Pulling the plug once and for all

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve done what I wanted to do in this game. Battlemaster, check. Conqueror, check. Even made it over 13000 achievement points. Reacquired my old vanilla pvp title (and even went a notch above it) via RBGs.

What straw broke this camel’s back? I logged on last night, saw my nice 2500 point ceiling for conquest points, thought to myself “wonder who’s on to do some RBGs?”, started browsing friend list and did some /who…nothing. Started toying with the idea of joining a raid guild…browsed a list of guilds only to find none that would raid at the time slot I would prefer. I’m done spending extra money just to play, so I’m not paying to server transfer.

About 90% of my friend’s list, Real ID and all, no longer log on. One friend just told me last week he was letting his account expire. I happened to check mine, and it runs out Friday, so I jumped on the opportunity to stop it from renewing. There’s a lot of upcoming stuff that’s going to take away from playing wow, namely new games such as Skyrim, Battlefield 3, The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2. In all seriousness, between TOR and GW2, I see wow losing a significant chunk of player base if there aren’t some major changes.

Some things that could be done:

One pvp currency, one pve: Get rid of this stupid Valor/Conquest point crap that’s changed EVERY SINGLE PATCH since implementation. Such instability should be indicative that there’s a problem. Basically, Justice Points would get someone entry level raid gear, so that they could get their super nice tier and such from raiding. Not having tier gear on a point vendor is a good step forward. Honor points would get you your pvp set, which would closely match the top pve gear in terms of item level. This levels the playing field for RBGs and arena (in terms of gear) and also makes it significantly easier for those of us who would like to play alts to get them geared for pvp. The whole “you have to do x amount of RBGs/arena/heroics to get your points for the week” nonsense is asinine.

Achievements account-wide: Should’ve been this way when implemented. The way it is now tends to punish the alt freaks such as yours truly and promote OCD. Something such as Battlemaster is an ideal candidate for an account-wide achievement; were it so, I would’ve had that achievement a year ago, but I have it nonetheless.

Strengthen server communities: This can be attacked from two fronts. First, get rid of all this LFD/LFR crap. It has driven the wow community down into the toilet. But oh noes, whatever shall we do to get groups for stuff? There’s like no one on our server! Easy…server merges. Do we really need nearly 250 servers for the US? IIRC over half of them don’t even top 5k max level population…then you have a couple dozen super servers with around 30k. Bring the community together, ffs, and not in some random way aka LFD/LFR. Hell, here’s a crazy thought: Make people have to travel to the dungeons they want to run. Remember the last time you had to do that? Other than the start of Cata (when you had to find the dungeon entrance in the world to use it), I don’t.

Stop promoting fail play: AKA stop nerfing the raids. Even though I stopped raiding as of 4.2, I’m just scratching my head over how they’re going about nerfing the content even when most guilds are steadily progressing through it at a reasonable pace. Totalbiscuit sums it up nicely in his “why I quit WoW” podcast or whatever back in May:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TotalHalibut?blend=1&ob=5#p/c/785DC64F790A5CA5/0/ndcysuEIqus

Funny how up in arms TB is over the T11 nerf, which if you ask me isn’t near as bad as the nerf to Firelands WHILE THE CONTENT IS STILL CURRENT. Nothing was nerfed in BC from BT’s introduction until 3.0 (when none of it really mattered). Not much was nerfed in Wrath; ICC didn’t have to be due to the welfare buff they gave everyone.

Heroic mode raids are stupid: Hey let’s give this boss like 2-3 new abilities…and increase it’s damage done and health. Zzz…really? I’d rather there be a dozen-ish unique encounters. T11 wouldn’t have been so bad if the actual zones themselves weren’t so drab. Bastion? Just a giant hallway with a few open rooms for the boss encounters; basically a raid version of Shattered Halls. BWD was a hallway with a circle attached to it that had some rooms offshooting from it. Throne…who cared about throne, heh. Here, have some RNG epics because we were too lazy to come up with a couple of clever names.

