Friday, May 30, 2014

Grumpy Calls One, Predicts Another and Has an Insane PvP Idea

Distracting Shot as a Glyph

I could sometimes swear that the people at blizzard, or at least one of them, reads my blog.  There have been a great deal of times over the past years where I mention an idea and shortly after I hear a blue say something about it even if no one asked or see some patch notes that mention what I mentioned.

I would say it is more likely, as in surely, a coincidence and blizzard is not actively viewing players blogs and taking ideas from them, but you never know.  It does seem strange that I mentioned I thought something would be better implemented another way and then read patch notes and they changed an ability to be exactly what I said it would be better being.

When they posted that distracting shot was back in the game I gave my idea on how abilities like distracting shot, the ones they want to take away but people like, should be handled, instead of just adding them back in if there is enough pressure to do so.  I said they should be added as options in the form of ability granting glyphs.

Even as someone that likes the ability and uses the ability I know how rare it is used and how situational it really is.  So I suggested it be a glyph instead of a base line ability, that way, if we wanted it we could have it but it would not be part of our standard tool box which in turn means fewer buttons, which is the angle blizzard is going for.

As a side note, I personally like the idea of having all those rarely used abilities base line but I understand their desire to limit them.  Just because I think it is cool to have 100 key binds I surely understand how it is not really a good thing for the game.

So back to my idea of them being added as glyphs.  It seems distracting shot is no longer a base line ability (this is all alpha so I might just be reading into this wrong and everything I am writing at this moment can just be throw away) but it is now a glyph that gives you that ability.  Seems blizzard liked my idea.

However, it seems blizzard only read half of my idea and not the whole thing.  The idea was to add the three sets of glyphs back to the game and leave the majors for things that change how major abilities work (like aimed shot) and leave the minors for things that change out minor abilities work (revive pet) or for cosmetic purposes (lesser proportions) and add a new set called ability glyphs where things like distracting shot and fetch could be added.  So we would return to having 9 glyph slots like we had in cataclysm, but slightly different.

Now don't get me wrong, I am glad that distracting shot is back and I even more glad that it is a glyph because it shows they are understanding that they can add optional abilities through glyphs, but without a third set of glyphs any ability glyph is wasting space that many classes and / or specs might end up having required glyphs for.

I do not know if distracting shot will be a major glyph or a minor glyph but I do know that it would be 100 times better if it were an ability glyph, like I suggested.  Just think if you wanted to use the glyph that turns distracting shot into a second taunt for your pet basically, now you need to waste 2 glyph spots.  One to add the ability and one to modify the ability.  There are not exactly enough glyph slots for this.  So a third set of glyphs, called ability glyphs, would really fill the void.  Unless of course they are going to add two different distracting shot glyphs, one that send a mob to your pet and one that sends a mob to you.  That might work, so you did not need to add a glyph to use an ability and add a second to modify the ability.  But either way, they would still be better taking up an ability glyph slot than taking up a major or even minor slot.

If blizzard did come here and read my post and agree when I said that distracting shot would be a great ability to be added back as a glyph, lets hope they come back and read the rest of that post or even read this one and understand that for it to work best we need to have another row for glyphs called ability glyphs.  Sure, distracting shot is not bad as a glyph, but that was only half of the idea blizzard, do the rest of it now and make it something good.  Without ability glyph slots, we would be better off with distracting shot base line.  Changing it into a glyph is not a bad idea, but it is not a good idea either.  It is only a good idea if there were a section called ability glyphs.

Hey blizzard, now that you are becoming more receptive to adding abilities as glyphs I am sure there are many hunters that would like to see an old ability added back, hint hint, eyes of the beast.

Beta is Coming Mid June

I would guess you can look for beta somewhere around 2 to 4 weeks from now.

Double Health Means Balance

Hold on tight, because this one is really an insane idea.

I've touched on this idea for PvP balance before a while ago but I felt it was time once again to mention it.  There are a few things that make balancing PvP hard.  One is the damage we put out because the mobs in PvE keep getting more life so we need to hit harder and another is the healing we put out because the mobs hit for more so we need to heal for more.  There is a third issue and that is gear.

I was in the mood to touch on this once again so here goes.

Players should have two health bars.  One for PvE damage and healing and one for PvP damage and healing.  If either of those health bars reach zero, you die.

How it would work is simple really.  When you are out in the world or in a dungeon or raid or what have you and fighting PvE content all damage you receive takes health away from your PvE health.  All healing you receive heals your PvE health bar.  When you get hit by another player it takes health away from your PvP health and when you are healed and PvP health is lower the heal is applied to your PvP health.

The healing part can be a little trickier, it would need to be designed that the heal is always applied to the health bar that needs it more, percentage based.  So if your PvP health is lowest a PvP heal based on PvP healing lands on your PvP health and if your PvE health is lowest a heal based on your PvE healing lands on your PvE health.  It might sound a little weird, but it really isn't as hard to work as it might sound.

So now damage and healing can be scaled easier and make balancing easier.  While you might need to have your healer dropping 400K heal bombs on you while tanking a boss in siege having a healer do the same in PvP is over powered.  But if your PvP health is lower, it would land as a PvP heal, which would be scaled considerably lower.  Same goes for damage output.  Sure that 2 million chaos bolt is not really over powered against a boss with hundreds of millions of life but against another player it is.  When you hit another player it hits the person and takes away from their PvP health, not their PvE health.

This would mean you can balance things without screwing PvE over for PvP or screwing PvP over for PvE.  Each ability would work different when used against a player or a mob.

It would also allow for easier entry into PvP for those that do not do it or for those that are late comers because there would no longer be a need for PvP gear with resilience or power or whatever half baked idea they come up with next.  Abilities just work differently in PvP.  Sure, there will still be PvP gear sets with PvP set bonuses that would be better for PvP and there would still be PvP trinkets which would be better for PvP but otherwise all gear would be created equal.

I know the biggest argument against this is that PvP gear is easier to get and if there was no difference between PvP gear and PvE gear people would just gear up for PvE through the much easier to attain PvP gearing method.  I say, so what?  Who really cares? 

If the game is designed well and balanced, which this will help with, then skill should be the deciding factor on what someone is capable of doing and gear would just increase potential.  No matter how much potential you give a bad player they will still do poorly.  So let them get some gear easier.  The set pieces you could buy with the PvP system would still have PvP set bonuses so while it would be easier to get it would still not be ideal.

That is what should separate PvP gear and PvE gear, set bonuses, nothing otherwise.  You could tie PvP gear purchases to ratings so it feels more like raiding for levels.  Honor gear would be like dungeon gear, LFR level gear would require a simple and easy 1K rating in any arena or rated battleground comp, normal would require 1400, heroic 1800 and mythic 2200.

It would get more people into PvP, to gear up, and they might like it and do it more often if they give it a try, opening the game up for them to a greater level.  And it works both ways.  It might get a PvP player into PvE so they can get drops from raids so they can gear up faster and they might like PvE so it would open up more of the game for them.

There is no reason for there to be two different types of gear, just need to give people two different types of health and have all abilities act differently depending on if they are doing damage to a player or NPC or if they are healing PvP damage or PvE damage or if they are mitigating incoming player or mobs damage.

I can't help but believe that if they just made things simpler with one type of gear and just modify how abilities work against different targets that balancing would be so much easier.  Sure, two different health pools might seem a little weird but no more immersion killing than having to switch from your dragon killing gear to your people killing gear.  That just makes no sense.  Your axe does not know what you are killing with it, so there is no reason you should need a different axe to kill dragons instead of people.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Three Deadliest Boss of MoP

This post is about my experiences and should not be taken as gospel for which bosses were the three hardest bosses of the expansion.  Also, I am only including normal because I only finished roughly 20% of the bosses in heroic this expansion and it would be unfair to compare them.  However I will note that even the few heroic bosses I did kill this expansion, none came even remotely close to the number of wipes I experienced on the top three I will mention here.  Most bosses, even ones I consider hard, take 20 wipes at most, these few went well above and way beyond that.

Each guild has their strengths and weaknesses and your top three might be different, please share them if you want.  Would love to see if other guilds hit their bump in the road in the same place mine did.  We are just the average casual raid group, so if you raid hard core some of these number of wipes might seem like a lot to you.  Trust me, they seem like a lot to me too.

This list is based on number of wipes before my first kill, not number of wipes total.  Total might go to garrosh because it is one I am doing the most and can never seem to get the same group to do it twice so every time I am there is like like progression all over again.  For the record, garrosh would be #5 if I went that far on the list based on the number of wipes before the first kill.

#3 - Stone Guards - Mogu'Shan Vaults

This fight might be a little unfair to list here because by default it was going to be up there really high in wipes.  It was the first boss of the expansion and as such that means we went in there to try and down it when we were not quite ready yet.  Add to the fact that they locked all the valor gear behind reputation and two of our three healers refused to do dailies meant we were at a major disadvantage right from the start.  We are a casual raid team and while some teams could manage the fight in 463 dungeon gear, our guild could not, or more so our healers could not.

