New Topic: Redemption of the Week

| Sunday, February 28, 2010
[edit] I've blocked comments in this post due to spam.

My favorite social has called it quits on other people making his posts for him. It was too much work sorting through all the submissions and dealing with fakes. Perhaps I should have instead made a post Is Gevlon too popular to be good? But yes, no more morons of the week posts. I was almost disappointed, since having started playing my priest again I'd finally run into the awful tanks that I've heard so much about, but never seen.

I ran into a DK tank that used no diseases. None. I watched and asked. She said her boyfriend told her not to. Not part of her rotation.

I did some facepalming to myself.

But I decided to try to save her from the terrible advice. I had hope. Why? Because so far she seemed nice. Second, the fact that she took advice (even if wrong) in the first place suggests she might listen again. And finally, girls seem to be more receptive to advice anyway; maybe they are capable of hearing a suggestion as anything other than "you're wrong and stupid and I'm better than you."

So I said a bit about how diseases are a core part of the class and they boost damage and aggro. She claimed she was holding aggro just fine (barely). I countered with the always legitimate claim that more damage is good. That didn't seem to work, but she wasn't really getting defensive, just seemed that it wasn't clicking yet. She was still in the mode of That is Not Part of My Rotation.

Frost fever might have done the trick. I explained that it's a huge deal for tanks, so they take a lot less damage. Getting that on everything would make her a better tank. I think that broke through and got across the idea that diseases are good for tanks.

I gave her a starting rotation: death and decay, icy touch, plague strike, pestilence. Now everything is diseased and very angry with her. I didn't go much beyond that, since I was worried about seeming bossy or a know it all (this happens a lot). And she did it. Over and over. It did take a while though, pretty much to the end of DTK.

But at the end, I knew she had learned and the lesson would stick. What gave me this confidence? Her exclamation of how much more damage she was doing. People always respond to bigger numbers.

I doubt I made her a great player. Maybe not even good. But I did pull her back from major fail. Somewhere out there, someone has one less terrible tank to rage about. Random LFD is slightly better. With luck, I planted the seed of thought: looking at what spells do, trying to do better, learning from those around her, and hopefully testing their advice.

I want to make this a weekly post, created from your submissions, of a player who you have made significantly better through some minor effort.

Lag is caused by undergeared tanks

| Saturday, February 27, 2010
Full full full dead

Let's look at it another way: How does avoidance compare to effective health for maintaining healer mana? This will be in the context of heroics or level instances. Everyone talks about raids, so let's try something new and discuss something that isn't worth the bother.

If the tank avoids, you don't need to heal. Assuming the tank won't get two-shot, you can heal reactively. More avoidance means you don't have to heal as often.

Effective health
The tank takes more hits, but you can let him drop more before healing. This means you can heal in bursts rather than now and then.

A useful post would bring in math, but that's far too complex for writing while I wait for glyphs to be posted. Instead let's just think really, really hard. Is the healer going to maintain mana better with less healing, but potentially not getting out of the 5 second rule? That's the avoidance tank. The EH tank will need more healing overall, but it can be more like heal heal heal heal wait..... heal heal heal heal wait.....

This is obviously irrelevant to a healer based on mana/5 or crit, such as a paladin or shaman. But for priests and druids? It could make a difference.

But let's get back to the point: Do bad tanks cause lag?

What is lag? Lag is what it is when a healer doesn't heal you soon enough and you die. An undergeared tank will reduce the reaction time, making it more likely that the healer will lag. By lag I of course mean 'lag'. Or do I?

Could it be that the lag complaints in Dalaran are not due to tons of people in a small space, or low RAM or slow hard drives, but instead could it be caused by a crowd of bad tanks?

Bag space is underrated

| Friday, February 26, 2010
Recently my favorite social wrote a post about a tank he kicked from his guild. Boring. But he did mention bag space in passing. Something about deleting old level 60/70 stuff.

I assume he meant old tier sets and trinkets and that sort of thing. The stuff which has no market value and adds nothing to character effectiveness. He deemed it a mere luxury, which when talking in the context of a game brings up strange arguments like what is a luxury within a luxury and what is a necessity within a luxury. I consider these a set cost; that being the gold I spent on bags for my bank. They carry a similar worth to me, since I did buy the bags, worth derived from some sort of irrational emotion such as nostalgia or desire to show off.

But while we're on the subject of old stuff: It's not all worthless. The trade mats can be surprisingly expensive. Cloth individually is cheap, but if you happen to stumble across excess while leveling alts, it can be sold for a decent bit of gold. Certainly more than bandages. Ores and herbs are even more valuable, due to lack of people farming in the area. If you do plan to farm, try hellfire; it has a mix of early BC and late vanilla herbs. There are advantages to splitting between markets: you're less vulnerable to fluctuations in one or the other.

But let's get to bag space itself.

Bag space is one of the most underrated gold losses ever. Lack of bag space. When I farmed old world instances, I would run with 30-40 free slots. Sometimes more. I think I peaked at over 50 by mailing off consumables and reagents to an alt to return when I was checking the AH anyway. This had many advantages.

I could spam loot corpses without regard for which items were marginally more valuable. Sure the 50s trash isn't worth much, but if the marginal time increase is only the second to right-click the corpse and later to spam vendor, it's worth it.

The less noticeable gain is in time picking what to loot. I no longer have to destroy less valuable items to free up space. While it's easy to know that fish oil is worthless and BoE blues are valuable; it is trickier to tell between different armor. The time to figure it out can be worth less than the gold gained from the marginally better vendoring. Then there's the fact that you cannot spam loot and if mobs are tightly packed, you may even miss loot due to overlap with the mobs with crap on them.

There is the noticeable increase in travel time. How long does it take to get to the vendor? How many more times are you doing that due to full bags? Dependinn on where you go, a trip could add another 10 minutes. This isn't even 10 minutes break during a raid when arguably you're not farming anyway and the break is needed to recover and press on. This is 10 minutes of farming time, lost, wasted. Even worse, you'll be passing by herbs and ores, their minimap blips taunting you.

Bags have a cost. But it's a cost one time and then you can make that much more gold, save that much more time, be annoyed that much less. Your needs may vary. If you carry less gear, you don't need to get the biggest bags. At that point you'll be spending thousands of gold for a smaller percent gain in bag space, and since the higher slots tend to be filled with the least valuable drops, you're hitting diminishing returns. If you don't do much looting at all, then you're probably one of those idiots in heroics who speed-runs, saves five minutes, and doesn't loot 50g of gold, cloth, and greys. Or you're a bank alt and think, "why would I need space?" To store stuff! If the market is low, hang on to goods and wait for it to go up. Don't run out of space and get stuck either mailing items away and having to go back to get them, or sell them early just for space.

The biggest time-savings comes when leveling. You start with 16 slots and will fill them up fast, possibly just from quest items. For 100-200g you can get a few 20 slot bags and suddenly space is irrelevant. Go out questing for the day and hit a vendor once, while never having to pause to sort out what to drop to pick up your next quest. Especially get big bags by the time you hit Outland. When vendor trash is 1g+ and cloth is a desired commodity, spending 20g to gain 4 bag slots (or more) quickly makes sense.

Did chocoholics cause internet addiction?

| Thursday, February 25, 2010
I'm sure you're familiar with alcoholism. Hopefully not from personal experience, since it's difficult enough for those nearby, let alone the person himself. You know, a damaging addiction to alcohol which causes health problems, social problems, and generally fucks up everything.

Somehow that got lost a bit. We created the suffix "oholic" as a way to say "I really enjoy [food/activity]." Let's ignore that this doesn't even make any sense sine it implies that alcoholics are alc-oholics. What is alc?

Someone eats chocolate a lot and suddenly they're using similar wording as you'd use for someone who drinks his life away. The middle-aged woman who buys overpriced imported stuff that is barely distinguishable from a decent local brand (not Hershey's) isn't a consumerist hedonist (the word choice implies more harshness than I intend, but the actual concepts behind them fit). Oh no, she's a chocoholic. She can't help it! Mmm, chocolate!

I'm not suggesting that chocoholics think they have something comparable to alcoholism. The idea isn't there in their minds. But it is in the word. A damaging addiction has been re-purposed to describe something trivial. Addiction in general has gotten this treatment. I suspect much of it is part of a search for identity, for ways to describe oneself quickly, which is pretty stupid. If you can accurately be described quickly, then you're very simple and boring and probably not a very good person in any aspects. If you're not able to be described quickly, then the attempt is a waste of time and only adds misinformation.

Where was I? Oh yes, so shopping addiction, porn addiction, gambling addition; these exist. But the average person doesn't have them. The person who claims to be addicted to shopping is more likely just someone with poor impulse control, too much time, and no concept of credit cards eventually having bills. Again, something crippling has been misused.

The general effect is to weaken the impact and meaning of the word addiction. When addiction ceases to be a physical or psychological dependency with withdrawal effects, when it comes to mean "enjoying something a lot", then it can be applied anywhere. And so we have internet addiction.

Again, I'm not saying there are no internet addicts. There are. They need help. But most people are not addicts. If they seem to have a dependence, it's only because the real world isn't very enjoyable for them to inhabit. The problem isn't the substance or behavior, it's literally everything else. But that's too much to think about, when we can just call ourselves chocoholics and write horror stories about crazed internet youths.

