Showing posts with label Mists of Pandaren. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mists of Pandaren. Show all posts

Farewell, Brawler's Guild

| Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Since The Great Betrayal soon after Cataclysm, I've been a bit spotty on the raiding front. My rogue did some in Cataclysm, but mostly LFR and I saw nothing outside of Dragon Soul beside a few wipes on whatever the first boss in the first raid was. Mists of Pandaria has mostly been LFR for me, because finding guilds is not my strong point and I'm not interested in PUG raids.

As a result, I've been missing on the challenge high, of failing over and over until I get it right, and then feeling amazing. Unfortunately, I didn't give the Brawler's Guild much attention. The best time to do it is first thing in the morning, which is also the best time for me to forget what I was planning to do.

Then I heard rumors that it would be gone. I misinterpreted this as gone gone, gone forever, Cataclysmed gone. So, with no time to lose, the Friday before patch day, I started Brawler's Guild. And then immediately wished I'd started sooner. It turns out that, despite my ranking as the number one level 90 paladin with a partial Justicar transmog on my server, I couldn't one-shot everything.

It all began with Hexos. In a way, that was a great boss, because it forced me to actually learn how to DPS without paying much attention. A momentary distraction from the pink of death was death. Over the many, many, many attempts, I reworked some keybindings, finally macroed my gloves, potions, and wings together, and stopped clicking rend. Then I died some more, until finally, I won, and then worried that I'd pass out because a pot of coffee does not constitute a complete breakfast. Good times.

 From there I learned that, those things which are fought least are also fixed least. The snake was awful, filled with either bugs or just bad behavior. It would stop for no clear reason and get a stack, one of which is enough to end the fight. It would drop poison directly in its path. I hated that fight, not for being a crazy gimmick like Hexos, but for being a badly-made fight. The fire elemental angered me almost as much, though it at least took fewer tries. The stun would fail and the elementals would seem to go out of their way to run into the fire. But I beat them, and it felt great because it had not been easy and because I'd gotten better in the process.

Then finally the paladin. While it took fewer tries, I think it was a more accurate skill check than Hexos. Adapting movement to a rapidly-changing situation, seeing small changes, identifying the goal, timing, and finally winning a harsh DPS race. That's almost everything someone would need for an actual raid, beside other people.

And yet, there were other people. It had some of the social elements of raiding. There was the begging for a res from the person who had gone AFK and blamed you for dying. There was the delay as other people failed in their own unique ways. There was the every-growing repair bill. And there was the congratulations, because when everyone is trying to get the achievements on the last available weekend, they tend to stick around and recognize each other. We'd offer advice, learn from them, and cheer and smile as they finally beat a boss. It was a temporary crowd, but somehow, this solo activity seemed to bring people together better than LFR.

So here's to you, Brawler's Guild!

Next time, please have more arenas; it's not fun waiting 15 minutes for a fight.

Finally got a pandaren off of Turtleland

| Monday, April 14, 2014
Their quests made me angry. I'd make a monk, because frankly, a non-pandaren monk and non-monk pandaren just don't make sense to me. Then I'd play the monk for a bit. Then I'd get bored by the wonderful mix of "you are the greatest person ever" and "you must learn humility" and go play something fun.

I finally decided to go for it. I'm on my new server, so I have no shortage of character slots. I struggled through it all, until finally, I got in a balloon and talked to a turtle. This confused me for a couple of reasons. First, it was a bit out of nowhere. "Our turtle island is dying" didn't seem to come up much. There was some issue with the little element guys, but that struck me as being their own version of Cataclysm aftermath. Second, why had no one talked to him in so long? Surely a little check up would make sense. Maybe some small talk. Or big, slow talk. Perhaps ask permission to mine the copper nodes.

Then I went to a forest and suddenly... the trailer made sense. This was the strange island that the Alliance and Horde washed up on. Of course I then was wondering what ever happened to Turtle Island. Did it just go on its merry way and ignore all the problems in Pandaria? Did it get lost? Maybe I missed a bit of quest dialog somewhere along the line.

I greatly enjoyed getting to Stormwind and talking to Varian. He sold the Alliance very well, as what appeared to be an Azerothian NATO (an attack on one is an attack on all). The brawl, or the aftermath, was perfectly done.

