Monthly Archives: April 2012

Repost : Interaction Design : Action and Reaction back to the Basics

The Basics

This one is going to get a bit symbolic/math-y and I will be pulling some numbers from averages of personal experience and from what I can find on the web a large.

At the most basic level all game play become a simple 2 part procedure: action/reaction, cause/effect, stimuli/response.  So to keep things simple for now lets completely ignore actually making a mistake and reacting in the wrong way.

This gives us this:

Action Longrightarrow Reaction

We can then define Reaction Time as the average of the time it takes to convey the Action added to the average of the time to React to the Action.  I use average here because there are several other things going on in both the Action and the Reaction.

Action Side of the Process

So on the action side of the equation the main compounding factor that adds time to the process is Latency.  From my experience given my location in the US, the average latency that I experience to my server is about 125ms.  I have sometimes had it as low as 70ms and not usually higher than 180ms.  To state simply the Latency component is 125ms, a more accurate way of stating the range is 125 +/- 55ms.

An additional factor that can affect the network latency and Action timing would be processor/graphics lag.  If your computer is under-powered in either raw processor power or the graphics card power it can also cause some lag especially in the graphics side.

This side of the equation is simple and the most straightforward of the entire evaluation.

Action = (vartriangle Latency) + (vartriangle CPU Latency)

Reaction Side of the Process

This is where it gets complicated and has the greatest amount of variability across the player base.  This is also where the majority of the “difficulty” of the game comes into play or is at least emulated.

Interpretation of Action

When first reacting to a stimulus you first have to notice or be aware of the event to which you are suppose to react.  For our purposes here lets call this factor Identification Time (IDt) and since this can vary between players in general we will be using an average which gives us the following symbol for later use.

 vartriangle IDt

Now if given a blank background and a high contrast visual reference or a silent room with one sound to signal the event, we can in general take it that the IDt will be somewhat consistent for any given player.  However we know that this is for the most part not true.  Yes there are add ons that will still play a sound when all other sounds are turned off but the average player does not use them.  Additionally if it is a visual cue or effect to be aware of there are many factors that can make it hard to see or notice.

First lets talk about Firelands and that almost everything is a shade of red.  You have to look for the red glowing make on the ground that is different from the other friendly red marks on the ground not to mention which layer of the texture effects separate it out of the yellow holy, green nature, and white light of the healer effects that you do want to stand in.

All of these sound and visual complications help to hide or make it hard to ID the event to react to, for sake of this discussion I will call this Event Obfuscation.  Again the amount of obfuscation is varies greatly between players based upon many metrics and reasons.  User Interface, Screen Resolution, Graphics Detail Settings, Particle Effects, and many others.  This leaves us with the following symbol for the sake of this post.

 vartriangle EOb

Given that this is a compounding factor on the Identification time we end up with the following for Interpretation of Action part of the Reaction side of the equation.

 Int Action = (vartriangle IDt * ( 1 + vartriangle EOb))

Decision of Response

Now we are at the point where the server has communicated an event has triggered and we have identified what the event is.  What we do here is decide what we have to do about it.  The simplest would be nothing and just continue on as we were.  So to represent the simplest case we will say the average of just doing the same and we will call it the base response.

 vartriangle BR

Many times in a raid we do not have the simplest case.  There is an additional complication at this step and I am going to go out on a limb here give a formula that is just my guess as to a trend in how much the number of options that are possible and parameters to consider when making an actual reasoned reaction.  This would especially be true when learning new fights before the programmed and reflex memory gets taken into consideration.

If we make a fully connected graph with N nodes where each node is a variable to consider and the number edges are the processing penalty to fully contemplate a solution the time multiplier to apply to our base response.  We will call it processing delay (PD).

 PD = N!

When we go to make the decision we don’t contemplate the extraneous and extremely unlikely options so already some of the N are limited.  I don’t have any numbers to prove any of this I am just thinking here so I will limit the PD to a more reasonable value as the following.

 PD = log N!

So our complete Decision of Response time would be the following.

 (PD)*(vartriangle BR)

Now about the log of N factorial as a limiting multiplier on the decision process was to keep the number realistic because there really end up being tipping points where when people get under pressure too much they will end up just picking something at random to react for the sake of reacting.  This can also be considered a face rolling moment.

