You want hardcore? Then burn

Divine Plea as a post about the QQ on Nurfs. I agree mostly. The qq on the nurf makes me mad too, especially when it comes from folks who were in no way even close to being negatively affected; so I commented:

How about this – Blizzard rolls back the nurfs on HMs, in fact they increase them. Make HMs so brutal that only 0.25% of the player base can stand it, and add a month long attunement to them as well. You want a way to prove how godlike you are, fine. I hope Blizzard gives it to you in spades.

You want hardcore? Where is the limit, and what about your neighbor’s limit? Oh, right, screw your neighbour…its all about you.

Mostly I mean that. But a little of me knows that there is a rational argument for why its not OK to just sweep the nurf bat around. I suspect it is mainly the timing and the lack of notice that is the real issue for some players. If they’d known about it sooner, or perhaps if it had happened at the same time as 4.3 they’d care a lot less. If their personal progression was a little faster, they’d be less bothered?

By no means am I having a bitch or rant, I’m actually finding this change to be a very interesting way to understand the players. People are coming out on all sides with great perspectives on the affects – this “drama” shows us more about the shades of grey.

Progression is somewhat an illusion. Some people fight to get 7/7, and others fight to get as far as they can, and others fight until they must sleep. It is relative. There are darn handy websites who track your exact progression relative to others, relative to every other bloody guild playing the game. You want an idea of your progression? Then track and measure yourself by your server ranking. Then Battlegroup, then Region, and then across the playerbase. Then you’ll know where you sit.

If you are 5/7 now, you’ll probably get 7/7 soon after the nurf, and if you are progressing based upon competition with others, or for some sort of experience validation – then this change should have no real affect.

…but then I know it will in the back of your mind, and I know that it still feels wrong somehow. Like an itch you just can’t scratch, it drives you to say and do things that are unusual. All I can offer to you folks is the advice that you’ll get another chance in patch 4.3.

All this talk of progression and difficulty also makes me think that along with an Easy mode for Raids, perhaps we could see a DEATH-MODE as well. There are the fights where the bosses are just bastards. They’d be like me as a DnD games master after too much sugar and not enough sleep. Giant blue lightning bolts from the sky…indoors!

Give me a Total-Party-Kill counter in the GUI.

A rolling debuff that must slay a team mate at a random time in the fight, so you don’t get to “save” a res.

An artificial latency increase by 500ms.

And fire…more fire than you’ve seen since the first rpgs were written.

and Burn.

I see nothing wrong with giving the really cutting edge guys quasi-impossible tasks that mere mortals are not meant to do. In fact don’t even give them a reward for it, the suffering and final completion are the reward.

Or just the suffering. Happy killing (now with 30% less hit points).

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Frost and Unholy Gear Guide for 4.2

Orcish Army Knife has a really good summary of gear for Frost and Unholy Death Knights, updated for patch 4.2. Just thought I’d share it in case there are some DKs who have not found it.

Why is it good? Well you can plan where you will get your upgrades from.

For example my only Wrist upgrade is either PvP, or a BoE drop, or one boss drop. So I purchased it now rather than waiting to get lucky. Sure, I needed to spend 12000gp on it, but it will be my wrist slot item until we are in the next content release, as I doubt I’ll get lucky with Lord Ry’s drop rate on wrist items.

Patch 4.2 for WoW inbound

Well its about to land, and none too soon. WowInsider has a post with the full notes, and its nothing overly different from the previous 3-4 weeks of patch notes. If you have not read the patch, this summary is useful and short enough to be scanned over while you are pretending to be doing work, study, or listening to a family member.

Frankly this patch is all about the content. Content is king for Warcraft now, and will keep the players engaged or frustrate them enough to bail altogether. I am looking forward to it and hoping that they’ve nailed something interesting. With the Star Wars chatter, a Warhammer 40k game in development, and many other distractions in real life – World of Warcraft is looking to revitalise the player base in a setting of increased expectation and limited tolerance for bugs.

