Friday, October 30, 2009

Bane of anonymity in WoW

The player in an MMO is in fact anonymous being, hiding behind the mask of the avatar name. This leads to the fact that a huge MMO suffers from the same problem with anonymity as the internet: the decent, nice Average Joe turns into a virtual troll and sociopath goblin due to anonymity and wide audience. In an MMO, however, the name the player gives to the avatar is a kind of personality to the character and is a bit slowing down this approach: you are worth your name and your name is all you have in the game.

But still, like Azariel wrote yesterday, the anonymity and not knowing the people you group with leads to similar conduct: if you are not satisfied with the performance of someone in a PUG, you can kick them out without a word (provided you're the group leader). This doesn't help the person to improve their performance due to the problem in the system: you do not get any kind of response or evaluation on how well you are performing unless you are doing so good that people are thanking you for that. In a case of 'poorer' performance, you are called names and told you're either noob or crap player, without telling what to do or how to improve.

No constructive criticism or capability to give such exists in the majority of the PUG's, anyhow.

Now add to this the possibility to group over server boundaries: the audience grows wildly, your anonymity increases immensely and -like Spinks posted- 
You don’t need to talk to the other people in your group if you don’t want to – you won’t ever meet them again.
In the future cross-server PUG system Blizzard claims that they have thought about the jerk factor and tried to find ways to prevent the excessive ninja behaviour this system gives a great thumbs up. However, even though I can see the benefits of being able to PUG fast I cannot see a way to make this viable and reasonable way to improve the game experience. The initial issue is with the Interned Dickwad Theory and the implications it has over the amount of players submitted to the cross-PUG community. The secondary issue is with the lack of criticism and advice you -as a player- will face even more strongly in this system.

But it all comes down to the fact that anonymity brings up the beast within. I can see the conduct which Azariel reported in his post escalating to the point that you get invited into a group, get kicked due to factor or another, get immediately replaced and you never know what hit you, why you were kicked and who you were grouping with, whom to avoid in the later groups. Sure, Blizz instigated that they are expanding the ignore list and that you will not be grouped with the people in the list, but you can already have a name change in the game? Hello?

Or then you get into a group in which there are two friends who are working together: they decide the loot and effectively ninja the instance. You get out, get in again only to group with guildies or friends of theirs... Guess how that will work out?

I suppose that WoW Jackass took a head start to help people avoiding situations like this... but then again, if this kind of system is needed, there should be something to be done on the game mechanics' side.

We are having problems with jerks, ninjas and antisocial PUG groupers already in the smaller, server size scale: the problems are there within the 'confined space' of one server. What preventive approaches can be taken to avoid these problems from escalating in the cross server PUG system?

And will the cross server PUGging be the saviour Blizzard thinks it is?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The behavior of the anonymous

((This is the first quest post in this blog, written by my old friend and former 'guild master' of sorts, Azariel, whose opinion I have come to respect very much over the years I've known him. He wrote this 'post' as a proposition for a post of my own, but I think it has it's own merit in the form he sent it to me. After reading this I found out that there are some issues which I can -and will- comment in a separate post myself. 
Without any further ado, I present to you, Azariell, Undead Destruction Warlock, Thunderhorn EU)

I would like to start by posing a question, the same (well, somewhat the same atleast) as the one I asked last night in Guild chat which sparked a rather ferocious barrage of comments by several (loudmouth) guildies.

The question is this, well more of a hypothetical situation then a question: You are the raid/party/group leader and one of the members of said group is not performing according to the requirements. The ‘logical’ (yeah, that’s debatable, I know) next step would be to remove that player from the group in order to find a suitable player to try and advance.

The question now is: Would you find it acceptable to kick that player without further communication with him about possible reasons or solutions? In other words, would you have the courtesy to tell him face to face that it isn’t enough, or just press the kick button and be done with it?

Now that I’ve given you something to think on, I’ll explain the situation. It was my first TOC-10 man run last night. I’m not a raider as you might know and only do occasional raids (ow and before you think that I was the kicked player, I wasn’t). So I have no real raiding experience or anything of that order.

So, first TOC-10 man run, group was complete, we all moved there and after a brief tactics explanation by our tank (I’m a Lock btw) we started the encounter. The first DK tank died pretty quickly causing a wipe. Second attempt ended in the same manner: wipe. Next healer assignments were switched, and guess what, another wipe. Between the second and third wipe, there had already been some murmurs on Vent that one healers HPS was low. And within seconds of the third wipe, the healer was kicked, and a new healer was brought onboard.

The question that formed in my mind immediately was, did he kick him without saying a word? Or would he have taken the time to whisper him saying that it just wouldn’t work. I posed that question in the Guild chat, and was greeted with statements like “Of course he just kicked him, he didn’t perform, hence kick” and “toughen up Az, that’s the way it goes”. I responded to it that it was just plain rude and that we are playing a game afterall, which should be fun for all. That statement was counter by the responses “Then go play a Dora game” (children’s animation for those who don’t know Dora) By that time the fourth attempt was already started so I couldn’t respond anymore, which was a shame. But is it true? Did we let this kind of behavior become the standard in games?

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that if you want to advance, you need to know what you’re capable of, and when one person does not achieve, they need to be replaced to make the group stronger. If I would have been the player that was kicked because of that, I would have been fine with it, but just as long as they had taken the time to tell me politely what the problem was. Otherwise I would just have been offended by their rude behavior. I think not all guildies understood what I meant with my question. Luckily others did understand as one response was “yeah that was too blunt, but the healer really did have to go…”

Now, I’ve noticed this in more games I’ve played over the past. The internet brings out the worst in some people. Some people apparently believe that they can act any way they want as long as its online. Behavior they would never resort to in real life, all of a sudden becomes completely ‘normal’ online where they can hide behind their toon/account. I’ve been in games where leaders were back-stabbing each other at every turn, thinking up the most devious plans to ‘win’ the game, no matter the consequences.

So, what is it that makes ‘us’ change our behavior when we transcend our mortal existence and step into the digitized anonymous world? What makes ‘us’ go into a flaming frenzy where in the real world we might have just said “I do not agree with your statement”

I consider myself to be old enough to no longer be influenced by the behavior of people online. But what will it do to the minds of the young game-players, who are still learning what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’? Will they copy this behavior from the online world to the real world? Making the behavior of the anonymous the behavior of the individual?

