wod_fallrelease_950

WoW is dead…once again.

So Blizzard released the news that the pre-order for Warlords of Draenor would be available in the digital store. Now for me personally, pre-ordering is only worthwhile for two reasons. First for any bonus items I may get for having pre-ordered; like for instance a mount or pet. Second for the opportunity to pre-download the content so I can log-in & play immediately when the new game is fully released. Now the second reason means you could theoretically pre-order a week ahead of launch and be fine. The former however could be trickier, since some times those benefits could be time sensitive; like “Pre-order on or before next Friday and get the extra knife set free!”

Now, here comes the kerfuffle. Legally if you have someone pre-order an item, you must state by what date they will receive the item they have purchased. So Blizzard has to put something in there…December 20, 2014. Yes, DECEMBER 2014 is what they chose. This could have been a totally arbitrary choice..

Developer Dude: Hey, we need to put some kind of date in here before I hit publish. It says LoremIpsumber 20, 2014. That’s not a month.
Senior Executive Dude: Well, damn, if we pick a month the players will hold us to it.
Developer Dude: True, but if we are launching this year, how about we just pick December?
Senior Executive Dude: Good…I like that…run with it!

I still think the game will launch prior to December 2014, but of course everyone knows how the WoW community reacts…so, clearly: WoW is dead. I’ve seen all sorts of commentary regarding how launching the next XPAC 9 months from now is a huge mistake. Players will have been in SoO the final raid tier of Mists of Pandaria far too long. That other games will take up people’s time and many folks will simply un-sub for these 9 months and maybe come back if Warlords is worth it. There is a distinct issue with all of these perspectives…they only apply IF Warlords doesn’t launch until December 20th!!!

Now, a new pre-order screen states the expected game release is for Fall 2014. Is that really much different than saying “on or before December 20, 2014″?

Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor

Not really. Not as far as I am concerned anyway.

But the masses have begun to decry Blizzard’s mistakes, how WoW is dead, the devs have lost their minds, Blizzard is ruined.

We’ve heard this reaction before….right? My memory isn’t off here is it? Oh yeah! That’s right!!! We HAVE heard these responses before…right after EVERY SINGLE ANNOUNCEMENT BLIZZARD HAS MADE. Yup.

So, in the end its fine. Blizzard can be ruined, Wow can be dead. Cats and dogs living together…its anarchy.

I doubt that any of this is true, at least not in the real world anyway. In the make-believe land that these people all live within, I’m sure WoW is dead. Since I have no idea what color the sky is there…I’ll stick with my real world blue sky and the belief that Warlords will drop well before December 2014, and that WoW is definitely not dead.

Q

castlefoundation

Being constructive…its all about the foundation

Long time no post!!! So, its been a while since I posted. I know I know. SLACKER! Actually the dearth of activity from me has been 2 fold.

First, BUSY BUSY! My work life has been atrociously hectic. My home life has been more so. Multiple large scale web projects being pushed at work with overlapping deliverables and time lines coupled with Coaching Competitive Soccer, Basketball clinics, and a kitchen remodel = me feeling like a whirlwind (plus there’s this little project I started with guild mates called Azeroth Pirate Radio…more to come on that).

The second part of this though has been lack of inspiration. As many of you know I usually write from strife and drama. Surviving WoW has always been about dealing with the day to day issues we all face in dealing with one another within the World of Warcraft; remove that from my day to day guild life and you remove the majority of my source of inspiration. While Phalanx of Nod is a great guild filled with some great people it is not immune to stress or drama. I’ve seen g-quits since I’ve gotten there. We’ve had blow ups and accusations of inappropriateness or bad behavior. Yeah, not unlike any other guild I’ve ever seen to be honest.
But, lately there has been some rumbling. Right direction, good enough success, can this be better, should it be better…well, let’s discuss a bit on HOW to deal with this.

