Friday, February 28, 2014

How Do You Find a Guild?

This is not a how to post, this is an actual question.  I've been in my main guild for so long and all my alts are either in friends guilds or their own guilds or just social leveling guilds.  It has been so long since I have looked for a guild I really do not know how someone would find one.

I can give advice on how to work your way into a raid spot.  As a raid leader I know what some people look for.  As a raider I know what I look for.  But over all it is more than just responding to a forum post, or filling out an application, or whispering someone that posts in trade.  Anyone can find a guild if they are looking for raiding.  Anyone can get a spot if they work it right.  But what about just finding a guild with like minded people you can have fun with?

I am not a social person, never have been and do not think I ever will be. I don't avoid people but I do not seek out any contract that is not what I would consider necessary to playing the game.  Being I know I am not alone in feeling that way it made me wonder if I started the game today, how would I go about finding a guild I fit with.

When I started it was a lot easier to find a guild that fits you than it is in today's game.  There was no looking for raid and there was no looking for dungeon.  If you wanted to run a group that meant a visit to our friendly trade chat and sometimes a distinct possibility of hours of waiting until you found one

Those long hours in trade chat were not fun, don't ever let anyone that says "things were better before the LFD" tell you that hand assembling groups when you were a new player with no reputation yet was a good thing, but they were better for one thing for sure.  Community was tighter back then, the LF* system has all but killed off community on some servers.

For every minute I waited for a group while reading trade, posting in trade, or flying to stones to summon people when we did get them that sucked it was actually worth it.  I made friendships, got to know people on my server and their respective talent levels from running with a lot of them, and of course, I found myself a guild that way.

After doing those dungeons daily, well, trying to get one each day at least, you would end up running with the same people often.  Sometimes they would bring guild mates and you would meet others from their guild.  So you got to see how they played, who they were, and maybe even talk to them on vent, which usually happened when you dungeoned with someone often.   So in the end finding a guild was not actually work, it just happened, thanks to having to hand assemble groups.

As I mentioned, I am not a social person, I most likely would have never had these interactions with these people if it were not for the fact I had to do so if I wanted to run any dungeons.

In the world of the game today, again, if I just started, how would someone anti social like myself find such a guild, one they can click with, without joining a lot og guilds and spending some time with them to see if they fit.  Basically becoming a guild hopper.

The LF* systems not only allows people to do dungeons on their own but allow people to do raids on their own.  It means there are fewer chances for any meaningful interactions in the game.  Any real interaction where you get to know people on your server so you can see where you might fit.

If you were a seasoned player you would know what you were looking for, so you could look directly for it, but if you were new and did not have the advantages I did, and who would have ever thought having to hand assemble groups was an advantage, how do you find a guild?

The social butterfly will never have a problem because they will talk to anyone that listens, but the anti social person only talks to people when they have to.  With the LFR and LFD, unless you plan to move into further raiding, there is no need to talk to anyone.  Even as an anti social person myself, I find that quite sad and I wonder, if I started today, would I ever be in a guild, would I even be raiding?  I don't think so because how would I even find one.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Warlords Won't Buck the Trend, It Will Set It

We all view the history of the game and its expansions differently so some might not agree with the assessment I make here but that does not change the fact that it would appear that through subscriptions and feedback they are somewhat popular opinions, even if opinions are all they are.

The game started the way that MMO games worked at the time, a basic grind fest, but a more casual version of it.  Enough that anyone that started playing in the recent years would not even recognize the game if they saw the original now for the first time.  When the burning crusade came out it improved on the game by making things a little easier but still including some classic grinds.  When wrath was added to the history of the game it all but removed the extensive grind, something needed to catch up with the desires of today's players and once again improved on the game in many ways.

A nice trend was starting here but it ended with wrath.  From the start the game just kept getting better.  The burning crusade was better than vanilla and wrath was better than the burning crusade.  Then the growth and desire to make things better stepped to the side never to return and the last two expansion gave us nothing of the sort.  However, the last two expansions started a new trend that it looks like, for the little data we have, warlords will continue.

The last two expansions and it seems like the upcoming one are all about huge additions too the game and less about trying to make what worked better like the original cycle of three did.  The last two expansions gave us some of the worst decisions blizzard ever made, such as the wasted development time on redesigning the old world (something they are letting you skip now which means it is even a bigger waste than it first seemed to be) and the harder heroics that could very well be directly connected to the loss of over 2M subscribers on its own to the best decisions blizzard ever made, such as adding pet battles and flexible raiding.

It is amazing that for a game with such a rich history of great success the three parts of the game from the start and moving forward showed growth by keeping the same design but building on it, refining it, to make it better, building on it one addition at a time, from vanilla to burning crusade to wrath yet none of them included anything that would be considered as the most horrible or most fantastic addition to the game.  Those distinctions are left for the last two additions.

So now we are going into warlords, the third in the second trilogy of sections and we can look back now and think will warlords buck the trend of just adding stuff and not trying to build on what works or will it cement it meaning the second cycle will be bad (cataclysm), good (mists) and bad again (warlords).

With all the early information we have seen, which I must warn is all subject to change of course, warlords is looking like the titanic.  A great strong ship that is destine to crash.  While there have been some interesting things coming out that we can latch on to and guess about there does not seem to be anything that would be considered a great addition to the game, like pet battles or flexible raiding was but it does seem like many of the things do have a chance to be considered bad additions to the game like cataclysm and it wasted redesign and harder random heroics.

It seems that warlords is leaning the way of cataclysm in every step of its design and it leaves me wondering why would blizzard go to the well again.  They already pulled water from that well and it killed off nearly 30% of their subscribers in less than a year after they tasted it.  So why go back there?

On its face warlords sounds awesome, something that would make for an amazing raid in a caverns of time sort of way, but not an entire expansion.  Cataclysm let us play in places like uldum and hyjal, places that had been in the game since vanilla, there was nothing new and/or exciting about them, it was more of an "about time" feeling to them because those zones were always there and should have been open in a patch years earlier and not saved on the side to make some misconceived expansion with them.

Draenor holds the same exact distinction as hyjal and uldum did.  It would be really nice to see what outlands look liked before it became the outlands we know but they did not need to make an entire expansion to show us it.  A raid or some other form of instanced content would have been ample to satisfy our curiosity.  So this is blizzard taking tainted water from the well and trying to make people drink it again.

Then there is the story line, just like deathwing, it is one of those stories that rings as "who cares".  No really, who cares.  No one gave a crap about deathwing and no one gives a crap about a whole bunch of orcs on draenor.  Even the people that will respond here saying "don't speak for me I am really interested in them" well good for you but these aren't our orcs..  You should be able to get a book and read all about them.  This whole expansion is a what if scenario.  None of these orcs are our orcs.  Anything that happens to them has no impact on us even if I am sure their writers will connect it in some way over the course of the expansion because they have to.  Anything we do there should have no impact on us.  It is an alternate world, these are alternate orcs.  Want to make this story interesting, let us see our history.  Leave the what if's to writers, not game makers.  So even if you do care, the story to care about doesn't mean anything and would be better told in a book, or in this case, a really bad fan fiction.  It is not something that an entire expansion should be wasted on, just like cataclysm.  They went the route of telling the story no one wanted to hear before and it did not work.  It won't work this time either.  Even if many people hated mists, at least people wanted to hear that story.

Warlords is going back to the well again to repeat a mistake that cataclysm made that cost it over 2 million players at one time and a lot more during its run.  They are making harder heroic dungeons and still allowing people to queue for them.  They would not be a problem what so ever if you needed to hand assemble them as we do with heroic scenarios now and there was no queue option ever for them.  But allowing people to queue for them, even with the ridiculous requirement of having a silver in proving grounds, will still make them a nightmare.

The heroics in cataclysm were not bad only because people were bad, they were bad because they were too hard for random groups most of the time.  I was 85 on day one and queuing up for the heroic dungeons and getting into fail group after fail group.  Those first people to 85, I guarantee, were not bad players.  What bad player would be able to get to 85 that fast?  And even if they were a bad players that just grinded it out so they were one of the first ones to max level for a new expansion I am sure they could grind out a silver too.  Silver will not make harder heroics easier.  Random groups, even random groups of decent players, will always have a harder time with content.  Not because the content is hard, but because it is a random group.  This will not end well.

