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

Hours willing/able to raid a day

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 :)

I hate Douchewing

He has spent an entire expansion frying me like only goblins should be fried (I wonder if they taste like frog legs… I have never had froglegs btw.)

Well in reality, I have summoned more people to their death than I should be comfortable with. Only in our game do we get excited about someone getting an achievement that involved walking into a wall of fire to get a “Charred and Crispy” achievement.

Killing Ragnaros with new acquaintances in a new server felt really weird. I was used to only killing stuff with guildies. Sure in WoTLK I did a lot of Naxx, Ulduar and ToC with pugs… but after getting Kingslayers I thought it would always be a guild affair to down a new boss.

So I said to myself, lets make sure we kill Douchewing together… however Mr Frotobaggins had other plans. Elune bless him… he can pug like no other.

I knew he had been close to killing Douchewing before, with 3% wipes that seemed to be hunting him and the pug group that seemed to clean up the place after we were done with our attempts on the ship.

I was about to log off last night, and I recognized the person spamming in tradechat as possibly one of the people Froto was in Dragon Soul with. They needed a Disc Priest… I asked Froto, how are the attempts going… and he said, we need a disc priest. I cursed a little under my breath and told the pug RL that I will be right back on my priest.

3 attempts later and we had the shinny new “Destroyers End” title.

I should be happy right, I killed Douchewing before the OMG NERF! and sure, I am in some level. I know that what Froto and I did will help our future raids quite a bit. We now know what it takes to down that humongous dragon.

We could have never done that in our last server. This server has a lot of great pug raids… it seems like the quality of people is about our speed. No it is not a “everyone is awesome realm” more of a “everyone seems to be a decent person.”

There was excitement in vent after the kill. It was a first kill for everyone in the group. Besides my guild mate, it looked like it was a combination of groups of 2 from some guilds I recognized and some I had never heard of before.

The Douchewing fight is not too bad (madness that is) it just required lots of DPS and very frantic healing during some of the fight.

I was assigned the very daunting task of healing the tank as the last elementium bolt tried to just decimate us. The last burn phase with the adds is just as frantic and we ended up with only 3 people alive when he finally gave us the shinnies… none for me or froto because his /roll skills sucked.

The fight is actually very similar to the LFR, but just a lot more damage.

Most groups in the LFR go Left – Left – Right/Right/Right, but I guess the normal version goes Left/Left – Right – Right/Right. Other than that it seemed to be the same, just requiring tons more numbers… I think everyone was 40K plus on DPS… and I contributed about 10K worth of smite healing.

Without coordinating the healing cooldowns I think it went pretty well. The group seemed somewhat DPS centric with lots of big numbers just killing things quickly rather than tank or healing centric. It made me realize how different each group is. Our tanks do ridiculous damage… that should help this fight a bit when we get to it as a guild… who knows, that might even be tonight.

Reloaded is Recruiting

<Reloaded> is a casual guild that raids 10-man content. Our main raid team works on current content on Tuesday and Wednesday starting at 8:30 CST. We are looking to start our second team, and also have enough to run T11 and T12 25 mans. We love collecting pretty drakes and achievements.

We have a group of capable players and a friendly atmosphere. Most of us are adults with full- time jobs and we raid with our spouses, so couples are welcome as long as there is flexibility when only one of you is needed. Our goal is to rescue the princess while the content is relevant, but people, real life and relationships mean more than us than loot. While we want you to be able to perform as a raider, it is more important to us that you are a nice person.

We will love some tanks and healers, but all classes are welcome. We like our tanks and healers to love those jobs. It is our experience that when someone is pushed to do something they don’t enjoy, they will not take it as seriously or excel at it. Even if you are just starting out on those roles, we will help you take it to the next level!

Apart from being competent at playing your main spec, we expect the following of all members:

– You keep up with your class changes and see them as a challenge, not a reason to gripe.
– While we encourage alts, you should keep your main raid-ready and make that character your priority.
– Always be willing to look up fights or alternative strats prior to the raid time.
– Always show up repaired, enchanted and gemmed.
– Value people over gear. If you are looking to just gear up to start hardmodes with another guild, this is not the place for you.

What we provide

– Level 25 guild with repairs for all our members.
– Consumables for raids including flasks and feasts.
– Enchants and gems at no cost to our guild members with materials
(sometimes provided if available.) We already have 2/3 of the epic gem
– A relaxed raiding atmosphere where we help each other and you will be treated like an adult.
– Frotobaggins always looking to raid every single minute he is online. If you love to raid any type of content he will go with you!

