Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Forgot to mention

by Copra

Aye, starting the beginning of this week I have taken on the Real Life which Tobold so excellently explained to everyone in his earlier post. This means in general that for the next few weeks I most probably will not be posting even though I might be playing quite a bit (guild has some real treaties planned, woot!).

Just a short note though. As I have now noticed, I found it a lot easier to gear my shadowpriest than my warrior tank. I don't know why, but I find the spriest gear easier to comprehend and select, whereas I'm all the time confused with my tanks gear. Ratingbuster and such are of no use as they do take the gems into their calculations on your current gear, but not those on the gear vendor has (and I haven't found a way to go around this: the earlier choices I have made by trying to calculate the gem effects have gone awry).

The other thing is the cost of gear. The amount of emblems needed is enormous after the initial heroic gear, at least to me it's a daunting number of abuse in heroics. With dps caster the whole heroics grind is much more fun than with the abused tank character, for reason I mentioned there. Tank=open for abuse, dps=unleash the full potential (it's tanks fault anyway). On the other hand, I have stood up for the tanks being abused when I've been playing with my spriest because I know that all the crap tank gets isn't justified. In fact, I've noticed that very small portion of it is really tank related, the main crap comes from the ranged dps who just unleash all their dps in one burst and claim that it's tanks fault that the aggro breaks.

Now I've seen all ICC till Mr. Cool (Lich King), and I have a bit mixed feelings about this all. Partly because my computer cannot handle the 25 mans at all, partly because it was much more fun as my spriest (even on 25 man) than with my protection warrior (in arms spec, melee dps), partly because... I didn't get any real upgrades. Oh, and the rain of Emblems of Frost from ICC is just incredible compared to anything else. No wonder people are calling for the "gs 5600+" PUG raids in the trade.

But then again, that only tells that the character has been in ICC, leeching emblems or not. It doesn't tell anything whether the player is capable to cope with the encounters or is capable of work in a PUG.

Which they seldom are, if  heroics are of any measure.

Have a nice summer, which still is out there!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Diary: some thoughts on myself

by Copra

Dear diary. It's been a long time since I wrote to myself alone, let alone made a diary entry. I guess it's too long, as the blog has taken my writing as a hungry monster, craving for more and more. Now I make my way and take this time to slow down from feeding that insatiable beast and write for myself.

There have been a couple of issues I've been delving lately. Or should I say for sometime now, as the first traces of this seem to trickle back for over several months now. I guess the beginning was the fact that reaching of level cap with my main character, Laiskajaakko, proved to be more a shock than anything in WoW before that. Shock in the way that it was a very negative experience to feel lost by being 'liberated' from the ilk of questing. And that the stories and advancement quests offered while levelling were replaced by the senseless grinding of heroic instances and occasional raids if I was lucky enough.

In a way that shock might have been less severe, had I been more rude, selfish and extrovert by nature. Being the INTJ I am, I'm too much of an introvert and perfectionist to go on bragging on my skills and abilities, when I see my lack of either. As it happens, I also bear the stigmata of a social animal, that being the desire to belong and be recognized as someone. I think the first makes it hard to go through the gogogo grind of heroics, as I want to learn and perfect my skills. The latter makes it hard to give up the connections I have made to move on from the social surroundings I have carved my niche in.

Like I have written earlier, to advance in the PUGging, one should be selfish, rude and dishonest to get to the PUGs these days. First it would take a couple of addons to fake the Gearscore and achievements to be able to enter the PUG raids running in ToTC and ICC to gear up to the level where I would feel comfortable to apply for the guild raids: I know for sure I would be accepted in the gear grinded from the heroics in the form of badges, but I just cannot go in there so poorly prepared, really.

My integrity goes beyond the lying part. I would be lying to other players - whom I should think as being NPC's instead, like everyone else does - which isn't honourable in any social interaction. I rather suffer to a point, whine and grumble, until I've had enough. And then I lash out to someone or something from about something very irrelevant, pouring out everything that's bothering me about and around the issue at hand. The blog has helped me on this context quite a lot: it's been a way to vent out the frustrations, wonders and anger towards my own inability to cope with the game itself.

Which leads to the other issue I'm having: I cannot let go of WoW. If I really think of it, I haven't found too much positive things to write about WoW: I've enjoyed the game in silence, commented and raved over the issues that bother me. All based on feelings and emotional responses rather than facts and research. Some readers have found that offensive or bothering, but they have seen blogs as information channels or guideline discussions.