They could make you have to have a proving grounds of gold in the role you queue for and it still would not help in any way, shape or form.  Perhaps on a boss like the last boss of grim bartol having damage dealers that could down the guys going for the eggs fast enough would have made the fight easier.  But it would still be a random group.  There will still be the guy that thinks, the others can get it, I am staying on the boss.  There will still be the guy who goes to the wrong side.  There will still be the guy that has a slow but refuses to use it because he thinks he is so awesome he can kill it without wasting a global on a slow and he will be wrong.  Just because having a proving grounds gold would assure your damage dealers can do decent damage on demand it will do nothing to show they can actually work as a group of random people.

For some other things, like corla's beams, having a proving grounds of even a gold would mean nothing.  What about the proving grounds would teach you to do top DPS while watching for an interrupt, and a timer for when to step in and out.  And even if the proving grounds did teach that, what is there to speak for lag issues, ego issues from the guy that doesn't want beam duty, or just someone that does not know what to do or when to do it?  Or how about the fire elemental that everyone needs to switch to and the person that it is on that needs to run.  Would people switch to it or would they all think the other guy will get it?  Will the person not run because they expect a group of all gold proving grounds damage dealers to be able to down it fast enough?  Well they should but in a random group that does not mean they will.  Or how about the person who has to been in the robot in deadmines.  What exactly does a proving grounds teach you about that, or about deciding who has to do it?

Random hard content does not work.  It is not because it is hard, it is because there are random people in it and you can never guess what a random person will do.  Will he switch to stop the mob from getting to the egg or will he think everyone else got it.  Will he step out of the beam in time or will he judge it wrong.  Will he let his ego get the best of him and think he doesn't need to do something because he is so uber and can tunnel the boss?

Having the queue system even with a proving grounds of silver as a requirement is a recipe for disaster.  There is no arguing that fact.  Random content and harder content do not belong together.  That is part one.  Part two now becomes those people that can not manage to get a silver.  So you have it on both ends, people in them and people that can not get in them, that will be hating on these harder heroics.  Not because they are harder, but because you can queue for them.

When you have something you can queue for everyone wants access.  When you need to hand assemble a group, people accept that they need to make friends to do it if they want to get it done.  I suggest heroic dungeons in warlords go one way or the other.  Make them harder and you can only go in with a hand assembled group or make them face roll from the start and you can use the random queue system.  One or the other blizzard, not both.  Hard & no queue or easy & queue.

The heroics in warlords should not have a queue option.  This is not about the proving grounds silver crap.  This is about the fact that harder content should never be part of the queue system.  I loved the early cataclysm heroics once a few days past and there were more guild mates at 85 and we were doing them as a guild group.  They were not hard at all, but when I was in a random, they had the potential to be a nightmare.  Even later in the expansion, if you got a group that did not know the beam you could still wipe on corla.  And that is exactly why there should never be an option to queue for anything with even any minor level of difficulty.

I would rather not even get started on the raid or die attitude blizzard has created for gearing this expansion and their push to make it an even more randomized loot system with no safely net in warlords but it can not be just avoided.  Valor gear is good for the game and seeing how it was implemented in the burning crusade and made better in wrath and seeing the growth of the game during those periods should show blizzard something.

The badge / emblem / point gear system was perfected in wrath and abandoned in cataclysm to a straight out buy system where everyone could get the same amount of points.  It spoiled people so much that they could get to cap even without raiding whereas in wrath, toward the end, it was balanced as it should be.  Non raiders could get some emblems while raiders got a lot more.  There was no cap(that I recall), you got what you could get, the cap was how many things you could do to get them.  This meant non raiders could still work toward gear, albeit a great deal slower, and it gave them a reason to log on and do their daily dungeon to get the few emblems they were capable of getting each week.  It let non raiders get a piece every so often and let raiders use emblem gear for what it was intended for, a safety net for bad luck, because they would have a lot more emblems because they were raiding of course.

So cataclysm broke the system that did not exist in vanilla, was added in burning crusade and made better in wrath.  Now warlords goes a step further and not only breaks the system, but removes it completely.  Why remove something that everyone liked?  Something that even non raiders had a use for?  It makes no sense and shows a serious lapse in judgement.

Now on to talent trees.  Cataclysm gave us a complete revamp which while it was entirely needed it was a huge change for many players, even more so for the ones that are not like us, the ones that do not read about this stuff online and did not know what was going on.  It was a shock to the system for many players to experience such a sweeping change like that.

Now warlords decides it is time for sweeping changes again but not with our talent trees but with our talents themselves.  Thing like recent tweets where they said they were removing 20% of the abilties.  To people that do not read up on this stuff having some of their abilties gone is going to be a huge shock.  Add to that fact the tweet yesterday that mages have 12 new spells and 28 spells in total, over all three specs.  So this means they removed 20% and then added a bunch more which are changed versions of old things or completely new ones.

How do you think this is going to affect the average player, and folks, we are not the average players, we read about this before it happens.  The average player will log on to find his abilties either gone or changed for the most part and have no clue what the hell he is doing.  Not exactly a fun way to log into a game.  But hey, at least we will be prepared because we read.   But we are not the ones that pay the bills.  If every warcraft player that actually reads this stuff beforehand quit it would not even come close to the amount of people the game lost because of harder heroics in cataclysm.  We are the minority.  Sweeping changes scare people.

Speaking of sweeping changes how about the stat squish and the removal of stats.  Cataclysm had a massive removal of stats.  Armor penetration, spell power, attack power, defense, etc.  Now we see the removal of hit, expertise, doge and parry.  While I agree they should all be gone because they all served no real purpose that is another change when tacked on top of the previous ones seems a little overwhelming for the average player to handle.  All that and they will see themselves going from doing 150K to 15K, if they happen to even have recount, and that will surely go over as well as someone packing a fish in your luggage before a long flight so you get a surprise when you land.

So story wise, random heroic wise, change wise, redesigning wise, everything we see coming from the early information make warlords seem like a worse version of cataclysm.  I did not even think that was possible.  I did not feel excited for cataclysm and never thought I could feel as bad about the future of the game as I did then but I do now.

Another little thing that has nothing to do with anything but I felt like mentioning was the announcement that garrisons would be tied to the warlords expansion only.  With followers we need to level, buildings we need to build, and all the work we will be putting into it, I would have liked garrisons and my followers to be like my pets.  Something I can keep with me forever, something that will always be useful.  With all the time we will put into leveling followers and all the gold we will put into building the buildings, I do not want more throw away content.  Not when there is "leveling" involved.

I am looking forward to the expansion after warlords more than I am for warlords because in my mind warlords has already failed us as players and it is not even in beta.  Actually, the fact that it is not even in beta is a failure in and of itself.  I should be playing warlords now, or soon, the release, not the beta.

Here is to hoping that the next trilogy goes more like the first one, making things better as it goes along, and less like the second one, bad and good and bad with all additions and no building on what is already in place to make it better.

I would like if the expansion after warlords picked up right where wrath left off and we can forget the trilogy of cata, mists and warlords with their good and bad jeckle and hyde impersonation.  We have to go back to where we were, the keep moving forward approach.

Writing this reminded me of something I saw at the end of wrath that always made me giggle.  Years later when I think about it I can only think, they were right.

"Tell the world the lich king is dead, and the world of warcraft died with him."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The One Where Grumpy Goes Insane

All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf
All kill and no collect makes grumpy a dull elf

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fixing Hunter (and others) DPS

In a recent raid after each fight I was thinking to myself what the hell is wrong with my DPS.  I was, on average, doing 60K less than I normally do on every single fight.  It was the same group I normally run with so usually you would expect it to be the same as normal but it wasn't.  I could not get my numbers rolling for the life of me.  I was doing horrible.  I only broke 300K on one fight and that fight had adds involved so I take that with a grain of salt.

I looked over the logs to pick out some glaring mistakes I made.  Often this happens with farm stuff, you become complacent and know you can do it and end up not trying as hard and make mistakes you normally would not if you were trying your hardest.  This is a correctable error and the first one every single one of us looks for but there are other things that could cause issues, other things you might not think to look at.

While this post is not intended to teach any rotations, just talk about ideas, perhaps it can help anyone that has ever noticed they are suddenly doing a lot less DPS than they are used to doing.  Some or none of these might even be the reason.  It could be as simple as you are screwing something up.  But that is not what this post is about.  This post is about some of the little things that could effect your numbers that some of us might never know.  So here we go with some things you can look at that might help you with fixing your numbers.  You never know where some of those numbers went because sometimes they are lost to weird things people might not even notice.

