Monday, August 16, 2010

Scumbags (and how to not fall prey to them)

I'm sure I'm not the only person who has been seeing an increase in spam emails from "wowaccountadmin" or "" or any other number of bullshit addresses claiming to be Blizzard. The amazing part for me is not that I'm receiving these emails, but that a) they're being sent to an email address that was never associated with any WoW/battlenet account and b) that people still fall for this. So, for those of you who haven't already learned how to spot the fakers, I give you the following:

1) Look for typos. I know... seems silly, right. I mean, these guys are going to all the trouble (not really) of spamming tons of people with their fake email, you'd think they'd catch a few typos, right? Wrong. While these scumbags may be good at spoofing and creating fake login sites, they've got poor English skills. So, read the whole email and look for English Fail!

2) Read the entire link. blah blah) is not a valid address for Blizzard or WoW. Some aren't as blatant as this, so pay attention. Also, look for typos in the address, such as or similar typos. The guys trying this are really just too lazy or unskilled to do #3. Don't give them the satisfaction.

3) Don't fall for the spoofed link! Pay attention to what link you click. If you're using Google Chrome, mouse over the link or with IE, just right click and the address you're being directed to should pop up in the lower status bar. If the link says "" but the mouseover bubble or status bar shows the link as something else, then it's safe to say, you're about to be duped. If you don't have this mouseover bubble thingie (like my technical terms?) when you click on the link, look at the address you've just been directed to, then see #2 above.

I'm sure there are all sorts of other things to pay attention to, but these are the most obvious clues. Don't give scumbags the satisfaction. Don't fall for this crap. If you're ever unsure, go directly to the source and check with Blizzard (type in the correct address, don't use a link unless it's YOUR link). They're pretty good about responding. Don't just assume that an email that claims that blizzard is going to delete your account if you don't respond immediately is legit. The worst thing that happens is that your account gets deleted until you can correct the problem with blizzard over the next few days. If you click on the link and give these scumbags your info, your account gets hacked and you lose a lot more.

If you have more tips, please post them below.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cata Raid Changes: the End of the 25

Many moons ago, raids were 40 man affairs. You had to really have your shit together as a guild to pull off the organization required to run one of those. It did mean that many people never got to see 40 man content unless they dumped their friendly/laid-back guild in exchange for a hard core raiding guild that while may have some nice people in it, was more worried about raiding than maintaining online relationships. So, for this reason and many others, Blizz dropped the 40 man raid in favor of a 25/10 setup.

Some raids were 25, some 10. You were introduced to raids in 10 mans, then moved up to the harder 25 mans. Great. If your guild was just starting raiding, you had a place to get your feet wet while recruiting more people to progress into the harder content. Sometimes, two 10 man guilds would join to form a 25 man guild. Whatever worked.

Then Blizz started this whole all raids are both 10 and 25. Ok, fine. If you like 10 man, or your guild is just starting raids, you could do 10 man, but if your guild wanted to take the time to bring together 25 players you would get better gear. They also added heroic versions of each so people who really wanted a challenge (and better gear) had something to move up to regardless of the size of the raid. Of course, what's the real annoyance is that heroic mode is on a per boss basis. Blech!

This new changes offers no reason for anyone to do 25 man raids. Why would anyone want to take the time to gather up 25 people to do what they could with 10? So what if you get a few more drops per boss? You could just run two 10 man raids (or 3 if you add a 5 more players) and get even more drops per week per guild. This notion of a guild running 2, 3, or 4 10 man groups per week defeats the whole "10 man is harder to gear" argument. Sure, you have less drops per player per raid, but as a guild, you can progress faster since more players (and alts) have access to better gear.

This is especially true if you have the lockouts on the same timer. If you have to choose between spending an hour gathering up 25 people to raid or just go with the 10 that are there, you're going with the 10. And if it's a multi-night raid, waiting for the same 25 people to show up on time just doesn't always work. Now, some people would say that with multiple 10 mans, you need more tanks (or specific class tanks) and healers. But blizz has already started the blanding of tanks/heals. No longer is one type of tank or healer preferable over another for certain fights, so you can form 10s easier.

Another thing that Blizz announced is that they plan on the first tier of raids to be designed for people geared in some blues and crafted/heroic purples. That's all fine and dandy; however, with t9/10 gear being given out like candy and the cap going up only 5 levels, are blues even going to be an upgrade? Plenty of people with t5/6 in BC wore that same gear right into Naxx and that was a 10 level cap increase!

As far as multiple, shorter raids per tier, I'm all for that as long as it doesn't also end the long raids. I loved that in BC you could do Mags and Gruul in a short time and felt like you accomplished something, but if you wanted a full t4 set, you had to do Kara which was long. I like that you had to go to multiple raids to gear up, not just farm the one place week after week. I especially liked attunement, so you had to do the previous tier raids at least once before moving up (yeah, this is long gone to my dismay).

As I read other people's blogs and tweets regarding this topic, I see the for/against crowd made up of 10/25 raiders respectively. People who love doing 10 mans get the epic win. Do the same thing they have been doing because they don't like to spend all their time gathering up 25 people to raid now get all the benefit of a 25 man (gearwise). People who have spent the last year nurturing a steady group of 25 people to raid so they can get the top-notch gear are now being told that all that recruiting was a waste because they can just run 10 mans for the same drops.

Basically, this is the end of the 25 man raid.

And this really doesn't surprise me in the slightest. All of the changes that have been made in the past 8-12 months have had the effect of making a game that was about taking the time to experience an online world/community into a bland console game. It's becoming a game that is about "winning" or "beating" the game rather than experiencing it. It's about leveling the playing field so that everyone can "win". It's become a race to the end rather than enjoying the ride along the way.

These changes to raiding are just another step in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuned Down

I originally started this line of thought while commenting on a BBB post. After reading some further remarks, I realize I have more to say.

Short story is this: WoW is, in my opinion, the best mmorpg out there. Hands down, end of story. This, of course, doesn't mean that blizzard always has it right and everyone else has it wrong. Usually, even the poorly executed games have a gem or two. Such is the case with Final Fantasy XI.

