Tycertank’s #WoWScreenshot a day (Day 6)

DAY 6 – “This is important to me!

important2

Winning is important to me but that’s not why I picked this shot. If you follow my beam (I’m the Nightelf stood next to the Jade Serpent Statue), you’ll see a Gnome taking on all comers and that’s why this was the natural choice.

That Gnome when he’s not punching Horde in the face has helped me up pyramids, their stones slippery with rain. He’s carried me down a volcano, struggling for safe footing in the ash. He’s stood between me and not one but several crocodiles and was willing to take on a Grizzly Bear and a bunch of Mexicans armed with machetes with only a swiss army knife (not at the same time obviously although that’s purely because Grizzly bears don’t hang out in Chiapas).

Keeping him alive in a video game might not quite compare with what he’s done for me, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Toxic Behaviour and Random Battlegrounds

It’s a reoccurring theme at the moment. Every where I look, twitter, guild chat, forums… there are people talking about the bad language, aggression and general nastiness encountered on a daily basis in battlegrounds. Now I have a theory and perhaps it’s not going to win me any friends but there should be no denying that I’m qualified to talk random battlegrounds, after all I’ve been known to cap my conquest points purely by doing them.

Recently I’ve been on a winning streak and I haven’t see a single swear word thrown out in anger. No one has had their capslock stuck and the whining has been down at a bare minimum. Now that doesn’t come as a surprise, after all, it surely takes a special sort of personality to launch into the hatefest that random battlegrounds are famous for when you’re winning. So obviously, losing is the issue and that’s where this gets thorny. I’ve pvped ever since I first found my way into the Barrens as a teenage Night Elf, I camped between Southshore and Tarren Mill before the honour system was implemented. In short, I do random battleground because I actually like them. Sure I prefer winning to losing but I’m there for the ride not the achievements or the currency and there-in lies the problem. When you pvp for the pure pleasure of smashing other people’s faces in, of learning how to play your class better and setting your own personal goals even when being 5 nil’d because the rest of your team are being corpse camped somewhere then there is little reason to get annoyed. You’re still gaining something from the experience. The problems start when you have people in battlegrounds who hate the whole concept but want something tangible from it. That’s when you get premades and you get temper tantrums because each loss means you have to spend longer doing something you dislike*.

Now my boss at work is very fond of coming out with corny phrases like “bring solutions not problems” and thus, I’d like to propose the following.

Change the deserter debuff completely. Instead of marking people idle, implement a vote kick system like the one which exists in pve. It doesn’t matter whether they’re jumping in the corner, running into walls or spamming chat with the sort of language which would make a squaddie blush, it would be a one size fits all button. Any behaviour at all which goes against the spirit of competition and generally ruins the atmosphere for the majority of players would count, other examples being people who pick up flags for the express purpose of not handing them in, people who ride demolishers into the sea and as far way from objectives as possible etc and should a person be evicted from the battleground, they don’t get a 15 minute debuff which stops them queuing, instead they get a debuff which prevents them getting honour, conquest or being eligible for any pvp achievements for one hour. They can choose to re-queue straight away but should they be chucked out again, the debuff will stack. Therefore if someone decides to be an idiot after being removed the first time, all they will be doing is increasing the time frame before they can tick off that achievement or buy those boots.

Now I would like this to be the case for people who afk mid battle too but then that’s just me. A better or at least more acceptable answer to that issue might be to leave the deserter debuff in place but have it stack so the first time you /afk a game it’s 15 minutes, the second game it’s 30 and so on up until the point where it’s better to hang around actually playing a losing game rather than bail on your teammates half way through.

Obviously there is a chance that people will be unfairly thrown out but given that I’ve hardly ever seen anyone marked as idle when they didn’t deserve it, I’m not sure that would be an issue and it might improve the quality of life for everyone who wishes to dabble in pvp now and then. Now it would ruin my fun in certain situations as I’ve been known to run around capping flags whilst the rest of my team are being camped at the entrance to Arathi Basin to and to pick up flags in Warsong whilst everyone else is in the graveyard because I don’t believe in handing victory to the Horde under any circumstances but if they could remove bots, afkers and general haters, I’d be wiling to sacrifice my simple pleasures.

(I have to admit I’m pretty desensitized to bad language in battlegrounds. I work with people who use swearing as a punctuation because they grew up in environments where it was far too common but I do find it amazing that people can be be bothered to actually type it out whilst playing WoW).

 

*Of course there are some people who just like calling people names but I’d like to think that these are somewhat in the minority.

The Leisurely Stroll to 90

This week WoW insider asks if leveling in WoW is too easy? The quick answer would definitely be a resounding yes. However the part of Robin’s post that I found the most interesting was this:

Is the speed and ease of leveling in the eye of the beholder?

Personally I think speed and difficulty or rather the lack of it are two separate issues.

