May 2010

The Ruby Sanctum loot list is up and I can honestly say that I am underwhelmed. How underwhelmed? More underwhelmed than a troop of boy scouts being given a single badge? More underwhelmed than being told by your boss that your expected pay rise has been deferred until 2020? More underwhelmed than a hooker being told that she’s a pretty good lay? Yes, more underwhelmed than all of those.

We have in 10 man loot a chest, a ring and a neck piece. In 25 man loot we have some armbands, the same ring and neck and a trinket. Well, whoopee fucking poopee. Would it be too much to ask for some fucking weapons? Like some daggers? Or how about some cool stuff that we can’t get from badges, like some boots? Those would be nice. Nope, none of the above.

“But we get a trinket!”, I hear you say. Have you seen the stats on that trinket? Armor penetration and attack power. And what 2 stats are going the way of the dodo in Cataclysm? Lets see … having a look here … hmmm …

Armor penetration and attack power. So you tell me what the fuck is going on and I’ll give you a few more scout badges.

I don’t know if any of you knew but there is a pretty big fucking cathedral in Stormwind. I mean, that thing is huge and all done in the best possible taste. It’s chock full of holy people, there are paladins and priests galore standing around looking pious. Why there’s even a resident freakoid down in the catacombs, although heaven knows what he’s doing down there in the dark, (see what I did there??!).

These priests and paladins draw on their holy power and cast great spells, battle demons, bring people back from the dead, cook cranberry sauce hash browns and all other manner of awesome things. And I assume that all their mystical power comes from a God. You know, that’s the guy that they built the cathedral for apparently. He thinks it’s cool.

‘Oh look, a huge building made out of stone in my honor! That is the awesomeness. Now where’s my cupcake …’

So who is this God? What’s his name? Does he have any commandments? They’d probably have to be a tad different from the ones that we’re used to. And more importantly, why is there absolutely zero reference to him? You put up all the trappings of religion, you shove them in our face to be honest, but then … it’s a bit of a let down. I was hoping for some whacko religion, Scientologist style. Whatever religion it is it must be pretty damn tolerant, what with all the death knights and warlocks and demons and undead wandering around a block away in Stormwind. But if they’re not going to give us a religion then goddamit we better make one up.

Welcome to the religion of Adism.

The good people who follow Adism will be referred to from this point on as, Adists. There are a few rules, so lets get down to them shall we?

Rule 1: No gnome priests. Fuck that, man.
Rule 2: In order for Paladins to get their bubble spell they must actually pray in-game 5 times a day facing South by South West.
Rule 3: The bubble will however have a pretty piss poor chance to work against rogues.
Rule 4: Train sets are fucking banned.
Rule 5: Trade dealing on the Auction house is frowned upon and will only be available to night elves.
Rule 6: There’ll be a cool taberd.
Rule 7: Priests will be able to turn water into wine. Suck it up, mages!
Rule 8: Hunters will have to take a special month long course titled, “How to roll on loot.”
Rule 9: Tree form for druids!
Rule 10: Oh yeah, thou shall not steal, rape, blah blah blah.

So there you go. As this is a relatively new religion we have some positions open for saints, virgin mothers, that sort of thing. So drop me a line and let me know if you’re interested. I’m sure we can work something out.

The title of this post is a comment that I received a few weeks ago on a post of mine. What prefaced this line was mostly stupid, but then the commenter finished off with the classic line, ‘I used to enjoy your posts.’

Obviously what he is trying to say here is that my posts used to be of some worth but now they are not. What is also impled is that I, as said writer of these posts, should begin to start writing as I used to write before when he was actually enjoying them. What is also present here is a power play, an implied threat that I will lose a reader, and that if he is feeling this way then many others will as well.

I just want you to know that I really couldn’t give a shit either way. Stay or go, read or don’t read, whatever lights your fire. It’s nice to have days when I get a huge number of hits on my blog, but it’s not the be all and end all of why I do this. Blog statistics are kind of like damage meters in that way. Yeah they give us information, and it can be very valuable, but to lose sight of everything else just to keep that number ticking over is to lose sight of what your original objective was. My objective was to be able to communicate what I think about the game in a forum of my own choosing and control. If you used to enjoy my posts then that’s great. If you don’t anymore then I’m sorry that you don’t but I’m not going to get up in the morning thinking, ‘Oh crap I better do a ‘good post’ today so as to satisfy that percentage of my readership that used to enjoy my posts but now don’t.’

