Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Time for a Happy Dance?

Ghostcrawler is leaving blizzard, you can read about it here, and it makes me wonder if it is time to do the happy dance or not?

My response to that question might come as a surprise to everyone that reads here, but does not read between the lines.  No, it is not a reason to do a happy dance.  The loss of ghostcrawler could set the game off in the wrong direction.

For as much as I complain about him, call him out of touch with the player base, and basically crap on most of his ideas, I have always agreed with his "steady and strong" approach and have even often said that I do not envy his job because it has to be one of the hardest jobs in gaming, the face of warcraft.

Ghostcrawler had a vision and it was long term and he stuck with it through thick and thin and that means something, that says something.  I am not the only one that bashed him, I am not even the most vocal about bashing him.  If anything I am kind of subdued with my complaints about him compared to the vast majority of the players that have publicly, in one way or another, lashed out against him.

Many of the problems the game has now we can trace back to when he took over and it is easy for us as armchair quarterbacks to associate the problems with him.  In truth, it probably was his fault.  He is the reason stat inflation went all haywire.  I've said it before and I will say it again, he never quite grasped the concept of an upgrade is an upgrade and we would be happy to get 20 extra of a main stat, we did not need it to be 800 between tiers like it is now for us to want it.  It was his desire to make upgrades feel powerful that let things get out of hand.  But it was also his decision to fix his own mistake, even at the risk of losing customers, for the long term betterment of the game.  We all make mistakes but it takes a big man to push the go button on a fix like that knowing that there will be a lot of back lash because of it.  You have to give credit where credit is due, that had to be the hardest decision he ever made.

He made a lot of wrong calls, I can go on all day about it, but he always stuck by them and attempted to do his best to rectify the problems they caused, not always to great effect, but he tried.

Why do I think the game losing someone that was at the root of all these problems is a bad thing?  Because he is also the person that knows the problems and is in the best position to fix those problems. 

If I broke my dishwasher I would know what I did to break it, so it makes the most sense I call the repair man to come fix it because I can tell him how I broke it.  If the little lady calls him she will just tell the repair man it is broken and it would make fixing it that much harder.

The person that breaks something is usually the best person to fix it.  So I think he would be the best person to finish cleaning up the mess he left behind.

The one good thing is that he is basically doing just that.  The stat crunch is coming, reversing his biggest mistake ever, and a new expansion is coming with new things and those things will become someone elses problem from the start so maybe they would be in a better position to fix them as they will see it from its inception.

I still do not look forward to life without ghostcrawler because he was very approachable.  He was not only a face of the game but a main focus of the interaction between us and the company even if his comments often got him heat.

So it is time for the happy dance? 

That is for you to decide but I can guess one type of player will not happy.  Mages are going to be really pissed now.  They have been #1 since GC took over and it was always joked at that they stayed #1 because he played one.  Lets see what happens with him gone now.  I can see a lot of mages being really pissed having to sit in the middle of the pack or the bottom for the first time in, well, forever.

Do you think him leaving will be a good thing for the game or a bad thing for the game?

I think it will be a really rough transition unless he had been grooming someone already because there is currently so much going on.  As much as I might have complained about him, he was good for the game over all and will be missed.  Good luck whatever you end up doing Greg, you are going to need it because your track record in the gaming industry is not looking very good right now.

As a friend said to me when we talked about GC leaving last night (yes, yesterday, just a complete coincidence), "Maybe that is exactly what the game needs, someone to breath new life into it."

I guess we will find out.

Is Faking It Okay and If So How Do You Do It?

I read a few posts recently with people talking about the outrageous requirements that people are looking at for flex runs be it server bound ones, OQ ones or open raid ones.  People are asking for 14/14 normal at least, people are looking for 540+ item level for wing one and my favorite, that I saw personally, was someone asking for 570+ for wing 4.

There are a variety of reasons that someone would ask for outrageous requirements but the number one reason is that they are looking for a smooth run and the higher they set their standards the better their chances are at getting a decent run.  Doesn't mean they will, but it does increase their chances.  Like the person asking for 570+ for flex 4.  You would be left to believe that anyone with a 570 item level needs to have at least a couple of pieces of heroic which means they have done garrosh on normal which means flex would be easy.  In theory anyway.  But that is why they set their sights so high.

There are also the people that say you must have done those things on the character you want invited.  So the fact I downed garrsoh means nothing on my new hunter because he is not my main hunter.  As if there is a skill issue where I am better at my main hunter than I am on my alt hunter.  But again, people make the rules, you just need to see which one you fit in with.

There were a lot of people in all the forum posts offering suggestions on how someone could get their item level up, get some experience, and basically make their pugging life easier but the one that stood out the most was when people would just say to lie.  Not just outright lie but to download addons that will assist you in your lying.

Is faking it out right like that acceptable?

I have absolutely no issues with lying in this case because sometimes you need to be a little cunning and tell a fib or two to get your foot in the door but I do have some rules to what makes for an acceptable lie.   Using some addon to "fake" an achievement is wrong.  You can lie effectively without actually downloading an addon to do so.

So I do believe it is okay to lie under certain circumstances and as long as you are willing to meet some personal requirements, as I will mention, but do you think lying to get into a pug is okay?

Rules to Lying Believably to Get Into a Pug:

1) Know the Fights:

You are on the short end of the stick to begin with, you are lying, you are faking your way into something you should not be in because you do not meet the requirements asked for.  So the absolute least you can do is be prepared.  Knowing the fights is part one to that.  Before you even think of lying your way into a pug do the fights in the LFR, or watch the videos, or read a strategy, or better yet, do all three.

As long as you have at least the most basic minimal understanding of the fight you can most likely fake it enough to get by.  That is the key to knowing the fights.  Nothing will point out you have no clue what to do then screwing up a simple mechanic like running away with a debuff you are supposed to stack with.

To ease your transition into faking it I'll give you one little hint that can really help you, should you happen to screw up.  You are lying already so just like a little more won't make it worse.

If you are ranged and trying to get in, say I've only DPSed this as melee.  If you are melee, say I've only DPSed this as ranged.  The vast majority of the time the mechanics that melee deal with range never even notice, the mechanics that ranged deal with melee never notice.  If you do screw up and make a mistake you can always use the "it took me by surprise I never noticed that in melee" and 99 out of 100 times people will just shrug it off because melee and ranged often do have different things to deal with and it is understandable if you never did it in that role that you could make that type of mistake.

Knowing the fights however limits your need for lies however.  Actually knowing the fights removes the need for lying completely, and every bit of lie you can remove from telling is a good thing.  They might be asking for experience, so tell them "know all fights".  Let them assume you meant you knew the normal they are asking for.  You did not say you knew normal, you only said you knew the fights.

Most people will not follow up and ask you if you mean LFR, flex or normal, saying know all fights is usually more than enough to appease most.  So know the fights and step one for lying is not actually lying.  It is just leaving out facts, like you never actually did them at this level, but you do know the fights.

2) Role Switching:

As I mentioned in the previous bullet it is a good idea to say you have not done it in the role you are currently applying to join on.  It helps cover a lot of mistakes up.  Most casual raiders honestly have no idea what anyone else in the raid has to do, they only know their job and how to do it.  This is an accepted thing.  So use it to your advantage.  The fact you said you "know the fights" is half the battle, so you are just doing it in a different role.

This is actually the easiest to pull off as a tank of course because you can say you have not tanked it yet but know how to tank.  So they will just say something like "taunt at 3" and you are ready to go.  So from a faking it standpoint faking it as a tank is the easiest way to fake it.

Faking it as a healer is second easiest.  If you say you have never healed it but know the fights you know how people will describe your job to you?  "Heal the injured people"  It is really that easy too.

Faking it as a damage dealer is a little more iffy, you can use the melee / range thing I mentioned and that will cover a lot, but low numbers will stand out no matter what and when it comes time to replace someone you will be the first replaced with low numbers, even if you were telling the truth about experience.

In a way you would not be lying here either if you do it as I said.  If you say "I've never done it in this role" you are telling the truth.  Right?

3) Know Your Role:

Speaking of those low damage dealer numbers that will stand out, low other numbers will as well.  Tanks that do not use cooldowns, a holy priest that is predominantly using shield or a disc priest that is predominantly using renew.  Bad is bad and bad stands out even to the most inexperienced raid leader.

You might not have done the content before and are faking your way into it but there is never any excuse for not knowing how to play your role.  All that work trying to fake your way into it will be lost instantly if you get kicked because you obviously have no clue how to play your class.

As long as you know how to play your class you should be able to do okay, and that is kind of key.

4) Be Humble, Be Realistic:

Now we are really stepping into the lying territory.  You have not lied yet saying "I know the fights" and "I've never done it in this role" as those are both true statements that you only lead them to believe you have done it before in another role.  Now you are really stepping into the area where you have to tell a fib or two if asked outright.

First, be realistic.  If someone asks what your experience is tell them some form of normal experience.  Do not say you are 10/14 heroic.  If you have "heroic skills" you will be noticed as a liar even on an alt in a matter of seconds.  Saying you have some degree of normal experience is fine for getting into a flex group, even better than fine.

