Category Archives: Haters gonna hate
Well, it’s official. Tuesday, October 25, 2022 is the date that the first of two (?) pre-patches dropped for the next expansion, Dragonflight.
And I cannot be more pleased to be wrong about it.
More specifically, I had grave doubts about the release date for Dragonflight – “by the end of 2022” – and figured if they didn’t have a prepatch by mid-November, they’d miss the date. And, as you can no doubt tell, they made that date, with a month to go, even. So basically here in the last week of October, even, we are with a prepatch all loaded up.
I cannot understate how much this says in favor of the dev team and the ops team together. They’ve pulled off something quite unusual for Blizzard.
Now … it’s not perfect. As many have said, there are bugs. Many bugs. Although the way some are treating this, “it’s unprecedented and therefore Blizzard have failed”. This fits their chosen narrative so of course. Some people (see link) haven’t had anything kind to say about WoW in years, so we’ll not act surprised when they find the dark lining in a silver cloud. Again. Right, Elliot?
(Seriously, there’s busting Blizz’ balls because upper management are a bunch of anti-union fuckweasels, and there’s constantly harping on WoW because they’re perceived as the big boys in the genre and thus the Scrappy Little Blog can claim to be Speaking Truth to Power like the red-blooded patriots they think they are. I’m good with the former. Not the latter. Be better. Git gud.)
BUT … considering the timeline, considering the gargantuan amount of work that had to go into this, Dev and Ops did a pretty good job.
It is true, there are bugs. But I’ve seen this for every prepatch for years. Hell, listen up, you pups, I remember when BC came out and people entering Hellfire Citadel caused Wetlands to crash. You wanna talk bugs? Let’s talk bugs! Haha.
It’s gonna be a few days, is all I’m saying. It’s going to take a while to get the core system cleaned up, and it’s gonna take a while to get all the addons working. Some may not come back at all. Some won’t need to.
A propos, here’s a brief catalog of some of the issues thus far.
- GupPet is dying on an obscure (to me) UI error. It may not be back. I’m pretty much at my limit here and may just punt and load up BeStride, which is still maintained and works fine.
- TSM is having issues both posting and buying. And crafting. And … well, it hates the rest of WoW.
- Speaking of crafting, TSM and Skillet are both having issues in that regard. The new crafting UI may be somewhat usable
but you have to disable TSM first(it got better).
- Dominoes is totally busted, but if you can make the new default UI work for you, you may not miss it. About 90% of Domino’s features are in the new UI. I’m not 100% sold yet but it does look promising. It would be really nice if I could move the experience bar, bags, and system buttons, though. (Really, guys? Really??)
Right now I have like 60% of my addons disabled, including ElvUI (however, that’s just to see if I can make the default UI work out).
But, bottom line, this is about where we’ve always been three days after a new pre-patch. I’m not Nostradummus but I’m willing to say that this whole thing will be good to go by launch day.
Then again, I’m the idiot that said they’d probably not be ready by the end of the year, so …
Following up on some mock-ups, Blizz has started releasing information about the new talent trees for Dragonflight.
The first one that got my interest was Priest – I suck at the first two that they released, and that’s okay, folks, try not to be so judgey.
But I truly perked up and came into my own when they released the specs for Hunter – and WoWHead added it to their simulator (1).
This is not your daddy’s talent tree
First of all, let’s be clear – the talent trees of Cata and earlier are not going to happen. This is a new thing.
There are four key differences.
- There are actually two talent trees, with two “pools” of talent points to draw from. One which is just $class, and one which is relevant to your designated specialization – for Hunters, that is Beast Master, Survival, and Marksman, for example.
- In case it was not clear, each Specialization has its own talent tree, plus a generic $class tree.
- As you may have gathered from (1), there is none of this nonsense of going into a different spec’s talents for a specific talent.
- There are a LOT more talents to choose from, roughly 30-ish for each talent tree (class and specialization), for a real possibility of some fine-grained differentiation(5).
Okay, let me ‘splain (2) a bit. Let me ‘splain it in BM Hunter terms.
Back in The Old Days™, we’d go into the Survival spec to get a specific talent (Clever Traps, if you’re interested) and otherwise focus on BM talents. In the case of Dragonflight talent trees, this is not a possibility – you can’t ‘borrow’ talents from Survival. However, since several talents have been mainlined as simply “hunter” this may change things a bit. Though I don’t see Clever Traps as a talent in the generic pool, that doesn’t mean that that won’t be the case at release date, or that we can’t effectively reach that same outcome with what we have in the “Hunter” tree.
