Tuesday, May 25, 2010

lol gearscore

I've been preaching the retardedness of gearscore since I became generally aware of its existence. I have two go-to reponses that I feel compelled to add whenever I see gearscore mentioned. The rational

"Y'know, I always say that it's a good thing bad players can't get good gear, or else gearscore would be practically meaningless"

or the equally valid

"lol gearscore"

after which I will never allow any time for rebuttal before I swiftly conclude my argument with


I always say the best way to judge a player you haven’t yet played with is by looking at the parts of their character that the player does have direct control over, like gems and enchants and talent spec. I guarantee you that a crap player will make his lack of class knowledge blindingly obvious in his choices there.

And if you do need a clincher, look at his name. Does it contain his race, class or spec? Does it contain the words “leet”, “pwn”, “dps”, or all of the above? Bonus fail points for a Tauren who name contains an ingenious pun alluding to the hilarious fact that Taurens resemble cattle.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I love Feathermoon to death, but trying to find a raid group at Aussie-friendly times on a US realm can be very difficult. A few months ago I toyed a bit with the idea of transferring my Warlock to Barthilas Horde, for the dual reasons that I could play with a friend of mine from work and that it’s an Oceanic-designated realm so I could easily find a guild that raided Aussie weeknights. It was only a vague thought, but I put in an guild application anyway, to test the waters so to speak.

I was surprised a day or so later to find an in-game mail sent to me back on Feathermoon from a guild I didn't apply for, who had seen my application and asked if I'd be interested in putting in an application to join them on Aman'thul Horde, another Oceanic realm. They liked my application, and though I was reluctant to spend the USD55 [both a server and faction transfer] to move to what I knew to be a fairly underpopulated realm, I was flattered that the top Horde progression guild on the server had taken the time to seek me out on my own realm.

Unfortunately my assessment of Aman’thul was correct, and after raiding for less than two weeks with my new guild, during which at least three scheduled 25-man raids were cancelled due to lack of attendance, the leadership decided they were going to transfer servers to Frostmourne. And I couldn't bring myself to spend another USD25 to follow them.

At least I got a neat title out of it.

It’s dumb to assume that spending more money on the game is necessarily going to increase your enjoyment of it. People are jerks everywhere. The grass is no greener and the money you spend repeatedly jumping the fence adds up to a lot.

I did eventually end up transferring to Barthilas as I'd originally intended [another $25] since by that time I’d rolled a few horde toons there. But for the moment I’ve just lost interest in playing my warlock. I don’t think it helped that around the same time the above went down I had decided to try out Demonology spec, which I found nowhere near as fun or fluid to play as Destro. Now when I look at my warlock I see an orphaned toon which has fallen well behind the raiding gear curve, has clunky play mechanics and who can’t produce the satisfyingly large numbers that my Shaman can.

I know all I need to do is apply for a progression guild again. I’m sure my passion for demonic power would return once I stepped into a raid and started letting the fire fly again...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The way I play

I have to admit I’m not a very good player. I have a lot of trouble thinking clearly on the fly and this causes me to make mistakes often. The reason I can do well in WoW while still being very average in this area is that WoW is a game that lets you make up for your shortcomings by putting more time into other areas.

I like to think of overcoming challenges in WoW as requiring a combination of three facets, character/gear level, strategy and execution. A shortcoming in one can be made compensated for by a combination of the other two. This means I can make up for my lack of skill in execution by putting the maximum effort into gearing and strategy.

Gearing for me isn’t just researching drops and bidding strategically, but usually spending an hour or so after getting a new drop rebalancing my stats, hitting the necessary caps and running a sim over and over to see if modifying my gems could get me an extra 10 theoretical dps.

The strategy part is in managing headspace for the fight mechanics. I don’t know about other people, but if I have to glance down at seven different abilities literally every second to ascertain which is the highest priory ability that will be useable by the end of this GCD there’s no way I’m paying attention to boss mechanics while doing it.