The ideal progression number to say at this point in time is 13/14.  50% of raiding guilds are at 13/14.  That means you are the average raider, and the average raider is actually pretty darn good.  Do not let the 13/14 fool you, do not let the word average fool you.  The average raider is probably in the top 2-5% of the player base in terms of skill, maybe even higher.  So saying you are 13/14 sounds pretty damn awesome for a pug, amazing even, and it does not make you sound as if you are expecting too much or offering too much at the same time.

When asked about your progression how you say it is important also, be humble.  "I am only 13/14 on my main, but I know all the fights" means a lot.  It means you have some attempts on garrosh, it means you have seen all the fights on normal, and the word "only" means you know there is room for you to be better so you will try to be better.

Also, if you say you are 10/14 heroic or something you might spur someone to ask for the name of your main which then could catch you in a lie.  It might also come up in conversation asking you what you think of "so and so mechanic" and being you do not know it, because you are not a heroic raider, you will get caught in your lie.  No one is going to ask a 13/14 player for advice, so no worries about being caught in that lie.

If you say you are 13/14 when half the raiding guilds in the world are 13/14 there is no real reason for anyone to go check up on that because while that is very good for the content you are planning to pug, it is not exactly exceptional and that is what makes it extremely believable.

Using words like "only" make you seem down to earth, and if they question your ability to do it on a role you have never filled before saying "I will try my best" comes off a lot better than anything else you can say.  You now seem like a person with skill, experience, and a reasonable personality that would be easy to work with and will try their hardest.

5) Do Them and Yourself a Favor:

This only works for healers and tanks, but if you have a class that can heal or tank and know how to do so, this is the ultimate selling point in joining a pug being tanks and healers are always needed.

A few weeks ago I went on open raid and posted this line "518 shaman healer, have not raid healed since cata but know my class, looking for any flex, know fights from main" and I got whispers from over a dozen people instantly.  For wing 1, wing 2, wing 3 and even wing 4.  Some of the whispers were from people looking for a 530 healer or a 540 healer.  In the end they were just looking for a healer.  The fact I said I know the class (step 3) and I know the fights (step 1) along with being an in a high demand role sold me even with a low 518 item level.

If you want invites, play a tank or a healer.  It really is that simple.  Even if a group is looking for a higher item level they will accept a lower geared tank or healer.  It is actually amazing how low they will go.  You could even say you have no experience, you can even say you do not know the fights.  Most of the time just to get a tank or a healer people will over look the things that would make them balcklist a damage dealer for eternity.

You would be doing yourself a favor by having a tank or a healing offspec because it will make it easier for you to get groups, and you would be doing them a favor by allow them to get attempts in instead of continuing to spam trade.  Even the most diehard "we need 540 or better" person will sooner or later take that 518 healer just to get a boss down.

End Note:

If I say can get the basics like know your class, know your role, know the fights, and tell a few small fibs like you are 13/14 on your main, finding a group is a lot easier than you think it is.  People asking for high numbers just want an easy run.  Saying you know all fights, even at a lower item level, still jives with the desire, a quick and easy run, so they might take you.

I am not saying finding pugs is easy.  I hate pugging.  But I am saying it can be done with a few white lies here and there.

Do you think faking it is okay?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why Pure Luck Based and Not Progressive Luck Based?

I've said it before and I will say it again, I am wired differently than most.  I do not like the luck based system.  I can see it has its place in the game but it is not interesting or compelling design in my opinion.  Even when I am lucky, which has happened from time to time like with my shaman last expansion and my monk this expansion, I still do not like the luck design.

Luck works for some things.  Luck with mount drops works for example.  It gives you something to do, or me something to do at least.  Like the mount off horridon in ToT.  It only dropped once when we were running it every week but now I will occasionally join in on a pug just for a chance to get it and next expansion, assuming we can solo it, it will be added to my list of things to do when I am bored. 

Just like I solo onyxia once in a while now still trying to get that mount, and so many other raids and dungeons I did for years here and there trying to get those mounts.  Kara, TK, stonecore, VP, UP, etc.  Some took less time, like VP and others took 3 expansions like UP, but it always gave me something to do when I was bored.

So I am not saying luck based drops do not have a place in the game or that they are bad for the game.  They do have their place and they are good for the game.  But only to some extent.  Things that you could argue are "needed" should never be luck based in my opinion.  That is when it turns from something fun to do, like going back for a mount, to something frustrating, like killing the same boss 3 times a week (LFR, flex and normal) to try and get that helm you "need" for example.

This post is not about loot luck, or lack of loot luck, it is about everything else in the game that is luck based on when it drops.  Such as quest item drops, because we all feel we "need" them too to complete a quest right?

Does anyone remember the old quest in darkshore to collect the moonstalker pelts?  I do, I still even have nightmares about it, so to speak.  Before the cataclysm came this quest was the bane of my existence when I leveled in that area.

You needed to collect 5 or 6 pelts (don't recall the exact number) for a quest and the moonstalkers, despite the fact they all had pelts, never seemed to have pelts after the died, as if it just disappeared somehow.  I remember my first character back in the day doing that quest.  I would log in for an hour or two here and there and play and it took me days, not kidding, days to finish that quest.

I would log in and spend the entire time I was online killing moonstalkers and picking herbs.  I would every moonstalker I came across it took me a long time to finish that quest and get all the pelts I needed to move on.  It was not fun, not in the slightest, it was actually quite the opposite.  Now I could have always skipped the quest, but I did not know better, and even when I was new I had the same dedication I do now.  I do not give up, if I have a quest, I finish the quest.  No questions about it.  So I wanted to get it done.

If you had looked up the quest on throttbot or wowhead or whatever you used you would see comments from countless people complaining about the drop rate on this quest.  I remember seeing people complain on the forums about it.  It actually became one of the prime examples for why drop rate quests suck.

So it is not just me that was complaining about the drop rates, it was a vast majority of the player base.  Find me one person that never said "the drop rate for this quest sucks" and I will point out a person that has not quested much.

Luck based drops are just not fun design.  I find it amazing how the same people that will complain "the drop rate on this quest sucks" can say they are okay with random drops otherwise.  If you do not like bad drop rates, you do not like luck based drops because the only way something could have a bad drop rate is if your luck is bad.  Those two go hand in hand.  Random is random and random is bad.

If so many people had issues with so many quests with bad drop rates, like myself with the moonstalker pelts, and they have been vocal about it for as many years as they have why is blizzard still dedicated to a horrible system of rewarding players for doing things?  You would think by now that they would have heard the calls from the community to fix drop rates.

At the very least they should fix quest drop rates.  Like when cataclysm came out they fixed the moonstalker pelt drop rate the best way it could be fixed, by removing the quest as it was.

100% drop rates on quests is not fun either.  There needs to be some element of chance but as the game is designed now if I had to choose between a 100% drop rate or a luck based drop rate I would rather "not have fun" with a 100% drop rate than "not have fun" killing 200 moonstalkers for five freaking pelts.

This expansion had a few bad drop rate quests, just to prove it is not a problem they have fixed.  The worst drop rate I have found was during a quest, alliance side, where you needed to collect croc eyes, only five of them, but it seems that all crocs that walk around that area are blind because none of them have eyes.  When I leveled my first character through there on day one of release I killed so many of those things I had over a stack of meat, which is not even a high drop rate on its own, before I got the 5 eyes I needed for the quest.

Each character that went through there had roughly the same issue, needing to kill countless crocs to get 5 eyes to finish off that quest.  One character, my most recent one, to go through there actually had some luck.  I got 5 eyes in 8 kills.  The odd part is I did not even notice it.  I expected to need to kill at least 20 of them like I normally do and I just kept pulling more and more when I noticed in my quest log it showed as done.  I was like, really, and just moved along pleasantly surprised to have had finished the quest so quick and easy after my past experiences with it.

Did they fix the drop rate or did I actually get lucky and for the first character of the 15 alliance side characters I have bought through there, one finally had some luck?  Either way, the drop rates should have never been that bad for those eyes, not so bad that it got to the point where I felt finishing a quest in under 10 minutes was lucky.  It should never be something I would feel lucky about, it should be the standard, luck should not play a part, at least not like that.

How could the game be designed to fix the luck rate when it comes to drops like that?  Well, I have an idea actually.  Don't I always?

Lets play pretend for a moment and explain why things are luck based now with a make believe example.

You are given a quest to collect 10 monkey brains and you need to kill local hozen and then scoop out their brains, should they have them, until you have gathered all 10.

The game is designed, as it is now, that hozen have a 10% chance of actually having a brain.  If you leveled a horde character and talked to them, you would understand that this is actually a pretty decent percentage because I would have figured even fewer had brains, but that is beside the point.

The coding looks at every single drop as a one time event and does a roll for loot, so to speak, to see if it drops for you.  Think of it as you doing /roll and a 10% drop rate means that you need to roll a 91 to 100 to get it to drop.  If it rolls anything else then your quest item did not drop.

Every single time you kill a mob the same thing happens, it does a /roll, if you do not get a 91-100, it does not drop.  That is a very simplified way to explain it, but you should get the idea, in case you did not already understand, how the random system worked from the inside.

