Do you even hear yourselves? (Or, why people complaining about the lack of a “gap” in WoW need to re-examine their arguments and then just stop)

The “Gap”

In World of Warcraft the “gap” refers to the noticeable difference between what some players can do/get and others cannot. This gap has been closing more noticeably as the years go by. The farther back you go in WoW’s history, the fewer people you find with end-game items.

Some players are indifferent about the “gap”. What someone else has or has done has no relevance in their enjoyment of the game. It has no affect on their feeling of epicness, achievement, fun, value, or self-worth.

Other players find the closing of the gap to be a turn-off, and to an extent quite alarming. From what I have read/seen, these players tend to be people that made up the smaller playerbase that were the “haves” instead of the “have nots”. With no simple distinguishable way of noticing their greatness, uberness, skill, devotion, time commitment- whatever the specific case may be- they feel like the wind has been taken out of their sails.

Blizzard has posed a question numerous times to its upset minority of players along the lines of “why is it bad for everyone to experience all portions of gameplay.” This is met with a mixed bag of responses. Things along the lines of “you diminish our achievements”, “people need players to admire and heights to aspire to”, “you’re making the game too easy”, “I spend an awful lot of time and energy on this and you practically give it away weeks/months later”, just to name a handful. These rationales evolve over time as Blizzard neatly offers a counter-arguments.

The one thing that Blizzard hasn’t brought up, and I don’t blame them from a business standpoint, is that the majority of these players likely have an exterior locus of identity- meaning that they are only as valuable as other people believe they are. Driven by extrinsic instead of intrinsic motivation, these players need the “gap” to exist or their value diminishes exponentially.

That’s cool, dude! Where did you get that?

We’ve all said it at some point: “Where did you get that?” You see a player in WoW with something really cool looking and you want to know what it takes to get one for yourself. Some responses are short and simple replies naming a dungeon or quest. Some answers include a cool story including long quest lines and weeks upon weeks of work. A big part of WoW is the visual component. We can even transmogrify our gear these days to obtain a specific look.

Throughout the history of WoW what a player has accomplished can often be observed visually. One of my favorite personal examples was the Fandral’s Flamescythe from Firelands. The weapon had the ability to turn Cat-form Druids into flaming versions of the animal form. I was one of the first players on my server to have one and it was fun to turn into a firecat and then just hang out around town. I enjoyed talking to people about it. Admittedly, it made me feel like something of a big shot.

I CAN HAZ FIRECAT.

I CAN HAZ FIRECAT.

One of the differences between me and some of the more vocal “gap” opponents is that how other people see me and my character has nothing to do with why I enjoy the game. I worked really hard to get that staff and while I did enjoy the adulation it got me for a brief time, it was a non-issue when pretty much anyone with enough time and energy could get one. Conspicuous consumption relies on the rarity of the things you own and when that’s gone, you need to have something better. The drawback of having an exterior locus of identity.

Having an exterior locus of identity is a very common thing. A simple trip to Facebook will prove that. While we criticize people for posting pictures of themselves seeking attention and approval, how can we then turn around and show off our in-game goodies seeking similar attention and approval? We can tell ourselves that we’re not engaging in the same behavior, but it’s something Blizzard has undoubtedly already noticed. Imagine people petitioning Facebook’s admins to stop allowing people to share funny pictures because “I worked days to Photoshop that joke, and only I should be able to share it, I don’t want anyone else posting it to their profile and benefiting from something they didn’t put the same amount of work into.”

Have your fun and eat it too

This is a such a great time to be considering this idea, with the world engaged in the Olympics. Why can’t we enjoy what we’ve done simply on the merits of the journey? Winning the gold and setting the world record is the best you can do in any given event. Does that make a gold medal without setting a record any less great? How about winning a silver or bronze medal? What about all the people that don’t medal? They made it to the Olympics! It’s a great achievement even if you get last place.

If you really did have that gear first- you had it first. If you put in hour after hour to get that world/server/faction first kill- you had it first. If you replied first to this blog post, you had it first.

Did you have fun?

Is it cool if everyone else has fun now?

-w3rd-

Quick’n’dirty look at Warlocks on the Beta (as of July 12, 2012)

Affliction
Pros
The single-target damage is amazing for the moment. This will likely change. Lots of stuff to juggle (which I like so it’s a Pro) including 3.5 DoTs (with Haunt as a half DoT because you don’t really keep it up 100% of the time), 1 channeled filler (which I like so it’s a PRO), is the target below 20%?
Cons
All of the Pros I listed if you’re NOT into that play style. If you can master it, it’s great for movement and holding still encounters. No burst is also a con in many ways, but only the encounters will tell for sure. Also, as an Affliction aficionado (aka Afflicionado) for many years now this rotation doesn’t seem very fluid either. Maybe level 90 will fix it.

