Monthly Archives: February 2010

Posts Coming Soon

Well looking at my google analytics my 3 main sources of traffic are Warrior Macros, Restokin and Feed readers.  So my next few posts will have something to do with Macros, Druids and most likely the Auction House again.  I also want to discuss how I really think Cataclysm will be the best version of this game yet given several of the things mentioned about gear/stats and tanking/healing changes.

Anyway this was just a quick FYI post.

Posted in Uncategorized

Raids Strategies and Intentions

The Deathbringer Saurfang fight changes are complete and total Bullshit.

As Daelo says on the forums the strategy that most raids are implementing is not how Blizzard wants us to play.  Ok the strategy with letting the first and or second person to get the Mark of the Fallen champion dying is not an exploit.  Blizzard can say it is but all in all it is just understanding how numbers work and resetting the counter at the expense of letting a member die, bet it a healer or dps, which can really hurt.

Now I started to write this post prior to the hot-fix.  But this is not something to let drop.  Especially since the hot fix was pushed out in prime time and caused a bit of server lag.  Yay Blizz screws up an encounter and then makes the server unplayable but still live to push out the hot fix, yes it only lasted for about 15 minutes the lag that is but still it would have been better to just give a 15 minute warning and do rolling restarts.  so that you don’t get penalized yet again in another fight.

All of this could have been avoided if 1 of the following things had happened.

  1. There was a PTR build with the fight change and the difficulty and blood power gains could have been evaluated.
  2. Blizzard quit acting like a kindergartner out on the playgrounds changing the rules every time they see something they don’t like.
  3. If you are going to changes the rules you had better damn well make sure it is conveyed to the public i.e. PATCH NOTES PEOPLE PATCH NOTES!

If you don’t like how people are adapting to the mechanics/rules you put in place then be more careful next time but completely changing the dynamics of a fight after it has gone live, other than a simple bug fix, is complete BS.  If you want encounters to adjust to how players are adapting to the mechanics then the mechanics need to be more dynamic in the first place.  But then every fight would become like the Faction Champions and that would just be annoying as hell.

Also since initially starting this post when I was pissed off in raid last night due to the Saurfang fight.  I recently saw that Ensidia’s 25 man kill has been retconned because they were using items that bugged the fight.

Now for the most part I hate Ensidia and the like.  I don’t really give a damn about World/Country/Server firsts.  However if combat log parses show that as they claim some of their dps use the bombs in question regularly as part of their rotation then the action Blizzard has taken against them is BS.  I have used BS a lot in this post but I am refraining from using stronger expletives to express my dissatisfaction and disbelief at the pathetic actions Blizzard is taking in these instances.

The bomb bug is inexcusable in reaching live.  To put it simply Blizzard has all the information and the ability to test everything in their game.  They have logs of information raid leaders could only dream about.   Well I hope they do anyway.  In a test instance they could set a players life to 10M and let the mob hit the player forever and a day if need be they could then go through a list of every expected item that could be used in the encounter and check to makes sure it performs as expected.  Any Engineering item created in this expansion should be well within the expected bounds of items to be used by min/max twinks like the top end raiding guilds.

But then again we really should not be surprised.  Blizzard has a track record of punishing players for creativity and using the tools given to them.

So in the end my only suggestion on how to avoid this in the future is if Blizzard is going to punish us for creativity and adapting to the mechanics of the fight then they need to release an Official strategy to be used with each fight so we know what we are allowed to do in each instance.

I apologize for some of the negativity that is contained in this post, I usually try to look for ways to improve things and not just bitch and moan in general.  However changing the rules of how something works once it goes live regardless of whether some or all of the changes are then rolled back is inexcusable in a production environment.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Auction House Web Access – Other Improvements Needed First

By now the news has spread the Blizzard will eventually implement in game Auction House(AH) Access into the Armory, the signed in portion of course. I saw it mentioned first on mmo-champion which points to a WoW Forums post.

I think this is a really cool idea, I won’t be using this feature most of the time, but definitely something I will be using at other times. Especially since theoretically you could be on 1 character of the account and check the AH on other servers and or the Bank Alt of the same account. But they may put something in place such that is that account is logged into the game no character on that account could be checked. We will have to see.

Over all I like this idea but lets be serious the current AH in game feels like a quick fix that was added at the last moment to at least have some sort of an in-game economy going. The default interface is a pain in the ass and even with Auctioneer and other Add-ons it is still extremely tedious and a bitch to find stuff if you are just browsing. If you know exactly what you want it works otherwise it fails.