The same applies to other classes as well, though the only one that I am interested in so far is Disco Priest. Yes, I do run an Outlaw Rogue, but since I suck at Outlaw Rogue, I am going to keep my big mouth shut on that topic and stick to what I know.
To start with, Disco has the Disco again, baby. Prayer of Mending has become a baseline Priest ability, and I am all a-tingly over this. I mean, it’s not even an OPTION, you just get it as a priest. I don’t care if I have to share it with Holy and Shadow(3), I am just happy to have it back.
Long-term Beef Time. Ever since they relieved Disco priests of the ability to fling the Frisbee(2) around, I have been pretty emo about it. Disco without the Disco is just wrong. Disco priests should be flinging the frisbee around, and if you don’t agree, feel free to go play FFIV or whatever that’s called. I’ll be here to accept your apology when you come crawling back. And you will.
Anyhoo. I’m sure at this point that there is someone out there dunking on me mentally because I am sooooo hyperfocused on Disco. And that’s fine. I am. Get over it. There was a time that I found Disco / Shadow to be an interesting and provacative dual spec, but once they made Disco survivable on its own, Shadow was kicked to the curb. Good luck being third-tier DPS, guys, I feel ya, but only a little bit since if you wanted to play Afflock you shoulda rolled Afflock. Which I did.
I am not gonna prognosticate on the One True Way for Disco priest or BM Hunter. Not at this point. It’s clear that these talent trees are changing based on feedback, which is as it should be. But, also, I have little in the way to offer until I can actually bring up toons with these talent trees and test them. I am not a mental theorycrafter. I am a grinder. A person that just grinds away at the work at hand until it is done. This was recently presented to me as a compliment, and I accept it in full appreciation of the perspective that informed it. There are people that excel at the theory and make it work for them, and there are people that try the theory out and iterate on it until it works. That’s me. Put me in front of a training dummy, I’ll start to give you some decent real-world feedback. Show me a chart, I’ll tell you it’s pretty.
But I will say this. There will eventually be identified specific cookie cutter talent specs for every class. In some cases there will be multiples. I recall deeply the Destro Warlock variations of yore, which, I must be honest, basically were all the same on the combat logs, but it was great to me to see that there were so many paths to excellence for Destro Locks at the time.
Let me be a bit less apocryphal, in the form of BM Huntery which I am the most invested in.
In the past, there were a couple of different routes to maximum effectiveness for BM hunters. One was a pure DPS spec. I’ve always been of the opinion that that spec was a poor substitute for a MM build that focused more on DPS than anything else, and was less effective. You wanna go MM, go MM, man. Ain’t no thang.
You may be asking, what is there to offer in a DPS spec, other than DPS? And the answer is, utility. This is an ill-defined term that can be used – or misused – in several ways. My own experiences in Karazhan are a good example, as exemplified by BRK’s own example. Basically, one of the things that classic BM Hunters excelled at was utility. You can see this in BRK’s video, which showed him using his pet as an off-tank for the sub-bosses in the Moroes encounter. Using his trapping and pet, he was able to occupy one of those four adds while assisting the rest of the team in burning down the others one at a time. As I mentioned earlier, Clever Traps figures into this largely. BRK was my BM daddy, I admit it. I was nowhere near as competent at this dance as he was, but, given his example, I volunteered to fill that role in the raid, and I more or less fulfilled it. (we will not discuss That Time Grimmy Pulled The Whole Room)
So like I said, there are some cookie-cutter aspects to this, Fer Shur. But I ask you, in the current system, how is that not also true? The whole cookie cutter thing is a red herring.
PS: A few days after I started writing this, I saw one of our “premier” MMO blogs posting about why the new talents were Bad and the tiered talents were Good. Ignoring, of course, that if something with 45,000 possible combinations could be cookie-cutter’d, then something with 30 possible combos could, as well, and would be 10000x more likely to be. But I is not a Big Time Professional Blogger so please ignore me.
Can’t Get There from Here
One thing I’ve noticed from the talent trees is that you can’t get all the top-tier talents, at all. You can get, generally, two out of six or so, maybe three but I’m thinking that won’t happen unless you’re super-focused on those top-tier talents. This in a way simulates one of the features of the Classic trees, in that you had to make some choices along the way and that pretty much set your “specialty”. Nowadays, Blizz is more “tell don’t show” in their approach so rather than having your choices determine your specialty, your specialty determines your possible choices. Funny ol’ world.
I like it
At this time, in this place(4), I like what I see. Sure, there are many unanswered questions, such as:
- Fluidity – as in, right now, the talent trees presented may change. That’s fine. Alpha is kinda like that, troopers.
