Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gear That Lasts, Love it or Hate it?

If you have ever read my blog before you would know that I don't really post anywhere.  It doesn't mean that sometimes I do not read something and can't help but want to make an account to reply to someone because something they said deserved a response.  I just had one of these moments while reading a thread on raiding over on MMOC.

When the conversation veered toward gearing up everyone was expressing their opinion.  Some saying it is easy to gear up, some saying it was hard, some saying they hated gearing 4 times through 4 raids of the same exact content, some being just fine with it.  Opinions are just that, everyone has their own.  Most of the time you can side step an opinion you do not agree with because you know everyone is different, sometimes you just can't.  Even if it is an opinion, the opinion just seems fundamentally wrong.

I had one of those moments while reading that post when someone mentioned that, paraphrasing, "blizzard learned that people do not like having the same piece of gear for 18 months".

This might fall into the opinion category but I could not help but think this opinion in particular was fundamentally wrong.  At least part of it.  The opinion part I will agree is an opinion is that "blizzard learned".  That is his opinion, my opinion is that blizzard has not learned.  If they did 6.1 would have had a daily hub or two.  But that is my opinion.

What made me want to make an account just to reply to him was the "people do not like having the same piece of gear for 18 months."  Speak for yourself buddy.  I loved greatness, which was the trinket in question that had been mentioned at the time. 

I loved that I made it at the beginning of wrath and that it lasted me the entire expansion almost.  I did not replace it until I got deathbringers will in ICC25.  It was my first slot trinket for a long time than moved to my second slot, and as I had not gotten anything else it remained there until ICC.  And it is not like I got stuck with a bad trinket, it was still a very good trinket.  There were some along the way that I could have gotten, but didn't, that would have been better, but only slightly, greatness was, no pun intended, a great trinket and I wish all darkmoon trinkets were designed on that model.  To last a long time.

I liked the idea of the cloak last expansion and the ring this expansion because it was a done piece.  It was the best you would get for that slot.  No killing bosses over and over hoping for a drop.  No wondering if you guild will even get to the boss that drops the piece you need.  No RNG, just one piece of gear kicking ass and taking names for the entire expansion.  I freaking love that idea.

I would not be adverse to the idea that every single slot in the game was like that.  And as we raid we upgrade said pieces.  We don't need to work on luck to get gear.  We just need to be active and upgrade it.  I absolutely love the idea of having the same piece of gear for 18 months.  I love the idea that all of mists my characters had the same cloak, I love the idea that all of warlords my characters will have the same ring.

So no, some "people" do like having the same piece of gear for 18 months.  I am one of those people.  So I am not saying that as an opinion, I am saying this as fact.  Some people do like getting a piece of gear that lasts them for a while.

I might only be guessing here, but I am sure I am not alone.  I am sure there are people out there that like getting a piece that remains a solid piece for longer than just a few weeks.  Maybe not as huge as greatness which was a 200 item level piece that lasted until it was replaced by a 264 piece but still having something that does not feel like it is instantly replaced, if you get lucky, is a good feeling.  For some of us.

I like that scales of doom remains one of survivals best pieces even if highmaul is old content.  Sure, I did not get it and it would be awesome if I did, but for the people that did get it, it is a nice feeling to know that what you worked to get and were lucky enough to acquire was not made instantly useless by a new tier coming out.  Or a new difficultly level you moved into.

I believe pieces should last longer.  I don't think I should be upgrading my shoulder pieces every couple of weeks, depending on luck.  I would rather get a piece and it last for a few months, maybe even a year or hell, even 18 months, because that would feel better for me, it would make it feel as if the piece of gear I worked for is actually worth it.

I like gear that lasts.  I would rather have more pieces of gear as good as greatness, or as well designed to last like the cloak and ring than to upgrade my shoulders with a normal highmaul drop, then upgrade then again with a heroic highmaul drop, then to upgrade it with a warforged drop or a gem slot drop, then upgrade them again with a tier normal blackrock drop, then upgrade them again with a heroic blackrock drop, then upgrade them with a warforged drop or a gem slot drop all within the span of a couple of months.  No thank you.  I would rather have a piece that lasts for more than 15 minutes thank you very much.

But perhaps I am just jaded because in the example I used, I would never get 6 pairs of shoulders to drop, I probably would not get one.  So I would rarely or ever be in that situation.  It could also be why I would prefer to have gear that lasts.  It takes so long for me to get a piece, I hate having to replace it every few months and then not being able to get the new piece to drop.  So my opinion on the matter could very well be tainted by my bad luck.  So I will ask you.

Do you like gear that has a long life span?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Random Thoughts

- Finally moved on to finishing the current ring in the legendary quest line.

- All thanks for LFR actually.

- My guild has not downed blackhand yet, so I needed that piece.

- Now I have it, so now I have a 715 ring.

- And a legendary follower.

- Just to show you how bad my luck is guess what traits my follower has?

- You do know it has the master tactician trait by default right?

- It basically means it gives a bonus vs everything.

- As in against orges, orcs, arakkoa, you name it.

- So her other two abilities?

- Bonuses vs arakkoa and beast I beleive, two bonuses vs something.

- Which basically means its second and third trait are redundant and therefore useless.

- Leave it to me and my luck to get a lame duck legendary follower.

- Hey, at least I have it.

- That is something it does not seem like anyone else (or very few) on my server can say.

- Someone asked in trade about it and the standard response was no one on the server had it yet.

- I was like, really?

- I have it right here.

- But I did not say that.  I am not one of "those" people that need to make themselves feel better.

- That and I do not post in trade, or very rarely, if I were going to it would not be to try to stroke my ego.

- I find it insanely hard to believe no one on my server has it when I do.

- They were talking about it for a long time and no one mentioned having it.

- So either they just were not on or did not feel the need to talk in trade, like me.

- I mean my server is bad, really bad, but it is not that bad.

- I am sure there have to be more people that have it.

- Now the big question ab out this follower is as follows.

- Hopefully someone knows for sure.

- If I use something to reroll her traits can I lose master tactician?

- Because if there is a chance to lose that then I am stuck with two otherwise useless traits.

