Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bad or Smart?

Gevlon's post here has got me thinking so now it's storytime... about some things I used to do that makes me think I used to be bad and me now having second thoughts about said judgement. Thanks Mr. Goblin.

Long long ago in the age known as "Classic" and in the places of "Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Zul'Gurub, and Ahn'Qiraj", I raided on a Mage, a Warrior, and a Priest.

My Mage wasn't the best DPS but I had something special about me: I was frequently the last man standing. Sometimes I passed on items that others thought were upgrades and people asked me why.

I told them point blank my reason:
Me: It doesn't have any stamina on it.
Raid Leader: Why do you need stamina?
Me: Because a dead Mage does no damage and is useless.
Raid Leader: You don't need stamina, you're a Mage. You shouldn't be getting hit if you don't pull agro.
Me: I like having hit points.
Raid Leader: Well ok, suit yourself.

I actually had stamina enchants in classic because a little extra int felt useless as I already had so much of it.

A little raid discipline (don't pull agro), getting out of the stupid, and the extra health kept me alive much longer than the other Mages who died from incidental AOE before a healer could get them, the stupid, or because they pulled agro.

So in BC, during the very early Karazhan era my Priest wore the Primal Mooncloth set, as did our other Priests. I ran into a problem that the set had no stamina.

Some of the first mobs in Kara were ghost ponies known as "Chargers", and they would charge a random person and deal them some damage before returning to the tank. We would CC them and deal with them last, but sometimes CC broke, or even when the tank grabbed them they'd charge, and if they charged our all Primal Mooncloth clad Priest healing core, angels would suddenly appear.

I jammed stamina in the slots of my crafted Primal Mooncloth gear, which prompted lots of questions from people. But when Chargers charged, I didn't die and I kept on healing the tanks and the raid.

People asked me why I was using stamina gems.
I said I wanted to be able to take a hit.
They said I didn't need to take a hit, that if everyone is doing their job right and everything goes right I shouldn't need to take a hit.
I simply said: Things don't always go right, I'd rather be prepared than wipe.

Even through Wrath I wouldn't pick up the starter gear that didn't have Stamina on it and still look upon such pieces with scrutiny and only gem for stamina on my tanky alts.

I've always felt it was a bit of an irrational behavior until now, that I was just simply "bad" in that regard. Looking again, I don't think I was bad, I think I was smart but unable to eloquently explain my thoughts.

What I've always been concerned with is what tanks now call effective health.

From what I understand, effective health is a combination of health and armor which add up to how much damage (physical) you can take without heals before you die. It's constant, not RNG based like avoidance is. Tanks want to be able to take a few swings and not die in situations where things go awry.

For a non-tank, having enough health to survive a tick or two of incidental AOE while a healer is incapacitated or to survive an add from a boss fight taking a two swings (in fights like Thorim, Mimiron, Lady Deathwhisper) may mean the difference between success and a wipe.

Stamina is important for every class, it usually comes on your gear but sometimes our inner min-maxers get tempted gear that skips out on the Stamina, this is especially true for some of the Wrath crafted gear. For someone starting out, a little more stamina may mean the difference between staying up the entire Toravon fight in a VOA pug. For a young healer this may mean the difference between a wipe and success.

Min-maxing is great, but remember that a character who is dead is not doing their job.

If you'd like to comment on this post, please head on over to http://www.altoholicanonymous.com and post on the wordpress version, feel free to update your links, too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Problem was the tank...

Dear Readers,

Look closely at the following screenshot. It features Myself on my Mage, Gear Score: Zero on her alt Priest, and The Tank on his Rogue getting an achievement for clearing the escape from the Lich King in HoR under 6 minutes.

There's a story to tell here about a Tankadin of the naughty sister of faith variety whom, before we even began, complained about GS0's GearScore while still wearing sub-par gear herself.