Time Required to Perform Reaction

The last thing to do after you identify something to react to and then decide what you need to do what is left is actually doing the action (PR).  This is a pretty straight forward variable.

vartriangle PR

Now the time to perform the reaction required can vary greatly between classes and positioning of said classes.  Mages, Warlocks and Hunters have some of the shortest times, as long as the environment allows for it to work.  I refer to Blink, Demonic Circle and Disengage.  Most classes will need a set amount of time to get out of the fire so to speak.  Now when tuning an encounter for a normal mode this time allocation should be pretty generous to allow players to have sufficient time to get out of the way.  Additionally what ever warning that is given should also have some graphic representation of where the safe and the harmful zone is, especially if it is a one shot power or near one shot.  This component was completely overturned at release for Cataclysm for Heroic The Stonecore or as myself and many others referred to it as StoneWhore.

So putting it all together we get the following.

 TotalTimeForEventReaction=(2*((vartriangle Latency)+(vartriangle CPU Latency)))+(vartriangle IDt * ( 1 + vartriangle EOb))+((PD)*(vartriangle BR))+vartriangle PR

Or the Total Time for Event Reaction is equal to 2 times the total latency plus the time to identify the event plus the time it takes to decide what to do about the event and then plus the time to actually implement the decision, movement or cast time.

What does it all mean?

In the end not much Blizzard will do what Blizzard will do.  Also the players will do what the players will do.  Blizzard says that they have needed to make encounters more difficult and complex because we started to use addons.  However players started to use addons to make up for limitations in the interface and to simplify their decision trees.  So we have had an arms race on both sides and we ended up with Cataclysm after a few expansions.

Like and don’t like what they are doing with the random raid finder, while interesting and a useful tool it is more of a band-aid on a gushing wound.  The wound needs reconstructive surgery and in one of my last posts I stated my opinion that the solution should be 1 raid size between the 2 current sizes and let the player base adjust to that one size and be done with it.  I wish for that because it would then allow them to focus on building multiple levels of difficulty per each boss encounter for different amounts and levels of rewards based upon difficulty and not raid size.

I ultimately think that it is almost a lost cause for Warcraft, I just hope they learn from all of these issues with project Titan what ever it may be.

Posted in World of Warcraft

MoP Beta – Active Tanking Changes Needed

I copied over a DK to the Beta Servers last night and I have looked at the tanking abilities of all 4 current tanking classes.  I don’t know if I will have a pre-made character copy available for a Monk as I already used 4 to create a Paladin, Druid, Mage, Warlock with base level gear and not the Hodgepodge I have on the live servers.

I have yet to tank with any of the 4 other than the instance run that I did the other day on the Druid.  I did however switch to the tanking spec on the others and looked at the abilities that were available and honestly I am not impressed.  The active tanking model has been in place for DKs since their initial implementation, and it was interesting because it was the only tank that used the model.  Now that all 4/5 will be using the similar model it is really weak on the other classes especially the single resource classes Warrior and Guardian Druids.

I mean weak as in an uninspired system, I am not saying that it would be ineffective, effectiveness can be forced by tweaking numbers.  I am talking about the interrelation between the abilities and resources or lack there of in the Warrior and Druid.  There is at least a little interactivity with the paladin abilities and I think that is because for an active tanking model like Blizzard is trying to implement only works when the class has a dual resource system.

  • Paladin : Mana/Holy Power
  • DK : Runes / Runic Power
  • Monk : Chi??  Can’t find enough information at the moment and don’t have one in Beta.
  • Warrior & Druid Guardian : Rage….

I think for the active tanking model to work well, especially in the case of Warrior and Druid Guardian, most abilities need to have 2 of the 3 basic concepts involved with tanking incorporated into them.  To quote my earlier blog post with this concept.

There are 3 main components to the one resource system that Warriors and Bears find themselves in.

  1. Resource Generation
  2. Factor 1
  3. Factor 2

In the case of Tanking the Factors become Threat and Mitigation, in a DPS role they become Damage and Debuffs.  In the case of the warrior class what is mitigation for tanks can be Debuffs for the DPS version I am thinking of a damage dealing decrease that some classes get, I can’t remember off the top of my head at the moment if there is such an ability at the moment.

So with 3 options and pick 2 we get 3 combinations.

1 & 2, 2 & 3 and 1 & 3, all abilities that have no cool down or a short cool down should do one of the 3 combinations.  The magnitude of the effect should be based upon the length of the cool down, GCD ignored of course.

Giving Us for Tanking:

  • Resource Generation & Threat – (A)
  • Resource Generation & Mitigation – (B)
  • Threat & Mitigation – (C)

Taken from this post.