- Because there is no way I am rerolling if there is a chance I can lose that.

- I spent another weekend not playing really, so nothing much to randomly think about game wise.

- No pugs, no bouncing through characters, no alts, no leveling, nothing.

- Is it sad that my best week playing lately is one not playing?

- I'll get back into the game soon enough, just needed a break.

- Been trying a new game in my off time.

- Not new, but new to me.

- Final fantasy 14.

- I am sure I will not stick with it but it is serving as a suitable distraction at the moment for me.

- It reminds me so much of the single player games.

- Think they did a good job incorporating that.

- I see parts of many of the earlier games in the MMO version.

- Stuff taken from 7, 8, 9, etc.

- It is nice seeing a little throwback to games I fondly remember playing.

- I guess that is one thing FF14 really has going for it.

- I'll probably play it like I do the other FF games, except in this case max level is when I am done.

- I like the idea of playing it solo.

- There are a lot of things in it I would love to see blizzard steal.

- Or perhaps adapt might be a better word.

- FF14 seems to have a very solid player housing system.

- The biggest thing I like is their classes system however.

- No need for alts, I mean unless you want a second character on another server or for role play purposes.

- Each character can be each class and can switch freely between them.

- I would so love that in wow.

- For years I have been saying things like "I had to tank" or "I had to heal" and the such.

- I get resentful that I am always stuck sacrificing for my guild just so we could get running while my main sits on the side.

- That would not happen in FF14.

- It would be like if I were on my hunter and I needed to tank, I would switch classes to guardian druid or protection warrior, or what have you.

- I would still be on my character, but tanking on my character.

- That is awesome.

- Also it is something that would never happen in wow.

- Too late to add something like that.

- What would people do with all their alts?

- I do like the idea however and I might have some fun playing with it.

- I will need to level all of them of course, but at least I will still be on my "main" while doing so.

- I picked to level an Arcanist, it is like a mage as we would know it sorta kinda.

- I usually always play a hunter whenever I play games like this but I wanted something different.

- Whenever I try something different I usually go the sword and board route or the speak softly and carry a big weapon route.

- So for this game I figured I would give a clothie a try.

- At least as we know them.

- When I hit level 4 I got a pet.

- It was like, oh cool, a mage hunter.

- But it was a pet that I have asked for in wow for many years and have never seen.

- It was a bunny.

- When I hit 15 I got another bunny, one that can tank for me.

- No matter what I end up thinking about this game the fact I finally got myself a bunny tank is well worth the cost to buy the game for me.

- Okay okay, it is not a bunny, it is a carbunkle, but look at the damn thing, it is a bunny.

- So don't give me that carbunkle crap.

- Call it what you like, but mine is a bunny dammit.

- My fishing, fishing is a class with its own gear, is as high as my arcanist, would you believe that?

- I think wow can steal some of the fishing things from FF14.

- But FF14 suffers from the curse of all games of this sort.

- Bag space.

- I am only level 17, 16 and 12 on the three classes I have played with (all on the same character mind you) and I am already scrounging for bag space.

- When will these game makers learn bag space issues are not "fun".

- But thinking of "fun" there is another thing wow can learn from FF14.

- There are so many ways to travel, many of them completely instant.

- If blizzard was going to take away flying they should have at least added instant travel.

- FF14 has instant travel and come the expansion they are adding flying.

- What is wrong with this picture?

- Wow has slow and boring modes of transport that make you spend more time getting from point A to point B than actually playing the game and they remove flying, the only thing that could make that better.

- FF14 has instant transport from point A to point B so you spend more time playing and less time traveling and it is adding flying, when it does not need it at all.

- Blizzard, read those two lines and think for a second.

- Design for game play, stop designing for travel being "content".

- I really like when I spend some time playing other games.

- It shows me all the things blizzard could do in wow, things I wish they would do.

- But in the same it reminds me why, even when I am upset with things in game, warcraft is still the best game out there.

- Warcraft might be in a rut where we have a lot of things to complain about, but it is still a very solid game.

- And playing other games really reminds me of that sometimes.

- The thing I miss most about warcraft when I am away from it?

- The art work.

- People always joke how "cartoonish" warcraft is.

- I do not care what they say.

- Having played countless other games with so called better art I can say one thing for sure, warcrafts is the best.

- It fits the genre, it fits the moment, it fits the fighting style, it fits the environment, it moves nicely and smooth, and it is very comfortable and easy on the eyes.

- Best art work in an MMO, and not just from a visual stand point but a game play one, has to be awarded to warcraft, hands down.

- I am liking FF14 but between reading a novel while playing and the "flashy" artwork, my eyes hurt after just one hour playing.

- Never had those problems with wow.

- Well, outside of the underwater zone.

- I still wonder, what the hell was blizzard thinking.

- Then I remember the expansion that came from, cataclysm and I got my answer.

- Blizzard wasn't thinking.

- Just like they surely did not think when they made warlords.

- Sounded like it would be a cool idea.

- Maybe they should have worked on backing up a good idea with, you know, some better writing and better content to go with it.

- Warlords seems to be a failure over all and a lot of people can point a lot of fingers at why that is.

- But I have my own ideas and my own fingers to point.

- But that is a post of its own.

- I said when I play other games it reminds me how much I like warcraft.

- So does this mean I will be coming back sooner than later?

- Nope, still taking my time off.

- As much as I miss it, I know if I go back now I will just have to leave again.

- They need to add some things, adjust some stuff, and change their random design philosophy if they want me to rush back.

- But they won't, they are too stubborn to admit they were wrong.

- So just wait and I will come back on my own, when I am damn well ready to.

- Which will probably be after I reach max level in FF14, or until the leveling slows to a craw and I get bored and lose interest because I start to feel like I am making no personal progression.

- Personal progressions means a lot.

- I wrote the other day about how that is what is missing from warlords.

- It is the hook, it is what keeps me and many players coming back.

- Go 6 weeks without loot even if you are killing 10-15 bosses a week and guess what.

- You leave because you are making no personal progression.

- Blizzard hasn't changed anything with their "only the lucky get gear" approach and they are not going to just hand me the loot I did not get in past weeks when I come back.