Will the behavior of the anonymous one day be elevated to the behavior of the masses?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random thought: Game in MMORPG

Why do we insist calling MMO's -especially this thing we dubiously call MMORPG- a game? There is nothing game-like in the whole concept. Well, as much as there is game-likeness in normal pen and paper RPG, which is neigh, too.

So, why on Earth do we call MMO a game? It has no winning condition, it has no game like rule sets and it's -well- endless, ever continuing.

MMO is not a game in the traditional sense for lacking the specific win condition/end of game. Role-Playing, yes, if we take into account the fact that we are basing our decisions in game on the possibilities our character has. But game, no.

But what is it then?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chain of successes (yawp)

What a weekend in WoW for me. And I survived and feel pretty good about it.

First of all, I missed yet another daily on Friday. As it happens, there was something very strange about my computer during that day, and the darn machine decided to lock up about 25 minutes before the 10 man Onyxia raid was about to start. Panic, desperation and restarting the computer I logged back into the game 15 minutes before the due time, only to find myself again at the wrong swamp... I should have taken the other turn right there, I know.

Thankfully the invites came and summons as well, all the while I was panicking over my UI which was being cranky in addition to the rest of the computer. WTF is going on with my machine?!

Onyxia. Like I responded to Scarybooster in Twitter (as he asked how the Ony10 went), it was fast, furious but that the best part of the run was that I wasn't being carried along. I actually think I carried my weight in the over geared group pretty well, even managed to do over 1.3k dps as protection specced warrior in there. Granted, majority of that came from the AoE damage of Thunderclap and Shockwave, only to be followed by Devastates and Shield Slams. But yes, I enjoyed the run so much I signed in for the one next week (even though I didn't get anything from the broodmother for myself, except the Emblems of Heroism, which I was lacking from my Clutch of Fortification. Which I got right after the run!).

After that run we did a fast guild run, but being what I am and after stressing and anticipating that Ony run (and being relaxed and relieved after it went well) I forget completely what we did. All in all, it was great, I had one fun Friday night with the guildies and got my Holy Grail of a ring.

Saturday went more or less slacking due to rl commitments (my father's birthday, so wasn't really able to login except late). But still I got myself to spend several, curious hours in the game doing this and that. But Sunday of all... We did a guild run hc daily (UK) which went in a breeze and took one hc ToC with the same momentum. The funny thing was the fact that as I was tanking, I thought I was making a mess of the UK: for some reason that totally eluded my mind I just couldn't keep the mobs in me and there were more strays than normally (but yes, my worst fear of that place is gone, and I fully agree with Kadomi: the entry corridor is furious and funny chain pull excercise, provided the rest of the group is up to it!). The reason was simply that our retribution pally had unbelievable dps and he took what mobs he liked, just for the sport! So, because I thought I wasn't performing well, I was kind of amazed to see that the group wanted to go on directly to ToC, and took that as a compliment. Really, it felt great to be part of that team. So I guess I'm the social which Gevlon curses, as I like to belong and feel I'm contributing to the whole instead of basking in my own awesomeness.

Then again, I think that it's not the tank way to bring one's greatness forward. Either you do your job as a tank, or you don't. There is nothing to brag about in being the one taking the blows, anyhow. It's the humble superiority aspect which I've seen in the tanks everywhere: thank you sir, may I have another so I can learn to do it better.

And that's what I like about in our guild: this mentality goes far beyond the tanks and healers. It's all pervasive. Everyone I've been running the instances with have this way of thinking, more or less. I'm doing my job, but if there is anything I can do to do it better, I will try at least.

What I learned this weekend? Running with guildies is a blast, but it's starting to be my comfort zone. But as long as I learn to do my job better, I will do my best to run with them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Immersion and quests, again

In last post I touched the topic of MMO quests being impersonal and not involving. I stated that the quest system and level of involvement are not working in MMO's. In single player games you are immersed to the game's overall plot and quests by involving you -the player- through the direct contact with your character, and the quests in a way come to you unnoticed and tie you as a player in personal level to them. In MMO's the quests hubs have NPC's with exclamation marks just waiting for you to collect the quests and there is nothing that would involve you to do those quests except the rewards. MMO quests are impersonal.

Several bloggers have written numerous postings about how absurd and stupid the quest giver mark is, and how it simplifies the questing process immensely. At the same time in single player games you get into conversations with the NPC's who may -or may not- invite you to do a chore for them. And more often this simple task leads on to another en route, so you really do not even have to come back to the same NPC before you have unlocked the whole chain, which is in fact a story within the game. In WoW there are few excellent quest chains, like the Missing Diplomat, in which you are being led from one quest giver to another and piece by piece you unravel the mystery of the missing king... Who has returned now, but still, the questline is a longer story, spanning across the two continents.

Why and how the quests have become so stupid in WoW? And why do we want to see those incredible absurd exclamation marks and question marks in our game?

I was a very happy camper while playing Oblivion, without the marks denoting the quest givers. And without having any kind of quest help besides the discussions with the NPC's in the game. The real question is, how viable such a questing system is within a MMO.

The other thing completely involving the immersion part is the fact that when you come to a quest hub in WoW (or any other MMO after WoW's launch), you go on and collect them all and start working through the list of quests. The rewards do not matter, nor the stories in them, just as long as you get the experience. But how different would the game experience be if the quest system was such that by choosing this quest over that other, the other quest would become inaccessible to you? So that every choice you made in selecting the quests would close some doors and open others? The choice of quests would become more a multiple choice thing rather than quests being the mandatory advancement route in the game.

I'd even like to see this go one bit further: the reputation you have within the faction would also open or close quests. The faction could be as small as the village (or quest hub if you like), making the re playability of an MMO even bigger due to the fact that each alt would have completely different set of possibilities at hand. Sure, this would mean that there would be a huge amount of content which would be used more than the rest, but then again the tweaking of such content would be pretty easy by balancing the returns (rewards) of the quest chains over time, making them all more or less equal.

What would this mean in grouping? Of course, the grouping would be an issue, if the quests wouldn't have common ends in the group content. The objectives wouldn't have to be the same: one chain could require collecting something from an instance, the other killing some mobs in there and the boss would still have the loot table to satisfy the participants.

The current quest system in WoW is more or less the lazy interpretation of the whole questing system. It works but it's dull and outlived by the possibilities presented in the single player games. Wouldn't it be fair towards us players, that the quest system was as interesting and intriguing as the graphical content of the game?

Especially now as the tools like phasing are making the unique player experience possible?

Alt or not?

