Saturday, February 21, 2009

LFG Tank/Healer Then GTG!

Well, here we are again. The World of Warcraft forums and some bloggers are noting a lack of tanks and healers for pugs. Even Gevlon over at The Greedy Goblin noted a long wait for a recent pug run of his due to a lack of healing.

I know at least one warrior who is no longer tanking at all. That would be mine. Maybe someday, but truth be told, I'm happy as DPS now. And beside, most raid guilds are NOT short on tanks, if anything, tanks are having a difficult time trying to find a home...just like in BC.

In my BC guild, I was one of six tanks at one point. But all we could do regularly was Karazhan and the first 3-4 bosses in Zul-Aman. Even Gruuls didn't require more than two pure tanks.

So where are all the tanks?

As for healers, well, they don't have a problem finding a guild. Every guild needs as many healers as they get their grubby little paws on. Some nights raid guilds have to call a raid off because only 4 of the 12 healers bothered to log in and they needed 6 for the run.

So where are all the healers?

Short answer is that most decent players who happen to have tanks or healers as characters just don't run outside of the guild. Really, it's as simple as that.

You see, we get tired of wipe fests, but more importantly, we get tired of greedy, spoiled, and rude players. Most of us would rather just not do any 5-mans or 10-mans if our only option is to run in PUGs. Give us some players who will listen to instructions, work as a team, and not cry if they don't get the loot, and we'll start running PUGs again.

With almost 12 million players (or more if you consider trial accounts), it is more and more difficult to find the right set of players for a PUG. I don't know where these people come from. Somewhere I read that a lot of the new "casual" players are coming form console games. Maybe that's where all the attitude and spoiled hissy fits are comming from. Maybe the players are getting younder.

The point is, most of us only want to run with respectable players. If we wipe, it's just easier to handle if everyone is working together and cooperating with no name-calling or tantrums.

Monday, February 16, 2009

QQ Achievements

When Blizzard activated the achievement system it did not take long for people to begin complaining about the difficulty of completing some of the tasks. Blizzard quickly agreed with the community and made some of the achievements easier.

The World of Warcraft forums have an ongoing complaint over the Valentine's Day achievement. Apparently there is a task based on luck and some people were unable to complete the achievement.


I've written it before. The current crop of MMO players, including myself to some extent, have become completely and utterly spoiled.

The Halloween achievement was made easier by increasing the drop potential of some of the items required. A questing achievement was found to be difficult to complete, so it too was adjusted to be more easily completed.

Granted, I'm sure Blizzard has an idea of how difficult they want the achievements to be and perhaps some of them actually were too difficult upon release. But not every achievement has a title, tabard, pet, or mount as a reward. Some do not even have points attached as a reward. And it just so happens that the only achievements that have proven "too difficult" are those with rewards. In the case of the Valentine's achievement, a 310% flying mount (or so I've heard).

Would people care how difficult the achievement is if the reward was removed?

I think that this is just one more example of the instant gratification tendencies of MMO players. You see, in the ongoing "discussion" linked above, the argument does not just highlight the Valentine's Day achievement, but also the Brew of the Month achievement. Apparently the Brew of the Month Club and its place in the achievement system was announced at a Blizzard convention. So, during Brewfest, only attendees of the convention and those who were keeping a close eye on it knew to participate in the event.

So now, people who did not join the club during last year's brewfest must wait until Brewfest 2009 and then another 12 months for the event to run its course.

All in all, there are multiple ways to miss the mount reward at the end of the holiday achievements tree and players are going to complain about it's difficulty every step of the way.

And of course, Blizzard is going to "look into" the issues to see if they need to make the mount reward easier to claim.

Again, if the reward were removed, would players still complain?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hardcore Levelers

You've heard it or read it before. That strange attitude some people emanate to make themselves feel superior. Cliches such as:

Love it or leave it.

You don't vote, you can't complain.

Put up or shut up.

Or in World of Warcraft, if you don't like leveling, why do you play?

Believe it or not, some people actually enjoy leveling a dozen characters from 0-80 through mostly dead zones in the hardest way possible and through content they've seen a hundred times. And if you don't like leveling they way they do, then you don't deserve to play WoW.

Sound familiar?

Many of the elite hardcore raiders have a similar attitude with regards to people who want more player-friendly raids.

I don't think these are generally the same people. I believe that hardcore raiders and hardcore levelers are generally two different types of players, though I'm also sure that there is some cross-over.

