Just a thought.

Just a quick thought for the day.

 

 

The achievement system which is apparently going into place with the next upcoming content patch has in it (at the time of this writing at least) a series of achievements for “first to level 80” per class on each server.

I am not sure how much thought Blizzard has put into the behavior this achievement is going to promote. The time is not based on an actual played time from 70 to 80 but on who actually makes it first based on what amounts to a stopwatch that starts as soon as WotLK goes live.

What was put in place to encourage a bit of competition in efficient leveling will have a bit of a different real world result I think. It will likely more boil down to who can either organise the best team of people to play in shifts or for a single individual to play continuously with little time for distractions like sleeping and eating.

The first option essentially encourages cheating. The only way I can conceive of it not being in violation of the Eula is to use the clause that allows a parent to allow their minor child to play on their account. The parent could then take the kid(s) out of school for a few days and set up a rotation so one could sleep while the other levels. Somehow I don’t think this is the kind of activity Blizz is thinking about encouraging.

The second option is even worse. I have done a few marathon grinding sessions in my time but this is just way over the top. This would seem to be pointed at rewarding the person who takes vacation/calls in sick/cuts school and does nothing but level their character and (hopefully) sleep. Eating at the computer and possibly using the restroom while in flight (don’t think about laptops, just don’t go there). All this in order to get an achievement and if rumor holds a title.

I really do think the idea of rewarding efficient leveling is a good one, hell it’s one of the things I enjoy most about the game. I do not think the way this is set up encourages good behavior though, if anything it is encouraging the opposite.  The only way I can think to implement something like this without the downsides I just mentioned would be to have it based off of a /played time from 70 to 80, weighted for rested XP as well.

  • Take a snapshot of a characters /played time when they are both level 70 and have WotLK installed.
  • keep a separate counter of played time for achievement purposes, so that rested XP would count double.
  • make the achievement instead of “first to 80” something like “fast to 80”
  • set it on a timer so it would award the achievement if you reach 80 within a certain amount of /played time from 70.

I think something like this would go a long way towards rewarding the behavior that I believe they are trying to reward and not promoting behavior that is not really even close to being healthy.

830 Days

730 days.

104 weeks.

24 months.

2 years.

In the spring of 2006 I picked up a copy of World of warcraft on the advice of a friend and coworker. A friend who introduced me to the game and unknown to me until just recently made sure I leveled the hard way. Knowing that the guildies who would eventually become my friends would have helped me out he insisted that I be left to my own devices. He came down and dropped off a few bags and that was about it. Learning the way I did made me a better player. When I see him again I’ll have to thank him for that.

I played through the month that came with the game and then a 60 day game card before I let it expire for the summer.

That fall I received a game card for my birthday (the 37th if your curious). Since it fell on a Tuesday I decided not to start it back up until the next day. So that is how it came to pass that my oldest character Decado (now named Dekado after a server transfer) came to be born. August 29th, 2006.

Looking back on the last two years I realize how lucky I have actually been.

I have made some friends, several that talk to outside the game now more than I do inside. People who were there for me when I needed an ear to bend about the curve balls life throws at us all. People I have listened to when the curves were thrown their way. I don’t care what anyone says, people met online can be just as much a friend as someone met in person.

It is a lot to think back on. Two years of memories.

This weekend I am going to head out camping, and Dekado will be spending it in the Worlds End tavern. I will be sitting (possibly mildly inebriated) at a campfire enjoying the company of the friends that happen live close enough to be there. I am sure my thoughts will from time to time drift over to the friends I have made through the game. There might be more distance involved, but they are friends just the same.

I just figured I would drop in and tell Dekado “happy birthday. Have a good time at the tavern, I’ll see you next week.”

A good question

I had a friend ask a question of me recently that really got me to thinking.

