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Posts with tag random

Choose My Adventure Live: Join Roblinator in a dungeon

Choose the adventures of Robin Torres as Roblinator the goblin shamanator or join in with <It came from the Blog> on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H).

This week, I'll be doing a random dungeon. Please join me if you are in your early level 20s. Alternatively, you can watch me in the stream above and participate in the chat room after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. Please click on the image above for the video replay.

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Filed under: It Came from the Blog, Choose My Adventure

Officers' Quarters: Rolling like jerks

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available this spring from No Starch Press.

Ah, the good, old-fashioned /random command -- where would WoW be without it? It fixes so many problems. It's utterly impartial. It can't be bribed, cajoled, or reasoned with. The /random command is the friend of every PUG raid leader.

In a guild setting, however, using /random for loot distribution only works when you're sensible about using it. When you're not, you open up your guild to some terrible situations. I present Exhibit A:

Hi Scott,

I'm a semi officer in my guild (I get to be in officer chat, but I can't invite people or make policy changes, though I'm asked for my opinion quite a bit). Lately, our guild is just managing to kill the first four bosses of Icecrown in both 10 man, and the 25 man that we have to pug. (We're not a huge guild.) But lately, we've been having some problems with loot distribution. I know I know, that's always the case isn't it?

Well over the past few weeks, we've been noticing some problems with the /rolls we've been doing. In one 25 man ICC, 3 pieces of tank loot dropped, were rolled on, and went to 1 single tank(not even the MT). Problem is, Tanking isn't the role he likes to do. He enjoys healing or DPSing... but because he's gotten the loot, our Guild leader and MT wants him to be the offtank...

If that was the end of it, it'd be easy enough to fix. Get a loot council and be done with it. But, since we PUG our 25 mans, those rules don't apply, and they got worse when one of our healers rolled on a healing weapon, then immediately posted in guild, "Anyone in the raid want this thing for 6K? I need my epic flyer."

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Frozen orbs to be greed only in patch 3.3.3

Well, this is a welcome change -- now that Frozen Orbs are going to be the new crafting tokens, exchangeable for Frost Lotus and Eternal Fire, among other things, Wryxian announced that they will be greed only in the upcoming patch.

No, you won't be able to exchange Frozen Orbs for Emblems of Frost. Yeah it just takes one person to press Need after everyone's pressed Greed on the Frozen Orbs and you miss out. But the good news is that in patch 3.3.3 this won't be the case anymore -- the roll for Frozen Orbs will be an automatic Greed roll. Rejoice!

I wonder whether this is now some sort of flag in their database that they could use for other items. Like Books of Glyph Mastery. Nothing is more annoying than someone ninja looting jerk looting something that everyone gains equal benefit from.

Edit: Ninjas are cool. People who steal from their peers are not. Stop calling them ninjas.

Patch 3.3.3 brings about small but noteworthy changes to the World of Warcraft. From a faster CoT, to putting those old Frozen Orbs to better use, to changes to the auction house -- there's several things all WoW players need to know.'s Guide to Patch 3.3.3 will keep you up to date!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Drama Mamas: Dungeon Finder advice

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Most of us have been having a great time with the new Dungeon Finder. (And if you haven't, then you really, really should. It's a gamechanger.) We have our good PuG stories and, of course, the bad PuGs. My first experience was in a dungeon where all but the main boss had been downed. I got in because the rogue whose place my mage was taking had quit in order to turn in a quest. None of us could figure out why he didn't want to wait the three minutes, get the random dungeon rewards and then turn in the quest. But his loss was my gain. He was a bad PuGger (PuGgie? PuGinator?) because he left his team hanging and waiting to pick up a 5th person before they could finish their dungeon and move onto the next one.

Here are some more examples of bad PuGgers that I think most of us can agree on:
  • The player who puts the tank on follow and doesn't participate.
  • The tanks who don't pay attention to healer mana and then complain when they die.
  • The players who don't manage their aggro, regardless of role.
  • Rude and/or spammy chatters.
  • Players who make careless mistakes and repeatedly wipe the group. (One mistake does not a bad PuGger make.)
But what about the player in blues and greens who doesn't make mistakes, is perfectly pleasant and cooperative, but isn't putting out the numbers you think he or she should?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Drama Mamas

New Perky Pug animations

MMO Champion has dug up a few more animations for the already popular Perky Pug pet, which you will be able to obtain in patch 3.3 by running pickup groups with random players (the current guess on the pet is running with 100 random players, but of course we won't know for sure until it appears on the live realms). The first few animations in this video just look like the Pug has been tweaked a bit (looks to me like that weird leg thing got fixed), but the last animation is definitely new. MMOC suggests you might not want the pet any more after you see it doing this, but I guess Blizzard wanted to go for realism.