We wiped, we wiped and we wiped.  Oddly enough even with wiping it was good to be in there working on it.  It took our tanks a while to get into a way to handle the dogs and to move.  So we were going to wipe anyway while they were learning how to manage that.  At least you could think of it that way.

Then we suffered our first setback of the expansion when one of the tanks moved and the new place he moved into could not set up internet for two weeks.  I asked him "where did you move to, the middle of the woods?".  Either way, we needed to find a new tank.

For those two weeks, and some weeks there after because even when he got net back the tank quit warcraft, we tried out new tanks.  Each time it was teaching the tanks over again how we handled the dogs.  So more wipes came but over that time the healers did start to gear up thanks to LFR.  Sure, still not as good as if they had just got off their asses and did dailies, but it was better than 463 gear.

Once most of the guild, healers more so, were mostly in 476 or better gear I did what I always seem to do and sacrificed my own desire to play a hunter and switched to tank.  I figured, not trying to toot my own horn, but I am going to be better than any pug tank we can get and I already know how we are handling the dogs because I am the one that decided how we are handling them so there would be another hurdle we would not need to jump as we would if I dragged in a new tank.

Week one of me tanking was still wipe city due to a horrible set up of which dogs were up.  This was another annoying part of the fight, the set up of which dogs were active could really make the fight harder even when we would come back later for clears.  Certain make ups would feel like progression all over again.  Sucked about as much as something sucky can suck.

Week two of me tanking we downed those damn dogs, months after the expansion started and almost 100 wipes (think it was 96 or 98) on the record for them before my first kill.

As a fun side note, we downed the next 2 bosses in 1 shot that night on our first time seeing them and almost 1 shot the 4th boss before calling it a night.  Perhaps it was not just being the first boss and us being under geared for a great many of those attempts, maybe stone guards was just not really first boss material.

#2 - Tortos - Throne of Thunder

We wiped 112 times on tortos before I had my first kill but as odd as it might sound it really didn't feel like half that many.  Tortos was a really quick fight to begin (unlike some other bosses, see #1) and if you were going to wipe it usually happened super fast.  Also there was no run back involved what so ever, you entered right at his feet.  And we could mount, so repairs never were an issue as everyone has a mammoth.  So while we did wipe on it quite often it never felt that bad.

While 112 wipes might sound like it took us a long time it really didn't.  It basically took us 3 raid days, that is how quick the wipes happened.  We wiped a lot while trying to find the right person to kick turtles.  Most wipes were to turtle issues.  Some where to kicking them badly, some where to bad luck where another turtle was spinning on top of it and would not move, some where to the turtle dying in the wall or in another bad spot where you could not get behind it to kick it.  There were many wipes, maybe even a quarter of them, that we could do nothing about.  It was just bad luck.

The tanks we had at the time also took a little bit of time to get their grove on.  The turtle tank needed a little time to work out his cooldown rotation but once I explained it to him he did fine and the bat tank would occasionally miss the bats when they came down but once I pointed out that they always go for the healers he stuck to the healers like white on rice and we were usually okay even if we did suffer a few wipes to rogue bats and our raid members ending up being recycled as bat guano.

In the end what took us so long was, once again, a healer issue.  The healers just could not get their cooldown rotations down and it was not a very fun fight for healers to begin with.  All that movement and us having 2 shaman healers meant we suffered a great deal of wipes being they were forced to move and have no instant spells and people dropping during that time.  I healed it too, so I do not fault them, it was a nightmare of a fight if you got unlucky and had a turtle following you around.  I do not think our healing make up helped much either.

In the end, and as much as I hate to do it, I sat one of the shaman in bought in a monk, someone that had a little they could do while running including an awesome instant raid cooldown, and we downed it.  Kind of proves that it was a healer issue.  Maybe if I had done so sooner we would have not suffered over 100 wipes on it but we are a casual guild and we would prefer to wipe with our team then to sit someone just for progression but even for a casual guild there is a line on how often you will try before you give up and have to make some changes.

Side note here as well.  After beating the turtle the first time it was close to quitting time but we decided to push on for one look at the next boss, and we one shot it.  So far it seems that both bosses that gave us a hard time happened to be right before easy bosses, makes you wonder if there is a boss placement issue in these raids.

#3 Horridon - Throne of Thunder

Lets just rename this one the destroyer of guilds.  More than half the guilds on my server disbanded because of this boss.  That is not an estimate either, that is an actual fact.  More than half the guilds disbanded or stopped raiding completely because of horridon.  If you look at the previous tier and guilds that had raid progression at any level and then look at this tier and see how many guilds had progression past horridon, even at the time SoO came out, less than half the guilds that finished at least MV had even made it past horridon.  If that does not prove how horrible that boss was, I do not know what would.

It was not just the 128 wipes on horridon that made this boss so bad, even if that is all I am basing this list on, number of wipes.  But you can not speak about horridon without pointing out other reasons it was the worst boss encounter the game has ever made.

It was the second boss, for something as hard as it was, why was it the second boss of a raid?  Seriously who came up with putting a road block like that in a raid as the second boss.  Then the run back.  Sure, we could mount up at that point but when you can mount up and the run back to the boss is still quite possibly the longest run back in the last three expansions, maybe even further back, it was like adding insult to injury.

Not only was the run back a nightmare but the fight was long, unlike tortos, so after spending so much time fighting and then wiping you had to spend all that time running back a run back that was so long I am surprised you do not cross county lines.

But wait, that is not it, there is more to what made horridon a nightmare.  It was a trash fight, a long, boring, dragged out trash fight.  When will blizzard get the idea these things are not fun in any way, shape or form.  Heck, they keep making them, look at spoils, that fight does not even have a boss, at least horridon had a boss.

And then there is the biggest insult to every single player that has ever stepped into a raid.  After telling us a million and one times that the game is "bring the player not the class" they make a fight that is proof positive that they do not design with that concept in mind.  We had an all shaman healing team at the time which basically mean we were screwed on 2 doors.  Gee thanks for letting me bring the player blizzard.  Go screw yourself and your "bring the player not the class" mantra.  If only we had the right classes we could have downed horridon much sooner, but we needed to make it work with what we had.

That is what my guild always tries to do.  We try to make it work with what we have and we managed it.  We managed it with some trickery and some practice.  We effectively turned horridon into five different fights and worked progression on each one of them one at a time.  We would wipe and run that long run back and our end game would not be "to beat horridon", it would be to make it past door one is good shape.  Then door 2, then door 3, then door 4, and then worry about horridon.

We switched to two heal it, so we would be in a better place to over power the adds with more DPS and it was not like our healers would be much help, they could not dispel anything from 2 of the doors to begin with and that was what was killing us.  So maybe killing the faster meant fewer debuffs that could not be dispelled and thus less healing needed.  So we traded one healer for another damage dealer.  Yes, another fight were it comes down to a healer issue.  I think I see a pattern here.

We also started to tank horridon on the other side of the room.  Just a paladin solo tanking him with a pocket healer as we worked on learning the doors and never had to worry about the charge again.  It really helped us when we started doing that and we downed it shortly after we made that change.

First door was easy enough, second door took some well timed interrupts and although we wiped a bit we finally got it down to a science where we did not even need to tell on voice chat whos turn it was to interrupt who, we just did it.  Then there was the third door and the randomly running mobs.  We summoned army, stampede, anything we had, we saved it for that to give them more targets, we even blew time warp on that door.  That door took us the longest.  I think we worked on that door for weeks.  We had gotten to the point we were getting through it, but the DoT was just too much and people would start to drop.  Almost made me want to go back to three healing it just to survive that.

When the time came for the forth door it was really no problem and did not require a great deal of attempts to get past so we could get to the boss.  The first time we ever got to the boss with all the adds dead from all the doors we one shot him.  So in all reality we did not wipe on horridon 128 times, we wiped on the trash 128 times.  We never wiped to horridon.

Because of the length of the fight and the long run back and the frustration of knowing with our make up we were at a major disadvantage I am amazed our guild did not fall apart as many others did.  I do not recall the exact amount of time it took to get past him, maybe I blocked it out, but I do not think I would be far off if I said it took us 2 months to down him.  Because we needed that two months to get gear elsewhere (and this is why I will miss valor gear) because there was only one boss before him so it was not like we had many chances to gear up before getting to him.

So not only was horridon the deadliest boss for me this expansion, I would say it was the hardest boss this expansion.  Quite possibly the hardest boss ever.  The end boss of the expansion was a push over when comparing it to horridon.  Garrosh could not hold a candle to horridon.  Horridon would eat him for breakfast.  Compared to horridon garrsoh is a 5 man dungeon boss.  Okay, maybe a tiny bit harder than a 5 man dungeon boss.  Maybe a cata release grim bartol boss.  Yeap, horridon makes garrosh look like that when comparing the two.  If I never have to do a fight anything like horridon again I would be happy, and if I ever need to do a boss anything like horridon again, I will quit raiding.  It was not a "challenge", it was just annoying.  There is nothing fun about annoying and there is even less fun in wiping 128 times to something that is annoying.  I guess that is why horridon was the destroyer of guilds.

