Thursday, October 30, 2014

PvP - Buggy achievements, dying fast

I've had some buggy PvP achievements lately.  Probably putting them on my blog is going to make them be taken away but I don't really like getting things that I don't feel I deserve.

We did an EotS the other day and we were winning, it was going reasonably well.  However, when we won the game, this popped up.

The Perfect Storm achievement is for a 0-1500 win.  You can see there that we clearly did not have that.  Strange.

Last night there were server restarts happening as we queued for a BG, and whilst we were in prep we had a few people suddenly leave the BG instance, and it was happening on Alliance side too.  At the time we were 11 or 12 vs 3, and the game said it would close in 5 mins.  So I was running to LM with Raverager and since there were so many there, I thought I'd go for stables since maybe we could get a Perfection if we 5 capped before they capped stables.  I managed to get there and cap it, got killed by a shadow priest and then rezzed and ran back as fast as I could.  By this time the whole team had cottoned on to the quest for Perfection and most of the horde players were up at the alliance starting graveyard, farming them.  I went down to mines to guard it just in case, but there was no need to fear - we 5 capped and then won and then I got my Arathi Basin perfection.

I had felt bad for cheating a bit but Luxy, who is the most fair person in the world, said it was totally legitimate.  Even by the end, you can see there were 13 Alliance players so it probably wasn't that bad.

HK/Aimei decided that he wanted to get Moorc his legendary cloak and so we were up to the BG part of it. It was abyssmal.  Not because Moorc didn't have any gear (though that didn't help) but I really felt like I was made of butter.  Rogues were killing me, warriors were 2 shotting me, and I was in full PvP gear.  Without my instant cyclones and no nature's grasp, my escape tactics were no longer as good as they were and I had to rely on Displacer beasts, Vortexes and Roars to get me out of things, and still I died. It was a bit disheartening but we finally managed to get a Temple of Kotmogu win for him when we were testing out our new latencies and at least he was happy.  That was actually a decent game if not for the Tichondrius warrior yelling at everyone - this time he was actually decent compared to the usual individuals who yell (a typical one in a previous failed game was yelling abuse at everyone but had done the least damage in the whole BG).  I dumped my spirit trinket and used the crit one as mana in BGs is the same as it is in PvE - neverending.

I even tried tanking one but that went poorly as I was tank with no healers and I died as if I was a healer anyway.  Bleh.  I didn't realise that it would force me into the spec  if I chose the wrong one (having not queued as tank before, why I did that time I have no idea - probably something to do with the Headless Horseman instance) and I think I never want to tank a BG EVER AGAIN.

I hope that there will be more PvPers around for Shab when he gets back.  With Rav and Lick around maybe there will be.

OMG is that Ping real???

Servers were up earlier than I thought they were going to be, and I hurried to log on and check it out. I had logged out in Uldum - I was fishing - and when I logged in I had a 5ms latency, which I thought was CRAZY!  I thought maybe it was unnaturally low because when you login sometimes it's low before it starts to climb.  But I hearthed to the shrine to wait it out, and it became lower...

The beauty of being in the Shrine is that I could see trade chat.  It was FULL of people going gaga over their new ping.  It was amazing, it was brilliant!  It was so thrilling to see everyone happy to see how responsive their game was now, how GCD actually means something!  And I couldn't wait to see how it would perform in raids.

Guildies were excitedly comparing their latency and I admit I had the lowest - I'm not sure whether it was because I have NBN because I am not near where the servers are, though I am in the same city. I wondered to myself if the Blizzard engineers were hanging around in trade chat on oceanic servers to see the excitement that everyone had, because even just being a player and seeing everyone's reactions brought a smile to my face.

Tried a BG beforehand and world ping went up to 192 but that was to be expected when playing with americans.  LFR and LFG would probably be the same!

9pm couldn't roll around fast enough and we went to raid.  Oh my gosh, who would think you could notice a difference between 200ms and 1ms??  But you can!

We restarted the raid, not extend, because a fair few people still needed gear.  I dreaded Iron Juggernaut and Malkorok, but would you believe we did not wipe to either of those, though some of the fights were MESSY AS.  Iron Juggernaut's king would have been Crooked as he was the LAST PLAYER STANDING when we all died due to a really sloppy siege mode - I am wondering how we need to improve on that because what we do on 10 man doesn't seem to work well in 20. It was haarrowing as we watched it at 50k and it was just Exray and Crooked then Exray died... I was like... no don't let us wipe on 15k.... and then it was dead! Luxy and Crooked pointed out that perhaps it would have been better if Crooked healed, but considering the outcome, perhaps not. We will never know!

Nazgrim was... stupidly easy as well.  I boggled at Alca being 2nd on damage for that boss!  Didn't even get to defensive stance!  Then we were on Malkorok and that turned out rather ugly but we managed to do it, There were hardly any shields up, it felt and people's health was dangerously low CONSTANTLY.  Even with healers in all 4 quadrants, I think I need to fix it up into groups perhaps to improve healing because it really was awful.