- Changing specs – will WoW preserve our builds, or will we need an addon?
- Will we be able to save and swap out builds, or will an addon be required?
- Will Specialization be a thing in 11.0? Okay, maybe that’s a long game question. But with the new talent trees, maybe we just chuck that concept. Specializations are, after all, an artifact of the tiered talents we currently have.
- What’s the 11.0 game? Will new talents be added or will the current trees be re-scaled in a form of “level squish” sort of operation?
Some of these questions are abstract, others more relevant to our upcoming experience within the next four and a half months. Most are along the lines of “will I need an addon to get around this possible issue?”, I guess. There’s actually a lot of room for a good addon here, I suspect. I doubt I have the skill to write it myself, though I can see its outline in my mind’s eye.
But overall I feel like this is a step in the right direction. A way to make talents interesting and applicable again. I mean, you can trot out all the arguments in favor of the “tiered” approach, but the relentless unremitting response will be, and always will be, NOBODY CARES. Imma go to Icy Veins and grab my talent specs and that’s the end, because there’s nothing there to tinker with.
I have in the past been critical of “the illusion of choice” vis-a-vis the Legion weapon trees which were not trees and really were not choices other than in what order you went. This here is a different animal, and, while it may devolve down to cookie cutters, there is still the potential to be an individual and blaze a trail, no matter HOW WRONG it might be. As a BM Hunter, Disco Priest, and Demo Warlock, I’m used to people choosing wrong, and forgiving them. It takes all kinds, folks.
- Be aware, there are pending changes to all specs. What you see is not what you get.
- Apologies if I got the link wrong. As previously stated, these things are fluid. Trying to link to future abilities is dicey. Always in motion, the future is.
- I am somewhat intrigued at what a Shadow version of the Frisbee might do.
- As of July 14, the alpha launched, and we are getting, as they say in Mexico, mucho feedback.
- There are actually more than 30, but you get more or less 30 points to spend in each tree.
For years I have labored under the sad assumption that Goto Damage Meters are Considered Harmful, and it has pissed me off collectively for at least 15 years, so, yeah, let’s have it out.
Assumption: Damage Meters are BAD!
The basic underlying argument is that damage meters allow certain toxic individuals to make LFD / LFR a toxic wasteland and therefore are bad in and of themselves.
As an engineer this upsets me in a number of ways.
- Damage meters are a source of data. And ONLY a source of data.
- Data is intrinsically GOOD.
- People that make damage meters a source of shame / hate or other kind of disrepute are the problem here, not the meters themselves.
Okay, that last point is pretty much the sole point of this article. Which is:
People are BAD!
In that, people are the problem. Damage meters are software. People using software are the problem.
There are a lot of people advocating that there are mitigating circumstances but I disagree. Here are my Ultimate Thoughts on the topic.
- Damage Meters provide data. And only data.
- Actual people use that data to improve things in some way
- Not actual people (from here classified as trolls) use that data as a method to harass actual people.
- Some people support (2)
- Some people support (3)
In case it wasn’t clear, we support (2).
Ultimately, damage meters provide a way of gauging one’s performance. In engineering terms, “metrics”. And anyone opposing that kind of data is, ultimately, in my humble opinion, on the wrong side of the equation. Basically, I view that kind of person as less interested in improving things in general, and more interested in forwarding some sort of undisclosed agenda.
This argument resurfaces occasionally. People not very involved in the game, or people with no history, tend to re-discover this topic from time to time. All I can say is, locate a classic WoW blog, look at their blogroll, and educate yourself before opening the mouth. I welcome the opinion, but prefer that it be informed. Right now, there is a lot of bullshit flowing on a topic that has been settled for years (as in, so what?).
Welp, Gamescon is a week gone and we have the name and quite a few details about the next expansion of WoW. Missing the most vital answer, of course – when’s it releasing? – but I sure didn’t expect to hear that quite yet.
A lot of people are unhappy with the subject of this expansion, and I suppose they have some cause. But from a lore perspective, the Legion IS IT. I mean, that’s our Big Bad. Sargeras may be the final boss, but his army is The Burning Legion. This entire franchise has been about The Burning Legion. Even Wrath (The Lich King was a construct of The Legion). Even Cataclysm (Deathwing was created as a byproduct of the Legion’s first invasion). The only part of this franchise that was not about The Legion was the parts about the Old Gods and Pandaria, and I’m not entirely sure we can’t pin at least a couple of those on Demons in some way.
Point being, the Legion is a loose end that hasn’t been tied off yet, and we’ll need to tie it off or we’ll keep coming back to it. Just like people are complaining about. Though in this case, we never finished it.
