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The warning signs of player burnout

The warning signs of player burnout

Does logging in fill you with dread?

Do you feel obligated to log in? Are you only playing because you feel like it's expected of you, or that your guild will fall apart without you? Do you resent them for it? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you, dear reader, are suffering from player burnout.

Player burnout is a consequence of social gaming. In a game like World of Warcraft, activities like raiding, arena or rated battlegrounds cannot be accomplished alone, they require groups of people to engage in them. They require scheduling and ask us to do more than simply show up and play - there's research into strategies, learning proper group composition, handling the minutia of loot distribution or discussing how to counter specific enemy action or what have you. Especially when leading a group of players into these situations, there's a level of added responsibility. Be it as a tank, as a DPS lead, as the person calling for focus fire in arena, the flag carrier in rated BG play, or as the person behind the scenes managing loot council or running the website, players can grow exhausted with what comes to feel like a burden.

So what if you're going through player burnout? What can you do about it? Well, I'm no psychiatrist, but there are a few things you can do in game to reduce your stress level.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Addon Spotlight: Customizing PlayerPowerBarAlt

Each week, WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same.

With the Raid Finder coming in patch 4.3, many new players will be storming their way through the halls of Blackwing Descent, the Bastion of Twilight, and the fiery plains of Ragnaros' domain. Cataclysm raid encounters have bestowed upon players a new mechanic that will show up during some of the encounters, most notably Atramedes' sound bar, Cho'gall's corruption bar, feathers on Alysrazor, Rhyolith's turning bar, and the concentration bar on the heroic Majordomo Staghelm fight. This new interface element can function in many different ways based on the fight it is being used, but all fall under the same category: PlayerPowerBarAlt.

PlayerPowerBarAlt has been a thorn in many player's sides, especially since the default settings for this raid-centric UI element falls squarely in the wrong place -- usually underneath your action bars, unit frames, or whatever you've put right above the default action bar location. Players have been asking me since Cataclysm's launch how to move and manipulate that bar, so here's a dedicated column to just that topic.

Read more →

Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

The Lawbringer: Avatar rights as expectations

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Last week, I introduced the concept that the denizens of a virtual world may have gained, over time, the right to rights within that virtual world. Raph Koster, the lead developer of Ultima Online, explored the idea over 10 years ago when the MMO genre was in its developmental infancy. These rights synced up with a world where there was a distinction between free-to-play MUDs and for-pay subscription worlds in the U.S. and European markets. Today, the MMO has transformed into a new beast from the close-knit communities of MUDs and the relatively forgiving user base of EverQuest and Ultima Online.

The people who made WoW are the contemporaries of Raph Koster and children of the MMO genre that EverQuest cemented as important. How then, in over 10 years, has Koster's declaration of the rights of avatars held up to the incredible growth of the industry and Blizzard's own impressive growth? The short answer: The code of conduct you follow in World of Warcraft is pretty lenient, all things considered. The long answer: Well, there's always a long answer.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Breakfast topic: Your biggest regret?


There are some things in World of Warcraft I wish I could have done differently. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like had I rolled a different class other than a priest. There are bosses that I wish I had killed before they became irrelevant. Alas, it all boils down to time that I wish I had. As both a GM and a player, it is difficult to foresee the results of your actions and you never know what the correct choice is. Even when killing bosses and healing my raider group, I've made crucially wrong decisions. And it sucks when I realize a global cooldown spent on a Pain Suppression instead of Power Word: Shield would've saved a wipe.

Have you ever experienced a moment or made a decision that you've regretted since?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Blizzard comments on the status of guild housing


The topic of player housing continues to crop up as a question
on the official forums. Blizzard has stated that guild halls or guild housing will not to be included in the game (at least, not any time soon).
According to Bornakk:

While this originally came up before I was around, I think this has been answered at some BlizzCons since then. While we think this could be a fun idea, we also like the idea of seeing a lot of people in cities and don't want to make main cities feel like ghost towns - if you need an example of this head to Silvermoon (yeah, that's a cheap shot, I know). So for now this idea remains an interesting idea but we'd have to make sure it fits into the game well and meets our expectations which are pretty high for something like this.

The last game I participated in which had guild housing was Guild Wars. Inside, it stored various mementos and trinkets from different epic quests or sigils that my guild had won in the Hall of Heroes (and this was a long time ago, mind you). But that was it! There wasn't much to do from a PvE standpoint. I think we had our own vendor and a "Guild Lord" (someone like Drek or Vanndar Stormpike in Alterac Valley). Later versions of the game had guilds attacking other guilds on their turf. The guild hall in this respect played a huge PvP component the game because the hall you selected would also be your home base complete with various terrain advantages and defenses if you were "attacked" by other guilds.

Now that would be cool.

Unfortunately, there just doesn't seem to be a purpose to having a guild hall in the game. However, I'm not going to completely discount the idea. Just because the developers have said they're ruling it out now doesn't mean it won't be included later in the future. Players continued to ask about flying around in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, right? All it takes is a new expansion, but at least we're getting it.