Out of the 4 in game AH like interfaces I have dealt with directly and several, more than 3, others I have heard about only 1 stands out as actually being something different, robust and useful.  EVE-Online is the only MMO I have seen that actually has a robust and useful economic interface.  I believe it is this way because, crafting and the economic game are actually acceptable play styles in EVE.  Whereas in all of the other MMOs I have dealt with and heard about those systems, crafting and trading, seem to be a quick fix to add features.

So what am I suggesting or IMO is needed. A complete overhaul of the AH. Yes our bag space may be limited by stack size but why the hell should the AH. The AH like everything in the game is ultimately a series of entries in a Database. Currently it seems like 1 entry in said DB has a stack size limitation. This is insane.

The following are IMO the way to make the AH sing.

  • 1 entry in the AH per Item of unlimited quantity (ultimately an unsigned Int of either 8/16/32bit in size. 16 would be the best since dust and some rep items could get into the hundreds easily.)
  • The biggest and most important one,  list Buy Orders
  • Fully customizable search for gear.
  • Wild Card Search-able for Name Text
  • iLvL
  • eLvL
  • Quality(Pick-able, not Lowest filter.) If I want to find a green item I want to see green, not green, blue, and purple.
  • Stat Search X [<|>|=] of Y Stat [Str|Agil|Stam|Int|Spr|SP|AP|Armor|Crit|Hit|Haste|ect….] Repeatable so add additional filters.
  • Price History (at least past week) so we can in game see the price trends over the past week. (Min, Max, Avg) of both Price listed and Price Sold. Maybe a separate graph showing # sold at what price through Bid and Buyout.

Essentially look at what EVE-Online has for an in game economic interface and make something similar with the Blizzard polish, because I really can’t think of any way to really improve the EVE interface, I just know that I like it and it would be great to have something similar in WoW. Unfortunately for EVE it is about the only thing I really like in the game but I will save my dislikes of EVE for another post sometime.

Posted in World of Warcraft

A new Raid Encounter Type I would Like to See – (Tower Defence)

So what brought this to mind is that I have been playing my XBox 360 a bit when taking breaks from WoW.

If a Starcraft 2 beta ever begins I may mess around with that or give my beta access to friends that like RTS games more than I do.  I just don’t like that with the exception of the highest skilled players he who mobilizes a medium size strike force wins it seems in most RTS games.  In Civ III parlance I end up being an Industrious/Commercial leader and specialize in perfecting my resources and scientific research.  In MOO2 I would end up with the species that was creative and end the game with Millennium Falcon size ships with the Death Star weapon.  I loved destroying planets with small frigates.   So In RTS games I hate micro managing individual units and thereby leaving other units quasi vulnerable.  It is a shame that turn based strategy games have seemed to stop evolving other than with better graphics.

Anyway back from that tangent.  The one aspect of RTS games that I do like are Tower Defense scenarios.  In a LAN game a long time ago in Red Alert I won the game by building out a web of Tesla Coil Towers across the map.  I had wiped out the other player’s base but they had 1 unit hiding somewhere on the map….  So rather than scour the map looking I just let automated defenses do the killing.

So the game that brought me back to this style of play was the South Park Tower Defense game that is on XBox Live for download.

How would it all work I really have no idea.  I just think that the concept would be interesting and I am sure Blizzard or some other gaming company will figure out a cool way to incorporate something like it into a raid and or dungeon scenario.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Patch 3.3 – Initial Review and Projection to Cataclysm – Part 2 LFG System

Well my first summary post ran much longer in the first section than I estimated so I have now made this a multi part review. In this part I will focus on the new Looking for Group system. Also given that I started this post right after my part one and 2 weeks have passed it will be very different than what I was first picturing.

LFG System

I hope by now we all know what this system is or at least to what it references. Put simply it is a dynamic automatic group building tool that will match players across servers within a given battle group.

Is it good? Yes.

Is it great? Some would say, I put it somewhere between good and great.

Could it be better? Like all programs, yes.

The caveat with the last one, could it be better, is to do this additional metrics or parameters would be needed. Some of these metrics could come from the Battle.Net upgrade that is going on behind the scenes. When we can start to communicate with friends across realms and maybe even battle groups the social networking aspects of Battle.Net could be leveraged to refine the matching system.

Social Metrics

Currently mods like Elitist Group can do this a limited extent, however it is all client side and is limited. If new social metrics are included in the Battle.Net part of the client for use with the LFG system it opens up possibilities beyond the just queue and hope for the best. If we are able to rate people both for a personal rating and a global performance (thumbs up)/(thumbs down) on both the character/player/guild level it could lead to a better LFG experience overall. Additionally the system should also track how many times a player quits a dungeon half way through or gets vote kicked. However like the star rating system in Ebay there should be a way for a person to defend themselves from undo elitist idiots and the occasional ISP hiccup which is not the fault of Blizz or the player.

