Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PvP! Rage! Fire! Brimstone!

This week, Boubouille at MMO-Champion presented some data-mining regarding the win/loss rate among the Alliance and the Horde.

I'll reiterate a point that he made while presenting these two charts: there is no claim to 100% accuracy here. Even a large sample size could not provide that. The only people with 100% accuracy on this matter are Blizzard Developers, and they aren't telling.

In fact, I'll soon be arguing that developers ought to be ashamed of this, so it's no wonder they don't want to talk about it.

So, check these charts: (and please let me apologize for the weird blur. This always happens when I post charts, and I just don't know what to do about it).


This first shows BG activity prior to 2011. Note that the percentage range is only between 40 and 60%, so the wide distance between bars isn't really as sharp as it might first appear.

The second seems to include data only since the start of 2011. It also encompasses new battlegrounds.

Quite simply, this is unacceptable.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's All in Yr Tactics

For all your raiding questions: Try this easy-to-follow flowchart! Thanks to I Like Bubbles
We are about ten weeks into the Cataclysm expansion. I suspect most of the merely-mortal guilds around are plugging away at the current raid tier, and...well, in a strictly unscientific poll, I hear some grumbling from people I know who are disturbed that they haven't gotten further.

In large part, I would like to suggest a hyperborean glaciating lozenge-- otherwise known as a "chill pill." Some things that need to be taken into consideration while taking that chill pill:

It's only been ten weeks:
I think I would characterize the content of this x-pac as kinda "thin," (I've really missed the five levels between 85 and 90 that we haven't leveled) but let's make sure we understand that nine weeks into Lich King, only a few players I knew had made more than some cursory looks into Naxxramas II at this point. There is not a perfect parallel here, but still most guilds are doing not significantly better and not significantly worse than that..

There is not even the slightest hint or tittle of the arrival of Patch 4.1:
Blizzard could do an unveil tomorrow and it would still be two to three months before the next content patch goes live. There is all the time in the world to work on this tier.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's the Little Things...

Just a brief note to say how much I want to scream and throw myself out a window when I'm doing a major edit on an article, using Blogpress for iPad, and the app crashes. This is like a PC in late 80s when it could really blink off with all your work. These things aren't supposed to happen anymore!

But hey, make lemonade. I've been wishing for a way to issue brief bursts of cursing when the blog gets affected by things like this, and BP inspired me to go make the shoutbox over on the left. Um. No actual cursing please, unless it's "Rassle-frassing long-eared varmint" or the ever-popular "$%@#!"


Healing Changes: Netharea posted today about some immediate hotfixes to healing priests and my beloved Shaman.

Power Word: Shield is nerfed with a substantial mana-cost increase. The reasons given were largely cited as the PvE Disc. Priests getting too reliant on their one spell. But indeterminate PvP reasons were also cited. But I think I know what they were: The other night, I went to Tol Barad very very late in server time. There were only seven people in the raid group. But up at Warden's Vigil, there was this one stinking disc priest who had all his insta-cast defense and healing spells lined up and a line-o'-sight breaking pattern to run that kept four of us tied up for forever. I'll be honest, it was good playing on his part, and kinda irritating that not one of us had a reasonable stun. But I swear that smacked heavily of OP.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who's the Big Bad of Warcraft?

For anybody not familiar with this Joss Whedonism: the Big Bad was from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Each season, Buff and her pals would have some adventures but ultimately, there was always one hideous entity behind everything. Usually, the Big Bad was going to try and destroy the world, or at least Hill Valley High School, and would get foiled. Nexseasonson, there would be a new Big Bad, and Willow would even say things like, "Dont worry, Buffy, we've taken out worse Big Bads than this."

I think it might not be possible to identify The Big Bad of Vanilla WoW, but each expansion has definitely had its Big Bad even if Blizzard muddled it up a bit. The clearer easiest example of The Big Bad is definitely The Lich King. Arthas was the renegade mastermind behind each piece of the Scourge, we stopped him and then one of the greatest threats to Azeroth was destroyed.

But who, or what, is the Ultimate Big Bad of WoW? Who is really manipulating everything as we know it into the conflict we have now? Y'know... the the Guy behind the Guy, behind the Guy. Let's look at some candidates:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Would Be Nice to Have in Patch 4.1

Old Ironforge: Blizzard, it's time to open this door
The great Fix-It Patch (or maybe the Break-It Patch, depending on your point of view) is now here. That means only one thing: Time to think about the next patch.

