On gold

After a month and a bit of Cataclysm I have two level 85’s, a couple at 81’ish and some maxed out professions (Engineering, Mining, Herbalism) with others well on their way (tailoring, enchanting, alchemy, inscription).

The cash position is promising being 5k up on where I started which can only be a good thing, though at some point there’s a bill looming for the Vial of the Sands.  We’re hoping that SWMBO will be farming that up soonish at which point we’ll be pushing for two of them rather sharpish.  Part of the boost has come from a rather nice BoE purple which dropped on a run which I won on a green roll, the rest has been from selling materials, some craftables and levelling alts.

Raiding: It’s kicking off, though signups are still a worry, more people signing, I need my boss kill fix.

Team Pirate: More people online, more often 🙂

I didn’t see that one coming (4.0.6 patch notes)

“Level-85 normal dungeon bosses dropping Justice Points — 30 justice points are awarded for normal level-85 dungeon boss kills to help with gearing up for heroics.”

So what does this mean?

Well it’s clear that people simply aren’t running heroics, they’re hard work (a good thing) but the PUG experience is not a good one.  Heroics need communication, thought and planning.  Something PUG groups are not good at, even on the best of servers and battlegroups, also the makeup of groups can be variable.  Combine this with either weak cc classes, bad combination of mobs and cc capabilities or simply players who couldn’t cc if it was their only way to level.

Adding JP to normals gives an incentive for players to enter normals more, with the leap in difficulty between normals and heroics there has been too little reason to enter normals (not enough reward) while heroics give a reasonable reward but the pain of the pug process puts most players off.

Hopefully they’ve got the reward balance right this time and it’s not another “Tol Barad” moment on their part.


Who keeps putting signs on my back?

How to start the new year.

I’ve picked up (at least for 2011H1) another six heads for my team at work (this lot based in Kuala Lumpur to go with the teams in Bristol, Dallas & Vienna) and I appear to be throwing my hat into the ring to raid lead progression content, in addition to the Team Pirate raiding.  Which hopefully starts to kick off again this coming weekend.

Someday, hopefully not to far in the future I will learn to duck, take one step back and generally not volunteer.


Fixing LFD

“Fixing” LFD, once again the discussion arises over how to fix LFD and more specifically the behaviour of players using the feature.

What are the problems?

  • “Bad” players
    Refusal to cc, tanks charging in, healers bouncing around spamming their insta-casts and not focusing on keeping players up, damage classes pushing 500 dps at level 85
  • “Bad” players
    Elitist morons demanding that anyone in LFD is in full 359 epics as a minimum and kicking all players not meeting this standard
  • “Bad” players
    Morons gaming the iLevel limit to hit heroics wearing 318 gear by stacking their bags with gear obtained from the AH.
  • “Bad” players
    People who cannot move from the fire, dodge adds, nuke adds, generally refuse to react to the encounter

Or put more simply the problem with LFD is players.

So, the requirement is for the LFD system to have mechanics and systems bolted on top which can regulate in a technical manner meatspace behaviour.  This is going to fail, it’s going to fail in spectactular fashion.

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across attempts to resolve meatspace issues with technical solutions, the most widely known is email spam filtering.  All the technical attacks are based around trying to identify sources and block based on content, those who’ve known me for a while will be more than familiar with my “consent not content” ranting about the filtering attempts.  One person’s spam is anothers requested communication.  Filtering on the content alone at a central level is simply broken and prone to false positives.

Anyway coming back to our problems in LFD, which are simply put down to the dynamics of the group of five living and breathing human beings, scattered potentially across the region their realm services, they might all speak different native languages.  Though certainly in the EU if a player is on a language specific realm I believe they’ll be matched with other players from the same language group and potentially with different expectations of the run.

Some of the expectations we typically find are :-

  • I’m just here for my valour points, all optional bosses skipped, all trash skipped even if it causes a wipe.
  • I’m here for the lols / drunk / stoned, AoE 4 teh LoLz!
  • Rep grind, let’s kill everything in sight
  • I’m here for a single item, if it doesn’t drop or I loose I’m outta this place lusers!
  • First time in here, let’s get all the bosses
  • Carry me!
  • A bit clueless but willing to keep trying.

and so on, we’ve all encountered at least one, if not all of those stereotypes and if we’re honest we’ve almost certainly been at least one of them at some point.

The WoW blogs are discussing what can be done to make LFD work better, looking at reputation systems, we’ve seen how easily these are twisted into a perversion of their original intent because the definition of “a good player” is so wide.  It means one, some or all of the following – “overgeared”, “full epics”, “target switching”, “chainpulling”, “no mana breaks”, “effective cc” and so on.  Adding the ability to cross-server friend players, to have a system by which those who run well together will tend to re-group.  Scoring players based on their ability to play, again this is massively subjective and what works with one tank will annoy another .. and thus the whole mess builds up again.

The vote to kick system requires some work, I see no reason why the reason for the kick cannot be reported to the person being kicked.  Where the reason is valid it gives feedback, and where it’s simply abusive then it’s reportable and to be honest it allows the person being kicked to update their ignore filter.

Can LFD be “fixed”?

I don’t believe so, because the mechanics are not broken, the people using it are.  In any group there will always be aggressive morons on both sides of the fence, the Internet Dickwad Theory remains the controlling factor and will remain so.  Adding in something based off cross-realm friending (allowing two players who have mutually friended to increase their chances of running together again) might help but I believe that any attempt to build in a reputation system will rapidly collapse under the weight of players gaming the system.

The only true solution is to have a core group of players within your own realm which allows the bulk of a 5-man group to be formed before looking at LFD to fill a gap or two.


It’s not dead it’s just resting

This is pretty much how I’m feeling about LFD at the moment, anything other than certain normals are simply too much pain with a group which I don’t have a connection and more importantly voice comms running.

So if you’re running a dps and wondering where the tanks and healer are, here is your answer, the dungeons are no longer a faceroll, cc is needed, sensible pulling is needed and everyone has to do their thing and notstandinfire/runfromadds/dpsadds/movetothegood/etc.

In LFD there are too many of all roles (tanks included) who have not yet adjusted from the Wrath “we are all gods” mechanic of the last six months of the expansion where it was almost possible to solo heroics.

Tol Barad

Unsurprisingly the 1800 honour for a win has been nerfed, there will be a day, a glorious day when Blizz remember that their customers are not all drooling morons and can spot how to min/max a given mechanic they’ve been provided with.  They’ve given us communication channels between factions alongside all the non-Blizz forums so the message gets around rather quickly.

However neither the “1800 honour” fix or the nerf of it change the underlying problem, the zone is broken.

  • Defenders have a massive advantage
    This is simply bad design, it was pointed out on the beta and nothing was done to resolve the problems inherent in the zone.  I suspect we’re in for another two years of the zone getting the “Wintergrasp treatment” where Blizz keep trying to tweak the design.
  • “Bridge Rush”
    Easily predicted (why wouldn’t players lurk on the bridge for a 50/50 chance of getting free honour) and easily prevented. 

    Five minutes before close the gates on the bridge and port everyone out of the zone
    At start port in those selected

  • Change the starting mechanic from a “defend / attack” to a “gain control” approach, this removes the imbalance in the zone.
  • Get my PvE out of your PvP
    My preference is for raiding, I do some PvP when the mood takes me, and at the moment to get some quick gear ups for the holy set, however smashing my head against the Horde warmachine simply to get to a raid, and a quick raid at that.  Please let the raid be open to all, the battlezone dailies, let those go to the victors but let us all have the damn raid.