Category Archives: O teh dramaz!
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?).
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.
It’s amazing. Mere days after posting a link to one of my articles about How2Auction, I get an in-game chat from a guy that just doesn’t “get it” with regard to an item I was selling.
In this case, one of my side markets are the Tomes of Illusion that Enchanters can make. The mats for each come from the expansions they correspond to, and some of those are a little pricey, especially the older ones from Azeroth or Outland. I don’t mean vendor price, but what they sell for on the AH, which is considerable, if they’re even available.
So you’re looking at on average a cost per tome of around 1500 GP, and of course there’s going to be the traditional markup. If there were no profit, I wouldn’t sell it.
Thus the stage is set.
HIM: Your price for Tome of Illusions: Azeroth is too high
ME: It sells well enough at that price.
HIM: It’s just a cosmetic thing!
ME: But it takes rare stuff to make it
HIM: But the mats are easy to farm
ME: Well, if you bring me the mats, I’ll make it for the mats, though a tip would be cool.
HIM: Fuk u
This reminds me of a recent series of threads on Twitter, in which artists were being yelled at because they wouldn’t provide free artwork “for exposure”. There are a lot of tiny little twitch channel commandos out there that think they’re hot shit, and expect to be catered to as such, and no dumb bish “artist” will be permitted to dis them by not doing shit for them for free.
Entitled little weasels.
Here it is in a nutshell. If you want it, it has value.
I don’t make claims to even remotely the same level of talent of the artists I see day in and day out posting samples on Twitter etc and trying to scrape out a living doing what they love. But I feel in some small way the frustration they must every time some jerk yells at me for not giving away the goods for free.
Don’t be that guy. If you want a thing in WoW, you can
- Pay market price
- Bring the mats and be nice to someone with the skillset
- Get friends that don’t mind your freeloading
If you want art/code assets from a person, pay them. “Exposure” means fuck-all, and it doesn’t put food on anybody’s plate. If you can’t pay an artist to decorate your Twitch channel, or a coder to set up the front end for your database, go get a real job. Maybe even learn to do yourself. Stack Overflow at least won’t charge you to tell you how to do for yourself.
I recently had a few errands to run for Archmage Khadgar (not dropping names or anything) and one of them took me to The Exodar to visit my old friend Velen – well, this Velen isn’t so much my friend as someone that my actual friend Velen resembles a lot (only older). Look, it’s complicated, okay?
Anyway, when I got there, Velen was kinda busy and didn’t have a lot of time to chat or take selfies, but you know that doesn’t stop a Dwarf with determination. Here, he was doing something like preserving the very lives of every living soul in The Exodar while Demons charged the magical shield he was maintaining with his very life’s essence. Asked him to smile, honestly, guess that’s the best he could do.
Pitched in to help out, kinda grumpy about it since you know, he couldn’t be arsed to even look at the camera, but he did seem kinda put out at all the demons, and, well, no big fan of demons myself. So eventually I cheered up a bit at the sight of all those demons getting blown to bits courtesy of my new best friend Titanstrike and some old friends like Bumbles the Angry Bear. Many demons littering the floor, but the Exodar sanitation crew is pretty reliable to get those fel stains out of even the most obscure crevasses.
Of course, Velen had to be a big wet blanket at the end, something about how this invading demon general reminded him of his dead son or something like that, then he went all emo and told me to go tell Khadgar that “The Light is Dead.” Really, Vel? Gee, maybe I’ll go stick my head in Nomi’s kitchen while I’m at it. At least I’ll get quality burns out of that.
Seriously, your younger counterpart went with a lot more class than that.
What, too soon?
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 interview with Watcher has set the WoW social universe on its ear.
The first big bombshell is his statement that Flight will not only not be back in 6.2, but may quite possibly not reappear in-game ever again, going forward.
I am mixed on this. I’m pretty much in favor of this because of the way that flight disrupts the quest design mechanics, but I want to state for the record that if Blizz had designed the quests with flight in mind in the first place, this wouldn’t be a problem.