I’ve got better things to do than that, like drink my coffee and ponder over whether Webber can win a third race in a row. Don’t get me wrong, I value the readers who take the time to post a comment on my blog, and I approve all of them. I think I have only ever deleted two and that was by mistake. I’ve been called all sorts of names, been ridiculed, had aspirtions cast on my general character, whatever. I’ll approve them. What a love is when I approve a comment attacking me and my readership takes it upon themselves to come to my defense. That’s awesome. There have been a few comments in the last weeks from people saying, ‘long term reader, first time commenter.’ Those are fantastic, and I hope that you keep commenting.

But I will still write whatever the fuck I feel like writing, and if you enjoy it, great. If you don’t, go read something else. It’s not like you’re starved for choice.

There has been a lot of words written in the WoW blogosphere in the last few weeks about the difficulty of holding guilds together at the moment, let alone actually recruiting. This is of course perfectly natural and on par with the life cycle of the game between expansions. If it wasn’t happening then I would be surprised. Added to that the fact that we’re heading into summer and it’s just a bit too much to expect people to have their standard drive for a game. I myself took a break from the game just after WotLK was released. I left it for about four months. No big deal, I just wasn’t interested anymore, and I needed a break. We all need a break from time to time.

So this period is about trying to keep your guild from falling apart. That doesn’t sound like much fun. I know that it wasn’t fun for me at the end of burning crusade. I was so zonked after that process that I promptly took those four months off. I did it the day the Wrath expansion pack arrived at my door. I opened the box, looked at the cover and just thought that I didn’t want to know about this right now. The game stayed wrapped in its celophane on my desk for all that time. Lets face it there is nothing left to do. We’ve all run these instances a million times, dailyed our brains out of existence and battlegrinded our way to mental oblivion. And no Ruby Sanctum dragon run is going to change any of that.

But I’m not bored at all, on the contrary. I’m having a great time in WoW right now and I have to thank Gevlons ganking project for that. It’s given me a new focus for the game. When I log in I have many things to do, all of them to help us reach our common ganking goal. It could be playing the AH a bit to get some more gold for a GDKP run, or running some battlegrounds for the honor, or playing some more arena matches for the gear and experience, or running some raids, or greatly upsetting the horde when they try to win a fishing contest, or ganking their faces off at the jewelcrafting daily. And all of it for a common goal. And all of it with other people from the guild who have the same goal. And the guild keeps growing. New players join every day. We really need warlocks and mages at the moment, so if you have one of those and you’re bored with the game at the moment why not transfer over and join? If you do transfer, bring a lot of profession mats with you, just a friendly tip.

There has also been quite a bit of talk recently concerning the state of MMO’s, with the usual screeching directed at Blizzard as the main culprit. This culminated this week with wolfshead’s rant. A major complaint is that these games don’t encourage community anymore. Look, I’ll spell it out for you all. Blizzard gave us the tools within the game to be social, but they sure aren’t going to hold your hand to make friends. Social is what you make of it. Does social mean that you need to whisper other players trying to make friends? I suppose you can try that if you like, but you won’t be getting me to hang around with you for very long. I’ve made a bunch of new friends and contacts in WoW over the last few months, both from the blogging guild and the ganking guild. People working towards a common goal or people with a shared passion playing together. The game is what you create from it, and that’s the greatest freedom of all. Some people just can’t handle freedom when it’s given to them, even when they have been clamouring for it.
The problem that players like Wolfshead have is when they log on they want to be entertained. I think that it’s amazing and testimony to the game itself that WoW has managed to do this for them for so long. But sooner or later the fun runs out if you don’t make any effort yourself. The ganking guild is a creative use of the game at a time when many players are left standing around in Dalaran hoping for inspiration. I haven’t stood around in Dalaran for a long time now.

