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Archive for November, 2009

WORLD TOP 25, baby

Guess what? I am a World Top 25 feral druid, as ranked by World of Logs…

See here for proof.

As such, there’s going to be a change in attitude around here. Now that I’m leet and all, I will require full acknowledgement of my epic status before providing help to anyone…and much bowing and scraping will be required.

(Aren’t small sample sizes fun?) ūüôā

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This page has moved to my new site! Please visit http://fluiddruid.net/2009/09/the-feral-tanking-guide-part-4/.

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Many diversions

Between work, preparing for my Stateside move in January, and Modern Warfare 2/Assassin’s Creed 2/Dragon Age, I haven’t played much WOW lately. Not much to do¬†or write about¬†right now, actually…the flow of new 3.3¬†info has slowed considerably, and the Pilgrim’s Bounty world event is kinda meh. Random world event notes:

  • You’ll need a good bit of cooking skill. Even if you have no cooking skill, you can level cooking to 350 solely via PB food…DO IT. It takes maybe an hour or two for an 80, which is much faster than having to run everywhere in the old world. Here’s a guide from DYS.
  • To get [FOOD FIGHT!] you have to TARGET someone else sitting at the table, and choose the “Pass” option. Took me a minute to figure that one out.
  • You need 8 [Turkey Shooter]¬†to complete [Turkey Lurkey], and 2 pieces of clothing for a couple other achievements. These can only be obtained (one at a time) via the dailies, so budget 2-3 days to get everything you need. Note that the dailies require 20 of a PB cooked food, of which the ingredients are in a different city.¬†To minimize run-around time, purchase extra stacks of the uncooked ingredient the first time you visit.
  • [The Turkinator] – kill 40 Wild Turkeys, with each kill within 30s of the last. Get some Tracker Snacks (almost essential)¬†and go to the parts of Elwynn/Tirisfal that are¬†less populated, and it shouldn’t be too bad. Obviously, going at low-pop times/days makes things easier. Personally, I started in the Hogger area, and just went straight east (bypass pumpkin patches, stay in wooded areas) and then north, finishing around the logging camp. Moonfire makes this easy.¬† Another tactic for ferals is to go bear and drag the turkeys around by spamming Demo Roar every few seconds (which will prevent them from evading). This makes the timer less challenging, since you’ll have a pack that you can kill one from at your leisure to keep the buff up, but you do run the risk of some noob mage passing¬†by and AE’ing your pack. (Yes, this happened to me, at about an x25 stack.)

I’m still working on Loremaster, but it’s on hiatus¬†until¬† I finish AC2 (man that game rocks!). My Part 4 of my bear guide is at 1600 words, and should be out “soon.” ūüôā BTW, I don’t feel like making a full post on it, but I’m really bummed out about the Icecrown gating, as I was hoping to be able to finish this xpac with my guild of the last 18 months. From a design perspective, I understand having to gate content to keep people from finishing it faster then you can create it, but c’mon, there’s got to be a way to do it less artificially. The “slowly scaling buff” idea (instead of late content nerfs) is actually pretty awesome, IMO, and could be quie easily used to gate the content instead of some arbitrary limitation. (And don’t even get me started on the heavily limited attempts thing.)

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Since I got so many comments on my last post¬†about the state of WoW, (and since I keep getting depressed when I work on the gear section of my bear guide), I’ll talk a little more about my thoughts on WoW in general. (And thanks to¬†Bell, Lis,¬†Vallen, and others for great¬†thoughts.)¬†

First, it’s important to remember that WoW is more than one game. It is actually many different, interconnected games/activities, including:

  • Questing
  • Instances/Raids
  • Crafting
  • PvP
  • Exploration
  • Guild Management
  • Mercantilism (Playing the AH)
  • Gearing (Gemming/Enchanting)
  • Addons
  • Chat
  • RP
  • Theorycrafting
  • Achievements (either in support of the other games, or by itself)
  • Home-made challenges (Can you solo OL Heroics?)
  • Others I’ve missed, I’m sure

I think Leaf nails it in his latest post. In Classic WoW/BC, all the activities above, with the exception of PvP,¬†were meant to funnel the player into raiding. You had to do all the¬†above¬†TO raid (you needed the gear, which required money, which required farming or professions, etc.) Now, this was great if you loved raiding, not so great if you didn’t. Due to a too-steep difficulty curve and some unfortunate decisions about raid sizes (Where the hell did¬†10 and 25 come from? Wouldn’t 10 and 20 have been so much easier?), most raiders, including me, only saw Kara and a bit of ZA. This led to a drastic curve where¬†only 20% or so were able to complete a good portion of the content, with only 5% or so able to¬†do everything.¬†¬†

However, those 20%, easily, generated 80%+ percent of the discussion about the game. Blizzard listened to them for a long time, and created harder and harder challenges (Sunwell, anyone?). At some point, however,¬†someone senior on the design team had a flash of inspiration, and said “Why are we creating so much content for such a small portion of our userbase?” Hence, the WOTLK design¬†has flipped things, to where raids are important, but not more important then anything else, and accessibility is the new mantra. This makes a majority of the userbase happy, who just want to beat challenges and progress their characters…but it really flies in the face of the raiders who formed Blizzard’s core in BC.

