Archive for April, 2011

Troll heroics: first impressions

Posted in Achievements, PuG business, Strategy, Tanking with tags , , on April 29, 2011 by Aeliel

(Lacking screenshots of the actual boss fights – since I was too busy tanking to take any – the above will have to do. If you’ve done the lashtail hatchling quest chain in Northern Stranglethorn Vale, once you kill Mandokir you get your hatchling back. And she’s “Lashtail Hatchling <playername’aka>” rather than “<playername’s companion>”. Awwwww.)

I’ve spent the better part of an afternoon and evening tanking Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman. My first run was alone; all the rest were done with Alieth, my trusty pocket healer. Some of the difficulty of the instances was doubtlessly removed by the fact of having a healer with an average ilvl of 370 (some kills would’ve been wipes with a lesser-geared healer), but considering that a healer wearing full PVP gear could keep me up just fine on my lone run through ZA without Alieth, I don’t think the instances are that hard. We got all the new achievements without much trouble (with the exception of Spirit Twister – we gave it a couple of tries, but it was a late-night group, everybody was tired, so we eventually decided the hell with it and just killed the boss).

And, at least for now, I think they’re fun. I like Zul’Gurub better than Zul’Aman: without going too in-depth about it (I’ll probably be making a post detailing boss strategies at some point), Zul’Gurub got brand new mechanics for every fight, whereas Zul’Aman is exactly identical to how the raid used to be, with minor adjustments made to allow for the smaller group size and composition. It makes me think that ZA was just an afterthought – that they worked on ZG, with all the shiny new fights, and then when they got closer to releasing it they thought “hm, wait a second, we can’t just release one heroic, especially since Firelands is nowhere near ready yet, let’s rehash ZA for a 5man so we have a second heroic to release”. Ah well.

After buying eggs for ages…

Posted in Achievements, Mounts and pets with tags , , on April 23, 2011 by Aeliel

At the long, long last. I started buying eggs shortly after the release of Wrath of the Lich King, and the only time I didn’t buy one when the previous one hatched was when I wasn’t actually playing at all. I actually got my drake last week – but since I hadn’t been doing Oracles dailies for a while, and only did them every three days (each time I went to buy a new egg), if that, once I resumed, it took me a bit longer to hit Exalted.

There’s very few reps I don’t have at Exalted now. Bloodsail Buccaneers (Honored, can’t honestly be bothered grinding it further up), Darkmoon Faire (Revered, paused for the time being since my scribe alt is still on a different server), Ravenholdt (Neutral, haven’t touched it since I’ve not yet leveled a rogue), Steamwheedle Cartel (all four factions are Honored… long grind to go, though) and the PVP factions (ughhhhh).

What the (composite) screenshot doesn’t show, of course, is me switching to Frenzyheart very shortly after hitting exalted with the Oracles. Time to work on Frenzyheart for Mercenary of Sholazar! Well, assuming I can be bothered, that is.

Dungeon Finder CTA update and addendum

Posted in Healing, Tanking with tags , , on April 9, 2011 by Aeliel

Blizzard has clarified that the goody bag rewarded from the dungeon finder call to arms is going to be account bound.

The additional reward for completing the Dungeon Finder Call to Arms (called the Satchel of Exotic Mysteries) will be Bind on Account; able to be freely sent to other characters on your account once you receive it.

(Source.)

That’s better, already; it gives incentives to those who have alt tanks, or are considering leveling one, but collect pets and mounts on their mains.

That said, I’d just like to clarify the position I took in my previous post a little bit.

I’m not against this change, per se. I fully agree that it’ll help with queue times, and could even make things better for tanks and healers in the dungeon finder in the long run as more people learn those roles.

And I agree that something needs to be done to shorten the queue times for DPS.

What makes me grumpy is that this is a bandaid fix. It says “people don’t want to tank in the dungeon finder, what can we do to make them?”, rather than “people don’t want to tank in the dungeon finder, why is that?”.

The thing is, I can – off the top of my head, and without even thinking very hard about it – come up with several quality-of-life improvements Blizzard could implement to ease some of the tension in dungeon finder groups. (Note: I wouldn’t want these restrictions in place for low-level dungeons, just the higher-level ones… let’s say Wrath content and onwards.)

In no particular order:

  • Check what specs people have before they queue for a dungeon, and block them from roles accordingly.
    In other words, to queue as a healer you have to have the majority of your points placed into a healing tree (holy priest / paladin, restoration druid / shaman, disc priest); to queue as a tank, you have to have the majority of your points placed into a tanking tree (protection warrior / paladin, blood death knight, feral druid with points placed into one or more tanking talents such as Thick Hide, Natural Reaction, Pulverize); to queue as DPS, you have to have the majority of your points placed into a DPS tree (you might think this is unnecessary, but I’ve seen so many mono-spec tanks and healers queuing as DPS, either by accident or on purpose).
    This would, of course, take into account both talent specs if you’ve bought dual-spec.
  • Check the gear people have before they queue for a dungeon, and block them from roles accordingly.
    This is going to be more complicated to implement than the first idea, especially considering the overlap of stats for several classes (feral druids and just about any healing class); it might end up being necessary to check gems, enchants and reforges. Probably a bit too complicated to be implemented, really, but one can dream.
  • Splitting need rolls into main spec and offspec.
    If an item with tanking stats drops and a tank and DPS both needroll it, the tank should win it; likewise for healers and DPS. Allowances will of course need to be made for gear overlaps (spirit items are not just for healers, but there is no reason for a mage or warlock to roll on spirit cloth; feral druids of both types share armor with rogues and weapons with hunters, and a feral druid tank shouldn’t end up with higher priority on loot versus rogues and hunters – but they should end up with higher priority on tanking trinkets; and so on) as well as more hybrid items (take the axe from Altairus or the sword from Rajh, for instance – they’re good tank one-handers for a warrior or paladin and good DPS one-handers for a frost death knight or Single-minded Fury based fury warrior).
    This should probably be done internally, rather than complicating the roll interface any further, but players should obviously be notified by the system when rolls happen.

