Morons of the week

| Monday, May 31, 2010
Golden Pearls (used for the vanilla 30 SP to weapon enchant) go for around 90g. Some total moron who cannot take half a second to double-check his auction misses a zero and puts up a pair at 9g each.

Of course someone buys them. Smart buyer, right? More like even bigger moron.

The seller made a careless mistake. The buyer, he willfully acted against his own profits. He sent a 162g, the difference between 2@90 and 2@9, to the seller and explained why.

The seller responded with a grateful, if poorly-typed letter.

And maybe that generic community that Larisa says we shouldn't call a community, maybe it got a little bit better.

Where's there to explore?

A long time ago, on an account far far away, I did some hopping. And more hopping. And then I discovered the Land of Broken Terrain Textures. It was in this land that I eventually made my way to the airport at the top of Ironforge.

I had a grand time. This was a new place to me. I'd read no strategy guides, I'd seen no quest givers, nothing was there except pure, uncut world. This was discovery! Adventure! Exploration! Up there is a battle between trolls and dwarves and a few planes and runways. How grand!

Ah, but for risk of the ban. Blizzard doesn't much like people going to these areas. We're not supposed to peak behind the stage. I cannot claim that people have been banned for such exploration, but I have heard of GMs booting people out. As time goes on they patch up more and more areas. At one point there was an 'easy' path from southern Winterspring to Hyjal. You can find screenshots around; it is a grand area, which I've never been fortunate enough to see for myself.

I also did some hopping in Winterspring and found my self near, but not quite in, Felwood. The view was magnificent. A bit more hopping and running took me off a very long cliff, dropping me somewhere in Darkshore, but not Darkshore, surrounded by trolls. You can see it flying overhead. What a strange place. It made me think of Naxxramas.

You might remember the statistics: only a few percent of players saw the original Naxx. The devs didn't like this much. No one was seeing their amazing work. Who sees the troll village? Few people. Not so many fly over it, and how much can they see from there anyway? People tend to tab out when flying anyway. I imagine just as many people saw Naxxramas floating in the sky, but that's hardly equal to fighting in it. Naxx was remade in an expansion and many more people saw it. I've heard that the troll village is also being tweaked, opened up, and so people will see it.

But I ask, why? I understand the desire to display one's creation. That is not my question. But why hide it in the first place? There are many places in the world which are as well-made as any we would ride past on a quest, but they are closed to us; behind walls and up cliffs. Explorer types search for ways in, breaking into Ahn'Qiraj before Brann did, before Silithus was remade. It isn't easy and it results in to tangible rewards. So few people go there. Those who do, find what they seek: the joy of discovery. Is anything else needed? I think not. It's the only truly optional content: no artificial rewards, no grinds, nothing except what players find when they seek.

Artists want their work to be seen. Or at least their work which they think is good enough to be seen. You might find an artist who refuses to show work but insists it is worth seeing. That is actually just a crazy person pretending to be an artist. It is best to move along your way and not get lost in analogies, which I'm pretty sure I didn't use in this paragraph. This leads to the question: why is the art of Blizzard being hidden? There are three possibilities: they feel it is incomplete and not worth seeing, they are crazies pretending to be artists, or some outside malevolent force blocks it regardless of their wishes. Some people call that management.

The incomplete art theory is backed up by the construction signs in Hyjal. However that seems like a rather half-ass solution. We know WoW can have invisible walls. Why not set one around Hyjal? It sounds simple enough, but if I know anything about programming and design, it's that things never are. However I am currently wearing my Ignorant Commentator hat, so I get to claim that it would be simple and Blizzard is just lazy and stupid for not doing that. But lazy and stupid don't really explain much. It's like claiming that speeding causes cars to crash, forgetting the importance of the existence of things to crash into, so speeding is helpful, but not sufficient.

The sanity of Blizzard is something one could question. They did, after all, create quite a few insanity mechanics, a god of insanity, a metal of insanity, an insane god, an achievement, another achievement, and mechagnomes. However insane people tend to be shitty artists, whereas Blizzard has created quite a bit of good art. I cannot claim that they are insane people pretending to be artists.

That leaves the malevolent bureaucracy, management, authority, The Man, whatever you wish to call it. This appears to be the most complete explanation. It explains why areas are deemed off-limits without being properly blocked. Only an entity of evil would create a world nearly devoid of exploration (it's too damn small and we get pushed everywhere by quests), with the exception of a few strange areas, which are then used as excuse to attack the account. In other words: It's a trap. This leads to the logical solution: We must destroy the Death Star and kill Emperor Palpatine so that we can once again explore Azeroth and dance with Jawas. Blizzard, tear down this wall.

In the meantime, we must content ourselves with moving about the world in a way which is unexpected and unintended, but not quite against the rules. Get off your flying mount and see the world on foot. Stop flying over the troll villages of Storm Peaks and Icecrown. They're figurative villages, so don't go claiming they're not there. Look at them up close and see how different the world looks when you're not zipping over it in half a second.

Questions normal people don't have to ask

| Sunday, May 30, 2010
How long have I been wearing a pirate hat?

Adam, you're on the blasphemous heathen watch list

Is there a God? Really now? Is there a God? Of course there's a god! You doubtful ones sicken me.

Oh but, faithful readers, it gets worse: He starts his own religion. Let me make it perfectly clear for you and him: there is only ONE True Path of the Light.

Capture Your God
Imprison It in the Basement
Drain Its Power

That's all. This new age soft nonsense of capturing leftover essence or some nonsense like that... NONSENSE.

I'll give the old human priests a break. They didn't know better back then. But the prophet, Naaru, has come and we have Heard his cries for Peace and we have Ignored them and we have Prospered under his Stolen Blessing.


My attempt at randoms on my rogue

| Saturday, May 29, 2010
She's not all that geared. A few epics here and there, nothing badge or raid, just a 200 or 219 from heroics or ToC. Easy target for gearscore. Even worse, I'm using a new spec, a sub spec that I'm not quite used to, so DPS meters aren't likely to be my friend.

Nothing the slightest negative happened aside from a mispull. Well, almost silent, except one Forsaken who was unhappy that he wasn't as pretty as all the elves.

Is it time to kill Mario?

Is Mario the only thing standing between us and math?

Some people aren't too happy with the increasing emphasis on movement in raids. Stand her to avoid the bad effect. Run over there to get the buff. If it is on you run to here. Some call it Super Mario. Indeed, World of Supermariocraft.

I didn't make that but I don't know where it came from. A friend sent it to me on IM sometime and I stumbled across it again recently. Moving on.

What would we do without the generic hop and shift and stand over there now there now there? Well we could... tank the boss, heal the tank, and attack the boss. In this scenario something amazing happens. Amazingly boring: Everything becomes easily predictable based on just math. Can your tank survive the attacks long enough for heals to land? That's a time to live and healer cast time comparison. Do you have enough damage output to kill the boss before enrage or healers run out of mana? That's a simple matter of raid DPS, healer regen/pool, and boss health.

Of course there is a third way, but we don't speak of it, for it has been exiled and deemed offensive. I wonder what it could be.

I'm a hero

| Friday, May 28, 2010
Someone posted 120 single infinite dust at the lowest price. This ruins any attempt to search without the assistance of addons, since any sorting by low results in a whole lot of spam, while sorting by high results in the highest prices.

Well thanks to AH addons which can partially automate buying, I was able to buy all of them with just a few clicks and a lot of waiting, time I used to write about how awesome I am.

I have saved the day. No need to thank me.

We will kill the PvE to save the PvE... vP

PvPvEvP, only 10000g!

"What what what?" screams the Goblin alchengineermancer.
"I want to influence the mind of the boss."
"What what what!?"
"I have a lot of gold."
"Time is money, friend!"
"Ten thousand gold."
"Ten minutes."

I handed over 5000 gold and he began tinkering. He eventually handed back a hat which he assured me would grant control, for ten minutes, over Marrowgar. I gave him the other 5000 gold and went on my way.

I launched the next stage of the war, the most logical stage. Rather than put myself in harm's way, I would put my enemies in harm's way. Rather than attack the Alliance or the Scourge, I make them attack each other.

