Category Archives: I don’t wanna get off on a rant here but

On Quotas


I just read that a Classic WoW tech lead developer (Brian Birmingham, pictured) “Left Blizzard […] under protest” after refusing to give a lower than deserved evaluation to one of his  subordinates’ performance review in order to fill quotas.  Let me unpack that for you so that you understand … that this kind of evaluation process is evil.

So, it works like this.  At my company, you could get a ranking from one (worst) to five (best). One was “recommended for termination” and Five was “recommended for promotion.”  Three, as you might expect, was the general average rating (recommended for retention).  I personally was always happy with a 3 as I felt I wasn’t really exceptional – just a grinder, grinding away, and moving one day to the next.

Now the trick was, upper management and HR determined that you could have no more than x employees at a 5, y at a 4, and so on.  A variant of this is, of course, that you must have between x and y percent of your team in each bucket.  But let’s simplify to illustrate with this example.

  • 1% 5 – recommended for promotion
  • 4% 4 – recommended for advancement
  • 85% 3 – recommended for retention
  • 4% 2 – recommended for remediation
  • 1% 1 – recommended for termination

This is, I again emphasize, an oversimplified example but illustrates the situation quite clearly.  It’s not that you can’t have MORE than 1% as a 5 or a 1, for example – it’s that you are REQUIRED to have that number.

This is called rating stacking, and basically means that every team is competing against themselves for performance ratings.

But what if you have a really great team? I mean, sure, we all realize it’s competitive and they are competing against each other, but if they’re all great employees then why would you want to fill that lower 5%? Imagine you’re the unlucky one that is performing objectively well, but comparatively worse than others on your team?  You still want to keep the guy. But due to quota buckets, you have to put them in a 1 (recommended for termination) or 2 (recommended for remediation).

This is what Birmingham refused to do, and I applaud his moxie.  His unemployed moxie, that is, because Blizz just canned his ass and transferred his team under someone that they expect will be more pliable (especially considering the example of Brian right under their nose).

Again, I want to emphasize that I have no insight into Blizzard’s managerial playbook, but I recognize the performance eval type and absolutely loathe it, and know how it works to a point.

Apparently, Brian refused to continue to work under these conditions, and intended to resign, but was fired instead. Joke’s on them, that makes him eligible for unemployment (a fund he has been contributing to all his time there, so essentially he at least gets his own money back).  There are reportedly other managers there that asked if they could be assigned a ‘2’ so that one of their people could avoid it (they were denied).

To me, Brian is a Hero of the Revolution, even if the Revolution hasn’t quite happened yet.  I wish him Godspeed, and hope the rotten-ass managers that pushed him out get flea infestations in their public hair.

By the way, I can pretty much guarantee that there will soon be layoffs at Blizz, and that this “tool” will be used to guide who gets the axe. This is really what it’s all about.

I keep eating Crow because it’s so Darned Tasty


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 …

Deja Vu All Over Again


If you play this game long enough you start to see things repeat themselves.

I don’t mean in-game, but in the Blogospheric Echo Chamber(1) that we all operate within. There are themes, observations, and opinions that keep coming back. Sometimes, even on the same blog.

I’ve been hard on myself, trying not to be one of those blogs, where occasionally I circle back onto a topic and retread it. Though, of course. when you’ve dropped as many words as I have over the last dozen or so years(2), you’re bound to hit on similar things eventually. Hell, I’ll wager that I’ve used the title of this article before(3).

That being said, one does expect other long-timers – as few of them left that still blog –  to also remember how things were and not start going on about how this is neat or that is bad without realizing that it’s nothing new.

The same can not be said for players that aren’t, exactly, new, but haven’t been here for the duration. Say, that guy that started playing as a Panda rogue and just now discovered something that old timers would recognize as a riff on Reforging, for example, but which they feel is a Significant Discovery.

It is hard not to be cynical about this. How it seems that the only thing that you can count on is that someone else is getting mileage off of something that you’ve seen others – or yourself! – writing about years ago.

