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  • aiglos
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Breakfast topic: How do you learn tactics? {WoW}

Jul 10th 2009 5:02PM It's the eternal question: "Okay, so how do we KILL it?"

It's the question that, essentially, drives every WoW player on Earth.

I'm an old hat, too. I've been raid leading, class leading, and spending thousands of gold each expansion just for the privilege of learning how to die less and less. In Vanilla WoW, I was part of two very serious, very "strict," hardcore guilds (both who cleared to KT in original Naxx, and one of which downed him). I use the term "hardcore" here to indicate the amount of time the guild was willing to invest -- not the adequacy of its raid groups. People toss that word around today to also, sometimes, indicate a certain quality level of player. Well, nostalgia is a dangerous thing. People forget that class balance in Vanilla WoW was essentially non-existent. No one understood the theorycraft behind the game mechanics which shifted far more rapidly than they do today. People were still learning the intricacies of the classes, the game world, and were actually tasked with CREATING strategy rather than emulating it. And, finally, there simply were not the resources at hand to use.

In my two oldest guilds, because of this lack of info, our general motto was "...just pull anyway."

15 deaths later, incrementally sometimes, those of us assigned to be doing specific things would notice certain buffs, certain debuffs, we would not stand in as much fire, or someone would say, "Hey, wait, let's tank these two things away from each other because one of them has ability A that influences factor B."

And so was the state of Vanilla WoW.

Then came the serious elitism. Lots of second tier raiders from Vanilla, who had learned at the feet of folks who were GENUINELY kind, generous, and compassionate people smart enough to crunch the numbers, devise strategies, and parse apart (mathematically) all the different boss abilities took a few of those same tactics, called the vast unwashed masses SCRUBS, started "hardcore" raid guilds -- then wiped on Kara for 3 months.

And so things changed again. The techno geeks started to catch up with the game itself. Lots more addons were being written, etc. to simplify even menial tasks. So, TBC progressed, with a very small and elite cadre of individuals at the forefront of the raid scene -- lots of them who had been a the forefront of the Vanilla scene. All the while, more and more "scrubs" (god, what a terrible moniker) were "learning" (note the air quotes -- this is both significant and important).

At the end of BC, the game changed again. Blizzard surveyed the landscape and saw that, what?!?!?!?!?!, only about 20% of guilds worldwide laid the smackdown on Illidan pre-nerfs, and an even smaller percentage managed to down KJ -- something like 1% of all guilds worldwide -- is that right?

Much burnout and bellyaching ensued.

Here we are.

...and, finally, with the relaxation of the game's nearly insurmountable difficulty (in places -- Vael anyone?) lots of folks get a chance to enjoy the content, the lore, the excitement of killing a demon 27.5ft tall. And the game is infinitely better for it. And, at last, after more than two years of parsing, analyzing raid buff compositions, stacking this and that class, farming for three months for one set of resist gear, etc. -- FINALLY -- I'm back to a single phrase before my guild attempts every new encounter we do: "...just pull it anyway."

And that makes me insanely happy.

25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear {WoW}

Apr 1st 2009 5:35AM Somehow my post reposted (208), and I would just like to clarify something: I am, actively, both a 10 and 25 man raider. I have seen all of the content available in the current game.

I was also a 40 man and active 25 main raider in vanilla WoW and BC, respectively.

While I understand that "tuning" has been an issue, I feel like I speak from a place of respectable knowledge concerning the nature of endgame content. But even THAT is really irrelevant.

Blizzard NEVER portrayed 10 mans as being "ezmode, stepping stone" raids to harder content. Those of you who are arguing that 25 man content has traditionally been harder than "lower" level raid content -- really?

Where were you when raids were wiping in the death tomb that was Scholo, but, still, somehow magically they managed to go on and clear MC in a few weeks? Yeah, of course you farmed resistance gear, and 40s did require unprecedented levels of "coordination" in regards to tank rotations, etc.

Still, no one complained, even in small raids like Scholo, about the sheer difficulty -- players still slogged through. What they DID and always HAVE complained about is the sheer idiocy and blatant illogical nature of trying to gather 40 (or 25) people, many from different geographical regions and time zones, in the same place at the same time to accomplish this.

Massively Multiplayer does NOT reference the number of people it SHOULD take to accomplish a goal, instead it implies that the social aspect of the game leads to MASSIVE numbers of individuals continually immersed in the gaming world itself who are constantly available as interactive participants in the game -- there are no quantitative limits on the "number" of people you should or must have to accomplish something implied by this.

