WoW Roundup: WoW As Single Player, Druid Healing Woes, More…

Why do we like less-populated areas in WoW? Where should personal responsibility to a guild begin and end? And are druid healers just totally boned right now?

Read on, and all your questions shall be answered…

  • Bob at Altaclysmic defends preferring zones that are less crowded, rather than super-busy Cross-Realm Zone madness“I have made a decision that it is worth spending my limited time going to personally obtain the ore, but I need to be able to gather sufficient quantities in a certain timeframe for it to be worth the effort.”
  • Matticus ponders the question of where the line should be drawn between players having to provide their own resources or having those resources – flasks, food, etc – provided by the guild“I notice a strong correlation between player performance and their ability to provide their own character improvements. In other words, the players who farm for their own materials or purchase their own augments tend to not die as much and will consistently perform well in their roles.”
  • And Beruthiel updates us on the state of healing in MoP, including a stirring takedown of the ubiquitous “it’s not the class, it’s you” argument“In all of the back and forth and arguments happening, I saw the statement that if you are struggling to heal and perform as a druid “it’s not the class, it’s you” thrown about several times. It was enough to make my blood boil, because it is an inherently FALSE statement.”

If you’re in the US, enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!

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WoW Roundup: Luck Tested, Player Wealth and more

Exciting times in WoW right now, between the new raids and the upcoming patch! And blog activity’s reflecting that – there’s a lot of good writing out there.

At the same time, it’s not all happy – but whether you want to read scientific (ish) testing of WoW superstitions, or a well-considered essay on why one veteran player’s quitting the game, it’s all here:

  • We don’t usually link to “I’m quitting WoW” posts, but Kurn’s epic discussion and analysis of the game and her relation with it is fascinating reading – FAR from the usual “I quit” post (earlier parts here“I didn’t just become a raider. I became a raid leader. I became a healing lead. I became a guild master. I became a WoW blogger. I became a WoW podcaster. World of Warcraft has been a great place for me to hang out for seven years. “
  • Saxsy writes a very useful guide for any AH player to the uses or lack therof of MoP gems“A lot of gems here reflect the primacy of hit and spirit. Like the blue ones above, I expect these to become less popular as gear gets better and these stats become less useful. For now, though, these gems actually sell pretty well, which is a refreshing change from Cataclysm, where the best price you could get for a green gem was from the vendor.”
  • The Grumpy Elf wanted more luck – so he tested out some of the methods that other players swear make WoW’s RNG kinder“So many people relay stories exactly like this, so is it possible that there is something to it? It seems to work the same with BoP patterns in raids. If a blacksmith BoP pattern drops from the raid and there are no blacksmiths in the raid expect to see a lot of them. If there are a few, expect to see none.”
  • The Godmother writes a really great post about the impact when your play isn’t up to scratch, and how we – and she – copes with it“There is a very good reason why L2P can be as abusive a phrase as it is. If you can, then it is likely you will never understands the issues that arise if you can’t. Knowing you can’t, and admitting that fact is often very difficult.”
  • Beruthiel channels Dr Seuss for a parable about the current state of the healing druid“The Lorax said, “Sir! You are crazy, my friend. There is no one on earth who will use them in the end!”. The crab laughed at the Lorax, “You poor stupid guy! You will use them, and like it, or just manage to get by”.”
  • And Eric Dekker reveals the results of his 2012 Warcraft Wealth survey in a long, fascinating post“Given the results of this year’s survey the calculate Gini Index, the measurement of inequality where 0% is perfect equality and 100% is perfect inequality, for the World of Warcraft population is 75.9, a raise of 10.4 points over 2011’s results. To give some scale to the disparity if Azeroth was a country it would have the most inequality in the world, doing even worse than Namibia which has a 74.3. “

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Three Fascinating, Unexpected Opinions On What Mists Will Bring

Will Garrosh invade Theramore? Maybe not! Will Resto Druids love permanent Tree Form? Perhaps not! Will this iteration of the LFR loot rules work? Maybe it actually will!

It’s a bit quiet on the MMOsphere today, but there are some really interesting posts out there. Strangely, three of them centered around one topic – specific features coming up in Mists of Pandaria, and how what actually happens might be nowhere near what you expected to happen.