Let’s consider the example that Watcher gave: without flight, you have to “fight your way to the NPC you’re rescuing” to complete the quest, but with flight you can “just fly over there, land on the hut he’s in, and you’re done.” And: agreed, that’s a lousy thing.
But why aren’t there flying Mobs around the hut? This is a design failure in the quest, not a problem with flight per se. But, since Blizzard is apparently incapable of grasping that simple concept and fixing the problem, the simpler solution is just to ground everyone.
The quest designers done screwed up, so everyone has to get out of the pool.
And now, a moment of gloating.
Watcher confirms that 6.2 is not the final patch for this expansion. There have been a number of intensely strident people swarzing up and down that this was the final content patch for Warlords, despite the fact that they had not a single fact to support this. I have set aside a vat to collect their delicious tears, and have set aside an area for them to furiously backpedal without endangering innocent lives. Because, sure as Moira’s got an agenda, these people will be claiming they said no such thing as soon as they can, as often as is legal in their home state and/or country, and and as loudly as local noise ordinances allow.
Let’s say this all together once again: MMO-Champion is not the gold standard of Blizzard predictions. They got it right exactly ONCE (Cata), and ever since then, Blizz has alternatively bought their silence with access bribes, or fed them misinformation. Reddit isn’t a lot better, but at least there you don’t have a central point of failure like you do with MMO-C.
Honestly, the louder and more strident they are, the less likely they are to be right.
I myself haven’t made much in the way of predictions in this regard other than to express extreme doubts that 6.2 was the final patch. For a number of reasons.
- Two patches is atypical for Blizzard’s history. Three to four is the general rule of thumb.
- The story that I’ve been able to discern so far doesn’t really seem to be end-gamish.
- e.g. I strongly suspect there’s a real WTF moment in our future, either at the end of 6.2 or in a future patch.
- I don’t see the ultimate end-of-expansion time-waster-zone that we’ve seen in every expansion including BC (e.g. Money Island / Tournament / Firelands / Timeless Isle). Until they roll out that zone – which, you realize, will be yet another new and innovative way to while a way the post-expansion blues! – we’re not looking at the final patch.
As I have proven to myself a number of times, predictions are a tricky thing. Smart people will couch these guesses as guesses and not FACT (actual quote). There’s nothing wrong with speculation as long as it’s presented as such. But stating categorically with great authority on these topics is just silly.
Unfortunately, these people won’t learn, probably. They’ll just get shriller, louder, and more frantically self-defensive as this unwinds. I’m not sure what the point of all this is – some weird form of territorial marking or something – but it’s lead to some serious paring of my social media feeds, let me tell you.
But I’m more interested in where this is going, lore-wise.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Grommash / Guldan story resolves this patch, or if it gets marched out to the next one. I personally don’t think one zone and one raid is enough to include that and Archimonde, too. I’m interested to see what they do with that, too, and whether we get to see Kil’jaeden as well. And will this all end in tears as Draenor Renewed gets blown up again?
All I know is that we are free of the tyranny of prophecy once again.
No fate but what we make for ourselves.
Well, they’ve finally done something I’ve been asking for for a long time – it is likely that Blizz will offer paid "boosts" to level 90 for the toons of your choice once WoD launches. Naturally, there are those that claim that this will ruin the game, but I’ll counter – and have been for years – that the LACK of this paid service has ruined a lot of the game for a lot of people.
I want to get something out of the way, first. I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for people that are in a hurry to get to max level. None. Zip. Nada. I am happy for this paid service not on their behalf, but on behalf of everyone that has had to endure the after-effects of these people.
Blizzard has, in the past, altered the game in many ways to accommodate people that were ‘bored’ of leveling yet-another-alt to max level. They have nerfed the entire leveling game.
There are zones that you cannot get XP from all quests because the final ones go gray before you’re done!
Entire expansions have been nerfed so that you spend minimal time in them – My Rogue completed ONE zone on Northrend before he dinged 80! He had done maybe 3/4 of Sholazar! My DK barely finished Deepholm before she dinged 85. The assumption has been made that if you want to do all the quests, you’ll do so anyway, regardless of any XP you might get, and otherwise you just want to be gone as fast as you can.