Why am I making glyphs?

| Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Recently I pulled out my reputation pane, a calculator, and my warrior's bags. I couldn't argue with the math. I had enough decks to hit exalted with the Darkmoon Faire. This impacts my business model. Maybe.

My goal was not gold. It was reputation. I had a scribe, so it seemed straightforward: make cards and decks and turn them in for rep. Sell the cards.

I had it figured out pretty well too. I was patient, buying eternal life when it was cheap, buying herbs when they were cheap, and saving up cards until the faire came around again. Somehow it became bigger than making cards. As you read further, keep in mind my accounting is a little strange: I effectively did not count snowfall ink anywhere, so it's an unaccounted profit (on the milling end) and cost (on the card-making end).

Milling herbs generates a ton of ink of the sea and I needed maybe 1/10 of what I produced. It wasn't so easy to sell on the AH since it's made by scribes and used by scribes, and unlike enchanters, there's not much of a trade-chat-based market. People just buy the cheapest one off the AH. I did what most people would do: I found the highest price glyphs, made a few and posted them.

That was really stupid. The glyphs tended to be unwanted and only priced so high because no one cared to undercut in a market that has no demand. Or maybe one glyph a week. Whatever it was, it wasn't working for me. I was burning up bag space on unsold glyphs. To make it worse, making 3-4 of a glyph here and there barely dented my supply.

That's when I discovered the vellum market. Oh it was glorious. I could make a dozen stacks at a time, burning through ink like no tomorrow. There seemed to be barely any competition. It was boring and by that I mean reliably profitable. It was like printing gold. The profits seem high to me, compared to other professions such as my JC or enchanter, at 50-200%, with no deposit. Eventually that started to have competition, but it remains a decent way to use excess ink.

As the vellum market ceased to be perfect (for me), I moved back to glyphs, determined to give them another try. I stopped looking for the highest price for a quick bit of gold (which I never got anyway), but instead looked for what people want and isn't a throwaway glyph spammed by leveling scribes. This I determined from a mix of AH prices, wowhead averages, and comments on the usefulness of glyphs. Eventually I settled on a couple dozen glyphs and began making them 20 at a time and posting 20 at a time. I switched to 48 hour auctions as well, since I had learned that cutting my mailbox and posting time to 25% was way more sensible than constantly reposting and undercutting and getting undercut. Lots of long auctions at a very low profit per glyph. I used up my ink, I got some gold back from it, I didn't irritate myself with AH work.

And all the while I was making darkmoon cards.

Next to working with Northrend herbs, I also was milling and crafting decks from low level herbs as well. Those decks give lowbie rewards and can be turned in at any time. Turns out the rewards are somewhat in demand. The result was a cycle of wealth generation: I got rep, I got got, some herbalist got gold, and some alt got a new chest, shoulders, neck, or weapon. It was mildly annoying to work with so many different herbs and inks, but I was gaining gold and rep. And the extra common inks from that were needed for some of my glyphs.

A goblin might say I should keep doing this, just without turning in the decks anymore, selling them to other people going for the achievement. I'm not so sure. Gold just isn't especially interesting to me. I don't like to lose it, no one does, but gaining gold for the sake of gaining gold just doesn't excite me. Still, between making cards and a few highly risky, and profitable deals I worked out with someone leaving the glyph business, I've made a decent pile of gold. Enough that I think of going for the cap. But I'd have to rethink how and why I use my scribe.

I rarely try to make gold. Instead I want something else and find ways to get profits along the way. When I wanted Argent Dawn rep, I would AoE stratholme trash and sell the runecloth and DE the BoEs, and walk out with more rep and more gold. When I wanted to fix my rep with the goblin towns I ran Dire Maul and came out with cloth and books and epic patterns, and gold. Gold has always been a side-effect of some other goal.

Now I no longer have the goal. It's done. My scribe may find himself unemployed. He doesn't even get to sell the cards he makes. Those get sent to my warrior, for bag space reasons. The process of liquidating my assets could take a while, and bring in a good bit of gold. I can hand them off to the next insane person.

Maybe when he is no longer tied to Orgrimmar, weighed down by herbs and inks and glyphs and parchment, maybe my druid will be able to level again. Of course that raises the question: how many tanks are too many?

Tobold's experiment with anarchy

| Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Yesterday I published a post suggesting that comment moderation was bad for blogs and that this was harming Tobold's. He noticed it and responded in a somewhat surprising manner: by removing all moderation and allowing anonymous commenting. He ended up with a lot of trolls and spam in thethread.

It was somewhat as I expected: comment moderation harms discussion, but it is necessary when people are so eager to troll. The ultimate problem is what I had in my title: popularity. Smaller blogs just aren't worth trolling; there isn't an audience for them. And they are easier to moderate after the fact, without cries of "censorship!" because unless the blogger is afraid of dissent, only two types of posts get deleted: trolls and idiots who are so stupid they look just like trolls. These tend to be the ones screaming about censorship because their post calling the blogger a fag got deleted.

I came across this comment which matched my own feelings.
I'm not sure you need to switch from one extreme to another. My own preference was for the time where you required people to log in to comment, but didn't pre-moderate them (feel free to post-moderate).

The trouble with pre-moderation is that it breaks the flow of conversation. The other anti-spam measures seem fine to me, as they don't do that.

For me, the important thing is not to draw the conclusion: "I've shown that zero moderation doesn't work, therefore I must have maximum control". A middle ground is fine.


This also made me think that perhaps there can still be discussion in the middle of the trolls and spam. As I look over the comments so far, there are still worthwhile ones. Also some spam, some trolling, some demands that Tobold turn back on moderation.

Too loop back around, why wouldn't Tobold just have a captcha to catch spammers and delete trolls? I'm not going to believe it's because of cries of censorship, since moderation before posting is arguably more conducive to censorship because there's no record of the post ever. Also as I've interpreted his past statements, he doesn't care if we complain, it's his blog. I think the real reason is time, and it related directly to popularity. It would simply take too much time to delete every troll. If I had trolls, I could delete them without spending much time. If I had dozens of comments on every single thread with sometimes multiple threads in a day, well that's not going to be worth the effort anymore. It goes back around to the popularity: too many comments, too many trolls.

As the day has gone on, I've actually been surprised at how few trolls there have been. Certainly a lot, but I didn't feel like they took over. I suggested a new rule though: Responding in any way to trolls is encouraging them and would result in the post being deleted. With how things turned out, nuking a few posts might do the trick.

In conclusion: too bad for him. Serves him right for writing a diverse array of interesting posts over the years. Maybe next time you'll be dull and hard to read, noob!

Is Tobold too popular to be good?

| Monday, February 22, 2010
[edit] This was originally scheduled to go up in a week or two. I messed up the posting date due to a lack of February 29th, so it ended up posting right now. Then. Somehow Tobold got it during that 5 minute window and made a post about it. I'm afraid this will end up looking a bit too much like a war, so I want to reiterate: I enjoy reading his blog, comments or not; he's a good writer.

Supposedly blogs are about conversation. Not normal conversation with constant back and forth as we'd have in real life or text chat or whatever else. But an exchange. Someone says something and someone else responds. And they do so in a manner that encourages response.

Blogger posts, commenter reply, more commenter reply to the comments and to the post. It's like a snowball of words. Sometimes the snowball gets too big, rolls away, and crushes a mountain village. This seems to happen often on big blogs. That's the first thing hurting Tobold.

Then there are the trolls. They are drawn to giant snowballs as a mosquito to your breath. And spammers. And so Tobold has added comment moderation. It goes downhill from there.

I don't mean to criticize him. His posts are good and I enjoy reading them. But I have a hard to commenting. It's a terrible mockery of a response and conversation when it is delayed by hours, and then published along with a dozen other comments that say more or less the same thing. It's hard to advance a discussion when you don't know what has already been said, until it's been said ten different ways ten times.

The terrible irony is that it takes a decent-sized crowd to make a discussion. If a post has two comments, they're probably both responding to the blogger and maybe he'll respond, but at best you can some back and forth. You need the crowd to get a discussion going. But when there's too much crowd and even worse the blog becomes so well-known that it attracts not only those who care, but also the trolls, then it becomes tempting to moderate comments, and then it dies.

Not so long ago Tobold put out a vote: Moderated comments or none at all. I was a bit apathetic. None at all makes it just him stating opinions into the void and what can we respond with: emails or our own blog posts. Emails easily vanish as a response is likely to be a reply email; only a few will be worth a post response. Other bloggers can make posts to respond but, pardon the egocentrism here, I can hardly afford to start losing posting days just to respond unless it's going to be a full topic all to itself.

No matter how great a post is, it is missing something if you can't say anything about it. It's some weird human flaw that we can enjoy few things in isolation. We want to share and discuss and disagree and argue. We post comments and we find others to talk to. I'm sure I'm not alone in living in a world in which people aren't really interested in talking about some MMO blogger's latest post. That leaves the blogosphere. With no comments we're left with only our own blogs. Or for some, nothing at all. With no comments, everyone else is silenced and the whole experience is weakened.

In the end only one person is left with the ability to respond fluidly: Tobold. He can stick his replies up right after he puts out the non-troll posts. That makes it all rather one-sided. He sets the topic, decides what responses are acceptable, and is the only person who can respond effectively. I'm sounding rather harsh, and I know how he'd respond, as he has many times: It's his blog. That's quite true. But what is a blog without commenters? It's quiet and even more lonely than usual. Early on when I had few comments, it was a little sad. Even still, when a post has no comments I start to wonder, does anyone care?

