Blue thread to read if you care about lore

| Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Bornakk answers a lot of questions about many mysteries in the lore.

Item level within and across expansions

| Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I thought this might be good food for thought for my previous post about raids dropping the same level of gear. To simplify the searching, I've used plate chests as a sample. I might miss something here and there, but nothing should be far off.

Lowest blue plate (mail for before 40): 25
Lowest 'late game' gear (included due to being part of level 60 sets): 61
Lowest level 60: 65
Highest level 60: 92
The 'start to end' gap is 67
The 'noob to elite' gap is 31

Lowest level BC item: 81
Lowest level 70 BC item: 100
Highest level BC item: 159
The 'start to end' gap is 78
The 'noob to elite' gap is 59

Lowest LK item: 130
Lowest 80 LK item (excluding a random stat green): 200
Highest LK item (excluding hardmodes): 270
The 'start to end' gap is 140
The 'noob to elite' gap is 70
Or 77 if we want to include hardmodes.

Vanilla legendaries: 80, 80, and 90
BC legendaries: 156 (both warglaives) and 164
LK legendaries: 245 and 284
Note that the lowest vanilla legendaries are based on drops from the lowest tier raid and trash drops from early to midway through the second tier. The highest vanilla legendary came from the highest tier raid.
The BC legendaries were from last and second to last raid tiers.
The LK legendaries come from the second and last raids, respectively.

Clearly gear is going up, and quickly. But where is it taking place?
Level 60 vanilla gear and BC gear are off by 16, while level 70 BC and LK gear are off by 70. Note that I'm counting the 58/68 gear as 70 to keep things simple; the measure is essentially "if you were at 60 or 70 and not raiding, what gear would you be getting?" The gear resets aren't the cause, and in fact they don't even catch up to the highest level. The leveling process in BC didn't produce a wide range either, only 19, but gearing up caused a much larger gap. In contrast the leveling process in LK covers 70 item levels and then gearing up another 70, a similar gap as in BC, which is more than double that of vanilla.

TL;DR: The gear resets are not the main causes of stat inflation. BC gearing caused huge stat inflation. LK leveling caused even more stat inflation. LK gearing caused huge stat inflation, but no more than BC. This could mean a few things. First, the "twice as many tiers" hypothesis of LK inflation may be false. However if vanilla is the baseline, then BC had excessive gear gaps and LK may have attempted to fix this, but failed due to the "twice as many tiers" hypothesis. In other words, flip a coin, then go ask Ghostcrawler to pick heads or tails.

Dungeon Finder Killed WoW

Adam has reminded us that the random dungeon finder is wrecking the social aspect of WoW, making the RealID system seem like something of a bandaid over cancer.

He doesn't quite for far enough. So let me just say this, the thing I said in my title: The Random Dungeon Finder Killed WoW and We're All Fucked.

It goes like this: Dungeon finder makes everyone think of other players as anonymous nothings about which* they don't care. Some people already thought this way, but dungeon finder made it mutual, so then other players aren't just anonymous nothings, they're also stupid, lazy, and so terrible at everything and life that we're morally justified in stealing from them.

That's part one, the part where it kills the social aspect. Let's get the gear aspect now.

An automated system is also faster. For a tank, it's instant, faster than I could even type "tank lfg any heroics" in trade channel. For a healer, it's a minute, maybe two, which is probably still faster than typing and waiting for responses, while digging through anal Thunderfury spam (does anyone else have TF spam on their server?). For DPS it might be slower, since a group could theoretically be formed in a few minute rather than 15, but on average they're not going to be faster.

Faster groups mean faster badges, meaning that unless Blizzard fully intends for us to be geared up in a couple hours, we probably need inflation. And thus we had inflation. To make it even worse, we're encouraged to do randoms through the bribe of two extra triumph, or even two frost for the first. This also does a nice job of emphasizing that heroics aren't for people who need gear that drops in heroics, an indirect "need 4k GS for Naxx" equivalent.

The spam of emblems and assholes leads to a non-community of closed shutters and locked doors and gearscore. As friends drift away and the random cross-server instances fail to produce new ones, the social ties of WoW will die. And then, well then Blizzard will add a privacy-wrecking 'social' tool to make us stick together even when we've stopped playing.

* That's right, not whom.

What if all raids dropped the same ilevel?

Run Naxx on day one and you get 200 level gear, and whatever the 25 is, doesn't matter. When Ulduar comes it, it will give Ulduar level gear, but the boss damage and health will scale up as well.

Progression as a concept of "do X raid then Y raid then Z raid" would be essentially gone. You hit 80 and every raid is the top raid. Which one do you want to do?

I see little loss, only gain. Progression is already dead. We go from randoms to ICC. Some do ToC, but Ulduar and Naxx are entirely gone, along with EoE and dragonland.

There's still argument that the very last raid should be higher than the rest. Fine. Then put 25-man drops for previous raids at the 251 level, putting them on par with 10-man, but inferior to hardmodes and loot from Arthas. That would still leave a bit of progression without making older raids completely obsolete.

We'd have a wide variety of choices and could focus on those raids which we enjoy or haven't farmed a hundred times.

Kick the tank to the curb!

| Monday, June 28, 2010
Let's start running with no tanks. I mean no tanks, not even overgeared DPS who can tank as well as a tank in blues (or close enough).

Madness? Oh yes. Madness. Ha! Ah ha ha. Heh. *sigh*

Trash is simple enough: crowd control and kiting. Imagine a group with a druid healer, rogue, mage, hunter, and ret paladin. Roots on a melee is effectively a CC. Sap one, blind when that fades. Sheep of course. Careful trapping mixed with kiting can handle another. The ret can repentance another or use it as a supplement to the rogue's CC. That means a group of four mobs only has one 'free', which of course means the mage is going to be snaring, with the hunter using distracting shot to keep aggro, leaving the melee free to tear it apart. The group makeup is a bit idealized, but a warrior could take the paladin's place while a skilled warlock can substitute fear for sheep, and even has howl of terror as a last ditch time-buyer.

It would be slow. Mobs would have to be marked. DPS would be limited to single targets and distracted by their CC duties. But what if it was proportionally more fun? Or beyond! Imagine if trash wasn't just an annoyance before the boss, but something to actually challenge a group, something worth having there. "Equally interesting yet non-epic-dropping non-bosses" as Tigole referred to it.

Bosses, now those could be tricky. They generally cannot be snared and terrain rarely allows for uh... 'interesting tactics'. They're going to hit people, so the group needs a way to deal with that. The tank and spank model clearly won't work, so we need something else. Time to live still matters, since it won't do to have a boss just two-shot everyone, one by one. Fortunately DPS aren't perfectly helpless.

Warlocks have metamorphosis. Hunters have deterrence and possibly another second with disengage. Paladins have divine protection. Rogues have evasion. And so on.

Aggro management would be critical, to get mobs to attack the right player. Some classes can wipe their aggro, hand of salvation offers a slight reduction, and two classes can increase the aggro of other classes. Carefully balancing aggro would allow players to keep bosses focused on the player which can survive the attacks.

I doubt this would buy enough time for a group with blue DPS. All these abilities only last so long. While trash can be CCed to buy rest moments, bosses do not allow that luxury. So possibly most important is high DPS, to ensure that bosses aren't outliving the players' life-saving cooldowns.

