Blog Archives

Flight World War 2

Well while I wait to rein my anger and disappointment with some of the Legion news before giving my full opinion on the expansion I wanted to post an image I made based off of a movie poster one of the guild members of Undying Resolution posted across twitter.  Here is a link to the tweet, https://twitter.com/AmoHeals/status/630846586600488960 

 

Flight_WorldWar2_Medium

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Something Completely Different – Flashcard Template for Kanji

So I am working once again at attempting to learn Japanese.  Who knows how well or far I will go this time.  But while I was working on aides to help learn characters and words I got tired of making guide lines by hand after the 2nd card.  Here is a template I made very quickly in Photoshop.   Feel free to use if you find it helpful.  Image as a jpg.

Also made a static page for the template.

FlashCardTemplate

 

This link to the PSD file should work, let me know if it does not.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4y5GhWFJQHtWDYtNnhFQTM5Ukk/edit?usp=sharing

CardStockFlashCardTemplate

 

I added a 8.5 by 11 template for card stock.  It is centered on the page so should be able to be printed on both sides.

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Primary Account Subscription Canceled – Again

I had previously canceled both of my subscriptions in January and re-subbed my primary account when 5.2 launched.  While I may not have un-subscribed had 5.3 been out 2 weeks ago looking at what is still forming in the 5.3 PTR, I have decided to just cancel the subscription and wait until something else catches my interest or 6.0 arrives.

I am writing this quick summary as I listed my blog and twitter account in the other form field when I canceled my subscriptions as places to check for additional feedback since 255 characters is nowhere near enough to actually post a reasonable explanation.

I will most likely also be making followup posts hopefully in a Blizzard “Soon”TM time frame going into greater detail on some of the topics below.

So to begin what is it I would normally like to do in WoW, that I did in tBC, Wrath, and Cataclysm that I am not really doing in MoP.

  1. Craft gear for alts, guild members or for sale on AH
  2. Work on alts which would receive said gear.
  3. With alt army gather, sell, trade materials essentially play the AH.
  4. Do guild runs of dungeons, raids or other content, on a more casual basis.

Crafting

While I really liked how some of the professions worked with the random item stat generation at the same time it really sucked that there was not a way to make sure a blue item.  This could easily have been done by adding a few additional patterns that create random secondary stats but with an extra crafting material will always generate Intelligence, Agility, Strength or Spirit items.  This would need a slightly different crafting panel one which had 2 more spots for optional materials to be used such that you could a mote of harmony to make sure a blue quality item for normally green patterns and as I previously mentioned an item that would influence the Primary Stats on the item, thus decreasing randomness with an increase in material cost.  Hell uncut green quality gems would be perfect for this.

Alts

This IMO has been the most Alt unfriendly content in the games since Vanilla where Vanilla is the ultimate unfriendly Alt environment.  My interests in game change constantly depending upon well anything else in or out of game.  Some days I like to melee, rarely tank anymore, usually I like to range dps, and occasionally heal.   Certain classes I like more than others for each of those roles so having the army of alts available and geared meant that when I logged in I would be able to do what I wanted depending upon which class/role combination I felt like playing at that moment.  4.3 was great for this which is why MoP is such a kick in the balls.

The added benefit of having an Alt army was that no matter what the class developers did there should be at least 1 combination of class and role that I should feel like playing.  This is not true anymore because with the current raid design even in LFR there is no way in Hell I will tank them ever.

AH

Not much to say here other than after the first month or so the expansion the AH was dead as a door-nail even on the mid population server that Elune-US usually finds itself as.

I have many theories on this and only Blizzard has the data to verify it unfortunately.  My theory is that since the number of Alts being played and the initially gear and entry in to normal mode raids was so brutal that most are only playing one character maybe 2 now with  some exceptions.  Since for a very long time only 1 character needed items and most of the gear early on was very socket limited we had not turn over on gems.  Additionally since all the crafting patterns were locked away behind pain in the ass reputations only available once you hit 90 you had very few who had access to crafting crafted gear which severely limited how much was available on the AH.  Additionally once those items were posted on the AH the cost of them were such that very few could afford them which limited the supply even more because if they would not sell at a price the makers felt justified the weeks of Rep hell to get the patterns the market imploded into an even greater depression.  I could go further here but will not as even what I have theorized I have no way to prove or disprove.

