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On pugging and being ‘carried’

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After writing the previous post and mentioning my DK, I’ve been thinking a little more about the new LFG system and the groups it puts together. Nick and I have a hunch that the groups are selected through some sort of gear score, since it seems like (at least with DPS) there is usually one person doing 3-5k, one doing 2-2.5k, and one in blues and greens doing less than 2k. On occasion, I see people in my guild or in general chat complaining about ‘carrying’ others in heroics or raids. Just to be clear, when a person is being carried it usually implies that they are doing such a small percentage of the damage that they are making little or no impact on the success of the group within the instance or raid.

So when is carrying someone okay? Probably the most important concern is whether the person being carried is causing the group to wipe or keeping the group from completing the instance in a timely manner. For obvious reasons, the former is much clearer cut than the latter. When I’m trying to establish if I should leave a group that is moving slowly, I try to think about the speed at which things are cleared when I come into heroics on less geared alts. That is usually a good benchmark; I’m an okay player even without gear – if these people are worse than that, it might be time to leave. I, honestly, have absolutely no problem carrying other DPS in heroics when I am on my main. I specifically remember when I first got Eau to 80 (back in the days of spamming trade for heroics), I got in on a group that ran about 10 heroics in a chain from a geared guild (which, back then, meant OMG NAXX GEAR, haha). I was so amazed that they all passed on all the blues and purples that I needed so much.

There are times, though, when carrying people doesn’t work out. For example, an undergeared tank or healer often cannot even be carried in a 5 man environment (no amount of pew pew is going to keep you alive, haha). Another place that I consider carrying someone to be ridiculous is in a progression raid. The idea that someone that is being carried in a raid could win a piece of gear over me is irritating, to say the least (this is usually not an issue in our guild 10s since we’re all good friends, but it has come up in 25s occasionally when we merge with other guilds). Raiding is also an environment where healers can be carried, but I think that is just putting unfair strain on the other healers. I don’t feel the same sort of pressure when I am carrying someone else as a DPS.

More generally, it’s pretty pitiful to come into a raid (especially if it’s progression for your guild) without gear, since it’s so easy to pug now and a lot of gear is available either from drops in the new heroics or through emblems (I was able to get Zela, my new-ish 80 rogue to 4k dps in a couple of weeks of running heroics). It’s not that you should be expected to be pulling the top DPS in your guild with heroic gear. It’s that you’ll be doing more damage than the tanks at least (doing less damage than tanks is usually a good benchmark to evaluate if someone is being carried, except if you’re up against a pally tank on AoE groups). Having a lot of emblem gear also shows that you’re a dedicated player and that you’ve played your class/spec for at least a few hours.

Written by Mariana

January 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Fall of the Lich King

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Here is a link to the patch 3.3 Fall of the Lich King mini-site…COMPLETE WITH PATCH TRAILER!

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/implemented/3p3.xml

enjoy!

Nick

100% More Cataclysmic!

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I just finished my first week of graduate school, and boy does it take up a lot of time!  This weekend is really going to make me appreciate how relaxing the summer was.  Now I am at Mariana’s house, where I am  trying to help her with her plight with pneumonia (Don’t worry, she’s on the road to recovery!)  What this really means is that I am away from my mega-awesome PC and only have my laptop to play WoW.  Well….I tried that just now….and I don’t think I can play more than 5 minutes of 4 frames a second…oh well =P  Now I have an excuse to write an exhaustive article about the Cataclysm announcement at Blizzcon 2009 and what it may mean for the future of World of Warcraft:

352px-Deathwing_Cataclysm

First, the backstory…

Horde and Alliance are dealing with Arthas, the Lich King, in Northrend.  He is a bad guy, and rightfully so, we are responding to his threat.  Meanwhile, under the earth and in the Elemental Plane of Earth, Deathwing the Destroyer (previously known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder), dragon aspect of the black dragonflight, has been tending to his wounds from the War of the Ancients and planning his next move carefully.  The Old Gods have been gathering power, as seen through the awakening of C’thun and the prison break-out of Yogg Saron.  Their power has spread to Deathwing as well, who has seen a 10-fold increase in his power since his last appearance on the physical plane.  The whispers inside Deathwing’s head have also increased in intensity, driving him even more crazy.