Kind of a simple question, more of an opinion thing really. Carrying on in my best “will you STFU already” traditon of looking way to deep into things I managed to turn this one simple question into a 45 minute discussion. I like to look at things from different angles, to pick things apart and find out what makes them tick. Sometimes it’s a gift, sometimes it’s a curse. Today you will have to be the judge.

“With an expansion coming, should I farm badges for the epics for my current 70, farm and stockpile stuff for once it hits, or just level up my alts?

Now my friend (yes I have friends, quit looking at me like that /huff) is not a raider, he already has several alts. His one and only 70 is a hunter that is mostly used soloing or helping out lowbies in his guild. He is not in a raiding guild, although he does Pug Karazan probably 3 out of ever 4 weeks. His focus is mostly on making the guild he runs (Oops, forgot to mention that) an awesome place to hang out and socialize.

We talked about farming for epics, weather it be in running Kara for badges or running battle grounds for honor. He mentioned he had started doing battlegrounds for the fun of it, then he gout caught up in the gear. He found himself choosing what to run based on which marks he needed for the nest upgrade. He literally had spreadsheets of what to farm and when to maximise battleground weekends and such.

He got to the point that he would look at his “to farm” list and not even want to log in. He took a part of the game he really enjoyed and turned it into a job. He spent what honor he had and threw away the list. As far as I can tell he has not done any PvP since.

Now he is asking if he should do weeks of grinding to farm mats that will likely be outdated right after going to Northrend. I think in his case (and mine as well) farming up a huge stockpile of anything is a bad idea. The way he gets into things he will likely burn out on solo PvE as well and end up quitting the game with a bank full of goodies he will never use.

My suggestion?

Quit worrying about the expansion. Yes it is coming, yes it will change things, no you do not have to be prepared for it in any way. Think about it, do new players stop at level 60 and spend a few weeks farming mats, gear, and rep before going through the dark portal? No one that I know of. Most that I know hit 58, clear thier bags and quest log, and head for Hellfire. Northrend will be no different.

If it is designed to be playable by level 68’s in quest greens a level 70 in thier dungeon set with a couple of epics will overgear it quite a bit. Does he need better gear to be able to level? No. He might level a bit faster, but likely not enough to pay back all the time farming.

Should he farm up a pile of mats for later sale? While having a pile of herbs on hand might help make some auction house cash once inscription goes live, I don’t think it will be as pronounced as when Jewelcrafters were buying up ore for outrageous prices. People learn (usually) from the past, so many porential inscritptors already have a stash of herbs. Once again, not really worth the time invested for the possibility of marginal gain later.

But what am I going to do then? He asks.

How about all those folks you are always rattling on about in your guild? Get together, go run something, do quests, do dailies, do anything. But whatever you do do not make it another job.

Remember why we are all here. It’s a game, have fun

Someone out there was listening

A while back I made a post about engineering changes I would like to see. 

As was pointed out this morning by Suicidal Zebra (with that handle you totally need the zhevera mount) apparently someone was listening. Here are a few of the things I asked for that are actually coming to pass (at least in Beta)

 

 

Warning, Wrath of the Litch King spoilers may lie after the break.

Here is the rest of the story

If your quiet you can almost hear the music

An interesting question was posed in Blog Azeroth a few days ago. If your character had a theme song what would it be? It sounds like a simple enough question, but a lot of thought goes into it.

Dekado, 70 Troll hunter. My first raiding main. He has been around a bit, having a bit over 50 days played. He never made it past Shade of Aran in his raiding career. He was semi-retired when I rerolled a Troll priest to help with progression. He wanted to go farther but it just never really happened. He has been in raiding guilds across 3 servers and never managed to make it as far as a full Kara clear before the guild imploded. Now pretty much fully retired he sits in the inn in Lower city telling tales of woe and drama to anyone around him who will listen.

I think if you could get him to quiet down long enough to hear it The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Iron Maiden is playing softly in the background. I can almost see the albatross around his neck.

