Friday, May 27, 2011

Bloggers; nerfs; the evolution of WoW

I'm a bit fed up with all people.

To the point, I'm fed up with WoW bloggers. Even the smart ones blow everything out of proportion. Why is this round of nerfs any different from the steady stream of them we've gotten since Burning Crusade gear made Vanilla content blatantly puggable? Have you been asleep right the way through Wrath when Blizzard made it perfectly clear that the current tier was the only one that mattered at any given time?

Do you even remember the progression nightmare that was late Burning Crusade, in which each tier required months of farming the previous one to even begin? You better hope you never fell behind the gear progression curve because there was no easy and quick way to catch up.

I wish more people could enjoy the game for what it is; a game. You play it. You enjoy it. Or you don't. Making a big deal about deciding not to play is just fucking retarded. Like it's some huge major life decision. I think it takes a pretty shallow person to make whether or not you engage in a particular leisure activity a major part of your identity. But I suppose that's just people in general, isn't it. Little difference from anyone else who adheres themselves to a rigidly defined subculture to avoid having to actually define themselves in any unique way.

So yeah. I'm just sick of people.

I have pretty significant faith in the Blizzard devs' ability to design good systems. I understand the reasoning for making older content easier once the competent players have something new and better to work on. I understand how gameplay restrictions make the things that you can do more meaningful. I understand why class nerfs are necessary, even if it's a class that I play.

When I first read that Holy Pallys were being nerfed in 4.2 my first reaction was a to cry out in anguish, and my second reaction was to remember how ridiculously mana-efficient Paladins were compared to other healers and realise the nerf is warranted.

But that's not to say I think every change has been a positive one. I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.

I don't think it's a big stretch to conclude that Blizzard has been been trying to please everyone for the last three years or so. I just don't think it's at all reasonable to expect a company, no matter how well-resourced they are, to create a single product that consistently satisfies twelve million people. But dammit if they're not going to try.

I think that's the issue, really, with the evolution [or perhaps devolution, depending on your outlook] of WoW recently. It's become too big and too valuable for Blizzard to concentrate on developing it as a quality game experience without being distracted by trying to keep from losing customers who by definition have little interest in playing the game as Blizzard intends.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A video game

Lately I've been enjoying just playing WoW. According to the Dungeon Finder I've completed seven random tier-1 Heroics this week on my raid-geared [pre-Heroic BiS] Warrior tank, which is something I haven't done since January. I've just been really enjoying the easygoing, mindless fun.

There's no gear to gain or any other character-specific benefit; though it definitely makes me money through Valor Points, Chaos Orbs [now that I'm a Blacksmith] and random Sack rewards. I suppose all it takes is this small incentive to get me in and playing again-- I'm anything but wanting for gold right now, but as a minmaxing player I've become so accustomed to needing my playtime to be productive that I don't know if I could convince myself to go otherwise.

I also gave Pally tanking a go yesterday for the first time post-4.0.

Man, that spec is weeeird. I think it's mainly the holy power mechanic, but at first glance and compared to Warrior tanking the rotation just seems a bit backwards-intuitive. Also wtfspareglobalszomg!? But still just as faceroll-ey as I had expected-- I dont' know if it was becuase I was overgeared in my mixture of offset-rolled tanking and DPS gear [probably] but I pretty much just mashed whatever button was lit up and seemed to do just fine.

Also, roflol at "Hammer" of the Righteous spell effect resembling absolutely nothing like a hammer any more. Now it's just an AoE pulse that for some reason makes a clang sound.

Also, what the hell happened to the idea that tanks wouldn't have spammable AoE any more? Being able to fill three out of every four globals with an aoe move may not be "spammable" in the traditional sense of 100% consecrate/D&D/swipe uptime, but it's pretty damn close in my opinion. This was the one area in which I thought Warriors were finally actually on par with other tanks, but it turns out we once again have the longest gap between basic AoE moves [6 second CD for Thunder Clap].

Not that I'm complaining. Warriors are still by far the most fun tanking class to play. Which I suppose is the [eventual] point of this whole post. I am having fun playing a video game.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An anecdote

I tried to sell Valor boots in Trade on the weekend, had a couple of people express interest, but nobody willing to pay my asking price of 5k gold. In fact, many people in Trade chat were openly hostile to the idea that a person would charge money for gear when one could "easily grind it." In the end, I purchased the Plate DPS boots [since I'm certain this is the most popular armour type] and sold them on the AH first try for 6k. Next time, 8.

I've realised I really need to stay out of Trade completely on the weekends. The quality degrades into a physical-pain-inducing level of idiocy, people tending to be too stupid to even troll in any kind of entertaining way.

Friday, May 6, 2011

More patch change thoughts

I know I'm a bit late to the game with this, but I have some opinions to opine on some of the proposed 4.2 patch changes.

Innervate nerf!
I had previously predicted that one or more other classes would get their own version of this spell, the ability to grant healers 20% of their total mana is pretty overpowered for only one class to have, but nerfing it by 75% is probably just as effective a way to achieve relative class balance.