It is time for Deathwing’s plans to take effect.  With the mortal races locked in a battle with the Lich King at the gates of the Icecrown Citadel, Deathwing literally errupts from the Elemental Plane of Earth and rips through into the Physical Plane.  This eruption destabilizes all of the elemental planes (the others are water, fire, and air) and looses many more elementals upon Azeroth.

The eruption also scars Azeroth forever.  The powers of the Earth-Warder ripple through the planet, leaving huge gashes in places like the Barrens, sending the ocean into Darkshore and wrecking the Alliance town of Auberdine.  Blackrock Spire erupts, changing the landscape and opening up a new base of operations for the Twilight Cultists.  Other places, like Desolace, benefit from the Cataclysm: It’s shoreline wrecked, water floods in and lay down the foundation for a more fertile land.

Finally, an entrance is made to Deathwing’s hiding place in the Plane of Earth.  Called “Deepholm”, adventurers will be able to venture into Neltharion’s home and take the battle to his sanctuary.  On the Physical Plane, Deathwing took up residence in Grim Batol, along with his Twilight Cultist followers.

The Future…

So now that the world is ruined, what should we expect?  Well for one, the feud between the Horde and Alliance will ramp up.  Orgrimmar will be outfitted with better armor (a lot more steel), Southshore will be taken over by the Horde, and Zoram Strand in Ashenvale will get bigger and more armored.

Barrens-cata

The level 1-60 leveling experience will also get a face lift, being made friendlier and more streamlined to avoid having to figure out which zone to go to at which level…the quests should have a feeling of more flow from zone to zone.  Also, some zones you know as level 20 zones will become level 40 zones.  This goes for all the zones: their monster and questing levels may be changing.

Cataclysm_Ashenvale_-_Zoram'gar_Outpost

Did I mention flying mounts in Azeroth?  They are going to be remapping both continents  in order to have a fully fleshed out landscape that will allow flying anywhere.  this means you can fly from Undercity to Booty Bay on your own mount and still get there in 14 minutes or however long it takes to fly that stupidly far distance.  Places like Undercity and Orgrimmar are getting updated to look better from the top, as in the case of both cities, a wall in the front blocks the view so the designers didn’t ever design what it would look like from the sky.

New Zones

There will be seven new zones in Cataclysm: Gilneas, The Lost Isles, Mount Hyjal, Uldum, Twilight Highlands, Deepholm, and The Sunken City of Vashj’ir.

Gilneas and The Lost Isles are the starting areas for Worgen and Goblins, respectively (i’ll talk about them in a few moments).

Mount Hyjal is in trouble, again.  This time, Ragnaros, released from the Elemental Plane of Fire (and apparently really really pissed off about dying in Molten Core) is out trying to destroy the world tree by way of inferno.  He is at his full power now, showing you that once and for all, Molten Core was merely a setback.

Uldum is a Titan compound in the desert south of tanaris.  Apparently, a giant Titan cloaking machine was used to hide Uldum (but they missed the door with the elite’s hanging around it?….) but said device broke when Deathwing ripped Azeroth asunder.  Titan cloaking machinery isn’t what it used to be I guess.  Rumor has it there is some Titan super weapon in the desert of Uldum, and everyone is out to get it…including you!

Twilight Highlands will include Grim Batol and be the hangout place for Deathwing and the Twilight Cultists.  It will encompass the area northeast of the current Wetlands.  It will also be a level 85 zone.  (What? level 85?  I’ll also talk about that in a few moments)

Deepholm is the original hiding place for Deathwing in the Elemental Plane of Earth.  Expect Old God influence down here close to the center of the world, where the Old God’s are locked up.  I would also expect Earth Elementals and lots of nature resistant monsters.

Finally, The Sunken City of Vashj’ir will be a sunken night elf city underneath the Maelstrom.  There will be underwater combat and underwater instances.  It will also include the instance to the Elemental Plane of Water, which will be a whirlpool at the bottom of the ocean you have to get sucked into.  Why it is named after Lady Vashj, handmaiden to the night elf Queen Azshara, we may never know.  As far as I know, Lady Vashj is still hanging out in Serpent Shrine Cavern out in Zangarmarsh….

