Because sometimes, brainfarts have substance…

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You don’t know the power of the dark side…

Lot’s of changes have been happening for me in game as of late.

I have switched mains back to my warlock.  My wrists simply don’t like playing resto druid anymore.  My offspec is cat, and we are full up of melee.  I dislike moonkin in cataclysm.  I don’t know how to tank.

So, lot’s of leveling and gearing and learning hehe.

She is my first character in WoW.  She used to be undead, but now she is a worgen.  I have to say, warlock in cataclysm is the smoothest the class has ever played.  Historically, locks have felt a little… thrown together.  They knew they wanted them to be an evil caster with pets, and to use dots, but the mechanics they have gotten have always felt like a hodge-podge of half ideas and “whatever we have left over.”  In Cataclysm, it feels as tho somebody actually mapped out what a lock was going to be, and how it was going to feel, and how the different specs were going to work out.  Sure, some of the mechanics could use a little refining (I’m looking at you, improved soul fire) but on a whole they have 2.5 viable raid PvE specs (destro is fine so long as you aren’t on bleeding edge content…  people that point to sims forget that they only show maximum potential, and only apply to groups of individuals that can approach that level of perfection.  Simple fact of the matter is, the *VAST* majority of us don’t even come close.  a small % difference on theoretical maximums means very little unless everybody involved is at that same, maximum level of gear/encounter/skill)  A destro of equal gear *can* beat me, even tho I’m affliction/demo.  It all comes down to skill, encounter design, and the almighty RNG.

Hehe, /rant off…  Hell.. I was just stopping in to say hi lol.

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Dariela, Defender of a Shattered World

Wow, I just can’t seem to get on track with my writing.

Finally took out Al’Akir.  t11 is finally done.  Yay.

Now, if hurricanes can stop taking out my guildies, and vacations can stop happening, I might actually be able to get back to a regular playing schedule.

I swear, I usually have a lot to talk about, just RL has been hitting hard.

Still here.

I realize it’s been a while since the last post.  4.1 took some time to come out, and I’ve been having fun in the new patch.

We had our best raid night ever this past Wednesday.  We one shot every boss on the way to Chimeron, and took him down for the first time as a guild that night.  Many of us had not seen him at all, or only for a pull or 2 after we did Atramedes.  Came back on Saturday for attempts on Nefarion.  Then on Monday, we got Accendent Council to 6%.

I finally got Tyrannde’s Favorite Doll!  The combination of it and the Jar of Ancient Remedies have really helped.  I was doing well before, but scoring both of those have allowed me a little more room in the mana department, and allowed me to take my foot of the breaks, so to speak.  Since I worry less about mana, my output has gone up, and my performace has gone up accordingly.

Tranq on a 3 minute cooldown, it’s really nice.  It’s not nearly as bad as I had feared as well.  Yes, my numbers are up on long fights, but the reality of the situation is, most often I still get one good tranq per fight.  I could squeeze in 2 if I just used them to use them, but that is hardly efficient.  It has become mostly a quality of life change, as I don’t need to wonder if it will be up after a wipe.  At 8 miniutes, sometimes it would be down when I needed it, because I had used it in the previous attempt.  That being said, on fights where I *CAN* get 2 good tranqs off…  I become the goddess of numbers.  I’m still afraid they are going to break a spell they finally perfected due to poor player interpretation of largely meaningless numbers.  But, as I mentioned in the comments, Blizzard is very good at this, and I have little doubt that there is some sort of plan behind their actions.

I’ll try to write more, really, I simply have been playing to much since the patch.  Till next time.

I hate this game!

Hello again,

This time I’m actually going to sink my teeth into a topic that few others even mention.  Why so many WoW players hate the game.

Ages ago, when the net was dominated by text and analog modems, we had MUDs.  MUDs were the ancestors of the MMOs we know today.  Essentially a series of linked chat rooms that designated locations, and simple objects that carried descriptions.  These early MUDs didn’t have combat.  Their draw was one of social interaction, and world building.  Players would explore the world for a while, get to know the locals, and would then often be granted privilege to expand upon the world themselves.

As is the nature of Open Source, one good idea led to another, and we had several types of MUDs, with various levels of customization.  Combat made it into the system, and Combat MUDs were born.

As we poured our efforts in to perfecting the genre, we had one wish.  A large, graphic based, world that would bring together the playerbase we had spread across hundreds of separate worlds.  Eventually our wishes were granted, and we learned the meaning of “be careful what you wish for.”

