Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Will BG XP bring PVE to PVP?

With 3.2 sitting in the background loader and my low level warrior slowly munching it's way through a few dozen quest mobs I started to think about one of the newer features that will be introduced with the next patch. To quote the allmighty patch notes:

Battleground experience has arrived!
Players will now be awarded experience for completing objectives and actions that yield honor in Battlegrounds (honorable kills not included).
Players who do not wish to gain experience through PvP can visit Behsten in Stormwind or Slahtz in Orgrimmar - both located near the Battlemasters in either city - and turn off all experience accumulation for the cost of 10 gold.
Disabling experience gains will prevent a player from gaining experience through any means available in the game.
Players with experience gains turned off who compete in Battlegrounds will face off only against other players with experience gains turned off.
Behsten and Slahtz can reinstate experience gains for players, for a 10 gold fee of course. Any experience that would've been accumulated if experience gains were not turned off cannot be recovered.

No indication was given by blizzard how much XP you actually stand to gain other than it being less than questing xp. Given the fact that HKs do not yield XP it leaves only a handfull of objectives that will actually give XP per BattleGround.

Add to that the fact that different BG's have different amounts of objectives for which I assume the XP gain will be balanced enough to not favor certain BG's right from the get go and I have to come to the conclusion that we really don't know anything at all yet.

But let's not jump the gun here. If BG XP is 'poor' than most people will ignore it for the large part and the net result will be is that we simply won't have to deal with overgeared twinks in lower brackets anymore which you may or may not find helpful.

If however BG XP all of a sudden becomes a decent way to level up your character, or if nothing else provides a suitable alternative to questing all day then we should expect to see an increase in Battleground activity.

Unfortunately much like holiday event achievements the people going into a bg for the purpose of levelling their characters will be there for just that: The XP

They will stick to objectives that give decent xp like glue rather than focussing on the absolutely vital (*caugh*) task of exterminating the enemy. In fact I can see this giving rise to a whole new slew of win trading where people will cap an objective only to stand there and wait for it to be capped back so they can re-cap it just for the purpose of xp.
You know those people in BG's that would rather do the turn-in quests or sit there and fish all day long? Just imagine that, only far far more of them.

There's some merrit to the idea of course. Why should people that are primarily interested in PVP be bothered with such trivial things as gaining XP through questing when they can just cap,recap and rerecap things ad nauseum. But the worry I have is that BG XP will either be completely trivial or worse, good enough to merrit scamming and abuse.

There's also a social aspect to the whole change. Sure, people flock to 'free xp' like flies to crap (euh... moths to light) but will someone who is primarily interested in PVE even consider PVPing for XP? Will the hoped for larger numbers in the battlegrounds materialize if you throw a handful of XP at the issue?

So the question for the time being seems to be: Will BG XP bring the PVE crowd to PVP and if it does how long will it take before someone gets the bright idea to win-trade WSG?

And what about you? will you BG for XP if it's decent enough XP?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We don't need no stinkin damage

So the warlock Q&A has been answered. I am not going to bore you with details because there's really nothing concrete in there except some vague promises that things will improve for warlocks. Looking at the 3.2 patch notes it puts me in a somber mood to see that the actual warlock buff doesn't come from changes to the warlock talent tree itself but indirectly through a resilience change.

Resilience will be changed to a flat damage reduction across the board. Since previously both our dot damage and later our dot crit damage was taxed by resilience the change effectively means warlock damage will be higher relative to the damage that everyone else is doing.

The problem however never was our damage (not in pvp or pve). Warlocks left alone can output a significant amount of damage well capable of causing significant havoc in the enemy ranks.
The reason why warlocks fair so poorly in PVP at the moment is purely down to survivability of both the pet and the warlock (and maybe that darned felpup spell interrupt missing all the time).

While some changes to pet scaling will hopefully help the pet to stay alive longer (possibly even 3 whole GCDs) the actual issue is still with warlock survivability itself.

Warlocks don't live long enough to deliver their damage because their ancient high-stamina drain tanking capability has been stripped down to nothing and they received no other relevant buffs to their survivability (if anything the constant fear nerfing is really doing them in now defense-wise).

This makes warlocks easy targets for any melee that can manage to keep stepping on the warlock's toes, so easy in fact that a decent melee will maybe need 5-10 seconds to tear the warlock to shreds healing applied or not.

I see the signs on the wall though... if you keep buffing damage now to the point where the damage starts having an impact once again and only then address the survivability you can have a guess what will happen.

My thought on the current situation of the warlock class, beyond that the whole class is really poorly designed and could use at least some 'vision' is that we really don't need all the extra damage they're alloting us.

I never wanted to be a glass cannon... I wanted to apply my dots and then by the good graces of high armor (for a caster) / high stam and a few solid life-returning abilities live long enough to see my dots slowly ticking away on the enemy before having to re-apply them.

I don't envy anyone in charge of class balance but it seems to me it's harder to balance a class that was not blessed with a clear vision of what the class should/could be.

Perhaps it's time to delve deeper into the warlock design...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Corpsevertisement recycling your local graveyard

In an interesting turn of events I recently noticed that a lot of the corpsevertisements as they are used by larger gold-selling companies these days are actually using a list of 'standard' person names.