What were your three most deadly boss encounters this expansion?  (remember, not hardest, just the ones you wiped the most on for whatever reason)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Are Content Droughts Avoidable?

Yes.  End of post.

Sarcasm aside, this long wait between content releases has to be hurting the bottom line for the company and their stockholders and I am not sure how a business that has been around as long as Blizzard has and been as successful at what they do as they have can continue to back themselves into this corner.

I said a long time ago when it was first realized that we would be stuck with this over exposed 3 lock out a week raid that it would cause burn out and was, quite honestly, not a very compelling raid tier story wise or encounter wise, that this could have all been avoided if just one person in charge at Blizzard learned how to read a calender.

Developing content takes time.  I don't know if anyone reading this has ever done any sort of coding or art but any that have will tell you that it takes not only a fair deal of skill but a great deal of time to get it done.  Even longer when you want to get it done right and for as much as we might say about bugs and the such blizzard does get it done right, for the most part.

With that said, they had to know what they had planned, they had to know what would be involved in making those plans a reality, and they had to know how long it would take to carry out said plans.  So why are we in this content drought again?

It is not like none of this was expected.  It is not like any of this came as a surprise to them.  Sure, they decided to change garrisons functionality to be involved in the game more, most likely because they realized that outside of a few new levels that garrisons were the only thing this expansion was offering and to warrant the 50 dollar price tag of a new expansion their only selling point for warlords, garrisons, needed to be more than just an advanced version of farms.  Sure, their artists have taken a lot longer to redesign the character models than perhaps they had expected, but they are not a selling point for the new expansion, so they are not a reason to delay it. 

Side note: For those that might argue that the new character models are a selling point for warlords I will tell you the same thing I told the people who thought the redesigned old world was a selling point for cataclysm.  You do not need to own warlords to get the new art.  You did not need to own cataclysm to get the new old world.  It is a standard upgrade of old parts of the game, everyone gets it, it is not something tied to an expansion.  If you do not need to own the expansion to benefit from it, it is not part of the expansion.  It just so happens it release coincides with it and they say it is expansion material so gullible people will think they are getting more than they really are.  Back to topic.

Now, being blizzard knew how long it was going to take, they knew that there would be a large gap, why did they do nothing what so ever to avoid it?

Some might say that is easier said than done because of what I mentioned earlier.  Development of new stuff takes times.  It is not like they can just throw together a small patch to tide us over on a whim.  I agree, but they could have planned things out better but staggering release and/or making a 5.5 ahead of time because they knew they would need it.  They made a conscious choice to leave us in this drought.

But they could have delayed the release of the content they did release.  Mists had amazingly quick content patches, faster than we ever saw before and it gave all us players hope it would continue and if it did that would have been great for the game.  That was not to happen of course and as such they did not need to push it out that fast as they had absolutely no intention of keeping up with that release rate.  So they could have delayed those releases and even if they delayed each and every one of those patches 1 month they still would have been releasing content faster than they ever had AND they would have decreased the drought we have now.  If they delayed the release of each patch 6 weeks, it would have been perfect.

Think of it for a moment, we are looking at a possible 14 month span with no new content.  If 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 had all been released 6 weeks later than they had been, it still would have been a fast release schedule and it would have effectively eaten up 6 months turning that 14 month wait into an 8 month wait which while it might still seem long, for a last raid of an expansion 8 months seems quite reasonable whereas 14 months does not.

I said that before, I said that many times.  If only they would have looked ahead, if only they had known how to read a calender, if only they had one person in charge that knew anything about project management, we would not be in the drought we are in.

There was another option as well, one that many people do not even think about, and that is making a 5.5.  No really, I know that development takes time and you can not just throw something together, I even said that myself, but they could have planned ahead for it, you know, the way a big company with so many years of experience should work. 

If it were part of the development it could have been something they had worked on so it would be ready when needed.  It could have been a quest hub or two and maybe a few 5 mans in the caverns of time with some fun type "what if" scenes from various timeless that were opened from us playing around on the timeless island.  Have it drop 496 gear that could be used to fill in for the timeless pieces that people did not get, or better versions maybe, and have them have baggies with a chance of a burden for those timeless pieces being it does involve timeless it would fit.  And maybe add a part where you can do a quest line instead of the 3000 valor to speed up the cloak quest line for late comers and alts.  So many ideas, so many things that could have been done, just to give people something instead of of giving them a drought.

This content drought was avoidable.  Blizzard knew how long it would take to do what they wanted to do.  They knew this would happen.  Delaying content release or developing a 5.5 could have easily avoided some of the problem, but even after all the years of experience they had, all the knowledge they have from that experience, they did nothing.

So who or what is the blame for the content drought? 


Who gets hurt by it?

Everyone, the company, the stock holders, the players that left, the players that stayed because they had fewer people to play with.

Now with the advent of 3 different raid lock outs, soon to be 4, people are going to burn out on content faster and this means, to keep them happy and playing and paying, they need to be releasing content faster and not letting us sit around for 14 months.

Blizzard just needs new management.  Someone that can read a calender.  That is how you avoid content drought.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Monday Random Thoughts (On a Tuesday)

- I was not around yesterday to post my random thoughts but had so many of them I decided to make today monday.

- Hope you do not mind.

- I got a lot of play time in this weekend for the first time in a while and boy oh boy do I have a story to tell.

- A few even, but first I will start with an SoO wing 4 LFR that was, in a word, amazing.

- It was amazing it could be so bad (boss 1), amazing it could be so impressive (boss 2), and amazing that could be so backwards (boss 3).

- It took us 2 hours, well over 2 hours if you want to include wait time, to down seigemaster.

- When it comes to LFR nightmares it does not get worse than this.

- I sometimes question myself why I stay and people in guild kept telling me to leave.

- But I stayed and I am so glad I stayed because I have one fantastic story to tell because of it.

- After some more waiting we finally get a decent second tank and the entire run changes in a flash.

- We down blackfuse as if there were never any problems to begin with, but those stacks had to help right?

- I did not expect much from this group other wise but will willing to accept a few wipes on each boss just to get it done.

- This was one of my hunters, low gear (as in 500 item level), and I just wanted to get an LFR clear under his belt.

- Here is the setting for late fight paragons.

- The entire raid is dead except for 1 healer, me, and two other damage dealers.

- There are 30 seconds left to enrage.

- Yes, both tanks are dead and had been since there were 4 paragons left.

- We kill one of the three klaxxi 10 seconds before enrage leaving 2.

- We start on another one, the damage dealer the bug is on is getting brutalized, badly when enrage hits.

- He dies and it starts to come after me, the other damage dealer, also a hunter is pounding away at it.

- At about 2 minutes AFTER enrage hit he goes down at the same time I do.

- He catches up to me and I give him a kill shot to the face and he returns the favor, we fall on top of each other dead.

- One klaxxi left, enrage has been going on for a while, one hunter, one druid healer.

- It is rare, extremely rare, that I ever shout out a name on my blog but I have to give this guy some credit for making my day and making that 2 hour wait for seigemaster worth every second.

- The hunter, in not much better gear than I current had on that character, managed to down the last klaxxi.

- Just him and his friendly neighborhood healer.

- It took him a long time, as in I heard stampede go off twice during him doing it, and the raid never once told him "wipe it" or "just reset so we could get it done".

- They supported him , they were yelling in raid, you got this.

- It was only LFR but it was exciting and he entertained 23 dead people just watching him do it.

- I can only imagine his heart beating a mile a minute, him and the healer.

- I do not remember the name of the healer, sorry, but it really does not matter what the healers name was.

- See, the hunter never took one bit of damage.  It was enraged, if he got hit once he was dead, no healer was going to save him from that.

- When the fight was done I could only say one thing, a pun.

- "That was... wait for it... stunning.", was what I said.

- The Hunters name was Stunning.

- How appropriate.

- So we one shot klaxxi even if it took forever all thanks to the amazing heroics of a hunter.

- Go hunters!!!

- He gives us a good name.

- Funny part is someone said in raid early on when it was just him and the druid left and it looked bleak for a moment as it seemed like the bug was catching up to him but it didn't, "go huntard go."

- A few others in the raid were quick to point out, "If he manages this, he is most defiantly not a huntard.

- Okay, back to the rest of the raid and the amazing turn of events on garrosh.

- We one shot it with basically minimal explanation.

- The tank gave the basics real fast and said did I miss anything.

- I said MC is priority.

- He said, yeah, that, and pulled and we downed it with no problem.

- After the first boss taking hours, the second boss needing the above and beyond ability of a hunter that went on a good 10 minutes past the enrage timer, and we one shot the hardest boss in there?

- Weird.

- I am now trying to get the trinket off shaman in the LFR as well for my main.

- I had not done that and had not been trying for it there.

- When you could only upgrade 2 times my heroic ToT trinket was on par, if not better, than the trinket off shaman.

- But now that I can upgrade the shaman one from LFR 4 times and my heroic ToT one can still only be upgraded twice, it is worth trying for again.

- So I did shaman in LFR, flex and normal this week.

- I rolled in LFR, flex and normal this week.

- Just the same as I have on every shaman kill since, well, since we started killing them.

- And still no freaking trinket.

