Posted tagged ‘rants’

A Modest Proposal

August 22, 2010

Server and faction transfers are two of the worse things that ever happened to WoW. Why? Because if you’re on the low population side of a server, things have only gotten worse since those features were implemented, not better.

I play Alliance on a server called Thrall, so of course I was setting myself up to fail from the start. Still, while it was a Horde heavy server, it wasn’t all that bad until faction transfers went live. Suddenly, quite a few people I knew went Horde. The leadership of one of the most progressed Alliance guilds (which wouldn’t even be top 5 Horde side) crossed over. On the Alliance, we never saw the inside of the Vault of Archavon again.

There is currently zero incentive to roll on/transfer to the low population side of a server. Why go somewhere that never holds Wintergrasp (except at 5 am on a Thursday) or is severely outclassed in endgame progression? This is something that should change.

Blizzard would never do it, but a solution I have is simple: supply and demand pricing for server transfers and faction changes. When they want to populate a server, they offer free transfers off of the source servers to the destination server. This seems like something that could easily be implemented.

Using Thrall as an example, which, according to Warcraft Realms, is 80% Horde and 20% Alliance.

Let’s say you’re a Blood Elf on a server who has found a raiding guild on Thrall that suits them. Because Thrall is heavily Horde, the normal $25 transfer fee would be increased to, say, $40, due to the Horde population already being high. The max cost would be $50 for a server transfer for those who want to transfer to the high pop side of the servers with the most extreme imbalances (ohai Mal’Ganis.

On the other hand, if you’re an Alliance player who would like to come to Thrall (and, really, you should. The water’s fine. And Brade Frurry is recruiting!), the cost would be reduced to $10 or $15 due to the Alliance population being so low.

Now, say you’re a Blood Elf paladin already on Thrall who has seen the light and realized that Blood Elves are terrible and you’d much rather be a Draenei. The normal $30 faction change cost would be reduced to $15, as incentive to join the low population side. The minimum cost for a faction change would be $5, for the servers with the largest imbalances (again, see Mal’Ganis).

Would this solve the problem completely? No, of course not. But what it would definitely do is reduce the bleeding. Faction imbalances are bad for PVE progression and server economies. You’d still see people gladly pay $50 to transfer their toon to the high pop side for a top progression raid guild, so I think it would be a complete wash as far as Blizzard’s bottom line was concerned. And if you don’t like it, you’re always welcome to reroll via heirlooms.

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Epic Fail! Unsolicited World of Warcraft Predictions for 2009 Reviewed

January 1, 2010

So this time last year, even though nobody asked, I madesome predictions for World of Warcraft in 2009. So it’s now 2010 (which is only, ONLY pronounced “twenty ten”) and it’s time to look back and see how I did. I’ll grade each prediction on a five point scale.

Prediction #1: World of Warcraft: The Emerald Dream is announced at Blizzcon ‘09.

Result: Well, I was right in that a new expansion was announced at Blizzcon, but instead of going to the Emerald Dream or the Maelstrom, Blizzard turned the old, forgotten world of Azeroth on its ear and then blew it up, unveiling Cataclysm.

Score: 1 out of 5

Prediction #2: 2. Ulduar (and later Icecrown Citadel) are PTR’d and beaten the day they are patched into the live game.

Result: Ulduar was released with patch 3.1 on April 14th. Ensidia killed Yogg Saron at 02:24PM CET on April 16th. Good enough for me. With patch 3.2 and Trial of the Crusader, Blizzard staggered the release of the raiding content (one boss per week) presumably so the raid wouldn’t have been cleared 15 minutes after being patched in. This process continued with 3.3 and Icecrown Citadel. This is a complete bullshit copout so that your bleeding edge raiders don’t put Arthas on farm status day one. He goes down within 24 hours of being unlocked, by the way.

Score: 5 out of 5

Prediction #3: Emblems of Heroism will be redeemable for Emblems of Valor.

