The Infamous Noob

October 14, 2010

Continuity of Performance

Filed under: Design, Games, World of Warcraft — infamousnoob @ 10:31 am

The big gaming news lately is, of course, World of Warcraft’s patch that signals the onset of another expansion. The big problem that I’ve had with it so far (just with respect to my warrior) is that I feel like I’m behind the curve already because of the changes that have been made.

To me, this highlights the delicate balancing act that has to be continuously performed in order to keep a game at its peak. Where I feel subpar as a warrior, my druid is one of the few classes that was (supposedly) increased in power, though I have yet to test it. The relative power of the classes was significantly disturbed, and this had led to all sorts of complaining from the player base.

The solution, ideally, is to either increase or decrease the “power level” of all characters at the same rate. While this is quite obviously impossible to do in a real situation, it should be kept in mind while making changes, anyway. As a point of reference, my warrior went from being in the top 5 on damage done to being just above the tanks with the patch. Some of that is because I still need to learn the mechanics of the new abilities and re-gem/re-enchant/reforge gear to “optimize” it, but some of it is simply a balance issue. The focus of talents/abilities being at the upcoming new level cap is fine, but the problem arises when the current level cap is kept for an extended period of time (longer than a week).

Being the kind of nerd that I am, I enjoy the discussion that Mr. Street is having on the forums quite a bit more than I would enjoy being “teh best deepz” in-game, but I can also fully appreciate that this is a very bad situation for Blizzard to be in.

So once again, continuity plays a huge role in game design/upkeep. The world is continuous in this case, but the gameplay is not. If the changes to classes/gameplay were kept to a smaller magnitude, they would seem more fluid instead of huge breaks. Of course, this also requires that the changes be made almost constantly so that a bad situation is not prolonged when the solution is known. If I recall correctly however, this was the original plan for the current World of Warcraft team, and too many players felt that the changes were coming too fast and that they didn’t have time to get accustomed to them before they were changed yet again.

My personal stance is still that small, very frequent changes will make for a better play environment.

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January 25, 2009

The Profession Dilema

Filed under: World of Warcraft — infamousnoob @ 11:17 am

My priest hit 31 last night. This got me thinking about his professions, and what I need among my characters still. For the moment he’s a tailor/herbalist, but I think I’ll need a scribe at some point, so one of those might be going the way of the buffalo soon. I just haven’t figured out which. I’ll research the professions this week and figure out if I can support inscription/tailoring without a level 80 herbalist.

I think it’s odd how I gravitate towards having three max level characters, even if I don’t play them all regularly. My shaman has definitely fallen off the “favored” list, if there is such a thing, and my priest has quickly filled that spot. I don’t think that my warrior or druid will ever slip off that list. My warrior because it’s really hard to break a “basic” class like that, so he’ll pretty much always be a good tank (and possibly dps), and my druid because he’s my achievement character. As odd as that sounds, I really enjoy having a lot of achievements on him, and I like that I’ve been so many places and done so many things with him.

At any rate, I’m off to Naxx. Profession discussion to come!

January 20, 2009

3.0.8 hits, Most Users Still Whiners. More to Follow.

Filed under: Real Life, World of Warcraft — Tags: , , , , , — infamousnoob @ 2:07 pm

I’ve been trying to keep up with people on the role forums about what they want from the game. In particular, the tanking and healing forums have me very, very confused.

They both complain that content is incredibly easy (this sentiment is echoed throughout most of the subscribers, however). But when talking about the nerfs to Circle of Healing/Wild Growth, or the removal of the Titanguard enchant (BEFORE it was even in-game!!), they both cry out that these things are unfair. That’s the part that confuses me. There are dozens (possibly hundreds) of posts about how easy the game is, but when it’s made harder, that’s bad too. I think the problem is that the game caters to too many kinds of people, and it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. Instead of having several great games that have specific target audiences in mind, we get one huge game that is good, but mediocre in several places in order to accomodate everyone.

The biggest culprit of this is the constant struggle to balance classes for both PvP and PvE. Some abilities (everything that involves huge burst damage) work fine in PvE, but are considerably overpowered in PvP. In fact, when it comes to this situation, the two facets of the game are at opposing ends of each other. Everything about PvE is focused towards how well you can kill bosses, and this means sustainable damage/healing/suvivability. In PvP, it doesn’t matter if you can sustain 5,000 dps/hps if you can’t put out 20,000 damage/healing in 4.5 seconds. The introduction of PvP tanks with this expansion helps to close the gap, but I don’t think that it’s a viable solution right now. PvE and PvP really should be broken away from each other, so that the debacle of Retribution Paladins through the Beta isn’t repeated.

I think that this is pushing me away from the game, honestly. I still thoroughly enjoy raiding and completing content, but I’m becoming increasingly intolerent of the other players. For as much as people complain that the current available content is too easy, there still aren’t very many people I’ve met who I would voluntarily go into a heroic/raid with. Sadly, my DoIKnowYou is filling up with red marks, while the only green marks I have are people who I knew already. I suppose that’s the nature of the beast, though.

