Shared Topic: Do your alts know each other?

I really liked this week’s shared topic.  I’ve kind of slacked a bit lately, on posting in general, AND in keeping up with shared topics from “Blog Azeroth“.  But thought I’d hit this one up for fun.

In a single word: “sorta”. Really depends on which alts.  I have actually written a 17 chapter fanfic about how my Paladin Khraden got to his current position (well at the time, just entering Wrath).  This didn’t really include a lot of my other alts; however did include some of my brother’s characters, who just happen to be related to my alts. 

So, here’s the tree:

Relationship chart (Main & Alts)

Relationship chart (Main & Alts)

So, in short, yes, they for the most part have met each other (at least the Alliance Side) at one time or another; be it by blood relation, marriage, or fellow soldiers and family friends.

This was really a fun subject to tackle.  Sorry for such a short post, but I guess the chart itself does most of the talking. It kind of made me realize how much RP I really do, though not in game. It’s something that I guess can be considered a guilty pleasure.

Real Friends on RealID

Good morning everybody!

Been a bit since my last post, but as usual, in the eloquent words of Tinkerpriest:

“If I got paid like as porn star would, every time I got bent over by work, I’d be rich”

Things have calmed down a bit, and I’ve had a chance to get online with some local friends of mine and both of my brothers. About a year ago, maybe two, I learned that some of the folks that I work with also play WoW, and at the time we were all guildless, so after migrating a few characters to a single server, we started up “Wanderers Among Realms” (see what I did there :P), yes, it’s not correct grammar, but I couldn’t fit “Amongst”. Anyway, we got together, and were all leveling through The Burning Crusade, and eventually running some heroics together.

Mmm hmmm..

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Pop the Bubble

Yesterday afternoon, I read a great article by Ambrosine on I Like Bubbles. Her post focused on why some Paladin tanks ask a Discipline priest to not bubble them O_0 

Wait, wha? 

Yup, I do understand that there is an issue of the bubble actually being “too” powerful, scaling too well, and preventing any damage from actually getting to the tank, and in turn not requiring any heals.  This effect, causes the paladin to not regain mana from Spiritual Attunement. This, apparently, is what these tanks are complaining about. Now, to be fair, most, if not all of these Paladin tanks that complain are found using the LFD system, they may just be starting out, and are running 5 mans. However, if  you actually plan to tank, and fulfill that role, then it would be best for you to learn your class. 

Popping the Bubble - Learning your Role

Popping the Bubble - Learning your Role

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A Nip and a Tuck

No, this post isn’t about blood elf fasion statements, it’s instead about the new, smaller talent trees and paladin changes announced in the last beta build. With some recent information, it also looks like paladins will be getting another nip and tuck. Seems the devs over at Blizzard still don’t have a true grasp on what they want a paladin to be. Now-a-days I almost have a feeling that the Paladin should have been added as a hero class instead of the Death Knight, the way things are going.

Most parts of me are still underage.

Most parts of me are still underage.

Anyway, according to GC, it looks like another close look is being given to the paladin class, and how they should function. In addition, we again get to wait a little longer than everybody else to get some information on our new talent changes… Crusader’s Patience, my fellow paladins, patience.

These are old talents. This is not the paladin revamp that we said was coming. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer. (Source)

Here’s what else they had to say:

I’m going to regret saying this, but the paladin trees are the most changed in the game. There are only a few of the current beta talents that survived the, um, cleansing. (Source)

Again? Why do we have to have the most changed class every expansion.  One answer, no design focus. Again, us paladins will get to learn our way through new mechanics, and push on up to catch up with the other classes who may have had fewer changes.  Even compared to the Hunters whose resource management completely changed. I’m a bit jaded. I’ve been through nearly all the changes, especially some of the newer ones. I died a little on the inside when Illumination was nerfed from it’s 100% regen down to its current 30% (even down from the previous 60%). I wasn’t a fan of the 50% decrease in healing power when Divine Plea was activiated. I felt a shift when they removed the “all holy damage” from Divine Storm. I cringed when they turned Crusader Strike into a slap from a wet noodle. So basically, I’m used to the paladin class getting smacked around by the nerf bat, and the feeling of utter amusement when they become OP for just a little while.

On the other hand, Paladin’s aren’t OP. Ever tried raid healing as a paladin? Ever tried to top DPS the charts on a boss with a silence? Ever tried to tank a boss with a silence? It’s not fun, and greatly affects the paladin class in each situation. I’m sure some will feel that it is very situational, and that every class has these problems; and I would agree, however, paladins always seem to get the short end of the stick every expansion.