Our initial conversation went a little something like this:
We zoned into our random - H-HoR and........
01:55:56 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: not with these heals
01:56:04 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: sry folks
01:56:07 [GS0]: Hey.
01:56:09 [GS0]: Stop.
01:56:12 [GS0]: I bet I can do it.
01:56:12 [Altoholic-Ivi]: Oh mang.
01:56:15 [Altoholic-Ivi]: Gearscore lol.
01:56:24 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: damn right
01:56:26 [GS0]: Your gear + my skill = Win.
01:56:29 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You can put gear on a bad.
01:56:32 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You'll still have a bad.
01:56:35 [GS0]: Look up Alp**** of twisting nether. My main. I can do this.
01:56:37 [Altoholic-Ivi]: GS0's healed totc25 in his gear.
01:56:50 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: my main is a priest and I knew when I was able to do this place
01:56:57 [TheTank-Dim]: She only has 46k buffed
01:57:00 [Altoholic-Ivi]: Bring the player not the gear.
01:57:02 [GS0]: I randomed into this - it says I'm good enough.
01:57:08 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: okie dokey
01:57:11 [Altoholic-Ivi]: GS0's main is like...
01:57:13 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: I have faith in you
01:57:16 [Altoholic-Ivi]: GotUR.
01:57:24 [Altoholic-Ivi]: When it was relevant.

We tore through the first part of the encounter like it was a joke. We kept pulling agro off the Failtankadin, the rogue would lose agro right after he finished his ToT over and over again.

During the second part of the encounter adds went wild and caused a wipe, again, the tank wasn't holding very good agro, focusing only on the footmen and not on anything else. At the beginning of the second boss the warlock pulled agro and denied (while the Paladin denied losing agro).

Then we got to the escort phase and wiped... and wiped and wiped. GS0 was getting healing agro, I was getting AOE agro when waiting for the tank to get Agro, TT was getting agro like wild, and Failtankadin was not doing very basic things that tanks do.

You see, long ago in a land far away, in the mystical land of Molten Core there were little doggies called "Corehounds" which breathed fire and did other not-cool things. To prevent the nasty doggies from hurting the raid, tanks were smart and turned the doggies away from the raid.

Failtankadin complained about us not attacking the right target and said that's why we were getting agro. Nevermind GS0 was getting healing agro doing her job and mobs just weren't being picked up before trying to eat her face. Failtankadin wasn't using Holy Wrath, evar, and was failing to turn the abominations away, making it even harder for her to heal.

Yes, we've learned from Gevlon and the guild Undergeared-EU that we can do these instances in blues, but it does require people play intelligently and this Failadin wasn't... at all.

I suggested that Failtankadin binds skull to her Y key like I do so she may easily mark the kill target for everyone and even tried to walk her through it. GS0 suggested Holy Wrath to which they argued but all three of us pointed out that we have Paladins of our own and know what we're talking about. After eating a few more abomination spews I suggested turning them around. Oh boy. GS0 got out the "OMG THINGS ARE HITTING ME!!!11" macro.

02:38:20 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You should turn around the fatties
02:38:25 [PoorPugWarlock-Durotan]: docs first?
02:38:31 [Altoholic-Ivi]: So they don't spew shit on the group.
02:38:34 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: you should stfu
02:39:01 [Altoholic-Ivi]: My main's a healer. Having to heal through extra shit is not fun.
02:40:07 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: you should go back to your main
02:40:15 [Altoholic-Ivi]: I ain't talking to pick on you. I'm making suggestions as a player who's an experienced tank on paladin, dk, warrior, and an experienced healer on all 4 healing classes and all 5 specs.

At this point we're on the last pull of the escort and we get a ton of mobs, several abominations, which don't get turned and spew all over us and wipe the group.

02:40:31 [GS0]: AGGRO ON HEALER!
02:40:57 [GS0]: AGGRO ON HEALER!
02:41:48 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: YOU ALL HAVE AGGRO YOU FUCKING IDIOTS
02:41:54 [GS0]: Lr2Tank
02:41:56 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You... spewed shit on us.
02:42:05 [Altoholic-Ivi]: I asked you to turn the fatties around for a reason.
02:42:08 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: LOOK AT YOUR WEAK ASS DPS
02:42:09 [TheTank-Dim]: i didnt have agro and died
02:42:13 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: YOUR WEAK ASS HEALS
02:42:15 [Altoholic-Ivi]: We can't do more DPS.
02:42:32 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: i CAN HEAL THIS EATING
02:42:33 [GS0]: Stop being bad, bro.