- To add insult to injury, the flex I was in, 2 hunters rolled, 2 hunters got it, both had the normal version and did not need it.

- "insert lots and lost of cursing the game here"

- I guess I can look at it as at least I have the best trinket I can have from the previous tier.

- There is always one piece that seems to give me hell, it is usually the weapon, head or shoulders, this time it is the trinket.

- I did some leveling on various toons this weekend.

- Started on a paladin, level 40.

- Pounded out 13 levels, to 53, with no issues, pulling massive packs with no heirlooms on it what so ever.

- I forgot about sending them over, whoops.

- But it was making quick work of things either way.

- When I moved to my warrior I sent over some heirlooms to that one.

- I did not have the weapon and the shield, never got them since they were added, kept forgetting about them and being we could not trade them across servers at first and I had no characters that needed them on my server after they were added, never considered getting them.

- I might consider it now.

- So my warrior, level 21, with most of the heirlooms except the ring, trinkets, shield and weapon, went out to level.

- He had the experience boosting things so that is really all that mattered.

- He could two shot most everything to begin with.

- He blew through his rested and got all the way to level 43 before it wore out and I finished up the quest line I was on.

- That was in two hours.

- Next up, a shaman, sent all my heirloom gear to it, including a weapon, the two handed staff but for leveling who cares.

- It was 23 and I only managed to get it to 28 before rested wore off and I finished the quest line I was on.

- It a bit over 2 hours.

- So how do two characters, roughly the same level, in roughly the same gear (shaman had more), have such a huge variation in what they were capable of doing?

- Oh, did I also mention they both have the same professions, they are both mining and blacksmith.  So that did not play into it either.

- One got 22 levels with no weapon in a little less time than the one that got 5 levels with a weapon did.

- I'll tell you how.

- If the warrior got a quest to kill 10 mobs, he went in, rounded up 10 mobs, killed them and went back.

- This meant he completed quests faster, so got more experience in a shorter time.

- It also meant he was killing exactly what was needed.

- The shaman needed to pull one at a time, even with all that gear.

- It took sometimes 15-20 seconds to kill a mob when the warrior would one or two shot everything.

- This meant that the shaman needed to kill everything going into a zone and everything coming out of the zone.

- It eats up time and rested experience really fast when you are killing a lot of stuff you really do not have to.

- So because of that it did not complete as many quests as the warrior did during the rested phase I was playing it in.

- Makes you wonder 2 things.

- 1 - How the hell does anyone level without heirlooms now, we have been spoiled.

- 2 - The warrior was a lot more fun to play than the shaman.

- Killing stuff, killing it fast, killing it in massive piles, rushing in and one shotting a mob, all those things are fun.

- Pulling one, fighting for a while, pulling another, fighting for a while, over and over, is just flat out boring.

- Makes me think perhaps blizzard should move the other way around with things.

- Instead of having 10 kill skeletons, make it kill 50 skeletons, and make them super easy to kill.

- Slaughtering them in massive piles would be a lot more fun than pulling them one at a time.

- And the higher requirement will mean it would still take the same amount of time to get done.

- At least in my opinion, it would be more fun if even my shaman were able to pull 10 mobs.

- Not sure if it is just my jaded opinion because I have done all this a million times by now or if it would be really better with some sort of a change.

- But like I said, killing is fun, killing massive piles all at once is even more fun.

- That is why my warrior leveled faster and I had more fun with it, at least at that level range.

- Sometimes I wish I could look at things from fresh eyes.

- But questing has always been weird.

- Ever feel bad when you are given a quest to rescue 3 captives when there are 20 in cages.

- You left 17 people behind you bastard.

- We are not the heroes of Azeroth.

- We are mercenaries out for ourselves only.

- Think about it, we rescue 3 out of 20 prisoners because we are not getting a reward for rescuing the other 17.

- We are no heroes, we are jerks, profiteers, only doing what we get paid to do.

- We let 17 people be held captive, possibly tortured, most likely killed, because someone wouldn't drop a few coins in our satchel to save them.

- We are the worse scum the world has ever seen.

- We are most definitely not heroes.

- How the hell do we have the balls to go around and call ourselves heroes is beyond me.

- I understand why there are extra there, so many people can do the quests at the same time, but the technology is there to change that.

- I would like to see it changed.

- I feel bad leveling people behind.

- Just like we had all the things around pandaria we could find and it is there for each person until they find it, but not after they do, prisoners and the like can be done that way too.

- If I did the quest when I pass by the area there are three empty cages but for someone that did not do the quest there are three people caught in cages.

- Now that would be much better quest design.

- Well, it would make me feel better at least.

- It would also make it feel like we are really impacting the world around us because we would see changes, even small ones, like that.

- I did lots and lots of heroic scenarios this week because valor is once again useful.

- Woohoo.

- It is amazing going back and doing them after not doing them for so long.

- I remember dark heart being a hard one when it first came out if you had the wrong make up.

- And even if you had the right make up it could be really hard if their numbers were low or they were not very good players.

- I had two adventures in there that I want to mention.

- One to show how freaking insanely easy it is now with characters with some gear on and one to show you even with crappy gear you still can do it.

- We got into dark heart with 2 people on well geared alts (me being one) and one on a main.

- We each did huge numbers.

- I was top with 580K, bottom was 520K.

- I said, I can't believe this used to be hard.

- It goes to show you the problem with gear inflation this expansion, that should never happen in a million years.

- Maybe, just maybe, if we went back to that scenario 2 expansion from now, we should have been able to treat it like the joke we just did.  Not one patch after they came out.

- And none of us were even fully geared or fully upgraded.

- Can you just imagine what it would have been like if we all had full heroic gear?  Heck, even if we all had full normal gear?

- Wrong, just wrong.  Blizzard really screwed up on the gear inflation this expansion.

- The item squish is needed because blizzard could not control themselves.

- However, on the other attempt we ran into it with three horrible alts.

- And by horrible I mean I was the best geared there at 494 on my lower geared mage.

- Not like my main mage is much better at 530.

- So we were pushing it to begin with, we figured our experience and ability to play intelligent would be able to compensate for anything we ran into.

- We ran into dark heart and all cringed because it is the most unforgiving for bad group make up and horrible gear.

- We had both, a bad group make up and horrible gear.

- We had me on my mage, a freshly dinged DK, as in just hit 90 that day a few hours ago, and a warrior with roughly the same item level as my mage.

- The first elemental boss was a nightmare.

- We managed it, but it took a year and a day to kill it.

- Did you know it keeps summoning adds forever even if there are no adds for it to call over?

- The fight went on that long, really.

- It went on so long that after we killed it the DK said they had to leave.

- He only had a half hour to begin with and we figured we would be done by then.

- That fight ended with the warrior and DK dead and me kiting the mob for the last 5%.

- I got lucky.

- We told him, park your character at the entrance and do not log out, at least if we manage it you will still get valor.

- But there was no way in hell, even if we had all 3 of us, would be making the timer.

- Now it was just a challenge mode thing for me and the warrior, to see if we could get it done.

- So me and the warrior talked about how we would handle this as we were killing the slimes.

- We decided we would try with him as arms to see if we can down it faster.

- I did 80K and he did 50K and we never came close.

- So we came back and he switched to prot, changed spec a little on my suggestion so he could kite better, and we went at it again.

- The fight took 11 minutes, but we killed it.

- Goes to show you that you did not need great gear, you just needed to be intelligent players.

- In the end, it was much more fun just blowing it up with everyone over 500K.

- Just like it was more fun killing all 10 mobs at the same time on my warrior.

- Killing is fun.

- Sure, there is some fun in doing it the way the warrior and I did, proving you do not need great gear, just your mind, which is the most powerful tool anyone has.

- But once you do it, and prove you can do it, why would anyone ever want to do it again?

- See, that is the problem with making content harder.

- It is fun for the first people that make it there, not so much for anyone that comes after them.

- Because anyone that comes after them is holding them back because they already beat the challenge, they just want to go in an spank it now.

- It is like that scenario, I already did it with only 2 people on 490 geared characters.

- I would not want to do that again.

- So if another 490 character said, but it can be done, I would say sure, but I am not doing it with you.  I already did it.

- Come back when you can do 500K and we can just blow it up, that is more fun.

- I did it, I proved I could do it, it was fun doing it, but why would I want to do that again?

- I guess that is the reason I would rather quests just be slaughter fests.

- Just like I would rather the scenarios be so as well.

- Once you do the challenge, there really is no fun to it any more for there to be a challenge.

- You just want to go in and have some fun mass slaughtering the baddies.

- You want to be the warrior, not the shaman.

- You want to pull 10 at a time and not take a scratch instead of one at a time and have to heal after every third one.

- With that sad, I guess the way quests are is fine, just need to work some on balance, so my shaman can pull like my warrior.

- So that way, it lets people have the challenge the first time, and we get out slaughter fest every time after.

- It must be hard to find the right balance to design for that.

- I give blizzard a lot of crap because they deserve it, but over all you have to admit they do a pretty damn good job.

- Can't please everyone all the time and it must be extremely hard to keep it balanced to any sense so everyone can enjoy it.