There are pretty much NO challenges left. Coming up in Vanilla pre-Cata, you could count on a few tough runs out there, some elites hanging around outside of instances, some big rares that required some teamwork to take down. All gone. Even Stiches is a pushover.
So, overall, the way that Blizz was trying to accommodate the speed-levelers pretty much subverted anything interesting about the lower level areas – and rather than help, that just made it worse, because now the power levelers were trying to get through areas that were pretty much as interesting as naval lint and about as attractive. Leveling went from being tediously annoying to annoyingly annoying.
The biggest tragedy of them all is how much time and manpower that Blizz has invested in these changes that had no good effect, that pretty much subverted everything about the lower level zones, and pretty much rendered 90% of the game’s content irrelevant to a large subset of the playerbase.
The lower level areas are not the problem. The people that want to get OUT of them are the problem. They wasted time and money on the wrong solution.
Boosting to max-for-last-expansion level is the RIGHT solution. It has a minimal footprint. It doesn’t give max level away for free. They enhance their revenue on the impatience of impatient people. Those that wish to level the traditional way get some peace from the miserable hordes of people that would rather be somewhere else. Everybody wins.
This marginalizes nobody. It isn’t "pay to win" – you still have whatever the current expansion is go level through. If you get any gear from it it’ll be inferior to anything you get in the expansion, so who cares?
When I saw the WoD reveal mention a free boost for one toon, I had hoped that it would lead to this. I’m so very pleased to see that it has.
I have absolutely no plans to avail myself of this. I see paying to bypass content that you’re paying to see to be a non-sequitorian concept. But I have no reason to hate on those that will. Go in peace, kill some dragons, and tell Garrosh I said hello.
See ya in Draenor.
Well, the big Reveal has taken place at Blizzcon, and we now know details of the next expansion. Hopefully you followed #TeamFaff at Godmother’s liveblog. I had to bail out right after the reveal because we had our weekly planning meeting at work, and the boss was most unsympathetic to the cause.
Now that the dust has settled, and I’ve had time to breathe, let’s talk about it.
I made some cheeky predictions, so let’s see how I did!
There will be an expansion announcement and it will be called "Warlords of Draenor"
It will involve a new "lost" continent of Draenor
It’s Draenor, Jim, but not as we know it. Instead of a lost continent floating about in the Twisted Nether, we’re going back to the past. Specifically, Garrosh escapes captivity and through means as of yet unrevealed, journeys back in time to prevent the Old Horde from becoming subjugated by the Burning legion. What we, the denizens of Azeroth, then face is the Iron Horde – the united fury of the Orc clans united and at full strength.
My score: –1 (net total 1)
Alleria and Turalyon will return
No, they won’t. Though, to be fair, the new world of Old Draenor doesn’t have them to begin with. Since the First War didn’t happen, they didn’t get trapped when the Portal was closed. But THAT is a whole new can of worms, something I’ll exposit in another post.
Score: –1, for a net of 0.
It will involve the Burning Legion
Not so much. While it’s obvious that the Legion will be involved at SOME point, the net effect is that the Orcs turn their backs on the Legion and the power it offers. But the overall theme of this expansion is All Orc, All the Time.
Ethereals will be the new player race
There will be no new player races.
-1 for me, for a net of –2. Oh dear.
Outland will not get revamped
Technically true, though they do move the door a bit. Since the history leading to Outland hasn’t happened, Outland becomes an alternate timeline, and thus its entrance is moved to the Caverns of Time. Which I have to admit, is a pretty good way to deal with it.
I’m going to claim a win, netting me back to –1.
The new level cap will be 100
Got that one right. So we’ll see a realm first Level 100 in 2 days, not 1. ((Actually, we won’t, because Realm First achievements are being removed from the game.))
+1, back to breaking even.
There are no indications of any new classes
Got that one right, too. This will make WoD the first WoW expansion where neither a new class or race was introduced.
+1, and I’m back in the black.
Release Date: Holidays, 2014
No mention was made of a release date. This is my surprised face. Though I keep hearing rumors of a Q1/Q2 release timeframe, there is nothing official to back that up that I am aware of.
No points either way.