Alt, or alternative character, in MMO is something that most of the players will create at one point or another. Be it a bank mule or a seriously played toon of another class or race, it's all the same: it's not the main character the player is playing, or planning to play, for the imminent future. Some stick to one character, some get a case of altitis, requiring them to create several alts to accommodate their moods for

Jason from Channel Massive blurted out in episode #109, that he had a hiatus from MMO's during which he played only single player games. Now that he's returned to his favourite addiction, MMO's (Champions Online to be precise), he has found out that he is concentrating on one character instead of his earlier (severe case of) altitis. He also states that this has somehow slowed down the urge to clear all content from all angles in the game. And that he's enjoying the game.

This commentary in the podcast got me thinking the issue with alts and the possibility to play several toons in a game. It's quite clear that in strongly PvP based games it would be kind of cheating to have a toon on both sides of the PvP factions, and the new and coming sandbox sci-fi game Earthrise has already asked the members of their forum about the possibility to have more than one toon on a server, clearly concerned about ruining one element of the game (in game spying of another faction) by allowing toons on both sides.

I also connected this with my recent spree of Oblivion: somehow it didn't even cross my mind to start a new toon in the game. I guess it's the same in Fallout3 and other Bethesda games, and hopefully in the forthcoming Star Wars: Old Republic MMO, in which the questing is supposed to be reminiscent to the one in the Fallout/Elder Scrolls games.

I myself am playing three toons at the moment: warrior Laiskajaakko, priest Pupunen and banker. The time spent on Laiskajaakko is easily three or four times the time spent on the others, so I can easily say that I have only one toon in the game. Then again I have several toons of my own on other servers, too, and three on Horde side on the same server as these three.

The question is, is it necessary to have more than one toon in a game? And how much does a crew of alts affect the overall immersion in the game?

My answer to the first question is that no, it's not. Really, in the 'old days' of the computer gaming you plunged through the games with one toon till they died. You still play single player games with only one character, even the games where you create the character yourself, and you are completely happy with it! So why would an MMO be any different from those games?

Like I stated, I have several toons, but I enjoy the game most when I can jump into the shoes of one character only and follow his advancement through the game. I've already seen how hard it's to take on the lower levelled priest and remember the quests which my warrior has done... only to notice that the priest has completely different quests on the area. The immersion is broken in a way for the second toon, and I cannot imagine how little of the RPG part you really can put into the nth alt you're levelling.

And there I gave my answer to the second question. I don't think that running around with several alts can be immersive: it's bound to be more a game of finding out how this or that class works and functions, not like writing the story for the character at all.

Big part of this problem comes from the fact that the quest system and the level of involvement in the game are not working. (But that's another story.) In single player games you are immersed to the game's overall plot and quests by involving you -the player- through the direct contact with your character, and the quests in a way come to you unnoticed and tie you as a player in personal level to them. In MMO's the quests hubs have NPC's with exclamation marks just waiting for you to collect the quests and there is nothing that would involve you to do those quests except the rewards. MMO quests are impersonal.

Anyhow, what do you think? Do you really need the option to create several alts from the beginning or should this possibility be 'unlocked' by playing your 'main' to certain level first?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Watch and tell

Okies, now I've done it. I've enlisted into the first raid in the guild, that being the normal Onyxia 10. All I can hope is that there will be enough people attending and making me feel uneasy and inadequate.

The only thing I want to achieve before that is just one daily heroic. That would earn me that one Emblem of Triumph I'm currently lacking from my Clutch of Fortification, the Holy Grail in my current set. Then I'm ready to begin the hunt for a new shiny headpiece, thrown weapon, shoulders and helmet. Goodie.

The game, however, is currently such a lag fest, that I do not have any interest in doing anything in it. Last night I spent over an hour emptying my mailbox (3 full mailboxes, 147 post items), when it normally takes five minutes. Add to that any need for crafting (sssslllloooowwww) and the day is done. No thank you.

It all came from the beginning of the Halloween event and it doesn't seem to get any better as the event goes on. I for one haven't done any of the Halloween quests and even though I couldn't participate in the Headless Horseman runs last year, I don't have any interest in plunging in. For some reason or another, I share Gordon's view in the seasonal events: they come too often and are too similar grind fests. I would much rather see something along the lines of the pre-WotLK zombie invasion, which came more or less without a proper warning and caused some real activity in the world. Well, maybe not as devastating incident, but still, something more surprising and different than the same old as last year. Besides, the events seem to be massing to the end of the year anyhow, so could we have some breathing space, please?

But this is just my opinion. If this keeps the games we play, MMO's, alive, then, by all means keep them coming. I can go and live under a rock for their duration and hopefully will be able to play outside the events without the infuriating lag they seem to create.

I will be reporting my ventures in the end game content as soon as that happens.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


There is only a link in this post. Instead of watching endless stream of boss fight videos, this single post will ease your mind on the next boss fight you are preparing to. Or raiding in general in my case.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How broken is it really?

Had a long discussion with my brother, Bishopgeorge, the other day. The main thing about the discussion was the difference of the 'end game' and the 'levelling game' in WoW. Or in any MMO I suppose nowadays. And how broken the game in level cap in WoW currently is.

How much more broken can it be?

Larisa from The Pink Pigtail Inn wrote a nice post about how easy WoW currently is. Or isn't, according to her. She points out that the people whining about the easy mode raiding in WoW are mainly the people who haven't downed Yogg-Saron or the rest of the rowdy bunch in Ulduar (even in normal, let alone hard mode), and that they have no right to say that the game is easy. In her own words:
Hands on heart, how many of you have actually killed Yogg-Saron 25 man? Not quite that many. As a matter of fact, people seem to have given up about him altogether. I haven't got any scientific evidence that this is the fact, but from what I read on the blogs, it appears that most raiding guilds have stopped aiming for an Ulduar clear. They make ToC, Onyxia and not much more than that.
I think the main question is, why people have given up on the real raiding in WotLK and resort to the 'easy mode' gearing instances instead?

Because the raid progression is broken.

I know, that is harsh from someone who has never even raided, but there is nothing new in that statement. And certainly nothing I haven't said earlier either.

If the raid progression was working, people could progress through the raid content in orderly manner: Heroics to gear up for Naxx to gear up for Ulduar to gear up for Icecrown. It just doesn't work like that. People do not work like that, in the sense of 'taking up the challenge': instead they go by the route of leasts resistance, accepting the 'welfare epics' to be able to take on the harder content. If at all.