Where were you when Kara first released and BROKE an enormous number of guilds because players suddenly realized that what I stated earlier is an inevitable truth of the 10 man raid game: EACH INDIVIDUAL, especially those in significant roles such as lead tank and lead healer, are INHERENTLY MORE VALUABLE TO THEIR RAID.

The game "should" not cater casuals, it "must" cater to casuals. They are the lifeblood of the game because they constitute the vast majority of its player base.

Effort and investment, you say?

My ass...

I already make an investment of 15 dollars a month. That's my investment. The game is played for fun (and for the challenge). I don't care whether that challenge comes from 10 or 25 mans. I would prefer it come from 10s as I prefer the social and teamwork dynamics of smaller groups more.

But I've done both, and I've seen both. People so readily forget how "terrible" ZA was when they first began.

You want to hear some old school qq? Go talk to some REAL old school raiders about their experience with the bat boss or the tiger boss -- god hates people who couldn't kill Mandokir on their first try -- true story.

The point is, 10 mans ARE harder. It has NOTHING to do with coordination, boss mechanics, or whatever. It has to do with a raid's ability to absorb the death of SIGNIFICANT members.

A 10 man raid, let's say a raid that has a duo-healing Naxx team, simply cannot absorb the death of one (even, usually, the less experience and less-geared of the two) on a fight like the achievement for Faerlina fight.

It's possible, but FAR less probable.

It has to do, purely, with raid composition. How many Thaddius wipes do 25 man teams see where one healer, the main tank, or even two or three healers die due to polarity shift?

Not nearly as many as die on 10 mans because someone mis-stepped and annihilated the tank healer...

The point is, the encounter difficulty SHOULD be the same. Blizzard initially intended for 10 mans to BE a similar progression path. But somewhere along the way, the devs AND the community developed the notion that they should constitute a "lesser" tier or raiding difficulty and quality.

It's not that 10 man raiders want "phat, free lootz!" Most of the dedicated 10 man raiders I know (which probably numbers well into the dozens on my server -- Exodar) are ALL old time progression raiders from large guilds who have gravitated toward the challenge, camraderie, and social dynamics that 10 mans offer versus 25 mans.

In my world, it's far more common to see full clear PuGs of ALL the 25 mans than it is the 10 mans.

Maybe that doesn't hold weight everywhere. But, like I said earlier, there is DEFINITELY a reason that we're having this conversation. And there is DEFINITELY a reason that 10 mans have very steadily continued to grow in popularity and have begun to "steal away" a pretty large contingent of "old school" raiders -- they're more popular because of the simplicity of their logistics.

That doesn't mean their participants want "less" challenge.

In fact, I would assert that it's quite the opposite.

25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear {WoW}

Mar 31st 2009 10:37PM The argument that the "best" content should win is just simply right.

10 mans have increased in popularity because, quite simply, they are more convenient to a vastly larger portion of the user base. That's the simple fact of it.

The whole argument (that gear should be of higher value in a 25 versus 10 man environment) rests on TWO major assumptions that no one has yet to effectively summarize in the same post:

1. It is more "difficult" (Big ? on that one) to organize a 25 man raid.

2. 25 man content IS (or should be) inherently more difficult due to both sheer amount of complexity (i.e., more difficult boss mechanics) and sheer level of mob health.

Both of these are wildly flawed assumptions.

First of all, considering that BOTH levels of encounter are actually TUNED to the same difficulty (and they should be!) then neither should be significantly harder. This was, per Blizzard, the original intention. But somewhere along the way 10 mans, via command decision, were reconceptualized as "stepping stones" for 25 man content. Originally, in just about all the releases I read, 10 man content was being implemented across the board for the sake of CONVENIENCE. Blizzard realizes that 10 man content is, on the whole, vastly more popular and WAS (and continues to be, I would bet good money) vastly more accessible than 25 man content simply because of impractical logistics that have NOTHING to do with difficulty and rather have to do with purely practical issues such as

a. Increased geographical dislocation amongst guild members simply based on the number of raiders. That is, it's easier to get 10 people to do something than it is 25 -- this is simply true, and there is no viable defense or opposition that can be offered against it. The "competence" of those individuals is WHOLLY irrelevant.

b. ability of said 25 individuals to maintain adequate connection speeds and efficiency.