This means luck plays a huge role in if you get your quest items fast or if you need to kill 200 moonstalkers to get 5 moonstalker pelts.

That is the problem with a luck based system, there is always a 10% change to get the drop.  Bad luck means you can go forever without seeing it.  How many times have you done a /roll in raid after a wipe while waiting for others to get back or joking around and did not see a 91 or better in 10 or 20 or even 30 rolls?  That is how many mobs you would have needed to kill before you saw a drop.

There is a way to fix that however.  By having each kill count toward progress on the quest.  If you kill one mob and it does not drop the next mob does not have a 10% chance, it now has a 20% chance.  10% from the one you did not get it from and 10% because that is the base drop change.  So the second mob you kill would have a 20% chance to drop it and rolling an 81 or better gets it.  If you do not get it the third mob would have the previous 20% and an additional 10% to now equal 30% and rolling a 71 or better will get you the quest item.  Basically this would mean that something with a 10% drop rate would see you get 1 out of every 10 you killed even if you had the worst luck in the history of the game because the 10% mob would effectively be a 100% drop chance.

If it keeps adding up then while luck would indeed remain a factor each kill you make is also making progress toward you getting the quest item.  You would still be upset you did not get the item but at least you would know that kill was making your chances for the next kill better.  It would make all kills important because all kills would be working together toward making the drop chances better. 

Once you do get one it would then reset the drop rate back to 10% and you start the process all over again.  This would greatly smooth out the bad luck of drop rates for items.  It could be adapted to basically anything luck based in game.

Have you ever read anything on those low drop rate mounts where some guy would inevitably make the post that said something like "there is no way to make the crop chance 100% but if you kill 9,800 of those mobs you would have a 99.9% chance."?

Well, he is wrong.  If something has a 0.1% drop chance every single time you kill it it has a 0.1% drop chance.  Killing it 9800 times does not increase your chances at all.  Not even in the slightest.  It does however mean you would be more likely to get it within that time because of the sheer amount of kills.  Luck based of course.

If something in game is currently a 0.1% drop rate it would be like doing a /roll (1000) where you needed to get 1000 to actually win it.  That is how it works in game when you kill something to decide if you will get it.  You effectively have a 1 in 1000 chance of getting it, or 0.1% drop chance.

Even for mounts this design of progress kills could work wonders for solo content, would not really work well for group content, unless you add the combined luck chances for the group together.  Every time a kill is made the chances of the drop rate go up.  For a group it increases the chances for all, inspiring people to work together.  So if it was the first time for everyone in a dungeon, and there are 5 people with a 0.1% drop rate that would mean it was 0.5%, as it would add +0.1% for each kill, and each persons first attempt.

This would inspire people to team up but that is not what this post is about, this post is about smoothing out luck based drops.  So lets go back to thinking about it as a solo endeavor for now.

If the mount in UP has a 0.1% drop rate, effectively meaning that it will drop 1 in 1000 times, each time you kill it your chances should go up by 0.1%.  So kill it 10 times and that makes it 0.1% x 10, now you have a 1% drop chance.  The more you do it, the more your chances are increased, so even failures count as progress toward getting the mount you desire.

This would effectively remove the luck factor while still keeping the luck factor in play.  If you will it 1000 times and it is a 0.1% drop rate on your 1000th kill you would be guaranteed a drop.  You would have earned it.  But if you get it sooner, luck was on your side.

So why is blizzard so intent in keeping everything pure luck based?  Wouldn't better design be progressive luck based where each kill gets you closer to your desired results?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- My baby hunter is 89 and a half.

- I did not play it much this weekend or I would have been 90.

- I also forgot about the wow anniversary gift.

- If I had used that I surely would have been 90.

- Even without any rested the 85-90 trip seems faster than it used to be.

- Maybe I am just getting so used to it or they stealth lowered the experience needed for it.

- Oddly enough the 80-85 part seemed longer than it was the last time I did it.

- I don't think that is the case, I think it just feels longer because I hate doing it.

- That whole jumping around all over the place in cataclysm really does not make for a friendly leveling experience.

- At least not for me.

- I might log on to hit 90 tonight or wait until the weekend.

- Being I spent my sunday leveling some I did not get some needed LFR time in for my alts.

- That is a good problem actually.

- I had been doing it a lot lately on a few characters and I think it is break time again.

- Only my priest and my rogue ran it this week, but more on that later.

- I plan to keep a documented record of my new hunters gearing process up until he gets the legendary cape.

- Detailed down to each boss and any drops from that boss.

- I think this might be my lucky hunter.

- I have had a bunch of world drop purples.

- I had three of those pets from the western plaguelands drop.

- I farmed and farmed and farmed for it for hours on my main who was just mowing things down and never got it on him.

- Yet this one just goes in for quests only and gets three?

- That is lucky.

- I also saw no spirit beats leveling in northrend.

- How is that good luck you might ask.

- I do not have dual spec yet which means no BM to tame them.

- So it is lucky that I did not see them.

- It would be nice for him to play super fast catch up.

- I have over 96 timeless island mail BoA pieces sitting in the mailbox waiting for it to hit 90.

- 8 full mails and some other in a 9th.

- Being the character is an enchanter that also means lots more sha crystals.

- I have more mail BoA pieces elsewhere among my other characters too, so there is more to be disenchanted when the time comes.

- My enchanting is level 600.

- My engineering is level 595.

- As soon as I make another spirit of harmony I will be 600 engineering as well.

- Engineering is a bitch to level.

- I am so glad I have materials on other characters and the ability to farm whatever I might need otherwise leveling engineering would be a nightmare.

- Engineering gets my vote for most "new player unfriendly" profession in the game.

- If a new player tries to train it the game should tell them, you don't want this profession, please pick another.

- You need leather, cloth, and lots of bars of metal.

- And lots of the other harder to get things but the worst part is unlike other professions there are rarely any red recipes.

- Lots of yellow stuff but yellow stuff always has the habit of not giving me a skill up when I need it to the most.

- Only have enough materials to make 5 of an item to get to the next level of material and I only end up with 4 skill ups.

- It happened to me multiple times while leveling.

- Good thing I had options.

- Go and farm or go to the auction house.

- I did a little of both.

- A very little of both, luckily I had nearly everything I needed to level up all the way already on one character or another.

- I needed to head out and get some copper early on and needed to buy some stone to make some power off the auction house, but that is about it.

- Most everything else I had on one of my characters.

- The worst part about leveling engineering?

- When you do find a red one it takes multiples of 5 different items, usually three of which are not easy to come by, and it still only gives you one skill up.

- WTF?

- In all other professions those types of things would be a 5 skill up thing, or at least a 3 skill up thing.

- They need to check out engineering.

- Leatherworking might be the worst profession to level because it needs so much leather, but engineering is the most annoying profession to level without a doubt.

- So back to everyone's favorite topic to complain about, LFR.

- Or at least my favorite topic to complain about.

- I only did LFRs on my priest and my rogue this week and almost manged to get myself kicked from a group on both of them.

- By doing nothing wrong mind you.

- I've never been kicked from an LFR before.

- Well, partial lie, I did DC once and came back 10 minutes or so later and was no longer in the LFR, but I do not count that.

- On my rogue I was in part 3 of ToT (rune hunting) and at the first boss when the tank says, kick the rogue, he isn't here.

- I said, I am here.

- He said, no you are not, your name is not lit up on my raid frames, so you are not here.

- I am in stealth, behind the boss getting ready for you to pull, that is why I am not lit up on your raid frames.

- If I had not noticed he was saying to kick me I am sure the sometime half wits that do the LFR would have just kicked me because he said so without even thinking about it.

- We wiped because, get this, only 6 people survived the maze.

- When it started and we had him in dispatch range before the maze I was thinking "this is a solid group to get him that low so fast, this should be easy."

- Three healers and three DPS lived.

- Both tanks died.

- Some smart ass said, good thing we didn't kick the rogue, he was one of only 6 people here that seems to know how to play.

- I got a giggle out of that but did not say anything.

- We do it again, the same 6 are the only ones that survive.

- One of the 6 was a lock, the lock revived the tank, we finished it off.

- Good thing I was there because my evasion tanking while the lock revived the tank is the only reason there was not a second wipe.

- That and the healers being pretty darn quick about noticing I was tanking and protecting my ass after evasion fell off before the tank picked it up.

- The smart ass yelled out "Kick the rogue."

- I laughed again because I knew he was joking but it makes me wonder, who else pays attention really, I could see someone getting kicked because of that.

- On my priest doing ToT 1, which I over gear just a bit and the first two fights are pretty freaking awesome for a disc priest, I almost got kicked for queuing up as a healer when I was a damage dealer.

- At least that is how someone saw it after the first boss.

- We downed the boss and this person starts in raid to kick the priest because she's just DPSing as a healer.

- He had a big mouth all through trash and seems like he wanted to be "the man" of the group so he probably expected people to jump at his order to kick the priest.

- I am glad most people did not listen, because sometimes jerks like this get away with saying to kick innocent people.

- He posted the DPS meters with me in 6th for damage done.