Because of low server population, FFXI allows for high level players to group with low level players by "tuning down" the high level player. This means that their gear and level are decreased to a point that they are comparable in level to the player they are grouped with. In their execution, I think Square didn't do that great of a job, but the concept is something I think Blizz could work with. Here's how...

First, let me preface this whole notion as a "going forward" plan. Until Cataclysm, the damage has been done. I'm only going to use current tier numbers as points of reference which of course would be adjusted to reflect future content.

The main argument behind offering T9 badges for running heroics is to allow new players to gear up and do endgame content. The whole "why make this awesome raid dungeon that only a few people will ever see" argument. I get that. No one wants to spend all that time for nothing. The problem is that people skip over some really great content. What incentive, other than an achievement, is there for someone to do Kara or TK or MC (especially before level 80)? Most people rush past all of these dungeons just to get to endgame. I don't really blame them, and Blizz shouldn't stop them. People should be able to play the game how they want. The question becomes: how do you get someone to run these lower level dungeons and raids without forcing them to do it? The easiest answer is incentives (emblems).

At the moment, badges are just too easy to get. A new 80 can have full T9s without ever raiding. Seems a little silly if you ask me. Why not encourage them to go back to some of that old content that they skipped to earn those badges? Enter "tuning down".

You hit level 80, you join "random raid". You pop into MC at level 63 (yeah, 63, why should you have to be only 60?) with gear that has been tuned down to the correct level. Other 80s might be in there at 63 or there might be an actual level 60. As you kill bosses, you get T9 emblems (level 60s get gear drops). Blizz could even make it so bosses load 3 emblems, who knows? At the end, you get 5 (or more) T10 emblems. This is a system that benefits level 80s who haven't experienced old content and level 60s who don't feel the need to rush to level 80. It also benefits the poor guys who spent countless hours working on a raid dungeon that no one ever goes to anymore.

This same concept can be carried over to regular daily dungeons except you'd earn T8 emblems for bosses and T9 for completion. And for just running a heroic, you'd earn T7s. Each raid you ran, the bosses would give the corresponding emblem (naxx=T7, uld=T8, ToC=T9, ICC=T10). Of course, if you got one of these raids through random queue, your gear would be tuned down and you'd earn emblems as described above. And new 80s have someone to raid with in naxx and os, etc.

Obviously, this wouldn't work now, but after the expansion and with further expansions, why not? So you don't get to endgame content at level 85? When Blizz ups the level cap to 90 with the following expansion, you get to see that level 85 endgame content as a level 90... err, 85/86?

It's not perfect, but I think it's better than what we've got now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Man In the Box.

Here's an interesting article on video game addiction I came across today.

I guess blizz made getting the pellets too easy for me. (See Cancelled.)

Anyway, it's a good read.

Monday, March 8, 2010


The time has come. I'm done. I can't bring myself to continue spending my time playing a game that spoon feeds me any more. It's lost its excitement. And with the birth of my first child coming in a few months, I just don't have the time to spend on something that offers me no satisfaction.

I'm a sometimes casual player (meaning I like to log on for 20-30 minute sessions but I will occasionally set aside an entire weekend or a 2-3 nights a week for raiding), but I only got into the hardcore raiding (scheduled 4-5 hours 3-4 nights a week or more) for a few months out of the last 4 years. For most of this time, I've had good gear, not great gear. Then again, I never worked hard enough to have great gear, but I enjoyed getting the gear I had. Now, I have much better than good gear, but not all bis. I really didn't have to try. It just doesn't mean as much, especially when everyone else has comparable gear. Hard work makes rewards more valuable, but nerfs and handouts have devalued the game.

I used to look forward to accomplishing things. The next level, the next dungeon, the next boss... all of that is gone. Leveling has become so easy that even my altoholic tendencies can't be quenched. All of the new instances lose their luster because they're just 15 minute distractions. Raiding has just become a race for the mediocre rather than a test for the best.

This video sort of sums it up.

If any of this changes in Cataclysm, keep me updated, but until then, peace out.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pay for Play?

We all pay to play WoW, and it ain't cheap! Initially purchasing the game is approx. $80 if you want all of the expansions. Then $15 per month. I've been doing this for years, so I obviously think it's worth it (or I just have no self-control and/or I'm plain stupid). In any case, I'd rather spend money on WoW than spend $60 on a new PS3 or Xbox game that I'll beat in a month and never play again. You'd think with the amount of money that Blizz is making from the game alone, it would be enough. I guess not. It's apparently never enough.

I got the idea for this post from Miss Medicina. I started to comment and realized I have way too much to say on the topic. Basically, the question is: At what point does providing in-game product for out-of-game money cross the line? Well, let me give you some history... and I mean WAY back.

In the early 1990s, this guy in Philadelphia created this online text-based game called Medievia. Well, he arguably lifted the base code from someone else. The base code goes back to DIKU or Circle or any other number of MUD (multi-user dungeon) engines at the time. MUDs were the predecessors of MMORPGs. Anyway, the original creators (some guys in finland or something) of the base code said anyone could use it to make their own MUD with two rules: 1) they had to be given credit for creating the base code on the login screen; and 2) you couldn't charge players. Well, within a short time, this guy broke rule 1 outright, then found a way around rule 2. Here was his work around: DONATIONS. Now, there was nothing wrong with charging for donations as far as those Finnish guys were concerned, but this Philly guy was selling in-game "donation" items. And here's the real kicker. These items were BiS. And I don't mean they were a little bit better, I mean A LOT. So much so, that if you didn't "donate" you couldn't compete with those players who had. Then he started adding more donation items. Then he added item deterioration, which gave a 1 year lifespan to most of the donation items. Then he made it so you could "donate" to get certain OP in-game items that could be sold for mucho dinero. In other words, it was out of hand. If you want to read some good flames about this guy, just google medievia.

So, this brings us to WoW.