I'm bad at wrapping up topics, so be distracted by this instead: MC Frontalot - Indier than thou

Should WoW have lower death penalties?

Rationally, higher death penalties should cause better gameplay. The worse the punishment, the more effective the learning. This isn't what actually happens. People don't go through life doing everything as a cost-benefit analysis and taking the ideal outcome. Notice how bank and credit card fee increases haven't made people more responsible/careful and avoid the fees. No, the banks just get more money. Pretty smart if you ask me; I wish I'd thought of the idea of charging people money for being dumb*.

Raising the cost of failure doesn't reduce the chance of failure. People often don't respond to the warning. Time lost, durability lost, consumables wasted, these are not making us play better. If anything, they may be making us play worse.

Let's go back to a fact: America is awesome. We're innovative and rich as fuck. Because of innovation. We take risks that others would not. How, why? It's not just culture. It's the situation we create. We have some of the most lenient bankruptcy laws in the world. In other words, go out and fail a lot, we won't throw you in prison, let you starve to death, or take all your possessions. Maybe the last one. We value the persistence because eventually, it yields some amazing stuff, such as everything we have.

By not punishing failure, we encourage people to take risks. We encourage people to try stupid ideas. Sometimes those are actually brilliant ideas and the payoffs are huge.

Could this apply in WoW?

If death was even less of a burden, we might be more willing to take risks. We'd be more wiling to "see what happens if we".

The highest guilds are the ones that create strategies and learn the fights, and then the rest of us imitate them. How do they do it? By dying a lot. Also skill, but that's not helping my argument, so let's pretend it doesn't exist. For them, death has a small enough cost compared to how they perceive the reward. Most people aren't as willing to die a lot. Would lowering the death penalty help?

If we weren't so afraid to die, might we read wowwiki and tankspot for tactics less? With more people innovating, might we find a thousand new ways to do a fight, when we're willing to take risks?

Would we not demand that all PUGs be overgeared, expecting Ulduar gear for Naxx and ToC for Ulduar and thinking 25k is low for a random heroic?

* I am using this as a generic filler for whatever causes a person to miss a payment or overdraw, such as being dumb, forgetful, irresponsible, or broke.

Or should they be higher?
What would this accomplish? If we lost something more, worse corpse runs, more durability, experience loss, would that change anything? It would make us more wary of death, more cautious. Would we learn faster? I doubt it. If the failure we have won't make us read our spells more closely, what will? Increase the penalty and the mindless might just leave, and take their money with.

Remember the recent information about 70% of players not going past level 10? Doubtlessly many are spam accounts or people who just aren't going to enjoy the genre. But how many more would be people who went from level 7 to level 6? They'd have to be pretty back, right? Well yes. God awful. Terrible noobs. And exactly like new gamers. Personally, I'm glad I didn't quit years ago because of some stupid death penalty. It wouldn't have made me look up more info on my class. The concept was entirely alien to me. I may be assuming too much, but I'd guess most new players aren't coming in to WoW with tons of experience and the idea of needing to tap out of game resources.

Higher death penalties won't make us learn any faster, but they just might kill WoW faster.

Self-righteous Sunday: Economic douchebags

| Sunday, February 21, 2010
I stumbled across this yesterday on the official forums.
go blurting about the Frozen Orbs in trade? Some of us are trying to make some money on these without morons going around saying, "Don't sell your Orbs they're trying to rip you off!"

Really now. Had one guy today making a macro claiming that we were practicing insider trading. People have the access to information and therefore not insider trading.

Please just shut up.

A good businessman doesn't rely on the ignorance of others. I mean good in two way: capable and moral. A capable businessman creates wealth by adding efficiency to the economy and by opening new markets. Someone who turns a useless raw gem into a useful cut gem is creating wealth and if they make them in bulk to save time, that's adding efficiency, while if they are the only seller, they are creating a market. Perfectly informed people who give different values to good and services can meet for mutually profitable exchange and this is in fact the most efficient use of resources. It is the theory behind free markets. A moral businessman doesn't exploit the ignorance of others.

Anyway, short version for your benefit: frozen orbs are going to be tradeable for trade goods such as eternals and frost lotus. This is going to drive up the price of frozen orbs and drive downt he price of the trade mats. I imagine frost lotus in particular will drop a ton, since as long as it costs significantly more than orbs, people will be converting them. Orbs will certainly go up, but the fact remains that they are easy to get: they come from the randoms that we all do anyway, and if there is a major shortage, they can even be purchased with badges. Right now they're barely worth more than the 5g vendor price, I predict they'll go up to 20g.

What can you get out of this?

If you want to exploit those who haven't read the patch notes, buy their orbs that they think are worthless. If you want to be a bit more ethical, save up your orbs for when they cost more or you can trade them for more valuable goods.

If you don't have orbs, but you do have frost lotus, this is a good time to sell it.

You probably see orbs going way past 20g right now. I've seen them up to 40g already. This is a speculation bubble, and it will pop. It cannot go above the price of frost lotus because that is the most valuable trade. Even the ceiling price of frost lotus will start dropping already as people anticipate the price drop and start selling it.

Whatever you do, ask yourself: Is this adding value? If no, then stop leeching and get a real job. If yes, then get all the gold you can grab.

Saturday Superstar: Self-destructive self-interest

| Saturday, February 20, 2010
As I was reading the forums recently I came across this most distressing claim by a low level alt.

All trolls aside, if the need button is lit for you, you have the right to push it.
You helped kill the mob and you have every right to roll on the loot.
And rolling greed only means your vote won't count if anyone else votes need.
And for why you want it. It is not anyone's business why you want it unless they are paying for your subscription, nor is it their business what you do with it.
Your needing enchanting mats is just as valid as billy wanting it for gold or suzy wanting it as an off-spec or bobby wanting it as an upgrade.
notice how all the posters are calling you bad, fail, greedy etc etc.'
That is their attempt to use social pressure to make you comply with what they want.
Next they'll be threatening you with ostracism.
Why are they using such tactics?
Because Blizz said here you go, this is the loot system and you can greed on anything, and need on 80% of the rest.
And that is the only rules that you have to obey; Blizzes rules.
The rest of this is fluff, threw up by people who think their wants are more important than your wants, and are willing to insult, belittle, bully and threaten in an attempt to get their way.

In ant decent world this would go unnoticed. Or ideally Blizzard would notice and rig things so he'd lose every single roll ever after that. Preferablly in horrible ways, such as hunters getting SP mail, DKs SP plate, and warriors any weapon at all, except the physical weapons which would go to elemental shamans or warlocks.

We don't live in a decent world. Someone got the stupid idea that the post wasn't short-sighted and stupid. And stupid.

I went with the short response
Being an anti-social asshole is not the foundation of an argument. It's the foundation of a lot of backstabbing and ninjaing. It's ignoring any concept of greater benefit, of an upgrade being worth more than a 5g dream shard. When everyone ninjas, everyone gets ninjaed from.

Afterward I realized that this wasn't just about greedy douchebags who can't see past their own noses, which are up their asses, which they find to be delightful because then they don't have to give away ANYTHING, beside the usual benefit of not having to actually see the world. I wondered how this affects gearscore or other elitist methods used to put down others. How many times have people had upgrades turned into void crystals and dream shards? Could the same people who steal everything out of 'self-interest' be the same ones complaining about 'the undergeared noobs who need to run heroics more'?

There is the hypocrisy of course. The blindness. "People who think their wants are more important than your wants" comes from someone who makes no attempt to even consider the needs of others. Is a 20 DPS upgrade more important than a 5g shard? That depends on how much you value a point of DPS. Some don't care much at all and would take a 5g shard any day while others will spend thousands of gold for tiny upgrades. The person who ignores the needs of others is saying "no matter what your need it, mine is at least equal". Note that it is AT LEAST equal, since if he perceived his need to be greater he'd take the same step of rolling need. This sort of anti-social douchebag is the true greedy one.

Add to this the fact that for every ninja-victim pair, there are likely to be three other people who have zero immediate interest in the outcome siding against the ninja. Why would they care if they have no incentive? Because they do! They are able to see past this one roll and see a pattern and seek to prevent it. They can see a month later when a hunter ninjas a spell staff because it looks cool. They can see such strange things as expectations of behavior and how setting low standards results in low behavior.

Oh yes of course, the social pressure. Ooh, such a mean word. Social pressure. That's like... coercion! From people! Yea, social pressure. I have a secret to tell you: laws are 99% social pressure. They are social ideas that we wrote down. They're mostly self-enforced. I won't encourage you to try it, but think about how easy it is to steal. Or to wander a dark street and pull a gun. Who would know? How would you ever be caught? If you're smart about it, you could steal enough to live off, sell drugs, murder and rape and burn down everything in sight. What is stopping you? The law? Like I said, you can get away with it.

It's social pressure that truly keeps us civilized. Only a small number of people actually need laws and police to do the right thing. They often don't anyway. Some of them are sneaky and adapt to loopholes and oversights and they still kill you and rob you; they just call it something else. It's a war or a tax or a fee or the free market. This last one is the latest and greatest invention: pollution isn't slowly poisoning you because the free market doesn't discourage it. Brilliant. I wish I'd thought of that first, I'd be rich as hell.

