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Posts with tag communication

On lag and communication: Two interrelated issues

On Thursday, January 8th Nethaera sent out a memo to all the fan sites asking them to announce it, and Eyonix posted on the forums for all the rest of us. Latency and connectivity issues will be fixed in patch 3.0.8. The crowds cheered, babies cried in joy, and dog and cats started to live together. The world would be right again.

Fast forward 15 days later.

The high latency while raiding places like Naxxramas and Malygos is still there. The servers are still packed with queue. The patch was a near disaster. And we're still getting bug reports in every 10 minutes, both in comments and via our tip-line.

Many people want to know why this hasn't been fixed. People are out looking for blood. The whole head on a pike sort of thing.

A better way to approach the situation is to try to come up with contingency plans and other activities to do. If Blizzard cannot get their servers to work, to the point that many consider the game playable, then people will need to focus on other aspects of the game or try to work around the problematic parts.

On the couple servers I play on many of the top guilds have decided to stop raiding for the night if there are any problems with high latency in the raid instances. On Alex's server people raid only for a couple hours after 10pm when the queues and population have dropped off. And still other guilds I know have just said forget it completely and are on hiatus until these issues are fixed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard

How Blizzard mishandled the BlizzCon ticket situation

As you may or may not know, we here at WoW Insider are not an official Blizzard fansite. There are a few different reasons for that, but one of them is that within the Fansite Program Code of Conduct, there is a clause that states, "fansites should present content that is supportive of World of Warcraft and Blizzard Entertainment." We don't disagree with that clause -- fansites are run by fans, and they should support Blizzard. But our status as an unofficial site leaves us completely free to talk indepth about situations where Blizzard has messed up big time. And as many players already know, the BlizzCon ticket sales process that took place earlier this week is definitely one of those situations.

Blizzard is, of course, a game company. No one expects them to put on events like WWI and BlizzCon -- they do so to serve the community that's grown up around their games (and, let's be fair, market and advertise their products to the core of their fanbase). And the community loves those events, both hearing about and attending them. Which is why it was a surprise to no one (except maybe Blizzard themselves) that when the ticket sales kicked off Monday morning, it was a nightmare -- the site was hammered by fans trying desperately to buy tickets, the Failoc was a familiar sight, and within a few hours, even's main site was down.

Everyone could have predicted that there'd be problems like that -- when a fanbase of 11 million tries to buy 12,000 tickets, of course you're going to have technical problems. But Blizzard's mishandling of the situation didn't happen on Monday morning -- anyone can suffer from server outages. It happened over the next two days, days full of frustration, endless page refreshing, and a lack of useful communication from Blizzard about just what was happening.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Blizzard, News items, Guides, BlizzCon

Officers' Quarters: Pointing fingers

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

In an online environment where people rarely, if ever, come face-to-face, it can be quite easy for misunderstandings to occur. Ninety percent of the time, these misunderstandings happen because someone makes an assumption about another player's intentions based on something they did or said. In those circumstances, who is to blame: the person who didn't make their communication or intentions clear, or the person who jumped to conclusions? In my opinion, both share fault, but pointing fingers gets us nowhere. This week's e-mail is a good example:

I was just booted from a guild and I have a question about the circumstance. I took an enchanting recipe from the guild recipe tab and learned it. They accidentally put it into the wrong tab, so instead of the private tab they put it into the open guild tab. I apparently wasn't supposed to have it and was booted. Now I have a guild harassing me and demanding I replace the pattern. I would like to but it won't get me back into the guild but it might hurt my chances for getting into another guild. What should i do and is it really my fault?

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

All the World's a Stage: Pros and cons of total-immersion roleplay

When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.

There are degrees to roleplaying. Some people like it "light," so that it never gets too intense, you never have to actually "work" to make your character profound or lore-worthy, and it's generally just a fun way to pass some time. Others like it "heavy;" they view their characters as works of art, taking special care to make their characters believable and interesting, and sometimes planning special roleplaying events for their guild to enjoy. Some even try to do everything in-character, from repairing armor to marking out targets with raid symbols.

Recently I joined just such a full-immersion roleplaying guild, and have been trying out their particular style. To be fair, I still have a number of friends on my server that I usually speak out-of-character with, because that's what we're used to, but for everyone in this guild, I do my best to stay in character at all times, with everything my character says and does. To some this may seem like an unnecessary pain, but to others it's a fun experience. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of roleplaying.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

WoW Insider pwns a Mage, Druid, and Priest

Last night the WoW Insider arena team went over to the Arena Tournament server and played 14 matches over a couple hours. We went 8-6 for the evening, a much better number than our 3-11 score the week before. That places us at 11-17, with a team rating of 1435. Not too bad considering we've only played together a handful of times, and some of us are playing completely unknown classes.

