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Posts with tag RNG

Poll: RNG gearing or points-based gearing?

There seems to have been something of a shift of late in Blizzard's gearing philosophy. We've moved from a heavily points-based system, where players had to earn currency -- specifically valor -- to buy items. They also had to earn reputation, which was another thing we can compare to points, although they're not a currency you can spend. Now, we've got Valor only used as an upgrade system, players are reliant on drops for the initial item to upgrade. The Timeless Isle does award currency, but you're more likely to rely on RNG-based drops to get gear from there. Not to mention the RNG nature of Warforged gear.

And it looks like this is only going to move more towards RNG with Warlords' removal of currencies, removal of reforging, and the addition of sockets and tertiaries as RNG elements on top of the Warforged system. PvP gear remains mercifully points-based, and in a play system where gear equality is so important, we can only hope it remains the case. But in PvE, what's the good and bad of each?

Well, points-based gearing is predictable. It gives you certainty and goals to work towards. Just so long as you keep grinding points, you know categorically that you will get that piece of gear. You can see your points build up, and it's satisfying. On the downside that predictability makes it less exciting. In PvP, that's no bad thing -- you certainly don't want the opposition to get their weapon and 4-set first while you get 2 rings, a neck and some bracers!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Navigating the loot

Horridon
While perusing Wowhead's blue tracker the other day I stumbled across this thread on the EU forums about the LFR loot system, its frustrations, and potential alternatives. Community manager Draztal is pretty active in the thread, which is nice to see -- there is plenty of back-and-forth and, despite player accusations of just parroting Blizzard policy, Draztal has a lot of good points to make about the nature of effort and reward.

The truth is that WoW has never consistently rewarded players for running dungeons or raids. I still get a little involuntary curl to my lip anytime I think about Burning Crusade-era heroics, particularly Magister's Terrace, and how often I ran them trying to get some piece of gear, and how often my groups wiped and nothing I needed dropped anyway (and all those useless PvP gems).

I agree it's frustrating to run LFR and only get gold, though I did have to sit down and think about why, in particular. After all, I killed Saurfang in Icecrown for probably upwards of three months before I finally got the Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff. During all that time it never occurred to me that my failure to receive loot was an indication that the entire system needed an overhaul. After a couple minutes ruminating, though, I think the answer is pretty obvious: loot is the only real reason to run LFR (with the exception of just experiencing content, for those who may not have the opportunity to raid otherwise).

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Raiding

The OverAchiever: Help update our list of evil achievements

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, the abyss stares back.

Almost two years ago, I wrote a series of articles for OverAchiever that turned out to be one of the most popular themes the column's ever visited: evil achievements. It turns out that a lot of folks care deeply about achievements that have been -- allow me to quote myself -- "milked from the angry teat of Satan himself."

Now, it has to be said that all achievements are technically optional. No one is forcing you to do anything, why do you play this game anyway if you aren't having fun, yadda yadda ... all true. But I assume you're reading The OverAchiever because you really like achievements and you think they add something to the game. (Either that, or you're just reading because you're bored, but that's fine too.) Personally, I don't think players really mind difficult achievements or even achievements that they have to peck away at over an extended period of time. But there's a line between an achievement that is genuinely difficult on its own merits and one that makes you privately think the developers want you dead.

So with that in mind, how would we reconstruct a list of evil achievements in 2012 during the Cataclysm era?

You can find the original series here if you're interested in a trip down Memory Lane, although I'll give you a quick rundown on them past the cut:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Achievements, The Overachiever

Arcane Brilliance: Perfecting the fire tree

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, though, it's mostly for fire mages, a spec that isn't at all broken. And yet, here we go, spending a thousand words or so endeavoring to fix it, just going to show that mages, given the opportunity, can and will complain about absolutely anything.