Take a closer look at the corpses on the floor next time and you will usually notice that there is either a fully qualified person name somewhere in the middle or at the start of it followed by a sequential random string of characters.

So DEBBIEDESGFDE and SUEDESGFDF are good examples of this scenario. Check out your local corpsevertisements and see if you can come up with anything interesting.

It does make me wonder whether the gold seller on our realm (presumably the same as on every other realm) can then be called out on being from at the very least an english speaking country given that all the names are clearly from an english subset. Or at least I didn't see any gustav's or dmitri's in there...

Interestingly enough making gm tickets for the corpsevertisement will actually get it removed... not that it doesn't re-apply itself after a while but it definitely gets removed by some hapless GM who clearly has to remove the entire damn thing by hand which may provide you some short term entertainment while bank sitting.

I wonder if it's a bad sign for a blog to be reporting on virtual advertisements...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Become your own worst enemy

Not too long ago blizzard announced that they're working on a system that will allow you to change factions for a price (and not a gold one at that). Much like many other character customizations it will now be possible to literally become your enemy changing yourself into a race of the opposite faction that can carry your class.

That said it will still not be possible to change your own race within your own faction and even switching to alliance from horde and back will not allow you to actually end up with a different race (the system remembers your previous race).

So there we have it: You can turn your Tauren Shaman into say a squid shaman (ok ok draenei for all you pro-squid folk) and back but there will be absolutely no option to turn your tauren into an orc shaman.

I have to admit this confuses me a little. I can understand the reservations blizzard may have in letting you change your own race to a certain extend because they assume that people will then always switch to the race with the 'best' racials.

But on the other hand I find that concern to be somewhat of a moot point. I am sure there's a certain amount of people that would switch for the purpose of racials but given the overall state of racials the number of people will definitely be less than 10% of the population.
Add to that the fact that people value different racials and the net effect will be very limited in terms of racial shifts (maybe a few more undead) meaning that it won't upset the race balance but will result in a nice little cash flow for blizzard.

This and the general thought that by allowing a faction switch you will still more or less be able to pick the best racials (except they'll be in a different faction and from a limited selection of races based on your class) and the whole thing becomes more of a faux argument than anything else.

Honestly the primary drawback for faction switching I see is that a lot of hordies I know would switch to alliance purely to escape the dysmal economy we have due to a 3:1 alliance:horde size difference. Which in turn would result in the already bloated alliance faction to become even bigger. Now I don't mind a bit of a tenacity buff, but being outnumbered 4:1 every place you go might be a bit over the top.
Maybe only alliance will be allowed to switch factions since they're traditionally the larger faction on most servers.

I don't know how big the percentage of people is that would dish out for faction changes, I am sure a fair share of gold sellers, scammers and grievers will find the option enticing (assuming it's cheaper than a realm transfer) but even then it'd be interesting to know how many would choose to become their own worst enemy by switching sides.

Would you?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Corpsevertisement, anyone need an undertaker?

Well the past weeks I've been in a complete fire festival haze disregarding most of anything else including about 500g in returned auctions that I probably should've checked before the timer on them expired.

Still compared to the 10+ levels I managed to scrounge up through honoring/desecrating fires I'd say 500g is a paltry sum.

Suffice to say I spent a lot of time travelling and when each of your characters passes through Org or whatever other capitol city you may prefer you can't help but notice the immense amount of corpses littering the ground spelling out some obscure gold-selling site (and the fire festival has tought me that even the alliance capitols are covered in corpsevertisement).

I am not against creative advertisement... after all if I had a script that'd drop 50 corpses from the sky spelling out something you'd probably see my name written across the barrens more than a few times (or maybe someone else's if it attracts the banhammer).

The problem is that

a) it never gets cleaned up: You have to see the damned graffiti each and every day and no GM really seems to give a hoot that it's there

b) you can't make use of the advertisement because the second you actually go to the advertised site and buy their goods you're breaking the TOS and may find yourself getting banned at some time in the future, even if it is months or years further down the line.

So basically we're looking at little more than what is often referred to as 'jailbait'. Something that entices you to break the law and will get you banned but is still there and awfully tempting (for some).

I am always a little surprised that blizzard doesn't at least try and do something about it like automatically delete corpses in town after 2 mins forcing people to rez at a healer. In the end it kind of feels like the advertisement is being condoned making people think they might as well buy some gold only to be punished by blizzard who is basically exposing us to the advertisement in the first place.

Thus I would like to propose that players are given the option to remove those kinds of corpses themselves, especially considering the fact that no one else does it.

Give me a torch to set them on fire, allow me to incinerate them in a flurry of fireworks or at the very least give me a shovel that'll make it possible to burry corpses. You could even have some fun with it and throw together an achievement for it that leads to a nifty title like 'the undertaker' after you burried your 1000th corpse.

Make it only useable in town and it doesn't strike me as something would be able to abuse too easily and I would happily spend 5 minutes of my time deleting the corpsevertisement even if it is only to see them fall from the sky again a few minutes later (make the gold sellers work for it at least).

I hereby volunteer for the position of undertaker. I'll be needing a shovel, some tomb-stones, a wicked evil accent, some dark clothes and maybe a hurse of some sort...