Paid Transfer: At first, I think the only thing that was available was paid server transfers. I can't argue that this isn't a good thing. What if you want to move to a server that RL friend is on, but you don't want to reroll? This just makes it more enjoyable. Also, if you're on a low population server, or on a server with a time zone that doesn't fit your schedule, you can move. But there were rules! You could not go from a PvE server to a PvP server. This stopped players from leveling without worry of getting killed by the opposite faction, then after they had gathered enough epic gear to transfer to a PvP server and rape people. While this is just a minor advantage, Blizz didn't allow it. Now, there's no restrictions on this.

Faction Change: Not only can you transfer, but you can change factions. So, you can level up on a server as one faction, then switch to the other. Initially, you had to change servers too, so you couldn't have a Horde and Alliance on the same PvP server. Not any more. Now we have to see on trade chat or pst someone logging on their opposing faction toon to berate you for killing their main. Ugh. Thanks, Blizz.

Name/Sex Change: Really, I have no problem with this. If you get bored with your name or gender, feel free to pay to change it. It doesn't affect me unless you're on my friends list and I go "who the hell is that?"

Race Change: Now you can level up human, get 10% bonus to your rep which makes the grinding for rep rewards easier, then switch race (or faction) to get the new racial. I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to abuse this. Thanks, Blizz.

TCG/Pets: Really, I could care less about this. As long as you don't actually get something that truly has an effect on in-game performance, who cares how many pets/mounts you have? Just because someone has a different graphic for their mount doesn't make it better. And sub "nerd points" for "achievement points". As long as they are worth nothing that actually affects game play, who cares? Now, you may be an achievement whore who spends a good portion of your time racking up those nerd points. Here's the deal though: achievement points reflect YOUR achievements. They track what YOU have done. If someone else has more, it doesn't affect your ability to get more; it just means they have been at it longer (or have no life). And yes, sometimes it could mean that they bought a ton of pets or trading cards.

Invite-a-Friend (or whatever it's called): Oh, now this is the most suspect of all. If you invite a friend to play WoW, your account and your friend's account become linked. (feel free to correct me on what follows) When you group together, you get triple exp up to 60. Your friend can also "give" you levels up to 59. Here's what I see people doing. Inviting their imaginary friend (themselves), and create an account. Dual-box and level characters up to 30, then "give" levels to their character up to 59. Then transfer the character to their account. Even if they used it legitimately, this is WAY too much. I mean, how hard is it to level now anyway? Blizz already doubled xp from quests and kills up to level 30 and then increased it up to level 60. If you wanted to level your friend up fast without having a linked account, you could just speed run them through dungeons with your 80. This feature is perfect for people who want to sell toons. Besides, if you just rush your friend through the first 60 levels, how are they going to learn to play the game or enjoy all of the earlier content?

Mobile AH: PVD has a great post about this here. A question I have is will this feature be available while you're logged in? If so, what's to stop you from using your iphone (or whatever mobile device) to sell stuff on the AH from anywhere in the world? Full bags? Don't wanna port back to a city? No problem! And the idea that Blizz will be charging for this through "premium service"? This is a big game changer. And I'm sure gold-farmers are salivating over this as I type. With a ton of restrictions (such as you must be logged out for a minimum of 30 minutes before it's available) and free access, this could be a neat little addition. But the potential for abuse otherwise is insane.

Mobile Mail: On PVD's comments, "what's my main again" made mention of mobile mail access. This would be a nice feature to add. I'm not talking about being able to send items, but receiving mail would be nice (though not wholly useful). Also, being able to send an in-game note through the mail would be useful, but not game changing.

Final Thoughts: One other thing WMMA brings up in his comment is the "players want this" argument. Who cares what players want? Ok, that's too harsh. Blizz should care what players want. The problem is that some players want the game to be easy. Ok, most. These people are too lazy to start their own orange. Just because players want something doesn't mean they should get it. When parents give their child everything they ask for, we call the kid spoiled. And spoiled is a bad thing. It seems Blizz is finding more and more ways to spoil the kiddies. I guess all it takes to get free stuff nowadays is QQ'ing, stomping your feet, or holding your breath.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Product Review

Yeah, I steal my ideas. Whuddup? But I give credit. I was reading a post by BBB, and it occurred to me that there are some WoW type products I've used and can review. As per FTC guidelines (thanks 3B), I have received no compensation from any source. I only use these products that I purchased with my own hard-earned cash.

A few months back, I got sick and tired of using my keyboard because I had to move my hand a whole lot. The 3-4 inches that I had to move my hand between "1" and "=" had become too much to handle. Basically, I reached the epitome of lazy. So, I went in search of alternatives. I was using the Zboard with BC Keyset.

Ok, if you're looking for pretty pictures, this is the keyboard for you because that's about its biggest offering. It's only around $35, which is less expensive than a lot of other standard keyboards. The keys aren't raised, which I love (I'm too lazy to pick up my fingers). It isn't wireless. Some people consider wireless or bluetooth a bonus; I don't. Nothing is more annoying than having batteries crap out on you in the middle of a boss fight, so I'm wired all the way. But basically, this is just another keyboard with a pretty sticker. I have the BC key set, but there is also one for WotLK.

Instead of a numberpad on the right, there are some pre-mapped keys. Basically, these are pretty useless. Does anyone really need a series of keys instead of /yell /g /p /r etc? Not really. If you're expecting any added functionality out of this thing, forget it. It's just a pretty keyboard. For thirty-five bucks, what do you expect?

World of Warcraft Gaming Mouse:
I had a bunch of Best Buy gift cards and they were burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to buy some new hardware to play WoW with. I had been itching to try the Steel Series WoW gaming mouse since it came out, and boy, was I disappointed.

It's got 15 buttons. Too bad they're all placed in difficult to reach spots. The thumb directional pad is the most unwieldy thing in the world. It's not raised up enough to use properly. The other buttons positioned all over the mouse required you to regularly reposition your hand. Can you say carpal tunnel syndrome? Also, it's functionality as a mouse pointer is horrible. It doesn't slide easily, mainly because of the way it's designed. The only slightly cool thing about this was that it lights up. OOOH PRETTY.

Basically, mouse fail. Thank God for Best Buy's return policy.

