Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fish Feast, FTW


You saw my spoiler yesterday, or maybe you read about it here, so its no surprise.

And now I have to wrestle between being Chef, Elder, or Twilight Vanquisher. I suppose its not all that hard to pick for the time being.

All those moving parts I tried to enumerate yesterday clicked.

On the winning attempt:

A) People stayed alive through fire walls and fissures.

B) Adds of all kinds were handled properly.

C) I-Kill-You-Now effects mitigated through perfect coordination of cooldowns by three players.

D) A few players attribute a benevolent RNG that helped with the timing of one of the I-Kill-You-Nows, but I'd challenge that and say it was just our turn after a long string of malevolent RNG's. /cross-arms-and-glare-defiantly Next week's repeat performance will confirm my defiant glare was not for naught.

E) See (A) above

The Beauty of the Fight

Here's the beautiful thing about the encounter, that'll take me a minute to get to. Read on!

Each time you add another drake in the progression from +0 to +3, the fight is mechanically the same, only the complexity skyrockets.

As a team that's been practicing three drakes for a few nights, when we succumb to the clock and raid ID reset schedule and kill one drake to finish off the night with a +2 kill, its just a complete and total cakewalk, because your mind and senses are tuned for the hyper-complex +3 environment. Mechanically though, its the same.

So doing +3.....the first drake flies down. The complexity is evident, but nothing too bad yet.

Then the whelps and elementals (who then quickly enrage as flame wall comes). Complexity increasing.

Then the second drake comes down. For the period of time that these first two drakes are both alive, the chaos spikes, ridiculous like.

Then the first dies, and the third arrives, which brings with it the lovely Twilight Torment (when you do damage, you are inflicted with damage, like that guy in Heroic VH or Zul'jin of ZA fame during his tornado phase), and you're at an all-time-high level of insanity with melee players leaping into portals, immense numbers of adds all over the place, plus the usual Fire Wall/Fissure/Meteor/I-Kill-You-Now routine.

If you're waiting for me to get to the beauty, we're almost there.

There's a pivot point, it would seem, about 80% of the way through Shadron (the second drake).

If you make it this far, you have illustrated that your raid knows how to handle each and every mechanical component of the fight. You no longer need to question your strategy at all, and the only thing that's in your way is execution.

You could feel it in the air as Shadron dies, leaving essentially an OS25+1 fight left (with a massive quantity of adds left over from the early parts of the fight)

And now for the beauty...

You've gone through this spike in chaos, eliminated most of it, BUT the fight is still got a long time left.

Vesperon (last drake) and Sartharion himself have a lot of health.

And for that whole time, you can just feel it, coursing through you.


Sure, there's still a million and one things that can go wrong, and everybody needs to stay on the ball.


I'm not sure if Blizzard intended this feeling or not, but I'm a big fan.

Contrast it with a fight like Prince Malcheezar. Fights that kinda increase in complexity over time, resulting in the last few seconds being the most stressful. At the start, you've only got one Infernal to worry about, and over time, there's less and less safe spots, and then the axes, and then his crazy attack speed and power buff. Granted, Prince is a strange example, because there's so much randomness in there, but work with me, its an analogy.

In 3D you experience the apex of intensity in the early parts of the fight, and then get to bask in the glow as you finish off the job.

The Ugly

A few forms of ugliness reared their...well...ugly...heads during the the progression night:

1) Discipline - I wrote about this one yesterday. During an early attempt, an overzealous DPS'er pulled aggro on Sarth while we were waiting for the first Drake to land. Although the tank regained aggro and nobody died, the DPS Lead ordered an immediate wipe then and there to prove a point. Absolute correct move. There is simply no excuse for this. As described above, the ending phase of the fight is not an issue, so claiming the value of carving off an extra 2-3% of Sarth's health at the beginning does not compute. When the Officers ask for "no dps", they're doing it for a reason. Discipline!

2) Radio Chatter - As the fight moved through the ultra-intense early parts, into the less-ultra-but-still-very-intense middle parts, and then on into the intense-but-starting-to-feel-good end phase, the Vent radio chatter increased. Inane stuff like "if you need help with those adds, just call out for it and I'll help you" by non-Officers. Sorry bub, but this type of verbal communication is unnecessary and can derail the team. (A) Its useless because if the guy needs help, he's going to call out for it without your permission or reminder, (B) you're occupying the voice channel and may obstruct actual necessary comms, and (C) you're encouraging more of the same, snowballing the whole thing down hill. Sure, we're all feeling the rush of impending victory, but that's exactly the time to NOT lose composure, only to silly wipe.

3) My DPS - Yeah, I'll call it ugly. Somewhere around 2.9K DPS for the encounter (going off memory of recount, I can't hit our WWS parse from work my preferred blogging location). Knowing its a Hunter unfriendly encounter, I compare myself with Brass, who did phenomenal during the kill. So I can't blame the nerf. Areas that need attention (1) ensuring I'm at max range to take advantage of Sniper, (2) more effectively managing Lock and Load to ensure I'm neither overwriting DoT ticks, nor wasting any time after the last DoT tick before reapplying Explosive Shot, and (3) actually using Rapid Fire, which is simply negligent oversight. But, I survived through the fight, so I'll give myself that pat on the back :-)

The Truth Behind How We Won

All those wonderful things described above (aka, not dying in fire), are great.

But you wanna know the true secret to victory?

I got two words for ya.....

Fish. Feast.

I spent the hour before the raid flying between Grizzly Hills, Borean Tundra, and Sholazar Basin fishing up Glacial Salmon, Musselback Sculpin, and Nettlefish, so I could fry up some vittles while sitting inside OS waiting for the raid to start up.

A little extra stats spread across the raid, and a little extra stamina for everybody.

A new title to show for it.

Harder than the coordination of the I-Save-You-Now abilities was the feast-dropping rotation between the Hunters.

Fish Feast, FTW

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pluggin away at the Drakes

EDIT, and massive SPOILER: You know how there's a 12 hour delay between when I write these and post them? Yeah, well....we f'ing DID IT! More on that tomorrow. Please enjoy the following story about when we ALMOST did it.

OS25+3 is the goal.

We will make it happen.

Very soon.

We're so close to the turning point at which the battle moves from total chaos into a much more controllable situation.

There's so many moving parts that we're just needing to have all 25 players firing on all 8 cylinders during the same attempt, and this baby is down.

We've got it so down, that when we end up doing one last attempt with only 2 drakes before the servers reboot and start a new raid week, 2 Drakes is an f'ing joke. We bat OS25+2 aside like its nothing, as the complexity difference between +2 and +3 is exponential.

3 Drakes must die!

Cut to the Chase

If you don't want to read a littany of the obstacles in the way, clicky click for personal reflections or Survival performance.

23 Issues

Well, you've got your flame tsunami (1) with its random direction and random safe-spot location.

Then you've got your ground fissures/void zones (2) and their random location and complete and total ability to visually blend in with Death and Decay. Oh, and also a penchant for one-shotting you if you don't move.

And you've got your whole area surrounded by lava. Evil lava (3).

These three are the basics. No matter what else is going on, each and every raider must survive these on his own. Evil lava can be healed through for short stints, so sometimes the melee and healers make a deal on that one.

But the tsunami and fissure, no negotiating.

You've also got the big stinking dragon, Sartharion (4). He/she needs to be positioned away from the raid so only a tank is in front of him/her.

You've also got meteors (5) flying down from the sky, blasting whoever they land on. People say you can predict where they land and avoid them, but I've yet to figure that one out.

Then you've got your first dragon, Tenebron (6) and the melee hits he brings hopefully only to the tank on him. Watch out for his breath in a frontal cone (7).

And the eggs that Tenebron hatches into whelps periodically (I'll call this 8, but there's a bunch of whelps, but I suppose we won't itemize, will we?). To be successful, thou shalt kill Tenebron before the second wave of whelps hatch. Burn Heroism and all cooldowns immediately on this guy.

And make sure somebody is picking up those whelps and some AoE folks are killing them (9), because healers tanking whelps is a bad thing.

Oh, did I mention that there's also Fire Elementals (10) that come out? And they enrage when the flame tsunami hits them? Enrage must be dispelled (11), maybe a rogue with some poison or a hunter with a tranq shot.

Oops, and one more thing. From time to time, Sartharion (or is it one of the drakes?) has an I-Kill-You-Now move (12), that requires very special handling. Priests and Paladins seem to be two classes capable of that "special handling" but with all these moving parts, my understanding doesn't quite make it this deep into the other specialities. I do know that the cooldowns on these I-Save-You-Now abilities is long, requiring a finely coordinated rotation amongst the saviors.

If your DPS is on schedule, somewhere near the death of Tenebron, the second drake, Shadron, will appear. Must tank him (13), and watch his breath also (14).

What is with these drakes and their breath? What profession can craft a toothbrush? Engineer? Wouldn't that be something? Alchemist to craft toothpaste out of fluoride mined from special nodes around the perimeter of Obsidian Sanctum?

Tenebron must be killed before anything else (16). Ignore portals up to this point.

Now that tenebron is down, and Shadron is being tanked in a good position (bad breath pointing away from people), melee and a healer need to scoot into the portal and kill off the acolyte (16), while the ranged folks continue to AoE and dis-enrage the fire elementals AND pour the DPS on Shadron (17).

I've no idea what that Acolyte does if left unchecked, but I'll assume its evil.

While Shadron is being destroyed, Vesperon will arrive. Sensing a pattern here? Tank him (18) and watch the breath (19).

We're getting near the end here folks, can you feel it?

I'm unsure of what you do with the portals once Shadron is down? Is Vesperon's acolyte evil also? I'll vote yes, just for the sake of padding the numbers (20).

Shadron goes down, all DPS that's not portal hopping move to Vesperon and burn him down (21).

Vesperon's dead, so lets get to the meat and potatos, Sartharion himself (22).