- It has to be amazingly hard to keep it so a new player that knows very little and is just learning can do it without it being too hard and still be engaging for someone like me on my warrior that can mow things down without even thinking about it.

- I do not envy the position they are in most of the time.

- Even more so when you have someone like me, many someones like me, to point out all the things they do not like.

- I was thinking I need to get my hunter in on some old raid kills.

- I did MV on my hunter but ever clear after that in the first tier was my druid tanking.

- MV heroic, my bear has the kills, my hunter none.

- Same with the other heroics.

- And my hunter only has some HoF normal kills and no ToES normal kills.

- Only my druid has them all.

- Just for the sake of completion I want to do them on my hunter.

- I know achievements are shared and I have the achievements, but I know who got them, so it matters to me.

- I also need to finish ToT heroic, only got up to animus, never downed it on heroic.

- Should be much easier now.

- I swear that fight was just, well, annoying.

- I think I am going to write a post on the raids of pandaira soon.

- It is over, we will not be getting more.

- But with 5 - 7 more months of this I do not want to blow through all of my looking back stuff too soon.

- Hopefully I will get a beta invite so I will have that to bitch, I mean, write about.

- Are you ready for those beta invites?

- They will be sent out sooner than you think. ;)

- Public service announcement time.

- Just check your loader, that is where they will be.

- The betas will not be a mail link you need to click, so do not fall for it.

- Have a great day.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Flying in Warlords

This has been a really hot topic for a long time now.  I was reading about it when I took a break for a couple of months and I've been wanting to give my take on the situation since I came back to posting but I kept shying away from it.  It is not that I was at a loss of words over it because it is rare that I am ever at a loss for words.  If anything I have not written about it because for a much as I am like everyone else and have my own opinions I really do not have one on this subject.   I might lean one way because I think it is the right way, but I really do not have a true opinion on it.  How can I give my opinion on something when I really do not have one?

If I wanted to go to the simplest level and was asked if I think they should keep flying I would say yes.  I am a big believer that you do not give someone something and then once they grow to like it, expect it, and it becomes part of their standard everyday life you take it away.  It is just wrong.  I like the idea of leveling on the ground and then getting flying at max level.

I have said a few times in the comments that I would like to see it stay that way.  I would not be adverse to flying even needing some sort of grind once you reach max level.  Something quick and simple like the cloud serpent flying would be nice and something where when you unlock it on one character then all characters have flying when at max level.  As much as I love to grind things because I am weird that way, I really do despise having to do it over and over and would even more so for something like flying which I believe I would want every character to have.

But all that aside, those are just opinion on how I would like to see flying implemented.  It does not address the hot button topic at hand and that is what do I think about no flying in warlords at the start of the expansion and possibly the entire expansion.

I really do not have an opinion on it.  I would like to have flying, but I can not rightfully say not having it would be a bad thing.  There are good and bad points to it and I guess that is what I am going to discuss.  In the end however, my opinion will lead itself to believe that there should be flying if for no other reason than what I mentioned before.  You can not give someone something and then take it away for no good reason.

Gathering Without Flying:

Of the many things that will be effected by flying this will probably be the one that most people find most annoying.  But you need to remember, not everyone gathers.  A friend of mine back in cataclysm had a great line after he asked me what I was doing in TB.  I said I was fishing up some eel for my food.  He said, you should do your fishing where I fish.  I asked, where is that.  He said, the auction house.  I found it humorous.

There are some people that go out there and get the stuff and others that just stand around and buy it.  It is what makes gathering an option for making money.  For every person that is willing to put the effort into it there are probably 10 that would skip the effort if the price was right.

Depending on how you look at it, no flying is going to really hurt gathering and help gathering.  In turn, it will have a huge effect on the economy and no matter which side you are on, the side that sees it as hurting gathering or helping gathering, the effects on the economy will be huge for you.

How will it hurt gathering?  Many people gather while just flying around chatting.  I know many people, and have done so myself, that would fly around and only stop at the nodes where I knew there would be no fights.  It is not because I did not want to get into a battle because it would be hard.  I can one shot many mobs now and two shot the ones I can not one shot.  It is just that I can not be bothered with stopping to fight.  I just want to pick my herbs or mine my ore and move along because I am out gathering and not out grinding mobs.

Without flying mounts we would not be able to just pick and choose the nodes we go for.  We would have to run around and get them and even if there will be some routes we can find with little or no interference it will only be a matter of time before everyone and their mother is looking to farm that one route as well because no one wants to waste their time fighting mobs when they are out collecting ore to prospect, or make belt buckles out of or what have you.

This will mean when you see an herb it will no longer be land and pick, it will be fight your way to it, pick it, fight your way back out.  Sure, while leveling that is part of the fun and quite honestly it is a good thing.  You are leveling, you need that experience, so fighting your way to things has its benefits but once you reach max level you just want to get what you want to get and those mobs become nothing more than an annoyance.  An unavoidable annoyance.

So because you will have to hoof it to gather things you will be gathering fewer per hour than you are used to, and you will be stuck wasting more time fighting than picking or mining.  It is only a matter of time before you just say, screw it, I will do my fishing at the auction house, to steal a line from my friend, because it is just not worth the time invested to go gathering any longer.  This will mean fewer available items for sale at the auction house.

How will he help gathering?  Well, it will help those that help themselves.  This is actually one of the few things I am looking forward to about no flying.  If you make the effort to go out and gather you might be getting fewer items per hour but with everyone getting fewer items per hour and even more people giving up on gathering completely because it has become a huge annoyance, you will be able to sell those things you gathered for a fortune compared to what you might have been used to selling them for.

So basically the people that are willing to spend all day online and deal with the frustration and annoyance of gathering will be making gold hand over fist, they would be clear winners.  If they can keep up with the general annoyance that is gathering now and most players would not be able to because they do not remember the days of gathering on foot and having to grind your life away and they would not like it.  Will they really be willing to accept that?  I don't know about them, but I am looking forward to being one of the people making lots of gold because people will not want to gather without flying.

So who wins at gathering without flight?  That is a solid question.  It is not really the people that will go out and gather still.   Sure they will make more gold but they will have to invest a lot more time into making it and time is money.  It is not the people that will do the gathering at the auction house because they will have to pay a lot more. 

So is there really a winner?  There most definitely is a winner.  Bot users, hack users and item selling websites.  Bot users will not care if they get less, they are still getting something that now sells at a higher price and they are not really wasting any time doing it because it is an unattended bot doing the work. 

Hackers using wall climbing hacks and flying hacks will now have less people that can find them and see them as there isn't a sky full of people that can see them.  I mean, who looks up most of the time, so you will never know if someone is flying above you.  They can use their hacks to gather faster and with the increased prices they can sell their ill gotten booty for higher prices with a decreased chance of being reported. 

And the last but not least winners are those web sites that sell items in game will now be able to increase their prices.  Where they might have only been able to sell gems for pennies because everyone could get them easy enough they will now be able to sell them for dollars which greatly increases their profit margin and gives them even more reason to send more people out there.  The harder to get items and/or higher cost items on the auction house would also push the players to look for alternatives which might end up having them go to sites like that to buy their items with dollars in the real world inside of gold in the gaming world.

While it might be easy to say the verdict on this one is no flying is bad for gathering I can't help but be a selfish elf and somehow love the idea that I could very well be the only person out there gathering and selling herbs at 1000 gold a stack.  See, this is why I said I can not really take a side.  While I think no flying here is bad over all, I do really love that I can make a lot of gold because I am not one of the lazy masses that play the game.  So I am at a toss up here.

Then again, there is another way I can look at it too which would turn no flying for gathering into a very very bad thing.  If I were in a lazy mood and the prices were insane on the auction house, I would go to one of those item buying places online in a heartbeat.  I would not think a second about it.  Blizzard wanted me to buy from them, at least as I see it.  If they wanted me out there getting it myself, they would have not added hurdles to do so.  Blizzard wants you buying your items.

Exploration Without Flying:

Lets be honest here.  How many of you have had "explore valley of the four winds" or any of the other explore achievements without even trying while just flying around?  When I hit 90 on my main I went around looking for all the areas on purpose just to get the achievement but so many of my alts have gotten explore achievements by accident.  Even at that, finding them accidentally, that happens rarely because I travel the same routes all the time most of the time.

Why is that?  Because I am going somewhere to do something and the fastest way to get there is a direct line.  I do not explore, most people don't.  We go where we are going to because that is where we want to be.  However, while flying we sometimes get side tracked, because we can.  We see an herb or ore, we see something out of the corner of our eyes that looks interesting and we want to take a look, we see a rare, a quest marker in an area we thought we did all the quests.  But over all, we fly from point A to point B.

Even if that might be the case flying gives people the option to explore.  It gives me the option to take a wrong turn and check something out because they know that they are flying, nothing is really going to disrupt them or put them behind on where they are going, in effect they control their own time.  Raid does not start for another 10 minutes, let me go check to see if that rare is up.  Can't do that on a flight path can you?