Casual Guild Runs

Casual raiding guilds are dead, my current guild, one which I helped to form, to survive has become much more hardcore.  That is all I am going to say about the guild.  Now for the content that caused this crisis is simple. The tuning on all raid content since ICC, with the exception of Dragon Soul, has been way over-tuned.  In the past and on Twitter I have gone on about this extensively and am not going to bother expanding upon it here.  However it was worth mentioning.

 

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Spring/Summer Update

So I have not posted anything since January which was follow-up to a conversation/twitter exchange.

It is not that I don’t have opinions on the current content and game systems in WoW, it just does not seem worth it anymore.  I have been concerned about item level inflation for several years now.  Early in Cataclysm IMO saw it as something to be concerned about and would lead to completely stupid levels of gear/damage inflation.  Well we are either there now or will be by the end of this expansion.  I really would like to see Blizzard be pro-active and not reactive.  The only proactive thing I have seen them do in Mists was the complete and total overhaul of the Talent system.

Don’t get me wrong I liked the overhaul, and as far as class play goes I like how most of them play.  I don’t like active tanking but I am giving up on that fight, other than to say that it just is one more way that artificial walls are being put in place to limit access to content.

IMO game design should be about making inclusive content that everyone can take part in to  some extent.  So far since Cataclysm Blizzard appears to have done their damnedest to segregate the player-base.  Even if it is not their direct goal, it is the net effect of all the other content design decisions they are making and refuse to change.

In a world of infinite resources for development, I am sure Blizzard could create completely equal 10 and 25 man content which has more than just Normal and Heroic or binary difficulty.  So we could once again have 0,1,2,3D Sarth on both 10 and 25 man versions, hell on top of it a 25 man LFR version of 0D Sarth to boot. That would result in 9 different versions of the fight with 5 different levels of difficulty since 10 and 25 would be equal of course.

To say that 10 and 25 man can be equal difficulty when there is only 1 size of the room yet in one mode 2.5 times as many players that need to spread out on certain mechanics is complete fucking joke.  But enough about raiding since I have not actually “raided” since I Firelands.  I have run LFR and enjoyed it in 4.3, but did not really like the MV -> HoF & TES change up, and ToT LFR don’t get me started.  I essentially only run ToT LFR with a guild run or when there are at least 6-8 other guild members in the group before queuing.

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Newbie Blogger Initiative

I came across this in my Google Feed Reader from other bloggers that are participating so I thought I would join the group.  The forums can be found here http://nbihq.freeforums.org/index.php.

I definitely thought I should get involved since in the past few months I have helped several bloggers either find hosting, start a blog or start their own self hosted blogs.  I will follow up on this a bit more at a later time as I have not really had the time to think of anything important to say on the subject at this time.

If you do have blog (WordPress) questions and would like advice or at least another point of view email my address of malchome at mmo-report.com.

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A Brave new Failure

Well we have had patch 4.1 on the PTR for over a month now and Blizzard is still implementing more and more features.  So much for smaller and faster content patches, I think it safe to call this new initiative a failure.

If Blizzard really wanted smaller and faster patch cycles they will really need to learn how to pair features back to the way they did them early on in Vanilla.  To a point before I even started playing the game.

A three-month cycle like the following would be a better structure for a faster patch cycle.

1.5  months development no PTR

.5 months on PTR for initial testing of core new features or balance fixes.

1.0 month to react to PTR feed back and implement for release to Live.

At the point the initial build is opened to the public on the PTR all feature creep stops and the features of the patch are locked in.

The current cycle of 1-2 months no PTR, then 2-3 months PTR testing and implementation of new features requiring more testing is just the SoS, that they have said they want to get away from.

************************

On another note I thought the new leveling in Cata was a needed improvement to the leveling process and in many ways leveling is much better.  The only point of contention I have over the new phase to all hell process is that I can no longer just go to the quest hubs I like when leveling alts.  The first 1 maybe 2 times the leveling on rails method was interesting, now it is just a pain in the ass and more boring than 100s of kill 10 rats quests.

What am I saying here?  Simple if you are going to have a lot of phasing to tell a progressive story, great but at least do it in small independent chunks.  I don’t mind 1 quest up lock away until all other quest chains are completed just have the required chains run in parallel and not linear.  I don’t even mind a short quest chain to open up the initial set up hubs.  However all of the new zones were way too linear in the storyline progression.