When I started this triumvirate of columns highlighting the shortcomings of the three mage trees, I knew that this would be the point at which I would start having problems. See, things were pretty easy with the arcane and frost trees. You can find those two previous columns behind the following links:
Both of those trees have real problems. You remember when you were a kid and you didn't want to eat your mom's meatloaf because it looked and smelled like something left in the wake of a mule with irritable bowels? And then she'd tell you to eat it because kids in whatever African country happened to be having a famine that year had it way worse than you? That's how frost and arcane mages want to respond when fire mages complain.

You think you have problems? Well how about I trade you my Arcane Barrage for your moving Scorches? See what kind of problems you have then.

The fire tree is flat-out incredible right now. It's near the top of the damage charts at the highest levels of Cataclysm raiding, the talent tree is spectacularly designed from top to bottom, and most importantly, the spec is just really fun to play.

Still, there are a couple of nagging issues -- annoyances that, if addressed, might just result in the game's first truly perfect spec. I think that's a noble goal, and we're gathered here today in pursuit of it.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Breakfast Topic: A random topic

a·chieve·ment - n.
1. The act of accomplishing or finishing.
2. Something accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance.

The achievement system was introduced back just before the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. There wasn't really any purpose to the achievement system, although some achievements give pets, items, or titles -- the main purpose of an achievement seems to be just... something to do when you've got nothing else in mind.

Personally, I love the achievement system. I like being able to plug away at something tedious and somewhat mind numbing every now and again, regardless of the fact that those points really don't mean anything. What bothers me though, and has bothered me since the first cries of an achievement being too difficult to complete is the little voice in the back of my mind that wonders if people realize what an achievement is supposed to be.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Hallow's End was exactly random enough

Now that Hallow's End is over for another year, it's time to settle up. We already asked whether you got what you wanted, but according to the informal polls (and the feedback I've been hearing), quite a few people didn't actually get everything they were trying for. As we mentioned on the podcast the other week, many people who said they did everything they could probably didn't (did you really go trick-or-treating every hour of every day during the holiday?), but it's not too far a stretch to suggest that maybe the drop rates for some of the hardest items to get (the Horseman's helm and the Sinister Squashling pet seem to be the toughest, though I heard a lot of stories about hard-to-find toothpicks, too) are a little bit lower than they should be for fairness.

Not so, says Bornakk -- he said while the holiday was ongoing that the drop rates were fine, and now that it's over, he says they're still fine. That doesn't mean Blizzard won't change it for next year, but it does mean that they don't have any current plans to change the holiday at all. "The randomness," as he says, "can win sometimes."

Our condolences if you were trying for an item and didn't get it -- even on a 50/50 coin flip, there's still a chance to see one side 1000 times in a row. We sincerely mean this one: better luck next year.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Buffs, Forums

Shifting Perspectives: A 3.1 miscellany


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author ferrets around her inbox for several unanswered questions concerning patch 3.1.

Greetings, Druids. For a while now I've been adding to a list of questions I've had for the upcoming 3.1 patch. Some of these are questions I got from other players, some are questions that occurred to me while reading various versions of the 3.1 PTR patch notes, and others are mostly-illegible bits scribbled in the middle of testing Ulduar fights --

dasiewlerjewDIFEEIRKdfklsd? 3349FHDFHDIOJKfkdsfadioer. REIOWEL?


Must've written that one on Kologarn. I believe it is a super-secret, devilishly clever guide to the fight that brilliantly exploits group positioning to produce a clean, one-shot kill on the first attempt, but alas, we will never know. Such are the dangers posed by bad handwriting, people. Study your Palmer Method!

This evening, I will attempt to answer all of the following questions, or to point you in the direction of other bloggers who have. These deal with all three Druid specs, so let's get started!

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Pet Bombling and Lil' Smoky available to all Engineers in patch 3.1

With the Patch 3.1 patch notes as long as they are, even we miss a lot of the little things that crop up in them. Luckily, I was reading Kaliope's WoW Crafting Blog (which is fantastic) and happened to spot this little tidbit: All Engineers, regardless of specialization, will be able to get their hands on both Lil' Smoky and the Pet Bombling. You don't need to do the repeatable quest(s) for them and pray to the RNG gods anymore, either.