Where were we? Oh yes:
It is a mistake to assume that Blizzard makes all the rules. They make surprisingly few. There's the anti-scam policy, some stuff about hacking and RMT, and that's about it. Loot rules? Those aren't rules. Blizzard never wrote them down or justified them. They are the laws of physics; the basic reality. Those aren't a moral code. After all, the laws of reality allow me to steal, yet we'd hardly say "gravity didn't stop him, so it must be okay".

The fact that Blizzard makes no explicit rules is not because they believe we should do whatever the hell we feel like and screw everyone else. It's for practical reasons, such as being damn near impossible to program a decent looting system. Can you imagine trying to combine upgrade size, number of times killing, and vague concepts like how much they want it or how much effort they've put in and make that an automated program? It's far easier to say "sort it out as it works for you and here are some tools to assist". If it was intended that we grab everything for ourselves, there would be two loot systems "DE or vendor" (which we'd choose based on AH and vendor prices) and master looter. They expect players to create social systems to handle it. Guilds make loot rules, people state loot rules at the start of PUG raids, sometimes they do it in randoms. We're free to leave, to kick, those are the tools given to us. But we are smart and prefer to not disrupt the instance run; it is far more efficient to just not be an asshole.

Ah, efficiency. So wonderful, is it not?

Body Language

| Friday, February 19, 2010
Hopefully we all know that body language says a lot in real life and have some ability to read and control it. But what about in WoW?

I dislike other characters standing on me. It's so intrusive. Give me some space! Too many fights require some or all of the raid to cluster into a 5x5 square.

I face people while trading. Facing away just seems rude.

There are more practical forms though.

Misdirect or tricks of the trade are how a DPS can say "I'm ready to go, please go soon" without the standard, rude "gogogo". It's more subtle and implies that they are offering to help make the pull work better for you, rather than merely rushing you.

Conversely, a rogue wandering among packs of mobs, sapping randomly, is either pickpocketing (and the fact that he has the time for this means you're quite slow) or he's trying to purposefully express boredom. A constantly growling pet racing back and forth may be due to a hunter sending out and calling back a pet in rapid succession, as if he can barely contain his eagerness/impatience. Casters who cast and stop frequently are doing something similar. It sends the message "I want to go, let's go, why are we not going, GO!"

Either misidrect or tricks of the trade on a healer means someone is either making a joke or is a total douchebag who should be kicked immediately. Use contextual clues to differentiate; doing this while the tank or healer is afk indicates douchebag while if they are in the same guild as the healer it indicates a joke on vent that you didn't hear.

Prayer of Mending is how a priest says "I'm ready". It sounds like a bell to me, which doesn't matter in this context, I just wanted to point it out. Power word: shield also works, especially if it's the sprint bubble from a holy paladin. BTW, I love the sprint bubble. I use it to catch up when people pull while I'm drinking. I want that last 10% mana, dammit!

Vigilance is a warrior's way of saying either "Your DPS is clearly the best" or "You are terrible with aggro management but I feel accommodating". Either way, nice guy.

A tank standing still is ambiguous without context. If a DPS is ahead of him, he's saying "You ran ahead, go for it". This is an especially cold-hearted expression if the DPS have pulled a mob and are now engaged in combat. If the tank is ahead of everyone and has run close to aggro range and stopped, he is likely trying to figure out a pull. This is especially likely if he seems to be moving around a lot and switching targets. If he instead is standing still after the previous pull, especially if he isn't targeting anything, he's probably waiting on a cooldown such as death and decay or divine plea. Or he's trying to say "DPS, stop saying 'go go go', it's really annoying".

Some would just call all this being passive aggressive, but to them I say *look of disgust*. So there!

I think I like accessibility

| Thursday, February 18, 2010
In vanilla I cleared AQ20, ZG, and MC. I died on Razorgore. That was the full extent of my raiding. I never saw AQ40 or Naxx or most of BWL.

In BC I cleared Kara and ZA and had killed Gruul and Mag. I killed a boss or two in SSC. I did all of ZA, but was never anywhere close to the mount. After 3.0 I also killed a handful in BT, which doesn't count in my book. I've still not seen Sunwell.

Now I've cleared Naxx, downed Malygos and Sartharion. Most of Ulduar I've killed. The exceptions are Vazax and Yogg-Saron, and I've at least died to Yogg a few times. TotC I've done all of. I've already seen a lot of ICC25; clearing the first wing, Rotface and Festergut, and died a few times in the other wings. On 10-man I've not seen blood wing, but I have killed Putricide. I've never done ToC 10 and barely touched Ulduar 10. I suspect I am afraid of PUG raids.

I can't imagine what I'd be doing now if I'd hit a wall. I cannot imagine still running naxx, over and over and over. Maybe I'd be forced to do arenas just to pass the time. Oh, the horror...

Just for fun, I'm going to end this with a question and blanket statement which ignores individual differences or other perspectives. WoW is split between those who benefit from accessibility and get a much greater value from their $15 than before, and those who whine that noobs get to play the same game as them. Which are you?

How I learned to love extremists

| Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Shocking! How could someone love an extremist? Personally, I think they are destroying the world and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong and only helping their cause.

Extremists are bad, certainly. Their actions, their beliefs, their words: they are harmful. But they are illuminating. It is only when you see the bottom of the slippery slope or the illogical conclusion that you can truly see what you are saying. Extremists give context. Their ridiculousness helps us see "oh, well that's certainly not where I want to go, so maybe I'll stand... here".

See, it's not about loving them or valuing them through agreement, but through disagreement. They are the devil's advocate, except if you're seeing them for who they are, you know to go in the other direction.

This specifically relates to blogging for me. I often find topics on the WoW forums. Really stupid ideas bounce around there, popping up like the movie theater popcorn, and as disgusting and unhealthy as the 'butter' on top.

For example, I've recently tempered my views on vanilla being a lost paradise. It wasn't from doing the old grinds. I enjoyed those actually. No, it was the 90th forum thread proclaiming them to be a wonderland, and my inevitable need to disagree, since if it's on the forums it's probably wrong, just by chance, which convinced me that perhaps things were not perfect.

Of course I also saw the "Vanilla sucked!" threads and found those to be similarly stupid. I enjoyed vanilla and mere nostalgia and novelty are incomplete explanations. After all, I've never before stabbed myself, but I doubt novelty would cause me to enjoy it or to say how the blood loss and resulting need for orange juice and a new shirt are a challenge that people don't understand these days.

Between these I find a middle ground. It's in the middle. I guess that's where it gets the name.

Without seeing some other jackass ranting about pre-BC servers, who knows where I'd be now? So I want to thank you, extremist jackass who cannot see any value in dissenting opinions; your stupidity has helped me to find my way, away from you.

Extremists are really ugly mirrors that make us realize we've not shaved in a week and what's that in our teeth?

Razorscale with one and a half tanks

| Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Right after I did the Ulduar weekly on my paladin, in which someone started hardmode so we had to kill towers, I hopped on my DK. Aha, trade chat, just the place to see lf1m tank for ulduar. I'm on it!

Join, fly over, hop in a demolisher, and the other tank leaves. Dammit.

We start clearing the gauntlet while we try to get a tank.

Backtrack a moment: I talked to Brann first thing after I got it, just to be sure. No hardmode.

We start clearing and by the time we're at the trash that triggers FL, we've gotten a terrible idea: One tank and three healers. I like terrible ideas, so I decided, let's go for it.

Someone pulls FL trash before the new people get there. It comes out, we fight, it aggros on someone outside and resets. At least I didn't die. Someone pulls again. I didn't die. Clearly this is not going to go well.

FL dies smoothly once we're all there.

Now for the hard part.

The air phase was a fun challenge. I'd drop Death and Decay on one mole and use taunt and deathgrip to grab the other. Sometimes overzealous DPS would get aggro. Fortunately they were also high DPS, so we got her down permanently after only one flight back up. Time for fun.

I was disappointed to find that antimagic shell doesn't prevent the armor fuse. Makes sense, since that would be more than a little bit overpowered. With no offtank, I took all the stacks. And at 5 I was welded in place and an arms warrior ended up tanking her for 20 seconds or so. The healers did well and he lived. So did I.

Then I did it on my warrior, warning them that my gear wasn't amazing. The raid leader said they had good healers as long as I was in 200+. I was confused. That's a... perfectly reasonable level of gear to expect. Twilight zone stuff! We downed him with no problems. I got a new smashy hat. And was kinda burnt out from having tanked him three times in a row on three different tanks.

Not enough people showed up for ICC so we ended up doing ToC instead. I didn't win death's choice. I got outrolled on a tanking belt. I did get a trophy, so my tanking gloves are a little bit better.

What's gs?
My DK did a random, got UP again. Happens a lot to me. That and Oculus, which I actually like. The warlock was adorable. She hadn't played for 6 months and didn't know the new raids. Or what "gs" is. The healer and I were horribly distracted explaining things. We managed to wipe on the gauntlet boss.

Noob in VoA 10
Someone was looking for a tank for VoA10, so I volunteered my DK. They clearly were not gearchecking if I got in. Have I mentioned that I accidentally vendored my tanking boots a few days ago? That was my first time ever in there on a DK, so I got all the achievements. And some t8 DPS gloves off the wind guy. The raid leader had us kill every boss for mount chances. It did drop and he won the roll.


| Monday, February 15, 2010
Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam.

