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.

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

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.

My crystal ball has a crack in it…

So there I was, stranded in an otherwise empty office. It’s Saturday (although you are probably going to be reading this Monday at my normal posting time) and I have been tasked with waiting for something to break. You see I work in maintenance. All week I tinker with my machines, do little chores on them, and fine tune them. All of this is set up knowing that my backup will be in on the weekend and all I want him to have to do is fix things if they actually break.

What does this have to do with Warcraft you ask? Well, I would have to say plenty. You see this week my backup is on vacation so I am here today as well. I apparently did my job a bit too well this week, Five hours into my shift I have yet to receive a single call out to the machines, they just are not breaking today. Not a bad thing, but it gives me alot of time to think.

So here I am pacing around an office that is so quiet I can literally hear the coffee brewing and thinking about where I see myself in the coming months of Warcraft. Where will I be in six months? who knows. Where will I be later this weekend? With any luck I will see 68 on Drupadi the hunter. That and possibly have some BBQ over at a friend of mines house as well. That’s about the extent of my planning right now. It’s 10 am and I still don’t know what’s for lunch.

 

 

Looking far into the future is not working, I start wondering what I will be doing when the expansion hits. Thinking about it, I came up with a number of different things that might be worth doing. I just wonder what I will end up doing first.

Will I park at the docks so I can grab the first boat to Northrend? I can see myself piling off the boat into a fresh landscape. Going exploring, grabbing quests and flight points. I can see myself fighting over the rights to kill the next Borean Boar or whatever is called for to gather the 27 gall bladders, or spleens, or whatever, for the quest turn in. I picture it kind of like the elemental plateau in Negrand, only with people who are not as polite.

Will I skip questing and just make a run for as many flight points as possible, knowing I will need them all eventually anyway? Or maybe go a zone or two into the continent and start grinding crafting materials? Elune knows leveling my enchanting and tailoring is going to come dear in farming mats, should I get started right away?

Or maybe I will bring Dechion the priest instead of Drupadi the huntress and just camp out by the first group of instances. Lots of folks will want to go, and people are always looking for healers. Better gear that way, and easier rep with quests later. Definitely something to put in the “possibly” pile of ideas.

Come to think of it the all the chaos of learning a new area compounded by having half the population of my server competing for the same resources and quest mobs leads me to what I think I will actually do. I will go around and hit all my profession and secondary skill trainers to learn Grand master skill levels, grab a few flight points along the way, and then find a nice secluded place to chill out.

There the busy little ants will level on past me. The farmers will slaughter the local wildlife till the server cries out in pain. The herbalists will herb, the miners will mine, the skinners will skin, and the questers will quest. In the middle of all this insanity I see myself sitting quietly beside a lake, umbrella over my head, calmly watching the world go by, Fishing.

 

Wrath of the List King

I understand that the game will still be there after Wrath hits. What is it about the coming expansion that makes me want to make lists of things to do? I am not the only one either, my list is just different than yours or anyone elses. You have a list too, even if it’s not on paper.

Some folks want to get to a certain arena rating. Not really my thing, but I can see the season 4 gear helping out in the leveling process.

Some want to see the end of the Sunwell, Black temple, Karazan, whatever raid is the one that they have not quite conquered yet. Once again not really my thing. I have been forced away from raiding long enough to start not missing it anymore.

Some are desperately trying to get the titles that will no longer be available once Wrath launches. I can see the draw here. It is actually something you could carry with you to Northrend and something you can’t go back and do later.

One person I talked to decided he wanted to get exalted with every outlands faction. Once again, not for me. Rep grinds are called grinds for a reason. I will get the rep I need for things I need but once that’s done if I get rep it will be an accident.

Many people are talking about stockpiling crafting supplies, gold,  and other such things. To some extent I will do some of this as well (Gaah, I just started another list!) but it will be mostly in passing. Perhaps save a few stacks of netherweave I would normally have dropped in the AH to level first aid a bit. Maybe save a few scrolls I would have sold as well, that kind of thing.

A couple of people I talk to are trying repeatedly for the Bear mount from Zul’Aman. Not really my thing, personally I think they are ugly and bulky. I despise my Draeni’s elephant for just that reason.

One friend of mine has even said she would like to try to hit the gold cap on one of her characters. I honestly don’t know if she was serious, but if she sets her mind to it I know it will happen. Now I won’t say having a pile of gold would not be nice, but I will say I don’t have the time to earn it before Wrath hits.

My list is short, kind of like the amount of time I have to play on a given day.

  1. Finish leveling Drupadi to 70. (She should hit 67 today)
  2. Get Drupadi’s rep with Cenerion Expedition and Shattered Sun Offensive to revered.
  3. Gather enough gold to purchase epic flyers for both Drupadi and Dechion.
  4. If Wrath has not hit at this point start grinding rep with the Wintersaber Trainers to replace Drupadi’s elephant with something I like.
  5. If I accomplish all this and Wrath has not hit, Pug till it does.

I think that pretty much covers my plans for the next couple of months till Wrath goes live.

It may be a short list, but it’s still a list.

A fundamental lack of loyalty

Yes its early,

Its both early in the morning and very early in the beta testing. As was so eloquently pointed out we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 months before WotLK finds its way into live servers and until then (indeed even after) everything is subject to change without notice.

The proposed changes to hunter pets are for the most part welcome. I think the whole Talent tree thing is a particularly great idea, but I sincerely hope that the respeccing cost of a pet is either free or nearly so. Am I being greedy? Wanting it all? Hardly, read on.

One of the other proposed changes is removing pet loyalty. Pet loyalty was always a bit of a nuisance, especially at higher levels it would take forever to get to be “best friend” to your pet. It really did need to be reworked, however I would have liked it to stay in the game in some form.

While I think both of these are good changes in their own way, I think I may see a bit of a issue in how they would interact both with each other together with minimal stable slots open to hunters. I think can already see the dawn of the “disposable pet”. Not a temporary pet you grab to go learn a skill but a full fledged throwaway pet.

Lets assume that there is available in the game a level 80 cat of some sort. I would say that is a safe assumption, but that’s all it is. Why tie up a stable slot with one? Why pay to re-spec?  If you need a cat go grab a cat. Tame complete *bam* instant best friend. Spec for what you want to do and throw it away when you are done. There is even the possibility with a little planning of using “Tame beast” as a form of crowd control in instances, similar to the way enslave or mind control is used to pull one enemy from a group and have it fight for you. The difference would be that It won’t wear off.

Everything I see can in fact be used as an advantage. I am not really complaining just thinking out loud. I am pondering weather taking away pet loyalty to the hunter coupled with a lack of stable slots serves to take away the hunters loyalty to the pet, and if so how I feel about that.

I suppose I can keep two pets that I actually needed to put a few levels on in the stables and keep one slot open for the pet of the day. I could but I don’t think I will. My pets are not throw aways to be used up and discarded. I am not a Warlock.

Something to ponder as I watch the calendar slide past towards release day.