There was a LOT of loot taken - I don't know why Duck took every weapon, probably because nobody wanted it, but his EPGP is through the FLOOR.  Una and Swag (now Udderly-something) joined us for the first time and unfortunately had not hit the 5 raid requirement to be able to loot on par with everyone else on EPGP.  But it shouldn't be long, Una will hit that by Monday if she attends on Thursday and Swag will hit it next week.  I think a lot of people got upgrades, and that can only mean good things.

I am hoping Thursday night will go well - Brahski said he would be on in Aza's place, so we shall see!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Changing the Game Part 2: Why I like the Changes to Guild Levelling and Perks

To me, being in a guild is about having a safe place to play. A place where you can find people to play with, with whom you are like minded and can find people with similar goals and ideals.  It should be a place where you can feel free from persecution and somewhere to relax.

Ok. Fluffy softy feely guild talk over.

Guilds have also ideally been a kind of council, or government.  And governments are supposed to pay for things like waste removal, roads and parks maintenance, upkeep of facilities.  Now there are no toilets in WoW that the guild has to keep supplied with toilet paper, but one of the things that guilds typically fund is guild repairs after raids, and some guilds like to supply raiders with food and flasks.

And what is the problem all raiding guilds have?  Gold.  And what is the root of all evil? Money... or gold.

I could see how Blizz was trying to make it work.  Raiding guilds could access raid drop BoEs like recipes and gear that could be sold on the AH.  I could imagine that non raiding guilds complained (eg PvP guilds) as they could not generate gold (though does PvP really cause that much damage to gear?  Hmm), as well as smaller social guilds.  So then Cash Flow was introduced where a percentage of gold looted by guild members was siphoned off by the guild bank, a bit like GST I suppose, except probably more like Employer contribution Superannuation in that it wasn't a tax that the player had to pay and it was mostly invisible and didn't impact on your actual quest earnings.  However, some unscrupulous guilds were run by people who would just selfishly take that gold for themselves and so the guild earnings were an extra source of income for those unsavoury individuals, leaving the hard working levellers who were members of the guild to unwittingly work for those people and probably not even noticing because they were happy to be in a guild where they could ride faster, loot more with their professions and earn reputation quicker.

So, with the latest patch, Cash Flow has been taken away.  Suddenly there will be a lot less people trying to invite your newly minted unguilded alt to a guild because there will be no source of income for them!  Also, Raid drop BoEs are coming back and so raiding guilds will have ways to make gold again.  But there are no raid drops NOW so if you're still raiding and paying for raider repairs, then you need to find another source of income buddy!

Guild levels are gone too.  They were a big disadvantage to smaller guilds, trying to unlock the perks from the later levels. I think that removing them was a good thing - it shouldn't be about the levels of the guild.  Now your guild full of your alts can have all the advantages of a big guild but without the grind.  That's a good move.

I've noticed that a lot of the "personal gain" guild perks have been taken out - the Bountiful Bags perk, which increases the amount of materials you get from your gathering professions, and all the perks that increased honour, reputation or justice points seem to have gone.  So all the things that weren't about "playing with others" seem to be gone.

What has remained are these perks:

To be honest, I'm not sure why Mount up is a guild perk.  I don't think a 10% speed boost offers anything particularly special - maybe a guilded person can get to a farming node faster than an unguilded one, which I don't think is particularly fair.

Hasty Hearth, Mobile Banking and Guild Mail are all good guild perks to have, and I wouldn't argue those.  Mass Ressurection is great for raids and certainly saves time.

But we still have these:
  • 1 x raid - 1000g
  • 7 x dungeons - 7 x 250g
  • 3 x rated BGs - 3 x 500g
  • 3 x challenge mode dungeons - 3 x 500g
So that's 4250g a week just doing what I term the guild "chores".  However, I think a full guild group for arenas would be a great additional way to earn additional gold.  For PvP guilds only rated BGs are listed as a gold earner, but arenas are like mini dungeons I guess for a PvPer.  I would think that it would have to be 3v3 or 5v5 arenas that earn the gold (since scenarios used to be a gold earner and they only had 3 people).  I think it would be nice to add that in - maybe 5 x arenas or something for 150g each.  Actually, maybe that should be 5 arena WINS because you could just get a group of 5 and just stand around doing nothing and lose just to earn money, and that seems wrong. Hey, it might inject more new blood into the arena market adding that as a way to earn guild money.

One GM friend of mine is brilliant at making money.  She regularly injects 50k gold into the guild bank.  50k!!! OMG that's like half my current gold total on my toons collectively!  I wish I could do that, and if I was good at the AH, then maybe I would.  But I think a good guild with good members have people who are happy to contribute gold to the guild bank because that's who they are, and it's great to have a guild with people in it who are like that.  A happy guild makes a rich guild, I guess!

(Though, I don't have a rich guild...does this mean they're not happy?  And before you say it, NO, I do not help myself to guild funds inappropriately!)