Get rid of “chores”: Nothing has become more depressing than daily quests. Whoever came up with the concept of the Molten Front should be fired. Tol Barad wasn’t even this bad, even though I don’t care much for the BoP tokens (should be BoA) and rep requirement on the items. They did dailies right with Isle of Quel’Danas; everything since then has been a pain in the neck (don’t get me started on the Argent Tournament…the ultimate OCD nightmare). The Valor/Conquest point system is another chore…just get rid of that crap. It’s tiresome to have to be on to do redundant content just to keep current.

Lastly, I suspect there will be a new lead developer come expansion 4. Don’t know when or how it will go down, nor do I have any inside info whatsoever; it’s simply a hunch.

My QQ comes to an end now. It was a nice near 7 year run. I had a lot of fun with this game, and a lot of fond memories from it, but now I move on.

TL;DR Cata sucks, fire Turdcrawler, hire me to fix your game, gg.

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More on the “failure” of Cataclysm

August 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Picking up where I left off yesterday…

Rep grinds: A fixture of WoW since the very beginning. Some aren’t too bad, such as the Tol Barad red, or Alterac Valley rep. Others are a nightmare (see the Insane title). Cata introduced factions that you would gain rep for via questing; this isn’t too bad…at least the first time you quest through the zones. One rep in particular really irks me, though: Therazane. I will preface with the fact that I have not quested through Deepholm fully in a while, but to have to do 90% of the quests in that zone just to unlock the rep grind to obtain PVE shoulder enchants is asinine. At first, I thought the cost of 80 Tol Barad tokens or 2000 honor was crazy for the PVP shoulder enchants…those are cake to obtain compared to their PVE counterparts (of course, leveling inscription solves this issue altogether).

At this point each faction has nearly 60 possible reputations they could level over the course of WoW’s lifespan…I, for one, would like to see this mechanic of the game put to rest after Cataclysm. I don’t see that happening, though, since it makes for such an excellent time sink, and if there’s one thing you want to do, it’s put something out there to keep folks strung along and paying that $15 per month to keep playing.

Of course, I could simply say to hell with all the rep grinds, which I’ve doing with any alts I ever level. I will not be changing mains, ever, even if the shaman class gets beaten over the head with the nerf bat like a red headed stepchild. The class that can do everything except tank (which I’ve never really cared to do anyhow) has provided me with countless opportunities throughout my WoW career, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Engineering: What happened here? I can safely say I feel like a complete fool for having spent nearly 20k gold in early Cata to pound out my Engineering to 525, only to find that I’ve been wishing I had kept Leatherworking in it’s place and dropped Eng for Alchemy instead. Ok, I will say that Engineering was by far and away THE best profession to have in Wrath; the tinkers were absurdly powerful (Hello, rocket boots), and one could make gobs of gold during T10 by obtaining the arrow/bullet pattern from the Ashen Verdict (Yeah, back in my day, hunters had to keep quivers/ammo pouches, and their ranged weapons consumed ammo). Now the rocket boots have a ~20% chance to basically kill you (a DoT that inflicts 80% of your health in damage over 12-15 seconds, I forget which exactly), the on use shield effect is on a fairly long cd (5 mins), the tazik shocker has double the cd of it’s predecessor (and hits for squat in comparison)…to me, it sucks now. I would’ve leveled enchanting in it’s place, but I found that all the old mats I had mailed to one of my alts are now gone due to me being off the game for over a month and the mail was “returned” to an alt I deleted.

The healing “revamp”: I really believe this revamp of how healing works has put a damper on things. The healing classes are all becoming more and more homogenized, and it seems for the worst thus far. One thing has definitely been accomplished: Efficiency matters, because if you spam any heal other than the “middle” heal, you’ll be OOM in a hurry. I kinda miss each healer having their own niche, but with such niches would come guilds “requiring” such healers.

So much rambling, so little time…it’s lunch time here, so adios for now!

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Cataclysm: The “Failure” thus far

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

So it’s now known that 4.3 will be the last major content patch of Cataclysm, with the 4.4 that follows to be a bridge patch for the next expansion, be it Mists of Pandaria or whatever.

