Archive for April, 2010


The rise of the Great 25man Social Guilds

April 26, 2010

This post was inspired by: Still Going to Run 25s? | World of Matticus.

Blue Poster Nethaera released the a groundbreaking statement today on the forums about the future of raiding in Azeroth. Read the full thread here. A lot was said about the future structure of raiding, but the points that interested me the most are:

  • Heroic modes will all be toggled on and off per boss like we do now in ICC.
  • Ten and 25 man raids will share the same lockout period.
  • The same loot will drop of ten man bosses as drop off 25man bosses.
  • Amount (not ilevel) of gear dropped is scaled up for 25mans to compensate for more people in the raid.

While I get that this is supposed to not affect the viability of 25man raiding, I don’t really see how we can avoid human nature. Like water choosing the easiest path downhill, I can see how this news will endanger the future of 25man raiding. The news is good for the clique raiders, and the small groups of exclusive buddies and even for the lucky few who made friends on their server before the new Dungeon Finder Tool shredded the traditional way you met other gamers in your community. They will all now have their 10mans and don’t need a larger group to get their kills and their loot. But what I foresee for the rest of us that try to cling to the old way is endless 25man pugs which eventually dwindle into the ten-man snatch-and-grabs much like we see in VOA 10’s today.

i WILL heal you and you WILL like itFurthermore, I don’t know about you… But I work much harder as a healer in tens than I ever have had to do in 25’s. Unless you over gear the instance, I find many of these fights are tough for a disc priest. Combine it with “hard modes” where you have another single-target  healer like a pally and you are looking at a quick trip to the respec lady in IF if you want to keep your raid spot. Furthermore, the pace is more hectic and less enjoyable. With less room for error, and less opportunities to have a mana break or take your eyes off the screen for a nano-second if there is an emergency or whatever, I foresee a faster burnout pace than I did with the 25man raids.

Lastly, 10man raiding doesn’t have the social epic feel that the old 40mans do. Nor do they have the cool large-group of buddies feel that the 25mans do. With less reason than ever to get along with various personalities for the good of the group (and the gear drops, lets face it), its going to be the death knell for a lot of us. I know I will be less inclined to stick around in a 25man guild if there are jerks in raid and Ventrillo clowns like we put up with in 25’s. There have been plenty of times I thought about shopping for a 10man that gets the job done in half the time, but was stopped for the reason that the gear and content isn’t as cool as the 25man level stuff. And you know what? I bet each and every Raid Leader, Guild Officer, and many of us regular old raiders, etc., have had the same thought a time or two ourselves.

On the other hand, I can see how casual and social guilds will be MORE viable at 25man level. 10mans are simply harder as a result of less class diversity when you are pushing progression. There is always someone in every 25man guild that is there because we like them more than their skills. You know who I am talking about. The lovable but not as savvy players that are tucked away in the corners of our guilds. Hanging with us, BGing with us, and being awesome in guild chat, and filling in the raid spots when attendance is low. I foresee there being more room in 25man raids for this kind of player than in 10man progression guilds. Maybe Cataclysm will see the rise of the great social 25man guilds.

Waiting to see how this will pan out.


My thoughts on the Warner Brothers acquisition

April 25, 2010

There is a new poll over at Casual Stroll to Mordor that I enjoyed. They asked for comments and I went to town. I enjoyed reading some of the responses, and left my own:

Q: How do you feel about the Warner Bros acquisition?

A: (poll answer) Worried. I don’t want my game messed with. (38%, 37 Votes)

My reasoning for the answer? Its simple. I am worried about too much popularity destroying the game’s community and its culture. There is a clear reason why large corporations are interested in gaming platforms right now. All you need to do is look to how much money Activision (via Blizzard’s WoW game) made in four hours selling what is now known as ‘The Sparkle Pony‘. $2million in four hours is a sum no one can resist.

Celestial Steed

What Blizzard does best is market their game to the new gamer. The casual that doesn’t have the greatest gaming rig, and maybe has only tried a few PC games, or due to time restrictions, has limited playtime – and thus, limited online experience. This huge market demographic has quite a bit of discretionary income to spend in subscriptions and occasional vanity purchases.