1) Complacency

As I already mentioned this is the number one reason why people see numbers lower than normal.  Perhaps your serpent sting fell off and you just do not care, perhaps you are clipping your black arrow thanks to the AoC trinket.  When you have done a fight enough and you know the ins and outs of it then it becomes just as easy to make mistakes as it might be to do the entire fight perfectly without even thinking.  That is where the problem comes, you are not even thinking because you have done the fight so often.  Even if you do not think you are doing it, trust me, you are. 

How often have you not pre potted on farm content?  You don't need it, you can down it without it.  I often do not even consider potting on something that we are going to kill with ease to begin with.  Complacency can very easily be the reason your numbers are down.  A look at world of logs can fix this when you notice all those little things you did not do, like using potions.  Enough of those little things and it can add up to a lot.

2) Group

Another thing I already mentioned when I said I was with the same group is the group you are with.  In my case I was with the same group and my lack of numbers came from elsewhere but group does make a huge difference.  If you are with a group you normally run with you get comfortable with them.  If there is a mechanic where you need to spread out you know which way everyone moves normally so you do not need to worry about that but with other people in the group they could move where you usually move and quite possibly this could throw you off.  Same goes for if there is a debuff that needs to be dropped off, running with the same people means you know where that person will move to drop it.  Are they a person that moves back, left, right, it makes a difference and with your regular people it becomes something you never even think about.  You know where they are going so you know where you are going.  Even if it is just a tiny bit, how the group reacts can effect your numbers.

If the healers are not as strong you could find yourself using more defensive cooldowns, needing your lock rock more often, or even having you use a healing potion instead of an agility one at some point.  If you do not think these things will effect your DPS, trust me, they will.  When you can be comfortable that your healers will take care of you it helps with your numbers because you are not always worried that any moment could be your last.

Then there is the over all group DPS that will have a huge impact on your numbers.  The stronger the group you are in the higher your numbers are.  It all makes sense.  The faster the boss goes down means the longer, percentage wise, you spend in the burst phase which means your ending numbers will be higher.  If you are in a weaker group numbers wise and the fight is lasting two minutes longer than it usually does you could very well find yourself with lower numbers.  However, take note, for some classes this actually can boost your numbers.  Feral druids are one example of a class that if played well and with the right procs if they can keep a super powerful rip rolling the longer the fight goes on the higher their DPS goes.  But for most classes that is not the case.  If you are in a group with weak DPS then your DPS will usually be lower.

3) Button Mashing

When I was looking over everything to try and find where my issue was this is where I found where some of my lost DPS went.  I have a bad habit of button mashing.  I constantly need to break myself out of it and it seems I need to break myself out of it once more as I started to do it again.. 

If you are a button masher like me you need to realize that if you are spamming a button there is a chance that you hit it at a point where it will take a split second to react because you are spamming it and you actually end up hitting it a split second later than it should have been.  Hitting a button, even if it can not used, causes a reaction from the game even if the reaction is "you can't do that now".  That eats time and even if all you lose is 0.1 second it will add up.  Over the course of a fight if you lose 0.1 second many times thanks to bad luck with button mashing it could add up to 3 or 4 shots a fight or even more.  It might not seem like a lot, but it adds up. 

The other bad part of button mashing is that if you are button mashing and something procs you can effectively screw yourself.  If you were mashing your 3 for cobra shot and explosive procs even if you hit 2 instantly that 3 might still go off first because you were mashing it and you effectively cast a crappy cobra shot instead of your powerful and free explosive shot and lost an additional half a second in the process.  Do this often and the swing in your DPS could end up being massive by the time the fight ends. This was one of the problems I had on that night were it just seemed like I was doing everything wrong, because I was. I let a bad habit come back.  Button mashing sometimes does not seem like it can hurt that bad, but it does.  I speak from experience.

4) Connection

Input lag?  Latency?  All things that could effect your numbers.  We all know about that one so I do not need to get to far into it.  What I will say is that there is an adjustment in game where you can adjust the setting to compensate for issues like that and if you believe this could be part of the reason for your missing numbers, perhaps spending some time playing with it might help.

5) Sounds

While I am one of what I suspect is a very small amount of people that this could effect, maybe it is worth mentioning because perhaps it is hurting you and you just never noticed it because most people do not realize that auditory input has a big impact on the brain. 

I had just gotten a new weapon, it was not transmogged, it sounded different.  It was part of the reason my timing was a little off.  I play by sound, always have, I use it for cues on what to do and even on a subconscious level it can hurt my timing.  It is one of the reasons I can not use guns.  The clicking throws me off.  I swear if you give me a gun and a bow both with the same stats I will do at least 10% more DPS with the bow because for some strange reason the gun screws me up.  Actually, it is not some strange reason, it is the sound of it.

If you normally play with your sound off and you have it on, it can effect how you play.  If the sound is lower then normal or higher than normal it can effect how you play.  If you have a weapon, such as a gun, that you are not used to, it can mess up your timing.  I love hunters because they are a machine gun class, they keep doing something and always have something to do.  But while that might seem like something that is easy it isn't always because timing matters and the click click click of the gun just messes me up.  I might not be a huge fan of transmog but one thing I do love about it is that when I get a weapon that has a sound I am comfortable with, I will transmog into the weapon always, because it helps my DPS.  Sounds do matter and it does have an impact on my numbers, maybe it could on yours as well and you never noticed it.

6) Keybinds / Macros

Keybinds and marcos are usually the sign of a good player but sometimes they can cause a DPS loss which is most certainly not what they are intended to do.  I've run across this issue a few times where I made a macro that seems to clog things up when hit.  Usually it will be an auto target macro I made because I had to make a macro for every single hunter ability when blizzard, in their infinite wisdom, changed it so hunter abilties do not automatically select a target effectively making me waste a ton of macro slots so all my shots will act like they should to begin with, by automatically selecting a target.  Now while these usually work without issue sometimes they seem to react weird with some bosses and cause a split second of lag, sort of the same as you would get with the button mashing I mentioned earlier.  To fix this you first need to notice this is happening.  If you have an ability set with this auto targeting and it seems to not always react on demand consider removing it for this fight only and using the basic ability and not the macroed targeting one.  At least for that fight.  Worse case scenario would be you need to click on the targets directly to target them or trust the in game tab target system to get a new target.  I shudder just thinking about the fact I suggested using the horribly broken tab targeting system, please forgive me.

As for keybinds I am sure no one would ever consider having them could be a DPS loss but sometimes they can be, if you happen to make a mistake.  Ever hit stampede when you did not mean to?  Consider where you put the bind, did you accidentally hit it?  I used to have hero bound to my C on my shaman, at least until I unbound it because I kept accidentally hitting it.  Even if you click on abilties and do not bind mistakes can be made.  I once went to disenchant something which I do not have bound and keep on my forth row of talents and I clicked on disengage which I keep on my third row which are my alt talents so instead of disenchanting the item I just got off a rare which I did not need I ended up jumping off the edge of a cliff.  Oops.

Where you put your abilties and how your marcos that seem to work perfectly normally but sometimes don't, can result in a DPS loss.  My hunter auto target macros seem to cause that momentary loss of time on large bosses mostly.  I am guessing because of how the game handles it?  Who knows.  Those larger bosses you can not even tab target to so maybe that is why my auto targeting macros seem to have issues with them.

7) Gear

Okay, this is the time all use hunters and anyone else reading this because all this stuff really fits for all classes, gets to admit our mistakes.

Have you ever wondered why your DPS was off a little bit and after the fight you noticed that you had the dalaran ring in?  I have.  Have you ever tanked on a bear with your fishing pole on?  I have.  Have you ever went into LFR and did the whole thing with your pet battle hat on?  I have.  Have you ever forgotten to take off the trinket that teleports you to the timeless island?  Woot, one I have not done.  Have you ever forgotten to to take off the guild cloak that teleports you to sw/org?  No on this one too.

There are so many items in the game you can mistakenly leave on, or is some cases leave off.  Not so long ago I was running a friend through naxx to get him some achievements and for the spore loser achievement I needed to take my legendary cloak off because it would have surely killed the spores.  Being I choose to hide cloak I never see it anyway and I never put it back on after the run.  Yeah, I entered the real raid that night and even did the first boss with no cloak on.

This is probably the easiest thing you correct that could be affecting your DPS.  Check your gear folks, seriously, we have all done it and we can all fix it easily.

8) Practice

You would think you should be good at your main and you most probably are but if you have been playing another class a lot lately sometimes switching back to your main can have a little bit of adjustment time involved.  Spending a few minutes on a dummy before raid, even if you do not think you need to, can really help a lot.