Why do I find it so hard to leave WoW, even though I have enjoyed immensely on the games I've tried and played over my worst WoW burnouts?

I'm a social slacker. Like I said before, I want to feel I belong. I want the social recognition which you get in a familiar group. I'm one of those who Gevlon would love to bash. But being a human doesn't mean you're stupid or a slacker in the game, I think.

I liked EQ2 a lot, and I had very much fun in the game back in the day. A lot came from the fact that there was a friendly group of people playing in the guild I joined. What really was the turn off was the fact that the time zones were against the love: playing a MMO alone is very, very stupid and frustrating thing to me. The stories are not compelling enough and the mere advancing through the content alone doesn't have any meaningful reason behind it. In a single player rpg there is a reason to it all, a compelling story arc or similar to go through.

I loved EVE Online a lot. The fact is that I lost it because I didn't connect with the people in the game: the corporation I joined was very active, and still is, but in the deeper sense I didn't get any connection to the people in it. It just didn't make any sense to login, see familiar nicknames on the chat, call for missions and do them alone in the dark.

In many ways, WoW seems to be the easiest solution to my problem. It has a lot of solo content, the game itself is stable and solid despite its several (some severe) problems and I have brothers logging in every now and then. Oh, and two of my oldest kids, too. I find it very hard to make the effort to reach out and find new social groups to connect with, be it within this or other games. That is the stigmata of the introvert nature, too, the inability to make oneself known, bolster about in your own magnifience (even when there is none) or brag about your feats (especially when there are none).

If I had to change something in the blog, I would probably drop all the speculations and make this yet another class related blog with all the bells and whistles of such: guides on talents, builds, gear, levelling and stories about playing one. Then again, that would be just one of so many similar out there, so what would be the value of such a blog these days? Tanks go to Tankspot or Tank Hard, Shadowpriests to and so on. There is just so little room to a class (or spec specified later on) specified blog out there.

Yet there is room for each and every opinion anyone ever has.

Dear diary, thank you for listening to my rant this time. I surely hope this helps me understand  myself a bit better and help my readers to cope with my - sometimes edgy and unreliable - posts in the future.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Should we praise the talent change?

by Copra

I have decided to keep the information I receive about Cataclysm to minimum, but the new talent change thing penetrated my shields. The system changes considerably, and as far as I understood the amount of talents is going down as well as the selection of optional ones, too.

In a way I see this as a step back from the 'freedom' players have had so far. EQ2 took a step back from character archetypes and switched to more open system of AA's in the early days. Now it seems to me at least that Blizzard is taking the opposite direction: moving from freedom to archetypes.

The change reflects the same ideals as the proposed and withdrawn RealID issue: to make the game more non-gamer, social friendly. By making the original character development decision the player commits to the character (which I like, because people are really making a mess of the game by playing tens of alts and not learning even one of them properly), but at the same time it urges people to make more characters to experience all of the classes out there. From 10 classes to 30 archetypes.

Make no mistake, I'm not a min-maxer type, but doesn't this sound like Blizzard is trying to make that min-maxing more a curiosity than a viable metagame within the game?

Or am I just paranoid in thinking that WoW is getting a wee bit more dumbed down to the direction of Free Realms and Facebook integration?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Few short notes

by Copra

I'm still crossed about the RealID thing. Completely irrational rage and suspicion.

I'm stuck with my shadowpriest in cooking: the skill is at 288 and I don't seem to find a trainer with any recipes which would be better than green to go on. Either it's visiting a WoW tradeskill levelling site or waiting till Pilgrim's day for speed cooking quests.

Gear Wishlist and Elitist Armory get a very old gear for my shadowpriest, for some peculiar reason. I'm not amused by the fact that they show outdated stuff on her.

I'm removing Gear Score from my computer. It was fun as long as it lasted, but it's become more and more obvious that people are using it as the guide above all guides in PUG generation. Or how would you feel about someone calling for LFM Naxx10, achievements (all) and gs 5.9k+ ?! Seen that, and that wasn't the most outrageous yesterday.

Oh, and I cancelled my EVE subscription. Because of lack of time to play. Really. WoW, despite its flaws and inadequacies, showed its fun side again as I started playing my original main. Might as well switch my shadowpriest as my main because of that.

Heatwave is going on, I have a headache and can't sleep well. Thankfully my vacation is coming closer every minute.