In the Ret case, we started with a basic question: what is it they should be managing? There are a lot of things they *could* be managing. Today it’s cooldowns. It could be mana or procs or a lot of things. There was one Ret talent in particular we really liked, and we started building a rotation around it. Then we decided the mechanic was good enough to flesh out for Holy and Prot too.
We’re not ready to share the design just yet, and like all changes of this sort, it will be controversial. Some players crave a more interactive rotation. Some like their paladins the way they are. Some are only attracted to the class because it can be overpowered and they like to feel like a superhero.(Source)

I myself have craved some more interactivity when playing as a Ret paladin, and feel that it would be a welcome change. However, the mention of integrating this mechanic, that was obviously brought about from discussions about “what a ret paladin should manage”, into Holy and Protection concerns me. Especially with no mention as to what that mechanic is. How far do they plan to change our class? I’m sure, as he said, it will be controversial, and yet another part of me will die, but I will hold true, and continue my adventure as a paladin. I never felt like a superhero, except that one time just before WotLK came out. I have felt like a cockroach (and called one) when I do some old school raids with friends, but other than that, I kind of feel pretty equal, and sometimes underpowered compared to other classes; yet again, situational.

Again, as usual, this is only beta. So there really aren’t many conclusive decisions that we can make. In fact I haven’t jumped into any of the Paladin Talent Trees yet, simply because they seem so unfinished. But, once we get more information, I’ll be sure to share it here.

They heard us

Well, big news everybody… Mike Morhaime just came out with an announcement on the real names on the forums. According to his quote, real names will not be required for the WoW Forums, both current nor the Cataclysm forums that will eventually be released.  Same with the Starcraft II forums.  They too will not use your real name, but rather a character name + character code.

The full text is below (this is from the WoW.com site, so I haven’t found a direct link to the post yet found the source, and it is now linked):

Mike Morhaime (source)

Hello everyone,

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment Blue poster text.

Well, if this is all to be taken as fact, then it appears that Blizzard has listened to our concerns and have decided to protect it’s assests, a.k.a the players, and not require your name to be used.

I’ll update this post as more information comes to light.

Our House, in the middle of our street

Our house it has a crowd /
There’s always something happening /
And it’s usually quite loud /
Our mum, she’s so house-proud /
Nothing ever slows her down /
And a mess is not allowed 

Ah the 80s…. ok, enough nostalgia.

Guild Housing

Guild Housing

 

Anyway, this post is actually about in game housing. It was inspired by a post this week by Honor’s Code on Player Housing. Yet, I’d like to take it a step further into the realm of Guild Housing. 

He does point out several issues, including space and persistance. Each of them providing a very good point, as you can’t just throw a bunch of houses, especially larger houses for guilds, anywhere on the map, and expect it to not cause issues with the terrain. As for the issue of persistance, and the illusion of a bustling town, I believe that I may be able to have a possible solution for this. 

First we’ll hit the issue of space. I do believe that with the announcement that Azeroth is now “flyable”, there would need to be an instanced area used for the guild housing. The look of a town full of houses would work, with an instance in the center. Possibly providing a few storefronts to further immerse the player into feeling like they were entering a town. However, upon entering the instance they would be brought, first, to their guild’s home/headquarters. This would provide a starting point for them to gather their bearings. It could even be treated almost as apartments, but decent size apartments, allowing them to stack slightly to provide more room. I’ve included a few shots of Gilneas below to show this idea (slight spoiler). It shows how much space is really wasted and could be utilized in an instanced area. 

This gives a bit of perspective on the amount of empty space that can be utilized. With this in mind now, imagine a few streets worth of these buildings, each having a few Guild houses to each section of the building. 

Another solution somewhat going along with this, would be to have a town where the buildings themselves are instanced, each door, we’ll say, is instanced. This would create the illusion of a town or “apartment” complex, where upon entering the door, you would be sent to your Guild’s house. This would provide an unlimited (well dependant on server limitations) number of “houses” for each Guild on a particular server. 

This would prevent the issue of a character, or even an entire guild transferring servers. As there is no definitive “area” that their house would exist, but instead it would be a set of variables that would build it upon entering the instance. 

Just think of walking into your Guild house and seeing your tabard up on the wall, maybe even with some trophy kills hung here and there.

Unending Nemesis Guild House

Unending Nemesis Guild House

 

Sure the image I chose is a bit elaborate, but it gives you an idea. Anyway, what could be included in each Guild House would be a Guild vendor, for the new items that are going to be available through the Guild leveling system. Also included would be a Guild Bank/Vault, simply reusing the guild banks already existing would work, or creating a new model for it even. Lastly, it may be good to include a general/trade item vendor, and even a “bartender” for each House. 

Then, to provide the “bustling town” feel, the center of town could be zoned to have trade chat integrated, and several shops could be introduced in the middle providing a gathering place. Possibly even an auction house and bank. It would be a new Sanctuary type area but more integrated with each guild. In addition I would include the basic Forge/Anvil, Inscription book, tailoring specific runes, etc. along with a Flight Master. Of course to top it off, you would have to have a Guild master and tabard vendor, simply because this would be a “Guild Town”.  I would also say that it would be best for it to be a no fly zone, therefore preventing the epeen birdfest that was once Shattrath. This would cover the issue of persistence, as it would likely be a great location for nearly everybody to visit, with the essentials all being in a central location. As for the size of the place itself, it would need to be fairly large, if not to allow Blizzard to “zone” each section (no load screens, though) allowing for lower lag issues. 

