Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An Outsider's View

First things first. Thank you to everyone for all of the nice things you said about the blog and such on my my "fairwell" post. It is very nice to know that what I did mattered and helped people. Also, there may be a couple of who got excited when you saw this post on your blog reader thinking I've come back. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

This is not a return to blogging for me. In fact, I currently don't have an active WoW account. I probably would reactivate it if I qualified for a Scroll of Resurrection, but I don't. Even if I did, most of the reasons I stopped playing and blogging remain. I am mainly posting this because it was hard for me not to get a little caught up in all of the Blizzcon shenanigans from this past weekend.

So, here is my "Outsider's" view of the Blizzcon announcements with one quick disclaimer. Since I have not been active in the game for more then a year now there is a good chance that with some of this stuff I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. Feel free to call me an idiot.

Mythic Raiding:

Ok, I admit that the main thing I wanted to comment on was the changes to the Raid Structure, or as I like to call it Vindication. If you are reading this you are probably a long time reader, and probably remember my posts on the 10 vs 25 debate. I was and still am apologetically pro 25-man raiding, and argued that equality of 10 and 25 man raiding would be very bad for 25 man raiding and Cataclysm proved me (and TONS of other people) right. Though I didn't spend a lot of time playing MoP, it was clear early on that Blizzard finally agreed there was a problem and were looking for a way to fix it. In WoD it looks like Blizzard is biting the bullet and finally doing whats right (and hopefully getting it right).

As and old raider who has never experienced a Flex raid this sounds like a near perfect set up. Mythic raiding kind of sets an unofficial standard raid size of 20, but at the lower levels it allows a guild to adjust based on the current situation. Lot of good people show up for the night, you can expand up to 25. If it's light night you can go with 15. If you have one or two people in the raid that are playing horribly and bringing the group down you can sit them for the night without hurting the group. Since most people raid below the highest level this makes a lot of sense.

Locking Mystic Raiding at 20 makes a lot of sense as well in my opinion. I know there are probably many hardcore 10-man raiders out there that hate this change and I honestly feel for them. However, when I played 25-mans were still the primary source for hardcore raiding, therefore it makes sense that Blizzard would lean to that size of raid. Also, a "Raid" should have this larger epic feel that is harder to get with smaller groups.

As I've said, this change sounds good to me. My only question is if it's too little too late. I know there are a lot of things that have contributed to decline of subscriptions in WoW since WotLK, but I think equal 10s and 25s is one of the big ones. It destabilized a lot of guilds and helped cause many to fall apart. Having to look for a guild over and over again is part of the reason why I stopped playing. Hopefully, this will stabilize the remaining guilds and allow them to grow again.

Stat/Itemization Changes:

There are a lot changes being made and some I like more then others. However, On the whole, I think Blizzard is going the right direction. I don't know this for sure, but I bet that the demographics of the average WoW player have changed a lot over the past five years. The number of college kids with tons of free time has probably decreased and the number of working people with families has increased. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to simplify the itemization to make it easier on busy adults. For example, I am a working parent with two kids. I raided late at night and went to work early in the morning. The time between work and raiding was spent with the family doing homework and making dinner, and didn't leave a lot of time for figuring the optimal set up after I got a new piece of gear the night before. So, in general I think these are good changes even though I may be a little nostalgic about some of them.

  • No Hit Rating: I wrote a blog post many years ago about why I thought Hit Rating was a good stat after someone argued that it should be dropped on the forums or on a blog. I still think its a good stat, but is probably needed less since Mastery was added. Plus, eliminating it does simplify gear choices a lot which is probably a good thing. (Yes, I know other stats were eliminated as well but I don't think any of them really affect Moonkin, but I could be wrong.)
  • No Reforging: It's funny how some of the major features from past expansions don't last that long. Glyphs added in WotLK king were gutted to near uselessness in MoP, and now Reforging is completely removed.

    I can't get worked up about this one either way. It sounded cool in the beginning but turned out to be more of a pain in the ass then anything else. Plus, it made gear choices less significant because, you could minimize the impact of having a less the optimal piece of gear. On top of all that it made my gear lists difficult to make.

    I've changed my mind. I'm glad reforging is getting removed.
  • Just Leather: Gear that adjusts dynamically to the spec of the player wearing it is probably one of the best changes ever. It makes so much sense on so many levels. Whoever made this possible should get a raise.

Lore an Continuity: 

First off, this is a game and in my opinion shouldn't be held to the same story telling standards as a book or movie. Unlike a book or movie, the primary source of enjoyment in a game comes from playing it. If it's got a great story then that's a bonus in my opinion. As a result, I can't get all worked up about Garrosh conveniently escaping to set up the next expansion, or the fact that he has to time travel or travel to an alternate universe to do so. This is a game. I'm not expecting Tolkien.