The difference between Naxxramas gear and Ulduar content level may have been too large, because Blizzard decided to create such an utter waste of space as the Argent Tournament, which -let's admit it- is just a loot piñata for the people who cannot for one reason or another raid the Naxxramas content for the Ulduar content.

Now the situation is such that you can get way better gear through grinding ToC Heroic and then ToC 10/25 than you can ever get from Naxx. Add the daily heroics Emblem of Triumphs and Emblems of Conquest gear to the mix and you can skip Naxxramas completely.

Why would anyone in their clear senses take on the challenge of Naxxramas (other than for the Achievements), if they can get better gear easier and through more simple encounters?

As the patch 3.3 is nearing, you can be sure that Ulduar is going to suffer the same fate as Naxxramas: it will be forgotten before Icecrown is done, and I'm afraid that Blizzard is going to apply some more welfare epics into the game (in addition to the 'new' emblems...) to ease the gap between ToC/Ulduar gear and Icecrown difficulty.

In effect, Blizzard is voiding the content in the end game the same way it has voided the 'old' end game content of the former expansions.

Where does that leave us, newcomers to the game? In a situation where we pass huge amount of content without ever setting our foot in it and leaves us wonder what the fuzz about that content ever has been.

So, how broken is the end game, really? And how broken will it be, before Cataclysm comes and repairs all (not likely, but a nice thought...)?

What a week and end

I'm back. Not necessarily in the same schedule as earlier, but back none the less.

Last week I sat at home with the kids and dogs and did absolutely nothing. Nada. Well... played some games, some with kids, watched them play and rested. And suffered one heck of a head ache lasting three days. And rested.

What I played? (Shameless rip-off from Van Hemlock podcast!) WoW, Dawntide and Oblivion.

Let's start from Dawntide. It's a new and coming sandbox MMO which has open pvp, 'meaningful' crafting and interesting background. And no NDA for the Beta I got invited to.

Dawntide beta is beautifull and surprisingly solid for a beta as such. It's by no means finished, yet, but what I have seen is pretty, working and interesting. Remains to be seen how the combat and crafting develop from here, but there is a huge promise to those who are looking for an open sandbox fantasy game (aka EVE in fantasy). Might post something about this later.

WoW. Well, playing WoWduring day just... doesn't suit me. MMO should have people around, bustling alive and feel alive. During the days I logged in it was a kind of disappointing, resorting back to the soloing up my priest for having nothing else to do. Alone in Zangarmarsh she flew and fought the forces of evil (/yawn). Like I have stated, if I want to play a solo fantasy RPG, I play Oblivion.

Which I played. Boy did I like what I found! The stories are there, the graphics are there and the overall atmosphere... just fantastic. I had forgotten how good a game this is and how great stories Bethesda can tell through a computer game. If you haven't played Oblivion, leave your world behind and travel in that world for a while. Step into the shoes of the 'unwilling' hero and experience the world, do not play the game to win.

Then again, this suits for some and not all (I hear yoo, Az). Granted, it's a bit more twitchy than WoW, but the stories and the advancement of the character is uncomparable to me, still, after all these years.

There is one thing I have to put into this post still. If you, dear reader, are playing WoW and are not in a guild you feel comfortable with, are suffering in or are not in a guild, go find one you can call home! I have found out that the guild I am is more than that, a group of extremely welcoming people who play the game for entertainment in earnest. You see, I logged in to accompany the other Stooges (Bishopgeorge and Förgelös) in Utgarde Keep to gear our resident rogue a bit. But before the loading screen had finished I heard the familiar bling of a group invite. Naturally I thought it was either of my brothers, but no: instead I found myself in Nexus on a guild daily hc run!

The run went great, all laughter and funny things involved around Laiskajaakko (I still manage to find some interesting solutions to the fights...) and everything was... Great!

After that we finished UK normal with Stooges, in duo with Bishop for the final part due to 'domestic dispute' which disconnected Förgelös from the game, quite abruptly, I might add.

So, the lesson of last week is: if you are not enjoying what you play, with whom you play or how it is played, move on. You'll return to the fun part of what ever game you left, sooner or later.

For me that is WoW. Still.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Customer service at it's best

(First of all, this is the first time I feel pressured to post. Not only because I got some 'demands' from the guildies, but also because I have cut the promising daily posting routine. Explanations follow.)

Customer service is a peculiar beast. It's always depending on the personal contact with the customer service person. Those who have been working in such a position (in a customer service post) know that the customer is always right even though they seldom are in real. We've had some interesting encounters in the last few years because of the new internet solutions, especially payment systems.

The first was when our electricity was cut off without a notice. Thankfully our mobile phones didn't need charging that day, because otherwise the furious calls to the a)bank, b)electricity company's customer service and c)the accounting department of the electricity company wouldn't have been possible. The bank customer service (always happy to oblige) told that the payment had been processed as requested and that from their side everything was in order. The customer service simply stated that there were no payments made within the last few months (!) for our electricity and (after another confirmation call to the bank) directed us to the accounting department. Who simply told us that the reference number we had used was void and the account which we had been paying for the last few months didn't even exist anymore. And -due to being accountants and no customer service professionals- told us to scram it and settle to the fact that the electricity wouldn't be connected until the payment came to the right account.

Long story short, we got it returned in few hours, right after threatening to contact the consumer awareness organisation. You see, the accounting department didn't see anything wrong with the fact that they had changed the reference code and the account without sending any notice to the customers. Their claim was that as so few people were using the automated payment service and the internet payments, their customers would notice for sure that the numbers had changed!

Hello? That was in 2006, and the company had been promoting that their payments came fast, cheap and easy through the internet payment service!!

Out ISP -which is also our mobile service provider- launched a new payment portal, their OwnPaymentService (OPS from now). Through OPS you can see your account status, pay the bills, set the user restrictions and blocks on service numbers and so on. So we've been using that from the beginning to make it easier to follow our kids' mobile bills. We learned this from our daughter's first crush, when she a) sent thousands (at least!) of SMS' to her 'boyfriend', b)downloaded ringtones from (blocked) numbers and c) caused one heck of a phone bill. The funny part was that we had applied service blocks to the account through the web service and put a limit to the expenses on her account too. The bill was voided on one call, with a splendid customer service person.

That was about a year ago. Fast forward to today. This new OPS has been just launched and it's a heaven sent: it's fast, it shows all the billing information and works like no tomorrow. Payment is easy and precise and there have been no problems.