The Failtankadin blamed the DPS, blamed the heals, blamed everyone but herself... and raged.
At this point we vote-kicked the tank and got a new one. Now it takes three to vote-kick. I did not vote because I was busy typing in response to the nerd rage, meaning the poor Warlock who'd died repeatedly to the Failtankadin's lack of agro voted to kick.

We continued and did decently until our new tank... fell off the cliff in an epic oops causing the most hysterical wipe ever (except the time in Molten Core when the orange cat from a below post thought the ceiling fan would be a great place to sit).

In the end we got serious and not only did we get through the fight just fine but we did it in less than six minutes. We must have some really crappy DPS and some really crappy heals. All it took was the new tank actually picking up the adds and turning the abominations away from the party.

I think the Stormraging Failtankadin was concerned about GearScore because their own gear and experience were sub-par and they wanted to be carried. As an afterthought, I question if the Failtankadin even had Righteous Fury up.

The bottom line was the GearScore Nazi was the problem.

And thus concludes my tale of once again setting sail for win on the failboat of adventure.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earthday Recycled Post: The Gearscore Fallacy

For Earthday I'm revisiting and recycling an old blog post, it's one I still feel is somewhat relevant and needs to be said over and over and over again: Bring the player not the gear.

Since the original post (found here) I've also done some sillyness such as...
Running heroics in a mishmash of Judgement (Paladin T2) and normal gear with an average ilevel of 200 (naxx10 level gear) for the lulz.
Healing TotC25 while still wearing blues on my Priest. (Not yet published because I fail.)
DPSing TotC10 and 25 on my Mage for which WOW its self said my gear wasn't good enough for.


One of my guildlings put together an ICC25 just for the sake of killing stuff last week. We, unfortunately, had a gearscore whore who spammed his recount gearscore meter to point out he was in the top 10.

This player spoke up on vent in awe at the number of female voices speaking on vent, saying his previous server didn't have many girls and he was shocked. I monotoned at him, "I'm really a guy, I just have a hormone disorder."

The guy made a lot of noise in vent about how awesome he was and was trying to tell me (who had a greater gearscore than him) how to properly utilize him. He carried on, this resto shaman, explaining the mechanics of a shaman healing. My dear readers, you can see the bar on the lefthand side of this blog. You see that dark blue 80? That's my resto shaman. I informed him that I had a resto shaman and that he should shut up, that he was jumping up and down on my very last nerve.

Of the seven healers, I scored dead last on the meter, with a 77% activity time. My reason? I disconnected for a good minute of combat. The tanks didn't die so we paladins did our jobs. The shaman? He was 5th below people who had inferior gear scores to him.

Why did these players beat him? Skill > Gear.

I publicly denounced gearscore in the raid, I'll share what I think straight up after this mini-story:

Right before TotC came out, a guild on my server got crit by the summer boss and called it quits. In the beginning they were a guild competing on a worldwide scale, top 100 US guild, priding its self in having some of the strongest DPS around.

Recently they came back to the game, back to our server and our faction.
Their guild leader, another holy paladin who's amazingly good, is a friend of mine and last night he came to me and said, "Dude. Fix your gems. Stop being bad. Use this and this instead of what you're doing now." I did so, knowing that he's not someone who's saying anything to be mean spirited.

From there, we got to chattering and ran a daily heroic with our tank retting, me tanking, and the him healing. He's still in 226ish gear with a few crafted and purchased items, he's been away from the game for about 5 months. He asks us, "What is this 'gearscore' thing everyone keeps talking about?"

We explained that it's an addon people use that somehow calculates the quality of people's gear and gives them a numerical score. It has no actual correlation to gameplay skills, especially when people can farm triumph badges so easily.

He'd taken a group of people into TotGC25 for the first time and got Anub to 1%. Some of his raiders in 226 Uld gear outdps people in full 245s. Why is this? Skill.

Why can I heal timed HCoS runs in a mix of modern and Judgement while my tank pushes 4k dps while in a mix of his ret gear and Judgement? Gear's a fallacy.

I've said it over and over and over again: Putting gear on a bad player is like putting lipstick on a pig. No amount of gear will help a player who refuses to learn what buttons to push or move out of the fire. Likewise, a pig will always be a pig even if it's wearing lipstick.

