Monday, December 31, 2012

For the Horde!

For the last 7ish years that I've played WoW, I've always been Alliance. Sure, I experimented with orcs when I was younger (who hasn't?), but it never appealed to me. I always went back to what I knew. I had 6 max alts in Cataclysm, and when Pandaria dropped, I leveled a monk to max. Alliance, of course. The thing that finally got me to actually play a horde toon past mid-teens was that once I got to 90 with any of my toons, I had no one to raid with. Alliance on my server is pretty much dead. There's only 2 Alliance guilds that are really raid active, and they're pretty much set. So, I figured it was as good a time as any to go to the dark side.

Since I had spent all my time on a PvP server, I decided to go with a PvE-RP server. I figure it would be the furthest from what I'm used to, since I'm looking for a change. What I found was not what I expected. It was pretty much the same as normal. Not a bunch of people running around acting out their characters. The biggest difference I noticed was the lack of trolls (not the darkspear kind). Trade chat was missing all the a-holes. That is refreshing.

The biggest difference I noticed was in the capital city layouts. Horde cities, for the most part, are a lot bigger than Alliance cities. There is a lot of walking involved to get from one place to another. The only city that doesn't get on my nerves is Undercity (of course, Lordaeron was the human capital in the past). What did make me crack up though is the street signs in Undercity. They're skulls. What kind of city planner came up with that. Do you really need a reminder that its a city of undead? It looks like one of those crappy Halloween parties you'd go to as a kid where the host would try to make everything spooooky.

Anyway, I'm enjoying my BE pally. Never really got into pally before, so it's a welcome change. And my guild is pretty good. There always seems to be someone on, and it's pretty packed at peak times. This is a huge change from my Alliance guild which is lucky to have 3 or 4 on at peak.

Now, I could always server/faction change. But I'm not really into spending a bunch of money when I could get the same result for free. Leveling isn't that hard. Maybe at some point I'll bring a toon over, but right now, I don't see the point. It's not worth the $55 to me right now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blizzard Customer Service Live Chat (12/13/2012)

The Blizz CS live chat through CoveritLive just wrapped up. I figured I'd sit through it and bring you some highlights.

The chat was moderated by Zarhym, one of the community managers. The following panel was available to answer questions:

  • Vrakthris: CS Forum Representative
  • Marcus Maczynski: WoW Game Support Manager
  • Angelo Concepcion: SC2 Game Support Manager
  • Andreas Unger: D3 Game Support Manager
  • Charles Areson: Senior CS Information Specialist
  • Antonio Achucarro: CS Social Media Manager

A few of the questions and responses dealt with the "right-click to report" feature. This feature was brought up on a wide range of topics, including: investigating botting, hackers (they carefully investigate these complaints to make sure that only the guilty are punished), offensive names (you can appeal if someone claims your name is offensive by opening a ticket here), and language/behavior complaints (reporting temporarily "squelches" the player and initial warnings are short, but this may be changed).

One question that related directly to reporting player misbehavior was not honoring in-game agreements. The CS staff doesn't support certain types of agreements, namely cross realm trading or open loans, but some agreements are easily enforceable. They will try to resolve these.

Another question directly relating to player misbehavior involves a pug raid leader who sets masterlooter, doesn't set raid rules, and then does whatever he/she wants at the end. Basically, CS will evaluate the situation and handle it on a case-by-case basis.

The "right-click to report feature" and self-service features, such as item restoration, were touted by the CS staff as things that are working right with serving players. They're looking for more of these opportunities. Unfortunately, no specific upcoming self-service features were discussed. One person did ask about the possibility of a self-service option for deleting an account. CS shot this down, and rightly so, because players often regret this "days/weeks/months/years" later.

CS gave a bit of insight into how tickets are handled. The GMs are not assigned a specific realm or realms. Rather, they all pull tickets from the same pool (putting certain wording in the ticket doesn't bump it ahead) and work to answer them in the order received. Some tickets can be responded with a simple in-game message or email. Often, these are issues experienced by a few players and a mass mailing is sent out with the resolution. When an issue is more complex, however, the GM may contact the player directly and open a dialogue. They try not to do this unless it's actually necessary because of the volume of tickets in a given day. Here's Charles' response regarding how many CS team members answer how many questions:

"Blizzard Customer support consists of hundreds of employees, and we take thousands of calls and tickets every day. Our support volume can fluctuate based on things like recent game launches and major patches, so we adjust our daily schedules and priorities (and our support channels) to account for that."

(By the way, if any of you are looking to become one of those hundreds of employees, there are 2 positions open. Check out Blizzard job postings here.)

I had one of my questions answered too! It involved lost/stolen authenticators. So, if you're having a problem with a lost/stolen authenticator, go check out this page. I had better questions, but oh well, they can't answer them all.