And so I activated my hat and began to mind control the add tanks.

It's the new way of doing hardmodes: with a player in control. For a mere 10,000g, you can control the boss against players who have activated PvPmode encounters. If you win, you get the loot from the boss. If they win, they get the loot from the boss, and 10,000g. They have four attempts before they lose.

Players can burn through content faster than devs can make it. But players can make content just as fast as they can burn it. Bring together PvP and raiding and make it last forever.

Let's Kill Sindragosa

| Thursday, May 27, 2010
Since sometime in BC I've been a member of the guild Collective Conscious on US Zul'jin. We've had our ups and downs. Frankly we're in a bit of a down, but I see an upcoming up. Cause we're going to murder Sindragosa and take her stuff and use it to kill Arthas.

Here's our boring forum recruitment ad. Part of it, because the whole thing is spammy.

Collective Conscious is a hybrid raiding and casual guild representing the honorable Horde of Zul'jin. For our raiders, who are dedicated to high end guild progression, we partake in 25-man content. For our casual players, our members who don't wish to or can't meet the raid requirements, we offer a place to make new friends and find groups. Our casual members will also have the opportunity to still see some of the high end content they'd miss in regular casual guilds if they find the time or desire to do so. The members of Collective Conscious are more like a family then a guild and we strive to make this game enjoyable for all those who play, whatever their individual goals.

We are currently looking to add to our raiding ranks; and therefore are opening applications for all classes, however we are more specifically looking for more caster dps, primarily Mages

We are looking for Quality players with at least 2/3 Raid Attendance available. We Raid Sunday, Monday & Tuesday nights Invites start at 8:00PM Server first pull at ~8:30 Server, and we raid until 12:00AM Sever.


Wasn't that fun?

Here's my own recruitment: We're one boss away from Arthas, and on that boss, Sindragosa, we're making solid progress. We're not a top guild and we don't aspire to be. If that's what you want, there are many other guilds. But we are a guild that kills bosses and has fun doing it.

We're a social guild. That tends to mean an isolated, loot-whoring clique, and incessant drama. Well not at all. We run DKP based on tangible things like attendance and killing bosses, spending based on fixed prices with none of the manipulation that comes with a bidding system (though I must admit, I loved the time I was pretty much the only warlock back in MC with a guild that used bidding). The last drama I saw was indirectly caused by me, Iapetes, a paladin friend, and a whole lot of happy fun rocks. I bet you'd love to have your only drama consist of the sky being filled with happy fun rocks. They're happy and fun!

I won't lie to you and say we're the next big guild or the happiest time in the world, because you'd know that's a lie. But I will honestly say that we kill bosses and have a fun time doing it. We have fun in gchat and fun in raids and ... GNOMES WITH THUNDERFURY MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER, SO FUCKING JOIN.

More seriously, if you're looking for a good shot at killing Sindragosa and Arthas, this is it. No, I lied. This is not a good shot. That is an understatement. Sindragosa will die whether you join or not, so wouldn't you rather be there to see it? Then we will kill Arthas and laugh as Tirion is told to never let anyone know what happened and then builds a monument to it in Dalaran.

If you're curious about our server, it's east coast time, whatever that is. The population isn't tiny or gigantic, and I suspect a GM recently started murdering anyone who types anal in trade, because that seems to be dying down. Our economy works pretty well: you can buy what you need, or sell it can get rich as hell. If you are thinking of transferring and bringing materials, I'd compare prices first.

Back to the guild, we have crafters for just about anything. They're friendly helpful people. By friendly I mean sarcastic. But they can still make stuff. For my own part, I have a small army of alts which I use as a managed economy, meaning that I can make any glyph, quite a few gems, and anything except those elitist enchants that come from raids. However my enchanter wields a Finkle's Lava Dredger, so you know he does good stuff. And he is the troll shaman, Klepsacovic.

Other benefits of joining my server include being on my server and being on the same server as me.

So come to Zul'jin and join Collective Conscious. It's a way better value than a pony.

Let's kill gold while we're at it

| Wednesday, May 26, 2010
What's so great about gold anyway? Let's face it, it's easy to get, like printing paper, from printing presses that grow on trees, falling from the sky. A person doesn't even have to be productive. They just run some dalies and there we go: gold. They might even be more useless than the speculators, and we certainly should get rid of them.

Dailies just aren't helping us. The inflation makes us poorer!

I propose that players stop accepting gold as payment for services and instead demand something tangible, like frozen orbs, saronite, adder's tongue, and cloth. This will reveal the worthlessness of dailies, except when used to buy fun items like BoE pets or to gain rep.

Let's not be seduced by the myth of the gold standard. Gold, whether in WoW or real life, is worth nothing more than we think it is. So we might as well go with something useful. Let's not be 1930s Germany with worthless money printed off ever faster to pay off our debts and inflation.

Of course using frozen orbs would just encourage people to run more senselessly boring randoms. Using trade mats would cause horrible camping and might just result in farming way past the point of usefulness, making ore barely better than gold, which can at least be turned into train sets, which are priceless. On the plus side it would make WG a much more interesting place.

Saronite is rising relative to elemental fire, will this cause a run on the netherweave stockpiles?

Put a knife in the back of quest givers too

| Tuesday, May 25, 2010
If you're going to murder, you might as well make a complete job of it.

"We are under siege. Listen carefully. You must kill 10 Bandit Marauders. 10. No more. No less. The Bandit Officers don't matter to me yet, so they don't count. I mean, you're free to kill more, but I can't count higher than 10, so let's stick with 10. I don't care if you killed 10 on the way to the town, I wasn't counting."

And so I wander back out to kill ten more marauders, of which I'd already killed fifteen on my way in, not counting the handful of officers, lackeys, and chieftains.

I killed ten more, and a few more officers, lackeys, and chieftains along the way.

"We are under siege. Listen carefully. You must kill 10 Bandit Officers. 10. No more. No less. The Bandit Chieftains don't matter to me yet, so they don't count. I mean, you're free to kill more, but I can't count higher than 10, so let's stick with 10. I don't care if you killed 10 on the way to the town, I wasn't counting."

So I go kill ten officers (in addition to the ones I already killed), and a few more marauders, lackeys, and chieftains.

"We are under siege. Listen carefully. You must kill 10 Bandit Chieftains. 10. No more. No less. The Bandit Officers and Marauders don't matter to me anymore, so they don't count. I mean, you're free to kill more, but I can't count higher than 10, so let's stick with 10. I don't care if you killed 10 on the way to the town, I wasn't counting."

And so on. I walk back in again, after having saved the town. They appear to still be under siege.

Let's see if I understand the math here. The quest giver sends me out to kill X number of enemies of Y types, and I kill more than X and more than Y, and the town is still under siege.

I can only conclude that the quest giver is a complete idiot who keeps giving away the town's money for tasks which do not save it from attack. But maybe he's a genius: he gives us the gold, drawing the bandits away as they chase us, ignoring the town they were so intent on looting. Devious bastard. Let's kill him.

Let's try to imagine something less boring, but not difficult to create. We want to use existing technology. No, make that existing code. We want copy-paste for 99.999999% of this. This means it probably won't be too interesting, but it can be slightly better. I propose semi-random event quest structures, such that we influence the world, without the developers needing to write ten thousand times as many quests just to keep up with us. Today the town is under siege from a thousand bandits. Kill 2000 of them total and the siege ends. Some random new enemy attacks. The town is under perpetual siege, but at least it's not under the same siege no matter what you do. Kills count towards the quests, even if you don't have the quest yet. "Thank you so much for killing the bandits! Please, take this token of our appreciation." What a strange world, where people appreciate help even if they've not yet offered a reward for it.

Rules are for Socialists

| Monday, May 24, 2010
So here are my new blog rules. They replace the old blog rules, which I'm pretty sure do not exist.

1) Don't be a douchebag.
2) No trolling unless it's funny or adds a new angle.
3) I reserve the exclusive right to flame people.
4) Don't be stupid. It looks like trolling.

Things I will do out of courtesy:
To keep down spam I will super-delete comments which have already been deleted by the writer. I leave the "this message has been deleted" on most comments that I delete; I feel people have the right to know that I have deleted something.

