Monday, March 22, 2010

LFG Needs Help

Yeah, yeah, we were all super stoked on LFG when it came out in 3.3. But with the nightmarish hellscape of daily heroics behind us, we can look with untainted eyes on LFG, and see that there are indeed problems with it.

The biggest problem is the grind. Every single day, log in, play for 20-40 minutes. That is not how I spend my leisure time. Mondays I go straight from work to tabletop night, but there's always this small pang of guilt for not getting my two badges. And doing just one dungeon one time isn't a fulfilling recreation either; I like to play games for a few hours at a time, but without a real incentive, I feel like I'm wasting my time doing more than one dungeon.

This is more of a problem with the whole daily quest model than with LFG itself. There's this whole paradigm in WoW of incentivising daily play, and I hate it, and I can't be alone in that. Solution? Scale everything you do daily to be a weekly quest. Imagine instead of logging on every day to do one dungeon, you could do 7 in one day and be set? Or do one every day, or three one day and four the next? A weekly of "do 7 dungeons get 15 EoF" would be like sweet ambrosia.

The other problem I see is that there's no way to give real positive feedback about a player. If someone's bad I can ignore them or vote to kick, true, but friending someone doesn't make you more likely to group with them in the future. If bad behavior can be punished, there ought to be some symmetry there.

If you use Pandora, firstly, congratulations, you're living in the future. But more importantly, you've seen how effective its heuristics are at matching you with songs you like. Imagine if this was done with players in WoW, and you could give individuals thumbs up or down. Maybe you love multi-pulls and thumbs-up every geared tank who moves real fast. The system would match you with tanks other people with similar tastes also recommended. Conversely, if you hate chatty types, thumbs-down the chatterbox and subsequently see less of them! The math is all there, these kinds of things have been done before, it just needs to be put in the WoW architecture.

I don't mean to suggest LFG is fundamentally broken, or bad. It's smart, easy, and a VAST improvement on the suck of daily heroics. But there's still room for improvement, and in the case of the daily -> weekly transition, it's an easy fix. Blizz've said themselves LFG feels to grindy, so maybe Cata will move away from the daily grind somewhat.

And there was much rejoicing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Oft-Maligned Buff

I've seen some trash talked about the ICC party buff, which is properly a planned, steady ICC nerf. What the hell are people talking about, the buff is awesome.

OK, so by the time the buff came out, there were two groups of folks: Kingslayers and the rest of us. This was intentional, getting the Arthas kill before any buffs is a great accomplishment indeed, hooray for you. If you're in that first group, Arthas has already been killed, so you're just grinding him out for gear, probably to aid in your heroic runs. In that case, welcome anything that speeds up the grind! You've already proven you can kill him head-on, taking it easy from here is just a sweet deal.

What if you're not a Kingslayer? Then you likely are harangued on some difficult point, and progression has likely slowed down to the speed of plate tectonics. I know Nocturne had immense difficulty getting Rotface onto farm (I've heard most guilds have that problem with Festergut. Not us, our DPS is pro.) At any rate, spending 3 hours dying to these kinds of snags is insanely soul-crushing. Even more soul-crushing than the daily heroic mechanic (more on that later!). So a small boostie to get the rest of us over that progression-hump to get to see this expansion to the end is welcome as well.

If you've ever played a Devil May Cry game, you know about "unlocking" easy mode. Basically, the game starts you in Normal, which is tuned for very good and persistent gamers looking for a ball-stomping challenge. If you die several times within the first few levels, the game unlocks easy mode, which is tuned for your average-joe gamer type. The point is to give the player a chance to rise to the opportunity first, then give them the option of a shallower difficulty curve, one better suited to their skill level.

If there's one thing I could say is wrong with the buff, it's that there is no achievement for killing every boss WITHOUT the buff. I'm sure some guilds want to prove they can do the instance without the buff's help, and some way to immortalize that accomplishment is sorely needed. Think of it as hard mode light. Firm mode. Medium-well mode.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mastery is Stupid

Yeah, I said it. Blizzard is doing this big dance right now about how Mastery is sooo awesome and interesting and fun, when it's just not, at least for DPS. Because there can't be such a thing as an "interesting" gear stat for DPS.

As a DPS, the only concern you have is churning out rad numbers and showing the haters where you come from. To do this, you look to your gear and figure out what your GOD STAT is. Right now, those are mostly Strength, Spellpower, or Attack Power. Let's say your a shadow priest, because you're a classy gent that appreciates the finer things in life, so you love spellpower. You gem for it at every turn, you roll around in it, you want it more than anything else point for point.

Other stats are pretty much defined in light of the GOD STAT. Maybe they're a cap stat like Hit, in which case you have to do an elaborate dance to make sure it stays capped, but not much more. It's better than the GOD STAT up to a specific point, then turns to garbage. That's not interesting, that's just annoying and finicky.