There are a plethora of ways in which we can boost our experience gain per hour, from seasonal buffs to the Darkmoon Faire Carousel ride and the Monk daily. That’s before we even factor in the bonuses questers get from being guilded or from wearing heirlooms. Not that only, the options for the discerning leveler have never been more varied. You can pick herbs, mine, pet battle, quest, dungeon, battleground, dig artifacts out of the ground or mix and match your way to 90.

Yes, things are exceedingly fast these days. I think my recent Monk managed about 45 quests to go from 80 to 85 with a few flower picking sessions plus a bunch of battlegrounds thrown in. That’s about 10 per zone. However I don’t see this an issue because even ignoring the fact that I could have stripped off my heirlooms and not bothered buffing up with experience buffs, if I really wanted, there is nothing to stop me doing the same content I would have done whilst leveling at 90. In fact I will still pvp, quest and pick herbs on my Monk when she levels. It’s just that former should get a bit harder, the middle bit easier and the latter remain the same.

Dps might be a tad too high, especially when kitted out in decent gear. As a Mistweaver I probably shouldn’t be kicking monkeys in the face for 70k (half their health). Which brings me onto the bigger issue in my opinion. Difficulty or the lack thereof. The hardest part of AoE grinding is finding enough mobs to pull at once. Dungeons can be two manned and can often be completed without a tank, especially at low levels like Wailing Caverns. Most of the complex dungeons have been neutered, not to mention shortened. My first Blackrock Depths run took five hours and by that point we still hadn’t found the bar. Now whilst I admit this might not have been awesome game decision but it did help you get ready for raiding, even if it was just getting used to the idea of spending five hours in the same place whilst the people around you argued about tactics.

Even with my predisposition for wandering around taking screenshots and not paying attention, there aren’t any real nasties lurking in the undergrowth, no more Stitches patrolling the road or the Crimson Courier riding about looking to make mincemeat out of non-believers. Perhaps I’m looking at the game wrong but I’ve always believed that as you level not only do you learn to play your class correctly but you also figure out new aspects of the game as and when you encounter them. For example I’m far more understanding of a tank who can’t tank in the Deadmines than I would be in a LFR situation. Equally I’m fine explaining how a particular battleground works and that I can’t hand in their flag until our team wakes up and returns ours in a level 20 to 25 WSG than I would be at end-game.

Making things too easy has a dangerous flip side, especially when it comes to certain toxic elements in the community. Convenience is a wonderful thing but so much was learnt through necessity previously (including the whole avoid the roads in certain zones on pain of death and don’t touch the Blood of Heroes).  I learnt to kite on my Hunter between levels 1 and 10 when I was pet-less and you either had to slowly melee things to death or figure out how to jump kite.

I can’t help thinking that a few simple changes would help. For example we now have mobs whose health pool increases depending on how many people are in combat with them. How about taking that and increasing quest mobs in relation to the item level/health of the person engaging them as well as party size. The AI especially for named mobs should be more exotic too. We have kicks, slows and cc for a reason. Things would be far more fun and challenging if just like the Monk quests, we actually had to use them whilst leveling. Or alternatively if all classes had access to dailies like the Monk ones which require you to use certain abilities because no one should get to end-game without understanding all their spells. Dungeons really shouldn’t be doable with two, especially if neither of those are tanks and “elite” mobs should make you think twice about charging in at half health.

WoWScrnShot_060713_215857

Of course making the game harder would also have the knock on effect of making leveling take longer too so it could be a bit of a win win situation for some people.

In short the game should make you think and should present challenges all the way through. In many ways Cavafy said it best:

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Although whilst many people see leveling as a means to end rather than a game within itself, I suspect that we’re going to see the levels before end-game get easier and easier and quicker and quicker.

And the Wheel keeps turning: PvP and Chakras

Nothing seems to divide Holy Priests like Chakras. I know people who have quit their Priests all together over them, Priests who have gone Disc or Shadow because of them as well as plenty of Priests who have stuck with Holy but tend to pick their Chakra and stick with it regardless of their circumstances. My focus today is PvP but a lot of what applies here can also be used whilst dungeoning and raiding.

First of all, know your “enemy”!

chakra01

and

chakra02

Now I deliberately didn’t include the third Chakra and the reason for that is simple. Chastise is our default ability if we aren’t in a Chakra at all. So lets say I’m in Serenity and I have been for a while, all I need to do to throw a disorient on that pesky Holy Paladin over there is leave Chakra state, cast Chastise and then re-enter Serenity immediately incurring no real penalty (ok Chastise hits for less but…..).

chastise01

/cancelaura Chakra: Serenity
/cancelaura Chakra: Sanctuary
/cast [target=mouseover, harm, nodead] Holy Word: Chastise; Holy Word: Chastise

You do need to hit the macro twice to get the disorient but it leaves whichever of the two Chakra states you’re in and then will stun either your mouse over target if you have one or your actual target if you don’t. I’d definitely recommend using a macro because in hectic pvp combat the last thing you want to be doing is trying to right click off the right buff whilst the person you want to disorient is trying to smash your face in with an axe.