You face Jaraxxus!
I was close, but he appears in Hearthstone, not WoD.
-1 to zero me out again.
And that’s the news: all character races are to get remodels with higher poly counts and a lot of new emotes and expressions. The samples shown – especially for the female Gnome – were amazing.
There IS a tiny bit of drama here, in that it’s stated that there are currently no plans to offer a free appearance change when the changes go into effect. But the door’s been left open just a crack, so let’s wait and see.
-1, putting me back in the red.
Every Blizzcon, Blizz tends to offend someone, and this year was no exception. After the buzz died down, people started noting a highly testosterone-driven theme to this expansion. Female characters, when mentioned at all, were either minor in comparison, or they were told to go home, take care of the baby, and make Thrall a sammich.
I’ll revisit this at some future time. Other than to say, if you throw your keyboard over this, you know what happens? It breaks, dumbass. So I guess you showed them.
The overall results are
As is usually the case with this sort of thing, if you guess wildly the best you can really hope for is 50/50, which I did achieve. I was wrong as much as I was right. But I’m not displeased with the result.
And now the other stuff
One of the big things for this expansion seems to be "systems", our friend GhostCrawler’s domain.
There’s a big change to bags and inventory – a lot of items are going account-wide similar to how companion pets are handled now. This’ll clear up tons of space in our bags. A lot of materials are going from 20 to 100 per stack, freeing more room. And Tabards are a possibility for this, hooray! Also, quest items, though I’m worried for Archmage Vargoth’s Staff.
Another big "system" change will be "item squish". Basically, the huge numbers we currently have will be reduced by several orders of magnitude, possibly to double or even single digit values, with some sort of hidden scaling system to keep it manageable.
Related to that, itemization is changing drastically, with most secondary stats like Hit and Expertise going away and primary stats possibly varying by spec, effectively ending the spec-change-shuffle.
You will be able to bring one character to 90, or "boost", per account. So if you decide to change to a different raiding main, for example, you won’t have to spend weeks getting up to raiding level. I’ve been pushing for this for a while, because I hate that the lower level zones continue to get gimped in order to make life easier for raiders. Raiding and the leveling game are two different activities, and changes in one should not make life harder or less satisfying for either group. By allowing a character boost, they provide raiders with what they want without punishing those that are not raiding. Right now, it’s one per account, but I suspect that there will be infrastructure in place to make additional boosts possible as a paid service. And I think that’s a good thing.
This is actually an "in"-convenience feature, but another bit of drama – including threatened or actual sub cancellations – is that flight will not be available in Draenor until at least the 6.1 patch. I’m okay with that. In fact, if they want to get rid of flight completely, I’d be completely behind it. But a lot of people are NOT thrilled.
Garrisons were an unexpected new feature, which more or less amount to a cross between player housing and the Tillers farm. Other trade skills in addition to cooking will be involved, you get minions, and they can do things for you even while you’re offline. It’s all rather non-specific right now, and it’s hard to get a read on it, but overall it has been well received.
The big change to raiding is that all levels of raiding will be flex in WoD except the highest form, which will be called Mythic, and serves a step further than Heroic. The raid difficulty is tuned for 20 players, which Blizz claims is important since tuning at that difficulty will be too complex otherwise.
And that’s a wrap. I will be revisiting several of these topics in upcoming posts, but I wanted to first set the stage, as it were, for what is to come. Specifically, I want to discuss the lore, Blizzard’s ongoing PR issues, the game mechanics that are changing, and probably more lore, because, damn.
Hi, how ya been? It’s been weeks, I know! But it’s for a really good reasnon … see, Grimmtooth Actual done went and got himself a job, and it’s been keeping him as busy as a Goblin at a bank vault explosion site. It’s been pretty crazy, is what I’m saying. So time to think, compose, write, and otherwise participate in all things bloggy has been in short supply. There’s also the fact that with my WoW time somewhat reduced, I’ve had a bit less inspiration to write anything, anyway.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT, HIGGLEY PIGGLEY WITHOUT CONSIDERATION FOR ORDER OR PROPRIETY.
FAIRLY WARNED BE YE, SAY I.