But how can this be avoided? You can’t just yell at people to do better research. First of all, how would they? Are we literally expecting them to go back and re-read all of Big Red Kitty before having an opinion on Beastmastery Hunters?  I mean, assuming it was possible, which I don’t think it is?  Heck, you can’t even point people to go read back-issues of WoW Insider’s Guild Watch column to get an example of “your guild’s not as bad as you think, this shit was happening long ago.”

I don’t really have an answer. It’s not really feasible to take on the mantle of “rememberer of things” if nobody actually wants someone to do so. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen someone on The Internet say “Boy I sure wish there was somebody around that remembered how things actually were.” People are more invested in providing their own interpretations of how things were and will actually argue with someone that was THERE about how wrong they are. Talk about “alternate facts.”

Now, with some of the new features for Dragonflight, we’re getting Deja Vu. The new talent trees, as an example, are going to present some of the Same Old Problems and these are going to be run up the flagpole as Fresh New Scandal. As an example, I’m sure we’re going to see “cookie cutter” specs come out of this change, where people look up a spec on Noxxic or Icy Veins or WoWHead even, and use it rather than do the thinking for themselves.

Us Olds are gonna say yeah, seen it, done it, and it was fine. And besides, how were the previous tiers any different?  But yeah the kiddos not going to get it, or appreciate it, and, likely, resent that we’re even saying that.

Another thing, as @Marathal pointed out, is how some of the features of the new crafting resemble nothing less than the old Reforging feature, and remembering the big bruhaha over Ask Mr Robot’s role in demystifying that feature(4).

Nobody cares. Not that it happened before, nor that we remember.

Pepperidge Farm Remembers - Album on Imgur

Yeah yeah. Go back to sleep, old guy(8).

All that aside, there’s meat in them oysters, and I’m limbering up for some – at least personal – theorycrafting. I will not be competing with these young whippersnappers in that regard. They fancy with they slicked back hair and backlit keyboards and solar calculators. I can’t compete with that.

But maybe I can apply a bit of perspective as compared with what we had before. Though, as I’ve said, I doubt it will matter. If they’re too lazy to rez up a toon in TBC-Classic (or Wrath-Classic later this year) to see For Reals what it used to be like, then they’re not going to be interested with someone deconstructing their carefully constructed constructs of How It Was, I Just Know It.

The most annoying thing about this, if there is to be an annoying thing(5), is the possibility that Blizz is counting on this.  That there exists a Machiavellian intelligence at Blizz that thinks that, if only they get enough “churn” in the playerbase, they can pull off a revisit to old game systems without anyone calling them into question, because the ones that remembered that have either moved on to other things(6) or are so few in number that nobody really pays them any attention(7).  To them, it isn’t about loyalty – it’s about numbers. They don’t care that there are 1,000,000 loyal customers, only that there are 1,000,000 customers. Done and done.

You won’t find me in the “Blizz has a Machiavellian Intelligence” camp because I don’t think The Suits are that smart, but they’re good enough at Faking It that they will claim credit for anything, be it good or bad, just to make it look like they’re smarter than a lump of coal. You can go along with that if you want, but I’m voting for the lump.


  1. You’ve seen it a lot even if you don’t know what to call it. One blog espouses something, then another riffs on that, and then another riffs on that, and so forth. Eventually you have fifty blogs all talking about the same thing, only different.
  2. Not gonna look, not gonna look …
  3. Not gonna look, not gonna look …
  4. Called out by some as “cheating”.
  5. And there always is, isn’t there?
  6. /waves to FFIX players
  7. Hi.
  8. Hey!

Damage Meters Considered Harmful

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.

  1. Damage Meters provide data.  And only data.
  2. Actual people use that data to improve things in some way
  3. Not actual people (from here classified as trolls) use that data as a method to harass actual people.
  4. Some people support (2)
  5. 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?).

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.

Don’t be that guy

Jas Port 110

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

And halt.

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

  1. Pay market price
  2. Bring the mats and be nice to someone with the skillset
  3. 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.

Game On!

Note: minor edit.

I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to say that this is isn’t unique to my own guild – I hear things. Many things. The ears, they’re there for a reason, mmkay?

Namely, a lot of confusion between farm content and progression content. In some cases, I know our “A” team has shuffled around because one of the tanks can’t run, but overall it feels like we’re seeing a constant stream of alts come along for a free ride.