That said, I do think that this expansion seems fairly unimaginative lore wise. Between the Burning Crusade and the books, the lore of the Orcs is fairly well covered. While we haven't gotten to play through that lore in WoW, I don't really think we need to. On top of that there are a lot of risks to redoing this story line. First, Rise of the Horde is one of the most popular books. Going back over that materiel will create an opportunity for comparison. It may be wildly successful like the new Star Trek movies, but it could also crash and burn. I also doubt that Blizzard will be able to resist having Thrall meet his parents, and I doubt they will be able to pull it off in a way that doesn't come off sappy and boring. Personally I thought Argus was a much more logical choice I'm sure they will get there eventually.

Other Little Things:

  • Level 90 Boost: It looked like some people were complaining about this in the coverage, but it makes perfect sense to me, and should have been done years ago. WoW is really freaken old. It would be stupid to force new players to level through so much old content just to get to there friends, and it gives a little bonus to old players so they don't have to go through the old content for the tenth time. In fact, wouldn't be against blizz selling level 90 boost like realm transfers at this point.
  • Garrisons: I've never really understood the point of player housing, so I don't really understand the attraction of Garrisons. That said, I did find my little farm to be entertaining, so I may like this as well.
  • Truly BoA Heirlooms: Three words - About damn time!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lets Make it Offical

I've gotten several emails and such asking about the blog and such, so I guess I should explain what has been going on lately. As all of you can see I haven't written a blog post in over four months at this point. In fact, I haven't logged into WoW in almost as long. I didn't plan on taking an extended break from the game (I still have an active account actually), but it just kind of happened after a couple of things happened both ingame and IRL.

I am still a big fan of the game, in particular I love raiding and the community that can develop around a guild who raids together. I love the struggle. I love the triumphs. I love the stupid inside jokes. Unfortunately, I've found those aspects of the game increasingly hard to find over the past few years. As I've said several times before, Cataclysm was a very tough expansion for me guild wise. Prior to cataclysm I had been in only 3 raiding guilds over 4 years, but during that one expansion I spent time in 6 or 7 different guilds. Most of them fell apart or were on the verge of falling apart when I left. It was a tough time and I considered quitting the game many times. However, I decided to take a second shot at a guild I have a lot of respect for thinking that if it worked out, it could be the long term home I've been looking for.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out. My trial was rejected for what I think are fairly nitpicky reasons. At about the same time I was laid off from my job and it was the straw that broke the camel's back (For the record, I have a new job now.). I didn't have a reason for logging in anymore, and that was good because I didn't feel like logging in anymore. I didn't mean to take a break for 4+ months, it just kind of happened.

Quick Edit: I have gotten a couple of comments asking what kind of guild would reject my trial. The simple truth is that just because I wrote a blog about moonkin doesn't mean that I'm an amazing raider. There is a lot more to raiding then knowing the theory. I've never claimed to be the best moonkin and can say for a fact that there are a lot of players out there better then me.

While I do think the reasons told to me for rejecting my trial were nitpicky, I also know that I could have performed more consistently. At the highest levels of raiding the little things matter a lot and I left myself open to critisism on a couple of occasions. Also, I think trialing at the start of an expansion when everyone is excited about the game was a mistake.

So, what does the future hold for me and this blog? I honestly don't know.

At this point, I doubt I am done with the game forever. I still feel the urge to log in and see whats going on every so often, but haven't done so yet. At the very least, I'll probably buy what ever expansion comes and try it out.

In terms of the blog, I think I'm done. I won't say I'll never write the blog again, but I doubt it. The blog has gotten increasingly hard to write over the years. When I started there were very few moonkin blogs and none of them were doing theorycrafting. On top of that, the theorycrafting was very simple in the beginning. However, over time it got harder, and Moonkin became more popular and attracted more theorycrafters. As time has gone on my blog has become tougher to write and less and less relevant. Given all that, it is probably time to put the blog to rest. But who knows, If I get back into the game in a big way maybe I'll get back into the blog in a big way as well.

I do want to say a few thank you's if this does end up being my final post.

First and foremost I must thank all of my readers over the years. I never imagined that the blog would become as big and influential as it was for a time.

I also want to thank Blizzard, GC, and the developers I had contact with (Chris and Chadd). Thanks for making a great game and getting me into Betas.

Thanks to Phaelia for providing a guide and helping my blog to grow early on. I wish you were still around.

Thanks to the many moonkin over the years who helped the blog both directly and indirectly over the years. This is by no means a complete list: Erdluf, Lissanna, Murmurs, Hamlet, Relevart, and many, many others I am forgetting at the moment.

A big thanks to all my great guildies over the years. Necro, Jeeves, Abid (rip) at FoC; Dchaney, Lotsapots, Doom, Ardin at WA. Sevrenwinter, Myraxa, Osmand, Keahe, Auro, and Syni at LoE. Finally at Skunkworks Infinitum, Neatpete, and Olducu thank you for your support.