So, like any guild it tends to consist of like minded people, usually a core of folks who are in similar life circumstances or perhaps have common goals within the game. That said, as you venture out further from the core group of people the differences become greater and commonalities sparser. At this point folks should remember something very important. The foundation. Its all about the foundation of the guild and players really need to bear this in mind. Also understand that if the foundation of the guild is strong enough, its like a mountain. Good luck trying to move it; but honestly, why try?! If you come to a casual guild don’t try to make it hard core. If you go to a hardcore guild you cannot feign min/maxxing in an attempt to make things more casual. It won’t work. It will only frustrate you and others.

These are common sense sort of things, but really…common sense is rarely common. Yes, I hear it now, “But if things could be better shouldn’t I try to change them to make it so?!” There is some truth and value to this approach. Yes, if the hard core group is getting burnt out, then perhaps some lightheartedness can bring brevity to the situation. Loosen things up for a little bit so that people can become re-energized and re-invigorated and ultimately re-focus on their common goals again. Same can be said for the casual side of things…if things are too lax too loose, it can hinder moving forward. A complete lack of discipline can lead to frustration that you are stuck in a rut; truthfully you may in fact be stuck.

But look carefully at your situation. Analyze and determine if its the guild that is need of changing or if it is you in need of a change? Let’s look at some simple steps to follow:

  1. Discuss. This is not bitching and moaning late in the evening post-raid with a select few folks in mumble or through whispers. Discussion is an act or instance of discussing; consideration or examination by argument, comment, etc. Please note that argument here does not constitute yelling, screaming, name calling, and blame-casting. Its a sharing of thoughts even if not necessarily positive thoughts, but done constructively so as to inform. Essentially, its getting out where everyone stands.
  2. Debate. Yes, you will need to debate various positions. Find validity in each others perspectives. First you found out from what direction each person is coming from. Now you are going to understand why. See their direction as objectively as you are able. Now all of you can do the following…
  3. Find common ground. Decide now where the common place is. This is not about ideals necessarily…its a video game. We are all here to have some fun to various degrees, we may differ though in what we define as fun. Find the common ground. You now know where each other is coming from, you know where your common ground is, now you can…
  4. Explore solutions. This is really important. Complaining you don’t like a situation but having no discernible solution in mind is just not constructive. If you are prepared to bring a complaint to the table, bring a way to fix the problem as you see fit too. And please make it constructive, “If you just left the guild, problem solved” is not a constructive solution.

Remember, whispering behind your guild-mates backs how awful you think things are is not helping you, them, or anyone. If you truly value the guild as a whole and they value you in return then everyone should be open to a healthy discussion and sharing of ideas and opinions that will hopefully lead to stronger bonds and a more rewarding WoW experience for everyone involved.

Though sometimes simply leaving and moving on is the best solution available, do not assume its the only one. And if you choose to make this your ultimate solution, leave gracefully. No back handed compliments, no negative critiques or commentary. Simply leave, quietly. Say thank you for whatever time you spent and experiences you had and move on.

Remember, one bad or ill moment can condemn you in people’s eyes. Regardless of how stellar you may have been prior to the one incident. Sometimes our last impression is what leaves a lasting impression.

Q

Patch time…mmm, yummy buffs!

With today’s patch we have some Hunter specific changes that will boost all 3 specs DPS to hopefully be more in line with the Legendary toting DPS classes numbers (in line: meaning closer gap…but we won’t be overtaking them any time soon). Additionally some of these buffs will specifically help Survival Hunters out…

Here they are for the Hunter class…

  1. Aspect of the Hawk now grants roughly 35% more attack power.
  2. Deterrence now also reduces damage taken by 30% while active.
  3. Black Arrow now ticks every 2 seconds for 20 seconds, as opposed to every 3 seconds for 15 seconds.  The total damage dealt by the ability is unchanged.
  4. Lock and Load no longer benefits Arcane Shot, nor is it consumed by Arcane Shot.

So #2 gives us a nice damage mitigation for those things not already blocked (which feels an awful lot like everything most days). #1 certainly aids all three specs in raw dps. But numbers 3 and 4 are SV specific.