Oh yeah, and I totally forgot the best one. Twilight Torment (23). Randomly members of the raid will get debuffed with TT, I think after Vesperon lands, wherein you take damage as you DPS. If a DPS player gets this, he's either got to stop doing anything, and simply avoid the tsunami and fissures until the debuff wears off, or you need healers with balls of steel who can heal through the massive damage TT will inflict.

Personal Reflections

0) To whoever hacked our main tank's account and put him out of service for the last week and a half as well as the forseeable future.....kiss my ass.

1) On a lighter note, this fight really is so cool. The margin for error is non-existant at this point in our gear progression and amount of experience working the fight. The challenge is great.

2) The level of intensity and concentration throughout the night is incredible.

3) The annoyance factor when there's a tiny delay before a fissure appears on your screen (lag? video settings? L2P?) and you're dead before you even see the fissure on your screen is extreme.

4) The team stayed very positive through the whole night, which makes the difference between three hours of agony and three hours of invigorating action.

5) Some people need to L2STFU and let the Officers do the talking, but I suppose that's not my call. As long as they're remaining calm-ish and positive, I won't complain (more than I just did right here).

6) When the Officers call for "no dps on sarth while waiting for tenebron to land", why is it that half the casters are nuking sarth and causing the DPS Leader to call out an aggro warning? Discipline! But again, I suppose I won't complain. A Warrior taking a few swings to build up rage to allow for easier interception of Tenebron? Pure Win. A caster elevating the blood pressure of the sarth tank, the DPS officer and any raid healers? Unnecessary risk, even if justified with the excuse of "trying to get a trinket to proc" or whatever. Discipline!

How's SV Doin?

One of the many beautiful things of raiding along with a Hunter with a brass pair, an insane ability to deliver damage, and a non-gloating attitude when he comes out on top is that I have an excellent litmus test for my own performance.

As we both L2SV (amava, stop with the L2 crap), it is enlightening to see attempts where we have very similar raw damage output. Gives you a sense that we're both extracting a high amount of the potential damage available to us given the similar spec, similar gear, similar raid circumstances, and similar raid job assignments.

The fight remains very Hunter unfriendly from a DPS perspective since your pet is continuously on the move to avoid flame wall. Spec the pet in both boars speed and dash.

The longer the fight goes, the better the Hunter performance seems to be, relative to the other classes, which is interesting to see.

This difference is likely due to two things:
1) Early wave(s) of whelps give AoE classes massive raw damage
2) SV lacks any trinket-like period of excess, like BW. Heroism gets triggered very early in the fight, and SV has no special ability that can be triggered at that time. You can only hope for the various crit-enhancing abilities to proc during that 40 seconds for maximum bang.

DPS output seems to be in the mid- to high-3000's, pushing into the higher 3k's for the longer fights, which is nice for such a high mobility fight focused on personal survival (not spec survival).

The long range of Hawk Eye also helps as you can keep drakes in range while maneuvering through the Flame Wall opening that randomly gets located in the middle of the battlefield.


Sorry if this one came out boring, because it doesn't do the night justice.

Lots of excitement, lots of adrenaline. You can feel the team slowly but surely clicking, each attempt getting a little bit more survivable and a bit more under control. With so many factors in the fight, its a matter of repetition, and small tweaks to get through each micro-phase of the fight.

Sarth+3 will die!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reflections on the Elderly

Dumb and Dumber was on TBS yesterday...

See, the elderly, while slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose

Welcome to part two of what now has become my ongoing reflections on the seasonal events: Lunar Festival, and the Elder title.

You'll recall that I was a big fan of Merrymaking. The biggest success factor was the inclusiveness of being able to enjoy the event with a girl friend, and the lack of dependence on daily 5-man runs and a random drop that might never appear.

So how did Lunar Festival stack up?

I'm not doing ratings as part of the ongoing series, but how about 7 out of 10?

Lets dive deeper:


I was out picking flowers and enjoying one-click mining, taking advantage of my early wake-up on the east coast, while the majority of the server is sleeping on the west coast.

Brass pops on and we figure we'll go become Elderly together.

Kinda busy work, running around the whole world getting coins. Became more fun when the gf got home and she jumped in.

I'm a big fan of inclusive stuff, and she was able to just jump in. Sure, she'll have to go back and do the ones she missed, but since its not a linear progression, she's able to jump in and enjoy the rest of the day with us.



Stripping naked, except for Sombrero and Tabard (Amava don't nakey dance), we make a mad dash into Orgrimar, talk to the coin NPC and gogogogogog quick like bunnies back out to safety.

This is just plain fun. We were giggling like school girls having a pillow fight the whole time.

The other guildies listening in on vent know that Hunters are a few cans short of a six pack to begin with, but this only reinforced the message!

Thunderbluff was equally fun, until I brainfarted and fell off the side of the cliff.

But that only made us laugh harder.

Phasing, FTL

One caveat to the "inclusion" and the "invasion".

If you are mid-way through the Battle for Undercity quest chain. The one with the cut-scene in Dragonblight, that's all the rage amongst the people who want to make a meaningful impact on the MMO world.

Yeah, if you're mid-way through that one, Tirisfal Glades and Durotar are totally phased out, so you cannot get the coins there.

It was classic. Me and the gf are riding the Mammoth, traveling from WPL into Tirisfal Glades.

I weep for forgetting to take a screenie, but all of a sudden, on her screen, the Mammoth is driver-less.

And when we found the coin NPC, he did not appear on the gf's screen.

Phasing, FTL.

So the coin NPC's in Tirisfal Glades and Durotar, including the ones in the Horde cities, were totally inaccessible.


Classic Dungeons

I dislike the need for daily 5-person dungeon runs, as seems to be required for Halloween seasonal event.

I like that they mixed in a variety of dungeon runs for Elder. Run a bunch of dungeons once, and not even a full run at that.

The classic dungeons were fun to visit, and avoid mobs and walk in and get the coin.

Except for Mauradon. That one is a maze that had the three of us hopelessly lost.

Putting critters to sleep with Wyvern Sting is pure win.

Northrend Dungeons

This was a little different.

Start with two level 80 Survival Hunters kitted out in full 213/226 ilevel gear, and a level 78 Shadow Priest who's never done a dungeon in her priesty career.

Pick up the GM's level 71 alt.

Head on into Nexus.

Much fun to be had, using the pets as tanks and just sorta limping through. Respec to BM for sturdier pet tank, FTW!

It got harder and harder as we went to higher and higher level dungeons (duh!!!!).

Utgarde Pinnacle was rough. Out with the 71 alt, in with the well-geared 80 Disc Priest.

Suffice it to say that the gauntlet was a challenge without a real tank. But we made it!

Bubbles the Gorilla successfully tanked the Gruul boss in Halls of [Stone? or Lightening?] Something, which was funny.

So, we do all the dungeons, and we're left with Gumdrop only....

The Roadblock

Gundrak must be run in Heroic mode.

/fail Blizzard.

What was originally a fun day of inclusive socialization and group play has now been buzz killed.

So the uber gf is left with either forcing herself to ding 80 within two weeks, or have to bow completely out of running for the Elder.

I don't like that. Seasonal Event was fun because the only prerequisite was that you needed to be of Northrend levels. I'm willing to accept that as the minimum barrier for entry, since Blizzard runs a business and they want you buying their xpac.

But to say a player needs to be 80 to enjoy a seasonal event, which IMO should be a relaxed social casual FUN event, rather than yet another grindy grind that forces people to maximize?

I'm rethinking that 7 of 10 i awarded above. More like 5 due to the kick in the nuts of requring Heroic mode Gumdrop.

Luckily the uber gf is a good sport (she'd have to be to stay with me raiding 3-4 nights a week, plus generally smelling bad and making strange noises), so she didn't get bent out of shape as I kicked her from the group and invited a Prot Pally so the level 80's could go run Heroic Gundrak.

The Elder

So Brass and I ding Elder, and I get yelled at for donning my brand new Chef title instead of the Elder.

The gf is finishing up the Battle for Undercity quest line. As a casual level 78 player, might be tricky getting to 80 before the event is over, but hopefully she'll have fun trying rather than feeling pressured to grind away like those of us who are unhealthily addicted.

Overall, a fun seasonal event, but quite irritating to hit the roadblock.

Quicky-Butter Jelly Time

Sorry for the title, sometimes "inspired" and "twisted" get mixed up in my head.


1) Do not Misdirect Explosive Shot in a raid setting. You'll pull aggro via the dots a fraction of a second after the mob appears to be headed over to your tank/MD target.

2) Beast Mastery still has a place. Banging through the Northrend dungeons for "The Elder" title, no tanks around. Send one of the hunters to respec BM, go fully into talents that boost pet survivability (not DPS). Bubbles can handle just about anything normal mode dungeons have to offer. Challenging, because real tanks do lots of fancy stuff us DPS'ers never really see or appreciate, but a Gorilla can serve in a pinch.

3) Watching your favorite hunter discover #1 on the fly, that's just pure entertainment. Especially when the team is on-the-ball and successfully adjusts and the fight continues on.

4) Long live T5 two-piece bonus (see #2). Quite frankly the single most useful two gear items a Hunter can acquire. Definitely worth going back to SSC for, and maybe fishing up Lurker for an achievement while you're in there.

5) Getting two titles in the same day is confusing. Which one do you wear? I've been longing for Chef Amava, but Elder Amava is in style for the next couple weeks, especially when the uber gf smugly points out a mysterious and unwelcome grey hair that seemed to sneak its way onto my head. Already?

6) Bored people in WoW need to find something else to do.

7) While BM still has a place, that place is clearly not the damage meters. We bring in a tank for the last run. Prot Pally showed us what real damage looks like. Well, truthfully, the SV hunter with us showed what REAL damage looks like. /sigh. Granted, I was spec fully for sturdy pet, but I digress.