I typed that. No copy-paste. It's legit.

In an effort to make this more of a two-way dialog, to not exclude people with something to say, I make this blog a bit more vulnerable to spammers. I allowed anonymous commenting and I removed word verification.

Since then I've had some spam. I don't like it.

It confuses me.

It tends to be on old posts. Not the day before, the week before, or even the month before. I find spam comments, NEW spam comments, on posts from November. Now I'm not expert, but I don't see how that is productive for them. Perhaps there is no cost to it, but I'd expect they'd target it at new posts, ones that people might actually see.

It often doesn't sell anything. It has random words or sentences which don't say much. No links, no product names, just generic words like "I found this useful for my trip to college thank you for very interesting!" I'm assuming this is spam and that I don't just have a few very stupid posters responding to very old posts which have absolutely nothing to do with what they say.

Sometimes they have links, but they are broken. The tags they use don't work, so they just look like giant messes. Would it take that much effort to check how the target handles tags and adapt the spambot? Bah, who am I kidding? These are the equivalent of the misspelled guild ads which brag about bank slots and use no punctuation other than exclamation points.

Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong. Useless spam in outdated posts aimed at a blog with no practical use which frequently talks about old content. Maybe the spammers have it figured out perfectly. Except they don't seem to realize that there's no profit to be had here.

What to do?
I don't plan to remove anonymous commenting. Since I'm not getting trolls, I see no reason that people should have to identify themselves, making some sort of account, just to respond.

I am considering putting back on word verification. But I must do a cost-benefit analysis. The spam is annoying, but is it annoying enough to warrant the annoyance of word verification? So I put to you: how annoying is word verification on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being no annoyance and 10 being you won't post with it and 11 being due to technical issues you can't post with it.

Self-Righteous Sunday: Love is in the Air

| Sunday, February 14, 2010

I did the holiday boss trio yesterday. The pet dropped. The winner immediately offered to sell it for 1.2k gold. Eventually he went down to 500g and said he was being nice.

I didn't think nice meant rolling need on something you don't want, just to sell it right back to us. I thought greed was for greed rolls.

Someone who already had the pet was rather critical of him. I don't remember if he had rolled or not. If he had, what was his plan, to only charge 400g?



This is the unloving, uncaring, unemotional PUG that Elnia spoke of.

What a glorious celebration of love! We steal and bribe and wish never to see each other ever again out of the belief that if we avoid that group we can avoid that sort of person while we carrying on being that sort of person and claim self-interest.

People turned into little goblins, went undercover on a quest. Then they went to Ulduar and farmed bracelets to sell. How art imitates life. An arbitrary holiday makes us feel compelled to do strange things, give strange gifts, in hopes of reward which may never be gotten and may be worth nothing at all; and someone finds a way to profit from it.

How appropriate for it to be depicted as a disease, a plague, a chemical agent sent out to weaken us, make us lambs to be slaughtered. We set out to cleanse ourselves of this, to destroy the source, and are rewarded with candy and slutty dresses. We do it again the next year.

We waited endlessly for candy, clockwork on the hour. Sometimes we didn't get what we wanted. We didn't like that. We don't wait anymore. We go to Ulduar.

Healers are nice people.
They might not love anyone, but they must love everyone.

My priest did her transmute and alchemy research. She made some cloth bolts. She queued for randoms and eventually left because of unresponsive idiots. No one listened to her.

Prayer of Mending is amazing.

We noticed in Nexus that the DPS warrior was afk following the mage. I tried to vote kick, but it kept saying I can't kick shortly after combat. Apparently a minute is shortly after combat. Eventually he came back after what was apparently ten minutes. Bad timing, since I'd just thought of several ways to get him killed since I couldn't kick him. I mention this and how 10 minute unannounced afks are for emergencies. Not smoking a bowl and "wtf guys why didn't you say anything on vent?" Smoke your bowl, I don't care. Go afk to do it, fine. Go afk for half the instance and leech xp the whole way. Fine! Just fucking say something, don't randomly vanish. I called him an inconsiderate ass, the 80 tank and lolret started defending him and then kicked me.


The person who doesn't go afk half the instance without saying anything is the one who gets kicked? I can be abrasive, but am I rude to anyone who hasn't already revealed himself to be a total jackass?

I requeued, got an instant group. Someone left the moment I joined. We didn't requeue. I asked about that and got promoted. I didn't understand how the other person found it easier to right-click me and promote to leader than to hit O and select "yes". We got a replacement. The tank ran straight into a pack of spiders and I got covered in the poison that increases mana costs. That pack can be avoided without any sneaking, you just have to not run headfirst into it. I left, frustrated and annoyed with humanity.

Perhaps I lack the unrelenting love needed to be a healer. Perhaps all the love has left everyone and is just floating in the air as a choking, mind-numbing perfume.

Saturday Superstar: Authenticators

| Saturday, February 13, 2010
Alternate title: Don't look so smug.

I use firefox. And noscript. And antivirus software. It watches for other baddies as well. I don't download random crap. I watch what sites I go to. I've never bought gold, never used a leveling service, never shared my account info.

I'm safe, right? Well, I've never been hacked.

I got an authenticator anyway. And here's where the smugness comes in.

On one side there are the authenticator elitists. They say you deserve to get hacked if you don't have one. You're stupid. You're a moron. You're cheap and lazy and undeserving to even play WoW.

I'd be one of these, except that I am given some modesty by recognition of my privileged situation. I never bought an authenticator. Never spent a dime on it. Never had to wait for shipping. I got an iPod Touch for graduation and got the mobile authenticator. Free and instant.

In a sense I inherited the authenticator. So for me to say that those without authenticators are stupid and lazy is pretty stupid and lazy. For five years I did not have one; they weren't always available, but you get the point. It was not my own intelligence and initiative that caused me to have an authenticator.

I suspect many people are like this. They never had to really choose to have an authenticator because it's a simple app to get. It's the worst sort of elitism: the undeserved sort; a rich son insulting the commoners when he has shown no more initiative than any of them.

On the other side, there are the smug "I've never been hacked crowd". Good for you. But just by the odds, you're not likely to get hacked. You have to get a keylogger, which is much harder than the forums would make you think; it's not as if the first website you click will hijack your computer. Whoever gets that information has to know what to do with it: remember that people are mostly after credit card info, not WoW accounts. Mere luck is protecting a lot of people; not their brilliant internet security skills.

The worst though are the ones who are vehemently against Blizzard adding $5 to the next expansion and making them mandatory. Well, okay there are arguments about the inconvenience, those aren't the ones I mean. Instead I mean the "why should I pay $5 because other people are stupid?" crowd. These are the true idiots. They're so wrapped up in their own selfishness that they cannot see that the $5 cycles back to them in the form of shorter GM queues, lower costs of Blizzard which mean more money to make awesome stuff for us, and greater overall security which means less spam, and a better economy.

Maybe people are just stupid to not have authenticators yet. So what? I'll trade $5 and my moral outrage for a better game experience.

Both sides are being arrogant and attributing entirely to their own actions what is mostly luck and circumstance.

Two year blogday

| Friday, February 12, 2010
I've been having a terrible time trying to write a blogday post. Somehow I get anxiety about the most trivial of tasks. Shouldn't this just be a quick post of I started writing on such and such day because I wanted to say this or that and since then I've written ten thousand posts and I have a million viewers per day and thank you so very much, readers? Maybe throw in a screenshot of google analytics, some funny search terms, compare my posting style.

But that would be really fucking boring. I avoid writing posts that I wouldn't want to read.

So I did what anyone else would do: sent a sad email to a friend. I batted around some ideas and came up with a few. They were terrible.

Back in the day
My very first introduction to blogging was terribly boring; writing about some Shakespeare character in high school. Blogging sounded stupid. Perhaps the assignment really was. Somehow I moved past that.

There have been times that I had more fun writing about WoW than actually playing it. I'd get bored or burnt out, and I'd keep writing. I learned to love writing. It makes me laugh when I think of high school and especially junior high when I hated writing. Now it's one of thing activities I enjoy the most. Some weeks I've been frustrated at the lack of days in the week, since I had more to say but I didn't want to start randomly having multiple posts a day. Poor Gnomeaggedon can't even keep up as is.

I was thinking about those terrible local bands in high school and college. You know, teenagers in their garages with modest musical talent, terrible writing, and immature voices with a propensity for screaming. Awful. But so necessary. What band is formed by perfectly talented musicians in their 20s or 30s? Not many. A few, but they tended to come from previously-created and failed groups.

Us bloggers are all those terrible bands. Some get better and get noticed and go big; I think this is Matticus or maybe Tobold. Some get better and stay local, but are significant in their area and influence the sound of the area; such as Larisa or some of the class-based bloggers. Then there are the ones that keep going and aren't that amazing. But they're part of the music and are as necessary as the world-famous bands, because they are the base at which all start. I guess that's me.

As I think more about the idea of local bands, I'm struck by how strange it is to think of an online neighborhood. I am reluctant to say community, because I feel that it's not just social connection, but that our webs of links create almost a physical area which we inhabit. I actually feel like you're a neighbor, like I can walk across the lawn and there's your front door. I feel as if the blogs I read, the neighborhood which I live in, has its own style. There are many others, places I could move to, but I don't want to. I like my home.

