December 31, 2010
The Choose your own Adventure books started coming out when I was around 10 years old. Which meant that I got very lucky, as I was just the right age for them. In these books the reader took the role of the protagonist, being able to choose alternate paths and thus arriving at many different possible endings. Copying this new format, the Fighting Fantasy books took the same idea into a fantasy setting, with the addition of adding dice rolls to the battle sequences. I must have purchased nearly all of these books; I probably still have them somewhere in a box back home. Without a doubt they were my stepping-stone to Dungeons & Dragons and then computer games. And they offer the reader one very important tool when playing a game:
I thought about this last night after playing some of the Worgen starting zone for the first time. I lasted about 10 minutes before I gave up. A lot of commentaters have said how much they like the new starting area. I suppose that it is nice to look at, and there is some groovy gothic-type atmosphere. But overall it is entirely forgetable. You are not playing a game in that zone. You do not have to think. You are merely led from one npc to another as they force-feed you the required information. The very first quest had you rescuing townsfolk by banging on doors. When the first one of them rushed out my instinctive reaction was to have a look behind the now opened door. But you can’t. It is open, but you can’t go in. Because that is not where you are supposed to go.
What I am writing here is not new; plenty of bloggers and commentators have been saying the same thing over the last few weeks. But this morning I cast my mind back to my very first experience of WoW all those years ago, to the human starting zone. You know, the one where you have to go and take out all the poor kobolds. And I asked myself, did I have any choice there? Or was I being railroaded also? Because I want to be fair when I write this blog. I don’t just want to dump on Blizzard in a high and mighty way. I want to really understand if the game is broken or if it’s just me. And then it came to me; we might not have had much choice back then, but there was the illusion of choice.
Strip someones illusions away and what are you left with? In the case of the Worgen starting zone, not very much. Pretty pictures, yes. Nice water graphics, yes. Come on, we can do better than that. Either Blizzard have totally lost sight of what makes a game playable or they have become comsumed by their own arrogance and contempt for their player-base. There is choice everywhere you look. Even reading a book presents you with choice. You can choose how to interpret what the writer is saying. This is why authors like Dan Brown have so much success. They give the reader no choice, the story is force-fed into you. All you have to do is sit there and consume the pages. And writing that now, perhaps Blizzard have realised this also. They don’t want to be remembered for a great game any more than Dan Brown wants to be remembered for a great book.
The first Choose your own Adventure book was called, ‘The Cave of Time.’ I still remember that moment of discovery where it was I who was deciding the course of events. Well, we are always free to decide our own course, that is the beauty of life.
December 30, 2010
So how about this for a new years resolution:
Move back to the other side of the world.
Which is what my wife and I are doing. We’re leaving the freezing confines, (and economic and tax misery), of the Italian Alps and heading back to the sunny beaches of Australia. You know it baby! That’s the good news. The bad news is that my computer will be following me on a boat, and will probably arrive, who knows when. I will be able to have access to the internet obviously in Australia, but until my gaming rig arrives I won’t have access to any online games. Goddamit, I may have to actually go outside and talk to people. The horror!
So, Sunday will be my last day online in WoW for quite a bit. If you see me you might want to follow me around as I could suddenly give everyone my gold in a spontaneous fit of insanity. My blogging will continue, do not worry about that. However I will have to plumb my topics from looking at hot chicks on the beach. I’m sure you’ll stick around, (particularly with my secret camera that I got for Christmas, heh heh).
December 29, 2010
We want to make it clear that Combat is intended to use fast off-hand weapons. We also want to polish Revealing Strike a bit.
So it’s official. We’re supposed to use fast off hands for Combat. Gee, that’s nice. So how about, you know, giving us some???
There’s another bit for rogues in this patch as well:
Cheap Shot now correctly shares diminishing returns with other stun effects.
Go fuck yourselves.