With Tricks of the Trade generating a hefty 15% damage increase, and too be frank the added threat has no meaning anymore to really worry about, (can you remember the last time you managed to pull threat off a tank in an end game raid?), a long standing ploy with rogues has been to swap tricks back and forth during a boss fight to boost their dps. Which was why I was kind of embarressed the other night after downing Saurfang when the other rogue asked in raid chat if I had been giving him tricks. Because I hadn’t. I assume that he had been giving me tricks as I was top of the meter on that fight by around 750dps. I hastily whispered him my apologies and then spent the whole of the fight of Rotface trying to give him tricks whilst running around with yucky slimes chasing me, which was damn difficult I can tell you.

But this tricks swapping has always confused me, and here is why. In my old guild, back in the day, when we were running Ulduar and Trial of the being bored out of your mind, there were a few other rogues in the guild who alternated between coming on runs with myself being the constant. It was around this time that tricks came into vogue with being raid swapped in this way, and I clearly remember the first time I ventured to ask one of the other rogues if he wanted to swap tricks with me during the run.

He flat out refused. As did the other rogue. And with no door left ajar for any sort of discussion on the issue. I felt that I had made a terrible social indescretion, like getting drunk when you’re 16 and attempting to make out with your hot first cousin in front of your relatives. It leaves you with a clear feeling of never wanting to go there ever again. But in my courageous attempts to improve my game play I decided to ask in every PuG if the other rogues wanted to swap tricks.

“Would you like to swap tricks for this fight?”


I appreciate the no. Sometimes they just ignore you and you’re left wondering if they missed the whisper or if they are purposely ignoring you and if you ask them again they’ll scream obscenities in your general direction. So you stand around like the poor schmucks at the grade 10 school dance who are never and I mean never going to get asked to twirl around the room.

So when our other guild rogue asked me this the other night I was mightilly confused. Had I been right all this time? Was it all the other moron rogues and not me? But now I didn’t do it when I should have done and I’m in trouble again! ARAGHGHGHHGGHGHGH!

And I still don’t understand where to go with this because I just know next Sunday I’m going to whisper him if he wants to swap tricks and he’s going to ignore me and go dance with somebody else.

We ran ICC on Sunday night with the ganking guild, (which means we are a pee vee pee guild at heart for those of you who don’t know). We cleared the lower wing with ease, although we wiped once on heroic gunship when we all forgot to equip our jetpacks before the fight, (NOOOOOBBSSS!!!), and once on Saurfang because we didn’t set our handling of the adds properly.

Then we moved into the next section of the raid where I had never been before, which entailed me quickly flicking back to my saved pages of rogue tactics online. It said that the next boss was Festergut who was a simple rogue fight apart from giving people a buff when you got it, so I thought cool baby and up we went. We took down the nasty Valkyrie trash and the two big doggies and then we began fighting the boss. Perhaps I should have paid closer attention to his name because within a very short space of time I worked out that this was not a simple rogue fight, what with slimes everywhere and this guy spinning around on me so I was facing his front all of a sudden. This was not the fight that I had just read up on. This was Rotface. I managed to stay up until the wipe and then got clobbered to death. We picked ourselves up and after I read the correct fight details, we did it again. And we got him down, which was a marvelous feeling.

At that point we had to call it due to people leaving, but still it was a good run. Particularly because I finally got a weapon upgrade for my PvE spec when the Bone Wardens Splitter dropped off Marrowgar. I have been using the Kenetic Ripper which is a ilvl219 weapon for too long now so this was a huge upgrade for me. Only one problem; there was another rogue in the raid who wanted it just as much as I did. I am pretty calm when it comes to loot. I don’t get worked up, I don’t get all upset when a hunter rolls on my leather, (like fuck I don’t). But when a major weapon upgrade drops I am all over that baby like a rash.

This was a GDKP run and the first big one that I had been on. The bidding started at 100g, which my rogue friend duely began. I hit it up to 500g because I didn’t want to fuck around. He hit it up to 1000g because he didn’t want to fuck around either. And up we went to 1600g when he suddenly dropped out. I thought that it was going to have to go much higher but in the end I got off lightly. The best bids were for the ilvl264 heroic drops off the gunship – some plate and a shield, which got up around the 4000g mark for each. At the end of the run there was over 10K to divide up between everyone, so I got just over 1K back from my one and only bid. I love this syetm, I really do because everyone gets something, whether it be gold or loots or both. And the best part is that the loots go to those that really, really want them. It’s all too easy to press roll and take something away, but when you have to cough up the cold hard cash you start to understand who really wants something or not. A death knight who had only joined the guild a few days before and who had only just hit 80 scored the heroic plate armor, which looked amusing offset with all his blues.

