And then there were Six!

I was tagged by Martha to play in the Sixth Challenge started by Gnomeaggedon of Armaggedon’s Coming!

So the challenge rules say:

1.Go into your image folder
2.Open the sixth sub-folder and choose the sixth image.
3.Publish the image! (and a few words wouldn’t hurt, though I dare say I couldn’t stop a blogger from adding a few words of their own).
4.Challenge six new bloggers.
5.Link to them.

But I am not one to play by the rules… so lets see what I can come up with. I really don’t have subfolder for my WoW pictures, they just all stay there in the same place. I might have to start doing some sorting because it is getting pretty huge.

Here is the Sixth picture!

Reloaded Guild Meeting

That was from our last guild meeting. It is inside of a little bar you just have to find :)

As soon as the meeting ended we started a bar fight and found out that you CAN puke while you are turned into a bunny. Fun times!

Now six people to challenge…

Kesith
Cymre
MD Gibbons
Keyel
Liore
and Grumpy

Why Does My DPS Suck? – Cool Downs

The “Why Does My DPS suck?” is a post series written for the person starting to raid. While a raider might learn a thing or two, it is written more for the WoW Rookie than for the WoW Pro.

Why Does My DPS Suck?

- Add Ons
- Computer

If you have ever listened on a raid, you might have heard the Raid Leader say, “pop your cooldowns!” sounds like fun doesn’t. If you want to get into raiding one of the first things you should do is ask if you can listen in on a raid. You will start to get a sense of what is said during the fight. You might be lost at first, but if you que up the videos of the bosses the raid team is attempting you might get a good visual of what they are facing.

Cooldown management is something a lot of new DPS have trouble with. Healers learn quickly that you have to use mana regen abilities to keep their mana pool going, but some DPS don’t know how much DPS they are leaving on the table by not using their cooldowns correctly.

Cooldowns are abilities that give you a boost but have a reset timer. Think of them as the “nitro” boost you see on some racing games. They come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, but they accomplish the same thing, they give you more DPS.

Your trinkets might have something called a “proc” which means you don’t have to worry about them, but if they are an “on use” trinket, that means that you have to click it to get the boost. The simplest way to start experimenting with this cooldown is just to drag the trinket to your bar and use it on click. Another way is probably to macro it to an ability that you already use. The best way is to know exactly when to use it and be smart about it.

Like your trinkets, most classes have abilities that allows them to do a lot more DPS for a short time. You might have heard the term “burst damage” being used. Some classes have lots of it, meaning they pack a punch when they use all their cooldowns. At one point some classes used to be able to line up several and the fabled “one shot macros” were all the rage on PvP. That does not happen all that much anymore, but you can still pack a lot of DPS in a short period of time.

The fight against Deathwing calls for it a lot. This is where saving your cooldowns for that moment it is needed is critical.

If you have played with a Demo Warlock you have probably noticed that they go on demon form. That is one of their DPS cooldowns. You might have also seen a mage get turned into a human icicle, that is a defensive cooldown. You might be thinking that you don’t care about defensive cooldowns, but they are just as important… a dead DPS does ZERO DPS.

As important as finding out what your cooldowns are, it is when to use them. Every boss is different, and also every raid team lines them up a little different.

There are also cooldowns that affect the whole raid like Heroism/Lust. You have to learn when to use your cooldowns and how they are affected by other cooldowns. If your cooldown gives you more strenght, then it is prime for using during the Heroism/Lust phase; however if you cooldown gives you haste, it might not help that much since Heroism/Lust is already giving you that stat and probably will simply be a wasted cooldown.

So your homework is to investigate what your cooldowns are and make sure that they are available in your arsenal. Play around with them and see how they affect your numbers. Are they things you want to use every time they are up? or are they ones that can be saved for burn down phases? Its all part of the fun of the game.

Happy Hunting.

Profanity and PvP

I learned a lot of my spoken English from Beavis and Butthead. It was an easy show to understand for someone that did not know English. Not a lot of words, very repetitive. So bun-hole is not something new to my vocabulary.

Our vent (voice chat communication program) is pretty tame. There are a couple of people that will swear here and there for the “shock” value of a swear word here and there. I personally don’t like it because there are kids around the vent sometimes that could directly or indirectly hear the language. I am more comfortable with innuendos and humor than straight F-bombs non-stop.

PvP is full of profanities. While some people think that LFR is trolls R US, it really does not hold a candle to a WSG where you are already 2 caps behind. That does not even account for the people that are not typing their discontent. The people in vent that got killed by the same rogue, yet again will eventually deal with their anger somehow.

I completely understand the need to vent some frustration when something is really going south. I just don’t see the need to share a stream of profanity with others.

I know for our raid nights, plenty of people have strong words after a bad wipe. It is normal practice not to ever push the button. With PvP it seems that the opposite happens and the expletives drown the person calling out things. Running a BG is harder and more chaotic than a raid, but somehow people feel that they have to announcer that the f*%$^$%^ rogue killed me again.