- So I am in no rush to return full time.

- Blizzard has not changed anything yet, so my reason for leaving is still the same.

- I am tired of playing and feeling like I am getting nothing in return for doing so.

- I am only logging on for raid night, so maybe one of these raid nights will be a good one.

- You would be amazed what one good night could do for a person.

- It might actually make them want to play again.

- Now if only blizzard could grasp that very simple concept.

- Have a great day.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bob, Tom and Dave, Who is Cheating?

Today I am going to present to you a question.  A question I saw mentioned in different ways and not actually as a question on forum posts and blogs around the net for the past few weeks.  It is in concerns to how we will soon be able to buy gold in game with the new game time tokens.

For this question I am going to introduce you to three players.  Bob, Tom and Dave.  Bob and Tom already exist in game and have for a very long time, Dave will exist soon.  So lets get on with the story and then when each persons tale is told I want you to ask the question, is this person cheating.

Say hello to Bob:

I don't have to search far for Bob, don't even need to make up anything about him.  I can give you as much detail about Bob as I want because I know Bob.  I've known Bob for many years, Bob is in my guild.  Many guilds like mine have a Bob or a few just like him.

Bob is a great guy.  He is fun to have around, he is willing to help anyone when they need, he will go above and beyond, no need to even ask.  Short on a few bloods for that upgrade, don't worry, Bob has got you covered.  He will even tell you that you do not need to pay him back.  He is a decent person and a team player even if he understands his team job is riding the bench.

The problem with Bob is that he is a dreadful raider, to put it as nice as possible.  He is the guy you read about that is still having problems with getting the silver proving grounds.  He has been at it for at least 20 hours that I have noticed and probably a lot more.  A little here and there and seemingly never even getting close.  He asks for tips and advice and I am giving him all the help I can, but he just can not get silver in proving grounds.  He tries, he really does.  He is just not a very good player for whatever reason.

He is the type of guy that is always dying to avoidable damage in the raid.  The type of guy that when there is some special ability that if one person gets it they can wipe the team so you hope and pray it does not target him or if it does that you get lucky and somehow only he dies.

He is a great guy, don't get me wrong I really like him, but he is not a raider.  He, actually, is the average warcraft player.  There are more people in game closer to his ability level than the ability level of your average raider.  The most awesome thing about Bob is that Bob realizes that he is Bob.  He knows he is not a raider and he knows that we will not be sending him an invite when the raid time invitations start.

After we have a raid on farm we always invite Bob along.  We let him gear up his character, so that gear goes to someone that needs it.  When we have something on farm we are just killing for fun more than anything else Bob is the first to get an invite, he earned it by being a team player and a ncie guy all around.  He also knows his place, so that if there is someone there that needs something and they are a regular raider Bob would never roll against them.  He is glad to get anything that no one needs and is happy with just that.

Last expansion Bob was so well geared by the end of SoO you would have thought he was a regular raider, but that is more because of the expansion running on as long as it did.  And Bob was never a slacker, he always valor capped, he upgraded his gear, he was gemed, he was enchanted, he was reforged, he was in the right spec with the right stats.  He was just a poor player, but a great guy that really tried.

Basically, Bob got carried.  We carry him because he is our friend.  We will not sacrifice progression to try to squeeze him in, but when we start downing stuff with our eyes closed, we always drag Bob along.  He is one of those guys that when we first killed garrosh we started thinking, when can we get Bob in for a kill, how long until we have it on farm so we can carry him.

So, is Bob cheating because he was carried through a raid?

Say hello to Tom:

Tom can come in a varied number or skill levels.  There are Toms out there that are great players and Toms out there that make Bob look like he is great.

Basically what Tom is is someone that really does not have a great deal of friends in game or on that specific faction or server.  Maybe Tom plays mostly solo.  Maybe Tom is an alt on another server.  Maybe Tom is the one token alliance / horde character someone has.

Tom, while having no guild, no friends, no connections or anything else in game that would help him on the raiding scene does have one thing of value, something he can barter with.  Be it gold, pets to trade, an item someone else wants, or max characters of the other faction that can be used as trading tools.  Sometimes, most times, Tom is a gold goblin, someone that has a lot of gold because they know how to work the auction house.

Toms ability as a player means nothing, I was a Tom once myself.  I don't suck, but I am not great either.  I was doing heroic (now mythic) so wanting to do normal (now heroic) on an alt of the same class I do heroic with really does not seem out of the question does it.  The problem is I do not play horde much and never really had a raiding guild horde side, nor do I have many friends horde side, more so friends I could ask to let me tag along on my baby hordie.  When they added the group finder I started to slowly work my way to getting some gear, but it was hard alone and quite honestly not all that fun alone.

Tom is a barterer.  Tom is a deal maker.  I know when I was a Tom on my horde character last expansion I worked a deal.  I will carry your character through SoO alliance side if you carry my horde character through SoO horde side.  Fair enough right.  I thought so.  One hand washes the other.

Now, at my skill level, I could easily carry my own weight in a pug, but it was so much easier to get into a group when you barter your way in.  No worries about being last in DPS because you have no good gear yet or what have you.  You can stick around no matter what because you basically paid to be there.  I won a few pieces, won two more on rolls, and suddenly, my horde character whom had the legendary cape and not much more outside of a few raid pieces was now sitting pretty with nearly half raid gear.  This made pugs amazingly easier after that.

I bartered carry for carry.  Many Toms, being good gold makers, barter gold for those carries.  They pay for the run just to get the achievement, maybe get some gear, maybe get some experience, whatever their reason for wanting the run, they barter for the run.   They pay for the run with something that they have earned, gold, via the auction house and hard work.  They barter just the same as I did.  I traded carry for carry, they traded gold for carry.

It is easier than trying to find a group that you know can down things with the group finder.  It is guaranteed success.  No waiting hours refilling and waiting for people to get there after each boss.  No waiting hours trying to find a group in the first place.  No waiting hours between pulls because of people stepping away.  No wiping to stupid stuff because of the nature of pugs.  No dealing with asshats.  You pay for a nice, smooth, and full run.  Heck, that sounds so good I wish I could do that on my alts right this very second.