Anonymous posting is allowed. While I cannot imagine why you'd need the privacy of it, I believe strongly in the right of people to write honestly without fear of backlash. Don't abuse this right; that's what makes governments try to take it away.

There is no word verification because that causes problems for some people.

Comments are not moderated until a post is older than 14 days. This is an anti-spam measure.

Things which I'd claim hurt me more than they hurt you if I was your father:
Comments which I feel break the rules, either written or arbitrarily made up on the spot, will be deleted. In some cases I will make a copy of the deleted comment, so if for some reason you want it back, feel free to email me and I can send it to you. In the case of flame wars: the "this comment has been deleted" gets spammy, so I will instead permanently delete and attempt to post something witty in response, however wittiness is not a mandatory condition of my closing comment.

I wish to keep an open format here so that people can join in what I hope is productive and entertaining discussion.

Kill the speculator

Speculators are leeches. They buy low, sell high, and contribute nothing. They're a symptom of a poorly functioning economy, an economy filled with ignorant and lazy participants. In other words, they're your fault.

Sometimes infinite dust is around 1g each. Sometimes it's closer to 2g each. There's money to be gotten by buying it at 1g and selling it at 2g. I do this when I'm tired of all the thinking involved in being productive. I could get a greater profit by making and selling scrolls, but I'd have to see which scrolls are up, track mat costs, figure out demand, etc. Speculation is lazy gold.

It's not entirely worthless as an activity, despite my hyperbole at the start. Buying when there is excess supply helps keep up prices, supporting suppliers when they would otherwise be having trouble selling. Conversely, selling when there is a short supply helps keep down prices, supporting buyers (who are probably crafters, and therefore the productive ones) when they'd otherwise be unable to find profitable crafts.

But the speculator is unnecessary. He does nothing that others cannot. Instead he has a small piece of knowledge which is very valuable: You do not have to sell anything at a given time, nor do you have to buy. Gatherers and crafters could use this too and they'd be richer for it.

You've just farmed ore for two hours and are headed to the AH. Check the prices and... why is it half what it is normally? You'd better sell twice as much, just to break even! Or, don't sell any. Don't add your ore to the obvious over-supply. Hold on to it. Wait a few hours or a few days. Surely you can survive that long. You can keep farming, just don't sell it yet. Let the crafters buy it up. The extra gold you'll get from this would have otherwise gone to a speculator, or a crafter who got a really great deal, either way, you have more gold.

Why is the AH flooded with belt buckles? You can't sell at that price, you'd be at a loss! So don't. Keep crafting if you want, but don't sell. Check if material prices have crashed and that's why the crafted price is so low. You don't have to be part of the problem, in fact you can make more gold by being part of the solution.

You've probably figured out that all I'm really saying is to self-speculate, to "hold low, sell high". In effect, there are still speculators, they're just using their own materials. But there would be no speculator 'class', meaning they will no longer be able to make preachy bossy self-promoting economics posts about how they're brilliant.

Dear tanks, stop linking trash DPS meters

| Sunday, May 23, 2010
Trash favors AoE damage.
Chain-pulling favors high regen/efficiency.

Guess what? Tanks are all about AoE and we're designed to not run out of mana/rage/runes: we have constant regen, or in the case of non-DKs, boosted regen based on incoming attacks and damage taken.

We're an AoE which never has to worry about too much aggro or bursting too soon. We get reactive damage that DPS won't see.

Besides, they're trash meters. Who gives a shit about trash? But if you really want to be classy, do it in a leveling instance.

Last time I played with such an arrogant tank I'd been on my paladin.

P.S. Don't stand in the whirlwind and puddles.

PUGs are good, cross-server is bad

| Saturday, May 22, 2010
Excuse me, I need to put on my nostalgia glasses for a moment.

There was once a time when PUGs were not filled with complete jackasses. I know it's hard to believe. But believe it! At one time a wipe was not the end of a run. Two wipes. Ten! Can you believe a PUG staying together through that?

Once upon a time we endlessly mocked hunters for being idiots. And yet, when the time came, we asked them to kite and they kited. Sometimes not very well and sometimes it took a few tries. But they did it and we were glad for it. Once upon a time Upper Blackrock Spire was serious fucking business. We would PUG it.

How could we do this with just random yahoos from LFD? Oh that's how, we didn't have LFD. We made our own groups, like you would a raid. And no, we didn't have gearscore or achievement links. Nor were we screening heavily with inspections. Instead we used a strange thing called "knowing people." Yes in those days you had a friends list and a guild and had heard of some people for good or bad reasons. If we hadn't heard of someone, that probably meant they had done nothing great or terrible, they were average, and back then that was just fine. We weren't frightened of the average player, since most of us recognized our faces in the mirror.

What changed? The server died. The small town of self-regulation died, and despite my hopes, nothing grew to replace it. Anonymity is no basis for a society. When there are no consequences for poor behavior or performance, everything goes downhill. This doesn't mean we need bossy group leaders kicking anyone with low DPS or a tank in blues, but we need a society, we need people to care what others think. With no society we have lawlessness and anarchy and warlords are no substitute; people need to feel connected and to care.

This wasn't limited to randoms. As we saw more poor behavior and more poor performance we came to expect those as the standard. We ceased to trust anyone. And so even within a server, where you might expect to see self-regulation and social expectations, those were gone. In their place we have gearscore and achievements. But what do those really say? They have no story and inspire no loyalty, duty, or social conscience. Imagine hiring a candidate based only on a resume, no references, no cover letter, no previous interaction; this is worse.

Can the server be saved? Maybe it's too late. Maybe we've fallen over the edge and can no longer imagine a PUG as anything but a collection of drooling idiots.

Maybe cross-realm dungeons were not worth the cost. We can run instances more, but for what gain? Sure, they're great at low levels when it's hard to find people. But at 80? They only accelerate the badge inflation. They make excessive gearscores seem accessible, if you just keep running the same place over and over.

I certainly like the convenience of a tool making the group for me. I don't have to watch channels or talk to anyone. Press button, receive instance.

It helps those with little time. That keeps people subscribing and means more money for Blizzard. It's not so great for people who liked a time before gearscore and jackasses in randoms. But it's not our game, is it? That's obvious, seeing as I'm here writing a whiny nostalgic rant rather than sending out a memo: "Cross-server randoms are bad for the community, remove the tool next patch."

In other words, the nerd with a sense of entitlement is mad at the "I have a life" people with a sense of entitlement.

I miss global looking for group channel.

Azerothian Genetics

| Friday, May 21, 2010
I'm not sure why, but on the story forum the subject of dragon incest comes up more often than you might commonly consider the subject.

The problem with incest: In our world it can cause all sorts of genetic problems. Otherwise suppressed harmful traits may be expressed. Genetic remixing is prevented, dramatically slowing evolution and threatening the survival of the species.

Socially there are many problems as well, taboos developed to prevent inbreeding for both genetic reasons as well as political/economic. However these are somewhat arbitrary beyond direct blood links and are unnecessary if the genetic issues are not present.

Enter: Magic.

We don't know that Azerothian life uses a similar system of 50% DNA from each parent. But just for the sake of not being confusing, let's just say it does. This would mean that incest shares the same problems there as here. However they have magic, so they can avoid most of these.

We know magic changes biology. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. The high elves are changed by their exposure to magic. As are the fel elves. The orcs were also changed, which is why they continue to have green skin even after fel magic had stopped being used (quite as often). In this regard magic appears to create something similar to pre-Mendelian genetics, when we thought that acquired traits could be passed on.

This change could be intentional in the case of the dragons. They could use magic to create new genes, effectively causing mixing of genetics even when there would normally be none.

Even without intentional change, the low levels of magic of one form or another, everywhere, could increase the mutation rate. Think of it like if we all lived next to poorly shielded nuclear power plants. However magic is not perfectly random. It has patterns. Fel magic would cause different changes than spirit magic. This is why we don't see the high cancer rates or constant appearance of new genetic diseases as we would if magic were just a form of radiation.

Magic would also explain the many hybrids, even from species which evolved on different planets. Even if their genetic code doesn't spell out the same way, magic could fill gaps, translate it, recode it.

