get lucky or grind and get 50,000 coins.  That is awesome for an additional way to get up those alts, but a more structured system where you know once a week, if you did a large quest, something along the lines of the 50 epoch stone one that gives 200 valor, you can get your one burden each week, it would give a lot more life to the island for my alts as it would really be worth doing something there each week.

I would pop on here and there gather a little working toward the quest being done and maybe get myself one burden a week or every few weeks, depending on how I want to play it.  Or I could go the route of grinding coins, or killing until I get lucky.  I would have more options.  More options are nice.

Having the rares on the island drop valor on the isle of thunder was a stroke of genius.  Why was that not carried over to this island.  Sure, valor is needed a lot less now, unless you get lucky with many different tiers of drops, but it would still be nice to have a way to get some extra.  As I mentioned about alts before, there is still a bunch of 522 gear a couple of them can surely use.  Valor helps get that.  Heck, valor from anywhere that is not labeled LFR is a good thing.

Some more dailies quests would be nice too.  They do not need to be anything big, give 5 or 10 valor and a few hundred coins, make 3 of them.  They would be something that people would not feel they "need" to do but it would be an option and do I need to say it again but more options are good.  Some people need structure and the dailies would work for them and as long as you do not tie reputation to them or anything substantial, they would be less likely to feel mandatory to some.

It Was There, I Swear:

I love rare hunting, hey, I am a hunter, can you blame me?  But even on a dead server like mine it is nearly impossible to get to some rares.  Even if they spawn while they are on your mini map range and you head there instantly it is dead by the time you get there.

I have a joke in guild whenever I see the dead body of Zesqua.  I say that Zesqua is spawed dead.  I've seen it spawn on my mini map and disappear just as quickly.  I killed the turtle while farming for the meat for my cart quest line in 5 seconds.  5 seconds for a rare.  The crane I accidentally killed once before I even noticed it was a rare, it went down basically as fast as normal cranes do.  I usually like to call out to guild when a rare is up so they can get there, but if one other person is there, the darn thing is dead.  Even on a dead server like mine nothing lives for more than a few seconds.

"Camouflaged hunters, I could have sworn they were there."

On one of my servers, even if classified as medium, there are usually hunting parties going on.  I am talking a pack of 50 or more people running around killing rares.  Someone will have that addon that announces rares and it will say something like "Huolon spotted 100%" and10 seconds later, not kidding, "Huolon dead".

Now I can just imagine a filled server if things die within a minute on my dead server, and within 10 seconds on medium servers.  The rare spawn idea is nice, it is fun, I have had absolutely no luck with the drops off rares and have killed most at least 60 times already, but I am not complaining about that, at the moment, but I am complaining they just die too quickly.  Unless you can keep track of their timers and be there as they spawn there are almost no rares that you can make it too if they are called it.  Makes me wonder why people even call them out. "Gu'Chi up" is like telling me "ha ha sucker you just missed it even if you are only 10 feet away because he will be dead before you can turn around".

They need to do something to make these mobs live longer.  I am not talking turning them all into epic battles that take forever, but at least have them last a little longer so if I am at Cranegnasher I can get to Gu'Chi before it is dead.  When one person can kill nearly all the rares in less than 30 seconds you know there is an issue with how long they live.  Imagine how much faster they will go down as people start getting more gear.

I am thinking that there needs to be something done, make them have a lot more life, but do less damaging abilities, so they can still be soloed easily, but last longer or have them have some sort of timer where they will always live at least 2 minutes.  So even if it took me 5 seconds to beat the turtle it will stay at one life before it kneels over in its demise for a total of 2 minutes after it was first hit.

This is not a lot of time but it would be something and it would make it worth at least attempting to get to it if you know you are close.  Yesterday someone called jade spirit, I was in the center, close enough to get to the jade spirit no problem right?  Got knocked off and dazed by a crane (see above) and even if it only took a few seconds to kill it and get mounted again, I never made it.  I was there less than 30 seconds after it was pulled.  I know that because I guild mate was there and said, just pulled, and I just missed it.