The (Iron) Horde
Part of the original storyline was how the Horde got sent our way thanks to the demonic influences of Mannaroth, who we’ve now seen killed three times canonically (and many more times on WoWLogs.com and their ilk). Warlords was a revisit of that, and, when it comes down to it, appeared more of a conspicuously gratuitous effort to placate the metalheads in the artists shop than a real story. It had no place in he canon, and introduced more questions than it answered. Legion, at least, connects that crazy train and the jumble of moments that pass for canon before and during Warlords. How we get to the third Legion invasion is now revealed.
Learning to Stop Worrying and Loving the Plot
(or at least put up with it, because ye cats, these guys are pretty ham-fisted and, as my company commander used to say, as obvious as a five-dollar hooker.)
Okay, so from within the framework of the appropriateness of the setting, how it connects with the past, how it connects with the present (we’re told that this is ‘present day’ Azeroth), harmony with the lore (Pandas didn’t), and so forth; I’m personally pretty good with this theme.
(By the way, I have one prediction, and it isn’t about this expansion: when, inevitably, we revisit the Scourge, I suspect that those complaining about retreaded content will be extremely welcoming to the concept. See if they don’t.)
It’s obvious from early information that Blizz is looking to shake up the classes to a great extent. The most amazing news so far is the change to the Hunter class. We’re headed for:
- Beast Mastery – Ranged DPS with pet (Artifact = Gun)
- Marksman – Ranged DPS without pet (Artifact = Bow)
- Survival – Melee DPS with Pet (Artifact = Spear)
Did you catch that? This is exciting! BM is basically becoming the One True Hunter Class by virtue of serving the original concept, but I have to say that Marks without a Pet is basically the fulfillment of many a Forum Poster wet dream. And the return of the Melee Hunter is unexpected. Unbelievably, I have been granted a win in the ultimate discussion of the destiny of the Hunter class, and I am for once not appalled at my victory. This is amazing!
Aside from the Demon Hunter specs (Two specs only! Wuuuuut?!), we’ve heard precious little about other class changes. Well, we’ve heard that they plan to make Warlock’s Demonology spec more Demoney and less Metaphorphos-ey. If it follows the same pattern as the Hunter class, I approve. Well, actually, anything that diminishes the role of Meta is good in my book.
I’m not sure what I mean by that, but I promise to take full credit for whatever it ends up being. Unless it sucks. In which case, Ghostcrawler did it. Ooo look, is that a baby wolf!? /scurry
The other really big thing, for many, was the announcement that there will be no weapon drops in this expansion. Instead, each spec picks up a unique artifact weapon that they continuously upgrade during the expansion. For hunters it’s bow for MM, Gun for BM, and Spear for SV (which was our first clue about the melee spec). I am constantly amused at my joke predictions for character weaponry in comparison. What I said in jest, is almost exactly what they’re doing for real.
There are many unanswered questions about this, most pointedly, what happens when switching specs? And where do current Survival Hunters get starter weapons to bridge the gap? This is gonna make the gear grind kinda weird.
They have said diddly about professions, but we can infer a few things from peripheral facts.
First peripheral fact: well, rumor, really. Word is that the professions team has swole hugely, with one source claiming more than 2x increase in seats. This implies that there are major changes inbound, but we’re not yet informed what they are.
Second peripheral fact: the Garrison concept is not coming forward with Legion. Praise Mammon for that! I cannot go into how many ways that Garrisons failed us without violating some secret blogger’s creed restricting article size to one gigabyte per page, so I’ll just say it’s a pretty sad story and leave it at that. Most people I know will be happy to see it go.
But there’s a problem with that for professions, since professions got tied to garrisons so tightly. All professions are going to have to progress without Garrisons to support them. Some, such as the lumberyard, are probably not going to make it into Legion at all. Well, at least, I hope not.
Ultimately we’re either headed back to pre-Warlord crafting (hardly something we need a huge Professions team for) or something new is coming down the pike. Honestly, as far as professions go, going back to the Vanilla / BC style of crafting is just fine with me.
The only thing I will say that I like in WoD’s crafting is how crafted armor / weapons fit in. You can basically meet or exceed the quality level of normal Hellfire Citadel with crafted items. This is, as far as I can remember, something we haven’t seen since Vanilla, and maybe not even then. Sure, Heroic and Mythic raiders will get better stuff, and I’m extremely good with that. They’ve earned it. But the fact that you can make crafted gear that is actually relevant is pretty unusual, and I’m hoping we keep that in some way in Legion.