That means, more minutes to play. Outside.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I am not prepared

by Copra

First of all, Blizzard backed up from the RealID forum implementation. Small victory, the pebbles did their work in downing the Goliath. Now the issue is to keep our eyes on what Activision/Blizzard/Vivendi is going to do next, as they will most probably come up with something clever to get what they want.

And to open our eyes what they have implemented during the riot and ramble around the RealID issue. Whenever there is something big and rousing going on in the politics or media, something minor, but at least as annoying, goes through without anyone noticing.


Over the weekend I learned one thing. I am not prepared, or at least my computer isn't prepared to run anything more than the basic 10 man dungeons. You see, I was lucky enough to be online when the guild ICC25 run folded due to lack of participants. There were enough people to run the weekly, though, so they asked for more people just for the heck of it.

Well... I was well among the first to rise my hand, this time with my shadow priest. The weekly was Ignis the Furnacemaster must die, which I have tanked with my warrior earlies, so it suit me well to see it from the dps side, too.

The beginning of Ulduar was simple enough for my computer to cope with, and it was actually fun to go through the Flame Leviathan encounter. But as soon as we started clearing the trash mobs from the Forge area, I saw it happen.

Slow motion jerky pictures, framerate around 7-10.

And it got even worse when we launched on Ignis. I was glad to stay alive, not a small feat when you have to anticipate seconds in advance, hoping that the cooldowns are done and bad things aren't on the floor.

From the success the group, which had grown to 23, decided to go for ICC25. I kind of hoped it would have been easier on my computer, but Marrowgar proved how wrong I was. I had tanked Marrowgar earlier in a 10 man group, without problems, but it seems that the 25 man strain to the processor is too much to handle.

Never the less, I am happy that I have at least seen the first 6 encounters of ICC, all up to Professor Putricide. Which I still have to do to get the second achievement in ICC.

The other lovely thing to happen was the impromptu guild pug doing IC5 man hc all the way through, so I got to see what HoR really looks like. IMHO, it's boring as hell compared to the build up of tension and expectations of FoS and PoS. Go in, stick to one spot, kill everything. Get past big bad wolf and kill, kill, kill.

Thanks to our guild's lovely, adorable and [add  your own favourite superlative] recruitment officer Elora, I got to experience these both. First she insisted I participated on the ICC25, and second she put the guild group for two of us 'non-raiders' to experience the IC5 as whole.

Now the experience in ICC25 was a lacking one, and I really didn't get much insight on the fights themselves due to the framerate problem. I checked my computer with the CanYouRunIt tool and found out that my processor was the main reason to the issues I had. Everything else checked on the recommended specs, even overcame them nicely. Except the crucial part.

Now the only thing to do is to get a new computer, really.

All things taken into account, the weekend was quite successful and action packed, as Pupunen got exalted with Sons of Hodir and almost exalted with Wyrmrest on top of the ICC25. Laiskajaakko got his IC5 questline done and some nice upgrades to the off-spec gear.

We'll see what the week brings in. One hell of a heatwave I've heard, but that shouldn't affect the game.

Or should it?

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's analysed and it's scary.

A couple of days ago I joined the masses against the RealID implementation on the official WoW forums. I stated that
However, I can see that Blizzard will try spread the use of RealID even further, making it more a brand to do business with rather than a convenience to us players.
Guess what? Someone who's a bit more savvy on these issues posted a perfect analysis on how this works and why. And another one made a great notion on the customers of Blizzard.

We're all being lead like a bull from the nose ring. Whether we want it or not.

Game chat is optional

by Copra

I just read through my blog reader and came across Dwism's post with two blue quotes. And I almost crapped myself. Namely
The first and most significant change to the in-game chat (this including, but not limited to, various city and world channels, guild-chat, whispers, group- and raid-chat and 'say') is that in the near future these chats will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect  near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain chats, including special pay-for-channels, will remain unchanged.
Stating clearly that they have thought to turn the whole ingame chat into a real name connection system!

The one that really made my day - and got me very, very angry about this RealID thing - was from Wryxian:
There's a lot of scare-mongering going on about the change, but there seems a need to make something very clear. The in game Chats have always been an optional extra -- something you can choose to participate in if you wish to. With our Real ID changes for the in game Chats ,this is still the case. The only difference will be, if you do choose to participate in the in game Chats, then you will do so by using your real name. But only after you've been warned and accepted this in advance. 
Come again?! "The in game Chats have always been an optional extra..."