I haven't yet found any scholars studying the genetics of Azeroth. The druids appear to do some research into life, but very little on how one generation influences the next.

The Guild Leader's Handbook

| Thursday, May 20, 2010
No Starch Press offered me a review copy of "The Guild Leader's Handbook". I gladly accepted. So there's my disclosure for this review: I have a free book from them. On to the review.

Like many books, it has chapters which correspond with a topic or set of related topics. Clearly this is to differentiate it from a blog, which has useless titles and possibly no topic. The author, Scott F. Andrews, used to write "Officers' Quarters" for

He starts out slow and obvious, talking about the creation of a guild. This was actually an excellent pair of chapters, since while much of it is obvious, it's the sort of obvious that we easily forget to remember. However, despite his ridiculous claim, "Fluffy Kitten Smile Time" is an excellent name for a PvP guild.

His analysis of player types and personalities was useful, but I didn't feel it was directly applicable; the analysis would help us to do our own, but his categories seemed to have a bit of overlap. The drama chapter is excellent, with strategies for dealing with and avoiding conflict. Loot drama is saved for the next chapter.

Possibly the most useful chapter is 6: Loot Distribution. It lays out common loot systems, and common exceptions. Even better, it includes complexity, officer burden, and mostly importantly: drama chances. If you're involved in planning a loot system, read this chapter.

I laughed a bit at the combination of PvP and RP into one chapter. If you're just glancing at it, you might be confused, or possibly offended if you only do one or the other and resent the implied "these are the other activities." The PvP section felt short. Honestly I can't recommend it the way I did the loot chapter. In contrast the RP section, at least to an outsider like me, felt like it broke down the different levels of immersion and how to help create a shared experience.

Similarly, the officer chapter is a mixed bag. The information is practical and useful, but the presentation felt strange. Yes, I realize that was incredibly vague. Okay who has heard of a Communications officer, Disciplinarian, or Drama Squasher? I've not been in a leadership position in a long time, so maybe I'm just out if it. They sound like strange roles. Who could possibly be friendly towards the officer whose only job is to tell you you're breaking rules? Drama Squasher seems like the kind of role that should never be assigned, that it would only make drama official, and make drama control seem artificial: "Oh look, here comes the squasher. Let's all pretend to be nice or the Disciplinarian will gkick us."

The chapter on maintaining morale is fun and filled with fun ideas. It suggests guild events like "Splat" and founding your own religion. How can you possibly go wrong? My only gripe is his failure to take the obvious next step: whoever wins the Splat competition is the prophet of the religion. Okay actually it's not just about morale, but all the stuff about not making your guild look like total assholes was a bit boring. This transitions well into real life, an unexciting but practical chapter about... real life: conflicts, problems, priorities, and meeting in that strange realm.

Overall I found The Guild Leader's Handbook to be helpful, easy to read, and at times entertaining (though at times not). While I don't think $25 is an unreasonable price, and it's certainly a better buy than a pony, unless you're serious about being an officer or GM (many words were devoted to explaining why GM is a bad title) it's perhaps a bit much to spend. But perhaps that's stating the obvious, just as you'd not buy the novels (it's better written) if you don't care much about lore.

People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.
-Abraham Lincoln

World of Goo

| Wednesday, May 19, 2010
In addition to Torchlight, I also bought a pack of games off Steam, including World of Goo. Overall I've found it to be a great game, though not without some flaws, or things which I perceive to be flaws. They may be working as intended.

The basic concept is to stick balls of goo together, creating structures which can carry other balls to a pipe at the end. There are many types of goo; some stick together permanently, some can be unstuck, some only stick to one other goo while others stick to as many as they can reach. The world has gravity, and sometimes wind, so you must compensate with counterweight goo, careful construction, and sometimes balloons.

The puzzles aren't quite open-ended. Resources (goo) are limited, so you cannot do much to build in alternate directions. Instead you have to figure out the intended path. In this manner it's not all that different from raiding (as I've experienced them). But it's not a mere connect the dots game.

Onward to the negative: The cost of a mistake is high. High as in, you've spent ten minutes building your structure just right, add one more goo, and down it topples. Some areas have flying buys which will go back one move, but these are limited, and may instead reset your desperate last second shuffling to save the structure, meaning you need to reset over and over. Or you can just let everything topple. If there are no bugs, it is even worse. This lends an air of repetition from failure.

This also gives it a feeling similar to raiding: you run it all perfectly, and then that one mistake takes it all down. You'll better understand it when you see a structure of dozens and dozens of gooballs teeter and topple onto a gear of doom. Wipe.

You can skip a puzzle if you like. I did, when it became apparent that one of them resembled a Mario level more than a puzzle. I don't know how the "spinning horseshoe underwater" level got through testing. It didn't fit the character of the game at all.

Some levels had problems with color contrast, making it hard to see the possible connections against the sky. The internet levels weren't much fun to me, with a large element of "launch some goo and hope it loops around the right way."

The ending was anti-climactic.

I sound as if I hated it, don't I? Well I didn't. It's a lot of fun if you like solving puzzles and building very wobbly structures, which I do. There's even a persistent tower-building area, where you can use a few hundred gooballs to build as high as you want. The game can then compare yours to those of others around the world, which are represented by clouds with a name and country. I had to pull myself away because I knew I'd get taken over by competitive spirit, building as high as I could with a stable design, then experimenting with less structurally sound variants, before it all toppled down and I ragequit.

The pack was $20 and included a few other puzzle sort of games, which I've not tried yet.

All in all, a very fun game, just be sure to expect a raid rather than a faceroll heroic.

Why I hate arenas

| Tuesday, May 18, 2010
It was sarcastically suggested in my Sunday thread that I write about arenas. Well, here we go.

I'm bad at arenas. I get tunnel vision far too easily. I feel as if I'm being attacked from 20 directions at once and cannot escape or survive. My enemies do not die no matter how much I hurt them. If I go after the healer, they still don't die. I cannot out-damage the healing and I cannot out-heal the damage.

This isn't really the worst part.

My first PvP was long before I'd heard of MMOs, play some FPS of some sort or other. I think it was a demo of Medal of Honor. There's no gear. Only reactions, aim, and knowledge of the map so you know how to sneak around or where it is easiest to defend. No achievements, nothing unlocked, just shoot the other side and then disconnect if you want to play something else.

WoW PvP needs gear. You just wont survive without it. Except for extreme skill gaps, there's no way to skill away the gap between no resilience and lots of resilience. Same for damage, health, healing, and so on. So PvP requires a bit of a grind to get started. Get your honor and some arena points and spend some emblems carefully and you can close the gap and start to actually play. But it's not like a PvE grind. In PvE you tend to get a lot of insignificant wins which add up to a result: add up emblems or drop chances or reputation. PvP has this too. Except the enemies are the other players, the ones with better gear, and they will beat you. So the grind isn't one of victory, but of defeat. You will eventually get to a bracket of your gear and skill, but can you imagine if running heroics required you to first wipe a few times in Ulduar?

This isn't the worst part.

The true worst part is that PvP exposes me as an idiot. I keep advocating more dynamic encounters in PvE, claiming they would be more interesting, more fun, less repetitive. That's the sort of thing you can find in PvP, where even the same composition will not play exactly the same. But I suck at PvP. The very dynamic PvE encounters I claim to want are the very same ones that make me fail at PvP.

PvP makes me look dumb, and that is why I hate it.

Be mindful of the future

| Monday, May 17, 2010
When posting near a Tuesday, remember that a several hours will be wasted on server downtime. This can be worse if there is a patch, even a small one.

On the other hand, this is an excellent time to bid on auctions. The bid price is usually much less than the buyout price. That means that if you're in no rush, bids are much cheaper. They can tick away while the servers are down, when no one can outbid you. Keep in mind this isn't an uncommon tactic, so unless you're close to the downtime, you're likely to be outbid, meaning you wasted your time.