As fun as it sounds, I doubt this would ever catch on. It wouldn't have to be refused, but it would naturally die. As we gear up, gain new talents, a higher tier of gems, new glyphs, and so on, we gain so much DPS that bosses may not have time to hurt anyone. I've seen this when soloing some raids, particularly in ZG, where at 70 some bosses seemed impossible, but at 80 my damage is so high that the challenging mechanics don't come into play. Beyond just higher damage, players would gain tanking stats, not intentionally, but as the natural course of their gear. Rogues is particular would gain significant amounts of agility, meaning more dodge and eventually a non-trivial amount of armor, in addition to the stamina increases, so that eventually they too are as good as a tank. Without meaning to, players would again trivialize the challenge. The only counter is standards which would not allow damage, avoidance, or health values beyond a certain point, but that creates arbitrary restrictions and those aren't always fun.

What Debuff?

| Sunday, June 27, 2010
Sometimes there's a bad night. Just, bad. The only real comfort is in not being one of the people screwing up. "It's not my fault."

That feeling goes away when you literally do not see a debuff marker and instead stand very still while shadowy flames pile up around you. A perfectly awful way to end a night.

We've heard all about Blizzard's new MMO

You think we haven't? That's because you're blind. It's all so clear, so obvious.

The 'secret' new MMO is...

The Old Republic.

Virtual Morality and NPCs

Is it possible to be immoral in a virtual world?

Can we be immoral to a NPC?

What is a NPC? It is essentially a physical object in the virtual world. It acts and we interact with it, but it is ultimately a scripted object which exists for a purpose. Morality is hard to define, but in the case of NPCs, let's define immorality as violation or denial of purpose.

Taken strictly this would imply that it is immoral to not complete the quests of a quest NPC. But maybe the NPC exists to offer the quest and rewards, not necessarily to give the quest. That suggests that not talking to a quest NPC is immoral, which seems ridiculous. However morality rarely rests on a foundation of "don't be ridiculous", because if it did, then I'd be getting hit by lightning often enough to give America energy independence.

Let's rewind a bit: who is defining purpose? The developers define the purpose of a NPC, so logically it would seem that they could define the related morality. This is a big assumption, but I assume that the developer-gods wouldn't define an immoral action and have no punishment for it. However there is punishment for ignoring NPCs: loss of income, items, and reputation. It is clear that we are behaving immorally when we do not talk to, accept, and complete quests from NPCs. We are awful people.

There are of course other NPCs. Vendors exist to offer goods for sale. We visit them, but not all, which similar to the quest NPCs implies a massive subversion of purpose and therefore immorality. Trainers exist to provide spells, so as long as we have all our spells on that character, our morality is untainted. This suggests that perhaps we should apply the same to vendors, that if we have completed all our needs for buying and selling, that we have sufficiently interacted with vendors as a whole. This also means that if we leave a NPC area with our bags fuller than we'd like, that we are behaving immorally by denying the vendor his purpose. Guard NPCs are meant to fight, meaning they are meant to possibly die. The same goes for all hostile NPCs.

Can the vendor argument be applied to quest NPCs? Can we ignore their quests if our needs for quests are met? I do not think so, because as long as there is a quest, we have not yet completed all we can, so it remains immoral to ignore a quest giver.

By this reasoning, only Loremasters are anywhere close to moral, but even they fail to complete all daily quests. However this is inevitable as there are too many daily quests. This does not excuse them from all daily quests, but instead means they must seek out those quest givers most in need of offering. And here is where I must end, because I cannot say which quests are most needed. Are they the most recent quests, or are they in fact the least recent quests, those which have been neglected?

Let us pray on this to our developer-gods.

Pass me lead so I can mark, please

| Saturday, June 26, 2010
I think this is why I miss BC. Back then I could convincingly claim that my tank wanted lead for marking. Sometimes she did. But usually it was just so she could kick idiots.

Bring back CC so tanks have an excuse to be leader! Also remove that silly socialist "cooperative vote kick" thing. Leaders cannot be pandering to the ignorance of the majority.

A different way to talk to a community

Ever feel like the WoW development team is a bit distant? I do. Sure, a Blur drops into a thread here and there and makes a joke, but there's a very clear "We are not your friends, stop trying to put your arm on our shoulders" vibe.

Then there's this from the TF2 blog:
"Yeah, that's really, really..." he trailed off, so bored with the sentence he didn't bother to finish it. "Look, maybe you should read this. You know--help you get into the 'Team Fortress' mindset."

He slid over a well-worn game design manual. I leafed through it. It wasn't a game design manual, it was a coffee table-sized book of women wearing hats.

Mistaking my confusion for interest, Robin excitedly pulled his chair over to me, and looked over my shoulder. "Would you look at that hat," he whispered, pointing to a lady in a wide-brimmed hat. "Gorgeous."

I read the blog on and off, partly because it doesn't update every 15 seconds like certain obsessive people who shall go unnamed but are similar to the heavy class in that they are tankish, laugh a lot, and sound vaguely Russian. I get the impression that they are having fun. They're barely even making a game. They're playing a game, a huge company game, and part of that just happens to on the side involve them making a game. Maybe it's just a disguise, the sort of "pretend we're humans not corporate suits" that is standard these days, but damn they put on a good show.

Sure, Blizzard puts its devs on stage and we ask them some questions, but that's a once and now and then sort of deal. We get GC as a punching bag on the forums. Which, based on the photo of him on wowhead, appears to be killing him. The man looks like he's on the verge of zombie. I feel sorry for him. I probably shouldn't.

After writing this, Iapetes showed me this:

I can't see them, they can't see me.

| Friday, June 25, 2010
I wish.

Horde rogues have it tough!

We sneak around as sneakily as we can sneak and just when we think we've seen all the sneaking that can be sneaked, it turns out a night elf was there out-sneaking our sneak. We cannot repel sneaking of that magnitude.

Maybe worse are the humans and their anti-sneaking technology. I'm sneaking and no one can see me for certain! Except those damn humans. They sneak just the same as I sneak, but they see sneak better, so I can't sneak near them.

I demand sneaking equality.

Who would want to work at McDonalds?

Earlier I asked who would want to run McDonalds. The general idea was to look at why there are almost no entry-level raiding guilds, the reason being that the raid leader gets the same tier of rewards as those he leads, so there's no incentive for a skilled raid leader to stay there rather than going up to a raid tier with better rewards. I was only looking at the raid leader, but what about his employees?

Who would want to work at McDonalds?

Imagine if we had completely free education up to the college level. Not just professors, but books, materials, beer, etc. And in this virtual world housing is either everywhere or nowhere. Who would work the jobs for high school dropouts? With our trivial heroics we can overgear ToC and get a solid set for ICC. We're all college graduates. Naxx and Ulduar, those are for uneducated idiots.

Could there be any incentive to run anything but the latest couple tiers? Obviously there would be if we didn't have so much badge loot and so many easy badges, if we couldn't skip raid tiers, but that means every alt is going through the same raid over again, and every new player has even further to climb up. 5k gearscore is annoying enough with badges, imagine that by first working up to a gear level for naxx, then ulduar, then toc, then finally ICC. Sure, technically speaking, you can do ulduar in blues and maybe toc, with ICC only needing a decent set of epics, but that's unrealistic for the majority of the population, especially with new players.

