Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It's nice to be raiding again. The challenge is back, and the fun is back.

Well, until you get to the Ascendant Council and suddenly it's your sole responsibility to interrupt 1.5 second casts while tanking. Which is a somewhat harsh to begin with, but you're doing it while dancing around to dodge all the other fight gimmicks. Which again, is challenging, but still manageable... assuming you live within ten-thousand kilometres of the server.

And Blizzard tells me their game is perfectly playable without a tunneling service...

I think 1.5 second interrupts are the best argument I have seen so far for Australian servers, or at the very least an official alternative to 3rd party tunneling. Typically, a 1.5 second cast will appear on my screen between 0.2 and 0.4 seconds into the cast, and my interrupt, once cast, will take another 0.2-0.4 seconds to register with the server. Again, this is with a tunneling service, and assumes nothing in between my box and the server suffers an unexpected hiccup.

The most aggravating thing I've ever experienced in WoW is nailing that button the moment the cast starts, watching the button press on my screen, and sitting there in slow-motion horror as the boss finishes and unleashes his insta-gib spell cast because my connection latency was too high at this moment to transmit this action to the server in time.

I'll be the first person to argue against removing challenging elements from video games, but the challenge needs to derive from the gameplay, not in peripheral things such as overcoming a poor control scheme or a terrible interface or arbitrary trial-and-error elements. And especially not from anything external to the game such as network latency. When latency can account for over 50% of my time-to-react gameplay element, the gameplay itself is degraded.

I might check to see whether anyone has brought this up on the official forums. It seems like an issue worthy of a response.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On bug fixes

I seriously wish Blizzard would hurry up and fix the Sandstone Drake. Currently the tooltip reads:

Sandstone Drake
1.5 sec cast

Transforms you into a Sandstone Drake, allowing you to fly very fast and carry an ally on your back.

When actually this should read:

Sandstone Drake
1.5 sec cast

Transforms you into a Sandstone Drake, allowing you to fly very fast and grants you sufficient telekinetic power to hold an ally in a sitting position in mid-air in front of you as you fly around.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A fable on class diversity and class balance.

In the beginning, the developers created nine classes. Warriors were the tanks, Priests were the healers, Rogues were melee, Magi were casters.

The other five were hybrids, each designed with totally unique perks that contributed to group play and made up for their lack of a singular strength in tanking or healing or damage per second.

But one day a Paladin rose up and declared;


despite the fact that he had eight times the armour, the ability to heal himself, raid buffs, raid utility and the strongest defensive cooldowns in the game.

More hybrids rose up, unsatisfied with their unique class benefits, to join the throng, and at last the developers realised that nobody cared how many defensive abilities or crowd controls or unique and powerful buffs they had. A benefit which cannot be measured cannot be boasted.

And so the developers declared that all classes would do equal damage, all healers would heal equal damage, and all tanks would take equal damage, since these were the only things that mattered.

And the hybrids rejoiced, for now the jack-of-all-trades could master each, and all classes would be equals-- little matter that they were somewhat more equal than the rest.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cataclysm, etc.

Eighty-five and ready to raid. Well, to be honest I was ready to raid three weeks ago, but apparently I'm in a guild full of noobs who don't even take time off work to play new expansions. The only raid content I've tasted so far was Baradin Hold, and while it was terribly exciting to step into a new encounter not fully understanding what to expect, the very comfortable one-shot was something of an anticlimax.

I'd anticipated a plethora of business opportunities in Cata and was not disappointed. I started the expansion still in debt [to the Significant Other] but quickly found myself back in the black and able to afford any and all perks I felt like acquiring.

Gems are an easy staple, cut them, list them at an undercut whenever you find a spare minute and roll the dice on whether the next competitor will undercut you before they sell. Repeat every 3-4 hours or whenever you find time -- your profit is fairly proportional to the frequency at which you relist.

Enchanters seem a bit broken at the moment. No, not the profession, the people. But who am I to complain about paying ~3g for an enchant which currently cost 2-300g in materials. I should probably stock up.

Engineering robots are selling well as always, and as always at a ridiculous profit margin. I wonder if I should be concerned at the prospect of non-proliferation treaties, what with all the Personal World Destroyers I've been proliferating...

I love Archaeology as a secondary profession. It's beautifully designed to be a perfect time-filler if you're just hanging out or a pleasant wind-down between more intense gameplay sessions.

Assuming, of course, that you're not one those people who misunderstand the purpose of a secondary profession and assume it's a guaranteed path to welfare epics. I've seen a couple of epic QQ threads on the forums. Nothing more amusing than a flailing idiot with a sense of entitlement, and there seem to be an awful lot of them.

As for me, I quite enjoyed the chance to see the world, though I did eventually end up hitting some serious DR as the attainable Rare artifacts dried up. I think I might wait until a few more artifacts are patched in before I push for Professor, as I neither feel myself lucky enough to expect another L85 BoA to land on my lap, nor do I feel compelled to spend any more hours choking on three layers of RNG for Nerubian or Tol'vir artifacts.