But what of Crit and Haste? Spriests love those too! Yes, but not as much as spellpower; in fact, I know there exact conversion rates by heart (.76 and .98 respectively). I love Haste exactly 98% as much as I love spellpower. When I see new gear, I go through an elaborate arithmetic ritual of turning all the stats into spellpower-equivalent numbers, adding them up, and seeing if that matches my current piece (or going on and looking it up). So if it's not a GOD STAT, nor a cap stat, it must be a conversion stat. Which isn't interesting; it's in fact identical to just having the GOD STAT, but with more legwork.

Speaking of legwork, there's the fourth kind of stat: insane horseshit stat. Spriests, as a member of the spellcasting master race, don't have to deal with this, as I'm pretty much just talking about armor pen. If you don't have a master's degree in Especially Difficult Math, odds are you don't really know how good AP is for you; there're spreadsheets that will tell you though. But bizarre trinkets will change all of this if you have them, so back to the spreadsheet! AP is pretty unique in its insane horseshit as a gear stat, which is why Blizz is getting rid of it. Good move.

The question is, where will mastery fall? Not a GOD STAT I would venture to guess (at least not for a significant length of time), since Blizz wants to emphasize the 5 main stats. The mastery bonuses seem pretty linear, so a cap is unlikely for most classes, but I wouldn't rule it out. Maybe Frost DKs only need so much RP boost before it's just pointless. And certainly not insane horseshit: that's what they're trying to get away from.

For most DPS classes, I would wager it's a conversion stat. Hooray, another number to put into my alchemical gear-goodness formula. Hooray, my (.76*Crit+.98*Haste+.59*Spirit+.22*Int+Spellpower) turns into (.76*Crit+.98*Haste+.59*Mastery+Int). I'M HAVING SO MUCH MORE FUN THIS WAY.

Maybe for healers and tanks it will be interesting to balance, much like healers might juggle mp5, haste, and raw throughput. And I can't say it won't bring more depth into the differences between classes. I'm not complaining here, I'm just not seeing how Mastery will make gearing any more interesting as a DPS. It will just come down turning all stats into one number, so you know Item X is +840 GOOD. Your item is only +790 GOOD, so that's an upgrade. That's all.

Talent tree mastery is pretty smart, though.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Thought I'd given up or gotten bored? FUCK YOU. I'ma never die.

The drain of job search has been getting to me, and I haven't had the mental energy to drum up a blog post, even in the wake of all the amazing blue posts (ECHO ISLANDS BLAH BLAH). I hope this is what has happened to Jong, and that his resignation from Forbearance is just as temporary as his last one. On the subject of resignations, Shayzani, my mighty guild leader, author of 2fps, and general solid dude may quit WoW come Cataclysm, which is a damn shame. He made a list of all the things he'd want to do before then, which I thought was an idea worth brazenly stealing for myself. Obviously mine is a list of (non-trivial) things to do before Cataclysm is released instead of my eternal retirement, but it's the same deal.


Yeah, every time Nocturne kicked big V in his face, I wasn't there. I had an almost impeccable attendance record in Ulduar, but the two goddamned nights I miss, both times. I swear to all-mighty Atheismo the blood of the penultimate Ulduar boss will stain my T10 chestpiece.


Fucking right.


Melissus is my little-known warlock side project. He's 49 right now, deep in the thickest stretch of shitty old world leveling. I don't really care about getting him to 80; by the time he'd get decent gear Cata would be out, or near enough. I just want to get him outa the shit to pave the way for my troll druid side project.


I loved my carpet; I rode it everywhere until the Violet Proto-Drake swooped in like a hussy and stole it's thunder. Blizzard said a while back they might change the super epic flyers to simply increase your epic flying speed across the board. If so, I have a second chance at love. Carpets rule.


It looks so goddamned cool and is bathed in stamina. I hate my polearm tanking ghetto, I thirst for a MAN'S weapon. I would also be remiss to never do that quest, which seems really grand and spectacular.


Ultimate caster staff, wicked awesome proc, and Norse mythology reference? Has Blizzard been reading my fantasy jackoff blog? But oh how they tease me, putting it in the detested 25-man raiding format AKA the raiding format.


I am a huge Holy priest apologist, and I will show even the staunchest disc priests the light. I also feel like 2 tank healers 1 raid healer is just not what some fights require.


If I could play a Tuskarr I would do it in a heartbeat. They are so fucking sweet, goddamn. It's my only LK non-exalted reputation too, so I feel kinda bad for leaving them out.




Trolls need their own sweet city to chill and sip rum and cokes while watching the sun set. They deserve it, and I need to be there for them.


Gnomes need to get the FUCK OUTA MY CITY. They are the cantankerous sore on the beautiful gem of the Alliance.


I never play him ever, but he's 71. I feel bad that's he's so close, but really. Never even see the guy.