Rares should be something fun and exciting to encounter, not something that gets you annoyed because they die faster than rag in MC to a level 90 now.

Stop Attacking Me:

I touched on this in "it's dangerous" but want to talk about it a little more in regards to hunters in particular.  What the hell is wrong with our pets.  They do not auto cast growl, even when you manually press growl you need to monitor your aggro like a hawk.

In a way I kind of like it, took me by surprise of course, but it was like the good old days when everyone needed to have omen installed.  Now aggro is not so much of an issue and you can really tell the rookie hunters from the old vet in a matter of seconds.  Hunters have always had the best aggro management in the game but until now none of it was really needed most of the time in the last two expansions.

"How about we let the turtle tank it?"
It has become increasingly stressful to spend half the fights using feign death and manually hitting growl and then hoping that it is working but not knowing if it is unless you have a threat manager installed.  And lets get real, who out there (besides me) actually still uses omen?

There is no reason what so ever for our pets not to be able to taunt the mob on auto cast.  Blizzard really needs to fix this but because it is an issue that matters to hunters you can be assured that it will never get addressed.  They have the "hunters are second class citizens" attitude about them, so being blizzard will not do anything about it, I will give you a very short tutorial on how to keep the mob on your pet without any problems, even the rares.

Have the misdirect glyph, serious, why wouldn't you.  While you're at it have the glyph of mending one as well, a healthy pet is a happy pet, and it lives longer which helps keep the mob off you.  While there are very few mobs that will actually hurt your pet, keeping it rolling surely does not hurt.

Now to how it works.  Misdirect is a temporary threat transfer.  When it ends, that threat disappears, and so does your pets threat lead.  So misdirect is only a band aid when you actually need stitches.  Growl is a taunt, growl stitches things up and keeps that threat there.  Now it is all about timing.  Open up with an MD and hit growl 4 seconds after, this is assure your opening threat remains with the pet.  Why 4 seconds and not longer?  It leaves room for error.  Safer that way.

From that point on when growl is 4 seconds from coming off cooldown MD and hit your largest abilities, yes changing your rotation might sometimes be a good idea to front load the big damage in those 4 seconds.  When growl comes off cooldown, hit it.  That once again makes sure the threat lead stays with the pet instead of disappearing when the misdirect wears off.  Do this a few times and your pet should have full aggro.  On harder mobs that take longer to kill like rares you might need to keep it up but for most mobs they will not live much longer than the opening MD and maybe one after that.  Either way, this method assures that aggro stays with the pet.

Sounds easy enough right?  It really is.  You know what would be even easier?  Blizzard fixing the game to work right.  But I will not ask for too much, I know that is a lot to ask for.

The timeless island has been a lot of fun, but there could be a few things done to make it better.  These are just a few of them in my opinion.  What do you think?


  1. wait a minute... is this "The grumpy Elf" blog? A different color background and photos to go witht he story??? /looks around to make sure

    hmmm, nice.

    1. The background should still be the same. Just felt like adding a little something today.

    2. well, IE8 changes everytime I use it, and I don't remember much these days. But the photos were a very nice touch. mentioned it on me blog today. Yes, I am impress. There is hope and your name will need to be changed to "The Happy Elf", lol.

    3. Nah, happy elf doesn't sound like me. I could be silly elf sometimes, but happy elf would get tired fast.

  2. Sod the Timeless Isle, Grumpy found pictures.

    1. I was feeling in a silly mood, what can I say.

  3. My original comment was chomped by a Google 502 error so I'll summarize here:

    * Macro [@pet] MD to all your abilities to get around the Growl issue. It'll also ensure you have almost no threat on mobs, ever, which is a nice side effect, basically you bleed off 90% of your threat to your pet which gets bled off your pet later on. Poof.

    * More mobs aren't being attacked right now which might be why you're attracting more attention as you run through them than you used to.