Except that the connection was lost on Monday morning. A phone call to the customer service person who clearly didn't have his best day -or he was a technician with no customer service background- confirmed that there was no payment on this service. Come again?

After a short discussion it became imminent that the OPS system didn't work and the payments made through it shouldn't have been done! The payments for the mobiles worked alright, but the ones for other services -like internet and normal telephone connections- do not work. The response was along the lines that 'everyone knows that this service shouldn't be used'. Then again, even our 8 year old can recite their advertisement stating that you should make all your payments through the system...

Alls well that ends well: after a heated discussion the connection was opened on Tuesday morning and the issue is still up. On ISP's side, since it's their job to find out where our money paid to their system has gone. For our bank confirms that the payments are processed immediately when we use the OPS site and thus they are in the custody of the ISP.

Suck that!

Now comes the WoW part, thank you for following up here. Everyone and their cousins know that Blizzard just released the information that each and every WoW account must be merged into a account. There is nothing strange in this, actually, as other companies have their central game hubs already. Most know I think is the SOE's Station Launcher system, which has integrated all their MMO's into one launcher.

But I think this is the first time that Blizzard has underestimated the effect of the announcement, because the registration and the merging was -at least for me- a real pain and torture. I had to fill all the information twice for registration, as it returned the forms to the first page after I had confirmed the information. And with the merging of accounts I had to do the same, as if the system had forgotten what I had entered. And then...

WoW didn't work. It just couldn't connect to the server and so my joy of being merged to the so I could get my Oswald the Penguin fluff pet waned into Oblivion. Which I had been playing during the time I couldn't login, anyhow.

Oh, well. I hope the customer service people had their spirits high after the announcement, for there must have been loads of calls from satisfied customers on that one.

End note: I'm on vacation this week, but I may put a post or two still. Right after I can return to the game.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Social explorer learning to dance?

Gearing game is one real bag of surprises: at one time you are really in the dumps for lacking emblems or money to replace your obsolete gear, and the next moment you're hilarious over a piece of gear which drops from the daily heroic you're running with your guildies. Like yesterday, we had a lovely -though I saw it as messy on my tanking part- run through the daily Halls of Lightning, which really elevated my spirits and made me love certain guildies even more. Ok, the one PUG member we had -a rogue- made his contribution too, whispering me that he thought I did remarkably good tanking effort, for in his guild their main tank/guild leader cannot hold his aggro in Onyxia from this rogue, whereas I could keep the aggro through the whole instance.

I tank. Really!

The dumps came from the fact that instead of costing 25 Emblems of Triumph my Holy Grail -Clutch of Fortification- costs 35... Cursed be my excellent, though short, memory!

As I was sitting in the Lagalan Dalaran, I read some posts in the general chat: something I have woved not to do anymore. I dare to take the chance now, as I'm getting more confident over my skill, though my gear is at the moment disagreeing with my ambitions (below def cap again with immensely better gear, go figure...). And I understood what had been bothering me for a while already, something my brother Förgelös had said way back when earlier.

As an explorer I enjoy more about learning the steps than dancing in some other's steps.

Currently Laiskajaakko (prot warrior) is stuck in the gearing game by running heroics, heroic dailies and ToC. Mostly that is a mental barrier, because the other -not necessarily more profitable- option would be to PUG the raid instances like Naxx, VoA, Onyxia or normal Ulduar. This poses the problem (and explains my earlier sentence): entering the entry raids I would have to learn the boss encounters and know them before I even see the boss! In our Shadow Labyrinth run the most fun we had was when we had to figure out how the bosses should be handled and the reward was -instead of leet loot- the downing of the said boss. Now the 'gratification' factor would be to be able to follow the steps someone else has laid out before the instance hit gold.

I agree that most of the heroics I run now would have required some ideas on how they work, but the overpowered guild teams I run them with lower the barrier of the lacking knowledge a lot. Like yesterday.

This wasn't enough for me to realize: If I was to enter the entry raiding PUG's, I would be required to know ALL the boss dances before entering the PUG! Let's see what I would have to memorize to be even slightly comfortable with them (and not making myself the village idiot, loser and noob in the group):
- Obsidian Sanctum, no drakes would be a start... and what the heck does it even mean?!
- Naxx, all wings, 15 boss encounters, 18 bosses
- Vault of Archavon/Koralon, two bosses
- Ulduar (Don't even know where to start!!)

And in signing in to a PUG to run Naxx for example, I wouldn't know even which wing to start with...

Perhaps it is easier for a new player just to skip the obsolete raid content and aim for the highest content available, gearing through emblems and loot piñatas. I fear not, because someone will be doing an addon which tells you what happens when and what to do (DBM and BigWigs are on their way to this direction) in no time. And if there is another way to experience the content as it is (in addition to the Goblin way of purchasing the raid), I would be happy to hear about it and tell the world.

Because for the moment I'm not too happy to start learning the steps before knowing whether I even get to dance. This is effectively the same as being invited from the local soccer team of friends to play in a world league team without prior notice, only to be standing in the field and being pushed aside during the game.

That would not be fun at all.

Short recap of some blogposts

I have to make some pointers to interesting blogposts that have popped up within a few days now. First of all, Tobold makes a very nice and -I think- precise review of WoW after 5 years of gameplay, pointing out the good and the bad and the ugly, though being IMO a bit soft on the bad side. For example he doesn't point to the gearing game which has changed the end game over the time, even though he mentions that the content is too easily overcome to the hardcore gamers. I also found the mention of an average gamer a bit odd... makes me feel that I'm something not so average anymore and my sense of being average somehow degrading. Oh, well. Keen from Keen and Graev's Gaming Blog pours even more salt to the wounds in his excellent post about how the developers want us to perceive the game world our avatars explore. Really made me think about how I have perceived the game worlds I've visited and what has been missing I have not seen in them.Great reading.

And after I read Gordon's post (We Fly Spitfires) about raiding being the end game of MMORPG's I realized that the angst I have had with my newly capped lv80 isn't just mine or affecting me alone, but is a more widely perceived 'problem' of sorts. This combined with Kyrilean's (Casual Hardcore) notion that the new emblems are making the new raid content more accessible but are making the old raid content obsolete summarises nicely the feelings of a newcomer lv80 in WoW, who wants to experience the content the way it was supposed to be experienced. Instead of voiding the content Blizzard should -IMO- create systems which would reward people to progress the toons and make that progression more accessible. Matt from Wildwhine writes about the same thing.