When I play on an alt for a while going back to my hunter I sometimes seem a little lacking for a few pulls, kind of getting back into the swing of things.  It usually comes back pretty fast, usually during trash really, but each person is different and for some jumping back and forth can hurt their over all numbers.

There was a person in my guild that played a hunter and only a hunter.  He had no alts, did not even have a second hunter.  He was always at the top of his game and got the most out of his class.  At one point this expansion he decided to level another character so he leveled a mage and started to gear it.  He was spending a lot of time on it and he got very good at it in a short time.  A good player will be a good player on any character they play if they put in the effort.  He would just switch to his hunter for raids and play his mage at every other moment.  His numbers started to dip a little and he noticed it right away, he was out of practice on his hunter.  When it was the only thing he played he was perfection with it.  Now he was still very good, but after playing something else he lost a step.

If you have a lot of alts, more so if they are of different classes, spend a little warm up time on a dummy before raid time, it will pay off even if you are excellent at switching between classes.  Even if you do not notice it makes a difference, it does.  Some people can bounce back and forth easier than others and the idea is to know how easy or difficult it is for you and if it takes you a long time to bounce back and forth and adjust, make sure you get on your raid character long enough before raid time to get back into the grove.

9) Age

No one wants to admit it but we all get older.  Our reflexes slow down, our hearing starts to go, our eye sight begins to fade, our attention begins to wander, sitting in one spot for hours start to get more uncomfortable, our memory begins to fade.  It happens, do not be afraid to admit you are normal or that it is effecting you.  It will.

For me, most recently, I have noticed my eyes have been an issue.  I keep everything on my screen really tiny because I do not like clutter and because I use so many addons small is the only way I can deal with it.  Perhaps that is part of the reason my eyes have started to catch up to my age.  Recently on my rogue I noticed I we leaning in to see my timers so I could refresh my rupture with less than 1 second.  It got to the point where I was spending so much time trying to watch the timers because I could not see them easily like I used to, you know, kind of seeing them without looking at them, like I always had.  So I had to fix the timers to be a little larger.  Hey, age, what can you do.

You might not notice it but little things like that can make a huge difference in your numbers.  If you are paying more attention to your DoTs than you normally do that means there is something else that might be lacking attention, like moving out of the bad for example or being a second late on a proc you should have hit instantly.

Recently a friend I had made in game a long time ago told me he was going to quit raiding.  He said age has caught up to him.  He still has not decided on if he will buy warlords, for him it comes down to one thing, if he can gear up without raiding.  He said he could not handle the requirements of raiding any longer due to arthritis in his hands and other issues.  It takes a big person to realize when it is time to step away from raiding, even more so when they have been a great raider since vanilla.

Just because age is catching up to you does not mean you need to quit, but it can effect how you play and you might need to learn how to play differently.  Like I made my addon to show my DoTs on my targets a little larger to compensate for me having issues seeing it, you too might need to make one simple adjustment and be right back to where you were before.

Fixing this issue is more about admitting it.  No one wants to say they are getting older.  No one wants to admit that they have lost a step.  No one wants to be the one that says I can not perform at the level I am used to.  But sometimes you might need to, at least if you want to try and compensate for the age factor.  In the end what is better for your numbers, admitting you need to make your addon a little bit bigger so it is easier to see or squinting and losing DPS because you are spending too much time trying to see something so tiny?  Age can play a huge factor.

10) Luck

Last but not least, the luck factor, the one I hate, the one that lives in the land of the deadly mythical beast called the random number generator.  Some days you just have a bad day just like some days you just have a good day.  I remember back in the first tier I had one of those good days, the only I can remember all expansion.  I ranked top 10 on every single fight I did one week.  I never reached those numbers again even after I got more gear.  I was just having one hell of a day. It goes both ways, and that one day I was talking about where I was 60K behind my normal numbers on every single fight I might have just been having a really bad day.

Having a bad day does not always mean a bad day with the random number generator for procs and crits either.  That is why I called this header luck and not RNG.  Even if luck is RNG, but we call some things luck straight out.  Luck of getting the prison just as you hit rapid fire, or even worse, just as you hit a potion.  Or having the fire beam on you as a mage just as you hit icy veins and are forced to keep moving.  Or basically having everything that will interrupt your DPS hit you at every possible moment.  If your DPS is off, maybe it is just because your luck is off.  But do not just chalk any bad day up to bad luck, lots of people like to do that.  But sometimes it could be because you are mashing your buttons or it could be because you are using a gun instead of a bow.  While it can be luck, it is rarely luck, it is more often something you can correct.

Hopefully something here can help you if you suddenly feel off one day and your numbers are not where you are used to seeing them.  While most of the time it is just a game play issue where you are doing your rotation wrong, sometimes it could be something else, something you are not even thinking about.  Maybe now you will think about it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Random Thoughts

- Do you think they will allow flying at 85 once warlords comes out?

- It would make no sense to make us reach 90 to get flying when once we reach 90 we will be leaving the area afterwards.

- We did not have flying in BC but do now.

- We did not have flying in wrath but we do now.

- Cataclysm was the first expansion with flying from the start.

- I am expecting that in the 6.0 pre patch we should be allowed to fly in mists at 85.

- Unless they kind of forget about that.

- Blizzard does have a problem forgetting the little things.

- As I love to say, the little things matter too.

- I did a lot of leveling this weekend and I found something I would buy that concerns leveling.

- Not an instant 90.

- Not an experience boosting potion.

- Not additional heirloom gear.

- But the ability to just level alone.

- If blizzard ever offered a service where you can pay to put yourself on a solo server I would buy it in a heart beat.

- Like a toggle where you can turn it on to quest in peace.

- I was thinking $10 for this and it would not lock to one character only but to one account and all characters on it.

- So when you buy it all characters have the option forever.

- But then I started thinking that is too low for blizzard.

- They have a track record for over pricing things so what price would I pay at most for an option like that.

- $20? $50? $100?

- And then when thinking about it and the fact I would still pay $100 and not even bat an eye doing it that it occurred to me that this is the single most important thing to me in game.

- I like leveling, many don't, but I hate waiting.

- Waiting 15 minutes for respawns, no fun.

- Waiting with 9 people standing there all spamming AoE trying to get the first tag when it respawns, no fun.

- People not being willing to group so five of us can get it done because they would lose their spot in queue with the dungeon finder, no fun.

- Sholazar basin was always one of my favorite zones in wrath.

- It was great for mining, for skinning, for herbing, for rare tames for my hunter, for questing because of the nessingwary quest hub, you name it, it was always one of my favorites.

- Until cross realm zones.

- Cross realms have to be up there for fighting for the #1 spot of worst thing blizzard ever did to the game.

- Now there are dozens of people hovering over rare pet spawn points.

- Now there are dozens of people hovering of rare battle pet spawn points.

- Now there are dozens of people mining and skinning and herbing.

- Now there are dozens of people doing the quest line.

- It was not even half this busy when it was current content and brand spanking new.

- It took me 40 minutes, yes 40 freaking minutes, of flying around and dive bombing mobs to try to get the tag to finish the quest where I needed to kill 15 each of the rhinos and cats.

- I usually finish the zone in 40 minutes give or take.

- Even before they reduced the experience needed for the zone.

- Yes, I would, without a shadow of a doubt and without a second of thought, pay $100 for the ability to be left alone to enjoy the game.

- I like to quest.

- I do not like to fly around for 40 minutes to kill a total of 30 mobs it should take no more than 3 minutes to do.

- And think of all the added advantages of that service.

- All the nods you want for gathering, uncontested.

- All the rare items in the world just laying there for you to pick up.

- All the rare mobs always up for you.

- Screw that, the more that I think about it I would pay $200 for the ability to be left alone on a server.

- Heck, make that $300 and I would still pay it without batting an eye.

- I just want to play the game.

- Waiting for mobs to respawn is not playing the game.

- Yeah, just being grumpy, I know, but hey, its what I do.

- How about offering me the option to pay $60 to delevel a character.

- No, I am not talking one of mine, I am talking someone elses.

- Ever see someone so bad in a random that you wonder how they managed to level to 90?

- Pay $60 and delevel them and make them do it again.

- That would be so mean.

- Could you see all the world first guilds breaking open the piggy banks to delevel their competition.

- I don't mean they should add that one seriously, but it sure would be funny.

- All world first type guilds would have level 1 characters the second a new raid came out.

