Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cataclysm Millionaire

That's right! It's time for WoW movie fun! This Taiwanese video is pretty funny in its own right, but is also just a dead ringer for the typical Asian style panel show that seems to be on TV 24 hours a day sometimes. The fast pace, the crazy swooping camera angles, and the way the host will tease people on the panel are all just laughably real. And I dunno, everything sounds funnier in Chinese. Especially Garrosh Hellscream. And making fun of anything even remotely Belvish is a good thing as well, so take that, Bob!

Letters to Players Who Do Annoying Crap

Dear Auction House Vendors,

Stop posting your items one at a time.  If I go to the AH looking for... Volatile Earth, say, then more than likely, I need a pile of it. You guys who are trying to underbid each other and post your items at the cheapest looking price make it so that I always have to click past seven pages before I can see the guys who post in stacks of five or ten... and still underbid you. It really is less trouble for me to do it this way than it is for me to buy ten of your auctions and then get all ten of them from the mailbox.  But still, it's really a pain in the butt to have to go through this every time I need needs some materials. You're losing sales from anybody with an AH add-on that shows the percentage of market value, which is almost everybody. Why not wise up and save everybody some trouble?


Monday, January 24, 2011

How Hard is Healing? And is It Any Fun?

I think I realized: Merinna's healing is lacking because I don't have any maracas.
We don’t want healers to be able to make up for all of the mistakes on the part of the other players

Healers seem like they largely understand that Heroics are challenging, and sometimes get penalized when the rest of the group doesn’t understand that. If you feel like you can’t cast anything but your efficient heal or you’ll run out of mana, then something is going wrong with the fight. Likewise, if you feel like you must spam your inefficient heals to the exclusion of all else, then your group is ignoring key mechanics or is just undergeared.

The game could do a better job of telling a group why they failed so that so much blame doesn’t fall at the feet of the healer.
We do understand that some healers are frustrated and giving up. That is sad and unfortunate. But the degree to which it's happening, at least at this point in time, is vastly overstated on the forums.
The Ghostcrawler

I have heard it said that Ghostcrawler's main is a healing priest, so maybe that explains the level of empathy coming from him recently towards the healer's plight in heroic dungeon groups. I swear, it's like he's just telling us that all the death and carnage in the average heroic run really isn't our fault.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's the Little Things ...

Hyaaah! Git along lil' doggy!

An update to the Resto changes on the PTR:

The tremor totem range change from 30 yards to 10 has just utterly disappeared. It was never officially altered in any patch updates. I went looking for the original information I read to make sure I wasn't dreaming, and best I could find was that the original post had been edited too.

The mana tide totem has been officially extended to raid wide, which is buff city. Just make sure you coordinate this with any other restos in the guild though.

Raiding Fallacies

A Fallacy: "We can attack Deathwing with a giant magnet and pull his jaw off!"
A Fallacy: A falsehood that based on incorrect thinking, particularly in logical thought (which, let's be honest, is not a strength of many people, probably not for me either). What's not necessarily in this definition, but is perhaps inherent with the problem is that Fallacy is often taken to be The Truth by people who don't go far enough as to really peer into the problem.

Let me provide a quick example of a specific fallacy that came out of Lich King (and still persists to some extent today):

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to Win at Raiding!

That's right, Catacylsm bosses! You're ON NOTICE!
It's time to dig into the raid, the funnest part of WoW, the "endgame."

I remember writing in a guild web site about raiding when I was a total noob and had only the broadest idea of what was going on, having not actually been in a raid at that point. I remember referring to "The end-all be all WoW experience: raiding Karazahn!" Gosh did I get that wrong.

Today, I'm not  a noob any more.  I think, if you were to make "hardcore" a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "pretty casual" and 10 being "Paragon aspirant" I would say that I land around an 8. Maybe 8 and a half.

Here is the terribly sad part of this article: Last night, I messed up our raid start time and was writing this article at the same time that my raid was forming up for Blackwing Descent. Which is a MAJOR violation of the spirit of this article and The Golden Rule in particular. For which I loudly bleat "Mea Culpa!" and hang my head in shame.  What is The Golden Rule of which I speak?

The Golden Rule of Raiding: Don't Waste My Time.
There are 168 hours in a week, and realistically, we get to raid for about six to ten of these, which is really quite a small amount of time. If you can respect that people have goals they wish to accomplish that can only be done while raiding, you can see that these six to ten hours are really quite precious.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Restoration Shaman Changes on the PTR

Drink in the Resto Goodness!

Imagine my vague irritation when the Patch 4.0.6 patch notes came out last week with NOT ONE WORD about any changes for Shamans. I mean, Shaman is the best class in WoW, but doesn't mean things are perfect as they are.

So, finding that Zarhym had posted about some changes today to include Shaman changes was definitely a positive step. And zing, are there a lot of resto changes in there.

The Big Ones:
Mana Tide Totem: right now, this increases the spirit-based mana regeneration of nearby players by 350% of their spirit. The new Mana Tide Totem will increase regeneration by 400% of the Shaman's spirit. This is, of course, a general, if slight, buff to regen, but it is actually a significant bonus to any DPS casters in our groups who never stack spirit in the first place (350% of zero is zero, after all). But, in the big-big picture, this really only restores the functionality of the Tide to what it was before Cataclysm, when it offered a straight MP5 bonus and didn't muck about with Spirit ratings.