As it was not the point of the post I got a little wordy and vague there the 3 factors upon further reflection can be found in any tanking system active or passive.  In the case of a passive tanking system most of them are outside of your control other than threat in earlier WoW expansions.

This model actually already exists with the DK and Paladin tanking implementation.  Some of their abilities generate one or both resources while doing something else.  Actually this is the main play feature that has made DKs able to work as an active tank and to a certain extent really to work at all.  Almost all if not all of their abilities while generating threat or activating a defensive ability produce Runic Power if the ability costs runes.  Freebies that do not cost runes do not generate runic power but can sometimes replenish Runes which then allows more runic power to be generated.

In the case of the Paladin this is less obvious because mana usually starts full and there are ways to get it back relatively quickly and Holy Power is constantly being acquired and used.

So with all of this taken into consideration a good working model would need to have the following decision pattern IMO.

A little warning, I work a lot in C# and JavaScript and because of it my pseudocode has morphed into a bastard hybrid of the languages I work in and some form of written language. It was the fastest way I could think of getting the decision tree out there because I could spend hours going OCD on a flowchart if I let myself.

Do I need to use a cooldown?
	Use the cooldown
	Go To Start
	Do I have enough Resource?
		Do I need Threat or Mitigation?
			Use High Cost Threat Ability
			Go To Start
			Use High Cost Mitigation Ability
			Go To Start
			Use Threat and Mitigation Ability
			Go To Start
		Do I need a Large amount of Resources or just More?
			Use Main resource Generation Ability
			//May have a little threat and or mitigation but not noteworthy.
			Go To Start
			Do I need more Threat or More Mitigation
				Use Threat and Resource Generating Ability
				//May be main resource generation ability or maybe not.
				Go To Start
				Use Mitigation and Resource Generating Ability
				Go To Start

With the DK now the above decision path works for the most part, there may be a few options that do not exist at the moment but I think for the most complete and adaptable system this is the bare minimum that should be used. I did not get into Single versus Multi-target tanking because it seems from the abilities in the beta all tanks are going to use a Single Target rotation and throw the AoE abilities in there periodically but the are not really part of the Resource/Mitigation interplay the are purely threat abilities at the moment. It would be nice if they became at least Threat/Resource Generation but we will have to wait and see.

Posted in Game Mechanics, World of Warcraft

MoP Beta – Initial Tanking Thoughts

So I have to say that I am not happy with where tanking seems to be going in MoP.  Before I get ranting too much let me first state a few given points.

  • Yes I know it is Beta and abilities can and will change.
  • Yes I know that threat is screwed up for Bears, not even going to go there.
  • Yes they did talk a little about this in a Dev Blog Months Ago

So given this what should I complain about?  Well simply Active Tanking sucks as implemented for Bears.

In a post I made when the Active Tanking Dev Watercooler I gave my initial reaction and concerns about what they stated in the Watercooler post.  I just reposted it recently for reference since it was one of the posts that got lost in the void when there were server issues a couple of months ago.

Of the 3 models GC, and Blizzard, presented there the method they have implemented for MoP is option 3.  Which is the best of the 3 options.  So it really comes down to the core mechanics of the class and how they active style is implemented with them.  I have not tanked yet on my Warrior and will most likely need to do so now.  Because in general I am on the much more laid back casual side of the group of players I interact with regularly in game.  With the new model I have major concerns about the long-term effect the reaction, counter action and reaction to counter action to first reaction these mechanical changes will have on the player base.

There is one clear line to be drawn from the fiasco that was Cataclysm at release.  Blizzard in its infinite stupidity decided to make healing matter and healing game play tough.  So we went from an expansion Wrath where the only thing hard to find for LFG was a Tank because “tanking” was boring and had some stupid gearing requirements, yes I still remember defense stat Warrior and Paladin Tanks…..

Anyway the result of making healing a very Active and Intense activity was guess what?  NO ONE WANTED TO HEAL IN THE LFG!!!!

So guess what is going to happen, again mind you, when tanking is made even more of a pain in the ass than it is today?  NO ONE WILL WANT TO TANK IN THE LFG!!!!


So this then gets into another whole issue that I know is a major war with in the player base.  There are those players that enjoy what is challenging to them encounters and pushed to their limits all the time, and at the other extreme where they like to log in and have fun, be challenged occasionally if at all as they find the game a place to go and relax.  I am much more the later than the earlier, and given the difficulty and other issues early in Cataclysm… many of the player base are or at least were before leaving WoW.

Of course at preset, 3133 guilds on 25-man and 36283 guilds on 10-man have defeated Madness of Deathwing.