  • I talented for Grimoire of Supremacy as Affliction. It may have been because the melee-minions were spazzing out, but the Fel Imp (Supreme Sized Imp) was doing the most damage by a noticeable amount.
  • The Core Abilities tab seems to be good advice regarding a priority system. This is assuming that Drain Soul is high DPCT than Malefic Grasp when the target is below 20%.
  • Nightfall proc not giving working. Soul Shard not being generated.
  • It’s definitely a dps gain (very slight and can be a loss if done wrong) to regen shards with drain soul in order to keep up haunt 100% of the time, but the spec wasn’t designed with this kind of rotation in mind and blizzard has even stated that they will change it if players feel like they have to play that way.

Destruction
Pros
Less to keep track of compared to Cata. 1 DoT, 1 CD nuke, is the target above 20%?, do I have Burning Embers?, should I sit on Burning Embers or spend.
Cons
Rotation (at least at level 85 so who knows if I’m way off base) doesn’t feel as fluid as it has in the past. The spells don’t seem to roll off the fingers.

  • Imp was doing the most damage for me.
  • The Core Abilities tab seems to be good advice regarding a priority system. I am assuming that Shadowburn is a higher DPCT than Chaos Bolt.
  • The Burning Embers mechanic seems to only serve the purpose of allowing you to cast a Chaos Bolt or use Ember Tap (which heals my character for 20.58% of my health). It’s unclear to me what the potential benefits are for stocking up Burning Embers is. You have three by default and can glyph for a 4th one. Given a cast time of 2.52 (for my lock on the beta) I could be casting Chaos bolt for a sustained 10 seconds. Assuming it has the highest DPCT it might be worthwhile to stock up on them to use in conjunction with cooldowns or during a burst phase? I’m interested on people’s thoughts regarding this.

Demonology
Pros
I found the priority system to be quite engaging. It might feel a bit overwhelming at first glance to make sense of what to do and when, but it’s not that bad. 2 DoTS, 1 CD nuke, Soul Fire when Molten Core procs, use Meta to apply/refresh Doom, use Meta to keep Corruption rolling without recasting it.
Cons
If you don’t like the idea of having to keep track of spells in Caster form vs. Meta form then you likely won’t enjoy Demonology.

  • The Imp was doing the most damage for me. For AoE I’m guessing that Felguard is still the go-to minion.
  • The Core Abilities tab seems to be good advice regarding a priority system. I was using Metamorphosis to apply Doom (looks like Bane of Doom, also lasts one minute) and whenever Corruption was about to fall off since the Meta ability Touch of Chaos increases Corruption’s duration. Touch of Chaos also replaces Shadow Bolt as the primary filler for Meta. Meta has a number of AoE spells that I didn’t look much at.

Next step is to grind to 90 and see how things balance out at that point with the final tier talents.

My new old stomping ground

Recently my good pal @_Rades, who writes OrcishArmyKnife, made two really interesting posts about the history of his main characters. Unfortunately for me, I don’t screenshot every 5 seconds of my gameplay err… I don’t have his gift for in-game photography, so I don’t have a picture chronicle to share with you. What I did do, was make a little trip out to where it all began for me with the intention of taking some screenshots. What I found was, in my opinion, tragic and unsettling. Read the rest of this entry

Resource-based AoE Concept

Something about AoE inWorld of Warcraft has always left a bad taste in mouth. I’m not talking about fighting multiple enemies simultaneously in general. It’s more about spells aimed at doing damage to more than one target via one cast. To me, a good non-example of AoE would be putting periodic effects several enemies. Whereas casting Swipe or Seed of Corruption would be a prime example of the type of AoE I have never liked.

It occurred to me that some classes have AoE that must be worked into their single-target rotations. I’m not talking about Death Knights- where AoE spells are just a serendipitous part of their omni-roation. I’m thinking of classes like Hunters or Retribution Paladins. These classes/specs have a choice to make: “Do I use my resources on a strong single-target ability, or an AoE weak single-target ability?” Read the rest of this entry

TellMeWhen for… knowing when… stuff happens…

There are many addons that can track buffs, debuffs, stacks of things, cooldowns, reactive abilities, multi-state abilities, temporary weapon enchants, totems, wild mushrooms, ghouls, rune cooldowns, internal cooldowns, other players cooldowns, diminishing returns, spell casts, how many arrows you’ve taken to the knee, etc. TellMeWhen is a simple to use very versatile addon for doing exactly those kinds of things. Read the rest of this entry

OmniCC for precision timing

I really don’t remember exactly when or why I started using OmniCC. I’m guessing that one of my more experienced friends at the time suggested that I get it. It always amazing to me how many players get by without this addon. It’s equally amazing to me that Blizzard has never implemented an option to put this functionality in game.