So, did me, as Tom, cheat because I traded an alliance carry for a horde carry?
So, did the average Tom cheat because he paid for his run with gold?

Say hello to Dave:

Dave is a completely fictional character, at least as of the time of this writing.  There are no Dave's in game yet (legally) because you can not buy gold with real cash yet.

See, Dave is the guy with lots of money in real life but very little time on his hands.  He does not have the connections that Bob does by being in a guild that will carry him because they are his friends.  He does not have the gold making knowledge or anything else to barter with like Tom does.  But he does have a boat load of cash and he is not afraid to use it.

In this fictional, but soon to be true, account we see Dave selling his little heart out $20 at a pop trying to amass enough gold so that he can buy some of the things he wants.  Maybe some gear off the auction house, maybe some pets or mounts, maybe even a run in the newest raid, a carry, just like the one Bob got, just like the one Tom got.

Just like with Tom, the actual skill of the player is meaningless.  He could be the greatest player in the world or the worst, it does not matter.  He is paying gold, gold he made by exchanging real cash for it, to get into a group that he can do the run with.

So, is Dave cheating because he was carried through a raid?

That is the question.

Do you think Bob, Tom and Dave where cheating?  Just one or some of them cheating and other(s) not cheating?  Or all off them not cheating?

Interesting question, because the bottom line is Bob, Tom and Dave all did the exact same thing.  All three tagged along with a raid group that could carry them.  How they got into that group is completely irrelevant.  They just went about how they got into that carry differently.  Bob just used him being a friendly person and showing a willingness to wait until we could carry him before he got his carry.  Tom bartered his way into a carry by trading something he had of value like trading a carry for a carry or gold he worked to get for a carry.  Dave bought gold with game time tokens and used that gold to pay for a carry.

Reading around the net and on the forums.  The gist I get from people is that what Bob did was fine, was Tom did sometimes can be considered fine and what Dave will be doing is completely and totally wrong.

What do you think?
Secondly, why is what Dave will do wrong but what Bob did perfectly acceptable?
And one last thing, why do people consider it cheating?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Would You Support Another Physical Ranged Class Being Added?

I often see the idea of adding another class that could use hunter weapons, as in bows, crossbows and guns, being added to the game.  Hunters right now are the only class that can use these items, at least effectively, as warriors and rogues and still equip them but it really serves them no more use than a hunter equipping a polearm.

From the standpoint of a hunter that has still not seen a hunter weapon drop this expansion, yeap, not a single one, unless you count getting one in a dungeon and one from an invasion bag, but I don't.  I do not really like the idea of seeing another class that could possibly roll on my weapon.  I have a hard enough time finding one as it is and would not enjoy the idea of having yet another class possibly roll against me if one ever does magically drop.

However, from a game play standpoint, another physical ranged class does make sense even if I would rather keep my unique status as a hunter.  There is something that is enjoyable, at least for me, knowing that my class is unique in the game.  A tank is a tank, a healer is a healer, a melee is a melee and a caster is a caster.  Their abilities might have different names and they might be played in different ways, but in the game, they are all the same.

It would be interesting to see some mixes added to the game.  I might not welcome the idea of having another class that could roll on my weapon but another physical ranged class does have a little logic to it.  I've always thought it would be a great idea to add a caster based tank.  And for that matter, melee casters.  I know that paladins and shamans of the enhancement variety are technically casters but they act like melee, they play like melee and they have auto attack like melee.  I am talking caster melee, as in cast times, no auto attack, just need to be in melee range for their spells.

It would be an interesting twist and for me it is the only way I would be willing to accept losing my unique nature as a hunter.  If things were being mixed up a little.

Outside of hunters there is only one other unique class, in my opinion, in the game.  That is the monk.  Why do I call the monk unique?  Because when in healing spec it is the only class that is considered melee.  So when fighting a raid boss that has an an ability that targets a ranged character all other healers become viable targets but a monk healer does not.  It is melee.  That is pretty unique if you ask me.

I guess even if could see adding another physical ranged class as making some sense in the game I don't really wish to see it.  Weapon issues aside, I just think that classes should have a little something that keeps them feeling unique, different and hunters are the last class left that has that feeling.  I don't think I am ready to give that up just yet.  How about you?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Warlords Missing Ingredient: Forward Motion

I will start this post off by giving the standard disclaimer because a lot of what I am going to be talking about here is my personal opinion and experiences and what I personally like in games.  It might be close to or far off from what you play a game for but I hope that I am able to convey what I believe is missing from warlords in a way that even if you do not agree you will understand where I am coming from when I talk about it.

When I was playing with warlords on the beta I kept saying there was a lack of content at 100.  I kept thinking they would add more before the game was released because it was impossible to think the game would be released with such a limited array of things to do at max level.  I was wrong.

But I believe, now at least, that it is not so much the things that are missing such as daily quest hubs, "normal" reputations, scenarios, flight, etc that is what the expansion is missing.  Sure it would be nice to have them all and having them all would help with what is really missing from this expansion, but they, themselves being gone, are not the problem.

The problem with warlords is the lack of feeling like you are moving your character forward.

That is it in a nutshell for me.  Going into yet another reset with the same gear, for the most part, that I had 6 weeks ago, save one or two pieces maybe, and knowing that the only way I will get anything is completely up to the random number generator is what is killing the game for me.

Let me go into the time machine and take your through a history, minor one, of me with playing games.  I won't bog you down with a lot of example, just two, but thinking about these games I have played in the past made me realize what is missing from warlords.

Over the years I have played a ton of browser based game while at work.  Can't play something like warcraft there, it is too involved.  But some point and click stuff on a browser works wonders for me.  I played a near countless number of games.  Most of those the browser based games that some call pay to win.  Some I have spent a little on, some I have not spent a cent on.  Spending or not, each and every one of them had ran its course and I quit.  I quit only to move on to the game game similar to it.  They are all the same really, in one way or another, just as LotR, Rift, WildStar, FF, etc are all the same as wow.  Basic concept similar, implementation slightly different.