With this in mind, you better believe that 25 man encounters absolutely have a MUCH larger margin of error. There are plenty of fights in the game (maly comes to mind, as do ANY Sarth attempt with ANY number of drakes up, Grobbulous, Gluth, Sapphiron...the list goes on) where losing even a SINGLE member of the raid can be detrimental to the raid's survival -- ESPECIALLY when you're talking about a group composition that contains a minimal number of tanks and healers who can then step in during an emergency.

I've duo healed 10 man Naxx a LOT of times. I've solo-healed a large portion of it (still can't figure out Thaddius as a pally healer), but I digress -- the fact is, 10 mans are INFINITELY less forgiving on groups that are not fully experienced, geared, and prepared for the content.

People forget that Karazhan broke FAR MORE guilds than Hyjal, BT, or Sunwell ever even considered.

Why? Because the fact is that 10 mans really ARE inherently more difficult due to the sheer impact of losing players in significant roles.

In the end, I agree that both tiers of content should drop the same ilvl of loot -- if this means the death of the 25 man, all that means is that the VAST MAJORITY of the player base considers 10 man raiding somehow "better."

Like I said, there is a reason we've seen an increase in the popularity of smaller raid compositions versus larger ones. If larger raids really WERE viewed by the public as the best of two possible worlds, we wouldn't even be having this conversation...

With that said, 25s SHOULD drop MORE potential loot. Do I think that 25s would die? No. But they would diminish. And I'm also all for including OPTIONAL achievements for 25 man groups that go well above and beyond 10 man groups.

But why, realistically, should we consider 25s to take "more effort?" Individually, it's just false and pretentious to think so. It just means that there are even more opportunities for someone's slack to be picked up.

How many 10 man pugs have you seen die to Patchwerk because one of the two tanks accidentally got hateful'd two or three times in a row without adequate response from the two healers?

Several...

How many groups have you seen lose a tank (hell, two tanks) on the 25 man version and wipe?

Not nearly as many...

Players, on a per-player-per-necessary-role basis, are INHERENTLY more valuable to a 10 man than a 25 man raid -- period.

Glyph of Holy Light nerfed {WoW}

Jan 22nd 2009 5:59PM The most disturbing thing is that this has become the norm rather than an occasional issue.

We knew this thing was coming down the pipeline for a LONG time. You mean to tell me that not ONE H-P on the PTR sat in Org spamming their Holy Light and watching it light up folks from the AH to the bank?

Really?

And not ONE of those people thought, WOW, this is just...insane?

Not ONE developer thought about that or considered it? It took them months to devise a plan to correct a portion of the AoE healing situation for paladins...

Then it takes TWO -- let me reiterate that: TWO -- days they manage to figure out, like it was some kind of epiphany, that this was overpowered?

Does any buy this bullshit any longer, really? Of COURSE Blizzard responds to QQ -- there is just no consistent measure for when or how.

It just seems like recently, the trend has been AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

I am just sick and tired of the denial. Just come out and say, "okay, we were dumbasses and totally missed the boat. This is way out of line and we feel like it needs to be fixed."

Jesus -- just a little transparency, please, and some honesty.

The healer shortage and how to fix it {WoW}

Dec 18th 2008 5:13PM Brian,

To each his own, I suppose. VERY longtime raid tank AND raid healer here -- pally leveled to 80 as ret. I'm currently healing all heroics, including Nexus, on my server -- Exodar. I've also ventured into Naxx a few times (downed Arachnid, Military, and Construct Quarters).

I think the MAJOR issue for healadins is how drastically our "game" has changed. You're not a spam bot any longer -- at least, that isn't your sole duty. If you're healing a five man, especially an AoE-based five man heroic, you've got LOTS of stuff going on.

But Nexus really is a breeze if you learn two things as a pally healer:

1. SACRED SHIELD, regardless of what people tell you, has become a necessity -- in almost every instance. It is, as far as I'm concerned, the BEST utility spell for healing in the game.

The amount of damage that it can mitigate, over the long term, is astounding.

2. Gearing issues. The fact is, holy paladin gearing has changed. MP5 is now the redheaded stepchild of stats for itemization. Yeah, you WOULD be insane to walk into a raid setting or high-end heroic without some MP5, but Intellect stacks MUCH better. I prefer crit -- others prefer haste. But at the point I'm at in progression, with the gear of my regular DPSers, longevity makes all the difference in a fight like, say, Patchwerk or even Faerlina, where timing is everything.