- And blizzard would make a fortune.

- Come now, don't tell me you do not see the humor there.

- I got my new shaman to 60 and left it there.

- I would love to know when this boost to 90 is coming out.

- It would help me decide if I want to continue leveling or if I will wait.

- While I could never see myself paying for a boost to 90 from 1 to 90 I really like the idea of a boost to 90 from 60 to 90 with professions.

- You can get to 60 pretty quick and easy but professions can be annoying sometimes.

- It is worth paying something to skip the professions in my opinion.

- Worth a lot more than skipping levels.

- I level my professions as I go usually so it is really not that much of a big deal for me but lately I've been leveling all new characters with mining and herbalism.

- I sell everything while I level and use that gold to power level whatever real profession I wanted.

- When I get to 90 I switch them and then power level real professions.

- My shaman has already made over 5K selling all those low level ores and herbs.

- Should be ample to power level any profession.

- But skipping having to do that would remove that step and make life a lot easier.

- And save me 5,000 gold or more to boot.

- No more bouncing between characters sending over materials.

- No more raiding the auction house for materials.

- No more having to send another character out into the world to gather the materials I need.

- No more needing to ask guild mates for help with those occasional odd ball materials.

- Just pay and ding, max level professions.

- That is worth $60 a hell of a lot more than leveling a character is.

- While I do enjoy doing it, if I am not leveling a profession as I go, going back and doing it is just busy work.

- But can't use that as an excuse for making something skipable.

- Because it can be used for anything.

- Gathering conquest to get all the top PvP gear is just busy work, maybe they should sell that.

- Killing bosses is just busy work, maybe they should just sell gear.

- If I already killed all the bosses in LFR, flex and normal why do it again on heroic, it is just busy work, maybe they should just sell that heroic gear.

- Of even if you did it just in LFR, why have to do it on flex and normal and heroic, you already did it, it is just busy work, maybe they should just sell all that gear.

- Doing proving grounds for metals is just busy work, maybe they should sell them too.

- And endless waves are even more busy work, why do it if you already have gold, it should be sold as well.

- If we can skip leveling because it is just busy work then an argument can be presented for almost anything as being just busy work.

- Killing the same bosses each week hoping to get a drop is about as busy work as busy work can get.

- If anything it is the only argument for there being a random number generator.

- If we all got our gear on the first kill we might not go back.

- That is the theory blizzard works on right?

- So that is why the RNG exists, to make people come back to do it over and over again, it is all just busy work.

- So maybe they will just start selling gear too, after all, killing a boss 90 times to get one item is no different then leveling up 90 times to get to the point that allows you to kill that boss.

- If you are going to sell 90 levels might as well sell 90 boss kills and just give people the loot.

- That is the way the game is heading.

- Thinking about loot a friend of mine that normally is a heroic raider gave me an interesting answer when I asked him why he has stopped playing this expansion.

- Normally he is on all the time, killing heroic bosses over and over trying to get the best of the best gear, but now he just killed heroic garrosh once and has quit.

- He said the gear means nothing now.

- I asked, what do you mean by that.

- He said during the first tier he wanted to be best in slot so he did it over and over every week so he had the best gear to get into the next raid when it came out so he could down it faster.

- When the second tier came out he did it over and over to get best in slot so when the third tier came out he would be in the best position to down it.

- This tier, once it was done, there is no reason to get best in slot because best in slot will be replaced with quest items when the next expansion comes out.

- There is no motivation to raid this tier any longer once it is done.

- The gear means nothing and will be replaced with quest greens.

- He made an amazingly valid point.

- So, makes me wonder, why is the last tier, that offers nothing really, the tier we always have the longest.

- I wonder how many other heroic raiders that already defeated garrosh on heroic feel that way.

- Makes me wonder if blizzard plans things wrong.

- Lets say, for example, this expansion lasts 2 years, which it might at the rate it is going.

- Maybe the first tier should have lasted 9 months, second tier 9 months and last tier 6 months instead of what we had of 6 months, 6 months and 12 months.

- If the last tier really offers nothing because the gear will be replaced with quest gear, what is the reason for making it last so long?

- When I mentioned this to someone in guild he said, that is why I do not want to do heroics.

- He hates when I tell him I want to do some heroic progression.  He thinks it is wasting time.

- Hence the reason we do not dabble much in heroics, a lot of people feel that way.

- He logic was, I downed garrosh already, I got the BoA already, the gear from heroics means nothing because it will not help us get down the next tier because there is no next tier.

- He said, my quest gear will replace my normal gear just as well as it would replace my heroic gear but without doing heroics it will feel like a bigger upgrade.

- You know, he has an amazing point.

- Gear for me has always been a means to an end.

- If I need gear to compensate for a lack of skill then I want gear.

- It is why I love valor gear for my alts, it makes up for my lack of skill playing them.

- And I hate blizzard removed valor gear, maybe another nomination for worst decision blizzard ever made.

- My rogue without valor gear might as well not exist.

- How he managed to get the cloak is still beyond me.

- Even now he still has not broke a 520 item level.

- No luck on orods or celestials.

- Yes, this far in and still nothing from either, you believe that crap?

- It is not like I do it every week on him, so it is not as bad as it might sound.

- But in the end if I kill garrosh on a 520 character, a 540 character or a 560 character means nothing.

- It is the act of killing him that matters.

- What I am wearing doesn't, unless I need it to be able to do it.

- So I can understand why I seem to be hearing a lot more people saying they have no desire to raid any longer.

- What are they raiding for if they are not into rare pet drops or something else or looking for upgrades.

- There will always be gear whores who need gear to make themselves feel better.

- Or they need the gear to accomplish something they want to do solo.

- But if gear is not your motivation, like it seems for the people I mentioned, it isn't when they know they will be replacing it with quest gear, a raid tier should not last this long.

- I think blizzard can fix this.

- Always have thought they could.

- When a new expansion comes out, if you are BiS heroic gear from the previous expansion, it should be able to carry you into the next raid tier.

- That is why you farm heroics, to set you up for the next raid tier.

- Being there are more levels of raiding now they could do it, and it really would help with gear inflation issues.

- If you are LFR geared you should be able to get to level 92 before you start replacing gear.

- If you are flex geared you should be able to get to level 95 before you start replacing gear.

- If you are normal geared you should be able to push straight to 100 but will need level 100 dungeon gear if you want to attempt raids.

- If you are heroic geared you should be able to walk straight into normal modes (the new normal, as in flex now) the second you hit 100.

- It would give a much greater motivation to keep gearing up, keep leveling up your item level.

- Because the better your gear is the longer it will last, which makes it much more attractive to go after.

- Otherwise you could do LFR and then say you are done with this expansion because LFR gear will be replaced just the same as heroic gear will be replaced with the first quest you do in the new expansion.

- From a new expansion perspective where everyone is replacing everything on the first quest they do LFR is equal to heroic gear.  They are both useless.

- I do not think new expansions should be a complete gear reset like they are now.

- It should be a continuation, just with more levels, not a huge boost like they always make it.

- I was VERY upset to hear that garrisons were going to be tied only to warlords.

- Yet another thing we are going to need to invest a lot of time on just to have it left behind.

- It is not the time that bothers me, the game is full of time wasters like that.

- We wasted time in every patch that ever game out, building argent tournament reputation, opening all of the molten front, building our farm, etc.

- It is that this one seems like it will need a lot from us, gold wise, at least from the little we have seen.

- If we are going to have to invest that much time and gold into something I would like it to be something that moved from expansion to expansion with us.

- Like battle pets.

- If when this expansion was over they never added anything to do with them again you might feel like you wasted your time.

- Sure, the mini game would still be there, just like our garrison should.

- I did not mind leaving my AT reputation behind, I still have it and all the titles associated with it. But there is nothing I would want there.

- I did not mind leaving the MC behind, because I could go back there at any time and have access to it all being I opened it.  But there is nothing I would want there.

- I most likely will not mind leaving my farm behind, because it is not being updated meaning there would be nothing I would want there.

- Except to visit poor dog.

- There was nothing to add to AT or MC but there was something to add to the farm.

- Would I have liked to see the farm updated and bought with us somehow?  Absolutely.

- But we will have a farm on our garrison, I think, so I can deal with it.

- Garrisons will be so much more.

- Like the farm on steroids.

- So it makes losing the farm hurt a little less.

- Not like the farm was hard to open or took anything except some time from us.

- It did not need attention.

- It did not need gold.