Open Sunday Thread

| Sunday, May 16, 2010
I'm suspecting that I tend to write about the same sorts of things: playing silly, social aspects of the game, mocking people, saying that it's bad to mock people, etc. So I decided to try something original and rip off Tobold's usual Open Sunday Thread in which he solicits suggestions.


| Saturday, May 15, 2010
Steam had Torchlight for only $10 and it sounded good, so I've been playing that the last couple days. So far it's a lot of fun. I'll try to say more when i've gotten a bit futher.

What I hope people learn from WoW

| Friday, May 14, 2010
People are always learning. Sometimes correctly, sometimes not. Here is what I hope they learn from their time in this virtual world.

Reality has rules
WoW has rules. We call them game mechanics. They are the physics of WoW. Knowledge of these rules is possible. Perhaps not perfect, but with determination and some thought, we can infer many of the mechanics even without them being handed to us. This is the science of WoW. Application of this knowledge grants power. Knowing a rotation, hit caps, boss mechanics and loot tables, these all allow us to play better if we choose to do so.

While many accept mediocre, ignorant play with the justification that it is merely a game, I hope that people will still learn that they can do better as they learn and discover more about their world. Hopefully people will not carry the "it's just a game" mentality into reality.

Faith must not become fanaticism
Those who do not study history are bound to repeat it, and our lack of interest in history might explain why religious zealotry has torn apart the world. Perhaps by playing WoW people will not need to study history because they will see it right in front of them; not a distant abstraction offered by a newspaper or textbook. The faiths of WoW give power, personal strength and will. While real life religions rarely claim to make us miracle workers, they do offer willpower and determination to do what is right.

Consider the many faiths within WoW. Which are strongest? Those which are least zealous! The followers of the Light are for the most part battling evil with great success and protecting the innocent. The exceptions are the zealous Scarlet Crusaders who have become the evil they sought to eliminate. The Zandalar trolls have helped to save the world, while the fanatics who follow Hakkar have nearly destroyed it once before.

Studying Works, Mostly
In WoW, skill is more important than gear. Similarly, in real life intellect is more important than sheer time spent. However, lacking sufficient intellect, or skill, a person can compensate with time or gear. I'll use the example of back when I took organic chemistry. I just didn't have the innate intelligence to get it all first try. I doubt many people do. But I eventually learned to study.

Study? That's for stupid people! Yes, it is. We're all stupid and unskilled to varying degrees, so we must all compensate with time. That's not a bad thing at all. The person who needs T9 to clear a heroic, yes it's a bit sad and shouldn't need more than blues, or greens, but if they get through it, they get through it. Would you waste your energy bashing someone who had to study for an easy test? Laugh a bit perhaps, but why waste time insulting them?

This is funny and late

| Thursday, May 13, 2010
In my most recent wandering around the blogosphere for things to read*, I stumbled across this post with graphs. Yes, graphs can be funny. Yes I know I'm being vague, I don't want to ruin the jokes. *$&#ing read it!

* Seriously, how hard is it to write enough posts so that at any given time I have something new in my blogroll to make me laugh, think, or get angry?

Don't tab out!

What is the biggest killer of immersion? Bugs? Gold spammers? Addons?

Not even close.

It's the alt-tab combo. A simple keyboard gesture replaces the world of Warcraft which you are temporarily inhabiting with something entirely different. In my case it's usually a Firefox window with blogs that I'm reading or posts I'm writing.

Sure, it's no loss if you're at a loading screen or in the middle of a raid where immersion tends to be thrown out the window anyway. Imagine if you're instead riding through scenic Grizzly Hills. This is possibly the best zone ever, visually, not to mention the excellent terrain design. You're missing it!

Real life is not WoW

| Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Behavior in WoW is much different than that of real life, maming it impossible to accurately assess a person's RL quality and worth through WoW quality and worth. Different worlds.

Would you think for a moment that in real life I wear dresses and randomly burst into song? That's what I do in this other world. In the real world, I do things like wear pants, write a blog, and cook.

But some people persist in the notion that virtual world behavior is an accurate reflection of real life. It's not entirely unfounded: at the extremes I think you'll find that assholes are assholes and fire-standing idiots walk in traffic and that calm and steady raid leader is the best manager ever. But you might also find that the calm steady raid leader is actually barely holding himself together in real life and the fire-standing idiot is distracted by thoughts of his incredibly important and profitable job.

It's virtual phrenology.

I want to prove the socials that the M&S is not "unlucky", not "beginner", not "victim of things beyond their control". They are lazy, stupid people because they choose to be one. They are not bad players in a video game, they are scum people in the real world. They deserve no help, no sympathy, no understanding. They deserve exactly what my other project give them: pwnage!

But of course he knows that RL and WoW are different.
But there are friendly, helpful people who prefer "being with friends" over "being with competent people", despite their "friends" are just pixels on a screen without any living connection.

But such lashing out at others seems par for the course for individuals who believe "I deserve more than others". These are the ones who have claimed ninjaing is okay because everyone else is stupid. I love extremists.

What a Wonderful World

Tanks are Weird Things

Let's face it, tanking is a weird concept. Somehow we mange to compel extremely powerful, and often very intelligent being, to attack us and only us. Or even stranger is when they'll still attack other players, somehow in a pattern which makes them ineffective. Kel'thuzad isn't stupid, and yet, he keeps hitting the person most able to survive his attacks, almost completely ignoring the healers.

But aren't tanks inevitable? We can't have the mobs killing our healers, can we? So we must have some differences in how aggro is managed. And flavor will demand that not all classes are as resistant to damage, so by min-maxing a tank will emerge. Making aggro based purely on distance could help, but then how does the mob know which melee to punch? Highest damage could work, but then the highest avoidance players won't be getting hit much, so there's almost no incentive to go for anything other than avoidance.

Players could use distance as a way to tank, dragging mobs away from the pack to keep them busy, so DPS are only dealing with a few at a time. To fix this, I suggest making it impractical to tank more than a few mobs at once. Not by changing aggro, but avoidance: add a cap on the number of enemy attacks which can be avoided in a given time. In other words, after you're tanking four or five enemies, the last ones are going to be getting in free hits. A dedicated tank role cannot handle all the damage.

There will still be the few tank-type players who will be oriented more towards survival rather than killing. They would act as distractions for the strongest enemy. Think of them as the guy who yells "I'll hold him off, you deal with the [less likely to instantly kill you bad thing]!" This doesn't mean that the player class, gear, or spec will be heavily into avoidance, but they will focus on using resources for avoidance. They are interchangeable with the other melee, just taking on a different role for the given situation, and could easily switch to doing more damage.

Maybe it's not time to kill tanking, but to make it more heroic and less ridiculous. Think of when you're soloing something that shouldn't be soloed. I assume you do this at least weekly, just to keep in shape. Do you just run in with all your damage cooldowns? Well maybe, but that's for trivial stuff. More likely you're saving combo points for a kidney shot, leaving some runic power in reserve for a mind freeze, that sort of thing. You're playing more of your class when you tank for yourself.

Healers are rude

| Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Kereedria suggests that healers are more aggressive. Something about throwing out heals. Nonsense. That's not aggressive.

No, healers are rude. Body language matters. What makes healers rude?

They lack any sort of subtlety. They cannot motion in a direction. They cannot look over there and you follow their eyes. No. Instead they yell, out of nowhere, to go, pull, attack. Or they seem to shove you with a prayer of mending or sacred shield, as if they are kicking you out of an apartment and throwing your socks out the window.

It's not that they are bad people. But they are stuck in the back and easily squish.

In contrast a tank can move. He can ease over this way or face over there or target that. Presumably the healers are targeting the tank and possibly the DPS as well. A tank doesn't just look at a mob. He looks and points and says "see that over there?" He has body language.

He can gesture and hint and make eye contact or not.

Imagine someone with no facial expression, no hand gestures, no pointing or looking, and imagine them trying to explicitly state everything. We don't like frowns much or when people back away when we attempt to converse with them, but imagine instead hearing "I am unhappy to see you and do not wish for you to come much closer." I'm sure you'd back away. That's a healer, the talker, the rude and more than slightly uncomfortable to be around one.

Meanwhile DPS are Harpo Marx talking through a bicycle horn and impromptu harp solos while running around doing god knows what, without a word.