So with the basics covered, what I do use and why? Well my general rule of thumb sees Serenity as my go to Chakra for most things pvp related. I’m a great fan of casting on the move (you can tell I was a Resto Druid in a former life can’t you) and given that in most pvp, standing still just makes you an easier target, you can’t beat instant cast abilities. Being able to dance through and behind your enemies throwing out heals can make a huge difference on your time to live and that of your team-mates.

Also if you’re left alone, Serenity is definitely where it’s at. That instant heal can and will save your life over and over again.

However, especially in the two 40 mans, Sanctuary has it’s place:

Isle of Conquest

  • On entering the boss room to take down the opposing boss I switch because with his leap, every little bit of aoe healing counts. 
  • If we’re winning by attrition and camping the graveyard, i.e. everyone is grouped up in one place with lots of people taking damage, I switch.

Alterac Valley

  • End bosses are an obvious choice for Sanctuary, especially if you’re forced into pulling with towers up.
  • Any huge face offs on the road, i.e. by Iceblood graveyard or between Stonehearth and Stormpike, using Sanctuary is a potential option. It depends whether you’re just championing one person, i.e. a warrior/deathknight or trying to keep the masses alive.

As for Arenas, given that I only ever play 2 v 2, I tend to switch between Serenity, no Chakra at all for the disorient and then using Chakra: Chastise if I need to nuke.

Basically before you make a decision on which Chakra to use, consider the following:

  1. Are you sticking with the vast majority of the team or are you off either solo or with a handful of others. Then consider Sanctuary for the former and Serenity for the latter.
  2. How many opponents are there? Lets say for example that you and a rogue are attacking the Farm in Arathi Basin. There is just one defender but you know that this team have been fairly good at communicating thus far. Do you stick in your healing Chakra or do you switch to Chastise for the extra bit of oomph? After all, the faster they die, the quicker you can tag.
  3. Is anyone focusing you? Serenity all the way then.

TL,DR

  • Macro cancelling Chakra and disorient early and often. The more CC you can provide, the less healing you need to do. Consider things like Chastise – > Mindcontrol for defending the Lumber Mill in Arathi Basin or in 2 v 2s. Not only is it annoying, it’s also effective, especially if you follow it up by parking the person next to you and then fearing them. 
  • Serenity normally beats Sanctuary unless the opposing team is kindly focusing on aoeing down your team at roughly the same rate, you aren’t taking huge amounts of damage yourself and you don’t like anyone else in the team enough to focus them with lots of single target heals.
  • Chakra: Chastise has it’s place. I use it in scenarios, 5 man groups in which people don’t stand in bad and the tank actually uses cooldowns and for nuking demolishers in Strand of the Ancients. It can also be handy in one v ones against certain classes (i.e the ones which don’t currently hit very hard themselves) as long as you’re ready to swap back to defensive mode Serenity the second they get a mate. The other thing to consider is how many healers are on your team. If I end up in a healer heavy side and no one has the gear/spec set up, I’ll use Chastise for dps, especially to help kill flag carriers whilst the others heal. My Dps isn’t awesome but I’ve never come bottom yet although in random battlegrounds that’s perhaps not surprising.

Above all, don’t be afraid to play around with them. Also I have it on good authority that chastise the disorient is cheating (rich coming from a Paladin :p) so use it often!

The three reasons why I love the Tillers

I admit to being a little dubious when Blizzard first raised the idea of farms in WoW, but a month into the expansion I find myself exalted with the Tillers and more importantly glad I farmed their rep. Quite often the best pleasures in life are simple ones and in many ways you can’t get simpler than planting vegetables and tilling the land, which in a roundabout way brings me to my all time favourite Tiller items.

Gin-Ji Knife Set

This wonderful set makes your character don a chefs hat and start chopping as if you’re in the final minutes of a closely fought Iron Chef battle. You swiftly reduce your kill to a pile of blood red guts such is your enthusiasm. There is a 20 minute cooldown because we can’t have it all, but given that you can use this little beauty on the fallen corpses of your enemies it’s well worth every penny not to mention the bag space it consumes. It’s not usable on anyone who releases fast but those who hang around hoping their mates will kill you… well they could be in for a surprise. A word of warning though, anyone who has been through the “mincer” is likely to spend the rest of the battleground stuck to you like glue (or hiding in a corner shaking).

Goats

I’ve always been fond of goats, in fact I think gnomes and goats have a lot in common as demonstrated in the picture below (the arm belongs to Mr Harpy).

Now I finally have a mount which correctly reflects the state of my bags.

I.e. weighed down with everything apart from the kitchen sink.

Scarecrow

The cocky crow is a wonderful touch, it’s just a shame the scarecrow doesn’t come to life, asking about getting a brain or even better given the time of year set out to get it’s own braiiiiinsss by chasing passers-by because everyone secretly knows that scarecrows or tattiebogles as they call them around here are actually very creepy.

So what are you waiting for, if you’re not exalted go go go and if you are exalted and you haven’t bought your julienne set… shame on you!

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