Result: Well gee, who knew that both of those badgers emblems would go the way of the dodo a little over halfway through the year? Instead of a bulk exchange for the higher tier emblem, patches 3.2 and 3.3 saw complete emblem resets where the only way to acquire Heroism and Valor emblems (and Conquest as well, introduced in 3.1 and vaporized in 3.3) was to do a 1 for 1 trade down from the top. While this is just spectacular for alts (and spectacularly bad players), on my main character I wonder why I went and did Naxx every week for so damn long. Now I can just spend a couple of hours doing heroics and BAM, a few pieces of tier 9 are mine.

Score: This is mildly tricky considering exactly what happened, so let’s call it 2 out of 5 for no particular reason.

Prediction #4: Dual specs solve little.

Result: Nailed it!

Now, as a healer I enjoy very limited downtime using the new Dungeon Finder. On the worst day I have maybe a two minute wait for a group. And there have been quite a few days when I’ve totally earned my Emblems of Frost because the tank. Really. Sucks. Like, he’s got PW: Fortitude, Gift of the Wild and Blessing of Kings and he’s rocking 30k health and doesn’t have a prayer of holding aggro. But miraculously he does. Why? Because two of the three dpsers are doing under 1,000 DPS. God help you if all 3 DPS are capable and you have a weak tank.

It took me a couple days of healing my ass off to figure it out: the vast majority of these guys are main spec DPS who just don’t want to sit in queue for 15 minutes between randoms; choosing to tank, even if they’re not good at it or their gear sucks gives them as short of a wait as I have healing. Unfortunately, that makes my job so ridiculously hard. Dear Random Instance Tanks: stop sucking. Love, Doofy.

Score: 5 out of 5

Prediction #5: Refer A Friend is reintroduced later in the year with benefits extending up to level 70.

Result: Surprisingly, this didn’t happen. But, having now leveled a brand new character to 80 during the year, I can say that the Outland experience isn’t bad at all. Even heading there at 58, I basically completed two and a half zones and then I was on my way to the friendly confines of Northrend. Now, being decked out in full heirlooms (shoulders, chest, ranged weapon, dual wielding daggers) made things considerably less painful and I’m sure someone brand new to the game will have a lot tougher of an experience. On the plus side, the dungeon finder actually works for Burning Crusade instances when you’re level appropriate so someone willing to tank or heal could certainly cruise through to level 68.

Score: 0 out of 5

Total Score: 13 out of a possible 25.

Clearly, I fail at prognosticating. Oh well.

Happy Twenty Ten to all!

“Odd groups go left…and, ahhh whatever, just AoE it all.”

August 13, 2009

So everyone is rather abuzz about the return of Onyxia in an upcoming patch 3.22. (Why not go ahead and make it 3.3? Seems like a new raid is worth enough to tick the next number. Just make Icecrown Citadel and its 31 indeterminate number of bosses patch 3.5. Seems fancier.)

However, this line from Zarhym did jump out at me:

We will also be updating the encounter mechanics to be more fitting for modern raiding

So you’re saying that we’ll just be able to AoE the whole thing (including Ony) down and it’ll be a faceroll for bad raiders? Sweet. Sign me up.

3.2: The Head Explosion Patch

June 18, 2009

Okay, let me get a few things here straight.

# Construction of the Crusaders’ Coliseum is complete. Testing not yet available. New raid normal and heroic modes for the Crusaders’ Coliseum can be toggled using the Dungeon Difficulty setting. This applies to 10 and 25 player versions. 10 player (normal), 25 player (normal), 10 player (heroic) and 25 player (heroic) all share separate raid lockout timers.

* Trial of the Champion
o 5 player (normal and heroic mode) dungeon.
o Daily quest added to the heroic daily dungeon quest giver.
* Trial of the Crusader
o 10 and 25 player (normal mode) raid dungeon.
* Trial of the Grand Crusader
o 10 and 25 player (heroic mode) raid dungeon.
o Crusaders’ Tribute: Active on heroic difficulty only, the tribute system will limit players on the number of attempts the raid is allotted each week. Additional rewards can be earned depending on the number of attempts left in the tribute run each week when the final boss is defeated.

Okay, so there’s a 5-man dungeon that can be done on normal or heroic. Then there’s a 10-man raid and 25-man raid. These can also be done on normal or heroic. While a heroic raid used to be the 25-man version of the 10-man normal raid, you can choose to do a 25-man raid on normal mode or 10-man raid on heroic mode.