As we all know, Warrior Stances had a pretty archaic design up until recently [compare them to Death Knight Presences and you'll see what I mean] and I'm glad to see some of the remaining pointless restrictions being lifted, as three pretty major CDs; Retaliation, Recklessness and Shield Wall will no longer have stance requirements.

So end result: Prot can use Retaliation for AoE pulls, Arms can use Recklessness without having to stance dance, and all DPS Warriors [I still can't use that term without snorting derisively] have to spend one less theoretical GCD on getting their emergency mitigation up after they pull aggro on everything because they suck at the game.

Oh who am I kidding, as if a DPS Warrior would ever sacrifice damage to save their own life...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

4.1 Prot Warrior changes, [4.0 Warlock changes]

Two things in patch 4.1 combine to make me a more competent raider. One: Improved net code gives me a stable ~230ms latency in raids. Two: My interrupts no longer miss, and have a shorter CD. The result of these changes is that the only time I'll miss an interrupt is when I personally fail at paying attention. [Or if Ignacious and Fellatius* gang up on me, but that's another rant.] You cannot imagine how much this reduces my stress levels for bosses than require an interrupt.

I love the idea of Shield Block reducing magic damage as well, but realistically you'll still use Shield Block on CD for the physical damage mitigation [assuming you are tanking], so the end result is an RNG 4% overall magic damage reduction, assuming maximum Shield Block uptime. It's a very welcome mitigation buff, but nothing revolutionary. I seem to recall it having both a higher uptime and a larger % reduction when it was first included in the PTR notes-- I'm assuming it just got "balanced" down to its current level.

Spell reflect CD has more than doubled. I'm not sure where this nerf has come from. This was a situational ability in PvE, but very useful in PvP, so I'm assuming that this is part of the PvP nerf warriors seem to have had. Another thought is that perhaps there is a boss in Firelands which casts single target spells at the tank and Warriors had too much of an advantage over other tanks at this boss.

Raid Last Stand. This came a bit out of left field. I'm not used to needing the level of raid-awareness [when playing my Warrior] that this ability would require to be useful as an OSHT button. I can think of a few situational uses, phases of high raid damage, Chimaeron comes to mind of course, and it will nicely buff any percentage-of-total-HP healing abilities, but the very short ten-second duration and the fact that the healers may not be prepared for the entire raid to lose 30k health simultaneously when it fades makes me extremely hesitant to use it. I think this ability was probably intended to be a much more meaningful effect, but like Shield Mastery was eventually "balanced" into its current form. It just seems like one of those "no real use" abilities and I have a feeling that they'll end up buffing it just to get people to use it at all.

Going through my old blog posts to remove the crappy formatting I came across a draft that I never got around to posting from late November last year [shortly after The Shattering]. Reading this makes me want to play my Warlock again.


Well here we go. Exciting time. I actually finally got around to trying the new Destruction last night and it is sweet. It’s every bit as Shadowfury-Conflagrate-fast-cast satisfying as pre-4.0, but now it has:

- All-magic-damage ward which has the old Nether Protection effect built in.
- CD instant pyroblast
- Imp proc instant pyroblast
- Imp has lost Fire Shield. =(
- Oh but now he can dispel magic. =D
- Did I mention the instant pyroblasts? <3

They’ve also done some fantastic things with making each demon useful in a different way, to the point where each feels like a subspec in itself. Succubus can CC and has a new knockback, Imp buffs your stamina, can dispel and works with Destro DPS, Voidy is for tankz and survivability, Fel puppy is for Affliction DPS and anti-casters. [And Demonology of course has the ultra demon that trumps them all, as it should.]

What’s interesting about the new Soul Burn multipurpose CD is that they seem to have deliberately avoided any obvious "increase dps" use for it. You can use it for instant demons or instant pyro or fast movement or a temporary health increase or as a threat CD for tanking, but I was really anticipating at least one or two along the lines of "decreases cast time for your next five Shadowbolt casts" that would be an obvious DPS gain.

There are too many classes and I want to play them all. =(

Monday, May 2, 2011

Progression yay!

Killed Nef for the first time twice this week, with each of my raids. Seems like a few raids got him down this week, actually. Post-nerf for the win, I guess.

The one I tanked for was definitely the more satisfying of the two kills. Finally getting the hang of the Shadowflame waltz [move, 2, 3, move, 2, 3...] was incredibly satisfying, helped to a massive degree by some uberpro add management in first phase leaving a very neat pile for me to sweep up in phase three. Looking back it's difficult to see what exactly was so hard about that fight in the first place. =P

But it's nice to finally join the cool kids in their defense of a shattered world, and in the case of my Guild-exalted toon, ride that shiny new mount which is probably going to be awesome for at least a few months before everyone else has one. [Though I did say the same thing about "Kingslayer" a while back, which seemed to take a lot longer than I expected to become common.]

I find the irony interesting that the two characters which have this prestige are the ones I have little reason to run around with outside of raids, so I don't really get much of an opportunity to show it off. Dammit, I need those random pugs to recognise my awesomeness on sight, not just see another Huntard the Patient in BoEs who can't adjust his camera without pulling a boss.