So what made me quit all those games?  The same exact thing.  As soon as I stopped feeling the forward motion, feeling the character develop, moving forward, getting stronger, making advances, moving up, I quit the game.

I like to see myself moving forward, feel myself moving forward.  It is one of the reasons I like grinds.  I liked getting the 10,000 bones for the raptor, grinding reputations, etc, all because I can see myself moving forward toward a goal.  When I get that last bone, finish that last quest or kill for the reputation gain that shifts me over to exalted, it is building up toward something, it is moving forward.  Once I stop moving forward, I start to lose interest.

This is where I am now in warcraft.  With many pieces of gear out there for me to move forward with, but absolutely none of them within my reach, thanks for bad luck and a random number generator that just won't forget I called its mother fat some years back and still hates me and the fact I will never get to see mythic content because I do not have a group of 20 players that can do it and it is not cross realm.  This all means my only way to move forward now is locked behind a door called luck, and I do not have the key.

Now to those games, and their story.  One of those games I got really into.  I spent a little, about fifty bucks at the start, to get me going but then once I had started I became a wheeler dealer.  Making trades, partnerships, alliances, you name it.  I was able to work the game better than I had ever worked a game before.  The game was out for nearly two years before I joined, so I was just a droplet of water in an ocean of players when I started.  But I kept working, I kept doing my thing, and I went above and beyond to see how far I could get.  I was so bad I even set my alarm clock so I could check in more often.  Didn't want to miss a thing.

It took me over a year, but with dedication, hard work, and lots and lots of trading, and I was poised as one of the strongest players in the game.  I kept going, because I kept seeing myself moving forward.  I went up to the point where I managed something that the creator of the game did not even think was possible.  I neared god mode.

There was a bounty system in the game and for fun one of my friends put a bounty on me to see how many people they could get to attack me and lose.  Some 4000+ PvP battles later against challengers, even being ganged up on my multiple people constantly, I could not be beaten, I could barely be touched.  I had reached god mode.

What did I do?  Did I keep going, did I keep pushing to remain the strongest the game has ever seen?  Nope.  I quit the game.

There was no where to go.  No where to move forward.  I reached the end of the game even if the game had no end, because in my mind there was no moving forward any more.  I was at the forwrd point, people were now moving toward me.  There was no carrot on a stick to keep me going.  Here was a game I spent some money on, I spent serious time on, serious effort on, so much so that I woke up in the middle of the night just so I did not miss anything, and I just quit.  I quit because I didn't feel like I was moving forward any more.  When I left the game the creator redesigned it so that no one would be able to attain what I did, even if they tried to repeat what I did to get there.

Another example is a game I am current playing.  I've spent nothing at all on this one.  As a matter of fact I really like it.  It is a great game to play at work.  Nothing is timed so I can step away whenever I need to and not miss anything.  I've been playing it for two months now and I keep moving up.  This is one of those new generation pay to win games however, not like the one I mentioned.  This one gives the people that pay a huge boost instead of just a simple increased energy bar so you did not need to log on as often like the previous one I mentioned.  So I will never catch any of them, or I shouldn't.

But I am, or should I say was, moving forward nicely.  Each day I log in, I do my things, I can see my character getting slightly stronger.  I get further in the endless battle, where waves of mobs keep coming until you die, I move up the PvP ranks in one on one and tournament, my battle rating keeps rising, my rankings for weekly honor and silver keep moving higher, and over all I can feel myself moving forward.  But only two months in and I already feel the slow down, the painful slow down, and I am starting to lose my desire to log in.  The steps forward keep getting smaller and smaller.  I see it getting to the point soon where I will not even notice I am moving forward.  Sure, I will be moving forward, but in such small increments it will start losing its attraction because I won't feel like I am moving forward.  I will most likely be quitting before I finish the third month of playing at this rate.

Once the feeling of forward motion stops, or starts slowing to a crawl, it is time to move on.  It has been the way I have handled each and every one of these games that I have played while at work.  I enjoy them for a few months, they slow down, I quit and move on.

I just used those two as an example because I can probably go through 50 or more games I have played like that over the years.  When I stop feeling the forward motion, I quit and move to the next thing.

That is the feeling warlords is giving me.  A feeling of not moving forward.  The story does not feel like it is moving forward.  My character with bad luck does not feel like it is moving forward.  My alts, being I do not have time to pug raids, even with the group finder as there is only so much time in a day, do not feel like they are moving forward.  I feel stagnant.  That is not a fun feeling.

If it were not for the fact I am so invested in the game in other ways, time, money spent for all these years, buying mount and pet trading cards and in game mounts, my guild, the friends I've made, and the history of all I have done, I would have already dropped this game just as easily as I dropped all those others I played, even the ones I did spend a fair deal of cash on only to walk away if not for those additional connections that keep my playing the game.  I would have walked away because I do not feel as if I am moving forward.

I figured out what could fix the game for me.  Valor.

Seriously, something that simple would fix everything for me.  Have it use the same criteria as garrison missions do.  You buy xxx level gear and once you kill X number of bosses at one level you can now buy xxx level of gear.

That would mean, even with my bad luck, if I log in each week and keep busy and valor cap, I have a feeling as if I am moving forward.  I know that even if I kill 8/10 again this week and win nothing I will have collected valor.  Maybe in another week or two I might be able to buy one piece of gear.

Even when it gets to the point where I do not need any valor gear I will still have the feeling of moving forward by the fact I could exchange my valor into conquest and start my PvP set.  I would also feel like there is once more a reason to play my alts.  I could now do things with them to get valor and slowly gear up that way.

If I hit a wall gear wise on an alt I could then make some time to get into pugs because there would be more motivation to do so.  Right now the only motivation is really to get some kills and then maybe, just maybe, win something.  Which the way things have been going I would not count on.  But I would get the better cache in time, which is little, but that is not much motivation as that is one piece every 2 or so week, and that too is hindered by being random and knowing you can get the same piece 4 times in a row, so that is no way to gear up.  However, if it upped the gear I could buy with valor, I once again have motivation to play my alts.  I once again have motivation to pug with my alts.  I once again have more reason to log in whereas right now I don't because I do not feel myself moving forward.

