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Is Leveling Too Easy?

July 8, 2013 3 comments

Recently, a former Blizzard developer claimed that WoW is now too easy. And he has a point – everyone is racing to end-game and not stopping to smell the flowers that are now growing in Desolace. And this is somewhat true.

As an experienced WoW player and altoholic extraordinaire, I don’t think of the leveling game so much as too easy, as it is more convenient. When I leveled baby alts through Cataclysm, I was shocked to see all the starting zone mobs were now passive. I can now kill zombies at my leisure, instead of running for my life. As I leveled through zones such Silverpine Forest and the Hinterlands pre-Cataclysm,, Pyrewood Village in Silverpine and the troll area Jintha’Alor in Hinterlands was now solo-able, as the worgen and trolls were no longer elite. Though I have to admit, I miss the challenges a bit. Stealthing through Pyrewood on my druid just made those quests seem a little too easy even then!

Cataclysm nerfed content a bit more – all but eliminating group quests – especially those big guys in Dragonblight. Forming groups to kill elite mobs gave questing an epic feel to it that we no longer have, and new players will never get to experience. The expansion also gave us heirloom items for our alts. This of course made leveling much more convenient for those of us that just wanted to get more toons to max level.

Looking at it from a newbie standpoint, a player brand new to WoW wouldn’t have access to heirlooms. They may not even have access to a guild right away. As they’re learning the game, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for the starting zones to have passive mobs. It definitely takes the panic out of figuring out what the foo your buttons do as you’re being chased by a trogg.

Some other conveniences added to the leveling experience are pets. All pet classes now have pets at level 1. Hunters no longer feel the pain of having to wait until level 10 to learn how to tame a pet, while pretending to be a rogue as mobs got too close for you to shoot them. Of course, as a hunter you are designed to shoot so your stabbing skills weren’t necessarily any good. You almost had to dual wield as a hunter before level 10, since whacking mobs with a stick just didn’t do any good. Yes, leveling a hunter without a pet was painful back in the day.

Another convenience was mounts. Prior to Wrath of the Lich King, we had to huffpuff our way to level 40. Then, if we were rich, we could plop down ALL our gold for our first ground mount. If we were really lucky, our guild would front the money for that first mount. At leavel 60 we were able to train the fast ground mount, but that was an expensive luxury. Allowing mounts at level 20 definitely made life a lot easier, as it was much more convenient to get around. And finding a group for the Paladin or Warlock epic mount quest was an exercise in futility if you did not have a good supportive guild. But at the same time, it was a shame those quests have been removed. Again, it felt really epic to have accomplished those quest lines.

The biggest convenience to the leveling experience was the introduction of the Dungeon finder. Spamming trade for a tank for Zul’Farrak WITH the mallet was just not an efficient use of time. My paladin tanked and healed (without a dual spec) those places, sometimes simultaneously, because tanks and healers just didn’t exist. That brings me to dual spec – another huge convenience. Healers around Azeroth rejoiced. We no longer had to run back to our trainer, respec to dps to quest, then respec again to run a dungeon, then respec again to quest. That got expensive, and really really annoying. There’s a reason why I leveled 30-80 as holy. It sucked, but I couldn’t afford not to.

So to answer the question, is leveling really too easy? For alts, it’s great. For new players, it’s still great. I don’t really think it’s too easy. Leveling pre-Wrath sucked. With a capital suck. With all the conveniences added to the leveling game, bringing up alts, as well as new players is a much more enjoyable experience.

As for end game difficulty, well that’s another post!

Categories: Community Blog Topics

Hello, my name is Aly, and I’m an Altoholic

June 21, 2013 3 comments

Before I begin, the nickname “Aly” came from my former main toon Alykii. I haven’t played Alykii in 2 expansions, but the name stuck. Not that I mind, it is still part of my real name. Just not the part that everyone in real life calls me. Anyway…

First and foremost, I’m a healer. When you ask me to dps, you do so at your own risk. When you ask me to tank, then you’re just asking for trouble. I heal. I play whack-a-mole on my vuhdo boxes, and take a lot of abuse. What Masochist wouldn’t enjoy the abuse anyway? Right? Right???

I actually started out on my hunter Alykki. It was shortly after TBC launched, and I wanted to play in Kara with the big boys. ((whips out my cane and hearing aid)) Back in those days we didn’t have those newfangled trap launchers, and the survival spec didn’t exist. I sucked on my hunter. Autoshot, melee stats… go!

So my paladin Alykii was born. I wasn’t planning on healing on her, I didn’t know what I was doing with her. But she ended up being my main healer from mid-BC through the end of Wrath.

I wasn’t always an altoholic. I stuck with my hunter for about a year before moving on to the paladin. And even then, my paladin was it heading into Wrath. It was mid-Wrath when I started leveling alts in earnest. I blame my guild. We were running 25 man Naxx in Blood Red Skies, but a full clear was hit or miss depending on whether or not we had at least 2 shadow priests in the group for the Instructor fight. So being the helpful little peon I was at the time, I started leveling a priest. But being the ADHD person I am, she didn’t make it to 80 before we moved on from Naxx. I wasn’t really into the priest, so she became my bank toon and I leveled my mage and warlock instead. Mages were fun easy. I leveled frost, then tried out that crazy frostfire spec everyone raved about. I couldn’t really get the hang of it, so I went arcane, which was a very good raiding spec back then.

But the next toon I got to 80 was my warlock. I’ve only played affliction on her, and that’s all I’ll probably ever play. When I started raiding with her, I was in the top 2 dps on Sartherian while still wearing blues.  So Lunatyk (now Inkky) became my regular raiding alt for a while. Until I leveled my mage and had more fun with that. Luna was then relegated to PVP bitch while Wykkid (now Blynkki) became my raiding alt. Ever play a mage on Sindragosa, then switch back to heals? And spamming what *was* the blink button to get out of her AOE, and realizing after you died that you were pounding your FOL button (which doesn’t work while you’re moving)? Yeah. Me neither.

