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  • Grimgold
  • Member Since Dec 31st, 2009

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The Cataclysm: A critical examination {WoW}

Oct 28th 2011 5:59PM I really felt like the 1-60 changes were a waste of time, I have all of the alts I care to play, and suddenly to get to half the content in the expansion I had to make another. The game had been out for almost 7 years when Cata launched, so I have a hard time who they were targeting these changes towards. Wow has almost no new players, and among the new accounts churn is high by blizzards own admissions. Existing players mostly want content for their mains, as for alts, during the almost 7 years of the games life, you had the opportunity to level up any class you wished to play.

The dev effort spent on those changes was immense, and it quite frankly left the rest of the expansion lacking, the leveling experience was abrupt, there weren't enough instances, and end game was thin. Add that to the frustration of spending hours a day in queue for heroics to get geared for raids, and I was ready to wash my hands of wow within a month of Cata's release. Add to that the fact that 25 man raiding is nearly dead on my server, and I'd say that quite a bit more went wrong with this expansion than went right. Don't take my word for it, the fact that wow is hemorrhaging subs attest to this expansions quality far better than I can.

Scattered Shots: Camouflage {WoW}

Sep 7th 2010 5:54PM I'm hopeful that the current version is what goes into cata, but I just have a hard time imagining that this is what blizzard had in mind. It does allow the hunter to pick his fights, and to scout in PvP. It also allows hunters to enjoy stealth in a limited format in PvE, kinnda like doing the worg runs in late vanilla in LBRS.

Guest Post: Vetting puggers -- beyond GearScore and achievements {WoW}

Jul 18th 2010 4:09AM @Asgaroth - No, I'm implying that Player skill is Unimodal, IE: there is an average and most people are within a single standard deviation of said average. As for how I would quantify it, if I were organizing a study of player skill, I would probably base it on two factors, incidence of error, and output.

Incidence of error would be common to all classes, and would count things like standing in a fire, not following instructions, getting hit by lava waves, pulling agro, etc. An addon like failbot would keep track of a players errors over several runs, and an average of errors per encounter would be created. I would actually use a fight were players are prone to errors, such as rotface or sindragosa, and collect multiple samples for each player.

Output would be class specific, and would track threat/healing/Damage, then compare these numbers to averages based on similarly geared characters of the same class on the same fight. Festergut seems to be an ideal fight to measure these, requiring high output from all roles in order to succeed. Data would have to be collected over several runs so that things like vile gas could be averaged out.

I don't think this kind of study would be an easy one to manage, as you'd want as large of a sample size as you could get, and you'd have to avoid using social organizations such as guilds since the players would all likely be abnormally close to each other in skill. It's probably out of reach for the average player but I would be surprised if blizzard hadn't done studies like this one.

Guest Post: Vetting puggers -- beyond GearScore and achievements {WoW}

Jul 17th 2010 10:40PM I think the author falls short of his stated goals. He says dedication, experience, class knowledge, attitude and ability are the most important things to look for in a pug. While I'm not on board with all of those, he glazes over the fact that there is no way to tell those things without having grouped with the player. He doesn't mention gear in his list of cardinal virtues for a pug, and then his only actionable advice is he uses a tool to check the characters gear and chants before invites, which doesn't jive with his opening statements about the value of gear and gearscore.

He also ascribes to the the skill distribution fallacy. To wit, that good players in poor gear, and bad players in good gear are common enough to significantly compromise any efforts to qualify characters based on their gear. I call this the skill distribution fallacy because, for it to be true there would have to be an even distribution of good, bad and mediocre players. Reality is that a players skill in WoW is much more likely to be a bell curve than a straight line, with the vast majority of players slightly above or below the median skill level.

To further cement why the skill distribution fallacy is wrong, good players have an easier time getting gear than bad players. Thus good players tend to be better geared and are less common on the low end of the gear spectrum, the opposite would also be true. This makes it even less probable that by slotting pugs based on gear requirements the raid lead will miss "the diamond in the rough" or end up with a "Newb in pownzor clothing".

It's easy to dislike gearscore, it's main uses seems to be epeen and to exclude players from pugs. Because of that it's been painted in a very negative light in the court of public opinion. On my server PUG raid leads are often shouted down and mocked in trade for requiring GS minimums, it's gotten to the point where they don't mention gearscore in their broadcast, but ask for your gearscore when you indicate interest.

However if you look at it from a logical standpoint, GS is just a tool that raid leaders can use to give their pugs a better chance at success. It's challenging to be logical on such a polarizing issue, especially when public opinion is so strongly against the mod.