I suppose you could argue that people are STILL trying to figure out Bacon of Light as well. It's really not for every single fight, and even now I see lots of pallies using it incorrectly -- just spamming it on the MT only -- regardless of the encounter dynamic -- and then qq'ing when they go OOM with 15% health left on the boss.

But pally healing is fine.

Healing the Nexus -- is FINE.

You just need the gear, the right tank, and a bit of adjustment to a new style of healing.

For all baby healadins -- really -- GET Healbot and bind everything:

sacred shield, divine plea, lay on hands, beacon of light, cleanse, and hand of protection.

And for goodness' sakes! BIND your Judgements so you can keep that haste rating up.

People want to talk about not "seeing" the game, but I feel like I see PLENTY of the game, and I feel like I get to see the bosses, etc.

Keybinding changes your life -- ESPECIALLY if you're healer.

Gearing up your Holy Paladin for Crit {WoW}

Dec 14th 2008 5:00PM You forgot one great possibility. The mace drop from Mal'Ganis in normal CoT: Culling of Stratholme.

http://www.wowhead.com/?item=37112

It's the mace I'm rocking until I can get to revered (1 more day!) with Wyrmrest to get my pre-raid tank gear and the Gavel of the Brewing Storm.

I was holding the Hammer of Wrenching Change, but I find this beauty to be more to my liking -- yes, I mix haste AND crit, but even now in all blues with only two heroics I'm still holding my own -- around 300 haste and 20% crit -- not too shabby for only having one heroic piece.

Utgarde Pinnacle, in my estimation, is pretty much one stop shopping for healing pallies and there is some good gear for all three pally specs there as well.

Once you get the gauntlet down -- it's cake -- normal or heroic.

Breakfast Topic: Five-man thoughts {WoW}

Dec 7th 2008 4:03PM The diversity is what strikes me.

I've been doing this for awhile. I've raide both as a holy pally back in the original Naxx days (class lead) all the way up to the Four Horsemen. I've also raided as prot (main guild tank). So I've seen the full gamut of situations from both sides of those coins.

I recently respecced to holy for the first time in nearly a year and a half because our guild is smallish, there are only a handful of members at 80, and those of us who are want and need gear! So, having been the only member of that group to have healed at a raiding level, I respecced.

Let me tell you -- even in normal, as a Holy Paladin, things get hairy. For example, the gauntlet in UP (which, outside of this single pull, is a complete CAKEWALK) is frustrating beyond measure as a healing class with no genuine AoE heal.

And it gets even worse if you're stuck healing DK tanks that are getting in some on-the-job training. I run with a very sensible, knowledgeable DK tank. We've been doing this together (switching tanking and healing roles over the years) for more than two and half years -- we KNOW one another really well. But the first few times I ran with him, it was an entirely new ball game.

I have NEVER been forced, EVER, to actually drop a bubble on a tank. But in order to do the UP gauntlet the first couple of times, we had to do it dirty -- run up to meet the first wave of mobs, bubble the tank before he reaches them, get settled, bubble myself, taunt half the mobs onto me, stand on top of him, let him death and decay and hold on for dear life.

As a very general rule, I really LIKE the fact that the dungeon design seems so much more intelligent. With the plethora of tanking buffs warriors and pallies received, it's CAKE (I tanked everything up through and including the Old Kingdom on normal in prot gear with an almost full ret spec). And as a healer, the trash has proven generally easier (except the COT: Strath trash which can get nasty VERY occasionally). I've also healed EVERY instance through Old Kingdom (even Halls of Stone) in holy gear as a ret spec pally.

The point is, I really like the design, non-linear feel, and extra pressure put on me to do a competent job as a pally healer. What makes me sad is that I DO NOT think that difficulty is an intended design issue -- healing as a pally feels more like a war of attrition rather than the finesse game it really is. People give pallies a hard time about being two button slam fiends. But that's really NEVER been a top end pally healer's game. We have more tricks than you realize...what we need is help in the glyph department and a genuine, good ole-fashioned, mid range AoE heal.

We don't want to be druids, priests, or shamans. I like hitting my 17-18k crit Holy Light -- thanks. I like being an on-demand, plate wearing, sometime off-tank, who drops bombs.

What I don't like is sometimes having to make choices I don't want to make. There have been several times I've had to knowingly sacrifice a member of my group to be certain the tank remained intact.

That constitutes bad and thoughtless class design and a tad of encounter overturning (*cough* third boss of The Oculus *cough*).

But on the whole, I applaud the changes wildly.

I just hope holy paladins receive a tad more love.