Would you want to work at McDonalds?

Real ID Ponies on a F2P Premium Casual Server with Gearscore

| Thursday, June 24, 2010
Are they killing WoW?

World of Warcraft: Origins

I don't use many screenshots. It's a bad habit, but I'm not likely to fix it anytime soon. But let's pretend.

Here is the original Klepsacovic. Yes, there are two. Both are me, but one is a failed clone after a disaster. Failed in the sense that his hair is slightly the wrong shade.

My first guild ever was called Pirate Club. It was a tiny social guild that sometimes did instance together. Or went out to that island off the coast of Dustwallow Marsh and hang out in the dungeon down there. It was our secret base. Also, we had an unusually high proportion of Bloodsail Admirals.

Once upon a time a troll shaman wished to go to the Swamp of Sorrows. To do so meant traveling through unfriendly territory. He had no mount, for in those days players didn't get mounts so early.

Upper Blackrock Spire was filled with dangers: holes to other instances, or outside; a portal to second-tier raid instance and the guards around it; a loose core hound; rogues; and... gates that can lonk you on the wrong side.

While my early deaths did make me nervous, they didn't quite kill my passion for exploration. And so a troll shaman went north. Actually he first went east and east and south and south, back to those sorrowful swamps, and then north very far. That is how he first saw the glorious hidden lands of Quel'thalas. Actually, he saw this.

Improving PvE Stealth

| Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Spinks correctly points out that stealth is tricky to balance, and not so great in group in WoW. Unless of course you're trying to sap one, ambush the other, and blind the third, which is merciful because then they only hear the screams while the sapped one has to watch.

What's so bad about stealth in WoW? With the amount of AoE, it's trivial to get knocked out. It can be tricky to get back into stealth in PvP, but short of vanish, it's effectively impossible in PvE.

I propose two simple changes to improve stealth in PvE.

1) If a rogue or druid is not the current target of any mob and has avoided combat for however long (whatever the criteria would be in PvP to drop combat), they can stealth. If they've generated any aggro they can still be attacked, but only after non-stealthed players. This means that PvE combat doesn't start with sneaky backstabbing and end with standing right out in the open stabbing away with absolutely no sneakiness. Clearly assassination rogues would need retuning of their energy generation, since the regen increase would be up much more often.

2) Stealthed players will not be attacked by mobs unless they are specifically stealth-detecting or there are no non-stealthed players around. This is brought on by halls of reflection, in which I like to stay a bit away from the group so I can take out a mage, but then a footman inevitably attacks me.

Rogues need more reasons to be in stealth, reasons beyond just damage. Imagine if cheap shot was a stun and a 50% damage output reduction for two seconds, similar to how hammer of justice has an interrupt component. This would be a huge help on many bosses and shift rogues a bit away from being a pure damage class, standing around looking like an enhancement shaman with fewer spells.

What is it with talents?

Let's imagine a realistic scenario. Start college in chemical engineering. Switch to applied mathematics. Then switch again to psychology. Even if a degree is granted, unless the individual in question is a genius or unusually hard-working, he's not going to be as good in any of those fields as someone who started and ended with the same major. Time has been wasted. It's realistic. But is it fun? Fun? Oh... oh no, of course we're not talking about college.

This is about talent specialization of the many, similar forms it takes in RPGs. Start off with an idea, and very little information, and make irreversible choices about what you want to become. It's certainly realistic, but is it fun?

Personally, I don't enjoy talents that I can't switch at some point. Sure, with proper theorycraft and research, I could get them right the first time. But you know what? Fuck that. Yes, fuck that. It's bad enough in a multi-player game that people are expected to research every single footstep ahead of time, but in a single-player game? Fuck that. It's a game, let's start playing!

Torchlight has no default way to reset talents, not even for a cost. That means the early "ooh that looks cool, let me try that, and that, ooh what's that?" is extremely costly, permanently. There is a developer-accepted mod to add a pricy respec pot, but yeesh, now you're downloading mods to the game that you're probably still learning? Is that fun? Immersive? Adventurous?

Knights of the Old Republic, either one, have somewhat similar systems of talents. You buy more powers or abilities or whatever, and these make you stronger in some way or another. And I've yet to find a way to relearn them (I've not looked very far). It's not very fun to realize that the cool abilities you were picking up, ye they don't work quite so well when you don't have the energy to support all those abilities, or they're hard to use when alone and getting beaten up. That could be worked out ahead of time, but aren't you supposed to be stabbing Sith rather than tabbed out reading walkthroughs?

WoW has a more forgiving system of paid respecs, which work fairly well in a game of unlimited time, gold, and... gold. However this almost feels too restrictive and too lenient. I do agree with Blizzard that talents should be a careful decision, though not irreversible, so having some cost to respec is a good thing in my mind. However having a cost early on isn't good. It frightens noobies. Oh yes it does, I would know, I was half-resto for quite a long time because I didn't know I could respec. Sure the guy asked if I wanted to unlearn my talents, but that sounds scary. Do I have to go relearn all my spells? My levels? Will my shaman get sent back to the character creation screen? This shit is scary when you're a noob!

Meditate on Your Path
That's all I'm asking for, is just one time the relevant guiding NPC talks to us about the many paths and possibilities, gives us a chance to think things over, maybe offers some advice based on how we've been playing (you keep meleeing, perhaps enhancement is a good choice for you), and then we're given the ability to redo our talents. In WoW this would be a low level quest, somewhere in the 20s or 30s, while in a RPG it would be in maybe the first third.

Imagine that, jumping in to play and explore, without irreversibly damaging your character later on, when you learn that Rainbow Happy Wave doesn't work well with a melee-based Dark Side character.

It's time to stop lying.

| Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I know social pressure is tough, but fight back, be honest. This is mostly aimed at healers, but can be applied to anyone, just substitute the appropriate words to match your own situation.

How often are you offline because you don't want to heal? That's hiding. Maybe it's on an alt, maybe it's in another game, maybe it's in that strange place called Real Life. This doesn't apply to actually being called away. But why do you have to hide? Imagine a glorious world in which you can just say that you don't feel like healing.

Oh, people won't be happy. They're used to healers either healing when asked, or not being there at all. When you hide, you also hide your refusal, and therefore your choice.

So log in and say it: you don't feel like healing. At first it will be a shock. But give it time and someday, people won't feel entitled to your heals and you won't feel like hiding when you just want to do something else.

The rest of this is aimed at the people who are outraged. Except the part after that.

Dear assholes,
People don't always stay offline because they want to. Sometimes it's because logging in means being bombarded by urgent requests by you. Whether online or offline, that is their choice, to say yes or no. It's pointless to drive them offline, just because you think being online makes them your servant. That only encourages burnout, making it harder to find them in the future.

So when you see your healer friend on his alt and ask him to heal, take no for an answer, it's his right.

As you might have guessed, this was triggered by RealID and the ability to see friends on alts. It's coming. People will have to choose: do they want to refuse a friend invite or do they want to turn down requests for runs? I'm leaning toward the first, because while I regard it as hiding, it's also much more private, thanks to information chaining out to friends of friends. I already have my friends and we know our alts and can turn down whatever we don't want. We don't need to be tied into a friend friend with whom we don't share that understanding.

The Journals: Folaksamba

My characters rarely get to say much. This is their place to talk.