8) One sign that you're bored in WoW, and therefore need to find something else to do....jumping into the fountain in Dalaran to block fishermen from clicking their bobbers. Seriously? /shoo

9) Until I get my hands on Surge Needle Ring, my +hit rating is gonna continue to dictate and consume every single gem I bring into battle. If I level another toon high enough to kill Worgs, I just might need to make that guy a skinner, and go farm the hell out of worg haunches. Then I can eat Worg Tartare (+40 hit), regem to be 40 points below hit-cap, and claim more fortunes on the leather market.

10) WTF is up with Eternals and Crystallizeds on Ner'zhul? No matter how low I price them, they barely move on AH. Various stack sizes, various times of day/week, various forms (eternal/crystal), various elements (air, fire, earth...). Fire sells, but is rare when gathering. Shadow sells, sometimes. Life and Earth? I'm running out of bank space for stacks of these puppies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On a totally separate note...

.....Lock and Load is pretty frikin sweet. I'm a big fan of getting insta-boom no-cooldown Explosive Shots. A big fan!

It confused me at first. I be like...."i just fired the damn shot, why is it not on cooldown? did it not go?"

See, what happened was I respeced like 5 minutes into the raid, and then got summoned back into OS to start on the boss. Took a cookiecutter build off of EJ, and had zero time to figure out what the hell all these goodies are all about.

Then, during a break while everybody logged out to preserve their flasks (cheap bastards, 6 gd minutes and you gotta log out?), I take a gander over to the talent page and see the lovely LnL.

So, maybe the new performance plan is "read the damn talent tooltips, lol".

What about the title?

Well, the content of this article is exactly the same topic and drivel that's been coming out of this blog for a week, or maybe even a year and a half, isnt it?

Well, the "separate note" is "positivity".

See, I can haz a positive outlook, even amongst the funk and pouting of the nerf bat.

I must be getting soft or something, or maybe its the third Sugar Free Amp Energy Drink I've had this afternoon.

Seriously though, this stuff is no joke. Two cans is like crack, only without the vitamin B. Three cans, and its like you're in a parallel dimension where there is no donuts and no WoW. The Horror.

The abuse of a phrase

Throughout the WoW community, you cant escape hearing the phrase "min/max".

Since patch 3.0.8 came out, the phrase is appearing more and more frequently, specifically with regards to Hunter DPS output.

When I first started playing WoW, I never heard the term before, but over time, you infer from context that it means something along the lines of pursuing things that provide maximum results while avoiding just about everything else, and the connotation that came along with it is that a person trying to min/max is a d0uche bag who would slit their own mother's throat for a .3% crit increase.

Hearing the term so much lately, I actually looked it up, and hopefully I found the right entry because it has some really interesting background in games theory (if you're really interested in that sort of thing), although I bet most of the people throwing the term around have little to no exposure to the formal maths.

So, Hunters.

A class that primarily brings DPS to the table. Also some CC ability, some frenzy dispel, misdirection, yadda yadda yadda. But the chief reason we are in the raid is to provide DPS.

Long-Term Raid Invites Are Contingent Upon Performance

If bosses are not dying, raid leaders will investigate why.

If the analysis shows that the boss dies due to lack of damage output (enrage timer reached, too many of Sarth's i-kill-you-now effects occur cuz you dont kill shadron fast enough, etc), then the performance of the DPS players will be called into question.

Damage meters, web stats reports, and whatever other tools, will illustrate trends.

If you are a DPS player, with a primary goal of providing enough damage to kill the boss, and with no other roles you can spec or gear into, what trend would you like the analysis tools to illustrate?

The general consensus is that DPS players would like to be at or near the top of the damage production spectrum.

Meter-topping ego-stroking epeen is one thing.

Happily sitting below the top, but within a tight pack of well-performing DPS players is another.

Competing with the tanks for last place is yet a third.

Making choices that influence DPS by 20-40% shall not be dubbed "minmaxing"

Situation A: you are consistently second on the damage meter for your raid, and the #1 guy is consistently 100 DPS above you. You love your professions so you keep them where they are (tailoring hunter, ftw), you adore your spec as it fits your personality/style and the RP story of your toon, and you refuse to equip a gun because the noise is annoying.

Situation B: you are consistently second on the damage meter for your raid, and the #1 guy is consistently 100 DPS above you. So you drop Herbalism, a profession you really enjoy, and take up Leatherworking, which you find to be boring as hell, because LW gives you a fur lining to your bracers that increases your damage output by 10 or 20 DPS.

Situation C: you were consistently producing >5K DPS on Patchwerk, and at or near the top of a very strong DPS team that's knocking on the doorstep of the Quickwerk achievement (3 more seconds is all we need to shave). Blizzard rho-sham-bows you square in the bean bag and you find your old spec and techniques to be producing 40% less, making it tough to distinguish your damage meter line from that of a resto druid with no offensive spells on her action bars, just using thorns and pulling healer aggro. So you drop your preferred and comfortable spec and techniques, adopt a new routine, and write a new chapter in the RP story of your toon's life to justify the change, because said changes bring your output back to nearly the same level it was before the crotch kick.


Are any of those players min/maxing?

Are any of those players a slacker?

Are any of those players a wh0re?




and, No, but if player C could get paid for it, mean...he/she...most certainly would.

Its not even close

I'm hugely amused at the conversation in BRK's comment threads reflecting on the 3.0.8 changes. So many die-hards of a given spec call people who migrate to another spec a "minmaxer" and use the phrase as an almost derogatory term.

If the difference between SV and BM was even vaguely close, I'd be willing to stipulate that the immigrants are min/maxing.

But its not even close.

Both the theorycrafters (who min/max, and I love them for it) and practical experience agree.

Its not even close.

Exotic idea for Raid benchmark

Being thrust into a brand new spec, with a variety of new attacks available, I am at a heightened level of need for performance measurement data.

When we first started raiding in WotLK, Patchwerk was the perfect benchmark to measure changes to your gear, spec, rotations, DPS, healing through-put, damage mitigation/avoidance, threat output, you name it.

Long (ish) fight, zero maneuvering, easy to predict where incoming damage will land (if not 100% easy to know when).

One would not want every single fight to be like this, but I'm very happy they put one stand-and-deliver fight.

Patchy served as an excellent benchmark.

But then we got better.

What used to take 7 minutes now takes 3 minutes and 3 seconds (yeah, damn hunter nerf prevented us from getting Quickwerk achievement, /pout)

Mana is no longer an issue, so that's kinda removed from the benchmark equation.

Most abilities and trinkets are able to be used only one or two times during the fight. Maximizing output became more a matter of hyper-tuning the timing of special abilities to the known duration of the fight and confident knowledge of when heroism would be activated.

Over time, Patchwerk has become a less valid yard stick for me.

An alternative, flawed benchmark

Reading over at BRK, he often describes his own personal DPS tests that he performs on the dummies.

He generally uses the basis of "choose a rotation, fire 1000 rounds, assess results. change one variable, fire 1000 rounds, assess results."

The problem I see with that mentality is very similar to the problem I now have with Patchwerk....the time is variable.

Using the BRK method, if you stack haste, you'll come to the conclusion that mana is no problem what-so-ever. Autoshot blows through the 1000 rounds lickety split and you're off happily, but incorrectly, buying up haste gems and only considering Intellect as a means to increase your Attack Power (if you spec appropriately).

Benchmarks need to keep time consistent.

Exotic Idea

Using a boss as a benchmark is flawed because the time will vary as your teams DPS varies. Your team composition may vary from week to week also, but given a robust Raid Comp, this is less of a factor, at least for 25's.

Using a "fire X rounds at a training dummy" is flawed because (A) time is variable by your haste, and (B) no measure of cross-player interactions and buffs. To mitigate (B), raid leaders could choose to always start raids in Exodar and begin each raid with a 6 minute dance with a dummy, but I'm doubtful that would happen.

So the new and innovative idea I have is for Blizzard to introduce a twist on Patchwerk.

You know how Sartharion has a difficulty setting, whereby you kill or don't kill drakes prior to engaging the boss.

Give us a similar mechanic for Patchwerk.

Three trash blobs stand off in corners of the room, with tiny aggro radius, so its easy to leave them alone if you want.

Kill all three, and you get Patchy as we currently know him.

Leave one blob alive before engaging Patch, and at the start of the fight he will gain an Immortal buff with a duration of four minutes. If his health reaches zero while buffed Immortal, he stays alive until the buff wears off, at which point he dies immediately. If his health is above zero when the buff wears off at the four minute mark, its just as if you had killed all three blobs, keep up the pew-pew until he's dead.

Likewise, two blobs gives a 5 minute timer, and three blobs gives a 6 minute timer. Or some other options instead of 4,5,6, but you get the point.

One special case to consider, for example in the "one blob" (4 minute) option, if you bring him to 0 health at 3 minutes, but then wipe while the Immortal buff is active, don't release, he'll die the moment the buff wears off. They need to program in this special case so he doesnt reset or evade bug. Maybe have him do funny emotes or some other strange easter egg.


I wonder if raids would accept adding 3 additional minutes, and perhaps additional consumable usage (I need to drink zero potions on Patchwerk now, might need to drink a mana pot if fight lasted 6 minutes), to an encounter in the pursuit of better measurement of performance?

Most raids would want to actually ding the Quickwerk achievement before entertaining this type of scheme, but personally, as a player who is very interested in learning the capabilities of a brand new spec and selection of shots, this would be very valuable to me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It keeps getting sillier and sillier

Yeah, yet another day of writing a post, having things totally change between time of writing and time of posting, and then just deciding to wing it and brain dump here.

1) MM spec lasted about 4 minutes into the raid. When Brass and I came up with the plan for him to go SV and me to go MM, we pretty quickly saw the theorycrafters touting that SV is about 1k dps higher than MM. But we wanted to try it out anyways.

2) No dice. Half way through the trash in OS25+3, I asked for a portal to Ironforge. Welcome to the world of SV.

3) Worked for 2 hours on Sartharion plus three Drakes. This fight remains the coolest in the game so far.