Somewhere around Ulduar, Alykii became a viable tank. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. I think I was still in BRS and I was building a tank offspec in Naxx (before dual specs were introduced). Ulduar came out, someone in guild said “Aly you have a tank set, right?” I said “uhhh… sure”. Invite pops up and I’m summoned to Ulduar.

Me: Uh, I’ve never tanked before and I haven’t even killed Ignis yet

RL: Just pick up the adds and drag them through the fire and then into the water

Me: Sure!

How I managed to perfect the mechanics without having tanked or seen the fight before, I have no idea. And after that I somehow became a semi-regular pinch tank while full time healing.

When the ICC 5 mans came out, I decided to level my druid. Kykki was sitting at level 29 semi-twinked for kitty pvp. I got her to 80, geared up and healing ICC. At this point we were running 2 ICC groups and I was tanking one while healing the other. Going kersplat on Marrowgar the day ICC opened was quite amusing.

The WOTLK expansion was when my severe altoholism reared its ugly head. I wanted to level everything! By the time most of ICC was on farm, I had my paladin, mage, warlock, hunter and druid all at 80. As we were working through the frost wing, I leveled up Kynkki  my abandoned priest. I still planned on her being a shadow priest. Until we got to the Lich King fight. And me being a healer and all… well. Kynkki was all of a sudden my new “main”.

I didn’t like the paladin changes in Cataclysm, so I decided to retire Alykii for the time being. I started out by leveling Kynkki to 85. She turned into a holy priest because the holy changes looked pretty cool, despite the fact that everyone was whining that priests were “broken”. With the introduction of goblins as a playable race, I couldn’t wait to start leveling my brand new baby goblin shaman Twynkki. She was born and raised in Cata. After I got her to 85, I couldn’t figure out how to play her so she got shelved. I’m pretty sure the druid was next, followed by my mage, warlock, paladin and hunter.

After the whole Deathknight novelty wore off, I decided to start leveling a DK. At this time, I had changed my mage’s name to Blynkki because.. well… she blinks. It was more appropriate to my naming scheme to name my mage Blynkki. Besides, there was another blood elf mage named Wykked running around pretending to be me. It’s like when you show up to the high school dance wearing the hottest dress you could find, but then some heather shows up wearing the same dress and looks better in it. And then you glare at each other, hiss and pretend you’re still a special snowflake.

After I race changed Blynkki to a goblin, the sub-naming scheme dawned on me. Luna became Inkky and was turned into a goblin. The DK was a goblin named Pynkki (and I wanted to give her pink pigtails but goblins didn’t have pink hair, so she ended up with purple pigtails, which in certain light looks almost pink). So I had Blynkki, Inkky and Pynkki. I also had Kynkki and Twynkki. Shortly before Cataclysm hit, I also leveled a rogue Snykki. She made it to 80 and… is still 80. At this point I was up to 8 level 85’s. But something was missing….

At the end of Cataclysm, I did the unthinkable. I rolled a warrior. I haven’t gotten very far with her yet. But she’s a goblin named Klydde. At last, my Pac-Man goblin family was complete!

(yes, I have issues)

At this time I had 4 healers – Kykki, Kynkki, Alykii and Twynkki. And Pynkki was a tank! Well… I use “tank” in a very loose sense of the word.

And then MOP hit. In the beginning, this expansion was the alt-killer. The grind to 90 sucked. The grind to gear and get ready for raiding sucked. The rep grinds sucked. The dailies sucked. LFR sucked. But we all knew that Blizzard would eventually make it easier on us.

So Kykki was it for a while. My lone 90. My main. Of course, that wasn’t going to last.

Twynkki was next. She turned into a lava spewing electrocuting hot little panda. I was gearing her for both heals and dps. DPS’ing was pretty fun. Healing, not so much. Resto shamans sucked across the board. I sucked even more because I just couldn’t play a resto shaman. My healer instincts were there, just the button pushing, not so much.

So what the hell, let’s level the mage! Mages not being able to be arcane anymore made me sad. Trying to play as a fire mage made me sadder. And nerd ragey. And all my responses to my hideous mage dps was “Ima healer lemme alone!” So I leveled the hunter. I leveled the hunter not to actually play her, but to max out leatherworking. See, I’m not just an altoholic, I’m also a profession ho. I must max all the things! So I did. Which meant I also had to level my priest who was a tailor/bs. Suddenly I have 7 level 90s…. err…. I mean 6. Yeah… 6. That you know of! bwahahaha!

Oh alright. I pulled a Reluu and leveled a 2nd druid. A secret 2nd druid. Shhhh. Her portrait is blue. I had to do it! I had to have the nerdpoints! I never leveled another toon on *that* side of the fence before. Granted, I cheated because my sister leveled it to mid 60s on my 2nd account, and I resurrected the account and an immediate boost to 80. So I really went only 10 levels. Don’t judge! /hangs head in shame

But Kykii is another tree. Yes, I must have two trees. Shaddup. I’ll eventually move her back to the good guys side. But leveling Kykii was really an experiment in masochism. See, I leveled her by questing. As resto. Talk about painful. Around 89 I just couldn’t kill shit, so I sucked it up and made the OS switch to boom. Yes, I still hate boom. Her OS will either be bear or kitty. Yes, I must have 2 kitties. Shaddup.

So that’s the history of my altoholism. I do have a level 74 priest (yes, another one) on the horizon. Yes I need two of those too.

My name is Aly, and I’m an altoholic.

Categories: Classes

Holy 5.4 Druid Changes Batman!

June 12, 2013 1 comment

After reading the recent wave of 5.4 patch notes, I felt compelled to make a post about this, since I play a resto druid. And I just dinged my 2nd druid to 90 as well. I wanted the Double Agent achievement dammit. No, I’m not okay.