Final peripheral fact: PvP is being totally revamped, which will shake up the talent trees for everyone, and this will likely revamp the spec tiers completely, as well as glyphing. As a result, expect to see Inscription getting a lot of changes, at the very least, to support these changes.
By the way … a week after Gamescon, and glyphs are flying off the shelf. The inscription market is extremly brisk at the moment. The prices ain’t tremendous, but quantity is making up for it. Illume is burning through mats like there’s no tomorrow. 10,000 a day is the norm. Tell me the game is dying. Please. I need a laugh now that Jon Stewart is gone.
After the worlds-shattering drama following their announcement that flying would not be happening in Draenor at all, Blizzard has changed their minds and decided it bring it back, but only if you really want it.
At the heart of the initial plan to restrict flight in Draenor (even after players reach level 100) lies the design goal of providing the best moment-to-moment gameplay possible in the outdoor world. From navigating the lava flows of the Molten Front in Patch 4.2, to breaching the Thunder King’s stronghold in Patch 5.2, to reaching the heights of the Ordon Sanctuary on Timeless Isle in Patch 5.4, to uncovering secrets deep within Gorgrond’s jungles on Draenor, World of Warcraft is full of memorable moments that are only possible when players explore the world by ground. And as we’ve continued to develop content over the years, we’ve focused more and more on providing players with these kinds of experiences.
There will be chores to do; exploring, collecting, rep grinding, and so forth. It’s a little reminiscent of the attunements we had in BC, to be honest, and I like that. I’m not one for collecting piles of non combat pets I’ll never look at or mounts I’ll never or rarely use at all. I’m not as much an achievement monkey as some. Give me a grind that will get me something tangible, however, then you’ve got my attention.
Naturally, no matter how you slice this, there will be mighty drama around this announcement as there was around the last. Where before it was all “Blizzard doesn’t care about what the players want raaaaeeeege”, now instead it’s “Blizzard gives in to every little whine raeeeeege!” Blizzard can’t win with this bunch, and personally I think they should just do what they think best and shut down the forums, but that’s me.
I’m still not missing flight in Draenor. But to some, the mere inconvenience is an insurmountable obstacle to inner peace, or something like that. This is not to say, I won’t use it if it’s there. As I’ve said before, I won’t put myself at a disadvantage on mere principle.
The haters will always be around because they need an avenue to vent their frustrations in life in, and a bunch of nerds writing software is just the perfect target. Well, people at Blizz get paid to read their drek, but I don’t.
So flush twice, it’s a long way to MMO-C.
This being Bizarro Outland, Draenor is replete with familiar faces. You just never know who you might run into.
Today I ran across the former warchief of the Horde, just hanging, as former warchiefs are wont to do. He let me take this sweet selfie.
I found this evil looking axe laying nearby. Asked him if it was his, he didn’t say it was.
Left it, though. The stats were all wrong.
Kicking myself, now – I could have DE’d that for some decent pixie dust for Jas. I bet someone came along and grabbed it already. No point in going back for it now.
By the way, don’t let the brochures fool you. Nagrand might look familiar to the old one, but it’s a lot more humid. Pack accordingly.
I missed all the launch day angst this year because I had my own personal launch day angst. My boot drive died, and I was without PC. ((Word to the wise: just don’t buy OCZ SSD drives. This is the third hard failure in as many years. Lonomonkey has already chastised me for this poor purchasing choice on Twitter, so consider your chastisement obligations fullfilled in proxy. I mean it.)) So I set forth to reinstall Windows for the third time in as many months ((Time the first: moved to Win7-64 to play WildStar. Time the second: upgraded motherboard two weeks ago. Time the third. F!CK F!CK F!CK))
I handled this a lot better than some did about the inevitable launch week collywobbles ((SERIOUSLY – were you asleep the last five expansions or something, people? You’re amazing. In some non-complimentary form of the word.)) in that I shrugged my shoulders, and used the down time to catch up on back recordings of @Midnight ((That’s the same guy that did the Blizzcon costume contest, by the way. He’s One Of Us.)).
Last night was Right Out due to OS upgrades, but also the servers still appeared to be having problems. This morning they were free and clear, at least the ones I’m involved with. Kudos to Blizz for repairing the damage resulting from the DDoS attack as quickly as they have. That shizzle ain’t easy, yo, and if you ever start to think it’s easy, come talk to me. I’ll dissuade you of that sad delusion.
As opposed to the abortive effort that was Blizzcon 2013, Blizzcon 2014 was an amazing success. That coupled with the +700K sub numbers indicates that the old warlord is far from dead. I can see Metzen up on stage saying BRANG EET, BASTIGES, and imma for once stand with him on this. Blizz seems to have turned something around, and while it’s only supposition, one can’t help but look at a moderately recent departure for clues on the change in tone.