Logitech G13 Advanced Gaming Board:
So, I took back the crappy WoW mouse and got the Logitech game pad. I bought the G13 for around the same price as the WoW mouse: $80. This thing is sweet. It has 24 programmable buttons and a thumb stick (25 buttons if you count pushing down on the thumb stick). You can link each button to any key or combination of keys and save them to a profile. You can have numerous profiles and up to 3 key sets in each profile. Switching between the key sets is done by hitting one of the memory buttons. This is great for my drood. I have 3 different keysets: resto, bear, kitty. There is also a quick macro button so you can program these on the fly, but I haven't taken time to play around with this feature yet. Basically, this thing has more utility than I could ever need.

Some people have complained about the thumb stick because it's not analog. Really, I have no problem with this. It works great. Sure, with analog, I could move it a little to walk, a lot to run, but really, it's nothing to QQ over. The other complaint about the stick is that it's uncomfortable. I thought so too at first. Really, it's no biggie. If you're that upset, I did find some guy online who put directions up with how to replace the stick with one from an Xbox controller. Neat, but it looked like a lot of work and, like I stated above, I'm lazy.

It also has an LCD display. It has a clock, CPU usage, and WoW stats. Not really useful, but the keys and the display light up. I like to set each key set to it's own color so I can tell which one I'm using.

In any case, you can program this thing to put your most used keys in the easiest to reach spots and place less used keys elsewhere. Just a note: the G13 does not give you extra keys; you still have to map keys from your keyboard to it.

So, to sum up:
Zboard - nothing special; worth the $30; buy it, but you've been forewarned
WoW Mouse - crap; don't buy; not worth the CTS you'll develop
G13 - awesome; no device is a must have, but this thing is worth every penny

If I ever feel like shelling out $100, I'll buy the G15 keyboard and review that. I've heard good things from guildies about it. If I really lose my mind, I'll drop $200 on the G19.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pleasant Surprise

Normally, I have very little good to say about a random pug experience. Here's an exception.

I've recently gotten bored and decided I'm going to see how fast I can level a prot warrior since I can almost instant queue for random dungeons. At level 22, I end up tanking stocks. This is a fun one to tank because you have to hold aggro on a few mobs at once. After 2 or 3 pulls, the healer (a pally) says to pull more. I'm down. I pull about 8 or so mobs. He's keeping up, which is great.

Then it happens. The pally healer starts dropping consecrate. I'm like "ftw?!?!" So I say, "yeah, consecrate messing up my aggro hold." He responds "don't worry, I got the heals." Guess what? He did.

F'n A. Seriously, the healer just kept droppin' the consecrate and just kept healing his ass off. And here's the kicker. I topped dps as the tank, he was second as the healer. No, really, this guy was awesome. I held most of the aggro and dropped the mobs. If I lost aggro at all, they went for him and he just healed no problem. Not once did I hear "you suck, hold aggro". We just plowed through everything.

And just to keep with the spirit of my previous posts: FTW HUNTARD? lose your dps somewhere?

Have a nice day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Can't Hear You Over the Sound of My AWESOME.

Ok. So, I've mentioned in the past that I'm a drood. And yeah, my name's Roguewind, so get over it. Anyway, BBB was kind enough to mention me as a druid blog, and that made me think "ftw, where's a post about droods? I thought I was drood blog too!" So, without further ado, here's a post about how truly awesome it is to be a drood.

First off, how great is it to be a hybrid class? And I mean a hybrid class like no other. Sure, you could be a paladin, but really, can a pally rock out as much as a drood? Hell, NO! They can tank, sure, but look at the big bear butt (*wink*) we sport! No def cap! Who the man(err bear)? They can heal... TREE BABY! While a pally is spamming tank heals, we're rolling hots on the rest of the raid. And if we play around with our glyphs, we can tank heal like mofos! Let's see a pally switch up and raid heal. Ain't happening, friend. And dps.... oooooh, dps. Kitty. Boomkin. Pick your poison. We got the melee and the ranged deeeeeps. Retadin? BAH! Who the man? err, tree... err, bear... err, kitty... err, owlthingie?

Second, have you ever gotten that gear upgrade and looked at your character and went "WTF? How am I supposed to inspire fear/awe/confidence in others when I look like a flower threw up on me?!?!" Well, have no fear, we're all about forms, baby! Now, some of you may say that it gets boring looking at the same toon day after day. Here's the solution: complain to blizz! After hearing it long enough, they'll extend the additional looks from bear and kitty over to tree and boomkin in no time. While other classes have to wait for the next set of tier gear to be released, we can just get a hair cut which is much less expensive than regemming new gear.

Third, our animations are the best. /dance in bear form = funny. /cower in tree form = hilarious. And who doesn't get a kick out of bears using the rocket pack on the ship in ICC? Epic win!

It comes down to this. Drood is the best. If your main is drood, you know what I'm talking about. If your main isn't a drood, reroll. You'll thank me. So, set a mirror up next to your computer and the next time your drood butt saves the raid, turn to the mirror and give yourself a thumbs up!

Who's awesome? YOU'RE AWESOME!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bachelor's Degrees in Douchebaggery Available Now!

For anyone out there looking to become a professional D-bag, random pugs might be for you. It's the quickest way to learn how to be a complete D-bag. Sign up now, even though spaces for d-bags in random pugs seem to be unlimited. How do you become a d-bag in a random pug you ask? Follow these easy steps:

1) Ignore everyone else in the group: I don't mean don't talk to them, I mean pretend that they only exist to carry you through the instance. Do what you feel your role is (tank, dps, heals) with total disregard for the fact that there are 4 other people there. If you're a tank, pull way too many mobs. If you're dps, attack any mob you feel like. If you healer, feel free to not pay too much attention.

2) Blame everyone else: If you're the tank and you pull too many mobs, it's the dps' fault if they pull aggro off you. If the healer can't keep up, they must suck. If you're dps and pull aggro, the tank sucks for not holding aggro on the mob you're attacking. If you're the healer, it's everyone else's fault if you run out of mana even though you never thought to mention that you're low.

3) Make sure everyone else knows how much they suck: What good is blaming someone else for a fail group if you can't tell them? Make sure you use words like "noob" "fail tank" "fail heals" "lame" "loozer" "asswipe" etc... make up words if you'd like. If they don't know what the word means, it's their fault for not being awesome.