This post is going to be from the Tree point of view. Why? Because I haven’t played a kitty since Cata and I didn’t want to look like a derp making shit up… and boom makes me want to punch a squirrel. Don’t even get me started about tanking.

So let’s dive right into it, shall we?

Dream of Cenarius Redesign

Restoration: Causes Wrath to deal 20% more damage and heals a nearby friendly target for 100% of the damage done.

I’m not a disco priest (well I have 2 of those as well but that’s beside the point). I’m still not going to choose this talent over Nature’s Vigil. Especially with the NV buff!

Heart of the Wild Tweak

Heart of the Wild when activated, now also provides a 25% bonus to healing for Restoration Druids.

I would likely never shift out of healing to take on another role. Unless we’re up against an insane enrage timer and we need that oomph. Even then I probably won’t take this over NV. See above.

Nature’s Vigil Buff

Nature’s Vigil when activated, causes healing spells now trigger an additional heal on a nearby ally for 25% of the amount healed. This is in addition to the existing effect where it damages a nearby enemy target for 25% of the healing done.

This is still the go-to talent for trees. NV already provides a flat 10% healing increase in addition to doing some damage. Before, only damage would trigger the additional heal on a nearby ally. This is allowing our healing spells to do it as well. Yes please.

Soul of the Forest Buff

Soul of the Forest has been partially redesigned to make it more attractive to Balance, Guardian, and Restoration Druids.

For trees, this increases the haste bonus by 100%, up from 75%. This is still the weakest talent behind Incarnation and Force of Nature. I would consider this talent if I didn’t have the 5% haste buff in the raid. This would make me a very grumpy tree indeed. Incarnation and FON are just too powerful not to use either one of them.

Ysera’s Gift

Ysera’s Gift, a new talent healing the Druid for 5% of their maximum health every 5 seconds. If the Druid is at full health, it will heal the most injured friendly target nearby instead. This talent fills the spot vacated by Nature’s Swiftness.

Nature’s Swiftness is now a spell for all! No longer a talent. Yay! So this new spell, I can see it having its uses. It’s like a priest’s desperate prayer, only way better. The other two talents in this tier are Renewal (which is a carbon copy of Desperate Prayer, and only really useful for questing or for other specs) and Cenarion Ward. CW has its uses as well, so I can see it coming down to choosing between CW and YG. CW would be helpful for incoming tank damage (like Horridon’s enrage). Otherwise, YG looks like one of those nice cast-and-forget-it type spells that you don’t even have to think about. Add it to your bar/buttons and cast when your other shit’s on CD.

Genesis

Genesis is a new Restoration spell learned at level 88. Genesis targets all party or raid members within 60 yards and accelerates the casting Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, causing them to heal and expire at 400% of the normal rate. Costs the same amount of mana to cast as Rejuvenation.

This is pretty sexy for some situations. I’m looking at Meg’s rampage, Tortos’s Quake and other situations of massive AOE damage. Blanket rejuv, cast Genesis and BAM. No more yelling at my screen “REJUV FASTER!” when my other CDs are on CD. I’m looking forward to playing around with this on the PTR.

Wild Mushroom Nerf

Wild Mushroom: Bloom is no longer capable of critical strikes, and accumulates overhealing done by Rejuvenation by 100%, down from 150%. Overhealing bonus no longer benefits from Naturalist or Mastery: Harmony.

WM buff in 5.3, we hardly knew ye. I loved you. I would have loved you forever. But then you went and broke my heart. And I’m sad. Did I mention that we only get one mushroom now? It does the same thing as three, supposedly. But I’m shaking my fist at you Blizzard. Show us the love then… be a big meanie. And with this nerf, comes the baffling glyph…..

Glyph of Efflorescence

New Glyph: Glyph of Efflorescence increases the healing done by Swiftmend by 20%, causes the Efflorescence healing effect to be triggered by Wild Mushroom instead of Swiftmend, and lasts as long as the Wild Mushroom is active.

So, let me get this straight. SM is buffed by 20% but doesn’t lay down the green circle of awesome. This would also mean that the treants from FON will also lose the effect. But this would also mean that the treants would get the 20% SM buff as well. But they only cast it on one target, then they go to HT.  The green circle of awesome then is triggered by planting a mushroom instead, and lasts up to 5 minutes (which is the current life of a mushroom if not bloomed). So players can just bounce in and out of the green circle. Like anyone will pay attention to that. Ha. So… hmmm… situational glyph at best. Biggest benefit will be when players are grouped up. Otherwise, why bother? I am so confused by this glyph I don’t even…

Innervate

Glyph of Innervate now causes Innervate to give both the Druid and the target 60% of the normal effect of the spell if it’s cast on a target other than the Druid.

Didn’t we used to have this? Back in T11 Star and I used to swap innervates all the time. We got more mana back that way. And then Blizzard took it away and nerfed it to the ground. Thank  you for bringing it back!

Miscellaneous Updates

Mass Entanglement no longer has a limit on the number of targets that could be affected, up from 5. PVP druids across Azeroth thank you. Otherwise, who cares?

Swiftmend’s area-of-effect healing effect is now called Efflorescence. Uhhhhh……. da fuck were we calling it before?? I mean *I* called it “Green Circle of Awesome* but…. wasn’t this ALWAYS called Efflorescence? /headscratch.

And there you have it! Lotsa Druid changes on the horizon. This is all still in test, so Blizzard reserves the right to scrap any or all of this. And I’ll be playing on the PTR because… holy shit that’s a lot of changes.

Where Did Everybody Go?

June 11, 2013 Leave a comment

I wonder if there is any truth to the scenario in my head.

Picture, if you will, a Blizzard meeting with network engineers, finance people and a few developers in attendance. The topic of discussion is bringing in more revenue. The conversation goes something like this:

Blizzard Dude 1:  Hey, you know what would be fun? Let’s totally shake up a bunch of guilds, annihilate a few realms, cause all kinds of drama and chaos, and Profit!