Gearscore you say?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What did you say about my Gearscore?

After several failed attempts to get into a TotC25 run on my Mage I finally managed to get into one. Once I got an invite I sat in the raid for quite a while before it actually happened but I'm an amazingly patient Altoholic and browsed the auction house and sat around reading blogs and doodling and wishing I'd get unlazy enough to dig up the tablet that the feline in the photo in my previous entry ate the cable of so I could repair it and digitally doodle.

A player in raid spoke up, saying someone wasn't well geared enough for the instance and that person was removed. Then, an Unguilded Mage went on to target me and try to get me kicked... well as well as he could while writing like a lobotomized brat pack reject would speak if it had a hole through its tongue.

This is the conversation:
UnguildedMage: neither is ivia no ofence
Altoholic (Ivi): This is my 8th toon.
Altoholic (Ivi): I know the fights and how to avoid the stupid.
Altoholic (Ivi): I can link you the achievement on my main if you have any questions.
Someshaman: dont fail
Somepriest: Mage dps is easymode anyway :p
UnguildedMage: i dont care as long as loot is fair that you are not aloud to roll on everything cause you prolly would like to lol
Altoholic (Ivi): Nah.
Altoholic (Ivi): My gear's decent, the raid browser says I'm good for TotC25. :)

So we get into the instance and I inspect this mage. He's wearing iLevel 232 gear with a sprinkle of Conquest badge 226 gear. Like me, he was full of welfare epics. Sure, I had four blues, but they were minor pieces.

I did observe a Holy Paladin in mostly blues with no enchants in the raid, which thankfully managed to become a bigger focus of attention than my "undergeared" Mage. I opted to trade Focus Magic with a Mage who was not the douchemage.

So we did the Beasts and I did ok. I got out of the fire and attacked the right thing (I might have done low due to switching to adds instead of staying on the boss, I was one of the only DPS who switched to kill the adds), I used blink to get out of the obnoxious yeti's iceblocks and continued to lay on the deeps, and in the end the bosses died and I didn't.

I decided to roll on loot just to piss off the douchemage. For shits and giggles I rolled on a Trophy of the Crusade... and rolled a 99. I'm sure douchemage was raging that my welfared out ass won it instead of his far more worthy welfared out ass.

We got to Lord J and the fight began. Lord J got his Nether Power buff and I hesitated a moment before starting to spellsteal, giving time for the other Mages to get some too. None of the other Mages were spellstealing, they were too caught up on killing the boss and doing high deeps. With ten stacks of netherpower plus Arcane Power plus Mirror Image my DPS was pretty wild.

Unfortunately our healers were sub-par when it came to healing awareness and they weren't healing people with Incinerate Flesh and the burning folks were exploding and damaging the raid. Lucky for me, I've got some pretty keen situational awareness and understanding of what Incinerate Flesh does and simply made it a point to get far far away from people who got Incinerate Flesh. As a result, while most of the DPS died I was one of the few still standing when the boss died while sustaining ridiculous DPS.

My experience and my knowledge of the fight shined through despite my gear while others with higher gearscore but less knowledge of the fight from multiple perspectives were screwed by their inexperience. Bring the player not the gear.

So I send a tell to Unguilded Mage.
Altoholic (Ivi): So how am I doing?
UnguildedMage: pretty darn good

Open mouth, insert foot. Having earned some peer respect despite my gearscore, we talked about playing Mages and how it's changed since classic. Turns out the Mage is the retired main of a now Prot Paladin. I commented on the derpyness of the master looter who gave a spirit cloak from the first boss to the Paladin in blues.

At about that time the master looter looted Solace of the Fallen to his friend without offering to roll for the item. It was not announced during the raid (before we started) or at invite time that the item was reserved. There were a lot of upset people, especially healers, and the raid fell apart.

Someday I'll finish TotC25 and get the happy patterns.