- It did not need to be micro managed to get the maximum potential out of it.

- There was no complexity to it.

- Whereas garrisons seem like they will need a lot of our attention, a lot of our gold, a lot of micro management and a lot of complexity to it.

- At least if we want to have the best followers to do the best things and get the best stuff for us.

- And with all that work I don't think I will like that we would have to leave it behind.

- And the followers I am already thinking of like pets.

- Things I would want to keep around.

- There will be common, uncommon, rare, epic and maybe even legendary follows.

- You can send them to do dungeons, raids, gather materials or do quests for gold.

- Who would ever want to leave that stuff behind.

- After all the work of finding the best ones, be it rare or epic.

- After all the work of leveling them up so they can kick ass at their job.

- Just like we do with pets.

- How would you like if with a new expansion all your pets disappear or become useless?

- I don't want all my effort leveling my followers and finding the best followers wasted because it is tied to one expansion.

- They are like my pets.

- I was against the idea of making a garrison BoA, so to speak, where all your characters use the same one.

- I wanted each of my characters to have their own garrison.

- To build an army of 20 level 100s all with full garrisons farming everything I would ever need.

- But if it is just going to be another throw away piece of garbage that we will not have with us forever, I do not want to waste my time and gold on it with multiple characters.

- I would not want to find the best followers, level all those followers, train all those followers, build up all those builds, all to just leave it behind on multiple characters.

- Now, being it will not be following us having it be one garrison for your entire account works for me.

- I would rather not build it up many times.

- If they are going to insist on it being a one expansion thing I would be glad to only have to do it on one character and never have to worry about it again.

- If something matters, if something is going to move forward with you, you can tie it to the individual character.

- If something is a one and out thing just as filler content I do not want to do busy work of building it on every single character.

- Seems an idea I really liked and was looking forward was already ruined by one single line.

- It will be tied to warlords only.

- Boo blizzard, boo.

- Maybe another nomination for worst idea?

- Well, that remains to be seen.

- Garrisons might suck and not be even one tenth as cool as they sound.

- So it will just be another one of those things that are just busy work.

- I already mentioned they might keep adding things to skip busy work and sell it.

- Like skipping the busy work of leveling.

- Maybe they will sell instant max garrisons to skip the busy work of leveling it yourself.

- $60 and you have all level 3 building and legendary followers.

- Blah, I would build it myself on one character and say screw it on the rest.

- It isn't worth even .60 cents if it is not something that moves forward with us.

- I hope blizzard changes their mind on that.

- How much do you want to bet there will be followers you can get only at the shop?

- I am willing to bet that right now.

- Any takers?

- Have a great day.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Will Requiring a Proving Grounds Silver Help Groups?

Someone made a post over on the official forums for the US concerning a comment made during the foreign press tour where it was mentioned that you would need a crucible silver metal to get into LFD and LFR.  It seems crucible will be the WoD version of proving grounds.

The first, and only thing really, I disliked about this idea was with alts.  What if I hit max level, 100 as it will be, and just want to spam heroic dungeons with my guild mates to power gear up?  I have to complete silver first before I can do that?  Seems kind of unfair if you ask me.  If my guild wishes to carry my freshly dinged ass through a bunch of dungeons they should be allowed to.  That is what guilds are for, to help each other.

If crucible will be anything like proving grounds our leveling gear will not be adequate to get a silver.  Take this expansion for example where when you hit 90 you were somewhere in the range of 430-440 but the scaling for the proving grounds was designed around 463.  This would mean there is no way I would be able to get a silver on an alt.  Gear scales down, not up.  Maybe I can pull it off on a hunter being that is the only thing I am really decent at, but on an alt there is no way in hell I can get a silver at an item level up to 33 less than what it is designed for.  So no power running my alts through heroics with guild when I hit 100.  That makes the grumpy elf a quite sad elf indeed.

Apparently something was lost in the translation, as sometimes happens, and that will not be the case, at least not exactly.  My guild will be able to run me through heroics even if I do not meet the requirements.  Suddenly I like the way this is going.  But LFR will not have any such requirements.  Suddenly I do not like the way this is going any longer.  Watcher came around to try and help clear some things up.  I will quote what he stated here, so everyone understands it better and does not go forward thinking the wrong thing, as I did when I first read it, before I talk more about it.

To at least get everyone on the same page in terms of information, since a summary of a translated version of a translation of a few sentences in a single interview may not be the best foundation for a 24-page discussion, here's an overview of our current thinking:

  • We will have Normal and Heroic versions of our max-level dungeons. (Note that we did not have Normal level 90 dungeons in Mists.)
  • There will be no special requirement other than basic level/ilvl requirements on queuing for Normal dungeons or LFR.
  • Level-up quest gear will get you into Normal dungeons/scenarios, and Normal dungeon/scenario gear will get you into LFR.
  • Heroic dungeons will be more challenging than the Normal version (not brutally difficult, mind you -- just somewhat more demanding).
  • You will need a Silver Proving Grounds medal in a given role in order to queue for random matchmaking for a Heroic Warlords dungeon. If you form a premade group, you can zone in regardless and no such requirement applies.

In the past, challenging content and random matchmaking have often not gone so well together. Relying on item level does nothing to prevent a random group from getting, for example, a tank who may literally have never tanked before. Everyone has to learn somewhere, but we'd rather not have that learning come at other players' expense. One option would be to require a full premade group to do Heroic Dungeons, as we do with Heroic Scenarios, but that would present a very high barrier to entry (finding 4 other people with rigid role requirements is much harder than finding 2 other people with no role requirements). This solution represents a compromise in order to allow the content to see a broader reach via matchmaking, while minimizing frustration.

And yes, we realize that by formally using Proving Grounds as a qualification, it will be incumbent upon us to further refine their balance and mechanics. We'll be updating them for Warlords, and we're confident that we can make them a fair test of baseline ability within a given role. 

So it looks like there will be no requirement to queue up for the LFR, if I read this correctly.  That leaves me to ask, why?  Dead god why?  LFR is more of a problem than dungeons are.  If there ever should be a barrier for entry that is where it should be.  Even if LFR is designed to be tourist mode, like they said, a group of really horrible players will still find a way to wipe until they get 10 stacks of determination.  Anybody that says otherwise is fooling themselves, has selective memory and blocked out the bad runs, never ran the LFR to begin with, or just has the most incredible luck ever to have not run into a group like that and if that is the case let it be known I hate you because I have had no such luck.

Heroic dungeons however will have that barrier to allow people to queue up for them.  You will need to have at least a silver to get into a heroic dungeon using the LF* tool and we can only presume, hope really, that if heroic dungeons are going to have a barrier that they will drop gear better than that found in the LFR.  Or at least they should.  If heroic dungeons have a barrier and LFR does not, this is a no brainer, heroic dungeons must drop better gear.

If heroic dungeons do not drop gear better than the LFR, and heroic dungeons have a lock out system where LFRs does not, blizzard has just made a colossal mistake in my opinion.   It could even rank up there with the biggest mistakes ever and for a company that has made as many big mistakes as they have recently that is no easy task.

The one good thing I noticed was that premade groups will be able to zone in to heroic dungeons regardless of if they met the requirements or not.  So my freshly dinged alt can join up with my guild mates and spam heroic dungeons the second I hit 90.  That was a very nice thing to hear.  When I first read it I said to myself, self, I hope that we will be able to at least get in with a full premade.  Seems that this time blizzard did something I can say is pretty awesome.

Watcher made a couple of statements that show he understand things a hell of a lot more than most of the blues that post and I think he/she is quickly becoming my favorite blue.  This person does not seem like he/she is at a complete moron like we have known to come to expect form blues that post.

I would like to talk a little about a few winner comments he made. "challenging content and random matchmaking have often not gone so well together"  I could have told you that a long time ago.  Before cataclysm even came out I said it and many others did as well.  We all said these new heroics will go over as well as a fart in church. You can not add anything that is even remotely challenging even on a small level to random content.  Looks like blizzard is learning.  But if they would have listened to us to begin with they might not have lost two million subscribers at the beginning of cataclysm because of that huge mistake.

"Relying on item level does nothing to prevent a random group from getting, for example, a tank who may literally have never tanked before"  That could happen in heroics too if they get a silver as a damage dealer and then queue as a tank, but his comment did seem to say that you needed to have a silver in the role, so maybe that will not happen.  We will see, but it shows once again that watcher understands what people like myself are saying when we complain sometimes about people in dungeons that have no business being there. 