It did leave me wondering through, is Pandaren society screwed? From the sound of it, there are a lot of Pandaren who are leaving to join the Horde or Alliance. Clearly joining one faction or the other, or being totally neutral, strike me as safer situations. In the former, there are allies to back them up. In the latter, each side has an interest in avoiding a conflict, since that could force them into the other faction. Being mostly neutral but losing new recruits to the factions surely must be causing some terrible societal divisions. When no one is joining anyone, then opinions about the factions don't matter too much. But what about when someone's offspring, siblings, or parents, want to leave to join a faction? Just the notion that they can leave, that they can abandon all they knew, can shake a society. Now make where to go not just a matter of choice, but of division, and things get messy. Even without outside manipulations, there would be those who want to promote or disparage a particular faction, and those people surely will not get along well. It isn't yet a civil war, but what is to suggest that it will not be?

Perhaps that's a good sign, when I'm left with more questions and caring what happens afterward.

A Mixed Beginning

| Saturday, January 18, 2014
As I wrote my post that in part lamented the status of my paladin, I realized that my rogue main wasn't in such a great position either. Her guild isn't very active anymore. So why not play my paladin? I have nothing to lose.

So I hopped on over to level up. Eventually I'll finish the Jade Forest and write about my thoughts on the Alliance side of it. Pet battles meant that I hit 90 long before finishing the zone. Glorious 90.

I set off to the Temple of the White Tiger. I fought a legendary pet along the way, failing a couple times before recognizing that my pet selection needed some improving. The tiger let me into the Vale and in I went. Aha, a rare! I'd fought it before, a dangerous melee enemy. I wasn't geared for this. But paladins are not a melee-only class. I knew that with judgement, exorcism, and a lot of patience I could kill it.

I was interrupted in my kiting by a level 90 Horde paladin. A level 90 Horde paladin attacking the rare. I closed in to my now-safe melee range and killed it. The paladin did not kill me. I thanked him and looted the corpse. And then the third attack from the warlock landed and killed me.

PvP servers breed such paranoia.

Since it's the place to be, I went to the Timeless Isle. The shower of loot that my rogue had received was more like a trickle, but enough of a trickle that I was able to get into scenarios and heroics. Gear will come. Despite the slower pace, I might enjoy it more. Wearing plate rather than leather makes so much trouble so much easier to deal with; except those damn snakes. I'm also developing a healthy level of perpetual, comfortable, paranoia.

The giant groups aren't dangerous; those are the people farming rares or elites. They aren't going to cause trouble. Maybe they know that war is never in the best interests of the farmer. They know that a lone pissed-off enemy can be a major problem when fighting elites. It's the lone person who causes trouble, who sees that your health is barely higher than when you were 85, and who makes the economically rational decision to cause suffering to others.

And then there was the druid. I was fighting tigers near an ore node when he attacked me. I killed the tigers, stunned him, and ran away a bit. I bowed. If I could have said it, I'd have told him to take the ore, that he'd won it. I'd be a hypocrite to criticize him. He killed me anyway. I came back to find the node unmined and figured he was just a jerk. But then he started emoting sorry. Then I was just confused.

But that didn't mean I didn't use my cloaking device to get some distance before mounting up. I run with one on my belt, and if it's not on cooldown, another in my trinket slot. They've both come in handy. Damn it feels good to be an engineer.

Why does the Jade Forest anger me?

| Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I think I've finally narrowed down about half of my problems with Mists of Pandaria to one place: the Jade Forest. It's simply a stupid, terrible, awful place that sets up a negative vibe for everything else.

To begin: I do not like the hozen. I would have preferred that we killed all of them. Ditto for the fish people that the Alliance get stuck with. These are not new local allies. They are instead a collection of villages of idiots and are of debatable usefulness. Maybe things are better for the Alliance.

Jade. Everything's about jade. Jade this, jade that. The local pandaren don't seem to grow any food, despite eating constantly. They gather no resources beside jade and fresh flower petals. I've found no mentions of food caravans from the valley. The only useful export is its fighting pandas, who then go off to protect areas that are actually worth protecting. And, of course, lots of jade. There's a line between a theme and a total lack of creativity.

The Timeless Isle is not part of this, due to it being its own, not-terrible place. That's for another post.

Any zone will tend to get worn out when it is the only one available. Hellfire Peninsula wore out. Wrath of the Lich King had two zones to start with, which helped. Cataclysm had two, except one was underwater and therefore I hated it, so Mount Hyjal has gotten very old for me. Level 80 has turned into something of a parking lot for alts. And now there is the Jade Forest. Somehow it has worn out sooner than others. I blame the hozen.