Tonight we hit ICC10. We had four healers and two hunters show up. For the first time in a long time I had the opprotunity to switch to DPS, but there were already two others of the class my main DPS toon is: Hunter. The result? Thanks to the awesome that is the AA guild, Mr. Suckmage now has several pieces of iLevel251 gear, is hitcapped without me having to gem for hit (and without cloak), and can boggle people's minds by having some ICC achievements while still wearing an iLevel187 blue cloak.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair

Since the WOW forums got class roles forums, I've been occasionally following threads there. The threads are often rife with complaints and crying about other classes being overpowered and the class of the complainer being underpowered or unviable.

While some players complain because they fear for their raid spots, or they're worried what top guilds use. Some have simply have convinced themselves that the grass is always greener on the other side, this could be partially attributed to a general lack of understanding how other classes work an obsession with the numbers on meters or parses without understanding exactly what someone's looking at.

For example: An untrained eye may see a Holy Paladin topping the meter and having amazing throughput and not factor in the meter padding that is Judgement of Light and Glyph of Holy Light. Someone with a firm grip on the class could tell you that the throughput everyone complains about isn't as big as folks say it is.

Healing meters can show someone doing well, but if they aren't doing the right thing at the right time a wipe can still happen and that means that the person, despite their high placement on the precious meters, failed.

This Alotholic has had the luxury of being able to play on and raid on all four healing classes and all five healing specs. This gives me a perspective that others might not have developed due to their sitting in one or two camps instead of looking at a problem from all camps.

These are some examples of what folks are saying about their classes. I'm likely missing some complaints, I may have actually blown them off as being senseless QQ.
  • Discipline Priests feel that they can't heal as much as Holy Paladins and aren't as viable as Holy Paladins for tank healing.
  • Holy Paladins are slightly annoyed by having very little, if any, mobile heals. They're also annoyed at not having a real group heal, that our solution is a crappy nerfed glyph.
  • Resto Druids feel like weak tank healers, they supposedly have limited "oh sh.." buttons, and in situations where there are too many other people with direct healing aoe spells (like a lot of holy priests) they may show as ineffective on meters due to others sniping heals from their hotted targets.
  • Holy Priests feel their throughput isn't as good as a Resto Druid's. They also claim to have mana problems.
  • Resto Shamans aren't terribly mobile in comparison to Holy Priests and Resto Druids. They don't have any defensive cooldowns.
There's also the complaint that X world ranking guild doesn't use Y healing class therefore that class is unviable.

I think a lot of this attitude seems to stem from meters and the concept that healing is a competition. This is not true at all. Healing is teamwork. It's not us vs them, it's all of us supplementing and complimenting each others' strengths and weaknesses to be a well oiled machine.

My viewpoint in general regarding healer QQ is: The grass is not always greener on the other side. Every healing class has good tools and a good player can utilize said class to be amazing regardless of perceived or actual pitfalls.

When I'm healing and there's a wipe that I feel is on me, I sit back and evaluate what happened.

It's rare that I can actually blame a wipe on the shortcomings of a class. The only time I could do this while feeling truthful is when I get stuck with my co-healer (or co-healers) dying and I get stuck solo healing a raid on my Paladin. (Example: Solo-healing Mimiron with a group that's learning the fight.)

Sometimes these wipes come from not having enough gear (like taking a druid barely geared enough for TotC10 into ICC10), but I try to manage my regen cooldowns, pop potions, and trust my fellow healers to heal while I'm regenning.

Usually, I can look back on wipes in my state of healing hyperawareness and say, "If only I would have done this, we wouldn't have wiped." I didn't use a cooldown, didn't throw a clutch heal, didn't maneuver, predict, or react fast enough to save the raid. I make a mental note of it and try to do better next time.

Reiterating: I failed not because of class, and probably not because of gear, but because I'm a human and humans are flawed. My failure, my problem is simply one that exists between keyboard and chair. To correct this failure, I simply need more experience, more practice, and more research.

Before you accuse your class of having problems, perhaps you should take a look at yourself. (Which is, incidentally a very catchy song.) Figure out your own weaknesses and get better.

If you think winning at the healing meter matters then you should probably go back to being DPS.

If you're so unhappy playing what you're playing after trying to get better then you should reroll. Just don't be surprised when you find out the grass isn't actually greener on the other side.

If you're just fine and having fun chasing bars, killing bosses and looting epics, I salute you.
Here. Have a kitten.