My brother has told me that he’s quitting WoW in March when his account expires, and it’s made me consider what I like about the game. I think I would be just as happy playing an offline console RPG (<3 FFVII) as I am on the occasions where I am able to complete content (a.k.a. raid) in WoW. The downside to this is that I spend time outside of raiding collecting materials for item enhancements, upkeep on my characters, building reputations, etc. Most of those things are “required” in offline games too, but they don’t have timelines. If I want to raid in WoW, I have to put in X amount of time each week for the attempts we make, and the support activities that go along with that.

One of the reasons that I chose the specific name of this blog, instead of something WoW related, is that I knew <i>eventually</i> I would stop playing. Whether the game dried up, or I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore, I knew that someday I wouldn’t be writing about World of Warcraft. But I’ve always had a passion for gaming. I enjoy board games and card games, tabletop and video games. I like puzzles and riddles. I just like figuring out the system that’s presented to me and understandig what makes it tick. So, in the event that I’m not covering WoW anymore, I’ll still have some hobby to ramble about. But don’t worry — that’ll definitely be after Ulduar is released.

Currently, I’m trying to diagnose what went “POP” in my Windows computer, and attempt to replace that part before the warranty runs out. I’m fairly certain that it’s the power supply at this point, but I still have little bits of power around the motherboard so it’s not completely dead if it is the problem.

As a side note, I definitely need to post more than once a week. I end up with about four different topics in each post because I can’t decide what to cut out.

January 13, 2009

Off At a Gallop!

Filed under: Real Life, World of Warcraft — Tags: , , , , — infamousnoob @ 12:54 pm

The new year has brought a huge amount of activity for me. I built a new computer to do all my Windowsy things, transferred schools, and started classes. I also did some things in WoW, like started raiding 25-mans, started collecting Fury tier pieces on my warrior, and started a priest. I love new beginnings.

I have a sense that I’m loading up with more than I can handle, but if worse come to worst I’ll just drop my priest and quit transferring schools. That should cut down on my workload by at least half.

In news related to this blog, there are a few changes that have been discussed about druids and warriors. I’ll start with the warrior ones.

Titan’s Grip is getting the 5% hit penalty removed. Obviously, this is a buff. Of about 5% damage. w00t.

Deep Wounds is being discussed by Blizzard for a possible nerf. Personally, I think this is a good thing. When I give up talents in prot to dip into Deep Wounds because it means that I’m doing 1300 dps instead of 1100, something is a little off. Also, it’s being reported that some dps warriors are accounting for anywhere between 20% and 50% of their damage from Deep Wounds ticks. Obviously this depends on how much crit you have, but 50% damage from a couple talent points seems a little excessive. Assuming a single-roll combat system, this means that crit is more valuable than hit, too. I really like the mechanic and hope that it stays. But it needs to be reined in somehow so that the variance isn’t quite so much as 30% of total damage. Arms warriors would be buffed if Deep Wounds is indeed nerfed, probably something fairly deep like Mortal Strike or lower in the tree.

Druid changes!

Wild Growth is getting a six second cooldown. I can appreciate that in 25-mans and even some cases in 10-mans this is a nerf. But it’s not really something horrible. Druid healers still have all the tools in enough quantity to heal through anything. Priest’s Circle of Healing trivialized a lot of encounters simly because of the massive throughput they could attain. Wild Growth was a close second. A Shaman’s Chain Heal was a distant third.

Nourish will benefit from having Wild Growth on the target. This is definitely a buff, but I think a very small one, contrary to what other druids say. The boost to the T7 4-piece will be nice, but the likelyhood of having all 4 HoTs on a target at once for the full 20% extra healing (on top of the natural boost that Nourish receives from having any of them up) is slim, unless it counts other druid’s HoTs as well as your own. In that case, I can see a raid having a HoTer and a Nourisher, since the synnergy is almost too good to pass up. Numbers would have to be crunched, of course. But I think there’s something good there.

Also in-game, but not related to warriors or druids, mining is getting a change. Now, instead of having to pick away at a mineral node 2-8 times, you’ll only have to hit it once. I like this change, because as “real” as the current system is, it lends itself to having your mineral ninja’d by someone with lower latency. So I’m willing to give up that little bit of flavor in favor of convenience.

I mentioned having a priest, but he’s only 17 at the moment. I’m sure he’ll level quickly because of the shoulders I was able to grab from turning in Stone Keeper’s Shards, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never raid with him. I think I just like the idea of the healing versitality they offer, what with two healing specs and all. Of course, he’s a dwarf. I think that dwarves are the single most awesome race in WoW, if only for their jokes and emotes. One of their racial bonuses should be drunkeness resistance.

But I digress. Priests are fun, but only once you get to the point where you have some tools to work with. The first ten levels made me question whether I wanted this character every step of the way. As I get higher, it makes me wonder how people got to high levels to begin with. Cloth wearing classes are so hard to keep alive. 😛

That wraps up the first of many (hopefully) posts to come. You should see me more often now that things have started settling into some semblance of routine.

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