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Patch 4.3: Rogue legendary, new raid difficulty, and other details {WoW}

Sep 13th 2011 9:35PM All the speculation will be answered in a month at Blizzcon. Until then, we aren't even really sure if the interview is real.

Assuming it is, I wonder if the tanking weapon was bumped to the next expansion so it could be relevant for an entire expansion cycle (sort of) rather than released for one patch and then passed over?

And I would think that the much bigger news out of this interview is the new raid-finder loot tier and nerfed raids. My vanilla self would have never thought Blizzard would be ready to nerf content from the get-go just to get more people in to raids. My casual Cataclysm playing self is all for making PuG raids easier; god knows there are still a ton of people that cannot run a heroic instance. I don't think the idea is bad, but the whole idea of throwing together a raid encounter and then dumbing it down far enough to allow a LFR group to handle it raises my eyebrows.

Breakfast Topic: Is the thrill finally gone? {WoW}

Sep 13th 2011 10:15AM "... it's just not possible to eat the same meal everyday for 7 years without getting tired of it."

That is really well put! I think you have summarized in that phrase exactly what many people are feeling but cannot express.

Breakfast Topic: Is the thrill finally gone? {WoW}

Sep 13th 2011 8:54AM I think most people feel as the posters above, that the game has reached a maturity point where newness and exploration are not enough to drive people back to their computers night after night for that thrill. Those who are veterans of two or three years now (or coming up on seven!) have to specialize or invent goals to keep them interested. Blizzard has spent most of this year acknowledging that it cannot keep up producing new content at the pace that most players can consume it. That is why achievements, guild challenges, and really the entire PvP/Honor system were introduced - to provide new challenges to players who had explored all the dungeons and needed something else to do.

What I find curious is the sense that somehow Blizzard has betrayed its player base by allowing the game to reach this point. If people have reached their fill and are ready to move on to other challenges (or just get on with their lives), how is that a fault of the game? People come and go (and come back, and go again). That happens at colleges, churches, health clubs, and now MMOs. I think one of the enduring legacies of World of Warcraft will be that it was the first wide-spread online community which lasted long enough for people to play their fill, head off to live their lives, and then return to explore again, while the game was continuously developed.

There is nothing wrong with leaving WoW for a time, just like there is nothing wrong with trying out other games as well as WoW. The game has endured, and will most likely continue to endure for years to come.

Drama Mamas: Should minors hide their age? {WoW}

Sep 12th 2011 11:50AM I think one of the hardest things anyone can do as a person interacting with their peers is to be embarrassed about something yet still react with grace and humor as people point out the source of their embarrassment. It is also the mark of someone with maturity, regardless of their age.

The Queue: Blame Greg {WoW}

Sep 9th 2011 1:09PM The five things wrong with WoW today:

1. Recycled content
2. Boring encounters and abilities
3. Lazy plot development borrowing from other games and pop culture
4. Failure to listen and react to the player base
5. Generic class design gives every character the same special abilities

The five best improvements in Cataclysm:

1. Revisit prior content with updated graphics and new level appropriate rewards
2. Encounters rationalized away from RNG and towards staged learning and teamwork
3. Plot and settings draw the best of ideas and familiar memes from throughout the fantasy genre
4. Player base is encouraged to provide constructive feedback, and some is incorporated in to game design
5. Significantly less class imbalance, forced specs or players left behind to bring key class abilities

It all seems a matter of perspective. Robin Torres remarked on her "Choose My Adventure" show this week that it seems like the vast majority of players never complain on the forums, never read a game blog, and do not have a problem with the current state of the game. So why do other people insist "everyone" dislikes Cataclysm? I mean, apart from the need to expand your own personal viewpoint to a larger segment of the population in order to give validity and substance to your uninformed perspective?

Drama Mamas: Raid leader woes {WoW}

Sep 5th 2011 10:57PM I agree that this is all about limits and setting some. Finding some new raiders, hard as that can be, will be your ultimate solution. People get very cooperative when they know someone else is waiting right there to sub in. Until then, you have to revisit whatever raid rules you have on conduct and behavior, and enforce them equally on the entire group.

My guild is a group of older people that mostly have family and work responsibilities, and we have difficulty with young people as well. They seem to have a hard time staying focused in our raids, possibly due to a more deliberate pace than they would prefer. But we keep trying, because the young people bring a fire and urgency to working through the content that just is not always there with moms and dads logging on after another day in the trenches. It is tough to keep everyone happy, but it does have its rewards.