I am at a wall, my alts are at a wall, the game has become stagnant, it is just sitting there doing nothing but waiting for me to log in on raid night, kill a few internet dragons, get nothing from it, and then wait until next week to do it again.

No forward motion at all.  The game has completely stalled.  Valor could fix that.

I said it when they originally announced that they were removing valor that I did not believe it would not be a good idea.  For me the realization has come, even if I had already known it, that removing valor was the worst move they ever did for this expansion for a player like me, one addicted to moving forward, even at a slow rate, as long as I am moving forward, because valor offered relief from the game getting stagnant.  It helped you feel as if even if you did not win something you were gathering a resource from the work done that would buy you something.  Add into that the new idea from blizzard to increase rewards based on a set number of kills, that makes valor even more valuable, if you ask me.

If they added that kill number increasing rewards it would mean that valor would remain attractive much much longer.  While valor was always the motivating factor for my alts to help gear them up, on my main it was usually useless in short time, and I started to convert it to conquest.  But with this new system valor would serve a greater purpose for my main and an increased purpose for my alts, more so even when you consider it might get me to pug more on my alts as well.

Over all the missing ingredient in warlords is not flight, that was removed, it is not scenarios, that were removed, it is not mythic being locked for only large groups now, it is not the lack of daily quests, that were removed, it is the loss of valor and its removal because valor was what helped, me at least, feel as if I was moving forward.

In all other expansions when I am "done" with my main, like I am on my hunter now basically outside of raid night, I always "kept moving forward" by gearing alts with valor.  Without valor, I am not moving forward, and without forward motion, there really is no reason to play the game.

That is where I think warlords made its one critical error.  Not the removal of flight, scenarios daily quests or any other debated argument people come up with for why warlords feels blah.  Warlords feels blah because it is blah.  It lacks sufficient forward motion.  At least for me it does.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Random Thoughts

- Not a lot of random thoughts from my this week.

- I am getting ready for the alien invasion of earth.

- I managed to get the same item in my highmaul box for the 4th time in a row.

- And as discussed, the odds of that happening are about the same as earth being invaded by aliens.

- So best to be prepared.

- Lots of bottled water and canned food.

- And a crowbar.

- When the world goes to hell a crowbar will be a good weapon to have around.

- Never runs out of bullets, less likely to break than a sword or knife, and it can be used as a tool as well as a weapon.

- Yeap, I am ready for the alien invasion, how about you?

- I basically did not play all weekend.

- Logged in for a couple of hours to tank for an alt run and then logged right out after.

- Otherwise I had no desire what so ever to play the game.

- Odd to think that one thing like that, getting the same item four times in a row, can sour you to a game but it was a long time coming.

- So I took a much needed break.

- Hope your had a good weekend in game.

- I had a good one not playing it.

- Funny part is, even if I did not want to play, I also did not want to play anything else either, so I had a completely game free weekend.

- Has warcraft soured me to all MMOs?

- Seemed like it this weekend.

- Have a great day.

Friday, March 20, 2015

An Answer For Holinka From a Non-WoW PvPer That Does PvP in HotS.

Let me start off by saying that no intelligent conversation can be had with only 140 characters, so a blog post is required to answer your question.   I believe it was a misjudgement of yours to ask such an important question like that on twitter and expect to get solid feedback that could be said in only 140 characters.

For full disclosure I must state I do PvP on occasion.  I sometimes get together with a few friends and do some threes, do naked 5 mans for shits and giggles, maybe run a battleground once in a blue moon and have had the occasion to poke a few orcs with a stick in Ashran.  But I most definitely do not qualify as a PvPer.  I have never been good at it, I have never dedicated enough time to get better and up my game play, I have never even once had a decent rating in arena and never once stepped foot into a rated battleground.  So I do believe I qualify as what you are looking for, the average wow player.  Even if a grumpy one.

Why I would PvP in Heroes but don't in Warcraft... as told as grumpy as I can get.  Brace yourself, it's about to get weird.

1) Warcraft is NOT a PvP game

That is the number one reason I do not PvP in warcraft.  It is a rather straight forward and simple reason, one I do hope you can understand.  I play warcraft to do PvE content.  PvP is nothing more than a side game.  PvP is closest in terms of game play to pet battles, both complex and simple at the same time, both that with some skill and effort you will get better at, and both are something you can do or ignore, it is not part of the actual game.

My friends started playing when the game first came out.  Some had played other games of the sort like everquest before wow came out.  I never grasped why you would want to play an MMO version of final fantasy basically.  It is a single player game, other people are not needed, nor would they be welcome.

After three years of them talking about it I joined the game to play a fantasy genre game, to quest, to explore, to grind (yes I like to grind), to collect, to do dungeons, to do raids, and I finally realized the need for groups for content like that.  When I did start playing I instantly fell in love with the game.

At no point in enticing me into the game did PvP come into play.  At no point in falling in love with the game did PvP come into play.  At no point does PvP keep me playing the game even if I have fallen out of love with the game a great deal after two (cataclysm and warlords) really sub standard to my expectations expansions. 

Oddly enough the people, the same ones that it took me so long to start playing because I never thought I would need them, are what keep me playing.  I love my guild mates, I love the friends I made, I love the hunter community, and I love them all a very unhealthy amount for people I do not even really know for the most part.  Odd as the reason I did not start playing right away is I did not think other people would be a big deal.  Turns out I was wrong.  Happens from time to time, but not this time, this is all opinion and opinions can not be wrong.

Warcraft is not about PvP.  Never has been and never will be.  That is the number one reason why I would PvP in HotS and not warcraft.  HotS is a PvP game, wow is not.

2) Gear

Not gearing.  Please let me point out that gearing is completely different from gear.  I absolutely love the gearing model for PvP.  It is how gearing should be done in all aspects of the game.  Work for your gear, not just be handed it for killing some internet dragon and hoping the RNG gods shine on you.  PvP even has the added incentive that even if you fail you gain progress toward getting gear, unlike in PvE where you only see gear, maybe, on the super rare of most rare occasions where you might actually see something you can roll on, if you actually win.   So I am not talking gearing.  I am talking gear itself.