Anyway, how bad is PvP at the moment, eh? I’m thinking this is the worse it has ever been in the history of the world the universe and everything. Told Barad is hopelessly broken, and yesterdays patch note that gives the attacking team 1800 honor points if they take it and the defending team 180 if they defend is … well, it’s probably the most stupid thing ever in the history of the game. Arena points are all out of whack, the whole thing is one big disaster. I’m not even bothering with PvP anymore until they fix hunters. Seriously, they are so overpowered right now that they’re almost game ruining on their own. Hunters now have some form of stealth and they can stun from a distance. Couple that with their pet ripping your face off and the fact that their pets almost always see through rogue stealth and there is nothing we can do. Smoke bomb is a little help but too little too late. I could go on. I won’t because I have to take the dog to the vet to get his rabies shot. hahaha, this is my revenge for those hunter pets!
December 28, 2010
This is the new phrase to tell somebody that they suck and that they should leave a 5 man group. Its economy of words do not betray the fact that it is a most efficient put-down and insult. In its brevity is communicated the fact that the person being told to leave is beneath the merit of having further words devoted to any explanation. I have seen it said after an hour together in an instance. I have seen it said after a first wipe. Behind those two words lie something like this:
“I cannot be bothered to type any more to tell you that you suck. I can’t even be bothered to press a button to call a vote to kick you from the group. So just do us all a favor and take care of your own demise yourself and save us all the trouble of having to put up with your continued existence.”
The ironic thing in all of this is that in most of the cases that I have seen so far in cataclysm of this sort, the person using these two words is the one that either should be leaving themselves or should be working on improving their own performance. While on the one hand I applaud Blizzard’s return to having Heroics as a test of teamwork and skill, (as they were in Burning Crusade), I am also somewhat dumbfounded as to why they would do this. Because with this decision they have made maybe 20% of their playerbase happy, (the figure is probably too high), but they have confused and pissed off the remaining 80% who flourished in the Wrath of the Lich King world of run in and zerg every mob in sight. I ran a half dozen heroic PuGs over the weekend, and I will not be running any more of them again. These players cannot handle the fact that they may be lacking in something, (skill, ability, knowledge, intelligence, take your pick). A wipe for them is not an opportunity to learn something; it is a complete failure that must be blamed on another player.
I ran Heroic Deadmines for the first time on the weekend. I stated at the beginning of the run that this was my first run in it. I attempted to glance quickly at wowhead while we were in it to check boss tactics but it was almost impossible due to the speed of the run. We got to the Mechanical Harvest boss and our first attempt went okay – we got him down to about 20% and then we wiped. As melee DPS I was on the boss. Looking at the notes online it seemed that I would be better on the harvester but that was what they wanted. It’s a difficult boss to stay close to the first time with his rushes and cleaves but I managed. We started the 2nd attempt and I made a miscalculation on his harvest ability and I died. A mistake, but one that can be learned from. Instead I got a “fail rouge” from the healer. He couldn’t even spell it properly. And then I got the “please leave”.
I am sure that all of you reading this have many, many, more examples of ignorance of this type. The Wrath mindset is even difficult to break for quite a few guildies that I have seen. Mistakes are equated with failure. As any good teacher knows, mistakes are an opportunity to learn. If they are treated as a failure then students will cease to take risks for fear of ridicule or punishment. They will stay safely cocooned in their limited knowledge, prefering that to the fear of risking a mistake. The new content is very good, there are a lot of things that need to be fixed and tweaked but overall it is a great improvement on Wrath. But I fear that the playerbase is irriversibly broken. And slowly but surely I am seeing good players being broken down by this and leaving the game. And when most of the good players are gone, then all the lolkids will only have each other to play with. And then the game will come to a shuddering halt as they will leave in droves without the good players to carry them through.
Please leave. It will become prophetic.
December 25, 2010
Posted by Adam under Uncategorized
December 24, 2010
So some random thoughts for today. I’ll just throw these out there as they come to me and you can ignore them as is your want.
Gold in Cataclysm.
I’ve never been much of a gold player. I tend to always have enough gold to get what I need but I’m not one to play the Auction House regularly. I also am usually pretty generous with my profession services for guildies and friends. I’m more of a barter system user: you need me to cut you some gems? What are your professions? Oh, you’re a scribe. OK, then I’ll do this for you and when I need some glyphs I’ll let you know. That’s how I tend to roll. I had Enchanting maxed in Wrath until I dropped it for mining because I wanted to gather up mats for an eventual idea of power levelling engineering. A lot of people said I was mad to drop 450 Enchanting, but coming into Cataclysm it has been the best gold decision that I have ever made.