4) Do everything you can to get other people to drop group: People are much more likely to drop group instead of kick you. This is your best weapon of douchebaggery. Never forget that people can't hear their own apathy over your awesome. Oh, and if you can get a healer or tank to drop group, then you have to wait a while for a new one. This is a big win because it hurts the rest of the group too.

5) Continue to call names: Why should you stop saying how much fail someone brought to the group just because they quit? Let everyone else know. This should make them work harder because they'll know if they don't step up the awesome, you'll make fun of them too.

6) NEED on items you couldn't possibly use: If all else fails, step up the douchebaggery. This step is really only recommended for expert d-bags. If you need on too many things, someone will vote to kick you. You have to need at just the right times. Pick a few green items early on. Most people won't say anything because "hey, it's just a green". Once again, apathy works to your advantage. By the time you ninja loot the epic off the last boss, it's too late. Make sure to say something to piss everyone off before you leave.

With cross-realm pugging, there are literally THOUSANDS of people out there for you to piss off.

*god i hate random pugs*

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Orange Followup

Just as a followup to my Could You Start My Orange post, I came across a funny take on the whole "ack! ftw is that dps doing?" take on WoW Insider's Arcane Brilliance. Good call, guy! If you're a dps, this post is for you. Enjoy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Could You Start My Orange?

Since when has it become the tank's sole responsibility to keep the group alive? Random pugs seem to be nurturing a new generation of lazy idiots. Don't get me wrong. I love the random dungeon tool. It's much better to join the queue while you quest than to sit in Dalaran spamming tradechat for a group. Unfortunately, the quality of groups seem to go down every day.

Last night, I random pugged a regular dungeon with my DK tank (lvl 77). My gear isn't top notch, but I've got 20k hp and some pretty good mitigation. Basically, I won't die too fast, but yeah, I need heals once in a while. Also, I've worked out a pretty good threat rotation, so I have no problem holding multiple mobs. I enter VH and I have what looks to be a pretty solid group when I check gear while buffs are going out. I get my first inclination that we've got a problem as soon as the first portal opens.

Only one dps ran to the portal straight out. Bad sign, but I can handle getting hit for a bit and I have an "oh shit" button just in case. By the 4th portal, I start getting worried when I'm consistently at the top of the damage meter with 30% each fight. Then it's time for first boss, Zuramat. Now, he's fairly easy if you take him out fast or if you kill the adds. Well, when your tank is the one doing most of the damage, guess what. I can only aoe them so fast, and the dps doesn't bother to aoe at all. So, everyone else dies and the boss is at 25%. I dps it down to 3% then finally die too. I pointed out that next try, adds need to be killed. Yeah, round 2 was even worse. Not wanting spend the rest of the night wiping on one of the easiest dungeons, I dropped group.

Next, I get put in a group for HoS. Apparently, I'm the 3rd tank to join this group. They've downed 2 bosses. Then, this wise-ass dk says, "I've got more hp than this guy!"... by 100. Ok, now anyone who has ever tanked (or has a brain) knows that hp do not a tank make. Sure, you want hp, but mitigation > hp. I'd rather have a tank with 40k hp that takes 1-2k dps, than one with 60k that takes 10k dps. Anyway, I digress.

First two pulls, the mobs die fast; single targets, easy. Then, same dk, "sign of noob tank that doesn't turn the mob away from the group." Ok, now I can see this complaint if you're talking about a dragon or something else that has a frontal aoe attack, but we're talking about melee mobs that die in under 5 or 6 seconds. I guess I can see why the first two tanks left.

So, this same DK says to pull all 4 mobs in the room where bronzebeard is. I figure, ok, I'll shut him up and pull them. I grab the first two and he death grips the 3rd... away from me. He starts taking damage and yelling for heals. I pull that mob off of him, and by this time the other dps have pulled aggro off me on the first two mobs. So basically, bedlam ensues. By the time I'm able to gather the mobs up, two dps are down (including the dk) and I'm down to almost no hp. The dk says "oh, nice tanking noob." Now, I don't need that. So, I drop group. I'm sure they wiped. Have fun criticizing your 4th tank, morons.

Anyway, this just goes back to my point that people in these groups (usually dps) are just getting lazy about their roles. They figure that A) I'll just throw out some attacks/heals here and there. Someone else will make up the difference for me; or B) My job is to DPS and if we die, it's the tank's fault for not holding aggro no matter what I do.

I expect this will be seen more and more in raids. "It's not my fault that I didn't move out of the fire. The healer should have healed me." "It's not my fault that we wiped. I'm putting out the most dps, so it should be someone else's job to interrupt casts." "It's not my fault the adds got out of control. It was someone else's job to switch to them. I'm top dps so I should stay on the boss."

I bet these are the same people that ask someone else to start peeling their orange for them because it's just too darn difficult.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mmm... Meat

Ok, so I've been hearing a lot of talk about some post that got reposted, then blogged about, and then someone blogged about the blog. I started to feel left out, and I've decided to drop my 2 cents in the fountain.

Apparently, this all started with a guest post at Matticus, and then it was slammed by Forbearance, and I picked it up on Big Bear Butt and just a few minutes ago I read more on this topic at Azure Shadows. I'm sure many, many, many, many others have posted about this, too. Apparently, DPS as just "meat in the room" is the comment that set this all off. I've seen plenty of ideas on how to fix this perception or why this perception is just plain wrong (which it is... mostly), but not much exploration on the psychology behind it. SOOOO......

When someone starts playing the game, they have one of two options for their first class: 1) ask a friend (or consult a website or something); or 2) pick at random (random meaning without prior knowledge such as "I like rogues because they're sneaky"). They may continue to play this class or roll up a new toon with a new class and try that one out. I know I did. I started a pally, got bored mid-teens. Then I played a mage up to level 30 or so. Got bored again. Started a druid to mid-40s, then played a rogue to 70 (in BC) which was my main and I finally finished getting the druid to 70. Now, that druid is my main and I like it the best. I heal and tank offspec. I enjoy that. Why? Because, I have two jobs. Bear: keep the mobs attention; Tree: keep the group alive. There is one yardstick for my performance in either of these roles. Is the boss dead? If the answer is yes, then I did my job. If the answer is no, then MAYBE it was my fault (I'm gonna go with it probably wasn't me, but that's because I'm just so darned awesome *sarcasm intended). Here's why.