So what helped us go in the right direction? A few things. First, we were communicating much more over vent. We were letting each other know what our target was, where we were going, what our status was, etc. This gave us the edge in a few matches.

Another thing that helped us win more was focus targeting a player down. This action in itself might seem like a no-brainer to many of you out there, but it is easier said than done. One of the reasons we had success in the video above is that we focus targeted the Mage down quickly. This was good not only from a DPS stand point, but from a target selection stand point as well. Mages are squishy, and go splat easily. This Mage didn't last long.

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Filed under: PvP, Arena

WoW Rookie: Communication Part 2

WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

I have to compliment Blizzard on paying attention to the tools the players are using. They've made many changes to the User Interface to integrate those tools into the World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, like the voice chat interface, many of those changes have had bugs and have not been widely accepted by players. As you progress through the levels you will find that you will likely have to download third party programs to facilitate your play.

Ventrilo and Teamspeak are some of the most widely used third party applications used in WoW. These tools facilitate voice chat which is necessary when quickly coordinating activities. In most cases you will find yourself excused from a raid or premade battleground if you do not have the proper tools.

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Filed under: Tips, PvP, Raiding, Guides, WoW Rookie

WoW Rookie: Raid 101

WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

It's been brought to my attention that there are rookies of all levels. Recent columns have covered very basic topics such as instance play, group etiquette, and account security. Once you get to level 70, you'll have several options including solo play, PvP, and instance raiding. Raiding is a major part of the game, but can be somewhat overwhelming at first.

Raid instances vary from ten, twenty, twenty-five, and forty players. These instances are similar to five-person dungeons but require considerably more coordination. Ever player must work in concert to bring down challenging bosses, and they are typically rewarded with excellent gear for their efforts.

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Filed under: Tips, Guilds, Raiding, Guides, WoW Rookie

Forum Post of the Day: Ask a CM

Who knew that all we had to do to solve Blizzard's communication problems was, y'know, ask? Azarialle puts out the idea of what you'd ask a CM if you were sure the question would be answered fully, and lo and behold, Drysc appears in the thread actually answering questions. Of course, he strays away from the big stuff (he adeptly dodges a question about Tseric), but he does provide some pretty honest answers on everything from the ghost wolf problem to the voice chat implementation in patch 2.2 and what classes he likes the least as a player (pet classes -- he doesn't get them). Very interesting stuff.

Blizzard is aiming towards doing some of this stuff with Blizzcast, but I could definitely see a benefit in doing a weekly honest Q&A session like this. If you ever played Dark Age of Camelot back in the day, you know that the weekly Grab Bag was a fun way for CMs to answer player queries, and I don't think Blizzard would suffer from doing this a little more formally maybe once a week.

We've had lots of questions about the game, and it's super nice to clearly get some open and honest answers. Hunting around the forums is all well and good (to their credit, the CMs do try to answer questions like this, only it's in random threads on all the different forums), but it would be nice to put question and answer in the same place on a weekly basis.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Bugs, Blizzard, News items, Humor, Forums

The perils of progressive testing

After Skellum of Dalaran posts on the forums asking just where all these PTR changes are coming from, Nethaera sobers us all up about what the PTR is all about: progressive testing. She says that Blizzard has said from the beginning that there will be changes in the notes, and that things we thought were the end of the world in the beginning have changed or been completely removed. Welcome to the perilous world of progressive testing.

And it occurs to me that I've broken my own rule about patience on the PTRs. When those Shaman notes dropped with only a Stormstrike icon, it didn't occur to me (or almost any other players) that Blizzard wasn't done yet. And while the latest changes still aren't done (we're still waiting for an Elemental buff), things have been fixed somewhat since then.