Flying allows you to see the world, in encourages you to see the world.  Ground mounts... not so much.  If you are on your way to the raid you really do not want to be getting side tracked.  Who is to say that you will not end up in the middle of a lot of battles.  You will take the road because you are less likely to be slowed down that way.  Or you will just become one of "those" people that never make their own way to the raid and always seen a summon.  Newsflash.  If you are not in front of the raid at least 5 minutes before hand I don't consider you ready to raid.  Just my opinion of course.

Or you will just take flight paths.  Slow, ineffective, boring, time wasting, take me all over the world when you could have just went from point A to point B flight paths.  If there is going to be no flying in warlords I am fine with it, as long as they fix those fucking stupid flight paths.  I am going from here to there, why the hell are you flying me to the top of the continent before you go down, when you could have just gone down and had me there in 30 seconds instead of 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Blizzard thinks that we will explore more on foot.  Blizzard is wrong.  You are less likely to go out of your way to see what is in the upper left hand corner of the map if you have to fight the entire way there to see it and the entire way back. But if you can just fly there, hover over it, see it, and then move on, you will be more likely to see it.  Just another case of the people at blizzard do not actually play this game.

It is going to be less likely that people will see achievements like "explore valley of the four winds" pop up because there will be no real incentive to explore, unless you are achievement hunting.  When everything takes longer to get to they will stick the main paths and flight paths to get too and from where they need to go to.  Because it will take them so much longer to get anywhere and do anything, they will have less time to actually explore.

Lets not even forget that you are much more likely to see the world while "looking" at things while fling than you are while "fighting" your way through it every step of the way.

As far as seeing the world goes, I think having flying wins this one hands down.  There is not one good thing about hoofing it when it comes to exploration.  Not even close.

Travel Without Flying:

I've touched on this many times in many places including here in other headers so I will keep this short and sweet.

Flight in warcraft using the taxi system is like brushing your teeth with a chainsaw.  It will get the job done getting the plaque off, but it is really not a good idea.

The taxi system needs an upgrade if they intend it to be our main source of getting around in the world.  No more of those go up two zones and across to go back down two zones and then back across to get to a flight path you could have just went down one zone to get to but because you did not have a flight path in between the two it had to bring you all over the entire world.

Smart flight.  Taxis should send people in a direct line from the one they are taking off from to the one they are going to.  No more should we ever see "no connecting path" because, lets be honest here, I do not need a connecting path.  I am not going to that connecting path that I do not see, so why the hell would I need it?

Smart flight paths and maybe even faster taxis with a few more flight masters scattered around to make it more user friendly and not having a flying mount would soon be forgotten.  But as long as having a flying mount remains the only way to get from point A to point B without having to be forced to take the scenic route to see point C, D, E, F and G first taxis will never be an option for the intelligent player and will be frustrating beyond believe with no flying when we have no option other than to be ineffective in our game play.

Quality, and quick, flight paths and taxis could go a long way in easing the pain of no flying for a great many players.  Read that line there blizzard, read it once, twice, as many times as you need to until it sinks in.

Rare Hunting Parties:

Hoofing it is really going to take away a lot of the excitement in the game in terms of rare hunting.  It is bad enough everything dies on the small timeless island before you get a chance to even react and that is just one small collected area, not an entire world.

How often has the gander appeared on screen, you broke to move toward it instantly, and it was dead before you got there?  Happens to me on a daily basis.  Now imagine those same mobs tuned for a level 90 in the starting area, when we are level 100.  Do you think you will ever get to it unless you are standing on top of it when it spawns?  I think not.  Timeless island was fun, on a small scale, but it had problems with mobs dying too fast.  Now try that on a world wide scale with those same mobs being scaled for much lower levels and consider how long they will live?  Blizzard is making a HUGE mistake turning all of warlords into one large timeless island and I hope it jumps up and bites them and then kicks them in the balls, hard.

I remember when the warbringers were first added to the game.  I came home from work that day, dragged a couple of guild mates into a group and told them to follow me.  All the warbringers were dead, but I saw some of the groups hunting them.  Using something called a brain and the flying ability in game I was able to get us into the loop the others were doing and end up tagging every single warbringer as it spawned.  Yeap, there were a few groups farming and we ended up taking them all over and over and we farmed all night.  It was great fun, and it is something we would have never been able to do without flying.

What about seeing that spirit beast you know your buddy wanted.  Hey, its up.  On my way.  Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.  What is taking you so long.  Well I was far away, I had to get to a flight point and that took me on the scenic route all around the world and now I am running there.  Should be there in a few.  10 minutes later, 20 over all.  Hey, I thought you said the spirit beast was up.  It was, someone must have gotten it, I feel asleep waiting for you, sorry.  Welcome to a world without flying while hunting to get those rare tames.  What exactly is fun about that when it took someone 20 minutes to get there.  If they could have just mounted and took a direct line there it would have taken them 3 minutes.

Sorry, but when it comes to rare hunting it seems like no flying just seems like an artificial way to make us spend more time in game by making us waste more time doing nothing but traveling in game in the hopes we will get to a rare spawn that will most definitely be gone because it took us so long to get there which then turns back to, why even try.

PvP With No Flight:

People keep saying flying killed world PvP.  I say that no real reward other than the fun of doing it is what killed world PvP.  Flying might have hurt it, sure, but it helped just as much as it hurt it.  If I call out that I am being attacked everyone mounts up and comes to help me.  But if it is going to take them forever to get there, guess what is going to happen?  I am going to die a horrible lonely death.

The fact there are so many more interesting things to do in the world puts PvP at the bottom of the list and that is what killed world PvP, not flying.  Flying has helped as much as it hurt.  See a notice something is under attack you have two options, go help or stay doing what you are doing.  Depending on where it is you make our choice, and having the ability to fly there to get into the battle faster is a huge plus.  If I see "xxx is under attack" and I do not have flying, I just go about my day, if I see "xxx is under attack" and I do have flying I immediately mount up and see what is going on and if I think I can help.

The people that think no flying in warlords will help world PvP are delusional and I would love to know what drugs they are on because they are being mean and not sharing.  Sure, it might increase world PvP in the sense that people that do not feel like fighting right now can not get away.  But people are not really going to be all that happy that they can not get away.  Sooner or later they might just quit because they keep getting involved in a war when all they wanted to do with pick some flowers.  Yeah yeah yeah, PvP happens on a PvP server.  Doesn't mean you always want to fight.  Sometimes you just want to get to the inn because you are logging off for the night.

Will It Get People Out More?:

That is a fantastic question and one we can only speculate on.  I mean more than the other topics I have mentioned because this is a double edged sword.  The people that did not go out in the world when they could fly are surely not going to go out when they can't, why would they.  So it will not change that at all.  What it does effect are those that already went out in the world to begin with.

So I answered that question, people will not, repeat, no get out more.  But what is that I smell, is it a hint of vanilla in the air?  The people that do decide to go out will be the ones that already did and they will, or might, experience a world they are not used to.  If they will keep going out might be a better question.

Lets say I wanted to make some flasks for tonight's raid I would mount up, fly to the area that has the herbs I am in need of and start picking.  I would land on herbs that required no fighting and in 20 or 25 minutes I would have enough for tonight's flasks and potions and be ready to raid.  Now lets look at the same thing with no flying.  Traveling there would take longer as I could not mount up and go directly there.  I would need to take a flight path and I already mentioned how horrible those things are with their scenic take you all over the world view.  Then I would need to get to that area which very well could include fighting.  Even if the fighting is easy it does take time and before you know it 20 or 25 minutes have past and I have still not picked my first herb.

Once there I start picking, fighting, picking fighting, running around looking for herbs, picking and fighting again.  To get the 100 herbs I needed to stock up for the nights raiding we see the time passing 1 hour, maybe 2 hours.  Little did we realize but instead of doing my dailies, some pet battles, maybe a dungeon or two and a raid in raid finder, I spent the entire time I had before raid time picking herbs and did nothing else at all.  How exactly is that fun?  How long before I too decide that I want to do my dailies, do a dungeon and maybe an LFR instead of wasting time picking herbs for the raid.

How long will it be before people start saying it takes to long to go out and do things when you can not get directly to where you want to do those things?  Will that in turn mean at some point people will go out less?  How many people are like me and like to grind?  How many people would actually get a small smile on their face when they think about how old school this feels?  And how many, even if they like the old school feel, will keep liking it after the novelty ran off and instead of it being a flashback to what we think of as better times with rose tinted glasses wore off and we see things are they truly are, a waste of time, will we still be happy to do it?

The real question we need to ask ourselves when talking about flying in warlords does not have anything to do with flying at all.  So do not ask yourself do you think there should be flying when you hit 100, ask yourselves...

Do You Think Wasting Time Is Content?:

And that is the real question of flying vs no flying.  It is more about wasting time vs not wasting time.  If you think taking 2 hours to do something it has taken you 30 minutes to do for the last 5 years is compelling content, then you are in the no flying school but if you would rather it take you 30 minutes to do something it took you 30 minutes to do for the last 5 years you are in the flying school.