New Races

The Cataclysm affected more than just what we knew.  The Goblin island of Kezan got rocked hard when their island volcano started spewing liquid hot magma, so they fled.  One particular cartel had their boat shipwrecked upon The Lost Isles, a group of islands between Kezan and Kalimdor.  Throughout the starting zone for the Goblins, you will go from neutral to finding refuge with the Horde in nearby Orgrimmar.

Goblins_cataclysmCataclysm_Worgen

At the same time Kezan’s volcanos were exploding, earthquakes were knocking down the Greymane Wall in southern Silverpine Forest.  What lay behind the wall was unexpected (well, the community expected it, but lorewise, completely unexpected!).  The Worgen curse spread to the humans of Gilneas, where they have fought to keep their humanity and not be taken by the vicious animal now living inside them.  Playing as a Worgen, you will be able to convert between human and worgen form anytime while out of combat, but must always be a worgen while in combat.  I suspect when you enter combat in your human form, you will go through a quick form change animation to fight as a worgen.  The out of combat form change animation is available online in the form of a video from blizzcon, and I must say it looks pretty darn awesome.

Increased level cap

Forget that +10 levels per expansion set you were taught back with Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King…only 5 new levels are being added this time around with a level cap increase to 85.  Blizzard says this is because they wanted to focus more on revamping the entire world and also honing their focus on endgame.  Obviously they want to get more into storytelling at the level cap, so the more people who can get to the level cap and actually listen to their story, the happier they will be.  Questions like “will heirlooms still work in the expansion?” have yet to be answered….

New Raids and Instances

Shadowfang_Keep

Blizzard has said they will release Cataclysm with 8 heroics and 4 raids for level 85 players.  Of these 8 heroic instances, 2 will be revamped old world instances: Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep.  The other 6 will be in the new zones that are being added.  I can see the reasoning behind making heroic Shadowfang Keep, with Archmage Aurgal and his connection to the Worgen Curse, but I think heroic Deadmines is just for the fans who wanted more VanCleef.  If they give Horde a flightpath in Westfall, I’ll be happy about this heroic.

Comment your thoughts/opinions!

Additional Instances cannot be launched.

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Terrible!This picture was taken before patch 3.2, but I think we can all understand the frustration that is going on.  And this wasn’t even in Northrend…IT’S GNOMEREGAN!  I was trying to get some engineering pet recipes that night…and I didn’t get in for over half of an hour.  /sigh /sigh /yawn.

This has gotten even worse since patch 3.2 has hit and emblems of conquest have been dropping from heroics.  On our server (Burning Blade-US), we have had very long waits at the new ‘door boss’ but luckily no raids have been effected.  Other servers have not been so lucky, with these epic door bosses now keeping 10 and 25 member raids from entering Naxxramas.

I’ve already seen plenty of screenshots of chats with GMs.  They are all pretty much the same: some QQ from a player and some ‘we are aware of this problem’ from the GM.  Most players just want some more servers, but the GMs and CMs like to tell us its more work than just inserting a new RAM card into our PCs.  Well, thanks for being specific Blizzard!

Leave a comment about how you’ve been dealing with this problem!

Wrath of the Bitch King… Or How I Came to Hate World of Warcraft’s Second Expansion

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I should have known something was wrong when I first saw the cinematic trailer for Wrath of the Lich King.  My first response: “Where the hell is the catch phrase?”  My second response: “There was not enough epic dragon roaring.”  It’s not that I hate how much talking the Lich King’s dad (the narrator) does, but damn!  Where is my “YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!“?

But it was okay, I let it go.  I let myself get excited for the expansion.  I went to the local mall for the midnight opening and even had a funny moment singing numetal in the car on the way back around 1am.  Installed the expansion.  Played a little that night.  Wasn’t really impressed with Howling Fjord, but I just accepted that as stemming from my dislike of forest-y zones in WoW.

It’s been a few months now and I still don’t like this expansion, especially when I compare it with The Burning Crusade.  First let me say a couple things that I like about the playing now, so I don’t sound like a complete psycho bitch:

1. Reputation grinding is less painful now with the Tabard system.

2. Heroics are easily pug-able and they are the correct difficulty.  There was nothing more irritating in TBC than the fact that you needed Karazhan+ gear in order to run heroics.  The rewards in WotLK heroics adequately prepare players for the first tier of raiding.