- Now being I was the only priest I was sure he was talking to me.

- I looked to my healing meters.

- I do not look during the fight and only really look after if I feel there is a reason to look.

- No other priests in the group, so no one I can look at to see if I can learn from them, so it never even occurred to me to see what my healing or my DPS was.

- I posted the healing meters which had me at the top in healing done.

- I said, I did 42.9% of all the healing, I am not DPSing, I am doing my job and looking at the numbers I am doing my job quite well thank you.

- Someone said, pay no attention, he is just pissed because a healer out DPSed him.

- Someone said, wait until next boss, I want to see what he has to say then.

- Anyone that has ever played disc knows exactly what the numbers for the next fight looked like right?

- Absolutely insane.

- Oh yeah I thought, if I beat him on DPS and damage done on the first boss I would double him on on the next boss.

- I did just that and managed to set a new LFR record for myself in the process when it comes to healing.

- I did 63% of the healing on that fight.

- I decided to be a dick, well not really, more a smart ass, and post the healing meters after that fight.

- I said, I did over 60% of all healing done and doubled you in damage done, can I now stay boss?

- He never responded.

- So I did not have many bad runs, but still some jerks in the process.

- The LFR is not the problem, the people in it is.

- Someone from guild was in the LFR yesterday and said "I can't believe how fast this LFR is when you get a group that knows what they are doing.".

- I said, the LFR is a joke to people that know what they are doing, it is a  nightmare for everyone else.

- They need to designed them to be a joke for everyone else, then they might be on to something.

- You should never need a good group to have fun, you should be able to have fun with any group.

- I did have one dreadful run which actually ended my rogues run at runestones for the week after finishing only one LFR (3rd ToT) with no stones.

- Popped into SoO part 2 on the first boss, trash was dead, no stacks of determination.

- Okay, maybe not so bad.

- Pulled, wipe, pulled, wipe, pulled, wipe.

- I get into the LFR an hour and 30 minutes before raid time, we were still wiping when it was15 minutes to the start of the raid.

- Never downed the first boss.

- I said, screw it, I will take the week off with my rogue, it is not his week, no stones for me this week.

- I just can not wait in queue for a chance at that again.

- Anything blizzard can do to stop that from happening would be a good thing.

- Nothing sucks the life out of a game and the desire to play it then wiping on the same boss in LFR for an hour and a half.

- The only character that made any progress on their legendary quest this week was my priest.

- Finished the secrets part and started the rune part with a lot more luck than I had while collecting secrets.

- I got one stone from every boss in SoO wing one.

- None from wing two however.

- So 4 in week one.

- I had done the others to get the secrets already this week so could not go back to them.

- I do not think my hunter had 4 stone until they made the drop from the last boss guaranteed.

- I had went 6 weeks without one.

- So 4 in one week is an outstanding improvement over the experience my hunter had.

- I wonder if my new hunter will have better luck.

- I am hoping he does.

- Someone said that luck "might" be tied to a name, maybe the new name I am using will do wonders and give me luck.

- Hey, an elf can dream.

- A weird thing happened to me on spoils last week.

- I died.

- Yes, that is weird because as a damage dealer the only time you die is if you made a mistake.

- At least I would figure it that 90% of the time if you die on that fight it is your own mistake.

- 5% would be the tanks fault for not handling adds, 3% the healer fault for not keeping up and 2% because your group overextended itself with too many adds.

- The fact I died was not the weird thing however, I've died many times to my own stupidity.

- The weird thing was how I was revived.

- I came back to life with full health, full focus and my pet was already out.

- Did they patch something that when you get a revive from a DK your come with with full everything and your pet out?

- I could swear that had never happened to me before.

- Full health, yes, but I don't recall my pet already being out ever.

- I could be wrong but I am sure I've always had to call my pet before.

- Weird I tell you.

- Maybe it is just a bug on spoils?

- Anyone else want to admit they died to their own stupidity on spoils and got a revive as a hunter?

- If you did, was your pet already out and did you have full focus?

- I think it might just have been a bug, but maybe it is fight specific.

- That was the only time I've ever died on that fight so I can't say if it was a one time thing or not.

- Maybe next week I will kill myself on purpose just to check out if that happens again.

- I must say I like coming back and not having to call my pet.

- Have a great day.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Case For Reforging

Reforging is being removed in Warlords, there are no ifs ands or buts about it.  Blizzard has said so much already and there is nothing I could write that could change their mind, but that has never stopped me from writing some hair brained ideas before and I am not going to step now.

Reforging was the best thing to impact game play that came out of cataclysm in my opinion and while I completely agree with the assessment that reforging just seemed like "work" for the majority of the players and most would just use a site like Mr. Robot to tell them what to do and follow it, I still liked it.

Sure it was only simple math but it allowed for some customization.  Maybe not for your average damage dealer which it basically was "get to the hit and expertise cap and then stack your best stat" most of the time but for a healer I liked it.

Mr. Robot keeps telling me, spirit, spirit, spirit on my disc priest but I do not follow its suggestions because for the content I am doing my mana is just fine.  I am going more critical and dumping spirit whenever I can now, within reason.

See, it wasn't always about numbers for all classes, it was about feel, for some even if that some were actually very few.  I found that to be a play style choice.  I found that fun.  Well, on my priest at least I did.  Finding that right balance as to how much spirit I could lose and still do my job effectively.

With no hit and expertise in the game any longer the idea of reforging really makes no sense.  Outside of hit and expertise the only reason for reforging besides "feel" like on my disc priest was trying to get is to hit a haste cap of some sort for an extra tick on an HoT or DoT.

So removing reforging to limit what we need to do with gear is not a bad thing at all.  However, I believe it can still have a place in the game.  It just needs to adapt.

What if reforging stayed in game but changed to reflect the new world?

No longer would it change 40% of a secondary stat into another secondary stat.  It would now change 100% of it.   Less of that "math" they were complaining about being no fun for the masses.  Just a simple "mastery sucks for me so I am making that into critical strike".

Healers could still use it to fiddle around with spirit if they felt they needed more or less of it.  Damage dealers could use it to stack their best secondary stat on to every piece of gear they have.  And there would still be a little math involved.  Switching things around until you get as close to that haste cap as you can.

If your best secondary stats are critical and haste and you get a new weapon with mastery and haste wouldn't it be fun to be able to convert all that mastery into critical?  It would not be a big deal being it is not some 40%, it is converting all of it.  It would be a straight out questions of which is better.  That would be fun, to have the better weapon, wouldn't it?

Most people love stacking stats, it is part of the game they enjoy, like the DK tank in one of my groups that is so excited every time his mastery goes up.  He is sitting at 270% now and says he wants more.  He enjoys getting more, he has fun whenever it goes up.  Or the lock in my group that does the same and stacks mastery and loves getting a piece with mastery but runs and changes anything that doesn't to mastery instantly.

People like being able to change to stats they feel are useful for them.  They like creating power items.  They are making some customizations that make them feel more powerful, make them feel like they are responsible for how well they do and not just relying on drops with the right stats, because anything can be a power item.

They are removing reforging because they feel it is not fun for more people.  I can agree to some extent because I hate getting a new piece and having to re-figure everything out to see what is the best way to get the closest to hit and expertise cap.  But now that they are being removed, the annoying part of reforging is being removed.  Now it is just change it to the best secondary stat for you, and that is fun game play.  Who doesn't like making their character feel stronger.

Make reforging a 100% change and it will be fun.  It doesn't need to be removed, it just needs to be redesigned to be fun again.  It is a great tool, I just hate seeing it be removed, I liked it and I will miss it.  I will miss it a lot more when all my gear has mastery on it and mastery sucks for me.  It would be fun for me to get rid of that mastery, it would not feel like "work" like getting as close to the hit cap does now.

I think there is still a place in the game for reforging, how about you?

Simplified Gear is Not So Simple For Healers or Anyone Else.

When warlords comes out and gear changes with spec it will be a solid change for the game.  I've already written about it a little but have not dabbled on the spirit aspect of the changes.  See, spirit is a secondary stat and secondary stats do not change.  Only main stats change.  So where the holy paladin can switch to retribution and his intellect will change to strength if the piece happens to have spirit on it, it will not change.

I see a huge issue here, one that it seems blizzard does not see.  When some people bought the issue up to ghostcrawler he did his standard impersonation of a child playing peek-a-boo.  You know how when a child covers their eyes they believe that what they saw is no longer there?  Well, ghostcrawler is covering his eyes and believing that if he does not look at the spirit problem it is not there.

Basically when next expansion comes the gear is for all mentality is not true.  Not even in the slightest.  There will still be different types of gear but the line for those different types will now be absolutely clear unlike it is now.  A cloth piece with spirit drops now a shadow priest can still use it, thanks to it converting to hit.  Same for a boomkin with a piece of spirit leather.  When warlords comes being there will be no hit cap to reach so the idea of spirit converting to hit becomes a moot point.

Effectively this means that spirit is for healers only.  Being it is a secondary stat and it will not change that means anything with spirit on it is for healers, anything without spirit on it is for tanks and damage dealers.  There is still a great divide.  Actually a more definitive line than there has ever been.