A little late... And then there were eight.

And not long after my Priest hits 80 and I've leveled my Mage, he hit 80 on April 10th. The Mage and Priest were neck in neck, which is weird because they were on the same account.

I immediately put on my new (ungemmed) crafted epics, finished the normal I was in, changed specs from my trusty Frostfire to the Arcane spec. Glyphed, gemmed up for hit until I'm capped, figured out my rotation, set up my power auras accordingly then queued up for my first heroic.

My first 80 heroic was Oculus.
My first time clearing Oculus and I get the blue drake... on a toon that doesn't have epic flying instead of on my main who likes to collect all flavors of mounts.

In the time that followed I ran TotC10 and Onyxia10 without issue. The little Mage got the achievement "Not one but two Jormungars". I tried to get into a TotC25 at 1am but was told my gear was pretty bad and I wasn't geared enough. I did note that I knew the fights and I'd cleared TotC10 a little earlier.

I figured, it's 1am, you really can't be that picky. Sure enough, the raid leader came back to me and said if I could pull 4k then I'd be ok. My problem is I don't run meters so I politely declined the invite and said "I don't run meters and my combat log is disabled to improve my computer's performance so I can't guarantee I can do that much". I don't know how hard my Mage hits, and honestly, having a warm body in a spot that would otherwise remain empty wouldn't hurt, at least not if the person running in that spot knows the fights and how to stay out of the stupid.

Bring the player not the gear. This week I'll try to weasel my way into the raid.

My impression of Arcane Mage thus far is: Powerful but boring as hell.

Here are my Power Auras:

Missile Barrage:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu1; g:nu0.4; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Ability_Mage_MissileBarrage; size:nu1.1899999380112; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.56862745098039; y:nu-30; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu1; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:nu0; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; buffname:stMissile Barrage; InactiveDueToState:botrue; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; spec2:botrue; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu6; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; sound:nu0; finish:nu1

Tell me when I have 4x Arcane Blast debuffs:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu1; g:nu0.42745098039216; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Arcane_Blast; size:nu1.75; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.4156862745098; y:nu-31; x:nu5; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu2; stacks:nu4; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu2; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:nu0; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; buffname:stArcane Blast; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; spec2:botrue; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu7; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; sound:nu0; finish:nu1

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My god, it's full of stars!

Don't Fear the Premium Items

In the winter, Blizzard released two vanity pet items in game that are purchasable by real cash. In the months that followed it created a few more. And then, today, Ghostcrawler finally came through and delivered the pony he promised me.

Of course, there are players on the game that are probably flipping out right now about the availability of such items. To them, and anyone raising a brow I just want to say: Don't panic.

Selling in game items for real money is not new. Other game development companies have been doing this for many many years with reasonable success. In many cases, these services provide access to their games for free but support themselves entirely with these microtransactions and impulse buys and in some cases they do let people get ahead in those games.

Blizzard is cool in that the items it is selling give no real major advantage in the game. The items they are selling are simply cute little fun vanity items. People could be naughty or take risks and trade the code entered on the battlenet redemption page for in game gold, however, this is risky business and I can't find a clear notation as to if it's prohibited or not (it's probably not prohibited but 'do at your own risk, we can't enforce these trades'). The number of people who do this is going to be slim and it's not going to harm the game economy like people buying gold and hacking would.

If a reputable person in a reputable guild wants to trade a unicorn for the gold for epic flying on their alt with another reputable person in a reputable guild I'm willing to bet Blizzard doesn't care.

Some players enjoy cool cute little extras and won't think much of paying a little money for it. If someone decides to get a pony on WOW instead of ordering pizza (the WOW item will probably be enjoyed more in the long run), that's their prerogative. It's not hurting anyone, and even if you don't want what's being offered, if these sales are successful (it looks like they are) more will come and that cool useless thing you want might just pop up.

I definitely prefer this idea over the hoping you get something in the TCG or buying TCG cards off of ebay.

Don't fear the microtransactions and don't QQ. Your tears won't change anything. These things here to stay, they aren't hurting anything, they're completely optional, and lots of people actually enjoy them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trees? In my Icecrown? It's more likely than you think.

