Here I am on Pagle

image

Since I’m Alliance, and a filthy care bear, I’ve rolled my toons on the Pagle Classic server.  Right now I’ve reserved Grimmtooth, Jasra, and Floramel (the max possible for now). Looks like my current guild will be rezzing up there as well.  If you’re on there, feel free to drop me a private message (or public message me for contact info) for an invite.  Not guaranteeing we’ll do anything with it, but back in the day, this guild raided all the big raids.

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Don’t make me use this.

imageTo my great surprise today, Jasra got a mace from a world boss that was an actual upgrade (coupled with a decent off-hand) over the staff she’d been carrying, like, forevar.

Unfortunately, the mace mog collection is unburdened by cool looking maces.

So we went with a two-by-four with a nail in it.

Don’t fuck with Discipline priests. I guarantee it’ll hurt.

It is Done

flying bfa

Tonight I started at just over 2,000 reputation short of being Revered with the Mechagon Trudgniks. I wasn’t expecting to get all that rep in one night, but the “find the chests” WQ was up so I popped it with a quest to spare.

So I’m flying in the current content once again.  I wish I could say it wasn’t a slog this time, but it really felt like a slog.  This “pathfinder” business started, what, in Draenor? I think it was Draenor.  And the funny thing is, it took a month, grinding as fast as I could.  I think it took less time in Legion, and it definitely took less than a month this time.

But it FELT like a slog through two pointless rep grinds.

I wonder if others feel the same way about the duration and pointfulness.

It’s funny, in that it feels like it was deliberately time-gated to drag things out. But if it takes less than a couple of weeks before you see people zipping around on flying mounts, how much of a delay was it?

I know I’m not alone when I say that I feel that Blizz is introducing time-wasting content to try to engage players longer – by “engage” I mean “engage players in time wasting activities”.

Okay, listen. Nobody’s kidding anyone here. Of COURSE they’re trying to drag things out, keep you involved longer without any real reward.

But what Blizz needs to do at this point is maybe put more effort into making it look less like they are.

Next up: something like 1000 manapearls to max out my benthic gear.  And maybe by then they’ll have new content.

What to do when your Main doesn’t matter

!gt_portriat200When we started BfA, my “main” was my Glyphmonger, because no matter what, I felt I could sell glyphs (I wasn’t wrong).

Eventually, I “mained” my Priest, because that seemed to be the best way to serve my guildies and get us into raiding and shit.

After months of inactivity in our guild, we’ve reached Phase 3, which is where I realize that no matter how attractive I am to my guild, a guild that isn’t interested in raiding is a guild that isn’t interested in raiding.  So now, in Phase 3, I’m promoting my Hunter to Lead, which is really where he belongs.

When I advise someone, I always say, play what you like.

Time for me to take my own advice.

Feeling the Call

 

world of warhammer.jpg

This article on WoW Insider (https://blizzardwatch.com/2019/04/22/expect-hunter-wow-classic/) really highlights the downsides of playing a Hunter in Classic.

And I’m okay with that.

I won’t go over every little bit, but the highlights:

  • No dual class (that applies to everyone) and the need to visit class traders to swap.
  • Pets. The feeding of them. The training of them. Oh my goodness it was convoluted.
  • Stat sticks!
  • Ammo!
  • The 3-8 foot dead zone.

But also, there’s those glorious talent trees.  Remember that BM didn’t happen until you got all the way to the top, and then you, if you were careful, had *just enough* to get all the way into the good trapping skills at max level. Maybe.

All these things exist, and I’m … kinda feeling the call.

I wonder. If Classic swells and BfA (or whatever) starts to shrink, will they get the idea? Will they start to realize that players WANT a little bit of challenge in the game? That the current method of handing everything to you is maybe just a bit too much?

I have to make a disclaimer – I never came up through max level in Vanilla as a Hunter.  My main back then was a Warrior, and I sucked so bad at it that I quit at level 53.  I actually nuked each and every one of my toons in the process – made a big production out of it. Grimmy (Mk 1) jumped into the fire pit in Ironforge. My Warlock – a guy named Yardif Bey – doused himself with brandy and then cast a fireball spell of some sort.  And so forth. I was just … fed up with it.

And then I read the adventures of Big Red Kitty in BC (Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8YJ272Vlps – but don’t go looking for the site. These days it just serves up some cybersquatters crap.) and fell in love with the BM spec.  I decided to start again, re-rolled a new main, and never looked back.

But the point is, I never actually lived through the pre-BC days for reals. I didn’t start the reroll until just a few weeks before BC was released (I recall I was in The Wetlands at the time). Though the post-BC experience was similar to the pre-BC experience, it wasn’t 100% the same.