June 19
At the behest of Falna (cheap bitch) I went off to the Storm Peaks to hunt jormungar. She didn't want to buy scales or the armor patches, so she sent me.

Found some in a cave along with some bears.
Shot them.
Skinned them.
Got sick of bears ruining the jormungar scales. Shooting them too didn't help.
Went off to open plains. Got attacked by wind elementals. Slow hunting. Went and hung out with stone dwarves.
Falna got sick of me taking so long and bought a patch off the auction house.

It's cold.

June 20
It's cold.
Went hunting Ice Steppe Rhinos.
The wyrms stole some of my kills, so I hunted them too. Was fun.
The herds are thinning, I'm worried.
It's cold.

Recrafting, the cause of, and solution to, all of loot's problems

| Monday, June 21, 2010
Imagine a world where leather drops, a warrior rolls need, and no one calls ninja. Instead the blacksmith in the group sees gold coins falling before his eyes.

Let's imagine for a moment that armor is built up, not merely hammered into existence fully formed. Mail isn't merely metal, but is built upon a foundation of leather. Similarly, plate as well. This provides a bit more cushioning. And it allows the warrior to roll need.

Imagine if blacksmiths and leatherworkers could add, or remove, metal from armor. Using common materials and common training, they could add on sheets and links of metal, or take them off, allowing far greater flexibility in gear choices.

This brings in some work for LW and BS. It reduces wasted gear. It also gives a slight bias to mail and a higher one to plate. After all, they could just wear the gear without more armor, for no additional cost, while going the other direction requires pulling off the extra metal. They would get some bars from it, but I predict a lot of guilds would provide the upgrading metal by taking the downgrading metal.

Obviously this isn't going to happen. Blizzard has made its armor decisions for Cataclysm. Who knows what will come next, but I doubt a more active role for crafting fits into their vision for WoW.

Noncombat classes

| Sunday, June 20, 2010
Due to a fail on my part, here's Monday's post a bit early.

Do non-combat classes have a place in a combat-based game, such as WoW?

For a point of reference, I'm thinking of this based on Star Wars Galaxies, in which there were a few classes which were not designed for combat, but for interaction with other players. Traders were economic, primary crafters and gatherers. There was also an entertainment class, for things like dancing or music.

To be accurate, they were not completely non-combat. Traders made items which could be used in combat while entertainers could give buffs, and I think remove some debuffs related to combat. But neither were intended to be in your raid fighting the boss, so to speak.

Could such classes work in WoW? Would you play a class that will likely never see a raid, and may be afraid to even wander far from cities?

These classes would have their own methods of advancement (as they do in SWG), quests and xp related to their areas of expertise, and so they wouldn't merely be glorified AH alts.

"that would have struggled to strike a balance between useless and mandatory"

This snippet by Green Armadillo caught my eye. It's not a new thing to say. I've heard it before. But the way it was said, and perhaps the timing, made me think about it some more.

We always blame Blizzard. Why? Let's be honest, there will always, for a given situation, be a best way. DoTs will win when we need to move a lot and direct damage will win when we need burst. Snares will win when we can snare the enemy and need to while pure damage spells will win when we need pure damage. Flavor comes in two flavors: situational and aesthetic.

There is no balance between useless and mandatory. And it's our own damn faults. We've let theorycraft and min-maxing take over. We find a 5% DPS tradeoff to be shameful. How dare someone pick a build which works better while soloing. We're in a group, so we must give 100%. No, 110% Fuck reality, we want more than can actually exist! You'll grind ten hours in randoms for a 20 DPS increase and you'll like it.

Why? Because at some point we became scared shitless of... well everything. Wiping? Challenge? Each other? I don't know when it happened, maybe it has always been. But there was some time, some inflection point, some tipping over, when we ceased to trust each other as players. We didn't trust that the person on the other end was anything more than a drooling idiot. So we went nuts with the min-max and theorycraft. Maybe they can't move out of fire, but maybe we can at least make sure they are pulling max DPS in the seconds before they burn to death.

I'm being too critical. It makes sense that we'd want people in a group who are doing the most they can for that group. To give an inch may mean a mile, because once you let the mage keep his 10% lower DPS spec that he likes for world PvP and soloing instances, why not also bring in the rogue who goes afk during fights now and then? He's the same 10% DPS loss.

It seems ironic though, that a game which has gained so much success for being solo-friendly, has a community which doesn't give any concessions for soloing.

Useless and mandatory...
Change the color of your spell and we call it useless. Change the color for a 1% DPS change and we call it mandatory, or for noobs.

My sombrero is now mandatory.

Dear really, really overgeared plate DPS

| Saturday, June 19, 2010
You can 'tank' most randoms just by high DPS burning down mobs and bosses before they can do anything bad. Imagine instant queues and never having to wait on someone to pull. Doesn't that sound awesome?

Buy vendored gear from vendors

Just a quick idea: Make a random sample of recently vendored BoE gear appear on random vendors of the appropriate level range (based on the gear).

For example, someone leveling BS makes a bunch of thorium bracers. He doesn't put them on the AH for one reason or another (some sensible, some not), but instead sells them to a vendor. A level 50 player goes to repair, wishing he could ditch his stupid level 35 bracers, and there he sees it: thorium bracers for sale.

This helps leveling players with the frequent problem of huge gear gaps. It makes it more apparent that other players exist, and they do influence the world. Perhaps not in dramatic ways, but in a noticeable way.

Of course I want the mic on!

| Friday, June 18, 2010
*reads more closely*
Oh that's the mute switch. Yea, maybe I want that off.

Step one: You get a rogue

It's my rogue in a box!

My neglected JC bank alt rogue in half-blues, half 200 epics, and a couple pieces of badge t9... for some reason she went to Wintergrasp. No resilience, no trinket, no PvP gear at all, and as previously stated, not even particularly good PvE gear. If anyone looked at her, she died.

But if by chance no one looked at her... well then she did a lot of very mean stuff. It turns out my sub rogue is pretty capable at being a sneaking, backstabbing, stunning (and not just looks!) annoyance. I even almost beat a warrior. Might have done it if I'd not forgotten that I have evasion.

Yea yea, anyone can do a lot when they blow every cooldown. I get that. But what else is to be expected when my other characters could nearly two-shot me? Actually I wonder... trinket, wings, some sort of damage buff... I wonder if I could instantly kill my rogue with divine storm. Maybe not. But fine, two attacks. If she could survive more than two hits, if she had the slightest health buffer, that would make a huge difference.

Her keybindings need work, being mostly set up for carebearing. Shadow dance would be much more effective if I didn't keep hitting my pickpocket macro.

Step two: I need some gear
This is the part that worries me. I don't even have enough honor for a PvP trinket, let alone armor. I could buy gear with badges, but we all know how DPS queue times are. BGs are also possible, and arenas, but the repetitive loss which will come from my gear state is a turn-off. My paladin couldn't even do this, and she's starting at a much better point.

Then again, my gear is so bad that PvP gear is dual-use, PvP and PvE, so I effectively get double the gear, at half the enchant and gem cost. Even losing, the process could be more fun. On my rogue I feel like I have options and some control over the situation. Stuns and blind and vanish and all sorts of stuff that lets me dictate how the fight will go. My paladin has some control abilities, but too often it feels like I just wade into a fight and unload tons of damage and hope that makes someone die. I couldn't do that if I wasn't at least putting out tons of damage. My rogue has more flexibility, and that might be what gets me through the grind.