Actually I hope when the next full version of Battle.Net is released that it becomes a separate client than the WoW or Starcraft Client. That then has the ability to launch or call the other individual clients with a hand off of credentials so those of us that multi-box or may have a Startcraft and a WoW running at the same time don’t have to constantly re-authenticate each time we close the client.

Personal Metrics and Preferences

5-Mans and Raids

The ideas options I am going to list here are the ones that I think would be best to implement as they are impartial and are not directly abusable as some of the social networking system could. Performance recaps after each instance run. We all know how WoW Web Stats and other logging mechanisms work for raiding. Just extend this to 5 mans except where it is a client side action the recap information would be server side with summary information displayed to the client. The player specific performance summary would then be stored and compiled/updated daily and weekly like the pvp honor gains and kills.

  • Deaths/Instance
  • If not Tank Role # of times pulled Threat
  • DPS in Combat
  • DPS inside 5 second rule. So if not casting dps is not calculated.
  • Damage Taken
  • Total Damage Taken by Party
  • Total Damage Healed by Character
  • TPS
  • % of Total Damage dealt by Party in Instance on KoS mobs not critters.
  • # times went AFK
  • # times went idle for more than 30 seconds.

I realize this is a lot of extra information and if something like this was ever implemented there would have to be a lot of considerations as to where to put and store the massive amount of data that is generated by WoW.

Additionally this should be extended to logs from raid IDs. Accessible when logged into the armory. Go to the character view the Raid IDs they are associated with and get a direct download CVS/XML or some other format. This will then remove the out of range issues that arise with current client side information gathering tools. This would also allow players to track who is using the IDs that they are associated, which would also help with some of the drama that has occurred with raid ID stealing in the past.

Training Quests – Rated Performance Quests

I thought of this concept when I was talking on Ventrilo with other members of Conspiracy .   We were discussing at the time the fail dps, tank, or healers that we sometimes encounter in groups. There needs to be a way to evaluate people that is not tied to gear or the groups of people they associate with. You can be pulled through almost any and all content if the people you are with have enough gear.

During the discussion we talked about the Argent Dailies, yes they got repetitive but they taught you how to joust. So for sake of brevity what we need are a series of repeatable quests that train and rate our ability performing different tasks related to the roles that we can perform. These quests would be repeatable and not just daily. They can be a good way to practice group mechanics while solo playing so you don’t have to rely on others to practice. Matticus made a post about things he learned about group healing while doing a quest.

On a separate note if we are going to continue to use vehicles in quests, dungeons and raids, we need a sandbox area where we can practice how to use the vehicle. NPCs to use other parts of a multiple seat vehicle would be useful if the other positions have something to do as well. The abilities of the practice vehicle need to be the same as the abilities of the ones we use when it matters. To do otherwise robs us of the ability to know what we are doing and are not just thrust into something and say do it. We play the game hopefully because we like playing our chosen class not some vehicle.

Oh the rating we gain from the quests would also need to show up based on our account. So that even if we see the lvl 30 or freshly hit level cap n00b we can see if they are truly new or have done something on another character.

Now this system would be completely optional but giving more neutral metrics to use when evaluating people when we get randomly thrown together is always appreciated and really needed. Most the add-ons that do this for us now are resource hogs and contribute more to the Lag we all experience than most people realize.

Personal Preferences

This last one could be problematic but something needs to be implemented that allows us when we random queue to have a little more control over where we end up. In the simplest of implementations it would be that as long as more than 5 dungeons are selected it will count as a random for purposes of daily rewards and such. As a tank there are some dungeons that I just won’t tank. That really only leaves H-HoR but at least one of my tanks is getting to the point of being geared enough to get thrown into queue for it and I just don’t want to tank it. I don’t mind tanking any other instance but I completely despise that dungeon. There are only 2 ways that it is a viable dungeon. Either have good enough gear to survive it while “cheating” by hiding in a corner. Or to completely over gear it to the point that there is no reason to run the damn thing. I think that is my real problem with the dungeon. It is tuned such that the only time it is manageable is when you have such a level of gear that you don’t need anything out of it. It is tuned like the damn heroic instances in Burning Crusade. They were a waste of time and not worth the repair bill for the amount of time and frustration that came with running them.

Another metric that would add a nice dimension is if we can’t rule out what dungeons we want to have the possibility of running at least let us put a weighting rank on each dungeon.

Anyway I could get more in detail on these and take another month to write this post however I want to get these memes out there now and someday hopefully something in some game will come of it. Who knows someday if I ever get involved in working on or creating a game I will push for this type of freedom in similar systems.

Posted in World of Warcraft