Editing is srs bns
It may not be apparent, but my posts are often heavily edited. You see, at the first draft they are often completely unintelligible. As proof, I offer the upcoming Sunday post.

I usually write posts days before and schedule them. This gives me more time to look over them and notice terrible grammar, missing words, or just plain not making any sense. This often happens when I write semi-late at night. There is a time at which I achieve a sort of half-dream state in which words flow freely, perhaps because I skip every other word and don't notice. It's the most fun time to blog. It's also the least effective time.

The downside of scheduling is that I sometimes feel like I want to say something right now, but I have to admit, breaking pattern feels risky, that I might say "oh well I wrote one last night so I can skip the morning" and next thing I've not written anything in days. It makes posts less spontaneous. I cool down after nerd-raging in-game. Sometimes. And then the extremes tend to vanish, dulling everything. That's not good, but I know that if I don't say to myself "you will write in time for the schedule tomorrow", I just might not write. This doesn't mean I have to force myself to write, but it's so much easier to queue for another heroic and check that alt's mailbox and oh what's that on google news?

Thank you
I have three big thanks I want to give. The first is to all you readers. Without you I'd just be some nerd shouting opinions into the void. Thanks to you I'm some nerd shouting opinions at people. Your comments give me ideas for more posts or show me a different perspective. Sometimes I agree with you, sometimes I don't. I think it's most important when I don't, because then there's something to think about.

Fellow bloggers, I want to thank you for making the blogosphere. You've given me ideas and you've taken my ideas and made something more of them. You've given me something to read and think about every day. I want to apologize for the times when I didn't comment even when you wrote a great post. It feels weird to just say "great post" or to response with what could only ruin an otherwise perfect post; except the zero comments might be worse than a thousand trolls and halfwits. You send people to my blog through blogrolls and occasionally link love and I try to send them back. Without you this blog wouldn't be much of anything, just shouting in a dark corner.

The last is aimed specifically aimed at Larisa. She writes a great blog, which I've drawn some inspiration and topics from. I've been influenced a lot by reading her blog and commenting on it and I really do think that if I'd not found the Pink Pigtail Inn, then I might have ended up writing little more than rants and boring posts about my paladin.

I wonder if I'll still be writing in another year. I don't see why not. What will I write about when WoW ends? Who knows. Maybe I'll be totally lost and have to resort to being a paladin in real life. If so, I'm sure you'll hear about some demon getting a mace in the face and his wallet and suit stolen. The vendor price on that stuff is pretty nice.

What do you think?
What do you like or dislike about this blog? Have any favorite, or most hated, posts? While I may appear to be an elitist tank jerk who orders people around and ignores the wishes of others, that's not true. Okay maybe kinda. All I'm saying is, stop standing in the fire and don't pull. Where was I? Oh yes, comments. Talk to me.

Quickly staying the same
These were going to be near the start of the post, but they took up a lot of space, so I moved them to this appendix of sorts.

Looking back, I'm amused at how little some things have changed, how many things sound like something I'd say now.

Easy Leveling is like Easy Credit
The easier it is to level a class, the worse they will end up. Take hunters for example. Ignore all the crap about noobs being attracted to the cute pets or pretending to be Legolas. Overall I doubt the average hunter is significantly stupider than the other classes, or at least not enough to account for impressions of them. The problem is that hunters are absurdly easy to level and offer little challenge to the player, so they never learn. It isn't that the player is stupid, it's that he's uneducated.

That's right, noob might not be a personality type or some birth defect; it might just be lack of necessity. Or it's just a game and some people care way less. Damn casuals.

Madness begins...
I realized today that my paladin has the weapon token from AQ20. I don't think it will be too hard to get the other pieces to go with it. All I need is exalted and I can get a really, really bad sword.

And so it was that I began collecting bad swords. This doesn't include my old-school Quel'serrar.

Welcome Home, to Hell
There's something about taking my paladin to Stratholme that just feels right. I suppose it is perfectly designed for us: huge groups of undead and plenty of corners to LoS casters. There's a high from pulling 6 groups at once and killing them all.

The force reactive disks help. Yea, that was plural. I carry three of them plus a sporeggar shield and my normal tanking shield. A single pull can wipe out half a disk. But hey, they cost almost nothing to repair (I forgot exactly, but it's less than 2g at zero durability). Bag space is an issue. I can easily make 30 slots no longer empty by picking up drops off mobs.

Engineering: Better crusading through advanced technology.

And then there's this post that cracks me up looking back at it:
Communism has finally come to WoW
No, it's not welfare epics. They aren't even like welfare, but I've already gone over this. It's not guild banks or 10-man raids.

It is the hybrids. We have seized the means of production and can finally be free of the bourgeois pure classes. We are all equal DPS. Somewhat.

Lolret will be over. "We need CC" is a thing of the past.

TBC was the end of serfdom and slavery, the end of healing. WotLK is the end of the capitalists, the end of the pure DPS.

Coincidentally, just as we reach the end of history, we are also closing in on what will most likely be the last expansion.

I'm not sure why I suggested that WotLK would be the last, but what made me laugh was how hybrids finally got damage, and then suddenly it was tanking and healing that mattered and here we are with the hybrids on top.

Oh, and I knew it all along:
I Hate Oculus
It's a cool place. I like the drake idea. It just doesn't work.

The last boss doesn't seem especially hard to me, but there's no way to compensate for noobs through either gear, CC, or picking up slack. This means that either everyone plays properly (good luck with a PUG) or you fail over and over until the trash repops and everyone leaves.

I sure talked about goblins a lot in the past year.

Musical maladies

| Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Pugnacious Priest was awesome enough to create music from shadow priest DPS. Well, I learned that I don't know how to use garageband very well, so I'm having a hell of a time getting it in. So I did what I usually do in these situations: got frustrated and then got distracted.

I decided to take a crack at a death knight instead. Their rotations make some sense to me. I picked frost because well, it's the best spec. I ended up with five notes: icy touch, plague strike, blood strike, obliterate, and frost strike. Trying to put these onto a piano yielded a semi-listenable sound. Icy touch was a high note, while obliterate was the lowest. I will have to tweak that, perhaps move some spells away from the piano. It did sound kinda neat when I put it on a bass, but that may have just been due to reduced ability to hear it.

As I find more time I'm going to keep working on this. My eventual hope is to have every class-spec combination mapped out more or less on the same scale so that any note would correspond to a spell. Then I want to put them together and see what a raid sounds like. My guess: terrible.

I want to start a guild

| Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It would be called < doesn't sign charters >. But I think I'd have trouble finding people to sign the charter.

P.S. Stop opening charters in my alt's face while I'm trying to post auctions.

Musical rhythm in class rotations

| Tuesday, February 9, 2010
As I was watching a drummer I was suddenly amazed by something: musicians can be as perfectly synchronized as those radio-linked clocks. The key is that they are not merely hitting notes. That would sound terrible. That is what little children do when first learning. Instead they play. They are not picking what to play, instead they simply play it, and the result is a continuity, a perfection, that is hard to find elsewhere.

Imagine if a pianist tried to play by having every set of keys passed to them, instant by instant. It would sound terrible. They would have no flow and their rhythm would turn to crap, even if the cues were perfectly timed.

I don't believe this is isolated.

Classes in WoW exhibit similar behavior. DKs have their rune rotations; regular, cyclical, unending. You could make a very strange, but regular, metronome from their runes. Other classes have rotations as well. Then there is the first come, first serve of retribution.

There is the steady rhythm of the 1.5 second GCD (oh fuck you, Bloodlust). In theory this means that ret paladins could play their spells almost as a musical composition; unrepeated and without clear pattern, and yet still create a coherent work of art through the regularity of the GCD and the intelligent choice of the next spell.

Then comes T10 2-piece. An unpredictable proc. I suppose that's redundant since proc comes from programmed random occurrence. But I think people have forgotten that procs must be random; I admit I tend to use it for either random or infrequent events. Or just stuff happening: "Icy Touch procs Frost Fever." Why not just fucking say "applies"? Dumbass.

Random. It's right back to the pianist with keys thrown at them. I succumb to this. DS is up, but I was already pressing the CS key. There goes my damage. I'm trying to 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 but which 1.5 is next? And is this a 1.5? No no, just a 0.5 because the auto-attack reset it, and now I'm back to 1.5 until I reach the next small gap. How do you expect me to play this shit? Worst composer ever.

Paladin tanking I can do as 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 due to alternating cooldowns. Give me enough time and you will see my swaying back and forth in my seat with the casts and chanting to myself 6 9 6 9 6 9... Then I get stunned or lag or in some way shaken from my trance and I swear a bit. As an angry musician, I throw something, often my shield.

I wonder what the DPS gain would be if ret had a set rotation. Set it out to be the same theoretical DPS, but make it something predictable for the player. I think we'd see a huge DPS gain. At least 10%. It's not just the non-ideal spell now and then, it's also the frustration and loss of control of missing one and then the next is off and, well I'm sure you've seen a musician miss a note, then another, and they just crash sometimes. As for lag, it's much easier to adapt to the delay if you're not randomly changing casts, or not changing what you cast and losing that damage instead.