Perhaps it’s just me, but the most interesting addition coming in 4.3 isn’t the final raid, nor any of the new 5 mans, but rather transmogrification and void storage. Finally, I can free up my bank of the crazy amounts of sets I’ve held onto all these years! I’ve a full set of T1 and T2, the AQ 2.5 set, bits of T5 and T6, full T10 (some ilvl 264, some 277) and my current T11 (well, it’s in my bags rather than my bank but you get the point). On top of that, I’m looking forward to utilizing the graphics of the items I’ve collected over the years.

But many people are wondering…what went wrong? Why have there been so many people leaving WoW? From my own experience, the last guild I raided with consistently pretty much fell apart starting early this year, nearing the end of normal mode T11 progression. The tier itself felt very uninspired; BWD, 2 halls, connected to a circular “room” with 3 offshoot rooms. Bastion was basically a giant purple Shattered Halls. Throne of the Four Winds was all of 5 platforms. Yee haw….zzzz….oh, and once you finished normal modes, have fun coming back for heroic modes in the same instances!

I tend to think that with already having done the normal to heroic progression in similar manners with both T9 and T10 in WoTLK, people have simply tired of that mechanic. “Hey guys, come back to the instance so you can do the same bosses again, only with an additional twist or two…oh and they hit harder and have more health, of course”. I say to hell with the whole normal/heroic split and have it be all or nothing, but that would lead to endless amounts of tears from both ends of the spectrum: The hardcore PVE guilds, who would claim the game’s too easy and is catering to scrubs/bads/casuals/insertrandomderogatoryphrasehere, while at the other end, you’d have complaints of it being too hard. I suppose the normal/heroic deal is the best way to please both crowds.

Another issue with Cata: What to do when you’re not raiding? Well, you can work on…archaeology…hah! I can safely say that once I got all the achievements in the Archaeology tab, I have never touched a single dig since. Whoever designed arch in WoW had the biggest hard on for RNG on top of RNG that can possibly be imagined, and should be slapped in the face (preferrably with a tire iron). Ok, so scratch that…but you can turn to daily quests, a tried and true way of keeping people coming back. Well, ok…Tol Barad isn’t too bad as an daily hub; you can get some vanity items and/or gear from there using the tokens. On top of that, you’re making some extra cash, plus working through yet another rep (more on that later). The Molten Front? As I have told my friends, had they not tied a good dozen or so achievements to it, I wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole. Gating for daily quests…really? There’s zero epic feel to doing the same exact quests for a good month and change, so I don’t see any purpose in gating them the way they did…oh, I know, it’s to keep people playing, the old “carrot on a stick”, with the stick in this case being a flaming hippogryph, aka a recolored model of a mount I’ve had for, oh, 4 years now. I’m roughly a week and a half away from Flamebreaker, and once I ding that achievement, you won’t ever see me out there doing those dailies again. Here I thought they couldn’t make a daily hub worse for us OCD folks than the Argent Tournament (which I never got the Sunreaver flying mount and tabard…and I can’t be asked to bother).

Soooo….what else is there to do, if you don’t want to dabble in dailies or Archaeology? Well…not much. Most of us are sitting in queues, be they for random dungeons/heroics, or battlegrounds. One GOOD thing that has been accomplished in Cata was the merging of the pvp battlegroups into regionwide pools (US, EU, etc.) which took the average wait time from 15-20 minutes for us Horde players down to 2-5 minutes. I also tend to believe that a lot of people took up faction transfer and went to the blue team due to how awful the queues were throughout Wrath and into early Cata.

As I noted in my previous post, I’m only back for pvp, which isn’t exactly the most balanced thing ever. Affliction warlocks and our own resto shaman completely dominate in the arena ladders, and I’ve had first hand experience as to why. Of course, when people complain about shamans being overpowered, what happens? All 3 specs end up getting nerfed. That’s the most infuriating part about shaman nerfs, at least in recent memory. The current target Ghostcrawler has his eyes on is our beloved Wind Shear. WS is a microcosm of the problem we now have in this game: There are WAY TOO MANY INTERRUPTS. Playing a caster now is borderline a nightmare, unless you’re a frost mage or affliction warlock. When we’re pitted against melee cleave teams, I pretty much never even try to get a spell off that requires a cast bar, because there’s about a 95% chance it will get interrupted. The interrupt issue is much more noticable now since casters do not have the ungodly amounts of haste they had from mid-late Wrath.