And this launch was, from my perspective, amazing once I got into the game. Here are my initial impressions.
- NOW’S OUR CHANCE! STORM THE PORTAL! Well, I gotta say beardless!Khadgar was a bit of a disappointment, but after working with him, I totally didn’t care. Whiskers or not ((Whiskers have a strong union, expect class action in the near future.)) he’s a total badass and I am happy to fight at his side. I would have preferred that the premier mage on Azeroth, Jaina Proudmoore, lead this charge, but at least they wrote this guy well.
- For the first time in what seems over a year, I swapped out my Spirit Beast, Cheezburger for my default tanky pet, Bumbles. SRS BSNS, FOSHIZZLE
- I actually got THANKED by a representative of the Shadow Council on behalf of the Shadow Council. Flora might have been cool with that, but I just felt a little skeevy.
- Yrel’s evolution is apparently going to be a lot faster than I expected ((I’ve seen the end-of-Shadowmoon cinematic, so I know where she stands.)). When I first meet her, she “has never killed before.” Amazing for a race that is undergoing systematic extermination. Protip, Yrie – get on that shit as soon as possible to avoid extinction. kay?
- Start of garrison – hello, Baros! That’s an unexpected and familiar face from the past! I love how they’ve managed to merge old-school Azeroth into this expansion.
- Being called “Commander” really makes me feel a sense of obligation … maybe grimmtooth!Actual’s military experience comes into play here, but the feeling that the whole garrison’s population is looking up to you makes it a LOT more personal than I expected.
- And speaking of personal, the barracks appears to be inhabited by slobs, and/or college freshmen ((Same thing)).
All in all, this has been an excellent start to an expansion that I was – at best – dubious about when it was announced. While it’s not as advertised as the brodawg Orc shit, the Draenai lore is really shaping up nicely. The mechanics of things is working out well. The questing process has been, so far, well done, if unchanged from the MoP questing model.
And the player involvement in Things of Import is really well done. I feel like a player in this. I feel like I am being looked up to, a true “commander” of the Alliance force in old!Draenor. The quest and zone designers have done an amazing job of putting this all together, and I am going to be first in line ((Or at least as First as I an manage)) to call them out on (1) a job well done recovering from an unexpected launch event, and (2) a job well done on the design of the expansion.
Ops team, Quest Design team – take a well-deserved break at your earliest convenience. You’ve earned it.
There’s been quite a bit of – well, “whinging” might not be totally inaccurate, but it might be viewed as some as offensive ((Not intended to be offensive, but A==B, B==C therefore A==C kinda thing. Sorry. Your baggage is your own, please claim it at the point of debarkation.)), so we’ll call it “whinge-like sounding critique” – about the pre-expansion event associated with Wierdos of Draenor ((Or whatever it’s called.)), and that puzzles me. It’s as if they remember other pre-expansion events that I do not. Neither Pre-WotLK nor Pre-Cata were all that big a deal, and were done after a handful of quests, unless you were the kind of jerk that liked to get the zombie curse and grief your own faction ((In which case, go spin on a stick.)). I’d even say that the Cata event was much shorter. And maybe I missed the Panda event, but I really don’t remember one. So whatsamatta for u?
I just don’t get the haters. Well, I do. Haters gotta hate. If they got nothing to hate, they make something to hate. So yeah I get it, but I hatin.
OH DAMN. NOW I BE A HATR!
I do have one issue with the event, and it’s with the way that quest events are indicated in the game. They’ve moved from a “sparkle” highlight or a “gear” highlight to a “faint outline” highlight that I absolutely hate. Maybe I’ll get used to it, but right now I can see a LOT of trips to WoWHead in my future as I grapple with hidden items in Draenor.
If I had been ambivalent about the Iron Horde before, this would have changed it.
YOU KILLED KERI! YOU BASTARDS!
Us Dwarves have a fairly low threshold of outrage when it come to killing off our booze vendors.
Clearly, somebody’s going to have to pay for this.
And I’m comin’ for payment, you bastiges ((Bastiges. It’s a Wildhammer thing.)).
If I’m sober enough to type, I’m sober enough to post.
The latest news on bag management – and especially reagent management – in patch 6.0.2 is exciting and very smexxay. Allowing you to use your reagents bank from any location is a game-changer, no doubt about it. I hope that cooking mats are included, not that that’s a big deal to me these days ((Raids? I’ve heard of them.)).