I began Cataclysm with about 1800 gold, and from selling stacks of ore and raw gems from prospecting ore when the ore price began to drop, I have made almost 20,000 gold. And this is from someone who never tries with this sort of thing. It just seems like gold is a low hanging fruit in Cataclysm thus far. Or that I have the two best professions for this expansion. Now I’m getting rare cuts that other JC’s aren’t bothering with and making a nice profit from buying raw blue gems for 75g and selling them cut for about 300g. This is really good for me for when I begin raiding with The PuG, as they got a boss down last night and the items went for an average of 7000g each.
Apparently there is a real shortage of DPS in the raid group, they have tonnes of healers and tanks. But when they posted the recount data last night after they downed the boss the numbers were up around 23,000dps. Now I know that they have raid buffs in there but I’m not even coming close to those sort of numbers, so it looks like I’m going to have to farm heroics for a little bit before I stick my hand up to raid.
One of my guildies asked me if I could help him out with some mats for a nice top hat. He needed me to pickpocket some Polished Bronze Rivets. I said that I could do that no problem. Well, let me tell you, these babies are hard to find. I’ve managed to find just 2 of them out of quite a lot of mobs with empty pockets. There are none on the AH so I have no idea how much they would list for. Wowhead had them at 250g each yesterday but today they’re at 7 silver. Go figure that out. Anyway, it looks like pickpocketing is going to be very rewardiing for rogues this expansion. Go check out Daria’s post on this at Ravenholdt Manor.
Yesterday I got invited to run a rated battleground with the guild. It was Warsong Gulch, (I have no idea if it is always this or if they randomly change), and in the waiting room our plan was told to us: everyone run together and zerg their flag and get ours back. I had a sinking feeling at hearing this, but went along with it, and of course we lost. We might have all been from the same guild, and we might have all been in there with the same idea, but it wasn’t much use at all. Here is a little hint for players wanting to do rated battlegrounds: you are going to need to have voice communication, full stop. There is no choice here. You cannot type instructions and expect players to see them immediately when they are in the midst of fighting. You also cannot react quickly enough to the changing dynamics and communicate your directions without voice chat. Particularly as the vast majority of opposing teams will have this themselves. When I first began WoW many years ago I played quite a few battlegrounds with a set team. The leader of this team never got himself involved in the action. He just found a nice spot out of the way where he could see everything and issued instructions. I don’t think we ever lost a battle. You’re going to need to do the same thing here.
There was a moment when I typed something in raid chat to communicate a strategy that I perceived the horde to be executing. The response I got immediately from another player was, “no ****.” I was extremely surprised at this coming from a guildmember of The PuG. I was also very annoyed by this point, and when the same player told me to do what I was already doing I responded back in kind with a ‘no shit’, something of which I was not proud of and immediately regretted. Once again I communicated in chat that the horde were doing something and once again I got rude comments as it seemed that I was stating the obvious. The run degenerated into name calling and the usual social moron platitudes that I have seen so many times in random BG’s and that I had hoped never to see in a guild run. It was very depressing. I can only assume that players are so indoctrinated to behave badly in battlegrounds that they do it without thinking. Still, it’s no excuse, and if the guild wants to do these runs then we’re going to have to clean up our act.
December 23, 2010
Yesterday I hit 85 on my main, (after getting fried to a crisp by Deathwing without warning in the Twilight Highlands), and so immediately began checking out the weapon situation. I had noticed during my levelling process that while there were a large number of 2.60 speed weapons, the only weapon I had found under 1.60 was a single dagger. So this morning I jumped on wowhead to see the situation for myself. Let me now list for you all the fast offhand weapons that there are in game that are not dagger which us rogues can use:
There are none.
