Sunday, 30 January 2011

Why you shouldn't DE your epic drops

Today's post is in response to a thoughtful post by Viktory over at World of Matticus. Viktory gives a few examples of where BoP drops from bosses have been disenchanted for the maelstrom crystals, despite them being either a slight upgrade or a good offspec piece. There were exceptional circumstances in one case, but we will go into that later.

The argument for DEing is that the crystal can be used for a high level enchant, and this enchant will be of more benefit to the toon than the slight upgrade. On the surface, this seems like decent logic. However, my main issue with this is the price of the crystal on the AH. On most servers, the crystals sit at around 1k. So the choice you have is between a BoP upgrade or 1k.

In Cataclysm, gold in so easy to make that it isn't ever an issue for many players. I find it unlikely that any self-respecting raider is lacking maxed (or near maxed) professions. Most professions can make 1k with little time or effort. If you have the mental capacity to raid, you can make money on the AH.

Even if the epic was a slight upgrade  or an off-spec piece, I feel the drop would benefit the guild far more than a measly 1k. The benefit of the guild is the key issue here - which is worth more to the guild: A slightly improved main spec (or vastly improved offspec) or an easily made 1k? Note that you are not making a direct choice between the gear or the enchant.

To me, if that offspec is used in just one progression raid then the trade-off has been worth it. I would go so far as to say that if a guildmate was choosing between an off-spec piece or a crystal, I would give them 1k and let them keep the drop, as it is better for the guild overall. The fact that some of the maelstrom enchants are only marginally better than the cheaper counterparts make this decision even easier in some cases.

The exception mentioned earlier is if the raider knows they would replace the piece immediately following the raid, for example if they now have enough valor points for the tier piece. In that case it might be fair enough to DE. But even still, if that piece of gear is the difference between killing the next boss or not (unlikely I know, but every little helps!) then that would be worth 1k to me. Another exception would be choosing to save DKP for a later upgrade, as that is a totally different issue.

How many boss kills do you think this slight upgrade (or off-spec) would have to take part in before it is worth the 1k you would otherwise have had?

Friday, 28 January 2011

Raiding (and other play styles)

My post today is once again inspired by one over at Tobold's MMORPG Blog. Tobold's post today begins with a comment he received stating "Lets face it - outside of raiding there is very little to do in WOW that is fun."

Now I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Ever since I got my original character to the level cap, I have never wanted to do the levelling grind again. The name of my blog should give some indication as to how much I detest questing. While I am sure that I will go into this in more detail in future, at a basic level I need some sort of challenge, competition or excitement (some of all three is a bonus!).

Questing provides none of this for me. I love raiding because it does provide all of the things I mentioned above. Guild camaderie is a huge part of this as well. The feeling of banding together with friends to achieve a common goal is what sets raiding (and MMOs) apart from any other type of gaming challenge. For me, as a single player game, WOW is tedious. There are far better single player RPG experiences out there.

I am aware that there are people who will level a character to 85 and then turn around and start again with a new character. I am not exagerrating when I say that I cannot even begin to comprehend this playstyle. What is the goal? What are you trying to achieve? Tobold mentions in his article that his wife has played for 6 years and never set foot in a dungeon, let alone a raid. While these players clearly still derive pleasure and satisfaction from the way they play, it is utterly alien to me.

Some people dismiss raiding, claiming they "don't want another job." For me, it is the other way around. 1-85 is a chore that has to be completed so that I can enjoy what I see as the heart of the game.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Heroic "nerfs"

I did have a different post lined up for today, but came across some interesting comments on today's post over at Tobold's MMORPG Blog. The post itself was regarding the justice points changes coming up in patch 4.0.6, but in the comments the topic of the 4.0.6 heroic "nerfs" came up.

While initially the list of changes may seem like flat nerfs, on closer inspection I do not believe that is the case. While the encounters would be easier, I think that a high number of these changes are designed to make them work as they were initially designed. At the very least, these changes are being made so that when you do fail, it's because you were beaten by the boss mechanics and not some other reason. Making certain bosses bigger so that you can actually see them over the adds is an example of this.

Let's take Stonecore as an example. Each of the bosses will have changes in 4.0.6. The killer special attacks in question will do the same damage, but now should give players a fairer chance of correctly avoiding them. Currently on the Slabhide fight, you must hide behind pillars to avoid his LOS attack. The problem with this is, some of those pillars are inside his hit box. This means that you will get hit even if you appear to be out of the way. I don't believe this was the design intention, and the patch will mean fewer of the pillars dropping. I believe that specifically there will be less dropping directly around him.

Ozruk is another. His Shatter ability has been wiping groups since the start of the expansion, and I struggled initially. If you start to run when you see Shatter being cast, you will most likely die. You need to start to run as you see the previous cast, Paralyse, finishing. This is something that you are expected to know. On top of that, you need to make sure you have an active DoT to stop you being paralysed.

I think that sort of knowledge and execution is far more suited to raids than heroics. From a tanking perspective, that boss is harder than a few of the entry level raid bosses. The cast time has been increased slightly to compensate, which I think is the right move. It will still be an issue, but now you can run when Shatter gets cast, and not paralyse.

True, there are a few nerfs (and a few buffs!) but not the mass dumbing-down of content that some are saying.

Death To Questing!

Hello, and welcome to Death To Questing! This is my endgame-focused blog, with an emphasis on what I know best - my death knight tank. Expect opinion and discussion on everything endgame related, including heroics, raids and tanking tactics.