I think another way to generate money that does not involve money being donated by people (because you will inevitably end up with inequality complains such as "Player Z doesn't donate, and I have been, so I don't want to donate anymore") would be a daily guild quest/dungeon/task, much like how Garrisons works.  It would have to be something that's done as a group (at least 10 people) or contributed to by at least 10 people, and would have to have some small gain for each person who did this daily as well.

So, what is left that separates my guild from a bunch of people who don't even talk or interact with each other?  What is there to show guild pride?

Achievements remain.  Guilds of friends with 5 people will not be able to get raid achievements because you need at least 8 for that.  So there is some incentive there still for you to play with others, with a LOT of others because of those guild achievements.  Rewards like mounts, pets, titles, tabards... I like those things and I think they're great for showing off our guild achievements.  And I think that it's enough.

As a vanity feature, think it would be cool to have a Guild Feat of Strength added like "Your guild is x years old" or have a guild birthday feature added to the Guild for when it was formed and have something fun happen on the guild's anniversary - such as a mask or party hat that can be worn for one day to celebrate it.  Or maybe even one of those cakes you can lay out as a feast and we can all have a silly buff come up after we're well fed from cake.  But that's really flavour text and not something that makes a significant difference to guild management.  But sometimes, it's those little things that make the game that little bit  more fun.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Raiding - Am I REALLY looking at Mythic Garrosh?

I feel like I'm cheating, doing mythic Garrosh when it's been nerfed so much.  I've watched videos done by my friends and I feel like what I'm doing now is nothing like what it is supposed to be.

But of course, perhaps this is my reward, for continuing to play and raid all the way to the end of the expansion, and for not giving up.  Maybe this is Blizz's way of saying "Hey, here you guys, have a free Mythic Garrosh kill!"  Well, not really free.  We haven't killed it yet.

Felt like I was scraping around for people and even had some of my battletag friends on standby. CT even sat in Vent listening - he told me I sounded stressed!  He'd better not listen to me PvP then...

Jazz and Nath were playing off 4g because they just moved house, and their connection was so poor that they couldn't even get on Vent. We managed to scrape together 20 and off we went.  We were progressing well. You still have to pay attention to things.  People can't move the wrong way, people can't be DYING on the dream phases.  Haevela died twice from a FPS drop and I told him no more dying or I have to sub him - Luxy whispered me and reminded me that I was to be MORE SUBTLE, and do it in whispers. Shamefacedly I apologised to him, and reminded myself that we are not here to yell at people, we are here to have fun. I went again my better judgement and allowed poor Duck to be replaced by one of Exray's friends - I think just so we could see what it was like if we pushed it.  The transitions were faster, yes, but inside I was disappointed in myself for wanting progress more then unity.  Come Wednesday, I won't be doing that again. Guild > Progress, I have to not lose sight of that.  If we can't do it with our guild then we shouldn't be doing it. Poor Duck.

We actually made progress during the night.  Our Jade Temple transition was better, esp after the warrior subbed in, and getting to Phase 4 and being able to see it ourselves and what it's like was really amazing.  To faceroll it a bit more we would need everyone to put out a little bit more damage overall - and Exray asked me if I thought we could 2 heal it.  I already struggle during the standing in weapon with 3 healers and also with the whirling corruptions (I AM REALLY MISSING MY SHROOM BLOOM).  So I said no.  I wish I was a shaman, I think that the healing would be even more amazing if I had been.

I felt bad because I had to tell people to be quiet.  Our regular 10 don't need to talk much except to say when we're using cooldowns and we don't have everyone yelling raid instructions because we're used to just listening.  However, I had to rein in a few excitable people who wanted to make comments or give instructions which was confusing to other people.  This 20 people thing is hard stuff!

Our best attempt was Garrosh to 7% in phase 4. Everyone was really excited.  I keep thinking about what I need to do better - I have difficulty trying to see who doesn't have the buff from the bubbles in the dream phase and I want to know so I can keep lifebloom on those people, though those phases are a lot better now, as the last few we didn't have anyone dying. Also, would you believe I am throwing mana around like you would not believe - I am actually going down to 8k or so and that worried me because I can't run around healing like that when I'm level 100 where mana is a precious commodity. The malice mechanic is being done differently to how I have watched my friends do it - our malice person stands still and everyone ELSE runs in and out of it, which is really interesting.  And then we got thrashed by iron star on our final attempt for the night but really that was the first time we saw that, so hopefully it will be better after that as we figure out what we're doing.  The last half hour seemed to be solid progress with each go, from my point of view and I hope that Wednesday will bear some fruit of our small labours.  It would be exciting to finish off the expansion with a kill. Some have said to me that there are too many people who are not ready for mythic raiding in this raid, and yes gear-wise they are behind.  But if you look at each fight, I think that everyone was listening, learning and improving, which seems to me that they ARE able to do it.  I will be smiling that secret smile to myself if we do get it, because to me it will feel a little bit like 2 healing Thok with no paladins - everyone saying we can't do it and we showed them that we can.