While I consider Enhancement DPS to be something of a faceroll spec, a rogue once told me it’s one of the more complicated priority systems. Let’s look at the priority list:

- Lightning Bolt if five stacks of Maelstrom Weapon [MW5]

- Fire Elemental totem [if Heroism will occur in the next minute-twenty]

- Spirit Wolves

- Heroism [depending on boss strat]

- Shamanistic Rage [I also use engineering bombs and hyperspeed accelerators as they share the 1min CD]

- Stormstrike if no debuff charges left on target

- Flame Shock if dot has expired

- Earth Shock

- Stormstrike

- Magma Totem if less than 4 seconds remaining [skip if Ele totem is out]

- Lightning Shield if less than 3 charges remaining

- Lava Lash

- Fire Nova

The way I handle it is to have my ability bars set up to have one central point of focus with a couple of branches around it. There’s one place I need to look and anything I do need to press on proc or CD I have set up to present me with a visual [and aural, in the case of MW5] cue to press that button or follow that branch when its priority next appears.

So while I still do make a lot of mistakes while playing, the ability to put this effort in ahead of time to make the execution as straightfoward as possible can more than make up for it, and I can link you the logs to prove it.

And all the time I spend researching drops or putting together a slightly better gemming arrangement or agonising over how to lay out my interface or writing macros or setting up Power Auras is to me all as much a part of playing WoW as its culmination in the raid execution itself. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

With the exception of the Armour Penetration stat. That bullshit can burn in hell.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gearscore is a cosmetic effect.

I was listening to the WoW Insider podcast this morning and the subject of the infamous sparklepony came up [again.] As most rational people do, the guys on the podcast agree that as long as this bonus to the game is purely cosmetic and offered no real advantage in-game they had no problem with it.

What immediately came to me on hearing this was that for the major group of people buying these horses, a cosmetic advantage is the only type of advantage in-game.

I’m talking about people who either play WoW socially or as a form of escapism; as an online world they can inhabit with other people. People to whom even the gear upgrades they get might as well be a cosmetic effect, since they’ll never really contribute to any challenging content, but having better gear allows them to wear a higher gearscore and causes them to produce a bigger recount meter they can show off.

This is the market that covets these horses the most. They often call themselves “casual” players, though you'll find that these “casual” players may be online up to 30 hours a week and tend to be the ones least likely to have a “casual” attitude when it comes to loot drops.

I like the term Gevlon uses, so I call them Socials, and I have to believe they make up a larger percentage of our 11 million subscriber pool than any of us realise. And I think that’s why so many real players have been surprised by the massive number of already-paying subscribers who paid extra money for something that does essentially nothing.

While this horse may offer no real advantage to a WoW player* haven’t we been told time and time again, even officially, that these people are in the vast minority? Isn’t this fact the impetus for making raid content accessible to the people who don’t play the game like we do?

*I might end up using this term until I find a better one to distinguish those who play WoW as a game from those who inhabit the world socially.

And in keeping all that in mind, can we still say that this horse is intended purely as a cosmetic frill? I tend to think the high price-point as compared to the monthly subscription fee contradicts that idea, as I think would the five people I saw standing on their new horses outside the Dalaran bank giving me ample opportunity to notice their obvious superiority in having spent $25 more than other players in the game.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Something that has always annoyed me in WoW is the apparent addiction the WoW community has to propagating retarded acronyms. I don't have anything against the idea of abbreviating, but when it somehow becomes necessary to make a three-letter acronym for every dungeon, despite most of them only having two words in the title, I start to eye-twitch.

I'm talking about War Song Gulch, Ma Gister's Terrace and Ice Crown Citadel. [Also, Razor Fen Kraul, Sun Well Plateau, Black Fathom Deeps...]

I was always confused by people who wanted me to run Shadow Labs with them, since I only knew of one Shadow Labyrinth.

Hunters get bonus retard points for having two specs apparently entitled Marks Manship and Sur Vival.

I'm also perplexed at why putting an H before the name of a dungeon is so ambiguous that it must be expanded to HC, which I must assume stands for "Heroi Cmode"

And don't even get me started on the lack of understanding of basic English grammar displayed by those players attempting to name people with the Inscription profession. Let me help you out. Scribes are people who inscribe glyphs through the act of inscription. See how simple it is? "Scribe" is a word. "Inscriptionationatorister" is a retard sandwich.