I'm shotgunning the Beer Garden.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Behold, the power of macros

I don't PvP that often (especially not with my Hunter), but I still found this list of Hunter macros over at Huntman's Lodge really awesome. Whether you just want to make some common tasks easier (the one-button target/Hunter's Mark/pet attack/start attack is a macro every single Hunter should have), or you want to cut out some keystrokes (the /use [target=player] Heavy Frostweave Bandage is a macro that's great for every class out there), macros can provide a lot of solid support to your game in any situation. For some reason, we all use addons, but macros are generally overlooked, despite the fact that the system Blizzard has built in for macros can be pretty powerful all by itself.

Garwulf has even more macros for Hunters on a special page, and of course there are lots and lots of suggested macros and macro guides available online. Especially since macros started being saved to the server instead of your individual machine at home, if you're still using regular abilities on your bars, looking over the available macros for your class should help you out a lot.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Fan stuff, PvP, Leveling

Find in-game friends on Livejournal's WoW Friending meme

The WoW Livejournal communities are really some of the best citizens in the WoW community at large -- they always have interesting discussions and insights going on over there, and if you ever need a question answered or just want an opinion on something in-game, they're always ready with some insight. That's why I think this WoW Friending meme that spirdirslayer has going on is such a good idea -- basically, if you're over on Livejournal and are looking to meet a few players on your realm, you can head over to the page, find your server, and then enter your information along with a few survey questions and check out who else is playing with you in-game.

I almost wish Blizzard did more social networking stuff like this -- through the Armory, we can find out everything we need to know about each others' characters these days, but there's not much we can learn about the people behind those characters. Our own profiles here on WoW.com help with some of that as well, but it would be nice to have it all integrated in the game somehow: examine a character and find out that their player is living in the same town you are. Completely optional, of course -- not everyone wants to socialize to that extent. But for those interested, it seems like it would be a lot of fun.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves

WoW Ladies in the spotlight


Just a quick word of congrats tonight to our friends the moderators of the WoW Ladies Livejournal group -- their community has been spotlighted over on the Livejournal front page. Definitely some well-deserved recognition for one of the best sub-communities in World of Warcraft.

The mods over there are ready to deal with the exposure, too -- though you can see over in this thread that they're a little "dazzled" by all of the new traffic, they've (as usual) got things well in hand. They've created a series of "Master Posts" to keep overflow on the channel to a minimum, and as you can see from their main page, they're taking the growth right in stride, still showing all kinds of interesting viewpoints on the game from their various posters.

The WoW community is a gigantic one, but it's all of the little interrelated communities within it (from us here at WoW Insider to the theorycrafters on Elitist Jerks to all of the hundreds of WoW player blogs, each with their own little voice and insight) that really make it such a diverse and creative group. Good to see one of the best WoW communities out there spotlighted on a major mainstream site.

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

A WoW player's guide to Warhammer Online


Heard about Warhammer Online, but the thought of a whole new virtual world to get lost in frightens and confuses you? Worry not -- our good friends at Massively (like WoW Insider, but for all MMOs) have you covered. Just in time for the impending Warhammer Online release, they've posted a WoW player's guide to Warhammer Online. With their in-depth guide, you can take all that knowledge you've racked up about Azeroth and its inhabitants, and carry it right on over to Altdorf and the rest of the world of Warhammer.

Need a class translation guide, or want the lowdown on what quests and crafting are like? Perhaps the biggest difference between WoW and WAR is a bigger emphasis on PvP of all kinds, and Massively's got the story for you on that as well. If you've been interested in checking out Warhammer at all (or if a few friends have mentioned they're switching), this guide will bring you right up to speed.

Of course, even EA admits that Warhammer won't really be a rival to World of Warcraft, but there's no question that the game has already influenced how even Blizzard makes its games, so no matter how many players choose to cross over, there's no question the new MMO on the block is going to make a splash. The game comes out in just over a week on September 18 -- if this guide has piqued your interest, stay tuned to Massively for more on what's up with the game and its release.

Filed under: Night Elves, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Quests, Death Knight

Easy macro for getting your coordinates

Here's an awesome tip from amib over on WoW LJ. Sometimes, we all could use a little location check from time to time. While I usually am OK with finding quest coordinates, every once in a while, I'd just kind of like to know where I am. So here's amib's tip-- a macro that will easily and simply tell you (no addons required) where you are in game.

/script px,py=GetPlayerMapPosition("player")
/script DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:
AddMessage(format("( %s ) %i,%i",
GetZoneText(),px *100,py *100));

(As commenters have noted, the formatting is weird here on the blog-- it's meant to be two lines, both starting with script. The other line breaks will need to be taken out.)

Just put that on a button, call it "Where am I?" or something like that, and then click it to get your current ingame coordinates in the chat channel. Considering how poor my addon-updating abilities are, that's perfect.