As a tank, you're expected to hang onto threat on all of the mobs (at least those to which you're assigned). If you're keeping your attack rotation on mobs constant, then you're doing your part. The healer is supposed to keep you alive. That's the deal... but what about the dps? Anyone who has ever tanked for any length of time has experienced those fights where there is one dpser who CONSTANTLY pulls aggro. When you ask him to watch his threat, he either listens or he says that you suck as a tank because you can't hold a mob over their elite dps. No thought to the fact that you marked the healer mob to be killed first and he feels the need to aoe or target another mob entirely. Call this guy "meat in the room" all you want. He pisses me off every time. Then there are those times when you have dpers who understand what Omen (or any other threatmeter) is and they pay attention. Mobs die fast and your job as a tank is easier. Good tanks shouldn't look on these dpsers as meat.

As a healer, your job is to keep everyone alive. Simple, right? Well, it should be. Barring aoe or random damage, only tanks should be getting hit, right? Dps should be watching their threat, interrupting, etc. If only the world were perfect. Any healer, I'm sure, has had the pleasure of watching a mob break free for a clothy who doesn't pay attention to the main target or his threat meters, and the guy gets 1-shotted. "wtf? where were the heals?" Not quite understanding that if a mob kills you in under a second, there's nothing a healer can do. "Meat in the room" applies here. When I'm healing a group of dpsers that pay attention to threat and put out the PAIN, well.... I'm really not healing them. They don't get hit (much). No meat there.

Basically, if everyone is doing their jobs correctly, epic win. Easy tanking, easy healing, no deaths, no repair bills. The question then is, how do we get to where we are that things don't run this smoothly much of the time, and why is there meat in the room?

Tanking and Healing is Boring:
In raids, it can be a lot of fun. But really, how much fun is it to heal/tank through 79 levels of questing and grinding? And tanks/heals don't put out the damage that dps specs do. This slows down soloing a lot. What this leads to is players choosing dps classes/specs overwhelmingly. By the time they hit max level, dps is what they know. Switching to tank or heals is not easy and it takes time. I only switched to heals as my main spec because it was easier to get into raids. Of course, this kind of limits my ability in pvp. I may be nigh unkillable (one-on-one) in tree form, but I also can't kill anyone else before they can run away. As a dps, you can raid or (pvp) drop in on someone and hit them for over 50% of their hitpoints before they realize what happened. Try that as a healer or tank.

Recount is Overused:
I use Recount. There, I said it. But, what I don't do is say, "if you're doing under X dps, we're booting you." I also don't say, "oh look, I'm way out-healing you! You must suck!" and refuse to bring someone on raids. Unfortunately, this is just not true with dps. I have had to endure raid leaders nerd-rage over low dps. Such a big deal gets made out of what someone's dps is, that most dpsers just concentrate on sheer damage output. Maybe the reason we wiped had nothing to do with dps, but because healers were overtaxed because no one was interrupting casts. Maybe the reason no one was interrupting casts was because they were so worried about getting kicked for having low dps. Or maybe they weren't interrupting because they wanted to look at Recount and see their name at the top. Screw the rest of the group, they did their job, right? Look, I'm not saying that Recount is bad. If it's used properly, someone can see that another person who is higher than them is using x spell more often than them and that they need to revisit their cast rotation. Basically, Recount is a tool and so are the people who use it improperly.

Tanking and Healing take Responsibility:
Yeah, this is pretty much true. Tanks set the pace of the pulls. The fight doesn't (or shouldn't) start without the tank. A good tank has to pay attention to everything, not just themselves. They have to be aware of all the mobs involved and the players in the raid. Healers have to pay attention to their mana at all times because if they run out, chances are, someone dies. If a dps runs out of mana mid fight, they can stop dpsing for a few seconds to regen. With 15 or 16 other dpsers in the fight, not casting for 10 seconds won't likely cause a death. (not that anyone should run out of mana). Not everyone wants the responsibility that comes along with healing or tanking.

So, how do we solve this? Hell if I know! I can only offer my humble suggestions on the topic and I'm sure many of you call them stupid. Feel free, disagree. I disagree with a lot of the suggestions I've read on other people's posts, but that's my perogative. So let's begin at the beginning...

The original notion was to give better rewards to tanks and heals for random dungeons? Has anyone else noticed the huge disparity that already exists between tank/heal and dps when it comes to randoms? If I wait for more than 30 seconds in queue for a dungeon, I'm annoyed. Dps has to wait 15+ minutes most of the time. I think being able to run a dungeon in the amount of time that a dps is queued for a dungeon is reward enough. So, yes, I think this idea is just silly.

Next BBB puts out there the idea of giving every class a tank and/or heal spec. This would effectively make everyone a hybrid class. Wow, am I not for this. Not because this will create a bunch of people who "think" they can tank. We've already got that. It's just that I'm for classes being different. Who cares if you cast a shadow bolt or fireball or steady shot? They're all ranged attacks that do a burst of damage and have a cast time. Does it really matter if you get healed with a nourish or a flash heal? What makes each class unique are their differences. The problem is that lately, WoW just doesn't play up to these differences.

When was the last time you saw a demonology specced warlock? Isn't the thing that distinguishes a warlock from a mage that they summon demons? Most warlocks nowadays just use their imps in raid for the extra dps output. Whatever happened to doomguards? And in raids, do hunters ever use their pets for anything other than added dps? What about all of those traps? Then we have rogues with fan of knives? Wasn't the thing that made rogues different from other dps classes is that they excelled at single-target dps and mages rocked the aoe? And don't get me started on the boomkins.

Then we have tanking classes. Warriors used be tops at tanking one or two mobs that hit hard. But when you got up to multiple mob control, you needed a pally or bear. Neither of these took a cleave the way a warrior could, but dammit they could hold aggro on 5 mobs no problem. They made great OTs while Warriors were the best MTs. Now, it seems that all tanks are built the same. Everyone has the same aoe aggro build, the same damage mitigation, the same hp. Vanilla was never this vanilla.