Okay, so that was pretty simple. Now lets have a list at what the dagger options are. Here is the full list on wowhead. As you can see it’s a pretty slim list. The only really easy weapon to grab on that list is the Throat Slasher which can be purchased for 950 Justice Points. As a combat rogue, this should be your first purchase as main hands are so easy to come by at this point. The rest of the daggers on this list are randoms drops, apart from the green dagger which can be found on a quest but you’d have to be pretty desperate to use that one. I don’t know why there is such a huge shortage of weapons that are fast offhands in the game. And it seems very strange that there is not one axe, sword, fist or mace that is a fast offhand. Good luck on these drops because they are going to be very hard to get and every rogue and his pet goat will be wanting one. My pet goats name is Harold.
December 22, 2010
There has been quite a bit written about the new fortune cards in the blogging world recently. As a long time, (and once semi-professional), poker player I have read these with interest and a wry grin. The grin is because everyone has been getting it wrong. Until yesterday a read an excellent post on this matter over at the Gnomes of Zurich. It seems that The Gnome is a poker player as well. I assume that a lot of what he writes about will go ever most peoples heads who haven’t studied the world of probability in gambling. Terms such as Expected Value, Variance, and most importantly, Bankroll Management. I’m not going to go into this here, you can read the linked post for that. What I want to do is explore how this unique opportunity can be exploited for a lot of gold.
One of my guildies in the PuG is a scribe, and he has been selling these cards in trade chat to good effect almost since the first day of Cataclysm. But to really take in a lot of gold from gamblers who do not understand how the laws of probability work, you need to do things on a bigger scale. You always have to make people feel good about losing their money. That way they keep coming back to loose even more. And the best thing that you can do to promote this is to do it in a party atmosphere. And an even better way to do this is to have some form of club. Socials want to be part of the “in” crowd. And nothing screams more in than the first ever player run casino in WoW.
Here is how it could work. Choose an empty building in your city, (I’m going to use Stormwind for this example). The one that I like best is the inn that most players set their hearthstone to just in front of the AH. You will need a spruiker in trade chat to drum up business and get players to come to the casino. Then you need to create the mood – each scribe will be sitting at a table. They are the “Blackjack Tables” as it were. A great idea would be to have some semi-naked female Night Elves wandering around serving drinks. Perhaps a doorman as well. The trick is that this is a pary atmosphere. Then the customers can sit down and purchase the fortune cards from the scribes. Have someone planted in the crowd who “wins” 5000 gold. Keep the chat flowing and the fun happening. Keep more players arriving. And at the end organise a split after costs with the other players who helped with the setup.
If you do it at the same time every day or every week then you will start to get regular customers to hand over their gold. So come to our casino! I’m the hottie night elf serving scotch.
December 21, 2010
I was listening to the latest episode of the Warcast Lounge podcast, (I’ll review them when they have a few more episodes under their belt), when I heard something that made me choke on my XO cognac in a somewhat undignified manner. If you wish to hear it for yourself it’s towards the end of the podcast around the final 15 minute mark. They are talking about rolling on loot in the new 5 mans. I’m going to have to summerise what Chris, who is one of the two hosts, was talking about.
He is a DPS druid but is a tank on his off spec. He was queuing as a tank so he could avoid the long queues but then rolling need on DPS gear because that is his main spec. His justification is that if tanks and healers like him weren’t queuing in those specs then the queues would be even longer.
I kind of find this attitude a little fucking unbelievable. In essence he is saying that we should be thankful that he is rolling need on DPS gear while he queued as a tank because if it weren’t for players like him then we would have to wait even longer. Well, I don’t know about you other DPS out there, but I’ll take a longer queue with no healers and tanks needing on DPS gear than a “shorter” queue, (which is still 40 minutes long), and watching the one DPS drop go to the tank.
Apparently he doesn’t want to have to put up with a long queue as a DPS player, but he’s perfectly happy to take DPS items away from other DPS players who did have to wait for 40 minutes. If you queue in a certain role then you should only be able to roll need on items associated with that role, (and to be fair, the other host, Ryan, said exactly that). If you aren’t prepared to wait 40 minutes then by all means jump in as a tank. But don’t expect the DPS who did wait, (and who don’t have a choice to queue as a tank or healer), to then be happy when you roll need on DPS drops.