Now how the heck can you call a game a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game if your means of communicating with other players is OPTIONAL!

First of all, when I play, I want to play the make-believe character of my choice. The name is a big part of that experience, as are the names of the other players, too.

Secondly, if I want to play a good single player fantasy game, I go and play Oblivion, Dragon Age:Origins or something else with a concise plot and story. In a multiplayer game I want to be able to communicate with other players, people I group with and so on: thus the chat channel is mandatory, a real part of that experience. A must.

Blizzard has decided that WoW, especially after Cataclysm, is in fact a Massive Multiplayer Singleplayer game.

Guild experience is just a facade. Go play alone.
Optional PS.
Dwism just confirmed that the blues were just spoofs. Never the less, it brings up the question about how far Blizzard had planned to go and how far it will go after all this. Sorry for the misinformation, I was mislead.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Question of honesty

by Copra

The craving of that new shining gear available for Emblems of Frost is too tempting to the players. Where it earlier was the Emblems of Triumph (and all the former reincarnations), the achievable amount of the Frosts make them a real treat.

Last night proved me right once again.

I ran a perfectly excellent Forge of Souls, gaining an excellent staff (Blood Boil Lancet) and neck (Coil of Missing Gems) from the Devourer of Souls, after which I broke 3.2k on a dummy with my spriest. And on the next run in Nexus I was the top one in DPS and second in damage done.

Then came the dark moment, which says everything. Random heroic ToC5. As I got into the arena, there was an unnatural silence. No hi's,  no helloes, nothing. All of a sudden the dungeon guide, a shaman, stated: "Only dps specs in here", followed with lols and hehe's. What was the next question?

"Priest, can you heal?"

Crap! Someone had stated to the LFD that they are willing to take the healer position, and it sure as hell wasn't me! No, sir, I have been levelling as shadow through the Northrend and don't even have a proper dual spec. The only thing the DG could say was that someone must leave.

Come to think of it, he should have been more strict and kicked someone out, one of the three paladins, maybe?

I lost my temper, first time with this toon and jumped out, taking the 15min lfd cooldown. Didn't matter that much, did my AH magics and left the game.

Why I lost my temper was the fact that I couldn't even think of someone being so stupidly selfish as to choose the healer position only to come out as dps. Sure I know there is an addon which can fake your achievements for the normal raid PUG call, but I can't imagine using one myself. Only because I think its more like lying to yourself and ruining the others playtime than anything else.

In the case of LFD tool, there is no way to say which role people have initially set themselves into. Oh, I can't be sure, as I haven't taken the dungeon guide role yet, but thus far I haven't seen any way of telling which role people vouched for, except when someone leaves the group and the group starts to look for a replacement. IMO this is a lack of functionality over here, putting too much emphasis on the honesty of people. Who are selfishly using the rest of the group to gain their own emblems to get further in the content, despite of others.

Instead of forcing the players to use their real names in the game forums, Blizzard ought to take a good look on the social tools of the game and make the game more rewarding on the group play area instead of the solo gains. There should be some kind of system to rate other players in the game and there most definitely should be a way to see to what position people have volunteered when they started to look for action through LFD tool.

There should be a mechanism to reward for team play and honesty within the game. But the recent decision of Blizzard on the RealID usage has shown that these aspects are of no interest to them: instead, they are teaching the players to take as much advantage of the others as possible and concentrate on ones personal gains only.

Good work, Activision/Blizzard! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Might as well

by Copra

I might as well join the choir protesting the changes Blizzard has proposed to WoW forums and the stuff they are planning on RealID.

In short, Blizzard has generously 'given' us the option to give our contact information to other players of WoW, so we can keep contact with them even though we play on another server or faction. However, now they have stated that they want to make the official WoW forums use RealID only, so you would post there on your own, real life name.

This has caused an outrage: on the US official forums there is a thread of over 800 pages (over 16.000 in US and 3000 in EU) as I write this condemning the whole thing and -for the first time in a loooong time- making well thought debate over the idiocy of the proposed change.

It's kind of strange to notice that the community that has been non-existing so far is suddenly very much united and active. It's kind of like the Japanese before the Mongol invasion in the ancient times: warring and shattered society only to unify against a common enemy. Like Finns before the start of the Second World War: class struggle flowing through the society, creating more devastation than progress, only to beat the invading, vastly superior might of Soviet Union back in a desperate struggle.

