Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tank Mastery scaling out of control?

It's hard not to notice the lack of Valor tanking gear with any Mastery on it whatsoever in 4.3. Or that a significant portion of those already slim options actually have significantly less mastery than their 4.2 BiS counterparts.

Nice trinket though.

Monday, November 28, 2011

WoW developer faction bias?

Apparently a few retards have been whinging on the forums [why is this remarkable again?] that Blizzard is blatantly Horde-biased, based on the fact that one of the most significant lore characters at the moment used to be leader of the Horde, and some other miscellaneous rumours presented as fact. They must have been whinging quite a bit because Blizzard went to the trouble of getting Dave Kosak to write an explanation which boils down to "What? Do you people even understand the concept of drama?"

Wasn't the entire last expansion centred completely around a character who was a previously a major Alliance lore figure? Where was the complaining about bias then? Not to mention the prominence of Tirion Fordring and Bolvar Fordragon in that storyline, both Humans, one explicitly from the Alliance faction.

Personally, I think this is all about racism. People just aren't ready for an Orc to be their saviour.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gameplay > flavour

In WoW 5.0, activating Shield Wall no longer requires you to have a Shield.

I've been saying it for a while now. They are making WoW a better game by making these flavour sacrifices and nonsensical spell effects. In terms of gameplay, it's poor design to require players to create a macro just to access a baseline ability.

If you want flavour, I recommend Skyrim as a great game that isn't afraid to bog the player down with "realism".

[Not to disparage Skyrim. It's an excellent, excellent game.]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hybrids and Non-hybrids

MMO Champion has published yet another graph showing a clear preference in the player population for hybrid classes, which only becomes more pronounced the more group content a player does.

Of course this is only one interpretation of the graph. The raw data says that hybrids tend to have more Valor Points than non-hybrids-- easily explained by their ability to get into group content more easily due to the glut of DPS, as well as the multiple specs meaning there is a use for additional Valor past filling out your main set.

In terms of my own play experience, my tank and healer toons tend to have more Valor points because they tend to be more fun to play for me-- and this is directly related to the fact that I do not have fun waiting between fifteen and thirty minutes to get into the game. I would definitely play my Hunter and my Mage more if this was not the case.

One thing I've never been able to resolve in my head is the idea that the pure DPS classes are anything but horribly unbalanced in their lack of flexibility in grouping. Personally I thought the idea of a hybrid tax was a good one, and necessary to prevent these classes from being undervalued in raids, but Blizzard has since stated that they didn't like this as a solution and have abandoned it in favour of a vague promise of eventually coming up with a way to balance it.

Speaking of the hybrid tax, isn't this identical in concept to what we're apparently getting in 4.3, with melee being deliberately buffed to deal more damage than ranged classes? I'm surprised I haven't heard this referred to as the "ranged tax".

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

PTR Raid Finder

I've had a bit of a read of the PTR Raid Finder feedback thread on the official forums. Major recurring themes include "leaders need more control over the raid" and "we need to be able to boot people faster and more easily". I'm also tickled by the idea that the queue has to pop several times over before all 25 people actually accept the invitation. It's like the Dungeon Finder times five. =P

It's of course worth noting that this is the PTR and thus player behaviour is only loosely representative of that of live realms.

I personally feel that more comprehensive Raid Leader control is the best way to go, alongside a greater emphasis on the responsibility of the player taking leadership over the group [and of course, options for usurping this person if they are unfit to lead]. This could be something as simple as a warning that pops up when you tick the Leader option to ask if you are sure you are willing to accept this responsibility, or perhaps even add some kind of moderately difficult "qualifier" task to unlock the ability to lead raids. Any kind of barrier to entry would only have a positive effect on the leadership pool, while simultaneously reinforcing the idea that leading a raid is something players need to take seriously.

At least one forum poster suggested the introduction of a Raid Leadership reputation/experience bar, granting points for each boss kill / raid clear. Fucking brilliant. I'm sure there are tracking features in the game that would easily be able to manage such a thing-- I've heard the devs make a few references over time to the way the Dungeon Finder currently tracks how many people you've kicked / times you've been kicked.

I can easily envisage a Raid Finder system in which the Leader role of a would be selected based on a simple check of whoever in the group the has the most Raid Leader experience [in this case, both senses of the word apply]. Perhaps this system could even incorporate a checkbox at the end of the raid in which each raider would be prompted to rate how satisfied they were with the raid leadership and direction, and maybe even scale XP accordingly.

And all they would have to do is make this status externally visible for players, and suddenly a not-insignificant portion of the player base will actively want to lead Raid Finder raids for the sole purpose of pursuing this alternate character progression.