Is there a solution to this problem? Probably not. Blizzard’s not going to change direction now, so we’ll probably see a difficulty level for ICC between Ulduar and ToC, complete with artificial content gating that’s just as annoying as ToC’s was. The top 20% will roll over normal mode, again,¬† though not as fast as ToC…and then boredom will set in again, as the top 20% demand more content and do hardmodes as a stopgap while the other 80% catch up.

And this is a GOOD THING. Let’s do a thought experiment, and imagine WOTLK raiding¬†with a BC-era mindset. Heroics require CC.¬†For raids,¬†everything up to TOC is available at launch; however, only 10-man modes exist for Naxx/OS/VoA, and only 25-man modes exist for Maly/Ulduar/Onyxia. TOC is only present as 25-man TOGC.¬† ICC is “TBD.” What happens?

  • WOTLK misses its launch date to have all the content ready, and loses 20% of its potential new subscribers.
  • On release, the top 5% clear everything in three months, and start hollering for more content. This is 50% of the discussion on forums.
  • The next 15% are working through Ulduar/TOGC, and complaining about the difficulty. This is 30% of the discussion on forums (with half of it being the top 5% telling people to L2P)
  • The next 30% have rolled Naxx/OS/VoA, and can’t find groups/guilds for anything harder, and complain about the difficulty. They eventually quit, or roll alts that quit.
  • The bottom 50% do a few Heroics, or the occasional raid, but just hang out and chat in Trade. Many of these quit (Hey, you can chat anywhere.)
  • Bottom line: WoW is still the dominant MMO, due to the other choices sucking, but with nowhere the dominance it has today, and its fading fast. Cataclysm becomes something else (The Fall of Sargeras, perhaps?), and WoW’s final expansion.

If you really love WoW for what she is…you’ll accept her, even as she changes. Thoughts?

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The state of WoW

So, Leafy threw up a post¬†a few days ago saying how well WoW is targeted at its core audience right now, and Lissanna replied with a post saying “No, WoW is boring right now.” I actually agree with both of them, because they’re not really talking about the same point.

If you are a casual player (hint: If you read WoW blogs, you are probably NOT a casual player), then¬†WOTLK is absolutely awesome for you. Unlike BC where most content was far too difficult to accomplish, 90% of the current content is puggable. Gear progression is easy, and getting easier. There are lots of paths for character advancement besides raiding; achievements, WE’s, PvP, etc.

If you are a raider, then things are very meh. All the content is fairly stompable on normal, assuming you have a reasonably skilled raiding group. (I expect my casual raid guild to have TOC25 down fairly soon…Lag on Twins is not fun.) The problem is, unlike BC where EVERYONE was motivated to keep progressing, hardmodes seem “meh.” The only people who want to do hardmodes are the achievers and the gear hogs, but most others really don’t see the point in it. Since the hardmodes require top-flight participation from everyone (unlike normal where 25% of the group can go afk), most attempts for midcore guilds to step up are generally frustrated.

A thought- would things be any different if you added a third difficulty level? Take the current normal difficulty, make it even easier but have it drop loot equivalent to the top Heroic (so Ulduar easy would drop 200, TOC easy would drop 219, ICC would drop 232) and bump up the difficulty of normal and hard. (Oh, and have Easy/Normal/Hard open from the beginning…forcing people to clear a certain difficulty first is a crappy way to do content gating.) The eventual goal would be for 80%+ of the playerbase to clear Easy, 30-40% to (eventually)¬†clear Normal, and 1% to clear Hard. People can run Easy to just see the content if they desire, run Normal to gear up, and run Hard for top gear + status.¬†Normal’s more challenging, so it’s more rewarding for guilds to work through it, and Hard mode is just ridiculous.¬†Thoughts?

 

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Tuesday post roundup

I’m doing some things for Veteran’s Day, so don’t have much time to write. Here’s a quick roundup of some good druid posts to check out:

Slowly working on part¬†4 of the bear guide…should be up this week, maybe. ūüôā Thinking about moving to a feral DPS guide next, seeing as how many positive posts the ArPen post got. Let me know.

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I am absolutely stunned and devastated¬†by the recent shootings at Fort Hood. (For those that don’t know, I am currently a U.S. Army officer serving in Korea.) One of the soldiers killed was SSG Justin Decrow, who was very briefly one of my soldiers (I was reassigned to a different unit shortly after his assignment to Korea). I won’t use this blog as a political forum, and I urge commenters not to do so either. However, I’d like to suggest Soldiers’ Angels¬†as an eminently worthwhile charity, if you are so included. I’m particularly proud of their¬†Valour-IT program, which purchases voice-controlled laptops for disabled soldiers.

May God remember the fallen.

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