In any case, I would recommend to The author that he try elitist group, it's an addon that does everything wow heroes does, but better. For out of game inspections I would suggest elitistarmory.com, it's a one stop shop for checking a characters previous raid successes, their equipment, and their enchants and gems. It will also notify the viewer is there is anything amiss with the characters gear such as PvP gear, or gear that does not work for his spec/class.

The Daily Quest: Gearscore {WoW}

Jun 16th 2010 4:53PM Love it or hate it gear score is ubiquitous, and likely hundreds of hours have been spent arguing it's relative merits in your trade channel, much to the forehead smacking of those forced to watch it. Here are the five most common objections you'll hear to gear score and my answers to them.

1.) Gear score is just an arbitrary number and doesn't reflect how well geared a character is.

I thought I would open with this one because it allows me to explain how gearscore works. However before I start with that, I think a basic understanding of how blizzard itemizes is required. Blizzard determines the quality of an item by setting it's item level (AKA I-Lvl), examples are gear that drops in Naxx 10 man is I-Lvl 200 and and gear that drops in ToC 25 is I-lvl 245. Item level when combined with the slot the item occupies determines it's item budget, the item budget is then spent on stats at various set exchange rates. A more in depth look at the subject can be found on the EJ boards:

http://elitistjerks.com/f15/t44718-item_level_mechanics/

Gear score looks at the item level of each piece of gear, and assigns it a value based on the slot is occupies, it sums the values for each piece of gear you have equipped and that's your gearscore. The part that confuses most people is that the base gearscore per item level is not linear ratio, IE: an I-Lvl 251 shoulder slot item is not 6 gearscore better than an I-Lvl 245, and is instead 13 points better. This is intentional, gearscore is targeted for certain clear break points at certain I-Lvls, for example full t10 25 man gear (I-Lvl 264) is going to be a 6k gear score, and full t9 25 man is going to be 5k. So the system is far from arbitrary

2.) Gearscore tells you nothing about how skilled a character is.

This is true, but nothing outside of having actually played with the character in question will give you an idea of their relative skill, so why single out gearscore? When your putting together a pug, you often don't have the luxury of only using people who are known quantities. In the absence of knowledge about a characters skill the only safe assumption is to assume they are average. If you have two average players performing the same role, the one in better gear will generally do better.

To push this argument a little further, it's my firm belief that player skill isn't a random distribution, for example highly skilled players are quite a bit more rare than players who are average. To take an educated guess, I imagine the distribution of player skill if charted out would resemble a bell curve, with the vast majority of players a little above or below the median skill level. With players who are fairly close in skill, gear will be one of the determining factor in which one performs better. This is not to say skill doesn't matter, in fact I believe the opposite, skill will trump gear in most circumstances, which dovetails nicely into to our next objection.

3.) I beat a character with a much higher gearscore on the damage/healing/threat meter, so gearscore doesn't tell you anything useful.

This is probably my favorite objection to call people on, part brag, part wishful thinking, and ignoring several key facts. A characters performance is actually the result of several different factors, generally it breaks down into; Buffs/Debuffs/consumables, Fight Gimmicks, Gear, class/spec, and most importantly player skill. An advantage in one area can make up for a disadvantage in other areas. If one player has better gear but the fight gimmicks favor a different player and all other factors are equal, it's probable the less geared character can out perform the better geared one. Skill being the most important factor, and one of the more variable, will usually determine who will perform better. This isn't to say the other factors don't matter, someone in leveling greens and blues will have an impossible time trying to out perform someone in full ICC gear even with a considerable difference in skill.

To get to my point, it's nonsense to compare the end result and one factor of many, and when they don't match say the factor had no effect on the outcome. This is exactly what people are doing when they dismiss gearscore in this way, they assume that the highest gearscored player should be the most effective without considering other factors. When the highest gearscored player is beaten they don't look at the other factors for an explanation, they just dismiss gearscore as having no relevance in the outcome.

4.) People inflate their gearscore by using PvP gear and gear that is not meant for their class.

It's Important to note that gear score tells you what tier of content the characters gear comes from and/or is equivalent to, it does not tell you how good the characters gear is. We can infer how good their gear is based on it's tier, but we have to make an assumption that the character is choosing class/spec appropriate gear, and gemming/enchanting properly. These are generally safe assumptions but as with all things exceptions, and this critics of gear score say it happens all of the time.