First up, Rades of Orcish Army Knife is back with another of his brilliant prognostication posts. This time, he’s looking into his crystal ball at a strange new Feat Of Strength that has made its way into the Mists beta

(Warning: this blockquote and the linked article contains story spoilers)

“So wait. Jaina has to recover the Focusing Iris from the ruins of Theramore? Would that be the same Focusing Iris that Malygos was using to control the surge needles, distorting and manipulating Azeroth’s ley lines so that all magic began to flow into the Nexus? And the same Focusing Iris that the Dragon Aspects used to channel their magical power into the Demon Soul, to empower it so that it could defeat Deathwing?

Why is it in Theramore??

We never really do find out what happened to it after the Aspects used it to charge up the Demon Soul. And you know, this probably isn’t something that should just be left lying around. We’re talking about an extremely powerful artifact created by Malygos, the Aspect of Magic, at the height of his power, using his own blood. We’ve seen in the past that someone can use the Iris to divert and mess around with all magic on Azeroth through tapping into the ley lines, which is rather significant. And the Aspects – essentially Warcraft’s demigods – needed it to charge up the Demon Soul, perhaps because it let them focus their power into an single concentrated point, or perhaps because it could absorb/contain such raw, unbridled power in a controlled manner. ”

Spoilers end

As always, Rades has a tremendously readable writing style, and his conclusions are fascinating. I think they might well be right on the money, too – the suggestions he’s making fit well with the way Blizzard have been writing so far, and would be a really interesting twist. We shall see…

Meanwhile, on a rules note, Zellviren of Unwavering Sentinel has been looking at the latest LFR loot rules. They’ll be rubbish, right? Well… apparently not so much

“Every time a boss dies, the game will roll against each player to decide if they won something. 25 separate rolls, 25 separate chances for everyone to get a shiny upgrade. To paint an example, say there are four plate melee classes in against the Madness encounter and all want Gurthalak. Each one has a separate chance of winning it and all four of them might do so. They play no part in each other’s rolls, just as they keep the heck out of everyone else’s.

I’ve no idea how that can be considered a bad change unless your desire is to troll or steal.

Now, point three on Ghostcrawler’s list is the one causing the arguments. It’s hard to say exactly what “appropriate” means at this stage, and I suppose we’ll need to wait for more commentary before finding that out. But even if that’s simply a case of picking something your class can use, ignoring spec and what you already have, it’s STILL preferable to seeing some Unholy death knight with a heroic Slicer take a Souldrinker “because he might play Frost”.”

My only remaining concern with the LFR loot rules – which feel very Diablo 3 inspired – is that they feel a bit impersonal, and further devolve much of WoW into a single-player game with NPCs that just happen to be controlled by other players. But that’s just a feeling thing, and overall, Zellviren’s got me convinced.

Finally, on a lighter note, one ex-Tree druid is finding herself unexpectedly conflicted by the new choices in Mists.

Yes, Tzufit of Tree Heals Go Whoosh was amongst the baying hordes clamoring for a return to full-time tree form, for a long while. And now, it’s finally here – but she isn’t convinced that she will actually use it

“It’s a good thing! A great thing! So, why do I find myself with no idea what my druid is going to look like when Mists launches?

I never used to identify with my night elf’s caster form during Wrath. I liked the way she looked, but I hated the night elf idle animation with its annoying bounce-bounce-bouncing, and I had trouble identifying with a character who was taller than most of the others in a raid group (I’m 5’2″ – gnomes are more my speed). I was in tree form from the moment I logged on until the moment I logged off, save the few seconds it took me to switch back after a wipe. The Pink Kitty and I used to have a good-natured snicker at druids who spent all their time in caster form and who flew around on actual mounts. “What, your forms aren’t good enough for you? You don’t love turning into a giant purple bird? Sure, have fun on that Frostbrood Vanquisher while I insta-cast flight form. Oh, and did I mention I can farm nodes and tap quest items without ever dismounting? And that if a Hordie jumps me in Wintergrasp I can just Shadowmeld and fly away? Chump.“

And then came transmogrification.”

This is a really interesting post that I think speaks to far more players than just tree druids. We keep track of the things in the game we dislike or we’re worried about, but often the things that we like or that suit us – or simply that we get used to – pass us by.