That works right up to the point that it doesn’t, and then it doesn’t … spectacularly.

This isn’t Farmville

Right now we have everything up to Saurfang on farm in ICC. Doesn’t matter if we bring 2nd or even 3rd string alts, that ugly mofo is going down, and his little beasties with him. Every time.

But, once you get past the easy parts, things start to fall apart. For example, as geared as our first tier raiders are, we shouldn’t wipe on Fester, and we’re pretty close to it on Rotface.  And we should not leave the Professor standing at the end of the night. That’s 2nd-stringer territory.

Bring the A-Team

Once you hit that progression content, the bar is raised, and anyone that can’t get over it – shouldn’t have someone helping him or her over. At this point we are here to learn the fight, sort out what the gadgets and gimmicks are, and push the pretty little buttons until the boss is done.

But we can’t do that if we don’t have our game faces on, which include our first-string avatar game faces.

2nd tier DPS makes us fail on Professor P, for instance, because we don’t get the slimes down fast enough, and invariably Big Orange gets dragged over the one or two GOOD DPSs in the room. Wipe, repeat. And do I need to point out what 2nd tier healies do for Dreamwalker?

Not doing me any favors here.

A big reason that we’ve seen so many alts? “My main doesn’t need the badges.” Well, that’s nice for you, and all, but that does squat for the team. Remember us? We’re all supposed to be working together on the explicit goal of bringing down the Lich King. The sooner, the better. ’cause then we can help you farm batches.

This is me

Right, housecleaning starts with me.  For the past couple ICC-1 runs, our supposed A-Game has been Flora. Not because she needs the badges, but because I think the GM/RL felt we were getting bored and frustrated. That’s very kind of her, but selfish of me.

So we’re bringing our “A” game. Me, or, if we need DPS, Grimm. But alts are going to have a sit for a while until I see Arthas’ pasty butt on the ground. Because, it’s really important that we make progress, here, and we can’t if I cause someone else to bring 2nd tier heals or something.

Wish us luck. Sparkle Princes are getting on my nerves.

So say we all.

Still Subscribed

As I write this, Blizzard is now claiming that they will no longer require real names in the fora.  I want to make a few observations.

  • As Scott Jennings pointed out ((Oh, look, I got his name right this time!)), Blizzard has promised to “fix” something like this before, and then didn’t do squat, possibly under the theory that a slow bleed saps the will, or something.

[L]ook at this response from another privacy hullaballoo – Blizzard’s refusal to allow people to opt out of having their character data displayed online – for a clue.


Oh. There’s no[t] any mention of opting out at all. OK. Well, there’s that time they made fun of people who wanted to. I suppose that’s a response. Wait, here’s a post from 2007!

Can I “opt-out” of the Armory?

No; this particular option is currently unavailable. While we do not possess any present intention to allow our players to opt-out of basic Armory features (character display, talent build, arena teams, and reputation), we do plan to introduce more complex functionalities; these upcoming functionalities will be “opt-in”/”opt-out,” thus granting our players the opportunity to display or omit correlated information as desired.

Clearly, they got right on that.

  • So don’t get excited until you what they actually do.
  • Also, the forums are just the thin edge of the wedge. While having your private ID searchable on the web is, in fact, a bad thing, the biggest problem with this whole thing is that they told us one thing about RealID at first, then they went and did something else with it after that.  So what’s to say they won’t do that again? Nothing, that’s what. Until we have a permanent way to mask our real names in RealID, it’s still broken.

I have this image of Mike Morhaime in his office, typing into his LiveJournal tonight.

This was a triumph.
I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.
Plying the bullshit.
We do what we must
because we can.
For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who /ragequit.

But there’s no sense crying over every mistake.
You just keep on trying with the finest trollbait.
And the money comes in.
And we all wear a grin.
For the people who are still subscribed.

Remember, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

And reloads close at hand.

We’re back, and we’re not happy

What is it with you people?

We take a week – ONE WEEK – off, and the whole metaverse goes to Hell in a handbasket, and I’m left to find my own way.  This will not do, internet. It will not do at all.

I mean, remove one tiny little element, and you have a pretty good week.