I have said time and time again that I have no real interest in playing Classic … but posts like this make me wonder.  Make me think, well, maybe I’ll roll JUST ONE toon in Classic and give it a whirl. Maybe a Hunter. A BM Hunter.   Somebody … that I didn’t actually play during Vanilla.

That Water Strider business; it’s all about control.

Imma not gonna lie, I never got the Water Strider mount  until BfA, and even then it was the Welfare Water Strider.  I was in no hurry, but until I got it I didn’t realize why so many people wanted it.

Take yourself back to Burning Crusade and the massive effect that flying mounts had on day to day questing. Now, there was a big difference between then and now. Then: you had to gain the flying ability per toon. Today: one toon gets it, all toons get is.

But there was a gate, and flying was that gate.

Before flying, you had to slog your way through any number of BC quests (flying didn’t apply to, well, anything on Azeroth), and that taught certain values about the value of flying in landlocked environments. Most importantly: quests that were difficult for landlocked toons were cake for those with flying mounts.

For some time now I have been ruminating on how water striding mounts fulfil the same role that flying mounts did, only instead of flying they offer the means to move freely in areas that water constrained the area of free movement.

And in the course of those ruminations, I have come to realize that water striding mounts fulfil the same role that flying mounts did on areas that relied on the behavior of ground mounts to restrict and control movement in a zone.

You see, this is all about control.

Control, and the complete lack of foresight on the part of software developers that are paid well to foresee such things.

The whole point of controlling flying in zones is to control the flow of the activities in that zone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is bullshit. The design of a zone that has flying as a factor must take flying into account, or the zone design itself is a failure.   So far, every zone that Blizzard has presented is a failure when it comes to flying. Flying overcomes all constraints designed into the zone. No zone designers thus far have designed with flying in mind. And as a result, we end up with artificial constraints on where you can and cannot fly. Shame.

shame

Water Striders are the next generation of this shit-show of design. When they were introduced in Pandaria, they were a cute little end-game perk for players that endured an endless shit show of a rep grind. The short-sighted designers of these mounts failed to foresee how useful they would become in future expansions, for the design didn’t have any level constraints.

And then all of the zone designers after Pandaria worked water into the constraints of the zones that they designed, because somebody had already removed flying from the constraints until endgame, and, surprisingly, nobody had notified them that someone on the MoP team had designed a mount that would blow right by any water-based constraints. I mean, they can’t be expected to play the game and, well, read WoWHead, right?

And, unpredicted by anyone except us filthy casuals, water striding mounts became the most popular mounts in the game. Why? Because they broke the constraints imposed by the Master of the Universe Top Men programmers of all zones after  Pandaria. The Top Men said “you can’t go here unless you fight through zillions of aquatic assholes” and we were like “lol I water stride the fuck over your heads motherfucker.”

I mean, this was the deal no matter your level. If you were able to earn enough rep to buy an Azure Water Strider (about a month’s work) then you had the ability to bypass a large part of any zone’s constraints that were based on water. You could just “fly” over the aquatic mobs’ heads and call yourself a mf’ing hero.

Listen, I’ve been doing. So don’t trot out any holier than thought bullshit. No time, no patience. It’s a thing that happened, and any player that employs maximum efficiency will do the thing. it’s natural.

What I’m getting at is that the changes to water striding in the 8.2 patch are kinda predictable. WoW isn’t about making game mechanics more fun, it’s about maximizing the amount of time the can keep you playing and Water Strider mounts don’t really help with that.

Now. Changes to the Water Strider mount are kinda weird in that light. What we’re getting right now is that the mount won’t be able to do the thing it was bought to do  – walk on water – until the character that uses it is level 100.

Okay, I get that, if the max level for the current expansion is 100, that makes perfect sense.

But it’s not. Current max level for BfA is 120.  So if you are level 100 and playing BfA, you are not in any way constrained when it comes to water walking mounts.

So I am in many ways questioning the changes to water walking mounts in 8.2.

Listen, I’ve been of the opinion that water walking mounts blew the level design of all zones since Draenor. But I’ve always envisioned a solution that … addressed the problem. As in only applying to max-level zones, not zones of the past.

The current solution is bullshit. Wrong. Punishing people other than the intended audience.

Though I have to say, if your mechanics design hinges on punishing people, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work.

Or I’m playing the wrong game.

Getting close to option B, friends.

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 5)

Note

This is a multipart post.


spreadsheet

Of course there is a spreadsheet

So, after a couple weeks’ evaluation, where are we now?

The addons fall into three categories – Worthy Successors, Livable Substitutes, and Serviceable But Not Desirable.