A little about us

is a casual guild in Whisperwind-US (PvE, CST). We recently opened our doors in Whisperwind, but the guild is level 25 and some of us have played together for over 3 years. We like to do old content and help each other get achievements. We like to see content and take raiding seriously, but don’t want to be server first or care if our gear is heroic. We see gear as a tool, not as a goal. Most of us are adults and our median age is 30, but we have people from their mid 20s to 50s in our ranks. We are starting Dragon Soul, but will still like to go to Firelands and complete achievements and hard-modes,
we are looking forward to completing a couple of legendaries for our warlock and mage.

We are a no-drama clique and we want you to become a part of it. We value the social aspect of WoW and like to have a sense of community. We are looking for long-term members who will stick around and continue to
make our guild great to be a part of. We know each other outside the game, and had a chance to meet each other at Blizzcon.

The values our guild adheres to are simple:

Respect “To each other, our server and the WoW community”
Integrity “we do what we say, and do what is right”
Openness “Zero drama and gossip, you have an issue discuss it and move on”
Teamwork “We kill bosses together, but also wipe together”

If you like what you have read here and are thinking of applying or you have further questions, contact Logtar in game (alts: Hollogos – Gatoso). Add me to your real ID (logtar at gmail dot com)

Why Does My DPS suck? – Add Ons

I have a love/hate relationship with addons. Some are extremely helpful, some clutter the screen, some make life convenient until a patch breaks them. I think the important thing to remember about addons is that they are not required for you to play WoW.

This topic can turn into a monster, but lets look at it from the starting DPS point of view.

The first thing you need to do is to know why your DPS sucks. While a friend linking you (or that Pug that topped the charts) the meter for the last fight will give you some idea, it will not give you the real picture. Enter recount.

Recount is an addon that can provide a lot of information. Before the tooltips on the character sheet were updated to display a little more information about what the numbers meant, recount was the place I would look to see if I was missing with my abilities.

So step one is to download an addon that tells you where you stand DPS wise.

I think the following numbers will stay true until the end of Cata. These are the numbers you should be hitting to be on par with that content.

7K-9K – Dungeons – Greens and blues
10-12K – Herioc – Entry level – All blues
13-15K – Troll Heroics – T11 – Mostly Purples
16-18K – Firelands – HoT Heroics – T12 – iLvL 360+
19-22K – LFR – 1st half of Normal DS – iLvL 372+
23-28K – Normal DS – iLvL 380+
30-35K – Heroic DS – iLvL 390+

I am sure some people will think that those numbers are in the low side. I have seen people hit ridiculous numbers on greens and blues, and vice-versa, seen purpled out people not do more than 12K. I think the above are realistic numbers to look at.

Keep in mind that those are not dummy – static numbers, but sustained DPS. What that means is the DPS that you can sustain during a fight including moving and repositioning. A mage can hit 30K in the beginning of a fight blowing all his cooldowns, that does not mean that they are a 30K mage. A good way to look at meters is to look at Damage Done and see where your DPS stacks compared to other classes. So look at the numbers and compare them with the chart above but not as a high water mark, more of as an average.

If your numbers don’t seem to hit the above or even be close to it, there are also addons that can help you out.

One of the biggest problems with DPSers that are starting out is that they don’t know about uptime of dots and debuffs. Most classes have a debuff they need to keep up, some have several. Finding an addon that will display it for you will give you a constant reminder while in combat of keeping that debuff up. For a warrior for example, their shouts and rend are very necessary for the DPS to stay up. Druids with their Fairy Fire, DKs Diseases, etc. I use Power Auras for displaying what I need to keep up, and the cool think about it is that you can import auras from people that already built them. There are other addons like Tell Me When that might be a little easier to set up for a beginner. The WoW UI will display them for you, and it is now a little more configurable as well.

Keeping track of your Dots and Debuffs (as well as buffs) will affect your DPS greatly. Just keeping battle shout up is about 2K DPS for a warrior.

When starting out with addons a little way to cheat is to download an addon pack. The downside to going this route is that there might be too much going on, or it might be too different than the regular WoW UI. You also have to keep in mind that your computer has to be able to handle the added workload that more addons will put on it. I say to start out with just keep it simple and work with a couple of addons at a time.

All of this is not required to play the game, but if you want to raid and don’t use the tools you will certainly be at a disadvantage. While Blizzard has gone a lot further down the path of making things more configurable, addons are still a part of the raiding game.

Road to Raiding

The conversation lately in the WoW blog world has revolved around the “casuals” now being handed the keys to the kingdom with the new Raid Finder (or LFR – Looking for Raid, which seems to be what everyone calls it.) It made it hurt a lot more for some people when it was announced that “nerfs” were already coming to Dragon Soul. While I could go off on a tangent, I am not going to argue about something that has happened to most raid (eventually get nerfed) and no matter what blizzard does, they never seem to win.

The “elite” player looks down upon people that don’t have the time commitment or dedication that they do. I thought it was that simple, just a time and skill vs reward thing. However I was very wrong. In an group that include over 10 million players there are bounds to be a variety of people.