  • The NDA is lifted, and info is flowing.
  • 3.3.5 is fully active, and the Ruby Sanctum is live.
  • BRK has released several excellent vids of the new Hunter experience.
  • They have announced a total makeover of all talent trees for CATA.
  • Yours Truly did not get a Beta invite, thus increasing the odds in favor of CATA making its ship date.
  • MC Frontalot’s latest vid for “First World Problem” is live!

So what’s missing? If you guessed “RealID Fiasco”, you’d be 100% correct.

My Gods, what a gigantic, epic clusterfrak.

We share with many in the Blogosphere the feeling of betrayal and hurt, the numbness when you realize that that guy or gal you’ve been seeing is a creep after all, and just doing a good job of covering it up around you.

We share the anger of those that feel that they will be excluded from the community because of the new policies invoked.

We share the confusion of those that feel that a solution is as simple as allowing an omnibus alias per account.

We share the fear of those that have real issues, professionally or otherwise, with their real names being associated with forum posts or WoW in general.

We cannot express in words that match those that have come before, so we will point and remind that the Truth Points to Itself.

  • Scott Jennings, of the long memory and insider knowledge of how the industry works, has a remarkably tart and tasty post on the whole debacle, including this little gem that really gets at the heart of what’s wrong with the whole thing.

[Zuckerberg] disagrees with the notion that people have different identities. To him, the idea that someone is different at work than at home, than at a rock concert, is dishonest. Says Kirkpatrick, “He believes that he will live a better life personally, and all of us will be more honest, and ultimately it will be better for the world if we dispense with that belief.”

  • (In other words, “shut the hells up and let us make these difficult decisions for you, okay?”)  His observation that Blizz is repeating Facebook’s mistakes, without having any of Facebook’s options for mitigating them, is right on the money, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Hatch covers ground that most people have covered thus far, but I link to him because many of the best commenters on the matter (Zelmaru, Larisa, I’m looking at YOU) are part of that comment thread. It brings a lot of the whole “feeling betrayed and angry” bits under one roof.
  • Gnomageddon /ragequits. We’re almost there ourselves. Someone asked me if I was surprised; after thinking of it, I realized that Gnome’s passionate spirit made this move fall right into his idiom. Our first RealID casualty, and a bitter one it is.
  • It turns out that you can be your own mum and use Parental Controls to turn off RealID on your account. – home of the tireless Blizzard Cheerleading Squad – had the audacity to post a how-to on this very procedure.  Hey, Blizz? If you managed to piss off these guys, you’re in the Undiscovered Country for reals.
  • Hatch has an excellent and astute observation, but I think he missed the mark by just a smidge. It’s not that we, the player base, are not Blizz’s real customer. And Blizz’s real customer is not advertisers, because that market doesn’t exist as of yet. No, Blizz’s One True Customer is its stockholders. If you look at it that way, everything makes sense. In a twisted, Gevlon-as-CEO sort of way.
  • Dwism does a great job of trolling the internet by changing the wording just a wee bit and by doing so, revealing just how gods-be-damned frightening RealID has become.
  • Shade makes the most amazing and awesome post of them all, and we let it close out this article for us. We are honored to stand in the presence of such awesomeness as you, Shade.

Forsooth, we’d like to be killing Internet Dragons again.  Not having to decide between having fun, and staying safe.

Blizzard. Left side. Many screwups. HANDLE EET.

Q: How many security experts does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Ni hao!

We just had our third hack take place for the month.

After two guys got hacked, stripped, false authenticators attached to their accounts using stolen credit card accounts.


After all the bruhaha.

After Blizz made it part of the login process to see a notice about how aggressive hacks have gotten.

After all this, this guy, this raider guy, who has access to repair funds and guild bank, gets hacked.

Actual quote:

I’m a network security expert. I have a virus scanner. They must have hacked Blizzard.

That’s right. You got hacked, so it must be Blizzard that got haxxored, and after much fighting against the AI ICE programs, many which looked like Marlon Brando from Superman, they escaped Cyberspace with your credentials.

I mean …

Apparently, the above quote translates to:

Only idiots get authenticators. I’m too leet.


  • Just.
  • Get.
  • An.
  • Authenticator.
  • Please.

Or I will eat a kitten. I swear to Mammon.