A few more thoughts on WoW p5.4

Now that I’ve seen more and read more about how people are using the new content and features in patch 5.4 for WoW; I’m impressed.

The standout items are the raid encounters and the proving grounds. Both I’ve not really stepped into much of either yet but both have created such an effective response from the players that they seem to be the aspects that will be remembered the most. The new raid benefits from the way the lore of the Destruction of the Vale cannot be ignored in the game. A straight up clever and direct call to players.

vale2 Continue reading

Why in hell is DK dps so low?

I went digging for relative DPS performance of each class and spec. Why? Well I heard grumblings that Boomkins were shitty dps in patch 5.3, and Mages were getting nurfed. Apparently Shadow Priests were doing poorly too. I did not want to accept that on face value, so had to dig.

dpsRanking5-3(Source: Noxxic’s rankings, based upon SimCraft. http://www.noxxic.com/wow/dps-rankings/realistic, for patch 5.3 using normal mode gear)

As a DK what I found made be bloody angry. It seems that the rough simulations performed by the SimulationCraft app for both “ideal” and “realistic” conditions have Death Knights as the lowest dps regardless of their spec choice.

Yup, that means all the banter normally seen between which playstyle is performing better is basically moot when you consider that any choice a DK makes can be out performed by every other class. Continue reading

A good time to return

Art-ToTIf the banter around flex raids is true, then patch 5.4 will be a good time for players to return to WoW, particularly if they are members of a guild like ours.

I know, that sounds like a recruitment post. It’s not especially one, but more players and characters are welcome.

What I mean is our guild is one which has a very dedicated raid team who sometimes used to have trouble with numbers. We now also have slightly more darn good raiders than we can fit in an ideal x10 man composition, and an additional growing number of more casual members who love to raid but also play wow in a less serious way. Or they might play hard, but less often.

For us (and potentially a large number of other guilds) Flex-Raids that means we are in an ideal spot. Whichever way we go in terms of using the flex systems, it can only be to our advantage. That said we (the officers) haven’t chatted through the implications as yet, but I fairly confident that we’ll get to a good place with a minimum of fuss.

Now all I need is to get through the 11x remaining kills of Lei-Shen for the uber-rare widgets of awesome, so I can catch up on the legendary quest chain. Fun times ahead watching folks stand in the bad.

Art-MC

FlexRaids in 5.4, and LFR is apparently killing wow?

I’m reading about the Flexible Raid feature which is likely for patch 5.4, and I really dislike where the community is already taking it.

Ultimately, my guess is that in the next expansion, as long as there are no technical difficulties with the Flex Raid system, is that it will replace LFR completely.  I sure hope it does.  LFR is a stone around WoW’s neck and needs to be killed as quickly as possible.  For this reason I welcome the Flex raid system with open arms, and hope that it succeeds.

WTF!

While LFR might be killing the game for some, you are the not the entire player base.

If not for LFR I could not see the raid content. I don’t have a huge social network of raiders with RealID to sync with, and therefore I need LFR for the game to be viable.

I would not have some of the gear I have which allows me to sub-in to help our guild’s regular raid team. I am a pitch hitter who helps fill gaps, and removing LFR only makes that a shitty experience to try and keep up with where our raid team is. Our Guild raids three nights a week and is about as social a group as I have ever played an online game with – because I know a bunch of them from real life and have played with others for years. Years and years in fact.

So this new system is designed for social…good. What I will then need to do is open up and connect with new folks to form irregular raid times to try and suit my irregular schedule? Nah, I’ll just keep doing LFR when I can.

I love that the Flexible Raid feature is being added, it is a great step that will benefit the game, but to say that this renders LFR obsolete is plainly wrong. It might be true that many players who begrudgingly play LFR now will only do Flexibel Raids, but I doubt that too.

Many players will try to do all three, and that is a bad thing. It means burnout and boredom are present faster. i.e. Weekly LFR, Flex, Normal on the same content? Nope, no time. Bah, move on.

Links: I Like Pancakes – Flexible Raid Preview. and MMO Champ’s article.

Are patches coming too fast? (wowinsider)

WowInsider has an interesting post – Are patches coming too fast?

My gut says yes they are, but only slightly. The main irritation I have with the patches is the news and hype mill, and the fact that I play so little that my main falls behind and that means zero alts.

As my friend Ragnaros says, “TOO SOON! YOU HAVE AWAKENED ME TOO SOON, EXECUTUS! WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS INTRUSION?”

The two points I’ll make briefly are (a) the ramp up of patch news arrived too soon for 5.3 after 5.2 hit the servers, and (b) our raid team was not able to get through all of the content, but I thin overall the timing of the actual drop was very good.

As far as (b) we could have done better if we’d had less in-team issues unrelated to the content. Folks leaving or having interruptions to their schedules caused us to lag behind where we really could have been. Should have been. Desire to be. One week extra would have made little difference, so this is really moot. The actual drop date was good. If I were a player trying to take two characters through the content then I suspect it would have been more of a struggle.