There was yet another post I was trying to find to complete this recap, but I couldn't find it. To be honest, I don't even remember anymore what it was about after reading all the posts mentioned up there. Needless to say, they are worth the read.

And the blogs mentioned are worth their place in your reader, in case they aren't there yet.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What if WoW wasn't anymore?

What if WoW would be cancelled in a week and your guild would move to another game as whole with different kind of social/guild tools altogether, would the guild itself survive the switch?

What if WoW ceased to exist, would the guild you are in survive and find a new 'home' in another game? Providing of course that the guild has own forum and/or other means to stay in contact outside the game.

Just some what if's to think.

Podcasts I listen

Over the past few weeks I've indulged myself into the world of gaming podcasts. There are few I'm trying to follow, but I thought I'd list the ones that I have been following lately. They are in no particular order of preference, so take care and read my comments on them with a grain of salt. And no, they are not all WoW related by far.

Van Hemlock podcast
The one I love the most: the quality is superb both soundwise and content wise. Mind you, not WoW related mostly. Definitely worth the time, always looking for the next show to come up. Splendid effort from the guys!

All Things Azeroth
The podcast which got me lured into listening to podcasts. Medros and Graece host a wonderful show of all things Azeroth and WoW related, with some sidestepping occasionally to the overall gaming issues. Excellent content.

Inside Azeroth
This podcast is a bit of a dilemma to me: it's fast, furious and occasionally funny, but the raunchy word usage and fanboyish raving from time to time dims the light of the excellent and thoughtfull content. If you can take the occasional rants and f-words, surely worth the time to listen to the general thoughts and ideas of these guys.

Channel Massive
The more I listen to this, the more I like it. Not WoW related mostly, so for the ones who like MMOs' and games in general. Great big fun usually and the chemistry of the hosts works excellently.

Shut Up. We're Talking.
Great show, sadly a bit lengthy one each time. Great content about MMO's and games in general with guests and all.

Twisted Nether Blogcast
If you want to know what's going on in WoW blogosphere, TNB is THE authority in it. Great show from Fimlys and Nibuca with guest hosts from all over the WoW bloggers community.

Banstick Podcast
Hudson (Hudson's Hideout) put up a podcast and the result is... stunning! Just brilliant and witty, like his blog used to be is, definitely worth the time to listen to these guys chat about MMO's and games they play. Even WoW now...

Kreeoni started a podcast a while ago with David, concentrating on running and managing a Guild in WoW. Excellent choice and I wish they have the feedback and stamina to go on with this. The first three shows I've heard so far have been excellent in content and I sincerely recommend this to anyone interested in how the guilds work, what the GM's do and how Kreeoni and David see things differently due to their different guilds and policies (Kreeoni's concentrates on 25man hc content, while David's in 10man hc).

The overall length of the typical podcasts are from 50minutes to a bit over 2 hours, latter of which is a bit of a problem for me as my drive lasts about 1h 15minutes... and my darn phone doesn't understand how to ff a MP3...

So if I have one request for the podcasters, it is that Please make your shows fit the 1h to 1.5h limit! There is plenty of time to get it done within that timeframe, just like Van Hemlock does!

If there are other excellent -and short enough- podcasts you would like to recommend, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wishlist of sorts

Over the last week or so I've been discussing WoW with my brothers, Twitterati and in the comments of this blog quite intensively and I've come up with some things I would definitely like to see corrected or entered into the game. This is a kind of a wishlist of sorts, just to break the monotony of the negativity I have had lately.

The things are not in any certain order, just a list of things I would love to see ingame.

Scaling content/difficulty
The one issue we have had with my brothers (The Three Stooges label for more information) has been the fact that the instances are not suitable for a group of three at an appropriate level. Since we want to enjoy the game at our own pace and with our own company, this has posed the problem: either we enter the instances at higher level and overlevel the content and gear, or we just skip the content, or PUG. Last of which is out of the question due to our wish to tackle the content on our own.

This can also be seen at higher levels in other context: the challenge level of a heroic daily instance is completely different to a toon in item level 245 gear than for a toon in ilvl 200 gear. And the skill and knowledge of the instance is now not taken into account. This leads to the next 'bullet point'.

Power level information
There could be a sort of a power level indicator ingame giving at least a hint to the players in the group of the 'power level' of the toon entering the group. Instead of punishing the group for taking a lower power level toon in, the system could reward the higher power level players with extra badges/emblems or something. This is countered in EQ2 with it's mentoring system where a higher level character can 'lower' her level down to that of a lower level toon, while keeping the special skills and talents of the higher level. This higher level player gets additional reward in form of AP's, which is a system WoW doesn't incorporate (then again, EQ2 doesn't have emblems like WoW, so there is a way to counter this).

Instead of making the game harder for newcomers to join veterans ingame, this would reward the veterans to teach and endure the noob moments.

Guild housing/Player housing
In EQ2 one of the things I loved a lot was player housing. The making and decorating that small special hut of yours was probably the best thing in the game in addition to the vast and weird lore posed to a newcomer. I was promised before the launch of WoW. It was still promised after lauch, but then it was scrapped. Gevlon wrote his view on why it will not be implemented, and I can see his point. However, I can see another point which will prevent it's meaningful implementation, though.

Meaningful crafting
Crafting in WoW is a joke. It's not a minigame, it's not rewarding and it most certainly is not time effective. It's a chore, a toll and a burden to get some benefits. Sure, you can easily make money with it by crafting something, but it could be so much more.

First of all, the gear crafted is very, very seldom useful due to the fact that you overlevel it almost immediately. The meaningful gear you can craft is also very, very expensive to manufacture and it's more time effective to just level up and get better gear through questing and world drops, even. Let alone the lucky PUG into one of the instances.

This is also something that really blew my mind in EQ2: the crafting minigame, in which you could really create meaningful gear and stuff. Provisioner is not useless and is not mastered by everyone like in WoW, where everyone and their cousins are Master Chef's of sorts. Don't get me wrong: in EQ2 this requires dedication to build up the skills properly, but instead of being an overall chore, like in WoW, it is a minigame, taking time off from your actual questing. In EQ2 you could also level your crafting by making furniture and fluff which would be very much appreciated by the people who were deeply into the player housing, which I mentioned earlier. The crafting itself would easily pay back the money used into the materials, and not being such a money sink it is in WoW

Crafting should be revamped and made more equal, as inscription is currently the odd bird in the lot.