 

 

Dechion, Human 70 holy priest. My current raiding main, although I don’t have the time available to do much raiding he is still my character of choice when I want to go pound out a Kara pug just for fun. He sits in full epics and only needs the mace from prince to have every useful thing Kara can drop for him. The funny thing is he has yet to actually get his Kara key.

Thats right, people are all about having me heal for them in Kara. I have pugged it so often I am 999/1000 exaulted with the Violet eye, yet I can’t seem to get 4 people together to run Shadow labs for my Key frag. He sits in Shattrath riding Midnight around in circles…..waiting for the call to go heal. Secretly though he feels that no matter how hard he tries it somehow always falls short.

If you were to sneak a peek at his favorite song it would probably be In The End by Linkin Park.

 

 

Drupadi, Dreani 70 hunter. Young and insecure she is my newest 70 and current soloing main. With only about 12 days played she has just finished farming up her epic flyer, making her the first character of this group to get one. A hard worker who has yet to miss a day of dailies since hitting 70 she is still learning the ropes of being an under geared hunter in a world that looks down upon them. She feels like a second class citizen sometimes, but that will change. Just give her time and she will show what she is made of.

If you listened in when she did not know it you might catch her listening to Metallica’s “Unforgiven”, but she would never admit it.

The rise of the Hardcore Casual

My crystal ball may be cracked.

I might about as accurate as the weatherman predicting whether it will snow six months from today.

I could even be as accurate as an unfletched arrow.

I might be, but I don’t think so.

 I was sitting and thinking again today (I really need to stop doing that) and the topic my brain decided to chew on was the difference between casual players and the more hardcore ones, particularly how I see the way raid progression will work in the coming expansion effecting them. The major differences that I see in the two (coming from my heavily PVE slanted viewpoint) is the amount of time they are willing and able to put into the game in one sitting.

I am not going to get into definitions of what is casual and what is hardcore as it really varies from person to person. What I will say is that the time required for 25 player content is significantly higher than the time investment in 10 player content. Not only do you have to do the instance, but you also have to coordinate your schedule around 24 other people. Working out a plan with 9 others is infinitely easier.

 

 

What I am seeing though is a coming blurring of that line even further. I see the progression in Wrath of the Litch King to be very different than it was in The Burning Crusade. I see this effecting guilds in what I consider a very positive way.

The biggest bottleneck in TBC raiding came at the switchover point from running heroics and Karazan to the 25 player content with Gruul’s and Magtheridon. Going from one to the other was difficult from the standpoint of the guilds running Kara. Mostly in that while you were gearing people up to move to the next level guilds running 25 man content were recruiting your better geared players to replace their losses. It makes perfect sense when looked at it objectively, but what you ended up with were essentially “feeder” guilds.

Like a new kind of leveling guild these guilds would be typicality recruiting fairly new 70’s who were geared enough to run Kara and heroics. They would work with them on developing thier skills and gearing them to move toward the 25 player content. Unfortunately people are somewhat impatient and tended to move on to a more progressed guild as their gear allowed.

This was great for the larger guilds running the larger raids, but devastating to the smaller guilds that were trying to progress. It was like a wall that was hard to get over, you kept boosting people up to the top and instead of reaching back to pull you up with them they hopped down and went on their way. Many a good guild hs shattered after slamming into that wall one too many times. Several of the guilds I have been in died that death, Infusion amongst them.

Coming in the new expansion Blizzard has changed the way that this will happen. They have not removed the bottleneck, now it will be more like a funnel. Keeping the smaller guilds together for more than one raid instance will hopefully make the transition easier. By allowing a full 10 player progression path they are giving the smaller guilds a chance to gear up more quickly and efficiently before they start bleeding players.

If they then choose to progress through 25 player content then they can, however I think it will be much better for the smaller guilds. If implemented the way it seems to be happening the players in the smaller guilds will be able to learn the basics of the encounters doing 10 mans while gearing up. Also with more than one 10 player raid to go through the wall won’t be quite so high and their will be a bit more incentive to reach back and help the others cross as well.