On (a) the rumour mill and the hype starts so far in advance of the actual content that I think it is a distraction to the current material. We had news of the 5.3 gear and weapon changes and some other patch notes before the best players in the world had killed the end boss on Normal mode. That is too fast. Far too fast.

The energy and hype on patches gives players excitement for what is next, but having the next carrot dangle when you have just got your teeth onto a new one feels like overload. We could have had one to two weeks of pure patch 5.2 discussion and feedback with Blizzard as a vendor, to make the feedback and excitement stick. Then they could have started talking about 5.3.

Heck we’ve already heard a blue make a “you’re going to love the next expansion” comment, which is too early by a bloody long way. We have not even heard a sniffle of how Garrosh will transition into a Boss.

Lastly I’ll concede a very valid point that too slow is worse than a little too fast. The wait at the end of Wrath of the Lich King and the Burning Crusade as long, and I think some players gave up due to that.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Thundering LFR thoughts

I did a LFR for Throne of Thunder (or ToT as it is being called in the off-channels) and it was ahem interesting…I was unlucky enough to joining a run already in progress and on the final boss of that LFR session – Council. What I saw was expected and I’ll share a little.

For starters, the LFR mini-game has not changed and is still present, meaning:

  • an idiot still trolled the raid by pulling with missing players/roles, and left before being kicked. I feel there should be a way to make that player’s life worse somehow because he wasted 10 minutes of 20-ish people’s time.
  • an impatient player still yelled and whined about “just pull” and was a general pain through out the encounters. These people make me not want to read /raid channel.
  • nobody “knew” the strat, despite the raid leader explaining it really clearly,
  • many Dps did terrible jobs of staying alive and also actually doing damage. We sat around 80k dps for most attempts, did about 105k on the kill, but 5-7 players were doing less than 40k, and some less than 20k dps. Doing 20k dos with a 30% buff is unthinkable.
  • gear level was low for some characters present, but honestly how they played was far more a factor.
  • I battlerez’ed another character in each attempt, but I think the attitude is to wipe and reset rather than push in LFR.

ToT-screenie

Oh, but we have new enhancements to the system to help:

  • the new 5% buff for each wipe is interesting. I joined the Council attempts at +15% so knew they’re already suffering. When we killed it we were at +30%. I was around 3rd on Dps for most of the fights, sometimes getting to 1st. The buff is not stopping people from leaving, and is not stopping situational awareness, or lazy players.
  • the new buff system will help reasonable players carry bad ones, which is why I fully support it as a concept. The max value of 50% might not be enough if the player base cannot learn about staying out of sand-traps, but it is a help.
  • We will have four of these raids by end of April to do each week. I do not have the time or inclination to repeat that repeat wipe experience 4x a week in addition to dailies and trying to get a raid spot. I find wiping like that totally frustrating. It is not progression when nobody stays to learn, or refuses to learn how to do the fight properly.
  • Oh – and my Mogu coin and luck remain consistent with the previous tiers, meaning NOTHING DROPPED for me BUT A SCRUB DPS GOT A TWO HANDED WEAPON at item level 502. I wanted to throw my laptop at that point, or go out and buy a cat so I could kick it.

To be fair a single boss kill in not enough to say that the sky is falling, and in fact I like everything I’ve seen in Throne of Thunder. The trash, the bosses I’ve seen, and the physical construction is very good so far. I am pleased to say I will return there, and even keep trying to offload my lucky-mogu-coins for something other than gold.

Continue reading

Patch, Token, and Guild

It has been almost a week between posts, as a deliberate strategy to not smash a few folks in the head using text, to calm down a bit, and to reflect on what we’re about to get from Wow’s patch 5.2. The stupidity indicator in my mental framework was flashing warning yellow all last week, and moved to match the aggro indicator in red on Friday and Saturday. Nothing to post here except that I have maintained my intolerance for liars, thieves, and real estate agents (do real life things get an interest here from readers? - I’m not sure).

In good news our guild’s raid team is getting stronger again thanks to some players returning from hiatus and also switching back after looking for greener pastures. That is a minor compliment of sorts as I do not think many folks quite a guild then return, and it also shows that the remaining players are good enough to accept them back. Kind of proud of what our GM and the officers have built. Kudos to all folks, and welcome to the recent arrivals.

[ ... The angry part of my lizard-brain wants to suggest that some of these folks left guild for a reason and we're still the same people, and that it might open us to more drama. Well yes, you lizard bastard, shut it. I choose to see this as positive and good. Circumstances and people are not the same between two different days of the week. Do I judge a person once and keep that sentiment forever? Sounds like a path to a boring and unhappy life.