Without attributing to any specific incident, let me say that the ladies of WoW are an especially awesome group of people. I might get worn out trying to keep up with some of them ((And I’ve dropped a few twitterz because of that.)), but the thoughts that they put forth on the topics of gender equality are well worth the time it takes to read and digest. I may not agree 100% ((And I suspect that my XY chromosome arrangement renders my opinions to some of them irrelevant.)) with all that is stated by them, but overall they fight the good fight and I am totally okay with that. Not that it matters, right ladies?
It occurs to me, though, that there are very few male bloggers whose opinions I cherish. A lot of them come from a position of privilege and seem to somehow carry that with them, but others have multiple points of view and therefore bring something interesting to the party. Which I find interesting ((I remembered ‘Rades’ but not the name of his blog. Go figure.)). I’ll always have interest in the various hunter fora ((BTW, WHU is back, Metzen be praised.)) without actually endorsing them, but it’s the blogs that have opinions on the issues that matter that keep me coming back.
A long time ago I used Amiga computers pretty much exclusively, and participated in a FidoNet “echo” that the current WoW “twitterverse” has a strong resemblance to. Those people – more than any blog, forum, or website – epitomize the goodness to be found in the WoW social universe, in the same way that nothing that mattered on amiga,org seemed to matter in #AmigaGeneral.. Not the pustulant sewers of the WoW fora, and certainly not the reeking crevasses that represent the ‘discourse’ to be found on MMO-C, 4Chan, or Reddit.
There seems to be a deep divide between those that think that our classes’ rotations have become too complicated ((AKA “Button Bloat”)) – and thus welcome the upcoming changes to our rotations in WoD, and those that think that reducing the count of abilities is somehow “dumbing down” the game ((AKA “elitist jerks”)) and thus are very annoyed at the upcoming changes.
This is not a topic with simple answers. I’ve tried, multiple times, to explain my thoughts on this topic in a venue in which I feel is ill designed for such discussions – that being Twitter. In fact, I have in the past unfollowed people that absolutely refuse to take long, wandering Twitter diatribes and put them in a blog post where they can actually sound semi-intelligent ((Every one of them being people with mostly neglected WoW blogs, by the way.)). Since I can’t unfollow myself, I have no choice but to go the blog route, or never speak to myself again.
Part of my day job is being a programmer. I am, when I program, primarily a Python programmer. Python is a beautiful, productive, and exceptionally fun to work with programming language that has, at its core, a set of principles that all programmers should heed, even if they aren’t programming in Python. To wit:
>> import this ((Yes, if you open the Python interpreter and type “import this” you will get exactly that output.))
The Zen of Python, by Tim Peters
Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
Flat is better than nested.
Sparse is better than dense.
Special cases aren’t special enough to break the rules.
Although practicality beats purity.
Errors should never pass silently.
Unless explicitly silenced.
In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
There should be one– and preferably only one –obvious way to do it.
Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you’re Dutch. ((The inventor of Python, Guido von Rossum, is Dutch. He’s kinda our Linus Torvalds.))
Now is better than never.
Although never is often better than *right* now.
If the implementation is hard to explain, it’s a bad idea.
If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
Namespaces are one honking great idea — let’s do more of those! ((Yeah, that one’s hard to explain if you’re not a programmer, and if you are, you probably already get it.))
Okay, the part I want to draw your attention to is this.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
The idea here is, simple code is easier to maintain than complex code, and maintainability is everything in the software world. You may not be the next person to work on this code, for example, so think of the next programmer in line. And, as a famous saying goes, “any code that you haven’t seen in six months might as well have been written by somebody else.” In this case, the next person might be YOU.
Of course, there are times that complexity can’t be avoided. If your web server wants to support multiple web browsers, for example, you need to bake a little bit of complexity in to cater to specific requirements of various browsers. You can do complexity and still uphold maintainability if you do your job right.
But complicated … well, there we lose the thread. Maintainability goes out of the window. You need a roadmap to even keep track of your own code. Often, you end up guessing because keeping track of it all just wears you out. Want a good example of complicated? Log in to Facebook using any browser you can get access to, including obsolete ones that nobody else supports. They’ve baked more than complexity into Facebook, and it shows, every time you use it. Often it even corrupts modern browsers to keep it open too long. It’s so complicated that it even damages the internet – not intentionally, mind you – because there are parts of it that are just harmful and broken.
How’s this pertain to WoW? Well, it’s all about the difference between simple, complex and complicated.
Let’s shift gears for a moment. One thing I was taken to task for was expressing that I missed the old, pre-Cata talent trees. I was called on this, “You claim you want to reduce the number of abilities but you want the more complicated talent trees! Hypocrite! LIIIIIAAAAR!!!!1”
But that’s just not comparing things fairly.