Just because you have the gear does not mean you know how to play the role.  I could have the item level to heal on my druid, I do actually, but I have not healed on my druid since wrath.  Sure, I might do okay but I should not ever be allowed to subject a group of strangers to that.  Me having the gear means nothing, without the skills I can end up being the reason we wipe over and over.  My gear and the fact I have it, means nothing.  Like I just said, I have a complete healing set on my druid but I have not healed since wrath. Gear means nothing without the skills to use it.

While watcher might just be another blue voice in the crowd, at least at this moment I really like the guy/girl.  The post was informative, put my worries of not being able to have my guild help me on an alt when I hit 100 out of my mind, and gave us a little more information than we had from a translation that was apparently slightly misinterpreted.

I do have some issue with it however, like I said, if heroic dungeons have a requirement to use the LF* system and the looking for raid does not, does this mean that heroics will drop better gear than the LFR?  It sure as hell better.

And what happens when the next tier comes out?  Will heroic dungeon gear be getting an upgrade or will we still need to meet a requirement for something that now offers old, out of date and effectively useless gear but not for the new LFR which will offer better gear, and probably be harder.  Why should something that offers the best current gear through using the LF* system need no requirement?  If LFR still does not require silver, heroic dungeons that will still require it better have their gear updated to once again be better than the current LFR gear.

They need to put the requirement on LFR as well as heroics in my opinion and they need to update heroic gear to always be on par with the current level of LFR gear if they are going to have a requirement that must be met to enter them.

So while this all seems like a good idea, it could very well become one of the things that blizzard did not think out fully again.

Bottom line, if heroic dungeons have a requirement to queue for and LFR does not, heroic dungeons MUST drop better gear.  Not just at the beginning of the expansion, but throughout the entire expansion.  End of story.

What do you think of all this?

Friday, February 21, 2014

10 Reasons *NOT* to Use Your Boost to 90 on a Hunter

In the scattered shots article over at wow insider Adam wrote about 10 reasons to use your level 90 boost on a hunter.  You can see the article here.  While the fact remains I agree with everything he says, except for one of his points, because that shows how great hunters are as a choice to play I also believe that his post shows more so why you should not use your boost to 90 on a hunter.  Almost as if he could convince someone not to use the boost on a hunter in his effort to convince them too.

So as a rebuttal of sorts I decided to make a post telling the reasons you should actually level a hunter and not skip the experience.  You will notice that a lot of my bullet points are the same as his, this is why I said his points, while valid, show why leveling a hunter is so dam awesome and you should never consider skipping out on the experience.

10 Reasons *NOT* to use your boost to 90 on a hunter

1) Feign Death

Just like his #1 ability feign death hits number one on my list.  It is the single ability I wish I could carry on to all my characters.  You get this ability at level 32 which means you will be having it for most of your leveling experience (unlike MD which we get at an ungodly high level, can someone explain why to me please).  It is a great ability and while some people in his comments mentioned that rogues can do the same thing with vanish they can not.  Sorry rogues but vanish is just a poor mans feign death.  Vanish removes you from battle, feign death removes you from dying, there is a bit of a difference.  You can feign death and let your pet finish off that mob that was just about to die.  Vanish resets the mob and you are back to square one and still have to kill it but now it is at full health again.  Not saying vanish is bad, I love that ability when on my rogue, but it is nothing even close to being compared to feign death.

Feign death allows you to drop battle.  It allows you to dump aggro.  It allows you to skip all sorts of things, just get a nice run, even if there is a chain of mobs following you, when they start to get close just FD and lose them all. It can even fool an inexperienced player in PvP allowing you to escape certain death or turn the tide of battle.  Feign death has a lot of uses and when leveling you will find a million and one times where you can use it to make your life easier.  Ever have someone dump aggro on you, run on top of them and feign death and dump it back, dismiss your pet too for good measure, and then laugh as they die after they tried to get you killed.  I love doing that to people on the island that try to make me kill their mobs for them.  Does that make me evil?

2) Gathering

Many people leveling alts are doing what I do lately.  I pick mining and herbalism and then when I reach max level I switch to the professions I want for the character and power level them.  Low level ore and herbs always sell well, better than current level ore and herbs some times.  So if you are selling every single thing you collect while leveling you will have more than ample gold to power level any profession of your choice when you reach max level.  All that and doing both of these gathering professions gives you experience, which in turn helps you level.

But any class can pick those two gathering professions right?  Sure, but none can do it as well as a hunter.  Mob on an herb, send your pet on it while you pick it.  Kill quest mobs at the same time as you are mining that node.  Having a pet, and more so having one that can hold aggro, is such a boon to gathering, even more so in those preflight levels where you often need to fight your way to a node.  Ever been facing someone else running to a node and you get there first only to be hit and the other person comes a split second later and takes the node?  Not going to happen to a hunter.  With a hunter is it not the node, it is your node.

3) Disengage

The same number three as Adam listed and basically the same reasons he listed it for.  You get this ability early, extreme early, as in level 14.  Why skip 76 levels of fun using it?  All the examples he gave show why this ability is so awesome, but is also shows why it is so awesome when leveling.

You can use disengage to negate fall damage completely.  When questing there is no need to run all the way down the mountain and then back around.  Just jump off the edge and hit disengage before you land.  No fall damage, quicker travel.

You can use it to skip areas completely too.  Ever been in one of those caves that you see the quest mob and as you are running up you notice there is a gap because you were supposed to go around and not the way you did?  Well with a little jump in the air and a well timed disengage you jump over the entire gap and you are killing your quest mob ASAP instead of having to run your way through the whole cave.  Sometimes you might wish you had more distance but with the glyph of disengage your wish is granted.

Once you master the jump, turn, disengage you can use it as a blink just like a mage but twice as sexy like.  Ever since they removed the need to be in battle to disengage it has turned this always useful ability into an ability I sometimes wonder how you could live without.

4) Rare Tames

Same number four, different way of looking at it.  When leveling you will not need to hunt those rare spawns, you will come across them as you level if you are lucky.  Nothing is better than questing in an area and seeing a skin you have never seen before and being able to pick it up on the fly.

Sure you can go online to see what skins you like and then go get them, but that is not playing in the spirit of a hunter.  A hunter is out in the wild killing mobs and completing quests and when they see such a wonderful beast, one that they would love to have fight by their side, they go and tame it.

As you level up the tames will get more interesting, you will find spirit beasts, you will find challenging tames, you will find some hard to find mobs and even some easy to find ones that are just the look you wanted but never noticed them before.

Taming as you level is what being a hunter is about.  Picking up your first spore bat as you get to zanger marsh is much more satisfying than going back at 90 to grab it because your raid needs it.  Sure a tame is a tame, but taming a 60 at 60 just feels right.

Not to mention, what do you think would be more fun, standing there waiting on a spawn point for hours or days or weeks trying to get a cool tame or just coming across it while you are questing?  Trust me, nothing is more exciting than seeing that spirit beast while questing and you drop everything, dismiss pet mid battle, feign death to drop what you are doing and run over to it at top speed hoping you can get to it before someone else.

I don't know about you, but it is a lot more exciting for me then having some addon go off when I am tabbed out and come back into game to land and tame it when I know even if I ended up with 3 or 4 mobs on me they can not hurt me.  Rare taming while leveling is fun, give it a try and tame as you go.  Maybe you will get lucky and run across a spirit beast, just make sure you are beast mastery when you level through northrend if you want one, because there might not even be time to switch specs now that cross realm server garbage they added which made everything harder to get.

5) Leveleing

One of the the absolute best reasons to level as a hunter is because hunters are the champions of leveling hands down.  No other class can even come close to how quickly a hunter can level.  They can grab quest items while killing a mob along with their gathering previously mentioned.  They can pull multiple mobs, CC, slow, stun, kite.  If you ever say that leveling as a hunter is boring you are apparently not pulling enough, or as the saying goes, you are doing it wrong.

Hunters have so much control, complete movement, ranged combat, pets, and are pretty damn powerful at low levels there is no reason not to take advantage of it and run through a zone tagging all 12 mobs you need to kill for a quest at the same time.

One of the other reasons that hunters rule for fast leveling is that you never need to stop killing.  No mana to worry about, no energy to wait on, no resource worries what so ever if you do it right.  When running from quest to quest you can keep killing while on the move getting your shots off on the target while you are running at it and then looting it when you get to it and keep moving forward as if moving in one fluid motion of non stop action.  The concept of leveling a hunter and leveling one fast is as easy as kill everything.  Each mob you kill gives you experience and not only is experience good, killing is fun.