I went back to a post in Sept 2011 to get some of the ICC numbers as the number of guilds going back and doing old content for achievements and transmogrification gear has gone up greatly recently.  At that time 11567 guilds on 25-man and 48523 guilds on 10-man had competed ICC normal.  I do not look at hard modes because they are really nothing more than added difficulty to the same encounter for no reason other than bragging rights and the majority of the player-base never sees them when they are current content.

I think in addition to the added difficulty of encounters and healing mechanics in Cataclysm the largest reason that killed thousands and thousands of 25-man guilds was the change to the lock out system such that 10 and 25 man are on the same lock out.  This was a prediction made by many in the 25-man raiding scene pre-Cata.  Oh well the player base was right yet again and it took Blizzard damn near 2-years again to admin they MAY HAVE made a mistake.

Well this turned a bit more negative than I was initially intended.


Ok now after jumping the shark time to get back to Bears.

Having ONE ability that generates Rage when used is stupid and is not about managing a resource.  It is all about spamming that ONE button every time it is off cool down to active one or 2 powers that use the equivalent of 2 uses worth of rage and have 1/4 the cool down, WTF????

This will also apply to Warriors so I will go general and not bear specific.  There is also a 4th option or a refinement to the 3rd option that GC described in the watercooler post.

The 4th option is a combination of the 2nd and 3rd options and I will describe what I think the model would look like.

There are 3 main components to the one resource system that Warriors and Bears find themselves in.

  1. Resource Generation
  2. Factor 1
  3. Factor 2

In the case of Tanking the Factors become Threat and Mitigation, in a DPS role they become Damage and Debuffs.  In the case of the warrior class what is mitigation for tanks can be Debuffs for the DPS version I am thinking of a damage dealing decrease that some classes get, I can’t remember off the top of my head at the moment if there is such an ability at the moment.

So with 3 options and pick 2 we get 3 combinations.

1 & 2, 2 & 3 and 1 & 3, all abilities that have no cool down or a short cool down should do one of the 3 combinations.  The magnitude of the effect should be based upon the length of the cool down, GCD ignored of course.

Giving Us for Tanking:

  • Resource Generation & Threat – (A)
  • Resource Generation & Mitigation – (B)
  • Threat & Mitigation – (C)

Now there could be a few abilities that only do 1 of the three but if they do it they should do it spectacularly and be on a good longer cool down.  If resources are consumed then the effect should be even greater.

So in a normal 1 target tanking scenario, if empty on resources you would most likely have a pattern like the following.

A … B … C … A … B … A … B

I used … because there should be room between cool downs, GCDs and buff duration to working in other abilities that are either AoE, the rarer longer cool down single effect abilities or more powerful longer cool down versions of A, B or C.

Now for AoE tanking there would need to be at least an AoE equivalent of A so that you can keep regular threat up on multiple targets.

On the positive, I like how Arms for Warrior is feeling a the moment, I still think it could use refinement and an extra rage generation ability like what I talk about here but over all the DPS version of the paradigm works better than the tanking version for Warriors.

After I copy over a DK pre-made to the Beta Server and Tank the opening instance on all 4 tanking classes I will have more to say.  At this point there is no way in hell I am leveling a Monk up to Tank on it as I do not have that amount of time.


Posted in Game Mechanics, World of Warcraft

Repost: Cataclysm first 10 Months Raiding Review

Cataclysm 4.0 – 4.2.0a : 10 months of Burning

from Malchome’s Mind on Gaming by Malchome

This is not going to be a positive post, I really wish it was, but it will not be.

I was never a raider in Vanilla, that is most likely a good thing.  Given how it was described I would have dropped the game and most likely would not have looked back.  I may have rejoined during Wrath but neither happened so can’t say for sure.

Now to start looking at the current raiding Data here is a table that is mostly up to date as of August 15 2011.

Normal Mode Raiding Start 10 End 10 Start 25 End 25
Tier 9 86187 84044 58801 52903
Tier 10 84136 48523 59356 11567
Tier 11 57998 23261 5145 1775
Tier 12 22101 6263 3438 1484

To make the numbers easier to understand here are a few charts based off the data.

Normal Mode Raiding Tier 9 - 12

  • Purple – Start 10 Man
  • Blue – End 10 Man
  • Yellow – Start 25 Man
  • Beige – End 25 Man

So what has this chart told us, that after the success of raiding that was WotLK, as far as getting player into raiding and completing content was completely and totally killed with the cataclysm.  The other interesting thing to see was that those 25 man guilds that survived about 2 in 3 stayed together between 4.0 and 4.2.

