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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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Categories: Uncategorized

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

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. 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

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!

Categories: Uncategorized

Exit, Stage Left

September 16, 2010 3 comments

Today, I finally got the wake-up call that’s been several years in the making. I am now ending my run on WoW once and for all.

When you come a stone’s throw away from losing someone special over a gaming habit, you’ve got some issues to deal with. Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to pull my head out of my ass and get priorities straightened out. I’m not taking a stab at the WoW community; there are some great people playing this game and I have made a LOT of friends through it. However, I’m not going to endanger potential long-term relationships and RL achievements just so I can get some more heroic ICC loot or vanity mounts.

To those who have SOs that are cool with them playing, more power to them. I have a good friend who is playing only because his wife allows it, but they have a newborn daughter now (their first child) so I suspect in the near future he’ll hit a similar point to what I have and put the game down again. Said friend also finally got the nerve to tell me today that even he believed I spent too much time on this game, and I agree. The numbers don’t lie: According to my Altoholic mod, I have just over 300 days played across all of my toons, and that isn’t counting 3 or 4 high level toons from vanilla that I deleted years ago. 300 x 24 = 7200…over 7200 HOURS I’ve spent on this game. I bet there are doctors and lawyers out there that have spent less time on that getting their doctorates or such. Interesting food for thought there…perhaps I will go research that since I’ll have more than enough spare time.

For those like me who may get some flak from those they care about regarding their WoW playing habits…don’t get agitated. Take a step back and think out what exactly is going on. I was totally oblivious as to how I tuned my gf out when I donned my headset to listen in on Vent. Sure, I could’ve played without being on Vent, but it was the night that we got our first Sindragosa heroic kill (shown in the previous post) so I wanted to be in on that for communication’s sake. I had no idea how much that bothered her (this was her first time seeing me play wow and how things worked).

I don’t have hard feelings toward this game. It’s my own fault for letting myself go and gorge on it in excess. Now it’s time I pass the torch on to someone else. Another subscription will take my place, especially come Cataclysm.

Categories: Uncategorized

Is the grass greener on the other side?

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week, after debating over the idea for a while, I transferred my warrior over to another server to join up with a long time friend of mine. Said transfer also required me to faction change my warrior as well, since my friend plays alliance.

What made the decision hard? Well, I already had a level 76 warrior on that server. After realizing all the gear I’d have to re-farm once I hit 80, I decided to pull the plug on said 76 warrior. No point in having 2 of any class like that now since faction transfer became available. All I have left now that is a duplicate is my orc warrior from vanilla wow, who hasn’t been seriously played since I quit during vanilla 4 years ago.

So how is level 80 as alliance on a different server? Well…it’s not a lot different from where I was horde. However, Windrunner has virutally no horde on it, making Wintergrasp a complete joke. Least on Ysera, we tend to have balanced games for the most part, where there’s no massive amount of tenacity. On Windrunner you’re hard pressed to encounter a horde player with less than 15 stacks of tenacity. I could see that being fun once or twice if I were horde there, but when you lose WG 90% of the time, even 1 shotting folks would get old fast.

My biggest concern with coming over was battlegrounds. All I ever hear is how fail alliance is at pvp and that they never win and so on. Well, so far, it has not been too bad; I’ve been in some epic fail games and I’ve been in some faceroll victories. The biggest difference (aside from “Oh hey I need to kill the orcs/tauren/etc. now) is the queue times…oh man how I envy the alliance queue times. I have yet to be in queue for a random BG for more than a minute on my warrior, whereas we have a MINIMUM 10 minute wait as horde; it’s usually around 15 minutes for an average wait time. Needless to say, I’ve learned to constantly afk while queuing BGs as horde, or else run around doing daily quests or farm stuff. Sure, I could make productive use of the time, but when I want to pvp, I want to pvp, not run around with a thumb up my ass.

One of my RL friends that plays with us on Ysera moved his warrior alt to the alliance, and he’s seeing virtually the same things I see with my warrior, even being different levels and battlegroups. He’s made it clear that if it weren’t for all the friends he’s made plus having RL friends on the server, he would faction change his main in order to get in on more BG action. I can’t say I blame my friend. I mean…think of it this way. With our current queue times, we will get in 2 (maybe 3 if stupidly lucky) BGs in a hour. With a near-instant queue, we’d get in 4-5; basically, even if we only mustered a 50/50 win ratio, we’d still come out with the same amount of wins we generally do now. However, we’d spend 95% of the time actually pvping rather than having to find ways to pass the time. In some instances, I have left the house, went down to the local convenience store, picked up a snack, and returned in time to get the queue pop. I’ve also taken a shower and got back in time.