But I am talking two different aspects of gear.  We will call them A and B, because calling them R and W would just make no sense what so ever,

A:

If you are not one of the first in and grind your butt off from day one, you are always at a disadvantage.  Being my extremely low PvP skills to begin with the prospect of meeting up with someone decked out in full PvP gear in all my PvE gear is a MAJOR deterrent for me to get into it.

So many times I had thought I might give a little PvP a try, but fighting an uphill battle against my limited skill and huge gear gap makes it nothing more than an effort in frustration.  Sure I can keep at it and get better at PvP by doing so but there are only so many times you can die and think to yourself, if only I had my PvP trinket already, if only I had a little more health, if only I hit for a tiny bit more, when your opponent is at 1% life and wins and you realize that it wasn't your skill holding you back this time, but your gear, that you just give up and say screw it.

Gear matters in PvP some and being behind the gear curve is a huge turn off.   It is what keeps me from doing more than I know I am capable of.  As a PvEer first and foremost, I live my life behind the curve and it is not a nice place to live.  There are bugs here, icky.

B:

The difference between PvP and PvE gear is an insanely huge obstacle for me and many like me.  If there were no difference between the two it would solve issue A, to some extent, but it would also mean less for me to have to carry around in my already insanely overstuffed bags, and fewer things to do to collect that gear, and if they worked for both things I would be ready for all aspects of the game, even the side game of PvP, at a moments notice.  I'd really like that.

If my mythic gear worked as conquest gear in PvP and my conquest gear would work as mythic gear in a raid, you would see me PvPing a hell of a lot more.  No exaggeration here at all but if gear was the same for both aspects of the game I would be a full fledged PvPer.  100%.

No more would I feel like I was being held back by gear.  No more would I feel as if with my limited time I has to choose between gearing for PvE or PvP.  And lets face it, as already noted, this is a PvE game, so you know which comes first for me.

There should be no separation of gear between PvP and PvE.  I will explain this in the simplest way I can.  When in this history of forever in any form of fantasy have you ever heard of a knight running into a scuffle on the road back to town and saying, "Give me a second, I need to switch from my dragon killing sword to my people killing sword."  There is absolutely no reason for different types of gear.

On a side note, one of the best lines in the entire game is from sully the dwarf on alliance side, a jade forest quest line which I forget the name of.  He is asked to make an axe and he says, "A wood cutting axe or a people killing axe.", that was awesome because it is a joke about the difference in game even if there isn't one.  I now return you to our regular scheduled grumpiness.

3) Skills

Before I begin let me direct you to point one once again.  Do you see where it says that warcraft is a PvE game?  Okay, now lets move on.

Part of the reason I am reluctant to get into PvP is because I hold a certain level of animosity toward it for the constant changes to skills made in the name of PvP that screw up a class for PvE, or mess with it in unwanted ways.

As one example I will take the most recent changes I can find and as always will pick out something that was changed for PvP reasons.  Tranquilizing shot for the hunter class.  A change to 50 focus?  Are you freaking kidding me?  And do you know why this change was made, I do, it was made for PvP.  Screw PvP.  There was no reason to change this across the board.  None what so ever.

There is a simple, extremely simple, solution for this issue that blizzard refuses to add to the game.  Have abilities act differently in PvP and PvE.  Holy crap, did I blow your mind there with this idea.  Sure as hell seems so because no one at blizzard has a clue that you can have one ability do two different things.

Oh wait, I am wrong once again, someone at blizzard must have noticed it.  Certain things, like CC, act differently against mobs or players.  So if someone at blizzard noticed this, why has nothing been done to further that?

Have tranquilizing shot light up at 20 focus while targeting a mob and at 50 focus when on a player.  Too hard for your coders?  (hire better coders)  Here, let me solve that for you with some simple math.  Have it retain the 20 focus cost and have it have a 40% chance of removing something on a player.  I know, your mind is blown, that simple math really is hard to understand, but trust me, it works, even if I must admit if I PvPed I would be rather miffed about having my abilities be RNG based knowing the track record blizzard has with really bad handling of random.  Can anyone say over 800 UP runs for that drake?  And then I win the same drake a week later in a healer bribe bag?  F you RNG.  Blizzard and math do not get along well.

But the bottom line is that abilities should hit players and mobs for different amounts just the same way CC works for different times.  If something hits a mob for 20K, have it hit a player for 2K.  Players are already marked to be noticed in game by the (player) notation and it works for CC, so do not tell me that is not an option.  It is the obvious solution. 

I don't see any reason why blizzard has not went this route yet unless I want to fall back on the "blizzard is lazy" line which does seem to hold some water here as we already know they have some abilities that work different on players and mobs so why not all of them?  Lazy?  Maybe.  Who knows, why don't you tell us Holinka.

I can probably go through hundreds if not thousands of examples of where an ability was changed for PvP purposes that had an impact on PvE.  That is part of the reason I dislike PvP in WoW.  PvP in WoW is a obstacle for PvE sometimes and this is a PvE game.  I hate having the main focus of the game being set aside to play second fiddle to a side game.  I admit it is a weird reason for me not to want to PvP, but if I PvP it means I do not mind that PvP keeps screwing with the game, and I really can not support that, nor should I.

4) Balance

Despite the rude, obnoxious and outright disrespect you showed the people that mentioned balance on twitter, as displayed on the front page of MMOC, saying that their opinion of balance does not matter because the question is aimed at people like me and not them, I hate to break it to you but they are right, balance is a concern to me.

I will be the first to admit I love feeling OP.  I absolutely love being a hunter in low level brackets.  Winning is fun, there is no person on the face of the earth that has not suffered from a severe brain injury that would say they do not like winning, love winning even.  But for every person I love killing in a low level bracket before they even know where I am there is a person that just got taken out without even seeing me and it is no fun for them.  Want to know why?  Because losing sucks.  You know what sucks more than losing?  Not even having a prayer in hell of winning, as in the case I mention here.

Now that is low level PvP and we already know that blizzard does not give a horses ass about low level PvP, but I only used that to stress an example.  The example is that balance matters.  I will set aside my own opinion that it matters at low levels too for now, but to me, yes, it does matter at low levels too.