While some classes might want to wait a little bit to move to the next zone, hunters do not need to.  As soon as you can pick up quests for the next zone, move on to it.  Abandon any quests left undone and head to the next zone, oh, and kill everything on your way for added experience.  This will maximize experience and be a lot more fun than staying in an area where the mobs are already starting to turn gray because you are just not quite ready for the next zone yet.

And speaking of questing there is another thing that makes hunters great for questing and that is #6.

6) Soloing

End quest mobs, no problem.  Those quests labeled 5 players should be labeled 5 players or one hunter.  Even since cataclysm removed all the heart from the leveling game and made all the end quest line mobs easier and removed most of the elite quest mobs so they isn't much of a challenge for any class any longer, there are still a few tough ones out there.  When you do run across one of those rare 5 player quests you can still tackle them just like they were any other quest.

That giant core hound in shadowmoon valley, the one labeled for five players and one of the last remaining elite quests in the game might say five players and it might need five players when they are all of the support class variety, but when you are a hunter just head there and land and make that core hound your bitch.

With a pet, movement, and every tool you will ever need, a hunter has never met a quest mob that could do him in and if you did die, use this as an opportunity to learn the class and get better at it because unlike all the other classes, you should be able to solo it.  Just look at your abilties and begin to learn how to play a hunter because this kill is yours and you will not be denied.  Let the other classes say it is too hard and move along or spam general asking for help but you won't because nothing is too hard for a hunter.

7) Movement

Also the same as the post by Adam and another one of his reasons that I think support not making your free 90 a hunter.  The ability to do everything on the move helps in so many ways.  In questing, like I mentioned you can keep killing 24/7 because there is no reason for a hunter to ever stop.  It is part of what makes soloing so easy.  It is awesome for PvP when kiting all those pesky melee too.  Laugh at them while they run in circles trying to catch you and never can.

Once you play a class where you can do everything while moving and at range you will never want to go back to one of the other classes and I can't say I blame you.  Movement is huge and can be a great deal of fun.  But doing all that movement while doing all your abilities can take practice, so might as well start at the beginning so you can get good at it.

Sure the movement matters at all levels but it isn't nearly as awesome at later levels when things actually take a few seconds, or even minutes, to die and you will usually be standing in one place during that time anyway.  When leveling with things dying in 2 or 3 shots you can go at them full on with a vicious killing spree and running circles in a zone killing everything without ever needing to stop.

It is when leveling where the constant movement can actually be used to its maximum potential and then you will realize how freaking awesome it is to be a hunter and being able to do everything on the move.  What use is that awesome power when questing at a high level?  Sure you can move from the bad faster, you can kite better than other classes, but you will still spend 90% of your time standing still.  Try leveling with a hunter when you will start moving at level 1 and not even need to consider standing still for even a second until you get to the 50s where, maybe, you might meet the first challenge that lasts for more than 5 seconds and makes you stop moving.

8) Low Level PvP

This is the one point I strongly disagree with that post on.  He states that boosting a hunter to 90 is great for PvP.  Apparently I play in a different PvP world because when I see a hunter in a battle ground when I am on any of my characters my eyes pop out of my head like a cartoon character and the words free kill appear in my pupils.

Hunters have all the best skills in the game to rule at PvP, even more so in battle grounds, but the bar between good and bad is so high that you would need to have exceptional skills, over 100 key binds, and fighter pilot reflexes to be a good hunter at 90 in PvP and if you are using your instant 90 on a hunter I have some bad news for you, that player will not be you.  You will be one of those hunters that I see in a battle ground that make my eyes light up with free kill happiness.

Hunters have the highest skill cap in PvP at max level but at a low level that is a completely different story.  While hunters still have many skills they need learn how to use to be good at PvP like masters call, scare beast, traps, concussive, scatter, counter, venom and the list goes on, at low levels they can get away without using any of those things and still be beastly.

Not just can low level battle grounds as a hunter be fun because you run around like a god but you can completely change the flow of a battle.  Zone in with your team down, go on a hunter rampage thanks to being able to do everything on the move, and turn the flow of the battle from a loss to a win.

For every bit as much as a level 90 hunter is a free kill unless they are extremely skilled, a level 20 or level 30 or level 40 or level 50 hunter is a god, even if they are not skilled.  Why would anyone, even if they are not a PvPer, want to skip a point of the game where the class you play is so over powered just because of the design of that class?  Enjoy being over powered, do not skip it.

If you intend to PvP, absolutely, positively, do not use your boost to 90 on a hunter.  Go enjoy the pure power, or over power if you will, of being a low level hunter in low level battle grounds.  You will thank me later.

9) Leveling Teaches

Hunters have a bad reputation for doing things wrong and if you play one it is easy to see how some of that happened over the years.  Hunters create more aggro than any class in the game but they also have the best aggro management tools in the game, better than any other class.  They have pets that like to taunt if they are not instructed not to.  One stray arrow can bring along additional friends.  All things that have lead hunters to have a bad reputation.

Sure you can use your instant 90 on a hunter and be an intelligent player and read up on how to make a misdirect macro, a masters call mouse over, turn off your growl, and all the other little things that can help you look like one of the more informed hunter, but there is no better teacher than experience.  So while you do not need to level to learn if you are a intelligent player that is willing to read everything at max level you have to realize that the same intelligent player that reads everything will easily make max level in less than two days /played anyway.  So why not enjoy the fun of leveling and maybe learn something that all those articles didn't teach you.

Hunters have so many abilties and I am not just talking about the rotational bloat, I am talking about situational abilties, special abilties, tricks you can do, that the only true way to learn all these things is to use them.  Nothing you read will ever have them all no matter how many hunters there are out there sharing information.

While it is true that the leveling process was completely gutted with the changes in cataclysm that does not mean you can not learn while leveling.  Quite the contrary.  If you level like I mentioned, kill everything, keep moving, kill some more, you will often find yourself in situations where you will need to kite, need to CC, need to use abilties you might not even realize you had.  You will fall in love with things like concussive shot to slow a mob and masters call to get you out of a sticky situation.  You will find out that sometimes bouncing aggro between your pet and yourself is necessary and learn how to do it so the mob hits neither of you.

You will learn how to pull to get only one mob.  You will learn how to not pull from a mistake because of the horrible in game tab target system.  You will learn how to line of sight a group of casters so they will collapse and you can AoE them down.  You will learn what hunters say when they say easy to play and hard to master when you start adding binds to all those abilties, and you will have a much longer time to learn where everything is bound if you are adding them over time and using them often as compared to just throwing 100 abilties on your bars all at once.

While many might say otherwise, leveling can teach, and hunters need to learn because we have more to learn about than any other class in the game.  Because of the stigma attached to hunters you can not just be good, you need to be great just to be considered good.  It is no surprise so many hunters got labeled huntards.  With so much to learn I wonder how the other classes would have managed if they had that much on their plate all at once.  The last thing you want to be is another level 90 huntard, why not level yourself and be another elite level 90 hunter.

10)  Community

While the hunter community has taken some hard hits over the past year with the loss of our long running pod cast and the closing of the warcraft hunters union the hunter community is still alive and kicking with dozens of active bloggers that live to help hunters and not just write about their hunter and what they have done but share how they did it.  The community is larger and more inclusive than any other classes community I have ever seen.

Hunters have their own DPS analyzer specifically made for them courtesy of Zaherah at female dwarf, they have a pet database to see what new tames there are and what skins we might like that are out there in petopia.  We have some excellent hunters doing some outstanding soloing that I would have not even thought was possible and they are always willing to share how they did it.  We even have a wow insider weekly article written by Adam where most classes don't because even that site realized that the population of hunters are a rabid fan base always looking for more information and looking to get better.

So while the community has lost a fair deal of its biggest and best this last year there are always new hunters coming along and contributing to what is the biggest and best community in the game, the hunter community.

11)  Transmog

Yes, a number 11 of 10.  But this one might only applys to some people.  Anyone that likes to transmog knows that some of the best looking gear in the games comes from quests.  So why not quest your way up and check out all the gear and collect some awesome pieces while questing.  This really goes for all classes, not just hunters.

PS:  Sorry Adam, I loved your article, but I loved it so much it made me want to level another hunter, not just make an instant 90 to get one.  Your article shows how awesome hunters are to level.  Why would anyone want to skip that?

So have some fun and level yourself a hunter, do not waste your free 90 on one.  You will thank me later.