An Alchemical Imbalance

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble
I have always been a big believer in the need to bring your best buffs to a raid.

WoW raiding, in my mind, is a game of inches. If you are on the edge of your raiding abilities, then you are going to defeat bosses with luck, preparation, and the best attention to stat details that you can muster. Thus, getting the rare quality gem instead of the uncommon, using enchants, and drinking your flasks make a huge amount of difference in winning a fight.

It is with this background that I come to the very reluctant conclusion that the current batch of flasks in game are totally not worth it.

Spanking Tanks

Uh-oh! Lady Ga-ga forgot her meat shield.
In the last of three examinations of what should be expected from your dungeon partners, we have to look at the tanks.

Let me start by saying that tanking is most likely the most difficult of roles. It is also the role with the most potential to really shine. Tanks have had the most difficult of stat balances to obtain. The little details of placement, and how to effectively use utility abilities like interrupts adds a lot of complexity. And then the very aware tanks who can assess problems arising and defuse them can really put a shine on a tank's reputation. On top of this, tanks are sort of the de facto leaders of almost any sized WoW group.

I won't pretend to tell you guys how to do all that, but I will try and help guide around the margins of what could make you look bad.

I'll also put forward my belief that there are "tanks" in WoW and then there are "noobs who want a fast track through the LFG queue and think tanking is as easy as pew pew." I hope I have a few things to say to both groups, but I hope the "tanks" are not offended.

Tank Priorities
1. Hold aggro on the bad guys
2. Stay alive.
3. Put the bad guys in the best place to be killed
4. Use utility abilities to the party's benefit
5. Save the healer
6. Save the DPS

Monday, January 10, 2011

Follow-up: Tol Barad to Remain Really Really Broken

That's right, it's actually getting worse and worse.

Corey Stockton, the lead content designer for WoW, posted a blog post in the past few hours describing wassup with Tol Barad. To be honest, I'm not exactly enlightened or pleased with the information he has to reveal. In fact, I read this and begin to worry that the developers don't get what the problem is.

Here is Stockton's post, with some editorial comment by yours truly (after the jump):

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tol Barad is Really Really Broken

The keep is broken too, but that's not what the headline meant.

This headline is not really news, I'm afraid. Ever since players began hitting level 85 and dropping by for a visit, the flaws in this place have been very apparent. What's kind of amazing to me has been Blizzard's response to it.

A fast summary:

Tol Barad was billed as Wintergrasp 2.0. However, that was really not the case. If it was 2.0 of anything, it was the "Isle of Quel'Danas 2.0." Although they combined some aspects of Wintergrasp into the design, and then made some new mechanics by enabling additional daily quests if your faction controls the keep.  The main fallacy here is that most players expected to portal onto the island and become immediately flagged for PvP, thus opening up the possibilities of being ganked, and all the problems that come with that. But, for the most part, you can run around Tol Barad all you want and not participate in any PvP whatsoever.  There is a battle every 2.5 hours, but you are not compelled to participate in it. The faction rewards from the Baradin Wardens and the Hellscream's Reach are all primarily PvE oriented as well, making reputation grinding there attractive, if not necessary.

The battle itself, has never worked.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fool DPS

Please visit www.thedailyblink.com for more friendly public service announcements like this.

Continuing a look at Dungeoneering today in the Cataclysm. It's time to pick on everybody's favorite whipping boys: The DPS.

I do go here reluctantly. I am a healer and I know that my DPS finesse is not the best. I cannot tell you guys how to pew pew, and I shall not.  But I believe it is moderately easy to play DPS in WoW. It is quite challenging to play DPS well. I don't mean to scapegoat the damage dealers, especially since I have met quite few really good ones. But there is a lot more being expected of these players than I see many of them knowing that they have to give.

DPS Players' Priorities
1. Stay alive
2. Stay healthy
3. Perform necessary utility functions.
4. Hurt the boss

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Healing Fallacies

You know it's true
This will be the first part of a brief series to address some of the bigger mistakes I'm seeing in dungeon groups these days. And rather than get raging on dps or tanks (oh, but you know that's coming) I first turn my eye on myself and my chosen WoW profession: healing.

I have written on some of the difficulties of healing in Cataclysm before, and whether that is insightful observation or else self-serving QQ, I leave up to you, gentle readers. This article is not intended to be a bunch of whining, merely a list of what I see as player shortcomings that could use some work.

The Healer's Priorities:
  1. Stay Alive
  2. Keep the Tank alive
  3. Keep the DPS alive
  4. Maintain your Mana
  5. Assist with Other Utility as Called For
  6. Top off the health of players
  7. Communicate issues or observations
  8. Hurt the mobs/boss

Let me present a very broad overview of what healers are facing right now in early heroic dungeon runs: Incoming damage to tanks is generally slow and reasonable. Health pools for all characters has jumped dramatically, as much as 400% greater than where they were towards the end of Wrath of the Lich King. Mana pools however, have only increased about 100% (give or take a bit). The cost of healing spells has also risen around 500% from what they were in Lich King.