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  • Big Shoe
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Recent Comments:

Have Group, Will Travel replaced with faster flight paths, flask "Chug-A-Lug" perk removed {WoW}

Mar 24th 2012 7:38AM I get it that Blizzard wants people to "travel the world" and see the new content and areas, but questing up to 90 and grinding rep will cover that nicely. After a month or two, the novelty of travel will wear off and players will just want convenience. I like the pretty landscapes, but I don't want to spend 20 minutes flying over them every time I need to get to an instance. The Dalaran portal debacle should serve as a lesson to the designers here.

Breakfast Topic: What would be your biggest Mists of Pandaria surprise? {WoW}

Mar 19th 2012 8:15AM @Rennah: As a game designer (both MMO and tabletop) with over 30 years of experieince, I *DO* know exactly how much work goes into launching and maintaining a product, and I stand by my opinion that Blizzard's level of QA quality has been steadily declining since Activision stepped in. I am also a Blizzard beta tester, and I personally started a thread on a major and reproducible bug several weeks before launch that grew to over 15 pages in length. To my surprise and dismay, Blizzard released anyway. A week later, they had to shut down all their servers to hotfix the bug. Would it have been so hard to fix this well-documented bug before release? This is simply embarrassingly bad QA, and it's far from the only example of its kind.

The recent situation with the Darkmoon Faire achievements being reset for third time in as many months, each time accompanied by a blue apology post, just shows that Blizzard is so driven to push product out the door to appease shareholders that they forget what made them a great company in the first place. Any post that dares speak ill of Blizzard here is automatically downvoted, but the fact of the matter remains. Blizzard was once the gold standard for polish and relatively bug-free products, but they have had more bugs in the past year of Cataclysm than in their entire 20 year history. Some of this is undoubtedly due to increasing product complexity, but the majority of problems arise from shortsighted design and simply ignoring their beta testers to ship today and fix tomorrow.

The Light and How to Swing It: Being the main tank {WoW}

Mar 18th 2012 11:00AM By definition, the phrase "main tank" implies that one tank is more important than the other, but this is seldom the case any more. As Katherine and Jyotai stated, in a two-tank fight, there really is no main tank, even if one tank handles the boss while another handles adds. On the contrary, the "off tank" often has the tougher job, being tasked with rounding up and kiting rampant adds while the other tank keeps a boss mostly stationary. Unless the intent is merely to stoke someone's ego, the raid should think of both tanks as equal co-tanks -- especially if one tank is favored over the other when it comes to gearing because of some misguided sense of priority.

This being said, the article describes a class leader type who guides and teaches other tanks, helping them to coordinate and play to each other's strengths. As the de facto leader of the group, the tank is expected to set the pace, if only by helping to coordinate the pulls. The point Matt makes about tanks cooperating rather than competing cannot be overstated -- the common thread of all successful tanking teams is mutual respect, coupled with an ability to adapt and adjust quickly when things don't go as planned. It's a shame that half the fights in Dragon Soul 10-man are single tank fights. This may have been done to make LFR tuning more forgiving, but it does erode the synergy and fun of a good tanking team.

Breakfast Topic: What would be your biggest Mists of Pandaria surprise? {WoW}

Mar 18th 2012 8:16AM The dance studio would be a huge surprise that I'd love to see. Upgraded character models would also be nice, but that has already been hinted at, so let's all just keep our fingers crossed!

Breakfast Topic: What would be your biggest Mists of Pandaria surprise? {WoW}

Mar 18th 2012 8:14AM Frankly, the biggest surprise for me would be a smooth launch. Cata seemed pretty rough around the edges when it was released, and I fear that MoP will be rushed out in time for the holidays in a similar state. But the thing I would be happiest to see is an increase in character slots per server. So many guild mates already have ten 85s and don't want to delete one to try a monk! :-)

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Considering the Mists talent calculator {WoW}

Feb 20th 2012 8:30AM Personally, I'd rather see Prot warriors buffed as to what's already there -- that is, quality of life improvements with a few fun new abilites thrown in -- than see ill-conceived changes that alter the feel and play style of the class.

For example, the various Banners (which seem to have a 3 minutes cooldown as of the latest build) look good on paper, assuming they plant the banner at the warrior's feet with a single click or keystroke. But if they bring up the dreaded green targeting circle which must then be moved around and dropped with a click... Well, let's just say that despite the added utility of placing the banner wherever you want it, I'm expecting the nightmarish failure rate of Heroic Leap if there is a hill or even a blade of grass near the banner.

Ready Check: The loss of itemization in Cataclysm {WoW}

Feb 18th 2012 12:28PM Thoughtless itemization, sadistic RNG, and lack of slot options have made Cata in general, and DS in particular, a trifecta of frustration for raiders. Granted, reforging offers some relief, but it has also allowed the item design team to become rather lazy with tweaking and balancing gear. A few other MMOs have added the option of "kill tokens," or a token dropped by a specific boss that signifies a kill. These tokens are tracked on the character sheet, and can eventually be exchanged for any item that boss might drop. So, if you've killed Axewill Neverdrop a couple dozen times and had no luck with RNG, you can trade in 25 kill tokens, get that elusive drop you wanted, and finally move on. Blizzard could learn a lot from this approach.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Single-Minded Fury redux {WoW}

Feb 12th 2012 8:00AM I've tried both TG and SMF, and recently Arms as a lark, and I must sadly say that TG still trumps SMF for warrior DPS. Granted, SMF has much smoother rage generation, which I really like. But at the end of the day, even with the band-aid of a 20% damage buff, the raw strength and secondary stats of dual one-handed weapons simply can't compare to those of dual two-handed weapons, and the scaling of the various coefficients only magnifies the gap between the two loadouts. That is the problem in a nutshell. SMF is a great idea hamstrung by poor design.

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler on class roles {WoW}

Feb 9th 2012 10:14AM GC is greatly complicating matters by doggedly insisting that PvE and PvP must co-exist within the same design model, with one constantly being buffed or nerfed for the sake of the other. As many later and better game designs have shown, this is not the way to go. If every player was simply given a third "PvP spec" usable only in arena and BGs, and problem abilities were specifically balanced around that spec, the vast majority of so-called "balance issues" would disappear. Instead, certain abilites could be designed and used only in the settings (PvE or PvP) that they were designed for, without sacrificing utility or adding filler talents. The Colossus Smash experiment proved that this model can work. Blizzard states that they avoid this dual-design concept to eschew complexity, but let's not kid ourselves here. WoW players --both raiders and arena junkies -- are some of the most savvy number-crunchers you'll find anywhere. They won't be scared off by such an idea, and the simplicity of clearly defined PvE and PvP builds might entice more casual players to try both sides of the WoW coin.

Breakfast Topic: Which race has the best racial ability in the game? {WoW}

Jan 16th 2012 9:42PM @Drahken: I'm not an achievement junkie by any means (I prefer to get whatever achievements come naturally during the course of play rather than chasing them down), but I am sitting at 11k achievement points and 56 exalted reputations, so I know how you feel when it comes to grinding rep.

And to the others who have posted here, I agree that some of the other human racials are terrific. But to me, Diplomacy has always been the least helpful of them, so I don't get why people complain the most about it.