    * I'd make the guys guarding the bridge with the charges more easily soloable by lesser geared toons. The "stay 15 yards away" scooch move is annoying as hell, especially when the mobs leash far enough that you have to run through a subsequent set of mobs and have to choose between dying to them if you keep scooching or dying to charges if you run. Yay for choice, I guess. Choose your executioner.

    * I've killed Zesqua a lot but there are a lot of rares I haven't even seen yet. Emerald does need to bulk up or get some better armour, though, it does go down really easily.

    1. I don't have any free macro spaces to make some MD to everything macros. We need more macro spaces.

      Even at that, you can still out threat your pet if you do not have your pet growl once in a while. So for fast kills that would work but for longer fights it is not as good, at least from my experience.

      Those bridge guards do scare a lot of people away. I've been asked in guild more than a few times for help getting over the bridge. People just need me to kill the guys guarding it and the one pathing.

      I've killed zesqua a few dozen times as well but I have seen it dead more often than I have killed it. That is for sure.

    2. Depending on what bar add-on you use this may not be an option but I use a neat (and mostly abandoned, but it works well enough with some limitations) add-on called Ion that makes each button its own macro that you can edit in-place. Probably not an option if you use Bartender or similar but if you don't, you might consider giving Ion a look.

      I'm not sure how that would happen, with the glyph you'd be MDing to your pet every time you push a button after it expires so aside from a GCD of auto-attacks here and there, you shouldn't really have any threat at all... and your pet will get threat just from attacking that should be higher than what you'd end up with. I'll try it out on a dummy tonight with growl disabled, I'm assuming that'll be a decent test.

    3. I use bartender personally. Have a different set up for each class. Might sound weird but I feel comfortable with each class differently. Can't have the same set up for all.

      It should work in theory but the island is bugged. It is the only place I run into issues. I've finally got it down to that manual growl thing where I have no issues what so ever. Well, until someone else decides to bring stuff to me so I can kill it for them.

      Speaking of that, someone tagged and trained a bunch of mobs to me seeing me AoEing my heart out. I saw him coming, stopped AoEing, and he was running in circles trying to lost the mobs, when he died, I hit one multi, tagged them all for myself now, with the damage he had already done and whispered "thank you for helping me" when he came back to get his body. He never responded, I wonder why.

    4. That ^ is wonderful. Especially up near the sanctuary, I get so tired of random people who don't even whisper and ask for a group, but will continue to bring more kilnmasters and chanters over to get hit by my AoE. I was doing Flintlord this morning (and generally I can't tell the difference between flintlord and the kilnmasters) but someone kept running through other mobs, bringing them over to flintlord so they could tag him too, then I'd die from charges or my pet would die from the golems. I would have been more than happy to have them just throw a couple of auto attacks on flintlord and I would have killed him for them, but instead we had to continually die. I lost it and started yelling at them for a second, before I realized they were horde and couldn't read what I was writing... I eventually just stopped attacking anything until they died I guess too many times and gave up.


    5. I think some people have made an art form of pulling mobs and letting others kill them. Like when you summon the arch down below. People run in and tag mobs and then run right out through everyone. They know the people will kill it to get to the rare, but they just run and hide after they tag it.

      I believe blizzard needs to work on shared tags for all mobs in the game. That would give us more reason to help others and not feel screwed when someone does something like that.

  4. As far as rare health (only use this sytem on multi-taggable opponents): give the monster an hp buff of 100% (of original health) per tag. AKA you fight alone 100k hp. someone joins you 200K hp. 3rd person? 300K. It basically becomes a milti-man solo. Oh and I wandered to the Isle with my fresh 90 "indestrctable" Blood DK.... They beat me like I owed them money.

    1. That would be an okay idea, but could also be abused as people will do the "one hit and let you kill it" thing. But over all I think it is the best idea. Which is partly why I suggested making the base health more and less damaging effects. So longer fights would not be harder for some as the effects do not hurt as bad.

      Either way, I don't think me killing a rare in 5 seconds is fair to other people.

      My blood DK was in a pretty sweet place when I went there but I had a little gear, 482 I think at the time. Could not go crazy, but nothing could hurt me. Now at a little over 500 even with no gems and no enchants I can destroy, from a survivability standpoint at least.