Lastly, healers. Each healer used to have their spot in a raid. Some were better at raid heals, some were tank healers. At this point, pallies and priests still lean toward tank healing, but shamans and druids have moved into that arena too. I'm sure we will soon see all healing classes be able to raid heal and tank heal equally effectively. Ugh.

The differences made each class unique to each role. Now, while I'm against BBB's idea of every class being able to fill every role, I have to agree with Azure Shadows on adding more utility to dps. The only two fully hybrid classes are paladin and druid. They can tank, heal, or dps. And yeah, it is kind of crazy that retadins and boomkins can put out the same or better dps than "pure dps" classes and that shouldn't be. Respectable dps I'd be ok with, but I've seen boomies top 11k dps regularly (I've heard of 16k+).

Here's the idea to make use of dps other than straight PAIN bringers. At this point, it seems that the dps classes have a hell-bringing dps spec and a pvp spec (for the most part). Why not give each spec a "utility" spec. One that specializes in crowd control or buffs the raid. Why not have a mage abilty that puts a shield on the tank that transfers damage to their own mana. Couple that with an ability to get mana back for doing dps (with their dps much lower than dps spec). How about a hunter spec that relies on debuffs from their stings or increases damage from their pet? How about a demonology spec for locks that is actually useful? And this is just changes that can be made to the classes themselves.

Raids need to be changed in a way that would welcome utility specs. I'm not saying that every fight should be like Razuvious and require a certain class. But fights that require a modicum of CC, contains regular threat wipes, bosses that are immune to one type of attack but take extra damage from another (and maybe give mages an ability to buff their group/raid with protection or buff to their spec. same for shadow/holy for priests, shadow/fire for locks). Who knows? The possibilities for this are endless. What this does is it makes the fights require more than just tank/heal/dps. It requires more than just 3 types of toons to work together. It requires a group with a wide range of abilities to bring different strengths to a raid in order to win.

Oh, and bring back 40 mans for epic epic loot wins.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gear Score FAIL

First things first, check out this post by Big Bear Butt on the present role of dps in 5 mans (and in raids). Hits the nail on the head. This is sort of a lead in to my topic of the day: Gear Score.

Remember when you were growing up and your parents bought you a Huffy bike at Kmart? Then some neighborhood kid got a brand new Mongoose with mag rims, pegs, blah blah blah blah blah. His cost more than yours, looked cooler than yours, and dammit, you were jealous (I was). The thing was, he didn't have half the stones it took to go off any of the big jumps that you did, and when he did take off the training wheels and try anything big... FAIL. QQ. You may have been riding a Huffy, but dammit, you rode that bike and did it well.

Hopefully, my point didn't get lost in that analogy. In case it did, bike = gear.

But seriously, when did an arbitrary number start to reflect the value of a person in a raid? Ok, I'll give you that the number isn't totally arbitrary, because it is based upon the level of the items worn, but here's the problem. I have seen, on more than a few occasions, a main healing spec player wearing dps gear (or even pvp gear with agi/str) just because it had a higher GS. During the raid! I've seen resto droods with resto tier gear gemmed for HIT! Really?!?!?!

Now, obviously, the majority of players don't fall into this fail category. I'd like to think (and please let me be right) that most people at least understand what each stat means to their particular class, but lets be honest. Since GS (and to a slightly lesser extent wow-heroes), have come about, people are under the crazy impression that item level = upgrade. Even more people are under the impression that higher GS = better player, because "hey, they must have experience to have all of that high level gear." /facepalm

I can't say that GS doesn't have a place, but it's become not only a crutch for group/raid/guild leaders, it's become the sole yardstick in some cases. How many times a day do you see on trade chat " forming. come to sb steps for gear check. 5k GS min"? I have a little over 5300 GS currently, and I'm rarely anything but tops on heal meter (yeah, I'm a resto drood and that's kinda easy to do when you're rolling hots on 10 or more people, sue me), but when I was at 4300 GS, I could heal as good or better than other druids with over 5k GS. Why? Because I was gemmed/glyphed properly, know my strengths and play to them, and I know just stacking one stat makes a well-rounded healer. Here's some examples of why GS isn't the end-all be-all that it's getting billed as (I'll speak to resto druids because this is what I can relate to you most easily, but I'm sure anyone else can remember seeing similar things with their own class.)

Case 1: I'm in a raid with another resto drood. He's got 5.5k GS, well over my 4.8k GS at the time. He's stacking spirit and mp5 gems... lots of them. A few +int in there too. I have about 22k mana; he's got about 29k mana. We have a nice long boss fight. I don't run out of mana, but at the end of the fight, I have about 4k mana left... he has 21k. I DOUBLED my healing over this guy and our overhealing was about the same. So in this scenario, you have someone with a much lower GS out healing someone with a higher GS because the person with higher GS was improperly gemmed (not that mana regen is bad, but hello excessive), and I also rolled hots properly.

Case 2: This is, I'm sure, quite common. I ask a new guildy druid what spec he is. Boomkin with resto offspec "but I'm over 5.1k GS in both". But he's not over 5.1k GS in both, and here's why. Boomkins (should) be gearing for +hit and +crit. Resto +sp and +haste. A lot of boomies out there take resto as their offspec because "it's easier to gear resto because a lot of the gear is interchangeable". I sigh at this. You can't swap out 5 or 6 pieces of gear and expect to heal as well as someone who is full-time resto. This isn't just because the FT resto player knows the spec better (we would hope), but because every piece of gear is tied together to round out the spec and healing style of the player. Sure, he should be able to handle healing heroics no problem, but don't think that he'll be able to be the "z0mg 1337 haelz!!1!1!" in ICC. Sure, he can step in and fill that last healing spot in a 25man if the other healers are all better in their roles. GS does not a healer make.