3. The phasing stuff allows for more interesting questing and more inclusion of lore.

Okay now that I sound fair and balanced (haha), let me complain about what sucks:

1. There are not enough aliens.  I love aliens and demons and I remember being totally amazed by new models in TBC like those weird ravagers.  A slightly reworked model of a wolf I saw in Silverpine Forest?  Not so impressive.

2. The zones all look the same.  In WotLK you can choose between a snowy zone (Dragonblight and Storm Peaks), a foresty zone (Howling Fjord and Grizzly Hills), or an lichy zone (Zul’Drak or Icecrown).  I know a lot of people hated the transitions between zones in Outland, and I admit that it seemed a little implausible that you could go from Hellfire Peninsula to Zangarmarsh in a few short steps, but at least I wasn’t bored to death!  And just an aside: I don’t play with game music on very often, and I blame the viking soundtrack in Northrend.

3. Dalaran sucks unless you have an awesome computer.  If you have an awesome computer, Dalaran still sucks, just a little less.  Making Dalaran such a clusterfuck (for lack of a better term) was a really bad move on Blizzard’s part.  I’m not even going to complain about feeling like I’m in a more glowy Stormwind when I’m there, because I can deal with that.  But why couldn’t the game designers make the city just 1.5 or 2 times its size right now so that I’m not having to load 100 characters every time I go over there?  When I first heard about this city, I was excited because people told me that Alliance and Horde would have their own separated areas.  This could have been much more present, I feel like we are barely separated at all, which just adds to my lag.

4. The gear is ugly and repetitive.  I’ve made posts about this in the past.  It’s enough to say that there are not enough unique models for gear, especially when you’re leveling.

5. The gear reset was too soft.  I will preface this point by acknowledging that 90% of people will disagree with me on this.  I loved when I stepped into Outland and suddenly the quest greens were better than the blues and purples I had been working so hard on before.  It was fun to replace all of your stuff, even if it was very colorful and admitedly a little ugly.  The feeling of being in a new world was totally awesome.  Arco (my hunter) came into Northrend wearing a mixture of gear from Zul’Aman, Hyjal, Black Temple, and some crafted items.  I did not get to replace one piece of gear on her until level 77, if I remember correctly (I might have replaced a trinket at 75, not sure).  Even Eau (my mage), who was wearing mostly crafted and Karazhan gear, didn’t really get to replace items until 73 or 74.  I know that some people are very attached to their tier gear that they worked so hard towards, blah blah blah.  I can only agree with those sentiments if I’m staying the same area.  If I got a whole new expansion, I want gear that looks good and new and fun in the first few levels!

6. The expansion was released with too few raids.  Let’s be honest: Blizzard didn’t even make a raid for the release of WotLK, they retooled a raid (Naxxramas) they had already made for vanilla WoW.  The other raids currently in the game are only encounters (Malygos, Vault, and Sartherion).  People had Naxx on farm within the first week of the expansion.  Within a month, less hardcore players were pugging both 10 and 25-man Naxx.  I was in a 25-man Naxx pug last night that had no trouble downing any of the bosses, even though many of the players were there for the first time.  I am not complaining about Naxx being too easy – Kara was frustrating and broke up a lot of the more casual guilds in early TBC that couldn’t get past Moroes or Curator – I’m just saying that, if Naxx is going to be this easy, there needs to be something else to move on to.  I know that Ulduar is coming out soon, and it’ll be interesting to see how well they tool the difficulty and gear jump.  A lot of people that aren’t in raiding guilds have been pugging Naxx 25-man and will (in theory) be geared for Ulduar.  Are we expecting to see a lot of Ulduar pugs too?  If so, is Blizzard coming out with new content soon after Ulduar?  I feel like they could have delayed the release of this expansion a few months and included a more fleshed out raiding environment.  In TBC, we started off the expansion with Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair, Magtheridon’s Lair, Serpentshrine Cavern, and Tempest Keep –  and people weren’t even progressing past Kara and Gruul’s that quickly!  Blizzard needed to realize that by making the entry-level raiding easier, they would need more content.