Finance Dude 1: Totally! Let’s offer a big fat discount for character services and see how many rats desert their ship! We’ll earn more because the amount of players that will do it may not have otherwise used the service.

Blizzard Dude 2: CHAOS!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH!!!

I’ve lived on Uldaman my entire wow life. Sure I’ve rolled a few random toons here and there. But Uldaman is where it’s at. Back in TBC it was a thriving little community. The population was good. Raid progress was decent. It’s always been kind of a real casual server. It has slowly started to decline, but with the recent discount that Blizzard threw at us, what was a slow decline has become a big fat server killer. It started in Cataclysm, when 10 and 25 man raids shared a lockout. This pretty much killed off most of the 25 man guilds. Uldaman had a few good ones. Immortalis, The Harlequins, Edge of Aggression, The Wrath of Medivh, Nexus… cracking the top 10 on the server was a feat. But the Harlequins after several years together splintered and fell apart. Immortalis, EOE and Nexus all transferred off. Uldaman has had 6 #1 guilds in the past 2 expansions. And we stuck it out.

Then the discount happened. The discount heard ’round the world. Three guilds up and left as a direct result of the discount. Just this year, 8 guilds have transferred off, with a total of roughly 1200 toons. Average about 5 alts per player, that’s still over two hundred players having jumped the Uldaman ship via guild transfers. This isn’t counting those that have left current guilds to greener pastures. At this time last year, the server population was 13,074. The population has currently dwindled to 4,644. Where has everyone gone?

It would appear that the most popular realms have been Thrall and Zul’jin. Why do players and guilds decide to make the transfer? “The server is dead” is not a reason. How does it hurt to be on a lower populated realm? Big guilds should not have the problems that smaller guilds do. The way I see it, the reasons for a transfer would be easier to recruit, and better economy. I’m not a big fan of que times, and I do just fine recruiting right where I am. I like being on a server where other players recognize us. We’re like Cheers. Becoming a household name on a server like Immo was, like Harlequins was… is a good thing. If we moved our merry band over to Zul’Jin for example, we’d be lost in a sea of big guilds. Our server ranking would hover between 60-80. I would think it’s a lot harder to recruit on server when there are so many other “better” guilds around.

(“better” of course is an extremely relative term here)

I think the majority of MT agrees. Nobody wants to spend $250 to transfer 10 toons (or more)  somewhere else. Nobody here cares about pugging raids. The flex option coming in 5.4 plus the ability to raid with battletag friends makes staying put much more attractive.

So those fools can shove off to those big fat bloated servers and good riddance. We’ll get some fresh faces here, and our little community will someday thrive once more.

Categories: Random

One Big Happy… Oh Wait….

June 7, 2013 1 comment

We’ve seen this on our own forums. I’m sure similar topics have cropped up on other small servers. With the drop in subscribers, and the ease of transferring characters and guilds, sparsely populated servers are becoming more sparse. So the question is, to merge or not to merge servers?

Let’s take a look at some of the larger issues that our communities are facing with medium/low pop servers becoming low pop/desolate.

  • Grouping. PUGs for normal content don’t exist.
  • Recruitment. With the pool so thin, guilds are forced to recruit off-server, and have to convince players why they should help breathe new life into their server.
  • Too many guilds, not enough people.

One of the “solutions” that’s been brought up was let’s just merge everyone into one big fat oversized server. Makes sense, right? Let’s look at the Pros and Cons to this.

Pros

  1. Solves the pesky low-pop issues
  2. Solves some recruitment issues
  3. Players don’t have to spend a fortune to transfer characters or guilds

Cons

Technical limitations. If we merged every realm into one big fat physical server, think of all the technical issues and forum qq explosions that will arise:

    • Login ques during prime time. You thought your high-pop ques were bad? HAH.
    • Lag. You thought 3 groups of 40 players killing Oondasta caused lag and slowed down performance? HAH.
    • Space. That would require a LOT of drive space. And it would require expandable drive space.
    • Maintenance/Rolling restarts. Byebye rolling restarts. hello one big fat restart and 8 million people whining together.
    • If a server goes down for whatever reason, that’s 8+million people blowing up the forums, and not just a few thousand if a realm gets knocked offline. That will knock the entire battle.net site offline if it gets that kind of traffic.
    • Not a lot of room to expand a physical server if subscriber base increases.

Naming Issues. There would have to be some VERY unique names out there. All of you 213 tauren paladins out there named “Holycow” (plus the many variations thereof), guess what? Only one of you gets to keep it. That goes for the 89  guilds named <Awesome>, the 144 guilds named <Insomnia> and the 161 guilds named <Invictus>.

Trolling/Harassment. You know how you can just leave a server if someone is trolling/harassing you? Or if there is drama you need to get away from? And don’t even get me started on trade chat! Where are you going to go now? Rift?

More Griefers. Trying to get that quest mob, but there are 900 other players there going for the same quest mob? Good luck!

Different Styles. Realistically, we’d have to have one big PVE server, one big PVP server, one big RPPVE server and one big RPPVP server. Otherwise we’ve just alienated 3 player bases. And the Goldshire Inn may get VERY interesting to some unsuspecting players! Is that something you’d want your kids to stumble into?

Economy. This would completely change the face of the economy. For better or worse, who knows? But it will be a lot different, that’s for sure.

So what are some other solutions?

Blizzard attempted to populate some areas by cross-realm zoning. There are some ways that this can improve. I would love to see Cross-Realm guilds. Allow players to join guilds on other servers without physically being on that server. Consolidating some of the lower populated servers by auto-transferring everyone from 1-2 low pop servers into one maybe another solution. But what if… ?