4) However it is not cool when a patch alters what setting of spell detail video configuration is required to see the fissures (fire on ground, bad to die in). While I wasn't the only one to die due to the issue, I was the first, which when combined with a shaky start and a respec, is nerve wracking.

5) Set spell detail to a mid setting. Death and Decay is nearly impossible to discern from fissure, so just pretend DnD is fire also and run out of it.

6) We're consistently around 20 seconds away from having the three drakes fight under out belts. Make it past that next 20 seconds and the complexity and awful debuffs reduce considerably. We're gonna do it. Soon.

7) SV performed outstanding. Sarth plus drakes remains terrible for Hunters, so Iwon't really comment there. Archavon after the raid. Brass posted 5.2K DPS which f'ing rules. I put up a healthy 4.2K, which I am very happy for, considering I am completely unfamiliar with the spec and rotation and such.

8) More to come about my progress as a Survival Hunter!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Keep moving your feet

Lacking inspiration to write a real post, but not wanting to let my annoyance at having to learn a new spec the day before a 3 Drakes progression run completely stop me in my tracks, here ya go:

1) The plan: I go MM, Brass goes SV. If one spec dominates, we both go there, if they're equal'ish, we probably stay split for different utility. SV seems to be DPS King according to the theorycrafters, by a big margin, but we'll still work this plan until that King is clear to us.

2) So far, MM is strange and awkward. Part of that is just getting acclimated to the new spec, part of that is because its strange and awkward. First observations: (A) Burst is fantastic. I've got 3 instants (Chimera, Arcane, and Aimed) for big bang. (B) Mana is gone instantly. Kill three trash mobs and OOM using the recommended rotation. (C) It doesnt matter, because if I take on three mobs, my pet is dead before the second mob dies.

Will reserve judgment until I see it in action in a raid setting.

3) Cooking. In a happy moment, today's daily rewarded a base of 2xDalaran, plus my spice bag had 1xDalaran, thus accelerating the Chef title by two days. Unless there's another happy ending to friday's daily, I'll be Chef Amava on saturday.

4) That's all I got. Still grumpy and pouty, but trying to learn from sites like Stabilized Effort Scope and ElitistJerks on how to be a Marksman.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

R.I.P. Beast Mastery

I predicted a roughly 15% DPS decrease due to the 3.0.8 nerf.

Tonight's Patchwerk kill would indicate that I was wrong.

Last week: 5.3K DPS

This week: 3.3K DPS

Decrease: 2.0K (38% decrease)

It was not a pretty sight at Amava's house :-(

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Will Level 80 Heroics Be Memorable?

During this weekend's craft-a-thon, I had to level some lowbies up to appropriate Grand Master level (65 for the Inscription/Alchemist, and 60 for the Blacksmith/Jewelcrafter).

Despite some excellent answers from readers to my post about "what's the fastest route", my leveling method of choice remains boosting multi-box runs through dungeons. Whether its the fastest or not, it is definitely brainless, and makes the grind more like playing a relaxing mind-numbing game of minesweeper, rather than fighting with glitchy quests, competing with death knights for spawns, and actually gears the babies up nicely should they ever have to fire a shot in anger.

So I found myself back in Ramparts, Blood Furnace, Slave Pens, Underbog, Mana-Tombs, and Sethekk Halls.

The experience evoked some outstanding memories.

Outlands Heroic Memories, FTW

Heroic Slave Pens wasn't always about 3 badges in 27 minutes. My first run in there was 4 hours of trying to get past the big two-mob pull that's shortly before the first boss. Un-crowd controllable, and we were at a point that the tank really couldn't handle both beating on him, and the healer could't really heal through it. But that run, while somewhat painful, stands out in my mind. The bond forged with the players in there lasted well beyond that saturday afternoon.

Heroic Ramparts. That pull at the top of the curvy stairs with one melee guy and four casters. Hours and hours of trial and error. Certainly not efficient in the Badges per Hour sense, but with the right group of people, and a healthy sense of humor, it was one of the most memorable runs ever.

Heroic Sethekk Halls. First Boss with three waves of elementals. Sure, by June or July 2008, we could burn him down and ignore those adds and the boss would be dead before the adds had time to travel all the way over to the healer. But in the early days of heroics? Took us quite a bit of creativity to work with what we had and make it happen.

So many memorable experiences in those dungeons.

Did you ever kill the fire b1tch in Heroic Mechanar? The first time five of us from the guild killed her, gchat erupted more than on our progression kill against Prince Malchezzar.

Remember when the 7 mob pull in Heroic Shattered Halls required you to control 5 out of the 7 mobs, or else your team would get crushed? Or maybe CC 4 of the mobs while you (hopefully) burned down the non-elites?

What about Northrend?

But what about the Level 80 Heroics?

Is there anything that will stand out as memorable in Northrend?

I've been through them all, except for Occulus.

What stands out?

Ok, so the gauntlet with the harpoons in Utgarde Pinnacle has a certain blend of style and challenge. I've had cake walks through there, a run where we actually 4-manned cuz of an afk PuG pally (thanks, bud), and a few rough runs that had some wipes and adjustment.

The Old Kingdom boss where you get pwned by your GM's alt have to fight your teammates in a 1-vs-4 arena match? Certainly memorable, if still a very sour taste in my mouth from the one and only time I've been there.

Maybe. Maybe that lady who dropped santa hats in Nexus and whips you around on the end of long strings. I'd say that one stands out in my mind, but more for the novelty effect of bouncing around, rather than the challenge standing out.

How about Occulus? For those who have been through the place, it must be memorable, since they'll never go back again. I've had countless people (guild, small but growing list of friends, LFG, /trade channel, PuG'ers from other instances) express their desire to NEVER RUN OCCULUS AGAIN. So I suppose that's memorable?

I'm not knocking the place!

WotLK 5-man dungeons are very cool. I definitely like the visual appeal, the varied mechanics, the creativity behind the dungeons in Northrend. They are real, and they are spectacular.

Culling of Stratholme is certainly entertaining and interesting.

But will an single run ever be as memorable as those Outlands ones?

Is it just because Outlands was virgin territory for me, and now I'm a salty raider?

What 5-person runs stand out in your memory?

I, Craftbot

I snapped and went on a professional rampage this weekend.

It all started with a little email from Blizzard customer support. "Here's your 3 Dalaran Cooking Awards, be careful where you click next time."

Their desire to make the situation right, plus my newly confirmed knowledge of the required toon levels for grand master training in the crafting profs, inspired me.

Only a coconut would max out cooking

All I have to say skill 440 is pretty easy to reach, you can practically get here just by doing the cooking daily. Cooking skill 445 is not that much more costly.

To get from 445 to 449, well, not so much. 200. Two Hundred. Northern Spice to gain those four points.

But, Amava, 449 isn't maxed out? I thought the cap is 450?

Well, considering how much meat that last point took, youdda thunk 449 was the ceiling.

Another two hundred spices to get the last point.

I sht you not.

Armed with a six pack of fine micro brew, a revenge of the nerds dvd (panty raid, ftw), and a nice chunk of spare time, I happily dinged 450.

Luckily, those stacks upon stacks of food sell like hot cakes, easily recouping the Northern Spice investment, but I digress.

EDIT: just wait till the servers come up today. Patch 3.0.8 makes it so feasts remain yellow up until 450. You'll need to make maybe 10 or 20 meals, a stark contrast to the 400 I had to make. /slap

There's fish in them thar pools

The majority of the food came from fishing.

Here's where the Achievements / Statistics interface becomes cool.

Start the day ~300 fishies.

End the day in the 800's.

5 points away from maxed out fishing.

NOTE TO J@CK@SS(es) : It is considered rude and impolite to begin fishing in a pool that someone else is already fishing at. Its like walking up to a urinal that's occupied, and unzipping and shouldering your way in and going to town. Do that IRL and you get (A) pee'd on, and (B) punched in the face and fall down, and (C) pee'd on again. /shoo

Time to Craft

It was at this point that the mental insanity clicked in.

Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing, Inscription, and Alchemy.

All blown through the Outlands levels from 300 to 350.

Well, that's a lie, as I still have a couple points of JC to do. That one kinda sucks, but whatcha gonna do?

All with self-gathered mats.

If I see another Adamantite node, I just might cry.

The Outlands green-quality gems are close to worthless, making JC awful on the bank account (through wasted opportunity cost of selling all that Ore, or rather, spending the same time gathering more valuable ores and selling those)

Outlands Blacksmithing stuff is awesome. Death Knights buy the craftables up like they're going out of style. Plus, disenchant FTW. Sure, could make more money doing more profitable activities (sorry, but reading Greedy Goblin makes you think like this), but all in all, a very decent recovery leveling BS.

Inscription. I think I hate this one. Not sure why, but I'm a sucker and will keep going. I think my dislike comes from the fact that in a 25-person raid with a fully featured raid comp, scrolls are unusable. WTF?

Alchemy. Ah, alchemy. This one rules. My only regret is that I never had a leveled up alchemist during the potion chugging days of TBC. Half a bank tab of Northrend Herbs stored up brought this guy into the 420'ish range. I'm a big fan! Even bigger fan of how well the Northrend potions and elixirs sell.

Stop, Thief!

Along the way, I've accrued half a guild-bank tab of lockboxes of all levels.

Never picked a lock in my career.

Took the Rogue out for a few sessions of picking.

Hint for would-be lock picking power-levelers: Set small goals. I do 25 points at a sitting before switching to something else. Got me close to 250 without killing anybody IRL to break the tedium (much like reading a content-less post like this one).

90% of those lock boxes are now picked and disenchanted.

First Aid

I also made 3 heavy frostweave bandages to keep my questing stack full.

Just wanted to be complete :-)

I Love Raiding

But cancellations are kinda nice.

So is fishing. And beer.

And the single best moment in cinema history...the panty raid.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Meatloaf Again?

Hasn't this guy eaten enough meatloaf?

Its been days and days in a row that all the cooks have been shoveling his face full of meatloaf.