I find this attitude to be the height of doucebaggery. Yeah I’m going to roll need on your DPS drop, but hey; you didn’t have to wait as long in the queue because of me! You should be grateful, pal!
I don’t fucking think so.
December 18, 2010
As CC is now supposed to be important in Cataclysm, (I say supposed to due to the fact that I ran two normal 5 mans yesterday and didn’t need to use sap once. It was just a case of Wrath revisited with tanks charging in and us sprinting to catch up, but people say the heroics are different so I’m writing this post hoping it doesn’t turn out to be a waste of time), I feel that a lot of our stabby brothers and sisters may not know how to use sap in a 5 man or even a raid environment due to them being products of the Wrath world. So here are some pointers for you.
The very first thing you do on entering the instance is to tell the party which symbol you use for sap. I like to use the Star symbol, but I have known some rogues who like the green one. Never ask to use the moon as mages will get very upset with you. They may even turn you into a sheep just to spite you, and I can assure you that it is no fun being a sheep, (ask my dinner last night what he thought of being a sheep.) You may even want to, horror of horros, bind your chosen symbol to a handy key so that you can easily mark your mob to be sapped instead of leaving it up to someone else! Although to be fair, a lot of tanks prefer to mark everything themselves, which is their perogative, (control freaks).
So we have our symbol, so the next part of our lesson is which mob to mark for the sap. If you were thinking the big ugly one in the middle with the sword then you would be thinking badly. When we sap we want to pick a mob that is off to the side and safely out of the way. We do this for two simple reasons; we have to actually get to the mob in order to sap them, and if a sap is broken once the rogue is in combat it cannot be reapplied. So you want someone who is safely out of the way. Lets assume that all 3 DPS in the 5 man can crowd control. The sapped mob should be the first one to be taken down after the initial targets have been eliminated, due to the fact that sap cannot be reapplied. But, due to that same fact, if our sapped mob is knocked out of sap during the initial fight, (perhaps due to some individual throwing a lovely AoE attack around like a complete loser), then our mob will be in the fight, while other mobs can be re-sheeped etc and kept in crowd control. So you want to sap a mob who will not devestate your party if suddenly brought into the fight due to negligence. I prefer a caster for one simple reason: usually nobody else but the rogue will notice that a sapped mob is suddenly in the fight. So for at least the first 5-10 seconds or so, you are going to be solely responsible for locking down that mob. Which is why a squishy caster type that spends most of their timne trying to cast a very long fireball spell only to have you kick them at the last moment is the perfect solution. If you have to instead lock down the big burly guy who spins around very fast with a very large axe, then you could be in for a world of pain.
So you’ve chosen your mob. Now how to sap him. You need two abilities: sap and distract. Some rogues think that distract is for losers. They don’t need distract to do their job. You however are not one of those rogues. You are a good rogue who uses distract due to the fact that it can save your party from a bad pull. Lets assume there are 5 mobs standing in front of you with your mob with the Star on the far left. Slide out and to the left, (I really hope that you’re not keyboard turning at this point), and press your button where you have keybound distract, (I use ‘A’). The green target will come up, and as you are moving forward position your distract just behind the big ugly mob standing in the middle with the Skull marked above his head. When you’re within a few meters of your target, hit distract. All of the 5 mobs wil turn around behind them to see what the fuck is going on as you slide in and hit sap. Why do it like this? Because it will be very obvious to your party that the sap has gone off. They will have seen all the mobs turn and then you hit sap. If you just go in and sap the mob, your party members may not even realise that you have done so. Which results in you standing there off to the side wondering when the hell they are going to pull as the sap timer runs out.
I have sap keybound to the scrolling wheel on the middle of my mouse. All I have to do is click down on that and the mob is sapped. I don’t even have to lift a finger to do it and I don’t have to stop moving. This is known as a damn sexy sap. You will want to do this as well.
For other players who do a run with a rogue, please take all this into consideration also. The sap has a timer; so when you see the rogue has sapped, pull immediately. Get as much use out of it as you can. And the very next mob to be taken down must always be the sapped one. If you finish the initial mobs and then go for the little sheep you will be fighting two mobs very soon as the sap is about to wear off.
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