In the run up to Mists of Pandaria many people complained that a "joke race", that is, the Pandaren, were being made into an entire expansion. They have not turned out to be a joke race. They've been given a history, a culture, and even some bits of nuance, such as the divide between the big brewers and the small wanderers. Even the Sha works well, as it can function the same as the classic "they went insane and now we have to kill them" procedure for generating bosses, yet it offers something closer to a reason. Granted, I am still a bit bothered by the notion of fighting the physical manifestations of things like anger and violence.

Instead it is the hozen who are the joke race. They're an absurd lot of stupid monkeys who talk like idiots. And that's all they are. They're central to the plot of the starting zone, heavily involved in the faction-based quests. It turns what could have been a great story of two invading forces struggling to survive, and if they're lucky, conquer, into a long-running joke. This is why I've concluded that the single biggest problem with Mists of Pandaria was that it was founded on a joke race, not the Pandaren, but the hozen. Though it might have helped if our introduction to the Pandaren didn't involve so much kung fu and jade.

Pandaria is a horrifying place

| Monday, November 11, 2013
The next expansion was revealed, which means that Mists of Pandaria is going to be shut down in a week. Or so I'm lead to believe by trade chat. In the meantime, let's look at how horrifying this expansion has been. Where does one even begin? First, by skipping over any gameplay complaints. I've done those a while ago.

We could look at the basic premise: Pandaria is a peaceful land with no major threats beside the highly-predictable mantid invasion, until foreigners showed up. Yep, everything is the fault of foreigners. They show up and ruin the natural balance of things with their imperialist conquest. At least we aren't pushing bloodthistle.

But look deeper and Pandaria is actually a terrible place.

The agriculture alone could be the end of their society. It is all based on a couple dozen plants, all of a single breed. Monoculture is bad enough in real life with just biological plagues, but they could fall victim to magic as well. The only plant with any variation seems to be grain, and even that may have only been variation in processing rather than different plants.

Note the land distribution as well. There are only a few landholders. Most have very small farms that they run with their families. A select few own vast farms and control access to the Tillers Union. They openly mock outsiders, attempting to bully them off their land. To work the land they have vast numbers of laborers, and thanks to the land distribution, they have little chance of rising economically. Thankfully for the landowners, those laborers are kept in check by the threat of the Sha. Any 'negative' emotions could destroy the world, so they'd better keep quiet.

There is little hope that economic or technological growth will help anyone either. There are no apparent means of mass production beside the breweries, which are needed because you can't drink the water. Technology doesn't get much attention, instead resources seem entirely devoted to preserving the past. Yet maybe that is necessary, because the Pandaren may be incapable of building much on their own. The great wall that protects them and the two faction hubs are both left over from the time of the Mogu. Almost everything else is wood. Those few stone structures that they have built are either short walls around towns, temples, or the giant jade serpent statue.

While there is some hint of past development in the agricultural sector, with better seeds having been created, the resulting surplus isn't getting them anywhere. Instead it goes to feeding armies of scribes, priests, and artists, none of which are known for their habit of developing anything new. The scribes repeat the past. The priests tell everyone to stay calm. The artists redo old themes in old materials.

The overall picture is a society that is completely stagnant. It does not build, invent, or innovate. If it is lucky, the appearance of outsiders will wake it up. If it is unlucky, it will be destroyed by the aggression, innovation, and economic power of the outside world.

Gokuu's no noob

| Monday, February 25, 2013
Picture yourself in Stormstout Brewery.  You're at the last boss.  First are the pair of big alementals.  Next are the dozen or so little ones with the ranged attacks.

Is your healer getting hit?  Is a DPS or three getting hit?  Does the tank have aggro on only a few mobs with the rest in a large ring around him, just out of range of his AoEs?

This is when line of sight pulling is a wonderful thing.  Aggro the mobs and run to the doorway that you entered through.  Hug the left wall and they'll run up close, all packed in for easy AoE and easy aggro.

My hunter finally got the gear for Pandaria instances, thanks to a vendor.  And so, off he went.  The first tank was a miserable failure of a fail.  The group collapsed.  Next came Gokuu the death knight.

In my drunken stupor I slurred, "Gokuu, if you shtand in the doorway during the boss, you can get all the little alementalsh to run in close."

Strangely, he replied that he'd do that that phase.

"here, if everyone hugsh the left wall, they come close"

He then proceeded to stand too far out.

"iun back more"
"back up"

And lo, did he back up, and drop death and decay right at the corner, so that all the little alementals ran in close and were easily killed with nary a drop of stray ale.