But enough with the suspense. Read the rest of this entry

ReforgeLite for… reforging…

When you want to reforge your gear to get things like hit-cap and haste plateaus, often times you can refer to websites to help you. These websites will grab your character data from the armory and allow you input variables aimed at a specific reforging goal. You then take the resulting data and plug it in item-by-item in game to achieve your desired outcome. This is simply not necessary. Read the rest of this entry

Blizzcon, Boozecon, Linecon, and Snoozecon

They were all actually pretty much the same event.

Cons:

Linecon 2011

There must be something about Anaheim that cultivates lengthy and slow moving line formations. Razer had a line formed to play a game of plinko in order to win random Razer stuff. They were having people take their picture with themselves and the Razer logo in front of a gianormous Tyrael statue. After showing this picture to a Razer offical at the end of the line, you then had to sign up for the Razer newsletter on one of their 3 computers. Then drop the plinko disc and pray you didn’t end up with another mouse pad. Other booths had similar lines for similar chances to win similar items. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more informational areas. I think that the groups with booths would do better to give codes to people that go online and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Maybe even give redeemable raffle-ticket style codes or even tickets to people that demo items or watch presentations. I honestly didn’t look at any of the merchandise because I was spending so much time in line between Blizzard panels.

The typical introduction to a question at a Blizzard panel

When you get in line to ask a question at a Blizzcon panel, they give you a Mad-Libs style card to fill out. You read your filled out card before you ask your question. Here is verbatim what the card says:

[Generic salutation]. I just want to say I really think you guys are [synonym for “great”]. My name is [Insert your character’s name here] from [Whatever your server is called] in the guild [Your guild name goes here.]. I have been playing for [# of years you’ve been playing] years. [List all the things you’ve done in game, no matter how trivial they may seem.]. I’m just wondering, because though I’m into the game enough to pay travel and ticket price to be here but still not enough to keep up with game-related news to know if this has been asked, [your question goes here. You must have a minumum of 7 “ummm”s in the way you ask.]

Panda-moan-iu-kemon

Either you love the idea of the Pandaren at Blizzcon, or you hated it. Personally, I don’t care for the Pandaren at all. They’re just not me. It would be really cool to have some other race for the Horde, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. Undead can be monks? Done, no need for a new race. I’m also not really interested in the pet battle system. It doesn’t really matter what group started the idea of pet battles first, it’s just not interesting. I really hope they don’t make it something you feel you need to do for a raid buff or pvp gear or some BiS items. Mini-games ruined a lot of console games for me.

Pros:

Meeting up with guild members IRL

I always have a blast hanging out with my guild mates online, and when we’re together in the real world it’s the same way. I got to meet/hang out with my long time WoW buddy Aldous (aka Boozekin). When you’re with a guy this funny, only zany hilarious things can happen. I look forward to next year’s Blizzcon in the hopes that we’ll get more guildies to come down to Anaheim for Boozecon 2012.

Kick ass food

If you’re even in Anaheim/Disneyland area you absolutely have to go eat at a little known place called the ESPN Zone. This is the ultimate sports bar, and their food is amazing. By some stroke of amazeballs luck, we ended up eating there twice. Homerun.

Free stuff

If you need a mousepad, go to Blizzcon. I think between the four people in my group we left with six or seven mousepads. One of us got a Razer trucker-hat. We won an SC2 Messenger Bag. I got a Razer SC2 headset. Several shirts. Free custom green-screen pictures of us riding a chicken. A free WoW novel. Not to mention the incredible goody bag that Blizzard themselves hands out, which included a mini Tyrael, a Murkablo in-game WoW pet, and as usual an authenticator.

Conclusion

I will go to Blizzcon again next year, time permitting. It’s just a lot of fun to be around a community of players that can come together and share their love of a gaming company in a positive way. I just hope next year’s goodie bag has a mini pet that actually gets attached to my account after I submit the code and throw it away in the hotel room…

Unsolicited Advice in the World of Wacraft

Inevitably we all witness one player give advice to another. In any situation, giving advice can be a very tricky thing. It has the ability to forge positive relationships, but also to create resentment and even outright dislike. The fact of the matter is, you can’t avoid advice in the World of Warcraft. My hope is to give you some perspective on both how to give, and how to take, unsolicited advice.
Read the rest of this entry

Feral PVE DPS videos updated with annotations.


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