Truth is that this does happen, but it's more rare than opponents of gearscore would make it out to be, and occurs mostly at the low end of the gearscore spectrum. The reason it's more common at the low end is that people will often take a purple over a blue even when it's not as good for them as the blue they currently have equipped. It Also follows that players excluded from raids by poor gear, have the most to gain from inflating their gearscore.

As for the high end of gearscore, PvP gear with an I-Lvl equal to current raid content, is generally harder to get than the equivalent PvE gear. You can spend 50 emblems of frost to get I-lvl 251 PvP gloves or 60 emblems to get I-Level 264 PvE gloves. So trying to inflate your gearscore using badges to buy PvP gear is counter productive. The other options are the arena, which is difficult to get more than one or two pieces from unless you are quite good, honor gear which takes quite a bit of time to farm solo and only has limited access to high I-lvl gear, and hoping for random drops from VoA. In general if you see someone in a lot of PvP gear raiding, it's probably an arena player hoping for a PvE drop for a slot thats hard to get in the arena (such as weapons).

As for players using gear that's completely inappropriate for their class/spec, thats rarer still. I have as yet to raid with a spell power hunter or a DK tank with more than an incidental amount of shield block.

5.) Raid leads that use gear score as a criteria for entry into the raid are lazy, and\or unskilled.

Much of my defense of gear score comes from my general dislike of wishful/sloppy thinking. Everyone wants to think they are a beautiful and unique snowflake and their I-Lvl 200 gear is no indication of their raid contribution, unless they do actually suck and then it's totally because their gear. I tend to grumble a bit when I see people doing this and let it slide since this is the internet and everyone has the right to be falsifiability wrong. It took the below article showing up on my raid alliances web site, to make me angry enough to actually start vocally defending gearscore.

http://www.worldofmatticus.com/2009/11/20/a-pugs-doom-knell-link-achiev-or-no-inv/

The article has since had most of the direct reference to gear score and achievements taken out (hopefully due to the scathing comments I left them), but the Linkey linkey reference in the article refers to it's original focus, that you have to be a terrible raid leader to request gear score and achievement for pugs. It stops just shy of saying that you have a small Willey if you ask for them. My favorite part is:

[quote]Linky linky groups want the run to be fast, almost mechanical, with as little difficulty as possible. It’s almost like expecting a group of strangers to boost you, and at level 80 end game content, for Pete’s sake[/quote]

This is probably the most unfair objection to gearscore. Good, bad, and indifferent raid leaders have been checking peoples gear since the armory came out and even before that, and Gearscore is a quicker, simpler, in game way to do so. Why should someone who uses gearscore instead of the armory be any less capable or motivated?

Once again effectiveness is based on a number of factors, and a good raid leader tries to control those factors to give his raid the best possible chance at success. They invite different classes to make sure that the raid has all of the buffs covered, they request consumables be used on difficult fights, and they check a raiders gear to make sure their equipment is adequate for the encounters. This isn't controversial, it's common sense.

WoW Moviewatch: Run This Raid {WoW}

Jun 16th 2010 1:10PM Yeah, this video was made of win. Best line:

"..No escort quest tonight, work was hard and i want to fight"

Encrypted Text: What it feels like to be a rogue {WoW}

May 26th 2010 8:51PM The hunter communities response is best summed up in the below song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdboZcFlpUg

Maintenance day loot from WoW.com {WoW}

May 25th 2010 10:15AM So you guys downed maintenance day, what did he drop.

Cataclysm Class Changes: Shaman {WoW}

Apr 7th 2010 12:29PM You'll only be able to do that once every two minutes, so I don't know how useful it will be in longer movement based fights. Seems like something more aimed at PvP, where run and gun style of healing was limited to druids and disc priest.

Know Your Lore: The Alliance {WoW}

Dec 31st 2009 4:49PM I played WC3 RoC and TFT, and I was originally surprised to see the night elfs and not the high elves in the alliance.

The only thing I can think of was that the night elves natural isolationism kept them from joining the horde or the alliance, at least at first. During the 10 years between TFT and WoW they were faced with the hordes growing power in Kalimdor, and their inability to stop the hordes aggressive expansion into their territory. This left the Nelfs with two choices, be conquered by the horde, or seek allies capable of defeating the horde. With the dragons unwilling/unable to intervene, and their wood land allies such as the furbolg being in a state of disarray after the fight against Archimond, this left only the Alliance of Lordaeron.

The Alliance would have been happy to have the night elves join, after the third war they knew the night elves to be a powerful nation, and they too were worried about the hordes growing power. By aiding the night elves they kept the hordes attention on kalimdor, and the night elves would provide a logical staging area should the alliance ever need to attack the horde directly.