Afterward, perhaps noticing the contrast with the first time we'd done that boss, he typed, "ty for that"

I was happy.  In a random, not only had someone taken advice, he'd recognized that the advice worked.  And then thanked the advice giver.  There is hope!

The Dread Approach

| Monday, February 4, 2013
I finally got into LFR for this.  Well, a second time.  First time I stumbled into an apparent wipe-prone group on the last boss and wasn't in a mood for that.  Surprisingly, not many people drop groups on the last boss to give a random stranger whom they'll never meet a quick one-boss-kill for weekly valor.

I enjoyed all of the fights.  A lot.  Maybe the first a little less.  That was one that gets messed up by LFR, where some mechanics seem neutralized but still happen, and then it's not clear to me what's going on.  Does this shiny circle mean something bad, or should I finish the cast at take a pitiful amount of damage?  Now you might think it is odd for a ret paladin to use the phrase "finish this cast", but that just shows your limited understanding of true skill.

The second boss was plain old fun.  I was never good at mario or other games of quick movement, but I managed and it was a bit of a thrill.  Right!  Left!  Right!  Oops!  Right!  That one cheated and spawned on top of me!  Left!

Then the last boss.  There's a bit to keep track of, but with nice convenient circles for those of us who can only communicate using Venn diagrams.

Overall I thought this section of a raid had a good bit of movement, but it wasn't some sort of absurd, precisely-timed pre-scripted dance,  Rather, it was about keeping track of one's surroundings and responding accordingly.

I hate the valor point cap

| Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Back in the summer of 2011 I tried to explain the concept of the "sanity deadzone".  In this area possibilities are not entirely unreasonable, but are enough of a stretch as to be unsustainable for the typical player.  This area is bracketed on two sides.  One one side is a really trivial set of expectations, such as "log in" and on the other a blatantly absurd set of expectations "complete every heroic instance in a day. (back when they took well over half an hour)"

In the middle is the area in which we might expect players to complete it, but many will not be able to.  For example, daily quests sound quite reasonable; surely players can log in for a half hour each day to do a bit of crop planting and kill some mogu.  Each day?  But it's still not all that much time, so let's allow each day to stand.  But there are more than just Tillers and Golden Lotus.  There are nice bugs, wind serpents, other pandas, more pandas, fishing, rare fishing, PvP, and of course your daily bonus random heroic loot.  And LFR.  And that's a good thing!  These dailies have become so overused, so common, so numerous and time-consuming, that we'd never expect people to complete them all every day.

But valor...  It is a mere 1000 points per week.  I despise this limit.

On one hand, it is, at 5 valor per daily, a whopping 200 dailies per week, or 28 per day (and 4 extra to finish it off).  Granted, many of those dailies can be as easy as a bit of cooking, but even still, we're looking at 20 or so each day.  That's not reasonable.  And yet, if you're not capping valor, you're slowing yourself down by a lot and that cap is taunting you.  NOOOOOOOOB!

We can hasten this process by doing some randoms.  First of the day is 80 points.  That's 8 dailies worth, and we can wait in the queue while we do dailies.  It's a bonus bonus!  With bonus on top, unless you're a tank or healer in which case your queue is very short and you develop games such as Jump Out the Dalaran Sewer, in which you jump out the sewer in Dalaran while queuing and see if you get in before splattering.  This is why we hate DPS who don't hit ready.  Overall, a single daily random will get you over half the cap.

Throw in a couple LFR.  Those are only once a week, so they can be bunched up in time-rich times of the week, such as weekends and 2am Tuesday morning.  That's another 180 and now we're at 740.  Suddenly we're down to 52 dailies per week or about 7 per day.  And that's where the problem begins.  That's a single faction's hub.  So run your dailies for the rep you need to buy valor gear, but you're going to already be capped on valor.  Wee.  It would be nice if the valor at least showed up as justice points or gold, rather than just vanishing into the nether (and without even the nice letter from the mages who collect such things).  If you do any raiding, then you're going to cap even sooner.

Relative to the gear cost, it gets worse.  Nothing costs less than 1000.  So hop on out and grind for a  week, you have nothing to show for it.  There is the count, the progress, but that's far less satisfying than actually having an item.  Next week you jump on and grind and buy an item, before capping again.  Next week you can cap again and get another piece.  So far we're at two pieces in three weeks.  Next week you can start the cycle over again and in six weeks you'll have two rings, a belt, and some boots.  If you want a chest, head, or legs, you're looking at over two weeks per item.  Good luck in LFR!

So what would I do?