Gevlon was raid leading and his method of getting us to pick up our game was to calmly inform us that he had cleared these very same bosses the night before with his blue geared project and their average dps was around 3500, which is a great motivator to put your head down and do the job. Now all I have to do is get my head down and make some more gold before we go in again tonight. Or maybe I’ll just sit back and let people bid like crazy and get my gold that way!

My Friday post on damage meter F-Bombs sure generated a lot of discussion, some of it good, some of it from people who failed grade 2 reading comprehension. But then there came a comment this morning from Pugnacious Priest that made me sit up and take notice. I quote it here:

“… All the Pug shadow priests Ive been meeting – most of them tagged with respectable guilds seem to have it in their head that they shouldnt be dpsing adds/spikes/dispelling and the like. Maybe the chips on our shoulders from being a poor mans Dps has bruised our egos so much that doing a job right is less important then beating the non hybrids …”

I’m sure some of you have seen Bladerunner, one of my favorite movies of all time. It deals with replicants, man made robots who look exactly human, who are better, smarter, faster, stronger, etc. As a result they’re banned on earth and if they show up they get hunted down by someone who looks like Han Solo.

Hybrids are also replicants, although they didn’t start out that way. Hybrids started out as classes for players who essentially just couldn’t make up their mind what they wanted to do, or players who couldn’t commit to doing something, a lot like my ex-girlfriend. In the beginning the trade-off was that in order to have the freedom to do two or three roles you had to accept that you didn’t do the roles just as well as the pure classes, whether that be healing, dps or tanking. As a kind of make-up for this, hybrids got given lots of groovy buffs that would hopefully ensure them being invited to raids even when we knew their dps sucked.

Inevitably and non surprisingly, hybrid players slowly but surely used a long campaign of endless complaining and nagging to get Blizzard to buff them up to be on par with the pure classes. Do you remember which was the best dps class in Burning Crusade? I do. They were called elemental shamans. And when one deemed himself desperate enough to join our crummy raid guild I remember us being a happy bunch indeed, (even if he was a closest sex offender to go by his guild chat).

Blizzard tried to balance things a bit better in WotLK but all their hard work in that direction was completely wiped out by a little class called Death Knights, who were labelled “Hero Class” which reminded me of game killing potential, ala Star Wars Galaxies jedi knights. These were so powerful they could kill a game designer at 20 paces, and thus they received a slow but steady nerfing into the ground until today where they can still top the damage meters if they so desire.

So where has all of this left us, the common people who must play day by day with the present reality? Well, we must remember that the present reality has all of this historical baggage tagged along with it, and it would be foolish not to keep this in consideration. As Pugancious Priest points out so clearly, hybrid dps now have a chip on their shoulder. They have been belittled and teased and demonised so often by us naughty “pure” dps that now they really want to show us that they can do the job. Unfortuately for everyone concerned the only way to effectively measure how the job is done is by looking at recount. Which would go some way to explaining the shadow priests temper tantrum in VoA the other day, (even, and I repeat, even if he was 4th overall on the damage meters and had also done damage to the orbs as instructed and was in no danger of not getting loots).

Ironically, in their push to gain acceptance as classes worthy of being invited to a raid for their dps, hybrids are digging themselves further into a hole by not doing their job properly. And it doesn’t help when they get grouped with players who proudly flash recount numbers in chat every chance they have. But in the end, what hybrid players have to understand is that all dps players are playing with the same yoke hanging around their necks. We are all slaves to the recount charts. As a rogue, I too will have my dps drastically lowered by running away and hitting the bone spikes. Our challenge is both to be able to keep up good dps while still doing the tasks necessary for completing the boss, and to be able to suck up the ignornace from the recount quoting crowd.