One of my biggest pet peeves as a RL is when someone announces they died. I can see you died, the healers can see you died and the DPS will eventually see if you are a DPS yourself. It seems, at least right now that we are not used to doing BGs because the chatter is all over the place.

It might be a growing pain of getting into a new thing, but my fear is that PvP and profanity go hand in hand. I am not ok with that though.

I think a lot of our members right now see PvP as a “fun” activity, but we have a new person that wants to get us to the next level of PvP and I want them to be able to do that. Some of it will come with credibility and when we are geared and actually doing it, but I think some of it is tone as well.

So the question goes out to those people that PvP. Is profanity just a normal thing in PvP? do rated BG voice chats are just like FPS voice channels?

Lets to about Nerfs BABY!

Excuse me while I sound kind of Gran Torino like. I love, love, love to read a “kid” that is just coming out of college talk about software development and how they understand how Blizzard works. Granted, there are some exceptions to this rule where the young person has been coding in large teams since high school developing free software in Sourceforge (I actually know a couple.) But trust me, when it comes to software development your VB, C++ classes or 3D animation do NOT equal to you knowing about SDLC. Let alone any idea on how Blizzard development works.

I laugh at conversations like this all the time. Partly because I have been connected to software development for more than 10 years now. I know how different approaches are applied to very different end result. Every software shot is a little different and the more moving parts the worse it is. I have often wanted to just interject on some of the conversations and pull out my (e-peen) but until today I kept it in my pants.

One of the arguments I have heard recently about how the “nerfs” do this or that, or how Blizzard should do this or that is very, very short sighted. Unless the code is existing, you have to rewrite code. The WoW code base is not a small one either. Just think of how much we have in our computers and that is just the client side, it does not include the server side information and calculations that happen. While most people think like amateur hacker wannabes (codemonkeys and script kiddies), I laugh at the “isn’t that some config file that I switch”.

What makes it more amusing some times is that it is not dumb people making these ridiculous claims, but people that are actually are better at math than I am. Figuring out the calculations and numbers of theory-crafting takes brain power, so how that they be so short sighted?

I don’t know anything about encounter design, and I try not to break it down in my head or I would probably stop enjoying the game. “Tuning” a boss, encounter, a simple mob takes coding time, testing, etc. It takes a lot to implement. The time spent by the people “tuning” or fixing “broke”n encounters is time that those same people are not spending on new content.

Blizzard has come short of actually spelling it out for everyone. They have their culture, they have the way they do things and their developers and artists are not just gears in a machine that are easy to replace, or buy more of. Having gradual nerfs was something that they had to plan for and code for. It is probably freeing up a lot of development time for building encounters for MoP.

So just think about what you are saying or asking from “the” company. Nerfing the whole instance is not easy, they had to plan for it and were smart at developing it. They are also smart about how and when they are doing it. You personally might not like the timing, but it is a lot better than having to waste resources tuning encounters already released.

Gear Inflation

I don’t think it is a secret anymore, the people at the top 100 guild raiding level believe that “Raiding is for ONLY the RAIDERS!” They are really not interested in anyone else joining them. The more people that become better and become “raiders” the less “special” they feel.

The question really is, who are truly the raiders?

WoW has an issue with labels. Raider is probably the one that most people want to use for themselves but nobody really understands anymore. Raider is a catch all term for anyone that goes into an instance that requires more than 5 players. However there is a big gap from a person that killed Kelthuzad when Naxx was a 40 man and someone that killed Deathwing in LFR.

Time put into the game aside, there are plenty of BC and Wrath babies out there that are now raiding, there are huge factors that change how you look at those people.

The raider code is kind of an attempt at further defining that, but in reality a raider has been and will be defined by their gear.

If your gear says heroic and your ilvl is maxed out, you are at the top of your game. You might not be a hardcore raider, you might have been carried… but in the end the prestige of that gear is there.

Some of those people are now really troubled by the fact that anyone can now have a 4 set.

That used to separate people that could do progression vs people that could not. Now that 4 set capability is available to not just LFR babies, but normal mode teams.

Before the LFR our raid team had maybe 2/3 people with 4 set per tier if we were lucky. Now we have about 15 toons with 4 sets. That makes a huge difference. Something that was pretty unattainable for us before because of luck (some tokens seemed to never want to drop.) or just lack of progression, is now there.

The agility trinket that would have taken us probably months for our 2 hunters to get, I think they both have now. I remember deathbringers will almost broke up our raid team before. Once piece of gear… and so much drama. Can paladin’s really benefit? Why is that hunter getting it if so already got it… oh no we pug one DPS and he wins the roll for the trinket I waited 4 months for! I do not miss those days.