Complaints aside, pvp has been more fun to me in Cata than the raiding by a long shot. It’s quite nice having the honor/conquest point system to worry with in terms of getting gear vs. hoping the RNG gods shine upon you after downing X boss for the umpteenth time so that you can roll on/opt in on that piece of gear you and possible a few others want.

Many people are foo-fooing Cata for it’s “focus” on the leveling content. The only reason I would pick at it is because it didn’t go from 1-80, but from 1-60. The stuff they did revamp is quite refreshing; easier, perhaps, but it’s something different. Those quest zones had been unchanged for over 5 years…for altaholics out there, the questing was as boring as sin. Which brings me to my complaint; it was disheartening for me to go from the “new” quests in Azeroth while leveling a mage alt to walk through the Dark Portal once again and find myself in Thrallmar for the…oh geez, I’ve lost count at this point. Poor Outland…such a cool place yet all but neglected for the past 3-4 years now.

I’m a bit scatterbrained at the moment, hence how ranty this post is, and I’ll probably be continuing it in the near future. But now, as it’s said, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. :)

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Not quite dead

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

So I pretty much haven’t taken much time to update this due to work and extracurricular activities going on. I recently logged back in after taking a month off from playing WoW. In that time away, I quickly realized how downtrodden I had become with the whole raid scene…T11, in my experience, is right above ToC in terms of enjoyment. I briefly looked at Firelands before going on break and with it I saw nothing that got me excited to log back in to raid.

So why did I come back to play? PVP, that’s why, and I’ve found the experience to be 100% more enjoyable being that I don’t have to be on at certain times to do anything. Queue time problems (for us Horde) have been dealt with for random battlegrounds, rated battleground participation has picked up, and the “gear grind” is nowhere near as painful as it is with raiding. On top of that, this past Saturday I attained the coveted Battlemaster title that had eluded me for so long since I could seemingly never get a group to pull off a 1600-0 Arathi Basin win (yet I had the achievement on 2 other characters…grrr). Now the painful ~16k rep I have left with the Warsong Outriders seperates me from the other title I seek before (most likely) retiring from WoW: Conqueror.

Yeah, I hear you: “Wait, you just came back and you’re already contemplating retiring again?!” Yep. There’s 3 games on the horizon that will pretty much peel me away from WoW for good, barring them being total crap somehow: Skyrim, The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2. If TOR lives up to the expectations of my friends and I, then there’s no doubt I will be done with WoW for good; it’s as if Bioware devs have played WoW, found many of it’s weaknesses, and address them in their game.

On an ele note, the 4.2 buffs aimed mostly at PVP have been AMAZING. Were the spec to have some sort of defensive cooldown akin to our enhance bretheren, it would be a return to form…in force. I don’t see a defensive CD happening, though. As it is, elemental is leaps and bounds better than it was for the first tier of Cata, where it could be summed up as “go resto or go home”…which still pretty much applies, for resto is still an amazingly powerful healing spec. I will confess that I primarily play resto for pvp now, unless the random group I get in is chock full of other healers. I would even entertain gearing and playing enhance for fun if there were a triple spec, but Blizzard seems to be adamant about not having that happen.

Well, back to work I go…weee!

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4.2: Return to Fotm…er Form; oh, and T12!

May 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Some potentially sexy buffs are coming elemental shaman’s way:

May 10 4.2 PTR notes:

- Lava Flows now grants a 30/60/90% haste buff when a Flame Shock effect is dispelled, up from 10/20/30%.

- Thunderstorm now reduces the movement speed of players it knocks back by 40% for 5 seconds.

- Unleash Elements is now in the Nature school, and thus can no longer be used if a shaman’s Nature school has been locked out.

- The 4-piece Elemental shaman PvP set bonus (Gladiator’s Thunderfist set) has been redesigned. It now causes Lightning Shield to generate an extra charge, rather than consuming one, when it is triggered by receiving damage, up to a maximum of 3 (9 with the Rolling Thunder talent).

- Lightning Shield and Water Shield can no longer be dispelled.