The doomed replicants in Bladerunner are afraid of humans while at the same time wanting to be more like them, and this goes for the humans as well. As long as there is a hybrid vs pure class competition there will always be these underlying problems that inhibit us getting a job done correctly. Our past differences are causing us to work against each other, even when we are on the same team. And at the end of the day we are much more similar than our differences would have us believe.

I don’t normally post on weekends as I have better things to do with my time, such as skipping through the tulips, (not many hits on weekends). But I have decided to make a random Saturday post of random thoughts and perhaps links which I have found around the internets during the week. So this is the first random Saturday post. I suppose I will have to create increasingly bizarre titles for them.

Yesterday we won Wintergrasp with 6 players against 80. We were attacking and at the beginning all looked hopeless. But the other day, Gevlon had come up with a cunning plan and I had helped him to refine it. This was our first real chance to put it into practice. It involved sneaking a couple of demolishers up to the walls of the fortress while the Horde were busy elsewhere destroying towers, pillaging and looting, checking their email etc. The great thing about demolishers is that they can shoot over walls. Which meant that we didn’t have to get the last wall down. We just positioned them correctly and took the relic chamber door down from the other side of the wall. With 6 against 80 we had the full tenacity buff, and with the door down three of us managed to fight our way through the dense crowd of incredibly desperate horde to get to it, with our paladin succeeding in clicking the relic. Quite simply an awesome win. There are other elements to the cunning plan but they are too secret to be imparted here to you, (send gold).

I had my biggest ever volume day on the blog yesterday, with my post about our VoA run garnering me almost 2000 hits. Considering that my second month blogging I got 65 in total, and that was a year ago, this was pretty huge blogging wise. So for those of you who haven’t been blogging long and are wondering if you’ll ever get visitors and comments, you will. If you stick with it and write often, (and if greedgygoblin links to you …)

On my dashboard for the blog I can see where the hits are coming from via incoming links. These can often be interesting, and yesterday there was one that raised my eyebrows. The insidious guild forum linked to yesterdays post and it was their members who were the ones that behaved rather childishly in the raid in question, (and if you read the comments you will see that one of their guildies who was on the raid, Koushirou, admitted this himself. I would assume that he linked my post to their guild forum.) Unfortunately I cannot access their forum as I do not have the required permission, but with the number of hits coming from them I would be very interested to know what they have said regarding this issue. Feel free to comment here!

And finally, I have a little something for your viewing pleasure. A WoW players reaction when he finds out that he has been “hacked”, (when in actual fact it is his friend who has changed his password).

Quite a few F Bombs.

Yesterday we held Wintergrasp for three straight victories. We lost the fourth because by that stage the horde were so annoyed they must have turned up with everyone on the server and the zerg was impossible to stop. We now have almost 40 level 80 players in the guild, so at any one time at least 10 of us are going into WG. The strategy planning is interesting because we have to make provision for two things: how to win against the horde and how to counter the random idiots who will show up on our own team. Someone will put forward a good attack plan but then we will spend most of our time working out how to send our moron allies off out of harms way, while thinking that they are at the cutting edge of the battle.

Anyway, after the third win we decided to do a VoA 25 man run. Half were guildies and half were PuGs. Crucially, the tanks were members of our guild, so we could easily control the run. A few of the PuGs were very loud-mouthed in the lead up to starting the run. I don’t know if they were excitied about seeing a 25 man VoA on the server after 60 years of not having one or if that was their normal behavior, but whatever the cause they were vocal and moronic. Gevlon may not be the best tactical leader but he sure is the best leader of the group when there are morons to be dealt with that I have ever seen. The first boss we did was the stone giant, and Gevlon announced before the fight that this was a dps test and anyone who did under 1500 would be kicked. Nobody was kicked. Then we did the Fire boss with the same conditions applying. Still nobody was kicked. Don’t get me wrong, they were vocal about this, but when it came time to put out the damage they got their heads down and did it. Then we moved on to the Ice boss that drops the sweet 270 loots. Gevlon came up with a fantastic plan: the lowest ranged dps on the orbs wouldn’t get any loot. There was howling about that, but when it came to the fight everyone did what they were supposed to do and we one shotted the boss. He dropped, and within 10 seconds the chat was filled with something like this; (I’m para-phrasing)

“Gevlon you fucking piece of shit you can’t fucking run it this way who the fuck do you thinkl yopu are you fucking son of a whore …”

He went on for quite a bit longer. Then unsurprisingly, he was kicked. This was a shadow priest, (there were no cloth drops), who put out 6800 dps, and who had been one of the vocal idiots during the whole run. I asked in chat what was his problem as I genuinely had no idea. His problem was with the rule for ranged dps on orbs. Forcing him to do his job had caused his dps to drop below some of the melee on the recount chart. Thus his temper tantrum.