Talk about David and Goliath. This time David has about 12 million pebbles to shoot, though.

I disapprove the whole idea of RealID being mandatory and/or the only identity a player can have in official WoW forums and communication. My gaming persona is to be separated from my real life persona, and I don't want to mix them in any way. However, I can see that Blizzard will try spread the use of RealID even further, making it more a brand to do business with rather than a convenience to us players.

And that's what I resent the most.

I wouldn't approve this even if RealID would already work perfectly, which it doesn't. The announcement of your RealID friend coming online is faulty, it states only your friends name, not the toon or server he's in. I doubt if it would tell which game your friend has logged in later on without this riot pointing out how outrageously Activision/Blizzard is underestimating it's customers.

Come the day RealID is mandatory, and I'll quit WoW alltogether. No matter what Cataclysmic changes there be in the game in the future.

Promises will never carry over my personal integrity.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Question of trust

by Copra

PUGging in WoW -or in any MMO to be honest- is pretty ugly, really. In most cases people are running the instances only for their own personal agendas and gains, with no interest of their companion's interests at all. As it happens, the current state of PUGging in WoW is even worse: the people running in PUGs don't have the best interest of the PUG in their interest, either.

There is also the problem with performance. Bob Turkey posted a nice post about the current state of play depicting the problems of gearscore addiction in the game from the eyes of raid PUGging. People are so concerned over the raid performance and their own ease of play that they rely on an arbitrary number instead of common sense. If you have the achievement, you surely have the skills to pull it even though your gs might be below the arbitrary boundary you set up. And if you're already performing better than the people with required gs, you sure as hell are carrying your weight, right?

My recent experience with the DK not willing to run Halls of Stone because he didn't know it prove this: being concerned over the performance resorts people running safe and 'easy' instances and doesn't push them to learn their class.

What does this do with the trust I mention in the title?

A lot. The raid leader of a PUG raid uses the arbitrary gs number to evaluate the people s/he takes on the raid because s/he cannot trust the achievement or the word of the player. They want to have a solid run for the gear they seek, not wiping because of the weakest link. The DK couldn't trust he wouldn't be kicked from the group if he messed up because he didn't know the instance. I don't want to tank because I have this feeling that the people I'm running heroics don't trust me. And I enjoy running with my shadowpriest because I can trust the tank doing his/her job properly, as I never question their ability to do so.

I feel that there is a real question of trust involved in WoW, or lack of it, really. People run their own personal agendas in such a way that it would be quite the same if the rest of the 5 man group in an instance were just AI bots. You cannot trust the other players in any way, because they are either ninja, don't know their class or don't know the bosses.

There is no room for failures, nor no room for learning. Which usually requires failures to happen, really.

I trust the tank in the group to be the one who keeps the harm out of my way when I play my priest. When I play my tank my job is to keep the mobs pounding on me, trusting that the healer keeps me alive and the dps keeps their threat throttle at reasonable level. And as shadowpriest I make my darnest to keep the mobs on the tank, never jeopardizing his aggro over them.

Whenever I play in a group, I'm willing to do everything for the group. I trust the players I play with, and I want to believe that they will do their best like I do.

But I seldom feel trusted by them. How about you?

Monday, July 5, 2010

LFD curiosities (YAWP)

by Copra

Oh, what a wonderful toy this LFD thingy is! Oh what wonderful magic it weaves and what stories and tragedies it generates!

To begin with, I posed the question why my protection warrior hadn't ever been in LFD PUG for heroic FoS or PoS on twitter the other day. Almost a consensus of comments was that his gear isn't good enough, as the LFD system ranks the toons according to the gear level they have. Much like Gearscore, but with unknown variables.

Let me say that my experience with my shadowpriest proves that point of view wrong.

You see, my spriest was in heroic Forge of Souls which was continued to heroic Pit of Saron last weekend, and that was through LFD tool. Her gear was still 3/4 blues, whereas my protection warrior's gear is all purple and he has that second gear quality achievement (not Superior as that's iLvl 187, but at least the next one I think). Yet he has never been in there through the LFD.

That trip was quite something in all, and I surprised myself by having the average DPS of 2k+ on that run. First time in an instance, that is, and all I can say is that it was quite satisfying. The PoS run was pretty strange, though: our tank was changed three times, not by kicking but by the tanks leaving. We wiped only once the whole way through, and made Tyrannus kneel, too.