I see players that want to see the whole game being able to without having to sacrifice guild loyalty and friendship on the altar of progression.

I see shorter instances and raids, yet more of them.

I see more guilds working together instead of tearing each other down.

I see individual players that may not be able to sit 5 hours nonstop still able to “finish” the game.

I see the rise of the Hardcore Casual.

One mans Nub is another mans student

I was thinking this morning (odd as that sounds for a Monday) and as usual I ended up thinking about warcraft. I thought back on this past weekends playtime.

I have been doing a lot of scrimping and saving trying to get the epic flyer for my hunter. Drupadi is going to be my primary farming and soloing character both now and once WotLK hits. I was somewhere in my thirties and saving for my basic ground mount sveral months ago I stated that I was going to see just how efficiently I could do this. Well I have not quite gotten there yet but I hit Level 70 ten days ago (real time not /played) and depending on how the Auction house treats me will determine when I pick it up. It will be sometime this week though.

That has nothing to do with what I am posting about today. It is more of an update for the folks who have been following the project.

I logged in Friday night and did something I rarely do. I signed in to my priest and qued for a battleground. I don’t get much into the whole pvp thing, but I figured as a healer I could just stay with our defensive group and heal for them. I was wrong.

I did manage to do a good chunk of healing but I was not really performing very well. That’s not just my opinion I had quite a few folks tell me I wasn’t doing it right. Some even went as far as accusing me of buying my toon off of EBay. Because I don’t Pvp I don’t have the gear or experience for it. I just thought it might be kinda fun. I was wrong.

Ps. If you happen to be in a BG with someone who is not doing well try whispering things like “Try going to place X and healing the folks over there” or  “stand behind something and heal from there”. Saying things like “GTF out of my BG pve nub” or “Tell EBay they sold you a bad toon” is rather counter productive. So sorry I don’t live in the BG’s like you (offending characters name and guild withheld to avoid any inter-guild drama as my characters are linked here)

On the plus side I did find a hunter in one of the AV’s that I was trying to run that realised I was not familliar with what I was doing. He basicly ran with me for most of the time trying to keep me alive, so I returned the favor. That was actually fun.

 

 

Fast forward to Saturday. Another day, another set of dailies. I had just finished up my SSO dailies on my hunter and had a bit of time to kill. I plopped myself into LFG for Shattered halls (quests there) Shadow labs (quests there as well-I want my Kara key) and for the group quest “hotter than hell” in Hellfire (killing a fel reaver to get the Shattered halls key). Crickets chirped, several groups were going for both instances. Nobody seemed to want a hunter in greens and quest blues, even though my note said I was experienced and this was a re-roll. 

I finally did get picked up for a Shattered Halls run. It was pretty obvious I would not have if there had been anyone else available however. It was a good run, our shaman healer was a re-roll as well. He has a paladin tank. The mage was quiet and competent. The paladin tank was new to tanking but with the experience and Patience of the shaman he did very well. The warlock I am not too sure about, I saw him do a few odd things that made me wonder. I never said anything though, as the run was going well and I don’t know how to play a warlock. Then there was me.

We went through the whole place in just about 2 hours. Not setting any speed records, but not bad considering the tank was kinda learning how to tank in there. You see, when it came up that the Paladin was a fresh 70 who had just specced prot to start tanking the Shaman healer started explaining things. He talked about how to generate threat, when to use certain spells, even going into detail on how to execute some of the pulls in heroic.

I did notice having to throttle back on my DPS a bit because of threat issues, even with feigning on every cooldown. That is a bit unusual with a pally tank, but like I said the run was going well. How different would have the run been if instead of teaching the shaman had just booted the pally and found another tank? Might it have gone a bit smoother for us? faster perhaps?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way it was a lot more fun the way we did it.

And I am sure the Pally enjoyed getting some tanking advice more than I enjoyed being called a “PVE nub”