I'd raise the weekly cap to 3000.  Doing all 48 dailies (according to wowhead) would yield a bit over half the weekly cap.  No sane person is going to be doing every single daily.  That means that there is no expectation of capping for a soloist.  Even throwing in a daily heroic won't get you to the cap.  Adding in LFR won't get you there.  The overall effect is to make the cap so high that no reasonable, or even slightly unreasonable, person expects to get to it.  This is liberating.  It removes the point of reference, so that players can choose to get as many points as they want, and no more, without any sense that they are falling short.  On the other hand, for those players who really want an item, they can go for it and get it.  A higher cap allows players to play as they wish, not as an arbitrary round number tells them to.

Ragefire Chasm 3.0 in 5.1

| Wednesday, January 16, 2013
A little lowbie looked for group.  RFC!  Ugh.  Or wait, what's this?  Since when are there dogs?  Thus did I realize that patches actually change things.

The Nostalgia Effect
Or lack thereof.  RFC was never the sort of place that I looked back on with fond memories and misty eyes.  It wasn't a particularly great instance in the first place and the Cataclysm tweaking didn't do much for it.  This was an instance with nothing to lose.

Meh + Eh = Meheh?
I don't think it magically turned into a wonderful instance.  It's still not particularly great,  I'd say that's inevitable for very low level instances, but Deadmines somehow managed and still does.  Still, I do think it is better.

In part it may be the graphics.  The NPCs stand out a bit more (or maybe that's just novelty), so it seems like there are actually enemies in there.  This isn't to suggest that the old troggs were sneaky ambushing enemies; they were only invisible by means of being utterly dull.  At first I thought the lava was just a graphical bug, and then I caught the tail end of it and got slightly warm.  I suppose that's... interesting.  At the least it doesn't have much potential to become annoying (unlike other 'interesting' instance mechanics such as speeches and scripted NPC-NPC fights).

A small feature that stood out for me was the presence of the three cages at the end.  In them were three orc scouts, ready to be released.  In other words, it is far less likely that groups will need to do the usual, "I missed a scout, can we get that group over there?  Or you could all drop group.  Thanks."  I'd only needed two of them, which suggests to me that three is redundant and therefore very few people will have trouble doing this in a single run (and next to guaranteed after two).

I let myself get rushed and didn't quite get the story.  At least not the written part.  But it appeared that evil shamans were doing evil things and a bunch of Horde soldiers got trapped.  One was experimented on and got all big and mean.

It felt like a Cataclysm-themed instance.  That's not to say that it was bad, but it seemed out of place for the current expansion, though fitting well with the Cataclysm leveling (reminded me of Blackrock Caverns).  Being out of place is hardly the worst problem for an instance, and the quests do at least give some indication of being post-Cataclysm (though then we're in the time travel problem, but that's for another day).

That's my assessment: RFC is now a good instance.  Not great, not terrible, but a good instance and much better than what it was.

From ignorance of the past comes blissful tolerance of change

| Monday, January 7, 2013
People tend to dislike change.  I suspect it is because deep down, we all know that change means entropy and the gradual death of the universe, all life, and all meaning.  But what if we don't realize the change happened?

If we don't realize that anything changed, will we get mad?  I doubt it.

This brings me to my paladin. I know something changed from Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria.  I know this because I logged in the day of the patch and was very confused and a bit annoyed.  Yet now I couldn't quite tell you what changed.  Pressed for details I might cite abilities from Wrath of thew Lich King, thinking that something is similar, though no quite sure what.

In this confusion, in this forgetfulness, I have lost my customary ability to be enraged over what were surely intolerable changes to my chosen class.

Mists of Pandaria is an abomination, unworthy to be called a WoW expansion: Proof inside

| Friday, January 4, 2013
Gourmet Kafa

A poop quest.  Of course.  All expansions must have them.  In one, we ate the results.  It was as it should be.

Then Mists of Pandaria comes along and just ruins everything.  All that is proper in the world of World of Warcraft is undone, destroyed, thrown out, as if it were nothing.  But it is everything.  Or was.

Gentlemen, ladies, ungentlemen, younger males, younger females, and females of less-than-reputable standing, I have a terror for you:

I won't ask you to gather it--kind of a mussy task, not fit for hero-- just mark it so we can find it easily when the mountain is safe again.

I thought it would be the kung fu panda that ruined WoW.  I was wrong.  It is the dung poo not-in-handa.

Monk: First Impressions

| Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Jab: Pull out your staff for one attack, then spend time with your hands behind your back to put it away.