The schemata for Lil' Smoky and the Pet Bombling are now Bind on Pickup drops from Gnomeregan. I know, I know, Gnomeregan is terrible, but most pet collectors are so overleveled for that place that this new method of getting the recipes should be dramatically easier. The Pet Bombling appears to be a 100% drop off of Thermaplugg, the final boss of the dungeon. Lil' Smoky is slightly less reliable, but not by much. He drops off of the Arcane Nullifiers and only the Arcane Nullifiers, as far as testers have found. That makes sense, considering Lil' Smoky shares their model.

If you're going to be hunting down these bad (and smelly) boys come patch 3.1, Gnomeregan is the place to be. Kaliope even has some further advice on tracking down Lil' Smoky, should you need it. Good luck on your hunt!

Filed under: Engineering, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Encrypted Text: Rogue defenses need to lose the RNG

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we discuss why random chance shouldn't have a place in Rogue defenses.

As a member of the Rogue community, I do my best to stay abreast of the different topics of discussion. Every true Rogue's goal is to see the class excel in every area we attempt to conquer. By melding our collective brain power, we can come up with solutions for some of the problems and challenges facing us today.

Two concepts that I've seen discussed recently by both Aldriana (of Elitist Jerks / theorycrafting fame) and Akrios (of roguerogue.com) is the idea of skill, and our relationship with it. I define skill as the ability of a player to rapidly react to incoming stimuli, such as watching your opponents' cast bars. Skill is our ability to counter unknown actions quickly. However, it seems like it has been taking a back seat to RNG in WotLK so far.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Breakfast Topic: It's gotta happen sometime

Whitney over on WoW Ladies LJ has a story that's so improbable it must be true. Not only did her guild pick up an epic on command in Naxxramas, and not only did they pick up two of the exact same epic item in a row, but they actually got three of the exact same item in the same room. As you regular readers know, I'm horrible at math, so I'm not sure how unlikely that is (you'd probably have to figure how much trash you actually kill every Naxx run and combine how likely it is for each of them to drop the item), but I'm guessing very. Still, given that every drop is randomly generated when a mob spawns (in other words, when you walk into an instance), it's still possible. Even a flipped coin can come up heads 100 times in a row.

So yes, even though we don't think about it much, it's totally possible to get Mr. Pinchy on the first try, or pick up three epics in three pulls. Ever just been really, really lucky? I've had the opposite happen, too -- I go for an hour without seeing a drop, check all of the databases to make sure I'm in the right place, and then just before I quit, sure enough, whatever I was looking for drops.

Got any stories of the random number generator (RNG) being really random?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Murphy's Alt Law

The other day while doing her usual mystic rituals at the Auction House, my wife who was on her recently-turned-80 Priest saw an LFG for 25-man Archavon. She decides to hop onto her Warlock, who still needed the Valorous version of her gloves, and proceeds to do the raid. When the group fells Archavon some minutes later, surprise surprise -- the big lug drops the Valorous Leggings of Faith and the Valorous Robes of Faith. The painful irony is that there wasn't even a Priest in the raid. Head against keyboard, she couldn't help but think "if only I had brought my Priest..." but I've got a feeling that if she did, the Valorous Plagueheart Gloves would've dropped. It's kind of Murphy's Alt Law. Whatever loot drops will be what you alt needs.

It's something that everyone who has an alt has experienced. Last week while doing Malygos, one of our officers hopped onto his Mage to give the raid some more DPS since his Paladin tank wasn't needed for the fight. Sure enough, Alexstraza's Gift opened up containing the Barricade of Eternity, which his alt needed. Have you guys ever experienced this? Running on your tank only to see the drop, which would have been better suited for your caster, get disenchanted or rolled off for greed? The kind of situations where you wish everything was Binds-to-Account, instead. If only you could pay off the RNG...