Don't just keep shooing the experienced PvPers to the side when they say something about balance saying you want to hear from me instead.  I give them permission, even if they are speaking against hunters, to speak for me.  But if they happen to play a hunter and at some point in time the hunter class is preforming really poorly against a certain class I am pretty damn sure they will notice it before I do.

See, I am a noob, I sort of suck, okay, not sort of but really suck.  If I keep getting owned by class A I might think it is because I suck.  But if class A is over powered against hunters those people, the regular PvPers, they will know it is not a skill issue, that there is a mechanic issue, a balance issue.

Balance matters to me, it matters a lot.  I am just not skilled enough to notice the difference of or if there is sometimes something unbalanced or I just suck against that class.  So stop being such a wholesale dick to the people that express concern about balance and instead ask them for specific cases where they think there is an imbalance.  You might actually be surprised, maybe they noticed something you didn't.  It is a fact you handle all PvP right?  They handle their class, so maybe they are in a better position to see a specific thing then you are while you are looking at everything.  No need to just dismiss their concerns and no knock against you.  They are just in a better position to notice it than you, and a more skilled position then I.

5) Healers

Remove healing completely from PvP and I will be a happy camper.  Ever since my first foray into PvP I have had an issue with healing in it.  Okay, maybe not my first foray into PvP, I sort of lie a bit there.  That was me answering a call that Astranaar was under attack and being killed by a level 70 (assuming here as for when I started and the fact he was ??) warlock that apparently had an itching for some flame basted night elf.

I know healing can not be removed, it is part of the game, but something really needs to be done about it.  There is no worse feeling than blowing everything you have on someone and 15 or 20 seconds later when they are near death because you played your hand perfectly they get a heal, a single heal, that restores nearly all their health.

At times last expansion it felt like I was tugging on supermans cape, spitting into the wind, pulling the mask off the old lone ranger and then I messed around with a healer.  These are things you don't do.  (+1 for reference)

I would spend the better part of 30 seconds whittling down the healer to have them squeeze in one heal despite all my efforts to stop it and be back to full heath.  There are no situations more annoying than that in game, and you are talking to someone that had a 0% wipe on heroic (now mythic) garrosh twice.  I am more accepting of that than I am a healer restoring all their health with one heal.  At least I know I will get that smelly orc down sooner or later, but that healer will last forever.

The fact you need to chain CCs, use interrupts, use knockbacks, you name it, only to get them low and then just one small mistake, or not enough gear to get them down and you have to wait for everything to come back off cooldown to try it again.  And you are talking to someone that plays the absolute best class in the game in terms of being annoying (that is not a rogue) in the form of a hunter.  I can interrupt you, knock you back, CC you, and keep doing it all day long, but there are holes, small ones, and if the healer gets a heal off in any of them I am at the beginning.  No thank you.

Healers are just too strong in PvP.  Sadly, unlike the other things I mentioned, I have no easy fix suggestions for this situation, it is in your ball park now.  Fix it will you.

BTW, I lie, becoming a pattern here, or maybe just a theme of the post here that is begging for someone to notice, I have the solution for PvP healing, but you would not like it.  It would require a little bit of work, a lot actually..  And for a company that refuses to have abilities like arcane shot hit players or mobs for a different number I doubt you would want to do this as it is even more work.  But what the hell, happy reading, crib notes version.

Players should have two health bars.  One for PvE damage and healing and one for PvP damage and healing.  If either of those health bars reach zero, you die.

How it would work is simple really.  When you are out in the world or in a dungeon or raid or what have you and fighting PvE content all damage you receive takes health away from your PvE health.  All healing you receive heals your PvE health bar.  When you get hit by another player it takes health away from your PvP health and when you are healed and PvP health is lower the heal is applied to your PvP health.

The healing part can be a little trickier, it would need to be designed that the heal is always applied to the health bar that needs it more, percentage based.  So if your PvP health is lowest a PvP heal based on PvP healing lands on your PvP health and if your PvE health is lowest a heal based on your PvE healing lands on your PvE health.  It might sound a little weird, but it really isn't as hard to work in as it might sound.

In instance PvP, your PvE health bar will never go down so all PvP healing is on your PvP bar and when in instanced PvE content your PvP health bar will never go down so all healing will be PvE healing.  Sounds interesting to me.  Actually, sounds like an answer to me.  Answers are good, they go with questions well and holinka asked a questions right?

Also this could be used as a great way to scale the game as a whole.  Noticed that for PvE we needed to have our health pools doubled for PvP reasons this expansion (see reason 3), well, with this that would have never been needed.  Just have PvP health go up and not mess with PvE.  So simple in theory it is scary, even an orc can do it.

End Note:

Hope my opinions helped.  Sure there are more, but these are the ones off the top of my mind.  Remember they are only my opinions and are not representative of any one but a party of one, namely me.  But you asked and I answered.  I do understand that much of what I said sounded grumpy, but hey, it is who I am and I have a part to play, just like you do Holinka.  I did my job, I played grumpy, I acted grumpy, now you can do your job and do something about it, if you wish.

If I have one word of advice I can give you, not from my smart ass self or my grumpy self, but from one person that has to talk to a lot of people for a living to another.  Stop using twitter for questions like this and make a forum post instead.  On both the US and UK forums at the least.  You might take stuff like this as a joke, but I am pretty sure the people that employee you and the people that pay the people that employee you don't.  PvP might not matter a hill of beans to me, but it does to them, and twitter is no way for an adult that wants to have a serious conversation to communicate.

Good luck fixing the impossible problem, it is a task I would not wish on my worst enemy, feel free to mail me directly, would be nice to chat with you.  Hell, talking to anyone would be nice, it gets lonely here with fang ripping up the flooring again.  Oh well, remember, you are always welcome in dolanaar, I always have a pot of coffee on the stove.

TL;DR version:

I play warcraft for PvE reasons, and I play HotS for PvP reasons, that is why I don't in one and do in the other.  One is a PvE game, the other is a PvP game.  As simple as that.