Case 3: I'll make this short. A resto drood wearing 2 pieces of melee pvp gear. I pointed this out to him. His response is that it was better than what he was wearing before. I said it's not for healing, it's for melee. He said "yeah, but the gs is higher". He wasn't kidding. /facepalm

My point in this is that GS is just a tool. It is not the Holy Bible of proper gear. I'm not saying that you should invite someone with 2800 GS to your next ToC, but think before you blindly exclude someone with 4800 GS and invite someone with 5200 GS. They may have a Mongoose but have no idea how to ride it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

World of Warcraft: Crap of the Lich King

I plan on making my first post about something in WoW that has been bothering me for a while now. It's long-winded, so just bear with me...

I'm sure that I'm not the first person to ask this question, but ftw happened to hard work, competition, or just a simple challenge? And I'm talking about World of Warcraft. When I started playing this game 4 years ago, the majority of the players were not max level, and by no means did everyone have tier gear. I guess those days are gone.

I can understand Blizz making it easier to level. They want to draw in new players who have friends that already play and have 80's. I get that it's not fun to play a level 30 while you watch your rl friend raid. And seriously, what's the big deal? Yeah, it took me what felt like forever to make it to 60 back in vanilla, and these kids (and I know many are adults) are getting an easy ride to 80. Honestly, I couldn't care less. Hell, when I start a new toon, I throw all the heirloom gear at it and out-level them no problem. Besides, there has been no attention paid to any of the old content, in fact, Blizz plans on stealing and recycling old content (already did it with Ony). So basically, all the cool stuff requires you to be 80. So fine, let people get to level 80 faster. Levels were never what separated casual from hardcore or elite from baddies. Top gear is what really separates us. Well, it used to at least...

Emblem gear was introduced in BC, and it pretty much worked there. Mainly for two reasons: 1) heroics were difficult; and 2) You couldn't buy tier gear outright. Really, when it came down to it, if you wanted the better gear, you had to raid. Sure, you could run heroic after heroic, save up and buy a piece of gear that was about on par with tier 4. By the time Sunwell was released, you could could get stuff that was t5/t6 equivalent, but it still cost a buttload of badges which were, once again, not cake to earn.

When WotLK was released, everything was pretty stable. And there were two types of emblems: heroism and valor. Individual progression through the game was done in steps: 80 --> heroics --> naxx --> OS/EoE. You had to work your way up to the endgame content. And you couldn't buy a full set of t7 gear with Emblems of Heroism. You could get TWO pieces. Same with 7.5 and valors. There was a limit on how far you could get by farming heroics. If you wanted BiS, you worked for it. You had to kill Kel'Thuzad, Malygos, etc. Ulduar was pretty much the same, but they introduced Emblems of Conquest. The big problem happened with the release of ToC.

ToC... God, where do I begin? I guess I'll start with the change to Emblems. Blizz, in their infinite wisdom, removed all but the top two tiers of emblems: conquest (t8) and triumph (t9). This basically meant that now, when a player hits level 80, they can farm heroics for emblems to buy T8 gear. FTW happened to T7? Other than farm badges, why in God's name would anyone waste time trying to get a Naxx 25 together if they could just do a bunch of heroics and get better gear? Sure, you can farm Naxx for badges, but Naxx takes quite a bit longer to run than any heroic. And this is getting to the heart of my point. Now, the casual player, one who doesn't have the time to complete Naxx/OS/EoE every week, has equipment that is just as good as a player who ran Ulduar many times to get their gear. The person who logs on for 30-60 mins a night and does easy heroic fights (because lets face it, WotLK heroics have nothing on BC), can get gear that is equivalent to the person who watches strat videos, wipes multiple times, gets back up, dusts themselves off and spends a few hours a night to progress through bosses that require teamwork and understanding fight mechanics (rather than just brute force healing/tanking). There is no progression, you can just skip over Naxx, which is actually a fun instance where new 80's can learn how to raid. Which brings me to my next point on ToC.

Who was asleep when this piece of crap got approved? Really, the fights are all brute force with no real strategy required. You could walk into Naxx 10 with a group full of people wearing mostly blues, but if your strats were tight, you could walk out of there champs. Sure it would be difficult, but who says the game has to be easy (yeah, I know, Blizz does, apparently). ToC, on the other hand, takes no more finesse than a heroic. As long as you have tanks that hold aggro and healers and dps that can spam, you win. How much brains does it take to MOVE when Icehowl charges? (yes, I know some people out there who still don't get this) The only fight that's even slightly interesting is phase 3 of Anub, and that really only affects healers. Basically, the only thing needed to get through this raid is brute force. Brute force comes from having better gear. Better gear comes from.... well, Blizz. They made it so easy to get T8 gear, everyone can now do ToC, even the noob 80's. So, I suppose it's pretty good that ToC doesn't require much understanding, because Blizz just made a whole group of well-geared 80's who have no understanding of any real strategy.

In any case, Blizz has taken this whole concept a step further with the release of Icecrown Citadel. Let me say this, I LOVE the 3 new dungeons. They are what ToC should have been. I also love the random dungeon queue. It can be difficult for any new player to find someone to dungeons with when the server is filled with level 80s who only want to raid. So, gratz Blizz on the great ideas. Here's where I jump off the bandwagon. They changed the emblems AGAIN. Now, only Frost and Triumph. So, now a new 80 can farm heroics to get t9 gear (forget t7 and t8). Now, a player only a week or two at top level can enter ICC and be right there with players who fought through Naxx, OS, EoE, Uld, ToC (ugh, ToC). My question is, WHY?

Why does EVERYONE get to step into the ring with Arthas? This guy is supposed to be one of the biggest bad asses in Warcraft lore! During BC, I didn't see endgame content. I did all the t4 bosses and started on t5 content, but I never made it into BT or SW. I didn't see SW until I was level 80. And that's fine with me because I'm a casual player. Endgame is something to work up to, not something to have handed to you. In other words, WoW is too easy, just like any game you could get for PS3 or Xbox. Anyone can "beat" it in a month or two.

Hey kids! Go out and buy WoW! Spend a month leveling, spend another 2 weeks getting top tier gear, and about another month, beat the Lich King! Thanks for buying Nap of the Lich King! Coming Soon, our next expansion pack: Crapaclysm!

Next Time: Gear Score