Some might argue that the mana regeneration supplied by spirit can be used by other classes, so it is not so bad for them.  I will argue the exact opposite.  While spirit for mana regeneration might be fine for a warlock, a mage or a shadow priest when it comes to cloth, all the other armor types will get the shaft if spirit remains on gear.

Lets not even mention that spirit will always be more useful for a healer than it would for a mage or a warlock, even if it does help regenerate mana, unless they completely change the game that is and mana will be a huge issue with casters, who is to know really.

When it comes to leather I am sure the feral druid, guardian druid, windwalker monk, brewmaster monk and rogue will not be all that happy with spirit on their gear.  I know my hunter will not be happy with it on his mail and while the elemental shaman or enhancement shaman might, just might, have a reason to consider mana regeneration I would be willing to bet that critical or haste or mastery would be more advisable for them.  I am sure all variety of warriors and death knights will not be looking at spirit as a viable stat either.

So having spirit on gear, and it not changing when you change spec, is a huge issue that mr head buried in the sand ghostcrawler chooses to ignore.  If he covers his eyes and doesn't see it then it doesn't exist right?

I hope this is addressed before warlords comes out or else the change to "one gear fits all" won't work.  There will be two distinctly different types of gear.  Healing gear, and spec switching gear, because healing gear can never be anything but healing gear.

Now, no good complaint can be made without giving some possible options on how this could be fixed.

1) Remove Spirit Completely:

Change healers over to an active generation system like tanks have an active mitigation system.  Something like the old AA for disc where it restored mana but more important.  Add some things like a proc system where if "greater healing wave crits your next heal will be free and return three times the amount of mana it would have cost" making that ability work no more than once every 30 seconds.

It would keep people healing and make it a lot more active.  Your free heal just popped up so you reach for your most expensive heal to gain as much mana as possible, but there is huge raid damage coming so you can either regain that 3x mana and take the chance of the raid going down, or hit a cheaper spell that will insure the raid will be just fine but regenerate much less mana.

There is so much that can be added to the game with active generation and I believe it could add an additional level of excitement to healing.  Not to mention, while active generation would still become more powerful as you gear up you could not simply over gear mana through spirit like can be done now at higher gear levels.  If you need to use active generation you will need to use it, not just stack one stat to make mana seem almost endless.

How about making one of the heals, the smaller ones, like heal, or healing wave, act like steady shot and cobra shot do for hunters?  When used it would regenerate mana, not cost it.  And make it so the more it actually heals, the more it actually regenerates?  That would be an option too.

I believe that removing spirit completely and switching to an active generation for mana is the best idea.  Of course, that is only my opinion, share yours if you want to at the end.

2) Have Spirit Change on Spec Change:

Another options would be to have spirit change when your spec changes.  Each piece of gear that drops would have a stat like "haste/spirit: 23" or "critical strike/spirit: 23" or "mastery/spirit: 23" on it.  If you are in healing spec it is spirit if you are not it is the other stat.  This might be easier to implement than switching healing over to active generation this late in the expansion development cycle.

It would also make sure that gear is not just gear for healer or gear for others.  However, unless every single piece of gear had a "*/spirit" option on it the things that did have an option for spirit on it would still be given to people that have as healing spec as preference.

If something dropped and it was "haste/spirit" the healer or someone with a healing off spec would have the most use for it.  It would still make it healing gear.  So every single piece would have to have one stat that also had a /spirit option to it for this to work.

Being they are already designing it so it switches main stats it is believable that having it switch a secondary stat, just the spirit to something else, would be doable.

In my opinion this is the second best option.

3) Have Spirit be Useful for Everyone:

This could be done but would need a huge redesign of all classes and specs.  This makes this option the least attractive in my opinion.  It also would still mean there would be healer gear and gear for others.  Even if spirit made my hunter regenerate focus faster that mail gear with spirit would still go to the healer first.  It would mean a lot more for our healer to be able to heal more than for me to gain 0.2 extra focus every second because of it so I can get, what, 2 or 3 extra shots off during the fight?

While this option could work it would also mean that spirit would need to enter the system as a full secondary stat, not a secondary secondary stat like it is now, where it is rarely on gear.  If everyone could have use from it then it would need to be more prevalent on gear.

This is an option of course, but I do not like it.

4) No Spirit on Dynamic Gear:

They said that tanking stats will still appear on necks, rings, trinkets and weapons.  Make spirit, the healing stat, only appear on necks, rings, trinket and weapons.

This, like option one, is a great idea in my opinion, however, the amount of spirit, as it would be coming from so few pieces, would need to be substantial because of the lack of spirit on the main body parts which are all dynamic gear.

This would cure the issue of rolling on a chest piece because that chest piece would not be a healer piece or a piece for others because it has spirit on it.  It would break the two role gearing design that it will be in warlord if it gets released that a chest piece can have spirit on it.

Although I have not yet heard anything mentioned about it, if I had to guess, this is the way they will go.  It is, without a doubt, the simplest way to do it.  Being those extra gear slots will still be spec specific it would make the most sense to have healer stuff in that category if you did not want to mess with the new dynamic gearing options.

I would not be surprised if spirit on trinkets is the same as the armor on trinket they mentioned for tanks already.  They just did not tell us about it yet.

This is the second best option in my opinion but I still think removing spirit all together would be better.

5) Make Spirit a Main Stat:

Have healers designed differently so that they work with less intellect to begin with.  If a retribution paladin equips a piece with 26 strength on it, when he switches to holy it becomes 13 intellect and 13 spirit.

While it is true that spirit as a main stat so it too switches would solve all the problems of gear being labeled as healer gear, it would require a redesign of how healers would work as they would now need to work on less intellect than they currently do because that intellect is being split with spirit because they are both main stats.

This completely fixes the issue with spirit as a secondary stat but brings up issues of its own.  While all those issues are number balance ones they might be best avoided.  So spirit as a main stat might not be the best idea, if it is splitting with intellect to become so.

But there is another spirit as a main stat option that could be considered.  Bonus spirit as a main stat when in healing spec.  At some rate of the current intellect on the gear might work best.  Using the example above with the piece with 26 strength on it, when switching to healing spec it would be 26 intellect and 26 spirit.  Or maybe 26 intellect and 13 spirit.  Or some sort of percentage.  Just giving the healers bonus spirit, for free basically, when they are in healing spec.

This is an option and not a bad one, but even at that, I am not so sure this would be the best route to go if it were my call at least.

End note:

As long as spirit remains a secondary stat on gear, and as peek-a-boo ghostcrawler with his head in the sand said it is going to stay that way because they like it, there will be an issue with gearing.  There will be a case of "healer gear" and "other gear".  So dynamic gear will not be all that dynamic, at least not when it comes to healers thanks to spirit as a secondary stat.

What do you think about the issue with spirit?
Do you think it will be a problem?
If you think it needs a solution, which one would you suggest?


Someone mentioned in the comments that they believe they saw them say they are using the option I have listed as # 4.  Which does make sense, as I mentioned in the post, as it would be the easiest to implement.  I do not recall reading this, but I would absolutely believe it, as I mentioned in the post.

The Sha or Wrong

Looks like I was wrong to complain about the Sha of Pride not being a guaranteed drop for runestones like Lei Shen.   Hey, it is not the first time I was wrong and surely won't be the last.  So I offer this as a public service announcement in case someone else was being grumpy like me when they got nothing off the so called "guaranteed" drop boss.

When you are on a quest to collect anything for the legendary quest line make sure to try and loot the boss, any boss, sometimes, albeit not often, the item is not automatically placed in your bags.  It might be on the body.  So when the boss died and I did not get anything I just left group after the LFR when I should have clicked on the boss, or chest, and seen if there was something there for me.

So if you are collecting, give it a try.  Maybe, just maybe, what you are looking for might have not been automatically awarded to you.  So those sha kills that I said were not guaranteed, there might have been something sitting there for me, I just never took the time to loot it myself.  Next time I know better and will look.  I suggest you do the same, it could speed up your quest, even one runestone faster.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Relief and Excitement: What Makes for an Epic Quest?

Over at JMTC there was a post entitled "It's Called An Epic Quest For A Reason" that had a line in it that shows that people can view what brings the excitement of an epic quest differently sometimes.  I agree with his post, it is a good post, but I did not feel the way he described when I finished most parts of the legendary quest line.  I will quote the part that got to me, that makes me think, that really says a lot about how I play and what I find rewarding, but I suggest taking a look at his post. 

It is short and it actually make me feel good about my lack of luck lately with the legendary line on my alts, it made me what to feel that excitement because I remembered what I found exciting about the quest line, even if it was different from what he found exciting.  In the end what he found exciting, I only had the feeling of relief when I finished.  What I found exciting was different.  But we both view it the same, as an epic quest line that should take time.

When that final item drops and you get that spark of thrill running through your spine.  Your ready to ditch whatever your doing right then and there,  run to Wrathion and tell him he can take his wanted items and give you your goodies.   Nothing can match that in game thrill than to complete something that at times made you want to quit.  Made you frustrated and wanting to throw in the towel.