Up to a certain saturation point (and we have yet to get there in LoTRO, I agree) the community is fine. Relatively polite gaming and community enforced standards of play mean a civil environment in which to enjoy our favorite game. But attract too many ‘casual’ regular joe’s who have limited experience being in a relatively anonymous online environment and you will have the problem that the World of Warcraft community is suffering from. They call it the GIFT.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that getting more people to play LoTRO will be good up to a certain point. The game could honestly use more players. Also there is quite a lot of money to be made from sustainable subscriptions and offline merchandise that hasn’t been explored by Turbine as of yet. But the flip side of the popularity coin is all the new-to-gaming ‘GIFT’ers which will also want to play this game. A surge in popularity aided by the undeniably more wealthy WB marketing department has the potential of attracting so many new people that online behavior spirals out of control (as it did in WoW) and we end up with chat channels obstructed from usefulness by griefers and forums ruled by trolls and grand standers.

Without proper precautions (and I seriously doubt WB inc., sees past the revenue potential to properly understand this complex problem) you have the sort of environment that is plaguing WoW today.  I would hate to see that happen to LoTRO.


Cooking for a Minstrel in LoTRO

April 23, 2010

or, masochism with a streak of stubbornness  are good virtues if you want to be a successful LoTRO crafter.

Well THAT was interesting..

So I switched my Minstrel to Yeoman. I did it so I could cook and tailor and not worry about farming mats on a toon that basically has the survivability of a paper doll. Its not too hard to level this stuff if you are in it just to get to top level. But, as I soon discovered, acquiring the ingredients in order to get what you want, say… level-appropriate buff food so you can reasonably solo content like other classes do without buff food, is a complete pain.

In order to get three full stacks of the best food I could make for my Rock-n-Roll healer, I ended up with Expert level cooking and Expert level farming. All I wanted was a stack each of trail food, cooked food and what they call fortifying food. It took me two days to do just that.

Yes, I said that right. Two days. I didn’t get any questing or actual progression towards end game content while I scrabbled and farmed and mixed ingredients and finally cooked enough food for three simple stacks. While I think the *idea* of the way LoTRO has done cooking is kinda cool (who doesn’t love real world comfort food like Steak and Eggs, Hearty Carrot Soup and Roast Beef Platters), its a total pain in the ass if you actually NEED this stuff so your healer can play the game at a level that other classes enjoy.

One of the more aggravating moments was when I was making Trail Food. Ingredients are not too hard to gather, but you need a campfire to make them – hence reinforcing the concept of being on the trail. I like that idea, its kinda gimmicky and cute. But in reality, its not so great. There are two ways to do it. You can buy all your stuff in advance and hustle down the road a few towns over to get to an area in the Shire (or wherever you craft) that has campfires. Then you cook the trail food. If you are missing  ingredients, you must run  back a few towns to the crafting area or your bank or the mailbox or god forbid the farm and then back again.

Or you can do it the way I did it. Make a campfire with the cooking skill that requires NPC purchasable kindling and raw wood (from a forester craftsperson) and cook right there in the crafting area. Only problem with that is the fire doesn’t last long enough to cook 20 pieces of food. And its not nearly long enough if you have to sort through your bags for a moment or have to grind flour real quick or whatever. So you gotta use a lot of firewood kindling stuff. It gets expensive when its wood that you cant cut yourself. And its annoying to think of the time and money you are wasting on all this just so you can level.

Top that annoyance off when you are crafting trail food item 19 of 20 and you are on your third campfire since you started, and the game bugs out not letting you make the rest of your trail food. So you gotta log out and in real quick and ya.. you saw that coming. The campfire died just as I was making my last item, and I got to make yet another one just for one last item in my stack.

Four campfires. Two days of farming and cooking, three bloody stacks of food that will be obsolete in 5 levels. >.< I get the feeling that the makers of LoTRO don’t really think things through at times… So, armed with fresh stacks of food, considerably poorer and my alts’  mailboxes stuffed with leftover foods I had to make to get to an appropriate level for my Minstrel’s needs, I set off back into the lone lands. I wont be back to craft for another few levels and fervently hope by the next time I need something I have sufficiently recovered from the trauma induced from making buff food for level 25.

I didn’t feel bad that the NPC was stuck in one of my campfires. IMO, she and all the other NPC cooks in this game are a little sadistic and probably deserves it.


giggle/rant/sob of the day

April 20, 2010

Reading this post about healing the Lich King fight and I come across the humorous line,

“if for some reason you still run with a group of window lickers that still don’t understand the benefits and abilities of a discipline priest, this fight alone should change their mind.”