No admittedly the numbers are skewed when comparing previous tiers to the current tier as the current tier is not yet finished.  However if you look at the overall trends they show that for normal mode the general trend for completion is about the same.  The most disturbing numbers that should be taken from this, given that WoW started Raiding at 40 man and then went to 25 for the previous 2 expansions is now a 10 man raiding game for the most part.  9 out of 10 guilds that started Tier 10 – ICC did not even attempt the first tier in Cataclysm, Tier 11.

I don’t know what Blizzards goal for Cataclysm raiding was prior to the release. All I can say is that something went horribly, horribly wrong. My 2 cents on the subject which I have ranted about on this blog before, is that it was the first tuning of content on an ENTRY Tier or raiding for the new expansion killed guilds. Every expansion the content difficulty needs to have a reset. The first Tier or raiding will need to have content to introduce raiding concepts to the masses anew. This is good for both new and old players alike. The veteran players may bitch about how easy the content is but when you don’t have such a reset you will most likely see a drop off like we saw with Cataclysm. Honestly though with 90% of 25 man guilds disbanding or giving up on raiding, there very well may be no going back.

Lissanna, my wife, ya we got married last month, might hate this idea but it needs to be said. Given some of the comments and feed back that I saw from MMO-Champions blue tracker, in the next expansion 10 and 25 man raids should be done away with and just make it 15 man raiding.

The other option would be to actually put some constraints on the content design.

Not every boss has to be brand new and unique. Hell if you need to take mechanics from a couple of different bosses and make it a new combination of abilities that is good. Also every tier needs a few Patchwork / Tank & Spank bosses. Even if you have to pad them out. There needs to be more fights where you don’t have to be running at 100-110% every second or the raid wipes. That is what heroic modes are for. Also if bosses have more levels of difficulty than normal and stupid hard heroic mode then it will allow for a smoother more consistent flow of progressions.

When I started thinking about this post, I was planning to go all fire and brimstone on the content. However after the wedding and not raiding for several weeks, I have come to realize that I just don’t give a damn. I am done raiding until 4.3 or the next expansion. I just do not find the current raiding scene or really anything in the game enjoyable anymore, other than playing with alts when I feel like it and making Gold. But even then the limits on crafting materials are so stupid that the crafting profession scene is not even available. Oh and ZA and ZG can go straight to hell, of course when you run them for the 1000th time it feels like you are there. God Dammit Blizzard at least if you make a new tier of dungeons and make it so that it is the only thing you want to run to make it the optimal at least make them quick and make sure there are more than 2 dungeons. ToC5 was hell because it was the same thing over and over and over. The 3 with ICC were cool but HoR was a wHoRe unless you completely out geared it.

Hell by the sounds of it I am tired of playing the secret pre-pre-pre-alpha of Titan, the game called World of Warcraft.  I think I am now waiting on Diablo 3 and Titan.

Blizzard has already created the 2 mechanics to create the best raiding, which would surpass all of their earlier Tiers.  All they have to do is combine the multiple levels of difficulty found in the Ulduar Bosses and combine it with the 5% progressive buff that came out with ICC and capped out at 25% over 6 months (0,5,10,15,20,25)%, which means by the time the next tier of raiding comes out the previous tier has between a 15% and 25% overall buff.

Well this went off on a couple of different tangents but I really don’t have much more to say on the subject.  I will just have to wait until details about 4.3 starts to come out.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Repost : Tanking, Threat, and Fun

I am re-posting this blog article from September of last year out of my Google Reader Cache since the original was lost when the server went kaput.

Tanking, Threat, and Fun

from Malchome’s Mind on Gaming by Malchome

So I finished reading the Dev Water Cooler about threat, I must say that most of the concepts I agree with and I am hopeful that they will turn out well.

Before I get into Tanking and Threat, let me bring up one change I found out about last night that had me swearing a bit in a random I was running.  There are very few things that I find “fun” in the game at the moment.  I find many thing entertaining and can hold my attention but most I would not consider just fun.  One of the really pure fun in a devious sort of way was a trick I learned in The Vortex Pinnacle.  You see these really annoying mobs called Minister’s of Air that can knock you back and over the edge depending upon placement and then will stand there and spam lightning bolts every about .5 seconds for what seems 10 seconds, they are a real annoying pain in the ass.  Well when I was leveling and gearing my Priest, I would have laughing fits when I would Mind Control them and run them over the side of the walkways, thus killing them and getting rid of them.  This no longer works, they now re-spawn with full health.  Now I do not see what is so game breaking with actually using your class abilities to defeat an encounter.  I have long said that if you want use to play the game a certain way Blizzard to tell us the strategy we should use.  If you just nerf this type of play and make our abilities worthless then why are they still in the fucking game.