So it was Tuesday. One of my raiders is MIA, another whom will be henceforth called "That Tree" (our comic relief) is without net due to sudden emergency moving through no fault of his own. It certainly felt like things weren't going to go well.

Regardless, I put on my best smile and my raid leader wig, hopped onto the game and started making things happen. Our weekly was Noth. I quickly had a 10 man group filled out and quickly polled if we should do the weekly in 25 man. The decision was made for and I called out for 2 healers and "a whole lot of DPS". Wound up with about 23 people in total, ran in, and busted Noth's kneecaps all quick like then put together an ICC10.

One of our long-time members who rarely gets to run with us wanted to go along. Said player's been proven to do extremely high DPS and is regarded as being very good with very fast reaction times. Our DPS warrior offered to sit out for him, however, what instead wound up happening was a number of us hopped on alts and mixed it up.

We grabbed one of our regular guests, a shadow Priest, to fill in for the MIA laserturkey.
The Tank got on his Rogue.
The DPS Warrior got on his fresh 80 resto Shaman (who honestly has hit tons of heroics and is probably ready).
The Mage got on his DPS Warrior.
The Hunter got on his DPS DK.
The Altoholic set the fabulous Zan aside and asked which healer to bring. The raiders chose: My Druid.
That (Disc) Priest got to be the lone tank healer instead of the offtank healer raid bubbler hybrid of awesome.

Now my Druid, according to wowheroes is not ready for ICC10. The Druid is still wearing spatterings of crafted iLevel200 gear with a PVP resto spec. I was pretty unsure about playing the Druid but if it was a Druid they wanted then a Druid they would have.

I'm vehemently against silliness like Gearscore and believe in "Bring the player not the gear". If Gevlon could clear Ulduar10 in blues, my slightly undergeared Druid could be a healer in ICC10. Right? Right?

Our final team looked like this:
DK Tank
Disc Priest
Resto Shaman
Resto Druid

As we began to pull, I joked that I was filling in for That Tree and That Priest was filling in for me. Next thing you know, half of the raiders were trying to 'roleplay' others. Myself and The Tank took on the almost offensive obscene tactless comic relief, though slightly toned down. At points during the raid I simply said, "Insert totally uncalled for -ist joke here."

The change of pace was fun and much needed.

We had a few pitfalls, but for the most part I did better than I thought I would at Resto Druiding. I spent a good deal of time proactively hotting people before things such as "BOOOOONE STOOOOORM!" This came in really handy on the two dog mini-bosses in the plague wing, putting up a wild growth right before decimate on Stinky assured that people got some heals before they got hit with the obnoxious green damage aura.

We only had two ranged DPS. This proved to be slightly problematic when it came to Saurfang. Luckily I found that I could sit back and let the Shaman and the Disc Priest heal while I assisted the two lone ranged DPS with the beasts. I used a combination of root spam and shifting into bear and taunting the beasts away from the DPS helped prevent that orc from gaining too much blood power.

The Hunter, who was infamous for his one-man Stormwind raids and being a melee Hunter in Classic and BC, who rarely gets to run with us really amazed me as I watched him kite the blood beasts. He pulled one into a frost trap, turned his back to it, then disengaged past it with deterrence up so it wouldn't hit him as he went. Altoholic is impressed, he's no Huntard.

In the end my Druid got Boned, Made a Mess, got a new staff, the friendly rep ring, and I realized I was stupid and had iLevel232 gear sitting in my bags waiting to be enchanted and used. According to wowheroes now, said Druid is ready for ICC10. I am still feeling very uncomfortable playing the Druid in ICC10, because while the Druid may be ready, I don't feel practiced enough on the toon to be ready. I learn very quickly and it probably won't be long before I can rock the Druid like I rock the Paladin and the Priest.

One of my goals for this week is to finish getting the Druid all her Triumph badge gear this week along side getting my Mage to the point where I can weasel my way into a TotC25 pug for a chance at delicious patterns, badges, and achievements. My other goal is to practice with the Druid and the Mage to the point where I feel really confident in playing them.

Here's That Priest penance pewpewing while my Druid shows off her shiny new staff... and her wispcloak. Somewhere someone is crying and it's all my fault.