First there was Meridian, then Ultima Online.  I missed Meridian personally, but I was there from day one of UO.  UO was an amazing system, obviously grown from years of PvP MUD experience.  It suffered from one major flaw, tho.  The same flaw that all commercial MMOs have, and by their nature cannot avoid.

A commercial game is by its very nature static.  Once you have raised the money to begin development, you need to have a vision and stick to it.  Once you have people paying to play your game, you need to keep the money rolling in.  Also, once you have developed a following, more people enter your game, many who have never played anything like it.  For good or for ill, developers need to either stick to their guns, or cater to the playerbase.  More often, it is a mix of the two.

So, UO goes on its merry way, bending itself to the will of its masters.  Goodbye, economy that could be controlled.  Goodbye, PvP, sorry most people can’t handle you… and so on.  If the game had been Open Source, the original would have stood, and somebody else would have built a “lighter” version, with less control over the economy and little to no PvP.  Both would have stood side by side, and with no cash measure of what was the most successful, would be considered a success and a great game in their own right.

This is a scene that has manage to play itself out in every successful game that has come since, and gets worse as the popularity of the genre grows.  People play WoW because it’s the top dog.  They want an MMO style game, and WoW is the “best.”  It no longer matters they don’t enjoy what WoW brings to the table.  WoW is the best, they want in, and they want it their way.
They won’t go anywhere, because they have to be playing the “best.”  They don’t have anywhere else to go, because there isn’t an alternative, a game that plays just like WoW but with their own prefered ruleset.  That is a feature of the past.

What will come of it?  Hard to say.  The wheels of commercial MMOs move so very slowly.  As well, small commercial MMOs have another name, we call them “failures.”  In my day, a small MUD was considered “tight knit.”  Smaller MUDs were better, as you could get to know just about everybody on the server, and everybody on your server was into your set of rules.

Sadly, I’m not sure we are going to see Open Source MMOs for some time.  There has been some work, but I’ve yet to see anything that comes close to what WoW brings to the table, I’ve not seen anything that even rivals EverQuest.  Seems the OS community is too busy playing WoW to write their own.  Commercial games are likely never going to be able to cover the varied tastes of players in the same was as the MUD Multiverse did.

At any rate, if you are one of those players that can’t stand WoW, my best advice to you is to move on.  WoW’s success has hammered in stone the way it will continue to play.  If you don’t like it now, you aren’t going to log in one day to find the game has changed to your taste.  You wouldn’t drop 12M subscribers either.

4.1, Tranquility, and you!

Hello again.

First, let me apologize for the state of the site.  I grew up on a VT100 with a 1200 baud modem, and never quite moved on to the more visual state that the web offers.  As such, little things like formatting will take me some time to get used to.  I’m sure I’ll get it worked out over time, but for now things are a little messy.  (It only took me 8 tries to get the spacing on the paragraphs to take…)

I had intended my first post to be about how MMO’s have changed as they evolved from the open source world to the commercial one, but there is something hanging in the air currently that I feel needs to be addressed.
On the 4.1 PTR, there is a change that has me in a bit of a tiff.  Prior to the PTR going live, there was communication to the effect that druids and shaman were to be given a damage mitigation ability.  The shaman got one, but it appears they took a different tact for druids.

Currently, they have added a cooldown reduction for Tranquillity, that I can only assume is ment to take the place of the earlier conceived mitigation ability.  While I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I’m afraid that this is not going to work, and will be detrimental to restoration druids in the long term.

The issue is, simply put, no amount of healing will prevent somebody from being oneshot.  I can have my attention fully on the target, with full hots, tranq pumping, and other people with heals incoming, and if my target soaks a hit that is higher than their health pool, down they go.  I don’t care if tranquillity has no cooldown and I can channel it all day at double the rate it heals now, it is never going to help me in the situation where an incoming attack is too strong.
Add to that the fact that Tranquility has just finally reached the place where it is a useable spell.  It’s drawbacks in the past were just to great for it to see much use.  They finally got it tweaked to where it has a great use, but doesn’t imbalance us.  Now we are looking at having that same ability with a 3 minute cooldown.

Any healer worth their mana bar knows that healing meters are garbage most of the time.  It simply isn’t a good judge of healing effectiveness.  I’m on raid heals most of the time, and there are a great many encounters where smart raiders minimize their damage taken.  I will score quite low on those fights, and quite higher on fights with unavoidable raid damage.  Also, hot’s are notoriously tricky to meter.  While they provided the stability to keep the raid running, many times after their initial ticks, the rest gets pushed into overhealing, regardless of how necessary they were to the survival of the target in question.  The list goes on, and this isn’t ment as an analysis of metering healing, so I will move on.