 "You are an honorable opponent" - Said to the guy who walked up and, without any warning or indication, whacks them with it, while they are unarmed.

That said, I like the area.  It's rather peaceful and beautiful.  It fits with the theme.  While it is light-hearted, it is not unrelentingly silly, as the goblin area was.

You may be wondering, "Kung Fu Panda?"  Yes, but it is not a ridiculous joke or an endless stream of movie references.

This sounds like something a goblin would say:
They breed faster than we can kill them!  I have the perfect solution for such a situation: kill them faster!
This is from the same panda who is shouting at the ground in an attempt to wake the earth spirit.  And kicking it.  He sounds angry. Maybe the sha are all his fault.

I am more convinced than ever that the MoP trailer was awful

| Saturday, December 29, 2012
Now that I've actually played the expansion a bit, well the title says it.  Past trailers introduced the enemy, gave us something to aim for.  Illidan, Arthas, Deathwing, and night elf women.  I've said before that I don't think they were all good (Cata was bad), but they at least managed to give some notion of what we were doing or what was going on.

The Mists of Pandaria trailer did not do that.  It gave us some fun combat, which had some relation to the story, but was a step away from actually saying anything.  "There is a new land that the Horde and Alliance are fighting over" was all we could get out of the trailer.  Well, it's also a scenic land, but that's about the extent of it.

The actual game has an enemy: our own aggression, fear, and doubt: the Sha.  The actual interpretation can vary, of whether we are the problem or whether we merely released what was already there.  That could have made for an interesting trailer, to see the beauty of Pandaria, but to get a peek underground and behind the veils to see the negative energy building up.  The mogu, seemingly a central threat, are entirely left out.  I can understand why all the less-significant threats, such as vermin, ninju, and monkeys were left out, since there is only limited screen time.

I'm also curious about the bugs.  Are they another aspect of the silithid?  Is there an old god directing them?  Maybe I'll learn more as I play.  I'm certain that I'd have been more eager to buy the expansion if I'd been giving a hint of an old enemy returning.

Free ten days of WoW

| Thursday, December 27, 2012
If you've not upgraded to Mists of Pandaria yet, don't!  Instead, first get the trial.  That gives ten days of time, which are saved when you upgrade. Ten free days!  Yay!

I didn't know this when I started the trial.  At first I didn't realize it had the level cap, which should have been obvious, since otherwise it could make a character unplayable if the trial expired.  Then I thought the time was lost, so I was going to do side stuff for the ten days: getting other characters right up to 86, professions, Molten Core (afk next do a dead Ragnaros and a Jeees as I write this).  But then I wondered, does the time vanish?  Apparently not.

Off to the lost continent!  No, not Pandaria, silly.  I need more eternal air for my MOLL-E!  Northrend, ho!

MoP: First Impressions

| Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I don't like the login music.  It fills my ears with whining hurt.

The second quest sends me to the airship, which is not marked on the map unless you pick Azshara.

After that things were generally uphill.  I was still mixed up by my new everything and did not remember inquisition.  I'm also unsure of why I am notified of Art of War procs (resets exorcism) when the cooldown isn't up anyway.  That just confused me.  On one hand, it is nice to be able to get inquisition up quickly, but generating holy power from strong sneezes is tricky to deal with.  It was smart of them to have the pool of five; I don't think it would have been much fun with only three slots to store it, too much would get wasted.

Gyrocopter attack!  Let's just try the gyrocopter attack again!  I'm out of ideas.  Gyrocopter attack?
(I'm trying to say that I was amused by the gnomes, then I killed them)

It seemed as if the Alliance was set up as the bad guys.  But the commander we kept hunting, he seemed to have the best of intentions, trying to keep the land free of the taint of the Horde.  And then he turned into scary stuff that means he's a bad guy.  That was followed up with more yelling about not bringing a war, which of course the Horde ignored.  I'm curious to see how this turns out.  I don't have high hopes for the presentation, but we'll see.

All in all, it appears to be more of the same, which is exactly what I expected, and hoped for.

Now to fix those addons...

Of customer service: a bad poem

It's the day after Christmas and I have time to spare.Let's go see some pandas dance through the air
Log in and play
Yet I must complain
Because a simple request
Cannot be processed

Locked and suspicious
On account of location?
I am back home, on Christmas vacation.