The Black arrow change will increase proc chance on LnL…nice change. The LnL adjustment will allow for more delicious Arcane Shots as well as Explosive Shots. No more accidental Explosive Shot consumptions on the LnL proc by an accidental Arcane Shot cast and allows us to weave Arcanes in with LnL to bleed focus. If you were not already glyphed for Improved Arcane Shots, you definitely should now.

I’m curious to know why there aren’t buffs specific to Beastmastery & Marksmanship. One could argue the LnL changes are merely quality of life changes to fix an unintended affect, and that the proc rate/format for Black Arrow is also a correction to unexpected behavior (using traps vs BA to proc LnL). So truly its all about a flat dps boost for all 3 specs.

Is this what the devs were thinking? Are they trying to specifically shepherd us to SV as the primary Hunter dps spec? Thoughts to ponder.

Full patch notes.

Bags are packed, but what skin shall I put on?

So, my bags are packed, and I’m going Alliance! Hoo-boy. Alliance eh. Haven’t done this Alliance thing in ~3 years!!! WOAH! Where are my manners?!?

Big thanks to Ceraphus of the Sundering and the guild Phalanx of Nod for welcoming me into their band of bacon scarfing merry miscreants!!! I hope I can bring some good raid dps and capability to their team when I am asked to come in and contribute. Otherwise that bribe of 150 lbs of prime Benton’s Bacon (used by David Chang no less), will have gone to complete waste.

So, the real question in all of this is…RACE CHANGE! General consensus (WHU & Arcane Shots for example) of a pure mathematical nature on Hunter dps and its effectiveness by race, or more specifically, racial abilities; leads one to the following breakdown:

  1. Orc (DPS racial king)
  2. Troll
  3. Goblin
  4. Worgen
  5. Night Elf
  6. Blood Elf
  7. Human
  8. Undead
  9. Draenei
  10. Dwarf (Clear winners in good looks)
  11. Tauren

So, let us set aside the clear “truth” that Frostheim spouts: Dwarves are best. I have a Dwarf Hunter at level 70 in the WHU on Icecrown already. One Dwarf Hunter is more than enough for any one player. I refuse to play a Human Hunter…in fact, I refuse to play ANY Human character. One part of playing in a Fantasy MMO such as WoW is to suspend reality to some extent. Playing a Human just doesn’t help me do that (no offense to those that play humans, its definitely a personal preference thing).

Side note: On the Horde side the no-no race is undead. I never play any undead. Why? Because in my book the undead are inherently evil. I like to think the Horde is not evil, merely misunderstood or have a differing albeit opposing perspective to the Alliance. Undead however are EVIL! They are UNDEAD! Somehow I cannot bring myself to think I am nothing more than their next meal. Its like I’m Kramer and they are Newman. I see them licking their chops!!!

So, this leaves the choices of Worgen, Night Elf, and Draenei. Draenei do have an increase to hit which is nice for a Hunter, but wholly unnecessary as with current gear choices we are always well over the hit cap. My current WHU Hunter was originally my Night Elf Hunter from Vanilla/BC…so I spent the first 4 years of WoW as a Night Elf. This leaves Worgen….now, from a pure statistical point, they win. 1% crit is quite huge in many ways. I actually have an alt Hunter who is Worgen and is currently level 74, so I have some experience with them, the back story, the racial quirks *sniff sniff*. Its a comfortable decision for me.

Your choice would be? And…um…yeah…For the..oops. Go Alliance?! Wait, where’s my battlecry?! WTF do I say now on this faction!! Seems to me I had read about this issue before…OH YEAH, I had!

@Vidyala wrote something I bet I will be feeling in a month or so as well. :)

Q

What are you crying about?!

So we all know the story…”Our game developers have decided to alter/adjust game mechanics for the following encounters…” or perhaps it’s “Please see the list below for the following adjustments and tweaks to various class abilities…”

Cue incoming CRYING!

Why are you crying?!?! SERIOUSLY WHY ARE YOU CRYING????