      There are plenty of "safe" chests I went for first, gets you all that 496 gear ASAP. I say spend a little time searching them out and avoiding as much as possible and you will be okay in no time.

  5. So, i didn't realize that MD only temporarily transfers threat? Is that what you're saying? I thought it made the threat from the shots cast while MD was up add their threat permanently to the recipient?

    Anyhow, I didn't even realize pushing growl manual was working. So I've just been spamming MD (glyphed and macro'ed to my pet, of course). It made most anything easy to manage aggro in BM. SV was much, much harder, so I might look into your manual growl cast so i can practice SV on the isle.

    One thing I've been annoyed with, well, since I started playing, is that Blizzard needs to make up its mind who it's balancing/tuning for. I understand that it's very hard for them, but I think they could do it. PVE gear and most abilities seem to be balanced toward the very best of the best raiders (which is mostly fine, because that way the "balancing" has less effect on us average raiders, and you can "bring the player, not the class" unless you're trying to get world first or something). PVP gear, on the other hand, is balanced around pretty average players (regular PvPers, but not the best PvPers), but PvP abilities are balanced around the worst players. And then there's weird choices where randomly Blizzard changes how they do things, like growl, being ruined because terrible hunters can't be bothered to turn it off in LFR/LFD. Why in the world would this one ability be tuned for LFR?

    Rant over,

    1. I go through as SV, might be why I have some more issues with aggro than a BM hunter would. A BM hunters pet does more damage than the hunter, so even without MD a BM hunters pet should, in theory, be able to hold aggro without MD.

      I think it was the last patch of wrath that lead into cata or one of the early cata patches, but MD and tricks were changed to not be permanent threat transfers. It transfers what you do in those few seconds, that lasts for a short time, then that threat disappears. Which basically means if the tank does not generate enough in the short time MD is on them the mob will come directly back to you again as the threat you gave the tank just disappears.

      Actually I think they tune PvP around the best of the best also. Look at hunters this expansion. They get gutted over and over because of PvP and them being too powerful in PvP. That was only in the hands of the best of the best players in the game. 98% of hunters you see in PvP are free kills. They are, without a doubt, the weakest PvP class in the game in the hands of the average player and the most powerful class in the game in the hands of the great player. Because of that they got completely screwed over this entire expansion because of what the top 1% of hunter PvPers could do.

      I think blizzard would be better scaling abilities to item level. Someone in the best gear with the highest item level is most likely the better player, so scale their numbers down. But someone in crap gear is most likely a crap player. Scale their numbers up. Something like that. It would be hard, not even saying it is possible, but nerfing hunters over and over because a few really fantastic players can do amazing things with them is completely unfair.

      I agree with the growl issue and said it when they first changed it.

      Let the bad hunters get yelled at, let the bad hunters have their pets killed. There are times growl can be very useful even in a raid setting. Let the good hunters, the smart hunters, use that to their advantage.

      When people talk about "dumbing down the game" this is exactly what they are talking about. Changes like this hurt the people that know how to use the ability all because some stupid people don't have a clue.

      How about teaching them? I know, revolutionary idea isn't it?

    2. I don't really PvP. I tried to learn some PvP technique while preparing for that part of the legendary quest. I did a bunch of random BGs. That's the extent of my PvP experience. And I can say, if I was fighting someone who didn't know how to PvP also, as a bm hunter, I would own them. My burst was enough to kill anyone who didn't know how to PvP. I think those were mostly the people complaining about hunters.

      Over the last couple patches, BM hunters felt sort of like the "noob cannon". They would make bad players (like me) good against other bad players. But it certainly wouldn't make me good against someone who knew how to pvp.

      That's what I meant by tuning to the "ok" players. But maybe I'm wrong. And I actually don't know what's going on with PvP this season. Are those few fantastic hunters actually doing worse? or has it only affected average/below-average pvp hunters?