Personally, I'm still going for it. Dogs are dogs, and I'm going to be running with the new LFG system (actually, according to the last patch notes, it's called the "Dungeon Finder system" now) anyway, so I might as well go all out and get a vanity pet and the "Patient" title along with all of the other good stuff you usually get from running a ton of heroics. Perky Pug, here I come!

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas.'s Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, NPCs

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

Breakfast Topic: The ninja problem

The new LFG system is certainly great, but there's one problem with random PuGs that I'm sure it won't fix, and that is of course the problem of ninjas. As long as random people are getting into groups (and with the new rewards system in place, there'll be plenty of that), some of them will always find the loot more tempting than keeping their reputation clean. So what's the solution?

Obviously, over on Guildwatch, we've been covering people shouting out names and guilds on the forums for a while, but as we've also reported a few times over there, that barely helps -- even if people do remember a ninja on their server, one name change later and they're gone. A few guildleaders over on Jubei'thos have tried putting a site together to track known ninjas on the server, but even that has issues; it's tough to avoid false positives, even if you do require screenshots.

But surely there must be a solution, so let's put our heads together: a debuff? Something like the group vote-kicking system that's coming in patch 3.3? If Blizzard wanted to really go for fair, they could just take the Need-before-Greed system and turn it into straight Need: if an item matches your class and spec, you get a roll (with items everyone can use giving everyone a roll), and the best roll always wins. You can turn it off (for a Master Looter-style raid), but for PuGs, why even bother with a Need/Greed difference? What do you think?

Filed under: Items, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Making money

Patch 3.2 bringing Strand of the Ancients coin toss

We mentioned this issue a while back -- since it was introduced to the game, Strand of the Ancients has started Alliance on attack first, and that's caused problems. Due to the way the map is set up (a back-and-forth attack and defend map), the team that starts attacking has an advantage in terms of farming honor -- they only have to play until the other team loses rather than having to keep up a defense the whole time. That means shorter battlegrounds for the Alliance, which means more honor overall for them.

The problem was that Blizzard couldn't just flip a switch to randomize the battleground's spawn points: they were hard-coded into the moving ships that players appear on, so it took much more coding to use a coin-flip start. However Zarhym now confirms that the coin flip is coming to SotA. And though he didn't say when in the original post, the Patch 3.2 notes tell us that it's coming in that patch.

Hopefully Blizzard will have learned their lesson for the Isle of Conquest -- although since it's closer to Alterac Valley from what we've heard, we probably won't have that asymmetrical issue, and both sides will be able to start with just as many advantages and disadvantages as the other.

Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Battlegrounds

Polling for Mr. Pinchy

Blizzard EU Community Blue Ancilorn has posted a poll over on the EU forums asking players about one of the more prickly pieces of loot in the game: Mr. Pinchy. Usually with loot, Blizzard has been pretty good lately: if there's a piece that you want, there are usually a few different ways to get it, one of which usually requires grinding (i.e. picking up tons of Badges) rather than just getting really, really lucky. But with vanity stuff, it seems like they feel free to just put us at the will of the dice roll, and almost no other pet is more random than Mr. Pinchy. Not only do you need to level fishing (which, admittedly, is much less random than it used to be), and not only do you need to fish up a random item, but then, you need to hit a random choice of five different options. It's a slim chance on a rare chance on a nearly impossible chance.

Which explains why even those who have been trying for him for so long (ahem, me -- as you've probably heard on our podcast) haven't picked him up yet. The biggest percentage in the poll (about 26% of respondents, as of this writing) says they've been trying a lot and haven't gotten him. But strangely enough, the lowest percentage says "an absolutely enormous amount" of effort went into getting him. Which suggests that the people who are getting him are underestimating the amount of time they're putting in -- just how much fishing is "a moderate amount"?

At any rate, it seems like Ancilorn is just asking to be asking. Mr. Pinchy is definitely as much of a vanity item as they come, and there should at least be some items in the game that are very, very rare. It does seem at times that every time I suggest Blizzard won't move on something, they do, but I'd say in this case Mr. Pinchy will stay as rare as he is.