Now in our normal raid everyone passes on gear if they have the LFR version. I don’t even have to use loot council or points anymore to track gear. We know we can fill the gaps later. Same thing when I pug, I give loot to their toons because I am raiding on an alt with LFR gear… it does not hurt me, it helps other raid teams. (I prefer to pug normal with other guild teams rather than full trade chat pug.)

So from my point of view this is all unicorn and rainbows, but Raiders of the hardcore flavor are starting to say that “bads” don’t deserve 4 set. The same people that don’t understand that LFR is really not tuned or targeted at them, now feel that others don’t deserve the 4 set.

Is this whole prestige thing really that important to people?

I simply don’t get it, and not because I cannot attain it either… I am sure if I put enough effort into it I could probably be in a guild raiding more competitively, but I like raiding with my friends and our wives.

So I don’t think making it easy to gear right now and 4 set available to everyone is a bad thing for the game or for raiding. How do you feel about it? Seriously… is someone like me not worthy of a 4 set? Should we go back to a place where only a couple of people are able to attain it on a normal mode raiding guild?

The Raider Code

Thinking about how to differentiate raiders I remembered the Geek Code and looked to see if there was one for raiders and could not find one so I figured I could come up with my own. It might simplify things for people recruiting to take a quick glance at the type of raiders the person is looking at.

Here is the Raid Code.

-N+/-H+ Difficulty Mode
-N Looking to just see some fights
N Don’t have to complete Normal but would like to try
N+ Looking to complete normal Mode
-H some hardmodes
H most hardmodes
H+ have to complete

-A+ Achievements
-A Not interested
A Don’t mind doing some
A+ Want the mount

10w-500w Wipe threshold
How many times are you willing to wipe before a boss dies

Dr Dk Pa Pr Rg Wr Wl Ma Sm Hn Wl Wr – Class you raid with (HTD) Roles willing/competent at a raid level – Spec if not obvious

1h-10h
Hours willing/able to raid a day

1d-7d
Days willing/able to raid a week

Brag – Latest Raid completed achieved while current content

My Raidercode
-H A 100w Pr(H)D Wr(T) 4h 2d DS-8/8N

Karma and Player Reputation

With MoP in the horizon and Dungeon Challenge Mode coming, my brain has started to think of what player reputation could be really like.

Ever since I started playing WoW, players would gain notoriety because of their armor. If you had purples you were obviously raiding or PvPing at a high level. Mounts also made it so that people could recognize what you had accomplished in the game. Another form of reputation that many take seriously is your guild tag. Even though we left an old underpopulated server, I never wanted our old guild name to be used by anyone. I always felt we had a pretty good reputation as a guild and that mattered to me.

Today’s WoW is a lot more anonymous. Your DPS/Healing numbers can do some of the talking for you, but overall there is really no chance, or a low chance that you will see the people on the LFR or LFG ever gain. Even now that it tries to pair you with people from your server, you say hi and that is about it.

You still get to know people in pug raids in the server and can make a name for yourself as a good player, but it is rare that you can do it on your main if you are raiding with your guild already.

I think WoW is seriously missing a player reputation system that can be affected by each other. While this opens up a whole can of worms and tons of opportunities to be misused, hear me out.

What do we value as a community when playing with others?

Some might say that ultimate skill and completing content as quickly as possible is the mark of a good player. So the new challenge mode will go a long way towards that.

What about people that are willing to go slow, help others and maybe give some advice? Shouldn’t that be sought after or compensated in some way. Not by blizzard, but by the community.

What if besides the bag you get for tanking you could check a flag that says, will help new players. Sure the dungeon guide is kind of supposed to do that, but it seems like people don’t use the flag for that. I know that even as a tank I sometimes have a hard time setting up the pace. Even when I try to slow down an LFR because someone said they had never been there it is met with LOL – look at the LFR-RL trying to Lead.

I think player reputation, even if just positive reputation, could go a long way. If perks came with it, even better. An implementation where you could build your reputation as a helpful player in randoms could get you faster ques, or more rewards. You would get something back for giving back to the community.

I know it might be a crazy idea, but I think it has some merit. We need to counterbalance the go-go-go mentality if we ever want to bridge the gap between the “noob” and the “elite.”

Would you give positive karma points to a good player? or to a player that went the pace of the group?

The second part of making the LFG feature better would be to also pick the speed that you are willing to go at. I know I have mentioned it before, but that is really lacking right now.

Yesterday a guildie and I thought about going for a ZA mount run. Before we qued we asked the guild, but it was just him and I. When we came in we asked the group if they were up for a mount run. One player said sure and the other two never replied. We proceeded to basically 3 man that instance. We never made the timer, but at the end of the run the spam of achievements told us that the other two players had never been there. They never even said a word.

What if we could have signed up for a “gold” run, where only people that had already earned that badge could sign up. I guess the argument at that point would be that why would you ever go bellow your highest speed… and that is when I say, to build karma points :)