I hate Mondays

| Monday, May 10, 2010
These are the nights that all the easy bosses are dead. These are the nights that we can get somewhere. These are the nights that the raid doesn't fill.

Sindragosa will die... if we ever fight her.

Time for the Horde civil war

The Alliance is held together by some very old ties. The humans, gnomes, and dwarves have fought together for a long time. Generations. As much as I know there were ties even before the Orcish invasion.

In contrast the New Horde is young. The Orcs have barely been free of the demons. The trolls and tauren are about as recent. The undead even sooner. And the belfs, they got here yesterday it seems. There hasn't been time for alliances to be tradition and unquestionable, to be taken for granted and unshakable.

Really it is Thrall and his relationships which keep the Horde together. And safe. It was who brought in the Darkspear and the Tauren. While they swore loyalty to the Horde, at the time he was the Horde. With Garrosh replacing Thrall, a lot of loyalty will be lost. Not a split yet... until Garrosh starts doing what he does: run his mouth and start conflict.

As Garrish turns the orcs towards expansion against the night elves and away from their allies, the Horde will fragment. How much? I don't know. But I think it's high time we had a civil war to sort out some bad elements.

I can see it now: the trolls break away, at least some towns, and end up in conflict with orcs attempting to retake the territory. Quests on both sides would set Horde players against breakaway or loyalist NPCs. Eventually it is resolved, but tensions run high.

Two individuals are ultimately killed or dethroned: Magatha Grimtotem and Garrosh Hellscream. While the tauren consider breaking away, she takes the lead with her Grimtotem tribe. A combination of loyalist tauren and orcs put down the rebellion and kill her. Or do we? I see an opportunity for her to have a mere setback and end up with the quilboar, undead or otherwise, along with the renegade Forsaken who have previously been plotting with her.

Garrosh will meet his undoing at the hands of Saurfang, making good on his promise: "I will kill you before I let you take the horde down that dark path again". He might not kill him, but instead beat him into submission and take control of the orcs and reunify the Horde.

I think it would be for the good of the Horde. The tauren and trolls need a test of loyalty, and proof that they can and should be loyal. If they can stay without Thrall, that is the proof. The orcs need a cleansing, a removing of the reckless ones, and a civil war would reveal and kill them. Thrall somewhat kept them in line, but I believe Saurfang can be more direct. He was there and knows what the bloodlust leads to, like a former addict who can explain that actually no, slaughtering men, women, and children is not glorious.

Imagine a Horde which is formed not by murloc attacks and centaur marauders, but by removing all the dissidents: the Grimtotem and Zalzane and Garrosh. Imagine a Horde which is together because it chose, at cost of blood, to remain together. It would not be a pacifist Horde, it would not be a warmongering Horde, but it would be a Horde which would do whatever it needed to survive.

Meanwhile the Alliance can rebuild itself and take some of what it has lost: Gnomeregan, Stromgarde, and who knows what else.

Two factions, consolidating their strength, preparing for war over what is left of their world. My axes needs sharpening...

Gordon beat me to it

| Sunday, May 9, 2010
It being posting that I have received a copy of The Guild Leader's Handbook. Clearly they are attempting to carpet bomb us with propaganda. We must fight back! Resist! BURN IT!


I'm normally a fast reader, but I don't normally read books to tell you about them and would prefer to be able to say something more than "yea, it was pretty good." So the race is on, can I beat Gordon to his review?

Inscription materials and books in Cataclysm

Currently many glyphs are obtained only from the random random books. Many of these are one of the three best, for one spec or another. Here's a full list.

We'll still need these glyphs in Cataclysm. Some will be better, some worse. I doubt Blizzard will expect us to go back to farm mobs for world drops. We could get better glyphs, but unless they are plain one-for-one upgrades, better isn't going to absolute.

We can look to other professions for what may happen.

Blacksmithing, tailoring, and leatherworking patterns remained as they were; a mix of quest rewards, rep grinds, specific mob drops, and a very few world drops. They made gear which can obviously be easily be made obsolete.

Enchanting mostly followed this pattern, adding a new tier of enchants which were significantly better than the old world ones. Some were not upgraded though, but instead had new formulas added which could be obtained in Outland and used BC mats.

There is a peculiar feature of glyphs: they run across many levels of skill and therefore use a wide range of materials. This makes it likely that we won't see upgraded glyph techniques which use Cataclysm mats. We will see new glyphs, but not rehashed old ones. It's 'normal' in the context of glyph-making to use older mats. Part of this is offset by the ink trader, so in effect all glyphs can be made using ink of the sea. While glyphs use old mats for leveling purposes, they are all able to be made within the context of Northrend.

We're going to see the same pattern in Cataclysm with materials. For the glyph books, Blizzard will put them on trainers.

I used the "this will happen" tone throughout this. I have no leaks or evidence for any of this, so this is all just prediction: "this is likely to happen." Rather than constantly throwing in "might" and "probably" and "I'm guessing", I went with straightforward claims. I might be wrong, but I'm probably not, at least not in general terms.

Oculus Day

| Saturday, May 8, 2010
Remember when everyone hated Oculus and dropped group and tried to figure out all manner of tricks to avoid it? Well, that me, but backwards. I want to do Oculus on my paladin for a chance at the mount in the bag. But I've only gotten it once ever on random. My DK has gotten it multiple times, as have other alts.

Maybe I could coordinate a dozen tanks all queueing for it while I queue as DPS. That's it! It's like a lottery. They queue as tanks, meaning they pick the instance, since tanks are the hard ones to find. That will create 12 random slots for healers and 36 for DPS. If I queue as DPS I'm not likely to get in until there is the mini-flood.

But how do I get them to do it? Simple: bribery. The winner gets 1000g. Who is the winner? Whoever gets me into Oculus. 1/12 chance for 1000g just for queueing at the same time. I'd take the chance. Once we're in I'll even switch with them and tank if they don't want to. In fact, I could even use non-tanks, just people who can queue as tanks.

Of course there are the moral implications to consider. Anyone who doesn't get in my group is likely to leave, especially if they're not actually tanks. That means a whole lot of people stuck in an Oculus random with no tank. It's an exploitation of the system which would ruin the experience for a lot of people.

I'm anti-exploit. I'm anti-hurtingotherpeople. I'm anti-runningcontentjustforloot. This idea seems to go against everything I stand for. Maybe it would make for a more interesting place.

There's only one solution: Make it a holiday. On this day tanks will queue for Oculus. Get on your main and tank it. Get on your alt and tank it. Level a DK really, really fast and tank it. Where the tanks queue, everyone else follows, so Oculus Day is Oculus Day for Everyone.

It's not an exploit for personal gain, it's a holiday!

Oculus Day for Everyone!

Be creative

| Friday, May 7, 2010
Anyone can call someone dumb or a fag. That's easy. And rather meaningless. They've all degraded into generic words for things which are disliked. How far has language fallen? We used to accuse people of having mothers who smelled of elderberries, and now we just call them gay? That's just sad.

Be creative! Dig up an old word, an old phrase. Reference Shakespeare, or better, some awful contemporary of whom no one has heard.

Or if you're really feeling adventurous: don't insult them at all, and instead analyze what they are saying and see if it truly is gay and stupid.



Are guilds communist collectives?

A guildy recently asked "want to sell me 2 crusader enchants at better then your ah price?" I replied sensibly: "I am always willing to charge more." I offered to make it if he brought mats. He decided to just buy a scroll. This might have been related to my having recently bought all the orbs. They were at a good price!

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Sounds like a decent guild concept. We all work together to get somewhere better together and try to build each other up so we can do better.

I believe the most successful guilds will be someone collectivist: sharing materials and professions. Why? Because the enchant I give my guildy helps me. I lose gold, oh noes. But I make my guildy better able to kill the same thing I want to kill. I could demand a fee, but what do I gain? A bit of gold that I don't need, and he's more likely to have to farm or run dailies, making him just a little bit less happy with the game. Dailies are boring as shit.

I am not a nice person. I am selfish to the core. As are all people. I just think about my selfishness more. Within a guild I can see how I am not a self-made man, but am instead part of a collective* which kills the boss together or not at all. If it doesn't work I can either build them up or go elsewhere. I prefer to not run at the slightest challenge and throw blame to cover my cowardice.