Not that I'm complaining, because its one of the easiest/cheapest ones to complete, but come on man!

I'm wondering who's colon is stronger: the meatloaf guy or the cheese platter guy?

In ongoing news, there is nothing new to report with regards to my ticket to hopefully have a wrongfully purchased duplicate recipe replaced with one that helps progress towards Chef Amava.

If patch lands on tuesday, and ticket is not resolved to my satisfaction, there will be delay earning the achievement. Earth Shattering!

If patch does not land tuesday, ticket non-resolution will only cost me 10 Northern Spices, thus ~45 gold. Earth Shattering!

I can haz responsibility

One of the Conquest Loot Council members needs to focus some time in another direction, and the GM was left needing a replacement.

Lucky Winner!

So I suppose my days of sitting back, enjoying things when they work, and complaining when they don't are over.

Well, being involved never stopped me from complaining, so I'll be sure to keep that up.

The real beauty of it is that 90% of the loot decisions lately resolve themselves. Conquest members have proven to be very generous with eachother, often expressing interest only to withdraw upon seeing a comrad in arms who needs it as well. LC only needs to step in when there's no clear resolution, which is less and less as more and more members have best-in-slot gear.

The first run will be thursday night, which includes finishing off Naxx-25 and Malygos.

So we'll be hitting the bosses who drop ilvl 226 gear, thus meaning we're likely to have a disproportionate number of multiple players wanting the same pieces of gear, as these puppies are the best in the game right now.

Yay, Confilict!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is this true?

350 - 450 Grand Master

level required:

Alchemy 65
Blacksmithing 60
Enchanting 60
Engineering 60
Inscription 65
Jewelcrafting 60
Leatherworking 65
Tailoring 60

Is this true?

Because, somewhere along the way, I got it my head that level 70 was required to train Grand Master in all crafting professions.

60/65 would make me very happy indeed.

Mammoth, FTW

The Mini-Van is one of the funnier parts of WotLK for me. Everybody's got an opinion on whether its a waste, a good idea, or simply another form of ego stroking.

I dunno where I stand on it. Largely a novelty, I suppose. If I were hurting for gold as a result of the purchase, I'd probably regret it, but since there's no interest-bearing savings accounts in WoW to justify massive gold pile, and I don't really care for playing the true goblin game of flipping AH items or buying mats to sell end products, I'm pretty happy with the Mini-Van.

But since its soulbound, its kind of a moot point anyway, isnt it?


For a hefty price tag, she provides:

- Room for two other riders. Mildly fun for other actual people. Very helpful for multi-boxing.

- Vendors. They provide the basic foods, drinks, reagents, ammos, and what not. Great for when there's no mage biscuits available or you run out of arrows. Also great for saving a flight to a town to dispose of revenue-generating bag-filling grey trash items.

- Repairs. Perfect for those wipey progression nights, especially in mount-able instances like Malygos or Obsidian Sanctum.

- Down Elevator. Jump off of a cliff of any height. Mammoth dies. You don't. Just mount back up for a brand spanking new ground level mammoth.

- Speed. Aspect of the Pack affects the mini-van, making it as fast as a Paladin with Crusader Aura. But it does get dazed if it gets hit, which makes for fun when exploring low-level Horde territory. Sorry, but this one is exclusive to Hunters.

- Endless Conversation. No, not the obvious "oh look at that guy, he must be compensating for a tiny little..." kind of conversation, but rather a whole spectrum of opinions regarding whether the mammoth owner should get a discount, or a cut of the profits, or free repairs, or so on and so forth. Good clean fun.

- Adorable jumping animation. Awww, isn't she cute?

Tips for people who raid with a Mammoth rider

Between wipe attempts, the mini-van can provide a handy service. Lets promote some general awareness:

1) To the left - Repair guy is on the left butt cheek.

2) Run away - Since we're getting ready for another attempt, the mammoth rider wants to dismount as soon as possible to start preparing. He cannot eat the feast, drink the elixirs, feed the pet, or cast any spells while mounted. Once you're done with the vendor, please run away.

3) Buff the Pet - Tied in with #2, Hunters really really want to dismount as soon as possible, because while mounted, our pets do not get any buffs. When the whole raid is casting their wonderful buffs, our pets miss out if we're mounted. So buffers, wait till the mammoth guy is dismounted, or please give spot buffs to the pet after the fact.

Tips for people who want to ride on the Mammoth

Mammoth owners love to take people for a ride. Here's some tips:

1) Party Only - Anyone of the same faction can use the vendors, however you need to be in the mammoth rider's party to get on.

2) Vendors - The rider needs to kick off a vendor for each passenger. If you see both seats occupied by players or vendors, that means you can't get on yet.

3) Damage - Yes, you can take damage while riding. Hell, each passenger can be in combat independently of one another, such as when taking baby alts for a ride and running past mobs. The babies aggro nearby mobs while the level 80 driver does not. Confusing. Funny when you run past Fel Reaver in Hellfire Peninsula and see your baby get one-shot since the aggro range is different by about 10 miles for a level 58 and a level 80.

4) Glitchy - The passenger part glitches out all the f'ing time. Most commonly manifesting itself in not being able to get onto what appears to be an empty seat. Annoying, I know. You think they'd test this crap out before charging us an arm and a leg for it.

5) Phasing - This is the weirdest. When two players are Phased to dramatically different views of the same landscape, you get confused and crosseyed. Had an alt riding on the mini-van, running through Dragonblight. All of a sudden, the alt gets knocked off and killed instantly, while on Amava's screen there was nothing but snow. Glance over at the alts screen and see masses and masses of plague-infested ghouls. Phasing, FTW!

Whaddya Think?

What's your experience been with the Traveller's Tundra Mammoth?

Like the Greedy Goblin, do you think it's the stupidest thing you've ever seen?

Did you want one when you first heard about them, but change your mind once you saw them in action?

Do you wish there were interest-bearing savings accounts in WoW so you'd have somewhere useful to dump 20k?

Dancing with the Drakes

Conquest decided its time for Sartharion plus all three of his drakes to die in one epic battle.

Sarth and company didn't quite agree, but they were willing to indulge us with a few hours of Waltzing Matilda.

All I can say is...this fight is simply awesome.

I know most of Conquest was way more progressed in TBC and Vanilla than I was, so maybe they saw more epic battles than I ever did. And maybe they'll think I'm a turd for saying I loved a night that could be interpreted as fail if you view life through a black/white win/fail lens.

But it was just so cool.

Lets explore...


Few fights in WotLK have provided Conquest with much challenge.

Sarth+1 was a one-shot, but I'd venture to say it was no cake walk. Fun night, though.

Sarth+2 was an hour or two of wiping, adjusting, tweaking, slowly progressing, resulting in a kill our first night trying. So a bit harder, and subsequently, a bit more satisfying when we nailed it.

Malygos was cool. A night of endless wipes, but steady progress through the phases. Practice Aces High daily quest for a few days. Return to kill him on our next night of attempts. Again, seeing steady progress and relying upon your Officers to adjust strategy and your members to adjust execution, very cool. The only thing that soils this one in my mind is how Phase 3 is totally unrecognizable mechanics that have nothing to do with the 80 levels a million hours of raiding you did with your toon. And you're riding a stupid dragon vehicle mount. But I digress.

Sarth+3 is tough. Very tough. Through a two hour wipefest, we made progress, tweaking one small piece of strategy at a time. Overall, the progress was still just the tip of the iceberg, where we can semi-reliably take out the first drake. So many moving parts to master, this one is going to be so sweet when we kill it.

Moving Parts

Moving parts you say? Do tell!!!

Of course, all this is from the perspective of a team that is still very early in the encounter. I'm sure there'll be more to tell once we've seen the full encounter, but here goes. Also, its from the perspective of a ranged DPS class, but you know that.

1) Flame Wall - You start off with the basic Flame Wall, same as in zero drakes. Make sure you recall pet each time you hear "RUN AWAY, LITTLE GIRL!" regardless of how much it'll gimp your DPS or how much of a Bestial Wrath you'll need to waste.

2) Sartharion - Also, same as in zero drakes, you've got Sarth himself. Nasty cleave in front of him, so make sure you know which way he's pointed. Not sure if his tail is evil or not, but I'm not about to hang around his arse to find out.

3) Void Zones - We all hate dying in the fire. So stay out of the void zones.

4) Lava - You're surrounded by lava, so don't run off the edges of the platform, unless you're choosing lava as the lesser evil when faced with an inescapable flame wall.

5) Tenebron - First drake to land. Need to watch the aggro and positioning while a tank picks him up. Oh, and to make things fun, a Flame Wall shows up right as he lands, making the transition rough. He's got bad breath that'll fry you, so watch your positioning closely.

6) Whelps - Tenebron periodically hatches eggs or something. Those eggs become nasty whelps. You must (A) have a way to handle the whelps, and (B) burn Tenebron down before he hatches a second set of whelps.

7) Flame Elementals - I think this is same as zero drakes. Fire Elementals wreak havoc amongst the raiders, so you need a way of controlling them or killing them. When Flame Wall hits them they enrage, so need someone like a Rogue to remove the enrage.

8) Shadron - The second drake to land. If your DPS output is like ours, you'll have overlap. Tenebron is still alive while Shadron arrives. So a third tank is required to pick this fella up.

9) Shadron's Portal - There's a portal with some acolyte or something in it. He does something bad. Good idea to kill him, which requires some DPS, a healer and a semi-tank (DPS spec DK or the likes) to pop into the portal from time to time.

And that's about all I can share from personal experience.

We had some attempts that were insta-wipe. We had some attempts that showed incremental progress over previous attempts. We had one attempt that was clicking, and went much smoother than the others, thus leading to the need to figure out how to transition from one portion of the fight to the next.

Interface Changes

Two interface settings help this fight out substantially.

1) Spell Details - Via the normal Video Settings screen, crank Spell Details down as low as you can. This makes the void zones stand out visually very clearly, and removes confusion that can come from Death and Decay or Consecration.