- Glyph of Unleashed Lightning (new Prime glyph) allows Lightning Bolt to be cast while moving.

The main concern amongst the pvp community now is our mana (in)efficiency, which may or may not be resolved by the Unleashed Lightning glyph, since it will allow us to cast more lightning bolts. There’s also the manner of a defensive cd; yes, we can glyph EM, but what other class would have to use their dps cooldown in order to reduce damage they are taking? Only idea I can scrape off the top of my head at the moment would be to re-introduce Astral Shift, but have it be an ele-only defensive cd of some flavor.

As OP as some of these changes look on paper…well, they’re needed. Ele is extremely vulnerable in pvp due to the fact that 90% of our damage occurs when we plant our feet and turret spells into enemies…which happens for all of 1 second tops against half decent pvpers. Any time my friends and I encounter an ele shaman, I’m yelling at them to simply tunnel the shaman, which results in said shaman being dead fairly quickly.

Amongst the raiding community, there seems to be a large amount of “meh” regarding these changes, namely the new glyph. I’m honestly surprised at the lack of enthusiasm about a solution to one of our biggest weaknesses (damage while moving). Oh, boo hoo, we have to debate over which glyph to swap at this point…and on that note, who’s to say they don’t simply make our current LB glyph do exactly what this new one does, then bake in the 4% damage increase by default, or if we’re incredibly lucky, they bake it in as a 5-6% increase. I don’t expect this to happen, but all of this is on PTR, and things there are subject to change, such as the new legendary staff, as shown here.

Needless to say, I’m hoping these changes make it through PTR intact (at the very least) and to live. Speaking of PTR, our T12 has made it’s debut, and I’ll go ahead and say we are 12 for 12 in terms of having reasonably decent looking tier sets:

Shaman T12 on males

Shaman T12 on females

Preview video courtesy of MMO-Champion:

Alt-itis

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Been putzing around on my small army of alts lately:

Warrior – 85, and went ahead and swapped from fury to arms in anticipation of this week’s 4.1 patch. I believe I can pull more dps as arms, plus arms is simply more fun; don’t like how at times I’m caught going “no buttons to hit” or “fuuuu rage starved” while playing fury. Second spec will remain prot so I have that option available if guildies need a heroic tank. I’m also a heroic Putricide kill away from a nice Frostbrood drake for this char, which should be done this upcoming reset. Yeah, only 6 or so months behind on that, but my warrior’s an alt, albeit a former main and with significantly more achievements than any other alt I have.

Druid, warlock, priest, paladin – All are in the 82-84 range (84, 83, 83, and 82 respectively). Despite being the highest level, I’ve played and enjoyed the druid the least…not sure why, to be honest. I did get him from 80 to halfway through 81-82 simply via herbing, hence his level lead. I’ve tried boomkin, kitty, and resto, and wasn’t really thrilled with any of them; apparently the only druid spec I’m remotely good with is bear…durr. Warlock (affliction/destro) and priest (shadow/disc) are a blast to play, least to me. Paladin has been relatively fun leveling as holy, but I’m running into the same issue with ret as I did with fury, where it’s like you’re sitting there at times with nothing to do. Sure, those times may be a second, but as a dpser, any time where I’m not doing something is time I’m not doing dps, thus wasted time. More time on target dummy needed (after a few mins of it, I was getting a better feel for the rotation/priority).

DK, hunter – 77 and 76 respectively. Both pull ~3k dps at their level (unholy and survival are their main specs, again respectively). Having to catch up their professions, but that’s on pace at this point.

Rogue, mage – both at 65, and they’re kinda polar opposites in terms of dps. Mage (fire/frost) completely wrecks packs with aoe (which is just about every pull now) and does respectable single target dps. Rogue (combat/assassination) isn’t an aoe machine, but does brutal dps on boss fights (where I can actually get rupture up, heh). I prefer assassination over combat, but combat smokes it with perma-sweeping strikes. I think I can pull higher dps on bosses as assassination, but with 90% of dungeons being trash pack AOE fests, combat’s the way to go (Until Fan of Knives at level 80…really thought they would add that at lower level by now).