So why didn't I make scrolls for him? His alts do nothing for me. They are luxuries and those are not my responsibility. I do not demand free anything for my alts, nor do I expect it. If I get it, that's great.

Did I lose gold by not selling him a scroll? Of course not. I never lose gold. Only idiots lose gold. My gold is always right where I left it.

* Literally: The guild name is Collective Conscious.

Blogging needs to be more accessible to casuals

| Thursday, May 6, 2010
I pay the same nothing a month as most other bloggers. And yet, I am held back from having thousands of viewers due to not being a no-life loser. Like Tobold.

He challenges us with this outrageous taunt:
If you feel that my blog having a lot of readers gives me an unfair advantage in a battle of opinions, all you have to do is to open your own blog, work hard on it for 6 months, and you can have thousands of readers too.

Well I've been blogging for over two years and where are my thousands of readers? Clearly blogging is overtuned and needs some balancing. To start, I suggest what I will call the "Troll Buff" in which all bloggers can make additional posts every day, trolling each other, as a way to increase readership. On top of this, there should be an across the board reduction in the number of grammar rules by at least 5%. Finally, readers should be given an attention buff, allowing them to better survive long, pointless posts.

How to make heroics more interesting: part 2

Don't have a dress? Don't have a useless weapon or stupid title? Fear not! You too can play like a dumbass and enjoy it.

Step one: Queue with a healer who you trust.
Step two: Give up on the concept of aggro management.
Step three: Add tank to your options after the tank gets sick you you being an aggro-pulling jackass and leaves.
Step four: Put up Righteous Fury and carry on as you were.
Step five: Wuss out and put on a defense trinket (repelling charge is multi-purpose!) and some tanking rings.

Step ten: Win.

Keep up Sacred Shield. Just because you're playing like an idiot doesn't mean you have to play badly.

Rock the meters. Seal of command combined with a perpetually reset divine storm is ridiculous damage on trash.

She soon enraged and killed me in three hits.

Divine Protection saves the day.

This not a contradiction

Gevlon is proud to be a cog in a winning machine, setting personal heroics aside for a greater win. Of course not a collective win... or maybe... but that's what socials do! Why, he said it himself: "Even worse if he calls a friend to fight back you enforce social beliefs: 'While I was defeated, we won'!"

Social working together to beat a better individual player: Bad.
Goblins working together to beat a better individual player: Good.

Perfectly consistent.

[edit] Due to a flame war, a large number of comments have been deleted and posting in here suspended for the time being. I apologize for the inconvenience.

We are Bad Ninjas

| Wednesday, May 5, 2010
What if we instead fought many enemies? Not trash. Instead the multiple enemies are the fight. None are trivial, teamwork is needed, but it's not just one big bad.

As players we're almost always on the losing side of Conservation of Ninjutsu. We're a giant pack of nobodies who think that because there are a lot of us, that we can do something. Nine times out of ten we fail horribly.

Let's have our enemies be the ones with numbers. They won't be total pushovers and they won't outnumber us ten to one as AoE fodder. But a player might take on 2-3 of them at once, and not have an easy fight. They'll have to balance their avoidance and damage; perhaps with an energy pool, mana, or just competing cooldowns. There won't be a lot of generic "don't stand in this" mechanics which are suitable for nobodies, but not heroes. We are supposed to be heroes, right?

Certainly some enemies should be stronger than us. But they should not be every boss. Instead what I see is the complete contradiction of what I said earlier: The revival of tanking. The fight has 25 players going up against 40 or so enemies. Some players won't be in direct combat, acting as healers and casters, behind the melee and trying to avoid contact. The average melee will then be taking on 2-3 enemies at a time.

Think of when you're soloing something that shouldn't be soloed. I assume you do this at least weekly, just to keep in shape. Do you just run in with all your damage cooldowns? Well maybe, but that's for trivial stuff. More likely you're saving combo points for a kidney shot, leaving some runic power in reserve for a mind freeze, that sort of thing. You're playing more of your class when you tank for yourself.

On the subject of CC and interrupts, why are bosses immune to almost all of them except in very specific cases like KT? Simply put, they would be completely overpowered. Wave of DOOM KILL is supposed to hit the raid, not be interrupted at a trivial cost. Can you imagine the usefulness of say, stunning a boss who has enraged and you just need a few more seconds? When there is only one enemy, CCs stop 100% of damage (excluding all the exceptions), giving a lot of time for tank recovery as well as a bit more DPS.

With more enemies, CC could be used in a balanced manner. Interrupts would be a way to moderate incoming damage, but not trivialize it, since Wave of DOOM KILL would instead be multiple enemies casting Wave of OUCHY THAT HURTS. We could use a larger portion of our classes in PvE. Currently we use only a small set of abilities in PvE, while in PvP we use many more. This is not inevitable, except when we are stuck with only one boss who must be immune to all the negative effects which make PvP unfun for the victim.

I'm more leet than you because I do trivial content

Cassandri of Hots and Dots asks: "Can I spot the elite? The most geared, successful 25 man raids on the server hanging around in Dalaran? Not a chance. Clothes don’t give you prestige."

To which I respond, no, you're just bad at looking. You're looking in the wrong places! The truly awesome players do stand out. Not with amazing loot and Kingslayer. Dime a dozen! No, we amazing players stand out with trivial loot and stupid titles.

We have an alternative strategy of leetness. While others chase exclusive content in pursuit of accomplishment, we chase the content that no one gives a damn about.

We are the pinnacle of the Self-Gimping Elitists. Better loot? Oh sure, I could use it. IF I WAS TERRIBLE. We're just so awesome that we don't need good gear. But we're also honest. We don't make undergeared posts and claim we're awesome and don't care what you think. We admit that we care what you think and we go to great lengths to make you think we are awesome.

We. Wear. Dresses. And they look god damn sexy. See we're smart. Dresses aren't meant to be functional. They are meant to er... inspire. And what could be more inspiring than knowing that someone has killed Ragnaros, a completely useless boss, enough times to be blessed by the RNG? That is a person you want in a raid, because we all know that RNG + persistence = leet skill.

Or to put it a shorter way: The way to distinguish oneself isn't to do what everyone else is doing. Or you could be yourself, just like everyone else.

As my hero once said "I may have just wasted an hour of your time." Except I hope this didn't take an hour.

LF Enchanter

| Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Inspired by Tamarind's latest post.

"LF Enchanter"

What the fuck do you want!?

They don't know.

They really don't, and that's the whole problem. They are using you as a crap version of wowhead, a tool for searching for enchants.

So just link your book and what's the problem? They can't even search wowhead. How likely are they to be able to successfully figure out which slots don't have enchants, find the enchants they want for those slots, get mats, bring them to you, and do all that before you notice that you've been standing around Dalaran for the past half hour as they have 5 minutes left on their hearthstone and you are not queued for a random or BG, not in a raid forming, not making gold at the AH, and not farming?

They won't go away if you ignore them (not /ignore, just nonresponsive), but they won't waste half an hour of your time as they slowly figure out what they are doing. And then get invited to a raid right as they are about to open trade and hand over what might actually be the correct mats. Yes, they have been busy finding a raid to carry their enchanted selves while you've been patiently waiting, hoping for a 5g tip for a half-dozen enchants.

I am not a pessimist!

A pessimist wouldn't know about scrolls. For a mere 1-4g you can put an enchant on a scroll and never have to deal with this ever again. They don't even have a deposit. You will lose the AH cut, but with proper pricing you'll make far more than you'd get from 5g for half an hour.

"LF Enchanter to do X, have mats"
Shift-click that person and if they're in the same city, go get some gold. This person knows what he wants and knows how to get it.

You're so predictable, bad guy

Tobold recently did some more of his constant whining about EVE, making me wonder why he even plays, if he hates it so much. Actually he just raised a good point: Why do we have so many scripted bosses and as a result, so much specific preparation?

One moron argued that unpredictable fights would be too hard and would drive away most players. On the other hand, Iapetes has argued that unpredictable fights would have to have most mechanics toned down a lot, so they would be trivialized. If I had to pick an extreme, I'd go with the elitist over the sociopath. But I disagree with both because they're clearly wrong, based on the fact that I disagree with them; flawless logic, I know.