There is, unfortunately, nothing that can be done to fix the “people flinging abuse at each other” issue; although I hope the dungeon finder call to arms will lead more DPS to try out a tank or healer offspec or alt, and therefore end up respecting tanks and healers a bit more (like Gavendo says), it’s probably not going to do anything to fix the “primadonna tank” / “primadonna healer” syndrome, and might even aggravate it (“well Blizzard thinks I’m special and important enough to give me extra incentives to queue, you DPS scrubs should just shut up and be glad one such as me is here to help you out”).

But I’d love to see the above suggestions implemented. The first one, in particular, would make queuing for a random dungeon a lot more pleasant for DPS, since it would eliminate the “DPS with no tanking or healing spec decided he wanted to queue-hop” disaster entirely. Wouldn’t do anything for the gear, but considering I’ve seen people with the right spec but not-so-right gear (tanks whose only tanking items were their 1h weapon and shield, for instance) succeed at tanking or healing heroics, especially with a healthy amount of CC, it would work out better than the current system.

Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms

Posted in Healing, PuG business, Tanking with tags , , on April 7, 2011 by Aeliel

4.1 Preview – Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms

Of all the godawful ideas. Good heavens.

I have two tanks (feral druid and prot paladin), one healer (disc priest), and two pure DPS (hunter and warlock) at the level cap. All of them are geared for heroics and running them pretty consistently, although I’ve found myself taking the DPS queue on my feral druid more often than not simply because it gives me the time to do dailies.

On the surface, rewarding tanks and healers for queuing with a goody bag containing gold, gems, flasks, mounts and pets is a good idea. (I’m certainly happy that I’ll be getting extra shinies for something I do anyway.) And yeah, more people will queue as tanks or healers, so it’ll help with the queue length.

But it won’t do anything to fix the real problem with the dungeon finder – the attitude of people running heroics.

Tanks have instant queue because there are so few of them. And there are so few of them because of the prevailing attitude towards tanks in the dungeon finder. Jinxed Thoughts has an excellent post on the scarcity of tanks and reasons for it, and I agree with it. I keep tanking in the dungeon finder because ultimately, I enjoy it, but if I didn’t enjoy it, not all the goody bags in the world would get me to do it.

This change might help keep tanks from dropping mid-run when their item doesn’t drop from a boss (at which point the run dissolves and the DPS are left staring at the screen and going “I sat in the queue for 45 minutes for this?”), but that’s really all it’ll do.

On the other hand, my absolute lack of any faith in humanity predicts we will see an increase in:

  • People queuing as tanks or healers when they don’t have the spec. The dungeon finder doesn’t check your spec. If your class can perform the role of a tank or of a healer, it’ll allow you to queue as that, no questions asked. People already do this to queue-hop, with no intention of performing the role they queued as – and then they try badgering the DPS who sat through a long queue because they wanted to DPS into healing or tanking instead of them. Now that there’s a goody bag as a reward, it’ll only get worse.
  • People queuing as tanks or healers when they don’t have the gear. As far as the dungeon finder is concerned, if you have the right ilvl you’re fine. This tends to lead to people trying to tank or heal in PVP gear, or wearing completely inappropriate gear (for example, a protection paladin trying to tank in mostly healing gear).
  • Disrespect and abuse towards DPS coming from tanks and healers. You know the type. “You guys are a dime a dozen, that’s why you have long queues, you should’ve rolled an useful character instead.” “DPS is easy.” “Oh just go ahead and drop if you don’t like it, it’ll take 30 seconds to get a replacement for you anyway.”
  • Disrespect and abuse towards tanks and healers coming from DPS. If you’ve ever tanked or healed, you also know the type. “Go go go go go go.” “lol we don’t need CC” “WTF healer why are you OOM all the time” “lol your [health / mana] sucks, you’re not geared for this GTFO” “we don’t need marks keep pulling” “HOLD THREAT BETTER STUPID TANK” “WTF WHY DID I DIE STUPID HEALER” and so on.┬áThe dungeon finder is a toxic environment in general.
  • People rolling on tanking and healing items against tanks and healers. “I’m trying to gear up my offspec so I can get shorter queues and the goody bags.” More often than not, these people then proceed to complain if a tank or healer rolls need on DPS items. Never mind that such behaviour only decreases the amount of tanks and healers queuing in the dungeon finder. (I enjoy tanking a lot, and I even enjoy healing on my priest, and yet nothing will make me drop a run and go play something else faster than people needrolling against me for their offspec without even asking. And never mind that “tanks and healers get shorter queues” has been the case since the dungeon finder was launched, and it’s incredibly easy to level 80-85 as a tank or healer entirely through the dungeon finder (there are crafted pieces to start you out, or you can just quest through Hyjal or Vashj’ir to gear up a bit) and be heroic-ready the moment you hit 85.

tl;dr – yeah, this change will probably succeed at its stated goal, which is to make DPS dungeon queues shorter. But it won’t make running heroics any more pleasant, and in fact, it’ll probably make it less pleasant instead.