The doorway to HoR has become too familiar to me on both of my capped toons. Neither has passed that point so far.

The other curious incident happened last night. I went for a PUG run and got into Halls of Stone. Before the first pull the dps DK asked for another instance. Like what? "Could we do another one, as I don't know this", was his tell.

No one responded, the bear tank -who was excellent- made the first pull and ... the LFD was locked. The DK kept on trying to get to another instance until another player noted him that "someone is under instance lock currently" was showing and we should proceed. Only after some whining comments the truth came out.

"This instace takes too long."

Like hell it does. Granted, it's not as quick as some others, but it's still fast enough not to spoil the evening. In the minimum you get 4 emblems for the run and with tank like that it was a breeze. My spriest even got the Brann's Spanking New achievement, which means that the mid run 'boss' did actually go pretty well.

Still, the whiney DK left the group after that.

This rises the question: why the hell are people playing the game? To get as many emblems in as short time as possible? Or to learn to play their characters better and really master their class when they start raiding?

Or are they really so confident on their own performance that they don't care and think that failures are the fault of others than themself?

You see, that DK... his GS was way higher than my spriests who's gs is higher than Förgelös', but his dps and damage done on that Iron Council encounter was below us both. He had ran some ICC for the gear, but he really, really didn't know how to dps with that class.

And I admit: I'm only starting to learn mine.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Three against the Pit of Saron

by Copra

The Three Stooges took up where they left last week: Ick&Krick in Pit of Saron. The fact is, that this fight is the training ground in movement and avoiding goo on the ground. The whole Pit is, actually, when you thing Garfrost with his Saronite Boulders and later the Scourgelord Tyrannus with the ice patches.

But now I'm going ahead of myself.

Garfrost was a kitten to our trio this time. Our biggest challenge over the whole play session was the uncanny ability of Bishopgeorge to dc without a notice, a trait which caused the most of our expertise to shine. To die spectacularily, that is.

So we couldn't do a thing with Ick/Krick last time we were around. But because the instance had been so much fun and was really the only way for Förgelös, Bishopgeorge and Laiskajaakko to advance towards the Icecrown Citadel in any ways, we were determined that we would get past that boss. Even if it took hours to suffocate them under our own dead bodies we would do it.

With each try we learned a lot. When to move, how to hit and when to charge. Förgelös found several new ways to keep his poisons on the monster over the explosions and chases, while I got the best of the movement and hittin at the same time: strafing is your friend as a tank.

It took us five tries to find the perfection, and down he went. Ok, a couple of more due to the disappearing priest, but five full tries. One of which was a reset because Laiskajaakko went too far and another because Bishopgeorge ran too far while being chased. The reason to the avoidance was that our damage dealer, mr. Mutilate, Förgelös, had found the end of his road in a pool of toxic waste. Or something.

The transition mobs to the tunnel were a crappy bunch. Three casters and inadequate dps to down anything within reasonable time took its toll, but we got there.

Scourgelord Tyrannus.

I'm starting to hate that guy. It became obvious pretty fast that we couldn't beat the enrage. After that point the blows were over 20k a piece and none of us could take that kind of punishment. We need more dps, straight direct damage.

That's where we left it. We will overcome that snob, I'm sure of that.

To add to my earlier post, we are undergeared for PUGs. Laiskajaakko being the highest in gs (4.9k), Förgelös lowest (around 4k after the gear from the run), we are below the 5.6-5.8 requirement in the PUGs currently. I checked several PUG calls from VoA to RS to ICC10, all stating the same range.

Here comes the "but" in this case: we are bloody dedicated and we know quite a bit about our classes. We play seriously but with a grin. Still we're out of the raiding because we haven't raided ever.

To me it seems that without any incentives to mentor new people to raids the future guild perks will only make the separation between raiders and casuals bigger. Guilds require people to create guild exp and gold, which the raiders will use to their best. There will be the raiders and the cattle, unless the system changes somehow.

That's what I'm afraid of.

Real Performance Issue

by Copra

I hate the whole concept of Gearscore being the evaluation point of the players skill and ability to play his/her toon. The whole Gearscore adoration cult makes me feel sick and the calls in the trade channel make me wince mostly because the arbitrary number requirements do not make any sense. "LFM ICC10, 5.8kGS must, 11/12 achievement. /w me for inspection." is the epitome of this dumbass mentality.