Filed under: Fishing, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

The math behind random drops and rolls

Reader Sekhar P. sent us an interesting story of a strange roll seen in Naxx recently: Haunting Call dropped, and four people needed. The rolls came up, in order: 1, 2, 3, 4. The raid boggled at how unlikely that must be. Sekhar's tip set off a round of discussion among our WoW Insider staff: while it seems unlikely that four numbers would come up in sequence, the math on it isn't any more likely than any other four numbers (3, 69, 82, and 95, for example, or even 4, 8, 15, and 16). The odds come out to 24/100^4, about 0.00000024%, or about two chances out of 10 million. Of course, probability is tricky, so the chances that any one of those rolls would come up is still one out of 100 -- just like coin flips, previous die rolls won't affect the current die rolls (mistaking that is often called the gambler's fallacy) But the chances that any specific four numbers would come up are the astronomical chances above.

Of course, math aside, that still doesn't keep us from trying to predict how random rolls might work. We also recieved word from reader Emily about a site she and some friends are working on that is trying to predict just how much you'll have to run a certain instance to pick up some of the rarest items in the game, like Baron Rivendare's mount. Unfortunately, it's not a relevant indicator -- it looks like all they're doing is "simulating" runs on the item, and then tracking when it drops in their simulator. They're putting the math behind the chance into practical numbers.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Raiding, NPCs

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

An Immortal in Ulduar and other troublesome achievements

Here's an interesting Ulduar request from Hugner on Hyjal -- he wants to ask that there be no "Immortal"-style achievement in the new raid instance. He says getting the achievement has been super frustrating for his guild, not only because, you know, it's hard, but because with one simple disconnect at the wrong time, the whole week's attempt is wasted.

Of course, an achievement like that isn't meant to be easy. Some people in the thread suggest making it more like The Dedicated Few (so that not all the bosses have to be flawless in one run), but Bornakk says it's an achievement -- it's not required and if you really want to get the meaningless points, you'll just have to work around the disconnects. He's also shoring up discontent on the other side of things -- people are complaining that the Gonna Go When the Volcano Blows achievement is messing up their Sarth runs, because they're dodging insignificant damage rather than actually downing the boss. In fact, the easiest way to do that one is just to suicide in the very beginning (because the AoE can't hit corpses), and lots of people are doing that. Bornakk says change isn't likely -- the achievement is designed to be separate from gaining loot from the boss.

Bottom line on both of these is that they're achievements -- if they're hard or random or waste time, that's kind of the point. Blizzard may have caved on a few of the holiday achievements, but these endgame achievements aren't meant to be gotten easily or even without a little RNG help.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Blizzard, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Officers' Quarters: Dual spec, double loot?

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

Ever since Ghostcrawler's Q&A session last week, it seems like everyone wants to talk about dual specs, so I might as well give in. A few readers have written me to ask how I will handle loot distribution in this crazy double-speccing future. Does having two easily switchable specs entitle a player to double the loot? One reader details his struggle to formulate a fair and effective system:

Dear Scott,

As I'm sure you're aware by now, Blizzard recently stated that dual specs are definitely in the foreseeable future. This brings a huge dilemma on raid loot distribution. How do I distribute loot when everyone can use it now?

The issue was brought up on our guild's forum recently, and I had not even thought about the possible ramifications til now. Is there any good solution? Let me give a little run down of my thoughts so far.

[. . .]One officer suggested that we up the amount of DKP people can earn on a boss and let everyone bid on the item if they could use it in their dual specs. My thoughts were that this would highly inflate the DKP of the "pure" classes seeing as they only need one set of gear so would be bidding on only half as many times as "hybrid" classes. And that would not be fair to those who play hybrid classes but for the sole purpose of DPS. Also, it would open up the floodgates on tier tokens. If everyone had the right to roll on whatever they could use, they'd be bidding on more than one tier token, possibly alienating the newcomers who could afford said token but just didn't have enough DKP to outroll the weekly raider who already has that tier item for another spec essentially making loot distribution less even across the board.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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

Blizzard previews new Arenas

Old news if you paid attention to our liveblog of the PvP panel at BlizzCon (or if you read through Zach's great analysis of the news we got there), but Blizzard is adding two new Arena spaces to the game, and they've created an official page to show off the new designs and mechanics in each.

The Ring of Valor is a new space in Orgrimmar -- it features an elevator that rises up to a starting position that leaves players in close proximity, and then there is a set of fire obstacles and two moving pillars that can be used to as many tactical advantages that you can come up with. The other space, the Dalaran Sewers, also mixes in a few line-of-sight tricks, including a periodic waterfall that blocks LoS and a raised platform in the middle that can only be reached via two sets of stairs on diagonal sides.

Personally, I think the new mechanics are exciting, but then again I've played maybe four Arena matches in my life -- word I'm getting from most of the Arena players I know is that these changes add a little too much RNG to the maps (considering the all the obstacles are timed, they're not really random, but that's just what I think). What say you, Arena players?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, PvP, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

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