Do you have a suggestion on how to make leveling easier and/or faster? Be prepared for someone to suggest that you should stop playing the game.

I don't know who these people think they are, but they can eat my toe jam. So long as I'm not being inconvenienced, I really don't care how anyone wants to play their game and I fully expect to receive the same courtesy.

I have nine toons on a PVE server at various points of progress with the highest one at 72. On my PVE server I expect to play my game with out people grieving me or stealing my quest mobs after I've cleared an area. Yeah, it happens anyway, but the expectation is there.

I have a level 58 toon with a couple of bank alts on a PVP server. I expect to be ganked, camped, and griefed there. I react accordingly.

I can't stand leveling alts. I absolutely love leveling my first character in any game I've ever played. On some of the old Final Fantasy games I've ground my way to level 99...once. Once I've leveled a toon in World of Warcraft, I consider the game played. From there on I'm just goofing around, maybe doing some raiding, maybe some farming. Once in a while I get a bug up my butt and I decide to play a different character, but I simply don't want to repeat the entire game over to do so.

You play the game your way, I'll play it my way. It just so happens that millions of players agree with me, replaying the entire game is not FUN. It is tedious. It is monotonous.

Why can we raid the same instance a hundred times? Because our friends are there with us. Someone is going to get something useful that they haven't had before.

And further more, Blizzard agrees with us. You don't like the changes to leveling? All I have to say is love it or leave it, baby.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Conjecture on Kaplan's Move

As I'm sure someone predicted, the announcement that Kaplan (Tigole) has moved on to Blizzard's next MMO, "fans" of World of Warcraft are screaming about a tumbling sky for the game.

Nonsense. It is utter nonsense.

I am not speaking from a fan-boy view but rather from message board and fan-site experience. From the first time I ever did research on World of Warcraft, whether it be for upcoming changes or current game play issues, it has constantly been doom and gloom for the game. Yet the game has continued to expand, the quality has continued to improve (with some odd hiccups along the way), and the subscriptions have continued to grow.

Yes, Blizzard has a new MMO in the works.

Yes, Blizzard wants its most experienced man (people) to lead the project.

One of the fears that the fan community has is that a large percentage of the talent on World of Warcraft will be transitioned to the new project, leaving the current game floundering with second-rate talent and a lack of direction, or at least a questionable direction.

Here's the thing though. Blizzard needs an experienced person on board the new project who can put together the best team possible for the game. Yes, he is going to try and recruit from World of Warcraft and if anyone WANTS to move on to the new project, they will. For some of these people it is an opportunity to step outside the box they've been in for the past few years. But guess what? Kaplan also gets to recruit from people who are working on Diablo III and Starcraft II because those games are nearing completion. Obviously people from Starcraft II will be approached first, but Kaplan's new team doesn't have to be fully manned in one fell swoop. He also gets to recruit from outside the company and right now the pickings are cheap and plentiful with all the failed games letting their creative teams go.

How will these personnel changes affect World of Warcraft? It might have some new flavors in the next expansion. We might even see some new flavors in the next content patch after Ulduar is released. New flavor does not a failed game make.

So, get a grip. Stop screeming about a sky that isn't falling.

Besides, Blizzard has been getting more upfront about their future plans for the game and has dropped some subtle hints. For instance, they are looking into an alternative for the next expansion to avoid the "layered" affect of the current game. They are also discussing ideas to expand the game without adding new levels in every expansion.

This of course flies in the face of the "Blizzard does the same thing for every expansion!" crowd. Yes, the ONLY two expansions thus far are quite similar. And yes, it does feel like a safe model to follow. I suspect Blizzard is going to change things up quite a bit with the next expansion and having some new faces in the creative mix will only help.

While the doomsayer crowd continues to wait for the opportunity to flay each other's flesh to be the first to cry "I told you so!", I will sit and patiently wait for Blizzard to continually improve World of Warcraft.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Will the Numbers Continue to Grow?

Player vs. Developer has announced that he is now playing another game. Yet, he will not be canceling his World of Warcraft account. He simply has less solo material in Warcraft to do and now has more time to explore other games.

I wonder how many other players are like this? I am one.

I have seen often on message boards and other blogs that Warcraft loses players in between expansions. Yet, the subscriptions only seem to increase, albeit at a slower pace. Then suddenly, an expansion drops and the servers become overcrowded for weeks. Even after several months have passed and some of the subscribers have gone to other games, Blizzard must still add more servers.