Purchase orders
It's no big secret that I meddle in AH with my banker toon. In fact it seems that I'm currently playing more with him during the week than my actual toons due to the fact that I'm trying to earn more gold than the gemming and enchanting of Laiskajaakko's gear takes.

There is one thing I have been yearning for as long as I've played the AH game: purchase order system. A system in which you post what you want to buy, how much and at what price. Lacking this, we're seeing some outrageous amounts of only bid based auctions in the auction house from people who clearly do not have time, will, intelligence or understanding to check the average price of the stuff, putting them on way too low bids and effectively wasting their time. Just a few calls of WTB [Crafting resources] insane amount of gold/full stack, COD results immediate contacts, both selling directly and complaining about the price, so there must be demand for such a system.

Naturally this would change the face of the AH system altogether, but it would help both the selling and purchasing parties to find each other easier and -I think- in the end equalize the outrageous price differences in certain materials and goods.


I have made reference on how I liked certain things in EQ2 and I can hear some of you asking why am I not playing EQ2 instead of WoW because of this hype. The reason is simply like the guys in Inside Azeroth point out time and again.WoW just is so smooth, polished, good clean fun until someone loses a kidney and it just keeps getting better and worse the more you play it. The polish comes into play in the overall graphics of the game, being smoothed out properly with the different layers blending easily into each other. Had I started with EQ2, I doubt I would have fallen in love with WoW so deeply: they are different, but they are so similar.

All in all, the basic gameplay is great and the stories and storytelling has improved a lot over the years. These minor things I've mentioned might change the gameplay to more enjoyable direction and might even help the newcomer to enter the last two stages of the game: grearing and raiding at the end game.

Now, the question is, what would be the things YOU would like to change and how?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Guilds and members.

Yesterday I asked few questions about guild related things. As a matter of fact that has been in my mind since Oakstout wrote about his raiding guild explosion last week.I commented about that about a topic idea I had been tossing around in my head, without getting a solid grasp on how to approach the issue.I have also listened to Kreeoni's excellent podcast Guild-Chat over a few days and found it interesting to notice how different the attitudes in guild leading and guild system are. In fact, the question I posed in the yesterday's post about the training of new members to raid was almost direct rip off from Kreeoni's and David's first episode...

The idea I've been pondering on comes simply from the upcoming change in WoW guild system, in which they introduce the levels and benefits for guild, which the guild gives to it's members. This change is thought to strengthen the social bindings of the guilds and within the members, making it really 'hurt' the people if they leave a good, high level guild. They would lose the benefits this guild has and thus would really have to think over the implications this causes on their own playing. Gevlon has done his autopsy of the system sometime ago, and while I agree with some points of it, I see the situation in a bit different light.

The system works in EQ2, and it's been in there almost from the beginning. The real problem at first will be the fact that the system is kind of plastered over the existing frame and social system, which favors the selfish approach of the individuals: the game teaches you to be selfish to gain better gear, better party and better recognition.Like Oakstout cites Banstick Podcast:
"I don't think that there will be any loyalties until Blizzard encourages guild teamwork and goals with a system."
The game is very, very top heavy in it's player base, and the player base has very much learned to play the selfish way. It's pretty easy -I would suspect at least- to start working for the guild to gain some benefits, but what will be the guilds' interest in keeping the members in? What will be the guilds' incentive -other than experience- to work for the members rather than expecting the members to work for the guilds?

It may seem easy, and as a matter of fact, nothing much should change: the guilds (at least the ones I've heard and learned about) rely on members donations and deposits already, are lead by a single leader with devotion and determination, and are more or less self contained. The ones which are not, are not very long lived ones. But it's way too easy at the moment to a) kick unwanted members and b) leave the guild if you're not contended with it.

The leaving will become painful if you get used to the benefits the guild offers. But will it be as painful for the guild to kick a player?

A thought popped into my mind today as I was driving to work, that what if the achievement points of the individual members would be part of the guild experience count: thus kicking a player with a load of achievement points could cause the guild lose some benefits...

To me it is a dilemma. I'm not stating or saying that there weren't guilds which were interested in their members of anything. Nor am I saying that it isn't the guild's best interest to keep the players happy and along. It's just something I see as potentially faulty in the upcoming system and as something that may cause problems in some less established guilds, leading to frustration, venting and bad behaviour on the behalf of the wronged party.

And I'm not speaking on my own experience either. Just speculating, that's all.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Glory and despair (yawp)

Yet another weekend post.

The topic summarized the weekend in WoW for me. And in chronological sequence, even.

Friday was one of the funniest, rewarding and interesting WoW days I remember ever having. First of all, lengthy  Twitter-chats of Thursday about Tanking gear took into realization as I got the few Emblems of Conquest I so severely needed for the Conqueror's Siegebreaker Breastplate, which was a huge improvement to my gear set for now. And for a pretty long time into the future, too. However, the breastplate has so much lower defense than my earlier one, that I'm still struggling with it until I get three more Emblems of Triumph and get my hands on the Clutch of Fortification, another sweet piece to serve me for a long time. Another sweet piece of gear was the Peacekeeper Blade, which will be my beloved friend for some time, too. ToC loot piñata gave all and then some with the emblems!

All this came to be with the guild alt running in ToC hc and normals, and completed the night at around 3 am for me in Gundrak heroic, in which we ran a solid clear run. The best part for me was the fact I was tanking and it worked. Only to remind me on Saturday that it isn't always so, because that ToC was pain and misery for me due to the fact that I found out that I cannot tank multiple bosses at same time. The three bosses we had were the hunter, rogue and the shaman, and for one reason or another the guild party we had just couldn't nail the bosses. Not until Windavell changed to his main and took care of the hunter who was the main culprit of the misery: just couldn't keep him on me while backing off of the rogue's poison. A small issue was noticed later as I couldn't see the difference between our DK's spells and the ground effects of the Black Knight die to my low video settings... might help me later on!

And stupid me: after running the daily on Saturday, I logged off and got lured to watch Watchmen movie with the family... forgetting completely to return the daily quest and thus locking me off from the Sunday's daily...

Oh, well. On Sunday I kept working on the Sons of Hodir reputation, which is quite nice and involving quest chain. Long chain for a change, even though the quests themself do not reward with enough reputation for exalted which is needed for the sweet shoulder enchants. But then again, more dailies in Halls of Lightning and Halls of Stone will provide ample amount of Relic's of Ulduar to shorten the time needed to do daily quests for the Sons.