2) Camera Zoom - Why a special command is required for this, and not just the default camera zoom slider in the camera settings thingie, is beyond me. Zooming your camera way way out makes it way way easier to see the flame wall and determine (A) which side its coming from and (B) whether the gap is on the sides or in the middle.

/console cameradistancemaxfactor 4

I also use this on Malygos, and it helps a ton for spatial orientation during Phase 3. It definitely takes some getting used to or else you lose your own toon in the crowd, but once acclimated to the wider view, you're in business.

More fun to come

After a while, the raid leader called it and we went over to Naxxramas to pwn some mobs before going to bed, which was a good move as it vented some steam after an exciting but tough start to the night.

I think the general conclusion is that we didn't have enough DPS to reliably take Tenebron down fast enough, and also haven't mastered how to control the whelps yet.

I sure hope we keep pushing, though. Finally we found a challenge in WotLK worthy of night after night of slowly mastering the encounter.

Its fun, its got a lot of variety, there's a huge number of tactics we can use to make it happen, and most importantly, there's no stupid dragon vehicle mounts.

It would be a shame to abandon the challenge and wait till we get a little bit more gear raid-wide.

We can do this if we focus and keep trying.

Is when I have fat fingers

The whole "soulbound" concept is a harsh mistress.

One click of the mouse, and ding, no refunds, no exchanges. Buyer Beware.

And it really sucks if the thing you intended to click on costs 3 awards, which can only be earned at a rate of one per day.

And even worse if there's an achievement that's going to be made accessible in the next patch (any tuesday now), and you're on schedule to be ready for that achievement the moment it opens up.


Oye Vey!

So I opened a ticket.

I hope its a slam dunk. I mean, there's a soulbound recipe in my bag that I'm unable to do anything with other than DESTROY. I can't learn it since I already know it. Vendors aren't interested in giving me silvers for it. I can't mail it to the uber gf since its soulbound. And, not mere coincidence, there's a recipe that costs the same, is not yet learned by me, and is required for Chef Amava, and sits directly next to the incorrectly purchased duplicate recipe in the vendor's display window.

Unless the GM is evil and out to get me, I'd think he'll see that this is a case of fat fingers and will either give me my 3 awards back, or give me the recipe I was trying to buy.

So the first-level GM guy talked to me, seemed to agree that I'm an honest chap with a clicking problem.

He told me not to fiddle with the ticket in any way shape or form, and escalated to a "Character Specialist".

My bet is that the Character Specialist will actually get to the ticket AFTER I've already earned enough Dalaran's to buy the two outstanding recipes, PLUS the one I accidentally didn't buy today.


My only wish is that they make the Chef title come with a special hat. Whitemane's Chappeau is the closest thing to a chef's hat that I know of, but it's red.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ten Naxx-10 Quickies

Enough walls of text and psychological babble. Lets have a quickie, mostly but not all, about a Naxx-10 run:

1) Bring the player, not the class -BUT- don't ever forget to include at least one player who can replenish mana (ret pally, shadow priest, survival hunter). Jimminy Christmas, last night's Naxx-10 was one solid block of mana management, resulting in one of the most challenging and yet fun Sapphiron kills I've been part of. All Hail King Mana Tide.

2) I love Druids with a sense of humor. Especially when nobody will rez a dead one, and a snot-nosed hunter says he'll cast Revive Pet if she just changes her corpse over to bear form. /sorry

3) More with the replenish. Seriously, though. I spent more time in Viper in one raid than I have since dinging 80. Suddenly 4 piece T7 doesn't sound so bad.

4) Amava Knows Ammo. Four hour marathon in Naxx. 28 Slot Pouch full at the beginning, mostly Timless Shells, and 8 stacks of Mammoth Cutters for boses. Blew through all of it, and had to mount up and buy 8 stacks of bullets from my Traveler's Tundra Salesman. These bullets don't grow on trees, people! Ok, they kinda lay there in nodes on the ground, but that's not the point.

5) Not about Naxx, but immediately before the Naxx-a-thon. Easily found 2 low level quests in Area 52, so I am now an Outlands Lore Master, although I still couldn't tell you what a Naru is (perhaps a god of the space goats?) or why Illidan is a Bad Guy (maybe he just needs a Tasty Cupcake).

6) More with the ammo. Seriously, though. Getting near the bottom of the barrel, during a single KT attempt I swapped ammo twice. Started with Timeless Shells for the trash waves, switched to Mammoth Cutters for KT himself, ran out of those, and swapped in the vendor bullets at the end. That 28 slot bag takes up half the damn screen.

7) Lore or Nostalgia? I'm sure there's a good reason Magtheridon is locked in his chamber, but I dont know what it is. I think he pissed off Illidan (took his tasty cupcake?). But, boosting an alt through Blood Furnace and seeing Maggy down there brings a smile to my face.

8) DPS Races Are Fun. Sometimes the over-competitive nature of DPS'ers causes unhealthy situations. But, when the tank dangles a carrot out there (which ever hunter comes out on top on Patchwerk doesn't have to kite on Gluth!!!!), its GO TIME. Brass beat me by 5k damage, which I attribute to him having slightly better timing with one of the BW calls. I suppose it serves me right for letting him do the opening Misdirection :-). And Dusty Miner's Leggings the Mage tried to keep up. Did a miraculous job, but there's something sweet about the Sustained part of MQoSRDPS that a Beast Master brings to the table (at least for now).

9) Dinging "Mama Said Knock You Out" is just plain old fun. Achievements really are full of win, especially when you're not expecting them and then they pop up with a funny name.

10) I openly admit I died in the fire on KT during our raid vacation week. This does not give a golden ticket to say "What'd Amava die from? Void Zone?" any time we wipe on KT now. I share brain dumps of whatever's on my WoW-mind, whether it be ego-stroking or things I think need improvement. My writing on a public blog shall not garner special treatment, either via ass kissery directed at the Loot Council (keep em coming ;-) or via my admitting to mistakes. Future abuses shall receive a thumping, and I'll warn ya, I've got the Knuckle Sandwich achievement!

Its that time again, Performance Improvement Plan

Ok, I'll admit that I'm losing steam on the Plan. Patch 3.0.8 is looming over us and by the time this post gets published, may even be live. That brings so much change and uncertainty to playing a Hunter, it remains tough to focus on the here-and-now of improving what I've got.

But, its important to keep things moving, and now would be the worst time to let the plan go off the rails.

Review Previous Five Steps

1) Daily Mantra - I have not died in the fire for two weeks now. While not intending cease this pursuit, the mantra gets to take a rest.

2) Finish off review of Wishlist - I've come to the conclusion that I'm well geared. That's a good thing, because we all love pew pew that gear brings, plus shinies stroke the ego. Its a bad thing from the perspective of complexity. There are a couple clear improvements that are no-brainers. There are many items that provide a side-grade, or perhaps offer flexibility in the form of +hit or a socket. I think there's only three items I have left to do the analysis on to classify as: don't want, side-grade, upgrade.

3) Macro KC - I ended up only doing this for Steady Shot, since no matter what's going on, steady seems to sneak in there, even post patch 3.0.8.

4) Thaddius - I read over the wiki page for the fight and can't find any specific trick that might boost my numbers. In a naxx-10 run, I did find that having the other players die sure helps improve my position on Recount, but that's sorta cheating. I'll just have to accept that my output on this guy will suffer, and take solace in the fact that I generally don't fail at the ledge boss. (oops, just jinxed myself).

5) Purple is as Purple does - I replaced my last greenie the very same night I wrote my last plan update. Fury of the Five Flights off of OS25+2. Once patch 3.0.8 lands, my feral staff will have its stats changed to Hunter stats, and my last blue will out the door. In the process of looting FotFF, I dinged Epic!, but only by cheating and swapping some ilvl 200 and 213 trinkets and rings. Sue me.

Out-of-Plan Changes

Well, the biggest is Kel'Thuzad dropping Envoy of Mortality, which shall not become known as my new precious, as Arrowsong was substantially more beautiful. But, I'll take it!!!

And I think that's it.

Assess the Results

We fought Patchwerk before KT dropped the gun (natch).

5.2k DPS, ftw!

The majority of the night in Naxx-25 consisted of Brass and I taking turns at the top. And celebrating that this might be the last week we get to do it, woe is us. Actually, he'll generally stay on top even after the nerf, but I might have to go back to the formal Improvement Plan to get back up there. Cry me a river.

The real key at this point is understanding the timing of the encounter, rather than gear.

We kill Patchy in a smidge over 3 minutes.

This means I get one shot at Readiness.

Seems like its two BW's, and then we're at a point that the DPS lead calls for Heroism.

Save Readiness until near the end, and use it to trigger BW during Heroism for max results.

Maximizing the output becomes harder for fights that're less predictable for duration, and also mobility or other factors.

Like Grobbulus. How frustrating to get nailed by one of his farts immediately after triggering BW, and have to run all the way across the room to avoid blowing the raid up?

The New Steps

I'm not going to force it to be five steps anymore, but rather just go with what needs attention.

1) Pet Spec - During OS25+2, the Hunters were discussing pet specs that might make the fight tolerable. It really is awful on Beast Masters in here. Some additional magic resist might be good. It'll be tough to pick what to give up to get an additional two points for full resist, but I guess that's the fun of talent points, making compromises.

2) EJ Spreadsheet - A reader commented and emailed about the EJ Spreadsheet. I downloaded it and tried it out. It is very involved and quite complicated for a new person. I failed to get it to do anything. I think I'm going to try again, as it will be a very useful tool to weed out the last few upgrade vs side-grade decisions.

3) Sit and Wait - Yeah, 3.0.8 is just too dramatic a change to really do anything about (and I really don't want to go on the PTR to play), so its time to sit and wait, and keep in touch with the major Hunter resources to see what the general opinion is (aka, what's the new cookie cutter, and is it so divergent from my fun of uber pet that I cant stomach it).