Filed under: Items, Breakfast Topics

Forum post of the day: Stunted stuns


Badeggplant of Hyjal is frustrated that Starfall will lose its random-proc stun effect from Celestial Focus in patch 3.0.8. In her eyes this removes the utility of the spell and makes it a poor use of mana with a long cool down. She believes that the damage from the spell should be increased to replace the missing stun.

What's interesting about this thread was Ghostcrawler's response. Blizzard is working to remove random proc stuns, such as this one, but also mentioned that Blackout will soon be on the blacklist. He claims that Blizzard is "waging a war" against random stun effects. Many are concerned that Impact will also be impacted.


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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Breakfast Topic: The elusive achievements of Hallow's End

I have to admit. Achievements were a pretty bright idea. Holiday achievements, even more so. Now I have something to keep me focused through the holiday seasons, keep my eyes on the prize so to speak. For example, with Hallow's End fully underway, I've been racking up the achievements on my Hunter, looking to get that title. It's a nice goal to strive for.

It's a good thing that the A Mask for All Occasions requirement will be off Hallowed Be Thy Name in 3.0.3, or I'd be in trouble. Collecting one of each different mask? Please. Actually, I haven't even managed to collect one single mask, leaving The Mask Task woefully undone. I'm not sure what it is, but even doing 3-5 Trick or Treats a day, I have not managed to get one of those flimsy things on my Hunter. In past Hallow's Ends, I seemed to be destroying masks constantly, saying not nice things under my breath. This year, I pray for one, and instead have to deal with Penny Pouches and Candy Corn and costumes and no sign of a Mask.

The random number generator just hasn't been kind to me. As it is, I was afraid that the toothpicks would do me in. I didn't even get a set of Tooth Picks on my Hunter until yesterday.

The other item I need to finish out my Hallowed Title is the Hallowed Helm, which comes both from the Headless Horseman and Trick or Treating. I've seen it drop from the Horseman a few times, but I've always lost the rolls. But it's a rare drop, a low drop rate and a bit of luck should be expected to be needed for this stuff. But here's the funny thing: I have actually found Hallowed Helms while Trick or Treating. The problem is, I got them on 2 of my alts, my Paladin and my Warlock. Not exactly useful for my Hunter. But I keep trick or treating, praying my Hallowed Helm luck will strike one more time, and in the meantime admire how badass my Warlock looks with a pumpkin head.

How goes your achievement hunt? Do you have one or two Hallow's End Achievements that just keep eluding you? For that matter, how's your luck on the Headless Horseman? I know that despite having done a run a day on him, I have yet to see a sword, a horse, or a flying broom, so I'm interested to find if anyone is seeing those in abundance.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Breakfast Topics, Achievements

Legendary Weapons: Drops vs. questing

Image via wowhead

A Discussion of the newly dropped Thori'dal bought up a lively discussion on Legendary weapons in my guild chat the other day, which has in turn set my own mental wheels turning. Looking at the difference between the pre-Burning Crusade Legendaries and the Burning Crusade Legendaries, there's one big difference that stands out (beyond the level difference): The pre-BC Legendaries were quested, while the BC Legendaries have been drops.

The clear-cut off seems to suggest that at some point, Blizzard decided that creating long, involved quests in order to obtain Legendary weapons just wasn't the way to go, and they'd rather let the RNG take care of distributing Legendaries. But the question is, did they make the right choice? There's good arguments for both sides.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Quests, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Does the RNG hate you?

It's your 20th run in Shadowlabs and just know Murmur is going to drop your Hallowed Garments so you can complete your Priest dungeon set. I mean, it's been 19 times already and you've sharded the Tidefury Kilt how many times? It's gonna drop this time, you feel it in your bones. Down he goes and the on his body you find...a Sonic Spear. You're guildies don't need to be on voice to hear your yelling.

It doesn't matter if you're waiting for a specific drop or rolling on sweet raid loot or prospecting ore for rare gems, the question remains: does the random number generator hate you?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

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