I was staggered by this. I mean, we all make fun of gearscore, we all argue over recount and what its positive and negative points are, but at the end of the day most of us doing the arguing here in the blogosphere are somewhat sane and rational. So to see recounts true effect on players who don’t think somewhat sane and rationally is … insane. This guy had the biggest dummy-spit that I have ever seen in a PuG, and a PuG that was a complete success with no wipes and just one or two deaths. And what was it over? It was because someone succeeded in forcing him to do his required task at the expense of the recount meter. Because he did his task we got the boss down. But this upset him, a lot. Because he was only 4th on recount for that fight. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Now I know that Gevlon used recount at the beginning to threaten players with being kicked if they didn’t perform, but that was a minimum number, not a maximum. All you had to do was your required task and be above 1500dps. If the highest dps got a reward then that would be different as this players dps would have been “compromised” in such a situation.

I like recount and I refer to it often to gauge how I am performing. But the extent to which this tool is misused had escaped me until this situation yesterday. Gevlons idea of lowest ranged dps on orbs gets no loot was a brilliant one in this case. But going on how players are motivated by recount in a negative way, you will need to come up with a plan like this for every fight just to get players to do their job. Based on this, Blizzard has a sure-fire way to create a boss that a 25 man PuG will NEVER get down: make it so that a successful attempt will require dps players to run around and do all sorts of jobs so that if they do it properly their dps will never go above 2000. Or even better, include a special prize that the boss give out to a player in a group that wipes whose dps was over 10,000 lets say in this case. Evil.

Some players dropped the group after this but we decided to try the last boss anyway. But as we got there, one of the hunters misdirected the boss onto our group, left the instance and we wiped. Apparently he too was very annoyed at being forced to complete a task at the expense of his dps. Another PuG who had been fairly quiet for most of the run then said that we would be lucky to ever form a 25 man PuG again on the server and he dropped the group. So to sum it all up; we nuked the bosses, never wiped, and got the loots, but we will never form another PuG again because we made people do their jobs.

Oh, and no rogue loots dropped, sheesh.

ps; apparently the priest was not kicked, he quit group himself. And the rules were all clearly stated in raid chat before the first boss went down and players were saved to the raid.

Lockpicking takes a long time and a lot of effort to level to 400 for scant reward. Oh sure you have the benefit of opening some doors, (though in the whole of WotLC they put in only one – The Violet Hold), and you can open your lockboxes that you find but it’s more a pain-in-the-butt than a help. A pain in the sense that when you get the dreaded whisper of;

“Hi, can u open sme boxe 4 me?”

You just know that this is going to waste your time. I remember one of the first times that someone whispered me like this. I felt thrilled that I would be asked by another player to help them! What a sad, misguided young rogue I was. The trade window opened and I proudly pressed the unlock button. Then it opened again. And again. I think I opened 18 boxes for the prick, all in total silence without a word whispered. Until then end of course when I got a, “thx”, and that was it. Not even a lousy copper piece.

And the fact of getting a rogue to open valuable items for you doesn’t make a lot of sense. If anything, we should be trying to steal those items from you. Wouldn’t it be great if a rogue could pick the pockets of players? Particularly of the other faction? That would change the environment around Dalaran, I can tell you.

I never charge for opening boxes because I never know what to charge. What level is the box? What level is the player? What would be fair in each unique situation? I just don’t know. So you wait to see if you get a tip. You can wait a long time, I can tell you. Just make it a secondary profession and give everyone the chance to level it up. Except paladins of course. Those goody-two-shoes should be made to have to suck up to everyone. Can you open this for me? Please? Pleeeeease? Oh, and priests. And druids of course, those pesky nature lovers. Would be silly to give it to shamans as well, just thinking about it …

I would never want to work in game design.

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