On a similar gripe the zones are either too small or the distribution of resource nodes was not well done.  In Wrath and even BC there was a base level set of herbs and ore that were found everywhere.  The higher zones usually had fewer richer nodes of the base when introducing new ore types but by the time you hit the level cap zones you still found nodes of the early resources.  In Cata it seems like ok Zone A has PQR and that is all, Zone B has RST there is very little overlap and so what you have is a horde of farmers swarming 1 zone at a time based upon current AH prices.  A more even distribution of resources and portals allows for a more dynamic player concentration balancing.  A set of portals like in SW and Oggrimar should be set up in Darnasus and Undercity or all of the capital cities should be linked via portals, even if there is a level restriction to use them like 50 or 60 but they should still eventually be linked, and no I am not saying in patch 5.x I am thinking before 4.2 at the latest.

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My Price

After reading BBB’s post A Call to Bribe got me thinking about what is my price as a tank.  I actually have 2 level 85 tanks at the moment and it usually is my proffered role in all instances other than Stone Core, I still hate that instance on heroic with the heat of a 1000 suns, even more than I hated The Occulus.

My price is simple and it not some infinitesimally small chance at a mount.  Nope I am must more mercenary than wanting an extra lottery ticket or 2.  My price is I want to be able to buy level 85 BoA gear on my tank that I can send to my DPS and Healing alts to gear them up while tanking.  If I have to waste my time on my Tank to help out the queue problem then I damn well better be able to gear up the alts I would rather be playing.  I say rather be playing as in I don’t always want to tank but not having gear on those characters is a pain.  Also the point reward should scale based off of # of random players, so a good Tank/Healer or Tank/DPS pair group could do this farming and still benefit the 1-3 other random PuGs.  Requiring completely random is lame at best.

The way to do this is with a JP or VP bonus to the call of arms player and have vendors that sell BoA items of the appropriate level.  I would want 333, 346 and 359 ilevel BoA vendors so I can gradually gear up the alts if I so choose.  The best part about this is that these vendors would still be available to the other rolls, so then players can play the character they prefer to play to gear up an alt.

The question now would be which is more important.

Short queue times for the LFD tool.

or

Players having to play each and every character to gear up.

Personally I would rather see 1 which will lead to 2 more often.

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Battle.Net Bank – Another Feature Needed well Maybe Not, Doh!

Well it has been a bit since my last post and I was planning writing a more detailed post about what and why a Battle.Net Account Bank would be a good feature to add to the game.

I was originally suggesting it to be a feature to help cut down on gold buying.  The following 2 links had some initial discussion about ways to cut down on Gold Buying by eliminating some of the reasons that players buy gold.  In the end the only real way would be to remove gold from the game or make it bound to account and only usable with vendors, which would essentially remove the AH from the game.

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/03/18/the-lawbringer-fighting-the-gold-fight-how-the-strategy-must/
http://wowalone.blogspot.com/2011/03/blizzard-should-buy-gold.html

In the mean time Blizzard has added a new item to the 4.1 patch notes that makes this alt-o-holic a happy camper.  If the logical extension of all of these changes is actually implemented a very very happy camper but that has yet to be seen or confirmed.

http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2231-Patch-4.1-Public-Test-Realm-Notes-March-30

  • Many “Account Bound” heirlooms are now labeled as “Battle.net Account Bound”, meaning that they can also be traded or mailed to characters that are on different World of Warcraft accounts under the same Battle.net account.
  • Mail sent to characters on the same Battle.net account now arrives instantaneously, as it does for the same World of Warcraft account.
  • Mailing account-bound items to characters of the opposite faction on the same Battle.net account will now correctly translate faction-specific items to their appropriate equivalent.

If the mail is still not able to be sent cross server than a good workaround would be a Battle.net account bank, like the Vault you can pay to have available in LotRO.  It is one of the really nice features for trading materials between characters since the mail system is a little lacking without some of the mail add ons I use in wow.

Actually they really need to change the AH interface and decouple it with the mail system.  It would most likely greatly reduce the overhead on the mailing subsystem.  Make a second virtual hold system like the AH that is off market where all of your stuff sits for when you need to pick it up.  Also all items you want to auction are dumped there first.  By some of the comments in the UI dev Q&A it sounds like there is an overhaul to the AH coming so I will save more comments on what I think is wrong with the current implementation, other than the already existing posts here.

I still think a way hell even if it is an additional service fee like the mobile AH a way to move BoA and base gold/materials between servers would be a great boon.  It would give some players an entire new game to play.  It would be the world of market craft but letting the players equalize out the value of goods across both high and low population servers would be really cool.

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Tier 11 Raiding – Blizzards Failure on Achievements and Reporting

There is additional failures on part of the playerbase and guild ranking websites but those can be traced back to the entirety of  Blizzards implementation of Tier 11 raiding.