As I said, I don't care either way, I will adapt, I always do and I am an old school style of player so while I might rather flying I can live without it.  There would even be some real benefit to me because of no flying.  More gathering because there will be less competition.  More gold to be made because I am not one of the lazy masses.  Maybe even more rares because people will not want to go traveling all over to try to get to them.  So I can live with it.  I can even learn to love it with no flying.  But I would rather have flying.  So I am torn and will not really give my opinion because I can go either way.

But I will say this one thing in closing.  There is nothing I hate more than wasting time and that is really what the question is.  So if you asked me the question I just posed and not the flying question, I would have an answer for you.  I do not think wasting time is content and I would rather not waste my time.  Waste too much time and people will start thinking of it as wasting time playing the game to begin with and just stop playing.  They will move on to a game where they can do things instead of sitting on a taxi.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Distracting Shot Returns, and Gives Me Some Ideas

In the most recent alpha build for warlords one of the hunters abilities that were removed is coming back and let me be the first to say I am glad to see it return.  Distracting shot is now labeled as a new ability that does the same thing the old ability did.  So it is like it never left and for us, being we never experienced a world without it, it didn't.

I was upset to see this go because there were many fights were having distracting shot was huge, at least while soloing.  Patchwork 25 is one that comes to mind.  At least until this expansion where we got some real beefy health numbers and a new glyph for healing our pet really nicely, our old buddy patch used to put a hurting on my poor turtle.  Like what did he ever do to him?

I used to have to use a trick to solo him back in cata where I would bounce patch between myself and my pet every so often so my pet could catch up with healing some.  I would hit our stitched friend with a distracting shot while my turtle had a few seconds to play catch up in the health department and then I would feign death to drop aggro and let my pet have him back.  I do not honestly believe I would have been able to solo patch 25 in cata if it were not for distracting shot.  10 was okay, but for 25 I needed to use some hunter trickery and that trickery was called ping pong with distracting shot.

That was not the only case where I found a use for distracting shot, not even by a long shot.  Over the years there had been dozens of occasions where I used it while soloing and even a few where I used it in a raid to great effect.  I've used it to peel pets and minons off my healer in PvP even if for just a moment because sometimes it gave them the breathing room they needed.  Distracting shot was a solid ability.  A solid, extremely situational ability.

Unlike when they tried to remove concussive shot in the mists beta where I, and many others, put up a real big stink, myself and many hunters that had complained then basically let this one slide.  As much as we want it all, if we are going to put up a stink, we have to pick and choose our battles and while losing this was bad, we had to save our outrage for something more important that they might try to remove, at least that was my way of looking at it.  For the most part at least.  While I know I did not like seeing it go I was willing to accept that it was something I will miss that is lost but in the same sentence I am very happy to see it has returned.

See, this is where blizzard and I have a philosophical difference.  They believe that distracting shot is part of the button bloat problem and wished to remove it because of that and I believe that distracting shot is not part of the problem because it is so rarely used.  Either way, it is back and that is all that matters.

However, it got me thinking of a better way to handle all these extremely situational abilities that blizzard seems to want to remove because they, falsely, believe it is part of the button bloat problem.

The glyph system gives us our answer here.

Remember at the beginning of cataclysm were they gave us three different sets of glyphs?  It was returned to only two different types in mists but I think they might have been on to something with the three different types but the idea just came at the wrong time and that is why they might not notice the answer to partial button bloat (as they see it) is right in front of their eyes.

Adding a third set of glyphs called "Ability Glyphs" is the answer to everything and is not really something new or exciting and never done before.  There are a fair deal of ability granting glyphs in the game already and I believe it would be the perfect answer to those extremely situational abilities.

Hunters already have fetch, an ability granting ability, and that is exactly what I am talking about.  A glyph that adds an ability.  It should not be a major glyph or even a minor one.  Leave majors for things that have a major effect on the standard rotational abilities (like making aimed capable of being cast while moving) and leave minors to be adjustments to minor abilities (like cheetah no longer dazing) and cosmetics stuff (like pets lesser proportion).

Hunters are not the only ones that get new, usable, abilities through a glyph so it is not like this would be something just for them.  Priests have the glyph of holy nova that teaches them that ability and confession that teaches them that ability.  While one might have great use for them, like holy nova and the other is more for fun, like confession, they would be given the choice of which abilities they want to have.

So adding three slots for ability glyphs would be an exceptional idea for skills like distracting shot that were on the chopping block for a while there.  They could have added it back as an ability glyph and we, the players, could put it on when we needed it.

Every class surely has abilities that can be compared to a hunters distracting shot.  Something we like to have but not something we would use all that often.  Heck, I would be hard pressed to even name 100 different situations I have used distracting shot in.  Doesn't mean that I would ever wish to lose it, even if I do not use it all that often.

Ability glyphs would be perfect for abilities like that, the ones blizzard calls bloat and we call useful but only in certain rare situations.  Let us choose which three "bloat" buttons we want.  I am sure sometimes those abilities might end up falling into that non four letter four letter word mandatory for certain fights however it would be more acceptable this way, well, in my opinion at least.  But hey, what do you expect, it is my idea, of course I am going to like it.

I am glad distracting shot is back, no doubt about that, but I also would have been perfectly fine if it had been added as an ability glyph.

In other hunter news we have a new level 100 talent choice to sink our teeth into.

Taken from the front page of MMO-C

Exotic Munitions (New) Allows you to modify your ranged weapon to use exotic munitions: Incendiary Ammo Arms your ranged weapon with exotic ammunition that lasts for 60 min. Each autoshot deals 20% additional weapon damage as Fire to all enemies within 8 yards of the initial target. Poisoned Ammo Arms your ranged weapon with exotic ammunition that lasts for 60 min. Each autoshot deals 0 additional Nature damage over 16 sec. When this effect is refreshed, the remaining damage will be added to the new effect. Frozen Ammo Arms your ranged weapon with exotic ammunition that lasts for 60 min. Each autoshot deals 40% additional weapon damage as Frost and reduces the target's movement speed by 50% for 8 sec. Only one exotic munition can be active at one time. Hunter - LvL 0 Talent.
To me it just seems more like we are ranged rogues with being able to coat our arrows the way they coat their daggers, but it does seem to offer us, as hunters, way more options.  This one ability would actually be three new abilities when you choose it and you could, presumably, switch your munitions between fights to better suit your needs. 

Normally the three options here would show up as the three different talents on one row.  Giving us the option of AoE damage, a DoT or a Slow and even if these three were on the row as three separate talents it would be a solid row but all three as one thing might give this ability some bite.

Being it is on a DPS increasing row however, no matter how great it might seem and whatever utility it offers, it means nothing really.  The vast majority of hunters will just take the one DPS increasing ability that is the top DPS increasing ability which means this is either our best new ability or an ability we will never use.

I am not entirely sure I agree with DPS increasing abilities at all in the talent section because it only offers the illusion of choice.  There really isn't any.  The best will always be the best.  Either way, this seems like a nice talent just for the fact we get three things for the price of one talent point and it does not change your rotation at all in any way as it only adds something to your shots.  Sure sounds nice on paper, can't wait to test it out on the beta soon.  And that is soon, without the tm.

Unrealistic Expectations

I would believe that to some extent we all suffer from having unrealistic expectations but the question is, are they really always unrealistic?

I am going to share some of the examples of my own unrealistic expectations and some others I see thrown around a lot, maybe you could share some of your own, or tell us what you consider to be unrealistic expectations.

Being Raid Ready at Release:

I remember when the expansion started I expected my guild members that wanted to raid to be raid ready within a week of release.  In all honesty I don't see how anyone that actually wants to raid would not be ready to raid after a week.  That is a week to level, a week to grind gear, a week to get gemmed, enchanted, reforged.  Sure, if you play once or twice a week that is extremely unrealistic but if you are someone that wants to raid, desires to raid, and is an active player, is it really all that unrealistic to be ready to roll after a week.  I don't think so.

As it would have it, this expansion was like every expansion before it, we sat around waiting on our healers to take their sweet ass time to get raid ready and even when we did first enter MV for the first time well more than a month after it came out most of the raid was still woefully under geared.  At least under geared when thinking these people had a month to get ready.  A month to grind the reputation needed to buy valor gear, a month to buy valor gear, a month to get the crafted gear, a month to grind dungeons to get drops, and still more than half the raid had done none of the above.

Some people still tell me that it was a lot to ask of a casual group and I had unrealistic expectations of my raiders but I do not believe so.  I believe even a casual player who desires to raid should have been ready after one week and even if not one week most definitely have been ready after one month.

What it really boils down to is the perspective of where you are looking at it from.  Perspective is everything, always will be.


So lets look at the wait for warlords.  I was expecting it to be out in march, or may at the absolute latest and here we are still without even a beta for something that should have been released already as is.  But those were just expectation and some might even call them unrealistic expectations.

But were they really unrealistic expectations?  Mists quickly became the best expansion in terms of content and kept up with the pace of it.  We had the staggered raid releases at the beginning to make it feel as if we kept getting stuff added, even if all that stuff was there already and just not activated.  Once again, perspective, it felt like stuff kept rolling out and how things feel are always more important than how they really are because people will remember how things felt, not how they really were.   That is where "rose tinted glasses syndrome" comes from, people remembering how things felt, not how they really are.