Heirlooms are OP, btw. I’ll probably buy the new tanking ones, although I don’t know if I’ll use them or not, heh. I don’t think they need to add heirloom legs (which have been found via datamining), but if they do, I won’t complain.

Things will pick up for Kaz with 4.1; I may feel motivated to finish my Professor title from archaeology now that there are more “not-so-rare-rares” that appear to be added to the profession. I’ll also get another chance at picking up a bear mount with the return of ZA.

Derp.

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Been a while since I could take the time to even touch this page. Fair amount of activity, but just a lack of time to get anything meaningful posted:

12/12 in normal content, FINALLY: Nearly 2 months (from around the time of my last post until now) ago we started on Nefarian. Not a difficult encounter, although for 90% of our attempts, I was resto due to a dearth of healers. Finally, last week we had enough healers I was able to dps, and equipped with my Reverberation talent I alone could lock down one of the P2 adds, thus allowing our other dpsers to go all out on their targets without worrying with interrupts (thus proving that dps shaman are king for this instance of interrupts). Up until last week, our attempts were constantly marred by disconnect after disconnect…and it wasn’t always the same people. Even folks with amazingly good hardware (myself included) would randomly get dropped out, only to come back dead (or worse, alive just before Onyxia respawned, resulting in more dead people if said person couldn’t take a dive in the lava fast enough). Last week, though, we finally overcame all of the garbage disconnects, excuses, and whatnot and made a corpse of Nefarian (again). Video of our first kill can be found here. Shadow priest POV. Also for whatever reason, Al’akir seems 100x easier on 10 man compared to 25.

Flirting with “FOTM”: If you’re looking for yours truly in the above video…look closer to the ground. That’s right, I was a goblin in that video. Feeling a bit bored, I checked out goblin animations and racials and decided to give it a go. Couple of days later, I started noticing a racial I was missing that was really starting to annoy me: Hardiness. Doesn’t sound like much, but I found myself in at least half a dozen instances of “if that stun wore off half a second sooner I could’ve gotten a heal off…” in the 3 days I was a good ol’ gobbie. That, plus I simply flat out started missing being an orc, heh. In fact, the experience has convinced me I should probably convert some of my alts to what I dub “the supreme Horde race”…but that’s an expensive endeavor. Cheaper than a weekend out on the town, I suppose, heh. I refer to goblin as FOTM because nearly half the Horde shaman on my server have race changed to goblin…and the whole feeling of “jumping on the bandwagon” had my skin crawling.

Elemental PVP, oh how I hate thee…: I’ve been moonlighting as resto for PVP for a fair amount of Cata so far. Elemental feels so pathetic for pvp right now that it’s simply frustrating to play. Quit my 2’s team in a fit of rage after losing several games in a row where I felt I could literally do nothing. Despite how frustrating ele PVP is, running around as resto right now reminds me of how god mode it once was late in BC (only surpassed by resto druids, but what didn’t they surpass then?). Rejoined the team, took some chill pills (simply a figure of speech; no drugs were taken during the queueing of arena) and just deal with it for now. Yes, I’m playing ele in 2s…fortunately my friend is a shadow priest, who has a fair amount of CC and peeling capability, which an ele MUST have if they want to do anything in arena now. The one game I went resto with my friend, we won…but it was a 20 minute ordeal vs an affliction lock/resto druid team. We’re not exactly patient with arena; we want games done in 5 mins or less, heh.

ARGH SO CLOSE: In the past 2 months I would slave away on weekends for various Call To Arms for BGs I needed achievements from, and now I stand 1 achievement away from the Battlemaster title I’ve coveted ever since seeing it in game: Arathi Basin Perfection. The infuriating part is I have this achievement on 2 of my alts, and I’m over 150 recorded AB victories on my shaman without a perfect win. I still say it’s a matter of when, not if…but damn, it’s irritating. Repeated efforts to form an organized group for it have fallen through due to folks not being online. Even without Battlemaster, I’ve managed to eek over the 12k achievement point mark, which felt pretty cool. Not sure if I’ll get to 13k, though! :P

All for now…I’ll try to be a bit more prompt with updating this in the future, though, perhaps my once-a-week-or-two shenanigans, which I think is fair.

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