I cant help but laugh. I mean, I cry a little too, but I am laughing. My guildies certainly don’t think they are window lickers (in fact some of them kinda have a high opinion of themselves), but there are still far too many of the influential people in this guild that honestly think they are carrying the guild disc priest. You know.. the one who is always so low low low on direct healing numbers.

It’s not like I am a bad. I do my part, I research the fights before we get to a new boss and I don’t make any more mistakes than anyone else. Plus I am a priest, I survive some crazy stuff due to my CD’s and burst healing. But because the default healing chart that comes with Recount is only for direct heals, and mitigation is a new concept to most WoW players, there are some who look at that chart or any deviation in my performance as proof I am not pulling my weight. Human psychology dictates that once a person is convinced that another is a bad at something, even if this person isn’t any better or worse than any other, the person in question must work ten times harder to disprove the erroneous opinion. Any mistake or error on their part is normally magnified ten times worse as proof of their earlier (and in this case wrong) opinion.

On the two non-disc friendly fights I keep my head above water. On BQ I float in the upper middle of the chart and on dreamwalker I just focus on tank healing, PI the Pally, and feel grateful I am not sent out of the room in shame. But in the rest of the fights my output varies from leading with as much as 44% of the overall healing to being head to head, toe to toe with the two other top healers in the guild.

But it doesn’t make for a fun evening when you are being doubted and constantly under fire. From being called out  in vent by an officer about my low healing output in Dreamwalker, to having one guild member recently flip out and Gquit during a raid after telling me that the only reason I am in this guild is that people feel sorry for me, it’s a nightly struggle to just keep my sanity over what I know I am contributing. The worst time I have of it is in my ten man group where every week I have to gently but firmly point out that whatever heroic encounter we are learning at the moment would not be better done with me as a Holy Priest. Usually posting the Heal+absorb meter quiets the demands for me to stop being a Disc Scrubb, but the ensuing comments from showing just how much further ahead my output is on the meter switches to resentful statements like “gee wish I only had to spam one button to top meters” (a resto drood said that last week) and “you can tell a healer is good based on their direct heals”,  and my personal all-time favorite, “your legendary mace is healing for you, so absorbs don’t count on the meters”. You really cant win if people don’t want to change.

All this would come to naught if it weren’t for two really awesome officers in my guild. Without these two people having my back, I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first month with this guild. They lobby constantly to educate others on how a Disc Priest heals, and always show support for me when the other officers question my abilities and direct heal numbers. And to be quite honest, not everyone feels this way. Most guildies understand that a disc priest’s most beneficial utilities to a raid wont show up on a direct heal meter, and the others trust the healing lead who advocates on my behalf.

That said, I think it’s disheartening that my two friends have to work so hard for tolerance of such a necessary raid healing class at a time in the expansion when everyone should know what the other classes can do, and show team support even if they don’t. But there you have it. People are people and they will always fuss and fidget about everything under the sun.


She cant be serious?

April 19, 2010

Every time a new Spiritual Guidance article comes out, I rush over to full of hope that there is something interesting and informative being published. But lately, that joy is tarnished into wondering if the author has gotten the facts right on yet another rehash of the same old priest mash. Unfortunately, it’s not showing any signs of changing for the better. =(

This time the latest how-to article for Priests is aimed at mediocre min-maxxing as the most practical ways to spec in late Xpac content like ICC. To be fair, Dawn always posts a disclaimer that some people may see things differently than she does or remember things in a different way. But one teeny line saying “YMMV” doesn’t give a proper journalistic neutral tone to a gigantic post about the way she states the priest class works. I am not sure if its her absolute statements about “how things are” or her over-confidence and then missed marks on theory-crafting, but I rarely see eye to eye with the way she presents the priest class.

Call me cranky, but I think after so many months of this she’d start learning how to not make so many absolute statements and start accepting that this game and the class is more complex than most people have time to sift through. Her job is to explain things and give us insight – not dumb it down and get it wrong. Most topics presented in the Spiritual Guidance column seem like unusual interpretations of threads long ago discussed on or strange histories that don’t jive with the way most of us old timers remember things. I am not sure how she can get things wrong when most of what she is writing about has already been blogged to death on most other Healing sites.

Some of the best content she has published is clear in her great sense of humor. She is wonderful about making jokes and creating cool names for the Disc Healer. That, in and of itself is why I keep coming back. I really really *want* to like her. Unfortunately, some of the worst is bragging about her gear score, links to her personal blog, and “follow me” links for her twitter.