7. The achievement system is an excuse to make less raiding content.  This point also requires a preface: I like individual player-based achievements.  I like doing Loremaster because it shows me quests and zones that I had skipped.  What I don’t like is that people seem to think that Blizzard’s lack of content is excusable by the large amount of achievements associated with heroics and raids.  First of all, achievements are predictable.  I was joking around today with Nick that if there had been achievements for Kara, there would have been one to kill Curator without killing any sparks, or to kill Moroes and all of this guests within 5 seconds of each other.  This doesn’t bother me that much, but it is kind of annoying.  What bothers me more is that Blizzard is trying to just recycle content and make it seem newer and more challenging by just adding some small reward, like achievement points that get you nothing but bragging rights.  They are encouraging people to do content in the most stupidly difficult way for the same gear rewards (the exception to this is Sartherion with 1, 2, or 3 drakes up).  A solution to this would be to maybe make certain raid encounters “unlock” once people have done certain achievements, but even then I wouldn’t like it because it’s just giving a new name to attunements.

8. There are too many dailies.  Again, I am not interested in doing the same unchallenging and boring content over and over again.  There were too many dailies in TBC too, so this is just a general gripe with all of WoW.  Dailies are unecessary!  There I said it!  Once you have your flight skill, you don’t really need that much gold anymore.  Blizzard added so many money sinks into this game (like super expensive mounts, pets, spells) that people are focusing more on doing some rotation of the same 50 quests in order to get a toy train set.  I already do that in real life – I save money to buy things that are actually real.  Do I need to spend hours earning and saving virtual money so that I can have a mammoth in a game?  I don’t think so.  You’d be better off not doing dailies and working a part time job in real life.  Then you can buy your own real life mammoth and pile your low level friends on it.

9. Arena rewards are too good.  I don’t know that much about Arena or PvP, but why the hell would you ever give PvPers the first frost wyrm?!  Enough said.

Dragonfest 2009

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picture-3Tonight was a night no different than others.  Except, instead of sitting around in Dalaran staring at a mailbox, we spent it with other dragon lovers on the ledge of Krasus’ Landing.

We also had a hard time finding a group for an instance tonight…I am 5 more coins awa from getting the title “the Elder” so I really need to get that done soon.  The valentines day holiday is less than a week long, so this needs to get finished and then those achievements done before the holiday ends.  Aye yie yie (is that how it’s spelt?)

I hope your holiday achievements are going smoothly!  Be sure to check the in game calendar for when holidays end and start, that way you can get your achievements done and not get surprised when the holiday ends.  It sure has helped me!

Also, me and Mariana are back at school, along with most people in our guild on Burning Blade, which means raiding has slowed down a lot.  This is our last semester of undergraduate college, so wish us luck!!  Also, our guild <MAN THE HARPOONS> is setting up an Obsidian Sanctium run for tomorrow (Thursday) night for some quick lewts and some good guild times.

Hope the rest of your week is gushing with Lunar Festival awesome-ness!

picture-4~Nick

Written by Nick

February 5, 2009 at 4:39 am

Emblem of Heroism Refund

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So, I did something stupid.  I assumed that the mage T7 chest would actually be any good.  Without checking online for stats (and without really looking at it at all), I dropped the 80 badges on the token and proceded through a very laggy Dalaran to purchase the robe.  The stats on this robe were worse than the blue-quality quest piece I wore before!  I mean, c’mon, SPIRIT?!

After getting very irritated with myself and having all those “I’m so stupid!” moments, I started to think about if there was anything I could do.  About 15 minutes after I purchased the piece, I opened a ticket to speak with a GM.  Thankfully, the GM was very understanding.  I didn’t lie about what happened – I simply said something like “I made a mistake and bought this chest piece even though it is not useful to me.  I was wondering if I could have the Emblems refunded so that I could buy items that will make playing more fun for me.”  The ticket was escalated to a GM that deals primarily with issues like this and, in a few days, I received an in-game mail with a nice greeting and the 80 emblems.

The reason I am making this post is so that people know that they don’t have to waste their hard-earned badges if they make a mistake!  I have heard some bad stories about similar situations, but I think the most important thing is to contact a GM early if you make a mistake when purchasing an emblem item.  Since I didn’t wear the piece in any type of game-play situation (i.e. dungeons/heroics/raiding), I can assume that it was clear to the GM that I wasn’t trying to fool them or take advantage of something.