Now some random thoughts…

  • How interesting and maintainable will the daily quests be? Like Sons of Hodir (grinding), or the Isle quests (ok, if a little chaotic). Given the quest rewards are buffs for regular raiders, and some are even nice for folks who have done hard modes, I expect the effort to be directly proportional to the reward. Yes, I’ll see you there regularly as we grind. Pity the mongrels with many toons.
  • Will we be jumping straight in and raiding, or grunting through content and trash. In fact considering that its already been said that the trash is plentiful and hard – should we be pushing strategies for trash? Hopefully the zones are structured enough that we’re not clearing for hours.
  • Will we see players return, and if so (as I expect a few), will they bring drama? Anyone in my guild would be well warned to avoid making demands in the new days, especially if they’ve only just returned from hiatus. If you’re a returning play then consider the folks who played through – your seat may not be there waiting for you, but be patient. Raid leads will be wanting to see options, not complaints.
  • Will I even be able to lay without all my add-ons? Nope, I’m a cripple without a threat-meter, custom bars, and some useful nameplates.

Happy patching, modding, … sampling, looping, something*, and eating (PWEI reference).

Class balance changes for DKs in 4.2? Balderash!

GhostCrawler has posted some thoughts on class balance, as implemented in 4.2. It’s great that he is sharing, fantastic to see some of the thought processes, and disappointing that the processes he is sharing indicates that the game is continuing to focus away from where my focus is.

This is somewhat self serving post to give feedback into the community-ether, based upon the 4.2 changes as affecting Death Knights. Specifically to ask the question: Why in hell are PvP balancing items changing the PvE game?

Quoted from the Blue Post…

Death Knights

  • We added the cast time to Hungering Cold for PvP reasons. It is one of the most powerful forms of crowd control in the game, especially in Battlegrounds, and yet was impossible to prevent.
  • The nerfs to Obliterate and Howling Blast were made because Frost damage was too high in both PvP and PvE. Note that these values were hotfixed — you shouldn’t see damage drop further when 4.2 goes live.
  • The Glyph of Dark Succor change was to keep Death Strike from providing so much healing in PvP.
  • The Might of the Frozen Wastes change was a small tweak to help keep one-handed Frost relatively competitive with two-handed style.
  • The Unholy Might buff was to help catch Unholy up to Frost in PvE. Interestingly, we didn’t nerf Unholy damage at all in 4.1, but you can still see a small drop in their DPS because so many talented DKs went Frost. I’d love to have the discussion some time about how close two similar specs need to be before players will play the one that is most fun for them and not the one that does theoretical higher damage. Is it 5%? 1%? 0%?

So you see its stated plainly from the man with the nurfbat himself; DKs are being changed in their flexibility in PvE due to a PvP imbalance.

Take aside the straight damage tweaks and consider the introduction of a cast time for Hungering Cold: this is a key ability I use in almost every raid for controlling the mobs. For example the Nefarian fight requires add control, and a DK is a key choice for this. With a 1.5 second cast time (or 2 sec, I’m not sure) I’ll be standing still getting smashed in the face while I try to kite the adds. Totally counter-productive to PvE content.

Now in 4.2 I won’t be fighting Nef any more, I’ll be in Firelands, but the utility that Hungering Cold brings to the raid can be applied in a wide variety of ways, and to take this away removes a utility from the class. I love having utility, it means I assist the raid while doing my dps role. A dps loss is trivial when you are on add-control duty, but 1.5 seconds of damage while you get hit and potentially also suffer casting time push back…is poor. By counter example – are mages having their Frost freeze ability changed to a cast time?

I can live with the other changes, as I think they are part of the see-saw of balance that will always continue. So don’t take this as a blinding rave, its not. My point is that we continue to see changes in one area of the game which impact the other. An MMO Champion poster made a comment along the same path:

That Hungering Cold nerf, just because of PVP. Yet another example of why blizz should add a PVP only talent spec so the PVE players don’t get screwed.

Why is it so hard to have different affects in PvP to PvE? We already have different cool-downs, and some abilities not active in PvP, wouldn’t it make sense to continue this separation?

I’ll go a step further and ask what the value of Hungering Cold is when it has a 1.5 second cast time? After that duration a PvP player will move away from the DK and the affect is totally wasted. In PvP the enemy is constantly moving away from the DK anyway, and HC was a way to keep them close. So by adding this the use of the ability will become less in PvP, and therefore less overall in the game. So the nurf applies a change which makes pvp control harder, and pve harder.

Lets not even start to chat about the affect of being interrupted while casting now, or what happens when you’re locked out of the spell school…

Enough of this malarky, I’m off to the pub. Happy Killing.