Players who do not wish to gain experience through PvP can visit Behsten in Stormwind or Slahtz in Orgrimmar – both located near the Battlemasters in either city – and turn off all experience accumulation for the cost of 10 gold.

Behsten and Slahtz. Behsten…Slahtz. Best in…slots…

*head explosion*

Apprentice Riding (Skill 75): Can now be learned at level 20 for 4 gold

*head explosion*

# Emblem System Changes

* Both the 10 and 25 player instances of the Crusaders’ Coliseum drop a new Emblem of Triumph.
* Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism.
* The heroic dungeon daily quest will now reward 2 Emblems of Triumph and the normal daily dungeon quest will reward 1 Emblem of Triumph.
* The existing achievements to collect 1, 25, 50, etc. Emblems of Heroism, Valor, and Conquest have been converted to Feats of Strength since Heroism and Valor Emblems are no longer attainable.
* New achievements have been added to collect various amounts of any combination of emblems.

Okay, so we’re now getting Emblems of Conquest from stuff that would normally give Emblems of Heroism and Valor. There will be no way to earn Emblems of Heroism or Valor except from redeeming Emblems of Conquest for them. Many items will still be purchasable via Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as the new epic gems (*mild head explosion*) but they will no longer drop in dungeons or raids and are no longer the reward for doing the heroic daily quest. Instead, there will now be Emblems of Triumph (FOR ME TO POOP..oops, sorry) as a reward for this quest and there currently is no other way to earn Emblems of Triumph that is known at this time and what Emblems of Triumph will be redeemable for is also currently unknown right now and FOR GOD’S SAKE WILL SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY-03vYYAjA

Anyone got a couple aspirin?

March Sadness

March 22, 2009

The last four days are probably my favorite time of year. It’s the NCAA college basketball tournament, where 64 teams battle in a single elimination tournament to determine that year’s champion. The true highlight is the first round, when 32 games are played in two days. It’s an insane amount of basketball jammed into ~12 hours on Thursday and Friday.

It’s a heck of a lot more exciting than what’s going on in WoW at the moment.

While we wait for Ulduar to get datamined and farmed to hell on the PTR so that it’s a faceroll on day one (and it will be, trust me), Brade Frurry progression has stormed to a halt. Three weeks ago we finally got Sartharion with two drakes down. Two weeks ago we one shot it. We wanted to try three drakes this week and found that 18 people signed up. Two drakes was a disaster with that number but we managed to get one. We’ve got the Dedicated Few achievement in heroic Naxxramas and it’s certainly not because we were shooting for it. That was all we could manage.

We’ve had a couple of unfortunate RL issues that prevented some people from attending raids and that’s fine. But there’s also a rather large “I’m geared up, see ya next patch!” mentality that hit a couple of members. It’s frustrating for those who want to raid that we either have to do less than we planned or, worse, dive into the PuG pool to fill the raid. I was running Friday Night Naxx 10 for alts and the bored and I used to have to kick DPS out. Last week I could only manage 8 signups. I didn’t do it this week and decided to watch basketball instead. It’ll probably return come Ulduar since we’re heading straight into 25s.

Blizzard has seriously dropped the ball on endgame here by providing so few raids to do and also making them too easy. I’ve never seen such massive content burnout before and I’m nearing three years since I started up my first toon (ye gods). We’re not finished with our progression (yet) and some folks have seen it okay to just stop showing up without any notice. They’ll probably be back and ready to rock the day 3.1 goes live which hardly seems fair. Have other guilds dealt with this?

The Essential Parts of Any Raid: Ventrilo Edition

January 23, 2009

About a year ago I made an entry on The Essential Parts of Any Raid, showing who you needed to bring in order to have a successful raid. Now, since most raids use a voice chat service such as Ventrilo, it’s time to go through the people you’ll need in your channel to have a full and entertaining evening.

The Loud Talker

Pretty self explanatory. If you’re wearing headphones, prepare to have your ears blown out. If it’s through your speakers, turning the volume on them down prevents you from hearing anyone else. Unfortunately playing too important a role to mute.