Overall, I think GupPet is still the best of the bunch, despite its age, but I also think you can do well with BeStride.  LiteMount is very good as well but requires more technical knowledge to be used effectively.  If it were for me, I’d probably pick LiteMount over BeStride, but for most people I’d go the other way.

Each of the mid tier has special features that intrigue, but the top tier truly sets the mark that others must beat.

Tier 1: Any one of which I would enjoy using

  • GupPet
  • BeStride
  • LiteMount

Tier 2: Any one of which would be a decent substute for the Tier 1s, but which have shortcomings.

  • GoGoMount – might be a Tier 1 depending on your personal feelings
  • IntelliMount
  • KuiMount – would fare better if not for the broken config options
  • MountsJournal – key missing feature is class-based abilities.

Tier 3: May be better than a macro, but don’t count on it.

  • Choose Mount
  • Easy Rider
  • gmMounts
  • Mandrill Mount – would have fared better if it lived up to the author’s claims of working with non-shaman classes. Even so, its features are limited in comparison to others.
  • MountMe – key missing feature: profiles.

My biggest takeaway here was the sheer number of addons of this type that were out there.  And out of 12 addons, 7 were excellent.

My weapon of choice remains GupPet (with my mods), but I feel a sense of comfort knowing that I have several potential replacements should it cease to work completely.

 

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 4)

Note

This is a multipart post.


Mandrill Mount

This addon is very Shaman oriented, but claims to be usable by other classes.

I was unable to get this addon to work on my priest by following the instructions, so I can’t really provide a good evaluation of it.

There is no support for action buttons or hot keys, nor is there a configuration interface of any kind, nor is there a mount favorites selection interface of any kind, nor is there any profiling of any kind that I could detect using the largest tricorder I could find.

If it worked, it looks like you can either create a macro that calls it with a specific set of mounts, or ‘random’, which didn’t work.

Overall grade is F, because if you don’t work, you don’t get a grade.  Don’t claim you work for other classes if all you work with are Shaman.

Mount Journal Enhanced

mount journal

Mount Journal Enhanced mods to the Mount Journal

This is heavily focused on enhancing the existing mount journal, so pretty much does what it says on the tin.  And while it does a lot of things right, it also does a lot of things awkwardly or not at all.

blizz options interface

Here’s what you can configure

The mount journal itself is used to designate your favorites, and the core game’s “random mount button” is used to trigger selection. Other than that, there is scarce little way to modify the behavior of the addon.

Fortunately, it does offer the ability to save preferences per-character, so it fulfills one of my basic requirements for such an addon. If the only native random mount feature were per-character, this is pretty much what we’d have, and I’d be pretty content with that.

Overall, a solid C.

MountMe

keybinds

MountMe uses the Dismount keybind

This addon is very rudimentary.  It uses what you have configured in the pet journal to determine what can be summoned. Rather than define its own keybind, it uses the native “dismount” keybind  to drive it.

There are no preferences, profiles, or other niceties.

This one’s not a lot more useful than the default “random mount” action button.

C- – does the job, but a macro would almost do as well.

MountsJournal

mount journal

MountsJournal mods to the Mount Journal

Journal integration is excellent. Each mount in the journal has three buttons available – ground, fly, and aquatic – which you can mix and match as needed. For example, the Hearthsteed is both a flying and ground mount for my Pali, and can be configured that way.  The inherent search and filtering features of the mount journal come into play to help you quickly narrow down what you can see, so if you’re just interested in night elf saber mounts or flying mounts, easily done.

Mount lists can be character specific, or not, giving your flexibility where you want it.

options

MountsJournal Options

There are several special abilities in the general configuration options.

  • Extensive configuration around water striders – can prioritize over land mounts, can prioritize in specific dungeons and expeditions
  • If you have Herbalism, can be configured to call the Sky Golem if it is available
  • If you have the magic broom, can be configured to call that during Hallow’s Eve

There are a few down sides.

  • No support for levitate / feather fall when mounting while falling
  • No support for ghost wolf
  • No support for Druid travel forms

This is one of the few addons that avoids the Blizzard native interface for keybinds, and that’s probably not a good thing.

Overall, this is a solid addon with a few peccadillos that can be overlooked. B- at worst.

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 3)

Note

This is a multipart post.