Of course, there are lots and lots of addons floating around that will do this even better-- showing your coordinates and cursor coordinates in the window, and all kinds of other ways. But if you only use coordinates every once in a while, and never remember to update your addons, this little macro could be pretty useful to have.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Polling players on new content

There's an interesting discussion going on over on the forums about whether or not Blizzard should conduct player polls. Antiquity from Lightning's Blade can't see why they don't-- it's an easy way for them to get quick feedback about different aspects of gameplay. But Nethaera disagrees. She says (and I can see her point as well) that polls are commonly inaccurate, which is definitely true, and while she doesn't exactly come out and say it, she seems to be implying that Blizzard would rather hear player feedback in terms of discussion rather than in numbers. Just hearing that 70% of players will use voice chat doesn't tell the whole story-- more important to know would be the reasons players would use voice chat, and in what situations they would use it.

So it's not really likely that Blizzard will implement in-game polling anytime soon-- for now, they're content to get their player feedback from the forums (and, I suspect, from sites just like this one).

However. We here at WoW Insider have no such compunctions, and we love to hear your feedback in terms of numbers just as much as in the comments. And I especially like Antiquity's poll suggestion, so here it is. Yes, this isn't really a solution to what he wants-- he wants to hear in-game voices, not forum voices or WoW Insider reader voices. But it is an interesting question, and I would like to see what you all think.

What would you like to see Blizzard develop as future content?
More solo content1656 (36.3%)
More 5 man content1008 (22.1%)
More 10 man content1516 (33.2%)
More 25 man content381 (8.4%)


(I did leave off the "All of the above" choice-- if that was on there, I don't see why everyone wouldn't choose it. This way, you're forced to choose your preference.)

Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances

Breakfast topic: Baleeted!

What's the highest level character you've ever deleted?

I haven't deleted many characters at all-- when I first started playing I was on Cenarius, and I still have about nine alts all there just sitting around, never realizing that I probably won't be back. Now, I'm on Thunderhorn, and pretty much all the characters I've started I've kept. Oh, there's been a few level ones that I created for fun, and I believe I made it to level 12 or so with a dwarf Hunter before I realized I didn't ever want to play Alliance again, but I think that's it-- I just can't bring myself to throw away any characters I actually spent time on.

But looking at the thread, I'm probably the exception. Lots of players toss their maxed-out characters all the time, either because they're frustrated with a class change, need extra room, or are just leaving the game for good.

So what's the highest character you've deleted and why?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, Leveling

Breakfast Topic: Gender in WoW

We've written about gender before, and it's an interesting topic that confronts one more frequently and more dramatically in WoW than it does in other parts of life. Azeroth is a sociologist's dream in several ways; I'm not even a sociology buff and I'd love to see some data on player vs. character demographics.

Do you play primarily your own gender or the opposite gender from your own, or do you play both genders pretty equally? Personally, I'm male, but I mostly play female characters. My other two RL friends who play WoW are male and female, but they both play mainly female characters as well. Furthermore, why do you play the gender(s) you do, and do you find that you get treated differently depending on what gender character you are playing?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, Features

Best of 2006 nominations: Player, Addon, Best and Worst Blizzard Move

Today's the final day of asking for your nominations for our end of the year awards. We're choosing the best of 2006 in ten different categories-- we've gotten your nominations this week, and next week we'll be posting our choices for Azeroth's best of the year. Thanks to everyone who's commented already, and please comment throughout the weekend on your choices for all the categories.

Today, we're asking you to nominate the Best Player of the Year, the Best Addon of the Year, and the Best and Worst Blizzard Move of the Year. For Player, yes, we realize there are seven million players out there, and it is extremely hard to choose just one of them-- if we could recognize all of you, we would. But we're trying to find one player that has really stood out in WoW this year-- won amazing victories, raised the profile of the game, or really embodied what WoW players are all about. We're looking for a hero among heroes, someone who embodied Azeroth in 2006.

For Best Addon, we're looking for the Addon that most affected the game this year-- either an Addon that really moved the game along in terms of interace, an addon that was invaluable to players of all types, or an Addon that stood head and shoulders above the others in terms of functionality and polish.

And finally, we want to know your choices for Blizzard's Best and Worst Move of the Year. What's the best thing Blizzard did for the game this year-- the best and most satisfying change they made? And on the flip side, what's the absolute Worst thing they did to the game this year, that sent players running for the hills (and for the competitors)?

Finally, if you haven't posted your nominations for the other categories yet, as I said, we'll leave those comments open all weekend, so please post them for us to read. The WoW Insider staff will deliberate over the weekend, and all next week, we'll announce the WoW Insider Best of 2006. Thanks for your input.

Previously: Nominations for Server, Class, and Guild; Nominations for Friend, Enemy, and Instance.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

One man, 40 characters

A thought experiment, of sorts, over at the forums: could you control 40 characters at once, enough for endgame raids or PvP all by yourself?

Inspired by this video of a mage-heavy raid downing Ragnaros, player Xzin (who currently plays five characters at once) wonders about the logistics and feasibility of upping that to 40. Given the time it would take to level 35 more characters to 60 and gear them up for MC, I can only conclude that Xzin will have to really want this challenge in order to put the money and time in.

As Terra Nova debates, perhaps it's an issue of human-computer interface design and control; taking charge of 40 different characters is far more akin to a real-time strategy challenge than MMO play. Still, there are always people who want to beat the game in new and interesting directions; as he's planning to keep everything above-board, good luck to him.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Instances

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