What would we sound like?
When I get a chance, I hope to find rotations for all classes and specs and assign a note to the spells. Plug those into GarageBand and see what I get. The FCFS will likely end up a bit chaotic, but who knows until we hear it? If I had musical talent, I'd actually play them, but alas, my skills are weak.

I only fear one thing: After I make these, will one class sound so much better that Ghostcrawler will nerf it?

Are musicians better at DPS?

DKP vs. loot council

| Monday, February 8, 2010
My guild switched to DKP a few months back in reaction to constant whining about loot council decisions. I'd have attempted to make the decisions more open and understandable, but that has limits. So I might have just kicked the whiners instead.

Psychologically, DKP isn't the same as loot council. It has some benefits, some things which are the antonym of benefits. Costs! Losses?

Aw, nothing dropped :(
On the plus side, it gives you something to gain even when the boss doesn't die or nothing drops for you. Even better, if nothing drops that I want, it increases the chances that I'll win it in when it does drop.

On the downside, if I happen to be lucky with drops, there goes my DKP. This can end up feeling terrible especially when drops are uncontested. That was the case of most of my gear recently. I'd have preferred if uncontested drops were cheaper, except that encourages people making deals to cheat the system. So I did get a bunch of upgrades, but I now have no chance of getting any more. I know, it's kinda dumb, that I'd have gotten those upgrades over time anyway and burned the same DKP; so really all that happened was I got everything sooner rather than later.

BRB, cat's on fire
Loot councils can be more understanding of emergencies. They can accept that things happen and they don't mentally downrank you because something happened out of your control. DKP doesn't care, it only tracks if you're there or not. Leadership could grant points still, but once there's one exception, the floodgates are opened for all sorts of nonsense.

Social manipulation and guild benefit
On the other hand, loot councils can be influenced by sucking up or social manipulation. I'm not referring to the nice person getting loot over the jerk, since I'd have just kicked the jerk anyway. Instead I mean the person who is friends with the loot council, shows up regularly enough to not be obvious, but isn't there as much as other people, but due to social aspects ends up with priority. DKP is objective.

Or is it? A loot council can see that the somewhat equally geared people with a significant DPS gap, well who is it better to give the loot to? I'm not saying only the highest DPS (healing/tanking) should get loot, but it doesn't make much sense to throw away gear on bad players. Though if they're really bad, maybe they shouldn't be in the guild. DKP just rewards attendance. There can be more DKP for kills vs. learning vs. farming, but if the less skilled player is consistent, they're going to be getting the full DKP anyway. Perhaps that's still objective, but it's not practical.

See the Driven Draenei for a different take on individual accomplishment and DKP gain. It's about GDKP runs, but the idea translates well enough.

Choice and Understanding
DKP does have the big benefit of being choice. If you're low on DKP, it's because you chose to spend it. A council can be confusing. Why didn't I get that drop? I don't think I've gotten something recently, so what's going on? People hate confusion. To temper my earlier "kick the whiners" statement, I acknowledge that a lot of what is perceived as whining is really just confusion. Why did loot get handed out that way?

Tortilla Wrap
I prefer loot councils to DKP. They're just more human. But this depends a lot on trust in the council, both your own and that of your fellow guild members. My guild's council ended due to lack of trust from other members. I didn't like every decision, and frankly some were outright confusing, but overall I was happy with it.

Self-Righteous Sunday Only three days?

| Sunday, February 7, 2010
Ensidia has a record on this sort of thing. They've exploited kills before. They've bragged about buying gold. They show an all-around "we're too smart for silly things like rules" attitude.

A three day ban and stripping them of the achievement is hardly a suitable punishment. Maybe they're set back a week. I suspect more, since exploiters tend to be compensating for a lack of skill. I'm not saying they're bad, but based on the pattern of exploits, they are clearly not top-quality material. They're not a top guild. Not even close. They're posers who do nothing but hurt the image of the truly skilled. If they had any decency, they'd send apologies to all the true top guilds. But if they had any decency, they'd be 100 spots further down where they belong.

People like this deserve cruel and unusual punishment. A mere bureaucratic throwing of the book is not enough. You see, people like them are a blight upon the world and should be treated with the total lack of human decency which they have earned. I propose a new, inhumane punishment reserved for only the most notorious of exploiters and general destroyers of game and world society.

Create a filter which will take all messages in trade containing the word "anal" and redirect them to all chat and combat logs of Ensidia members who were involved in the exploitative activities.

This will both clean up trade and punish these monsters.

[edit] A late addition, to more fully explain my position.

When it's 12:00 (24:00) and Saturday is over

| Saturday, February 6, 2010
I tend to go afk randomly while I play. Sometimes in instances. I try to avoid that. It's much more common when I'm doing AH stuff. Such as right now.

I was planning to grab a few decks and turn them in, get my last few before the Darkmoon Faire ends. I got there during the switch from 11:59 to 12:00. Little did I know.

In a way I'm glad I missed it, because it was kinda neat to see.

One moment there were tents and booths and funny costumes. Then it all vanished before my eyes and a moth fluttered nearby. I stood there for a moment, waiting, since it felt exactly like when you move along the edges of a phase transition. Or a bit of lag. It would pop right back up.

There was only a moth.

Saturday Superstar: People who are terrible in a special way

If your trade chat is anything like mine, it has on shortage of stories about bad players from other realms. Stories isn't the right word. Let's go with: senseless whining mixed with unfounded elitism. What inspired this post was a recent bit in trade chat and the FP from Undercity to Thorium Point.

The person was talking about a DK whose highest damage on a single target fight was blood boil. Basic knowledge of DK abilities shows that to be pretty bad. Bad DK. Bad. But the person complaining appeared to be just as bad. How so?

Well both players are to varying degrees responsible for there being a terrible DK. One player is the DK. The other player is the person who did absolutely nothing to make the DK less bad. The DK made a bad and the whiner didn't make a bad into a good; so clearly he also made a bad.

WoW is filled with bads of this sort. They're in trade chat, your guild, the blogs you read and the comments on those blogs. All manner of people who spend time complaining about 'bads' and not a moment eliminating the bads. Perhaps the problem is that they themselves are bads, but in a special way.

They can play the game, but they're social noobs. They're idiots of a sort, too stupid to see that people can be changed. Or too wrapped up in imagining their own greatness. These sort of people may not understand the concept of learning and development. Perhaps their minds are so flawed that they actually believe that they are of some superior type and that the world is clearly divided between them and the stupid and that nothing can cause a person to cross between. They are enemies. Artificial enemies, created only by their delusion. Imaginary enemies.

It's not our job to mentor others. It's likely a waste of time to attempt to teach every noob we run across. But it's worth a few seconds to plant a seed. In this case, it's something as simple as saying "blood strike does more damage on a single target than blood boil". That took me about two seconds to type, include the time I used to think of the phrasing. It's a tiny investment of time, but it's a seed and seeds are amazing things.

Seeds are tiny investments that are scattered all over and for the most part are failures, but now and then they work and a plant grows. In the analogy this plant is the next good player. A good tree throws out hundreds, thousands, uncountable seeds, and in return a few more grow. This is where forests come from, a thousand seeds, most of the failures, but just enough that over time you get a forest. This would be the community, the guilds and raids and the awesome people you run into now and then in PUGs.

Plant a seed, say something other than "you suck."

The seed is not just a small piece of advice, but also the idea that the player can improve and that improvement can be done without threat to ego. If you say that it's stupid to hold back improvement because of ego, I'll agree. If you say that you never do that, I'll call you a delusional liar who is hiding from the truth to protect your ego. Fact is, we're all human and humans are not perfect. Or anywhere close. But we're pretty good.

P.S. If you actually type out "you suck", I applaud your willingness to at least type out "you". It shows you care, even if you're still being a worthless jerk.

The perils of scheduling posts

| Friday, February 5, 2010
I was supposed to have posted about dkp today, but I screw up the date and still had it said for Monday. I blame ensidia since I'd written a post about them for today but then realized it would work better on Sunday. This is only one more piece of evidence of their willful assault on all that is good and decent.

Maybe the external AH will be good for the market

| Thursday, February 4, 2010
Blizzard is working on adding access to the AH outside of the WoW. The exact functionality isn't clear yet.

Currently I believe the WoW economy suffers from a lack of participation. When so many people only have a few hours and that time is dominated by raids or randoms or PvP; they can't afford to spend much time on the AH. This causes two problems: ignorance and impatience. If you have barely any time, you're not going to be seeing market trends, figuring out reasonable prices, perhaps even looking down the chain for crafting potentials. Post and get offline. The rush also means they cannot afford (or believe they cannot) to take risks with pricing because they don't have time or bag space to be reposting failed auction after failed auction as they learn the market.

Adding an extra 15 minutes, especially a 15 minutes in which they are not expected (or don't expect) to do dailies or farm or randoms, could be a big help. Those 15 minutes are for the AH only, so they are more likely to be spent learning and posting more thoughtfully. This means the typical player can get a bit more for their time farming.

This sort of external feed would also be helpful in developing an overall picture of the market. Imagine a few dozen people per server doing scans when they could, around the clock, and sending that data to a central listing. There could be a ticker of sorts for the AH. Currently this is possible, but would be quite tedious to do since the people would need to be online and not doing much for so long.