4.1 will be a content patch, with new raiding and new 5-man dungeons and. Not a great deal has been said yet about all this but we know to expect a few things:

Firelands Raid - Hoo Boy! Let's go kick Ragnaros' butt. Again. Expect a corehound or eight, and who knows. Probably Baron Geddon too. "That burnt-out patch of grass on the slopes of Mt. Hyjal was merely a setback!"

Abyssmal Maw - a new 5-man instance will appear down at the bottom of the sea. We pretty much kicked the asses of all the principle bad guys we found running around Vash'jir already. But, there is still unidentified Old God influence in the sea. Expect some clues about that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pets: To Heal or Not to Heal?

It's not pinin' for the Howling Fjords, it's passed on! This pet is no more! It has ceased to be!
It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late pet! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in
peace! If you hadn't sent it to try and tank those adds, it wouldn't be pushing up the daisies!
It's metabolic processes are of interest only to historians! it's hopped the twig! It's shuffled off
this mortal coil! It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This... is an EX-PET!

Yup, that is the question.

I was reading a column WoW Insider about what hunters would like other classes to know about what they do. And well... I got a big case of indignation worked up over it.

(Indignation is a lot like indigestion, only it's all in your head).

The author certainly has some good points to cover. His comments on CC management are right on and something I would like to address in a larger scale sometime soon. But, um... in my mind, much of this column tries to justify some of the skuzzier things bad hunters do in many dungeons. (For cripe's sake, just turn off Growl when you are in a dungeon).

But let's drop in and debate what is to be said under "Our Pets Are Important:"
And sometimes, our pet needs heals.

Yes, we have Mend Pet, which can heal our pet a little bit, pretty slowly, and we have some other tools to help protect them. And you know what? About 90% of the time, our pet is going to be just fine -- they're pretty self-sufficient, and we can fill most of the gaps. But sometimes when they get tons of spike damage, they need heals, and any time the pet is taking so much damage that it's in danger of death, our Mend Pet is not going to be enough to save them.
Let me stipulate that there are no absolutes. Any time somebody tells you that they "ALWAYS DO THIS ONE THING," then they better start listing exceptions. I acknowledge that there are exceptions, but I choose not to address them at this time.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You want Hardcore? WoW's Not Hardcore...

Fun Fact: This is what the Exodar looked like before Velen crashed it.

EVE Online: Now that's Hardcore.

Every now and then I read about other MMOs out there, and I always pause whenever I see EVE Online in the news. It kinda blows my mind what passes for "fun" in that game and sure enough, when I read in, I end up shaking my head in shock and disbelief at what you have to be prepared to lose anytime you log into that game (although, apparently you can often lose even more if you don't log in).

To fill in some missing details: EVE Online is an MMO in which you basically pilot spaceships about interstellar space. It is almost entirely a PvP oriented game, in which the players battle each other fairly relentlessly.

I gave the game a try once and on the beginning stages, the player's activities include gathering resources the make bigger ships (otherwise known as "mining") and doing some simple bounty-style quests for cash. All things considered,  I didn't find this terribly fun.

Oh man, did I get the wrong idea. In the past year or so I have read repeated articles about the most hardcore player activities that just make me terrified to even think about setting foot in this game again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Great Patch Cometh!

Almost as sexy as Patch 2.4.3
MMO-Champion has said that the past two PTR clients have been marked as release candidates even though the last of these updates has not actually been released yet (or something like that).  The trickiness being that Blizzard is being somewhat more obscure than usual with their usual release patterns.

Everybody keeps calling 4.0.6 a "small patch" but I don't think I buy that. When you read the patch notes, you'll see long lists of numbers changes, but also a fair number of spell rewrites.  This patch is not going to change how everyone plays, but I will change how a lot of people play. For example:

Hunters:  To date, Survival Specc has been beating the crap out of the other hunter speccs. Blizzard looks like they are doing everything they can to change that though. Some things, like MM's Aimed Shot-- Right now, the only time to fire that is when you get a procc to reduce its cast-time to zero, cause the 3 seconds cast time it was programmed with was just way to long to use consistently. But in 4.0.6, the cast time is coming down to 2.4 seconds, and buffed damage, which might... just maybe... make that shot worth using as an opener at least.

But there are new play mechanics coming as well. Elemental Shaman are getting a new toy called Rolling Thunder (and you just gotta love a name like that). This is not really going to change up any rotations significantly, I think, except that you'll be seeing a lot more elemental 46k fulmination smackdowns. And that is a good thing.