15 Minutes of Fame: Tanking with a panic button {WoW}

Nov 25th 2008 4:57PM Final post -- directed to ivyleaves.

Point made. I did, in fact, mean deprIvation in the sense of privation, denial, or lack -- not deprAvation. You'll have to excuse me. The posts were long, and I did not edit them. I probably also wrote "no" instead of "know" somewhere along the way...

But now you're nitpicking, and that was never the point. But if you want to poke, so be it.

15 Minutes of Fame: Tanking with a panic button {WoW}

Nov 25th 2008 4:37PM I am not way off base. Psychology is the study of "mental processes and PATTERNS of behavior."

That is what psychology is -- studying mental process patterns that then attempts to apply the findings of patterns within individual or groups or communities to the broader patterns of society.

Psychiatry, however, is something ENTIRELY different.

It's a MEDICAL specialty, first of all, which employs prescribed drug treatment to combat mental disorder.

I have a PhD in neither of these. My MASTERS degree is a dual degree in Education/Psychology.

My PhD is in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, which is often thought of as the "empirical" arm of English and Literary studies. I specialize in rhetorical/psychological analysis. That is, the study of writing as a means of identifying patterns of behavior.

It's something like being a psychological profiler who specializes in writing and not simply behavior.

But I certainly DO have a fundamental understanding of both fields. And I certainly DO have an understanding of psychological and psychiatric evaluation -- having been on numerous school-based committees and acting in the role of consultant to many clinically-based psychological and psychiatric practices.

I do NOT claim to be diagnosing the original poster. I claim the rhetoric of the article says something that

a) seems infinitely difficult to believe about an individual with this level of mental disorder to believe.

and further

b) that the poster himself has then come along and qualified numerous statements from the interview about how he now has only "limited" engagement.

Making qualifying statements such as, "Am I addicted to WoW? Well, that depends on how you look at it" is the HALLMARK of denial -- the first stage of addiction.

How in the world you can justify or interpret the article to, in basic, be saying anything other than "Hey, I've got a whole bunch of mental issues, but I'm coping with my unbelievably fragile mental state by doing the MOST DEMANDING role within a tenuous virtual community where relationships fall apart at the drop of a hat -- AND DOING IT WELL"

is far beyond me...

I am done here. I made NO claims about my ability to diagnose the interviewee. But I certainly do have experience across a broad range of disciplines that intersect in this realm. My entire professional career is devoted to the PSYCHOLOGY of RHETORIC.

And that is what I was taking issue with initially. Now it has become a war of rhetorical recursivity -- where the interviewee has proven that, perhaps, he did not exactly "say what he meant and did not ENTIRELY mean what he said."

So, I cry foul.

Good day and good luck. Peace be with ALL of you.

15 Minutes of Fame: Tanking with a panic button {WoW}

Nov 25th 2008 4:18PM I never stated that I was a medical professional.

I also never stated that the interviewee did not have genuine medical disorders.

What I am stating is that this level of mental anxiety, stress, desensitization to socialization, etc.

is...

a) abnormal in its extremity

b) the rhetoric of the post betrays what may be the reality of the actual circumstance.

As to whether or not individuals such as the interviewee are functional -- of course, they absolutely can be. People live as functional members of society with debilitating mental disorders all the time.

It's not just bipolar disorder, though...

it's anxiety

it's social depravation

it's extreme isolation

it's extreme (clinical, perhaps) depression

it's potential psychosis and neurosis

it's obsessive compulsion

You're talking about a laundry list of potentially debilitation disorders. And, yes, I'm fully aware that there are varying degrees of bipolar disorder. But common hallmarks of ALL these disorders are:

a) The extreme desire for isolation from real world community.

b) The INABILITY to remain functional with high stress situations where the onus for direct leadership, decision making, etc. is placed on the individual

Those are VERY basic, fundamental barriers to someone with this level of mental distress acting as a high functioning member of a raiding community in WoW -- where, even in the most relaxed of settings, there is constant demand on the minutiae of each event; there is constant demand on the actor to be aware of his or her surroundings, etc.

And that, I assert, would be rarely possible for someone under such heavy duress.

The op even qualified his statement in his response to me saying that he "only occasionally tanks now," which is the rhetorical equivalent of saying, "well, you're right about how demanding it is, and I know it doesn't seem logical that someone with my problems could function in such an environment. So, I don't do it much anymore."

Yet, the interview and Kal himself represent this as an ongoing situation that - helps -- him -- cope.

WOW...