Virtual Consolidation

Physically, players are on different servers. However, there should be a way to make these servers virtually transparent. On the back end. spreading the resources among many servers will solve enormous login ques, drive space issues and other performance issues. But on the front end, make it seem that everyone is on the same server. This would give us:

  • Cross-realm Guilds – the ability to join a guild physically located on another realm without having to transfer characters.
  • One AH for each faction (yes, it would change the economy as we know it, but the AH interface needs a makeover anyway).
  • Cross realm grouping for ALL content without necessarily having to go through the battletag system.
  • The ability to mail items across realms to other toons.
  • The ability to send tells to players not on your battletag or in your group by typing the name-realm.

This is already the direction Blizzard has been moving in with the use of the Battletag/RealID system. We are already able to form cross-realm groups via the battletag system. We are already able to see players on other realms while we’re leveling baby toons through deserted content. The functionality is there. We just need to build on it.

Categories: Community Blog Topics

If Ghostcrawler was a Genie….

May 31, 2013 3 comments

…..and granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?

(and as the Genie in Aladdin said “ix-nay on the wishing for more wishes! You get three.)

I’ve thought back to all the times I’ve said to myself “I wish Blizzard would add….” Then we got our flying mounts in Azeroth. And we got to be able to chat with friends on other servers and factions. Then we got to actually PLAY with them! I don’t know, but Blizzard made quite a few wishes come true. But there are still a few things that I would love to see.

1. Guild UI Overhauls

The UI was tweaked a little bit when Cataclysm was launched, but seriously it needs a makeover. Pronto. Some things I’d love to see in the guild UI are:

  • Some connection between all a player’s toons. So if they log in a toon, we can see all their other toons on that account that are in the guild.
  • A prettier guild UI
  • Instanced “housing”. A place for the guild to show off its trophies. Screenshots of kills frozen in time. A place for the Guild Vendor to hang his hat. The possibilities are endless.
  • Something has to be done about the Guild Bank. It’s outdated. The logs are too limited. I’d love a feature where guildies can buy from the GB and sell items to the GB. Allow guild leaders to assign a price to certain items in the GB and open up a payment window when someone wants that item. Give players the option to sell or donate an item to the GB. Call it the “Guild Store”.
  • Ooooh! A Guild Store!! Add it to the GB or make it its own store. You know where a great place for a guild store would be? Ahem….
  • Do something with the useless LFG tool. It was a nice idea but, ugh. It needs a lot of help. More space for the guild description would be nice. the ability to send an in-game mail to someone interested in the guild just by clicking their name. Or even a browser to browse players who are actually looking for a guild.
  • Guild-bound items. Anything bought from a guild vendor stays with the guild. If players leave the guild, they lose the guild-bound item. We want to discourage guild hoppers.

Blizzard unlocked so much potential with Guild Leveling and Perks in Cataclysm. My biggest wish is for them to build on this.

2. Upgrades to the Blizzard Forums/Website

So this isn’t an in-game wish. This is a “someone please fix the forums” wish. In particular, the Guild Recruitment forum. Instead of a forum, build something like what wowmatcher.com did back in the day. It’s a shame that site hasn’t been updated since the beginning of Cataclysm.

The Guild Recruitment system should have:

  • An area for guilds looking for members. The area should allow Guild Profiles, which include a description, progression widgets, what they are recruiting, etc.
  • An area for players looking for guilds. The area should allow Player Profiles (pretty much what the current armory does), with a place for players to describe what they’re looking for.
  • Sortable! Filters! Help us find what we’re looking for!

I would love the blizzard website to include an area for Raiding Guild rankings, basically what wowprogress does. The rankings wouldn’t be just for raiding guilds. They could have RBG Team rankings, Achievement Rankings, etc. Imagine one place where you can see everything you wanted to know? Awesome.

3. Achievement Points

Make them actually MEAN something! Sure, we all love gathering up worthless nerdpoints. But some rewards for these points would be nice. Turn them into a form of currency. Unlock something once we have a certain number of points. Otherwise they’re just… numbers. You can do this Blizzard, I know you can. You already give us rewards for specific achievements (Long, Strange Trip mount, anyone?). Give these points some meaning!

So those are my 3 wishes. No, Ghostcrawler, I don’t want a pony. I have a pony. And it’s made of stars. Stars of awesome. Now let’s make this game more awesome.

/cheers

Categories: Community Blog Topics

Confessions of a Guild Leader – Dirty Laundry

May 28, 2013 3 comments

If I had a nickel for every time someone said they hate drama, don’t want drama, don’t tolerate drama, can’t stand drama, I would buyout Blizzard and rename them to Sunshine and Rainbows. But here’s the funny thing… everyone says that, but at the slightest whiff of it, all the dogs come running to the yard. What’s going on? What happened? WE MUST KNOW!!!!!

Why do you think soap operas are so popular and have been running for over 50 years? We can’t get enough drama! Without drama, life would be so boring, so mundane. So hate it all you want, but it’s like crack. Bad for you, but ohhh soooooo gooodddddddddd!!!! Not that I would know anything about crack… I’ve just heard. From uh… people who were addicted to crack.

So I think there’s good drama, and there’s bad drama. The good drama is the love triangle between Luke, Leia and Han before Luke realized Leia was his sister. The bad drama is that flaw in the Death Star that when exploited, blows the whole station to smithereens. See what I mean? If there’s entertainment value, it’s great. If it threatens the foundation of the world as you know it… not so much. And that’s not the drama leaders want the rest of society to be let in on.

I’m using analogies for a reason. Remember in the movie Armageddon where the government didn’t want to tell the world that a meteor was going to slam into earth and wipe out life as we know it? It’s because it causes mass hysteria, panic, and makes people run for the hills… or the moon. As much as nobody trusts the government, guild members have to trust their leadership. As much as I love transparency, sometimes it’s better to let problems get solved without creating that sense of panic and hysteria. Without creating those questions of “OMG WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!!!!????”

If word didn’t get out in Armageddon, the movie would have been awfully boring. But think about it… if there’s a plan in place that works, that fixes the problem, there’s really no point in the rest of the world knowing that a problem even existed. Ignorance is bliss, yes? And you have to trust us that there’s a reason why we just can’t tell you everything. It’s in the best interest of the guild…uhhhh…  the world. Who wants to be part of a guild …dammit… world, where your government airs out its dirty laundry?