And that's all I've got for now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

[Amava] has earned the achievement [Totally Wasted Sunday]!

This sunday was awesome.

Massively in need of some down time and relaxation, I got bit by the achievement bug.

Cook Cook Cook

Do the daily in Dalaran. Accrue 3 awards. Buy next recipe.

Not a dinger, but brings me one step closer to Northrend Gourmet (45).

Only three purchasable recipes left.

Cross fingers for patch 3.0.8 this week which will make the currently unavailable last four recipes actually attainable in-game.

Off to Stranglethorn Vale

The chain reaction started with such a simple desire.

Back when Amava was a lil girl, she never did the Nessingwary Big Game Hunter quest line in Strangelthorn Vale. So I wanted to close that one out and finish off the achievement for the Classic, Burning Crusade and Lich King trio.

Easy enough to saunter around STV one shotting stuff. (And picking goldthorn which is selling for a wonderful 4g per herb).

All was well at this point, just a simple achievement.

Time to Explore the Eastern Kingdoms

Picture yourself sitting in STV.

And you take a look at your achievements interface.

And you see the Explorer one.

And your un-explored items make an absolutely perfect path north through Eastern Kingdoms, and then south through Kalimdor.

I couldnt' resist!

Up north through Duskwood to Redridge.

Still further north to the Burning Steppes.

Through Black Rock Mountain to gain passage over to Badlands.

Keep going north to Loch Modan.

Would be reasonable to fly from here to Southshore, but I'm feeling poetic and exploring on foot (well, Aspect of the Pack improved Traveler's Tundra Mammoth, but foot none-the-less) I ran through the already-explored zones of Wetlands, Arathi, and Hillsbrad.

Into some enemy territory in Silverpine Forrest and Tirisfal Glades.

Eastern Plague Lands, which is much more fun to visit now that I've finished off the Death Knight starting quest line.

And deeper into Horde country in Ghostlands and Eversong Woods.

Kalimdor, oh Kalimdor

Lets keep with the perfect path through the whole world. I did cheat and hearth'ed here, so sue me.

Portal to Exodar.

Agonizing awful exploration of Bloodmyst (truly, this one sucked) and Azuremyst Isle.

Take a boat and then cheated on a birdy to Azshara to ding the one and only explorable chunk in that Thorium-rich zone.

Cut through Ashenvale and Barrens to get to Durotar to scare some low-level orcs (no, I didn't shoot them, but I did shoot two hordies on a titanium node earlier that day :-)

Back through Barrens to Mulgore to go cow tipping.

And back into Barrens to get to Thousand Needles for the one and only explorable chunk in this baby. Aside: you can just jump off the elevator on the Mammoth and she dies, but you don't. Resummon and off you are.

Cut south through Tanaris and Un'goro to gain access to Silithus.

Ding Silithus.

Ding Kalimdor.

Ding Explorer!

One damn quest left

Sporting my new title, Amava the Explorer, I took a look over the achievements, I see just a couple quests left in Outlands, so its time for some fun.

This was rough. ish.

With only two or three quests to complete for a zone, it is hard as hell to find what you need to do.

All I can recommend is the following two tidbits:

1) WoW Head. Search for the exact name of the achievement you're going for. The comments have some excellent advice for typical quests that members of each faction might miss. I could not have done these without WoW Head. Make sure you're looking at the achievement for your faction, as each one is listed separately for each side but with the same name.

2) If you're a gatherer, you might like a macro to swap between finding nodes and finding low level quests:

 /run local t=1; _,_,a=GetTrackingInfo(t);if (a) then t=2 end; SetTracking(t)

You'll need to change the 3 and the 25 to the actual number that matches your tracking mode. Just click your mini-map tracker icon and count to figure out your unique numbers. 3 & 25 happen to be Mining and Low Level Quests for me.

The hardest one was just one single quest left in Terokkar Forrest, but luckily finishing off a quest line in Nagrand took me back to Shatt City and that gave me credit for a Terokkar one.

Ding Hellfire, Nagrand, Shadowmoon Valley, and Terokkar. BEM and Zang were done already. Netherstorm, you remain two short of the ding.

Horde Griefing at the Ring of Blood

To finish off the evening, I did the last couple quests in Nagrand via the Ring of Blood, which came with its own achievement for doing this and also the Amphitheater of Anguish in Zul'Drak.

Horde who kept showing up to gank during RoB, kiss my tush.

But they left...and other horde showed up.

But they left also...and other horde showed up.

Annoying because they weren't staying around to do the quest, but rather just flying by to say "hi", presumably due to the zone-wide announcements that somebody is in action. Who knew there were multiple groups of 2 or more level 80 hordies in Nagrand, because it was never just one player, and never the same players more than once. /shrug

Eventually got em done.

And went to sleep with only two quests left in Outlands (didn't want to fly all the way up to Netherstorm, but that'll be soon !!!!)

Bring the au jus, not the spec

BRK writes about a buff that Beast Mastery is getting along with the incoming nerfs that'll boost Arcane Shot.

That post inspired a semi-entertaining, un-educational conversation of comments in which the conversants are generally playing a tennis match of "my spec rulz and should be op, your days are over" or "my spec rulz and that's fine, you should continue to drool".

That conversation inspired this post. Enjoy...

Besides the tennis match, many of the commenters were rallying behind a banner of "bring the player, not the spec".




Blizzard's position has been "bring the player, not the class". NOT "...not the spec".

So they tried to give a variety of options from different classes to provide the appropriate buffs/debuffs that raid leaders were deeming required, to avoid a raid sitting on their thumbs for an hour searching for that one last perfect class to finish off the raid. I'll leave the conversation of whether they've succeeded or not for another day, but that is the motivation behind their actions.

All Specs Equal? Come on now!

If I'm a Warrior, and the role I choose to play is Tank, there is one talent tree that will be receiving the bulk majority of my talent points.

If I'm a Druid, and the role I choose to play is Healer, there is one talent tree that will be receiving the bulk majority of my talent points.


I would not spec that way because I think Protection is cool and Arms is dumb.

I would put my points there because going heavy into the Prot tree gives me the tools to do my chosen job better than going heavy into the other two trees.

Why should hunters be different?

There's two reasons I have the spec that I do (50/21/0 as of this writing):

1) Close to 50/50 split in DPS between me and my pet. That is fun for me. I've long been a proponent of skewing even more in favor of the pet, but I'll stop the qq at that. Pretty damn near 50/50 is nice.

2) As of right now, this build provides very good PvE DPS (some might even say OP dps), which is the job I choose to play.

So clearly, reason number one is personal to me, I wouldn't expect everybody to share that.

However, I'll go out on a limb and say that reason number two is ubiquitous (oooh, big word) amongst the raiding Hunter community.

Warriors choose a job and put points into the tree that provides the best tools to do it.

Players of all classes choose a job and put their points into the tree that provides the best tools to do it.

Hunters should be no different.

Suggestion to Blizzard

Ok, I'll stipulate that 50/21/0 with cat or scorpid is OP right now. Blizzard should nerf it because its too out of balance.

If I had my druthers, I'd ask Blizz to nerf me, not my pet. Keep the pet's DPS where it is.

Additionally, they seem to be adamant that we include Arcane Shot in our rotation. Ok, that's cool, spamming my #3 key and blowing away the meters is probably unfair. Make us want to use other shots.

Here's how to make a Beast Master fire Arcane Shot.....

Make the shot apply an Au Jus debuff to the mob. Pets love gravy, so for the duration of the debuff, your pet just goes to town. Maybe more pet crit, or more pet attack power, or attack speed. What ever.

But make Arcane Shot attractive to a Beast Master because it helps your pet, not because it helps your hunter.

You talk a big game, Amava, but whatcha gonna do?

When the patch hits, what'm I gonna do?

To be honest, I don't know.

If any given spec provides an OP amount of damage, I'm there. I could care less what tree.

Reason #2 above trumps Reason #1.

I cling to hope that there will be at least two different specs that provide equally OP damage. It would be nice to see variety among the Hunters I raid with, accompanied by similar (if not exactly equal) DPS production.

But if there is one clear cookie-cutter winner and we all dress alike? Its all good, where's the Hunter Trainer?

Au Jus Shot, FTW

That's all I got.

Would you discard your preferred spec/style for an OP spec? How about for just a minor increase? How much of an improvement would it take for you to change your ways?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Phoot >>> Bang

Amava's been an archer for her whole raiding career.

Entered Kara with the crystal crossbow from Ogrila. Got Steelhawk Attumen crossbow on the first or second kill. And before my next ranged drop happened, the 150 badger peacock became available.

Apparently it was going to be crossbows for life TBC.

When Sunfury dropped off of the 50 or 60th Prince kill, it was more of a joke because of how much some players had lusted after that shiny, and happily my team let me have it as an obsolete trophy rather than shard it for a void crystal. When wolf slayer sniper rifle dropped, I was gonna make a move for another trophy, but a rogue or warrior wanted it for fun, so I share.

But times have changed

With WotLK, I'm not raiding content that's been out for a year already, but rather while it still has that new dungeon smell (despite being recycled level 60 vintage).

Still sporting the peacock, our guild-first Patchwerk kill yielded me my new precious: Arrowsong.

Excellent speed, excellent tool-tip DPS, nice blend of stats.

But more importantly, she's a BOW. And she looks gorgeous.

Cross bows are ok, guns suck donkey balls.

A bow is what an archer should carry. I'm still fond of the good old days of Warcraft II, bringing in three packs of nine Elven Rangers (back when you could only group nine units together at a time in a RTS) to support my friend's packs of ballistas and another guy's paladins.

And Arrowsong has served the team well, aiding in the kill of boss after boss after T7 boss. Draining quiver after quiver after gold-sucking quiver. But I digress.

If you want to upgrade something, invest in it

I'm a big fan of enchanting a piece of gear that you want to discard. It appeases the Tiki God of Random Numbers. Plus, in the event of an angry god, you still do better anyways.