It's also a new experience. Before WG a few days ago, she had literally zero kills and a handful of honor from a VoA. I'm still learning how to play sub in PvE, so learning PvP too is quite new for me. I like that. Too often I feel like I've learned most of what I can, all that's left is practice (boring!) and gear (boring!). But my rogue, I know I've got 95% left to learn, and that's possibly the most fun thing in any game.

WTF is my Gearscore says... FAIL!

Queue BC nostalgia

| Thursday, June 17, 2010
As you probably know, I think Vanilla WoW was awesome and BC was shit with no redeeming value. Okay, time for looking back and comparing with WotLK.

WotLK has a terrible heroic system, a terrible badge system. BC was... well just flat out better.

No blasters!
Back in BC I got this great welfare axe. It was comparable to some tier that I was nowhere near. I was proud to have that thing. I felt like I'd earned it. I felt like it was an accomplishment. I was proud to have it.

Nothing in WotLK has come close. There has been no badge item that made me think "I earned this." It's all just... grind. grind grind grind. Finally the grind is over! Okay next item grind.

Oh but this is a special case! It's a weapon. For a melee, or really anyone, those are special. I agree. This is a special case. Weapons just feel bigger. They're visible, they have the highest stats, highest effect on DPS. You can pull it out and beat the crap out of someone with it. Armor can't do that.

Why doesn't WotLK have any badge weapons? Sorry, emblem weapons. Why not? I recall they gave some explanation, but I forgot it. It was probably something boring and not particularly convincing, more or less "lol badges r 4 nubz u get no weapon". Yes, GC does type like that. You just saw it! Direct quote.

Weapons are too important to be left on the RNG.

The spaces in between
How many tier pieces did you buy with badges? Trick question? Maybe. Okay yes thank you, zero! What did you buy? Non-set gear. Trinkets, rings, poorly itemized armor. Why would anyone want that shit? Because the RNG hates us. Badges filled gaps. Sometimes we did make our entire sets from them (woo, welfare badges and non-rated PvP gear!), but they were clearly inferior. It was clear that badges were not the end-all of gear. Not even part of the end-all. That's right, no need to farm heroics to get emblems to buy the gear for that raid token that just dropped.

This strikes me as a great idea, being able to grind a decent, though inferior, alternative if they RNG is being cruel. Or to build up to a strong level outside of raiding. But not the top. Yes, I am ignoring the upgrade available from raid tokens, since those are bumping up the already-existing set, not outright making the set. The raid was independent and superior to the badge.

Diminishing Returns on Easy
LK heroics are almost entirely trivial, even without being overgeared. Only HoR challenges people much, though the higher tuning of the ICC heroics in general makes them a bit less trivial. What fights have really been hard?

Can you think of any fights that compare to the ogre in Shattered Halls? Or Shadow Labyrinth? I will concede that that was the least labyrinthine labyrinth ever, but still, fun boss. Ironically he got harder with better gear as the DPS started to two-shot the healer. Fun times. The last boss of Arcatraz was perhaps too 'hard', since without a backup healer a back-to-back stun could be a wipe. Remember how Mechanar was so easy? How about the boss with the three fire elementals? Not so easy! Oh, and then there's the last boss of Mana Tombs.

This was the brilliance of it. Oh yes, people often skipped the harder heroics. That's fine by me. If you wanted a dozen emblems in a day, you did the few really easy heroics and waited to the next day. If you wanted more you had to take on some challenges.

There were more clear limits on badge farming. Sure, I did once do practically every heroic in a day and got a ton of badges, but that's rare. I had to run the hard places, like Arcatraz, SL, and SH for those. It took some time too. Now I could get the equivalent from half the time running trivial randoms, likely getting the same easy place more than once. Not only is that easier, it's also more repetitive. Doing a heroic 7 times in a week is repetitive enough, 7 times in a day is just excessive. Honestly, my limit is more like 4 times in a day, but I think that's because I got so disgusted that I stopped. Emblems are effectively unlimited, just based on throwing in more time. Badges were more limited and harder as you went for more in a day. This helped somewhat to control inflation, and made badge costs mean something. Remember that weapon I loved so much? It was expensive!

There's not much about BC that I look back on and think "that was a great idea", but I have to admit, it handled badges and heroics much better. Players shouldn't be so afraid of challenges, and part of curing that fear is making us directly confront them.

How long before the bubble bursts?

| Wednesday, June 16, 2010
WoW really does look a lot like a speculation bubble. We think the gear and achievements and whatnot matter because someone else thinks they matter. So we chase gear and achievements and then we realize we're falling behind so we chase faster which only reinforces the perceived importance of it all.

It's a mass delusion of a sort, and unlike an economic bubble we do not even have the benefit of historical data to suggest a bubble.

Tobold put it another way.
What I observe more and more, is a culture in which the dedication you show towards a single game and character gives you status in the eyes of other players. Everything players in MMORPGs are so proud about is stuff they acquired because they spent more time and effort on achieving it. Thus they concentrate on a single game and a single character and advance him as much as possible.

It's a fashion trend. Someday we may look back and wonder why we cared so much and our children will laugh at screenshots, just as we laughed at our own parents for wearing bell-bottoms. Or in some cases, you were the parent, so I'm going to throw in an extra laugh for you (lol).

Few people like questioning good times. We get mad at and ignore the doomsayers before the bubble bursts, and then after we ask why they didn't warn us. There is something to it: economics is based so much on confidence and moods that a bubble can seem normal, though we don't like to say the same about a burst. But still, there is an underlying reality to the economy and markets, which eventually, always reasserts itself. Maybe we can say there isn't such a thing for WoW. It's all just $15 a month and there is no price bubble. Oh no? Oh yes. Race changes, ponies, pets, perhaps even server transfers. There is a bubble and we're all pouring in money, what happens when we stop thinking its worth anything?

The Benefits and Costs of Conflict

| Tuesday, June 15, 2010
"You're doing it wrong."

Inevitably, we will run into someone who is doing it wrong. An idiot. A moron. A retard. Being perfectly objective, rational, intelligent people, we will point out their many flaws. Since they are irrational, they will argue. What idiots!

Let me introduce you to MAWT: Mutually Assured Waste of Time

When you start a conflict, be sure that whatever is lost due to the conflict is more than offset by what is gained by winning. While the other person may be an irrational idiot, starting an overly expensive conflict just to make them do it right is just as irrational. Sinking to their level fixes nothing.

This is merely looking at one incident. If the conflict instead addresses a pattern, a habit, a persistent social problem, then the benefits are greater, though not always apparent. In that case, the conflict may be worth it in the long run. However this calls for a different approach. To solve a long-term problem, one cannot focus on short term gains. As satisfying as it is to call someone a retard, it triggers defensive reactions.

Are they retarded? By the dictionary, probably not. By common usage, perhaps. But if you are not changing their behavior, are you really any more intelligent? The retard in question may even repeat the negative behavior out of spite. Irrational, but if you triggered that irrationality, are you much better? Before your intervention they did it mindlessly, rather than intentionally, and didn't have much incentive to continue or not.