The Low Talker

This player either has their microphone about six feet from their mouth, is a quiet person in general or is just too cheap to spring for a new mic. Talks frequently. Wonders in raid chat why they’re being ignored.

The Non-Talker

The player that never talks, ever. Owns a mic. Communicates exclusively in raid/guild chat. One hell of a listener, though and generally a solid player. Talked once and nearly wiped the raid as everyone freaked out.

The Play by Play Guy

Like CNN and The Weather Channel, constantly updating the condition of the raid. The mob health, their health, raid buffs, how much they just crit for, their drink supply, the temperature of their Hot Pockets, etc. For this person, I link them some Ground Gear.

Captain Obvious

“Come on, DPS, step it up!” “Healers, top off those tanks!” “Here come some adds, let’s get a tank on them!” “Rebuff!” /headdesk

The Dude That’s Always Logged In

Inexplicably always logged into Vent even if they’re not logged into the game. May be in a different channel with one or more unknown persons. Causes frequent discussions between guild officers as if the password should be changed.

The DJ

Whenever Push To Talk is hit, a wave of music fills the raid’s ears. For some reason, this player cannot DPS unless something is cranked to 11 in the background. Has never played World of Warcraft with the volume on. Choice of music is either extremely emo or some sort of death metal. Oddly able to be understood over vent when they speak and a good listener.

The Most Important Person In The Entire Raid

A horrible combination of The Play By Play Guy and Captain Obvious. Is also, unfortunately, a Loud Talker. This person will constantly mention over Vent every single thing that happens to them, even if it’s a standard part of the fight and happening to every single member of the raid.

Karazhan example: Maiden of Virtue’s Repentance. “I can’t move! Somebody help me!”
Naxxramas example: Maexena’s Web Wrap. “STUNNED!”

And when they die…”I’M DOWN!!!!!!” as if you might as well wipe since because THEY’RE DOWN!!!! the rest of the fight is meaningless. Will request battle rezzes every time they die. Which is often.

Any others I’m missing?

Welfare epics exist

February 19, 2008

WoW Insider’s Forum Post of the Day dealt with a General Boards post that the idea that the term “welfare epics” is elitist and that there is no such thing.

This is wrong, there are certainly such a thing as welfare epics.

I’m sorry, those shiny purples that you got from playing matches in the arena are, indeed, welfare epics. My reasoning?

The arena system rewards failure.

Pay for an arena charter. Sit through interminably long queues long enough to play 10 games. Even if you get savagely eviscerated in those 10 games and lose them all without even killing a single opponent (or to the furthest extreme, do a single point of damage or healing), within a few weeks, you will be able to get a piece of gear that is the equivalent of Tier 5 or beyond.

Unless I’m mistaken, Kael’thas Sunstrider, Lady Vashj, and hell, even good ol’ Attumen the Huntsman aren’t going to go “well, gee, you made some good attempts there, here, have some epics” if you can’t kill them.

The arena system ignore skill and rewards failure. Something for nothing, I would argue, is welfare. You’re given epics. Thus, welfare epics. (Aside: It would totally be amusing if arena gear was blue, because “welfare rares” rhymes.)

My extra frustration from this is the old adage “gear does not equal skill.” More than once, I’ve raided with a DPS class decked out in S2 and S3 arena gear. They outgeared everyone in the raid easily. And then rocked an embarassing ~500 DPS, coming in 4th-5th in damage. But they sure had plenty of hit points.

The welfare epics worn by this player did not lead them to believe that there was any sort of problem, especially when they gladly passed on some drops designed for their class, though it had some badly needed hit rating in exchange for some stamina and a couple of points in other stats.

Sure, skilled players decked out in S2 and S3 arena gear should be able to absolutely clobber all the 25 mans through Kael’thas. But many people seem to forget that once you have eventually saved up those arena points to purchase epics play skill is still not included.

This isn’t QQing that such-and-such player is better geared for me. Sherm does not have a single PVP/arena item and has lead dps meters in both Karazhan and ZA. The problem comes from those who believe that they’re the ultimate PVE endgame pieces and that they make up for bad play. It’s happening more than you think.