See, he gets to the heart of it and what I believe most people in the game felt when they got that last piece to drop for them be it the last sigil, the last secret or the last runestone.  The excitement that comes along with that.  Sadly, I am wired differently, I just did not feel any of the excitement he did when I got those last pieces.  I only felt relief.  But I could feel his excitement, through his words, and it made me excited for him.  I understand that feeling.  Just not from getting that last piece to drop.

There are three distinctly different parts of the quest line, as I see it.  The gathering part, the grouping part and the solo part.  Here is how I view each particular part of the quest line.  And while it seemed he got so excited about getting that last piece, I got my dose of excitement from different parts of the quest line.

1) Collecting Sigils, Secrets or Stones:

No excitement here for me.  None what so ever.  I felt relief when I was finally done with it.  Relief that I was done fighting the hardest boss in the game, the boss called the random number generator.  Collection quests when you are waiting on random drops are not fun or exciting for me.  I did not go woohoo or run excitedly to our young black dragon friend like he mentioned although I did tell him where he could shove his quest items when I gave them to him, just as the writer of that post did. 

I was already standing there in front of him (when I was doing an LFR) so if the random gods decided that today was the day they would not try to bend me over and abuse me and let me have a drop I would be there already to move on to the next phase.  It was just a standard collection quest, nothing exciting about it.  Just kill something, collect something, and move on.  As I said, getting it done, for me at least, gave me a sense of relief, nothing more.  A huge sense of relief to be done with it.  Nothing epic about being glad something is over.

There is no excitement to be had from these moments for me.  They always came when they felt long over due.  They always came with a sigh of relief not a scream of excitement.  Collection quests never have been, never will be, and never could be exciting for me.  I am just not wired that way.

2) Needing a group and PvP:

These are things that held mild excitement for me.  I liked assembling a group to kill that one guy in the wilds.  Sure, he can be soloed by most classes now, but you needed a raid team for that at one point.  Or at least 5 semi competent people.  Or one DK.

The "doing it as a team" when everyone combined for the effort to get one person the ability to move forward was exciting for me when I did it and it was exciting for me when I helped everyone else do it.  It was a set moment in time, when you knew something was being done, advancing, and that was exciting for me.  Me doing it or others doing it, even soloable now, it is still exciting whenever I tag along to help someone do it.

Even the PvP part of it was exciting.  For as much as I believe that there should have been no PvP involved in the quest line the fact that it was there remains one of the better parts, excitement wise, of the quest line.  If you were doing it solo with random people or with a group of assembled people, it was a group effort and it was exciting to get that win.

Sure, it seems my over all win to loss ratio on my characters has to be roughly 20% with the exception of my healer that one shot both wins it was still exhilarating when I finally got those wins and a feeling of excitement and relief happened at the same time.

When someone in the guild gets up to that point I have dropped everything to help them get past it many times as I know even if I am not a very good PvPer that having a group speaking together on voice chat will increase your chances of winning a great deal.  And when we run into an equally skilled team, read as PvEers, we destroy them thanks to being able to easily communicate.  The PvP part of the quest line offered excitement in my opinion because it was a group effort to achieve a set goal.  No random about it.  Do the job right and win and you were done, I find that exciting.

Working your way toward a set goal is exciting for me.  Be it getting a group for a world boss or getting a group for PvP.  Even doing the nalak part is still fun.  I will go on my hunter to help anyone.  It was easy to solo on my hunter, but not so much for other classes.  But it is still a feeling of excitement to get it done even when it is someone else getting it done.  Because it is a team effort and there is a reward to doing something as a team, even when you are not the one working on it.  My excitement comes from their excitement, that is why I like these parts of the quest line where you can revisit the joy you felt when you got it done with a friend.  Are there many better feelings to have in game?  Does it get much more epic than that feeling of helping another move forward in a long grinding quest with a legendary reward?

3) Solo Objectives:

These, to me, where the most exciting part of the whole experience.  It was a task I had to rely on no one but myself to do.  I needed to figure out how to get it done and I needed to carry it out.  Whenever I would beat one of these solo objectives it was the only time I really felt true excitement in the quest line.  There is no greater feeling than that of "I did it".

On my hunter neither was too hard really, but I did die once on the first one and a couple of times on the second one.  I did not look up guides on how to do them, I wanted a true feeling of being the person that beat these tasks and I wanted to figure it out on my own, to have that true feeling of being triumphant.  That was and is an epic feeling. 

Anyone can queue for LFR and do battle with the random number generator boss.  Anyone can make a group and kill a world boss or win a player vs player battle, even if they are substantially more enjoyable then doing battle with the random number generator.  But nothing, I repeat, nothing, can compare to the feeling you have when you beat a task that is left only in your hands.  You either do it or you don't.

There is no random to worry about here.  The task is clear, defeat X... alone.  There are no friends to help you out, you are all alone in the world.  It makes me remember the epic hunter quest and to me that is what truly defines epic.  If anyone helped you, you were dead.  Even if the opposing factions hits the mob you were attacking, you were dead.  If someone passing by thought they would be kind and pass along a buff, you were dead.  If you even had your pet out, you were dead.

Maybe that is where I get my feeling of epic from, my feeling of true accomplishment from.  I was trained, from the first epic quest line I did, that epic quests are meant to be done alone.  Maybe that is the reason why even if neither of the solo challenges were particularly difficult I found them exciting, very exciting.  The joy he spoke of is the joy I felt, but not after getting that last piece but after beating a challenge where it was me against the world, alone, as it should be.  Now that... is epic.


Where would you place your best feelings of the quest line?

What makes it epic for you or did you not even feel it was epic?

For me the collection part was boring and tedious and I only felt relief when it was over, no excitement.  The group parts where fun but some of the long loss streaks in PvP were indeed frustrating so the group stuff floated between relief and excitement when I finished it.  But the solo content, oh that awesome solo content, that was met with pure excitement when I finished it.  To me, that is what made the quest line epic.

Which parts of the quest line did you meet with relief, excitement, or both?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Grin and Bear It: The Legendary Motto

Depending on what source you use to find the description of the meaning of the expression "Grin and Bear It" it can be different, but still the same in concept.  From "to endure something unpleasant in good humor." to "to accept something bad without complaining" but my favorite way of explaining it, and the one I believe to be most accurate is "to accept an unpleasant or difficult situation because there is nothing you can do to improve it.".

Many people that are switching mains, leveling up alts, just getting to the point of working on it, or playing catch up because it has never mattered to them until now are working on the legendary quest line now and playing catch up, quite frankly, sucks.

Someone said, in general on the timeless island yesterday, when they were assembling for ordos groups that anyone that does not have the legendary on at least 3 characters by now isn't trying.  Okay, perhaps he is right.  I only have one because I have only tried to get it on one, until recently when I started to play catch up.  I've been trying the last three weeks.  So there is some truth in his words.

Four weeks ago I decided to start working on a couple of my characters that were at various stages of the legendary quest line.  Here is my progress.  The only one that has done the forth week (this week) is my priest.

In three weeks my warlock went from needing 8 wisdom and 7 power to needing 2 wisdom and 1 power.  That is three weeks of doing every boss that can drop them.  That is a dreadful drop rate.  I did manage to get the four piece tier set on it, even if I could not get sigils to drop for the life of me.  Such is luck right? I most likely will not run my lock this week as I have begun to lose interest in getting it for him.  But I might.  If I want to push on with him, I must grin and bear it because while it might be an unpleasant situation with the bad drop rates there is nothing I can do to improve it.

In three weeks my mage has went from collecting valor for the valor part of the quest to collecting valor for the valor part of the quest.  He is not done with that part because I have not pushed as hard as I could have honestly pushed as I am not capping valor or even close to capping on him.  So it will not take me 3 weeks to get 3000 valor, it will take me a lot longer.  Of course there is no one to blame there but myself as I am not making the effort for it really.  At least it is no longer 7000 valor needed right?

In the three weeks, and now 4th, my priest has went from needing 6 secrets to needing 2.  In the three weeks I did every single boss there is to do that can drop them, that means 20 bosses a week.  So 60 bosses already.  I've done 9 so far this week, so that puts me at 69 bosses that can drop it and only 4 secrets.  And people wonder why people give up on getting it?  The only reason I still press on with my priest is that it is a healer and I get somewhat instant queue most of the time.  Also, being I vastly over gear ToT now it is kind of fun pulling 90K DPS while doing 120K HPS and getting right in.  It makes for easier runs.  I will continue the push with my priest even if I am dreading the bad drop rates because there is little to no wait time involved in getting into the runs.  This is a HUGE key to why I think the priest (both my 90 priests) are the ones I will get the cloak on next.  No wait time, that is what is killing me from getting the stuff I need, not only the drop rates, but the massive time investment needed to not get those drops each week.

In the three weeks my rogue has went from needing 8 secrets to needing 8 runestones.  This is the opposite of the other stories, as my rogue has some amazing luck with drops.  It took me maybe a total of 30 boss kills to get my 20 secrets and I've basically done nothing with him so far in terms of runestones, one flex run and one LFR run for a total of 7 bosses and I got 4 runestones.  Most people I talk to seem to say this is their experience with it.  Everything almost a 50% drop rate or better.  This is the only character that seems to be at that point.