In the case of my beautiful bow, she already had the best scope in game at the moment. How does one invest?

How about 450g worth of Saronite into Arrow Machines?

Just that very day, I sent 9 stacks of saronite to my favorite engineer, and had my 6 new arrow machines waiting in the mail before the raid.

And wouldn't you know it, we whoop KT's ass and he coughs up the big boy: Envoy of Mortality.


A gun!!!!

Blizzard uses the thesaurus to name gear

Envoy of Mortality?

Messenger of Death, much?

Well, I don't really care about the name.

I do care about the utterly annoying sound FX of the gun firing.

And even more so, I care about the sweet sweet numbers she brings.

Probably 50-75 DPS increase, which is pretty nice for a single piece of gear.

But wait? Earlier you said guns suck donkey balls? Is this true?

Unfortunately, yes, this is true. But a man night elf chick's got to do what a man night elf chick's got to do.

Any fun Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix stories?

Any TBC raiders out there?

How did your SBotP land in your bags?

When did you replace it?

Aside: The investment worked out financially as well. Probably won't recoup the full 450, but those arrow machines sell pretty nicely. Over just one night, several sold on AH in addition to the loose arrow stacks that had already been extracted from the machine. I'm sure you're all worried sick over the thought of me losing some gold.

Bribe vs Reward

Matticus wrote about a Conquest guild member, Wayne, who got geared up very quickly and then decided to put his raiding on hold until the next raid dungeon, Ulduar, is released. Summary of the Article: Wayne's decision puts the guild in a tough spot, and also may cause Wayne difficulty when he chooses to return. There are social consequences to the decision.

Greedy Goblin wrote up his thoughts on the subject. Summary of the Article: Wayne's decision puts the guild in a tough spot, but Wayne will have no difficulty getting what he wants when he chooses to return due to ease of finding a new guild for well geared, good player. Player acting correctly like goblin.

Both of those write-ups, plus my own vested interest as a member of the guild, lead to the following gem of a post...

Does Loot Council offer bribes or rewards?

The return for performance of a desired behavior; positive reinforcement.

Something, such as money or a favor [edit: or phat lewtz], offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person's views or conduct.

There's a bit more to it than just the dictionary definitions. A reward is given only after the desired behavior is observed, and a bribe is given before the behavior is observed in an effort to influence future behavior.

Lets look at the Conquest/Wayne situation.

To do this properly, we're going to need to look at it from two time periods....

When Conquest first started raiding: Reward

We first started raiding. Some of us were in level 80 dungeon blues, some were in a mix of level 70 epics and level 75 greenies, and some even had a smattering of starting level 80 epics.

So, the guild has a reward to offer Wayne. Provide the team with the desired behavior (show up on proper nights at proper time, know your class, execute your job well), and you get the desired reward (fun raiding experience, phat lewtz).

Wayne, and the rest of the guild, provide the desired behavior.

The whole guild is rewarded with fun raiding experience.

Regarding gear, two things made Wayne's situation unique. (A) The RNG dropped large amount of Wayne-specific gear, and (B) at this time Wayne was typically the only toon who could make use of that gear.

Cause: Wayne put in the desired behavior -AND- the RNG loved him.
Effect: Wayne got rewarded with phat lewtz, perhaps disproportionately more than the rest of the guild.

Fastforward: Conquest farming, Wayne well geared: Bribe

A few weeks of the RNG smiling and a raid composition that leaves Wayne running unopposed for most of the Wayne-applicable gear, and you've got one hell of a well geared Wayne.

At this point in time, since there appears to be no reward for the Guild to offer to Wayne, what was once a reward can now be viewed as a Bribe.

Besides a fun raiding experience, the Guild has nothing to offer.

But there is an expectation that Wayne continue to raid, and help those who the RNG and Raid Comp didn't reward quite as quickly. We call it social responsibility, or peer pressure, or giving to the greater good.

Greedy Goblin calls it boosting dumbs.

Right, wrong? Who knows? But these sorts of situations occur in every walk of life: WoW, work places, politics, within circles of friends and acquaintances.

Is it an inherent problem with Loot Council?

Loot distribution systems like DKP or Suicide Kings all continue to offer a reward to a player, even after that player has gotten all the loot they want. In DKP you earn points which will leave you with big pile to spend on new gear when Ulduar is released. In SK you will bubble higher and higher to the top and thus be near the top and get priority when new drops come from new dungeon.

This doesn't seem like its a question of how the Conquest LC made their decisions. Most of Wayne's gearing up was uncontested, and thus not a real decision.

Its more of a question of LC philosophy in general.

Once you're geared up, the only thing LC has to offer is the hopes of future drops. If those "future drops" don't exist yet, no reward at all.

What was once a reward has now become a bribe. Bribes fail in the long term.

What else does the leadership of Conquest have to offer to incent players to continue raiding once that player's personal needs have been met?

A brief tangent, simply here to boost my leadership-ego

An IRL story from when I served as a manager of a team of software developers. The company I work for gives a manager a variety of tools to compensate employees, some examples include pay raises, one-time monetary bonus, stock options, promotions.

In corporate america, those above things are viewed as "desired by everyone", and as such get folded into corporate policy.

Beyond the official letter of that policy, there are other things my own personal style offers, that vary greatly in how much each individual cares about them. Since they vary so greatly in value from person to person, they're not codified as gospel from Corporate HQ. Examples include flexible work hours, assignments that are of particular interest to a specific employee, cubicle location, travel opportunity, and so on and so forth.

A real story about three different employees:

Employee A: Gets performance review, score lower than she thinks she deserves. She asks manager what she can do to improve. She improves performance consistently over next review period, at which time reward given (pay raise, promotion, yadda yadda yadda). Employee continues high level of performance year on year, consistently earning reward, which is given at end of each review period. We all win.

Employee B: Gets performance review, score lower than he thinks she deserves. He asks manager what he can do to improve. He does not change his behavior over the next review period. He does not receive desired reward at end of next review period. He blows hissy fit (you had to be there, it was classic) and demands reward. Reward not given. He leaves company to work for someone else he thinks will reward him how he deserves. We all win.

Employee C: Gets performance review, score lower than she thinks she deserves. Demands promotion with threat of leaving team. Manager outlines two available options: there's-the-door, and here's-what-behavior-will-get-reward-you-seek. Employee stays. Employee does not receive reward at this point. Employee does not change behavior, still under performing at end of next period. Employee does not get reward again.

The Beauty of the Situation - Let me share with you a small sliver of the spiteful side of my personality. Company does a re-organization so Employee C's manager (me) gets moved to different team. Employee C offers same demand for bribe from new manager (hated through-and-through to the soul by old manager, me). New Manager (hated) immediately provides promotion, raise, and obscene bonus. One month later, Employee C quits and takes job with different team and new manager (hated) is left scrambling for replacement. Everybody but new manager (hated) wins, which is even more win (spite) than if everybody won, in opinion of old manager (me).

Lesson Learned: Bribes don't work.

For best results, offer rewards for desired behavior.

Unfortunately, this little tidbit can't help a Loot Council that has no more loot to offer a player.

Even if the gear given to that player were given as rewards at the time they were given, lacking any upgrades, they have become bribes.

The leaders will need to look into the other rewards at their disposal for continued motivation in the Guild.

Either that or Blizzard needs to release the next dungeon XD

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The difference in satisfaction between hard and easy

I'm not gonna get into a debate of "is wotlk too easy" because that's subjective (easy or not? if easy, what's "too" easy mean?, yadda yadda yadda).

However, tuesday nights raid showed us two extremes of the spectrum.


Sartharion with two Drakes.

Our first night working on two drakes. Wiped for about an hour and a half.

Made small incremental changes between wipes. The biggest factor probably ended up being the whole team gaining an awareness of how to handle the transitions from one portion of the fight to the next.

Hard? Sure, lets call it hard.

Fun. Interesting. Challenging. Really felt like progression.



Although a one-shot, and the second one-shot in two nights, I'm not ready to call this one easy.

Phase 1 is getting easy through repetition and because the spark handlers are getting better at stacking sparks.

Phase 2 is not getting easier in my mind, as the survivability aspect and targeting of new mobs remains intense.

Phase 3 still sucks donkey balls, but does require lots of mental focus.

Medium difficulty level. Kinda farmable, but not lacking challenge.


After taking Sarth and Maly down, we had 30 minutes left in our raid schedule.

Head on over to Naxx.

Pissed on the Spider Wing in 17 minutes.

And dinged a few "inevitable" achievements along the way. One for Farina without dispelling frenzy, and another for clearing spider wing in less than 20 minutes I think. Might have also been one other tucked in there, I dunno, we were moving so fast it was tough to tell.

Faerlina boss. I use the term "boss" lightly. Sure, she dropped some epics and emblem of valor.

But it was like a trash pull. One tank peeled boss from the pack, other two tanks grabbed all the adds. We AoE'd them all down, and then burned Farina into the ground.

No fuss what-so-ever.

How did the satisfaction level vary?

Lets start from the top:

Hard - Outstanding. Challenging progression kill feels awesome. Tap danced around the room. Called the uber gf and sang "daddy's back" to the tune of "shady's back". Yes, I take this game too far, kthxbai.

Medium - Feels good. I find P2 and P3 of Malygos to be so taxing, just being alive is nice.

Easy - Amusement factor was high, no doubt. Dinging some achievements brought some smiles. But what about next week when we repeat the performance but no achievements left? Well, at least we can farm those last few pieces of gear efficiently, which is nice.

Bottom Line

Easy vs Hard is totally relative, so lets not go there.

We're dealing with a pretty Hardcore bunch of folks who are now very familiar with the trash pulls, the boss encounters, and the navigation through the instances, and we're all pretty well geared (hey, I dinged Epic! last night, but only via cheating and equipping one trinket in a trink slot and then moving it to the other trink slot, but whatever).

But I can attest to the fact that the harder it is, the more satisfying it feels.

that's what she said