That's about the weekend.

Overall this weekend taught a lot and proved me again what I wrote earlier about the three different games in one: the gearing game is completely different from the levelling game and surely requires a total paradigm switch from the player to be enjoyable. This can be helped by a helpful and active guild, as guilds tend to allow more in the game experience and thus give the possibility for a newcomer to grow up and learn the tricks of the trade, be the class whatever.

That is, if the guild has the resources, time and will to work out with the newcomers in the gearing part instead of total focus to the raid end of the game.

But what do you think: how much should be expected from the guild in exchange for your entertainment? Should the game be only for your own fun and guilds and other groups be just your playground of fun and laughter?

And how much should the guild be willing to put up with newcomers needing to gear while the guild's focus is in the raiding game?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Social shortcomings of MMO's

I've been listening to several WoW/MMO podcasts during the last week. In fact, about two a day, as I found out I can do that while driving to/from work. Interesting things have popped out and come up, and I have to apologize for not remembering where the ideas came.

However, the butterfly effect of all what I have hear and read over the week has made a connection with real game incidents and caused this post.

I have come to the conclusion that there are in fact three games in a DikuMUD type MMO like WoW (WoW being my main example because, well, I play it and blog about it):
1. Levelling game
2. Gearing game
3. 'End game', which is actually the continuation of the gearing game.

The shift from levelling game to gearing game is very drastic: it requires the player to change their perspective of the game and the way they play it immensely. It hit me very hard, and last night my brother Bishopgeorge got enough of the change. He, as a healer (disc priest), has been taking the blame for failed pugs and runs for the last week or so, even though I know he can heal in a very, very difficult situations. But his performance as discipline priest in 5mans isn't enough for the pugging people on the server we're in. Knowing he's very pedantic about his performance and gaming, his announcement to me to retire from the capped game struck me very hard.

Granted, his gear is suboptimal, crafted and quest rewards mainly, which isn't enough at the cap. And this difference (you gear isn't enough like it was enough while levelling) really hits hard when you think you can enter the normal 5mans at the cap. It just isn't so.

I thought earlier that it's just tanks who suffer from this, but obviously it isn't. The gearing game is the primary part of the 'End Game', which gets longer and longer the older the capped content gets. Blizzard has tried to ease that up by creating artificial loot piñatas like ToC's and Onyxia, but getting into those even you have to have certain level of gear to be accepted into the groups doing the content.

If not, you are the blame of the week.

In Shut Up We're Talking episode #54 there was an interesting discussion about the social game in MMO's and Richard from Middle-Earth Adventurer made some interesting points in the blogpost which was discussed about. He states very clearly -and with a good example- that the social experience within the game enhances the gaming experience and gives him more reason to really adventure in the content he has played already. The idea is along the same route I have been posting earlier about, too, as I find it much more rewarding to play in a group and laugh at the stupid things you might end up doing.

When you're in a similar minded group the dying itself is a very funny thing. A sideshow to success which comes from effort put to down the boss, kind of.

The group effort and social contacts are something our current MMO's do not have any mechanic for. Sure, there are guilds, chat channels, friend lists and such, but the game mechanics actually reward you for soloing the content (faster levelling game), being selfish (faster gearing game) and raiding with the best possible players (end game content, giving the reason to call others 'noobs'). All this takes the fun out of the game and puts addictive game elements in.

The switch from levelling game to gearing game would be a lot easier with proper social tools and social awareness of the level capped population. Instead of being only interested in their own advancement (which is natural and human to an extent) there should be a way to reward the helping and advancing others, too. Now it is left to the few magnificent souls who try to help the unknown without any personal gain or reward.

And -like in Bishopgeorge's case- it isn't necessarily enough.

Sure, it's easy to say that he should have stayed out of PUG's and stuck to the guild runs. But this is where I see the WoW's mechanics failing: the change from 'easy mode' levelling game to 'look for yourself' gearing game is way too abrupt and the paradigm shift is supposed to happen over dinging in a way: nothing prepares you to the fact that you should have grinded the reputations to get at least adequate gear to start with, or that you should have been pugging and enduring the abuse several levels earlier to gain anywhere near appropriate gear to start with.Especially when the levelling up in Northrend is fast enough for you to overlevel the content altogether (heck, I went through three areas from 70 to 80 and visited one instance en route to cap!).

There is a tutorial on how to play the toon and how to use the skills you gain, but there is no tutorial on how or where to get the gear you need to succeed in the gearing game. Not ingame at least. And that is a severe lack in the WoW's in game mechanics, I think. I mean, what is a game in which you cannot play properly without reading extensive amount of off game material?

To ease your mind, dear reader, I can tell you that the guild we're in took the issue seriously. When Bishopgeorge logs in the next time, he will be expected and treated 'well' to ease his anxiety and rage. While I agree with him that when the game becomes too serious and like work, losing the fun in it, it's time to step back and do what is fun, I know that the most fun in the game comes from the social playing. The guild is that instance which enables the social, mutual gain game, and that is what I want the Three Stooges to be part of.

A greater community of good people playing the game together.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Do not underestimate the power of the...


I've been saved from the mental deprivation for gearing and understanding my tanking needs by the power of Twitter. Thanks to Kadomi and Rilgon, I've gained a new insight to the gearing problem. Main point is Kadomi's excellent list for new lv80 tanks in their starting gear, which I have posted about earlier, and my shameless pug in Twitter of another great post of Bob Turkey who is better known for his deep theorycrafting of priestly needs. In that post he links to WoW Gear Wishlist, a site which generates you gear wishlist from the information it can find from WoW Armory, WoWHead and other ranking sites.

This Tweet caused both Kadomi and Rilgon to activate and proves that Twitter has power beyond my imagining.

The lesson today was that you shouldn't be alone, by yourself with your gearing problems, but open up in a polite way and ask the general public what to do. There are so many WoW players out there that there have to be helpful souls among the lot.

Like Kadomi, Rilgon and Veneretio (with his excellent guide on the Emblem of Triumph usage of tanks).

Oh my.

As my blog gets quite a lot hits for tank minimum stats, let's cap them here, too.

For Heroics: Def 535, hp 21k, armor 21k.
For Raid: Def 540, hp and armor as high as you can dream of (ok, hp min 25k, armor 25k, too).

Unbuffed values naturally.

So when you are down in the dumps, looking for guidance or light to follow...

Do not underestimate the power of social networking, Twitter and Interwebz.