Retards are very good at being retarded, don't try to beat them at their own game. It's retarded.

P.S. I realize I used the word retard much more than I would normally. That is for contextual reasons.

RP in our heads

A few weeks ago (not here) I claimed that we RP in our heads. We might not tell stories to our random PUGs and proclaim our deeds in gchat, but in our minds we have a bit of backstory and character motivation, a personality for our characters. I said RP isn't dead and gone, just under the surface, perhaps waiting to come out.

I think I was wrong. Sure, some people, including me, have a story for their characters. But I suspect most do not. I cannot prove this, since "hidden RP" and "no RP" look the same, meaning that I couldn't prove my initial claim either, except based on personal experience in my own head. But even with myself, I know that most of what I do has no story reason.

Sometimes I go fishing. Sometimes I cast a few times, realize I'm bored, and log off. I doubt my character story has any relevance. While she does have a habit of searching for obscure items, I'm not sure a turtle fits in there. She should be in Stratholme trying to get Baron's sword; which actually she was a few days ago.

RP is dying, and I think it's taking gaming with it. Yes, gaming. Playing games. When was the last time you were really playing WoW? When was the last time you did something and were not thinking about your addons, the cooldown on a boss mechanic, the drop chance of an item and what Rawr says it will do for your DPS?

I've run an extensive analysis of what type of posts bring in the most views and comments and moving forward I will only post the 'best posts' rather than just writing whatever I feel like. This is to become a better blogger. However I will still have a variety of posts, just on different blogs. Anything intended to be humorous will be at Troll Jokes are Underpowered, theorycraft at Troll Racials are Overpowered, RP at Troll Tales, any character events at Tales of a Troll Paladin, and anything economics related I will email to My Two Copper. Hybridization of blogs is for noobs.

P.S. Meta-blogging isn't all that much fun, I wonder if gaming has similar patterns for most people.
P.P.S. There's nothing wrong with meta-gaming/theorycraft, but when it takes over all activity, that's not so much fun.

"But if I use my mouse to turn, how do I click rend?"

| Monday, June 14, 2010
Kids these days! They won't understand.

There's still next to no non-raid progression

Level up
Do some regulars
Do some heroics
Max out with heroic Halls of Reflection.

Then do randoms endlessly for gear.

Is this 'alternative' progression? I see very little progression. I see loot. There's certainly loot. But that's not progression, or at least I'd not call it that.

I could just as well run random regulars and collect gear from those. The content is so low that whether I'm wearing triumph gear or frost gear, or 200 level blues, or lower, it's not going to be very hard. Sure, the ICC heroics require some gear and HoR isn't a mindless AoE-fest, but they're hardly comparable to even the challenge of Naxx.

10 man raiding will finally get somewhere. Can 5-mans get somewhere too?

Which three instances would you pick for CoT?

| Sunday, June 13, 2010
1) War of the Three Clans
Dress up as a Wildhammer and help defeat the Dark Iron dwarves. Run like hell when you see the summoning of Ragnaros and most of the Redridge Mountains explode.

2) First Troll War against Hakkar
It's like ZG, but... not ZG. Maybe it's ZG but with about ten million trolls fighting with you and against you.

3) Scarlet Crusade vs. the Scourge
Somewhere I want to take part in a giant battle with the Scourge, but do it from the side of an enemy.

What do you want to see and take part in?

Should groups be smaller?

| Saturday, June 12, 2010
Now and then I've advocated for adding a 6th person to the standard group. This would free up more space for DPS. But then a gnome got me thinking. No, not about trajectories and "can I punt her past that?" Instead, about those rare-these-days sub-5 groups in which people actually try and struggle and fight and play. They know there are better ways to get rewards, so it's all about the experience, and I don't mean the experience that makes our characters ding, but perhaps that makes us players ding, as we level up our patience and tactics. I've run into this myself, and also enjoyed it.

Maybe this can become normal.

What if Blizzard dropped groups down to 4 people? It would hurt the DPS, but let's remember: DPS hate us, by us I mean tanks and healers. Why else would they play the way they do? Never attribute to incompetence that which can be adequately explained by malice. But that's beside the point.

With one less DPS, even with the tank being one of those who matches the DPS, that's still a 25% loss overall. That's going to make it trickier to just AoE everything down or burn through mechanics such as needing to kite or switch targets or whatever else. We'd each have to play a bit smarter.

It would be slower. Is that really so bad? I hate to think that we've all being running miserable randoms just for emblems. Would it be an improvement to run them slower but actually enjoy them?

Instances would still be tuned for bad 5-man groups, so the change wouldn't just be "one less person, easier instance".

People who want to be in hardcore guilds but aren't

| Friday, June 11, 2010
These people are full of fail. I see three ways to categorize them: fail, unsure, and social. People can fall into more than one category.

What's so bad about them? Their behavior and attitude are entirely the opposite of what is needed for the non-hardcore guild. They expect everything to have been dead last week and cannot handle the idea that some people learn more slowly than others. They lash out. They ragequit. They blame everyone except themselves, because they think they are awesome and aren't quite sure why they're hanging out with these losers.

I believe that most community problems can be attributed to these sort of people. They're the ones making poorly-run PUGs demanding 5k GS for regular ToC 10. They're running trash DPS meters in randoms. They're screaming about how everyone sucks, whether it's in a BG, raid, or just trade chat. They're often the ninjas, since you're so awful compared to them that they deserve it all, and maybe it's your fault that they are in this stupid random instead of fighting HM Arthas.

They are that grouchy guy at work who hates his job but isn't quitting it any time soon. That guy needs to shut up, doesn't he?

The three categories have different patterns of negative behavior, so not all of what I said earlier in universal to them.

In the simplest terms: this person isn't skilled enough to be in a hardcore guild. Maybe he was in one and got kicked or driven out. Maybe he applied a bunch of times to a bunch of guilds and got into none. Maybe he was in a casual guild which changed and he lost his spot. Whatever it was, the world has been bluntly telling him that he's bad. He didn't listen and is certain that he is amazing and the rest of the world just sucks, especially his current, non-hardcore guild.

Expect excessive aggression, blaming, and little patience. This player may also try to convert the guild.

This player really wants to go hardcore and kill Arthas HM and dreams of someday doing a 40-man raid on GM Island. Rawr says his DPS should be at around 9.7k in his gear, but he's struggling for 9.4k and thinks that's terrible. Every wipe crushes his spirit as he runs through the ten thousand mistakes he made. This doesn't mean he truly made ten thousand mistakes, but he is certain that he should have been half an inch in that direction at that time and that would have saved the raid.

Expect a lot of emo, self-deprecating apologies. Beware, may start to ask why the rest of the raid isn't fixing their ten thousand mistakes and become angry.

This player likes the people he raids with and doesn't want to lose them. Fails to realize that he only cares about a small portion of the guild anyway and will still be able to whisper them or talk in custom channels. Hasn't fully grasped the notion that he had friends before the guild, made friends in the guild, and probably could make new friends after the guild.

Expect a lot of chatter and attempts to keep the raid motivated. Warning: May suddenly realize he secretly hates half the raid. Don't worry, he's too afraid to hurt the other half to say anything.