There were, of course, some light hearted. off-topic questions/responses. In case you're interested in joining the Blizzard CS team, know the following:

  1. They don't work from home; everyone goes into one of the many offices all around the world;
  2. The office is decorated with BlizzSwag and other nerd stuff, such as Star Wars, Nerf guns, Legos, and My Little Pony... I guess some of the CS team are Bro-nies;
  3. They play Gangnam Style non-stop... This explains a lot;
  4. They have air conditioning and play "violent ping pong".
There were a few polls taken during the chat, also -

Preferred way to contact Blizzard CS:
In-game, 76%
Phone, 10%
Battlenet, 10%
Twitter, 3%
Facebook, 1%

Using an Authenticator:
Mobile Authenticator, 46%
Physical Authenticator, 41%
None, 13%

And one poll conducted by a player, PIRATE VS. NINJA
Pirate, 75%
Ninja, 25%

And finally, Marcus shared that one time he had to "trouble shoot someone's jelly donuts for having too much jam in them." Sounds like a great job. Good work, guys.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hey, Your Feet are on Fire!

I came across a post on WoW Insider  about the stresses of healing. As I read through the comments from disgruntled healers, a universal complaint seems to be that tanks and dps can't stay out of the shit (fire, void zone, breath, etc.)

I know this is one of my biggest peeves as a healer. Knowing what's going on around you is just something that every group or raid member should be doing. And there's not really an excuse not to pay attention and reposition. Tanks should have no problem maintaining aggro anymore, and while repositioning does negatively affect dps, it does so to a lesser degree than DYING.

No matter what your class/role, do everyone a favor and download GTFO.

When you're in the middle of a boss fight and everything is going crazy, it's tough to tell sometimes what is going on. GTFO will give you a loud, obnoxious warning to move when you're in the shit. Not standing where you shouldn't be standing will make the healers' job easier and raid survivability higher (since healers can concentrate on healing the damage that can't be avoided).

Saturday, December 8, 2012

SWTOR fail. Back to WoW.

So, I gave a few months to SWTOR. I came to the following conclusions:
1) the only real way to balance every class is to make every spec (tank, dps, heals) the same. Basically, the mechanics remain the same for each spec, only the graphics change.
2) there has to be a better way to concentrate on storyline without neglecting multiplayer aspects. SWTOR felt like playing a 1 player game (kotor was awesome) but with a few other people running around. I'd expect more from an MMORPG.
3) storyline means nothing if you're forced to pursue the same paths every time you play a class. Also, it can be tedious to have to visit the same world in the same order for every class within a faction. Side quests should add flavor. All the do in SWTOR is add boredom.
4) flashpoints (dungeons) and operations (raids) seem like mini-games if they have no geographical or temporal correlation to the rest of the game. Nearly every one requires you to go to the faction station and try to find a group there. Then, you just hop on a shuttle (portal) directly there. (Don't get me wrong, I long for the days in WoW when you had to actually get to the summoning stone for an instance before you could queue for it. At least you aren't stuck just hanging out in one capital city trying to form a group.)

In any case, I dropped my subscription and went back to WoW. About 2 months before the MoP expansion dropped, I just concentrated on alts, and was really enjoying playing a rogue for the first time since BC. Rogue was my first main toon (hence "Roguewind"), but it got boring after a while. I really had a lot of fun with it at the end of Cata, but expansions change things, so.....

The day MoP dropped, I logged on and immediately rolled a monk. I chose Brewmaster (tank) so I would get insta-queue and pushed my way to 90 in just over a week or so. My previous tanking experience had been with bear, so monk was a much different experience. All mitigation is based on actively juggling cooldowns. Monk tanking is a lot different from bear (face) tanking, which is different from warrior tanking, etc. (Compare this to SWTOR where every tanking class is the same). I had a blast.

I tried mistweaver as my offspec, but the healing just wasn't for me. Honestly, you have to pay a lot attention to heal as a monk. The biggest issue is juggling both mana (and monk heals are mana intensive) and chi (which can be used to heal or to restore mana). And the best chi generation requires you to be in melee range. This, of course, means you have to pay attention not to just resources (chi/mana) and party/raid member health, but also melee fight mechanics, and melee always have it worse than ranged.

So, I thought about it, and decided to go the easy route. I'm switching my OS to windwalker (melee dps), and I'm leveling my drood again. I really liked healing as a druid, so I'm giving it a go again. So far, I like it. I'm still working out how to cut down on over healing when you live on proactive (HoT) heals, but I'm doing good so far. And for the first time ever, I'm trying boomkin. I leveled halfway through 88 as feral, because kitty is sweet for leveling, but I gotta develop boomskeelz for any chance at raid dps.

So far, I stink at boomie. I haven't effectively exceeded 17k dps. The only thing that makes me feel slightly on is that I'm usually 1st or 2nd on dps in LFD groups. That's not saying much because some of these jokers are only pulling 11k. In any case, I've been at it for 3 days, and I haven't cried yet.

One of the nice changes is not needing different gear for each spec. Monk tank/dps are basically the same gear except trinkets. And the same holds true for heals/booms drood since spirit=hit. It makes my life easier.

Well, I'm gonna keep plugging along on these. I'm sure I'll have other gripes in the future though.

Kisses, all.