So since you refuse to let us use Mind Control effectively then just remove it.  The alternative would be to make it like fear/enslave demon so that the priest has a pet to use for a short time.  But as a channeled CC it is bullshit.

Ok back to the tanking.

Ya tanking is not fun in Cataclysm due to the threat problems and it is even worse when you have a new fresh tank and are grouped up with a bunch of characters in T11/12 gear, when the tank has an average iLvl of 330.  But then this was a foreseeable issue because as you say it is just a numbers issue.  Many of us would like to see an expansion where the game does not have to be redesigned every content patch, at least for the issues that are just numbers.  Honestly I would rather see threat stay the same and have boss mechanics simplified but your elite and very vocal minority in the game will bitch and moan too much.

Well this is turning into a post of tangents.

On to the topics of Warrior and Druid Tanking and Active Defensive abilities.

If the tanking classes are going to get a bit of an overhaul and new abilities are going to be added or existing modified, mayhap we should also look at removing some.  I have always considered some classes, Druid, Rogue, DK as having too many abilities, and I really started to think about it more seriously after the post on WoWInsider about the 5×2 initiative,×2/.  I really think this is something all classes could use a working over on in the next expansion.  Essentially review abilities and make it such that they would fit this model.  I will say this much if you want to use your full range of abilities as a druid, priest, DK, warrior, rogue it is not really possible unless you do some extensive game modding and/or macros.

Anyway the changes that GC mentions in the Dev Water Cooler blog post for Warrior and Druid worry me.  Theactive mechanics for DK work for 1 reason they are a 2 resource tank.  Paladins are a 1.5 at the moment because they really only have 1 reliable way to stack holy points.  For it to really work for the rage based classes as rage being something to be managed, there needs to be a way to reliably generate rage.  This is achievable if you divide all the Warrior/Feral abilities into 2 or 3 categories.  The simpler Rage Negative/Rage Positive breakdown or the slightly more expanded Rage Negative/Rage Positive/Rage Neutral abilities.  Rage Neutral just means that the abilities use rage to activate and in general generate the same amount of rage that they consume, crits could affect this depending upon design.  This is important because the most frustrating thing with my Warrior and Feral Druid is the beginning of the fight being rage starved and then having to work the entire fight to attempt to keep threat because I can not generate it enough when not being hit and or dodging or parrying.

I can’t really say more on the subject until more details are released but I know they will make things work, I am just not certain it will be fun.

Posted in Game Mechanics, World of Warcraft

MoP Beta Weekend 1 – A few Comments and Some Pictures

So I received my Beta invite in one of the rounds that went out on this past Friday.

Before I get into a few gripes and reiterations of earlier comments, I want to show this one screenshot that shows how before things go live the internal Blizzard development has a sense of humor.  To mark models that are place holders they are members of the Need Model faction or Guild.

Place Holder Pandaran Cub

Place Holder Cub


Starting Area Rant

So time for rant number 1, which is a reminder of tBC and Cata Day 1.  You would think Blizzard would learn from their issues in previous expansions.

[EasyGallery id=’betaweekend1pandaranstartzone’]

As you can see in the image gallery there are way too many players in one area for the game to be playable.  I have complained about this many times over the years, hell I have even made suggestions using technology they already have in-game to improve the play experience with regards to these issues.  There are solutions out there already implemented for other games, such as SW:ToR.  For this very reason they have put invisible walls on the Valor Point Vendors in the Faction Capitols.  Why they don’t implement this out in the world for quest givers in areas that will have periods of high traffic is beyond me.

Further what makes this worse than in previous expansions is that both future horde and alliance characters are in the same starting zone.  While I like the concept some sort of instancing/phasing is needed.


Some General Scenery

I will say the minor tweaks that Blizzard has done to the rendering engine does have some very nice results.  When not in a super crowded area I can run the game still with Ultra Graphics settings and it looks really nice.   Here is a gallery of some of the nice scenic views I came across while leveling my Warrior Malchome and exploring the zone in general.  These are all from the Jade Forest as I have yet to come across a way into any other zone.

[EasyGallery id=’betaweekend1scenicviews’]

More information and interesting images to come as Beta Progresses.

Posted in World of Warcraft