You’re gonna point and laugh at talent calculators, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?
The old talent trees, for all their complexity, gave flexibility. You could put together a Holy Hybrid priest that was 3/4 Disco and 1/4 Holy that pretty much was indestructible and pretty good at healing, to boot. You could create a “Shockadin” that utilized elements of Holy and Ret Paladins ((See here for more good examples if you care to read it. I think you should.)). You could do a lot with a complex talent tree that was useful and functional.
Button bloat, however, offers none of that.
First of all, unless you get really clever and complicated in your keybinds, you have around twelve abilities that are easily available – or if you’re like me, maybe sixteen ((I cheated.)). The rest are going to always be a stretch to find and use. Adding more abilities just makes this worse. You weed out those that have no immediate purpose, and maybe don’t bind them at all. Maybe they stay in the spellbook.
What’s the difference between twenty unused talents and twenty unused abilities? Probably that the unused talents have the potential to actually be USED. But chances are, if your spec has twenty abilities that you don’t use, they’ll NEVER be used.
Once you go Warlock, you’ll never go back.
It would be a whole different story if you had twenty extra abilities or spells that you might use as effectively as the twelve you have bound currently, but those twelve are bound and those twenty are not for a reason. Those twenty unused talents, however, have probably some chance of being used at some point if you want change your build. But no matter how hard you want, you won’t change the effectiveness of those ineffective abilities.
There’s an obvious fallacy here, though.
The astute reader might realize that I’m not exactly comparing equals. I’m comparing twenty potentially useful talents to twenty mostly useless abilities. That’s because of the source of what I’m comparing – I’m comparing the state of talents at the end of WotLK to the state of abilities at the end of MoP. That’s not entirely fair, but it is the hand I’ve been dealt for this discussion.
Obviously, the answer to the twenty useless abilities is to get rid of them and replace them with twenty useful abilities, right?
But here’s the one glaring difference between abilities and talents. Abilities are in your face, on your ability bars, and used in real time. Talents are not, except when they actually “produce” an ability. But for the most part, you choose your talents, you adjust your rotation appropriately, and for the rest of the expansion, they’re out of your face.
In the end, I stand by this. Lots of talents ((And/or glyphs, and/or stats, and/or gem sockets, and/or weapons, and/or armor.)) gives you the ability to fine-tune and individualize your character without necessarily causing your contribution in (raiding | PvP | cooking) to suffer overtly. But too many abilities can get in the way, make your life more complicated, make it more difficult to contribute to your favorite activities.
Well, naw, that’s pretty much a fallacy, too.
Let’s be honest. Your rotation will be whatever you see on Icy Veins.
And what will they tell you? Of those 50 abilities you have, here are the handful that you must use. And those others? Use them at the ren faire. Maybe somebody will applaud.
For the most part, the same applied to talents back in the day, except that instead of one true way to use them, there were multitudes, often dependent on levels and gear and what you wanted to do with your character. In terms of abilities, however, you have one of three tasks, now – DPS, heal, tank. And there will be probably two rotations – single target vs multi. And that’s pretty much as you’ll ever get from abilities now.
I fail to see the virtue of twenty good extra abilities when there is zero chance that they will be used. Twenty extra good talents, however, have potential to be used, without getting in the way.
The difference between the two is the difference between complex and complicated, and it’s all the difference in the world to me.
Your keybinds, your ability setup, your macros, that all amounts to the same sort of package as the average software project. You have to set it up, maintain it, use it. If it’s an unpalatable glop of buttons and half-hidden macros, I doubt the author is performing to her or his potential. Unlike a complex talent tree, you don’t have the time in the midst of battle to go looking for stuff or reading up on Noxxic when you forget just what the proper set of mostly unused actions are that you need for this particular situation (whatever that is). The more towards simplicity we go with this, the more towards goodness. Let’s move the complexity where it belongs, which is to say, not in the real-time aspect of the game.
So, no, I’m not talking out of both sides of my mouth on this topic. I see a substantial difference between a rich talent tree and button bloat. I’m not a big fan of the current talent system, but even less of a fan of having a dozen abilities I’ll never use.
Maybe I can’t bring other people to see that difference, but at least I didn’t leave it in Twitter.
And the Zen of Python? Maybe Anaheim should think about adopting it as a core principle as well. The Python runtime achieved a Coverity defect density of .005 this past year ((I know, you’re thinking “This means what to me, exactly?” Trust me, from a software engineering perspective, it’s a very good thing!)). A culture that eschews complexity – while still allowing for it when necessary – seems to work out to high-quality software, something that impacts anyone that uses it.