It’s called “Shit Happens”. MT states in its mission statement that “we do not tolerate drama. And while it’s unavoidable at times, it will be dealt with as quickly as the situation dictates“. As guild leaders, it’s our job to keep drama out of the open. Anything that affects guild members at large will be posted and communicated. I think we do a pretty good job of keeping everyone in the loop. Sometimes, it’s best that we just throw the laundry in the wash before anyone notices that we spilled ketchup on someone’s nice new white shirt, get it all cleaned up and move on.

Categories: Confessions

Labels, Semantics and the Overuse of it all.

May 13, 2013 1 comment

I’ve had my opinion on this long before a couple of WoW Insiders started bantering back and forth about it.

Let’s start with Casual vs Hardcore

(yes, I just went there)

Consulting our good friend dictionary.com:

cas·u·al

adjective

1.happening by chance; fortuitous: a casual meeting.
2.without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing: a casual remark.
3.seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned: a casual, nonchalant air.
4.appropriate for wear or use on informal occasions; not dressy: casual clothes; casual wear.

5.irregular; occasional: a casual visitor.

hard-core

adjective

1.unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated: a hard-core segregationist.
2.pruriently explicit; graphically depicted: hard-core pornography.  
3.being so without apparent change or remedy; chronic: hard-core inflation; hard-core unemployment.

Out of these definitions, I would think (and I’m sure anyone can make any of these definitions apply), the third “casual” definition and the first “hardcore” definition would be the best ones to apply to game play, since I’m pretty sure pornography is not allowed in WoW (unless you go to the  goldshire inn on Moonguard… uhh… so I’ve heard).

Actually, let’s run with that. It makes this a much more interesting blog post. Let’s take the obvious raiding game out of it and look at RP. I’m not into RP in WoW, but there are players who are. And there are players who are on different ends of the RP spectrum. There are those that dabble in it, role play on occasion on their RP toons. Based on the above definition, these players may be defined as “casual” RP’ers. They may fit the 4th definition (occasional) or even the third definition (unconcerned). There is a player base that absolutely uses this mindset. Then you have the Goldshire Brothel on Moonguard. Everyone has heard of it. Some may even casually partake in the goings on there. But these folks are more dedicated. As well as pruriently explicit and graphically depicted.

Now let’s look at the raiding base. These two terms seem to take on much different meanings when it comes to raiding or PVE end game. And if you look at the actual definitions, one can see why a “casual” raider gets the negative connotations that players have given it. It’s not a huge leap to go from without definite or serious intention or seeming/intending to be indifferent to “bad”, or “lazy”. You can almost see the sneers when players describe other players as “casual.”

So the funny thing is, many of the players that often get labeled “casual” by the playerbase at large, are actually more “hardcore” by definition. There are a LOT of dedicated players in this game. I would say many players don’t feel indifferent or apathetic toward their game play at all, and resent being labelled “casual” and not getting the credit they deserve.

We can’t equate “casual” to “bad” and “hardcore” to “good”. It just doesn’t work that way. How are we defining “good” and “bad” anyway?

good

adjective, bet·ter, best.

1. morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.
2. satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.
3. of high quality; excellent.
4. right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentials are good.
5. well-behaved: a good child.
6.  kind, beneficent, or friendly: to do a good deed.
7. honorable or worthy; in good standing: a good name.
8. educated and refined: She has a good background.
9. financially sound or safe: His credit is good.
10. genuine; not counterfeit: a good quarter.

That’s just the top 10. There are 45 definitions of the word “good”.

bad

noun; adverb, adjective

1. not good in any manner or degree.
2. having a wicked or evil character; morally reprehensible: There is no such thing as a bad boy.
3. of poor or inferior quality; defective; deficient: a bad diamond; a bad spark plug.
4. inadequate or below standard; not satisfactory for use: bad heating; Living conditions in some areas are very bad.
5. inaccurate, incorrect, or faulty: a bad guess.
6. invalid, unsound, or false: a bad insurance claim; bad judgment.
7. causing or liable to cause sickness or ill health; injurious or harmful: Too much sugar is bad for your teeth.
8.suffering from sickness, ill health, pain, or injury; sick; ill: He felt bad from eating the green apples.
9.not healthy or in good physical condition; diseased, decayed, or physically weakened: A bad heart kept him out of the army.

36. Slang. outstandingly excellent; first-rate: He’s a bad man on drums, and the fans love him.

Again, I listed 10 definitions. There are 36 of them.  What does this mean? This means there is no meaning. Ask 100 people who play WoW to define “good” or define “bad” and you’ll get 100 different answers. Maybe half of them will use “casual” or “hardcore” to describe them. What is a good player? Is it someone who is “high quality”? Sure, that’s one way to define it. I think it’s vague enough that I can assume most will agree with this statement.  The definition of “High Quality” may also be somewhat universal in the World of Warcraft, but it doesn’t always equate to “good”.  And “good” isn’t always “high quality” in the broader gaming sense.

I think if I asked anyone in a battleground how they define “bad”, they may come back with the first definition verbatim. That’s probably a little harsh. Maybe the fourth definition would be closer to the truth. Inadequate or sub-standard are terms Raid Leaders use a lot. That’s not to say the player is really bad. Just there’s room for improvement. When I think of how “bad” is used in WoW, it feels more like players are attacking other players’ character and not necessarily their skill (or lack thereof).

Though I have to laugh. We see it in battlegrounds a lot, players calling other players “baddie” or “baddy”. I looked this term up too!

bad·die

noun

a villainous or criminal person.

So really, no players are “baddies”. The Baddie is Garrosh, Deathwing, Arthas, Kil’Jaden, Kel’Thuzad. Not us. We’re not evil.