WoW would need to be slowed down.
The many one-shot mechanics would need to go or be made more obvious and easy to react to. For example, KT iceblocks would last slightly longer, but are they the damaging iceblocks or the Sapph iceblocks that we hide behind? Or both? Time to live would have to go up significantly in order to give people time to figure out what to do. Of course most mechanics are "don't stand in this" and "kill thing with red name", so these isn't too much to learn. Something like a charge (Thaddius) would need a longer activation time as the raid hastily picks sides.

This will be more possible in Cataclysm, as it sounds like they're finally going to slow down the speed of death. But I've thought that before. I remember the health pool change in BC. Somehow 50% more health didn't make us live any longer. WotLK didn't help either, and we still ended up with Frostwell Coldness.

No fight would be perfectly random. That would just make them all indistinguishable and possibly impossible. Instead bosses would have a certain flavor, tendencies towards certain spell types. Kel'thuzad would use a lost of frost attacks, but we wouldn't know which, so there might be iceblocks, frostbolts, cone of cold, frost nova and run to range, frost reflect/absorb.

From a pool of 20 or so possible abilities, a boss would randomly use 5 or 6 for a given raid lockout. This will allow for some planning and organizing, but there won't be a strat to just look up and execute. I don't mean to suggest that following a strat trivializes bosses, but it does take away some of the fun when you leave the thinking to someone else. Next week, start over again.

There would be some 'killer' combinations which would be blocked; so no iceblock + mind freeze or void zone + root. The goal is to have bosses which won't randomly make you die. This does mean difficulty will vary. I think we can agree that the KT who mostly does cone of cold and frostbolts won't be much of a challenge, whereas the one who keeps rooting the tank and interrupting healers will be harder. This is going to make it harder to have competitive PvE racing, which isn't good. Maybe Blizzard could have every boss use one ability pool for the first week it is out, so the racing guilds all have the same fight.

The inconsistency could be compensated for somewhat by averages: If we had more than one boss, then their abilities over a fight would even out. I am of course referring to ninjas. See it tomorrow!

A challenge to the Tyrant

| Monday, May 3, 2010
We didn't have enough people to do ICC25. This disappointed me, since I really felt like we'd be able to kill her tonight. That would put as at Arthas. And that's just awesome. Except we didn't go. That surprised me, since I felt that yesterday went really well.

Someone made a ICC10 raid instead. Since my paladin was saved and they needed a DPS, my priest somehow got in. Honestly I felt like a bit of a leech, since her gear isn't all that great and I'm very inexperienced with shadow. But I didn't cause any wipes, so I guess I wasn't of negative use at least.

She walked out with a new ring, shoulders, and hat; items that no one else wanted. And the friendly rep ring. At this point I think she has the gear to be competitive in ICC if I get some more practice. She won't be going on any 25 guild runs, but I could see her going to more 10s, maybe get back into the ICC heroics and randoms and VoA.

There is no chance that she'd replace my paladin, since she can't tank, but she might become a real character. An alt which is an alternative rather than merely a diversion or gold source.

Speaking of alts, my rogue spent 16k on greatness trinkets, agility and strength, which I'm hoping to resell when the servers aren't about to go down. Clearly this doesn't contradict my earlier anti-speculation stance, since I kindly saved them the loss of the deposit. Except for the two that I bought directly. Saving 10g is srs bns.

I want more 'useless' PvP zones

Tol Barad is going to be the new Wintergrasp. Except it's apparently also a quest hub. Us carebears don't like getting ganked while questing, so the current plan is for Tol Barad to only be forced PvP during the battle.


Wintergrasp isn't just an outdoor BG. It's also an area for higher risk, higher reward farming. I like having a PvP zone on a PvE server. It's somewhere to go for some excitement now and then that isn't the restricted context of a BG. It's a taster for world PvP. I like having that!

So I ask that Blizzard add a zone with no PvE quests, only a few PvP quests and a lot of resources to fight over. Oh and make it a no fly zone.

Gnome Racials Really Are Overpowered

Fact: 100% of the new kills for last night included me being out of my body on pygmy oil.

We got our first Blood Queen kill. I like that fight. My DPS needs work though.

We seemed to be learning well on Sindragosa, but I don't know why people are so slow on running out.

How to make heroics more interesting

| Sunday, May 2, 2010
1) Be the Insane.
2) Use a useless weapon which looks cool. I usually use Thunderfury.
3) Find a pretty dress. I went with Scarlet Sin'dorei Robes
4) For my pet I went with the Phoenix off the same Kael'thas.
5) If you can spare the defense loss, put on a hat as well. I used Crown of Destruction most recently, but Corp'rethar Ceremonial Crown also sets your head on fire. Repelling Charge is a great way to fill in missing defense.
6) Pygmy Oil.
7) Joke around, be silly, be insane, don't feel like you have to silently pull as fast as you can.
8) Run with a friend, so at least one person won't vote kick you. :)

In other words, recognize that most of us are so completely overgeared that we can afford to throw out stats for appearance. If you lose some DPS or avoidance or health or regen, so what? I'll take a one minute longer instance in exchange for enjoying myself during it. Less efficient? Only a moron would say that. Unless you derive inhuman amounts of enjoyment from the acquisition of badges, odds are you're going to have a net gain of happiness, and higher average happiness/time if you slow down ever so slightly in order to have more fun in the process.

At this point I don't even have much to gain from randoms. I have all the triumph gear I want unless I lose my mind and go holy. I don't need the gems. Or the gold. Sure I could get more gold, but what do I care? It's not worth doing something unfun just to get more gold that I don't need. That would be stupid.

Heroics cannot bribe me anymore, so I must enjoy them. And the insane hopping miniature blood elf paladin with thunderfury, rocket boots, and a pretty dress, is going to damn well enjoy her heroics!

Here are the necessary screenshots. They're not very good. Warning: My UI is terrible.

The pygmy oil actually flips sex, so when I clicked it off, I was a male human. I used some more to switch myself again, male humans look weird.

Good Alts and Tyrants

| Saturday, May 1, 2010
I have a lot of alts. But they're bad alts. They're somewhere between neglected and mediocre. The best geared is my priest, but she's nowhere near the level of my paladin, and I'm terribly inexperienced as a healer. Perhaps my DK is next, but he's not going to be impressing anyone anytime soon, especially since I switched to blood for tanking and have no rhythm to it at all.

Shintar's alt killed Arthas. Before her main. The idea astounded me. I can barely comprehend it when people have alts that can do the tier behind current. To have an alt at the current tier is mind-blowing. How do these people have good alts?

I wonder if its based on how much a person is connected to a character. I used to be Klepsacovic the Troll Shaman and that was me. It took literally months to stop being him and start being a paladin. It almost didn't happen, but we were short a tank that night. Still, they both did achievements and heroics and gathered badges, until one day my shaman just wasn't anymore. I became a paladin. My shaman hasn't even hit 80 and might never. Elemental feels weird, enhancement feels dumb, and you can't heal a mob to death. He may be in Orgrimmar forever, the enchanter with a Finkle's Lava Dredger, a fire hat, and absolutely no raid enchants.

My main isn't just my main. It's more like the leader. My alts are servants, sources of income or some desired item. They have professions to serve my main. To spend much gold on them is pointless. They exist to make gold. At best they are temporary distraction from burnout. They are not real characters, deserving of any investment beyond that which gives them profitable professions. It is the nightmare-made-virtual of everyone who fears economic tyranny: total control, not a single gem or gold piece allowed to slip out of the grasp of the main, not a single free idea or action. All are subservient to the Account, except for the leader, the Main.

She is a tyrant, my main, and paranoid beyond all belief. She knows that it was a stray raid which put her in power and will not let the same happen in turn. Besides weeklies and VoA, no other characters have seen a raid. They have no titles beside the Patient. Except that warlock... she is dangerous, with an old PvP title; only being on the wrong server, wrong faction, and having DPS queue times keep her in check.

The neglected alt is easiest to neglect while the spoiled rich main is easy to keep as a main.
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