A final suggestion, would be a section of town for those who are not in guilds, still allowing them to use the essentials, but also providing a place for them to look for new guilds. This is actually something I have been thinking about for a while, but that will be another post (sorry). 

Anyway, those are my thoughts on Guild Housing. With Cataclysm focusing a bit more on the Guild structure and social factors, it may be something that Blizzard could look into. Just some crazy ideas that came up while I read Honorshammer’s post. 

Would you be interested in Guild Housing? Would you take advantage of it?

Ahune… gesundheit!

He’s big, he’s cold, he falls over when you sneeze. He is Frost Lord Ahune.

Achooone

Achooone

I know that I’m going to sound elitist here, but please, bear with me. I have loved the addition of Holiday Bosses ever since my old guild of local friends used to group up to do the Headless Horseman. I really enjoy the new ability to group up through the LFD tool to get groups for these bosses; and the removal of the dependancy of multiple runs to get a chance at the good stuff. At one time it was difficult to get a group together for these bosses, simply because somebody was already “saved” and couldn’t summon the boss again.

With the new changes, everybody gets one chance at the “special” drops, including the daily Frost Emblems, but can go back as many times as they want for the other standard drops. This does lessen your chance of getting a “special” drop, but also allows Blizz to manage those drop rates closer. It also prevents groups from dropping someone, simply because they can’t summon the boss, which I feel is a good change and removes some of the asshats from the equasion.

There is one thing though. They’re easy. I remember when the Headless Horseman first came out, he was a little tough, multiple phases, stun mechanics, target swapping, stuff folks weren’t used to at the time unless they raided. However, as things have gotten more accessible to the casual player, these things have become “nearly” second nature (not totally, cause there are still those who refuse, or just don’t know how to pay attention and get tunnel-vision). But as time and gear went on, we now overgear these bosses so much that they are hardly a challenge any more.

Alright, melee stay with me.... oh wait, he's already dead?

Alright, melee stay with me.... oh wait, he's already dead?

Now, I understand the fact that the gear that is being dropped doesn’t necessarily match the skills that would be required to make the boss harder, and that the holiday achievement whores (no offense) have to get their fill to complete the meta-achievement. However, this does not mean that the boss can’t be tweaked in some way dependant on the gear of the group.

Just think of Oculus/Ulduar/Any Vehicle Fight. The vehicles are scaled to your gear level, meaning if you are wearing an iLevel 277 piece of gear, then you’re seige engine will be able to take a nuclear bomb to the face. Could the bosses not be scaled the same way?

Here’s my suggestion; scale the boss encounter based on the average of the top pieces of gear of the folks in the group.

Example:
Tank’s top piece: 245
Healer’s top piece: 219
DPS 1’s top piece: 264
DPS 2’s top piece: 232
DPS3’s top piece: 232

245+219+264+232+232 = 1192/5 = 238.4 Average iLevel

This could be weighed towards the lowest average iLevel as well, to scale slightly towards the lower geared folks, especially with the current algorythms being used by the LFD tool. It usually groups 1 or 2 lower geared folks with the higher geared folks, which I think is great, cause it helps get them what they need, at level, without getting frusterated from constant failed attempts.

Now, with the average iLevel set, you could then scale the boss’s HP and damage output based upon that level. I do see how the argument could be made that the fact that the Healer has such a low top iLevel that it may make the encounter too hard, but you also have to think that the tank and dps will likely make up for some of that with the tank’s defensive capabilities, and the DPSs ability to burn the boss quicker. In addition, it will again require some folks to actually think when they enter the encounter. This allows for those folks who grossly outgear an instance/boss to have a little bit of challenge, and in turn continue playing the game more. For Blizzard this would be a win-win situation, as more players on means more players eventually will get invited, which mean more subscriptions.

In fact, I wonder if this would be a safe move for any heroic, simply to keep some challenge in the game. I do believe that it would NOT be beneficial for Raids, as they are often tuned to such a point that it wouldn’t be beneficial, especially with hardmodes out there still challenging groups a good 6 months out.

Personally, it would keep things interesting to me. Not to say that I don’t enjoy flying through a Gundrak run for the daily in a mere 10 minutes (yup, did that last Sunday), but it would make the game feel as if it is growing a bit with you.

Eventually it may be able to get to the point that  you would have a plethora of instances to run (each with their own level of gear) all still challenging, strong at the higher level instances and heroics, while tapering only slightly down as the instances get older, providing less difficulty for lower level instances, but not making them facerolls.

I dunno, what do you all think?

Would you enjoy slightly harder Heroics that scaled with your gear? Would you continue to do more heroics or less because of it?