But is this really just players doubting Blizzard? They posted the patch notes with just one small disclaimer -- would they have been able to quell the furor a bit more if they'd made it more clear that what's posted on the PTR notes has almost no connection to what will show up on the live realms? But then again, Neth never really answered the question of where these changes are coming from -- if Shamans hadn't QQ'd so much over the Elemental Mastery and Nature's Swiftness nerf, would it ever have been reverted? Blizzard seems to be simultaneously telling players to be patient and also give feedback. If players had been patient when the EM and NS nerf came down, and it hadn't caused such an uproar, would it have been changed back at all?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Counting up 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 more Shaman complaints

There's a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Shaman disappointment with patch 2.4, and it's this: "1, 2, 3, 4... 6?" As you may have noticed in the patch notes, Call of Thunder (an Elemental Shaman talent that increases the crit strike chance of Lightning spells) had five ranks that gave 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, and 6% respectively. But patch 2.4 will bring it in line with standard arithmetic, and have rank five give 5% crit chance.

An obvious nerf, right? Blizzard doesn't seem to be so sure. Players say that there was a reason rank five gave 6% chance to crit, and it was probably to balance the ability with other abilities in endgame. But Neth says that though it is a nerf, the devs did it just to bring the values in line with other similar ranked talents. Even giving Neth the benefit of the doubt on the devs' decision, that seems really unlikely-- no one would "accidentally" count 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. Clearly the extra percentage crit chance was in there for a reason, and the devs shouldn't change it back unless Shamans really are critting too much (and by all accounts, they are not).

It seems like a lot of whining over a small issue (and yes, that could be said about all of this Shaman business), but once again not only is Blizzard not clear on their communication, but they continue to mangle Shaman relations-- in a patch where Elemental Shamans are finally hoping for a buff, the devs decide instead to nerf one of their biggest talents, supposedly to fix a mathematical bug. If the devs suddenly said that Fel Concentration was getting nerfed to 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, and 50% (rather than the 14%-70% it's at now) because those numbers were more "in line," Warlocks would throw a fit. And that's exactly why Shamans are so unhappy right now.

Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Talents, Forums

On CMs and their thread choices

Unholycow on Thrall finally calls out the CMs (in a more literate-than-usual way, I mean) for something they've been doing a long time on the forums-- posting in inconsequential threads, while big player questions remain unanswered. As he says, "what's going on?"

Neth answers pretty quickly, and this issue goes almost directly back to the issue of communication between players and CMs. The CMs feel they have a lot more freedom to post on silly threads, obviously, and so they do it more. But when talking about "serious" issues (or maybe just more touchy subjects), their words carry more weight, and so they have to pick and choose what they say.

And to that, I have to agree with Tolki, who posts in the thread that we'd rather have an Oprah than a Tony Snow. Sure, things didn't work out so well the last time a CM was completely honest with us, but surely there's a middle ground. BlizzCast is a start-- maybe the devs and CMs should work together to make sure that fairly often (once a week or even once a day), they can speak out on a "serious" issue, and give the player base something to chew on. It could be argued that the CMs' words carry so much weight on serious issues because we almost never hear from them, and if that's true, a regular schedule of discussions with either CMs or devs would help give the CMs more freedom to be more honest with us about what they think about (hey heeeeyy) what's really going on in game.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Forums

"go as sd d a p" Means I Love You

Isbah from Thunderlord asks over on the Priest forums if it's possible to communicate with the opposing side. The answer? It is, but it's not easy. By now, everyone knows that if Alliance hears a Horde player saying "kek," they're really saying "lol." But it's also possible to go the other way-- if you do it carefully, you can say what sounds like nonsense to you, and the opposing faction will hear words in English.

Most of the solutions players present to Isbah come from the great Project Azeroth (we've covered it here before), a "Language Annex" that's compiling a list of what works crosslanguage and what doesn't. But a few of the players in the thread offer combinations that even Project Azeroth hasn't documented yet.

Robble says that if you're Horde, you can say "qq" and it will come out as "ha" (which is really funny). "ok" appears as "no" to Alliance when Horde says it (very useful), and "ok ivx" comes out as "no kil" (if you're trying to avoid a murder, I guess).

And Relic from Balnazzar has even better combinations, built from Project Azeroth phrases:

What Alliance Says = What Horde Hears

"go as sd d a p" = "me love you"
"d a p yu vb" = "you lose"
"d a p go a zz fff bb a zz" = "you me one verse one"
"p bb go ee fff" = "use me lover"

"you lose" and "you me one verse one" might come in pretty handy on the battlefield, but "me love you"? Too much of this cross-faction talking, and the war in Azeroth might come to an end!

*By the way, I'm the gnome in the picture above. Anyone want to figure out what the big cow was saying to me? It's "kek maza kaz" if the picture is too small.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Tips, How-tos, PvP

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