So getting back to that whole casual vs hardcore vs good vs bad thing. I think it would be very fair to say that there are “hardcore” players that may not be good players. Likewise, there are casual players that are not bad players. Therefore, we cannot equate casual to bad or hardcore to good. Here are some examples of how to use these terms in WoW:

Example 1:  Whizzy is a player who doesn’t raid. He never liked raiding and was never really that good at it. He has mastered all the professions and plays the Auction House. He has made several million gold through AH buying and reselling.  He would be considered a hardcore player. Obviously, not on the raiding side, but on the “dude’s totally obsessed about making gold” side.

Example 2: Dizzy is a raider. He raids 3 nights a week. When he’s not raiding, he’s out farming mats, VP capping, daily capping, buying gear on the AH, running LFRs, studying his class, watching videos and analyzing logs. He theorycrafts, eked out every last bit of possible dps he could by min/maxing, etc. When we raid, he tops the meter for a bit, then dies. He can’t dodge tornadoes. He can’t get out of rockfalls. He stands under Garalon. He tops the meters in DPS and friendly fire. He’s a hardcore player because of his dedication and commitment. But he’s not very good because he tanks the floor.

And we can’t necessarily call someone one thing or another. In some cases, players can be both.

I’m going to pick on Myranda here, because I can and he loves the attention. I consider him a very good player. He kicked ass on his ret pally. He theorycrafts, he strives to be the best player he can possibly be. But while he’s been very loyal to the guild, he’s not a very dedicated raider. Yes, foo I can almost predict when you take your 6 months breaks! LOL. So if I were to slap a label on his ass, what would it be? A hardcore player, but casual raider. I can even say he’s a hardcore MT’er. But definitely a casual raider.

So if we’re going to be throwing labels around, what do we call MT? If I’m out recruiting, and I say MT is a casual raiding guild, what the hell does that even tell someone? 5 players looking at that post can interpret it 5 different ways. I’m a fan of telling it like it is. Take out the mystery, confusion, misconceptions of these labels. For anyone who’s recruiting for their guild, tell people who you are, and don’t fluff it with “casual”, “semi-hardcore”, “progression”. Don’t just say you’re active, social or fun. Say what you DO. Then let your audience draw more accurate conclusions.

I like to describe MT as “Business-Casual”. I’m not going to whip out the dictionary, and I’m not going to open this label to interpretation. I am going to give you an analogy. If someone invites you to an event where the dress code is “business casual”, you don’t dress up in tuxedos and evening gowns and deck  yourself out with the most expensive jewels. You also don’t just roll out of bed, don’t shower, throw some wrinkled clothes on from the hamper and think that’s acceptable. MT is a raiding guild and this is how we approach raiding. You’re not required to raid every day, theorycraft, VP cap, etc. But don’t just roll out of bed and show up half drunk. Unless your name is Kioja.

(sorry dude, couldn’t resist LOL)

See I pick on everyone here. I hope Giz doesn’t feel left out.

Categories: Random

Look for the Helpers

April 23, 2013 1 comment

 

Yesterday, I wrote about my personal feelings about the attacks in Boston last week. But I feel there’s a lot more to be said about what this means for our next generation.

When 9/11 happened, my little brother Travis was just 2 years old. The following year, I was staying with my dad in NYC and we visited Ground Zero. It was eerily quiet, and a sense of peace had settled over the zone. You could almost hear the spirits whispering. We read the plaques setup there. We had a moment of silence. Then Travis, a precocious 3 year old looked at my dad and said “Daddy is that where the airplanes were broken?” Tears filled my eyes as he paused, and finally responded “Yes, that’s where the airplanes were broken.”

My niece Olivia is 3 years old, the same age Travis was when he tried to comprehend the worst attack in U.S. history. Her daddy is in the army and often called to “go fight the bad guys”.

In the photos and videos of the Marathon, there were children standing around, cheering on the runners. Cheering on their parents, aunts, uncles and friends. Wide eyed and innocent. All of that gone in an instant. Instead of watching runners finish, they watched people die. They watched people get maimed. They witnessed a horror no human being, let alone a child, should ever witness.

What do you say to a child who just lost his leg? Who just lost her 8 year old brother? Who watched it happen on TV? The only thing we could do. We thought back to the comfort of our own childhood hero, and quoted Mister Rogers. “Look for the helpers.” Show them that there are good people in this world.

Shit like this just didn’t happen when I was growing up in the 80’s. Our worst tragedy was Mookie Wilson’s dribble down the first base line that went through Bill Buckner’s legs. My sister and I went to grade school without fear of being shot by another student or by a madman. We went to day care as small kids without fear of being blown up. We went to the movies without fear it would be our last. We cheered on runners at the finish line. We were truly innocent. It wasn’t until my teenage years into young adulthood that shit really went to hell. Places or dates you only have to say once and everyone knows what you’re talking about. Waco. The World Trade Center. Oklahoma City. Columbine.  Olympics. 9/11. Fort Hood. Colorado. Newtown. Boston.

Children today don’t know a world without violence. They have been deprived of innocence. Of that blissful naivete in believing that world really IS a good place. A peaceful place. And we are peaceful people. That has all changed.  For those at the movies in Colorado. For those who were playing Tag in the schoolyard at Sandy Hook Elementary. For those attending a daycare at a Federal Building in Oklahoma City. For those passing notes in the classrooms of Columbine. For those whose mama or daddy kissed them goodbye as they headed for work at the World Trade Center. For their friends and their classmates. For those cheering at the finish line.

What can you do? What can you say? Look for the helpers. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be okay.

Categories: Random

Boston Strong

April 22, 2013 1 comment

 

I find writing very therapeutic. It helps me figure out what I’m feeling, when events so overwhelming hit so close to home. So here I am. Blogging again.