They released content patches and raid patches quicker than ever before.  So was it really an unrealistic expectation to believe that the next expansion would be sooner than later?  Was it really an unrealistic expectation to believe we would not go through such a prolonged time with no new content after we were treated to the best schedule of content release in the history of the game?  I don't believe so.

It makes me laugh when people say "warlords is not late, they never gave us a date so you can't say that" and things along those lines.  Yes, warlords is late, extremely late.  You can say we had unrealistic expectations because we believed that blizzard would keep to their word of quicker releases.  You can say we had unrealistic expectations because we were lead to believe they meant it by the excellent release schedule of this expansion.  But you can not say it is not late because they did not give us a date.  It is late, very late, because they led us to believe they were sticking to their word of faster content releases and using those standards to judge, it is late.

Was it unrealistic to expect warlords to be out already?  Absolutely not.  The only thing that was unrealistic was that we believed blizzard would not leave us in limbo for over a year once again.  But we were tricked into that by them doing such a good idea at the start of the expansion.

Item Level Requirements:

I must say I will be the first to admit I hate seeing people ask for 550+ for a flex run.  It really defeats the purpose of the run.  I want to bring my 510, 520, 530 characters in there, characters that need a lot of gear because that is what flex is for, gearing up without having to do LFR.  But is it an unrealistic expectation to expect people to have a number like that and still want to do flex?

I often hear people say, why would someone 550+ want to do flex.  These people believe that it is an unrealistic expectation to fill a group with 550+ players because no one at that level would want to do flex.  Not true, not even remotely close to true.  My main hunter is 570 and I would still jump at a flex 2 or flex 4 in a heartbeat.  I would not think twice if I got an invite to either.

I would do flex two because I am still trying to get the shaman trinket, any version will do.  And now with 2 additional upgrades any grade is even more desirable for me being I am still wearing a trinket I got from ToT heroic and that one can not be upgraded 4 times, it is still stuck at 2 upgrades only.  I've been wearing that trinket so long I am starting to see some rust on the edges and I think there is a layer of dust building up on it in some places.  The last time I wore a trinket that long was my greatness that I got at the beginning of wrath and wore until it was replaced by deathbringers will.  But it was still a great trinket even then and all inscription trinkets should last that long, but that is another unrealistic expectation all on its own, that gear will actually be worthwhile for an extended period.

I would do flex four because of the heirlooms.  Don't matter which character, which spec, I would still jump in one because I can use every single heirloom that drops because I play all 11 classes.  So yes, even at a 570 item level and all my other characters that happen to be over 550, I would still do flex.

And lets not forget the people that just want to run it for valor because with a decent group it is a nice quick run with decent valor generation.  And with everyone, even the best of the best, wanting to valor cap again, at least for the next 8 weeks, seeing people 570+ in flex just for the sake of doing it even if they need nothing is not unrealistic at all.

So how exactly can people say that someone asking for 550+ has unrealistic expectations for who would want to do flex?


When looking to pug for a normal run I would often ask for 150K from people if I know we are only going to do the first 10 bosses but if I know we are going for the last 4 I seek people that can pull at least 200K.  Personally I think that is a fairly reasonable requirement but I have been told that those are "heroic numbers" and I can't expect people to be pulling over 200K to get into a normal.

I personally do not believe it is an unrealistic expectation to get someone that can pull 200K for the later normal bosses and even more so garrosh.  On that fight more than any other, the higher the numbers the easier the fight.  Some fights stay the same, same dance, even with bigger numbers, that fight the dance card changes immensely with higher numbers.

The key however is, how is asking that people do what they should be capable of doing an unreasonable expectation?  Perhaps I am out of touch, perhaps I am asking too much, but I do not believe so.  I believe that any person in mostly normal gear, mostly upgraded at least 2 times gear, completely gemmed, enchanted and reforged gear, should be 100% capable of pulling over 200K with ease if you know how to play the character. 

That is why when I pug I do not ask for item level.  I never say looking for 550+ DPS, I say looking for 150K DPS, or 200K DPS.  I might ask what item level they have, but I would prefer someone in 540 gear that can pull 200K over someone in 560 gear that can't because that means one knows how to play their class (540) and one doesn't (560).  I need people to perform and that is all that matters.  So asking for 200K from people in mostly normal gear to pug in is not really an unrealistic expectation is it?  I don't care what that person said, he was just probably upset because he could not meet my requirements.  I do not believe 200K is an unrealistic expectation.  But of course, I could be wrong, but I do honestly believe 200K is not a lot to ask of a pug for normal if I want the last bosses to be easier.

So I have had my own unrealistic expectations I admit in expecting casual players to be raid ready a week into a new expansion.  I have been the victim of believing in blizzard and their hype to give me an unreasonable expectation of faster patch releases.  I can understand how asking for what might seem like high item level numbers isn't always really an unrealistic expectation.  And last but not least I have been accused of having unrealistic expectations by asking for a certain performance level that is, in fact, not unrealistic at all.

What are some of your unrealistic expectations, unrealistic expectations you were led to believe, things you believe are unrealistic expectations or times you might have been accused of having unrealistic expectations?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Misadventures In Raiding: We Got This

Yesterday while doing our standard valor cap thing, now that it is worth doing again, myself and the two people I was spamming heroic scenarios with to cap our characters got an invite from a friend of one of us to join in on an SoO pug.

Normally we would not do something like that, it is valor cap time but figured what the heck.  We all jumped on alts, me a druid tank, one of the others a druid tank and the third a damage dealer on a hunter and we joined the group.

It was a pure pug, all people from different guilds except for us three of course.  I am sure a few of them knew each other because that is how pugs usually go.  A friend invites a friend invites a friend.

It was a slow moving run because after the first boss someone dropped and we ended up waiting near 30 minutes to get going again.  We had a few more delays along the way, but otherwise everything was running smooth.  Bosses were falling over despite the raid leader using strategies that at least the three of us had never used, but he is the raid leader so we followed his lead and did as he said.

Like I said, with the exception of a lot of wasted time, which no one complained about, things were going nicely.  It seemed as if the group worked well together.  At least until Galakras.  It was where we hit our first bump in the road.

Side note:  To anyone that is not a raider, please be advised, this is not the right way to do things.  This is a misadventure and pure luck.

Towers went fine but when the protodrake landed all hell broke lose and the entire raid died near instantly.  Don't ask me how because I have no clue but you do not need death note to tell you it probably had something to do with standing in the fire.  Okay, bad joke.

It was just me, my co tank and one damage dealer still up.  The raid leader said it was a wipe to which I responded the way any person that has tanked a lot would admit they have responded at least a hundred times by saying, don't worry, we got this.

I was not trying to over rule the raid leader, it was not my raid.  It was his decision, but I figured it would not hurt to try and go for it.  At that point it was, in my mind at least, we are either going to manage to pull this off, or we are going to finish it off and die quickly, so lets have a little fun and I must admit, there is nothing more fun than saying "I got this" and somehow managing to get it.  This seemed like one of those times it could be pulled off.  Even if those chances were really slim.

Galakras was around 78% with the raid went poof up in flames.  Did I really believe we had this?  Yeah, I guess so, I did believe it was possible.  While me and my co tank were on alts we were on very well geared alts.  For normals anyway.  So it came down to, do we think we can heal ourselves enough to survive because his breath was going to start getting really brutal really fast with only the three of us alive and us using all our rage for healing instead of damage.

I said to the other tank, who do you think I should bring up.  He said our other guild mate.  So I battle revived our guild mate and we kept at it.  How he, on a hunter, survived so long without any heals is was amazing and the other damage dealer, the one person beside the tanks that managed to not go up in smoke instantly was a priest, managed to at least keep themselves alive.

At around 50% the shaman healer, who apparently did not want to waste their pop decided, what the hell and popped up.

We said, don't worry about us, keep you guys up, and myself and the other tank kept pounding away, rotating cooldowns, and keeping ourselves alive and low and behold, we got it.  You could hear the excitement on vent and the see the dead people typing in raid things like "I can't believe what I am seeing", "how is that even possible", and the funniest line you ever hear in a pug "this is the best group ever, I love you guys".

It wasn't the greatest thing to ever happen in a raid but it sure was fun to have something like that happen.  It was not pressing content, it was not something that was out of the realm of possibility, but it was definitely one of those raid stories you will go on to tell for a long time.

I often complain about pugs but sometimes fun things like this can only happen in a pug.  It was a good group and really you could tell that from the get go when no one complained at all about the long wait between the first and second boss.  I guess their patience was rewarded with a story they can tell their friends.

Side note: Both myself and my friend were on druid tanks.  If you do not play a druid I'll just explain how we did it nice and easy.  Druids rocks.  It reminded me of our first kill of Al'Akir at the beginning of cataclysm.  Somehow the entire raid got blown away at the beginning of phase three except me tanking on my druid, a feral druid DPS, and a restoration druid.  So the three druids did the third phase all alone for out first kill.

We got this.  Yes, we did.  Sometimes misadventures are the best adventures to have.  Misadventures indeed.