There is another player in WoW that also wants to raid but it is often overlooked by everyone. The guy that does not know where to start.

Many of us learn to play the game and quickly learn that resources like tankspot and elitist jerks are invaluable. We might have read forums before and understand not only the format but how to find information inside of it. What about someone that does not know how to navigate the internet like we do? Do they not deserve to take the steps towards getting to the end game raiding?

When I started playing, while there were resources there were not as many as we have now. There was no Mr Robot and WoWHeroes did not really paint all the picture, neither did MaxDPS. Sure you can read what the right rotation is, or priority list is. Words in a page or even a video do not answer questions. Many questions we take for granted.

Our group of friends and guild have helped many people bridge that gap. Sometimes people take it for granted that it does take someone at least pointing you in the right direction to start the process. I just encountered a person that has been playing WoW for years, has probably put many more hours than most people and has yet to do any endgame content. It has nothing to do with his ability, and all to do with not being at least pointed in the right direction. So I decided to put something together to bridge that gap a little.

I looked at a post I had written previously (Am I ready to raid?) but while I found the information there relevant, it was missing a lot. I know some would simplify the answer by also telling the player new to raiding, purple yourself out through heroics! but it is really not going to help them.

I started a series of post about DPS which is what a lot of new players start out as with. Healing and tanking are a lot more difficult and responsibility at an end game level. So concentrating on DPS I think is a better path.

So if you are new to raiding and want to get to that LFR that everyone seems to tell you is for the noobs, you need to start with your rep!

Before someone tells you, LoL just run heroics and purple yourself out there is a lot of great stuff to be had from rep rewards. One of the things many people don’t realize is that rep rewards are not just gear to complete your sets, but more importantly your head and shoulder enchants are something you will need even when your gear level is way past 359.

If you are a player that likes to quest, you most likely are already half way there to exalted. If you finished Deepholm you probably have Therazane unlocked. That means shoulder enchants!

Plate DPS get their head enchant from Twillight Higlands, Casters from Hyjal and Leather from Uldum. So step one towards raiding is that you have all the reps you need for your basic enchants there. They are not too expensive and will take you one step closer towards your goal.

Why Does my DPS suck? – Computer

I am starting a new mini series of post geared towards helping people that are searching for the reason that they are told that they suck. Hopefully some of the people that don’t suck still read this and are maybe a little more patient with the people that are not topping the charts.

One of the things that made WoW ultra-popular was that even if you had an older computer you could still play. The graphics engine was very forgiving and let you turn the settings way down without taxing older hardware.

I know a lot of people complain about the shitty graphics that WoW has, old models, etc. The reality is that it being behind on the graphics allowed for a lot of people to play the game. You did not need a gaming machine to run WoW… that is until Cata came out.

One of the many things that hurt our guild quite a bit when Cata hit was that a lot of people were playing on older computers. I have been a gamer for a long time, so even though my computer was not the latest, I had the ram and video card that WoW could run fine if I played with the settings turned down a bit.

If you have never seen WoW run on a high end machine, you probably are playing a different game than most. The spell effects and water effects are not on par with other games that have amazing graphics, but they are not all that horrible either. That said, it will also affect your DPS or your healing if your machine is a little older. Not to mention that you probably stand in a lot more fires.

While the easy answer is, go get a better computer if you want to play end game. There are ways to fix the issue.

The first one is to make sure you maximize your memory both physical and virtual. Do a search for your operating system and how to increase your virtual memory. The more the computer can keep in memory, the better WoW will run for you.

Second is to make sure your computer is up to date or at least optimized when it comes to drivers for your graphics card. You can search for your graphics card model and world of warcraft and get informed on what the best set of drivers is. You will be surprised at how specific sometimes things get. You might find a post about your card that says, hey WoW works best with this set of drivers. (sometimes it is not the latest drivers available.)

Third is to make sure you are using the correct Direct X. While WoW supports that latest and greatest your computer might work better with the older version.

Fourth is to play with your graphic setting inside of WoW. There are a couple ways to approach this. If you want the best graphics possible with your set up, you can turn everything up and start turning things down gradually. Make sure you read the tooltips of each one of the settings. The one I recommend is to turn everything down and then slowly turn things up.

Fifth and last is do you run a lot of addons? Some addons can really bring WoW to a crawl, specially in raids. I stopped using Recount and switched to Skada for tracking numbers… but I used to advocate turning all addons off during raids. I think if your computer is older, there is really no reason for you to run a damage meter during a raid. You can have someone else whisper you the numbers if you are really that curious.

The first step towards better DPS is to play in the best version of WoW you can. You might be trying to ride a bike with flat tires… no wonder you cannot get up the hill.