GoGoMount

addon config

GoGoMount Configuration

This one avoids integrating with the mount journal in favor of its own favorite configuration integrated into its Blizz configuration interface. It’s a decent, serviceable random mount manager and can be extended with additional addons (I didn’t test them).  Its interface is a bit confusing at times but once you get used to it it works just fine.

global favorites

GoGoMount Global Favorites

You can specify a global mount favorites list that kicks in for any zone that you haven’t specified favorites for.  And that’s right, boys and girls, GoGoMount lets you specify a list of favorite mounts for every zone.  The only caveat is that you can only configure for the zone you’re in.  So take good notes for Future You.

exclusions

GoGoMount Zone Exclusions

The Exclusions list works in a similar fashion, giving you the means to specify a list of mounts to never use globally, as well as in the current zone.

While it doesn’t split flying / ground mounts up, it does let you specify to not use flying mounts in non-fly zones, so you’re not waddling around on a grounded dragon.

Some class-specific abilities are supported, but some implementations may be incomplete.

An extension – GoGoMount-Manager – offers improvements to managing your mount collection, and may address some of the issues observed above.

One feature it does claim to address is profile support, which is sadly missing in the core addon; thus, you can’t have a different set of favorites per alt without an additional addon.

keybinds

GoGoMount Keybinds

Keybinds are supported via the standard Blizz keybind interface, but note that it shows up under ‘other’ which is where addons goes that don’t have the right metadata to suit the Blizz keybind interface thingy.

Overall, this is a solid addon that is  soured by the lack of proper profile support.  A C- by itself, but if GoGoMount-Manager addresses that, then it’s a solid B+ or A-.

IntelliMount

configuration

IntelliMount Options

This addon takes the core game random mount implementation and slaps a veneer of usefulness on it. You get SOME control over how it works, but it’s far from the benchmark target. For  example, most addons will figure out if you have Draenor and Broken Isles flying. It does have some unique features, but they hardly make up for the basics.

This addon also does not support profiles, so all of your alts use the same mount list.

keybinds

IntelliMount Keybinds

Keybinds use the core Blizz interface, and you can designate bindings for a variety of special calls. “Normal” mount in this case is an auto-mount selector, which will attempt to find a good mount for the environment you’re in.

Overall, it’s functional and would do in a pinch – a strong C+. It would be at least a B- if it supported profiles.

KuiMount

mount journal

KuiMount Mount Journal mods

This addon modifies the Mount Journal to manage your mounts. Each entry in the list will have one or more checkboxes, such as “fly” and “ground”, so you get to make the call about whether a flying mount will be called in ‘flying’ zones.  While the addon doesn’t support profiles directly, you CAN define “sets”, and the set choice is per user. So you can define a set for each of your alts and it will ‘remember’ that for you.

but the config ui is kinda facked

The “Lists” configuration interface is broken with regards to profiles / sets

The list configuration window, however, has a few issues. For example, you can’t select a set to edit because the list of sets is *behind* the configuration window. That’s probably a simple fix.  Fortunately, it doesn’t affect the ability to choose your set from the mount journal.

keybinds

KuiMount Keybinds

Keybinding is via the Blizz interface, and offers a familiar set of options.

Overall, this is a decent addon, making great use of native controls, with some of the more advanced features blocked by a broken UI. Give it a solid B-.

LiteMount

options and profile

LiteMount interface + profiles

This one is one of the more interesting ones for those that don’t mind putting some effort into it. It has the basic features one would expect in such an addon, plus a lot of interesting and esoteric features found no where else.

Mount selection matrix

LiteMount Mount Selection

Mount selection is available via a matrix that lets you select from several premade categories, as well as any custom categories you wish to create. This is in addition to a basic on/off checkbox.  The configuration for this is efficient and supports filtering to help you narrow things down quickly.

Profiles are supported, though not all settings are 100% supported per character. Some are per character, some are global, and some are per-character-only. The author provides a very clear description of what is supported.

options - unavailable macro

Unavailable Macro is used if you’re unable to mount.

Non mount-related functions such as “Levitate” for priests while falling are handled via the “unavailable” macro. This is a macro that you define, and which is executed when you try to mount and mounting is not possible – such as when you are falling,, or moving.  This is very flexible, meaning that even as Blizz adds new classes, races, and abilities, you will be able to keep up with the state of the game.

The same sort of thing is provided for in-combat conditions.  If your character is in combat, then an appropriate macro can be created for the situation (which may not be movement-related).

keybinds

LiteMount Keybinds

Keybinds are done properly via the Blizz keybind interface. One thing of note here, the keybinds supported are simply designated “key binding” 1 through 4.

options - advanced

LiteMount Advanced Configuration

What those four keybinds do is defined in the Advanced options. The defaults are reasonable and can be used as is, but you’ll want to review them so you know how to designate the keybinds. And, of course, if you don’t like specifically how each of the keybind groups is configured, you can change it. Of course you can. 🙂

Finally, I simply must laud the author for two things.