I’d like to see something new, not another regurgitation of the same old same old grabbed hastily from various websites that the community already reads. Fact checking, and making sure what you post is mathematically accurate and plausible is a nice step too. I also wish I had more strength of limb and life and had the energy to cheerfully and politely give a counter point to what I see as the worst interpretations she presents as facts. But I can’t. I only have so much time, so much energy and so much patience. My health comes first.

Its getting annoying Dawn. Please start making sense.

* Added on 4/20/2010 while researching more about Dawn, in an effort to understand her better, I came across this post between her and zusterke this morning. this shows the girl has her stuff together. Now.. the question remains, how do we get her to show she knows what she knows in her column.


Just another LoTRO Sunday…

April 19, 2010

It’s another LoTRO sunrise, Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky, said goodbye

So today found me trying to tidy up all my loose quests in an attempt to get my minstrel into the Lone Lands. Last night before I logged out, I was extended an invitation to Smokin’ Fat Hobbits, and decided to get to know the guild a little bit today, socialize in trade chat, try to do some fellowships, you know… enjoy myself.

I got an awesome group for the Great Barrows, main healed the whole thing and sailed through it with no deaths. Picked up a chest, hat, and pocket item. and then quests for that place gave me a cloak, ring and new sword. I felt pretty well decked out.

It was so nice healing for these people. In LoTRO, as far as I can tell, there is no such thing as Gear Score and there isn’t anything called Recount. No one was complaining about DPS, no one was putting others’ gear down, or trying to one-up each other, or ninja logging from frustration. It was just get in, get the job done, have fun, and get on with your day. I ended up with one of the people in my friend’s list. All in all a VERY pleasant run and a great way to start my day.

After cleaning up my bags in Bree, a lovely guildie helped me out with the crebain quest in the barrows enabling me to get the last part of my Epic Book finished. The last chapter was an exciting solo-instance that sent back to Tom Bombadil’s house to pick up the questline. I got there all excited to see him pwn the Barrow Downs just to end up with him dumping me all by my lonesome at the front door of the Great Barrows and basically saying, “SEE YA!”

After chuckling to myself, I chomped down some buff food and set to work, mini-style. Which means, clearing the place slowly, one mob at a time. I got to the end of the solo-instance and met up with this guy.

ya. he looks evil. and you know what? He is…

but even cooler than how evil he looks, is the mechanic where you have to approach him to exchange a quest with him before he gets to kill you. Well, about 2/3rd of the way through him wailing away on me, in pops Tom Bombadil singing and leaping about and being Tom. The boss freezes in place and slowly heals up while Tom tells him to go to sleep, etc… just like the lines in the book.

only… when Tom tells me its safe to go… the Bad Guy TAKES A POT SHOT AT ME.

I don’t know if that is supposed to happen.. but here I am with low mana from the first round and fighting for my life while Tom Stands there watching and singing his silly rhymes. It was nuts. Anyway, I killed it, and got out of there and me and Tom ended up back at his place to wrap up the quest. And then off I went to chill with Gandalf in Bree =D

Later in the evening after dinner I made it out to the lone Lands and saw the prettiest Sunrise while on Weather Top. I took some screenies to share. It’s just incredible up there. After some close calls in some Orc Camps and getting that yucky healer-trying-to-solo feeling, I grabbed the quests out at the Forsaken Inn and decided to head over to Trestlebridge and see if the quests are any easier there. Tomorrow I will find out if maybe getting a level or two under my belt in the north before coming back to Ost Guruth will be the trick. It’s no fun worrying that if more than two mobs see you at a time you’re toast.


Turbine’s NEW to do list:

April 18, 2010

dead again

  1. Alphabetize the destination list for Stable-Masters
  2. Allow Click-adding to the Auction House search panel. Typing sucks!
  3. Allow mail RETRIEVAL of letters sent by NPC’s on trial accounts so we don’t miss out on all those cool quest starters that NPC’s send players via the post.
  4. DO NOT.. and I repeat for emphasis.. DO NOT ALLOW hostile NPC’s to wander near and attack players that are standing in front of the Stable Masters. (ya…   >.>  I was alt-tabbed when I wrote this.. lol)
  5. Fix the whiney voices for the humans. Its… really annoying.
  6. Fix the auto-response “Why are you bugging me?” on humans that you are rescuing on escort quests. Complaining that I am speaking to them makes me want to just ditch their sorry asses in the orc-infested camps where I found them.