Burn It All Down

Diminishing Returns

Wow-64 2014-02-24 06-17-22-04 This morning I am feeling absolutely horrible.  My lungs have conspired to rebel against me again, and since there is a good chunk of weather on the way this weekend, I am hoping I can get it under control before then.  Yesterday the world was all a twitter about the blog post that Blizzard was going to release at 6 pm PST…  see what I did there?  Twitter was was full of speculations of what this news announcement might mean.  Some predicted the start of Warlords preorders, but eventually Rygarius the coffee bird eventually explained that it was going to be more of a roadmap type post.  With that I believe most of our fearless brits opted to get some sleep and just check it out in the morning.

At least I am really hoping that they ended up getting a good nights sleep, because what ended up posted really did not feel like it was worth staying up until 2 am for.  Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to disparage the blog post itself, but it was not the shock and awe that players were hoping for.  For me personally there were a few things that concerned me.  Firstly the tweaking of the Racial abilities.  I wholeheartedly agree that some racial perks are better than others… however many of us chose to PLAY those races for that reason.  When this goes love will they give everyone a free racial change for each character?  Some of the racial perks that I am personally most attached to are some of the fluff ones.  For example I am still reeling from the loss of Find Treasure on my dwarves…  but not sure how I would feel if we lost Explorer as well.  I mean I fully expect to lose Every Man for Himself, but I would hate to lose the fun traits in the process as well.

The part of the post that worries me the most however is the talk of crowd control.  It starts off with the statement “One other big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there is currently simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game, especially when it comes to PvP.”.  Now are they only talking about removing CC for the purpose of PVP here?  Or is PVE once again getting the shaft for the sake of a game I have no interest in?  I have to say my favorite era of dungeon running was burning crusade, in part because crowd control was absolutely mandatory.  Even in tier 6 gear, you needed to CC or you would die.  The problem with that era however was that crowd control was not distributed equitably, and over the years each class has gotten some form of permanent or temporary crowd control.  Problem is the dungeon design has just not required doing anything other than smashing into objects with your face repeatedly.

My hope was with the return to Draenor, and the focus on heroics as a way to gear up for raiding…  that we would see a return to this more strategic era of dungeoning.  However if they feel that Pandaria had too much CC…  and by that I mean no one CC’d anything at all EVER…  it gives me great concern for what dungeons might look like going ahead.  Maybe I am coming off a bit half cocked here, since they did qualify the statement with PVP, but the diminishing returns changes would keep a fight like the PVP encounter in Crusaders Coliseum from really being viable in the future.  The one thing I did notice they left completely off the list of diminishing returns mentions…  taunt.  This was honestly the secret to us beating the crusaders coliseum fight, that the tanks would swap off taunting the hardest hitting mobs and kite them around.  A druid taunt, warrior taunt, deathknight taunt and paladin taunt all had unique diminishing returns stacks, so we could swap targets to keep them tied up.

Burn It All Down

As a programmer, I read these changes in a completely different light… because I have been them before.  When you get dropped into a situation where you have some severely outdated code, the knee jerk reaction is to burn everything to the ground and build it from scratch.  This reaction is in part because no one still exists that remembers why the code worked the way it did.  This is what this current phase of Blizzard development feels like.  No one remembers why they had hit and expertise and all these other things…  so lets just simplify everything and get rid of all things that are not strictly needed.  As a programmer I totally get this, because it feels like they are trying to minimize the variables that they have to deal with.

I figure at this point there has been a prodigious amount of turnover in the folks that are working day in and day out on World of Warcraft.  The guy that wrote this or that code is simply not around any longer to explain why exactly he named that variable “Football” when it is just passing data around.  My fear is that in this minimalistic approach we are going to lose some of the things that make Warcraft feel like Warcraft.  I am trying my best not to fall into “change is bad” mode, but in many ways the sequence of changes feels like knocking down a 300 year old building, to put up a mini-mart.  Maybe I will be wrong, and maybe the end result will feel fresh and shiny… in the same way that Diablo 3 2.0 has felt for me.  At this point… you can just file all of this in a bin called “concerns”.

Fun With Demons

Diablo III 2014-02-27 19-29-26-32 Last night my friends and I continued our trek through the demon infested realm of Diablo 3.  The big thing we have noticed is that the game gives players insane catch up experience when the level ranges are not even.  This accounts for how I went from 37 to 50 in a night, because most of the players were significantly higher level than that.  Last night the experience curve flattened significantly, so during the course of the evening I managed to go from 50 to 58 before I just felt too lousy to continue.  As a result however I am knocking at the door of 60 and have no doubts that I will finish off leveling my monk before the expansion.  Granted most of this weekend will be spent in Tamriel playing with the multitude of folks who are getting in for the weekend test.

Diablo III 2014-02-27 22-13-29-27 We managed to get a second puzzle ring, so for most of the evening both myself and my friend Warenwolf were running around with our treasure goblin pets.  We managed to get a ton of legendaries, but oddly enough I got three different versions of the same item… the Saffron Wrap.  Apparently the game thinks I need a lot of belts… maybe it knows that I actually only have one in real life… that I keep punching new holes in as I lose weight.  The score of the night came from when we beat Belial.  There were several points through the night where we learned just how impressive “ignores durability loss” can be, as we took a number of chain deaths to freezing, poison bomberman, electrical orb mobs.  The sad part of the evening however is that I no longer have my ghostly fallen champion pet, because I reached the point where I absolutely had to upgrade out of that axe.

The Final Factoid

Well as I was reminded by my wife, today is the final factoid.  I have somehow made it through an entire month of writing these.  As a result I think it is fitting that I close this factoid off with one relating to the purpose of this entire month.  I do not like writing about myself, at least I do not like talking about personal details.  Talking about gaming is a space of comfort for me, and I have no problem discussing me the gamer…  but I always shy away from talking about me the person behind the screen.  I guess in a way I feel like what I have to say about myself is pretty boring, and the more people know about me…  the more likely they are to reject me as a friend.  I grew up as an “only child”, and we lived just far enough out of the city limits to greatly limit the number of kids I had to play.

For years I craved having someone else to be there and play with, and that craving has carried through to my gaming life.  I end up trying to collect people into my little digital family.  I have deep anti-social tendencies that I struggle with, but online I can have just as much interaction with someone as I want, but then still be able to shut down the game, or twitter and walk away and have seclusion time as well.  2013 was a year of great personal growth for me.  I completed NaNoWriMo, started the daily blogging thing and ended up losing 70 pounds.  In a way Factoid February was a way of trying to get used to opening up and talking more about myself and my life in my blog.  For the most part I think it has worked, and I did manage to complete the month writing something new each day.  There were times I had to sit and think for quite a bit before deciding what to write about, but I struggled through.

The odd thing is… it seems as though people have enjoyed it.  Looking through the blog statistics, it seems as though my average daily readership has increased a bit during the month of February.  I am not sure if this is in part because I am writing more personally… or if I have just gotten more exposure thanks to the amazing folks who regularly retweet me like @RowanBlaze and @AlternativeChat.  It gives me huge fuzzies when I see people are reading what I have written, but I have to say at this point… even if I had zero readers I would likely keep doing whatever it is I am doing.  I find the process of waking up in the morning and dumping my thoughts onto the page while drinking my coffee amazingly therapeutic.  On the weekends when I am forced to vary my schedule a bit, the day just does not seem entirely right… until I have done my blog purge.  I want to thank all of you for coming along with me on this journey.  Not entirely certain where I am going next, maybe more features…  maybe more of the same, but I appreciate that you all are on the ride with me.