The difficulty and tuning has been analyzed to death so I will not get into that flame war quagmire.  IMO I think some encounters are tuned a little too tightly but it looks like our guild will be able to clear all the normal mode bosses before the next tier of content.

So what am I talking about when saying that Blizzard failed on achievements and reporting.  Well it is simple.  There is no way to differentiate a boss kill on 10 or 25 man mode.  More problematic is there are all these new guild bonuses and statistics but not information on boss-kills at the guild level or I should say what is there is extremely lacking.

In this new guild and content era where there are now stiff penalties for switching guilds in the form of loss of guild reputation if players are going to change guilds there is more information needed so that players can evaluate a guild.

For each tier of content there should be a chart with the following information in it of course the 80% membership requirement for a guild run will also be a requirement to be recognized for this information.

[table id=5 /]

Since this information would be available in XML the guild ranking/progression sites could then aggregate the information, that is a service that ultimately should be hosted on Blizzards services so that there is 1 official always up-to-date source but that is an issue for another time.  I would just be happy that Blizzard provide the information needed to accurately provide this service to the player base.

One of the dimensions that I really think that the progress sites get wrong is that they do not consider the total number of kills, all that matters is the first kill.  I am more impressed with a guild that consistently get 6/12 down every week than the guild that gets 4 boss kills because they want to push for that one new boss kill just to get ahead of the competition due to how the progression sites are overly concerned about first kill.

Anyway the more information the better.  I think it would help our guild overall in the long run and will hopefully highlight some of the early lemmings that pushed far and fast and then fell apart afterward.  Why are they still high on the rankings if they have not had a new or consistent kill rate.

Anyway I am sure the information I wish was displayed is available for Tier11 and I hope the armory will be updated to support such information for Tier 12 in patch 4.2.

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Not more Phasing!!!

There are plans for a new daily quest hub in Mount Hyjal to be released in conjunction with the Firelands raid. We’re planning to make it phase and unlock more content as players progress, very similar to Isle of Quel’Danas. One downside of the phasing and unlocking of new buildings/quests there though, was that you had to be participating during the world event to actually see the change take place. We’d like to make the Mount Hyjal hub phase per player so that your personal progress unlocks new content for you, rather than for your whole realm.

We’ll have more details about that a little later though. 😉

From:
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2201-Season-10-Armor-Models-Art-Gallery-Update-Comics
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2179758985?page=5#85

Phasing is a great technology for telling a story however there are several fatal flaws with how it currently working in World of Warcraft.

  1. No way to sync player phase states.  So if 2 players in the same group get to different points in the quest line they can no longer interact while in the phased area.
  2. Resource nodes still show up on the map even if they are in a different phase while flying around and then disappear when you slowdown/land to gather them.
  3. Rare resource nodes when re-spawning will appear in one phase and then not be available to other phases until someone in the “right” phase gathers it.  This is an extension of the item 2, but in this case I want to note that this also covers fishing pool spawn locations.

I really don’t know what to say about these other than something needs to be done before more Phasing is thrown into the game.  Get the current technology working first.  It was very very annoying back in WotLK when we wanted to summon someone to ICC before the Warlock showed up and the raiders had to fly to the 5-man summoning stone because the Raid summoning stone was in a phased area of the zone and you had to play guess who was in the same phase.  This is complete bullshit, no other way to really describe it.  So many other games out there that do different phase/shard layers have a way to sync up or switch state, hell I remember this being implemented in Guild Wars before I started to play WoW.  So seriously WTF?

I was going to try and not do any Rift comparisons in this post but I all I will say is that Rift has drawn a new line in the sand for the baseline features of new MMO content.  The user interface has many features that we WoW players have been asking for years to have baseline in the user UI.  I love add-ons but I think they have made Blizzard lazy in the UI department.  There are other Quality of Life issues with the UI and game that just work in Rift and feel really kludgey in WoW now.  I was forming up in a raid last night waiting for a few people and forgot that I could not do any quests because hell it just works in Rift, they don’t care if people group up to get stuff done faster, they actually encourage player interaction and group effort.

Honestly it is time for Blizzard to sit down and have a real internal discussion at the very least on what the baseline experience of WoW is like compared to new games of a similar genre.  I would love to use the default interface for most things but in WoW that is not going to happen.  LotRO was close but there were still some things find a PITA to use.  The default RIFT interface fixes those.

***** Update *****

Found: http://thebigbearbutt.com/2011/03/09/wow-sorta-kinda-maybe/

Big Bear Butt has some similar complaints on phasing while talking about a few other things.

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