Four weeks ago someone queued with me on my priest, so I could get them into an LFR faster, that had just gotten to the secrets phase while my priest was already sitting at 14.  They picked up their legendary yesterday, I am still collecting secrets.  /cry

Sometimes it is really hard to just "grin and bear it".  I am having some problems with that.

My tanks, all of them with the exception of my monk are still sitting on the sigil phase as I refuse with every essence of my being to tank the LFR.  I wish there were a way to play catch up with them faster than the occasional flex run.  If I ever want to get the legendary on one of my tanks I will either need to learn to DPS with them or I will need to grin and bear it and tank an LFR.  As I refuse to grin and bear it because tanking the LFR is not my idea of fun in any way, shape or form, they will not be moving forward any time soon.  So I made a conscious decision to not do it.  I can not complain about that.  It is my decision.

My "extra" 90s, priest, hunter DK, etc, get played so rarely, so they are way behind as well.  However, my hunter and my priest are actually head of some of my main alts, if you will.  That has more to do with the fact I enjoy playing those characters.  Well, the hunter at more so of course.  The priest gets played because of what I mentioned earlier.  It is the easiest to get through the system as it gets instant queue and it kind of fun to play even in the random setting at lower gear levels.

I am at the point now where I feel like giving up again on getting my cloak on a second character.  I am having issues with grinning and bearing it.  I have characters are various stages, sigils, valor, secrets or runestones, but none of them really seem to be moving anywhere fast in terms of collecting the needed requirements to moving along with the quest.  None of them, except for the rogue that is.

How long have I been saying that the rogue is the class I least enjoy playing?  I can go back as far as my blog goes and point out the various number of times I have said those exact words.  I can also point out that in cataclysm my rogue was my second character to 85.  Can you even believe that? It was my second best geared character throughout most of cataclysm as well even if I never did get the daggers on it.  This expansion, with as little as I play it, it seems to be having fantastic luck with quest drops, if not gear drops.  It is still only sitting at 520 and still has horrible weapons.  To show how horrible 520 is, my DK, which is my bank alt, yes bank alt, and only did the original LFRs and has done basically nothing since then is sitting at 517.  Without even attempting to get any gear what so ever my DK is more geared than a character that actually has raided and has received quest drops and is three phases ahead of it in the quest line.

So I have to repeat the legendary mantra to myself over and over "just grin and bear it".

The thing for me is I am the type of person that I feel that it is my responsibility to do the best I can do at least in the solo sense when it comes to gearing up.  That means I "should" have my legendary on at least 7 characters by now or, by my own standards, I've failed myself because I have not been able to just "grin and bear it".  I've let things get to me. I keep giving up.  I failed.

I let my mages failures in the PvP part get to me and allowed it to sit on the bench effectively taking 6 weeks to win 2 battlegrounds.  I gave up on my DK after 8 weeks of no loot and no sigils and it never returned to LFR since.  I refuse to tank the LFR on my druid, even if that is the tank I am best at by far and it would really benefit from having the cape.  I've let my lock sit on the sidelines multiple times because I got frustrated with drop rates.  I abandoned my shaman, even with her instant LFR queue because I did not feel comfortable playing with it even if I was doing well with it so she is still sitting at collecting sigils even if she is completely ToT geared from running that a million and one times.  I never had that "grin and bear it" mentality to go back and get the things I actually needed from the previous tier.

I am having a big problem with the "grin and bear it" legendary process on alts and it is not like me.  I completely understand the "unpleasant situation I can do nothing to improve" of it but I find myself giving up a lot faster than I normally would.

When all is said and done I will have the legendary on multiple characters because it will just happen, now that SoO drops everything from the first 8.  So they will all catch up, in time, even with their horrible luck, even if I do not try and do not go back to the appropriate content for the drops.

But my question is, How do you just "grin and bear it" and deal with pushing toward getting it?

I just can't seem to do it.  Long waits in queue, bad groups here and there, bad people seemingly everyone, horrible drop rates, and the feeling like you are climbing uphill without any mountain climbing gear. I know I should keep pushing on my alts because I feel my alts will never be fully ready for SoO even if they have a 550 item level because they are missing that one "easy" piece that everyone can get as long as they just "grin and bear it".

Like that one guy said, everyone should have it on multiple characters by now if they try and he is right.  I should.  I should have it on at least 7 or 8 by now, but I don't and I kind of feel like I flunked out of "grin and bear it" class because I don't.

If you are just getting to it now, or getting it on an alt, remember the legendary motto, Grin and Bear it.  Maybe you will succeed where I failed because I couldn't just grin and bear it.

Good luck.  It can't be any worse than mine.

Note:  Someone mentioned that the reason I might not be getting the "guaranteed" drop off sha in LFR is because personal loot sometimes does not automatically put it in your bag.   So check to see if there is loot after the fight and don't just drop group and be grumpy about getting nothing like me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crisis on the Infinite Azeroths

Ever since I first heard of this alternate reality of Warlords at the Blizzcon I've been thinking of making this post and I even had that title in my head.  It was the perfect title and explains exactly where warcraft is heading.  It is heading to the crisis on the infinite azeroths.

The creation of an alternate reality is a slippery slope, one I believe the writers of warcraft are not capable of pulling off.  For those unfamiliar with the slippery slope term I will explain what I mean in reference to the story in game as short and sweet as possible.

The creation of an alternate reality opens the door to create some fantastic story telling.   So many "what if" scenarios to work off of and the experience of playing in them in game can be fun and exciting.  What if the lich king had managed to get us as his servants?  In reality he did, or almost did, because one human took forever to realize he had every man for himself and could get out of that ice block at any time.  We never beat him, we died.  If the lich king had stacked haste and his revive worked faster we would have all been his lieutenants, just as he had planned.  So many what ifs, so many chances for alternate realities.

Now that blizzard has opened that door we can experience everything again as if things occurred in a different way.  And that is the slippery slope when you allow alternate reality.  You keep opening more and more realities and sooner or later things are out of hand.  But as long as you do not connect those realities you will most likely be okay, from a story telling stand point at least.  Oops, blizzard already screwed that one up.  Their first every dabble into alternate realities has us in our own reality intermingling with the alternate reality.  Ouch, a story telling boo boo if there ever was one for even a skilled writer to handle.

This is a story in story telling, one that has been gone down before many times by many different intellectual properties but the one that stands out to me, as a comic book geek, was instantly DC Comics Crisis on the Infinite Earths.  I thought of it the second it was revealed that we would be fighting against people from an alternate reality.

Crisis was a 12 issues mini series published in 1985 and in my opinion remains probably one of the best story lines in the history of comic books not only for being well written, but being thought provoking and handling a very touchy situation, story wise, extremely well.

See, DC had created many different realities to enable story telling.  When they reset the world, to what is referred to as the silver age, they had all the older characters exist on "earth 2" while the new silver age of characters would proudly live on "earth 1".  There became many more "earths" as the years went on to enable story telling.  Earth X, Earth Prime, Earth P, you name it, there were dozens of them.

Every time one of the writers would come up with an idea that they thought would be interesting and pitch it Julie would say something along the lines of "that would not work with continuity" and the idea was either scraped or buffed up and a new alternate reality was created where they could do it.

All was fine and dandy in story telling land as long as those worlds stayed in their own place.  We didn't need a dozen people running around in tights dressed as superman did we?  Then some years back, way back and way before the crisis mini series came out, in green lantern # 40 (1965) the golden age green lantern met the silver age green lantern and something was set in motion that eventually require the crisis on the infinite earths to be written years later.

Rule # 1 when handling alternate realities, do not let them intermingle, it just messes things up.  It is worse than the wibby wobbly timey whimey stuff.  At least timeline stuff people have a prayer of understanding.  But trying to explain that lois lane is only married to superman on earth 2 and lana lang is married to him on another earth and he is single on earth one but on yet another earth everyone knows his secret identity is just down right confusing.  How can all be true at the same time?  Alternate realities is how.

As long as each remains in its own place however it is manageable.  In the end DC had done too many golden age meets silver age stories and it was starting to get confusing.  Only a true comic book geek remembers comic book trivia but even dedicated comic book geeks would have issues with remembering which superman married who, which superman was known, when each appeared, which one was the big blue boy scout and which would just as darkly kill someone.  Then when they all merged together it got confusing, was it my superman doing that or was it the other one?

So DC comics decided to fix everything by creating the crisis on the infinite earths.  To make a long story short, too late I know, the idea of the series was to take all those alternate realities and merge them together.  It made for a lot of destruction and death of some major characters but the idea was to set things in a new single world with no alternate realities because it started to become too much to handle.

There would be one merged world with one history   It would make it a lot easier for new readers to catch up and understand instead of asking them to learn the 14 different versions of superman.  This was all needed because of what green lantern # 40 started by intermingling to realities, earth 1 and earth 2 if you will.

Now back to warcraft and the coming crisis on the infinite azeroths.

Blizzard did not just create a different reality, which they could have easily done with the caverns of time, they created an entire expansion on it.  For them to make that work there were two options, make this our new reality because the past was changed, or pull the alternate reality card.  They pulled the alternate reality card.