Monday April 15th, 2013

It was considered a holiday around Boston. We call it Patriots Day. We also call it Marathon Monday.  Yanni had to work anyway, but I got the day off. When Yanni isn’t around, the TV isn’t on. He’s a boob tuber. I’m not so much. That afternoon, I was frittering away on WoW. Suddenly, just after 3pm I got a text from my mother in Tucson.

“OMG explosions at the marathon! Are u ok??”

Immediately I flipped on the TV. Holy Fuck!  My mother should know better, I tend to avoid places of mass humanity. I worked in that area for years, dealing with marathon traffic. And I realized…OMG one of my friends still works there. The explosions went off right around her normal lunch break. Then I got another text from my friend Christine who is an anesthesiologist at Mass General Hospital.

“Are you watching the news?? Explosions in Copley Square. I tried calling Diane, no answer.” OMG please let her be OK. Please let her be OK.

I tried calling Diane. It rang about 10 times before it cut off into a busy signal. No voicemail. Then reports were coming in about an explosion/fire at the JFK library, which is right next to the UMass-Boston campus where I work. Now I appreciate holidays, but I was never more thankful that I was not on campus that day. We didn’t know what the fuck was going on. All we knew was terrorism just hit home. I texted Yanni, who was out working and not watching/listening to the news.

“Explosions at the Marathon finish line!”

“What??”

“I can’t get in touch with Diane. She’s at the Pru.”

Then his phone went nuts with calls and texts as did mine. I had to keep facebook up with updates letting people know I was ok and that I wasn’t working that day. The TV was on 24/7 at that point. I was home, watching it unfold. Watching the reports of an 8 year old child losing his life. I cried. Not just cried, howling cries, sobs wracking my body. My faith in humanity shattered. I sent Diane a text and posted on her facebook wall. “Please call or text me and let me know you’re OK!” She finally answered about an hour later.

“Safe home 2 booms then thousands running towards me thought it was a gun man.”

I let out a sigh of relief and cried again. I texted Christine and Yanni letting them know Diane was safe. I responded to concerned responses on her facebook wall. She’s safe.

Tuesday April 16, 2013

I woke up to my 6:30am alarm clock, and saw the text from the UMB emergency alert system. Campus was closed due to the investigation into the fire/explosion at the JFK library. The entire campus was swept. I stayed home glued to the TV. The fire appeared to be mechanical, but coincidentally it broke out right after the 2nd explosion on Boyleston St.

Wednesday April 17, 2013

Campus was re-opened so I went back to work for the first time in 4 days. State troopers and military personnel were roaming the subway stations, randomly checking bags. Their presence was comforting and nerve-wracking at the same time. At this point, we had no clue who had done this and why. The Bruins played that night against the Buffalo Sabres. While the game itself was nothing special, what happened before the game was an amazing sight. I flipped on the TV just as the pregame show was playing a montage to “Home”. And then the National Anthem. Rene Rancourt made his way onto the ice, clearly emotional. He wavered on the first bars of the Star Spangled Banner, then suddenly dropped his mic as the crowd strongly and emotionally thundered out the anthem a capella. I lost it. As I’m sure many around the city did.

Thursday April 18, 2013

President Obama made a day trip to lead a interfaith service. He didn’t stay very long, but his words were powerful. Authorities now also had a pretty good idea of who they were looking for, and released photos to the public looking for a break in the case. It happened late that night. At approximately 10:30pm, just as I was going to bed, the “suspects” were likely carrying out another attack at MIT when they ambushed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier right outside the Stata Center. They then carjacked an SUV right around the corner from my house and sped down the street and across the bridge into Watertown where the shootout and explosions happened in the middle of the night.

Friday April 19, 2013

Since I was asleep through the drama of what took place that night, I woke up at 6:30am to my alarm clock and saw 2 panicked texts from my mother timestamped 1:30am as well as a text from the UMB emergency alert system. Campus closed as a result of the MBTA shutdown. What? I scrolled through my mother’s texts.

“OMG cop killed on MIT campus. Bet ur glad ur not working there. Stay safe. Will be out there in a week. xoxo.” Really Ma? Even if I was still working there, I wouldn’t have been there at THAT hour!

“Why am i watchin news explosion and chase to watertown. Two suspects arrested in watertown FBI involved. Don’t know if related to bombs on Monday or the shooting of cop at MIT. OMG stay safe xoxo.”

I got out of bed and headed to the living room where Yanni was glued to the TV.

“umm Kimmy?”

“What the FUCK is going on?!”

“City of Cambridge on lockdown. We can’t leave the house. They’re in Watertown. the T is shut down.”

“Yeah I got the text from UMB, I’m not working today.”

As we watched in shock on TV the events that were unfolding down the street, we heard the sirens blaring down Western Ave as they zoom zoomed past my house and into Watertown. I wondered if my brother in law who is in the Army Reserve was called to duty. My sister had texted me earlier in the week letting me know they were ok. But I couldn’t move. I could only watch. Watched the gathering at the Watertown and Arsenal Mall down the street. Watched as they identified the MIT Officer who was killed in the line of duty. Watched as they searched the Cambridge apartment where they lived. I felt a small relief that they lived on the other side of Cambridge on the Somerville line. I live on the Cambridge/Watertown line. Yeah, small relief.

Friday night was a WoW raid night for me. Shortly after the raid started, the texts were pouring in again. I whirled around to the TV. Across the photo of his face was the magic word. CAPTURED. And I cried again. I was only healing trash at that point in the game. So I was kinda one-handed healing while the other hand quickly wiped away the tears.

They messed with the wrong fucking city. MY fucking city. I was angry. No. I was wicked pissed. Those cocky assholes thought they could just blend in, drop some bombs, kill and maim innocent people and not get caught? Well guess what. Suspect #1 got shot, blown up and run over. Suspect #2  ran, tried to hide and got his ass kicked. Boston shut everything the fuck down and went after him. With an entire city, region and and nation backing them up. I am damn proud of my city and of Boston’s Finest, for not resting, and not relenting until we were safe again.

Categories: Random
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