Point one: Its Blizzards product not ours.

Point two: They know a little more than we do about what makes a good game and game play experience (All the data are belong to them).

Point three (and this one is the biggie): If you don’t like it, STOP PLAYING! Get your damn whiney self out of my game and never come back!

Ok, that’s probably a bit harsh, but the sentiment is an honest one. If you don’t like something, affect change to alter the conditions. If you think you are fat, diet and exercise can work wonders. Hate your hair style, hair stylists offer their services by and large in small boutiques in every major city and small town. Whining to Blizzard that they are ruining THEIR game will not accomplish this.

Case in point: Hunter extraordinaire – IamtheLeetestDEEPSevah posts the following (paraphrased for our purposes for discussion) – This is my first expansion for this game and Blizzard has completely screwed everything about hunters up. They have no clue what a Hunter is nor can they properly code the game to those conditions. They have broken this class completely and have just utterly failed. What simpletons its so easy a monkey can do it dammit! They should just hire me because I know what I am doing and would fix it and make it perfect in 3 days.

The problem here is not his opinion. Everyone is entitled to an opinion (arguable that some shouldn’t be, but neither here nor there for this discussion). The issue is 2 fold: 1) the ill-informed nature of the opinion and 2) The wanton arrogance of its display! Take some of the other Hunter bloggers out there like Morynne at Marks365 or Frostheim at the WHU…I do not always agree with them. Its not always a total love fest between our opinions on some of the simplest of things. Mory for instance loves Marksmanship, I hate it. I would not nor ever slam her opinion of that spec…she likes it! She’s good at it! I love that there is a skilled individual out there who has a varying opinion to mine and offers a well informed perspective on the benefits and pitfalls of that play style! It makes us better collectively. This individual above has seemingly no experience prior to the release of Cata as to how broken things had been at one point. The relative abolishment of 2 of our 3 specs to complete obscurity (BC brought us the rise of BM, and Wrath the onslaught of Armor Penetrating Marksmanship). Play those specs or be labeled a NOOB forever more! So he lacks the experience to appreciate how well balanced this class currently is. The phrase in life is “Always more than one way to skin a cat”. In other words, just because someone isn’t doing it YOUR way, doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong (Unless we’re talking sex….then if it isn’t freaky, dirty, and sweaty, well TBH – you’re doing it wrong!). Allowing some variability to accomplish the same ultimate goal is what Blizzard is actually designing around in this MMO…and I for one think they have done a stellar job at accomplishing this. Is it perfect, no; but definitely an A+ for effort! Why blast them so emphatically as idiots?! Will that help in any reasonable manner?

Same can be said for every time they alter a game mechanic on an encounter to make it more accessible for the vast majority of the community to over come. Again, 10 million plus users, it is not going to be about designing for the top 3-5% solely. 80/20 rule folks…design for the 80% of the player base. Always! If you have already conquered said content, then hold your head high you did it prior to its nerf. If you haven’t done it yet, recognize they are making it easier for you to do it. Its akin to the millions of folks complaining about the high cost of healthcare then in turn bitching and moaning when our President actually tries to pass some form of free healthcare! REALLY PEOPLE! Americans. Sheesh.

So, what is the point…*wait, what is the point!?*…OH YEAH! STOP WHINING! Look, Blizz isn’t perfect. I have my complaints about them, and have voiced them here before. But notice Im not just saying, “You guys suck, you’re idiots, OMGURNOOBS!!” No, I state what I feel the issue is, provide some reasonable measures of success (really is a public version of the art museum really that far fetched?!), and then leave it to them to determine if they place enough value to act on it. If they don’t (and my expectation is they won’t), I am not going to be upset about it and rage quit the game over it.

Get over your sense of self importance. Accept that product owners are just that PRODUCT OWNERS. Its theirs. They get to do what they want. Your game play in this virtual world is a privilege not a right. Flame me if you must…though I have always figured the people that SHOULD read this, never do.  :)