However, enlightened from Bishopgeorge's experience with Gearscore/Recount, I installed GS myself. Now my recount shows also the performance per gearscore (calculates DPS/GS, giving a single numeric ratio of performance, normalised). And that makes me laugh time and again.

You see, it becomes even more apparent that the arbitrary GS number doesn't tell anything about the skill or the abilities of the character. Or player more like.

In levelling dungeons it's clear that the toons with heirloom gear are rerolled alts, and they most probably are playing another class than their main is. Fair enough. This means that they should learn the basics and the finesses of their alts class as well as their mains to be able to perform at the same level, right? And their GS should reflect this skill and knowledge, right?

This isn't true as often as you would like.

Now I have been struggling with the DPS of Pupunen all the time. Ever since I broke from the healing to shadow. Now I barely break the 1.7k in the instances. I can barely make 2.1k on dummy. With the gear I have on me, naturally.

The funny part is the fact that during the last few levels of levelling and instances, I still managed to be in the middle class in dps. I had few blues, mainly crafted and good enchants on them (Pupunen is tailor/enchanter, capped on latter). But only after installing that gs addon I found out that when the gear score value was taken into the account, Pupunen was overperforming the rest of the dps.


When I capped with her, I took on heroics right away. I thought I would be mopped around in DPS with all the 4k+ gs toons running gogogo in the instances.

I was wrong.

Pupunen wasn't even lowest in the normal DPS in the first few runs. In gs normalised dps she was on the top of the list almost every time, even with people geared in 5.4k gear. I was keeping 4.8k gs hunters below me in dps in Gun'Drak.

Here comes the revelation.

Her GS was below 3k.

The first heroic she ran she had 2728 gs. The next lowest player had 3.8k. The highest -who was the tank- had 5.8k. The tank was the only one higher than Pupunen in normalised dps. Heck, he was the highest overall in everything, but that shouldn't be a wonder.

In a way, I feel much better about that 1.7k on average now.

To say something more about that darned GS: In the first four heroics Pupunen got two purples and two blues to replace the levelling gear. First purple ever. Her gs rose from that forementioned 2.7k to 2.9k. Her dps, on the other hand, rose about 100 points in instance.

The other revelation came when I started to gain more and better gear to her. Purchased a cheap Merlin's Robe and saw her GS rise above 3k. At the same time her DPS rose to 2.5-2.6 on a dummy, but the standardised GS went down like a cow's tail. I hit the bottom after the high.

The reason to this was simply the disparity of the GS from the stats which really mean for the class. In my case I stacked heavily on the spellpower instead of hit: she's still hitting like a freight train, but misses so many times that her dps is severely affected. Time to see that I gem and enchant her up to the cap of 289 (which comes from the fact that I have both hit effecting talents at max). You can easily have a high GS but completely wrong enchants and gems which eat up your DPS and performance. I had learned that (except the GS part) on my warrior already, that the gems and enchants mean at least as much as the gear itself. Now the reality check was even bigger.

Gearscore should be used only as a tool, mostly to see how you perform yourself. It's a bloody arbitrary and secondary value which has no real connection to the actual skill of the player or the performance of the toon in  the PUG. A player with high GS may actually be the slacker in the group, while the one with the lowest GS - and lowest gear - may well be over-performing on their own. Sadly the one doing their best always get the stick because their numbers don't come out as good as the slacking high geared ones.

The real performance issue is within the mind of those who do not understand the basics.

Then again, all that matters is that the end boss goes down timely and everyone is contributing. Some more than others.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Even more confused

by Copra

Reaching lv80 with another toon caused a new surge of interest in the gearing game. Naturally, as it's the only 'game' left after getting to the level cap, save AH and achievement whoring.

But. As I go through the suggestion lists, specific forums and information, I'm getting more and more confused on how to gear a newly dinged character. The suggestions are either for a levelling build or for raiding build: there is nothing for the inbetween.

And the information from a site like Gear-Wishlist gives as 'top gear' such gearing options which are available only from the raid content: how the heck can a new character at level cap get into them, as the requirements are based on gearscore way above the reach of someone to whom even the tier 9 gear seems unreachable?!

As earlier with my protection warrior, I may well lose my interest in gearing my shadow priest. The extremely heavy current emphasis on the raid level gear seems so far out of reach that... it seems impossible.

Any ideas on how to overcome this and/or gear a character for PUGging even the more PUGged raids (ToC, Sarth, VoA)? I'd need that push for both my tank and shadowpriest.

Thank you in advance