Lizard-brain is a term I stole from a sci-fi novel where the storyteller explains basic animalistic reactions we have like attraction, anger response, survival, and such as being powered by the lizard-brain rather than the reason. I really like it. Eat, food, lunch... ]

For the raid team it means strength and diversity. We are stronger is a very practical sense as I am hoping that the more casual players (myself included) will be able to be slackers again. I love raiding, but hate that I let the team down with an early finish time each raid. It is a pain for everyone. The advantage of having 12-13 players in a raid team vs 8-10 is irrefutable. I still plan to be online and sub-in when needed, but can slip away when I need to in prep for the early starting work day.

We also get diversity from (hopefully) adding more classes to our mix. We lack a regular Warlock and a regular Paladin in the raid team, two classes of the three on one of the tier tokens. This means that our resident Priest is bloody well geared in main and offspec. Good for him too I say, but sheesh we had a lot of Mages, Druids, Death Knights in the runs. We don’t have a lot of Rogues, but then does anyone?

Tokens – T15 tier tokens seem to be reusing the classes of the T14 Tokens. Well shit, that’s just poor. I was hoping against all historic precedent that it would be switched around for each Tier in Pandaria. yes, I know that is a bitch for some teams, but for us it means we’re over saturated in a few classes for the entire expansion.

The class mix is:

  • Token A – Rogue, Death Knight, Mage, Druid
  • Token B – Warrior, Hunter, Shaman, Monk
  • Token C – Paladin, Priest, Warlock

I maintain that the tokens should be for any class, and let the raiders divvy them around. But hey, I’m just a casual and don’t understand what “real” raiders want. Sarcasm.

Appearance wise I maintain that the DK tier set looks dumb. I’ll revise that in game when I see it on screen – for now the teeth look lost. The human figure looks like it is half eaten. The armour is also inelegant. Did the designers run out of skulls for Death Knight gear and have a heap of Hunter teeth left over? Perhaps they ordered too many.

A positive is that the models match our spec choices, which makes transmog use somewhat appealing. There – I said something positive about the dental mistake that T15 is for Death Knights.

T15-DK-Helms-nom-nom-nom-nom

(Help! I’m stuck inside this abstract sculpture of teeth, and all I have is floss)

Looking forward I am anticipating the T15 raids to be good. The hype machine has certainly been telling me that they are fantastic, and I’m happy to take that expectation to heart. The content devs have even been doing the promo interviews amongst the big blogs and shows to demonstrate how much of a push T15 has. It had a promotion vid and also an official video too. Effort has been made by Blizzard, will it be enough?

The smaller changes in Patch 5.2 are interesting too.

Old patterns becoming available from Blacksmithing is meh, as it added no additional raid patterns (meaning ilevel 476+) out of the gate. I have no use for an ilevel 463 item now, and now also cannot upgrade that item as the upgrade vendor has left. That means it’s LFR or nothing for the quick upgrades. Whatever – don’t argue it, I get it. It shits me that the system was offered in the first place to act only as a patch jump.

When we see T16 replace T15 the gear divide from new level 90 to raider will be even wider, and there is a likely scenario where new patterns and the upgrade vendor will return. A telling mistake in previous patches was the time to get from newbie through to raider very late in the expansion’s life. Plans can be made to mitigate that.

I’m also a bit underwhelmed by the Archaeology changes for the Klaxxi. Here is a race that used to serve and worship the Old Ones as gods when they were active on the planet, and the archy material is a few new items and some achievements? Lost opportunity to do fantastic stuff right there.

Heck, the entire last Tier could be Klaxxi + Garrosh with aplomb. Imagine if T16 is a hash of old gods and the rejection of Garrosh by the Horde. It stinks of a good story. Even better if Garrosh is not thrown out because of being corrupted by old gods, but because of his own ambition. Let Garrosh raise alone to attempt to rule all of Azeroth, let him burn all before him, let his drive for power and absolute rule be the force that compels his followers and emboldens his naysayers.

Actually now that I read that, leave the Klaxxi/Old Gods out of it, and lets see a true natural menace appear in the world again. Garrosh can be the return to a true evil overlord in the story. No cop-out corruption, or misguided passion for purity. Give me a downright evil bastard and I’d consider switching factions to Horde just to feel the story of betrayal. Perhaps T15 bosses will open a few stories when they start falling…

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew Continue reading

Heroic Guardians in MSV defeated

The raid team are not resting after finally killing the Sha of Fear (getting the Guild to 16/16 Normal), and last night we were successful in killing the Stone Guardians of Mogu’shan Vaults on Heroic.

It is a tough fight for the healers, especially if the team are not coordinated. That said, a few of the raiders really knew what they were doing, as it looked to be a wipe, but the living players continued to fight, killing the dogs just as it enraged. If one of the 4 dead folks had lived a little longer (myself included) then we’d have probably not even hit the enrage. Any kill is a good kill when its the first.

The shorthand description of T14 H1/16 never looked so good. Screenies will go up later.

Loading screen for the Mogu'shan vaults