    3. I bad hunter against a bad anything else means the hunter wins. Without a doubt.

      However, if someone even has minimal PvP ability, as I do, very minimal, whenever I see a hunter in a BG big red flashing lights pop on my screen that yell "free kill here". Hunters are only good in skilled hands otherwise they are the worst class in the game for PvP.

      It actually makes sense however. Hunters have burst, sustained damage, damage on the move from ranged, and more control and utility for PvP than any other class in the game. So when in the right hands they are beasts, so because of that they need to be more squishy than a clothie. And they sure as hell are.

      The problem is only an extremely small percentage of hunters can use all those tool, which basically mean for PvP hunters suck.

  6. -It's Dangerous.

    There is a definite difference between dangerous and frustrating. I think the Isle has crossed that line in to frustrating in a few too many cases.

    -I'm Walking Here.

    See above.

    -More Please.

    I agree. There needs to be more valor gains on the Isle. And a weekly quest for a Burden would also be appropriate.

    -It Was There, I Swear.

    Yes, there are a lot where I see the corpse 5x for every time I see it alive. The hardest rares to kill were the ones with random spawn points that die in 5 seconds... Gander, Python, Yak. Gu'Chi, Zesqua, and Leafmender are really bad too. All I need now is Golganarr for the achiev, but I've never seen him spawn.

    Having a little bit of luck with drops, but not a lot. I still need 33 items for the Bigger Bags achiev...

    I like the more health less damage idea.

    -Stop Attacking Me.

    I use Omen all the time even when it's just me and my pet... But yes, this is super annoying. It works half the time and I can't figure out a pattern. I'm constantly using MD and FD now because Growl doesn't do jack shit half the time. I'd use MD anyways but I rarely had to use FD to get my pet to grab aggro. I manually hit Growl a lot as well and it doesn't always work as a manual cast either.

    I need to see about using that glyph again that takes the CD off MD and just macro it into my shots or something. I had dropped the glyph since there were better options but I need to check it again.

    1. Now I remember why I dropped that glyph... It's a Major glyph.... stupid design...

      Animal Bond and Mending are must haves... guess I could drop Liberation... Disengage is a dangerous ability on the Isle anyway; you just end up aggroing more stuff.

    2. Someone told me Golganarr was on a 60 hour timers but I do not buy it. I had not seen him ever, then I saw him 3 times in about 24 hours, then I have never seen him again since. He is probably the rarest one of the rares without doubt.

      I am sitting at needing 26 myself I believe, mostly all the pets. I've killed every pet dropping rare, even camping them, at least 60 times. Got the garnia one after 94 kills. The others, no luck. So most of the ones I need are going to take a lot of luck. Not to mention those bad drop rares, but some rares like the crab and the yak are never up. I've seen the yak once since release and the crab twice. And I need to get super rare drops from these too??? Screw you blizzard.

      As somewhat steal a line there is a difference between difficult and frustrating. Waiting for a super rare mob to get a super rare drop from it is not difficult but it sure as hell is frustrating. When someone is rare like that it should have a 100% drop rare, or near close to it.

  7. Nice column, enjoyed reading it and wholeheartedly agree. One other thing I think needs to be fixed is the Ordos group mechanics. If ever an encounter called out for an LFR style queue, this is it. On my server we have a fairly low population of Legendary cloak wearers, and most weeks it is impossible to match up your game time with the impromptu 2-3 weekly groups running Ordos. I have only managed to get one group since the expansion. Received only gold for my efforts of course :-(.

    The queues might be very long, but you could be doing a lot on the Isle until it popped, and if you got tired of waiting after a couple hours oh well at least there was a better shot than advertising in trade for a group.

    1. My server is like that too. If I do not get into on right after reset I have to go to open raid to get one or I will never see it. It is a super easy fight even if it has a high performance requirements. So it could be something that could use an LFR thing, but the sad part is you would get people that do 60K in there and an entire group doing that would never be able to do it.

      However, being you need to have the cloak to do it I think the LFR version should at least be available for the character that actually wears it at least. I agree.