No problem at all, just send me the mail
And this is when begins the fail

That's shady too, so as some proof
Answer a question
from back years more than two

Failed and failed, blocked for 12 hours!
This is the help that customer service offers
Not a mention those years
Of a question so dear
That they'd kick me out
If I ever forgot

No worries, I said, Blizzard is here
I'll just explain that my account's secure
Here's a phrase and here's a key
Don't you know that it's me?

Verification!  Aunthentication!
To the email...
But there lies the fail.
My account is not hacked and my computer secure
I just forgot my email password
May I change that bit?
It's not a topic
Maybe a ticket?
but I must log in (fuck it)

Let's try the phone.
I'll wait on hold.

This better not be a daily.

 End of poem.  I called and didn't have a very long wait.  And they play WoW music during it.

Confusing in a brand new way for no good reason

| Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Patch 5.0.4 (or so) is out.  It has a lot of changes.  This post is going to focus on things which I believe are objectively stupid.  This means I'm going to ignore "change sucks" things, such as the new specialization, talent, glyph system which are clearly different and confusing, but I can't yet say that they are stupid.  Let's get to it.

Glyphs: Everything I have is now a major glyph, which isn't the problem.  However there is something odd about minor glyphs now: the category doesn't make sense.  Bladed Judgement is an icon change.  Falling Avenger adds slow fall to avenging wrath.  The first is a pretty benefit while the second is potentially useful.  Focused Wrath makes holy wrath a single-target ability, which isn't merely visual or a slight buff, but a total change to how the spell works.  It might ahve looked odd having three categories of glyphs, but maybe it made sense.  Minor glyphs could do the truly minor things of appearance and reductions in the mana costs of 30 minute buffs.  Major glyphs could do something significant.  Prime glyphs even more so.  Maybe separate those and make one category "improvement" glyphs and the other "tradeoff" glyphs, since there are clear trends of some glyphs simply buffing an ability and others having an upside and downside.

Spellbook:  "What has changed" barely scratches the surface.  In fact, all it really confirmed was that the seals on my aura bar weren't a bug.  Also, "holy power is generated faster" isn't quite right: it's still generated by player actions, but the phrasing makes it sound like it's rogue-style energy that automatically fills up.  Even worse, it appears that the space needed for this worthless tab was freed up by dumping guild perks into the general spell book, creating a nice big mess.

Why does Seal of Truth say "replaces seal of command"?  We've not had seal of command in a long time.  Now I'm just plain confused.

The new spellbook is overwhelming and confusing.  It is good that I can find all my abilities in one tab rather than needing to go through three.  However, why have a huge list of the spells for other specializations?  Tie that into the specialization tool.  While we're on the subject of bad sorting, why are the spells alphabetical?  If I can't find a spell, am I really looking for "A... A... avenger's shield!" or am I looking for that one ability that throws the shield and hits multiple things in which case I'd be better off with the abilities being sorted by effect: damage, healing, buffs, etc.  Furthermore, the information on what other specializations have is scattered too much, with the spec tab giving only the faintest overview and requiring major digging into the pages-deep spellbook to figure out what is different.

"Core abilities" for protection does not include hammer of the righteous, yet somehow finds space to tell us to use holy wrath when no other ability is available.

To end on a high note, Blizzard did finally find a use for that valuable real estate freed up by removing the key ring: moving mounts and pets to their own book.

Cancel that, low note: Reset the damn talent points when you upend the entire system!

Maybe I'll have good things to say later.  Actually, since I'm not having much luck, I'll get to them now: Or not.  I had one, I swear I did, but I forgot it too soon.  And the world server is down so I can't easily look.  Oh here, the "core abilities" thing, that seems nice.  Way to go with that.

A panda beats up an orc and human

| Thursday, August 16, 2012
Epic sea battle! (so far so good)
Orc washes up on shore (seems less badass than usual)
Human makes spear (good thinking there)
Orc and human see each other and fight (so far so good)
Panda shows up and with a lot of flashy moves easily kicks both their asses.  Both look dazed and confused. (queue rest of post)

In the past, the cinematics gave some sense of the enemy to fight.  In the original we had the factions and the Burning Legion.  Burning Crusade gave us Illidan and introduced the new races, without either stealing the spotlight entirely.  Wrath of the Lich King gave us Arthas showing off his power while his father's words echoed in his head, perhaps giving us insight into the madness and evil within.  Cataclysm had Deathwing blow up the world.

And now... who is the enemy?  The panda?  He does seem to be what we fight.  And against the panda we are helpless.  Utterly helpless.  Two of the three core races (nelfs as third) are in a hopeless fight for survival in an unknown world, a world manufactured entirely for the pandas, and the pandas rule here.  There is no place for the old ones except as comic contrast to the shiny and new.