I certainly agree that the realms seem to become less populated, and some people do cancel their accounts, but it might just be that players simply play less while more players continue to come into the game. Then when the expansion drops, or a particularly lucrative patch is released, even more new players jump in for the first time while the dormant players suddenly become far more active.

It seems obvious. Yet the "word on the street" is that World of Warcraft actually loses subscription numbers in between expansions. Well, I'm not buying it.

Quite simply, subscriptions increase faster than cancelations. A lot of people seem to be at the edge of their seats waiting for the moment when World of Warcraft finally experiences its first official decrease in subscriptions. I long for the moment myself, if only to sit back and watch these bottom feeders claw at each other's throats in their attempt to be the first to report the news.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Good-Bye Ammunition

Recent patch notes for 3.1.0 declare:


  • Consumable ammunition has been removed from the game. Arrows and bullets no longer stack, but are not consumed. Ranged attack speed bonus gained from quivers and ammo bags will be preserved in a different capacity.

And so, Blizzard continues its head-long descent into homogenization. I guess I'll enjoy the extra bag space. I'm sure most hunters will cheer this change on. For me, it is just one more of those little things that did not need to be fixed. Filling your quiver and part of your bags with arrows is a character trait. For me, the lost bag space was fair trade for how quickly I can burn down mobs compared to some of the other classes.

I'll get used to it. I'm certain I'll even grow to like it and wonder how I could have ever wanted things to be otherwise. But right now, I just can't help but think that now my hunter will feel even more like all the other classes.

Some time ago there was some discussion about removing the need for warlocks to farm shards that do not stack. I think it would have been fair to let the shards stack at least a little but early on Blizzard said something about how the shards are a central aspect of the class and should not be messed with. Yet, in the same patch notes we have:

  • Drain Soul now has a chance to produce Soul Shards even if the target doesn’t die.
Not a game-breaking change by any means, but it feels like tease to something bigger planned for the future. How long before shards are treated like ammo and simply removed as a consumable?

Another frustrating component of this change is that players have been asking since launch for the ability to craft arrows and gather wood. Instead of implementing new professions, we have simply lost the need for them.

Quivers (ammo bags) are also affected by this change. Hunters have no more need for them. That means leather workers have fewer items to craft.

More bag space is nice, but really, I'd rather have more options, more uniqueness, and more content. All this change does is remove a little bit from all of those.

Blizzard, stop fixing things that are not broken.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pondering the Greedy Goblin

Gevlon from the Greedy Goblin blog utterly fascinates me.

I don't think he is greedy, but rather practical and logical. I have found that logical people often appear to be insensitive and selfish at first glance until you grow to understand their motivation a little better.

Gevlon's business updates are jaw-dropping. The last screenshot I saw showed over 140k gold in his possession...on just ONE toon, he has thousands of gold on multiple characters.

One of his postings that I recently stumbled upon explains to people who are struggling to make ends meet in the game that frivolous in-game items, such as secondary fluff mounts, are a part of the problem. My first reaction to this post was to think, what else are you going to do with all that gold? But, if you keep it all in context, he was only talking to people who are struggling financially in the game. Obviously, someone with as much gold as Gevlon, you can purchase anything you want and hardly feel a dent.

Yet, in another post, Gevlon revealed that he only has the necceasary mounts required to get around in the game at a reasonable speed and no fluff mounts at all. Essentially, Gevlon is making all that gold, and not spending it.

For some people, this is just the way it is. Their task is to produce as much financial stability that they possibly can.

I wonder if Gevlon is as successful in his real life as he is in the game. I suspect that the ability to make the numbers and rules in a game work for you is a little easier that making those numbers work for you in real life, no matter how similiar the models may be.

Maybe Not So Retired?

Last night my hunter was being camped so I jumped on my old warrior main on the PVE server to see if anyone was on to chat with while I waited for the horde to move on.

An old leveling friend was on and while we chatted I suddenly got the urge to respec my prot warrior to fury and nab Titan Grip. I've had some lack-luster dps gear stored away in bank for the odd moments when I wanted to farm in a dps spec but it was poorly gemmed and always had to mix it with my prot gear.

So last night, after I respecced, I pulled out my two hand swords and dps gear, bought some newer gems and also snatched up some dps gear to fill out the "set".

I have no idea how this is going to work out. I am hoping that I'll find new pleasure in my warrior that I haven't had in a long time. I'll still be concentrating my pvp hunter, but maybe I won't completely abandon the warrior.