A bigger picture of the market would be a boon to anyone with that information. And there begin the problems. Who would control this information? The armory AH already sounds as if it will have a fee attached, so it's not inconceivable that websites would spring up to scan the AH and compile the information, for a fee. This could spawn a new age of real money giving significant in-game advantages. Things get blurry. The real money gives an advantage for getting in-game currency; is that indirect gold-buying? Will people feel pressured to subscribe just to keep up?

If the information is free and widely known, I believe it will help the common farmer or crafter. They will be able to more precisely charge for their goods and products.

On the other hand, if this does not become commonly used or known, then it may only give rise to a new speculator class, inflating prices and effectively siphoning away gold from the community, with no corresponding benefit.

This addition worries me with the potential implications: slippery slopes of real money advantages and extra charges just to keep up with the competition.

With a little help from Chinese

| Wednesday, February 3, 2010
What would you say
If I yelled; here's cheap gold
Would you right click and report spam on me?
Lend me your keys and I'll make you a bot
and I'll afk in PvP
Oh I get gold with a little help from Chinese
I get banned with a little help from Chinese
I'm gonna Glide with a little help from Chinese

Do you need any gold?
I need some gold to buy.
Could it be my gold?
Guild bank won't pay for my wipe.

What should I farm when I need some more gold?
(Nothing, just buy my gold)
How should I grind my jewelcrafting?
(Don't, leave the farming to me)
Oh I get gold with a little help from Chinese
I get banned with a little help from Chinese
I'm gonna Glide with a little help from Chinese

Do you need any gold?
I need some gold to buy.
Could it be my gold?
Guild bank won't pay for my wipe.

Would you sell me some saronite?
Tons! One stack per dime
What price for arcanite?
I can't sell you, my bots don't mine.
Oh I get gold with a little help from Chinese
I get banned with a little help from Chinese
I'm gonna Glide with a little help from Chinese

All apologies to the Beatles.

I died a lot

| Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday afternoons are not a very good PUG raiding time.

I decided to do the weekly on my DK. It's Ignis. Shouldn't be too bad on ten-man, right?

The last attempt I made on him was much earlier in the week. The raid leader seemed to be a complete idiot. He activated hardmode for FL and didn't respond when people mentioned it. This was after someone had said "don't talk to so and so". I left when it became apparent that he had no clue what was going on; as someone left and he didn't know if it was a healer or not.

I tried again today, joining a group that needed a tank and a tank. I can tank, so go me. I wasn't quite sure of my gear, being in a mix of 200 level blues, a few heroic epics, and 232/245 badge gear. Probably enough, but I know how people love their overgeared tanks.

Actually I'd been rejected earlier in the week. But I think that was 25 man, so it's somewhat understandable.

I get in and after a while we find a tank. Let's do this... Alright so obvious first step is to call dibs on the catapult passenger slot because it's awesome and I'm awesome, so it makes sense. Someone who took. So I settled for tank gunner. But it had no driver. Eventually I got someone out of a chopper to be my gunner, but she wouldn't drive. Driving those things is boring.

FL time, easy kill, easy badge, maybe easy loot, let's do this. The other tank died on the first follow. I was right on top of interrupts, so go me. Then I died to a follow, I suspect because flame vents were also going. That's my excuse anyway. I'd even used the speed boost! Pyrite wasn't getting stacked. As in, there was none on him and no, they hadn't just burned it all up already. So DPS was slow. We did manage to kill him. I lost the roll on tinkering, which is why I should remember to just nab the stuff before anyone can remember. Stupid other engineers. I bet they weren't throwing around iron grenades four years ago. Posers! At least I got new tanking bracers.

We had some deaths on Ignis trash.

On Ignis I took adds since the druid had more health and we all know health is what matters most for everything. Also he had much better gear. Commence.

Hunter misdirects, we hurt the boss, I taunt adds and get diseases on them, I lose aggro because I'm barely attacking them since heals don't draw that much aggro. Why the hell are DPS attacking the adds? Druid dies, I grab boss, I die, only 20%, we can do this. Run back, we all die again. DPS are still messing with my adds.

Leader leaves, new guy kicks some people, we get some replacements. I look at recount and wonder why I was beating any DPS with only 2k or so. We try burn again, because there didn't seem to be anyone who could shatter the adds. It finally worked. I got new tanking gloves. And won the BoE caster mail bracers.


Icecrown Citadel
I need to work on my prot set because well, it's falling behind. My ret gear could use some touching up here and there. I don't want to go even deeper into negative DKP, not that I'd win anything anyway, so what can I do? Oh that's easy: make a ICC10 PUG. The first wing is easy enough. Right?

I'm not a fan of "link achievement and gear score" since, well everyone needs their first kill somehow. And I don't have gear score. I opted to glance at people's gear in Dalaran while we tried to find another tank and healer.

A rogue complained the one of the fury warriors didn't have the achievement. He left despite the warrior having gear and claiming to have read the strats and watched videos. Onward.

We finally all get there. This process made me decide that I should insist on achievements; specifically the achievement for having done Icecrown quests because it's annoying to have people unable to summon while out of phase.

Time for trash. Oh good, the paladin started blessing while I told him I was trying to figure out assignments. I hate when they do that.

Trash went okay. A few deaths, but no wipes. The traps are much more fun with no rogue. I'd pull very carefully and then run around to trigger it. I actually enjoyed the trash.

Marrowgar time. I'll summarize: wipe wipe wipe wipe wipe people leave replacements standing in fire bone spikes not broken DPS during transition out of bone storm and wiping. Eventually he died. I gave some caster thing to someone. The shaman got an enhancement belt.

Deathwhisper trash killed some people. I explained deathwhisper, someone corrected a few mistakes in my explanation, partly due to having never done it on 10 man. The first attempt had some problems, such as adds spawning right before phase two. I should have told them to stop DPS before then and wait for adds. We did that the second time. Okay so we wiped. It was a decent attempt I thought, considering I'd never tanked it and I think most people hadn't been there at all.

Then she died and I couldn't roll on the awesome trinket because I'd been dumb and set main spec rolls before dual spec.

People went up the elevator and died. They ran back. We all went up and died. We ran back. We went up again and the Horde NPCs killed the Alliance NPCs. Then we killed a dragon.

Gunship time. But we only had 8 people. Let's try anyway. Somehow the melee died and then we had no DPS on the mage. We wiped. People DCed. I found another tank so I could go ret and fill a spot. It's hard to find people to join for the second half of the wing. So I told the new paladin no wait outside while I looked for people. After way too many hours for just two bosses, I called the raid, thanked everyone, hoped they had fun, and went back to Dalaran.

Several hours and many wipes for a bit of rep and a measly four frost emblems. At least some people got to see new content. It resets anyway, so not too big of a loss to get saved.

Klepsacovic's Guide to Blessings

| Monday, February 1, 2010
I'm sure you won't believe this, but I once wrote something useful. Over a year ago. Since then I have slid into an abyss of worthlessness and stuff that isn't useful, while retaining my ability to write a lot through redundancy and repetition.

But it's true, I once wrote what must have been the greatest guide ever: Klepsacovic's Guide to Blessings. You can tell it was good because it was posted by a shaman and archived on the website of a company that used to sell gold.

I really enjoyed writing that. I got to take something I understood and present it in a way which might actually be helpful to new players who might not understand all the intricacies.

I'm not sure what happened to that. I suppose it's just an example of the death of the middle theoryclass. There used to be a time when a thriving middle class of theorycrafters could be moderately useful by turning what is otherwise indecipherable nonsense into something which a new player can understand. Or an old player who also had taken 3 years to figure out how to play. Buffing guides, leveling gear guides, these were the ways that your average player with too much time on his hand could have an impact. He didn't need to understand deep theorycraft. He didn't need to rip off results from Elitist Jerks and pretend to understand them, only to be totally outdated when the next minipatch fixes a bug and ruins everything.

Now it feels as if there's nowhere to be helpful except to either go down to the most basic level of "This is called mana. It is blue." or up to "If we take the proc chance on the new trinket and combine that with the glyph and the T7.82 bonus and calculate the probably combined uptime along with the relative stat weights, factoring in the increased damage added by exposure to pure math geekiness, we can see that in fact, spirit is the new best paladin DPS stat, when using a primarily holy build which picks up conviction and improved devotion aura to exploit the +healing negator effects tied to its interaction (which is to say none) with tree of life aura, producing a theoretical DPS of 125,927 per second."

Just so you're not confused, most of that previous paragraph was utter nonsense. Do not stack spirit and spec holy for paladin DPS. I am sure of this. For now. Quick, someone post a thread showing that with my current gear I'd get more DPS by wearing a shield, gemming for ArP and intellect, and getting pursuit of justice and runspeed on boots.

Now I go by whatever Rawr says, minus leather unless it's a huge upgrade and it would get sharded anyway. Stupid Ulduar boots. People laughed a bit when I asked if I could call need on them. Now who's laughing? Not me.

Where was I? Oh right, I was being nostalgic. Yep. Back in my day.

Did you know people once trolled the shaman forums by complaining about our AoE stun? That was a spin on how we all seemed to be tauren (all the good shamans at least) and had warstomp. I fell for it all the time. I also did Warsong Gulch constantly, died a lot, and tended to run way past the proper zone, and die more. I was pretty dumb back then. I wonder if anything has changed? Oh look, a thread complaining about ret paladins; I should go calmly explain my side of the debate, because I'm sure they're looking for alternative opinions to discuss.
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