These can all overlap, with increasingly obnoxious results. For example, the social fail combination may form a clique which blames the rest of the raid. The fail unsure combination might leave to go cry in the middle of the raid because not only does he make ten thousand trivial mistakes, he also makes ten thousand significant mistakes, and he knows it. The social unsure has no mic and worries that he might have been wearing a pirate hat this whole time.


| Thursday, June 10, 2010
This is about the Blackhawks last night, so odds are you don't care.

The end of the game was a terrible feeling of stressful "oh shit we could lose at any second" followed by "So what's going on now?" Kane takes a shot, starts celebrating, the Blackhawks decided to join in, though they clearly weren't quite sure, and the Fliers are sort of standing around like "Where's the puck? Can we get back to the game?" Being an away game, the fans weren't going to start cheering. Meanwhile they're reviewing the cameras to see if they can figure out where the puck went.

Turns out it went in.

Maybe I'm spoiled, having grown up with the Bulls in the 90s being totally dominant. I can hear the buzzer sound and people just swarm onto the court. Or that clock is ticking and Paxon puts in that last, game-winning shot and again, people swarm the court. No ambiguity or reviewing of videos. Win or lose (usually win).

Despite that, I was still glad I watched.

Just when I thought I was stupid

| Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Someone came along and said "no sir! You are in fact a lot smarter than me!"

A couple weeks ago someone was selling what appeared to be really cheap PvP gems. So of course I jumped right on that. He mailed them COD. At which point I looked at the gems, saw that the hybrid ones were clearly BC-era garbage, and returned them, saying I'd take the pure ones. So he sent them, I accepted, and then I realized that 20 AP gems are also garbage. That garbage cost me 90g each!

So I did what anyone would do: I tried to find someone stupider than me. I stuck them on the AH for 48 hour segments for about 30g higher. One sold. Then the other sold.

I was left confused. Why would someone buy such a weak gem? Fort he same price they could get an epic gem with double the AP.

Maybe there's something I missed. Could gems have a level limit on them, so a 59 or 69 twink might want them? I've not heard of such a thing and I know I've put LK gems in BC gear.

I could just stick with my original thought: the buyers were stupider than me. But that's rather stupid. Stupid is unpredictable. I want to know what would make them buy the gems, beyond mere stupidity. Maybe it was even not stupid.

Woo hoo, blogger is working again!

| Monday, June 7, 2010
Just in time for me to say I need a few days off. I have a dozen or so half-completed ideas that I just can't get myself to finish. Rather than try to force them out and hate doing it, I'm going to just be quieter for a little bit. I might make an impulse post, and of course I'll still be commenting on other blogs and reading comments here, but I'm going to hold off for a bit on the once a day at 8am schedule.

Sunday Suggestion Thread

| Sunday, June 6, 2010
If I sue Tobold for using one of my topic ideas, can he counter-sue because I used his post concept?

That was supposed to be funny. See because it's like I said and then he reacts like and... so yes.

What do you want to see me write about?

Last time I made this I received the following suggestions:
Hating on Blizzard
I'm awesome
New guild mechanics

I talked about arenas and have generally spread the word that I am awesome, but the other two were untouched. I try to avoid hating, with mixed success. As for the new mechanics, frankly I'm reluctant to jump into trying to form opinions at this stage. There's too much speculation, misinformation, and incomplete designs and mechanics that, well, I remember my thoughts for WotLK and a good deal of what I said didn't pan out. The unfortunate truth is that we cannot say much based on combining what we know about the current game with what we know about the future game. I mean, we saw how that went in Jurassic Park.

I do have some thoughts about the changes coming, but I have no coherent picture of what I expect or even want to see.
Legendaries and obligation to guilds
Bind on Guild recipes and perception of property
Speculation about Bind of Guild recipes

I look forward to stealing your ideas.

Dear mages, re: hunters

| Saturday, June 5, 2010
You seem to have gotten a little bit upset that a crazy cat man doesn't know you have a useful community. I have a small suggestion coupled with a fact.

Suggestion: Don't worry about stupid people.
Fact: Hunters are stupid.

Have a nice day, mages.

Bots, and what is a high price anyway?

Any time the subject of bots comes up, someone insists and claiming that bots keep prices low, supplies abundant, and liberate us from the horrible grinding of materials. How kind of them!


Bots undercut actual people out of the market. Sure, this means lower prices for the buyers of the mats. It also means the sellers are no longer humans. Oh you say people run bots? No. Only scum run bots. Lazy greedy worthless scum who insist on something for nothing, who refuse to play the game, who join the game with the implicit contract of what is expected, that not every moment is pure happyfungreatbosskilltime, and just reject it, breaking the ToS in the process. If you don't like the grind, don't expect the benefits. Complain about it, demand that the grind be reduced, that's just fine; but don't bot and claim "oh but they made such a horrible grind!" Fucking jackasses. Where was I?

Okay, so bots get mats, then we buy mats and gold is lost to humanity except when it is purchased by those barely-human beings who buy gold. God dammit, this post isn't supposed to be about how some people are scum. You can read Gevlon for sociopathic ranting. Let's try this again.

Bot gets mats. People buy mats. Where did our gold go?

We're not liberated from any grind at all. We just do a different one. rather than farm materials, we run dailies to give gold to bots. I'm all for different content for different people, but when bots drive people out of the market, that's not adding options, that reducing them. Personally I prefer farming to dailies. It's just as trivial and mindless, but it gives me a dull high, whereas dailies are just boring as shit.

What is a low price anyway? Is 5g low? 10g? 1g? Once upon a time 10g would have been huge. Well not huge huge, but not like these days when it's less than a single daily quest and essentially trivial. To just call a number low is ridiculous. It must have context. I once thought 15g per ore was cheap for titanium. Now I think 7g is cheap and 10g is ridiculously overpriced. Within an expansion that's clearly due to changes in material supplies, crafting demand, and so on. But looking between expansions we can see that gold itself has changed in value. Dailies have caused massive inflation, meaning that 10g is no longer 10g.

By driving players to dailies and away from farming, bots have indeed lowered the price of mats, through inflation. But we once got the mats ourselves, and while that doesn't make them free, it does put them under our control, and that has value. The mats are not any cheaper. We just do a different grind and think they're cheaper because of inflation.

Do bots increase the supply of materials? Yes, but much less than apologists pretend. Obviously a bot can farm for longer than a player. They don't get bored or tired and a bot can even be a bit more efficient than a player due to planned routes rather than the semi-willy-nilly method used by many players. However, materials have limited respawn times. This means that players who would be farming are less efficient due to the bots taking their spawns. Two players are not going to clash as much as two bots or a bot and a player.

Without bots we would be farming rather than questing. The number of farmers would increase while the gold supply would decrease. Now imagine that: the price increase due to lower supply could be offset by reduced inflation. The real price would have still gone up (since as I said before, inflation isn't exactly price), but... actually it would go down, because reduced inflation would also mean fewer dailies needed for a set number of mats. Just as more dailies drive inflation, encouraging more dailies, so the reverse is true, and as prices are no longer inflated we can run fewer dailies. There are of course ceilings and floors, so it cannot be extrapolated endlessly to conclude that we will eventually have every player running 25 dailies and paying 300g for a single titanium ore, or that without dailies material prices would go to 5 copper per ore.

Bots have not made the situation much better for players overall. Pure crafters have benefited due to lower prices, but farmers are driven out of 'work' and consumers are pushed into dailies. Bots aren't doing us any favors. Let's not fall for their lies, their attempts to trick us into being part of their black market.