Ready Check: Dealing with a weak healer {WoW}

Sep 2nd 2011 2:12PM It is pretty funny to me that advice in this column almost completely contradicts another column ("The Light and How to Swing It: Healing is a zero-sum game" http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/08/28/the-light-and-how-to-swing-it-healing-is-a-zero-sum-game/) published within a week of it, where the columnist said that the only way to improve your healing performance is to push yourself by looking for ways to snipe heal. Perhaps the two authors should throw down in a WoW Insider deathmatch, heal for heal?

To me, the only time you really need to worry about healers off assignments is when your raid is mired in a wipe loop. The harder the fight is for your raid group, the closer healing assignments need to be followed. Tyler's advice is aimed towards raids that are stuck and are looking for some answers. Chase's column is more for raids on farm where the healers need a way to stay engaged. But I think this is exactly the problem with blanket statements like "Heal sniping is a big issue that cannot be tolerated in Cataclysm-style raids ..." In some cases, yes, but in others, no.

It also totally depends on your raid configuration. 25-person with 8 healers on heroic Ragg, you should pretty much always heal the person(s) assigned. 10-person normal Shannox with only 2 heals, both healers have to help each other, and watch their assignment, and move, and keep an eye on mana. But in that case, the definition of what snipe healing is completely different, and what might be inexcusable in a different setting is unavoidable. Hey, if the Ret paladin wants to throw out a couple heals to help someone, I am all for that.

The bottom line is that DPS can usually stop doing damage for a period if the encounter requires movement or some other action outside spamming damage, but a healer cannot just neglect their healing. If they are go OOM, find themselves out of position, or just not pushing the right heal button, that is going to wipe the attempt. Assessing bad healing has to take the circumstances for a healer's choices in consideration, as well as examine the spells they cast (and where, and on whom). It is a problem which unfortunately defies easy analysis and generic advice.

The Queue: There is a ret column coming, I promise {WoW}

Aug 31st 2011 11:31AM What a rational and elegant description of "Why does X get left out of Y"! Very well done!

I insist on carrying an alternate outfit for my character(s) in my bags, because you just cannot be in your armor 24/7. Usually I put it on as soon as I land in the home city, unless I am planning on going right back out. Got booted out of a heroic once because I had my costume outfit on and forgot to change, but to me you have to layer your character with variation and vulnerabilities, or they are just not worth caring about.

About the Bloggers: Michael Gray {WoW}

Aug 31st 2011 10:07AM Real Life > WoW Life

An excellent priority system. So much of the drama over all of WoW would be eliminated if people just kept that philosophy in mind. I like your style, sir!

Blizzard remains optimistic about WoW subscriber numbers {WoW}

Aug 31st 2011 9:32AM Blizzard and WoW are doing just fine, thanks for your concern. After almost seven years, we Americans may find the continuing adventures in Azeroth growing a bit old and stale, but there is a huge population of potential players overseas who seem to want to give the game a try.

It is interesting to me to consider why people feel the need to declare a game in decline or effectively dead, then continue to subscribe? Do they just need to feel some emotion, and are replacing their old excitement of exploration and discovery with angst and ennui? Or is it just after subscribing for years and years, their investment in the game makes them stakeholders in the game's future which can never match past glories? Or are the people making the claims just trolls hoping to grab attention with their doom and gloom pronouncements?

The maturity of the game makes the player-base free to wander; subscription numbers go up in the months leading up to Cataclysm, trend down after the content is explored, then are likely to spike up again as preparations for 4.3, Blizzcon and the impending next expansion announcement reignites interest. Meanwhile, a 10 million player base mark is chugging along playing regardless. I would be very interested to know how many of the recent 300,000 Q2 subscriber loss were people who had deactivated their accounts at least once before? My assumption would be: the majority.

And any discussion about those quarterly earnings needs to include the much-overlooked news that Blizzard actually was more profitable in the reported quarter from the previous year, due to "digital sales". That is the sale of mounts and pets, zero-cost software downloads, and other items which are hugely profitable for Blizzard. Do people really think that if Blizzard can release a shiny new sparkle moose mount and make a guarenteed $5-10 million off it at will that the game is really in danger of collapsing any time soon? They cannot rely on that endlessly, but the potential provides a strong incentive to improve the content release cycle, widen the accessibility of the top-end raids, and provide the top player-demanded perks. All of which we see them doing currently.