The problem comes with perception.  With 3 minute tranqs, my numbers on the meter are going to soar.  It doesn’t matter that most of those numbers are meaningless, people will see them and form opinions.  The most likely opinion they will form is that druids are over powered.  They won’t take the concept farther, realizing that they added numbers are there to make up for lack of damage mitigation, or that those numbers don’t even make us effective as a class that can stop a great deal of that damage from ever landing.  They will see the numbers, and complain.

Player perspective is a very important part of game design, for good or for ill.  If people think druids are overpowered, they will need to be nerfed, regardless of the reality of the situation.  We have only just now gotten tranquility in a useable state, and now it’s headed squarely into nerfable territory.  What’s worse, it appears that the change isn’t going to address the issue that it was ment to in the first place.

While I can see great merit in 3 minute tranqs, I don’t feel it is what I need.  I also feel that an inevitable nerf is in its future, one that shouldn’t have to happen.  I’m not a doomsayer, crying that druids will be broken beyond repair, but I’m seeing a rough patch ahead, where our viability will be lower, but the perceived viability will be higher.  This is lose-lose for us.  We will be behind the power curve, but with a target on our back as well.

What can be done?  Hard to say.  Personally, I’d revert the tranq change and add a real mitigation ability, but this late in the PTR has my hopes lowered for that.  Maybe it won’t spike our numbers that much, and player perception will correctly assume that our number spike is because we lack the mitigation of other healers.  Past experience doesn’t leave me with a fuzzy feeling tho…

Comments?  Ideas?  Please, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Hello, world!

Hello, and welcome!

I suppose an introduction is in order.  I play a (mostly) restoration druid on Scarlet Crusade-US.  I’ve been in the “MMO” scene for over 20 years (We didn’t call them MMO’s back then, but that’s exactly what they were) starting with a small TinyMUCK called Dreamtime.  That started a lifetime hobby of multiplayer gaming that shows no sign of stopping.  As such, I’ve been around a very long time, and tend to have a different outlook on things then many other players.  In the past I’ve found myself being quite frustrated with the old, de-facto standard of gaming community, the forums.

See, back in the “good old days”, the internet was a secret place.  Most people didn’t have any computer at all, let alone a modem or technical experience.  To have even heard of the internet implied some sort of higher thought process, and to be able to navigate the maze of technical hurdles to actually make the beast work for you was impressive in its own right.  In those days, if you encountered an other person, chances were high that the interaction would be beneficial to both parties, as 2 high minds meeting almost always creates magic.  The people also didn’t take the net for granted.  Our vision was that of a modern-day Library of Alexandria, where the collective knowledge of mankind could be collected to the betterment of all of humanity.  Oh, those wild, idealistic times, how I miss thee…

Then, thru the magic of millions of AoL CD’s, the internet became the next big thing.  Suddenly every Tom, Dick, and Harry had access to the net.  People who lack the skills to program a VCR suddenly had full-fledged access to the power of networking, and things have steadily devolved to the current situation we see today.  I’m not trying to have rose-colored glasses, or be some old elitist nerd, but it is undeniable that the signal-to-noise ratio has suffered greatly.  It’s not all bad, and the internet is still a stronger place now then it was then, but wading thru tons of intellectual ore to find the precious metals within is becoming more difficult by the day.

Which brings me to this blog.  It has become a fact of life in this day and age that forums are losing their edge.  There is simply no way to keep the gems separated from the turds.  I’m all for free speech, but feel that with the right comes a responsibility to think before speaking.  It’s a responsibility that far too many people are shirking.

So, instead of continuing to post on various forums, only to have my voice drowned out by a million witless voices, I have decided to try the blog scene.  I think you will find my perspective on things differs from most.  I don’t expect people to agree with me, but at least my thoughts will not be immediately drowned by whatever common “wisdom” of the hour is prevalent.

Enough history for now.  A little more about what you will find here.  I’m no theory crafter, so if you want numbers, your likely to only get regurgitation here.  I’m not in a server first guild (while I am a raider, I am in a casual guild) so don’t expect the latest strategies either.  I intend to focus more on design aspects, social aspects, and the overall direction MMO games have moved and will move to in the future.  I don’t claim to have all the answers, or any for that matter, but you can be assured that my outlook has been tempered by a long history of experience in the field.

So welcome to my place.  I hope you enjoy the conversation.