I turned off comment moderation

| Friday, June 4, 2010
Odds are this will have zero effect on you.

After my brief stint with moderation on posts over two weeks I've caught only a few, none were spam. So I turned off moderation since it's little more than a very slight waste of time and when I've been on the other side, very annoying.

Thank you to whoever made the spam go away.

The flight of the black middle class to premium servers

Warning: contains generalizations.

Once upon a time racist contracts kept black people out of white neighborhoods. They were unable to buy homes because the sellers would be breaking contract to sell to them. Someone realized this was both racist and anti-free market and now such contracts are illegal.

The black middle class reacted as anyone would: they got away from the uneducated and often criminal lower class. This wrecked the community. The proof that blacks could move up was gone down the road. The neighbor who used to care, who proved a good role model, had left. The children would grow up immersed in failure. Ironically, the removal of the racist contracts may have damned the black lower class.

Gordon has brought up the idea of premium servers. Imagine, for just $15 more a month you can have a paradise of GM-moderated public channels, gold spammers are priced out, maybe you even GM-run events, and the kiddies are priced out. What could go wrong? It sounds great!

Unless you can't spend another $15. You're stuck on the regular servers. Many, though clearly not all, of the positive influences on the server/battlegroup community are gone. You're stuck with the people who either don't want or don't care enough to have GMs watching.

Still, it can't be so bad, right? So some of the good people left. Big deal, you'd probably never meet them. Well no, not them specifically. But you might meet their influence or someone like them or the guild they run. The asshole concentration goes up.

We know Blizzard likes profits. Ponies. What better way to increase profits than to not hire more GMs for premium servers, but just shift them over from the normal servers? Charge twice as much and you don't even need to hire any new GMs, just a few more tech people, or shift those too from the regular servers. Since there aren't likely to be tons of premium servers compared to regular, the percentage change won't be gigantic. People might not quite notice. But the effect is there. The spammers aren't taken care of as quickly, the bots stay up longer, the anal spam is unnoticed.

Eventually people would start to quit. Probably the good people first. That pushes the jerk concentration higher. And more leave.

Blizzard would notice of course and take some action to fix it. But what action? And could it work? Selling more ponies or charging more for premium would fix the profit loss, temporarily. Hiring more GMs to clean things up, to try to at least get back to the old standards, I think would fail. The community would be saturated. Even worse, it wouldn't bring people back. Once a game, a place, is known to have a terrible community, people stay away.

Fair and balanced: You get what you pay for. If something isn't worth $30 a month to us, that's our problem. We can quit. It's a free market, so what's the loss to us? We can put our money elsewhere. Whining isn't the solution. Wallet voting is. No I don't mean bribing politicians; we're not lobbyists. I mean putting our money into the other MMO which is worth our $15 a month. You know, the one you aren't playing, the one you tried the trial for and didn't like enough to pay $15 for it. Yea, that one. See, no problem at all, the free market will save us.

If the black middle class moves out, are we doomed to live in the virtual ghetto? Will we even get condescending hipsters?

Now that we're all done, you're probably wondering "Did he just compare real world racism and resulting poverty with people saying 'anal' in a public channel in a virtual world?" No, I in fact did not. If I did, I could easily say that one is a much, much bigger issue than the other. Instead I tried to show similar processes, negative trends which we could identify and prevent. Think of it as 1+2=2 and by the same process, though much different scale, 100000+100000=200000.

Dear people who post dozens of single stacks in the AH

| Thursday, June 3, 2010
While I appreciate the opportunity to be a hero, you're still douchebags.

Faction-specific armor sets and more

It was recently brought up to me that having the same armor between factions looks rather silly. Is the solution to make twice as many sets, just so each faction can have a visual difference? NO! That's just extra work for no real change. Instead, I propose that Blizzard goes further and truly differentiates the factions.

Step one: Reverse the shaman-paladin cross-faction nonsense.
Step two: Divide up all the other classes as well.

Alliance - Horde
Priest - Warrior
Druid - Shaman
Rogue - Hunter
Mage - Warlock
Paladin - Death Knight

This evenly splits up the tanks, though it does leave the Alliance with a lot more healers. The obvious solution is to make warlocks way more powerful than mages.

Gevlon supports unlicensed drivers in Ferraris

| Wednesday, June 2, 2010
You could take my word for it, or you could take his. He's happy that in Cataclysm 10 and 25 man raids will have the same lockouts and the same loot, but more for the 25 man raids. Let's break down the facts.

1) 25 man raids are the real raids, the tests of skill, while 10 man raids are for lazy morons. This is backed up by his own recent talk about blue-geared tanks getting one-shot in ICC because they're stupid and wear blues.

2) Driver's licenses are based on a test of skill. Granted this is skill as judged by the government and is therefore socialist and probably wrong, but the free-market alternative is a truck license and I avoid truck stops.

3) Gevlon thinks it is okay for retards to buy Ferraris: "Half of the homeowners in the USA and Europe (average guys) could buy a Ferrari by selling their homes. Of course it would need a retard to become homeless just for a car, but one could do it."

Add it all up and what do we get?

Being able to do a 25 man raid is a test of skill. 25s don't give better loot because they're harder to organize, but because they're just plain harder. They are tests of whether the player can handle that loot. Can you imagine the consequences if bad players could get good gear? We'd lose all trust and start having inflated gear requirements and next thing we know someone would try to counter this with the complete opposite and call everyone else a moron. That's not a world I'd want to live in.

25 man raids are the driver's licenses of WoW. Furthermore, as we all know, WoW and real life are perfectly equivalent: "They are not bad players in a video game, they are scum people in the real world." This means that removing the skill test for 25 man raid gear also means removing the skill test for cars, specifically Ferraris because those are, as we saw before, driven by poor retards.

QED: Gevlon supports poor, unlicensed drivers running over you and wiping your PUG and it's all your fault because you didn't let the police shoot them first.

To the great confusion of the anthropologists

The players called their hunting and gathering "farming" and had no agricultural ability or knowledge.

If there is a time, now is it for pre-expansion servers

I'm experimenting with a new posting technique known as "being sick makes me very easily confused and further weakens my ability to distinguish reality and the nonsense my brain constantly throws at me." This will be short.

Cataclysm is basically the sequel to WoW.
The old story is gone and the new story is the new story.
So we're going to lose a lot.

If this were a single-player game we could still stick in the old game and play that again.
We can't do that, which I dislike.
This might be an appropriate time for a pre-expansion server set, since so much changes.

However I doubt many people would play them since there would be no advancement after ICC and the dragon raid.

Who would want to run McDonalds?

| Tuesday, June 1, 2010
In real life there are jobs for people who are stupid or lazy or whatever other negative traits you can think of. They don't pay well. But like all jobs, they need management of some sort.

If real life was WoW, the CEO of McDonalds, a corporation which effectively does raids for noobs, he'd be making $15 an hour and eventually realize it's pointless and go get a new job that actually pays for his ability. But instead he is quite well paid. His management, even of noobs, is rewarded.

Could a MMO have the equivalent? Can there be incentive to run guilds which only do the entry level raids and exist for people to get their feet wet? It has to be something more than just desire to help the community, because clearly that is not enough.
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