Like I said, if it were an instance in the caverns of time it would have been fine.  The whole "that wasn't real" thing can work in an instance.  As the central focus of an expansion we need to interact with that alternate reality.  In effect they did, in one expansion, what it took DC comics 20 years to do, completely screw up their world by intermingling between 2 realities.  Warlords is warcrafts green lantern # 40, the beginning of what will be the end when it comes to alternate realities.

A slippery slope.  New realities will come and go, or could come and go.  Who is warchief in this reality, did deathwing win in that reality, did the titan abandon us in the other one, did the legion win and we are all minions of theirs now fighting for our freedom.

Sooner or later they will open the doors to there being multiples of the same character out there with different histories all thanks to alternate realities.  We could have the Jania with the eye path that killed everyone in org after her city was destroyed.  She teleported pieces of garrosh all throughout the world one small bit at a time just so she could hear him scream.  Or the Jaina that did not work with Thrall and the alliance all but laid waste to the invaders known as orcs and anyone who sided with them.  Or the Jaina that fell in love with Thrall and married him and turned on the alliance and used her powers to collapse the mountain that is ironforge on all the alliance leaders when they were there for a summit.  Or how about the Jaina that just sits there and cries all emo like all day every day, we know that one right?  Or maybe there is the Jaina that never made it out when her city was attacked and her blue dragon boyfriend went medieval on the horde?

All of these make for great stories, but all of them should not intermingle with our time line and our history.  Warlords would make for an interesting raid, but it is a scary proposition for an expansion because I can see it ending up exactly where DC ended up in 1985.  Blizzard eventually realizing they made a mess of things and coming to the conclusion that combining all realities to set things back in order is the only real answer to "alternate realities gone wild".

So as new realities unfold with warlords and from there on every time we make a decision that impacts the world a new reality is made where that decision was made differently and we will continue to intermingle with it instead of making it a "what if" in the caverns of time like it should be and the day will come when blizzard too will realize that rule # 1 of alternate realities is do not let them intermingle and they will need to combine all the worlds into one single world with one single history so it will start making sense again for those people that just can not follow it.

That expansion will fittingly be called, Crisis on the Infinite Azeroths.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Random Thoughts

- I took some time off from the end game grind for some leveling this weekend.

- I tired to get the last secrets on my priest at the beginning of the week and ran everything they drop from and only managed to get 2.

- At least it is more than 1 or 0.

- 1 and 0 is what I had the previous two weeks.

- So 3 in 3 week.

- 5 people in my guild have started, and completed, the secrets part of the quest in those three weeks.

- And people wonder why I am always bitching about the random number generator.

- It deserves to be bitched about.

- But after another week of hell when it comes to drop rates I figured I would take a week off from working on progressing alts.

- My main is valor capped and my alts are at various stages of the quest line and none are having any luck with drops.

- Three coins each week on weapons bosses, and we down at least three of those a week, and no weapon for me still.

- Sucks, you know it does right?

- I healed the first few bosses as it was needed and guess what dropped off the second boss?

- The weapon for my hunter.

- I am at a 100% drop rate for my weapon off bosses when I am tanking for healing one of them.

- I am at a 0% drop rate and 0% coin rate on them when I am on my hunter.

- So I needed a break.

- I needed a break, something different for the weekend.

- Wouldn't you agree?

- Time to head back to the only part of the game that actually feels rewarding, leveling a new character.

- When you do stuff, you level.

- You see your effort rewarded.

- You see a bar telling you how far away from that reward you are.

- You know you are actually advancing.

- End game does not offer that reward.

- You can do everything every week and get nothing.

- One priest needed 6 secrets 3 weeks ago, I figured I would finish it off, still have not finished it.

- Another priest needed 1 sigil of power, just 1 sigil of power.

- I ran everything that can drop it for 2 weeks and did not get it.

- That is 24 bosses each week for 2 weeks, for one sigil, and nothing.

- For those people that do not grasp the magnitude of how bad it is I hope you never go 48 bosses without a quest item drop.

- At least if I level a new priest I know in 10,800 experience I get a level.

- At least if I level a new priest I know as soon as I collect 12 bear meat I get a new wand.

- At least I see my effort rewarded.

- Leveling is just so much more exciting than end game in terms of effort and reward.

- Questing = Small effort, seemingly powerful reward.

- Max level = Massive effort, so little reward and that little reward is left up to luck.

- We need a middle ground.

- You decide which one is better when you are in the mood to play and want to feel like you are getting somewhere.

- Killing 24 bosses and not getting one sigil is basically a epic feeling of wasting my time.

- All that work for no reward.

- Now if it were a quest that said, kill 24 bosses and I will give you this sigil, it would have been worth it.

- The game needs to make people feel like they are being rewarded, even if it is with something that they do not need.

- I would rather get a new pair of gloves that I do not need and I will vendor when I finish the quest then let random number generator decide if I was going to get a reward at all for doing it.

- End game has completely lost its reward.

- As least for people with bad luck it has.

- But the gearing up phase, when you first hit 90.

- Now that I love.

- Even more so with the island.

- It feels as if you are building up to take on the world.

- It feels as if you are moving forward.

- At least until you hit the brick wall of random to progress you any further.

- So I started a new character this weekend.

- I figured I would play a little with the actual feeling of being rewarded after another week of the LFR fucking me over with drops.

- Guess what level I made it to?

- I am not telling, not even telling the class.

- But I will say I made it far, really far.

- Feel free to leave your guess as to level and class if you feel so inclined.

- Power leveling is rewarding, seeing how far you can level over a weekend.

- It feels like an accomplishment to look back on your weekend and see progress was made.

- Instead of looking and saying, I killed 24 bosses and got no sigils I can say, look at all that work and I am now 30 or 40 or 50 or higher.

- Leveling has its bad points too, do not get me wrong.

- Like at end game in the LFR the bad runs are more about bad people than it is bad play.

- Bad play can be over come with a decent group of people, trust me, I've seen it.

- Most of the leveling issues I could complain about come down to bad people.

- Like having a quest to kill some mobs and someone at 90 is working on their goblin rep and grinding them so there are none for me to kill because they one shot the entire zone basically.

- When I am out doing things like that if I see a quester I stop, let them do their quest, then go about what I am doing.

- Perhaps that is because I am not a world class asshole like it seems everyone else in the game is.

- I am just a world class grump.

- I did have a lot of fun spending the weekend leveling however.

- Still not fond of the busier world and waiting for respawns, but for all the bad there is with more people out in the world there is some good.

- I can not believe the number of people that will buff you, at random.

- I've had people riding past me dismount, throw a buff on me, and then mount back up and continue along.

- Something so little, but it made me feel good.

- I was in one cave killing mobs that were part of a quest and there was a rogue there with me.

- We took turns on the mobs.

- I would tag one, he would help me down it, then he would tag one and I would help him down it.

- Sure, we could have grouped but this seems so much more human, if you will.

- It shows something about someone when they are willing to work with you.

- Anyone can group for their own advantage, but it takes a good person to work as a team when you are not in a group.

- I ran into this a few times.

- I threw a bandage on someone that was fighting that looked like they needed it, just for fun.

- They thanked me by bandaging me up when it was over even if I did not need it.

- He laughed, I laughed, we moved on.

- It seems like for every bad story of bad people you run into there is a story of good ones you run into as well.

- This is the first character in forever that I decided not to level fishing as I was questing.

- I am leveling my other professions for the most part however.

- When it comes to fishing I usually will stop at every pool as I go along, only fishing from pools.

- It does slow me down, but I enjoy doing it.

- It is also good for keeping cooking up as well as leveling fishing.

- But now with pandaria you can level cooking from one to current, so it is not a big deal any longer.

- And if you go to the catch of the day area, you can level fishing from 1 to current always catching something because you will always have a wealth of pools.

- And if you choose a good catch of the day to do it on you can actually make a mini fortune on it too.

- I am still selling paddlefish (if that is the name, can't recall at the moment) for 300 gold a stack.

- You will easily have many stacks while leveling fishing there.

- So make a few grand, level a profession, and pass the time while waiting in queue when end game comes.

- Or just go and start another new character, because leveling is so much more rewarding.

- Anything is more rewarding when compared to waiting for the LFR forever, getting in and getting a bad group, and then getting nothing you need from it.

- It is lose (for waiting), lose (for bad people), lose (for bad players), lose (for wasting gold on repairs), lose (for not getting gear), and lose (for not getting quest items).

- Where is there any "win" in the LFR, where is your sense of moving forward?

- At least with leveling you see yourself  progress toward your goal.

- At least with leveling you control your progress toward that goal.

- Makes me wonder, should leveling be longer like it used to be?

- I used to say yes, but I think I am changing my mind.

- As the times change the game must change with it.

- With level 100 coming soon and the imposing task that seems like to someone that has never played maybe they need to do a level squish too.

- Because 100 just seems, well, a long way away.

- Even if you can make it to 80 in one weekend now.

- Okay, maybe most won't make it to 80 in one weekend.

- But you get the idea.

- And just to mention, it can be done.

- Have a great day.