  1. Clear and concise instructions to follow if it ever appears that he has abandoned the addon. Guys, this is really something all addon authors should do.
  2. Very clear instructions on how to use the addon.  Seriously, it’s the best documentation of any sort I’ve seen in quite some time. See for yourself.

Overall, this addon is well done and well made. A solid “A” for users of a certain level of sophistication.  A solid “C” for everybody else. This addon rewards effort applied, and lets those content to just get by … get by.

Mount up! On the Subject of Random Mount Addons (pt 2)

Note

This is a multipart post.


BeStride

BeStride is one of the better offerings, and it brings a lot of unique options.

mount selection

BeStride Mount Selection

Selection of favorite mounts is comprehensive and well ordered. The only thing missing here is a 3D model preview, which becomes far more of an issue than I had first thought it.  Seeing what the mount looks like, it turns out, is very important to me personally. Others without my special … quirks … may not have issues with this omission.

One thing of note: BeStride does figure out if you’re in a non-patrol Warfront and deals with it correctly.

class options

BeStride Class Options

This addon offers the best class-based options of all the addons I’ve reviewed.

  • Death Knights get Wraith Walk when moving.
  • Demon Hunters gain Fel Rush when moving and Gliding when falling.
  • Druids have several options for travel and flight form.
  • Mages gain slow fall when falling, blink when moving.
  • Monks gain Roll when moving, and Zen Flight when falling.
  • Paladins gain Divine Steed when moving.
  • Priests gain Levitate when falling.

The only thing missing is Rogues’ Sprint when moving.

mount options

BeStride Mount Options

This addon offers some of the most esoteric and unique options of all of ’em.

  • Auto enable new mounts when learning them
  • Remount immediately after dismount
  • Random usable mount if no mounts in your favorites are usable
  • Protect from flying dismount inadvertantly
  • Force flying mount availability in non-flying zones – in other words, the default is to not do this.
  • Force flying broom
  • Prioritize passenger mounts in group
  • Prioritize Nagrand mounts when applicable
  • Occulus mounts
  • Force Sky Golem if you’re a flower picker
  • Force a repair mount if below certain durability, which you can adjust in three different dimensions

Keybinds are carried out via the addon’s interface, as well as the Blizz keybind interface.

The addon does not support the native blizz addon interface. Or, rather, it offers an entry in the interface options dialog, but it only offers a “click this button to open my own interface” button. And it tosses out an exception. Fortunately, /bestride brings up the configuration interface for the addon with no issues.

Overall, this addon is excellent and will do quite nicely in place of GupPet as long as the companion features are not a big deal for you. It’s well ahead of others in terms of class support, and otherwise provides an excellent experience. The lack of a 3D mount preview takes away from that a bit, but other than that it’s excellent.

Choose Mount

button bar is stuck

That button bar is stuck and in the way.

So this one is just a BoBB (Big ol Button Bar) supporting several categories of mounts – racial, class, faction (ground and flying), professions, aquatic, and Qirajii – the last being fairly unique. A big problem with the button bar is that it was not relocatable. And overall, it was impossible to select which mounts were applciable to which button, making it impossible to personalize per alt.

While it claims it supports Masque for skinning, it did not appear in the Masque prefs and thus was unskinnable. (You had one job)

I was unable to find a way to bind mounts via slash commands or keybinds.

As best I can tell, it’s not very customizable and fairly generic. There is no way to customize per alt or bind to keys, rendering use very clumsy. If I were out of options, I’d use this in place of a macro. Which garnishes it a grade of D, no minus or plus.

Easy Rider

mount bar and tooltip

The button bar, and tooltip thereof.

This is another BoBB (Big ol’ button bar) addon that offers little beyond that. There is no way to control what mount is summoned per button other than setting a “preferred mount” per type. There is no way to change the keybinds. And there is no way to configure anything else beyond where the bar appears and its visibility.

Another version of “I’d use this over a macro but little else”.

gmMounts

configuration

They call it configuring. I call it a hack.

This one barely makes it in, and it almost didn’t. This addon has no UI elements other than slash commands. There is no way to configure which mounts you want other than hacking its code directly (which is what you are instructed to do by the author). And there’s no way to support profiles for each alt. You can work around it since the configuration supports ‘categories’ – as many as you want – and you could therefore, in theory, designate a category per alt or class.

This fact alone opens this addon up to massive instability.  Since WoW uses the LUA language for its addons, and LUA is such a fragile language, it is very easy to blow up your ui if you make even the most miniscule mistake. Say, left out a comma.

Overall, this one ranks slightly below “I’ll just use a macro”.