What unexpected consequences do you see from Mists of Pandaria?

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Orientalism, Steamy Romance, Druid Shapes and Mass Murder – WoW Weekend Links

Obviously, one of the big topics of the weekend’s WoW links has been the MoP beta – or rather, the lack of it for many people. But that’s not the only topic of interest from this weekend’s posts, by far:

  • A datamined model left Pewter of Decoding Dragons decidedly concerned about Blizzard’s ongoing stereotyping of non-Caucasian cultures“In Cataclysm we saw the introduction of the Pygmy model. A brown-skinned race depicted as savage – supposedly based on heavy metal characters, but in actuality echoing the colonialist stereotype of the peoples of North Africa. The very name taken from real cultures in Africa. During the course of questing through Uldum, players would kill and cage the pygmies, hit them with mallots etc/”
  • Syrco has been doing a LOT of research and delivers a fascinating argument that Blizzard should make redesigning the Moonkin form a high priority“I fear they will go too far with these glyphs and ruin what I love about this game and druids, that you’ll be able to choose too much, like looks and forms just by using a glyph. “
  • Ratshag of Need More Rage suggests that before we say Garrosh should die, we take a long hard look at just how innocent our characters are“I’s killed women and children. I’s killed everything what walks or crawls at one time or another. I’s slaughtered not onlies them what stood against me, but they’s children, they’s parents, whoevers were hidin’ in them houses and huts in Hillsbrad an’ Windyreed Village an’ an’ Bladespire an’ Skorn.”
  • And Red Cow Rise offers a wonderful compendium – a summary and details of how to aquire every single Steamy Romance novel in-game – and speculation on their hidden secret! – “Currently, there are five volumes available in the game. They stack up to 20 (so you can have a real library!) and follow the sexual adventures of a man named Marcus as he samples all the physical delights that Azerothian womankind has to offer.”

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And THIS is why Druids are upset at Patch 5.0

Feathers, fur, and bark is flying furiously after the Blizzard Live Class Balance session. Why? Because they announced in no uncertain terms that they intended to push Druids back in the direction of being hybrids first, and birds, cats or bears second.

And lo, the argument started. A lot of Druids are very, very upset, and a lot of non-Druids – including WoW Insider editor in chief Alex Ziebart, who plays a paladin, the other massively hybrid class – don’t see why they’re so upset.

At which point, Beruthiel of Falling Leaves And Wings started writing down her concerns

“If Alex were a druid, and a tank, there would never have been the option to toss out clutch heal while actively tanking. Because for a druid to maintain their fundamental ability to tank, they must be in feral form. To shift out of feral form while actively tanking a raid boss has a 98% chance of leaving your raid with one dead tank. There was no “hybrid” option there. Sure, the druid has the option to heal, but they lose all of their functionality as a tank to exercise that option to shift. They can no longer perform their prime role.

When push comes to shove, I find myself asking is that really “hybrid”? I mean, really, when did “hybrid” and “shifting” become synonymous terms? Why can’t I be a hybrid while still retaining the core abilities that permit me to perform my role?

I mean, if we put Alex into my shoes as a druid, the minute he want to help pinch heal the raid he’d be flattened as a tank. Let’s stay with paladins. What if every time a Holy Paladin wanted to use a more base ability – say hammer of justice – they became locked out of their healing spells for 10 seconds. Because a resto druid who wants to stun a mob can’t heal for roughly that amount of time when they shift to bear, generate rage, and then bash. Why do I get penalized from performing as a healer to have the same functionality? Is it all because I have the ability to shift? Somehow that just seems faulty.”

I found this post an interesting read as a non-Druid, and someone who’s divorced from the situation entirely. I must admit, when I read the Blizzard devs’ responses to the class balance questions, I was quite enthusiastic – I remember great 5-man runs with druids acting as hybrids, and I was enthusiastic about that play style coming to the end-game.

But, whilst I still think that it’s a very cool idea, after reading Beru’s post I can certainly see the problems. It’s a difficult balancing act, and I can easily see the potential for Blizzard to get it wrong. And that makes the ensuing debate, and the development changes, all the more interesting to follow.

Do you think Blizzard will get druid hybridisation right this time?

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