[edit] Correction: I listed belfs as third, I should have said nelfs.

4% Is Exciting

| Sunday, December 4, 2011
You, person whining about how passive talents are boring, please shut up. About that specific subject, not in general. Passive talents are exciting. EXCITING!

Let's walk through things a bit. Here is a level 51 rogue. What does he have going for the next level? Well let's see... nothing. Next? Nothing. Only at level 54 does he get envenom. Woo! Excitement! In... three levels.

Now let's give him a Terribly Boring Passive Talents-Filled Talent Tree (TBPTFTT). Next level he can... well actually I'm not sure what talent he'd take at level 42 because the trees already got butchered. So let's say he's combat and will get Improved Sinister Strike for 4% damage to sinister strike, a terribly boring passive talent that I just made up and which he took after having picked up the 31 point talent which was exciting: Super Sinister Strike, which is like Sinister Strike, but it does more damage and adds a buff to increase his Sinister Strike damage by 25% for 20 seconds, with a three minute cooldown, which because it is a button makes it Fun & Exciting. In time he can get an entire 5 points for a total of +20% damage to Sinister Strike which leads into Even Better Sinister Strike which causes his Sinister Strike to have a chance (Ooh, no stated chance! I bet it's a PPM! Quick, theorycraft the slow weapons! Or maybe fast! What is the poison mechanic this week?) to reset the cooldown on Super Sinister Strike and also Improve Sinister Strike will now apply to Super Sinister Strike.

In other words, he hits level 42 and presses another button. Wee. WEE! INDEED!

That added button makes level 42 just a little bit more rewarding and eagerly anticipated. And level 44 too! With this boring passive talent he now has something to look forward to for level 42. It's not a big thing, but it is something. Contrast this with the typical nothing. Now what is boring? Yea, NOTHING. Nothing, outside of philosophy, is pretty fucking boring.

The boring passive talent isn't just a button. It's also a tantalizing possibility. Now there is that box that says 1/5 Improved Sinister Strike increases the damage of Sinister Strike by 4% and if you mouse over it also says that 2/5 would increase it by 10%. Right there, that is room for growth. Oh man, 2/5 is on its way. And then 46, that's 3/5! 48 gives 4/5. And then... oh shit, it's level 50! Ooh, side-track time to get that sweet 40 point talent (note that there may not actually be a sweet level 40 talent, if not, shift things up or down by 10 levels and you'll find one). But level 52, bam, box is filled up with a 5/5 and now he can see that Even Better Sinister Strike is at an empty 0/2. Looks like he has a plan for level 54 and 56. Sweet. Who knows what 58 will be, but damn, it's only going to be one point before level 60 and we know level 60 is going to ROCK.

But leveling ends and now... Now he's just a level 85. Or 97, whatever the level cap is for MoP. Now he's filled up his tree and there's nothing left. He can respec. And now, well now those passive abilities are pretty damn boring. Woop-dee-doo, 4% damage to Sinister Strike. Who fucking cares? On the other hand, Super Sinister Strike... also, who fucking cares? He's now making exciting choices anymore. He's picking the talents that he's supposed to have. There aren't going to be any exciting talents because there is no more advancement and no choice. Blame the level cap and excessive optimization, not the TBPTFTT. You thought I wasn't going to get to use that. Idiot.

"But," you say, "we have MoP now and we don't have all those silly talents. We have Fun & Exciting choices." Like hell you do.

I hate that I almost like this expansion

| Friday, October 28, 2011
I know almost nothing about MoP. I haven't cared much. I looked up one of the talent trees, thought it looked ridiculous, and that was about it.

I want to keep it this way.

In my mind there is a picture, a vague stort of picture, but a nice one. In this picture in WoW the sun is out and the grass is green,. There are vaguely Japanese buildings in the background (yes, I know where pandas are from) and everything is peaceful. But not like a nelf elf area where everything is peaceful but strangely purple. Maybe the picture is Nagrand (I loved that zone) with some paper houses and no floating rocks.

I really like this picture. This picture makes me want to spend $50 and log in to do... something. Maybe I just ride around and look in the buildings. Maybe out of view is a cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there is something to fight. But not something demonic or undead. Maybe it's like the cats on Quel'Danas, unchecked growth but not corrupt.

This picture is entirely in my head. It has almost no basis on what will actually turn out. It's internally-generated hype that will only lead to disappointment as I learn more. And I hate that.
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