So what prevents me from changing? One, I’d lose all my Argent Tournament achievements, and for those that haven’t been around in the guild/know me well, I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE the Argent Tournament. When you have farmed up all those damnable Champion’s Seals for every single mount they offer (and I still have 3 of the pets to obtain PLUS the tabards and banners), you quickly start hating that place/event with a passion. I do not know why Blizz couldn’t translate those achievements over when you transfer. Another reason not to change: I like being an orc shaman. Remember Warcraft 3? The “shaman” there were all orcs, in those spiffy looking tribal outfits with lightning shields up and casting bloodlust on all of your units. When I first debated creating a shaman many years ago, I found myself pulled to orc for that very reason, even though at the time everyone and their brother was like “go tauren or gtfo” or “loltroll”. Therefore, I’d find it hard to switch from the “real” shaman race to…a blueberry. 😛

On another note, the human trinket racial Every Man for Himself is wickedly good. I’m currently running the attack power variant of the Battlemaster trinket along with Deathbringer’s Will, so it’s basically a trade of 153 resil for 256 attack power and the on-use HP boost. I would love to get my hand’s on Death’s Choice…er Verdict for maximum firepower, heh.

The versatility that the human trinket racial provides has had me thinking about the different racial abilities and how there will always be imbalance in this game due to them. Were I going for pvp balance, I’d remove pretty much anything that provides a benefit in combat, hand out some form of EMFH trinket racial to all races, then call it a day. Stuff like Diplomacy, professions bonuses, etc. could remain intact (of course someone will QQ about humans getting Justicar faster than other races); shit like the 2% miss to spell schools, Blood Fury, Beserking, War Stomp, Escape Artist, expertise bonuses can hit the road. Unfortunately, such design decisions are not mine to make, for the changes I proposed would piss a LOT of people off. That, plus Blizzard has stated numerous times in the past that they want to retain racial abilities for lore and “flavor” reasons, or something of that sort. I can see their point there, but since they look to be taking a much more involved approach to pvp in Cataclysm, I would think they’d want to work on balancing things out. Again, I don’t get paid to make decisions/ideas for that, so I will sit idly by and see what Blizzard decides to do.

Battling Raiding Burnout

May 14, 2010 Leave a comment

The acronym of this post’s title is rather ironic…

As I indicated in previous posts, I’ve been wanting to pass on the whole raiding thing for quite a while now. I’m now able to do that since calling off guild raiding. Our former GM has decided he would like to resume handling the reins, and being that he’s more interesting in raiding now than I am, he would be better suited to running the show…rather, what’s left of it.

I am not quitting WoW as a whole…far from it, actually. I’m finding all sorts of little things to do to pass the time, whether it’s pvp or working on random achievements. If I’m not doing that, I’m putzing around on one of my bazillion alts. The game is still fun, but I’ve just lost the desire to raid constantly. I may do one raid a week of ICC 10 on one of my alts, though…getting rep towards those uber rings would be nice.

Part of the burnout is due to having to always salvage a raid group with <25 folks on, relying on FnF members to make it happen. Part of it's also ICC itself; everything there sans Lich King is boring to me (the only thing saving the LK from being a boring fight is the lore; you're fighting THE villian of the expansion and many events/games before that). I also believe part of it is Cataclysm; the more I see and read of it, the more I look forward to it and would rather just chill until it is out.

Despite how bad the term burnout sounds…I'm actually having a lot of fun with the game right now. Part of that has to be the "weight off the shoulders" feeling of no longer having to run a raiding guild. I expect I'll be dinking around until Ruby Sanctum is out, then I'll probably wish I was in a raiding guild again, heh. Even if I did, the selection is very small on my current server. In fact, we've had several folks transfer over to the Alliance in order to keep raiding; for whatever reason, the top tier Horde guilds all raid really late (like 10PM to 1AM late), which for working folks like yours truly doesn't bode well. I've lost enough sleep over the past few months with guild leadership ponderings as it is. Also, I am a cheap bastard and do not care to pay to faction/server transfer (especially considering my mini-factory of alts :-P).

Besides, I wouldn't look good as a blueberry. I R OARK 4 LYFE! 😛